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Accused Gunman in Buffalo Mass Shooting to Appear in Court; President Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Address Baby Formula Shortage in U.S.; American Academy of Pediatrics States Babies as Young as Six Months Old May have Whole Cow's Milk During Baby Formula Shortage; Republican Senate Primary Race in Pennsylvania Still Too Close to Call; Sen. Angus King (I-ME) is Interviewed About U.S. Marshals Securing Homes of Supreme Court Justices "Around the Clock", and U.S. Intel Launching Review After Failures on Ukraine, Afghanistan. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 08:00   ET




CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Depp has denied abusing Heard and says she abused him and defamed him by writing about being a domestic abuse victim.


MELAS (on camera): Court resumes once again in about an hour. More witnesses are expected to take the stand, including potentially actress Ellen Barkin.

NEW DAY continues right now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Brianna is away. Erica Hill with me on this NEW DAY.

And the man suspected of carrying out a deadly hate-filled rampage inside a Buffalo supermarket is about to appear in court. Former President Trump telling Dr. Mehmet Oz to declare victory before all the votes are counted.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: President Biden invokes his defense powers to boost supply of baby formula. How quickly can it help restock the shelves?

And Supreme Court justices receive around the clock security as the Department of Homeland Security warns of murder threats escalating.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Thursday, May 19th.

And shortly, the 18-year-old suspect in the racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket is due to appear in court after pleading not guilty to first degree murder. We're also learning this morning that a 911 dispatcher has been placed on administrative leave for what officials describe as a, quote, completely inappropriate response to a whispering caller during the mass shooting that left 10 people dead.

HILL: We're hearing stories from those who survived the massacre, including one hero who risked his life to save co-workers and customers. He spoke with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz. Shimon joins us live from Buffalo. And it is an incredibly moving story, Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is. What a remarkable man, Jerome Bridges, he works at the store, describing to us in really just great detail frightening moments of when he heard the gunshots and what he did to try and save the people inside the store.


JEROME BRIDGES, SCAN COORDINATOR, TOPS SUPERMARKET: He was getting closer and closer to the back, to the point where he was actually shooting at the displays that are, like the milk display. I just wanted to make sure I kept the customers and my other three co-workers very safe. So even if I would have died, it would have been me dying protecting them.

PROKUPECZ: You were ready to take a bullet for them?

BRIDGES: Yes. Yes, I was.


PROKUPECZ: And as to that suspect, he is expected to be in court here in the next 90 minutes. We may hear new evidence, this is a felony hearing where prosecutes may present some new information, some new evidence. That's expected to begin at about 9:30. We don't know who will be in court for the suspect, if his parents will be showing up here. The other thing is that the defense attorneys had asked for a mental health examination when he was first arrested. That has now been withdrawn. They asked the judge to withdraw that request, which should move this case along somewhat faster.

HILL: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, we know you'll keep us posted on those developments. Thank you.

BERMAN: A new warning from the Department of Homeland Security about potential threats to the public and members of the Supreme Court following the leak of a draft opinion that, if finalized, would overturn Roe versus Wade. U.S. Marshals will provide around the clock security at the homes of all nine Supreme Court justices. CNN's Whitney Wild has been following the story from the beginning and joins us now from Washington with the latest here. Whitney, what have you learned?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: John, this is a serious threat. Attorney General Merrick Garland met with Supreme Court officials as well as officials from the Justice Department Wednesday afternoon where they talked about efforts to manage judicial security. This news illustrates this real concern among federal law enforcement that this abortion ruling could result in acts of violence. And it comes just about a day, or a few days, rather, after the Department of Homeland Security released a memo to other members of law enforcement that said plainly there are potential threats to the public and members of the Supreme Court. Some of those threats include language about burning down or storming the U.S. Supreme Court, murdering justices and their clerks, and targeting members of Congress and lawful demonstrators.

Law enforcement, John, is very concerned that people here and abroad are just going to latch on to these issues and use them as an opportunity to call for violence. Here's a quote from that memo from DHS, "Domestic violent extremists and criminal actors have adopted narratives surrounding abortion rights to encourage violence, likely increasing the threat to government, religious and reproductive healthcare personnel and facilities and ideological opponents."


John, the threat exists on both sides of this debate. The warning comes as justices are wrapping up their most contentious term in decades.

BERMAN: And now under increased security. Whitney Wild, thank you so much for that update.

HILL: In a new move, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to help ease the nationwide baby formula shortage. And this comes as two young children, we're learning, were hospitalized in Tennessee, suffering from dehydration, when the specialty formula they rely on ran out. The patients, a toddler and a preschooler, suffer from a rare intestinal disorder. They rely on that formula for their nutrition.

Joining me now is the doctor who treated those children, the chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Dr. Mark Corkins. He's also the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Doctor, good to have you with us this morning. First, can you give us an update on the children, how are they doing?

DR. MARK CORKINS, DIVISION CHIEF OF PEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGY, LE BONHEUR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: They're doing much better. Actually, we have one home and one's pretty much ready to go home now. We have gotten supply from one of the alternate manufacturers of amino acid- based formula, which is what these children needed.

HILL: Which is so important. And important, I think, too to point out that it is not just an issue of whether you can switch a formula for your infant, but there are children, older children who rely on specific formulas, who have been impacted like these two kids. I'm glad they're doing better.

Looking at the moves that have been announced by the White House, invoking the Defense Production Act, launching Operation Fly Formula, what is your understanding of how quickly that could start to alleviate some of the concern here?

CORKINS: Well, these are great moves, but it's probably going to take weeks, to be honest, before we actually see some real movement and getting some formula back to the people who need it. It is logistics, to be honest with you. No matter what you do, you can get more, but you have to get it out and get it to the people. So we're looking at several weeks at least before we can say, hey, this is over. We can rely -- I don't know if "relax" is the right word, because I'm going to worry for a while until I actually know that the supplies are where it needs to be.

HILL: I think you're not alone, certainly, based on other folks I've spoken with.

While we're waiting, the American Academy of Pediatrics saying this week that babies as young as six months old could have whole cow's milk during the shortage if there isn't any formula there. I can remember, my kids are a lot older, but I can remember, it was very clear that a baby should not have cow's milk before the age of one year. It doesn't sound like you're really on board with this guidance.

CORKINS: Well, no, the guidance is short term. So if you're completely out of formula, you can use cow's milk as a stopgap. And what it actually says is a couple of days until you find formula. Also, that's the same guidance with the follow-up formula, some of these toddler formulas and next step formulas that are designed, they're designed for older kids. They're not as complete. So those are, like, stopgaps. What the AAP is saying if you are completely out of formula and can't find any, so for a day or two you can use whole cow's milk or you can use an older kid formula until you find formula.

HILL: Do you worry, though, about the confusion, right? Because even though they say it is only for a couple of days, this goes against what pretty much what every parent has likely heard from their pediatrician?

CORKINS: It absolutely is. And that's the worry. For kids under six months, we're not recommending anything but the formula, because that's your sole source of nutrition, either breast milk or formula for six months. After six months, you start to put some solids in the diet and you get nutrients from those as well.

But you're still not completely on a full, well-rounded diet until usually around a year of age. So, now if you're completely out of formula, you can't give water. You don't want to dilute formula. So in a stopgap measure, two or three days of something. But, again, you should not go to whole cow's milk, you shouldn't switch over completely until your age.

HILL: Yes, it's an important distinction. Dr. Mark Corkins, good to have you with us this morning. Thank you.

CORKINS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: Was he the nicest doctor or what?

HILL: So lovely. Wouldn't you feel better if you called him and he was your pediatrician?

BERMAN: Yes, I would have had more kids so I could have him as my pediatrician.

HILL: Wow. There's an update. Kerry, good luck. We're going to shift gears now and I'm get you out of this hole you're digging because I love you.

Let's talk politics. The Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor a leading voice in overturning the 2020 election raising concerns among members of his own party. We have new CNN reporting ahead.


BERMAN: Plus, an economy on edge, gas prices hitting a new record, retailers getting hit, and Wall Street taking a dive.

Also, a former Russian colonel who gave a rare grave assessment of Putin's war on Ukraine now seems to be walking it all back.


BERMAN: The super tight race for the Republican Senate nomination in Pennsylvania is even tighter this morning. Look at where things stand right now. Mehmet Oz just 1,200 votes ahead of Dave McCormick at this point. If you're watching yesterday, you will know that Oz had a lead of about 2,500 votes yesterday. Now that lead does appear to be shrinking.

The important thing here is to count all the votes that are out there. We don't know exactly how many ballots are left to count. It does still seem there are thousands, some of them by mail. And they are being counted right now. But as they are counted, the margin is getting ever smaller. This will almost definitely trigger an automatic recount in that state. Erica?

HILL: Meantime, Republicans are already getting nervous about Doug Mastriano's victory in the Pennsylvania's GOP primary for governor. Mastriano still spreading lies about the 2020 election. Let's go live to Capitol Hill and CNN's Melanie Zanona. Melanie, good morning.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Good morning. Yes, so Republicans are not only worried that Doug Mastriano is too extreme to win the governor's mansion come November, they're also worried that he could drag down whoever their Senate candidate winds up being.


Doug Mastriano is a hard right candidate who is backed by Donald Trump. He's been one of the biggest promoters about lies about the 2020 election, and he was here in Washington on January 6th for the Stop the Steal rally. And top Republicans want the midterms to be focused on crime, inflation, the border, they do not want this to be a discussion about the 2020 election.

That might work with a core segment of the base, but they do not believe it is the type of message that can win over the moderate voters who are necessary to win in a battleground state like Pennsylvania.

Here's just a sampling of what some Republican senators told CNN yesterday.

Lindsey Graham: I don't think 2020 is what people are going to want to think about.

Thom Tillis: I think in some of these particularly battleground states, that might not be a winning message.

Mitt Romney: Mastriano wouldn't have been my choice.

Now, the Senate GOP primaries have not been called. But, remember, the entire control of the Senate could hinge on Pennsylvania. We currently have the 50/50 Senate, the seat that is up for grabs in Pennsylvania is currently represented by a Republican, but it is a swing state and it went for Joe Biden in 2020.

So the stakes here are incredibly high. And that explains why there is so much anxiety in the GOP about Mastriano's rise and about his potential impact on the Senate race, Erica.

HILL: Oh, it's going to be a busy few months. Melanie Zanona, thank you.

BERMAN: So, we heard from Whitney Wild about a new warning from the Department of Homeland Security about potential threats to the public and members of the Supreme Court following the leak of a draft opinion that looks to overturn Roe v. Wade. U.S. Marshals will provide around the clock security at the homes of all nine Supreme Court justices.

Joining me now is independent Senator Angus King of Maine. He serves on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committee.

And, Senator King, this Homeland Security bulletin here, a memo, I should say, is pretty concerning. It says: Across a broad range of ideologies, people across a broad range of ideologies are attempting to justify and inspire attacks against abortion-related targets and ideological opponents at lawful protests.

Is this something you've been briefed on, Senator?

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): We haven't been briefed on it yet. I think we have a briefing either today or early next week, but I've been following the issue. It's deeply concerning, John.

We're getting to a place where we're normalizing violence as a solution to political problems. And that's -- that's just a tragic development.

But I think there's an important point underneath this, and that is that people who are in positions like myself who have an opportunity to talk to the public, whether it is on television, or through a blog or something online, a Facebook post, really have to think twice about what we're unleashing. Often people say things and they think, well, you know, we're being

passionate and, you know, leading our followers, but they're liable to strike a chord with somebody that, you know, like this young man in New York, that may not be so rational and may not be prepared to have the normal constraints.

So words count. Language counts. And I have observed over time that people have had an opportunity to lead have a real responsibility to be measured, not that you give up your First Amendment rights, but you do have to be thoughtful.

And that's what worries me. It's a two-pronged problem. It's people prone to violence, and then people stoking it.

BERMAN: So, Senator, a NATO official has told CNN that the momentum in Ukraine seems to be shifting toward the Ukrainians, which I'm sure delights you. What upsets you, though, is that in a way U.S. intelligence didn't see this coming. Or at least ten weeks ago before this all started there was a lack of intelligence about in a way how good the Ukrainians were or their will to fight.

Why is this of such concern to you?

KING: Well, first, I want to say that the U.S. intelligence community, the world intelligence community did a sensational job before the -- before the invasion of warning people where the Russians were, what their intentions were, where they were posted along the Ukrainian border.

And I think the Biden administration made a brilliant decision to release that information, which is somewhat unusual. Usually intelligence is held close. And releasing that information allowed the NATO and the world to rally at the time of the invasion.

My concern is, and it goes back to Afghanistan as well, we didn't do as good a job of assessing what would happen after the invasion, that you used the term will to fight. Same thing in Afghanistan, and I do serve on the intelligence committee, I hear all these reports all the time, plus what we get in the public press.

And in Afghanistan, the prediction was the Afghan government would last months or years after we left. That turned out to be catastrophically wrong. The government collapsed two weeks before we left.


In Ukraine, it was the opposite. We overestimated the Russians and underestimated the Ukrainians. In the public press, you saw reports, we all saw them in February, if the Russians invade, they'll be in Kyiv in three days and the country will fall in two weeks. That turns out to be terribly wrong.

Had we had a better estimate of that information, we could have prepositioned materials on the border, we could have had aid to the Ukrainians much quicker in the early days of the conflict.

I'm not blaming anybody here. I'm just saying this is something we need to do better.

It's is hard. It's much harder to assess will to fight or the leadership of Zelenskyy versus the non-leadership of Ghani, but it's important and I think there are ways that we can -- we can work at that. I know the intelligence community now is doing some soul- searching about how do we assess this and make better decisions based upon better information.

BERMAN: Senator, before we started speaking, you heard the report from Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill, it had to do with Doug Mastriano getting the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania.

This is someone who to this day holds on to the big lie, the idea that the Pennsylvania -- the election of Pennsylvania was rigged or false and wanted to throw out the election results.

If he wins, he'll be governor of Pennsylvania, and he would have the power to basically decide if the election gets certified in Pennsylvania next time around.

How much of a concern is that, that these election deniers might be coming in to positions of power over the next year?

KING: It's a serious concern and you put your finger on it. I'm not so concerned about somebody that, you know, thinks the election was stolen. I mean, they're going to think what they think regardless of the facts.

But the problem is if he gets himself in a position where he can actually put his finger on the scale of the results, refuse to certify the election, for example, or just, you know, just ignore the results of the vote no matter what it is. And that's really dangerous and this is happening all over the country. This is the most high profile case.

But there are people running for secretary of state in various states who have control over the election machinery and it's -- it's really a problem. It's one of the reasons we have to fix and shore up something called the Electoral Count Act which goes back to the 1870s that defines how this process is supposed to work so that a rogue governor or a rogue legislature can't overcome the will of the people and that there is some recourse to the courts if that is attempted.

But you ask the right question, and that's -- it is not so much what he thinks happened in 2020, it's what he might do in 2024 that I think should be of concern to all of us, including the people of Pennsylvania.

BERMAN: Senator Angus King, always a pleasure to speak with you. Thanks so much for being with us.

KING: Thanks, John. Great to see you.

BERMAN: Oil tanks sitting nearly empty in New York harbor, fueling warnings that diesel prices are about to skyrocket.

HILL: Yeah, they're already high.

Meantime, President Biden about to embark on his first trip to Asia since taking office. How the U.S. is prepping for all scenarios if North Korea fires a missile.



HILL: The next looming crisis fuel shortages. This as diesel prices skyrocket. Diesel right now, a record $5.58 a gallon today and key tanks like these you're seeing in New York harbor, those tanks supply the Northeast, and they're running dry.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us live from that harbor.

Diesel is like the workhorse of the global economy. So, give us a sense with supply running low, prices running extra high, how bad could this get?


New York harbor is critical to the U.S. supply chain. That is because oil tankers come into harbor, they dock here. They unload fuel into these oil tanks that you can see just behind me. That could be fuel for cars, diesel, for trucks and jet fuel for planes.

Diesel, especially critical right now, $5.58 a gallon nationwide, as you mentioned. That is a record that has oil analysts concerned. We spent a sunnier day on the water with an oil expert who told us why he's concerned and what that means for you.


DENTON CINQUEGRANA, CHIEF OIL ANALYST, OPIS: It could be gasoline, it could be diesel, it could be jet fuel. So, but that fuel is eventually going to be distributed. Right now, those tank levels are pretty low, though.

YURKEVICH: Is that concerning for you?

CINQUEGRANA: Absolutely.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): These oil tanks in New York harbor sit at alarmingly low levels not seen in 30 years, as demand outpaces supply.

CINQUEGRANA: Over there.

YURKEVICH: This is one of seven critical fuel points across the country, supplying our nation's gas stations, planes, trucks and homes, critical to fueling the U.S. supply chain.

CINQUEGRANA: And really high diesel prices get passed on to the consumer. Whether that's for construction, whether that's for delivering groceries to the grocery store where you buy whatever it is you need.

YURKEVICH: U.S. diesel prices are already at record highs, with particular pain here in the Northeast. And now with tankers like these exporting much needed diesel to Europe, instead of supplying the U.S., prices are spiking higher. But there are also fewer U.S. diesel refineries after years of closures to make up that difference in supply.

CINQUEGRANA: Right now, there is a global shortage of diesel. It's really tight.

YURKEVICH: Katie Child, owner of Berkshire Energy Depot in New Haven, Connecticut, is responsible for setting the price of diesel here.

How does it feel to have to make the price higher every day?

KATIE CHILD, OWNER, BERKSHIRE ENERGY DEPOT: You can see the pain in their face when they come in and see the price and you just -- you apologize and say I'm sorry, there's nothing -- there's nothing I can do about it.

YURKEVICH: She's a small business owner who services other small businesses.