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New Day Saturday

Biden Says Inflation "Top Priority" While Touting April Jobs Report; Mortgage Rates Hit Highest Level Since The Great Recession; No Signs Of Further Evacuations From Battered Steel Plant; Two Dozen States Expected To Ban Or Severely Curtail Abortion; State Prosecutors Weigh How To Respond If Abortion Right Overturned. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 07, 2022 - 07:00   ET




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I am Alex Marquardt, in this morning for Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you here, Alex. I'm Christi Paul. We're talking about President Biden this morning touting red hot jobs report, admitting, however, that inflation is still top of mind for millions of us. We look at the soaring costs of buying a home and whether the market is starting to cool.

MARQUARDT: There's also hope for evacuation efforts in Mariupol, Ukraine that could resume today to rescue civilians trapped in underground bunkers in that besieged steel plant as of stall. This comes amid heightened fears that Russia could soon formally escalate their war against Ukraine.

PAUL: As the country waits to see what is going to happen in the fight over abortion rights, we're going to look at the moves that states are already making in anticipation of the ruling.

MARQUARDT: And parents all across the country are scrambling to find baby formula. What's behind the shortage and what's being done to replenish the supply.

And a good Saturday morning to all of you. It is Saturday, May 7th. Christi, it's so nice to be back with you. Thanks for having me.

PAUL: We appreciate you. Welcoming that 1:45 alarm. I know it's --

MARQUARDT: For you, anything. And now, now we're going, adrenaline's flowing, got caffeine, and --

PAUL: We've got an hour under our belt, right?

MARQUARDT: Coursing through --

PAUL: Yes, yes, we can do this. Alex, thank you. So, let's talk about President Biden. MARQUARDT: Indeed, he is touting economic games in the new U.S. jobs report while visiting manufacturing facility in Ohio on Friday. But he's also addressed what is at the top of mind for so many Americans, that is sky high prices due to record inflation.

PAUL: Yes, CNNs Jasmine Wright is in Wilmington, Delaware. Jasmine, it's always good to see you. Talk to us about what more the president said, and if he is giving any indication as to how he might try to manage this.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president had a two-pronged message, message yesterday in Ohio. First, he urged Congress to pass that Innovation Act, something that aims to curb China's economic influence. And then second, he turns the autonomy. He touted and really celebrated those jobs numbers that you just mentioned, Alex, 428,000, that were added to the economy in yesterday's jobs report, as well as those historic low unemployment rates. And now, he tied those two things to something that is on the mind of all Americans these days, which are these higher prices that they are paying every day because of inflation. Take a listen to him here in Ohio.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know you're worried about the price of gas, food and other necessities. And why, why it matters if we make more things here in America? Well, it matters a great deal, because the pandemic and economic crisis that we inherited, and Putin's war in Ukraine, have all shown the vulnerability when we become too reliant on things made overseas.


WRIGHT: So, there we heard that White House line, it is due to President Putin price hike, something that they have used time and time again to really explain to Americans why they are seeing these recent price hikes when they go to the grocery store, when they go to the gas pump, when they pay for those everyday services and goods.

But one thing that is still out there is whether or not this is working, especially when it comes to a recent CNN poll that showed that less than a third of Americans really feel that this party's economic visions align with their own so that is something a crushing thing for this administration to deal with. As it really prepares to take on the midterm elections. Alex and Christi.

PAUL: Jasmine Wright, we appreciate the update. Thank you, Jasmine. So, if you are in the market to buy a home, you're probably feeling the crunch: mortgage rates rising again this week to their highest level since 2009. Just put it in perspective here for you, rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage, rose more than two points from this time last year. We are now sitting at 5.27 percent.

With home prices at record highs, as you know, these rates of increases, these rate increases, I should say, have forced a lot of people to just give up the process of buying the home altogether. The question is: Is this red-hot housing market beginning to see a cool down? Danielle Hale is with us now, she's Chief Economist for Danielle, it's so good to have you with us. Let's talk about that. First of all, good have some prognostication for the trajectory of this market at this point.


DANIELLE HALE, REALTOR.COM CHIEF ECONOMIST: Well, Christi, the housing market, as you noted has been red hot, we've got a lot of buyers overall, low mortgage rates in the last year or so really brought a lot of them out. And that's combined with the long-term demographic trends that we're seeing, we've got a lot of young households that are at ages, where they're typically thinking about settling down, buying their first home.

And that combination of economic opportunity, and demographic opportunity really led to a surge in the housing market. But we've seen that change, as mortgage rates have risen, costs have risen, they're up more than 50 percent. For the median priced home, that's more than $550 a month and a mortgage payment that people are paying now more than they would have paid last year. And that's causing a lot of shoppers to really rethink their budgets.

And you know, if you're shopping in the housing market, and you haven't taken a look at mortgage rates, and how it may be impacted your preapproval, if you've gotten a pre-approval that's a couple months old, that's something you want to do because the changes are happening very rapidly in the market right now.

PAUL: So, what are those -- because of the mortgage rates we're seeing, what are you seeing in terms of sale prices? Because I know that there are many, many markets where people are having to pay six figures over asking price just to secure a home. Do you see that continuing?

HALE: So, we don't see it continuing. But I will say, there aren't a ton of signs that it stopped yet. If we look at home prices, for instance, we do expect price growth to slow, maybe not to fall, because we've got such a demand supply imbalance. But we do expect that price growth to slow, but so far, at least we haven't seen it. Home prices that people are asking when they put their homes up for sale are continuing to grow by double digits, it's likely that we're seeing some softening in the amount over that asking price that people are paying. But I think the reality in the housing market right now is that it's still relatively high price. And so, shoppers in the market want to keep that in mind. This is likely to change because of the extra costs from higher prices and mortgage rates. But for now, prices are still high.

PAUL: So, this is something I wanted to ask you about for all of the people out there who are looking to purchase a home. What is, the expectations that these homes and the prices they're paying will hold that value, say in the next couple of years? Because this is such a unique; it seems like such a unique inflated time.

HALE: Yes, it is a really unique time. So, there's some long-term trends that are definitely in the favor of home prices staying where they are or even climbing higher. And that is if you look over the last decade, we've built 5.8 million fewer single-family homes than we've had households formed. So, we're in a real long term shortage situation in the housing market. And for context, we build about 1.2 million single family homes a year. So, we're five years behind when it comes to single-family home building.

Even if we see demand slow, which is likely given the higher costs, I think we've still got a big under supply. And so, that's going to keep prices elevated. Even though, we might see a much slower pace of growth, just because costs have risen, and it's difficult to pay those higher housing costs. Alongside the cost of all the other goods and services that buyers are grappling with: you've got higher gas, groceries, childcare costs. I mean, you were talking about inflation earlier, that's a real phenomenon that people have to consider when they're making a home purchase.

PAUL: So, what is the number one piece of advice or guidance you would give to somebody who's buying a home right or hoping to.

HALE: So, if you're in the market to buy a home right now, the markets still pretty competitive and fast moving, but that may change a bit as we see fewer shoppers into the -- as we move into the summer and people realize sort of how those costs have impacted their budgets. The thing is, know what your budget is, know what you can afford, get pre-qualified for -- I'm sorry, pre-approved for a mortgage, so that you know that the mortgage bank has signed off on that amount and you're looking in the right price target, and make sure that the amount is comfortable for you. Even if a lender qualifies you for an amount, if it's not something that you can really live with day to day, month to month, if it's a pinch on your spending, then maybe you want to reconsider that and lower your price target so that you could be comfortable with the amount that you're paying each month.

PAUL: Very good advice. Danielle Hale, we appreciate your expertise and you sharing it with us this morning. Thank you.

HALE: Absolutely.

MARQUARDT: This morning, South Korean authorities are strongly condemning North Korea for firing a suspected short-ranged ballistic missile likely launched from a North Korean submarine into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. Now, South Korea's joint chiefs of staff say that it, along with U.S. intelligence, are analyzing the launch and that the South Korean military is maintaining what they're calling a state of readiness. Saturday's launch comes after just days after another ballistic missile test by North Korea -- that took place on Wednesday. Saturday's projectile marks the country's 14th missile launch in just the first few months of 2022.

Now, moving on to Ukraine where evacuation efforts were supposed to resume today at that battered steel plant that we've been watching so closely, the Azov Steel Plant in Mariupol. 50 civilians were freed from there just yesterday, but so far, no signs of the evacuations have started again today, at least 100 civilians, including a number of children remain trapped in the plant's underground bunkers. [07:10:24]

PAUL: And we have to point out, the steel plant is also the last stand for Ukrainian troops in Mariupol. President Zelenskyy says he is working right now on diplomatic efforts to save military forces that still remain in that complex but relatives are in real fear that time's running out.


OLGA, HUSBAND FIGHTINGG IN MARIUPOL: It's so painful for me. People can't just be silent about the horrors happening there. They don't have days there; they are counting the minutes.


MARQUARDT: President Zelenskyy has accused Russia of using blockades as a kind of torture he says, including starvation. Zelenskyy says their organizations are not being allowed to get into Mariupol to give badly needed food, water and all kinds of other supplies.

PAUL: So, we want to go live to Ukraine with you right now. International Correspondent Scott McLean is in Lviv. Scott, good to see you this morning. Update us, will you please, on the evacuation efforts there at the plant and what you're hearing about any future plans to try to help?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi, yes, so no official word on the status of those evacuations, which were supposed to resume today, but that may actually be a good sign. Ukrainian officials have been trying to say precious little, if anything at all about these evacuations until they actually have concrete word that people have been able to get out. Yesterday, it was late in the day when the Russians announced that 50 people were able to be evacuated from underneath of the plant, including some children. Later on, the Ukrainians confirmed that they were able to pull 50 people or so out from underneath the plant. It turns out those 50 people are the same 50 people.

Now, they've been taken to a Russian reception center or filtration center. The plan today is for those evacuations to resume, to get out the potentially 100 or so other civilians who are still there. The goal is to get them out, to link up with other evacuees from the broader city and then go east again to this Russian filtration center. It is a pretty strange plan. Pretty strange strategy, though to take people east when most people will surely opt to go west, toward Ukrainian held territory. But Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister says this is all part of Russia's propaganda.


EMINE DZHAPAROVA, UKRAINE FIRST DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: They say oh, Ukrainian army, they are, they are committing propaganda saying to poor people, that Ukrainian army is being shelling the city. And then they open up their territory, the Russian territory for evacuation. But indeed, and in fact, it's called forcible deportation when they bring thousands of Ukrainians via Russian territory is thus depicting themselves as saviors.


MCLEAN: Now, the deputy minister there also shed some light on how difficult and how dangerous these evacuations can be saying that about 340-350 evacuation corridors had been agreed by both sides since the war began. But barely half of those have actually been successful. So, just goes to show you the level of danger that we're talking about in the delicacy of these negotiations. Alex and Christi.

MARQUARDT: And Scott, in just two days' time, Russia, as well as Ukraine, but Russia is going to be marking Victory Day, which is the day that they commemorate the victory against Nazis in World War II. We're all going to be watching Red Square very closely that day to see what President Putin has to say, and there are concerns as you know, Scott, that Putin may step up his campaign against Ukraine.

MCLEAN: Yes, there's a lot of concern that Putin will want to use the symbolism of this day, this victory over Nazi Germany to announce something new because, of course, the Russians have framed this war as a de-Nazification operation in Ukraine, something Ukrainians obviously, strongly deny. And so, the president is warning people to be on high-alert if Vladimir Putin is to formally declare war or announce an escalation of hostilities, saying that people should not ignore air raid sirens in their cities. The mayor of Kyiv is also asking people to be on high alert saying that patrols in the city will be stepped up saying that missile strikes are very likely on Sunday and into Monday, anywhere across the country.

MARQUARDT: All right, we will all be watching. Scott McLean in Lviv, Ukraine. Thank you very much. Now, as the U.S. waits to see how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule on Roe vs. Wade, we've got a look at the so-called trigger laws that will immediately impact millions of women. That landmark legislation is struck down.


Plus, more than 200 sailors have been moved off of the U.S. aircraft carrier after a number of suicides. What we know about the conditions on that ship from what the military is now doing about it.

Plus, she's been romantically linked to President Vladimir Putin for a decade. Now, she is the latest target of a new round of proposed sanctions -- more on that in a bit.


MARQUARDT: Justice Clarence Thomas says the government institutions shouldn't be bullied into delivering what some see as the preferred outcome in a key abortion rights case.

PAUL: Justice Thomas made the comment in response to a leak of a draft majority opinion overturning Roe versus Wade. Now, speaking to a group of judges and lawyers, Thomas said you cannot have a free society without stable institutions. Chief Justice John Roberts, by the way, had addressed the same conference on Thursday calling the leak "absolutely appalling." The repeal of Roe would impact women across the U.S. immediately.


MARQUARDT: Yes, a patchwork of old and new state laws would go into effect and could lead to some confusion. CNN's Jessica Schneider explains.


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

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nearly two dozen states are on the brink of banning abortion. And it will happen almost immediately if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. 13 states have trigger laws, abortion bans that will go into effect once Roe is off the books. Nine states have so called Zombie laws, abortion bans that were never repealed, once Roe took effect in 1973. These bans would go back into effect if the conservatives on the court eliminate that constitutional right to abortion.

DANA NESSEL (D), MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: That very moment prosecutors around the state could begin prosecuting doctors and I would argue potentially women as well.

SCHNEIDER: Michigan's law makes no exception for rape or incest. But it would allow abortions to save the mother's life. But the Republican running for attorney general in Michigan says he would prosecute even if abortion was performed in an effort to save the mother.

MATT DEPERNO (R), CANDIDATE FOR MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, what about the right of the mother? OK. Do you have an exception for that? I said, I do not because there is literally no medical diagnosis that says that if the mother's life is in danger, abort the baby.

SCHNEIDER: That's just one example of how uncertain the actual enforcement of criminal abortion statutes could be. In Wisconsin, the attorney general is already saying he'll refuse to prosecute and will instead leave it to local district attorneys.

JOSH KAUL (D), WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's my view that we have problems, that we need our law enforcement to be dealing with like, like violent crime and drug trafficking. And we don't need to shift their focus from, from those important efforts to, to going after people for allegedly violating a ban that nobody had understood to be enforceable for almost 50 years.

SCHNEIDER: The wide-ranging prosecutorial approach reflects just how uncertain and uneven the legal landscape would be in a post-Roe world.

MARY ZIEGLER, VISITING PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I think the most important and difficult question is going to be the whether states can reach out of their own borders to prosecute people, or whether states are going to prosecute patients for having abortions as Louisiana seems to be doing. SCHNEIDER: Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill out of committee this week that would classify abortions as homicides, leaving the door open for patients to be prosecuted. And then there's the question about how officials would even find out about illegal abortions. Privacy advocates are now raising the alarm that people's Google searches could be used against them, or even their own cell phones. Alan Butler leads the Electronic Privacy Information Center and points out that third parties can buy data from Google and perform reverse searches that could enable law enforcement to track who was at an abortion clinic and when.

ALAN BUTLER, PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: The prosecutor goes and gets a court order to get this type of data where they go and try to buy this data on the open market, for example, which is another thing that happens, then they would know information about the devices that were there, the ID of your device.

SCHNEIDER: Legal experts are now scrambling to fully understand all of the implications of a post-Roe America and many say rather than the Supreme Court's likely decision being the final word, it could instead spur a flurry of state-by-state legal fights in the years ahead. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks, Jessica Schneider for that report. Now, a judge is saying that Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene should not be disqualified over her role in the January 6th insurrection.

PAUL: This is a recommendation, but it is a significant legal blow to the voters and advocacy groups who tried to throw her off the ballot. Here's CNNs Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a significant win for Marjorie Taylor Greene, the firebrand Republican Member of Congress from Georgia who is facing the real prospect of being removed from the ballot for the upcoming election that's taking place in Georgia, her primary scheduled for May 24th. This was a group of liberal activists who challenged her ability to be on the ballot saying that she constitutionally shouldn't be able to participate because she participated in an insurrection.

It led to a lengthy court battle a federal judge allowed the process to go through, but it was a state court judge who listened to a marathon of testimony from both sides on this issue, including three hours of testimony from Greene, herself. And he ultimately decided to side with Greene, citing a 19-page statement that rendered his decision that, "Challengers have produced insufficient evidence to show that Representative Greene engaged in that insurrection after she took the oath of office on January 3rd 2021."

Now, this is just a recommendation by this state court judge, it doesn't have a binding purpose in terms of whether or not she'll stay on the ballot, the ultimate decision will have to be made by the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, he's, of course, a Republican but someone who's shown a willingness to buck the former President Donald Trump, who put enormous pressure on him to try and find a way to either delay or outright decertify the election in Georgia. But it's unlikely that Raffensperger is going to buck the decision of this judge in this case, especially given the, all the effort that went into this court hearing.


So, if Raffensperger agrees with the judge, it's likely that Greene will stay on the ballot. The activists still have one more opportunity, though they could appeal this decision to a state court, but their time window is dwindling. As we pointed out, the primary in this particular race happening on May 24th. In Greene, not expected to have any kind of electoral problem here. She's in a very Republican heavy district, she is still enjoying wide popularity among Republicans, especially in her district.

So, this, a huge win for her beating back this challenge. And we should also point out, that there are a number of cases like this playing out in courts and in Secretary of State's office across the state across the country. I should say, this was the one that had the most promise from the activist standpoint trying to find some sort of accountability for January 6th. The fact that they were unsuccessful here, makes it likely that they probably won't find success anywhere else in the country as well. Ryan Nobles, CNN on Capitol Hill.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Ryan Nobles up on Capitol Hill. Now, still to come this morning, multiple suicides on the same aircraft carrier, now raising concerns about mental health in the military. We'll have a look at the stigma surrounding seeking help. That's next.



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (on camera): More than 200 Navy sailors had been moved off of a U.S. aircraft carrier to a facility in Virginia after several crew members died by suicide.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Now, over the past 12 months, seven crew members on board that ship there, the USS George Washington have died, including four of them by suicide.

Three of those suicides happened in less than one week, which has prompted calls for immediate action. Now, the Navy is investigating the command, climate, and culture onboard that aircraft carrier, and is working to provide those on board with other accommodations, as the ship continues to undergo a lengthy overhaul process before it can go back out to sea.

MARQUARDT (on camera): The director of the Institute for Veteran and Military Suicide Prevention at the University of Memphis is David Rudd. He is here with us now. Mr. Rudd, thank you so much for joining us this morning on this very sensitive, important topic.


MARQUARDT: David, we know that investigations are still underway. But when you see a string of suicides like this, in a -- in a very small isolated location, this ship, what does that immediately tell you?

RUDD: Well, it raises issues about, probably, broader cultural concerns that need to be addressed. And I think now, certainly with this step in moving the soldiers, it's a recognition and an acknowledgement of some of those concerns.

And probably some of those cultural concerns are a little bit more of a challenge for the Department of Defense across service branches, not just the Navy.

MARQUARDT: But are there cultural concerns that are specific to something like a ship? And in this case, this ship has several 1,000 people on it when it's sailing.

RUDD: Yes, I think that, you know, certainly, the disrepair in the living conditions that had been described on the ship are a very significant concern. The lack of responsiveness to those conditions for the soldiers raised some very serious concerns.

And then, I think that there have been reports in one case of an individual that actively reached out, attempted to pursue care and the wait time for services for mental health services was six months or more.

That kind of wait time, those kinds -- those kinds of delayed responses certainly reinforced this idea of stigma that makes it difficult for people to get care.

MARQUARDT: And that is so important, this notion of stigma, particularly in the military. My colleague, Brianna Keilar asked the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby about that very thing, just yesterday. Take a listen to what he had to say.


REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: It's important that we continue to try -- I mean, to take mental health seriously here. There is still a stigma in the military about seeking help when you're -- when you're struggling, and we've got to do a better job getting rid of that stigma.


MARQUARDT: John Kirby and his boss, the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, have talked about this subject extensively, about how they're -- how seriously they're taking it. What do you think the military can do to try to kick that stigma? RUDD: Well, I think it's going to be a collection of things. And more than likely, it's going to be some of the smaller things. It's not the big things, it's the smaller steps that we need to take.

It's things like a six month waiting time to get a mental health appointment. There is a natural conflict between Department of Defense values, warrior culture values.

And when people -- when people demonstrate normal human vulnerability, and it feels like a failure in that context. You know, if you look at DOD values, they reinforced the idea of selfless sacrifice, personal courage, and then, when soldiers have emotional challenges that are normal, emotional challenges, it really raises concerns that somehow they're not meeting the standard, they're not meeting the mark.

And then if you have to wait six months to get assistance, you reinforces that idea. So, it's going to be the smaller things that we need to take. We really need to watch we need to take steps to correct.

MARQUARDT: Does that mean, because of -- does that mean that troops are more susceptible to those emotional challenges than civilians are, and that could lead to a higher rate of suicide?


RUDD: It doesn't necessarily mean that they are more vulnerable. It means that the vulnerability that you see in the general population is what you see in the military. After two decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and high operational tempo for two decades, it certainly challenges stresses soldiers in very significant ways. And I think you see that in the escalating suicide rates continuously over the course of the last decade.

I'm in its evidence of a broader problem, and we need to have policies in place that really respond to that. Not only do we need to allow ready access to care and quick access to care issues, about privacy, issues about confidentiality, all of that needs to be addressed.

MARQUARDT: Yes, and the Pentagon admits that there is more that they can do and insist that they are doing more. David Rudd, thank you so much for your time this morning.

RUDD: Take my pleasure, thank you.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): And if you or anyone you know, are thinking about suicide, or worried about a friend or a loved one, this is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They're available around the clock. That is the number right there: 1-800-273-TALK. 1- 800 273-TALK.

We'll be right back.


[07:41:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Well, A woman romantically linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin has now been included in a proposed list of sanctions by the European Union.

MARQUARDT: Alina Kabaeva, who is a medal winning Russian gymnast was first linked to Putin more than a decade ago.

CNN's Brian Todd has the story.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is been linked romantically to Vladimir Putin for more than a decade, though he is always denied it.

An early photograph of them together at the time she was a decorated gymnast shows Putin looking infatuated with her.

Tonight, the E.U. appears set to level new sanctions on Alina Kabaeva, according to two European diplomatic sources.


LOUISE SHELLEY, PROFESSOR, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: This is very personal. She is not only part of his inner circle, but she also probably holds a lot of money for Putin.

TODD: Kabaeva, also, late last month, in a rare public appearance at a gymnastics event in Moscow, spoke out in support of Putin's war in Ukraine.

ALINA KABAEVA, PUTIN'S REPUTED GIRLFRIEND (through translator): Every family has a history of war, and we shouldn't forget about it. We should hand it over from generation to generation.

BEN JUDAH, SENIOR FELLOW, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Alina Kabaeva has participated in a lot of propagandistic efforts to shore up the Putin regime over the years.

TODD: Kabaeya and Putin have rarely been seen in public together. But analysts say she and her family have gotten rich because of her close ties to the Russian president.

SHELLEY: She spends much of her time overseas, even though she has lavish properties in in Russia to the tune of 10s of millions of dollars.

TODD: Experts say targeting Putin's purported girlfriend for sanctions is a cold-eyed method of punishing the former KGB Colonel for the Ukraine invasion.

JUDAH: One of the levers to make him feel some of the costs of this is to sanction those closest to him. And American officials believe that she is very close indeed.

TODD: Putin's two adult daughters from his first marriage were sanctioned by the U.S. last month. A U.S. official confirmed their names are Mariya Putina, who also goes by the name Maria Vorontsova, and Katerina Tikhonova, shown here speaking at an economic conference, both are believed to be in their mid-30s.

CASEY MICHEL, KLEPTOCRACY INITIATIVE, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: We know they've traveled widely, especially in the West. We know one of them Katerina, was married to Russia's youngest billionaire, and we know that she also tried to pursue a career in acrobatic rock and roll.

The other one, Mariya, we don't know quite as much about. We know she has pursued or at least purportedly pursued a career in medical sciences.

TODD: As for Alina Kabaeva, last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials had debated whether to place American sanctions on her, but held off, out of concerns that so personal strike at Putin would escalate tensions even more.

Now that the E.U. could soon sanction Kabaeva, and the U.S. has already sanctioned Putin's daughters --

SHELLEY: Putin might take this personally, and strike out more at Ukraine and against the U.S.


PAUL (voice-over): Up next, if you are a new parent, I know you're scrambling. Baby formula shortages, are worsening. What's being done by the company at the center of the crisis to try and restock empty shelves?



PAUL (on camera): I know this is tough for parents scrambling for a baby formula that has now been recalled. Abbott Nutrition, maker of some of the most popular baby formulas in the country such as Similac, now under investigation by federal agencies.

Their products have been pulled from the shelves after being linked with bacterial infections in five babies. And this is serious. Two of those babies died.

MARQUARDT: Such a tragedy. The FDA and the CDC are still trying to determine what went wrong. Now, parents are finding it difficult to feed their babies.

CNN's Jacqueline Howard has more on this.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (on camera): Joy Greene in Springfield, Ohio is one of the parents impacted by this. Her 5-month- old baby Weston had grown accustomed to a particular Similac formula, as many babies do.

But a few months ago, Joy started noticing it was really hard to find Weston's formula. That's because in February, Abbott Nutrition, one of the biggest baby formula producers in the country recalled several lots of its Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare. Those recalled lots were linked to bacterial infections and a preliminary assessment from the FDA determined that Abbott did not take steps to prevent products from becoming contaminated during manufacturing. This had made shortages of the formula even worse.

Here is Joy on what her family is going through right now.



JOY GREENE, PARENT: It's been scary to like walk down the aisles and see empty shelves, and honestly not be able to find the exact formula that we need.

We have been trying different off brands, store brands, things like that, and some of them he is tolerating OK, and some of them, he's not, but really, it's just been overwhelming and scary.


HOWARD: So, here is what Abbott says they are doing to help alleviate the situation. The company says they are increasing production at other manufacturing sites, and they've started releasing some specialty formulas on a case by case basis.

And the meantime, Abbott says parents can go to their web site and enter their zip code to find their preferred formula closest to their area.

HOWARD (on camera): Now, the FDA says Abbott didn't take steps to prevent contamination at their plant in Michigan. Abbott says they tested the formula before distributing and did not find any bacteria or salmonella.

They say they are working closely with the FDA to restart operations at that Michigan plant. Back to you.

PAUL: Oh, thank you so much.

So, thousands of people across the south are still in the dark this morning, after storms moved through the region. We'll show you what's next for them.

Also, you'd never know it, to watch her on the court. But a University of Miami basketball player had a medical issue in high school that almost kept her sidelined.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how she's bouncing back in today's the Human Factor.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The Basketball court is a second home for Ja'Leah Williams.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JA'LEAH WILLIAMS, BASKETBALL PLAYER, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: If some happened with a family debt or you just emotionally depressed. Sometimes I'll just come in here and just shoot and listen to music. And like basketball gets my mind clear.

GUPTA: Early on, Ja'Leah figured out that she was a little bit better than most of the people she played against.

WILLIAMS: What made me fall in love with basketball is how like, I would take the ball from somebody, and I would just run up the court but they couldn't catch me. So, I just make the layup.

Not even I'll miss it and like I still have a second chance to go back up.

GUPTA: It's a sport she is lucky to be playing.

WILLIAMS: My mom, as I got older, she saw that I will have a little knee and my bone was popping out, and she eventually got it checked out.

GUPTA: The diagnosis, scoliosis.

WILLIAMS: It was like a snake. I was tilted.

GUPTA: Ja'Leah had a severe curvature of her spine. Surgery was her only option.


GUPTA: The surgery was a success. And there was an unexpected upside to the operation. She was a couple inches taller.

WILLIAMS: I think it really helped because like, the inches, and the way I jump, it helps like I get rebounds. I'm trying to dope. Yes, that's what I'm really turn to.

It just feels amazing that God just gave me a chance to play the game I love again.




PAUL: Well, 1000s of people are waking up this morning without power because of heavy rain and winds that hit the south. And that wet weather now headed toward the Mid-Atlantic in Florida.

MARQUARDT: Let's bring in CNN's Allison Chinchar. Allison, I can personally confirm that wet weather here in the mid-Atlantic. What more can we expect?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): A little bit more of what you're already getting at this point? Yes, the system is not moving very fast. So, for a lot of these communities, it's going to be pretty much hours of dealing with these rain showers. Not only in the mid-Atlantic, areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., but also the southern end of this storm.

So, you still have some of those showers and thunderstorms trailing across areas of Florida as well. And some of these areas picked up tremendous amounts of rain in just the last 24 hours.

Every single one of these cities broke a rainfall record yesterday with how much they picked up in a short period of time Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as D.C., the Dulles Airport breaking a rainfall record yesterday.

In addition to the heavy rain, we also had severe thunderstorms. We had five tornado reports, over 160 damaging wind reports, and over 60 hail reports.

Some of them were as large as tennis ball sized hail, more severe weather is expected today. It's mainly going to be across the southern tier of that initial system.

So, areas like Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, but also the secondary system. That's the one making its way into the central U.S. that also has the potential to produce some damaging winds and also some small to medium sized hail.

Here is a look at the forecast again, you're still going to have that swirl from that system just kind of hovered over the mid-Atlantic. So, it's going to be several hours of rain for Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.

Most of the activity still ongoing in South Florida will continue throughout the day. The secondary system however, the bulk of that rain doesn't develop really until this afternoon and into the evening hours.

Elsewhere across the country. It's the heat that's going to be the main focus. Especially much of the southern tier. 120 potential cities breaking record highs. One of them, San Antonio, guys, the average is 84. Today, the high of 105.

PAUL: Oh, that hurts.

MARQUARDT: And it's only early May.


MARQUARDT: All right. Well, Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center. Thank you so much.


PAUL: Yes. Thanks for the heads up.

Next hour of NEW DAY starts right now. We want to wish you a good morning if you are just joining us on this Saturday morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt, in this morning for Boris Sanchez. So, great to be with you, Christi.


PAUL: Good to have you as always.

MARQUARDT: There -- thank you.

While there is hope for evacuation efforts that could resume this morning for trap civilians who are in those underground bankers in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in Ukraine.