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Erin Burnett Outfront

Russia Launches Mass Assault, Kills At Least 14 In Ukraine; Former WH Aide Cassidy Hutchinson To Cooperate With Georgia Probe; Key GOP Senators To Campaign For Herschel Walker Tomorrow; North Korea Says It Is "Fully Ready To Hit And Wipe Out" South Korea & U.S. Targets After Recent Missile Tests; NC Town Divided Over Confederate Symbols After Statue Is Moved. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 10, 2022 - 19:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Russia unleashing attacks on city after city in Ukraine today. The strikes widespread and deadly. And tonight, Vladimir Putin threatening more is to come.

Plus, a key White House insider who testified about what she saw on January 6th is now cooperating with the Georgia probe into election interference by Trump and his allies.

And Republican leaders bracing to help Herschel Walker and his embattled Senate campaign. Are the abortion claims against him enough to sink his candidacy?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, mass assault, 14 people killed, 97 wounded after Russia launched a barrage of missile attacks across Ukraine. President Biden condemning the strikes and promising to send Ukraine more advanced air defense systems.

Today in Ukraine, explosion after explosion hit Ukraine's largest cities during the morning rush hour. Russia striking at least nine Ukrainian cities reaching really far east to west and in the south across the country.

Tonight, President Zelenskyy says Ukraine shot down 43 of the 84 missiles that Russia launched today. Russia claiming it was all in retaliation for this explosion you see there, on the bridge between Russia and Crimea, disrupting a crucial supply route for Russian troops inside Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin appearing briefly today, issuing this warning.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In terms of the further act of terrorism on the territory of Russia, the Russian reply will be harsh.


BOLDUAN: So, of course, the United States government recognizes Crimea as part of Ukraine, not a territory of Russia.

Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground in Dnipro, Ukraine, one of the cities hit in the strikes today.

Nick, what's the latest there?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Kate, well over 100 drones and missiles fired all across Ukraine. I think what is fair to say the worst day of violence to hit across the country since the early days of the war. Remember, so much of Ukraine had begun to edge back towards normal life with the fighting being mostly kept in the south and the east.

Not today though where crucial infrastructure hit nationwide, and essentially they ended a day after intercepting, according to their military officials, about half of those missiles fired towards them with a very significant gesture from President Joe Biden saying that advanced air defense systems will be on the way.

But here's what happened today.


WALSH (voice-over): This was the day the war came back to all of Ukraine. The capital Kyiv, like many cities for months edging towards normal, hit by multiple missile strikes. Carnage at rush hour, central streets hit.

The target: unclear. The aim? Utter horror. Over a hundred missiles and drones.

The civilian death toll rising along with global fury, but there was nothing the Kremlin would not hit. Even this Kyiv walkway to save face from endless losses in the weekend blast that hit another bridge between Russia and Crimea.

For a few hours this morning, almost all of Ukraine's cities seemed under attack. The bus next to this crater caught by one of two missiles critically injuring five. You can see the utter ferocity of the explosion here by the hole, one of the two rockets made.

But it's also a curious question as to why this was indeed the target. It seems like this telecom facility was unused at the time it was struck. But also, too, the callous disregard for human life being shown. All these apartment blocks just within the blast radius.

This woman said she ran her two children back into the kitchen in the minutes between the two missiles. Homes here gone and winter ahead made worse by the power cuts the missiles caused, however fast the recovery is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is terrible. It is a crime against civilians. WALSH: Anger here some fear but also resilience echoed by Ukraine's

president. There may be temporary blackouts, he said, but the confidence in our victory will never have a blackout.


Why these particular strikes? The enemy wants us to get scared, wants us to run. We can only run forward and demonstrate that at the battlefield.

Russia's brutality was always a known quantity. But Ukraine's stubborn resistance still surprises. This day, sharing a video of a soldier shooting down a missile with a shoulder launch rocket. A David who wants more advanced arm to defend itself from a weakened goliath. A call that this rare and chilling moment of terror across the country were only amplified.


WALSH (on camera): So, what has today which really try to shake all of Ukraine changed in terms of what's happening on the battlefield? Well, I would say on the front lines, very little. I would say it probably hasn't altered Ukrainian mentality, and certainly this extent of this all-out air assault has led its western backers to provide it most likely air defense systems it's been crying out for, for a number of weeks.

What this has done, though, is answer many of Russian President Vladimir Putin's internal domestic critic who's for weeks have been bemoaning their faltering advances on the front lines and the sense that they had really lost control of this war.

Now even some of the most open critics of Putin, even the head of internal republic of Russian, Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is saying they're suddenly happy with the conduct of the war. That may be what this enormous display of Russia's military might was about. It hasn't certainly impacted it seems what Ukraine tends to do, but it has certainly shown those inside Russia's elite that Putin still has cards to play -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: The Ukrainians resilient through and through. Nick, thank you so much.

OUTFRONT with me now, a member of Ukrainian's parliament, Inna Sovsun. She's in Kyiv, and she sheltered inside a subway station as the missiles hit her city today.

Inna, thank you so much for being here.

Do you believe there will be more attacks by Russia on Kyiv like we saw today?

INNA SOVSUN, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER, SHELTERED FROM STRIKES IN KYIV: Well, of course we cannot know for sure. But it is to be expected. And I'll tell you more. After the attack on Crimean bridge on Saturday, we knew that something like this might come. So, as terrible as it will sound, it didn't come as a complete surprise. Of course, you know, we are still curious and angry about what we have seen, but it wasn't a complete surprise that Putin would go for that.

BOLDUAN: I showed, I mean, we'll show it again, this video that you took while sheltering inside the subway station today. You noted there were a lot of children, and it was very crowded. And you can see it in your video. You also posted another video taken by your assistant sheltering inside another subway station -- people seen and heard singing the national anthem while they're sheltering again once again in these subway stations.

What was going through your mind when you saw this? What did it feel like?

SOVSUN: Well, truth be told, that was the first time I was sheltering in the underground station with my son because during March and February, my son was away in the western Ukraine. Now he was back home, and I was about to take him to school when the explosions started happening all over the city. And we rushed to the metro station.

And first I wanted to make sure that he was not scared, but he seemed quite okay, actually. He actually reiterated to me what he learned about what to do in case of a nuclear attack, something I never wanted to hear from my son. But that is something that they learned at school right now.

But then I was looking at the people, and I was just amazed with how calm everybody had been. There was a pregnant woman sitting right next to me, and she was talking to her mother-in-law, I guess, from the conversation.

And she was just very quietly saying, yeah, I'm fine. I found a nice food for myself, people are helpful. I have water. I have my documents. Everything is fine. We'll just wait till it's all over, and then get back to our business.

I think there was this general mood. It was not the panic that we have seen in March. It was everybody knew that this was to happen. This is part of the reality. This is part of our resistance.

And our job right now is to survive, to make sure that we are safe, and to get back to the fight.

BOLDUAN: And your son learning the difference between a nuclear missile and a regular missile, if you will. That is a shocking reality that you're facing right now. Do -- should this wave of strikes on civilian targets, targets with no military purpose, should it change how the United States government views this war? What kind of support they provide to Ukraine and how fast?

SOVSUN: Well, I'll tell you this. I actually agree with your reporter, saying that these attacks don't change much on the battle lines because for our military, the situation is pretty much the same.

[19:10:02] And actually the attack on the Crimean bridge has changed the situation on the battlefront much more than today's attacks on the Ukrainian cities. But in terms of the support from the West, of course we are begging for more air defense systems. That is the crucial element of our survival right now, particularly as we're seeing right now Russia is targeting energy infrastructure, and you have to realize that if it is attacked, if it is destroyed, winter would be close to impossible.

But air defense systems are important for our civilian population. But we still need tanks, we still need missile launches to change the situation for our military on the battlefront, and that is still very much in demand.

BOLDUAN: Inna Sovsun, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

SOVSUN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT with us now, President Biden's National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

John, thank you for jumping on.

You heard just there from Inna, a member of Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv.

Does this wave of strikes change the president's view on this war, what is needed from the United States for Ukraine to defend itself successfully?

JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: Today's strikes reinforce for the president and for the entire administration how important it is for us to continue to support Ukraine, as he says, for as long as it takes. And we do that in an iterative way, Kate. In other words, we're in constant communication with the Ukrainians almost every day about what their needs are, and we do the best we can in subsequent packages to meet those needs.

Obviously, air defense came up in the discussion today with President Zelenskyy that President Biden held. And clearly, we're going to continue to work to provide air defense capabilities to Ukraine.

I would add -- I mean, we've been doing that since almost the beginning, 1,400 Stingers, surveillance and air defense radar systems, as well as going to work to procure some National Advanced Surface-to- Air Missile Systems for them. That work, that effort, that coordination with the Ukrainians will continue.

BOLDUAN: Does the U.S. believe that these missile strikes were in retaliation for the bridge strike, as Putin claims?

KIRBY: It's difficult to know with certainty, Kate. And the reason I say that is when you look at the size and scale here of these missile and drone attacks, more than 80 purportedly, that's not the kind of thing that the Russians can just throw together in a couple of days. It likely was something that they had been planning for quite some

time. Now that's not to say that the explosion on the Crimea bridge might've accelerated some of their planning. I don't know that.

But more than likely, this was something not in retaliation but really was something that is very much a continuation of Putin's designs over the last several weeks to target specifically Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. This is not the first time in the last few weeks that they've done that. So, we kind of see this more as a continuation of these brutal tactics.

BOLDUAN: So if this continues, I mean, it begs the question after this level of brutal assault - I mean, really the harshest worst attack on civilian infrastructure and civilians in general since the start of this war, is the threat now greater of Putin using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine after this?

KIRBY: We continue to monitor his nuclear capabilities, Kate, best we can. And what I can tell you today is that we just don't see any indication that Mr. Putin has made a decision to use weapons of mass destruction or even nuclear weapons. And we've seen nothing, Kate, that would give us cause to change our own deterrent posture, our own nuclear footprint and our own ability to defend our national interest and those of our allies and partners in Europe.

But, again, we're watching this very closely. It is reckless and irresponsible for the leader of a modern nuclear armed state to speak the way Mr. Putin has been speaking, particularly in the last several days. We take that seriously. We have to. It would be irresponsible if we didn't.

But, again, we just don't see any indication that that's in the offing right now.

BOLDUAN: Well, speaking of reckless an irresponsible -- I mean, on steroids -- I mean, these attacks across the country today have sparked some new fear among military analysts that I've spoken to, that a tactical bombing campaign of military targets is now going to become a strategic bombing campaign of civilian targets. If that is what this is the start of, what does that mean?

KIRBY: Again, it's difficult to know, Kate. I mean, we don't have perfect visibility into Russian war plans and their intentions going forward. Again, we see this -- clearly, the size and scale and scope of this is very, very large, and it's unusually large. And we understand that.

But it is very much a continuation of the brutal, depraved tactics that the Russians have been using against Ukrainian -- the Ukrainian people, and their own -- and their housing, their hospitals, their schools. I mean, one of the -- one of the missile launches today hit a playground.


Now, we don't know if that was deliberate or not. But they have shown a wanton disregard for any respect for human life in Ukraine, particularly civilian innocent human life. We see this as a continuation of that brutal tactic.

Now, again, where it goes from here, we just don't know, which is why it was so important for President Biden to reach out to President Zelenskyy today and make sure that he reaffirmed for President Zelenskyy that we're going to stay at this for as long as it takes, we are going to continue to provide them the kinds of military capabilities they need to defend themselves. And I suspect you'll see additional packages coming in the very near future.

BOLDUAN: Look, we've heard resoundingly from Ukrainians saying, including the Ukraine foreign minister, that this does not change their counteroffensive. This does not change how they're going to stand up against Russia no matter how many missiles hit even playgrounds today.

But if this is Putin just pissed and lashing out, sorry for my language, John, but if that's what this was in order to change public opinion with inside Russia, what does that say about him?

KIRBY: Again, we don't know exactly all the planning motivations behind this. We see it again as a continuation of his brutal tactics against civilian population. That said, Kate, you raise a good point. He is clearly under a lot more pressure domestically and quite frankly overseas. I mean, just a few weeks ago, the Chinese leader and the Indian leader actually publicly criticized what he's doing inside Ukraine. He had not heard that particularly from president xi before.

And here at home, or at home in Russia, he's got increasing numbers of protests about this mobilization and his annexation plans. You have elected officials inside Russia, elected officials, that are publicly speaking out against Vladimir Putin.

That is very unusual. So, it's clear that he is feeling the pressure both at home and overseas and how he reacts to that, only he can say. But it's clear that he knows -- one thing -- I think as you look at all the things over the last few days, the mobilization, the annexation, these strikes, it's clear that Mr. Putin understands well.

And this was a question you might remember a couple of months ago. But he understands well that he's not doing well on the battlefield.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. John, thank you for coming in -- John Kirby.

KIRBY: Thanks, yeah.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, the woman who delivered bombshell testimony to the January 6th committee, she is now cooperating with a Georgia investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election there.

Plus, big money and big names are trying to pump up Herschel Walker's embattled Senate campaign. Do allegations he paid for and pushed an ex-girlfriend to have an abortion matter to conservative antiabortion voters? And tensions hitting a new high tonight after a series of North Korean missile tests and a new threat from Kim Jong-un. Are U.S. military bases now in his sights?



BOLDUAN: Tonight, a story first on CNN. Sources confirming that former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson is cooperating with the Fulton County district attorney's investigation into team Trump's efforts to overturn the election in Georgia -- an investigation where possible indictments could be just weeks away at this point.

Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT with all of this tonight.

Jessica, what else do we know about Cassidy Hutchinson now cooperating with the Georgia investigation?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, Kate, she was that key witness over the summer for the January 6th committee because, of course, she was able to give key insight about what her boss, then chief of staff Mark Meadows was doing on and around January 6th.

So, now, the Fulton County district attorney is really hoping to get similar insight about any possible involvement or knowledge that Meadows had in efforts to overturn the election. So my colleague Sara Murray has in fact confirmed that the D.A. has secured Cassidy Hutchinson's cooperation.

And since they've so far been unsuccessfully in getting Meadows himself to testify, they're actually still trying to secure his testimony, Hutchinson really might be able to give some insight since meadows, there were two things of note. He was on that notorious phone call between Trump and Georgia secretary of state in early January 2021 where Trump of course asked Raffensperger to find more votes. And then meadows also made a surprise visit to a Cobb County, Georgia, location in December 2020, just a month after the election, where officials were conducting an absentee ballot signature audit.

So, really, the D.A. probably wants to know more about information about what meadow what's doing there. And Cassidy Hutchinson, Kate, really could provide some answers here, since we know he was constantly by his side. So, Georgia investigators, they will talk to Hutchinson at some point even though they are shifting into this quiet period before the midterms to not disrupt the election.

But our team has previously reported that they could wrap up the Georgia investigation just after the election and even begin issuing indictments as soon as December. So, no doubt, Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony could be key to some of that -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, at the very -- what seems at the tail end of this.

SCHNEIDER: Yeah. BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Jess. Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT with us now, Ryan Goodman, the co-editor in chief of "Just Security" and, of course, a former special counsel at the Defense Department.

It's good to see you, again, Ryan.

So, with all of that context that Jessica lays out, how worried should Mark Meadows be, do you think, about Cassidy Hutchinson cooperating in Fulton County?

RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: I would be very worried if I were he. So, she is a star witness in the January 6 committee investigation, partly because she has so much visibility into Mark Meadows and his activities. She's also highly credible. She's being corroborated in everything she said.

So, in question is just turning her attention to all of Meadows' activity with respect to Georgia. We do know from the transcript that the January 6th had from one of her interviews, she said she's in the room with Meadows and Giuliani when they are told by the White House counsel that the false slate of electors plan is legally unsound.

What do Meadows and Giuliani then do? Proceed the false slate of electors. What does the Georgia district attorney investigating as part of the scheme? The false slate of electors.

So, that's just one of the -- I'll add that as a third point of contact for Meadows in Georgia, and surely should be able to provide some insight into that.

BOLDUAN: As we remember from the hearings for January 6th, she was known to be in almost every meeting that Meadows was in so she has that insight. Kind of fly on the wall for everything that he knew.

You said on the show last week that Trump was one of the two most likely people to be indicted in the Fulton investigation. How does this news about Hutchinson impact your assessment of this?

GOODMAN: So, I think it's like the way I think of it is dominoes. In a certain sense, Cassidy Hutchinson can really jeopardize Mark Meadows and therefore puts a lot of pressure on him to flip, because if he flips then he can avoid criminal liability potentially.


And then who's next? But Trump himself.

So I think that's the way in which this might go. And I think that looks as though what the district attorney is trying to operate under that kind of a scheme.

BOLDUAN: And it's interesting seeing her agreeing to cooperate, what seems like to be the tail end of this investigation. But we have to wait and see. Ryan, CNN has also learned that the current Trump attorney Christina

Bobb recently met with federal investigators in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation. Bobb is the attorney who signed onto a test, if you will, that all of the documents, all the classified material had been returned when it had been requested. But that letter was signed in June.

Then, the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago in August proved that not to be the case, of course. So she still represents Donald Trump as of today, as far as we know. But now she's spoken to federal investigators in this documents case.

What do you make of that?

GOODMAN: So, she has a lot of criminal jeopardy. She gave a false statement to the FBI and the Justice Department on June 3rd. And the fact that she'd be going in to speak to the investigators is really bad news for Trump because I think she'd go in there to say, it wasn't me, I was told this information by others.

And, in fact, based on "The New York Times" reporting earlier, she insisted on a kind of a disclaimer in her statement, which is based on the information that has been provided to me. So, that's the key question. Who provided her that information? It one of the other lawyers, was it Trump himself? And that's what I would be quite worried about if I was Trump or any of the others.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, to the best of my knowledge, it might be a very key caveat in all of that from her.

It's good to see you, Ryan. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT for us next, big-name Republicans doubling down on Herschel Walker despite the abortion allegations that he faces. Will the push save his campaign?

And Kim Jong un's latest threats to, quote, wipe out enemies, including possibly Americans.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, Republican Senators Rick Scott and Tom Cotton are headed to Georgia to try and help Herschel Walker. And "Politico" is reporting that Donald Trump's super PAC is pouring cash into TV ads to try to do the very same. Just the latest signs that some Republicans are rallying around the embattled Senate candidate, despite the new report from "The New York Times" that he not only paid a woman to have an abortion, but then urged her to terminate a second pregnancy two years later.

OUTFRONT now, Bakari Sellers, CNN political commentator and former Democratic state representative in South Carolina. And Dan Eberhart, a longtime Republican donor and a native of Georgia, who is supporting Herschel Walker. Thank you both for being here.

Dan, let me start with you.


BOLDUAN: Republicans have struggled for a while on how close they wanted to embrace Herschel Walker or keep him at arm's length or shun him. It's been -- it's been a bit of a road. You're standing by him despite these abortion allegations. Why?

EBERHART: Absolutely. Look, I don't think the specifics of this may be new, but I think everyone's known that Herschel Walker didn't live his life as a choir boy or to be a professional politician. But I think he's a guy who cares, who's standing up for Georgia, and who's really the better candidate in this race.

Raphael Warnock doesn't want to talk about the soaring inflation, the crime, or standing by Joe Biden. He wants to personally attack Herschel Walker. And I think what matters to people is how they're going to vote once they've been in the Senate. And that's why I think Herschel Walker ultimately wins.

BOLDUAN: Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I appreciate the commentary and the talking points. But what that highlights is the hypocrisy of this new Republican Party. I mean, you have individuals like Herschel Walker and many others including donors and supporters who want to talk about the fact that we should not have or should not even allow abortion when you have a woman being raped or incest or the life of the mother.

But what he just said here is he's willing to excuse abortion when it's the political life of a Republican candidate running for office. You see individuals twist themselves into pretzels just attempting to excuse Herschel Walker. These are the same people who come out and lambast fatherless homes and say we should be examples and beacons and being sure that we're in our children's lives as the father of three people. I think that's a valuable attribute.

Herschel Walker hasn't raised any of his four children. But yet people can sit on TV and say he should go to the Senate simply because of a power grab? This is what people don't like about American politics. And Herschel Walker is an example of all those things we hate.

BOLDUAN: Dan, is that what you're saying?

EBERHART: Absolutely not. Look, I think that Herschel Walker is an American hero and a hero in Georgia. He has led a colorful life that's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

But the fact of the matter is I think that his values and his voting habits are going to closer align with the people of Georgia. And that's what ultimately I think they're going to vote for. And I think Raphael Warnock and his allies have spent $60 million against Herschel Walker with personal attacks because they don't want to focus on the soaring inflation, the soaring crime, and how Joe Biden's America has got people with lighter pocketbooks, and they're worse off because of it.

BOLDUAN: One place this can get cleared up is a debate. Walker has stumbled to answer these questions when he has been confronted with them time and again. The first and only debate between Walker and Warnock is this Friday, Dan. How important is that moment for Herschel Walker?

WALKER: Not only is this -- look, this debate is absolutely critical for Herschel Walker. I think that he's got to be contrite. He's got to be humble, and he's got to act like an authoritative leader all at the same time.

But I think this is the most important Senate debate in probably the previous three or four cycles, not just for this campaign because I think an awful lot's riding on it. And I think in a lot of ways, this Senate race has turned into a referendum on Herschel Walker and not a referendum on Raphael Warnock which is absolutely amazing given where we started.

But that's what I think it is. I mean, it's very critical for Herschel Walker and I look to see him exceed to bar and show Georgia why he's the best choice.

BURNETT: Bakari, do you think this debate is as important for Raphael Warnock?


SELLERS: I think it is. I mean, I think Raphael Warnock has asked for debates and asked for more than just one debate. So, yes, this is a huge moment even for him. But I don't know Dan and I barely know Senator Cotton. I don't really know Rick Scott that well. But you see all of these Republicans flocking to support someone who held a gun to their wife's head.

Like, this is the most -- if you think about where we are in the level of politics, you have people who will come on prime time TV and say that someone who has not been in the life of four children's lives, has held a gun to their wife's head, is still suited to go to the United States Senate because of their voting pattern.

Like, I don't have a moral high ground. I don't have an ethical high ground. But what I can do is call B.S. on the talking points that people are espousing. Don't try to say this is about this or that. Just be honest with the American people and say, look, this is a power grab, we prefer to have 50 members of the United States Senate or 51. I don't have any value so I'm supporting Herschel Walker. Be honest.

BURNETT: The thing about it, Republican and Democratic voters alike, they get a new look at that come Friday and early voting in Georgia starts next week. So we will see what happens very, very soon.

Dan, thank you very much. Bakari, thank you. OUTFRONT for us next, fears over North Korean missile tests are

growing as Kim Jong-un threatens the United States and other, quote/unquote, enemies.

And also, first on OUTFRONT, a small town divided by a symbol of history.


REPORTER: There's no way I'm the first person who told you that some people see the Confederate monument as pro-slavery.




BOLDUAN: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un threatening to wipe out his enemies. This after a series of missile tests that North Korea says was a practice for a nuclear missile strike.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea's missile testing blitz, a staggering seven tests since September 25th. CNN's tally, 25 launch events this year, an unprecedented barrage of ballistic and cruise missiles.

Last week, North Korea's most powerful missile test since 2017, triggering a rare national emergency alert. Tensions skyrocketing to five-year highs. No mention of mass missile testing on North Korea's state media until now, breaking six months of silence Monday, calling the testing binge practice for tactical nuclear strikes on South Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea's final goal, they either want to have full-scale technical and strategic nuclear weapons.

RIPLEY: A growing arsenal could be used as leverage to lift crippling sanctions. Nuclear combat forces are fully ready to hit and wipe out South Korean targets, including airports and potentially U.S. military bases, threatening tens of thousands of American lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm concerned that these continuous threats might take away our happy and safe life.

RIPLEY: Experts predict the most provocative test in half a decade may be imminent. The U.S. and allies monitoring a flurry of activity at North Korea's known nuclear test site. I traveled there in 2018 for a staged demolition. North Korea made the questionable claim, all nuclear tunnels were destroyed.

The secret site now apparently restored, ready for a seventh underground nuclear test, potentially pushing a rattled region and weary world back to the brink of nuclear crisis.


BOLDUAN: That is Will Ripley in Taiwan reporting for us tonight. Will, thank you so much.

Coming up next for us, first on OUTFRONT, a small town roiled by Confederate monument controversy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The movement that was created to take down one monument was to take down every monument, essentially to replace the existing culture.


BOLDUAN: And the president of the Los Angeles City Council gives up her leadership role after saying a colleague's black son was like a little monkey, but also refusing to fully resign.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, they're tearing down our history. That is what some are saying about the removal of a Confederate statue from the center of a North Carolina town. Similar statues are coming down across the South, sparking new clashes and simmering racial tension.

Elle Reeve is OUTFRONT.


ANTHONY SMITH, PASTOR: When they moved the statue of Fame from his perch, it was surreal for a lot of people of color, it represents a very dark time in our history.

ANGIE SPILLMAN, RAN FOR ROWAN COUNTY COMMISSIONER: They're tearing down our history, the true history. They say that it hurts maybe the black community's feelings. It hurts my feelings for them that they were slaves and now their history's getting tore down.

ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The statue of a Greek goddess carrying a dying Confederate soldier used to stand in the center of Salisbury. Locals call it "Fame".

The 2020 BLM protest built pressure to move the statue. So, Greg Lambeth created the Fame preservation group to stop it. He lost. But his group is still going.

Americans are fighting over how the country's history is told, whether in public monuments or school textbooks.

We wanted to know why some still feel so connected to Confederate history. So we asked Greg if we could come to a meeting. SPILLMAN: It's a tough subject to have an event and put a confederate

flag up because people who don't understand why we're doing it are quick to call us names. And we're not doing anything wrong. We love everybody. I don't want to tear history down. I want to add to it.

REEVE: Fame had become a public safety problem because people would show up at its feet when there was a racial incident in the news. Like after the death of George Floyd, Anthony Smith was there.

ANTHONY SMITH, PASTOR: We were out there, the kids were chanting. Then Confederates start to emerge on the other side of the street.

GREG LAMBETH, FOUNDER, FAME PRESERVATION GROUP: They didn't want to see the monument vandalized or otherwise attacked.

SMITH: A gentleman who's apparently a white nationalist drove down here to join with that group. He pulls out a gun, fires it. It's kind of like, okay, this keeps escalating.

LAMBETH: It was originally for police brutality. And all of a sudden, it just got focused on taking that down, a directly nonrelated issue.

REEVE: Why do they think it's not related?

LAMBETH: Because monuments and memorials have nothing to do with individual actions of law enforcement.

REEVE: Do you understand the argument that the Black Lives Matter protesters would be making of why police brutality in a Confederate monument would be linked?

LAMBETH: Not really, given it's an inanimate object.

REEVE: Okay. Well, I can explain it for you. The idea is that the state has used violence to suppress Black people, prevent them from voting, using violence and intimidation to keep the population oppressed.


REEVE: And so, that's the connection.

Fame was removed from downtown in July 2020 and placed in a confederate cemetery a year later. After the BLM protests, Smith decided to run for city council.


SMITH: I see this fight for pronounced display of Confederate symbolism as them trying to create a sense of I'm a part of a story and y'all are trying to take my story away from me. And the problem is that story's problematic because a lot of the story has to do with the dehumanization of people that look like me, and that's the part that gets difficult to have a conversation about.


LAMBETH: I personally would like to hear everybody's opinion, no matter their background, whether it be African American or Asian, Hispanic.

REEVE: But, Greg --


REEVE: There's no way I'm the first person who told you that some people see the Confederate monument as pro-slavery.

LAMBETH: Of course.

REEVE: Or pro-white supremacy.

LAMBETH: There's people out there that believe that.

REEVE: So, look, you're just saying if someone wants to come to me and say they're offended, I'll listen. They've been saying it. Can't you read a paper?

LAMBETH: Yeah, I can read a paper but I'm saying if someone individually wants to speak to me one-on-one.

REEVE: Why do you need to be spoken to individually? I mean, you saw -- you were there when Black Lives Matter protesters were protesting it. You could have listened then.

LAMBETH: To be fair, I didn't have a choice but to listen because they were chanting it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've had a handful of people come up and whisper, are you a Democrat?

REEVE: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like it's shameful?

REEVE: Salisbury's demographics are changing. More people of color, more from urban areas.

Alyssa Redman (ph) bought a bookstore after 15 years in the foreign service.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Salisbury is a fairly liberal town but we are surrounded by a very conservative county and I wanted to be in a place where my vote would matter, but also my voice.

SMITH: I can see maybe how it looks scary to them, like, man, the world is not like it was, and some people are not taking it well.

REEVE: The local newspaper still gets letters from people who are upset that Fame was moved. LAMBETH: I see it as a cleansing movement. The movement that was

created to take down one monument was to taken down every monument, essentially to replace the existing culture with something entirely different.

REEVE: You said there was a cleansing and I'm wondering who is cleansing who.

SPILLMAN: You're talking about the statue being cleansed, aren't you?

LAMBETH: Not only statues but just historical fact in general.

REEVE: I want to know who exactly is doing the replacing.

SPILLMAN: Democrats.

REEVE: What do you mean?



REEVE: You think Democrats are replacing --

SPILLMAN: I'm not speaking for them, I'm speaking for me right now because I see what you're doing and you're turning this on a nice fella that's trying to do something good.

Let me tell you what a cleansing is.


SPILLMAN: A cleansing of our history, our nasty history of slavery and shitty white people who did shitty things to black people, okay? There's a cleansing of that. And then history is being retold.

REEVE: Now, is that what you meant, Greg?


SPILLMAN: Well, that's what I thought you meant.

REEVE: Well, I want to know what Greg thinks. And the reason I ask, just to be transparent here is you used the term "cleansing" and "replacement" and those are both terms that I've seen a lot in the white power movement. So are you consciously referring to those things?

LAMBETH: No. I'm not saying that there's any racial cleansing being done.

REEVE: Okay.

LAMBETH: Because I don't believe that Confederate monuments represent something that's specifically driven by race. If any one member of our organization perked any notion of racial supremacy or domestic terrorism, I would nip that in the bud real quick.


BOLDUAN: And Elle is here with us now. Those are really fascinating conversation, Elle. You always bring that.

So, this, of course, this monument, this statue was moved. There are other statues like this still in other parts of the country.

Is this -- is this a similar conversation happening? I mean, how is this conversation happening in other places?

REEVE: A lot of cities and towns are coming to a similar compromise as Salisbury. So, that means moving it to a place with historical context like a cemetery or museum. It's been acrimonious and lawsuits to force one to move or prevent one from being moved and in Matthews, Virginia, the county is considering deeding the property that a statue is sitting on to a Confederate history group, so that if public sentiment swings against the monument, the city can't do anything about it.

BOLDUAN: The city gets to take their hands away from it.

REEVE: Yeah, it's out of our hands.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Elle. Thank you.

REEVE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, a Los Angeles City Council member admits she made vile racist remarks but is asking constituents to forgive her.



BOLDUAN: The Los Angeles city council president has resigned from her powerful leadership post after making racist remarks about another council member who is white and his black child. In a leaked recorded conversation obtained by the "Los Angeles Times", Nury Martinez said that the man's young son was like a monkey who needed to be disciplined while on a parade float.



NURY MARTINEZ, L.A. CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: And then there's this white guy with a little Black kid who's misbehaved.

They're raising him like a little White kid, which I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I'll bring him back.

(END AUDIO CLIP) BOLDUAN: So, Martinez apologized for her remarks. Although she resigned her leadership post, she remains on the Los Angeles City Council. As of tonight, calls for her to go are growing louder.

Thank you so much for being here, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

"AC360" starts now.