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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Tonight: Biden Gives Speech On Protecting Democracy; Trump Lawyers Thought Justice Thomas Was "Key" To A Plan To Delay Certification Of 2020 Election; Rep. Lofgren Demands Answers From Capitol Police After Pelosi Attack; Parkland School Shooter Sentenced To Life In Prison; South Korea: North Korea Fired Most Missiles In A Single Day. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 02, 2022 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: President Biden is expected to slam election deniers into a surprise speech tonight.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Six days from the midterms, President Biden has something to say, adding a primetime speech to his calendar taking on the heightened political climate. As the election closes in, candidates are rolling out their closing messages.

Plus, the plan to rope Supreme Court Clarence Thomas into the 2020 election. Why a Trump lawyer called Thomas the, quote, only chance to delay the process.

And North Korea's sinister moves, firing off its longest short-range missiles ever in one day as CNN also learned the rogue nation is secretly supplying Russia with weapons.


KEILAR: Hello and welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Jake Tapper.

The countdown is on in our politics lead, just six days left until the votes are counted and the congressional balance of power decided. A brand-new CNN poll suggests Republican candidates have the momentum, 51 percent of likely voters say they'll vote for the Republican candidate for congress. That's higher than just a couple months ago, 47 percent say they'll vote for the Democrat, though the spread here is just outside the margin of error.

Our CNN polling also showed Republican voters are far more motivated than Democrats. Thirty-eight percent of registered Republicans say they're extremely enthusiastic to go vote in this midterm election. And just 24 percent of Democrats say the same, just half what it was in the last midterm election.

In the meantime, CNN's poll shows just half of Americans say they're somewhat confident in the outcome of the election. Democrats more likely to be confident than Republicans, 61 percent to 41 percent.

And President Biden is continuing his final push towards Election Day with his speech tonight on protecting democracy.

CNN senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly is joining us live on that.

So, Phil, you just heard how few people say they believe in the integrity of these elections. How will President Biden try to counter that?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, that is one of the --I'd say -- three driving factors of why the president is speaking tonight. Keep in mind, these remarks felt like they came out of nowhere. They were not on the president's schedule that comes out every night, the night beforehand, they were announced this morning. But I've been told by colleagues that the president has been grappling with this, looking to give a speech like this in primetime.

It's something he did three weeks ago in Philadelphia. This, however, will be a political event and is driven by a couple key elements. The first is what you're talking about. White House officials say the president has been alarmed by the sheer number of Republican candidates who have said they -- or will not commit on the record, to accepting whatever the election results are, when next Tuesday comes around. To some degree, the president is going to try to get out in front of that and underscore the process in place here including the fact that in some states they may not know the answer to who won an election night. We're all familiar with that in 2020, the president included with that.

But the other is and I think this has been visceral or acute, has been the attack on the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi. The president obviously has closed relationship with the speaker, knows Paul Pelosi as well. But it's been the reaction according to White House officials of Republicans in the wake of the attack.

Some Republicans have outright condemned it. Some made it clear what a problem it is. Some remain silent. The joking about it, the conspiracy theories tied to it, those have really kind of unsettled the president. We've heard him talk about it in public over the course of the last couple days. He will expand on that tonight.

Keep one other thing in mind, though, as the president tries to draw a contrast, extremism according to him, Democrats respond to this argument, this will help outline that for Democrats. That will be something the president will talk about as well, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. We'll be watching. Phil Mattingly live for us at the White House.

And we also have teams on the ground across the country. Let's go live to the battlegrounds of Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

First to CNN's Kyung Lah who is in Phoenix where President Obama will rally Democrats tonight. Kyung, it's much needed there, especially for the hotly contested

governor's race.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the governor's race and for U.S. Senate. These are two races here in Arizona, Brianna, that are so close, they are neck and neck, and these candidates are really hoping for some of that shine that former President Obama might be able to give them.


But you mentioned those polls. So, the CNN poll that shows the momentum is on the Republican side. You can feel it here on the ground. We spent time with Republican nominee Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate, and he is expressing extreme confidence especially as he delivers a closing message on the economy.

Democrats here tonight are hoping to sort of blunt that by tying Masters as well as Kari Lake, the gubernatorial nominee, Brianna, as extreme candidates backed by Trump -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And, Kyung, last night, there was a federal judge that opposed restrictions on how a right-wing group can control ballot boxes there in Arizona. What are you learning about that?

LAH: Yeah, you know, really interesting restrictions that this judge imposed. These are two outdoor ballot drop boxes that have been really the source of conspiracy-minded people who are showing up armed and wearing tactical gear. So, this judge imposed this restriction, if you're going to show up and watch the ballot drop boxes, okay, it's a public space. You have to be 75 feet away. But if you're going to show up with a gun, you got to be 200 feet away.

And the judge also ordered this that the organizer, the person in Arizona behind this posted this on her social media page, she said, quote, any past statements that it's always illegal to deposit multiple ballots in a drop box is incomplete. A family member, household member or caregiver can legally do so.

And that was posted on her social media page, Brianna. They're trying to blunt some of that misinformation that may be driving these people to these ballot boxes.

KEILAR: All right, Kyung. Thank you so much.

And now to Georgia where CNN's Eva McKend is in McDonough, where Stacey Abrams just held a debate there.

Eva, the state's current Republican secretary of state who's up for reelection is dismissing Abram's criticism over new voting rules. Tell us about this back and forth.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REOPRTER: Well, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and more generally Republicans in the state argue that they've been vindicated that these early massive turnout during the early vote period illustrates that voter expression is not alive and well in the state, pushing back against the characterization of SB 202, that controversial voting law as Jim Crow 2.0.

What Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, and Democrats argue that voter access is still a real issue here. They're concerned about the more than 90,000 voter challenges in the state. And they're also concerned about local boards of elections. They fear takeovers if they want to expand hours.

So, we are going to see this argument continue to play out in the coming week, but very different positions on the impact of this law. Despite all of the people that we are seeing turn out and vote during his early vote period, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. We actually see Stacey Abrams over your right shoulder there taking photos with her supporters.

CNN's Jessica Dean is standing by in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, where there's a lot of speculation that voters will actually split their ticket.

Jessica, the Democratic candidate for governor actually addressed this very possibility this morning?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he talked about it on CNN this morning, Brianna. And he talked about how he welcomes Republican support. For the record, he does support John Fetterman in this Senate race but he welcomes Republican support from Republicans across the state who might want to vote for him.

It's worth noting when I was talking to Pennsylvania Republicans, this is months ago, they floated the idea of a Shapiro -- Josh Shapiro, who's the Democratic nominee for governor, and Oz voter. They thought that could happen. Pennsylvania has a history of split ticket voting. So, that is something floating out there.

To that end, Mehmet Oz was in the collar counties outside of Philadelphia. These are suburban counties with swing votes. He was pitching himself to independents and moderate Democrats in the closing days of the race.

Now, John Fetterman, his opponent, the Democratic lieutenant governor is also going to be in the area tomorrow in the closing days talking to independent voters as well. Of course, he's been trying to do the opposite thing, again, underscoring how much split ticket voting there can be in the state, there are Republicans for Fetterman. So, we've seen kind of play out on both sides. But it's worth noting that it's the Oz/Shapiro voter that we really didn't hear about several months ago, it's continuing to percolate and something that you mentioned Shapiro talked about earlier today.

KEILAR: Yeah, we'll see how real or how big of a thing that is very soon here.

Jessica, Eva, Kyung, thank you, all of you.

So, even as we look ahead to the midterms, we're also seeing some details about effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Former President Trump's election lawyers were banking on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas acting to delay the certification of Joe Biden's victory.


This was according to emails that were obtained by the House January 6th Committee.

In these emails, his lawyers also expressed concern that Trump could be caught committing a crime if he made baseless claims in court documents.

Let's bring in CNN's Sara Murray and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig on this story.

Sara, what did Trump's lawyers think that Justice Thomas could do for them?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, they were hoping that Justice Thomas would weigh in and cast votes in Georgia in to question. So, they said, we want to frame things, this is an email from one of the Trump attorneys, so that Thomas could be the one to issue essentially a temporary order putting Georgia's results into doubt. This is from Ken Chesebro, one of the Trump attorneys. He said that's the only chance to stop Congress from certifying the electoral vote on January 6.

As you dig further into these email chains, you also get a sense what a long shot this was. In a later in the email, Chesebro says there's like a 1 percent chance that the Supreme Court would have actually intervened before January 6 -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yeah, let's be clear, Elie, these is Chesebro and Eastman talking about this in these emails. There's no evidence that Justice Thomas was actually involved in this. His wife, of course, was quite involved in efforts to overturn the election at the -- at the state level. This raises even more questions about why Justice Thomas didn't recuse himself from election-related matters before the court?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Brianna, this is exactly why people are saying and I agree that Justice Thomas should recuse himself and should recuse himself moving forward from anything touching on January 6th, because even if we assume the best, even if we give every benefit of the doubt to Justice Thomas, assuming he had nothing to do with the scheme being discussed, even if we're assuming he has never discussed Ginni Thomas' activities, his wife's activities to try to overturn the election, still there's an appearance of conflict of interest. The public will rightly question whether Justice Thomas is impartial.

Just to make a comparison, if any Supreme Court justice's spouse worked for a company and that company had a chase in front of the Supreme Court, that justice would surely recuse, even if they never discussed the company or the spouse's work. In fact, Justice Thomas did recuse himself off a case in the 1990s where his son was a student at the military institute VMI, the fact that VMI was part of a suit, he recused himself. He did the right thing back then but he's not doing the right thing now.

KEILAR: And, Sara, tell us about these emails that show how Trump's lawyers were actually concerned about him making false claims in court.

MURRAY: Well, yeah, I mean, this is the heart of sort of why we were able to get the emails, why the committee was able to get the emails is because there was a judge that showed potentially a crime. What it showed there were Trump attorneys who were very worried that Donald Trump was going to sign on to a statement, as part of a court filing with, put this before the court, with numbers about, you know, for instance, people who said were felons, people who voted they said actually died, and that then Trump attorneys knew were inaccurate. And they had told Donald Trump were inaccurate.

And there's a line where Eastman email where he points out the potential legal jeopardy of Trump signing on to this, saying, I have no doubt that an aggressive D.A. or U.S. attorney some place would go after both the president and his lawyers once all of that is on it. That gives an indication of how worried they were about the legal implications of the plot as it was playing out.

KEILAR: Yeah, sure does.

And, Elie, what does this all of this add to the bigger picture of these efforts to overturn the 2020 election?

HONIG: Well, Brianna, it's first hand evidence in the very words of the lawyers involved, that they were looking to do one of two things, one, just delay, just get some friendly judge or justice who was willing to at least just put a temporary, procedural hold on things and then use that to sort of leverage an argument on January 6th. And second of all, most importantly, these emails show that they were doing it based on what they were doing to be bogus or fraudulent information.

To the extent they weren't even willing to let the president, their client, signed on, and were reluctant to do that. That's why we've seen John Eastman taking the Fifth. That's why we've seen DOJ searching John Eastman. I think the emails are further evidence he could be in real trouble.

KEILAR: All right. Sara Murray and Elie Honig, thank you to you both.

A dreaded announcement for so many of us. Six days from Election Day, your interest rates are going up yet again. So, how might that play with voters at the polls?

Plus, demanding answers, the strongly worded list of questions from a top Democrat today about security for lawmakers in the wake of the Pelosi attack.


[16:18:23] KEILAR: In our politics lead, President Joe Biden set to deliver a speech tonight on protecting democracy, addressing the threat from election deniers. And those who seek to undermine faith in voting as we near the midterm elections here in just six days.

Joining us now is senior adviser to the president for public engagement, Keisha Lance Bottoms. She's also the former Atlanta mayor.

Keisha, thanks for being with us.


KEILAR: I think it's an important day to talk about this. There are election deniers, we're getting a clearer picture through polls who could very well win, and these are election-denying Republicans some of whom Democrats actually helped in the primary against moderate Republicans thinking they'd be easier to beat in the general election.

How the president giving a speech about democracy tonight when his own party propped up candidates that are anti-democracy?

BOTTOMS: Well, what the president will remind us is that democracy is fragile. We know that there's been an attack on democracy. We saw it in real-time, January 6.

Congressman John Lewis was my congressman. And he reminded us that the right to vote is almost sacred. He also said he would wake up one day and our democracy would be gone.

So what we need in this country is for people to go out and be able to vote in free and fair elections without threat of intimidation, making sure that their votes are accurately counted. And that's the bedrock of our democracy, and that's what the president will remind us of this evening.


KEILAR: But some people in your own party supported anti-democracy Republicans. Was that a mistake for them to do?

BOTTOMS: I can't speak to that. But what I can say is that the president has been very clear, he ran on a platform of restoring the soul of this nation. And at the end of the day, each person who is registered to vote has the right to vote for their candidate. You win some and you lose some.

I have kids and I supported them in little league games. At the end of the game, they go and shake hands and they get up and they try again another day. If candidates across the country would only do the same thing.

We saw the attack on our democracy. We saw the attack on law enforcement on January 6. And we know of the news of the horrific attack on the speaker of the house's husband just this past week. So, people across this country have the right to vote for whomever

they choose to vote for. But that's what democracy is all about. And that's what our president will remind us of this evening.

KEILAR: So, you have previously raised concerns about lagging Democratic voter enthusiasm in Georgia. And we're seeing some new poll numbers that show this is also a national problem. Just 24 percent of Democrats are extremely enthusiastic. That's actually down 20 points from the 2018 midterms.

Is that something that surprised you at all?

BOTTOMS: Well, we know that we've been through a very tough time in this country in the past two years. We've been through a pandemic. We've not experienced that in our lifetimes. We saw the assault on our nation's Capitol on January 6. People across the country, rightfully so have been discouraged in many ways but there's always this opportunity to get it right.

We saw that happen in 2020 with record turnout in the election. And people have to remember that the most important Election Day will be on Tuesday. So, I know that we are looking at early turnout numbers and that's a snapshot.

What we need to look at will be the final numbers that we see on Tuesday night, after all of the polls have closed.

KEILAR: Nicquel Terry Ellis who is our senior race and equality writer here at CNN found that political analysts, researchers and Black male researchers say they're failing to meet Black men with messages that resonate with them and visibility in their communities. There's a short coming she writes that could particularly hurt Democrats in the upcoming midterms given Black men are the second most loyal voting bloc for the party next to Black women.

Are you worried that that may have an impact in Georgia?

BOTTOMS: Well, I know in my home state, we've seen the numbers of Black men turning out to vote, holding steady, that's very encouraging.

And again, we've got to look at our final numbers on Tuesday. But I can say this, the president of the United States vowed to make sure that he had an administration that reflected this country. And President Biden has held steady to that.

I stand here today as a senior adviser to the president here, a record number of women of people of color, in this administration, and when you have a government that reflects who you are, your needs and your priorities, I just left a zoom session, an economic impact session with nearly 800 African Americans across the country, sharing what the Biden/Harris administration has done to the student loan debt relief, to the inflation reduction act that will make sure that prescription costs are capped at $2,000 a year, $35 a month for insulin.

All of those issues not only resonate with African American men, but they resonate with people across this country.

KEILAR: Keisha Lance Bottoms, thank you so much for joining us from the White House. We appreciate it.

BOTTOMS: Thank you.

KEILAR: Up next, from the economy to abortion rights, a brand-new CNN poll showing where voters stand on their priority issues, six days out from election day.



KEILAR: So, we're back now with big news in our money lead. The Federal Reserve just made history with its sixth rate hike of the year, this time 0.75 percentage point. And the Fed's most aggressively policy move in 40 years, which will likely deepen economic pain for millions of Americans with just six days to go until the midterm elections. Which brings us back to our politics lead, new CNN poll showing us the issues that are top of mind for voters, economy and inflation, working everything else abortion access, the only other issue in double digits.

Overall, it's a great sign for Republicans who voters say they trust more than Democrats to handle the economy by more than 50 points.

So, let's discuss this. I mean, Abby, more than 50 points. That is 71 percent to 18 percent on who voters trust more to deal with the economy. That's basically a Grand Canyon.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. That's a huge advantage. And that's why we're seeing the dynamics we're seeing now, a week out from the midterms. Voters who care about the economy as the number one issue prefer Republicans or at least believe Republicans might be better suited to deal with it. Even voters for whom the economy is not maybe their top issue, some of those still also believe Republicans are more suited.

Where you see Democrats doing well, is among voters, this is according to "The New York Times" poll that they recently had some districts. Voters who think that these broader societal issues are more important to them lean heavily towards the Democrats. It's just I think right now where the electorate is, they're outnumbered in a lot of the competitive districts by people who are very worried about the economy because it's just -- it's every day, in their kitchens, in their homes, they're dealing with it every time they wake up.

KEILAR: Why aren't they trusting Democrats? I mean, that's a chasm.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, because what you have is conventional wisdom and history which is -- says that the current party, the president in power is going to lose seats.

But, look, here's what I'll say, if that was going to be a hardcore truth in this election, why aren't Republicans putting this away? And they aren't.

The economy might be the thing that every single voter says is their number one issue. And they might trust Republicans more than Democrats, but, Abby, to your point, voters can go to the polls with more than one issue on their mind.

And if you look at -- my biggest question going into this election cycle was -- is the trend that we saw in the five special-held special elections in especially in New York 19 with Pat Ryan and what happened in Kansas, is that going to hold water still? And what we're saying in the early vote, we were talking about it earlier, is that it is.

Right now, Democrats are leading the early vote by 3 million votes. And so, that is not a little thing. And no one is treating as if it was a huge deal. And it is a huge deal. Why? Because that's not a poll. These are votes that are already banked.

And from a strategic campaign standpoint, what that does, is that gives campaign strategists the opportunity to now go after the low- propensity voters. And one other point I'll make, I still think there's an underlying, uncounted number of voters, women, newly registered women voters, newly registered young voters, newly registered voters of color that will never show up on polls because if you haven't polled before, pollsters do not count that. And I think that is going to be something that we're going to see.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: There's a lot. There's a lot there. I mean, look, the one thing I will say, if you talk to and you listen to what vulnerable Democrats, especially in House seats are starting to say which is something Maria did not mention is they don't feel that the party has come up with a good economic message from the top.

And there also isn't much acknowledgement that the Biden administration, first on their COVID-related package and then again on, you know, what they call the Inflation Reduction Act. A lot of Republicans are spending a lot of money trying to convince voters that's why inflation is there. And Democrats haven't come up with a good answer for it.

And you're starting to see that on the trail and, you know, it ties into what Biden is going to do tonight as he makes the speech. And I think the question, and, you know, Maria alluded to it, right, Democrats are saying there are other reasons to vote for us. Even if you're worried about the economy, you should care about the democracy. Even if you're worried about the economy, you should care about Roe versus Wade.

There is evidence that voters do care about those issues, and the reality is Democrats have to fight on that turf because they can't fight on the economy. And that's just a difficult reality.

KEILAR: Sarah, I wonder when you're looking at this, what do you think is the floor and what do you think is the ceiling when it comes to the Senate and what Republicans can get? SARAH LONGWELL, CEO, LONGWELL PARTNERS: Yeah, Republicans would like

the ceiling could be 55, probably closer to 53 because, look, the fundamentals are all going the Republicans' direction. They should be crushing and cleaning up. They should be picking up the races in New Hampshire.

And I don't think they're going to, and the reason that I think in places like New Hampshire, it's quite likely -- even though a good candidate in Colorado, the reason why, as fundamentals would suggest, they've got a candidate quality problem. The New Hampshire pickup which is possible is a guy named Don Bolduc who is an election-denying lunatic.

And here's what -- the reason those CNN numbers would be so concerning to Democrats is because I think swing voters will not vote for these crazy candidates but if turnout collapses among Democrats. That's where you get into wave territory and big trouble.

CARDONA: And there's no evidence that's going to happen. That's the point I want to make. Everyone is pretending as if the early vote numbers don't matter. And that the intensity that we have seen in this cycle up until now doesn't exist and it's there.

KEILAR: You mentioned Bolduc in New Hampshire, what we're seeing from the polls, he could win. That's a possibility. You could see him win in New Hampshire. And let's not forget, and I just asked Keisha Lance Bottoms about this. She inside stepped the question, but a Democratic super PAC tied very closely to Democratic leadership in the Senate, put over $3 million into making him essentially the nominee. Thinking that he would be an easier candidate for Maggie Hassan to deal with, RIGHT?

HUNT: Well, you're probably correct, because if there was a different candidate who was not an election denier as Sarah used the word "lunatic" to describe him, then it's likely Maggie Hassan's polling probably would be worse.


KEILAR: Sure, but --

HUNT: However, if he wins, then what are Democrats are going to say when he's out there saying this stuff and we're chasing around with microphones in the Capitol?

KEILAR: On a day when you have Democrats and President Biden is giving a speech about the importance of democracy and safe guarding it, right?

HUNT: Yeah.

KEILAR: And he's an anti-democracy argument --

PHILLIP: I also think the converse part of Sarah's argument is that Republicans do have an candidate quality problem. And yet, these races are very competitive, which is why I think this gamble that they made with some of these candidates, who are much more fringe, it's questionable, because in a wave environment, these candidates can definitely win.

I think we should just be clear about that. It's not like -- you know, Don Bolduc, he's until a competitive race because of the environment, not in spite of it.

CARDONA: And I think that is a good point. But back to -- this actually should be an undeniable red wave. And it's not.

And the last -- the ad that Mitch McConnell is closing on in Iowa, for Chuck Grassley, Trump is going to Iowa for Chuck Grassley. Chuck Grassley, we're competitive in Iowa, in Ohio, in North Carolina, these are not places, in what should be a Republican red wave election should even be thinking about competing and we are.

And let all of those polls, everyone is saying, red momentum, Democrats are still up or tied in the key Senate races.

PHILLIP: I guess it's probably a good point, bad candidates matter, good candidates matter, too.

CARDONA: That's exactly right.

PHILLIP: That's why North Carolina, Ohio, those races are competitive, perhaps in spite of the environment, because you have an candidate situation that is better than you would expect.

HUNT: Especially in Ohio.

KEILAR: Guys, thank you for the discussion. I appreciate it.

Ahead, the new questions that a top Democrat is asking today after the attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband. Her questions just sent to the agency in charge of protecting lawmakers, next.



KEILAR: And we're back with our national lead.

Just in, a top Democrat is demanding answers from the U.S. Capitol Police after last week's violent assault on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This, as the alleged attacker told police he was on a, quote, suicide mission and had other prominent state and federal politicians including their relatives on his hit list.

CNN's Josh Campbell is joining us live now from San Francisco.

And, Josh, this is the chairwoman of the house administration committee Zoe Lofgren writing the incident and related circumstances including the manner in which the speaker and her family were targeted raised significant questions about security protections for members of Congress, particularly those in the presidential line of succession. Has capitol police responded at this point in time?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They have. We just got a statement from the capitol police. It's important to note what this letter does. This is a very thorough letter from the chair of the House Committee on administration. She was asking two things. She wants to know what policies and procedures were in place by the U.S. Capitol police to protect the Pelosi residence behind me. And were those policies followed.

And also, what are they going to do going forward, in order to ensure that they are latched up with local law enforcement, that these buildings are protected not just in Washington, but also when members of Congress are out in their district. The capitol police releasing a statement a short time ago saying they are working on answering some of these question but they say in part of it, the department has begun an internal security review and we'll be gathering input from our congressional stakeholders, we will fast track the work we're doing for members of Congress outside of Washington while also providing new protective options that will address concerns following Friday's targeted attack.

You'll recall after the January 6 insurrection, there were numerous recommendations made to the capitol police about things they should change, and things they should do better. What the Capitol Police is saying they will now fast track a lot of those recommendations that pertain not just towards protecting the Capitol building in Washington but buildings like the one behind me where residents live when not in the D.C. area, Brianna.

KEILAR: Josh Campbell, thank you so much for that. Josh Campbell live in San Francisco.

And also just in, a judge has just formally sentenced the gunman who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida.

CNN's Carlos Suarez is outside of the courthouse in Broward County, Florida.

Carlos, tell us what played out in court?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so that formal sentencing is taking place up on the 17th floor the Broward County courthouse. The judge has sentenced Nikolas Cruz to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She's going over the 34 counts in the case. Seventeen of those counts were for first degree murder, 17 of the other counts were attempted first degree murder.

A reminder that the jury was not able to come back with a unanimous verdict on the 17 counts of first degree murder which is why she is sentencing Nikolas Cruz to life in prison without parole. This was a death penalty case, however, because the jury was not unanimous, under state law, here in Florida, the judge had no decision but to sentence him to life in prison.

Today's formal sentencing marks the end of two days of victim impact statements where we have heard from a number of the family members at MSD, as well as students that survived the shooting. Each of them went up before the court, and told Cruz how they felt.

And so, at this hour, Cruz is learning his fate. We're told he's expected to be turned over to the Florida department of corrections at some point later today -- Brianna.


KEILAR: Another very difficult day for the families of victims and for survivors of that shooting.

Carlos, thank you so much.

Ahead, what likely sparked North Korea's barrage of missile launches.

Plus, the weapons supply mission to Russia that the rogue nation may be trying to hide.


KEILAR: Topping our world lead, North Korea firing more missiles in a single day than it ever has before. South Korean officials counting at least 23 on Wednesday, which prompted South Korea's first air raid warning in six years.


CNN's Will Ripley is in Seoul, where South Koreans are wondering what prompted Kim Jong-un's latest provocation.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In South Korea, where North Korean nuclear threats often feel like background noise, this startling sound.


RIPLEY: The first air raid sirens in six years, urging Ulleung-gun residents to seek shelter in underground bunkers.

A North Korean missile came dangerously close to the island, crossing the northern limit line, a de facto maritime buffer zone between the North and the South. Pyongyang never officially recognized that line, until Wednesday, the never fired a missile over it, either.

South Korea's President Yoon Suk-Yeol holding to his hawkish stance on North Korea, calling the launch an effective territorial invasion. The missile actually fell just shy of the South's territorial waters.

He infuriated North Korea this week, forging ahead with operation Vigilant Storm, South Korea's largest combined military air drills with the U.S., five days of war games, 240 aircraft, thousands of service members from both countries. Pyongyang's foreign ministry promising powerful follow-up measures. For the Korean peninsula, a day of unnerving first. The first time

North Korea launched at least 23 missiles in a single day, skyrocketing tensions to levels unseen in half a decade. The first time South Korea and the U.S. responded by firing surface-to-air missiles near the North's territorial waters. CNN counts 29 North Korean missile launch events this year, including a barrage of eight missiles in a single day back in June.


RIPLEY (on camera): And back then, we thought that was a lot. Now here we are, almost three times that amount, and it just keeps on coming.

So why, Brianna, does Kim Jong-un feel like he can do this without consequences? Well, simple. He knows that China and Russia have veto power at the United Nations Security Council and he knows that Xi and Putin are in no mood to work with the U.S. and the West right now on punishing Pyongyang, and he knows that Joe Biden's eyes are focused on Ukraine and the upcoming midterm elections.

Which raises questions about what does he have planned next? Maybe that seventh underground nuclear test.

KEILAR: Yeah, we'll be watching for that. Will Ripley in South Korea, thank you for that report.

U.S. officials think that Kim Jong-un has been secretly supplying Vladimir Putin with artillery shells for his unprovoked war in Ukraine.

Katie Bo Lillis is part of the CNN team that broke this reporting today.

So, Katie Bo, tell us how U.S. officials believe North Korea is trying to conceal these secret shipments.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, Brianna, so according to recently declassified intelligence, the U.S. believes that North Korea is trying to make it appear as if these shipments are going to North Africa or the Middle East, anywhere but Russia.

Remember, North Korea is one of the toughest intelligence targets for the United States. It's an incredibly opaque target. So, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, U.S. officials were telling us they have seen no evidence that these expected shipments of North Korean artillery had made it to the battlefield in Ukraine, leading some to speculate that North Korea might be backing away from its alleged agreement to provide this military support to Russia.

So it gives you a sense of how opaque this space is. Now, thanks to a new piece of intelligence that's recently been declassified, the Biden administration believes the shipments are proceeding.

But it's important to note that at this point, it doesn't seem like the United States has actually seen any of these artillery shells on the battlefield in Ukraine, with National Security Council John Kirby saying earlier today that the U.S. is still monitoring to see whether or not Russia has actually received these shipments.

KEILAR: Yeah, and that's really key, right? That's really key.

So also very key is this question of whether Russia might use a nuclear weapon. And I know that you are also hearing that there are U.S. officials who are divided on intel assessments of that.

LILLIS: The biggest issue here is that there's one decision maker on the nuclear issue in Russia, and that's Vladimir Putin. And as all intelligence officials will tell you, they can't see in between his ears. So, for example, like I did earlier today, when we reported that the U.S. has some intelligence to suggest that Russian military officials had discussed speculatively how to -- whether or not they might use a nuclear weapon. The only decision maker that matters is Putin and it's not clear what his thinking is.


KEILAR: Katie Bo, thank you so much.

The new call to ban the overwhelmingly popular TikTok app in the U.S., next.


KEILAR: In our tech lead, a top official at the Federal Communications Commission tells CNN the U.S. government should ban TikTok over concerns the Chinese owned social media app may turn over American's data to China's government. The FCC doesn't have the ultimate say, but the commissioner says there's little confidence there's a path forward despite ongoing government level negotiations. TikTok did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

And coming up on "CNN TONIGHT," Jake talks with Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York who is in a tight race to hold his seat. Jake also has late-night host Jimmy Kimmel tonight at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".