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Public Lines Up to Pay Respects as Queen's Casket to Lie in State; Package Explodes at Northeastern University; Rail Strike Looms as Sides Meet with White House Today; U.S. Seeing 'A Number of Russian Forces' Cross Back Over Border; NH GOP Race Featuring Election Denier Too Close to Call. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 06:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday September 14. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

We have pictures in Central London where thousands of mourners are lined up to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth. In a few hours, the queen's casket will be moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state until her funeral on Monday. Prince Harry and Prince William will walk alongside their father, King Charles, as they follow the casket through Central London.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And first on CNN, we learned the royals had dinner together at Buckingham Palace last night after receiving the casket. In attendance, King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, and the king's children and grandchildren, including Prince William and Kate and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

CNN's Anna Stewart and Scott McLean have McLean have the latest now from London.

Anna, to you first. Just tell us what we can expect today.

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can expect to see a lot of people turning out. Here I am, actually, at what was the end of the queue for people wanting to visit the queen lying in state, which of course, doesn't start for another six hours or so. I say it was the end of the line. In the last 20 minutes, it's gone so far I actually can't see the end of it as I look down the road here.

There are a lot of events. The crowds aren't just here. People want to pay their respects to Her Majesty in person. They want to be a part of the big procession that we're going to see as Her Majesty's coffin leaves Buckingham Palace, as she leaves for the very last time. And of course, leaves the privacy of her family home and her family members.

That procession will take her through Horse Guards Parade, down the Mall, past Downing Street, and into Westminster Hall. That is where the lying in state will take place. And I think it's going to be a very poignant day, as we've had many of them. But we will see King Charles and his siblings, the Princess Royal, Prices Andrew and Edward, also following behind, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry.

People here are -- It's a mixed mood, I'd say. Lots of people, of course, very sad, and they want to be here to pay their respects to the queen. There's also -- (AUDIO GAP)

KEILAR: All right. I fear that we have lost her signal there. I want to head to Scott.

Scott, tell us where you are and what people are saying there.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Yes, so Anna was at the end of the queue. Of course, everyone is at least a quarter mile in that direction. I'm actually at the front of the queue.

Of course, everyone is lining up to eventually get inside the houses of Parliament and Westminster Hall, where the queen's body will be lying in state for the next four and a half days.

And you'll notice people here, a few have lawn chairs, but people really have been here with very little. And the first hundred -- couple hundred people have actually been waiting here overnight to try to stake out their spot to make sure they're amongst the first.

I just want to introduce you to one person. This is Andrew. We actually met him yesterday. He's from rural Minnesota, came here just for this. Your mother is 82 years old. She's a British citizen who moved to the United States.

I have to ask you first off, though. Yesterday we saw you; you had a T-shirt on. It rained overnight. How was it here?

ANDREW ISRAELS-SWENSON, AMERICAN VISITING FROM MINNESOTA: It was what you expect from London. It was wet and lovely. We ended up bonding, I had met a lovely woman, and we pitched up under the blanket. She's 86. She was sort of for the state funeral (ph). And it was just -- it was great. It was an honor to share stories with people, hearing about when they met the queen.

And being an American, I'm officially now going to be the first American in the visitation, and that's just an honor that's indescribable.

MCLEAN: That's amazing. So you're kind of an ambassador here on behalf of your mother, who told you, Son, go visit the queen lying in state. And so I wonder, you know, have you spoken to your mother? What is the message that sort of she wanted you to bring here?

SWENSON: Yes, we texted and she said, I'm very proud of you. Don't be pushy. So I think that's a constant in her life, reminding me, don't be pushy. So she's very, very happy.

MCLEAN: And what does the queen mean to her?

SWENSON: You know, I think it's a touchstone to her British heritage. You know, when you move away to have that person who's on walls and consulates where you go, and it's -- it's almost like a family member.

So you know, I grew up with the queen as being a constant presence in her house.


SWENSON: Thank you, Andrew. Still six hours to go. We wish you only the best of luck.

And so, Brianna, as I mentioned, the line stretches, by my calculation, about a quarter mile, maybe more in that direction.

But officials have laid out a route for the queue to stretch and wind along the Southern bank of the Thames River that goes on for four miles.

The reason that -- that it's so long is because 200,000 people have showed up to file past the casket of the Queen Mother back in 2002. The -- Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state for four and a half days, so they're expecting even more people: hundreds of thousands of people to come here over the next few days.

KEILAR: Yes. So much interest there.

And I will say, look, if anyone is going to weather an overnight in a London summer, it's a guy who's going to make it through Minnesota winters there. So thank you to Andrew for sharing his story with you there, Scott.

And Anna, thank you for your report, as well.

BERMAN: All right. We'll go back to London in just a bit. First, an explosion in Boston overnight at Northeastern University. One staff member is in the hospital after a package detonated when the employee opened it.

And we have new CNN reporting this morning about a note that was with that package. With me now is CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, John Miller.

John, this is your reporting. This was a note with this package. What did it say?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: There was a note. There were pictures. But the note was talking about virtual reality, talking about universities, talking about Mark Zuckerberg, who, as you know, changed the Facebook brand, you know, to Meta to get deeper into the virtual reality world.

The note is somewhat rambling, and they're trying to work through the meaning of it.

BERMAN: Rambling and threatening?

MILLER: I think when you have a note attached to a bomb that blows up when you open it, the threat is implied.

BERMAN: I guess what I'm saying is a threat for more? A threat that there could be more bombs after this?

MILLER: There is -- well, there is an indicator in the note that this is the beginning. When you look at the offender characteristics of a package bomber, usually there are -- they come in multiples. That's the Unabomber pattern, the pattern in the Kingsley case. The -- you'll remember the Sayoc case, where there were seven pipe bombs here to CNN.

BERMAN: Sure, absolutely. Look, the bomb itself, what do we know about this device?

MILLER: So this is what bomb squad people call a victim-activated device. It is meant by the person who designed it to be activated when the victim opens it. Typically, in these cases, they're packaged in such a way that you look at it, it looks interesting, and you want to open it.

When the latches came up on this hard plastic case and the person from the virtual reality lab up in Northeastern opened the top, that's when the device functioned.

BERMAN: And there was another package that was sent there, as well, but that one was not an explosive?

MILLER: That was cleared and -- and appears to be unrelated.

BERMAN: How does law enforcement investigate something like this? Walk us through how an investigation into something like this works?

MILLER: Well, they've learned a lot since the Unabomber case, since the Cesar Sayoc pipe bomb pattern, since the Kingsley case where he sent -- he was constructing multiple bombs to send to police officers here in New York.

They'll bring in the postal inspectors. They'll look at how it was sent, where it came from, what the origin was. The FBI lab will go over this, looking for every kind of clue. That's how the Sayoc case was broken.

But they'll also appeal to the public.

One of the things they're going to do right now is, you can bet today they're talking to the mail rooms at Meta. They're talking to the mail rooms at other universities. They're talking to places that fit the realm of the message that's in the note. And they're going to supply images and descriptions of what this package looked like, so the people processing those package know what they're looking for.

BERMAN: So many colleges in Boston alone that have similar setups to Northeastern. You can understand the concern about the note: threatening words about Mark Zuckerberg, virtual reality, and the indication that maybe, as you say, this is the beginning of something.

John Miller, we know you're watching this very closely. Thank you very much.

KEILAR: This morning the clock is ticking ahead of a possible nationwide rail strike, with critical economic implications for the entire country.

Union and railroad officials are heading to Washington, D.C., today to meet with the labor secretary, Marty Walsh, ahead of a Friday contract deadline.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is standing by at union headquarters outside of Cleveland, Ohio, with the latest. If this moves ahead, Vanessa, we're talking about, you know, ripple effects that are going to be felt far and wide.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Significant effects, Brianna. And we are here in Cleveland, because the two remaining unions that have not reached a deal with these railroads are based here. One of those union headquarters just behind me.


But they've been called to Washington this morning to meet with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to try to avert what could be a very catastrophic strike and ripple effect on the economy. It would send about 50,000 conductors and engineers on strike, impacting that 30 percent of U.S. goods that travel by freight.

And more broadly, it's really going to affect almost every industry. It's going to affect the price of cars, the price of gas, the price of food, retail goods. And also, it's going to affect commuters and commuter rail.

Amtrak has already cancelled 10 routes ahead of this potential looming strike. And this is really coming down to one sticking point, according to the union.

They are calling for more time off for their union members who are working what they call 24/7 on-call shifts. But the railroads are saying in the agreement that they have offered them, they're addressing that by giving these union members a 24 percent raise over the next five years.

But this could be a really big strike, the first in 30 years. We know the Biden administration is watching this very closely. They are making contingency plans, how to move this -- these goods if they can't move by freight.

And there's really, Brianna, only two ways to solve this. It's either if the two sides come together and make an agreement or if Congress gets involved and puts this to a vote. It's extending this -- excuse me, this negotiating period.

But right now, an agreement and a congressional vote is not looking likely at the moment -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Vanessa, thank you so much for the very latest on that story.

BERMAN: This morning U.S. officials say they have seen a number of Russian forces cross the border back into Russia. This as a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive left the Kremlin struggling for a response.

With me now is Reena Ninan, former ABC and CBS News anchor and a veteran foreign affairs correspondent.

The offensive we're largely talking about from the Ukrainians has happened up here. Presumably the Russian forces crossing back into Russia there, as well. What do you read into this, Reena?

REENA NINAN, FORMER ABC AND CBS NEWS ANCHOR Yes. What's fascinating if over the summer we heard about down here in the South, in Kherson, that this was going to be the focus. And we saw this happen in August.

But right now, the fact that this shifted up here to the Northeast and the fact that we've seen -- we've seen or we're hearing from independent sources on the ground, senior military officials in Russia -- from Russia are pulling out, leaving junior troops behind on the ground.

And these independent reporters are saying -- are up there saying that, in fact, they are just leaving in droves.

What's not happening is you're not seeing anybody dancing in the end zone just yet, John, and here's the reason why. While these are pretty significant gains, it is probably the largest defeat that Putin has seen in his entire career. But to hold onto these wins is also a significant thing. So that's why I think people are a little bit calm about shouting victory right now.

BERMAN: Yes. Just to be clear, our reporters have been in some of these areas here and seen some of the -- the equipment left behind --

NINAN: That's right.

BERMAN: -- by the Russians. Books left behind on desks. That's how quickly they left. And this is a time lapse people can see of just how quickly Ukrainians were able to retake this ground.

Vladimir Putin has some decisions to make after what you call one of the most humiliating defeats of his career.

NINAN: Hugely humiliating. If you're not going to win on the battlefield, there are other pressure points he can use. One of the biggest ones we thought going into the winter was energy and gas.

But guess what? Bloomberg came out with a report this morning, saying that there's over $11 billion in loss for gas and fuel and oil revenue for the Russians because of the sanctions that are in place.

The European Commission came out today, saying that they have unwavering support for the Ukrainians. So there's clearly a great deal of momentum for Ukraine at this very moment.

And it's from Western -- there's no doubt that the weaponry that was sent to Ukraine is making a difference on the battlefield.

What can Putin do at this point if he can't have any military wins on the battleground? We saw in the past couple days, he's knocked out power. He's knocked out water. Kherson, the second largest city in Ukraine, he has also -- has the ability, what many people are watching is power grids, as I mentioned, but also weapons of mass destruction, John. Could that potentially be a weapon that's used by Putin?

He also likes tactical and surprise. What could happen at this point?

BERMAN: Yes, the concern is he takes it out on civilians or takes it out on targets that could be incredibly dangerous, like the Zaporizhzhia power plant right there.

Reena Ninan, always great to see you. Thank you very much.

So why was former governor and diplomat Bill Richardson meeting with the Russians in Moscow? We have new CNN reporting.

KEILAR: And New Hampshire Republicans voting for their nominee in one of the nation's most competitive Senate races.

Meanwhile, two former Trump staffers also faced off in the state. Why last night was a win for election deniers and possibly even a win for Democrats.



BERMAN: This morning votes still being counted in New Hampshire's key primary races. It could end up being a clean sweep for some of the most Trump-like candidates.

Overnight, State Senator Chuck Morse conceded to election denier Don Bolduc, tweeting, quote, "It's been a long night, and we've come up short. I want to thank my supporters for all the blood, sweat and tears they poured into this team effort. I just called and wished all the best to General Don Bolduc. The focus this fall needs to be on defeating Maggie Hassan."

Now, I should note, despite the fact that one candidate has conceded, CNN has not projected this race at this point.

CNN's Athena Jones joins us now with where things stand as the votes are still being counted -- Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John, as you can see, 84 percent of the vote, and fewer than 2,000 votes separating Bolduc from Morse, but as you noted, Chuck Morse conceded overnight.

[06:20:10] This is another example of what we've seen all around the country, of election deniers or doubters being the pick of Republican primary voters, much to the chagrin of more mainstream, establishment Republicans.

Don Bolduc was really on board with Trump's election lies, believing that the 2020 election had been stolen. He bragged in August primary debate about having signed onto a letter with 120 other generals and admirals, saying as much, that the election had been stolen.

And in recent days, he's also talked about considering abolishing the FBI and things like that.

There's a lot of concern that he's going to have a hard time raising money against Maggie Hassan, who up until late August was outraising him by about 50 to 1.

So there's concern there about whether Bolduc is going to be the best person to put up in a general election.

BERMAN: Yes, there's a lot of late money from the establishment that poured into Chuck Morse. Not enough --

JONES: Didn't help.

BERMAN: -- it seems, to put him over the top.

JONES: Now, in this race, this is New Hampshire 1, we have another example of an election denier winning the race. Karoline Leavitt and Matt Mowers were both Trump aides, and they both run on his agenda. They wanted to -- they said they agreed with him.

But Leavitt was a lot more in the Trump style. She was more brash, more aggressive. She declared loudly that the 2020 election was stolen and really bashed Mowers for saying, Well, I have faith that the -- at least the New Hampshire election -- elections were administered well.

So now you have -- she's 25 years old.

BERMAN: Very young.

JONES: A Gen Z candidate. But she, in the end, was the Trumpier candidate, who ends up being the pick of voters, who clearly were aligned with Trump here in New Hampshire.

BERMAN: Twenty-five years old. Gen Z heads to the Congress if she wins.

JONES: Right. Now, this is another race that has yet to be called. Robert Burns is the more Trumpy candidate. George Hansel is the mayor of Keene, New Hampshire. You can see less than 13 -- fewer than 1,300 votes separate them.

But if -- if Burns turns out to win again and Leavitt does, and we know that Bolduc, we haven't called it, but Morse has projected, then that would be a clean sweep of election deniers or doubters, showing that at least Republican primary voters, that's who they want to see running. They want to see someone who's completely in line with Trump, even when it comes to style.

BERMAN: And it's interesting. That's who Trump supporters want to see as the nominees. Also who Democrats want to see as the nominees in a lot of these races.

Athena Jones, thank you very much.

KEILAR: Bolduc just one of the election deniers running for office with a Trump endorsement in this season's primaries. More than 150 of them, according to "The New York Times." So are candidates everywhere getting more extreme?

John Avlon with our "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Let's put what happened last night in New Hampshire in context. Because there are a lot of ways to gauge how screwed-up our politics are.

One way is to look at the political fates of America's most popular governors. Because it might surprise you to learn that, even in our polarized times, America's most consistently popular governors over the past few years have actually been two blue-state Republicans, Massachusetts' Charlie Baker and Maryland's Larry Hogan, both leaving office at the beginning of next year.

Now in a sane and functioning political system, those two folks would be logical candidates to run for president. After all, they've shown a demonstrated ability to appeal to Democrats and independent voters, as well as Republicans.

But no. National Republicans barely acknowledge their existence. And even their home-state Republicans are denouncing their records of centrist success and instead, running towards Trump.

It's strange but true. The Massachusetts and Maryland Republican Parties seem eager to ditch their own winning playbook by nominating frothy election deniers to succeed their governors.

The result is a dynamic rarely seen in American politics: incumbent governors refusing to endorse their own party's nominee.

And this isn't just about local rivalries or policy differences. I mean, Larry Hogan has called GOP nominee Dan Cox a QAnon whack job a and a nut who has no chance of being elected Maryland's governor in November.

Cox has called former VP Mike Pence a traitor. He later apologized. And he's called Democratic nominee Wes Moore a socialist and a communist. Naturally.

And to round it out, by the way, Maryland Republicans managed to nominate a 9/11 conspiracy theorist for attorney general.

Over in Massachusetts, Charlie Baker has been comparatively quiet about his refusal to support the Trump-endorsed nominee, Geoff Diehl, an election denier who Trump declared would, quote, "rule your state with an iron fist." Seriously. He said that.

All right. In both cases, the Republican bases turned away from the center-right leadership of these successful incumbents, long a hallmark of Northeast Republicans.

Which brings me to New Hampshire and last night's Republican primary. Now, the "Live Free or Die State" is often thought of as being a Libertarian counterweight to Massachusetts liberalism. In fact, though, both states have more registered independent voters than either Democrats or Republicans, just like their New England neighbors, Rhode Island and Connecticut.


Now, New Hampshire also has a popular and effective Republican governor, Chris Sununu. And Mitch McConnell and Co. were hoping he'd run for Senate. But he preferred executive work, and so last night's GOP Senate primary pitted an election denying retired general named Dan Bolduc against state Senate President Chuck Morse. You can see where this is going, right?

Bolduc has been in a war or words with Sununu, calling the governor a communist sympathizer and accusing his family business of supporting terrorists.

Well, Sununu says, with some evidence, that Bolduc is a conspiracy theorist-type candidate.

The underlying issue, of course, is electability. Democrats ran as against Morse in the primary, because they think he'll be harder to beat in the general election. They want to face Bolduc, because they believe a guy who says he's open to abolishing the FBI will seem too extreme for moderates and independent voters.

And while Morse conceded overnight, it's still too close for CNN to call. But in a sane and functioning political system, this shouldn't be close at all, right? After all, ignoring electability is the fingerprint of fanaticism.

Now the core problem is that the base of the Republican Party has become nationalized and radicalized. A small percentage of activists disproportionately dominate primaries, but they don't represent the local electorate at large. And they have contempt for the kind of centrist Republicans who are key to success in some states. They would much rather run off the cliff with an extremist than empower the kind of candidate they deride as a RINO, a Republican in name only.

And this isn't about being conservative. As a new study in "The American Political Science Review" suggests, quote, "Loyalty to Mr. Trump has become a proxy for conservative values, regardless of the policies these senators support."

This isn't healthy for the Republican Party or the republic. And it's leaning to a series of self-inflicted wounds, ditching what's left of the Northeast moderate Republican tradition by pushing nominees who are almost certainly too extreme to win in their states.

Bottom line: this fixation on RINO hunting is a circular firing squad which will lead to their own extinction. And that's your "Reality Check."

KEILAR: John Avlon, thank you.

AVLON: Thank you.

KEILAR: We will go live to London where a royal procession is set to begin, and we'll discuss how the lives of the new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, and their young children, are about to change.

BERMAN: And how one Netflix show has skyrocketed up the charts since the death of the queen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crown must win. Must always win.