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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 16, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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it's burned nearly 465 square miles. a new map shows the parts of the u.s. most at risk from property damage from wildfires. the darker the area, the greater your risk, according to a "washington post" an sis of the data. 1 in 6 americans lives in areas with significant wildfire risk. our coverage continues with wltweight in "the situation room." i'll see you tomorrow. happening now, new cell phone video shows the buffalo shooting suspect being apprehended by police. cnn just obtained photos of the two rifles he allegedly took to the scene of the racist massacre. officials are now revealing chilling new details of his planning, saying he intended to continue this rampage. also tonight, ukrainian forces are claiming major gains on the battlefield, amid significant russian losses. this, as the putin regime is
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lashing out over sweden joining finland in seeking nato membership. the kremlin is now threatening to retaliate. and there's a significant new development impacting the nationwide shortage of infant formula. a deal has just been reached to reopen a plant that was shut down because of a recall. how soon will desperately needed nourishment for america's babies are back on store shelves? we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room". we begin with new evidence that the buffalo shooting suspect was plotting a racially motivated slaughter for months. visiting the city back in march, and potentially looking to attack a second store. cnn's brian todd is on the scene for us, following all the new developments tonight. >> this was a straight-up hate crime, pure evil.
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>> reporter: tonight, police revealing details about the meticulous planning that went into the massacre of ten people in a buffalo store. and how it could have been worse. >> he had plans had he gotten out of here to continue his rampage and continue shooting people. he'd even spoken about possibly going to another store. >> reporter: 18-year-old payton gendron is accused of murdering people in the parking lot and went into the store. >> he was very heavily armed. he had tactical gear, a tactical camera on and live streaming what he was doing. >> reporter: cnn obtained a 180-page document posted online. the document says he was inspired by seeing another racially motivated attack in finland in 2015. the document details how the shooter has been radicalized by
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online message boards, describing the replacement theory which suggests the false belief that the white race is dying out. >> he had the "n" word which unfortunately was carved into one of his weapons. clearly, he was bent on hate. >> reporter: cnn has obtained a photo of two other rifles the gunman brought to the scene that have righting on them including the phrase "white lives matter." he chose the buffalo store based on the racial make-up of the zip code and had planned it since january. >> friday was here back in early march. >> reporter: he'd been buying ammo and shooting regularly, and mapped out the store intending to shoot all black people. the main gun, the bush master 15 was bought from this store before he modified it. according to the "the new york times" he had no problems purchasing the weapon after an incident at the susquehanna high school where he was on the honor
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roll there. >> the gunman was able to sell it because there were no red flags that came up. >> reporter: a spokesperson for the school district tells cnn the suspect was interviewed after he made an ominous statement about a suicide in a school project. although no threat. >> he stayed in a hospital, or mental health facility for a day and a half. >> reporter: the gunmen i spoke to didn't want to give their names. >> something missed. if he was flagged in high school, why didn't he get the mental health care he needed then. the system failed him that caused this tragedy to occur. >> reporter: they say the shooter was quiet and seemed like he was a normal teenager. >> and then when they found out, they said, they sure as hell hope he's not from, turns out he was on my street. we were totally shocked about the whole thing.
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>> reporter: the suspect is currently in custody and on suicide watch. >> he's in a segregated unit aside from the regular population, and that's for his safety. >> reporter: the suspect has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder. law enforcement officials say prosecutors are working to bring possible federal charges against him in addition to the state charges. officials also say that the suspect's attorney has withdrawn a request for a mental health forensic examination to be formed on him. wolf. >> brian todd reporting. thank you very much. let's discuss what's going weren't with buffalo's mayor brown. mayor brown, buffalo is my hometown, i grew up in that city. i love that city very much. this racist hateful shooting is especially painful for those of us from buffalo. how is your community, first of all doing right now? should buffaloians of color feel
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safe tonight? >> people are in a lot of pain. people are hurting in the city of buffalo. people are grieving in buffalo. and we are a strong community, wolf, as you know. we are a loving community. known nationally and internationally. as the city of good neighbors. we will get through this horror. we will not let a lone, racist gunman define the city of buffalo. people in this community should feel safe. we have a very strong law enforcement partnership. and law enforcement at every level has been working around the clock, seamlessly, since this incident on saturday afternoon. so, at the federal level, at the state level, the buffalo police. the erie county sheriff's office, all working together in unison, to look at every detail of this crime. in the city of buffalo.
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we have beefed up the work of our police department, to make sure that neighborhoods throughout our city are safe. >> i hope so. just a little while ago, i know you announced arrests have been made in connection to various social media posts and possible additional threats out there. what more can you tell us about that, mayor? >> there have been some concerning social media posts that are threatening in nature. federal, state and local law enforcement made it clear that those social media posts will be taken very seriously. any kind of attempted copycat activity will be taken very seriously. and already, yesterday, one person was arrested for posts and calls that were made to
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businesses that were threatened in nature. so we're going to send a very clear message that games will not be tolerated. copycat activity will not be tolerated. and social media will be very carefully monitored. >> yeah. i worry about these copycats out there. i know you do as well. as you also know, mayor, the far right public figures 00 have been promoting this extremist, his racist, this so-called white replacement theory which the alleged killer repeatedly referenced in that document he posted. do you believe they're complicit, these public figures, are conpolicet in these murders? >> these public figures are absolutely complicit, they trade in hate speech. they propagate hate speech. they try to proliferate hate
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speech and indoctrinate people in the community in these misguided theories. misinformation. yes, they are partially to blame for the radicalization of people in this country and indoctrinating them into attitudes and feelings of hatred towards others. >> i'm pleased that president biden will be visiting my hometown in buffalo tomorrow. you'll meet with him, of course. what will be your message to the president of the united states? >> i will talk to the president about the availability of guns, guns are far too easy to obtain. in the united states of america. we've seen far toomas shootings in this country. this doesn't happen in other countries across the world. we have to do more to control, sensibly control, guns in this country. i'll be talking to the president
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about hate speech, hate speech by public figures. hate speech on social media and what can be done to address that. also, mentally health. we need to make sure that there are more resources for mental health throughout the country. and i will also be talking, finally, about economic development, more resources in urban communities for business development and job creation for the residents living in intercity communities like buffalo, all across the country. >> mayor brown, please pass along my love to all my fellow buffaloians. thank you for joining us. good luck to you. good luck to everyone in buffalo. >> thank you very much, wolf. >> i want to dig deeper into the n motive with the former fbi
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derrick mccabe and andrew, first to you, as you can see in the photo, we'll put it up there. the suspect covered weapons in his arsenal in writing including the phrase "white lives matter" and other notations reflecting his racist beliefs. what does that tell you? >> well, wolf, it tells us that the motive behind this attack was absolutely clear. this is a person radicalized online by his own admission. and motivated by a deep abiding hatred of black people. the latest of racially motivated mass shootings that we have to endure in this country. there's no question that this individual was motivated by the christchurch shooter, a racist attack new zealand in 2019. that served as the inspirational drive for the el paso
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anti-immigrant shooter in 2020. so, you can see, wolf, how these things are all connected by a shared grievance. and a shared hatred for black people. for immigrants, in some cases, jewish people. anti-s anti-semitism. it's a very strong theme that runs through these incredible violent people of our country. >> it's what they call the great replacement theory. they don't want white people to be replaced by others, asians, blacks, hispanics or jews, we remember that in charlottesville. sheriff, he told us that they aren't complicit in the murders. do you agree with it? >> absolutely. with the issues, social media platforms that refuse to remove the bulk of their platforms.
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fox news to essentially promote divisive language that turns to hate speech that actually turns to actions with what took place in the bay area, january 6, and what was mentioned, in louisville, kentucky, the synagogue in pittsburgh, what took place in wisconsin, all of these things are matters of national security now, in my opinion. this is a domestic terrorism, and it should be treated as such. african americans in our experience, we know what happens when you allow domestic terrorists to go unaccountable for their actions. you are guaranteed more actions of domestic terror. in our experience, we've seen it all through the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s. we're witnessing that now, wolf, all of the incidents that are similar, coming from the same set of rhetoric. and we just stop repeating the rhetoric, because it's nothing but red meat from a conservative base trying to score political
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points. >> derrick johnson, andrew mccabe, gentlemen, thank you for joining us. i wish we were meeting on a different subject. it's so painful to see what's going on. just ahead, ukraine claims major new gains amid significant russian losses. as muff as one-third of russia's combat forces in the country, acaccording to british official. we're going to live, when we comeme back. (othther money manager) but you still sell investments thatat generate high commissios for you, right? (fisher investments) no, we don't sell commission products. we're a fiduciary, obligated to act in our client's best interest. (other money manager) so when do you make more money, only when your clients make more money? (fisher investments) yep. we do better when our clients do better. at fisher investments, we're clearly different. with age comes more... get more with neutrogena® retinol pro plus. a powerful .5% retinol that'slso gentle on skin. for wrine results in one week.
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correspondent sam kiley is on the ground for us in eastern ukraine, where he rode along with secret police as they captured a man spying for russia. here's his exclusive report. >> reporter: this is the former headquarters of the sbu, that's the secret police, effectively, of ukraine. now, it was hit right at the beginning of the war with an air strike. clearly from the russian perspective this is an immediate necessity to knock out the sbu's cavity here in kramatorsk, because it's from this location that the counterintelligence operation would have been run. >> translator: we've been working on him for about four days. we have a complete picture of his actions, said serhiy. this is ukraine's most secretive force. the equivalent of the fbi and then some. serhiy says we have identified a person who, according to our intelligence is committing a crime. simply put, this is a person who transmits to the russian side.
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the russian military. in fact about the locations of our units. they're snatched team has ordered to grab a russian spy. the sbu says that spies feed a stream of information on troop movements and details of targets to russia's aircraft and artillery. in this region, the sbu says it captures one or two agents run by russia every day. and today's suspect is being watched. he's ours, there he goes. having a smoke. all units, green pants, black sweatshirt. special forces sweep in. resistance. two ukrainians are asked to
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witness the interrogation. with our camera present, protocols are followed to the letter. he's told why he's arrested for high treason during martial law and confesses on the spot to spying. he said he was allegedly recruited online, gets orders from a messaging app by someone called nikolai. the suspect got about $10 for alleged spying which included locations of military units in the town. according to an alleged exchange between he and his handler, the suspect was arrested midmission.
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>> reporter: there's no death penalty for traitors here but as he's driven through these gates, he'll know if tried and convicted, he could spend a lifetime behind bars, serhiy's hometown is under constant russian bombardment, so for him this is know small victory. russia is hitting us with missiles, rockets and air raids. these missiles hit the coordinates which are transmitted by these criminals. people die in these attacks. soldiers and civilians but he adds, the more atrocities the russians commitment the harder it's getting for the kremlin for recruitment of spies. >> reporter: now, arguably, those atrocities, aside from what we've seen on the outskirts
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of kyiv have been most graphically illustrated by appalling bombardment of mariupol which is continuing at pace. glimmers of good news for the relatively small number of troops still left and fighting and holding out against the russian onslaught with ukrainian government officials saying about just around 260 wounded and other soldiers have been able to be evacuated from the azovstal plant in mariupol. that hold outarea. it's a very complex story, but we understand that some of them according to ukrainian officials may have been able to cross into ukrainian lines as part of a prisoner exchange arranged with the russians. wolf. >> sam kiley on the scene. excellent report. thank you very much. coming up, grief-stricken relatives recall the loved ones take from them in the mass shootings some buffalo. we'll get the latest information
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this shouldn't have happened. >> reporter: trying to process the unexplainable killing of their loved ones gunned down at a buffalo grocery store this weekend. >> she was an 86-year-old powerhouse. >> reporter: ruth whitfield the oldest of the victims is the mother of buffalo's fire commissioner killed shortly after visiting her husband of 68 years in a nursing home. >> this message takes away the pain, the hole in our hearts because part of us is gone, taken from us by hate. >> reporter: former police lieutenant aaron salter worked security in his retirement. his last heroic act exchanging gunfire with the shooter and likely saving lives. >> he was beloved by the community. >> reporter: a community and clergy now missing hayward patterson. >> too much for my heart. >> reporter: he was killed in the parking lot, never making into into the store where his
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friends say he would often bring parishioners who needed to buy food. >> taking them back and forth, transported them to survive. >> reporter: carroll young a woman of faith attended a prayer breakfast. >> over 25 years she was running a food pantry, giving, helpful, being faithful to her church. she was a saint. >> reporter: katherine massey, 72 years old, stood up for equality. >> she was a go-getter. >> reporter: friends say she worked to make a difference through her actions and her words as a writer, she penned a letter about gun vial. marcus morrison died picking up snacks. celestine cheney was going to celebrate mother's day. and the youngest victim who died
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dedicated her time helping her brother fight leukemia. and shopping for a party with her fiance survived. >> devastating. >> reporter: three others recovering from the attack. ten lives tragically lost in just minutes by a person authorities say was fueled by hate. brynn gingras, cnn, new york. >> my heart goes out to all of the families. my deepest, deepest condolences to the families and to those who were murdered. may they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. let's discuss the late breaking developments, with ear recounty sheriff john garcia is joining us right now. shaeriff garcia, what you can tell us about the copycat threats coming in after the massacre. do the people of buffalo need to
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worry about another attack? >> well, wolf, i think what we're getting now, people who are keyboard warriors sending out messages on social media. my message to them is we have a lot of empty spots in the erie holding center where they could be spending the next week. we had a gentleman who made threats causing carnage at a local pizzeria, he's under arrest. and a gentleman mentally ill taken to the erie county medical center. >> have investigators, sheriff, been able to speak with the suspect's family yet? >> reporter: the suspect's family have spoken to authorities. they're in conklin, new york, in broom county. they're distraught. they're sickened by what happened. i just wonder how is it that they didn't know -- you know, their son leaves in the middle of the day, and comes up to
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buffalo 3 1/2 hours away. and he had a history of some mental illness. i just wonder how is it that they didn't call the authorities to let us know that, you know, he had left with the weapons. and left for the day. >> so, is there any evidence so far, sheriff, that other people actually helped this horrible suspect carry out this attack? >> it appears that he acted alone, wolf. but he did have two other rifles -- he had a shotgun and a.30-06 in the vehicle. so, if he wouldn't have been stopped first by the courageous act of retired officer aaron salter, that engaged and confronted this individual. and if it wasn't for the plate and his bulletproof vest, aaron salter would have been able to take him down. and then the buffalo police officers that responded within a
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minute and confronted him. and he gave up. and i'm very thankful that he didn't engage one of those rifles upon two police officers, you know that responded with 9 millimeters. but he planned on continuing this carnage. >> so, what can you tell us about other attacks the suspect was allegedly planning to carry out, if he had been able to continue this rampage? >> well, you know, we don't want to put that out yet, because as the district attorney has said, this is an ongoing investigation. but i can tell you this, he was not going to be finished with killing as many blacks as possible. at the tops friendly markets across the street from me. he was going to continue down jefferson avenue. and he had some other target locations, as dot target
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locations meaning commercial areas that wouldn't be armed. >> erie county sheriff john garcia. sheriff garcia, thank you for joining us. thanks for your important work. once again my heart goes out to my fellow buffaloians, horrible indeed. thank you, good luck. >> thank you, wolf. you know this is not the buffalo that we know. >> no, it's not. buffalo is a welcoming city that loves to bring people in. my family, your family. they were welcomed, they came to buffalo in erie county and had a wonderful, wonderful life. we're grateful to all of the people of buffalo. thank you so much, sheriff for joining us. >> god bless. thank you. >> god bless you. just ahead, we're going to get the latest on the first war crimes trial of a russian soldier in ukraine. we'll talk one-on-one with the country'y's top prosecutor, whe we come back.
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under way in ukraine. and as new atrocities are revealed almost daily there could be thousands more to come. and joining us now, the prosecutor general of ukraine, iryna venediktova. iryna, thank you for joining us. as you well know, you know this more intensely than i do. one russian suspect is already on trial in ukraine. so far, you've been able to identify, we're today, about 40 suspects. out of the 11,000 potential war crimes you're investigating. how will you be able to track down every suspect and ensure they also face justice? >> dear wolf, thank you very much, that you're having me. i understand that it's very important for us to bring him to speak from your platform about what is going on. yes. actually, we have more than 11,200 cases. tomorrow we'll have extract 100
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or 200 cases again. and we understand that it's not so easy -- not so simple to do investigations in ukraine, when we're still under shelling, bombing and so on. but really important, not only to stop this war, but to punish all people who are responsible. and while the federation here in ukraine about all war crimes done here, you mentioned just trial for russian soldier who killed civilian, 62-year-old man who just walked with his bicycle and killed him only several meters before his house. and actually, we're start
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tomorrow with two other russian soldiers physically here in ukraine. they've done during the shelling in kharkiv, for civilian structure for civilian houses. and we started to prosecute them too. >> as you know, iryna, president zelenskyy said ukraine is uncovering atrocities just like the brutal ones we saw in bucha, for example, wherever russian soldiers leave an area. as ukrainian forces push russians out of of the major northern city of kharkiv, for example, what new evidence of war crimes are you seeing? >> you know, we have so huge method of it now, for us, very important to collect them right and to set them right. now, we see again and again, new evidence of using prohibited
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weapons here in the territory of ukraine. we see new -- new victims for example of rape, sexual crimes, and we understand that unfortunately, we will see it again and again. because more than 4,000 civilians who live in this area of war. but these figures are not correct. but today -- for this morning. for this morning, we have 229 dead children, but these figures are not correct because again, mariupol and donetsk region, we don't know specific figures of these kids. that's why we will see more and more interceptions. we will see more and more cases inside the borders of our
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people. with more and more dead people, dead civilians and witnesses of this crime, unfortunately. we will have a long process in this future. but for us, very important that we started these proceedings now and we are in the court with specific war criminals and we are ready to prosecute them absolutely open -- we are open to all journalists. we tried to do our job absolutely professional and objective. today, we have the team of prosecutors international criminal courts on the grounds of ukraine. we literally have a team who are part of the joint investigation team. we have french experts here on the ground in the kyiv region. >> the ukrainian prosecutor
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general iryna venediktova. thank you for joining us. >> have a good evening. coming up key objectives in the baby formula shortage here in the united stateses and how could ease slightly in the coming w weeks. latuda couould make a real difference in your symptoms. latuda was proven toto significantly reduce bipolar depression symptoms and in clinical studies, had no substantial impact on weight. this is where i want to be. call your doctor about sudden behavior changes or suicidal thoughts. antidepressants can increase these in children and young adults. elderly dementia patients have increased risk of death or stroke. report fever, confusion, stiff or uncontrollable muscle movements, which may be life threatening or permanent. these aren't all the serious side effects. now i'm back where i belong. ask your doctor if latuda is right for you. pay as little as zero dollars for your first prescription. [bacon sizzles] [bacon sizzles] ♪ [electronic music plays] ♪
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helping ensure all students can read by third grade. the same tony thurmond committed to hiring 10,000 new mental health counselors. as a respected former social worker, thurmond knows how important those mental health counselors are for our students today. vote for democrat tony thurmond. he's making our public schools work for all of us. major new developments in the shortage of infant formula here in the u.s., fueled in part by a recall by one of the country's largest manufacturers. cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen is working the story for us. elizabeth, abbott just says it has now reached a deal with the fda on steps to resume production at its shuttered plant. how soon could the plant start
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production again? and how quickly could this help alleviate this huge crisis? >> wolf, this is clearly a step in the right direction, however, it is still going to be weeks, possibly many, plane weeks until we see products come out of this plan, so this is twine the fda and abbott nutrition, this is the way abbott terms, it, it creates a pathway to reopen the facility. it doesn't reopen the facility, it just create as pathway for doing it. so after fda approval which they still don't have, they could restart the site, could, within two weeks. and then, it takes six to eight weeks beyond that before the product is available in stores. so, you know, there's the fda is still trying to get formula from other companies to sort of ramp up production, import formula, all those steps are going to help, but i don't think we're going to be seeing any immediate change to this shortage anytime very soon. >> there's also a major
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announcement, elizabeth, from the american academy of pediatrics, what can you tell us about that? >> yeah, so wolf, i don't know if you remember from when you were little but american academy of pediatrics always said do not give cows milk to a child until their first birthday, very strong on that, but now, because of the shortage and i want to be clear, there's no medical or health change here, but because of the shortage, they're making a change to that recommendation. now they're saying whole cow's milk, quote, may be an option for many babies older than 6 months. if your baby was using regular, is using regular formula, not a specialty formula, they say after six months it could be an option for them to go to whole cow's milk, american academy of pediatrics very clear this is not ideal and baby should only be doing this a brief period of time, don't define what that means, american academy of pediatrics saying that toddler
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formula is safe for a few days for children close to their first birthday, a very vast departure for the american academy of pediatrics. >> certainly, as elizabeth cohen with the developments, thank you very much. also some dramatic developments on this, the eve of the pennsylvania primaries including are a top democratic senate candidate recovering from a stroke, congressional correspondent jessica dean on the scene tonight. give us the latest. >> reporter: wolf, we're standing outside the hospital where governor and candidate john fetterman recovering after that stroke and i spoke in their mirs national interview since the stroke, i spoke with his wife earlier today and she walked us through what she saw on friday when the lieutenant governor had the stroke. take a listen. >> we were on our way to an event and i noticed a second of change in him. and it's scary it's that quickly
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you could have missed it. if i wasn't paying attention, but i noticinged a small sign. his mouth moved slightly and my gut, i knew something was up and we were immediately, in town, luckily very close to lancaster to the hospital and came straight here. >> just an amazing story, something so small she noticed but ultimately could have saved his life. he is doing great, she says, and is expected to make a full recovery but wolf, he will not be out of the hospital by tomorrow. primary day here, you is the front runener that democratic primary, supposed to be in pittsburgh tomorrow night and giselle will be there making remarks, says we may see him virtually but may be at the hospital recovering. turning to the republican side of this primary, seeing a surging surging kathy barnett, coming out in the few last days a to compete with mehmen oz endorsed
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by trump and mccormick, hedge fund ceo really duking it out in millions of dollars of ads over the pennsylvania air waves, so seen barnett really surging, we know oz is having a teletown hall rally former president trump tonight but we'll see how this plays out tomorrow night. >> jessica dean on the scene for us, and stay with cnn tomorrow night for special live coverage of the midterm primaries, all starts right after "the situation room" 7:00 p.m. eastern. up next, even as the country reels from the racist buffalo massacre, there were more shooting and see more deaths all across the united states this past weekend. new details when we come back. wewere delayed when the new kd totaled his truck. timber... fortunately, they were covered by progresessive, so it was a happy ending... for almost everyone. sorry i'm late! dude, dude, dude... oh boy. your cousin.from boston. [whiff]
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abortion is effectively banned in texas, and at least seven other states only have a single abortion provider. we need leaders in congress who will stand up to extremist politicians, and protect our right to choose everywhere. and i will fight for pay equity, too. i'm emily beach, and i approve this message because nothing is more important than standing up for- - [all] our rights. right now. being connected. it's vital for every student. so for superintendent of public instruction, tony thurmond, it's a top priority. closing the digital divide, expanding internet access for low-income students and in rural areas. it's why thurmond helped deliver more than a million devices and connected 900,000 students to broadband over the last two years - to enable online learning. more than 45,000 laptops went to low-income students. re-elect tony thurmond. he's making our public schools
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the hate-fueled mass shooting in buffalo, was not the only shooting over the weekend here in the united states. we're getting new information now about a new shooting at a time when the church gathering yesterday in southern california that left one person dead and five injured. investigators now say the suspect in custody planted in incendiary devices around the church and chained some doors closed. he was upset with china-taiwan relations. since then, eight people killed or injured in mass shootings across the u.s., including five dead in chicago and two dead in houston, as well as dozens injured in those cities as well as milwaukee and winston, salem,
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north carolina. to our viewers, thanks for watching, i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room," erin burnett, "outfront," starts right now. "outfront" next, buffalo shooting rampage, plot may have been months in the makeing and the suspect pointed gun at one person in the grocery store, but said sorry, why? one made it out alive, his terrifying account. and major twists tonight as we count down the final hours before a crucial primary and a controversial candidate's sudden surge, is it enough to carry her over the finish line? while in the democratic line, candidate suffer as stroke. "outfront" tonight, racist massacre may have been months in the making. now learning the gunman accused of killing 10 people at a


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