tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN April 25, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
you see, son, with a little elbow grease, you can do just about anything. thanks, dad. that's right, robert. and it's never too early to learn you could save with america's number one motorcycle insurer. that's right, jamie. but it's not just about savings. it's about the friends we make along the way. you said it, flo. and don't forget to floss before you brush. your gums will thank you. -that's right, dr. gary. -jamie? sorry, i had another thought so i got back in line. what was it? [ sighs ] i can't remember. top of the hour on cnn newsroom, good to have you, i'm victor blackwell. >> and i'm alisyn camerota, the u.s. expresses confidence as vladimir putin's war enters its third months. u.s. diplomats will return to
ukraine. president biden announcing his pick for the next ambassador to ukraine. plus, secretary of state tony blinken and defense secretary lloyd austin met with president zelenskyy in kyiv, ukraine, on sunday. they are the most senior u.s. officials to visit the country since the invasion began. secretary austin assured the world that the people of ukraine can win this war. >> in terms of our -- their ability to win, the first step in winning is believing that you can win. and so they believe that we can win. we believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support, and we're going to do everything we can, continue to do everything we can to ensure that that gets. >> vladimir putin's forces are destroying more ukrainian buildings and lives. cnn is learning of a gas explosion in a council building in the luhansk region. a ukrainian official said no one survived.
russian missiles hit five train stations in central and western ukraine. this is part of a campaign to systematically destroy railway infrastructure according to the leader of ukrainian state rail. look at this video, it shows an electrical substation that was damaged in these rail attacks. >> anderson cooper is in the capital of kyiv for us. when will american diplomats return to ukraine. >> this is news that came out of secretary blinken's statement today. the statement says this week it will happen. a senior official detailed that first they're going to start with day trips into lviv, poland, in the west, and increase presence throughout the country here in kyiv. the head of the state department was just in ukraine, as you mentioned, secretary blinken also put forth a show of confidence in ukraine. >> russia is failing, ukraine is succeeding. we don't know how the rest of
this war will unfold. but we do know that a sovereign, independent ukraine will be around a lot longer than vladimir putin's on the scene. let's go down to cnn national security correspondent kylie atwood at the state department. we saw a shift in tone from blinken and austin. the defense secretary said the u.s. wants to see a weakened russia, what is the significant of that? >>. w>> reporter: it was a key comment from the secretary of defense. it put a finer point on what the biden administration sees as the overall objective with regard to the ukraine war. biden administration officials have been very clear in saying they want ukraine to win this war. they believe that russia is failing because they haven't achieved the objectives they set out to achieve, just look at what happened in the capital city of kyiv. but the secretary of defense was very clear in saying that the biden administration hopes that
russia suffers military losses because of this, that really prevent them from building up their military capability in the long-term. and they believe that this will be a result, if it comes to fruition, because of the losses that russia has suffered on the battlefield and because of the costs that the united states has imposed, these sanctions that have particularly gone after the military sector in russia. listen to how the secretary of defense put it. >> we want to see russia weaken to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading ukraine. it has already lost a lot of military capability, and a lot of its troops quite frankly, and we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability. >> reporter: so very clearly the biden administration wants the
costs to be high enough on russia so that they are incapable of invading another european country or perhaps, of course, trying to invade ukraine once again. we saw in 2014 when russia annexed crimea, and of course they still had the military capabilities to try and do it again this year. >> reporter: the russian military is launching air strikes, including the port city of odesa where residential buildings were hit. the mayor of odesa told cnn several people were killed over the weekend and his mother and 3-month-old baby girl were among them. the mayor said quote she hadn't seen life yet. you russians are monsters, burn in hell. today several rail stations and substations were hit by air strikes as well. sam kiley is inkramtorsk.
>> reporter: we've seen the air strikes by russia, they attacked when you were in lviv, the last tour of duty here, and the long range missiles far from where you were, they have been picking up these infrastructure supply license, by the ukrainian government, saying they see these attacks on five different railway stations and the electrical supplies to those railway systems, i should say, around the country. clearly an effort to try to prevent the movement of troops and material, particularly material coming in that's a military hardware coming in particularly from poland, supporting the war effort, the sort of war effort that secretary austin has been in kyiv to try to support, anderson, and at the same time, of course, they're continuing with more traditional battle
front preparations, particularly here around kramatorsk to squeeze into the city i'm in at the moment, to perhaps turn it into the next mariupol, anderson. >> the regional council for zaporizhzhia says they are preparing for russian offensives. zaporizhzhia is where some of the mariupol evacuees have been brought to. what more do we know about the likelihood of an offensive there? >> well, i think from the perspective of the local authorities, we have talked to them over the last few dates, their idea or their analysis is that the second offensive, the second phase is already beginning almost. there is a discernible build up of troops, an increase in violence, coming along their front, and if you imagine it, it runs from zaporizhzhia, essentially due east that, front line to north of mariupol. of course with the squeeze on
mariupol being reduced, reducing the amount of resistance to about a thousand troops in that steel factory, the massive steel factory there, they are able, this is the russians able to redeploy troops to reinforce that extra front there, in order to push north, just as they are pushing south, not far from here down, it's all part of the effort to kind of close the jaws on the bulk of the ukrainian forces here in the east, anderson. >> yeah, those were the focus. sam kiley, appreciate it. let's go back to victor and allison. thank you. we have breaking news right now. elon musk is buying twitter for an estimated $44 billion. let's get right to cnn chief media correspondent, brian stelter, and cnn reporter matt egan. let's start with you, matt, it was on, it was off. it was off, now what. >> it's on. this means that the world's richest man is going to effectively control one of the
most influential platforms in the internet. this was weeks after elon musk, you know, launched this hostile bid to try to acquire twitter. there was a lot of resistance, a lot of people were betting against it. the board is out, they have reached the deal. elon is going to buy the company for $54.20 in cash. values twitter at $44 billion. the deal is expected to close later this year. in a lot of ways, this is classic elon musk. everyone was skeptical that he could pull this off, even being serious here, he is being serious, and now they have a deal. >> he's been critical of twitter for quite a long time now. how do we get to this point now that it's his. >> number one, he surely had the financing a few days ago. he started to woo shareholders and investors. twitter's board had to sit down with him, strike a deal, announced a few minutes ago. how do we get to this point. here is someone who was able to
prove he could actually do this, prove he could bring the company private. and now barring any hiccups, it is his. he does say in a statement, that free speech is the bedrock of democracy, and twitter is the digital town square. in his mind, this is very serious and has been all along. he wants to make twitter better than ever, making the algorithms open, open sourced to increase trust, the spam box, and authenticating all humans. he is approaching this in the same way he approaches tesla and spacex. he's on a mission. he wants to save the digital planet and in his mind, twitter is critical to that. >> we're all more affected by this than spacex and tesla. this affects all of us in terms of misinformation. how will this change our lives and when he says open it up to free speech, does that allow more misinformation on the platform? >> i think we're going to have to see what he does, and exactly what rules he decides to follow
and not follow. they're obviously local and state and federal laws all around the world that apply to these platforms. he's going to have to follow at least some of those rules i would expect. so i think it remains to be seen. >> it does, and he hasn't really released any details, any specifics yet, and he hasn't had to about what this vision of making twitter, you know, more about free speech. how is he going to pull that off, we don't know. >> he said in his offer letter that twitter needs to be transformed as a private company. there are a lot of people that believe as he talks about free speech, even his worst critics remain on twitter, that is what free speech means, what does this mean for the former president kicked off platform. >> and spirit, which is on screen right now, he wants his fiercest critics to be in the debate, on twitter and be heard. what that means for donald trump, and other politicians who get booted off this platform, that's going to be a big question on day one, whenever he walks into the office and takes control of this platform.
he can in theory rewrite all of those rules. when i refer to laws about hate speech and about pornography on platforms, you know, there's not a law that forbids twitter from having donald trump on. that was a company choice, a company policy chance. i suspect those policies are going to change. reading through the lines of this press release, the board decided it had to take this offer. the board did not want to take this offer necessarily. they looked for other buyers, and they now have to hand over the keys to elon musk. i do suspect we're going to see politicians booted off or back on. whether that's a good thing for donald trump, another question, whether that's a positive to be back on twitter. >> why wouldn't it be a positive. >> to have him back in the news cycle around the world. >> why wouldn't it be positive for him to be back, to have a huge megaphone, maybe run for president with his huge megaphone, this would be a plus for donald trump. >> you could make the case that donald trump, back in the news, visible in a way that he hasn't
been would remind people of exactly why he lost his election. and why he was booted from office. who knows, i think that's an example of a broader question for twitter, which is if you -- if you get invited to something where there are now rules, where there is total freedom for everybody, do you actually want to go to that party or are you going to decide to stay home? and that's a question for twitter users. some might love the idea there's no moderation and no rules at all. others might not to be anywhere near that! what happens to the advertising, if there's no moderation, do the advertisers stay away. what does that do to the business prospects. >> that's an open debate. we'll see where it goes, ryan, matt, thank you. russia's relentless shelling has turned homes into rubble, taken countless lives. up next, a ukrainian member of parliament tells us about her plan to rebuild the country
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institute of peace. also with us retired army brigadier general kevin ryan. i want to start with you. these five train stations we know in central and western ukraine have been bombed by russia. how much will this complicate getting the heavy equipment and weapons to that eastern region, which is under heavy bombardment since those were, i assume, supply chains and routes that russia bombed. >> it's hard to tell from here whether those specific rail lines or stations were part of that supply route. of course any strikes that go into western ukraine are potentially disrupting that supply chain. but the ukrainians so far have done a remarkable job of getting stuff in there all the way from the border, so my guess is that with the amount of equipment and materials that are coming in that the ukrainians will still have most of that at the front line. >> ambassador, let's talk about
this goal settle out by secretary austin to weaken russia. as long as russia is taking in a billion dollars a day from energy sales, is it plausible that they will be weakened significantly anytime soon? >> well, victor, they've been weakened. when they tried to attack and take over kyiv, they lost a lot of troops. they lost a lot of soldiers. they've lost a lot of soldiers around mariupol, victor, so they have already been weakened. when they try to redeploy these units that have been in the battle, they're not giving them time to rest and recuperate and regenerate. they're throwing them straight into the battle in the east and around donbas. so they've already been weakened and the longer it goes, the harder they have, the more difficult it is for them to find the soldiers. they're looking for soldiers in
syria, and in libya. and in private firms, the wagner group, the belarusians are not eager to fight with them. so they've got them already weakened, and the sanctions, victor, that are on the military complex will get worse over time. it will be more effective over time at crimping their ability to fight this war. >> ambassador, one follow up to that. do you think it's time to sanction vladimir putin's purported girlfriend, supposedly the mother of three of his children, the u.s. had held off doing so because there was some, according to officials, impression that it would be such a personal blow to vladimir putin that he would escalate. do you think that it is time to sanction her? she's also reportedly one of the weal wealthiest women in russia because he's storing his cash with her. >> so allison, we should
sanction the leaders like president putin, and members of his family, where he is likely to stash a lot of his wealth. and if that's a girlfriend, then, yes, we want to make it hard on president putin, and we want to make it hard on the people around him. and we don't want them to be able to avoid these sanctions by transferring that wealth and that money to their families. so yes, we should go after -- we should go after family. >> general, let's focus in on as the steel plant in mariupol where there are hundreds of civilians who have been there trying to stay safe with the continued shelling in mariupol. the russian ministry of defense today offered the humanitarian corridor, saying that they would cease hostilities in any direction the ukrainians choose. the deputy prime minister says that's worth nothing because russians systematically attack these corridors after agreeing
to them. so there is no agreement. if that is the starting point for the ukrainians, how do you ever get these people out? >> well, the russian, if you read the russian presser or listen to the media, they claim they have had humanitarian corridors out of mariupol every day since the beginning of the war, really. so, yes, they're lying about it. the only way that people are going to safely get out of there is with some sort of actual cease fire in the conflict. i don't know when that will come. i believe it will come in the next month or so, but until then, everybody takes their chance when they move in the daylight. >> brigadier general kevin ryan and ambassador william taylor, thank you both. so last night's republican governor's debate in georgia turned into a debate over the 2020 election as the
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kyiv. a u.s. spokesperson estimates at the end of march, 77% had been damaged or destroyed. alyona groom is a member of the ukrainian parliament. she's with me now. thank you for being with me. i know you're if brussels, in part trying to build support for rebuilding ukraine, and also for eu membership. let me talk first about the rebuild. the assessment from the u.s. is this war could go on for months, maybe years. with that forecast, where do you begin, and when do you begin the rebuild? >> well, hello to you, well, first of all, we in brussels talk about the economic side in the building but also to provide more support and more weapons. i'll be very honest with you to ukraine, and the weakest and the fastest to the eu which would mean more financial possibilities and protection. you should start, even if the war is still going because we get a lot of questions. do we need to talk about
building now, and unfortunately i have just received very bad news from odesa that there are another five rockets which have been started by the russian side from crimea. they are going to odesa right now, so i cannot really talk to you long enough because i would have to be on the call with people in odesa, but yes, we have to start the rebuilding process already. we have to start understanding what kind of industries and what kind of corporation do we need, what kind of temporary housing, what kind of cooperative forces we can do between great britain, the united states and europe because we -- you may have understood already that ukrainians were domination, a very proud one, and we don't want to be beggars, and we don't want to receive the money in terms of credit just to receive the money. we really want it to be business projects, investments, and we needed to be in the area where most of our mutual cooperation will be discuss, with the u.s.,
brussels, with great britain, and any other countries that are our allies, and willing to invest in ukraine. >> i certainly understand that, and thank you for that update on odesa, that part of russia moved toward the west. trying to build support to join the european union. the austrian foreign minister seems to be a bit resistant to that idea saying that full membership is not necessary for western europe to include ukraine, to get closer to ukraine. there are other countries that have been waiting for years for potential ascension, what's your reaction and response to that seeming resistance to joining? >> look, i will try not to be emotional, but it's quite difficult to tell you honestly. obviously full membership is not necessary for the european union if european union doesn't want to be an international player and doesn't want to be safe for the next 20 or 30 years. so we've had stories like that
for a long time with nato and with the european union. i think that right now, yes, we do need european union, and we do need the support, and we do need the financial agreement, and the market agreement, a in support of our economy. i think the european union needs us as well. ukrainians have shown that we are here right now, defending, actually, the values of democracy, the values of free choice, people how to live their own life, how to be governed. it's a clear choice between russia, mr. putin, he can do anything with international law and security system, and we are on the border line of this choice. if ukraine is lost to the european union, there is no european union without ukraine. i'm sorry, but this is the reality, and i think that, you know a lot of countries understand that, poland understands that. finland understands that. a lot of countries which are not members of nato, like finland and sweden are right now going to be members of nato, and asking for it because they want
to be protected from a crazy dictator in a bunker who has no legitimacy whatsoever in what he's doing right now, and actually ukraine desperately needs europe, but europe also dec desperately needs ukraine, and i hope that countries like germany and austria start to understand it, and if they don't understand it as political leaders, the population of those countries i know is much more supportive and is much more understandable of the challenges that europe faces. i'm sick of this bullshit of telling us we can do anything as a candidate or maybe we don't even need to be a candidate, well, look, ukrainians are dying right now for this choice of freedom and democracy, and if we are not successful, i think we will be, but if we are not, if ukraine is lost, and putin will go further and the whole european order, and you know, european nice life in austrian and german cities will be complete lost. they have not seen the war for a
long time. i pray they will not see the war we are facing but they will if the ukraine fails. >> i understand the passion you have, i thank you for spending a few minutes with me. i know you've got a busy day. ukrainian member of ukrainian parliament. kevin mccarthy is heading up a congressional delegation to the southern border as lawmakers sound off about the leaked audio recording that caught mccarthy in a lie. he was just asked about it. we'll tell you what he's saying down there. wealth is breaking ground on your biggest project yet. worth is giving the people who build it a solid foundation. wealth is shutting down the office for mike retirement party. worth is giving the employee who spent lf his life th you, the party of a lifetime. ♪ ♪
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right now, house republican leader kevin mccarthy is leading a group of gop lawmakers to visit on the u.s. mexico border. he's using the trip to highlight a surge of migrants at the border and concerns over a biden administration decision to end title 42 which allowed border authorities to send migrants back to their home country sgls the trip comes as leaked audio recordings revealed that kevin mccarthy intended to tell then president trump to resign over the capitol insurrection. moments ago, mccarthy was asked about that recording. here's what he said. >> first of all, let me answer your question since you don't want to talk about the border. the reporter never asked me that question. the reporter came to me the night before he released the book, and my understanding was he was saying i asked president trump to resign. no, i never did, and that's what i was answering.
if you're asking now, did i tell my members that, ask them if i told any of them that i said president trump -- the answer is no. i'm glad you asked that question but what's more important than something that happened fifteen months ago on a private conversation with about four other people is what's happening here right now. >> with us now to talk about this and so much more, we have bill crystal, the editor at large for the bulwark and director of defending democracy together. bill, you heard kevin mccarthy, he pivoted away from that. do you think the revelations of one of his ideas of getting president trump to resign because the insurrection was so bad, do you think that costs kevin mccarthy ultimately in any way? >> i'm struck whenever a politician says i'm glad you asked that question. you're not glad he asked that question. he semi-lied, and s semi constructed a complicated conversation to cover over the obvious truth. i was so struck by the interview
you just had in the last segment with the ukrainian politician who is fighting for her country under threat and under danger, doing her best to rally support around the world and that's a serious political figure trying to do what you should be doing, and here we have in the u.s. political leaders unfortunately a majority i would say of the elected officials and candidates in one of our two major parties behaving in ways that are just so low, and sort of petty and dishonest compared to these ukrainian elected officials. 20 or 30 years ago, i would have said, gee, that's a country coming out of the soviet union, and they don't really have a democratic political culture yet. now they put us to shame. >> bill, let me ask you about the timing of this trip to the border when the narrative from leader mccarthy is trump and i are good. we talked it over. he understands everything works out. this of course, immigration, one of former president trump's top issues, if he's trying to get
back into his good graces and bring along those trump allies in the conference, is this the reason that this is happening today? >> well, i think the main reason might be the death of national guard, the army troop and they're taking advantage of that, frankly, and again, that's what provoked, listening to your excellent interview with the ukrainian legislator, in a foreign capital, trying to do her best, talking to people in odesa being shelled and we have republicans down to the board e taking advantage of an unfortunate death, and no constructive proposals, of course. he's in the state of texas, i believe, which is the governor of texas is sending buses of immigrants up here. luckily to d.c., actually, and luckily catholic charities is welcoming them and helping them. they're going to do fine. they're going to contribute to the economy up here. i'm glad to have them up here in
northern virginia or in this area, and i think i speak for most people up here, but demagoguery on immigration lying about the election. >> melanie has left the conference with mccarthy. what is the point he's trying to drive home. >> reporter: yeah, well, house minority leader kevin mccarthy is here at the border today. he was leading a congressional delegation. they toured the border, and they also heard a briefing from border patrol agents and, really they were trying to call attention to president biden's decision to lift a trump era immigration policy known as title 42. they were warning that if that policy is lifted, it is going to lead to an influx of migrants at the border. they also called on democrats to sign on to a bill that republicans have that would make that policy permanent. but of course, lingering over all of this is a controversy surrounding mccarthy. he was caught on tape last week
by "the new york times" bashing trump privately in the day after january 6th. he initially denied that reporting vehemently, and said it was not true. of course then the tapes came out. i asked him why was he not truthful. he continues to say that he didn't ask trump directly to resign, which is of course not what the times reported. he said that was not the question that was given to him by "the new york times," but it's worth noting here that he put out a lengthy statement after the "times" story was published saying that was totally false and wrong, and so he was on the defensive here. he questioned, you know, why we're not covering the policies at the border, but we are here today, and we heard from him, as well as many other lawmakers including tony gonzalez who represents this district, and they are going to be leaving here today. >> melanie, thank you. bill, quickly, on the content here of why they are there, do you think that democrats are under estimating the impact, the political impact of ending title
42 in a couple of weeks? >> i mean, maybe. and they may decide to extend it. it's a public health exception, so on the merit, i think there's a good case if the cdc says it's not the case anymore, then we shouldn't not let people in because of covid. you know, it's hard to -- it's not really right to continue this public health exception as i understand it. look, the border is a tough issue for democrats. immigration is a tough issue. they screamed and yelled about the caravans in 2018, and democrats did fine. democrats need to fight back. we have a labor shortage, they'll help with inflation. we want to be serious about helping legal immigrants and discouraging legal ones. democrats need to get off the defense of a little bit more on the whole set of issues, i think, but again, i come back to the republicans, demagoguery to go down to the border today, and kevin mccarthy not telling the truth in this small matter of what he told "the new york
times" when. and the big matter, he's part of the big lie. let's not forget the big lie as we focus on the little lies. >> bill crystal, thank you, sir. all right. so the u.s. is holding back on sanctioning one very close associate of vladimir putin, his reported girlfriend. we'll explain why, next. she'll want a plan to reach them. so she'll get some help from fidelity, and she'll feel so good about her plan, she can focus on liviving it. that's the planning effect, from fididelity. we need to reduce plastic waste in the environment. that's why at america's beverage companies, our bottles are made to be re-made. not all plasc is the same. we're carefully designing our bottles to be 100% recyclable, including the ps. they're collected and parated from other plastics, so they can be turned back into material that we use to make new bottles. that completes the circle and reduces plastic waste. please help us get every bottle back.
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the biden administration has unleashed new sanctions not only against vladimir putin but practically anyone associated with him except for one person, his reported girlfriend. the "wall street journal" reports the woman, putin's rumored significant other and mother to three of his children, has so far escaped u.s. sanctions because of the potential backlash. nic robertson joins us now. how sensitive is this issue, nic? >> yeah, it will probably be one of the most sensitive issues for president putin. the whole relationship is kept super secret. newspapers have been shuttered over it. dmitri pascough, putin's spokesman said in the past when there was discussion about putting sanctions on putin this
would poison the relationship with the united states, that this was not something that should be done. you don't put sanctions on leaders. so this would seem to be one of those things that i guess from a diplomatic perspective that you can leave on the table. the other person knows that this has been left on the table and that this could be taken away from you in the future. but also, the reality of -- the reality of doing it really could trigger an unfavorable reaction from putin. and look, he's already doubling down in some ways on what he's doing in ukraine. and to have him further lash out in an irrational way would be a gamble with a decision like this. but who knows what is certainly clear is since she got close to putin, her family have become incredibly wealthy. they have great houses. she lives the life of luxury and is kept completely out of the public eye.
>> there are also thousands of luxury cars that were destined for russia that have been seized and impounded in belgium. what's going to happen to them? >> yeah, the government at the moment is looking at what can be done with all this -- all these assets that are being seized. we went to a car lot down in one of the big ports here. it's got 8,000 luxury vehicles that were destined for russia. valued close to half a billion dollars. 200 of them were cadillac esca escalades, alone, top end ones close to $15 million. if all of thee assets that are being seized, and right now, the belgians figure that they have seized billions of dollars worth of assets. they have got container -- shipping containers full of handbags. if they can turn that to cash, that helps ukraine. it's a legal step, a big legal step to achieve that. >> nic robertson, appreciate it. back to you.
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cup in 2020 and 2021. president biden welcomed the players last hour on the white house south lawn and the lightning presented president biden with a custom jersey with his name and the number 46. cute. listen to this, the white house is suffering a critical and crystal shortage. >> oh, no. >> for state dinners. this is not a new problem, but it's a big problem. it dates back to the george w. bush administration. >> so the job of resupplying white house crystal falls on first ladies. three people with knowledge of glassware discussions and the trump white house say the former first lady melania trump declined to take on the job and passed it on to first lady jill biden. >> they need like 150 new glasses and stemware for state dinners. but you have pointed out, why is this the first lady's job? >> it should thought be the first lady's job to find the glasses for the whole operation. >> that does sound like a drag. why are they turning her into father knows best domesticated
goddess. >> someone who works at the white house says it's like going to the met gala in a rent the runway gown because they have to rent glasses for these events. >> you're sitting next to me, it works. >> but i mean, i think you're right. this is old school, antiquated. let the president pick out the glassware. how about that? >> red cups for everybody? >> there you go. >> the lead with jake tapper starts right now. >> if this is indeed russia failing, as the biden administration now says, i would hate to see what russia winning looks like. "the lead" starts right now. no signs of putin relenting, as a cnn team is forced to take cover in ukraine. witnessing heavy bombardment way too up close. >> plus, the standoff in mariupol as ukrainians shelter in a steel plant. i'm going to speak with the ceo of the company that owns that plant. >> also ahead, a cnn exclusive, more than 2,000 texts revealing what trump's inner circle and allies were really saying behind