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Hurricane Fiona Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico; First Lady Reflects on First Meeting with the Queen; Massive Security Presence Deployed for Queen's Funeral; Interview with Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) about Upcoming January 6th Investigations; President Biden Discusses Economy, Midterms, Ukraine and 2024 Race; Interview with Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) about November Midterm Elections; Over Half of GOP Senate Nominees Doubt 2020 Election; January 6th Investigation Special. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 18, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hurricane Fiona has now made landfall. Confirming that there is now an island-wide power outage. There was a lot of concern about mudslides. There was a lot of concern about flash flooding.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Catastrophic flooding expected. We are going to see between 15 and 20 inches.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Global leaders continue to descend on London for the big Monday event. Paying tributes and signing condolences.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To all of the people of England, and all the people of the United Kingdom, our hearts go out to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is such a beautiful way for it to have been sent off with people around who have been coming countless for days and days. That's exactly what she wanted.
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK: And this is as I stated a humanitarian crisis created by human hands. It is an all-hands-on-deck moment.
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): They're coming into southern states. What is a governor supposed to do? They're trying to send a message to the rest of the country.
MAYOR OSCAR LEESER (D), EL PASO, TEXAS: To make sure that no one is homeless, no one is hungry, and make sure that we always continue to treat people like human beings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hurricane Fiona, this massive storm, might drop 30 inches of rain on Puerto Rico before it moves on. And already, we are seeing scenes like this on your screen. Flooded rivers tearing away bridges and making matters worse, no power. The island's entire electric grid is offline. It failed and plunged three million Americans into darkness hours before Fiona made landfall. And Puerto Rico's main energy supplier says power will most likely be out for days.
FEMA's assistant administrator for Response and Recovery told me just a short time ago, that more than 300 FEMA responders were already on the ground before the storm hit.
Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis, monitoring Fiona from the CNN Severe Weather Center. We also have CNN's Leyla Santiago in San Juan.
Leyla, first to you. Millions of people will spend tonight in total darkness, not knowing when the power will turn on as this hurricane rages on. Is Puerto Rico equipped for this challenge?
SANTIAGO: Well, that depends on who you ask. FEMA says it is, with more than 300 responders on the ground. But, you know, right now, the rain is still coming down. The wind gusts, you can still very much feel them. And I'm in the northeastern part of the island. It's really the southern coast that was really battered in the interior, dealing with the flash floods.
Let's go over the images to show you. I can tell you that there is a cancer center that had to be evacuated. Patients taken out because there is no power, island-wide power outage -- those patients. Also, I want to show you the type of things happening right now because of that flooding. Earlier, just within the last few hours in Utuado, that is the central part of the island, we watched as somebody filmed a bridge just being washed away because of that rising river in the middle of the island.
So we are seeing this storm take its toll on the island. And let's take into account where the island is in terms of the history. It is almost five years to the day that Hurricane Maria just pummeled this island, leaving people here without power for months, some nearly a year. So there is a level of frustration that many are dealing with tonight, as they go to bed with rain continuing to come down and no power.
So I spoke with FEMA this evening, and I said, what do you say to those people? I understand you have responders ready, but what do you say to the people who have had five years of storms, of earthquakes, of dealing with disaster over and over? Here was the response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX AMPARO, FEMA SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS: Hurricane Maria, obviously, we're within days of the five-year anniversary of that. I was personally here in this location on January the 6th, when the buildings shake and we had the earthquake that, you know, woke me up at 4:00 in the morning.
We had an island dealing with COVID-19, like the rest of the country, had to have been dealing with, but it was different because you're concentrated here on this island. And so I would say to Puerto Rico, I understand. This is -- can easily be traumatizing, but we can't lose hope. We can't lose the drive that we have every day to make sure that this island is vibrant and shining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: And again, FEMA here to support the local and Puerto Rican government here. But they are doing so where trauma lingers. Where a lot of people were fearing what has now happened. A power outage. 100 percent of the power gone. Hospitals evacuated. So now the instability that they fear moving forward lingers and that is also part of the story they'll have to cope with -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Thanks so much, Leyla.
I want to go to Karen now. What do the hours ahead look like?
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, as you can imagine, what Leyla just mentioned is that everyone is plunged into darkness. Three plus million people. And now they are facing a nighttime where they don't know just how much those rivers are rising, if there's going to be a debris flow, which we've seen numerous reports of, and people trapped in a restaurant, in cars, in their homes.
So this is a devastating situation, but a lot of fear, anxiety, and danger over the next 24 hours or so. Now it is moving, Fiona is right across the Mona Passage. Here's the Atlantic, here's the Caribbean. It has supporting winds of 85 miles an hour. All of this from the latest information coming from the National Hurricane Center. Almost all of the municipalities across Puerto Rico are under flash flood warnings and flood warnings across these coastal areas, and we could see between 15 and possibly 30 inches of rainfall.
As it moves away, Pamela, we're looking at a system that pushes into the Atlantic, but could be a major hurricane, but not affecting the mainland United States. Back to you.
BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, Karen Maginnis, Leyla Santiago.
And last hour, I talked with Anne Bink. She is the assistant administrator for Response and Recovery with the Federal Emergency Management Agency known as FEMA, and I asked her about the job these 300 FEMA responders already on the ground are performing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNE BINK, FEMA ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR RESPONSE AND RECOVERY: It's dual focused. One is related to emergency generation and power missions for critical facilities that we work with the Army Corps of Engineers on. And the other is to ensure that the command and control structure is in place to allow all the emergency protective measures that need to be undertaken to support this hurricane can. Things like search and rescue, things like emergency power generation, long-term needs, as we move into the recovery for residents and communities. We will be there.
And it's worth noting, too, President Biden overnight signed an emergency declaration that authorizes all of these emergency protective measures to occur. And that was signed before the storm hit Puerto Rico which is part of the proactive stance we take here at FEMA and the administration across the board.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And tonight, millions of people in Puerto Rico face life- threatening flash flooding and mudslides. Everyone on the island except emergency workers are being urged to stay home.
Chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen teams are ready to help the victims of Hurricane Fiona. The food relief organization tweeted it has teams stationed both in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, ready to respond however is needed, preparing sandwiches to distribute as soon as the storm passes.
Chef Andres wrote a book in 2018 called "We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico One Meal at a Time." He and his team prepared 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island.
And across Great Britain today, people paused for one minute of silence to honor their late monarch.
In London, Queen Elizabeth enters her final hours lying in state. Earlier, President Biden and the first lady joined the tens of thousands of British mourners paying their respects today inside Westminster Hall. Tomorrow, they will be among the 70-some heads of state attending the Queen's funeral. And at Buckingham Palace, King Charles hosted a reception for those visiting world leaders and dignitaries. Later, the king thanked the public for being a, quote, "comfort" in his family's time of grief.
First Lady Jill Biden says the outpouring of love and respect for Queen Elizabeth has left her overwhelmed. And she spoke by phone with CNN White House correspondent Kate Bennett who is here with us now.
So what else did the first lady have to say?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. When you think about it, the first lady told me, you know, the Queen has been the Queen since I've been born. You know, Jill Biden is 71 years old. When you think about that, it's an awfully long time. And she said, you know, the impact of being there, of seeing the queues of thousands and thousands of people, really, she felt very deeply about what that -- the U.K. is going through.
You know, she did say that she met Queen Elizabeth several times during her lifetime. The first time she said she was a young wife, a young mother, she had just married Joe Biden when he was a senator.
They went over to the U.K. to meet her and she said she was warm then, but the meeting they had -- Dr. Biden today said to me on the phone was really impactful for her. She said she was so inspired by her curiosity. She said she kept asking Joe question after question about American politics. And she called her grandmotherly. I know the president said she reminded him of her mother, but the first lady said she was more grandmotherly. She insisted on getting them the tea. And Dr. Biden said, we'll get it, we'll get it, you sit, and she said, no, no, no, this is my living room.
So it was a very personal conversation I had with her today. You know, she also discussed the reception that was tonight, no press were allowed there. So she shared that King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, the duke of -- Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales, so we're used to the new title, William and Kate were there, and Harry and Meghan were not. And that she said, you know, in that room of world leaders, she was overwhelmed by just the global impact the Queen had.
But she said, when she spoke to the king that she said to him, let's not forget, you lost your mother. This isn't just, you know, a ceremonial week, this is a real impactful human time and she said, you know, this is also a family that has to grieve on the world stage. And I think she has some experience with that, you know, considering the death of Beau Biden. So she was very thoughtful about the week that they have ahead and the day they have ahead tomorrow.
BROWN: Yes. I have been thinking about that, how hard it must be to grieve, go through this on the world stage and in many ways, be there to comfort the public, right?
BROWN: I mean, it's incredible to hear that insight from the first lady. Thank you so much, Kate Bennett.
Well, tomorrow's state funeral in London will require an unprecedented security effort, so let's talk about that. Joining us now is CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller.
Thanks for coming on. So this is being described as the largest single policing event that London's Metropolitan Police force has ever undertaken, even bigger than the Olympics. How do you even prepare for something like this?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Way in advance, Pam. They've been literally in the Met, Metropolitan Police Department, working on this plan for four years. The plan has been in play for longer than that, but they kind of dusted it off four years ago and put the more modern touches, particularly the counterterrorism overlay that would be required. So this is nothing they threw together last week quickly.
BROWN: So, it's been decades since this many world leaders were in one place. Officials say more than 500 leaders and dignitaries are there. What are some of the biggest security concerns for tomorrow's service?
MILLER: Well, each world leader brings with him or her their own threat picture, depending on where they're coming from and what the issues are. From a logistics standpoint, Pam, they also bring their own security detail, but they'll have a security detail from the Metropolitan Police and you know, all the weapons that go with that, which, you know, the Brits are pretty strict about that. They really kind of cut down -- I mean, they're a largely unarmed police department.
So they don't want everybody's security detail coming in armed to the teeth. So there's been an awful lot of traffic about that and about how to move people around. Given that they have throngs of people and miles to cover that are packed with onlookers, what they're not looking to do is to try and work through 70 different motorcades, trying to get to the same place at the same time. So they've put a lot of the world leaders on buses that will be heavily secured. That hasn't gone over well with some world leaders, who thought that they should be out of the bus and in their own motorcade.
But at this point, they're reminding people, it's not really about you, it's about the Queen, it's about the monarchy, it's about the country, it's about grieving for a nation. And this is our plan and they'll stick with it. So they're pushing through.
BROWN: Yes. And we should note, President Biden is one of the only ones that will not be on a bus but most world leaders will be. And that really struck me, as I was reading through the preparations. I mean, that must pose an enormous security risk, I would think. But again, how do you organize logistically, something like this, where you have so many heads of state in one place?
MILLER: And I mean, that's what they're dealing with. Along with the idea that they have to figure out how to have at least 10,000 cops on the street, 24/7.
MILLER: It's a 31,000-person police department, by, you know, there's 51 departments in the United Kingdom, they've all sent people in to augment this. They're working 12-hour shifts, and they have been for days. So, they're going to be exhausted by the time this is over. But with 2,000 guests and 500 dignitaries.
And the threat picture that comes in a country that's seen the London Bridge attack, saw the Westminster Bridge attack, saw cars ramming into crowds, knife attacks, explosives, an attack on the security forces guarding parliament, they have geared up for this with that counterterrorism overlay that just has layers and layers of bomb squads, radiation detection, hostile surveillance, plainclothes people in the crowds. They built it out.
And interestingly, Pam, that is Monday. Tuesday is a travel day, and Wednesday, all those some world leaders end up in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly. So New York is gearing up, too.
BROWN: Yes. Man, as you said, a lot of these officers are already exhausted, though, and tomorrow is probably going to be the most challenging day for them.
John Miller, thank you so much. We wish them luck.
CNN's special live coverage of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II begins tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. Eastern.
So will the House January 6th Committee call former President Trump or Vice President Pence to testify? I'll talk to a member of that committee, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland about that and more up next.
Plus, my sit-down with a ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Does Senator Jim Risch think Republicans can win control the Upper Chamber this November?
BROWN: The House select committee is preparing for its next round of hearings and a report on its findings. For more than a year, members have been piecing together testimony from over a thousand witnesses, along with videos, texts, e-mails, and other documents. The committee's chairman says the goal is to restart hearings on September 28th.
Joining me now is committee member, Jamie Raskin, Democratic congressman from Maryland.
Thank you for coming on, Congressman. So let's look ahead now to that next hearing at the end of this month. Can you give us any more information about what we can expect to learn? New testimony, new witnesses, any stunning new information? Give us a glimpse.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, the meeting is at least provisionally scheduled for September 28th and we're hoping we'll be able to do the hearing on the 28th of September. And, you know, this is a hearing where I hope that we will be able to complete the story so that America has a comprehensive understanding of the former president's efforts to overthrow the 2020 election and we're able to put that in its complete, historical, and political context, and we're able to understand the coordination of the inside political coup with the outdoor violent insurrection that came indoors, and overran both the House and the Senate, driving us out of our chambers and drove the vice president out of the Capitol.
So we're hoping to pull the whole thing together and we have new information about different aspects of our investigation.
BROWN: What aspects?
RASKIN: Well, I think we're filling in a lot of gaps, things that were, you know, left before still open and some new things have opened up, of course. You know, there is a mystery of these many missing texts from the Secret Service. We want to know how those texts came to be missing. And more importantly, we want to try to get the information that was in those texts and see what we can find and see how revealing they are in a corroborating way, of the basic elements of the story that we set forth before.
BROWN: So have you learned anything more from those texts, in terms of what has been recovered, not recovered?
RASKIN: You know, in general, let me just say this without going into any specific piece of evidence. We've learned a lot more since we, you know, took our break several weeks ago. We're able to fill in a lot more about the intentionality with which these events took place. We're able to fill in a lot more about the movement of different actors, and we're able to fill in more about what actually went down on January 6th itself.
So I think people who have taken an interest in this unprecedented and obviously historic event of an assault on an American presidential election, an attempt by a sitting president who've lost an election to seize the presidency, I think will find the remaining details that have been unearthed very instructive, to complete the picture. I'm also very interested in American understanding to what extent the various kind of threats we saw unfold on January 6th still out there.
I think we need to understand to what extent American democracy is still under attack, and to what extent our elections are still vulnerable to insurrection, coup, political violence, and sabotage.
BROWN: All right. So, what I hear from you is that this will round out the picture that the committee has been putting forward for many months now. But the bottom line is, there is still key testimony and documents that the committee has not received. I know you're still talking to Newt Gingrich, as well as Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Thomas. At what point does that end and the committee moves into just getting its final report out?
RASKIN: Well, as you've mentioned, we've looked at tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of pages of documents at this point. And I don't know whether there's ever been a congressional investigation of this breathtaking scope and comprehensiveness. And yet, still, it is, you know, a very strong first draft of history and undoubtedly there are people who have been concealing things and people not coming forward.
And, we know we have to go with all the evidence we've got. But we feel very confident that we understand all of the basic elements of the multiple offenses against American democracy that took place over the course of these events.
BROWN: OK, but bottom line is, as it stands now, do you expect to speak with Newt Gingrich or Ginni Thomas? And I should also put in the former vice president, Mike Pence, as well. Just help us get some clarity on that.
RASKIN: Well, no, I appreciate the interest. As you know, what we have not commented on specific witnesses who are coming in. We don't want to interfere with that process. And, you know, all I can say is that we are, and have been and remain deeply interested in the testimony of anyone who has relevant information that is material to all of the principal components of this assault on American constitutional democracy.
And so, you know, even at this late date, I would say, if there are people out there who have been wrestling with their conscience or who believe they may have something that they didn't realize before was relevant, then, you know, bring it in. We can obviously, you know, screen out people who are engaged in, you know, frivolous submissions. But if there are people who have had a change of heart, and certainly we've had people who've had a change of heart, if there are people who are recognizing the relevance of something that they may not have understood before, then come on in, bring it in.
We are just trying to get the complete and total truth out to the American people. That's our charge under House Resolution 503. To the people's democracy and the people have a right to know who are --
BROWN: Right. But let me just quickly -- right. I know you don't want to talk about witnesses coming up, but Newt Gingrich, Ginni Thomas, Mike Pence, when the committee has been very open, you know, releasing letters to the public, saying we want to hear from you. So that's why I think it is fair to ask for an update on where things stand there.
RASKIN: You know, I can't tell you because I don't know, you know, the up to the minute update on where we are on different people. And you know, I don't want to interfere in those negotiations that are always delicate, but we want people to come in and they should understand, like they have a lawyer there, obviously, if they think they are incriminating themselves in some way. They can assert the Fifth Amendment. We respect that. But in general, everybody owes the Congress his or her truthful testimony about what took place.
BROWN: All right. Congressman Jamie Raskin, thanks for your time tonight.
RASKIN: You bet. Thanks for having me.
BROWN: And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Just in, President Biden speaks out on the classified documents found at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.
Also, did he just declare the COVID pandemic over? Highlights from his new "60 Minutes" interview, up next.
BROWN: President Biden declaring the coronavirus pandemic over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELLEY, 60 MINUTES CORRESPONDENT: Is the pandemic over?
BIDEN: The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The pandemic over. But COVID is still a problem, the president says. That is from the president's "60 Minutes" interview that just aired a short time ago. And he touched not only on COVID, but the economy, the upcoming midterms and the war on Ukraine.
Let's bring in CNN's White House correspondent, Arlette Saenz.
So, I also want to get to what he said about the Mar-a-Lago documents from Trump. What'd he say?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, these really were the president's most extensive comments yet on the Mar-a-Lago documents. Those classified documents that were taken from the former president's residence. And he said that he actually hasn't been briefed on the contents of those classified documents. Part of the reason he hasn't asked for it is because he doesn't want to be shown in any way to be getting involved in any possible actions that the Justice Department might be taking. Take a listen to this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELLEY: When you saw the photograph of the top-secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, what did you think to yourself? Looking at that image.
BIDEN: How that could possibly happen. How anyone could be that irresponsible. And I thought, what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods? By that I mean, names of people who helped, et cetera. Just totally irresponsible.
PELLEY: And you don't know what was in those documents?
BIDEN: I have not asked for the specifics of those documents because I don't want to get myself in the middle of whether or not the Justice Department should move or not move on certain actions that they can take. I've agreed I would not tell them what to do and not, in fact engaged in telling them how to prosecute or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: And that's really just further representative of the hands-off approach that we've seen from President Biden. He hasn't weighed in on these documents, that search of Mar-a-Lago, very often. He first learned of it through media reports. But he did say that he was troubled by what he saw, but that he's also trying to stay out of it. BROWN: All right. And also, from what I saw there, the transcript, it
seems to be a subtle shift in his answer to whether he would run again, to the question of whether he would run again in 2024, right?
SAENZ: Yes. So the president said in that interview that it's his intention to run again in 2024, but then he went on to say, but is it a firm decision? That remains to be seen. And we have seen these subtle shifts, anytime the president is asked about 2024, there's always interest in exactly what he is saying, because people are trying to read the tea leaves on whether or not he's actually going to run.
You know, earlier in the week, First Lady Jill Biden gave an interview where she said that they haven't discussed the topic of running for re-election just yet, but in that interview, the president did also say that he's planning to make that decision after the midterms and heading into 2023.
BROWN: All right. Arlette Saenz, thanks so much. We appreciate it.
And up next in the CNN NEWSROOM, my conversation with a top Senate Republican, Jim Risch. Hear the surprising comments he made about his party's chances of taking the Senate this November.
BROWN: The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade could turn out to be the watershed moment that's shifted the midterm landscape. In the months since the ruling, abortion is suddenly front and center and could be a driving force to the polls for especially Democratic voters.
I recently sat down with Senator Jim Risch of Idaho and asked him how he thinks Republicans running for the Senate will fair in light of the summer's landmark ruling.
BROWN: I have spoken to Republicans who have expressed a real concern to me that in a post-Dobbs world now, in the way that women have been galvanized, that Republicans are in a weaker position going into the midterms. Do you see that?
SEN. JIM RISCH (R-ID): We're not in as good a position as far as other years. If this was a normal year, I'd feel much more comfortable. I believe it's a toss-up, I really do. When I wake up the next morning, I've run 36 times, I've watched elections, I've helped on presidential campaigns. I've been a national surrogate on the presidential campaigns and you get a feel, I really don't have a feel.
When I wake up the morning after, we will either be tied again or we will, or one party or the other will have a majority. I won't be surprised in any event. If you study Senate races, they get a life of their own because obviously, particularly in bigger states, where you only have two senators in the state. So they really take on a life of their own. And they aren't nearly as much affected by the popularity of the president or for that matter, by the issues.
The individual, when they talk about how they feel on the issues, makes a lot of difference to their very narrow constituency in that state. So I don't -- I don't think the ebb and flow that you see on the popularity of the president or that you see as far as this being a midterm election, I don't see that as affecting the Senate that much. Each candidate is going to stand on their own feet and be judged.
BROWN: Mitch McConnell has expressed concern about the quality of Senate GOP candidates. Do you share that concern?
RISCH: Well, look, first of all, I think the media loves this, but I think they're, way, way, way overrating this. Look, we go out and recruit candidates and you do the best you can in that regard and in every election, you have some that are stars and some not so much. And, it depends on the race and how they do. You want a star in every race, you don't always get that. And as far as between Mitch and Rick Scott, that is way overblown. I know there's been a lot of chortling over it, and I think that --
BROWN: Well, there's been also back and forth between --
RISCH: They're over chortling.
BROWN: But, Senator Scott and Senator McConnell have also kind of had an exchange of words. I think Senator Scott just said that McConnell must not (INAUDIBLE) the will of the voters.
RISCH: Yes. Again --
BROWN: So there's that. They are kind of fueling the fire, I would say. Yes.
RISCH: I don't -- there's things I lose sleep on overnight. This isn't one of them.
BROWN: And Risch, who has been recognized as one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate, weighed in on the migrant issue this week, tweeting, "The administration can claim what it wants, but the border is unequivocally not closed. I know it, you know it and people entering our country illegally know it.
And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. We are 51 days away from the 2022 midterms and we have new numbers now on just how many Republican Senate nominees have rejected, cast doubt upon, or tried to overturn the 2020 election results. That's next.
BROWN: A new CNN study shows more than half of Republican Senate and governor nominees this midterm season either deny or have doubts about the last election. They claim they believed Donald Trump was cheated or that Republicans were defrauded. And many of these candidates have a strong chance of winning 51 days from now.
CNN's Daniel Dale has all the facts -- Daniel.
DANIEL DALE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, I dove deep into the words and the actions of Republican midterm candidates around the country and here is the troubling breakdown. At least 22 of 36 Republican nominees for governor have denied or baselessly raised doubts about or actively tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the same goes for at least 11 of the 27 Republican nominees for secretary of state. These are the people who run elections.
And most recently, I found that more than half of the 35 Republican nominees for the U.S. Senate, that's at least 19 of them, are on the same unfortunate list.
Now, these deniers, these doubters, and deceivers aren't just like the no-hope Senate candidates in deep blue states. 16 of the 19 have at least a reasonable chance of winning in November. The list includes, for example, Georgia candidate Herschel Walker. Walker has falsely claimed the election was stolen. He has promoted baseless conspiracies about Dominion Elections Technology. More than a month and a half after Biden earned more than 81 million votes, Walker said he can guarantee Biden did not get 50 million votes, so he was off by more than 30 million.
Now I think it's important to talk about candidates who more than just words have taken action to try to reverse the will of the people in 2020. They include Missouri Senate nominee Eric Schmidt, the state attorney general, who signed onto a lawsuit that sought to get the Supreme Court to rescind Biden's victory. Nevada nominee Adam Laxalt played a key role in the Trump campaign's legal effort to reverse Biden's victory in that state.
North Carolina's Ted Budd voted to object to the congressional certification of Biden's wins in Pennsylvania and Arizona.
And meanwhile Utah Senator Mike Lee did not object, but in the days and weeks before those January 6th certification votes, Lee made an extensive behind-the-scenes effort to try to find some way to keep Trump in power.
Now this past week one of the people on the Senate list of 19 made an extraordinary flip-flop. Retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc used false election claims, some of them just wild conspiracy theories, as a central part of his campaign for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire. He was really explicit like one of the most fervent deniers in any big race across the country. He claimed at a debate last month that he will not budge from his view that Trump won, but then on Thursday just two days after he won the GOP nomination and entered the general election, Bolduc suddenly and very dramatically changed his tune. Watch this pretty remarkable before and after. Again, these are just one month apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON BOLDUC (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE NOMINEE: I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election, and dammit I stand by my --
And I want to be definitive on this. The election was not stolen. Unfortunately President Biden is the legitimate president of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DALE: Now Bolduc said in this FOX interview that his big shift just shows his willingness to listen, to learn, to acknowledge when he's been wrong. But I don't know, it's curious at least that he happened to acknowledge the truth right after he got done with a Republican primary -- Pamela.
BROWN: Daniel Dale, thank you. We'll be right back.
BROWN: In just a few minutes Jake Tapper goes inside the January 6th investigation. And I talked to him about tonight's CNN Special Report.
BROWN: So, Jake, is the committee correct here? Did the former U.S. president have a multi-level plan designed to hold onto power?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: When you dive into the evidence that the committee has presented and the testimony as well as the interviews that we here at CNN have been doing now for more than a year, yes, it's pretty clear this was a multifaceted plan to hold onto power. He would try one way to do it. When that failed he would try another way that had been previously planned and arranged. When that failed he would try another way to do it. And he was aided and abetted by any number of individuals throughout this process.
And at times if just one of those individuals had succeeded, then chaos would have ruled the day. And I can't even imagine the kind of violence that would have been unleashed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: A lot of the people we've interviewed have expressed concerns not just about what happened but what will happen. In fact we see a whole bunch of election liars running for office. Are you worried?
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I'm very worried. The responsibility that we all have to make sure that we defend our republic and that we defend our institutions has to be above politics. There are people running so that they're in a position that they will be able to certify the results only for Donald Trump. That's obviously fundamentally a threat to the survival of a republic, and I think those people have all got to be defeated.
TAPPER: You have been shouting from the rooftops this is not just about 2020. You're worried about 2024. You're worried about future elections.
J. MICHAEL LUTTIG, RETIRED U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE: I am, like right now the former president and his allies and supporters including in Congress and including in the states represent a clear and present danger to American democracy. That's not because of what they did on January 6th. It's because of what they pledged to do in 2024.
TAPPER: Do you think that Republicans are hearing what you're saying?
LUTTIG: I hope they are. There's no evidence that they've heard anything to date.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So we will hear more tonight in our special, Pamela. But the bottom line is it is not just about what happened January 6th, 2021. It is about what will happen at the ballot box this November. A number of individuals who were not in power in November 2020 are trying to get in power so they will be in place for November 2024. And they're on the ballot in places like Pennsylvania and Arizona and Michigan. And they are out there saying that they will help Trump undermine democracy if they win, and that is what this is about.
BROWN: Yes. They're boasting about it.
Jake, your reporting is so important and relevant for the future as well. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.
TAPPER: Thank you, Pamela.
BROWN: The CNN Special Report, "American Coup: The January 6th Investigation" starts right now.