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Break-In at HQ of AZ Democratic Candidate for Governor; Unnamed Woman Alleges Herschel Walker Pressured Her Into an Abortion; Ukraine: Russia Exiting Kherson, Reinforcing with 'Cannon Fodder'; Scientists: COVID Restrictions Created RSV 'Immunity Gap' in Kids; Parents of St. Louis Gunman Sought Help Before Shooting; Judge Orders Mark Meadows to Testify in Georgia Election Probe; Sen. Bobb Menendez Under Federal Investigation Again. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired October 27, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The headquarters of Arizona's Democratic candidate for governor burglarized. I'm Brianna Keilar with Alex Marquardt this morning.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Good morning.
KEILAR: Good morning to you.
John Berman is off this morning. And police in Phoenix are investigating this break in at this -- at Katie Hobbs's campaign office this week. This is coming amid reports of voter intimidation in Arizona, where Hobbs, as secretary of state, is currently the top election official.
Her campaign claims this is the person who broke in. CNN has blurred the face, because police have not yet identified any suspects.
MARQUARDT: Hobbs's campaign manager saying that the candidate and her staff have faced death threats throughout the campaign. She was quick to point a finger at Hobbs's Trump-backed Republican opponent, Kari Lake, whom they blame for spreading dangerous misinformation here. Here's how Lake responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm saddened that -- that Hobbs and her camp would try to pin this on us. It's defamatory, and it's wrong. And it's so obvious what's happening. Her own party is attacking her.
She's trying to deflect her own abysmal campaign and the fact that, you know, nobody even knows where her campaign office is. The person who broke in probably didn't even realize it was a campaign office. It's really sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: We are live in Phoenix this morning with CNN's Kyung Lah.
Kyung, what is the latest on this?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Brianna.
Police right now are still looking for a suspect. They were not very specific about exactly who they were looking for.
The Hobbs campaign also saying that right now, they are still going through their inventory, trying to determine exactly what was taken taken.
We do know that the first reports of this started to come out last night. The campaign, though, and the police saying this, indeed, had occurred.
The Hobbs campaign did not come out before news cameras, but the campaign manager did release this statement. I want you to take a look at what she said. She was quick to point the finger at the opponent, the Republican nominee, Kari Lake.
She said, quote, "Let's be clear: for nearly two years Kari Lake and her allies have been spreading dangerous misinformation and inciting threats against anyone they see fit. The threats against Arizonans attempting to exercise their constitutional rights and their attacks on elected officials are the direct result of a concerted campaign of lies and intimidation."
Brianna, this has been an ugly campaign so far in the race for governor between these two nominees, the Republican nominee and the Democratic nominee. Don't expect that's going to get any better with this incident.
MARQUARDT: Kyung, what else has Lake said about these allegations from the Hobbs campaign?
LAH: You know, so Alex, we got this news right before Lake took the stage for an evening event. And she really let some fire go in response to that statement I just read you, basically saying that Hobbs campaign made it up. She even made a reference to a discredited actor who was convicted of lying to the police. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: That is absolutely absurd. And are you guys buying that? Are you really buying that? Because this sounds like a Jussie Smollett, part two. I can't believe that she would blame my amazing people; blame me for something like that. I don't even know where her campaign office is. I'm assuming it's in a basement somewhere, because that's where she's been campaigning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Twelve days left for this campaign in the race for governor here in Arizona. So, you know, this incident is certainly going to make things a little bit more complicated between these two campaigns. KEILAR: Yes. Some unsportsmanlike conduct, for sure, happening there
in Arizona, as well. Kyung Lah, thank you so much for that report. We appreciate it.
MARQUARDT: And this morning in Georgia, Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker is facing new allegations from a second woman. The unidentified woman claims that they had a romantic relationship, and he pressured her into having an abortion.
Herschel Walker again denying the claim.
CNN's Eva McKend is on the trail in Georgia and joins us live. Eva, what more are we learning?
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex, Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker waking up to another difficult headline this morning. But if past is prologue, his supporters and, really, the entire Republican establishment will continue to rally behind him.
MCKEND (voice-over): An unnamed woman alleges Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker pressured her into an abortion nearly 30 years ago, an allegation Walker denies.
The unnamed woman, referred to as Jane Doe, spoke at a press conference, alongside her lawyer, Gloria Allred. Her voice was heard, but her face was not shown.
She claims her romantic relationship began in 1987 when Walker was playing for the Dallas Cowboys. He was married at the time. She became pregnant in April 1993, and she claims Walker paid her for an abortion.
Doe says she went to the clinic but could not go through with the procedure, leaving in tears.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR JANE DOE: He pressured her to go back to the clinic with him the next day to go through with the abortion.
The following day, Mr. Walker drove her to the clinic and waited in the parking lot for hours until the abortion was completed and she came out.
MCKEND (voice-over): Doe says she "was devastated, because I felt like I was pressured into having an abortion."
Walker vehemently denies this allegation.
HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATORIAL NOMINEE: I've already told people this is a lie.
MCKEND (voice-over): Writing in an additional statement Wednesday night, "I'm done with this foolishness. This is all a lie, and I will not entertain any of it."
Walker has campaigned as an opponent to the abortion rights during his run for the critical Georgia Senate seat.
Jane Doe claims she is coming forward to highlight his hypocrisy hypocrisy. "He has publicly taken the position that he is about life and against abortion under any circumstance when, in fact, he pressured me to have an abortion."
Walker has already been accused by a former girlfriend of encouraging her to have an abortion and then reimbursing her the cost. Walker has also denounced that woman's claim as a flat-out lie.
CNN has not independently confirmed either woman's allegations.
Last night in a TV interview, Walker was defiant.
WALKER: They would do and say anything for power, and they don't realize that they're messing with the wrong Georgia right here. This seat is too important for me to stand by [SIC] -- to step down, so now they're going to have to come through me to get to anyone else. Because if they can do it to me, they're going to come after you next.
MCKEND (on camera): So Herschel Walker campaigning a little later this morning here in Cumming, Georgia. We'll have to see if he further addresses these allegations from the stage -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Very serious allegations. Eva McKend, thank you so much for that report.
KEILAR: This morning, Ukraine says Russia is removing its occupation administration from Kherson but suggests newly-mobilized recruits are used as cannon fodder in that region, as well.
In the meantime, a Russian official says more than 70,000 civilians left their homes as fighting in the Kherson region escalates.
CNN's Clarissa Ward is live for us in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, with more, with the very latest, as we have our eye, in particular, on Kherson. Clarissa, what can you tell us?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, I think there had been high hopes towards the end of last week that, with these evacuations, or as the Ukrainians would call them, forced deportations, that potentially Russia was preparing for a withdrawal from Kherson city, but it's becoming clearer in the last days particularly, that actually, the Russians are determined to put up quite a fight.
And we have heard from Ukraine's defense minister, who has come out and said that Ukrainian offensives or counteroffensives, I should say, have been thwarted somewhat, that it hasn't been as easy as they had hoped or as easy as it was in the Kharkiv region. He gave two primary reasons for that. He said that, partly, it's
because of the weather. It's damp; it's muddy. That makes it more difficult. And also, he pointed out the terrain. There are lots of water supply canals, which the Russians are able to use as trenches and basically use as their defenses.
So it is becoming a much tougher battle than many had hoped. Russia, as you said, moving its civilian administration out but does appear to be moving a lot of conscripts in and hunkering down for a longer, protracted battle.
MARQUARDT: And Clarissa, you witnessed this remarkable exchange that included the return of the remains of an American fighter in Ukraine. His name is Joshua Jones. What have you been told about when his body would actually get back to his family here in the U.S.?
WARD: So Joshua Jones's body is now in Kyiv. It had been in Russian- held territory since he was killed back in August, and now it will begin the long journey to his family in Tennessee.
This was something that a lot of people here in Ukraine worked very hard on for a long time. We were in the sort of extraordinary position of being able to witness the transfer, basically, as Russian forces handed over the body of Joshua Jones, and it was taken by these two Ukrainian lawmakers who have been working around the clock, identified and then taken into an ambulance to begin that long journey.
And these lawmakers are hoping that this will sort of be the beginning of more swaps of foreign nationals. There are a lot of foreign nationals here who came to Ukraine to fight with the Ukrainian foreign legion.
Some of them have been taken alive. There's at least one American that these lawmakers believe is still alive and is being held by the Russians. Some of them who have been killed and their bodies haven't been recovered.
And so their hope is that this could be the prelude to a new chapter where we see more releases like this of either foreign nationals who are being held alive or even, at least, returning the bodies of those who have died so that their families can have closure.
KEILAR: Clarissa Ward, thank you so much for that report and extraordinary video of that exchange. We appreciate it.
MARQUARDT: And new this morning, CNN has learned that the director of the CIA, Bill Burns, he traveled to Ukraine earlier this month for a face-to-face meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as other Ukrainian officials.
Now, a U.S. official is telling CNN that Burns met with his Ukrainian intelligence counterparts and reinforced America's commitment to provide Ukraine with what it needs in its fight against Russian aggression, including the much-valued continued intelligence sharing. Now, this trip by Bill Burns is coming as the U.S. has grown
increasingly concerned that Russia may turn to a nuclear weapon in its struggling war in Ukraine.
Burns and other American officials have also said publicly that they've seen no evidence that Moscow is, for now, actively preparing to take a step in that nuclear direction.
However, officials who are familiar with the intelligence do warn the risk is perhaps the highest that it has been since Russia invaded Ukraine back in February.
KEILAR: Pediatric hospitals across the United States are near maximum capacity, and this is because of an unprecedented uptick in respiratory illness cases.
Experts say the early surge of what's called RSV may be connected to the end of many pandemic restriction behaviors like social distancing and wearing masks.
CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula is with us now. So where do we stand with these trends that are picking up?
DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, we know we're going to continue to see infectious diseases arise and spread, new pathogens emerge.
And really, one of our best defenses is bio-surveillance. And you would think coming out of COVID, we would have a robust system in place. And unfortunately, as we can see, with COVID and RSV and influenza, we're really not there.
We have a real need for real-time information that can be disseminated quickly to help us make new and relative public health strategy approaches that work quickly.
So we know that the way that it works now is basically the CDC releases a weekly report based on voluntary reporting from a couple labs in a couple states that represents, really, a tenth of the population.
In a typical year of RSV and flu, this sampling strategy may be enough, in the sense that it shows you where you're starting to see increases, rises, falls.
The challenge comes in years like this, when we're seeing all of these infectious diseases at once. And at that point, the information, the lag time is just -- it's too slow. So by the time hospitals, for example, are getting this information from the CDC, it's already a week or two old and they're backlogged.
And we can see that now, where we see about three-quarters of pediatric hospital beds filled, in some states over 90 percent. So again, really, this need for actual real-time information that can be disseminated quickly.
KEILAR: So how do we do that? How do we improve our monitoring?
NARULA: Well, there's a couple different strategies that can be taken.
First of all, we know that many times, hospitals and doctors and public health officials have been sharing information in these informal networks; for example, on social media.
We saw this happen a lot with COVID. In fact, some of the first reports of lack of PPE, for example, were doctors on Facebook and Twitter talking about this. We saw research being disseminated on social media.
So if we can harness that to an actionable way, that could be one strategy. Another one that's really interesting is wastewater sampling. So this may sound unusual, but essentially, we can take waste water and look for RNA and DNA samples or particles from these viruses. That can give us a sense of where we're seeing virus in the country one, two, three weeks before we clinically begin to see it.
And we've seen the patterns of where we're picking this up correlate with where we're seeing the spread. And this has been used for the last couple years with COVID.
Another strategy, hospitals can employ bio surveillance systems within their own networks. For example, my hospital system, Northwell, implemented this a couple years with the flu, where they have a command center where they're tracking, where they're seeing spikes in testing in the different hospitals in their systems. And they can then deploy masks, Tamiflu, appropriate staff to the hospitals very quickly.
And finally, really, more funding for local and state public health officials. And even, you know, incorporating electric health medical records into public health information.
So there's so much we can do, but we need funding for it, and we need, really, manpower behind putting these systems in place.
KEILAR: Yes, we certainly do. That wastewater sort of surveillance is so interesting --
NARULA: It is.
KEILAR: -- and effective. It's amazing. Dr. Narula, we appreciate your time. Thank you.
NARULA: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: There are new details this morning about the gunman in the St. Louis school shooting. We're learning that his family had been working with local mental health institutions to offer him support before the attack.
We've also learned the weapon that he used was actually removed from his home.
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live in St. Louis. Adrienne, what more are we learning?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, good morning to you.
We've learned that family of the 19-year-old, specifically the mother, tried to get her son help. Investigators revealed to us yesterday that the family said they worked with professionals to get this teen mental health treatment. Here's a little more of that conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERIM COMMISSIONER MICHAEL SACK, ST. LOUIS POLICE: They were constantly in touch with the medical providers who were providing medical care for him. They had had him committed on some occasions. They were just really very engaged and attuned to him, you know, when he went to work and everything.
So mental health is a difficult thing. You know, it's just -- and it's hard to tell when somebody is going to be violent or act out or if they're just struggling, they're depressed, and they might self-harm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: Investigators also say they knew the teen had acquired that AR-15 style rifle. In fact, earlier this month, there was a response by police for domestic disturbance at the teen's house. When investigators responded, his mother asked for that rifle to be removed from the home. It was. But how he got it back is still unclear.
We know that 19-year-old left behind a handwritten note in a notebook in his vehicle, and that note said in part, "I don't have any friends. I don't have any family. I've been an isolated loner my entire life. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooting."
Police also revealing in that notebook, it was clear the school was the target in this attack -- Brianna.
MARQUARDT: So incredibly sad and dangerous. Adrienne Broaddus in St. Louis, thank you so much for that report.
Now former Trump White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, he has been ordered to testify in Georgia's 2020 election meddling probe. How he's responding this morning.
KEILAR: And under investigation again. Why Senator Bob Menendez is facing a new federal investigation.
MARQUARDT: A judge now ordering the former Trump White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to appear for testimony in the Atlanta area probe into meddling in the 2020 presidential election. Now, Mark Meadows is, of course, a key figure in the investigation. He
is planning to appeal the ruling, according to his lawyer.
With us now is CNN senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz.
Katelyn, this is -- this is a major -- this is very significant. What does this mean for the investigation and for the former president?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a loss for Meadows; it's a loss for Trump. And it's in this Fulton County probe out of Georgia, a criminal investigation.
And what's happening here is prosecutors, there's a firewall around Trump. There's certain people that were very close to Trump in the White House after the election, January 6th, that just don't want to share what they know with any investigators, whether it's Georgia, whether it's the federal criminal investigators, January 6th grand jury in D.C. or the House Select Committee.
We know here Meadows wants to claim executive privilege, or he wants to say, Trump has executive privilege; I'm not answering some questions. And he's arguing, too, in Georgia that the law there doesn't apply to him.
And so prosecutors have to go to court to pick away, try and pick away at that firewall. And so this is just part of that process.
This is going through the court. There are other people in Georgia who tried to challenge those similar subpoenas. They largely have lost. Senator Lindsey Graham currently has one of his challenges, appeal at the Supreme Court right now.
And as far as Meadows goes, what it means for him, does it mean right now he's going to have to show up? Not necessarily. He is saying he's going to appeal.
But this is just part of that process, that any investigators that are looking at January 6th wanting to talk to these people, they do have to go through the courts to try and get information.
And so whether it comes out of the Georgia probe, whether Meadows gets subpoenaed in January 6th in D.C. in that criminal probe, we just don't how how it's going to work out. But all of these court cases are going to -- are being important right now.
KEILAR: In the meantime, of course, the January 6th Committee have subpoenaed Trump, and his lawyers now accepted service of that subpoena. So where does this go from here?
POLANTZ: Well, that just makes it official. Right? They said they were going to subpoena him. They sent the subpoena to him. And there's -- it's important that there has to be proper service, legally.
Now is when the negotiation starts, essentially. We know that his lawyer, on the day that that subpoena was announced, was saying they were going to review it. They were going to analyze it. They were going to figure out what to do that would be appropriate for them.
And now there's just about a week for Trump's team to figure it out. And they are going to have to respond in some way. The first deadline for documents is November 4th. The deadline for testimony is November 14th.
MARQUARDT: All right. Our Trump investigations guru, Katelyn Polantz. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.
KEILAR: So this morning, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is facing a new federal investigation. And this comes after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his 2017 corruption trial, where prosecutors said Menendez accepted thousands of dollars in luxury services in exchange for political favors.
CNN's Paula Reid is with us now on this. Paula, what do we know about this?
PAULA REID, CNN LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Brianna.
An adviser to Senator Menendez confirms to CNN that the New Jersey lawmaker is indeed under federal investigation, but at this point, it's unclear what exactly the Justice Department is looking into.
And in a statement, that same adviser confirmed the senator also does not know the scope of the investigation.
But this comes just five years after he was unsuccessfully tried for corruption. Now you may remember in that case -- it was a pretty wild case -- prosecutors alleged the senator accepted more than $600,000 in political contributions, a hotel suite at a luxury hotel in Paris, free rides on a private jet, all from this wealthy eye doctor in exchange for political favors.
But that trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on the charges against the senator.
This time around, Menendez's advisor says the senator is willing to cooperate in the ongoing investigation. And of course, we are working the phones, calling our sources, to try to learn more about why this U.S. lawmaker is under federal investigation again.
KEILAR Yes. Yet again. So many questions here. We know that you're working on it. Paula Reid, thank you.
So former President Trump is announcing a rally in Florida, but an ally turned possible 2024 opponent, will not be appearing at this rally.
MARQUARDT: And calling in the Guard. New York City getting some extra help with the influx of migrants. We'll be right back.