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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Washington Post: U.S. Intelligence Has Learned That Putin Was Confronted By A Member Of His Inner Circle Over Ukraine War; Undaunted By DeSantis, Immigrant Workers Are Heading To Florida To Help With Hurricane Cleanup; Iranian Authorities Attempt To Suppress Nationwide Uprisings. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 07, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm glad these people are here. God brought them to help my family fix this house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.
(CHEERS & APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're our future. You're our future.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, for more information about how you can help victims of Hurricane Ian, go to CNN.com/Impact.
Coming up, on this Friday night, we're on for two hours, with President Biden, talking about Russia's lack of success in Ukraine. I'll talk with a former CIA Chief of Russia Operations, about reports of dissension, inside the Kremlin, and in Putin's circle, as well as one of the reporters, who broke the story, ahead.
COOPER: When President Biden, invoked Vladimir Putin, going nuclear, over Ukraine, at a fundraiser, last night, he suggested that Putin might do it because quote, "His military is, you might say, significantly underperforming," end quote.
Well today, "The Washington Post" reported that Russian battlefield losses have triggered dissension, inside the Kremlin.
Here's the lead of the story. Quote, "A member of Vladimir Putin's inner circle has voiced disagreement directly to the Russian president in recent weeks over his handling of the war in Ukraine, according to information obtained by U.S. intelligence."
The Post's Greg Miller shares the byline, joins us now, along with former CIA Chief of Russia Operations, Steve Hall.
So Greg, can you tell us what you learned, about this Russian official, who confronted Putin, or the Russian person?
GREG MILLER, INVESTIGATIVE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: So, we, as you know, we weren't able to identify this person, in our story, today.
Putin has a very, very small inner circle. And many members of that inner circle now are complicit, in the failures of this war. So, the list of possibilities is pretty small.
It's very likely somebody who has been close with him, for many years, perhaps from his time, in the KGB, or from his time, in the city government, on St. Petersburg, in the 1990s. I mean, somebody with enough stature, and enough security, in that relationship, to bring bad news, to a leader, who does not like to get bad news.
COOPER: Yes, Steve, I mean, Putin has been in power now, for 22 years. I'm wondering what you make of that story, about dissension, in his circle?
STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: Yes, it's really something that we've been talking about, Anderson, for a number of weeks. And this is, when do we get to that tipping point, where these people, who are close to Putin?
And let's be clear. They're more than just advisers or counselors. These are people with considerable power on their own. These are people, who either are the head of security services, or intelligence services, or other high-ranking people, like that, who have power on their own.
And the tipping point that I'm referring to, is when did things get so bad, for Russia, that people, who are close to Putin, who have the power, can actually go to him, and say, "Look, this is going very badly," and also, perhaps among themselves, say, "Look, are we going to go down with Ukraine and Putin? Or do we need to make other plans?"
COOPER: But Steve, doesn't all power flow from Putin?
HALL: Not exactly. I mean, it's a very -- it's a very Byzantine world, inside the Kremlin. I mean, certainly, Putin has the lion's share of the power. But there are so many backroom deals, and so many relationships that develop, between these people.
I mean, you remember that Mikhail Gorbachev thought that everything was going OK, and that he had all the power, until people, very much like this group, actually tried to conduct a coup, while he was on vacation, in Sochi.
So, this is not the first time this has happened. It's not the first time that people, close to the leader, in the Kremlin, have actually started thinking, "Wow, things are going badly. What do we do?"
COOPER: Greg, did you get any sense, from the sources, you and others have talked to, the Western intelligence officials that this could be part of something larger, against Putin?
MILLER: No, I don't think that this conversation that we wrote about today, is indicative of an emerging coup, or organization, within the upper echelons, of Russian leadership, against him.
But, at the same time, I think Steve's right. There is a sense among many officials that we talked to, and many Russian individuals that we talked to that this is a very precarious point for Putin, perhaps the most precarious point, in his 22-year presidency, or his leadership of Russia, for a lot of reasons.
Obviously, things have gone terribly, in Ukraine. But things -- there's a great deal of turbulence, in Russia now, because of the decisions that he made. I would just note that those, who are closest to him, do have a great deal invested, in this system, and keeping it intact, and keeping him in power, or something that resembles him, in power, afterward.
COOPER: Can you explain more of that? They -- explain that, can you?
MILLER: Sure. Well, I think that -- I think that there are many people, who are in powerful positions, in Russia, right now. And the last thing, they want, is for to unleash chaos of the kind that Russia experienced, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, where their power, their wealth, their influence gets washed away, and something else comes along, to replace them. They have a reason to want to protect that.
COOPER: And Steve, what would you interpret as a real sign that Vladimir Putin's power could be in jeopardy, one day? And what are the signs to look for?
HALL: We're beginning to see -- I mean, Greg's absolutely, right. I mean, these people have so much invested in Putinism. And so, when the Head starts to, all of the sudden, not work out, particularly well, then everybody gets very nervous.
So what are the particular signs, back to your question? I mean, we're looking for things that are going badly for Russia, right now. And that's a whole lot.
So not to mention, just starting with the war, in Ukraine, obviously. But you got, all these Russian men, voting with their feet, risking a 300-mile ocean-borne escape route, to Alaska. You've got the continuing bite of sanctions, which despite what the Kremlin says, and despite the price of oil, over the long run, is going to continue to have an impact.
And so, people are struggling -- and you're starting to see what's happening in Russian press. You can argue that some of the dissent we see, in press, is preparation, for bad news, and getting rid of generals, which is indeed happening. But generally speaking, I think, the people close around Putin, it would stand to reason that they're getting nervous, as the system starts to fray around the edges.
[21:10:00] COOPER: Greg, you've written before about some of the failures of the Russian security services that, ahead of the invasion, they, provided Putin, with false information, about how easy it would be, to take over, in Ukraine, how they can seize Kyiv, decapitate the leadership.
Have those security services lost influence in Putin's regime?
MILLER: It's really hard to answer that question. Because there's -- it's so opaque, and there is such limited access to accurate information, out of Russia, right now, I think it's logical to think that they have lost influence.
But I think it's interesting that, while we've seen at least eight senior Russian military officials cashiered, over the war, the leadership of the FSB, and the Intelligence organs, of the state, so far seem to remain intact. It's kind of puzzling why that is. But Putin hasn't engaged in sort of cashiering or getting rid of any of his Intelligence leadership so far.
COOPER: Greg Miller, Steve Hall, appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.
Much more now, on one of Putin's apparently ill-fated decisions that we were talking about, his military call-up. It was intended to mobilize 300,000 Russians.
It's already mobilized hundreds of thousands to flee the country, including to Kazakhstan, and Central Asia, where CNN's Ivan Watson encountered part of the outgoing human wave.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russians abandoning their homeland.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin's order, to conscript men, to fight in his war, in Ukraine, has created an exodus, of Russian draft dodgers. They line up daily, here, in neighboring Kazakhstan, to register with the local authorities. The Kazakh government says more than 200,000 Russians, fled to this country, in less than two weeks.
ALEXEI (ph), RUSSIAN WHO FLED DRAFT: Yes, we run away from Russia.
WATSON (voice-over): Vadim and Alexei (ph) fled Moscow, last week, to escape the draft.
VADIM, RUSSIAN WHO FLED DRAFT: We don't want this war. And we not recognize our--
ALEXEI (ph): Position of our government.
VADIM: Position, our government's.
WATSON (voice-over): Many of Russia's land borders choked, for weeks, with long lines, as citizens run for the exits. Draft dodgers, traveling by land, wait days in line, or pay big money, for scarce plane tickets, to escape. And that's just the first step.
WATSON (on camera): Every day, more Russians arrive, at this train station, in Almaty, with their backpacks, and they all tell you the same thing. They were afraid they could be sent to fight in Ukraine, and they abandoned their country, on very short notice.
WATSON (voice-over): This married couple left together.
WATSON (on camera): Did you come because of the mobilization, for the war, in Ukraine?
SERGEI, RUSSIAN WHO FLED DRAFT: It was a final kick to start our journey, I guess.
WATSON (on camera): Yes.
WATSON (on camera): Were you afraid that you would have to go fight in the war?
SERGEI: Yes. It's not something I want to participate in.
WATSON (voice-over): The flood of new arrivals, surprising local business owners, like the operator, of a co-working space, in the center of Almaty.
WATSON (on camera): This gentleman, just walked in. Is this unusual to see?
MADINA ABILPANOVA, MANAGING PARTNER, DM ASSOCIATES: Very usual. Every day's like this. They come in, with huge suitcases, because they couldn't find a place for living. And they're coming here, for working, and sitting, and looking for some accommodation.
WATSON (on camera): These are fresh arrivals--
WATSON (on camera): --from Russia?
ABILPANOVA: Yes, yes.
WATSON (on camera): Arriving with their backpack--
WATSON (on camera): --on their back?
WATSON (voice-over): In this city, hundreds of miles, from the Russian border, I spoke with dozens of newly-arrived Russians, ranging from doctors.
ANASTASIA ARSENEVA, RUSSIAN DOCTOR WHO FLED DRAFT: If we refuse to go to this war, we should go to the jail.
WATSON (voice-over): To engineers, IT specialists, and university students.
WATSON (on camera): You ran away from Russia?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, from mobilization, from--
WATSON (on camera): From military service?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.
WATSON (voice-over): Most, don't want to be identified, to protect loved ones, still in Russia.
GIORGI, RUSSIAN WHO FLED DRAFT: How can I take part in the war without a wish to win this war?
WATSON (voice-over): This man says Putin's draft left him no other choice, but to flee the country, leaving his wife and child behind.
GIORGI: We do not trust our government. We don't believe in what they say.
WATSON (voice-over): He says, the Russian government crackdown on dissent, has made protesting, futile, leaving hundreds of thousands of men, now suddenly adrift, trying to find work, and accommodation, in foreign countries.
GIORGI: I am the citizen of the country that started that war. I did not support this war, never did. But somehow, I'm still connected with this team, because of my passport. And I am, at the same time, a refugee, and the aggressor!
WATSON (voice-over): Russians, on the run, sharing a collective sense of hopelessness, and guilt, over the destruction, caused by their government.
COOPER: And Ivan Watson joins us now.
How are these large numbers of Russians avoiding military service? How are they being received, in places, like Kazakhstan? Where did they -- what did they do there?
WATSON: Well, Anderson, the President of Kazakhstan has said that these people are being forced to leave, because of a hopeless situation. And he says that his country has a responsibility, to take these Russians in, these exiles, which is pretty striking, when you consider that Kazakhstan is in a security treaty, with Russia, and is supposed to be a close ally, but it's accepting essentially large numbers of draft dodgers. I have spoken with ordinary Kazakhs, who've been part of a grassroots effort, to welcome these Russians, some of them even taking them into -- strangers, into their homes.
And this is all the more striking, when you consider that traditionally, it is the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia, poor republics, like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, they send laborers, to Russia, to earn money, where they often face racist treatment.
And now, large numbers of Russians are coming to Central Asia. And people, I talk to here, say that they want to treat these Russians better than their kinfolk had been treated--
WATSON: --when they've gone to Russia, in the past, for work.
COOPER: It's still interesting.
Ivan Watson, I'm so glad you're there.
COOPER: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, why migrants, busted out of Texas, are making, their way, into another state, Florida, where the governor says migrants are not welcome, but where their hard work, is deeply appreciated, right now.
Later, with all the controversies, surrounding Herschel Walker, a closer look at a former supporter, his son, who's broken with him, in a very public way.
COOPER: New York Mayor, Eric Adams, today, declared a state of emergency, to address the city's migrant crisis, some of which is being fueled by the Governor of Texas, busting asylum-seekers, north.
You'll recall, Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, has also gotten in on the act. Yet now, some migrants, are heading to Florida, from other parts of the country, and being welcomed, by Floridians.
CNN's Polo Sandoval, expands.
SAKET SONI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESILIENCE FORCE: There's going to be far more work than workers here, for two years, maybe three years, maybe four years.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): All you have to do is walk down these streets? SONI: All you have to do is walk down these streets, and look at it.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Saket Soni leads Resilience Force, a national non-profit, advocating for workers, who descend on disaster-stricken communities, helping fill demand, for essential cleanup and recovery jobs.
SONI: Yes, they're earning money, and sending it home to their families. But the cost of doing this work is enormous. There's costs to their health, costs to their safety.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Soni says a significant chunk of that workforce are migrants. Many though, not all, are undocumented. And that's the irony here.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We are not a sanctuary state.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): In the wake of Hurricane Ian, migrants are flocking to Florida, just weeks after its governor flew, willing asylum-seekers, from Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, in an effort to score political points.
DESANTIS: Unfortunately, there's a lot of folks that come across. Where do they want to end up? A lot want to come to -- because, everyone wants to come to Florida. And so, we've worked, on innovative ways, to be able to protect, the State of Florida, from the impact of Biden's border policies.
SONI: Governor DeSantis needs these workers. He needs these immigrant workers. He is now presiding over a recovery. He's also aspiring to higher office, and will be evaluated, on how he leads this recovery. And the one thing he cannot do without is workers.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): As Hurricane Ian made its way, through Florida, this group of Venezuelan men, made the trip there, from states, where their immigration proceedings are playing out.
SANDOVAL (on camera): Among them, Crisman (ph).
CRISMAN (ph), VENEZUELAN FATHER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SANDOVAL (voice-over): We first met the young Venezuelan father, this summer. He and his family were among the thousands of migrants, who found themselves, on buses, to New York City, from Texas, after making a long and treacherous two-month 10-country track.
When he heard, there were opportunities, to earn money, in the cleanup effort, he spent some of the little he has, to make his way, back down south.
CRISMAN (ph): (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SANDOVAL (voice-over): He sends video dispatches, back to New York, where his family waits for his return.
CRISMAN (ph): (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). SANDOVAL (voice-over): "Just like I'm starting from zero," says Crisman (ph), "many of the people here are doing the same."
CRISMAN (ph): (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SANDOVAL (voice-over): "I came here happy to help," says Crisman (ph).
It's impossible, to know exactly how many migrants, like him, may be working off the books, as part of relief efforts, in Florida.
DESANTIS: I know I'm going to have a brief (ph)--
SANDOVAL (voice-over): DeSantis changed the subject, when asked by CNN, specifically, about laborers, like Crisman (ph).
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: There are Venezuelan immigrants, asylum- seekers, in New York that are being reportedly recruited to come to the State of Florida, and work on the hurricane recovery. I'm wondering what your response is to those reports and whether you would turn them away.
DESANTIS: So, first of all, our program that we did is a voluntary relocation program.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Florida, not the first state to see this transitory migrant workforce, after natural disasters. Johnny Aburto (ph) says he has offered his services, throughout the country, since Katrina.
JOHNNY ABURTO (ph), NICARAGUAN FATHER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SANDOVAL (voice-over): The Nicaraguan father, who now lives in Louisiana says, he doesn't do it for the money, but to help bring relief to people.
ABURTO (ph): (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Johnny (ph) says that despite the politics at play, on the ground, he's proud to be among the migrants, helping Florida rebuild.
SONI: I mean, look at that house, and that one. This street alone is three months of work, just to get this street, this one city block, back up and standing. There's enough work for immigrants and the locals.
COOPER: And Polo, are more migrants, expected to make their way, to Florida, to help?
SANDOVAL: Without a doubt, Anderson. Some of the migrant advocacy groups, here in New York City, tell me that many of the asylum- seekers, are actually being recruited, on the streets, and also online, with promises of weeks-long, post-hurricane cleanup work, Anderson. And those are offers that are very difficult to pass up. You see, many of the roughly 17,000 asylum-seekers, who arrived here, in New York City, since this spring alone, they are still waiting for their work authorizations, from the federal government, because of a massive backlog.
And that's why Crisman (ph), like the man you just heard from, they're taking up these kinds of jobs, getting paid about $14 an hour, to pull damaged sheetrock from damaged buildings.
But, as you can imagine, that comes with risks. And that's why, Anderson, those asylum groups, here in New York City, they're making sure that these migrants know that if they are going to head, to Florida that they know some of their rights, even if they're working off the books.
COOPER: Polo Sandoval, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, Wisconsin Senate race, and tonight's high-stakes debate, which just wrapped up.
Also, Herschel Walker's son, Christian, once a supporter, now a sharp critic, of his father, and Georgia Senate candidate. More on him, ahead.
COOPER: We have this, just in tonight, in Arizona's near-total abortion ban, a state appeals court, tonight, put enforcement of it, on hold, granting an emergency stay, requested by Planned Parenthood. The ruling allows health providers, to perform abortions, on individuals, up to 15 weeks pregnant, until Planned Parenthood Arizona's appeal is decided.
Now, to Wisconsin, where a debate just wrapped up, in the Wisconsin Senate race, between the Republican incumbent, Ron Johnson, and Democratic challenger, Mandela Barnes. It is one of several midterm races, next month that could decide which party will control the Senate.
Omar Jimenez is in Madison, Wisconsin, for us, tonight.
What were some of the big takeaways from it?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson that we hit on a number of topics, in this first confirmed debate, between Senator Ron Johnson, and Senate-hopeful Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
One of the most contentious, at least here, in Wisconsin, is addressing public safety concerns. Now, Barnes, despite criticisms in the past, denied wanting to defund the police, but did say he wants to make sure communities have enough resources, on the front-end, to prevent crime from happening.
Here's how Senator Johnson answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): The first thing you do is you support law enforcement. And unfortunately, the Lieutenant Governor has not done that. He has a record of wanting to defund the police. And I know, he doesn't mean -- necessarily say that word.
But he has a long history of being supported by people that are leading the effort, to defund. He uses code words, like Cori Bush said, talk about reallocate, over-bloated police budgets. It says that -- he says it pains him, to see fully-funded police budgets. So, that's his views.
MANDELA BARNES, (D) WISCONSIN SENATE NOMINEE: And the Senator, on the last question, did mention police officers.
Now, with that being said, I'm sure he didn't have the same interaction, with the 140 officers that were injured, during the January 6th insurrection. One officer was stabbed, with a metal stake, another, crushed between a revolving door, another hit in the head, with a fire extinguisher.
So, when we talk about respect for law enforcement, let's talk about the 140 officers that he left behind, because of an insurrection that he supported.
JOHNSON: I immediately and forcefully and have repeatedly condemned it, and condemned it strongly. But I've also condemned the 570 riots that occurred during the summer. So many people ignore those.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: Now, just this week, Johnson though did also say that what happened on January 6th, was not an armed insurrection, to use his words. He said that the protesters from the summer of 2020 taught those, on January 6th, to use flag poles as weapons. That would mean they would be classified as weapons, hence, an armed insurrection. So, you see a little bit of a confusion there.
But then also, he was asked, very clearly, in this debate, if he thought Mike Pence did the right thing, on January 6th, of course certifying the election, to which he answered, yes, because Joe Biden is President.
COOPER: Omar Jimenez, appreciate it. I should point out, you're in Milwaukee. I think I misspoke, and said Madison. I apologize. Omar, thanks so much.
Now, to the Georgia Senate race, tonight's reporting, in "The New York Times," about a second abortion, Republican Herschel Walker, allegedly urged, a former girlfriend of his, to get, is unlikely to have much impact, on his son, Christian. That's because Christian Walker has already openly denounced his dad, after reports of the first one, a move that catapulted him, into the national spotlight.
More now from our Gary Tuchman.
HERSCHEL WALKER, (R) GEORGIA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Hi. My name is Herschel Walker, and I am winning the United States Senate seat.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He may win. He may lose. But, for now, Herschel Walker has lost the support, of one of his children. 23-year-old Christian Walker.
He certainly seemed to have his son's support, in Mar-a-Lago, this past December. He earned a kiss, from his father, after making his speech, and uttering words like these.
CHRISTIAN WALKER, HERSCHEL WALKER'S SON: The Democrats have an agenda to turn America into a Third World hellhole.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Indeed, the younger Walker is unambiguously conservative, saying this, alongside his father, 19 days before the Capitol insurrection.
C. WALKER: I don't think the question is even whether or not there was fraud. It's clear, there was fraud.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): His words on social media are often loud and ostentatious.
C. WALKER: Liberals! Shut up about Trump, and let's talk about how crappy Joe's doing.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Christian Walker, who went to SMU, in Texas, before recently graduating, from UCLA, in California, is prolific, on social media, with hundreds of thousands of followers on different platforms.
On Instagram, on in the Starbucks drive-thru, his aversion to masks is made clear.
C. WALKER: Don't -- don't talk in a normal voice, with your mask on, behind the glass. I can't hear! I can't hear! Speak-up!
TUCHMAN (voice-over): On his podcast, which he calls "Uncancellable," he attacks and insults.
C. WALKER: So girls, don't follow the gays! And I know, like, I'm attracted to men, so it's so funny you're listening to me. I'm telling you right now, don't listen to your gay friends, because they're -- they're most likely sleeping with a guy on the first date, and then a week later crying to you about how their heart's broken.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And on TikTok, there was this, from this past May, which will prove to be a foreshadowing of the present.
C. WALKER: Fathers, it would be great if you stayed home and raised your kids instead of ran off to bang a bunch of women who weren't your baby mama. Stay home and raise your frickin' kids! Your kids need a father! Get back home! Get back home!
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And that brings us to this week, tweeting about his father.
"Every family member of Herschel Walker asked him not to run for office, because we all knew (some of) his past. Every single one. He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all of his dirty laundry in public, while simultaneously lying about it."
And then, he elaborated.
C. WALKER: I stayed silent, as the atrocities, committed against my mom, were downplayed.
I stayed silent, when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids, across the country, none of whom he raised.
And you know my favorite issue to talk about, is father absence. Surprise! Because it affected me.
The abortion card drops yesterday, it's literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he lies about it!
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Herschel Walker, says he's not lying.
We reached out to Christian Walker, to talk more about this. We have not heard back from him as of yet. Much of the younger Walker's social media consists of outrageous riffs, designed to get attention.
C. WALKER: I'm tired of all these models, who look like they've never seen a treadmill, in their life! I miss when our models were pretty and fit!
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But what Christian Walker is now saying, could affect an election, and perhaps who controls the U.S. Senate.
C. WALKER: OK, I'm done! Done! Everything has been a lie!
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Still ahead, growing unrest, in Iran, fueled, in part, by the death of two teenage protesters. More on that ahead.
COOPER: Remarkable scenes of bravery, coming out of Iran, this week, as thousands of people, across the country, have joined uprisings, following the death of two teenage girls, involved in protests, over the death of a young woman, who was in the custody of the so-called Morality Police.
Iranian authorities, today, denying reports that one of the 16-year- old girls was killed by security forces. This, as report said that authorities are intimidating victims' families, while security forces violently crack down on protests.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the latest.
SARINA ESMAEILZADEH, IRANIAN GIRL: Salam, guys! (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a cheerful Salam, or hello, Sarina Esmaeilzadeh welcome people, into what she called, "My Whole Universe," the video diaries, of a 16-year-old. She could be any teenage girl, anywhere in the world, goofing around, dancing, singing, just having fun.
But this isn't anywhere in the world. This is the Islamic Republic of Iran, where life's expressions are anything but free.
ESMAEILZADEH (through translator): There are some restrictions that are particularly more for women-- like the mandatory hijab or many more restrictions that don't exist for men.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Three months, after that video, Sarina joined the thousands of Iranian women, and girls, rising up, for their liberties, demanding their rights.
Sarina was forever silenced, on September 23rd. Amnesty International says, based on information it has, security forces beat her, striking her, on the head, with batons, severely beating her to death.
ESMAEILZADEH: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Iranian judicial authorities denied she was killed. They say Sarina died by suicide, jumping from the roof, of her grandmother's home.
Their claim, just days after they said another 16-year-old protester, Nika Shakarami, who was found dead, in Tehran, also died, after falling from a building. Arrests had been made, in the investigation, of her death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Family members, of both girls, have appeared on Iranian state media, repeating the government's claim.
The U.N. Human Rights Office, told CNN, they received reports, authorities forced Shakarami's family, to give the interview. Amnesty International says families of victims are being intimidated,
and harassed into silence.
This comes, three weeks, after the death of Mahsa Jina (ph) Amini, while in the custody of the so-called Morality Police.
On Friday, the government's forensic report blamed the death of the 22-year-old, on an underlying medical condition, after the operation of a brain tumor, as a child. Amini's family repeatedly denied those claims. They say she was healthy. It was police brutality that killed her. They say, doctors told them she suffered trauma to the head.
(PROTESTERS PROTESTING ON THE STREET)
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Anger over Amini's death sparked a women's uprising, like no other, in Iran. Too many lives already lost, in this battle for freedom, for change.
ESMAEILZADEH (through translator): Lots of books and films, places I want to explore-- My YouTube videos-- So if you are a student like me and don't have much time to enjoy life-- I suggest making a list.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): So many young lives ended, too soon.
COOPER: Jomana Karadsheh joins us now, from Istanbul.
I mean, given the deaths, and the government crackdowns, are there still many protesters out on the streets, in Iran? I mean, do we know how long this can go on for?
KARADSHEH: I mean, Anderson, the determination of these protesters is really remarkable. We've never seen anything like this, before, in Iran, certainly not on this scale.
Almost daily, we're seeing protesters, taking to the streets, of different cities. You're seeing acts of defiance, across the country. You've got the working-class, middle-class, fearless young school girls, who have joined in these protests.
And the government's response has been unleashing brutal force, against the protesters, lethal force, according to human rights organizations that say they've been shooting directly, and deliberately, at the protesters. But it hasn't stopped the demonstrators, Anderson.
I mean, we are still seeing these young protesters, taking to the streets. We're seeing this young generation of Iranians that is more emboldened, more defiant than ever. And they're absolutely fed up. And they're rising up, right now, to claim the rights and freedoms that they have never known, under this repressive regime.
And I can tell you, for the past three weeks, we have been watching these protests, very closely. And what started off, as these demands, for justice and accountability, for the death of Mahsa Jina (ph) Amini, very quickly morphed into these rising calls, for regime change, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Any sense of where it goes next?
KARADSHEH: I mean, that is the concern, right now. This is a regime, Anderson that has not hesitated in the past to unleash real brutal force, to crack down on protests.
We saw what happened, back in 2019. That was very different. It was protests that were sparked by the rise in fuel prices. But hundreds of people, were killed, during that crackdown, under the cover of this internet shutdown that we're seeing again, right now.
This is a regime that's willing to go all the way, unleash this force, to stay in power.
KARADSHEH: The concern is, right now is that you have this very determined generation. And I've spoken to protesters, who say, "Look, we're not the previous generation. We're not going to try and reform this regime, because it cannot be reformed." They want the complete regime change.
And the concern is, Anderson, the longer these protests go on, the more persistent they are, the higher the chances of the regime, really unleashing its full force that we haven't seen yet.
KARADSHEH: But one thing is for certain, from watching all that has been going on, over the past three weeks, getting these remarkable videos, on a daily basis, coming out of the country? No matter where this goes, one thing is for certain. The barrier of fear in Iran has been broken, Anderson.
COOPER: Jomana Karadsheh, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, we'll take a trip with Stanley Tucci, as he travels with his parents, back to the land, of his grandparents, as we preview season three, of his CNN Series, "SEARCHING FOR ITALY."
COOPER: Lighter note, to end the program, tonight. Actor, Stanley Tucci, is back, with an all-new season, of "SEARCHING FOR ITALY." He's continuing his journey, through the Italian Peninsula, exploring the people, and the places, cuisine that makes each region unique, all while learning more about his own roots.
Here's a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STANLEY TUCCI, HOST, "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" (voice- over): In typical Calabrian fashion, my relatives have been up day and night, for half a week, preparing a feast, of some of our favorite dishes.
Like this, stockfish Cittanova-style. This is a Tropiano family dish that is very similar to the baccala and tomato sauce that I grew up with.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop cutting Cittanova (ph) (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Si.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
TUCCI (on camera): Ah!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I spoke with Stanley, earlier, about his first visit, to Calabria.
COOPER: Stanley, thank you so much, for joining me. Congratulations on the new season. I'm very excited to see.
The first episode, you are going to Calabria, which is the birthplace of your grandparents. What was that like?
TUCCI: Oh, well, it was very exciting, because, my parents were able to come with me. My dad is 92.
COOPER: Oh, that's cool!
TUCCI: Yes. And my mom is 86. And it was -- it was great. They'd never thought they'd be -- they'd been many times. But they never thought they'd be able to go back. And luckily, they were able to, because they're very fit. And it was -- it was wonderful. It was very moving. And I hadn't been there, for 50 years.
COOPER: Were you--
TUCCI: So, I was there when I was 12.
COOPER: That's amazing!
COOPER: So, did you know, I mean, did you know your grandparents? Did you learn anything new about your family, while you were there?
TUCCI: No, I didn't learn really anything new. I just got to meet more of them. And it was really, it was just quite beautiful. The thing I did learn was I was able to go to my -- so, both of them are from Calabria, meaning both sets of grandparents.
COOPER: Oh, wow!
TUCCI: And I was able to go to Magisano (ph), which is where my grandfather was from. I've never been there before. I've been to Cittanova, where my mother's family's from. And that was really exciting, to sort of wander around the town, as my dad tried to find the house that my grandfather grew up in.
COOPER: Oh my Gosh!
TUCCI: We don't know if we found. But -- yes, but it was really moving. The whole thing was moving, to be with my mom's family--
COOPER: Yes, of course.
TUCCI: --again. And to sort of make that search with my dad, was great.
COOPER: For those who don't know, Calabria? I did look this up, and got the easy explanation, online, which is that if Italy's a boot, Calabria is the toe, which I'm sure, is offer--
TUCCI: Toe of the boot, yes.
COOPER: The toe of the boot.
COOPER: So, what is it known for? I mean, what is -- what is it -- what kind of stands out about the region?
TUCCI: Well, unfortunately, Calabria is known for its poverty, its corruption, and its immigration.
In other words, so many Italians, left Calabria, in the early 1900s, and certainly, after World War I, because many of them were conscripted, and because they were the poor, and they were forced to fight, in World War I, my grandfather being one of them.
It is still a very poor region. It is still under the thumb of the mafia.
TUCCI: A form of the mafia. However, the people are fighting against it in new ways.
And it has so many riches to offer, meaning that the land has so many riches. And the people, I have to say, are some of the most welcoming people in the world. COOPER: Where else you're going to go this season?
TUCCI: Oh, well, we went to Puglia--
COOPER: Oh, I really--
TUCCI: --which is the heel of the boot.
COOPER: --I've heard amazing things about it.
TUCCI: Yes. Puglia is really, really, really interesting. Very different, topographically, from Calabria. It almost feels more like a parts of Africa. It's very dry. It's very sparse. But it's incredibly beautiful.
COOPER: There's some really interesting architecture like--
TUCCI: The food--
COOPER: --that I've seen images of sort of, in houses--
COOPER: --just a small, sort of there's a particular--
TUCCI: Yes. The trulli.
COOPER: --kind of architecture.
TUCCI: Yes. They're called trulli. And they're all made out of stone. And they have these conical roofs. And we talk about that, in the show. They're very -- they're very interesting.
There's a beautiful town called Alberobello that is really gorgeous. That's all of these trulli. They're whitewashed on the bottom. And they have these beautiful gravestones that go off into this conical shape. But these finials on top, they're -- it's really beautiful.
So, we went to Puglia, and we went to Sardinia--
TUCCI: --which is stunning.
TUCCI: And amazing food. And Liguria, which is that small sort of spit of land, next to France and Tuscany -- that borders France and Tuscany that is gorgeous, where Portofino is.
COOPER: Yes. Stanley Tucci, it's such a pleasure to talk to you. Congratulations, again, on the new season.
TUCCI: Oh, thanks so much. Thank you. Nice to talk to you too. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: It's a nice gig!
"STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" premieres, this Sunday, 9 PM Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: This is weird. This is the final time I will say this.
The news continues, right now, with "DON LEMON TONIGHT."
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Oh, wow!
LEMON: Ha! How are you feeling about that, Anderson?
COOPER: I'm of mixed emotions. I want you -- I want to communicate with you. And yet, I think--