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Queen Elizabeth Marks 70 Years On The British Throne; Ukraine's First Lady: Conceding Territory Won't End The War; More Than 100 Midterm Campaign Ads Feature Guns. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 02, 2022 - 07:30   ET





BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: She matched, really, especially.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: So there we see her. The queen making her first appearance in this 4-day celebration of her 70-year reign -- a Platinum Jubilee.

Interesting there, Emily, watching how she handled her game because she was accompanied there. I mean, it's always poignant, isn't it, these days when you see her without her life partner who was Prince Philip. This time, someone else stepping up to support her and it was the Duke of Kent, her first cousin -- someone she's very close to. Someone the wider public probably don't know but he works very hard behind the scenes.

EMILY NASH, CNN ROYAL CONTRIBUTOR, ROYAL CORRESPONDENT, HELLO! MAGAZINE: Absolutely. He's someone who has served for the queen throughout his life. He's now 86. And looking at them on the balcony with a combined age of 182 years, you can't begin to imagine what they have seen together.


NASH: So it absolutely makes sense that he would be at her side for such a historic moment.

FOSTER: Wearing the same outfit she wore in her official photograph, which was taken earlier in the year. This is her Jubilee outfit, I think we can decide. She looks really well. I mean, what did you make? She's standing there with a walking stick. But her age -- 96 -- you know, she's looking pretty good.

NOBILO: Yes, and she's a robust woman and she always has been. And we saw that clearly displayed.

And it really struck me covering all the tumultuous times in Britain over the last few years there are really very few symbols that the country can unite upon because there are different ideas about what British culture means -- very different -- and we see that resembled in all the arguments over Boris Johnson. Very different ideas about what it means to be British in terms --


NOBILO: -- of identity.

And the queen is one of the few figures remaining, whether or not you are a monarchist or you have republican tendencies, the people respect and identify with as a British person and is recognized the world over. And to see her watching Trooping of Colour as somebody who has such a connection to the military as well, recognizing her 70 years, it's a -- it's a very significant moment.

FOSTER: Well, actually, as you have, Emily, I'm sure, stood at the window there behind the balcony and you can't actually see down the mall. This is this huge monument in front of you. You can only see what's in front of you. On this side, there's this massive stage which is for the Jubilee concert on Saturday night. So she wouldn't be able to see much but there are big crowds here.

Let's cross to Anna. A bit of a shame the queen can't really see the crowds there because they're in fine spirits, aren't they?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: They are in such fine spirits and so many people I've spoken to today said they are here to see the queen. And hopefully, now that the very last -- you can just see in the background the last troops from the Household Division are heading towards Buckingham Palace -- perhaps we will be able to get a bit closer and see the royal family when they take to the balcony for the big royal flypast.

It has been an electric atmosphere here today. We knew thousands of people would turn up -- they always do. But I feel like it was bigger than even I actually really expected. Some people camped out overnight just so they could get a front spot on the mall.

You will now see some of the vehicles cleaning up behind all the horses, Max, who left rather a mess. But there's still cheers from the crowds for that. That is how excited people are here.

Now, plenty of people traveled from overseas. I've met people from Canada and South Africa this morning just for this event often as big families to all celebrate together. Lots of people saying that this might be the last Jubilee for this queen and they very much wanted to pay their respects.

I also think there's an element of opportunities (ph) of the pandemic. Having a huge get-together where you really feel the crowds. So many people can celebrate. It's been a fantastic morning so far -- an incredible thing. This is just day one of a 4-day extravaganza -- Max.

FOSTER: Absolutely right.

And Brianna, we're not going to see another one of these. This is why there's so much excitement here. A big moment at the top of the hour when the working royals will come out on the balcony and watch a flypast of an incredibly -- an incredible 70 planes. I mean, we haven't seen that for a long time here in the U.K. And there's good weather, so we know it will actually happen this time.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it is a beautiful day that they have for this, I will tell you, Max.

All right, thank you guys so much. We'll be, of course, revisiting with you here in just a moment when they do all come out there on the balcony.

Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and they are outgunned in the east of the country. One city, head officials there say, is nearing complete Russian control.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And an exclusive CNN interview. A former key player in the House January 6 Committee is describing some of the evidence uncovered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My bemusement turned into horror pretty quickly when I saw some of the language that was being used in there. I actually had to get away from the computer a couple of times as I was looking at these text messages.



BERMAN: What his team saw, ahead.


KEILAR: Russia is on the verge of capturing a key city in Eastern Ukraine and officials there say Russian forces now occupy about 80% of Syeverodonetsk as street fighting continues.

In an interview with ABC News, the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, said conceding territory to Russia won't end the war.


OLENA ZELENSKA, FIRST LADY OF UKRAINE (through translator): Of course, Ukrainians cannot react normally to such statements from the leaders of big countries because we are not prepared to concede our freedom, our territory. One cannot lose part of one's territory and relax, unfortunately.


Our aggressor will not stop at parts of our territory because they will not seize until they destroy us completely.

So we have no choice but to fight for our independence and our freedom to the end. Therefore, we cannot accept statements by these leaders as normal. No Ukrainian will accept it.


KEILAR: Joining me now is the former NATO supreme allied commander, retired Adm. James Stavridis. And he's also the author of "To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision," which is a fascinating look at several decision makers and decision points.

Sir, I do want to ask you just straight up, is Ukraine losing right now?

ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, AUTHOR, "TO RISK IT ALL: NINE CONFLICTS AND THE CRUCIBLE OF DECISION" (via Skype): No, I don't think so, Brianna. You know, life is kind of compared to what, and if you go back 90 days ago, then I would have felt like boy, they're going to lose this thing. That's when we thought the Russians were going to sweep across the entire country and take over the capital, and that was plan A.

We're not in plan B. This is, frankly, a smaller level of conflict but it accrues advantage to the Russians, Brianna, because they can pack their forces in a much smaller area. They can overcome some of the logistics challenges they faced when they were spread out.

So, no, I don't think the Ukrainians are on the verge of losing in a big, sweeping way but you are going to see days where the Ukrainians score some hits in the converse with the Russians. Look for the Russians to grind it out for another month, two months. They won't gain a lot of territory but I think what's in Putin's mind is grab as much as he can and then start to look for a negotiation.

KEILAR: And tell us about the Black Sea. You're really looking to the Black Sea as the next front here.

STAVRIDIS: Thanks for asking the admiral about the sea. And yes, if there's going to be a sudden jump shift in what's happening, that shift will come as a result of Western efforts to get grain out of Ukraine. As we've all been following, a great deal of the world's grain supply is effectively bottled up -- locked into Ukraine because it normally moves by sea and because the Russians control the Black Sea.

So, you're hearing conversations -- and I've been part of several -- about the idea of opening some kind of humanitarian corridor at sea in international waters and escorting these grain tankers back and forth. The Russians may object to that. That could be viewed as provocative. There is risk involved in doing that. But I think if you look to the sea you might see another movement on this battlefront in the coming weeks.

KEILAR: I said your book is fascinating and I very much meant it. Because you talk about being fascinated by decision makers, some of whom make amazing decisions. They give their own lives in the course of making decisions that save other lives.

And I have to be honest. I think one of the things that -- I thought of President Zelenskyy but I also thought of what we saw last week in Uvalde in the context of your book. Because you know that we are talking so much about the decision of the commanding chief there on the ground not to go in there for so long for more than an hour and neutralized this shooter.

And I just wonder as you have examined all of these decision makers and decisions that they've made what your reflections on that are?

STAVRIDIS: Yes, let's point out that the book "To Risk It All" is about making decisions under extreme stress and when time is compressed. And I think that there are many examples in naval operations and I highlight a few.

But your point is exactly right, Brianna. This moment can come for anybody at any time.

On the police chief in Uvalde, we're going to learn a lot more on a quick reaction to that. That teen did not appear to be willing to risk it all.

But let me give you a much better story from several weeks ago. You'll remember another one of these awful mass shootings in Laguna Woods, California. A congregation there, doors all locked. Gunman comes in -- what happens?

A doctor -- a 52-year-old doctor -- remember his name, Dr. John Cheng -- Chinese-American -- rushes the gunman. He risks it all. He knocks down the gunman. The congregation then piles on him and subdues him. Sadly, one person was killed, Dr. John Cheng. He chose to risk it all at that moment.

The idea of the book is to prepare us for moments like that.


KEILAR: Yes, it is a -- it's such an important look at those moments of crisis and stress where you realize that you could define your life and other lives, as you describe in this book, by those decisions you make.

Really appreciate you, Admiral. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

STAVRIDIS: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Coastal communities from Maine, South Florida, to Texas are spending millions of dollars to maintain their shores. See the devastating and costly impact of rising sea levels, ahead.

BERMAN: And when did baby formula manufacturers know the recall would lead to a nationwide crisis, and when did President Biden know?


BERMAN: By one measurement, the attack in Tulsa marked the 233rd mass shooting this year. It is notable where you are seeing so much gun imagery.


John Avlon with a reality check.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know the Onion headline, right? "No way to prevent this." Says the "only nation where this regularly happens."

It cuts to the heart of our bloody American exceptionalism when it comes to guns. How did we get her where we don't blink at the fact that we've had more mass shootings than days, so far this year. Where the mass shooting last night at a hospital in Tulsa, which killed at least four people, is the 20th mass shooting in America since the slaughter of 19 schoolkids in Uvalde, Texas just over one week ago.

This isn't about the Second Amendment, it's not about self-defense, and it's definitely not going to be fixed by thoughts and prayers. We all know that on some level this stalemate is because of our politics and culture. Gun politics, gun culture.

Take a look at our political ads because they've increasingly gone gun nuts. This is a frog in a boiling pot of water problem. The ads are local and so it can be hard to see the national trends.

But get this. There have been more than 100 political ads so far this year featuring guns, according to an analysis by The New York Times. And this just isn't fringe figures trying to appeal to single-issue Second Amendment voters anymore, although that does account for some of it.


CAMPAIGN AD, JAKE BEQUETTE FOR U.S. SENATE: Babies, borders, bullets -- values we cherish.

CAMPAIGN AD, J.R. MAJEWSKI FOR CONGRESS: And I'm willing to do whatever it takes to return this country back to its former glory.


CAMPAIGN AD, JOSH MANDEL FOR U.S. SENATE: Josh Mandel, pro-God, pro- gun, pro-Trump.

CAMPAIGN AD, KANDISS TAYLOR FOR GOVERNOR: I believe in Jesus, guns, and babies.


AVLON: You notice how many of those ads boil down to values to three words like babies, borders, bullets or Jesus, guns, babies? Now, there's no way they could have known that we'd be reeling from the second-deadliest elementary school shooting in our history but it's a reminder that babies and bullets are a bad combination, especially if you fancy yourself pro-life. But these aren't accidents or outliers, right? It's part of a play to the base strategy. And even incumbents can't wait to take their constituents to the gun show.



CAMPAIGN AD, TED BUDD FOR U.S. SENATE: Did we mention he owns a gun range?



AVLON: Now, we should all know that being responsible isn't an asset in Republican primaries these days, so you might as well be blowing stuff up, right?

Look, I get it in states where winning the primary is like winning the general election. But this cycle, we've seen would-be senators from a swing state strain to outgun each other.


CAMPAIGN AD, MEHMET OZ FOR U.S. SENATE: I've been shooting and hunting my whole life.

CAMPAIGN AD, DAVE MCCORMICK FOR U.S. SENATE: As a teenager, I hunted with a .30-06. At West Point, we marched with this Springfield.


AVLON: And what passes for a scandal these days is Dr. Oz trying to deny that he once repeatedly warned that America's high rates of gun violence were unhealthy, but anything else would be malpractice.

But in the wake of an attack on our Capitol when the rhetoric of civil war is getting thrown around in our politics, this reflects an obsession with showing off your guns feels like folks preparing for Armageddon.

But here's the thing. It didn't happen overnight. More than a decade ago, there were trend pieces being written about guns increasingly showing up in political ads with the same frame dusted off for the 2014 midterms, and that was before a presidential candidate who doesn't look so home on the range was bragging about how he could shoot somebody and not lose any support.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP) AVLON: Why does this matter? Well, as former Pence adviser Olivia Troye explained, it is normalizing and mainstreaming weapons designed and meant to kill.

We see evidence of that almost every day now. And when we blur buns and politics, and when shooting a semiautomatic weapon on camera serves as a character witness and a substitute for policy debate, we are heading to a very dangerous place. Because as any advertising madman can tell you, it's the selling that creates the demand.

And that's your reality check.

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much.

We have no details this morning on the timeline of the mass shooting in Uvalde. A phone call to the gunman while he was in the classroom.

KEILAR: And we'll take you back to Buckingham Palace where celebrations are underway for the queen's Platinum Jubilee. Soon, the royal family will appear on the palace balcony.



(Royal family appearing on Buckingham Palace balcony).

FOSTER: Taking you live to Buckingham Palace. This is the scene on the balcony. The queen marking her 70th year on the throne -- an unprecedented Platinum Jubilee. And surrounded by her close family, but not all the close family -- working members of the royal family, something new this year.

You can see there the Duchess of Cambridge to one side and also Prince Charles, who will be the next king alongside her. He represented her in the last hour at a military parade -- the first time he's done so. This is all part of the wider transition.

And we're about to see a flypast of 70 aircraft. Each aircraft representing a year in the queen's reign. They'll start off with helicopters and end up with the famous British Spitfires, something that the queen always enjoys.

So this is a big, big moment in terms of royal optics. Every 10 years, the queen will bring out what she sees as the modern British royalty. In 2002, the whole balcony was full of extended family. In 2012, it was just core members -- Harry, William, Charles, Camilla, and the queen -- to reflect an austere time.

But this is how she sees the modern monarchy in the twilight of her reign and it's working members of the royal family. And Prince George there in prime position. Actually, that was Louis. George there as well, who will become king one day. And they're going to look up and look at this incredible flypast that the RAF has spent months working on. You can hear the cheers in the crowd. This is a big moment for the queen. We weren't sure if the crowd would be allowed right up to Buckingham Palace. But for her to see all of her subjects cheering for her, its assertion really of her heartfelt position of the center of British culture.

Emily Nash is with me, royal commentator. I mean, it's a big old flypast. It's going to go on for a few minutes.

NASH: It's about to get very, very loud as well, Max. But yes, we are going to see 70 aircraft. And as you say, dating right back to the wartime years of which the queen played a part in. So, for her, this is a real moment of reflection and this is something she's done pretty much every year of her reign.