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South Korea Begins Weeklong Mourning Period Over Surge Deaths; Explosions, Damage in Kyiv & Zaporizhzhia Cause Power & Water Outages; Sources: Suspect in Pelosi Attack Had Zip Ties, Duct Tape; Antisemitic Messages Appear in Public Spaces in Jacksonville, Fla.; Dems' Last- Minute Campaign Strategy: Focus on January 6th Attack; Georgia's Kemp, Abrams Face Off in Final Debate. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired October 31, 2022 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A week of mourning is underway in South Korea. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.


And it is one of the deadliest disasters ever to hit that country. At least 104 [SIC] -- 154 people killed in a crush of Halloween party goers in Seoul. Pictures shared on social media show the crowd crammed into an alley.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Now, 26 foreign nationals, including two U.S. citizens, are among the dead here.

Witnesses saying the narrow streets of the capital's night life district were just jammed with people just trying to enjoy the first Halloween weekend without COVID restrictions.

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is live for us on the scene in Seoul.

Ivan, do investigators have any idea what triggered this surge?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just sheer mass of humanity in the narrow alleyways just steps from where I'm standing right now.

This is an impromptu memorial that has cropped up in the 24, 48 hours since the disaster. As you can see, people paying their respects. Flowers, handwritten notes, candles, photos of some of the victims.

And just around the corner from where we are is this narrow alleyway where the crowd of thousands of people had gathered for Halloween parties Saturday night in the streets, drinking, partying in the streets. And the numbers just swelled to the point where people started passing out, not being able to breathe because of the crush of humanity.

And I spoke to two young French exchange students, one of whom said she actually passed out twice in that crowd. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALICE SANNIER, SURVIVOR: There were, like, so many people who were, like, pushing us. And, like, we cannot breathe at all for a moment.

ANNE-LOU CHEVALIER, SURVIVOR: At some point I have no air, and we were so crushed to other people that I couldn't breathe at all, so I just passed out.

WATSON: Unconscious?

CHEVALIER: Yes. Unconscious.

WATSON: Did you know that people were dying near where you were standing?

SANNIER: No, no, no.


SANNIER: No, no. Like, we're just there, and we're just trying to save our life.


WATSON: There were so many people piled up -- they'd fallen on an incline here -- that the emergency works, when they came to the scene Saturday night, they weren't able to pull people out from under the weight of that crowd. And that is part of what contributed to so many people losing their lives -- John.

BERMAN: Ivan, where does the investigation go from here?

WATSON: Well, that's a big question.

I need to point out. I'm standing barely a stone's throw away from a Korean police station. Very close to where we are right now. But everybody says there were very few police out on the streets controlling the crowd. And instead, just a lot of pent-up energy. A lot of young people.

The Korean Ministry of Education says one of the victims was a middle- school student. Five were high-school students.

And there was also a lack of information, because the crowds were so big people didn't know what was happening just around the corner, around the block. A truly terrifying situation.

And I think part of the problem here is, it's hard to just blame one person for this incredible loss of life. And it makes the senseless tragedy of this all the more painful.

I have to point out, you know, there are two photos here that have been erected, just two of the 154 victims, American exchange students here for a semester. You know, barely 20 years old, probably visiting the first country they've been to outside of the U.S., and this experience went so terribly, terribly wrong -- John.

BERMAN: Just an inexplicable loss of live. Ivan Watson on the streets in Seoul. Ivan, thank you very much.

KEILAR: So this morning, we're learning more about the violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, at their San Francisco home. Sources telling CNN the suspect had a bag with zip ties and duct tape.

He's expected to be charged with multiple felonies.

CNN's Veronica Miracle is live for us in San Francisco with the very latest. What can you tell us, Veronica?


The suspect, David DePape, as you mentioned, being charged with multiple felonies later today that include attempted homicide, elder abuse, assault with a deadly [SIC], among other charges -- deadly weapon, rather, among other charges. That's according to the San Francisco Police.

And in addition to that, we're also hearing that federal officials are weighing a possible federal charge against David DePape. That would be specifically related to the assaults, kidnap or murder of family members of certain federal officials.

And we're told by a law enforcement source that that could come as early as this week.

Now, in relation to the actual investigation here, the San Francisco district attorney's office tells us that, during the violent attack, DePape went upstairs into the bedroom where Paul Pelosi was sleeping.


We're also told that they did not know each other prior to this incident.

Paul Pelosi still recovering in a local hospital. He suffered a skull fracture when he was hit with a hammer during that attack. We're also told that he has injuries to his arm and his hands.

A very difficult time for Speaker Pelosi. We did see her leave her house yesterday. She ducked out of her garage right into a motorcade and sped off. She did not stop to talk to the media.

But over the weekend, she did express her grief to her colleagues in a letter to the House of Representatives. She talked about how difficult this has been for her and her family.

And she said in a letter that "Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop. We are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services, and the life-saving medical care that he's receiving."

We are expecting to see DePape on Tuesday in court for his arraignment. KEILAR; Yes. Such a disturbing case here. Veronica Miracle, thank you

for that report.

BERMAN: All right. With us now, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette, zip ties. He had zip ties with him. What does that tell you?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: And duct tape and was asking for Nancy that this was a violent act, targeted against the speaker of the House, No. 2 in line to the presidency. And not random. Not just a mere crime.

And that there's a performative nature of -- of the political violence we've seen. We saw it on January 6th. It was very similar to January 6th, the -- the putting up of nooses, the flags and the duct tape and the zip ties. This is a way in which they are sort of exhibiting their fearlessness about the kind of political violence that they -- that they support.

And in this case, because the speaker was not at home, it -- it landed, essentially, on Paul Pelosi. But no one should think that -- that because of what he is known to have said, "Where's Nancy?", that this was anything but an attack against her.

BERMAN: Julia, you keep using the phrase "political violence, a political act." What's the importance of that distinction?

KAYYEM: So look, there's crime in this country. That's a political issue, as well. But -- but that crime is different than political violence, which -- which has become a way, in this country, in the last couple years in which political leaders utilize the words of violence -- "fight," "get them" -- targeting, in particular targeting against Nancy Pelosi, who has a unique focus amongst the right wingers and in some of these social media pages.

And the use of violence, essentially as an extension of politics. In other words if you don't win the election, violence is always an alternative. Democracy can't survive this way. We believe in elections, and we support elections and in the peaceful transfer of power. That "peaceful" is the key word there; it's not transfer.

And -- and that is what is going on in this country. Elevated by, of course, an apparatus often led by the former president, Donald Trump, that -- that elevates the language so that the listener, you don't have to parse what they're saying. The listener, their supporters, believes that politics -- that violence is a sort of essential, if not justifiable, means.

Look at the January 6th defendants, John. I mean, a lot of them, their defense is, I thought that this was OK. Right? In other words, because of the support and nurturing it was getting from the White House at the time.

BERMAN: Juliette, when you see Elon Musk spreading misinformation about this, when you see Republican elected officials, in some case, making jokes about this --


BERMAN: How does that affect the fight to stop this type of political violence? How does this impact the likelihood that it will happen again?

KAYYEM: It increases it. It doesn't -- it doesn't shut it down.

Look, horrible ideologies, I often say, do not die. They either grow or they're weakened. And what you're seeing, by these jokes, by these -- these counter narratives that are complete lies is a way to try to minimize the harm, and, therefore, embrace the violence.

So it's not just the support and the jokes saying sort of Paul Pelosi somehow deserved this, or there's some other horrible, horrific, disgusting story to justify this attack, but that also the silence helps breed it.

There's something about shaming bad ideologies that you -- you know, whether it's racism, sexism or -- or whatever it is we're seeing here, the combination of it, that it's not allowable in civil societies.


And we've lost that, because -- even because of the silence, the refusal to acknowledge, in particular, in the GOP, of what is happening in a sliver of their base, and the willingness to ignore it, may in some ways, be worse because it -- it festers. These things don't go away unless acknowledged and -- and shamed and isolated.

And that's what we've seen the last few years. We thought this was going to go away after January 6th. No, it didn't go away.

BERMAN: Juliette Kayyem, great to see you this morning. Thank you very much.

KAYYEM: Thank you and good luck.

KEILAR: So this morning, people are hearing explosions in Ukraine's capital and critical infrastructures being damaged in the Zaporizhzhia region.

The Russian attacks are causing power and water outages. We have CNN's Nic Robertson, who's live for us in Kyiv, Ukraine with the very latest here.

Nic, what's happening?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, significant attacks around Kyiv, it appears. The mayor of Kyiv says 80 percent of water supply in the capital is now off: 350,000 homes without electricity.

There are casualties. Emergency services pulling people from the rubble. We don't know precisely what was hit. Seven, at least seven different cities across the country had

infrastructure facilities hit, critical infrastructure facilities in the center and East.

A -- a hydroelectric power plant near Zaporizhzhia was hit. This is the largest hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine.

Russia is pushing, again, on the electricity supply across the country. And because it's in such a precarious and vulnerable situation, the impacts now are felt in a more widespread and instantaneous manner. Eighty percent of the capital without water, that's big.

KEILAR: Yes. That is gigantic.

Russia also is backing out of that U.N. grain agreement that was so critical to combatting food shortages, not in Ukraine but around the world. This follows that attack on the Russian fleet in Crimea. Tell us about the consequences here.

ROBERTSON: Yes, Russia said that it's suspending indefinitely its cooperation in the Black Sea grain agreement. This has been running for about three months. It's been successful to reduce the cost of food around the -- around the globe and also get food to much-needed third-world countries -- Yemen and other countries like that -- in desperate need.

What is happening now is that the U.N., along with Turkey, who helped put the deal together, and Ukraine, it appears are going to go ahead with the movement of grain. They have 12 ships on the way out of the country today. Four ships on the way in.

They've told Russia that this is what they're doing. There's no response from the Russians yet.

Significantly, one of those ships leaving today is taking grain to Ethiopia, where of course, it's much needed there. About 350,000 tons of grain on the way out of the country. We don't know how Russia is going to respond today.

KEILAR: Yes. All right. We'll be looking for that. Russia dismissing these concerns that it may be using food as a weapon, but depending on what we see, it may be hard to dismiss that.

Nic, thank you for that report.

Anti-Semitic messages spotted across Jacksonville, Florida this weekend. How the community is responding.

BERMAN: And longtime political rivals take the stage. The highlights and takeaways from Georgia's last gubernatorial debate.


STACEY ABRAMS (D-GA), GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: He refuses to protect us. He refuses to defend us. GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA), GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: We are a state that

values life. I understand people disagree, and it's not my desire to go move the needle any further.





SHAHID KHAN, OWNER, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: I am really distressed on all this anti-Semitic rhetoric around Florida, Georgia. It's not the Jacksonville I know and love.


BERMAN: This morning outrage in Jacksonville, Florida, after anti- Semitic messages were seen across multiple public spaces this weekend. The messages reference statements from Kanye West, and they have appeared on the side of a football stadium, a highway overpass, and a downtown building.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is live in Jacksonville with the latest on this -- Leyla.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know one local leader we talked to called it unnerving. They're having a meeting today to discuss. And that's expected to include the FBI.

So let's talk about what happened here over the weekend at the stadium where I am right now. Anti-Semitic messages seen on the outside of the stadium scrolling that reads, "Kanye is right about the Jews," referencing those anti-Semitic comments by the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.

So not really clear exactly how it was projected onto the stadium. Not really clear who is behind this. But what is clear, local leaders will tell you this is pure hatred.

Over the weekend, we also saw banners with anti-Semitic messages over the highway. The mayor saying that he is condemning this, calling it cowards and their cowardly message -- John.

BERMAN: The mainstreaming of Jew hatred is something that we are seeing more and more. And this was not an isolated incident on that stadium, Leyla.

SANTIAGO: No. Take a look just last weekend in California. We saw also anti-Semitic banners off of a freeway with a group that appeared to be making the Nazi salute.

I talked to the ADL, and they were quick to point out that they have seen a rise in anti-Semitic accidents. Just last year, 2,700 anti- Semitic incidents reported, and that is a 34 percent increase from the year before.


On top of that, this year they say that they see more extremist groups engaging to try to spark fear and anxiety in communities. Listen.


OREN SEGAL, VP, CENTER ON EXTREMISM, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Dismissing what somebody says, I think, sort of forgets the lessons of history. Words have consequences. Violence doesn't start out of nowhere, right? It builds off of stereotyping people, demonizing them, marginalizing them. And that's what happens when somebody puts out a tweet to 30 million followers. It normalizes that type of hatred.


SANTIAGO: And you know, the ADL, as well as the local leaders we talked to both mentioned something that I think is important in terms of timing.

Last week they remembered those -- those lost in the Tree of Life synagogue. So it is in this context, this timing that this is happening in the Jewish community -- John.

BERMAN: Happening to the Jewish community, and it is simply just chilling.


BERMAN: Leyla Santiago, thank you so much for that.

A last-ditch campaign strategy by Democrats, will it work? We have brand-new CNN reporting.

KEILAR: And a final face-off in the Georgia governor's race, did it move the needle for still undecided voters?



KEILAR: Democrats desperate to slow the momentum that has favored Republicans in recent weeks are employing a last-minute campaign strategy that some believe could make a difference in close elections.

CNN's Isaac Dovere is joining us now with his new reporting on this. Tell us about what they're doing and why they're doing it.

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, there are major threats to democracy that we know that are out there. And we see that among some Republican candidates. There are election deniers from 2020; people who were outside the Capitol on January 6th; people who have been involved in all sorts of questions about democracy and the fundamentals since then. But so far, we have seen that voters say they're concerned about

democracy, but they're not voting based on it. And that is something that is causing a lot of panic to Democrats. Not just because they would like those people to be voting for Democrats, but because they're worried about the actual real-world consequences of it.

A Democratic strategist said to me in the reporting for this that it's just an abstraction for voters, and they can't get people to focus on it when there are these more immediate concerns.

And so Democrats are looking to try to connect some last-minute energy among their base to these issues, admitting that they failed to make people care about it and make it an immediate concern that was linked to their economic worries, and seeing if they can get some of their voters there.

But I talked to Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas, a Republican, who said to me that he hears a lot of threats from Democrats about -- or a lot from threats to democracy, but that Democrats should be worried about the threats from democracy, is the way he put it. Because he thinks that the voters are going to turn out for Republicans.

BERMAN: Yes. They're not voting based on that, or at least they haven't been showing that sentiment to date. So Democrats trying to turn that around. Any signs they're having success?

DOVERE: Look, this is about how close these elections are in so many ways. And Democrats are looking to turn out those voters who showed up in 2018, 2020, more concerned about the state of the country than they were in years previous, and to say to them, Look, you have to show up again and do the thing that made you concerned and made you vote. You've got to do that again now.

And hopefully, in their minds, that -- that turns enough close elections in their favor. But we'll see. It is -- it's a real question. One of the things that we know out there is that some of these polls that show that people are concerned about democracy, a lot of the people who are saying they're concerned about democracy are people who actually feel like the election was stolen in 2020.

And so those polls are a little hard to read about where those voters are going.

KEILAR: All right. We'll have to see if these targeted ad buys work or move the needle at all in these close races.

Isaac, great reporting. Thank you.

DOVERE: Thank you.

BERMAN: Overnight, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp clashed with his Democratic challenger, Stacey Abrams, in their final debate with about a week before election day.

This is a rematch of the 2018 race. Kremp [SIC] -- Kemp has led in most polling, but Abrams, of course, has a strong base of support. CNN's Eva McKend live in Atlanta with the latest here -- Eva.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, last night the policy differences couldn't be more clear, with Kemp and Abrams differing on public safety, abortion and their economic visions for the state of Georgia. Here's our recap.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's begin tonight with opening statements.

MCKEND (voice-over): It was the final match-up between two well-known rivals.

KEMP: I want to continue to keep Georgia the best state in the country.

ABRAMS: I look forward to leading a Georgia where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

MCKEND (voice-over): Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Governor Brian Kemp in their second and final debate before an election day rematch.

Four years ago, Abrams lost by about 55,000 votes, and now she's challenging an incumbent governor.

During the the hour-long policy-heavy debate, the candidates sparred onstage over inflation, voting access, crime and abortion. Kemp, who signed the state's six-week abortion ban into law, neglected to say if he would sign new limits if he's reelected.

KEMP: I'm not going to count on -- you know, say yes or no to any specific piece of legislation without actually seeing exactly what it's doing. It's not my desire to go move the needle any further on this issue.

MCKEND (voice-over): Asked whether she would back any restrictions to abortion, Abrams said she didn't support, quote, "arbitrary time lines."

ABRAMS: Abortion is a medical choice. And as such, it should be that a woman has the ability to make a decision until viability.