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Federal Appeals Court to Examine Special Master in Mar-a-Lago Case; OPEC to Cut Oil Production; President Biden Tours Hurricane Damage in Florida; Interview With Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired October 05, 2022 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The four-time All Star Judge waiting to see if he gets that ball back.


AARON JUDGE, NEW YORK YANKEES: I don't know where it's at. So we will see what happens with that. It'd be -- it'd be great to get it back, but it's -- that's a souvenir for a fan. So they made a great catch out there and they got every right to it.


KING: Oh, probably a signed bat, signed balls and some nice playoff tickets in that fan's future.

Thanks for your time on INSIDE POLITICS today. We will see you tomorrow.

Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, and thanks so much for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Happening now President Biden in Florida, where he will soon get a firsthand look at all the devastation seven days after Hurricane Ian's deadly strike. Biden's about to board a helicopter to fly over the Fort Myers Beach area, where he will likely see scenes like this, homes piled up, businesses splintered all across the sand.

President Biden will also meet with Governor Ron DeSantis as the White House pledges more support. Today, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are still without power, shelters filling up, as homeless numbers grow.

And emotions are especially high on Sanibel Island. Today, for the first time, residents are returning by boat to see what's left, entire homes lifted by the storm surge and moved.

We have crews covering it all.

Let's go first to our chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, traveling with the president.

Kaitlan, he just arrived. The president will soon take this aerial tour. Then what?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's getting the aerial tour, which is really the way that he's going to be able to see just how much damage there is, because, of course, driving down the road, you see a lot of it.

There's basically no power at any of the stoplights as you're making your way over to where we are standing right now. And so you're just making your way through seeing what you're seeing behind me, boats toppled just in areas where boats should not be, businesses completely destroyed, wiped off their foundations, boats in the yards where -- of homes where a porch used to be.

That's the kind of damage President Biden is going to be seeing up close when he's here on the ground with first lady Jill Biden getting this aerial tour. And then after that, Ana, is when President Biden is going to go to that operational briefing that is focused on the recovery efforts, what the response has looked like so far, and how that's all being coordinated between the federal government, the state government, local governments here, like the one in Fort Myers.

And that's going to that briefing where you see him with someone typically he has feuded with in the past, clashed with certainly over major issues, Governor Ron DeSantis. But the White House says this is not about politics today. Instead, it is going to be primarily focused on the response effort here and helping the people who have lost so much.

As you have seen, the death toll has only grown by dozens since the storm happened, and not even in addition to that the tens of billions of dollars in damages that people are going to be dealing with going forward. And so, after that, he will be meeting with some of those people who have not just lost loved ones, but also their livelihoods on the ground, and are now focused on what the rebuilding and recovery effort is going to look like.

And that's an effort that Governor DeSantis has said is going to take some time. And so just want to note this is also the second storm site that President Biden has visited this week after he was in Puerto Rico on Monday. Now he's here today seeing this up close and he is expected to spend several hours here on the ground before making remarks later as well, Ana.

CABRERA: This trip will be painful, hopefully comforting to some too. As we know, more than 105 people have been confirmed just in Florida alone.

Let's head to Sanibel Island, an area very hard-hit, where residents who evacuated were able to return today for the first time.

And our Leyla Santiago is there.

Leyla, this has got to be really emotional day for those who are just getting a look at what's left right.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, many of them coming back to find out that there really isn't much salvageable.

I want to show you where I am right now on a home in Sanibel Island. And you can take a look behind at just the backyard and see how destroyed it is. I mean, that was once a pool, and you can see how things were kind of turned around. From the outside looking in, you can see that there's furniture sort of flipped over.

I spoke to the owner of this house and was there when he got the news, when he got the call, when he was told that things are not going to be salvageable. And you can sort of understand what a shock that is, but the concern is, is that if someone doesn't get in here quickly, this could be an issue of mold or reason to have to get to some sort of tear-down and not be able to save what's left.

Now, this is not the only homeowner that I have spoken to. We were able to go in, a little further in. First thing I noticed, Ana, power lines down, debris everywhere.

And I want to introduce you to Toni (ph) and Dan. Listen to their -- my conversation with them.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just thought everything would be lost. We thought we'd come home and we thought those windows were broken. And we thought we'd find water, and that we have lived here for seven years, and it's paradise. and we thought we would come back and find everything gone.

And, I mean, we just have to fix up our yard. But then our neighbors -- I mean, that house over there, that we know all these people.


SANTIAGO: You know, she talked about survivor's guilt, feeling guilty that she -- her home was in much better shape than what she expected to.

And so she says that she plans to spend much of her time just helping out neighbors. I have heard this over and over. I spoke to about four families, many saying this is going to take a long time to rebuild here, because it is completely just decimated. We saw homes that were once on one side of the street now on another side of the streets, cars covered in debris.

At one point, I saw toys. I mean, there's so much left to clean up. And these residents that are coming for the first time since Ian, many of them are coming back to nothing, homes that have nothing inside that is salvageable. So they are really hoping that what the government is working on, some sort of temporary fixes to the causeway, the bridge on the way here, will be quick to establish, because they need to be able to move people in and out. They need to be able to move in supplies.

I should mention we did see a helicopter coming in with supplies landing in a field, bringing in water. So supplies are coming in, but not ideal, by any means, as long as access is limited on that bridge, Ana.

CABRERA: And it's just the beginning of a very long road to recovery.

Thank you so much, Leyla.

And Boris Sanchez is also standing by as this massive cleanup is under way. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power and so many without homes.

Boris Sanchez in Fort Myers for us, fill us in on the latest there.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the devastation across Southwest Florida is widespread. And in some places, the recovery is under way, while, in others, there is still a lot of work to be done.

And I want to give you a glimpse, a snapshot of what President Biden is going to see from the air when he tours this area. We're across the street from (AUDIO GAP) behind me. This is across the street from the (AUDIO GAP) that came (AUDIO GAP) the street and (AUDIO GAP) a mangrove swamp hundreds of feet away.

There are boats here. There are children's floaties. There are vehicles, part of a dock. You can see it right there. A chunk of the dock came and landed in this mangrove hundreds of feet away.

In the meantime, on the other side of the street, where the marina used to be, you see images like this, one another boat stranded, but next to it heavy machinery getting set to remove the debris. And, also, the Florida Department of Transportation and Florida Power and Light are now here.

We have seen more activity in the last few hours here by recovery crews and cleanup teams than we have since Sunday. So, the cleanup is under way. As you noted, Ana, still hundreds of thousands without power, more than 300,000 people still waiting for electricity in the state of Florida.

Obviously, that is the property damage. That's the physical toll that was caused by the storm. On the other side, there is the emotional toll and the cost of life, more than 100 people killed here in the state of Florida because of Hurricane Ian, the most devastating storm, the most deadly storm in state history -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right, thank you. Boris Sanchez, Kaitlan Collins, Leyla Santiago.

Our hearts are with everybody there in Florida today.

And also today, the cartel that controls a majority of the world's oil supply just announced a decision that will likely cost us all, OPEC Plus, which includes Russia and Saudi Arabia, moving to dramatically slash oil production by two million barrels per day. This is the biggest cut we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

It will certainly help line the pockets of the cartel and spark higher gas prices at a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

CNN's Matt Egan is joining us now to break it down.

So, Matt, this obviously it was a big snub to the White House, which had aggressively been lobbying against any move like this. Talk to us about the significance.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Ana, this is a significant move by OPEC.

Some context around this announcement, two million barrels per day, biggest since spring of 2020. That was when people were not driving or flying because of COVID, of course, different situation today.

Expected was one million, so this is twice as much as that. Back in August, we had OPEC increasing production. This was after President Biden mended fences with Saudi Arabia and actually went to the kingdom. That was just 100,000 barrels. So, this is...


CABRERA: And that was just two months ago.

EGAN: Exactly. So this is a totally different move. They have totally shifted course.

We have already seen oil prices move higher by about 2 percent this afternoon. I think this shows three things. One, they're clearly not afraid to anger the White House. Two, they are nervous about their own revenue taking a hit as oil prices have come down. And, three, they're worried about the economy. If there's a recession, they could see oil prices crash, and they don't want that.

CABRERA: So oil prices have been low. And yet gas prices have already been ticking up. What's up with that?

EGAN: Yes, so let's show you where we are right now.

So, back in June, we had a record high for gas prices, $5.02 a gallon. Then we had a streak of 99 consecutive days of falling prices. It got to as low as $3.67 a gallon last month, ticking back up by 16 cents a gallon. So it's still closer to the low than the high.

But, yes, it has gone up, even though oil prices, as you point out, do remain pretty low. This is about supply and demand, specifically of gasoline. We have had a lot of outages from refineries, planned and unplanned. That has hurt production of gasoline, driven up prices, especially in the West Coast. California any day could actually be at record prices.

And that's because the West Coast does not have as much gasoline as they need. As far as what happens with OPEC and what this means for gas prices, this is clearly not going to help. I just talked to veteran oil analyst Andy Lipow, and he told me that he thinks that, before OPEC moved, he thought gasoline prices would go down through the end of the year, which is what you would often see at this time of the year.

Now he wouldn't be surprised if they drift higher from here.

CABRERA: And so is there anything else that the U.S. can do then to limit the pain we feel from this OPEC cut?

EGAN: There's no really good options here. I mean, the U.S. could pump more oil. But, unlike a lot of OPEC nations, it's a free market here. This is really up to the oil companies, not the energy secretary.

The president could unleash more emergency oil from stockpiles. But he's already done that at an unprecedented rate. This is the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. As you can see, it has gone down very low to the lowest level we have seen in about 40 years.


CABRERA: Because they have been releasing those reserves to try to keep the oil supply.

EGAN: Exactly. This is not a bottomless pit of oil, so they can only do so much here.

They could also just try to pressure OPEC. That has not worked so far, clearly. Some lawmakers, Congressman Ro Khanna, he told me that he wants the United States to retaliate against Saudi Arabia, the leader of OPEC, by cutting off their supply of aviation parts and weapons.

But, Ana, a getting into a battle, a fight with OPEC, that would be risky too.

CABRERA: OK, Matt Egan, thank you so much.

EGAN: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Appreciate it.

Tensions are ramping up between the U.S. and North Korea, the U.S. telling the secretive regime to essentially stop launching rockets or missiles, or expect a serious response.

Plus, Ukraine taking back even more of its land from Russian invaders. So, why is Putin appointing new pro-Russian figures in those disputed regions?

And what would you do if you caught this? This guy says he's still thinking about what to do with Aaron Judge's record-breaking home run ball.

Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: The U.S. today has a clear message for North Korea. Cut it out, or we will step it up.

Washington vowing a ramped-up response if the hermit kingdom makes any more moves after it launched a long-range missile over Japan.

CNN's Kylie Atwood is joining us now.

Kylie, what kind of steps are we talking about? What more can the U.S. do?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, what they have done thus far is demonstrate their military capabilities in the region, as you said, carrying out drills with the South Korean and Japanese allies.

And, presumably, they could do more of that, with the secretary of state saying that the U.S. would take further steps based on any further provocations from North Korea. And it's important to note that he also called once again for North Korea to sit down with the United States, saying there wouldn't be any preconditions for any dialogue.

But up until this point, they have continued to say that, the Biden administration, and the response from North Korea has been to carry out these missile tests. And we should note that this was the 23rd missile test this year by North Korea, but this missile test more significant, more provocative than the past ones, because it flew over Japan.

It's the first time that a ballistic missile tests by North Korea has done that in more than five years on -- Ana..

CABRERA: OK, Kylie Atwood, thank you.

To Russia now, and new today, Vladimir Putin is appointing a new acting head of each of the Ukrainian regions he illegally annexed last week. Again, these are the four regions. You have Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk, so kind of along the eastern and southeastern side of Ukraine. And Russia isn't able to specify the borders here because Ukraine keeps retaking territory.

I want to show you these different regions a little bit more closely here. This is the south. So we're monitoring significant gains here in the Kherson region. And you can see this area in bright yellow. And I'm going to clear that so you can get a good look. But look at the bright yellow.

That is where Ukraine has made advances, regaining that bright yellow territory in just the last five days. You go to the northeast, same story. You can see Ukraine has regained all of this. This is near the Luhansk region, pushing into the Donetsk region. And today, for the first time, since this war began, Ukrainian units have actually crossed into the Luhansk region, again, Luhansk. And this is an area that has been primarily, almost 100 percent in Russian control. Social media images shows Ukraine moving in. If we zoom out here to the bigger map, everything in yellow, bright yellow, dark yellow, as you look at the entirety of the country, that yellow was everything Ukraine has regained since Russia invaded.


CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Kyiv for us.

Fred, as Ukraine advances, the rhetoric, the narrative out of Russia is, essentially, Putin's forces are regrouping. What does Ukraine think is realistic in terms of retaking potentially even more territory?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that the Ukrainians right now, Ana, think that that's very realistic that they're going to be able to take back a lot of territory very quickly, and possibly take back all of that territory that the Russians had taken not only since this war started in February, but also a lot of the territory that's been taken away from them since 2014.

And it's something that the Ukrainians continue to say. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president, says, also, some of his advisers say as well, they want to take back all of Ukraine's territory, including Crimea and including all those border regions that you were just showing right there.

And, right now, if you look at the Ukrainian advances -- and that map that you just showed is absolutely remarkable, to see how much territory that Ukrainians have been winning back just in the past couple of days -- I think even they're surprised, especially in the Kherson region.

They're saying that they believe that the Russian defenses there in many places are collapsing. They're able to win back territory very quickly. And a lot of that are very strategic and important places. Also, if you look to the east, that town of Lyman, which they recently took back, that was a really important logistics hub for the Russians.

So that not only is important for the Ukrainians to gain, but that all also makes it a lot more difficult for the Russians to defend as they claim they're conducting a regrouping, as you just said, Ana.

CABRERA: Fred Pleitgen, thanks for staying on top of it for us.

I want to bring in former Defense Secretary, former CIA Chief Leon Panetta.

Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. Secretary.

The race of Ukraine's gains and the rate of those gains has really been picking up. It's been striking, happening all across several regions, as we take another broad look at the map. And this is all in just a few short weeks, even in the last few days. This was against Russia's trained military. Will more numbers once

Russia's new conscripts are deployed make much of a difference?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, without question, the tide of war has turned in Ukraine.

And Putin has failed in his efforts. And I think the Ukrainians have developed well-planned initiatives here that are moving into the east, as well as the south. There's a multiple-pronged initiative that's going on here. And the Russians, frankly, are not standing up. They're basically depleted, and they're falling back.

So I think we are looking at clearly continuing effort by Ukraine to push the Russians out of their country.

CABRERA: How important is the timing of these Ukrainian advances, up here, down here in the south, especially before winter, when the battlefield will literally change?

PANETTA: I think it's extremely important.

Russia just went through the act of pretending to annex those areas, now appointing new heads of those various areas. But the bottom line is, they're not in control. They're not in control.

And even though their forces are depleted now, and they do have the possibility of trying to apply some of their newly mobilized forces, I think the problem is that they're failing at that as well. I mean, they're fighting a two-front war, not only in Ukraine, but in Russia. And they're finding it very difficult to be able to mobilize individuals. And they're talking about training them by putting them on a shooting range for a little while and throwing them into combat.

They will not be properly prepared for combat. So I think Ukraine has a clear advantage right now in terms of this war.

CABRERA: Zelenskyy says Ukraine will not stop until it retakes all Ukrainian land, including Crimea, which was annexed in 2014. What do you think? Is Crimea in play here?

PANETTA: I think President Zelenskyy is the one to make that decision. It is his country.

Ukraine did consists of the Crimea, as well as these other areas that the Russians are claiming is now part of Russia. We know that Ukraine has put up a very courageous fight for their country, and they're going to continue to do it. So I think there's no question that Ukraine has the advantage now.


But we also shouldn't kid ourselves. There's probably a lot of fighting, that still remains. Some of these areas are going to be more difficult to be able to take. But, right now, there's no question that they have the advantage.

CABRERA: Is there a scenario you can see where Putin can lose this war, but stay in power?

PANETTA: I do not see Putin being able to remain in power unless he can claim some kind of phony victory in Ukraine.

And that would mean that he'd have to take an off-ramp very soon that would allow him to try to maintain some control of some of the areas that are there. But my sense is that Putin is not willing to negotiate at this point.

My intelligence friends all make clear that Putin will continue to double down. And, ultimately, what that means is that we are still going to have a prolonged war in the Ukraine. Hopefully, the Ukrainians can ultimately push the Russians out of Ukraine. That probably is the principal goal right now.

CABRERA: Right, but would Putin ever accept defeat or except scaling his objectives back? Or is this -- I think, in the back of my mind, we all worry what's -- what could come if he is forced to do something more drastic than he's done at this point in order to not accept defeat.

What does that look like? Are you worried about nukes?

PANETTA: Well, look, there's only one thing that Putin understands.

He's not somebody who is interested in diplomacy. He's not interested in negotiation. The only way to deal with Putin is by force. And that's exactly what the Ukrainians are doing, which means they're going to continue this effort to try to push the Russians out.

At some point, Putin has to make a decision whether or not he is going to try to find an off-ramp to be able to protect some semblance of a victory there that he can proclaim, or whether he's going to be defeated. If he is totally defeated, then I don't see any way that Putin can survive in Russia.

So the real question is whether Putin wants to survive or whether he wants to ultimately end his regime.

CABRERA: And that's coming from a man who has met with Putin face to face, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Thank you so much for taking time to join us today.

PANETTA: Thank you.

CABRERA: And we have this just in to CNN about the federal records recovered from Mar-a-Lago.

A federal appeals court has decided to expedite a case over the legality of having a special master oversee this review of documents.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz has this new reporting for us.

Katelyn, tell us what you're learning.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Ana, the Justice Department had wanted the federal appeals court to take a look at everything that Judge Aileen Cannon in South Florida has done so far related to all of those documents that were seized at Mar-a- Lago.

And now the appeals court, the 11th Circuit, is saying they're going to look at it and they're going to make a decision. We have been talking about appeals a lot lately. There was this SCOTUS petition just from the Trump team, but that's only about a part of the special master process, what the Justice Department is doing, just about those 100 documents?

What this is today is the 11th Circuit coming in and saying, we're going to look at the whole thing, the big question. Can there be a special master? Can Donald Trump's team have the opportunity to come in here and to try and fight to keep certain records taken out of Mar- a-Lago out of the potential investigation, out of the evidence pool?

Now there's a schedule set by this appeals court, and they're going to be teed up to make a decision as early as the end of next month, November -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK, this is a quick-moving story.

Katelyn Polantz, thank you for that update.

Police have released some new details in their hunt for a potential serial killer in California. We have the latest on that.

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