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Don Lemon Tonight

Roger Stone Play A Role In January 6 Insurrection; Filmmaker Shared Their Footage To January 6 Committee; Conspiracy Theories Is Not Roger Stone's First Rodeo; Hurricane Now On Its Path To Florida; Floridians Braces For Storm Surge And Flooding; Hardheaded People Will Not Be Rescued; Russians Flock To The Border To Flee. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 26, 2022 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thanks for watching, everyone. I'll be back tomorrow night. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hey, Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hi, Laura Coates. I was looking for some sort of witty retort to space, The Final Frontier.

COATES: I'm getting clowned here. I can't do the whole Vulcan thing, so I'm getting clowned by the whole crew that I can't do it. Apparently, they all can do it. Whatever. Good for you.

LEMON: You said it. I'm not saying. You did it. Sometimes you just need, you have the analog version, not the digital. So, there you go.

COATES: OK. That -- that felt like shade, too. That's fine. Thank you. Have a great show.

LEMON: Thanks Laura. I'll see you tomorrow night. Have a good night.


And tonight, we have new exclusive clips that have been shared with the January 6th committee. Clips that, that they may play in their public hearing on Wednesday, but you're going to hear them right now.

Roger Stone, this is him in his own words. What he says about refusing to accept the results of the 2020 election months before the vote even took place. Watch.


ROGER STONE, REPUBLICAN OPERATIVE: What they're assuming is the election will be normal. The election will not be normal. These are the California results. Sorry. We're not accepting them. We're challenging them in court. If the electors show up at the -- at the Electoral College, armed guards will throw them out. I'm the president. (muted) you. You're not stealing Florida. You're not stealing. I'm challenging all of it.


LEMON: And we've got more exclusive clips tonight. Just a little while ago, I sat down with the filmmakers who shot that documentary, and they tell me about this moment, Roger Stone, after a rally for a Trump ally the night before the election, just hours before millions of Americans would go to the polls. Listen to what he says about voting.


STONE: Excellent. (muted) the violence. (muted) the violence. Let's get the voting. Let's get right to the violence.

UNKNOWN: Let's get right to it.

STONE: Shoot to Kill. See -- see an antifa? Shoot to Kill. (muted) them. Done with this bullshit.

UNKNOWN: There's going to be so many killing --


LEMON: See an antifa, shoot to Kill. Done with this B.S. More on that and how Roger Stone is responding straight ahead.

Joining me now, the filmmakers of A Storm Foretold, Christoffer Guldbrandsen is the film director and producer, and Frederick Marbell is the director of photography.

Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. Fascinating what happened here? Let's talk about the arrangement, Chris. So, we're going to start with you. What was the arrangement with Roger Stone for this documentary and how much time did you spend with him?

CHRISTOFFER GULDBRANDSEN, DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, A STORM FORETOLD: Well, we spent around on and off for three years. We recorded with him on, on and off for three years, and it was a gradual process where we slowly got more and more access into his world. And of course, it's, we tried to get as much access as possible and as much information and he has some areas where we can sense that he doesn't want us to move into.

LEMON: Do you have any idea the things that he did not want you to have access? Do you have any idea about that? When --

GULDBRANDSEN: Yes, of course. It is -- it is the more detailed planning of the Stop the Steal effort, and of course also surrounding January 6th. I think that, that there are a lot of conversations that he didn't want us to hear.

LEMON: So, let's -- let's talk more and then we'll get more in specifics. You were contacted, because we mentioned the committee, you were -- you were contacted, and then subpoenaed by the January 6th committee. What happened when they came? They came to meet you in Copenhagen, right?



LEMON: What happened?

GULDBRANDSEN: Well, they came, came four lawyers from the -- from the committee and questioned us for four days and we then had a discussion about what their point of interests were and what they were looking into and, and we tried to accommodate what they needed to do their work.

LEMON: Through those discussions, you agreed to provide eight minutes, right? Eight minutes of footage in total to the committee, and that's both finished documentary material and also raw material. So that's what I want to get.

So, you said you had insight, you had incredible access, and you had insight into the things that he wanted to share with you and didn't want to share with you. And you said that was specifics about Stop the Steal?



LEMON: What -- what are those specifics?

GULDBRANDSEN: So, we had this process where we -- where they have selected this material. And I think what their interest in particular, what we could very -- very quickly, the grasp from the questions was their interest was kind of the -- the chain from the White House to Roger Stone in order to Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, these groups that were directly and violently engaged in the assault on the Capitol on January 6th. That was kind of where there we could sense that their interest was.

LEMON: So, you think you -- you think that you were able to establish a direct connection between all of those?

GULDBRANDSEN: No, absolutely.

LEMON: You cannot.

GULDBRANDSEN: What -- we have -- we have only been with Roger Stone and his communications with the White House. We do not know anything about it.

LEMON: OK. All right. So, the -- this -- this is from one of the clips that you provided to the committee and it shows, Roger Stone, this is November 2nd, 2020 on his way home. This is from a Doug Collins rally in Georgia. Let's watch it.


STONE: Excellent. (muted) the violence. (muted) the violence. Let's get the voting. Let's get right to the violence. UNKNOWN: Let's get right to it.

STONE: Shoot to Kill. See -- see an antifa? Shoot to Kill. (muted) them. We're done with this bullshit.

UNKNOWN: There's going to be so many killing --


LEMON: OK. Shoot to Kill. See an antifa, shoot to Kill. We're done with this B.S., he says. Explain to us what is going on in this. This is a day before the election, right? What's going on here?

GULDBRANDSEN: Well, he, he's traveling with the -- with two of his associates. They've been at a rally in Georgia. And I think it reflects the atmosphere that I think a lot of Americans were sensing what's around in the country in those days before the election. An enormous tension. And in the movement around Trump, also a lot of anger at the outlook of possibly losing the election and having Trump become a one-term precedent.

LEMON: Yes. You told us that there were times when Roger Stone on camera did renounce the violence. Do you think that was sincere?

MARBELL: I think it was, kind of like a stepping stone to invite accountability for its word -- his words. But I think -- I think it's very difficult for him to do that since he's obviously talking to a crowd that engages in violence, sort of like the Proud Boys.

GULDBRANDSEN: Yes. I think actually it's -- it's very emblematic for the whole way that the leaders of the Trump movement communicate. You cannot really nail it down whether, I mean, he's joking or is he joking? He -- but when you look at the words and you look at what has happened, not only January 6th, but also the lies surrounding the election. They have all set this in before they did it.

Stone, Trump, all these people, they say it beforehand what they're going to do, but we just have a very difficult time really believing they're actually going to do it because it's so outrageous.

LEMON: We call it a wink and a nod.


LEMON: I don't want to put -- do you agree with that --


GULDBRANDSEN: Yes, absolutely.

LEMON: -- assessment or not?

GULDBRANDSEN: That's a good way to put it, I think. LEMON: Yes. So Christoffer, I want to play another clip you gave the

committee. This has not been seen before, and it shows Roger Stone. This is on July 9th, 2020. This is recorded by Stone's assistant during COVID and provided to you. Here it is.


STONES: What they're assuming is the election will be normal. The election will not be normal. These are the California results. Sorry. We're not accepting them. We're challenging them in court. If the electors show up at the -- at the Electoral College, armed guards will throw them out. I'm the president. (muted) you. You're not stealing Florida. You're not stealing. I'm challenging all of it. And the judges were going to. Our judges I appointed you. (muted) you. You're not stealing the election. That's what -- that basically what Bush did to Gore. So, you know, if they want to run a bunch of fake ballots, we'll have an investigation. We'll say, these ballots are fake.


STONE: Your results are invalidated. Goodbye. That's the way it's going to have to look.


STONE: It's going to be really nasty.


STONE: But you cannot count on, we're not going to get an honest election.


STONE: So, let's say that Trump is a little behind right now which he probably is. That doesn't bother me. But even if he wins an honest election, we're not going to have an honest election.

UNKNOWN: Got it.

STONE: They're going to steal it. They're stealing this blinded folded right now. So.


STONE: You know, it's not the first time it's happened in this country and it happens around the world.


STONE: So, he's going to have to -- he's going to have to fight for the presidency in the courts. Our next election will be decided in the courts.


STONE: Because they cheat and we don't cheat.


STONE: We've never cheated.


LEMON: So, this was July 9th, 2020. This was four months before the election. So, the rudiments of the plot really to overturn the election were being discussed as early as the summer. Months before.




GULDBRANDSEN: And this clip is actually from the day before President Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence. And this planning what this also shows is I think the first small movements towards what became Stop the Steal in 2020, that that we are -- we are here seeing, actually seeing Roger in the middle of a conspiracy, basically. I mean, that is what it is, a conspiracy to overturn the election. And Roger was right in the middle. And here we actually see documented how it kind of began this spring.

LEMON: Well, isn't, I mean, he's actually saying that that's what they're going to do in the clip.


LEMON: He actually says it.

GULDBRANDSEN: Exactly. And as we discussed just before, he's saying what they're going to do and that's exactly what happened more or less. And, but it's so outrageous when you hear that you were prone to just discard it as bravado or exaggerations. But if -- when you look back in hindsight you can see that was actually more or less unfolded.

MARBELL: But yes, in hindsight everything was communicated pretty bluntly.

LEMON: Even more so than, you know, those of us who sat here for the time that Trump was in office when he ran and then in office and then ran again saying, I told you so. Right? With the -- with all of the rhetoric and the wink and the nod, as you say, did you feel -- you must have felt that way even more so than the journalists who were reporting on it?

MARBELL: Yes, definitely.

GULDBRANDSEN: I think one of the biggest challenges we had was when to take these people literally.

LEMON: Right?

GULDBRANDSEN: I mean, yes.

LEMON: Yes. I want to -- this is another clip. This clip is where Roger Stone is imploring the people in his orbit how to -- how important it is to claim Trump's victory on election night. Watch this.


UNKNOWN: Awesome.

STONE: Let's just hope we're celebrating.

UNKNOWN: Well, I know.

STONE: I suspect it'll be -- I really do suspect it'll still be up in air. But when that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of law. No, we won, (muted) you. Sorry. Over. We won.


STONE: You're wrong. (muted) you.



LEMON: So, what do you know about the, what can you tell us about the people he's talking to there?

MARBELL: They are a bunch of, yes, all these kind of like hang arounds who were, to some extent act as security, I would say, because he gets, yes, he gets heckled a lot when he travels. So, he likes to have some strong living guys to be around him.

LEMON: All right. So, in the time that you spent with Stone, did he -- let me ask you this before. So, do you -- did he spend a lot of time with members of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers or any groups like that? QAnon people?

GULDBRANDSEN: Proud Boys men. Yes. He, I mean, Proud Boys, he's very close to the Proud Boys and when we traveled with him often that would be Proud Boys serving as his volunteer security. I mean, he's very, very close.

LEMON: Did you see him communicating with anyone from these groups? Did you --


MARBELL: Yes, constantly.


LEMON: Constantly?


LEMON: Do you have it on tape at all?


LEMON: Of him communicating with these groups?



GULDBRANDSEN: Well, particularly Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio who at that time was the national leader of the Proud Boys, is a close friend of Roger and a close supporter who was, yes, who helps him out a lot. And then, and they, for instance, when we were in - when we were in D.C. during January 6th, he was also in touch with Enrique Tarrio. He got arrested, Enrique Tarrio and they were in touch there.

LEMON: You said that they were very interested Christoffer in his relationship with the Proud Boys. What did they ask you about that?

GULDBRANDSEN: Well, they asked us, well, basically to identify the people around him and what kind of communications they had happened, so on. But I would say that the most -- the thing that was mostly most central to them was of course to see the documentation, the recordings, because that's we have him with them.

For instance, the Oath Keepers that protected him, they were -- that was in the protect -- have all been arrested today and end up being prosecuted. And we have them with him. We have the leader of that group, Joshua James, who would Roger Stone in his suite at the Willard Hotel.

LEMON: And so, what about the Oath Keepers especially their Stewart -- their leader, Steward Rhodes.

MARBELL: We -- we don't have anything. We have one thing where he's, which is where you can sort of like see a text on his phone screen, phone, where a film from the back of the car where you can see that he's in contact with him and signal after -- after January 6th.

LEMON: So, he's in contact with someone. How do you know it's Stewart Rhodes?

MARBELL: Because it says Stewart Rhodes.

LEMON: It says Stewart Rhodes.


LEMON: The name on the phone says Stewart Rhodes, but you don't know for sure that it's him.

MARBELL: Of course. LEMON: But one would assume. That it is, if that's a name on the phone.

GULDBRANDSEN: It would be a very sophisticated ploy catcher or.

LEMON: So, what is -- what are the communications?


MARBELL: It says something to this extent you can't really see it. Either it says, don't call me on my regular phone or call me on my regular phone.


MARBELL: But either way, it suggests that they have been, it's not a way that you would communicate to someone if you hadn't been in contact prior to that.

LEMON: So, there you do see communications with a person on the phone who's identified --


LEMON: -- as Rhodes.

GULDBRANDSEN: But I think it's important -- important for me to say this is actually not how we work. We're not -- I mean, we weren't working in that forensic sense looking to capture.

LEMON: Right. You were just doing a documentary.

GULDBRANDSEN: We were trying to, yes. We wanted to understand the movement, the sentiment of these people and the changes that the states are undergoing because it is really, really difficult when they come from Europe to get a grasp on all this.


GULDBRANDSEN: And so, all of this is something that, yes, that we got by chance and that became relevant because of all these developments.

LEMON: Yes. So, you were also contacted by the FBI?

MARBELL: That's correct.

LEMON: What did -- tell us about that?

GULDBRANDSEN: I got, we were sitting in editing and then one afternoon I got a call from a person who presented himself from Danish intelligence who had been in contact with FBI who asked if we would have an informal discussion with them. And of course, I said yes. And then, they came and visited us in Copenhagen.

LEMON: They did?


LEMON: What was that like?

GULDBRANDSEN: Well, they were very -- it was one person, one special agent, I guess, and he was very cordial and professional and they wanted our material and we said no. So, it was very easy.

LEMON: Why'd you say no?

GULDBRANDSEN: Well, I think, as a journalist yourself, I think in a modern democracy, we have each our roles, law enforcement has theirs and a journalist we have our own and we wanted to stay in our own lane. And they can see the film and use it from there. But I think crossing into a criminal investigation was too biggest step for us to take that.

LEMON: So then why share it with the January 6th committee and not the FBI?

GULDBRANDSEN: Well, I would say the main difference was that they subpoenaed us. I think that made a very different situation for me that -- that when the U.S. Congress subpoenas you, it's something you need to deal with very seriously. And I think that work is tremendously important and they have done a fantastic job.

LEMON: Do you think the committee's going to call you both testify?

MARBELL: I have absolutely no idea.

LEMON: You don't know?


LEMON: Would you if they did?

MARBELL: Yes. What --


GULDBRANDSEN: Sure, of course.

LEMON: Put this into context. What do you -- what should we draw from this? Is there a conclusion or anything that we should draw from Roger Stone in your experience with him? The time that you had with him before and after January 6th, where do you think this puts him now? Is he in a precarious position? You think that something, you know, that there is something that will happen or should happen or could happen with him?

GULDBRANDSEN: I think it's difficult to say about him in that sense, but I think what I learned from this, from being with Roger Stone for nearly three years and the people around him was and is that January 6th was not the culmination. It was rather the beginning of a movement that is increasingly undemocratic and is only more emboldened in challenging the institutions that protect the United States.

So, I think that's what I'm taking away from it. How to put people to accountants, so on. I mean, as a journalist, that's not my role. Other people will deal with that.

LEMON: Do you think he's complicit in doing what you said before?

GULDBRANDSEN: I think it's transparent that the -- when I was at the capitol on January 6th because Roger needed to take a nap at his suite in the Willard Hotel. So, I walked down to the Capitol and as I arrived, there was a Trump supporter shouting out that three people had been killed inside.

At that point there was a -- there was the 34-year-old woman who had been trampled to death. There was a 35-year-old woman who was -- who had been shot trying to force her way into to the politicians, but all the people that had inside them to go there were nowhere to be seen.

Trump was in his White House watching it on TV and Roger was back in, in the suite at the Willard Hotel, I think. I think that's also one of the great tragedies in this.

LEMON: He used -- you believe they use those people?

GULDBRANDSEN: Obviously? I mean that's transparent I think for everyone. And that's not a question of where you are stand politically or not. I mean, we are not that engaged in American political -- politics. We're coming from another country, but it -- from a moral standpoint, I think it's very transparent.

MARBELL: Yes, it's leading the lamb to slaughter.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.

MARBELL: Thank you.

LEMON: Roger Stone responding tonight in a statement and he says, I quote here, "I challenge the accuracy and the authenticity of these videos and believe they have been manipulated and selectively edited."


"I also point out that the filmmakers do not have the legal right to use them. How ironic that Kim Kardashian and I are both subjected to computer manipulated videos on the same day. The excerpts provided below prove nothing. Certainly, they do not prove I had anything to do with the events of January 6th. That being said, it clearly shows I advocated for lawful congressional and judicial options."

The clips you just heard are now in the hands of the January 6th committee. Can they connect the dots in all of this before they run out of time?


LEMON: So, this new documentary footage we exclusively obtained shows Trump ally Roger Stone in the lead up to the election -- to election day 2020, digging in on declaring victory before votes were even counted. And talking about violence, now, I just spoke with the filmmakers who caught it all on camera. So, let's talk about what it means for the January 6th committee's what might be the final hearing later this week?

So, joining me now is the former federal prosecutor Jim Walden, and former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, Nick Akerman.

Thank you, gentlemen, both, for joining us.



LEMON: I thought it was, what they did was, what they said was stunning to me.

Nick, you know Roger Stone going all the way back to the Watergate days.

AKERMAN: That's right. I actually interviewed him in my office in September of 1973.


AKERMAN: Under an investigation I was doing that in some ways was very similar here. He was at -- on the capitol steps as a diversion to the individuals that were brought up from Miami, the same people who broke into the Watergate complex two weeks later, who were basically told by the White House to beat up Daniel Ellsberg who had released the Pentagon Papers.

In fact, one of those people told me that he was instructed to kill Ellsberg. And the whole idea was that Roger Stone was in a group of people that he recruited as counter demonstrators to detract the capitol police away from, you know, the demons -- the individuals who are actually going to perpetrate the assault.

LEMON: So, I mean, here we are all these years later and it -- I mean, to me, I think it's clear that they're zeroing in on Roger Stone. What's your takeaway from these, -- that exclusive interview we have?

AKERMAN: I think it's all more of the same. I mean -- I mean, one thing they didn't mention was that this stop the Steal actually goes back to 2016 in the Republican primary when Trump first ran. Because Roger Stone was pushing that then on the theory that if Trump lost, this was going to be their take.

They were doing the same thing during the regular election too, trying to put out there that somebody was going to steal the election and it was going to be rigged. So, it's all more of the same. I mean, this goes back to Roger Stone in Bush versus Gore where he was kind of orchestrating that Brooks Brothers riot in Florida when they were trying to count the votes in the hanging Chads. It also goes back to Roger Stone being the point man in the whole Russian conspiracy where he was dealing with the Russian agent who had the stolen documents from the Democratic National Committee and was also dealing with Julian Assange and others from WikiLeaks who had the stolen documents and were releasing them to the public.

So, Roger Stone has been a key figure throughout all of this. He wound up being convicted for obstruction of Congress and for witness tampering. And then was basically pardoned by Trump. First, he was let out of prison. Trump basically gave him a free pass, and then after the election he was pardoned.

And what's really interesting is that in this whole Mar-a-Lago search warrant, low and behold, item number one relates to Roger Stone. And I think if you really look at this, the other item that's in there relates to President Macron. And there's very few documents there, which leads me to believe that these came out of Donald Trump safe.

So, the question becomes, why was he keeping this kind of information in his safe and will the information on Roger Stone wind up putting them both in the soup.

LEMON: So, you -- you're saying, you -- there's a few things that you know about Roger Stones. That was sarcasm. Wow. I mean, I could sit there and listen. So many connections.

Jim, I've got to ask you, because the filmmaker said that they're focused on Roger Stone's connections to the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers. What do you think they're trying to piece together here?

JIM WALDEN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think it's the causal link, or another way to put it is the last nail on the coffin. I think the committee on Wednesday is probably going to want to try to draw the greatest connection between Donald Trump and the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, and there's a number of different connections.

Stone's one conduit according to the footage that we've just seen. But Mike Flynn has his own connections to both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. He had his -- his first amendment Pretorian that were also, circling around the insurrection and reporting back to another colleague at the Willard.

So, I think that that's where the committee really wants to go. They want to end this at, with Donald was not a victim of parallel action. He wanted the absurd -- the election to go his way and the crowd did, too. They want to show that there's circumstantial evidence, at least, that Donald Trump was directing the traffickers.

LEMON: Does this say anything about the -- is this offer any sort of argument against the whole idea that January 6th was just some spontaneous event?

WALDEN: Yes, I mean, absolutely. I think that that's exactly what they're trying to unpack. And remember the stand back and stand by. I mean, so -- there's so many different pieces to this puzzle that once you kind of take a step back and look at the overarching picture, including that this conspiracy, according to what we just saw, may go back to July even before the election.

The firing of Chris Krebs for saying that it was a -- the safest election ever. Trump's comments about the Proud Boys during the debates, all of these things seem to be points in the same direction.


LEMON: Nick, listen to this because the CNN has obtained text messages that show retired, Army Colonel Phil Waldron. He's an early promoter of election related conspiracy theories. That he's reaching out to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, talking about his attempts to gain access to voting systems in key battleground states after the election, starting with Arizona and Georgia.

Is this another point of contact between the White House and possible criminal activity, do you think?

AKERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, this whole thing is, is just one piece of all that criminal activity with respect to the voting machines. I mean, you had people actually, General Flynn, and this other lawyer going in to see Donald Trump to try and get him to sign an order to seize his voting machines.

I mean, this was a big part of what they were trying to do. I mean, they had one piece after another and it fits into the entire picture. Plus, it also fits into Mark Meadows, who was really a critical guy who was in the middle of all this. He was communicating with Roger Stone. He was communicating with General Flynn. He was communicating with this guy Waldron.

I mean, it was after the other. And if there is one weak link in this entire chain, it's Mark Meadows. And if I were in the Department of Justice, that's the guy I'd be looking to turn and get him to cooperate against everybody else.

WALDEN: And if you think about it, if you're DOJ and you're really looking at all of this complex criminality, you're thinking about the racketeering statute. That's what you're -- you're not just talking about sedition or even felony murder. You're -- you're thinking about this hub of all of these insiders, including Meadows, including Waldron, including Trump who are surrounded by this -- these spokes of potential criminality.

And you wouldn't think that the office of the presidency might have been corrupted to the point that would be a racketeering conspiracy, but it's the only way to tell the whole narrative of what seems to have happened before January 6th, on January 6th, and even after.

LEMON: After January 6th. Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Nick. I appreciate it.

AKERMAN: Thank you.

LEMON: Hurricane Ian now a category two storm as it heads towards Florida. The director of the Hurricane Center -- National Hurricane Center saying that it is near worst case scenario for Tampa. The mayor of Tampa joins me. That's next.



LEMON: Tonight, mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for parts of the Tampa Bay area in western Florida as the region braces for Hurricane Ian, which is now a category two storm with winds of 100 miles per hour. Ian is expected to get even stronger as it moves toward Tampa over the next few days. The region has not had a direct hit from a hurricane since 1921, and residents are being urged to take evacuation warnings seriously.

Let's discuss now. Tampa's mayor is here. Jane Castor. Jane, Mayor Castor, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us.

You're OK down there?


LEMON: Mayor, can you hear me?

CASTOR: Can you see then on the screen. We touch the screen.

LEMON: OK. So, we're having an issue with the mayor and she's -- let's wait for a second and see if we can get the mayor. Can the mayor hear us? We'll have the technical folks work on it.

Mayor, are you there? No, Mayor. OK, so we don't have the mayor. It happens. We'll go away. We'll come back.



LEMON: All right, back now to our report about Hurricane Ian heading towards the west coast of Florida.

Joining me now is Tampa's Mayor Jane Castor. Hi, Mayor. You can hear us now. Right?

CASTOR: I sure can.

LEMON: Thank you. We're so glad that you're here. I asked you how you guys are doing down there, but as I understand, none of the outer bands yet, you're not getting any of the win.

And I just want to start with this new warning. It's from the director of the National Hurricane Center. He's calling this a near worst-case scenario for the city of Tampa. What are you most worried about?

CASTOR: Most worried about the storm surge, the amount of water that we're going to get, you know, as most people are whereby now Tampa Bay is pretty shallow. And this is going to be pushing a phenomenal amount of rain up into our bay. We're already saturated from our regular summer storms, and there's really no place for this water to go. So, the flooding, the surge is going to be monumental.

LEMON: Yes. You just got some rain, right? Your kind of daily evening rain, right, that you got.

CASTOR: We're pretty saturated here in the Tampa Bay area, but that's a normal storm season for us.


CASTOR: But to have this Hurricane Ivan, the prediction that it's, it's basically going to slow down, if not stall right over the Tampa Bay area for anywhere from 24 hours on is, is something that we don't need to hear Without a doubt.

LEMON: What do you, you know, listen, what should people on the line of the storm be doing right now? And how is the city preparing.

CASTOR: Well, we are always prepared. We prepare every year. I mean, we -- we've exercised, we've rehearsed. The last thing we want to do is be on the main stage of a Hurricane Ivan. But we have been preparing. We have called for an evacuation in zone A. We have a little over 120 miles of coastline in the city of Tampa.

So, I think everyone is heeding that warning to get up to higher ground. We always use the adage of hide from the wind and run from the water. And that's what we're asking everyone to do is get out of the way of this water.

LEMON: OK. So, you're saying get out of the way. Today, residents in parts of Tampa have received mandatory evacuation orders as I understand. And I just want to play --


LEMON: -- this is a very stern warning. This is from the sheriff of Pinellas County. Watch this.


BOB GUALTIERI, SHERIFF, PINELLAS COUNTY: When we issue that mandatory evacuation, what that means is, is that if you don't, and you call for help, we're not coming because we're not going to put our people in harm's way and put them in peril because you didn't listen to what we told you to do.


LEMON: Do you also stand behind that statement, well, residents really beyond their own if they ignore these warnings?


CASTOR: Well, I wouldn't be that dramatic, but the reality is, is that this water in most areas is going to be too high for our first responders to go out, and then once the winds up pass 45 miles an hour, you know, nobody is going out there. So, people need to heed the warning. They need to get out now, especially from where the storm, the waters, the surge is going to affect them because we're not going to have the ability to come out and get them.

LEMON: I've got to ask you, listen, I grew up down on the coast here in Louisiana down south and people don't want to leave. Right? They want to stay in their home. So, what do you, what's your message to Floridians who say, we've been through horrible storms before like this, we'll be OK staying and riding it out.

CASTOR: Right. Well, what I'll say is that I've spent 30 some years in law enforcement, and I've responded to a lot of areas that have had the hurricanes Michael, Andrew, Charlie. And to the person, everyone I talked to who stayed during one of those storms said, I'll never do it again. And those were the ones that survived.

LEMON: Yes. Mayor, be well. We're thinking about you and report back to us. We'll be checking in with you guys. Thanks so much.

CASTOR: Thank you. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you. Anger in Russia. Protests over the country's partial mobilization, people fleeing to the border. Is it pressure Putin hasn't seen before? We'll discuss.



LEMON: Now to developments in Russia where ordinary citizens angry about Vladimir Putin's ordering -- order mobilizing more troops for Ukraine. They're fighting back. For the second day in Russia's Dagestan region people battle police officers while protesting in the streets.

And the Biden administration sending a clear message to Putin over his threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Officials warning that the consequences for Russia would be, and I quote, "catastrophic."

A lot to discuss with CNN national security analyst Steve Hall, the former CIA chief of Russia operation.

Steve, thanks for joining. Let's start and talk -- to talk with these incredible images here. These images show part of the reaction to Putin's mobilization order creating giant traffic jams as people flee for the for the borders. Explain what we're seeing here.

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, Don, it really is unprecedented in a lot of different ways. Protests in the streets we see fairly routinely in Russia, in Moscow, in St. Peter -- in St. Petersburg primarily, you know, the richest, where there's a lot of more information relatively speaking than many Russians normally have from their -- from their television sets.

So, that's -- that's not unexpected to see those sorts of protests, but to see these lines at the -- at the border with Georgia and Finland, to have all of the, basically all the plane tickets sold out to places where Russians can travel to without a visa like Turkey. That shows some really, really significant social stress that is happening right now inside of Russia.

And you know, to be honest with you, I don't know where it's going to end up because this sort of fleeing from Russia by conscript age young men is just, it's pretty amazing.

LEMON: I find it fascinating considering the clamp, right, that the -- that Vladimir Putin has on the -- on the media there. Do these pictures though, tell the whole story, Steve? There must be sectors of the population who fervently support the war.

HALL: Yes, there are. And I think the way it usually divides up, Don, inside of Russia is again, those richer locations like -- like St. -- like St. Petersburg, Moscow, maybe Vladivostok out in the east have a little bit better access to the internet, can defeat some of the filters that the Russian intelligence services put out on them.

And so, what you have is in sort of the nether regions in those areas where you have more rural Russia will have less access to the outside world and have to rely more on the Russian state. You're going to get, because they have -- they're fed this diet of propaganda, you're going to have greater support for the Kremlin line.

But there reaches a point where everybody knows a neighbor whose son has been sent to the front. Or everybody has a buddy someplace who has been killed in the war, and that's something that propaganda can't entirely encapsulate. You know, when it gets to that point inside of Russia war, we may be reaching of Vladimir Putin is going to have some much more serious problems on his hands.

LEMON: The Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke to CBS News about how seriously to take Putin's threat to use nuclear weapons. Here it is.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now it could be a reality. I don't think he's bluffing. I think the world is deterring it and containing this threat.


LEMON: Steve, is he bluffing?

HALL: I think what we have going on here, Don, is a little bit of information warfare. So, I mean, whenever you've got people bluffing with nuclear weapons, I mean, it's got to be taken seriously. But certainly, Vladimir Putin wants the west to be very worried about this. They want, you know, the Americans, our NATO allies and really all of our non-NATO allies as well, to wonder whether or not Putin will come to the point where he says, look, I don't have any option I have to use some sort of nuclear weapon. On the other hand, the Ukrainians also understand that we're very

nervous about that, and they want to make sure that the strength that the NATO allies are providing them will last through the winter, which is going to be a difficult one for the Europeans. So, they are also pointing out to the saber rattling, saying, hey, look, he really is serious about this. You got to keep helping us.

So, I actually think that the likelihood of a nuclear weapon being used is still relatively small because the downsides for Putin are so significant at this point.

LEMON: Let's talk about this so-called succession referendum in four occupied Ukrainian regions. They have been dismissed as a sham by Kyiv and western governments. What's your assessment?


HALL: Yes, I mean, this is, to even call them referenda is sort of, is sort of false in its honest face. I mean, this is a preparation for annexation. This just gives them time to set up the formal annexation, which then allows Russia to say, look, you know, these -- these poor people in this part of Ukraine want to join Russia. What -- what choice do we have for these Russian speakers? We have to bring them into our country.

And then as Putin and his lankies (Ph) have already said, well, once they're a part of Russia, they enjoy, quote, unquote, "the full protections that the rest of the country does," which is yet another illusion to the use of nuclear weapons. So, this is all -- this is all staged.

My question is, is will -- will Putin basically say, OK, now that I've done that, that's really all I can do is take the parts of Ukraine that I hold now. And does he take his toys and go home or does he, you know, what does he do after that? It's -- Russia is going to be a different place after this and I'm just not quite sure how it's going to be different.

LEMON: We'll be watching. Thank you, Steve. I appreciate it.

So, we've been following what's happening with the hurricane, right? And this one is being called a storm of a lifetime for residents in Tampa Bay. Hurricane Ian now a category two storm barreling toward the Florida coast. An update from the weather center, next.