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Tensions Flare after McCarthy Remarks; U.S. Left Military Equipment in Afghanistan; Oleg Moskalenko Shares his Story of Russian Torture; Rent Jumps Amid Housing Shortage. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 28, 2022 - 06:30   ET



SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Keep these guys quiet long enough to get through the next set of leadership elections.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I want to play something that Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said about the Catholic church. And, you know, at the risk -- at the risk of playing this, but this is important to watch because this is what has a lot of Catholics and those affiliated with the Catholic church upset.

Here's what she said.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN (R-GA): What it is, is that's Satan's controlling the church. The church is not doing its job.

What they're doing by saying, oh, we have to love these people and take care of these migrants and love one another, this is loving one another. Yes, we are supposed to love one another, but their definition of what love one another means, means destroying our laws.


KEILAR: She's talking about immigration. She's saying that the Catholic church, which as we know a lot of charities affiliated with the Catholic church provide services for migrants who are coming in. What do you think about these comments and how this is going to play for her?

JENNINGS: Well, I think for her it's probably going to, you know, play well. I mean the kind of people who are attracted to Marjorie Taylor Greene probably think this is great, which is really unfortunate. I mean if you're talking about love, and unconditional love, as it's prescribed by the Christian faith, there is no but, right? You know, we have to love one another, but. No, no, there is no but. We have to love one another. That's the mandate from Jesus to the church. And so she really needs to rethink, I think, the syntax of her -- of her arguments here.

I mean, look, there's a legitimate debate to be had about immigration. And Republicans, obviously, think Joe Biden's making it worse and the Democrats have thoughts about the way Republicans handled it. There's a political debate to be had here. But when you're -- this

isn't politics. This is the church. And they have a job to do as mandated by, you know, their god. And the texts and the mandates of what that means over the centuries.

And I don't think this is going to play well with a larger audience. I think for some people who are attracted to kind of rhetoric, it's obviously, you know, been her brand and I don't approve of it.

Catholics, by the way, interestingly, if you're interested in the political analysis, split almost dead even in the 2020 election. I think Trump got like 50 percent and Biden got 49 percent. So it's really -- it's a group -- it's not like evangelicals who went almost all Republican. Catholics are really a split group. And so, if you're looking for the political analysis out of it, it's a -- it's a group of people who have really been up for grabs in recent elections.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I'm not sure name checking Satan is the best way to reach their hearts, which is what she just did there, Scott. And, again, in purely a political sense, wasn't she standing behind Kevin McCarthy at the border? I mean if you're wondering about inside the Republican caucus whether or not this will help or hurt her, I mean don't we already have the answer at this point because McCarthy has more or less welcomed her back.

JENNINGS: Yes. I mean, again, it's -- we're back to the conversation we just had about Gaetz, where there's a group of these people that they're constantly trying to manage. And what we've learned time and again is you can't manage it. I mean there's no managing these folks. They're never going to -- they're never going to do it the way McCarthy and Scalise and those guys want them to do it, which is to try to, you know, be less incendiary, try not to be dominating news cycles every day with crazy rhetoric like this.

So, they've chosen a path to try to, you know, keep them under control as best they can. It's, obviously, not working most days. But, again, for the leaders, you know, they're trying to get to November and they're trying to get to January and these guys are making their lives challenging every single day.

BERMAN: Yes, look, we'll see. They're making a lot of bets here. We'll see if these people end up backing them if there are leadership votes, because I'm not sure there's any guarantee of that (INAUDIBLE).


Scott, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We always appreciate having you on.

JENNINGS: Good to be with you all. Thank you, John, for coming back to work, by the way. Glad to -- glad to see you're healthy again (ph).

BERMAN: I heard you'd be here. It was enough to get me out of my hospital bed.

Thanks, Scott. So, Chief Justice John Roberts choking up in the Supreme Court. Here what happened.

KEILAR: Plus, new revelations about what the U.S. left behind in Afghanistan. Items now in the hands of the Taliban.

And just in, Trevor Reed is back home in the U.S. See the brand-new pictures out of Texas, next.



BERMAN: There is no crying in baseball, but in the Supreme Court, kind of. Chief Justice John Roberts choked up a bit Wednesday while praising his long-time colleague Stephen Breyer on the retiring justice's last day hearing arguments.


CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT: The oral argument we have just concluded is the last the court will hear with Justice Breyer on the bench. For 28 years, this has been his arena for remarks profound and moving, questions challenging and insightful, and hypotheticals downright silly. For now, we leave the courtroom with deep appreciation for the privilege of sharing this bench with him.


BERMAN: That's really just nice. I have nothing else to say about it other than that was really sweet.

KEILAR: I know. It makes me wonder what kind of work buddies they are and if they're going to miss seeing each other day to day. I hope that's what it is.

BERMAN: Just pick up the phone and call. I mean he's not -- they can't be going that far.

KEILAR: You know it's different than seeing someone at the water cooler, though.

BERMAN: Fair. Fair point.

KEILAR: So, we do have some new CNN reporting this morning that the U.S. left behind $7 billion worth of military equipment in the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. That equipment now in the hands of the Taliban.

CNN's Barbara Starr live for us at the Pentagon with more on this.

Barbara, what does this mean? How much of this stuff is usable?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the key question. Not just what the Taliban has in hand, but can they use it?


All of these details are contained in a new report that Congress ordered the Pentagon to do. The Pentagon and Congress have not yet made the report available to the public. I want to quickly say, our own producer, Ellie Kaufman, got an early look at it so we can bring you the details.

$7 billion of the $18 billion worth of military gear the U.S. transferred to the Afghan government. $7 billion essentially left behind when that chaotic withdraw happened.

So, what kind of equipment is it? According to the report, a few details, aircraft, munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications gear. A lot of it requires very precise maintenance to remain usable. They don't know if the Taliban have been able to keep all of this stuff running. That's a -- that's a key question that they may never get an answer to.

Interesting details. Now, five of the helicopters that they had given to Afghanistan were actually not in the country in recent months, they were undergoing maintenance and they have now been transferred to Ukraine for use in that war, as well as thousands, if not tens of thousands of rounds of various kinds of munitions. That also transferred to Ukraine. So, some use in another war, in another war zone being made of all of this.

But the sheer volume of what simply was flushed is amazing. $978 million worth of aircraft, dozens left behind at the airport in Kabul, rendered useless by the U.S. They demilitarized them when they flew out because they couldn't take those aircraft and they certainly didn't want the Taliban to get their hands on at least that.


KEILAR: Yes, worth a lot, but also worthless, as we see there.

Barbara, thank you so much, live for us from the Pentagon.

STARR: Sure.

BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news. We're getting word that Trevor Reed is now home in the United States, and we have new pictures to prove it. This is the moment he was greeted by Texas Congressman August Pfluger, his family standing alongside him. His mother -- his mother is there, Paula, his father, Joey.

Paula tweeted that it is a very exciting day for the family. But they did add not for Paul Whelan's family. Paul Whelan is an American still detained in Russia, still imprisoned in Russia. And his twin brother will join us on the effort to get him out.

So, coming up, the Russians beat and tortured him with a hammer and left him to die in a forest, but somehow he managed to live. One Ukrainian's remarkable story of survival.

KEILAR: Plus, a top Russian bank executive flees the country to fight for Ukraine. We'll talk to him about why he did it.



BERMAN: This morning, a new first-hand account of the atrocities in Ukraine. Oleg Moskalenko is from a town outside of Kyiv. On March 7th he says he was driving home when he was stopped by Russian trooped, who then imprisoned, beat and tortured him for days and left him for dead.

We sent a series of questions to Oleg to learn his story.


BERMAN: So tell us what happened and what the Russians did when they captured you.

OLEG MOSKALENKO, WAS TORTURED, BEATEN AND IMPRISONED BY RUSSIANS FOR DAYS (through translator): They were beating me with their rifles and they were saying why are you driving around here? They were having some -- some anger at me, which I couldn't understand without any reason. So, after beating me, they put me -- threw me in a pit, which was two meters deep. I was handcuffed and I had a bag over my head. And I spent 48 hours in this pit.

So, after spending two days there, they, again, put a bag on my head and took me somewhere in the -- some military vehicle. I don't know if it was a tank or an armored personnel vehicle. Together with several other civilians, they put us in some cellar, which was full of water. We had to sit on the stairs for several days without any food or water. And it was cold and wet.

On the very first day when they captured me, they cut the fingers on my hands. And I had open wounds. So very soon these wounds started rotting. And eventually I had to have these fingers amputated. They were different fingers. On top of that, they put handcuffs on me.

After spending several days in that basement, they transferred us to a different basement where we spent another three days. And during this time, my hands literally started rotting. I asked one of the Russian occupants -- I said, you know, there is no use of me anyway, can you let us go so that we can get some medical help?


After seven or eight days, they put us in some vehicle and took us about 70 kilometers away. This is just my assessment because I was having a bag on my head, so I can't be sure. And there were me and another guy. And they left us in the middle of a forest from where it was impossible to get to any settlement. So, I think they were just hoping that we were going to die from cold.

BERMAN: They left you to die in the woods. How did you get to safety?

MOSKALENKO: We found a beaten up car nearby this forest man's house. It was -- it was beaten up, but it was able to drive. So -- and I was unable to walk, so we got into this car and started driving.

BERMAN: You were able to get to Germany, ultimately. What surgeries have you had and what's your condition right now?

MOSKALENKO: When I ended up in Germany, I had, according to the doctors, I had three major problems. Firstly, all of my body was blue from head to toes and they suspected that it may have been a hemorrhage, the reason of this. The second problem was my hands and feet were black. And you can see now I don't have all my fingers now. So -- and the third is the same, similar problem with my feet.

So, after the examination it turned out that the only problems were with the hands and feet. So they had to amputate some of my fingers or partially amputate and also they had to amputate one-third of my right foot.

All together, I have undergone five surgeries and I spent four and a half weeks in a hospital.


BERMAN: You can see now I don't have all my fingers. Chilling words. That's Oleg Moskalenko. Our thanks to him.

Next, breaking news for what might be a major development in the pandemic, one that millions of Americans and one I know quite well have been waiting for.



KEILAR: Intense demand and diminishing supply have sent home prices soaring. And there's collateral damage from the housing shortage, record rent increases.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is live for us in Miami.

How tough is this renter's market?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Extremely tough, Brianna. We are seeing record rental prices across the United States. No more so than here in the state of Florida. Miami seeing a 58 percent increase on rent on average in just the last two years. That is pricing Floridians out of their homes and into this extremely competitive rental market.


LAURA GUILMAIN, FLORIDA RENTER: Lists and lists and lists.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Laura Guilmain and her daughter Carson (ph) have 30 days to find a new home.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How many properties do you think you've explored? GUILMAIN: Thousands. Thousands.

YURKEVICH (voice over): For three years Guilmain has been paying $2,100 a month for this three bedroom in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. But last month she got a letter from her landlord.

GUILMAIN: Due to unforeseen circumstances --

YURKEVICH: Her new rent, $3,200 a month. An attorney for her landlord tells CNN, rising property taxes and mortgage rates are so blame.

GUILMAIN: I freaked out. We can't afford -- can't do it.

YURKEVICH: There's a housing affordability crisis. Home prices are sky high, forcing more Americans into a competitive rental market.

Guilmain, a single mom and disabled veteran, is reliant on rental assistance from Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. She already had fewer options, but now landlords looking to capitalize on rising rents are less willing to accept the strict guidelines of her rental voucher.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How critical is the HUD voucher to your existence?

GUILMAIN: That is our existence. Without it we would be homeless.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Rents are rising across the country, up a record nearly 20 percent on average in two years. Double that in cities like Memphis, Tampa and Riverside, California. But the Miami/Palm Beach area tops them all at 58 percent, nearly three times the national average.

GUILMAIN: When there's a hurricane, it's illegal for gas stations to jack up the prices. Why is there not a cap in the state of Florida? Why am I looking at a 43 percent increase?

YURKEVICH: In fact, it's illegal in Florida to impose rent controls.

SARA ESPINOZA, CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA RENTER: It actually gives me a lot of anxiety.

YURKEVICH: Sara Espinoza is facing a 106 percent increase on her rent in Coral Gables, Florida.

ESPINOZA: Try to put it together.


YURKEVICH: For 22 years she's called this three-bedroom home. She raised her son here.