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Isa Soares Tonight

Voting Gets Underway In U.S. Midterm Elections; Developing Countries Demand For Compensation At COP27; Cold Snap Strains Ukraine's Damaged Power Grid; U.S. Democrats Hope To Avoid "Midterm Curse"; Election Conspiracy Theorists On The Ballot In Arizona; Iran Accused Of Plotting To Kill Journalists In U.K.; Powerball Prize. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, I am Zain Asher in for my colleague, Isa Soares. Tonight is election day here

in the United States and President Biden's political agenda hangs in the balance. We are live on the ground for you as the nation takes to the poll.

Then, demands for compensations at COP27 grow louder.

Developing nations say the richer countries should pay the price for the damage caused by climate change. Plus, colder temperatures in Ukraine mean

more emergency blackouts. We'll explain why energy companies there are having to make tough choices. Just hours from now, polls will begin to

close in the United States where voters are casting ballots that will have consequences for several years to come.

So much is at stake in this critical midterm elections, including the balance of power in Washington. Control of Congress is also at play, and

the outcome will affect both domestic and foreign policy. Historically in the U.S. midterms, the president's party loses ground to the opposition. If

Republicans do make big gains here, they could completely paralyze Joe Biden's political agenda. The election is seen as a referendum of sorts on

his government. Though not all voters share the top concerns.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's really about saving our democracy and making sure that people have the right to vote. Kind of fighting the

political divisions, so yes, about making, we can continue what we've continued to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The economy is definitely a big one, and to be frank with you, it's just like, there seems to be much more care about the

sexuality of people and not people struggling to pay their rent or paying their mortgage.


ASHER: Well, let's begin our coverage in Washington. We are joined now by senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly. Phil, as I mentioned, the

midterms are seen as a sort of referendum of sorts on Joe Biden's presidency. Just walk us through what happens if there's this massive red

wave as everyone is anticipating. What happens to Biden's potential run in 2024? Is that now called into question?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's a great question. It's actually one I've been asking a lot of senior advisors

here at the White House over the course of the last couple of weeks. They have tried to separate what happens today or potentially over the course of

the next couple of days, depending on how fast the votes are counted from that decision.

Making clear that the past two Democratic presidents were both washed out in their midterm elections for their political party and they still went on

to win re-election. President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. So they don't feel like this is a definitive determination on whether or not

the president can actually move forward.

One thing, though, Zain, that I would say is that they recognize that this is going to have a major impact on the president's agenda going forward. If

Republicans flip one or both chambers, the president's agenda for all intents and purposes is dead. It would be more about legislative warfare

than actual legislative progress.

ASHER: And in addition to that, when you think about some of the things that members of the Republican Party have threatened, if they do take

control of the house, which is, of course, widely anticipated, all sorts --


ASHER: Of investigations into Hunter Biden, even the possibility of trying to impeach President Biden himself. Just walk us through that aspect of it.

MATTINGLY: Yes, and this is something we saw in the wake of when President Obama lost his majority in the house in 2010. We saw it in 1994 when Bill

Clinton lost his as well. To some degree, we saw it in 2019 when President Trump lost his house majority and Democrats started to launch into

investigations. The White House is very prepared for what they expect to happen.

When Republicans take the majority in the house, and while it's still somewhat in question, even White House officials I'm talking to acknowledge

that it is pretty much a guarantee at this point in time. The White House knows there are going to be a flood of subpoenas. There are going to be a

flood of requests to testify.


There are going to be a myriad of investigations both on policy issues, on agency issues, but as you noted, on the president's family as well. They

have actually been working behind the scenes here at the White House over the course of the last several months to start to staff up their legal

operation, their communications operation, in preparation for that moment.

One thing White House officials point to, though, is the reality that there's a very real chance that Republicans overreach, that voters look at

what a Republican congress is doing and don't see policy efforts. But instead, investigative efforts to feel very partisan. And perhaps,

President Biden and his team can benefit from that. That doesn't mean they want those investigations to come full throttle, but they do see that there

is some potential upset there.

ASHER: And in terms of the issues that voters really care about, of course, we've talked about the economy, inflation, et cetera. However, it

was widely talked about over the Summer, when Roe versus Wade was overturned, that, that would be the issue that really motivated Democratic

voters. Are we seeing that right now, Phil?

MATTINGLY: I think it plays a huge role, and I think there's no question about that. Although, when you talk to officials here, when you talk to

Democratic officials, they acknowledge the burst that they saw in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe versus

Wade has not held on. That burst of enthusiasm has started to wane over the course of the last several months.

And to some degree, that underscores just the sheer force of the primary headwind Democrats have been facing. Inflation. When inflation is at a

four-decade high, Americans see it. When they go to the grocery store, when they go to the gas station, every single day, it's in front of their face.

Very few things are able to overcome that. And while abortion is certainly an issue Democrats will be voting on, it's certainly an issue that's

motivated Democratic voters.

The overarching reality right now is the economy is the number one issue, inflation is the number one issue, and if that ends up bearing out over the

course of the next several hours, that's some problem for both the president and his party.

ASHER: Right, Phil Mattingly live for us there, thank you, we'll see what happens tonight, thank you so much. All right, we'll have much more on the

U.S. midterm elections coming up in the program. Now in terms of COP27, will richer countries pay up? That is the question that is being asked at

this year's summit. The climate summit is in its second day in Sharm El- Sheikh, Egypt, Where Kenyan President William Ruto spoke to CNN earlier, imploring world leaders to step up and make a change.


WILLIAM RUTO, PRESIDENT, KENYA: It was not right for us to pollute this world to the extent that we are facing an existential threat. We have real

opportunities. Let me give you an example. In Kenya, we have huge deposits of coal. We have deposits of carbon. We have huge deposits of hydrocarbons.

But we have made the conscious decision that we are going to go green. And today, 93 percent of our energy is green. It is never, it's never too late

to make the right decision.


ASHER: Developing countries are putting pressure on the rest of the world to move forward with the controversial loss and damage fund that would see

wealthy nations paying compensations to places worst affected by climate disasters. As it begins to rebuild from the Summer's deadly floods,

Pakistan is calling for much more financial support.


SHEHBAZ SHARIF, PRIME MINISTER, PAKISTAN: Loss and damage needs to be part of the core agenda of COP27, to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of

those that are trapped in a crisis of public financing, fueled by debt, and yet, have to fund climate disasters on their own.


ASHER: CNN's senior international correspondent, David McKenzie is at the summit for us, he joins us live now. So David, we just heard the Pakistani

prime minister speaking there. I mean, the global south is really in the fight for its life against the climate crisis. And when you think about

climate justice, it's not just about helping sort of poorer nations mitigate the effects of climate disasters. It's also about helping them

actually pivot away from fossil fuels, to begin with, especially in Africa.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. That's one of the big issues here. The issue of loss and damage,

trying to figure out how to get funding for these countries that can't deal with the impacts of the climate crisis. And also how to transition away

from the dependency on fossil fuels.

There has been a lot of talk about nations, particularly in Africa, making deals on natural gas and oil, because of the crisis in Ukraine. I'm very

pleased to be joined by Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Of course, you play a unique role in trying to bridge

that divide between wealthy and poorer nations. So, what are you hearing from delegates at this conference?

PATRICIA SCOTLAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL, COMMONWEALTH: Well, one of the things, I think, we're really pleased about in the commonwealth is that, we

do have unity of purpose and direction. Luckily, the 56 countries came together in June of this year in Kigali, to look at this very issue.


And if you look at our declarations and look at our communique, you'll see at paragraph 53, which deals directly with climate change. That all of our

members accepted, that, this small and vulnerable countries needed more help, more assistance, and they quite specifically made reference to loss

and damage.

So, I'm not surprised, in fact, we're all very pleased that this issue is now being looked at, at this implementation, action-oriented COP, which is

supposed to be looking at delivering those things that were aspirationally put on the table in Glasgow in COP26 --

MCKENZIE: When you --

SCOTLAND: But still haven't been delivered.

MCKENZIE: When you look at your own background, you have an intimate knowledge of how small island nations might struggle with the chronic

impact of climate change. Speak a bit about that.

SCOTLAND: Absolutely. I was born in the beautiful, but small island of Dominica. In 2015, we were hit quite dramatically by Tropical Storm Erika.

That destroyed 95 percent of our GDP. Now, the history was that we expected to have some of these traumatic instance once in a lifetime. Once in 72

years. Two years later, Dominica was hit by the biggest hurricane the world had then ever seen. Hurricane Maria.

This time, it destroyed 226 percent of our GDP. Total devastation. Now, we, in Dominica were starting to recover. But this very week, we are hit by

floods again. And we heard yesterday that someone died. So, it's not just they're dying now, it's bringing all that horror, all that pain. When I

went to Dominica, I couldn't recognize my country.

MCKENZIE: And when you look at the options on the table for actually putting dollars and pounds to these kind of problems, what would you like

to see? Because it could be an open-ended thing, and many rich nations don't want to deal with liability or compensations.

SCOTLAND: But we made a commitment, the global community made a commitment in 2009, that we would make available for those countries who needed to

adapt and to mitigate -- through no fault of their own. They didn't create this terrible situation. A $100 billion. That was in 2009. Still, here we

are, 2022. And we still haven't honored that commitment.

Getting near it, but not there enough. So, I think it's absolutely critical that those who can assist do assist, so that we deliver that $100 billion

to help the most vulnerable, the most disadvantaged, to adapt and mitigate what is a life-threatening position. You know, in the past, people said, it

was not real, this existential threat. But we're seeing it every day.

Just look at what's happened to Pakistan. Pakistan has had such a tremendous damage caused to it, more than $40 billion. But 33 million

people displaced, 1,700 dead, 13,000 injured, 16 million children? This is Armageddon. And it's Pakistan today, but it's any of us tomorrow. Look at

what's just happened to Nigeria and then Gabon --

MCKENZIE: And if you look at --

SCOTLAND: And Gambia, rather.

MCKENZIE: And if you look at Nigeria and other countries, they say they should have the opportunity to develop their own oil and gas. So, what are

the options for these countries, who feel they may not miss out on the riches that the U.K. and Europe and the U.S. already got through these


SCOTLAND: Well, we've been talking to all of our member states, particularly, our oil-producing member states. And there's no lack of

appetite to change to renewables. But the question is, they need a transition period. How do you transition from fossil fuels right down to

green energy? And at the Commonwealth, we are dealing with this. We've created a Commonwealth sustainable energy transition program, which will

enable our countries to safely, properly change.

But, you know what we know is green and blue energy, green and blue economy, is our future. If we want to save humanity, we have no choice. And

the brilliant thing is, there's no lack of commitment, lack of appetite amongst these countries. They're just saying, show me how, show me how I

transition safely and still feed my people and look after them.

MCKENZIE: Yes, very briefly, do you worry that this is done also to national politics and you've seen a rise of populism, of leaders who have

denied even that climate change exists?


SCOTLAND: Well, I think that just cannot be so. I mean, we look at the empirical data, the evidence. The evidence we're seeing every single day is

that climate change is an awful threat. And it's killing, what? A hundred and fifteen people per day. What more evidence do people need? And so, we

need to save humanity. And if we need to save humanity, all of us need to take this seriously, roll up our sleeves and get it done.

I think we can do this if we choose. Look at the brilliant innovations that are coming. The opportunities to change our world around. Human beings are

really extraordinary. Every time we've been pushed to the edge, we've pushed back and we've come up with even more ingenious plans.

MCKENZIE: Well, I do hope you're right, baroness. And thank you so much for talking to us.

SCOTLAND: Thank you.

MCKENZIE: And you did get the sense there's a lot of will here at COP27. And a lot of talk about action. I think the next few days, Zain, we will

see whether that talk actually can come into some concrete deals amongst nations, particularly the wealthy nations and those more developing nations

that say they need masses of support. Zain?

ASHER: And if we do see those concrete deals, it's even more important for some of these nations to actually live up to their promises. There's been

questions over that in the past. David McKenzie live for us there, thank you so much. Right, still to come here, a look at how countries are turning

to renewable energy sources amid soaring fuel prices.

Plus, intense, deadly fighting in eastern Ukraine has some Russian troops ready to take a risk and openly criticize senior officials. We'll bring you

the latest in this war, next.


ASHER: A cold snap in Ukraine is pushing the countries heavily-damaged power grid to the brink, forcing energy officials to schedule more

emergency blackouts. Ukraine's state energy company says that teams are working around the clock to repair the plants attacked by Russian missiles

and drones in the past month. Meantime, on the frontlines, we are seeing a rare display of descent from Russian forces actually after they suffered

heavy losses in Donetsk.

One Marine fleet writing an open letter, accusing a senior Russian official of hiding the number of casualties from a, quote, "incomprehensible



Nic Robertson joins us live now from Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. Nic, I want to start with the environment that many Ukrainians find themselves in.

You've got Winter approaching, restrictions on energy uses. How are Ukrainians preparing for the possibility of a Winter with no electricity,

no water, and no heat in a brutal, cold Winter?


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, well, I can give you a pretty good description of that. That's the sirens going off here.

There was a siren that went off earlier on today, shortly followed by an incoming missile that hit a neighborhood here. And an eight-year-old boy

was injured, according to the mayor in that -- in that strike.

The sirens here go off fairly regularly, but so does the electricity. Literally about two or three minutes before we came on air with you here,

the electricity, the power supply went off here again. You find a lot of residents, because of the shelling, and because the electricity -- have

taken to their bunkers. And a lot of them here, a lot of them are pensioners, a lot of people I've been talking to in their sort of 80s, and

they remember World War II and surviving that.

But they don't have much heating. The gas has been turned back on in the city, but not everyone has it. And there is -- from the mayor that even

that could -- they could lose the gas if more of the power grid is taken down. And one basement of one building I was in with an elderly lady, they

just had between her and a number of neighbors, just one tiny electric heater.

And I said to her, well, what happens when the power goes off? She said, I just put another coat on, wrap ourselves in blankets, and go to sleep. She

said that's -- you know, that's all that we can do. So, I think people here are doing their best. There are food handouts because, you know, a lot of

pensioners here don't have a lot of money. There's very little work.

Most of the factories here are shut. There's -- you know, an effort to get logs out, and it would substitute into the community for people to burn in

their fires. But one lady we went to talk to, she had got her delivery of wood pallets, actually made from sunflowers, compressed sunflower seeds.

She said, I don't know how to use it. But you know, it's what I've got and she was grateful for it. So, it's absolutely going to be a tough Winter and

even worse if the electricity situation gets worse.

ASHER: Yes, but as you point out, there are so much resiliency among ordinary Ukrainians, just given what they're going through. And I know as

you point out, the sirens going off where you are, are regular. But I'm sure it still takes some getting used to. Please do stay safe. I just have

one quick question before I let you go. And that is about the Russian losses in the Donetsk region. We're hearing that up to 300 soldiers lost

their lives in just one week. Just walk us through what you know about that.

ROBERTSON: This seems to be consistent with other information that we're getting that what Russia has done with its new recruits is throw them into

the frontlines without adequate training, without adequate equipment, or even in some cases without officers to lead them. In this case, it was 300

troops. A little bit on the frontline just about 20 or 30 miles south of here had gone into battle, weren't ready for it, had high casualties and

death toll.

There were complaints back to their command and back to the governor in the east of Russia where they came from. But this is not an isolated case. And

what the Ukrainian troops that we're talking to here are telling us, yes, that the frontline has heated up. More Russian troops, conscripts are being

put in the frontline.

Some of them, they're telling us, really are almost disoriented, is how they describe it. That they are not aware that they're actually on a

battlefield, they're over-flown by drones and they don't know how to respond to the drones. So, they see these new recruits as, you know, very -

- having a very high casualty rate. They're the ones in the frontlines shooting at them.

But they think that what's happening is the Russians are sending the recruits forward in a very callous way, so that the more professional

soldiers behind them can see the firing positions of the Ukrainian troops, and better target the Ukrainian troops. It is an unheard of

attrition rate, and it's -- as I say, that case is not alone. And the -- if the complaints continue, this will be a big political headache for

President Putin if the conscripts continue to get used in this way.

ASHER: Yes, unbelievable strategy that you laid out on the Russian side there. Nic Robertson live for us there, thank you so much. The U.S. says

its communication channels with Moscow remain open. But officials insist there will not be any negotiation about the war without Ukraine's



This comes after reports that U.S. officials have urged Ukraine to signal it is still open to diplomatic discussions with Russia. The U.S. ambassador

to the U.N. tells our Christiane Amanpour, Kyiv is not in danger of losing support from any of its allies.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We have been unified from day one and we've not seen any cracks in that

unity. Europe is unified, NATO is unified. We've had bipartisan support in the United States for support for Ukraine. Our support is unwavering and we

will continue to be unified until Ukraine wins this war and Russia takes their troops out of Ukraine.


ASHER: Well, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has brought the issue of fossil fuel dependency front and center after Moscow slashed gas supply to Europe.

Many countries are now looking to invest more in renewable energy sources as a way around soaring fuel prices. CNN's Clare Sebastian has this report.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want them so high that they become dominating on the landscape.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): At 82 meters high, these are considered baby turbines in the wind industry. And yet, these babies pack a

punch. Eleven of them spiking out of active farmland in central England, generate enough electricity per year to power 16,500 homes. Locally grown

power now a vital source of energy security in a world where fossil fuels have become a weapon of war.

DANIELLE LANE, U.K. COUNTRY MANAGER, VATTENFALL: We really see a really big increase in interest from governments in renewables, and it really puts

a lot of pressure on companies like ourselves to deliver. So, we are trying to accelerate projects that we've got and we're trying to build things

safely, but more quickly.

SEBASTIAN (on camera): This wind farm has been here for ten years. But the plan now is to expand it into solar. They already had permission to build a

solar farm on the same site. That, they say, is because the future of renewables is putting multiple different types in the same location, to

make the most of the available land and produce electricity, whatever the weather.

(voice-over): Russia's war in Ukraine cut off major gas supply routes and sent global energy prices soaring. Some countries like Germany increased

their use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel of all, and ramped up spending on infrastructure to import liquefied natural gas.

SIMONE TAGLIAPIETRA, SENIOR FELLOW, BRUEGEL: In the short term, governments that need to secure their energy systems are using all the

possible options. I think that in 10, 20 years time, looking back at these moments, we will realize that these ultimately was a great accelerator.

Everybody in Europe appreciates and understands that renewables also have geo-political benefits.

SEBASTIAN: It's not just energy security driving the change, it's economics. Solar Energy U.K. says, more solar panels were installed on

British homes in the first half of this year than the whole of last year, as people rushed to avoid surging fuel bills. Good Energy U.K., a 100

percent renewable electricity provider, says, this trend extends to businesses.

NIGEL POCKLINGTON, GOOD ENERGY: We've just worked with a business park in Gloucestershire who have completely covered their refelts with solar power,

and they're selling about a third of it back to the grid. Solar installations can be relatively cheap, and we need to pay back on that is

now getting down below five years, and gives households and businesses a reasonable degree of energy independence.

SEBASTIAN: So, the swept area of the blade is what counts in terms of -- the week we visited this farm, U.K. wind generation hit a new record,

providing 54 percent of the country's electricity in a single day, fueling hopes of a turning point. Clare Sebastian, CNN, in Leicestershire, England.


ASHER: All right, still to come tonight, Republicans have high hopes of winning back the house and the U.S. Senate as well. Can U.S. President and

the Democrats avoid the midterm curse? We'll discuss. And Iran's Revolutionary Guards are accused of plotting to kill two journalists

working in the U.K. who have been covering the protests sweeping Iran. We'll have more on that after the break.


ASHER: Welcome back. It's Election Day in the U.S. and almost every time in the past 180 years, the president's party has lost seats in the Senate

after the midterm elections. It's called the midterm curse. And President Joe Biden is hoping to break it.

Democrats currently have control of the Senate, even though it's split 50- 50 because vice president Kamala Harris has a tie breaking vote. But that means Republicans only need to gain one seat, really, to win the chamber.

Former president, Donald Trump, has made the midterms a test of loyalty for Republicans and seems certain to run again in about two years from now.

Here's what he said Monday night, as music played in the background.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (voice-over): Not to detract from tomorrow's very important, even critical election, I'm going to be making a

very big announcement on Tuesday, November 15th, at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.


ASHER: I want to bring in David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN, who served as a presidential adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and


David, pleasure to have you on this show.

So if it is a wipeout for Democrats tonight, should President Biden be on the ballot in 2024?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, thank you, Zain. It's going to go one of two ways. We don't know, this is most unpredictable election

in my lifetime. We have more open seats, more hotly contested seats, than I can ever remember. So one cannot be certain.

But I can tell you this. Whoever comes down on top tonight is likely to be the nominee of the party that comes out on top. So if it's a Donald Trump

night, he's very likely to be the nominee of the party two years from now. If it's a Joe Biden night -- and that surprise could still happen -- if it

is a Joe Biden night, he could very well be the nominee.

If Biden has a bad night, he's going to be under a lot of quiet pressure within his party to step aside and let somebody else be the nominee in two

years. What we don't know, he's not going to make that call quickly.

He clearly, Joe Biden clearly wants to run. He's looking for a way to do it. He thinks he will be the best candidate, he thinks he can do more for

the country. But he still has to deliver tonight and in these various states. He has to have a good night at the polls.


ASHER: If he does not deliver and if, as you point out, there is that quiet pressure within the party to step aside, I mean, who else do the

Democrats have against Trump?

GERGEN: Well, that is one of the questions they are asking themselves. I don't think they know that. There's obviously -- there's going to be within

the Black community a rising tide of votes or voices in favor of Kamala Harris.

And the African Americans are going to point out, listen, were it not for the Black vote back two years ago, you would not be president. And you need

us to get -- the whole party needs us to have a Black person there.

So if it's not Joe Biden, it really ought to be Kamala Harris. That's going to be a view from a lot of the Black community and has a lot of legitimacy

to it. However, there are a lot of people, Black and white, who are familiar with Kamala Harris, know her and do not think she's the right

candidate for the job.

They like her, they respect her but they feel that she doesn't bring quite the gravitas and the seriousness that they think is necessary for that.

ASHER: Let's talk about some of the specific states we are watching closely. I mean, take your pick, really. There're interesting races

happening in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, as well, obviously, you've got Dr. Oz against --


GERGEN: Nevada, New Hampshire, New York.

ASHER: Which one are you watching closely?

GERGEN: Well, I think we're all watching Pennsylvania because there's a certain drama there anyway with Fetterman and the comeback from the stroke.

But I think it is also, people are going to be having to keep a close eye on Georgia, because it will tell us how the Black vote is going in some of

these states. I think those two early on.

But really, over time, over the next 24, 48, you know, we are going to have to wait two or three days to know how some of these states go. But I'm

going to be looking more and more for the outliers.

Nobody thought North Carolina was going to be in play, when a black woman (ph) -- if things go well in Georgia, in the Black community, she could

very easily pull it off. It could really be an upset. There are a number of people around like that that I think make this one of the wilder and least

predictable races I can remember.

And yet it's so consequential. It's a very consequential election and it will determine probably who the nominee, if not the nominees will be in two

years. But it also is going to determine, can Joe Biden, if he has two years left with the House gone and maybe the Senate, can he govern?

And are we going to have more disruptions coming from the Trump people?

One scary thought is this: the people have figured out that they can possibly have it both ways are the Trump people. If Trump does badly in

this election, they are going to say, we were ahead, look at all the polls and it got stolen.

And that just revs people up even more on their side. On the other hand, if Trump does well, then they're going to be claiming with some legitimacy,

hey, our hard nosed, tough tactics people don't like are paying off.

We are now, you know, we are in the lead here. If we went back to the House and Senate as conservatives with Trump at the top of the ticket, that's a

big, big win for Trump. But it also is hugely determinative.

The rest of the world will look at that and say, oh my God, I really thought you guys wouldn't do that. The rest of the world will be caught,

you know, is the U.S. still a well anchored country or not?

But people are going to be looking closely at these results because they have so much -- so many consequences for the years ahead.

ASHER: Yes, and there are so many fascinating races, as you point out. I'm also watching Georgia, specifically, very closely. We've got Stacey Abrams,

who is beloved, beloved by the Democrats. But you know, U.S. politics can be very tough for Black women in this country. David Gergen, have to leave

it there.

GERGEN: Sure can.

ASHER: Thank you so much.

GERGEN: Thank you, Zain. Thank you.

ASHER: Let's go now to Arizona, one of the handful of swing states that could decide control of the Senate. My friend, Sara Sidner, is live for us

in Phoenix.

So Sara, here's the thing: everybody is watching to see what will happen with Kari Lake there. You've got an election denier, a Trump supporting

election denier within striking reach of the governorship. Just walk us through that.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, that is just one of several Republican candidates who are election deniers, including one who is an

election denier and also has spouted some QAnon conspiracies, who is running for secretary of state.

And why is that so important?

Because that is the office that ultimately certifies the election, whether it be a presidential one or otherwise.

And so, there's a lot of concern about that mentality in that place of power. That is Mark Finchem, who is running in that race. But we are

standing on the campus of Arizona State University. You're hearing a little bit of music.


These young folks are really excited and I think, a lot of times, young people get discounted. And these students want to make sure they are

counted and that their vote is counted.

And they've been standing in line, there's a long line here of about 80 to 100 people now, in the lunch break, all going into vote. We've talked to

them over and over and over again about what their main issues are.

And what comes up again and again with the younger voters is polarization. They are sick and tired of the extremes having the biggest voice and making

decisions, so that the Republicans and Democrats and independents are unable to work together and work things out.

They're also very concerned with inflation. And we talked to some students who said they came out to vote because they were concerned about the

decision to -- Roe v. Wade decision that undid it being constitutional for a woman to have an abortion.

So those are some of the big issues that we keep hearing over and over and over again from these young folks. But this state has one big problem and

that is they tend to have a lot of conspiracy theorists.

And so far, there have been problems with voting, with these tabulation -- these tabulation machines. What they found is about 20 percent of the

voting sites had some issue with their tabulators, which means that they were not able to count those votes at that time.

But election officials say, look, we've fixed most of them, we know what the problem is, we've now, we have a few left to fix and that anybody who

voted, anyone who came into the centers to vote today, that vote will be counted because they will take that paper vote and that will be tabulated

after the polls close, at the tabulation center, where everything happens, where we find out the answer.

Who won in this election?

So there have been some issues here in Arizona. Those issues have been blown way up, mostly by Republicans who are saying, look, this is not fair.

The county election officials here say, look, there are going to be problems, that's not unusual. But they are going to make sure that every

vote is counted in this state. Zain.

ASHER: Reassuring to hear. All right, Sara Sidner live for us there, thank you so much.

Still to come tonight, Iranians crowd an airport where the country's beach football team was apparently arriving after it showed support for Iranian

protesters. The football authorities are angry. We will have details on the threat, that's next.




ASHER: The Iranian football federation has vowed to, quote, deal with beach football players who protested this week during an international


Shortly after scoring the winning goal, at the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Club in Dubai, player Saeed Piramoon mimicked cutting his

hair. There you see it in that video. It was a move that signaled support for the protesters in Iran, calling for greater freedoms for women.

And just before the match started, the team did not sing for the national anthem.


Meantime, a U.K.-based news channel is accusing Iran of plotting to kill two of its journalists, who have extensively covered the protests. Let's

bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, joining us now from Istanbul.

So walk us through what the potential consequences may be for these soccer players, who appeared to support the protesters back home in Iran.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know. I mean, everyone is waiting to see what dealt with, you know, they will be dealt with

actually means, what the regime is going to do, how they are going to be punished.

All we know is there's a lot of concern for their safety right now, after the team arrived in Tehran on Monday. Journalists were waiting for them

outside the airport but they were not allowed to speak with them.

So we will have to see how this develops in the coming hours and days. But you know this is, as you know very well, not the first time that we're

seeing this happening. Over the past few weeks, you've had several incidents with athletes, Iranians, competing outside the country, showing

their support and their solidarity with the protesters.

And I suspect this is kind of embarrassing for the regime that has really been trying to push this narrative that this is some sort of a foreign

conspiracy, these protests that we've been seeing in the country.

ASHER: Also, let's talk about this apparent plot to assassinate or kill two U.K.-based Iranian journalists.

What more do you know on that front?

KARADSHEH: Well, Zain, very disturbing developments over the past 24 hours. We've had two organizations that have been covering the protests

over the past couple of months now very extensively, really, reporting that their staff members are facing very serious threats from the Revolutionary

Guard Corps and from the Iranian regime.

As you mentioned, Iran International, this is a 24-hour news channel based in London. And they say that two of their British Iranian journalists have

been notified by the Metropolitan Police of threats they say that represent a credible, significant and imminent danger to their lives and the lives of

their families.

Now Iran International has said that they have been warned over the past few weeks. There have been warnings issued by the IRGC for the channel's

coverage. We also know that the regime has been singling out and accusing Iran International of trying to push forward foreign agendas, accusing them

of really representing the Saudi agenda, saying that they're funded by Saudi.

We know there have been reports in the past that the network is Saudi funded, something that Iran International has denied. And at the same time,

Zain, we're hearing from hangout network for human rights, organization for human rights, who I know you've interviewed their staff members in the


They've been doing really important and critical work over the past few weeks, reporting on the protests and documenting the crackdowns, especially

in the Kurdish region of Iran.

They say that two of their staff members, who are based in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish region there, have been facing increasing and serious risks,

threats by the IRGC. And they're calling on Iraq's Kurdish and Kurdistan regional government to protect these employees.

Zain, this is nothing new. We have, in the past, had these reports of threats and plots by the Iranian regime, targeting journalists, dissidents

and activists outside of the country.

But of course, this is coming at a time where they're trying to crush dissent in the country, where they're trying to silence journalists with

dozens who have been arrested since the protests began.

And now it seems that the regime is trying to intimidate and threaten journalists and activists far beyond its borders. We have to mention that

the regime has not commented yet on these reports.

ASHER: Unbelievable, a lot of people, though, fearing for their safety. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much.

We will be right back after this short break.





ASHER: A golden ticket has been sold in the Golden State. There is a winner in the historic $2.4, my goodness, billion dollar Powerball lottery

during the California lottery. This one, quote, lucky ticket sold at Joe's Service Center, matched all six numbers in the November 7th Powerball draw.

The odds of getting your hands on the top prize were one in 292 million. Let's bring in CNN's Paul La Monica for more on this historic win.

So Paul, one winning ticket was sold. And since you are at work today, I'm taking that it was not you.

PAUL LA MONICA, CNNMONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: It was not me. I'm guessing it was not you. There are no noticeable absences in the office

today, so I think it's safe to assume not a CNN employee.

Yes, this lucky individual apparently was the winner; you know, suburban Los Angeles near Pasadena, $2.04 billion.

Now the question becomes, when does this person decide to go public that they are the winner?

And are they going to take it in the lump sum, which would give them more money now but at not the full value?

Be about a little under $1 billion if you took it all in the lump sum.

Or do you get that in the 30 payments over 29 years?

Which means you have to wait but you wind up with closer to the full value of jackpot.

ASHER: I guess it's about how much self discipline do you have?

The lump sum, you get all that money now versus waiting over several years. So we've seen a lot of sort of Powerball escapism. People tend to buy these

tickets around the time when the economy is on shaky ground.

LA MONICA: Yes, there is criticism, of course, of these state lotteries for the fact that you do often have people with, you know, fewer financial

means buying these tickets, spending money that maybe they should not be spending on lotteries and gambling because of the hope of winning it big

and getting rich quick.

But to be fair, I think when you get the amount of the jackpot to these levels, pretty much everyone, with the exception of your Elon Musks, Warren

Buffetts and Jeff Bezoses of the world, they're probably not buying the tickets and, guess what?

If one of them bought it and won, something is wrong with this.

ASHER: Everybody would be outraged.

I mean, can you imagine for this winner in California, what it would be like to wake up with a lottery ticket in your hand and hear the numbers

read out and see, one by one, that that winning ticket is actually yours and your life has changed?

I mean, I wouldn't be able to sleep for, like, a week.

LA MONICA: Keep in mind, it didn't come out until this morning as well. There was some SNAFUs. The drawing was supposed to be last night, so that

lucky winner in California, who knows when he or she found out.

Also remember, it's one ticket as far as we know. This could be a situation where you had an office, where 40 people all chipped in and, you know, then

the wealth gets divided. They'd all still be very happy, of course. But we still don't know if it's one individual or multiple people on one ticket.

ASHER: And I think you do pay taxes on it, right?


LA MONICA: Yes, you do have to pay taxes. There are, you know, federal taxes, state taxes, depending on the jurisdiction. So, of course, this

person is going to not take $2 billion home. But it's still a lot of money.

ASHER: It's still a lot of money, oh boy. Their life has changed forever. All right, Paul La Monica, good to have you. Nice to have you on a

lighthearted story for a change. I'm going to go and vote and I'm sure you are, too.

All right, be sure to stay with CNN throughout the day, as we are bringing you the latest developments on the crucial midterm U.S. elections. Our

special coverage begins in just over an hour. It's 4 pm here in New York.

Some of this morning's earliest midterm voters got treated to an astonishing sight, as they left home to cast their ballots. In the early

hours, the skies above the U.S. Capitol were lit by a blood red moon. It's caused by a total lunar eclipse, when the moon is temporarily in the

Earth's shadow.

Stargazers across the world have been recording this supernatural phenomenon. Take a look at these stunning images from El Salvador, from

Australia, India, China and many other countries as well. If you missed it, it's a while to wait because the next blood moon isn't expected until March


All right, thank you so much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. You are watching CNN.