Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Audio Contradicts McCarthy's Denial He'd Ask Trump To Resign; Pentagon Joins New Day As War Enters Pivotal Phase; Florida Sheriff's Deputies Save Man From Burning Car. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 22, 2022 - 07:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Brand-new audio obtained by The New York Times appears to show House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy seriously thinking about advising Trump to resign from office following the January 6 insurrection a day after he vehemently denied reports that he had done just that.

Here it is.


KEVIN MCCARTHY, THEN-HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I'm seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight. I haven't talked to him in a couple of days. From what I know of him -- I mean, you guys all know him too. Do you think he'd ever back away?

But look, what I think I'm going to do is I'm going to call him. The only discussion I would have with him is that I think will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign. I mean, that would be my take, but I don't think he would take it. But I don't know.


KEILAR: CNN has reached out for comment and has not heard back at this point in time.

Let's talk about this now with Kasie Hunt, CNN anchor and chief national affairs analyst. And, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN chief legal analyst.

Kasie, what do you think about this? Here he is caught pretty much in a lie.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I am very interested to see how Kevin McCarthy responds. To my knowledge, he still has not.

And I think that's going to determine what kind of happens next here because he denied this when it was written in the book and published, and now we have the receipts. We have the audio. We heard him on tape saying it. And I'll just say -- look, I covered this -- these events in real time. Brianna, you know how conversations work here in Washington. You have to make commitments to your sources about how you're going to handle their material.

I don't think that this audio comes as any surprise to anyone who covered this in a contemporaneous way. I mean, we all saw what Kevin McCarthy was saying in public, initially. And now, we're able to hear one of the times he was talking about this in private.

I imagine that there are a lot of people around town who heard similar things from Kevin McCarthy in that particular moment. And I think there's a lot of nuance and texture that's been added by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns to this account of history through this.

KEILAR: Jeffrey, what do you think?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR (via Webex by Cisco): Well, I guess my interest is in the big picture here, which is look at what has happened to the Republican Party. I mean, Kevin McCarthy's view at the time was very widely shared that this was a terrible event in American history and President Trump was responsible for it. Now, Kevin McCarthy and the entire Republican Party is running to grovel in front of President Trump, begging for his endorsement. Begging for his forgiveness for saying how outrageous January 6 was.

I mean, just look at how different the Republican Party is today and look at how powerful Donald Trump is. I mean, that's what's the real message to me out of -- out of this whole controversy.

KEILAR: And I should also note that Liz Cheney's office has responded to this McCarthy tape. A spokesperson saying, "The select committee has asked Kevin McCarthy to speak with us about these events but he has so far declined. Representative Cheney did not record or leak the tape and does not know how the reporters got it."

Jeffrey, what do you think about that because they want to hear from him? I think the reason they haven't may be because he would get himself in trouble or he doesn't want to be caught telling the truth.

TOOBIN: Well -- and again, the January 6 Committee has gone from something that all of Congress wanted to do to something that all Trump supporters are basically boycotting in one way or another with a few -- with a few important exceptions.

I mean, there is no political cost, as far as I can tell within the Republican Party, to telling the January 6 Committee to go to hell. And that's what Kevin McCarthy is doing. I assume he will continue to stonewall the committee because this is what Donald Trump wants. Donald Trump is back in charge of the Republican Party now and the committee is viewed as his opposition. So, McCarthy is going to continue to do Trump's bidding as he has almost since the day of that tape.

HUNT: Let me just say one quick thing, too. Kevin McCarthy, more than anything in the world, wants to be the Speaker of the House, and everything he does can be explained through that lens of trying to maintain power. That's why he tried to put his finger in the wind and go with where he thought things were going in the wake of January 6, and that's also why he changed his tune.

There's also a big difference between the Kevin McCarthy that talks to corporate donors behind the scenes where he basically makes arguments that say hey, I'll stand up to Trump and the Trump wing of the party if you give me money. But then when he's actually dealing with his conference, he is saying that he'll put Marjorie Taylor Green back on her committees if he becomes speaker.

I think this episode is going to help determine what happens next and whether he does, in fact, become Speaker of the House. I mean, the big question is who, if not Kevin McCarthy? But if Trump were to pull his support from Kevin McCarthy for speaker, that would be a huge problem for McCarthy's future.


And I think that can really help everybody understand why he said the things he did and why he's doing what he's doing today.

KEILAR: Yes. He has an audience of one, but many people who follow that one.

Totally separate, I do want to ask you Kasie about an interview that you had yesterday with Anthony Fauci at a time where I think a lot of people who are parents of children under five and cannot get vaccinated are wondering what is with the delay here. Let's listen.


ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Pfizer was thinking that it was going to be a two-dose vaccine for the children. Two-dose may have been OK in the Delta era. But Omicron, as we know as it's evolved, is clearly going to be, at least at the dose that Pfizer uses, a three-dose virus for a vaccine.

Now you have Moderna who comes in with a bit of a higher dose, who are looking at two doses there. And what the FDA wants to do is to get it so that we don't confuse people to say this is the dose -- this is the dose regimen for children within that age group of six months to five years.

HUNT: I think the bottom line is just if Moderna's ready to apply for that EUA and we could have it in May --

FAUCI: Right.

HUNT: -- why can't we have it in May?

FAUCI: Right, right. And I don't have an answer to that.


KEILAR: No answer. No answer for you, Kasie.

HUNT: No answer for me and -- or any American family, right? Like, that's --

KEILAR: Or me.

HUNT: I was trying to ask on behalf of --

KEILAR: You know what I would like is for my kid to have a vaccine so that he didn't have -- you know, when he did get COVID he had some protection. But that's not what happened to us.

HUNT: Yes.

KEILAR: It's so frustrating.

HUNT: It is so frustrating. And I think parents of young children are -- they have borne the brunt of this pandemic now for two years with their little kids whose daycares are closing, whose schools are closing kind of on a whim if there's a case outbreak. And people really just want to be able to move on.

And I think the frustrating thing -- and just to kind of clarify exactly what he was saying -- Moderna is likely to be ready in May to go and ask the FDA to give them emergency use authorization for their vaccine. Pfizer is going to take a little longer -- probably June. Regulators don't want the public to be confused about the dosing, so they want to put those EUAs together, which means waiting for Pfizer.

And I think certainly what I've heard from some parents over the course of reporting this and putting this clip out there is that they want to be able to decide for themselves in May if they want to give their kid the Moderna shot. They don't want to be told hey, you've got to wait until June if it is, in fact, safe and effective.

Like, let's get on with it. We've been waiting and waiting and waiting, and waiting. We thought maybe we'd get this in January; now it may be June. I mean, people's heads are kind of exploding over that.

KEILAR: The only good news is that the weather is nice. And so, Kasie, our outdoor playdates with our --

HUNT: Exactly.

KEILAR: -- unvaccinated children can continue once again.

HUNT: They can, yes -- very soon.

KEILAR: All right. Kasie, thank you so much. Jeffrey, thank you so much -- appreciate it.

We do have some more on the breaking news ahead. Heavy fighting underway right now in eastern Ukraine as Russia announces its phase two goal of this war. Plus, the Pentagon joins us live on the catastrophic situation in Mariupol where civilians are surrounded. But first, the unbelievable true story of the man who took on Putin and lived to expose the truth. The Sundance award-winning CNN film "NAVALNY" airing Sunday night at 9:00 eastern on CNN.


Phone ringing.

TEXT: Vladimir Alexandrovich. It's Alexey Navalny calling and I was hoping you could tell me why you wanted to kill me?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remarkably, Vladimir Putin faces a legitimate opponent, Alexey Navalny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want Putin as president. If I want to be a leader of a country, I have to organize people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kremlin hates Navalny so much that they refuse to say his name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Passengers heard Navalny cry out in agony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, poisoned? Seriously?

We are creating the coalition to fight this regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are killed, what message do you leave behind for the Russian people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very simple -- never give up.





KEILAR: The U.S. has now committed about $3.4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's invasion.

Joining us now is Pentagon press secretary John Kirby to talk more about that and a number of other topics. Sir, thanks for being with us this morning.

I wanted to start as we're looking at Mariupol and the dire conditions there. Some NATO nations say that it would be a game changer if the West gets involved in evacuating that city. Is there any chance of that happening?

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: There are no plans right now to have U.S. troops involved on the ground in Ukraine. I think you know the president has been very clear about the -- about his decision on that.

So what we are doing though, Brianna is continuing -- as you saw just yesterday, to continue to flow weapons and systems to the Ukrainians that will help them in this fight that is now brewing in the east.

KEILAR: Yes. Those weapons -- do you have a sense once they get into Ukraine where they're going?

KIRBY: Well, we get them into Ukrainian hands -- places outside the country -- and then the Ukrainians bring them into the country and they distribute them. They put them in usually, some sort of temporary storage while they distribute them to their troops and get them into the battlefield where and when they see fit. I mean, it's their property and we don't want to be in a position where we're dictating to them or trying to guide them in terms of how and when and how fast they get onto the field of battle.

KEILAR: Are they doing a good job at that, in your estimation?

KIRBY: Our view is that they are, in fact, getting these weapons and systems into fighters' hands. I mean -- and we talk to them literally every day, Brianna, at very levels of the chain of command. And the constant feedback we're getting from Ukrainian leaders are that a) they appreciate this; b) they are absolutely getting them as far forward as fast as they can.


I mean, they know better than we do the pressures they're under, the time constraints, and what the Russians are doing around the country -- certainly, in that eastern and southern part of Ukraine. They can see it much more clearer than we can. And so, they know. They know where to get these things.

KEILAR: Vladimir Putin made this decision in Mariupol not to clear that steel plant where there are a number of Ukrainian forces, as well as some civilians hold up. Instead, he says he wants to seal it off.

What is the Pentagon's assessment of why he did that?

KIRBY: It's unclear. And I -- you know, you've got to take Mr. Putin's words skeptically, Brianna. So I -- they made this big show yesterday of him saying he wasn't going to go into that plant and try to eradicate the people that are there. Actions, not words. I think we have to watch and see what the Russians actually do here.

What we would tell you this morning is that we still assess that Mariupol is contested. That it hasn't been taken by the Russians, and that there's still an active Ukrainian resistance. So, they continue to fight for that city.

KEILAR: We're hearing, John, of these audio recordings that the Ukrainians have intercepted of Russian troops talking about how commanders have abandoned them. They're also talking in some of these about how they're killing prisoners of war.

Are you confident that these recordings are authentic? And is the U.S. working with Ukraine to verify them?

KIRBY: We have not been able to verify those recordings. Certainly, we're aware of that.

I would just tell you broadly speaking, Brianna, we continue to get indications through information channels as well as intelligence that the Russians have not solved their leadership challenges. They have not solved their command and control challenges. They have not been able to really get unit cohesion, even down at the tactical level.

They are still struggling with a force that is almost half conscripts. They are -- they are a force that wasn't properly prepared and trained for the kinds of missions now that the Russian military is trying to make them do.

And clearly, we continue to see indications and intelligence that they continue to commit atrocities and war crimes on the Ukrainian people.

KEILAR: So, the new leadership has not affected change, in your view?

KIRBY: We have not seen demonstrable changes by this new general they've put in charge. Now, we think they did this because they wanted to address their command and control and their unit cohesion, and their operational maneuver challenges, but it remains to be seen. It's too soon.

And we have not assessed that they have fixed all those problems. As a matter of fact, Brianna, we continue to see them struggling with things like logistics and sustainment even as they try to improve that in the Donbas. We continue to see them try to address their integration of air and ground forces, which was dismal in the early weeks of this campaign. They appear to be trying to fix that kind of integration going forward.

But again, we wouldn't assess that they've -- that they've solved all their problems.

KEILAR: Do you know how many Russian troops right now are in eastern Ukraine in the Donbas and thereabouts?

KIRBY: We have a sense. It's easily in the tens of thousands. Probably more than about 80 battalion tactical groups are now in the east and the south. We have a bit of a sense of where they are and what they're doing.

But again, the Ukrainians have a much better -- much better view of that than we do.

KEILAR: We have talked a bit about the Moksva -- the big symbolic loss for Russia when the Ukrainians sank that flagship of their Black Sea fleet.

The Times of London is now reporting that an American P-8 Poseidon, which is a Navy reconnaissance plane -- a very good one -- was patrolling the area at the time and told the Ukrainians where the Moksva was. Gave it targeting information. I know you were asked about this yesterday. You noticeably did not --


KEILAR: -- deny that this happened at the Pentagon briefing yesterday.

Are there concerns that the Russians will not distinguish between targeting information and direct involvement?

KIRBY: No, I very clearly denied that we provided -- that P-8 provided intelligence to the Ukrainians with respect to targeting on the ship. That is not true. That --

KEILAR: OK. So, you're saying that it -- you're saying it did not provide targeting information.

KIRBY: That aircraft is one of many American aircraft that are contributing to NATO air-policing missions, and that includes in the Black Sea region. I won't get into more operational details about what those aircraft are doing exactly, but I can tell you that aircraft was not providing intelligence data to the Ukrainians to help them in any sort of attack they might be doing in the maritime environment.

KEILAR: Or any U.S. planes or other assets?

KIRBY: I know of no other aircraft, other than the one we're talking about, operating in the southern Black Sea region. Again, all part of NATO air-policing missions that we've been doing now for several weeks.

KEILAR: OK, great. I am so glad we cleared that up because I did not fully understand that yesterday from the briefing. So thank you so much for clearing that up for us, John.

And we do appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

KIRBY: You bet, Brianna.


KEILAR: We do have some breaking news this morning. We're getting word that a suspect has been declared in the case of a -- of British toddler Madeleine McCann. She went missing 15 years ago from her family's vacation home. You'll remember this, I bet. We have a live report on that ahead.

Plus, it's a midterm race that could decide the balance of the Senate. The three Democrats hoping to flip Pennsylvania's Republican seat are facing off. See what happened.

But first, President Biden marking Earth Day today by signing a new executive order aimed at protecting America's forests. It directs federal agencies to adopt new policies to protect old-growth forests and trees against threats like wildfires.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back. Come here. Give me your arm. Give me your arm. Pull, pull.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't, don't, don't. No, no, no.


KEILAR: Dramatic bodycam video showing how two Florida sheriff's deputies went beyond the call, running to a burning car to rescue a man inside just in the nick of time.

CNN's Randi Kaye has the story.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene discovered by two Charlotte County, Florida sheriff's deputies -- a ball of fire with flames shooting five or six feet into the air.

DEPUTY GARRETT PARRISH, CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA SHERIFF'S OFFICE: 1400 (ph), there's somebody in the car. The car's on fire.

What I could see was barely a person hanging out of it. And then I opened my door and I could hear him screaming for me.

DEPUTY BRYANT OVALLES VASQUEZ, CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA SHERIFF'S OFFICE: As I get close to the -- to the vehicle, the fire was so hot that you could feel the hairs on your arms kind of starting to burn off.

KAYE (voice-over): Deputies Garrett Parrish and Bryant Ovalles Vasquez knew they had to act fast.

PARRISH: He had the seat belt around his neck and his upper torso. And I realized that not only was he in the car trapped, but the whole right side of him was on fire.

KAYE (voice-over): That's right -- the man was on fire. So they tried to use a pocket knife to cut his seat belt. When that didn't work they made a mad dash for a fire extinguisher from their car.

VASQUEZ: (INAUDIBLE) central, I need somebody here now.

It's a man's life at risk right there. He's burning.

PARRISH: He was very vocal about telling us that he's burning, too. It's worth noting that he was screaming that to us -- I am on fire. I am burning.

KAYE (voice-over): It all happened around 1:00 in the morning. A witness called 911 to say he heard the crash. The car hit a tree while negotiating a curve in the road. That witness said he ran to the scene to try and help but he was unable to free the man.

911 CALLER: The car is burning. I can't get him out. He's screaming pretty loud. He's in pain.

DISPATCHER: Is that him in the background?

KAYE (voice-over): First on the scene, the deputies knew there was no time to wait for a fire truck. Their fire extinguisher would have to do, along with some help from a Good Samaritan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back. Come here. Give me your arm. Give me your arm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, don't, don't, don't. No, no, no. Here -- come over here.


PARRISH: Take his jacket off.


KAYE (voice-over): EMS arrived and quickly assessed his injuries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get his leg. His right leg. His right leg was in the fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're doing the best we can, all right? We'll get you to the hospital.

KAYE (voice-over): As the victim started talking, the deputies were relieved to learn there was nobody else in the car.

PARRISH: My exact words were hallelujah.

KAYE (voice-over): The man survived and was transported to the hospital where he's still recovering.

PARRISH: You're trained to do that thing but until you're in it and you're doing it physically in person, there's no training for that.

VASQUEZ: I don't consider myself a hero. I signed up for this job to serve and protect the citizens here of Charlotte County, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Port Charlotte, Florida.


KEILAR: I'm going to give him some hero points.

NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, April 22, and I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington, with Jim Sciutto in Lviv, Ukraine. And we are beginning with breaking news. Mariupol is close to a

catastrophe. That is how the owner of the Azovstal steel plant is describing the situation on the ground right now. Food, water, ammunition growing more scarce by the hour.

Men, women, and children -- hundreds of them -- still hiding inside of the plant with no agreement on evacuation corridors out of Mariupol. And that is mostly because the Ukrainians fear, and rightfully so, that those routes will be attacked by Russian forces. They have so many times before.

This morning, these disturbing satellite images revealing rows of mass graves. Russian soldiers accused of dumping the bodies of countless victims into ditches to cover their crimes. There are more than 200 new graves that we are seeing in these new pictures.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The mayor of Mariupol -- he tells us it is evidence of war crimes. He also told me earlier this morning the death toll now in Mariupol, by his estimates, 20,000 people. You will hear that interview in just a moment. It's a remarkable eyewitness account.

And U.N. human rights officers just announced they have documented.