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Several Trump-Endorsed Candidates Struggle in Critical Races; Washington Post Reports, U.S. and China Are Headed for a U.N. Showdown; NASA Astronaut to Become First Native American Woman to Go into Orbit. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 05, 2022 - 10:30   ET



CHIEF STANLEY MCFADDEN, STOCKTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: So, it's a person that we definitely want identified.



JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Now, a final note here. Police say that one key item that allowed them to connect these crime scenes was ballistics. That's something that we assumed was the case. But I can tell you, as a former federal agent, the technology over the last three decades has progressed light years, where now authorities can look at bullet fragments as they come out of a weapon. They can look at shell casings that are ejected. Each weapon leaves a unique marking on those items. Here, police say that they were able to tie these together, using that kind of technology. Of course, it's one thing to have the gun, it's another to have the shoot shooter or shooters in custody, that they're still waiting. $125,000 is currently the reward. They want to find this person, Poppy, of course, before they strike again.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Of course, they do. Josh Campbell, thank you for the reporting.


HARLOW: Meantime, other authorities in California have a person of interest in custody in the kidnapping of a family of four. Police say an eight-month-old girl and her parents have been missing since Monday. Investigators became aware of their disappearance after finding a car that belonged to them on fire. The child's uncle is also missing and investigators say the family was taken against their will.

Authorities do say that a 48-year-old person of interest attempted to take his own life before being taken into custody.

And in Florida, a 27-year-old man faces charges of kidnapping and using a minor as a human shield. This comes after police say he abducted his toddler while armed with a gun and led deputies on a chaotic high speed chase. The chase ended in a terrifying standoff in a parking lot. A warning that this body camera video that we're going to place is very disturbing.

The Flagler county sheriff says, fortunately, the 23-month-old boy was not hurt. He was quickly reunited with his mother. The father, Brandon Matthew Douglas Leohner was treated for his injuries, taken into custody and charged with four felonies. He has not entered a plea yet. His arraignment is scheduled for October 31st.

Well, just moments ago, President Biden boarded a helicopter for Florida. He is going to survey the damage from Hurricane Ian there. We'll have live coverage of his trip throughout the day.

Also ahead, Trump-backed candidates in critical gubernatorial races are struggling just weeks before polls open. A look at key states in question and what this could mean beyond the midterms.



HARLOW: Weeks away from the November midterm elections, several Trump-backed candidates who sailed through the primaries with the former president's support, now, some of them facing headwinds in this general election push.

Chris cillizza joins me now with more. Walk us through what you're talking about.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: All right. Well, Poppy, first, let me say at the start, it's not every candidate that Donald Trump endorsed that's struggling in the general election. In Arizona, for example, Kari Lake is running very, very close in that critical governor's race, but it is a number of them in very important states, and I want go through a few of them with you.

Okay. This is Michigan, critical state, obviously, was very close in 2016 and in 2020. Gretchen Whitmer -- I'm going to write a few numbers. They gave me some space to write numbers, so I'm going to do it. Gretchen Whitmer, 14 million, Tudor Dixon, 1 million.

Now, I was an English major in college, not a math major, but I know this. That's a lot more, 14 million is a lot more than 1. 14 million is how much Gretchen Whitmer has spent on television, 1 million is how much Tudor Dixon, the Republican nominee backed by Donald Trump, has spent on television. Why? Because Tudor Dixon has struggled to raise money. Anytime you're outraced by that amount, it's worrisome.

Let's keep going, because even maybe more critical, the Pennsylvania governor's race. This is a race that decides, in some ways, the election officials in the state, right? This is why we know it's going to be a swing state in 2022 -- excuse me, 2024, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Okay. I'm going to write some more numbers down because they give me the ability to. 18, I went down to the screen, to 1. Again, not a math major but 18 is more than 1. $18 million Josh Shapiro has spent, $1 million Doug Mastriano has spent on ads, a huge differential that is problematic. In both of those cases, the Democratic candidate is leading by a large margin in polls, double digits.

Now, it's not just governors races where this is happens. Okay, the Ohio Senate race, J.D. Vance, Trump nominee, struggling against Tim Ryan. The Arizona Senate race, Blake Masters, Trump-endorsed, again, Mark Kelly struggling. And in Georgia, Herschel Walker, lots of trouble lately, he's struggling -- struggling is overstating it. He's sort of tied with Raphael Warnock in what's probably going to be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

So, you take it all, Trump candidates win primaries, struggle in general elections.

HARLOW: Yes. Well, it's really interesting, Cillizza, yesterday too that Herschel Walker's team says he raised all this money in a day after that very many questions about hypocrisy over his stance on abortion and potentially his own personal actions prior, but I digress.

CILLIZZA: And I'll add one thing to that, Poppy.


CILLIZZA: One thing that -- let me just go back to Georgia for a sec. Look, we saw in 2016, if you had told me that that Access Hollywood tape would come out and Donald Trump would still wind up winning, I would have said, no way.



CILLIZZA: But with Herschel Walker, these allegations against him, his son coming out and saying, well, Herschel Walker, he's not what he says he is, I would say, that may be Endsville for Herschel Walker's campaign. But because of what we saw in 2016, I'm not sure we can say that. All the Republican groups are still behind him. Donald Trump is still behind him.


CILLIZAA: So, I always hesitate to say, oh, this is going to be a big change. Because in 2016, if I was on air with you, I would say, well, Donald Trump, he's definitely not going to win now, and look what happened there.

So, this is a close race, closer certainly. Ohio is close. Arizona, I think if you're Mark Kelly, you have to feel pretty good about where you are, but this is a close race. We have got to give it a few days to let the whole controversy percolate out and see what happens, then let's see what polling says.

HARLOW: Yes. And, ultimately, let's just see what voting --

CILLIZZA: Yes, and we're not that far from it, right?

HARLOW: Cillizza, you have got this groovy new podcast out. I'm loving the artwork, it's beautifully done, Downside Up. Tell us about it.

CILLIZZA: Yes. So, the artwork is kind of meant to convey what it is. So, what we did, I spend my whole life writing, thinking, talking about what-if possibilities, right? I get ahead of myself, I talked about 2024 before we finished 2022.

So, what this podcast aims to do is answer some big what-if questions. The first one, which is out now that you can get, what if we did not have the ability to know what flavor is? What if we couldn't deal with flavor? What would that mean? It's actually really interesting because, historically, the spice trade drove a lot of our expansion throughout the world. And if we didn't have flavor, we might not have done it.

So, it's a really fun project. It has nothing to do with politics. So, if you don't like this stuff, I get it, lots of people don't, go find that.

HARLOW: We can get you everywhere now.

CILLIZZA: Let's hope. That's the goal.

HARLOW: Thank you. Congrats in your team. I know how much work goes into those. Congrats.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Ahead, after North Korea's brazen missile test earlier this week, the U.N. Security Council is set to meet as the situation seems to be escalating. Up next, how the United States and its allies in the east are responding.



HARLOW: This just into CNN. OPEC+, that is OPEC and its allies, have agreed to cut oil by 2 million barrels a day, cut how much they produce by 2 million barrels a day. That is twice what was expected out of this meeting of major oil producers in Vienna. Obviously, that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia.

President Biden was asked about this moments ago at the White House, and he says he is, quote, concerned. He called the cut unnecessary. The reduction is equivalent to about 2 percent of global oil demand. We'll keep you posted and see what that does to gas prices here.

Meantime, we are about to see a showdown at the United Nations between the world's two major powers, United States and China, over human rights abuses. The U.S. and its allies are working to force a debate over atrocities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China. Well, behind the scenes, China is working to try to make sure that debate never even happens.

Remember, both the Trump and the Biden administrations have accused China of carrying out genocide against the Uyghur population and other minority groups, something the U.N.'s own human rights commissioner says could be crimes against humanity.

China has fiercely denied it, saying they established facilities to housing the Muslim minorities as a way to counter so-called, quote, extremism in the region.

CNN Political Analyst and Washington Post Columnist Josh Rogin joins me now. Josh, I wanted to have you on because you wrote a really fascinating and important column about this last week, and I think it's not getting enough attention at all because this is monumental. China's human rights abuses have never been debated at the U.N. Human Rights Council before.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, Poppy. On August 31st, the U.N. high commissioner of human rights issued a scathing report based on interviews, internal documents and an investigation that showed that not only crimes against humanity, lots of other abuses are ongoing in China's far western Xinjiang region right now.

Typically, what would happen is that the Human Rights Council would do something. They would launch another investigation, have a vote, or even just talk about it. But China is working very hard to make sure that doesn't happen.

The vote will be tomorrow or Friday in the Human Rights Council, and the U.S. government and the Biden administration, to its credit, has pushed hard for the Human Rights Council to take up this issue and put it on their agenda.

But I'm here to tell you it doesn't look good, Poppy. It looks like China will succeed in bribing and coercing and pressuring and trading for enough votes to prevent this issue from being debated. And if that takes place, then we will have a situation where the United Nations won't even debate a genocide, or at least a alleged crimes against humanity that are happening on our watch.

HARLOW: So, Josh, you're saying that it looks like China will win out here in trying to strong-arm?

ROGIN: Unfortunately. Well, I mean, we don't know. They're still working on it. It's going to be close, to be sure. There are 47 members of the Human Rights Council. Some of them are countries like Libya and Sudan and Pakistan. So, these countries are not likely to stand up for human rights in the first place. So, it's kind of a whole hypocrisy of the Human Rights Council in the first place. That's why the Trump administration withdrew, but the Biden administration came back in. And now, this is a test.


And if they vote against this, then it will be pretty obvious to the critics of the Human Rights Council that it's useless, and then the Biden administration will have egg on its face. But that's not what is really important. What's really important is that the Uyghurs have a voice in the international forum. And if they don't then, if they can't even get a debate, well, then their cries for help will go unheard. HARLOW: So, let's talk about, because that's actually what matters, Josh, is what this means for the people suffering right now. Again, I would just reiterate, it was both Mike Pompeo and then the Biden administration, so the Trump administration and the Biden administration, both said, yes, China is carrying out genocide here, right, which China denies.

What would the impact be if the Biden administration, if the U.S. were actually successful in forcing this vote?. Would there be a material impact for the people, for the Uyghur and the other minority populations in China?

ROGIN: Right. I think that's a great question. Because when I talk to Uyghur activists and survivors of these camps, what they say is it doesn't really -- the definition of genocide, which is a legal determination, is one thing, but what they really need is action. And what they really need is some more international attention to the suffering of their families, and they're just not getting it.

So, yes, if the Human Rights Council were to take up this issue, that would open up the door for a lot of other things. It would validate their claims and it would put their issue on the map along with a lot of other horrible human rights abuses that are going on all around the world. But it would not be enough.

And it's very clear that the Biden administration has, in my view, the responsibility, but also, in their own view, the duty to do other things, to bring pressure on the Chinese government to stop the atrocities. That could be sanctions. That could be visa bans. That could be aid for the Uyghurs and maybe having some of the refugees admitted to the United States.

None of these things are easy, but doing nothing enables the atrocities. And that's the lesson we should have learned.

HARLOW: I will just note one thing. There's been a pressure by some in the Biden administration to lift the China tariffs to help sort of ease inflation. We can't forget in that debate human rights and those tariffs on China are also -- it also factors into that decision- making. So, Josh?

ROGIN: Absolutely. But either human rights is a priority in our foreign policy or it isn't, and tariffs and solar panels and all of those other things are part of the overall picture. But it doesn't make the genocide go away.

HARLOW: It doesn't end and it's it a real question of where human rights stand and what you stand for.

Josh Rogin, thanks for writing it. Thanks for coming on and talking about it very much.

ROGIN: Thank you.

HARLOW: Still ahead, counting down to liftoff at Kennedy Space Center. Today's manned SpaceX mission to the International Space Station will be led by a woman for the first time, the first female commander of a NASA SpaceX commercial crew, Nicole Mann. We'll talk much more about how she's making history in multiple ways, next.



HARLOW: Right now, four people are preparing to blast off on NASA's historic Crew-5 Mission to the International Space Station. Leading the crew is NASA's Nicole Mann who will become the first Native American woman to go into orbit. She is also the first woman to command a SpaceX flight.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins me now with the details, Marty, good morning. This is a mission of many, many firsts. What can you tell us?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. There are four crew members on board. There's two international astronauts, one from Japan and one from Russian. This is the first time we've had a Russian cosmonaut fly on an American spaceship in 20 years. Ana Kikina is the Russian cosmonaut we're talking about here. And so she is reigniting what has been an integrated flight program for the United States now.

And then we talk about Nicole Mann, a number of firsts for her. She is the first female commander of a SpaceX mission now to fly, and she is also the first Native American woman to fly into space.

Everything is looking good today. The flight had been delayed as a result of Hurricane Ian. But now, the weather, as you see, looks almost perfect. And they've had a few minor issues. But they have got those rectified, launch is in about an hour.

Here is Nicole Mann talking about all the first that she represents.


NICOLE MANN, COMMANDER, CREW-5 MISSION: I think it's important that young girls realize that they have these leadership opportunities for them. But from an operational perspective, to be honest, it really doesn't matter if you're a woman or a man, or what country you're from, or your gender or your race, we are coming together as a human race. And our mission on board the International Space Station of developing this technology and research to benefit all of human kind is really what brings us together.


SAVIDGE: Unity has been one of the key messages because Anna Kikina is the first Russian cosmonaut to fly since the invasion of Ukraine created tensions within the space program. All of that has been pushed to the side. It's been talking about unity and talking about working together, which is, of course, the message NASA wants.

And then when we talk about Nicole Mann, the astronauts are allowed to bring their own private mementoes when they on a trip like this. And Nicole was asked what she's bringing. She said it's a gift that she got from her mother long ago, it's a dream catcher. Of course, significant ties to the culture from which she comes, and also it represents the dreams that now are about to come true. Poppy?

HARLOW: Wow. How is that for a beautiful story as she heads up on a history-making mission? That is for sure.

Martin Savidge, thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

HARLOW: We'll be watching closely.

And thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

At This Hour with Erica Hill starts right now.