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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Fetterman Talks About Last Night's Debate; Interview With Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Two Men Attempted To Copy 2020 Election Data From Michigan Voting Machine In Effort To Investigate False Election Fraud Claims; Russian Amb. To UK Denies Russia Plans To Use Nukes In Ukraine; Authorities Investigating Iowa Serial Killer Claims. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired October 26, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: He has also posted on Taiwan, a plan that seemed very pro Xi Jinping, also on Twitter.

CNN is also learning the White House has been in talks with Musk about using Starlink inside Iran.

Its power goes way beyond Twitter, let that sink in.

Thanks for joining us. AC 360 starts now.



Pennsylvania Senate candidate, John Fetterman, the Democrat is holding a campaign event right now in Pittsburgh, his first time on stage since last night's debate, and he has just acknowledged the difficulties he had. We'll play you what he said in a moment with just 13 days until the Midterm Elections. It is one of many developments that continue to shake up races in pivotal States. We will focus on their impact tonight.

And in Pennsylvania, the debate certainly made a mark as Fetterman admitted just moments ago, the after effects of his stroke made speaking difficult at times.


JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: My doctors, the real doctors that I believe in, they all believe that I'm ready to be serving --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Follow up, I didn't hear you say you would release your full medical records. Why not? You have 30 seconds.

FETTERMAN: Now, again, my doctors all believes that I'm fit to be serving and that's what I believe is where I'm standing.


COOPER: Republican, Mehmet Oz making headlines as well with this on abortion.


DR. MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I want women, doctors, local political leaders, letting the democracy that's always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so States can decide for themselves.


COOPER: And the question now is, what will Pennsylvania voters make of what they saw and heard. We'll have some early answers tonight.

And in another close Senate race, Republican Herschel Walker heard a second woman's allegation that he pressured her into having an abortion. The accuser who remains anonymous claims it happened in 1993. She says her motives are not political, that she is registered Independent and once voted for the former President.

Recent polling in Georgia shows the race to be very tight there, but we begin tonight with Pennsylvania.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is in Pittsburgh for us where John Fetterman has been speaking.

Jeff, a brutal debate at times last night. What is the latest following it?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, just a few moments ago, John Fetterman came to this rally. You can see behind me the Dave Matthews Band is now rallying supporters, but John Fetterman directly addressed the elephant in the room. He directly addressed his challenges at the debate last night in Harrisburg and he bluntly said he is still recovering from his stroke.

Listen to what he said.


FETTERMAN: And honestly, of course -- to be honest with you, doing that debate wasn't exactly easy, you know?

I knew it wasn't going to be easy after having a stroke after five months, in fact --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still love you.

FETTERMAN: In fact -- in fact, I don't think that's ever been done before in American political history before actually.


FETTERMAN: You know, after that stroke, I got knocked down, but I got back up. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]


ZELENY: So then he went on to go directly after his rival, Mehmet Oz, in fact, in a much sharper manner than we saw on the debate stage last night, particularly going after him on the question of abortion rights. That has become a central issue here.

The Fetterman campaign released a new ad today focusing on those words about abortion when Dr. Oz said on this stage last night that local political leaders should also have a role in making the decisions for women. He also said that his campaign raised $2 million today after the debate.

But Anderson even though his performance here on this stage, I would say he spoke for about 15 minutes or so was much stronger than last night, it was that televised debate last night, of course, that will have as much of a bigger impact on voters.

COOPER: Yes, you've also been speaking to voters there. What have you been hearing and do you get the sense that last night's debate changed anyone's mind.

ZELENY: So we did talk to several voters today across the State as we traveled here to Pittsburgh, and really Fetterman supporters, if they went into the debate supporting him, they still stuck with him even though one told me that she is worried that Dr. Oz now has more ammunition against him.

But take a listen to these conversations we had earlier today in Bedford, Pennsylvania.


CRAIG BISCHOF, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: He gets healthier every day. You can see that just by watching him on the television and things, yes, he's come a long way. A stroke is a hard thing to get over.

JAN WELSCH, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: It was embarrassing. I was embarrassed to think that anybody with that present situation, health and the way he thinks in his mind and his -- what he wants for Pennsylvania would actually be running. It was embarrassing to me.


ZELENY: So definitely a mixed bag there among voters, but talking to Fetterman supporters here tonight, they still very much believe in his candidacy, but they are deflated in a sense that that was such a big opportunity to really prosecute the case against Dr. Oz, and that was what I really heard throughout the day, a sense of disappointment that he was not able to make the same arguments that he has been making on social media, his campaigns and making on Twitter against Oz.

[20:05:16] But Anderson, even though nearly 700,000 people have already voted in Pennsylvania, there are still two weeks left in this race, almost two weeks, so to say this race is over would certainly be an overstatement.

But there is no doubt that the momentum that the Oz campaign carried into the debate still seems to be continuing -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it.

I want to go to John King now at the magic wall.

So John, in Pennsylvania, where should we be watching and see the impact of this debate?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So I have to say without a doubt, we'll see some polls in the next couple of days. I would urge people at home and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be patient, don't necessarily buy into the first poll. Sometimes, it takes several days for a debate to settle in. People might have an initial reaction, they might rethink it or they might be persuaded otherwise.

But where will I look on the map over the next several days? If you could go talk to voters, where would I go? I'll start -- remember, the last time I was in the program. I was talking about Northampton County. This is a swing county, North of Allentown. You see it right here.

Let me go back to some past campaigns to show you why it is so important. Number one, let's go back to 2020. And let's bring up the presidential race in Northampton County.

Joe Biden just barely wins this swing county. He wins the Commonwealth. He wins the presidency. If you go back to the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump narrowly wins Northampton County, wins Pennsylvania and wins the presidency.

2016 also interesting because of a Senate race that year. If you look then, Pat Toomey, the Republican incumbent now who is not running, he is retiring, which is why you have Fetterman and Oz. Pat Toomey narrowly wins Northampton County, a swing county, swing voters. Will they be influenced by the debate last night? This is one place to look.

The other place, Anderson would be down here as always, the suburban collar around Philadelphia. Look what happened in 2016. Pat Toomey won two of these suburban counties, just barely, but he won Bucks County and he won Chester County. He was reelected to the United States Senate.

Donald Trump carried Pennsylvania in 2016, but look, in those suburbs, they have been trending Democratic. Hillary Clinton carried them both. I went to the wrong map there, here we go. Let's go here. Boom. If you look, Hillary Clinton carried them both.

So, the suburbs right around Philadelphia, especially Bucks County and Northampton County, that's where I'd look right now, over the next week or so. Give it a few days to settle in, we'll see the impact.

COOPER: When it comes to control of the House, how does the map continue to shift?

KING: Republicans are increasingly optimistic. Let me move the map. Let me come out to the national map here. Let me come over to the House and look for you here. Let me come up to where we are now at the moment and come up to 2022.

This is the current House right now. If you look at the balance of power in the House, you see the narrow Democratic majority. Republicans only need, Anderson, a net gain of five. Why are Republicans so confident? If we were having this conversation a couple of months ago, Republicans would say, we will eight, we will win 12, maybe we'll win 15.

Now some Republicans are thinking it could get as high as 30. Why do they think that? If you look at the map of competitive House districts, we have 78. We work with our partners, Inside Elections on this. You'll notice this adds up to 75. Fifty-three Democrats, 22 Republican districts now being defended that we call competitive. There were three new districts drawn up because of the redistricting also.

But you can just tell by those numbers, Democrats are on defense in more than twice as many House districts right now, and Anderson, they go from coast-to-coast.

You have two in New Hampshire, you have one, a longtime blue-held seat in the state of Rhode Island. So early on election night in the east, places like New Hampshire, places like Rhode Island, places like New York where you are and then it moves out. You see all this blue as we come across, even out in Oregon, traditionally a blue state the last 25 years or so, two Democratic districts here, you move down to big California and look at the numbers as well. Of the nine competitive districts, there are eight of them that are Democrats.

It doesn't mean Democrats are going to lose them all, but Democrats are back on their heels and Republicans think things are settling in where they think it is a possibility. Remember, Democrats know this in the House. Democrats got the majority in the 2018 blue wave, a lot of Democrats are thinking President, first her Midterm, will it be like that again? The numbers are unlikely to be that big, you can tell by all that blue, Democrats are on defense.

COOPER: John King, stay with us. I want to bring CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash in the conversation along with someone who certainly has experience in statewide and national races, former Virginia Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

Dana, we played a little of what John Fetterman said tonight about last night, I just want to play a little bit more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FETTERMAN: Last night, last night, Oz said that -- and I want to get this right -- local political leaders shouldn't decide whether a woman should be able to get an abortion.


FETTERMAN: And isn't he kind of like Doug Mastriano.


FETTERMAN: For some of the -- focus on some of the words that I miss, you know, he really has to say that he had the worst line of that night.


COOPER: How damaging data do you think it was last night for Fetterman?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Well, let me say this, Anderson --


COOPER: Sorry, this is for Dana. Sorry, Dana?


MCAULIFFE: Oh, okay.

BASH: Well, I'll just answer quickly, because I know that the Governor will probably have a lot of comments from the Democrats he is talking to.

Democrats I'm talking to in all candor are a little bit deflated, a little bit, you know, feeling sort of cringy at the performance, but they are definitely trying to take solace in what you just heard from John Fetterman tonight that the idea of abortion is huge in Pennsylvania, and that Dr. Oz stepped in it with regard to abortion. A Democrat texted me tonight saying, well, if local politicians are going to be in the exam room, that's going to be a very crowded exam room.

This is -- as a Commonwealth, Pennsylvania where abortion is a big deal. The problem for Democrats, though and for John Fetterman, in particular, is that if you were talking about this issue, I don't know, five weeks ago, six weeks ago, it would have had probably a bigger impact on the electorate.

As big as abortion might be in Pennsylvania, the economy, inflation, all of the economic hardships that people are feeling all over the country, they're also feeling in Pennsylvania. And so, sort of messing up on the issue of abortion might not be enough, especially with the performance and the issue that he had a stroke and that was very obvious last night, and whether he can perform the Senate. COOPER: Governor McAuliffe, I just want to play another moment from last night's debate, when Fetterman was asked about his evolving stance on fracking. Just watch.


FETTERMAN: I -- I -- I do support fracking, and I don't -- I don't -- I support fracking and I stand and I do support fracking.


COOPER: Governor McAuliffe, how alarming do you think that moment is in general for Fetterman? And how bad was last night?

MCAULIFFE: You know, Anderson, I agree with Dana. I think the biggest issue that came out last night was the issue of abortion. He said local politicians. The candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania wants to make abortion, anyone who wants an abortion, he wants to charge them with murder. So that's Oz's plan.

But let me say, I differ with Dana a little bit. What I saw last night, when I saw John Fetterman, I think of courage. There's not a Pennsylvanian family that has not had someone who has gone through very tough health crisis with a friend, a loved one, a family member, and they saw John Fetterman, who's gone through a tough health challenge and this guy stood up last night.

God bless John Fetterman. He got up there. And I know all the talking class today in DC, "Oh, he shouldn't have done it." No, I was proud of him. He's gone through a tough health challenge.

He was out there fighting last night for Pennsylvanian voters, and I think they appreciate that he stood up under very tough circumstances and laid his plans out and I think for a Pennsylvanian family, as I say, a lot of folks with health issues, they saw him and they were proud of what he did last night.

COOPER: But I mean, look, if he was a Republican candidate, you would not be saying that same message. I mean, clearly you have no concerns about his ability to do the job and even frankly, the stress and difficulty of the job on his health.

MCAULIFFE: Anderson, I disagree. If that had been a Republican who had gone through his stroke and got on stage, I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican.

You saw a human last night who went through a very tough -- and he could have stayed out and they could have said, oh, we are not going to debate and just paid advertising. He decided not to do it. And to me, he stood above politics last night, and he did the right thing. And I was proud of John Fetterman last night, and I think the folks in Pennsylvania, as I say, who have family members who gone through very tough times, it was tough last night, but he stood up, he was counted. He showed up in the arena and God bless him for doing it.

COOPER: John, inflation crime, obviously two topics Republicans are targeting. I mean, where do you see in these critical States those issues being the most effective with voters?

KING: It's a critical point in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Anderson, and in all the key Senate races you run statewide. The suburbs tend to decide close elections. Right?

So, what are we even looking at? In Pennsylvania, in Georgia, in Arizona, in Nevada. Democrats trying to pick up in Wisconsin, trying to pick up in Ohio. Abortion breaks for the Democrats in the suburbs, crime breaks for the Republicans. Inflation breaks for the Republicans, Trump generally breaks for the Democrats.

So, you have this tug of war? That's the question in Pennsylvania. Does the Fetterman debate performance tip the scales in this tug of war trying to convince suburban voters, moderate voters, soft Republicans if you're a Democrat trying to win over voters, how you should vote, what should be number one when you vote.

And so then you look at the strategic importance of the race. Democrats have 50/50. This is the Republican, Pat Toomey, is the incumbent. If Democrats pick up that and get to 51, it allows them say if you lost Nevada to still control the Senate. That's how Democrats think tactically.

You mentioned the issues. Look, you follow the money in politics, right? So let me just stretch this out a little bit. You know, you see Democrats believed after the Roe v. Wade, the Dobbs' decision, replace Roe, look at all the money, $151 million in October ad spending on key issues on abortion.


Crime. Republicans took a big early lead. Democrats are spending a lot of money on crime ads, Anderson, because they realize they need to counter that message. And then you see inflation, a giant edge for Republicans on economic issues, inflation, and taxation. Again, that's part of the tug of war.

All this ad spending, trying to convince voters, we know there's a lot on your plate. This is the issue we should think, you should put number one, Democrats would say abortion or Trump or chaos. Republicans would say crime or inflation.

COOPER: Yes. John King, Dana Bash, Terry McAuliffe, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next: The election denier who is running for Senate in Arizona, who briefly became an election believer of sorts before tipping back into denial. Blake Masters, the former President's endorsement, the former President's money and the facts. Keeping them honest, Congressman Adam Kinzinger joins us as well.

And later, a CNN exclusive look at the lengths to which some people went trying to justify claims of voting irregularities in the 2020 election including up-close video of a voting machine breach in action.



COOPER: For several days now, we've been reporting on people in Arizona camping out at early voting locations, on the lookout, they claim for voting irregularities. Some are dressed in tactical gear, carrying assault-style weapons or pistols.

Now, Blake Masters, the Republican Senate candidate says that as long as people follow the law, he is pretty okay with it.


BLAKE MASTERS (R), ARIZONA SENATE CANDIDATE: And if you are planning on watching the drop boxes, hey, stay, whatever is it, is it 75 feet? Whatever it is, stay that distance away. Don't intimidate any voters. Get your video camera out and record to make sure people aren't ballot harvesting.


COOPER: That's the candidate just yesterday on a Phoenix radio talk show and ballot harvesting is one of the alleged irregularities. They are completely unsubstantiated, election deniers have said went on in 2020, which they did not. Anyway, anywhere that is.

I should also point out these drop boxes are monitored by video surveillance cameras 24 hours a day by law, seven days a week.

It stands to reason Masters would bring it up because he certainly is a 2020 election denier himself, so much so it's a key reason the former President endorsed him, even before he became the Republican nominee.

Take a look at this campaign ad of his from last November.


MASTERS: I think Trump won in 2020. Maybe you disagree. But you've got to admit, this election was really messed up.

I'm Blake Masters. I'm running for the US Senate in Arizona and I approve this message because election integrity is the most important issue.

We've got to do so much better if we want to keep this country great.


COOPER: The election wasn't messed up. He said, "I think Trump won in 2020." Election denial does not get much plainer than that. So, he was an election denier last November and he sure sounds like an election denier now, but just a few weeks ago, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to follow up quickly. Was that election stolen? Was it rigged in any way, shape, or form enough to keep Donald Trump out of the White House?

MASTERS: I suspect that if the FBI didn't work with Big Tech and Big Media to censor the Hunter Biden crime story. Yes, I suspect that changed a lot of people's votes.

I suspect President Trump would be in the White House today, if Big Tech and Big Media and the FBI didn't work together to put the thumb on the scale to get Joe Biden in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But not vote counting, not election results.

MASTERS: Yes, I haven't seen evidence of that. But I'm telling you what I think the problem is, I think the problem is Big Tech, Big Media working together.


MASTERS: I think that's a problem.


COOPER: Okay, so that's a conspiracy theory as well, but it is not the same as saying that Trump won in 2020. The key there was that he specifically said he hasn't seen evidence of irregular vote counting.

He also removed claims from his website that the election was stolen, and that is when things took a turn. As you might imagine, the former President noticed or someone brought it to his attention. This is a new video from a FOX documentary of a call between him and Masters. The exact date is unknown, but sometime after the debate you just saw.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to get across the line, you've got to go stronger on that one thing. That was the one thing, a lot of complaints about it. Look at Kari. Kari is winning with very little money, and if they say, "How is your family?" She says, "the election was rigged and stolen.

You'll lose if you go soft. You're go lose that base.

MASTERS: I am not going soft.


COOPER: Again, unclear precisely when that call took place. However, several days after the debate, Masters was back to election denial. When asked about the website being scrubbed of claims the election was stolen, he responded: "Well, I still believe it, that's for sure."

And today, the former President's Super PAC launched a new ad on Masters' behalf, part of a seven-figure media buy in the State for this week. Amazing how that works. So assuming, he is still an election denier in good standing, Blake Masters certainly has company. Take a look. These are the Republican Senate candidates who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, 19 in all.

Here are the 22 Republican candidates for Governor from Alaska to Maine, election deniers, all of them. And here are the 11 Republicans running to be Secretaries of State, the men and women who will oversee the 2024 presidential election, each and every one of them believes the former President won the 2020 election.

Joining us now is Republican who does not believe that, outgoing Illinois Congressman and January 6 Select Committee member, Adam Kinzinger.

Congressman, appreciate you joining us.

I'm first of all, what do you make of Blake Masters changing position on the 2020 election after -- seemingly after that call with the former President?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): It's basically now saying look, nothing matters. I mean, and that's what he is running as, nothing matters. It's just I'll tell the audience when I'm at the debate that the election wasn't stolen, assuming that when I'm speaking to the base, they won't have heard that because they won't have watched the debate or they'll have understand what I was doing, but then I'll talk to them and say, yes, really the election --


I mean this is the deal, ultimately, he is just running on a personality, he is not running on anything that matters, anything that means anything in his mind. It's just how do I go out and convince these people? He is a -- he knows obviously the election wasn't stolen, but he thinks people are gullible. He abuses them, and you're seeing that all over the country right now, Anderson.

COOPER: In the past few weeks, several Republicans who previously tried to distance themselves from that lie that the election was stolen, showed up to campaign for election deniers.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin traveled to Arizona for a rally with Kari Lake, Vice President Mike Pence has endorsed Blake Masters. How do you reconcile that?

KINZINGER: You can't. I mean, it's not reconcilable. I mean, you see somebody like Mike Pence that does a good thing on January 6th, but since then, with few exceptions, has said he's been so proud to serve with Donald Trump. It is working for people like Blake Masters.

It's all about this now shadow campaign for President in 2024, if Donald Trump doesn't run. And you know what? Glenn Youngkin, I mean, you can look at his campaign and say, here are a number of things he did right in how he spoke to people. He had an opportunity if he did want to run nationwide, which is the rumor, you know, to go out and be a different candidate, same with Mike Pence, he could have been that.

But it's all about, in these last couple of weeks, turn out the base and you're going to need the base to win a primary so nothing matters.

COOPER: There have also been attempts at voter intimidation, like the two armed people in tactical gear watching a ballot drop box, of all things, in Arizona last week. What does that say? I mean, how concerned are you about that? The safety of poll workers? The potential of, you know, I don't know violence surrounding the election or just the idea of people trying to -- people think that they are doing something by being armed watching people drop off ballot at ballot drop boxes, which are again, surveilled 24/7?

KINZINGER: Yes, think about this, Anderson. So everybody in their life, and I think this is what Donald Trump did well, everybody wants to fight for a cause. They want to fight for a mission, they want to feel like they're doing something bigger than themselves and that is a noble characteristic both Americans and, frankly, humanity in general.

If you convince people that an election was stolen, you'll get them to show up on the Capitol on January 6th. If you convince people that there's ballot harvesting at drop boxes, you can get these folks to show up armed to intimidate people, but also think they're doing something to defend democracy.

And that's why I think it's so important to point out like, yes, obviously there's voter intimidation, but they are being abused. I mean, this is exactly when you look at the rise of authoritarianism and the rise of authoritarians, they take people's good intentions and twist it into something else and you're seeing that in people that are watching these boxes like yes, you have a right to in Arizona, you can probably have a right to sit there with an AR-15. But there is no other reason to sit there with an AR-15 very openly, but to show your strength and to intimidate.

COOPER: Yes. Congressman Kinzinger, I appreciate it. Thank you.


COOPER: These election conspiracies look to win -- conspiracists, I should say look to win key races across the country. We've got some incredible videos showing two men actually breaching a voting machine to copy 2020 election data as part of a CNN investigation, next.




COOPER: We talked in the previous segment with the Congressman Adam Kinzinger about the whole, the conspiracy theories and lies about the election still have on so many. And our next report investigates the frankly frightening length that some people went to trying to justify those claims. You're about to see up close video of a voting machine breach in action. Drew Griffin now with the latest in his continuing series of reports on election interference.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two men one armed and wearing a bulletproof vest showed up last year at the Cross Village Michigan Community Center.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: There was a word of, that machines are going to be wiped tomorrow.


UNDENTIFIED MALE: So, I was contracted. I was from like the Department of Defense contact allegedly.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Newly elected elections clerk Diana Keller said it was scary.

DIANA KELLER, CLERK, CROSS VILLAGE TOWNSHIP, MI: I was actually terrified. To be honest with you, I wasn't sure who they were.

Is this a legit thing I'm doing for you?

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am, it is legitimate.


UNDENTIFIED MALE: We've never put you in a position like that.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): And did I hear correctly, they said that they were on some sort of mission from the Department of Defense.


GRIFFIN (on-camera): I mean, that sounds like serious stuff.

KELLER: Yes, yes, absolutely.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Their mission to copy 2020 election data from a voting machine in an attempt to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud, but they clearly were not from the Department of Defense.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: And do you have a key for this one?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Video taken during the hours long visit shows they were bumbling amateur sleuths who had no idea what they were doing.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it has a battery.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: So, how do we get inside of this thing? It's super thin. The regular one is not fitting in there. GRIFFIN (on-camera): They couldn't tell the back from the front it seemed to me.

KELLER: It was just a bungled stupid thing. But I was too scared to do anything.

GRIFFIN (voice-over) : These are just two in a long line of election conspiracists who tried to gain access to election equipment in multiple states, all based on the lie that machine switched votes from Trump to Biden.

KELLER: I was so new to be on a clerk, and I really questioned it. But I was so intimidated. So, at the time, I wish I would have just said no, you can't touch any of that.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Across the country, scores of brand-new election officials like Keller will run voting in midterms. That's partly due to a mass exodus of election officials, both Democrats and Republicans who've been relentlessly threatened and harassed by Trump supporters.

Matt Masterson used to run election security for the Department of Homeland Security.

MATT MASTERSON, FMR SENIOR CYBERSECURITY ADVISER, CISA: It's not worth a county salary or state salary, to have the lives of you and your family threatened, and they're walking away.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Roughly one in five election officials said they plan to leave before the 2024 election with a third of those citing political attacks.

LAWRENCE NORDEN, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: They're likely to be replaced by people that don't have nearly the same experience and we're in an environment where every mistake is an opportunity for spreaders of misinformation to further undermine confidence in the system.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Back in Cross Village, Michigan, real law enforcement eventually did show up.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: I came here to just do a forensic on it.

UNDENTIFIED MALE: Is that part of your normal policy? Just make sure it's operating properly and everything?

UNDENTIFIED MALE: No, I was I was, this is going through something else. Through the election integrity.



GRIFFIN (voice-over): And an investigation found out these two operatives were sent to Cross Village Township by a woman who claimed to be under the supervision of Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and discussed voter fraud tied to data stored on a satellite owned by the Vatican City. Her name is Tara Jackson. She has not returned our calls, but in this recorded police interview said this.

TARA JACKSON: This is a non-partisan issue. However, if you voted for Biden, you're an idiot.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): In February she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disturbing the peace. No one else was charged. These guys wouldn't answer CNN's questions.

(on-camera): Now that you've found out about the group behind this and what they were trying to prove. How do you feel about this in connection with national politics?

KELLER: I am sorry that it's happening to people. As far as new clerks go take all the trade and you can't, because they trade new about how they handle people in situations like that now.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Yes, but I bet you didn't think that'd be part of your job.

KELLER: I never did. Not in this small townshowip.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Some new developments state more fallout in the wake of 2020. Sources telling CNN that the former president's lawyers have accepted service of the subpoena from the House January 6 committee. Subpoena calls on the former president to turn over documents by next Friday and testify at a deposition by November 14 just days after the midterm elections. He's not said if he would comply. CNN has reached out to his lawyers for comment.

In a related item a South Carolina judge has ordered the former president's chief of staff Mark Meadows to testify in the Georgia 2020 election meddling probe. The grand jury is investigating efforts from the former president and his allies to manipulate the state's 2020 election results. Investigators are demanding Meadows testimony pointing to his involvement in the call between the former president Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ended December 2020 White House meeting about election fraud claims that Meadows touted. Meadows' attorney says he plans to appeal the ruling.

Up next, Vladimir Putin saber rattling within watching nuclear drills today. And CNN's Christiane Amanpour directly asking Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom if the Kremlin would launch a nuclear attack in Ukraine. His answer ahead.



COOPER: Russian President Vladimir Putin watching nuclear drills today Russian forces practicing missile launchers not long after Putin's veiled threats of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine. With fears Putin will do that today CNN Christiane Amanpour ask Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom about it.


ANDREY KELIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UK: Russia is not going to use nukes. So, it is out of the question.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (on-camera): And your president has said that too?

KELIN: He never mentioned the possibility of using --

AMANPOUR (on-camera): Could have been yes, you know, I mean --

KELIN: -- of it. There are speculations --

AMANPOUR (on-camera): -- he's raise veiled threats and it's worried everybody.

KELIN: No, no, there are speculations and allegations and issues that are trying to be -- which he has not announced, I think.


COOPER: Denial there from sorts from Russia's ambassador that Putin plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. This comes as Putin also repeated today the claim that Ukraine might be planning a quote, dirty bomb attack.

Joining me tonight is Samantha Power, the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Administer of Power, I appreciate you being with us.

I want to start with the images of a little boy from a story that Clarissa Ward filed this week in Mykolaiv. It's one of probably hundreds of scenes like this playing out across Ukraine right now, a little boy helping move some wreckage from a missile strike in that city. Is likely to get worse, obviously, with winter coming. When you look at these images, what is the U.S. at this point doing about it?

SAMANTHA POWER, ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Well, Anderson, thank you, first of all, for highlighting the stories because it shows the solidarity of Ukrainians on the ground. I was there a few weeks ago in Kyiv. And the morale is off the charts, which is counterintuitive, given what the people are going through, part of that is battlefield success. But part of it is everybody finding a way to chip in and be part of this kind of self- organization. Obviously, the effects of the war are devastating, searing and the loss of life and the sexual violence. And, you know, every day these attacks on civilian infrastructure take their toll.

In terms of the U.S. contribution, I mean, first of all, the security assistance is making a major difference on the ground and contributing to the battlefield successes, but it's the bravery of the Ukrainians that is driving that. We at USAID, as on behalf of the U.S. government are providing direct budget support to the Ukrainian government, because of course, they're not taking in the revenue that they would have before the conflict, the number of businesses that have been shut down, the number of jobs that have been lost. So even just paying health workers and civil servants and keeping the lights on and the state functioning is a really important part of winning this war.

And then the humanitarian assistance, for people who've been displaced for people who two weeks ago might have had a home in a big apartment building. But you've seen, again, what the Russians have done targeting large city centers and town centers and the displacement that that causes. Winter is going to be really tough. And I think that's our collective focus now is, you know, with the attacks on electricity, with the loss of potential heating, the loss of electricity power, we're looking at supporting as many repairs as quickly as possible, and looking, of course to other donors to chip in as well. But you can hear in Zelenskyy the urgency of thinking about how we maintain this morale, maintain the support given that Putin is showing no signs of de-escalating or be really being willing to negotiate.

COOPER: I know obviously, you're focused on humanitarian aid. We just heard the Russian ambassador to the UK with Christiane Amanpour, and Vladimir Putin uses some sort of nuclear device that would obviously cause unthinkable human suffering. How concerned are you about that possibility? And just the I mean, the meat grinder, that this war has become, how long -- I mean there is no end in sight or even no clear off ramp of how an N could even come to be inside?


POWER: Well, we are, again, focused on the immediate humanitarian needs. And those are overwhelming. I mean, just the estimates of the damage caused since this last spate of attacks on civilian infrastructure is in the hundreds of millions, and that's on top of the hundreds of billions already estimated, in in need. But, again, part of keeping morale in a position where there can be the kind of support that is needed to stand up to this aggression requires support in all sectors, we're still doing anti-corruption work, as well, and supporting independent media. Because we know also in putting this much assistance into the country that's really important that there'll be oversight and accountability. That's important up on Capitol Hill. It's important the American people.

But it's also that's what this war is about, in many ways with that's what threatened Putin so much was the anti-corruption work, was the democratization, was the integration into Europe. So, we have to, notwithstanding the battles that are going on, you know, in the security crisis, which is so grave, that Ukraine is still embarking on this goal of becoming a stable and prosperous democracy. And I know that sounds surreal to be thinking about doing that at the same time this war is afoot, but there are people every day in Ukraine who are focused on that task while the soldiers are focused on winning the war.

COOPER: That's really fascinating. Samantha Power, Administrator. Thank you, appreciate it.

POWER: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Next, a disturbing investigation in Iowa. Authorities looking to claims from a woman who says she helped her late father dispose of dozens of bodies that he killed decades ago.



COOPER: Authorities in Iowa say they're investigating a rural area where a woman claimed she helped her late father dispose of dozens of bodies decades ago. Their search comes after the release of a Newsweek article in which the woman claimed her father was a prolific serial killer who murdered between 50 and 70 people. And the investigation has been met with speculation -- some speculation including different claims from the woman's sister, and a western Iowa sheriff said they have a scene, but they're not sure it's a crime scene because they have found no victims so far or bodies yet.

I want to get perspective now from one of the first who have report this story, Naveed Jamali is a Newsweek editor-at-large and author of How To Catch A Russian Spy. He's one of the reporters exclusively on site when cadaver dogs searched the area where Lucy Studey says her father buried bodies.

Naveed, how did you come across the story and decide that this person, Lucy, Lucy Studey, the daughter who's alleging her father was a serial killer is credible.

NAVEED JAMALI, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, NEWSWEEK: Yes, Anderson, it's a great question. This started off as many of these stories do it was a tip. And it went to my colleague Eric Firkinof (ph) who then asked me to sort of fact check it. And look, Anderson as it is, with these stories, it comes down to one person and really it came down to a conversation where I sat down with Lucy in person and, you know, I find her story frankly credible.

COOPER: Why hasn't anyone really investigated what Lucy has said in the past?

JAMALI: So, Lucy, one of the things that makes Lucy so credible Anderson is that for 45 years, she has been telling the same story consistently. And we found this and evidence in some of the early records that we've obtained. And it's something that the sheriff who is leading this investigation has told us as well. So, why it hasn't happened is really I think it's an important question. And I think in Lucy's case, she had sort of four things working against her. One, when this allegedly happened. She was a child, too, she was poor. And three, she told it later on, you know, she was a woman. And we understand how law enforcement many cases just dismisses the claims of women. And of course, the fourth thing, which is we have yet to find a body or a name associated with this, even though she says very credibly, that she saw these bodies being disposed of, you know, we have yet to find those elusive bodies. COOPER: She has an older sister who has said she doesn't believe what Lucy is saying, correct?

JAMALI: That is correct. And it's an important part. And, you know, that is she also has stepbrothers and stepsisters, and some of whom we've spoken to have also backed up Lucy's claim. So, it is important to say that stepsister the other sister, excuse me, has not. Well, she sees her father, as you know, wants to clear his name. But everyone else that we've spoken to independent of Lucy Studey, thus far has frankly corroborated her story.

COOPER: And explain what you've uncovered about Don Studey, Lucy's father.

JAMALI: So, Don Studey is, you know, if this were 2022 Anderson, it's hard to imagine that he would have gotten away with the myriad of things that he did. I mean, we were able to establish that, in fact, he was, you know, a gambler, and that he lived a life of crime. And while those things don't necessarily point to him being a murderer, let alone a serial killer. Speaking to people, you know, there is this pattern of both violence. And another interesting thing, a pattern that says that he may have been connected to a criminal ring and potentially organized crime.

COOPER: And the area that investigators are looking at. How difficult is it because at some point there was a law enforcement officer went out couldn't find the well that she had talked about that was a while ago, then Lucy was able to show other law enforcement the well. What is it like and what are the cadaver dogs fine so far?

JAMALI: So, it is, as I would describe it, there is remote and then there is this. To give you an idea you drive through -- there's no roads there. you're driving through essentially cow pastures that are with steep embankments. And you finally get to this spot that the only way I can describe is it looks as if it were a crater, you actually have to descend into this, this canyon, this, you know, and that's where the well is. And one investigator described it to me that if you were to bury a body, this would be the place to do it. I mean, you go down there, there's no sound, there's no one passing through there.


So, you have, you have unfettered sort of access and undisturbed ability to really do what you will there. And one could imagine that a body buried there would, you know, likely go undisturbed, because there's just no human traffic that goes through there.

COOPER: And so, the cadaver dog dogs have sensed what?

JAMALI: Yes, so cadaver dogs. And this is a question we had for the science of the cadaver dogs. So, cadaver dogs, as experts tell us, they're not going to pick up on any other scent other than the decay of well of human bodies. Now, in this case, the way that the cadaver dogs approach this and the handler, he didn't go to the well and, you know, say to us, you know, do they smell anything. Instead, he sort of took this grid approach, and he let the dogs organically were watching this, organically go to places that interested them. And they naturally were drawn to both well and another spot. So, these are spots that Lucy independently, who was not guiding the dogs had said that these were burial sites.

COOPER: So, what happens next? I mean, are they going to dig it those spots?

JAMALI: That is the hope. As I understand it, Iowa as the winter is approaching, there is probably a window in which the ground freezes, which makes it potentially difficult. But as the sheriff has told us, you know, he was expecting the FBI to bring in resources earlier this year, and for some reason that we don't fully understand that process seemingly stalled while the sheriff was waiting for the FBI to come in.

COOPER: It's incredible story. Naveed Jamali, appreciate it. Thank you.

JAMALI: Thank you.

COOPER: And we'll be right back.



COOPER: Time now for Jake Tapper in "CNN TONIGHT." Jake.