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GOP's J.D. Vance Wins Ohio Senate Primary After Trump Boost; GOP Tries to Steer Clear of Abortion Politics as Midterm Race Begins; Russia Intensifies Attacks on Ukraine's Infrastructure. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 04, 2022 - 07:00   ET




J.D. VANCE (R-OH), SENATE CANDIDATE: I have absolutely got to think the 45th of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, ladies and gentlemen.

It wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump's America First agenda. Ladies and gentlemen, it ain't the death of the America First agenda.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: On the Democratic side, ten-term Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan easily won his Senate primary, he will now face off against Vance in November. I should note Tim Ryan will join New Day in just a few minutes.

In the race for governor in Ohio, the incumbent governor, Republican Mike DeWine, secured the nomination in a bid for a second term, this was seen as a referendum on DeWine's handling of COVID, as it might be for all incumbent governors in the United Sates. He fended off four challengers. He will face off in November's general election with Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton. She beat former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley to win the Democratic nomination.

If we can, let's go back to the Republican Senate contest in Ohio and if I can invite my friend, CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten, over here and soon enough I think we will have the Republican Senate numbers behind us right now.

J.D. Vance, what do these numbers you are standing in front of tell you?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I mean, look, the fact of the matter is if you look at those Republican numbers, it wasn't even close, right? Look, J.D. Vance at 32 percent of the vote, Josh Mandel, who was vying for that Trump endorsement, look at that, just back at 24 percent of the vote, and Matt Dolan, Matt Dolan 23 percent. He was the anti-Trump. There was perhaps some sign that he was surging late. But at the end of the day, J.D. Vance basically blew out this field in a somewhat wider than expected victory.

BERMAN: And, again, if you add up the first two people who were wildly pro-Trump, you get yourself over 50 percent.

ENTEN: Well over 50 percent, you get somewhere in the mid 50s. And, really, the only truly anti-Trump candidate in the field, Matt Dolan, back at 23 percent, and then there was Jane Timken, who was endorsed by Rob Portman, who wasn't exactly the most Trump-friendly senator, she's not even on this vote board. She got less than 10 percent of the vote.

BERMAN: All right. Let's walk over to another wall to try to get a sense of how the Trump endorsement really did help J.D. Vance.

ENTEN: Yes. This, to me, is the ultimate sign. So, if you look at the polling share pre-endorsement for J.D. Vance, and we even allocate the undecideds, where was he at? He was at just 14 percent of the vote. Look at the vote share in the actual returns, 32 percent of the vote.

Stuff like that does not happen by accident. Something changed in this race and it wasn't that all of a sudden J.D. Vance became J.D. Mandel and basically became somebody else. No, no, no. What happened was J.D. Vance got the Donald Trump endorsement and that was more than enough to more than double his vote share from those pre-election polls to what we actually saw in the returns.

BERMAN: This is one of those cases that but for the Trump endorsement, we wouldn't be here. It's pretty clear in this case.

How about the demographics, the groups that Trump traditionally has done well with or did well with compared to Vance?

ENTEN: Yes. I mean, this to me -- look, Donald Trump has historically done better with the less educated. So, basically, I took J.D. Vance's vote in the top five counties in Ohio for those with bachelor degrees. I took and look at the bottom five counties for bachelor degrees. There's basically no difference here, no difference, 34 percent in the bottom five counties, 32 percent in the top five counties.

There really wasn't this weakness across education that you see in Vance's vote totals, and that's something I'm looking forward to right in 2024. Where is that potential weakness for Donald Trump among Republican primary voters? And if you use sort of Vance's the sort of step, right, in for Donald Trump, you don't see it. What you might have expected to see was, wow, there would be this huge split and there's this big anti-Trump constituency within the Republican primary.

But we did not see that in these numbers. Vance did just as well in the well-educated counties and he did in the less well-educated counties.

BERMAN: How about geography?

ENTEN: Geography, this, to me -- again, was there this idea that, you know, J.D. Vance would do well because he wrote that book, Hillbilly Elegy, and that was about his Appalachian values that his family brought him up on. In the 32 counties in Appalachia, according to the Ohio governor, J.D. Vance got 36 percent of the vote. Look at the rest of Ohio. J.D. Vance got 31 percent of the vote.

This is a very small difference. There really wasn't this split by geography that I think a lot of us were expecting. J.D. Vance did he not have this special appeal in Appalachia. That's something we're looking forward to in the general election. Can Tim Ryan hold on to some of those traditionally Democratic voters in Appalachia that Democrats have lost over the past couple of years?

The suggestion here in these results is that J.D. Vance does not appeal to Appalachia in the way that we perhaps might have expected given his background.

BERMAN: All right. What about the general election? Where do things stand right now as we look forward?

ENTEN: Yes. I think there is this question. Okay, the Republicans have nominated somebody who has the Donald Trump endorsement, someone who really wasn't polling that well, really wasn't someone who was appealing prior to the Trump endorsement, really was flat lining.


It's going to be tough for Tim Ryan and here is the reason why.

So, essentially, I took a look at history. This is not looking at polls, this is looking at history. And this is the White House party in open seats, that is when there is no incumbent running in Senate midterms since 1982. The White House party has lost 32 of 35 times in states where the White House party underperformed the national vote share in the prior two presidential elections. Ohio is definitely a state that fits that bill because, remember, Donald Trump won it both times. The Democrats lost it both in 2016 and in 2020.

So, as we look forward to the general election, look, Tim Ryan is the best candidate the Democrats can hope for but he's really fighting an uphill battle given what we've seen historically.

BERMAN: All right. Harry Enten, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Emotions are high outside of the Supreme Court and across major U.S. cities and all around the country as protesters rally against Justice Samuel Alito's first draft decision that would, if it becomes official, overturn abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade. This was a draft leaked to Politico reporters and has caused a firestorm.

I want to bring in two conservatives with differing viewpoints on the issue here. We have Alice Stewart, a CNN Political Commentator and Republican strategist, Sophia A. Nelson is a Contributing Editor at TheGrio and a former House Republican Investigative Committee Counsel. So, I just want to be clear for our viewers to kind of categorize you both. You are both -- you would describe yourselves as pro-life, so you are anti-abortion, but, Sophia, you support a woman's right to choose. You guys differ here on the role of government in regulating abortion here.

Alice, first to you here, this draft opinion, can you tell me why you see this as a win?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I see this as a win for those that support life for a couple of reasons. This protects the sanctity of life and life of unborn children and Republicans and social conservatives have been fighting for this for years. For decades, I've been in the fight with regard to protecting life.

And what this does, this takes the decision of pro-life out of the hands of nine unelected judges and puts it back in the states in the hands of the people where this decision actually should be made. And that's a really important distinction. We are hoping that what this draft opinion actually does become true and puts the decision back to the states.

And keep in mind, this is not going to turn out to be a blanket ban across the country. We have several states that have protections for abortions in place and others that do have protections -- abortion bans in place. So, this will be decided at the state level as we move forward.

And, again, this is not a binary choice. There are a lot of options. Women are not forced to either have an abortion or take a child to term and raise this child. There are many programs out there. Social conservatives have crisis pregnancy centers that help women before, during and after the birth of a child. So, they are not alone and this is not a binary decision and those are factors that need to be taken into consideration.

KEILAR: We will talk about that element in just a moment here, but what do you think, Sophia?

SOPHIA A. NELSON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THEGRIO: Well, I see it a little bit differently. I think that you can be pro-life and pro- liberty. And here is my challenge. First of all, Roe versus Wade has been decided for 50 years, it's a precedent, it is settled case law. The Supreme Court rarely reverses precedence, particularly those that are 50 years-plus or older. They've done it a lot in the civil rights cases in Plessy versus Ferguson, overturned by Brown, the super precedent cases.

So, as a lawyer admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court, I am disturbed by the court not honoring that stare decisis, let the decision stand. That's number one.

Number two, back to liberty, Alice is a wonderful woman, a friend, we are both pro-life, but here is what I see. But if you are going to be out here protesting about masks and saying that a mask impinges upon your liberty as an American and that it is something that is so grave that, in the case of Michigan, they wanted to take out the governor of Michigan because she was impinging upon their liberty asking them to wear a mask, how can you then not extend that to a woman, Brianna, and the care of her own health and her own body and the decisions about what to do with the pregnancy.

And I think this is where conservatives are getting into trouble, they are inconsistent. There's some hypocrisy going on. For me personally, pro-life Sophia Nelson wouldn't have an abortion. I don't agree with it. But another woman can make a different choice than me and that doesn't make her any less American or any less a good human being. She has to deal with the consequences of her choices.

But I think we have got to find some common ground here because this country is a powder keg right now and it's about to explode and I'm concerned about that.

STEWART: If I can say this to reemphasize, Sophia is a friend, she's a smart attorney and she knows the law, and she mentioned stare decisis, which is let the decision stand.


Justice Alito addressed that in this opinion where they applied the principles of stare decisis but also applied the law and made the decision based on that. And it's quite clear in his opinion that what they did is they looked at the actual Constitution and they saw there is no reference directly to abortion in the Constitution and, therefore, Roe is egregiously wrong from the start. That's why they made this decision.

And Republicans like myself have been fighting for years to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that are strict interpretationists of the Constitution. That's what they're doing. They're looking at the Constitution and applying the law on that basis. And for that matter, then Roe versus Wade should be overturned.

NELSON: And, Brianna, the word filibuster is not in the Constitution but Republicans support that, don't they? So, at the end of the day there's a whole lot of words that aren't in the Constitution. If I were back 200-plus years ago, I'd be three-fifths of a person. Thank God, the Constitution lives, breathes and expands and grows with the times.

We are in the year 2022. Are we really telling women you're going to go back to unsafe procedures? Because, guess what, women are going to have abortions, they're going to do it and they're not going to just go across state lines because only rich women or upper middle class women like Alice or myself can do something like that. That's not something everybody else can do.

So, I think, again, we have to strike some type of balance here. This is a draft opinion. We will have to wait and see what the final document looks like and who supports it. I don't know if it's going to be concurrent, it's going to be 5-4, 6-3. I don't know what it's going to be. We will have to wait and see. KEILAR: I'm so glad to have a discussion, a robust discussion with you guys about this issue and there's so much more ahead as well. Sophia, Alice, thank you to you both.

STEWART: Thank you.

NELSON: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, a wild scene overnight in Los Angeles. Police say Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked by an audience member who charged the stage during a live performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Also notable, Chris Rock was actually in the house.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now with the details. Brynn?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we are looking to clear some of this video, but, apparently, Chris Rock actually made a comment too, as you can imagine, so we'll get to that in a minute.

But, again, this happened at the Hollywood Bowl, which is part of a Netflix comedy festival. Chappelle was doing a set when a bunch of social media that was circulating shows a person ran on the stage and basically just tackled him during this set.

Now, we know it doesn't look like Chappelle was injured and, again, this social media that has been circulating shows him joking actually around about the incident and then just continuing on with his comedy. It's unclear at the moment what that motive of this person was, but we do know that the LAPD responses to the incident at the Hollywood Bowl around 10:45 and a man with reportedly get this a gun and a knife was taken into custody.

Now, we've reached out to Chappelle's reps, the Hollywood Bowl, LAPD, of course, and we are waiting to get all of that. But, of course, this brings us back, John, to the Oscars when the world saw Will Smith slap Chris Rock. The comedian came out immediately like that, like Amy Schumer, expressing concern that something like this that could happen, that there're really serious concerns about security at events like this.

So, a bit of comedy about this incident but also very serious undertone here about how people like Chris Rock, others and, of course, Dave Chappelle need to be protected while they're doing their work on stage. Certainly, they say controversial things but this is what happens and this needs to be looked at more closely.

BERMAN: All right. Obviously, we are waiting to get more details in, also that video cleared. I know you are going to keep on working on it. Brynn, thank you very much.

KEILAR: Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance will be squaring off in November in Ohio's crucial Senate race. We will ask Ryan if he can win in an increasingly red state.

And he's helping to keep Ukraine's skies from falling under Russian control, the Ukrainian fighter pilot known as Moon Fish, you have met him before here this morning, joins us live on New Day.

BERMAN: And families of detained Americans protesting at the White House to bring their loved ones home. Will they get an audience with President Biden?




VANCE: I have absolutely got to think the 45th of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, ladies and gentlemen.

It wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump's America First agenda. Ladies and gentlemen, it ain't the death of the America First agenda.


BERMAN: All right. J.D. Vance's victory in Ohio's contentious Republican Senate primary showing the power of former President Trump's endorsement. Vance will face Tim Ryan who won the Democratic Senate primary last night. We're going to speak to Congressman Tim Ryan in just a moment, the Democratic Senate nominee. But, first, we're going to move on to Ukraine for a second.

More than two months now into Russia's invasion and Ukraine's Air Force has kept Russia's more advanced air defense from controlling Ukraine's skies.

Joining us now from an undisclosed location there is Ukrainian Air Force pilot -- is a Ukrainian Air Force pilot who goes by the call sign Moonfish. Moonfish it is a pleasure to speak with you again.

Let me just ask you a very general question, as we are now two months- plus into this war. Do you feel that you are winning? Is Ukraine winning this fight?

MOONFISH, UKRAINIAN AIR FORCE PILOT: I feel like we do, first of all, because we are still operating freely in the air space that we can control. And even though their massive fleet of more advanced air props, we are able to keep them away from the area that we are able to maintain.


And we did learn a couple of tricks how to fight with that technological advancement.

BERMAN: Well, look, I don't want you to reveal any operational details or anything that would put you or your colleagues in jeopardy, but you talked about air space that you are able to control. How much of Ukraine's air space are you able to control?

MOONFISH: Well, if you look at the map of that invasion, every part that is taken by Russians is almost -- it is hard to reach for us because of that -- that large number of surface-to-air missiles they have pulled out of their territory. And the rest of the areas are -- is ours, the sky is ours there as well.

BERMAN: If people can look at this map right now, the area in red and the area also with the lines, the yellow and white lines there, those are areas right now where the Russian troops are operating or are in control. Moonfish saying those are the areas it's hard for Ukrainian force to control the air, but everywhere else the Ukrainian Air Force right now in control.

Let me ask you. The Russian Minister of Defense has said that weapons convoys, the weapons, the material being sent by the west to Ukraine will now be targeted inside Ukraine. Can you keep that from happening?

MOONFISH: We -- as the Air Force, we do can, because the main tool he probably is referring to are those cruise missiles that can shoot all over the territory of Ukraine.

Just yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening, we had a pretty massive airstrike, they were launching them out of the Caspian Sea from the strategic bombers. We were able to intercept and shoot -- shut down -- shoot down like 8 out of 20 missiles. The rest, they did hit the targets. And as far as I know, those targets were critical objects of the infrastructure.

BERMAN: Finally, are you getting the material you need at this point to fight this war?

MOONFISH: Okay. So, as far as I know, our army units, they are receiving a vast number of new armament. They are starting to receive artillery systems, like heavy artillery systems, tanks and a lot of anti-tank weapons and the rest. But, for me -- like I'm the Air Force officer, I cannot say that we have gotten a lot.

BERMAN: All right. Moonfish, we wish you the best of luck. Please stay safe. Thank you for checking in.

MOONFISH: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Back now to the United States and politics. Joining me now is Congressman Tim Ryan, now the Democratic Senate nominee from Ohio. And we should note, we did ask J.D. Vance, who was the apparent Republican nominee to join the show but he declined. Congressman Ryan, thank you so much for being with us.

We know you are busy, you are in your car right now. Listen, Donald Trump won your state by eight points in 2020. If you are going to win this Senate race, you need to create something of a Trump/Ryan voter. How do you do that?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Well, you talk about economics, but I also think there's an opportunity. I mean, when you look at the primary, there was about 23 -- I mean, Vance only got a third of the vote in the primary, and Matt Dolan, who ran as an anti-Trumper got 23 percent of the vote. So, there is a significant number of people who are thinking for themselves who don't want to necessarily go down to road.

But, look, this is not about being a Democrat or Republican. I think this is about being an American. You focus on the issues that are important to people, economic issues primarily, rebuilding the middle class, how do we take on China, how do we bring manufacturing back to a state like Ohio and make Ohio a manufacturing powerhouse. That's how you do it and you campaign your rear end off and you go to every corner of the state and let people meet you. And that's what we've done and that's why we're going to win this thing.

BERMAN: J.D. Vance says you're trying to portray yourself as a Trump Democrat. What about that?

RYAN: I'm an American. Look, I agreed with Donald Trump on China, on other -- a few other issues, but, you know -- and I've disagreed with Democrats on stuff, you know, obviously ran against Nancy Pelosi, got in fights with Bernie Sanders, disagreed with Obama on TPP. You know, but I've also agreed with Republicans on things.

And I think that's what the American people want. I'm representing the exhausted majority here and the exhausted majority wants to stop the Washington, D.C. food fight, they want us to start working together.


Look, we are not going to agree on everything, but I think rebuilding the economy, promoting freedom around the world and here at home, economic freedom, putting money in people's pocket, building stuff again, investing in infrastructure so every community is plugged in, taking care of our kids, their mental health, their resiliency, those kind of things. These are common to all of us as citizens. So, let's get away from The democrat/Republican stuff, let's look at each other as Americans and stop putting all these labels on each other.

And that's the thing I think you're going to get with J.D. I mean, you know, he said he doesn't -- he thinks America is a joke, he said he doesn't feel comfortable in Ohio and he got $10 million from a Silicon Valley billionaire and he's come back to Ohio to act like he's from Ohio.

Look, people are tired of this stuff. They want us to work together. That's what I've done my whole career. The last two Congresses I've been ranked in the top 10 percent of most bipartisan people in Congress. That's what the American people want, that's what Ohioans want and that's what they are going to get with me.

BERMAN: You talked about trying to reach the exhausted majority in Ohio. For this exhausted majority that you're identifying what are the biggest differences between you and J.D. Vance?

RYAN: Well, you know, I'm representing working class people, whether they're white or black or brown, whether they're in manufacturing, whether they're men or women or in the service industry, whatever, that's who I'm representing. And J.D. Vance, as I said, got a $10 million check from a Silicon Valley billionaire just to start his campaign, like he bought this seat. He's from California, like that's the big difference.

I've been slogging away for working people in Ohio for 20-plus years and I love being here and I'm going to fight like hell for these folks.

And you know, J.D. Vance is a taker, quite frankly. He wants to try to take power and he wants to do it any way he can, and that's fine, he is allowed to do that, it's America, it wouldn't be the first politician who got a billionaire to back him to try to seek elected office. But I think

right now, when you look at our campaign, 97 percent of our donations are under $100. Like this is a people-powered campaign and that's really what Ohio is about. So, we look forward to the contrast.

And, you know, we've been here 20 years working our rear ends off and I think the Ohio voter understands that and that's why we're going to win.

BERMAN: What role do you think the 2020 election will have in this race and the January 6th insurrection?

RYAN: Well, I think it's alienated J.D. Vance from the normal thinking voter who recognizes that the election wasn't stolen (INAUDIBLE). Again, 23 percent of the Republican primary voters voted for an anti-Trump candidate. Matt Dolan from up in Cleveland who ran against Trump, said the election was real and happened, and so those voters are up for grabs. They don't want to go down this road of destroying the democracy, of undermining the precious right to vote, call into question elections. Like Ohioans aren't like that, they are not extremists. They're pragmatic people. Maybe they are a little more conservative or a little more liberal, but they are pretty pragmatic.

BERMAN: You, before in an answer, you made a point of differentiating yourself, I'm trying to remember the full list here, from Barack Obama, from Nancy Pelosi and from Bernie Sanders, right? Do you feel as if you are, to an extent, running against some in the Democratic Party?

RYAN: I'm running as an American. And, as I said, I've gotten a long record of being -- and fighting against Democrats and fighting against Republicans. And that's just the reality of my record. And so when you're running for Senate, you want to highlight that, and I think it's important that Ohioans know that who are getting introduced to me that, you know, I've got the guts to take on my own party if I need to and I've got the courage to agree with Republicans if I need to, even if it was like Donald Trump on the issue of China. I mean, I agreed with him. We've got to be tough on China.

So, I'm not going to like, you know, not do what's in the best interest of my constituents because it's coming out of Donald Trump's mouth or the fact that he pushed to renegotiate NAFTA, I voted for that. I supported it, because it was in the best interest of my folks at home. And that's what people want. That's why I say when people are exhausted, like you're just going to put on the red or blue shirt, we all have got to put on the red, white and blue shirt. And if people want to do, they can go to and send a few bucks our way. We've got a lot of support from not just Ohio but around the country on that kind of approach. And that's directed straight to the exhausted majority.

So, we're welcoming everybody in into this campaign, Republican, Democrat, independent.

BERMAN: We'll let the record show. I believe your shirt is a shade of olive this morning.


I have got to let you go, Congressman Ryan. But President Biden, will you invite President Biden to come campaign for you?