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Final Days of Campaigning for U.S. Elections; Iran to Face Renewed U.S. Sanctions; Race for Georgia Governor's Seat; Tennessee Senate Race; Services Honor Pittsburgh Synagogue Victims; Florida Yoga Shooter Clues; Cyber Security Teams Simulate Hacking. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired November 4, 2018 - 05:00   ET




BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): U.S. president Donald Trump rallies supporters in the final days before what some experts say will be one of the most polarized elections in American history.

Plus, thousands of Iranians march against the U.S. after President Trump slaps Iran with renewed sanctions. We'll have a report from Tehran.

Also this hour, simulated battles to tackle cyber hacking. One city is testing fake scenarios of spreading misinformation that could become real.

Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


NOBILO: The 2018 U.S. midterm election campaigns are down to the wire, with just two days left before Tuesday's voting. President Donald Trump and key figures from both parties are crisscrossing the country for their respective candidates, hoping to get voters to actually vote.

Former president Barack Obama will be in Indiana and Illinois on Sunday to rally the Democrats. President Trump has no fewer than five scheduled events between now and Election Day.

Now historically turnout is low for midterms. But maybe not this time. As of late Friday, more than 27 million Americans have gone to the polls or sent in absentee ballots. Messages from both sides could not be more stark.


TRUMP: This is one of the most important elections of our entire lives. This election will decide whether we build on the extraordinary prosperity that we have achieved or whether we let the radical Democrats take control of Congress and take a giant wrecking ball to our economy and to the future of our nation. (END VIDEO CLIP)


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Trying to convince us that honesty is relative, depending where you stand. Truth is truth. Truth is truth. Honesty is honesty.


President Trump has two campaign events on Sunday. One in Georgia in the afternoon and another later in Tennessee. CNN's Boris Sanchez is traveling with the president and has this report from a campaign stop Saturday in Florida.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump kicked off his rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Saturday on a bit of a different note, joking about coverage he had watched on television of some of his previous rallies and dismissing criticism he heard that he spent too much time talking about immigration and not enough time talking about the economy.

The president went deep discussing jobs numbers and how a booming economy who ever would help Floridians here in the Panhandle who had recently been affected by Hurricane Michael.

He talked about rebuilding those parts of Florida that were hardhit by the hurricane, said that the entire country was with those hurt by the hurricane. The president then went after Democrats, suggesting the Democrats would take a wrecking ball to the booming economy and turn Florida into Venezuela. Listen to this.


TRUMP: They'll impose socialism on the state of Florida. Welcome to Venezuela. And they'll erase America's borders. We have to have a border if we're going to have a great country. We have to have a great, strong, powerful border.


SANCHEZ: Of course, the president did go back to the issue of immigration yet again, calling members of the caravan moving through Central America toward the United States "invaders," though there are indications that most of the caravan is made up of women and children seeking refuge from political and economic crises in Central American countries.

Trump was joined on stage by Representative Ron DeSantis who is running for governor here in Florida and by the current governor, Rick Scott, who's running for Senate. High praise among those three. Of course, the president is popular in the state of Florida. He has a 47 percent approval rating. He calls it his second home. Ultimately, whether those candidates succeed in Tuesday's election or

not may be a referendum on how well the president is doing in the Sunshine State -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president, in Pensacola, Florida.


NOBILO: As we mentioned, President Trump is going all out this weekend and Monday, crisscrossing the country, rallying support for Republicans, running for House and Senate seats. CNN's U.S. congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly says the president is hitting places where his party is most in danger of losing ground in the Senate.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A couple of days out from Election Day, no question about it, all of the campaigns are hot and --


MATTINGLY: -- heavy and all the top surrogates are out as well, including the president of the United States. If you want to know where his emphasis is, look at where he's traveling.

He's traveling to Senate battlegrounds.

Why is he traveling to Senate battlegrounds?

If you look at the map, look at the seats the Democrats have up now and the seats that Democrats think they might have an opportunity to take over, well, a lot of those seats are in Trump country.

Talking about Indiana, you're talking about West Virginia, you're talking about Missouri, North Dakota, Montana. These are the types of areas the president not just won in 2016 but, in the case of West Virginia, he won by 42 points.

One of the big questions as President Trump travels, his administration travels to ramp up the base vote here, is can Democrats fight back against this tide?

Take a look at West Virginia. This is where Joe Manchin will be going up against Patrick Morrissey. You look at what Joe Manchin did in 2012, look at all the blue, a lot of blue there. This say Republican state, Joe Manchin, won this state handily, by almost 25 points.

What did President Trump do in the state?

There is no blue. That's a good indication of where the state turned over the course of a couple of cycles.

Can Joe Manchin fight back against that?

Democrats feel confident about that race but if you look at a couple of others here, that's where Democrats are a little bit worried.

Talk specifically about Missouri, talk specifically about North Dakota, these are races right now that Democrats are very concerned about.

So you know where Democrats have to defend seats; the real question is, where can Democrats pick up seats?

There are four states that Democrats are focused on as potential pickups. Again, keep in mind, Democrats only need to flip two seats if they hold on to all of their own to take the majority in the United States Senate.

So what are those seats?

You have Tennessee, you have Texas, you have Arizona, you have Nevada.

In Tennessee, you have Bob Corker who retired, the incumbent Republican; Phil Bredesen, top tier Democratic candidate, former governor of the state, well liked, bipartisan is how he's viewed, only trailing by a couple of points in most of the polls, that's a pickup opportunity that Democrats hope will come more online in the days ahead.

Texas, Beto O'Rourke has raised tons of money, garnered tons of national interest, can he overcome which, over the course of the last couple of decades has been a clear Republican advantage in this state?

That is an open question, too. The top two Democratic targets for pickup without question are Arizona and Nevada.

Arizona, Jeff Flake, the Republican senator, he's retired, now you have two congresswomen up for the seat, Martha McSally on the Republican side, Kirsten Sinema on the Democratic side. That race has remained extremely tight, razor-thin margins in all the polls right here.

Can Democrats pull out in a state where they haven't been able to win statewide in years?

Still an open question. Move over to Nevada, this is where an incumbent Republican Dean Heller is running. Democrats have long believed he was the most vulnerable senator on the map.

Can they make inroads in Nevada, do what they have done in presidential elections, 2012, 2016?

Hillary Clinton lost and won this state. That is an open question, one that will largely be answered here, Clark County, 70 percent of the vote comes in right here, this is where we have seen Democrats voting like gangbusters in the early vote.

Can they run up enough early vote to actually win this state?

That will be the open question in the days ahead. So that's where the Senate lands. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: And joining me now to talk more about the midterms is Inderjeet Parmar, a professor of international politics at City University London.

Thank you very much for being with us. So, in many ways, people are talking about these midterms as being historic and particularly eventful. One of those reasons is the fact that turnout is expected to be at a record high.

What are the main factors driving that?

INDERJEET PARMAR, CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: President Trump knows well, like any other president, that midterm elections are the governing party's voters don't tend to turn out very much, they're happy with the party who won.

And what President Trump is fighting against was that kind of lethargy or complacency. And he has certainly riled up the GOP's voting base. They're much more highly likely to vote this time than in previous terms.

So this is -- he made it a referendum on the Trump presidency, on the whole message that he's sending but making America great again and so on. The Kavanaugh hearings did that. And this week with the caravan and the kind of ramped-up messaging about birthright citizenship being abolished and now with this ad, which was very openly kind of playing the race card about a Mexican immigrant who has committed some murders and so on, I think he's using that to try to rile up his base to get them out. I think that's probably the principal reason why it is going to be so high.

NOBILO: Do you think, as it did for him in 2016, the immigration platform particularly strong, as you mentioned, not only is there the issues of the caravan sending troops to the border, talking about asylum rules and birthright citizenship, do you feel like the Republican Party is convinced that's an incredibly strong and persuasive platform for them?

PARMAR: I think Trump and Bannon -- Steve Bannon worked it up many years ago. Anti-immigration was the one big message which galvanized a much broader range of the Republican electorate than anything else. And I think they're playing on that particular card --


PARMAR: -- ruthlessly. And the most open way possible.

People have compared the most recent ad to Willie Horton way back in the 1990s but actually this Willie Horton ad left something to the imagination. This leaves nothing to the imagination, this particular individual there saying he's going to kill police and so on and is being blamed on the Democrats, actually one of the -- some of the allies of the Trump party, which allowed this person back into the United States in the first place. NOBILO: So immigration, a key platform for the Republicans, conversely, what are the Democrats standing on here and what is the outlook for midterms?

PARMAR: I think the Democratic Party is probably most interesting to have studied very closely. The Democrats are clear that they have shifted to the Right; 30 of their candidates for the House are either serving or recently serving FBI, CIA, military, who are wearing that as a badge of honor and suggesting they can defend the state against the threat which comes to the United States from the presidency itself.

More GOP donors are giving money to the Democratic Party than they have historically. And there is a general desire among many candidates, especially where Trump won the state back in 2016, where they're effectively not even mentioning their opposition to Trump, they're saying they can work with Donald Trump in the -- if they were to be elected.

What this suggests is that the Democratic Party has shifted to the Right, so the whole ground of American politics, it would appear, has shifted to the Right under Trump and even a vote for the Democratic Party does not necessarily signal a massive change in the kind of governance we are likely to see going forward into 2020 and then thereafter.

NOBILO: And just quickly before we go, what are some key battleground states we should be looking out for?

PARMAR: I think clearly if you look at the Trump itinerary in the last few days, West Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere. He's going to go for those places where you're likely to get a defeat but also where he's going to put something in the bank for 2020, loyalty, you need to show loyalty to me.

So I think he's fighting the good fight for the GOP and he's remade that party in his own image. He's had a massive effect on American politics, not only on his party but on the opposition. It suggests there is a new consensus emerging, which is probably going to shape American politics well after Trump has left office, either in 2020 or even 2024.

NOBILO: Inderjeet Parmar from City University, thank you very much for joining us.

Well, join us Tuesday night for extensive coverage of the U.S. midterm elections. It starts at 5:00 pm Eastern time and goes until all the results are known.

Now protesters gather in Iran, just one day before U.S. sanctions go into effect. We'll go live to Tehran for the latest just ahead.

Plus, we have new details about the victims of the Florida yoga studio shooting and how they showed bravery in the face of tragedy.




NOBILO: Welcome back.

Iran's leaders are holding anti-American protests, one day before U.S. sanctions go into effect. The U.S. is reinstating sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. President Trump pulled the U.S. out of that deal earlier this year. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, says President Trump disgraced America.


AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): The U.S. is much weaker today than it was 40 years ago when the revolution was victorious. The power of the U.S. is on the decline. This is the important point.

Most of the world's politicians and global affairs analysts believe that the U.S. soft power is worn out. It's being destroyed.


NOBILO: U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo laid out the administration's case for reinstating the sanctions.

He tweeted, "On November 5th, we'll place tough sanctions on Iran's ruling regime. Our aim is to compel Iran to abandon its destructive activities. The sanctions will target the regime, not the people who have suffered the pain of their government's mismanagement, theft and brutality."

The measures take aim at Iran's ports, shipbuilders and, crucially, its oil sector. Also targeted, transactions by foreign financial institutions with the central bank of Iran, as well as underwriting services and insurance.

Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen joins me now from Tehran.

Fred, you've been at some of the demonstrations. Tell us what the mood is like there and what is the message for President Trump.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I would say there is a clear message for President Trump, Bianca, his anger and defiance. There were a lot of posters and flyers depicting President Trump getting beaten by the Iranians.

There is a lot of anger toward the administration and toward President Trump in particular. Very interesting demonstration happened earlier today in Tehran. Today is not only a day before the sanctions kick in but it's also the anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis, of the storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. That's also where the protests took place earlier today. That same message of defiance, of standing up to the United States, that's something that the hardliners, the religious conservatives, who were out there today, wanted to display.

The main speaker there is the ahead of Iran's Revolutionary Guard corps, the elite unit that is one that the Iranians say does stand up to the United States. So clearly very much in line with that message of Iran is going to stay strong, no matter how tough these sanctions are going to get.

Now there are, of course, a lot of people in Iran who feel differently about all of this, especially the more moderate people and the business people as well. They've already have been suffering a great deal under new U.S. sanctions since the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear agreement. a

And they believe that they're going to suffer even more when that oil and gas sector gets hit. A lot of Iran's state finances depend on money from oil and gas exports. At this point in time, a lot of people feel a lot of uncertainty, a lot of people have taken a financial hit and a lot of people feel things could get worse.

NOBILO: Fred Pleitgen for us in Tehran, thank you.

Let's now discuss U.S. sanctions against Iran further with "Al- Monitor's" "Iran Pulse" editor, Mohammad Ali Shabani.

Thank you very much for joining us in London today.

First of all, could you elucidate the U.S.' strategy here, one of maximum pressure it seems?

MOHAMMAD ALI SHABANI, "AL-MONITOR": It is very closely resembles what the Saudis and the UAE did to Qatar in 2017. They presented 13 demands saying here are today's -- or there's not going to be any solution. So it is very much about surrender and capitulation, vis-a- vis the negotiation.

NOBILO: Now historically there is a long -- many examples of Iran resisting this type of pressure.

Do you think this strategy is likely to work, especially now that it is not multilateral?

ALI SHABANI: You just brought up a very important point; unlike the previous run of sanctions under President Obama, at present you have Russia, China, India and major economies saying that we're not going to adhere to these sanctions, not to the extent that the U.S. wants.

As a result, the U.S. cannot impose this kind of pressure they did back in 2012.

NOBILO: Now if we step back and take a longitudinal perspective here of the --


NOBILO: -- relations between the U.S. and Iran, how severe is the strain now?

ALI SHABANI: Well, I mean, we had sanctions for 40 years almost. So it is not anything new. I think the Iranian strategy at present is to wait out Trump. They're going to say we're going to engage with the other parties in the nuclear deal, we had eight signatories; one of them has left.

So seven are left. So they're saying that we're at the negotiating table but the other seven countries and we're willing to wait for the United States to get its house in order and get back to the table.

NOBILO: Now Mike Pompeo, said these sanctions target the regime, not the people. But realistically, the people are going to be impacted. Talk to me about the economic context of these sanctions being implemented.

ALI SHABANI: There is a lot of talk about the sanctions, pushing Iran to the table, at a situation where it constitutes about one-third of the government's budget. In addition to that, they have over $100 billion in foreign exchange services.

As a result, I think Iran is well positioned to weather the storm. I think they can hold out much longer than the U.S. expected. As a result of that, I think that the impact of the sanctions in terms of changing policy is not going to happen the way Trump imagines it will happen.

NOBILO: Let's talk about sanctions on the banking sector, how are they going to work and what impact is that likely to have?

ALI SHABANI: Right now what they're trying to do between Iran and European Union, first and foremost, is something called a special purpose vehicle, which is a new kind of mechanism to make sure that banks are not used directly in transactions.

So you have a mechanism in which you have a -- not a barter kind of situation but it will be very difficult; the United States has sanctioned that mechanism in itself.

Our senior correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, was talking about the differences of opinion between some conservative forces within society and some more moderate forces. This is a topic which you know incredibly well.

Talk to me about the nuance of opinion that exists in Iranian society toward the U.S.

Or is it just broadly at the moment, because of the sanctions and because of the attempts at economic strangulation, just very negative?

ALI SHABANI: Like the previous run on sanctions, you had a situation in the past, where, say, the more moderate forces, the reformists were saying, let's sit down and talk with the United States because we should engage, we should try that option.

That option has now been tried; a deal was reached and the U.S. reneged on that deal. As a result, not only are the hardliners more strengthened, more empowered by virtue of having said, we said the United States is going to renege all along, you cannot trust the United States, now it is far more difficult for the moderates, including President Rouhani, to say let's sit down with the United States again, mindful that a deal was reached after 12 years of negotiations.

Just two years ago. And it is reneged on already. So it is much more difficult for the moderates to sit down with the U.S. And hardliners are basically -- are saying we were right all along. So as a result, I think engagement with the U.S. will be far more difficult this time compared to last time.

NOBILO: Who are the most influential voices to your mind within the Trump administration on these issues?

ALI SHABANI: I think national security adviser Bolton definitely is having a major impact on Iran policy. And so is Pompeo. And I think the one person who maybe ironically now is being sidelined as a soft (INAUDIBLE) is Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, who, under Obama, basically was sidelined for being too harsh on Iran.

NOBILO: Shows you the shift.


NOBILO: Mohammad Ali Shabani, thank you so much for joining us today and giving us your insights. Thank you.

Asia Bibi may be off death row in Pakistan but her family still fears for her life. The Christian woman was acquitted of blasphemy charges this week by Pakistan's top court. Her husband tells a German broadcaster that he fears she may be attacked in prison before her release.

He also says his family must constantly move because of the threats. Bibi's lawyer has already fled Pakistan for fear of his life. That's according to an associate, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

Bibi's case rocked Pakistan this week, prompting nationwide protests. You can see some there on the screen. But the streets have been quiet since Pakistan's government reached an agreement with Islamist leaders.

Coming up on the program, the countdown to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. We'll take a closer look at some of the pivotal races that could alter the political landscape in America.

And how candidates in those races are using political star power including past and present presidents and vice presidents to try to swing votes. Stay with us.





NOBILO: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States, the United Kingdom and across the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. Here are the headlines this hour.


NOBILO: The U.S. midterm elections are just two days away. And the stakes are enormous.

President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama are crisscrossing the U.S. for their respective candidates. On Sunday, Mr. Trump will be in Georgia and Tennessee. Mr. Obama will be in Indiana and Illinois. Ultimately Tuesday's outcome will be seen as a referendum on the Trump presidency. All indications point to a --


NOBILO: -- record turnout. More than 27 million Americans have already made up their minds and taken advantage of early voting in their states.

In the U.S. state of Georgia, polls show the race for governor is about as close as it is possible to get. And it is attracting wide attention. President Trump visits Georgia later today to campaign for Republican candidate Brian Kemp.

Meanwhile, Democrat Stacey Abrams has some big names supporting her bid to become the nation's first African American female governor.

Correspondent Kaylee Hartung is in Georgia and reports on the state of the race.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This Tuesday, I believe, may be the most important election of our lifetime.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the final days of Georgia's contentious governor's race...

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I'm kind of a big deal too.

HARTUNG: -- the leading candidates bringing unprecedented star power to the state.

OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: I've been watching what's been going on down here.

(APPLAUSE) WINFREY: You all about to make some history down here.


HARTUNG (voice-over): Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp are deadlocked in the polls. Early voting ended Friday with a record number of ballots cast, more than double the amount at the same point in the last midterm election.

JANET LEE, GEORGIA VOTER: I'm very, very excited that we are getting the national attention that we're getting, because I hope that it is actually encouraging the local people to be involved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have my vote shirt on and I'm going to do it today.

HARTUNG: With few undecided voters left, these big names continued the campaign-long mission, appeal to the candidates' polarized bases.

PENCE: Let me make you a promise. With President Trump in the White House and Brian Kemp in the statehouse, we will never abolish ICE.

OBAMA: You can't think there's anything proper about ripping immigrant children from their mother's bosoms at the border.


HARTUNG: Georgia's race has garnered national attention over claims that Kemp is suppressing voter access, putting more than 50,000 registrations on hold in his capacity as secretary of state. Kemp's office says the registrants, nearly 70 percent of whom are African- American, will be able to vote if they bring the proper I.D.

But still, voting rights, a battle cry for Abrams' supporters.

WINFREY: Every single one of us has something that, if done in numbers too big to tamper with --


WINFREY: -- cannot be suppressed and cannot be denied.

HARTUNG: Vice president Pence leaning on familiar lines of attack from Kemp ads that say Abrams is out of touch with Georgia.

PENCE: I got a message for all of Stacey Abrams' liberal Hollywood friends. This ain't Hollywood. This is Georgia.

HARTUNG: What's notable is not just who is delivering these pointed messages but where. Abrams' surrogates in the Metro Atlanta area where they hope to motivate first time and minority voters, while Team Kemp focuses on more rural areas of the state, eyeing the same path to victory that President Trump took to win it in 2016.

TRUMP: She is not qualified. HARTUNG: Trump has voiced his opinion on this race from afar. Sunday, he'll do it on Peach State soil -- Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Atlanta.


NOBILO: The Republican Party's majority in the U.S. Senate is just two seats. President Donald Trump and the rest of his party are, of course, scrambling to make sure it stays that way. Now one of the most competitive Senate races is in Tennessee, a state that is usually solidly in the Republican corner. Martin Savidge explains.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the new CNN poll shows a slight Republican lead, with less than a week to go, Tennessee's Senate race is still remarkably close.


How are you?

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But how has a Democrat managed to be so competitive in such a conservative state, where President Trump won 60 percent of the vote?

Phil Bredesen is not your typical Democrat. Widely known and popular as mayor of Nashville, he's credited with bringing professional sports teams to town.

As a two-term governor, he sent National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.

BREDESEN: Nobody is going to tell me how to vote.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): He's rejected national Democratic leadership, says he agrees with president Trump on some things and pledges to do what's best for Tennessee, not the Democratic Party.

BREDESEN: I think if you ask people for characteristics about me, they'll say moderate. But they'll also say he gets things done. And that's what is really letting me be competitive in a state like this.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): His centrist message has turned what should have been an easy victory for Republican Marsha Blackburn into a struggle. Blackburn is a fiery conservative who has served in Congress since 2003. She's not as popular as Bredesen but knows someone who is.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Blackburn is a staunch Trump --

[05:35:00] SAVIDGE (voice-over): -- supporter. The president has twice come to Tennessee to campaign on her behalf and he'll be back this weekend. Blackburn's campaign has largely adopted the Trump playbook. Just this week, as the president railed against the caravan of Central American migrants headed for the U.S., Blackburn put the issue front and center in her own campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Gang members, known criminals, people from the Middle East, possibly even terrorists.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): We reached out multiple times to the Blackburn campaign for an interview but never got a response.

Some political watchers suggested Blackburn is relying too heavily on Trump voters.

TOM INGRAM, TENNESSEE POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Trump is still very popular in this state but I'm not sure that it's a good assumption that every Trump voter is a very conservative or even a Republican voter.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Being too Trump could turn off independents and moderate Republicans, voters Blackburn still needs.

We found several Republicans who say they voted for Bredesen.

HEATHER LYNCH, REPUBLICAN CROSSOVER VOTER: He follows the issues that I am interested in and much more aligns with my beliefs. And I don't see that from the other candidates.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): He's an unabashed moderate, centrist, right down the middle.

Does that appeal to you?

JIM TUERFF, REPUBLICAN CROSSOVER VOTER: You bet it does. We need more of that.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): David Belew is a pharmacist as well as a Republican.

DAVID BELEW, REPUBLICAN VOTER: This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): He's a fan of Trump's economy and worries about losing control of the Senate. He just couldn't vote Democrat.

BELEW: It's an extremely close race. I believe, in the end, Blackburn will take this race. That's my gut feeling on it, anyway.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Ultimately for Tennessee voters, in today's polarized political climate, how they vote may hinge on what matters more, a chance for moderation or party loyalty -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Knoxville, Tennessee.


NOBILO: A significant storm system could impact Election Day voting for millions of Americans living in key battleground states.


NOBILO: Now when we come back, new details are emerging about the man who opened fire in a Florida yoga studio. Some online videos may provide clues. Details on that and the victims he left behind.

Plus, honoring the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Mourners around the world have been holding memorials. Details coming up.





NOBILO: Welcome back.

One week has passed since the deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Over the weekend, communities around the world held services and memorials for the victims.

In one sermon, Pittsburgh rabbi Jeffrey Myers slammed politicians for divisive rhetoric which he believes led to the attack. He said he delivered that message to Donald Trump when the U.S. president visited the site on Tuesday. Our Alisyn Camerota spoke with the rabbi recently.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Are you scared when you see this building?


How dare you defile our holy space?

I'm a witness. I'm a victim. I'm a survivor. And I'm also a pastor but I'm also a human. And I stand here and I'm in pain.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, mourners in Israel held a vigil on Saturday in a show of solidarity for the victims. Several people there had personal ties to Pittsburgh.

In New York, a 26-year-old man has been charged with hate crimes after anti-Semitic messages were found in a Brooklyn synagogue. The suspect, James Polite, is currently undergoing an evaluation in hospital.

The graffiti was found on four floors of the Union Temple Thursday night. The messages, written in black marker, included violent threats and Hitler references. New York mayor Bill de Blasio strongly condemned the act.


BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We do not tolerate hate. We do not accept it in any form. We will never accept anti-Semitism in New York City. And we stand shoulder to shoulder with our --


DE BLASIO: -- Jewish brothers and sisters in this hour of real need.


NOBILO: The latest incident is part of a string of anti-Semitic attacks across the U.S. Swastikas have appeared in a handful of cities. In Brooklyn, in Bucks County near Philadelphia and in Rochester, New York.

Also in Irvine, California, an anti-Semitic message was spray painted on a synagogue early Wednesday morning.

We're learning more about the man police say opened fire at a Florida yoga studio. Two women were killed Friday in the shooting and five people were wounded. Police say the 40-year-old suspect had been accused of harassing young women in the area. "The New York Times" reports he posted several racist and misogynist videos online in 2014. Dianne Gallagher has more now.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Federal, state and local authorities are still trying to figure out what the connection is between the 40-year-old gunman and the people who were simply practicing yoga on a Friday evening in Tallahassee.

Now according to authorities, 40-year-old Scott Beierle posed as a customer, that he was going to go in, take a class, and then began firing a handgun indiscriminately at people in that Hot Yoga studio.

They say that some of the people who were in there trying to attack him before he turned the gun on himself, killing himself.

Now there were six people who were shot, one person who was pistol whipped and two of those victims died: 61-year-old Nancy Van Vessem, she was a doctor, an internist, the chief medical director at Capital Health Plan, she also was part of the FSU faculty.

And Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old double major, English and German, at Florida State University. Her sorority, Tri-Delta, posted that she embodied the Tri-Delta woman; she was brave, bold and kind. She is from the Atlanta area, she graduated from Dunwoody High School just three years ago.

And, again, they're trying to determine right now why. They do know he lived in Deltona, Florida, that he had served in the military in the past and had attended FSU as well.

In fact, Tallahassee police had dealt with this man before, with phone calls and complaints about harassing young women there. He lived in Deltona, Florida, a four-hour drive to Tallahassee, got a hotel room in Tallahassee and, at this point, police do know why he came into the yoga studio.

They're going through his social media, electronics and home back in Deltona to try to find a connection.


NOBILO: Our thanks to Dianne Gallagher for her reporting there.

With the U.S. midterms almost upon us, the security and law enforcement professionals are simulating an Election Day cyber attack. Find out why their results aren't exactly reassuring.






NOBILO: Welcome back.

Britain's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are attending a church service in Ghana. The royal couple are touring commonwealth nations in West Africa. It is the prince's first tour since he was named the next head of the commonwealth in April.

The British royals are taking part in several cultural events. Here you can see Prince Charles playing a small instrument called a calabash along with a dance performance on Saturday. Earlier the couple visited Gambia and will wrap up their trip in Nigeria.

Since the 2016 election, there has been much talk about Russian meddling in the U.S. voting process. To make sure that doesn't happen in the upcoming midterms, cyber security companies and the U.S. government are working overtime to protect the vote. But as our Alex Marquardt reports, it is a daunting task.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): High above Boston, a game is underway. Two teams in glass-walled conference rooms locked in a simulated battle, which many believe could easily become real.

SAM CURRY, CYBEREASON: For now, close the bridge. So that it just gives the impression of isolation.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): This is the red team, hackers trying to disrupt an election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All we want to do is keep people away from the voting places.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Down the hall, the blue team, the police, trying to make sure the voting goes smoothly.

ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: We need more resources into the area, not only police but fire and EMS.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): They're former and current law enforcement, including ex-Boston police commissioner Ed Davis, who was in charge during the marathon bombing. And what the hackers are throwing at him today he's never seen before.

DAVIS: To be quite honest with you, I've never heard of this happening, so I don't know what the solution to it is.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): This simulation hosted by security company Cybereason is designed to show the wide ranging damage hackers can do. Not to the more obvious targets like voting machines and election infrastructure but to an entire city on Election Day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take the traffic system and shut down the traffic systems and two, three, five and nine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, just turn all lights to off.

Why don't we do the whole city?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to just shut off everything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll just drain the law enforcement, we'll drain public services.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Next door, the blue team struggles with the barrage of attacks from all angles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll suspend the voting process temporarily until further notice.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Tying up traffic, bomb threats, evacuations, taking over social and local media to spread false information and causing unrest and exhausting police resources.

DANIELLE WOOD, CYBEREASON: What that did for us was basically made it look like the police were suppressing the vote. The conspiracy theorists will go nuts.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): These aren't just things experts say hackers can do; they have done them. In places like France, the Middle East and Washington, D.C.

After the simulation, the hackers claimed victory. The blue team admitting that, in the real world, it is a relentless game of catch- up.

MARQUARDT: The stuff that the hackers were throwing at you actually isn't all that complicated to do.

SEAN P. MALONEY, FBI: No, it isn't. It is very low budget and very effective, it can influence public opinion or public perception extremely effectively.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The potential to threaten not just voter turnout --


MARQUARDT (voice-over): -- but shake confidence in the democratic process as a whole.

WOOD: I think they're woefully underprepared. And in those scenarios, I believe local government lacks the funding or the ability to attract the talent or the resources to build the defenses necessary to defend the public against those types of attacks. That is a significant problem.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Alex Marquardt, CNN, Boston.


NOBILO: One of the big talking points in the run-up to the midterms has been the migrant caravan heading for the U.S. from Central America. Coverage of the group on conservative media has been less than friendly. And "Saturday Night Live" took notice. The show lampooned FOX News' depiction of the migrants in its final program before Election Day.


KATE MCKINNON, ACTOR, "LAURA INGRAHAM": Who is in this caravan?

CECILY STRONG, ACTOR, "JEANINE PIRRO": Everyone you've ever seen in your nightmares, Laura. It has got Guatemalans, Mexicans, ISIS, the Menendez brothers, the 1990 Detroit Pistons, Thanos and several Babadooks.

KENAN THOMPSON, ACTOR, "DAVID CLARKE": If these immigrants walk at a normal pace of 300 miles a day, they could be here in time to vote on Election Day.

"LAURA INGRAHAM": And are they moving that quickly?

"DAVID CLARKE": Well, let's just take a look at this aerial footage of the caravan.

"LAURA INGRAHAM": My God. And those are humans?

"DAVID CLARKE": Basically, yes.


NOBILO: Keep watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. For viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is up next for you. For everyone else, stay tuned for "AFRICAN VOICES." First, I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment.