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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Uvalde School District Suspends Its Police Department; Biden Talks Of Armageddon As Putin Makes Nuclear Threats; Ukraine Says 2,400 Square Kilometers Of Territory Liberated In The South; NY Times: Woman Says Herschel Walker Urged Her To Have A 2nd Abortion; Trump Goes To High Court Over Mar-a-Lago Search; 70,000+ In Lee County, Fl Register For FEMA Assistance; Florida Teens Help Clean Up Hurricane Damage. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 07, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: She died in the custody of the Morality Police.

Take a look at this video: Protesters burning scarves in Tehran chanting "Death to Khamenei." That's happening tonight and it comes after state medical authorities announced that Mahsa Amini's death was caused by an underlying medical condition. She's 22.

They say it wasn't because of a head wound or injuries of vital organs. According to their report, she lost consciousness and fell due to a heart rhythm disorder and low blood pressure.

Her death has sparked three weeks of widespread protests.

Thanks for joining us time now for Anderson.



Ever since a gunman stormed Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas killing 19 children and two teachers while police stood around for 77 minutes not doing the one thing that every law enforcement officer in America is trained to do, which is to neutralize the active shooter, two things have been in short supply. Number one is transparency with the families and survivors and accountability for the many failures of that horrible day.

Well, this week in no small part due to the reporting of CNN's Shimon Prokupecz and his team, the people of Uvalde got at least a little of both.

First, Shimon revealed that the School District Police Department had hired a former State Trooper under investigation for her actions during the massacre, I should say lack of actions during the massacre, and Shimon uncovered this video of her outside the school on the day of the massacre, talking to other officers. Listen.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An officer asked if her children attend Robb Elementary.

Elizondo's response -

OFFICER: Your kids okay?

CRIMSON ELIZONDO, FORMER TEXAS STATE TROOPER: Yes, my son is in daycare. He is -- is not old enough.

OFFICER: Yes, I saw you.

ELIZONDO: Yes. No. If my son had been in there. I would not have been outside, I promise you that.


COOPER: She said if her son had been inside the school, "I would not have been outside. I promise you that."

So last night, we learned that that officer had been fired by the School District, fired the day after Shimon tried to get answers about why she had been hired in the first place given she was under investigation by the State. Shimon had tried to get answers from a man you'll see in a second who is ducking and dodging him. He is the Uvalde School District's Director of Student Services.


PROKUPECZ: Sir, do you know this officer who you have recently hired? Are you aware that she is under investigation for her actions on the day of the shooting?

Do you think she's fit to serve here considering that her actions are under investigation? Mr. Miller, you don't want to respond to that.


COOPER: The one silently slamming his door on Shimon is Kenneth Miller. He was suspended today along with the entire school police force.

Shimon Prokupecz joins us now with more on that.

So first of all, he was suspended. And then --

PROKUPECZ: He retired. He essentially walked away. He said he was retiring and he left the school system after many years. He is very well known in this community. So he is the number three guy at the School District and so he retired.

COOPER: So, the suspensions, what does that mean? They've suspended the whole school police force.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. Essentially, right now, this police force doesn't exist. I just looked on their website, in the school website, they've wiped wipe them out. You don't see any photos of the officers, the names are all gone. So right now, this police force no longer exists. The school said that they are conducting an investigation, and once they're done with their internal investigation of the officers who responded to the shooting, will still figure out what to do.

But for right now, they no longer exist. The officers -- there are about five officers. They have been placed on administrative duty -- four or five of them.

COOPER: So they are still being paid.

PROKUPECZ: They are still being paid. They are still working for the school, but they're no longer police officers, at least for now with the school police.

COOPER: So who is protecting the school?

PROKUPECZ: So, it is the Department of Public Safety, the DPS.

COOPER: So a State organization.

PROKUPECZ: State organization. They've been there. They have an agreement with the town to police the schools, to help keep them safe. The parents have agreed to that, even though obviously there is a lot of concerns over their response to the shooting.

But the one thing that the State has assured them is that the officers from the DPS who are patrolling the schools now were not present on the day of the shooting.

COOPER: And just to be clear, the DPS had some 90 or so --

PROKUPECZ: Ninety-one.

COOPER: Ninety-one officers at the school on the day of the shooting. How many of them are under investigation that we know of.

PROKUPECZ: Seven -- well, now six because the one, Officer Elizondo, she was fired. So six of those officers, State Troopers, Rangers, various employees of the DPS who responded and who were on scene, some of them within minutes are now under investigation.

COOPER: She was fired from the School District. Would she still be under investigation by DPS?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. She would be. She would still be under investigation, and I was told actually, just recently that the DPS was so concerned with her activity that day that they likely would have ultimately fired her as well.


The other thing significant is that there was a Lieutenant -- Lieutenant Hernandez at the school, we talked about him last night. He was the one who was in charge of vetting Officer Elizondo. Clearly, there was a failure there. We don't have exactly an accounting from the school any way -- they have not explained themselves as to how that vetting took place. Again, time and time again, since really day one of this, Anderson, you know, as we've been talking about this, the school has never answered any questions.

COOPER: Well, you and I talked about this early on that there that -- you know, I don't know if it is everybody, but a lot of the actions by law enforcement, by bureaucrats there, was push this down the road, when no one is paying attention to it and then sort of figure out -- that seems to be their strategy early on.

PROKUPECZ: That was, and even with this. I went to them last week when we went to the school on Thursday, last Thursday, so a week and a day to the day, we were there. We were asking questions. I called them, I e-mailed them. I said we were working on a story. And they kept ignoring us, they kept ignoring us and they've still ignored us. Right?

And then finally, when our story aired, the next day, we started seeing them respond by firing the officer. And then obviously, the actions today, which I have to tell you, Anderson, are completely shocking.

No one in this community, and certainly none of the family members they have would thought that they would ever see this day. This is something that they have been fighting for from day one and they never ever expected to see this kind of action for this.

COOPER: And you had some reporting about the Superintendent.

PROKUPECZ: That's right. He -- well, interestingly enough, I think he has faced a lot of heat in all of this, obviously.

COOPER: The Superintendent of the School District.

PROKUPECZ: Of the School District -- who has been there for 31 years. He has been with the School District; Superintendent about four years -- but there was a lot of pressure on him. And finally, he says, told his staff that starting next week, the process will begin for him to retire. So, he will be gone, too.

Again, this is something that the family members have wanted. They have been in heated discussions with him at every School Board meeting because he would refuse to answer questions. They wanted him gone. And so --

COOPER: But I just do want to point out, we are still waiting for a conclusive report on exactly what --

PROKUPECZ: You know, Anderson, I don't know if we're going to get a conclusive report on what happened because the Texas Department of Public Safety was running this entire investigation. It is not entirely clear what they're going to do. They're done. They have everything they need. The District Attorney -- the local District Attorney is running her own investigation, but people don't trust her. The community is not very happy with her. She has limited what the police and what the Texas Department of Public Safety can say about this.

COOPER: So, they may not ever put out a report saying here is exactly what went wrong minute by minute by minute.

PROKUPECZ: No. They may never do that, and not only that, the DA is forbidding them, any law enforcement official from releasing any information. There are people who want to release information, but she is stopping them from releasing that information.

COOPER: Shimon, just remarkable reporting and I appreciate you staying on this from day one...

PROKUPECZ: I know. Thank you for everything you've done.

COOPER: ... of this horrible incident.

Our next guest is legal guardian of Uziyah Garcia. He was murdered at Robb Elementary.

For days, he has led a protest outside the School District offices demanding essentially what just happened today, camping out there for more than a week. Today, he tweeted this out: "245-hour update: We did it and we are going home."

Brett Cross joins us now from Uvalde.

Brett, thank you for being with us. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

I've got to say when I heard you were out there, kind of on your own sitting out there hour after hour, day after day. I wasn't sure anyone was listening. I wasn't sure you were going to get what you wanted and you did it.

I mean, how does that feel?

BRETT CROSS, LEGAL GUARDIAN OF UZIYAH GARCIA: It feels amazing, and I wasn't out there alone. I mean, I stayed there, I never left, but we had people coming in and out and supporting us like crazy.

But it's our first win, you know, and I'm ecstatic about it.

COOPER: What have other family members told you tonight about how they are feeling, how they're reacting?

CROSS: Oh, I mean, there were other family members there. I mean, we've all became a big family. It's not even 21 families anymore, it is just one big one, you know, and we did it -- all of us did.

COOPER: When we spoke on Wednesday, you said the Uvalde School District wasn't giving you any answers. Obviously, this was a step today, but there are still a lot of answers to be had. What more do you want to see happen, do you hope happens?

CROSS: I just want transparency. I just want anybody who was -- who had anything to do with the failures that day to be held accountable. You know, I mean, it is not -- I'm not asking for much, just -- we just want to see action, you know.

COOPER: You know, I was talking to just Shimon now and I wasn't sure if you heard it, but I kind of -- what I had thought would eventually happen would there -- you know, and I think what be the just thing to happen is that at the very least in terms of transparency, some sort of a report that details second by second, who made what decision, who didn't make any decisions, what they did wrong, and how it violated policy at every -- you know, as each second checked by.


CROSS: Yes, sir, and I hope that we get it. Unfortunately, the way things are going, we don't get things like that. But I hope that it is unearthed, and I hope that it is published because we deserve it. Our children deserve it.

You know, we've already had our worlds ripped away. The least that everybody can do is to, to get that out to show the inaction, to show who did what, and then be held accountable for it. You know, our kids are dead and there is no bringing them back. But, you know, there is justice and we need justice.

COOPER: You know, back when -- you know, I'm not sure how many months ago it was, but when Shimon was talking to Arredondo, and, you know, kind of cornered him to finally get him to say something. And he said that, you know, he would talk to the parents once you all quit grieving, and I just thought that was such a horrific statement that even that idea that there is going to be some time when you get over this, when you quit grieving.

CROSS: Yes, and that just goes to show you what kind of person he was, because you don't you quit grieving. We're never going to quit grieving. Like I said, our worlds were ripped from us and you know, there are people out there that expect us to just move on. And there's no moving on. A piece of me is gone and it is never coming back.

COOPER: The Uvalde -- and Shimon was reporting -- Uvalde's School Board is expected to discuss the Superintendent's retirement on Monday. What's your reaction to that?

CROSS: I mean, it has been a long, long day. So, I'm still trying to fully comprehend everything, to be honest with you. I was expecting this whole time for them to just, you know, suspend those officers, but then we have two put on administrative leave, one person resigning, and then, you know, the Superintendent talking about resigning. So, it's been a lot.

But, you know, if that's what he feels he needs to do, then, you know, all we want is for things to be right.

COOPER: Yes. Well, I mean, it is extraordinary what you and so many in the community have done and are doing for -- to be grieving and turning that grief into action. An action that gets, that motivates other actions is an extraordinary thing and I appreciate your strength and it gives hope, I think to a lot of people all over the world who would like to have that kind of strength.

So Brett Cross, thank you so much.

CROSS: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next: A former CIA Director, we will talk to him, a four-star General on concerns of Vladimir Putin who may go nuclear over Ukraine and questions about whether President Biden was wise to invoke that possibility using the word "Armageddon" at a fundraiser last night.

Also new reporting on Herschel Walker, now it is two alleged abortions offers, not one. He allegedly urged an ex-girlfriend to have allegedly two abortions and also that same person is the alleged mother of one of his children. More details ahead.



COOPER: "We all have to be very careful about this." That is the -- those are the words of the President of France today responding to President Biden's remarks last night about Russia, Ukraine and nuclear war.

President Biden last night said: "We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis." He also said, quoting, "I don't think there is any such thing as an ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon."

Tonight, the President -- the question is to President Macron's point, was he being careless, President Biden, when discussing the subject.

CNN's MJ Lee is at the White House. She joins us tonight.

What is the White House saying publicly and privately about the comments that he made?

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in private, we do know that there was some surprise, even among senior administration officials, because remember, these comments were unplanned, they were unscripted. Nobody sort of expected the President to go this route.

And then in public, we've obviously seen officials really try to quickly get out there and explain. Look, one, here is where the President was coming from and this was sort of his mindset. He was trying to speak frankly, about the general threat and the seriousness of this issue. And second, officials have been quick to point out that there is no new Intelligence, new evidence, no new development that prompted the President to make this warning.

This is White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre juggling all of this to reporters earlier today.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President's comments (have) been very consistent. He was reinforcing what we have been saying, which is how seriously we have taken -- we take these threats about nuclear weapons as we have done when the Russians have made these spreads throughout the conflict.

So the kind of irresponsible rhetoric we have seen is no way for the leader of a nuclear-armed state to speak.

We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons.


LEE: So key here, the US' nuclear posture is not changing. You know, one official I was talking to earlier said that it was important that people don't hear what the President said and start panicking or start you know feeling alarmed that really emphasizing that there is no new policy or really new cause for alarm right now.

COOPER: Yes. MJ Lee, thanks.


I want to get perspective from retired Army four-star General and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

General Petraeus, I appreciate you joining us. So, President Biden said he doesn't think there's any such thing as the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.

How does one try to use -- and why would one try to use a tactical nuclear weapon?

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think what we really see is just a reflection of how desperate Vladimir Putin is and how desperate the Russian situation is actually, Anderson. He is grasping for anything that could possibly get him out of this enormous fix he has found himself in as a result of his decisions where the Ukrainians now have a larger and much more capable military force on Ukrainian soil than do the Russians.

He has tried this referendum at gunpoint, annexation of provinces, the partial mobilization, which has resulted in more Russian men leaving the country than going to concessions, and now this threatening of the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

And I think what's happening in the White House, Jake Sullivan, and now the President publicly and also Jake, privately, communicating to the Russians that this would be a seriously bad idea. Jake Sullivan's word is that the response would be catastrophic and I tend to agree. I think that any use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia would actually put Russia in a worse situation than it was before the use and would not change the overall dynamic that is so stark for Russia that again, Ukraine has mobilized vastly better than has Russia aided, of course, by over $17.5 billion worth of US arms, ammunition, and material and more from other NATO and Western countries.

So Russia is in a desperate situation casting about for anything, and I think, again, the use of nuclear weapons, which by the way, would probably kill many of those soldiers, as well as those of the Ukrainian's side, but would not change the fundamental reality on the battlefield, which is that Russia is losing and is going to lose farther.

They are desperately trying to reestablish defensive lines in the East that have slowed the Ukrainian advanced somewhat, but it continues and they are gradually losing ground in the South as well around Kherson, where the Ukrainians have very impressively used our rockets to isolate the Russian forces, literally pushing every headquarters' logistical asset of the Russians more than 70 kilometers from the frontlines, it's a very tough situation.

COOPER: Would any use of a tactical nuclear weapon by the Russians, would that -- I mean, what would that trigger as a response?

PETRAEUS: Well, I'm quite confident that what the national security team has worked up for the President, first of all, it's just an Intelligence estimate that lays out here the possibilities. And then here is a range of options that we would consider once the specific use has actually taken place. And there wouldn't be a range, and it could have a variety. It would probably include much, much more than just military action.

But that military action could include strikes against Russian forces, perhaps by US-led multinational forces that could put Russia in an even deeper hole than it already is in Ukraine, perhaps including Crimea, perhaps including the Black Sea.

But again, all of these -- being very clear, these are all options that would be presented with a recommendation once the specific action has actually taken place. Of course, what they are very clearly trying to do and not just the White House, but Members of Congress.

I'm just back from the Warsaw Security Forum. There was a congressional representation there, very large Ukrainian delegation there as well, and certainly other Western capitals, and presumably even through others, all trying to persuade Putin that this would again be a colossal mistake on top of what is already a disastrous mistake for Russia.

COOPER: The President also said, according to this pool reporter, it is the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis that there has been a direct threat of the use of a nuclear weapon. How does the threat in this situation compare to the one sixty years ago?

PETRAEUS: Well, I think there's a lot of debate about that, Anderson, whether this is truly as close to -- that was a nuclear Armageddon in the making. And you know, lots and lots of discussion by the so-called wizards of Armageddon, about that particular episode, endless stories on it, the particularly influential analysis by Graham Allison at Harvard and so forth.

I don't know that you can equate this to that, but that doesn't matter. This is a very serious moment. It is a very dangerous moment and it is one that the administration again, together with Members of Congress from either party and other countries around the world are seeking to deter and to dissuade Putin from what would be a catastrophic decision with as Jake Sullivan termed it, a catastrophic response.


COOPER: General Petraeus, I appreciate your time as always. Thank you.

PETRAEUS: Good to be with you, Anderson. Thanks.

COOPER: Well, as all of this is unfolding, Ukrainian forces continue to push back, take back territory in the east and south of the country.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been following what has been rapid progress over the last several weeks as Russian forces in the West Bank with the strategic Dnipro River retreat. He and his crew are the only international reporters that we know to have gotten this far down river. Here is what they found, but a warning for some of it is graphic.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just ahead is Russia in retreat. The road cut by a bridge blown four days ago as they fled.

A lightning Ukrainian advance along the riverbank here, Russian jets firing back gives forces again moving around an enemy stuck and parked and reverse.

Left in Russia's wake, this older anti-aircraft system still working we're told and the tatty signs of how they lived in the open.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (on camera): He said, they didn't find any bodies here, they just ran and left it.

(voice over): In Duchani (ph), a rush to gather the harvest.

Since March, the Russians moved in next door until Monday, when they seem to have ditched even their clothes. The air is only slightly freer now, but still here, they spent last night underground.

(VLADIMIR speaking in foreign language.) WALSH (voice over): "At night, it is hardest," he says. "We just don't know who is shooting where. We brought our food down here. So, it doesn't get torched."

Most of his wife's family live in Russia. But here, the Russians came to live next door to them. One night, drunk and armed.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): "One came out and said, 'who are you' waving his gun at us." She says.

(VLADIMIR speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): "He was drunk. He was pretty dangerous," adds Vladimir (ph).

They are literally in the crossfire here.

(KOLIA speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): "The less you know, the longer you live," says Kolia (ph), under the trees worried about drones.

(KOLIA speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): "We lived a good life, never touched anyone."

All along the road, the detritus of a failing empire on the run. The Ukrainians struggling to keep up with what was left behind. Here in Pavlivka, on Sunday, they took 50 prisoners including newly mobilized conscripts.

This soldier's home is literally in sight in occupied land. So, he doesn't show his .

WALSH (on camera): Your house is just over there.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

WALSH (voice over): "There's no greater motivation," he says, "We didn't ask them to come here. Home. Everyone home. It is our land."

WALSH (on camera): The smell of your home. It's just --


WALSH (voice over): For others, home is almost a trap.

Luba (ph) is stuck here as her 92-year-old mother can't walk. She is hidden under the bedding. They have only milk and biscuits to eat. But when they are shelling, there is no basement. So Luba just lies on top and Mama.

Imagine not being able to move when the ground is shaking.

(LUBA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Mother, I got the pills for your head. Do you hear me?

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: I hear you.

(LUBA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Born 5 April 1930. She survived the last war. We'll try to survive this one.

WALSH (voice over): She covers her again. So she doesn't fall out of bed when she goes out.

Outside the highway is busy. However fast Ukraine moves through here, nothing can be undone or bring the old silence back.


COOPER: I mean, Nick, that mother just laying in that bed, unable to move. What comes next for all these people you spoke with? I mean, in these places caught in the in-between.

WALSH: Indeed, that is a family, the daughter of whom is actually having to borrow milk from the neighbors to add to the biscuits they have to feed her mother you saw there.

Now these are towns which are caught as you said it within the crossfire here that found themselves under occupation for a number of months since March. With at times, as you heard there, with the drunken occupying forces that would at times leave them alone, but also at times just wander around waving weapons at them.

And of course with the Ukrainian forces pushing back, there has been violence over the past weeks or so. A sense of relief, certainly, I think the difference you sometimes feel in the South is the unmistakable sense of people desperately keen to see Ukrainian forces again, at times in the East, you would occasionally feel this sort of pressure of Russian forces and what they called separatism over the past months meant that there was a sense of reluctance occasionally and rare moments in the eastern areas, but certainly in the south. They're looking I think, the hope is that this stays the way that it is. I think, it's also a sense of shock to some degree to at the speed of the Ukrainian advance, and also the speed of the Russian withdrawal.


And with all this talk of Russia as a nuclear power and the threats that Russia has been making, when stark contrast is how appallingly the conventional forces are doing on the ground. How appallingly supplied they are and basic things like food, sleeping materials, essential defenses for their positions, and that does make you wonder exactly quite what's behind Russia's sense of nuclear threads here. Not that that provides any sense of comfort, but it is remarkable to see how fast things are changing in the south, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you. Be careful.

Up next, a new allegation of another suggested abortion by Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker reportedly from the same woman who says he paid for her to have an abortion. The same woman who is reportedly the mother of one of his children. What she is now say, ahead.



COOPER: Tonight the New York Times reporting that the woman who said Georgia Republican Senate nominee, Herschel Walker paid for her abortion in 2009. Now says he also urged her to terminate a second pregnancy but she chose not to. The woman tells the Times, quote, as a father, he's done nothing. He's done exactly what the courts say. And that's it. She adds, quote, he has to be held responsible, just like the rest of us. And if you're going to run for office, he needs to own your life.

Now, you'll recall Walker supports a national ban on abortions with no exceptions. This new allegation comes as we learned that campaign fired its political director for suspicion of leaking information to the press.

CNN's Eva McKend joins us now with more. So, what more do we know about this report in the Times and what it could mean for Walker's race?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: So, off the top Anderson, I will say as dramatic as these developments are, and as damning as these accusations appear to be all of the reporting CNN has done this week, including at a rally in Georgia, suggests Walker supporters are sticking by him. And the Republican establishment will continue investing in their candidate. We're not seeing, we're just not seeing these conservatives abandoned Walker at all. And the race between him and incumbent Democratic senator Raphael Warnock remains really competitive.

As for this Times report, this woman says two years after she had an abortion at Walker's urging, he wanted her to have another one. She decided to go through with the pregnancy and he has largely been out of the picture ever since seeing their 10-year-old son just three times over the years. We have reached out to the campaign for comment, and CNN is still working to confirm the allegations. For our viewers who don't know Herschel Walker. Here's how he came to run for Senate in Georgia among the most important races in the country.


UNDENTIFIED MALE: No one can touch him, one on one.

MCKEND (voice-over): Herschel Walker leaning into his legendary football status in his run for Georgia Senate. HERSCHEL WALKER (R-GA) SENATE NOMINEE: This is a little town is where I grew up.

MCKEND (voice-over): One of seven children, Walker was born in rural Wrightsville, Georgia where his small town high school team helped launched him to fame.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: The winner of the 1982 Heisman Memorial Trophy from the University of Georgia, Herschel Walker.

MCKEND (voice-over): A Heisman Trophy winner and all around University of Georgia College football star. His collegiate career would ultimately carry him to the pros.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Herschel Walker's debut as a professional football player.

MCKEND (voice-over): But before the NFL would take him, he played for an NFL alternative in the early '80s, where he would meet team owner Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I don't want to take a chance frankly, I'm losing Herschel Walker.

MCKEND (voice-over): The relationship would continue well beyond the field as President Trump appointed Walker to the Presidential Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition.

TRUMP: The great Herschel Walker. What an amazing guy.

MCKEND (voice-over): And eventually would back Walker's own political ambitions, urging him to run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.

TRUMP: You know, Herschel is not only a Georgia hero, he is an American legend.

MCKEND (voice-over): Like Trump, Walker has also been known to go off script and deliver disjointed statements. Walker easily won the GOP primary earlier this year. Despite a myriad of very public controversies throughout his life. He spoke to CNN in 2008 about his battle that dissociative identity disorder.

WALKER: You can get angry but the anger that you can go out and really, really hurt someone. And that's when you know you got a problem.

MCKEND (voice-over): In that same interview, Walker's ex-wife discussed how Walker had threatened her with weapons.

CINDY GROSSMAN, EX-WIFE OF HERSCHEL WALKER: Just the guns and knives and I got into a few choking things with him.

MCKEND (voice-over): Walker acknowledged those allegations.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Herschel Walker told us he was troubled by his actions will always deeply regret any pain he caused Cindy.

MCKEND (voice-over): According to a 2012 police report, an ex- girlfriend said Walker threatened to kill her. Walker denies those claims. Walker's turbulent pass has made its way into the campaign as a focus of Democratic attack as.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: New details tonight about accusations --

MCKEND (voice-over): Now Walker dealing with a different kind of allegation, a claim reported by The Daily Beast and the New York Times that the staunch anti-abortion candidate paid for a former girlfriend to have an abortion more than a decade ago. The woman says she's also the mother of one of his children.

WALKER: This year, the abortion thing is false. It's a lie.

MCKEND (voice-over): CNN has not independently confirmed the allegations. As Walker repeatedly denies the report, Republicans have rallied to defend their nominee, but the outcome of the race deciding not just Walker's political future, but potentially control of the Senate next year.

WALKER: Let me tell you this. I'm not deterred. I'm not scared. And I'm not going to back down. The stakes are way, way too high. And we're going to win this race.



COOPER: And Senator Raphael Warnock whose Democratic candidate, he was out campaigning today, what did you have to say about these allegations?

MCKEND: Well, he called me allegations disturbing, but really beyond that he doesn't seem too interested in engaging in this much further. He went on to say Georgia has a choice about who they think is ready to represent them in the Senate. And then, you know, he's just back to the policy issue at hand, saying he supports a woman's right to choose.

COOPER: Eva McKend, appreciate it. Thank you.

Ahead, the nine justices in the Supreme Court today took their new class photo and a reflection number first, it comes as distressing the court also was at an all-time high. Up next, I'll speak with Professor Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas at his confirmation hearing 30 years ago.


COOPER: Today, the Supreme Court took their new class photo with the newest member and first black female Justice Kentaji Brown Jackson. This is also the first time four women will serve together.

Meanwhile, for the first time in the Gallup polling history, less than half of Americans said they have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the court. This comes after the reversal of Roe v. Wade and the leaking of that decision. Now we're waiting to see if the justices take up an appeal from the former president asking the court to intervene in the dispute over classified materials seized from Mar-a- Lago. Former president's appeal went directly to Justice Clarence Thomas as he oversees emergency requests in the 11th circuit.

My next guest testified against Justice Thomas 30 years ago during his confirmation hearings and because that testimony was the subject of intense attacks from conservatives. Joining me now is Anita Hill Professor of Social Policy Law and Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University. Her book, Believing Our 30-Year Journey To End Gender Violence is now available in paperback.


Professor Hill, thank you for being here. As we watch and wait for the former President's emergency appeal to see if Justice Thomas does decide that the court should hear the case. What is at stake for the court in this? Obviously, it's not a -- this is not one of the major issues the court is going to be dealing with. But do you think the legitimacy of the court is at play here?

ANITA HILL, PROFESSOR, BRANDEIS UNIV.: Oh, absolutely. You know, I think, because it's at its lowest point, the approval rating, if you will, or the confidence rating is at its lowest point. And because we are talking about a highly political or politicized issue, everyone's going to be watching to see if they can trust the court to be impartial.

COOPER: How do you think the court gets back credibility? I mean, what is -- what do you think is the genesis of the I mean, I don't know if it's just a sign of the times and the polarization that exists in America and the lowering of trust in all institutions? Or is there something you think that can change here?

HILL: Well, I sort of look back at the bigger picture and these issues, and we see coming up in the court, a number of cases that are going to challenge and test the court's integrity. But typically, many of those cases center on civil rights. You know, we've had civil rights protections since especially since the 1960. They have been developed, they've been put in place to reduce barriers that have impeded participation in schools and, you know, universities and schools and workplaces. And in voter participation when it comes to exclusion of minorities, racial minorities and marginalized other marginalized groups historically, and those exclusions continue. But the measures that we've had in place have actually worked. They have improved our democracy, and they have moved this country forward.

And I see what is happening right now is that we are pushing back, the court has been pushing back for some time, on the protections of those rights. In 2014, and in 2013, Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented on significant cases, and one being the Shelby County versus holder case of a voting rights case, where she warned that we were headed in the wrong direction. And we see it at its fruition. Now, 20 years later, that, you know, it's not just voting rights, it's Title 7 rights, anti-discrimination in the workplace rights. And we're going to see more and more of these cases. I'm absolutely sure. It wasn't just Dobbs. It's not just going to be the Alabama case. It's going to be a whole slew of cases that are going to come before the court.

COOPER: Justice Alito --

HILL: But I can't say this.


HILL: Well, I was going to say, you know, we have three women now who are likely to be in the dissent on these cases involving rights and protections. I don't know that for sure. But I suspect that that is that going to be the case. And it's important for the public to hear from them. Because I think what the American public needs to hear and needs to know to have confidence in the court is that there are different ways that we can be thinking about rights, then sort of miserly ways that the conservative majority is seem to be bent on thinking about rights.

So, I think that it says it's going to be an important part of restoring confidence in our legal system.

COOPER: One of the things that, Justice Alito, he said recently, he said that the disagreeing with a decision is fine, but quote, saying or implying that the court is becoming an illegitimate institution or questioning your integrity crosses an important line. Do you agree with that?

HILL: Well, I don't think it crosses an important line when and I believe you're referring to Justice Kagan. He was referring to Justice Kagan. You know, when the public is experiencing this and that is the impression that the public has. The court has a responsibility to respond to it. Justices on the Supreme Court who are concerned about this have a right to respond and give their impression. And the American public deserves a response and not just a blanket denial that that's happening.



HILL: And so, you know, I think that that is in fact, going to only contribute to the center of the public has.

COOPER: Interesting. Professor Anita Hill, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HILL: Thank you.

COOPER: One of the areas in Florida hit hard, but during Hurricane Ian, were thousands lined up for help at FEMA center. Some had lost everything. We'll take you there today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Sheriff of Lee County Florida now says only two men from the Fort Myers area are still missing after Hurricane Ian. The sheriff also reduced the death toll in the county from 59 to 53 deaths.


Meanwhile, thousands of people are lining up waiting for hours to get FEMA assistance. Some of the people have lost absolutely everything that they own.

Randi Kaye is in Florida where she spoke with some people desperate for help. What did you find at the FEMA distribution center today?

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we found really long lines. It was about a four and a half hour wait for people to get inside and register for some FEMA assistance at this site in Lee County where we went, they are processing about 1,000 people a day. And already FEMA tells me that more than 70,000 people here in Lee County have registered for disaster assistance. And as you said, these people have lost everything. They are relying on FEMA, to figure out how to get some help and to rebuild their lives. We met one couple there. They're in their 60s, they barely survived the storm. The water was five feet high in their neighborhood. They swam through it to survive. And now they came to FEMA to try and get some money and figure out how to rebuild, and here's what they told me.


KAYE (on-camera): Was the storm scary?

THERESA CRANK, SURVIVED HURRICANE IAN: Oh my god, this storm was so scary. We tried to leave water, started pushing our truck backwards and filling with water. The last thing I said to my son before we got out of the truck was, he was trying to get to us with the bigger truck and he couldn't get there and he said, Mom, I'm sorry, I have to go back home. I can't help you. And I said I'd love you. I'll be OK. That was lovely, I said. There was a speed limit sign at the neighbors and we were washed and we held on to the 45 mile an hour speed limit sign.

JOE CRANK, SURVIVED HURRICANE IAN: We watch this down the road.

T. CRANK: Yes.

KAYE (on-camera): You thought you're going to drown?

T. CRANK: Oh, yes.

J. CRANK: Absolutely. Absolutely.

T. CRANK: Yes. We swam and got it to the front door with one cat. The other one was, had gone and drown. So, we get up to the door and the door burst open from the water and it burst in and I was standing in front of it. So, I was washed down the hallway. I hit the wall in front of me and then I was tumbling and twirling underwater down the hallway.

KAYE (on-camera): (INAUDIBLE)?

T. CRANK: The neighbor's house. They have a boat and the boat was floating up off the trailer. So, there was five of us in the Cuddy cabin of that. And we stay there for four hours or more while it was the storm was going on tied to the front of their house. You don't have dry clothes or underwear or anything, nobody can understand and or does just feel and see it and the nightmares are just right now just unbelievable.

KAYE (on-camera): Do you have flood insurance?



T. CRANK: No. We have homeowners insurance. Flood insurance is so expensive.

J. CRANK: It doesn't cover any flood. So.

T. CRANK: No, it doesn't.

KAYE (on-camera): Say you registered for FEMA money?

T. CRANK: We did. We did on online. It took us a couple hours to get through. He just turned 68 on the fourth.

KAYE (on-camera): Oh.

J. CRANK: Yes.

KAYE (on-camera): Happy birthday.

J. CRANK: I said it's the happiest birthday I've ever had.

T. CRANK: Yes.

J. CRANK: Just fortunate.

T. CRANK: And we're still together and we made it together. So, all those years. We're still here. But we're going to make it, we're going to be OK. I just know we are.


KAYE: And that couple Anderson lost two cars, two boats, I'm sorry, two boats, three cars, one of their cats, as you heard and everything inside their home now. They estimate that they have about $150,000 in losses and they can only get a maximum of $37,000 from FEMA. That's how this works. So where does the rest of the money come from? This is a retired couple. They have a little bit of Social Security coming in. But that's it. So now they have to figure out where to get the rest of the money and how they rebuild based on what they can get from FEMA, Anderson.

COOPER: Just awful. Randi, appreciate you being there. Thank you. In Fort Myers, a group of high school students is helping their community after the hurricane despite some having damage to their own homes they were thinking of others. The group started with a few teenagers now has more than 100 who are making a difference.


ANSLEY MARSH, FT. MYERS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: OK, so here's what's going to happen, so this house I think the walls and everything this is just going to be kind of more cleanup.


MARSH: So, the first day we had one crew of like 10 people and it's just grown from there. Today we're working on four different houses all around Fort Myers. We have over 100 kids (ph) working us today. So, I'm so thankful that everyone's out, dedicate their time, their materials, their money.

We got all this stuff is all inside this house right here. They have all their appliances they lost literally everything. They could only keep a few things, all the sentimental pictures and everything they had to throw away, yearbooks stuff like that. It's awful. That's the story with so many people in this neighborhood just everything they had they lost.

Some houses we're lucky only got a foot of water this house is up five feet.