Mike DeWine will win GOP primary for governor in Ohio

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CNN projection: Mike DeWine will win GOP primary for governor in Ohio

From CNN’s Decision Desk and Gregory Krieg

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers his State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 23.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers his State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 23. (Barbara Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch/AP)

Gov. Mike DeWine will win the GOP primary for governor in Ohio, according to a projection from the CNN Decision Desk, defeating three challengers as he seeks a second term in office.

DeWine, a staunch conservative but occasional critic of former President Donald Trump, benefited from the failure of his two leading rivals, former Rep. Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone, a farmer and first time candidate, to consolidate Trump’s base of support.

A veteran of nearly 40 years in Ohio GOP politics, DeWine appeared vulnerable early on in the campaign after a right wing backlash to his aggressive early handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. But his opponents struggled to raise money and DeWine, who has strong ties to state business community, entered the last weeks of the campaign with a comfortable lead in the polls.

DeWine will face off in November’s general election with either former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley or Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, who are competing for the Democratic nomination in a closely contested race.  

59 min ago

CNN projection: Tim Ryan will win the Democratic primary for Senate in Ohio

From CNN’s Decision Desk and Dan Merica

Rep. Tim Ryan, Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio, talks with supporters during a rally for the Bartlett Maritime project on May 2 in Lorain, Ohio.
Rep. Tim Ryan, Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio, talks with supporters during a rally for the Bartlett Maritime project on May 2 in Lorain, Ohio. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Tim Ryan will win the Democratic primary for Senate in Ohio, according to a projection from the CNN Decision Desk.

Ryan was facing off against Morgan Harper, an attorney and former senior adviser at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Ryan has been running as the presumptive nominee for months now, looking to both take on the numerous candidates in the Republican primary while also attempting to win back the longtime Democratic voters who have left the party over in Ohio.

It’s an uphill climb for the longtime congressman. Ohio has not only moved away from Democrats in recent year, it has done so in dramatic fashion. No Democrat other than Sen. Sherrod Brown has won nonjudicial statewide office in Ohio since 2008, and President Barack Obama, in 2012, was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win Ohio. In 2020, Democrat Joe Biden became the first candidate in the last 60 years to win the White House without winning the state.

Ryan told CNN in a recent interview that while the “perception of the party is much different now than it was when I started,” he believes he has his “own record” and therefore “is not as tied to the Biden agenda only because I’ve got a 20-year record of doing things.”

“I’ve got a really good story to share with the Ohio voters that’s not tied to Biden,” Ryan said. “So, I’ve got some room.”

This strategy has been clear in Ryan’ paid advertising. In one spot, Ryan blames “both parties” in Washington for “wasting time on stupid fights.” In another ad, Ryan – standing in a bar and playing darts – says, “Defunding the police is way off the mark. We need more cops—not less. My party also got it wrong on the trade deals that sent your jobs overseas.”

Ryan is hopeful that a chaotic primary on the GOP side will help turn off moderate Republican voters. And that voters who are interested in more than just the focus on securing former President Donald Trump’s nomination will be open to backing a Democrat.

“You know, the Columbus TV station doesn’t just go to Republicans,” Ryan said, joking that a range of voters, from moderate Republicans to Democrats have been activated by what he called a “divisive” GOP primary that focused on “very narrow issues.”

1 hr 49 min ago

Polls are closing in Ohio

From CNN’s Rachel Janfaza, Ethan Cohen and Melissa Holzberg DePalo

Election officials check-in at a polling location in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 3.
Election officials check-in at a polling location in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 3. (Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

It’s 7:30 p.m. ET, and polls are closing in Ohio.

All voters in the state could vote by mail and early in person. Mail ballots had to have been postmarked no later than May 2 (Monday) and received by the county board of elections no later than May 13. In-person early voting ran from April 5 to May 2.

Key races we are tracking: The Republican Senate primary in Ohio could offer early clues about the GOP electorate and former President Donald Trump‘s kingmaker status in the Republican Party heading into the heart of the nominating calendar.

Trump has endorsed “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance, who faces several other Republicans vying for the chance to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The winner will likely face Democratic US Rep. Tim Ryan in November.

In the race for Ohio governor, Republican incumbent Mike DeWine faces several primary challengers running to his right. On the Democratic side, two former mayors go head-to-head for their party’s nomination.

There are also primary races for US House seats that are taking place under new congressional lines that were redrawn in redistricting following the 2020 census. The maps were drawn by Republicans. We’ll be watching these races: Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, Ohio’s 11th Congressional District and Ohio’s 13th Congressional District.

CNN’s Andrew Menezes contributed reporting to this post.

1 hr 52 min ago

All eyes are on 2 Republican primaries in the Buckeye State

From CNN’s Maeve Reston

Polls are closing soon in Ohio, and all eyes will be on two Republican primaries in the Buckeye State.

The Senate contest will determine the nominee to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman, while the gubernatorial primary will show whether Gov. Mike DeWine can successfully beat back two challengers from his right flank as he seeks a second term.

With Democrats and Republicans fighting for control of Congress this fall, which will determine whether President Joe Biden can advance any aspect of his agenda after 2022, nearly half of the most competitive US Senate matchups will likely be set by the end of this month.

In Ohio, a reddening state that former President Donald Trump won twice, Trump-backed J.D. Vance, the venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author was an unabashed critic of Trump in 2016 but now says his initial judgment of him was wrong.

“It’s OK to change your mind. In fact, you should change your mind when the facts change and I think that’s the truth about my view of President Trump,” Vance said Monday.

Trump’s endorsement of Vance may have created a jolt of momentum for the author, helping him roughly double his support between a Fox poll in March and another one in April.

But most of the other top GOP candidates vying for Ohio’s Senate seat — including former state treasurer Josh Mandel, businessman Mike Gibbons and former state party chair Jane Timken, who all sought Trump’s endorsement — have hammered Vance for his past statements about the former President, arguing that they raise questions about his authenticity as a conservative.

Read more about the primary here and watch CNN’s Jeff Zeleny report from the ground in Cincinnati:

2 hr 20 min ago

Polls are closing across Indiana

From CNN’s Rachel Janfaza, Ethan Cohen and Melissa Holzberg DePalo

A voter leaves a polling place during the Indiana primary election in Indianapolis on Tuesday, May 3.
A voter leaves a polling place during the Indiana primary election in Indianapolis on Tuesday, May 3. (Michael Conroy/AP)

It is 7 p.m. ET, and polls for in-person voting are closing across Indiana. Some polls in the state began closing at 6 p.m. ET.

Certain voters in the state could vote by mail and all voters could vote early in person. Mail-in ballots must be returned by close of polls Tuesday. In-person early voting ran from April 5 to May 2.

Key races we are tracking: Indiana’s Democratic and Republican Senate primaries are both uncontested. Incumbent GOP Sen. Todd Young will face Democrat Thomas McDermott, the mayor of Hammond, in November.

There are also primary races for US House seats that are taking place under new congressional lines that were redrawn in redistricting following the 2020 census. The maps were drawn by Republicans.

Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan, who is expected to easily win his primary, is seeking a second term in his northwest Indiana district that saw only minor changes in redistricting. Republicans looking to challenge him include Air Force veteran Jennifer-Ruth Green and former LaPorte mayor and Navy veteran Blair Milo. The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting the district, which would have backed Biden by 8 points.

Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth’s decision not to seek another term has opened up this southeast Indiana district, which now stretches to the Ohio border. It remains a safely GOP seat — which Trump would have carried by 27 points — so the winner of the Republican primary will likely be heading to Congress. GOP hopefuls include former state Sen. Erin Houchin, who ran for the seat in 2016 but lost to Hollingsworth in the primary, former US Rep. Mike Sodrel, who represented an earlier version of the district from 2005 to 2007, and Army veteran Stu Barnes-Israel, a first-time candidate who served in Afghanistan.

CNN’s Andrew Menezes contributed reporting to this post.

3 hr ago

Cincinnati mayor says if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it could have a “profound impact in Ohio”

From CNN’s Rachel Janfaza

Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval speaks with reporters after meetings at the White House in Washington, DC, in 2021.
Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval speaks with reporters after meetings at the White House in Washington, DC, in 2021. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

As polls in Ohio are preparing to close in today’s primary election, officials from the around the country are reacting after Politico obtained a draft opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would strike down Roe v. Wade.

In Cincinnati, Mayor Aftab Pureval, a Democrat, reacted to the news by telling CNN that he had a message for the people.

“Abortion is still legal in this country, and in order to make sure that it continues to be safe and legal and that women have access, there’s never been a more important time to show up, I mean today’s literally Election Day … to vote, and to demand that leaders hear your voice.”

Pureval described the potential decision as “scary” and highlighted the impact a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could have on low income women and women of color. 

“In addition to all of the frustrations that so many people across the country feel, is that this decision, if it is ultimately decided that way, will have a disproportionate effect on poor women and specifically poor women of color because women who are wealthy will be able to travel to states where reproductive rights are respected, but lower income and often times women of color won’t have that opportunity,” Pureval, who is the first Asian American mayor of Cincinnati, said.

“It could have a profound impact in Ohio. A women’s right to choose has been under attack by our state legislature and our state wide leaders for decades, and if those federal protections go away, there will be nothing to stop those kind of fringe lawmakers from continuing to obliterate a women’s right to choose. So if it then becomes illegal in Ohio, it would force women to travel to a state where… they would have access, and again, that will have a disproportionate effect on lower income women,” he said.

While Pureval noted that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion rights in Ohio would ultimately be up to the state house and governor, he said that as mayor his office will “explore every opportunity and avenue to use the bully pulpit to advocate for a woman’s right to choose and reproductive rights.” 

He also said that he would, “think creatively about how we can not only advocate, but also legislate on that issue.”

Pureval’s comments come just after the Democratic Mayors Association released a statement on the reports of the draft decision.

“Democratic Mayors firmly believe that women deserve the freedom to make decisions about their bodies and that Conservatives’ political schemes should not dictate it. Abortion is a fundamental healthcare right, and we must protect access for all Americans,” Democratic Mayors Association President and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, said in a statement.  

3 hr 15 min ago

5 key things to watch as voters cast their final ballots in the Ohio and Indiana primary elections

From CNN’s Eric Bradner, Dan Merica and Gregory Krieg

A voter inserts her ballot into a scanner as she votes in the primary election in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday, May 3.
A voter inserts her ballot into a scanner as she votes in the primary election in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday, May 3. (Michael Conroy/AP)

Voting in Ohio and Indiana Tuesday kicks off a busy primary month that will set up some of the key races for this year’s midterms.

In both states, voters will pick their nominees in newly redrawn congressional districts. In the Cleveland area, that means a Democratic rematch that could offer a window into the strength of the party’s progressive wing more than a year into Joe Biden‘s presidency.

Here are five things to watch Tuesday:

The wide-Senate primary: The seven-candidate GOP race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman features a huge swath of undecided primary voters choosing from a series of options: the candidate former President Trump endorsed; one of several who tried to emulate him; or the one who represents a break from Trumpism.

Polls show that Trump-backed J.D. Vance, the “Hillbilly Elegy” author and venture capitalist, and Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer who has embraced Trump’s cultural battles and campaigned with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, are at the front of the field.

There are some indications, though, that state Sen. Matt Dolan is a late riser. Dolan, whose family owns Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians, is the only candidate who has not parroted Trump’s lies about election fraud. Dolan saw his stock rise in a Fox News poll out last week, drawing 11% support compared to 7% in March.

The other Republican Senate candidates, self-funding businessman Mike Gibbons and former state GOP chairwoman Jane Timken, Portman’s preferred candidate, have faded in polls in the race’s final stretch. 

Test of Trump’s influence: Mandel’s campaign signs say he is “pro-God, pro-guns, pro-Trump.” Gibbons offered himself as a businessman, not a politician, in the Trump mold. Timken touted Trump’s role in elevating her to become state GOP chairwoman in 2017.

But the former President eschewed all of them and endorsed Vance, who in 2016 was a vocal opponent of Trump but has since recanted that criticism. Trump’s decision infuriated many Ohio Republicans and confused some GOP voters, who were being bombarded at once by pro-Vance ads touting Trump’s support and anti-Vance ads that showed him saying he might vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and that some Trump supporters “voted for (Trump) for racist reasons.”

Tim Ryan looks for room in Ohio: Rep. Tim Ryan’s Democratic Senate primary against attorney Morgan Harper is largely a forgone conclusion. How Ryan positions himself in the general election — and what his run will say about the future of Democrats in the state — will be anything but inevitable.

Ryan is looking to do something that has eluded all Democrats not named Sen. Sherrod Brown for years: Win a statewide race in Ohio. No Democrat other than Brown has won nonjudicial statewide office in Ohio since 2008, and President Barack Obama was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win Ohio in 2012. Ryan is also trying to accomplish this feat at a particularly difficult time for Democrats as the party faces historical and economic headwinds.

Battle for the soul of the Democratic Party — again: For the second time in less than a year, Democrats Shontel Brown, now a House member, and Nina Turner are facing off in a tight race to be their party’s nominee in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District.

Though Brown is now the incumbent, progressives are again waging a fiery campaign to claim the heavily Democratic seat — as they seek to assure that, come what may in November, the House Democrats are a more progressive group in the next Congress. Turner has the backing of leading progressives from around the country and, like last year, the editorial board of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

On Brown’s side are President Joe Biden, who endorsed her in late April, along with a handful of top Democratic officials and moderate-friendly outside groups like the Democratic Majority for Israel’s super PAC, which says it spent more than $1.1 million on her campaign.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, signs for his ballot in front of precinct worker Tonya Veldt as he prepares to vote in Cedarville, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 3.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, signs for his ballot in front of precinct worker Tonya Veldt as he prepares to vote in Cedarville, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 3. (Paul Vernon/AP)

The Republican primary clash that wasn’t: There was a time when incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine appeared vulnerable to a challenge from Trump-aligned candidates running to his right.

Not anymore.

DeWine, who has spent decades in federal and statewide office, is a conservative establishment titan in Ohio, but even as the state has moved right, DeWine — both temperamentally and politically — has remained in the middle of the GOP.

Victory for DeWine in an Ohio campaign season dominated by the GOP’s wild Senate primary would also underscore the unique difficulties facing right wing candidates either aligned or backed by Trump in statewide elections, where a degree of moderation appears to hold more appeal than in federal races.

Read more here.

5 hr 6 min ago

Ohio voters say inflation is their top concern

From CNN’s Eric Bradner

After casting their early Ohio primary ballots last weekend, voter after voter — those who grabbed Democratic ballots and Republican ballots — identified the same issue as the most important to them: inflation.

“It’s food on the table, gas in your car, retirement. How are you going to deal with all these things when you don’t get any additional income?” said Roland Winburn, a 75-year-old former Democratic state lawmaker.

Montgomery County, the home of Dayton, in recent elections has served as a gauge of the nation’s shifting political tides. It’s the only county in Ohio to vote for the winner of the last four presidential elections — one of just 25 counties in the United States to vote for former President Barack Obama twice, pivot to former President Donald Trump in 2016 and boomerang to President Joe Biden in 2020. The concerns of voters here could offer an early window into what will drive this year’s midterm elections.

“The economics of everything”

Peter Slavey, 26, a machinist in Dayton who said he had voted for J.D. Vance in the Republican Senate primary, said he is worried about “the economics of everything.”

He said Biden bears some responsibility for high gasoline prices, pointing to the President’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline developer’s permit to cross into the United States.

“People say the President doesn’t control gas prices with a magic lever, but you can trace back to the executive order to shut down that pipeline,” Slavey said. “It does have an effect, and I think it’s more of just a shutdown for image rather than looking at the actual effects of things.”

Slavey said that with his future in manufacturing in mind, he backed Vance largely because of what he said was the candidate’s aggressive stance toward China’s “economic warfare.” He said he appreciates that the likely Democratic Senate nominee, Rep. Tim Ryan, has also taken a hard line on China but that “generally Republicans are more hardline on that particular issue.”

Janet White, a 66-year-old loan officer in Dayton who said she is a Democrat, also pointed to inflation, as well as the possibility of Russia’s war in Ukraine expanding into a global conflict, as her top concerns.

She said Democrats deserve more credit for the party’s economic moves during a once-a-century pandemic, but she faulted the party for failing to offer voters a compelling message heading into this year’s midterm elections.

“Democrats don’t get out there and tout the things that are positive that they have done. Republicans do a really good job of being the opposition,” White said.

Read more here.

4 hr 52 min ago

The key House primaries to watch in Ohio and Indiana

From CNN’s Rachel Janfaza and Andrew Menezes

Voters arrive at a polling station in Toledo, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 3.
Voters arrive at a polling station in Toledo, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 3. (Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

It’s Election Day in Ohio and Indiana, where voters will pick their party nominees in primary races ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

While Ohio has made headlines for its Senate and gubernatorial races, there are several House primaries taking place Tuesday in the Buckeye State that are worth paying attention to.

In Indiana, Sen. Todd Young is unopposed in the Republican primary and isn’t expected to have much difficulty winning a second term this fall. But a couple of Republican House primaries warrant a watch.

The primaries in both states are taking place under congressional lines that were redrawn in redistricting following the 2020 census. Both the Indiana and Ohio maps were drawn by Republicans.

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed a number of Republican incumbents seen as strong bets for reelection in November, including Ohio Reps. Jim Jordan, Brad Wenstrup, Bill Johnson, Warren Davidson, Troy Balderson, Mike Carey, Bob Latta and Mike Turner, and Indiana Reps. Jim Banks, Jackie Walorski, Greg Pence, Victoria Spartz, Larry Bucshon and Jim Baird.

Here’s a look at the races we’re watching Tuesday:

Ohio’s 1st Congressional District

  • The real action in this race won’t take place until November. Longtime Rep. Steve Chabot is the default GOP nominee in his bid for a 14th term after his primary opponent dropped out last week, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. Chabot has turned back well-funded Democratic challenges in recent cycles in his Cincinnati-area district, which became more Democratic in redistricting, going from a seat that backed Trump by 3 points in 2020 to one that would have supported Joe Biden by about 9 points. The fall election is once again expected to be competitive. Cincinnati City Council member Greg Landsman is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Ohio’s 7th Congressional District

  • This district was almost completely redrawn this year, transforming from a largely rural district to one that included more of the Cleveland suburbs. Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs is not running for reelection, citing frustration with the redistricting process. Former Trump aide Max Miller is the front-runner for the GOP nomination, with support from his former boss, and has dominated the field in fundraising. Podcast host Matthew Diemer is seeking the Democratic nomination, but Democrats will likely find it hard to flip a seat that would have backed Trump by 9 points in 2020.

Ohio’s 9th Congressional District

  • Republicans are looking to oust the longest-serving woman in US House history, Democrat Marcy Kaptur, in this Northwest Ohio district. Kaptur, who was first elected in 1982, has seen her district shift from a safe Democratic seat that currently stretches from Toledo to Cleveland along Lake Erie to a swing district that now pushes west from Toledo to the Indiana border. The leading Republican candidates include state Rep. Craig Riedel, state Sen. Theresa Gavarone and Air Force veteran JR Majewski. Kaptur could become the longest-serving woman in congressional history, surpassing former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, if she’s sworn into a 21st term next year. But she would first have to win reelection this fall in a district that Trump would have carried by 3 points in 2020.

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District

  • Rep. Shontel Brown and progressive challenger Nina Turner are facing off in a rematch for the Democratic nomination for a deep-blue Cleveland-area district. Biden weighed in on the race last week, throwing his support behind the incumbent. Brown, a former Cuyahoga County Council member, defeated Turner in an August special election to replace former Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who left to become Biden’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Turner, a former state senator and close ally of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is hoping for a different result this time in a district that no longer stretches into Akron and that would have backed Biden by 58 points. The winner will be the heavy favorite in November.

Ohio’s 13th Congressional District

  • This Northeast Ohio district is up for grabs with Democratic incumbent Tim Ryan running for US Senate. The district changed significantly in redistricting and now includes all of Akron as well as Canton. Biden would have carried it by 3 points. Democrat Emilia Sykes, a former minority leader of the Ohio state House, is unopposed in her primary. On the GOP side, Trump has thrown his support behind attorney and conservative political commentator Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, who is also a former Miss Ohio USA. Gilbert served on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, including as co-chair of the Women for Trump coalition in 2020.
Stickers await voters during primary election voting in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday, May 3.
Stickers await voters during primary election voting in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday, May 3. (Michael Conroy/AP)

Indiana’s 1st Congressional District

  • Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan, who is expected to easily win his primary, is seeking a second term in his northwest Indiana district that saw only minor changes in redistricting. Republicans looking to challenge him include Air Force veteran Jennifer-Ruth Green and former LaPorte mayor and Navy veteran Blair Milo. The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting the district, which would have backed Biden by 8 points.

Indiana’s 9th Congressional District

  • Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth’s decision not to seek another term has opened up this southeast Indiana district, which now stretches to the Ohio border. It remains a safely GOP seat — which Trump would have carried by 27 points — so the winner of the Republican primary will likely be heading to Congress. GOP hopefuls include former state Sen. Erin Houchin, who ran for the seat in 2016 but lost to Hollingsworth in the primary, former US Rep. Mike Sodrel, who represented an earlier version of the district from 2005 to 2007, and Army veteran Stu Barnes-Israel, a first-time candidate who served in Afghanistan.

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