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Experts: Ukraine is Suddenly Losing Ground Against Russia; Monica Lewinsky: We're All Guilty of Courtroom Porn in Depp Trial; California Restricts Water Amid Historic Megadrought. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 01, 2022 - 08:30   ET



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And vast swathes of this country now as we've been reporting, are falling increasingly under Russian, the size there as well, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think that's the concern, what you're seeing the aftermath of what you're seeing up here could soon happen in places like severed (ph). And so right here, which is about to fall, it seems to the Russians. Matthew Chance, thank you so much for your reporting.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's bring in CNN Chief National Correspondent and Anchor of Inside Politics, John King to talk about this. The losses here are pretty tremendous. I mean, I think everyone thinks back to how Ukrainians drove the Russians out of the Kyiv area, but it's very different in the east, the tolls -- the toll is huge, both geographic and human.

KING: If you look at the map that, John, was just standing at, if you go back to the beginning of this, Russia controlled or had pro-Russia forces controlling about 30% of the Donbass Region, now depending on which analysts you trust 60% to 70% of the Donbass Region. There's a crescent, if you will, in the east, it's now under Russian control, which is why Ukraine is appealing for more rockets, for heavier weapons, for smarter weapons, more sophisticated targeting systems, you see the United States and Germany just today responding to that, but Russia is making gains, they are slow, and they are plotting, but they are very, very significant.

If you look at the map again, and you think Putin sway, right? We don't think Putin sway. Putin took Crimea in 2014, he still holds it. His take is that a year from now, we will not be willing to have this conversation that the West will not be willing to keep sending arms, that the Europeans will not be willing to suffer higher prices from an energy embargo against Russia. Putin's play is that we will just get distracted the West, will get distracted and move on to something else. Those gains are significant.

Now, the Ukrainians say we will fight and we will fight. But if you read what the President says today, in announcing he's going to send these new rocket systems there, the President's trying to find a middle ground, number one, which can you find a middle ground in a war. But number two, if you read between the lines, the president suddenly say, and this is going to be months and months and months and months.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is interesting, John, because you mentioned, President Biden wrote an op-ed on Ukraine, this follows an op-ed on other subjects as well. He now is doing something that we've seen in White House's since you know, since we were kids, which is when presidents decide they have to take their message right to the people, what does that tell you?

KING: Well, it's admirable in the sense that it's taking responsibility. It's under his name. It's not senior administration official, or it's not even though the White House press secretary or somebody at the Pentagon, or somebody the Treasury Department. So on inflation, the President says, I'm going to do my best here. But look, please, look, there's a lot of underlying strength in the U.S. economy.

On Ukraine, the President is trying to say no, I'm not going to give them long range rockets that -- so you'll find made in the USA outside of some building that has been leveled deep inside of Russia. But I'm going to give them rockets that can reach, say, 50 miles or so, so that Ukraine can defend itself better in the east. Its ownership, number one. The question is, it's also accountability, John. You know, the President can make the case and he's right. Look around the globe, inflation is everywhere. Rising energy prices are everywhere, contextually much of this would be happening, no matter who was president.

Now, Republicans would say stimulus spending by the Biden administration or their energy policies. On the margins, that's a fair debate. But you understand how politics works. I've been doing this for 37 years. The Treasury Secretary yesterday gave Republicans a campaign ad. The other presidents on the record saying inflation will be transitory. She said I was wrong, the Republicans are going to have an ad by the end of the day at the end of the week, saying, don't listen to us, listen to them.

KEILAR: Is it a policy problem, though? Is it a communications problem? Or is it a policy problem? And does he have anything? Is there anything he can really do? Besides try to communicate it, besides trying to message with Obetz (ph)?

KING: It depends on the issue, in the sense of inflation, what can the President do, or gas prices, he can draw down more from the strategic petroleum reserves. He did that remember, modest, it's a modest step, the President does not have that many weapons at his disposal here. It was a modest step. Gas prices went down for a few weeks. Now, they're spiking back up again. So you can't get into this cycle.

So what the President is trying to say is I'm on top of this. I think an important point he makes in that articles. I grew up in a family like this. I understand. I grew up in a family like that. I understand when the price of gas goes up and the price of food goes up. I understand the stress on the system very, very well. The empathy part, the President is very good at. The policy part, there's not a lot he can do. Not any president can do, that move the price of gas. His problem is, he's in charge right now. We are now in June of a midterm election year. And again, we've all done this a long time, can he move the trajectory, make people feel better about the economy, make people feel better about gas prices, make people settle and say, OK, I understand it's going to cost billions and billions of dollars. But we're going to be in Ukraine for a very long time. Can he change the trajectory? It gets really hard, you know, history -- if you go back through, there's always an exception to the rule. But if you go back to presidents in midterm election years, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, where they are now is about where they end up in November. If anything, they go down a little bit when you're in tough circumstances like this. So the President's taking charge right now, because he understands he has a problem. He has a problem and he's trying to fix it, can he? That's why we're here.


BERMAN: So, John, in our reoccurring weekly segment of amazing catches with you, I want to play a catch at the Mets-Nationals game. I'm going to put my glasses on, for this -- it's a homerun ball, you can see it. And then in the stands, there's a father who leans over and catches it. But what's in his other hand there, John.

KEILAR: A child, let me answer the question.

KING: Yes, you remember the old announcer at Baltimore, you say give that fan a contract, right? The -- that's a great catch. I like to ask what mom -- how mom feels about that. Dad leaning over the fence, so to catch the ball. But, you know, John, last time we were here, you had a Cincinnati Reds fan catching a beer and I was saying that catching a ball and his beer and I was saying, you know, drink that beer because he's a Cincinnati fan. They beat our Red Sox last night, John, so maybe -- maybe we should sign that guy. We should sign that guy.

BERMAN: I believe it was the Red's first one of the season and fittingly it comes against the Boston Red Sox.

KEILAR: Can we just agree, three points of contact? Don't we know that? He had two, he did not have three. And I agree with you, John, I hope that baseball is a warm pillow in that doghouse that he's going to be sleeping in.

KING: Now he made the catch and the baby is safe. All's well, that ends well and that that little kid now has a baseball forever. It's good. It's all good.

KEILAR: All right. John King, thank you so much.

So, a victim of a mass shooting on New York City subway is now suing the gunmaker, does she have a case?

BERMAN: And Monica Lewinsky weighing in on the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, why she says we are all guilty. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KEILAR: Monica Lewinsky is weighing in on the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, in a piece for Vanity Fair, Lewinsky criticizes what she calls courtroom porn, writing, "We are drenched in the taint of the dirt and digression of the social media wars. The obsessive chatter around the Depp-Heard trial is just one small example of the ever-expanding, ever-demanding search for Schadenfreude and titillation. No matter whom the jury's verdict favors, be it defendant Heard or plaintiff Depp, we are guilty."

Joining us now is civil rights attorney and advocate Nancy Erika Smith. She represented Gretchen Carlson in a highly publicized sexual harassment case against Fox News and Roger Ailes. Nancy, thank you so much for being with us. What do you think about what Monica Lewinsky said? Do you agree with it?

NANCY ERIKA SMITH, ATTORNEY, SMITH MULLIN: Well, it's complicated. I agree with part of it, there may be an element Schadenfreude, especially watching these two very privileged people sort of be gladiators to death in the Coliseum.

On the other hand, maybe we're watching because as a society, we're interested in this issue, finally, the issue of abuse and sexual harassment and sexual abuse, domestic violence. And it could be a reaction to me too. Or it could also be that as a society, we are finally interested in these topics. And we want to explore as a culture, what should we be doing about these topics, and courtrooms are the perfect place for it to happen because courtrooms are truth seeking, social media is so toxic, and so misogynist. And I totally agree with Monica Lewinsky, who was treated universally badly and abused and used by everyone. The President of the United States, Linda Tripp star, Karl Rove, and all the mainstream media as -- we didn't have, thank God for her, social media it to that extent in 1996.

But in this case, I find that the mainstream media is much more sensitive. The mainstream media isn't doing to Amber Heard, who has more power and more agency than Monica Lewinsky did at '21. They're not treating her the way social media is. So I think we shouldn't make that distinction. We're not all reading the incredibly sexist misogyny that's happening on social media by trolls. We are paying attention but it may not be bad. It may be that we are learning something. This is a highly dysfunctional, toxic relationship. And maybe we're all learning something about ourselves and about how to treat one another. And juries are the perfect place for it to happen. It's a true seeking functional.

KEILAR: Well, so talking about the British court found the Amber Heard -- you know, they found for Amber Heard in many, many counts, which is not nothing. I mean, that is significant. The question here is, did she perpetrate violence? And obviously, she's appeared in this to have there -- have been some issues in truth telling, and I know that you feel that way about the accounts that she's been giving. Tell us about your experience with victims, truth telling, and how this affects other victims.

SMITH: Well, truth telling is everything. I'm a lawyer, I've represented 1000s of victims in the last 40 years. Literally, I can recall about five who were lying. And those five made me really angry because they hurt real victims. So lying is a serious problem. It's true, Ms. Heard has been found to have been untruthful on many occasions during this trial, and all about her charitable contributions about many things. And her easily saying that any witness who contradicts her is just a psycho fan committing perjury is also disturbing. I mean, there's an airport security guard, there's a landlord. I don't think that everybody lightly goes into court, raises their hand and commits perjury.

So it is hurtful, that she has not told the truth about things during the trial, and that hurts other victims. But men suing for defamation is also a serious problem. We live in a society where in general, not necessarily I mean, there may be some power imbalance between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, but Amber Heard is not my Monica Lewinsky. She's not a 21-year-old with no power, no P.R. team, no money. That is not where we are.


So it's disturbing that men who have more power and more money across the world are suing victims who speak out. An example is Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, he was a famous anchor in France, 30 women came forward and said that he was sexually violent towards them. Many who worked for him, have incredible power relationship, many 20, 30 years younger than him. He's using defamation, to silence those women and suing 20 of them. So it's dangerous to silence victims. But it's also important that we always focus on the truth. The truth is really -- and in a democracy jury trials are really the best way to find the truth.

Now, I wasn't able to watch the trial in London. So there's been some testimony in this trial that a lot of evidence was excluded in London. I don't know it wasn't a jury. It was a judge.

KEILAR: Yeah. No, it's a -- Nancy, it is a good point that you make there. Nancy, we will continue this conversation another day as well. Nancy Erika Smith, we appreciate you joining us.

SMITH: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: In a series of deadly wildlife encounters, a woman is killed after approaching a bison in Yellowstone. We'll have details ahead.

BERMAN: And millions of Californians, about to face sweeping water restrictions as the Southwest mega drought intensifies.



BERMAN: Dramatic new water restrictions begin this morning in parts of California, some 6 million people in Southern California, one of the areas hardest hit by drought, now limited to watering their lawns just one day a week. CNN's Stephanie Elam live in Los Angeles. This is a serious issue, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, John. In some of the places they can water two days a week. It's different depending upon the agencies. But the one you just referenced there this is the first time they're putting in mandatory restrictions in their 100 year history. But today is the day across California, people are going to have to pay attention to how much water they use outdoors.


ELAM (voice-over): With no rainfall and record high temperatures exacerbating the already dry conditions, the Southwest mega drought is intensifying. 11% of California is now in exceptional drought. The worst designation according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Add to that Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir, which keeps draining to unprecedented lows, from human bones to old boats. The precipitous fall is revealing secrets long hidden underwater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's probably two V8 engines under the mud.

ELAM: For the first time, Lake Mead, which supplies water to millions of people in the West has fallen to a level that may force the federal government to institute a second tier of unprecedented water restrictions, following the first round of cuts in January. Officials now say it's likely to drop another 12 feet by this fall. By September 2023, the government expects the lake will only be 19% full. For the Southwest, that can mean the most severe level of water cuts.

PATTI AARON, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, LOWER COLORADO BASIN: We're falling about a foot a week right now because of the agricultural demands downstream.

ELAM: California is one of those states that relies on water from Lake Mead. Its two largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville are at critically low levels. At just half of their historical averages.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We are doing what we had signaled, was likely to happen.

ELAM: For months, Governor Gavin Newsom has called on residents and businesses to voluntarily cut their water usage by 15%. But in March, urban water usage rose by 19% from the same month and 2020, spurring Newsom to pressure the state's largest urban water suppliers to beef up their water conservation efforts or potentially face a significant reduction in water use statewide this summer.

In response, municipalities and agencies are taking action. The State Water Resources Control Board voted to ban watering any ornamental turf at commercial sites. In Los Angeles, outdoor watering is only allowed two days a week. In the Bay Area, at least two water districts are enforcing excessive water usage with fines. The East Bay Municipal Utility District is also prepared to release the names of customers who excessively violate the mandatory restrictions, all this and it's not even summer yet.


ELAM: And that is the scary part. And why are they targeting outdoor watering? It's simply because some of the agencies say anywhere between 30% to 70% of what people spend to water, to use water their homes, is for outdoor landscaping and so because of that, they feel like it's an easy way to make sure that there's water there for others. All of this though, John, it's important to keep in mind that looking at this drought or saying that it is very intense and being made more intense because the human induced climate crisis. John.

BERMAN: And what you said it's not even summer yet, Stephanie Elam, an important report. Thank you.

So Star Wars calling out racist attacks against one of the stars of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

KEILAR: And K-pop stars BTS making their White House debut and they're in good company.



KEILAR: Time now for five things to know for your New Day. Investigators say the gunman in the Texas School shooting did not enter through a propped open back door, rather a teacher did shut the door but it failed to lock.

BERMAN: The U.S. will provide Ukraine with more advanced rocket systems ammunitions that allow rockets to launch about 49 miles, far further than anything Ukraine has been sent today.

KEILAR: A woman hurt in the mass shooting on a New York City subway is now suing gunmaker Glock, accusing the company of endangering public health and safety.

BERMAN: Two people are dead after encounters with dangerous wild animals. One woman was killed by a bison that she approached in Yellowstone National Park. And a man in Florida died from an alligator attack in a lake while he was trying to get a Frisbee in the water.

KEILAR: K-Pop superstars BTS met with President Biden at the White House to discuss the alarming rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. The pop group joined the ranks of many celebrities to appear at the White House press briefing, including Angelina Jolie, Olivia Rodrigo, Bill Murray, Allison Janney and last but not least, Gronk.