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Ammunition Depot on Fire Inside Russia Near Ukraine Border; Tapes: McCarthy Feared GOP Lawmakers Would Put People 'In Jeopardy'; Trump Fined $10K a Day for Subpoena Defiance. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired April 27, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, April 27. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.
And breaking news, word just in of an expanding war, possibly inside Russia. And economically for the first time, in a new way, over the border into NATO countries.
First, Russian state media reports explosions in three separate regions inside Russia. This is a picture of one of them. Let me show you where these regions are on the map.
Over here on the big map, you can see where they're over the border inside Russia. I can push in here. You can see at least one of the sites several hundred miles inside the border.
Included is an ammunition dump near Belgorod.
Now, be wary of these reports. The Russians have claimed Ukrainian attacks before to somehow try to portray themselves as victims. However, if there is any truth in this, it could represent an expanding reach of Ukrainian power.
Now, on the other hand, Russia is escalating its economic attacks into the West, beyond the Ukraine border. It's shut off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after those countries refused to pay for the gas in rubles. Now, this is significant. Both countries rely on Russian energy. They are NATO members, and both countries have aided the Ukrainian defense.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: In the meantime, Ukraine is now admitting it is taking significant losses in the East as the Russian forces there are intensifying their attacks. Entire towns are now under Russian control.
And in the South --
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KEILAR: -- a second missile strike overnight on a strategic bridge near Odessa. This is video from the first strike. Some new images coming in just moments ago showing the damage there. This rail and road bridge is the only link between the Southwest corner of Ukraine and the rest of the country. Let's go live now to Lviv, Ukraine, in the West and bring in CNN's Scott McLean with the very latest here -- Scott.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna, yes, those explosions in Russia about ten miles inside of the border in Russia were heard very early this morning, around 2:30 local time. And then it was two hours later that more explosions were heard 200 miles inside the border with Russia.
Now, the Russians have repeatedly pointed the finger at the Ukrainians for similar strikes on Russian territory, on oil depots and other military targets.
The Ukrainians have not directly claimed responsibility, but new in just the last couple of minutes, an adviser to President Zelenskyy has responded. And I just want to read you part of it.
He said, "How can you explain these? Well, very simply, if the Russians decide to attack another country en masse, kill everyone there en masse, crush peaceful people en masse with tanks and use warehouses in your regions to provide the killings, then sooner or later, the debts will have to be repaid," adding that karma is a cruel thing.
Now, Brianna, Russia is also this morning launching an economic attack on Poland and Bulgaria by shutting off the natural gas pipelines to those countries over their refusal to pay in rubles. Paying in rubles, of course, would strengthen the Russian currency, which at the outset of the war, took a nose dive but has since actually recovered pretty well.
Now, one of the pipelines actually goes through Poland to Germany; and the Russians are warning the Poles that if they syphon gas off of that pipeline while it is in transit, that they may shut off the taps even to the Germans.
Poland says that it does have enough natural gas for the moment. It has reserves. It has alternate sources. Bulgaria also not panicking at this moment. But keep in mind that 40 percent of Europe's gas comes from Russia.
The E.U. is calling this blackmail. They are vowing to make a plan in response and come up with alternate sources.
And one other point, and that's that on the ground in Ukraine, the chess pieces are undoubtedly moving. The Ukrainians say that the Russians have managed to take some smaller towns and villages in the East as Russian forces try to move West. But the Ukrainians say that they have managed to repel some Russian
attacks, nine them, they say, taking out a similar number of tanks, 11 artillery units and a whole lot more Russian equipment -- John, Brianna.
KEILAR: Are you getting a sense, Scott, of where the balance is here, though, with Ukrainians admitting that they're taking significant casualties there in the East?
MCLEAN: It seems to be going back and forth in the Eastern part of the country. Ukrainians will claim back some territory while the Russians will take some towns and villages.
You also have to remember that the map maybe isn't the most repetitive thing because there's large swaths of territory that have only small villages of them or are largely unpopulated or just open fields. And so actual territory is relatively easy to take. Taking some of these larger towns, though, and cities, that is a much taller order.
KEILAR: All right. Scott McLean, live for us in Lviv. We do appreciate the report.
BERMAN: All right. Brianna. Just to bring people up to speed on the reports we're getting in overnight, this is from Russian state media of attacks inside Russia. Let me show you where they are.
It includes an attack on an ammunition depot, allegedly, in Belgorod. But also, you can see a great distance further into Russia, this may be 200 kilometers inside Russia at this other site which would indicate an increasing capability, if true, of Ukrainian reach, of the Ukrainian military.
I want to bring in Sergii Leshchenko, senior advisor to President Zelenskyy's chief of staff.
Sergii, thank you so much for being with us.
SERGII LESHCHENKO, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT ZELENSKY'S CHIEF OF STAFF: Thank you.
BERMAN: Reports from the Russian side of strikes inside Russia, including Belgorod. What can you tell us about these reports?
LESHCHENKO: I have no information about this. Unfortunately, just not my responsibility here.
BERMAN: Another adviser to President Zelenskyy, Mikhail Lupodiak (ph) says, quote, "Sooner or later, the debts will have to be paid back. That's why disarming the Belgorod, other depots there, it's an absolutely natural process." He says, "Karma is a cruel thing."
Do you agree with that statement?
LESHCHENKO: You know, in Ukraine we have quite democratic society so people can speak, especially if it's in these current circumstances. But, you know, what happened in this Russian territory, it has to be asked of the Russian people, Russian government, Russian leadership what happened there, because it's not our territory. We define our territory, our territorial integrity, our independence. And we can't comment what goes on in this territory.
BERMAN: Do you have the power at this point to attack inside Russia at a time of your choosing?
LESHCHENKO: It's a sensitive topic for military commanders to comment. I think it has to be addressed that the people who are responsible for this.
For political leadership it's not a topic for command because it's -- again, what I can say is the information which can be provided only by military commanders.
But frankly speaking, general attitude is that Russia is responsible for what's going on in that territory. They have to comment what goes on there. Ukraine can comment how Russia attacks Ukrainian territory for sure. That is the brutalist war from the Second World War finished.
That is why I think we have to -- to be clear that Russia will pay the price for this brutal war, bloody war they started almost -- more than two months ago, frankly speaking. It's been more than two months of the war.
BERMAN: Let's talk about what's going on inside Ukrainian territory, if we can.
LESHCHENKO: Yes, sure.
BERMAN: Ukrainian officials confirming this morning that there has been some territorial loss. The Russians have made some gains in the East in Donbas, particularly in these areas here and here. How would you say, based on what you are hearing, how is the fight going in the East?
LESHCHENKO: The fight in the East is -- is like one of the most brutal wars, brutal battles after the Second World War finished, as I told you, because there is a huge concentration of Russian army, Russian soldiers, Russian military on our territory.
This brutal invasion started two months ago. It was the idea to defeat the government in Kyiv; to kill Ukraine's president; to put some puppets in this chair of president, here in the headquarters of president; to have Ukraine not just destroyed, but to have Ukraine as a part of Russian territory; to have Ukraine as a colony of Russia.
And this was fought by strong Ukrainian army and strong Ukrainian political leadership. It's not happened, and I believe it will never happen in the future.
And that is why this war is, I believe, the counterpoint -- the point of no return for the 21st Century. This will have very long circumstances for -- very long consequences for Russia and very long circumstances for the whole world.
What we can say now, that this war is not finished and this optimism Ukrainians demonstrated, it's an example of our bravery. But at the same time, we have to be united with the world to provide more weapons for Ukraine, to provide more sanctions.
Because if they occupy the Eastern part of Ukraine and South of Ukraine it will be a new country, you know, Ukraine will lost the territory. And it's unacceptable for independent nation to be attacked by a nuclear power, nuclear state, to occupy a big part of the territory.
And our own demonstration (ph) efforts put on the point that all territory taken from 24 of February to be sent back to Ukraine, provided back to Ukraine. That is why we put our demonstration efforts and -- (AUDIO GAP)
BERMAN: Right. Our thanks to Sergii Leshchenko there. We do appear to be upon losing our contact with that adviser inside President Zelenskyy's office.
Would not confirm the reports of Ukrainian attacks inside Russia. There was another adviser we quoted there who seems to be indicating or not backing off the notion that Ukraine was able to strike in there. But our thanks to Sergii Leshchenko for that discussion.
So John McCain once accused Senator Rand Paul of working for Vladimir Putin. Hear what Senator Paul just said that has garnered fresh criticism.
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REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): He's putting people in jeopardy. And he doesn't need to be doing this.
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BERMAN: Explosive new audio of Kevin McCarthy. Is the minority leader's dream of becoming House speaker slipping away?
KEILAR: And Donald Trump in contempt and facing massive fines. What happens if he simply ignores the judge's ruling?
KEILAR: In brand-new audio obtained by "The New York Times," during a call a few days after the attack on the Capitol in January of 2021, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Republican leadership not to attack lawmakers who they disagreed with over the outcome of the election. Here it is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: Tension is too high. The country is too crazy. I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something, and someone got hurt. I don't want to play politics with any of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I'm joined now by Michael Fanone, CNN law enforcement analyst and former D.C. Metropolitan Police officer, who defended the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and sustained a number of injuries that day.
Mike, what do you think, listening to that audio?
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: My initial reaction was, you know, McCarthy got it right. The -- you know, the rhetoric that was being spewed at that time by some of these fringe members of Congress on the Republican side was incredibly dangerous. It was inciteful, and it resulted in the violence of January 6th.
Unfortunately, rather than pursuing that moment, McCarthy opted to do some political maneuvering. Again, I think that Kevin McCarthy's interests are solely in himself and attaining the speakership. So rather than doing what was best for the country, what was best for Americans and our democracy, he did what was best for Kevin McCarthy to attain the speakership.
KEILAR: He's also -- he's been denying that these things on tape happened. And yet there's tape of -- tape of them happening. What do you say to that?
FANONE: It doesn't surprise me. People denied what happened on January 6, and there's thousands and thousands of hours of videotape footage, body-worn camera footage.
But I mean, that also speaks to, I think, where we're at as a country. Kevin McCarthy can deny those things, and people's distrust in -- I don't know if you call it mainstream media -- will allow for, you know, a good part of this country to -- to believe that McCarthy never said those things.
KEILAR: On tape he also said that people were being endangered. He said that Trump was putting people in jeopardy. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: I'm calling Gaetz, I'm explaining to him -- I don't know what I'm going to say, but I'm going to have some other people call him, too. But the nature of what -- if I'm getting a briefing, I'm getting another one from the FBI tomorrow -- this is serious shit, to cut this out.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Yes. That's -- that's -- I mean, it's potentially illegal what he's doing.
MCCARTHY: Well, he's putting people in jeopardy. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brooks apparently said, "Today is the day American
patriots start taking down names and kicking ass," which I would say is even a step further than the kind of rhetorical take, you know.
MCCARTHY: If you think -- if you think the president deserves to be impeached for his comments, that's almost something that goes further than what the president said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: He also said, "We saw what people would do in the Capitol. You know that these people came prepared with rope, with everything else." What do you think -- how do you feel, listening to that?
FANONE: I don't know. I've become numb to the politics of this experience, so I don't know. I don't expect anything less from -- from McCarthy or from GOP leadership, for that matter.
You know, the Kevin McCarthys and Mitch McConnells of the world, I don't think they care about individual Americans. They care about their political careers. They've repressed any, you know, ability to -- I don't know -- experience real, like, human emotion. And that's unfortunate.
And the other thing to note, that in that conversation, Kevin McCarthy was speaking with Steve Scalise. I would have liked to have seen Steve Scalise speak out a whole hell of a lot more after January 6th, being that, you know, like myself, he's also a victim of political violence. And, you know, again, GOP leadership position, and we just didn't see that. I don't know. It's disappointing.
KEILAR: If you could sit down and have a coffee or a beer with Kevin McCarthy, what would you want to say?
FANONE: I don't know. I mean, I had a meeting with Kevin McCarthy, and we had a lengthy discussion, didn't really get anywhere. You know, we talked in circles. But, I mean, I will drink a beer with just about anybody.
KEILAR: You talked in circles?
KEILAR: Explain that. Explain what you thought he was doing. Placating you? How would you -- I don't mean to put words in your mouth. How would you describe what was happening?
FANONE: Yes, I think the meeting was only held because of the pressure that was being applied by the media to meet with me, just because of what my experience was like on January 6th. It was really for -- just for the optics.
I think it came at a time where we were supposed to be celebrating law enforcement in this country. It was in or around National Police Week and Kevin McCarthy didn't want to be seen as -- I don't know -- acting negatively towards law enforcement, because they count on law enforcement for votes.
You know, just another example of political pandering in this country that takes place on both sides of the aisle.
You sound resigned, like you've given up on Republican leadership, which historically aligns itself with law enforcement, doing the right thing by law enforcement.
FANONE: I don't -- I don't think one political party represents me or law enforcement or any particular group wholeheartedly. I thought that was the point of our democracy. You know, you have -- you get a little bit from this side. You get a little bit from that side. And then hopefully, people are able to come to a compromise, you know, somewhere in the middle that makes everyone maybe not completely happy, but satisfied with the outcome.
We're just not there anymore in this country. Our political leaders aren't concerned about the future of our democracy. They're concerned about their own careers. We have too many politicians who think that they're like celebrities.
I remember my first experiences on Capitol Hill, a reporter told me that, you know, Congress is Hollywood for ugly people. And I've found that to be -- to be the case more so than not, unfortunately.
KEILAR: Mike, it's always great to have you on. Thank you so much for responding to this recording that we're hearing. I appreciate it.
FANONE: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
KEILAR: Ten thousand dollars a day. That is what it's costing Donald Trump for failing to comply with a subpoena, but is it enough to compel him to cooperate?
BERMAN: A troubling economic forecast. A major bank warns a recession is coming.
BERMAN: New this morning, Donald Trump needs to pay every day. A New York state judge says the former president is willfully disobeying a prior order to comply with the subpoena for documents relating to the New York attorney general's investigation into the Trump Organization finances.
The judge ruled that, quote, "Donald J. Trump is in contempt of court and must pay a fine of $10,000 per day until he purges such contempt to the satisfaction of this court."
Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Rodgers. Counselor, thank you so much for being with us. Just first of all, how
do you pay? I mean, like, how do the mechanics of that work? How does Donald Trump, if he's going to pay, actually pay the court?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, John. It's good to see you back and looking so well.
So you just pay this the way that you would pay any fine. You go down to the courthouse, and you write a check or you use cash or even a credit card.
The wrinkle here, of course, is it's $10,000 every single day. So they're going to be running down there every morning or afternoon. And that, for a person who reputedly hates to pay anything, even for bills he's voluntarily done, then it's going to sting, for sure.
BERMAN: Could he pay forever, theoretically, and say, You know what? I'd rather pay $10,000 a day forever than turn over the documents?
RODGERS: Well, the thing about civil contempt is it's meant to be coercive. It's supposed to actually force you to do whatever the judge has ordered you to do.
So if the judge becomes convinced that he will just pay forever, then it's really no longer coercive; it's not working anymore. In that case, I think the judge would up the ante: either increase the fine or the nuclear option. There's actually a possibility that you can go to jail and sit in jail until you pay.
But I don't think the judge will just let him pay $10,000 indefinitely, even if Donald Trump wanted to do that, which is I think is very unlikely.
BERMAN: Now, what if he didn't pay? What if he says, You know what? I'm not paying.
I mean, in the past year, one of the things we've seen is -- is people affiliated with Trump just saying, I'm not -- I'm not participating.
RODGERS: Well, a couple of things. I mean, again, the judge could up the ante, try to increase the amount, in which case it just compounds to the point where he might decide it's better to pay it. He could go to jail.
Or of course, you know, the government of New York state has ways to get money that is owed to it from people. You can try to garnish their wages or seize assets, that sort of thing.
But, you know, really, it's does he want to get this settled as soon as possible so this bill isn't accruing every day? I think that's what his lawyer is currently thinking about.
BERMAN: Yes. How do you think this does get resolved, Jen?
RODGERS: I think that they're going to try for -- well, at least the lawyer said they'd try to submit an affidavit that explains how they've complied with the subpoena.
She said different things. At one time, she said that they had complied, and she just had to submit the paperwork, explaining how. At other times, she said they would comply. And I think they're going to try to get out from under this very quickly.
They may try to submit something first and, if the judge isn't convinced that they've done what they need to do, they're probably going to have to cough up some documents, which of course, was the point to all of this in the first place.
BERMAN: Documents or dollars. Jennifer Rodgers, thanks so much for being with us. Great to see you, and thank you for the kind words.
RODGERS: Thanks, John.