Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Russian President Vladimir Putin Calls Up 300,000 More Troops to Fight in Ukraine; President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Address United Nations General Assembly; U.S. Federal Reserve Likely to Increase Interest Rates; Class Action Lawsuit Filed against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for Sending Migrants to Martha's Vineyard; Study: Women Who Get Annual Checkup Live Two Years Longer. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 21, 2022 - 08:00   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: You walk on certain streets in this city, and there is a lot of construction. There's a lot of construction around our offices. A lot of cranes.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got to lot to worry about already. This just adds.

HILL: You don't need a crane falling.

BERMAN: I don't need a crane.

HILL: Just for the record, we don't need that. Yes.

So anyway, glad she's OK. We'll see what happens next for the crane operator. Stay with us. NEW DAY continues right now.

BERMAN: Russia President Vladimir Putin calling up 300,000 new troops for the fight in Ukraine. This is the most significant escalation since the Russian invasion began. I'm John Berman with Erica Hill this morning.

And Putin in a national televised addressed announced what he's calling an immediate partial mobilization of Russian citizens. He says that means those in the reserves and with military experience could be drafted into Russia's armed forces.

John Kirby at the White House responded to this escalation just moments ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a serious move, isn't it?

JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: And we expected that. And that's a lot, 300,000. That's almost twice as much as he committed to the war back in February of this year. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A sign the war is going badly for him.

KIRBY: It's definitely a sign that he is struggling, and we know that. Clearly manpower is a problem for him. He feels like he's on his backfoot, particularly in that northeast area of the Donbas.


BERMAN: So in this speech, Putin also used ominous language, nuclear language, pledging to use all means necessary to defend Russia and its people.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is not a bluff. The citizens of Russia can be sure that the territorial integrity of our homeland, our independence and freedom, will be ensured. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction.


HILL: Ominous comments. Putin's comments come against the backdrop of the U.N. General Assembly here in New York. The war in Ukraine already dominating that conversation. Two important speeches we're watching now extra closely today. President Biden is set to speak in just a few hours, and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who will address the world leaders remotely this afternoon.

All of this is occupied Ukrainian regions in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, announced referendums on joining Russia this week, which Ukraine and its allies had dismissed as simply a sham move driven by fear of defeat.

Let's go straight to CNN Nick Paton Walsh who is live in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, good morning. So Nick, what's the latest on the ground there. How are these comments being received?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Stark as these announcements have been and fiery as the rhetoric is, it's important to put some degree of qualification as to what Russia says it's going to do and what it might actually be able to bring to the front lines in the weeks ahead. And 300,000 is a lot, and it is, as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of Russia says, people with military experience, people with specialized skills, and those in the reserves.

But I should point out, the manpower struggle Russia has been having over the past months has been so acute that it's used private mercenary companies to into prisons and send Russian convicts to the front line. So it's pretty bad and it's likely that the groups that Russia is about to call on have possibly already been pressure or tapped to join the war already.

So there are questions as to how many of these 300,000 they can, snap, start today, get on the front line as quickly as possible with the right equipment to actually be impactful because they've really been struggling to keep their armed forces together over the past six months. This is an enormous task for Russia while it's already on its back foot.

But it will lead to some dramatic days ahead. We have these four referenda happening in freshly occupied areas. No doubt about it, these are just a number that we're going to hear on Monday and Tuesday that they allegedly claim that people in those areas want to be part of Russia. Russia will then probably say, OK, we consider you part of our territory.

What does that do to the actual front lines here? Russia is still losing over most of them. It is, it seems, around the town of Bakhmut where we were yesterday seeing some limited success. But does this specter of weapons of mass destruction, the not so veiled nuclear threats, frankly, the blunt nuclear threats Vladimir Putin was making in that speech, does that alter the calculus in the weeks ahead here.

I should add another caveat too, to these nuclear threats we were hearing. While Putin was clear the new mobilization would be used in the freshly occupied areas, he didn't extend that to the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. He was clear they'd just be used to defend Russia's territorial integrity. So an important caveat there, but startling rhetoric, one that should chill people six months into a slow defeat here by Russia. Erica?

HILL: Nick Paton Walsh with the latest for us on the ground in Ukraine. Nick, thank you.

BERMAN: Joining us is former Colonel Yevgeny Vindman. He just returned from Ukraine as part of his work with the State Department Atrocity Crimes Advisory Groups.


Colonel, thank you very much for being with us. I want to show people this is the area where Ukraine has had so much military success pushing the Russians out. Here an area where there's been fierce fighting the last week and also along the lines here. So when you hear Russia mobilizing 300,000 new troops, how do you think and where do you think they will be used?

LT. COL. YEVGENY VINDMAN, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED): So thank you for having me this morning, John. I will say the yellow area I can personally confirm, I was there. That has been liberated. I was there less than a week ago in the upper right corner. And the border of the fighting when I was there is about 70 kilometers, Izyum, you'll see in the right corner there.

And the pictures we're looking at are in the city of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, and the picture you're looking at now is a strike on infrastructure. So it was a power station. There have been six of those strikes in recent times. And the strikes, or the troops are likely to be used to reinforce those areas that the Russians are now trying to build a defensive line. So the border of the yellow and the red, they've been pushed back 70 to 100 kilometers. The offensive continues in that area. They have not fully reestablished lines so they're going to need to reestablish those. And frankly they're going to need to reestablish all along the border also in the south, Kherson.

But those forces are not likely to make an immediate impact. It's a partial mobilization, 300,000. You're going to need to equip them. You're going to need to train them. Some of them may have seen military service at some point in the past. But they're not going to make an immediate impact on the battlefield. It will be weeks or months before they can make some impact.

BERMAN: What about months, though? Look, the winter is coming. It's going to be a cold winter. Could this be something that is influential toward the winter months?

VINDMAN: Potentially. Russians historically have had some success with winter offenses, but frankly, for that matter, so have the Ukrainians. These are in many ways the same people that fought Nazis in World War II, they have experience fighting. These are their native climates. And so I don't see much of an advantage for Russians in winter fighting. If anything the Ukrainians will continue to enjoy an advantage. They have over a million men mobilized, a milling servicemembers, because there's a significant amount of women in the armed forces. And the Russians will continue to be numerically inferior. And, frankly, they've lost a lot of their best equipment in the preceding seven months of war. So the biggest impact on the battlefield, frankly, is still western weapons. If we can give them long range missiles, air defense, aviation, we should be looking at those, Putin is continuing to escalate, and we need to respond, the west needs to respond.

BERMAN: Former Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, we do thank you for your time. Nice to see you back in the United States.

VINDMAN: Thank you, John.

HILL: Joining us now, CNN chief national correspondent, inside politics anchor, John King. John, nice to see you this morning. So given everything that we heard from Putin overnight, what do you think the chances are we're going to hear a more direct response to that from President Biden in his speech today?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's no question, Erica, you will hear that. The president of the United States, before the United Nations General Assembly, his message to the world is going to be we are winning. Putin is saying these things, Putin is doing these things because he is back on his heels, and the challenge for the world, led by the United States. Whatever your politics, President Biden has done a remarkable job keeping this coalition together for seven months. And the challenge, the president is going to say, is we must stick with it, we must accelerate. We must not be fearful of Vladimir Putin's words. We must continue to help the Ukrainians.

This is an incredible high stakes stare down, if you will, because the president of the United States and the alliance he leads and the leader of Russia. There's two ways to look at it. I was just talking to Colonel Vindman before he came on the program, quickly in the green room here. Putin thinks long term, right? Putin is not threatening "I'm not bluffing" up from a position of strength. He's doing that from a position of weakness. He made a mistake. He gambled that the west would lose interest, that the divided politics in America, a newly elected German chancellor, Boris Johnson's problems, now you have the new U.K. prime minister. Putin's best was that the west would, as it did 14 years ago when he took Crimea, cry, complain, point at him for a few months, and then walk away. That has not happened.

The challenge for the president of the United States is to keep it going. And John's conversation with the colonel just hit a key point -- weeks and months, potentially years.

BERMAN: Matthew Chance, our Matthew Chance is reporting, no coincidence that Vladimir Putin did this just a few hours ago, hours before President Biden is set to address the United Nations.


So what's the goal for President Biden now going forward? Given that Putin made this move, what's Joe Biden's countermove?

KING: The countermove is to say, whatever you say, Mr. Putin, we are in this, and we are in this till the end. And President Zelenskyy will speak after President Biden. That is their challenge, to keep this together. Putin's bet was the politics of February, March, and April would blow this coalition up. That has not happened. You still have now as you move into, you mentioned the winter, the winter on the battlefield, also the winter in the European energy markets from Putin, what the Europeans would call blackmail of them. Can everybody stick together, and can the United States keep them together? Can the United States and its allies continue, as Colonel Vindman just noted, the escalation of the expertise and the high tech and the more capable weapons to the Ukrainians.

Again, John, heading into the next several weeks and months, and then we're going to come out of this winter into the spring, and Ukraine is still going to be a battlefield. And so Putin is talking with blustery language today. The language sounds very muscular. His hope is to crack the western coalition. And again, the president has kept it together to this point. The challenge now is to keep it together through all the volatility in American politics to say that doesn't matter. When it comes to this, the United States is in fully. And the president can say that with credibility. Republicans are with him on this one, the overwhelming majority of Republicans on this, to say to the world we are in this, we will not blink, you must not.

HILL: We'll be watching for that. John King, stay close. We have much more to discuss.

BERMAN: So financial markets on edge this morning. The Federal Reserve is expected to announce an increase in interest rates as it tries to slow inflation. The question not if they will raise rates. By how much. And the answer really might be a lot. We want to go to CNN's Allison Kosik live to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It has been rough there the last few days. What to expect today, Allison?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been rough here the last year, John. Good morning to you. Good morning, Erica. The Federal Reserve is expected to make another big rate hike today, hiking its key interest rate by another three-quarters of a percent, the third such hike in a row. This marks its toughest policy move since the 1980s. That was also a time when American were also dealing with sky high prices. A full-point hike, that is also a possibility today, though. Analysts are telling me that would wind up sending the stock market into panic mode because it would be unexpected.

What the Fed is trying to do here is get a handle on inflation, which is running too hot. So it's raising rates to cool demand. But the trick is to not tip the U.S. into a recession. This is a delicate dance, of course, where you don't want to give too much medicine and wind up killing the patient. But that's exactly what's worrying the stock market. And the reason we're seeing major indices like the Dow down more than 15 percent for the year.

And just as Americans are feeling the pressures of inflation hit their budgets, just about every American will feel the effects of these higher interest rates. Variable rates on credit cards will head higher, so if you're carrying a balance, that debt will become more expensive. If you're looking to buy a house, mortgage rates, they track this key rate interest rate that the Fed is raising. Today a 30- year fixed rate is sitting around 6.3 percent. That's the highest level since 2008. Saving for a car, if you're buying a car, it's going to get more expensive. It's going to be more expensive to finance it. And student loans as well.

And guys, if you needed another kick in the pants, the 98-day streak of falling goes prices is now over. The national average price of gas, that rose slightly today. So just adding more fuel to the fire here in the inflation front.

BERMAN: We're all kicked out here, Allison. Thank you. Thank you so much for that. Appreciate it.

HILL: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis now the target of a class action lawsuit. A nonprofit group representing more than 30 of the nearly 50 migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard last week accuses DeSantis and other Florida officials of defrauding them to advance a political motive. Meantime, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is expressing his support for Republican governors who are transporting migrants to states run by Democrats.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I personally thought it was a good idea. But if you added up all of the illegals who have been taken to Chicago or Washington or Martha's Vineyard, it would be fewer than people down in Texas have to deal with on a daily basis. When the vice president says the border is secured, that's absurdly incorrect.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: Back with us now, John King. Mitch McConnell weighing in here. This is not going away anytime soon, as we know. Take a look at the preparations that were underway in Delaware just yesterday. They were waiting, is there going to be another flight, is there not? I guess the question is, where does this go now, because it is clearly just politics at this point. There's not a lot happening when it comes to dealing with the actual issue of immigration.

KING: I know. The issue of immigration has been perhaps the most intractable domestic issue, you could go back 20 years if you wanted to. You could go back even longer than that. In the here and now is there any possibility of policy progress between the Democratic Biden administration and these Republican red state governors? No. The answer is no at least through the election, and probably after that.


So, what happens in the meantime? I will just say this: Republicans believe this issue plays to their advantage. Otherwise, Mitch McConnell would not be talking about it. The leader chooses his words quite carefully.

Republicans have had a tough summer. The politics, the wind if you will, left their backs, and it's been a Democratic -- since the Dobbs decision on abortion rights, it's been a Democratic political period. Republicans believe in the last few days, maybe the last week or so, things have stabilized and it's more in their favor, and they're trying to stress issues like immigration, look for a lot of talk about crime.

The Fed meeting today allows them to get back on inflation. Republicans after tough few weeks think they're getting back to better territory for them and I think this issue is part of it.

BERMAN: David Axelrod was saying, the challenge for Democrats here is to attack if you can the politics of what DeSantis and others are doing, but you can't ignore the issue of immigration altogether. You can't say it's not a problem.

So, how hard will that be for Democrats to thread that needle?

KING: I think that's the interesting thing to watch, John. Do Democrats in these tough races, the House Democrats in the battleground districts, the big statewide races for governors and Senate. Do you see any Democratic ads on this right now?

Most of the Democratic money is going into abortion rights, because they haven't figured out how to litigate this issue, if you will, because it is a serious policy problem. A lot of these problems predate President Biden but they have not improved under President Biden, and many would argue at least in some cases some have gotten worse.

And so, do Democrats find a spot here? Can they challenge the compassionate of it? Not the policy, but do they say this is not the compassionate thing to do to women, to children, to families, to move to shuttle them around. That is a Democratic argument, but I could tell you, look at Ron DeSantis in Florida, a Republican governor up to reelection, who believes he's going to win. We'll see what the people say in seven weeks, but he believes he's going to win and he's using his campaign essentially as a testing laboratory for a presidential run in 2024.

He thinks this is the majority opinion. He thinks this helps him. The suburbs decide close elections, I say that every time I'm with you, having these conversations. You know, the people in the suburbs think, yes, we need to fix the immigration problem or do people say, wow, this is heartless? You know, we need to fix the problem, but this is not a way to do it. That's the challenge of the next seven weeks, who wins that argument.

HILL: I guess we'll be watching. John King, always good to see you. Thank you.

KIN: Thank you.

HILL: And be sure to catch "INSIDE POLITICS" today at noon.

This just in, there's a new global survey on how regular checkups can actually extend life expectancy for women. Dr. Tara Narula is with us next for those details.

And Hurricane Fiona has testified. It is now a category 4 storm as millions across the Caribbean are without power and running water this morning. CNN is live on the ground.



HILL: We have just in to us now, a new global survey which finds women who visited a health care professional at least once a year live two years longer than women who don't. Joining us now with more, CNN medical correspondent, Dr. Tara Narula.

I mean, on its surface you would think, well, duh, if you're seeing a doctor more often, they can catch something. But these are really important numbers.

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Really important. And so, this survey, they made a point of saying, look, the world is failing women, particularly when it comes to preventive care. We know that women are the chief medical officers of their family. They take care of everyone else. They don't do such a great job of prioritizing themselves. So, yes, I think this survey showed a couple things.

First of all, 41 percent of women did not see a health care provider in the previous year. And as you said, if they did see a health care provider, it increased their life expectancy by two years, from 76 to 78, which may not sound like a lot, but two years, two more anniversaries, two more birthdays, precious moments.

And so, when you look at what drove them to see a doctor, it wasn't a prevention. It was as if they felt chronic pain or if their health condition was preventing them from doing their normal activities. So, we need to do a better job of convincing women to focus on prevention.

When you look at the breakdown of what was being screened for and not screened for, only about one third were getting screened for hypertension. We know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, globally, blood pressure so easy to check, so low cost, 12 percent got screened for some type of cancer, 12 percent. And according to the WHO, 30 to 50 percent of cancer deaths are preventable, about 19 percent for diabetes and 11 percent for STDs.

So, we need to do a better job getting on top of these chronic conditions earlier.

BERMAN: I come at this from a different perspective from the two of you. Is there even a debate as to when women should go to the doctor?

NARULA: That's a great question, John. Ands there is some debate as to, do you need an annual screening or not, and I would argue that there is something intangible, which is the doctor-patient relationship, right? That's the time where you build that trust, where you can open the door and your patient tells you, you know what, I'm having problems with my marriage, I don't have enough money to pay for my medications, I'm depressed, these social determinants of health, things that are happening outside of the blood pressure are just as important and play into this chronic health conditions.

It's also a time where you can talk about lifestyle things, like, are you getting enough exercise? Are you drinking too much? Are you smoking? And counsel on that, to focus on vaccinations, you know?

So, there's a lot you can do in that space and also pick up on subtle trends. So, if you're not seeing someone that often, you're going to miss the fact that maybe their blood count has dropped a little bit over the past year. You're going to miss the change in that mole on their body, right?

So there are subtle things that you pick up but most important is that relationship. Relationships are built on time and being together.

HILL: And it's so important to have that and such an important reminder. We don't have time but access is also key.


HILL: We talk about having access to health care speaks volumes. It's really good to see you this morning.

NARULA: Thank you. Nice to see you.

HILL: This morning, we also have an update on the Little Leaguer who suffered serious injuries after falling out of a bunk bed. His family now seeking damages.

BERMAN: And CNN live on the ground in Puerto Rico, where more than a million people are still without power. We're going to speak with the FEMA chief Deanne Criswell of the response efforts, next.



BERMAN: Hurricane Fiona strengthened to a category 4 storm this morning, taking aim at Bermuda, and still, more than a million people across Puerto Rico are without power after Fiona hit the island, which had not really fully recovered from its last major storms.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is live in Puerto Rico with FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell -- Leyla.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we are in the warehouse where FEMA has a lot of the disaster relief. I got to tell you, quite a bit of a different scene than what we saw during Maria here. We'll get to that in just a bit.

But let me give you the update, this morning, half the island without water and still the majority without power. The governor saying he's pretty confident that by the end of the day today, a good chunk of the high land will have power, one exception the southern part. And that's important because the southern part was really hit hard by the Hurricane Fiona.

So, let's go ahead and check in with FEMA and see where the efforts are. I will introduce you to the FEMA administrator, Deanne Criswell. She's here in the warehouse.

Deanne, what can you tell us about the efforts as they stand today? I know it's an assessment time right now. What have you assessed in terms of the damage? Can you quantify it in any way?

DEANNE CRISWELL, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Yeah, Leyla, I think you just said, we're seeing half the island without water. I saw that firsthand yesterday. I got in yesterday afternoon and was able to visit one town of Patillas, and that's what we would see.