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January 6 Committee Schedules Unexpected Hearing Tomorrow; Repercussions Of Overturning Roe V. Wade, Chaos And Confusion; John Eastman's Phone Seized By Federal Agents; Multiple States Move Quickly To Ban Abortion After Roe Overturned; G7 Leaders Commit To Supporting Ukraine "As Long As It Takes"; Zelenskyy Tells G7 Leaders He Wants War Over By End Of Year; Russian Missiles Hit Kyiv As G7 Vows To Stay United Behind Ukraine; Official: Multiple Fatalities, At Least 50 Hurt In Train Derailment; Trial For Brittney Griner To Start Friday In Russia. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 27, 2022 - 17:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Breaking news. Local officials now report multiple fatalities and at least 50 injuries after an Amtrak train derailed in northern Missouri. Our coverage continues in THE SITUATION ROOM.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, a surprise from the January 6th Select Committee. A new hearing has been unexpectedly announced for tomorrow. What new evidence prompted this sudden change in schedule?

Also tonight, protests spread across the United States as more states outlaw abortion now that Roe versus Wade is history. We're breaking down the new patchwork of laws and the growing chaos, confusion, and consequences for women and for health care providers.

And Russia unleashes a deadly strike on a crowded mall in Ukraine. President Zelenskyy is now condemning it as a reckless act of terror. This as President Biden and G7 allies are reaffirming their unity with Ukraine and against Vladimir Putin's aggression. 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.

First, let's get straight to the -- to Capitol Hill and CNN's Melanie Zanona. Melanie, the January 6th Select Committee says newly obtained evidence is prompting tomorrow's hearing on very, very short notice. So, what do we know?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Wolf, it is still a bit of a mystery here. The select committee has only promised new evidence and new witness testimony. But if we're reading between the lines, it is clear that the select committee feels like it has uncovered new evidence that is so urgent and so important that they decided to throw together a last-minute hearing to try to get this information out as soon as possible.

And just to put this into some context here, the House has already left Washington for a two-week recess, so a lot of lawmakers aren't even here right now. We also were told to not expect more hearings until mid-July. So, this was a complete surprise. But what's not a surprise is that the committee is still collecting evidence.

That is because after the hearings began, the select committee said tips started pouring in to their tip line. They also recently obtained new footage from a documentary filmmaker who is chronicling the Trump family on the campaign trail, and they've also been using these select committee hearings to try to implore new witnesses to come forward. So, it seems perhaps that those efforts may have worked.

BLITZER: The committee I understand was supposed to be taking a two- week break. Does this lead you to believe that the evidence that they obtained apparently recently could be very much time sensitive?

ZANONA: Yes, I mean, it absolutely could be. As you know, there are supposed to be two hearings in mid-July so, they could have waited until then to reveal this information. So, perhaps this suggests that it is time sensitive or at least there's a greater sense of urgency around whatever they're planning to reveal tomorrow.

But you know, it could also be that it doesn't fit in with whatever the two themes are for the remaining hearings in July or perhaps they're worried about the witness or witnesses for tomorrow backing out and so they don't want to leave too much time in between. But whatever the case, Wolf, there is certainly a ton of intrigue and a ton of suspense regarding tomorrow's hearing.

BLITZER: CNN's Melanie Zanona up on Capitol Hill. Thank you very much. Let's dig deeper into all of this. Joining us now, CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams, CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Gloria, so far, the committee has been very, very methodical in presenting its findings. What does it say to you that the new evidence that they apparently have right now resulted in this very quick decision to go ahead with this extraordinary hearing tomorrow?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it seems to me that they must find whatever they have uncovered pretty compelling. At the end of last week, it seemed like they were all thinking about their mid-July hearings and suddenly now we're hearing about this.

And so, we don't know whether it involves a witness they want to get out there very quickly because the witness might change his or her mind, or because there's video or audio, they might want to put out there for the American public to see, but clearly, they thought time was of the essence and they got to -- they ought to do this quickly.

BLITZER: Yes. It's pretty extraordinary when you think about it. Jeffrey, what new evidence, potentially, what new witness testimony could possibly warrant an urgent announcement like this that there will be a special hearing of the January 6th Select Committee tomorrow?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it could be anything. But the analogy that occurs to me is July 16, 1973.


Alexander Butterfield, a White House aide, appeared out of nowhere in the Senate Watergate committee hearings to say there was a White House taping system. No one knew anything about the White House tapes. It wasn't previewed to the press, but they wanted to get him out there right away. Is it something similar? Beats the hell out of me.

BLITZER: Yes. Beats the hell out of me, too. You know, Elliot, the committee has already revealed some very, very compelling evidence and testimony. At this point, could anything really fundamentally change our understanding of what happened on January 6th?

ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wolf, I think so because, you know, I see three big open legal questions here. Number one, did President Trump know what he was doing was illegal? Number two, was there ever a point at which President Trump acknowledged to somebody else that he had lost the election. And number three, what kind of direct contact did President Trump have with the planners of January 6th?

Perhaps the evidence, whether it's video or a witness that we haven't heard from yet, coming out of the woodwork, could help clarify that. So, know, those are all very important questions, both for Congress or frankly, the Justice Department, and we might see more about, too.

BORGER: You know, I think the question is, to boil that down, is there going to be a smoking gun in this testimony? We have no -- we have no idea. But what we do know is that this committee is very deliberate in the way it plans things and the way it choreographs things so, they have us all soft of talking about this now without knowing who the witness is, and that is more drama for the committee. We don't know what they have got to offer the American public here.

TOOBIN: But Gloria, that's also a risk.

BORGER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

TOOBIN: You know, to get everybody speculating and thinking something dramatic is going to happen and then they lay a big egg tomorrow, that's something they didn't have to do.

BORGER: But you know, they haven't done that so far -- they haven't done that so far, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: That's true.

BOIRGER: They have not.

TOOBIN: There's always a first time.

BLITZER: So, you think -- so do you think, Gloria, that there's something that could actually change the political impact of these hearings? BORGER: I mean, we don't know. We don't know. I think the hearings

have, you know, you talk to some people, it's had a huge impact. You talk to other people, they've never watched it. It has no impact. Yes, if there's a smoking gun and, you know, it's like the Butterfield tapes or something, sure. But we just, you know, we don't know. We don't know.

BLITZER: Jeffrey, could we see -- could we see a legal bombshell tomorrow that potentially could lead to high profile criminal, criminal charges?

TOOBIN: There's certainly could be such a thing, but I think one -- since we're sort of talking about Watergate, it is worth talking about a big difference between 1973-'74 and today, which is the existence of Fox News and the right-wing information infrastructure, which did not exist in the '70s.

And, you know, I think no matter what happens, there is going to be this infrastructure that will continue to disparage the hearings, support former President Trump, and so the idea that the whole country could come to agree that there is some big problem, I don't think that possibility exists anymore because I don't think we are dealing with the same factual universe --

BORGER: Right.


TOOBIN: -- the way we were in the 1970s.

WILLIAMS: One final point, though. You know, Gloria had used the word choreographed a moment ago. This committee knew what they were doing and knew that number one, the Roe -- the abortion decision was coming out. Number two, they knew that Supreme Court decisions on guns and other things were going to suck up all the legal air out of the political climate.

And the July 4th holiday is coming up. For them to drop this on a hearing today out of the blue is a big deal and they know it and something is coming.

BLITZER: Yes. We'll, of course, have live coverage of these hearings tomorrow afternoon. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, nationwide fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, overturning Roe versus Wade as multiple states are moving quickly to ban abortion while others take action to safeguard abortion rights.



BLITZER: Tonight, a nation deeply divided and facing chaos and confusion amid a patchwork of bans now in place following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe versus Wade, ending a half century of a woman's federal right to abortion. CNN's senior national correspondent Miguel Marquez is working the story for us. Miguel, what are you learning?


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nation divided. That divide growing deeper.

UNKNOWN: Look around. There aren't words. There's just rage.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The consequence of the Supreme Court's historic and sweeping decision reversing nearly 50 years of abortion rights, legal precedence.

EMILY WALES, INTERIM PRESIDENT AND CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD GREAT PLAINS: We have to communicate very loudly that this is government interference at the most extreme. It is the government literally standing between you and your doctor and saying you cannot get this health care.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Earlier today, Mississippi certified its abortion ban except in cases of rape or if the mother's life is in danger, the latest state to restrict abortion. Right now, at least nine states effectively ban abortions since Friday's ruling. Another five states are expected to limit abortion services in days or weeks.

At least 13 states have laws on the books that could go into effect or are contemplating everything from bans to substantial restrictions on abortion services. Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C. protect abortion services that has some conservatives calling for a national ban.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who may run for president in 2024, said in a statement, "Having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land."

The fight already expanding to FDA approved prescription drugs that can induce an abortion. Could they be sent from a state where abortion is legal to one where it's not?


KRISTI NOEM, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH DAKOTA: I brought a bill that would ban telemedicine abortions.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem who may run for president in 2024 and whose state already bans nearly all abortions says she would prosecute doctors who prescribe or dispense abortion inducing drugs, not the women who use them.

Those supporting abortion rights see the drug as a possible last best hope for some women in states that have ended or restricted access to abortion.

JULIA TALLANT, PROTESTER: If it means distributing abortion pills illegally, then we distribute abortion pills illegally. MARQUEZ (voice-over): And clinic in states where abortion remains

legal, already seeing an increase in demand for those seeking services.

LEROY CARHART, BELLEVUE HEALTH CLINIC, NEBRASKA: We have gone from seeing an average of 30 patients a week to now maybe 30 patients a day.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Protesters angered by the decision took to the streets nationwide, at times taking over roads and highways, scuffling with police. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a truck pushed through a group of abortion rights protesters.

UNKNOWN: The light was red and the truck got impatient for whatever reason and charged into the crowd.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In Los Angeles, "Full House" actress Jodie Sweetin was pushed to the ground by LAPD as abortion rights protesters attempted to block a major freeway there.


MARQUEZ (on camera): So, what was once a fight focused on the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade has now splintered into thousands of fights scattered across the entire country. For instance, in Louisiana today, a judge halted the ban there that was supposed to go into effect last Friday.

Providers have resumed service there for now, but stay tuned. That will probably change in the future. Bottom line, it is going to be a long legal and controversial road to sorting out who and where they can get abortions in America. Wolf?

BLITZER: You're absolutely right. Miguel Marquez reporting for us. Thank you very much. Let's dig deeper right now into all of this. Joining us, former federal Judge Nancy Gertner, CNN contributor Evan Osnos, and CNN's chief national affairs analyst Kasie Hunt.

Judge Gertner, what sort of legal chaos potentially lies ahead when it comes to abortion medication, travel to get an abortion, or helping someone get an abortion?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Do you have an hour or so? I think, I mean, one is the patchwork quilt across the country, the states that will burden abortion or prohibit abortion to varying degrees and those that permit it. Then there's a question of how the states permit it. So, the states that have regulations, have laws permitting abortions are in one category.

Some states like my own have state constitutional protections for abortion. The states protected -- the constitution protected the right to choose. And there are stories about challenges to that, which would be very difficult now.

Then there's a question of interstate travel to procure an abortion. The Biden administration is talking about protecting interstate travel to procure an abortion and local prosecutors are talking about declining to prosecute someone for aiding and abetting abortion.

The irony, of course, is that a core -- one of the core -- one of the bases for Alito's decision is that, you know, this was a controversial decision and it's time to end the controversy. He has done precisely the opposite.

BLITZER: Certainly has. Kasie, what nearly a dozen states already have banned abortion since Friday's ruling by the Supreme Court. There are more to come, no doubt. How complicated is it for women to navigate this patchwork?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, it's incredibly complicated, Wolf. Sometimes we break this issue down into simply someone who wants to have a baby or doesn't want to have a baby. The reality of being pregnant and carrying a child is much more complicated than that and it spans the gamut from people who don't want to be parents to women who desperately do.

And I don't think that we should lose sight of the fact that this decision impacts a whole host of things, perhaps unintentionally, but that have very real impacts on women. One is miscarriage. Say you're traveling in a state that has a trigger, you know, a trigger ban that's already in effect, no abortions at all and you are carrying a baby you very much want, and you start to miscarry.

There are implications for how doctors are going to be allowed to treat you that presents potentially very real risks, especially depending on your health. So, that's one thing. Another thing I've heard a lot from, you know, women who are particularly my age, I'm in my late 30s, who've done in vitro fertilization.

And there are now questions about personhood bills that are on the books that say that a frozen embryo created during IVF is actually technically a person. That carries a lot of weight and implication when you're starting to think about making decisions about those embryos.

So, I do think there are going to be an incredibly complicated set of circumstances to have to deal with here.


And when we start to talk about the politics of it, I mean, this is where things get very tricky if politicians on either side of this issue do not approach it in a humane and compassionate way.

And I think that's part of why you're hearing even some politicians who oppose abortion rights saying, hey, we got to look at this with compassion because the reality is there is a lot of potentially very scary territory here, even for people who desperately want to have the children that they're carrying.

BLITZER: You're absolutely right. Excellent points, Kasie. You know, Evan Osnos, Democrats clearly want more action from President Biden right now, but as someone who has closely covered President Biden's political career over the years, is the president unlikely to take any drastic major steps right now?

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, what you see him trying to do, Wolf, is balance the realm of the possible with what he can achieve feasibly. I mean, what you've heard are that there are executive actions that he can take in the short term.

Look, there is no simple executive solution that would codify abortion rights into election law. That's going to be the job of Congress. What they can do are things like ensure that women are not prevented from going state to state, ensure that the FDA is able to provide medication abortion to people even in states where local lawmakers, state lawmakers might try to prevent that.

You're going to see them use as creatively as possible the powers of the executive branch, but there's a longer term strategy that has to be a part of this, Wolf, which is you have to ensure that you have the people in place to shape the legislatures on the state level and ultimately in Congress if you're going to try to prevent this sort of, let's call it what it is, an anti-democratic, small "d" democratic moment.

You know, this is the voice of a minority of Americans who have made a choice against -- that has affected most Americans in a way they don't agree with.

BLITZER: Yes. That's important. You know, Judge Gertner, CNN's Dana Bash just asked Vice President Kamala Harris about Justice Clarence Thomas' concurring opinion saying the court should reconsider the precedent for cases involving contraception and gay marriage. Watch what she said. This is the vice president.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I definitely believe this is not over. I do. I think he just said the quiet part out loud. And I think that is why we all must really understand the significance of what just happened. This is profound.


BLITZER: Judge Gertner, how real is the risk of the Supreme Court rolling back even more rights?

GERTNER: There is a substantial risk, and there's a substantial risk from two prongs of the decision. One was the approach that the only rights that count are those that are enumerated in the constitution. Now, the constitution was written in the 18th century and amended in the 19th century. Women were not a part of that. Black people were mentioned in the constitution, but they were enslaved.

So, the extent to which we pivot our rights on what's enumerated in the Constitution means that many of us are left out and the rights that have been articulated by the Supreme Court since then will be undone. In addition, he describes it -- it's either enumerated rights, you know, specifically listed in the Constitution, or it is -- they were long-standing rights. And it is really, I just can't emphasize this enough, it is these five

justices' view of what those long-standing rights were. And they don't include same-sex marriage, and they don't include protection for gay sex. And they don't approve all of the privacy considerations that we generated over the years.

BLITZER: Alright, everybody stay with us. We're going to have much more of Vice President Harris' first interview since the Roe ruling. That's coming up in our next hour right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Also, coming up, breaking news. Trump election attorney John Eastman now says federal agents seized his cell phone last week. We'll have more on that right after the break.



BLITZER: Breaking news tonight. We're just learning now that the FBI has seized the phone of former President Trump's election attorney, John Eastman. CNN's senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz is working the story for us. Caitlin, what are you finding out?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Wolf, we are now learning today that last week on Wednesday, federal agents approached John Eastman, this right-wing attorney who was working with Donald Trump after the election to contest the election.

They took his Apple iPhone 12 from him, had him unlock it, patted him down and were able to get access to e-mail communications that Eastman would have had on this phone. Now, Eastman is quite an important person in the January 6th various investigations that are going on because he was in touch with Trump and others.

And we do now know that he will be the latest person whose communications would be swept up this time by the Justice Department. Now, Eastman says this was about six FBI agents who approached him as he was leaving a restaurant to get his phone.

And we also knew, we learned last week that there was another person searched on that same day in a different part of the country, Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official. So, Clark's home was searched. And so, this is the latest piece of investigative activity that we're hearing.

Now, I should add, though, that with Eastman in this situation, the only reason we're learning about this is because he has gone to federal court to try and get a judge to put the Justice Department's ability to access that phone and look at those communications on ice.


He doesn't want them looking at it. So we're hearing about it from his perspective, being the subject of the search. And Wolf, I have reached out to the Justice Department to ask if they have a comment on this. We haven't heard back from them yet. BLITZER: It looks like they're stepping up their own investigation, the U.S. Justice Department. We're going to have much more on the breaking news involving John Eastman. That's coming up ahead.

Katelyn, thank you very much for that update.

More now on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade, a decision sending shockwaves all across the United States. Cecile Richards is the co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century and former president of Planned Parenthood. She's joining us right now. Cecile, thanks for joining us.

As you know, for the first time in nearly 50 years, America is going to see a state by state patchwork on abortion rights. Women may not even know what the law is in their state, at least not yet. How do they navigate this?

CECILE RICHARDS, CO-CHAIR, AMERICAN BRIDGE 21ST CENTURY: Well, Wolf, you're right. This is -- it's absolutely created chaos. It's a public healthcare crisis in this country. After the Supreme Court ruling came down on Friday, many states immediately banned abortion. Of course my home state of Texas it's been almost essentially banned since the beginning of September.

In fact, in Texas, I was talking to clinicians, women were in the clinics, they had to be sent home. And then, of course, found out there was no neighboring state that they could go to either. We're going to continue to see this. The estimates are that in total, probably 26 states in this country will ban abortion. That will mean half of the women in America will live in a state where they can no longer access that healthcare and lose a right that basically they had had for, as you say, nearly 50 years. It's unconscionable. And the cruelty (ph) and the sort of disbelief of people across this country is obviously showing up today.

BLITZER: You know, it's -- basically the demand for abortion medication pills has more than doubled since Friday's ruling, according to one telehealth company. What will it mean if some states try to ban the mailing of those pills?

RICHARDS: Well, that's obviously where a lot of the Republican Party is going now. It's not enough just to ban abortion in their state, but they want to make it impossible for women to even leave the state for abortion or to get access to medication abortion through the mail. But women, look, this is what we know. And I know from my many years of Planned Parenthood, making abortion illegal doesn't make it -- doesn't make abortion go away. It simply makes it unsafe. And it means that women often have to take things into their own hands.

And the stories we're already hearing out of Texas, heartbreaking. One woman thrown in jail, a 26-year-old woman for attempting allegedly to miscarry. People in the United States of America, they do not want to see abortion become illegal. They do not want to see doctors criminalized. They do not want to see women in jail. But that's essentially what the Republican Party has been trying to do for decades. And it looks like through this Supreme Court, they may have succeeded.

BLITZER: Some Republicans and anti-abortion activists also want to restrict women's ability to travel to get an abortion, to travel to another state, for example, to penalize anyone who helps a woman get an abortion and pass a nationwide abortion ban. Where do you see this fight heading, Cecile?

RICHARDS: I think it is -- I know from over the years, people thought this would never happen. They knew that Republican Party would would say things about banning abortion, but they really thought they would never go this far. And now they have. And you're right, Wolf, it's not only that they want to ban women from leaving their state, literally be wards of the state not being able to cross the border to get access to illegal health care.

I know that we're going to see this in Texas. There are Republicans who are ready to ban foreign forms of birth control they disagree with. This Supreme Court opinion has opened the floodgates for restrictions on anybody making decisions about their pregnancy. And believe me, they say this is now going to be a state issue. But if the Republican Party is to gained control of Congress in November, I will guarantee you, one of the first bills they will introduce in a new Congress will be a nationwide abortion ban and they have as much as said so. So the stakes in the election and the stakes for voting have never been higher.

BLITZER: Stakes are high indeed. All right, Cecile Richards, thanks so much for joining us.

Just ahead, a devastating attack in Ukraine. What President Zelenskyy is now calling the assault and how the timing of the attack has world leaders questioning Russia's voters.



BLITZER: One of the most daring terrorist acts in European history. That's what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling a Russian airstrike that struck a mall in central Ukraine. The attack happened as G7 leaders were gathering in Germany.

Let's get some more from our White House Correspondent M.J. Lee. She's traveling with President Biden in Europe right now. M.J., Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed G7 leaders during a virtual meeting today. What was his bottom line message?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, this was a key opportunity for the Ukrainian President to speak directly to leaders of the G7 and we know that he spoke about how he sees the trajectory of the war, namely that he would like to see the war before the end of this year and that he would really like for Ukraine to regain momentum in a matter of months not years.

[17:40:08] We know that this is probably going to be important as President Biden and the other G7 leaders continue to think about in the coming days and weeks what kind of assistance they can continue giving to Ukraine. We, of course, know too that Zelenskyy ask for more help in terms of air defense systems, including ones that have the capability to shoot down Russian missiles from the sky.

Now, as we have been reporting, the U.S. is getting ready to announce that it has purchased a medium to long range surface to air missile defense system for Ukraine. And the big picture takeaway will from the G7 summit, where these leaders saying that they are ready to help Ukraine for as long as it takes, Wolf.

BLITZER: M.J., as you know, Russia made a point to launch new strikes at the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as these G7 leaders were meeting. Was this designed to send a message?

LEE: Yes, You know, honestly, the split screen that we saw during the G7 was incredibly striking. On the one hand, we, of course, had President Biden and his fellow G7 leaders meeting, talking to President Zelenskyy, trying to figure out ways to help Ukraine and to punish Russia and bring this war to an end. And then on the other hand, we have these horrific images coming out of Ukraine, including this latest attack by Russia, in central Ukraine at a major shopping mall, where we don't even yet have a full sense of the number of injuries, the number of people killed.

So I think what we saw with real clarity today is one of the major motivating factors for President Zelenskyy. And that is the human suffering. Since this invasion began in February, of course, so many people have died. So many people have been displaced, and people have lost their livelihoods. They can't go back home. And so this is one of the motivating factors not just for Zelenskyy, but for the G7 leaders too, as they really try to figure out how to bring this war to an end. Wolf?

BLITZER: M.J. Lee, traveling with the President in Europe, thank you very much.

Let's get some more now on Russia's increasingly brutal invasion of Ukraine. Joining us, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Prime Minister, thank you so much for joining us. As you know, Russia has been ramping up these missile attacks in recent days, including today on this shopping mall in central Ukraine. President Zelenskyy says 1,000 people were in that mall at that time. What does it say to you about the Russian invasion, that civilians far from the frontlines are still being targeted by the Russians with these missile strikes?

ARSENIY YATSENYUK, FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER: You know, that the experts labeled these war as war of attrition. I would call it as a war of atrocities. And Putin is personally responsible for these kinds of atrocities. So he decided to actually to strike Ukraine with a number of missiles. And the idea he has in his mind is to wreak havoc, to saw the fear and actually to kill innocent Ukrainians and to kill innocent civilians. So this is a despicable crime. And these crime has actually to put everyone on alert in this world, everyone, not only the free world, but Chinese, India, Africa, different countries all around the world. So they have to realize that this is a massacre that is going on right now in the center of Europe.

BLITZER: Yes. Clearly attacking a shopping mall with a lot of civilians walking around, that's not a military target at all. It's potentially a major war crime. President Zelenskyy, as you know, he says he wants this war now to end in months, not in years. But given the significant advances by Russia in recent weeks, is Ukraine even capable of driving out Kremlin forces do you believe, Prime Minister, by the end of this year?

YATSENYUK: I do believe that the time will come when Ukraine needs to restore its territorial integrity. I do believe that the West and the United States and the free world will support Ukraine as long as it takes. And I do believe that we are on the right side of the history. No doubt that Russian military is still has a lot of capacity, starting with the missiles and then with the heavy artillery. But on the other hand, if we stay together, and we will stay together, we will definitely prevail.

In terms of the winter, here is the thing, Wolf. I believe that Putin has another part of the plan, is to freeze Ukraine and to freeze Europe, because he is using energy and food as another weapon against the world, against -- not just the free world -- against the human beings. So this is a very clear signal to all of us, that this is the fight between the evil and the good. So the good has to win this fight.

BLITZER: The former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck to you, good luck to all the people of Ukraine. Thanks for joining us.

YATSENYUK: Thank you.


BLITZER: Coming up, an Amtrak train derailment leaves multiple people dead in Missouri. We have new details on the crash and the casualties. And we'll share them with you right after the break.


BLITZER: Just into CNN, emergency official in Missouri now says there are fatalities from an Amtrak train derailment on the scene there. CNN's Nick Valencia is working the story for us. Nick, what more are you learning?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf. An absolutely terrifying scene there. Well local officials tell us at least 50 people on that train were injured and there are also multiple people killed.

[17:50:04] We're learning -- we're working to learn just how many people were killed because of this image that you're now seeing there on your screen. This train, which was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed earlier this afternoon, when it struck a dump truck, which was blocking a public crossing. About 243 passengers were on board and one of them describe what it was like to live through this harrowing experience.


ROBERT NIGHTINGALE, PASSENGER: I decided to take a nap before my lunch reservation. And then I heard like -- I don't know what I heard. And then everything started to go in slow motion like (INAUDIBLE) coming and I was afraid that windows were going to smash. So I shimmied myself up against the exit to the room. And then we slid and then we came to a stop.


VALENCIA: Video from the scene shows multiple cars on that train to overturn with passengers literally having to sit on top of those trains. We understand from Amtrak, at least eight cars were overturned including two locomotives after striking that trunk that was obstructing a public crossing. We're still learning and gathering more information, Wolf, but we understand that those local officials will hold a press conference in about 10 minutes from now. Wolf?

BLITZER: We'll get more information. Nick Valencia, thank you very much for that update.

Meanwhile, a trial for Brittney Griner is set to begin Friday in Russia. The WNBA basketball player was arrested on allegations of drug smuggling. But the State Department here in Washington says Griner is being, quote, wrongfully detained. CNN's Kylie Atwood has details of the upcoming trial for us. So Kylie, what are you learning?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Wolf, we're learning that Friday is the date when this trial is going to take place in Russia for Brittney Griner. She was seen today in a pre- trial hearing. And the reason that Friday is so important is because detention in Russia has been extended for six months and it is based on the outcome of that trial. So that's why we are watching it so closely.

Now the State Department today reiterated that Brittney Griner is wrongfully detained. They're working with Griner and her family members to get her home, of course, pressing Russia to release her from detention right now. And we did hear just this evening from Brittney Griner's agent, Lindsay Colas. She is calling again on President Biden and Vice President Harris to strike a deal to bring Griner home and she said that needs to happen right now.

Now, we have heard from those who are close with Griner for weeks now, including multiple organizations who wrote to President Biden and Vice President Harris just last week, calling on the administration to strike this deal. And the sentiments from those folks has been a mixture of appreciation for what the Biden administration has done but also some frustration in terms of wanting to see Griner home more quickly, of course, that she has.

BLITZER: You know, Kylie, as you pointed out, this all comes after months of frustration from Griner's family, over how the U.S. has actually handled attempts to get her release, right?

ATWOOD: Yes, that's right. And just about a week ago, that frustration was on display because Brittney Griner's wife Cherelle Griner was expecting a call from her wife on their anniversary. And according to her wife, Cherelle Griner, this was a call that had been set up by the State Department, but it didn't happen. And Brittney Griner tried calling her wife 11 times, so there was a lot of frustration on Cherelle's behalf for the State Department.

Now, we know that Secretary of State Tony Blinken has had a one on one phone call with Cherelle Griner. Since that conversation failed to happen, we know that there was a rescheduled call between the two. But there has been frustration on the Griner's behalf here.

And we should also note that there is another American Paul Whelan, who is still detained in Russia as well. He's been detained for more than two years now. And so there are questions about there being a potential prisoner swap to get both Lindsay and Waylon home here to the United States because, of course, we saw earlier this year that it was a prisoner swap that got Trevor Reed released from Russia. Wolf?

BLITZER: I take it that U.S. officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow are closely following what's going on and staying in close touch with Griner and her team, right?

ATWOOD: They are. And a U.S. official tells me that a U.S. diplomat is going to be going to that trial on Friday, of course, to be there in support of Griner as -- on behalf of the U.S. government.

BLITZER: Let's hope she's released and released soon. Kylie Atwood at the State Department, thank you very much.

There's more breaking news coming up next. The FBI seizes the phone of former Trump election lawyer John Eastman as the House January 6th Select Committee announces a surprise new hearing tomorrow. We'll have the latest on all the fast-moving developments, that's coming up next.

Plus, much more of CNN's exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris. It's her first interview since the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe versus Wade.



BLITZER: Happening now breaking news, a key target of the January 6th investigation, former Trump election lawyer John Eastman says federal agents confronted him while he was leaving a restaurant and seized his phone. We're getting new details on that as the House Select Committee is now set to hold a surprise hearing tomorrow.

Also this hour, we're tracking the protests and the confusion now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Roe versus Wade. The impact of the ruling is growing by the day as more state bans on abortion take effect. And Vice President Kamala Harris is condemning what she calls, and I'm quoting her now, obvious hypocrisy surrounding the High Court decision in her first interview since Roe was overturned. Standby for CNN's exclusive one-on-one with the Vice President.

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.