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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Putin Warns Of More Attacks After Deadly Russian Strikes Rock Kyiv, Lviv And Other Ukrainian Cities; Rep. Liz Cheney Says Electing AZ GOP Nominees For Governor And Secretary Of State Could Put Republic At Risk; Iran Protests Enter Fourth Week Amid New Reports Of Violent Crackdown. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 10, 2022 - 21:00   ET





Vladimir Putin is threatening more strikes, after targeting cities, and civilian infrastructure, across Ukraine, with some of the worst missile strikes, since the beginning of the war.

President Biden, today, condemned the attack, promised additional security assistance, including, his words, "Advanced air defense systems."

In a moment, we'll talk with two retired Army Generals about the significance of today.

First, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): This was the day, the war came back, to all of Ukraine.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): The capital, Kyiv, like many cities, for months, edging towards normal, hit by multiple missile strikes.

Carnage at rush hour, central streets hit. The target? Unclear. The aim? Utter horror.

Over 100 missiles and drones, the civilian death toll rising, along with global fury that there was nothing the Kremlin would not hit.

Even this Kyiv walkway, to save face, from endless losses, and the weekend blast that hit another bridge, between Russia and Crimea.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): For a few hours, this morning, almost all of Ukraine cities, seemed under attack.

The bus, next to this crater, caught by one of two missiles, critically injuring five.

PATON WALSH (on camera): Well, you can see the utter ferocity, of the explosion, here, by the hole, one of the two rockets made.


But it's also a curious question, as to why this was indeed the target. It seems like this telecom facility was unused, at the time, it was struck. But also, to, a callous disregard, for human life being shown. All these apartment blocks, just within the blast radius.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): This woman, said she ran her two children, back into the kitchen, in the minutes between the two missiles.

Homes here, gone. And winter ahead, made worse, by the power cuts, the missiles caused, however fast, the recovery is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is terrible. It is a crime against civilians.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Anger, here, some fear, but also resilience, echoed by Ukraine's President.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): "There may be temporary blackouts," he said, "But our confidence, the confidence, in our victory, will never have a blackout. Why these particular strikes? The enemy wants us to get scared, wants us to run. We can only run forward, and demonstrate that, at the battlefield."

Russia's brutality was always a known quantity. But Ukraine's stubborn resistance still surprises. This day, sharing a video, of a soldier, shooting down a missile, with a shoulder-launched rocket.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): A David, who wants more advanced arms, to defend itself, from a weakened Goliath.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): A call that this rare and chilling moment of terror across the country will only amplify.


COOPER: Nick, is it clear, if Vladimir Putin thinks this retaliation has been some sort of success? Is it expected to be repeated?

PATON WALSH: I think certainly, for the domestic audience, which I think it's most likely intended for.

There has been an element of success. Certainly, key critics have said they're now happy with the conduct of the war. And there had been calls, in the Russian Elites, after the extraordinary failures, of the past weeks, or even months that they change tactics or were quote, "Tougher."

Is this something that Russia can repeat on a regular basis? Well, you have to ask yourself, given, there's not been some sudden change, in how merciful Russia has wanted to be towards civilians. They have hit civilians since the beginning of the war. Whether or not this would have been done in the past more regularly?

It may be down to limits in Russia's own arsenal. We don't know how many cruise missiles they have. But you probably imagine they don't have 80-plus, to use, every single day.

So, this has certainly been a use of a limited amount of arsenal, to try and send a message, yes, to Ukraine that probably hasn't worked. But it probably has had more of an impact, on Russia's own elite, dampening that criticism, and showing that the Russian leader Vladimir Putin still has a card to play, in this war.

It's done some damage to critical infrastructure, here. It's taken some civilian lives. I think, certainly, for a few hours, this morning, many Ukrainians were shaken, because cities that had been essentially, getting back, to some degree of normality, away, from the front, in the south and east, were suddenly being hit intensely.

Do we think we'll see this again, in the weeks ahead? It's possible. I think, though, Russia is struggling with all of its inventories, here, shells, cruise missiles, basic diesel fuel, for tanks, soldiers, that all struggle, right now. This, I think, has been a show of brutal force.


PATON WALSH: But I'm not sure, it's something they're able to pull off, on a nightly basis, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh, appreciate it. Thank you. Be careful.

So, with Russia, now reduced to targeting cities, and people in them, what does that say, about the state of the war, for what Nick Paton Walsh just called a "Weakened Goliath?"

Joining us, CNN Military Analyst, and retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

Also, retired Army Brigadier General, Peter Zwack. He served as Defense Attache to Russia, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

General Hertling, even a weakened Goliath can cause a lot of chaos and destruction. Do you have any idea how long Russia could continue to carry out attacks on today's scale?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), U.S. ARMY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think we have to point out, Anderson that this is not a change in tactics, by Russia. They've been doing these kinds of things, since the very beginning.

In terms of answering your question, how long can they do it? They obviously attempted to do a equivalent of a shock and awe day, yesterday. And even with the 84, by Ukrainians' count, 84 missiles, 24 drones? Half of both numbers were shot down, by Ukrainian forces, as they flew, overhead.

So yes, there was a lot of damage done, to civilian infrastructure. But again, Mr. Putin is a one-trick pony. He has been attacking civilian infrastructure, with rockets and missiles, since the beginning of this campaign. None of that has contributed, to him, achieving any of his political or military and state goals.

So, I got to believe that sanctions are hurting him, that his weapon systems are faltering. There's - remember, way back, long ago, we were finding out that about 60 percent of Russians' missiles, were failing, during launch.


So, a combination of fewer, with more failures, with the same strikes against civilian targets, which are criminal? I don't know. I don't believe he can keep this up much longer.

COOPER: General Zwack, what does it say, if Nick is right, and this attack, these strikes, were largely for domestic Russian audience? What does that say about what lies ahead?

BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK (RET.), FORMER U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE TO RUSSIA, U.S. ARMY, GLOBAL FELLOW, KENNAN INSTITUTE AT THE WILSON CENTER: These attacks, as General Hertling had mentioned, is really a follow-on, of behaviors, going all the way back to the first evening of 24th February. They're going to - they're amping it up.

I sense - I feel frustration in these strikes. The Russians have not been able to beat the plucky, nimble and capable Ukrainian military, in the field, so - and then, the Kerch Bridge was dropped, several days ago.

And I just think that this is sort of a manifestation of frustration, rage, power. And I think it's all it's going to do, it's going to harden the Ukrainians even more that went through incredible anxious days, in February and March. And this just continues the negative narrative.

He may get some points, for being strong, and tough. But this isn't long-term going to play well, in Russia. And also, it really enhances, continues, this sort of Blackhat aspect, to the Russians, in the international community, in the United Nations.

COOPER: And General Hertling, just in terms of the months ahead, what does the war, continue to look like?

HERTLING: Well, we're going to see some changes in the environment, certainly, Anderson. But that affects both sides. And I'm talking about weather. Ukraine continues to generate momentum. There's an attempt, by Russia, to incorporate mobilized soldiers, which we've seen, through internal Russian reports. There are more people running out of country than there are moving and marching to mobilization stations.

And even if they get some of those Russian soldiers, to the frontline, they're going to be joining units that are actually depleted, low morale, and have not achieved any success, on the battlefield. So, we're going to see an increased momentum, by the Ukrainian forces. You're going to see more defeats, on the battlefield, by the Russian forces.

And unfortunately, we're probably going to see more, since we have, since the 24th of February, as Peter said, more artillery and missile strikes, against civilian targets, and more criminal activities that puts Russia, and Mr. Putin, in an aspect that they should be brought before The Hague.

COOPER: General Hertling, General Zwack, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, with control of the Senate, at stake, next month, why Republican candidates are embracing the former President, election- deniers, and other deeply polarizing issues, in a western swing state, where nearly one in three voters is Independent?

Later, my conversation with the new President, of the largest evangelical institution, in the country, the Southern Baptist Convention. How he sees his mission, in the wake of revelations that some of its now former executives had ignored hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse, in Southern Baptist churches, for decades. Bart Barber, ahead.



COOPER: Nevada and Arizona narrowly went, for President Biden, in 2020. But they're both considered swing states, with large numbers of voters, who call themselves, Independent. Yet, when those Independents, go to the polls, a month from tomorrow, they'll have the choice of a slate of top-tier Republican candidates, who are doing anything but running to the center.

More on that from CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To anyone, who thought embracing Donald Trump, might be a political risk, in a swing state?

KARI LAKE, (R) ARIZONA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I want to show you, what it looks like, when I step away from President Trump.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS & APPLAUSE) LAH (voice-over): Kari Lake, Republican nominee for governor, in Arizona, leans into Trumpism, in a state, where roughly one-third of registered voters are Independents.

Lake, along with Republican U.S. Senate nominee, Blake Masters, is part of an entire slate of Republicans, backed by and championing Trump, in the West.


LAH (voice-over): In Nevada, Republican nominee for governor, Joe Lombardo.

JOE LOMBARDO, (R) NEVADA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: A round of applause for President Trump.


LAH (voice-over): And Senate Republican nominee, Adam Laxalt.

ADAM LAXALT, (R) NEVADA SENATE NOMINEE: Do we miss the Trump economy right now?


LAH (voice-over): But playing to the Republican base means standing with a former President, who continues to lie, about the 2020 election.


LAH (voice-over): And praising those, who attended the rally, in Washington, on January 6th, shortly before the riot, at the U.S. Capitol.

TRUMP: They were there largely, to protest a corrupt and rigged and stolen election.

LAH (voice-over): Trump energizes the base. But, in both Nevada and Arizona, he risks alienating some Independents, but not all.

JOIE VALDEZ, ARIZONA VOTER: I feel like - I feel like he's doing the right thing, by coming back to these - these battlegrounds.

LAH (voice-over): Joie Valdez is one of them.

LAH (on camera): Do you think he's going to speak, to the Independents, who are undecided?

VALDEZ: I think he will. I think he will. We're out here struggling to make ends meet, buying gas, buying groceries.

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-NV): Buenos dias (ph). Yes.

LAH (voice-over): Nevada Democratic Senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent.

CORTEZ MASTO: When we stand together, we can get it done, and make it happen (inaudible).


LAH (voice-over): Leans on her own strategy, to keep Nevada, Blue.


LAH (voice-over): Energize her base.


LAH (voice-over): Hundreds of union workers, going door to door, to persuade Democrats, to turn out.


LAH (voice-over): Polling shows, she's in a tight race with Laxalt.


CORTEZ MASTO: This is a microcosm, of the rest of the country. If you can win here, you can win across the rest of the country. But you can't take it for granted, and you can't just show up, at the last minute.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Buenos dias a todos.

LAH (voice-over): At stake? Control of the Senate. Trump lost both Arizona and Nevada, in 2020, by narrow margins. Democrats are banking on another MAGA loss in 2022.

COONS: It's striking to me that there are candidates, who think having the former President, campaign for them, given all the issues and challenges he faces, is the right way, to persuade Americans that they've got the vision for the future.


LAH: Well, Kari Lake is not only embracing Trump, she is echoing his very words.

You may remember, Anderson that in 2015, Trump, then candidate, famously and controversially said that the people, coming across the border, the migrants, are rapists, bringing drugs and crime.

Well, today, Lake echoed almost those exact same words, referencing Donald Trump, and saying that the migrants, coming across the border, are terrorists, that they are rapists, bringing crime.


COOPER: Kyung Lah, thanks so much, for the reporting. Appreciate it. Up next, one-on-one, with Rusty Bowers, top Republican, in Arizona, who broke with the Party. He also testified, before the January 6 committee. I'll talk to him, if he's concerned about the integrity of the elections, in his State, if the candidates, backed by the former President, win.



COOPER: More now, on the crucial Arizona midterm races. We just showed you, the former President was there, this weekend, holding a rally, for the candidates that he supports, many of them, election-deniers, most of them.

None has the support of Republican Arizona House Speaker, Rusty Bowers, who's broken from his party.

You may recall, Bowers refused, the former President's pleas, to overturn the 2020 Arizona's election results. And he testified about it before the January 6th committee.


RUSTY BOWERS, (R) ARIZONA HOUSE SPEAKER: And I said, "Look, you are asking me to do something that is counter to my oath, when I swore to the Constitution to uphold it, and I also swore to the Constitution and the laws of the State of Arizona. And this is totally foreign, as an idea, or a theory, to me. And I would never do anything of such magnitude, without deep consultation, with qualified attorneys."

"You're asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath."


COOPER: And Rusty Bowers, joins me now.

Speaker Bowers, it's a pleasure to talk to you.

You saw election denialism, on full display, in your state, over the weekend, candidates embracing the former President. How concerned are you about the integrity of elections in Arizona?

BOWERS: Well, I don't know that I'm concerned about this round. What I would be more concerned about, is if who wins, and what they will do, with elections. But we have had some excellent work and, thankfully, by a lot of good volunteers, who came out of the wood, to be helpful. And so, I think, this one will be fair. But if depending on who's elected, what happens next is what I would worry about.

COOPER: After losing your election bid, in August, you said, and I'm quoting, "The Constitution is hanging by a thread."

What do you think the future of American democracy looks like? And how does - how do you make it more than just a thread? How do you - how do you make the Constitution embedded deeply, not hanging by a thread?

BOWERS: Beef it up. How do you beef up the thread?


BOWERS: I have recently, we've opened a trade office, in Germany. Arizona has. And talking to people in Europe, they all are watching Arizona. And we've mentioned that.

They say, "How Arizona goes, we are very, very concerned. We're very interested." And it was - it was a little baffling. But they just said, "As Arizona goes, we fear that's how the country will go." And so, I know that there's the concern. Just today, I had Denmark, interviewing me, and tomorrow more (ph).

The issue of a threaded constitution lies in everybody's hands. This Constitutional Republic depends on that democratic foundation that we can count on the elections being fair and square, and straight up and everybody has to - you have to count on that. Both sides. And so, that's at stake. That really is at stake, in this election.

COOPER: And I know - I mean, look?

BOWERS: Out here, in Arizona.

COOPER: You're a lifelong conservative, Republican. You never expect - I've heard, seen quotes, you've said, you never expected a threat to the Constitution, like this, from the Republicans.

BOWERS: Yes, from Republicans.

COOPER: Liz Cheney, a lifelong conservative, like yourself--


COOPER: --has said that election-deniers, like Kari Lake, in Arizona, and the GOP Secretary of State nominee, Mark Finchem, could put the Republic at risk. She says that if she lived in Arizona, now, she'd vote Democrat - for Democrats, for Arizona governor, and for Secretary of State. Do you agree with that idea?

BOWERS: I wouldn't blame anybody for doing it. I don't plan to support anybody, who doesn't pass my litmus test of honesty. And that honesty is, was it stolen or not? And if you can still believe, after all we've been through, and all the rounds of audits and reviews of the processes that yes, it was stolen? Then, you fail my litmus test.

I would never vote for Mark Finchem. I don't - I'm not out, looking for a fight, with Mark Finchem. But I know Mark Finchem. And, I think, frankly, in my opinion, he's a very dangerous man.

COOPER: I mean, it is just stunning--

BOWERS: And I won't put him at the helm of the elections.

COOPER: It is just stunning. I mean, the politics aside that a reasonable person, looking at the election of 2020, and all the recounts, and all the audits, legit, and, even the ridiculous audits? All have shown the same thing. There was no widespread fraud. I mean, there are paper ballots, backing up, all of these votes. It's remarkable that this has taken hold. It's just it's insane!

BOWERS: Mr. Cooper, one of the things about the Constitution that's critical, it is a paper. It's a paper ballot too, in a way.


But the thing that makes it work is that I can look at someone, who opposes my point of view, and say, the consensus that we can reach, as Americans, is what keeps our country together, if we have the capability, to coming to a consensus, on any issue. Pick an issue. Some, we won't.

But that respect, for other people, is what really makes a Constitution work. And this illustrates that for some, there's - that this isn't about consensus, or building unity, in a country. It's about destroying, and sanitizing a party, both sides, both sides, in this last election, throughout the more moderate elements. And it's - so, it's going to be a real show. It'll be interesting.

COOPER: Rusty Bowers, it's a pleasure to talk to you. Watching your testimony, I really came away, respecting the strength, of your convictions. And I appreciate you spending some time, with us, tonight. Thank you.

BOWERS: Thank you very much, Mr. Cooper, very much.

COOPER: Coming up next, my "60 Minutes" report with the new President of the Southern Baptist Convention, as the Denomination attempts to regroup, and recover, from a sex abuse scandal, and a current Justice Department investigation.



COOPER: It has been a turbulent few months, for the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC is the largest evangelical institution, in America. It represents some 47,000 churches, and about 14 million members.

In May, it was revealed, some of its now-former executives, had ignored hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse, in Southern Baptist churches, for decades. When the SBC members gathered, to elect a new president, in June, they turned to a small town Texas pastor, named Bart Barber, to lead them.

With the Justice Department investigation, and the abuse scandal underway, and midterm elections looming, my "60 Minutes" team, and I weren't sure that Bart Barber, would want to sit down, and discuss weighty matters, of church and state. But he did.

And as you're about to hear, Bart Barber has a lot to say, about faith, and the scandal, and the political extremism threatening American democracy.

Here's my "60 Minutes" report that aired, just last night.


BART BARBER, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: Blind partisanship destroys everything-- except baseball. I'm a St. Louis Cardinals fan. And I'm sticking with that, no matter what.

But, so many things, in church life and beyond that are areas where we have an opportunity, to unite to solve problems, and we pass over that opportunity over and over again to shoot at the other team.

COOPER (on camera): And you see that filtering into the church?

BARBER: And it's absolutely coming into the way that people in churches, who ought to know better, are speaking to one another about the issues that are outside the church that aren't really theological. The best characterization is they're not listening.

COOPER (voice-over): Bart Barber lives with his wife and two children in Farmersville, Texas.


BARBER: What we're hoping to do is to use kind of regenerative farming method.


COOPER (voice-over): He's got some land with a dozen or so cows.


BARBER: If you want to see people come to know Christ, the way to do that is to share the gospel and pray.


COOPER (voice-over): And has preached every Sunday, for 23 years, at the First Baptist Church, which only has about 320 members.

COOPER (on camera): What made you decide to try to become the, the head of the SBC?

BARBER: I believe that the Southern Baptist Convention faces some unique challenges, right now. I felt like God was calling me to try to give leadership at this moment, to help Southern Baptists move forward.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chair declares the winner to be Bart Barber, the next President of the Southern Baptist Convention.


COOPER (voice-over): When Bart Barber was elected SBC president, in June, it was just four weeks, after an independent investigation revealed that some former members of the SBC's Executive Committee, which oversees budget and organizational issues, had, for decades, ignored hundreds of credible accusations, of sexual abuse, in Southern Baptist churches and seminaries, partly to avoid being held financially liable.

RYAN BURGE, AMERICAN BAPTIST PASTOR: They actually kept a list of over 700 names of people who had been credibly accused. What they said, though, is, "We couldn't give that to the churches because local churches have autonomy in who they hire and fire for pastors. We can't tell them they can't hire this person."

COOPER (voice-over): Ryan Burge is an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University, and an American Baptist pastor. He is one of the country's leading data analysts on religion and politics.

COOPER (on camera): Were they calling law enforcement and letting police know that there was a predator at this church in this state?

BURGE: The Executive Committee had the list, put it in a drawer, and didn't tell anyone about it for over 10 years.

BARBER: That's the mindset that we're repudiating and moving against.

COOPER (on camera): When you read that report, and to read accounts of people, who were brave enough to call in to the Executive Committee, to report abuse, for them to be ignored?

BARBER: That's not a strong enough word. We didn't just ignore them. Sometimes, we impugned their motives. Sometimes, we attacked them. The reason why I'm President of the Southern Baptist Convention is because our churches do not agree with that, and have taken action to correct those things.

COOPER (voice-over): Bart Barber says he's cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation, and appointed a new, 9-member sexual abuse task force that's building a registry, for credible reports of abuse, to help churches track predators.

BARBER: I have strong feelings about this. I'm - it's not just anger. Although I'm angry about it. God called me to be a pastor, when I was 11. I believe in this. For people to sully this hurts me. I'm not doing this to try to accomplish some PR objective for us. I'm doing this because I want to serve God well.

COOPER (voice-over): For the new President of the SBC, that means staying true to his deep conservative values and his beliefs about the last presidential election.

COOPER (on camera): Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen?

BARBER: No. COOPER (on camera): You believe Joe Biden is the legitimate President of the United States?

BARBER: I do. Absolutely. I pray for him consistently as the President of the United States. I believe he was legitimately elected.

COOPER (on camera): Bart Barber told us that he doesn't believe the election was rigged. He does believe that Joe Biden was duly elected the President of the United States.


BURGE: That's a big deal. 60 percent of white evangelicals believe the election was stolen in 2020. And many, many Southern Baptists go to church every Sunday believing that. Southern Baptist pastors have been afraid to speak about that from the pulpit, because they know lots of people will oppose that in the pews.

COOPER (on camera): How many people, how many voters is - is Bart Barber in a position to influence?

BURGE: At least 70 million people identify as evangelical today. He can have a huge impact when it comes to who they vote for and why they vote for that candidate.

COOPER (voice-over): Ryan Burge says in 2016, evangelicals accounted for 33 percent of all votes cast for Donald Trump. But Bart Barber's vote was not among them.

COOPER (on camera): In 2016, you said, "I think it hurts the credibility of my testimony for me to be a vocal supporter of a demonstrably evil man whose campaign platform consists mainly of his evilness."

BARBER: Yes. I did not vote for President Trump in 2016. And that lays out my rationale for that pretty well.

COOPER (on camera): What was the evilness that you saw?

BARBER: The way he treated women that had been documented at that point.

I thought that a lot of the rhetoric about immigration was wrongful. A lot of Southern Baptists thought that the rhetoric about immigration was wrongful.

COOPER (on camera): You're talking about legal immigration?

BARBER: Talking about legal immigration.

COOPER (on camera): You embrace it?

BARBER: I embrace it. I'm - I'm thankful for people who have immigrated. I live in Texas. I'm surrounded by people, who are intermarried into our families. They make our community better.

COOPER (on camera): Correct me if I'm wrong. In 2020, you did vote for Donald Trump?

BARBER: Part of what changed is that the President advocated for some legislation, on sentencing reform, something that really addressed some injustice that affected minority communities. I was encouraged by the consistent pro-life support that the President gave. I didn't expect that.


TRUMP: We're going to walk down, and I'll be there with you.


COOPER (voice-over): Barber did tell us what happened on January 6th?




COOPER (voice-over): And Donald Trump's role in it, has had a big impact on his opinion of the former President, now.

BARBER: I, and I think a lot of Southern Baptists, would be thrilled to have the opportunity, to support someone, for leadership in our country, who's strong on the values that matter to us, who can do that without putting the Vice President's life in danger.

COOPER (on camera): You would be hard-pressed to vote for somebody who put his vice president's life in danger?


COOPER (on camera): Donald Trump did invite and incite and encourage a mob of people to march on the Capitol.

BARBER: I'll just say this. I want to be driven by the principles of Jesus Christ. And that does not involve mob violence. I don't - I don't support that. Anyone who does support that, I'm less likely to vote for them because of their support for that.

COOPER (on camera): If Mike Pence ran in a primary, you would vote for him in a primary?

BARBER: There is nothing that would prevent me from voting for Mike Pence in a primary.

COOPER (voice-over): We asked Barber what he thinks about the Christian nationalist rhetoric, increasingly being used, by some elected officials, like Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BARBER: It stands contrary to 400 years of Baptist history and everything I believe about religious liberty. I'm opposed to the idea of Christian dominion, churchly dominion, over the operations of government.

COOPER (on camera): Why do you object to that?

BARBER: OK. I object to it because Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world.

I object to it because historically every time it's been adopted it wound up persecuting people like me. Doesn't stop at persecuting people who are not Christians. It eventually winds up persecuting people, who are Christians, for whom the flavor of their Christianity is different from that of the government.

COOPER (voice-over): Support for the separation of church and state was a foundational principle for Baptists who faced religious persecution in England and America in the 1600s. Baptists split in 1845 over slavery, which is when the Southern Baptist Convention was founded. The SBC supported slavery and later segregation.

On abortion, the SBC's opposition has hardened over the years. In 1971, they made exceptions in cases where there was, quote, "The likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental and physical health of the mother."

But in 1980, they narrowed that exception only to cases where a pregnancy threatened the life of the mother. Bart Barber says he stands by that today.

BARBER: Our interest with abortion is not - it's not to police everybody's sex life. Our interest with abortion is that we believe that's a human person, who deserves to live.

COOPER (on camera): There was just the case recently, a 10-year-old girl, who's raped, barred from having an abortion in Ohio. Was able to obtain one in - in Indiana. I mean, this is a, a little girl who, she has a right to life too.



COOPER (on camera): Even in that case, you think she should have the child?


COOPER (on camera): She should be forced to have the child?

BARBER: I think, I don't want that to sound like I don't have tremendous compassion for her and her circumstance. I wish we could put an end to 10-year-olds being raped. I'm trying to work against child sexual abuse because I think that's atrocious.

COOPER (on camera): But you don't see forcing a 10-year-old child to go to term with a baby, from rape, as abuse of a child?

BARBER: I see it as horrible. I see it as preferable to killing someone else.

COOPER (voice-over): Not surprisingly, Barber, and the SBC, oppose same-sex marriage.

BARBER: We're committed to the idea of gender is a gift from God. We're committed to the idea that men and women ought to be united with one another in marriage.

COOPER (on camera): Do you still believe that gay people can be, should be converted out of being gay?

BARBER: I believe that sinners should be converted out of being sinners, and that applies to all of us.

COOPER (on camera): Can somebody be a good Christian, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, and be gay, or lesbian, and married to a person of the same-sex?



BARBER: In Jesus name we pray, Amen.


COOPER (voice-over): Can a good Christian in good conscience vote for Donald Trump in 2024? Before we left, we asked Bart Barber one last time about how he'll vote.

BARBER: I'm not even going to speculate about that. Who are the other choices?

COOPER (on camera): Ahead of the election in 2016, you said who you were going to vote for. In 2020, you said who you voted for. Now you're not saying who you'd vote for?

BARBER: That's correct.

COOPER (on camera): Somebody seeing this is going to think, "OK, well, that's--"

BARBER: Why are you hedging it now?

COOPER (on camera): --"that's political."

BARBER: It's not political calculation. The fact that in 2016, I could say something, and I was speaking only for myself.

And now, you know, 50,000 churches of people I love, are represented by me, when I speak. And so, do I feel a sense of needing to be more wise and careful about things that I say now? Absolutely, I do.

COOPER (on camera): Have evangelicals sold their soul in order to support Donald Trump?

BARBER: First of all, I think we had to choose from the choices that were given to us. And that's - that's an inescapable reality in our political system.

COOPER (on camera): But there's a lot of evangelical support for Donald Trump that goes beyond just somebody holding their nose and saying, "Well, I have these two choices. So I'm going to vote for this person."

BARBER: That - there are. I'm telling you, there are also a lot of people, who articulate what I've just said.

I just think that, under President Trump, they saw less backtracking on the things that were promised to them. I do think that Americans are hungry for strong leadership. I think that there's opportunity for strong leaders to emerge who give us better choices. I'm praying for that.


COOPER: Bart Barber, the new President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Ahead, Iran entering its fourth week, of nationwide protests, as thousands take to the streets, hackers target the media, and school girls defy strict conservative laws. The new videos, and the latest reaction, from the Regime, next.



COOPER: The anti-Regime protests, in Iran, are showing no signs of slowing down. From workers, to school girls, thousands have joined the protests, since security forces crackdown.

The U.K. government imposed sanctions, on a number of Iran's top officials, and the so-called Morality Police. And human rights groups are sounding the alarm.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the details. And we warn you, some of the footage you'll see, are about to see, is graphic and disturbing.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how the fourth week of Iran's uprising started. The wails of one more family's forever farewell, another young life taken too soon.

One of several lives lost, in a day of rage, a day of carnage, in Iran's Kurdish region.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): These are the images, the Regime doesn't want the world to see.

They cut off the internet, in Sanandaj, making it hard for us, to tell these stories of the dead, and those left to mourn.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): The little video, trickling out, only a glimpse, into the repressive Republic, and its vicious force, to crush the growing dissent. The savagery, caught on camera, in scenes like this, in Tehran.

And this, a man pleads with police, to leave his wife alone. "We're not protesting. She's pregnant," he says, but to no avail. Both appear to have been forcibly dragged away.

It is that tyranny that feeds the anger, of those on the streets, defiant and determined, seemingly unstoppable, here, chasing the riot police.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): At an all-women's university, this weekend, President Ebrahim Raisi, who's dismissed the thousands, on the streets, as rioters, praised students, for seeing through, what he claims, as the foreign conspiracy, to weaken Iran.

At that same university, an extraordinary moment of rebellion, as young women chant "Raisi! Get lost!" Unclear, if this happened, while he was there. What's clear is the wall of fear in Iran has come down.

Even the Regime's attempt, to control the narrative, also briefly disrupted. Hackers interrupted State TV, Saturday evening newscast, with this video.

A target superimposed on the face of the Supreme Leader. And at the bottom of the screen, the faces of Mahsa Jina Amini, and three of the young women, who've died in the protests, Nika Shakarami, Hadis Najafi, and Sarina Esmailzadeh, with a message that reads, "Join us and rise up."


KARADSHEH (voice-over): The streets of Tehran were already wising up that night, with some of the largest protests, in the capital, so far, scenes replicated, across the country, as the government claims, calm has been restored, and the so-called riots are mostly over.



KARADSHEH (voice-over): Daytime brought more students back out in force, protesting on campuses, across the country. (VIDEO - STUDENTS PROTESTING ON CAMPUSES ACROSS IRAN)

KARADSHEH (voice-over): And young school girls, waving their forced headscarves, joining in the daring chants.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): Their fearless cries for "Women! Life! Freedom!" reverberating louder than ever, through the streets of Iran.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.



COOPER: Remarkable scenes, from Iran!

Up next, something, we hope, brings a little smile, to your night. We'll tell you about the big day for 8-year-old Cooper Roberts, who survived the Fourth of July parade shooting, in Highland Park, Illinois.


COOPER: Some good news, to tell you about, before we go tonight. It's about an 8-year-old boy, and the day his parents feared might never come. His name is Cooper Roberts. This is him, with his twin brother Luke. Back on July 4th, in Highland Park, Illinois, a mass shooter badly wounded Cooper.

It's been a long recovery. But today, he was able to return to school, joining Luke, in the third grade. His parents say he's sad he can't do everything his classmates can, but say his spirit, his soul, and his Cooperness, remain.

We wish him, and his family, the best.

The news continues. Want to turn things over to give a warm welcome, to Laura Coates, and Alisyn Camerota, for "CNN TONIGHT," and their debut program.

Laura, Alisyn, take it away.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN CO-HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Anderson, thank you so much.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota.