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Finland Backs Joining NATO; Supreme Court Justices Meet for First Time Since Roe Leak; Attack Survivor Recounts Harrowing Ordeal; Golfer Downplays Murder of Journalist. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 12, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Thursday, May 12. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.
A major development in the last few hours that upends nearly 75 years of precedent and shows how, in some ways, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has completely backfired, leading to the literal opposite of stated Russian goals.
Just a short time ago, the leaders of Finland announced they support seeking NATO membership without delay. You cannot overstate what a major shift this is.
Finland has been definitionally neutral since after World War II. Historically speaking, its border has always been a much greater threat to Russia than Ukraine's.
Finland's prime minister and its president released a joint statement that reads in part, quote, "NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay."
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Finland shares an 800-mile-long border with Russia. Once Parliament has approved this idea, NATO is expected to invite Finland to negotiate its accession.
Sweden is also expected to announce its intention to join the alliance. Russia has warned both countries against joining NATO, saying that there will be consequences.
Let's go live now to Helsinki and bring in CNN's Nic Robertson.
Nic, these are huge developments. Put these into context for us.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Huge developments. A rapid change in public and political opinion here about NATO membership. As you've been saying, decades of neutrality evaporated when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Fins no longer felt safe. They felt threatened by Russia. What we've heard from the president and the prime minister now, saying that the country should join. Good for Finland; security for Finland. Good for NATO, strengthening NATO. That the next steps -- and they are fairly low hurdles, if you like. The prime minister's party to declare their position over the weekend. The government coalition also over the weekend to declare its position. A foreign affairs committee to put their paper forward, and the Parliament to vote in a plenary session early next week.
I spoke just yesterday with one of the prime minister's parliamentarians, and he told me, Look, already over 180 of the 200 parliamentarians here are ready to vote yes to join NATO. This is all but a foregone conclusion.
The NATO secretary-general, just in the last few minutes, saying that Finland, if it does go through those steps, as expected, should be warmly welcomed into NATO.
Just how quickly they can become full NATO members, that's up to NATO. And that's the period that the Fins here worry a little bit about. So they've had these security guarantees, the British prime minister here yesterday, other security guarantees, saying if, in this interim, Russia threatens you or attacks, we will provide military support.
Once you're in NATO, of course, one country attacked, all countries help defend. That's the security the Fins want. That's what their president and prime minister have laid out today.
KEILAR: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you so much, live for us in Helsinki. And of course, we'll have more on all of the developments around the war in Ukraine here in just a moment.
But happening this morning in the United States, all nine Supreme Court justices will meet in private with one topic that is sure to come up, and that is the leak of this draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Today will be the first meeting among the justices since that leak stunned the nation and rattled the political landscape. An internal investigation is under way to find the source at the court, as tensions and protests build across the country.
BERMAN: It comes a day after the Democrats' bill to preserve abortion access nationwide failed in the Senate. Every Republican plus Democrat Joe Manchin voted against it.
Want to go to CNN's Jessica Schneider, live outside the Supreme Court.
In this meeting behind closed doors, Jessica, symbolically importantly because it's the first time they're getting together since this historic leak. But also practically important, because what happens behind closed doors could ultimately dictate what this ruling is.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Still a lot of work left for these justices to do, John.
This morning is the first time since that monumental leak that the justices are set to meet in private. It's a meeting that will likely be incredibly intense, with the secrecy of their deliberations now shattered.
But there is still a long way to go in this term. Almost 40 opinions still left to issue, with just about seven weeks left.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The justices will gather for the first time since that unprecedented leak at what has become a completely transformed court. An eight-foot-tall non-scalable fence now surrounds their regal marble building, with concrete barriers blocking the street.
Protesters on both sides of the abortion debate have been amplifying their voices outside the court and even at the homes of several of the conservative justices.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The motion is not agreed to.
SCHNEIDER: Across the street at the Capitol, senators voted down a bill Wednesday that would have codified the right to abortion in federal law. And inside the court itself, suspicion as an internal investigation has just begun, in an effort to uncover the source of that leak.
Tensions are sky-high just as the justices are moving into the most cumbersome point of the term, one of the most consequential in decades. They will issue decisions on nearly 40 cases by the end of June.
JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT: Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don't see how it is possible.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Justice Sotomayor's forboding commentary December 1, as the court heard arguments on Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban has gained new significance since that leaked draft indicated five justices are prepared to not only uphold the Mississippi law but strike down Roe v. Wade completely, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion, and leaving it to states to legislate the issue.
A final decision on that is expected before July 1.
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), FORMER ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN: We are at a cross roads. We can let the shooting continue, or we can act.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Former congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords spoke in front of the court in November, urging the justices to uphold a New York gun law restricting who can carry concealed weapons in public. It is the first major gun case the court will decide in more than a
decade, and it could be a way for the conservatives to significantly expand the scope of the Second Amendment.
Religious liberty cases are also before this court that has increasingly favored church over state.
JOSEPH KENNEDY, FORMER BREMERTON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH: It was a private prayer between God and myself. And I don't think anybody in America should have to worry about their faith and their job.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Former high school football coach Joseph Kennedy was suspended after he refused to stop praying on the 50-yard line after games. The justices will decide if the school was justified in forbidding Coach Kennedy's post-game religious ritual.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen!
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): And the justices will determine if a Maine tuition assistance program for public school children in the state properly excluded religious schools.
STEVE VLADECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think there's no question this was already shaping up to be as important, as significant, as momentous a Supreme Court term as we've seen in a long time. And now we're just adding into that soup all of this clearly inside, internal turmoil among the justices that's spilling out into the public domain to a degree we've never seen before.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): And this internal investigation that has been ordered by the chief justice, John Roberts, it's unlikely that that will even spill out into public view. And it's possible that the identity of this leaker may never be known.
Now, in the meantime, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, he has directed the U.S. Marshals Service to provide additional support to ensure the justices' safety. That's because of those protestors we've been seeing ongoing outside several of the conservative justices' homes -- John and Brianna.
BERMAN: All right. Jessica Schneider outside the Supreme Court. Such a big day there. Keep us posted, Jessica.
KEILAR: President Biden sending this warning on the Supreme Court's potential reversal of Roe v. Wade. He spoke at a DNC fundraiser in Chicago, and Biden said, "It's not just the brutality of taking away a woman's right to her body, but also, if you read the opinion, basically says there's no such thing as the right to privacy. If that holds, mark my words, they are going to go after the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage."
Joining us now, CNN political analyst and senior correspondent at The Grio, Natasha Alford; and CNN political commentator and host of the "You Decide" podcast, Errol Louis.
I wonder if you guys can fact-check this for us. He also mentioned contraception, right? He also mentioned the Griswold v. Connecticut case. To you first, Natasha. Is that something that you would expect would actually happen, considering what Alito says in this draft opinion about trying to kind of carve out protection for those decisions?
NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, we do know from the draft that Justice Alito said that this -- the way that he's interpreting the law applies only to abortion. Right? So this shouldn't cast any doubt on other precedents.
He's argued that abortion is not a constitutional right and that it's fundamentally different from gay marriage, because it involves a fetal life or an unborn human being.
So again, this is not a legal scholar interpretation, but I think we have to recognize that people are not always obvious about their offensives. Right?
So in the moment, Justice Alito is saying this only applies to abortion. But we know that Justice Thomas and Justice Alito have also criticized gay marriage in the past. And so if they are, you know, thinking about this long-term, they may not come right out and say, We're looking to attack same-sex marriage.
But we know that there are groups and organizations that are ready to support them and to sort of drum up support for that if, you know, that's on the table.
BERMAN: Errol, seems to me that what is also going on here, besides the discussion about these very important issues, is that President Biden is trying to set up the mid-term election as a choice, saying abortion is on the ballot; same-sex marriage is on the ballot.
And just in the last few days, we've heard language we haven't heard from him before, talking about MAGA things, referring to the former president as the MAGA King and things like that.
Why is it important for him to do that now?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That, John, is classic political strategy. That is the president of the United States acting in his role, first of all, as the leader of his party, trying to get the party rallied for what is going to be a very tough election season in the fall.
I think he's also, of course, looking beyond that to 2024 to his own reelection. And he's doing what you do at this stage, if you are the president, which is you try and define the other side.
The president very often says on the campaign trail, Don't compare me to the almighty; compare me to the alternative. Well, he's going to define the alternative and let people know, if you don't want to go to that direction, stick with me.
He's talking to middle-of-the-road voters. He's talking to moderate Republicans, to the extent that any are left. He's talking, of course, to independent voters. He's trying to put together the beginnings of his coalition to run for reelection, John.
KEILAR: You think it works, Errol?
LOUIS: I think it does. I mean, you have to. Look, the thing about extremism. And we've -- make no mistake about it. We are seeing extremism, not only from the high court but in the streets. When you see extremism, you have got to denounce it. You cannot let the window sort of shift a little further and a little further and a little further.
You can't take at face value when we saw, as we did see, nominations to the Supreme Court kind of smugly and cutely saying, Well, you know, Roe v. Wade is settled law. And at the first opportunity, Justice Barrett, Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, at the very first opportunity, they're apparently going to vote to try and overturn it.
If you sit and wait for extremism to do its work, you can wait too long. And I think this president understands that.
BERMAN: Natasha, I want to ask you about something that Stevie Wonder said at the NAACP legal defense dinner. I want people to remember, we're talking about Stevie Wonder. We're talking about someone who has been involved in political struggles for, what, 60 -- 60 years now. So just listen to what he was saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN/ACTIVIST: A woman's right to control her body, the right to vote, voting math (ph), and our precious civil liberties are under assault. Do you know that? Do you all know that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WONDER: Another question. America is in a time of crisis. Please hear me loud and clear. We must continue to stand together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: What do you think, Natasha?
ALFORD: Well, God bless Stevie Wonder and, you know, any other icon, right, who could comfortably sit at home and just enjoy their legendary status, but instead chooses to speak up about what's happening in this country and to rally people to pay attention.
Stevie Wonder has been around, as you said, as an activist for a long time, since he was a teenager. And so he's seen a lot of change in this country.
And the fact that he's calling out we are in a time of crisis really points to how important this moment is. And I think it's similar to what we're talking about with President Biden. You know, bring together all of these little mini wars that are happening. Right?
The fight against Disney, banning the books, limiting voting rights, and now the attack on women's reproductive rights. When you bring that all together, you realize that we are in a pot of boiling water. As much as people want to have us distracted and not really understand the significance of the moment.
So I think Stevie Wonder did a great thing by putting himself out there and calling it what it is, and hopefully, others will step up and do the same.
KEILAR: Natasha and Errol, it is so lovely to spend part of our morning with you. Thank you so much for coming on.
LOUIS: Thank you.
KEILAR: We do have some new video obtained by CNN that shows Russian soldiers killing two unarmed civilians.
Plus, a woman who survived this Russian missile attack on an administration building in Kharkiv returns to the scene and shares the incredible story of how she survived with CNN.
BERMAN: And homes sliding into the ocean in North Carolina's Outer Banks. The worst may not be over.
BERMAN: Developing overnight, a Russian civilian has reportedly been killed on Russian soil by cross-border shelling from Ukraine. We believe this is a first in the nearly 11-week-old war. Ukraine is not commenting.
And new surveillance video obtained by CNN appears to show Russian soldiers shooting two unarmed civilians as they walk away from an encounter. This happened in the outskirts of Kyiv. Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating the incident as a war crime.
KEILAR: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live for us in Kharkiv, and Nick, I know that you have a powerful story about a woman who survived a big attack there. What can you tell us?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, at the start of the war here, one of the first examples of ferocity of Russian power -- firepower, visited against civilians. They're being pushed back to some degree here. It's quieter, life returning to normal. Russian troops being pushed back towards the border. But still, the haunting stories people went through remain in this city.
WALSH (voice-over): Sometimes places that speak only of death throw up a jewel of life. This is the first time Ayuna has stood in this spot since 72 days ago, she was dragged out from the rubble here. Her husband, Andrey, had been scouring it, looking for her, for three hours.
She remembers the cupboard.
AYUNA MOROZOVA, SURVIVED MISSILE ATTACK (through translator): That's where I was standing.
WALSH (voice-over): The multiple-rocket attack on this, the Kharkiv regional administration, was an early sign of the ferocious, cowardly brutality Russia would unleash on civilian targets.
This is Ayuna then. She had been serving coffee and cookies to soldiers, saw a flash, and curled into a ball.
AYUNA MOROZOVA (through translator): I feel a physical manifestation of fear. I don't like cookies anymore. The box fell on me, and I remember the smell.
WALSH (voice-over): She asked to step away, saying she's sick with butterflies like she hasn't felt since before races, when she used to swim professionally.
Andrey picks up the story.
ANDREY MOROZOV, AYUNA'S HUSBAND (through translator): When I heard her voice, I was crawling across the rubble. And the emergency services were trying to kick me out. I pulled a man out and then heard her. I did not plan to leave her here.
WALSH (voice-over): The soldiers waiting in the corridor outside from her died. Three young woman in the basement below her died, their bodies not found for three weeks. Yet somehow, the concrete here fell, shielding Ayuna.
AYUNA MOROZOV (through translator): I knew I was alive, in pain but nothing broken but was worried I would be left and never be heard. The first time they heard me, they started to get me out, and the second missile came, and I was properly trapped.
WALSH (voice-over): A rescuer eventually heard her.
AYUNA MOROZOV (through translator): Andrey got closer, and I said it was me, and he cried. They said they shouldn't lift the baton on me, but Andrey did alone. It got easier to breathe. I was surprised, as I thought I was still at ground level. The ambulance guy said, It's your second birthday. You're alive.
WALSH (voice-over): Fragments of the Kharkiv now passed pepper this shell. Cleaning up and trying to sweep away its trauma.
AYUNA MOROZOV (through translator): I sleep with the lights on, and when there's a loud car or, God forbid, a jet plane, I brace. The nightmares that I'm again lying there in shivering cold and that nobody hears my cries, that also stops me from sleeping.
WALSH (voice-over): Ayuna was born in Russia but can no longer talk to her relatives there. She says they believe Russian state media's absurd claims this is a limited operation against Nazis.
AYUNA MOROZOV (through translator): They say it was my stupidity and that I don't need to be here. I hope when time passes, our children can talk, but I can't talk to them now. Russia has lost its mind and cannot control its president. They are all each responsible, every citizen.
WALSH (voice-over): The story here not of ruins lost or burial in dust, but instead, of a feverish energy that burns through the building's bones as Kharkiv gets to decide where its pieces fall now.
WALSH (on camera): While there are signs of survival, positive to hear, there is a lot still moving in a volatile fashion here inside Ukraine. While they're pushing the Russians back towards the border in the North and East here, there are also signs that further South, along the Eastern front there, Ukraine is accepting it is losing territory. A lot still to play for and a lot still to be fought over here in Ukraine -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Amazing story. Her second birthday, as the rescuer said to her.
Nick, thank you so much for bringing that to us. Nick Paton Walsh.
Golfer Greg Norman downplaying Saudi Arabia's brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying, quote, "We all make mistakes."
BERMAN: And he says he was kicked by his coach. A former playing sues the Jacksonville Jaguars, saying former head coach Urban Meyer told him, quote, "I'll kick you whenever the 'F' I want." We have new details on this case.
BERMAN: This morning, we all make mistakes. Maybe. To an extent, but does that include murder? No.
Huge controversy swirling around golfer Greg Norman, who was defending the creation of the Saudi golf league and brushing off the role the country and the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, allegedly played in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
This is what Norman said, quote, "The whole thing about Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi and human rights, talk about it but also talk about the good that the country is doing in changing its culture. We've all made mistakes, and you just want to learn by those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward."
Joining us now, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin, columnist for the "Washington Post."
Josh, we all make mistakes?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know about you, John, but I've never made the mistake of ordering the brutal murder and dismemberment of a journalist. I don't think you've made that mistake. And Brianna?
ROGIN: No. OK, so it's not a mistake we all made. But more important, it's not a mistake. It's a crime. And calling it a mistake is to trivialize the murder of a journalist who's living in America and to, you know, insult his memory and the suffering of his family.
But the bigger issue, of course, is that -- is why is Greg Norman saying these things? And the answer is very simple. He's doing it for the money. He's getting paid. And he's taking the blood money in order to -- and in exchange for that, he's helping the Saudi regime whitewash an atrocity.
And when he talks about all the good that's happened and all the change in the culture, I would just point viewers back to some of the things that are really going on in Saudi Arabia, where the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, is still jailing women activists, is still hanging and crucifying dissidents, is still killing moderate clerics. And, you know, this is not change, and this is not good. this is the same old brutal thuggery that we've seen from him and other despots throughout the ages.
KEILAR: Let's be clear about what's happening here. Saudi Arabia is trying to sort of change the orbit of the golf universe. Right?