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The Situation Room
Biden Touts Effort To Fight Inflation, Slams "Ultra-MAGA" Agenda; Defense Intel Agency: Ukraine War "At A Bit Of A Stalemate"; Ex-Prison Guard Dead, Inmate In Custody After Police Chase; Elon Musk Says He Would Reverse Trump's Twitter Ban; FDA Details Actions To Address Infant Formula Supply Shortages. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 10, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The sheriff says they couldn't themselves because they didn't have I.D.s. Police say when the couple was found yesterday they had several weapons in their possession along with several wigs and $29,000 in cash.
Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now. U.S. gas prices hit their highest level ever. The latest sign that soaring inflation is taking a very serious toll on the U.S. economy. President Biden says the price hikes are now his top domestic priority, laying out new efforts to tame the surge. Is there any relief in sight?
In Ukraine, the key city of Odessa under intense bombardment from hypersonic Russian missiles, civilian targets including hotels and the shopping mall, flattened by the Russian strikes. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence warns Putin is planning for a, quote, prolonged conflict and that his ambitions extend far beyond eastern Ukraine.
We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We begin our coverage tonight with President Biden clearly on the defensive as he battles surging inflation, and record gas prices. Let's get straight to our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
Kaitlan, the President says the economy is now his top domestic priority. But today he was quick to place the blame. What more are you learning?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, you talked about him being on defense. He's also going on offense a little bit and calling out Republicans, of course, who have been very critical of President Biden and his handling of the economy, as they've seen what voters are saying about that. And the President is saying this is at the top of his to do list. And Wolf, mainly that's because it's a top concern for voters. And that is something that the White House and Democrats are well aware of. So six months away from the midterm elections, you're seeing President Biden taking an entire speech today to address these rising prices. But also trying to push the debate back on Republicans, because you started hearing President Biden use this phrase in the last several days, it's a phrase the White House says is his phrase that he came up with. It's talking about the ultra MAGA agenda, going after these Republicans and basically trying to set up this vote -- for voters saying that there are two choices here, President Biden's handling of the economy or the way Republicans are talking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Believe me, I understand the frustration, but the fact is congressional Republicans, not all of them, but the MAGA Republicans are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress, which they have everything -- they've done everything they can to slow down, that you're going to hand power over to them and enact so they can enact their extreme agenda. Look at their agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, Wolf, one Republican that President Biden singled out today was Senator Rick Scott of Florida. He said that that proposal that he's put out about a federal -- required federal income tax, which of course would go into effect and would affect about half the households in the nation who right now don't make enough to pay that, that is something that the President has pointed to saying that the Republicans do not have a better alternative plan here. We should know, people like Senator Mitch McConnell, have criticized that plan, have said that is not their platform.
But there are big questions tonight. Well, what President Biden himself is going to do here and just how far the White House can go, because of course, he pointed to the Federal Reserve and the raised interest rates that have happened in the ones we expect to happen. He also said, Wolf, they are still discussing removing some of those Trump era tariffs on Chinese goods.
The experts would help -- said would help alleviate this to some degree. They have not made that decision yet, though, Wolf. And we should note, the Treasury secretary said today that they do expect this economic uncertainty to only continue.
BLITZER: Sure it will. All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you.
Let's get a closer look right now at the soaring cost of gasoline here in the United States. CNN's Brian Todd is on the story for us.
Brian, gas now costs $4.37 per gallon, that's nationwide. It's the highest on record here in the U.S. When will Americans finally get some relief?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, not much relief in sight for at least several months according to industry analysts. Take a look at the sign over here and you can just feel the money draining out of your bank account. This is eight cents above the new national average for regular gas in the United States.
We talked to motorists here, you know, many of them are past the point of being shocked by all this but they are nonetheless pretty frustrated.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TODD (voice-over): At this gas station in Northern Virginia, motorists are simply exasperated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I think it's a lot. It's a lot certified obviously, it used to take $45, $40
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taken aback. I haven't had to fill it up for a while and all of a sudden I -- maybe I should have gotten a different car.
TODD (voice-over): Like millions of others behind the wheel, they're coping with a new record high in gas prices. The national average for regular gas $4.37 a gallon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extremely frustrating seeing that the American oil pumps, you know, we've produced a lot more gas, so we shouldn't have this immediate -- it shouldn't have this immediate effect.
TODD (voice-over): Prices are highest on the West Coast and the northeast, not as high in the south and Midwest. How bad could it get?
PATRICK DE HAAN, HEAD OF PETROLEUM ANALYSIS, GASBUDDY.COM: Memorial Day we could see prices closer to 4.50. Even potentially beyond that into the 4.75 reaches, it's not impossible. And it's not impossible that at some point this summer, if things don't turn around, we could see $5.
TODD (voice-over): Analysts say a major cause is the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia. Last week, the E.U. proposed more, a ban on Russian oil imports by year's end.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, "WASHINGTON POST OPINION COLUMNIST: Those prices are only going to get higher if there are further disruptions in global markets, whether because of outright conflict itself or because of sanctions that limit how much additional oil can be put on the market.
TODD (voice-over): The price jump comes as consumers are already feeling the pinch of surging inflation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a really tough time for people living on the edge.
TODD (voice-over): Some tips to save on gas shop around pay in cash, use a rebate credit card, join a loyalty program. And even this, don't drive as fast. As motorists look ahead to summer vacations, how could they adjust?
DE HAAN: Look for savings elsewhere when it comes to entertainment. Potentially staying a little bit closer to home to keep some of those other costs down.
TODD (voice-over): These drivers told us how they'll change their driving habits this summer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will just use the car if I need to go somewhere rather than just driving wherever. So, if I need to take a trip to the grocery store, I will.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We used to go to the Outer Banks every year. It's -- that's not going to probably happen this time. So, yes.
TODD (on camera): Sorry about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not as sorry, as I am.
TODD (voice-over): How long could the pain last?
DE HAAN: I don't think there's any relief on the horizon. And I'm concerned that we will continue to see the elevated prices for a considerable amount of time, potentially beyond six and 12 months or until there's some sort of longer term resolution between Russia and Ukraine.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TODD: Now what analysts say motorists commonly do when prices are like this and what several customers here told us they are now doing, they're just not filling up their tanks all the way when they pull in here, maybe putting in $10, $20 at a time. Get ready for those patterns, Wolf, that will last pretty much all summer.
BLITZER: Yes. And it looks like those numbers are going to sadly going to go up and up. Brian Todd, reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much.
Let's get some analysis right now from our Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillip, and our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
Gloria, what do you make of this new approach from the President? President Biden, he's trying to flip voters worries right now about inflation, trying to convince voters that it's the Republicans who have horrible ideas, not him.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And that they're going to make it worse if they win control of the Congress. Look, we know that midterm elections are referendums on the incumbent. That's the way it's always been, that's what it's going to be this time. So, people are feeling the pain. People in the White House are feeling the pain in a different way, because they know they've got an unpopular president and somebody who is presiding over an economy that's not good. People are hurting. We just saw Brian's piece on gasoline prices. I see where inflation is. And they're blaming Joe Biden.
And what Biden is saying is, you can't blame me. We had the pandemic, we have a war in Ukraine. And what they're trying to do is convince you it's all my fault, so then what when they take over, they're going to make it worse. I think they've got a real uphill battle here.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's supposed to be, of course, it often is a referendum. The White House wants to make it as much of a choice as possible.
PHILLIP: And they've been handed kind of an easy way into that. The President today talking about Rick Scott's sort of plan for what the Republican agenda would be, that even Republicans like Mitch McConnell in the Senate don't want to talk about. And that plan is basically going to be fodder for Democrats over the next several months. It's going to be that as an issue, just the policy prescriptives in it, but also just the overall politics of the moment.
I don't think it's any secret that this speech and this pivot in the President's language and tone is coming at a time when ballots are being cast. Today's Tuesday, it's a primary day in America, in two states. And on the ballot in a lot of these states are candidates that have been endorsed by former President Trump. And I think the White House wants to make it clear that the choice is between a Biden administration and Democratic leadership and, you know, a Trump like agenda. And so, the timing here is not coincident.
BLITZER: You heard the President today repeatedly going after the Republican policies saying they are "ultra-MAGA."
BLITZER: MAGA, Make America Great Again, a Trump phrase. But the buck stops with him right now. The Democrats are in control of the White House, the House and the Senate.
BORGER: And that's what Republicans will say. And what Biden is saying is, these Republicans now are a wholly owned subsidiary of Donald Trump. And the MAGA Republicans, he's reminding you what it was like with Donald Trump. And I think part of it is saying, look, they're radical. Just look at who they are. They've all become radical, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, et cetera, et cetera.
And he wants to say that agenda is the agenda you will get if they win. So, he's taking this turn to say, it's not really about me at this point. It's about where you're headed. If you vote for these Republicans, tying them all to either Donald Trump or Rick Scott, who wants to raise taxes.
PHILLIP: One of the reasons that this is also about the future. What's coming down the pike is the White House is looking at economic polling that shows that Americans are worried about what could be.
PHILLIP: They feel maybe OK right now with their own personal standing, but they're worried about what's coming down the road. And so, the White House is trying to speak to the future. They know that the inflationary picture in this country it's a mixed bag of responsibility, some of it might be spending on the government's part, some of it might be the war in Ukraine and global factors like supply chain issues, but voters are going to blame the people in charge.
And he has to basically tell them, give us a little bit more time. If you give us more time in power, we can do more for you. They -- you know, between now and November of Democrats do want to do something. They know they have limited options but they want to do something that will put more money in people's pocketbooks to help them weather this economic storm and then make another promise to them and say, hey, we will do more if you leave us in control of the House and the Senate and the White House.
BLITZER: And likewise, they're really worried though about that. Because as they used to say in the olden days, it's "the economy, stupid," James Carville.
PHILLIP: That's still is.
BORGER: That's still is. Yes.
BLITZER: I keep hearing that from a lot of Democrats --
BORGER: Right, yes.
BLITZER: -- right now.
Guys, thank you very, very much.
Coming up, Russia intensifies its assault on Odessa, bombarding the key Ukrainian port city with hypersonic missiles. We're going to talk about it one on one with the State Department spokesperson, standby.
BLITZER: One of Ukraine's most important port cities is now coming under increasingly fierce attack by Russia as its brutal and unprovoked invasion moves west. CNN Senior National Correspondent Sara Sidner is in Kyiv for us following all the late breaking developments.
Sara, Ukraine says Russia used hypersonic missiles to attack nonmilitary targets in the key city of Odessa. What more are you learning about these strikes, and why Russia is attacking this port city?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there are pictures to show that is exactly what happened. They targeted two hotels and a huge shopping mall. And the damage to those places is catastrophic when you start looking at the pictures that are coming out of Odessa. It was hypersonic missiles traveled five times faster than the speed of sound.
And military experts are telling us that the type Russia is using can be launched by a MIG-31k fighter jet, which means it can strike from unpredictable directions and can't really be detected. We should also mention that just three days ago, the same city came under heavy fire. There were six cruise missiles that hit Odessa, knocking out a key bridge.
Odessa has been through this before, it goes to a lull and then they are attacked again. It is clear that Russia is still trying to push in again to that city.
Why is Odessa of such huge strategic importance both to Russia and Ukraine? Well, it is a key port city. For one thing it is used for goods to come to and from Europe. So, it's both economically strategic and militarily strategic.
And by the way from this latest strike, we are now hearing one person dead, five people injured. People there in the city of Odessa struggling to deal with this on again, off again scenario where they're being hit by missiles, things go quiet, and then again. But the supersonic missiles really have the city very, very scared as they see how Russia is coming for them once again trying to take that city as well. Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a horrible situation, indeed.
As you know, Belarus, Sara, a key Russian ally says it is now moving Special Forces to the northern border of Ukraine. Tell us what this is -- what's going on, the significance of this.
SIDNER: You know, I think it tells you a couple of things. One of those things is that this war isn't going as quickly as they thought that their ally Putin would make it go yes. They clearly feel that they are under some kind of a threat by Ukraine, that this war is continuing to linger on and Ukraine has been fighting fiercely back. And so, you are seeing the amassing of troops on their border.
It could also be conversations between Moldova and Russia. But we should mention that the top U.S. intelligence is basically saying, look, this conflict is going to be long and drawn out. Putin is not going to give up and neither as Ukraine. Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN's Sara Sidner reporting from Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Thank you very much.
Despite Moscow's stepped up aggression right now, Ukrainian forces are, in many places, holding their own and even retaking ground from Russian troops. CNN International Security Editor Nick Payton Walsh is on the ground for us tonight in Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Racing under the tree line, changing their path every time, with Russian troops often just meters away, this is the fight for Ukraine's most important riverbank. And this is the place where Moscow's brutal advance has been stopped.
(INAUDIBLE) was held by Russian troops for weeks. But now, the Russian shell where they once hid and probe the outskirts daily.
Vladimir and his men have been alert since 4:00 a.m., fearing a Russian attack and more of the cluster bombs, they say, tore down this tree.
(on camera): So they're about two kilometers away in that direction, he says.
So occasionally they get what Russians called diversionary groups, which kind of scouting groups to try and probe their defenses but so far since they've been successful fighting them.
(voice-over): Fresh flowers laid the monument to the last war's dead. But broken glass here, where this was living shelter, faces that seem beyond caring who was in control. And dust that makes you wonder who will come back if it ever gets normal again. In these endless idyllic villages, it bends belief to see the quiet life forced underground like this.
(on camera): He was saying that the rocket landed during lunchtime and there was nobody in this room. Forty, 50 people have been, at one point -- see that rooms they're living in.
(voice-over): But it is not an easy job taking back these villages. Loyalties have evaporated in some cases. The troops say they found traitors here but lack evidence to prosecute citing one case.
(on camera): There's a guy in a phone here. There's a guy on the phone.
(voice-over): And now, a local on the phone is reason for suspicion.
Russian troops came to one man's home, he says, an offer to make him a local leader. It's not at all simple. He was the local mayor for them that's why they never touched him. And he's also a former Russian colonel living here. They say they have reason to know they're being watched.
I'll only say that when we first came here, he says, it was in the morning when there was a fog and it was impossible to see us. But the Russians shot at us, which means someone gave us up.
As we emerge a puff of smoke in the sky, an explosive or a flare. Two blasts leading them to think the cluster bombs may follow again. Vladimir stays in place. The back and forth persists for places that cease to exist in the fight for them.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WALSH: Wolf, now on many of the fronts in which Russia had tried to reset the sort of second wave of its campaign. It is seeing a stalemate specifically there in the southern front. That is as far north as managed to go.
And really, you were talking about this earlier on, there has been almost no progress for Russia heading remotely in that direction past Mykolaiv in the vague hope of putting any ground pressure on Odessa. Here though in certainly the north east, you hear a distant rumble of shelling pretty consistently here. There's been a lot of Ukrainian progress around Kharkiv pushing the Russians out of some key villages around here. In fact Russia having to relocate a hundreds of troops to the north here as reinforcements. A lot of motion certainly happening here, but none of it in Moscow's favor, Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN's Nick Payton Walsh on the ground for us. stay safe over there. Nick, thank you very, very much.
Up next, a new warning of a quote, "More unpredictable" and escalatory Russian invasion of Ukraine in the coming months. We'll go one-on-one with the State Department spokesperson. We'll try to find out what that might look like. Stay with.
BLITZER: As the war in Ukraine grinds on claiming more and more lives, some top U.S. officials are now using the word stalemate to describe the current state of the conflict. Let's get the latest on that and more.
Joining me, the State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price.
Ned, thank you so much for joining us. Today, as you probably know, the director of the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency said and I'm quoting now, "the Russians aren't winning and the Ukrainians aren't winning. And we're at a bit of a stalemate here," end quote. Is that the State Department assessment as well?
NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, Wolf, I think you have to take a back -- take a step back and look at where we are after more than 10 weeks of war. Ukrainians have proved themselves capable and effective at defending their freedom, defending their democracy, defending their country. I think there are few people around the world who would think -- who would have thought 10 weeks ago that we wouldn't be where we are today 70 days into the course of this war.
Ukraine, which has been enabled by the security assistance that the United States and our partners around the world have provided, have repelled the Russian attack on Kyiv. They have forced Moscow to limit its sights really focusing on the east on the south. You have to recall that some 70 days ago, the Kremlin probably thought that within 48, 72 hours, Vladimir Putin would be the de facto leader of Ukraine. That has not happened. It has not happened principally because of the determination, the resilience of our Ukrainian partners. But these are also partners whose effectiveness has been in key ways enabled by what the United States and our partners around the world have been able to provide.
BLITZER: As you also know, the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines says Putin's war will be coming, and I'm quoting her now, more unpredictable and escalatory in the coming months. What could that look like from your perspective, Ned?
PRICE: Well, President Putin is going to make his own decisions if he does indeed decide to escalate and that, of course, remains a big if. I imagine we're likely to hear from the Kremlin justification citing what the United States, what our partners doing -- are doing to support Ukraine. That will be more lies, those will be more pretexts, similar to what we've heard from the Kremlin before.
Because the fact is, that well, before Russia's invasion started, we were crystal clear about what we would do if Russia went ahead with this aggression. We laid out three things. We would support our Ukrainian partners with massive amounts of defensive security assistance, we would -- we reinforced NATO including its eastern flank, that is to say those countries that are closest to Russia's border within the Alliance, and we would hold Moscow to account with an unprecedented set of economic sanctions, other measures that would have a crippling effect on Moscow's economy. We have done those three things.
So if Moscow is at all surprised about what the United States has done, what our partners around the world have done, there's a simple question that should be asked of them. Why? We laid this out in very clear terms.
BLITZER: Is there any breaking point for Putin right now, or is he willing to see this out whatever the cost may be?
PRICE: Well, Wolf, what we're going to do is continue to do what has worked, and that is to provide our Ukrainian partners with the security assistance they need just as we continue to apply pressure on the Kremlin, on the Russian economy. What we want to see happen is for the Russians to engage in good faith, in dialogue, in diplomacy with our Ukrainian partners.
Our Ukrainian partners have had an outstretched hand. They have been eager to engage in dialogue and diplomacy to put an end to this war to bring it to an end as quickly as possible. So far, they have not met a Russian counterpart that has been willing or able to do that. So in the interim, what we're going to do is to continue to provide our Ukrainian partners with the security assistance because we know it has been effective.
The challenge we have now, Wolf, is that since the invasion began, since the Russian began on -- Russian invasion began on February 24th, we've provided our Ukrainian partners with $3.8 billion in security assistance. With that, we have just about exhausted the drawdown funding that Congress appropriated some weeks ago, and we're going to be out of funding next week. We have only about $100 million left.
So Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, they have a simple message for Congress. We need your help, we need Congress' helped to continue to be able to pursue this strategy, to support our Ukrainian partners, to put pressure on the Russian Federation, to see to it that we can bring this conflict to an end just as quickly as can be managed.
BLITZER: The State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, thanks so much for joining us.
PRICE: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, the 11-day manhunt for an Alabama inmate and corrections officer comes to an end after a dramatic and deadly end. The shocking new details when we come back.
BLITZER: Tonight, new details about the final moments of the dramatic and deadly police chase that ended fugitive Alabama inmate Casey White's 11 days on the run with a former corrections officer who investigators say they have ended her own life during the pursuit.
CNN Senior National Correspondent Miguel Marquez reports on the latest developments.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, new details on how an 11-day nationwide manhunt came to a violent end.
SHERIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: I want to bring my people home and I don't care about the fugitives' lives if it protects my people's lives. And here, I commend them for a job well done.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Law enforcements aggressive investigating and pursuit, says the sheriff, saved lives.
WEDDING: Members of the U.S. Task Force basically ran the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch and we later found out had they not done that, the fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Found in the car, guns, four handguns and an AR- 15 semi-automatic rifle along with wigs for disguises and nearly $30,000 in cash.
WEDDING: It was just hard to believe they were here. I wouldn't think somebody on the run would stay in a community like Amazon for six days. MARQUEZ (voice-over): Investigators caught a break they say when Casey and Vicky White abandoned an F-150 pickup truck at a local carwash. Their getaway car, a gray Cadillac was spotted leaving the carwash. That Cadillac led police to this nearby hotel where officials say the pair plan to stay for 14 days.
WEDDING: We were fortunate that during our investigation yesterday and that was a police officer who was just doing his good diligence of patrolling and being smart notice the vehicle in the parking lot of the hotel and notified us immediately.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Police surveilling the motels spotted a couple leaving, leading to the chase. Officers removed the escaped inmate Casey White from the wrecked car at the scene. Former corrections officer Vicky White was pinned inside the vehicle with a gunshot wound to her head.
WEDDING: Once the vehicle crashed, the female suspect shot herself. We don't believe he shot her.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Officials believe a 911 dispatcher was on the phone with Vicky White before the crash.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're calling into 911. We could hear her on the line saying she had her finger on the trigger.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): She later died from her injuries at a nearby hospital.
WEDDING: Their plan was pretty faulty. They're criminals. Their plan was faulty and it failed.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Casey White appeared before a judge virtually today and will be sent back to Alabama after waiving his right to an extradition hearing. The autopsy for Vicky White scheduled for today. Her former colleagues in Alabama left wondering what happened to a friend they thought they knew.
SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: You know then finding out that she was basically the mastermind behind the whole plan. You know it just -- and then found that she lost her life. It's just been a roller coaster.
MARQUEZ: So the sheriff here in Evansville seems convinced that Vicky White's death was in fact self-induced and that Mr. White, Casey White will be returning to Alabama as he waived his right to an extradition very, very soon. Wolf?
BLITZER: Miguel Marquez on the scene for us in Evansville, Indiana, thank you very much.
Let's discuss right now with the former Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Police Commissioner, CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey. Chief Ramsey, thanks for joining us. As you know, Casey White's lawyer and the sheriff, they're suggesting Vicky White was the mastermind, the quote, mastermind of all of these. But with only one of the two suspects alive right now, how hard is it going to be to get to the bottom of what happened?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it'll be a little difficult. I don't know just how fully he's cooperating. I'm hearing that he is cooperating. But obviously she's dead. So there's still going to be a lot of unanswered questions as it relates to that. They're both involved. That's the bottom line.
I mean, he was in custody. He escaped. He's facing some pretty serious jail time as a result of that as far as her involvement, unless she left behind some e-mails or something in writing that would kind of, you know, let you know what her motive was, and so forth, is going to be very difficult. But clearly, she played a major role. I mean, the money, the cars, the clothing, all those kinds of things would tell you that she was deeply involved.
BLITZER: Yes, she was. Casey White, the inmate, was prepared, we're told, for a shootout with police. How much worse could this have -- this arrest have gone potentially, Chief?
RAMSEY: It could have been a lot worse. I mean, if he's serious that had he been stopped and he did engage in a shootout with police, it could be very deadly, not just in terms of him receiving injuries, but the police officers in particular. AK-47, or AR-15, whichever it was an assault rifle plus the handguns. You don't know whether she would have been involved or engaged in that kind of fight.
The U.S. Marshals did a very good job. And I do have to say because they kind of go unnoticed. But the Marshals Task Force, Fugitive Task Force, and I've worked with them several times, they are the best, they are very, very good at what they do. And I think that ought to be recognized.
BLITZER: Yes, the arsenal that they had was huge. Chief Ramsey, thank you so much for joining us.
Coming up, Elon Musk now says Twitter made a mistake banning former President Trump from the platform in the wake of the January 6th attack.
BLITZER: Twitter's expected next owner Elon Musk now says he would restore former President Donald Trump's banned Twitter account if his deal to acquire the company is completed. Twitter permanently suspended Trump in January of 2021 in the wake of the U.S. Capitol attack. Musk calls that decision a mistake and says it was, quote, morally wrong.
CNN's Jaime Gangel is joining us right now. She's here with me in The Situation Room. The former president also appeared at an event last night with the House Republican Leader --
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
BLITZER: -- Kevin McCarthy, who, on those tapes that were just released in the past few weeks and you've helped report all that, he was really critical of Trump but now they're once again seem to be good friends. What's going on?
GANGEL: So this was a GOP fundraiser in Dallas last night. It was the first time -- the two of them have talked, but it was the first time that they were in the same room. And based on last night, you would think that the two of them were best friends, which we know has not always been the case.
According to our colleague, Melanie Zanona's reporting, McCarthy called Trump the Republicans, quote, secret weapon and suggested he could be president again, which is a far cry from what he said after January 6 when he said the president bears responsibility. So that's not surprising because Kevin McCarthy has apologized to Trump and come back.
But Trump in turn said about Kevin McCarthy, quote, Kevin has been with me from the beginning and said the two have done a lot together to, quote, fight back. The question, Wolf, is how long would the bromance really last?
BLITZER: So based on what we heard --
BLITZER: -- and saw last night, do we expect there to be any daylight at all between McCarthy and Trump going into the midterm elections?
GANGEL: So I don't think not as far as Kevin McCarthy is concerned. His dream, as you know, is to be Speaker of the House. If the Republicans are going to take back the House, he thinks he needs Donald Trump. Donald Trump, if last night is an example, thinks that it's good for him. But remember, with Donald Trump, what do we know the most important thing is loyalty, but it's frequently a one-way street. And Donald Trump, anyone who knows him knows he is not going to forget those audio tapes, Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll watch it together with you. Jamie Gangel, doing excellent reporting, as she always does. Thank you very much.
And a quick note, if you'd like to join CNN journalist discussing America's most pressing issues, the conversation is happening at Citizen by CNN. Tomorrow's topic is midterm primaries. You can register to join at cnn.com/citizen. I recommend you do.
Tonight, the FDA is telling CNN that it's taking specific actions to address infant formula shortages that have parents across the United States facing a growing challenge right now. CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is working the story for us. Elizabeth, the situation is understandably very stressful with so many parents out there. What is the government doing to try to solve this dire situation?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Wolf, the government says they're doing several things. First of all, they say they're having regular meetings with Abbott, which makes Similac. That's the one that has had the recalls, as well as other U.S. manufacturers to try to get the numbers up as much as possible. They also say that they're trying to expedite the process by which formula can be imported when it's made in other countries.
They also say they're looking at where formula is going in various stores in the United States to see if it's going to the right places to the places that seem to need it the most. Now let's take a look at some new numbers that CNN just got in. This is the out of stock rate for formula. And unfortunately, it is getting worse.
If you look back in April, the out of stock rate in the U.S. was 31 percent. Now we just heard for the weekend in May 8th, it was 43 percent. That is a huge jump in just a matter of weeks. So another thing that governments doing is encouraging retailers to limit how much any one person can buy at a time. And several stores are doing just that.
If you look at CVS and Walgreens, they're telling customers, you can only get three products at a time. Target, they're limiting it to four products online, although in the store, there is no limit. But, you know, we've been talking to parents for the past couple of weeks, and they're saying, look, this is just getting worse, they are not feeling any of the benefits of any of this work that's been done. They are just having a really hard time finding the formula for their baby. Wolf?
BLITZER: So what should parents do if they can't get the type of formula their babies need?
COHEN: You know, unfortunately, there's not much you can do. But I'm going to give parents a do and a don't. So do go to the Similac website, or actually Abbott nutrition website. They have a zip code finder you can use and you put in the type of formula you want in your zip code. Parents tell us it's often not correct, that they actually can't find what it says they should be able to find. But it's certainly a place to start.
And here's a huge do not, do not try to make your own formula. You could really hurt your baby. Formula needs to have, just like breast milk, a very particular blend of iron and vitamins and minerals. Do not make it at home. You could hurt your baby.
BLITZER: Do we have any idea, Elizabeth, how quickly this crisis that it is a crisis might be resolved?
COHEN: You know, we really don't. There is not an end in sight. This has been going on really for months since almost the beginning of the year. It wasn't as bad in the beginning. And it's because of this recall, there was a recall of some lots of Similac formula and so that sort of put this whole thing into like a domino effect and you also then have all these supply chain shortages. There really is no end in sight at this point, Wolf.
BLITZER: Elizabeth Cohen reporting for us, thank you very much.
Coming up, do Vladimir Putin's ambitions extend beyond Ukraine's borders? I'll ask the NATO Deputy Secretary General who's standing by live.
BLITZER: Happening now, the pivotal Ukrainian city of Odesa enduring a brutal assault from hypersonic Russian missiles. Civilian targets have been obliterated. And now a top U.S. intelligence official is warning the war could become even more unpredictable as Putin fails to achieve his ambitions.
Here in the United States, gas prices hitting a record high tonight. President Biden is vowing to tackle the surge ahead of a new report widely expected to show inflation taking a very heavy toll on the U.S. economy and the American people.
And we're learning new details tonight about the deadly conclusion to the Alabama prisoner manhunt. Officials now say former prison guard Vicky White was the mastermind behind the escape and that fugitive Casey White wanted a shootout with police.