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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Death Toll Is Now 104 And County Officials Grilled Over Delayed Evacuation Order In Lee County; Report Finds Systemic Abuse In Women's Pro Soccer League; Trump Threatens Sen. McConnell And Makes Racial Slur On His Wife; Trump Makes Violent Threat, Ugly Comment Towards McConnell, Wife; GOP Sen. Rick Scott Criticizing Trump For Elaine Chao Comments; GOP's Mastriano Bizarrely Promises To Ban "Pole Dancing" In schools; Sources: Ukraine Offers U.S. Say Over Battle Plans For Better Weapons. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 03, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Until last Tuesday, the forecast had the Tampa Bay area taking a direct hit, north of Fort Myers. But then the path of the storm shifted further south to Lee County.

According to Lee County's own evacuation guidelines, however, as early as Sunday, Fort Myers was predicted to get a big enough storm surge to activate orders for residents to leave, but they did not. Today the sheriffs stood by the timing of the evacuation orders. However, for the people who choose to ride the storm out at home or lost everything, it's all too late. As CNN's Leyla Santiago reports, rescue teams are right now going door to door scrambling to get to stranded victims in time.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rescue and recovery operation after Hurricane Ian continuing on the small white sand island of Fort Myers Beach located in Lee County, an island that is now an island of rubble, 54 deaths now reported in this county alone.

UNKNOWN: We're looking for anybody that may have been left behind. The devastation is hard to put into words.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): We joined a FEMA rescue operation that includes search and rescue dogs. Not a single door being overlooked.

UNKNOWN: We send the dog in, the dog will sniff around. And if don't, whether I see I him, if we can't make contact, we'll walk up and start hollering and see if we get a response from anybody. If we don't hear anything, we bring a second dog up.

SANTIAGO (on camera): As we walked around on Fort Myers Beach, there is just destruction everywhere. The water that came in here just decimated this area and a lot of people are asking us when will power come back? How long will it take to recover? And it will be different for some folks. Where I am standing right now, this used to be a home. Now, stairs that lead to nowhere.

UNKNOWN: The Army is saying they're going to take us over the bridge.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): These two women who rode out the storm here grateful for being transported off the island today.

CARMINE MARCENO, SHERIFF, LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Our EOC has made a decision with Fort Myers Beach to close the beach to residents.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Officials today deciding to close the island to search and rescue teams only so their operation can continue safely. Lee County officials have been criticized for issuing the first mandatory evacuation orders only a day before Ian's landfall despite emergency plans that called for it sooner.

For Fort Myers resident Connie Miller, she said she realized she needed to get out when it was too late. Hotels were already booked and she feared getting stuck on the roads driving off the island.

UNKNOWN: God kept us together and gave us safety.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): But officials are standing by their decision.

MARCENO: You know, you lived in a place like Florida that is susceptible to hurricanes. This storm was supposed to go up to the Tampa sheriff who I spoke to hours before it turned and hit us. I am confident in our county manager, our leaders, our governor, all of us in law enforcement that we got that message out at the right time.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): For many, coming back to a life here still very uncertain.

UNKNOWN: I'm getting tired. It's time to go. Obviously, things aren't going to get better. Not for a long time.


SANTIAGO (on camera): And, jake, I checked in with Connie this evening. She was able to get out on her way to Orlando to go home to Pennsylvania. But like so many others that we talked to this morning in Fort Myers Beach, there are so many questions about when they can come back. And that's because they're dealing with this.

I mean, this is going to be a recovery effort that is going to require boats having to be moved, homes having to be rebuilt, a cleanup effort that every single firefighter and search and rescue team that I talked to today, made no mistake, they said this is not going to take days or weeks. This will be a matter of months, if not years to recover.

TAPPER: Alright, CNN's Leyla Santiago reporting live for us from Fort Myers Beach. Thank you so much.

Let's stay in Fort Myers Beach now because CNN's Randi Kaye also just got back from a ride with a different search and rescue team. Randi, tell us what you saw. RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We went with the Florida Task

Force, too, Jake. They're out of Miami and they were the first search and rescue team on the ground here in Fort Myers Beach. They actually came as the storm was still under way. And so, they took us to take a firsthand look on the ground there and we've seen it from the air.

But then we've been held back on the other side of this bridge now for days. So, when we go across the bridge with this team earlier today, all you can say is wow. I mean, the entire community at Fort Myers Beach in the beach area is on the ground.

I mean, homes, you see a staircase to nowhere basically on every block. The homes have been tossed away by the sea, by the wind. You can see -- we saw a laundromat where the doors were blown off, the machines were all over the place. We found laundry machines, washing machines and dryers blocks away.

We saw homes on top of homes, homes that have been on one side of the street, had been pushed by the sea, by the force of the water and the wind across to the other side of the street.


It really looked like a lumber yard in some areas, as if the homes had never ever been built. They were just smashed and pieces of wood all over the place. There was one house where the neighbor's rooftop was on their rooftop. It had been moved over to their neighbor's home. There were cars upside down. It was really incredible.

We talked to one woman named Katherine (ph) who stayed in her home because she needed treatment of chemotherapy because she has cancer and she wanted to continue to have it here. So, she rode out the storm, but she was rescued today and here's what she told us.


UNKNOWN: The house next to me is one level. Mine is two stories. We watched the water go all the way up to the roof line and it was not -- it was rushing. It was like 30 miles per hour. It was pulling houses, roofs apart, literally. You could see them float by.


KAYE: And you know, so many people stayed because they didn't think the storm was going to hit this area. We did talk to the task force. They told us they rescued 150 people, Jake, who had been stuck in their attics or other parts of their homes because when the storm came through, they trapped themselves in there trying to escape the rising water and then they couldn't get out, Jake.

TAPPER: Yeah. The hurricane is sadly unpredictable. Randi Kaye reporting in Fort Myers Beach, hard-hit. Thank you so much.

For more on recovery efforts, let's go to our next guest, Bill Prummell. He's the sheriff of hard-hit Charlotte County, Florida that's just north of Fort Myers. Sheriff, thanks for joining us. I want to start with Hurricane Ian's devastating effects on your county, on Charlotte County. At least 12 -- I'm sorry -- at least 24 people have died due to the storm and its aftermath in Charlotte County. What are you learning about those individual deaths that we can learn from?

BILL PRUMMELL, SHERIFF, CHARLOTTE COUNTY FLORIDA: Well, right now it all comes down to some evacuation. You've got to follow those orders when they come out. I believe we sent them out very timely. The problem with these storms is they are so unpredictable. We learned that in Charlie, we even learned that just a couple of years ago with Irma. Irma was expected to strike us and instead it turned and went right up the middle of the state and luckily, we had very little impact.

So, you never know what these storms are going to do. So, you just got to watch the advisories and you got to listen to the experts and when they give you the advisory, you've got to go. Problem is there's a lot of people get complacent because those who live in Florida, have lived in Florida for a long time, they see these storms come and go and they always pass us. They always say, hey, you're in the cone and then they don't come and they hit us and there are people say, well, it's not going to happen here.

TAPPER: Yeah. The confidence that people have in weather forecasters is sometimes misplaced. They're doing the best they can, but they can't truly predict what a storm is going to do. These deaths that you have, 24 deaths in Charlotte County, is there anything other than they're not being in the county, is there anything that could have been done to prevent their deaths? Could they have taken any safety or measures to save their own lives?

PRUMMELL: Well, right now with regards to the deaths, we've got 24 deaths that are directly or indirectly related to the storm. We really need to wait for the medical examiner to make that determination. What I mean by directly or indirectly, we have some people that you can look at who obviously had trauma related to the storm.

And then we had others who, because they lost power and were reliant on oxygen, they lost their oxygen and ended up passing away that way. And then we've had other medical related deaths. So, it's going to come down to the medical examiner to determine if it was storm related or not.

TAPPER: What are the most acute needs that Charlotte County has right now?

PRUMMELL: Well, right now we're doing some humanitarian aid because we are an elderly population here, so we're finding that we have a lot of our elderly people who are in their homes, they got no way to get out. They have no power. They don't have any food. They don't have any water. So, we're going out there door to door. We're working with the National Guard to get out there and make sure we're finding these people, identifying them, and getting them those resources and making sure they're safe.

TAPPER: In the interest of learning lessons, not pointing fingers, there is a difference. Your county, Charlotte County, you issued an evacuation order on Monday, two days before Hurricane Ian made landfall. Lee County, south of you, waited a day. So, they issued their evacuation order on Tuesday, one day after you did.

Can you help us understand the difficulty of making a call like issuing an evacuation order? Because in retrospect it's obviously very easy to point fingers and blame people in Lee County. What goes through your minds when you issue an evacuation order that makes it difficult to do?

PRUMMELL: Well, again, going back to what I said, it's very difficult to predict these storms. But Charlotte County was in that cone of uncertainty for a very long time and we kept getting reports that it was slowly shifting to the south.


And originally it was, as you said, it was Tampa, then it said it was going to get Bradenton and Sarasota, Venice. If it hit any of those areas, I would be feeling what Lee County is feeling right now. That water would have just devastated us. Instead, with us taking the direct hit of the eye, we got pounded, but we got a lot of wind and rain damage. But water is so much worse.

So, we dodged a bullet. And back in 2004 when Charlie came through here, we dodged that bullet, too. And Charlie was always predicted to go to Tampa, but ended up making a sudden turn off Charlotte Harbor and striking us. So, it's very difficult.

So, we were watching the forecast. We're very close with our emergency manager. And then we just decided we need to make the call because we just need to make sure there's enough time for the people to get out because we know how our roads get, we know how people become complacent and we want to give them enough time to make that decision.

Of course, when we do give that order, we're not going out there door to door and forcefully removing people. We are telling them you need to leave, but ultimately, it's up to them.

TAPPER: Yeah. Sheriff Bill Prummell, Charlotte County, Florida, thank you so much for your time, sir. Appreciate it.

Coming up, a shattering report revealing sexual, verbal and emotional abuse by women soccer coaches at the very top level of the sport and warnings about the youth leagues. Then, a high school football team's season canceled because of a racist prank. It's caught on video. Some of the players auctioned off their black teammates.

Plus, how one Instagram post is going to cost Kim Kardashian $1 million. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our "Sports Lead" now, a damning investigative report shows a culture of verbal, emotional and sexual misconduct committed by coaches of the National Women's Soccer League. The very first page of the report summary details a disturbing encounter between a coach and a player reviewing game footage together, quote, "he told her he was going to touch her for every pass she effed up. He pushed his hands down her pants and up her shirt" unquote.

It's just a sliver of what this independent investigation found revealing several encounters such as this. And it comes after -- it comes a year after professional players refused to compete in games demanding that this behavior be addressed, behavior that frankly many executives, coaches, owners knew about and did zero to stop, zero.

The lead investigator says this culture of verbal and emotional abuse is starting in youth leagues. CNN's Lucy Kafanov is following this story for us. Lucy, what more did this shocking investigation reveal?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. A damning and meticulously detailed report that paints an unsparing picture of what it calls systematic abuse across women's soccer and which reports from players about sexual, verbal and emotional misconduct by coaches were repeatedly ignored by the league and the federation.

Now, among these gruesome findings, a coach allegedly requesting that a player meet him at his home to review footage of a game who ended up showing her pornography, exposing himself to her. Another coach of a successful youth club was allegedly known for berating his players and then asking intrusive questions about their sex lives.

Another coach allegedly coerced players into sexual relationships. He was then fired by one top team hired by a rival team. But the original club said nothing about the misconduct, even wishing him well publicly. Now, this report was led by former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. It was based on over 200 eyewitness interviews.

She wrote in the report, "Teams, the league and the federation not only repeatedly failed to respond appropriately when confronted with player reports and evidence of abuse, they also failed to institute basic measures to prevent and address it. Abuse of coaches moved from team to team, those of the National Women's Soccer League and the U.S. Soccer Federation in a position to correct the record stayed silent, and no one at the teams, the league or the federation demanded better of coaches." Jake?

TAPPER: How did the National Women's Soccer League respond to this report?

KAFANOV: Well, they said they're investigating this. The U.S. Soccer commissioned this report. Cindy Parlow Cone, the U.S. Soccer president called the findings heartbreaking and deeply troubling in a statement. Here she is reacting on camera. Take a look.


CINDY PARLOW CONE, U.S. SOCCER PRESIDENT: This is very emotional for me and, honestly, I'm having trouble absorbing everything in the report. I think it will take some time to really read through it and think about the actions and inactions of certain people and that -- and it will take us some time to really think about what needs to be done in terms of discipline.


KAFANOV: Now, among the several recommendations offered by the report to prioritize player health, include requiring teams to disclose -- pardon me -- coach misconduct to the league and the soccer federation to make sure they're not allowed to move between teams, vetting coaches when licensing them and also requiring investigations into accusations of abuse. The report also raises the question of whether some owners should be disciplined or forced to sell their teams. Jake?

TAPPER: Alright. Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much.

Let's bring in CNN sports analyst and "USA Today" sports columnist Christine Brennan. Christine, I can't believe -- I'm like, I feel like it's de ja vu after the horrific women's gymnastics thing, the scandal, the worst sports scandal in the history. This report detailing similar abuses, except this time with professional soccer players. What's your reaction?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Exactly, Jake. You know, you and I have talked so much about the gymnastics horrors, Larry Nassar, the victim impact statements from 2018. All of these things, some of these things were going on in 2021, the allegations in this report by Sally Yates.

It is so awful, you almost -- I'm almost lacking words, that once again, another amazing American sport, everyone cheers the gymnasts at the Olympics, they win all the gold medals. The U.S. women soccer team, obviously the national league is -- not all of those players are on the women soccer team by any means.


But the gold medals, the World Cup wins, the role models for all of our daughters and nieces and granddaughters, and to think this is going on in another top American sport and everyone is kind of shaking their heads, and oh, this is terrible. This has got to stop, Jake. This is horrible. It is awful. It is systemic, as Lucy was saying, and it is -- as I said, it's got to stop.

I'm not sure how it does stop because the power structure, as you know from these sports, is that so many parents and kids are so afraid to speak up that a coach can abuse and abuse and then the leaders who should be the ones saying get out of here, you're fired, you're never going to get a job again, instead they're passing along the dirty laundry. A guy gets fired, gets got another job, and on and on the abuse goes. And that is the American sport system today.

TAPPER: Yeah. And, I mean, it reminds me exactly of what the Catholic church did with those predatory priests that would abuse little boys and girls, just move them around to a different parish. In this case, as you note, coaches moved around to different teams. At least one of them still owns a youth soccer club. So, how much (inaudible) people running national women's soccer know this was going on? BRENNAN: There's an organization called U.S. Center for Safe Sport

and it is horribly underfunded and understaffed, but hopefully this is one of those clarion calls, Jake, to say, if not, safe sport, some group has to be able to go in, investigate and get rid of all the -- bad apple is too nice a word -- all of these abusers of our children, and, in the name of sports.

And so, for example, U.S. Soccer, let's say that a town somewhere, you know, in Washington State or Mississippi wanted to hire a soccer coach, they wouldn't necessarily know about his or her, but in this case it's almost all men, his history. And of course, with the internet today, a very simple solution is a database, which Safe Sport has, and U.S. Soccer is now going to implement that.

Why hadn't U.S. Soccer done that for years and years? Again, just the horrific layers of abuse from the littlest kids playing youth soccer getting abused by a coach of yelling or whatever, to the point where that young girl when she grows up and is one of the stars in the U.S. National soccer team, she's so used to the abuse that she doesn't even recognize it for what it is.

TAPPER: So, the report says, quote, "abuse in the National Women's Soccer League is rooted in a deeper culture in women's soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that culture normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players. The verbal and emotional abuse players describe in the National Women's Soccer League is not merely "tough" coaching and the players affected are not shrinking violence. They are among the best athletes in the world."

So, for those of us who don't understand what that means, they say -- this isn't just being a tough coach, this isn't just being Knute Rockne. What is this?

BRENNAN: Well, obviously, the sexual abuse at any level is terrible, as of course, we all agree. It's a cesspool. American youth sports we are finding out, sadly, is a cesspool, Jake. And so, what it is, is you start with yelling at a kid. And so little 5, 6, 7, 8-year-old girl is used to getting yelled at and abused.

Parents should step in right away. The administrators of the youth soccer program should step in right away. They don't. They clearly don't. That's what this report is telling us. Now that girl moves on and is an excellent soccer player.

She's now playing in high school, she's now going to play in college, and at every level she is dealing with abuse, obviously verbal, emotional, and then in this case and in many cases, it turns to sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. And she is so -- it is such a part of the DNA of the sport, clearly, horrifyingly, that she accepts that.

And you don't have any leaders coming down and saying enough is enough and so that's what occurs and this woman, the power structure is such in all these sports, again, Jake, as you know, who speaks out? If that young woman who is about to make the U.S. (inaudible) team, she speaks out, she probably loses her chance to go to the Olympics and that's the problem. TAPPER: Yes. A system designed by men that protects men. Christine

Brennan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Just when you thought things could not get any weirder, the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania is talking about stripper poles in schools. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," harsh criticism today from former political allies of Donald Trump following a pair of heinous attacks against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Secretary Elaine Chao. She was a former transportation secretary for Trump.

On his Truth Social account Trump wrote, quote, "is McConnell approving all these trillions of dollars' worth of Democrat-sponsored bills without even the slightest bit of negotiation because he hates Donald J. Trump? He has a death wish. Must immediately seek help and advice from his China-loving wife, Coco Chow." It's Elaine Chao and it's spelled differently.

The conservative editorial page of "The Wall Street Journal" blasting the former president for the threatening language and pointing out the danger it presents writing, "It's all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell."


The "Journal" did not address the racist part of that. Let's discuss. Margaret, let's start with you. Let's start with the implicit threat part of this, we'll get to the racism in a second. Trump's defenders will claim he isn't trying to incite violence, but I mean after January 6.

MARGARET TALEV, MANAGING EDITOR, AXIOS: January 6, right. There is a political term or a term in American language called death wish, you have a death wish for something, you can't take that out of the context of January 6 now. And of course, the concern is that 99 percent of everyone will know that that is not instructions for anyone to commit an act of violence, but it's the 1 percent.

And yes, there's the First Amendment, yes, Donald Trump has the right to say a lot of things, but if you are a former president, if you perhaps want to be the president again someday, is that the right way to exert, you know, your leadership skills and your power. And there's a real concern that there -- it's not just with Mitch McConnell, look at Democrats and Republicans in office across this country, from Congress to local office holders, secretaries of states, governors, the amount of security detail they have to hire, the amount of threats people are dealing with stalkers coming to their homes, this is -- it's a dangerous time and society is really torqued up. And there's real concern that this could be a provocation. TAPPER: And he's mad at Elaine Chao, his former transportation secretary, presumably because she resigned from his staff or resigned from his cabinet on January 6, but still China loving, I mean, it's just racist.

NICHOLAS WU, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: I mean, at this time of increased anti-Asian hate and attacks on Asian Americans, I mean this is something the kind of thing that is, you know, just further fuel on the fire here. Leader McConnell, of course, is someone who has made his breaks with Trump in the past, but we'll have to wait and see how exactly he responds to this. Congress is away right now, and this is something he might be asked about in the future.

But as someone who covers Congress for living, we've seen that there are all these increased threats against members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, Capitol police increase -- has said there's more threats against members, they've opened field offices in different states just to deal with all of these different threats that come up. And so, the risk of political violence is very real here.

TAPPER: And Paul, in a recent interview with "The New York Times," Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins had this to say about the current political atmosphere, "I wouldn't be surprised if a senator or House member were killed. What started with abuse of phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence."

And you know, it is -- I know people look down the left, sometimes don't want to hear it, but there's a lot of it on the right, there's a lot of it on the left. Somebody arrested with a gun outside Brett Kavanaugh's house.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Steve Scalise, a Republican Congressman targeted for murder by a left winger.


BEGALA: It is, but it's not equal, it's not, there's more if you look at the data from the FBI.

TAPPER: It's like a third against --

BEGALA: Two to one.

TAPPER: -- Democrats a quarter. No? Well, anyway.

BEGALA: Anyway, if there's a lot more political violence out there or your seats. And importantly, when political violence or threats occur on the left, Democrats speak up about it. I'm glad "The Wall Street Journal" spoke up. Jonathan Greenblatt from the anti-Defamation League, he called it incitement. I'm glad they spoke up.

Crickets, from Republican Congressmen crickets from Republican senators crickets from Republican governors, why? Because unlike Greenblatt and "The Wall Street Journal," they don't -- they need those MAGA extremists support. And I think it's reprehensible they should have at least a little more courage, but that's what's going on here is as you interviewed Maggie in the last hours, those people vote, he said that about David Duke, right?

TAPPER: Right.

BEGALA: That's what these people are thinking, these politicians who won't call this out. They don't want violence, but they're too cowardly to stand against it.

TAPPER: So, Ramesh, is that what happened yesterday when Dana Bash, my colleague at State of the Union, was trying to get Senator Rick Scott to condemn this because -- take a listen.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): The president likes to give people nicknames. You can ask him how he came up with the nickname.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Nicknames are one thing but this is -- this appears racist. Is that OK?

SCOTT: It's never ever OK to be racist. It's -- you know, look, I think you always have to be careful, you know, if you're in the public, you know, eye of how you say things.


TAPPER: And here's a former Trump White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah responding to that interview this way.


ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: This was blatantly racist. And there is a track record of him having said things when he was in office, well documented even before he was in office. So, hands down unequivocal. And the easiest thing should be for Republicans like Rick Scott to just say that.


TAPPER: Why is it so tough?

RAMESH PONNURU, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yes. Well, I think the context here is Rick Scott is heading the Republican Senate committee. They want to win the Senate campaigns. They don't want Republicans bashing former Republican president. They want the story to be Republicans tacking Democrats for, you know, everything from stagflation to what's going on at the border.


But you think that behind that political calculation there'd be a certain level of self-respect where people would speak up about the president. And they're, you know -- pretending that Donald Trump doesn't exist, it might be an intelligent midterm strategy. It is not an intelligent long term strategy, it is not something that is going to work to preserve the Republican Party from having him as the nominee in 2024. And these remarks are a perfect example of why weaving everything else aside, it would be so extraordinarily politically risky for Republicans to allow that to happen.

TAPPER: Yes. And speaking of political risks, we're just over a month away from the midterm elections. Republican gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, who has had his flirtations with blatant anti-Semites and said some questionable things of his own. He made some comments during a recent campaign stop talking about how he's going to fix up schools in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


DOUG MASTRIANO, (R) PENNSYLVANIA GOV. CANDIDATE: On day one, the sexualization of our kids' pole dancing and all this other crap is going on will be forbidden in our schools. On day one, all the graphic -- pornographic books that are in elementary schools will be pulled out.


TAPPER: I went to grade school and high school in Pennsylvania, I do not remember any pornography or pole dancing.

TALEV: He went to the wrong school.

TAPPER: Right, apparently.

TALEV: Nobody has any idea what he's talking about. You know, Mastriano is worth watching for so many reasons. But one is that his campaign has like consistently had no money, been doing their own thing, been just kind of off in their own private Idaho and yet has such a strong base polling. The polls suggest that is not enough of a following to get much outside the base.

To me the question is, does that strength help Dr. Oz who doesn't have those voters?


TALEV: Dr. Oz's voters probably do not help Doug Mastriano, but does Mastriano help Oz? Because I think -- actually nobody knows what he's talking about here, but these are words that are meant to target conservative base voters for whom the critical race theory argument resonated in schools who are concerned about what books or children are reading, books about LGBTQ not about pornography, but about --


PONNURU: So, it's your idea that Mastriano is making Oz look sensible, say --


PONNURU: -- like a normal politician in contrast?

TALEV: The fear is a --

PONNURU: I mean, there are split ticket voters, apparently -- TAPPER: Yes.

PONNURU: -- developing in Pennsylvania coming back.

BEGALA: There's this thing on the right, across the country, they're sexualizing our children, child sexually. If you live in Pennsylvania and you care about child sexual abuse, you have a candidate, a Democratic candidate, Josh Shapiro, has been more courageous about going after my beloved Holy Roman Catholic Church, which was abusing children. Josh Shapiro has been the most courageous public official in the real world protecting real kids from real child abusers. I don't know what Mastriano is talking about, but Shapiro has been a model public official on that.

TAPPER: OK. Thanks one and all for being here.

Coming up next, an incident inside the parking garage of a prestigious university that's igniting yet more turmoil in the streets of Iran. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, violence at Iran's elite university in Tehran, Iranian security forces firing bullets and swinging batons in students who were protesting the regime Sunday evening. The protests ignited after the death, many say murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini who was detained by the morality police for not covering her hair and then showed up dead.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh takes a closer look at this violence. A warning to some viewers, the scenes in this report you might find disturbing.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A snapshot of a night of horror at one of Iran's most prestigious university's chaos, panic and fear as students, some of Iran's best and brightest ran through the Sharif University carpark Tehran chased by security forces on foot and on motorbikes. Those who couldn't escape the violent crackdown hooded and taken away. We don't know what happened after this shot was fired. Birdshot and paint balls were used to crush the protest and to stop those who tried to film.

As news spread, crowds gathered outside chanting, free the students. CNN track down one of those who rushed to save students trapped inside. For his safety, we're concealing his identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw this SOS call from Sharif coming. And one of my friends called, he just told me that, please come save us. They are shooting at us. So we got on our bikes and we went and we practically had to Captain America our way into the university. It was a war zone and there was blood everywhere.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): No one really knows how many were hurt, how many were dragged away. The little video and harrowing accounts still trickling out into picture of the ruthless force used. Students in their 1000s are staging protests on campuses and on the streets across the country. What started with demands for justice and accountability for the death of Mahsa Amini has quickly morphed into more daring, widespread calls for regime change for bringing down the repressive Islamic Republic.

Anger that has been building for years captured in video like this one, protesters in Tehran tearing down and destroying the Islamic Republic street sign. The regime that has a bloody history of suppressing dissent is only just beginning to unleash all it's got against its own people, but defiant protesters say, this time there will be no turning back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, no, no. This is far from over. We are not scared, we are outraged. We are furious.

You know, these people think that we are the previous generation that if they do this we're going to just stop. You're not going to stop. This is a one way road for us. Because if we stop they are going to kill even more people, take even more people into custody, torture them, rape them.

These people can do anything, so we won't stop. This is not the end. I promise you that.


KARADSHEH: And, Jake, this defiance, this determination, Jake, this is not just the words of this one young man. This is exactly what we have been seeing happening across the country. You've got this young generation of Iranians more emboldened than ever, risking everything and wising up for the rights and freedoms they have never known under this oppressive regime.

TAPPER: All right, Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul for us, thank you so much.

Over in Ukraine, even as Ukrainian forces successfully retake a land that Russia stole, Ukraine says it still does not have enough assistance from western countries. And now sources tell CNN that Ukraine is prepared to offer the U.S. a stunning level of transparency and sway over its battlefield plans in hopes of getting bigger, better weapons to fight Putin's forces. CNN's Alex Marquardt has some new information now on the shifting approach.

Alex, what kind of weapons is -- does Ukraine want?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ukraine has long -- had a large ongoing list, wish list of sophisticated weaponry they want from the U.S. and the west. And near the top or at the top of this wish list from the U.S. is a sophisticated long range rocket called the ATACMS. And in exchange for this rocket, the Ukrainians are essentially opening up the book, saying, these are the targets we want to hit. We're willing to show you every target that we want to go after, all the categories of targets all across Ukraine that we want to go after.

Why do the Ukrainians want this ATACMS so badly? This is a rocket that flies 200 miles or 300 kilometers. That's about four times the longest range rocket that the U.S. so far has given to Ukraine. And Ukraine says there are countless targets, Russian targets within Ukraine that we want to hit in the eastern part of the country, in the southern part of the country in Crimea, things like ammunitions depots, logistical supply lines, air bases.

According to one US sources spoke to our colleague, Natasha Bertrand, the location where the Russians are launching those Iranian drones from in Crimea. Ukraine says we can't hit those right now. So we are willing to show you what we want to hit.

The U.S. is fearful for two reasons. They think that there's a possibility that Ukraine could use those rockets to fire into Russia. And that would escalate the conflict of course. And then just the perception of giving these rockets to Ukraine. The Kremlin has said point blank, this would cross a red line. The U.S. for now saying we don't want to give those to you, that off of transparency not quite enough.

TAPPER: But they haven't ruled it out?

MARQUARDT: They certainly have not ruled it out. What they're saying right now is that the rocket system that they have that we've been talking about for months, the HIMARS that as a rocket that can fly 50 miles or 80 kilometers. The Pentagon says openly and privately that that is enough for Ukraine's needs right now. That can hit the vast majority of the Russian targets.

One U.S. official told me the ATACMS are low reward, high risk. So for now, they're going to stick with the HIMARS for the Ukrainian.

TAPPER: All right, Alex Marquardt, thanks so much.

Coming up, video of high school football players auctioning off black teammates as part of some sort of prank or joke but no one's laughing. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, it is only October 3rd, but a football season has ended for one California high school after a video surfaced showing some of its players acting out a slave auction of some of their black teammates. Students involved in the disturbing incident had been barred from competing and now the varsity team is being forced to forfeit its season because it doesn't have enough eligible players. CNN's Stephanie Elam takes a closer look at what happened.


CASSANDRA MUNOZ, BROTHER ATTENDS RIVER VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL: We are in 2022 by to go to 2023 and this still happening?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frustration and shock in a Northern California community after video showing members of the River Valley High School varsity football team taking part in a disturbing prank, where they appear to stage a slave auction of three of their black teammates. School officials in the Yuba City Unified School District obtained the video described as a, quote, "slave sale" last week and barred the students involved from competing.

CNN has not seen the video but CNN affiliate KCRA says it shows about a dozen students pointing and yelling dollar amounts at the black students standing in their underwear up against a wall. The rest of the varsity football season will be forfeited since the team doesn't have enough players to continue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They need counseling or something, whatever we can help them with but this should not happen.

ELAM (voice-over): "Reenacting a slave sale as a prank tells us that we have a great deal of work to do with our students so they can distinguish between intent and impact," School District Superintendent Doreen Osumi said in the State meant, adding, "They may have thought this skit was funny, but it is not, it is unacceptable and requires us to look honestly and deeply at issues of systemic racism."


MONUZ: Whoever made the video I feel like they should, even if they're football players, I don't care, you either have to get kicked off the game or, you know, don't even play for the rest of the season because that's messed up.


ELAM: Now the school district does say that these students did violate their student athlete code of conduct, which they signed at the beginning of each school year. That said, the superintendent in her statement to us also saying that this is an opportunity to teach these students for them to understand that something this offensive could never, ever be funny, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Stephanie Elam, Thanks so much.

In our money lead today, for a woman who reveals so much online, so far no comment from Kim Kardashian when it comes to her 331 million Instagram followers about her legal troubles. The reality star has agreed to pay nearly $1.3 million to settle charges brought to her by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last June, Kardashian promoted a crypto company on Instagram but she did not disclose that she had been paid $250,000 to make that post. The SEC chairman says he hopes this fine will serve as a warning to people about what they see on social media.

Damage reports just in after the National Guard surveyed areas slammed by Hurricane Ian. That's next in "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.