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Death Toll Soars, Nearly 2,000 Rescued as Search Intensifies Florida Hospitals Experiencing 'Significant Pressure' on Capacity North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan 'Armed Rebellion' & 'Princess Bride' in Sedition Trial's First Day System Abuse Found in Women's Pro Soccer Survey: 91% of U.S. CEO's Predict Recession in Next Year. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired October 04, 2022 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The death toll is rising as the search for survivors in Florida continues. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.


At least 101 people have now died in Florida from Hurricane Ian. The majority of victims are in Lee County, where officials are now facing questions about whether evacuation orders should have been issued earlier.

This morning, Fort Myers Beach is closed entirely, even for residents, so crews can search for survivors. Power there could be out for a month.

There have been nearly 2,000 rescues in Southwest and Central Florida since last week, when Hurricane Ian hit the state. A man in Naples says he swam nearly half a mile to save his wheelchair-bound mother.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're, like, in four feet of water, and I've been swimming forever. Oh, my God. We're arriving at Grandma's. Or I'm arriving at Grandma's. I don't know what time it is: 3:41.


JOHNNY LAUDER, SAVED MOTHER DURING HURRICANE: When he arrived, he found his mother neck deep in floodwaters. And needless to say, she was thrilled to see him.


LAUDER: It was a sigh of relief. As I was approaching the house, I couldn't get through the front door. Water was up to the windows, and I heard her screaming inside, and she was actually on the phone with my youngest son, who was giving status updates to her.

And it was -- it was a scare and a sigh of relief at the same time. I was scared thinking she might be hurt, but a sigh of relief knowing that there was still air in her lungs. And -- and I got to the back window, and I got it opened. I snapped a

picture so the family would know she was fine, and I've never seen her happier to see me in my life.


KEILAR: Now, this morning, fewer than half a million customers are still without power in Florida. President Biden is going to be visiting the state tomorrow after being in Puerto Rico Monday. But the island territory is recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona.

We do begin our coverage with CNN's Nadia Romero, who is live for us in Sarasota, Florida.

Nadia, how are families handling the devastating search for their loved ones?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, for many of them, it's been so hard to even find out if their loved one is dead or alive. That's why we're on that right now. It's so important.

This is the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. This lot is run by Florida Power and Light, and there are hundreds of linemen that have come from all over the country. Their goal, to get the power back on as quickly as possible.

And also, we're seeing efforts by utility crews to get cell phone towers back up and even to impact those damaged land lines, as well.

And we spoke with a resident who found out from a nurse that her father was in the hospital, in the ICU on a ventilator. That was before the storm. Days after the storm, she hadn't heard from them. She didn't know if her father was still in there fighting for his life. She now knows that he's there, only because a nurse called her yesterday afternoon. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's my father, you know? He's the one that raised me, and -- and I can't even describe it. I can't describe it. And I hope nobody else is going through this, and if they are, I feel your pain, 100 percent. A hundred percent. It's awful. I mean, even in normal circumstances, going through this would be awful, but to add in the hurricane and everything else is -- there's no words.


ROMERO: The phone lines were impacted at the hospital. They're still down. They were hit by the storm, too.

Now, Brianna, her big goal, is to figure out how to get around those floodwaters that have trapped her in her own community so she can visit her father.

KEILAR: So tough going for these families. Nadia, thank you for that. BERMAN: Talking about the damage at hospitals, the phone lines, the

hospitals have been hit really hard. With me now, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

There are so many different ways hospitals are affected here. It's not just that they have to be knocked down or the walls come in. But they're really suffering.

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, you know, I'm from South Florida. I've lived through Andrew, and my heart breaks watching this.

And we think about hospitals as being the anchors of the community. And so when something goes wrong with the healthcare system, it's so destabilizing.

And yes, they're still under a lot of pressure. We know that actually two hospitals, in Sarasota and Charlotte, had to evacuate all their patients, about 200 patients.

In general, over the weekend, hospitals worked to restore power, to transfer patients. Overall, about 7,000 patients have been transferred from 150 healthcare facilities. And about 65 percent of healthcare facilities have reopened.

When you look at where this pressure is coming from, first of all, some hospitals have sustained damage, are still working to get power and water. But then free-standing emergency rooms. Many of them have been damaged. That puts pressure on emergency rooms and hospitals.

Discharge is an issue. So how do you discharge patients when they can't go home? They can't go to nursing homes. There's no beds available in the hospital.

And then finally, when you look at staffing issues. If the staff have lost their homes or their ability to get to the hospital, that's a problem.

So they're really being hit at multiple angles. And that's just hospitals. But talk about nursing care facilities and assisted living. We know that about 8,000 nursing home residents have also been evacuated from about 160 either healthcare facilities or nursing homes.

So this is really, you know, difficult all around for the healthcare system down there.

BERMAN: It's a cascading series of problems, and then there is specific health concerns and challenges in the aftermath of a hurricane.

NARULA: Exactly. BERMAN: And then there are specific health concerns and challenges in the aftermath of a hurricane.

[06:05:06] NARULA: Right. And so there's certain things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you know, individuals need to stay out of the flood water. Floodwaters can have sharp objects. Chemicals can carry disease.

You want to avoid driving in floodwaters. Also, staying away from downed power lines or going into buildings that may have structural damage.

Avoid using any electrical products that may be wet.

And then once you're back in the home, you want to pay attention to things like using flashlights and not candles. We know nine individuals have died from carbon monoxide poisoning already.

There's a tendency to use those charcoal grills or camp burning stoves inside the house. And that's something to pay attention to, because that carbon dioxide is odorless, tasteless, has no smell.

And then finally, you know, I think boiling water. Pay attention to those advisories. Contaminated food and emotional well-being. There's just a lot of anxiety and stress for those communities, for those people, and they have to pay attention.

BERMAN: It is so much stress.


BERMAN: Physical, you know, and emotional. People have to be really careful.

Dr. Tara Narula, thank you so much

KEILAR: This morning, the U.S. and Japan joining forces to strongly condemn North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch that went over -- the path of this actually went over Japan overnight.

Air raid sirens sounded off as Japanese officials warned their citizens to take cover.

The last time North Korea fired over Japan was back in 2017 when Kim Jong-un was trading insults with then-President Trump.

I want to bring in CNN's Will Ripley, live for us in Taipei, Taiwan. This missile launch really stands out here, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, the last time this happened, I was based in Tokyo. Now, I'm here in Taipei. And hearing those air raid sirens just brought me right back to the sounds that really jolted people when they hear them, because that's a warning system Japan only activates for national emergencies.

Experts say we're not quite at the level of tension that we saw back in 2017 when Trump and Kim were trading insults during the "fire and fury" days. But Brianna, this missile, its trajectory actually brought it farther

than North Korea has ever launched a missile before. They tested missiles capable of going much farther, even reaching the mainland U.S.

But the fact that they flew this missile almost 2,800 miles over Japan for the third time is a signal, experts say, that Kim Jong-un is going to continue escalating tensions in the months to come.

KEILAR: How is Japan reacting here?

RIPLEY: Well, they're strongly condemning it. I mean, they -- as I said, they activated a warning system that is reserved for things like earthquakes and, you know, major national disasters. They told people to take cover, to go underground.

They look at this as a direct threat to them. And, you know, it was the former Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who started floating the idea of potential first-strike capability. Japan actually shooting down enemy missile bases. He was talking about North Korea.

Even though they didn't try to shoot this missile down, certainly, Japan feels that they are in the direct line of fire, if these kind of provocations continue.


HIROKAZU MATSUNO, CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OF JAPAN (through translator): A ballistic missile launch that flew over our country is not only an issue for aircraft and vessels; it's a serious and problematic action that involves the safety of residents living in the area where the missile flew over. We have strongly protested against North Korea in the strongest terms.


RIPLEY: As provocative as this was, Brianna, experts say that a nuclear test could be on the horizon, which would certainly ratchet things up to an even higher level.

KEILAR: Yes, it certainly would. Will, thank you for that report.

From accusations of armed rebellion against the United States, to references to "The Princess Bride," it was a dramatic first day in the Department of Justice's case against the Oath Keepers.

Five alleged members of the far-right militia are on trial in Washington, D.C.'s Federal courthouse, accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

In its opening statement yesterday, the prosecution cast the charges of seditious conspiracy in the starkest possible terms, invoking the earliest days of American democracy, saying this: "Ever since our government transferred power from George Washington to John Adams in the year 1797, we have had a core custom of routine and peaceful transfer of power. These defendants tried to change that history. They concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy."

But the defense argued that the accused, quote, "had no part in the bulk of the violence that occurred on January 6th; that "the real evidence is going to show you that our clients were there to do security for events for the 5th and the 6th."

And in an unexpected turn, the defense telegraphed its plan to show how the movie "The Princess Bride" would prove their clients' innocence.

The attorney for Thomas Caldwell arguing that Facebook messages saying, "I'm such an instigator" and "storming the castle" were merely quotes from the 1987 cult classic.

BERMAN: With me now is CNN senior political analyst John Avlon.

I'm not sure it's the most important thing, but "I'm not an instigator," I don't think that was in "The Princess Bride."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree with you. References to Greenland would be acceptable. But not -- but however, storming the castle is a quote.


BERMAN: "Storming the castle," yes. "I'm such an instigator," I don't think they taught that in second or third year of law school. Not in "The Princess Bride".

AVLON: Yes. And obviously, the point that they're -- they seem to be trying to make is that this was all kind of overblown.

The best defense in the past for a charge of seditious conspiracy, which are given very rarely by the Federal government but failed in 2012 when it was directed at the Michigan militia called the Hutaree, is that this is all politicizing free speech.

It seems to me, and the prosecutors have argued, that January 6th is fundamentally different. But that's where the crux of this debate will play out in court. It's fascinating. It's high-stakes, but January 6th makes it different. That fact.

BERMAN: What's different about this trial, the Oath Keepers trial, than the other January 6th trials we've seen?

AVLON: Seditious conspiracy. This is the -- the high-stakes criminal statute that a lot of folks were saying, how come this is all about obstructing official proceedings? Because what it really is about is stopping a peaceful transfer of power. And Stewart Rhodes and his colleagues, the Oath Keepers, who I've covered since basically their inception in -- in the wake of Obama's --

BERMAN: Wing nuts. Remember it well.

AVLON: Correct. This is really the culmination, in some ways, the sick culmination of their mission, which initially had been to sort of uphold the oath they took to defend the Constitution.

This would be -- seem to be an attack on the Constitution and the peaceful transfer of power.

And one of the things the prosecution rolled out is they say they've got videotape -- or tape of Stewart Rhodes saying, "Sic semper tyrannis," "thus always to tyrants," which is what John Wilkes Booth shouted after shooting Abraham Lincoln.

So it's just -- in some ways, him taking the stand is going to be the highest-stakes moments of this, but it will be fascinating to see how their allegation that they were there only as peacemakers -- keepers, to -- waiting for President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. That is their defense. That will be the contradiction of their own actions and words on tape in and around the 6th.

BERMAN: Want to ask you about another development overnight that has really nothing to do with this. It's the Mar-a-Lago documents case.

"The Washington Post" was the first to report and then "The Times," and CNN has since matched (ph) parts of it, which is that Donald Trump apparently asked a lawyer of his, Alex Cannon --


BERMAN: -- to tell the archives -- this is way back after the first batch of documents had been turned over -- that, Hey, we've given you everything.

AVLON: Right.

BERMAN: Asked his lawyer to say, We've given you everything.

The lawyer said, I can't say that, because I don't know it to be true.

This is potentially important legally?

AVLON: It is potentially important. Here's why. First of all, here's Trump's own lawyer, saying, I'm not lying to the Federal government for you, because I can't -- I don't have confidence that what you're asking me to say is true.

And then Trump goes off and says, well, you know, he'll fire off a note to that effect. But the fact that Trump's own lawyer -- and we've seen a pattern of this in different ways -- is saying, I can't simply take my client's word for it, when it comes to putting my reputation in front of the Federal government, that's very significant in all of this, especially when it comes down after the first tranche of documents.

BERMAN: And if there's any chance that Justice could prove that Donald Trump knew what he was asking wasn't true?

AVLON: I mean -- the lawyers knew enough to say, I can't take your word for it. And he said, Fine, I'll do it myself, but some of those documents that have remained in Mar-a-Lago were moved into his office, it would seem.

BERMAN: All right. John Avlon, thank you very much.

A scathing report finds players in the U.S. National Women's Soccer League endured years of emotional and sexual abuse. What the owners and coaches did.

Five weeks out from the midterms, we preview the key races that could determine which party controls the Senate.

KEILAR: And Senate candidate Herschel Walker denying that he paid for a woman's abortion during a night of drama in this race.



KEILAR: Heartbreaking and deeply troubling. That is what the U.S. Soccer president is calling the findings of an independent investigation that reveals systemic abuse and misconduct by coaches in the top tier of women's professional soccer.

The report also issued warnings that girls face abuse in youth soccer, as well.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov, live for us in Chicago with more.

Just very alarming findings here, Lucy.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly alarming, Brianna. A coach asking a player to his house to review game footage and then allegedly showing her pornography instead.

Another coach known for allegedly berating his young players while quizzing them on their sex lives. Yet another coach accused of coercing his players into sex.

These are just some of the gruesome findings in this report that comes a year after professional players effectively refused to compete in games, demanding that this behavior be addressed, behavior that this report states was many executives, coaches, as well as owners knew about, but did nothing to stop it.


KAFANOV (voice-over): A shocking new report alleges systemic abuse within the U.S. Women's Professional Soccer League. It found that sexual misconduct, emotional abuse, verbal abuse are widespread throughout the sport, with verbal abuse and blurred boundaries seen even in youth soccer.

SALLY YATES, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: We were troubled by a lot of conduct that we saw here, which is why we thought that it was important to lay it all out in terms of, based on the evidence that we were able to find, who knew what when, and what they did about it, and what they didn't do about it. KAFANOV (voice-over): Former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates

led the independent investigation, which interviewed more than 200 people and found the National Women's Soccer League under the U.S. Soccer Federation failed to provide a safe environment for players.

The report stating abusive coaches moved from team to team, and those in a position to correct the record stayed silent.

The report focused on three now former head coaches, but it acknowledged numerous other problems across the league.


And this isn't the first time one of them, Paul Riley, has faced allegations. Last year, he was fired from the North Carolina Courage after a report by "The Athletic" detailed allegations of sexual coercion and misconduct against him.

He denied the accusations then, and CNN has not been able to reach him for comment on the latest report. He told CNN affiliate WRAL-TV that he was not ready to talk, and called the report, quote, "not much of an independent investigation."

Sinead Farrelly is one of the professional players who's accused Riley of abuse in the report. She spoke to CBS News.

SINEAD FARRELLY, FORMER PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER: Soccer for me was my safe space in my -- -in my world and something that I had such an innocent, pure love for since I was a little girl, and that was taken from me.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Those allegations of abuse echoed by former Portland Thorn midfielder Mana Shim. She spoke to ESPN's "E:60" in a clip broadcast on ABC News, alleging, as she did in the report, that Riley, her former coach, invited her to his hotel room.

MANA SHIM, FORMER PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER: I was terrified, and I knew, I knew at that point that I had to find a way out and I was not willing to compromise myself for my career, or for this person.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Alex Morgan, one of Team USA's stars, whose allegations were detailed in the report, also opened up to ESPN's "E:60."

ALEX MORGAN, PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER: I just knew that he needed to be held accountable one day, and that it would happen one day, but it took years for that to happen.

CINDY PARLOW CONE, U.S. SOCCER PRESIDENT: This is very emotional for me, and honestly I'm having trouble absorbing everything in the report.

KAFANOV (voice-over): On Monday, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone reacted to the report, saying the problem is bigger than one person, one organization, and that it is systemic. CONE: I think it will take some time to really read through it and

think about the actions and inactions of certain people and that -- and then it will take us some time to really think about what needs to be done in terms of discipline.


KAFANOV (on camera): now, the National Women's Soccer League said it would review the findings. In a statement they wrote, "We recognize the anxiety and the mental strain that these pending investigations have caused and the trauma that many, including players and staff, are having to relive."

Of course, the bigger questions is, what actions will be taken by the league, the Federation to ensure this kind of behavior does not continue going forward -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes. So unacceptable what -- what we found out here. Lucy, thank you for that report.

Next what CEOs of major American companies are saying about the chances of a recession.

BERMAN: And a case against Alex Jones for spreading the lie that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Emotional new testimony from inside the trial, ahead.



BERMAN: A new CNN report this morning: a survey of 400 leaders of large U.S. companies shows that 91 percent predict that there will be a recession in the next 12 months.

Only 34 percent of those CEOs think it will be mild and short, and half say they're preparing for job cuts to deal with the fallout.

With me now, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans and CNN international correspondent Marc Stewart.

All right, Romans, what's going on here?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Well, there's going to be a recession someday. Nobody knows when. There is one coming. No one knows when.

I think you have a lot of nervousness and uncertainty among so many of these CEOs. The last two and a half years has been hellish for anybody trying to run a company. And they're worried about what they see going forward.

You've got this war in Ukraine. That's a problem. Energy supplies, that's a problem. You still have snagged -- snarled supply chains; that's still a problem. And you've got the Fed jacking up interest rates. So the cost of everything is more expensive for them. MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And this is something

that we've been hearing from those we know for months. This is not a big surprise. We've heard the CEO of FedEx talk about this. A few weeks ago the CEO of Chevron was just on CNN, talking about rising oil prices and fuel costs. But that's not a big surprise.

I think the biggest tell-all, if you will, is not necessarily going to be the survey but what we hear at the end of August, the beginning of November, when companies start to release their earnings reports. Not only are we going to hear about how they did, but they're going to provide a road map for the future. Exactly what has them staying up at night, what these obstacles are and possible solutions.

BERMAN: Two things that jumped out at me in that survey, weren't the 91 percent said a recession was coming 12 months, because that's the safest bet on earth.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: As you said, a recession is coming "some day." When? Some day. From "Harry Met Sally."

But the job cuts. The idea that they're already laying the ground work for possible job cuts.

ROMANS: And it's such a split screen. Right? Because they also say one of their biggest concerns is finding the right talent and retaining talent.

So right now they don't have enough workers, but they're worried about a turn where they're going to have to start laying workers off.

I think it's such an interesting -- we're going to get a jobs report this week that could still be pretty strong overall for companies hiring. I think the job story is still so mismatched and odd in this country. I really can't figure it out, because we have two job openings for every job seeker. Yet you've got all these CEOs saying they might have to start laying people off. Really? They also are hungry to hire. So when does that switch turn?

STEWART: I was talking to a labor economist just a few weeks ago about this, and he pointed out, look how difficult it was for companies to even get to where they are now.

Do they really want to lay people off? Because then that becomes an even bigger burden --


STEWART: -- business burden, when things perhaps improve.

By the way, we should point out a lot of these CEOs think that, if there is a recession, it's going to be short lived. It's going to be pretty quick.

BERMAN: Well, in that survey, that was also interesting to me, that what, 31 percent said if there's a recession it won't be mild. What's going to be the determining factor between whether it is mild or not?

ROMANS: So I think what these CEOs are telling us is they don't buy this idea there will be somehow a magical soft landing.