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Russia Launches Deadly Missile Attacks Across Ukraine; Police Officer, Who Shot Teen in McDonald's Parking Lot, Fired; Democrats' Strategy for Obama in Final Stretch of Midterm Campaigns. Aired 7- 7:30a ET
Aired October 10, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The city has a 7:00 P.M. curfew now. Do they have to leave each night? How does this work?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, at night, you want to leave by 7:00 P.M. because it is so dark and a little bit intimidating and scary there. There's no electricity, no running water. And so it's so difficult to see anything and there's debris everywhere. They can come back the next day once it's daylight. Brianna?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks, Nadia Romero, in Fort Myers, Florida.
And New Day continues right now.
KEILAR: Deadly explosions rocking Ukraine overnight following the destruction of the only bridge connecting Russia and Crimea, which it illegally annexed.
It is Monday, October 10th. I'm Brianna Keilar with Alex Marquardt this morning. John Berman is off.
Blasts have been reported in the capital city of Kyiv, also in the western city of Lviv, also there in the Eastern city of Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia as well, several other cities in addition across the country. Officials say five people have been killed, at least were 12 injured at this point. We're still awaiting for more numbers on that.
Though video here, this is what you're watching, showing a pedestrian bridge in Kyiv, a nearby strike damaging it with this explosion here. A missile also hit a children's playground. You can see the crater that it left here. The mayor of Kyiv is now warning people to shelter in place.
MARQUARDT: And this morning, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, held a National Security Council meeting after accusing Ukraine of carrying out a terror attack that severely damaged that bridge that links Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: We have no doubt that this is a terrorist attack aimed at the destruction of the critical infrastructure of the Russian Federation. And authors, executors and masterminds are the secret service of Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Now, Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility. Meanwhile, there is growing concern that Russia is gearing up to use tactical nuclear weapons, however, the Kremlin says that it is completely incorrect, in their words, to suggest that Moscow would use nuclear weapons in retaliation.
KEILAR: CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live in Kyiv and he's actually near where one of the missiles struck. Tell us what you're seeing there, Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Brianna. Well, I'm actually only a couple of feet from where one of the missiles struck. I'm going to get out of your way really quickly and then you can see the massive impact crater that that missile left behind. It's not only very wide but it's also very deep as well. And you can tell that it's really torn through the tarmac, the upper layer of the road there and just blasted right into the street.
Now, just a couple of minutes ago, the Ukraine's are cleaning up right now but there were a lot of destroyed cars that were here. There was also one dead body that we saw the recovery and rescue crews takeaway as they were working the scene. And it really made of a rude awakening for us in the early morning hours of today. I would say it was around maybe quarter past eight local time, that would have been about 1:15 on the east coast, that the first explosion took place
And then as the morning progressed, we heard explosion after explosion as the Russians were apparently hitting the capital city here in Kyiv with those rockets, those missiles, the Ukrainians apparently intercepting something of those as well. We just got some footage in from the Ukrainians showing some of the missiles that they say they intercepted on the outskirts of Kyiv.
But those air raid sirens were going on for a long time, and you're absolutely right, the Kyiv mayor is telling people not to come to the city, not to venture out, of course, people who live on the outskirts, and then come into the city to work, also telling them not to come as well.
And it's a similar picture in large parts of the country here, of Ukraine, where several cities have been hit. And the Ukrainian president has said he believes that there were two targets, essentially, that the Russians had. One was Ukrainian energy infrastructure, there's a bunch of places that are without power, part of the city of Kyiv is also without power as well, but also Ukrainian civilians.
And, again, if you look behind me, what you see there is a road junction. That's a road junction. There were a bunch of cars there, there were a bunch people crossing the road there as well. And all of this happened at around quarter past eight, half past eight, which, of course, in any major city is a time of rush hour and a time when people are going to work, guys.
MARQUARDT: It is so remarkable, and I've seen it myself in Ukraine, that as these cities get pummeled, these crews come out so quickly to clean up, to try to get life back to normal. Of course, this is the least possible normal time in Ukraine.
Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for all your reporting this morning. You and your team stay safe out there.
KEILAR: I want to go to CNN International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh.
He is live for us in Southern Ukraine.
Nick, the strikes have been very widespread. We have to be clear about this. They've been all over the country. What have you been seeing on the ground?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes. I mean, it's important to convey to people that for a while this morning, it felt like all of Ukraine was essentially under missile attack. And now that sirens are stopping, people are coming back out from their shelters. It's clear that there were less targets but I think the impact of Russia's attack was designed to make so many Ukrainians call their friends, call their family and really fear that something massive was afoot.
Clearly, this is probably some of the worst violence inflicted on the country since the start of the war, but some of the targets, it seems to have been infrastructure. Certainly from where we've come from, Kryvyi Rih, the president's hometown, they are experiencing power cuts in some areas after their infrastructure was hit by one explosion. For a while, there were deep concerns about more drones heading their way. We were with people in the subway sheltering from that. Then the all- clear was sounded.
But where we're heading to in Dnipro, there have also been reports of technical infrastructure being hit there as well, and, in fact, a rocket landing near a bus. Miraculously, nobody on that bus hurt, said Ukrainian officials.
But this is, I think, a change in tactics, frankly, from the Kremlin after the Kerch Bridge attack and a series of military defeats that they've been reeling from, frankly, over the past months. They now have a new Russian military commander, Sergei Surovikin. You should remember that name. He is a man who is responsible for a lot of attacks against civilians when Russia's military intervention in Syria happened and even accused of the use of other weapons there too.
But the fact that this has been chosen to happen all on one day across the entire country is designed, I think, to send to messages, one, said Russia's internal critics of Vladimir Putin, that he still cards to play, and then also to Ukraine's people that they are still vulnerable. So many cities having tried to go back to normal life. But, still, I think there's a sense of defiance here, people wondering quite, really, what else that can be thrown at them. Back to you.
KEILAR: Yes, we'll see. That new commander, I'm glad you point that out, we're seeing sort of what that has wrought. Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Southern Ukraine, thank you.
MARQUARDT: And joining us now from Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, is Michael Downey. He is an American photojournalist who was just blocks away from one of the blasts this morning in Kyiv.
Michael, you got to Kyiv a couple of days ago. It's been quiet for months. Tell us what you saw and you heard today.
MICHAEL DOWNEY, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER AND JOURNALIST: Well, you know, it's been very quiet since I arrived here a few weeks ago, a week ago, there have been air raid sirens but most people just go about their day as normal.
So, there were some earlier in the morning and then it was quiet and I was just waking up, it was about 8:00 A.M., and I heard the missile come right by -- right by our hotel and then impacted, you know, just a few blocks away. And, I mean, we are -- I think everybody was completely shocked.
There was some expectation that there would be a response from Russia after the bridge connecting Crimea and Russia was hit yesterday, but I don't think anybody was quite prepared for this level of indiscriminate rocket attacks in civilian areas on a busy Monday morning.
MARQUARDT: Yes, more than 80 missiles, we understand, so far. And like so many others, you went down into a bomb shelter. Tell us about that. What was the mood down there? What were people saying?
DOWNEY: Yes. Normally, before people weren't using these bunkers for the past few months, it's been very quiet in Kyiv, and this was the first time in a while that you'd see these places really packed. But the mood, you know, Ukrainians, unfortunately, are so used to this war and these attacks. And, very quickly, people were making coffee, passing around snacks, but, you know, at the same time, looking at news and updates for when the next wave was coming.
We'd hear updates that five more cruise missiles were fired from the Black Sea or that these Iranian drones were launched from Belarus. So, everyone was kind of calculating when they would hit and debating when it might be safe to go out. Finally just a little over two hours ago we were given the all-clear.
MARQUARDT: And we understand that those sirens were going on for around six hours. You're obviously out of the shelter now. Do you think people will just go back to living those relatively normal lives or is there going to be some trepidation, some fear of given what we've seen today? DOWNEY: I think a bit of caution. But it's remarkable because, already not too long after, there were people lining up for cafes and sitting outside and drinking coffee, walking their dogs. Ukrainians aren't letting this get in the way of their everyday life. And they're certainly not intimidated by Russia's tactics.
So, it really is remarkable seeing the resilience of the city. And, yes, it's -- you know, life goes on.
MARQUARDT: All right. Michael Downey --
DOWNEY: But there is definitely -- sorry, but there is some concern definitely we're being told that later tonight, around 7:30, 8:00 P.M., they will be resuming another wave of attacks.
MARQUARDT: Well, we are certainly thankful you are safe. I really appreciate your time this morning. Photojournalist Michael Downey in Kyiv, we appreciate it.
DOWNEY: hanks for having me.
KEILAR: And for more now on these overnight blasts, let's bring in retired Brigadier General Steven Anderson.
You, of course, your background is in logistics. So, I want to start actually with what prompted these missile strikes, which is this bridge over the Kerch Strait that was struck, partially collapsed, maybe even deteriorating some of the rail abilities, what are the logistics challenges that were created with that that may have spurred such a reaction from Vladimir Putin?
BRIG. GEN. STEVEN ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, thank you, Brianna. Well, this is a hugely significant, logistically. This bridge here, of course, goes across the Kerch Strait. It's the only bridge that they've got that goes over that way. It brings rail, it brings road. It's the major lifeline for the entire Crimea Peninsula. So, it's hugely important if they can take this out.
I would not want to, though, overestimate exactly the significance of this because they're going to rebuild the bridge. I think they have already rebuilt the rail. But I think most importantly is the psychological impact of this. It might not quite be at the level where the Moskva sinking was months ago but this sends a message to the Ukrainian people, to the world, to the Russians, that they are very serious, the Ukrainians, about taking back Crimea, and they have the opportunity and the capability to attack a key logistics target, like this bridge.
KEILAR: Yes. It does feel like it's in the same vein of that Moskva takedown there.
Now, logistically, for the Ukrainians, because we see Vladimir Putin taking out some civilian targets, he's also hitting civilian infrastructure targets, what's does that mean for Ukraine? ANDERSON: It means that he's sharpening his focus a little bit. He's been very good at indiscriminate attacks. I've personally been to Bucha and Irpin. I've seen all the apartment buildings have been knocked out. Heretofore, his attacks have been mostly targets you and I can pick up on Google Earth, okay? But now, at least he's starting to go after the logistics infrastructure, the energy infrastructure, and that's more important.
This is a major response to the Kerch Bridge. He's trying to placate the hardliners that he's surrounded himself with and he wants to attack in a big way and, of course, this is the biggest attack, I think, we've had since the beginning of the war. However, I can tell you that the will of Ukrainian people will not be deterred at all. Their resolve will be steeled and they will continue to fight back.
And the other thing I would say about this is this is his only play. I mean, other than the nuclear option, his only conventional capability are these cruise missiles, these long-range missiles. And I don't think he has got that many left. This will not continue for very long. I think that he did this as a show of force before the Security Council meeting with his ministers, but I think that it's going to be back to normal soon.
KEILAR: That's a really important point that may not have enough to sustain this.
Talk about this new commander. Nick Paton Walsh was mentioning this. The new commander that he has in place, are you seeing a new approach?
ANDERSON: I do not think there's going to be a new approach because he's incapable of really doing a new approach. As long as the Russian army is what it is, which is a terrible army. I mean, this guy is a hard dude, okay? He responsible for the bombing in Aleppo, he served down in Syria, conducted operations, he's been jailed twice. I mean, he's an interesting character, but he's a hardliner.
And, again, this is a way to appease the hard liners that Vladimir Putin has surrounded himself with, so he has got this guy in charge. But it's not like the soldiers are suddenly going to jump into a phone booth and come out as superman. They still have a terrible army. They're ten years away from having a good army that can really take on the Ukrainians and achieve the military objectives they've wanted.
They have a low morale, they're undisciplined, we've seen all the terrible acts of atrocities they've committed against the civilians. They have poor leadership. They don't have non-commissioned officers at the tip of the spear. They're incapable of executing the military operations that Vladimir Putin wants go. And I don't care if -- George Patton couldn't make this a success for Putin.
KEILAR: Yes, it's a very good point. We've seen many commanders try at this point. General Anderson, thank you. Great to have your insights.
ANDERSON: Thank you. MARQUARDT: All right. Let's bring in CNN White House Correspondent Arlette Saenz. Arlette, how is the White House reacting this morning to all of these Russian attacks all across Ukraine?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex, President Biden is waking up at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, to this news and we're still awaiting comment from the White House about these strikes across Ukraine.
But just yesterday, a top White House National Security Council spokesperson said that the U.S. believes Russia is intent on doubling down on this war, something that certainly played out as that wave of strikes hit across Ukraine this morning. And President Biden has recently spoken very starkly about the prospect of nuclear weapon use by Russian President Vladimir Putin, even as U.S. officials say that they have not seen any new intelligence deciding Putin has decided to go down that route.
Now, the U.S. has consistently said they will continue to provide support to Ukraine. Just yesterday, President Biden held a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, where the two men spoke about that very matter. But we will see whether this new wave of attacks might prompt a more immediate response from the U.S. and its allies going forward.
KEILAR: And North Korea, Arlette, as well launched additional missiles this weekend, their 25th of the year. Where is the White House on these tensions that are growing in the region?
SAENZ: Well, the White House is closely watching each of these ballistic missile launches by North Korea. There has been some concern among U.S. officials about whether Kim Jong-un might be preparing to have a nuclear test, though the intelligence into Kim's thinking has been very limited.
But the White House has made clear that they really want both Russia and North Korea to come to the negotiating table as nuclear tensions remain high. Just four days ago, President Biden warning that the threat of nuclear Armageddon is at its highest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
KEILAR: Arlette, thank you for that report from the White House.
New this morning, a Texas D.A. identified the San Antonio police officer who was fired from his job for shooting a 17-year-old boy who had been eating a meal in a McDonald's parking lot in his car last week. The teen was critically injured. We do want to warn our viewers this video of the shooting is graphic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.
Shots fired, shots fired, shots fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: CNN's Josh Campbell Is joining us live from Los Angeles on this. Josh, what can you tell us about what's really just disturbing to watch here?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly disturbing, Brianna. And you ask any respected law enforcement leader in America and they will tell you that the key attribute they look for in new recruits is judgment. And, of course, it's the judgment of this now fired rookie San Antonio officer that has now come under scrutiny.
We'll warn our viewers again that what you're about to see is graphic, it is disturbing. These are the mere seconds where an officer's decision to use deadly force resulted in a teen now fighting for his life.
CAMPBELL (voice over): Authorities say San Antonio police officer James Brennan was handling an unrelated disturbance call at a McDonald's last Sunday evening when he saw a car he believed evaded police the previous day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, can you send (ph) one more. I had a vehicle here that fled from me the other day.
CAMPBELL: The 17-year-old Erik Cantu was eating a meal in the parking lot. Body camera video released by police shows the officer walking up to the driver's side of the car, opening the door and ordering the startled driver out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car. Shots fired, shots fired, shots fired.
CAMPBELL: According to the body camera video, the teen had put the car in reverse before the officer fired five times. After the driver shifted the vehicle and moved forward, Brennan fired five more times.
The San Antonio Police Department said the teen was found a block away suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. A passenger in the car was uninjured, police said. Erik Cantu was hospitalized in critical condition. His attorney told the CNN the teen is literally fighting for his life every minute of the day as his body has endured a tremendous amount of trauma.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Police Department announced it has fired Brennan for violating several department policies.
ALYSSA CAMPOS, SAPD TRAINING COMMANDER: In this circumstance, the department terminated the probationary officer's employment due to his actions during this incident, which were in violation of departmental tactics, training and procedures.
CAMPBELL: According to the SAPD, the department's deadly force policy does allow police to fire if someone is using deadly force against the officer for self-defense, but the manual also say an officer in the path of an approaching vehicle shall attempt to move to a position of safety rather than discharging a firearm and officers should not shoot at any part of a vehicle in an attempt to disable the vehicle.
The SAPD said it is investigating the incident and will forward its findings to the Bexar County district attorney. The district attorney's civil rights division is conducting a full few review of the case, which it will then submit to a grand jury.
Meanwhile, the D.A. has dismissed charges of evading detention and assault on an officer against the teen, saying in a statement, the facts and evidence we received so far led us to reject the charges against Erik Cantu for further investigations.
The county's online court record system shows Cantu's case has been closed.
CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, Brianna, police claim that that officer was struck as the teen reversed in that vehicle. We don't see that from the vantage point of the body camera that was on that officer's the chest, and there's no other video of this evidence, because although the officer called for backup, he didn't wait for additional officers before approaching that car.
It's worth pointing, we have reached out to that officer as well as the San Antonio Police Union for comment on what happened, as well as this ongoing investigation. Of course, the D.A. says that the ultimate decision whether there will be charges brought against this officer will rest with the Bexar County grand jury. Brianna, Alex?
KEILAR: Josh, what's he saying he was struck by?
CAMPBELL: They say by the door of the car.
Now, of course, the officer himself opened the door, startling the teen. And as the teen backed up, that's when police say that that door struck that officer. Again, there's not video of that. And it's worth pointing that under a deadly force policy, there's a letter of the law, or the spirit of the law, officers can use deadly force if they are in imminent danger.
Of course, as you watch that vehicle, many questions raised, the officer not only opening fire when he's not near the vehicle but as the teen then drives away, five more additional rounds. The teen was found a block later with multiple gunshot wounds. He remains in the hospital, according to his attorney.
KEILAR: All right. Josh, thank you for that.
There is some new CNN reporting this morning on the role that former President Obama will play during the midterm elections.
MARQUARDT: The death toll rising in the latest uprising in Iran, according to human rights officials. CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour will join us live ahead to discuss. Stay with us.
MARQUARDT: And we have new CNN reporting ahead of the midterms, former President Barack Obama is set to be active during this election season but he may not be on the trail as much as many Democrats would like.
CNN Senior Reporter Isaac Dovere has more on this new reporting from you. Isaac, what have you learned about how much Obama is going to be involved?
ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Well, look, Democrats are desperate to have as much help as they can get. They like Barack Obama out there as much as they can get him. But he is not going to do quite as much as everybody. He'll be announcing some events starting this week to go to a number of the key states where he'll bundle together campaigning for candidates for governor, senator, but also down to secretary of state. And he'll be making an argument very much that electing Democrats is essential to American democracy.
MARQUARDT: There is a fear that having him in places could have the opposite of the intended effect. So, how are they strategizing in terms of where to best use him?
DOVERE: Well, that's part of what's going on here, is that Obama himself feels that sometimes what he does is lights up the opposition as much as he lights up the support. And so that's why it will be a targeted burst of campaigning and he'll be building that argument up also to something that he'll do after the midterms, where his foundation is hosting what they're calling a new democracy summit that they're -- or democracy forum that they're doing to bring together people from all over the country and all over the world and talk about the threats that democracy is facing.
MARQUARDT: Yes. There really are so many areas, so many races where he could focus his efforts. Isaac Dovere, thank you so much for your reporting this morning. I appreciate it.
KEILAR: So, just four weeks ago before the midterm elections, control of the House and the Senate remain up for grabs. Analysts are watching a handful of states and public opinion on a handful of issues to try to determine which way the political winds are blowing.
Joining us now is CNN Political Analyst and National Political Correspondent for The New York Times Jonathan Martin.
So, there are quite a few factors that are making this an unpredictable election this close to Election Day. Tell us about them.
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you have got crosswinds that are taking placing that's really unusual for a midterm. Typically, these midterms are easy to understand. They tend to be bad news for the party that is in power because there tends to be an itch among the electorate toward those who were running the government.
It's more complicated this time because while there is unease about Democratic control of Washington, there is also real concern among voters about what it would mean to give the GOP at least partial control back of the government. That's part because of Trump's looming presence still on the landscape and it's also in part because of what happened with the overturning of Roe versus Wade. So, it's not a traditional midterm.
And I think a lot of people at this point, we're sort of almost now mid-October, would have assumed that we would have a better sense as to where the kind of winds are blowing by now, and it's still pretty uncertain, pretty darn late in a campaign.
MARQUARDT: And, Jonathan, We did hear from Alabama Senator Tommy Tubberville pretty controversial comments over the weekend, many seeing them as racist. We have some sound of him talking about crime and reparations. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bullshit, they're not owed that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: That is not a hot mic moment. That is from a podium in a big speech.
MARTIN: Well, it was an extraordinary moment in the year 2022 to hear a sitting member of the U.S. Senate link reparations to crime in a way that's so obviously aimed at race baiting. Let's just call it what it is here. And the fact is over a quarter of his state, Alabama, is African-American. Those are people he represents. And to say that at a public forum like he did, I think, raises real questions about how he can serve as a senator for so many people in his own state if he has that kind of view.
KEILAR: And how will other Republicans respond? That's also a big question because a lot of them may not even say that that's something he should not have said, right? They may not even criticize --
MARTIN: Well, that's what's remarkable is the sort of almost normalizing of those kinds of words and the refusal of a lot of people in the party to condemn them immediately. They'll try to avoid the question or kind of dance around it. But that too is so revealing about the times we're in now politically.
MARQUARDT: Can we look at two close races, Arizona and Nevada?
And in Arizona, Senator Mark Kelly, he is pulling ahead of Republican Blake Masters. In Nevada, there is no clear leader.