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New Day Saturday

Dozens Killed in Russian Airstrike on Crowded Train Platform; CNN Gets First Hand Look at Destruction Left Behind in Chernihiv; Zelenskyy Calls Missile Strike on Train Station a War Crime; Software Issue Delaying Docking of SpaceX Capsule and Space Station; Tiger Makes the Cut in Augusta; Donald Trump, Jr. Texted Mark Meadows Ideas for Overturning 2020 Election Before it was Called; Protests in Tbilisi Against Putin's Invasion of Ukraine; U.S. Restaurants Call on Congress to Pass more Federal Relief Aid. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 09, 2022 - 08:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Saturday, April 9th. Hope that you're enjoying a nice, calm Saturday and good coffee this morning. We just appreciate your presence here. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. Great to be with you. We're thrilled that you're starting your weekend with us. I'm Boris Sanchez.

And we start in Ukraine where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is vowing that everyone involved in an attack by Russia on a crowded train station will be held accountable. President Zelenskyy saying the attack in Kramatorsk is another war crime committed by Russia.

We're about to show you some images that are disturbing. And we want to warn you, but we feel it's important to share with you the full scope of what's happening in Ukraine.

PAUL: Yes. So, here we go. Just wanted to give you that heads up. But officials say the strike killed at least 50 people, including five children, nearly 100 were wounded. Now, the station was packed with evacuees. People who were trying to escape the fighting in Ukraine. President Zelenskyy says Russia must pay for its crimes.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We expect a firm, global response to this war crime. Like the massacre in Bucha, like many other Russian war crimes, the missile strike on Kramatorsk must be one of the charges at the tribunal which is bound to happen.


SANCHEZ: And President Zelenskyy says the horror that the world saw in the town of Bucha is likely just the beginning. The images of civilians lying dead in the streets, bodies being buried in mass graves, shocking the world. But Zelenskyy says the situation in the town of Borodianka is much scarier.

PAUL: That the U.S. this week approved another $100 million in weapons for Ukraine. Russian forces appear to be regrouping, meanwhile, and shifting their focus. Ukrainian officials are warning about a major Russian offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine there.

SANCHEZ: We're also getting reports of an explosion in the coastal city of Odessa. That's according to the mayor of a nearby town. He urged people not to panic and he said the situation is under control but gave no further details.

We want to get to our correspondents now covering the story from multiple angles. Clarissa Ward is live for us in Kyiv and Phil Black is live in Lviv.

PAUL: It's so good to have both of you here. Listen. Phil, let's start with you and the aftermath of that Russian attack on a crowded train station. What do you know this morning about what happened and about what's next?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Boris, good morning.

We should mention again off the top and warn viewers that the images that show the aftermath of that scene are very graphic. And indeed, taking in that scene is really distressing. And so are the facts, at least 50 people killed.

You can see from the images that many of them are women and indeed, some of them are children. We know that at least five children were killed in that strike. Hundreds injured of which at least 100 required hospital treatment.

All of that is being assessed to be the work of a short-range ballistic missile, according to U.S. Defense Department officials. One that they believe was fired from within Ukraine but from a Russian- controlled position.

The Ukrainian military adds a disturbing little detail. And it says that that missile was packed with cluster munitions. These are these little bomblets that disperse and spread out and explode across a wide area which if you can imagine, would be particularly devastating if you're talking about dispersing that weapon across a crowd of thousands of people outside the train station which is what happened.

Now, Russia denies responsibility for all of this. But as you've touched on President Zelenskyy, very much says this is a war crime and atrocity, yet another one. That condemnation has been echoed by world leaders and human rights groups over the last 24 hours or so. But Zelenskyy is promising that there will be accountability for this somehow. Across the chain of command for whoever was responsible for giving the order to pushing the button. He says, inevitably, people will be made to pay for this.

SANCHEZ: And, Phil, we're learning that some evacuation routes are now being adjusted in light of this attack. These civilian corridors have been dangerous since the beginning of the invasion. Often the ceasefires that are agreed to, to let people evacuate, they just don't hold up.

BLACK: Indeed. And even this attack shows that the simple act of trying to get people on to a train to get them further west to safety, there is already an inherent risk, a potential risk with that as well but this is all incredibly important at the moment because in the east of the country, it is - it is a region that is getting ready for a renewed Russian assault. One that is expected to begin very soon. It is expected to be large and aggressive, operating to a very tight deadline. This is a region where residential areas have already experienced incredible bombardment.


So there's a need to get vast numbers of people out there quickly. And that is now very much the focus, at least from a civilian point of view, as Ukraine gets ready for the next phase of this war.

SANCHEZ: A dangerous process ahead.

Phil Black, thank you so much from Lviv, Ukraine.

Let's pivot now and take you to Kyiv, where we find CNN's Clarissa Ward. And Clarissa, as Russia is shifting resources east, people in town surrounding the capital are now returning to areas that were previously held by the Russians. And there is a lot left behind. Death and destruction. Walk us through what you're seeing there.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So we have been traveling to the northern city of Chernihiv and other villages to the north of that near the Belarusian border where Russian forces launched this major offensive at the beginning of the war and really it provides a window, I think, on to what we can expect to see in the east.

Russian forces have now retreated - have now retreated from those areas north of Kyiv and towards Chernihiv, but what we found on the ground visiting those areas are scenes of absolute desperation and complete devastation.


WARD (voice-over): This is what remains of Russia's presence in much of northern Ukraine. A hastily abandoned camp by the roadside, just 30 miles in from the Belarusian border, where soldiers dug in and prepared for their advance, their foxholes still littered with their rations.

WARD (on camera): So, this is where it looks like they were doing their cooking. You can see some onions, coffee, some water, some cans over there. But what's so striking walking around this camp is that it's just a mess. It seems there was a total lack of discipline.

WARD (voice-over): Around the corner in this village, Chernihiv, Ludmila Stepanovna (ph), tells us residents hid their valuables as Russian forces looted the area. Five weeks they were staying here. Tanks were all around us. At night, they would shoot at the houses with machine guns, she says. But, praise God, they didn't touch us.

As the Russians continued their lightning defensive down to the city of Chernihiv, their tactics grew more brutal. Faced with stiff resistance on the ground, they doubled down on bombardment from the skies.

Ukrainian Soldier Bogdan Vervitski (ph) shows us what is left of the village of Novoselivka, just outside Chernihiv. The scale of the destruction is jaw-dropping. Not a single house is untouched.

Bogdan (ph) explains that this was the final push to get into the city.

WARD (on camera): So, he's saying that this was a Ukrainian position. The Russians bombed it heavily. And then Russian soldiers were actually here in this area just a mile away from the city.

WARD (voice-over): Nikolai Kraznatal (ph), never saw the Russian soldiers here, but he felt the full force of their assault. This is my cellar, he says. He tells us his nephew was sheltering from the bombardment there when it took a direct hit.

Pinned down, Nikolai (ph) was forced to bury him in a shallow grave in the garden.

We put a cross and covered it with a shield so the dogs wouldn't dig him up, he says. I feel such hatred for Putin. I want to tear him apart. I lived for 70 years but I never saw a beast like this.

Many here fear they haven't seen the last of him. On a destroyed bridge, an emotional Tatiana (ph) and Svetlana (ph) are returning from their first visit with their parents since the war began.

They're worried they may not see them again.

We don't know if the Russians will come back to the village where my parents are, Tatiana says. And this is so scary.

In the end, Russia's offensive in the north was a failure, but the scars of its assault remain deep, and the prospect of a return to normalcy still seems far away.


WARD (on camera): Now for the people living in those villages that were under Russian occupation for many weeks, the worst of their ordeal is now over. But they are still confronted with a very bleak reality. I mean, it is difficult to get to many of these areas, the roads are often impassible. You saw that large bridge that had been destroyed. That was actually destroyed by Ukrainian forces to stop Russian forces from moving into the city. But there are scenes like that, across this area, making it difficult to get into these smaller villages. To get desperately needed food and aid and medicine, many of these people still living without water. And without electricity. Boris, Christi?


PAUL: I don't think I'll ever forget that man you've talked to who said he's never seen a beast in his 70 years like he sees Putin.

Clarissa Ward, thank you so much. Great, great information. And just making it so real for us. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Let's get some analysis now from Max Boot. He's a senior fellow at the council on foreign relations and a columnist for "The Washington Post."

Max, good morning. Thanks for joining us.


SANCHEZ: I want to start with something you wrote for "The Post" this week. You described a tactic that Russian troops are using in Ukraine as quote, "organized atrocity." You add, quote, "This, sadly, is the Russian way of war. They commit war crimes to terrorize the population into surrender."

What's your response then when you hear nations around the world, even democracies like India and Israel playing both sides and not fully condemning what we're watching in Ukraine?

BOOT: It's a horrifying morale lapse. I mean, when you - when you watch that coverage that you just got on and CNN has done a fantastic job of documenting what's going on. I mean, it's just sickening to read about what the Russians are doing to the poor people of Ukraine.

And it's just - you know, it's almost sickening to see the indifference of so many people around the world. The fact that Europe continues to purchase Russian oil and gas. The fact that countries like India and China and Israel and others are not rushing to full throated condemn Russia or to support the Ukrainians. I think this is just a horrible failure on their part, but I think that the good news is that much of Europe has outraised, the United States has outraised, and we are providing tremendous aid to the Ukrainians which is a big part of the reason why the Russian offensive so far has been unsuccessful.

In fact, the Russians suffered a devastating defeat around Kyiv. They've been evicted from the north of the country. Now there's another major battle looming the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. And the good news is that despite the Russian willingness to commit all these atrocities, they are not winning the war. They are not breaking the spirit of the Ukrainians. Just the opposite. They are calling more resistance into - more resistance into -- into being in Ukraine, just because, you know, Ukrainians understand, they're fighting not just for their freedom, but for their very survival.

SANCHEZ: And Max, you argue that defeating Putin on the battlefield is the only path toward peace, that negotiating will simply not be enough. Why then even hold peace talks with the Kremlin?

BOOT: I mean, there's no harm in the holding of these talks which have been going on in Turkey, but they haven't been making a lot of progress. And I suspect they will not make a lot of progress until we see more resolution on the battlefield because Putin does not yet feel defeated. He is not going to be willing to make major concessions while he still has hopes of attaining battlefield victories in eastern Ukraine.

Now I think it is fair to say at this point, regime change is off the table. Russia's initial objectives will not be achieved to the Zelenskyy government or remain in power. Most of Ukraine will remain free of Russian domination. But I think the issue now is how much of Ukraine's territory will the Russians be able to hold on to. And we won't know that until we see the outcome of the looming battle in Donbas. And I think that's going to set the terms for potential future negotiations.

SANCHEZ: Max, you argue that the White House has to send more aid to Ukraine. Artillery, fighter aircraft, long-range air defense systems. Some of that, the Biden administration, has declined to pursue to send over to Ukraine. What do you make of the argument that providing Ukraine with certain arms, with certain weapons, would provoke Putin further?

BOOT: I don't get it. Because, yes, I mean there are things that we should not be doing. We should not be doing a no-fly zone. We should not be sending a U.S. aircraft to dog fight with Russian aircraft. But nobody is seriously suggesting doing that. The serious suggestions are to do things like providing MiG-29 aircraft or tanks.

And the Biden administration, I think, is they are starting to work on providing some tanks. But there are still some strange red lines that are being drawn, like no, you know, fighter aircraft. I really don't get that. I mean those are defensive weapons that will allow Ukraine to win the battle for the skies. And, you know, Putin is certainly showing no restraint. But at the same time, I don't think we need to be overly afraid of Putin just because his military machine has been exposed as hollow in Ukraine.


And certainly, if Putin is not able to defeat the Ukrainians, he is not going to launch a war with NATO. So we should not be deterring ourselves from doing everything possible to aid the Ukrainians because that's the only way to bring peace and to end this horrific killing.

SANCHEZ: The fear, the trepidation is that perhaps he may launch some kind of a nuclear strike if he finds himself cornered and self- destructive at that point.

Max Boot, we got to leave the conversation there. Appreciate you sharing part of your weekend with us.

BOOT: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

PAUL: Still to come this morning, a CNN exclusive. Newly uncovered text messages show how Donald Trump Jr. was prepared to secure his father's future as votes were being tallied.

And we're following this developing story. A software issue is delaying the plan to docking the SpaceX capsule and the International Space Station were to do this morning. Engineers on the ground are trying to fix that issue. We have the very latest, coming up.

Also, a little over a year, after surviving a devastating car crash, Tiger Woods makes the cut at Augusta. But what's it going to take to earn a sixth green jacket?



PAUL: 20 minutes past the hour right now. And we are learning new details about the involvement of former President Trump's son when it came to trying to overturn the 2020 election. A CNN exclusive report reveals Donald Trump Jr. texted then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows detailing steps he thought would ensure his father's second term in office.

SANCHEZ: The plan laid out ideas for keeping Trump in power by subverting the Electoral College process.

Let's bring in CNN's Zach Cohen. Zach, take us through these text messages. What exactly was Don Jr. plotting with Mark Meadows.


I've got to tell you these text messages are remarkable in several different ways, including the date they were sent. Now Don Jr. texted Mark Meadows on November 5th, 2020, which was a time period before all the race have been called for President Joe Biden.

Now the first text, he also puts in an action plan, right? He lays out an action plan for the White House to ensure his father wins a second term. The first text, "It's very simple. We have multiple paths we control them all." That really speaks to the mindset of the White House at that time, and of the Trump family.

Now the second text is equally as concerning. It says, it lays out the first path. It says, "Republicans control Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina. We get Trump electors."

Now, we've talked a lot about the fake electors and Donald Trump Jr. seems to be referring to the same thing, using the states to overturn the election for -- and keep his father in power.

Now, the third - the third text message really sums it all up. It says, we either have a vote we control, and we win, or it gets kicked to Congress on January 6th, 2021. Now it's clear from this text message that Don Jr. had even identified the fact that January 6th was sort of the last deadline, the last opportunity, for them to overturn the election and keep his dad in office.

Now obviously, they were unsuccessful in doing that. But the text messages that we revealed yesterday really speak to a new timeline. That it's way earlier -- these conversations were happening way earlier than we previously knew.

Now Donald Trump's lawyer suggest that, you know, these text messages could have been Donald Trump Jr. forwarding them on to Mark Meadows. But either way, you have the president's oldest son talking to Mark Meadows, the chief of staff of the White House and imploring him to help overturn the election.

SANCHEZ: They really are exposing what they were planning, just moments before January 6th, and in days after the election. Zachary Cohen, thank you so much.

Still ahead. A historic mission in space with an all-civilian crew docking with the International Space Station has been delayed.

PAUL: Yes. Here's what we know right now. The crew includes a former NASA astronaut and three paying passengers, by the way. The crew is in a holding pattern of sorts, about 20 meters away from the ISS docking port.

CNN's Rachel Crane is live from Cape Canaveral, Florida. She's been following this all along the way. Talk to us about what you know regarding this delay and how long they can be in that holding pattern safely.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris and Christi. We've been following this, this morning. You know, they only have about two hours of consumables, also known as propellant on board the Crew Dragon spaceship Endeavour. So that's really the limiting factor here, how long they can hold of 20 meters outside of the International Space Station before they have to make a call, because, of course, it would not have enough propellant on board to stay there.

But, you know, SpaceX and NASA saying that they are working on fixing this routing problem of this video link. Now the video link, just to be clear, they're seeing it here on the ground in mission control. It's just the International Space Station that is not getting that link just yet. SpaceX saying that they will be passing over a ground station very soon to be able to try and fix that. And they're -- sorry, we're getting updates in real-time. They're planning to press ahead with docking attempt. We're just hearing right now.

So hopefully, that means that everyone here on ground control feels confident that they can proceed forward. Because as I said, they do have that video link down here in mission control, SpaceX's mission control in Hawthorne.

But I also want to point out that this is an autonomous docking. You know, the - the crew on board spaceship Endeavour, they do have the ability if needed to take manual control of the spacecraft as they're making this docking, which first starts off with a soft docking and then a hard docking when the latches attach the spacecraft to the International Space Station.


But this is all done autonomously via lasers and sensors. So, you know, these video links while incredibly important, clearly, NASA SpaceX feeling that they can press ahead, as they said, with this docking. So, Boris, Christi, we'll continue to bring you all these details and updates as this mission proceeds.

PAUL: OK, Rachel. We want to listen in to some of the conversations that are going on there at NASA.


UNKNOWN: Accelerating in for docking. So, again, we're able to get that ground pass video. The teams here in Houston (inaudible) or other support personnel confirmed Dragon was in good alignment and that video from the ground site, that's the one you're just seeing on the left. So Dragon is now continuing in towards docking.

We've departed waypoint two. We're only 17 1/2 meters away. We've confirmed good alignment. And we've got additional views now trained on Dragon, giving additional situational awareness. We're continuing to get those updates from the navigational equipment on board Dragon. The lidar is giving real-time range rate. We're getting real-time degrees. And that's also being fed to the crew in real-time.

They don't have that video, but they do have all of that additional data that's able to give them enough data to make decisions for abort if they need to. So, we have proceeded. We are go for docking. Dragon's flying in. It's moving at less than a tenth of a meter per second. We're just about 15 meters away now from the docking port on the space facing side of node 2. It should be just under three minutes away from docking.


PAUL: So -

SANCHEZ: Let's get back to Rachel Crane now. Rachel, what did you make of what you just heard there?

CRANE: Well, that was music to everyone's ears here on earth. But also, particularly those in orbit, in that spacecraft and on the Space Station because that means that they are proceeding forward as we heard, the spacecraft is moving towards this docking. They are really approaching at just a crawl at this point. So it's going to be a few more minutes until that docking takes place.

But they were able to proceed forward, despite the fact that that video link was not fixed. But they said they had enough eyes and data points on the spacecraft that they felt it was safe to proceed forward. As I pointed out before, you know, that -- that video link was getting transmitted here to mission control. It was just the International Space Station that wasn't getting that feed.

But, again, this is the moment that we've all been waiting for. And that crew in particular has been waiting for. And just to point out it will be a few hours before -- like, following docking to the hatch opening. But right now, the crew is in their space suits because they have to wear their space suits whenever they're going through a dynamic phase of flight which includes, of course, the launch, but also this docking period. But shortly after that docking and pressurization is completed. They'll be able to take off their space suits. Get back into their comfortable clothes, open that hatch and you know get on to that Space Station, something that these crew members have dreamed of for a lifetime when it comes to --

PAUL: Sorry, Rachel. Yes, let's listen into what they're saying as they inch closer to the docking.


UNKNOWN: Still seeing good alignment. Under three meters. Soft docking, Dragon on top there. international docking.

UNKNOWN: SpaceX copies. Two meters.

UNKNOWN: Two meters, we heard call the crew's hands-off point.

UNKNOWN: One meter.

UNKNOWN: One meter to go.

UNKNOWN: Dragon SpaceX on the big loop contact -

UNKNOWN: Yes, soft capture.

UNKNOWN: -- and soft capture complete. Attenuation in progress.

UNKNOWN: SpaceX Endeavour copy all. Good.


UNKNOWN: All right. So, with that contact and capture coming at 7:29 a.m. Central Time, 5:29 a.m. Eastern. That's 12:29 UTC. All the station and Dragon flew 258,000 statured miles over the Central Atlantic Ocean. So, with that initial contact made, the soft capturing is now going to begin to retract. That is completed. We will be able to start engaging --

UNKNOWN: Dragon SpaceX on the big loop start capture ring retraction in progress.

UNKNOWN: Soft capture ring in progress.

UNKNOWN: So, we're now going to see Dragon inch a little bit closer to that docking adapter, until it essentially performs a sealed connection. Then we'll be able to engage 12 hooks that form the hard capture function on board Dragon. Six of those were actually engaged during the launch. And on the way into orbit, they hold the nose cone which you can see open off to the right there. They hold that in place. Then they're opened up once we're on orbit to deploy the nose cone, but 12 of those are now going to engage after the soft capture that you see there to deploy the nose cone. But 12 of those are now going to engage after the soft capture ring has retracted. Once those 12 are engaged, we'll have a hard ring.

And we can start to connect two umbilical's that are going to provide hardline data and power to Dragon through station systems. And then we'll be able to get the docking complete call. And then it's onto some of the post docking operations. So for the crew inside of Dragon, they'll be getting out of their suits. Doing some basic cabin configuration, as they get ready to open the hatch on their side. That will be the last hatch to open.

Meanwhile, on the station side, Tom Marshburn and the Expedition 67 crew will start outfitting what's called the A pass hatch, the hatch on the station side, the small valves. Then Marshburn is going to open up to begin the flow atmosphere to the space between the dragon and the station hatches.

Right now, it's still exposed to vacuum. But as soon as we're able to pull Dragon in and engage those hooks that will become a sealed - sealed space. And so, we'll be able to pressurize it. Essentially just flowing atmosphere from the station into that previously vacuum space between the two hatches. We'll stop a couple of times on the way up and the pressure, just to do leak checks and let thermal equalized to make sure that we're actually measuring pressure and how much atmosphere is in there, not just thermal fluctuations.

And so, once we get that up to pretty much the same ambient pressure as the Space Station, we'll open the A-pass hatch first, and then it will be over to the Dragon crew to open the hatch into Crew Dragon Endeavour.

So still waiting for that soft capture ring to retract. This might be a bit of Deja vu for Dragon Commander Mike LA as this is actually the second time in his spaceflight career that he's docked to the Space Station on a spacecraft named Endeavour. He flew on shuttle Endeavour back on STS 113 flying to the station in November of 2002 to deliver the Expedition 6 crew. So, thank you to our resident spaceflight encyclopedia for that tidbit.


PAUL: So, a historic moment here. As private citizens and NASA astronaut do, indeed, dock to the ISS. This is about 45 minutes late, after a software problem where they had to reconfigure their computers.

Leroy Chiao is an astronaut. Been in that position before. So, Leroy, I wanted to ask you about what they were saying going into this, right before, as they edged that - as they edged toward the ISS. They were saying they had good alignment. They knew how many meters they were away from the docking station. They were getting real-time data points but what they were still missing at that point was that video. That initially, they said, they couldn't dock without that video. If you were there, in that rocket, would you be concerned? Help us understand, really, how serious this was.

LEROY CHIAO, NASA ASTRONAUT (RET.): Actually, it wasn't as far as problems go, it was not a serious problem. Just the fact that the crew on board could not see the view from the center line camera of the Dragon spacecraft just, you know, there's no critical alignment done with that camera view. It just gives the crew inside kind of a warm, fuzzy that everything looks like it's going well, looks like they're lined up and things like that.


So the docking process is actually fully automatic in what we call the nominal or normal mode. And so, the crew on board, the Dragon, is monitoring all the data. They're looking at the camera views. They're looking at the alignment guides and everything looks good.

If they have to take manual control, if there's a problem with the autopilot as actually happened during my docking to the station with the - in the Soyuz spacecraft, the crew is trained to take manual control and then complete that docking maneuver manually.

So there would be no danger not having that center line camera view for anyone, frankly, for the - I mean, for anyone on board the station, as long as the Dragon crew has all the queues that they need to manually take over if necessary.

SANCHEZ: And Rachel, I'm curious about the company that's brokering this spaceflight. Texas based startup Axiom. They apparently have aspirations to launch a private space station. What can you tell us about that?

CRANE: That's right, Boris. You know, this - they -- the company says is their first major step towards making that space station a reality. We know that the International Space Station will not live in orbit past 2030. So, NASA has tapped private industry, asking them to, you know, create a replacement in orbit, of another commercial space station, a completely commercial space station, which of course, governments would also be able to utilize.

But Axiom is really taking the first major step towards that. They say that they will have a module attached to the International Space Station in 2024, with plans to have an additional module attached shortly thereafter. They also have plans to have three additional flights to the International Space Station in the very near future. They're brokering those deals right now, planning to fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket like we saw lift off yesterday who brought this crew to the International Space Station.

So Axiom saying this moment right here, this docking of spaceship Endeavour is just the start for Axiom. And also pushing the envelope of the commercialization of low Earth orbit. Boris, Christi?

PAUL: All right. Thank you both so much. Rachel Crane and Leroy Chiao. We had a lot to talk about, a lot to watch. And we're so glad that they're there. We continue to just be interested in what they're going to do while they're there for the eight days. We'll talk about that as well. But we appreciate both of your voices and your expertise. Thank you for walking us through it. We'll be right back.



PAUL: Right now, demonstrators are gathering in Tbilisi, Georgia to protest against Putin's continued invasion of Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: Georgia's opposition party is sponsoring the demonstration and is demanding that the government take a stronger stand against Russia.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live in the capital of Georgia. Matt, 33 years ago today, citizens there witnessed firsthand the brutality of the Soviet Army. This is an experience that many of them know well.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Boris. I mean, where I'm standing right now, Russian troops actually attacked. Protesters here in Georgia back in 1989, it's a day of National Remembrance here every year. But this year, it certainly takes on more importance, if you will, because of what is going on in Ukraine. And the people of Georgia really have a lot of sympathy for what that country is going through. Remember, it was Vladimir Putin invaded -- his army invaded here back in 2008. A lot of Georgians died. And it's something that obviously people remember here.

Now this protest just kind of getting started here. Say there's a few hundred people here with the aim of trying to pressure the government of this country to take stronger steps, stronger stands against Russia's actions in Ukraine. There's critics here. The opposition parties that would say that the government is basically trying to have it both ways by not vocally coming out against Vladimir Putin. And trying to play both sides of the fence.

For example, there was a resolution passed in parliament here not too long, where they said that they support Ukraine, but made no mention of Vladimir Putin and Russia and their obvious role in the invasion of that country. And so, people here are angry with the government in that sense. Saying they want their government to take a stronger stand of solidarity with Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: Matt Rivers, live from Georgia. Thank you so much, Matt.

PAUL: I don't know if things feel a little more normal to you now. Because some mask mandates have been relieved a bit. But talk about relief for U.S. restaurants and that is still much needed. They've been hard hit by the pandemic. And more of that relief could be on the way. A bipartisan group of senators say they're working on legislation to revitalize the restaurant relief fund after the House passed on Thursday an aid package that included $42 billion for restaurants.

I want to talk to Cheetie Kumar. She's a chef and restaurant owner from Raleigh, North Carolina. She spoke before Congress, Wednesday, about why restaurants desperately need this money now.


Cheetie, so good to have you with us. I wanted to ask you about something that you've said. You said the government grant basically saved your business. I know that you had some people out with COVID in -- around Christmas which was problematic for you. Talk to us about how you're doing now and what is your most urgent need.

CHEETIE KUMAR, OWNER AND CHEF, GARLAND RESTAURANT: Well, we were fortunate enough to be one of the 100,000 restaurants who did receive the grant. But there are still 200 - almost 200,000 restaurants that applied that did not get funding. So, for us, this grant was -- I mean, we just would not be here without it. We've withstood two variants after the original, you know, surge of Delta.

Since then, and we had, you know, restaurant workers were just hard hit with Omicron, and we lost New Year's Eve because of it. We had two people that tested positive that morning. And we just couldn't open, and we lost all of our products.

So, you know, at that point, we had to pay everybody to, you know, quarantine. Get tested. The workers that did get sick, you know, all of that money came at a time when sales were down like drastically. And January was such a slow month. Because people were just scared to eat in restaurants.

So none of those - you know, that's just one example of the high expenses at a time of low revenues that we've had. And the grant that we had has enabled us not to just withstand those times but also pay rent and just keep people employed like we always do.

PAUL: Yes. Talking prices, food prices, we know have gone way up. And the supply chain has been an issue obviously as well. As I understand it, local restaurants, independent restaurants like yours often use domestic and local produce and products. So much of the supply chain and issues as I understand it, surround international products, and commodity products I should say. So, are the domestic and the local items abundant? Can you rely on those?

KUMAR: Well, you know, a restaurant like mine works with local farmers and local fishermen and little cattle growers. Everything we get is local. And we're good at being sort of creative about what's available. We change our menu seasonally anyway, so if something isn't available, we pivot. And that's like our favorite word even before the pandemic.

And, you know, we put something else on the menu. So when you have relationships with, you know, your local suppliers, you can do that. But if you're locked into a commodity-based menu and, you know, only working with, you know, international products, like tuna and chicken that's from God knows where, then, you know, you're really going to be slaughtered by the supply chain issues that we're having right now.

And that's not to say that we're not affected, you know, we're paying so much more for things like fryer oil and gloves and like, you know, sugar and limes. And things that we can't get locally. So, you know, we're not unscathed. But our segment of the restaurant industry is the most -- you know, we keep our money inhouse, kind of, not within our building, but within our communities. And so, it's you know, we're sort of the best way to keep the economy supported and alive and secure.

PAUL: Well, Cheetie Kumar, we hope that maybe your testimony to the Senate committee on small business, Wednesday, maybe made a dent. And we are wishing you the very best of everything. Thank you for taking time to help us understand where you are right now.

KUMAR: Thank you so much for having me.

PAUL: Of course, take good care.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, a roaring comeback as Tiger makes the cut in Augusta. A look at his position going into round three of the Masters, after a quick break.

Plus, there was no one like Anthony Bourdain. And tomorrow night, a CNN film "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain" explores a different side of the beloved chef and host.




PAUL: Well, Tiger Woods is having a remarkable return at the Masters this week. And the 46-year-old made the cut after that horrific car accident trying to end his career just over a year ago. We teased off at one, he and the rest of the field are chasing world number one, Scottie Scheffler.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And if there's anything golf fans know, it's to never count Tiger Woods out. Here to dive deeper into Tiger's big comeback at the Masters is Bob Harig, golf writer for And the author of "Tiger & Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry."

Bob, we appreciate you starting your weekend with us.


SANCHEZ: After everything that's happened in the last year, just playing in the Masters alone is such an accomplishment for Tiger. There was a chance he could never play, potentially even walk again.

HARIG: Yes. You're absolutely correct. I mean, Tiger is usually not one to accept anything other than winning. And yet, even he has admitted this week, that just being here, and teeing off and playing in the tournament is a victory for him. You know, two weeks ago, the world at large would have never dreamed he'd be here, it just didn't seem possible that he could be ready to go to play. To play in a regular official tournament, let alone Augusta National, one the hardest walks in golf. PAUL: So now that he's made the cut, talk to us about what the expectation is for him. You know, what's his position as he's starting today?

HARIG: He's tied for 19th. He's nine shots back of the leader Scottie Scheffler which is quite the deficit, obviously. But as he noted yesterday, hey, I'm only four out of second place. I mean, he's sort of in the game mode. You know, he's back into that sense.

I mean, there was several instances where you could tell that it was the same old Tiger. You know, some of his reactions to poor shots. You know, some of the way he tried to hit the ball. Some of the shots he pulled off.

And so, you know, now, he's just going to try to do the best he can. We're looking at a bad weather day in terms of temperature and wind. It's not a great thing for him. Although he's always been great when the conditions are tough, at least in the prime of his career. It's going to be an interesting day today at Augusta.

SANCHEZ: Just for context, Tiger's dominance here, the last time he missed the cut at the Masters was 1996. And the current leader, the current number one golfer in the world, Scottie Scheffler hadn't even been born. You mentioned the way he's been playing. He looks a bit like himself. But there have been moments where he appears to be favoring one leg. He might be feeling it out there. What kind of a toll do you think this is taking on his body?

HARIG: Yes, it seems to be pretty significant. I mean, he's never one to give us a ton of details how this goes. But I mean, even a couple of years ago. You know, he won the Masters here in 2019, just two years after spinal fusion surgery.


And trying to get ready every day for that was an ordeal. You know, hours of treatment every morning just to get his back ready. Well, he's still got a bad back and now he's got a bad lower right leg to deal with.

So I've been told it's basically double what he used to have to deal with. And he said the other day when we asked what's the treatment like afterward, he just said ice, lots of ice, ice baths, you know. And so, he's got to get the swelling down in that leg. And then he's got to try to, you know, regroup the next morning to go do it again.

I mean this is not something he has done. He played 27 holes of practice this week to try to gear up. He did come to Augusta last week and walk the whole course. But still, now we're looking at 72 holes in competition. It's quite the chore for him. And he's bearing it well. He looks like to me like he's got a blister when he's walking. We're all so focused on his leg. I'm guessing it hurts a lot more than that.

PAUL: So, Bob, I'm wondering what the takeaway is, for athletes that are watching him, it almost seems as though he is the epitome of showing that the mindset being strong is as important, if not more so, than what's going on with the physicality.

HARIG: Yes. There's no question. I mean, Tiger doesn't have anything else to prove anymore. He's 46 years old. He's got 15 majors. Five Masters. You know, why put yourself through this. But he's got a determination that's probably the reason why he's been as good as he is. You know, he doesn't like to be told no. He won a U.S. Open in 2008 with two stress fractures in his left leg. And a blown-out ACL. Obviously, he had all of these back problems and came back and won three times.

I just think the guy -- he's amazing in how he embraces a challenge such as this. And he puts in the work to do it, you know. He's obviously been rehabbing probably a lot more than he let on to any of us. You know, he was very much downplaying this. And he's exceeded expectations for sure.

SANCHEZ: And inspiring comeback for Tiger Woods. Bob Harig, we'll be watching at 1:00 p.m. when he tees off. Thanks for joining us.

PAUL: Thank you, Bob.

HARIG: Thank you.

PAUL: We are continuing to follow this developing story in space. The first all-private space crew has docked now with the International Space Station following a short delay because of software issue. Coming up in the next hour, they're all going to be welcomed aboard the Space Station by the existing crew there. We'll have all of that for you.

SANCHEZ: It is really a remarkable mission. It's the first time that it's a group of all tourists, essentially. And the company that sent them up there, Axiom, a Texas-based startup. They have ambitions of launching a private space station. And they believe that this is the first step. So really a historic moment. We're going to have perspective from every angle watching this moment very closely for you.

PAUL: Yes. We thank you so much for spending some time with us this Saturday morning. We hope you can go make some good memories.

SANCHEZ: Don't go anywhere because "Smerconish" is next. And we'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 a.m. Eastern.

Christi, great to be with you.

PAUL: You too, Boris. We'll see you early tomorrow.