Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Key Russian Warship Sinks After Ukraine Claims Missile Strike; U.S. Official Says, Russian Troop Movement Signal New Assault In East; NYC Subway Suspect Appears In Court, Does Not Enter Plea; Family Of Unarmed Black Man Killed During Traffic Stop Call For Firing And Prosecution Of Officer Who Shot Him; Former Trump Adviser Stephen Miller Appears Before 1/6 Committee; Ukrainian Refugees Find Shelter On Estonian Ferry. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired April 14, 2022 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Musk's as he wants this to be a free speech platform.

I'll be back at 9:00 P.M. Eastern for CNN Tonight with more live from Kyiv and from our reporters on the frontlines of this bloody invasion.

Our coverage continues now with Jim Acosta in for Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, a key Russian warship sinks off the Ukrainian coast. Ukraine claims it conducted a missile strike on the vessel, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet. The Pentagon says it cannot confirm whether the damage was the result of a Ukrainian attack.

Also breaking, U.S. officials warn Russia has amassed significant forces in eastern Ukraine, potentially signaling a brutal new offensive. CNN is inside towns on the brink of the assault where civilians are taking shelter and constant shelling. Food, water and heat all in short supply right now as Russian forces close in.

CNN is covering the invasion from key Ukrainian and European cities and right here in Washington. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off tonight. I'm Jim Acosta and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following the breaking news, a humiliating loss for the Russian military, the premiere vessel in its Black Sea fleet sinking today. Ukraine claims it carried out a missile strike against the warship. More on that in just a moment.

But we begin our coverage tonight with our report from the frontlines of Russia's resurgent push into Eastern Ukraine. Our Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward is standing by for us in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

Clarissa, you just returned from a town in the east holding out against relentless Russian attacks. Tell us what you found. CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Jim, we were in a city called Avdiivka. This is on the frontline in the Donbas region. The shelling did not let up from the minute that we arrived.

The mayor says he is begging the 2,000 or so residents who are still left there to leave, but they told us they don't have the money, some of them, they don't know how to get out, and those who do really want to leave say it's increasingly difficult.


WARD (voice over): The town of Avdiivka is no stranger to war. For eight years, this has been the frontline of Ukraine's battle with Russian-backed separatists. People here are used to shelling. They have never experienced anything like this.

A missile can be heard overhead as an emotional man approaches us.

They smashed the old part of town, he says. As we talk, the artillery intensifies.

I told him it's better to go home now because there's a lot of shelling. And he said there's more shelling where he lives.

As Russia prepares a major offensive in the east, frontline towns, like Avdiivka, are getting pummeled. So, you can hear constant bombardment. This is the bomb shelter down here, but you can see this building has already been hit.

More than 40 people are now living in what used to be a clothing store. Leda (ph) and her two sons have been here for three weeks. She wants to leave but says her boys are too scared to go outside.

We're afraid to stay and afraid to go, she tells us. But it's fate, whether you run or don't run.

On an apartment block, an icon of the Virgin Mary has been painted, a plea for protection. But there is no respite in the bombardment.

If you look over here, you can see the remnants of some fresh strikes.

37-year-old government worker Rotislav (ph) looks at what remains of his family home. He takes us inside to see the full scale of the destruction.

It's completely destroyed.


WARD: Mercifully, no one was at home at the time of the strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was photo albums, my children's photographs.


WARD: His family has already left, but he says he plans to stay. I'm afraid like anybody else. Only the dead aren't afraid, he tells us. But a lot of people are still here in Avdiivka living in bomb shelters and we need to support them.

Authorities say roughly 2,000 people remain in this town. There is no water, no heat, electricity is spotty. The local school has become a hub to gather aid and distribute it to the community. Volunteer Igor Golotov (ph) spends his days visiting the elderly and disabled. Today, he is checking in on 86-year-old Lydia. Petrified and alone, he has yet to find an organization willing to come and evacuate her.

When there's no electricity and it's so dark and there's shelling, she says, you can't imagine how scary it is. She tells us she recites prayers to get through the night. I never imagined that my end would be like this, she says. You can't even die here because there's no one to provide a burial ceremony.

For Igor, it is agony not to be able to do more. I promise you, he says, I will help you to be evacuated. As we leave, Lydia is reluctant to say goodbye. It is terrifying to live through this time. To do it alone is torture.

It's so nice to see real people, she says. Probably it's going to get worse, a prediction all but certain to come true, as a second Russian offensive draws near.


WARD (on camera): So, Jim, Ukrainian officials are saying that, essentially, what's happening now is that Russian forces are going to start to press in on three different sides, from the north, from the east, and from the south. Ukrainian forces are already putting up some pretty stiff resistance.

But the worry or the fear is that with their backs against a wall and if they suffer another humiliating defeat, they are going to resort to even more cruel and indiscriminate types of bombardment. People talked about what we have seen taking place in that port city, the southern eastern city of Mariupol, and the fear is you could see scenes like that playing out in the Donbas, in towns just like Avdiivka. Jim?

ACOSTA: And that, of course, means more scenes like the ones that you were just showing us a few moments ago. All right, Clarissa Ward, thank you very much.

Now to the breaking news on the sunken Russian warship which Ukraine claims it destroyed with a missile strike. Let's bring in our CNN Senior International Correspondent, Matthew Chance.

Matthew, great to have you with us in THE SITUATION ROOM. You were on that warship a while back. How significant is this blow to the Russian military, would you say?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a big significance. Because not only is this an important bit of military hardware, it's a missile cruiser. It's got a platform to deliver cruise missiles. Some of them could be nuclear armed, although we understand nuclear weapons were not onboard at this stage.

But it's also an important platform which can house -- which does house anti-aircraft systems as well and so it has a troop protection role as well. I visited that very ship, the Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea fleet when it was off the coast of Syria in 2015. And we got a tour onboard and met the captain. And he said, look, this ship was sent to Syria sort of as a warning, as a blunt message from the Kremlin.

It was just a month after one of Russia's planes had been shot at in the sky. They wanted to send a message not to touch Russian aircraft or they would retaliate. And, of course, it's that same military threat that it posed to Ukraine. It's also have immense symbolic value as well, the fact that it is the flagship of the fleet in the Black Sea, the fact that it is that main sort of naval power in the region. The fact that it's been lost now and sunk, it's a real humiliation for the Russians and a real victory for the Ukrainians.

And we just had a bit of information that's come to us from sources, because there's been some dispute as to how it actually sunk. The Russians said it was a fire that broke out in the ammunition store that set off an explosion. The Ukrainians have said that they fired a couple of anti-ship missiles at the ship.

What U.S. officials are now saying is that they believe that account, the Ukrainian account, that they destroyed the ship is credible, although a definitive answer has not been reached yet here in the U.S.

ACOSTA: That is very significant, Matthew.


If the Ukrainians successfully, and it sounds like the U.S. is saying, successfully struck that ship, caused it to sink, that's a big victory for the Ukrainians. And, Matthew, this is the same warship that was threatening the Ukrainians at the beginning of this war. I mean, that made a lot of headlines at that time so this is a huge, symbolic victory.

CHANCE: It is and there's a revenge aspect to this as well, and Ukrainian officials have made this clear. I mean, you're right, this ship, the Moskva, was the one that was involved in a confrontation with Ukrainian troops on a small island in the Black Sea. They were urged to evacuate or were ordered to evacuate and to leave by the Russians. Notoriously the Ukrainians refused quite categorically. Listen to this, a sort of audio --

ACOSTA: We all remember this.

CHANCE: Yes. No uncertain terms. That response though as well, kind of set the tone, I think, for the way Ukrainian forces have been defiant against this Russian onslaught that they have been experiencing now for 50 days.

ACOSTA: Yes. It sort have been the Ukrainian battle cry throughout all of this. CHANCE: Yes.

ACOSTA: All right, Matthew Chance. Thank you very much.

Just ahead, we'll have a closer look at of the destruction of Russia's flagship vessel in the Black Sea, as well as battlefield development in Eastern Ukraine.

Also ahead, the suspect in the New York City subway attack makes its first court appearance.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



ACOSTA: Breaking news, sources tell CNN that U.S. and western officials believe Ukraine's claim of a missile strike on a key Russian war ship is credible. This as Russia admitted the vessel sunk today just off the Ukrainian enclose.

Let's take a closer look now with CNN Brian Todd. He is joining us now with retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Gentlemen, thank you.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this is the development that everyone is talking about today, the sinking -- the disabling and then the sinking of this Russian guided missile cruiser, the Moskva. As Jim just mentioned, sources are telling CNN that U.S. officials believe that the Ukrainians claimed to have hit this with anti-ship missiles are credible.

So, Colonel, this vessel had S-300 air defense systems up here. It had ship-to-ship missiles here and other key ordnances. A key question is, how big of a loss is this for the Russian navy? Is it like the U.S. losing an aircraft carrier?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: Not quite, Brian, but it is very important. Because what this also was, was a commander in control slipped. Just like in Pacific, the USS Blue Ridge is a command in control ship. The Moskva was one for the Black Sea fleet.

When this goes down, the admiral goes down, basically, the admiral in charge of the Black Sea Fleet, and that was what was important about this. Not only as it a weapons platform but it's also commander and control platform. And the loss of that makes it really difficult for the Russian Navy to conduct operations off of Ukraine.

TODD: Will it change Russia's ability to send cruise missiles and strike targets inside Ukraine?

LEIGHTON: Yes, it will limit it from the sea. They still have an airborne capability. And, of course, they can launch cruise missiles and artillery from the land. But the ability to do this has been cut by about a third because of the loss of the Moskva. TODD: All right. Another big development today, Colonel, senior U.S. defense official saying that the first troops that had left Northern Ukraine where they had suffered defeat at the hands of the Ukrainian have begun amassing in the Northeastern Donbas region. A key question, Colonel, where are they pushing from and where will they push to?

LEIGHTON: So, where they're pushing from Brian is basically right here. Belgorod, is the headquarters area. This is their logistics jumping off point. This is also where the Ukrainians attack the airfield and the POL facilities, the petroleum storage facility.

Now, what the Russians are going to do is they going to come in from the northeast. They're going to come in from the east and they're also going to come in from the south right here. So, this areas is all controlled by Russian troops right now, with the exception of Mariupol. But that is the area that they are going to be looking at. And their goal is to take this area right here, the rest of the Donbas region.

TODD: Trying to isolate those Ukrainians and choke them off.

Okay, we have another development today, Colonel, according to the Russian state news agency -- Russian state T.V., excuse me, they have video seeing here that they claim is video of Ukrainian marines surrendering to Russian forces in the city of Mariupol. We have to say this is from Russian State T.V. CNN is not in Mariupol. We are not embedded with the Russian military. We can't independently verify this.

But this is the claim that a thousand Ukrainian marines in Mariupol have surrendered to the Russian forces. How big a loss is that in Mariupol, Colonel, and does it mean that the city is about to fall?

LEIGHTON: Well, it is a huge loss, because if it is true, that means that a large contingent of Ukrainian marines has, in fact, been captured, if that is the case.

So, regardless of whether or not it is true, the fact remains that the Ukrainian forces are surrounded here in Mariupol. Mariupol is the city that has had a lot of shelling, a lot of difficulty, basically 90 percent either damaged or destroyed. And there is no way for the Ukrainian forces to escape by land or by sea because it's blockaded by the Russians.

TODD: We got less than 30 seconds here, Colonel. These are the new weapons that the Americans are sending over, howitzers, helicopters, Switchblade drones. Quickly, which one of these, I'm guessing, of the top three here are going to be the most effective on the battlefield immediately?

LEIGHTON: So, immediately, the Switchblade drones, Brian, because the Switchblade drones are something that the Ukrainians have already started to use and to great effect. It is very similar to what they have done with the Turkish drones. Next come the helicopters, the MI- 17 Soviet-made helicopters.


And then following that, I would say, the howitzers because they can soften up the territory, they can make it hard for Russian tanks to move and that they can also go after the Ukrainian and Russian artillery positions. So, that is a key thing.

TODD: There's a huge weapons, they need a lot more of them apparently.

Now, Jim, very quickly as we toss back to you regarding that ship that sunk today, the Ukrainian national security adviser says, quote, this is our gift to him, meaning Putin. This is just the beginning. There will be more than one Moskva. We'll see if they can score other victories like this?

ACOSTA: It sounds like this is going to be a big confidence builder for the Ukrainians.

TODD: Right.

ACOSTA: All right, Brian and Colonel Leighton, thanks to both of you I appreciate.

Coming up, the suspected in the Brooklyn subway shooting appears in court. Prosecutor say he was prepared with a disguise to carry out a mass attack on commuters.



ACOSTA: Now, the latest on the Brooklyn subway shooting that injured more than two dozen people. As CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras reports the case against suspect, Frank James is now on court with prosecutors alleging he was prepared for a quote, mass attack. It is now in court with prosecutors for a quote mass attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frank why do you shoot all those people?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The suspect in federal court today, two days after allegedly shooting ten people on a busy subway train in Brooklyn. 62-year-old Frank James did not enter a plea and only spoke to acknowledge that he read the criminal complaint against him.

James is accused of firing at least 33 rounds during the morning commute Tuesday, injuring at least 29. Federal prosecutors argued the violent attack was premeditated, carefully planned and caused terror. James is being held without bail.

MIA EISNER-GRYNBERG, BROOKLYN SUBWAY ATTACK, SUSPECT'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What happened in the New York City subway system on Tuesday was a tragedy. It is a blessing that it was not worse. We are also learning about what happened on that train and we caution against a rush to judgment.

GINGRAS: James' attorney consented to bail denial but reserve the right to contest at a later date.

COMMISSIONER KEECHANT SEWELL, NEW YORK CITY POLICE: We used every resource at our disposal to gather and process significant evidence that directly links Mr. James to the shooting.

GINGRAS: Investigators left with a trove of evidence at the scene, including a nine millimeter handgun with three extended magazines, several smoke grenades, a hatchet, keys to a U-haul van and a credit card used to rent the van.

James is charged with violating a law prohibiting terrorist and violent attacks against mass transportation. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

New video shows James walking down the street wearing a helmet and bright orange construction jacket polling a black roller bag at some point before the shooting, Tuesday. Surveillance video obtained by WNBC shows what appears to be the same man entering the New York City subway system carrying a black roller bag, lining up with a criminal complaint describing James that day reviewed by CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No further central, perp's in custody central. No further to the location central, perp's in custody.

GINGRAS: James was arrested Wednesday after calling crime stoppers to report himself, telling authorities he was at a McDonalds in Manhattan, according to two law enforcement sources. Witnesses described the arrest as surreal.

ELLA MISCHE, RECORDED BROOKLYN SUBWAY ATTACK SUSPECT'S ARREST: You're not expecting it to see it. There you see it. And - so much and it seem like all over New York was sort of uproar felt the energy and city was heightened.


GINGRAS (on camera): And the NYPD just actually coming out and defending the MTA. Remember, Jim, there were three subway cameras that were working. There were reports that maybe that helped James actually get away. The NYPD is saying that's not the case. That's misleading. And they are vital partners.

One other thing to keep in mind, Jim, of course, the priority of law enforcement for these last couple of days was getting James behind bars, into a courtroom and that is now done. Now, it's about processing all of these evidences that they have collected from several different states in continuing to build their case. And it's very likely that James is going to face more charges. Jim?

ACOSTA: All right, CNN Brynn Gingras, thank you very much.

Let's get more on all of this with our Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey and Andrew McCabe. Andrew McCabe, I'm going to start with you first. The suspect is being held without bail after the prosecutor argued he represent a, quote, severe and ongoing danger to the community. Where do you think the case goes from here?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jim, I mean, this guy was about -- he could be the poster child for pre-trial detention. Under the law, that when the court looks that, there are two factors to consider for bail, it is danger to the community and risk of flight. And this guy poses both.

There're really no imaginable circumstances that could guarantee that he wouldn't present some sort of danger to the community if released. And, of course, we know, he's transient, he's been in five states in the last couple of days and he doesn't really maintain a solid connection to any one area.

So, the denial of bail was absolutely expected. I think he stays in jail until this case either pleads out which is likely goes to trial.

ACOSTA: And, Chief Ramsey, the prosecutor called this attack entirely premeditated and said officials found a stockpile of weapons at other locations, which is very disturbing. What are the most important questions for investigators right now, do you think?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, I do think they will be able to prove that it was premeditated between the evidence they're gathering in other locations and what he left behind at the scene, but motive is still a question. Why and why the subway? Why did he choose that as a target? I think that's a question that investigators are still working on, as well as did he receive any help from anyone else, either before or after the event took place?


And I think you also want to whether or not anyone may have known all of his plans beforehand.

Again, they're going to comb through a lot of materials, social media, other types of things, to find out whether or not there are other people that they need to bring in for questioning to really give as complete a picture around this case as they possibly can.

ACOSTA: Andrew, the suspect's attorney noted that he called crime stoppers to help and told police where he was. Does that any difference? What do you make of that?

MCCABE: Well, it's hard to understand exactly why he did that? But, I mean, you only have to watch a few minutes of his YouTube videos to realize that you are dealing with someone who is not really very logical or kind of planned out.

As far as does he get him any benefit in terms of a future bail request or something like that, I think the answer is no. He fled the scene. He ditched his disguise on the way out the door. He did everything he could to get away from the havoc and the terror that he had caused. So, all those things, I think, far outweigh a somewhat inexplicable call to crime stoppers.

ACOSTA: All right. Charles Ramsey, Andrew McCabe, thanks to both of you. We appreciate.

And just ahead, CNN goes inside of the Ukrainian city on the brink of Russia's renewed assault in the east. I will discuss with Ukraine's ambassador to the United States. That is right after the break.



ACOSTA: Breaking news, the renewed Russian assault on Easter Ukraine is already taken a devastating toll on civilians. Our Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman has our report from inside one city that is bracing for the worst.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Denis loads food in his car for a delivery run. The supply is sorted by volunteers in this old warehouse were donated from around Ukraine and abroad.

Denise was a musician before the war.

DENIS, SEVEREDONETSK VOLUNTEER: My town broken. It's destroyed.

WEDEMAN: Severedonetsk is the city further east under Ukrainian government control and under constant bombardment from Russian forces nearby. The supplies Denis and other volunteers deliver are what keep this city alive.

Two missiles landed outside Nadia's decrepit Soviet-era apartment building, the strain of living under the shelling more than she can take. It is hard, she says. I can't stand this room. I'm so afraid. I wanted to be quite calm again.

With Russian forces massing in the east, there will be no quiet. There will be no calm.

Sitting on a hospital bed, Uliana recounts the night her house was hit. I was in the kitchen and it started, she says. Her home is now in ruins.

More than 20 corpses like scattered in the hospital's morgue, wrapped in sheets and blankets awaiting burial.

On the outskirts of the city, more evidence of the toll the war has taken.

This is a hastily dug graveyard that was started since the war began. Just look at the dates, 7th of April, 9th of April, 3rd of April, 4th of April. It goes on and on and on. And more graves will soon be filled.


WEDEMAN: And going around Severedonetsk, what we saw was there was barely a building that was not in some way either destroyed or damaged. It appears that the Russians are simply firing randomly, oftentimes, with what appears to be a cluster munitions on civilian areas, most areas that you see is no sign of anything military whatsoever. If anything, it seems that the goal of the bombardment is, first of all, to soften up this area, that town and, in fact, where are too, in advance of this Russian offensive and simply to terrorize and demoralize the population. Jim?

ACOSTA: Another chilling report from our Ben Wedeman. Ben, thank you very much for that report.

And joining us now is the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova. Madam Ambassador, thank you so much.

The U.S. just announced that more military support, but is Ukraine getting everything it needs ahead of this major Russian assault on the east that Ben was just illustrating it? It is just taking a tremendous toll.

OKSANA MARKAROVA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, Jim, and a big thank you to Ben and all other journalists in the frontlines showing what this war is really about, about Russian war criminals killing for 50 days in a row.

The last package that was just announced yesterday, 800 million, is a great package. It includes exactly what we need. Of course, look at what Russia is preparing now for this horrendous, again, the second wave of attack, we need more of that. And we have all the assurances, not only from the U.S. but primarily from the U.S. as a leader and strategic partner in this but from all of our friends and allies that they will be with us, they are with us, and will continue support us as we are fighting with this pure evil.


ACOSTA: And, Madam Ambassador, Russia now says its key Black Sea has sunk. They're blaming this on a fire and, quote, stormy seas. Ukraine says it hit the ship in a missile strike. The U.S. is now saying through sources that we reported on here at CNN is saying that the Ukrainian strike appears to have struck that ship. How big of a blow is this to Russia and how much of a confidence-builder will this be for the Ukrainian people?

MARKAROVA: Well, it's one of their flagships in the Black Sea. It's exactly the same ship that attacked our Serpent Island. It's exactly the same ship our brave sailors told where it has to go together with the Russian Federation was this attack.

So, I think it's very significant and we will not give up. We will not surrender. We will keep fighting. And we should expect many more ships and other invaders' vehicles could be destroyed if they will not stop this aggression.

ACOSTA: And President Biden says he is in the process of making a decision on sending a senior U.S. official to Ukraine. Considering how many European leaders have visited Kyiv, is a U.S. visit overdue? Would you like to see that happen?

MARKAROVA: Well, there is a lot of help that we are getting from the United States, weapons, sanctions, financial support to Ukraine. So, of course, we would be happy to welcome senior U.S. officials. Of course, we would be happy to welcome the embassy back. So, you have seen all the visitors that we have, all the presidents. I think it's different when you see it on the ground. And, of course, I would welcome very much an opportunity to go, to be there, when the senior official visits Kyiv.

ACOSTA: All right, we'll be watching for that. Ambassador Oksana Markarova, thank you very much for spending some time with us in THE SITUATION ROOM. We appreciate it.

MARKAROVA: Thank you.

ACOSTA: And coming, up and emotional plea for justice from the family of an unarmed African immigrant killed by police in a traffic stop in Michigan.



ACOSTA: Tonight, the family of an unarmed African immigrant killed by a police officer in a traffic stop in Michigan is speaking out, calling for justice.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is joining us in Grand Rapids with the details.

Omar, what can you tell us?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, for a second night in the row, we are expecting to see protests outside a very heavily barricaded Grand Rapids police department, along and aptly named, Breonna Taylor Way in downtown Grand Rapids.

While so far, the demonstrations that we have seen have been peaceful, the emotions are still very raw, especially for those closest to Patrick Lyoya.



JIMENEZ (voice-over): A police officer shot their son just minutes after a traffic stop but the pain will last a lifetime for the parents of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya, speaking publicly through their past there for the first time since police released video of their son being killed.

DORCAS LYOYA, MOTHER OF PATRICK LYOYA: I think about him every time. I still cannot believe that my son died.

JIMENEZ: The family came to the United States to flee war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But it was in the United States that a bullet killed her son.

The father still remembers asking police how his son was killed?

PETER LYOLA, FATHER OF PATRICK LYOYA (through translator): Very astonishing, it is amazing that he was killed by an officer. I did not believe it. I say the police are supposed to be watching him, he was the one killing him.

JIMENEZ: Back on April 4th, shortly after being pulled over for police say was improper car registration, Lyoya starts running.

The officer chases him. They go to the ground, beginning will become minutes of wrestling and struggling. The officer used his Taser twice, but failed to make contact as Lyoya puts his hands on the Taser. When the two go to the ground for what would be the final time, struggling for a few brief moments, before the officer's final words.




GRAND RAPIDS POLICE OFFICER: I was just involved in a shooting.


RADIO: Sending medical.

GRAND RAPIDS POLICE OFFICER: 1915. I'm Nelson. North of Griggs. That's 10-4. Suspect down.

JIMENEZ: The officer got up, Lyoya did not. The shooting sparked mass protests in downtown Grand Rapids, centered on justice for a new face as many see as a familiar story. The officer who fired the shot still has not been named. But family attorney Ben Crump is calling not only for the firing of the officer but his arrest and prosecution as well.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR LYOYA FAMILY: The police officer escalated a minor traffic stop to execution is mind-boggling. When you think that he never tried to de-escalate the situation.


P. LYOYA: If really Patrick is that, I just ask for justice.


JIMENEZ (on camera): The question now is what will justice look like? And that's why we are seeing demonstrations here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a second night in a row, demanding justice for Patrick Lyoya as an investigation continues now into the actions of this officer.

These are familiar chance for a familiar story. These are chants that spans city after city over the past few years, across many significant cases that we have seen. What we are expecting next, once that investigation is done at the Michigan state level, that is one it will be referred over to a county prosecutor's office to determine if any charges should be filed -- Jim.

ACOSTA: It's a familiar scene, Omar, too familiar in this country. CNN's Omar Jimenez, thank you very much.

Former Trump White House advisor Stephen Miller appeared before the House committee, investigating the capitol insurrection today.

Our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is working the story for us.

Jessica, we know who Stephen Miller is. He's the latest of a string of high-profile witnesses appear before the committee in recent days. What does the committee hope to learn from him?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, probably a lot, Jim. That is because Stephen Miller was one of Trump's closest allies. He was inside the White House on January six. He can likely provide a lot of insight into what the president was doing and what was happening before and during the Capitol attack. In fact, the subpoena to Miller from the committee specifically said that miller participated in efforts to spread false information about voter fraud in the 2020 election. They also say that he encourage state legislators to appoint alternate electors.

So, no doubt here that the committee pressed miller today about his involvement in trying to turn the election results, possibly what was happening on January six, what he knew about, where president Trump is doing at the time, but Jim it is likely that miller proved a somewhat hostile witness. We know that he has already sued the committee for even trying to get his phone records previously -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you.

Coming up next, thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Estonia with hundreds now sheltering in a unlikely location.



ACOSTA: The millions of Ukrainians who have fled the Russian invasion are finding refuge wherever they can.

CNN's Scott McLean is in Estonia where some are sheltering on a ferry.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Passengers on board the Isabelle, are usually shuttling between Latvia and Sweden. But for at least the next few months, Isabelle will be docked in Tallinn in Estonia, and be home to some 1,300 Ukrainian refugees.

Almost all of them are women and children. Kids in every corner of the ship. Using the ballroom after a stopper match, learning to ride bikes, or learning remotely.

The ship's dining room now serves three meals a day, the duty free shop is turned into a storage room and everywhere you look, people are trying to adjust to their new surroundings.

Most of the people on board the ship of come here from hotels in the city, of course, for the government that was getting expensive so they move them on board this ship. Where there's plenty of common areas, but the rooms are tiny. This is one of the bigger ones for a family of three there's barely enough room for a mattress. Of course this is better than the floor of a gymnasium, a lot better than a basement in Ukraine.

For Yuliya Babkova, just about anything was better than living in war in Kyiv with her two young children. This is the second time she's been forced from her home. In 2014, she fled Donetsk while pregnant with her daughter now seven. This time, her husband was forced to stay behind.

I don't know what will happen, or when I'll see my husband she says. The first time we flat he was with us the whole time. And now we've been separated for almost one month.

How do we feel in this situation?

It's hard, I want to go home.

Online classes for Lena Berezna's son were cut short because of air raids sirens in their small town in central Ukraine forced his teacher to shelter underground. Those same sirens once terrified both of them.

The more the sirens came, the more my son started to panic and worry, she says. It really affected his mental health to the point he became physically ill, I was also worrying a lot, so we decided to leave. Her older son, 18 years old had to stay behind.

All told, Estonia has taken more than 30,000 Ukrainians. The minister responsible for refugees says that Estonians know what it's like to be forced from home, and what it's like to have an unfriendly neighbor.

SIGNE RIISALO, MINISTER OF SOCIAL PROTECTION OF ESTONIA: Estonia is absolutely terrified by Russia throughout our history.

MCLEAN: Are there limits to this country's generosity?

RIISALO: There can't be limits. You can see what happens in Ukraine. We do not have only (ph) of war, this is crime scene really. There can't be limit.

MCLEAN: Many Ukrainians though have reached theirs.

Overwhelmed by war and exhausted by the uncertainty, their nightmare can't come soon enough.


MCLEAN (on camera): And Estonia is generally not a popular country for refugees. The minister that you saw there said that 34 years ago, Estonia had 116 refugees show up. And for this country, that was a lot of people.

Now they're getting on average five times that every single day. One in every 44 people in Estonia right now, Jim, is a Ukrainian refugee.

ACOSTA: Amazing.

All right. Scott McLean thank you so much.

And Erin Burnett starts right now.