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Putin Lauds Military in Speech Marking Defeat of Nazi Germany; GOP's McConnell: Federal Ban on Abortion is 'Possible'; Gas Prices Rising Again Across America: What's Behind Jump? Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 06:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Monday, May 9. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Avlon. John Berman is off.


And this morning, a show of military might and presidential propaganda in Moscow. Vladimir Putin defending his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine at Russia's Victory Day ceremonies just a short time ago, Putin baselessly claiming that the West was preparing to invade.

The big plan to have 77 aircraft flying over Red Square to commemorate the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany did not happen. The Kremlin blamed the bad weather.

Regardless, this year's Victory Day is more like an ominous show of defiance and irony. The British defense secretary this morning said Putin and his generals are mirroring the fascism of 77 years ago.

Ukraine's president releasing a video message as Putin was speaking. Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying that his country will soon have two Victory Days.

Away from the pageantry and rhetoric, the Russian military is inflicting more pain and suffering on the Ukrainian people. At least 60 are feared dead after Ukraine says Russia bombed a school where nearly everyone from a village was taking shelter.

A survivor told CNN's Sam Kiley how he escaped.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I got slammed down by a slab and pinned to a wall. Then another explosion. Small rocks sprinkled the darkness. Then I looked, and the dust settled, and a ray of light appeared. Sergei (ph) crawled out. Then he dug me out, dug Uncle Tolia (ph) out, dug Aunt Ira (ph) out. We crawled, all in a fog.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST/ANCHOR: In Mariupol, the Ukrainian government says all the women, children, and elderly are now out of the Azovstal Steel plant. They'd been trapped for weeks as Russians bombarded the complex, turned shelter. It's unknown how many men are there, and Ukrainian troops are still

fending off a Russian assault.

First lady Jill Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Mother's Day and met with Ukraine's first lady, while U.S. diplomats returned to Kyiv for the first time since the war began. It's a big step toward officially reopening the embassy.

Now, let's go to Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow. Matthew, what stood out to you about Putin's speech this morning?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question, because what really stood out to me is the fact that it was so low-key. I mean, there had been a lot of expectation that Vladimir Putin was going to use this opportunity, the formal, you know, kind of commemoration of the end of the Second World War, Russia calls the Great Patriotic War, with the Soviet defeat, along with its allies -- the United States, and Britain, of course, and others -- of Nazi Germany.

He was going to use that opportunity as an opportunity to say something about the current conflict in Ukraine, but he really didn't. He talked about how there were parallels, the fight that people of the Soviet Union made against Nazi Germany and the fight that's underway now. It's a comparison that's been made before and has been completely rejected by Ukraine and its allies in the United States, of course.

But what he didn't do is use it as a platform to, for instance, formally make a declaration of war against Ukraine. Remember, officially here, it's called a special military operation. It's not formally a war. If it was declared a war, it would enable the country to deploy more forces, to keep conscripts serving for longer, and to marshal more resources to direct at the effort there, the military effort there.

And he also didn't use it to announce any kind of mobilization. And so, you know, he kept it pretty much, you know, within the boundaries of commemorating the end of the Second World War in 1945 and drawing parallels between that conflict and the military operation currently underway in Ukraine, John.

KEILAR: Matthew, what should the world take from it?

CHANCE: Well, look, I mean, I think, you know, just further to that point I was just making, you know, this is always a display of Russian military might. It's always a day of national pride, and this was no exception.

We saw the nuclear missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, being paraded through the streets yet again, through the center of the Russian capital. You know, Russia frequently makes reference to the fact that it's got these kinds of weapons. It's kind of its military backstop, if you like, in terms of, you know, how far Russia can go. It can go all the way.

But look, as I was sitting there in the stands in Red Square, watching this procession of troops and vehicles go past, of course, it's always been a celebration of not just the past but of Russia's military prowess today.

When you contrast it with the performance of Russian forces on the battlefield in Ukraine. There's lots of questions being raised about whether the Russian military of today is, you know, capable, is fully trained enough, is equipped enough to -- to fight that kind of conflict successfully.

KEILAR: Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow. Thank you so much for that report.

I want to bring in CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger. He's also the White House and national security correspondent for "The New York Times." And I wonder, David, if -- if Putin's speech isn't noteworthy for what it did not include here?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think it is. I mean, what were we expecting. We thought we'd hear a lot more nuclear threats. It doesn't sound like we did, other than the obvious, of running the ICBMs in the parade.


We thought that we might see a general mobilization, and I think that Putin probably recognized that politically for him, that could be difficult at home, if he's beginning to call up conscripts who are untrained to throw them into this.

And most importantly, I think, you know, we expected to see the annexation of that section of the South and the East that Putin has now battling for, and we didn't see him do that, as well. So it makes you wonder whether he has begun to recognize that there are some limits to his ambitions here.

AVLON: David, given that we seem to be seeing a more muted Vladimir Putin, do you think that indicates that his ambitions have been pulled back? Or is that a political concession to reality and his aggression in the East, and that expansionism will continue, in your eyes?

SANGER: John, my view is it is all about concession to reality. I don't think his overall designs for Ukraine have changed one bit. I think the problem we've been all struggling with here in Washington, in Europe, elsewhere, is understanding whether, in Putin's mind, this is a battle that's about Ukraine or this is a battle that's about the West.

And you saw that, in his description that the United States and others were seeking, NATO were seeking to invade, the sort of vague sense that they were coming into his sphere of influence, that that was his justification, I think he would like, of course, to go back to the much larger ambition that he had, which is push the U.S. and NATO back to pre-1997 lines, get them out of the former Soviet states. I just think he realizes right now that's beyond his capabilities.

KEILAR: He is still moving nuclear-capable missile launchers through Red Square --

SANGER: That's right.

KEILAR: -- right?

SANGER: That's right. But you know, it's interesting what he isn't doing. Bill Burns, the CIA director, was talking over the weekend at a forum that "The Financial Times" had, and he made the point that, for all of the threats that we've heard from Putin, he hasn't actually moved his nuclear weapons into a state of readiness in an observable way.

KEILAR: And what does that say?

SANGER: Well, it tells you that he always wants you to remember that, behind his military operation, is the possibility he could use a nuclear weapon.

But so far, he doesn't want to do any of the things that might trigger a Western response to bring that condemnation.

I don't think this is over. If he gets stuck in this South or the East, if his ambitions are completely frustrated, I could imagine him moving to cyber, chemical, or even nuclear weapons, but I think the chances of that, you know, are still somewhat small.

AVLON: Well, thank God for small mercies there, I suppose. But David, let's just say that, you know, this -- this pageantry of this event, this was classic Kremlin Red Square flexing of military muscle, trying to create an impression of a unified Russia.

Some polls will say that the Russian people have been backing Putin increasingly over the course of this war. But other folks say, look, you're not getting an honest assessment.

What's your sense of how united Russia is behind Putin in Ukraine right now?

SANGER: You know, I think that there's always going to be a segment of the population that he will be able to bring to his side by making the case that Russia needs to restore some of the glory of the old Soviet Union, and bring back in the near-in territories, which Ukraine, of course, is the most important.

But as word filters through of the kind of casualties they've taken -- and you can't hide casualties, because sooner or later, parents recognize that their sons and daughters are not coming home.

I think that, you know, that's -- that's a limit on it, and he's got to make sure that that doesn't turn into a political opposition in the next couple of years. So he's walking a pretty fine line himself.

KEILAR: They notice when their kids aren't coming home, and also the mom and dad down the street are experiencing the same thing. You know, you really cannot hide that. I do wonder if there's anything at this point, anything more you think

the West can do to influence Vladimir Putin that it actually has the will to do?

SANGER: Well, really great question, because there are many things the U.S. and the NATO allies could do, and the question is one of will.

There are two main ones in the world of sanctions. One is obviously weaning Europe of their addiction to Russian gas. And they are committed to doing that right now, Brianna, over the long time. But we don't know how long a term that is.


And you can already see the will beginning to sort of shake a little bit. Because it's a hard thing to do, to come up with alternatives. The second thing that you do is what's called secondary sanctions, which is to say go to to a country like China and say, if you're trading with them, you're going to have to choose between them and us. We haven't done that yet.

So those are two big areas of squeeze. The really interesting one is these export controls that we've been doing. Over time, that's really going to crunch the Russian ability to produce weapons and ultimately consumer electronics, but it's going to take a while.

KEILAR: It's going to take a while.

No weapons, no iPhones, then we're talking, right?

SANGER: The iPhones are the part of that that get people's attention.

KEILAR: I think that is where it is, as well. David Sanger, thank you so much.

SANGER: Great to be with you.

KEILAR: New fallout from the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling a nationwide ban on abortion a possibility.

This as protesters show up outside the homes of several conservative justices and an anti-abortion office in Wisconsin comes under attack.

AVLON: Plus, the horse with 80-1 odds races into the history books. We're going to talk to the jockey who wrote Rich Strike across the Derby finish line.



KEILAR: In Madison, Wisconsin, a fire at an antiabortion office that also lobbies against same-sex marriage is being investigated as arson. Investigators say the fire at the Wisconsin Family Action Office was called in early yesterday morning. No injuries were reported. Police say vandals also struck the office. Graffiti written on the

wall of the building reads, "If abortions aren't safe, then you aren't either."

AVLON: The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said a national ban on abortion could be a possibility if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer, as it appears poised to do.

In an interview with "USA Today," McConnell said, quote, "If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies, not only at the state level but at the federal level certainly could legislate in that area. And if this were the final decision, that was the point it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process, so yes, it's possible."

Joining me now are CNN anchor of "EARLY START," Laura Jarrett; and political commentator and host of the "You Decide" podcast, Errol Louis.

It's great to have you both with us on set.

Laura, I want to start with you. You know, the argument that conservatives have made for years, and Peggy Noonan articulated it in "The Wall Street Journal" this weekend, is Roe v. Wade has been divisive in the culture wars and in the country. And that bringing it back to the states could actually release some of those tensions.

But at the same time, you're hearing Mitch McConnell say right there that, actually, if the Senate, GOP takes control, that they could go for a federal ban at perhaps six weeks. How do you square those two things?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: I think McConnell's comments are interesting, because it signals how emboldened Republicans have become. I think even since that Texas decision came down on the six- week ban any number of months ago, I think it's September now. And you haven't had a sustained level of outcry from the Democratic side since that decision came out.

And I think you couple that now with this leaked draft, and emboldened -- emboldened, I think, is the best word for it; because McConnell is saying things out loud that used to just be part of the Federalists wish list in hushed tones. And now they're able to say it and have people say, yes, we could make that a reality.

And so it's -- to come from him, to come from his perch, I think is pretty telling.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, if you look at what's going on in the state houses, I mean, our friend Peggy Noonan is maybe a little too optimistic about what might happen there.

At the level of -- you have two generations of people who rose to power in states by becoming as extremist as they possibly could, knowing that there was the backstop of Roe v. Wade -- Roe v. Wade. And so they would say, no exceptions for any reason, not for incest, not for the life of the mother, you know, not for any reason.

They've started to even, you know, outright criminalize any act of women taking care of their health. And the fight in the states will not be smooth and gentle, as the leaked opinion seemed to suggest. It will not just be spirited. It will be bitter. It will be, in some cases, violent. It will be noisy. It will be a fire storm that the Supreme Court is about to set off.

AVLON: Well, and to that end, when -- when Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was on with our colleague, Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION," he talked about opening the door to some of these issues. And I want to play that for you, because it really is pretty limiting.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: So just to be clear, you have no intention of seeking to ban IUDs or Plan B?

GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): That is not what we are focused on at this time. We're focused on looking to see what the court allows for. The bill that is before the court is a 15-week ban. We believe that the overturning of Roe is the correct decision by the court.


JARRETT: Not at this time.

AVLON: At this time.

JARRET: "Not at this time" is not a punt that should give anyone who cares about reproductive freedom, I think, any sort of comfort. And if you look at the decision from Alito.

And again, the language might change. We have no reason to believe this is going to be the final decision. But the language of that decision opens up contraception, because contraception is as written into the Constitution in the same way abortion is. So it's on the table.

AVLON: That's right.

JARRETT: Griswold v. Connecticut is on the table. The things that sort of flew as precedent for decades and decades, for generations of women, are open. So he says, "Not at this time." But we've seen where that has gone away.

AVLON: The door -- he's opening the door.


AVLON: And this is the problem. On the state level, these laws are getting passed more and more, and it raises the question about Griswold, about privacy, something as fundamental as that.

[0:20:08] Let's go back to the politics here. Because look, nationwide, abortion rights, CNN polling showing, is popular. I mean, according to Pew Research, almost 40 percent of Republican women think abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances.

So Democrats this week are going to try to pass their own support for Roe. It's not going to hit 60 votes. What's striking to me is that they seem unwilling to make a few exceptions to win over a few Republican votes, like Susan Collins, by saying, for example, Catholic hospitals don't have to perform abortions.

What's the point of this mission impossible, and why not the concession to get a couple Republican votes?

LOUIS: Democrats who were already reeling, because everything tells us that inflation, crime and other issues are going to cause them to have a really bad day in November, they were looking for something to try and galvanize them.

Along comes this leaked decision. They're going to see if they can sort of mobilize their base around it. The polling and the politics have never been easy on this.

Right now, we have what's coming up in Pennsylvania. You look at Pennsylvania, 80 percent support for some version of abortion rights. And then once you start drilling down on what does that really look like, it drops down to, like, the 50 percent level, and it's been a bitter fight, and it's gone on for generations.

And you have a Republican legislature that passes all these restrictions and a Democratic governor that has vetoed them. And now the voters are going to have to figure out what they're going to do.

We've got that kind of a fight that's going to be out there. And so in that context, I think what you see Chuck Schumer trying to do is rally the Democrats, the Democratic base in particular, around the idea that important rights could be lost. You've got to get out here, and you've got to vote Democratic.

Will that actually do it substantively? Will it actually work? Very hard to say.

AVLON: The flip side of that, Laura, though, is the protest. And this is a question about civility, the frustration that people feel is personal.

But where's the line? Obviously, what we see, the apparent arson at an anti-abortion nonprofit in Wisconsin is over the line. Violence is always over the line.

But the real questions and the conversations today about protests outside Supreme Court justices' houses, particularly Justice Kavanaugh. Where do you think that line is?

JARRETT: I think for a lot of people, a conversation about civility feels like it misses the mark when constitutional rights that you believe that you had for over 50 years are about to be overturned.

The justices have security. So far, all of the protests have seemed overwhelmingly nonviolent. There are plenty of protests that happen every single day in this country around the country at abortion clinics, blocking women from getting into clinics. And we don't cover those as if there's four-alarm fires.

And so yes, there are going to be protests in front of Kavanaugh's house, because people are angry. And as long as they stay nonviolent, I think, for most of the people who are watching it, you can understand where they're coming from. Even if you may think politically it's not the right thing, you can understand sort of where that animated feeling is coming from.

AVLON: Errol, what about trying to apply equal standards, you know, if there were Republicans protesting outside the liberal justices and the tenor got hot, do you think it would be the same principles at play or would some people be having a different opinion?

LOUIS: It is the same principle, although people would react differently. I think, though, it's really important to keep in mind that the credibility of the court is also where some of this points to, right?

I mean, when you look at some of the polling, the support for the court has fallen to really all-time lows over the last few decades. And the protests happen because protests work. You know -- it's not like, you know, they are human beings. They notice when people are screaming outside their house, outside their workplace, the court itself. They try to sort of follow the media. They might be watching right now.

JARRETT: That's why they set up barricades.

AVLON: Well --

LOUIS: Exactly right. I mean, there's -- you know, there's a reason they let people in while they're doing their arguments. You know, like they -- So the protests, I think, are probably a good idea.

I believe very deeply in civility and the ability to have a civil discourse. And so it's important that there be guardrails on this. It's one thing to protest from a distance. You know, how close you get, the details really do matter.

AVLON: But not targeting personal lives or, particularly, families. I think that's an important line. I understand this is personal for people. People are frustrated. But I think in the public debate, in the public square, there's a line between the public or the private, particular as it relates to families.


AVLON: And I did want to highlight that.

Laura, Errol, awesome to see you guys, as always. Be well. All right. All right. Gas prices, still on the rise. How high will they go, and what does that the White House plan to do about it?

KEILAR: Plus, how did a QAnon-curious Stop the Steal rally goer just get on the ballot for Congress in Ohio? We have new CNN reporting ahead.



KEILAR: Gas prices at record highs once again, and that is hitting your wallet. The current average sits at $4.33 per gallon. That is $0.21 higher than last month.

CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, joining us now.

Christine, I was driving by the gas station the other day, and I did almost, like, a double take.


KEILAR: I couldn't believe it.

ROMANS: I know. It's moving so quickly, and it's simple, right? Huge global demand for oil and not enough supply. That has U.S. prices right back at record highs for gas in the U.S.

Here's the national average. You can see how it matches the high-water mark set in March. Gas prices up 14 percent in just the past week alone.

Oil, Brianna, is a global market, and oil prices around the world are rising again. The global economy coming out of COVID lockdowns is consuming more oil, but supplies are tight.

And, right, a major energy producer started a war, and now its products are being shunned by the West. Last week, the E.U. proposed an embargo on Russian oil.