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Gas Prices Jump to New Record High in Another Blow to Economy; Ukraine Says, Odessa Under Attack From Russian Hypersonic Missiles; Democrats Say, Justices Misled Americans on Roe During Confirmations. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 07:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world, it is Tuesday, May 10th. I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman.

And we do begin with Americans on edge this morning, as economic anxiety is growing across the country. Gas prices hitting another new record this morning, $4.37 a gallon, this coming as prices from everything, from groceries to plane tickets continues to rise because of inflation. And in the meantime, stocks also taking hits amid the uncertainty and Americans are seeing higher interest rates.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Today, President Biden is set to deliver what is being billed as a major address on his plans for inflation. A preview suggests he will also attack Republicans for their plans.

We're going to begin, though, with rising gas prices which as we mentioned just hit a new all-time nominal high.

KEILAR: So, let's go to CNN's Pete Muntean who is live for us in Cincinnati. Pete, what are you seeing?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, Brianna, the global market being felt in neighborhoods like this one, $4.09 here in Cincinnati. That's actually a lot lower than the new record high, the national average for a gallon of regular, $4.37, according to AAA. That broke the previous record set back on March 11th, $4.33. We have not seen numbers that high since July of 2008.

This is going up so fast. Think about where we were a week ago, $4.20, a year ago, seems like a distant memory. It was $2.69.

You know, AAA says this is all being driven by a rise in Brent Crude prices that's also being driven by the war in Ukraine, uncertainty in Europe, and suppliers really not picking up their production since the depths of the pandemic.

Listen to AAA offering no predictions on when we hit gas of $4.50 nationwide. But they are saying it is a distinct possibility.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW GROSS, AAA SPOKESMAN: It's entirely possible that the upward pressure on gasoline prices is going to continue because the war certainly doesn't look like it's going anywhere. But summer driving season is just kicking in. Warmer weather, longer days, people are going to be out on the roads, more demand for gasoline.


MUNTEAN: You know, it seems like everything is getting more and more expensive, John and Brianna. Folks here in Cincinnati, just check GasBuddy, they could be going across the border to Kentucky to try to find the cheapest gas in the area.

But AAA says really not all that good an idea. If you drive way of your way, you're really not going to save that much money. Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes, that is the rub. Pete Muntean, thank you for the report from Cincinnati. We do appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right. This morning, President Biden is set to address the nation on inflation and try to outline steps to get it under control.

CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans with us now. Romans, just a lot on the table right now in terms of challenges.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, I can't remember a more difficult, complicated set of factors at play at once with no roadmap. Deutsche Bank puts it this way. We live in the most chaotic, hard to predict macroeconomic times in decades. And you can see it in the punishing sell-off this year in stocks. UBS warns market stress signals are high. There's so much happening.

Inflation running the hottest in 40 years for a bunch of reasons, one of them, a pandemic broke global supply chains, fixing it hasn't been easy. To cool inflation, the Fed is raising interest rates fast.

After years of ultra low interest rates, that is a shock for investors and borrowers. A year, a year of stock market gains has been wiped out. the broad S&P 500 already down 16 percent this year and it's a wreck for tech stocks. The Nasdaq, John, the Nasdaq has lost a quarter of its value.

And another shock, Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine destroying the global energy world order, worsening the inflation problem.

Still, the jobs market is strong. The jobless rate near a 50-year low, there are a record 11.5 million jobs, wages are rising, especially for job hoppers. And, you guys, consumers literally can't spend all the stuff they want to spend their money on. The polls show inflation and COVID fatigued just wiped out anything positive.

So, what more do economists say the White House can do about inflation? Some options here, drop President Trump's China tariffs on some goods. This could be an instant discount for things like clothes and bicycles. The U.S. just temporarily lifted steel tariffs on Ukraine. To lower energy prices, you could end the Jones Act or at least temporarily stop. That would allow non-U.S. vessels to carry oil shipments. You can have a national gas tax holiday. There are drawbacks to that, of course. And to help worker shortages, you could boost immigrant worker visas. Also, they're considering student loan forgiveness at the White House.

But there's no silver bullet. All of these things have drawbacks, and, frankly, you need Congress to do more on these things too, right, to address affordable housing or expand the child tax credit to help low income families absorb inflation, by the way, in an election, midterm election year, John.


BERMAN: Yes. Look, there are no easy answers, which is why inflation is always such a challenge when it creeps up during administrations.

Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.

And we should note, we will speak with the White House coming up.

KEILAR: In Ukraine, Russia pounding away at the vital southern port city of Odessa, firing hypersonic missiles at a shopping mall and hotels causing widespread damage and killing at least one person.

In Kharkiv, a civilian convoy was attacked. Several people were killed. Video shows the scene after vehicles tried to escape. And new drone video just into CNN shows a Russian tank being targeted in the Kharkiv region closer to where that civilian convoy was fired upon.

Ukraine's military says Russia is beefing up its troop presence along the border in Kharkiv to protect against a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has gained ground around the city.

BERMAN: The bodies of 44 civilians discovered in the rubble of a five-story building in Izium, a town that has been under Russian control. Ukrainian officials say the building was destroyed by the Russians.

In Mariupol, several hundred soldiers are holding out in the Azovstal steel plant. At least 100 civlians, mostly men, are still trapped there. Video shows the Ukrainian flag flying over the plant. CNN cannot verify if that flag is still there.

And a senior U.S. defense official tells CNN that anecdotal reports reveal that some Russian troops and officers are refusing to obey orders to move forward in the Donbas offensive. The official tells CNN, quote, some of these officers have either refused to obey orders or not obeying them with the same measure of alacrity that you would expect an officer to obey.

KEILAR: Joining us now is CNN Military Analyst and the head of geopolitical strategy at Academy Securities, retired Major General James Spider Marks.

So, General, I wonder what you make of these reports. What does tell you about Russian leadership?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES SPIDER MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, what it really tells you is what we've been talking about for about the past two months, right, where there is no leadership at the top levels, there are no non-commissioned officers, which are really the backbone, the skeletal structure of military organizations.

And if you were working for leadership like that, I've got to tell you, I'd bug out and I try to get my colleagues to do the same thing. There's no trust. There is little understanding what the purpose that these forces are trying to achieve. And then based on the track record over the course of the past two months, the Russians have not done well at all, when they engaged Ukrainians in close combat, they lose.

And so that's what we're seeing, primarily in this area right now. We thought at this point that there would be these conventional tank battles where the Ukrainians would push back against the Russians. And the Russians would move these formations. It's not happening, primarily for what I just said, the Russians are afraid to engage in this type of combat with the Ukrainians at this point because they've learned a lesson. They don't do well.

BERMAN: So, Spider, what we're getting these anecdotal reports, right, from us U.S. officials saying that the Russians are not obeying orders. I just wonder, if that happens, wouldn't the Russian military just crumble? I mean, what would it look like if you see officers and non-commissioned disobeying orders en masse?

MARKS: Well, clearly, on our perception of what happens, if you had that type of morale issue within formation, there would be a significant, significant problem at the heart of that organization. You don't see that in western or U.S. military organization because we grow these noncommissioned officers. What the Russians are realizing is they have this big gap between the senior colonels and generals and then the privates that are trying to execute these tasks, again, without an understanding.

So, you really have two options. You either beat them over the head or you say, we're going to get going, which means you have fratricide, you start killing off and really abusing your soldiers. That's never going to get you an outcome that you're hopeful to have. Or the second is what the Russians are doing, is they back off, they don't engage. And then what they do is they start firing missiles and rockets indiscriminately, they go after schools and hotels that we've talked about, and we've seen, as a matter of routine. This is their tactic to try to achieve success on the ground.

KEILAR: And tell us what you're seeing in Odessa.

MARKS: Yes. What was interesting in Odessa, first of all, the thing about the Odessa that makes it so important is that for the Russians to claim any type of success, they've got to get from this point over to Moldova. They've got to be able to achieve Odessa.

So, what they've done over the course of the last couple of days is they have fired Onyx missiles, which are anti-ship cruise missiles, which means they're very precise, they go after specific targets, but it's the wrong target and the wrong weapon system to be used against a city. What the Russians could use, which they've demonstrated before, is are artillery and rocket fire, which is random, it's like a flying telephone poll, if you will, very frightening, and it land where is it lands.


But they're using anti-ship cruise missiles against stationary targets.

This just goes to additional erosion -- attempt to erode Ukrainian morale and that will to resist which so far the Russians have failed.

KEILAR: General Marks, thank you for walking us through that.

MARKS: Thanks, Brianna.

BERMAN: Overnight, a dramatic and deadly end to the 11-day manhunt for an Alabama inmate charged with capital murder and the former corrections officer accused of aiding in his escape. Casey White was arrested Monday after a police pursuit ended in a crash in Indiana. Vicky White died after being taken into custody and hospitalized with self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us now live from Evansville, Indiana, where this all ended. Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, 11 days and about 250 miles is all they made, despite making lots and lots of plans to go much farther. Authorities very, very shocked that they spent so much time here in Evansville.

We have a new picture of Casey White who was booked into the Vandenberg County facility here overnight. All of this started off with a tip that came in on Sunday at a car wash, where here in the Evansville area. And it allowed authorities to zero in on them and then they started to watch them. They were able to connect to the car, to the hotel where they were staying, they were under surveillance. Vicky was seen leaving the hotel in a wig at one point. And once they gave chase to them, they took off. And the car crashed a short time later.

When the deputies that rolled -- it rolled over. And when authorities went to arrest the Whites, Casey White said, help my wife, help my wife. As far as we know, as far as authorities know, they were never and are not married. But she had, according to U.S. Marshals, shot herself in the head. And she was taken to the hospital and survived for a bit but then died overnight as well. He will be transferred back to Alabama to a different facility that he was in before. But a nationwide manhunt now comes to an end here in Evansville. Back to you.

BERMAN: All right. Miguel Marquez, thank you so much for that.

KEILAR: And joining us now is the former attorney for Casey White, Dale Bryant. He represented Casey White from 2019 through early 2020 for the 2015 crime spree that landed Casey White 75 years in prison. Dale, thank you for being with us.

I just wonder what you're thinking about how this all ended.

DALE BRYANT, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR CASEY WHITE: Good morning, thanks for having me. My first thought was I was happy that it didn't end as violently as I thought it would. We are definitely sad that Vicky White took her life at the end of that. But I'm happy no one else was injured in that apprehension.

KEILAR: So, as I mentioned you represented Casey White from 2019 to 2020. This had to do with his crime spree, which included carjacking, attempted murder and a police chase. Can you tell us about Casey White? What was his state of mind like when you were working with him?

BRYANT: So, when I worked with Casey, he had been incarcerated for many years before his case went to trial. So, he had been medicated on his anti-psychotic medication in a controlled environment. So, dealing with him at that time, he was a pretty rational, reasonable human being at that time.

However, watching the video of his apprehension, of his interview with law enforcement at that time, he was a completely different person back when he was off his medication and high on methamphetamines.

KEILAR: I mean, what you would expect of his state of mind when he was imprisoned and this relationship transpired between him and Vicky White, do you have any insight into whether he was the mastermind in this? What do you think?

BRYANT: Well, originally, my thought was that there was no way that Casey planned this escape. It was too methodical, it was too planned out. Most of Casey's crimes were all in the moment, heat of passion, not very thoroughly thought out. But now that this is over, it looks like it was well thought out for the escape but nothing else was. I mean, they had an entire eight-hour head start two days before it became a national manhunt, and they only made it to Indiana.

So, they had clothes for him. They had, at least, one vehicle, maybe more than one. They had most of it planned out, which made me think that Casey was not the mastermind.


But everything since the escape leans more towards something that was sporadic, spontaneous, not well thought out, which after the escape seems to be more of what Casey normally does.

KEILAR: So, you get the sense that maybe Vicky White orchestrated the escape, that after that, Casey was sort of driving?

BRYANT: It definitely feels that way. I mean, because, again, the escape was very well-planned. It was very well-executed. It was a lot of preparation leading up to it. But once they got -- once he was out of the facility, I mean, for 11 days, and they only made it to Evansville, Indiana, which is about a six-hour drive from Florence, Alabama, where he escaped from, it doesn't show much planning. And they stayed in hotels or motels. They left a vehicle in a spot with security footage. So, it doesn't show much forethought on anything that happened once leaving the Lauderdale County Jail.

KEILAR: Dale, you have unique insight here and we do appreciate you sharing it with us. Dale Bryant, thank you.

BRYANT: Thank you.

KEILAR: A growing divide over that leaked opinion on abortion rights. Some Democrats saying conservative justices misled them under oath.

Plus, as COVID rises across the country, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to answer your questions.

BERMAN: And the U.S. military intensifying weapons training for Ukrainian forces but those on the ground say the efforts are falling short.




SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): I think older statements should be looked at very, very carefully. And I think they misled the Senate with the intention of getting their confirmation vote with the intention of overruling Roe. And so I'm very concerned that these justices have crossed a line that no one believed would be crossed.


BERMAN: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand there saying several Supreme Court justices misled the Senate about their stances on Roe versus Wade after saying this at their confirmation hearings.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Is Roe a super precedent?

AMY CONEY BARRETT, THEN-SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: How would you define super precedent?

And I'm answering a lot of questions about Roe which I think indicates that Roe doesn't fall in that category. And scholars across the spectrum say that doesn't mean that Roe should be overruled. But, descriptively, it does mean that it's not a case that everyone has accepted and doesn't call for its overruling.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, THEN-SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court, by it, I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey. It's been reaffirmed many times, Casey is precedent on precedent which itself is an important factor.

NEIL GORSUCH, THEN-SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: A fetus is not a person for purposes of the 14th Amendment, and the book explains that.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Do you accept that?

GORSUCH: That's the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, Senator, yes.

SAMUEL ALITO, THEN-SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: There needs to be a special justification for overruling the prior precedent.


BERMAN: Joining us now, CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN Legal Analyst Jennifer Rodgers.

Jennifer, I want to start with you here. I guess I'm a little confused about this debate or discussion. Is Senator Gillibrand, do you think, truly surprised that these Supreme Court justices want to overturn perhaps Roe versus Wade?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, John, it's hard to imagine she's surprised since she's been sitting watching these confirmation hearings for years, where they all prevaricate about what they think about precedent and what they'll do with it. I mean, that's really the issue here. What are you going to do with this precedent other than consider it seriously as the justices to-be claim.

So, I don't think she's asking for anything like investigation into perjury or anything like that, which wouldn't go anywhere, anyway. I think she's really just complaining about the fact that these justices did mislead people in the sense that -- you know, the opinion says that Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. And that suggests that the justices knew what they know about Roe, which isn't surprising given how well known and high-profile it is. And that at the time that they said they would seriously considering it as precedent and wouldn't overturn it easily, that that wasn't true. So, I think she feels misled about that and she's right to that extent.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: And it's also important to remember the political context here, is that Roe v. Wade and abortion rights is popular. And the swing votes in the Senate, especially Susan Collins, are at least publicly pro-choice. So, they needed her vote. I mean, that's really what went on here, is that Brett Kavanaugh, in particular, needed Susan Collins' vote, so he had to appeal to her. And if you listen to all of those quotes, it was Kavanaugh who was the most empathically defending the Roe v. Wade precedent, in order to get Susan Collins' vote, which he did.

Now, I think most of us who were following the Kavanaugh nomination knew that it was all a lie, that Kavanaugh was being put on the court to overturn Roe v. Wade because that's what President Trump said that's he was doing. But, somehow, Susan Collins was convinced by this charade and voted to confirm him. And now we see, apparently, what the result is.

BERMAN: And, Jennifer, I don't know exactly what was said behind closed doors between now Justice Kavanaugh and Senator Susan Collins. But his testimony right there, he did not say, I will never vote to overturn Roe versus Wade. He just said that precedent is important and precedent upon precedent is even more important.

RODGERS: Right, which means absolutely nothing. I mean, the precedent of the Supreme Court is the precedent of the Supreme Court until the Supreme Court decides it's not, and then there's a new precedent.


So, they said nothing that you can point to that is actually technically a lie or perjury or anything like that. What they really did is say a whole lot of nothing, which is what you have to do to get through these hearings.

TOOBIN: Berman, I don't know if you know this, but all of the nominees are lawyers. And lawyers know how to use words in careful ways so that they're not exactly lying. And all the words that were quoted there, no one said that, you know, I will vote to reaffirm Roe v. Wade, but they certainly left that implication. But that's all they did. So, there wasn't then an explicit lie. It was lawyer talk.

BERMAN: I just think it may be a situation where there may be senators, or in this case, one senator, who allowed themselves to believe something. And is that on the people testifying? Because, you know -- wasn't Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- I mean, we haven't had -- there haven't been out-and-out yes or no answers for confirmations in a long time.

RODGERS: And you're never going to get that, because they all say, even when pressed on what will you do in this particular area, they all say, well, I have to keep an open mind. I can't prejudge anything. It will depend on the facts of the case before me. You're just never going to get that kind of certainty. I don't know what they expect from this process but you're going to get that yes or no answer with a candidate from either side.

TOOBIN: It really goes back to 1987 in Robert Bork, because Robert Bork, when he was nominated, really did engage with senators about the substance of law and talked about his opposition to abortion rights in much more explicit terms than any subsequent nominee. And they have all taken the lesson to not answer questions after that in any sort of direct way. And so senators now hear what they want to hear and they answer the political call that they feel they have to.

Susan Collins answered the political call of Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader who really needed her vote on Kavanaugh and he got it. And now, we see the result.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, Jennifer Rodgers, thanks so much to both of you.

TOOBIN: All right.

BERMAN: Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations now trending upward. Could the United States be on the verge of a new surge? Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us, ahead. KEILAR: Plus, grim discoveries at Lake Mead as the climate crisis pushing the water level lower. Hear what's being found at the bottom.