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New Day Saturday

Ukraine Reports Attacks In South After Sinking Of Russian Ship; Kyiv Mayor: At Least One Killed, Several Injured In Kyiv Explosions; Home Prices Skyrocketed By Nearly 20 Percent Over The Last Year; Several States Pass Anti-Abortion Legislation This Week. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 16, 2022 - 08:00   ET



ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's until 10 a.m. Central Time today. But the storms will continue. This is the greatest area of risk for today stretching from Texas all the way over to the Carolinas, damaging winds, isolated tornadoes and hail. Then here's a look at tomorrow. Notice it's a lot of the same cities that were under the threat for today. And very cold temperatures off to the North only 28 in Bismarck, and that means guys that tomorrow for your Easter egg hunt, your eggs may actually be covered in snow from Montana to Michigan.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my goodness. Allison Chinchar, thank you for the heads up.

It means a lot have your company on this Saturday, April 16th. Thank you for making this part of your morning. I'm Christi Paul.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you, Christi. I'm Alex Marquardt in today for Boris Sanchez. So great to be back with you.

PAUL: Good to have you here, Alex. So good to have you here.

MARQUARDT: Well, up first. We have new developments in Russia's war on Ukraine from multiple regions around the country. In the southern part of Ukraine, officials are describing the situation as increasingly hostile.

PAUL: In fact, they say Russian forces were enraged by the loss about Russian warship Moskva. The U.S. says Ukrainian missiles sank that ship. Now, officials say several settlements in southern Ukraine have also come under heavy fire. And that includes from some cluster bombs.

MARQUARDT: This comes as Russian forces are stepping up their attacks in Eastern Ukraine. You can see it right there on the map, Ukrainian military saying that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, he is ordering his troops to press forward in that area. They appeared to be shelling that area quite heavily ahead of what is believed to be a planned ground offensive. CNN team captured the shelling of a market in Eastern Ukraine today. Take a look at this.

Now, new military aid from the U.S. which will include helicopters is set to start arriving in Ukraine very soon within the coming hours in fact, and that aid, valued at some $800 million will include more heavy duty and sophisticated weapons than we've seen in previous U.S. shipments.

PAUL: Yes, Russia's formally protesting those U.S. shipments of weapons by the way. In a diplomatic note, Russia warns of quote unpredictable consequences if that support continues.

Now, CNN is covering all angles of this crisis for you. We want to begin with Matt Rivers, who's in Lviv this morning. Matt, talked to us about what you've seen there in the last couple of days?

MATT RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Busy night. Overnight here Friday until Saturday. We were awoken at 5:45 a.m. local time this morning to air raid sirens that had gone off in response Ukrainian officials say two several cruise missiles that had been fired from Russia and war planes that had taken off from the neighboring country of Belarus.

The Ukrainian defense officials saying that they managed to shoot down using air defense systems, shoot down those cruise missiles before they reach their intended targets in the Lviv region. Also, overnight, another Russian attack in a south eastern district of the city of Kyiv. That's city's mayor saying at least one person died after that attack as well. We know that rescue crews are still on scene they're going through some of that destruction. Several other people have been hospitalized as a result of that.

But these are more individual attacks that have happened in other parts of the country, what we're seeing in the eastern part of the country. That is where the vast majority of the shelling continues where the vast majority of the fighting is right now as we wait for the real scale up and the expected campaign, the offensive campaign that Russia is intending to mount in the eastern part of the country in the Donbas Region.

And we're hearing from officials in the Luhansk Region, which is also in the East talking about the amount of destruction they've seen, the amount of continued shelling that they've seen ahead of that ground offensive. So for example, in Luhansk, the main city that is under attack by Russian shelling right now several Donetsk, 70 percent of that main city has been destroyed in that city according to officials out there.

And my colleague, Ben Wedeman is actually in Luhansk with his team right now. They witnessed that shelling in a city in Luhansk in that region earlier today. So what's going on out there is Russian shelling at different cities and towns, many of these areas being filled with civilians. They are shelling these regions ahead of that expected ground defensive that could start in the coming days or weeks, according to Ukrainian officials.

And Luhansk Regional officials pleading with remaining civilians in that area to evacuate to safer places some 70,000 civilians according to regional officials in Luhansk still need to be evacuated to safer areas. MARQUARDT: And Matt, we've seen horrific scenes and allegations of war crimes as the Russians has pulled out of certain areas particularly around Kyiv, and now we've got officials saying that hundreds of civilian bodies had been discovered. What more do we know about that?


RIVERS: Yes, as soon as the Russian forces withdrew from Northern Ukraine after their failed campaign to take the capital of Kyiv, you know, each day that goes by seemingly a more broad picture of the brutality that Russian forces engaged in. So according to the chief of Kyiv's Regional Police, more than 900 bodies have been discovered.

Many of them after forensic examination showing signs of tortures, signs of being shot in the head, wrists and feet bound together clear signs of torture in what these officials are saying. And the Kyiv regional police chief saying that a lot of the bodies of the people that they found were just ordinary civilians that were in and living in these areas that Russian forces occupied for weeks.

MARQUARDT: Just horrible scenes. All right. Matt Rivers in Lviv, thank you so much.

PAUL: Well, Poland's experienced the largest influx of refugees during this crisis. CNN reporter Salma Abdelaziz is at the Polish Ukrainian border. Salma, we have been watching this for weeks wondering if the influx is more fluid now, if-- because this has been going on for so long, that there is more sense of structure for them when they get there, or if you're noticing that there are resources that may be getting very strained at this point?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: That's a good question. And I want to show you the answer to that question. We're at a train station near the border and you speak about structure, you speak about a system to greet them. Well, yes, this looks like quite a chaotic train station. But it's also a welcome point for refugees.

And I'm just going to walk you around, because you're going to see all these people in high vest jackets around me. And they are volunteers, they are here to answer questions, they are here to help these families that you're going to see just bringing with them really what they can carry. I have a lot of times it's just your pet (ph) and a few basic supplies and clothing.

Right out there is the train station. And you'll see that as soon as families walk in, quite literally, you can see a family over there, they park themselves. They sit down. Because now they have to figure out where they're going to go next. We talked about the 2.7 million refugees that are currently in Poland.

Many of those keep moving. I'm going to show you this line right here. This is a line for people buying tickets to move into other parts of Europe, other parts of Poland. And that's a lot of times what families have to do. They get a day or two in one place, a couple of nights with a friend here, then they move to another city. These kids here just playing around. And that's what's happening. You see, we have 2.7 million people with

no one specific place to go, with no one central point. And this train station is a place that they come back to again and again. We've seen families that are here one day, and then a few days later, they come back because they're going to move to a different city. So this is going to be an unimaginably difficult holiday weekend for these refugees because there's no permanent sense of home here. There's no long-term plan here.

And we've been talking to volunteers who tell us, they're running out of money, they're exhausted, and they simply don't have the support that they need to continue to care for these families.

PAUL: Yes. And you can imagine how hard that is on kids who do need that structure. Salma Abdelaziz, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

MARQUARDT: And joining us now to discuss all of these new developments in Ukraine is the Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and President Trump's former National Security Adviser, John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

I want to start on the diplomatic front. We just heard about this diplomatic note. It's called a Demarche from Moscow to the State Department. About all those weapons shipments to Ukraine, the Russians warned of unpredictable consequences. So what do you make of this note? What does it tell us about how the Russians are feeling about this fight right now?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED NATION: Well, I think you have to take anything like this seriously, consider

exactly what it says, consult with the allies. But let's face it. Over the past six or seven weeks after our failure to deter Russia's invasion initially, Russia has been deterring us. We've-- they've deterred us from providing the Polish MiGs, they've deterred us in other ways by threatening increasing the alert status of their nuclear forces.

And now they're saying if you send in more heavy weapons, essentially, that could cause us to escalate. And what they're hoping to get is that we back away, so that they avoid the potential of the increasing the capabilities of the Ukrainian military. I'm not saying we dismiss this at all, but I am saying, let's not be deterred merely by speculating the worst possible outcome from notes like this.

MARQUARDT: You told the New York Times that a year and a half of potential progress was lost between President Zelenskyy and the United States during the Trump Administration because we know that famous phone call in which President Trump asked for a favor, we learned about that, we saw the transcript.


MARQUARDT: There was, of course, the impeachment process that lasted for quite some time after that. How different do you think things would be in Ukraine? How different would the status of Ukrainian forces be if President Trump had been helping President Zelenskyy that entire time?

BOLTON: Well, it's hard to quantify, but I don't think there's much question that the overall deterrence posture of Ukraine and the West against Russia would have been stronger. I think there would have been more weapons shipments, I think there would have been more training, there could have been more leadership within the NATO alliance to get our friends in Europe to have done more earlier.

And perhaps, most significantly, of all would be the political impression created in Moscow that we were very serious in saying we expected no further military incursions by Russia into Ukraine. All of that was lost basically from the summer of 2019 through the end of the Trump Administration.

And honestly, I don't think the Biden Administration moved quickly enough to try and fix that, to create these structures of deterrence, which obviously and tragically failed on February the 24th. So overall, our performance left the Ukrainians kind of hanging out there, and looking vulnerable to the Russians.

MARQUARDT: Do you really think that you could have seen more from NATO and sort of the unity that we're seeing from NATO now given President Trump's distaste for the for the Alliance?

BOLTON: Well, he-- there were a lot of efforts inside the administration to work toward NATO unity. And let's be clear, our NATO unity is not exactly perfect. Today, the Germans are still buying oil and gas from Russia. Britain said they would cut off the purchase of oil and gas on December the 31st. So there's still a long way to go.

But I do think that when you work with the Europeans, sometimes it takes time. So the more time that had been invested in getting them to take the potential of a Russian threat seriously, the more progress we might have made.

MARQUARDT: Ambassador, we've seen these horrific scenes, namely, in Bucha, for example, of Ukrainian civilians who have been seemingly executed by Russian forces. You've argued in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed against the international criminal court's jurisdiction to prosecute alleged Russian war crimes.

I want to take a quick listen to what the Chief ICC Prosecutor told CNN this week about the importance of that court's investigation. Let's take a listen.


KARIM KHAN, PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Could affects all parts of the world because of the rules-based system and the principles of public international law that have to be rendered much more meaningful, not to judges (INAUDIBLE) gowns or advocates in the courtroom, but to the men and women and children that you see on the streets and refugee camps. We tend to have not only short memories, but also an absence of shame.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUARDT: So in your op-ed, you argue in favor of Ukrainian courts basically handling the bulk of these cases. Why not have more than Ukrainian courts? Why not send the message through an international court that the world will not stand for these war crimes?

BOLTON: Because this International Criminal Court is a fundamentally illegitimate institution. It does not exist in any coherent system of governance. It exists in an imaginary international system. It's a pretend court, following pretend laws. And there's a lot to this.

There's no doubt here about the nature of Russia's crimes. Let's be clear on that. But there's a lot at stake in terms of the legitimacy of how these crimes are prosecuted, just as one example. And there's a lot more I could say, the International Criminal Court does not hold jury trials. Just think about that if you're an American, does not hold jury trials.

So let's say, what are the alternatives? That's a fair question. And here we have alternatives. The Ukrainian national courts, the crimes were committed in Ukraine, the bulk of the evidence is in Ukraine, and Ukrainian prosecutors have already begun their work. That's where we should focus our efforts. And I think there could be help from Western judicial systems and investigators to buttress the Ukrainian effort.

People will say, "Oh, the Ukrainians can't be fair", I don't agree with that. I don't agree with that at all. And I gave as an example in my op-ed in 1770, American juries gave fair trials to the British perpetrators of the Boston Massacre who were represented by John Adams. Now, if we could do it in 1770, why can't the Ukrainians do it in the 21st century?

MARQUARDT: Another venue that you suggest is what you call a new Russia. So, essentially, a post-Putin Russia. How soon do you think Russia will get to a post-Putin era?


BOLTON: Well, the sooner the better obviously. Let me just say, I agree with President Biden there. I don't think that a Russian regime still led by Putin and those around him is ever going to fundamentally change or give up its objectives in Ukraine, and the other parts of the former Soviet Union. But I do think we had a chance for free and open government in Russia in the 1990s. I think a lot of people remember that. I think the chance could come again, I don't overstate it.

But let's understand what it means to have the Russians try the people who committed the crimes in their name. For one thing, it's not likely that the International Criminal Court or even Ukraine will have many defendants in actual custody. Now, you can conduct trials in absentia, it happens. But I think most people would say the fairest trial is when the accused person confronts his accusers. That's what we look at in American justice.

And it is a real test of political maturity, political growth, belief and fundamental constitutional-- institutions in a free society, for the Russians to take responsibility for acts that were committed in their name. We're not going to see that without a new Russia. That's true, but I don't think we should forget that possibility.

MARQUARDT: All right. Ambassador John Bolton, we've got to leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.

BOLTON: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Still ahead. Newly revealed text messages from two Republican members of Congress show they aggressively pushed the Trump White House to try to overturn 2020 election results. But then they changed their minds. Why? Well, that's next.

Also, if you're looking to buy a house, we feel for you, I know, housing prices are way up, inventory is far low. And now mortgage rates are hitting their highest level in more than a decade. What does all of this mean for the housing market? We'll talk about that. Stay close.



PAUL: So glad to have you back with us here. Never before seen text messages show how two Republican lawmakers and Trump allies went from encouraging the White House's efforts to overturn the presidential election to warning, then White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows about the devastating consequences of the former president's claims of election fraud.

MARQUARDT: CNN'S Zach Cohen joins us now. Zack, this exclusive reporting is extraordinarily revealing. Now walk us through what these text messages. Tell us about the evolution of these two lawmakers views on overturning the 2020 election. And start with Congressman Roy.

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes. That's right, Alex and Christi. Look, these text messages from Congressman Chip Roy of Texas. Between November 7th, the day the election was called for Joe Biden and the end of December really do reveal an interesting arc as far as his views on overturning the election go.

Now, as you can see here, November 7th, Congressman Roy is almost enthusiastic saying "Dude, we need ammo, we need fraud examples, we need it this weekend." He's making it very clear. "Yes, I'm willing to help you-- the Trump team overturn the 2020 election," but making it very clear that he needs examples of voter fraud to help do that.

So, fast forward about a week and a half November 19th, Congressman Roy again text Mark Meadows and it says, "We need substance or people going to break." This is one of the first warning signs that we see a congressman Roy give Mark Meadows really reiterating the fact that he needs evidence of voter fraud and they need evidence of voter fraud to make overturn the election happened.

Now, by the end of December, Congressman Roy clearly concerned and frankly, puts his foot down and says, "The president should call everyone off", meaning the president should stop this push to overturn the election. And, you know, obviously, that did not happen. But Congressman Roy does seem to have reached the end of his rope.

Now, we know Congressman Roy was not the only one texting Mark Meadows about plans to overturn the election. But when you look at all of his texts between November 7th and December 31st, 2020, it really does reveal how he evolved in his own thinking.

PAUL: So, the other man in this is Senator Lee. Talk to us about some specific concerns, as I understand it, that he expressed in his text messages.

COHEN: That's right, Christi. Congressman Lee also texting Mark Meadows on November 7th, 2020, the day the election was called for Joe Biden and again, offering his support to the former president or to the then president, Donald Trump saying, "The fight is about the fundamental fairness and integrity of our election system. The nation is depending upon your continued resolve, stay strong and keep fighting Mr. President." Now, that last line is really important. Lee is urging the President to continue to fight the election outcome to continue to challenge Joe Biden's legitimate victory at that point, you know.

But Mike Lee is making it clear to Mark Meadows that he's on board. Now, we fast forward again to November 19th, the day of it, now infamous press conference with a team of Trump lawyers, including Sidney Powell, unknown conspiracy theorists, she was pushing a lot of false claims and unfounded claims about voter fraud at that time.

You know, he's-- Senator Mike Lee clearly reaching out to Mark Meadows with his concerns about the press conference saying, "I'm worried about the Powell press conference." Two days later, it seems Mike Lee is looking for answers. He's asking Mark Meadows, "Please tell me what I should be saying."

You know, it's not clear if Meadows actually gave any sort of instruction after that. But it does show Mike Lee really at this point in mid-November, late November at looking to the White House for guidance.

Now, like Congressman Roy, Congressman Lee or Senator Lee also reaches a point where he starts to become clearly concerned. Mid-December he is warning Mark Meadows, "I think we've passed the point where we can expect anyone who will do it without some direction and strong evidentiary argument." Now, the senator is talking about recruiting other senators to vote to overturn the 2020 election at that time, but he's making it clear to the White House Chief of Staff that they need evidence to do it.


COHEN: And on January 3rd, three days before the Capitol riot, Senator Michael Lee makes clear to Mark Meadows again, "I know that-- I know only that this will end badly for the President unless we had the Constitution on our side." Now, Alex and Christi, we know now that they did not. And we know that it did end badly for the President and for the country three days later.

MARQUARDT: Zack, there's so many different threads. This is just one of many that you guys have been reporting on. What do you think this means now for the broader investigation by the January 6th committee?

COHEN: Yes, Alex, it's really interesting, because at its core, we're learning a lot that a lot of people were texting Mark Meadows about plans to overturn the 2020 election. Now, Mark Meadows has been referred by the committee for criminal contempt of Congress charges. It's unclear whether or not the Department of Justice will pursue that. But the committee will continue to its investigation, and these texts will feature prominently in that.

MARQUARDT: All right. Zach Cohen, thanks so much for joining us. Again, just terrific reporting by you and our colleagues. Thanks again,

PAUL: Yes. Zack, thank you. So, I know that you are very aware of how painful it is to buy just about anything these days here in the U.S. Everything feels like it's going up that is particularly painful for you, if you're trying to buy a home, right?

Mortgage rates stayed low during the pandemic, recent action by the Federal Reserve that control inflation is what's pushing those rates higher. And now, rates for a 30-year mortgage are at five percent for the first time since 2010. That's up from 4.72 percent just the previous week.

A year ago, the average was just over three percent. That's what hits it hard, right? Rising rates are going to make it impossible for a lot of people to buy a house. That yearly increase in mortgage rates added more than $300 of average monthly payment for a $350,000 home. That's an example for you there.

Jessica Lautz is with us now. She's vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights with the National Association of Realtors. Jessica, thank you so much for being with us. Let's talk-- I want to break the mortgage rates down into two parts.

First of all, how it could help? I just want to give this example. A friend of mine is in real estate. She has had buyers who have put offers on half a dozen homes at $100,000 over asking price, and she has lost all of those homes. I mean, this is not sustainable for people. So are the rising rates, mortgage rates that we're seeing, are they key to slowing these inflated prices?

JESSICA LAUTZ, VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: So what is likely going to happen is that for consumers out there who are putting down all of these contracts, and unfortunately, they're losing out on homes, because the home prices are being bid up by so many consumers and demand for this very limited inventory.

What's likely to happen is that buyers who are really stretching to get in are going to have to wait. They're going to move to the sidelines. And that's going to mean less competition in the short run. And that's a good thing for buyers out there today who are facing all of this competition.

Though, on the flip side for those buyers who have just now moved to the sideline that's increasingly difficult for them to see homeownership and reach for them in the near future.

PAUL: So, it may obviously really hurt on the flip side of this, as you were saying, can you give us a number? I mean, we mentioned $300 a month difference, but how much really is this going to cost buyers on a monthly basis otherwise?

LAUTZ: Yes. Unfortunately, our analysis at the National Association of Realtors actually sees it out of the $400 increase based on current mortgage rates. So it is quite difficult. And we also know that buyers have consistently faced double digit home price increases as well.

So, if you're trying to save for a down payment, and you're trying to save for closing costs, and have money in reserves to be able to actually put furniture in your home, once you're in, it's just so hard to think about putting all of that money together, especially when the goalpost is essentially moving on a monthly basis.

PAUL: Yes. And I know for sellers, they may be happy to offload their home, but then they got to find a place to go. So and if those renting--

LAUTZ: Right, it's a game of (INAUDIBLE) right now.

PAUL: -- is just as hard now as well, is it not?

LAUTZ: It is. Absolutely. We know that there's a rise in rental prices in some cities, they're facing 30 percent increases in rents. And so that's quite difficult to imagine household formation for a young adult who's starting out and saying I want to move out of my family member's house, I want to move out of the basement or the attic. And they finally want to have their own place.

And if they're looking at rental prices, increasing that drastically on a year-to-year basis. That's very difficult.

PAUL: So when we talk about the low inventory, which is a big part of this problem do you foresee people are just going to stay in their homes because maybe they have obviously a better rate that they're under right now or they own their home outright?


And who would want to go find something in this market?

LAUTZ: Right. That is a trend that has been happening tenure in home has been increasing. Though the pandemic shifted things and it caused people to say, "Oh, wait, I need to move because something in my life changed." And it was the pandemic. I need to be close to friends and family, or I can suddenly work remote. And so that's allowing me to look to affordable areas of the country.

So, we could see that people stay put that they're happy, that they have been close to friends and family, and that's going to make people stay.

PAUL: So, Jessica, I only have a couple of seconds. But I want to ask you there are some analysts predicting mortgage rates could be seven percent by the end of the year. Do you agree?

LAUTZ: That's not our forecast. Our forecast is they're probably pretty close to the top, but we reserve the right to revise that forecast.

PAUL: Yes. Of course. Jessica Lautz, we appreciate you taking time to be with us. Thank you so much for the good information.

LAUTZ: Thank you so much.

PAUL: Sure.

MARQUARDT: Abortion is now banned in Florida after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. Why Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed that controversial law? That's next.



PAUL: Well, there are now more than a dozen states with new laws to make getting an abortion near impossible. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis signed into law Thursday, an anti-abortion measure that bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

MARQUARDT: And that's without any exemptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. CNN's Nadia Romero has the story.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Using their voices and risking their freedoms. Caitlin Dannihesamit (ph) and Sarah Parker lead women's voices of Southwest Florida, a nonprofit organized to defend reproductive freedoms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to speak up.

ROMERO: The group helped raise awareness when the Manatee County Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of introducing an abortion ban.

SARAH PARKER, PRESIDENT, WOMEN'S VOICES: I had to sit down I was and I cried. We had put so many hours and so much time in that. And we want something.

ROMERO: But their message was not loud enough to drown out the will of Florida's legislature and the governor.

PARKER: It makes me angry, and it makes me sad, and it makes me worried. It feels like we're going backwards.

ROMERO: This week, Governor Ron DeSantis signing a 15-week abortion ban into law.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): There you go.


ROMERO: Without exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.


DESANTIS: This will represent the most significant protections for life that have been enacted in this state in a generation.


ROMERO: Two days before DeSantis, Oklahoma Governor, Kevin Stitt signed a bill that makes performing an abortion a felony. Except in the case of a medical emergency.


GOV. KEVIN STITT (R-OK): We want Oklahoma to be the most prolife state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma.


ROMERO: And also this week, Kentucky's GOP led legislature overrode the governor's veto of a bill that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. So, far 18 states have introduced legislation banning or limiting access to most abortions. 14 states have passed their restrictive legislation.

Three states so far this year, Kentucky, Florida, and Arizona, following the 2018 Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.


ADRIENNE JONES, SPEAKER, MARYLAND HOUSE OF DELEGATES: Now let's go and signed these bills.


ROMERO: Now, some Democratic controlled legislatures aim to protect the rights of Roe v. Wade with new bills of their own. Maryland lawmakers expanding access to abortion.


JONES: We are preparing for some of the most restrictive abortion actions that we've seen in a generation.


ROMERO: In Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer filing a lawsuit to challenge the State's almost 100 year-old abortion ban even though it's unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade. GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We've got to take this current assault on women's rights seriously and use every tool we have to fight back. This is not just a theoretical risk. This is a real and present danger.

ROMERO: With many states rewriting their abortion laws all eyes point to the Supreme Court. The Court heard arguments on the Mississippi law back in December. Legal experts argue a decision could be handed down in June right before summer break with pro-abortion activists continuing their fight to the highest court in the land.

PARKER: Maybe they will come back and said stand behind Roe v. Wade. I hope that they do. And I want to believe so.

ROMERO: Nadia Romero, CNN, Atlanta.

MARQUARDT: Thanks to Nadia Romero for that report. Now, you might not have to stick a swab of your nose ever again. Now that a COVID. breathalyzer test has been approved by the FDA. But how well does it work? We're discussing that next.



MARQUARDT: COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise here in the United States, particularly in the northeastern part of the country where infections are surging due to the transmission of the Omicron variant known as BA-2. This week, saw cases rise by more than 20 percent nationwide. According to data from Johns Hopkins University,

PAUL: And also Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is the latest U.S. public official to test positive for COVID. According to a statement Dewine is in quarantine, he's being treated and reportedly only feeling mild symptoms fortunately. The governor is vaccinated by the way and boosted.

CNN Medical Analyst and former Baltimore Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen with us now. Dr. Wen, it's good to see you again right now. So I wanted to ask you about, first of all, this breathalyzer that the FDA has given the green light to. We know that the FDA says it's more than 91 percent accurate at identifying the positive test samples. So rather than getting the nose swabs we can go this route or do we need both? How much credence do you give this device?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think we need all the tests that are available. Although I will say that the easier the test the more likely it is going to be used.


WEN: I think there's great potential for this breathalyzer test because you can imagine before going to a concert or even entering an office building, instead of filling out this extensive symptom questionnaire, if everybody can get this breathalyzer, and the results come back within three minutes, that would be huge. And so at this point, it really remains to be seen how many of these devices are going to be produced and at what cost because that's going to determine how much it actually is used here.

PAUL: So the CDC is saying the BA-2 sub-variant costs 86 percent of Nnw COVID 19 cases nationwide, just last week. Give us your assessment of the danger of this variant.

WEN: Well, we are seeing an up taking cases, especially in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. But what we're not seeing is an increase in hospitalizations similar to previous surges. I would hope that there has been thus far a decoupling between infections and hospitalizations, because it's estimated that about 50 percent of the U.S. got Omicron, during this last surge.

And you combine that with the number of people who are vaccinated, and that's a pretty high baseline level of immunity. And so I'm actually not so concerned about this variant. I'm concerned about what may come next if there is another variant that may evade prior immunity.

PAUL: OK. So I when to ask you about what's happening in Philadelphia, we have mask mandates on planes, we know that had been extended another two weeks. But in Philadelphia, they are reposing their indoor mask mandate as of Monday.

It made me think, you know, we're in a very different world right now than we were two years ago when all of this started. And mask mandates can really be a political grenade for some people. So I'm wondering, what is your most urgent concern about implementing mask mandate again? Is it necessary?

WEN: Look, I think that individuals should absolutely wear high quality masks, N-95 masks to protect themselves. Institutions like businesses and schools, they should put all the precautions they want to in place, I don't have a problem with that.

The issue is that government imposed mandates really should be reserved as a last resort. That should be when there is a real crisis on our hands. And there's no other choice, but to have government mandates. I worry that if we apply these mandates prematurely, it's going to be really hard to bring them back in the future and convince people that it's needed.

And in the future, it really may be needed. For example, if there's a new variant that evades prior immunity or that's even more dangerous and causes really deadly disease, or our hospitals are really at the point of getting overwhelmed. We may need these mandates to come back.

But I fear that it's the boy who cries Wolf, and people are going to say, well, you said it was needed then it wasn't. Why do I believe you now? And that's the reason why I do not think that other cities should follow in Philadelphia's footsteps at this moment. In the future new variants different story, but not right now.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Dr. Leana Wen, thank you for taking time for us this morning. We appreciate you. MARQUARDT: Now, if airlines aren't able to hire more pilots in the very near future, you could be driving to your next summer vacation. Why airlines are struggling to keep the positions filled? That's next.



PAUL: Well, if have you had trouble with canceled flights over spring break, we're told just wait until summer.

MARQUARDT: Dreading already. Many airlines are dealing with last minute cancellations because there are simply no pilots or crew members available. CNN Aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean has the story.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It is the latest challenge to your next trip. Understaffed airlines and overworked flight crews causing carriers to cancel flights. After hundreds of cancellations last weekend, jetBlue announced it is cutting eight to 10 percent of its summer schedule, citing a challenging staffing situation.

The latest numbers show that airlines are shined (ph) short more than 30,000 workers compared to before the pandemic.

HENRY HARTEVELDT, PRINCIPAL, ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH GROUP: There's a lot of burnout and especially among some work groups I'm hearing from folks saying I just can't take it anymore.

MUNTEAN: Crew shortages are hitting airlines large and small. Alaska Airlines is canceling two percent of its flights through June. Delta pilots say they are being pushed to the limit on a regular basis.

EVAN BAACH, PILOT, AIRLINES PILOTS ASSOCIATION: Longer days with shorter nights at home, shorter layovers. And our pilots are tired and fatigued.

MUNTEAN: Pilot reports a fatigue spiked at Southwest Airlines last month. Their union says the company is struggling to retain its newest hires.


CASEY MURRAY, CAPTAIN, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: This is going to be a critical issue, every month and every year that we move forward.


MUNTEAN: Help comes in the form of sky high hiring goals. Delta wants to hire 200 new pilots each month. jetBlue has already hired 3,000 new crew this year alone. United Airlines came up with a different solution, opening up its own Flight School, a first for any major airline in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pilot shortage is real. We can hire pilots at United Airlines, but the regional airlines and smaller airlines are have a real pilot shortage, and are having real challenges.

MUNTEAN: United Flight School was called The Aviator Academy and tuition costs about $70,000 to get all the licenses necessary to become an entry level airline pilot. But consider this, an airline captain can make up to $400,000 a year. It is a great time to learn to fly.

Airlines worldwide need to hire more than 30,000 new pilots by 2025. That's to keep up with demand and retirements. Remember, there's a mandatory retirement age for airline pilots right now set at 65 years old. Christi, Alex.

PAUL: Oh, Pete, thank you so much. So I want to tell you about this lucky escape for a family in Kentucky. Just think about this, you're driving along and you see this. Look at that. Headed straight for you. That's what happened to Tony McBee and his two kids while they were getting food and Kentucky.

Just think about this you're driving along and you see this. Look at that headed straight for you. That's what happened to Tony McBee and his two kids while they were getting food at Kentucky


MARQUARDT: They thought it was a bad storm and so they rushed back to their Jeep to head home, but within seconds they were surrounded by a tornado.


TONY MCBEE, JEEP PICKE UP BY A TORNADO: Whole car was surrounded with just black there's debris trees, mailboxes, everything you can imagine flying everywhere through the air. We were definitely in the air because I was pushing the gas and we were going nowhere. Movies don't really do it justice. When you're in it, it's so much darker and the sheer power that it had.


MARQUARDT: Very thankfully, Tony and his boys did make it out safely. What a saga.

PAUL: Yes. Happy for that family.

MARQUARDT: Well, that's going to do it for us. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

PAUL: Good to have you here with us Alex. We hope that you all go make great memories and Happy Easter to you. By the way don't go anywhere, Mike Smerconish is up next.