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Republicans Trying to Contain Georgia Senate Race Scandal; Liz Truss Hopes Speech Can Rebuild Confidence Among Tories; U.S. Says It's Helping Iranians Navigate Internet Blackout; New Video Released of Person of Interest in 6 Killings; EU Could Mandate Single Charger for All Devices. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 05, 2022 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with top stories at this hour.

U.S. President Joe Biden will arrive in Florida in the coming hours to survey the damage left from hurricane Ian. The storm killed at least 105 people in Florida. That number could rise as officials continue to search for survivors.

The U.S. and South Korea conducted four missile tests off the Korean Peninsula. This show of force comes a day after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan. Much more ahead on both of these stories on "EARLY START."

Now the U.S. mid-term elections are five weeks away, but in the battleground state of Georgia early voting begins in less than two weeks. The state is now home to a growing scandal in the Senate race that has Republicans in damage control mode. They are rallying around former football star and Republican nominee Herschel Walker who is accused of paying for his then girlfriend to have an abortion. Walker is in a tight race against incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. CNN's Manu Raju reports on this story.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Herschel Walker's Senate campaign now reeling, up ended by an explosive report alleging the staunch anti-abortion Republican paid for a girlfriend to get the procedure for a child that conceived 13 years ago.

HERSCHEL WALKER, (R) GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I never pay for an abortion and it's a lie.

RAJU (voice-over): Walker stayed behind closed doors on Tuesday with his aides refusing to disclose his schedule, even after they initially agreed to say where he would campaign this week. CNN, however, did obtain an invitation to an event hosted by Prayer Warriors for Herschel at a Baptist church in Atlanta. But CNN was not allowed to cover the event or wait in the parking lot. Even as a leading conservative activist Ralph Reed came outside to defend the candidate.

RALPH REED, FAITH & FREEDOM COALITION: I will promise you this, the voters of Georgia are going to reject this kind of gutter politics.

RAJU: Can you tell Herschel Walker that he should come out here and answer these questions himself?

REED: This is a closed event. It's a prayer event with faith leaders.

RAJU (voice-over): According to The Daily Beast, Walker in 2009 reimbursed his then girlfriend $700 for the cost of the abortion. The woman was not named and CNN has not verified the report. But The Daily Beast reported obtaining a bank deposit slip with a copy of Walker's personal check and a get well card signed by H, telling the woman pray you are feeling better.

H. WALKER: I sent out so many get well, send out so much of anything. But I can tell you right now I never asked anyone to get an abortion.

RAJU (voice-over): One of Walker's sons, Christian Walker lashing out publicly against his father.

CHRISTIAN WALKER, HERSCHEL WALKER SON: Don't lie on the lives you've destroyed and act like you're some moral family man.

RAJU (voice-over): While Walker tweeted, I love my son no matter what.

RAJU: Can you respond to Christian Walker saying this is a lie, sir?

REED: I gave my statement.

RAJU (voice-over): Like so many battleground states, the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade putting abortion front and center especially for suburban women.

SUSAN SEGAL, GEORGIA VOTER: Abortion is certainly a driving issue for me.

RAJU (voice-over): Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent tapping into the issue at a campaign event outside of Atlanta.

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): The patient's room is too small and cramped, the space for a woman, her doctor and the United States government, that's just too many people in the room.

RAJU (voice-over): But the freshman Democrats sidestepping questions about the stories impact on the race.

RAJU: Senator, do you believe the Daily Beast story?

WARNOCK: I honestly haven't had a chance to look at it.

RAJU (voice-over): Warnock and his allies have already spent $76 million on ads here about $10 million more than the GOP attacking Walker's complicated past. But Republicans are hoping Warnock's ties to an unpopular President Biden and concerns over inflation and crime --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raphael Warnock he chose felons over Georgia families.

RAJU (voice-over): -- will be enough to overcome Walker's problems.

DAVID GOULD, GEORGIA VOTER: I don't agree with Warnock's philosophy.

RAJU (voice-over): Walker, keeping Biden at an arm's length.

RAJU: Do you think Joe Biden should run for reelection?

WARNOCK: Part of the problem in American politics is too much of the conversations about the politicians.

RAJU (voice-over): Manu Raju, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: Today is Liz Truss's day in the spotlight at a Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, England. But instead of celebrating her new role as British Prime Minister, she is actually fighting for her political life. A series of missteps on the economy have brought criticism from Labour and Tories alike. Let's go straight to CNN's Bianca Nobilo standing by for us at the Tory party conference. Bianca, this really is the speech of her life.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the key moment and if you can hear a little hubbub in the background, Max, that's because delegates are starting to make their way towards the room where Truss will be addressing the conference. And the stakes couldn't be higher.

This has been an unqualified political disaster for the Prime Minister and the government. From U-turns to cabinet members openly breaking ranks which is highly unusual, yet you get the rebellious back benchers. That's not that strange. But when your own cabinet is coming out against your policies instead of pushing you into a corner, that's very unusual. So, Truss will need to try and unite the party in her speech today. After what has been such a difficult conference for her. Although according to what she's telling people in the British media, she's still enjoying being Prime Minister.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you enjoying being Prime Minister?

LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I am. It's a challenging role. It's a challenging time, but what I am focused on is delivering for the British people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it harder than you thought?

TRUSS: I came in with very clear expectations that this was a tough time for our country. But I am prepared to do what it takes to get us through these difficult times, to get us through this difficult winter and to come out stronger as a country. Thank you.


NOBILO: So, Max, the Prime Minister will -- according to people I've been speaking to -- need to show some contrition and apologize or at least acknowledge this U-turn that's occurred. And perhaps say that she was so impatient to get growth going that it wasn't well briefed to the markets, that it wasn't well argued to the party and the country at large.

But she really has her work cut out for her. And as an MP was saying to me yesterday, when a politician shows you who they are, you usually have to believe them the first time. They don't believe that lurking beneath the actions of the last month is a very different politician that's been hiding this charisma, this ability to unite and take the political temperature. So, a lot is at stake today with this speech, Max. And basically, nobody that I've spoken to thinks that however good it might be relatively speaking, that it will be able to offset the damage that's been done here in Birmingham this week.

FOSTER: OK, back with you later, Bianca, when that speech takes place.

Now the U.S. and EU are closer to imposing new sanctions against Iran over its violent response to antigovernment demonstrations.

These are students in Iran chanting anti-government slogans. For weeks tens of thousands of protesters have held nationwide rallies outraged over the death of a 22-year-old woman who died after being arrested by morality police for allegedly wearing a hijab incorrectly.

Meanwhile, a key social media platforms have gone dark in Iran. The U.S. says it's trying to help Iranians communicate throughout the blackout but activists say those efforts aren't enough. CNN's Katie Polglase explains.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER (voice-over): As protesters took to the streets of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, video clips of this uprising began to flood the internet, making sure the world saw and heard the desire for change. But then it went dark.

ALP TOKER, DIRECTOR, NETBLOCKS: Starting with Instagram, then WhatsApp and LinkedIn.

POLGLASE (voice-over): NetBlocks is one of the global leaders on internet monitoring. They quickly observed alarming activity in Iran.

TOKER: What's been astounding is the variety of internet restrictions and disruptions that have been put in place.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Users inside Iran confirmed the shutdown, sending CNN screenshots of the sites they couldn't access.

The Iranian government has a long history of restricting the internet. Protests in 2019 prompted the most severe shutdown to date, an attempt to hide from the world of violent crackdown on dissent.

But the Iranian people have become experts at finding workarounds. A young tech-savvy population, vast numbers of them use VPNs, virtual private networks. Now even this might be difficult. This teenager told us via text from inside Iran that the government is disabling VPNs one by one. However, the obstacles Iranians face have come not just from their own government but also from the international community.

For the last decade, U.S. sanctions led many major tech companies to withdraw from Iran completely. Mahsa Alimardani is an internet researcher focusing on freedom of expression online in Iran.

MAHSA ALIMARDANI, SENIOR INTERNET RESEARCHER AT ARTICLE 19: There is a massive, you know, a population of Iranian technologists, Iranian developers, who rely on certain services like Google Cloud platform or Google app engine. So, this has been basically blocked from the U.S. side because of sanctions.


And it has had a detrimental impact.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Activists say that removing alternatives for Iranian users has actually bolstered the Iranian government's efforts to set up a national internet.

ALIMARDANI: Infrastructure stays local, the data stays local, the ability for the authorities to censor and control, what's going on, on the internet remains centralized into their hands.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Following the latest protest, the U.S. Treasury finally announced updates to their sanctions in order to encourage tech companies to operate in Iran.

ALIMARDANI: It's been almost 10 years that Iranians have had to wait for this update in the license. And while better late than never, it has been a belated action by the U.S. government. And so, there has been a lot of harm done in the interim.

POLGLASE (voice-over): The onus is now on tech companies to act. Many large tech firms including Google and Meta have said they plan to open up new services to Iran after the U.S. announcement. But activists say they're doing a fraction of what's possible.

AMIR RASHIDI, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL RIGHTS AND SECURITY, MIAAN GROUP: Iran is kind of isolated. So, we need to break that isolation. So, we need to see more help coming from other big tech companies like Google.

ALIMARDANI: The crucial services really have not been worked on yet. So, there's a lot to be desired.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Google told CNN, ongoing legal or technical barriers may block the provision of certain services but we are exploring whether additional products might be made available. Meanwhile, those inside Iran remained frustrated at the inaction. This young Iranian told CNN, tech companies were restricting them and not the government.

Katie Polglase, CNN, London.


FOSTER: CNN has contacted the U.S. and Iranian governments for comment but has yet to receive a response.

New footage of a possible serial killer in Stockton, California. What police are saying about these deadly shootings next.



FOSTER: The U.S. state of Massachusetts is shutting down the Cape Cod facility which has been housing migrants flown in from Texas. Authorities say 14 of the 49 people staying there have already left for other opportunities. The rest are expected to leave this week.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has come under intense criticism from Democrats for flying the migrants from Texas to Florida and then onto the resort island of Martha's Vineyard.

California authorities have a person of interest in the custody of the kidnapping of a family of four. Police say an 8-month-old girl and her family have been missing since Monday. Investigators became aware of their disappearance after finding a car belonging to one of them on fire. The child's uncle is also missing and investigators say the family was taken against their will.


SHERIFF VERNON WARNKE, MERCED COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: So far, we have no idea why the kidnapping. We have no motivation behind it. We just know that they are gone. We've got evidence to indicate that the individuals involved in this destroyed evidence in an attempt to cover their tracks.


FOSTER: Well, authorities say the 48-year-old person of interest attempted to take his own life before being taken into custody.

Meanwhile, authorities in Stockton, California, have released new video of a person of interest in six killings. But police emphasize that the person is not seen committing any crimes on camera. Authorities are asking the public for help and they've increased the reward to $125,000. CNN's Josh Campbell reports.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A series of homicides is prompting fears of a possible serial killer in northern California. Six in all according to police. Police posted this image of a person of interest in the shootings saying it's unclear whether it's a possible witness or suspect. Five people killed in Stockton were shot between July 8th and September 27th in similar areas according to police.

CHIEF STAN MCFADDEN, STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Dimly lit close to the apartment. They're overshadowed by trees. There are places where there's not a lot of surveillance cameras, which means either this person or persons were very lucky with choosing where they're going or they're doing their homework.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Now police have linked the Stockton homicides to two early morning shootings to April of last year in nearby Oakland. In those shootings a man died and a 46-year-old woman survived.

KEVIN LINCOLN, STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA MAYOR: We're examining this case from every angle. We don't know if there is one individual or if there is a series of individuals that are responsible.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Police say they're now focusing on key commonalties in all the shootings.

MCFADDEN: It wasn't a robbery. Items aren't being stolen. That they're not talking about any gang activity in the area or anything, it's just element of surprise.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Tom O'Connor is a retired senior FBI agent who worked the 2002 D.C. sniper manhunt investigation and says police will look for links between all of the crime scenes.

THOMAS O'CONNOR, FORMER FBI AGENT: Transfer evidence is what you bring to a crime scene, and in very, very few cases does a person who is committing a crime not leave something behind.

CAMPBELL(voice-over): The California town now living with grief and fear. Jerry Lopez visited the neighborhood where his brother Lorenzo was gunned down.

JERRY LOPEZ, HIS BROTHER WAS GUNNED DOWN: My mother and father were just heartbroken from this. I wish I could have watched out for him.

CAMPBELL: And like so many shootings we covered, police say this came down to ballistics and tying together these various crime scenes. And that's because a firearm will leave unique markings on a bullet as it exits the weapon, as well as from the expended shell casings. And of course, police say that identifying the weapon that was used is only one aspect here. They need to find the person or persons who are responsible for this shooting. Their reward now, up to $115,000. Police pleading with the public for tips. They need to stop this person or group of people before they strike again.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOSTER: Tributes are pouring in for country music legend Loretta Lynn who passed away on Tuesday.


LORETTA LYNN, SINGER: When I was born a coal miner's daughter, in a cabin on a hill in butcher holler ...


FOSTER: Lynn was a queen of country music for seven decades even though she had no formal music training. Her best known songs drew from her life and marriage. She documented her upbringing in the best- selling 1976 memoir "Coal Miner's Daughter" which was turned into a film by the same name. Lynn reported her 50th and final album last year. Her family said she died peacefully at her home in Tennessee. Loretta Lynn was 90 years old.


LYNN: When I was born a coal miner's daughter, in a cabin on a hill in butcher holler ...





ALEX AGIUS SALIBA, RAPPORTEUR, COMMON CHARGING LAW: Today, we are replacing this file of charges with just this. The simplest solutions are often the best and most practical ones.


FOSTER: An EU official there speaking on new rules approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday which will force all electronics makers to use USB-C chargers for small and medium devices in the coming years. The move was also seen as a way to eliminate waste and cable clutter. CNN's Brian Fung has more.


BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: The days of hunting for the right charging cable may soon be over, at least in Europe. By 2024 all new electronic devices sold in the EU will have to use the same USB charging standard no matter who makes the device. That means gadgets like smart phones, tablets, portable speakers and hand held video game consoles will all use interchangeable chargers and cables. That's thanks to new rules that European lawmakers gave their final blessing to this week.

The coming law will also apply to laptop chargers starting in 2026. It's a huge change for consumers who may be struggling with a mess of cables and adapters in their homes that only work with specific devices. But maybe the biggest change will be for Apple which will be forced to stop using its proprietary charging connector known as "Lightning" in its EU mobile devices.


According to EU lawmakers, Apple devices with lightning connectors made up almost 1 in 5 mobile phone purchases in Europe in 2019. Apple has said the new rules on charging could render as many as a billion devices obsolete. Still, industry analysts say Apple remains enormously popular in Europe and that sales are strong.

Brian Fung, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen have hired divorce attorneys and are exploring their options. That's what a U.S. -- a source rather -- close to the couple tell CNN. The seven time Super Bowl champion and his super model wife have been married since 2009 but recently began living separately. The 45-year-old Brady retired from the NFL in February only to reverse that decision. In an interview with "Elle" magazine last month, Bundchen said she had concerns about her husband's return to the game.

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge made history on Tuesday. Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season breaking Roger Maris' American League record. It came against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Judge sent the ball into the left field seats drawing applause from Rangers fans. One fan was seen jumping or falling over the left field wall trying to get the ball. After the game Judge said he felt relieved his chase for the record is now over.


AARON JUDGE, NEW YORK YANKEES OUTFIELDER: I had a good feeling off the bat. You know, I just didn't know where it was going to land or what it was going to hit. You know, there's a good sense of relief once I saw it land in that fan's glove and, you know, we're up 1-0.


FOSTER: Well, it's unclear where the record-setting ball is right now. Judge said he would love to get it back but the fan who caught it has every right to keep it as a souvenir as well.

Thanks for joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans is next.