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Indicted Informant Told FBI He Got Biden Dirt From Russian Intel; Biden Says, Major Russia Sanctions Coming After Navalny's Death; Haley Pledges To Keep Campaigning Against Disaster Trump; Two Men Charged With Murder In KC Super Bowl Rally Shooting; U.S. "Deeply Concerned" About Growing Russia And North Korea Ties. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired February 20, 2024 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's four, each told from the point of view of one of the Fab Four. Those films are due in 2027. In the meantime, you're just going to have to let it be, I suppose.

If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show whence you get your podcasts. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call The Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, the former FBI informant charged with lying about the Biden's dealings in Ukraine told investigators that Russian intelligence officials were involved in passing false information to him about Hunter Biden. Stand by for details on this new court filing.

Also tonight, President Biden is set to impose major new sanctions against Russia aimed at holding the Kremlin accountable for the death of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and for nearly two years of war in Ukraine.

Plus, Nikki Haley vows to stay in the Republican presidential race for the long haul, calling Donald Trump, and I'm quoting her now, a disaster, and declaring she's not afraid of his retribution.

The Biden campaign also is turning up the heat on Trump with the president himself ordering staffers to aggressively attack Trump's most inflammatory remarks.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.

And let's get right to the breaking news, a truly bombshell admission to the FBI by an informant on Hunter Biden that Russian intelligence officials were directly involved in passing along bogus dirt on the president's son.

CNN Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is working this important story for us. Evan, what are prosecutors now saying about these ties?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alexander Smirnov, Wolf, was behind those very damaging allegations against President Biden. One of the things he said to the FBI in 2020 was that he had information indicating that Hunter Biden, his son, and the then former vice president were going to get $5 million apiece in order to help fix some business for Burisma, which was a Ukrainian energy company, according to the FBI. According to the Justice Department, none of that is true. He is charged with lying to the FBI and falsifying records.

Now, this new court filing, which just came in in the last hour says that after Smirnov was arrested by the FBI last week, he said the following. He said that Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about Hunter Biden. Business person one is the one is what the Justice Department refers to in this filing, but it is Hunter Biden that they are referring to.

Now, Smirnov is due before a judge in the next few minutes, Wolf. The FBI and the Justice Department want him to remain detained while he faces these new charges. And so we'll find out whether a judge agrees to keep him detained. But one of the arguments that the Justice Department is making is that he has extensive contacts with intelligence officers, not only in Russia, but in other countries as well. And they say that he poses a flight risk. Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes, I just went through this nearly 40 or 50-page charge, this government's memorandum, in support of detention of this defendant, Alexander Smirnov, and it's got a lot of incredible details. What wider fears does all this raise?

PEREZ: Well, one of the things that the Justice Department and Special Counsel David Weiss is making here in this filing, Wolf, is that this not only refers to or has to do with the 2020 election, but that this also calls into question whether Smirnov is part of an effort to influence the next election, the 2024 election.

I'll read you just a part of this, that the Justice Department says this information that he is spreading is not confined to 2020. He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections. After meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November, the prosecutors in this filing will point out that he has business trips planned overseas. And, of course, the people who he is associated with, again, people who, according to the Justice Department, are people associated with intelligence agencies overseas, that they could essentially help influence U.S. elections that are coming up.



BLITZER: Yes, a lot of incredible details in this document.

Evan, stay with us. I want to bring in some of our legal, political and Russia experts to assess what's going on. Susan Glasser, I'll start with you. This is truly a remarkable development right now. What does it tell you about the extent and sophistication of Russian disinformation? SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, what leaves out here, of course, is not only that the FBI and the Justice Department have made this arrest and made these charges of false statements, but that these false statements appear to have made their way into the American political process and been amplified by key Republican members of Congress, of course, who have been pursuing President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

They've been seeking any evidence on which to base an impeachment case against Biden. That's been one of the demands of Donald Trump, in effect that his successor should face the same kind of investigation that he, Donald Trump, faced.

And, you know, I just think it's remarkable to see if we can trace the chain of these false statements about President Biden directly into the American political process and being amplified by important Republican members of Congress, as they've sought unsuccessfully so far to get President Biden under an impeachment investigation.

BLITZER: A very important point. Let me bring Carrie Cordero into this conversation. Carrie, what do you make of the allegations and the case that the prosecutors are now making against Smirnov?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the more it unfolds, Wolf, I think it's pretty troubling, in particular because this confidential informant appears to have been an informant for the FBI dating back to 2010. So, this is an individual that the FBI, that the Justice Department had trusted for a really long time.

And so, although last week, the charges that were brought against him were just one count of false statements and one count of falsification of records in a federal investigation, this new information reveals that there's an entire counterintelligence side of it.

And having covered, going back to 2016 now, Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections, it just feels to me that perhaps the FBI and the Justice Department don't have quite a good handle on it in figuring out ways to be able to effectively warn lawmakers, warn the public, warn policymakers when these efforts are underway.

So, I think it's good that they finally figured out that he was lying to them and that he was relaying information provided by Russian intelligence, but I think there's more to unpack here.

BLITZER: Yes, there certainly is. And Gloria Borger is with us as well. We've heard Republicans repeatedly tout this indicted ex-FBI informant's information and credibility. Listen and watch this. Let me play some clips.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Real of bribery -- Joe Biden bribery scandal allegation is this?

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Well, every day, this bribery scandal becomes more credible. REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): We already know the president took bribes from Burisma.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The most corroborating evidence we have is that 1023 form from this highly credible confidential human source, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Brady.


BLITZER: So, Gloria, how do you think they will now respond to this?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they've got a lot to answer for, as Carrie was saying also, so does the FBI. I mean, this has gone from being just a fabrication, which was charged to a charge about Smirnov being essentially a Russian operative here, taking information from the Russians that was false, and passing it along to Republicans on the committee and portraying himself as a trusted FBI agent, which he apparently might have been.

And so there's -- as Carrie was saying, there's an awful lot to unravel here. But in the short-term, I think we can say that Republicans don't have a leg to stand on anymore when it comes to this investigation into Hunter Biden, because he was allegedly their main credible source for the notion of bribes of $5 million each going to the president and Hunter Biden, and now he's been completely discredited.

BLITZER: Yes, by the U.S. government and the special counsel of the Justice Department.

Evan, let me get back to you. What do you know about why it took so long for federal officials to reveal this information against Smirnov?

PEREZ: According to the court records, Wolf, the FBI last year in 2023 asked David Weiss, the U.S. attorney, who's been doing all of these investigations, to take a look at this and to look into whether Smirnov was lying.

And so what we don't know is what happened between 2020 and 2023. David Weiss, again, the special counsel who has been charged with looking into Hunter Biden's business dealings, has brought two charges, two separate cases against Hunter Biden in L.A. and in Delaware.


The question is, what has he been doing in the intervening period to look into this? And the question is also for the FBI whether they ever really verified some of the claims of their informant.

Part of the issue here is that this is a guy who, according to the FBI, was associated with a number of intelligence agencies. And so I'm sure they viewed him as very valuable source of information. But once that information then became part of the political discussion, when Republicans started leaning on his information and making it public, the question is, what does the FBI do to try to make sure that these claims are at least verified before, again, they're put out there in the political sphere.

BLITZER: Yes, it's really a damning charge in this 28-page, nearly 30, 40-page charge that has just been released officially. Susan, what concerns do you have about the November presidential election, given what we're learning here?

GLASSER: Well, Wolf, I was thinking it's so notable that this disinformation from what appears to be Russian intelligence sources makes its way into the US political system because it's pushing on an open door. In effect, it was offering Republican members of Congress on Capitol Hill, Republican pro-Trump commentators on television exactly what they wanted to hear about.

And so, you know, it shows how manipulable our political system is and it shows how open we are, especially as Russians become savvy to what it is the American political system wants to hear from their operatives, and they seem intent upon giving it to them.

And I do think it underscores that Vladimir Putin is very clear about the stakes in the 2024 presidential election. And he has every incentive in the world, of course, to keep his deadly war going in Ukraine until the election because there's one candidate, Donald Trump, who's made it clear that he would not be providing the same support to Ukraine.

BLITZER: Yes, that's an important point as well. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, we're going to have much more on the breaking news. A key former National Security Council official, Alexander Vindman, is standing by live. We'll get his reaction to this bombshell news.

We'll be right back.



BLITZER: We're back with the breaking news, new court documents just released revealing that an indicted informant admitted to the FBI that he got dirt about Hunter Biden from Russian intelligence officials.

Joining us now, the former National Security Council official, retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. Colonel Vindman, thanks so much for joining us.

What's your reaction to this filing that this FBI informant, a guy by the name of Alexander Smirnov, was fed fake dirt on the Bidens by Russian intelligence? And how does this fit into the pattern of how Russia actually operates?

LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: You know, we use the term bombshell pretty often, but I think this is some bombshell reporting. The reason is that it clarifies certain facets of Russia's influence operation to interfere in elections almost a decade back, 2016, 2020, and 2024.

It certainly shows their tradecraft in using witting agents. Smirnov is under arrest because he's assessed to be a witting agent, more than likely. And the fact that I think from an intelligence perspective, from the Russian perspective, they see a large number of Republican political leaders as unwitting agents carrying forward Russian disinformation.

So, that's pretty interesting picture that it paints of how the Russians are interfering, co-opting the Republican Party to do their bidding to tip the scales in Trump's favor.

The other thing that's really interesting is it may clarify some of Trump's intentions, why he is catered so hard towards Russia, why he invited just -- you know, within the past two weeks, he invited Russia to attack a NATO member, a grave danger for U.S. troops, a grave danger for U.S. troops. Why? Because he's looking for that quid pro quo that he's been searching for from 2016 forward, whether it's emails, whether it's solicitations to Russia to share intelligence to deliver some sort of information on corruption.

That is why he's probably working so -- you know, he's leaning so far into engaging with Russia because he's looking for any and every means to win the 2020 elections and tip the scales in his favor. I witnessed it when I was in the White House and reported presidential corruption. It carries through to 2024, very, very dangerous.

BLITZER: I remember, Colonel, when you testified in the then-President Trump's first impeachment hearing where he was accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Biden's business ties over there in Ukraine. How does that inform you now, now that you view this latest development?

VINDMAN: Well, so those were Russian agents back then. Also, these were Russian agents feeding dirt on this corruption, this so-called corruption scheme with Burisma, which, frankly, nobody's found any credible reporting indicating that President Biden was in any way involved.

Certainly, there's no dispute that Hunter Biden was on the board receiving money, but there's no implication of President Biden being involved in this. But these were Russian agents back then. These have been Russian officers, running Russian agents all the way through to this day.


And it is really deeply disturbing that swaths of the Republican political elite have been co-opted to carry forward Russian influence operations to interfere in U.S. elections. I think the Republicans, unfortunately, are not likely to change their tune. They'll say that it's interference that the FBI now is looking to spoil that impeachment inquiry. I don't think they're going to adjust their narrative, but it's deeply dangerous, and the American public needs to know what is going on and how Russia is interfering with the help of the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

BLITZER: This U.S. filing against Smirnov also says Smirnov's contacts (ph) were extensive, recent, and not trivial. And I'm quoting now, the false information he provided was not trivial. It targeted the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. The effects of Smirnov's false statements and fabricated information continue to be felt to this day.

Colonel, do you think the U.S. is taking this threat of Russian interference in the 2024 presidential election seriously enough?

VINDMAN: I think the Biden administration is, to a certain extent, the Trump administration also at the professional level, looked to harden our elections to make sure that they weren't subject to cyber attacks. But influence operations are a different animal entirely. Really, it's about inserting messages, finding receptive audiences and sowing chaos, disinformation, casting both candidates as corrupt. So, it definitely clarifies the point on what the Russians are doing.

What's a little bit disturbing, frankly, is that sources go through annual vetting and they get repeatedly assessed for how effective they are, how credible they are. And for somebody like this individual to be assessed as credible, continue to provide reporting. I think there's something that fell through the cracks in terms of screening, and this should have never happened. And certainly Congress should have been warned about the fact that they were communicating with a waiting agent of the Russian intelligence services.

BLITZER: Yes, they got to learn the lessons of this to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Alexander Vindman, thank you so much for joining us.

VINDMAN: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, Nikki Haley vows to stay in the race against Donald Trump, even as she risks an embarrassing loss in her home state of South Carolina.

Plus, President Biden urges his campaign staff to go after Trump's most outrageous and inflammatory remarks. We have details on the new strategy, and we'll have those for you right after a quick break.



BLITZER: Tonight, Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley is vowing to keep campaigning against GOP frontrunner Donald Trump until, as she put it, the last person votes. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some of you, perhaps a few of you in the media, came here today to see if I'm dropping out of the race. Well, I'm not.


BLITZER: Let's bring in CNN's Kylie Atwood in Haley's home state of South Carolina, where the former governor is campaigning only four days before the GOP primary there.

Kylie, Haley went out to say why she is staying in the race. Tell our viewers what she said.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Nikki Haley said she refuses to quit. She's not going to cave. She's willing to take the cuts and bruises to keep her campaign alive, saying that the American people deserve to have a choice, deserve to have their voice heard. And she articulated once again her case that she believes that she is the best younger candidate, the best younger option for the American public.

Just listen to what she said going after Trump and Biden for their age in a very sharp way today.


HALEY: Trump and Biden are two old men who are only getting older. Nearly 60 percent of Americans say Trump and Biden are both too old to be president, because they are. We've all seen them fumble their words and get confused about world leaders.

We're talking about the most demanding job in human history. You don't give it to someone who's at risk of dementia.


ATWOOD: Now, Nikki Haley said that on Sunday, the day after the South Carolina Primer, her campaign is still going to be alive. She talked about the fact that ten days after the South Carolina Primer, there are 21 states and territories that are going to vote. She committed to staying in the race.

One thing she didn't do, however, Wolf, was get into the delegate math and the Trump campaign, for their part, trying to undercut her argument today by putting out a memo noting that they believe that they're going to clinch enough delegates for Trump to actually have the Republican nomination by March 12th or March 19th. Wolf?

BLITZER: Kylie Atwood in South Carolina for us, Kylie, thanks very much.

And joining us now from South Carolina, another former Republican governor from that state, Mark Sanford, also with us, CNN's Senior Political Commentator, the former Obama senior adviser, David Axelrod.

And, Governor Sanford, I'll start with you. A recent poll in your state of South Carolina showed Nikki Haley losing to Trump in her home state by more than 30 points, 65 percent to 30 percent.


You said it would be a -- it would take a meteor strike for her to win South Carolina. So, why do you think she's actually staying in this race now?

FMR. GOV. MARK SANFORD (R-SC): You know, I suspect there'd probably be a couple of reasons. You know, one would be, you know, in politics, and we're all ultimately bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. You know, if you're going to brand, then stick with your brand. And I think a number of these candidates, former candidates, have done horrible harm to their own brand by saying, wait, I'm against Trump, but no, I'm going to suck up to Trump.

So, I think it's locking in her brand, which I think is pretty smart. Two, a cardinal rule of politics is pick your flavor. You know, you're either pro-life or pro-choice, for instance, for most folks. And the people who say, well, you know, I'm pro-life, well, no, I'm pro- choice, no, I'm pro-life, again, it confuses folks. So, I think that there's a consistency message that matters.

And then, finally, I think at this point in the game, though she was originally a Trump supporter not that long ago, she has locked in on this flavor, and I think it gets personal at this stage of the campaign when you're four days out.

BLITZER: And today may have been the strongest statement she's made so far against Trump during this campaign.

David Axelrod, the Trump campaign released a memo today about the South Carolina primary which reads in part, and let me quote from it, Nikki Haley's campaign ends Saturday, February 24th, fittingly in her home state, rejected by those who know her the best.

David, how damaging do you think a massive defeat in her state where she serves as governor would be to her campaign?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think you have to be a political commentator or a politician to know that getting beaten in your home state is always bad. For months and months and months, she'd been pointing to South Carolina as the place where she was going to break through.

Listen, she is game. She is tough. She's proven that. But when she says, I'm not going anywhere, that can have two meanings and it's not really clear where she's going here. She's not in a position to win her home state. I think she's really hoping to win a delegate or two in her home states, winner-take-all, statewide and by district. There's maybe one congressional district where she could win some delegates. And then when you look down the field, Wolf, it's really hard to see where she picks up delegates.

And at the end of the day, running for president is about accumulating delegates to be the nominee. And it's very, very clear, this is Donald Trump's party right now. BLITZER: While, I have you, David. Let's turn to President Biden's campaign. CNN has now learned that he's given his top campaign officials new marching orders to more aggressively attack the wildest, most inflammatory statements from Trump. One senior campaign adviser saying the Biden team has been surprised by how many voters appear to have put, and I'm quoting now, rose-colored glasses on when looking back at the Trump years. Is that the right strategy? Do you think that they can pull this off?

AXELROD: Yes. Well, listen, better late than never. I think this should have been the strategy for some time. And I'm not sure that it's just the things that he says. It's the things that he does in the last few weeks. You've seen President Trump single-handedly block the single most stringent border security measure that the Congress has taken up that was agreed to by Republicans, Democrats, and the president. He single-handedly stopped it because he said, we don't want to give this issue away. So let's keep the crisis going.

We've seen what happened in the last few days relative to Ukraine and Russia. He had nothing to say. To this day, he really hasn't said anything about Navalny, hasn't condemned Putin, has condemned NATO, but not Putin, and has bridled the Congress from funding Ukraine as Ukraine is losing territory for lack of ammunition.

There is plenty of stuff to talk about relative to Donald Trump. And they should, because it's very hard for president to win a referendum in this day and age. And for Biden, this is particularly true, partly because of the age issue and partly because of the sour mood of the country. He needs this to be a choice, and he needs to focus on that. So, I fundamentally believe they're right, a little late to it, but I'd lean even further in.

BLITZER: Interesting. You know, Governor Sanford, Biden, President Biden was asked today about his preferred opponent for the November presidential election. This is what he said, listen.


REPORTER: Who are you at a challenge in November? Nikki Haley or Donald Trump?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't care.


BLITZER: You buy that? President Biden once said, he wasn't sure he'd be running if it weren't for Trump.

SANFORD: Yes, I don't buy it. I mean, it's political bravado.


I think that Nikki would give him a real run for the money and he'd be in trouble. I think that there are any number of polls that have laid that out. I think that Trump's going to give him a run for the money if they don't sort of gear it up as David was just suggesting with some of the issues that I think are at play and would resonate with voters.

So, I think he does care. I think his team cares. But you know, that's what you say in the world of politics before facing your opponent because you sure don't want to put up a white flag ahead of time and suggest you're worried.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. Governor Sanford, thanks so much for joining us. David Axelrod, always good to have you here in The Situation Room as well. I appreciate it.

And just ahead, how President Biden is vowing to respond after the death of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Much more news coming up, we'll be right back.


BLITZER: Right now, we want to check in over at the White House as we follow breaking news on the new filing by the U.S. Justice Department alleging a former FBI informant has now admitted getting dirt on Hunter Biden from Russian intelligence officials, information prosecutors now say was false.


Let's go to CNN Senior White House correspondent M.J. Lee. M.J., any reaction, at least so far, from the Biden camp?

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's not clear whether we will hear anything of official from the White House about this, though. As you know, the White House has been pretty consistent in talking about the Republican impeachment inquiry that is based on Smirnov's claims. But they see that as being politically motivated and basically totally bogus. I think, if anything, we could end up hearing directly from President Biden at some point in the next few days, as he's on this West Coast swing, if he does get asked about this latest development.

You'll recall that last Friday after delivering remarks about Alexey Navalny, when a reporter asked him about Smirnov, we got a pretty fiery response from the president saying that he was lying, the inquiry, impeachment inquiry should be dropped altogether and saying that all of this had been outrageous from the very beginning. So clearly this is something that the president is amped up about, not to mention the very sort of grave and serious implications that all of this has for Russia's attempts to influence politics here in the U.S. Wolf?

BLITZER: As you know, M.J., we did hear from President Biden earlier today about the new sanctions against Russia that are clearly now in the works. Tell our viewers what he's saying.

LEE: We did. The president confirmed that a new round of sanctions against Russia is going to be coming on Friday. This was expected ever since news of Alexey Navalny's death broke. He said that the timing, or indicated at least that the timing is not a coincidence. This is according to actually U.S. officials speaking afterwards, given that Saturday happens to be the two-year mark of Russia's invasion into Ukraine. This is the president earlier today.


BIDEN: I told you we'd be announcing sanctions on Russia. We'll have a major package announced on Friday. I'll be happy to sit with you all in doing that, okay?


LEE: Now, U. S. officials, of course, have been careful not to telegraph exactly what that package of sanctions is going to look like. But Jake Sullivan, the president's national security adviser, did describe this as a substantial package. He said that it would be a wide range of targets that come in this package, particularly aimed at Russia's defense industry as well as revenue that fuels Russia's war machine. This is according to Jake Sullivan.

So, this obviously comes as the White House is continuing to urgently call on House Republicans to take action to pass a national security bill that would fund Ukraine's war efforts to the tune of some $60 billion. That, of course, remains stalled on Capitol Hill right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, they're in recess right now. M.J. Lee reporting from the White House, thank you.

Let's get some more right now on Alexey Navalny's death and the reaction. CNN's Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Matthew Chance is joining us live from Moscow right now. Matthew, give us the latest information you're getting.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, there's been some significant developments here, particularly a lot of controversy surrounding the promotion of the deputy director of the Russian Federal Prison Service. His name is Valery Boyarinev, and he's been promoted to the rank of colonel general. It's something that was announced on an internal website but has been reported by the state media here in Russia. It's controversial because it comes just a few days, four days after the death of Alexey Navalny, that prominent Russian opposition leader, in one of the prisons that that service runs.

And so that's why it's caused such outrage, particularly amongst Navalny's supporters. The head of Alexey Navalny's anti corruption foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, saying this is a personal award for torture and murder from Putin.

Now, the Kremlin, of course, has denied there's any connection between the death of Navalny and this promotion. But it comes as all this controversy continues to boil up here with most recently the mother of Navalny, Lyudmila Navalnaya, moving 2,000 miles or so to the north of the country here in Russia, to try and get access to the remains of her son, failing and now making a personal appeal to Vladimir Putin to intervene. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYUDMILA NAVALNAYA, ALEXEY NAVALNY'S MOTHER: I'm addressing you, Vladimir Putin. The solution to the issue depends only on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexey's body be immediately handed over so that I can bury him humanely.


CHANCE: An emotional appeal there from Navalny's mother. But, you know, shortly after she made those remarks to the camera there.


It was announced here in Russia that her other son Oleg, Oleg Navalny, Alexey Navalny's brother has also been announced to -- by the prosecutors to be on the police wanted list. It's not clear what he's suspected of, but it does indicate that the authorities here are not easing up the pressure at all on the Navalny family.

BLITZER: Not at all.

Matthew Chance in Moscow for us, thank you.

Just ahead, prosecutors unveil new charges in the Kansas City Super Bowl rally shooting.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: We're following breaking news. Two new arrests in last week's deadly Kansas City Super Bowl rally shooting.

CNN's Josh Campbell is gathering new information for us.

Josh, so what do we know about the new charges?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Wolf. So, we previously reported on two juveniles who had been taken into custody. This is now a separate set of charges.


Prosecutors there in Kansas City today announcing that two adult men have now been charged with murder, their names, Lyndell Mays and Dominic Miller.

I'll read you part of the charges. The most significant include second-degree murder, which if convicted, that could lead them up to life in prison. Another charge of unlawful use of a weapon, specifically firing at someone if convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison there. Now authorities for days have been poring over this large-scale crime

scene. We know that there was chaos. There were multiple shots that were ringing out. Just today, prosecutors gave us some new clarity on the timeline. What was occurring before the first shot was fired? Have a listen.


JEAN PETERS BAKER, JACKSON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Defendant Mays was in a verbal argument with another individual. That argument very quickly escalated to Mays drawing his firearm almost immediately. Others pulled their firearms.

The evidence tells us that it was Mr. Miller's firearm -- Mr. Miller's firearm struck Lisa Lopez-Galvan.


COLEMAN: Now, this is grim, but this is what investigators are dealing with. This one victim, Lisa Lopez-Galvan, authorities actually pulled a .38 caliber round from her, match that to one of the weapons that was in possession of one of these individuals.

Now CNN is attempting to locate attorney information for them. We do know that not only they're in custody, Wolf, they're also still in the hospital. These two individuals were victims in the shooting. As you had this dispute, multiple people pulling out weapon, shooting -- shooting in different places. Again, they injured -- they were injured in this process.

BLITZER: Interesting. I understand also, Josh, that investigators are calling for additional victims to actually come forward.

CAMPBELL: No, that's right. Authorities say they know the number of gunshot wounds that were suffered, what they don't know is how many people may have been injured fleeing. You can imagine the chaos as shots ring out. People are fleeing over fences and, you know, there could be the trampling stampede effect.

Authorities say that if you were injured on that day, they want to hear from you. What does that tell us? That tells us that authorities there are still building this case and likely are going to try to bring every possible charge that they can down to every person who was injured against the people that they believed were responsible -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Josh Campbell reporting, thank you.

And well be right back with more news



BLITZER: New developments today at the United Nations Security Council, where the United States has now vetoed an Algerian resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, claiming it would have hurt efforts to release hostages. The veto covers the one day after the U.S. released its own draft proposal for a temporary ceasefire at the U.N. Security Council amid growing American frustration with Israel's war against Hamas.

Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine is bringing two of America's biggest adversaries closer together, and the repercussions of the relationship are being felt in the war torn country.

Brian Todd is monitoring the story for us.

Brian, what is this growing Russia/North Korea alliance mean for U.S. national security interests?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it means that Americas ally in Kyiv not only has to contend with Vladimir Putin's army and its arsenal, but also with hundreds of North Korean artillery shells and missiles, which we we've just learned have American-made parts in them.


TODD (voice-over): A startling discovery on the battlefield in Ukraine a ballistic missile fired by Russian forces against Ukraine, a missile made in North Korea, but which contains hundreds of components which traced back to American and European companies. The investigative group Conflict Armament Research examined the missile recently recovered in Kharkiv, Ukraine, a missile that has us made navigational components crucial to hitting Ukrainian targets.

DAMIEN SPLEETERS, CONFLICT ARMAMENT RESEARCH: They will have the missile to determine the location where it is, where it needs to be to process large amount of data that the missile needs to process in order to guide itself towards its target.

TODD: The group doesn't name the American companies whose parts are in the missile.

SPLEETERS: And the manufacturers most often do not have any visibility over the end-user of their components. So for us, it's a bit useless to try to point fingers at producers and manufacturers.

TODD: Illicit technology is just one part of a larger problem, growing military ties between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. Ties that have been strengthened with a luxury gift to the North Korean dictator from his Russian counterpart. The Russian limo that Putin showed Kim when the two met last year, Putin just sent Kim a similar model called an Aurus, according to North Korean state media, the Russian president possibly trying to one-up former President Trump, who showed Kim the American presidential limo, a Cadillac nicknamed the Beast, when the two met in Singapore in 2018.

Kim's managed to move around in several high-end vehicles over the years, including a black Rolls-Royce and armored Mercedes-Maybach Pullman Guard limousines. The problem is, under U.N. sanctions, Kim's not supposed to have these

luxury cars. He smuggled them in, and then turns around to flaunt his apparent fleet of limos.

JASON ARTERBURN, FELLOW, CENTER FOR ADVANCED DEFENSE STUDIES: North Koreas commercial facilitators overseas have global reach that stretches not only in northeast Asia, but also to places like Europe as well.

TODD: Kim, now reaping the prestige of high profile summit and the symbolic value of red carpets and limousine rides.

BRUCE KLINGNER, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: And that certainly enhances Kim stature. It shows that he's an equal on the world stage. And it also has probably an impact domestically showing came as the great leader, that he can deliver for North Korea, even though the economic conditions remained dismal.


TODD (on camera): North Korea has been banned from importing luxury goods since 2006, but that has not stopped the regime from smuggling and items like high-end watches, yachts, cognac, and other expensive liquor, even ski lifts for the resort, which only North Korean elites can use.

Wolf, we've also done features on his other high-end modes of transportation. He's got an armored train. He's got a private plane that was custom made just for him. He gets around in some pretty incredible machinery.

BLITZER: Very interesting indeed. Brian Todd, thank you very much for that report.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The news continues next on CNN.