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CNN This Morning

Hobbs Defeats Election Denier Kari Lake in Arizona Governor's Race; GOP Civil War Erupts as House, Senate to Vote on Leaders; Emotional Scenes, Ukrainian Soldiers Reunite with Family in Kherson. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 15, 2022 - 07:00   ET


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those who are attending, the teams, but also the government representatives, that they might say they're trying to engage and encourage their values in that country.


But is it really right to do so and to give more credibility to this country and this system?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Just quickly, to get the statement in, this is statement from the World Cup of Qatar Supreme Committee. FIFA World Cup will be a tournament for everyone, much like previous editions of the tournament. Everyone will be welcomed to Qatar in 2022 regardless of their race, background, religion, sexual orientation or nationality. We are a relatively conservative. For example, public displays of affection are not a part of our culture. We believe in mutual respect. And so whilst everyone is welcome, what we expect in return is for everyone to respect our cultural tradition -- culture and traditions. So, there you go.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right, so many thoughts. We have to go but we'll stay on this, we promise. Max, Bianca, thank you.

CNN This Morning continues right now.

LEMON: Well, good morning, everyone. It is top of the hour. And guess what? It is Tuesday, November 1-5, 15, of -- we're in November, right? I forget, it's early.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The month is flying by. There's a lot going on.

LEMON: Yes. And there is a lot going on this morning, including a lot happening in Arizona. Everybody is paying attention to Arizona, big, big news. Democrat Katie Hobbs defeating an election denier there, Kari Lake, in the Arizona governor's race, in perhaps biggest example of voters rejecting election liars.

HARLOW: Also, in the Republican Party, a civil war erupting. Why the fates of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are facing internal pushback to say the least? COLLINS: And new CNN reporting on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the acting police chief knew there were children who were alive and needed to be rescued but he failed to organize any help. That's according to new audio showing the communication failures and lack of leadership that had plagued the response to the school shooting.

LEMON: And we're going to live to the region, I'm talking about Russia and Ukraine. CNN's Clarissa Ward joins us live with the status of Russia's war in Ukraine after the liberation of Kherson. Have we reached beginning of the end? That is the question.

But, first, the race is called. Democrat Katie Hobbs is the next governor of Arizona, CNN projecting that she will defeat Republican challenger Kari Lake driving another dagger in the heart of election denialism.

Our Kyung Lah is live for CNN This Morning in Phoenix. Kyung, good morning to you. What are you hearing from Hobbs? What are you hearing from Lake? What is going on?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hobbs last night after she was projected then winner said that she wanted to thank the voters and then very simply said that democracy is worth the wait. But something Hobbs is not doing is waiting for Kari Lake to concede, and Lake hitting that point by tweeting this shortly after Hobbs was projected to be the winner.

Lake tweeted, quote, Arizonans know B.S. when they see it. Now, that tweet is trying to disparage the election process, a process that here in Maricopa County is continuing regardless of what she says. There are still 5,000 to 15,000 votes yet to be counted. Those votes are going to be cured, they're going to be counted, every last vote, promised election officials, will indeed be counted.

But it is not enough for her to catch up, and in part because Republicans and independents rejected her. Lake thought she could win without moderates and we heard from a lot of moderates last night shortly after that projection. One moderate said, quote, Kari Lake told a legion of John McCain supporters across Arizona that they could go to hell. Tonight, they returned the favor. Poppy?

HARLOW: Kyung, our viewers know, just from all of us here in the studio to you and your team on the ground pressing for answers and truth throughout this race, it's been really important. So, thank you. I hope you get some rest now.

LAH: Thank you.

COLLINS: All right. It was a historically bad midterm election for Republicans who had predicted a red wave but are now reckoning with their poor performance last Tuesday night. Republicans are back on Capitol Hill today where they find themselves bitterly divided over who should lead their party and what is shaping up to be a small but also very divided majority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): I think that this election was the funeral for the Republican Party, as we know it. The Republican Party, as we have known it, is dead. And voters have made that clear.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): What I'm here to tell you is there are definitely at least five people, actually a lot more than that, who would rather be water boarded by Liz Cheney than vote for Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the house, and I'm one of them.

REP.-ELECT MICHAEL LAWLER (R-NY): I fully support Kevin McCarthy and will support him for speaker. I think he's done a great job as our leader.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): And so Mitch would rather be leader than have a Republican majority. Mitch made a decision, it's more important to him to have Republicans who will back him than it is to have 51 Republicans. I understand why. There's a certainly selfishness that justifies that. It just doesn't make any sense if you give a damn about the country.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): For the third straight election, our closely divided nation saw a closely-fought election go all the way down to the wire. And as the dust settles for the third straight time, the American people have chosen a very closely divided government.


COLLINS: Incredibly closely divided.

Jessica Dean joins us now from Capitol Hill. Jessica, the Gop is on the cusp of capturing the chamber. They are one seat shy of the 218 seats needed to take power back from the Democrats, but McCarthy has declared his bid for the speakership already. What is it looking like as he is scrounging for support within his own party right now?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's an apt description, scrounging for support, Kaitlan. He certainly held this closed-door meeting we know yesterday really trying to rally the troops around him. This is not the situation he thought he would be in, as you just laid out.

He certainly thought this would already have been called, that Republicans would already have control for the next session and that he would be well on his way to being speaker, and instead they're going to have a much, much smaller margin, and it's going to make his bid for that speakership all the more complicated, especially from the House Freedom Caucus. Congressman Andy Biggs from Arizona has said he's going to run against McCarthy.

But here's what we know. McCarthy still poised to win this election today to be leader of the House GOP. He needs only a simple majority, Kaitlan. He will need 218 in January. But it's worth noting if you look back in history, Pelosi didn't have 218. She went on to become speaker in 2018. Paul Ryan had the simple majority, didn't have 218 but went on to become House speaker in 2015. So, there is precedent for this.

COLLINS: Yes, that's true. But even if he wins, he's still going to have to deal with a caucus maybe tried to make him not be speaker.

But also in the Senate, we are seeing a fight, because Ted Cruz has this really bold public rebuke of McConnell. Rick Scott is not holding back on his criticism. Is there a question with inside Senate Republicans of whether or not Rick Scott is going to actually challenge McConnell here?

DEAN: Right, that is the question. Rick Scott has so far not said that to the point, he deflects. He wants to talk about Georgia and other things. There have been calls to delay that election, which is currently scheduled for Wednesday.

I think it's worth noting McConnell goes back and forth in the hallway to the floor and he rarely ever talks to reporters, and yesterday, he did make the rare comment walking back and forth when asked if he had votes. He said, of course. So, I think, that was very much intentional and very much on purpose.

This feed though just really spilling out into the open and there is just a lot of blame right now for why Republicans didn't deliver the way they thought they would, why they don't control the Senate. So, Kaitlan, that is certainly going to spill out, but, again, that coming on Wednesday.

COLLINS: It's quite the food fight. Jessica Dean, thanks for the update.

Ahead, we are going to talk more about what Jessica just laid out there. We'll talk about Pence, we'll talk about Trump, all with our CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

HARLOW: New details this morning about the University of Virginia murder suspect this morning. We learned that he was facing disciplinary action by the university, and he allegedly killed those three people, also injured two more. His father says his son was, quote, paranoid about something the last time that he saw him.

Our Joe Johns joins us live in Charlottesville, Virginia, with more. Joe, this news was just breaking yesterday when you joined us and now we know the names of those who were murdered, the two injured, and more details about the killer.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. And the university is just reeling, as you might expect, classes have been canceled for a second straight day, the city of Charlottesville dealing with yet another violent tragedy. Police continue their investigation, but for the families of the victims, there's probably nothing the police can do that can make this make sense.


JOHNS (voice over): A shaken campus uniting in grief. The University of Virginia mourning three football players, two other students were injured after, a shooting rocked the school.

JIM RYAN, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: The shootings occurred on a bus full of students returning from a field trip. Three of the victims did not survive.

JOHNS: Gunshots rang out Sunday night, an intense manhunt in and around Charlottesville for the suspect followed.

In the middle of a press conference the news everyone on campus was hoping for.


CHIEF TIMOTHY LONGO SR., UVA POLICE: Thank you, Captain. We just received information the suspect is in custody.

JOHNS: Police have identified the suspect as University of Virginia Student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. The 22-year-old was a freshman on the UVA football team in 2018 but did not play in any games. Police said Jones was arrested about 75 miles outside the Charlottesville campus.

The university identified the victims at Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry, all current football players. Officials did not identify the two additional students injured in the incident.

The UVA football team expressed its heartbreak in a tweet saying, quote, there are no words to describe this tremendous loss to our UVA football family, their coach calling them incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures, a sentiment of sorrow echoed by the University of Virginia's president.

RYAN: My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all those who knew and loved them.

JOHNS: The suspect's father told CNN-affiliate WTVR he is heartbroken and in disbelief.

CHRIS JONES SENIOR, DARNELL JONES' FATHER: I don't -- I don't know what to say, except that I'm sorry on his behalf, and I apologize.

JOHNS: Police said the suspect had come to the UVA Police Department's attention before. They said Jones had a prior incident involving a concealed weapon in 2021 outside the city of Charlottesville. UVA's judicial council took over the case and the results are pending, according to police.

During a press conference yesterday, UVA's police chief also said that in September, a non-student claimed Jones had made a comment about possessing a gun, but to the knowledge of the police, that person never actually saw the gun in question. The victims' families and suspect's father shaken, now hoping for answers.

JONES: What happened? Why did it have to get this far? He could have called me.


JOHNS: We're told the suspect has a video arraignment scheduled for today. He faces three counts of second-degree murder. Poppy?

HARLOW: Joe Johns. Those poor families. I know the university, as you said, absolutely reeling. Thank you for being there.

COLLINS: Overnight, President Biden met with Turkish President Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia. The president expressed condolences for the acts of violence in Istanbul, the deadliest attack in five years that happened this week. He also made clear that the United States stand with its NATO ally. This comes as the war in Ukraine has largely been the focus behind the scenes at this summit as leaders are said to be considering a draft resolution condemning Russia's war and the aftereffects of higher energy and food prices, most countries have reportedly signed on. Of course, this is a summit Putin was invited to, but a reminder did not ultimately show up.

Later today, President Biden will meet with the new U.K. prime minister, Rishi Sunak, that is the second prime minister -- third prime minister he has met with from the U.K. since he took office.

LEMON: We have been showing you those emotional scenes in the newly liberated city of Kherson, Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers are reuniting with family and friends after the eight-month-long Russian occupation. The people of Kherson are celebrating the liberation of their city, singing patriotic songs and climbing to the tops of buildings to hoist the Ukrainian flag.

But Kherson is facing challenges humanitarian conditions. Large parts of the city are without electricity and running water. There are also reports of land mines and other hazards left behind by Russian troops. But Zelenskyy says efforts are now being made to return the city to normalcy. Here's what he told the G20 summit that was earlier this morning. Watch.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: It is like, for example, D- Day. Landing of the allies in Normandy. It was not yet a final point in the fight against evil but it already determined the entire further course of events. If the victory will be ours, in any case, and we are sure of it, then shouldn't we try to implement our formula for peace to save thousands of lives and protect the world from further destabilization?


LEMON: Zelenskyy also outlining a peace proposal, which includes the end to nuclear threats, more food and energy security, prisoner swaps and a full withdrawal by Russia.

Is this beginning of the end of the war, as President Zelenskyy says? Let's discuss now. I want to bring in CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward. Good morning to you there. How significant is Zelenskyy's proposed peace plan to the G20?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would have to say it is obviously coming from a place of buoyancy and exuberance after the taking of Kherson or the liberation of Kherson.


The demands are maximalist. There isn't a huge amount in this ten- point peace plan that the Russians are likely to say, okay, we have something we can start with here.

So, it's not that the demands are sort of, you know, outlandish in any way, they really make a lot of sense, and they pertain to hugely important issues that affect the whole world, like food security, energy security, nuclear security, as well as demanding that Russia withdraw its forces and that there be cessation of hostilities.

But in terms how realistic it is to get the Russians to come to the negotiating table and use this as a starting draft, that is probably more of a long shot, because the Russians will obviously be wanting to see more extractions or at least some concessions they can take away. At this stage, though, guys, I don't think that eh Ukrainians have any interest in making those concessions.

HARLOW: Right, and that's critical to all of this at the winter comes, right, which could completely change the game and President Biden is meeting with world leaders at the G20 hoping to really get them aligned. Can something significant come out of the G20 that would really aid Ukraine at this point in this, Clarissa?

WARD: It's a really tough one, Poppy, honestly. Because at the end of the day, what you're hearing from U.S. officials, we've heard some in the U.S. military say, now is the time for Ukraine to really take stock and sit down and think about what a peace plan or what some kind of negotiated settlement would look like. Other officials in the U.S. administration are saying that's really not our place in the U.S. or in the White House to be dictating to Ukrainians what the terms should look like or when they should sit down.

Ukraine right now understandably is not in the mood to negotiate. They've lost too much. They just have taken back Kherson. This is a huge strategic and symbolic humiliation for the Russians. It was the only regional capital and the largest city that they've taken since the beginning of the invasion back in February.

At the same time, while you have Zelenskyy talking about D-Day saying that it's clear the trajectory of the war in the sense that the Russians can't win, President Putin also understands for his own political survival he can't lose. And so what the Russians are banking on at this stage is that they can drag out or protract this conflict as long as they can and make it as painful as they can, not just for the Ukrainians but for the western countries backing Ukraine.

And as you head into the winter, as you head into a recession, they're hoping that that will sort of, you know, push the Ukrainians, that there will be more sort of Ukraine supporters in the west pushing them to go to the negotiating table. But at this stage, I don't see that happening overnight.

COLLINS: And, Clarissa, we're also -- we're seeing such triumphant voices, reaction, coming out of Kherson where it's been a long eight months for these Ukrainians so far, but we're also getting a better picture of the torture and the hell that they've been living through in this Russian occupation. WARD: That's right, and it's such an important thing, I think,

Kaitlan, to underscore for our viewers. This is victory and victory, as you can see, in those scenes of jubilation, it's a beautiful thing but it's also grim, because it is also now the beginning of the sort of unpacking of the trauma, of the horrors of what happened, of people who were tortured, who were beaten. One man allegedly for just spray painting, you know, glory be to Ukraine, on a bus stop.

So, the people of Kherson, many of them have lived through things that are unthinkable and they are now living in a city that has had no electricity, that probably won't have electricity for several more months. And they're going into a winter that promises to be brutally cold, as the winter often is, under continued bombardment, strategic targeting of Ukraine's critical civilian infrastructure. And so while this is a moment for Ukraine to celebrate, it is still painful, and there are still many challenges ahead.

LEMON: Clarissa Ward, thank you.

WARD: Thanks.

HARLOW: Well, Grammy-winning singer Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and she can no longer sing. Watch this.

That legendary voice may never be heard again in public. Her representatives released a statement last night and it says, the progressive disease has, quote, made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak, but it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon. That is certainly right.

She had several number one hits in the '70s, including the song you just Heard Killing Me Softly with His Song.


She also released 20 studio albums and won four Grammys and a career that spanned more than five decades. What a voice.

LEMON: Yes, her and Donny Hathaway, the most amazing duo back in the '70s. All the songs that you hear, Donny Hathaway's voice, who, sadly, is gone as well and died, you know, decades ago, but still, wow.

HARLOW: Yes, what a voice.

LEMON: What a voice.

HARLOW: What a woman. LEMON: Yes. It just takes you back when you listen to this.

HARLOW: Also, update on Jay Leno, he is recovering this morning from burn injuries following a gasoline fire in his garage over the weekend.

Stephanie Elam joins this morning us from Los Angeles. Is he going to be okay?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We hope so. The good news is that we've gotten a statement from the hospital where he's being treated, Poppy. This is Grossman Burn Center here in the Los Angeles area, saying that the 72-year-old comedian is in stable condition and he's being treated for burns to his face and his hands after a gasoline fire at his legendary car garage over the weekend.

He said in the statement that came from the Grossman Fire Burn Center, I should say, that he is in good spirits and is touched by all the inquiries and well wishes. He wants to let everyone know that he is doing well. But, obviously, still very scary, Poppy, to know he was burned on his face and hands in this accident.

HARLOW: Yes, of course, doing what he loves most, right, being in the garage with the cars. Man, all right, thinking about him.

LEMON: So, we texted back and forth.

HARLOW: Yes. Well, he just showed me some, made me feel better.

LEMON: Anyway, he just said, ten days. I won't go into detail about what he said. He said ten days. And then said -- Jay Leno. And then he said, congrats on the new show, from, you know where he is.

HARLOW: Sending you all our hugs from here.

LEMON: Jay, we wish you the best. Get well soon.

COLLINS: Absolutely.

HARLOW: Okay. Everyone, wait until you see this. This is new exclusive CNN reporting out of Uvalde, Texas. New audio reveals the acting police chief there knew that there were children alive inside that classroom with the gunman but failed to act.

COLLINS: Also, Michelle Obama opening um for the first time in a really significant way about how she felt after Trump was elected.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: It felt like something more, something much uglier than a simple political defeat.




LEMON: You've got to watch this next story, because it's a CNN exclusive, never-before-heard audio from the Uvalde school shooting. It spotlights the actions or lack of actions of the city's acting police chief even after learning that a child trapped with a gunman called 911.

Straight now to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz live for us from San Antonio with the disturbing details. Good morning. What do you have for us?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. Well, this call, this phone call from a leading law enforcement official who at times was in the hallway of that school as the gunman was holding those kids trapped inside that classroom received information directly from a 911 dispatcher that kids were trapped inside that classroom. This is a law enforcement official who had the power to order commands, to make orders, and what you'll see is that he failed to organize any kind of rush into that classroom or to command his officers that day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how many are still alive now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eight to nine are still alive. She's not too sure.

PROKUPECZ (voice over): New audio of a recorded phone conversation obtained by CNN shows the acting Uvalde police chief was directly told that children were trapped with a gunman and needed rescued, and still he failed to take direct action to save them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the class.

PROKUPECZ: CNN pieced together multiple body cameras and new security footage from inside the school hallway, along with this never-before- heard phone wall to show how a failure of leadership allowed 77 minutes to tick by before police killed the gunman.

Acting Uvalde Police Chief Mariano Pargas was among the first police officers to enter Robb Elementary on May 24th. The chief of the Uvalde police was on vacation, which left Pargas in charge of the city police.

Pargas arrives at 11:36 A.M., just three minutes after the gunman fires his first shots. His officers run in ahead of him and make an initial attempt to breach the classroom. They quickly retreat where shots are fired in their direction. CNN has chose to mute the sound of those gunshots.


PROKUPECZ: Minutes later, Uvalde School District Police Officer Ruben Ruiz, whose wife is a teacher at Robb Elementary, delivers critical information to Pargas. The shooter is located inside his wife's classroom. Pargas, who was suspended by city of Uvalde in July and placed on paid leave while they investigate his role as a commanding officer during the shooting, is walking in and out of the hallway, taking cover next to a wall, failing to organize a response. Even when Ruben Ruiz barrels back into the hallway telling colleagues that his wife, Eva Morales, called him from inside the room and says she's dying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, hey, hey, Ruben, Ruben, Ruben, Ruben

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She says she's shot, Johnny.

PROKUPECZ: It's Pargas, the acting chief, who comes and removes Ruiz from the hallway.

As time goes by the police on the scene can be heard looking to Pargas, asking him for direction. They want to know what the plan is.


Pargas tells them he is waiting on the Texas Department of Public Safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we just waiting for BORTAC or what's going on?