Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Big Names Hit Campaign Trail One Week to Election Day; Wisconsin Senate Race Could Determine Control of Congress; Republican Liz Cheney Campaigning for Democrat Elissa Slotkin; Supreme Court Blocks House from Trump Tax Returns; Prosecutor Says Paul Pelosi Attack was "Politically Motivated". Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 01, 2022 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. AT THIS HOUR, seven days until votes are counted and now at least one Democrat is getting help from a big name Republican.

Plus the man charged with attempting to murder Speaker Pelosi's husband, that man is headed to court today.

And the chief justice of the Supreme Court just put a hold on Donald Trump's tax returns. This is what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.


BOLDUAN: Thank you for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan.

One week until midterm campaigning stops and the votes starting getting tallied. And it is also one week until we will likely know who will control the House and the Senate.

This hour, President Biden travels to Florida, where advisers are hoping his warning against Republican-controlled Congress will resonate with voters.

Former President Obama is also hitting the trail in a big way, heading to Nevada. And something that we don't see on the campaign trail, well basically ever, Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney crossing the aisle to support Democratic Elissa Slotkin in her re-election effort in Michigan.

Former V.P. Mike Pence is campaigning today for Georgia governor Brian Kemp. And in a new interview with CNN this morning, Kemp made his case for re-election while clearly trying also to avoid talking about the other Republican on the ticket this cycle, the anti-abortion candidate Herschel Walker, who is facing multiple allegations he pressured more than one girlfriend to have an abortion. Listen.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): I think people are going to make that clear choice as to who they will vote for, not just in the U.S. Senate race but all the way up and down the ballot. I will just tell you to talk to Herschel Walker about his policies on abortion. I am staying focused on my race and what I can control in trying to help them fight through Joe Biden's inflation.


BOLDUAN: We have reporters covering all of the key races this hour. Let's start in Philadelphia. CNN's Jessica Dean is there, tracking that razor tight Senate contest between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz.

We heard from John Fetterman this morning.

What did he have to say?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He talked to Don Lemon and talked about his recovery from his stroke and questions about his fitness to serve. I'll let you listen to their exchange.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm asking a question for the voters because they may wonder, is there a reason you don't want your doctors to take questions?

That is why I keep asking this.

JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, I just believe that we have our doctors just weigh in on that. And they believe that I'm fit to serve.


DEAN: So we have heard in a letter from his doctor that he is able to serve without any problems moving forward, that he is fully capable of doing so.

But John Fetterman has not released any additional medical records. It is up to the voters though decide how this stroke impacts their vote, if it does, if it doesn't. In the meantime, here in Pennsylvania, the TV airwaves and radio are flooded with ads. It is a wall of ads.

And we're seeing closing messages in the Senate race. We saw one from Mehmet Oz today. It features his family and it talks about him being a moderate, getting rid of extremism on both sides, really trying to again appeal to those more independent kind of more moderate voters, that they believe could swing this race in his direction.

And this will it likely be a very tight race, what appears to be a very tight race. And we heard there John Fetterman in his closing ad, also setting this up as a stark choice between himself, someone would is -- he makes the case from Pennsylvania, again a standup for the little guy, and Dr. Oz, who he tries to kind of paint as a phony.

Kate, going to be up to the voters to decide now just one week away from Election Day. BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It is good to see you.

Let's go to Wisconsin, where Ron Johnson and the challenger there, Mandela Barnes, are locked in a tight race and throwing around allegations of being too extreme on one side and a long-time hypocrite on the other. Omar Jimenez is there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is time of the year when handshakes and cheers need to become votes in Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want us to vote for Mandela?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is my First Amendment right.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The hotly contested race between Ron Johnson and lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people need to be stopped. They need to be defeated.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): The sharp rhetoric a reflection of the elevated stakes.

JIMENEZ: Senator Johnson, you said Mandela Barnes has turned on America.

Why do you think this race is so close?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Well, it is Wisconsin, first of all. I don't understand it. I don't know why he has such grievances against this country. That is what this is all about. Our nation is at a precipice right now.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Barnes, on a statewide RV tour, said he's campaigning to help save the country.

JIMENEZ: Ron Johnson is calling you too extreme for Wisconsin.

What is your reaction?

MANDELA BARNES (D-WI), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Ron Johnson has been a hypocrite his entire career. We're talking about the things that matter, creating good paying jobs and rebuilding the middle class, that same middle class that gave my family an opportunity.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): With polls showing a target race, Barnes bringing in former president Barack Obama to fire up Democratic voters and make the case against Johnson. BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's not the

person who is thinking about you and knows you and sees you. And he should not be your senator from Wisconsin.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Both sides believe their path to victory hinges on higher turnout, especially from those who might not typically vote in midterm elections.

ERIKA NELSON, STURGEON BAY RESIDENT: I would almost have called myself apolitical in the past. But since Roe versus Wade got over turned, that completely changed everything for me.

JIMENEZ: So in conversations you're having, it brought a lot of people to the forefront.

NELSON: Absolutely.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): She voted for Trump in 2016 then Biden in 2020 and now planning to cast her ballot for Barnes. Also top of mind for voters, is the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People's savings are being eroded by rising inflation rates and things. And we just need to get back to the basics in this country. The Democrats have gone way too far left for the majority of the country.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): It is a perception that is being tested.

JOHNSON: Most Democrats do love this country and they are concerned about its future so I'm asking them to join us.

BARNES: We have a chance to bring real opportunity back to Wisconsin and we could get away from people trying to overturn the election just because they don't like the results.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Those results are usually close in Wisconsin, which is politically as close to the state's identity as cheese curds and beer.

JOHNSON: God bless America. Get out there and fight hard. Let's work.


BOLDUAN: And one week to go. Omar Jimenez, thank you so much.

Let's go to Michigan now. Something we don't often see, a Republican lawmaker campaigning for a Democratic candidate. Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney is in Michigan to throw her endorsement behind Democratic congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.

Slotkin's running for her third term in her Republican-leaning district. Jeff Zeleny is live in Michigan for us.

So Jeff, what are we going to see today? JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, it is certainly unusual. And they're billing this event this evening as a evening of bipartisanship and patriotism.

Of course congresswoman Liz Cheney is coming here to Michigan to campaign for Elissa Slotkin. Both of them share a seat on the House Armed Services Committee. They have a bit of background.

When Liz Cheney was working in the State Department, Slotkin was working as a Pentagon official. So they have known each other for years. But their politics differ. Slotkin is in a tough race running as a Democrat; Cheney was defeated as a Republican.

But they are coming together tonight around democracy. Take a listen to what Slotkin said this morning on CNN this morning.


REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): I think we have to be honest with ourselves that there are things that are more important than any one person winning an election. And my race is going to be a nail biter. I've known that from the beginning; it always is.

It is those people I'm speaking to, moderate Republicans and independents, people that know that this kind of toxic anger that people are throwing back and forth in the political realm is not good for our country.


ZELENY: So Slotkin making the calculation that there are some independents and Republican voters who are listening to Cheney's message on democracy. This is one of the closest congressional races in the country in the 7th District of Michigan.

It leans slightly toward Trump as of 2020. But it will be interesting to see if this rallies Democrats or Republicans more for her opponent, Tom Barrett.

BOLDUAN: So what is Barrett, Slotkin's opponent, saying about this?

ZELENY: He's actually a state senator from here in mid Michigan. His name is Tom Barrett. And yesterday he received the endorsement from Harriet Hageman. She's the Wyoming Republican who defeated Liz Cheney back in August.

And Hageman said that she's ashamed of Liz Cheney coming here to Michigan to support a Democrat. At this point it's base politics, both sides clearly trying to get out their base.

But Slotkin makes the argument that some things are most important than winning elections and she believes that democracy is one of those. So a unique event here playing out, one week before the election in Michigan.

[11:10:00] BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Jeff, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Joining me right now is CNN's Audie Cornish.

What do you think of the case Slotkin is making?

She's been in tough re-elections before and she made that clear, and in a Republican-leaning district but also the move that Liz Cheney is making campaigns for her and putting money in other races.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It probably looks unusual but, if you're going to have Cheney campaign on behalf of a Democrat, this is the kind of district you would do that.

You heard in the Slotkin clip, the first phrase out of her mouth was moderate Republicans in terms of people she wants to appeal to. And this is a redrawn district and genuinely up for grabs.

But who is the constituency who is the centrist voter?

I think that is something that we'll have more of a question kind of underscored over the next few years.

Who is the constituency for Liz Cheney?

And for Slotkin, somebody who is a centrist Democrat in the same way, it is becoming harder and harder to be in line with some of the other positions in the party and then still have to defend those come general election time.

BOLDUAN: Something of an early test of the path forward for Liz Cheney here as well, for sure.

So then in Pennsylvania, the Fetterman-Oz race is where all the big names are headed almost at the same time. Asked about the debate performance, Fetterman said, I thought it was important to show up.

But what impact is that debate having on voters in this final stretch?

CORNISH: I think it is too close. We don't know for sure. The Fetterman campaign insisted they got an outpouring of fundraising. But absolutely the chatter about it indicated that it could cast doubts for voters.

And when it comes to Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia suburbs, there is a voter who could be swayed.

And I think that the question is, were they kind of put off by that performance and do subsequent performances alleviate that or not?

BOLDUAN: Former President Obama is hitting the trail. He's in Nevada tonight and Arizona tomorrow. I want to play what Van Jones or how Van Jones described the current landscape for Democrats as he sees it, when I spoke with him last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that there is a red riptide that is starting to pull us out into waters I don't want us to be in. We got seven days. Vote and volunteer and donate.

But the idea that we're still in this fight, usually you expect a wipeout in the midterms. With the economy being where it is, you expect a wipeout. And we have fantastic candidates on our side. But they're now swimming against a red riptide. And we're going to have to go out there and fight.


BOLDUAN: What is the impact that people think former President Obama could have on that?

CORNISH: We don't know that's what they're up against. We know that Van Jones is spinning that image of what they're up against; when in fact, in recent years, there have been wave elections with some frequency.

President Obama expanded the Democratic electorate. He said you don't have to go after the same voter groups; you can actually draw more people in. And it is interesting because Joe Biden used to be person that they would say, we're going to send him to white working class districts to draw voters.

Obama is doing what he's always done, firing up the people who need to consistently turn out for the Democratic Party, not just when him or someone who looks like him is on the ticket. And he's one of the best orators in the party right now.

BOLDUAN: It is great to see you.

CORNISH: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Also new this morning, chief justice of the Supreme Court giving Donald Trump a legal win, at least a momentary one. Chief Justice Roberts agreeing to put a temporary hold on the release of Trump's tax returns that have been requested to a Democratic led House committee.

This has been a long, long, long fight. Let's get over to Paula Reid in Washington with the latest on this.

What does this mean?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're exactly right. This has been a long running piece of litigation. I've been covering it for years. And noted, this is a temporary win for the former president because a lower court had ordered that the IRS would have to hand over his federal tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

And then he asked the Supreme Court for relief. He asked them to intervene, which is exactly what the chief justice did this morning. But as you noted, this is temporary. It is an administrative stay. It effectively means a pause on this decision while a full Supreme

Court decides whether it wants to weigh in here.

As I noted, this is a long running case, started several years ago when Trump was in office. And the House Ways and Means Committee argued that it needs access to his tax returns so that it could assess how the IRS audits presidential tax returns and to assess how federal tax law applies to sitting presidents.


REID: Now the Supreme Court has held, in a different case related to Trump's tax returns, that Congress can't just obtain these financial records, that they need a legislative purpose.

And so that is why the House committee put forward this argument. But former president Trump's lawyers argue that that was just pretext, that this is politically motivated. They wanted to get their hands on these financial records.

And ultimately they argue this was a violation of the separation of powers. The chief justice has set a pretty tight timeline for the case going forward. But it is definitely one to watch to see what they do here and whether they grant the former president permanent relief.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It is good to see you, Paula. Thank you.

So the man accused of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, he is about to appear in court. And the San Francisco DA is now crystal clear on what she sees as the suspect's motivation.


BROOKE JENKINS, SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Based on his statements and comments that were made in that house during his encounter with Mr. Pelosi, this was politically motivated.


BOLDUAN: That is next.





BOLDUAN: Now CNN has just confirmed the rapper known as Takeoff from the platinum selling group, Migos, he has died. He was fatally shot overnight in Houston, Texas. Rosa Flores is live in Houston with more on this.

Rosa, what are you learning about what happened here? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is according to a source close to the rapper group, Migos, telling my colleagues, Chloe Melas and Lisa France, identifying this rapper Takeoff as the individual who was shot and killed overnight in Houston.

To be clear, the Houston Police Department has not identified the individual who was deceased. But the Houston Police Department has been giving us some information.

According to HPD, this shooting happened in downtown Houston at a bowling alley at about 2:30 this morning. They say that there was a private party happening at this bowling alley, with 40 to 50 people, when shots rang out.

And even though the police is not identifying Takeoff as the individual who was shot and killed, police do say and confirm that there were members of the rapper group, Migos, present at this party.

They say that the individual who died is a person in their late 20s, a Black male. And they say that two individuals were transported to the hospital in their private vehicles. So again, Kate, latest here from Houston is that rapper Takeoff has died, was shot and killed overnight and according to a source close to Migos telling CNN.

BOLDUAN: Rosa, thank you for that.

Let's turn now to this. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that her husband is making steady progress but also is facing a long recovery. The man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer is expected to appear in court today for the first time.

He's facing a long list of state and federal charges, of course, including attempted murder and attempted kidnapping. Veronica Miracle is live with the latest.

What is expected to happen today?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, between the charges that you just mentioned, David DePape is facing 13 years to life in prison. We're expecting to see him here at 1:30 Pacific time in the courtroom. This is just for state charges.

That does not include the federal charges that he's facing of attempted kidnapping and assault. And he's facing 50 years in federal prison if convicted on those two charges.

Some chilling details have come out in the court documents. And he's described as wanting to kidnap and injure Nancy Pelosi. He's described as wanting to break her kneecaps so that she would have to be wheeled in front of other members of Congress, so that they could see the consequences of their actions.

He described her as a leader of a pack of lies, promoted by the Democratic Party. District attorney for San Francisco, Brooke Jenkins, said this was politically motivated. Here is what she had to say.


JENKINS: It appears as though this was, based on his statements and comments that were made in that house during his encounter with Mr. Pelosi, that this was politically motivated.

And it is very sad to see that we are once again at a point in history where people believe that it is OK to express their political sentiments through violence.

And so, I think it really demonstrates that we have to calm things down. We have to decide that we are going to be more respectful as an American society, that is it is OK to disagree but it certainly is something that has unnerved us all.


MIRACLE: And Paul Pelosi still in a local hospital, recovering from serious injuries, including a skull fracture. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

And you heard the district attorney saying it is incumbent on everyone to bring down the temperature. And joining me for more on that is Doug Heye, Republican strategist.

And he's just written a new piece for "The Washington Post."

And the headline is, "I helped run the Fire Pelosi effort. Our toxic politics goes too far."

And it is a great piece. And I remember you launching that Fire Pelosi campaign in 2010 and talking to you about it.

And you're not pulling any punches here in this piece.

You're writing as a Republican, "I know the original sin begins with us."

Doug, seeing what has happened now, do you look back, do you see a line from that campaign, if you will, to this?


BOLDUAN: Do you regret launching that Fire Pelosi rhetoric?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't see a direct line. But I see a very crooked line, like Lombard Street in San Francisco, that could get you from one place to another after a long period of time.

Last week I was emailed, asking where the Fire Pelosi banner was. I was curious what happened to it because I stole it when I left the RNC on my last day.

Once I saw the news of the attack on Paul Pelosi, following all of the other things we've seen, whether it is the attempted murder charge on someone who tried to kill Brett Kavanaugh and the planned kidnapping of Gretchen Whitmer, the shooting of Steve Scalise and on and on, that our rhetoric, it has been way out of hand for too long.

And anything that I see that contributes to that, I want to stand up and say no to, even if I've done it myself. There has also been a turning point. And I received an email from a former White House press secretary this morning that basically said, what about the other things that were ugly that were said about past presidents?

And that is true. But the reality is, once Barack Obama became president, our rhetoric changed. And what I saw at the RNC and in state parties and in local parties was such ugly, nasty rhetoric that we needed to draw a line in the sand on, I tried to do that quite often. Sometimes was successful but all too often wasn't.

BOLDUAN: I talked to Eric Swalwell last night. He's faced death threats himself. I want to play what he said.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEES: Republicans need to speak up, otherwise somebody is going to get killed and Paul Pelosi almost was killed.


BOLDUAN: I play that in knowing, look, you don't agree with Swalwell on pretty much anything when it comes to policy or even maybe approach.

But do you think that is where this is headed?

HEYE: Unfortunately, I do. And the reality is, we've been lucky that this attack wasn't successful, that the kidnapping that was planned for Gretchen Whitmer didn't happen and that Steve Scalise is still alive.

We've been lucky that these attacks have been unsuccessful. I'm concerned at some point they will be and it is incumbent on all of us. I know my Democratic friends don't like hearing it but we all have to do better.

If you're using extreme rhetoric about Brett Kavanaugh that can inspire somebody to show up at his house. And that is a viral problem because when it is successful, we'll all be spun up even more. And we're at a tender breaking point in our country right now. Our politics are broken, Kate, because our rhetoric is broken and we've been incentivized on that.

So what happened since then?

Well, we see people making light of this and telling jokes about it. And these aren't fringe figures. This is the son of the former president, the former president drawing conspiracy theories on this.

And all of this needs to be condemned from Republican leadership and Democratic leadership and folks like myself. And if we have to point fingers and look in mirrors, we should do so.

BOLDUAN: I think more people should consider, you wrote this, "Just as warming waters create the conditions for more frequent, destructive hurricanes, toxic rhetoric can manifest into actions," which is what you're getting at.

"Our political emotions are running hotter than ever."

But pointing fingers and looking in the mirror, some Republicans including the current head of the RNC said it is unfair to draw a line between political rhetoric and what happened to Paul Pelosi. And what you're saying here is it is not unfair. And you have to draw these lines.

HEYE: Yes. And look, again, they could be very crooked lines but they exist. What we know is these are deranged people. But they take messages and cues from our political leaders and from our TV news.

And I've been in a whole lot of campaign headquarters and county parties and so forth and there is always the one person that takes things a little too seriously. And that could be a Republican or a Democrat.

And in this environment, especially with social media, you can filter what news, what information you get from and that is the rising temperature in the waters that causes some of these problems.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it is fair to say that, even if it requires both parties, all people elected and regular folk alike, to bring down the temperature, it is incumbent upon everyone, that you're making the case in this piece, that it is one party. It is the Republicans who have pushed it so far with the rhetoric the most.

HEYE: Look, Joe Biden didn't say knock the crap out of them at political rallies. Barack Obama didn't say stand down and stand by and do those things that made January 6 not just possible but inevitable.

Republicans have to confront their demons within their own parties. I just know that my Democratic friends get upset when I say, you're also not perfect and need to do better. Some of the rhetoric about Brett Kavanaugh was not only not acceptable but led to people protesting at his house and people showing up with guns. That is a problem.

BOLDUAN: When it is a societal problem, it does take society, the collective, to come to a solution. It is good to see you, Doug. Thank you. I appreciate it.

HEYE: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: So the families of those killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, they are right now speaking directly to the killer in court.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope your every breathing moment here on Earth is miserable.