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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Uncovering Horrors And Dangers Of A Retaken Ukrainian Town From Russian Forces; Adnan Syed Released After 20 Years In Jail; Abortion Rights In The Middle Of Georgia's Governor's Race; Abrams: Abortion Rights "Front And Center" In GA Governor's Race; Walker Sets Low Bar For GA Senate Debate: "I'm Not That Smart"; Royal Family, Global Leaders & Public Gather For Queen's Funeral; FAA Rejects Controversial Request To Reduce Pilot Training Hours; California Woman Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Faking Her Own Kidnapping. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And leading this hour, in just a few hours, U.S. senators will receive a classified briefing on the success of Ukraine's counteroffensive reclaiming territory from the Russian invaders.

In the retaken areas, Ukrainian officials are uncovering evidence of the horrors carried out by Russian forces. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh takes us to the recently liberated eastern Ukrainian town of Kupiansk to find more evidence of Russia's cold-blood torture tactics.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATION SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): There's no respite and victory here. An artillery battle still shaking the liberated city of Kupiansk. This occupation slogan, "We Are One People with Russia," seems comic.

Now, the Ukrainians have chased the Russians across the bridge and further south. A shell has landed under 100 meters from us. Another swiftly follows. It's unlikely Moscow can retake places lost in the past weeks. So, this is about vengeance and spite.

This prisoner, this claimed to be local but they think he's a Russian soldier deserting or left behind. What else Moscow left behind is far uglier. These tiny rooms were their detention center where as many as 400 prisoners were held at one time we are told. Eight or nine prisoners per cell. Booby traps now in their place, a warning written next to this room.

(On camera): So, he's writing grenade there on the wall because as they move through these cells, they're finding booby traps left, it seems, by the occupying forces. That one in there, a grenade left under a tray of half-eaten food. And it just shows you the hazards that ordinary people are going to find coming back.

A place like this, sure, used as a key detention center by the Russians, but across this town, the damage is extraordinary but also, too, is the risk of unexploded ordnance and potentially booby traps.

(Voice-over): They're discovering two other scars from torture. This former prisoner is introduced to us by the Ukrainian security service. He says he was imprisoned about a month ago as he was once a cook in the army.

UNKNOWN: (Speaking in foreign language). This is the room I was interrogated, they put me in this chair. There the investigator sat and there was the guy with the telephone and another one who helped.

WALSH (voice-over): The telephone was an old wind-up model used to send electric shocks into him. He thinks his interrogator was experienced from the Russian security services.

UNKNOWN: (Speaking in foreign language). They told me, "You think you are tough. Let's find out how though." I was also shot with some kind of pistol. Here and in the leg.

WALSH (voice-over): They asked him who he was in touch with from the army. The Russians burned their interrogation records hurriedly.

UNKNOWN: (Speaking in foreign language). The main thing is to survive and to withstand. It took me a week and a half to recover when I got out. They promised I'd only see the sun and sky again if they forced me into a minefield.

WALSH (voice-over): Elsewhere, signs of a mindset fueling the Russian invasion. They found time to paint this mural. A Russian soldier, you see the Z on his arm, next to a pensioner and the flag of the former Soviet empire, burnished in flames. Pause a moment here in the blood bloodshed and ruin and consider how truly odd this is.

They were only here a matter of months, yet so speedily tattooed this building with their machinery of pain. So much here clearly beyond use. So, few locals huddle in its empty husk. Winning does not heal the wounds, just gives them enough time to feel them.


(On camera): Jake, over the weekend Ukraine said they found 10 torture chambers on the outskirt regions of Kharkiv where similar tactics appear to have been used. Also, there appears to be continued advances over the eastern side of that river you saw in the piece there, south towards Russian supported and occupied territories and also, too, near where I'm standing on Bilohorivka. Today we heard from Ukrainian officials saying they had retaken that town entirely.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denying there had been quite a lull in operations. They're looking to see exactly where the next focus of a counteroffensive will be, but the fighting does continue, as does this terrifying toll they're seeing of what occupation did to ordinary people, Jake.


TAPPER: Alright, Nick Paton Walsh in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Thank you so much. Let's bring in Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. Thank you so much for joining us, prosecutor general. First, what's your reaction to what you just saw in Nick's report, allegations of torture, torture chambers. Obviously, we've heard about these mass graves. What's your response?

ANDRIY KOSTIN, UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL: This is what had been reported immediately when this is found. And the main response is that what Russians did in Bucha and Irpin, they proceed and they do the same in other places in Ukraine. So, this shows a turn of Russia's behavior and treatment over Ukrainians. So, the same stories, the same -- the same, how to say it, the same tortures. The same rapes and the same people killed.

TAPPER: Do you have enough resources to investigate and document everything that's going on in your country? Because obviously you have this newly liberated area in the Kharkiv region and you'll have to have new people to document it and interview people. Do you have everything you need?

KOSTIN: This is now our priority, not only of the prosecutor's office, but also of law enforcement agents that send investigators. We have organized our work in certain manner. So, we have something like 28 investigative groups where prosecutor, investigators, police officers, forensics experts are included, and they can work in parallel and different places because what we saw in Izium is more massive but the same cases are in different towns and cities of liberated Kharkiv region.

So, now it's more organized than it was before, because before we were also shocked and it was difficult to construct our work at that time. Now, it's more organized and we also have -- we have support from our international partners. Some of our partners are -- we are in discussion there, ready to send additionally their investigators and their experts on the ground to work in Kharkiv and with us.

TAPPER: So, an official from the European Union is calling for a special international tribunal to investigate the war crimes that Russians are allegedly committing in Ukraine. Do you think a special international tribunal is the best way to hold Putin and his armed forces accountable?

KOSTIN: We think it's the only way, since the crime of aggression, which is the mother of all other war crimes, the crimes against humanity committed by Russians in Ukraine. So, the crime of aggression could not be prosecuted by the prosecutor (inaudible) could not be tried by the International Criminal Court for legal constraints.

So, the only possible way to punish the crime of aggression is a special tribunal. So, I think it's not only the political will of Ukrainian political leadership, it's the will of every Ukrainian so that people committed the crime of aggression should be punished.

TAPPER: I was in Ukraine in April and I saw firsthand civilian buildings in Zaporizhzhia that had been shelled, so I know the Russians regularly lie about this and the crimes they are committing, but I do want to give you an opportunity to respond because Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov said that the new war crime allegations are a lie. He said it's the same scenario as in Bucha.

Again, they're lying. I don't believe them. But how do you reach the Russian people given the fact that the Kremlin is constantly denying the facts on the ground as are reported by journalists and documentarians who are there seeing the bodies and talking to the victims?

KOSTIN: First of all, we are very open and we invited hundreds, up to hundred journalists from different media, including international media, to come on the ground to Izium and other places in Kharkiv for them to see it first what really Russian did in Ukraine.

The second, I mean, how to capture war criminals. First of all, it's important to know that counteroffensive is a chance to capture more war criminals than we have now at our possession. And we know that some officers were captured. There was an information by a general. It's not a general, but lieutenant colonels are the level which we have at the moment as we primarily understand. So, preliminary understand at the moment.


But we have a chance with the support of our friends and allies, especially military support to liberate the southern part of Ukraine. We are ready for this and our troops, their morale is very high. They are ready to go. We need more weapons. And this is a chance to get more war criminals in order to make them punished.

TAPPER: So, you have a special unit of prosecutors working specifically investigating the sex crimes --


TAPPER: -- that the Russians are committing against Ukrainian women and girls. We've heard so many reports of this. Is it more difficult to investigate and prove sex crime allegations, the mass rapes that the Russians allegedly commit, versus other kinds of torture?

KOSTIN: It's more difficult because it's very sensitive. And many victims of these crimes, they don't want to be re-victimized. And it's a very sensitive issue how to reach them and to get -- to get exact evidences, especially when we are talking about children.

But we have people trained to work with them. We have specific techniques. And for these types of crimes, to investigate them properly, we are in very close connection with our partners who helps us to deal with such category of cases.

The other story is that many of the victims, they -- for different reasons, they don't want to report about these crimes. And we are preparing now the specific communication strategy for the potential victims and witnesses of all of the war crimes, including sexual violence crimes in conflict to come and to report, even if they are in Europe, in safe place, they can report to our partners in these jurisdictions.

We already established specific rules that evidence collected there can be used in Ukraine and international criminal court.

TAPPER: Alright, Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin, thank you so much and thanks for the important work you do.

His murder conviction got the attention of millions of Americans after the hit podcast "Serial." Today, Adnan Syed has been released. His legal fight however is not over.

Then, Georgia Senate candidate and former football star Herschel Walker is trying to tamp down expectations for the upcoming debate. He says he's just a country boy. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our "National Lead," Adnan Syed, who was serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2000 of murdering his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Adnan Syed is free from prison for now. Syed's case, of course, was made famous through the podcast "Serial" and a subsequent HBO series.

A Baltimore judge today approved the motion to vacate Syed's conviction and released him under home detention and now prosecutors have the choice of either dropping the charges or retrying the case. This hearing comes after prosecutors asked for a new trial last Wednesday citing newly introduced evidence which revealed two other possible suspects.

To be clear, prosecutors are not saying that Syed is not guilty. Instead, they're satisfying they have no confidence in his past conviction and that keeping him in prison as they continue their investigation would be unjust. CNN's Alexandra Field is following this case for us closely. Alex, tell us more about what happened at today's court hearing.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, you saw some of that emotion as he left the courthouse. That is what was happening inside the courtroom as well. Tears and cheers going up as the judge decided to vacate the life sentence against Adnan Syed. He was in that courtroom. The hearing lasting about two hours with a 30-minute recess in between.

This was a time where the prosecutors were able to lay out the evidence they had presented in their motion. Evidence that was gleaned from a year-long reinvestigation into the case that really did focus on this newly developed information about two alternative suspects and also a failure of the state as told by the prosecutors to share some of that existing information about two alternative suspects with the defense at the time of the trial.

That argument seemingly enough to sway the judge to vacate the sentence. During the hearing, we also did hear from Hae Min Lee's family. Her brother zooming in to speak on behalf of the family, reminding those in the courtroom that for him, this is not a podcast, this is real life. While we did hear from prosecutors as soon as the decision to vacate the sentence was handed down, we did also hear from an attorney representing the Lee family who had this to say. "This family is interested in the pursuit of justice. They want to know more than anybody who it was that killed Hae Min Lee. Jake?

TAPPER: So, the prosecutors are waiting to decide whether they will drop the charges until they get the results from the DNA test. What do we know about that?

FIELD: Right. So, they are making it very clear that this is not a declaration of their belief in his innocence. They say that this is an opportunity to move forward with the investigation. They want to ensure that justice is being served, that there is adequate representation for Adnan Syed should there be a future trial.

They say that a decision to go to trial will now hinge on pending DNA results. They're doing touch testing for DNA. This is a type of testing that was not available at the time that Syed was convicted so they're trying to expedite the results there, see what they can glean from those results before deciding whether to go to the new trial or dismiss charges altogether.

TAPPER: We saw Adnan Syed leaving the courtroom today I think wearing an ankle monitor. What's next for him?

FIELD: Yeah. He will be under electronic home surveillance while the investigation continues and until there is a decision on whether or not to dismiss charges or proceed with the new trial, but really you can't underestimate or underplay the enormity of this decision.

Look, the defense has worked for more than two decades to try to appeal this conviction. Adnan Syed has for years and years maintained his innocence in the murder of his ex-girlfriend.


This is a day that came, we have to remind ourselves, not just because of the defense's efforts to clear him or exonerate him. It is something that came because the prosecution was part of the reinvestigation and brought forward this motion to vacate these charges. Really a stunning development.

TAPPER: Alright, Alexandra Field, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, the expectations game. Why Georgia Senate candidate and former football star Herschel Walker says he's just a country boy.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I'm pro-life. Even in an election year. And to those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that.



TAPPER: That was Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defending his controversial Senate bill to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy. At the state level, Republicans running for office seem to have little desire to even mention the issue as they try to court critical swing voters. Democrats on the other hand seem to not be able to talk about it enough. As CNN's Eva McKend reports for us now, there's no clearer case study about this than the heated gubernatorial race in Georgia.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): In an election year, even your local farmers market could become the site of a surprise campaign stop.

UNKNOWN: Stacy, we're big fans. Can we get a selfie real quick?


MCKEND (voice-over): Here in Georgia, the future of abortion rights has become central to Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams' strategy to win in November.

(On camera): How much of an emphasis do you plan on putting on abortion rights in the closing weeks of your campaign?

ABRAMS: It is going to be front and center in the conversation. Women deserve full citizenship in the United States and certainly in the state of Georgia and they are being denied that because of Brian Kemp's draconian six-week ban.

MCKEND (voice-over): In 2019, Georgia's incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law that bans most abortions when early cardiac activity is detected, usually at around six weeks of pregnancy. The law was blocked until Roe was overturned.

Emphasizing abortion rights has proved to be successful recently for Democratic House candidates in Republican-leaning Alaska and a battleground New York district signaling the issue has likely energized Democratic voters in the wake of the supreme court's decision.

UNKNOWN: I definitely think this is something people should consider while they're voting.

UNKNOWN: I think it could be the difference in our state.

MCKEND (voice-over): A recent Quinnipiac Poll about the midterms in Georgia showed 57 percent of likely voters say it's very important a candidate shares their views on abortion. Within that group, 63 percent back Abrams and 36 percent support Kemp.

ABRAMS: We can get this done. We can do this work. MCKEND (voice-over): The daughter of Methodist pastors, Abrams was

not always a fierce advocate for abortion rights. On the trail, she talks about her personal evolution on abortion, amplifying the issue last month at a roundtable for women who have suffered pregnancy loss.

ABRAMS: What gives me the greatest hope is that you all are speaking out.

MCKEND (voice-over): Meanwhile, Governor Kemp is principally focused on economic issues such as inflation, which likely Georgia voters rank as the most urgent issue facing the state according to the same poll.

BRIAN KEMP, GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA: Everything is going up.

MCKEND (voice-over): In a statement to CNN, Kemp's campaign says the governor has consistently affirmed his position on abortion and will continue to focus on bringing hardworking Georgians relief from 40- year high inflation. That message resonating with Kemp supporters.

BARRY ZISHOLTZ, KEMP SUPPORTER: People want to make it just about one issue, but I think people need to be concerned about paying for their groceries and for gasoline too.

KEMP: We also protected the sanctity of God's greatest gift, life.

MCKEND (voice-over): Speaking before a conservative anti-abortion policy group this month, Kemp spent little time talking about abortion.

KEMP: You know, we passed the Heartbeat Bill here, but we've also done adoption reform. We have done -- we have done foster care reform.

MCKEND (voice-over): Historically, Kemp has supported a full ban, with the only exception being for the life of the pregnant person. But praised the Supreme Court returning the issue to the states. While Abrams doesn't support any government restrictions on abortion, arguing it's a medical issue that should not be banned by arbitrary timelines.

Kemp has adopted a less strident tone as the conversation about reproductive care has become so pivotal in the closing months of the campaign.

KEMP: I understand people may disagree on when an abortion should be legal or when it shouldn't be.


MCKEND (on camera): Now, to be clear, as Abrams crisscrossed the state this weekend, she talked about other issues as well, like Medicaid expansion, like the need to reinstitute free technical college and addressed the growing number of hospital closures in this state. Still, she argues economic -- that abortion is not only an economic issue, it is one about civil liberties as well, and she continues to put it front and center. Jake? TAPPER: Alright, Eva McKend, reporting for us live from Atlanta.

Thank you so much. Let's discuss with our panel. Kasie, let me start with you and get your reaction to Eva's great reporting there from Georgia. I can understand certainly why that special house election in New York could be driven by the Democrat pushing abortion rights. Is it a risk in places like Georgia, though?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It could be. I think in the case of Stacey Abrams, look at the campaign she's run in the past and how she runs them. She runs turnout elections, right, and this is a turnout issue. This is something where we've seen more Democrats, especially women, get out there to register to vote and this is an issue they are clearly activated on.

So, I sort of see it in that same light. I mean, she's done with it black voters in the past on voting rights and that sort of, you know, rings a little true to me.


I also think, you know, I'd be really interested to see, you know, deep polling numbers on the Atlanta suburbs buck head (ph) the surrounding areas to see how these plays with white women voters who, you know, were willing to vote for Raphael Warnock over David Perdue back in the Senate races that flip those two seats over to Democrats.

TAPPER: Yes. I wonder if the six-week ban, I wonder if in his heart of hearts if Governor Kemp would do it differently today, make it like a 15-week ban or something that might be more palatable to voters?

MARIO PARKER, NATIONAL POLITICS TEAM LEADER, BLOOMBERG: Probably, right? Because hindsight is 2020, who knew that this was going to be such an issue in this election, right? I think that thinking was that once it was leaked, that the momentum that Democrats initially had from the ruling was that it may have been dissipated by now, right What we have seen is that no, Democrats continue to have that momentum. So I think in hindsight, this is something that, a, Governor Kempt doesn't want to talk about, and then, b, if he had to do over again, he probably would do it after the election.

HUNT: And I think your points the right one, Jake, six weeks exception only for life of the mother, no exception for rape, no exception for incest. I mean, that's really not where most Americans are in Georgia increasingly is a state that's in the middle.

TAPPER: You've talked about this before, Scott, it used to be easy for Republicans to try to paint Democrats as extremist on this because they support no restrictions. But now this issue plays the complete other way.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it depends on who you are and where you are. I think Georgia's bill obviously goes a little further than what Lindsey Graham has been out talking about 15 -- you know, question about where are most Americans actually think they're where Lindsey Graham is 15 weeks, the three exceptions. And so, I think Kemp -- I'm so surprised or secret that Brian Kemp's a pro-life candidate. I mean, he ran as a pro-lifer. I don't think he really shies away from it. I do think that the reporting there is interesting, though. The parties are having two different conversations with two different groups of voters. Republicans are having an economy, inflation, immigration, you know, border crime, and Democrats are having Trump, abortion, climate change, gun violence.

It's really fascinating when you see one election, but two distinct conversations that --

HUNT: That's a fed over --

JENNINGS: -- it's really interesting.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think one of the reasons why Republicans want to have a different conversation is because I do think they are afraid about how visceral this has become how effective this has become for women. And by the way, women knew this was going to be as effective as it is right when this was leaked, and especially when the Supreme Court did overturn it. Because this is about women's choice. This is about giving women the same rights that all men have to make decisions over their own bodies.

And I think what Republicans didn't really understand was how much it was going to mobilize and energize, not just Democratic women, but democratic men, independent men, independent women, families who understand that this decision should be in no one's hands, except for the women. And, by the way, this isn't just white suburban women, black women, Latino women.

There was a poll that just came out of Latino voters across the country. Abortion was the number two issue, Jake, among Latino voters. It's astounding how much this has really resonated --

TAPPER: But were they in favor of abortion rights or were they --



CARDONA: Absolutely.

TAPPER: Well, just because a lot of Latinos are Catholic.

CARDONA: Right. But see, this is the anomaly, privacy, liberty and freedom, huge issues among the Latino community.

TAPPER: Another big race in Georgia, between the incumbent senator Reverend Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee and former football star Herschel Walker. They have a debate coming up. Herschel Walker was asked on a campaign stop how he was preparing himself for this debate. He didn't exactly set the bar high. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Talking to the voters, talking to you, you told me I got to prepare, so I'm preparing and I'm this country boy. You know, I'm not that smart. And he's a preacher. He's a smart man, wear these nice suits so he got to show up, embarrass me at the debate October the 14th. And I'm just waiting. You all show up and I'm going to do my best.


TAPPER: I've never heard a candidate for office describe himself as not that smart.

PARKER: Yes. Well, if you liken this to a boxing match, right? I mean, he's up against someone who's in Martin Luther King Jr.'s pulpit, right? So I mean, you want to neutralize his strongest punch, a. B, you want to just -- you want the judges to say, OK, if he does land a punch, oh, we saw that comment. That's no big deal. And c, if you're Herschel Walker, if you're able to land a jab or two on that debate night, you want the judge to come away saying, hey, he went toe to toe with him. He -- did you see Herschel land that shot on them.

JENNINGS: There's campaign 101. I mean, lowering expectations ahead of a debate and to your point, making it seem like any good thing you do -- any -- I mean, we might agree on this today. this campaign 101 and --

TAPPER: But to describe yourself as not smart --

JENNINGS: That you --

CARDONA: I mean, well --

HUNT: That's like -- I'm sorry, but that ship has sailed in our politics. I mean, if anything, you know, people are more interested in candidates who are anti-elitist then --



CARDONA: That's exactly right.

HUNT: -- then those who tout their credentials.


CARDONA: Sometimes being smart is not the greatest thing, Jake, not around this table but I think that, in general, people, the Republican Party especially, has made being smart, being knowledgeable, focusing your arguments on facts and evidence. Not a good thing. It can be a downside.

And for Herschel Walker who is a huge hero, right?

TAPPER: Right. CARDONA: Among the Georgia electorate, especially the MAGA electorate, I don't think he can go wrong with that. And so I think the Warnock campaign is not, you know, is not dissing that because I think they see that that is going to be no matter what you think of Herschel Walker --


CARDONA: -- it's going to be a very difficult race for him.

JENNINGS: Georgia, in general, by the way, Republicans are feeling increasingly good about this state. I mean, everybody thinks Brian Kemp is beating Stacey Abrams right now increasing good feelings about Walker's position, close race, you know, kind of a purplish state, but people are feeling some momentum in Georgia. And it's -- a lot of it has to do with Walker's improvement as a candidate. And, you know, obviously, we're getting into crunch time now, but it's good vibes down there.

HUNT: Yes , I mean, it's definitely shifted among people that I've talked to. I mean, earlier in the summer, I would say Republicans were very concerned about --


HUNT: -- Walker's state of the campaign the way that he was coming across --

TAPPER: And he's out there a lot. He's out on the trail a lot. And I could see a certain charm there. I understand --

HUNT: Yes, I mean, now he is. And he has a background that, you know, made a lot of people know who he is in Georgia, just for the reason of that. And I think the debate is potentially a challenging moment for him because of some of the things we have seen that he doesn't often communicate his message in the way that certainly many Republicans in Washington would prefer.

TAPPER: But he's going to be asked about issues though. He's going to be asked about issues. I mean, it's not a question about --

CARDONA: At the upcoming debate --

TAPPER: Well, that's what I'm saying, like, I mean, there's one thing to say, I'm not all that smart. But then somebody says, well, how do you feel about Medicaid expansion?


TAPPER: And, I mean, I'm -- I have no idea if he has an answer to this, but if he doesn't have an answer to that, that affects people where they live.

CARDONA: I think that's right. And I think it will affect the voters that he's trying to, I guess, win over in terms of being the one who's going to fight for the issues that they care about, but I'm not going to dispute anything here because I think the Warnock campaign has got to feel like they are losing so they wake up --


CARDONA: -- every single day clawing their way to victory.

JENNINGS: It should be easy since I think they are.

TAPPER: Let me ask you another question --

CARDONA: They think that.

TAPPER: -- because Politico is reporting that Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, is going to Arizona to campaign with the Republican gubernatorial nominee there, Kari Lake, she's a Trump candidate. She is a big spreader of all sorts of lies about the election. One of the ways that Youngkin was elected in purple state, Virginia, Purple Commonwealth, Virginia, is by kind of keeping Trump at something of a distance, not embracing the big lie, not talking about the big lie. And yet here he is out there endorsing Kari Lake who is, you know, who has said that if she had been governor in November 2020, she would not have certified the vote for Joe Biden, she would have gone against the will of her own voters.

PARKER: Yes. And, Jake, to your point, this is something we've seen Governor Youngkin do for the better part of the last year, right? Just be MAGA enough as to attract some of the base, but not repel some of those suburban independent voters as well. I mean, we've got to remember, Youngkin is a businessman, right, so this is transactional for him, right? So he's term limited. He's maybe looking forward towards 2024 --

TAPPER: Running for president, yes.

PARKER: -- you go out there and you campaign alongside Kari Lake, you bolster some of your MAGA credentials. And then you also, since you characterize or you cast yourself as a moderate Republican, you kind of give her something as well. So she's not too MAGA.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, I think it's very illuminating. I mean, look, you should view anything Glenn Youngkin does in this period as part of a 2024 bid.


HUNT: I mean, he's done all the conversations I've had, like, that's what everyone's expecting him to do. And so if that's in that vein, you know, what is Glenn Youngkin trying to do that makes him different from Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. It's to try and create space for these people like Kari Lake while also not offending the people that have been kind of alienated from the from Trump, not necessarily the Republican Party, but from Trump.

Now whether he can pull that off --


HUNT: -- I don't know if anyone has any faith in that.

TAPPER: Thanks one and all for being here. Appreciate it.

Coming up, a goodbye fit for a queen, Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest. What's next for the British monarch? Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our world lead, a final goodbye honoring the life and 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Thousands of people including politicians and leaders from around the world paid their respects. One last time, CNN's Bianca Nobilo was in Windsor, England with the farewell to the Queen.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the day a nation said goodbye. After more than a week of remembrance, Queen Elizabeth II, the U.K.'s longest reigning monarch was finally laid to rest. Thousands made their way to watch the funeral with the national newspapers dedicating their front pages to her.


NOBILO (voice-over): As the casket made its way into Westminster Abbey, her children King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward all followed behind. Also in line, Princes William and Harry and two of the Queen's great grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. On the coffin, a note from her son King Charles, in loving and devoted memory.



NOBILO (voice-over): Around 2,000 people attended the funeral, with politicians and leaders from home and abroad coming to pay their respects. Among the dignitaries, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron and Japan's emperor.

MOST REV. JUSTIN WELBY, ARCHBISHOP OF CATERBURY: Her late majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast, that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth. Rarely has such a promise being so well kept.

NOBILO (voice-over): A short trumpet call announced two minutes silence, that hushed the nation. Broken only by the National Anthem.

From there, the pageantry and mourning continued as the Queen's coffin was led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Escorted by the Royal Family and flanked by thousands of guards, and onlookers. Cannons fired as her coffin passed by, ready for her final journey to Windsor.

As a final smaller service with a symbolic handover, the Queen's coffin was lowered into the royal vault, as the sovereign Piper played, a personal request of the Queen herself, according to Buckingham Palace. On the eve of her funeral, Buckingham Palace released an unseen picture of the Queen taken earlier this year ahead of her Platinum Jubilee, a fitting tribute for 70 years of service.


NOBILO: A day that began with the grandest of state funerals ended with a private family burial ceremony, the glittering symbols of the monarchy, the crown, the orb, and the scepter removed from the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II, and she was buried in a small simple chapel with her mother, father, sister and husband. Jake?

TAPPER: Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much.

A push to get more pilots in the air more quickly has been grounded by the FAA. We'll tell you why. Stick around.



TAPPER: Topping our national lead, the Federal Aviation Administration today swatting down a controversial request to slash training standards for pilots. Airlines, of course, have been struggling with a pilot shortage in a regional airline ask the agency earlier this year to only require 750 flight hours to hire new pilots instead of 1,500 hours which is the current requirements.

CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean joins us now live. And Pete, the FAA's decision will be disappointing for airlines and trade associations. But the families of the Colgan crash victims they fought hard to get this rule in play.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know the FAA here, Jake, is essentially siding with crash victims saying that you can't back off on training and safety standards just because the FAA says that airlines need to hire more pilots airlines we know had been struggling with a global pilot shortage and that's what's contributed to tens of thousands of delays and cancelations over the summer.

Who you're talking about here is Republic Airways. It is a regional airline that operates about a thousand flights a day for American Delta and United. It tried to get the FAA to allow it to hire pilots with fifth -- instead of 1,500 flight hours 750 flight hours. 1,500 hours has been the standard since the Colgan air crash of 2009. And Republicans sorted that it's pilots who graduate from its own training program, its own flight school should be given a break here.

The FAA said in a statement, it determined that the airline's new training program does not provide an equivalent level of safety as the regulation requiring 1,500 hours. So the FAA here is essentially siding with pilot unions who push back against this. If you can't fix it from the bottom, then there's another option, fixing it from the top. And there are some who argue that the mandatory retirement age federally set by the FAA for commercial pilots right now set at 65 should be changed to 68. That could potentially alleviate some of these pilot shortage issues, but that's controversial too, Jake.

TAPPER: The regional airline that we're talking about Republic Airlines argued that dropping the 1,500-hour rule would also increase diversity among the ranks of pilots. How would it do that?

MUNTEAN: It makes this big argument. And it's true that becoming a pilot is incredibly expensive. Republic essentially lays this out and says if you want to get the 1,500 hours, which is the standard now, you need to spend between $170,000 and $220,000 to get to that point. And there are groups that say that these are really big barriers to entry, especially when you consider the demographics.

These are the -- this is the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 5 percent of airline pilots are women. 11 percent are people of color. So if you change this, if you bring the regulations down, then you could let more people in the door and really change aviation in a big way. It's a field dominated predominant by white men.


TAPPER: All right, Pete Muntean, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

A kidnapping hoax involving a California mother, her ex-boyfriend and DNA test results. A sentence has been issued in this bizarre case. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our national lead, a Northern California woman is going to prison for faking her own kidnapping. Sherri Papini was sentenced today to a year and a half in prison and she is been forced to pay more than $300,000 in restitution. She lied about being abducted and branded and chained in a closet after she disappeared while out for a jog in November 2016.

Then in 2020, her story fell apart because investigators connected DNA from her clothing to an ex-boyfriend who then admitted that the supposed kidnapping had been a hoax. Papini pleaded guilty to mail fraud and for lying to the FBI in April of this year.

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Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He's right next door in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM". I'm going to send him a pizza. I'll see you tomorrow.