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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Full Court Press; Biden: Putin Totally Miscalculated By Invading Ukraine But Is A Rational Actor; Russia Launches 100-Plus Missiles Into Ukraine In Two Days; Washington Post: Woman Says She Had To Press Herschel Walker To Pay For Abortion He Wanted; Crime At The Forefront Of Republican Messaging; Fisherman Saved After Fending Off Sharks In Gulf Of Mexico; Angela Lansbury, Beloved Star Of Stage And Screen, Dead At 96. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 11, 2022 - 20:00   ET


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They say they've gotten reports that prisons and detention facilities in the city are filling up and then now, Security Forces are holding people in abandoned buildings and warehouses and they say that they've gotten reports from residents around those buildings, hearing screams and cries they believe are if prisoners being tortured -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Jomana, thank you very much for that important report.

And thanks to all of you for watching.

AC 360 starts now.



Tonight, the Justice Department's message to the Supreme Court, "Stay out of Mar-a-Lago documents case."

Ever since the FBI got a warrant and conducted a Court-approved search finding boxes of documents, including highly classified ones that did not belong to him, the former President has been trying to slow or stop the wheels of justice from turning, which is his right, even if it means taking it all the way to the Supreme Court, which he has.

Today was the deadline for the Department of Justice to make its case to the Supreme Court. We'll have details on their filing in a moment. But first, the former President has now also been making new false statements about other former Presidents keeping classified documents. He had previously claimed former President Obama kept millions of documents for himself. Now, it's Obama and Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: George H.W. Bush took millions and millions of documents to a former bowling alley pieced together with what was then an old and broken Chinese restaurant, they put them together and it had a broken front door and broken windows. Other than that, it was quite secure and there was no security.


COOPER: Now keeping them honest, the documents were taking to what was once a bowling alley and Chinese restaurant, he it is now a heavily secured government facility. Today, the Archives put out a statement reading in part: "Reports that indicate or imply that those presidential records were in the possession of the former Presidents or their representatives after they left office or that the records were housed in substandard conditions are false and misleading."

Details now on today's filing from CNN's Jessica Schneider, who joins us from Washington.

So just walk us through the DOJ's response.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, they hit on two major points in making their case that the Supreme Court just shouldn't step in here to grant Trump's emergency petition because of course, he is asking for very limited relief here.

He wants the Special Master as well as his legal team to have access to 100 classified documents that were taken from Mar-a-Lago. That is something the 11th Circuit has blocked.

So DOJ now saying two things: First, that the 11th Circuit had full authority to block these documents since they are saying they are extremely sensitive government records that implicate national security and that the government would in fact, be harmed if they were distributed.

And their second point is on the flip side, they say Trump hasn't been harmed at all by the Court blocking these records. So, there is really no basis for the Supreme Court to step in at this point. That's the Justice Department's view.

So they, Anderson, want the Supreme Court to stay out of what has been this ongoing saga over these records.

COOPER: Also, the DOJ was kind of critical of Judge Cannon who has repeatedly sided with the Trump legal team in the proceedings.

SCHNEIDER: Very critical throughout this 34-page filing and they really blasted her, Judge Aileen Cannon, they blasted her for actions, even appointing the Special Master in the first place and then for her decision to grant the Special Master full access to the classified documents that was before the 11th Circuit eventually stepped in.

So they repeatedly cited the 11th Circuit's decision in this case where the 11th Circuit even criticized Judge Cannon.

So DOJ said this about Cannon's order that allowed the Special Master initially to review those classified records. They said: "The District Court's order was a serious and unwarranted intrusion on the executive branch's authority to control the use and distribution of extraordinarily sensitive government records."

And that Anderson, will really be a theme in what is this ongoing appeal in the 11th Circuit, where there is this parallel challenge to Aileen's Cannon's decision to even step into this case and appoint a Special Master in the first place -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jessica Schneider, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Joining us now is Harvard Law School senior lecturer, former Federal Judge, Nancy Gertner. Also Daniel Goleman, former Federal prosecutor who served as Democratic counsel on the former President's first impeachment and is currently running for Congress as a Democrat in New York, and perspective from CNN's legal analyst, Elliot Williams who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General during the Obama administration.

Judge Gertner, what do you make of the Justice Department filing? Do you think they'll prevail?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: They should prevail. By rights, they should prevail. There is nothing about this appeal that is remotely the kind of issue that the Supreme Court would get involved in.

Aside from the issue of authorization and aside from the issue of jurisdiction, the Courts don't micromanage searches like this. I just want to make one other point that -- the other point that was made in the DOJ's filing is that in the usual course there is -- the District Courts don't intervene in a criminal proceeding unless there is a -- unless there is actually an indictment and charges and then the defendant can come forward and move to suppress the documents.

This is extraordinary from the beginning and unwarranted from the beginning, and they've made that point and certainly if the Supreme Court intervenes, it would be lunacy.

COOPER: Daniel, one of the DOJ's argument is that the former President doesn't even attempt to explain how he would be irreparably injured here and that that alone is enough to deny his request. Is that accurate, do you think?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, of course, that's accurate. I think what I find in reading this and boiling down to what Trump is actually appealing, which is not even the entirety of the 11th Circuit's order.

Basically, what Donald Trump and his lawyers want is the opportunity to look at the Department of Justice's evidence and look at the classified information that they seized from Mar-a-Lago, in part so that they can prepare their defense, and so that they may be able to stymie the criminal investigation before it actually results in an indictment.

They are not arguing that the Department of Justice should not be able to examine the classified information. Judge Cannon ruled that initially, the 11th Circuit swiftly rejected that argument and Trump is not even appealing that. All he wants is for the Special Master and his own attorneys to be able to look at these documents, but he doesn't care about the Special Master. He just wants to be able to see what they are.

COOPER: Elliot, I mean, the government is arguing that allowing that, the Special Master and the former President's attorney to look at these documents would jeopardize national security. Are they even allowed to look at these documents?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it is complicated, Anderson because we've never been in this situation before. Now look, when dealing with information that is this secure, at least as we believe to be this secure, the mere risk of disclosure is itself significantly, sort of that's the harm, the thought that it might get into someone's hands.

And so it's not an unfair question or an unfair point from the Justice Department to be suspicious of it getting into anyone's hands. Now look, Judge Dearie, certainly, with his background, having been around classified materials before is certainly as good a position as anyone to review materials.

But I agree with the Justice Department that these are sensitive materials and you ought to very closely very carefully manage who has access to them.

COOPER: Judge Gertner, how unusual it was that the Justice Department went out of its way to criticize Judge Cannon. They said that she fundamentally erred in appointing the Special Master in the first place. They echoed, the 11th Circuit saying she abused her discretion.

GERTNER: Is it unusual for a District Court Judge to be criticized by the Department of Justice?


GERTNER: No, that's not particularly unusual. I mean, I think that they wanted to go back to the first premises as to what I said a moment ago. This entire proceeding is giving Trump rights and rounds in this proceeding that he never should have had to begin with and that is the point that they're really making. She went out of her way to allow a putative defendant, someone who is not even indicted yet to intervene or have the Court intervene in this in a way that he never would.

I mean, this is really a house of cards and we get wrapped up in the latest filing as if it is legitimate, but it really is a house of cards like the Trump has no basis, no privilege, no executive privilege, no attorney-client privilege to challenge his having classified documents in his beach house -- end of discussion -- and that we would -- what he is doing, they just keep on and keep things going like a house of cards.

COOPER: Daniel, there was this reporting by "The New York Times" that the former President had tried to kind of use some of these documents negotiating with the National Archives to get Russia -- FBI Russia documents to him in exchange for them. Does that imply that he knew what he had?

GOLDMAN: It certainly implies that he knew he had something that the Archives wanted. It also just goes to show how lawless he is and how -- what little regard he holds the rule of law.

The fact that he is trying to use these as a negotiating ploy with the Archives is absurd, but what it calls to mind is what was he expecting to do with these documents? If he wants to negotiate with the Archives related to these documents, why did he go to such great lengths to conceal them from the Department of Justice? And if he is such a negotiator, what was he going to do with them? How was he going to use them? And I continue to just be highly, highly concerned about what he would do and what he potentially did do with these documents.

COOPER: Judge Gertner, what did you make of that "New York Times" reporting?


GERTNER: Well, I mean, it shows -- I mean, he was using these documents transactionally, right? I mean, he was going to make a deal with it, but it also shows how intentional the keeping of the documents were.

At the very beginning of your recall, there was a sense of, you know, maybe this was just all swept up in chaotic leave taking from the White House. But that's obviously not the case.

He knew what he had. He knew them to be classified and the fundamental ingredients then, of either an obstruction charge or an unlawful retention of classified documents charge are there and that's troubling.

COOPER: Elliot, if this does not go the former President's way, are there any other options available to his legal team to drag this out?

WILLIAMS: Look, he will certainly have more opportunities to file appeals along the way. But we should be clear, Anderson, even if this does go the former President's way, nothing really affects the Justice Department's ability to work with these documents as evidence, which is a big sticking point here. They will still be able to proceed and conduct this investigation because of how narrow this appeal was.

Look, the Supreme Court does not need to take this case, to back up Judge Gertner's point from earlier in this segment, they can just look the other way because of the fact that this is a relatively simple and straightforward legal question here.

But at the end of the day, the Justice Department still will have access to this material, will still have access to this evidence if they choose to proceed however they wish.

COOPER: Yes. Elliot Williams, Daniel Goleman, Nancy Gardner, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Coming up next, with another wave of Russian missiles hitting Ukraine today and Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats already on the table, CNN's Jake Tapper asks President Biden, does he think Vladimir Putin is a rational actor. The answer, a live report from Ukraine and former Defense Secretary William Cohen coming up.

Also, even as big name Republicans rush to his side, Herschel Walker faces some breaking new reporting tonight. Quoting from the lead in "The Washington Post," that he "Had to repeatedly press the former football star and now Republican Senate nominee in Georgia that the woman who is alleging that he had paid for an abortion that she had to press Herschel Walker for funds to pay for a 2009 abortion that she said he wanted her to have." One of the reporters on the story joins us next.


COOPER: Russia fired more missiles today at Ukrainian infrastructure, many of which according to Ukraine's President were shot down. Meantime, speaking exclusively to CNN's Jake Tapper, President Biden talks about Vladimir Putin's state of mind.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Putin is a rational actor?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he is a rational actor wo has miscalculated significantly. He I think he thought -- you may recall, I pointed out that they were going to invade, all of those 100,000 word troops there, and no one believed that he was going to invade Ukraine.

You listen to what he says. If you listen to the speech he made after when that decision was being made, he talked about the whole idea of -- he needed to be a leader of Russia that united all of the Russian speakers. I mean, it just -- I just think it's irrational.

TAPPER: So if he's not rational, and --

BIDEN: I didn't say he's not rational.

TAPPER: You said the speech is --

BIDEN: I think the speech is -- his objectives were not -- I think he thought -- Jake, I think he thought he is going to be welcomed with open arms that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv and that he was going to be welcomed and I think he just totally miscalculated.


COOPER: You can see the full interview at the top of the next hour on the premiere of "CNN Tonight" with Jake Tapper.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Ukraine and filed this report tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The second day of smoke over the capital and skies that had been quieter for months. A power plant in Vinnytsia, one of many hit today here by an Iranian drone attack officials said as Russia's cruise missiles tried to turn the power off before winter.

A smaller wave than Monday with Ukraine saying 33 hit their targets and 33 was shot down. Russia's defense spokesman blunt about what it wanted to hit, energy systems and military control.

These 48 hours of onslaught new in ferocity, but not in purpose. Russia has been hitting civilian targets in cities like this one, Zaporizhzhia daily for the past week where one person died this day.

Terror that led the White House to agree to send advanced air defense systems Monday, but talking to the G7 leaders, Ukraine's President wanted more, declare Russia, a state sponsor of terror, too, he said.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The leader of Russia feeling the approach of his end is trying to force the democratic world to surrender with a terrorist rush, to retreat, to lose. This can only be the desire of an insane person.

More than a hundred missile strikes in less than two days against civilians -- against civilian infrastructure, sham referenda, a criminal attempt at annexation.

WALSH (voice over): Yet the days of indiscriminate and clumsy blasts don't change Russia's main problems, that its Army is using forced conscription and lacks basic supplies.

Its military leadership bought a reprieve from rare internal dissent by Monday's violence, perhaps, but still Putin's rhetoric less fiery when he met the UN nuclear watchdog head today to discuss the frontline in embattled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, even as he blamed everyone else for what he has been doing.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Of course, we see that today. There are elements of excessively dangerous politicization of everything connected with nuclear activity.

WALSH (voice over): Still, he will meet his Turkish counterpart in Kazakhstan as his leading diplomat insisted they were not against talks with the West if offered.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): This is a lie. I can tell you right away. We did not receive any serious proposals to enter into contact.

WALSH (voice over): Again, a sign Russia, for all its violence and bombast is not in a position of strength.


COOPER: Nick, how is the Ukrainian Air Defense System holding up against these attacks?

WALSH: Some interesting numbers today, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying that of the 28 cruise missiles fired at them on Tuesday, 20 were intercepted. We've also heard from the Defense Minister in just the last hour, Oleksii Reznikov saying that they have, they say already received a German air defense system called the IRIS-T's and that imminently, they say they will be getting a US- Norwegian one called the NASAMS.

Now, it is unclear if the German one had any role in the air defenses today, but still, it does appear on both days about half of the cruise missiles fired at Ukraine were intercepted -- Anderson.

COOPER: What's Ukraine's Energy Minister saying about the damage done to the country's energy infrastructure?

WALSH: Yes, saying that about a third of it has been impacted over the past days. Now, we know that of course, over the past weeks and months, Ukraine's infrastructure has been targeted already by the Russians, and so repairs can often be quite swift, but winter is approaching and there is obviously clearly by Moscow, a bid to degrade the ability for Ukraine to keep itself warm during these bitter winter months.

I'll give you one note of optimism though. In two instances, in fact, one place we were at Dnipro yesterday, ourselves, a crater caused by a cruise missile. Well, that was filled in and covered over and the road functional again by this morning; a similar scene in central, Kyiv.

So, Ukraine picking itself up very fast despite frankly, terrifying scenes over the past 48 hours -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.

And joining us now, former Republican US Senator William Cohen, who served as Defense Secretary during the Clinton Administration.

Secretary Cohen, you heard President Biden characterize Vladimir Putin as a rational actor who totally miscalculated. Do you think he is a rational actor?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER US DEFENSE SECRETARY DURING THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Well, I'm not in any position to judge anyone else's psychological state, but I think President Biden had it just about right. I think, he was a logical in the beginning and rational, because he made assumptions that seemed rational. I have a big Army, 10 times the size of the Ukrainians. I have 150,000 on the border. Ukraine will back down. The NATO Alliance is not as solid. The United States have provided from within. Those were all logical assumptions, but they were based upon a false premise.

So it was rational in the beginning, and now the question is, is it rational to continue doing what he is doing? Because he is acting more and more desperate, because he's losing on the ground and that is he is turning to firing missiles into residential areas and killing -- COOPER: Well, how much of this do you think is about the domestic audience at home? I mean, is he continuing this strategy of attacking civilians and infrastructure targets because he believes it is actually going to win the war for him or because he just wants to satisfy, you know, domestic concern?

COHEN: I think both. I think he is reacting to the criticism coming from his right. At the same time, he is thinking he can knock out the energy supplies for Ukrainians during the winter months, that they will then fold or the NATO nations will fall. So, I think he's continuing to make these false assumptions where the Ukrainians are getting stronger, more motivated, and they're getting more defensive weapons to take his missiles out and you have the British National Security Council basically saying that the Russians are running out of ammunition because it cost anywhere from a half a million dollars to $13 million to fire a cruise missile, depending upon the size and capability.

So, there is a big expense involved from Russia. They may be running low on supplies, turning to North Korea, turning to Iran, for assistance.

COOPER: Is there any way to know, I mean, how long this goes on for? I mean, what do you look for to be able to judge where this war is going to go?

COHEN: Well, I think the pedal to the metal policy has to be on the part of President Zelenskyy and the West, saying that we are going to send more and more Russian soldiers, unfortunately, we're going to send them home either severely wounded or dead and that is going to create even more opposition from within.

I mean, think of the image when Ukraine was under attack, President Zelenskyy said, please all males stay home, everybody up to the age of 60 or 65. You have President Putin who said I want to have a draft of 300,000. There are two hundred and three hundred thousand who are heading for other countries.

So the image of Ukrainians standing a fight and the Russians taking off and fleeing to other countries that tells you everything about where this is headed.


COOPER: Ukrainian defense authorities, they've reported they've shot down roughly half of the missiles and drones fired by Russia over the past two days. Do you think more advanced air defense systems from the West, which it seems like are already in the pipeline, will help improve those numbers?

COHEN: Oh, absolutely. The more sophisticated equipment we and others can provide is going to make it much more defensible with fewer and fewer getting through the net, and again, a cost -- a great cost to the Russians at this particular point.

I think the danger, Anderson, is that Putin may become irrational at this point in time and saying, well, maybe I put a butcher in charge of my military that will change things on the ground, and it won't. Or if it really gets bad, I'll turn to chemical, biological, or potentially nuclear weapons. That would be a catastrophic mistake for him to do that. So, I think there is where we have to watch for the irrationality in a major way.

COOPER: Secretary Cohen, I 1appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

We have breaking news up next, a new report from "The Washington Post" on the abortion allegations against Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker from the mother of one of his children, this coming just hours after two key Republicans joined him on the campaign trail, and he talked again about the allegations.


COOPER: There is breaking news from "The Washington Post" involving Georgia's Republican Senate candidate. Here is the headline, "Woman says she had to press Herschel Walker to pay for abortion he wanted." The account reportedly coming from the mother of one of his children and a person that she confided in.


Annie Linskey one of the reporters in the byline joins us now. Appreciate you being here, Annie. Can you just walk us through your reporting tonight?

ANNIE LINSKEY, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, thank you so much. Good to be here. Yes, we, we've learned a reported that, you know, Herschel Walker, of course, has said that he did not knowingly pay for an abortion for a woman who is also the mother of one of his children. But in speaking with that woman, she made the point that she had to repeatedly ask him for the money, which she was specifically saying was for the abortion. That's partially because, you know, she was in a difficult financial position at the time, having lost her job in the middle of the Great Recession. And The Washington Post's reviewed her a receipt of her bank account that showed she had less than $600 in her bank account at the time, which was part of why she was repeatedly pressing the football star as for money.

COOPER: And she says that she clearly said to him, this is for an abortion.

LINSKEY: Yes, she did. And a person who she confided in at the time also said that that person had really stuck in that person's head, that this individual who was, you know, wanting her to have an abortion was being reluctant to provide the funds for it. And it was given Walker's fame and, you know, apparent fortune at the time. You know, her friend was really surprised that it took so much effort to get him to pay for a procedure, which he clearly had wanted her to have.

COOPER: I know, the Post reviewed an image of the check, the woman said that Walker sent to her. None of the outlets who had been reporting about this have ever published an image of that check. Do you know why? Because it would seem to be newsworthy, obviously, is it said to have Mr. Walker's signature on it?

LINSKEY: Yes, it's a image of -- it's from a ATM receipt. So, it's when she deposited the check in her ATM. And you know, in some banks, and in this particular bank, when you -- when that -- when you go through that process, you get an image of the checks are printed on the ATM receipt. So, it's not an actual copy of a check. It's an image that was taken when she deposited it at her ATM.

And is that her request? She has made it clear that she does not want that particular document to be made public. I think she's worried about the sensitivity of financial information that's on it. And so, we are honoring the request that she made.

COOPER: Has Herschel Walker or his campaign responded to your reporting?

LINSKEY: We sent them a series of questions this morning, and they did not provide an official response.

COOPER: Annie Linskey, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

LINSKEY: Thank you.

COOPER: This breaking news from The Washington Post comes just hours after Walker got some help with a campaign trail from two key Republicans and talked about the allegations against him with ABC News.

For more that, we're going to CNN's Eva McKend who was at today's event outside of Atlanta. So, Herschel Walker spoke to ABC about the allegations. What did he say?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Anderson, essentially it is just a lot more of the same. He is flat out denying the core allegations here, where he's adding to the record a bit is talking about this issue of fatherhood, saying despite the very searing allegations made by his son, Christian Walker just last week that he argues he has in fact been a present father. Let's take a listen.


LINSEY DAVIS, ABC ANCHOR: As you well know, there is a woman who reportedly says that she was in a long relationship with you, has a 10-year-old son with you that you paid for the cost of an abortion? Were you ever aware of her having an abortion,

HERSCHEL WALKER (R-GA) SENATE CANDIDATE: I know nothing about an abortion. And I knew it's a lie. And I said it was a lie. And I just move on. So, I told her surprise is not going to faze me.

DAVIS: I know initially last week, you were saying you weren't even sure who the woman was.

WALKER: Which is true.

DAVIS: But at this point, you now know who she is.

WALKER: Yes, yes.

DAVIS: And have you had a conversation with her?

WALKER: Not at all. So, I didn't know who it was until last week. And I went oh, no, and I said that's not true. And but they still ran with it. And so, I said no, that's not true. I would say that's a lie. I call it a lie. And right now, I say I'm going to go back to campaigning and people can continue to do whatever they want with the story.

DAVIS: If I can just get you to say yes or no. Did you ever have a conversation with this woman at any time about an abortion?


DAVIS: Did you ever to your knowledge, give money to pay for the cost of an abortion?


DAVIS: Is she lying?

WALKER: Yes, she's lying. Yes, she's lying. Yes, she's lying.


DAVIS: This same woman says that you have a 10-year-old son who you've only seen three times. Is that true?

WALKER: Well, that's not true. I've seen him a little bit more than that. But that's one of the things I don't get into because they make it difficult for me to see him. And that's one thing I won't do. When he's young, and so, I'm not going to sit there and make his life miserable.

DAVIS: Why is he coming out saying, don't try to pretend that you're a moral family, man.

WALKER: Well, you know, I guess I love Christian and everyone that knows us know how much I love Christian, how much you've been with me, how much I've supported him and how much I've been with him and --

DAVIS: But in fairness, let me just interrupt for one second.


DAVIS: Because loving somebody you can love --

WALKER: Right, but --

DAVIS: -- but far, but it's different to be present, involved.

WALKER: But that's what I'm saying. People know, I've been present with Christian. DAVIS: So, when he says that you were an absent father. That's not a fair critique.

WALKER: Oh, that everyone knows it's not. People that know me know that, that's not.


MCKEND: So, you hear their continued flat-out denials, even as this unnamed woman is adding more details to her account in various news outlets. It's really up to the Georgia voters to decide who they believe.

COOPER: Republican senators Rick Scott of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, they campaign for Walker today. I know. You spoke to voters at the rally. What did they tell you?

MCKEND: Yes, so this was really, very, I think enlightening Anderson. You know, you speak to people here and they are not having this conversation at all about these allegations. They are very enthusiastic about Walker conservatives in this state. They talk about how he is a Born-Again Christian, how they believe him, how they're actually motivated to come out to rallies like the one today based on some of these negative headlines. They are suspicious of the timing. There was a long line wrapped around this parking lot earlier today with people waiting for handshakes, hugs, pictures, signing of his of footballs that they bring. So that I think is a component that is important not to miss.

There was one split ticket voter, one man told me that he is going to be voting for incumbent Governor Brian Kemp, along with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock that these recent elegant allegations were just a bridge too far. But he seemed to be the outlier. Take a listen.


UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: I probably am doubtful with some of the allegations that they've come out so late into the game.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like if that did happen, which I don't think it did, why now? Why do you have to go to the news? Why not have worked that out with him?

UNDENTIFIED MALE: If he just own up to them? But, you know, not telling the truth about him, that's not good.


MCKEND: So, all night eyes now Anderson trunk to the debate on Friday in Savannah. I'm curious to see how much this conversation that is really a national conversation is going to be a feature of this debate, or how much they will get into other issues far over other issues. I will tell you leading a lot of the local newscast here in Georgia is this issue of crime. Anderson.

COOPER: Eva McKend, appreciate it. Thank you. Just one month until midterms and Republicans as Eva was just pointing out, our focusing on crime and policing and attacks on Democrats. In a moment CNN's Jeff Zeleny takes a look at some key races where crime is seen as a winning issue by Republicans. That's next.



COOPER: Midterm elections are just four weeks away and a number of key races Republican candidates are centering their campaigns on tackling crime. They're using rising crime rates and the slogan defund police to attack Democratic opponents. This comes just weeks after President Biden announced his so-called Safer America Plan including billions for crime prevention, recruitment and training for police officers. In response to Republicans soft on crime message, some Democrats are hoping to remind voters last year's capital insurrection and the attacks on police by Trump supporters.

Tonight, CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny takes a closer look.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One month before election day, Republicans are using crime as a campaign weapon.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Catherine Cortez Masto so weak on crime, it's dangerous.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mandela Barnes not just a Democrat, but dangerous Democrat.

ZELENY (voice-over): And Democrats are trying to find their footing pushing back against a barrage of familiar attacks in a new way.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH) SENATE CANDIDATE: Can you imagine one guy saying that on one side of his mouth, he's pro cop. And on the other side of his mouth, he's raising money for the insurrectionists who are beating up the Capitol Police?

ZELENY (voice-over): The (INAUDIBLE) GOP argument that Democrats are soft on crime, a critique, often accompanied with racially charged undertones is facing a new test. With images from the assault on the Capitol still seared into the minds of Americans. But it's an open question whether this message from Democrats.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone can see. You're not pro cop Kevin McCarthy. Your pro coup.

ZELENY (voice-over): Will overtake an onslaught of advertising from Republicans who spent $40 million last month alone airing 150 unique ads on crime in races across the country. It's become one of the loudest Republican soundtracks of the fall, particularly in top Senate races like Pennsylvania. UNDENTIFIED MALE: John Fetterman wants ruthless killers, mothers and rapist back on our streets and he wants them back now.

ZELENY (voice-over): And Wisconsin.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of Democrat is Mandela Barnes? He's a defund the police Democrat.

ZELENY (voice-over): John Fetterman and Mandela Barnes have spent weeks rebutting the arguments from Republicans Mehmet Oz and Senator Ron Johnson. But Democratic strategist worried that pointed messages have taken a toll. Since the Willie Horton ad shook the 1988 presidential race with George H.W. Bush blasting Michael Dukakis.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Weekend prison passes, new caucus on crime.

ZELENY (voice-over): Such spots have been a staple of Republican campaigns.

In the North Carolina Senate race Democratic hopeful, Cheri Beasley is pushing back on a slogan that became a rallying cry for some progressives two years ago that she never backed.

CHERI BEASLEY (D-NC) SENATE CANDIDATE: The first thing we absolutely must do is fund the police. I do not support defunding the police.

ZELENY (voice-over): A former Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, she's now running against Congressman Ted Budd, but facing the full weight of the Republican Party.

DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Left wing extremists name Cheri Beasley.

ZELENY (voice-over): Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, who's running for a second term as a Democrat supports Beasley and said she's hardly extreme. But he acknowledged challenges in how some voters view their party.


(on-camera): Do you think that that was a mistake for some Democrats to use those words defund the police.

CLARENCE BIRKHEAD, SHERIFF, DURHAM COUNTY, NC: I think defund the police, the phrase itself did more damage to law enforcement and communities that than anyone ever imagined. And unfortunately, we're seeing the effects of that now. Reforming the criminal justice system. Absolutely. That's the conversation we should be having.

ZELENY (voice-over): But that conversation is in short supply amid a wave of campaign ads up and down the ballot featuring frightening messages.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: On November 8, vote like your life depends on it. It just might.

ZELENY (voice-over): With far less discussion devoted to finding solutions to crime in America.


COOPER: And Jeff Zeleny, joins us now. So why is crime has merged is such a central issue so late, it seems in the campaign?

ZELENY: Anderson, one thing is that voters now are just beginning to pay attention to this. So, Republicans clearly are pressing this issue of crime and the economy in many respects that they are linked, that that is what they want their final argument to be, if you will, it's also they are trying to sort of get back perhaps some of those suburban women voters who have been really disillusioned by Republicans largely because of the abortion rights discussion that's been happening throughout the summer. So that's the dynamic going into this.

But there's no question. There's also, as we've seen in campaigns year after year, a racial undertone to many of these campaign ads, to many of these campaigns, specifically where these are being broadcast. So that is the dynamic going into this. But it's clear that Republicans believe that they have some ground to gain here and crime has worked year after year, and they think this year with the economy, it will again. Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it.

Still ahead, the incredible rescue of fishermen who were fending off sharks in the Gulf of Mexico after their boat sank. Our Randi Kaye has the story, next.



COOPER: A remarkable rescue off the Louisiana shore after a weekend fishing trip quickly turned into a boating nightmare. Three fishermen battling rough seas for more than 24 hours after their boat sank, but some of them say fending off sharks.

"360s" Randi Kaye has more.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty eight hours, that's how long three Louisiana fishermen were stranded in shark infested waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Here's what they told ABC News.

PHONG LE, RESCUED FISHERMAN: We've made a distress call on VHF radio to the Coast Guard and let them know that we take it on water we take it on water vessels sinking, and not even seconds after that the boat was nearly halfway in the water.

KAYE (voice-over): Halfway underwater and no land in sight. The only thing they could see were sharks. Lots of them. LUAN NGUYEN, RESCUED FISHERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) life vest. And it didn't touch me a bit of vest and boom it hit it. And I pushed him in the face. And I think that's what I caught these fingers, I mean these injuries on my hand, he wouldn't leave. So I took my two thumbs and jab knives. And he took all.

KAYE (voice-over): The men had tied a couple of coolers together to form a raft. They tried to stay afloat and out of reach of the sharks.

NGUYEN: That was critical in us surviving trying to (INAUDIBLE) together.

KAYE (voice-over): But time was not on their side. The men had set out for a fishing trip from Venice, Louisiana on Saturday morning. When they didn't return home, friends and family began to worry and called the U.S. Coast Guard. And somehow in a stroke of luck Sunday, one of the fishermen was able to text a friend his location in the moment before his phone died.

LE: I sent my location to my friend and it was only 2% left. The minute I sent it, I see him trying to revive me. And the phone cut off. I ran out of battery.

KAYE (voice-over): That friend alerted the Coast Guard which searched for the men by air and see. The search area spanned more than 1,200 square miles slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. And then another lucky break. The men had been in the water for more than 24 hours already. But within just two hours of receiving the text for help, they spotted the men from the air 25 miles off the Louisiana coast. By now it was around noon on Sunday. One man was hoisted up to the chopper with the help of a rescue swimmer.

ANDREW STONE, SEAMAN, U.S. COAST GUARD: And the fixed wing aircraft saw the other two men floating about a mile away. That's when we sprung into action and sped the boat up to go get these guys. We pulled up to them and they were getting harassed by sharks when we pulled up.

KAYE (voice-over): He says the sharks were about four feet long.

STONE: One of the men had been bitten up on his hand as you saw and it was bleeding into the water. His life jacket. His orange life preserver had been ripped about halfway down by the fish. So, we got him on board first, pull them out of the water.

KAYE (voice-over): All three fishermen suffered from hypothermia.

LT. KATY CARAWAY, U.S. COAST GUARD: They had multiple lacerations on their hand, almost down to the bone. We actually were able to recover one of the life jackets that had been eaten through via shark.

KAYE (voice-over): A nightmare fishing trip with a happy ending. One these men will never forget.


COOPER: Oh, that is terrifying. Randi Kaye joins us now. Do we know how they're doing tonight?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, they were all taken to University Medical Center in New Orleans. They are recovering albeit slowly. But it's really incredible because the Coast Guard says that these guys did everything right. They tied themselves together. And they tied themselves to that cooler, which of course had some water in it so they were able to stay hydrated. But just imagine this scenario. They had the sharks swimming around them. Three-to-five-foot waves. They were 25 miles off the coast. They had no idea how far they were from landing. They had no idea if anyone was ever going to come get them.

So, it truly is an incredible story of survival.

COOPER: Yes. Randi, appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, remembering the legendary Angela Lansbury.



COOPER: Angela Lansbury, the iconic star of stage and screen for nearly eight decades died this morning at her Los Angeles home. She's perhaps best known for starring as America's TV favorite TV sleuth Jessica Fletcher for 12 years on Murder, She Wrote in the 1980s and '90s. She was born in London. She got her big break in 1944, earning her first Oscar nomination in the age of 19 for her role in the movie, Gaslight. If you haven't seen it, you should.

Two years later she got her second nomination for her work in The Picture of Dorian Gray and yet another for the Manchurian Candidate in 1963, before finally being awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2014.

Younger fans probably remember her role is the voice of Mrs. Potts in the 1991 Disney hit Beauty and the Beast, and this song she sang for the film.




COOPER: Angela Lansbury also starred in a number of broad -- hit Broadway musicals, she earned Tony Awards Beginning With Name in 1966, Blight Spirit in 2009. Finally, Angela Lansbury was 96 years old. She died just five days before her 97th birthday.


The news continues. Want to hand her over and give a warm welcome to Jake Tapper in his debut program.