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CNN Reports, U.S. Believes Ukraine Fired Missile That Landed in NATO Nation; Battle for GOP Beings With Pence, DeSantis, Trump in Spotlight; Trump Repeats Old Lies, Peddles New Ones in 2024 Speech. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 16, 2022 - 07:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, Wednesday, November 16th. Welcome to CNN This Morning. And this morning, we are learning who launched a missile into Poland, a member of NATO. We're all over this story with reporters on the ground in Poland, at the G20 summit in Bali and at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Also this, he tried to overturn the election, inspired the insurrection, former President Trump still though launching a third big for the White House. We are fact-checking his speech this hour.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We'll also talk about the developments in Poland, the scrutiny also around Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who is Polish-American.

LEMON: We are going to begin this morning with the breaking news, Russia denied responsibility and now we are learning it was likely Ukrainian forces that fired missiles into Poland, a NATO member, killing two people. Poland's president acknowledging the incident was probably an accident. NATO ambassadors are holding an emergency meeting right now to discuss the deadly explosion and how to respond to it.

M.J. lee is live for us in Bali, Indonesia, and Melissa Bell is standing by at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. We're going to begin with M.J. M.J., hello to you. What are you hearing about this meeting? What are you learning about the incident?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're learning from two officials who were briefed on the initial U.S. assessments of this missile this morning is that it appears that the missile originated from Ukraine even though it is Russian-made.

Now, this would help explain why President Biden, after he emerged from an emergency meeting with foreign leaders earlier here today in Bali, said the preliminary information seems to suggest that it is unlikely that the missile originated from Russia.

Now, the president also said that the U.S. would fully support Poland's ongoing investigation into this matter saying. He said, we must, quote, we must figure out exactly what happened. He also said that any next steps that are taken would be determined collectively by the United States along with its allies.

Now, determining exactly where this missile came from, of course, is so critical because Poland, of course, is a member of NATO, and an attack against one of those nations is considered an attack against all. So, really, guys, the stakes could not be higher right now.

COLLINS: And, Melissa, we also just got a really critical update from the NATO secretary general about the intention behind this attack, which is vital here. What is he saying?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He's been speaking here at NATO headquarters after that NATO ambassador's meeting, Kaitlan, saying that there is no indication of any attack on the part of Russia on NATO territories, and more than that, no indication that Russia is planning any offensive activities against NATO members. Of course, that's what we were waiting to hear from him because we knew that NATO knew more about what had happened.

There had been, we understood from NATO officials, a NATO aircraft above polish airspace when this missile had been shot. The missile had been tracked. And that's what the ambassadors had been looking at here, the intelligence of exactly what happened. Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general, also confirming that this looks now as if this was a Ukrainian anti-missile system that was used to try and counter, to deflect a Russian cruise missile, debris of each were found on Polish territory, and important fact there and, of course, important then to understand what he went on to do, which is try and calm the tone, explaining that it was a measured and calm tone that was needed, increased vigilance, but no hint at the time being that NATO is planning any increased military presence on its eastern flank as a result, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. No indication that it was a deliberate attack. It's incredibly important. M.J. Lee, Melissa Bell, thank you both for the updates.

HARLOW: Well, the battle for the future of the Republican Party and perhaps the White House becoming a little bit clearer this morning. Take a look at this split screen, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fresh off his re-election telling Donald Trump to, quote, check the scoreboard, former Vice President Mike Pence, who has been critical, especially recently, of his former boss appearing tonight on a CNN town hall, and, of course, Donald Trump himself officially launching his campaign in a speech full of lies and old hits. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.


HARLOW: CNN Reporter Daniel Dale joins us now. You were sharpening your pencil yesterday, for sure, and reading through your fact-checks, it's pretty stunning how many lies that the president included in that announcement. Let's hear what he said first about climate and get the facts on the other side.


TRUMP: The green new deal and the environment, which they say may affect us in 300 years, is all that is talked about, and yet, nuclear weapons, which would destroy the world immediately, are never even discussed as a major threat.


Can you imagine? They say the ocean will rise one-eighth of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years.


HARLOW: So, the fact-check on that?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: I counted more than 20 false claims in this speech, guys, and this was one of them. Sea levels are expected to rise way more than former President Trump said. He said an eighth of an inch in 200 to 300 years. Well, the U.S. government's own National Ocean Service says on its website that sea level along the U.S. coastline is projected to rise on average 10 to 12 inches in the next 30 years, which they say would be as much as the rise measure over the last 100 years.

And Trump strongly suggested there that climate change in general may only affect us Americans in 300 years. We know that is grossly inaccurate. It's affecting the U.S. today in a wide variety of ways.

LEMON: What else did you find that was -- you said so many of them. He made this claim about rising prices when it comes to, especially, turkey, listen to this.


TRUMP: You can't get anything -- and good luck getting a turkey for Thanksgiving. Number one, you won't get it. And if you do, you're going to pay three to four times more than you paid last year.


LEMON: Okay. So, turkey prices aren't up 300 percent, right?

DALE: They are not. They are up but not even close to that. You can look at the data online from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Depending on what kind of frozen bird you get, the average national price is up about 7 to 12 percent over the same week last year. Obviously, that's not nothing, people feel it, but it's not 200 percent or 300 percent. So, the former president is exaggerating about a price that people can feel and see themselves.

HARLOW: One of his big -- he ran on it last time and he's running on it again, is the border wall. But he made this claim saying it was completed. Here he was.


TRUMP: We are going to restore and secure America's borders just like we had them before, best ever. We built the wall and now we will add to it now. We built the wall, we completed the wall, and then we said, let's do more, and we did a lot more.


HARLOW: It's not done, right?

DALE: It's not done. Those comments are basically self-contradicting. We finished it and then we said we'd do more. It's not true he completed it. And we know that from official data according to an official report written U.S. Customs and Border Protection two days after Trump left office. There were 458 miles of wall completed under Trump. That's both what they call primary barrier and secondary barrier that reinforced existing barriers, but 280 more miles that had been identified for wall construction had not been completed. So, this is an attempt to make it sound like he fully succeeded on a key signature campaign promise but, in reality, he only partially fulfilled it.

LEMON: As always, he likes to point the finger at someone else or do this whataboutism, because justified his current legal trouble saying that his predecessor is also guilty. Watch this.


TRUMP: The raid of Mar-a-Lago, think of it, and I said, why didn't you raid Bush's place, why didn't you raid Clinton? 32,000 emails, why didn't you raid Clinton's place? Why didn't you do Obama, who took a lot of things with him? We will dismantle the deep state and restore government by the people.


LEMON: None of that checks out.

DALE: None of that checks out. I'm going to call this one a lie because he said this Obama stuff, he claimed Obama took documents himself in August, and it was debunked then by the National Archives and Records Administration. NARA explained in a public statement that it had taken custody of Obama's records after Obama's term and it had itself taken the records to a facility that it managed in a Chicago area. And it said that, as per federal law, quote, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the presidential records of his administration. So, Trump is suggesting here again that Obama did something like what he did, personally taking documents to his home with Obama, it just didn't happen.

LEMON: Poppy said you were sharpening your pencils. But let's I hope he's in the computer age because he's going to need it.

HARLOW: I'm just thinking that now that Trump is running again, Daniel doesn't get another day off. He's more concerned about his sleep and his vacation. But, seriously, we'd be lost without you. Thank you for the facts.

LEMON: Thanks, Daniel.

COLLINS: All right. Going forward, the 2024 campaign isn't the only thing that Trump has on his plate. He is also facing a constellation of legal challenges concerning the 2020 election, Mar-a-Lago documents, his finances, individual lawsuits.

Paula Reid is live in Washington for CNN This Morning. And, Paula, obviously, we heard from sources who said a big part of what was driving that announcement last night had to do with these investigations that the former president is staring down.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kaitlan. Let's be clear, running for office does not insulate Trump from ongoing criminal investigations, though prosecutors will need to grapple with the political considerations of potentially indicting a presidential candidate.


The most immediate legal threat for Trump appears to come out of Georgia, where later today, former White House Aide Cassidy Hutchinson is expected to testify before a grand jury hearing evidence about Trump's efforts to overturn the last election.


TRUMP: I'm a victim. I will tell you. I'm a victim. Think of it.

REID (voice over): As he announced another run for the White House, former President Trump said he feels aggrieved by the multiple criminal investigations he faces, including in Georgia, where two of his allies, Senator Lindsey Graham and former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, are expected to testify before a special grand jury hearing evidence about efforts by Trump --

TRUMP: We want all votes counted by election night.

REID: -- and his associates to overturn the state's 2020 election results.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don't see anything to prosecute him over.

REID: On Tuesday, Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp appeared.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): The truth is ensuring the integrity of the ballot box isn't partisan, it's about protecting the very foundation of who we are.

REID: Kemp is a central witness to the criminal investigation being run by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We are going to look at everything until that investigation is complete.

REID: The Georgia probe was prompted by an hour-long January 2021 call from Trump pressing Georgia officials to find the votes to help him win.

TRUMP: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.

REID: In Washington, Trump faces two parallel investigations into his role on the attack on the Capitol. The House committee investigating January 6th subpoenaed him in October for documents and testimony.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion.

REID: Trump is not expected to appear before lawmakers, he sued to block that subpoena and the committee's work wraps up at the end of the year. But the Justice Department is also investigating his role in the attack. A grand jury in D.C. has heard from witnesses, including Trump's former White House counsel. And the former president's legal exposure expanded in August when the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago residence and recovered documents, including some marked classified that were taken from the White House.

TRUMP: They should give me immediately back everything that they've taken from me because it's mine. It's mine.

REID: Prosecutors are looking at whether Trump mishandled national secrets or tried to obstruct the investigation. Attorney General Merrick Garland has insisted his investigations are being conducted free from political influence.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No person is above the law. Nothing stop us --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even a former president?

GARLAND: No -- I don't know how to -- maybe I'll say that again, no person is above the law in this country. I can't say it any more clearly than that.


REID (on camera): Sources tell CNN that justice officials have considered appointing a special counsel to handle these investigations. Now, that Trump has declared his candidacy, the attorney general will need to decide if that's something he wants to do. But under the regulation, a special counsel still reports to the attorney general. So, it's unclear that a special counsel would really insulate the attorney general from any political blowback in these cases. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: We'll be watching it closely. Paula Reid, thank you.

In just a few moments, we are going to be joined by CNN Political Analyst and New York Times Political Correspondent Maggie Haberman, of course, the notable Trump expert, to discuss his announcement.

HARLOW: And ahead, our coverage of that missile hitting a member of NATO. Was it a mistake? We have new details from NATO headquarters and why Russia is praising the U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who is on the Foreign Relations Committee and recently traveled to Poland, will join us live on CNN This Morning.



COLLINS: More on our breaking news overseas now. The head of NATO moments ago said that the missile landing in the NATO nation of Poland, they believe was a mistake. Sources tell CNN that the missile likely originated from Ukraine, it went off track. There was concern, of course, yesterday as this was first breaking that it had come from the Russians.

Joining us now to talk about these developments is Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and the co-chair of the U.S./Poland caucus. Senator, thank you s much for joining us.

First on this reaction from the head of NATO, saying that they believe this was a Ukrainian missile fending off a Russian attack. What's your reaction?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, I think we need to understand how high the risk is of escalation. I'm going to get briefed today on this matter. I hope that it's true that this wasn't a deliberate decision by Russia to escalate and launch missiles into a NATO nation. But, listen, it may be a matter of time before a Russian missile finds its way into a neighboring country, especially given how far Russian attacks are being launched into Western Ukraine.

So, this is a serious situation. Obviously, Russia understands that if there was an attack on a NATO member, that the United States has a treaty obligation to respond and to defend our NATO partners. And let's just hope this early news that this was a mistake is true. But it's just further evidence of how dangerous this situation continues to be.

COLLINS: To follow-up on that, are all senators being briefed today or just the Foreign Relations Committee?


MURPHY: I expect we'll get briefings today either formally or informally on the Foreign Relations Committee, so there's no scheduled briefing for all senators. But when something like this happens, normally, the members of the Foreign Relations Committee will either get formal or informal information from the White House and the Department of State.

COLLINS: And Ukrainian President Zelenskyy came out yesterday and seemed to suggest that these were Russian missiles. Of course, now, we are seeing that they believe this was an accident, that's what we're hearing from the Polish president, from the head of NATO. Do you think Zelenskyy needs to come out and clear that up?

MURPHY: Well, the foreign minister also made fairly definitive statements yesterday.

Listen, this is a war, and, obviously, the Ukrainians are operating on a knife's edge. They do need to be careful about making allegations about attacks on NATO countries until all the evidence is in. Obviously, the United States and NATO allies are not going to make a decision to defend ourselves based on claims from the Ukrainian government. We're going to do our own investigation. And I'm glad that Poland and the United States took the time to do this investigation.

But, you know, the Ukrainians are -- you know, have frayed nerves right now. And having watched Russia deliberately and brutally attack Ukrainian civilians, of course, it wouldn't be completely ridiculous to think that the Russians may actually launch attacks in Polish territory. They have shown zero regard for international norms. They have violated international rule after international rule, and, again, I think we just have to be honest that while this may not have been a Russian attack against Poland, we can't rule that out in the future.

LEMON: The other big news last night that's happening now is, of course, the former president throwing his hat back in the ring to run for president again. And I'm wondering how Democrats feel about that. It has been reported that Democrats are excited because they think this is the best chance for them to win or for Joe Biden to win in 2024 if he decides to run. What's your reaction to the former president?

MURPHY: I'm not excited about Donald Trump's decision to run for office. I think it would be better for the country if Donald Trump vanish from the political landscape. This is the most dangerous political figure America has encountered, at least in the last half a century. And his attacks on democracy, his support for political violence, it threatens to undo the very fabric of the country.

So, yes, of course if you care only about politics, the Republican Party will likely be in chaos over the next year as they sort of decide whether they are going to continue to be a cult of personality centered around Donald Trump or whether they're going to be a real political party. For Democrats, this probably increases our political fortunes but it's bad for the nation. And I hope that Donald Trump loses and loses decisively in his bid for the Republican nomination.

HARLOW: Senator, a couple questions for you focused around Saudi Arabia. Let's start with Twitter and Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter. The Committee on Foreign Investment is hands off. They're not looking at this. Janet Yellen told CBS News after you wrote her a letter saying, we really think you should. This week, she told CBS News they're not going to do it. She says we have no basis to examine the finances of this company. I'm not aware of any concerns it would cause us to investigate. There is a huge investment from Saudi Arabia and other nations in this. And I just wonder what your response is to her. MURPHY: Yes. I don't understand Secretary Yellen's decision to not inquire about the circumstances of this massive foreign investment in an American media company. CFIUS, the committee that reviews foreign investment in American companies, was set up for this exact situation where a foreign government has made an investment in a very important media company perhaps with the intent of affecting American politics or getting access to Americans' data.

Now, some people will point out that the Saudi company here had a stake in Twitter before Elon Musk bought the company. That's true. But almost everybody else cashed out when Musk paid a price for Twitter that was way above valuation. Twitter instead partnered with Musk, stayed in on the deal. And it just makes sense for the United States government to ask why. What promises did Musk have to make the Saudis in order to stay as part of this financing deal?

HARLOW: Well, CFIUS isn't going to do it, I guess it falls on Congress to decide if you guys want to do something about it. Will you? Can you? What could do you?


MURPHY: Well, I hope we will. In the Foreign Relations Committee, I chair the subcommittee that oversees the Middle East. Now, most everything we do in our committee is done on a bipartisan basis, so we have to agree, Republicans and Democrats, to take a look at this investment. Senator Wyden, who chairs the Finance Committee, said yesterday that he believes that an inquiry may be warranted. So, I hope that Congress takes a look at the Saudi's investment.

Now, listen, maybe the conclusion is that this is a straight up money play by the Saudis. They actually think they're going to get their money back. They have no side deals with Elon Musk and the deal moves forward. But let's at least ask those questions. Because if Musk says that the reason he bought Twitter is to promote free speech, well, then the Saudis are a really curious partner because the Saudis have the exact opposite goal. They want to repress free speech, right? They want their enemies, political dissidents to be thrown off of Twitter. So, it just doesn't seem to be a marriage that makes a lot of sense unless the Saudis are getting something out of it for their goals, which are not the same as Elon Musk's stated goals.

HARLOW: Before you go, on OPEC and the decision to cut 2 million barrels of production a day, the opposite of what the Biden administration was hoping for when President Biden went there, met with them, you have said repeatedly, and I quote, there have to be consequences. There haven't been. What should the Biden administration do?

MURPHY: Yes. I actually, you know, think more about this in terms of the long-term relationship with the Saudis. I think their decision to decrease oil production is just final confirmation that Saudi Arabia is not an ally in the normal sense of the word. There are times when our interests intersect. But more often than not in the last ten years, U.S. interests and Saudi interests are not aligned. And so I just think we need to be very careful about the ways in which we work with the Saudis. So, I think we need to downsize our defense commitment to the Saudis. I would rather see some of the missiles that we're sending to Saudi Arabia to protect that country be sent to Ukraine instead. I have suggested that, proposed that to the administration.

I don't think we end our defense relationship with Saudi Arabia but I don't know that they need to be the preferred partner the way they are today, especially when a country like Ukraine could do a lot more with some of the advanced weaponry that we are sending into the Middle East.

LEMON: Before I let you, I just want to ask you about what's happening in the Senate, because we had Chuck Schumer here earlier in the week and he said that he wants to work with Republicans, and then you have what's happening with Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell. I just wonder if sort of the turmoil that's happening within the Republican Party, if you are worried that is going to hinder the work that you're wanting to do for the American people?

MURPHY: Certainly, I worry about it. We did a lot of really good bipartisan work in the last two years. Last summer with several conservative Republicans, I wrote the first gun safety bill in 30 years. And some of those partners, retired, right, the folks on the Republican side that used to work with Democrats, they were under such withering assault from Donald Trump, that many of them left the Senate.

I hope Republicans don't sort of learn the wrong lesson from the last two years. I hope that they stand for their beliefs but they continue to engage with Democrats when they think they can get something done that's good for the country. We're going to continue to do outreach with the Republicans. We're going to try to get deals done.

And I think you'll see that we'll get one done this week. I think we will pass the marriage equality act, which will force states to recognize same-sex marriages. And that may be a signal that this era of bipartisan cooperation that we saw over the last two years is not over. At least I'll keep my fingers crossed that that's the case.

COLLINS: Yes. We know we're expecting the procedural vote on that. Senator Chris Murphy, all incredibly important topics, thank you for joining us here on CNN This Morning.

MURPHY: Thank you.

COLLINS: All right. The Artemis moon mission taking flight in a launch, it's going to pave the way for NASA's next era of space exploration.

HARLOW: Also, could former President Trump's re-election run hurt or help him as he faces a slew of investigations? Maggie Haberman is here.