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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

DeSantis Claims Credit For Sending Two Planes Carrying Migrants To Martha's Vineyard In Massachusetts; Judge Rejects DOJ Request To Resume Investigation Of Trump's Handling Of Mar-a-Lago Documents, Appoints Special Master; Sen. Graham's Proposal For 15-Week National Ban On Abortion Not What He Suggested Just Last Month; CNN Goes Inside Town Recaptured By Ukraine Less Than 4 Miles From Russian Border; Nearly Five-Mile, 9-Hour Queue To Pay Respects To Queen. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 15, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: CNN's special coverage will begin at 6:00 AM on Monday.

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AC 360 starts now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening.

On Martha's Vineyard tonight, residents are providing food and shelter to migrants, human beings who whatever you think of the move have become political pawns in what is now an escalating series of actions. The effect and likely the goal is to thrust immigration further into the spotlight less than eight weeks before Election Day.

I'm John Berman in for Anderson.

And this is the scene on Martha's Vineyard today after an estimated 50 migrants arrived on the Massachusetts island. They were sent there in two planes chartered by the administration of Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Though we are getting some information that the migrants might not have actually come from Florida. More on that in a second.

Today, Governor DeSantis defended his actions.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We are not a sanctuary state and it's better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction. And yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures.


(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Critics call it a stunt. We should point out that last month

1.8 million arrests, apprehensions, or encounters on the Southern border were reported for the fiscal year to date, that's according to Customs and Border Protection and that is an increase from the last fiscal year, and this one isn't even over yet.

The move from DeSantis mirrors bus trips Texas Governor Greg Abbott began months ago sending migrants to two other areas mostly populated by Democratic voters, New York City and the nation's capital. In fact, today at least two more buses arrived in Washington, DC, this time outside the US Naval Observatory, the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris. It comes after she made comments that the Southern border was "secure."

Now, so far as the Florida charter flights go, you may be wondering why Martha's Vineyard? Well, obviously it is a vacation spot for a lot of well-known Democrats and liberals, including the Obama's.

Last year, Ted Cruz introduced a bill that would transfer undocumented immigrants to 13 areas, many of which are -- and all of which are led by Democrats and it included Martha's Vineyard. We also know Tucker Carlson mentioned a similar idea on his broadcast earlier this year about how places like Edgartown on the island have "zero diversity," which means zero strength in how they are "begging for more diversity."

He was being sarcastic, of course, playing on some of the same themes that proponents of immigration often use, saying diversity makes the nation stronger.

And the top spokeswoman for Governor DeSantis got in on that act in a tweet yesterday saying, undocumented immigrants, "Will increase the town's diversity, which is strength, right?"

Now, that's the political conversation and we'll get to that in due time with our guest Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

First though, we want to talk about the migrants themselves, and some new details about what we're learning of where they actually traveled from.

To do that, CNN has reporters across the United States on Martha's Vineyard, in Florida, and in Texas.

Joining me now from Edgartown, on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, CNN senior national correspondent, Miguel Marquez.

Miguel, you've been speaking with people there all day. What have you been hearing about their journey?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, these are folks that had all Venezuelans, had a month-and-a-half, two months, sometimes three-month journey to the Mexico-Texas border. They were in San Antonio just over 24 hours ago, and then they boarded planes at the behest of these individuals who were sort of recruiting them at the shelter they were at, and then they ended up here.

They weren't sure where they were going, but I want to show you sort of how people have stepped up here in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard.

These are people who are taking names and people who want to help out, whether it's helping with translation or clothing donations, food donations, or monetary donations. The issue now, there are 50 people now staying in what is a facility built for about 10 people, homeless people here. They've had to increase it to 50.

The issue now is figuring out sort of what the legal situation is for each of these individuals and where they need to be because many of them have Court hearings in other cities.

We've heard one guy from -- has a Court hearing in Los Angeles, another in Cincinnati, some back in Texas, some in Washington, DC, some in New York. So, getting them to where they need to go in the weeks ahead is going to be a challenge.

They suspect in the days ahead. Most of the people here on the island will move on to bigger cities and other cities in the US, but then the question is, will more arrive -- John.

BERMAN: Miguel, can you just make clear, they are telling you that this plane journey started in Texas? And then what? Did it make stops in Florida somehow?

I mean, how is it the Governor DeSantis is taking responsibility for this?


MARQUEZ: Well, this is the bizarre sort of turn. Governor DeSantis has been very open and supportive of Venezuelan immigrants because he does not like the government there.

It is a very hardcore socialist communist government that he does not like there and so he has really held them in high regard. These particular Venezuelans though were not in Florida. They were in Texas.

It sounds as though he paid for -- arranged and paid for the planes to bring them to Martha's Vineyard. The planes did stop along the way. But everyone we spoke to, we spoke to dozens of them between ourselves and our CNN Espanol crew that was here. We've spoken to dozens of immigrants here today, and they all say -- they were all Venezuelans, they were all in Texas that nobody got on, nobody got off the planes in the other stops they made.

And when they landed here in Martha's Vineyard, they literally had no clue where they were. And many of them were just -- they were blown away. One guy said, "Oh, it's so beautiful. It's gorgeous." And another one said, "I'm in love" -- John.

BERMAN: And we can see the community reaction there behind you.

Miguel Marquez on Martha's Vineyard tonight. Miguel, thank you very much.

I'm joined now by CNN's Rosa Flores who is in Houston tonight. Rosa, what more do we know about how all this transpired and how these migrants were even made aware of these flights?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, the circumstances are very curious, John.

My colleague, Maria Santana spoke to two migrants and they explained it like this. They said that they were in a shelter in San Antonio, Texas, and there were a couple of women who approached them outside the shelter by the names of Perla and Dulce, and they said that these women were from organizations from Orlando, Florida, that helped migrants and that they put these migrants up in a hotel for about five days. They promised them shelter and jobs whenever they got to their final destination.

And according to these two migrants, they thought they were going to New York and Boston, but it turns out, they ended up at Martha's Vineyard.

Now, we're still digging into this, John, because again, the circumstances are just very curious here.

BERMAN: Again, they were in Texas. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is taking responsibility for this. Do we know if the Texas Governor Greg Abbott was involved in any way?

FLORES: You know, his Press Secretary said that the two Governors do speak, that they've been talking about the bussing of migrants strategy that we've been covering a lot here, but that Governor Abbott was not involved at all in the flights and arranging of the flights to Martha's Vineyard.

Now, he did say according to his Press Secretary, that he did appreciate the help -- John.

BERMAN: All right, very interesting.

Rosa Flores in Texas tonight.

Joining me now is CNN's Priscilla Alvarez in Miami.

Priscilla, what more are you learning about what went into this decision by Governor DeSantis?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, we are still trying to get answers as to what exactly went behind this decision and the logistics behind this flight, which as Rosa pointed out is a very curious situation.

But the Governor here has been teasing relocating migrants for some time leading up to this week. And remember, Governor DeSantis has been a fierce critic of the Biden administration's immigration policies and this dates back to last year, when at the time, he had announced that he would deploy State and local law enforcement officers to Arizona and Texas when there was an influx of migrants.

But he is now taking it a step further by joining Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona governor Doug Ducey to move migrants out-of-state.

Now, the question here is where and why these migrants were identified in Texas and yet somehow transported via charter flights by Florida and we're still seeking answers to those questions, and officials are also bracing for whether there's going to be more flights going into Martha's Vineyard -- John.

BERMAN: Just to be clear, once again, though, as you say, Governor DeSantis has been talking about moving migrants out of the State. These weren't in his State. These human beings were not in Florida as far as we know, correct?

ALVAREZ: That's right. And the other thing to point out here, John, is that migrants when they are released from government custody have been processed and many of these are seeking asylum, meaning that they're going to go through immigration proceedings.

When they do that, they can relocate to cities across the United States. I have talked to migrants who were transported by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to Washington, DC, and they had known and wanted to be in DC and they also planned to move to other cities.

And so in some respects, migrants are getting a ride here from these Republican governors; in others, we're hearing that migrants are confused about where they are.


ALVAREZ: But the bottom line here, John, is that it is catching cities off guard, and it doesn't allow them to prepare and the lack of coordination is what officials are really criticizing here.

BERMAN: All right, Priscilla Alvarez for us in Miami. We were in Texas and we were on Martha's Vineyard as well.

Perspective now from former Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist, who is now running against Ron DeSantis for Florida Governor and Crist previously served as Governor of Florida, as a Republican. We do want to note, we also requested that Governor DeSantis join us, and we never heard back.

So Congressman, we ask you: What is your reaction to all of this? To these migrants being flown, apparently, from Texas, to Martha's Vineyard?

CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: John, it is astounding to me. This is so cruel, and so unnecessary, so uncalled for, and so brazen. It shocks the conscience of any fair minded human being that the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, would treat other human beings, these Venezuelans, the way that he did is unbelievable.

I mean, you know, what kind of animal would do that to other people? Well, apparently, Ron DeSantis, is that kind of person. And it is heartbreaking to watch. I mean, children being lured onto these planes with lies to their parents about getting employment when they would land up north somewhere, I guess, they've mentioned Boston.

You know, it's amazing that somebody would go to these lengths, you know, charter a couple of planes, send them to San Antonio, Texas or charter them from there. Lure with lies. Apparently, somebody was hired to lure these people onto the planes that they were going to have a better opportunity by going up north on these planes and just taking advantage of them for a political stunt, you know?

BERMAN: Congressman --

CRIST: You know, as I say, who does that? Governor DeSantis does.

BERMAN: You say they were lured onto the plane with lies. Do you believe that laws were broken here? And I ask that because both the US Attorney in Massachusetts and Nikki Fried, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner, who you defeated for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Florida, has said they're going to ask the Justice Department to look in and see if there are any laws violated?

CRIST: Well, I've asked for that myself. You know, I was doing a press conference this morning about this topic, and was asked that very question: Should the Department of Justice look into it? I said, Absolutely. Of course.

This is a humane -- an inhumane, rather, injustice that's being done to human beings. I mean, is this a way to treat our fellowmen and women? Of course not.

And, you know, laws may have been broken in the process of this. I'm going to do a Freedom of Information request to the State of Florida to the Governor's Office to find out, you know, jot and tiddle what happened here? You know, who was planning this? How did they plan it? Why did they plan it?

But John, you know, it's just another example of Ron DeSantis wanting to tell everybody what to do, orchestrating everything for a political reason, just like he's done to women in Florida and taking away the right to choose is outrageous.

BERMAN: And again, just to be clear. We're learning that some if not all of these migrants were never in Florida. They were in Texas. How do you square that?

CRIST: Well, I don't square it. I mean, as you said yourself in the intro, he was saying he was going to have, you know, migrants taken out of Florida, if he had to and kind of teased about doing it later on.

As you said, these weren't even in Florida. I mean, he had to go halfway across the country to pull off this stunt. And it is unconscionable. It is cruel. The guy is a monster.

BERMAN: I do understand you disagree with the move, and you disagree clearly with the tactics here. But what about the underlying point that Governor DeSantis and others have made that certain parts of the country, perhaps the northeast, places like Martha's Vineyard don't grasp the impact of what they call illegal immigration, and that, that they don't understand what these border states and border communities are dealing with all the time?

CRIST: Well, we're not even a border state. That's what's rich about this. You know, we're surrounded by water and Georgia and Alabama to the north. So, the argument doesn't hold up here.

And the other point is he willing to use human beings to try to make that argument?

BERMAN: Well, I will say Governor Abbott makes that argument in Texas. What about that argument in general, even if you don't think it's appropriate coming from Governor DeSantis?

CRIST: I don't think it's appropriate. Period. You don't use human beings and children to try to make a political argument or a political statement. You can make all kinds of arguments.

The governor has a great bully pulpit. He ought to use that instead. And if people want to help us, get rid of him, go to and help us beat this guy. He is a monster.

BERMAN: The Vice President, Kamala Harris had made the statement earlier that she felt the border was secure. Is that something you agree with?

CRIST: It is hard to tell. I don't think it is secure and I think it is important to secure the border. Listen I'm the grandson of immigrants from Greece and from Lebanon.

[20:15:10 ]

CRIST: I understand what legal immigration is and what it's supposed to be. We are supposed to be the shining city on the hill, the place where people can come from all over the globe, to have safety, to make sure that you can have a better living for your family. Enjoy the capitalism, that compassionate capitalism that is America. That's what we're supposed to stand for.

Ronald Reagan used to call us the shining city on the hill. Well, apparently, our Governor DeSantis doesn't believe in that concept and it is very disappointing, and it is heartbreaking and it's cruel.

BERMAN: Charlie Crist, we do appreciate you being with us tonight. Thank you.

CRIST: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: And still to come tonight, we do have breaking news on the Justice Department's tug of war with the former President for the classified documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. Two big legal decision we want to tell you about that directly impact whether they can fully resume their investigation and whether there will be a Special Master to review the documents. Plus, an exclusive look at the destruction and death left behind in a

town vacated by the Russians. A new report from Ukraine just ahead.



BERMAN: We do have breaking news tonight on the legal fight over the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. Two big developments, both going against the Justice Department. One involving its attempt to resume its investigation into the former President's handling of classified records. The other, the appointment of a Special Master to review those documents.

CNN's Sara Murray joins us now with the latest there. Sara, what can you tell us about this ruling from Judge Cannon?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, look, we finally heard tonight who the Special Master is going to be. It is going to be Judge Raymond Dearie. He is a senior Judge out of the New York area. He is the only person that the Justice Department and the Trump team agreed upon. So, in some ways, that is not surprising.

Now, what the government wanted her to do, they wanted to be able to move forward with their criminal investigation. So they said, look, if you have put forward this Special Master, at least don't have this Special Master go over the 100 classified documents that we found at Mar-a-Lago after the August search.

The Judge is saying, no dice. The Special Master is going to review all of these documents. You are not allowed to continue reviewing these documents as part of your criminal probe.

Now, she is saying look, there are still other stuff that you can do without having access to these documents. There are still witnesses you can question, you can still brief Congress on these materials. But you cannot be sort of handling these documents, showing them to witnesses, presenting them before a grand jury, things that the Justice Department would like to do as part of their criminal investigation.

And essentially, she says she really doesn't buy DOJ's argument that not being able to access these documents would impede the national security damage assessment.

BERMAN: All right, very good explanation there, Sara.

What happens next? How likely is it that the DOJ will appeal?

MURRAY: Well, DOJ basically told her look, here's what we want. Want this carve out for our criminal investigation to go forward. We want to be able to look at these classified documents, tell us by today what your decision is. And if you are not going to agree to this, if you're not going to agree to let our criminal investigation go forward, then we are going to appeal. So they sort of showed their cards in that sense. We have not actually

seen the Justice Department's appeal, but they did give a pretty indication before we got this decision from the judge that that is what their path is going to be.

BERMAN: All right. Sara Murray, thank you very much. And thank you during the entire break explaining to me the language in this ruling from the Judge that I was confused by. I very much appreciate it.

MURRAY: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Alright, perspective now from conservative lawyer, George Conway, a contributing columnist for "The Washington Post." And John Yoo, former US Deputy Assistant Attorney General during the George W. Bush administration, now a Law School professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

And George, I just want to start with you. How much of a setback is this for the Justice Department?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: I don't know that it's going to be a huge setback in the long term, but it's going to delay them to some extent.

I mean, this this ruling is absolutely a disgrace, and I don't think it's going to take very much to overturn it.

I mean, Bill Barr, last week, told "The New York Times" that the original motion by Donald Trump's lawyers was a crock of shit. A crock of shit. That's what he said to "The New York Times."

This opinion is worse than that, because this opinion focuses on a motion, decides a motion that is focused on just the documents that were marked classified. And the Judge claims in this opinion without any basis, that there are factual and legal disputes about those documents.

Well, there are no factual disputes about whether a document has bears classified markings, that's ridiculous. And there is no dispute that a document taken from the White House, stolen from the White House that belongs -- that was prepared by government officials national security officials, there is no dispute that those documents belong to the government of the United States.

And there is no -- even Trump's lawyers did not actually make the specific claim that these documents were somehow magically declassified by the brainwaves of Donald Trump.

And as your colleagues found, Jamie Gangel and others, 18 Trump administration officials laughed at the proposition that these documents were declassified, and it doesn't even matter whether these documents were declassified because the charges at issue here don't deal with classification, it deals with national security interest.

This opinion is absolutely atrocious, and I have to say, and I've never said this publicly about a Federal Judge in my life, you have to wonder whether this this Judge belongs on a Federal bench.

BERMAN: So John, George has made his opinion quite clear here and he quoted Bill Barr. Neither of them sit on the 11th Circuit. So, the question to you, do you think that the Department of Justice will or should appeal and do you think that they have a chance of getting a more favorable ruling from a higher Court?


JOHN YOO, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL DURING THE GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: John, the Justice Department already promised that it would appeal and the Judge, I'm not surprised that Judge Cannon did this because the Justice Department was basically asking her to reverse much of her decision, the most important part related to classified information.

So the interesting thing is on appeal, the 11th Circuit will look at what power did Judge Cannon have to undertake this remarkable and extraordinary step, which is to introduce a third party, this Special Master into a type of situation where we rarely ever see them.

On the other hand, Appellate Courts don't really like to second guess Trial Courts, when they are managing things like search and seizures, when they're managing things like criminal trials, and the rule of procedure here gives Trial Judges that discretion in extraordinary circumstances, which the Judge, Judge Cannon here found to appoint a Special Master.

If you're the 11th circuit, the way you might think of it is, are we going to prevent this Trial Judge from asking for the help of a Special Master, someone like Judge Dearie, who is familiar with classified information and has served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court?

Because if they say no, then Judge Cannon is just going to go ahead and decide these issues herself, anyway. So I actually think the better thing for the Justice Department to do is just work with the Special Master, accelerate the review of the documents. I bet they could even get through all the classified documents in the time it would nevertheless take to appeal to the 11th Circuit and wait for a ruling anyway.

BERMAN: Well, what about that, John? Because the Judge or the Special Master to prioritize the review of classified documents first, could that speed things up?

YOO: Oh, yes, John, that's actually the little area of give that I saw in the opinion that went -- that showed some effort to compromise here by Judge Cannon. She didn't just flatly reject the Justice Department entirely.

She did say, I am going to tell the Special Master to look at those 100 classified documents first and try to prioritize them and speed through them. And part of this, because the Justice Department already said we're content to not use the other thousands of pages that aren't classified and we will agree to the District Judge's order that we not use this at all in any criminal investigation.

BERMAN: So George, on another note, the former President was on Hugh Hewitt's radio show today, and I want to play a portion of what he said when asked what would happen if he was indicted? And if it would deter him from running for President again. So, listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think if it happened, I think you'd have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we've never seen before.

I don't think the people of the United States would stand for it.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What kind of problems, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I think you'd have big problems, big problems. I just don't think they'd stand for it.


BERMAN: What do you hear there, George? Do you hear that as a threat?

CONWAY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, he is basically saying, what a nice country you have here, too bad if something would happen to it.

And it's basically January 6th all over again. He is denying inciting violence, but the fact of the matter is, he is inciting violence because he is basically saying, he has convinced millions of people that he is being persecuted for no valid reason, when in fact, he knows and he is terrified about the fact that he has been caught stealing, rewriting, and stealing government documents of the highest, highest security nature.

And it's just -- he thought by perpetrating that lie to the American people, he is inciting -- he is absolutely encouraging people to engage in violence. There's just no question about it.

BERMAN: George Conway, John Yoo, thank you both for helping us out tonight. I really appreciate it.

Up next, the Republican rift over abortion on Capitol Hill. New details tonight on why Senator Lindsey Graham is proposing a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks, and how that is not what he suggested just last month, when he talked to our Dana Bash.



BERMAN: There is new reporting tonight on why Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Graham's bill has put a spotlight on a major rift in the Republican Party over abortion just weeks before the midterms. And what he is proposing is a reversal from what he told CNN's Dana Bash on "STATE OF THE UNION" just last month. Watch this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I've been consistent. I think state should decide the issue of marriage and state should decide the issue of abortion. I have respect for South Carolina, South Carolina voters here I trust to define marriage and to deal with the issue of abortion.


BERMAN: And Dana Bash joins me now with more. So Dana, we heard what Senator Graham told you last month. And that seems to be at odds with what he's proposing now. So, what changed?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not a philosophical change, that's for sure. But it does appear that there is a political change of heart. And I'm told by a source familiar with his thinking that what has happened over the past month plus, since he and I talked on State of the Union is that he has seen the political reality that Democrats are pretty successfully across the board, in issue -- in states in races that matter, not only leading with the issue of abortion, but defining the issue of abortion for the race and for the Republicans running in the race. And he believes that it is important for Republicans to have a unified national stance on abortion that isn't a total ban on abortion, because that isn't something that is widely popular, particularly in purple states.

I'm told that his whole approach is you can't fight something with nothing, which is why he decided to push this legislation that has a national bit of policy saying that abortion is illegal after viability but legal before that.

BERMAN: Do you have a sense or have you been able to get a sense of what his intentions are here going forward?


BASH: No, not necessarily his intentions but what I can say and, you know, we've been hearing this from the Hill is that this is very much John a dividing issue, Republicans aren't unified on this at all. And in fact, you can even go further, some Republicans like Mitch McConnell are kind of miffed, because they believe that what Lindsey Graham did this week, is take them off course with way with the place that they believe their message should be, which is the economy, the economy, the economy, the economy, you saw the CPI numbers, and other indicators continue to show that inflation is a very big problem for the country, and therefore a problem for the Democrats who are in charge from the White House to Congress. And they argue that it takes Republicans off course and takes them to a place where it's not really a winning issue.

Again, Graham argues whether it's a winning issue or not, it is an issue. So, you either engage, or you are going to have a political problem. BERMAN: He caught Republicans by surprise, these are people who don't want to be surprised, it seems by something like this. So, what are they going to do with this with him as they head toward the midterms?

BASH: It doesn't sound as if Mitch McConnell is all that interested in throwing this at least trying to push for this vote. And of course, he's not in charge. It would be Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader who would have to agree to it there could be some parliamentary maneuvering if Mitch McConnell would even be interested to try to push this vote on the floor. So that's a long way, sort of Washington way of saying it's probably not going anywhere. But again, it's less about the legislation. I know this sounds very Washington, John, and more about the messaging and the trying to get a hold of the policy.

And I can tell you, John, I've just in the past couple of weeks been in Ohio, and in Michigan, working on campaign stories, and it has really surprised me how many Republican voters I have talked to who have said that they like the idea of voting for a Republican but they are concerned about voting for somebody who supports a total ban on abortion. Graham is not wrong, it is resonating. This is just from my anecdotal boots on the ground reporting that it is if there's it's happening out there, particularly in a place like Michigan, where the governor's race is really hot. Other congressional races are really hot in a place like that. It's going to be on the ballot, just like it was in Kansas. Other places like Ohio, same kind of thing, not on the ballot, but it seems to be resonating.

BERMAN: And these are Republican voters telling you this --

BASH: Exactly.

BERMAN: -- as you travel in some of these key races.

BASH: Yes.

BERMAN: Right. Dana Bash, thank you so much for sharing your reporting, trying to explain this, this shift that we've seen over the last month and a half --

BASH: It is a shift.

BERMAN: -- (INAUDIBLE). Right, thanks so much.

So much more ahead. Next, a CNN exclusive Nick Paton Walsh takes us inside a town recaptured by Ukraine less than four miles from the border with Russia.



BERMAN: Russia leaves death everywhere. Those are the words of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his address to the nation tonight, as he announced a mass burial site has been discovered in recently liberated -- in the recently liberated city of Izium. Nearly 100 miles north of there, CNN got an exclusive look at another town vacated by the Russians. Here's why it's getting a lot of attention. It is less than four miles from the Russian border and home do a strategic supply route now back in the hands of the Ukrainians.

This is what CNN's Nick Paton Walsh found there.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The darkness is breaking quite suddenly up here. And the road to Russia's border with Ukraine strewn with what it left behind in its panic, including its own. Two Russian soldiers shot dead in fighting about five days ago. Yet another sign the Kremlin doesn't care what or who it leaves behind. This is (INAUDIBLE) the closest town to Russia that Ukraine has taken back and whose vital railways began the supply chain for most of Moscow's war.

The Russians, everyone says just packed up and vanished a few days ago. They've always been so close. So, part of life here, any joy is not universal.

They were not very good says Andrei, they didn't shoot anyone though.

The hardest was to see their checkpoints and their Z-signs and feel hatred growing in my heart says Tatyana. They can drink their oil and have their golden diamonds for dessert. But just leave us alone here.

Nastya is sailing ships, she says Ukraine has been at war all the eight years she's known. I think it'll be better without them, she says, it was uncomfortable having them here. Her parents nearby, say fear when they slept in their clothes all the six months.

(on-camera): It's kind of strange here to see how almost unaffected. So much of this town has been and how life seems to have slipped comfortably back into normal when the Russian has just picked up and left. And it gives you a feeling of how normality must still rain. It's just a matter of six kilometers away across the border in Russia.

(voice-over): But normal is never coming back, particularly to hear the border line itself. Russia retreated back over it but must now live with the hatred it has stirred.

(on-camera): The fact that Ukrainian forces are able to push right up to here the beginning of the border buffer zone with Russia. Russia is just a matter of kilometers in that direction. Is it another calamity Moscow has imposed upon itself. Its opponent in this wall and it's struggling so deeply to defeat is now so close to Russia's own towns and cities.

(voice-over): A moment long coming says local soldier Anton.

(on-camera): How do you feel walking along the Ukraine-Russia.

(voice-over): Some people have waited this for eight years, he says, it is the start of our victory.

[20:45:04] Across the one sleepy field here lives and harvests stalled wilting if another year will come.


BERMAN: And Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Kharkiv. Nick, it was amazing to see you they're so close to the Russian border. Given how close it is, and given how crucial you say railways are to Moscow's war effort. Is there a concern the Russian is going to try to take that town back?

WALSH: You don't feel it, to be honest, John, when you're there, you see, really what the Russians left behind in such a hurry, including their own dead. And even according to Western officials speaking in the last days, there isn't an abiding fear that Russia can come back. In fact, I think what is startling is how quickly that force crumbled. Even Ukrainian officials today, saying that some of the units that fled around Kharkiv have in fact been disbanded, essentially taken apart because of the damage done to them, and the levels of casualties they've sustained. So no, no real fear in that town. The Russians are coming back.

But I should point out, they are so close, that when they originally took the off chance good, probably felt pretty much effortless. It's simply just a case of absorbing that territory, as they move further onto targets further inside Ukraine six months ago, and a similar way they seem to pull back and disappeared, John.

BERMAN: So Nick, you've talked about how the local people felt about the Russian soldiers who left. How they react as the Ukrainian soldiers who took the town back?

WALSH: Look, it's really hard when you move into freshly deoccupied, liberated territory to read exactly what people are saying to you or some men we spoke to, normally men of similar age on bicycles. You sort of seem to be if I was being fair, impartial about the Russians leaving and the Ukrainians returning. Remember, as I say they live literally with Russia right over them all of their lives. And so, it may not have been that starker changing Russian forces move into town and some did say in fact, the forces that were inside of our chat were not that brutal, not very nice, one man said but not guilty of the kind of war crimes we've seen. They're accused of in areas around Kyiv. Other people though, deeply troubled by that type of occupation. We heard that one woman talking about feeling aged 55, a life in which said she never really troubled anybody suddenly feeling hatred in her heart.

So, a mixed picture certainly, but that's a reflection off and I think if when you get a lot closer to Russia, how that changes some of dynamics inside some of those Ukrainian towns, John.

BERMAN: As I said it was remarkable to see you there. Quite a report. Nick Paton Walsh, our thanks to you.

Next, we're going to go live to see and it's Richard Quest in London where the line to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth stretches nearly five miles now.



BERMAN: A solemn night in London with thousands still lined up along the banks of the River Thames and stretching past some of the London's notable landmarks waiting to get to Westminster Hall, all to pay respects to the late Queen Elizabeth that she lies in state. The queue is nearly five miles long right now with at least a nine hour wait. The Queen's casket will be on view until Monday when a state funeral will be held and preparations are underway for the final farewell.

Joining us now from London is CNN anchor and correspondent Richard Quest. Richard, it's nearly 2:00 a.m. as I'm sure you're well aware, in London. Are people are still camping out waiting for hours to see the Queen. What's the mood there right now.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: I've been on the streets this evening and the mood is it's quite extraordinary, John, because there's a feeling of community, people are talking to each other. There's a camaraderie, certainly that people are going to queue and line up for that length of time. But even away from the line, people just want to be here, to be near Westminster. Look at Big Ben go down to the palace, Buckingham Palace, because you want to be able to say I was there. And I felt that sense of community and coming togetherness that this has been brought about.

Listen to what people said after they'd been queuing as we would say, lining up in your language after they'd been lining up for several hours, with many more hours to go.


UNDENTIFIED MALE: Back to what she said, she's done for the last 70 years, but asked to stand for like 10 hours is nothing compared to the 70 years she's given us.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as you enter the hall, it's just -- it hits you. And I was crying all the way through. And I thanked her.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's been a constant throughout my life. And now she's now, she's gone. So, you know, I did have a lot of respect for her. And I just wanted to be close to her and say goodbye.


QUEST: And that's the mood I think genuinely people just want to be here. And they want to feel what's going on. And they want to be a part of it. And that is what I suppose being British, being American, being French, whatever, in your home country. That's what it's all about.

BERMAN: I do appreciate the translation, Richard there. I understand you were able to pay your respects earlier just a few hours ago. What was the experience like? QUEST: It just overwhelming, because I don't think I've ever seen such greater expressions of gratitude, and respect, all tied up in a room that is so grounded with the colors of the flag. That's the Royal Standard, on the casket, the jewels of the Imperial, the imperial crown, the scepter, and the orb. You have this Grandeur and Majesty and the counterpoint the simplicity of ordinary people coming down the stairs and bowing their heads and waiting for each other to show their respects and bowing that.

There was one point as I was walking through where a chapel (ph) gone through and it's almost like you'd forgotten, so he turned back and once again just bowed his head and said thank you.


So, there is an -- the meaningfulness, if you will, of what is that room tonight is quite overwhelming. And I think that it is the tension. Because the anxiety, the tension, that free saw is going to get greater as we move towards Monday, when of course, they will stop people from going through.

BERMAN: Richard, we get about 30 seconds left, you're getting some more information about the funeral itself. What can you tell us?

QUEST: It's going to be very big. There going to be several opportunities for the procession, both from the, from the Abbey through to various places as the Queen's remains, go and in Windsor, where she will be interred next to her parents along with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. It's going to be like, I say it's a cliche, John. But cliches are cliches for a reason, because they mean something. It's going to be like nothing we've ever seen before in our lifetime.

BERMAN: Richard Quest, I'm glad you're there. I'm glad you had that experience today. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.

And we'll be right back.


BERMAN: I want to remind you about a project that Anderson has been working on which is all about loss and grief and how it changes people's lives. It's a podcast called "All There Is." Today it was number one on the Apple podcast chart. Congratulations to Andersen for that.


You will find it there or wherever you get your podcasts or we're going to put a QR code on the screen, you can see it right there. If you point your cell phone camera at it, you can get a link to it. Anderson started recording while packing up his mother's apartment after her passing while going through her keepsakes and the things left behind by his father and brother. Anderson starts a conversation about the people we lose and the things they leave behind and how we can move forward. It is really wonderful. So go have a listen. The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.