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New Day Saturday
Academy Accepts Will Smith Resignation Over Chris Rock Slap; Ukraine Won't Confirm Or Deny Attack On Russian Fuel Depot; Moscow Pushes For Trade With India As Sanctions Bit; Evacuation Buses Finally Arrive Carrying Civilians To Safety; U.S. Adds 431K Jobs In March; IEA Member Nations Join U.S. In Releasing Emergency Oil; Odesa Residents Get On With Life While Bracing For A Possible Attack; Democrats At Odds Over Ending Pandemic-Related Border Restrictions; Bruce Willis "Stepping Away" From Acting After Aphasia Diagnosis. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired April 02, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He goes on to say, I betrayed the trust of the academy. I deprived other nominees and winners at their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. The Academy released a statement just a few minutes after saying that they accept his resignation.
But then on April 18th, they still plan to have some sort of consequences. Now, what could those consequences be? Well, he could potentially be banned from attending the Academy Awards in the future. The fact that Will Smith has resigned means that Will can no longer be a voting member of the Academy, so he won't be able to vote and upcoming award seasons. But could Will Smith still be potentially nominated for an Academy Award in the future? It doesn't look as though that is off the table.
Again, we are still waiting to hear more from Chris Rock who sort of briefly addressed it during the show that I attended earlier this week in Boston at the Wilbur Theater. But we're still waiting to hear more and he says at some point, he will discuss it and that it'll be funny and it'll be serious. Back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Chloe Melas, thank you so much for that. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.
Good morning. Buenos dias. And welcome to your NEW DAY, we're thrilled to have you this Saturday, April 2nd. I'm Boris Sanchez.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Boris, always nice to share a Saturday morning with you.
SANCHEZ: We appreciate you getting up bright and early for us, Laura. Great to have you. JARRETT: Of course, this is a decent hour compared to what I'm used
to. More than happy to do a 7:00 a.m. with you, Boris. Thanks so much. I'm in for Christi Paul today.
SANCHEZ: We're glad to have you. I know early start is a, a early wake up call. This might be a bit of a break from that. We do start this morning with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia says its forces attacked a major oil refinery and the central part of that country today in a series of strikes.
The move coming on the heels of new video showing what could be the first Ukrainian airstrike on Russian territory since the start of the invasion. This has enormous implications. Russia says, that a strike by Ukrainian helicopters caused a huge fire at a fuel depot in Belgorod. Now, Ukraine is not confirming or denying that its own forces carried out this attack.
JARRETT: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia is preparing, though, to carry out more airstrikes in Eastern Ukraine. Zelenskyy says, Russian troops are gradually withdrawing from areas in Northern Ukraine and shifting focus to the east now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translation): In the east of our country, the situation remains difficult. The Russian militaries are being accumulated in Donbass, in the Kharkiv direction. They're preparing for new powerful blows. We're preparing for even more active defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: As Russian troops pull out of some areas; we're getting a closer look at the carnage left behind. We caution you some of these images you're about to see are graphic and disturbing.
SANCHEZ: These images come from the village of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, the capital. And you can see from the perspective of this passenger in this car; there are bodies littering the road left behind on the street where they fell. It's unclear from this video whether the bodies or civilians or military.
JARRETT: Very disturbing there. We want to get more now on that apparent strike on that Russian fuel depot.
SANCHEZ: Yes, let's go to CNN's Fred Pleitgen, he takes a look at what it could mean going forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It could be a brazen and bold counterattack by the Ukrainians.
The social media video seeming to show two attack helicopters penetrating Russian territory and firing at an oil depot setting the facility ablaze. The Russian military publicly acknowledging the incident. On April
1st, at around 5:00 a.m. Moscow time, two Ukrainian MI-24 helicopters entered the airspace of the Russian Federation at extremely low altitude, the spokesman says.
Ukrainian helicopters launched a missile attack on a civilian oil storage facility located on the outskirts of Belgorod. As a result of the missile hit, individual tanks were damaged and caught fire.
Video from the aftermath shows the facility and Gulf in massive flames with firefighters struggling to put out the blaze. Belgorod is a highly militarized city right across the border from Kharkiv in Ukraine.
It was from here that Russian forces crossed the border and attacked Kharkiv moving large amounts of tanks, armored vehicles, and trucks towards Ukrainian territory. But the Russians also have massive military support facilities in this area that Ukrainian so far have not acknowledged they've hit the depot.
DMITRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I can neither confirm nor, nor reject the claim that Ukraine was involved in this simply because I do not possess all the military information.
PLEITGEN: The strike comes as Russian forces have been suffering setbacks in their invasion of Ukraine, withdrawing some forces from the area around the capital Kyiv after failing to storm the city.
The Russians now saying, they want to focus their offensive on the east of the country, which includes Kharkiv, where authorities report a major uptick in shelling in recent days. All this as talks between Russia and Ukraine to try and end the fighting continue.
But Moscow now saying, Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the chopper attack, and it could have a negative impact on the talks. Of course, this is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for continuing negotiations, the Kremlin spokesman said.
The strike on the oil facility will probably do little to hold up Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But if the Ukrainians are behind it, it would show they are not afraid to strike back at the country that is attacking them. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Thank you for that, Fred. Russian citizens are feeling the impact of sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and its allies while Ukraine's president is calling for stronger measures.
JARRETT: Yes, that's right. CNN's Senior International Correspondent Atika Shubert has more on this angle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris and
Laura, sanctions are having an impact on the economy, but it's not clear if that's enough to force a change from Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately. What we're seeing is that sanctions are causing temporary shortages of everyday items like sugar, and that's really affecting ordinary people, but not necessarily big decision makers. Those big long impacts won't really happen until the longer term. Here's how it was put by a prominent Russian economist, Ruben Enikolopov.
RUBEN ENIKOLOPOV, RUSSIAN ECONOMIST: Most of these structures, it's a temporary problem. So, that will be solved, like these goods will appear. So, it's like, it's really acute phase, and then everything is fine. With the quality of life, actual real income, that is not that apparent yet, but that will be -- this problem will be accumulating and becoming more and more important in the coming months.
SHUBERT: Add to that the fact the central, Russian Central Bank has been able to shore up the currency, it ratcheted up interest rates, it put down strict capital controls. And as a result, the ruble is now nearly at the level that it was before the start of the invasion, and that eases a lot of pressure off the Russian government.
I think also you have to keep in mind that even with these sanctions, Russia does still continue to sell oil and gas to major markets such as China, such as India, and that means the Russian economy is not in total freefall. It is even still selling oil and gas to Europe. Europe relies on nearly 40 percent of its energy needs from Russia.
So, even if Europe were to today try to wean itself off of Russian oil and gas, it would still take some time to find alternate sources to supply that much energy Boris and Laura.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Hi, Atika, thank you for that. Joining me now: CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Staff Writer for The New Yorker, Susan Glasser; and Chris Miller, the Director of Foreign Policy Research Institute's Eurasia Program. So nice to have you both bright and early this morning. Chris, let's begin with those sanctions. Zelenskyy says they need to be strengthened, it's clear that that would be his position. But is there actually room for tougher sanctions right now?
CHRIS MILLER, DIRECTOR, FOREIGN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE'S EURASIA PROGRAM: Well, there's a lot of room for tougher sanctions. The Biden administration thus far has declined to touch Russia's energy industry at all, and exporting oil and gas are the two most important sectors in Russia's economy.
And for fears of higher gasoline prices at home and global economic impacts, Biden has had his hands off the Russian energy sector, and the Russians know that the U.S. right now is afraid to go after energy, which gives them a pretty free hand domestically to, to help protect the rest of their economy from economic pressure. That's a choice the U.S. has made. I think it's the wrong choice. But there certainly is a prospect that
if the war continues, and it lasts for especially longer, it gets bloody, we have more tax on Russians, on Ukrainian cities, we could see an intensification of sanctions, both from the U.S. and from Europe on Russian energy.
JARRETT: Well, even if the U.S. could go further, Susan, we know that Russia has tried to mitigate the impact of the sanctions we've seen so far turning to China and more recently, India. The conventional wisdom here seems to be that Putin is in fact more isolated now. But is there any off-ramp for him that allows him to save face and also in this war and in the carnage?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, if you wanted the off-ramp, he would have taken it before. Unfortunately, you know, a couple points that you made, first of all, a we tend to overemphasize, I think, the unity in the west and not look at the fact that Russia has managed to maintain a certain amount of support in the world and you pointed out: China, which of course, Xi Jinping signed, essentially a manifesto and released it with Vladimir Putin right on the eve of this war in Beijing, and is the key economic partner at this point for Russia.
But the India thing suggests how Russia has not been isolated, despite U.S. efforts. There are also key countries in the Middle East who have continued to do business with Russia, and have not spoken out against the invasion. And so, that highlights the difficulty, no matter how United NATO is, it's really hard to completely cut off another country in the world. That's number one. And then as far as Putin and an end of the war goes, he has still failed to achieve any of his objectives. And it's very hard to see them, you know, declaring victory and turning away. Given that, I think, at this point, unfortunately,
JARRETT: It's such a great point, as you mentioned, he's failed to achieve his key objectives here. So, Chris, talk to me, then, where are we a month into this war, just big picture set the stage for people who are following sort of all of the developments and the details day to day. Zelenskyy says one day, the troops are, you know, moving out of Northern Ukraine, but then the next day we hear, we actually get a different story and that Russia has escalated once again. So, a month in, where are we, Chris?
MILLER: Well, the Russians are in the middle of a big switch in a military strategy, they started the war, hoping that they'd be able to very quickly take, Kyiv, the Capitol, and several other big cities, and they were betting at first, if Ukrainians wouldn't seriously resist that Ukrainian, political will to fight wouldn't be there, that the military would just collapse. And that proved very clearly untrue, to the surprise of the Russians.
And so, for the past week or so they've been readjusting their focus: withdrawing certain troops from the north of the country, basically admitting they're never going to take Kyiv, and instead refocusing their military effort in the Donbass, the region of eastern Ukraine, where Russia has already occupied a chunk of territory for the past eight years. And where Russia is going to try to take substantially more territory over the next couple of weeks.
And what's interesting is if you watch Russian state television, what you'll mostly hear about is the war in the Donbass region, much less about the Russian fighting in the rest of the country, which does suggest that the Russian government thinks this is the most popular part of the war at home, trying to grab more territory and defend what Russia describes as people in the Donbass are being oppressed by the Ukrainians. That's, that's not really true, but that's the narrative that the Russian media has spun for the past decade or so.
JARRETT: And so, if they, in fact, do refocus their efforts on the Donbass region, is there, is the indication that Russian forces will actually have more success there, Chris?
MILLER: Well, I think that's a possibility. We've certainly overestimated Russian military forces over the course of this war. But if there's anywhere in the country that they ought to succeed, it's the Donbass, where they've been positioned to a certain extent for the past eight years. Where they've got very clear supply lines to Russia. So, I think there is some concern that although they've done badly around Kyiv, badly in other parts of the country that in the South and East of Ukraine, and they got a better shot.
JARRETT: Susan, it feels like almost every week, we see peace negotiations, or at least attempts at peace negotiations that basically go nowhere. Should Ukraine or the international community accept a piece that includes Russia, gaining more control of the Donbass region?
GLASSER: Yes, I think you put your finger on the key problem here, which is, what is even conceivable for Ukraine to agree to now, that Russia has launched this war of aggression throughout the country, disrupted? Remember, an enormous percentage of Ukraine's population, we're talking about 10 million people who have been displaced from their homes, many of whom have lost everything; four million have left overseas.
With that kind of toll exacted on Ukraine, politically speaking, it's very difficult to see how President Zelenskyy could ever agree to give him more territory to Russia. And then, there's the problem of Putin perhaps taking away from an outcome like that, that he can just come and gobble up pieces of, of Ukraine, bit by bit, what's to stop him from a few years from now coming back for more of Ukraine? And so that's where it becomes very hard to see how we can have a realistic ending to this conflict.
JARRETT: So well put. Susan Glasser, Chris Miller, thank you both for your expertise. Appreciate it.
Well, today a convoy of buses will try to again to reach Mariupol to evacuate civilians who are trying to escape Russia's war. The Red Cross was denied access to the besieged city yesterday, which prevented thousands of people from leaving. SANCHEZ: Yes, the people who were lucky enough to flee were taken to the Ukrainian controlled city of Zaporizhzhia. CNN's Ivan Watson was at a refugee center there as arrivals began to pour in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The buses have finally arrived from the Russian occupied city of (INAUDIBLE). It's supposed to be a two-and-a-half-hour drive, and we were told that they left around noon local time. It was around noon local time, and they've come in it just before 11:00 p.m. and these buses have red crosses on them and there are dozens and dozens and dozens coming behind them. And they're pulling into this parking lot.
It's all rather dark because the city's blacked out to protect it from the threat of airstrikes and so on. And people here are piled in and exhausted. This has been close to a 12-hour journey for people who were already trying to flee the besieged city of Mariupol. So, people have already had to endure bombing and weeks without, weeks without electricity and a connection to the outside world, cell phone signals.
And they're finally here reaching a Ukrainian controlled piece of territory, but it has been an incredible ordeal to try to help these people through. You can just see kind of exhaustion here if you take a look at some of the faces of folks. These are people who didn't have cars to make their own escape. They were waiting for this kind of transport. Everybody has been forced to leave their homes.
Many of the people who arrived earlier today with their own cars said that their homes were destroyed by Russian artillery, by Russian airstrikes. I saw people bruised and bashed up as a result of surviving explosions and blasts. There are estimated to be more than 100,000 civilians still in Mariupol.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, they were trying to reach those people and they publicly announced that their convoy just kind of five vehicles or three vehicles, nine people, were not allowed in to the city and Russia controls the entrance because it encircles it with its troops. So, here you have people coming in after just an incredibly long day.
And what happens is they're brought in by Ukrainian police. And then Ukrainian volunteers who register people they check their documents, and then, they're welcomed into a superstore that the city government and volunteers, they've organized medics, hot meals, clothes for free if they if they weren't able to get out with their clothes in time.
And then, further information about where to go from here with free transport because then again, everybody, a lot of these people, this is all they have left -- a bag, a suitcase perhaps. And if they're lucky, they're family members with them. So, this is a major evacuation. There are estimates of at least 2000 people on some 52 buses that have finally made it through many, many Russian checkpoints to Ukrainian-controlled territory. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Ivan Watson thank you for filing that report. Still to come this morning, tapping into U.S. oil reserves to help bring down high gas prices. When you could start to see a change the next time you fill up.
JARRETT: Plus, a Trump era rules at the U.S.-Mexico border over as of next month. What this now means is border officials prepare for a possible influx of migrants?
JARRETT: President Biden says Americans are "back to work" after the U.S. economy added 431,000 jobs in March that brings the unemployment rate to a new pandemic era low of 3.6 percent, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Yes, Laura, the job gains were lower than economists expected, but they still make up a strong first quarter overall for the U.S. labor market. Let's get you out now to Wilmington, Delaware. That's where we find CNN White House Reporter Jasmine Wright, who has the very latest for us. Good morning, Jasmine.
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Boris. Yes, that's right. Look, the President took a victory lap yesterday, in a reprieve from some foreign news. He touted this March jobs report as good domestic economic news for the country. So, in addition to those numbers you just listed 431,000 new jobs in March and a new unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, he touted that wages are now rising in this country, and also, he tells a big number.
He said that since he took office in 2021, 7.9 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy. As we can tell from this graphic on the screen now, you see that increasing spike there. So, the President yesterday he celebrated in his remarks. He called the job support striking and he said that it shows that this country is turning the economic corner, take a listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our policies are working. And we're getting results for the American people, which is what it's all about to state the obvious. Record job creation, record unemployment declines, record wage gains, more and more Americans get jobs as they do. It's going to help ease the supply pressures we've seen. And that's good news for fighting inflation, is good news for our economy, and it means that our economy has gone from being on the men to being on the move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So, there we just heard from the President taking the optimistic tone, but the reality is, is that as he touts this, this celebration, the success he still is really facing combating high gas prices as a Russian invasion into Ukraine continues as well as high inflation raises.
Americans are paying more for every day goods, but still the White House is really putting this as a notion that his economic policies are working as though he combats these lower approval numbers. They know very well that his, his economic success is tied to his success as president, Laura, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Jasmine Wright traveling with the president in Wilmington, Delaware. Thank you so much.
As Jasmine mentioned, the White House is trying to fight rising gas prices and countries around the world are now tapping emergency oil reserves to cushion the blow caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The International Energy Agency announced that member countries will release additional oil for emergency reserves, and this marks just the fifth time the IEA has coordinated this kind of release, and its history.
The UK, Japan, Germany and the United States, among the members that are taking action. President Biden announcing a record release of 100 million, 80 barrels of oil from U.S. reserves. And joining us now to discuss the impact this might have on energy markets is David Goldwyn. He served as the U.S. State Department Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs during the Obama administration.
David, a pleasure to have you. We appreciate you sharing part of your Saturday with us. Officials from the Biden administration declined to say how much or how quickly these releases might impact gas prices. How much of an impact do you estimate this is going to have, and what kind of factors impact the timing?
DAVID GOLDWNY, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPECIAL ENVOY AND COORDINATOR FOR INTERNATION ENERGY AFFAIRS: Good morning, Boris, pleasure to be here. Well, I think the President even may have said the other day that he thought it would decrease gasoline prices, five to 35 cents pretty quickly. We've already seen a five cent drop just in the last week. And there are several reasons for this. First, you know, gasoline prices are influenced by the cost of acquiring crude oil. And so, he put more on the market, 180 million barrels is nearly a third of the three million barrels a day which was, is being displaced by self- sanctioning of Russian oil. So, putting more on that helps.
There's the fear factor, which a lot of the reason that crude prices, you know, have gone up so much. They dropped down from 107 to 99 in a week. There was that fear about whether more supplies coming and this SPR release going big, saying it's going to be for six months, helps alleviate some of that some of that fear factor. But you know, if there's a diplomatic, diplomatic progress, those prices could go down further. If sanctions increase, or the situation worsens, or more oil is displaced due to weather events someplace else, prices could go up as well.
SANCHEZ: And that's part of the reason President Biden made clear the second part of his plan is to further create dependence between American energy supply and the rest of the world on a long-term basis. Domestic oil companies, though, argue that government regulation is limiting production, the White House the President says that is bunk. Where do you stand on that?
GOLDWYN: Yes, I think that's, I think that is not well founded, in fact. The reality is that the Biden administration has done nothing to impede oil or gas exports so far. In fact, they're talking about methane regulations where companies should monitor and detect and remediate methane leakage. But those regulations are proposed. They're not even in place yet.
And frankly, Exxon Mobil and Chevron support them anyway. So, so nothing has really happened. Even that federal leasing of new acreage which would take eight years to deliver, has taken place under you know, under, under court order. So, the administration has done nothing to impede the production of oil or the export of oil. In fact, the President and Secretary Granholm have encouraged it.
What we have heard instead, largely from the independence not from the super majors, is that their investors lost a lot of money when independence were recycling 100 percent of their profits into more production than the price dropped, and they lost money. So now they don't want to increase production. They just want to earn dividends and rents off these high prices.
And they don't want to recycle that into more production. This is what put the president the position of having to use the SPR. You can go to OPEC and ask for more oil, but they said they're not going to accelerate their taper. You can go to U.S. industry and say can you produce more because you have the acreage and they've essentially said on the independent side, they don't plan to do that for six months. So, then you use the strategic petroleum reserves because that's what they're for. That's self-help.
Now, it's not a long-term structural solution. But as the President said, it's a bridge. It's a bridge until other countries which are, have made long term investments and are producing more oil, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, other countries like that. So, their production reaches the market. And Citibank and the EIA forecasts that could be up to seven million barrels a day by the end of this year.
SANCHEZ: David, according to sources that have spoken to CNN, there's been an internal debate inside the administration about how harshly they should go after oil and gas companies for not ramping up production. The President calling for Congress to press oil companies by charging fees for unused plots of land that are just sitting there waiting for oil to be extracted. If you were advising the president, how would you counsel him on this issue?
GOLDWYN: Well, I wouldn't counsel them to do that. This is really a, it's a market. You know, it is market driven and the existing U.S. leases have use it or lose it or relinquishment provision in there already. It's 10 years. Maybe you cut that to five if you think there's a lot of money used acreage. But something like 80 percent of U.S. oil production is on private
lands, it's not public lands. And that's why it's kind of silly when the, you know, the U.S. oil industry complains that they need more federal acreage because it doesn't matter that much.
And why it's not really effective for the federal government to impose fees on people for not using federal acreage, because it's not going to cause more production anyway.
I think the -- that effort is better spent in rallying the allies, getting others to release their strategic reserves, calling out China and India, which also has strategic reserves to use theirs, and solving the long term problem, which is reducing our dependency on oil altogether by accelerating electric vehicles, promotion of renewable energy, incentivizing green hydrogen.
And if they pass the climate part of the Build Back Better plan, we'd have a, you know, a bigger push on that front.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): I suspect it's going to be a challenging issue for the Biden administration, especially as we head into midterm elections and the price of gas fluctuates the way that it has.
David Goldwyn, we appreciate your insight and your perspective. Thanks so much.
GOLDWYN: My pleasure. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Coming up for you, reclaiming a sense of normalcy in the middle of a war. A look at life inside Odesa, a city that Putin has set his sights on. That's next.
SANCHEZ: Ukrainian officials say that three missiles from Russia hit areas near the strategic port city of Odesa.
JARRETT (on camera): For a month now, Russian forces have targeted ports along the Black Sea, but residents in Odesa have tried to soldier on, still knowing war maybe coming.
CNN's Ed Lavandera reports for us now.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Kanishka (PH) market is where you come to trade gossip and rumors, dollars for Ukrainian cash, or hunt down underground rare books.
It's also where a group of college friends come for coffee and a sense of peace.
LAVANDERA (on camera): I want to ask you with everything going on in Ukraine, everything here seems so normal.
TAIMUR KRAVCHENKO, LAW STUDENT: Now, its home, and we can like live a normal life. But that's for now. We don't know what's going to be tomorrow or in a week.
LAVANDERA: It looks normal, but is it really normal?
KRAVCHENKO: Inside, everyone is afraid. If something is going to happen in Odesa, of course, we will protect our city. But right now, we can just sit and live normal life.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Do you navigate the streets of Odessa, you see the remaining residents trying to go about their daily lives. But a large part of the city's historic center is transformed into a fortified zone with anti-tank barricades, bracing for an amphibious attack by Russian troops from the Black Sea.
It's a ghost town.
LAVANDERA (on camera): The residents of Odessa would normally be preparing to hold what is known as the April Fools' parade on this street, in the heart of the city. It's a parade that started years ago in response to Soviet censorship. But now, this area of Odesa is completely fortified, and this year, there will be no parade.
Instead, civilian volunteers and activists are mobilizing to support the war effort.
So, we're in a bomb shelter in Odesa. And this is where they're making bulletproof vests.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): We meet this man sealing the steel plates of homemade armored vests for frontline soldiers. He asked that we call him Markin (PH).
LAVANDERA (on camera): We've heard that Russian forces are leaving Kyiv. Are you concerned? And do you think that they're going to start coming back toward Odesa?
LAVANDERA (voice-over): We've already beat their ass. We will do it again, he tells me.
Russian naval ships remained stationed off the coast of Odesa in the Black Sea. The concern here is the war will intensify in the South. Before the war, and Markin (Ph) worked as a professional scuba diver. He defiantly says he looks forward to exploring the underwater wreckage of those sunken Russian ships as a diver when the war is over.
On a street corner, we find dozens of displaced families who've escaped to Odesa. They're from the worst war zones hoping to find food and clothing. Olga Petrovich (PH) is waiting with five of her six children. LAVANDERA (on camera): So, you come from a village that was surrounded by Russian soldiers. You're in the crossfire. How frightening was that?
I was scared for the children, most of all, she tells me.
Olga says her family had to walk through a forest to escape shelling. Tears well up in her eyes as her husband tells us Russian soldiers broke into their homes taking everything they could from the families in their village.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When we came here, the volunteers told us to say what we need, but I'm ashamed. I've worked all my life and never asked anyone for anything. And now I have to ask.
LAVANDERA: Her little girl wipes away her mother's tears.
Mother, why are you crying? The girl asks. Because they were shelling us a lot. Olga tells her.
Not far from where we met Olga's family, we notice a father teaching his daughter how to ride a bike, a poignant moment in the midst of a surreal world.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Odesa, Ukraine.
SANCHEZ: Thank you, Ed, for that report.
It is another hot topic expected to come up during the midterm elections. Up next, we're talking immigration and how lawmakers are reacting to the end of pandemic-era restrictions at the border.
SANCHEZ: Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: The CDC says that next month, the Biden administration is planning to end a Trump-era pandemic restriction that effectively blocked migrants from entering the United States.
Democrats in Congress are at odds over ending these border restrictions as U.S. officials say they're bracing for a flood of migrants that will likely cross the southern border.
JARRETT: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin went as far as to call Biden's decision ending the rule known as Title 42, quote frightening.
Let's go live to CNN's Daniella Diaz on Capitol Hill for us this morning.
[07:45:01] JARRETT: Daniella, nice to see you on a Saturday. It seems Democrats here are not completely aligned on this issue. So, what else are they saying?
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER (on camera): Laura, it is moderate Democrats, specifically that are very concerned, that with the administration, repealing that Trump-era provision, Title 42, that allows the United States to send migrants back to their home countries to wait processing.
Now, with that being repealed, there will be a crisis on the border. And that is not something that moderate Democrats want to deal with ahead of the 2022 midterms, the 2024 elections, specifically, of course, other two border-state Democrats, Mark Kelly, and Kyrsten Sinema. Senators from Arizona, who sent a letter to Biden last week and re-released a statement that said that they are concerned that this will lead to another migrant crisis.
You know, we've seen this time and time again, with crises at the border with where you see migrants living at the border, not having anywhere to go. So, now, they will be able to stay with this to repeal of Title 42 and await processing in the United States.
Now, I want to read a really strong statement from Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate set Democratic senator at West Virginia, who slammed the Biden administration for repealing -- announcing the repeal of Title 42.
This is what he said, he said, "Today's announcement by the CDC and the Biden administration is a frightening decision. We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the administration ends the Title 42 policy. We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx."
So, this is really a contrast between what the administration wants to do on immigration, Laura, and Boris. And, of course, how these moderate Democrats feel about this issue.
JARRETT: All right, Daniella Diaz, thank you for your reporting, as always.
You know, Boris, it strikes me that there is a political situation here of lawmakers not liking the optics of people camped out at the border.
JARRETT: The images running nonstop on other networks of tent cities, essentially being built up heading into the midterms. But I don't know about you, but I haven't seen any evidence that -- say a migrant who is so desperate to come to the United States seeking a better life was ever deterred by Title 42, in the first place.
It's not like people said to themselves, oh, but for Title 42, I would come. SANCHEZ: Yes, I think it has more to do with the seasons. And when it's warmer, and there are better conditions for an influx of migrants as we get closer to summer --
SANCHEZ: It's likely that we will see more numbers as we have in years past. Ultimately, I think you're right. This is largely a political calculation from centrist Democrats who know that history isn't on their side when it comes to this midterm election being the incumbent party. And not only facing difficult political conditions when it comes to the issue of immigration but inflation as well.
SANCHEZ: And Biden, obviously, being blamed for that. You can expect to see a lot of midterm election ads featuring some of the issues we just outlined.
JARRETT: Yes, yes, that is for sure.
Well, still ahead for you.
JARRETT (voice-over): A stunning retirement announcement from one of Hollywood's leading action stars.
Up next we're taking a closer look at the condition that's forcing Bruce Willis to step away from acting.
SANCHEZ: A federal judge has denied Ghislaine Maxwell's request for a new trial. She said that a juror who failed to disclose a history of sexual abuse on his pre-trial questionnaire did not have any bias against her.
The information came to light after the jury talked about being a victim of sex abuse in media interviews, following verdict.
JARRETT: Maxwell, you all remember was found guilty last year of helping convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein recruit groom, and abused girls as young as 14. She is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
JARRETT (on camera): Also some big news in the world of Hollywood, actor Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting after revealing he's suffering from a debilitating medical condition. His family shared on Wednesday that Willis has something known as aphasia, which experts say robs people of ability to communicate and even understand other people.
CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): When it comes to the term, aphasia from a neuro perspective, neurosurgery, neurology, we think about this as sort of a broader issue, the ability to communicate generally, which means not just the ability to speak, but the ability to write, for example.
And not just expressing yourself, but also being able to receive speech.
So, being able to understand the spoken word, being able to read someone's written work. So, this is sort of generally what aphasia means.
GUPTA (voice-over): And that we don't know, specifically, what is going on with Bruce Willis, how much of his communication this really affects. But typically, what the aphasia, it can affect different parts of the brain. It can be caused by all sorts of different things, including a stroke, a brain tumor, for example. But sometimes more slowly progressive things like types of dementia can cause this as well.
But again, we don't know at all what's causing the situation with Bruce Willis.
Let me show you in the -- in the brain. If we look at the brain specifically, there's a couple of areas the brain that we often refer to when talking about aphasia. Closer to the front of the brain, broca's area.
GUPTA: If there was an impact there, typically people would have a hard time expressing, speaking -- even writing. If they had a more of an issue with Wernicke's area in the back of the brain, that would be more receptive, harder time understanding the spoken word or reading.
GUPTA (on camera): So, again, exactly which has been affected? If both had been affected? How much of this is due to a more progressive issue of some other sort? We don't know. But we do know that oftentimes, speech pathology, speech training, things like that can be helpful in these sorts of situations.
That sort of an overlook, it typically what aphasia, some of the causes, and what can be done about it.
SANCHEZ: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for your expertise.
Still become in our next hour.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): State media says 135,000 Russians are soon going to be drafted to fight in Ukraine. That says new intelligence reveals that troops on the frontlines are refusing orders. Congressman Dan Kildee weighs in after a quick break.