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President Biden Warns about Russia's Possible Use of Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine During Fundraiser; North Korea Continues Missile Tests; Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) Interviewed on Steps U.S. Can Take after Saudi Arabian Led OPEC Plus Announces Plan to Reduce Oil Production; Man Arrested for Stabbing Spree on Las Vegas Strip; President Biden Pardons All Prior Federal Offenses of Simple Marijuana Possession; U.S. Women's Soccer Report Uncovers Years of Systemic Abuse & Misconduct Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired October 07, 2022 - 08:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: A blunt and chilling assessment from President Biden this morning. The world could face, quote, Armageddon, if Vladimir Putin makes good on his threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman this morning. And the president told a group of Democrats at a fundraiser last night, quote, "We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis. I don't think there's any such thing as the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Biden administration is also worried that North Korea could be building up to a new nuclear test. This after it launched several missiles over the past two weeks. North Korea also flying warplanes near the South. The U.S. and South Korea are conducting joint military exercises.

KEILAR: Let's get right to CNN's Oren Liebermann who is live for us at the Pentagon. What do we know about North Korea's latest provocation, Oren?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Within the last two weeks, they've fired missiles on six different occasions, a total of 10 ballistic missile, most short-range ballistic missiles, but one just a few days ago was an intermediate-range ballistic missile that overflew Japan. The U.S. will not be deterred from the region, and that's the message we've seen in the exercises with South Korea and Japan. That's including anti-submarine exercises, the firing and testing of long-range precision missiles known as ATACMS, as well as missile defense exercises, trilateral with the U.S., South Korea, and Japan that have been conducted yesterday and will continue on to today. The message here, the U.S. will not be deterred from the region even as the U.S. warns that North Korea may be getting ready for another nuclear test. The Biden administration has been watching this, saying it's possible they're ready to go since May. And now the question is if and when Kim Jong-un would carry out such a test. It would be the seventh for North Korea.

KEILAR: These Armageddon remarks of President Biden's when it comes to Vladimir Putin, has there been any escalation from Russia that would have prompted him to raise that specter?

LIEBERMANN: This is a question we constantly ask at the Pentagon. Has the U.S. administration, has the Pentagon seen any indication that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon? And has there been any reason for the U.S. to change the nuclear posture? It's a question we ask daily, and in both cases there the answer remains no.

But what's concerning here, and part of what President Biden was pointing out, is the rhetoric we're seeing from the Kremlin, from Dmitry Medvedev, from Putin himself, and that's the part that's concerning here, simply the threat of using nuclear weapons or finding a scenario in which Russia would find it to be justified, that's what concerns the U.S., and that's what Biden references here in taking Putin seriously when he puts such threats on the table.

KEILAR: Oren, thank you for that live report from the Pentagon.

BERMAN: President Biden reacting to the OPEC Plus decision to dramatically cut its oil production.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your reaction to the OPEC Plus decision, Mr. President?

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Disappointment. And we're looking at what alternatives we may have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Venezuela one of those alternatives?

BIDEN: There's a lot of alternatives. We haven't made up our mind yet.


BERMAN: The announcement by the Saudi led energy cartel widely seen as a stab in the back to Biden after he visited Saudi Arabia for a conference in July and fist-bumped the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Some Democrats are now urging the president to do more than just express disappointment. Congressman Tom Malinowski and other Democrats are now introducing a bill to remove U.S. troops from the Kingdom. And Congressman Malinowski of New Jersey joins me now. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, you said we have to stop acting like the suckers to Saudi Arabia. How is the U.S. acting like suckers?

REP. TOM MALINOWSKI, (D-NJ): It seems to me that the Saudis and their friends in the United Arab Emirates believe that they can do whatever they want to the United States, whether it's spiking oil prices or murdering a "Washington Post" journalist, and that we will always take it upon ourselves to save our relationship with them from the consequences of their misbehavior. It's the definition of an unhealthy relationship, whether you're talking about two individuals or two countries.

And I think it's time for us to ask just a basic practical question. Why do we have, for example, troops in Saudi Arabia, if not to protect their oil fields, to protect the country that is supposed to be playing a constructive role in maintaining the stability of these global energy markets? And if they're not willing to do that, well, I would say we need those troops and that equipment elsewhere.

BERMAN: You think the U.S., this administration, has given Saudi Arabia and the UAE the impression they can get away with anything?

MALINOWSKI: I think every administration going back decades has given them that impression. Whenever they do something outrageous, we tend to wring our hands and say, well, you know, that's bad, but there's still some important benefits we get from these relationships and so we don't want to jeopardize them. I think we have to change that dynamic so it's the Saudis who have that conversation before they make a decision to hurt us.


We, after all, provide a guarantee of their security. There's no way that they could -- they can't turn to China. They can't turn to Russia any time soon to protect themselves. We do so much more for them than they do for us, and yet there is this dynamic in which we act as if the relationship, that the partnership we have with them is too big to fail. And that's not healthy for us, and I think that dynamic has to change.

BERMAN: And you are calling for the removal of U.S. troops from the Kingdom. Have you talked to the White House about this?

MALINOWSKI: I've had many conversations with the White House and the State Department going back over a year. I think when the war in Ukraine began, I felt that was the time to send a message to these countries that they had an important responsibility in helping us address the most important problem in the world, Russia's invasion in Ukraine. And their responsibility was to help make up for the oil that was going to be lost from international markets when we sanctioned Russia.

And instead, they've decided to do the opposite. They've made a conscious decision to help Russia by spiking oil prices so Putin will make more revenue, by hurting American and European consumers, which is really the only way Putin can hope to win this war right now, by imposing economic pain on Americans and Europeans so that we might vote for different leaders in future elections. So I do see it as a deliberately hostile act. And why would we have troops defending a country that behaves this way towards us? So I want to put it on the table, and I want to give Biden the ammunition that I think he needs to recalibrate these relationships so they're more in our interest.

BERMAN: What do you think would happen to the security situation in the Middle East if U.S. troops were to leave Saudi Arabia? How do you think the Saudis would react? MALINOWSKI: I think it would be very bad for the security situation

of Saudi Arabia and that's their problem. We would still have troops in the Middle East. We have all kinds of places where we have troops in the Middle East that take care of things that are important to us. The troops in Saudi Arabia in particular are not so useful to the United States. They're there to symbolize our guarantee of Saudi Arabia's security. And, yes, it would expose them, but, again, that's what they should be thinking about the next time they decide to hurt the United States of America and our allies.

BERMAN: In retrospect, do you think it was a mistake for President Biden to go to Saudi Arabia and meet with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

MALINOWSKI: I'm not saying anything I haven't said for many months. I thought the trip -- I understood his purpose in going. I thought it was ill advised. I remember thinking at the time that I hope I'm wrong and that the trip would produce the results that we need. In my worst nightmares I didn't think that they would go this far to undermine our efforts in Ukraine. So I do think this is a time, without recriminations, without rehashing what happened in the past, for all of us to come together and to rebalance this very unhealthy relationship with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, frankly, which is part of this as well, so that it serves our interests better.

BERMAN: Congressman Tom Malinowski, thank you so much for sharing your perspective this morning.

MALINOWSKI: Thank you.

KEILAR: Horror on the Vegas Strip, two people killed, six others injured in what police say was an unprovoked stabbing spree, and a suspect is now in custody. Let's go live to CNN's Camila Bernal. Camila, what have you learned about this attack?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna, good morning. Police saying they were able to arrest the suspect fairly quickly, in a matter of minutes. This was in the middle of the day, right on the strip. We know that there was no altercation. There was nothing to provoke this man. And all of a sudden, he stabbed his first victim. Then he keeps walking on the strip and continues to stab people, a total of eight people stabbed, two killed, six injured, three we were told were in critical condition, three others in stable condition. There was people who followed him trying to hold him accountable, and that's how they were able to arrest him. But of course, this was extremely chaotic. Here's how one witness described it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the same time, I'm seeing screaming and a guy take off his shirt to give chest compressions to the guy who dropped in front of me. I hear more screaming down here, and immediately after that, more over here, and I'm like, OK, this is even worse than I thought it was.



BERNAL: And we were told that out of all of the victims, some of them were tourists, others were local, and of course, they were being identified as those families are being told what happened. But of course, there's a lot more to this, John, Brianna.

BERMAN: Camila, any idea of a motive?

BERNAL: Authorities have not said why this man did this yet, but they did say he acted alone. They say he was not from the area and identified him as 32-year-old Yoni Barrios. We know he is now facing two counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder. Authorities saying they have a lot of witnesses to talk to because this was in the middle of the day in the middle of the strip. And so they're going through a lot of those witness statements, and of course all the surveillance video to try to figure out why this happened. John, Brianna?

BERMAN: Camila Bernal, thank you so much for sharing your reporting.

BERNAL: Thank you.

KEILAR: And a major shift from the federal government that could affect thousands of people. President Biden has pardoned all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. This is a move that could lead to the loosening of federal restrictions on the drug.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No one should be in jail just nor for using or possessing marijuana. It's already legal in many states. And criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, to housing, and to educational opportunities. And that's before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences.


KEILAR: Joining us now, CNN political commentator Van Jones. Van, let's talk about who does suffer the consequences? Who is this going to impact?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, I just want to say this is why we vote. When people say my vote doesn't matter, elections don't matter, nothing matters. This is why we vote. On the campaign trail he said he was going to do something about it, and he's doing something about it. And it does affect disproportionately African Americans, poor people, people of color. Why? Because marijuana is being used by lots and lots of people. It has been effectively legal for rich white folks for two decades, three decades. But there's more police contact in poor communities because the police are there more often, and you wind up getting people with these marijuana charges. This particular set of charges is only going to affect about 6,000

people. This is simple possession. This is not big drug dealers, not big drug pushers. This means somebody was smoking a joint in a national park or on a reservation or somewhere in Washington, D.C., and they wind up with a federal charge for something simple like that. And it never goes away. Most of the people who are watching right now have had some experience with marijuana. Would you want a federal charge on your record forever for simple possession? That's what he just fixed. And I think it's a big deal because it starts a process by which we can start decriminalizing this drug. I'm not pro-marijuana, I'm just anti-stupid. And it's really stupid to be ruining people lives over a drug that most people have some experience with.

BERMAN: Talk to me about that next step which you just raised, the decriminalization, I said it poorly, of marijuana. What would that entail?

JONES: The next step for the administration is to move this thing away from being a schedule one drug. Right now marijuana is considered the same as meth, heroin, LSD. Most people watching this morning have not had experience with meth or heroin or LSD. And so it shouldn't be schedule one. It should be schedule two or three. And so the administration has got to begin that process.

This only affects federal charges. Nineteen states have already decriminalized in some way. I think the administration wants other governors to start doing the same thing. The problem is, Biden said it himself, it's not just the charge. It's that it ruins your life to have the charge on your record. In a lot of states, you can't rent a home, you can't get a student loan, you can't get a good job because you have this on your record. And it makes no sense in the modern era.

And so this is a very big deal. This is why we vote. This is why we vote, because you look at just stupid problems. You know any young people whose lives have been ruined by drug charges, 20 years later, 30 years later, this stuff should be taken off folks' records. There's no way to do that at the federal level right now. You can get an expungement at state. But not finally the government is doing something at the federal level. This is a very, very big deal. It's a very important first step in a long journey toward getting us some kind of sanity when it comes to drugs.

I don't want my kids doing marijuana. I also don't want them smoking cigarettes. If they do either one, I don't want them going to prison. There are other ways for us to deter people from doing stuff that I don't agree with than putting people in prison and giving federal charges for smoking a joint at the National Mall for the rest of their lives.

KEILAR: You really put it in perspective, Van. We can see how it impacts lives, and this is going to make a huge difference for many people. Van, it's great to have you this morning. Thank you.

JONES: Good to have some good news for once.

[08:15:00] KEILAR: So ahead we will be joined by the U.S. Soccer President following the scathing report of systemic abuse within women's soccer.

BERMAN: Soon the September's job report will be released. Everyone looking at the labor market to see which way it's headed.

And just a few miles away from devastated Fort Myers is a community untouched by Hurricane Ian. CNN touring a neighborhood built to withstand storms.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I feel a little guilty leaving the damage, but it's a relief to come to a place unscathed like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're feeling the guilt, too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely. Yes, we've certainly got it really good out here.




MEGAN RAPINOE, PLAYER, US NATIONAL WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM: Those people are in positions that have responsibilities and they didn't fulfill those responsibilities. They didn't protect the players at all amidst year after year after year. I feel like it's just like - it's just like impossible to overstate.


KEILAR: That is soccer star, Megan Rapinoe, reacting to a year-long investigation into the National Women's Soccer League. The report conducted by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates found patterns of abusive behavior at all levels of women's professional soccer in the U.S. And that those within the organization often turned a blind eye to years of reports from players.

Quote, "The investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct, verbal and emotional abuse, and sexual misconduct had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches and victims."

And joining us now is U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone.


Cindy, thank you so much for being with us to talk about this report. We all, I think, saw that video of your statement after the report came out. You seemed generally shocked by the findings. You had no idea it was this bad? CINDY PARLOW CONE, US SOCCER PRESIDENT: I had no idea. I - obviously I had read Meg Linehan's report last year and then receiving this report it's just heartbreaking and just infuriating that this went on for as long as it went on and it was systemic. It wasn't isolated, it wasn't an isolated incident, it was systemic throughout the NWSL.

KEILAR: So where do you go from here? I mean this is a giant problem. This is a series of problems that you have to tackle.

PARLOW CONE: It is. You know, we took some immediate steps that we've made public and - but this is going to be a long process. It's not going to be a quick fix. There are many things that we need to do, that we need buy in (ph) from our membership whether it's at the youth level, adult level or the professional level in order to really change policies, put processes into place. And the implementation of those is going to be really important.

KEILAR: Owners were named in the report. Do they need to face consequences? I mean can you really address these problems when you just have the same owners in-place when this is a culture problem?

PARLOW CONE: I think the NWSL is approaching those problems and addressing them. But what I took away from the report is this is bigger than one team, one executive, one coach; this was systemic. And so we have to do the work with all of our membership and all the NWSL and our other professional leagues to make sure that we put things into place and take immediate actions as well as actions over the next year to really make sure we can change this dynamic and make sure that no woman or girl, regardless of the level of play, is subjected to this abuse.

KEILAR: It - the finding about the younger players, I think that was one of the most alarming parts of this quote. "Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women's soccer, beginning in youth leagues."

So how do you address that? You're talking about this, yes, this is systemic. But it seemed like the problem was that there's no escape hatch, right. There is no way for repeated complaints to be taken seriously. There's just no sort of fail safe.

PARLOW CONE: Yes and I think Sally Yates pointed that out very clearly in her report. There's many things that we need to do as a sport and as an organization to really address the systemic issues from the youth all the way up to the professional and international levels. So we're working with all of our membership and with the NWSL and our Women's National team, who play tonight in England, to really start to address these processes and really doing everything that we can from a federation standpoint to lead the change in this area.

KEILAR: Retaliation was a big issue. That's probably the reason that so many people maybe did not report. And despite the fact that there was retaliation a lot of people did report and they were just ignored. That's what this report found. You, yourself, and this is in the report, you reported sexual harassment while you were the coach of the Portland Thorns. You reported it though when you were leaving that position, which I found so interesting.

I imagine this is the case for so many women. You didn't feel that you could step forward at the time that it happened. Is that something that you can change for other players and coaches going forward? How do you do that?

PARLOW CONE: You know, I think you get to the root of one of the problems is that society needs to change as well and evolve and to make it safer for women to come forward to complain about this in the workplace or on a team. And I think it's really challenging, you know.

I was really lucky in my situation that I went directly to the person that said to me and basically told him he will never, ever speak to me like that again. But other people don't feel like they can do that. And I didn't report it until I left the Portland Thorns. So I think - I think one we need to make it safer and we need to make sure that there's no retaliation against people who come forward.

KEILAR: How have you responded to complaints that you have gotten since taking over in 2020?

PARLOW CONE: Yes, so, you know, I think one of the great things to come out of this report is that it's encouraging more people to come forward. So since this report I have received a few reportings that I forwarded through to SafeSport and the other mechanisms, also reporting it to Sally Yates as well as the NWSL and the NWSLPA joint investigation.


KEILAR: How many have you gotten since this report came out here?


KEILAR: Three. I mean that's - that is really - that's something that this feels like this has sort of liberated some people to speak up.

PARLOW CONE: You know, and I hope it does. You know, we're working hard at U.S. Soccer to implement Sally's recommendations that were in her report. But I'm also hoping that people do feel safe now to come forward or they're learning about where to come forward to report this because this is so important. We're not going to be able to root it out unless more brave people come forward to tell us.

And then in the future put in some safeguards to prevent it from happening as well.

KEILAR: Cindy, thank you again for your time this morning. This is so important and we'll continue to follow this story. Cindy Parlow Cone.

PARLOW CONE: Thank you.

KEILAR: A Florida community that was in Hurricane Ian's path has been left unscathed by the storm. How this happened ahead.

BERMAN: A top member of the Proud Boys, the first to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in federal court.