tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN April 7, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
ketanji br ketanji brown jackson as the first black woman to join that body. >> we just heard all the yeas and nays there called out, and three republicans have crossed the aisle, basically, to vote with democrats in terms of supporting her nomination. >> yeah, in the 232 years of the supreme court, this will be -- if she's confirmed, and she is expected to be -- the first time in the history of the supreme court that white males will not make up the majority of the court. we know that there are three republicans who joined with democrats, senators murkowski, collins, and romney. final vote expected to be, of course, we are waiting for that to be announced. 53-47. >> we just heard lindsey graham there opt not to vote for her, though he recently voted for her nomination on the federal bench. but you know, obviously, it's a historic moment. it's a very historic moment, and
it also, on a similar track, is just a huge moment for her and her credentials, and this incredibly sturdy glass ceiling that she has broken because of her qualifications. >> you know, we can tell by the group in the room that it's more than just the 100 senators and staff. let's bring in chief congressional correspondent manu raju. we understand that there are people who are trying to witness this moment in the chamber, manu. >> reporter: yeah, not just the people from the public, which is unusual, given the pandemic. the senate has been closed off from the public for some time and has reopened more recently and now filled with people from the outside wanting to witness history here, including the first lady -- the second gentleman, doug emhoff, the husband of the vice president of the united states, kamala
harris, who is presiding over this vote at the moment. the reason why they have not finalized this vote, they are waiting for one senator. we're told it's senator rand paul of kentucky. he is expected, of course, to vote no, and once he comes and votes, then this vote will be closed, and officially, they will gavel it shut. harris will announce the final tally, which is going to be 53-47, and she will be confirmed after a process that began with the expectation that she would likely get confirmed, given that she had three republican votes to confirm her to the lower court, the d.c. circuit, just last year. she was able to maintain two of those three votes, susan collins and lisa murkowski. she lost one of those supporters, lindsey graham, who ended up voting no, but she did pick up senator mitt romney, who initially opposed her to the d.c. circuit but said through his vetting, through his meetings with her and through her performance at the hearings, that he was impressed by her, that she was within the judicial mainstream, in his view, and enough to win his support. so, in a matter of moments, we
will see this gavel come down. we will see people probably cheer, people who have come from around the country, people who have come from the public, and also some house members too, who are -- the members of the congressional black caucus who walked from the house side over to the senate side who are seated along the perimeter of the senate floor to watch history unfold here as just in a matter of moments, it will be official. the senate will confirm ketanji brown jackson to be the first black woman ever to serve on the supreme court. >> let's bring in john, our cnn legal analyst watching along with us. joan, do we know where judge jackson is right now? >> i'm sure she is glued to a television. what happens for these things is, you know, she will be with her supporters watching. she knows what the end will be, and we also know that almost immediately, she will hear from many supporters, including chief justice john roberts. he has made a practice of making
sure he can call his new associate justice, which she'll be once stephen breyer officially retires, as soon as the senate vote is over. just elena kagan said she saw her final senate vote back in 2010, he called her from australia, even though the time difference certainly was a bit shocking to his system. and i expect that soon-to-be justice jackson will hear also from the chief. as you know, alisyn and victor, she actually will not take her seat on the supreme court until she is officially been given the oath of office, and that won't come until justice breyer actually retires at the end of june, but this is the most important step because under the constitution, the president selects a candidate for the court, but it must be -- he or she must be confirmed by the senate, and as soon as we get that final tally in a matter of
moments, there will be no looking back. she will be, soon, justice jackson, but that won't happen officially until likely the end of june or early july, alisyn. >> natasha alford, who is here with us, cnn political analyst, two elements of history here. of course, the confirmation vote for who is expected to be soon the first black woman on the supreme court but also presiding over this is the first black woman to serve as vice president of this country. >> it feels right. when you think about the ways that black women show up for this democracy, we vote in overwhelming numbers, we lead protests, we stand up for social justice. our labor built this country. we birthed children for this country, and now we are represented in this way as justices on the supreme court, as vice presidents of the united states. to me, this is just the
beginning. open those doors so that even more of us, we are so qualified, right? we are so passionate. we care so deeply about this democracy. we can walk through those doors and make an impact and represent for this country. >> joan, to that point, and to the point i was trying to make earlier about judge jackson's qualifications, how was she able to break this incredibly sturdy glass ceiling that had only white men on it for something like 170 years? what are her special qualifications? >> you know, it's interesting you say that, because this is what she's been doing through most of her 51 years of life. she's certainly the achievements she had at harvard, the ch achievement she had when she was named to a trial court here in washington, d.c., in 2013 by former president barack obama, which she was elevated last year by president biden to the very
prestigious federal appellate court for the d.c. circuit, i think we saw a lot of what she has on display during those sn senate confirmation hearings. first of all, she's obviously incredibly smart and competent, but she's got a real sense of herself that she could hold it together during a series of offensive questions and tough questions about her record and never lost it, always was able to, frankly, be a very good advocate for herself, and with her credentials and her experience as a trial judge which is relatively rare on the supreme court and her experience as a federal public defender, which is definitely distinct for this generation. we have to go all the way back to thurgood marshall, who was appointed in 1967, to have someone with significant criminal justice experience on the court, defending defendants. so, she has a real range. as you know, alisyn, she was --
she was born here in washington, d.c. she grew up in miami. she's very much a product of this miami community and palmetto high school, where she went to school and was on the debate team there. she really represents a lot of americans here, you know? her parents were once excluded from many things just because of the color of their skin. they came up and experienced the 1960s civil rights revolution, and here she is as someone who was born in 1970, somebody who can really take advantage of the civil rights revolution of decades ago. as senator schumer said in his remarks, this is all part of a really important, impressive american story, and america -- american history is being made right there on the floor now, and it's comparable to '67 when
thurgood marshall became the first african american justice, and then 1981 when ronald reagan chose sandra day o'connor as the first female justice, and then bringing us up to 2009 when sonia sotomayor was the first latina on the supreme court, so a lot of history right here in this moment, alisyn. >> yeah. we have with us also laura coates, cnn senior legal analyst and former prosecutor, also gloria borger, cnn chief political analyst. i want to make sure that we explain what's happening here. judge jackson now has the 53 votes for confirmation, but there is one senator who has not yet cast the vote, the final vote here. that's senator rand paul, republican from kentucky. his vote expected to be "no" on confirmation. gloria, to you. 71 days ago, when we first got the news that justice breyer would retire, it wasn't clear, when we were having this
conversation, of how the white house would navigate this, how they would come up with a nominee that would satisfy all 50 democratic senators. they obviously now have done it. >> yeah. and i think that was job number one, because they knew that this could not be filibustered because of the change in the rules, and so all they needed was 50 plus 1, which would be the vice president, and i think that wasn't easy, but i think ketanji brown jackson, as joan was just saying, was a known quantity, somebody who has been respected for an awfully long time, who has worked her way up the ranks. as i look at this picture, though, you know, the thing that strikes me is whether we're watching a different kind of history here also. and not one to applaud. and that is that whether we're ever going to see a supreme court justice approved when a president is of the different party than the united states senate. biden has the advantage here.
he's got democrats, a very slight majority, you know, 50, that's it. but if you say, and mitch mcconnell has been hinting very strongly at this, should republicans take over the senate, biden as president, what would they do? would they allow a nominee that they don't like for some reason to be brought to the floor? that is what happened with merrick garland, you will recall. when barack obama was president. the excuse then was it was too close to the election. and so, we're now starting to see and ask questions about, in this polarized world in which we live, can a president of one party get a nominee through a senate that is run by a different party? that's a big question out there. >> it's a pretty chilling question, actually, to think that, you know, a president wouldn't be able to nominate a supreme court nominee because of all the obstruction.
but let's bring in laura coates. laura, i mean, we have had so many conversations with you about what her qualifications are, the historical moment that we're living in. what are your thoughts? >> well, first of all, i sincerely hope that senator rand paul has a good excuse to hold up the confirmation of history happening right now. really, it's about the confirmation of judge ketanji brown jackson and the idea that he is the one senator who has not shown up, i hope he has a good excuse. however, i will say, i'm really emotional, thinking about this moment in history. i mean, i turn to my daughter multiple times, who is watching this all unfold, wondering why this was such significance to me and i said to her, my beautiful daughter, don't worry. you are going to hear "no" a lot more than 47 times in your life, and in the end, they will still have to put respect on your name, and they may even have to call you justice. the idea in every single time i heard a "no" and i heard the way
the parliamentarian was counting the word and saying it, it almost had a judgmental quality that made me laugh as, this person has said, no. and it reminded me of all the moments in history that black women have been told no, have been told to get to the back of the line, whether it's the feminist movement, suffrage movement, talking about it's not yet your time to be counted in full. well, it seems that today, 116 is the new number one, and i am extraordinarily proud of her composure. i'm extraordinarily proud that she was able to endure that which many could not, the asinine questions she was asked by many members of the republican party at her confirmation hearing, hoping to have an audience of electorate and conflate the issues she would never touch and is yet she was still resolute and sthe mad so many people proud, not the least of which was her own family in that room, but for me as a black woman, as a mother, i cannot tell you the unbelievable amount of joy to watch somebody finally honored and respected
and given her due respect for the composure, for her mind, for her dignity, for her professionalism, for her career, and let's not be confused for a single moment. black women don't just have a glass ceiling. they live in a glass cube. most of the time, they're under a microscope with the sun beating down, hoping for a moment that they will, in fact, fail, and she was set up so many times during that confirmation hearing, and yet, they will eventually, by the end of today, i bet by sundown if not much sooner when rand paul decides to show up, they will have to call a black woman justice in america. >> so, we've just learned, laura, that judge ketanji brown jackson is with president biden at the white house, watching this count. >> mr. paul, no. >> pause here. all right. we just got the final vote there. that was rand paul voting "no" .
will immediately be notified of the senate's action. >> madam president, very happily, i note the absence of a quorum. [ applause ] >> the clerk will call the role. >> ms. baldwin. >> there it is. an historic moment for this country. judge ketanji brown jackson is now a future justice ketanji brown jackson as she will be the first black woman to serve on the u.s. supreme court. 51 years old, replacing retiring justice stephen breyer. laura coates, let me bring it right back to you. up until that moment, it was anticipating what would happen, and now that it has happened, your thoughts. >> it has happened. and it is a wonderful day in the history of america and in the future of america, because as she has said herself, one of the
things that's so invaluable to the court, that they're very much lacking to this day, is the idea of public confidence and believing that the court reflects the people of the united states of america. and here you have not only somebody who is supremely talented and qualified, but also has the background of somebody who is known to have understood the gravity and the importance of protecting the people who stand accused under the weight of the federal government. as a prosecutor, i know full well how the deck is stacked against those who are defendants in this country, and to see somebody who has the understanding of what it means to protect the constitution in service to the court there is unbelievably important. what also is very beautiful to me is what i saw. as i alluded to before we heard the final tally, the idea of moseying on up to cast the final vote was met with extraordinary boos. why? one, because i don't understand why he was late to this matter
of extraordinary significance. and number two, because it tells you, why on earth -- how can it be that we've gone from a time where the very first woman to be a supreme court justice, talking about sandra day o'connor was, i think, 99-0. how could it be that someone who is qualified as judge ketanji brown jackson is having to scrape by and hope for the kindness of republican strangers to tally on to the already unanimous democratic vote. that tells you a lot about where we are in this country, and i hope that members of congress, when they're wondering why the american people sometimes question whether the supreme court is a political extension of the legislative branch, i hope they look to themselves and can identify and explain to their constituents why this particular nominee would not have gotten a resounding yes. but i hope their electorate will understand at the end of the day, without it, she still will be justice ketanji brown jackson, and i am proud.
congratulations, madam justice. >> we are just getting a photo in right now of judge ketanji brown jackson watching this moment at the white house with the president. president looks very excited about it. she looks very happy about it also. it's obviously a big moment for both of them as well as for the country. natasha, your thoughts as everything you just watched? >> i had chills watching that moment. it's hard not to feel some emotion. i think about that quote, we are our ancestors' wildest dreams and that's what this moment feels like. i think about the indignities that judge jackson faced during these confirmation hearings and the ways she had to be so calm, so measured, so thoughtful, and to hear the applause, that's what she deserved. that's truly what she deserved, and i think of black women in law school right now who know that they have to be twice as good, but they wonder, you know,
is this lip service? can i truly break that glass ceiling? and we have this moment now to look forward to, again, more doors opening, because representation is just the beginning. it's just the beginning. >> manu, was that booing that we heard when rand paul came in to file that final vote? >> reporter: it was exasperation from senators who were waiting for him to come. he actually, when he rarrived, our colleague ted tried to ask him why he was late for this vote, he didn't respond to those questions. he was dressed in casual attire. most senators, thursday afternoon, this is the last vote of the week, they vote and rush out. it was unclear why he was late. the democrats kept that vote open. they could have closed the vote because they had the votes and there's no requirement that they keep the vote open for a certain period of time, but they left it open as a matter of courtesy, given how significant of a vote this was. but the reaction afterwards too was interesting to see. the democrats stood up, they got
into a long, extended standing ovation. that is rarely seen in the senate. you do see that in the house, but the senate is a different chamber. you rarely see expressions of emotion like that break out in the senate but where we saw that was on the democratic side of the aisle. democrats stood up and were cheering. republicans were mostly gone with the exception of mitt romney, one of the three republicans who voted to confirm judge jackson. he was standing in the back by the congressional black caucus, the house democratic members, who were witnessing this moment of history. he was cheering as well. but what's also interesting through the course of this process, too, was that even the republicans who opposed judge jackson, very few -- none of them really questioned her qualifications for the court. it came down to issues of judicial philosophy or questions about how she handled sentencing decisions on defendants of child pornography cases, for instance, but nobody questioned whether she was qualified to serve on the court, and at the end of the day, they all recognize the significance of this moment, and
the within why there are only three republicans to break ranks shows how different of a time that we are in from just sometime ago when it was common place for both sides of the hill to vote for qualified nominees, whether it was ruth bader ginsburg or scalia, who were confirmed overwhelmingly in their era. now a partisan era, but she managed to get three republican votes and all 50 members of the democratic caucus and make history here today, guys. >> joan, we know that this probably doesn't change the ideology of the court because it is a conservative majority, but it does change the dynamic, and so how will her presence, once she actually is sworn in, what will change? >> well, first of all, alisyn, just think of -- just look at the difference in the ages. stephen breyer, who's retiring at age 83, is 32 years older than her. she's going to bring some fresh thoughts, some fresh blood, if
not a different ideology than his. she also has this very distinctive experience as a former trial judge and a former federal public defender. so, a different attitude around the justice's private table. i'm often reminded in these instances of something chief justice john roberts has said, that just a fresh justice brings an array of fresh thoughts about how the operations behind the scenes, about cases, and that just changes everyone to maybe alter his or her lens a little bit, and then there's sandra day o'connor, who said of the first african american justice, thurgood marshall, who was appointed in 1967, that his special perspective and his ability to tell stories around the private conference table really got them thinking in different ways. he might not have changed votes, but he at least changed the discussion. so, i think all of those things, alisyn -- >> joan -- >> -- will essentially affect and bring us a new supreme
court, one way or another. >> let me jump in here. we've got chair of the senate judiciary, dick durbin, speaking now. >> we were helped immensely by the fact that president biden picked the most extraordinary individual that i could think of in america. she turned out to be a pillar of strength, to show grace and dignity and really won over the hearts of the american people. that's not just a feeling. it's reflected in the polling. after our first week, and she's been going through 24 hours of questions, they asked american people their opinion of her, and it went up. it was positive. she was cool under pressure. she was solid. and she really made the case that to be the first, you have to be the best. so, this committee worked long and hard, not only for this nomination but also for other nominations for courts in the land. we want to make our justice system look much more like america. and today, we took a giant stride forward in giving this judge, ketanji brown jackson,
her chance or lifetime chance to serve on the united states supreme court. i want to turn it over too former member of the committee who's still always welcome in the committee, but the majority leader, chuck schumer. >> thank you. well, i just wanted to -- it is just an amazing day. if i had to think of an adjective to describe all of us, it would be elated. elated because of this wonderful person going on the court, elated because america, today, the higher angels, as abraham lincoln said, held forth and held true. this has been a long, hard road as we've tried to get to greater equality, less bigotry in america, and there is often steps backward, but when you have a day like this, it inspires you to keep moving forward. there's no better group to have us move forward than this group. i came here to praise the judiciary committee led by dick
durbin. he just did a fabulous job. and to praise all the members of the committee. >> we've been listening to how the senators are wrapping up this historic vote for judge ketanji brown jackson and talking about how, their word, they are elated and how the court looks more like america today. >> yeah. and that image -- the stark image after the vote was called by the vice president of democrats on one side, cheering, and you saw people in the rest of the chamber, and republicans filing out silently afterwards. really brings home what we heard from gloria, was that we're now in this era where maybe the high mark is two or three of the party that's not in the white house confirming a nomination. >> yeah. laura, good. i want to make sure that you are still with us. one of the things that dick durbin said that i think is so interesting is that it looks more like america now, and she also has all these -- victor and i have talked about in the past, these different touch points for all of us.
i think she has family that is in law enforcement. she is a mother. she is married. i believe she has a relative who had a brush with law enforcement, her uncle, i believe, is imprisoned. there are all sorts of things beyond just obviously her color that makes her representative of different american families. >> i mean, you've just described the idea of a multidimensional human being, and guess what? as much as we think about the ways in which we look at our laws, in the black and white context, in a very myopic viewpoint, we're actually talking about laws that are far more comprehensive and have an impact collectively on multidimensional people, so we want to have a judge who is on the bench at every level, by the way, and she has served at every level, somebody who actually can bring that wherewithal, because frankly, objectivity and impartiality does not require that you have had your head in the sand as an ostrich your entire life. you've seen nothing but roses
and tasted wine. impartiality and objectivity require that you have lived in the world among the people of the united states of america and beyond, and you understand the ways in which the law operates and the constitution can be interpreted. that's as much a part of one's impartiality, their experience, as their ability to understand the constitution, and i think she was very eloquent in her confirmation process about that. now, you recall, they tried to pigeon hole her into a notion of what her judicial philosophy might be and she talked about, i shed all preconceived notions and i approach the case with the facts in mind and of course the law. that's a hell of a judicial philosophy that everyone actually should have. but i tell you, today, in the image you just described, alisyn and victor, the idea of watching people not convey the respect of even having the final tally. i mean, we're all -- a lot of people in this country haven't traveled a lot over the past several years, but we're
traveling a lot now, and you're telling me that everybody have a flight at the very same time? did everybody have a train to catch, a car outside waiting, a subway that they could not miss? no. that in itself was a statement to demonstrate that they did not feel that this particular confirmation was worthy of the same level of respect as other votes that are cast, and that is quite biting, first of all, in this nation. it's also quite telling, but at the end of the day, remember, these nine supreme court justices will have the opportunity to rule on some of the most impactful and important cases of our lifetime and their children's lifetime and their children's lifetime. and let's hope that they don't either, a, phone it in or leave the room because somebody disagrees with how they actually rule. >> gloria, let me bring that point to you, and we've just learned that president biden, vice president harris, and soon to be -- no longer just judge jackson. >> she is until she's sworn in.
>> soon to be justice jackson. gloria, we're hearing they're going to make some remarks tomorrow. the political potency of a confirmation of a justice, an appointment to the court, for any president, but especially this president. >> well, it's have potent. as alisyn pointed out, this isn't really going to change the ideology of the court, because it's a democrat replacing a democrat. but supreme court justices are very political right now, and looking back to 2005, justice roberts, who no one would consider a liberal by any means, got 22 democrats to vote for him. she got three republicans. and one thing i noticed, as you did too, victor, was that republicans, by and large, could not leave that chamber quickly
enough. and i think it was rude. and i think it was rude that rand paul was late. maybe he had a late flight, so we'll give him that excuse, but i mean, the fact -- and ali and our hill team is reporting that lindsey graham wasn't wearing the required tie, so he had to vote from outside the chamber in the cloak room. okay. but this is a moment in history, and you ought to show up. whether you agree with the outcome or not. you need to pay this woman the respect that she is due. and you need to do that for any supreme court nominee. and let me just add here that she is very popular in the country. this is not somebody with a 20% rating. people saw how graceful she was under pressure, and they decided they liked her when she was accused of horrendous things.
and they decided, you know what? she can be a supreme court justice, and so i think the public was against those people who decided they couldn't stay in that chamber. and this may boomerang for them, but at the very least, even if you disagree with the result, you can honor her achievement. and they couldn't stay to do that. >> all right. manu raju, joan biskupic, laura coates, gloria borger, natasha alford, thank you all. now to this. a senior ukrainian official says the most dire situation in that country is now in the east. there's a build-up of russian forces and heavy fighting that's forcing thousands to flee their homes. cnn takes you on one of the trains trying to evacuate scores of people now from that region. and the west is putting on a united front, isolating russia today. nato members holding a key meeting to show their support for ukraine and the u.n. votes
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its eastern part and beyond. >> the rest of ukraine is still a battlefield, because there's air and missile strikes that still go on, and you know, russian special operations forces still operating in some of those areas, so it is clearly still a combat zone in the rest of ukraine as well. >> ukraine's foreign minister says the conflict will remind people of world war ii with large operations and the involvement of thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, planes, and artillery. >> we have a graphic video warning here, because we are about to show you new images of what the russians did in borodyanka, a kyiv suburb, and like bucha, it is the site of scattered bodies of civilians that show signs of torture. cnn has obtained video of the actual killing of one couple in kyiv. this video is obviously graphic and disturbing. there's drone footage, and it shows the husband emerging from
the car and less than two seconds later, he has raised his hands, both hands in the air, but he is killed. that man's name is ma maxim iovenka. his wife was also killed. their family confirmed their identities to cnn. and their 6-year-old son was in the car when this happened. we're told the russians took the boy and a family friend and later released them. we're going to go now to cnn in lviv, western ukraine. today, bucha is under a curfew. what do we know that's happening there? >> reporter: well, we know that bucha has been essentially contained and cordoned off for many reasons. among them, the opportunity to carry out forensic investigations to try and isolate much of that evidence, much of what remains on the ground. there's also concern that there could be elements of unrest there. but when you move further east from bucha, alisyn, that's when you really get a broader sense
of the infliction point that is really turning a corner across this conflict in ukraine. which is russian forces relying on their safe staging grounds within russia's border itself. when you look at the map and you're looking towards eastern ukraine, where, as you said, senior u.s. military have been ringing alarms and the ukrainian officials here on the ground have been begging civilians to leave that eastern border with russia for a few days now, now we're seeing why. our investigative team has been tracking ordinances and weaponry used by russia from within its territory across in kharkiv and that ordinance, that weaponry, comfortably gives them the ability to hit and hit hard. and that is what we've been seeing, alisyn, and the sense that many of those we are speaking to give us and it's very clear that the working assumption has to be that russia is seeking to connect kharkiv
down towards those so-called russian-backed statelets like donetsk and luhansk further down and we're hearing that ukrainians are mobilizing. they are regrouping along that key highway, along the east with russia being able to comfortably continue to launch these attacks. there is a real fear that for civil rights revolution civil rights revolution for civilians, it will only get much worse. >> russia has been suspended from the human rights council. what do you know about the response from russia? >> we've been hearing from some of those who actually voted to suspend russia, and the sense we're getting is really one of fear. russia circulated a note ahead of the vote, which was shared with cnn which threatened that even an abstention would be seen as an unfriendly gesture and many of those we're speaking to,
the diplomatic representatives in geneva say they're worried that though right now there is a unified front a u.s.-led push to unify the world against russian aggression, what happens next? what happens when russia remembers who stood with and against them? that concern is against the backdrop of the fact that the u.s. is seeking to lead on a moral basis when it itself isn't part of the international criminal court. the united states is not a signatory to the statute so there is concern about the stability of the moral ground beneath the united states' feet at this moment in time. alisyn and victor. >> nima, thank you very much for your reporting on the ground for us. so, nato leaders met today and pledged to keep sending aid to ukraine. secretary of state antony blinken met with ukraine's foreign minister and said the international community must assume that russia is continuing to commit multiple atrocities. >> ukrainian leaders said in order to beat putin, they need nato to raise its aid level up
to a new level, especially when it comes to weapons. nic robertson, cnn's international diplomatic editor is in brussels. nic, what came out of today's discussions? >> reporter: well, even a few days ago, there was public discussion by nato officials about supplying tanks and armored vehicles to the ukrainian military forces. that wasn't in the secretary general's readout, secretary of state antony blinken didn't get into specifics either. the real concern of nato officials and obviously ukrainians is that russia is really regrouping and trying to push back and take those territories in the east and south of ukraine and as they are in mariupol, flattening the cities, we know that if russia wants to be able to control the territory that it is getting -- that it is taking militarily, it's going to need large numbers to control large populations. what the russians are showing here is that they're willing to
destroy cities, essentially, to make them uninhabitable for people to go back to and therefore easier for russia to control with fewer forces going forward, and that was what the ukrainian foreign minister was trying to press and impress upon nato foreign ministers, this sense of urgency, that the need is now. you have to support us now, because once the buildings are gone, and populations are forced out, even if they're able to fight back, it's very hard to keep a presence there. so, i think one of the takeaways from the meeting here today was we didn't get specifics about what weapons systems are going to be -- are going to be supplied, and i think that's part tactical, but it's also nato trying not to escalate further direct tensions with russia, but we were assured that nato is giving the ukrainians what they think that they need to fight in a timely fashion. >> nic robertson, thank you.
we have another graphic video warning for you. these images come out of bucha, ukraine. these are the images that have shocked and horrified people all over the world. they're the bodies of civilians and they're left scattered in the streets. they were left behind after russian troops withdrew from that town. the g7 foreign ministers today jointly condemned these atrocities, and one investigator in the town explains what evidence he is looking for as he investigates these alleged russian war crimes. >> there was a body that was here, and i'm trying to look for any physical evidence as to how she was killed or where she was killed from. what we're seeing on the ground here are a few casings from bullets, a number of different hits on the -- on the steel sheeting, which look like many of the rounds were coming into this yard or coming from this direction.
>> joining us now from kyiv is that human rights watch investigator, richard weir. thank you so much for making time for us. i want to talk about what you saw in bucha, because all of us have seen the atrocities but we've only seen them on video from 7,000 miles away. and so when you got to that town and started walking through the town, what was that experience like? >> right, well, i mean, i think the images don't even really do the situation justice. as you walk through the town, particularly the street that has now become infamous because of the number of dead bodies strewn across it, even as you walk to the left or to the right, you find more bodies. in every apartment structure that we walked to, nearly every single one, there's bodies strewn about in shallow graves or sometimes in apartment buildings
themselves on the upper floors. it's as if the entire town, or large portions of it, are a crime scene. it's very difficult to walk around and not find some place affected by the fighting and the killing perpetrated by russian forces when they occupied the city of bucha. >> richard, it's almost impossible to imagine how you sift through a crime scene like that but that's what you're trying to do. in the first video we showed of you, you were describing you had come upon the body of a woman and you were trying to determine, i think, how she was killed. how do you go about doing that? >> it was a very meticulous process, a lot is evaluating evidence and materials so that's what we're seeing on the ground, some is what we've been seeing through photos and videos trying to take and collect everything from the scene that we can visually and otherwise.
this involves taking a position of if it's somebody who has been killed, the position of the body, looking at other physical evidence that's around. bullet holes or possibly holes caused by shrapnel or other fragments from weapons. it's about looking at the entire scene. and then one of the most important things is speaking to the witnesses. and oftentimes the witnesses of the crimes are the individuals who were related. and i've talked to a number of different family members of those that have been killed to wives of killed men to the fathers of men who have had to bury in their home yard, burying your best friend, dragging him from a basement, his bloody body. and one of the most horrific things about all of this is that people are concerned that these
bodies have been booby trapped as russian forces have fled. so this creates even more complication with collecting and preserving evidence. >> my gosh, richard, it's just hard to even get our heads around everything you described. we saw a different video of you. it looks like you're picking up a shell casing of some kind. we see you taking a picture of it. when you gather this evidence, what do you do with it? my larger question is, from where we sit, do we still need more evidence of these russian atrocities? how can we be debating whether they are war crimes? we see civilian bodies shot execution style. we see hands tied behind their back. we see maternity wards being bombed and pediatric hospitals. why do you need so much evidence still? >> well, one of the things we're looking for in the specific evidence is to understand as
much as we can if it's things like munitions, a lot of times we can take specific information that is printed on munitions in order to try to understand where it came from, perhaps who might have used it, when it was manufactured and how it ended up in the place that it ended up. so there's a lot of information that we can collect visually from the various pieces of physical evidence that lay around the scenes. what do we need in order to think about this as a war crime to establish there's a war crime? it's a lot. in order to have accountability to these war crimes that means assigning responsibility to the individuals who committed them, who directed them, who aided, assisted, or abetted their commission.
that requires as much information, putting all of the pieces together. it's about interviewing the right people. it's about collecting the right physical evidence. and ultimately it's about finding out who is responsible. not just that russian forces are responsible but the individuals who can be held responsible for the crimes committed against individual people, against husbands, wives, and children. and that's why it's important to gather and to keep gathering, to keep preserving and keep collecting this evidence so that it one day can be used at a trial and a prosecution that will hopefully help stem the tide of these horrific abuses. >> richard, you're doing such staggering, important work. thank you for explaining all of that to us. >> the u.s. justice department has begun investigating the handling of white house records taken to mar-a-lago after former president trump left office.
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recovered the documents from trump's florida resort in january raising concerns that the former president may have violated the presidential records act. cnn is following this. tell us about the investigation. >> reporter: well this answer as question for us because the house oversight committee for some time had been asking for this material for an investigation of their own from the national archives, and the archives had missed several deadlines to hand that information over. we now know why. it's because the department of justice is looking into exactly what happened with these records and if the former president or one of his aides mishandled classified information as he was leaving the white house. now we don't know exactly how far this investigation will lead, but the fact the department of justice is interested in enough to prevent it from going to a congressional committee is significant and, of course, there is a lot of interest as it relates to these documents that were in the trump white house not just from the oversight committee, not just from the department of justice, but from the january 6 select
committee as well. they've been handed over thousands of documents from the trump white house including those call records which we broke the story about there being huge call log gaps during that period of time, and now just today, victor and alisyn, on a separate note we're learning the committee is still interested in actually talking to donald trump himself. this comes after the former president gave an inview to "the washington post" yesterday where he said that it is possible that he would talk to the committee but it would depend on what the request was. well, i talked to chairman bennie thompson about it. he said the committee will discuss whether they bring trump before them. the key, victor and alisyn, if they do it, it will be a voluntary request. they don't have plans right now to issue a subpoena to donald trump. >> ryan nobles on capitol hill, thank you. it is the top of the hour here on cnn "newsroom." i'm victor blackwell.
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