tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN May 10, 2022 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ♪ hello, i'm victor blackwell. welcome to "cnn newsroom." >> and i'm alisyn camerota. any moment now, president biden will sit down with italian prime minister mario dregi at the white house to discuss the russian invasion of ukraine and the global economy. >> now, here across the u.s., the president is confronting a critical moment in his economic strategy. gas prices hit a new high today, $4.37 a gallon. inflation is driving up prices for the basic needs. we're talking groceries, clothes, housing. today, the president said
fighting inflation is his administration's top domestic priority. he also went on the defensive, blaming the pandemic and russian president vladimir putin for the higher prices. >> cnn chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins joins us live now. did the president spell out any new plan to try to fight inflation? >> reporter: i think really the purpose of those remarks was to say, yes, i understand that this is a massive problem for so many americans out there, and i understand the pain that you're feeling. that was really the message that you heard from president biden there, because of course, yes, this is his number one challenge. he says it's his biggest domestic priority but alisyn and victor, solving this challenge is not going to be an easy one for this white house because there's only so much that the white house can do to change inflation to try to tame inflation and that's something that they are well aware of. and so you heard president biden saying that he shares the frustration and the concern about inflation that the federal reserve has and we've seen them raise interest rates, there are potentials that that could only include -- that could only be --
there could only be more increases in the coming months so that's something they're watching closely but the president also talked about his domestic policy plans, ones that are largely stalled in the senate so there are big questions about what exactly he can do going forward. there have been questions about removing the trump-era tariffs on chinese goods, also creating a national tax holiday. those are all things that are under consideration here at the white house, but nothing that you saw president biden announce today. however, he did criticize republicans who have been very critical of his handling of the economy, basically laying out for voters that he believes there are two options here between his handling of it and what republicans planned to do, which he says they don't have a plan. >> the other path is the ultra-maga plan put forward by congressional republicans. to raise taxes on working families, lower the income of american workers, threaten sacred programs americans count on like social security,
medicare, medicaid, and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires. >> reporter: what he is referencing there is that proposal from senator rick scott of florida, the one that would create this minimum federal income tax which of course would affect a lot of people since half the households in the nation right now don't pay that because they don't earn enough to actually pay that income tax. and so that is something he's pushing back on and that the white house really wanted to highlight. they know that of course often voters hold the person in office accountable for what's happening in the economy. that is a big concern for them, and that's why this is one of president biden's top domestic priorities at this time. and of course, as we know, analysts have said they don't expect prices to drop significantly in the coming weeks, maybe even the coming months. that's going to be something that remains a number one challenge for this white house, alisyn and victor. >> yeah, and polling shows this is the major challenge and priority for voters kaitlan collins there at the white house. thank you so much. let's talk more about this inflation, the prices going up for groceries and rent and gas.
and it's not just americans feeling the financial pain. morgan stanley put it this way. we live in the most chaotic, hard to predict macroeconomic times in decades. the ingredients for a global recession are on the table. >> joining us now is cnn business editor-at-large, richard quest. richard, great to see you. do you agree that this is the hardest to predict economy in decades? >> absolutely. without any question of doubt. because the underlying economics are so horrible. gas prices in the u.s. at the moment average $4.33, so you've got a vast range, $4.37, previous record, week ago, year ago, we could be going up to $4.80 because the reasons why and the effects and the various, if you like, forces the u.s. has almost no control over. first of all, you have what's going on in china at the moment
and the lockdown, the ships waiting to deliver. the supply chain issues. that's inflationary. secondly, you have demand in the u.s. which is still strong, and then you have the war in ukraine, which, of course, is raising prices for fuel and energy, creating more instability, food prices, because of grain in russia and ukraine, and therefore, it's impossibly difficult at the moment to deal with it. >> richard, stay with us, if you would. we also want to bring in alexis glick, a former wall street executive and cnn economics and political commentator katherine rand pell. ladies, great to have you here. alexis, is there anything you heard in the president's speech today or is there anything you didn't hear? is there some creative solution to giving americans a little relief that the white house hasn't thought of? >> well, i mean, essentially, what the president and the administration is trying to do is use the levers that they have control over, so what are those
things? things like opening up the strategic petroleum reserve to reduce the price of gasoline and oil prices. as richard just rightly pointed out, the record rate -- oil prices are up 50% in a year. we're at record highs among gasoline prices. we haven't even started talking about food prices. we have this cpi, which is the consumer price index, out tomorrow, and expectations, while last month we saw an 8.5% increase, we're expecting at least an 8.1% increase. so, what i would say to you, alisyn, is what the administration is trying to do right now, whether it be with energy prices, whether it be with renewable credits right now to foster renewable energy and take our dependence off of oil down, or what they're trying to do to fight inflation, particularly in the lines of the federal reserve bank, they're trying to use the tools and the leverage that they have. but richard raised something very important that we cannot ignore, and that is china, china, china. it is not just the nature of the
lockdowns that we have witnessed in shanghai and beijing. it is what will china's disruption do to an already stressed supply chain and an increasingly short labor market? those are huge headwinds for the marketplace right now to address, and that means turbulent waters for at least the next two to three quarters. >> katherine, the president, speaking of china, said that his administration is still discussing whether to lift those tariffs placed on chinese goods imported to the u.s. that were placed by the trump administration. would lifting those create a significant improvement of the environment, the landscape economically here in the u.s.? >> it would make a difference. it wouldn't make a huge difference, but my feeling is, they should be using every tool at their disposal. this is the number one economic concern and the number one political concern for this white house and for democrats going into the midterms.
so, yes, tariffs should be on the table. by the way, there are a whole bunch of other tariffs implemented by the trump administration that biden has been sort of slow walking the repeal of or has replaced them with other kinds of trade restrictions instead. these are tariffs on our allies, including ukraine, for supposedly national security purposes, trump put those in place. so yes, there are a number of trade restrictions that would have some marginal effect. there was a study out of the peterson institute that found that if you rolled back kind of the full suite of tariffs that were put in place, or some portion of them that were put in place by trump, that would bring down prices by 1% to 2%. that's not nothing. you know, i'm sure that would be welcome by the american people. >> richard, i mean, it doesn't appear, tragically, that the war in ukraine is ending any time soon. is there anything short-term that could turn this around? >> no. to be blunt, to be honest, no. because what you're really looking at here, alisyn, is 12
to 15 years of cheap money. you've got to go back to when it all started in 2008 and 2009 with the debt crisis and the subprime mortgage and yes, things got better, but interest rates remain ridiculously low and every time they try to normalize, more money got pumped in and we went from crisis after crisis until the point where the pandemic tipped everything over the edge. so, no, i don't believe so, because you are literally -- what the war in ukraine is doing, which is, if you like, exogenous, it is rewriting the rules of globalization and the global economy. and it is doing so under the wit of a gun and a bomb and it is painful and messy and deadly, and that is why the ripple effects are so horrendous. >> alexis, help me understand something here. the price of a barrel of oil is down. i was just -- when i looked away, i was just checking the
price of it. however, the price of a gallon of gas is up. explain that, if you would. >> well, there's a couple of factors. number one, we're seeing oil prices pull back slightly because of those lockdowns in china. they are importing less oil right now. the question is, are we refining gasoline at a fast enough rate and able to pull down those prices due to the demand that we talked about with those supply chain concerns and trucking and a whole host of other influences? the key thing here to help you understand for the consumer sitting at home is the following. the average american consumer right now is on target to spend $2,000 more at the pump this year. if you look at food prices alone, they're on target to spend at least another thousand dollars per household on rising food costs. if you factor that in for low income households, which is what the administration is trying to address, that means that we are
going to really see a lot of pain. the kind of pain that we have not seen in years. so, what we are dealing with, to richard's point, is a very unprecedented moment in american history. in global history is actually the fact of the matter. and that is because we have all these supply chain shocks and labor shortages brought on by the economy reopening. i was just in an airport yesterday. the lines were off the -- idei've never seen lines like it before. people are anxious to get back out but they're starting to see it in their wallet. they're starting to see that discretionary spending actually deteriorate because they're seeing such a rapid rate of inflation. so, what is really tricky about this is if you're the fed, you have to address inflation by raising rates. what you're trying to do is create what's called a soft landing, and not take us into recession. and if you're the administration, what you're
trying to do is figure out, how do we help real-world americans who are now starting to begin -- just beginning to see the tea leaves of the pain and make sure that that pain does not get exceptionally worse as we particularly head into the midterm elections or frankly if we teeter on the brink of a recession in 2023. those are the kinds of things we got to worry about. last thing i'll just say is don't take this idea of a food shortage lightly. this is a huge global issue that could become a global crisis. >> catherine, i couldn't help but notice there was different language the president was using today, which was maga republicans and they have this, you know, maga republican -- i can't remember verbatim what he said but sort of radical plan for how to tax us out of this. why so political now? >> well, i think what the president is trying to point out is that while the white house and democrats have come under fire for inflation from
republicans, republicans themselves don't have an alternative plan. they can duke it out with mickey mouse and fight some other culture wars, but they haven't really proposed their own alternative for getting prices down, and that's because it's very difficult. as we've been talking about, there aren't that many tools available. the specific plan that biden talked about was a proposal from florida senator rick scott that would effectively raise taxes on half of americans, which i think he probably didn't think through entirely and you know, would not be terribly popular, although to be fair, a lot of other republicans have distanced themselves from that particular proposal, and even rick scott has walked it back. so, i agree with the president that republicans haven't really offered a compelling alternative economic agenda. i'm not sure that that is the most representative example of what their economic agenda would be, but it's a really hard problem right now, and neither party has a solution, because to some extent, to a large extent,
you know, major macroeconomic trends are out of the control of the president and congress. >> yeah. a lot more to talk about, and we'll do just that. catherine rampell, alexis glick and richard quest, thank you. ukraine is on the counterattack, hitting russian armored vehicles, leaving the kharkiv region. we are live on the ground there next. and will the house pass the president's aid package for ukraine? sending them another $40 billion to fight russia? more on that ahead. so t today let's stain, with behr, the #1 rated stain. and make your deck, , yours. behr. exclusively at the home depop. >> tech: when you have auto glass damage, trust safelite. in one easy appointment... ♪ pop rock music ♪ >> tech: ...we can replace your windshield and recalibrate your advanced safety stem. and will t house pass the >> tech: stay safe with >>safelite. schedule now.ks. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ the mosquitoes are just all over the quiet please. okay. wow!
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newly released video shows the remnants of a russian attack on a civilian convoy near kharkiv. you can see the car seats here. bullet holes in the burned-out cars along the road. the child's car seat you saw there, among the wreckage, a stroller as well. >> we don't know when this video was shot, but the vehicles were found on friday and several people were reportedly killed, including a 13-year-old girl. meanwhile, ukrainian fighters continue to try to hold back russians at the azovstal steel plant in mariupol. at least 100 civilians remain trapped inside as the attacks continue. and in izyum, local officials recovered 44 bodies from a destroyed apartment block. >> let's go now to erin burnett in kyiv. erin, we have been talking about these attacks from russia in the east. their movements there. but the strikes we're seeing now in the south, in odesa, what more do you know about those? >> reporter: yeah, i mean,
victor and alisyn, this is what we have been seeing, right, this escalation that's been going on and intensification in the east and the south, and russian strikes hit two hotels and a shopping mall in the southern city of odesa overnight so we do see that intensification there. at least one person was killed. five others injured. and this is really important. ukraine says russia used hypersonic missiles. the european council president was actually visiting the city when the strikes occurred, was forced to take shelter. president zelenskyy underscored how long it's been since odesa has seen this kind of violence. listen to what he said. >> translator: president of the european council, charles michele, visited odesa and saw with his own eyes what the blocked sea meant. it is the first time in decades that normal trade traffic in odesa is not existent. usual harbor activities are absent. odesa has not seen this since the world war ii times. usual sea faring life is blocked by russia. exactly, by russia.
>> reporter: that's been part of the strategy, of course, to get that black sea access and to continue to terrorize across russia. sara saidner is with me now and these attacks in odesa that we saw overnight, caused significant damage. the crucial question, were they aimed? were they targeted? >> look, if they're using hypersonic missiles, if you talk to military experts, they'll say they travel five times faster than the speed of sound and they're able to be put on mig-31 k fighter jets which, yes, they can try to maneuver them and they strike from unpredictable directions and they can avoid detection, and avoid being tracked. so, it seems they did target specific places. whether or not they hit their targets exactly, but they hit this large mall. they hit two other places, two hotels, really sort of tourist infrastructure, not that there's a lot of tourists going in there obviously at this point in time, but it really disrupts life again in odesa. odesa, for a while there, was being struck. then things got quiet. people started to try to clean
up, tried to go back to their normal lives as much as possible, and again, they are under heavy bombardment. just a few days ago, they were hit with six missiles, and so the city there is really, again, in the midst of all-out war and trying to deal with that in the best way they know how, and you will see people like firefighters and the like just going about trying to stop the fires, trying to stop the destruction, but it just keeps happening. >> and when you talk about sort of the onslaught, we're seeing that in the south, seeing that in the east. you see missiles come into places like kyiv. when you don't expect them, you hear the air raid sirens every day, you don't know when they actually mean something. but now you have again, to the north, in belarus, we understand that belarus is moving its forces near the border of ukraine. of course, the dictator there, lukashenko, is a close ally of vladimir putin's. >> so, they say that they're moving their forces, deploying their troops closer to the border with ukraine. this tells you a couple of
things, doesn't it? one, that the war isn't going the way that russia thought it would. >> right. they didn't think they'd need that. >> that's right. so, belarus is taking precautions and it says more about what's happening with the ukrainian resistance than it does about its relationship with russia in many ways, because it tells you that they are now actually concerned about their own borders with the way that ukrainians are fighting back against this russian advance. so, i think it tells you a little bit about their thought process and what's happening. this was supposed to be days, as you remember, according to vladimir putin, and it has now been months. >> it has now been months. and what is going on in the east? you know, i was with a soldier today who -- a deputy commander in the east who had -- we were actually visiting a village that he had liberated going back to the front lines. but obviously, the fighting there is intense. a lot of artillery and shelling. what are we seeing there right now? >> so, we should talk about kharkiv because for a lot of time, in the north, the ukrainians have been able to
push russia out, have been able to push troops out and they pretty much taken care of it. look at kyiv. it's quiet right now, right? but in the east, it has been a whole different story where russia is trying to push in as far as they possibly can and take as much territory as they can. but kharkiv is special. kharkiv is the second largest city of this country, and so far, the ukrainians have been able to fight back and keep the russians from being able to completely capture this important city in the east, and it's an important standoff, if you will. >> yes, yeah. >> a very important standoff for ukraine, and we're seeing them fight like hell to keep the russians back from that city, although the city at night, for example, is completely dark, no lights. it is haunting to see what it looks like at night because there isn't anything twinkling, except for those who are going around trying to see how far the russian forces are trying to get in. we do hear now that russia has deployed about 500 more troops to try and push their way into
kharkiv, but right now, ukraine fighting back with all its might and it is working there in that area in the east. they have lost territory in other places in the east, but right now, kharkiv, they've kept hold of. >> they've kept it. they've kept it. all right, thank you very much, sara sidner. these images, you see across ukraine. sometimes they destroyed their own bridges to try to prevent the russian advance and you see that. you see the entire countryside littered with tanks and artillery. all right, thank you so much to sara. well, the house is expected to vote on a new $40 billion ukraine aid package today, and president biden warned that the existing aid to the country will run out in, he says, approximately ten days. and every day, of course, matters in this war. cnn congressional correspondent jessica dean joins me now, and jessica, this aid obviously is very significant. it's going to include more than just military supplies and weapons. so, what is that more? what else is in it? >> reporter: right, so, let's take a look at what congress wants to authorize president biden to send to ukraine right now. as you mentioned, it's tens of
billions of dollars in aid, the largest chunk being $20.4 billion in military assistance, which you noted. but there's also economic aid for the government of ukraine. there's about $3 billion in humanitarian aid. $500 million in domestic food production assistance. so, this is pretty wide-ranging and all-encompassing. president biden has been asking for this aid for a while now. and what happened here in congress is democrats agreed to decouple both the ukrainian aid from covid relief aid and once they did that, that created a smoother path for it congressionally so what we anticipate, erin, is that later tonight here in d.c., the house will pass this aid. it will then go over to the senate. we did speak with the senate minority whip, john thune, just a little bit ago. he says they haven't quite signed off but it's trending in the right direction. they want to get focused on how the refugees are treated within this and how the food aid is
handled, but again, we do anticipate that this aid package will move fairly quickly once they can get those agreements. also worth noting today, erin, as we speak, the senate, both republicans and democrats, are wrapping up their respective policy luncheons. they happen every tuesday here on the hill. and today, they did see the ukrainian ambassador was here to talk through with them just how critical this is, how important it is that it moves quickly through congress, erin. >> all right. jessica dean, thank you very much. and alisyn and victor, one other thing we saw today, just sort of the transformation when you talk about the needs here. we saw kids, 10 and 11-year-old boys, and the game that they're all playing now is checkpoint. they all have fake guns, they have weapons, they've set up their own checkpoints and that's now sort of what you see when you just see a country that is so fundamentally now changed and at war. >> yeah. certainly is. we know this is something certainly that the president and the italian prime minister are discussing today at the white
house. erin, thank you very much. erin there in kyiv. so, back here, the manhunt is over, but so many questions remain. what that recaptured alabama inmate is now saying about the escape and the former corrections officer he called his wife. when i'm on my hands and knees and i'm digging through the dirt, i feel something in me, like a fire, that's just growing. i feel kinder, when nature is so kind to me. find more ways to grgrow with miracle-gro. i strip on public transit. i strip with the guys. i strip all by myself. breathe right strips open your nose for relief you can feel right away, helping you take in air more easily, day or night. if you have advanced non-small cell lung cancer,
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over. >> escaped inmate casey white is now back in custody, and the former corrections officer, vicky white, who helped get him out, died from what authorities are calling a self-inflicted gunshot wound. these two were seen in evansville, indiana. authorities chased them. that chase ended in a crash in a flipped car. investigators say that vicky white dialed 911 during that chase. >> 911, we possibly have them on 911. we could hear her on the line saying she had her finger on the trigger. >> cnn's omar jimenez is in evansville with the latest. so, authorities say that the former corrections officer was actually the mastermind behind this, what else are they telling you? >> reporter: yeah, victor and alisyn, well, bottom line, the sheriff here in indiana said that these two had a faulty plan and that that plan failed. and that moving forward in this, at least on the indiana side of
things, he considers this case to be solved. this, of course, is a case that spanned multiple states and multiple vehicles, as well, including the crucial sighting in evansville, indiana, area gas station last week and it was crucial because we saw the final vehicle transfer to a black cadillac that was then sighted at a motel less than a mile from this sheriff's office here. when that cadillac pulled out of that motel parking lot, that was when that chase began, and as we heard from the sheriff earlier this afternoon, it's a chase that could have ended much worse than it did. take a listen. >> they went through the parking lot, went through a grass field. the members of the u.s. task force basically rammed the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch. then we later found out, had they not done that, the fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement. they knew they were going up against a dangerous felon, a
murderer, and we have photos of the weapons that were located in the vehicle. there were at least four handguns, semiautomatics, 9 millimeters. >> reporter: and the sheriff also said they recovered a rifle as part of this as well. also, $29,000 in cash they believe came from vicky white's recent home sale and multiple wigs as we can imagine was used as part of disguises. i also asked the sheriff why they were here for six days if they were supposedly on the run, and all he said was while he can't get into their minds, he believes that they were trying to figure out where to go next. but of course, that's all part of the ongoing investigation. >> oh my gosh. still so many questions, omar. but during casey white's extradition hearing this morning, he told authorities that he wants to go back to alabama. so, are they going to oblige his wishes? >> reporter: yeah. he waived his extradition rights during that hearing and one of the few words we heard him say
during this hearing came through a very thick southern accent, saying, i want to go back to alabama. now, local authorities in alabama say they're going to be ready for him. he would go before a judge first and have his arraignment before he'll be transferred what would be back to the department of corrections and based on what we have heard from that sheriff down there, they don't plan to let him see the light of day any time soon. victor, alisyn. >> okay. omar jimenez, thank you. all right, we're just getting this into cnn. elon musk says that he would allow former president trump's twitter ban to end. he would reverse it and allow the former president back on the platform. more on that next. throughout history i've observed markets aped by the intentional and unfoseeable.
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just in to cnn, twitter's soon-to-be owner elon musk says he would allow former president trump back on the platform. >> twitter banned trump after the insurrection. they cited the risk of further violence. cnn chief media correspondent brian stelter is with us now. so, what more do you know about this decision? >> that's right. this just coming into the financial times conference, musk interviewed on stage and asked about his plans for twitter. we know musk has been talking about free speech being his priority, opening up the platform and that includes to donald trump. but as you all said, the context is key here. this all happened in the wake of january 6th when political leaders talked about throwing trump out of office and security
officials worried about further violence in washington or elsewhere. twitter decided to ban trump permanently because of the risk he would continue to incite violence. musk, on stage today, saying that was a morally bad decision and, quote, foolish in the extreme. so, musk indicating that he will reverse that permanent ban if he is able to take over twitter, as he's trying to do. now, he said perhaps a time-out would be appropriate if someone was being destructive on the platform or, quote, a temporary suspension. or to make a certain tweet invisible, he said, but quote, i think a permanent ban just fundamentally undermines trust. so, notable for musk that he would let trump back on. right now, he is expected to take over twitter. however, some stockholders aren't so convinced he's going to go through with it. there's still a little bit of skepticism se acknowledged that on stage today but if he takes over twitter, trump will be back and then the question becomes, will trump benefit from being able to tweet again or will it actually hurt him? and i don't think any of us have any idea. >> he certainly benefitted in
the past. i think that elon musk just knows that he himself can escape to space and the rest of us earthlings will have to deal with this. that's my take on it. >> i think that's a sharp take. i think it is, alisyn. it's a sharp one. >> thank you. it's a hot one. i know that. listen, we're just getting this in too. celebrity chef mario batali has been found not guilty of criminal indecent assault and battery. >> a judge in boston delivering the verdict just moments ago. a woman had alleged that batali had kissed and groped her while she was trying to take a selfie at a bar in boston. this was in 2017. and cnn's jean casarez is following the case and joins us now. jean, so, not guilty. i mean, this happened pretty quickly once it started. >> and this is the one case that has gone to trial. there were criminal charges, a significant amount of time in prison if convicted, and what the judge said in just delivering the verdict minutes ago was that the alleged victim had significant credibility issues, that the totality of the
evidence appeared to show that her motive was financial. here's a quote from the judge right here. he said, quote, the pictures tell a thousand words, and the complaining witness's image in these photographs, her reaction or lack thereof, to the alleged assault is telling. and the facts that went along with that decision, he said that when these selfies were taken, that there was quite a distance. you could see the tile floor between them, so to allege this groping over all of these parts of her body just physically wasn't able to do at that point. also said that there were some pictures taken, then they decided to retake them three minutes later, and that did not measure up to the judge when a significant sexual assault was taking place, you continue, three minutes later, to continue to have the pictures taken and the groping continue. but he did also say that mario batali did not cover himself in glory. his conduct, appearance, and demeanor, not befitting of a public person of his stature at
that time. we believe that's the photographs, cheek-to-cheek photographs. we haven't seen them because this is an alleged sexual assault victim. maybe these photos will now, they're evidence, become public. >> okay, jean casarez, thank you very much for that breaking news. all right, meanwhile, the nation's top spy warns that the war in ukraine could last longer and be more unpredictable than originally feared. that's next. neutrogena® beach defense® the suncare brand used most by y dermatologists and ththeir families, neutrogena® for people with skin.
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i'm erin burnett in kyiv, and there's a grim warning if the u.s. intelligence community that the war here in ukraine will likely drag on much longer than expected and will likely get worse in the coming months. >> the uncertain nature of the battle which is developing into a war of attrition combined with the reality that putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and russia's current conventional military capabilities likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory. >> more unpredictable and potentially escalatory. john cipher is the former chief of operations and a nonsenior resident at the atlantic council, retired major army general spider marks is a cnn military analyst. thank you so much to both of you. today's testimony on capitol
hill comes on the heels of comments from president biden who spoke at a fundraiser last night, and he says putin doesn't have an exit strategy from ukraine. when you hear that and combine it with what we're hearing from avril haines there about escalatory war, where do you think we're going right now? >> that's the problem is, you know, we've often talked about vladimir putin as if he plays a weak hand well, you know, he uses threats and intimidations and that's worked for him. now he has turned over his cards and has shown that he is truly weak, and so he doesn't have a lot of places he can go. you know, he has to, you know, he has a lot of people and a lot of equipment that he can throw into the fight, so that he doesn't, you know, quote unquote lose, and so i think that's sort of the most obvious path for him is to, you know, continue to cause destruction and do his best and hope something good comes out of it. there's not a lot of easy options for him right now. >> the dni director when she was
talking about unpredictable and possible escalatory behavior also said that russian success in the donbas likely won't end the war, which is really crucial, right, a lot of people said, oh, success in the donbas, he'll take that and go home. that's not what the director of national intelligence says. here's how she put it. >> the next month or two or fighting will be significant as the russians attempt to reinvigorate their efforts. even if they are successful we are not confident that the fight in the donbas will effectively end the war. >> reporter: general, how does that happen, though? you know, when you see the destruction among russian equipment and troops that he could still possibly want to escalate and expand. how would he do that? >> well, bear in mind that he has close to 90 plus battalion tactical groups that are in ukraine. now, he has cobbled some of them together, so it's really a definition of their level of readiness, but putin enjoys the
luxury of numbers. he can continue this type of an engagement, and look, let's be frank with each other. every time the russians have engaged with the ukrainians in close combat, they have lost. so what the russian forces are doing, we see this, it's now become the standard operating procedure. they use dumb rockets and they target from a distance indiscriminately. this can continue for the longest time, and i think it's safe to say, erin, that putin is not going to do an about face and depart russia. >> reporter: so john, let me ask you, there are reports that some russian troops aren't listening to commands in donbas, and you know, it's unclear if that's true. you know, what you see around kyiv from what the russians left behind, the way that they were living and surviving while they were wreaking havoc and terror on these villages was horrific. i mean, i don't think it would surprise people to hear that
there is incredible morale issues. but, do you really think that that's happening. do you really think that you'll see some sort of mass refusal among russian troops or no? >> no, i don't think you'll see a mass refusal of russian troops. and frankly this is the russian way of war. you know, in world war ii and other times, they have had things like this, and they have responded to it with brutality, and vladimir putin is not above responding to his own people with brutality, and so you may see, you know, a lot of not terribly efficient and effective troops, but you may see troops that are willing to kill their own to make sure they continue to go forward. because for these military leaders, they have sort of no choice, nor does vladimir putin. he has survived on this view that he's a strong man so therefore he can't really back down. he can't agree to something that makes it look like he's losing. he's going to have to invent some other way out of this. i think he just continues to
push forward and kill until he can figure out a way that at least makes him look like he's had some sort of victory. >> thank you both very much. i appreciate your time. john cipher and retired major general spider marks with us here. victor and alisyn, back to you. >> erin, thank you very much, we will check back with you. meanwhile. >> prices at the gas pump soaring to new highs. what, if anything, can the white house do now? “few of us will ever dive so deep into our cars, but those who do venture down into the nuts and bolts...” “you hahave to give all of yourself when you do something, and that's when you do your best.” for the e best audio entertainment anand storytelling. audible. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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it's the top of the hour on cnn newsroom. i'm alisyn camerota. >> i'm victor blackwell. today president biden is confronting an obstacle course of economic challenges while trying to assure americans he has the tools to keep everyone from struggling and the president shared his plan to ease the pain of persistently rising inflation, and record high gas prices. >> i know that families all across america are hurting because of inflation. i understand what it feels like. i come from a family where when the price of gas or food went up, we felt it. it was a discussion at the kitchen table. i want every american to know i'm taking inflation very seriously, and it's my top domestic priority. >> well, with less than 200 days until the midterm elections, biden also claimed that congressional republicans would make inflation worse.