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Incumbent Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp Running Primary Campaign against Trump-Backed Candidate; Video Emerges of Russian Soldiers Shooting Two Unarmed Ukrainian Civilians in the Back; Russian Forces Stalled by Ukrainian Forces in Eastern Ukraine; Families Scrambling as National Baby Formula Shortage Worsens. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 08:00   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: He wants to make this a choice. Which is why you're hearing day in and day out now the president amping up his rhetoric, saying things like the ultra MAGA Republicans. He's trying to paint the Republican Party with the one brush stroke of Donald Trump, of the ultra MAGA wing. You're going to hear not just the president, Chuck Schumer said it yesterday. This is going to be day in and day out with Democrats in terms of their rhetoric as they try a near impossible task probably to really make this a choice election.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: A pretty optimistic President Biden, though, David Chalian. I know you heard this, he's predicting that Democrats are actually going to pick up Senate seats. So what is your political analysis of his political analysis here?

CHALIAN: Exactly. So, Brianna, the president at fundraisers now, this has become a regular part of his stump, is predicting picking up three Senate seats, that he thinks Democrats can pick up three seats. Remember, we've got a 50/50 divided Senate. There are four vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. So the best opportunity for actual pickups, where Democrats win a seat currently held by Republicans, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those are probably the two best chances for Democrats. If the president's prediction is right, that means Democrats are winning in places like North Carolina or Ohio or Florida. It's a pretty bold prediction given how closely divided the Senate is and the way the map looks at the moment.

KEILAR: So let's go to Georgia now, because there is a trio of Republican governors who are campaigning for Governor Brian Kemp in his primary challenge against the Trump-backed candidate.

CHALIAN: Yes. You know that there is probably not a single Republican politician running this year that is more in Donald Trump's sights than the incumbent Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, all because he approved and certified a legitimate victory for Joe Biden in 2020 when Donald Trump wanted him to overturn the election based on a lie. So, Kemp has been in Trump's sights. It's why the former Republican

senator David Perdue has Trump's backing in the race. Trump basically brought him into the race to try and defeat Kemp. The polls right now have shown Kemp in pretty good position. The primary is on May 24th. But Kemp is also clearly the choice of the establishment. The Republican Governors Association is getting involved in this primary because they are in the business of incumbent protection when Kemp is the incumbent. And their co-chairs, Doug Ducey of Arizona, current governor, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, who had a victory with the candidate he was backing this week over Donald Trump in Nebraska, and Chris Christie all are going to go in the state, campaign across the state for Kemp, all positioning themselves against Donald Trump inside the Republican Party.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: David, I want to rewind, if we can, a little bit and talk about the Senate again, because if people aren't paying attention to what's happening in Senate race in Pennsylvania on the Republican side, they should be, because it is fascinating. Explain.

CHALIAN: Yes, so it looks like a three-way race right now, John, heading into the final stretch to Tuesday's primary. You've got Dr. Mehmet Oz, obviously, Donald Trump's-backed candidate, you have David McCormick who had been a hedge fund guy and seen as a more mainstream guy, but really moved aggressively to try to court Trump's endorsement to the right. He didn't get it, but that's sort of the lane he's running in now as well to try to court the base Republican voters, and then you have this surging candidate at the end here, Kathy Barnette. And she seems to be in a real three-way race, even though she is -- has got much less money, has not been spending nearly as much. But just this week, big outside groups are getting involved and going on the air, and it has rattled the Oz and McCormick camps here and the Republican establishment because she's not a known figure, and she is really in the hunt here.

So this is going to be a wild final few days here. And remember, the entire battle for control of the United States Senate, John, may hinge on Pennsylvania. As I said, Democrats see it as one of their best pickup opportunities. So which nominee emerges here is going to be critical to understanding whether or not Republicans have a real shot at hanging on to this seat.

BERMAN: It's one of the things you learn in negative campaigning 101, which was one of my favorite classes in college, which is that, look, if candidate A and candidate B are beating the crap out of each other with negative ads, you know who it helps is candidate C. David Chalian, great to see you. Thank you so much.

KEILAR: Developing overnight, a Russian civilian reportedly killed on Russian soil by cross border shelling from Ukraine. This appears to be a first in the nearly 11-week-old war, and Ukraine is not commenting.

And new surveillance video obtained by CNN shows Russian soldiers here shooting two unarmed civilians as they are just walking away, directly away from an encounter in the outskirts of Kyiv. Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating this incident as a war crime.

CNN's Sara Sidner is in Kyiv for us, live. She has more on this horrifying incident.


And it is all on tape, Sara. There they are, walking with, their backs turned to these Russian soldiers.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the video we obtained shows absolute disdain for human life. Russian soldiers shown shooting two unarmed civilians in the back.


SIDNER: This is a stark example of a potential war crime perpetrated by Russian forces, an example the world has not yet seen -- Russian soldiers shooting two civilians in the back. CNN obtained the surveillance video taken from this vehicle dealership that sits along the main highway to Kyiv. The video is from the beginning, as Russians tried and failed to shell their way to the capital. The fight along this road was clearly fierce.

But what happened outside this business was not a battle between soldiers or even soldiers and armed civilians. It was a cowardly, coldblooded killing of unarmed men by Russian forces. The soldiers show up and begin breaking in. Inside of a guard shack two Ukrainian men prepare to meet them. We track down the men's identities. One is the owner of the business, whose family did not want him named, the other was hired to guard it.

YULIA PLYATS, FATHER KILLED BY RUSSIANS: My father's name is Leonid Oleksiyovych Plyats.

SIDNER: His daughter Yulia wanted the world to know his name and what the Russians did to him. Both civilians, both unarmed. We know this because the video shows them greeting and getting frisked by the Russian soldiers and then casually walking away. Neither seemed to suspect what was about to happen. That is what a member of the civilian fighting force who talked to the men a couple of days before the attack told CNN. He did not want to be identified for security reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We came there earlier. We warned people to leave that place. We also hope for the humanity of Russian soldiers. But unfortunately, they have no humanity.

SIDNER: You see the two men walking in the shadows toward the camera, behind them the soldiers they were just talking to emerge. A few more steps, and their bodies drop to the ground, dust shoots up from the bullets hitting the pavement. The soldiers have opened fire. Minutes later, the guard, Leonid, gets up, limping, but alive. He manages to get inside the guard booth to make a call to the local guys for help. This is one of those guys, a Ukrainian truck driver turned civilian soldier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, we felt a big responsibility. We knew we should go there because the man needed our help. He was still alive. SIDNER: He's the commander of a ragtag team of civilians who took up

arms to fight for Ukraine and tried to save the men. When the guard called them, he explained what transpired with the soldiers. He said the soldiers asked who they were and asked for cigarettes, then let them go, before shooting them in the back. When his men finally got to Leonid, he had lost massive amounts of blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One man from our group went there, and the guy was still alive. He gave him bandages, tried to perform first aid, but the Russians started shooting.

SIDNER: They tried to fight back but were unsuccessful. They didn't have the firepower to save their countrymen.

Yulia, have you seen the video?

PLYATS: I can't watch it now. I will save it to the cloud and leave it for my grandchildren and children. They should know about this crime and always remember who our neighbors are.

SIDNER: Her neighbors to the north, these Russian soldiers, showed just how callous they are, drinking, toasting one another, and looting the place minutes after slaying the two men.

What were the last words you remember he said to you?

PLYATS: Bye-bye, kisses, say hello to your boys.

SIDNER: Her boys will be left with a terrible lasting memory, the death of their grandfather, now being investigated as a war crime by prosecutors.


SIDNER (on camera): And there is a couple of things that really stood out beyond the horrific video of these men being shot from behind. One was the sheer unprofessional activity of the soldiers afterwards, where you see them drinking, you see them giving each other cheers. And also with the daughter, Yulia, who told us she was wondering whether she should even talk about this, because it doesn't help her father. But her mother forced her, told her she must talk about this to show what these men did to her dad, to avenge him. Brianna?

KEILAR: And it is important for history, and we're seeing that happen right before our eyes with all of this closed-circuit television. It really is amazing that we have that evidence right away. Sara, what a story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

BERMAN: Joining us now, retired Army General Steven Anderson. General, thank you so much for being with us.


I have a lot I want to discuss with you. But first, I just want your reaction to that video we just saw, unarmed Ukrainian civilians shot in the back by Russian soldiers. BRIG. GEN. STEVEN ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET): Well, thank you, John.

And I'm, like everyone else, I'm absolutely disgusted by seeing that. It shows to me a complete and total breakdown in leadership. That's one of the reasons that the Russians are doing so poorly. They cannot overcome the will of the Ukrainian people, they're losing the logistics war, and their leadership is poor. And we're seeing this.

Now, American armies, NATO armies have noncommissioned officers. These are people that are down there with the troops making sure that things like this don't happen. Keeping good order and discipline is a great fundamental of any effective army. And to allow things like this to happen are terrible. It's just another indicator of the poor leadership, the poor morale, and the state of play in the Russian army where they indiscriminately shoot civilians in the back.

BERMAN: Maybe even the moral fiber there.

I want to ask you, general, if you can pull up the map of NATO so people can see here, a major development overnight while people were sleeping. The leaders of Finland, which shares an 800-mile border with Russia, saying that they support immediate immediately joining NATO. Now, Finland has been definitionally neutral since World War II. There was actually a word, the "Finlandization" of a country means to make it neutral. That's what they did. So what would the significance of Finland now joining NATO be?

ANDERSON: It is hugely significant, John, and so would Sweden. It shows how politically Vladimir Putin has so tragically miscalculated what was going on. And now that we have seen Sweden and Finland step up, it shows that NATO alliance is growing stronger, not weaker. And he's completely failed his objectives.

Now, I would submit to you, we're heading back to a cold war, I think. I think there is going to end up being a stalemate in the Ukraine. Get ready for cold war two. And I think what that means to Americans is we need to start thinking about three things. We need to think about forward stationing our bases, OK. Just like in the days back in Germany, we had 400,000 Americans stationed over there. Now we're down to about 100,000. We need to put them out here in the Balkans, maybe Finland. We need to station Americans, not just rotate troops, but station Americans, show our commitment to that nation, by putting people -- boots on the ground.

The next thing we need to do, we need to have forward position stocks. We used to have 5,000 tanks here in Germany. We're down to zero now. We need to put stocks, forward position over there in eastern Europe to prevent some kind of a threat.

And the third thing we need to do is do large scale mobilization exercises, like we used to do prior to the cold war ending. At one time, 1988, we put 124,000 American soldiers on the ground in Germany, conducting what we called re-forger exercises, return of forces to Germany. We need large scale mobilization exercises once again in Europe.

BERMAN: It really is interesting to see that Vladimir Putin could end up with U.S. and NATO troops within sight inside of St. Petersburg, right. He said he invaded Ukraine in part because Ukraine wanted to join NATO. NATO was not about to accept Ukraine. Finland could get in very quickly and it could mean that he is getting the exact opposite of what he wanted there.

I do want to ask you about the major developments in the eastern part of Ukraine right now. The Ukrainian military admitting that the Russians had made some gains in Donbas and have troops right on the border now with Luhansk. What success do you think the Russians are having there?

ANDERSON: Well, they're using artillery to blow the hell out of everything that's in their way. And that's their only play. But they're really failing. Once again, their strategy is flawed in that they're devoting too many resources to smaller salients and they're not concentrated in one area. And we've already have seen significant counterattacks up here by the Ukrainians. They are now all the way up to the edge of the border now in Russia, and they're able to fire artillery into Belgorod. That's huge.

But they've distributed their forces down here. Up here they took out, of course, the Ukrainians take out the pontoon bridges the other day, knocked them out. Now you've got a couple of battalion task forces that are essentially stranded over there.

And of course, here in Izyum, they've been trying to push through this town of Kramatorsk, but they have been unable to do that because of this counteroffensive which has forced them to reposition back here. So I know that the activity in Luhansk is serious. That's really the only Russian play. But I think the Ukrainians will continue to carry the day because they have a very effective active mobile defense. They have superior technology, and they have the will to fight that the Russians can't seem to break.

BERMAN: Yes, if they maintain their mobility, they're making things very difficult for the Russians. General Steve Anderson, a pleasure to have you, thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

BERMAN: In moments, a new indicator of how the economy is doing as President Biden warns inflation is going to, quote, scare the hell out of voters.


Plus, a desperate mother joins us live as America's shortage of baby formula gets worse. What she is being forced to do.

KEILAR: And why a crowd of Good Samaritans risk their lives in a busy intersection in this incredible new video.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our babies literally do not have the formula that they need to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately for, like, me, I can't breast-feed my kids. I depend a lot on formula. Or my kid can't eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is terrifying. It is terrifying when that's the only true source of nutrition your baby gets, because it gets to the point where you go to the store and you just cry.


KEILAR: It is a fear echoed by parents from coast to coast. The nationwide baby formula shortage is worsening and Abbott Nutrition says it could now be six to eight weeks before the in demand food is back on store shelves.

But that's only once U.S. regulators allow them to restart production, which then could tack more time on to this dilemma. Families now going to great lengths to keep formula in their homes.

Joining me now is a mom who is searching for formula for her two young children, with special dietary needs, Darice Browning.

Darice, thank you for being with us.


Tell us a little bit about your situation, you have two small children, and you can't switch formulas on them. Tell us why.

DARICE BROWNING, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA TO TWO YOUNG CHILDREN: No, I cannot switch formula. I have a 21-month-old daughter named Tokyo, and I have a 10-month-old daughter named Octavia. Octavia was born with a rare genetic disorder named Andermann syndrome and has all sorts of different, you know, disabilities associated with it, including a dairy allergy. So does Tokyo.

All dairy proteins, like, whey, gum, so finding a formula that works for her, I have to jump through hoops with GI specialists and nutritionists and pediatrician, et cetera, et cetera.

KEILAR: So if they have a formula that has dairy, protein or any of that stuff in it, especially your one with the worst condition, what happens? What are the symptoms?

BROWNING: Oh, she starts -- she has a very scary reaction. She will start vomiting blood, excreting blood in her feces, breathing issues, and she has to be put on oxygen and have her stomach pumped and honestly the worst, the worst, the absolute worst.

KEILAR: I can't even imagine.

So how much formula do you have? How long will it last you right now and what have you been doing to try to get formula?

BROWNING: So back when the recall happened, we were on EleCare Infant and EleCare Junior for both children. And when the recall happened, we didn't have an option. We tried all the hypoallergenic formulas, all of them, and EleCare is the only one that worked for both of them and their GI issues.

Right now I have about four cans of the EleCare recalled that I've been using because I can't find any on Amazon. The doctors can't give me anything because the hospitals don't have supply, and the medical supply company doesn't even have an estimated date of when they can get any in stock.

KEILAR: So you're using the recalled formula?

BROWNING: Absolutely. And I'm running the risk of her, you know, getting the bacterial infection, the salmonella, possibly just giving her expired formula, and it is very scary, but it is either I give her something to eat and she possibly gets sick or I don't give her anything to eat and, you know, she gets sick.


BROWNING: She's a baby.

KEILAR: How long will that last you, Darice, four cans, how long will that go?

BROWNING: Typically for her, a can might last two and a half, three days, if I stretch it. So we're looking at maybe two weeks. Two to three. Two and a half, about.

KEILAR: That's not -- that's not going to get you, right, to where we're talking about. It is several weeks just for production. When you hear that, what do you think?

BROWNING: I start crying. I get really -- I get really emotional because as a young mom, as a mom in general, it is my job to provide for my children. And when I can't even provide the fundamentals and the most necessary items for them, I feel like I'm not doing my job. There is nothing I can do, there is nothing else can do currently for me, you know?

KEILAR: So what is that -- I wonder -- we heard that price gouging is happening. You're a young mom. You're a Marine spouse. Can you spend a bunch of money to get formula that you need for your kiddos?

BROWNING: I'm not even going to elaborate on the pay that the military sets out for their active duties. We don't make a bunch of money. We don't -- we don't have this plethora of funds to spend on money. Although we do have medical insurance, we have deductibles, co- pays, catastrophic caps.

And this type of formula that my girls are on aren't even in the stores. I can't just go to Walmart and find an alternative that easy. Let alone find an alternative that is even in stock in the store or online.

KEILAR: Well, Darice, I wish I had some more answers for you. It is, you know, it is heart breaking to hear what you and so many other moms are going through. We're going to keep covering this story and see hopefully that there is a resolution soon that maybe can help folks out who are in your situation, but thank you for sharing with us your story today.

BROWNING: Thank you. And I just hope that parents don't have to make --

KEILARR: Sorry, go back, Darice, you were saying what?

BROWNING: I hope that parents don't have to make the same -- the same decisions that we have made to take her to the ER and have her stomach pumped and have her fed through a tube, with concoctions that these nutritionists are making up, you know?


And it's -- it is scary to watch. It is scary to watch my child just sit in a hospital bed with tubes all over her, just to be fed.

KEILAR: Yeah, you shouldn't have to make that decision, nor should any parent.

Darice, thank you so much for talking with us.

BROWNING: Of course.

KEILAR: So this just in this morning, two Republican governors urging the attorney general to do more to protect Supreme Court justices. That includes banning some demonstrations.

BERMAN: Plus, Ashley Judd revealing more about what happened to her mother, country music legend Naomi Judd.



BERMAN: All right, this just in. CNN's Whitney Wild learned the governors of Maryland and Virginia have penned a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, calling on him to offer more federal resources to protect Supreme Court justices. They also asked for a federal statute that would ban protesting meant to influence judicial actions.