tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN May 3, 2022 7:00am-8:00am PDT
a good tuesday morning to you, a busy news morning. i'm jim sciutto. >> and i'm erica hill. we're following, of course, a major story this morning with wide ranging consequences in this country. a stunning supreme court draft opinion obtained by "politico," an unprecedented leak out of the nation's highest court. that draft shows the court poised to strike down roe versus wade. the move would of course reverse a nearly 50-year-old precedent and would immediately outlaw most abortions in at least 13 states. >> let's be clear, this is a draft opinion. an official ruling likely would not be published until june, and of course the language and the votes in this decision could change. this draft, however written by justice samuel alito who's been on the court for 16 years, in it
he writes in part, quote, the constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision. roe was egregiously wrong from the start. it is time to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives. let's begin this morning with cnn justice correspondent jessica schneider. she is outside the supreme court. so far the supreme court predictably quiet on this leak. do you expect any comment on this? >> reporter: it remains to be seen, jim. i was immediately in touch with the court when this news broke last night. there was a simple and strict no comment. it will be interesting to see if they changed their tune. you know, we were outside chief justice john roberts' house this morning. our producer, nicki robertson shouted two questions at him, asked about the leak itself, asked if there would be any investigation about this leak. the chief justice not responding in any kind. we'll see if the supreme court
ultimately issues something here. while we wait, though, this is really a stunning breach of secrecy at this court. this is a court that you never hear anything, any inkling about an opinion any moment before a decision is actually released, but of course "politico" reporting that this draft majority opinion was written by justice samuel alito, 98 pages and eliminating the constitutional right for an abortion that was established in 1973 with roe v. wade, reaffirmed in 1992 with planned parenthood versus casey. here's a snippet from that 98-page draft opinion. again, just a draft, but here it is. the inescapable conclusion is that the right to an abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation's history, so it was an opinion that was joined, we understand, according to "politico's" reporting not only by justice alito but four other conservative leaning justices. this was a draft opinion that was circulated on february 10th,
and we understand from the reporting that the initial vote just after the december 1st arguments, it was those four justices who sided with alito, justice clarence thomas, neil gorsuch, brett kavanaugh and amy coney barrett. of course it is also possible that things changed between february and now. it's possible that things will change in the coming weeks. we're expecting that this court would issue an opinion on abortion sometime before it breaks for recess. that's typically the last week of june, right before july 1st, but if this is actually the opinion that comes out from the court, it could be a 5-4 decision overturning roe v. wade. this would have enormous implications for the entire country. in fact, it's estimated that about half of the states would act to immediately ban abortions. there are many states that have so-called trigger laws that say if roe v. wade is overturned, abortion in those states will immediately be banned. in fact, in recent weeks we've seen the democratic governor of
michigan, she's actually filed a lawsuit to block that law in michigan that would automatically go into effect banning abortions if roe v. wade was overturned. and you know, jim and erica, we've seen a ground swell in the recent weeks and months from republican-led states all over the country, florida, kentucky, they actually overrode their governor's veto. we've seen oklahoma really have a flurry of activity restricting abortion. in fact, just last week they passed a six-week abortion ban. before that the governor signed an all out abortion ban that's set to go in effect in august. so we are already seeing a flurry of states act more -- the governor of south dakota has said if this is true she'll call a special legislative session. so a lot swirling here, but again, it's important to note just a draft opinion. nothing has officially been released by the supreme court just yet, guys. >> jessica schneider, appreciate it as always. thank you. president biden meantime just releasing a statement on that draft opinion, white house
correspondent john harwood joining us with more. what are we hearing from the president this morning? >> reporter: we may hear from the president on camera at some point when he leaves for alabama, the trip he's making today or when he arrives in alabama. we don't know, but we do have this written statement, let me just read a portion of it to you. president biden says i believe that a woman's -- excuse me. did we lose something? >> john, just give us a minute. we just want to listen in to senator susan collins. >> yeah, she of course -- sorry to interrupt john there, of course key because susan collins in her vote for justice kavanaugh had said at the time that she had assurances from him that he would not vote to overturn roe. based on this decision, he would be on the side to do so. but sorry, john, back to your point on the white house reaction. >> let me just read president biden's statement. i believe that a woman's right to choose is fundamental.
roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and basic fairness and stability demand that it not be overturned. if the court does overturn roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose and it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this november at the federal level. we need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the house to adopt legislation that codifies roe, which i will work to pass and sign into law. the house has already passed legislation, the senate has not. they don't have the votes for it. because this issue is so important in the lives of so many people, this has the potential, guys, to really shake up the deck for politics both this fall in the midterm elections and in 2024. remember, we've been locked into a situation for months. president biden's approval ratings have been low. his opponents are upset and attacking him over issues like inflation, immigration, crime,
the president's own political base is dispirited because action on voting rights and some of the economic issues that the president has pushed has not moved forward because of opposition from joe manchin, kyrsten sinema, other potential difficulty, the refusal to get rid of the filibuster. all of a sudden, this will send a jolt of electricity through the democratic electorate that has the potential to significantly change the outlook for november. presidents almost always lose seats in the house of representatives in their first midterm. democrats can only lose a few and still keep their majority. they can't lose any and keep control of the senate, but this changes the odds somewhat. republicans still have an advantage going into the fall. there are still going to be other issues that are important like the economy, like inflation, the others that i mentioned, but this is a new dynamic that all of a sudden presents a different picture than we've seen politically with
just a few months before the midterm election. >> the political effects of this down the line difficult to judge with any certainty at this point. of course if this is overturned, the most immediate effect would be how it affects women in the states that have legislation. john harwood at the white house, thanks very much. >> joining us to discuss, dana bash, jeffrey toobin, cnn's chief legal analyst and caroline plea see who's a federal and -- i do want to start with you, i know you just got a statement from susan collins. what is she saying this morning? >> susan collins, of course, very important because she is a republican but very openly for abortion rights, and what she said in this statement is if this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what justice gorsuch and justice kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office. obviously we won't know each
justice's decision and reasoning until the supreme court officially announced its opinion in this case. a bit more context here, important context, she talks about her meetings with those two now justices, then just nominees in her office. we had a conversation on state of the union as brett kavanaugh's confirmation was going through the senate process, and she talked about the promise that he made to her. listen to this. >> how can you be or are you 100% certain without a doubt that brett kavanaugh will not overturn roe v. wade? >> i do not believe that brett kavanaugh will overturn -- >> precedents are overturned all the time. >> they aren't overturned all the time, and listen to the standards that he put forth in his conversation with me and also in the hearing. he says for a precedent, a long-established precedent like
roe to be overturned, it would have to have been grieves youly wrong and he noted that roe had been reaffirmed 19 years later by planned parenthood versus casey, and that it was precedent on precedent. he said it should be extremely rare that it be overturned, and it should be an example -- >> but you have obviously full confidence? >> i do. >> and what she's saying today is that she was wrong and that they misrepresented what they said, particularly in that conversation. it was about brett kavanaugh, but she did also vote for justice gorsuch. she did not vote for amy coney barrett, another trump appointee. >> samuel alito in 2016 during his confirmation expressed his respect for precedent, we should also note, of course, that the
vote count on this as we know it could change before the final decision. there is an argument you will hear from some conservatives who would support overturning roe that this is a decision that should be decided by elected representatives, whether that be at the state level or at the national level in congress. what is your view as to whether that applies to this, and how would that precedent in its own right potentially affect other rights that have arisen from supreme court decisions? >> absolutely, jim. i just note that this is a shocking but not unanticipated decision to be sure. i noted with erica, you know, three years ago on this program with the appointment of justice am amy coney barrett perhaps na naively that perhaps we were seeing a sea change, to the dismantling of the fundamental core holding of roe v. wade. alito came down hard, not so, he is really drawing a line in the
sand here overturning whole clock with one fell swoop, you know, the rights that many women have come to rely on for the past 50 years in this country, and you're absolutely right. as much as alito can say that abortion is a unique issue, the fact is that contraception, same-sex marriages, all sorts of individual autonomy rights are now on the chopping block. there is no way to simply pluck the abortion debate from the jurisprudence. this is the beginning of a deluge, it is a slippery slope, jim. >> look, we had steve saying earlier today caroline that this was an earthquake, right, of what could happen constitutionally. when you look at all of this, picking up on that point, i've heard you say more than once this morning, and i think this is a really important point for people moving forward, that this could open the door for congress to act, not right now given what we see in terms of the makeup in washington, but in the very near
future. >> right, you know, one of the messages that people have taken from this opinion, draft opinion, is that, well, it's just up to the states now and the blue states will allow abortion and red states will not. that's true in the very short-term, but if you read this opinion and if it becomes the law of the land, it is an invitation to congress and the president to pass a law and sign it into law that bans abortion in the entire country, in new york, in california, and everywhere else because if there is no constitutional right, it leaves the playing field free for legislators, that's what they mean by returning it to the people's representatives, and it's not just at the states. it's at the federal level as well. now, there is a democratic majority in the house and senate and the president is a democrat, so that's not going to happen now. but there is a very real possibility that in 2024 there
will be a republican president, a republican congress, and this opinion is an invitation to those future representatives to ban abortion in the entire country, not just in the red states. >> we should note throughout this, this has not been happening in secret. there's been very public discussion among republican politicians and others about wanting to appoint justices that would overturn roe v. wade. president trump said it explicitly. you're aware of that perhaps as all these nominees who have come before the court, they've been asked about this question specifically about roe v. wade and precedent. a lot of attention understandably on brett kavanaugh. i want to play samuel alito's answer in 2006 to the question on precedent and ask you if this was a deliberately misleading answer. have a listen. >> do you believe it is the settled law of the land? >> roe versus wade is an important precedent of the
supreme court. it was decided in 1973, so it's been on the books for a long time. it has been challenged on a number of occasions, and i think that when a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed, that strengthens its value as stare decisis for at least two reasons. first of all, the more often a decision is reaffirmed, the more people tend to rely on it, and secondly, i think stare decisis reflects the view that there is wisdom embedded in decisions that have been made by prior justices. >> justices can change their opinions over time. caroline, as you hear that answer, was that misleading? >> yeah, you know, jim, these hearings have really devofled over time as political theater. we are taught that the judicial branch is supposed to be immunized from political
questions. i think it's time to dispense with that nicety and admit in 2022 that's just not true. alito is trying his best there to sort of dodge the issue. if you read this opinion, he tries very hard as well to make this not about politics, but the fact is when you're talking about abortion in this country, it just can't be done, whether or not we like it, this is a political issue. and as jeff noted, you know, now we are going to see a slew of litigation among the states. there's going to be a patchwork of laws coming up, you know, questioning whether or not -- what are the carveouts going to be? there there be a carveout for rape and incest in certain states? will the health of the mother come into play? this is just opening up a flood gate, and it is absolutely a political question. let's stop denying that. >> and if i can just add, i think it's very important to talk about, you know, how this will work in the real world. the idea that this is just about the red states is wrong. many of these red states are passing or talking about passing laws that prohibit people from
traveling for an abortion, from prohibiting people from other states for financing travel. there's the entire issue of medical abortions about whether this -- you know, the abortion pills can be -- can be shipped in interstate commerce, so this is not just about the red states. the red states are going to shut down, but that is going to affect the whole country, not just the women in the red states. >> dana, this is inherently a political issue as we know. this has been a very effective motivator, both abortion and the supreme court for republican for some time now. it has not had that impact traditionally for democrats. based on what we are seeing and hearing this morning, is there a sense in washington that that's starting to change? >> well, i'll tell you that politically speaking every democrat i've spoken to this morning, particularly those who are on the ballot in tough races in november are hoping that this is a base motivator for the
democrats and not just necessarily the base, but in the few swing districts left in america thanks to redistricting, that there are suburban women, suburban men who might be motivated to vote in a way that they weren't when they just assumed that roe v. wade was safe, but one important thing i think to note that jeffrey was talking about, so clear in this draft opinion is, yes, they're trying to kick it back to congress. they did the same thing in 2013 with voting rights. this isn't up to us. this should be the people's representatives who decide it. and you know what? it's not happening right now in congress. it just isn't, and whether it's the democrats in charge now or unless there is a very big majority in never mind the house, but in the u.s. senate by republicans or democrats, it's hard to imagine anything related to something this divisive would
get through. and also, just to dangle one other thing out there, this whole debate about whether fili question is whether democrats will think twice on that issue. maybe they could act. >> caroline, i want to ask you this, you have the states rights argument here by those who oppose roe. you have folks who oppose it entirely, oppose abortion rights entirely. you have folks who make a states right argument. you have others who go at the viability test, right, established by casey later, 24 weeks, that there is a middle ground if that's the right word, and i realize as i use those terms that this is perhaps the most sensitive, personal and political issue in this country, so i'm aware of that as folks who are listening right now, but that is a legal argument that is presented, which also is connected to a health argument, right? in this day, is that an open question, right?
the viability test time line as established by previous precedent? >> well, that's gone now. that's out the window, and i think there's a lot of outdated language. you know, there are -- there were many problems with the holding of roe v. wade to be sure, and casey exemplifies that, and alito made clear in his ruling that, you know, ironically he was trying to sort of correct the errors of this assertion of raw judicial power, those are the terms that he used in this holding of roe v. wade. he made no mistake about showing his opposition to that holding when it happened, but iro ironically, that's exactly what he's doing now. this is, you know, going to go back to the states now, but this is undoubt edly a political question. the real world implications of this ruling are already happening on the ground in texas, since the sb 8 came into effect. it sfwg to have a disproportionate effect on poor black and brown women.
make no mistake about it, this is happening today. this is going to have an effect today, and you know, we'll see how it plays out. it's no longer a theoretical question now. >> yeah, and if i can just add, one of the things we have learned about countries that ban abortion altogether, this is often -- this has been true in the past in central and south america in particular is that banning abortion does not reduce the number of abortions. it simply makes them more dangerous and it harms the women who are trying to get them. but banning abortion legally doesn't stop abortion in the real world. >> jeffrey toobin, caroline plea see, dana bash, appreciate all of you joining us. >> we are just beginning, and we'll stay on this story. the other story we're following closely, krukraine, we're live there as we've been witnessing the first evacuees arriving from the besieged city of mariupol that has suffered so much. many of them women and children, the elderly, they've been trapped hiding in a basement at
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there on the ground. it looks like you've made your way inside. is that some sort of a processing area for folks who have just arrived? >> reporter: yeah, when we spoke a while ago, we were talking with olga who's now sat down here. very keen on her coffee and some chocolate and i think to some degree anxious about what comes next. still wearing the -- around her neck, that's kept her in the basement for some period of time, and she sat with victoria and vladimir, friends frankly for their existence in the basement and also in the bus that brought them out to here. but stories of the extraordinary world they lived in underground in the dark for quite so long. there was food, they said, certainly, not much of it, but enough to get them through and here i think the concern is what comes of them next because we know that there is a government assistance program here.
sorry, we're in the way of their important work here too, but one thing i have to tell you, looking for chocolates, so i'm just going to make sure she gets that now. these are people who have been living on the very basics, the ukrainian soldiers could provide for them, and a broader effort here to be sure that as they emerge from those just five buses we saw pull up here, not a large number of people but a deeply important cargo that those buses were carrying. [ speaking foreign language ] >> this is valentina. [ speaking for [ speaking foreign language ] >> she's saying, she's living close to it and frankly quite
terrifying. [ speaking foreign language ] >> okay. so they're going to look for their kids, that's their next stop, try and meet up with their families. this is the key question for so many people now. they've left behind their lives in besieged embattled mariupol, and now have to answer the urgent question of what for my life next. they have certainly, the coffee she was very keen for, but don't know what next for their world. it's been destroyed what was behind them, and now they have to try and rebuild themselves. the hope has been that this first batch of evacuees might have been to create a corridor which could allow larger numbers of people to emerge to ukrainian held territory, but the last two days have shown how incredibly complex that passage is. just talking to veronica there, sorry, victoria there who was
just a moment ago standing up over there, she was saying actually their way out was relatively easy, that the russians didn't block them. they seemed to be allowed through, but still, this process has taken significantly longer than the officials trying to arrange it had hoped, and that i think raises concerns about whether the volume of evacuees, the 100,000 people still left no mariupol is feasible given the russians' lack of compliance. >> and often attacking those corridors directly. the relief they must feel they are lucky to be alive. nick paton walsh, thanks so much. i want to show you now the scene outside the supreme court today, less than 24 hours, in fact, just over 12 hours into that draft memo was published showing the high court would strike down roe v. wade. again, it's a draft memo. we are getting more response from capitol hill. stay with us. we're going to bring you that after this short break.
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nature of the leak of that draft opinion that came out last night and mitch mcconnell going after the notion that this was leaked to the press, and he said in a statement, this lawless action should be investigated and punished as fully as possible. the chief justice must get to the bottom of it, and the department of justice must pursue criminal charges if applicable. democrats on the other hand are not focused as much on the leak but on the implications that if this draft were to become -- if this holds, if this becomes the law of the land, what it would mean to abortion access to millions of women across the country. just moments ago also, the top democrats in the senate chuck schumer announced his intention to try to force a vote to codify the right to an abortion into law, but there is a math problem facing chuck schumer. that is 60 votes are needed to overcome any likely filibuster attempt in the 50/50 senate, that is not going to happen. kyrsten sinema, joe manchin
oppose changing the filibuster years. manchin opposes abortion rights. and also there's a question about how some of the senators are responding in light of what they're seeing here. one of them key senators, susan collins, she cast a key, almost decisive vote to get brett kavanaugh on the court in 2018. at the time she made very clear that she believed that kavanaugh in their private meetings indicated that he would not overturn roe versus wade, but in a statement just moments ago, she said that she believes both kavanaugh and justice gorsuch were inconsistent in their testimony and also in their private comments as well. we tried to ask her if she felt misled in any way by kavanaugh. she said that she would refer to her paper statement. a lot of reaction coming from capitol hill, mostly partisan reaction, but some of those key senators grappling with this potential decision as well. >> manu, appreciate it. thank you. just ahead here, we'll speak with a republican who worked to
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s alito's supreme court confirmation hearings. i'm not going to play alito's answers from his confirmation hearings in 2006. briefly paraphrasing, regarding roe and his respect for pres kent as a justice he said when a decision is challenged and reaffirmed, strengthens its value. also when people come to rely on it, that adds value. and there's wisdom embedded in decisions made by prior justices. that when asked specifically about roe v. wade. why would that statement still stand given his willingness it appears to overturn roe v. wade despite meeting those standards as described? >> well, i mean, justices never -- and i think this is a tradition going back for people who have been nominated by presidents of both parties, they never promise how they're going to vote on any particular case, and so to say that you will respect precedent is one thing, but that doesn't make -- that doesn't make it that you're locked in to every decision that's ever been made ever by
the supreme court. obviously the supreme court has gotten things wrong throughout our history, and so i think for those of us who are on the conservative side of american politics, it's been expected that people like justice alito and the others who are said to be in favor of this decision have long thought that roe versus wade should be questioned because it was a bad decision to begin with. >> his answers, they were not general about -- he was speaking specifically about the roe v. wade precedent there. >> yeah, and it looks to me like from this decision they studied it carefully and came up with the idea and the judgment that roe v. wade was wrongly decided, so respecting precedent does not mean that you have to give up on the idea that something can be investigated in the future. that's exactly what they've done here, and by the way, i'll just say that's exactly what conservatives would expect people who are said to be constitutional conservatives on the court to do, for people like us, jim, we don't believe the right to abortion exists in the constitution. returning it to the political venues in our mind is the right thing to do. >> there's been a lot of talk today about what else is not in
the constitution, if you take that view, right? do you see this as perhaps leading to other rights tied to privacy now being perhaps up for grabs, whether that's contraception or same-sex marriage? >> i don't know candidly. i wouldn't expect that in the short-term certainly, and i think people who are saying that today are likely doing it for political reasons. i think this particular matter has been at the forefront of american political debate for 50 years now, and that's why it's being decided today. it took a long time to go from the roe decision to today, so no, i don't necessarily see it that way, but then again, who can know what's in the minds of the court, and who can know what cases are going to bubble up. >> should the conservative position be understood as a complete -- not just complete overturn of roe v. wade, that decision how it was decided, but a total ban on abortions, or should the conservative position
be understood -- and by the way, i understand there's variety within the country and even within the republican party, but from your point of view, should the conservative position be understood as something short of roe v. wade, perhaps with, for instance, a different viability time line than as presented in roe v. wade and casey later. >> great question, i think the conservative position should be understood on the legal issue of where is this properly decided. the constitutional conservatives in my party believe that the supreme court shouldn't be in this, that it should be returned to the congress and the state capitals. as you pointed out, there's going to be a variety of opinions fdepending on what political jurisdictions you live in. if you live in california you're going to get different political views than if you live in alabama or kentucky where i am today. i think the constitutional conservatives believe the political representative branches of our government should decide this based on what the people in their states or their jurisdictions want. this doesn't ban abortion. it simply returns it to these venues, the congress could wade
into this. the state capital could wade into this. that's what conservatives have been saying, why should the supreme court trump the sovereignty of our congress or state governments. that's apparently what we get. i'm a chicken farmer, i never count my birds before they hatch, but that certainly looks like where we're headed. >> this is a shorter conversation than we certainly could on some of these conversations. scott jennings, we look forward to having you back to speak more. >> thank you. today president biden set to tour a factory which produces javelin missiles, the same ones the u.s. is sending to ukraine. our next guests have to create a viral meme of those weapons, which is now being used to raise millions of dollars to help ukrainians. message, or video, all in the same app. oh... hey bonnie, i didn't see you there. ♪ ringcentral ♪
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any moment now president biden will head to alabama, this to visit an assembly plant for javelin missiles. in ukraine the javelin antitank system has been a crucial weapon for ukrainians in holding off russian advances. in turn it has become a symbol of the ukrainian resistance. >> our next guest is a former journalist who spent five years in ukraine after russia attacked and annexed crimea, he took an internet meme, the virgin mary holding a javelin, dubbed it st. javelin and printed them on all kinds of merchandise to raise
money to help ukraine, even sending a t-shirt to ukrainian defense minister who wore it proudly and delivered one to president zelenskyy himself, chri christian boris joining us now. he's in poland today. you have had -- this really took off and took off quickly. you've raised a ton of money. how is that being used? >> so with donated about $500,000 to a registered canadian charity called help is help, which has worked with ukrainian orphans since 1991, and then since then we've just been kind of using it in different ways. like i went to ukraine for the last three weeks, and i was looking for different organizations that can -- that can use the funds that we have, so for example, we donated to an organization called 2402.org, which supports ukrainian journalists with things like bullet proof vests, first aid kits, stuff like that. different humanitarian
organizations, yeah, just figuring out, you know, which organizations can use the funds that we have in the best way. >> it's quite an image to see the virgin mary holding a deadly weapon. i wonder, why do you believe it's been so successful this campaign? >> i think -- so i think that we started around february 15th before the war started. so i think that when the war started people were looking for different ways that they could support, and we already existed. so i think that people looked at us, and they saw that we were already doing something, and also, it was a way to actually show your support, to wear your support, to have a sticker on your car, to have a flag or a hoodie or whatever it might be. so i think that it just resonated with people right away because there was such a clear line between good and evil in this war. it was so binary, right?
so people were really trying to show their support as much as donating. >> yeah. >> i know you've had a little pushback on the use of the virgin mary, and i thought you had a really interesting take on it. how do you respond when people say, look, this is offensive. i don't want to see that. >> i think they just missed the point. i don't think it's -- i mean, personally, obviously it doesn't offend me, right? i can understand why it mightd on some people, but i think that they missed the point. it's not mocking religion or anything like that. interestingly the world war i museum did a write-up on st. javelin, always just been as a symbol of support for people, right, in their worst moments they're looking for something that they can look to and find, you know, a morale boost or support from. so i think that that's how people see it. they don't see it as, you know, it's not mocking religion.
it's not making a joke out of religion. it's just something that they see this religion icon already as a symbol of support, and they obviously see the javelin as the most important symbol of support from the west because it was the first defensive weapon system that the ukrainians desperately wanted from the west, and it obviously has made a huge impact on the war. >> krichristian borys, thanks s much to all of you, today, i'm jim sciutto. >> and i'm erica hill, stay tuned, bianna golodryga picking up our coverage after a break.
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