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New Day Saturday

Biden To Make Major Address On Ukraine Later Today; Biden Visiting Poland As War Rages Across Ukrainian Border; Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine Has Major Impact On Global Economy; Biden Arrives For Meeting With Polish President; President Biden Meets With Polish President To Discuss Ukraine Ahead Of "Major Address"; United States To Accept Up To 100,000 Ukrainian Refugees. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 26, 2022 - 07:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're always so grateful to have you with us. Good morning on a Saturday, March 26th. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. We appreciate you starting your morning with us. Our colleague Wolf Blitzer is joining us now live from Warsaw, Poland, where President Biden is set to meet with a Polish president. Wolf, good morning.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Very important day here, guys. Thank you very, very much. The president of United States preparing to speak to the high stakes of Russia's brutal war against Ukraine. Today, President Biden will deliver what the White House is calling a major, a major address on Ukraine and what the conflict means for the United States and indeed for the world. Just moments ago, President Biden attended a meeting with top Ukrainian officials.

The president dropped in on a meeting previously scheduled between the Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and their Ukrainian counterparts who came all the way over here to Warsaw. The President also sits down with the Polish President Andrzej Duda soon to discuss the refugee crisis and the response of the U.S. and its allies -- a huge crisis indeed. He'll also meet, by the way, it will be very emotional with Ukrainian refugees and American humanitarian workers.

We'll watch that meeting unfold. All this comes right on the heels of the President's visit with U.S. troops in Poland. They met with members of the 82nd Airborne Division deployed along NATO's eastern edge as a deterrent to Vladimir, Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian forces say they're going on the counterattack around the capital, Kyiv, right now. A U.S. official says Russian troops are now in defensive positions in at least some territories, and Ukrainian forces appear to have retaken territory to the east of Kyiv.

We're waiting for President Biden to meet with the Polish President Andrzej Duda, that's coming up moments from now. We'll watch it unfold. Our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins is here with me in Warsaw. Kaitlin, so what should we expect when we hear from the president?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a big final day for President Biden here. Of course, he has got this meeting right now where he is sitting in with these top Ukrainian officials, Wolf. We just saw that that is the Ukrainian foreign minister and the Ukrainian defense minister. Those are two obviously very high-ranking Ukrainian officials. It's the first time he's met with them. He last spoke with the foreign minister about a month ago since this invasion started, but first meeting in the last several weeks with these top Ukrainian officials.

And so, this is a big meeting, of course, between the two of them, because Ukraine, we know, has not been thrilled with every -- they want more assistance. That is the biggest appeal that they've made to NATO leaders. They've been thankful for what they've gotten so far, including, of course, a billion dollars in recent weeks from the United States that's been allocated for them. But they also have said that they would like more, they want fighter jets, they want to be able to protect their skies more. That is something they've called for.

We'll see if that comes up during this meeting with Secretary Blinken and Defense Secretary Austin because of course, it was Secretary Blinken, who not that long ago, was talking about this idea of supplying them with these fighter jets. And then, of course, the Pentagon said that they had done an assessment they didn't think that was the correct way to move forward. However, overall, we've got this big speech from President Biden coming up later, these top two Ukrainian officials say they will attend that speech by President Biden later.

So, we'll see if there's any announcements there about further assistance, or what that looks like. But we know that it's kind of circled around two parts here where the President was in Brussels and dealing with the diplomatic efforts here and talking with world leaders about efforts to isolate and punish Putin. This part of the trip here in Poland has been much more focused on the human toll of this invasion, talking about the refugees that have been forced to leave Ukraine, millions of them since this invasion started with most of them, Wolf, coming here to Poland, over two million refugees have come to Poland.

Not all of them are staying there, but a lot of them are, and the Polish leader has called for assistance with that. And so, it is an interesting dynamic between President Biden and President Duda because they are not two leaders who were particularly close before this. And obviously, the White House has been very grateful for how Poland has stepped up in this. But before him, you saw President Duda who's close to President Trump had this populist drift and that was something that the White House was critical of, that other leaders have been critical of but now you're seeing where this, this relationship has become so critical to them in a different way with this major NATO ally and the focus of how they're handling this response.

[07:05:16] BLITZER: yes, U.S. officials have been so, so impressed with Poland

and the people here in Poland accepting more than two million of these Ukrainian refugees, U.S.-Polish relations have dramatically improved over these past several weeks, in part because of Poland's positions on the war in Ukraine. Also, in dealing with the humanitarian crisis. Kaitlin is going to be with us as we're standing by for all of these historic developments to unfold. Right now, I want to go to Ukraine. A senior U.S. defense official says Russian forces are in what they're calling defensive positions around the capital of Kyiv. We -- and they have stopped, stop ground movements towards the city. CNNs Phil Black is joining us live from Lviv right now. Phil, intense combat still ongoing in several other directions around the Capitol. What's the very latest? What are you hearing?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just a short time ago, a new claim from the Russian military, which says overnight, it targeted key Ukrainian military sites, including a weapons and ammunition warehouse, and also a fuel depot striking and destroying those with its cruise missiles. This fits recent Western intelligence analysis, which suggests that Russia will continue to strike from the air and use its artillery firing from a safe distance, because its forces on the ground are struggling.

This as we've seen, through the week with Ukrainian forces, counter attacking, with some success, particularly in areas around the capital Kyiv, to the, to the east and the west of that city. They've been able to push Russian forces back. Now, a senior Russian general has made comments that suggests almost everything that we've seen from Russia on the battlefield so far, has been a deliberate ploy, a distraction to weaken and divide Ukrainian forces.

He says that Russia is approaching these big Ukrainian cities and circling them to some degree, not because it wants to storm them and take them. But as a way of tying down Ukrainian forces, so that Russia can now concentrate on what it really cares about, which he says, is the Eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, next to the Russian border. This is all very different, of course, to what Western governments and experts believe Russia has been trying to achieve here.

They believe the Russian strategy was to quickly storm and overwhelm this country, take those big cities, including the capital within days, they've simply failed to do so. In that context, it is difficult to accept these comments from the Russian military at face value. They could represent perhaps some messaging, specifically to a domestic Russian audience, explaining the limited achievements on the battlefield so far, or they could represent a recalibration of Russia's military goals, a reassessment of what is realistically possible on the ground here in Ukraine now. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, as U.S. officials have said to be over these past few days, this is clearly, Phil, a pivotal, a pivotal moment in what's going on in the war in Ukraine. Phil Black will be back with us. Phil, stay safe over there. We'll get right back to you shortly. Our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins is still with us.

Also joining us right now, the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO policy, Jim Townsend. So, what's your assessment, Jim? What do you see unfolding right now this is an important day; and what the President United States is clearly trying to do, in addition to everything else, is send a powerful message to Putin.

JIM TOWNSEND, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR EUROPE AND NATO POLICY: Exactly. He's sending a powerful, powerful message to Putin. He's going right up in his face and saying, I'm here. NATO is here. We're not split. And then there's a powerful message also going to the Polish people who are clearly in the crosshairs of the Russians and that messages: we've got your back. And so, this, this has a, this trip has a major humanitarian theme to it. They're in Poland.

But this other theme of we're going to help you we know you're in the crosshairs, we're with you. That was an important message too, to the Polish people. But for sure with Putin, he's getting a message from the American President, who he never thought he would see in Poland. He's almost up there on the border, and he's saying I'm here and with me are the American people.

BLITZER: Yes, this this is really significant, Kaitlan, and you know, the other message, the President is sending by his very presence, but he's accompanied by his Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, his National Security Adviser. They're all here. And that's also designed to send a message.

COLLINS: It absolutely is. So much of this, these meetings are talking in person, talking about what they're doing policy wise. But also, it is sending a message with the NATO officials coming together, the president coming here to Poland This is a visit that the White House had been working on because the President had a clear interest in meeting with some of the refugees.


And we should note, this comes after the White House that they were willing to take up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in the United States. That is a huge number. It seems small when you think of the large number of refugees that are coming out of Ukraine and the millions now 10, about 10 million people who have been displaced by this invasion.

But 100,000 is more than the United States took in, in total refugees in several years, recent years alone, much less with Ukrainian refugees, specifically, what they're saying that they'll take up to 100,000 of those. And so, I think that'll be a big part of the meeting today. I am looking ahead to the meeting with Duda.

I think that will be very interesting to see what it is they discussed and how the President if he makes any new announcements about certain assistance that they're providing to Poland, given they have dealt with the majority of refugees leaving Ukraine.

They've dealt with over 2 million of them, processing them, bringing them in. President Duda saying yesterday, they don't see them as refugees. They see them as guests, they see them as brothers and sisters talking about what they've been going through, and the humanitarian aspect of this has been such a big part of it.

BLITZER: You know, there seems to be a difference. Jim, Jim Townsend, between the U.S. and the Polish governments, what kind of equipment to provide to Ukraine right now and explain what -- I understand that President Biden keeps saying no U.S. boots on the ground. U.S. is not going to send troops into Ukraine directly. They fear that could lead to World War III. But what's the difference between providing anti- aircraft missiles and sending in some fighter jets to help the Ukrainians deal with the Russian invasion?

TOWNSEND: Well, it's -- it's a -- it's a distinction that is really questioned by a lot of people, I understand where the administration is coming from, I think the optics of these aircraft coming in, looks like it's a step up in terms of what the West is doing, doing for Ukraine. And so, I think, also the idea earlier on, which was that the Poles would fly the planes to Germany, and have the Americans present it, that cause a problem too. I think this would have been easier, were easily done, if the polls had done it themselves, and very quietly.

And that would have been I think, OK, because it didn't have that optic punch, that I think the fear was that Putin would have to react to it. But you know, one more point, you know, the Ukrainians could use those spare parts on those MIGs. You know, they've said that some of those pigs don't fly, etc. But I understand that the Ukraine Air Force needs spare parts for those MIG 29s. Perhaps, that's something the Polish could provide, if they're not going to provide the aircraft.

BLITZER: Yes, that would be significant, as well. And what do you make of this fact is disturbing to U.S. officials, that the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they're making phone calls to their Russian counterparts, but they're not getting those calls returned. Normally, they, they speak right away. What does that mean to you?

TOWNSEND: Well, I think it means that the, the phones, phones are being answered, because I think the, the Russian officials on the other side are afraid to talk to the Americans. I think they probably are -- they're not in good, good graces with Putin right now. And so, they're probably keeping their head down. And so, their phone rings, and it's their counterparts from the United States on the other end.

I'm not I have a feeling they don't quite know what to say right now, because Putin is calling the shots. These guys are in disrepute. So, I think they'd rather keep their heads down and not engage with the Americans and have it give out in the press what was discussed, and maybe what they might say to the Americans is something Putin doesn't like. So, I think they're just dodging a bullet here.

BLITZER: And I want to get your reaction to this. But Kaitlan, you've been doing a lot of reporting on potentially, hopefully would never happen. the Russians using chemical weapons and how the U.S. is responding to that. And you've been talking about these tiger teams, these U.S. officials who have been meeting almost on a daily basis to plot strategy. TOWNSEND: Right, because they meet several times a week. And basically, what they are trying to map out is how they could potentially respond to this. And this is a big question where the specifics have not been detailed by the White House. Obviously, they're not going to lay out exactly how they would respond to a chemical weapons attack. They say that they'd wait to see until the chemical weapons attack happened, how they would respond.

But President Biden said something really interesting during this press conference in Brussels the other day, which is that they would see the severity of the attack, and that would determine the response from the United States and the response from NATO. He said we would act accordingly, depending on how that attack was carried out, because they basically mapped out scenarios where do they try to conduct a chemical weapons attack just to instill fear in people, they -- do they conduct it in a small area?

Do they use it as a pretext for escalating their own aggression? That is something the White House has said is maybe they would conduct a chemical weapons attack in a small area and then use that as an excuse to have more indiscriminate bombings of shelters where civilians are, things of that nature. And so, this group that's meeting though Wolf, and they've been meeting since the Russian invasion began is not just focused on the, the threat of this attack though that is their number one concern, they're also looking ahead to the next three months of what does that look like for the response? And is there a massive geopolitical shift that comes with this Russian invasion, which they do believe there could be?


BLITZER: You know, it's interesting. I'm anxious to get Jim, your thoughts on this, because the President's National Security Adviser then suggested, well, the U.S. is not going to use chemical weapons, for all practical purposes under any conditions.

TOWNSEND: That's correct. That's, that's not something we would do. But there's other things that we can do. Maybe that's when we release the aircraft, maybe that's when we tell the polls send in the MIG-29s. Perhaps, this is also when we would say look, we're going to do a humanitarian corridor, we're going to do air drops to besiege cities that need food. So, we step up what we're doing in terms of the humanitarian side.

We get more engaged on that. And we also drop any kinds of issues that we might have with providing anti-ship missiles, which we've said we're going to provide, but they were technical issues. And perhaps, this gives us an opportunity to go ahead and open the spigot, because they need those anti-ship missiles, they need long range air defense, they need a lot of things that maybe we speed up and we -- and so, that's, that's a way in which we can respond to something like chemical use. But if it's a big chemical attack, it's going to call for a big response, and that's what these tiger teams are trying to work out.

BLITZER: Yes, they got to, they got to come up with the appropriate response if, if the Russians were to use chemical weapons, certainly we all hope they won't. But that is a serious, very serious U.S. concern right now. They're watching it very, very closely. Jim Townsend, thank you very much. Kaitlan is going to be with us covering all of this throughout the day. Thank you, Jim Townsend, once again.

Now, we're standing by the President of the United States. He's here in Warsaw. He's been meeting with top Ukrainian officials, the defense minister, the foreign minister, he's getting ready for more talks with the President of Poland, President Duda. We're watching all of this unfold. But in the meantime, let's go back to Boris and Christi with that other important news they're following as well.

SANCHEZ: A very significant day in Europe, a historic moment. Wolf, we appreciate you being there. Still ahead on NEW DAY: detained in Russia while trying to escape Ukraine, a Minnesota man finally reunited with his wife and daughter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be astronomical the feelings that are going to flow through me when I get to give my son a hug for the first time.


SANCHEZ: Coming up, what it took to free Tyler Jacob.

PAUL: Also, we've seen firsthand how Russia's war is having a ripple effect on the global economy. There's one expert though who argues refugees could help countries struggling to keep up. He's going to join us next. Stay close.



WOLF: Right now, sadly, there appears to be no end in sight as Russia's invasion of Ukraine now enters its second month. Russia says the first days of the war is over. But their advances have stalled in some key areas. This is significant. And now, a senior U.S. defense official tells CNN, Ukrainian forces have been trying recently to regain territory from the Russians.

Again, this is serious. Gunfire and explosions that could be heard this morning as Russian forces moved into a town just north of Kyiv, the capital and actually seized the hospital. Hundreds of Ukrainians then marched to the city square waving flags and chanting: Glory to Ukraine.

Now, the United Nations Refugee Agency says nearly four million Ukrainians have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion. A month ago, many of them coming here to where I am in Poland, more than two million of them coming to Poland. UNICEF says, half of all Ukrainian kids, half of them have been displaced either displaced from their homes in Ukraine have actually been forced to leave the country. Boris and Christi, I'll bring it back to you. But when we see those

pictures, and I know, it's so moving, we see those little kids who are suffering, we see their mothers, we see their grandparents, they have fled here to Poland, it's so heartbreaking to see that on an hourly basis. And, and clearly there's no end in sight. The men, the Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60. They stay behind to fight. But all these kids, these women, these grandparents, they are here. And it's so awful just to watch it unfold.

PAUL: I cannot imagine some of the things that you've seen Wolf, and you're right. I think any of us who have children or who have children that we love, whether they're ours or not, you know, who had family members just cannot imagine saying goodbye to your husband, your son, your father, and leaving. It's, it's unimaginable and you're seeing it firsthand. Wolf, thank you for bringing us all the latest there. We appreciate it.

Also getting word this hour that at least 136 children have died in Ukraine. They say almost 200 are injured. That's from the Prosecutor General's office. We'll continue to watch some of those numbers come in so we have a better understanding of what's happening. But let's talk about President Biden. He's announced a joint task force that's meant to help wean Europe now from its dependence on Russian oil and gas.

SANCHEZ: And keep in mind while the United States banned Russian energy imports, Europe has found it much more difficult to cut off its supplies. Vladimir Putin using that as leverage ruthlessly. Europe's dependence on Russian gas and oil has proved a major sticking point and the effort to punish the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine. Today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky encouraged energy producing countries to increase output to try and get around Russia's global blackmail.


ZELENSKYY: The future of Europe rests with your efforts. It depends on your efforts. I asked you to increase output of energy to ensure that everyone in Russia understands that no country can use energy as a weapon and blackmail to blackmail the world.



SANCHEZ: Undoubtedly, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had a major global impact on the economy, especially not only in energy markets but supply chains and elsewhere too. This week, the head of one of the world's biggest financial firms, Larry Fink of Blackrock said the war represents the end of globalization as we know it. And other impacts of this war, as wolf alluded to immigration, nearly four million people have fled Ukraine seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Our next guest, economist, Danny Beher says those refugees could represent a major economic opportunity. Danny is a Professor of International and Public Affairs at Brown University. We appreciate you being with us this morning. Let's start with that prediction from Larry Fink of Blackrock, the end of globalization, as we know it a reconfiguration of global supply chains, higher inflation, higher costs to consumers. What do you make of that assessment?

DANNY BEHER, PROFESSOR, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that we've seen many instances in the past few years in which these shocks arise, of course, starting with the pandemic, and now the war in the invasion of Russia in Ukraine that it definitely has affected inflation. I do feel that, you know, markets have a working away for the past two or three decades in which supply chains are strong, in which trade will continue to happen.

But of course, there's going to be some rearrangement. As countries tried to protect certain industries, I would say, to avoid scenarios in which the disruptions are so large, but I think that we have, after all, these insanity goes away, I think that hopefully the world will come back to that type of globalization that we were having with some caveats.

SANCHEZ: Russia, obviously one of the world's largest producers of energy, you heard Volodymyr Zelenskyy begging for oil producing countries to pump out more to increase production to try to get around Russia and potentially also to lower the pain at the pump to lower the price of fuel. Would that be enough really to loosen Russia's grasp over energy markets?

BEHER: Well, it definitely would help the thing is like how easy it is for all companies to pump more. And you know, these are things that take a lot, they take a lot of infrastructure, they take sometimes a lot of planning. So, it's very rare to see a huge growth in, in, in the, in the supply of oil. But of course, if that -- I don't see that happening in the very short term. But of course, that, that's a very logical argument that whenever price goes down, that will actually put Russia in a much tougher position.

SANCHEZ: It also leads to conflicts with some of Western government's priorities when it comes to climate change. I do want to ask you about something else, though, something you recently published for Brookings, you make the case that the refugee crisis in Ukraine could represent a major economic opportunity, essentially, that nations should be competing to receive an embrace these refugees, so make the case: how are refugees assets?

BEHER: While historically we've seen, there's a lot of evidence showing that actually migrants and also in particular refugees are people that have that bring new skills on new energies into a new dynamism to economies, if they're given the chance if the policies are there, to let them integrate and work. And we have plenty of examples of that, you know, if you in particular take the Ukrainian population, this is, this is a super talented population, the about 25 percent of the population in Ukraine has gone to tertiary education according to the public available data, that's comparable to the U.S. And you know, that they're, they're pretty innovative.

I see, for instance, they patent about 50 patents per one million citizens, which is, you know, comparable to other countries in the region, even to some countries in Western Europe. But you know, you don't need to be a nuclear scientist to be able to contribute to an economy. What we see is that refugees are tremendously entrepreneurial. They create firms, they create jobs. And I think one great example is the refugee flow that the U.S. received from Vietnam in the late 1970s. And, you know, these refugees are resettled in the U.S., made a new life and made a tremendous contribution to the economy.

We have, you know, the sriracha sauce that we have in our tables often from one of the brands was created by a refugee who arrived in the late 1970s in a boat, right? So, I think that that we need to change the narrative and understand that these people who are not only very talented but very full of energies to, to despite everything that they went through, to, to restart again and contribute as much as they can -- they can really be an asset to the economy particularly when we're seeing shortages of labor.

Particularly, we're seeing the need to more competition and more dynamism. It's really a no brainer to receive them and give them all the opportunities they can to bring -- to reach -- for them to reach their full potential.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Dany, I have to acknowledge and be transparent, as a refugee myself, I sympathize with your argument. Dany Bahar, thank you so much for the time. We appreciate you joining us this weekend.

Stay with NEW DAY. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): You're looking at live pictures right now of President Biden arriving at the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland. President Biden said to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda just moments from now.


SANCHEZ: There you see the Beast, the vehicle that the American president travels in while abroad. President Duda has been pressing the NATO allies for more of a permanent presence in his country, something that the United States has been apprehensive about to say the least.

We're going to keep standing by as the meeting between these two leaders unfolds. Obviously, in the context of the war in Ukraine, we'll bring you the latest news.

And Wolf Blitzer, who's live in Warsaw, as it develops.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Meanwhile, on the domestic front, members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection are now discussing whether to call Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to appear before the panel. This is according to multiple sources who are familiar with the matter.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Ryan Nobles has more on this, and also Thomas's efforts to reverse the 2020 election.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No, thank you. That was the response from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas today, when asked by CNN to respond to the bombshell revelation of texts between his wife and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Meadows also still not responding to CNN's requests.

The revelations coming in a series of texts obtained by CNN and in the hands of the January 6 Select Committee. On November 10th, shortly after news networks had declared Joe Biden the winner, Thomas wrote Meadows, "Helped this great president stand firm, Mark."

She went on to say, "The majority knows Biden and the left is attempting the greatest heist of our history." Thomas also pushed Meadows to get behind the dubious legal effort by conservative lawyer Sidney Powell to overturn the election.

Writing on November 19th, "Sounds like Sidney and her team are getting inundated with evidence of fraud. Make a plan. Release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down."

It is these types of texts that could cause problems for Justice Thomas, he weighed in on one election case arguing the court should look at a case seeking to overturn the election results in four states.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (on camera): The problem is it creates an enormous appearance of impropriety that Justice Thomas is ruling on these issues when his wife is intimately involved in the underlying facts.

NOBLES: Ginni Thomas is a longtime outspoken conservative activist. And while she has insisted that her work is separate from her husband's, they do have a close personal relationship.


NOBLES: And now, his wife is under scrutiny as part of an investigation he has already ruled on.

Justice Thomas casting a dissenting vote on a decision by the High Court, allowing the House Select Committee investigating January 6, to gain access to 1000s of White House documents that Trump tried to keep secret.

Several Democratic senators, including Ron Wyden of Oregon, calling on Thomas to recuse himself going forward on all matters related to January 6. "At the bare minimum, Justice Thomas needs to recuse himself from any case related to the January 6th investigation, and should Donald Trump run again, any case related to the 2024 election."

Clarence Thomas, who left the hospital on Friday recovering from an infection, declined to talk to CNN. But he still has the backing of Republicans in Congress.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No, I think -- I think, Justice Thomas could make his decisions like he's made him every other time. It's his decision based upon law.


NOBLES (on camera): Now, comes the question of what the committee --


SANCHEZ (voice-over): We're cutting out of that piece by Ryan Nobles to bring in the very latest from Poland. President Biden just stepping out of the vehicle moments ago, shaking hands with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

They are now greeting a number of leaders. This obviously an enormous meeting for the two NATO allies, a historic trip for President Biden. Notably, a shift in his posture toward Poland, and really the posture of NATO and the west toward a nation that last October, President Biden described as trending toward totalitarianism.

That obviously changed in a very short time. Poland's President Andrzej Duda, moving his country toward the center, a lot of Polish leaders opening their borders to more than 2 million immigrants from Ukraine during Russia's invasion.

The president of the United States not only trying to show unity with Poland's leader, but also all of NATO as the world responds to the invasion of Ukraine. Christi.

PAUL (voice-over): Yes, we have -- we know that they're going to be discussing the refugee crisis in the U.S. and the allies' response there. Wondering how all of that will align at this point.

We know also that President Duda has asked President Biden to raise the number of refugees that they -- that the U.S. is taking. And remember, the U.S. saying 100,000 will be accepted here in the U.S.


PAUL: Again, that is in stark contrast to the 2 million plus that Poland is receiving.

And earlier this morning, hearing one of our guests say, this is a chance for President Biden to do some fence mending with Poland.

We want to bring Wolf Blitzer and Kaitlan Collins back into the fray. They are here in Warsaw, Poland, washing -- watching this.

Wolf, Kaitlan, what is your assessment thus far of what we're seeing? WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (on camera): Well, what we're seeing right now, Christi and Boris, the president of the United States here in Warsaw, he's having these meetings with the top Polish leadership, of course, with the president, President Duda himself.

BLITZER (voice-over): But you see, the president is accompanied by all of his senior national security advisors, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser, and they're going one by one, Kaitlan.

And yes, it's a formal thing designed to show the improved -- improvement in U.S.-Polish relations as a result of this war. But it also is designed to send a powerful message to the Russians.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Absolutely. And it's stunning to see how this relationship, how it's played out between President Biden and President Duda, not what it once was -- not what it was once expected to be.

But you see there, they are greeting each other's top aides. You saw President Biden put his arm around President Duda for a moment the two of them standing by, side-by-side now at the presidential palace here in Warsaw to take a photo together.

And they're preparing to go inside to speak behind closed doors about the efforts that they're -- that are underway here, not just when it comes to what's happening inside of Ukraine, but also what's happening inside of Poland.

BLITZER: Let's listen for a little while.



BLITZER: All right, Kaitlan, we can see, this is the equivalent of a state visit. If the Polish president were coming to the White House, they'd have this ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. This is here in Warsaw at the presidential palace.


They're watching -- they're inspecting the troops, we heard the national anthems earlier. This is a big deal especially for the Polish government right now, given the fact that only a month or two or three ago, U.S.-Polish relations were not necessarily perfect.

COLLINS: And they still have a lot of issues that they do not agree on, but you are seeing these two leaders, putting those aside for now, focusing obviously on the invasion of Ukraine.

And this is a little bit more formal of a visit, having the president and the Polish president stand side-by-side, as both of the national anthems play. As you noted, this is something you would expect from a state visit, or something of that nature. Of course, this is just part of this visit that President Biden is making here in Poland as he wraps up his trip. And they are going to go inside now. They've got about two hours or so set off for meetings between the two of them and their top delegations.

You can see the top Polish delegation there, all the officials. Earlier, you saw the Secretary of State Blinken standing next to President Biden as the songs are playing, and now they are prepared to go inside.

BLITZER: And they will have important meetings inside with their respective top national security leaders as well. The Secretary of State Tony Blinken is here, the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is here, and the Polish president is going to be accompanied by his defense minister Oleksii Reznikov, and his foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

So, there, there is going to be some high level discussions going on. The focus, the main focus will certainly be the war in Ukraine.

COLLINS: And also the refugee aspect of this, given that is the major role that Poland is played in all of this, where you saw in the early days of the invasion, the absolute influx of refugees coming into Poland, arriving by train, arriving by bus, any way they could get here crossing the border.

And that is something that Duda has talked about. That they said that they will -- they need more assistance with that. You saw President Biden recently pledged about a billion dollars in assistance -- humanitarian assistance, not just for people who are still in Ukraine, but also for those who have left, that obviously still need help, Wolf, they are completely have their lives up ended by this invasion.

With few family members here, they don't have jobs, they don't have schools for their children. And all of that is are new aspects they have to deal with. And so, that is going to be a massive topic of this discussion that President Biden and President Duda have.

But, you do wonder if other issues come up, like this proposed peacekeeping mission that the Polish Foreign Ministry had talked about. This idea they that proposed to.

The White House, it seemed to put pretty cold water on that, but we'll see if it comes up. Of course, do they talk about these used MiG-29 fighter jets that they -- the Polish had proposed giving to Ukraine? That is something the White House had said they did not believe was the most logical idea at the time, the easiest idea. Does that come up?

There are a few things that it remains to be seen if what comes up in the time that they are behind closed doors, and not in front of cameras. But just remarkable to see President Biden and President Duda is smiling, laughing. This warm, welcome and reception that President Biden is getting here.

BLITZER: Yes, they are going inside the presidential palace right now. BLITZER (on camera): They're going to be having what's called a restricted bilateral meeting first. That's just basically the two of them with maybe some interpreters or whatever.

COLLINS (on camera): Yes.

BLITZER: If they need that. Then, they will have this expanded meeting with their defense secretaries, their foreign ministers.


BLITZER: And all of them will be participating as well.

Kim Dozier is with us, watching all of this unfold. This is pretty significant, Kim, let me get your thoughts.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (on camera): Significant, and it's a chance for Biden and the Polish leader to sit down and share honestly, some of their concerns.

You know, there was a bit of a communications kerfuffle over the MiG- 29s that Kaitlan mentioned, and that Poland announced that it was willing to give them only if they went through a U.S. base in Germany. Essentially, they kind of washing them through the U.S.

And this is a chance to say, look, we would like to help the Ukrainians. But if we give them those jets directly, we're worried that Russia will strike our territory and that could launch the World War III that we're all worried about.

It's also a chance for them to have frank discussions about the U.S. concerns, about Poland's drift towards illiberal authoritarianism, some of its crackdowns on communication media, the judicial system.

But mostly, I think they're going to talk about how to help -- Poland help those refugees, and how to take some of the pressure off Poland, which has been bearing the brunt of the threat of Russian retaliation, because most of the supplies to Ukraine are going over its borders. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, that's an important point as well. You know, Kaitlan, we're told by the White House that I'm looking at the official schedule, that at the start of this restricted meeting between the president of the United States, President of Poland -- President Biden, President Duda, there will be what they call a pool spray at the top.


BLITZER: That means that reporters -- a small group of reporters -- photojournalists will be allowed in to -- I assume they'll be making some -- both leaders will be making some quick statements, maybe even answering a question, or to -- we'll get that tape. That's not live, right?

COLLINS: That's not live, but we will see if they do make statements, that they do take any questions.

A few moments ago, when President Biden was meeting with these top Ukrainian officials, they were speaking to each other, they did not address the media or talk about, of course, what's on the agenda, though it's quite clear what's on the agenda.

And so, we could see the two of them coming in and we'll see obviously President Biden later when he gives this major speech to wrap up his trip here in Europe as well.

BLITZER: Yes, they're billing this is a really a major speech as well. The president will be speaking, by the way, at the Royal Castle, which is right near us.



BLITZER: We could hear -- of the national anthem is being played.


BLITZER: We're not very far away from the presidential palace as well. We're going to continue to watch what's happening here in Warsaw at the presidential palace and elsewhere. We're going to bring you all these developments as they come in.

This is truly a historic day here in Poland. Our special coverage will continue right after this.


PAUL: Well, President Biden is taking steps to ease the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Yesterday, he announced the United States will take in as many as 100,000 refugees. And the U.S. will also provide $1.4 billion and humanitarian assistance that includes food, clean water, and medical supplies.

Well, our next guests are a couple from California who have opened their homes to some of these refugees.

Pavel and Rose Chorney with us now. Thank you so much for being with us. Thank you so much for what you're doing for these people. I understand you have three families with you from Ukraine right now.

Pavel, talk to us about their emotional and their mental state when they come to you. What do they say to you about their journey here?

PAVEL CHORNEY, SPONSORING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES: They were happy they are in America, but they were so sad that they left a lot of families behind. And sometimes you see them came out of the room, like crying, because their kids, their parents stayed like for a couple of days in the basement without drinking water and food and you kind of feel their pain. [07:55:00]

PAUL: Yes, Rose, do they have any communication with family who may still be in Ukraine?

ROSE CHORNEY, SPONSORING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES: Yes, sometimes they do. Sometimes there is no connection with them. But, and then, sometimes there is.

PAUL: Do you know, if they're safe? I mean, talk to us -- talk to us about how that, that process works, and how they are acclimating to the U.S. as they're still trying to find out what's happening to their family members there. And that's going to be excruciating.


R. CHORNEY: Sorry, what was the question again?

PAUL: Talk to us about how they're acclimating to the U.S. and how their mental and emotional state. Have you seen it relax at all, or change at all, I would think maybe the children? How are the children doing?

R. CHORNEY: Well, over here, they're much better. They feel relieved, that's for sure. That they're over here and in safety.

PAUL: So --

P. CHORNEY: The kids, especially the kids, they doesn't really feel the difference. But the parents are worried. Especially they left a couple of kids behind because the kids doesn't want to leave, because they're really married, and their husband couldn't get out of the country. So, they stayed with the husband and they said we're going to go -- we're going to stay to the end with our families there, and that's what's really worries the families who came here, but they praying, they reading the Bible, and they trusting God that God will lead us through this critical time.

PAUL: Pavel, I know that you have helped to find apartments for three of these -- three other families as I understand it. How long do they plan to stay? Do they have any indication or any idea what their life will look like from this point?

P. CHORNEY: Well, they not going to come back for sure. They don't want to come back because their city is destroyed. They -- two families from the (INAUDIBLE), and their city is destroyed.

There is nothing, you know, so, there is only basements that it's exist over there. So, they trying to do the paperwork, they trying to get like legalized here and start working and helping Ukraine helping their families there. And, yes.

PAUL: Well, Pavel and Rose Chorney, we so appreciate you sharing with us how they're doing. We hope that you continue to do well, and thank you so much for what you're doing. It is -- it is so, so necessary to help these people. Thank you so much. And do stay close with us. We're going to have more on President Biden's meeting with the -- with the president of Poland. That's starting next. Stay close.