tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 22, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
facebook, instagram, twitter, and the tiktok @jaketapper or tweet the show at the lead cnn. you can listen to "the lead" from whence you get your podcast. our coverage continues right now with one wolf blitzer in a place we like to call "the situation room." until then, i'll see you seunda morning. happening now. a jury finds steve bannon guilty of criminal contempt of congress for defying a subpoena from the january 6th select committee. it's a major victory for the panel probing the u.s. capitol riot. also tonight, with the committee vowing to push forward after last night's dramatic hearing, we're learning new information reported first on cnn. the u.s. secret service identifying potentially missing text messages sent on or around january 6th. i'll speak with a key member of the committee, just ahead. and there are new details tonight about president biden's
condition as he recovers from covid. dr. anthony fauci is standing by live. we will discuss. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin our coverage tonight with the guilty verdict in steve bannon's criminal contempt trial. the former top trump adviser convicted on two counts of contempt of congress for defying the january 6th committee's subpoena. cnn's senior crime and justice reporter, katelyn polantz is joining us from just outside the federal courthouse here in washington. katelyn, give us the latest. >> reporter: well, wolf, steve bannon was convicted today, even though he had vowed this was going to be the misdemeanor from hell for the select committee. it was not that. by the end of the day, we had two criminal convictions of steve bannon. now, these were both misdemeanor
charges, but congress writes the law, and when they wrote this law, they said that it would be punishable by a minimum of 30 days in jail if someone was found guilty of defying a congressional subpoena, being held in contempt, and that is what is happening for steve bannon. we're going to see him back in court in late october for his sentencing. there is some time between then and now. but i wanted to start with what the house select committee had to say after this conviction came in. they're cheering it. the statement from the chairman and the vice chair of that committee was the conviction of steve bannon is a victory for the rule of law and an important affirmation of the select committee's work. anyone who obstructs our investigation should face consequences. no one is above the law. but right now, steve bannon has not turned over any information to the committee. instead, we had these proceedings today, finding him guilty of trying to hold him accountable. and the way that this played out was that the prosecutor stood up and gave a closing argument where they compared this to a
pa parking ticket. when you get a parking ticket, you have to pay it or you can try to fight it. if you don't pay it and you lose when you're trying to fight it, you still have to pay your parking ticket. this is what he said about steve bannon. he got this subpoena, he tried to protest it. the committee rejected that idea and he still had to comply with the subpoena, which he ultimately did not. in court, i was there, i was watching him. bannon didn't react that strongly when this verdict was read. he was smirking a little bit, thanked his lawyers, patted them on the back. he nodded when the judge was thanking the jury for their service. but here's what he said after court when he walked out. here's bannon. >> we may have lost a battle here today, but we're not going to lose this war. in the closing argument, the prosecutor missed one very important phrase, right? i stand with trump and the constitution and i will never back off that, ever. >> reporter: and wolf, there is a chance that this case does go on a little bit, his attorney,
david schoen, right after bannon spoke after the court then vowed that they would be appealing and called it a bulletproof appeal. we'll have to see how that plays out now. >> we shall watch and see. katelyn polantz outside the federal courthouse here in washington. turning now to new details on the january 6th investigation first reported right here on cnn. sources telling us the u.s. secret service has identified missing potential text messages on the phones of ten personnel. manu raju has all the latest on the insurrection investigation. >> tonight, the january 6th committee pressing ahead, vowing to continue its investigation into the fall. >> doors have opened, new subpoenas have been issued, and the dam has begun to break. >> reporter: the committee building a public case against trump, showing he knew his push to overturn the election violated the law and then did nothing to stop his supporters from storming the capitol. >> there can be no question that
donald trump was at the absolute center of the conspiracy to overthrow the election and to assault our democracy. he did that. >> lawmakers are planning to spend august interviewing new witnesses and detailing their filings. a key question, whether trump should be prosecuted by the justice department. >> i think the president certainly has criminal exposure. the worst thing we can do is put out something that says the president is above the law and can do this again, because i guarantee it will happen again if we say that. >> reporter: trump's inaction, the focus of thursday night's prime-time hearing. for more than three hours, watching the attack unfold on tv. >> are you aware of any phone call by the president of the united states to the secretary of defense that day? >> not that i'm aware of, no. >> are you aware of any phone call by the president of the united states to the attorney general of the united states that day? >> no. >> are you aware of any phone call by the president of the united states to the secretary of homeland security that day? >> i'm not aware of that, no.
>> reporter: trump rejecting many pleas to tell the mob of his supporters to go home. >> i thought that we should condemn the violence and condemn it unequivocally. >> if pence caved, we're going to drag mother [ bleep ]s through the streets. >> reporter: instead, enflaming tensions, including with a tweet attacking vice president mike pence. >> the tweet looked to me like the opposite of what we really needed at that moment, which was a de-escalation. >> reporter: trump was on the phone with his lawyer, rudy giuliani, who internally was pushing senators to slow down the certification of joe biden's victory in a last-ditch teattem to stay in power. as trump went to the residence that night, he did not express concerns about the attack. instead -- >> he said only, quote, mike pence let me down. >> reporter: but the committee revealing that trump's actions endangered pence's life. radio communications from the vp's secret service offering this chilling account.
>> they just breached the building. hold! >> we need to move and move now. if we lose anymore time, we may lose the ability to leave. so if we're going to leave, we need to do it now. >> they've gained access to the second floor and i'm got them five feet from me down here below. >> reporter: this testimony from a white house security official whose identity was kept anonymous from his own safety. >> members of the vp team at this time were starting to fear for their own lives. there were calls to say good-bye to family members, so on and so forth. >> reporter: even the day after the attack, outtakes of trump's speech show that he refuses to say that this election is over. >> this election is now over. congress has certified the results. i don't want to say "the election is over." i just want to say, "congress has certified the results" without saying that "the election is over." okay? and to those who broke the law, you will pay. you do not represent our movement. you do not represent our
country. and if you broke the law -- can't say that. i'm not going to -- i already said "you will pay." i would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday -- yesterday is hard work for me. >> just take -- >> the attack -- >> take the word "yesterday" out, because it doesn't work -- the heinous attack on our country. do you want to say that? >> reporter: scrutiny also on gop senator josh hawley, who the committee says riled up the crowd with a fist pump before the riot began. then when the mob breached the capitol, hawley fled. even house gop leader kevin mccarthy, who got into an intense swearing match with trump on january 6th, appealing to trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, for help. >> you know, they were scared. >> they meaning leader mccarthy and people on the hill, because of the violence? >> he was scared, yes. >> now, committee members tell
me tonight as part of their investigation that will continue, they plan to dig into why those secret service texts were missing from january 5th and january 6th, saying that they plan to get to the bottom of that situation. the secret service director, james murray, did issue a statement about the cooperation that the service has with the committee, saying that he has directed them to fully cooperate with the committee, and he also said that they are now working to figure out when these personnel will be available for follow-up interviews with the committee in the weeks ahead. >> ma nu raju, thank you. let's discuss with nia-malika henderson, eliot williams, defense attorney, shan wu, and cnn law enforcement correspondent, whitney wild. whitney, you reported first right here on cnn that metadata showed that ten secret service agents actually were texting on or around january 6th. what else do we know about this? >> what we know is that this is the result of an investigation
that was conducted by the secret service after the house select committee instructed them by a subpoena to get to the bottom of what happened with those missing text messages. we don't know what the content of those text messages were. but we know, again, is that sources are telling us that there are ten devices that show metadata, that show that there were texts that were sent and received on these key dates around january 5th and 66th. we also know through this investigation they have determined that 10 of 24 people who were of particular interest to the ig had no text messages at all. three other people sent only personal text messages, wolf. and it was just the one person who saved that text message exchange. >> very interesting. nia, these official were clearly key witnesses in what was going on. how significant is it that some of them are now lawyering up? >> well, listen, this is a serious investigation that the select committee is running. and folks who have talked to the committee have lawyered up. if you see in all of these videos, people who are talking to the committee and people who were sitting behind them are
lawyers. and they're oftentimes talking to their lawyers and consulting with their lawyers, as they're interviewing with the committee. what we know about this day is mainly from cassidy hutchison, right? who talks about a confrontation between the president and a secret service agent, as he's trying to convince them to go to the capitol. cassidy hutchinson says that she heard that the president tried to reach for the steering wheel. now, secret service agents, off the record, not under subpoena, not under oath, they have said, you know, they've disputed parts of that. but there has been other cooperation to her account of what happened that day. so their firsthand account and their firsthand experience of those crucial moments on january 6th are key to this investigation. it goes to what donald trump was doing and what he was thinking during those hours. so the committee very much wants to hear from these folks. >> they certainly do. shan, the inspector general, as you know, has launched a criminal investigation into these missing text messages. what does that tell you?
>> well, it tells me what we're all smiuspicious about, they're also thinking about that, as well. it was just two big of a day for those messages just to have disappeared because of a normal type of device replacement. they're doing the right thing by that. the service has been very troubled by that. i think it's important for homeland security to really take a rigorous look at what's happening there. i applaud that effort. >> you know, it's interesting, eliot, the hearing last night, certainly did provide a lot more insight into then president trump's thinking of what was going on. his state of mind back on january 6th. let me play this clip. >> she looked directly at me and in a hushed tone, shared with me that the president did not want to include any sort of mention of peace in that tweet. and that it took some convincing on their part, those who were in the room. and she said that there was a back and forth, going over different phrases to find something that he was comfortable with. and it wasn't until ivanka trump
suggested the phrase "stay peaceful" that he finally agreed to include it. >> she was recounting what kayleigh mcenany, the white house press secretary, had told her that day. >> now, certainly, intent will be at the center of any criminal charge, wolf. you always have to prove that the person intended to commit the crime. i know it sounds really basic and simple, but it is. any of these things will speak to donald trump's intent. another thing, 1:39 p.m., he's watching fox news and there's an account that fox is talking about how responsive the focus out -- on the grounds of the capitol were, to his words, and how they were following him. that can speak to whether he intended to whip them up, or whether his inaction was intended to whip them up. all of these things can speak to which actions he sought to have carried out. >> it was interesting, last night, we learned that some secret service agents in vice president pence's detail were fearing for their lives, whitney, as this was unfolding on january 6th, the
insurrection, the riot that was going on up on capitol hill. it was pence who eventually wound up calling in the military, not the sitting president of the united states. what does that say? >> it's all stunning. i've had sources reach out to me, to say they're just floored. what is so shocking and gut wrenching about what we heard that day is what you point out about the secret service agents, who really believe that this might be it, that they might die. and you just consider that these are some of the most highly trained people with excellent tactical skills as well as firearm skills and still thought that this mob might end up taking their own lives. i spoke with one law enforcement source today who put it to me like this, wolf. think about all the times that pence has traveled. all of the place has east gone. he's gone to corners of the world and who would have thought that the biggest threat he would face would come from less than a mile from the white house and be whipped up by the president himself. >> really amazing, what was going on. all right, guys, thank you very, very much. nia-malika henderson, eliot and
whitney wild. just ahead, we'll get more with a key member of the january 6th select committee. congresswoman zoe loftgren is standing by live. we'll discuss when we come back. and we'll talk later this hour one on one with dr. anthony fauci about president biden's covid case. we just got an update from the white house. we'll be right back. (man) [whispering] what's going on?
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more now on our top story. a federal jury finding former trump adviser steve bannon guilty of contempt of congress for defying a subpoena from the house select committee investigating the january 6th insurrection. joining us now, a key member of that committee, democrat zoe loftgren of california. congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. first, what message does steve bannon's guilty verdicts send to any other witnesses who are maybe on the fence right now about cooperating with your committee's investigation? >> well, i hope it gives the message that this is not just a request, it's an obligation, it's a legal obligation, and if you fail to live up to that legal obligation, there can be consequences. so i think it's an important decision. >> sources are telling cnn that
there are some ten secret service officials, whose phones have metadata showing text messages around january 6th, but those messages weren't saved. was this incompetence, congresswoman, or was it a cover-up? >> well, we have concerns about the information that we have received and not received from the secret service. and, you know, we've been asking for information for quite some time, after the subpoena was delivered. documents that have been asked for, for quite some time started to emerge. that in itself is troubling. we have a concern, of course, which we knew before the select committee was even established, the chair and the four committees in the house, homeland, oversight, judiciary, and intelligence wrote to the secret service and ordered them to retain all the records. that was on january 16th.
all of the records related to january 5th and 6th. and it was 11 days later that the text messages were erased. so that is very troubling. frankly, i'm concerned about the inspector general's apparent decision to have the service stop trying to use forensic tools to recover. that could also disrupt our investigation. so there's a lot of questions and quite a few serious concerns about the information we haven't received from secret service. >> the secret service director issued a statement saying they're, quote, finalizing dates and times for their personnel to speak with your committee. will that include tony ornato and robert engle, who witnessed trump's demanding to be taken to the u.s. capitol on that day? >> well, i'm sure it will.
you know, we have questions, let me just put it that way. i think it's well established that president wanted and intended to go to the capitol during the rally and after the rally. we have that established from other witnesses, so, miss hutchinson testified about what she was told. and certainly we have the metropolitan police officer reporting about the heated argument, something he'd never encountered in a hundred trips with the presidential motorcades, the president insisting that he be brought to the capitol. that's the real question. and i think it's well established that that is a fact. >> because i know you say that ornato, engle, and the motorcade driver, for that matter, have all hired private legal counsel right now. what does that say about the level of cooperation? and do you know if their legal counsel is actually being paid for by trump political
committees? >> well, that is a question, isn't it. you know, every person has a right to bring a lawyer with them when they come to be interviewed by congress. so, you know, they have that right, but certainly, that is a good question you've asked. >> and you don't know the answer to it yet? >> well, i'm not in a position to speak to that at that point. >> you do know the answer but you can't discuss it? is that what you're saying? >> i'm not going to say more than that! >> all right. congresswoman zoe loftgren, we will continue this discussion down the road. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, take care. have a good weekend. >> you too. coming up, the white house just updating us on president biden's covid condition, we'll talk about it with dr. anthony fauci. he's standing by to join us, live. when you havave technology that's easier to control... that can scale across all your clouds... we got that right?
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president biden is said to be improving according to the white house doctor, but also kiional medication right now to treat his covid infection. the president's covid-19 response coordinator, dr. ashish jha gave us an update just a little while ago. >> he's continuing to be monitored very, very closely. it's obviously day -- it's day one, but it's his second day since his infection was identified. i'm really happy to see that he is getting better and we will continue to monitor him very closely until he is -- until he tests negative. >> all right. let's get some more now with the president's chief medical adviser, dr. anthony fauci. he's the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases.
dr. fauci, thanks so much for joining us. have you had a chance to speak to president biden since he tested positive? do you have any update on his condition? >> i have not spoken to the president directly, but i'm in very close contact with dr. kevin o'connor, who is the primary physician to the president. and as you just heard, the president is really doing quite well. he's now into his first full day. he's on paxlovid and he has symptomology still, but it is improving. he had a bit of a mild temperature that responded very well to tylenol. but he's been able to perform functions today, and we fully expect, given the fact that he's vaccinated, he's doubly boosted, and he's on a very effective anti-viral drug, paxlovid, that clearly has a very good track record in preventing people to progress to severe disease, and that's the reason why although
there's never any guarantee, we feel quite optimistic that the president is already on his way to recovery. >> so what specifically, dr. fauci, will white house physicians be monitoring in the coming days to see whether the president of the united states is actually improving. >> well, just his general physician condition. you look whether he has a tempe temperature, whether the temperature persists. the cough, he has a mild cough. if that gets worse, you monitor the oxygen saturation. and you just generally get a feel for how his breathing is, how he's feeling. the good news, as i mentioned, wolf, from yesterday to today, according to his physicians who clearly are right there with him. he actually appears to be clinically better. not completely over it. still has some symptomology. as you heard him, he still has somewhat of a hoarse type of a voice associated with a bit of a cough, but things appear to be
going in the right direction. we have follow him carefully and make sure that he stays in that right direction. >> when will we get to hear directly, dr. fauci from the president's white house physician, dr. kevin o'connor and ask him some questions. >> you know, wolf, to be honest with you, i don't know. you know, i'm not in that loop about the decision, about who is going to be out there, speaking. i mean, i have the leeway in the sense of back and forth with kevin o'connor, dr. o'connor, and we speak frequently. he asks me my advice about certain things regarding the medications. but to be honest with you, wolf, i don't know why. they may change their mind and have him out there. but i believe they feel that given the questions that are asked, that the combination of having someone like dr. jha or myself who speaks with the doctor, who is the primary
doctor, is good enough. that might change, i don't know. we did get a letter from dr. o'connor, explaining what's going on. you yourself just recovered from covid, dr. fauci. you had to take two courses of that treatment, paxlovid, after your symptoms rebounded. how concerned are you that president biden could have a similar rebound? >> well, the one thing we have to be careful of not confusing the viewers and the general public, is that paxlovid did for me, and we expect it will do for the president, exactly what it was meant to do, is to diminish dramatically the likelihood that we'll have progression of disease that would lead to hospitalization. when you hear about rebound, people get confused. rebound generally, when it
occurs, and there are a lot of different studies talking about different percentages, but it is probably a relatively low percentage, though we need to learn more about that, it is generally a rebound of a positive test that was antigen negative, the way mine was for three days in a row, and then it turned positive. and with that, i developed some mild symptoms, which when i went back on paxlovid, which was a decision of my private physician. i don't make decisions about my own health. he put me back on it, within 18 hours, i was feeling good again after five days, and i finished it, and i've been negative multiple times ever since. so it isn't a concern that the president is going to get into trouble with a rebound, because almost all the rebounds, when they do occur, and they certainly don't occur in everyone, when they do occur, they occur mildly with either no symptoms, and just the lab
tests. but when you look at what it actually does, what it does seems to be very sound, is that when people take paxlovid, they have a very good chance of not progressing to severe disease. so the drug, wolf, is doing what we're asking the drug to do. >> i asked the question, dr. fauci, because you've said that when you rebounded, after paxlovid, the first treatment of paxlovid, your symptoms, you said, were, quote, much worse than in the first go-around. so what sort of symptoms did you have? >> sure. i'll tell you exactly. i had a little bit of a runny nose and a mild sore throat the first time. which prompted my taking the test that turned out to be posit positive. i went on paxlovid, it disappeared by the next morning. when i had a rebound, i had a little bit of a fever, not very much at all. i took tylenol, it went down, i
had some muscle aches for a wile, went to bed, woke up, and after the first couple of doses of paxlovid, that all went away. so we've got to be careful what you mean by "much worse." much worse is relative. so i went from some sniffles and a sore throat to having a little bit discomfort of a fever and a runny nose for about 18 hours. so it wasn't like i was really, seriously ill. not even close to that. in fact, i didn't interrupt any of my functions. i all did it virtually by zoom. >> yeah. when i said, "much worse," dr. fauci, i was quoting what you had actually said, that your symptoms the second time around were "much worse." >> yep, everything is relative, wolf. >> all right. good to know. how are you doing right now, by the way. >> i feel great, i'm back to normal. >> good. so encouraging to hear that. dr. fauci, thanks so much for
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for adults 21 and over, we can protect tribal sovereignty and finally do something about homelessness in california. vote yes on prop 27. forecasters now say the extreme temperatures roasting much of the united states won't let up until at least the end of the month. cnn's brian todd is tracking the scorching weather for all of us. >> reporter: residents of the astoria neighborhood in the new york city borough of queens,
without power yesterday, in the middle of a crippling heat wave. >> it's horrible, it's horrible. i sat outside here from 10:00 to 4:00 this morning. >> it's too hot inside. i'm sitting outside. >> reporter: but new york is not alone. record-breaking heat is expected throughout the northwest this weekend, according to the u.s. weather prediction center. >> the forecast for boston on sunday is 98 degrees. if they hit that mark, it will break a 90-degree record for the day. >> reporter: heat waves across the u.s. are dangerous and deadly. temperatures in the southwest s, central plains, and mississippi river valley soaring past 100 degrees. the city of dallas just recorded its first heat-related death of the year. and in maricopa county, arizona, officials say at least 29 people have died from heat-related issues since march. >> what's the most common mistake people make in weather like this? >> the most common mistake people make is trying to tough it out. trying to think that it's just going to cool off. just trying to think, this is just a little bit of sweatiness
with a little bit of nausea. this is no big deal. you can get to a point where you can start to become confused and lethargic and tired. and at that point, it might be too late for you to have the wherewithal to call for help. the second most common mistake is not checking on your loved ones and your neighbors. >> reporter: about 85% of u.s. population, about 270 million people could see temperatures spiking past 90 degrees over the next week. and about 55 million americans could see temperatures at or above 100 in the same time period. at miami international airport, thousands of baby chickens were found dead from excessive heat after being left for hours in cardboard boxes in the tarmac. as grass dicees off from the he, some ranchers have to send the cattle they can't feed to slaughter. >> i do change that we'll have a lot of whole herd disperseals i something doesn't change. >> reporter: deadly heat waves
are happening across europe as well. this week, britain recorded its hottest temperature ever, over 104 degrees fahrenheit. and over 117 people have died in spain in portugal due to this heat wave. >> brian today, thank you. coming up, donald trump and mike pence ramp up their proxy war over the future of the republican party with dueling events in arizona.
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candidates in a fight for the future of the gop. trump backing kerry lake, who repeats his lies and conspiracies about the presidential election, and pence backing karen taylor robison, a business woman who has the support of governor greg doocy. let's continue this conversation with michael smerconish. how big of a test is this of these two men's endorsements? >> it's a curiosity, it's fun to watch. in the end, i think that these proxy wars, there's only so much value to what they portend for the future, because it's not pence and trump whose names will appear on the ballot. it's interesting zand it's a sin of this burgeoning gap between two. donald trump's frailties and limitations are playing themselves out in prime-time in these january 6th hearings. but you know, wolf, it's hard for me to see wherein lines the lane for the former vice president. because for some, he's insufficiently maga, because in
the end, he didn't do what president trump wanted him to do, i would add, thankfully, but to others, he was the vice president for donald trump for four years and ran with him for almost a year prior, so he's too tide to trump. and i don't see how in this incarnation of a republican party, there's a crowd sufficient for him to win a nomination. >> that's a good point. you know, the former vice president pence, he did say in arizona today, michael, that -- and i'm quoting him now, "the republican party is the party of the future." but trump is still obsessed, clearly, with 2020, and he still has quite a grip on the party, doesn't he? >> well, yes, and with regard to 2020, let us not forget that although that the plot line relative to vice president pence has dominated -- i mean, look at what happened last night and what we learned about the 187 minutes. in the end, the former vice president is going through this dance. he wanted his story told through individuals close to him by individuals like marc short, but
he could have been there himself. imagine how different it might have been, wolf, if you had the first-person account of the individual whose head they were calling for outside and the mob got to, what, within 30 feet of him. and yet, he opted not to do that. why? because he >> because he didn't want to antagonize that trumpy base. what does that tell me about the republican party? >> the select committee's hearings loom over all of this as we all know. the vice chair liz cheney last night posed a question to all americans. i want you and our viewers to watch this. >> every american must consider this. can a president who is willing to make the choices donald trump made during the violence of january 6th ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again? michael, how do you think today's gop will answer that important question?
>> sadly, today's gop largely tuned out. i mean, we were watching, paying attention. it was carried on the three broadcast networks. it was carried of course here on cnn and msnbc but not a sentence of it was carried live on the outlet of choice for much of the gop. so to them it's like a non-event. i think it's been a compelling case. it just reinforced that which i had been led to believe based on following it closely, but we have a problem in this country in that many aren't paying attention. >> let me also ask you while i have you, michael, about this very disturbing incident yesterday in new york. con con congressman lee zeldin running for governor, thwarted an assault. this suspect tried to stab zeldin. we're waiting on details of a possible motive. how high is the risk of violence right now for politicians? >> escalating i would say, and let me tell you what doesn't rein in violence in my view.
what doesn't rein in violence is to have a videotape of someone attacking a public servant, a congressman no less with some kind of a weapon, unclear to me, and that person is released the same night? oh, no, there's a problem with the system i think if that individual is out on the street. and what kind of a deterrent does that serve to someone who might be contemplating something tomorrow? >> good point indeed, michael smerconish as usual, thank you very much. an important note to all of our viewers, be sure to watch smerconish tomorrow morning, every saturday morning 9:00 a.m. eastern right here on cnn. excellent, excellent program. up next, the biggest diplomatic breakthrough in russia's war against ukraine and how it could help ease hunger for millions of people around the world. we're going live to kyiv. that's next. through our grow up great initiative. and now,w, we're providing billions of dollars for affordable home lendnding programs...
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tonight after a deal freeing up tons of ukrainian grain. let's go to cnn's international diplomatic editor nic robertson, he's got the latest, he's joining us from kyiv right now. what are you learning, nic? >> yeah, wolf, this could really make a difference to some of those nations that are beginning to run out of food supply. the global food insecurity could be really helped by this. but what struck me watching the signing ceremony in istanbul today, at the beginning of the story you're going to see in a few seconds here, you see two people shaking hands, and you might any that that's the russian and ukrainian. it's not, it's the russian and turkish defense ministers. the russian and ukrainian ministers never sit down at the table together to sign the deal, and that really tells you about the tensions that are still there behind this very important diplomatic breakthrough.
in istanbul, the biggest diplomatic breakthrough in russia's war against ukraine, the deal to ease russia's strangle hold on ukraine and get its grain, one-fifth of the world's supply to market. >> it will bring relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of fa famine. >> since the war began, russia has attacked and blockaded ukraine's ports, burnt wheat fields, stolen harvest from farmers. until now, russia has been holding the world's grain hostage. the new deal aims to end that by creating safe shipping channels using ukrainian pilots to navigate through sea mines. implementation overseen by turkey includes inspecting car goes. russian's defense chief and ukraine's infrastructure minister signed the deal but not with each other, separately with the u.n. tensions remain and the deal
fragile with no hard cease fire at ports. an adviser to president zelenskyy's chief of staff tweeting in case of provocations, an immediate military response. >> ukraine does not trust russia. i don't think anyone has reasons to trust russia. we invest our trust in the united nations as the driving force of this agreement. >> reporter: speaking in ist istanbul, russia's defense chief indicating what they got from the deal. the u.n. lifting restrictions on their food and fertilizer exports despite their responsibility triggering the current calamity. ukrainian officials say 20 million tons of grain are stuck in port, and exports could begin in days, likely using ships stuck in port since the war began.
and agricultural experts here are saying if there's going to be successful, it will have to lead to international shipping agencies being prepared to ensure ships coming into ukraine in the future, i.e., no breakdown in cease fire at all, wolf. >> nic robertson reporting for us, an important story. to our viewers, thanks very much for watching, i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. "erin burnett out front" starts right now. "out front" next, guilty, steve bannon now looking at jail time after being found guilty for con demtempt. the panel calling today's verdict a victory for the rule of law. the ball's in the attorney general's court. the january 6th committee says it has done its job, and it is now up to merrick garland to charge trump. but will he? and it's trump versus pence, as the former president and vice president are holding dueling rallies for two different candides
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