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New Day Sunday
Putin Names New General; Russian Troops Discussed Killing And Raping Civilians In Intercepted Audio; Ukraine Prepares For Escalation Of Fighting In Donbas; Resources Stretched Thin At Polish Shelter For Refugees; NFL QB Dwayne Haskins Dies After Truck Accident; U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tests Positive For COVID-19; Home Affordability Drops As Prices And Mortgage Rates Rise; Federal Agent Impersonators Appear In Court; Texas Families Leave State To Protect Trans Children; Ukrainian Families Deal With Trauma. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired April 10, 2022 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, you're up early and we're so grateful for it. Good morning to you. Welcome to our "NEW DAY." It is Sunday, April 10th. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Christi, good morning.
We are thrilled you're starting your morning with us. We start first in a shift in command.
A new general taking over Russia's war in Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin appointing general Alexander Dvornikov as the new commander, after troops stalled in Kyiv, failing to take the capital city. Russia is now believed to be preparing for an assault in the eastern part of Ukraine.
PAUL: The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is praising U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson for the additional military equipment Britain is sending to Ukraine. Now Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv, where he met with President Zelenskyy.
And the Ukrainian leader urged countries to follow the example of the U.K. He says it's time to impose a full embargo on Russia's energy sector and to provide more weapons to Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): But Ukraine does not have time to wait. Freedom does not have time to wait. When tyranny launches aggression against everything that keeps peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: The head of the European Union Commission says that Ukrainians are showing incredible bravery against Russia but that this fight is not theirs alone. She also says the horror that she saw in the town of Bucha left her speechless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VAN DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: There are no words for the horror I've seen in Bucha, the ugly face of Putin's army, terrorizing people.
They are fighting our war. It's our fight that they are in, because it's not only Ukraine fighting for their sovereignty and integrity but they are also fighting for the question whether humanity will prevail or whether heinous devastation will be the result.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Authorities in the southern region of Odessa have imposed a weekend curfew after the attack on the train in Eastern Ukraine. People have been told to stay home until 6:00 am local time tomorrow, due to the threat of Russian missile attacks there.
And officials are calling for civilians in Eastern Ukraine to evacuate as soon as possible, ahead of what could be a major Russian offensive.
SANCHEZ: Some of those trying to escape were hit by a missile strike on that train station. CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman has an update.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All the injured from Friday's missile strike on the railway station in Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine have been evacuated to the city of Dnipro and the capital, Kyiv, according to a local hospital official.
At least 52 people were killed in this strike, which took place at a time when there were around 4,000 people waiting outside to be evacuated. Local officials in Eastern Ukraine have urged all civilians, particularly women, children and the elderly, to leave the area as quickly as possible in anticipation of a major Russian offensive.
The Kramatorsk railway station was an important hub in that evacuation effort, handling about 8,000 people a day.
Russian artillery has been relentlessly pounding Ukrainian positions to the east of the city. Now most residents of Kramatorsk and surrounding towns and villages have already left the region, fleeing to safer ground further west -- I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from the Donetsk region, Eastern Ukraine.
SANCHEZ: Ben, thank you for filing that report. The horrific images out of Ukraine are just part of a growing body of
evidence that points toward apparent war crimes committed by the Russian military.
PAUL: In fact, intercepted communications released this week by Ukraine's security service and analyzed by CNN appear to show Russian soldiers in Ukraine, talking very frankly about shooting civilians, destroying villages and rape.
Now I don't want you to be caught off guard here. What you're about to see, what you're about to hear is really hard to absorb. But we just want to give you that heads-up. Here's CNN's Matthew Chance.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a war where every Russian atrocity can be recorded.
CHANCE (voice-over): As the Kremlin is finding out, every illegal order, potentially intercepted and exposed.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): A car drove by but I'm not sure if it was a car or a military vehicle. But there were two people coming out of the grove dressed as civilians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Kill them all, for fuck's sake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got it. But all the village here is civilian.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's wrong with you?
If there are civilians, slay them all.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHANCE (voice-over): Intentionally targeting civilians, something Russia categorically denies, is a war crime.
Kremlin blames Ukrainian forces for the devastation and the bloodshed. But hours of audio recordings, said to be of Russian soldiers communicating with their commanders and released by the Ukrainian security services, seem to tell a very different story, one of civilian areas laid to waste by Russian forces on purpose.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shell everywhere.
Shell the settlements directly, got it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got it. That's what I'm doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throw some to the west, damn it, several shells, to those closer to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kulinovka, Riabushki, I think they are working from there, aren't they?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger that. I will pass on the coordinates now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shell them. Shell them a lot to raze these two villages to the ground.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHANCE: And killing civilians isn't the only excess of which Russian forces are accused. Multiple reports have emerged of rape of young women, even children, by rampaging troops. One intercept records a Russian soldier in a tank regiment, telling a horrified woman on the other end of the line what he knew.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, three tankers here, raped a girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three tankers -- she was 16 years old.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our tankers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fuck.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHANCE: But these are not the crimes of victors. Time and again, Russian armor has been ravaged by Ukrainian forces amid reports of severely disrupted supply lines.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Do they feed you well?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Yes, OK. We feed ourselves all right. We butchered a dog and ate it. It was OK.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHANCE: And plunging morale among inexperienced soldiers, some as young as 18, disturbed by the violence and desperate for peace so they can go home.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are so fed up sitting here and I just hope we are not going to get hit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you are going to be a veteran after this special military operation in Ukraine. Putin has signed a decree.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What veteran?
They promised us we would all get medals and money with each medal. But I want to go home. I don't need those medals.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHANCE: But instead of medals, there are now growing calls for those suspected of war crimes to be tried. It may never happen. But forensic teams are in Ukraine, piecing together evidence, just in case.
Already, there are thousands, for who justice must be done -- Matthew Chance, CNN.
SANCHEZ: An incredible and unsettling report from Matthew Chance, thank you so much.
There are some new satellite images we want to share with you of what could be a large convoy of Russian forces moving into Eastern Ukraine.
These are images of an eight-mile-long convoy moving east of Kharkiv. It's made up of armored vehicles, trucks and artillery and support equipment. It's yet another sign of the threat posed to Eastern Ukraine, as Russian forces move and focus its efforts on the Donbas region.
Joining us now is retired Army Colonel and CNN military analyst, Cedric Leighton.
We also have with us Simon Shuster, a reporter for "Time" magazine, to discuss.
Gentlemen, we appreciate you getting up early for us.
Colonel Leighton, I want to start with you. We'll get to the convoy in a second. But the new commander that's leading Russian forces in Ukraine, general Alexander Dvornikov, he's known for a heavy-handed approach in Syria, specifically in Aleppo, where we know tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed.
What do you think this shift means for the invasion?
Why make this change now?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Boris, good morning. I think what it means is that the Russians realize that their first efforts around Kyiv failed. And what they need to do is refocus. They need unity of command. This is a principle of command in the military sense.
[05:10:00] LEIGHTON: That -- it has one focus, where there is one person who is in charge. And general Dvornikov has the experience. He's a hero of the Russian Federation, that's basically their highest honor, kind of like something akin to the Congressional Medal of Honor.
And it is a very important post for him. This is kind of a make or break situation for him personally. But it is also a make or break situation for President Putin. Putin has picked him because he trusts him.
Dvornikov is known for his actions in Syria, as you mentioned. And he is going to have to implement a strategy that allows Putin to claim some sort of victory. And that's I think what this is all about.
SANCHEZ: And, Simon, there was a British intelligence report that, yesterday, revealed what many of our reporters in Ukraine, as we saw with Matthew Chance, have suspected, that Russian troops have disproportionately targeted civilians, including where you are in Bucha.
What have you seen and what is it like now in that area?
SIMON SHUSTER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, what I can tell you is that there was clearly very poor discipline among the Russian troops. I'm sitting now in a children's summer camp that they were using as a garrison, basically to sleep. They had tanks parked right outside in dugouts.
And I'm sitting in a room that was used to eat, I guess. And there are mattresses on the floor. A lot of whiskey bottles, beer bottles, things that appear to be loot. So things stolen from -- there's a pile of what appears to be cheap jewelry on a couch just to my right here.
So to say that these were professional and disciplined troops I think would not be correct. And I don't know how Russia plans to change the kind of behavior --
SANCHEZ: It appears we're having some issues with Simon's connection there.
Staying with you, Colonel Leighton, some of what we just heard from Simon, we've discussed before, the poor morale among Russian troops, what he described as a lack of discipline.
And also a series of logistical issues that Russian forces have had. And I want to get your thoughts on this convoy. The satellite images coming from Eastern Ukraine showing that a new convoy has formed.
This one is roughly eight miles long in comparison to the 40-mile-long convoy we discussed just a few weeks ago, that the Russians had outside of Kyiv.
What stands out to you from this new intelligence? LEIGHTON: Well, what I see, Boris, are a lot of, you know, trucks, moving with self-propelled grenade launchers, artillery pieces. It so looks to me as if the Russians are actually making good on their claim that they're going to be moving into the east.
So where these pictures were taken is east of Kharkiv. That means that they are going down into the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the parts of those regions that Ukraine still controls. And they're going to try to take the east. That's clearly what they're doing.
It will be interesting to see if the Russians move up from the south as well. If they do that, that's a clearer effort to encircle Ukrainian forces that are in the east. So the Ukrainians need to be very careful at this point and watch the Russians to see what they're doing in that regard.
But having said that, these columns are also good targets. And the Ukrainians will need to exercise, you know, the same kind of discipline and the same kind of capacity to handle intelligence and to then work on that intelligence and operationalize it. And I think they'll be able to cause some damage to those Russian convoys.
SANCHEZ: Yes, there is expected to be intense fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine, especially as we get closer to May 9th and victory day, this historic moment for the Russian military's history, something that Vladimir Putin undoubtedly wants to celebrate and tout with some kind of victory in Ukraine.
I think we have Simon back.
Simon, can you hear us?
SHUSTER: Yes, I hear you well.
SANCHEZ: Yes, I just wanted to get your assessment of what it's like for the residents right now in Bucha.
Were you able to speak to folks that stuck around when the Russians were there?
Are people planning to leave?
And what have anyone who might have come back and found whatever the Russians left behind?
SHUSTER: People are coming back. So we just attended a church service. It's Sunday morning here, so there was a church service in the church that was the site of a mass grave in the churchyard.
They've since exhumed those bodies and given them a proper burial. The priest told us that he's been able to come out of hiding. He was in hiding here in Bucha throughout the Russian occupation.
SHUSTER: But his congregation is reassembling, coming out of their cellars, bunkers, basements, and trying to get back to some sort of normal life, going to church, getting in contact with loved ones. So it's going to be a very long process of recovery and healing. But it's starting now with the Russians gone.
SANCHEZ: Yes, hard to imagine what a normal life looks like after we see some of the images from the area that you're in. Simon Shuster, Col. Cedric Leighton, we appreciate you both. Thank you both for your time and perspective.
LEIGHTON: Thank you, Boris.
SHUSTER: Thank you.
PAUL: Millions of refugees from the war in Ukraine have fled to nearby Poland. And when they arrive, they're greeted by an army of volunteers here. What it takes, though, to give them a home, a place to finally feel safe, that's coming up.
And the saga of that sprawling college admissions scandal is over, not before one more key player in the scam is sentenced.
And two men are in jail. Four Secret Service agents are on leave, pending an investigation into thousands of dollars' worth of gifts given to federal agents. What we know about this bizarre case and why prosecutors say some of the suspects are a danger to national security. Stay close.
SANCHEZ: An international fund-raising campaign has raised nearly $11 billion in support of the people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
PAUL: The Stand Up for Ukraine social media pledge began March 26th. It was organized by the European Union and the government of Canada. Saw both politicians and celebrities come together to help the growing number of Ukrainian refugees.
SANCHEZ: In a statement, the president of the E.U. commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said, quote, "We will continue providing support. And once the bombs have stopped falling, we will help the people of Ukraine rebuild their country. We will continue to stand up for Ukraine."
PAUL: Of the estimated 10 million people that have been displaced thus far during this ongoing war, many have fled to countries that are neighboring Ukraine, obviously.
SANCHEZ: Including Poland, where at least 2.5 million refugees have now found temporary housing. Let's go to CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, who's live this morning near the Polish-Ukrainian border. Good morning, Salma.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Boris and Christi, those 2.5 million refugees, they've essentially dissipated (sic) into Poland. There's no one central point, no one huge refugee camp.
Instead, what you have is a very organic process. Families step up, offer spare rooms to those fleeing the countries. You have good Samaritans, as well, trying to turn anything they can, an abandoned office, a school, like where I am right now, into shelters for these fleeing families.
But now, two months into this war, nearly into the second month of this war, many of these volunteers are asking, how do we provide long- term solutions for these families?
They're saying they're running out of money and they're exhausted. Take a look.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): What does it take to care for just a few dozen refugee families?
Storerooms packed with food, endless hot meals, hundreds of bunk beds and lots and lots of love, says volunteer Kamil Prusinowski.
KAMIL PRUSINOWSKI, VOLUNTEER: As you saw, this women with the child on hands and they simply have nowhere to go.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): This abandoned school dormitory was in disrepair, unused for over a decade but in just three days, Kamil and his best friends turned it into a shelter for women and children fleeing Ukraine.
PRUSINOWSKI: I need to use my skills, everything what I've got, to help these people.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Now the challenge is to keep these place up and running, the organizers say.
PRUSINOWSKI: Until now, we received zero USD, zloty, pound or whatever from any NGO or government. And there are huge bills which we need to pay.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Behind each of these doors is a story of trauma.
Victoria and her grandkids arrived here only yesterday. They still feel so raw.
"It was so scary but we had to go for the children," she says.
ABDELAZIZ: I'm very, very sorry.
Do you finally feel safe? ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): "It will come," she says.
"Every time we hear a loud sound, we flinch and look up at the sky. We still feel fear."
Irina and her son, Kriyal (ph), fled from Chernihiv after spending days hiding in a cellar.
"It's getting easier," she says, "but he flinches in his sleep."
"Mom, I have nightmares," he tells her.
ABDELAZIZ: Does he still feel scared?
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): "Yes, sometimes. But I try to calm him. We go outside and breathe fresh air," she says.
And that's what is most needed here, a sense of security, stability. But Kamil doesn't know how much longer he can provide it.
ABDELAZIZ: You have zero money.
How does this work?
PRUSINOWSKI: The friends who are helping, some volunteers who are helping. But there is no sustainable support for us.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): These helpers need help to keep their doors open for the many forced out of their homes.
ABDELAZIZ: Now what's unique about Kamil's shelter is that he allows families to stay as long as they want. Many shelters can only provide accommodation for just a few days. Essentially, these are 2.5 million nomadic refugees, Boris and Christi.
Every day, they're constantly, consistently trying to figure out where the next place is to sleep. The Polish government says, look, they can't carry this burden alone. They need the international community to help. They need the support to be able to give these families, as you saw, so fragile, a more permanent sense of home.
SANCHEZ: And it is likely that this humanitarian crisis will worsen, as there is no end in sight for the invasion of Ukraine. Salma Abdelaziz, terrific reporting. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Thank you, Salma.
SANCHEZ: You may be watching these images from across Ukraine and Europe and wondering how you might be able to help the people of Ukraine. We've offered a series of links. If you go to cnn.com/impact, you'll find vetted organizations that can offer help where it's needed most. And it is needed right now. Well, it is a shocker in the sports world. Up next, what we're
learning this morning about the incident that left Steelers' quarterback Dwayne Haskins dead in south Florida.
SANCHEZ: Here's a look at some of the top stories we're following this morning.
NFL quarterback Dwayne Haskins was killed after being hit by a dump truck while trying to walk across an interstate early Saturday morning in south Florida. The 24-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers' player was there for training camp.
Head coach Michael Tomlin issued a statement, saying in part, quote, "Dwayne was a great teammate but even more so, a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken."
Haskins previously played for the Washington Commanders before moving to the Steelers. In 2018, the former Ohio State star was the finalist for a Heisman Trophy.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that he has tested positive for coronavirus. He was both vaccinated and boosted. He says he's experiencing mild symptoms.
He's the latest in a string of other high-profile Democrats, who have tested positive recently for coronavirus, including fellow cabinet members attorney general Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
SANCHEZ: A former University of Southern California water polo coach was found guilty of conspiracy and fraud for a college admissions scam. The 2019 investigation, known as Operation Varsity Blues, found that Mark Riddell helped wealthy parents buy their children's way into universities.
PAUL: The former coach posed as high school students and took their college entrance exams in exchange for money. Here's CNN's Brynn Gingras.
RACHAEL ROLLINS, U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS: Today's verdict represents the final conviction in the college admissions scandal, arguably one of the largest scandals in the history of academia.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three years after the college admissions scandal shocked the nation, alleged perpetrators are still being punished.
Dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, the premise of the investigation was simple: wealthy parents allegedly paid vast sums of money to get their children into some of the country's most prestigious schools.
The case landed two Hollywood celebrities in prison and ignited a debate about privilege in America.
Lori Loughlin, best known for playing Aunt Becky on "Full House" served two months in prison.
LORI LOUGHLIN, ACTOR: You know what I don't do every day, I never push my kids to -- I always say, do the best you can.
GINGRAS (voice-over): After she and her husband pleaded guilty to paying $500,000 to get their two daughters.
OLIVIA JADE GIANNULLI, LOUGHLIN'S DAUGHTER: I do want the experience of game days, partying -- I don't really care about school, as you guys all know.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Into USC as fake athletes on the crew team.
An Academy Award nominated actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to have someone to take the SAT for her daughter. She was sentenced to two weeks in prison and served 11 days.
The mastermind of the scheme, Rick Singer, pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges including racketeering, conspiracy and money laundering and is still cooperating with the government.
Prosecutors allege parents paid him a total of $25 million over seven years through a sham charity. His scheme involved two types of fraud: bribing coaches to admit students, even if they didn't play the actual sport, and helping high schoolers cheat on college entrance exams.
Now the first coach to take their case to trial has been convicted by a jury. Johann Babbitt (ph), the former water polo coach at the University of Southern California, who brought the school 15 national titles before he was fired.
After less than a day of deliberations, he was found guilty on all three counts brought against him: conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Also on Friday, test taker Mark Riddell received his sentence. Federal prosecutors say Riddell posed as the children of paying families during SAT and ACT exams, scoring them near-perfect results. His fee: $10,000 per test. Riddell pleaded guilty and will now spend four months in prison.
Since the scandal became public, 38 parents have either pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury; just a few open cases remain. Singer, meanwhile, faces a maximum of 65 years in federal prison and is still awaiting sentencing for his crimes. ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: One of the tricky things about this
case is the star cooperating witness, Rick Singer, is also the main player behind this scheme. I would expect to see Rick Singer get a substantially reduced sentence. Whether he goes to prison at all or not, that will be a big question for the judge.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
PAUL: Thank you to Brynn for the report there.
Listen, if you're in the market to purchase a new home, you already know how hard it is to find what you want. And even if you do find it, securing that home is just as hard.
SANCHEZ: Over the past couple of years, a perfect storm of high demand, low inventory and low interest rates have come together to push buying a home out of reach for many. CNN's Alison Kosik has more.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Boris. The dream of home ownership is remaining just that for a growing number of Americans. That's as home prices and mortgage rates move higher.
A report from real estate firm Adam finds that home prices in the first three months of this year rose 10 percent from a year ago. The report tracked home prices in about 60 percent of counties in the U.S. and found that a median price single-family home was less affordable than historical norms in the majority of the counties that were analyzed.
That's as the average rate of a 30-year fixed loan hovers just below 5 percent. Over the past week, "Mortgage News Daily" showed the rate crossing 5 percent. It may not sound like much but if you're buying a big-ticket item like a house, a higher interest rate, it does make a difference in your monthly mortgage payment.
A year ago, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was just 3.38 percent. Even as the pandemic wreaked havoc on much of the economy, home buying recovered quickly after a short pause and just kept booming, fueled by record low interest rates.
KOSIK: But an historically short supply of homes was outstripped by demand, sending home prices even higher. That spike in demand has damaged affordability.
The report showed price gains outpacing wage growth in four of every five markets. Experts say that you shouldn't put more than 30 percent of your income into housing costs.
But for more than half the counties included in this report, the cost of ownership was over the 30 percent guidelines. Areas with more than 1 million people required the biggest share of average yearly pay to afford a typical home, areas like Orange County, California; Queens, New York; Oakland, California and New York City.
The areas that the report found are the most affordable: Decatur, Illinois; Kings County, California; Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania and Peoria, Illinois -- Christi and Boris.
PAUL: It is something else. Alison, thank you so much.
Still to come this morning, a Secret Service scandal. Four agents are now on leave after taking gifts from two men accused of posing as DHS officials. We have a former Secret Service agent, who's weighing in on how this could have happened in the first place. Stay close.
PAUL: Well, prosecutors for the Department of Justice say they're still trying to decipher why two men allegedly impersonated federal agents and whether they're connected to any foreign governments. Let me give you the background here.
Friday, DOJ lawyers argued in court that Haider Ali and Arian Taherzadeh should remain behind bars as investigators try to unravel how and why the men spent more than two years posing as Homeland Security agents while amassing a small arsenal of weapons and surveillance equipment.
Let's talk about this with CNN law enforcement analyst and former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow.
It's so good to have you with us here.
PAUL: So these federal prosecutors say that both of these men do pose a danger to the community and that they're a flight risk, after finding that stockpile of weapons in their apartment.
Also, apparently, found some extensive overseas travel and foreign contacts, including uncorroborated connections to the Pakistani intelligence service.
What is your takeaway from all of that, first and foremost?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Listen, this is a shocking situation involving the U.S. Secret Service and potentially other law enforcement entities.
There are a lot of questions as to what was the motive here of these individuals.
And why did they target, you know, Secret Service agents and officers to -- or why were they targeting Secret Service agents and officers?
Listen, I want to take a step back for one second. The Secret Service motto is actually, "Worthy of trust and confidence." And these four individuals that were targeted, I actually do not believe that they willfully violated the trust and confidence of those that they protect or the White House complex or put the White House complex at risk in any way.
What I do see is that this was a very sophisticated operation. And those four individuals were just one of potentially many targets of opportunity that, right now, is leaving us with more questions than actual answers.
What we do know about these two individuals is that they had the financial means and the opportunity to convince these law enforcement officers and agents that they were actually members of law enforcement as well.
So we have to assess very quickly, what is the consequence of that?
Was national security placed at risk?
PAUL: When we talk about how much money they had, how likely is it that some of that money came from a foreign source?
WACKROW: Listen, I think that's a very valid question. It's something that we have to assess very quickly.
These two individuals had a very complex cover story, right?
This is -- the prosecutor had stated that these were not defendants that were playing dress-up. This was a very well-organized and coordinated effort. Why remains unknown. What we saw was a lot of items that were taken as part of evidentiary value, that, you know, consisted of weapons and, you know, tactical gear and a lot of police equipment.
You know, that is something that we've seen a lot of times in the past, with people who are, you know, trying to mimic law enforcement. But to me, the most concerning issue here is the level of detail that these two individuals placed in their cover story.
And the cover story is the reason why people believe that they were law enforcement.
How did they do that?
They actually faked being in, you know, DHS and HSI training seminars. They provided documentation or showed documentation of, you know, training certificates at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
They had knowledge of Secret Service firearms, in the fact that the Secret Service was transitioning over. And, you know, really, one of the most concerning things to me is they had knowledge of what's known as a PIV card, a private identification verification card, that's utilized to gain access to controlled facilities.
So this is not just two individuals that decided to play cop. This is a very coordinated effort. And, you know, everyone should be concerned right now as to what was their intent.
What was the end goal right now?
PAUL: Jonathan Wackrow, you laid it out beautifully. It is a very complex story. We know that the two men are currently detained and their arraignment is Thursday. We'll see if we hear anything more about that. Jonathan, thank you so much for walking us through that.
WACKROW: Thank you so much.
PAUL: Of course.
SANCHEZ: In just a few moments, we're going to take you to Texas, where the families of transgender children are leaving the state in fear of being charged with child abuse for getting gender-affirming care for their kids. Their stories, after a quick break.
SANCHEZ: Republican governor Kay Ivy of Alabama signed two bills into law that target transgender children. One makes it a felony for a doctor to administer gender-affirming health care to minors. The other bill requires students grades K-12 to use bathrooms designated to their biological sex.
PAUL: The bill also includes an amendment that will ban classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools. Many critics have compared this to similar registration in Florida, dubbed the "don't say gay" law.
In Texas, governor Greg Abbott has asked the state's Department of Children and Families to open child abuse investigations into families whose children have received gender-affirming treatments.
SANCHEZ: The Texas court of appeals has temporarily blocked Abbott's administration from carrying out such investigations. But some families are already leaving the state, because they feel it's not safe for their transgender child. CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports.
ISA, TRANS CHILD: Let it go, let it go.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This little corner of Texas --
ISA: Well, my age is 6 years old and my name is Isa.
KAFANOV (voice-over): -- is Isa's world and we're just living in it.
KAFANOV: So you're a princess?
ISA: Yes, because I have a princess dress.
KAFANOV (voice-over): The 6-year-old Dallas native is both sparkly and spunky. Although it wasn't the gender on her birth certificate, her mom, Violet Augustine, says Isa referred to herself as a girl ever since she started talking. But by the time she turned 4, the conversation took a darker turn.
VIOLET AUGUSTINE, ISA'S MOM: Saying like concerning things about how she hated herself and she wanted to get run over by a train. And then like, even scarier stuff related to her anatomy that she didn't want.
KAFANOV (voice-over): Concerned, Violet took a new approach.
AUGUSTINE: One day I was just like, "So, you're a girl?"
And she was like, "Yes."
And I was like, "OK."
And it was almost like, after that, it was like a whole new kid was born.
AUGUSTINE: And I was thrilled, obviously, to finally see my kid and to see her thriving in a way I hadn't seen before.
KAFANOV (voice-over): But now Violet worries it isn't safe to raise her daughter in Texas. That's because governor Greg Abbott has directed the state's department of family and protective services to investigate certain gender-affirming care as possible child abuse.
For now, the directive is tied up in Texas courts. And even though Isa is too young for gender-affirming care, like puberty blockers or hormones, her mom has decided to uproot their family and move hundreds of miles west.
AUGUSTINE: I'm not going to have a support network out there.
KAFANOV: But you feel like it's important to do it, why?
And all of this is because you don't feel safe in the state of Texas?
AUGUSTINE: Yes. I haven't felt safe with her since we transitioned her.
KAFANOV (voice-over): Other parents of trans children are also not waiting to see how the battle plays out in court, with some hospitals already pausing gender-affirming treatment.
KATIE LAIRD, HOUSTON PARENT: My son is very into anime. You can see Cowboy Bebop here.
KAFANOV (voice-over): Katie Laird lives in Houston, where she's been getting gender-affirming care for her 15-year-old son.
LAIRD: There's nothing in this room that doesn't just totally scream his wild and interesting personality.
KAFANOV (voice-over): She said she hadn't heard from the state's child protective services but she says the fear of being investigated for child abuse is dehumanizing.
LAIRD: The reality that our trans kids exist in is the opposite of child abuse. It's to be listened to. It's to be loved unconditionally. It's to be supported, no matter what. That is not child abuse. That is love in action.
KAFANOV (voice-over): Katie is now planning to move to Colorado, where her son's gender-affirming care can continue uninterrupted.
KAFANOV: What do you say to someone who might say, well, look, why don't you just wait until your son is 18, then there's no problem?
LAIRD: We don't have the luxury of time. Like, I have seen what life was like before we understood what was going on with our son's gender dysphoria. We just don't have that luxury, to just hold off and wait.
KAFANOV: Can these treatments mean the difference between life and death?
LAIRD: One hundred percent. Yes, we definitely believe that gender- affirming care is literally life-saving, literally.
AUGUSTINE: Is this the school?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is the elementary school. Here we can get out and I can show you.
AUGUSTINE: Oh, my God.
KAFANOV (voice-over): Violet is now hoping to raise Isa in Los Angeles, where she was recently shown around by a guide from a local LGBTQ support group.
AUGUSTINE: At the end of the day, as Isa's mom, my entire job is to make sure that she thrives. And I have to -- whatever I have to do, to make sure she thrives, is what I'm going to do.
KAFANOV (voice-over): A dream that some parents of transgender children believe is no longer possible in Texas -- Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Dallas.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SANCHEZ: Living through the terror and uncertainty of war: up next, how refugee centers are attending to the mental health of those who escaped Ukraine, including the youngest survivors. We're back in a few minutes. Stay with us.
PAUL: A bipartisan group of more than 60 lawmakers is urging President Biden to do more for Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing Russia's invasion.
SANCHEZ: If they do manage to escape without physical harm, keep in mind, many Ukrainian adults and kids are still going to need help dealing with the mental and emotional trauma of what they've been through. CNN's Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight-year-old Yana (ph) is used to going to gymnastics class six days a week in Odessa, Ukraine. Now she practices here, a refugee center in Warsaw, Poland.
BASH: Do you know why your mom decided it was time for you to go?
YANA, LIUDMYLA'S DAUGHTER (through translator): Well, because there were explosions there and stuff like that.
BASH: Did you hear explosions?
Did you see any of the war?
BASH (voice-over): She left Ukraine with her brother and mother, Liudmyla.
LIUDMYLA BATS, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: The journey was very hard because we decided -- we decided to go there through Moldova, through Romania, through Hungary and so Slovenia and then Poland.
BASH (voice-over): Yana (ph) sits at a table full of donated supplies and goes to school remotely, on her phone, right in the middle of this Warsaw refugee center.
BASH: And she's OK?
BATS: She says yes.
BASH (voice-over): Liudmyla Bats is not so sure about her own trauma.
BATS: Even here, every time when I hear there some sounds and when the airplane is flying, I'm afraid.
BASH (voice-over): Poland's generosity toward Ukraine's flood of refugees -- shelter, food, baby supplies -- is well documented. Less known is a focus on what you cannot see, the mental health of the mostly women and children who crossed the border.
BASH: You've redirected a lot of the psychiatrists, psychologists to the Ukrainians.
MAYOR RAFAL TRZASKOWSKI, WARSAW, POLAND: Yes, I have.
BASH (voice-over): Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski says tending to Ukrainians' emotional wounds is critical. Foundations drop leaflets, encouraging Ukrainian refugees to seek counseling.
TRZASKOWSKI: Those kids are incredibly resilient. But you never know, you know, what's beneath the surface.
BASH: But it wasn't that long ago that people just kind of said, suck it up, you just deal with it. But that's not where we are in society anymore.
TRZASKOWSKI: No, I mean, when you -- especially when you see what's happening in Ukraine, how vicious this war was and all of those atrocities committed by Russian soldiers and those kids watch TV, you know, they see it.
BASH (voice-over): In this group session, the mental health professional for Ukrainian women is a fellow refugee. In the women's circle, as they call it, varied emotions spring to the surface.
While mothers tend to their own mental health, their children are in a makeshift day care on the other side of the room. Little Yana (ph) is thrilled by the toys and new people to play with, young enough not to know too much. Her big sister, Antonina (ph), knows far more, experienced more than any 8-year old ever should.
BASH: Antonina (ph), why are you here in Poland?
Do you know?
ANTONINA (PH), LIUDMYLA'S DAUGHTER (through translator): Because of the war. Because, I don't know, Putin has something in his head.
BASH: Turns out not all grown-ups make good decisions, huh?
ANTONINA (PH): When it comes to Putin, yes.
BASH (voice-over): To better take care of her girls, their mother takes care of herself in this therapy session.
BATS (through translator): With like-minded people it's easier to talk. They understand you.
BASH: Why did you want to have these sessions?