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Russian President Vladimir Putin Gives Speech During Victory Day Parade in Moscow; Russian Forces Continue Attempts at Military Breakthrough in Eastern Ukraine; Multiple States Pass Laws Severely Restricting Abortion Access; Three Americans Mysteriously Found Dead at Sandals in Bahamas. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 08:00   ET



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So in the stands, right in the middle of Red Square, watching this parade take place across the cobbles of Red Square in the center of the Russian capital, listening to what Vladimir Putin had to say. And we were all expecting him to make some kind of an important announcement about the military operation, as Russia calls it, the special military operation, inside Ukraine.

But that did not happen. He praised, of course, the soldiers and the veterans who had fought in the Second World War and defeated Nazi Germany. He attempted to draw parallels between the battle to defeat the Nazis in the Second World War and the fighting that is currently underway in Ukraine. He's made that claim in the past. It's been rejected by Ukraine and its allies, of course, including the United States.

But he did not take the opportunity to make a formal declaration of war on Ukraine. He did not announce a full mobilization of Russian forces to bring more forces to bear on the -- on Ukraine in the conflict in that country. And I think that was interesting, because the expectation that he was going to say one of those things. And it maybe gave the impression that Vladimir Putin is taking a step back. Perhaps that's too strong. But at this point not doubling down on the military adventure his country has embarked on in the neighboring country, John.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, because the world was waiting to see what he would say, Matthew. What should the world take from this?

CHANCE: Well, I think just that, that there was a degree of hesitation, it seems. And perhaps I'm not choosing my words perfectly, but he didn't do what many people had expected him to do. He did not double down on that military operation in Ukraine. He didn't announce a formal declaration of war.

But at the same time, there was nothing in that speech that I heard or in the parade or the soundings I took from the people standing around me that indicated that Russia was prepared to back down at this time. He still appears to have the support of the Russian people. I spoke to a few people in the stands, and they were talking about how proud they were to watch this patriotic event. It makes people proud when you're Russian to sit there in Red Square and to watch these troops march past and to hear the national anthem play and to watch the forces move past.

But you didn't get the impression at that event at least, nor amongst other people I spoke to in Russia, that the tide of public opinion has at this point turned against Vladimir Putin and his conflicts in Ukraine.

KEILAR: Matthew Chance, great reporting from Moscow. Thank you so much for that.

Away from the pageantry and rhetoric in Red Square, 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 that was sheltering civilians. A survivor told CNN's Sam Kiley how he escaped.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I got slammed down by a slap, bent into a ball. Then another explosion, small rocks sprinkled darkness. Then I looked, and the dust settled in a ray of light appeared. Sergei (ph) crawled out, then he dug me out, dug uncle Talia (ph), dug aunt Ira (ph). We crawled all in a fog.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Joining us now, CNN senior global affairs analyst, Bianna Golodryga, and Max Boot, senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and columnist at "The Washington Post." It's great to have you both here. You both are Americans who were born in the former Soviet Union. So, Bianna, just Kremlin watching, this was a pretty muted Vladimir Putin compared to the expectations that he might try to escalate the conflict. What do you take from that?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SECURITY GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, he was a bit more subdued. Maybe our expectations were a bit too high as to what we thought we would hear from him, declare official war, even though we know this war has been going on now for over two months, perhaps introduce new weapons. In fact, we saw the opposite. We saw fewer weapons displayed, no overhead flights. They said that was related to the weather. The weather was fine.

So I think this was a sign of Vladimir Putin being isolated and being weak, I think, on the global stage. Once again playing the victim here, saying we had no other choice but to go into Ukraine. Clearly, we know that they invaded a sovereign nation. But this is something that he presented to his people. One can't overstate the significance of this event of May 9th, of what it means to Russians, of people who were part of the Soviet Union. And he was playing to that audience, saying that this is going to be something that we're going to continue to be fighting, to avoid Ukraine invading Russian territory, absurd for people around the world watching this. Different for Russians at home who have been watching state media, right, and following this propaganda for so long.

AVLON: For sure. But Max, from a strategic standpoint, clearly Vladimir Putin at the very least wants that eastern land bridge.


They have been meeting fierce resistance. So not only is further escalation to Ukraine apparently off the table, but Putin's lack of a rhetoric of escalation indicates that this is not going militarily as he might like to convince the Russian people it is. What is your read strategically about the facts on the ground?

MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": One good sign to me, John, is the fact he was not declaring total mobilization. He was not declaring war. He was not making nuclear threats against the west, which indicates that even though he often miscalculates, he is fundamentally rationale. And I do think that he must understand that right now he is trapped in a quagmire, he is trapped in a losing war effort. This should be very familiar to us as Americans from our experience in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq.

I think it's a very kind of similar situation where he got into a war under false pretenses or bad intelligence. But now that he's trapped into it, he doesn't know how to get out because he can't simply say, we've been defeated and go home. He has got to claim some kind of victory. And what he's hoping for now is to seize some more Ukrainian land, perhaps along the Sea of Azov coast where he is on the verge of taking Mariupol, even though those defenders continue to hold out. He would certainly love to see a victory in Donbas. But it's not happening.

And what's happening instead is that the Russians are getting weaker. Their losses are catastrophic. They probably lost over 20,000 soldiers and probably over 600 tanks. These are devastating losses, the kind that Russia has not seen since the early days of World War II. So they're getting weaker. On the other side, the Ukrainians are actually getting stronger. They're getting more tanks. They're getting more aircraft. They're getting artillery that can outrage the Russians right now. And so the balance is shifting against the Russians. Their offensive in the east is running out of steam, and I don't think Putin knows what to do because he doesn't have any good options. And that's why he didn't announce any new initiatives on Victory Day.

GOLODRYGA: This will likely be a frozen conflict, I think, for years to come. I think we're probably turning to a new phase within the next few weeks or months in this war, similar to what we've seen the past seven years in the Donbas. Remember, you always hear President Zelenskyy say that we have been at war. This isn't something that just started. Well, this was a heightened war, obviously, with Vladimir Putin thinking that it would last two or three days, go in, change power there in Kyiv. That didn't happen.

So you see a president who is well aware of the losses that he's had both militarily in terms of equipment and troops on the ground. And what you're hearing from military experts is they are trying to be more cautious now, aware of the loss of human life there and aware that this is something that's going to go on for a long time, especially given the amount of western aid coming into Ukraine now.

PAUL: I wonder, Bianna, with Putin not saying -- he's not calling up more conscripts, he's not making an official declaration of war. Does that diminish the chance that he will do that here in the near future, the fact he did not do that today?

BENSON: I think we had so many expectations about what would happen today, and perhaps wrongly so, going back into the start of the war. Of course, Vladimir Putin would have loved for this to have looked like a very different May 9th Victory Day parade. Instead, I think he's preparing the Russians at home to say, once again, we are the victims here. This is not something that is just related to Ukraine and in Russia. This is related to the west, right, trying to interfere with our success as a nation, and, thus, suggesting to Russians that this is going to be something that's going to continue for months if not years, going into the future, and that this is something that they had no other choice but to do.

We all know the truth. The question is, how long will Russians continue to buy this narrative? I have a friend who, I remember, during the Navalny days when Navalny just returned, and we saw the early signs of mass protests in the country. And she was fighting with her parents in Russia. She was going to protests. Her parents were not. She kept saying, why aren't you as outraged as I am? Her parents said, well, we have food to put on the table and there's no war. I don't know how much longer they continue to say that. There is a war right now and we're going to see the impact on the economy very soon.

KEILAR: Max, look at this side-by-side of Zelenskyy and Putin, and knowing that Zelenskyy knew exactly what this event was going to look like in Red Square, what is the message Zelenskyy is sending?

BOOT: Obviously, Zelenskyy is sending a message of defiance and he is acting very much like a leader who is winning the war and has his whole population behind him. And he is on the air every single night talking about the progress of the war effort, much as FDR did with his fireside chats. He is a leader who has genuine popularity in a country that is 100 percent mobilized against the Russian invasion.

Whereas Putin is a leader who still rules with lies and deceit, who cannot tell the truth about what is going on, who cannot grapple openly with the losses that Russia has suffered, and who continues propagating these lies about how Russia is a victim, claiming in his speech that Ukraine was going to attack Russia before the war, which is just so absurd.


That's the kind of propaganda Russians are fed, whereas Zelenskyy is truly a man of the people, to quote the title of his own TV series that he made before becoming the actual leader of Ukraine. And I think Putin is an increasingly isolated and discredited tyrant. And he's grappling with the consequences of his horrific miscalculation in attacking Ukraine and thinking that Ukrainians would welcome the Russian army with open arms. AVLON: But the contrast could not be clearer. The pageantry, the

military, nonsense in Red Square of the Soviet era, and then the lone president walking in fatigues speaking directly to the camera. A real contrast.

Bianna, Max, it's great to have you on set, as always. Be well.

New reporting this morning revealing a divide among Chief Justice Roberts and fellow conservatives on the high court.

KEILAR: Plus, what we're learning about the mysterious deaths of American tourists in the Bahamas.

AVLON: And ahead, drama at the Derby. After a historic come-from- behind wind, the jockey who struck luck at the derby joins us here on NEW DAY.



AVLON: Multiple states have passed severe restrictions on abortion access in advance of the Supreme Court's expected decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Joining me now is CNN correspondent an anchor of "Early Start," Laura Jarrett, to break it all down for us -- Laura.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR, "EARLY START": So chances are in the last week, you've heard about the roughly dozen states standing ready to ban abortion if Roe is overturned. These are the states that have so called trigger laws. But in the meantime, a number of states have also advanced other laws to further cut back access to abortion.

Just last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill making it a felony for a manufacturer or supplier or pharmacy, physician, or any other person to provide abortion drugs by mail.

Now medicated abortion is actually how the majority of women terminate their pregnancies these days, and it is effective until about 10 weeks into a pregnancy, which is why more red states have set their sights on it and it is the next frontier in this fight over abortion.

The penalty for anyone who violates Tennessee's law, a fine of up to $50,000.00 and 20 years in prison, though the patient provided with the drugs isn't supposed to face criminal charges, at least not yet.

Now under the law, doctors are required to see patients in-person before providing any drugs for abortion and must inform the woman that she quote, "May see the remains of the unborn child in the process of completing that abortion."

Louisiana lawmakers have gone a step further advancing a bill that would classify abortions as homicides, potentially allowing women to yes, be criminally charged for terminating their pregnancies. The law would redefine personhood to start from the moment of fertilization, essentially giving a fetus constitutional rights or at least more rights than the adult carrying that fetus. That bill now heads to the state's Full House for consideration later this week.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In other words, before the fetus is viable on its own, like all the laws we're talking about. Doctors who violate the law may be prosecuted for a felony and could have their licenses revoked if convicted. That law offers no exceptions for cases of rape or incest only medical emergency.

In South Dakota, meanwhile, Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill into law this past March that would make it incredibly difficult to get a medicated abortion. The bill requires women in that state to make three separate trips to a doctor to receive the two pills that are necessary, but the measure is tied up in litigation right now.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, has passed a near total ban on abortion. The only exceptions are in the case of medical emergencies. The law makes performing an abortion or attempting to perform the procedure a felony punishable up to 10 years in State prison or $100,000.00 fine or both. It takes effect later this summer.

And finally, in West Virginia, where abortion is already banned after 20 weeks, Governor Jim Justice signed a bill in March known as the Unborn Child with a Disability Protection and Education Act, which bans anyone from seeking abortion because she knows her child will be born with a disability.

According to the Governor, the bill gives deserved respect to our Down syndrome community.

So as you can see, the states have been very, very busy.

AVLON: They have indeed been very active, and that level of detail is very helpful. Thank you.


AVLON: Take care, Laura. Be well.

KEILAR: We do have new details this morning about what is happening behind the scenes at the Supreme Court and how Chief Justice John Roberts appears to have failed in coming up with a compromise on the Court's expected decision on Roe versus Wade that would win over some of the other conservative Justices.

With us now is "Washington Post" reporter, Robert Barnes who has been covering the Supreme Court since 2006.

Robert, great to have you on this morning.

You have some excellent reporting. If you could just share it with us here. Just tell us about this divide between the conservative Justices and this Roberts' proposal that the other conservatives do not appear to be interested in?

ROBERT BARNES, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, the very fact that Justice Alito is the one who wrote this leaked draft opinion would show that the Chief Justice isn't in charge of the assigning process in this opinion.

The Chief's oral arguments in the case in December seemed to float a compromise that would say that it would remove the viability line that is that right now, you can't have any prohibition on abortion before the viability when the fetus would survive outside the womb.

He seemed to offer a way to uphold Roe in some manner, but to remove that line. There were no takers at the time of oral argument. And the way this leaked opinion has come out, it would indicate that the Chief Justice has not had any success so far in getting that compromise approved by the other conservatives on the Court.

KEILAR: So tell us about how that kind of goes down in December. Roberts has this meeting with conservatives and then how logistically does this trickle down to having this majority draft opinion?


BARNES: Well, when the Court hears a case, it meets private, takes tentative votes on the outcome of the case. If the Chief Justice is in the majority, then he assigns who is going to write the opinion or decides to write it himself. But if he has not, then the Chief, the most senior Justice in the majority, decides who is going to write the case.

And so it appears the Chief would like to have written this with the compromise he had in mind. Instead, it seems that Justice Thomas, who is the longest serving member of the Court assigned this task to Justice Alito.

Now, there is a lot of horse trading between then and now. Justices write opinions, sometimes they continue to keep a majority of the court, sometimes a Justice reads it and says, actually, you know, I can't go along with this. And so, we are now in the sort of period of negotiations of draft writings.

One thing that we can be almost sure of is that the leaked opinion that we have all read, which was dated February, is probably obsolete by now. It has been overtaken by new versions, by things that other justices want, by responding to dissents from it. And so we're still at the point where that writing is going on and these various versions are being traded among the Justices.

KEILAR: Obsolete, but do you think the crux of it still holds? Because you do report that the five conservatives aren't squishy in their positions, and they still don't seem like they want to switch to the side of Roberts.

BARNES: Our reporting now is that this five has held steady, but there is a long time between the moment that opinion comes out. The Chief Justice in the past has been able to find sort of outcomes that we didn't expect. He has found ways to very narrowly decide cases that could draw a majority. I think it would be tougher for him in this case to find that.

KEILAR: Robert Barnes, thank you for sharing your reporting with us. We appreciate it.

BARNES: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: Still ahead, the latest in the mysterious deaths of three American tourists at a Bahamas resort.

AVLON: And did he or didn't he?


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me remind you again, I reduced the Federal deficit. I reduced it $350 billion in my first year in office.


AVLON: We'll take a look at the facts. That's ahead.



AVLON: Police in the Bahamas are investigating the mysterious deaths of two men and a woman all Americans at a Sandals Resort on Friday. And they say one man was found first and then the couple. No trauma was found on the bodies and foul play is not suspected.

Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval who has been following all the developments.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, the story is as heartbreaking as it is mysterious. The head of the police there in the Bahamas telling me that these were two American couples that were vacationing in the Bahamas and now three people are dead and that fourth woman is currently recovering at a hospital in Miami.

Some background on what happened here. It was early Friday morning when investigators were called out to that Sandals Resort on Great Exuma Island. Apparently, an unconscious man was found in one of their villas and a woman in there in that villa was actually airlifted to a nearby hospital, the one who was transferred to a Miami hospital over the weekend.

That man in that villa was pronounced dead at the scene and at a second villa that second couple was located. The man seemed to be slumped against a wall while a woman unconscious on the bed, both pronounced dead there at the scene.

But here is where investigators are really trying to figure out what went down. According to police that couple that was found in that second villa had been complaining about vomiting and feeling nauseous the day before. In fact, they even sought treatment at a local medical facility.

According to investigators, they were treated and then allowed to return back to their hotel for the night which is when they were found the next day. So that will certainly be a crucial clue and very key early finding in this, John, is also that the bodies had no signs of trauma. So, so far they've been able to rule out the possibility of foul play.

Also in my conversations with authorities there in the Bahamas is there is a process, an investigative process has been established for this. It's not until they officially identify the victims here, the dead that a pathologist can then proceed with the autopsy that the Police Commissioner told me will be key and trying to figure out what happened here.

Sandals Resort for their part, they released a statement early on saying basically they're cooperating with the investigation, helping authorities and also helping the families of those affected, but so far health officials who are certainly looking into this. They are calling this an isolated incident, but they're still looking into it to make sure this wasn't part of a broader, larger public health emergency, especially the place is frequented by tourists.

AVLON: Well, sure. And the fact that it's not just one couple has been affected. It's multiple. This is a real mystery. We're going to be coming back for more.

Thank you, Polo.

All right, is a recession the only way to tame rising inflation? Well, a major bank is warning that this morning.

KEILAR: Plus, new exclusive CNN reporting reveals just how much information a far right extremist group is sharing with January 6 investigators.