Return to Transcripts main page
Vladimir Putin Ordered Mobilization in Russia; Russian Mercenaries Sent into Ukraine. Ron DeSantis Faces Class Action Lawsuit; U.N. General Assembly to Focus on Ukraine Issue; Federal Reserve to Increase Interest Rates; Hurricane Fiona Now a Category Four; Video Surveillance Shows Culprit in Georgia Election Breach; Sex Scandal Case Not Dying for Prince Andrew; Man Arrested for Vandalizing Washington Monument. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 21, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom, and I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, the Russian president announces a partial mobilization as separatists in Ukraine looks set to vote on joining Russia.
The Florida governor is being sued after flying migrants out of Texas. But the migrant crisis is so much larger than Ron DeSantis. We will explore what's driving people to the U.S.-Mexico border.
And the force of hurricane Fiona. CNN is on the ground in Puerto Rico to show the path of destruction.
UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: Thanks for being with us. We are following new developments out of Moscow where Vladimir Putin is ordering a partial mobilization in Russia to support his invasion of Ukraine. The Russian president says it begins today and people in the reserves and those who have previously served in the armed forces will be subject to conscription.
So, let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian. She joins us live from London. Clare, what exactly will this order from Putin for a partial mobilization mean for Ukraine, and of course for Russia.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, this, really significant moment for Russia. It's a partial mobilization, not a full-scale conscription, but we know that Russian forces have had trouble, sort of replenishing their ranks on the battlefield.
There's even evidence they've been using prisoners to do that, freeing them and taking them to Ukraine as well as of course mercenaries. So have a listen to what President Putin had to say about this mobilization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I think it is necessary to support the decision to partially mobilize citizens of Russian Federation. I would like to underline this is a partial mobilization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: So, a partial mobilization taking into account, citizens who are in the reserve. That's about two million. That was the estimate as of February, those who have served in the armed forces, those who have certain military specialties, and relevant experience is what he said. Those will be subject to conscription.
So that is highly significant. He also said that the order would sort of beef up the procurement of weapons as well. And he really made the point throughout this speech that he feels that Russia is under attack. He sort -- he talked about the western weapons supplied to Ukraine being used to attack Russian territory, like the Belgorod region and Crimea as well.
He said that, Russia, that the west is trying to divide Russia. We can divide and ultimately destroy our country. It was the quote. And one particularly significant moment, Rosemary, came at the end of the speech where Putin claimed without evidence, of course, that NATO members have been making explicit nuclear threats against Russia.
He said, and I quote, "I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction." He goes on to say, "that if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff."
So, a very strongly worded speech from Vladimir Putin, who as we know is currently facing extreme losses on the battlefield in terms of territory and personnel.
CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. And Clare, the other big issue of course, is the plan to hold referenda in Russian occupied territories of Ukraine this weekend in an effort to join Russia, a move that of course has the U.S. and Europe on edge. What would be the consequences of this?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, that appears to have been the trigger in some ways for this speech, Rosemary. President Putin said he supports the decision of those regions, the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which of course make up the Donbas and two others, the Zaporizhzhia region and Kherson in the south.
So, you can see that Russia's stated goals of taking over the Donbas has expanded somewhat to sort of go wrap around the southern coast of Ukraine as well. These votes unlikely of course to be free and fair, if you take into account the precedent of Crimea and the context that this is -- this is a war, but could provide cover of course, for Russia to sort of claim that this is now a war footing that Ukraine is not only defending itself, but of course attacking what Russia claims to be its own territory, Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, Clare Sebastian joining us live from London with that report. Many thanks as always.
Well, with troop morale low and territorial gains disappearing, Russia is sending convicts and mercenaries to the battlefield in parts of Ukraine.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports from the front lines in the eastern city of Bakhmut.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The mood here is black and old. From a time past, Ukraine didn't feel it was winning, taking heavy losses and struggling to hold on. But the Russian enemy is something new.
This is a very front line with Russian positions, literally a hundred meters away from where I'm standing. The Kremlin really wants the city of Bakhmut. So here on its edges, it sent ruthless mercenaries from the Wagner Group to fight. The shelling, endless.
UNKNOWN (on-screen text): Let's go while our Grad rockets are firing.
WALSH: We are taken up to their vantage point from where they see the Wagner fighters rush at them leading the Ukrainians to open fire. And it is just over there. They say that Russian Wagner mercenaries appear to try and run at them exposing Ukrainian positions so the Russian artillery can hit where they are.
The fields between them charred pockmarked. They are almost eyeball to eyeball. The next attack is imminent. We can see a mortar unit, the drone operator says, they're preparing to fire at us.
Down in the shelter the commander says they've captured Russian convicts who were recruited to fight. It was get shot or surrender for the convict, he says, Wagner acts professionally not like usual infantry units.
Shells continue to land all around them. Bakhmut is a mess. Russia edging towards it, but not inside. Prepared for street-to-street fighting and meanwhile, torn to pieces. But the losses are heavy and expose positions around the city, particularly here. Russia's invasion tearing through the green treasured land it claims to cover it.
Why do they want Bakhmut so much? They retreated elsewhere and they need a victory something is significant, he says, so they throw forces here. Of course, we have casualties, not today in our unit, but you can't avoid dead or wounded, sometimes heavily injured. I lost my close friend five days after we came here.
A few roads away Andriy (Ph) is cycling. His eyes tell you how life is here. "First, the shooting, but there's no electricity or water. It's not too bad. Only every second house is ruined."
There are still many people here buying a lot of Natalya's potatoes. "We sold half a ton today," she says, "who knows if the shelling is coming or going. Don't be scared," she said.
Twenty-four hours later, a Ukrainian artillery is hitting positions on the city's edge amid reports Russia has got closer. Much fresh smoke, and it's always hard to know what Moscow thought it was hitting.
Walking home with a squeaky wheel and food is Maria back to her son.
UNKNOWN (on-screen text): With God, you have no fear. And on your own land you cannot feel fear either.
WALSH: Silence and terror in turn enveloping the city.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Bakhmut, Ukraine.
CHURCH: Back here in the United States, attorneys for the group of migrants flown from Texas to Massachusetts have filed a class action lawsuit against Florida's governor and others, saying they defrauded them to advance a political motive.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arranged for two planes to fly nearly 50 migrants mostly from Venezuela, to Martha's Vineyard last week. His office responded to the lawsuit on Tuesday, saying the migrants were moved on a voluntary basis.
Other Republican governors have also sent migrants to so-called sanctuary cities to protest what they've described as the failure of the Biden administration to secure the U.S. southern border.
CNN's Ed Lavandera has more.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The streets around this city run migrant shelter in San Antonio are confusing and overwhelming for hundreds of migrants who have crossed the border seeking asylum and have stepped into the swamp of American immigration politics.
We met these men, one from Cuba, the other from Venezuela. They had heard about the plane Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent here to move some 50 migrants out of Texas last week. They told us they had just been offered a similar deal on Monday.
"Of course," he says, "we were told there would be plenty of work and not so many migrants."
They offered you a flight to another state, but you didn't know where it was going to be.
LAVANDERA: He says, they pulled up next to us in beautiful trucks. They offered us hotel rooms with a pool and a gift card for food. And they told us they could take us on a flight where we will be taken to a refuge. They rejected the offer because they said it felt strange.
Attorneys for some of the dozens of migrants transported from Texas to Martha's Vineyard have filed a class action lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in federal court. Claiming they were deprived of their liberty and due process over an unlawful goal and a personal political agenda.
This, after the Bexar County, sheriff in Texas says his office is opening a criminal investigation into the matter.
JAVIER SALAZAR, SHERIFF, BEXAR COUNTY, TEXAS: If in fact these people were lied to, to like they say they were, and if they were taken under false pretenses to another part of the country, it could qualify as a human trafficking case.
LAVANDERA: Even though the migrants weren't in his state, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has claimed responsibility for sending them to Massachusetts, and defended the process Tuesday, saying those migrants were treated poorly by the Biden administration.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): They were hungry, homeless. They had no, no opportunity at all. State of Florida, it was volunteer, offered transport to sanctuary jurisdictions because it's our view, that one, the border should be secured. And we want to have Biden reinstitute policies like remain in Mexico and making sure that people aren't overwhelming.
LAVANDERA: State budget records show that the Florida Department of Transportation paid 950,000 taxpayer dollars to Vertol Systems, an aviation company based in Florida days after migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard.
According to the Texas governor's office, more than 8,000 migrants have been bused from Texas to Washington, D.C. and 675 to Chicago and 2,600 migrants to New York, a number that's expected to climb.
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NY): I think the governor of Texas and others are at fault for creating this man-made humanitarian crisis.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Several migrants last week told us that there was a woman here in San Antonio named Perla who was involved in getting migrants on that flight to Martha's Vineyard. We asked the sheriff here in San Antonio if they've been able to identify that woman, the sheriff says that they know of several people who were involved in getting migrants on those flights, but he would not identify exactly who these people are.
He says right now, they're trying to figure out exactly what they were up to when they were hanging around this migrant shelter in the city. Ed Lavandera, CNN, San Antonio, Texas.
CHURCH: And earlier, I spoke with Adam Isacson, the director for Defense Oversight at the Washington office on Latin America. He spent nearly three decades working to solve migration problems at the root of crises like this one.
Just listen as he describes the tremendous challenges migrants face.
ADAM ISACSON, DIRECTOR FOR DEFENSE OVERSIGHT, WASHINGTON OFFICE ON LATIN AMERICA: It's a remarkable journey. I mean, in some cases they came from about as far south as you could go. You know, more than six million people have left Venezuela out of 30 million in the last seven or eight years or so.
And many of them tried to settle in South America. A lot of the people that were on that plane had actually been living in the southern part of South America. They ended up crossing about 10 countries on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
But probably whenever I talked to migrants who've taken this route what they always talk about is a place called the Darien Gap. It's where the Pan-American highway ends along the Panama-Columbia border. You've got to walk through about 60 miles of jungle that is completely ungoverned. And I've had migrants tell me that, and some of these Venezuelans have said, I saw dead bodies. I heard of women being raped. I got robbed.
But despite that, I mean, because of that danger, the Darien Gap has been sort of a natural barrier to overland migration for a long time, no longer. Last month, 31,000 migrated through the Darien Gap on their way to the United States and 22,500 of them were Venezuelan.
So, this is a route that has really opened up now despite the dangers, which shows how desperate people are. But it also just shows that, you know, they're willing to take on this arduous journey without depending in their pockets just to try to, you know, escape oppression of Venezuela and make a living in the United States.
CHURCH: Yes. And let's get to the root of that, because when, when they're confronting a journey as dangerous as that, as you mentioned, they must be in very desperate circumstances in their own country to want to flee. What are they fleeing exactly?
ISACSON: Well, Venezuela, over the course of this century has really devolved from democracy to one of the most repressive dictatorships in the western hemisphere. At the same time, that dictatorship really mishandled the economy. So, Venezuela used to be one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere. It is now one of the poorest.
You know, the power is rarely on even in a lot of large cities, portable water is hard to get. The health system has collapsed. And if you don't have access to dollars, because of inflation and devaluations, you make the equivalent of maybe $4 a day. You can't feed your kids. You're putting your kids to bed hungry.
People have fallen out of the middle class into poverty. So, you roll all of that repression and need into one and you have had this wave of migration starting around the middle of the 2010s. And now, really just since the middle of last year started to make its way up to the U.S.-Mexico border.
CHURCH: Our thanks to Adam Isacson for his insight there.
And still to come, gathering in crisis. The U.N. General Assembly begins day two in the hours ahead, but Ukraine isn't the only issue at the top of the agenda. We're back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly today. On Friday, the world body voted down Russia's objection to letting Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak virtually. U.S. President Joe Biden will use his speech to rally the world against the war. He's expected to argue that the invasion is a violation of the U.N.'s 1945 Charter.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres kicked off Tuesday's session with an impassioned plea for action on the environment. He wants higher taxes on energy company's windfall profits to help countries hurt by the climate crisis and global inflation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Let's say of no illusions. We are in rough seas. A winter of global discontent is on the horizon. A cost-of-living crisis is raging. Trust is crumbling. Inequalities are exploding and our planet is burning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: President Biden also has meetings planned with the U.N. secretary general, as well as British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
More now on day two of the general assembly from CNN's senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's rare for a U.S. president to adjust his speaking slot at the U.N. general assembly high-level debate. But that's what Joe Biden has done, instead of going in the traditional the U.S. slot second behind Brazil, which was yesterday, he will go later today.
In fact, he will be going several speakers after the president of Iran. U.S. officials say President Biden will condemn Russia strongly for its invasion of Ukraine and also comment on security council reform.
Many world leaders criticized Russia during their speeches on Tuesday. The French president denounced Russia for its invasion and condemn those who were trying to remain neutral on the affair.
EMMANUEL MACRON PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Those who are keeping silent today actually are in a way complicit with a cause of a new imperialism, a new order that is trampling over the current order. And there's no peace possible here.
ROTH: The French president announced as fake the planned referendums announced in eastern Ukraine yesterday. As for Iran, the French president also met with Iranian President Raisi yesterday. The two men discussing the stalled nuclear deal that died after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.
The Iranians want guarantees. The Western countries feel they've gone far enough. The French president said the ball is in Iran's court.
Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.
CHURCH: All eyes will be on the U.S. Federal Reserve Wednesday with another big interest rate hike widely expected. Wall Street has been on edge with the Dow dropping another 300 points Tuesday. Investors are bracing for interest rates to rise another three quarters of a percentage point. But the big concern is whether the Fed can strike a delicate balance between bringing down inflation and preventing a recession.
I want to bring up the futures and you can see there in negative territory, of course, in anticipation of what lies ahead. And then a quick look at how markets in Asia are looking. You can see all in negative territory there, or the Nikkei down 1.36 percent.
And let's bring up Europe's numbers too. The FTSE going against the grain there, but only just it's up but the rest in negative territory.
Well, still to come, question swirl over Donald Trump's claims that documents found at Mar-a-Lago were declassified as the special master holds his first hearing. The details just ahead.
CHURCH: Let's get you up to speed on our top story this hour. Russian and President Vladimir Putin is ordering a partial mobilization to boost his military readiness in Ukraine. Members of the reserves and people with previous military experience will be subject to conscription.
Take a listen to the Russian president in his address that aired just last hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): Their goals is to weaken to divide and to destroy our country. They're talking that in 1991 they broke up the Soviet Union and now it is time for Russia that Russia must fall apart, into different regions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well back here in the United States, the judge tapped to serve a special master and review document seized at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort held his first hearing with lawyers from both sides. And the issue of whether or not those documents were declassified was front and center in court.
CNN's Jessica Schneider reports from Washington.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the special master bringing together Trump's lawyers and attorneys for the Justice Department to hammer out how to proceed with the review of the 11,000 documents taken from Mar-a-Lago, including 100 documents marked classified.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I have the absolute right to declassify. Absolute.
SCHNEIDER: Trump has repeatedly argued he has the power to declassify documents and that he did declassify the documents at issue, but his legal team has yet to make that claim to a court or provide evidence that Trump did so. In a new filing at the 11th circuit court of appeals responding to DOJ's appeal, Trump's team has said it's on the government to prove they're classified. The government presupposes that the documents it claims are classified are in fact classified. However, the government has not yet proven this critical fact.
But tonight, Judge Raymond Dearie who the Trump team had a direct hand in choosing, telling Trump's team during the hearing that he may have no choice but to accept the government's claims that the documents are classified if Trump gives no concrete proof to the contrary.
UNKNOWN: Mr. President, --
SCHNEIDER: Trump's legal team arguing it's too early in the case for them to have to reveal any evidence of declassification since that could be their defense if Trump is indicted. But the special master telling Trump's team you can't have your cake and eat it.
Trump's allies continue to criticize the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago last month. And now 11 Republican-led states have filed a brief in the 11th circuit in support of Trump's bid for a special master review. In light of the extraordinary circumstance of a presidential administration ransacking the home of its one time and possibly future political rival. MIKE POMPEO, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: No one gets to keep classified inform outside of the place classified information should be, but for the Department of Justice to behave the way they did by raiding the home of a former president is absolutely outrageous.
SCHNEIDER: But Republican, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the January 6th committee, pushing back against the idea that DOJ acted politically.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Elected leaders of my party are now willing to condemn FBI agents, Department of Justice officials and pretend that taking top secret SCI documents and keeping them in a desk drawer in an office in Mar-a-Lago or in an unsecured location anywhere was somehow not a problem. Bit by bit, excuse by excuse, we're putting Donald Trump above the law.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): The next move in the court fight could be from the 11th circuit court of appeals and they could be inclined to move quickly since the special master is ready to review those 100 classified documents.
The DOJ actually wants to keep away from the special master and Trump's legal team. Now the DOJ attorney told the special master in court that if they lose at the 11th circuit, they are ready to appeal. Meaning this case could go to the Supreme Court.
Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: And still to come, hurricane Fiona strengthens to a category four storm. We will track its path as it moves further into the Atlantic. We're back without in just a moment.
CHURCH: Hurricane Fiona has grown to a category four storm leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands behind as it moves further into the Atlantic. On Tuesday, the storm battered the islands with sustained winds. Residents are under a shelter in place order amid a downpour, but so far, no deaths or injuries have been reported.
But on other islands in the Caribbean, at least five deaths have been reported from the hurricane. Puerto Rico has managed to restore power to some 300,000 customers, but more than one million remained without power on Tuesday amid the difficult cleanup.
Let's turn in to our meteorologist Pedro Javaheri. So, Pedram, what's the latest on this storm?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, Rosemary as you noted, this is a category four hurricane. It still has the potential to further strengthen beyond where we're seeing it right now. And an incredible size of a storm as well. If you look at Fiona's cloud field from its northern fringe to its
southern fringe, essentially could fit this inside the state of Alaska running almost 600 miles from its northern fringe, again, towards its Southern fringe.
And notice this, 130-mile-per hour sustained winds near the eye wall. In fact, still seeing some of the outer bands impact areas of Turks and Caicos as the system pulls away north at about eight miles per hour. And that is the good news for the Turks and Caicos that has been battered here with upwards of 10 inches in the past 24 or so hours.
And look at the store and pull away here. It is going to move into favorable conditions where the water temperatures climb up into the middle 80s, well enough here warm enough to allow this system to further flourish, possibly get up to a healthy category four, borderline category five in the next couple of days.
Notice, cooler waters eventually ahead of it and then the forecast guidance does want to bring this uncomfortably close to Bermuda. You'll notice the government across Bermuda has issued a hurricane watch in advance of this system. We do expect this to strengthen to 140 miles per hour. Maintain that intensity through at least Thursday night. Possible closest approach about 150 or so miles west of Bermuda at this point into early Friday morning.
But the storm, because it is so large, the outer bands of it certainly could still send tropical storm force winds into Bermuda. You'll notice eventually ends up into the Canadian Maritimes here. It could bring in, Rosemary, get this, snow showers across portions of eastern Canada. The first of the season across that region, a system, of course, that had tropical characteristics eventually producing snow showers into Canada.
CHURCH: Unbelievable, isn't it?
CHURCH: Thanks so much again for tracking all of that. Our Pedram Javaheri. I appreciate it.
And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. For our international viewers, Marketplace Europe is next. For everyone else, do stay with us. I'll be back with more news after a short break.
CHURCH: We are learning more about what happened and who was there the day a Georgia County's voting system was breached. New surveillance video shows pro-Trump operatives and a fake Trump elector inside a restricted area for hours in January of 2021. The video is part of a year's long investigation into election interference in Georgia. CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin reports.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The newly obtained surveillance video shows a Republican county official and a team of operatives working for Trump attorney Sidney Powell inside a restricted area of the local elections office in Coffee County, Georgia.
Among those seen, Cathy Latham, a former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County who is under criminal investigation for posing as a fake elector in 2020. Although she can be seen escorting in the team, Latham previously claim she was not personally involved in the breach. But the video appears to undercut that claim, showing her inside as a team of Republican operatives work on computers near election equipment and proceed to access voting data.
Scott Hall and Atlanta bail bondsman in Fulton County Republican poll watcher is one of the people who spent hours inside the restricted area. And in audio obtained by CNN Hall later described what he did.
SCOTT HALL, ATLANTA BAIL BONDSMAN & FULTON COUNTY REPUBLICAN POLL WATCHER: I'm the guy that chartered the jet to go down to Coffee County to have them inspect all of those computers. And I've heard zero. OK. I went down there. We scanned every freaking ballot. And they scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot.
GRIFFIN: The Georgia secretary of state's office calls what happened in Coffee County, criminal behavior, and a state criminal investigation is underway. But election experts say the damage could be even bigger than the illegal accessing of voting equipment in Georgia and other parts of the country. These operatives may be undermining the security of elections in the future.
JESSICA MARSDEN, COUNSEL, PROTECT DEMOCRACY: In most cases, to complete a successful attack you need physical access to the machines. And so, these efforts to unlawfully gain access to the machines opens up a new threat that, that we haven't seen in the past.
GRIFFIN: And the video shows the access to these restricted elections office went on for weeks. People connected to efforts to overturn election results kept showing up. New video shows an I.T. specialist working with election deniers named Jeffrey Lenberg entering the restricted area more than two weeks after the initial breach.
Lenberg is under criminal investigation by a special prosecutor in Michigan in a series of voting system breaches there. In a recent interview, he said he didn't personally breach the machines in what he called testing.
JEFFREY LENBERG, CYBER ANALYST: But all the testing, all the equipment was operated by the local certified election officials there. We didn't -- we didn't touch it.
GRIFFIN (on camera): One person is adamant in all of this that they did nothing wrong. And that is Cathy Latham. She is the Republican Party chairperson who let those people into that election's office.
According to attorney, she says that Ms. Latham has not acted improperly or illegally. We will find out as investigations in swing states across this country proceed to find out what was going on with all these data breaches.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: Donald Trump ally and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is challenging the FBI's recent seizure of his cell phone in federal court. It was done as part of an investigation into a Colorado election security breach. Lindell alleges it may have been an illegal search without properly being explained his rights.
He wants to block the Justice Department from having access to his phone data, which he says he uses for his business and other personal matters. The Department of Justice had obtained a warrant approved by a federal judge to perform the search according to the court record.
The final farewell to Queen Elizabeth drew global attention and an outpouring of support for the Royal family. But there has also been scrutiny aimed at Prince Andrew as the world is reminded of his ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
CNN's Jake Tapper has more.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): For some in the U.K., Prince Andrew's pained loss of his mother, the queen, does not let him off the hook for his closed friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, an alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl.
UNKNOWN: Andrew, you're a sick old man.
TAPPER: The prince may prefer to stay mostly out of the limelight as he grieves the loss of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, but the public appearances are bringing renewed public scrutiny of his relationship with underage sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, which has been immeasurably difficult for his victims.
According to Spencer Kuvin, who represents nine of Epstein's survivors, telling us that while the victims he represents want the world to mourn for the queen, he says, quote, "Andrew should not be able to rehabilitate his image through this tragedy. The only thing that will help the healing of his past conduct would be a full accounting of his past. And sitting for an interview with U.S. authorities regarding his conduct."
And then there are the specific allegations, Andrew sexually assaulted an underage American girl, Virginia Giuffre. She says she met the senior royal through his longtime friend Epstein.
VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, PRINCE ANDREW ACCUSER: He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there's only one of us telling the truth. And I know that's me.
TAPPER: The prince has denied these accusations.
PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: I can tell you categorically I don't remember meeting her at all. I do not remember the photograph being taken and I've said consistently, and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever.
TAPPER: The royal, Prince Andrew rumored to have been the queen's favorite, later paid an undisclosed amount to Giuffre in a financial settlement. He was stripped of his military patronages and the use of his royal highness title. Still, Andrew remains eighth in line to the throne and has had a conspicuous role in the funerary ceremonies.
And he is an official quote, "counselor of state," meaning he could temporarily fill in for King Charles III if necessary, calling the late queen quote, "Dear mummy, mother, Your Majesty," three in one in a statement, adding quote, "mummy, your love for a son, your compassion, your care, your confidence I will treasure forever."
Following the payment to his accuser, the prince claimed in his statement he would help U.S. officials in their investigation of Epstein. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required, he said. But it appears the prince was actually less than willing.
The former top U.S. prosecutor on that case, Jeff Berman told me that Prince Andrew was uncooperative, to say the least.
JEFF BERMAN, FORMER U.S. PROSECUTOR: What we wanted was the information. He said he was willing to give it to us. He didn't give it to us. He stonewalled us. And as of the day I left, he was stonewalling.
TAPPER: Berman revealing to CNN that he got nowhere with the palace or the U.K. government in his efforts to talk to the prince.
BERMAN: His lawyers gave us the runaround. We even filed an MLA request, which was an official request to interview a foreign witness with the government officials in the U.K. And that got stonewalled.
TAPPER: And now it seems even less likely that Prince Andrew will ever be held to keep his promise, leaving those seeking justice to wonder what else officials could learn about Jeffrey Epstein and his perverse circle of associates.
CHURCH: Our thanks to Jake Tapper for that report.
The Washington Monument was temporarily closed on Tuesday after being vandalized. The U.S. Park Police say a man splashed red paint and wrote a profane message on the base of the monument. He was taken into custody a short time later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS TWINAME, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, U.S PARK POLICE: The United States Park Police took an adult male into custody for vandalizing the base of the monument. He was transported to our station and the investigation is ongoing at this time.
They'll sort of take an assessment of everything in a totality of the circumstances and they'll determine the most appropriate charges for the individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The attraction was due to reopen today, but Park Police don't know yet if the temporary closure will affect visiting hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE LITTERST, SPOKESPERSON, NATIONAL MALL: The National Park Service has an in-house conservation team, conservators have already been notified. They'll be out first thing in the morning to begin the removal process. One of the concerns of course, is marble is a very porous material. So we need to get to it quickly before to absorbs much of the paint.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The iconic structure on the National Mall is named for George Washington, the country's first president. The obelisk was completed in 1888.
Well, scientists have finally answered the question that's probably been eating away at you for ages. How many ants are there on earth? Well, the answer 20 quadrillion. That is 20 with 15 zeros after it. A number they describe as unimaginable. Scientist from the University of Hong Kong analyzed almost 500 different studies to come up with that figure.
If you took all the ants and put them on a scale, it would weigh more than all the mammals and birds on the planet combined. Can you believe that. What's more, they say there are two and a half million ants for every human on earth. There you go. We'll leave with that.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN Newsroom continues with Christina Macfarlane next. Have a great day.