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CNN This Morning

Biden, China's Xi Sit Down for First In-Person Meeting as Presidents; Zelenskyy Visits Liberated City of Kherson After Russians Leave; Midterm Voters Take Stand Against Extremism and Election Lies. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 14, 2022 - 07:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Monday morning to you, everyone. Good morning to you, good morning to you.



LEMON: It is Monday, November 14th.

And we're talking about politics. We still don't know everything. But Democrats will keep control of the Senate, but what about the House? This morning, Republicans appear to be inching closer to a majority.

HARLOW: A major sit-down also currently under way overseas. What could come from President Biden's meeting with China's leader, Xi Jinping?

COLLINS: Also right now, police are searching for a shooter this morning after three people were killed at the University of Virginia. There's a massive manhunt now under way.

LEMON: We're also live in Ukraine's newly liberated city of Kherson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The people of this city tried to resist the Russians. The Russians suppressed them. This is what Ukrainians are like when that suppression comes off.


COLLINS: We are live on the ground in Ukraine. But, first, we are going to start with the high-stakes meeting between President Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. It is their first in-person sit-down since Biden actually took office. It's happening on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

So, let's talk about none better than CNN Political and National Security Analyst, he's also White House and National Security Correspondent for The New York Times. David, good morning, and thank you for joining us.

I wonder what you are watching ahead of this summit as this meeting between Biden and Xi is under way right now.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Kaitlan, good morning and great to be on the new show with all of you. I have to say that this meeting has a lot of high-stakes to it even if you don't hear a whole lot of specific deliverables at the end.

The leaders of the world's two largest economies have never met as president. They've talked on the phone, partly that was because of COVID, but partly, Kaitlan, that was because of the spiraling relationship spiraling downward between the U.S. and China. And we are at the point right now where the relationship is probably the worst it has been since Nixon did the opening to China in the early 1970s. That's 50 years.

So, I think what we're looking for on -- out of this meeting is some understanding of what floor the two of them are willing to put under it, a little bit about Taiwan, in which the president has spoken quite aggressively in recent times, saying that the United States would, in fact, come directly to its defense, different from the way we have dealt with Ukraine, and I think from China some sense that the expansion of their nuclear arsenal is something they're willing to discuss.

HARLOW: David, your piece is great, laying all of this out this morning in The Times, but this line struck me in particular. You wrote, whether it's a partnership of convenience or robust alliance, Beijing and Moscow share a growing interest in frustrating the American agenda. Talk about that as this meeting happens.

SANGER: I think one of the least discussed parts of this, Poppy, is the fact that we have seen over the past few years a deepening of the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. There are a lot of people who believe that, in fact, those two countries do not have a lot in common and really can't bring themselves to form a true alliance.

But we had a very senior member of the Pentagon tell us last week that, in fact, he thought the alliance was coming together and that has big implications for our nuclear deterrents, for our operations around the world, for the future of Russia's confidence as it stays in Ukraine or leaves. And it also, Poppy, I think, has a big implication for whether or not the United States has to think about defending itself quite differently if it thinks it's facing a joint Russian and Chinese force. So, that's going to be a big subject along the way.

President Biden told me in a question I asked at the press conference last week that he did not believe the Chinese had much respect for Putin.

LEMON: This is really about two super powers occupying space in the world coexisting. And this is another quote from your piece. You said, this is, in a sense, the first superpower summit, the cold war version 2.0, said Evan S. Medeiros, the Georgetown professor, university professor, who was President Obama's top adviser on Asia-Pacific affairs.


And this is a quote. Will both leaders discuss, even implicitly the terms of coexistence amid competition or by default will they let loose the dogs of unconstrained rivalry? That's really the question. And what do you think it will be?

SANGER: Don, that is the question. And for the past two years it has been unrestrained rivalry. You have seen the United States try to cut off China's sources of technological supply for the most advanced semiconductors, saying this is mostly about their ability to build weaponry. But we know that that goes to the larger competitions of the future, quantum computing, artificial intelligence and so forth.

We've seen China be far more aggressive, particularly on territorial issues. You saw what happened around Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi's visit. They're trying to set new facts on the ground and at sea to keep the United States pushed back beyond that first island chain and to make sure that it's China that really rules the Pacific.

So, we're at a pretty critical moment. And having a three-way competition, Russia, China and the United States, that's something we haven't seen before, Don.

COLLINS: Absolutely, we're watching it so closely. And just the fact that Xi is more powerful now than any Chinese leader has been in so long. David Sanger, we know you'll be watching it closely. We will hear from President Biden after he leaves that meeting. Thanks for joining us.

SANGER: Thanks, Kaitlan.

HARLOW: This morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to the newly liberated city of Kherson, this is days after they were able to force out Russian troops that had occupied it. This weekend, fighters returned home, families were reunited, including this soldier with his grandmother. Watch.

Doesn't that say everything?

Our Nic Robertson is live on the ground in Kherson. Nic, that singing that we heard and all of the people behind you, this was, I'm sure, unimaginable to them for so long.

ROBERTSON: And it's still hard for it to sink in to people here. People, and I've been talking to them again today, 72 hours after that liberation, they still feel that they cannot really show their true emotions, particularly those beaten by the Russian troops, and there were plenty of those.

President Zelenskyy said he was here to send a signal that he wanted the people of this city to reconnect with the rest of the country. They put up a temporary cell phone tower over here to help people get a connection with loved ones in the country.

But, literally, the last few minutes, a truck, it's going to be hard for our cameraman, Clayton Nagel, to get around to here but you'll see a big blue truck. It just pulled around here. That big blue truck is the first humanitarian aid to be coming into this city. It is much needed. There's celebration here but there is still coming out of the darkness of Russian occupation.


ROBERTSON (voice over): The joys of Kherson's liberation keep on giving. How are you, she says. I survived her friend says, but the Russians kicked my door in and stole everything.

This city once home to more than a quarter million people is still celebrating its freedom but beginning to count the cost of the eight- month brutal occupation they endured. The city's phone and internet connection cut, residents crowding around soldiers' communications in desperate hope of contacting loved ones.

On their way out, the Russians crippled almost every vital service, electricity off, and water too. This pump close to the river bank giving water too polluted to drink. The water stopped when the power went off he says. This is the fourth day without water. But what can we do? We need to survive somehow.

The Russians even felled the city's main T.V. transmitter.

They blew it up just before leaving, a final act of punishment for a population that until days earlier they said was part of Russia and would be forever.

That same message Kherson and Russia together forever plastered on hundreds of billboards around the city is already being torn down. Why, Platon says, because eight months of occupation is not very nice.


I didn't feel very good living in fear that any moment a car could pull over near you and bring you to a very unpleasant place.

Oleksandr was unlucky enough to be taken to one of those unpleasant places and shows us around the jail he was in. He says the Russians beat him daily. They abused everyone, kept us hungry, used us as free labor to repair their military vehicles, he says. They were beating us whenever they wanted.

This is where they say Russians killed people for simply shouting out glory to Ukraine or having tattoos saying the same thing. And over here in this room, this is where they used to torture people.

The fire, Oleksandr says, started by the Russians as they left to cover up their crimes. But it is across the road in Catherine's church Russia's oddest brutality was perpetrated. The grave of Grigory Potemkin, fabled in history for building for faith villages, was looted days before the Russians left. Father Vitali takes us into the gloomy crypt, shows us where Potemkin's coffin was stolen from. He lay here for 240 years through many wars, he says. We honored him as the founder of Kherson and they took him without permission. Repairs of souls and city have only just begun.


ROBERTSON (on camera): And some of that beginning -- well, Clayton is going to pan over now to that blue truck, and already look at the people gathered at the back of that humanitarian truck here. There is no drinking water in this city. There is no electricity. There is a shortage of food. People, the water they have is polluted, as we said in that story. It is very difficult for people here. So, it's no surprise for me to see them gathered around the back of this first humanitarian truck to come into the city to see what it might offer them.

LEMON: Nic, the winter is upon us and them and that's going to impact the war.

ROBERTSON: It certainly is. The war is literally -- this town is now on the frontline, of course, the Russians just across the river. You routinely now hear barrages of outgoing fire. We were down at the river early on. You can't see the Russians on the other side but they're dug in. It seems that the winter perhaps will freeze the lines here but it's going to take some time.

The Ukrainians here, President Zelenskyy said, we're moving forward, when he was here today, said, we're moving forward, moving forward. That's still the message. They want to take more territory. But, for sure, the winter is going to be brutal and hard here at night subzero temperatures. Again, this city doesn't have heating. It gets cold here at night.

HARLOW: Wow. Nic Robertson, we are so glad you and your team are there. Thank you for that remarkable reporting.

COLLINS: And we have new video showing the moment that an explosion ripped through a packed street in Istanbul. A major pedestrian thoroughfare, the attack killed at least six people, it has injured more than 80 others. Turkish officials say that the incident is a terrorist attack and the Turkish president, Erdogan, is vowing to punish those responsible.

Police have detained 46 people, including the suspected bomber, a Syrian woman who they say entered Turkey illegally and trained with Kurdish terrorist groups. Officials say they have surveillance footage of a woman sitting on a bench for more than 40 minutes before leaving a bag behind just before the explosion happened.

So, far, no group has claimed responsibility. We are still waiting on more details. This is the deadliest attack in Turkey in more than five years.

LEMON: And here in the United States, there's an urgent manhunt at the University of Virginia going on. Three people shot and killed. A gunman believed to be a student is now on the loose and an entire campus is on lockdown.

We want to get right to CNN's Joe Johns in Charlottesville for us this morning. Joe, good morning to you. What's going on?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don. This University of Virginia, just a sprawling place in Charlottesville and it is awash in police this morning as they continue to canvas the campus in search for a killer.

The university president, Jim Ryan, put out a statement this morning saying he was heartbroken to report three people dead, two injured. Those people, of course, now being treated as the search continues. The shooting occurring around 10:30 last night Eastern Time just down the street from where I'm standing.

Authorities say that they have locked down this campus. They've told people to shelter in place. Classes have been cancelled for the day as the search continues not only for that suspect but also for the vehicle he was driving, a black SUV.



LEMON: So, Joe, again, can you talk to us more about the suspect and the possible motive? We're hearing sort of conflicting information about who he is, his relationship to the school, et cetera.

JOHNS: Right. Well, we don't have a lot of information about the motive as of yet, but what we do know is that this individual is -- his name is Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. He is said to be, according to the president, a student at the University of Virginia. And also, we believe, he was on the UVA football team, at least in 2018, although it's not clear whether he played in any games. So, there's certainly an association with the university and specifically with the athletic department, the football team.

LEMON: Joe Johns joining us from Charlottesville, Virginia, this morning. Thank you, Joe.

HARLOW: All right. This morning, Democrats are celebrating their narrow Senate majority after weekend wins in Nevada and Arizona. But a number of House races still undecided, a lot of them in California, which is fascinating too.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, the Democrats had a steep climb to maintain a majority. It's getting steeper almost but not quite vertical at this point.

Right now in the races that have been called, Republicans, we've called 212 for them, Democrats 204. You need 218 to control the House of Representatives, which means Republicans would need six. Democrats would need 14.

There are currently 19 uncalled races in the House. Let's look at where those 19 races stand. Republicans lead in ten, they only need six, Democrats lead in nine, they need 14, which means if you look at this map, Democrats need to hold every blue seat here and flip five, five of these red seats to blue.

Is there a path?

HARLOW: Is there?

BERMAN: It's tight. It's very tight. Maybe, but it's getting, as I said, more difficult.

Let's write that number five. Let's look at California very quickly. The two most promising races from Democrats where they're still trailing are California's 13th, just 84 votes separate the two, only 46 percent -- HARLOW: Wow, 84 votes.

BERMAN: Right. There's room there. They could win there. Here, California's 22nd district, almost 3,000 votes but only 39 percent in. It's still possible there.

Let me just write that down for you here. So, if you're being optimistic in giving both those seats to the Democrats, that's two. Can you get three more? That's where it gets very, very hard.

I want to look down to California's 41st congressional district. 4,000 votes separate the two. But Saturday, it was 2,000. The lead for the incumbent, Ken Calvert, is growing, only 59 percent in but going in the wrong direction for the Democrats.

Where Democrats' hearts might get broken is Arizona, okay? Quickly, in Arizona's sixth congressional district down here, again, John Ciscomani, his lead actually grew a little bit last night, going in the wrong direction for Democrats here, 93 percent in, 1,700 votes separate them.

This is the one that really is bugging Democrats this morning. You can see David Schweikert, the Republican, only 894 votes ahead. But going into the weekend, the Democrat actually led in this district by 4,000 votes.

HARLOW: And a lot, 85 percent reporting.

BERMAN: 85 percent in. Votes reported last night flipped that and now you have the David Schweikert by some.

So, you can see you're sort of stuck nationally at these two seats, they would need three more to get there. Not impossible but challenging for the Democrats.

HARLOW: Where's Pima County?

BERMAN: Pima County. You know what, I'm going to show you the governor's race here, because this is super tight. You can see Katie Hobbs, the Democrat, 2,600 ahead. Pima County is very important in this race too. Pima County is right here. You can see Katie Hobbs, the Democrat, but with a big lead there. There are still 40,000 votes to be counted. She's been getting 60 percent of the vote in Pima County. That could expand her lead.

I'll just give you one number to leave you with here in this governor's race. Kari lake would need about 58 percent of the vote that's left, 170,000 or so votes left. She needs 58 percent to overtake Katie Hobbs. He hasn't been getting in Maricopa last night. She got about 55 percent. And in Pima County, she only got about 40 percent. So, a steep climb for Kari Lake.

HARLOW: Almost vertical. Not vertical, maybe vertical in a few hours.

BERMAN: A little bit less vertical but steep.

HARLOW: Thank you, John Berman, very much.

Ahead also, we're going to be joined by the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer. He'll be here live with us at the table on CNN This Morning.

And still ahead that is story blowing all of our minds, a cryptocurrency empire imploding, the founder and CEO losing pretty much all of his fortune in one day, taking a lot of other folks down with him. What you need to know, how does this apply to you, ahead.


COLLINS: Plus, the red wave that had been predicted did not happen. We'll have Frank Luntz here to explain how pollsters got it wrong, what can be different going forward.

LEMON: You got some explaining to do there, Luntz.


LEMON: So, everyone, put down your coffee and listen to this or take a sip. I just want you to listen because this is where America is right now, and this is an inconvenient truth this morning, is that voters have show that America is over-indexing on MAGA and extremism. And voters have stepped in to push pause on the attacks against democracy and America in a historic repudiation. For example, voters rejected a candidate who called the insurrectionists who attacked America on January 6th political prisoners.

Also with so many election deniers on the ballot this year integrity was also on the ballot. 26 of them lost their races, many of whom beat out moderate voices in the primaries who potentially could have won seats for Republicans in the general.


The noteworthy part here, the rejections include pivotal secretary of state races, the winners of which will exert considerable power over how their state's elections are run. Also, many of the candidates who lost are or are in jeopardy of losing are Trump-backed candidates who adopted his anti-democracy lies. And many hinted that this was a problem for Republicans' chances in the elections.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Yes. I think the -- there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different. They're statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.


LEMON: So, now what's the outcome? More Republicans are in full self- reflection mode, wondering whether hitching their wagon to Trump and the election lies, whether that was such a great idea.


LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): This is a time that Donald Trump is no doubt in the rearview mirror and it's time to move on with the party, it's time to move on with candidate quality.

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: It's an opportunity to reassess what Trump's role is inside the Republican Party and are people willing to stand up rather than caving in on him.

FMR. REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): I think Governor DeSantis is the single biggest winner of the night and he will almost certainly become the rallying point for everybody in the Republican Party who wants to move beyond President Trump.


LEMON: So, I want to be really clear here. Election denialism is still alive with well in America. Protesters gathered in Arizona this weekend to protest and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the electoral process there. Why? Because their candidate is losing.


CHRIS HAMLET: I believe at this point we need to just have a new election at this point and we need to do paper ballots and we need do it all in one day and be done with it. We can't expect -- it's an absurd notion to sit here and play this charade and act like after this counting that we won't have tainted results either way.


LEMON: But democracy is not a static thing as we know. It lives and it breathes and must constantly be defended against those who would destroy it. We're still a young country. And make no mistake about it. On November 8th, millions of Americans went to the polls and they did exactly that. A lot of folks got it wrong.

So, how did the pundits and the poll watchers get this election so wrong? One of them, you see right here, is Mr. Frank Luntz, and he tweeted out on election evening. He said -- this is what he said. He said, when the dust settles from the 2022 midterms, the GOP will have between 233-230 House seats, outdoing their total from 1994. Republicans will also take control of the Senate. So, let's bring now the pollster and communication strategist, the man behind that tweet, Mr. Frank Luntz. Good morning.

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND COMMUNICATION STRATEGIST: And I acknowledged it on tweets since then. And I don't see any pollsters showing up. Where the hell are you?

LEMON: Well, you are. So, what happened? How did so many people, including you, get it so wrong? And as I said in the beginning there, we tend to overindex, and we've been doing it since 2016, overindexing the MAGA part of the electorate.

LUNTZ: There is a fear that they did not include enough Republicans in their samples because we knew from 2016, 2018, and even 2020, that Trump voters tended not to respond to pollsters because they thought that the results would be used against them. So, there was an effort to, as you say, overindex this time, that's number one.

Number two is that people came to the polls and they finally decided enough is enough. About 8, 9 percent of the public changes or they come in undecided and they have to decide what they're going to do at that moment. And they come in potentially wanting to vote one way and they end up voting the other.

The thing that the Republicans --

LEMON: What do you mean by that?

LUNTZ: -- where they come in and they think, I'm going to vote Republican, and then they go and they have to decide do they actually pull the ballots or do they want to make a statement by voting Democrat? 8 percent of the population comes in and they may change their minds.

And third is that the independents, and this is where the Republicans have to take very close analysis to, the independents usually break 55/45 Republican. If they break 60/40, Republicans win. In this case, they broke 50/50. That's a real problem for the GOP. It's a major drop.

And one more, Republicans actually got 5 million more votes for the House than the Democrats, 5 million. So, why don't the results show themselves in the congressional races? The answer, redistricting, that it had a bigger impact against the GOP than anybody realized and you could not know this until Election Day.

LEMON: Sort of on a larger scale, what happened here in New York.

HARLOW: You brought up independents, right? And one of the splits I saw was 49/47, you said 50/50, but we get the gist. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board this morning writes, the message couldn't be clearer, independent voters in swing states may be unhappy with the direction of the country but they didn't trust the GOP enough to give them power.

[07:30:00] They go on to say that party will have to adjust its policy on abortion and its message for 2024.