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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Recovery Efforts Continue As Death Toll Reaches 104; Biden Pledges $60M For Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery; Oath Keepers Trial Tests DOJ's Case For Seditious Conspiracy; Maggie Haberman Writes In New Book About Trump Telling False Tales; CNN In Key Eastern City Hours After Ukraine Regains Control. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 03, 2022 - 16:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I don't know how they thought that they were going to get away with it since the fish weren't bigger, they were just heavier.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, that's right. These look like four pound fish, but put them on a scale and they come in at seven pounds. So they did themselves in with their own doing.

CAMEROTA: Fishy indeed.

Martin Savidge, thank you very much for all of that.

And thanks for joining us today.

THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: One devastating hurricane and more than 100 lives lost in the U.S.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Defending their decisions, government officials explain why many evacuation orders came within hours of Hurricane Ian's landfall with little time for folks to escape.

And it is billed as the book Donald Trump fears most, detailed profile of the former president's life from "The New York Times'" Maggie Haberman and she is here with her new book, "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America."

Also ahead, a bombshell report dropping today revealing harassment and abuse in professional women's soccer. Players inappropriately touched, coerced into sexual relationships, and a league's extensive efforts to hide what was going on.


TAPPER: Hello and welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin this hour with the rising death toll from Hurricane Ian. Officials say at least 104 people have now died in the U.S. as a result of the monster storm and its aftermath. The vast majority of them in Florida. Fifty-four, more than half of Florida's total dead, were all in hard hit Lee County on the western part of the peninsula. The damage in parts of the county such as in Ft. Myers and Sanibel Island is, simply put, breathtaking.

Floridians who evacuated have started returning only to find their homes and communities unrecognizable and daunting cleanup ahead. Boats flung to the middle of streets, even into people's yards. Who do you even call to get a boat out of your yard?

The additional deaths have been discovered as search and rescue efforts remain under way five full days after the hurricane hit landfall. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis saying more than 1,600 people have been rescued so far.

Today, the sheriff of Lee County defended the decision made by county leaders to wait until just one day, one day, before landfall before ordering a mandatory evacuation. On the one hand, the bull's-eye had been predicted to be farther north toward Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg. In fact, the center of the storm never tracked within 20 miles of Ft. Myers.

On the other hand, as early as the Sunday before the storm hit, there was a chance Lee County could get up to 7 feet of storm surge and that chance meets the county's emergency plan threshold to trigger an evacuation notice.

One county official telling CNN today mandatory evacuation or not, residents had enough general information to know they should have left a full 72 hours before the storm.

But as CNN's Carlos Suarez reports, residents of Lee County are pushing back on that, saying they are used to more time to evacuate after an order is officially given.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unrecognizable in parts, still under water in others, Hurricane Ian's destruction and path so vast, search and rescue efforts continue days after the storm tore through Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't get over the bridge.

SUAREZ: Residents in DeSoto County hit by river flooding. They're stuck. Air boats key to getting supplies in and people out.

LINDA CAMPBELL, ARCADIA RESIDENT: Air boats going out, taking people into town, and it has been going for a while now.

SUAREZ: The death toll across the state climbing rapidly, Two of the hardest hit Florida counties, Lee and Charlotte, each adding a dozen deaths alone.

DR. BENJAMIN ABO, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE'S VENOM ONE: A lot of sick people running out of their medications, a lot of people running out of water, and until we can get everything up and going, we're trying to get them out.

SUAREZ: Hundreds of Sanibel Island residents cut off from the mainland have been rescued so far with no timetable to rebuild, the only road to the island --

MAYOR HOLLY SMITH, SANIBEL, FLORIDA: We're encouraging everyone to get off the island. But we also need to understand that this is everyone's home and they need to get back and protect it.

SUAREZ: Meanwhile mounting questions in Lee County over why the first mandatory evacuation orders there came just one day before landfall. County officials standing by the decision making saying they based the orders on the storm's forecasted path.

BRIAN HAMMAN, LEE COUNTY COMMISSIONER: They made the call as soon as the forecast called for it. Monday afternoon, we were telling people you don't have to leave for evacuation orders to leave, you can leave now.

SUAREZ: But the county's own emergency plan suggests evacuations should have happened earlier, specifically when there is a 10 percent chance of 6 feet or higher storm surge. It was Sunday night the National Hurricane Center first mentioned 4 to 7 feet of surge for that area.


The first mandatory evacuation orders for Lee County were issued Tuesday morning.

SHERIFF CARMINE MARCENO, LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Now, whether people listen to it, we can't force people out of their homes.

SUAREZ: Mixed opinions from residents themselves on how the county handled the decision.

PASTOR KEVIN SHAWN CRITSER, BEACH BAPTIST CHURCH: When the evacuation order characterization we were like 24 hours, that's not a lot.

BRITTNEY MONUS, FORT MYERS RESIDENT: We have so many retirees here and elderly that need more time to be able to get to places or people that don't have vehicles that need more assistance, that having those extra days might have given people -- would have given people more time to get affairs in order.

RICHARD PHILLIPS, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: That wouldn't deter whether I go or not. It is all for each individual. It is right for me doesn't mean it's right for you.


SUAREZ (on camera): And, Jake, similar to Sanibel and Ft. Myers Beach, getting in and out of northern Lee County is quite difficult, where we spent the day in northern Fort Myers, there are only two major roads going north and south. We're talking about I-75 and U.S. 41. The folks that we talked to say look, we would have welcomed a little bit more time, but the last thing they felt folks wanted to do was possibly sit in traffic on either of these two roads considering that northern cities like Tampa were evacuating their residents -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Carlos, that boat behind you, is that just a boat that was thrown into somebody's front yard?

SUAREZ: That's right, Jake. So, we're in downtown Fort Myers in what has become a bit of a yard for all of these boats out here. All of these washed up from a marina not too far from the northern side of the Caloosahatchee River here. And you can see how much of the litter is out here.

We've seen a couple crews taking a look, what you would imagine what would be the work, the effort that is about to get under way, figuring out who these boats belong to and exactly where they're going to go.

TAPPER: All right. Carlos Suarez, reporting live from Fort Myers, Florida, thank you so much.

For more from Lee County, let's bring in Jim Atterholt. He's a member of the Fort Myers Beach town council.

We should note that your community Facebook page encouraged residents in high risk flood zones to leave last Monday, two days before Ian's landfall. The mayor of Fort Myers Beach told CNN that he didn't want to get involved in any controversy over the evacuation timing in your county saying it is a political fight.

But, obviously, with every storm, lessons can be learned. Fifty-four people in Lee County are dead. This storm didn't discriminate between political parties.

Is there a lesson to be learned here about evacuation?

JIM ATTERHOLT, MEMBER, FORT MYERS BEACH TOWN COUNCIL: Well, Jake, I think that there is. I was -- I was in a building at the tip of the spear of the hurricane on Fort Myers Beach, we were right on the ocean. I was on the ninth floor. We knew the hurricane was coming. We knew it was trending south. We knew that long in advance.

No one -- at the point that it hit, we thought we were still on the edge of the cone in Fort Myers Beach. And people just did not know. The weather folks didn't know it was going to be a cat 4.

We stayed primarily because we had some elderly folks in our condo building who were disabled. My wife is a nurse. We did not in good conscious could leave them there alone.

But every situation is different. No one predicted a cat 4 to be hitting where it hit, when it hit. But we knew hurricanes were coming. And the lesson to be learned is: get out. I mean, you know, these things are very volatile, they change direction quickly. And so, you know, I take responsibility. Next time I'm going to take

these seniors and carry them down personally and put them in our car and if we have to put people in the trunk, we're going to get off the island. That's the lesson to be learned just because these things are so volatile, they trend in different directions so quickly.

TAPPER: Yeah, I think that is the main lesson. It's not about finger pointing, but -- I mean, it looked as though the storm was going to target Tampa-St. Pete and it ended up targeting Fort Myers instead. But still by Fort Myers -- by Lee County's own evacuation guidelines, what you knew was coming should have prompted an evacuation even not expecting that it would be the bull's-eye on Lee County.

ATTERHOLT: And, Jake, that's fair, but we did know days in advance that we should get out of there because you just -- you never know when these hurricanes are going to trend. But we had some folks -- elderly, two of whom were disabled, and there were ones on the 12th floor, one on the sixth floor, and you just can't leave people like that there. And we didn't have enough capacity in our transportation to get everybody off.

And so they decided to stay and they were going to stay, and so we decided to stay with them. We saw this storm hit our building. Normally giant waves hit the shoreline but because of the storm surge, giant waves literally were hitting our building on the side of our building, gutting the first floor of our building. And then we could see out the other window literally carrying cars across the island as the storm surge moved across the island.


The devastation was -- I was chief staff for a governor in Indiana for a number of years and I've never seen anything even approaching this kind of devastation.

So at this time, I think that it is best to put the politics aside. We need help. The state and federal help is pouring in. And we're extremely thankful for it.

We were stuck on the island for four days. It is apocalyptic on that's land right now. It's horrifying. And everybody just needs to come together and help. We really need help and we're so thankful for those who are professionals that are there right now.

Right now, it's only search and rescue on the island, and it's a desperate time and the professionals are there, they are doing their job and we're thankful for their help.

TAPPER: All right. Jim Atterholt of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, thank you and god bless you and your wife for sticking around and helping those seniors out.

Hurricane Ian is not done. The National Weather Service says this evening, parts of the mid-Atlantic could see its highest tide in a decade, more than 20 million people are under flood alerts.

CNN's Brian Todd is in Norfolk, Virginia.

Brian, high tide is happening there right about now. What has that meant for flooding?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I mean, if you take a look at this, Ian is the storm that (AUDIO GAP) the United States. We are at high tide right now as you mentioned, this is the hour of real danger, they have warned people here in the Hague neighborhood of Norfolk to move your cars, move to higher ground, clearly too late for this vehicle here. (AUDIO GAP)

We saw a delivery truck come through where I am walking through right here. This section of the street in the Hague neighborhood. And that delivery rubbing almost didn't make it out of here. The water came into his grill, it started smoking the engine a little bit.

We don't know about these vehicles over here, whether they are in danger or not. They could be. But what we've been told, this is kind of a combination of remnants of Hurricane Ian, nor'easter, plus high tides that are higher than normal.

Now, the good news that we got from the National Weather Service a few minutes ago was that because the winds have shifted to the north/northwest, that the high tide anticipated right now at this hour may not be quite as high as they originally thought. So that's good news for the people here in this neighborhood.

But as you can see, there is still some danger. Our photojournalist Jay Michaels (ph) is going to pan over to your right, my left, to the Chrysler Museum of Art over there. They have put floodgates there. We'll see if those gates will be needed. There are houses over here also to the right that Jay is going to try to hit with his camera.

Just in the last half hour, look at where the water has come up there. That has really happened in just the last few minutes. There's a gentleman here who's standing on higher ground, but this water is threatening that beige house right there.

So, again, rising water, rising fairly quickly here, Jake, and we'll see how dangerous it gets.

TAPPER: All right. Brian Todd in Norfolk, Virginia, thank you.

President Biden is in Puerto Rico right now touring damage from Hurricane Fiona. His pledge to help the island, plus his plans to visit Florida, which could put him face-to-face with Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

And Russia pushed out. What Putin's defeat looks like in one town in Ukraine? Plus, the message from two women in tears who confronted our CNN team.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: President Biden visiting Puerto Rico today says that he is, quote, committed to the island's recovery after Hurricane Fiona which struck almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Jeremy, the president suggested that the island has not been treated very well after these storms. So what's he going to do to fix it?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Biden arriving here on an island that is recovering not only from Hurricane Fiona that hit two weeks ago, but very much also still rebuilding from Hurricane Maria which hit five years ago. And billions of dollars in funding that were allocated for the island from the federal government still have not been allocated five years later.

And so it was notable to hear the president of the United States come here to Ponce, Puerto Rico, and address directly that shortcoming, that failure of the federal government.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Puerto Rico is a strong place. And Puerto Ricans are strong people. But even so, you have had to bear so much. And more than need be and you haven't gotten the help in a timely way.

After Maria, Congress approved billions of dollars for Puerto Rico, much of it not having gotten here initially. We're going to make sure that you get every single dollar promised.


DIAMOND: And now, the Biden administration has already done some work to make sure that those billions of dollars in Hurricane Maria relief money actually gets to the people of Puerto Rico, some -- an action to unfreeze a $5 billion of those funds that had been placed with onerous restrictions by the Trump administration.

Today, President Biden was also announcing $60 million of infrastructure investments to help with levees and floodwalls, something that is desperately needed here in Puerto Rico. This latest hurricane was a category 1 hurricane, but it brought historic rainfall with it as well. And so that is very much needed here.

And the president also talking about the fact that he is now heading to Florida on Wednesday.

TAPPER: And, Jeremy, as you noted, the president heading later this week to Florida. What do we know about his plans there?

DIAMOND: Yeah, President Biden will be headed to Florida on Wednesday visiting that community that has been devastated by another hurricane, Hurricane Ian. Now, one of the big questions here is whether or not the president

will be meet being directly with Governor Ron DeSantis, they have been on the phone several times now throughout this recovery effort. Of course, they do have a contentious political past, very combative history between the two men.

Today, the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not say whether they plan to meet and if he does meet with Governor DeSantis will bring up some of these other issues, like the busing and the flying of migrants to other areas in the country. Certainly, that's been on the radar between the two men -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jeremy Diamond with President Biden in Puerto Rico, thank you so much.

Ahead, what we did not know about Donald Trump. The revealing look at the character of the former president as he weighs another run in 2024. The author of a new book "Confidence Man", Maggie Haberman, joins me next.


TAPPER: Our politics lead now. Today, opening statements in the highest profile January 6 case to date. Five members of the right wing extremist militia group the Oath Keepers are on trial for a crime that's only been prosecuted a handful of times throughout U.S. history. It's conspiring to engage in sedition, or in this case, preventing the swearing in of then-President-elect Biden.

Today, we heard from the prosecution and defense.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more from the federal court house as both sides of the case start to take shape.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jurors deciding the fate of five defendants facing seditious conspiracy charges for their role in a January 6 Capitol attack heard from federal prosecutor Jeff Nestler first.

In his opening statement, he said the defendants concocted a plan of an armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy. He then played videos like this one.


SIDNER: Showing members of the militia-style group the Oath Keepers storming the Capitol. They used their military experience plotting to oppose by force the government of the United States of America, he said.

It is the most serious charge anyone has faced from that day, and very rare.

CARLTON LARSON, PROF. OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW & LEGAL HISTORY, UC DAVIS SCHOOL OF LAW: It is unprecedented in a sense that we've never had a violent disruption of the transfer of power from one president to another. That makes it absolutely unique event in American history.

SIDNER: Prosecutors using just some of the hundreds of hours of the video including this, showing the Oath Keepers wearing combat gear walking in the military stack formation and reaching the Capitol. They include 40-year-old Jessica Watkins of Ohio, an army veteran, 47-year old Army Veteran Kenneth Harrelson of Florida, 53-year-old Florida man Kelly Meggs all went inside. Two of the charged did not.

THOMAS CALDWELL, NAVY VETERAN: Everyone in there is a traitor. Every single one.

SIDNER: That's Navy veteran Thomas Caldwell, an associate of the Oath Keepers, outside the Capitol, talking about members of Congress. And the founder of the Oath Keepers, Army veteran Stewart Rhodes of Texas, pictured outside.

Prosecutors say he was the general of the entire operation. But the defense attorney for Rhodes said in his opening statement that the government's story of the Oath Keepers' role on January 6 is completely wrong. And they will prove it. He said our clients had no part in the bulk of that violence and they were a peace keeping force awaiting President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act.


SIDNER (on camera): And you have to remember, this trial is going to be long. Why is that? Because there are five defendants which means for each defendant they have an attorney who speaks on their behalf.

And we've heard opens statements from four of the five attorneys. We have now heard from the government's very first witness. It was an FBI special agent who was there that day sent into help protect the senators.

And we heard something we haven't heard before, he said that the senators were in shock, that we knew, but he also said that he witnessed some crying and some members of Congress crying as well. He said when he went in, it looked like a bomb had gone off inside the Capitol, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Sidner, thanks so much.

On the subject of January 6, hitting book shelves tomorrow, a bombshell new book detailing the life and presidency of Donald Trump. The book is written by "The New York Times" senior political reporter and CNN analyst, Maggie Haberman. It's entitled "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America". It is a fantastic read, full of all sorts of scoops and insights.

And here with me right now, Maggie Haberman.

Maggie, let me start with something interesting, the origin story of Donald Trump as it were. You open the book with Donald Trump recounting this ceremony he attended in 1964, opening a bridge linking Brooklyn to Staten Island.

You wrote about Trump describing the day as raining and what he left that day with was the impression that none of the fancy people there acknowledged the lead engineer. We found a 1964 news clip from that day. Let's play a clip of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In brilliant cold sunshine, a dream becomes a reality, with plaudits for the man most responsible for fulfilling that long-held dream, Othmar H. Ammann, 85-year-old master bridge builder.


TAPPER: Everything about Donald Trump erect election of that day was completely inaccurate.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: One of the things about that story, Jake, that was so striking to me is that Trump described that moment, and he didn't just do it once, he described that moment as foundational for him. It was the moment that he realized you can't be made thin else's sucker and he describes it as all of these people were standing around in the pouring rain for hours.

And you just saw that clip, there was no rain. The sun was shining. He was acknowledged. He was lauded this bridge engineer over and over and over. Trump appears to have seized on one moment where Robert Moses, the master of ceremony, forget to say the man's name, and that appeared to be some kind of huge insult. The only detail that Trump seemed to have gotten right was the man's age.

TAPPER: You write about these tales, these lies, these fictions of Donald Trump's. Quote, you say it begins, quote, a small fragment of something that had occurred shrouded in other basic details that were completely wrong, distorted to make a larger point.


And you detail throughout his life he was a master at this. One little nugget of truth, you know, buried under 90 pounds of BS, and I guess the question I have is, has he ever really felt a consequence of all this deception other than when the American people voted to not send him back to the White House for a second term?

HABERMAN: That wasn't an insignificant consequence considering how we saw him act after he lost the November 2020 election. And the anger in the country that he helped foment around it.

But you are correct that he went on for decades and this is what I sought to show and demonstrate, this larger context, this portrait of this person's life, who has been building brick by brick out of one news story after another over time this artifice about himself where there was enough real where its of hard for people to tell exactly what was going on but so many other things that were not real just to allow him to build this image, this myth making, that just wasn't true.

TAPPER: And speaking of not true, you released this audio clip from one of the three interviews Donald Trump gave you, where in this one, he claims that he was not watching TV at all during the January 6 Capitol attack. Let's play a little bit of that.


HABERMAN: But what were you doing when -- how did you find out that there were people storming the Capitol?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I had heard that afterwards and actually on the late side. I was having meetings. I was also with Mark Meadows and others. I was not watching television. I didn't have the television on.

HABERMAN: You weren't. Okay.

TRUMP: I didn't usually have the television on. I'd have it on if there was something. I didn't later turn it on and I saw what was happening. I also had confidence that the Capitol who didn't want these 10,000 people --

HABERMAN: The Capitol police you mean.

TRUMP: That they would be able to control this thing. And you don't realize that, you know, they did lose control.


TAPPER: Again, there has been sworn congressional testimony by former Trump allies that in fact he was watching TV during the insurrection and was described as gleeful about it.

HABERMAN: The House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot has documented in its public hearings and in its private witness information gathering that Trump was watching television and, Jake, that Trump was aware of what was going on pretty early on. That he was told what was happening.

I was very struck in that bid in the interview where he told me that he believed that the Capitol police would have control of it. It was very clear pretty early the Capitol police did not have control of it and it is not even clear why he believed that they would have control of something in the first place if he was so surprised that this event took place. Again, everything he told me there just has been completely disproven.

TAPPER: Donald Trump's flirtation with white supremacists is nothing new. But you do mention this moment in 2016 after the South Carolina primary when former Klan leader David Duke endorsed him. He came on my show, "STATE OF THE UNION," I tried to get him to condemn David Duke's support. I didn't think it would be a big deal, but it was.

Let's take a look.


TAPPER: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?

TRUMP: Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, and I don't know what you are talking about white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know. I mean, I don't know, did he endorse me or what's going on? Because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.


TAPPER: He obviously knew who David Duke was. You provided the answer to the question after the interview, you wrote that Chris Christie called Trump and implored him to please distance himself from white supremacists and, quote, Trump was heard telling Christie that he would get to it but it didn't have to happen too quickly. A lot of these people vote, Trump said, and ended the call.

A lot of these people vote. So despite what they were saying about his earpiece wasn't working, et cetera, he knew exactly what he was doing.

HABERMAN: And that's one of the things, Jake, that I tried to show in this book over this very long period of time, throughout his life. He is much more calculating than people realize. One of the things that in my various interviews with various former administration officials, one of the things that people told me was that Bill Barr for instance, former attorney general, came to realize that Trump was more calculating than folks had thought he was.

And this is one of the issues in terms of this artifice that he creates when he is, you know, myth making and taking one piece of truth and shrouding it in a bunch of other things that aren't true. It becomes very disorienting for people around him and it becomes disorienting for those of us covering him and covering what he is doing.


He is often much more calculating than people think.

TAPPER: Maggie, stick around because you wrote about a startling remark he made to then U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May about abortion and rape. I want to get to that comments next after this question break.


TAPPER: And just in, the National Archives has released an email showing the agency told Trump's attorneys back in May 2021 that Trump's Kim Jong-un's letter among others had not been returned and the Archives want the all of this back.

Maggie Haberman is with us talking about her new book "Confidence Man." Maggie, you asked Trump about this -- the letters from Kim Jong-un

when you interviewed him for the book and you and I have talked about how serious this National Archives situation could be for Trump, the lack of respect for classified documents.

HABERMAN: That's exactly right, Jake. It came up. Actually, he brought up the letters.


And we reported on the existence of this email a couple of weeks ago. There was a back and forth between the National Archives and Trump's aides about getting those letters returned.

As we understand, that they were not returned until earlier this year. I asked Trump on a lark if he had taken any, quote, memento documents just because I knew how proud he was of certain materials, like those letters. And he said nothing of great urgency, no. So he denied it.

And then he brought up the Kim Jong-un letters and said we have something -- you know, we have great things, something to that effect, registering my surprise because it appeared to be saying that he had them. And then he backtracked and said no, no, those were in the Archives. They were not at the Archives at that point.

And so, it was a revealing moment because he went with a denial and he seemed to want to brag about the documents and then seeing my reaction backtracked.

TAPPER: Yeah, there's, a lot more to learn about what he had there and who had access to those classified documents.

You wrote about a meeting Trump had when president with then UK Prime Minister Theresa May where Trump brought up abortion and he said to the prime minister some people are pro-life, some are pro-choice. Imagine if some animals with tattoos raped your daughter and she got pregnant. He then pointed to the vice president who's in the room. He's the really tough one abortion, he said.

Two things stand out here. First of all, that's a graphic conversation to be having with Theresa May, the prime minister of the U.K. at the time, but also, it does seem to suggest that he at least wanted Theresa May to think that he was not as hard line on abortion as Mike Pence was.

HABERMAN: That's exactly right. You know, Trump struggled with how he was talking about abortion rights or wanting to repeal abortion rights over the course of his presidency. He had been, you know, pro-choice before he announced in 2011 that he was pro-life. He swore in 2016 that he was going to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade which is exactly what happened.

But he was never comfortable discussing abortion in any meaningful way, and he continued to try to sort of hoist it off on Mike Pence. That was one of the clearest examples that I saw that I will say that I was told by people close to Theresa May after that meeting that she found this interaction with him overall just sort of harrowing and it ended with him grabbing her hand as they were walking downstairs outside of the Oval Office, and she had to call her husband and tell him that Trump had grabbed her hand because she didn't want her husband seeing this picture, said to aides, you know, what could I do, he just grabbed it?

TAPPER: Yeah, he's not comfortable on stairs.

Also, your colleague Maureen Dowd once asked him if he'd ever paid for an abortion and he didn't answer the question. He said something like, such an interesting question.

HABERMAN: And what's your next question?

TAPPER: What's your next question?

You write in the book that Trump wanted your phone records, because he wanted to know who your sources were, that basically just be every person he knows, I imagine. But were you ever concerned about your safety or your privacy when covering the Trump administration? I mean, this is not somebody who respects various laws and guardrails set up to protect the journalists.

HABERMAN: There have been questions, not just with the Trump administration obviously, but previous administrations too good getting hold of reporters' phone records. And so reporters are generally mindful of that. But Trump more than any president that I can think of in modern history not only tried to use the Justice Department to defend himself but to hurt people who he considered to be oppositional to him. And I found out that he had been railing about wanting my phone records after he had left the White House. You know, it was certainly startling, but not surprising.

TAPPER: Just one of the things that his former communications director Alyssa Farah says she fears if there is a second Trump term the war he would declare on journalism using the DOJ for that kind thing because she fears that he would have, you know, no restraints if he had a second term because he wouldn't have to worry about getting elected.

You wrote about when Trump was recovering from COVID at Walter Reed and you said he wanted to be wheeled out in a chair and once outdoors, he would dramatically stand up and then open his button-down dress to reveal the Superman logo beneath it.

It's such a -- I mean, this was reported at the time although not in a detail you provided in the book. But why?

HABERMAN: So, my colleague Annie Karni and I reported that he had wanted this at the time. Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, went to enormous length to deny this story in his own book and I was told in reporting for this book that in fact Trump had called a campaign aide, sent this aide to go buy Superman t-shirts at a big box store because as Trump explained to aides, he really admired the showmanship of James Brown, when James Brown the singer would throw the cape off, and he loved the way that look, he looked as if he was limping off stage and then throw the cape off and then come back to the microphone.

And Trump loved this showy, sort of, you know, World Wrestling Federation type approach. It is just nothing you can think of a president actually wanting do.


TAPPER: It is well-written, well reported, and really, really just a great read.

Maggie Haberman, the new book "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America". The book comes out tomorrow. Please go buy it.

Maggie, thanks so much. Always great to have you on.

HABERMAN: Thank you so much, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, the dire message two women tried to tell CNN as our team arrived in a town where Ukrainian forces had just pushed out Russians. Stay with us.


TAPPER: The world lead, Russia's lower house today rubber-stamped Putin's illegal land grab in Ukraine. It's more propaganda than anything else, considering Russia is currently losing battles in parts of that annexed territory.

In eastern Ukraine, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has this exclusive report for us from the recently liberated town of Lyman.

Nick was the first journalist to get there hours after Ukraine regained control.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): It may not look like much but this is where Putin's defeat in Donetsk began. Apprise from the last century perhaps, but trains and tracks are still how Russia wages war today.

Lyman, what's left of it, now freed of Russia.

This is what it was all about, the central railway hub, here now in Ukrainian hands and devastated by the fighting. And this was such a seminal part of Russia's occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk. The concern for Russia is a knock-on effect this is going to have for their forces all the way to the border.

On the town's edges, we saw no signs of the hundreds of Russian prisoners or dead that had been expected to follow Moscow's strategic defeat here, nor inside it, either. Perhaps they have already been taken away. Instead, utter silence.

Only local bicycles on the streets. Several residents told us the Russians left in large numbers on Friday.

TANYA, LYMAN RESIDENT (through translator): They left in the night and the day, people said. I didn't see it myself, but they sat on their APCs and their bags were falling off as they drove. They ran like this.

WALSH: It would be remarkable timing, Russia fled Lyman in the very same hours that Putin was signing papers declaring here Russian territory and holding a rally on Red Square.

A similar story in the local administration where the only signs of Russia left are burned flags. They ran away without saying a word to anybody, he says. It was bad, no work, no gas, no power, nothing. The shops didn't work.

It truly feels as if there is nobody left. Ghostly silence here, apart from occasional shelling and small arms fire. And it is so much of this town is utterly destroyed. So many locals leaving when the Ukrainian push began, but now it's just this utter ghostliness in a place that's such a strategic defeat for Russia.

Gunfire in the distance, they're nervous some Russians may be left. Outside what's left of the court, the constant change and violence is too much for some. Her husband just arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): You want the truth? You put on a hat, you take off a hat. What life is this? I am 72 years old. I'm like a rate in a basement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): You will not show this - the truth. Yesterday, Ukraine came checked documents on a checkpoint. AND took my husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): A man disappeared from the police station. One hat, another hat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): People are suffering. One beats us, another beats us - and we cry.

WALSH: The Ukrainian troops we did see had already stopped celebrating. There is little time. They're on the move again.

Another Russian target further east, Kreminna in their sights.

And those left in Lyman, a town cursed to have these bars of rusting steel running through it, are gathering the ruins to burn for fuel with winter ahead.

Left in the wake of Russia's collapse here, a town they took weeks to occupy, but only hours to leave.


PATON (on camera): Now, the fallout already happening, U.S. official agreeing with what we said there, that essentially Russia is falling back to the latter position, further toward its border. The political fallout intense. Russia has replaced its western

military district commander, and the Kremlin spokesperson today says, well, they couldn't say exactly where the new territories they claimed that Russia began and ended and was still consulting with the local population. Quite remarkable disarray for Moscow at the moment, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Nick Paton Walsh in Ukraine, thank you so much.

Coming up, a culture of abuse in professional women's soccer. Allegations with coaches, players sexually abused, a disturbing new report out today. That's just coming up.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a shattering investigation finds women's soccer players at the top level were sexually, emotionally and verbally abused by coaches for years, with U.S. soccer executives apparently doing nothing to stop it. And there's now growing concern the abuse is starting in the youth leagues.

Plus, horror in Tehran as Iranian security forces beat, shoot and detain university students in an effort to crack down on protests last month sparked by last month's death of Mahsa Gina Amini who was arrested for not covering her hair.

And leading this hour, the death toll from Hurricane Ian rising to at least 104 people in the United States and now there are questions about the timing of evacuation orders in one of the hardest hit counties in Florida, Lee County, home to Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island.