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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

SF DA Jenkins: Attack at Pelosi Home was "Politically Motivated"; South Korean Officials they had no Guidelines to Handle Crowd; Putin Warns Missile Strikes are "Not all we could do"; Dems, GOP Target key Battlegrounds in Campaign's Final Stretch; Biden Accuses Oil and Gas Companies of "War Profiteering". Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 01, 2022 - 05:00   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Here we go, it's Tuesday morning. We're off to an "Early Start" with the hammer attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband police now telling us what it was? And more importantly what it wasn't?

Deafening silence from Brazil's defeated President and no concession from Jair Bolsonaro as his supporters take to the streets and the final stretch and the 2022 raised Biden pens, Obama Cheney all campaigning for candidates today, just one week until the midterms.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans. The man accused of hitting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul on the head with a hammer, has now been charged with a long list of state and federal crimes among them assault, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping. San Francisco prosecutors say 42-year old David Depap confessed to Police that he wanted to hold the speaker hostage.


BROOKE JENKINS, SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Yes, it appears as though this was based on his statements and comments that were made in that house during his encounter with Mr. Pelosi, that this wasn't politically motivated.


ROMANS: And FBI criminal complaint says Depap wanted to press Speaker Pelosi to "Tell the Truth". Official said there's no proof behind a conspiracy theory now spread by big names like Elon Musk and Donald Trump Jr. We won't repeat it here. It's not true, except to say it hinges on the falsehood that Paul Pelosi was well acquainted with his attacker.


CHIEF WILLIAM SCOTT, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE: There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Pelosi knew this man's matter of fact, the evidence indicates the exact opposite. And again, you know, this is really sad that these theories are being floated out there. Baseless, fact fewer theories that are being floated out there and they're damaging. They're damaging to the people involved. They're damaging to this investigation.


ROMANS: Speaker Pelosi saying in a statement that Paul is making steady progress on what will be a long road to recovery. All right, South Korean officials admitting they had no official guidelines to handle the huge crowds that jammed into a sole nightlife district for Halloween. 156 people died in the crush unable to move, unable to breathe and alleyways barely four yards wide.

The nation now mourning one of its worst ever disasters Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson live for us this morning in Seoul. Ivan, how are officials explaining the Police preparation and response to this disaster?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're now conceding Christine, that the response was inadequate. But there were emergency calls warning that the size of the crowd was growing to dangerous levels. And that the Police did not respond adequately to this.

The Prime Minister of Korea saying that there was "A lack of institutional knowledge and consideration for crowd management". So I'm standing not only is this memorial here, but it's one of the entrances to the subway station. And according to official figures, there were about 130,000 plus people who came through this subway station on Saturday.

Government estimates of around 100,000 people out partying in the streets and alleyways just steps away from where I am right now. And the Police say they had only deployed 136 Police officers for this incredible crowd. And most of them had been assigned to be on the lookout for illegal drugs and to stop things like sexual harassment and sexual assault.

They clearly were not prepared for the sheer numbers there. And the Police have conceded that saying, normally they have guidelines for what to do if there's one organizer like a political protest or a sports event. But this was just kind of an improvised gathering.

The young people I've been talking to said they had heard that Halloween night, Saturday night was a big fun Halloween party. And they just surged into this place. And clearly there were not adequate preparations for this. And then a terrible terrifying nightmare ensued.

The country is still processing the scale of the loss of life, at least 156 people dead, the funerals have begun. And also that very difficult procedure of trying to identify the belongings that were lost in the deadly crowd surge in a gymnasium here in Seoul where parents have to go. And try to identify the articles of clothing that were left behind, lost by their loved ones. This is a terrible process that this society has to go through. And a terrible lesson to have to learn a terrible price to have to pay to how to deal with something like this in the future, Christine.


ROMANS: Ivan Watson just awful story there thank you. The Supreme Court looks ready to end or at least drastically curtail affirmative action in college and university admissions. In a marathon five-hour session, the six conservative justices focusing on whether race conscious admissions should be allowed forever or should have some definite endpoint.


JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT: How do you know when you're done? You know, Justice Alito said if you have exact correlations to the member to the number, the percentage in the population of a particular group, and you said you're not done then. So when would the race content, when would you have the endpoint?

RYAN PARK, NORTH CAROLINA SOLICITOR GENERAL: I meant to respond to Justice Alito meaning that we do not need to reach that point for us to feel that we have met our diversity goals.


ROMANS: The three liberal justices spent much of their time defending the value of diversity of all kinds in education.


JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: I hear a process in which there's a form that says tell us about you and people can put all sorts of things. I'm Catholic, I'm from, you know, Los Angeles, I'm a Latina, whatever. But other people are not going to be able to. Because they won't be able to reveal that they're Latino or African American or whatever.


ROMANS: Judge Jackson has recused herself from the Harvard case. A ruling is expected by next summer. Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court to stop the IRS from releasing his tax returns to a House committee.

A federal appeals court cleared the way last week but now the Former President has filed an emergency appeal right Brazil's far right leader yet to concede after losing the Presidential election on Sunday. Jair Bolsonaro is expected to address the country today.

And there are fears he might refuse to accept the results and set off political unrest in the world's fourth largest democracy. CNN's Paula Newton has the latest from Sao Paulo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The results of this election in Brazil maybe and but the protesters here they're not having any of it all over Brazil. There have been these kinds of protests going on roads and highways from one end of the country to the other. We are in Sao Paulo.

This is a major highway leading into the downtown area and through to the airport. Have a look here; we have protesters that are encroaching on a major highway. They are looking for support and they are getting it here as well.

The issue is they are saying it doesn't matter Bolsonaro concedes. They are saying they will stay out here as long as necessary creating chaos for the country. Because as far as they're concerned, Bolsonaro one, take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a President that one at the ballot box. And there's the front of the ballot boxes to put the other candidate ahead. And we're against that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if Bolsonaro accepts the people will not accept it because the power comes from the people. The people were the ones who put Bolsonaro there. And were the ones who would remove him as well.

NEWTON (voice over): The division that we heard throughout this campaign is now being vented on the streets. If you look here, they will at times pull into traffic, continue to block traffic and then come back to the barriers. Police are here and they're trying to be here in force.

But what they are saying is that they want to try and de-escalate the situation. And we're hearing this from authority's right across the country. They are negotiating a way to keep them safe to let them protest but also not to come in a forceful way, as they do not want to motivate people to escalate this protest further and continue to block more roads.

This will be a tense situation, though in days to come. Especially as they are saying it does not matter what Bolsonaro says at this point or the international community. They are determined they will be out here having these protests as long as it takes Paula Newton CNN, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


ROMANS: All right, the Justice Department now weighing in on a voter intimidation lawsuit in Arizona. The League of Women Voters is accusing right wing activists of sending vigilante pole watchers including some with guns and wearing tactical gear to videotape and intimidate voters at ballot drop boxes. The DOJ says Citizen-led election monitoring activities are more likely to put voters in reasonable fear of harassment, intimidation, coercion or interference with their voting rights.

This stark warning from Vladimir Putin the Russian President telling reporters the barrage of missiles his forces launched on Ukraine's Capitol Monday are "Not all we could do". CNN's Selma Abdelaziz live in Kyiv with more. What Salma is Putin suggesting here?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was in response to a reporter's question, as you mentioned their President Putin saying yes, that barrage of missiles is partly a response.


ABDELAZIZ: But it's not all we can do a very ominous warning there. Christine, he's already done more, he's already pulled out of this very important grain deal that could cause a huge domino effect around the world. Take a listen to what President Putin said.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: So we are not saying that we are ending up participation in this deal? No, we are saying that we are suspending one of the organizers of this deal was the United Nations General Secretary. United Nations representatives take active part in this process.

And we are grateful to them, obviously. Then let them communicate with Ukraine so that Ukraine guarantees that there will be no risk for civil ships and Russian ships, which provides security.


ABDELAZIZ: Now, Ukraine says that several vessels have been able to leave Black Sea ports despite Russia pulling out of this initiative. Russia for its part says that if Ukraine continues to do this, without Moscow's involvement that could be "Risky and Dangerous". But what we're seeing here is what we've seen for week's right?

President Putin taking the battle, away from the frontlines right into people's homes all across the country no matter how far they are, from the conflict with these attacks on civilian infrastructure, making life ever more difficult water, food, electricity, harder to access.

And then there's this grain deal of course. If Russia continues to be outside of this initiative, if it is not restarted, we could potentially see prices, food prices soar around the world that domino effect. Again, this is why Russia is being accused once more of using food as a weapon.

ROMANS: Yes, we saw those grain prices in the futures markets moving sharply yesterday. That adds to the inflation story globally and food insecurity if it doesn't get fixed. So nice to see you Salma thank you.

Still ahead, Joe Biden tells Big Oil brace for higher taxes if you don't lower prices. Plus, the final countdown looms for a space launch unlike any we've seen in years. And the big names on the campaign trail with one week until midterms.


ROMANS: Hurry one week until midterm election day. And more than 21.4 million ballots have already been cast in 46 States that outpaces the record numbers in the 2018 midterms. Today, Democrats and Republicans are dispatching the heavy hitters to crucial battlegrounds President Biden will be in Florida.

Former President Obama campaigns in Nevada. Former Vice President Mike Pence will be in Georgia with Governor Brian Kemp. And Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney will stump for house Democrat Elissa Slotkin and Michigan. CNN's Jessica Dean has more on the campaign's home stretch.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The race to the finish is on, with just 8 days remaining until Election Day. Republicans believe they have history and momentum on their side.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): This is our year the Democrats can't run on anything they've done. People don't like what they've done.

DEAN (voice over): With the balance of power in Congress at stake. New polling from the New York Times and CNN Collage focused on four key races that could determine Senate control. The survey finding no clear Leader in the Nevada race between Democratic incumbent, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt and no clear Leader in Georgia, where Democratic incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock is facing off against Herschel Walker in Arizona, the poll shows incumbent, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly edging out Republican Blake Masters 51 to 45 percent and Pennsylvania Democratic nominee John Fetterman holding a slight lead over Republican Mehmet Oz with 49 percent support to Oz's 44 percent both parties bringing in their closers as we near Election Day.

BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Just about every Republican politician seems obsessed with two things, owning the libs and getting Donald Trump's approval. That's their agenda, it's not long, it's not complicated. And, at least to me, it's not very inspiring.

DEAN (voice over): Former President Barack Obama has done for Democrats in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin over the weekend, with plans to head to Nevada and Arizona as well as Pennsylvania later this week alongside President Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm going to be spending the rest of his time making the case that this is not a referendum. It's a choice and choice between two very different visions for the country.

DEAN (voice over): Former President Donald Trump is also hitting the trail with stops playing in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio in the closing stretch.

DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Go out and vote up and down the slate. Vote for Republicans good, great Republicans.

DEAN (voice over): Meantime, millions of voters have already voted early as candidates take part in final debates. On Sunday night in Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams debated a number of key issues.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of the state. We have the most people ever working.

STACEY ABRAMS, (D) GEORGIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: In the history of our state. And we're seeing economic opportunity in all parts of our state in this Georgia right now. People are feeling economic pain. And unfortunately under this government, the pain is only getting worse.

DEAN (on camera): Here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is an open Senate seat with Republican Senator Pat Toomey retiring so of course, Democrats hoping to flip this seat.

Republicans hoping to keep it in their column into that and we are seeing the highest profile surrogates traveling to Pennsylvania to see which party can capture Pennsylvania and its open Senate seat. Jessica Dean, CNN, Philadelphia.


ROMANS: All right, let's bring in Jackie Kucinich, CNN Political Analyst and Washington Bureau Chief for "The Daily Beast". Have you heard Stacey Abrams, they're saying that people are feeling economic pain? You know, and traditionally you punish the party in power when you don't feel good about your pocketbook. I mean, that's what Democrats are facing here.


JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, exactly. And that's what you're seeing voters who are really the inflation issue and gas prices and things like that they're breaking for Republicans. But you also have the social issues which are important to a lot of voters. And if that's the case, they're breaking for Democrats.

So that's what you have. That's one of the reasons that you have Biden going down to Florida today, in part to talk about Medicare, Social Security, some issues that perhaps Republicans those seniors in Florida wouldn't be very happy about. Now, will that move the needle in some of those races that aren't particularly close probably not? But it's one way for Democrats to talk about the economic issue in a way that could be persuasive to some voters.

ROMANS: Yes, Joe Biden saying that Republicans would cause chaos. They're just they're just blaming Democrats. They don't have a better plan. Jackie, what do you make a Cheney's decision to campaign with a Democrat?

KUCINICH: You know, Cheney is in your district, she's talking about democracy. She's talking about January 6, and she's talking about her work on that committee. And someone, at least slacking is someone who talks a lot about National Security, who very much has been a part of this discussion when it comes to democracy.

So I think that is an issue that Liz Cheney is particularly an authority to talk about. And that's why you have her in that very contentious seat in Michigan.

ROMANS: A couple of trends here I think are really interesting. These early voting totals are huge. And also at the same time, this new polling from the New York Times shows these really tight races in these key battlegrounds for control of the Senate. What are these trends telling us?

KUCINICH: So I think there are a couple things at play here. There's a really interesting note in this poll about how the majority of a lot of people want Republicans to take over the Senate. But they like the Democratic candidate in their state better than the Republican and that's it.

And so perhaps you're seeing a drag on some of the candidates that Donald Trump selected who ended up winning their primaries. And the Republicans are kind of starting to feel the pain from that. But it I mean, Christine, it is extraordinary how many of the Senate campaigns are going right down to the wire. And in the case of Georgia, might be going over the wire to a runoff situation in December.

ROMANS: Yes, just fascinating Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada these are going to be really, really interesting races. All right, Jackie Kucinich, CNN Political Analyst nice to see this morning thanks.

KUCINICH: Thanks Christine.

ROMANS: OK, all right. Quick Hits across America right now the University of Florida Board of Trustees that to hold a final vote today on the appointment of Senator Ben Sasse as President. Sasse received a no confidence vote last week from faculty members. But that vote is purely symbolic.

The FBI identifying a woman found dead on Cape Cod nearly 50 years ago using investigative genealogy. The woman dubbed "Lady of the Dunes" has now been identified as Ruth Marie Terry, who was 37, when she died.

And Space-X set for today's launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket the first such launch in more than three years. Two classified satellites will blast off before the U.S. Space Force. Liftoff is 9:40am Eastern.

Right, it's the happiest place on earth. Unless you're stuck they're trapped at Disney ahead. First Joe Biden threat to big oil next.



ROMANS: President Biden threatening big oil companies with a windfall tax on their corporate profits.


BIDEN: And profits are a windfall of war the windfall from the brutal conflict that's ravaging Ukraine, and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe. It's time for these companies to stop war profiteering meet their responsibilities in this country. Give the American people a break and still do very well.


ROMANS: Biden threat comes in the final stretch of the midterm campaign season. Several global energy giants just posted massive corporate profits. The President is calling on them to "Act beyond their narrow self-interest".

More proof this morning that inflation is a global challenge. European inflation now at record highs Clare Sebastian is live in London for us. Clare, really energy prices really hurting hard here?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, this was mainly driven by energy prices up almost 42 percent year on year in the 19 countries that use the euro. This is interesting because actually gas prices in Europe have come down by about two thirds since the peak. At the end of August that has not yet trickled down to consumers.

So we could see the effect of energy improve over the coming month unless of course, the winter is unexpectedly cold and demand outpaces supply and unless of course we see more disruption through the few remaining routes the Russia continues to pump gas through there's of course puts the onus on European countries to continue to save gas.

And to continue to invest in new areas of supply and of course, renewable The other area wants to know is food prices they were up in the euro area some 13 percent year on year that's an acceleration again from the previous month.

Now this effect could actually get worse. We've seen Russia suspend its participation in that Black Sea Grain Deal. The emergency deal brokered by the U.N. to keep grain flowing out of Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

Russia now says it's not taking pride in this at the moment if that deal continues to flounder if the war continues. Because of course that deal doesn't actually solve the problem is just a band aid. Then we could see food prices continue to rise again.