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Russian Attack Hits Kyiv Energy Facility Powering 350,000 Apartments; Inside GOP Efforts to Win Over Hispanic Voters; Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired October 31, 2022 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: At least 154 people were killed Saturday night in a crush of surging partygoers in Seoul, South Korea. This is one of the deadliest tragedies ever there. Pictures shared on social media show the crowd jammed into an alley.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Among those killed, 26 foreign nationals including two U.S. citizens. Witnesses say the capital's nightlife district was crammed with people just trying to enjoy the first Halloween weekend without COVID restrictions. CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is live for us on the scene in Seoul with what has become a makeshift memorial there, Ivan. Are you learning any more about what triggered the surge?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just a sheer mass of humanity. Many, many young people, thousands of them who had gathered just steps from where I'm standing right now to celebrate Halloween, to go out and party, to drink, tricked out in costumes. And it turned into a nightmare.

So I'll get out of the way so you can take look here at this very somber, very sad scene here. People have been laying flowers and lighting candles, handwritten notes to some of the 154 mostly very young victims of this terrible catastrophe. I've spoken with a number of the survivors, people who came out Saturday night. They heard that this neighborhood, Itaewon, just down the road from an old U.S. military base, threw a good party on the weekend of Halloween and were initially laughing at the just massive numbers of people in the nearby alleyways near where I'm standing.

And then those jokes about, hey, I'm not going to be able to breathe here, started getting very dark as the reality started setting in. Take a listen to what these two French exchange students told me.


ALICE SANNIER, SURVIVOR: There were, like, so many people who were pushing us, and, like, we can't breathe, I told for a moment.

ANNE-LOU CHEVALIER, SURVIVOR: At some point I had 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. We were just there, and we were just trying to save our life.


WATSON: The Korean government has declared a week of mourning. Most of the victims were in their 20s. The government says five were high school students, one was a middle school student. And I'll point you here. This is a 20-year-old American exchange student, Steven Blesi who was here on his junior semester abroad. Brianna?

KEILAR: His junior year in college, just devastating. Ivan, where does the investigation go from here?

WATSON: Well, the police have come out, and they say that they simply didn't have a guidebook or a manual for a gathering of this kind without a single organizer. They had anticipated more people here as Korea has come out of the COVID lockdowns and regulations. They say they deployed more police officers than in past years for Halloween, but that their mission was to focus on stopping drug use and sexual abuse, not crowd control.

There's actually a police station barely a stone's throw away from where I am right now. There are also security cameras on the streets where this terrible crowd surge, this deadly crowd surge took place. There's definitely going to need to be a manual written for these types of situations in the future. Everybody you talk to here is stunned and in shock because this city has a reputation for safety that went terribly wrong on Saturday night. Brianna?

KEILAR: Ivan Watson, thank you for that report from Seoul.

BERMAN: The suspect in the violent attack on Paul Pelosi is expected to be charged today with multiple felonies. A law enforcement source tells CNN the suspect who attacked Pelosi with a hammer had a bag with zip ties and duct tape. CNN's Veronica Miracle live in San Francisco with the latest on this investigation. Good morning, Veronica.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. The suspect, David DePape, expected to be charged today with multiple felonies that include attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse. That's just a few of the charges that we've heard from the San Francisco Police Department.

In addition to that, we're told that federal officials are weighing possibly charging DePape with a federal crime. That would be specifically in relation to the assault, kidnap, or murder of family members of certain federal officials.


We are told by a law enforcement source that that could come as early as this week.

Some striking new information that we've learned over the weekend about this investigation is that DePape went upstairs into the bedroom of Paul Pelosi while Pelosi was sleeping. That is according to the San Francisco district attorney's office. They also tell us that DePape and Pelosi did not know each other before this violent attack.

Pelosi is still recovering from his injuries after being hit with a hammer in the head. He obtained a skull fracture. He also had injuries to his arm and his hands. And, of course, a very difficult time for Speaker Pelosi. We did see her very briefly. She left her house yesterday and was whisked away by her motorcade, so just a few seconds there. But she has sent a letter that her colleagues, to the House of Representatives, just expressing how difficult this has been for her family and for her. She said in a letter over the weekend, "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 for the lifesaving medical care that he is receiving."

DePape is expected to be in court on Tuesday for his arraignment. John?

BERMAN: Veronica Miracle for us in San Francisco. Veronica, keep us posted. Thank you.

KEILAR: And joining us now, we have CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller. John, this detail about the zip ties and the duct tape, tell us what about the worst-case scenario this could have been.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it tells us a little bit about the offender, which is this was very high-risk behavior, showing up with a hammer and no real getaway plan there. But bringing duct tape and zip ties means he was going to go into a situation where he needed to control the people on the set, which would have been Mr. Pelosi and Mrs. Pelosi, who I believe he thought was either home or coming home, into some kind of hostage situation. If you're just there to kill them, you don't need to tie them up.

KEILAR: If we are -- at this point in time we're waiting to see if federal charges will be filed. Do you think they're likely?

MILLER: I think that Title 18, Section 115b is almost written for a case like this. it comes with a 30-year sentence, a $250,000 fine. And it's all about attacking a federal official or a member of a federal official's family to intimidate them or keep them from doing their jobs. So I would consider it likely.

However, I think there will be state charges coming immediately. I think there will be federal charges following.

KEILAR: Is this political violence in your opinion?

MILLER: It seems to be clear that the content of his social media and the statements he allegedly made about where's Nancy, we're going to wait for Nancy, certainly points in that direction.

KEILAR: What is the effect of conservative conspiracy theories about what happened, certainly dismissing just the facts of the situation?

MILLER: Well, I was following the social media in the extremist community over the weekend, and what you saw was complaints that this guy didn't finish the job, complaints that he didn't go far enough and get away, but also an entire discussion that this was a false flag operation arranged by the Democrats so they could go after our guns and win the midterm elections.

KEILAR: And it's just crazy in a way. We see the facts that the police are putting out. They make it clear there's been no interaction previous to this between the Pelosi's and this suspect. Is there any way to convince people who in some ways you think might be reasonable, that this is actually -- this is a crime perpetrated by someone who obviously had an animus with Speaker Pelosi?

MILLER: Well, there's rational people who listen in to information from multiple sources. There's people with strong opinions. And then there's the conspiracy world. These are people who live in the echo chambers of discussion groups like QAnon where all they hear is each other, and they put these things out, they validate each other, and they live in an alternate reality. And that goes for people on the extreme right and the extreme left. Once you cut yourself off from mainstream information, which they don't trust, you believe everything you hear from your friends.

KEILAR: John Miller, great to have you on this. Thank you.


BERMAN: This morning opening statements set to begin in the Trump Organization tax fraud trial. Former President Trump is not a defendant in the case, but if convicted, the real estate business he built would face more than $1 million in fines. CNN's Kara Scannell is covering this case for us live outside the New York courthouse this morning with the very latest. Kara?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, John. So opening statements will get under way this morning in the Trump Organization's criminal tax fraud and grand larceny trial. First up will be the Manhattan district attorney's prosecutors. They are expected to say that the Trump Organization failed to report and pay payroll taxes on certain compensation and benefits that were given to Trump Organization executives. One of those executives, Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer, he pleaded guilty and is expected to testify at this trial. Weisselberg said that he has received and didn't pay taxes on certain benefits including apartments, cars, and private school tuition for his grandchildren, though he is not expected to implicate the former president. Next up will be the defense. And since there were two Trump

Organization entities indicted in this case, there will be two opening statements, two chances to speak to the jury. The lawyers for the Trump Organization are expected to say that Weisselberg was a rogue employee who was out to enrich himself and not to benefit the company. The judge has told the jury of eight men and four women that this trial will last six weeks. John?

BERMAN: Kara, just how key is the testimony of Allen Weisselberg, the former Trump Organization CFO, how key will his testimony be?

SCANNELL: The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said his testimony will be invaluable in this case because Weisselberg is a Trump insider. He has been with the company for 49 years. He's currently on paid leave. But he is one of the people that was at the top of this company that helped orchestrate this alleged scheme and that has pleaded guilty to this. And for Weisselberg, he is on the hook here. As part of his deal, if he testifies truthfully, he will serve five months in prison. If the prosecutors think he was lying on the stand or not giving full testimony, he could face as much as 15 years in state prison. John?

BERMAN: A lot at stake for Allen Weisselberg here. Kara Scannell, thank you so much for your coverage, as always.

KEILAR: The January 6th Committee gaining access to eight emails that Trump attorney John Eastman fought to keep from lawmakers. A federal judge ruled they were evidence of a likely crime. CNN's Paula Reid is joining us with details. What can you tell us here, Paula?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the committee has been trying for months to get their hands on these emails, believing they could help prove that former President Trump knew that claims of voter fraud were false even as he touted those numbers in public and his lawyers argued them in court.

The lawmakers got access to these documents on Friday after a federal judge ordered them to be turned over, and they include four communications between Trump's attorneys that appear to show that they knew the details they submitted to the courts and their challenges to the elections were not true, and four other emails that review lawyers discussing filing lawsuits as a strategy to hold off the congressional certification of Trump's loss.

Now, one email even lays out concerns that lawyers had about submitting a declaration that was signed by Trump personally affirming the election fraud allegations it presented to the court were true, even after the former president had been made aware that some of those allegations were, in fact, false.

The judge in this case has suggested that these emails could be evidence of a conspiracy to defraud the United States, which is why they're being released. The judge said these materials fit what is called the crime fraud exception, which allows the disclosure of otherwise privileged materials if those communications were related to or in furtherance of a crime. KEILAR: So what comes next here for Eastman in the investigation?

REID: Eastman continues his battle in court. He is appealing the decision to release these emails. He wants a federal appeals court to tell the committee to return them or destroy the emails. The Ninth Circuit is moving pretty quickly on that request. But Brianna, it seems highly unlikely. Of course once lawmakers have these, this has been a pretty leaky investigation, it's unlikely these would not somehow make their way into the public sphere.

KEILAR: And we would find out exactly what is in them. Paula Reid, thank you so much.

BERMAN: This morning, a Russian attack on Ukraine's capital hits an energy facility that powers 350,000 apartments. Russia's assaults are causing power and water outages in parts of Kyiv which officials say could take weeks to repair. CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Kyiv with the very latest. A particularly ferocious attack overnight, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It was. Ten different regions, 18 different strikes across the region. And bear in mind the Ukrainian government say that they took out of the sky at least 44 cruise missiles. So this really gives you an estimation of just how big the onslaught was. Power, electricity facilities the focus of attacks again, not just here in Kyiv, but in the eastern Kharkiv, further south in Zaporizhzhia region, and elsewhere around the country, a major hydroelectric power plant, the target for one of those strikes.


It's the biggest hydroelectric power plant in the whole of Ukraine.

And here in the capital, there are reports of casualties, emergency services were towed out trying to rescue people from under the rubble. Eighty percent of the city here is without water, according to the mayor. Standpipes have already been set up, maps have been sent out to the residents of Kyiv so that they know where to go and get their water.

CNN has been out talking to some of those people and that some of the standpipes, there's barely a trickle of water coming out. So, people facing this scenario, no electricity at home, their water is cut off in their homes, and even the water the city is trying to give them out on the streets is also not coming out of the pipes.

So Russia is doubling down on its attacks on the sensitive electricity network, and it is having bigger and bigger impacts. Another example here, 4G across their city, normally outstanding service; today, hard to make a phone call on your cell phone here.

BERMAN: Cutting off electricity and services to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people because they refuse to be occupied. That is what Russia is doing.

Nic Robertson in Kyiv for us this morning. Nic, thank you. Could a vaccine for the respiratory illness, RSV, be ready soon? The

encouraging research that could prevent a future surge.

KEILAR: And can Republicans convince Hispanic voters to turn away from the Democratic Party?


JUAN CISCOMANI (R), ARIZONA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: The Republican Party is recognizing that it's right there for the taking if the right message is there and the right messenger as well.


KEILAR: We have Dana Bash here with an up close look on how they're trying to do that.



BERMAN: GOP leaders are making a concerted effort to not only court Hispanic voters in this year's Midterm Elections, but to expand the number of Hispanic lawmakers in their ranks.

CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash here with more.

Good morning to you.


The whole idea of expanding the Hispanic vote is something that if you thought back to, I don't know, 2015-2016 for Republicans, you would have thought this is not going to happen, but they actually did it in 2020.

So, now there is a conservative GOP effort to continue that.


CISCOMANI: I'm Juan Ciscomani.


CISCOMANI: I'm running for US Congress.

BASH (voice over): Running in Arizona's sixth district, a key race and the battle for control of the US House.

CISCOMANI: I can answer any questions for you before you vote.

BASH: Juan Ciscomani was born in Mexico, immigrated here to Tucson, Arizona with his family at age 11.

CISCOMANI: Nice to meet you. BASH: He's also a Republican.

CISCOMANI: I'm someone that grew up here in a very Democrat area in the State of Arizona as a first generation Hispanic Republican. So that really,, you know, puts me in a different light, I think of saying, "Well, how do you see the issues?" I see them they're uniquely.

BASH: As a conservative, especially on economic issues he believes are driving voters this year, all voters.

CISCOMANI: When people ask me, "Hey, what are the Hispanic issues we should be focusing on?" I kind of chuckle a little bit and I say, "Well, there are no Hispanic issues. There are issues that impact everyone." I'm paying the same thing for gas, milk and eggs that the person next door is paying that they're not Hispanic.

Thank you all for being here.

(JUAN CISCOMANI speaking in foreign language.)

BASH: To make that point, he invited local small business owners to his campaign office to discuss their challenges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's affected us a lot, the economy.

BASH: There are only 13 Hispanic Republicans now serving in the House.

Ciscomani is one of 33 Hispanic GOP candidates on the ballot this year, part of a concerted leadership effort to boost their ranks in the chamber.

BASH (on camera): Do you feel comfortable with the way that leaders in your party have expressed themselves vis-a-vis the Hispanic community?

CISCOMANI: Well, I can only control how I express myself with the Hispanic community and I am very proud of the way that we've done it.

BASH (voice over): They argue Democrats are taking Hispanic voters for granted.

CISCOMANI: I think the Republican Party is recognizing that it is right there for the taking if the right message is there, and the right messenger as well and that's where candidates like myself come in.

BASH: Helder Toste is doing just that.

HELDER TOSTE, FIELD AND COALITIONS DIRECTOR, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE: I'm here with Vamos, which is an effort to get Latinos to actually go vote --

BASH: Running a new program for Senate Republicans called "Vamos." We walked with him through neighborhoods in Nevada as he searched for votes in growing Hispanic communities.

BASH (on camera): We are just a few miles from the Vegas Strip. This, as far as I know, has historically been pretty blue.

TOSTE: Yes, I mean, traditionally, Democrats have gotten eighty, ninety percent of the vote here, so the reason we're here is to get votes where we traditionally haven't shown up.

BASH (voice over): He uses a special app microtargeting potential voters.

TOSTE: We've loaded in all of the different names of the voters that we're trying to talk to. This particular voter is a weak Republican, which means they're on the team, they don't always show up in the General Election.

Hi, there.

BASH: This GOP ground operation is in nine States with critical Senate races this year.

TOSTE: The whole point of the program is to just talk to Hispanic voters, because when you're in a get-out-the-vote phase, these voters are the ones that get left behind.

MARIA MELGOZA, VOTER (through translator): I haven't decided which party I'll go with.

BASH: Maria Melgoza is exactly the kind of voter Republicans are trying to attract.

MELGOZA (through translator): Biden promise many things, but I feel like he hasn't delivered, and the other party I don't know much about it.

BASH: She said until now, neither Republicans nor Democrats actually asked for her vote.

(DANA BASH speaking in foreign language.)


BASH (on camera): With my broken Spanish, I got the gist.


BASH: She is a Democrat, only voted Democrat and now she's not sure.

TOSTE: Now she's on the market.


BASH (voice over): Back in Tucson, Arizona.

ENGEL: I'm Kirsten Engel. I'm running for Congressional District Six. BASH: The Democrat running in the crucial House contest against Juan

Ciscomani rejects the idea that her party takes Hispanic voters for granted.

ENGEL: Every single voter is important in this district. This is a diverse district and I certainly will not take anybody's vote for granted.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And thank you again for Roe for making that a big part of your message.

BASH (voice over): Kirsten Engel argues her GOP opponent is out of touch here because he applauded the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

ENGEL: I'm there to fight on this issue to make sure that women are respected, that this is an issue that they can continue to make for themselves, with their family, with their doctors, with who they want to confide in.

CISCOMANI: Jenny, nice to meet you, Jenny.

BASH: It's an issue Ciscomani encountered while courting voters he says Republicans don't engage with enough.

CISCOMANI: Even if you don't vote for me, which would make me really sad, but if that happens, I still want to talk to you and get your thoughts and opinions and see how you see things because my job as representative will be to represent everyone.

IVELIESSE DEFRITAS, ARIZONA VOTER: Make my uterus, my body part to begin with, whatever I want to do with it.

BASH: Iveliesse Defritas is a Latina, proving Ciscomani right. Issues among Hispanic voters are the same as everyone else.

CISCOMANI: I consider myself pro-life, and with exceptions, of course. So that's where I am.

DEFRITAS: I don't think it should be your job to tell me what I can and can't do with my body as a female.

BASH: Ciscomani did not win her vote.

(HELDER TOSTE speaking in foreign language.)

BASH: But both he and Republicans across the country trying to engage Hispanic voters argue the GOP mission is larger than one vote and one race.

TOSTE: We show up now and we show up to these communities while they're growing. So that, you know, when they start voting and participating and putting up candidates, they can say, "I'm a Republican and I'm voting for Republicans and they represent me and they show up." (END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: It's really interesting. First of all, that was a terrific piece and the characters in it were all so good and there were such great discussions there, civil discussions, I might add, by the way.

The Democrats have come to this place where they have to say we're not taking these votes for granted.

BASH: It's true, and one of the women who you saw in there who was speaking Spanish, only speak Spanish, the fact that she said to us that she has never spoken to anybody, she has had leaflets put on her door, but she has never spoken to anybody in either party ever and she has been voting for 18 years in Nevada, that tells you kind of everything you need to know about that.

Which is why the Republicans are using this this app, they micro target in a very intense way. They have their voter vault back in Washington, and they find which voter, which houses they think are potential pickups for them, whether it's someone like her who just hasn't voted and okay, well, let's give it a try or hasn't voted in the Midterms, I should say.

And then someone who is what they call a weak Republican, someone who doesn't vote in the Midterms or maybe even for the past few years because they feel disenchanted. These Republican operatives are going for these voters, Democrats are trying to be more aggressive, I should say that.

But the fact that these Hispanic voters are up for grabs the way they are in many ways is very telling.

KEILAR: It certainly is.

You also this weekend, yesterday, you interviewed Rick Scott, who of course, is -- it's his job to try to get Senate Republicans elected. And this is what he said about his Midterm prediction.


BASH: Which battleground states do you think Republicans will win on Election Day? How many Senate seats will the GOP control next year?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We're going to get 52-plus. Herschel Walker will win in Georgia. We're going to keep all 21 of ours. Oz is going to win against Fetterman in Pennsylvania. Adam Laxalt win in Nevada.

But I think we have every reason believe we can pick up with Blake Masters in Arizona with Don Bolduc, I'll be going to New Hampshire today. I think Don Buldoc has every reason to believe he's going to win.

But we've got shots in with Tiffany Smiley in Washington, Joe O'Dea in Colorado, Leora Levy in Connecticut. We -- this is our year.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: What do you think about his prediction? And I wonder what

Democrats think about it too?

BASH: Well, let's unspin the spin. Right?


BASH: Unspool the spin right now, because as you said, that is his job to do that. But he's going out on a limb making that prediction. What that means, when it comes to the math is a net gain of two seats, because right now, it's 50/50.

And one of the things that -- I was actually up in in New Hampshire last week, and I was talking to Governor Sununu, the Republican Governor there, he's on the ballot. He's fine. But he was talking about something that it didn't even occur to me, which is particularly in a place like New Hampshire, which always breaks late.

The fact that the election is on November 8th, it gives Republicans a little bit more time than they normally would, because it's usually kind of earlier in the month. I know it seems --

BERMAN: It's the first Tuesday after the first Monday and this is one of those cases where you need to get that Monday in there. The eighth is the latest day it can be.

BASH: It's the latest day it can be, which people may be listening to me saying, I mean, "So what?" It is like 24 to 48 hours later, but you've seen this. You've both seen this being on the ground as political reporters, it can make a difference.