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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Meadows' Text Link White House With Pro-Trump Operative Behind Plans To Seize Voting Machines; Florida Braces For Hurricane Ian, Which Could Peak At Cat 4; Russia Stages "Sham" Referendums In Occupied Parts Of Ukraine; Hundreds Take To Street Despite Iran's Claims Protests Have Ended; Latest Ruling In Arizona Further Complicates Abortion Care For Both Women And Doctors; Migrant Crisis Puts New Spotlight On Labor Shortage. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 26, 2022 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I can tell. I thought it was going to be Taylor Swift or did I dream that?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She has a long time partnership with Apple. She's like their darling, so people thought that, but it's not true, obviously.

CAMEROTA: Obviously. It's Rihanna, and thank you for solving the mystery on how to pronounce that.

Chloe Melas, thank you very much for all of that breaking news.

MELAS: Thank you.


KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: Florida, get ready, this is going to be a big one.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Evacuations ordered. Hurricane Ian on track to become a monster, category 4 storm, with all eyes watching to see exactly where this system will hit.

And high level contact. Who in Trump's White House called a January 6th rioter? Plus, what new text messages from Mark Meadows reveal, and why a former congressman pressed the January 6th committee to press the wife of a Supreme Court justice? We're going to ask him live this hour.

Also, ten straight days of protest in Iran for a woman killed over a hijab. Now, the regime is out with its own crowds pushing a different narrative.


HUNT: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Kasie Hunt, in for Jake Tapper.

We start in our politics lead. We are less than 48 hours away from the next public January 6th committee hearing. And CNN is learning about text messages from then Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows linking the White House with a pro-Trump operative who was trying to seize voting machines. We're going to have more on this exchange in just a moment.

But we're also learning about new links between the White House and a rioter on January 6th. Denver Riggleman who was an adviser to the January 6th committee is telling CBS '"60 Minutes" about a phone call between the White House and the Capitol rioter who CNN is identifying as a 26-year-old Trump supporter, Anton Lunyk. Riggleman will join us here on THE LEAD in just a moment.

But, first, CNN's Sara Murray who has been tracking all these developments and what we know about the high level contact.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESONDENT (voice-over): As Donald Trump and his allies made a final push to overturn the 2020 election --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: There's still plenty of time to certify the correct winner.

MURRAY: -- retired Army colonel and election conspiracy promoter, Phil Waldron --

PHIL WALDRON, RETIRED ARMY COLONEL: The core of these voting systems are rife with vulnerabilities.

MURRAY: -- communicated directly with then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows complaining that an Arizona judge dismissed a lawsuit calling for state officials to hand over election equipment.

Waldron hunting for proof of baseless fraud claims said Arizona was our lead domino we were counting on to start the cascade and complained opponents were using delay tactics, according to text messages obtained by CNN. Pathetic, Meadows responded.

Waldron and his attorneys didn't respond to a request for comment nor did an attorney for Meadows. The details reaching the top tier of the White House come as federal and state prosecutors are scrutinizing efforts to upend the 2020 election, and as the House committee investigating January 6th is gearing up for another hearing this week.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): My expectation is this will be the last investigative hearing.

MURRAY: Wisconsin House Speaker Robin Vos.

ROBIN VOS (R), SPEAKER, WISCONSIN STATE ASSEMBLY: We have no ability to desert the election and go back and nullify. We do not.

MURRAY: Now, suing to block a subpoena from the House Committee which demanded his testimony today. The committee wants to ask him about Trump's efforts as recently as July, pressing Vos to de-certify the state's election results.

VOS: He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained that it's not allowed under the Constitution. He has a different opinion.

MURRAY: Vos' testimony pushed off while the legal fight plays out.

Meantime, more questions swirling about a nine-second call from the Trump White House on January 6th to one of the rioters.

DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: You get a real ah-ha moment.

MURRAY: After the call was revealed by former committee staffer Denver Riggleman, CNN reporting it went from a White House land line to a cell phone belonging to 26-year-old Anton Lunyk, a Trump supporter from Brooklyn, New York, who illegally entered the U.S. Capitol with friends and pleaded guilty to a related charge in April. The call's contents and significance still a mystery, one that has committee members urging caution.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): One of the things that has given our committee credibility is we have been very careful about what we say, not to overstate matters.


MURRAY: Now, attorneys for Lunyk and his friends declined to comment, and sources tell CNN the Trump supporters doesn't remember receiving the call and doesn't know anyone who worked in the Trump White House.

HUNT: Very interesting. We'll keep following this.

Sara Murray, thanks very much for that report.

Let's bring in now, former Virginia congressman and former adviser to the January 6th committee, Denver Riggleman.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

You announced that you are coming out with a book called "The Breach," in which you detailed your work with the January 6 committee. Are you worried at all that your book could hamper the committee's work? They still have yet to release their final report.

RIGGLEMAN: Not at all.


You know, the report has been a little bit fluid on timing but this book is going to make some people sad because it doesn't criticize the committee. It talks about my part of the data and the 20 years of experience I had in counter terrorism.

It's exciting what the committee did with the data, I think the hearing on Wednesday is going to be part of that. I would hope that some of this data that they might have found after I left will come to light. But, you know, the book really is about counterterrorism, it's about cults, and it's about data, and how we can use data to look at cult-like behavior, to look at Christian nationalism, but also to look at how these type of bizarre behaviors and belief systems can saturate the top of a political party like the GOP.

So, I -- you know, when people read the book, I think it's going to be okay, Kasie. I think it's going to be just okay.

HUNT: So, you said in your interview with CBS "60 Minutes" that there was a call between the White House and a rioter who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. And as Sara Murray just outlined, CNN has identified the man. It's this 26-year-old, Anton Lunyk, and we have also reported that the call lasted just nine seconds, whether it was intentional or whether it went to voice mail, we still don't know that and Sara Murray just reported on January 6th committee member Adam Schiff downplaying your comments and the fact of this call.

We also heard, though, from two other committee members who spoke out. Watch.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I don't know what Mr. Riggleman is doing really.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): That's one of thousands of details the committee is aware of.


HUNT: So, what do you make of this?

RIGGLEMAN: You know, the committee is doing a great job. And I think what you're seeing, there might have been a little bit of nervousness about the calls. So, I think what you're going to see -- when you see a phone call like that that actually originates from inside the White House, it's interesting because all you want to know is who actually called and from what desk.

When we're talking about individuals, we're looking at thousands of lines of data or thousands of, you know, pieces of data. Jamie is right and I really respect Jamie. But we have millions of lines of data and that is really a robust problem set that we have to crack, and to be honest, you know, when you look at what's going on, it's a simple question, who made the call. I really don't count anybody who says I don't know anybody in the White House, I don't remember the call, why don't we go to the originator, and I know that the committee has tried to do that because those White House extensions are very important.

And, you know, for me as a data guy, I really don't pay attention to what somebody is saying when the data is telling me something else.

HUNT: The committee, members of the committee have expressed some concerns. They've said -- they're careful about what they put out to the public domain, to be very careful to maintain the credibility of the investigation. Are you at all concerned that you're undermining it?

RIGGLEMAN: No, because data is data. I stay with my specific part of that with the 20 years of experience in counterterrorism and data analytics and targeting. And, you know, so that's why I'm not that worried. I think people need to read the book because it doesn't go to the committee investigative teams. It doesn't try to in any way go against the committee. I mean, that's ludicrous.

What it does do is say, listen, we're in a continuous fight. An information war that's our forever war, and I go back and use my baseline, I would say experiences and training in the military and data analytics, and non-kinetic targeting and analysis to say, hey, we could go so much further if we have the resources.

And that's why on the last interview, I said, you know, if the committee had more resources and more authorities, they could go a lot further. But the committee is a public trust committee. They're not a committee going after this in a criminal way. So, I just think if the committee even had more resources, it would be even more robust.

HUNT: So, you told "60 Minutes" that you ultimately stopped working with the January 6th committee because they wouldn't subpoena Ginni Thomas. And CNN was first to report last week that Thomas has actually agreed now to sit for an interview with the committee.

What do you think what should be the top of their agenda to ask her?

RIGGLEMAN: Well, the first thing you want to ask is about all of her contacts. For instance, she had afforded texts from Connie Hair, who was actually the chief of staff for Louie Gohmert. You want to ask her what type of e-mails she sent to Jared Kushner. You want to ask her what other high level officials she was talking about when she was talking Stop the Steal about when she was talking about her contacts that she had with in the White House.

You want to ask her those questions. They're not very hard questions. And, you know, they might seem difficult, but I think the committee is interested in and, I think it would be curious to see what Ginni Thomas says if you ask her some of those directed questions.

HUNT: So, what was the hang up here? I mean, why did it take so long for the committee and Thomas to come to an agreement on the interview? Was there someone who opposed interviewing her? Was Thomas pushing back? How did this play out?

RIGGLEMAN: I actually through that in the book. And the thing is sometimes -- sometimes, Kasie, I was pretty aggressive and the committee, you know, there's a lot of things you have to do with seven investigative teams, and I was pushing pretty hard.

So, really, what it comes down to is decisions on priorities, and I think, you know, we found the text pretty early. I think we were looking at Trump at the time. I was pushing pretty hard. It sort of was even a lightning bolt to me on that last statement on "60 Minutes", that was one of the reasons, you know, that I was frustrated and one of the reasons that really got to me for a time.

But in the book, I state I started to see, you know, that maybe the committee had some points about maybe holding back in some ways, but I still think we should have been more aggressive in the long-term with Ginni Thomas.


HUNT: So, do you not think the current approach is aggressive enough? I mean, what do you think changed that now she's coming in?

RIGGLEMAN: When you look at process and data, I think when you look at the data and look exactly what's said and that people that she had around her and what she was actually mentioning, I think aggression on the data is the most important thing.

There were other decision points the committee had to make. And that's why I stay away from really trying to criticize the committee in any way, they have a lot more challenges. When you see the data right then, you want to grab it because data is perishable. The contact is perishable, when you see the life of a Supreme Court justice who's sending things that seem completely outlandish, absolutely ridiculous, and it's looks like that's part of the policy of the White House, I think that's something you could jump on from the data perspective.

HUNT: So, yesterday, Jake Tapper asked Congressman Adam Schiff about the possibility of criminal referrals from the committee to DOJ.

Let's watch.


SCHIFF: We operate with a high degree of consensus and unanimity. You know, it will be certainly I think my recommendation, my feeling that we should make referrals. But we will get to a decision as a committee, and we will all abide by that decision, and I will join our committee members if they feel differently.


HUNT: So quickly, based on your work with the committee, do you think the group can come to a unanimous decision on recommending charges to the DOJ?

RIGGLEMAN: Gosh, Kasie, I don't know. You know, I'm not in the room anymore. I'm not behind there.

I will tell you this, I don't know if it matters. I think the DOJ is going to make a decision based on their best interest. What has the committee proven? Let's see if their work has already done. It's proven that there's been bizarre conspiracy theories that drove an insurrection on January 6th based on QAnon adherence and Stop the Steal conspiracy theorists.

It's proved that multiple individuals in the Trump administration were involved in the planning. It's proved -- it's been proven that Donald Trump's attorneys had some of the craziest people around him. You know, you talk about team normal but we know he was listening to team crazy. We have proven that the judgment of a sitting president was absolutely erroneous and maybe almost unhinged about how to overturn the election, and we've proven that a president was okay with Vice President Pence being attacked that day.

So I think when you look at the public trust, the committee has already done an incredible job of ensuring that the public knows that President Trump was in a very, I would say, culpable position on what happened on January 6th.

HUNT: All right. Denver Riggleman, thank you very much for your time today, sir.

RIGGLEMAN: Thanks, Kasie.

HUNT: Up next here, the warning -- urgent warning from the mayor of Tampa, Florida, as Hurricane Ian moves in.


MAYOR JANE CASTOR, TAMPA, FLORIDA: This is nothing to mess around with. If you can leave, just leave now.


HUNT: Why forecasters are calling projections for this system unprecedented.

Plus, Russia's mass exodus traffic along the border stretched for miles. What has so many people on the run now seven months into Putin's war in Ukraine.




HUNT: Topping our national lead, emergency evacuations are underway as Hurricane Ian races towards Florida's gulf coast. It's a quote, near worst case scenario for Tampa. That's according to the director of the National Hurricane Center as dozens of Tampa area schools and universities have already cancelled classes.

Tom Sater is live in the CNN weather center.

Tom, where is Hurricane Ian right now.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's currently about 175 miles just to the south of the western tip of Cuba, and the good news, western Cuba is a sparsely populated area. However, we have already seen it undergo one round of rapid intensification. That's when a storm blows up 35 miles an hour in strength in less than 24 hours, and we're at 85 now. If I show you the radar and I will here, here's Cayman Islands. So, if you look in the area, and see the pin wheel effect, you can see

that well defined eye, we don't have an eye on the satellite image. But what we don't have an eye do, this system will start firing on all cylinders.

Just last Thursday, this was a disturbance near Trinidad and Tobago. I mentioned that. It's going to be -- it's the acorn that become the oak tree. I didn't know this could be Tampa Bay's Superstorm Sandy. It's in the warmest waters of the Atlantic.

So, not only undergoing one round of rapid intensification, it could do it again. And that's what we fear, along with that more of a northerly movement, category 3 just off the coast. It goes up to a category 4. Now, even though it drops in its category, and you can see it in your Tampa as a 2. Pay no attention to the 2. That's just the wind speed.

Once it gets to category 4, it's going to have the surge underneath it, equivalent of a category 4 and carry it into the bay and all of the inlands. So, even though it's a 2, it carries the surge with it. You look the at warnings now, tropical storm in yellow, but we have that hurricane watch for good reason up to the north, and the Tampa Bay area. All signs this is going to park itself there, Kasie, for quite some time.

HUNT: Wow, and Tampa hasn't seen a storm like in a hundred years. I mean, why is that area is so vulnerable?

SATER: Well, part of it is geographical, how it's sat in the area with the bay in the region. You see the American model, you see the European model. They're now green now, Kasie. This is what we do not want.

But also, think of the millions that have moved into the area. This is going to be the first major hurricane 25 miles, the closest to Tampa since 1950. But the problem is it's going to stall. The last thing we want, the worst case scenario, when hurricanes stall, bad things happen. It's going to stall right offshore.

So, 36, 48 hours, it's going to throw the storm surge into Tampa Bay and all the inlands. It's not just on the coastline. You can see Tampa 5 to 10 feet, 5 to 8 from Sarasota down south of Englewood. But you're getting closer and look at the inlets in the bay, once that surge moves in and it continues to churn offshore, not moving from 36 to 48 hours, not only is it pushing miles in, it impedes the water from receding.

And then you add on top of that, 10, 20 inches of rainfall, I mean, you get into Port Charlotte in the harbor, this is Peace River. You know how many miles that is. Think of the thousands and thousands of homes, water front, businesses, churches, hospitals at water level, and then you toss in the angle of the sea floor as it rises to land.


It's going to be like an on shoot to a highway. It's going to be like a fire hose. So the surge and the rain are the worst parts of the storm, but parking off the coast, it's the worst case scenario. It could be their Superstorm Sandy. There's no doubt about it.

HUNT: All right. Tom Sater, thanks very much for that.

So, as Tom said, Cubans also bracing for impact as Ian is expected to wallop the western end of the island.

Let's bring in CNN's Patrick Oppmann who is in Havana.

Patrick, how's everyone preparing down there?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESONDENT: They're finalizing the preparations because, of course, once the storm really hits, then it will be too late to get ready. So, the government here has been warning people, particularly the people on the western most province of Pinar del Rio to get ready. If they live in islands off the coast, to get into the mainland, to get off -- away from the coastal areas.

We've seen ships leaving the port of Savannah, cargo shops. They cannot be in the port here where they could break loose and cause damage, even sink. And, of course, in a country where the economy is already in such dire straights you can't go and do a hurricane chopping. The stores are empty.

So, what people really have to do right now is try to get to their homes, try to get someplace safe. And even in Havana, where the storm is not expected to hit, if we get tropical storm force winds or rain that can cause buildings here to collapse, so it's still a very dangerous situation her, and people know they only have a few hours left.

HUNT: All right. Patrick Oppmann in Cuba, stay safe. Thank you very much for that.

Coming up next, clear boxes and armed guards. What Russia's so-called sham elections look like, as Putin tries to pull off yet another land grab in Ukraine.



HUNT: In our world lead, sham referendums -- that's what authorities in Kyiv and many western countries call the Kremlin's secession votes in four Russian occupied areas of Ukraine. These are the clear ballot boxes Russia is using as authorities go door to door, trailed by armed guards to collect votes for Putin's forced elections, which Ukrainian officials say are preordained and being carried out at gunpoint.

CNN's Matthew Chance joins us live with more on this.

Matthew, how are Ukrainian officials responding to Russian-backed referendums?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're rejecting them, I mean, in short. They have said this is illegitimate. They pointed out at what many international observers have pointed out, which is these referendums are being carried out under the barrel of a gun, and basically have very little in terms of legitimacy.

And you just referred to one of the examples there. There are reports, in fact, you know, Russian soldiers or Russian-backed soldiers, so it could be from a separatist, you know, fighters as well, are going door to door getting people's votes. You know, these are armed, you know, soldiers, going to people's doors, getting people to vote right there and then.

And if they don't vote for the country to join Russia, for the region to join Russia, then there are reports of something being taken away as a means of simply intimidating people to vote for what the Kremlin wants them to vote for. There's been, you know, extraordinary claims being made by the Russian side on the amount of turnout, something that reached 77, 76 percent in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which is extraordinary given what we know about how many people have left those areas.

And so, yes -- I mean, there's a hole kind of sense that these are not legitimate undertakings at all and they have been condemned around the world as such.

HUNT: There's also massive backlash and protests in Russia after Putin's order of increased military conscription for the war in Ukraine. Can you tell us more about that?

CHANCE: Yeah, well that backlash continues. The stakes are really getting higher and higher for Vladimir Putin inside of Russia. We've seen some extraordinary things. Remember, this is a country where protests like this are against the law, people are arrested on mass for coming out in the streets and voicing their opposition. Yet in some areas of the country, particularly in the south, in the republic of Dagestan, which has been severely hit in terms of the mobilization, you have seen crowds coming out, confronting the authorities, physically trying to block the buses that have been put on by the military from taking away their men to serve in the Russian armed forces.

As that happens, there have been very unusual scenes as well at the borders of Russia in the south and towards the Georgian border, a tailback of cars over 10 miles, according to the latest satellite imagery. In the west, towards Finland, you know, double the amount of Russians, mainly men, trying to exit the country to escape mobilization, Kasie.

HUNT: Wow. Matthew Chance, thank you very much for the reporting.

And in the war torn town of Toretsk, located in Eastern Ukraine, residents have faced months of airstrikes and heavy shelling from Russian forces. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on one 73-year-old Ukrainian woman's battle to survive, leaving the last six months there without water or help.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): When the blasts pause and rare quiet in Toretsk, there are few blessings to count. But most are bitter.

One is here, a familiar scene of private worlds torn open by a Russian rocket two days earlier, but a place that might persuade you to believe in miracles. Nineteen people were trapped up here when rubble blocked the stairs. But somehow not one of them was even injured.


A fiber grade ladder getting them all out. Not even survivors like Natalia know how.

NATALIA, TORETSK RESIDENT (through translator): A noise, I blinked twice and couldn't see. The balcony door flew open and trash blow in. I'm terrified of flames, and I realized we're on the 7th floor and it's collapsing.

And someone screamed don't come out as there's no way. It's a miracle. I can't call it anything else.

WALSH (voice-over): As Putin's fake referenda just a few miles away threatened yet worse here, just now, the shelling has finally become too much for some.

NINA, TORETSK RESIDENT (translated): I am so much trouble.

WALSH: Rescuers are evacuating Nina, 73, after six months living alone without water or help.

NINA, TORETSK RESIDENT (translated): God let it finish fast before I died.

WALSH: We're told she's the last person to leave her block.

NINA, TORETSK RESIDENT (translated): It's painful to leave but it is also good. I've never been so scared. I am strong but I do not have strength for this.

WALSH: Two days ago, a rocket hit her building, yet also magically, she was unscathed and just sat here under the gaping hole, the lonely agony of the struggle before this moment lying around. The pictures of life left, of her A student daughter who died of meningitis aged 40 of the choices of what to leave and what to take, of how hard just eating, washing and drinking has been.

Winter will rip through here. And this may be the last time the lights go out on this home.

She's taken to the courtyard where dozens of similar agonies are gathered, waiting for the evacuation bus and that are baffled by the heaviest question, why?

NINA, TORETSK RESIDENT (translated): I just want to ask, why did you (Russians) come to us? Who asked you? Or are we that silly that you wanted to liberate us? I think we will come home soon. Home will wait for everyone of us. It will wait.

WALSH: Then the guns pick up again.

Artillery firing from near where we are. That's been responded to by the Russians and a shell landed over here. They're trying to get people on a bus as fast as they can to get them out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Come on, come on faster! No time to relax!

WALSH: Dozens of lives with everything left behind them and nothing certain here.


WALSH: Now, in the back of their minds, so many leaving that town was the likelihood in the middle of this week when Russia declares these fake referenda have given them the right to assimilate parts of territory that they occupy in Ukraine, but Putin may use that to escalate somehow.

His foreign minister over the weekend saying they're prepared to fully defend areas that have formally become part of Russia. Many concerned he might be pointing toward nuclear threats we've been hearing, a very tense week ahead here in Ukraine. And as I say, here in the east, blasts continuing in this town, Kramatorsk, where we are -- Kasie.

HUNT: Very intense indeed. Nick Paton Walsh in Ukraine, thank you very much for that reporting.

In Russia, a gunman wearing Nazi symbols opened fire in a school, killing at least 15, including eleven children and injuring 24 others. Local media accounts report the gunman killed the school security guard before walking into the school and opening fire on children, many as young as 7 years old.

The shooting took place in a western Russian city about 600 miles from Moscow. The gunman has been identified as a 34-year-old former student at the school. Authorities say he died by suicide following the attack.

You are watching Iranian security forces fire tear gas at protesters as demonstrations rage into the tenth day, despite claims by Iran's state media that the government has quashed the uprising ignited by the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody, arrested for the crime of not covering her hair.

Now as CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports, families are burying loved ones killed by the government they're protesting.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Regime supporters out en masse, a show of unity against the so-called rioters they say.

Iran's leadership is dismissing the thousands of protesters across the country as a handful of mercenaries.


They claim it's all a foreign plot to destabilize the Islamic republic that is only just beginning to unleash its brutal force to crush the rising voices of dissent. It's startling the Internet, blocking social media sites, dragging protesters off the streets and using lethal force to silence those rising up for their rights.

No one really knows how many lives have been lost. But the gut wrenching scenes of those grieving their loved ones are slowly trickling out. The heartache, the agony of families burying their dead need no words to explain.

Her name is Hadis Najafi, one of countless women who have said enough to tyranny and repression. Hadis never made it back from a protest. Her family says she was shot six times.

Her Instagram posts tell a story of a young woman who loved her country, loved life, music, dressing up and dancing.

Her devastated sister mourning her in this Instagram post. She writes: Sis, how did they have the heart to shoot you? My tears have dried up. I can't breathe. Forgive me. I wasn't there to defend you.

Hadis was 23.

The threat of bullets, of prison, of flogging hasn't stopped the protests. Nightfall brought hundreds back on the streets, their daring chants of "death to the dictator" echoing through the dark streets of Iran. A defiant generation risking it all for freedoms they've never known.


KARADSHEH (on camera): And, Kasie, we must add that CNN cannot independently verify death toll claims but we are getting various casualty figures coming from different organizations and groups, including Amnesty International, even Iranian state media, and to put the death toll anywhere between 30 to 50 people.

But there is a lot of concern that it is far worse than that. As we've seen with previous protest movements, and unfortunately we may not know the true extent of this crackdown until internet connectivity is restored in the country -- Kasie.

HUNT: Jomana Karadsheh, thanks very much for that reporting.

A ban on abortions from 1901 now in effect in 2022 in Arizona. Up next, a mother whose pregnancy has put her life in danger.



HUNT: In the politics lead, women's access to abortion is becoming increasingly limited following the overturning of Roe versus Wade. This after a near total ban on all abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest is now being imposed in Arizona. A judge there ruled late Friday that a 1901 ban must be enforced. This ruling came a day before the state's 15-week abortion ban went into effect and just six weeks before the midterm elections.

CNN's Kyung Lah got rare access to an abortion clinic in Tucson, Arizona, and spoke with one of the last women to receive a safe and legal abortion there.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Planned Parenthood clinic in Tucson, Arizona, we meet a 23-year-old patient, mother of two boys, nine weeks pregnant with her third.

"JANE", ABORTION PATIENT: You could see the head and the little nose.

LAH: A baby she will never hold.

JANE: What brought me here is an abortion by choice.

LAH: We're calling her Jane to protect her privacy. Her last pregnancy almost killed her.

JANE: Breathing machines, and paperwork to sign to decide whether I have to save my life or my son's life.

LAH: Two and a half months ago, she and her partner's birth control failed.

JANE: I'm only nine weeks right now.

LAH: Nine weeks and all of this pain.

JANE: All of this pain. What if I do and I keep this baby and I lose my life, and I can't be there for my other two sons.

LAH: Jane will be among the last women to receive a safe and legal abortion in Arizona. The Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade threw state laws into chaos. An Arizona judge ruled a 1901 law banning abortion with no exception for rape or incest but does consider the life of a mother is the law of the state.

JANE: It's constant fear. It is constant fear. Like I said, it feels like you're alone.

Like, you're being given only one option by a man who doesn't know half of the struggles that us women go through. Or the women that want to have babies and can't, or the traumas that we've experienced through our life. It is very, very frightening.

LAH: The doctor in this clinic is Jill Gibson, Planned Parenthood Arizona's medical director.

DR. JILL GIBSON, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ARIZONA: To have politicians who have never had any formal medical training. For them to come into that exam room and make these decisions for which they have no basis is completely unacceptable.

LAH: We met Gibson at the only fully functioning Planned Parenthood clinic in Tucson. Under the now existing pre-statehood law, if she performs abortions that don't fall under the state's strict guidelines, she faces prosecution and up to five years in prison.

At another clinic in nearby Phoenix --

What's happening here now?

GIBSON: Nothing.


KEISHA TALBERT (ph), REGISTERED NURSE: This is Keisha calling from Planned Parenthood.

LAH: Registered nurse Keisha Talbert (ph) now arranges travel to get women out of Phoenix to Tucson.

TALBERT: What I can do is I can get you funding for your procedure.

GIBSON: People are furious. People are infuriated and so I'm really hoping that the electorate will be able to tap into that collective rage.

LAH: Activists hope that rage exists outside the clinics and will translate at the polls in November, especially among women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's been unwavering in her support for abortion rights and access.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew the woman was a registered Republican.

LAH: A registered Republican.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A registered Republican.

LAH: Who says she will cross party lines to vote for candidates who support abortion rights.

What does that tell you about Arizona and especially women?

RENA ALRICH, PLANNED PARENTHOOD VOTES: Even for Republicans, it's not an issue that just Democratic women face. It's an issue that all women face.

LAH: Back at the Tucson clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jesus died so you could live. Turn to him, turn from your sin.

LAH: Antiabortion activists believe overturning Roe will pay off for conservatives this midterm. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a Christian, I believe God is pro-life, Jesus

is pro-life, and every single life has value. So I think it's a very good thing.

LAH: But for the woman inside today, it's so much more complicated than politics.

Would you have wanted this baby?

JANE: If it didn't come with all of the complications and everything that it did, probably, yes. I feel like more women should take a stand. If we speak up more, maybe our voices will be heard.


LAH (on camera): And we had this breaking development out of Arizona. Planned Parenthood Arizona has filed a notice of appeal as well as an emergency stay while all of this legal battle is happening, Kasie. Abortion services are being halted out of fear that doctors and women could face prison time for abortion services -- Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Kyung Lah, thanks very much for that report.

Next here, business owners have a bone to pick with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and his decision to send migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard.



HUNT: In our money lead, the current migrant crisis colliding with the nation's labor shortage.

And CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich reports, business owners say legal asylum seekers are being sent out of the various states where they're needed most.


JESSICA COOPER, OWNER, SUGAR TOP FARMS: It didn't make any sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did sending them there when we need the people here?

MARCELA RESTREPO, OWNER,SKY BUILDERS USA: Help us to help the economy grow.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Dozens of asylum seekers were sent on flights from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, lured with the promise of a job. While Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis arranged the flights, business owners in his state are struggling to find anyone to fill their open jobs.

COOPER: We know that we have a massive labor shortage in Florida. YURKEVICH: There are at least 670,000 asylum seekers in the U.S.

awaiting their cases to be heard. The average wait time, four and a half years. In the meantime, they can apply to legally work, a process that can take several months.

DeSantis said he believes these asylum seekers were coming to Florida from Texas, so he used funds allocated to move migrants out of Florida where the planes made a stop-over.

COOPER: It's hard to watch willing workers leave your state with tax dollars.

YURKEVICH: Jessica Cooper owns a small farm outside of Orlando.

COOP[ER: We're finding that it's hard to keep domestic labor. This is a hard job. This is not for everyone.

YURKEVICH: Whether these asylum seekers were intending to come to Florida on their own --

COOPER: Absolutely would have welcomed them. Why not lift up the small businesses in a way that they're also being helped on their labor.

YURKEVICH: The construction industry is facing an aging workforce. The average age of asylum seekers, 35. The industry is short 650,000 workers, but has an average wage of $35 an hour.

MICHELE DAUGHERTY, PRESIDENT, FLORIDA ASSOCIATED BUSINESS AND CONTRACTORS: If they are able to legally work here, we have jobs for them. They have opportunities for them to not just take care of themselves, but their families.

YURKEVICH: There are major construction projects under way in Florida, like Universal Epic in Orlando aimed at attracting tourists to the state, and billions of dollars more allocated to state projects, but not enough people to do the work.

RESTREPO: You see Orlando, the way that it's growing, the way the construction is going, the job is there, and there is quality people coming from other countries.

YURKEVICH: The hospitality industry has been slow to recover from the pandemic. There are still 1.5 million open hospitality jobs in the U.S.

JAN GAUTAM, PRESIDENT, IHRMC: It's very tough to find those employees. I mean, I was making beds a couple of days ago.

YURKEVICH: You as a president were making beds --

GAUTAM: That is right. Yes, that is right.

YURKEVICH: -- because you couldn't find anyone to do it.

GAUTAM: No. YURKEVICH: As an immigrant from India who arrived to the U.S. with $6, he says he understands the value of a job and the chance to work to achieve a dream. He says if he were DeSantis, he would have done things differently.

GAUTAM: I would have kept them here. I mean I would use them in my hotels, trust me.


YURKEVICH (on camera): And it's not just in Florida. There are 11.2 million open jobs across the country.


That is why you're hearing from small business owners and large corporations for immigration reform, Kasie. They believe it's a win for migrants looking for legal work, the business owners and a win for the economy -- Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks very for that.

Up next, NASA's test run tonight to save Planet Earth.


HUNT: In our out of this world lead, in about two hours, a NASA spacecraft will deliberately crash into an asteroid and knock it off course. This is only a test, but if successful, NASA can use this tactic to divert future asteroids from hitting Earth.

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, is considered the first attempt at deflecting an asteroid without blowing it up. While this is all happening, almost 7 million miles from Earth, you can watch it in about two hours online.

Our coverage continues right now with "THE SITUATION ROOM."