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Florida Braces For Direct Hit From Ian; Russians Fleeing Russia To Evade Draft To Ukraine; Cheney: "I Won't Be A Republican" If Trump Is 2024 GOP Nominee; U.S. Task Force Says Most Adults Should Be Screened For Anxiety. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired September 25, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Happening now in the NEWSROOM.
All eyes on Tropical Storm Ian as it rapidly intensifies and targets Florida.
Plus, Russians fleeing Russia to avoid the draft as Ukraine's Zelenskyy offers sanctuary to any Russian soldiers willing to lay down arms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I'm going to make sure Donald Trump who doesn't (INAUDIBLE) is not the nominee, and if he is the nominee, I won't be a Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Congresswoman Liz Cheney taking a stand saying she'll do whatever it takes to keep Trump and other election deniers out of office including campaigning with Democrats.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right. Right now in the state of Florida a state of emergency is in effect statewide, and the governor is calling up the National Guard as Tropical Storm Ian gains strength and moves closer to Florida's West Coast.
Ian is expected to intensify into a Category 4 hurricane before weakening and making landfall as early as Wednesday night.
Governor Ron DeSantis is urging people to prepare now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Expect heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge and even isolated tornadoes. Make preparations now, and I know a lot of people have been doing it throughout the state of Florida and the things that you should be prepared with are things like food, water, batteries, medicine, fuel.
Anticipate particularly the closer you are to where the eye of the storm makes landfall -- anticipate power outages. That is something that will likely happen with a hurricane of this magnitude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Havana, Cuba, where hurricane warnings are in place. And Tom Sater is in the weather system.
So Tom, let's begin with you. You just got a new advisory, right from the National Hurricane Center?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. The 2:00 p.m. advisory has come out Fredricka. No big change really right now. We're looking at really just an eruption of strength in the next 24 hours.
So 50-mile-per-hour winds and it's moving slower. But look at this, we didn't have one named storm for the entire month of August. First time that's happened time in 25 years.
Now we're just past the peak of the hurricane season which is September 10th. But this is the activity. Look at all four. If it wasn't for Ian we would be talking about Fiona. Strongest storm to ever hit Canada, massive damage in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, just crazy with hurricane winds.
Satellite imagery, this sort of visual imagery, if you look closely, I know the sun is making it bright white, but there is circulation. Here is Yucatan, Mexico. But if you look at the infra-red satellite imagery, it's not well organized. It looks like a mess, really, in fact at 8:00 this morning, hurricane hunters were in the center of this and actually had a tough time trying to find the center.
Now, at 11:00 a.m. they were able to find one. But what this tells us, because it's kind of erratic, the center can move a little bit. And if that center moves we'll have a different track.
Now, if you've been paying attention for the last couple of days, I'm sure everybody in Florida has, the track has been adjusting and shifting and it will continue to do that.
But the big issue is this. Even though it's just tropical storm, it is getting in to this area of orange here, the warmest waters in the entire Atlantic are in this area here. Winds are going to help the light. So this is really going to become a hurricane either today or tonight.
And again, as it makes its way to the north it's going to use that warm water as high-octane fuel and it's going to blow up.
Now first, warnings in effect, you can see it for western parts of Cuba. Havana up to the northern part here is going to have some of the strongest winds and we believe this will probably be a category 3 when it moves into western Cuba.
These are the winds, surface winds, at 2:00 in the morning on Tuesday. Again, high surge -- maybe 12, 14 foot.
If you look at the model differences, and I've been talking about the adjustments. Yesterday's models really wanted to bring this in and the worst case scenario -- Tampa, St. Pete and areas southward. Today's models shift a little bit up toward the panhandle.
However, what the National Hurricane Center is doing and everybody agrees with this, we're going to compromise and we're going to kind of look at the split a little bit. I'll show you in Florida. Here it is Cat 3, blows up again because it's really kind of firing now on all cylinders to a Category 4.
Notice the cone, all right. This is important. I know everybody wants to know what's going to happen in their backyard. We just cannot tell you yet because this is going to take a couple of days and it's going to adjust somewhat.
Notice it goes from a cat 4 to a cat 2. What's happening in the environment and the computer models think well maybe we're going to get a little wind shear and that's going to help tear it down.
But also, the waters are a little bit cooler than they were well down to the south. So it could lose a little bit of its punch. That's what we want.
Now the last hurricane to strike Florida, that was Michael, category 5, we know the damage that did in 2018. So again, the computer models -- the U.S. model up toward the Big Bend, European model, worst case scenario, because areas from Tampa Bay southward, we're talking (INAUDIBLE), we're talking Sarasota, it's going to be a mess.
So again, we're watching different scenarios, Fredricka. And it all has to do exactly where the system moves. We hope for the American model losing strength heading into a less populated area.
WHITFIELD: Right, ok. Well, bottom line, though, you know, it's still so unpredictable. But we fully appreciate all those variations of directions. Thank you so much.
All right. Onto Patrick Oppmann now in Havana. So how do folks there prepare for a possible hurricane category 3?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, as you'd expect right now, it's September day in the Caribbean, it's beautiful behind me. But that will change. We expect over the coming day or so as this hurricane, potentially a major hurricane, when it reaches Cuba, will begin to bring heavy rain and wind to the western part of this island where I am now in Havana.
That could mean storm surge because it's a city that is on the ocean. There is a lot of flooding that take place here when you have heavy rain. Of course, all the old buildings that often collapse because of years of not being maintained.
So that is a concern for people here that even they don't get the worst of the storm, you know, every time it rains you have buildings that collapse here because they're so old. And of course, this comes at a time that Cuba cannot afford to have a natural disaster. People are really hoping that they would get through this hurricane season without getting hit by a hurricane because of the economic pain that has been caused here by all the global supply issues, by U.S. sanctions and so many other things.
So for many people this is just going to make a bad situation worse.
WHITFIELD: All right. All the best. Patrick Oppmann, thank you so much and Tom Sater as well.
All right. Joining us right now is Dr. Jason Dunion a hurricane hunter and the director of NOAA's Hurricane Research Field Program. Dr. Dunion, good to see you. Forecasters say it's, you know, still too early to tell exactly where it's going to hit. But what are your biggest concerns about a storm like this when there is so much uncertainty and that cone is pretty widespread?
DR. JASON DUNION, NOAA HURRICANE RESEARCH FIELD PROGRAM: That's a great point. And the cone is widespread so that everybody really has to pay attention along the coast.
And another concern we have is the rapid intensification of the storm and the hurricane center is actually forecasting that right now. and that's when the storm can increase in speed in 35 miles per hour in just one day.
So you can go from a tropical storm to a Category 1. You can even go from a Category 1 to a Category 3 in just that 24-hour period. So that makes it especially important for folks to pay attention to this storm over the next couple of days.
WHITFIELD: And why is it that there are some who expect that kind of rapid intensification?
DR. DUNION: You know, at NOAA Research we are actually studying that this year. We're out there with our planes every 12 hours right now studying the storm.
And a couple of the predictors that we're seeing are -- and it was mentioned earlier, the ocean temperatures are extremely warm right now and not just at the surface. It's warm down to great depths so there's a lot of fuel to energize the storm. And the winds are going to become very favorable. So with favorable winds, you can get a storm to rapidly intensify pretty quickly and a lot of our models are suggesting that we will indeed see that rapid intensification over the next couple of days. WHITFIELD: Oh my good. And so what about the data collection from the
planes -- these hurricane planes? What kind of information is being gathered?
DR. DUNION: So we have a lot of different things we're launching out of the plane. Weather instruments that parachutes to measure the atmosphere and also ocean probes that look at that warm water that goes down -- way down to great depths.
And finally a tale (ph) about the radar, it's the Doppler radar like we'll see on the news at night and it's actually telling us what does the storm structure look like. It's like an x-ray of the inner core. So if it's starting to come together, we'll get a little bit of a heads-up that maybe, indeed, this rapid intensification is going to happen.
WHITFIELD: Ok. So a lot of this data collection when you're in the plane, you're flying right through the hurricane. And I think a lot of folks are wondering, what is that like? It sounds like a lot of turbulence. But instead, describe for us what that experience is.
DR. DUNION: It's like -- it's a very surreal experience. I was just flying Fiona before we had Ian. And you know, it's not like any old air line flight, you do have to be strapped in if you through that -- that inner core of the storm, that eyewall just outside the eye.
And of course, when you get in the eye you can oftentimes get out of your seat, it's so calm. So Mother nature has set up this very interesting, very calm eye surrounded by the fiercest part of the storm.
And of course, it's quite an experience. But we're always thinking about people on the ground and what's coming to them as we fly.
WHITFIELD: Right. And all that very invaluable information that you are able to collect then kind of convey so that we can give folks the best warning possible.
Jason Dunion, Dr. Jason Dunion. Thank you so much, appreciate it.
DUNION: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right.
Still ahead, racing to the border. Russians trying to get away from Putin's orders to fight in Ukraine as Ukraine's Zelenskyy offers sanctuary to those soldiers willing to lay down their arms.
WHITFIELD: As thousands protest across Russia over the draft by Putin, even more are fleeing the country trying to dodge it. Finland reporting more than 8,000 Russians crossing the border Saturday alone.
Ukraine's Zelenskyy is warning the west to take Putin's nuclear threat seriously.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Look, maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now it could be a reality.
Let's look. What is contemporary use of nuclear weapons or nuclear blackmail. He targeted and occupied our nuclear power plant and the city of Enerhodar. He continue his blackmail related to us exporting electricity through Europe. These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don't think he's bluffing. I think the world is deterring it and containing this threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: David Sanger is with us now. He is a CNN political and national security analyst. He's also a correspondent for the "New York Times" and, there's more, the author of the book the perfect weapon. All right. David, good to see you.
To Zelenskyy's point, that provokes the question, is the U.S. and west taking Putin's nuclear threat seriously enough?
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Oh, I think they have to take it seriously, and I know from talking to members of the administration, Fred, they have been modeling out how they would respond. I thought it was interesting that right after president Zelenskyy said that we heard Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor say on several of the different shows this morning that they had told Russia there would be catastrophic consequences if they used nuclear weapons.
They didn't lay out what that would be. And I've got no indication that the U.S. would use a nuclear weapon in response. But it does seem to suggest that the administration is already thinking ahead to how they would respond, either to completely isolate off the rest of the Russian economy, what else they might do in order to make it clear that this is a line that he could not cross.
Of course, it would depend on how he crossed it. Whether it was a demonstration test or actually a strike on Ukraine.
WHITFIELD: British Prime Minister Liz Truss, I mean he's only been on the job for about two and a half weeks now and already we're getting a sense where she is steering the U.K.'s response to the war in Ukraine.
Here is what she told Jake Tapper about working with the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The Biden administration has put huge amounts into Ukraine. And I really feel that we are stepping up as an alliance to take on what is absolutely appalling -- an appalling war created by Putin. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. So while she may be saying the right things to some, you know, can she stay on the same page as the Biden administration?
SANGER: I think she can. You know, I think one of the oddities, and it came out in Jake's remarkable interview with Prime Minister Truss, is that here we have a conservative, newly elected government in Britain with a prime minister who's largely been untested dealing with a Democrat who has been in foreign affairs for decades. And on Ukraine they are in total lock step.
The differences came out, of course, when Jake pressed her on why it is that she's cutting taxes at a moment that President Biden is pushing in the other direction trying to increase some corporate taxes to pay for more social welfare programs.
But on Ukraine I don't think the issue is Britain. I think the question is what happens with Italy, with Germany, other countries likely to feel the crunch this winter as gas prices soar. That could be an issue as well, I imagine for Prime Minister Truss.
WHITFIELD: right. And for some, the continued depend dependency on Russia for that fuel.
All right. David Sanger, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.
SANGER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: And we're continuing to track Tropical Storm Ian which is targeting Florida. Residents urged to prepare as Ian gathers strength in the Gulf. We are back in a moment.
WHITFIELD: Tropical Storm Ian is gaining strength as it moves closer to Florida's Gulf Coast. It's expected to intensify into a Category 4 hurricane before weakening and making landfall as early as Wednesday night.
Joining me right now is St. Petersburg, Florida, Kenneth Welch. Mayor Welch good to see you. So the city has begun providing sandbags to local residents. What else are you doing to help people prepare?
MAYOR KENNETH WELCH, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: Well, you know, in Florida -- Fredricka, it's good to be with you. In Florida we have to compartmentalize. So as we're watching the storm, certainly praying that it continues to move west.
We at the same time are asking folks to prepare, make sure they have a plan, know their evacuation zone, take care of those things like food and water for seven days. Because we know that even a tropical storm can knock our power grid down for an extended amount of time. So we're educating to be prepared and to plan, just reenforcing that message that we send out every storm season to be prepared in their plan.
WHITFIELD: Right. Because all the things that are threatening include storm surge, hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall. Of all of those things do you feel like your city is more vulnerable to one over the other?
WELCH: Oh well, St. Petersburg is a peninsula within a peninsula within a peninsula. We are at high risk from storm surge. And so that's our main concern, and that's what the county and cities are looking at if the storm tracks our way the we might have to go to evacuation threats happen, we may have to go to evacuation for those outlying areas.
WELCH: And we ask folks, if you are going to evacuate, evacuate to a non-evac area in cities and counties or from the put-up shelters that are in those non-evac shelters.
So we say run from the water, hide from the wind. And that's our mantra going forward.
WHITFIELD: Forecast models -- I mean they're not clear on exactly where Ian will go but, you know, the cone is pretty widespread along the west coast.
But at what point is your city, or is it your city that makes call, to start instituting evacuations by evacuation zone that you had mentioned?
Well, there are 24 cities in Pinellas County. We work with the county that can make the call working with the city. But you have to do it in enough time to be able to move those folks out from the beach areas and the low-lying areas.
So we'll have a better idea tomorrow. It will be hopefully it's just a westward track and it continues but if we have to evacuate it will be a call 72 hours out or so.
WHITFIELD: All right. Mayor Kenneth Welch of St. Petersburg, all the best.
WELCH: Thank you, Fredricka. I appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: All right, thank you.
All right. Still ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: I'm going to do everything can I to make sure Keri Lake is not elected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Congresswoman Liz Cheney on why she'll do whatever it takes to keep Trump and other election deniers out of office including campaigning with Democrats.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney drawing a line in the sand if Trump is the GOP nominee for president 2024.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think that Donald Trump is -- he's the only president in American history who refused to guarantee a peaceful transition of power. And so now the fact that my party has refused in the months since then to stand up to him, I think, does tell you how sick the party is.
I'm going to make sure Donald Trump, do everything I can, to make sure he's not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won't be a Republican.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz joining us now from Capitol Hill.
So, Daniella, what else did Cheney say?
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Fred, Congresswoman Liz Cheney continued to dodge questions on whether she plans to run for president as a Republican in the 2024 presidential election against possibly Donald Trump but also she said, very notable, she would be willing to campaign with Democrats if it meant not electing election deniers.
Take a listen to what she said in this wide-ranging interview at this forum in Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: I'm going to do everything I can to make sure Kari Lake is not elected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So does that include campaigning for Democrats if that's what it takes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does. OK, very well. (END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: As you heard there, Fred, she is talking about Kari Lake, the gubernatorial candidate, the GOP nomine in Arizona, who is a former television journalist and has become a leading voice behind Trump's lies that the election was stolen from him. She also said she would not go as far as saying Democrats should -- excuse me, keep the House, Fred, but did say that there are, quote, a lot of bad policies in the Biden administration.
And she added a warning to midterm voters that they need to be aware of who they're voting for in November and not support election deniers, candidates that continue to spread message from former President Donald Trump that the election was stolen from him.
Incredibly strong words Saturday evening from Congresswoman Liz Cheney who was once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party and now has been shunned by her own colleagues because she continues to speak out against Donald Trump and the lies that he spreads that the election was stolen from him -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. There is a lot there.
Daniella Diaz, thank you so much.
We got so much more to talk about, national scope and even zeroing in on the state of Georgia. Who best to ask than these two right here?
Bill Nigut, he's the senior editor for Georgia Public Broadcasting and host of "Political Rewind." Lisa Rayam is the host of "Morning Edition" on NPR's WABE Radio in Atlanta.
Of course, Lisa with me while I'm in the car to get my kids to school every morning. So, I hear you all the time.
Good to see both of you.
All right. So, Bill, you first. Do you believe that Cheney's words are influential not just to Republican leadership?
BILL NIGUT, SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, GPB MEDIA: Well, I think Liz Cheney has got to wait to see what happens in 2022 before we'll have a sense whether she has any real power or not. By that I mean if Donald Trump's candidates in the general election fail, if, in fact, independent voters and people on a bubble end up voting for Democrats, then perhaps Liz Cheney may have some strength moving forward toward 2024 and influencing the election.
But right now, she's an outlier. I mean, Donald Trump controls the Republican Party and we've seen no signs that's going to change anytime soon.
All right. So, Lisa, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom also into the mix. You know, he spoke at that same Texas forum. He criticized Democrats for being too timid about restrictive Republican policies and urged them to go on the offensive against the GOP.
So, is this Newsom pep talker or is this Newsom, you know, floating a balloon that I may be running in 2024?
LISA RAYAM, HOST, "MORNING EDITION" ON ATLANTA'S WABE RADIO (NPR): It could be a little bit of both. But it certainly is a pep talk and resonates here in Georgia particularly with the recent polls saying the Democratic Party is kind of lagging right now and not showing the same kind of steam, the bulldoze steam that it showed in 2020.
So, I think it is resonating with America but particularly here in Georgia.
WHITFIELD: All right. So, let's talk about Georgia.
Raphael Warnock is in a tight race with Republican nominee Herschel Walker. Walker recently agreed to a debate but then he's already now downplaying kind of expectations. Let's listen to what he has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Talking to the voters, talking to you. You told me I have to prepare so I'm preparing. I'm a country boy. I'm not that smart and he's that preacher. He's a smart man wearing nice suits. So, he's going to show up and embarrass me at the debate on October 14th. And I'm just waiting, I'll show and I'm going to do my best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Bill, what do you think of that strategy?
NIGUT: Well, first of all, I'm not sure I've heard a candidate for the United States Senate say I'm not that smart before.
Walker is doing the right thing, he is downplaying expectations. Warnock and his campaign for so long were pushing Herschel Walker to debate because they believed that they were going to blow him away, that he would say something foolish, that he would show he's not ready for the Senate.
But, in fact, the way things have gone right now, he's down played the expectations to the point where if he can put a sentence together he's not going to be a loser. He'd have to say something really stupid, I think, to come out of the debate in a problematic way right now.
WHITFIELD: Yeah. I mean, Lisa, it is 50/50 just about.
RAYAM: Yeah, it is really close. A lot of people are taken aback by that.
But, you know, we talked about this on our podcast "Political Breakfast." That's some kind of a political ploy he wants sympathy or empathy, that he may get the votes needed by dumbing himself down like he did. It's anyone's guess how this will turn out. All eyes on that debate for sure. WHITFIELD: OK. Now, this is like the governor's race rematch from
2018, Republican Brian Kemp versus Democrat Stacey Abrams and in this case, Kemp, of course, is the incumbent but Kemp won the last time by just less than half a percent. And this time, Abrams is making abortion the central focus of her campaign.
So take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: It will be front and center in the conversation. Women deserve full citizenship in the United States and certainly in the state of Georgia and are denied of that because of the six-week ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Bill, how resonating is that message?
NIGUT: Well, I mean, I do that it's a motivating factor for a lot of voters out there, although "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" poll last week suggested that it is not one of the biggest issues that voters are looking at, only about 5 percent, I think, said that was the number one issue in the campaign. This race will be so close that anything like abortion or other smaller issues might have a huge impact on the outcome.
We're going to have to see how important it is. Will it get women particularly out to the polls?
RAYAM: Yeah, brilliant move on her part, because that female voter is that all-important mark and Stacey Abrams of all people understands that.
WHITFIELD: Right. And we've been seeing, I mean, an incredible deluge of ads whether they be negative and critical but then also those that have been very complimentary of the candidates as well, particularly of Abrams and Kemp. How influential is that?
RAYAM: The ads, we're going to see more and more of them the next few weeks. The negative ones resonate more than the positive ones. I mean, that's just a fact. But everyone is talking about that Herschel Walker ad, everyone.
WHITFIELD: Which one --
RAYAM: About the gun to the head.
NIGUT: The Walker campaign themselves, and also a PAC supporting Warnock, I could put these very tough ads, as you know, which has his former wife talking in chilling detail about how he held a gun to her head, threatened to blow her brains out. They've poured tons of money into those ads, but here's the issue, they have not moved the needle for Warnock and that's something that's got to be very troubling to the Warnock campaign right now. WHITFIELD: It's interesting because some of those ads following up
with not just the ex-wife talking about it, but even admissions that Herschel Walker has made in interviews and that's been, you know, woven into some of the ads, too. You say so far it has not moved the needle.
RAYAM: Everyone is talking about a run-off and how likely that is at this point.
WHITFIELD: Here we go again.
All right. Good to see you both.
NIGUT: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Bill Nigut, Lisa Rayam, thank you so much. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.
All right. It's a real-life "CSI". How DNA left on a straw helped the FBI catch a stalker who threatened a "CSI: Miami" actress and her daughter calling himself Freddie Krueger. The incredible story next.
WHITFIELD: All right. We're continuing to track tropical storm Ian, which is targeting Florida. Residents are being urged to prepare for the storm which is predicted to be a category 4 hurricane as it gathers strength in the gulf before weakening and making landfall possibly Thursday.
Governor Ron DeSantis moments ago saying that he has called up 2,500 national guardsmen to handle storm response.
The National Hurricane Center is warning of dangerous storm surge, hurricane forced winds and heavy rainfall along the West Coast of Florida and the Florida panhandle. And for over a decade, a mysterious stalker terrorized actress Eva LaRue of "CSI" fame. He threatened rape, torture and death. Larue's family was also targeted.
Stopping this danger was not as simple as a Hollywood script. CNN's Jean Casarez has more on the scientific breakthrough that cracked the case.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 12 years, Eva LaRue was stalked by a man who threatened to kidnap, rape, kill and then dismember her and her young daughter. He sent detailed letters threatening explicit sexual violence signed,
Freddie Krueger, a fictional serial killer.
EVAN LARUE, ACTRESS, STALKED FOR 12 YEARS: Hellish, nightmarish, deviant, perverse, sick letters.
CASAREZ: The FBI shared the letters with us.
So, from one of them he specifically said my main mission in life is to stock you, rape you, and to terrify you. I want to make your life so miserable that you can't stand it.
Approximately 49 letters in all.
LARUE: Every time he would find us, we would move.
CASAREZ: You sold your house?
LARUE: Sold my house, yeah. I sold my house.
CASAREZ: When the letters began, Eva LaRue played a DNA investigator on "CSI Miami."
LARUE: This is what I do.
CASAREZ: But in real life, she was depending on investigators to save her. There was evidence --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The defendant lick the letters on the envelope, he left traces of DNA.
CASAREZ: The perpetrator's DNA didn't match any database.
LARUE: So we are playing we have this technology but in real life, the technology had not been invented yet.
CASAREZ: Then, the science of genetic genealogy emerged. Investigators granted CNN an exclusive interview about the procedure. First used on the state level in California to identify the Golden State serial killer.
STEVE BUSCH, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT/CEO, INDAGO SOLUTIONS: We used it as an investigative tool to reverse engineer family trees and figure out who he was.
CASAREZ: Investigators compared DNA on the stalker's letter with DNA in public databases like those where consumers trace family connections and ancestry, consenting their DNA could be used by law enforcement.
STEVE KRAMER, FORMER FBI ATTORNEY/PRESIDENT, INDAGO SOLUTIONS: Build family trees and identify the common ancestors between the matches and your suspect and you build down until you find the person that had the right age, lived in the right location, and maybe matches the physical location of the suspect at the time.
CASAREZ: And you knew that the letters were coming from Ohio?
BUSCH: The letters were all postmarked.
CASAREZ: Meanwhile, the stalker was becoming even more threatening, now targeting LaRue's daughter at her school.
KRAME: Now he's tracking down the high school that the victim goes to, a 17-year-old girl, and calling that school.
AMY WHITMAN, FBI SPECIAL AGENT, VIOLENT CRIME/MAJOR OFFENDERS: So this is a recording from a voice message left at the high school.
CALLER: Hello. I want to leave a message for Kaya Callahan. This is the man who's going to rape her, molest her and kill her.
CASAREZ: The investigation had ramped up. They had a suspect. His real name, James David Rogers.
WHITMAN: So, when this last recorded call came in, we hit the gas pedal as quickly as we could.
CASAREZ: Agents took a public tour of the suspect's work place at a nursing care and assisted living facility. They saw the type of item they would need for DNA comparison.
BUSCH: It was actually an Arby's cup and straw they watched him dispose of some trash into a trash receptacle. They were able to pull the trash and we took the DNA off the straw, the Arby's straw to compare to the DNA on the letters, and it was a one to one match. It was a 100 percent match.
CASAREZ: Rogers was arrested in an early morning FBI raid at his home last November.
AMY POMERANTZ, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: We decided to arrest him because we weren't sure what he was going to do.
CASAREZ: Rogers pleaded guilty to federal crimes ranging from stalking to mailing threatening communications, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
LARUE: This happened from the time my daughter was 5 years old. This happened during her formative years.
KAYA CALLAHAN, LARUE'S DAUGHTER: We feel okay now. So --
LARUE: We know where he is for the next three years.
LARUE: We know we're safe for the next three years.
CALLAHAN: I feel okay, so that's nice to feel.
CASAREZ: Jean Casarez, CNN, Los Angeles.
WHITFIELD: Wow, that's an incredible story.
All right. Join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a new investigation into a global mystery that confounds scientists. This CNN special report "Immaculate Concussion: The Truth Behind Havana Syndrome" begins tonight at 8:00.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something happened to those individual in Havana.
ANNOUNCER: A global mystery --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just the damage.
ANNOUNCER: -- confounds scientists.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's the level of concern now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Much higher.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would the motivation be to be doing that to American diplomats?
GUPTA: Were you worried about the president potentially being attacked?
ANNOUNCER: Join Dr. Gupta on a search for answers.
GUPTA: Do you think the brain is the battlefield of the future.
ANNOUNCER: CNN special report, "Immaculate Concussions: The Truth Behind Havana Syndrome", tonight at 8:00.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Don't miss "Immaculate Concussions" tonight at 8:00.
WHITFIELD: All right. For the first time ever, medical experts are recommending adults ages 19 to 65 be screened for anxiety, after studies show that 26 percent of men and 40 percent of women suffer from anxiety disorders.
Joining us now is Dr. Gail Saltz. She's a psychiatrist and psycho analyst.
So good to see you. It's been a long time.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: It has, and so nice to be back. Thanks, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So great. Thank you.
All right. So this task force defines anxiety disorders as, I'm quoting now, characterized by greater duration or intensity of a stress response over everyday events.
So, how do we know that that's what any number of us are going through?
SALTZ: Well, everybody has anxiety. It's really normal, especially with all the things going on. And if you have something difficult happen to you, it is a normal response to have.
But if you have ongoing sustained anxiety that interrupts your ability to function at work or at home, in relationships, and it is going on for weeks and weeks and there isn't a clear stressor, I don't mean ongoing stressors, but somebody didn't just die, something like that didn't just happen, then you may have an anxiety disorder. And 40 million Americans every year do.
And it is the most common mental health issue in this country, which is why appropriately this task force is saying, hey, if the many time to diagnosis of anxiety disorder is 23 years, which it is, that means that we have a lot of people walking around with a real disorder that is hurting their quality of life, that's causing other medical problems, that's causing potentially depression and we need to find those people so that they can be treated.
WHITFIELD: Wow. So, how do you identify what is anxiety? Are we talking about someone being despondent, you know, being sad, being, you know, sleep deprived? I mean, it is a gigantic category it seems.
SALTZ: It is, it is but it isn't. So generalized anxiety disorder, which is the most common one, would be feeling nervous or jittery or what I would call the what-ifs. What if this happens, what if that happens all day longer day.
So it is a level of nervousness and a feeling like there is danger around the corner. And it also however interrupts things like your ability to sleep, it makes you tired all day, it makes you irritable. It makes you unable to concentrate.
And so, you are not as well performing at work. You are getting into arguments with people in your life, you are avoiding things. That's a big symptom of anxiety. You avoid all kinds of things that potentially make you anxious so your world gets smaller.
And that is different from typical anxiety. But you bring up a good point, which is while your primary care physician, as this is recommending they do, can scene for anxiety, you really need a clinician, someone like me, or a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, to say is this truly an anxiety disorder.
And so, it is important once screened if your primary doctor thinks that you have a lot of the symptoms of anxiety disorder and passes you on, that that person ascertains whether that is really what is happening, because it is not garden variety anxiety.
WHITFIELD: No, it's not. OK. So if it turns out that anxiety is so common, much more among women than men, but it is common, does it seem like it has been getting enough attention?
SALTZ: Well, in my opinion, no. First of all, during the pandemic beginning anxiety disorders went up 25 percent over what they already were. So we have huge numbers of people walking around with their life being compromised. And now, I think through the pandemic mental health issues generally have gotten more awareness, which is a good thing.
But awareness needs to turn into what are we doing to intervene? Because right now for example, if your primary care doctor finds out you need to see someone, there aren't enough someones --
WHITFIELD: Right, then what?
SALTZ: There aren't mes out there. Exactly.
So we need dollars spent increasing, who can treat, numbers of providers that can really treat this kind of thing and other ancillary help for mental health care issues.
So while I think awareness is increasing, awareness needs to turn into do we treat it like other medical problems which right now we don't, with the dollars needed to increase availability of treatment for people who need it.
WHITFIELD: Wow, fascinating. Definitely needs to be addressed right away, especially looking at those numbers.
Dr. Gail Saltz, a pleasure. Thank you so much.
SALTZ: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: All right. The world got its first glimpse of Queen Elizabeth's final resting place today. Buckingham Palace releasing this photo of an engraved ledger stone featuring the name of the late monarch, along with her parents and her husband, Prince Phillip. The four royals were members of the Order of the Garter, the most senior order of chivalry hat dates back to medieval times. The queen was buried within St. George's chapel in Windsor last Monday.
Thank you so much for being with me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta.
"THE NEWSROOM" with Jim Acosta starts right now.