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Ian Expected To Be Major Hurricane Tonight; Mandatory Evacuation Issued For Hillsborough County At 2pm; Mass Exodus, Arrests As Putin All Up 300K Russian Reservists; Zelenskyy On Putin's Nuclear Threat: "Don't Thing He's Bluffing"; Mystery 9-Second Call From WH To Rioter On 1/6; Raskin: Weds May Be Last Investigative Public 1/6 Cmte Hearing; Book: Trump Admits He Ran For President Because Of Fame; Cheney: I'll Quit GOP If Party Nominates Trump In 2024. Aired 12- 12:30p ET

Aired September 26, 2022 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing your day with us. A monster sitting offshore, Hurricane Ian picks up strength, Florida prepares for a direct hit. And new information about a January 6 mystery. CNN identifies the man on the receiving end of a nine second call from the White House switchboard in the middle of the insurrection.

Plus, John Fetterman and the fitness question. Republican Mehmet Oz says his Senate race rival needs to release his medical records. Democrat Fetterman hopes picking up the pace on the campaign trail shows voters his recovery is on track.


JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: He blamed President Biden for closing Bethlehem steel 27 years ago, and I am the one that had a stroke.


KING: We begin though with Florida bracing for Hurricane Ian. It's already rapidly intensifying, wind speeds have jumped 35 miles per hour in just the last day, Ian could turn into a major category three or higher storm within the next 24 hours. People in the Tampa area filling sandbags as the storm currently churns in the Caribbean.

Lines already long to stock up on supplies and the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declaring an emergency for the entire state, including activating the national guard. CNN's Carlos Suarez watching storm preparations for us live in Tampa. Carlos, what do you see?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, John, the first round of evacuation, mandatory evacuations will go into effect here in Hillsborough County at two o'clock this afternoon. Officials with the county tell us, they expect to evacuate some 300,000 people that live near the coastline out here. We're live right now from one of three sandbag distribution sites. And folks at this location have been spending the entire morning, getting what's left of all of this sand into these bags. And from this location, a few of the folks are being sent just to the other side of where we are, where yet there is more sand for folks to be able to get as they get their homes ready for what may come this way.

The big concern ahead of Ian is the storm surge that we could be seeing. We're talking anywhere between six to eight feet along the Tampa Bay area. And so, you've got all this water that's coming in from the Gulf of Mexico into the bay. And the closer you get into the low-lying areas right along the coast, that's where you're going to see a lot of this flooding take place. And so, officials have been telling folks to get much of their sandbags in place to get all of their supplies done ahead of the storm. They'd like everyone to be in place by tonight. John?

KING: Carlos for us live us on the ground, watching the preparations. Carlos, thank you. And let's get to CNN's Chad Myers now. He's standing by in the weather center. Chad, what is the latest on the track here?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, not much changed at 11 o'clock. The numbers went up by five miles per hour from 75 to 80 miles per hour, and really some gusts a little bit higher than that. But I really don't think not yet. This is a storm that will impact Western Cuba tonight, hurricane warnings are in effect here. Even tropical storm warnings in effect for parts of southwestern parts of Florida. But when this gets into this very warm water, John, this is when this storm is going to explode.

According to the computer models, all of them. Every single one has this under what we call rapid intensification, which means the pressure goes down rapidly, the winds increase rapidly, the surge potential goes up. And obviously the wind damage potential goes up.

All weekend, even part of last week, we were hoping that the models finally began to agree on something here, so that everyone can make their preps. We hate it when the storm could be seven miles east or west of a line. You want it in a line, very close to a line so that the people over here won't have to do anything. They can stay out of the way. The people over here don't have to do anything, but the people that are in the way can do something.

And this is the latest model. This is the American model right here. The latest one, just printed off literally like. I just looked at the last frame six minutes ago. This is not how we wanted these storms to agree. There's Tampa. There's Tampa. This is the European model from overnight. We're waiting for the new model to come in for the European, but this is not what we were hoping for.


Big surges and a stalling storm possible over Tampa, stalling like really for hours and hours. Winds out here in the Gulf when the storm is exploding rapidly intensifying, will be 30 feet tall. Now those winds won't hit shore, but some of them will at 10 to 12 for sure. Lots of beach erosion, lots of wind damage, lots of flooding, lots of storm surge.

KING: We will be in touch with Chad obviously over the next several days as this plays out. Chad, appreciate that report. If you're in the Tampa area, stay with us and watch your local officials, listen closely. Chad, thanks.

Let's move to some major global news. Now an exodus out of Russia. New video showing you can see it here, hundreds of cars lining up to leave. Witnesses say, people waiting as long as 48 hours to cross into neighboring Georgia. More than 2300 demonstrators had been detained in Russia since just Wednesday. That of course when President Putin called up 300,000 reservists to aid in his faltering war on Ukraine.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground in Ukraine with the very latest. Nick, what do you see?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I mean, staggering, really, the seams of Russian simply trying to get out. The Finnish border experiencing record numbers 16,000 over the weekend and you saw there too down towards Georgia, essentially countries that don't really require Russians to have a visa approving the most popular, but they are of course, reeling from this sudden influx.

This is down, of course, to the haphazard and brutal nature in which this quote, partial mobilization has been prosecuted, in which it seems that people who didn't fit the categories of reservists' veterans and those with special skills were simply swept off the streets. We've seen intense protests, particularly in one of the Southern republics of Russia called Dagestan. That's not a place where Russia is going to want to see popular unrest. It's had jihadist issues, local unrest over the past decades or so. The Kremlin saying, look, we accept there have been problems, and we're going to try and fix them. But those will be hollow words for people who've seen their relatives already packed onto buses, John?

KING: And Nick, now a controversy about the tough language coming out of the Kremlin. The White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, using very stark language to Putin's latest nuclear threats. Take a listen?


JAKE SULLIVAN, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There will be catastrophic consequences for Russia if they use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. We have been clear with them and emphatic with them that the United States will respond decisively.


KING: That's the White House perspective. What does President Zelenskyy think?

PATON WALSH: Yes. And there's something very different, frankly, to a couple of months ago, where western officials were brushed aside nuclear threat saying, is just never going to happen. Putin's recent rhetoric has made them have to put this messaging out in public and that's deeply troubling and very different. And it's something that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, did respond to echoing what we've heard in the west, that this might be something real.


PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE: Look, maybe yesterday, it was bluff, now it could be a reality. He wants to scare the whole world. These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don't think he's bluffing.


PATON WALSH: Now we're into a 48-hour period of great uncertainty. Russia is likely to say that these four referenda held in occupied areas, mean that they now claim occupied parts of Ukraine as being part of Russia. And their foreign minister over the weekend said they would offer quote, full protection to areas that have been formalized as part of Russia. That is essentially a point towards nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin heads been clear about that, too. And we're into a point where we can go one of two ways. This is essentially Russia trying to force a negotiated settlement here with nuclear in the background. Well, it's pretty clear both Washington and Kyiv aren't going to go with that. And so are we, in fact, possibly seeing the advent of these unconventional weapons, maybe in the battlefield, Putin's conventional military really doing consistently badly.

These mobilize troops, you can see how unhappy people are about that. That's unlikely to help, it's unlikely to fix the equipment problems they have. And so, this moment when Russia is likely to declare parts of Ukraine as part of its sovereign territory, is going to be one of great peril, frankly, for much of the wealth. John?

KING: What a great product. Nick Paton Walsh, its grateful you're on the ground there to help us understand it. Nick, thank you very much. Up next for us. The January 6 committee back in the hearing room this week and a one-time committee staffer reveals a mysterious nine second call from the Trump White House to a rioter on January 6.




KING: CNN reporting now some new information about a mysterious nine second phone call placed from a White House landline to a Capitol rioter during the January 6 insurrection. That call first disclosed by the former January 6 committee adviser Denver Riggleman that in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER ADVISER TO JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: Do you get a real aha moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter's phone while it's happening? That's a pretty big aha moment. You get to aha---

BILL WHITAKER, CBS 60 MINUTES CORRESPONDENT: Wait a minute. Someone in the White House was calling one of the rioters while the riot was going on---

RIGGLEMAN: On January 6th.

WHITAKER: Absolutely.


KING: That call we now know was placed at 4:34pm, minutes after then President Trump finally told the rioters to go home. Now we do not know who at the White House placed the call. But CNN has learned that on the receiving end was a 26-year-old Trump supporter from Brooklyn named Anton Lunyk. He and two friends were convicted for their role in the Capitol riots you see in the pictures. There they are right there.

Let's get some insights from CNN's Manu Raju, Margaret Talev of Axios, Seung Min Kim of the Associated Press, and the former federal prosecutor Shan Wu. It is interesting, the committee will be back in the hearing room this week. And let's listen to it right off the top and yet that's the former congressman Denver Riggleman, who was then an adviser to the committee. He says it's an aha moment. Several members of the committee say, maybe not.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D) MEMBER, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: I don't know what Mr. Riggleman is doing really.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D) MEMBER, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: That's one of thousands of details that obviously the committee is aware of. We've been very careful about what we say, not to overstate matters, not to understate matters. And without the advantage of the additional information we've gathered since he left the committee, you know, I think poses real risks to be suggesting things.



KING: Why our committee members so down on what is it? Maybe there's nothing there but just the idea that somebody from the White House called somebody at the Capitol in the middle of the riot 17 minutes after the president finally sent out that message go home. I want to know.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, there's a couple of reasons, one of which is that what Denver Riggleman has been saying has not been sanctioned by this committee, they in fact, did not want any of their staffers or former staffers revealing any of the details, because of their concerns that it may suggest something that they simply don't know the answer to.

They may have a lot of questions they're trying to search here going forward. And also, they have a mountain of evidence and a whole host of other issues, involving the president, involving his allies, involving the efforts to overturn the election, involving what happened on that day on January 6. They want to focus on those issues, not chase things that may not amount to much, which is why you're seeing this pushback.

The question will be how much in this hearing that will come up on Wednesday? How much new information do they present? Because they've presented a lot so far. But they've been a little cagey about exactly the new details and they ultimately come.

KING: Back to that in one second. But this idea that I completely get Shan, why the committee wants to tell the American people what we know, not what we think or not what we're still working on. However, they have the records of a call to this cell phone from 4561414, the White House switchboard. As a prosecutor, can you find out? Can you trace it? Can you trace back to the system and say, where'd this come from?

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You can. I think in cases like this involving White House members of Congress, if this was the FBI or DOJ, they would be very sensitive to drilling down to see whose number it was. The committee may be equally sensitive since that they're members of Congress as well. But it certainly would be a very valuable roadmap to have.

And I think, to Manu's point, their concern is that if it leaks out piecemeal, it's kind of like that law of thermodynamics where the observation affects the data. It can cause other people to tailor what they're saying and can mess up the kind of results you're getting from their investigation.

KING: So, they prefer to not to talk about it until they know the full story. I guess, I get that. So, then we have this big hearing, the committee took the summer off essentially, they come back in. This could be the last evidentiary hearing they say, laying out the information. One of the committee members, Jamie Raskin says, we're learning a lot.


RASKIN: What we're going to do on Wednesday, is fill in those details that have come to the attention of the committee over the last five or six weeks. It may be the last investigative public hearing, where we're going to try to round out the factual narrative. I'm hopeful speaking just as one member that we will have a hearing that lays out all of our legislative recommendations.


KING: To Manu's point at every previous public hearing, we have learned a ton. We have learned a ton. Do we understand what we're going to get on Wednesday? SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: It's not yet clear. Obviously, we've seen how members of the January 6 committee haven't yet really telegraphed what specifically we're going to know. But you're certainly right. We have learned a lot of things from the air. So, public hearings that we've had, and a lot of it is because they've been so, you know, so rigorous and so disciplined with how little information that they were keeping amongst themselves to be able to present to the public.

And they've done it in a number of ways. Obviously, they've hired former television producers to create a very compelling narrative. You know, Zoe Lofgren has said that they're actually going to do it in daytime this week, so that Fox News has a higher chance of airing these public hearings to try to reach conservative viewers. So, I think that's why the Denver Riggleman interview kind of really rankled the committee members because it was a very undisciplined week for a committee that has been very disciplined.

KING: It is the goal and trying to reach more conservatives by having a daytime hearing, is it to change their minds if they still believe somehow that the election was stolen? Or that Donald Trump had nothing to do with what happened at the Capitol? Or is it to influence an election that will be six weeks from tomorrow although?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, that committee is mostly Democrats, you can't take the political backdrop out of this. I also think that there have been substantive disclosures in every single hearing. And there are things that we probably won't see flushed out in this hearing, that are still the ongoing work of this committee, whether it is talking with Ginni Thomas, and trying to understand all that comes with that life of a Supreme Court justice, whether it is the Mike Pence issue, which certainly sounds like the committee is still thinking very actively about whether to try to compel more from the vice president himself, not just people who speak up for him.

And then there's what happens after this hearing and after the election, which is will there be a referral? What will that look like? Liz Cheney offering some clues over the weekend saying, she thinks anything the committee decides will be unanimous. Read what you want to. I know what I read into it or at least what I think I read into it. So, there is still a lot to come beyond this week's hearing, were at a disadvantage as journalists, we want to know everything including what Denver Riggleman knows, but the committee knows more than we do.


RAJU: I talked to Jamie Raskin about this last week. I said will there be significant new information revealed? He said, it's in the eye of the beholder, which is a little bit different than what they said before which will be major bombshells and past hearings. But I do think we will learn more about the secret service in this and how those - all those text messages that were deleted on January 6, in the run up to January 6, have discussions that happen within the secret service. So, we could learn a lot more about everything that was happening around Donald Trump, right in the run up to the rioter. KING: If you think about the sequence of hearings as a prosecution, and you were the prosecutor, what do you want to do with this one? What would your goal be coming into what could be as the Congressman Raskin, your final evidentiary hearing?

WU: Well, that's the difference between a congressional hearing in a trial, a trial you want to end with the sum up and the bombshell and the ask to the jury. I think here they have had so many unexpected tangents they had to go down and run down substantively. I think this is a new area. They want to present the full picture to the American people. I don't expect it to look like a summation and a trial.

KING: It'll be fascinating, and we hope you join us on Wednesday. Join us CNN special live coverage of the January 6 hearings resume, new witnesses and new evidence we are told to tack on democracy the January 6 hearings live Wednesday our coverage begins at 12pm eastern. Up next. Trump on Trump, and on taking sensitive documents from the White House. Some revealing excerpts from a new book by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.


KING: Fame, fame, Donald Trump says his thirst for fame motivated his run for president. That's according to new excerpts published in The Atlantic today from the forthcoming Maggie Haberman book, Confidence Man. Haberman asked the former president if he had to do it all over again, the 2016 campaign, the investigations, the insurrection, would he?

Trump's answer, Haberman writes was candid and jarring. But she says unsurprising, quote the answer is, yes, I think so, Trump told the author, because here's the way I look at it. I have so many rich friends, and nobody knows who they are.

Our reporters still with us at the table. I agree with that. It's jarring but given what we have learned about Donald Trump over the past six or seven years, not surprising.

TALEV: But it's still a really important revelation. And, you know, as I think about this, like, I think the opportunity in this book and this incredible work of reporting, is to really illuminate for people who are still supporters of the president or people who support the principles that that they think that he's championing and are trying to figure out what they want to do in 2024.

This is a lot of granularity and real detail about his motivation and what he thinks about. And I am - I think a little bit concerned that there's been such a choosing off of sides. And so, many people have kind of already made up their mind, you can't trust anything that's critical about Donald Trump that the people who could perhaps be best served by reading this for whom these will really be revelations may not be open to it, it is a real look inside, what makes him tick.

And for somebody who is trying to figure out what they want to do, if he runs again in 2024, whether they would back him or a DeSantis, or Pence, or Nikki Haley, or Glenn Youngkin or whoever it is. This is information and its powerful information.

KING: It's a key point because people who feel so disenfranchised, disillusioned, disconnected from politics that they turned to Donald Trump because he said I am your voice. He said, I will listen to you. I was in the Lehigh Valley over the weekend, there a lot of people in that part who just think, you know, the steel jobs are gone, the other jobs are gone. Is there anyone who listens to me as we go through this transition.

But here's what he says, this is a little bit more of a reflecting on the meaning of having been president to the United States. His first impulse was not to mention public service, or what he felt he'd accomplished, only that appear to be a vehicle for fame. And that many experiences were only worth having. If someone else envied them.

KIM: I thought it was surprising on the one hand, because there's nothing that - there a few things that Donald Trump loved more than kind of boasting constantly about his accomplishments. But the fact that while he's out of office, he has some time to kind of contemplate it with Maggie. What it kind of hits bigger term thoughts about the presidency, that it goes solely to himself.

And I think like, all the actions that we see can - that is his ultimate motivation, what benefits himself. And I think it, you know, whether it's, you know, his inaction on January 6, his lack of enthusiasm for, you know, funding midterm candidates or picking candidates who may not be electable. It ultimately goes back to him and what benefits them.

KING: So, which is why, to your point, he's planning on running again in 2024. We'll see if he ultimately does, but he certainly planning on it. So, even if you wanted to make something up, you could have made a better answer than to have other people envy me or for fame, which is why not a surprise here. Liz Cheney says, if Donald Trump is the nominee in 2024, she Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick Cheney will no longer be a Republican.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you remain a Republican, regardless of what happens in the next election?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I'm going to make sure Donald Trump, did everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won't be a Republican.


KING: She also says this year, she's willing to go out and campaign for Democrats essentially, campaign against Republicans who are election denier. She specifically mentioned the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona.

RAJU: Yes. I mean, the question is how much difference is that made? I mean, this is a party that has left her some time ago, she was booted out from the Republican leadership is remarkable. And think that in this Congress she was the number three Republican in the House GOP conference, but it was it rejected.