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CNN TONIGHT: Russian Troops Morale Drag Down After Moskva Ship Sunk; Dead Fellow Countrymen Break Zelenskyy's Heart; More Than 900 Bodies Found in Kyiv Region; Students Trying to Pick Up Broken Dreams; Text Messages from GOP Members Revealed; U.N. Doing Nothing to Ukraine's Plea. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 15, 2022 - 22:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: The news continues. So let's turn things over now to "CNN TONIGHT" with Laura Coates, who and I'm really a lucky guy, get to co-anchor with next week.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I'm looking forward to it, Jim. Thank you so much. I'm looking forward to your excellent reporting as always. And I am Laura Coates, and this is CNN TONIGHT.

Ukraine's president's new warning for the entire world, be prepared for the possibility that Putin could go nuclear at some point in this war. And Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that should worry, in fact, the entire globe. And it certainly is a very concerning thought.

It came in a rare exclusive new interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, and in that one on one, Jake asked Zelenskyy about the huge news of the sinking of Russia's flagship battleship in the Black Sea. Wait till you hear what the president said about that in a few moments.

The U.S. said today, with a lot more certainty by the way, that it was Ukrainian missiles that downed the Moskva, not some accidental fire, as Moscow claims. Ukraine now expects Russia to increase its attacks in revenge. But the military spokesman says, quote, "we are ready."

Now Russia has been hitting Ukraine especially hard today, attacking a military facility on the outskirts of the capital of Kyiv. Lots of shelling and airstrikes in the southeastern region of Donbas, where a major Russian offensive is expected in the next coming days.

Strikes also reported across Kharkiv in the north, where at least 10 civilians were killed earlier. And, cluster bombs reportedly killed five civilians and the southern city of Mykolaiv.

When will this stop? And we're hearing that more than 900 bodies of civilians, 900 bodies, have been discovered in the Kyiv region just since the Russian soldiers have pulled out. Nine hundred human beings. And those are only the ones that have been found so far. It is all so horrific, but we have to keep shining light on these atrocities. The world cannot look away. So, in that interest, let's go to live, to CNN's Phil Black who's in

Kyiv to see what's happening there tonight. Phil, what can you tell us about what's happening on the ground there right now?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura, the Ukrainian military says it is expecting, preparing for, perhaps already receiving Russian retaliation and revenge. Revenge for the Ukraine claimed strike against the Moskva, the Russian navy flagship of its Black Sea fleet. Ukraine says it struck the vessel with two missiles, created a fire, sunk the vessel.

Russia acknowledges the fire, that the vessel is going down because of a fire but doesn't mention the vessels. Overnight, in Kyiv, there was a missiles rights on the outskirts, which struck a military site, which Russia says was responsible for building and maintaining anti air, but also anti-ship missiles.

Its announcement suggested that that strike was in response to something that's been warning about through this week, which is an accusation that Ukraine has been preparing attacks against Russian targets on Russian Federation soil. But the Ukrainian military believes that it won't be forgiven for targeting the Moskva. It says that it knows that hitting that ship was more than just hitting another Russian military asset. That was a strike against Russia's prestige, against its imperial ambitions. And it won't be -- that's won't be forgotten quickly, Laura.

COATES: I mean, the idea of not being forgiven, is really just a chilling statement and sentiment to really convey. And I don't doubt at all what they feel, and it's just striking, given especially what we've seen in places like Bucha, because you spoke to survivors on what can only be describe as a massacre in Bucha. What are those survivors tell you?

BLACK: When you walk the streets of Bucha and talk to people, everyone you meet has a traumatic story, or stories, really. They've all lived through an extraordinarily, dark, difficult distressing time. They've all seen death. They've all lost people, whether it's family, friends, or at the very least, neighbors.


So, everyone has these stories to tell. Everyone has seen those bodies on the streets, those images which so shocked the world when the Russian forces first withdrew. Those bodies have now been collected, but what is still continuing there is this large operation to recover, that is exhumed the many bodies, so many bodies that were in fact buried during the period of Russia's occupation, whether that was in the central mass grave site in Bucha, or the many other smaller shallow graves that people dug where they could, when they thought they could, when they thought it was safe to do so.

All of that is ongoing, and the idea is to try and recover, and account for everyone who did not survive that period of Russian occupation. COATES: The inhumanity is just so vile. I mean, every one of those

people that you see on the screen, someone is looking for them, they meant something to somebody. As my father always says, everyone was someone's star once, and I just -- it's unbelievable to see what's happening.

Phil Black, thank you so much.

The Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy, was weighing in on the Moskva sinking we just spoke about with Phil. In an exclusive interview with Jake Tapper, Ukraine's president is saying the downing of Russia's flagship in the Black Sea is important. Here is more.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A Russian warship, the Moskva, the one that Ukrainian soldiers told to f off sank. The Russians say, and the Russians are liars, but the Russians say, it sank on its own. Can you offer some clarity, evidence, as to what happened to that ship?

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We know that it does not exist anymore. For us, it is a strong weapon against our country. So, its sinking is not a tragedy for us. I want you and the rest of the people to realize that. The less weapons the Russian Federation that attack our country has, the better for us, the less capable they are. This is important. And about what happened to it? The history will tell.

TAPPER: Do you have any idea how many Ukrainian soldiers or Ukrainian civilians have been killed?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): I know. I know about --

TAPPER: How many?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): As of now, based on the information we have, because it's very difficult to talk about civilians, since the south of our country were the towns and cities have blocked, Kherson, Berdyansk, Mariupol, further east, the area to the east where Volnovakha is. We just don't know how many people have died in that area that is blocked.

Let's take Volnovakha as an example. Volnovakha, as other towns, are empty. They are all destroyed. There are no people there. So, it's difficult to talk about it now. As to our military, out of the numbers we have, we think that we lost 2,500 to 3,000. In comparison with the Russian military, we lost about 19,000 to 20,000. That's the comparison, but we have about 10,000 injured. And it's hard to say how many will survive.

TAPPER: I'm sure you have seen the video of the Ukrainian mom finding her son in a well.


TAPPER: And her sorrow, her crying just devastating to hear. And you have seen a lot of the videos like that. What is it like for you, as the president of this country, to see those videos, to hear of the mom cries?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): This is the scariest I've seen in my life in principle. I look at this first of all as a father. It hurts so, so much. It's a tragedy. It is suffering. I won't be able to imagine the scale of suffering of these people. Of this woman. It is a family tragedy. It's a disaster. Their dreams and the lives you've just lost, we live for our kids, that's true. Kids are the best we were given by God, and by family. It is a great pain for me. I can't watch it as a father.


And because all you want after this is revenge and to kill. I have to watch, as the president of the state, where a lot of people have died and lost their loved ones, and there are millions of people who want to live. All of us want to fight, but we all have to do our best for this war not to be able to be endless. The longer it is, the more we would lose. All these losses may be just like that one.


COATES: Joining me now is, Jake Tapper in Kyiv, Ukraine. Jake, you had an extraordinary compelling interview with President Zelenskyy. And everyone has been watching this man from the beginning of this invasion, even before. And they've been watching and wondering what he has been like.

What has been the mood in conversing with him? What was he thinking in dealing with that moment? I mean, the emotional turmoil of the nation is on his shoulder, let alone the physical destruction of the nation he holds so dear.

TAPPER: Well, it was a pretty far and wide-ranging interview, so we touched on a lot of subjects, when we started talking, before the interview began, I asked him about his kids, and we bonded over the fact that both of us have teenage daughters who have limited interest in talking to their fathers.

So, he was very candid and charming, at times. But you know, as a subject shifted to more important life or death issues, he was at times, defiant, at times angry, at times, you know, disappointed in the world. Very honest. It could be diplomatic if I ask him -- I asked him a question about basically, he could've taken a shot at French President Macron for taking issue with Joe Biden. President Biden calling what's happening here is genocide. He didn't. He just said he disagreed.

So, he could be diplomatic. He also didn't beat his chest about the sinking off that Russian ship. But he was very candid. And human. You know, he -- we interviewed politicians for a living, Laura, you are and I and our colleagues. And I tend not to be too super impressed with politicians. But he was a pretty impressive guy, especially considering what he's going through. COATES: Well, the idea of him being disappointed with the world is

probably an understatement for the range of emotion he has. And just given the idea of how diplomatic he must still be, hoping for there to be some change, I wonder, in the conversation, and we talk about here in the United States of America obviously, presidents having the threat possible of danger.

But here and there, excuse me, in Kyiv, Ukraine, he is under constant threat. He is literally in the heart of the beast. His security is never quite promised. Did that take a toll on the way in which he was able to think and deal with these circumstances? Because he's been very focused, as you know, particularly on one area, in one region in particular. Is that coming from some sense of an actual security threat to himself right now?

TAPPER: Well, I think, I mean, I don't think just him, I think most people in Ukraine, especially in Kyiv and to the east feel vulnerable, and certainly there's nothing more that, than Vladimir Putin then him dead and he's aware of that. And I asked him, actually, about, it's possible you might not make it out of this war alive? How do you want people in Ukraine, how do you want your children to remember you? And he was very humble about it.

He doesn't want to be remembered as a hero, he just wants to be remembered as a good citizen, and a family member, and somebody who loved his country. So, it is something on his mind, and obviously, the security around him was incredibly intense. The kind of security, even beyond what you would go through to interview, you know, president, President Biden, for example.

But that said, I mean, he wasn't -- he wasn't paranoid or jumpy or anything like that. He was just in his secure location, doing his job, and focused. And a big part of his job, I think, it's obvious to see, he's communicating with the world as to what's going on.

I mean, he is -- he does a lot of interviews. He did a very lengthy interview with us. He did 60 Minutes a week ago. He did an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg and Anne Applebaum with The Atlantic. I mean, he wants to get his message out. So that's part of it.

But I did not get the sense that he felt overly burdened by the threat on his life, and in fact, I talked to his chief of staff, Andrii Yermak, for an interview that's going to air Monday on The Lead, and Yermak said, there was never any question from the very beginning, as Zelenskyy was never going to leave. He was always going to stay, and try to run the country no matter what was going to come his way.


COATES: Well, it goes back to that statement early on, when he made that statement of, I don't need a ride, right? He wanted to stay and fight for his country. And it's evident in the interview you gave as well. Thank you --


TAPPER: I don't need a ride, I need ammunition.

COATES: I don't need a ride. I need an ammunition. He has been evidently in defiant and with good reason. And of course, that interview, talking about the devastation and how as a father, it weighs on him day in day, to think about the tragedy and the fatalities, and those who are still fighting for their home.

Jake, a great interview. Thank you.

TAPPER: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: And you can see Jake's full exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on State of the Union, that Sunday morning at 9 o'clock Eastern, and again at noon only on CNN.

The head of the International Criminal Court called the Ukraine a crime scene, as he and other prosecutors work together evidence of violations of international law. We are going to talk to a former war crimes prosecutor on just how this process works, and where he sees this investigation heading, that's coming up next.


COATES: The U.N. estimates that nearly 2,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. Of course, it warns that the actual death toll may be far higher. And images like the one I'm about to show you are very disturbing, but equally important to remember what is happening there.


Just in the days since Russia retreated from the Kyiv region, a single region, over 900 bodies have been found. And some of those bodies have clear signs of torture. This is just in the beginning of the evidence that will ultimately be gathered in the hopes of bringing those who are responsible for this to justice.

Joining me now is Stephen Rapp, a former war crimes prosecutor and former U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes issue.

Stephen, what we've been seeing is unbelievably inhumane and horrific. And as we're talking about the gathering of evidence, normally we're talking about the things that maybe in retrospect, this is an active war going on. Tell me a little bit about what that process of gathering investigation and information is like when you've got the active war, and having other nations having to come to try to help.

STEPHEN RAPP, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR WAR CRIMES ISSUES: Well, obviously, people that are gathering this evidence are doing it at great risk, and it's wonderful that various countries are sending in teams to assist the Ukrainian prosecutor, and of course we've got the International Criminal Court that has jurisdiction of the situation, because Ukraine gave it to the ICC eight years ago, and can potentially prosecute right up to the top of the Russian chain of command of President Putin. COATES: Now we know, of course, that the ICC you mentioned is the most

likely venue to be able to hold those who are responsible accountable, but I do -- there is a history, as you know, that is not an instantaneous prosecution, it can take a long time, sometimes a long- time including years.

What is the thought in terms of, how to evaluate and assess how long this process may take, given again that we're in an active war, the invasion is still ongoing, and gathering information means there's a certain threshold that will have to be met, before they can proceed with an actual prosecution, and go ahead with the investigation?

RAPP: Well, of course, we're talking both about the Ukrainian prosecutor who has the potential of filing cases much sooner, particularly of prisoners who have been taken, and commanding officers against whom she may be able to develop evidence of their involvement in the killing of Bucha and torture and rape and the horrendous crimes that we've seen in your reports.

As far as the ICC is concerned, they will also look for suspects that they can get into custody soon, but their focus needs to be the higher-level individuals. Ukraine can't prosecute the leaders of another country. It's not permitted under international law. That takes an international tribunal.

And in the past, we've seen international prosecutors move quite quickly, the Yugoslavia tribunal prosecutor moved against President Milosevic within 45 days at the beginning of the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, even while the crime was ongoing.

Of course, he wasn't arrested right away, but within 16 months he couldn't steal enough votes to stay in power, and within 25 months he was in The Hague, though many people thought at that time it would be impossible. In other cases, such Libya, even though of course President Gaddafi died hiding out in the battlefield, he was indicted about 45 days after the ICC gained jurisdiction.

So, there could be charges relatively soon.


RAPP: It's a question of how challenging it is to put the cases together. And there are really two types of cases here, there's the bombardment of Mariupol, the sort of the, in which may in fact according to the mayor have 10,000 dead in a place like that, and whether that can be shown to be a war crime, or whether those are legitimate targets that are were shot.

And then we have these crimes of murder, and rape, and torture like we've seen in your reports, but of course attributing those to the high command, they will argue that those are rogue elements doing those things.

COATES: Of course.

RAPP: There will need to be additional proof there. COATES: Well, on those notions, and again, I want to step back for a

second because we have the colloquial discussions about war crimes generally, and then we have what is actually required to prove these cases, to prove what it meets the definition, the Geneva convention and beyond.

And so, when we're looking about, I think it's interesting you've talked about this issue before, we hear of course the president speak about genocide, which I know the U.S. has only formally recognize genocide I think in eight places over the course of at least modern American history, looking at the screen right now.

But you talk about the idea of starvation, also, as a tactic of genocide or a tactic of a war crime. Tell me a little bit more about how that, something like that could be proven. Because obviously, one of the reactions of retorts would often be, it was not a deliberate attempt to try to harm civilians. You think the starvation aspect of it is quite different, though.

RAPP: Well, I think the starvation act is indeed. Now do keep in mind, when you -- when you carpet bomb a city, and you make no distinction between military and civilian targets, that is a war crime.


But when you actually cut off food and medicine to the civilian population, then you are actually intentionally harming the civilian population. And so, the intentionality is much clearer in that situation, both to show that you are intentionally harming them, but also to the extent that you cut off that food for weeks and weeks and weeks, you've got the war crime of starvation.

So, the kind of thing that's happening in Mariupol that's been besieged now for seven weeks, and with hardly any humanitarian access, and with people actually bombed when they trying to leave the city. That kind of situation, I think, is a very strong case to attribute responsibility for war crimes right up the chain of command. Because those aren't rogue elements doing those crimes. That's the Russian air force, that's the Russian army doing those things, and it's answering directly to Vladimir Putin.

The cases in places like Bucha do require trying to understand what's happening on the battlefield, who is making those orders, who's taking those decisions. But even there, in international law, the top command is responsible for those acts if they have notice of them, or have reason to know, and failed to take action to prevent or punish.

And all we got from Putin is, you know, who you going to believe me or you're lying eyes? It's all fake. There is no -- there is no good faith effort to investigate any of this --


RAPP: -- or to crackdown on any of this, which indicates really that they're doing what they want them to do. COATES: Stephen, that point to me is so important to think about.

Because oftentimes intentionality is what's allowing people to evade prosecution because they're able to find some way to justify or say that it was not deliberate. But as you described it, and thinking about how to go up the chain of command, I bet that's part of the holistic approach of the investigators are looking at.

Stephen Rapp, thank you so much. I appreciate hearing your expertise.

RAPP: Good to be with you, Laura.

COATES: And you know, as we've discussed, there is so much suffering. And amidst so much suffering, frankly, it's remarkable that many Ukrainian students are still keeping up their studies. And perhaps even more remarkable that many teachers are finding the strength to keep educating them.

And you are about to meet two of those incredible examples of resilience when CNN Tonight returns.



COATES: The war in Ukraine has had a particularly cruel impact on children, and not just those who have been tragically killed. Take a look at these photos of a school in Borodyanka destroyed in Russian attacks. It's sadly just one of many schools to have been destroyed. To educating Ukrainian children as safely as possible, what many schools are now holding classes online, for those who are still able to attend.

Joining us now is Oksana Matiiash. She's the head of the educational nonprofit, Teach for Ukraine. We're also joined by one of the students in her program, 16-year-old Iryna, who is in Kyiv. I'm so glad to see both of you here tonight. And I'm eager to speak to you about your experiences.

Oksana, you know, I understand that there has been a horrible impact on the program that you run, including the death of at least one of the fellows in the program over this past week, and a 21-year-old by the name of Julia. I'm so sorry for your loss. Tell me about her.

OKSANA MATIIASH, CEO, TEACH FOR UKRAINE: Morning. Yes, Julia was one of our fellow of 2021 cohorts. She was a math teacher, and she was also a math genius. We found out about her death at the beginning of March, she -- before the war, she was teaching in one of the small communities in the Dnipro region, but then she went back to our hometown which is Kharkiv, second largest city that has been under heavy shelling since day one.

And we know that she's being -- she has been volunteering very actively, and on the 3rd of March, we lost the connection with her, and this is the one that we suspected something wrong was happening. And in two days, we found out that she was killed while volunteering, by the Russian missile in the central part of Kharkiv unfortunately. COATES: I'm so sorry to hear about that, and I know there are so many

others who are still, even in the program continuing to teach, continuing to try to be there and provide some semblance of a safe space for the students who are desperate frankly, to have that sense of normalcy, to have that connection. What has it been like for the teachers on the program in general, to know that in many respects they are that safe space and online?

MATIIASH: So, again, before the war, our teachers used to teach different schools in regions in Ukraine. When the large-scale invasion started, everybody need -- needed to go to a safe place. And for the first two weeks, we thought that, you know, with education process it will be stopped as the ministry of education announced two weeks of break.

But then, after two weeks, we had some hope because the ministry decided to resume distance learning in the regions that have not been suffering from military actions. And you know, that was so much hope for our teachers, for our fellows, because they have been in touch with their students from day one.


And we knew that students were eager to get back to this normalcy even online, while, you know, during the COVID they were not so much eager to be joining online classes.

COATES: Of course.

MATIIASH: Right? When act --


COATES: Well, I want to bring in one of students if I -- I want to bring in your student, if I can --


COATES: -- just now, because I want to make sure that I hear from her. Irene -- Iryna, excuse me, I know that this has been something extraordinary difficult for the students in the program, and for young people in general, all across the world watching what's going on. Tell me about what has been your experience in Ukraine? What has been your feeling about how this has really changed the world that you know?

IRYNA, 16-YEAR-OLD UKRAINIAN STUDENT: I was also when the war starts -- I didn't know what to think my previous life just cut 00 just cut down, and my dreams came away from me. And now I must fight. I must fight to bring -- bring them back to normal time. And I must start to -- I must be brave.

I think we all must be brave to win this unreasonable war to an end, just this horrible war. When I see what is -- I just want to cry sometimes. I want to hear from someone that all just end. But I didn't -- I don't, I don't hear it from someone -- and from anybody. COATES: It's devastating to hear from Iryna and her experience. I see

you nodding your head as well, Oksana, and just thinking about the dreams that she says she doesn't have, the feeling of devastation of it. You know, what goes through your head? I know it can be a very difficult program when a student doesn't show up one day, or is not somehow in the classroom setting, what goes through your mind?

MATIIASH: Well, you know, quite a few of our school partners allocated in the Kyiv region, right? As you mentioned in the beginning, one of the schools was in -- is in Borodyanka and was heavily damaged. And we still have, you know, some one or two children missing in some classes, as well as teachers, right? So, this is devastating not to be even able to hear the news that they're 100 percent alive, and that everything is all right.

I mean, of course, we cannot say this for sure, because a lot of --

COATES: Of course.

MATIIASH: -- families have been moving around, you know, including leaving Ukraine. But still, the number of children that have been somehow backed to online teaching, which is 3.5 million out of 4.2 million, right, according to the ministry, is already a great number to be inspired with.

COATES: It is.

MATIIASH: No matter distance learning.

COATES: You know, Oksana, Iryna, thank you for your time, and for telling us about what it's like for your experiences and for the work that you're continuing to do. Made the dreams come back. We're all watching. Thank you so much.

MATIIASH: Thank you.

COATES: We're going to continue our war coverage. But next, another CNN exclusive. Newly-revealed text messages from two Republican members of Congress. They aggressively push the Trump White House to turn over the election results, but they change their minds, why? That's next.



COATES: A CNN exclusive revealing text messages between two of then President Trump's most vocal supporters in Congress, and chief of staff, Mark Meadows. They show a complete 180 on efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Ryan Nobles has the receipts.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, two of former President Donald Trump's most loyal defenders in Congress, but in dozens of private of private texts to Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, a picture emerges of how both went from aiding the effort to challenge the election results, to ultimately warning against it.

The texts obtained by CNN, show how they were trying to help initially but by the end, raised concerns to Trump's top deputy about his campaign's effort to stand in the way of the certification of the 2020 election. We are driving a stake in the heart of the federal republic, Roy warned Meadows in a text message on January 1st that is in possession of the January 6th select committee.

His stark warning came after weeks of begging Meadows for hard evidence of election fraud and concerns that the lack of specific evidence was a real problem for the Trump legal team. We must urge the president to tone down the rhetoric, he wrote to Meadows on November 9th.

Roy did believe that there were problems with the election. In early December, he went to the House floor, imploring his colleagues to look into the thin examples of fraud.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): The American people are raising legitimate questions about an election and this body is missing an action.

NOBLES: Like Roy, senator Mike Lee started out hopeful that there was a path to challenge the election results. In early November, he touted the work of conservative lawyer Sidney Powell, encouraging Meadows to get her an audience with the president, calling her a, quote, "straight shooter." But less than two weeks later, Powell appeared with Rudy Giuliani in what would become an infamous press conference, where the duo made wild, baseless claims about the election.


SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it.

NOBLES: Lee then changed his tune, calling Powell a liability, and turning his focus to touting attorney John Eastman. Lee pushed a plan to convince state legislatures to offer up a set of alternate electors. When that plan fizzled, Lee decided he was no longer on board. He texted Meadows on December 16th, quote, "I think we are now past the point where we can expect that anyone will do it without some direction and a strong evidentiary argument." Both Lee and Roy ultimately chose not to join other Republicans to vote against certifying the election.

SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): Our job is to open and then to count, open and then count. That's it. That is all there is.

NOBLES: Privately, there were even more emphatic about the fool's errand Trump's team was on. The president should call everyone off. It's the only path, Roy texted Meadows on December 31st.

While Lee argued the effort was on dangerous constitutional ground, three days before January 6th he warned, I know only that this will end badly for the president unless we have the Constitution on our side. They did not. But the Trump team and a group of loyal Republicans went ahead with their plan anyway, as it became clear their effort would not be successful, hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the capitol in protest. As the violence was raging, Roy texted Meadows, fix this now.


NOBLES: He then went to the House floor and placed the blame squarely at President Trump's feet.

ROY: The president should never have spun up certain Americans to believe something that simply cannot be.


NOBLES (on camera): Laura, both of these congressional offices did respond to our exclusive reporting. Senator Mike Lee's office saying that they believe the senator was transparent during this period of time, and there is nothing in this text that contradict what he was saying publicly.

Meanwhile, Congressman Chip Roy tweeted out a response to our reporting. He said that he's only going to say this once, no apologies from my private texts or public positions to those on the left or the right. I stand behind seeking truth, fighting nonsense, and then acting in defense of the Constitution.

Of course, all these text messages already in the possession of the January 6th select committee, and they continue to be a key part of that investigation. Laura?

COATES: Ryan, thank you so much. We'll be right back.



COATES: A question. How does the U.N. Security Council work when Russia is a permanent member of the council with veto power? All while Putin wages a brutal war on Ukraine.

Well, here's CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It didn't take a translation to feel President Zelenskyy's outrage.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): Where is the security, the Security Council needs to guarantee, it's not there.

BORGER: Then the final insult. Without action --

ZELENSKYY (through translator): Then the next option would be, dissolve yourself altogether.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, he was absolutely right, and I thought one more could convert to understanding what's wrong with the United Nations. Its political institutions are fundamentally broken.

BORGER: Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has never been a United Nations booster.

BOLTON: I think it is unfixable.

BORGER: Neither has Liz Cheney --

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): It is not the kind of effective entity people hope it would be when it was created.

BORGER: That was in 1945 when the World War II victors established the U.N. Security Council with five permanent members. Today, those are the U.S., France, the U.K., China and Russia. Each with veto power, as Joseph Stalin himself insisted. The world has changed, but the council still remains largely as it was 77 years ago. That is, Russia has the power to veto any resolution it opposes.

It's like giving a senator on the floor a veto over any legislation, without any overrides.

BOLTON: Exactly, and what we're seeing is when there is a fundamental disagreement among the permanent members, nothing happens.

BORGER: Suggestions to reform the council by adding more permanent members, or removing vetoes altogether have been nonstarters. As former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson points out, it's all about keeping power.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I'm being honest with you. I don't think anyone is going to want to give up their veto --

BORGER: And Russia is not about to vote itself off the Security Council either. Although weeks ago, it was condemned twice by the U.N. general assembly. But those were nonbinding resolutions. Russia was also thrown off the human rights council, but even that wasn't a unanimous decision.

BOLTON: Here's the real headline. A majority of the members of the United Nations did not vote to expel Russia.

BORGER: What does that tell you?

BOLTON: It tells you that Russia has significant support around the world.

BORGER: What Putin really cares about is the stature of permanent membership on the Security Council confers.

RICHARD COWAN, U.N. DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Now, in the real world, Russia is not that important. It's China and the U.S. that are the dominant players. But in the Security Council, the Russians stand as close to the U.S., and they are very, very proud of having that status.

BORGER: All of which leads the Security Council paralyzed, and if the U.N. can't stop what's happening in Ukraine, what's it for?


RICHARDSON: The U.N. is for airing publicly the tragedies of the world, like the refugee crisis in Ukraine. Like the possible war crimes. At the same time, the U.N. is providing food. The U.N. is providing refugee assistance.

BORGER: Yet, in a bizarre looking glass moment on TV --

UNKNOWN: Special military operation in the Donbas.

BORGER: -- Russia chaired the Security Council session as weapons were unleashed in Ukraine. Diplomacy could not stop the killing. A point that Ukrainian ambassador made recently, as he read a letter from a nine-year-old boy to his dead mother.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: You are the best mama in the world. I will never forget you. Such letters should not have to be written. If they are, it means that something has gone terribly wrong, including here at the United Nations.


BORGER: Even so, Laura, no matter how many times they Ukrainians have asked for it, reform of the U.N. Security Council is not about to happen anytime soon, if ever.

COATES: Gloria Borger, thank you so much.

And thank you for watching. And be sure to tune in next week for CNN Tonight at 9 Eastern, with our co-host, Jim Sciutto, who will be live from Ukraine. The news continues next here on CNN.