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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Liz Truss Assumes Power Facing Major Crisis In U.K. And Abroad; School Year Begins In Uvalde For Traumatized Students, Staff; Fall Campaign Season Kicks Off With Focus On P.A. Senate Race; Oz Campaign Using "Inmates For Fetterman" Line Of Attack; Abortion Becomes Key Issue In Many States; Trans Activist Forced To Move Following Repeated Harassment By Kiwi Farms Trolls; Cloudflare Drops Kiwi Farms After Growing Public Pressure; 24-Year-Old Frances Tiafoe Defeats No. 2 Seed Rafael Nadal At U.S. Open; Coco Gauff To Compete Tonight In U.S. Open Quarterfinal Match. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 06, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: CNN's Max Foster reports on Britain's new prime minister as she steps into the job at a very challenging time.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A final lap of honor for Boris Johnson flanked by applauding staff and civil servants, Johnson departed Downing Street as prime minister for the last time. Asked about what he'll do next.

BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm now like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function. And I will now be gently reentering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.

FOSTER (voice-over): A speech outlining his legacy. Brexit, the vaccine rollout, and support for Ukraine. Many in his party sad to see him go ousted following months of scandal. Johnson made no mention of the events that ultimately led to his downfall. He concluded by throwing his considerable political heft behind his replacement.

JOHNSON: It's time for politics to be over. Folks, it's time for us all to get behind Liz Truss and her team and her program and deliver for the people of this country.

FOSTER (voice-over): Johnson and Truss then took separate planes for the 1100 mile round trip to Scotland to visit the Queen. Johnson submitting his resignation and Truss being invited to form a new government, meetings which are strictly private.

For Britons looking on support amidst a cost of living crisis is their top priority. Truss will be expected to lay out a new vision and quickly the leadership contest lasted six long weeks, during which the pound slumped to its lowest rate against the dollar since 1985. Returning to London, Truss stood where Johnson had stood hours before. Britain can ride out this storm, she said, as thunder cracked and lightning struck over London. Details of how will follow this week.

LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We shouldn't be daunted by the challenges we face. As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger.


FOSTER: And during the course of the evening, we began to get a steady stream of announcements on the top team that Liz Truss is creating rewarding key allies. Kwasi Kwarteng will be the chancellor -- the finance minister a crucial role considering the state of the economy, James Cleverly is foreign secretary.

Symbolically, the first call Liz Truss had with a foreign leader who was with the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. And we also know that she's just spoken to President Biden as well reiterating the importance of the special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. They agreed according to Downing Street statements to build on those links, including furthering deep defense alliances to NATO and ORCA (ph), that's according to Downing Street.

They also agreed on the importance of protecting the Belfast Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland. And this is very close to President Biden's heart and something that he's quite concerned about as well considering current machinations, let's say, between the U.K. and Europe. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Max Foster, outside parliament in London, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Alastair Campbell, he served as Communications Director for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was a member of the Labour Party, a different party than the current prime minister.

Thanks so much for joining us, Alastair. Appreciate it.

So Prime Minister Truss comes into office today facing significant headwinds, record inflation, spiraling energy costs, the aftermath of the pandemic, How difficult will it be for her to manage all this, do you think?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR TONY BLAIR: Look, I think it's a pretty daunting set of challenges. And I think the concern that many people in the British -- amongst the British public have is that they don't really know whether she has the skills to do it. She's won a leadership contest amongst Conservative Party members who are almost, you know, pretty old, very white, comes from a very sort of small part of the country, she won it by running a very populist agenda. She won it by clinging very, very close to the idea that Boris Johnson was somehow a serious leader that was taken seriously by the world. She even paid tribute to him in pretty fulsome terms today again. And I think what that does is indicate that actually, they haven't really learned from the reasons why he has finally, thankfully, been shown the door. The truth is that what we saw Boris Johnson today was the Johnson that we've seen throughout, he's a liar and a charlatan that you've never been there in the first place. And she had an opportunity to distance himself from that -- distance her from that, she hasn't done that.

Now that being said, she is somebody who has shown throughout her life and her career that she will -- she'll move, she's very flexible, she used to be in the Liberal Democrat Party, she was anti-monarchy, she was on the remain side in the referendum and has become a hardline Brexiteer. But all these challenges, what was not clear from what she said today was how she's going to prioritize and how she's going to strategize around them. And I think we just don't know enough about her as to whether actually she's even up to the job.


TAPPER: As you heard from Max Foster, her first phone call to a foreign leader was to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, which is a rather symbolic first call. She's taken a pretty hard line against Putin. She declared in March that Putin must lose in Ukraine.

Do you think that the U.K. support for Ukraine will change at all? Boris Johnson was heralded by Zelenskyy for being an ardent supporter of his against Putin? Do you think that she's going to keep that role continuing?

CAMPBELL: I think so. And also, she's amongst the many, many, many big spending commitments that she's made, alongside promises of massive tax cuts as well. She's promised to raise our defense spending to 3 percent of GDP, which would mean eye watering additional spending on defense.

Look, I think there is part -- Johnson did support the Zelenskyy and the U.K. government has, and I don't think that will change. I think the most interesting thing from what Max was saying there is what Joe Biden will make of Ms. Truss as prime minister, given that she has been, if anything even harder in pushing on the Northern Ireland situation in a way that Biden I know is very, very, very worried about. So I hope that Joe Biden, when they did have that conversation made very, very clear that if they do go against the agreement that's been made in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol, that America is going to be, you know, pretty firm in its response. Because what she's been talking about is actually doing -- handling the Northern Ireland situation in a way that could lead to a full scale trade war with the European Union, which, right now with all the other economic pressures, some of which you highlighted in the introduction is the last thing in the world the U.K. needs.

TAPPER: And of course, Boris Johnson gave a defiant, possibly even bitter final speech as prime minister today. He complained that lawmakers, quote, "changed the rules halfway through" when they removed him as conservative party leader. How do you think he'll be remembered? CAMPBELL: Well, the fact is that he was the politician who led the Brexit campaign, and he was the prime minister who finally got the legislation through that got us out of the European Union. So that makes him a significant figure, if you like, in British history. But I think it's equally the case that he's probably the worst prime minister that Britain has ever had.

He's left the country in a far worse state than when he arrived. He is a liar. He is a charlatan. And he's somebody who, even right to the end, he entered that door of Downing Street as a liar in the fantasies that he left it as a liar and fantasies.

Honestly, if you listen to that speech that he made, he was the most successful leader that this country has ever had, if you listened to him himself. So, I think history will obviously see Brexit as a very, very significant event. As to whether he gets even any credibility out of that, that depends on how it plays out at the moment is playing out very, very badly.

So I think Johnson, you know -- I won't be glad until the politics that he represents is gone. And I'm worried that Liz Truss actually is very, very close to the same sorts of policies. But Johnson, to my mind, will go down in history as the worst prime minister this country ever had.

TAPPER: And that's saying something.

Alastair Campbell, thank you so much. Appreciate your perspective.

A day of mixed emotions --

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

TAPPER: -- as Uvalde students returned to the classroom for the first time since one of the worst school shootings in decades. We're live in Uvalde, next.

Then, how one woman moved to a different continent to try and escape her online harassers only for them to track her down. But now that online platform used by those hateful trolls has been shut down. We'll bring you that story. Stay with us.



TAPPER: A heavy first day back at school in Uvalde Texas tops our national lead after 19 children and two teachers were senselessly gunned down at Robb Elementary School in May and families long for accountability and learn more about the unorganized and frankly cowardly police response. Still, today Uvalde parents drop their kids off while others opt in for remote learning and some took a moment to reconnect with classmates or pet therapy dogs.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has been covering this since the beginning.

Ed, school just flat out, how did the first day back go for these kids?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We saw just a few seconds ago a long line of cars with parents here picking up their children. We're able to speak with a few students who came out of school today.

Remember the school that you see behind me is where the second and third graders from Robb elementary last school year are now third and fourth graders. So this is one of the schools that absorb those students from Robb Elementary, which is no longer being used. And those students told us today that they felt very safe inside the school room. They saw multiple officers throughout the course of the day. And it was very good they said to be back with their classmates and their friends.

And they both told us that there was no mention of the tragedy back on May 24 where 19 students and two teachers were killed. That teachers here greeted them with open arms and smiles. So clearly a deliberate effort here to try to help the students feel secure and calm in a peaceful place as they return here to the classroom, you know. But many people sharing their first day of school pictures, families, that sort of thing. But that is something that the families of the victims the 19 students are no longer able to do.

And throughout the course of the day, we noticed a tweet that was sent out by a gentleman named Brett Cross, he is the father of one of the victims, his nephew, actually, Uziyah Garcia, but he has been raising him as his own son. And in a tweet, he posted a picture of Uziyah's urn where the ashes sit in their family's living room, and he says, "Seeing all of these babies first day of school pics put a smile on my face, but the hole in my heart is ablaze. This is Uziyah's first day of school picture."


So really kind of startling juxtaposition that really captures what so many families here in this community are dealing with and working their way through. And this comes as many families and parents especially, Jake, have struggled to figure out whether or not sending their kids back to you of all day schools was something they would they would feel comfortable doing. The school district has spent several months trying to assure parents and take steps to create a sense of security, like the fencing that you see behind me adding more officers and monitors. But even with all of that many parents were still unsure about today, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes, that message from that man is heart rending. Ed Lavandera in Uvalde, Texas, thank you as always.

Let's bring in Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez. He represents Uvalde.

Senator Gutierrez, I want to start with a new development that you're just learning about. What can you tell us about the police officers who went to the scene at Rob Elementary and a referral to the state's inspector general? We reached out to the Department of Public Safety but we have not gotten a response yet.

ROLAND GUTIERREZ, (D) STATE SENATE DISTRICT INCLUDES ROBB ELEMENTARY: Well, Jake, thank you. First off, DPS has confirmed to me that five of its officers have been referred to the state inspector general's office for a review as to their actions on May 24. My concern about all that is the manner in which all this is being done. I mean, I've been saying this for months now is we need to be more transparent with the public. And unfortunately, that has not happened as yet.

TAPPER: What are you hearing from the people of Uvalde, Texas today on this first day of school?

GUTIERREZ: Certainly frustration. You know, I think a lot of kids who are ready to go back to school, parents are ready to go back to school, for sure, but there's still frustration and the fact that there hasn't been accountability, answers to their questions.

You know, a special session by this governor, he's refused to call a special session and changing the laws. In the last week, he actually said that it would be unconstitutional in Texas to increase the age limit, which is a complete lie, and he knows that. And so, it's sad that Governor Abbott has decided to play legalese with our community in Texas while these families suffer through all of the pain that they've been through.

TAPPER: Robb Elementary School students and teachers and staff were absorbed into other schools throughout the district. The principal of the local Catholic school says that that school's enrollment doubled. Do these other schools have the resources they need to support all these extra students who are not comfortable going back to Robb?

GUTIERREZ: Certainly the school district and all of the different private schools, parochial schools in the area, I think everybody's going to be pressed to their limit, which is actually the point of all of this, is we need to -- this is -- a community has been hit by every bit of a hurricane and yet this governor has treated it like an incident that occurred on May 24 and that's it, gave them $5 million in trauma money and said bye.

At the end of the day, we needed more state resources and more advocacy from state agencies in this community. That hasn't happened. We needed more answers from this governor's office requesting accountability from the Department of Public Safety, Stephen McCraw, finding out what people knew within the agency, that hasn't happened.

Last week, there was an expose in a local Fox affiliate about radios, this community had been asking to repair the radios for seven years. So -- and the governor's office knew about it. So much has happened in the course of the last several months, and unfortunately, none of which has become out of the sheer voluntary act of a governmental official.

All of this has happened through people scraping and looking for information like yourself, like myself, trying to get do what government is supposed to do. And unfortunately, government has failed these people. And that is the feeling in Uvalde, that government has not acted rightly. Still to this day, they're not acting rightly.

TAPPER: So, you mentioned Texas's Republican Governor Greg Abbott, he says as you noted, it will be unconstitutional to increase the minimum age to buy these AR-15 or assault style rifles from 18 to 21. Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott did so in Florida after the Parkland shooting, although we should note he did not support the gun legislation when he was a senator after the Uvalde shooting. Are you and other lawmakers and any -- or any Republican lawmakers planning on trying to convince Abbott to reconsider raising the legal age?

And we should know that the handgun purchasing legal age is 21. It's the AR-15 style is 18. Is there any way that you and other Republicans can -- you and Republicans, too, can impress upon him the idea of why that might be necessary?


GUTIERREZ: Well, Jake, the only way we can do it right now is in a special session and he's the only one with the power to be able to call that special session. Come January I'll be filing bills, a lot of bills on Uvalde, including raising the age limit.

He out and out lied to the people of Texas last week on the constitutionality piece. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which regulates Texas, has ruled in NRA1 and NRA2 decisions that were denied review by the United States Supreme Court that age limits are appropriate. To your point, there are 18 states that have age limits, some of which are hybrid, some are just handgun, some are handguns and long guns.

We need to do the right thing here, but most importantly, we need to be truthful with people. We have a governor unfortunately that has decided to go down a different road. Road of misinformation it seems.

TAPPER: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you so much.

It isn't officially fall but the fall campaign season is in full swing. Excuse me. Why Pennsylvania may be the key to control of the Senate. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, the fall campaign season is underway and it's really just a handful of contests that will likely determine who will control the U.S. Senate next year.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny explores why a lot of eyes are on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania right now.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fall campaign sprint is on with two months until voters settled the midterm election fight. JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democracy is at stake.

ZELENY (voice-over): President Biden is leading the charge to make the campaign a stark contrast with Republicans rather than a referendum on his own presidency and democratic control of Washington. A remarkable era of uncertainty hangs over the races, as does the long shadow of former President Donald Trump, who's still relitigating his battle with Biden.


ZELENY (voice-over): In November, of course, neither Biden nor Trump are on the ballot. But that's often hard to tell as the 2022 campaign is unfolding like a sequel to their 2020 contest. It's a brighter political environment than Democrats had imagined, fueled in part by the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which in rages and energizes voters like Shirley Mayton.

SHIRLEY MAYTON, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I think this is huge. It's absolutely is. I think it's going to really hurt the Republican chances. And hopefully, they're getting the message that this is not something that they should, you know, stand on.

ZELENY (voice-over): The issue of abortion rights is now at the forefront of House, Senate and governor's races.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mehmet Oz is so extreme, he wants to make abortion a crime in Pennsylvania.

ZELENY (voice-over): Even as Republicans are countering with concerns about crime, inflation and immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The radical left has gone crazy.

ZELENY (voice-over): Control of the Senate is up for grabs, with competitive races unfolding across the country from Arizona to New Hampshire as Republicans try to erase so one seed edge held by Democrats. In the House, Republicans are only five seats away from winning the majority. And in governor's races, some of the most closely watched contests are playing out in the same states that delivered Biden the White House.

Pennsylvania is at the center of it all starting with the Senate race between John Fetterman --

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm going to make it really simple for all of you. It's a choice. It's a choice.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- and Mehmet Oz.

DR. MEHMET OZ, (R) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: This is not about health, this is about honesty.

ZELENY (voice-over): They're locked in a contentious duel over debates, as Fetterman works to recover from a stroke and heart condition. With Biden on Fetterman side, and Trump's standing with us, voters like Linda Frank (ph) have much to sort out over the next nine weeks.

LINDA FRANK (PH), PENNSYLVANIA VOTER : I am perplexed, because I was a Trump supporter and I don't know where I stand now.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet she does believe the Biden administration could use a check on its power.

FRANK: I think that the check system is leaning too far to one side and we need to get it back in the middle.

ZELENY (on camera): So you'll vote Republican in November in state races?

FRANK: Yes, I will.


ZELENY: So historical trends are still very much on the side of Republicans. In fact, only twice over the last century has a president's party actually not lost seats in the midterm elections. But Republicans I talked to, Jake, tell me they are concerned about the quality of candidates, particularly in some Senate races. But there is no Democrat you speak to who says with a straight face that they are likely to hold the house. So that is the landscape some nine weeks before the midterm elections, we'll be counting votes two months from tonight.


TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny reporting from Pittsburgh, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this. Paul Begala, let's start with you, your response to Jeff's reporting. Where do you see the midterm map right now?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, well, he's great report. Those two times he cited where the Great Depression 1934 and 9/11 2002, is the Dobbs decision taking away a woman's right to choose at that kind of level? I would have told you a few months ago, no.

Look at Kansas, a state Donald Trump won by 15 points, the prochoice side in a referendum, which was scheduled to help Republicans, who's scheduled Republican primary day swung 18 points for them. So a net of 33, 33 point gain in a state that hadn't voted for a Democratic president in 80 years. OK? So, it's something really, really big, just profound is going, we're seeing it in voter registration in red states like Kansas, but also in these purple states that just reporting on.


This is colossal. This was -- Republicans wanted this to be a big election, Biden inflation crime. And Jeff's exactly right. Now, it's a tag election, Trump, abortion, guns. And so, the issue terrain -- this is an earthquake like I've never seen before.

TAPPER: So it does come down to candidate quality in a lot of ways, and let's dive into that in Pennsylvania, the Senate race between the Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Take a look, Ramesh, if you could at this clip from John Fetterman 's new ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I first met John Fetterman when my son got into trouble. John took him under his wing. He helped him get his GED.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Fetterman helped change my life. He changed Harrisburg, and now he's going to change Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me what you've done, not what you say. And John Fetterman has done it.


TAPPER: The ad starts with a clip of Oz, Dr. Oz saying, you know, what has Fetterman ever done or what is -- what a politician has ever done for you. Your fellow conservative, Jonah Goldberg says he thinks it's an effective ad, just talking about the ad. What do you think?

RAMESH PONNURU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it is an effective ad, but I think this is going to remain a tight race. I think it's been showing some signs of tightening further --

TAPPER: Absolutely.

PONNURU: Recently. What's interesting, though, is that Oz is having trouble solidifying the Republican vote in that state. He's doing fine in the polls I've seen with Independents, but there seems to be some, some leftover unhappiness from a pretty bitter Republican primary. Question is does that in the end mean that they come home and he does better than he's doing in the current polls?

TAPPER: And Leigh Ann, let me start with -- in terms of how Oz is going after Fetterman. One of the things he's doing, he's started a website called Inmates for Fetterman. He's trying to say that Fetterman is weak on crime. Here's a quote, "Are you opposed to releasing convicted murderers? Then you should support John Fetterman's opponent."

The site highlights a number of individuals including individuals whose sentences have been commuted. And one of the individuals that Oz has been going after is somebody who was unjustly in the views of I think many people who looked into this was imprisoned. Fetterman does chair the Board of Pardons in Pennsylvania. He has talked about criminal justice reform. What do you make of all this?

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, EARLY 202 CO-AUTHOR, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think -- what Paul said, Republicans want to make this an issue about not only Biden, but crime as well. And that's why Mehmet Oz is using this attack line. It's interesting that this is kind of upscaling on the issues of priorities when you have the economy. But as far as you know, Democrats, this abortion issue is really, really playing well for them.

I was speaking to a strategist or Republican strategist in North Carolina today, who said that they are really losing support, Republican candidates, among these independent suburban women, these unaffiliated women, and this is what Democrats are trying to dig into with this issue of abortion. But Republicans, like you said, crime, inflation and the border.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And it's not only suburban, Middle East, suburban women, its young woman. There's a lot of evidence that you're seeing voter registration, more young women registering, which is playing in favor of Democrats historically. Now, the House definitely still leaning Republican but with these -- you've seen the Senate candidates, there is an acknowledgement that there is some trouble here, particularly with women, these soft ads with the wives sitting next to them, that sort of thing.

Scrubbing abortion, tough abortion language, from some of their websites, there's a reason they're doing that. And that's because they need to get women back into the fold, who perhaps the -- like the women who voted for Glenn Youngkin, for example. Those women that were -- that Republicans that voted for Biden, then would back to Republicans, they're now looking elsewhere, because of some of these -- the rhetoric of some of these candidates.

TAPPER: What do you make of that because I've seen some anti-abortion columnist and activists expressing distress with the fact that some of these nominees like Blake Masters are now backing off or at least scrubbing from their websites, their, you know, their very strong anti-abortion position?

PONNURU: Well, I think the entire Republican Party was unprepared for actually winning the fight at the Supreme Court over abortion after 50 years. They had been warned, they'd been put on notice for a long time, but very few of them were prepared to say anything sensible about it. Some of them had been stuck in positions that they were theoretical, that were notional that never had to be put to the political test in an actual election and it's showing right now.

I think you're seeing a lot of pro-life candidates who are doing extremely well in some of these battleground states. Governor of Ohio, for example, pro-lifer signed pro-life legislation, he's doing great. But these other candidates who have wobbled, who stake out a real hard right position that's not in line with public opinion, and then can't figure out a way to emphasize where they have common ground with most voters, they're facing trouble.


BEGALA: Yes. This is -- you're right. When you move to reality instead of theory, right, then all of a sudden, things change. You know, I have a buddy of mine in Georgia who says well I'm pro-life except the standard three exceptions, rape, incest, and if my daughter gets in trouble.

TAPPER: Right. BEGALA: Well guess what? He's out of luck. And so, people -- it is activating -- the -- in Kansas, voter registration after the Dobbs case which overturned Roe surged for women, among women, especially. It was about a two to four-point margin pro-women, before the case, 40-point margin of women advancing to register over men. So there's something really, really --

PONNURU: Right, and Kemp is another one of those pro-life governors who signed pro-life legislation. He's up in the polls.

TAPPER: It's also Georgia, right? I mean, it is --

PONNURU: We have Georgia as a purple state, right? Georgia is a state that has two Democratic senators --

TAPPER: It does.

PONNURU: -- which is a state that --

TAPPER: I don't bother to purple state. I think it's kind of -- well maybe.

BEGAL: It have his hands full.

TAPPER: But let's talk about this for a second because I do think this is interesting. The idea that there -- that was theoretical. Let's just take Blake Masters.


TAPPER: I'm going to pick on him, but he's the Republican nominee for Senate in Arizona. And he had a very, very strong anti-abortion position. He wanted a national law. He was 100 percent prolife, no exceptions, they think except for maybe life of the mother. And then he got the nomination. And then they took stuff off the website.

And he did an ad basically saying that his, you know, that he just -- I think he said, I don't believe in late term or partial birth abortion, but Senator Kelly's lying about my record. Senator Kelly wasn't lying about his record. Now, you could argue, you know, like Master said, Kelly's the extremist. But how do you pivot on -- when you stake out a position, and how do you just like run away from it?

CALDWELL: Well, that's the critical word extremists. For so long, Republican strategists have told me that they have been able to pin Democrats as extremists on abortion. Now that their abortion is not accessible in many of these states, now, Democrats can pin Republicans as extremists on an issue that is now very relevant to them. And I think that is what is switched and that's why the tables have turned.

KUCINICH: And we'll see what happens debate season. I mean, that's coming up, right? How Republicans, they're going to be forced to talk about this issue, they won't be able to pivot to inflation, or to gas prices, or other things which we've seen in the Senate, but also on the campaign trail. They're going to have to answer questions about where they stand on this issue. And that's what I'm watching. TAPPER: And I've seen some interviews with people, Republicans who have been, you know, in the past, very, very proud of their anti- abortion positions. And now that it's not theoretical, as you say, Ramesh, they kind of like run away from it.

KUCINICH: Yes, they look over there.

TAPPER: They have to be pinned down and pinned down and pinned down before they admit a position that they said when it wasn't theoretical.

PONNURU: That's right. And that's another part of the problem. It's not just the Republicans are saying unhelpful things politically. It's the ones who are ducking and covering. I think, though the Republicans ought to go on offense on this issue. They ought to reintroduce a federal ban on 20-week abortions, that's an issue where almost all Republicans are united.

You sometimes split Democrats on that issue. They need to recenter this conversation in a way that emphasizes the places they are in step with public opinion, not the places where they're out of stuff.

TAPPER: That's what the chief justice of the United States tried to do, but the rest of the Conservatives didn't listen to.

BEGALA: That's right. And that opinion, as Yamamoto said, when they bombed Pearl Harbor, I fear we've awakened a sleeping giant and fill them with terrible resolve. Women of America filled with terrible resolve and I don't think they're going to be looking at that 15, 20 week this thing. They want to put me in prison.

If I was -- I came to Kibbutz. If I was working for Doctor -- for Fetterman against Dr. Oz, I said oh, inmates performance. This guy wants to make you an inmate. I mean, I you and you and everyone in Pennsylvania who exercises the rights of autonomy over her own body. I mean, get on offense on abortion and the Democrats are doing it. Pat Ryan won a pretty purple district in upstate New York on this issue.

TAPPER: Entirely on this issue almost.

BEGALA: Right.

TAPPER: He characterized in terms of freedom. Thanks one and all for being here. Really appreciate it.

Online trolls tracked down and harassed one woman following her across an ocean. And now the online forum they used to harasser has been shut down. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our tech lead today, a web of hate, Kiwi Farms. That's an online forum that prides itself on free speech which includes a lot of pure bigotry and harassment. Kiwi Farms has been dropped by its internet services company after being linked to violent threats. The Internet services company San Francisco based Cloudflare dropped Kiwi Farms only after negative press attention, we should note.

For nearly a decade, Kiwi Farms has been a place for online trolls to organize hacking and harassment campaigns. Some of the victims of which eventually died by suicide.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan traveled to Belfast in Northern Ireland to bring us a story of how one transactivist and popular online game are targeted by Kiwi Farms, launched a campaign to get Kiwi Farms taken down from the internet.


CLARA SORRENTI, TWITCH STREAMER: I went out into the hallway, they told me to put my hands up. Honestly in that moment, I thought I was going to die. I'd screamed like as soon as I saw the gun.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Clara Sorrenti recounts how online trolls called in a fake emergency sending armed police to her home in Canada, a tactic known as swatting. Over the past month she's been targeted, harassed and stalked around the globe.

SORRENTI: I' m so exhausted of having to constantly run.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Sorrenti is a transactivist and streamer on Twitch, a platform hugely popular among video gamers.


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Earlier this year when Sorrenti began using the platform to talk about trans rights, she caught the attention of Kiwi Farms, a notorious online form that has been used to organize transphobic harassment campaigns.


SORRENTI: The first thing that they did was find the obituary for my dead father and use it to find his memorialized Facebook page. They were able to find a picture of my dad on the front porch of my childhood home. And from that, use Google Maps and figure out where that was located.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): After Sorrenti's in Ontario was swatted, she moved to a nearby hotel, but her harassers tracked her down there, remarkably using this photo of her cat on her hotel bed.

SORRENTI: They were able to cross reference what they saw on the bedsheets with every other hotel in the city until they found out that these specific bedsheets only had a pattern in this one hotel that I was staying at.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Eventually, she says her Uber account was hacked, allowing the online bullies to track her location. It was then she decided to leave Canada coming here to Belfast and Northern Ireland to stay with her friend. SORRENTI: And I thought that if I got far away and went to a different continent, they wouldn't be able to do the same thing. And then it turned out I was wrong.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Somehow, her harassers tracked her down in Belfast. One of them even came to the apartment building she was staying at, taking this chilling photo full of trans slurs and posted it online.

ELLEN MURRAY, TWITCH STREAMER: Clara was in the middle of a stream on Twitch, and in the middle of it, we find out that on the website 4chan, somebody had posted a picture taken from right around here.

SORRENTI: People have been trying to get this site offline for nearly a decade.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Sorrenti decided to take the trolls on, launching a campaign to get Kiwi Farms taken off the internet.

SORRENTI: I know that there's always a threat against me as long as I'm standing up for this. The alternative would have been the site keeps going. And not only me but the countless other victims of this site who get harassed relentlessly every single day would have to continue through that nightmare.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Sorrenti call for Cloudflare, a major U.S. internet company to stop providing cybersecurity services to Kiwi Farms that allowed the site to stay online. Cloudflare initially said no, but then reverse track over the weekend, citing imminent threats to human life. Sorrenti knows getting Kiwi Farms taken offline won't make all her trolls and harassers go away.

(on-camera): What is your message to the people who are doing this to you?

SORRENTI: I don't blame them really, because --

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Really?

SORRENTI: Yes. They got roped into a hate group. And once you get deep enough inside one of these things, it's really hard to get out. I want to show them more compassion than they've ever shown me.


O'SULLIVAN: Now, Jake, most of us have never heard of companies like Cloudflare but they play such an important role in keeping a lot of the internet running. What we've seen in the past few years is a lot of talk about companies like Facebook and Twitter being held accountable for the decisions they make about haste and violent rhetoric on their websites. This really what Sorrenti is doing here is bringing the new frontier more accountability to these types of companies.

As for Sorrenti, she's going to be staying in Belfast here for a while longer, she says, and will continue campaigning and streaming on Twitch.

TAPPER: All right. Donie O'Sullivan in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Thank you so much. Great story. Really appreciate it.

An amazing underdog story at the U.S. Open. The young man who brought Rafael Nadal's winning streak to an end. Stay with us.



TAPPER: A great story in our sports lead, a thrilling performance and unexpected outcome that stung the sports world Monday evening. 24- year-old Frances Tiafoe defeated Spain's Rafael Nadal at the U.S. Open, ending the 22-time Grand Slam champion's winning streak. Tiafoe, a son of immigrants from Sierra Leone, is the youngest American man to reach the quarterfinals since 2006.

Let's bring in CNN Carolyn Manno. Carolyn, tell us more about this stunning upset.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Frances Tiafoe has always been a very gifted tennis player. I mean, there are very few overnight sensations in the sport, Jake. But now he is playing with a confidence and a belief in himself and a focus that is really allowing him to utilize all those gifts in a way that I don't think he has so far in his young career.

I mean, he's got such a big surf, he's got incredible footwork, he put himself in excellent position on the court against Rafa who is a player that you can never take for granted that can climb his way out of just about anything. But, you know, he could win this thing. He really could.

The crowd is going to be on his side. He's always been a showman. He loves to engage with the crowd. And as we've seen over the last week or so, you know, the U.S. Open crowd, when they embrace a player, they can really lift a player. And so his chances are really good.

But further than that, I mean, you touched on his backstory, it is remarkably compelling. His parents fled Civil War from Sierra Leone, grew up in Maryland, playing at a tennis facility kind of in the suburbs of D.C. and his dad was a custodian there. And there were a lot of times during the week where him and his brother and his father would essentially sleep in a storage room at the facility.

I mean, he was running around kind of observing all the affluence that often accompanies the sport of tennis as a young kid, but he had dirty clothes and holes in his sneakers. And so he said he wouldn't trade any of that, that this is a dream come true for him. And now he is poised to make a major moment as an American at the U.S. Open.

TAPPER: Well, I know who I'll be rooting for. There's another American tennis player to watch in the singles tournament, 18-year-old Coco Gauff. What can we expect from her quarterfinal match this evening?

MANNO: Yes, she's playing France's Carolyn Garcia who is red hot right now. I mean, buzzsaw, but Coco can do this.


She's got to serve really, really well and the crowd again will very much be for her. She's got some experience at Arthur Ashe now. She feels really good. She looks really good. So this is going to be a tough test, a really tough test. But she can serve well. I think she can get this done.

TAPPER: All right, Carolyn Manno, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

A walk to remember. Scientists now know how many steps it takes to keep your mind sharp. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our health lead, take a walk. Researchers say they now know how many steps you need to walk each day to reduce your risk of dementia. The magic number is anywhere between 3,800 and 9,800 steps translation anywhere between 2 to 5 miles, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

People between the ages of 40 and 79 who reached the top of that step range were 50 percent less likely to develop dementia within seven years. And researchers say, a daily power walk can reduce your risk even further.

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Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I'd like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM". See you tomorrow.