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Donald Trump Sued For Fraud; Protests Against Mobilization Sweep Across Russia; More Than 250 POWs Exchanged In Prisoner Swap; Biden Slams Putin over War, Nuclear Threats; Zelenskyy Wants Russia Stripped of UNSC Veto Power. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 22, 2022 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead. Protesting President Putin more than 1300 arrested across Russia. Some protesters taken straight from a jail cell into the military. Another day another legal bombshell. The lawsuit accusing a former president of the United States of massive fraud.

And illegal blow from an appeals court over classified documents.

And in the wake of Fiona hear from residents struggling to pick up the pieces.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: And thanks for joining us. Vladimir Putin's plan to strengthen his military in Ukraine is being met with condemnation from world leaders and protests across Russia. The Russian president plans to draft 300,000 people into military service. Riot police in Moscow carry demonstrators away from the city center on Wednesday. An independent monitoring group says detainees at four police stations were directly conscripted into the military.

Police in St. Petersburg loaded protesters onto buses as they chanted no mobilization. More than 1300 people were detained in all. And these are the largest protests since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, spreading across more than 30 cities. They come as Russian lawmakers voted this week for tough 15-year prison sentences for anyone who resists military service.

Meanwhile, more Russians are looking to get out of the country altogether. Web Sites show a sharp demand for flights out of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The price of a one way ticket from Moscow to Istanbul has shot up from $350 to more than $2,700 since Putin's mobilization order. So let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian. She joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Clare. So what is the latest on these anti-war protests being held across Russia in response to President Putin's partial mobilization order?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary. We have not seen scenes like this since the very early weeks of the war before the Kremlin crackdown on any semblance of independent media or access to information and any voices of dissent. So, this was immense bravery shown by these Russians who turned out on the streets. Relatively small numbers, still in mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg according to the independent monitoring group OVD Info, which continues to update the numbers of people who have been arrested now topping 1300.

But still significant, you really get the sense that there is a sense of panic now. People who are able to, in the words of one person that I spoke to in Moscow yesterday, abstract the concept of the war in their lives. It is now arriving at the door. People are worried that this mobilization will affect them. They don't know how far it will go. So, that is also reflected of course in the sudden surge in flight bookings that you mentioned.

People are trying to get out of the country and really sinister moment in all of this is that there is a report as well from that monitoring group OVD Info that some people who are arrested are being immediately conscripted into the military. This was happening according to OVD Info at four police stations in Moscow, in one case, one detainee was threatened with prosecution for refusing to be drafted.

Don't forget that Russia has in the -- in the days leading up to this been pushing through legislation that would change the Criminal Code and tighten prison sentences, increase prison sentences under conditions of mobilization. So, sort of building up to this. So make no mistake, this is forced mobilization and it is causing a renewed sense of concern. And I would even go as far as saying panic in Russia.

CHURCH: And Clare, Russia and Ukraine have carried out a surprise prisoner swap involving nearly 250 people including 10 foreigners. What more are you learning about that? And of course, the latest on the battlefield?

SEBASTIAN: Yes. An extraordinary juxtaposition, Rosemary, that as President Putin was announcing this mobilization with the media, it effect and threatening the West with nuclear retaliation. A plane was landing in Saudi Arabia as part of a prisoner swap that was helped to be brokered by Saudi Arabia. This was involving 10 foreigners, five citizens of the United Kingdom, two Americans and citizens of Sweden, Croatia and Morocco as well.

Part of as you say, a larger prisoner swap that involves about 200 Ukrainians being returned to Ukraine.

[02:05: 03]

And on the flip side, about 55 Russian prisoners being returned to Russia including a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician, Viktor Medvedchuk who was captured by Ukraine in April. And it's apparently been providing pretty useful intelligence in the meantime. So, look, I don't think this gets us any closer to peace. There are still a lot of prisoners held on both sides, but still significant that there are negotiations behind the scene.

And just to quickly update you, Rosemary. On the battlefield we are hearing this morning that Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant that has been such a subject of international concern was shelled again early Thursday morning. According to the Zaporizhzhia city council, apparently five explosions were noted. And of course, this is Zaporizhzhia now a region where Russia -- Russian sort of backed officials there are planning to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

That set to start tomorrow, Rosemary. So, significantly that the attacks around this nuclear plant still continue.

CHURCH: Yes. A lot of developments to cover there. Many thanks to our Clare Sebastian joining us live from London.

Well, former U.S. President Donald Trump is now facing extraordinary new legal trouble after being sued by New York's attorney general. A three-year pro, part of an unprecedented number of investigations focused on the former president and one that's now led to a sweeping civil lawsuit against Trump. Three of his children and the Trump Organization. They're accused of staggering fraud and deceiving lenders by inflating the value of assets.

Trump reacted swiftly to news of the lawsuit saying a disclaimer was included on loan applications.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It basically says to an institution, you're going to loan money, you have to go out and make sure that, you know, you get your own appraises, your own lawyers, everything. These are banks that have the best lawyers in the world, Sean. This is the only kit -- by the way, that got paid back. Just so you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything paid back. Nobody got harmed. There's no harm.

TRUMP: I never got a default note. I paid them back because we have a lot of cash.


CHURCH: CNN's Jessica Schneider has more details now from Washington.

LETITIA JAMES, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK: Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It's the art of the steal.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): New York's Attorney General Letitia James announcing she is suing former President Donald Trump and his three oldest children for lying to lenders and insurers for more than a decade. Fraudulently inflating the value of their properties all over the country.

JAMES: They violated several state criminal laws, including falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, insurance fraud, and engaging in a conspiracy to commit each of these state law violations.

SCHNEIDER: James is seeking drastic remedies. Her lawsuit demands Trump and his family forfeit the nearly quarter billion dollars they've illegally gained over the years and she's looking to shut down Trump's business dealings in New York.

JAMES: We are asking the court to among other things, permanently bar Mr. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and serving as an officer or director in any corporation or similar entity registered and/or licensed in New York.

SCHNEIDER: New York's attorney general filed this 200-plus page lawsuit after a three-year long investigation. James also flagging what she says are possible crimes to federal investigators.

JAMES: We are referring those criminal violations that we've uncovered to the United States attorney for the southern district of New York and the Internal Revenue Service.

SCHNEIDER: James pointed to Trump's Fifth Avenue apartment as an example of the fraud. Trump allegedly claimed it was 30,000 square feet when it was actually 11,000. And he valued it at 327 million.

JAMES: To this date, no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount.

SCHNEIDER: James says the motive was to entice banks to loan them more money and to allow Trump and his companies to pay less in taxes.

SHAN WU, FOREMR FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Obviously, there's tax fraud going on here given the massive inflation of these values.

SCHNEIDER: Trump has rebuffed James's investigation over the last three years.

TRUMP: My company's bigger, stronger, far greater asset.

SCHNEIDER: And he lashed out on his Truth Social page shortly after the lawsuit was filed, saying she is a fraud who campaigned on a get Trump platform. But James, a Democrat running for re election this year saying Trump cannot dismiss what her office uncovered as some sort of good faith mistake.

JAMES: White Collar financial crime is not a victimless crime. Everyday people can apply to a bank and if they did the government would throw the book at them. Why should this be any different?



SCHNEIDER: The New York attorney general is also alleging Trump and his three eldest children lied more than 200 times when it came to asset valuations on statements over the course of 10 years. Now, of course, this is a civil case that's been filed in New York State court, it would be up to other entities like the Manhattan D.A.'s office or the U.S. attorney's office in New York to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: Donald Trump was dealt another legal blow on Wednesday. This time from a federal appeals court. It ruled that the Justice Department can resume its criminal investigation and review of classified documents seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home and resource during an FBI search. The court also called our Trump's legal team over the issue of declassification, saying "Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was president, but the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified."


CHURCH (voice over): Last week's death of a young Iranian woman while in police custody has sparked some of the biggest anti-government protests that country has seen in years. Public anger has been building for days with protesters demanding more rights for women in the strictly Islamic nation. The government has responded with harsh crackdowns including riot police, tear gas and blocking Internet access in many places. At least eight protesters have been reported killed in the unrest.

Public outrage has spread to neighboring Turkey where thousands demonstrated outside the Iranian consulate on Wednesday. Women have been publicly cutting off their hair to protest Iran strict dress code for women. And its brutal enforcement by the regime's infamous morality police.


CHURCH: And CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is covering this story for us from London. She joins us now live. Good morning to you, Salma. So, these anti-government protests represent the largest in many years and they're intensifying with women burning headscarves and cutting their hair. What is the latest on this? And could this perhaps be a turning point of sorts?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: So, Rosemary, Iran is going to be waking up to a sick day of demonstrations. These are protests as you brought up that map. Earlier protests that really have spread across Iran to areas that are even considered conservative at times. And the crackdown has also intensified. We understand that there is now internet restrictions, a block on Instagram and WhatsApp across the country.

Protesters taking to the streets but unable, of course, to share those all important videos that show the size and scale and scope of these demonstrations. But they have of course, been seeping out of the country. And even last night, Wednesday night, we did see the continuation of these demonstrations people shouting death to the dictator, more women burning their hijabs, burning their headscarves in protest.

And there's also been a very important interview that's been done by BBC Persia with the father of this 22-year-old woman who was killed in police custody. He accuses Iranian authorities of lying. He says he does not know the father, says he does not know what happened to his daughter who died in police custody, but says that he did see her body before she was buried, that she was fully wrapped except for her feet.

Her father claiming that there were bruises there. Now Iranian authorities have of course denied any abuse, any wrongdoing. They say the woman died suddenly. Mahsa Amini died suddenly of a heart attack. They called it an unfortunate incident. The president has launched an investigation but for the people taking to the streets against this death they absolutely do not believe the authorities.

And what's concerning is that these protests have turned deadly. Several people killed. We'll wait to see what happens today, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Salma Abdelaziz joining us there with a very latest. An historic move by the U.S. Federal Reserve is worrying investors on Wall Street.


CHURCH (voice over): The Fed on Wednesday announced a third straight interest rate hike of three quarters of a percentage point. The latest move to tame inflation sent U.S. markets tumbling once again with the Dow dropping more than 500 points. As investors fear these rate increases could last longer than anticipated. And the move will now make credit cards, mortgages and car loans even more expensive.


CHURCH: To see how markets in Asia are reacting now CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong. So, what are you seeing there, Kristie?


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Asian markets right now, Rosemary, are feeling that downward pressure after yet another jumble rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Let's take a look at the Asian trading day so far, and you will see quite a number of red arrows across the board. Losses in Japan and the Nikkei down about six-tenths of one percent. The Seoul KOSPI losing seven-tenths of one percent.

The Shanghai Composite losing about four tenths of one percent. And here in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng losing about 1.8 percent. Let's take a look at (INAUDIBLE) information we're monitoring U.S. futures. And if we show you that data, it will be showing that we are anticipating a lower open when Wall Street opens in just a few hours from now. There you go. Now on Wednesday, that was when the U.S. Federal Reserve, as expected hiked interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point for the third consecutive time in a row.

And also signaled more tightening, more rate hikes ahead. All this is being done in a bid to fight inflation which in the United States is at its highest levels in some 40 years. But the question is this, can the Fed do it? Will the Fed be able to tame the dragon of inflation while preventing a recession? I pose that question to the global market strategist of J.P. Morgan based here in Hong Kong. This is what she had to say.


MARCELLA CHOW, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST, J.P. MORGAN: Right now, we're expecting hopefully a soft landing with regards to recession given still relatively robust job growth. Even if we actually have a recession coming along this will hopefully be a shallow one, and suggesting the economy will pick up rather quickly afterwards. And which will benefit both equities and bonds.


STOUT: I also added that she believes U.S. interest rates will reach four to five percent in the next year and will stay at that level through 2024. Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Kristie Lu Stout. Many thanks. Joining us live from Hong Kong.

Ryan Patel joins me now. He's a senior fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Great to have you here actually in the studio. How about that?


CHURCH: Wonderful. OK. So, let's start with it. So in an effort to bring down high inflation, the Fed has hiked up interest rates by three quarters of a percentage point. Talk to us about -- and of course have said that there will be -- there will be more to come. So, what sort of impact will that likely have particularly on jobs?

PATEL: Yes. If you think about what inflation does, right? It means it's, it's keep rising, it's clear that the Fed thinks it's hasn't peaked. So what happens is that jobs, companies become more expensive. Loans go higher, they can't keep up with revenues. What's going to happen? Unemployment is going to rise. Now, the question becomes, how high will it rise? Because it is -- we are in a low unemployment environment.

And so, that's going to cause close to -- I think we saw some estimates one million jobs over the next six months to eight months should this keep rising? Question becomes, what does that do to the economy? Does that enough to slow down? Because again, the Fed is -- what are they trying to do? They're trying to slow down the economy which will lead to lost jobs.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, with that comes that very delicate balancing act, doesn't it? Bring down high inflation, but at the same time, you don't want to trigger a recession. So what do they look at when they consider that calculation?

PATEL: Well, I think when you and I spoke last time it -- some people thought we were at the peak. And you and I spoke about it like, well, I don't think we're close, I think today was a testament to the Fed stating that we're in it for the long haul. They don't know when, if we're going to trigger a recession or not. But the interest rates aren't going anywhere. It's coming aggressive. We're going to see these rates stay through next year.

And even if there's some kind of taper off, it'd be really limited. So what does that mean? That means this environment that we're facing, we're going to be there. And the balancing act is to make sure that you don't overheat over shelter pricing, you know, food prices are going to stay there too. So, some stability on how much of the increase is going to be. We're not going to go backwards, unfortunately, I wish we would. But I think they really need to keep it to that aspect.

CHURCH: And, you know, the focus has been on what the Fed is doing. What other mechanisms are there to help bring down high inflation?

PATEL: Well, there's a couple -- I mean, I think it'd be great on a global level. We have some supply -- no more supply chain issues. That could be one. I think the other two -- the second piece is confidence. Confidence in the economy stability, allowing businesses and companies to provide, you know, clear guidance to Wall Street investors. You see the market react crazy every other day.

We don't need that. We don't want that. We want -- so companies can choose to hire and obviously the other aspect of it too is we need some type of -- I don't say good news, but news on, you know, the economy as a whole with -- when you talk about employment. You talk about cost of goods sold and just -- and have more or -- less likely it was labor shortage.


CHURCH: Right. And of course, you know, as we mentioned the Fed said there will be more interest rate hikes. We know there's another meeting coming up in November. That's going to be six days before the midterm elections. I mean, what is likely to happen? They wouldn't surely at that juncture make a decision to raise interest rates.

PATEL: If they don't, I'd be shocked. Because we have two more, you know, we have a couple more months to the rest of the quarter. They still have a lot to go that they said, and they increased it. So you talked about being hawkish. You know, Jerome Powell said, was it last year? You know, I think there's a possibility for having a soft landing spot. Well, that's landing on a pillow, at this point that pillows thrown away, let me land on grass at least or something.

I mean, that's what we're looking at. So for them not to do that in November would make it not landing on the asphalt in the future.

CHURCH: Which means markets will be on edge right through into the end of the year and beyond.

PATEL: Yes, and especially with quarter fourth of, you know, holiday spending, people going to be watching what retail sales are going to look like. That's an important quarter going into the beginning of 2023. And that will set up how that first half of the year is going to look like, if we are in a recession or not. Because that quarter will tell, you know, if people are spending money or the backup jobs, what are they doing? So to me, that's going to be a really tell for the rest of the year.

CHURCH: Ryan Patel, thank you for coming in, even though it's very depressing news.

PATEL: Hopefully, there'll be some more bright news going forward.

CHURCH: All right. Let's see what happens. Thank you.

PATEL: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, still to come. Islands in the Caribbean is slowly recovering from Hurricane Fiona. Where the storm is headed next, that's after the short break.


CHURCH: We're continuing to follow Hurricane Fiona currently churning through the open Atlantic. It's moving north as a category four storm after ripping through the Caribbean earlier this week. It's poised to brush past Bermuda late Thursday into Friday with parts of Atlantic Canada even at risk. And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has been watching this very closely. He joins us now. Pedram, what are you saying?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, Rosemary. It's still a menacing storm system. As you noted it is a category four. The forecast models indicate this will maintain its intensity possibly even try to strengthen here in the next 24 or so hours. And really the guidance on this forecast is exactly how close will this make it towards areas of Bermuda. You know, the sea surface temperatures in advance of it are plenty warm to support the system maintaining that intensity.

Anytime you have a storm of this magnitude for several days over open waters, you bet significant wave heights here really pile up and in fact, the model guidance does take the wave heights into that white contour which is the top of the charts. 60-foot wave heights, very close just offshore of Bermuda. But again, notice that it's just going to be a rough go, even if the storm misses the island by -- about 150 to 200 miles which is the current forecast across that area. And of course plenty of activity left to be had across parts of Canada.

[02:25:04] Notice category four possibly passing Bermuda as a category four and then beginning its weakening phase to category three losing tropical characteristics Saturday morning, making landfall with still 100-mile per hour winds across parts of eastern Canada. Those sort of numbers, Rosemary since the year 2000, only about a handful of storms have been able to attain winds of about 100 miles per hour making landfall there across portions of Canada.

So, pretty impressive storm system here in its lifecycle, even if it misses Bermuda entirely. We know the impacts there across Halifax, which portions of the Canadian Maritimes are going to be significant. In fact, wind speeds here, 90, maybe 100 kilometers per hour and a few spots as the system moves ashore. And it'd be cool the times with snow showers possibly on the backside of this across areas of eastern Canada as early as Sunday morning, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much for watching that so closely. Appreciate it. Pedram Javaheri.

I have nothing. The cries from a woman in the Dominican Republic who lost everything to Hurricane Fiona.

As the clouds are now clearing people across the Caribbean are finally getting a good look at the destruction left in the path of the storm. Turks and Caicos in the Dominican Republic both took a beating from Fiona. But Puerto Rico was hit while still recovering from 2017 hurricane Maria. And here you can see a bridge in the -- in Puerto Rico captured before the storm and this is after the deadly hurricane swept through.

Floodwaters crashing into the sides of the bridge and the nearby fields. At least three bridges across that river were washed out.

The U.S. approved a major disaster declaration for the territory on Wednesday. Officials report nearly two-thirds of people have running water again. While less than one-third have electricity. Residents say the recovery process should be smoother.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This wasn't Maria. It was supposed to be a more fluid process. There's no system no electricity, no water in Puerto Rico. That's the problem we have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm so used to it. It doesn't affect me. There have been moments when I weep. But now, no, nothing. It gets flooding and I just keep going.


CHURCH: And if you would like to help those affected by Hurricane Fiona, you can go to You'll find a list of verified organizations ready to help you make a difference.

Actress Angelina Jolie is in Pakistan to draw international attention to the country's humanitarian crisis after weeks of deadly flooding. On Tuesday, Jolie, the U.N. Special Envoy for refugees towards some of the hardest hit areas in southern Pakistan. And on Wednesday visited Pakistan's National Flood Response Coordination Center where she spoke about the dangers of climate change.


ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: I think this is a real wake up call to the world about where we are at. The climate change is not only real, and it's not only coming it's very much here. And now we're in situation like this where it is. The needs are so great. And truly every effort is either a life or death for so many people.


CHURCH: The government says more than 33 million people have been impacted by the flooding since June. Almost 1600 have died including more than 500 children. And UNICEF says nearly 3-1/2 million children need immediate life-saving support.

Well, still to come. President Joe Biden makes an impassioned speech at the U.N. General Assembly, urging world leaders to take action against Russia and other countries that are threatening the values of the U.N. Charter.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not passive witnesses to history. We are the authors of history. We can do this.





CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Russia's war in Ukraine is taking on new urgency at the U.N. General Assembly, following Vladimir Putin's decision to conscript 300,000 new troops for his military. In the coming hours, the U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss how to maintain peace and security in Ukraine.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will be at that meeting and he will come face to face with his Ukrainian counterpart, as well as U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken.

This comes as U.S. President Joe Biden accuses the Russian president of making reckless and irresponsible threats to use nuclear weapons. CNN's Phil Mattingly has details.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let us speak plainly. A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase the sovereign state from the map.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the core of President Biden's U.N. General Assembly address, an explicit and unsparing condemnation of a single country.

BIDEN: Russia has some shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations charter.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Biden singled out Russia and called out president Vladimir Putin by name in a searing rebuke of its invasion of Ukraine.

BIDEN: This war is about extinguishing Ukraine's right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine's right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not -- that should make your blood run cold.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The remarks coming just hours after Putin's most dramatic escalation yet in the seven-month conflict, a series of moves that drew a direct response from Biden.

BIDEN: Just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of a nonproliferation regime. Now Russia is calling up more soldiers to join the fight and the Kremlin is organizing sham referenda.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The remarks delivered at an inflection point for the war and, in Biden's view, the entire world.

BIDEN: Putin claims he had to act, because Russia was threatened. But no one threatened Russia. And no one, other than Russia, sought conflict.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Biden endorsed the expansion of the U.N. Security Council, as he ticked through a series of global challenges, from COVID and climate change to nuclear weapons and hunger.

But as he stood before the delegations of 193 nations, he closed with a clarion call to the members of one of the pillars of the post-World War II international order.

BIDEN: We are not passive witnesses to history; we are the authors of history. We can do this. We have to do it for ourselves and for our future, for humankind.


MATTINGLY: And despite President Putin's announcement, coming just a few hours before President Biden's remarks, White House officials say the president didn't have to rewrite his entire speech. In fact, they predicted, they had actually seen some evidence that many of those actions were coming. A lot of it was already baked into the speech. The president met with

his top two senior advisers this morning before the remarks, tweaked a few lines, emphasized a few others but, in large part, according to officials, this was a speech that they felt already met the moment, a moment that was only underscored by Putin's actions -- Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: Joining me now from Washington is CNN global affairs analyst, Aaron David Miller.

Good to have you with us.



CHURCH: So President Biden's UNGA address had strong words for Russia's President Putin and made it very clear what he thought of Putin's war on Ukraine and his threat to use nuclear weapons.

But while the message was powerful, what is the U.N. likely to do about it, if anything?

MILLER: Yes, look, I think the U.N. General Assemblies over the years -- and I've attended (INAUDIBLE) a number -- really aren't equipped for problem solving. They are messaging, they're for station identification.

Which I don't want to trivialize or dismiss (INAUDIBLE) extremely important. But even though presidential rhetoric rarely persuades, it seems to me that, unlike last September in the wake of the Afghan withdrawal, the president has a very good message this year.

And not only does he have the words, he has the most adept alliance management I think since Bush 41 and James Baker, in the wake of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

In fact, I don't recall a time in which an American president so singled out and hammered another world leader in the way President Biden took it to Vladimir Putin.

I think, by and large, he was preaching to the converted. There's a lot in concern in Europe about the prospects, perhaps at some point of a never-ending war. But I think one of his purposes was I think consolidate the alliance for a very tough winter that's coming.

And I think Putin's rhetoric, frankly, threat of deploying nuclear weapons, partial mobilization, the reality that Putin is not going to quit -- he turns 70, I believe, October 7th -- and for him it's a legacy issue. So I think the president should feel pretty good, by and large, about the messaging and holding the alliance together, in the wake of (INAUDIBLE). CHURCH: And in his virtual address to the U.N. General Assembly, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy called Russia's war on his nation a crime and he called for a form of punishment for that.

How will the U.N. likely respond to that?

And were there are enough other Western nations condemning Russia's actions?

MILLER: Well, they've already responded. I think war crimes and tribunals, particularly in the wake of a situation where the Russians still occupy large parts of Ukraine, where there are likely to be further evidence of terrible war crimes, is going to take time.

And I think the process of gathering evidence, for what are clearly war crimes, perhaps even genocide, has already begun.

But this is a multiyear process. The president at times has addressed this issue friendly (ph) and I think he's been extremely careful with respect to how forthright and specific he wants to be on this issue.

Again, I think, sadly right now, it's the battlefield that is going to dictate the outcome in the future of the Ukraine war, not the tribunals and certainly not a diplomatic process.

CHURCH: And as Mr. Biden pointed out in his address, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council has waged war on its neighbor.

How is that even acceptable?

And would there ever be a time where the U.N. would seek to remove Russia from the Security Council as punishment for its actions?

And if not, why not?

What would that process entail?

MILLER: Well, I don't think right now that there is any administrative process that could remove a Security Council member; not even a majority, I think, of the U.N. General Assembly.

I think it would take -- and here's the catch-22 situation -- I think it would take unanimity among the permanent five. And obviously Vladimir Putin -- and perhaps President Xi -- are not going to vote Vladimir Putin out of the U.N.

But the U.N. is only as coherent and cohesive on large issues when you have unanimity among the five. And you can expand the Security Council. But unless you figure out a way -- I don't think there is a way -- and reform in the U.N. -- I think it's a -- again, it's more aspirational than anything else -- you are going to be stuck with the situation in which Putin and president Xi, most often, align with Putin, despite the sort of questing end (ph) of the war that he did in Samarkand at the meeting of the Shanghai organization -- basically were stuck (ph).

And I think that's part of the problem with the way the permanent five Security Council is structured.

CHURCH: Aaron David Miller, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

MILLER: Thank you, Rosemary.


CHURCH: We have learned that the government in Nicaragua has taken our Spanish language network, CNN en Espanol, off the air, just within the last couple of hours. CNN's trying to get a response from both the government and cable operators as to why the signal was dropped. But we have not heard back.

In a statement, CNN en Espanol, notes that Nicaraguans have relied upon the network for 25 years and says, quote, "CNN stands by our network's reporting and our commitment to truth and transparency."


CHURCH: Madame Tussaud's just unveiled its latest wax sculpture and the results have even the singer himself stunned. His reaction, next.




CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Madame Tussaud's is known worldwide for its lifelike wax statues of famous celebrities. And it just unveiled its latest work, rapper and viral phenomenon Lil Nas X.


LIL NAS X, RAPPER: Oh, my God, oh, my God, no, because it's so good. This is like the best one ever seen, like this is the most accurate, oh, my God.

CHURCH (voice-over): The wax figure portrays the 23-year old in the same gold suit of armor he wore to the 2021 Met Gala in New York. Lil Nas X broke Billboard chart records in 2019, with his country/rap "Old Town Road" collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus, the longest running number one hip-hop single of all-time.


CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in about 15 minutes. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN, do stay with us.