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Rockets Or Missiles Said To Land In Poland, Near Ukrainian Border; Infighting Grows As Republicans Inch Closer To House Majority; Trump's Big Announcement Expected To Be On 2024 Bid. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired November 15, 2022 - 14:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Alison Camerata. And we are following breaking news out of Poland where a rocket has reportedly landed in Poland.

BLACKWELL: Let's go right now to Sam Kiley in Ukraine. Sam, what do you know?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Alisyn, just in the last hour or so, we've had confirmation from Polish authorities of a very, very dramatic and potentially inflammatory moment in history really, which is that two projectiles of some kind rockets, missiles, we don't know exactly what. We also critically don't know who fired them, but we do know that they landed in Polish territory, very close to the border with Ukraine in farmland hitting a grain store and reportedly killing two Polish citizens or residents. Now, this is a very dramatic potential escalation, obviously, because Poland is a NATO country.

There were ongoing cruise missile attacks being carried out in the west of Ukraine close to Poland's border at the time that these projectiles landed on Polish territory. It is conceivable that they are Russian missiles. It's equally conceivable at this stage that they could be the spent rockets of anti-aircraft missiles fired by Ukrainians. So, that is somewhat less likely on a technical level.

But this is all automatically effectively triggered a meeting of the equivalent of the National Security Council inside the Polish Government who are meeting now to decide how to react and what to say to this dramatic moment. There is the worst case scenario from many people's perspective, a chance that the Poles might be inclined to apply to NATO for all for one and one for all type support on a military level in this in terms of wanting to go for retaliation. I think that's extremely unlikely. But this is and will be seen as a very dramatic escalation, a spreading of the war outside of the borders of Russia and Ukraine, Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Sam, how long will it take for them to figure out where the missiles came from?

KILEY: I don't think it'll be very long at all. From judging by the photographs of the debris on site and based on my own albeit unscientific experience, it's pretty easy to identify the provenance of spent missiles from the remains of the engine type, what remains of the explosive types, and very often, there are at least part serial numbers that can at least identify to whom they were originally supplied. There would -- could be some confusion in that both the Russians -- excuse me, and the Ukrainians use very similar types of equipment but ultimately, I don't think it would be very difficult for the Poles to find out pretty soon where these missiles or projectiles came from.

And then it will be a very important process of figuring out the level of the deliberate nature -- whether or not there was a deliberate intent to try and penetrate Polish airspace, which is extremely unlikely. But perhaps, whether there was a disregard for the consequences of the dangers that penetrating Polish airspace might pose for Russia if indeed these are Russian missiles. But above all, it does signal and we've -- many of us who've been covering this war now. I've been covering it now for -- I don't know, close to six months on and off. One of the issues that has always been looming very, very large is when Russia fires its missiles and particularly its cruise missiles on cities like Lviv, they're very, very close to Poland's border. There is a great deal of room for a catastrophic accident that could ignite a fire that could be very, very difficult to put out.

I have to say that in this case, it is likely that Poles will react with extreme rage and horror if this is a Russian weapon or something or an incident that they're blaming on the Russians. But I think it's extremely unlikely that they would want to try and trigger some more military options. But it is a country that is pretty militant in its support for Ukraine. They are very keen to increase the amount of weaponry from their own stocks that they can supply to Ukraine, and this certainly would play into the hands of people who support that argument inside Poland.


BLACKWELL: Sam, you touched on this just a bit but these two rockets or missiles -- these two projectiles, they land in Poland as we're seeing this escalated missile campaign from the Russians in some pretty important and populated areas of Ukraine.

KILEY: Yes, right across the country. Here in Kryvyi Rih which I'm pretty much sort of in the middle to the south of the country, there have been sirens, there's been a lot of anti-aircraft activity. We're not exactly sure what the detonations are, whether it's incoming or outgoing missiles, two missile -- two residential buildings were hit in Kyiv with at least two people killed there in Kharkiv. Very, very bad effects on the electrical supply system around the whole nation that according to the government, they're saying that 7 million Ukrainians are now without electricity as a result of this latest several series of salvos of cruise missiles, and quite probably the long range-drones supplied by Iran to Russia.

Again, this is the second devastating attack on the critical national infrastructure, particularly in the electrical infrastructure of Ukraine since the beginning of October and indeed, this one, according to President Zelenskyy was on a scale that exceeded the last one back at the beginning of October.

CAMEROTA: Sam Kiley, thank you very much for all this breaking news. Obviously, will check back with you as you point out this has international implications for what has just happened. CNN's senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt joins us now. Alex, what have you learned?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, significant international implications, Alisyn and Victor. And of course, the big question right now is a question over Article Five, as Sam was just describing it as an all-for-one, one for all, of course, as you know well when NATO is attacked. The fundamental basis of the NATO charter is that when one nation in NATO is attacked that the others will come to its aid in a military conflict. So, the biggest question that is going to be tried to answer now is the question of intent.

We do know, of course, that Russia was intending to strike Ukraine today in a very significant way, scores of missiles raining down all across Ukraine from the east coast -- from the eastern side of the country, where of course, so much of the fighting is happening all the way to Lviv in the West, which has been relatively quiet. Relatively, I should say, since the start of the conflict. There have been some attacks around Lviv, there have been strikes on military installations, there have been strikes on civilian and energy infrastructure but for the most part, the western side of Ukraine has been relatively spared in this conflict.

So, the question now, did Russia go too far, and did they make a mistake? Did they overshoot what they intended to with those missiles landing in Poland, or did they actually intend to strike Poland? That is less likely and you would have to hope that in this moment that Russia is trying to make assurances to Poland and to the rest of NATO that that was not their intent. We do not know that for now. We are certainly making a lot of calls right now to our sources at the White House, at the Pentagon, in the intelligence community to try to figure out what that intent by Russia was.

But President Joe Biden has made it clear and he has said repeatedly since the beginning of this war that the U.S. and the rest of the countries in NATO would come to the aid of NATO countries would -- if they were to be attacked. Take a listen to this from President Biden in just in September, just a couple of weeks ago.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is fully prepared with our NATO allies to defend every single inch of NATO territory, every single. So, Mr. Putin, don't misunderstand what I'm saying. Every inch. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: So, as we try to get more details about what exactly happened in Poland, what the number of casualties are, we do know that there has been a national security meeting that has been convened by the Polish government, you can certainly imagine that the Poles both here in Washington, as well as in Warsaw are calling their NATO counterparts, likely calling Moscow as well to try to figure out what on earth happened here and to get a sense of what will come next. Again, it is really a question of whether Article Five, is part of that conversation and whether the Russians are making any kind of assurances right now that this was indeed a mistake, Alisyn, and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring into the conversation now CNN's chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour. With this report of two projectiles now landing in Poland, reports of two people killed, how does this change this war this landscape?


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, firstly, Victor, we have called our sources inside the government in Poland and an official has told us at this moment that "nothing is confirmed and we are investigating." So, that's about as high up and as face-to- face, as we've been able to get with an actual government official in Poland. So, you know, before we know what might happen, we know -- we need to know exactly what has happened. And I think that that is what we're obviously all trying to figure out and get the best information we possibly can. But it is absolutely clear that if there was a --

CAMEROTA: Christiane, hold on one second, the Pentagon is talking about it right now. Let's take this.


PAT RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: This further. And so when we do have an update to provide, we'll be sure to do so. Separately, one year ago this month, families of O'ahu who faced a crisis when fuel spills at the Red Hill --


BLACKWELL: That's the ending remarks of the Pentagon statement on this. We were obviously coming into it late. I -- look, trust the control -- the control room to get me any headline from that but, Christiane, let me come back to you on the point you were making that before we know what happens next, we have to know what has already happened. Continue your thought there.

AMANPOUR: Well, from the very, you know, small snippet we got of the Pentagon spokesman there, it appears that they too are not ready to confirm what happened. Again, I think that's what we heard. And if the control room can tell you exactly what he said, that'll be good. But it does seem to be an amount of confusion right now. And you can imagine why. This is, you know, a sort of a nightmare scenario because of all the red lines that NATO leaders, including the United States, clearly the president and NATO Secretary General and all the NATO countries surrounding there have made it very clear that if "one square inch of a NATO country is attacked, then that will invoke Article Five, and that will invoke a response from all 30 NATO nations." That's what Article Five means. So, we really do have to wait and see exactly what it was.

And I would assume that there's a lot of phone calling, there's a lot of hotlines that are being tapped right now. We know that there's a national security meeting called by the Poles themselves. They will be discussing. They are right, as we know, bang up against this war. They provide the conduit for NATO weapons and help to Ukraine and they're -- and they're right there.

So, if Russia is busy sending salvos of dozens and dozens of missiles -- I mean, it did almost seem a matter of time where one of these would go either astray or in the waste -- worst case scenario would be deliberately targeted at a potential weapons transport hub in one of those countries. That is what Russia has threatened in the past. In fact, Sergey Lavrov himself threatened it not so long ago. Lavrov himself has been with President Biden and all the G20 leaders in Indonesia. I'm afraid I don't know that state of play right now, whether they're all there together. But presumably, he can give some answers if he's -- if he's still there.

The other thing to note is that you know, internally inside Russia, there has been a lot of division between the Kremlin, between the military, between the bloggers, who have a huge impact, between people there who have said that Russia has not taken the war hard enough to Ukraine yet, and sort of goading Putin, goading the military into taking further stands. So, who does one call right now?

Presumably, obviously, we know that the CIA director Bill Burns has recently been in touch and face to face meeting with his Russian counterpart in Turkey to talk precisely about this kind of escalation on wishing or otherwise on many fronts, we understand, according to reports over the weekend. So, he is the last one who we know has had this very close contact with a very important Russian official, maybe we'll get some answers from there. President Biden, as I said, has been in Indonesia in the same meetings as the Russian Foreign Minister. Maybe there are answers to be gotten there.

But at the moment, it is -- it is something that we're waiting to see how we can confirm and what exactly was Russia's intent. It's being said that these -- it's being blamed on Russia. We'll wait to see exactly what transpires.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're waiting to hear from several players here, the Russians, the Ukrainians, the leaders there in Poland, as well as here in the United States. Christiane, Sam, Alex, thank you. Of course, we'll continue to get the latest on this breaking news as it comes in.

[14:15:01] CAMEROTA: OK. Meanwhile, back here, happening at this moment, House Republicans meeting behind closed doors and holding leadership elections. We're going to have a live update from Capitol Hill and of course, keep you posted on the breaking news out of Poland.


CAMEROTA: Republicans appear to be on the cusp of gaining control of the House of Representatives, but that potential victory comes with continued infighting over their lower-than-expected showing in the midterms. One Trump-supporting Senator says this marks the death of the Republican Party.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, (R-MO): I think that this election was the funeral for the Republican Party as we know it. The Republican Party is as we have known it is dead. And voters have made that clear. We need to have a conversation about our core convictions of the party. And clearly, this party is going to have to -- actually, it's going to have to be different, or we're not going to be a majority party in this country.



BLACKWELL: And we're just getting this in. Kevin McCarthy has been nominated for House Speaker by his conference, the vote there, 188 to 31. CNN's chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju joins us now. 31 people who do not support McCarthy for Speaker, what are you learning?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. This happened behind closed doors. It's a secret ballot election, Kevin McCarthy was nominated by the House Republican Conference on a vote of 188 to 31. Now, a little bit about these vote numbers. In order to get -- become the Speaker of the House in January, he will need 218 votes to become speaker. 31 members at this conference voted instead for Andy Biggs. He's the conservative member of the House Freedom Caucus, someone who tried to challenge McCarthy knowing full well he did not have the votes to be nominated to become a speaker but wanted to demonstrate that McCarthy did not have the 218 votes here to try to force concessions, try to get -- for McCarthy as they try to negotiate as McCarthy tries to push ahead and lock down the votes he needs in January to become -- ultimately become Speaker of the House assuming Republicans regain control of the House.

Now, it is not unusual for a speaker nominee to be under 218 votes. In fact, Nancy Pelosi in 2018 when she was nominated by Democrats to be the speaker, she got 203 votes in that race, Paul Ryan, the Republican in 2015 got 200 votes in his race, and in this race, Kevin McCarthy, 188. So, he still has work cut out for him ultimately to get the speaker's gavel. But at the moment, he got what he needed, which is half the Republican conference to get that nomination. And that means that he will be coming here the first weekend -- first week in January, it will be up to the full House to determine whether or not he gets that job, assuming Republicans regain control, guys.

CAMEROTA: OK, Manu, tell us about what's happening in the Senate. Is Mitch McConnell in a fight?

RAJU: Well, Republicans in the Senate are still behind closed doors as they have met for the first time since their disappointing election results from last week when they failed to take back the Senate Majority. Republicans have a bit of a soul-searching session. And some of them have called for a replacement, a new leader, or at least put on the brakes on the Wednesday leadership elections on the Senate side, which McConnell has the votes right now to once again be re- elected as leader. And in speaking to one Republican, Josh Hawley, told me earlier that he does not believe that McConnell is the leader to take them back to the majority. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) against leader McConnell for Republican leader, will you support him?


RAJU: What's the problem of having McConnell as the leader for another two years?

HAWLEY: Well, I mean, if you liked the election results, then I guess there is no problem. But if you want to be a majority problem -- majority party, clearly what we're doing isn't working and hasn't been working for a long time. And I think you've looked at independent voters -- I mean, we gave them nothing, no alternative. That was the decision by leadership. They didn't want to have an agenda.

RAJU: So, you don't think he could get you back to the majority?



RAJU: But there aren't enough votes to dethrone Mitch McConnell, who he will have the votes tomorrow, and then he will be the longest- serving party leader in Senate history. And at the moment, it's unclear if you'll face even a challenger. Rick Scott, the Republican from Florida has kept open the option of running. But if he were to run, it would be a protest of vote of sorts, not enough to derail McConnell, but just a lot of consternation within the Republican conference about what to do next as they fell short of the Senate Majority and could potentially see Democrats regain -- actually gain one seat if they take back Georgia in the runoff election next month, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right, Manu Raju for us there on Capitol Hill, thank you, Manu.

CAMEROTA: OK, now to Donald Trump's announcement tonight from Mar-a- Lago. The former president is expected to launch his third campaign for president but of course, anything is possible. CNN's Gabby Orr is here. So, Gabby, Donald Trump is still moving forward from all reports, despite more Republicans speaking out opposing his 2024 run.

GABBY ORR, CNN REPORTER: That's right. Victor and Alisyn, every indication that we're getting from Trump's own orbit is that tonight will mark the launch of his 2024 presidential campaign. He is hoping that this moment that deciding to launch this right now instead of waiting until early next year, which is the traditional timing for presidential wannabes that this is going to help shift the conversation away from Republican failures during the midterm elections and inject enthusiasm into the Republican base. Now, a lot of Republicans are skeptical that that is going to actually occur and quite frankly, have been very outspoken in not wanting Donald Trump to proceed with the 2024 announcement this evening.


Our colleague, Manu Raju, spoke with senators on Capitol Hill this morning, some of whom said that they would like to see what other Republicans enter the GOP primary in the coming months before committing to support Trump, others saying that they would really like to see fresh leadership for the party moving forward. But Trump and his advisers are convinced that the timing is right, that he will proceed with this bid tonight hoping to galvanize his supporters and to send a message to potential Republican rivals that he's jumping in early and that he is the automatic front-runner that he is still the anchor of the Republican Party and anybody who wants to challenge him will have to face the sort of traditional vitriol that he has aimed at his rivals previously.

And we have seen that play out over the past week as he has lashed out at people like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, two Republicans who could potentially pose challenges to Trump in a contested 2024 primary.

CAMEROTA: OK, Gabby Orr, thank you for the latest.

BLACKWELL: A critical win for Democrats in Arizona. CNN projects that Katie Hobbs beat Republican Kari Lake in the governor's race by fewer than 20,000 votes. This was also another major defeat for 2020 election deniers.

CAMEROTA: Lake repeatedly called the 2020 election rigged and said she would not have certified Joe Biden's win if -- in Arizona if she had been governor at the time. Lake has still not conceded the race. She tweeted overnight "Arizonans know BS when they see it." Let's talk about all of this with CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, along with former Trump White House official, Gavin Smith, great to have both of you.


CAMEROTA: Let's just start first with Donald Trump's likely announcement tonight, Gavin. If Donald Trump announces that he's running for president tonight, what do you predict the response from elected Republicans will be because they go back and forth on how they feel about Donald Trump and from the general public? GAVIN SMITH, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: Well, I think it's absolutely laughable as you guys just highlighted that they think that this announcement is going to inject anything but enthusiasm into the party because quite frankly, it's going to divide the party even further. Look, when I worked for Donald Trump, you know, back in 2016, I traveled all around the country with him. And when he closed to every rally or fundraiser, he always said that we're going to get so sick and tired of winning, that they're just going to ask him to stop.

But I think after four years of Trump's presidency and two years of absolute chaos since he's left the White House, the only thing that people are really getting tired of is Donald Trump and the -- and the losses that he continues to inflict on the Republican Party. So, I think that brings us to a point where we need to really enter a period of introspection and decide who are we as a party and are leaders leading us in the right direction. Because it's clear Donald Trump isn't.

BLACKWELL: Gloria, are you seeing evidence that -- or evidence of some loosening of this grip Trump had on elected members of the party that you didn't see after the insurrection or after the 2018 or 2020 losses that this disappointing finish is doing what those other events could not?

BORGER: Yes, I am seeing a lot more loosening. I mean, after January 6, at first, a lot of politicians like Lindsey Graham, for example, said, you know, I've had enough. Kevin McCarthy himself went to the floor of the House and said Donald Trump was to blame for the insurrection. Now -- and then they both changed their minds and became great supporters of Donald Trump.

Now, what you're seeing is a party that is afraid they're going to lose in the future. So, this is about self-preservation. This is about self-interest. I mean, you ran a clip with Manu of Josh Hawley, who was somebody who did a fist bump to the insurrectionists on January 6, and now he is saying, you know, we need new -- the party is dead. We need new leadership in the party. So, there's going to be a lot of reinvention among these Republicans who were big supporters of Donald Trump.

It's hard to measure because we haven't heard from the voters yet. We are not quite sure will his base may be a third of the Republican Party, who knows? We need to find out how his base is going to react to this and whether they're looking for someone else. And we don't know the answer to that yet.

CAMEROTA: Gavin Smith, Gloria Borger, it's great to talk to you guys. I'm sorry, we don't have much time because we have this breaking news out of Poland.

BORGER: Of Course.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much for being here.

BLACKWELL: And of course, we'll have much more on that. The rocket has reportedly landed in Poland killing two people. We'll have new details next.