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McCarthy Hopes To Become Speaker Of The House; Biden In Maryland Warns Of Threat To Democracy; Fetterman Sues Over Rejected Pennsylvania Ballots. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 02:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and around the world. It is 2:00 a.m. here in New York City. Officially Election Day in the United States. Polls across all 50 states will be an opening in just a few hours. Republicans feeling pretty good about their chances heading into Election Day. Today's midterm elections will determine which party controls congress and also what President Joe Biden can accomplish in the next two years of his presidency.

All 435 House seats are up for grabs. Republicans are expecting to make some big gains. 35 Senate seats are on the line today with the current balance of power at 50/50. Just one seat for the GOP could flip control in their favor. The current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would like become speaker of the House if Republicans do take control and he's promising his party will take on inflation and wasteful spending.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The democrats when they took over one party control went and spent $10 trillion that got us into this problem. Got us inflation, hit another debt ceiling. You want to continue that same pattern?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you give a prediction for how many seats do you think republicans are going to pick up on Tuesday?

MCCARTHY: At least enough to win the majority.


HILL: President Joe Biden making his final stop in Maryland campaigning for Democrat West Moore who's poised to become the state's first black governor. The president's message once again focusing on the threat to democracy. He seats if Republicans win.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know in our bones that our democracy is at risk and we know that this is your moment to defend it. Preserve or protect it, choose it. And I want you to know we will meet this moment. Remember, the power in America lies where it always does in your hands, the hands of the people.


HILL: We're going to be keeping a close eye on a number of important racist. Six states really that Joe Biden flipped from Republican to Democrat in the 2020 election. Getting a lot of attention. Those Senate races in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania considered toss ups. Wisconsin tilting republican Arizona, tilting democrat.

Let's start in Pennsylvania where Democrat John Fetterman is holding the slightest lead over Republican Mehmet Oz. CNN's Athena Jones is live in Bethlehem. What are we expecting on this Election Day, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica. We are in a swing state in a swing county and we're expecting to see a higher than normal turnout. That is what a local election official told us in this -- one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. It's also the most expensive as you mentioned, John Fetterman has a slight lead polls show over Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate.

But of course it's all going to come down to who turns out on Election Day. And on these last several weeks in terms of getting their voters to the polls. Mehmet Oz in his final pitch with Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor hitting Fetterman and Democrats on things like the economy, inflation, the border. And also once again, urging his Republican supporters to go beyond their Republican friends to talk to conservative.

Democrats and independents to try to get them to realize that they might be Oz supporters as well. And to get them to the polls. John Fetterman making his final pitch at a union hall in Pittsburgh, urging his supporters to come out and vote and hitting Oz for, you know, accusing him a really being from New Jersey and trying to buy this senate seat. But when it comes down to turnout, one thing that's interesting here in Pennsylvania is that we've already seen more than a million early votes cast.

That is more than 20 percent of the total number of votes cast in 2018. That is one reason we're hearing from election officials that they expect to see a good turnout because you're already seeing good turnout. We spoke with Lamont McClure. He is the county executive here in Northampton County. Here's what he had to say about being ready to begin counting those early ballots.


LAMONT MCCLURE JR., COUNTY EXECUTIVE, NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: Our county council has invested heavily in the millions of dollars in helping us prepare to meet the new burdens in Pennsylvania of mail-in voting balloting. And so we've bought a high speed letter opener. We have several high-speed scanners. So we've really made investments in our election infrastructure to make sure that we can not only be accurate but fast.


HILL: And Lamont McClure telling us also that this county, Northampton County is considered something of a Bellwether County. This is one of two counties President Biden flipped in 2020. But it's also a county that's gone with the will of the state. And so that's one thing we'll be watching here.

One more thing I should note is that here in Pennsylvania you can't -- the election officials can't begin opening early ballots until 7:00 a.m. And so, we're already seeing from John Fetteran's campaign warning his supporters that, you know, a lot of the mail-in ballot.


Those may be tallied later in the day than the day of voting by -- that is more likely to be republican heavy. And Fetterman has joined others in suing the state to open -- to be able to open undated ballots. So there could be valid issues we'll be looking out for as well. Erica?

HILL: Athena Jones, it's going to keep you busy all day long. I appreciate it, my friend. Thank you.

Georgia senate race will head to December runoff if neither candidate gets a majority of votes today. Incumbent democrat Raphael Warnock fighting to hold on to his seat in a tossup with former football star Herschel Walker. That the political novice has been critical of Warnock for his support of Joe Biden.


HERSCHEL WALKER, REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: You saw him in that debate when he -- no, no, no, he became Scooby Doo for a moment. Called, they asked him -- they asked him, they said, sir, will you vote -- will you vote for Biden in 2024? And he go.

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): When you look at the character flaws of the person that they put up, this is a difference between right and wrong. You cannot trust Herschel Walker, to tell the truth about the basic facts of his life.


HILL: More now from CNN's Nick Valencia in Atlanta.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's no longer the marathon mindset for these candidates. Now the full sprint towards the finish to try to get out every single vote that they can as polls open just a few hours from now. Monday was a very active day for both candidates as they hit the campaign trail to deliver their closing remarks to a rally of supporters. And was earlier on Monday night in Columbus, Georgia, where Raphael Warnock addressed his supporters saying that this vote is not so much a choice between a democrat and a republican.

As much as it is a moral choice between right and wrong. He sounded confident but at the same time did express some concern for the possibility of a runoff in the state of Georgia if neither candidate gets 50 percent, a runoff is automatically triggered that would happen on December 6. Meanwhile, Republican challenger Herschel Walker seem to scoff at the idea of a runoff telling a crowd of supporters boldly predicting really that he will be the rightful winner when everything is said and done on Tuesday night.

During his rally. He's blasted Warnock as a woke candidate saying that Georgians here are tired of Warnock choosing Biden over the needs of local Georgians here. What Tuesday is going to be a true test of though is whether or not Georgia really is a battleground state after what happened here in 2020 democrats would certainly like to believe so but the polls are really close. 17 days of early voting bloc brought more than 2.2 million votes cast with polls expected to open here at 7:00 a.m.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

HILL: Joining me now, republican strategist and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart. And in Los Angeles, political commentator and host of the Mo'Kelly Show, Mo Kelly. Nice to see you both. Let's pick up where Nick just left off in Atlanta. Did Raphael Warnock make the wrong choice? Did he miss an opportunity in not raising more questions about Walker's character? We saw him just in that -- in that bite right there talking with my colleague Eva McKend.

Didn't raise them either during the debate in the way that he could have. Was that a missed opportunity?

MO KELLY, HOST, THE MO'KELLY SHOW: I think it was a missed opportunity. And although it may seem that Herschel Walker's candidacy may be unsinkable regardless of any scandal, it didn't seem like he lost any traction. The Democratic Party writ large needed to go on offense more, including Raphael Warnock highlighting the -- I would say the character deficiencies and the dishonesty of Herschel Walker and he did not do that.

Would that have swung the election in his favor? I don't know. But it seemed like he was playing it safe almost like a prevent defense in football, as opposed to driving the ball down the field to use a Herschel Walker football metaphor and tried to score that touchdown and win the game.

HILL: Alice, how important is character these days to voters?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POTLIICAL COMMENTATOR: Character is important. But also policies are top of mind for voters. And I find it interesting that several of these Democrats in these key Senate races are using character attacks against their opponents as opposed to policies that impact the electorate. And that's what Raphael Warnock has done in his closing argument talking -- attacking Herschel Walker.

And he has a voting record that is in line with Joe Biden. And I can tell you being from Georgia, those policies don't resonate with the red state of Georgia. And that's going to be an impact for him as voters head out to the polls. But I think this is emblematic of what we've seen with Democrats across the board in terms of being out of touch on this closing message they're sending to voters.

Even Joe Biden, I cannot believe last night in that closing message he sent to voters. He talked again about threats to democracy. While that's an important issue, that's not top of mind for voters. And they have been saying time after time after time for weeks and months that the economy is top of mind. Yet he is talking about threats to democracy. I think that is going to be a big impact in voter turnout and really their enthusiasm heading out to the polls when they feel as though this administration and many of the Democrats really don't understand the economic struggles they they've been facing.


HILL: Well, there was -- there were definitely a shift over the last couple of weeks as Democrats did try to make up some of that messaging ground as it was sinking in more and more that voters did want to hear about the economy. The economy and inflation were their two most important issues. And yet it was sort of that kitchen sink, attempt at messaging. Do you think they were able to make up any ground, Mo?

BROOKS: I don't think so. And I think it's less because of the type of message that the democrats had. And I say this as an independent, not a supporter of democrats. I say that as a -- as a -- as a function of reality of America. We're not really interested in policy, if you're going to support Herschel Walker, are you going to support Mehmet Oz? It's not because of policy. It has nothing -- we're not having policy discussions.

The Republican Party didn't even have a platform coming out of 2020. So I think it's disingenuous to suggest that if the Democrats talk to more about kitchen table issues, or more about the economy, that that somehow would have swayed the vote. People are so hyper partisan right now. It doesn't really matter as far as the character of the candidate writ large. It's more just a matter of who's on my team, who's my tribe, who am I going to vote for? Not necessarily who has the better economic policy and message.

HILL: Alice, in terms of who's my tribe, there's a real possibility that some of these Republicans who are running who are election deniers could in fact end up in positions of power. How is that going to impact governing, specifically, if they find themselves in Washington? And how do you see the Republican Conference working with them?

STEWART: Well, first off, I'll make a point that democrats contributed to many of those campaigns for these election deniers thinking they would be an easier candidate to beat. And now they're regretting their decisions to do so. Look, Erica, I have full faith and confidence in our election process. I do not believe there was widespread voter fraud. And I do think there are plenty of checks and balances up and down the aisle.

I think the election deniers were wrong. And even if they get into power, I'm not as concerned with those on the Senate and House level. But some of the state level officers that are election deniers where they do have the opportunity to potentially try and sway things. I'm confident there are next enough checks and balances at the state level. And people will call them out. I've worked in the secretary of state's office.

They won't tolerate anyone trying to put their finger on the scale at the state level. And as we know, these elections are run state by state. So, I am confident that while that might have been a talking point to win their base over to get them elected, once they get in office, they're going to do their best to make sure that people have confidence in the election process. This time, and certainly moving forward because that's a big part of our democracy. It is our election process.


HILL: Has there been enough pushback though within the party? Because there -- yes, we do often see, I will grant you that in primaries, you will see more extreme viewpoint points often. And then once you get closer to the general election, people peter out a little bit, right? They need -- they need independence. They need moderate. So they need to soften their message a little bit. There are certainly people whose messages not softening.

And that is a major concern for many Americans. Has there been enough effort, you think at the top and at the state levels among Republicans to push back on that? Because those voices are loud.

STEWART: They're loud. And unfortunately, I do not feel as though there's been enough pushback. I don't think this nonsense should have came in the first place. And if there was widespread voter fraud in 2020 and former president was given the opportunity to produce the Kraken in courts, he did so 60 times and to no avail. So, I don't believe that there was and it would be helpful if Republicans and Democrats on both sides would have more faith in the system and reiterate that with the voters.

And make sure that they understand that when they do go to the ballot box or when they do mail in their ballot is going to be counted and will be counted fairly, because that's the most important thing that we can do. I do want to push back briefly on one thing that Mo said about republicans not having an agenda. We do know that McCarthy set out the commitment to America which I think was really a good start on what he will do if nominated leader in the House if the house takes over.

And so, big focus on doing everything we can to fight inflation, fight crime, and also work on securing the border. So that's a good blueprint for a start if the Republicans take over.

HILL: Mo, I do want to ask you about Nevada. There's some pretty tech competitions as we know out west. But a lot of focus on the state of Nevada, on the Senate race there, which seems to be pretty much a dead heat at this point. And this is also bringing into play, the talk of Latino voters. You know, so many times in this country, people are lumped into buckets. You have women voters, you have young voters, black voters, Latino voters. And there has been concern that they were maybe being taken for granted by democrats. [02:15:02]

Has there been enough outreach and has there been enough understanding that this is like so many voting blocs, Mo, a diverse voting bloc in this country?

BROOKS: Far be it for me to speak for Latinos. But I will say as a member of a minority group, oftentimes the larger party doesn't understand that there is a widely different viewpoint of the party or policy goals within these different groups. And Latinos, if you say Latinos, it's not the same thing as Latinos in Florida, as in Nevada, or even Texas, and possibly -- or even probably the democrats have not done a good job as far as (INAUDIBLE) and understanding the intricacies and the nuances of the different ethnic groups.

Now what -- there has been a story which has been that Latinos have been moving away from the Democratic Party. We'll see if that bear that -- bears itself out tomorrow. But I don't think it's just one thing. I think it's a totality of things with the Democrats have to make be all things to all people. And this I think is a little bit unfair in terms of how we interpret the parties, where the Democrats seemingly need to be all things to all people but the Republicans don't.

HILL: Mo Kelly, Alice Stewart, appreciate you both being with us. Thank you.

STEWART: Thanks, Erica.

BROOKS: Thank you.

HILL: With so many polls showing clearly inflation, the economy are the top issues for voters. Should democrats have done more to talk about what they've done to help the American people with those issues? We'll tackle that one ahead.




HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: When voters tell you over and over and over again, that they care mostly about the economy, listen to them. Stop talking about democracy being at stake.


HILL: Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen there with a stark warning for her party as voters get ready to cast their ballots and today's midterm elections across the U.S. Polls have shown the economy and inflation are the most important issues to U.S. voters in these midterms. And Americans are making it clear, they want to see some change here. CNN poll found 75 percent of likely voters feel the economy's actually already in a recession. And though democrats control Washington that both parties have tried to stoke fears about what happened to the economy if they didn't win the midterms. It was a tough message for President Biden, the democrats to push in addition to that unstable economy. The stock market has been in a bit of turmoil. The S&P 500 up just over 13 percent since Biden took office. It's actually the worst performance at this point of a presidency, second only to Jimmy Carter.

Overall, it's been a tough year for Wall Street since the -- it's been a tough year for Wall Street. Republicans are confident all of these factors, though, are actually going to give them a nice boost at the ballot box today. Are they right? For more on this, let's bring in Ryan Patel from Los Angeles. Senior fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Nice to see you.

So let's look at -- I think one of the most confusing factors for a lot of people is that we have, you know, inflation rising, inflation is high, you go to the grocery store, you feel like gas prices have mostly stabilized. That's a good thing. There's still concern, though, about what could happen. But then unemployment remains low. And it seems every economist or business journalist I speak to tells me, one of the major issues is we don't have a handbook for this economy and this recovery. So what should the takeaway be?

RYAN PATEL, SENIOR FELLOW, DRUCKER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: You took the words out of my mouth. Confusing.

HILL: Sorry.

PATEL: Because you got data on both. You got me you got data on both sides. And I think the takeaway here is to get inflation in control, you got to have the job market to slow down. But that hasn't been the case. We also live in a digital economy where gig workers are another number that is not in played in there. And so part of the confidence -- consumer confidence going into this election is where are we at right now.

And it is clear that we're not in the recovery mode that I think most people want to be in. You mentioned the gas prices that the consumers in the U.S. citizens are pretty -- the Americans are pretty resilient, that's a high gas price and they're still going out and spending but like you said, the food and restaurant prices are starting to go up, supply chain and inventory. And it's actually creeping into consumer confidence even though the CPI report will be interesting in November.

But there was another reports -- another -- Erica another data point which just to show you what this holiday season look like, returns happy via PayPal put this consumer report. Economic pressures are driving up returns nearly one in four had been returning a greater percentage of their online purchases. That's a big tail going into fourth quarter is really important.

HILL: It's interesting, because it does -- I have to say it makes me wonder when you look at returns. And I mean this very seriously. People are so accustomed now to shopping online because of the pandemic even more so. I think about how many times you'll order -- if you're ordering clothing in multiple sizes, shoes in multiple sizes for my kids, and then you return it. Be also interesting how that plays out. Let's talk a little bit -- yes.


PATEL: -- next point though. 86 percent of consumers say they'll make a point to check retails return policy, that's a big number with 50 percent of consumers seeing the return holiday this year. So sorry to interrupt to that, you are on point.


PATEL: And that's going to -- we're going to see that and we're going to feel that.

HILL: Well -- and we've started to hear too that more companies are going to start charging you for return. So people are definitely going to want to make sure they check that fine print. When we look at the levers that can be pulled in order to try to control inflation, there's so much focus understandably, on the fed on interest rates. And there's a concern though, too, because the way I understand it, it takes at least six months to see with each increase to see if that's really starting to have an impact.

So how much more or how, how much higher, I should say, do you think rates could go before we really start to have a sense of whether these increases are working?

PATEL: Well, I mean, the best case scenario right now from the Fed looks like 50 basis points in the December meeting another 25 basis point in January which will put a heightened credit stress, right, in the late to 2020 to early 2023. Where we would see the slowdown and we hope with the economy kind of starts to kind of get back into its mode. We've seen a lot of companies cut this year from summer to now.

When revenues start picking up in the beginning of the first quarter, Erica, we will then start seeing the rehiring backup.


The jobs number obviously, the unemployment will have to rise for the -- for the inflation to start to come down because that's what the Fed is trying to do. And so we're going to see what that jobs number looks like by the end of the year going into the second quarter.

HILL: So two more quick ones before you -- election related before I let you go. There's been a lot of criticism that democrats were not addressing the economy and inflation, in part for obvious reasons when you're the party in power. And yet, there are wins that Democrats could point to that been -- have been achieved in the last couple of years. You look at the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That's going to have and is -- in some cases already having a positive impact.

You look at prescription drug pricing. Is it surprising to you that some of those things were not hit on especially something that you pick up, if you take a prescription, you might pick it up every day. PATEL: I'm surprised but not surprised. Because right now in the boardrooms, consumers are talking about what Erica, my price is being up. Everything else is a moot point, unfortunately, because it hasn't been growing to this point. It's continuing to go.

And it's also confusing to tie back to our, you know, word earlier is like, where are we -- there's no strategic plan that people can point to with certainty. And because of that it's hurt the Democratic Party in explaining their story on what they've done.

HILL: So quickly speaking of plans, Republicans say they have a plan. What do you anticipate would be some potential economic changes or even legislation if they were to take back control in Washington?

PATEL: That's a great question to put something in motion that quickly in a short term, it'll be very hard order for the Republicans to do that. You mentioned the six months if they -- if the Republicans took over the best timing for them as by the summer next year to be able to ride the wave that potentially with inflation cooled down and start to put more money and infrastructure in supply chain.

Get the U.S. economy back up in front and be a global player because we are interconnected and we're going to see them with Europe having its crisis and inflation and Asia. The U.S. could put themselves in a position to a higher faster recovery. And I think that's what the Republicans if they do get control is what they should be focusing on. How can they recover faster for the U.S. economy long term?

HILL: Ryan Patel, appreciate the conversation. Thank you.

PATEL: Thank you, Erica.

HILL: And our coverage of the midterm elections returns. We're going to take a quick break. Stay with us.



HILL: Welcome back for our special coverage of "Election Day in America". I'm Erica Hill in New York.

In just a few hours, polls will be opening here on the U.S. east coast. Of course, voters going to the polls to decide, among other things, which party will control Congress. In the House, all 435 seats are up for grabs. Republicans feeling confident they can win a majority. In the Senate, though, it is expected to be a much closer contest, 35 of the 50 seats have a play there. And the outcome could be decided in any of these battleground states that you see there highlighted on the map. Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, really considered to be the most competitive.

Joining us now for a closer look, political analyst Michael Genovese. He's the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola University Marymount University. Good to see. So, we look at those states, we've been really zeroing in on some of these hotly contested Senate races, Georgia, Pennsylvania. I wonder though, as you look at the House, are there certain areas where you think Democrats may pull out a surprise?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think if passed is prelude, the president's party tends to lose a tremendous number of seats. The average of the last four midterm elections has been 37. So, I'm guessing that the Democrats will do slightly better than that. That will still mean loss of control of the House and likely loss of control of the Senate as well.

HILL: What do you attribute doing slightly better than what we've seen historically in the last few years, what do you attribute that to? If they're all --

GENOVESE: I think they're --

HILL: -- better hold on to more but still lose?

GENOVESE: Well, I think a couple of factors are in play here. One is enthusiasm. This is an incredibly enthusiastic voting public on both sides. The question is, which side will then be able to get the better turnout. Turnout -- this is going to be a turnout election. And a lot of that is going to be based on momentum. And right now, the Republicans have the momentum.

And so, I suspect the Republicans will do well, not by historical standards but political standards. They'll be celebrating the end of the night tomorrow.

HILL: There is the historical aspect to what happens to a party in power in the midterm elections. What happens to the party of the president in midterm elections. There's also the messaging question that we have seen. Republicans have really embraced the fact that Americans are concerned about the economy, they're concerned about inflation.

Democrats have resisted that message. They really tried to run on the aftermath of that Dobb's decision, abortion rights. And that, as we know, that enthusiasm started to peter out at the end of the summer moving into the fall. Are you surprised that the closing argument from the president on Monday night was still about the threat to democracy for Republicans win?

GENOVESE: Well, I think the threat to democracy and global climate change are the two biggest issues facing America. There are also two very long-term issues. Voters are looking at what's facing them tomorrow. Gas prices, the price at the supermarket, inflation. And so, their -- the Democrats have, especially President Biden, have used a long-term strategy which has not worked.


Republicans are the party that says, we feel your pain. And your pain is at the gas pump, it's at the supermarket, it's paying the bills. And they have spoken much more clearly to needs and the wants and the hungers of the American voters in these past three months election -- cycle.

HILL: The importance of the youth vote is going to continue to grow. It's certainly growing, we've seen it in the past few elections. Of course, it's tough to put youth voters in one voting bloc. It's like putting all of women in my voting bloc, which we know is probably not always the best idea. But, when you look at that, have you seen enough outreach by both parties? Too young voters?

GENOVESE: Historically, the two parties do not focus on young voters because they tend not turnout to vote. But in the last couple of elections, starting with President Obama. He's been able to energize the young voters. The democrats should be able to do this. They have got the issues, climate change, hugely important to young voters. Jobs, environment, jobs, abortion issues.

But they have not really done the outreach. And that's the ground game. The Democrats have not been able to really run a great ground game in this presidential and midterm race. And the Republicans have done that. They've spent a lot of money doing it. And their ground game has been quite ineffective.

HILL: Michael, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

HILL: Stay with us. Our election coverage will continue later this hour. But we want you to caught up on some of the other news we're following. John Vause is in Atlanta with those headlines. John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: OK. Thank you for that. We will take a short break. And when we come back, Russia's war on Ukraine intensifying in the Donetsk region in what Ukraine's president now calls the epicenter of Moscow's madness.

Also, a controversial topic at this year's COP27 climate summit, it's all about the Benjamins. Compensating developing nations for damage caused by global warming. Details in a moment.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. Coming to 19 minutes to the top of the hour.

And in the past week, the Russian military appears to have suffered some of its biggest losses since starting the war in Ukraine. Notably, an elite Russian marine unit reports as many as 300 troops killed, wounded, or missing after a failed offensive to secure supply lines south of the Donetsk region.

Elsewhere, it seems many new recruits are among the dead, part of a Russian mobilization of more than 300,000 conscripts which so far has not resulted in Russia getting any new territory. The frontlines have not moved. But the Russian frontline losses in Donetsk have been so insignificant there are now multiple reports of Russian soldiers or their families speaking out and criticizing unit commanders. At least one instance, a Russian soldier says they're being treated like cannon fodder. All of this, not lost on the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during his nightly address.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The Donetsk region remains the epicenter of the greatest madness of the occupiers. Hundred die daily. The ground before the Ukrainian position is littered with bodies of the occupiers.


VAUSE: CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is live for us at this hour in Kyiv. So, Salma, to the south, it's a question of will they or won't they, this is with regards to the city of Kherson which Russian soldiers have occupied since the beginning of the war. Now, there's a question, will they stay and try to defend the city or will they flee? This going?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, John. Ukraine really preparing for a very important and big counter-offensive to try to retake, not only the city of Kherson, but the region itself. They have accused Russian forces of essentially trying to create a full sense of security to lure them into a trap by sending out these reports that they might retreat from the city, that Russian forces might pull back from the city of Kherson.

But Ukrainian officials think that's absolutely not true. In fact, they're actually preparing for a street to street battles. We have these reports coming from Ukrainian officials that many Russian soldiers are now wearing civilian clothes. They've been forcibly evicting people from their homes, thousands of them. Now, Russian- backed officials call these evacuations. They say they're taking place ahead of the battle.

But Ukraine has been clear, they think this is a human rights violation, essentially. And they say these Russian soldiers are taking these homes, turning them into bases, again, preparing for running street battles.

And on your note about Russian troops and the loss of life that Russia has seen on the battlefield, some eyewitnesses reporting that the Russian soldiers now in Kherson are younger and younger, as young as 18 years old being put on that battlefield. There are also reporting that there are less checkpoints in the city. The city itself is quiet but there is a curfew at night. So, people are not leaving their homes.

So, really, both sides digging in, preparing for potentially a very big battle. And again, President Zelenskyy has vowed to win back these lands for Ukraine. One final note, John, just on the role of Iran in this, President Zelenskyy has repeatedly accused Iran of sending missiles, his allies agree. So, that could bolster Russia's weapons, arsenal right there on the front lines. John.

VAUSE: You mentioned that the residents of Kherson are seeing less and less -- or the Russian president say. They're also seeing less and less of the city. They're, sort of, losing underway right now, at least, according to the Ukrainian government. What are the Russians taking? Essentially, what's not (ph) now down?

ABDELAZIZ: Well, if you go off of what we have seen in the past, sometimes it is as simple as alcohol being stolen from homes. But what Ukrainian officials, the picture that they're trying to paint here is really all along that Dnipro River.

If we have a map show our viewers, John, if you see the city of Kherson right there on the west bank of the river, what Ukrainian officials say is taking place is that they're trying to pull all of the residents of that area onto the east side, that's also of course Russian occupied. We have reports that they're being bused to Crimea, given some money and basically told to stay there until this battle is over.

We did speak to one eyewitness -- CNN spoke to one eyewitness that said he really considers this a one-way ticket, John, that he'll never be able to return home. And as we've seen in the past with this running street battles, I mean, the damage inflicted on these areas is massive.


This is oftentimes just an artillery war. So, you see cities that are essentially raised like Mariupol in this fighting. John.

VAUSE: Salma Abdelaziz in Kyiv, thank you.

Well, money is emerging as the major issue at this year's global climate gathering known as COP27. With many countries, mostly impacted, but at least responsible for climate change demanding compensation for the environmental harm caused by wealthy nations which have historically produced large amounts of carbon pollution. CNN's Becky Anderson reports from COP27 in the Egyptian resort town or Sharm El Sheikh.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR (voiceover): Never before seen rain in Pakistan, placing a third of the country underwater and killing over 1,000 people. And climate change likely caused the disaster.

BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: Frankly, the people of Pakistan, the citizens of Pakistan are paying the price in their lives, in their livelihoods for the industrialization of the rich countries.

ANDERSON (voiceover): Data from Oxfam shows that the richest one percent in the world is responsible for twice as many carbon emissions as the poorest 50 percent in the last century. Yet the poorest are often left to bear the brunt of climate change and pay a steep price. Pakistan's biblical flooding has reignited the question of loss and damage to compensate developing countries for climate disasters. While a little late, the E.U. in the U.S. say they now support discussions on financial compensation. A sign that the tone may shift at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. CLIMATE ENVOY: Simply put, with respect to finance, we, developed countries, need to make good on the finance goals that we have set. So, Sharm El Sheikh is another milestone for measurement, for accountability, and for focus.

ANDERSON (voiceover): And here is why that matters, without adequate financial investment, developing countries cannot pivot away from fossil fuels. But there has been some progress. Take the United States and the United Arab Emirates, for example who recently signed a partnership aimed at investing billions of dollars in clean energy industries, particularly in emerging economies.

The White House said, "To help bridge the gap, the two countries intend to work together to prioritize commercial projects in developing and low-income countries, as well as provide them technical and financial assistance."

Poorer countries will want to see similar pledges being made in Sharm El Sheikh, where organizers have vowed to make climate financing a key focus.

MAHMOUD MOHIELDIN, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY ON FINANCING 2030 AGENDA: Climate finances is insufficient. I would say as well unfair and inefficient. The reduction approach that misled us all as a global community, that climate change and sustainability means only decarbonization and dealing with the emissions had been misleading. But we cannot ignore the impact of the decades and actually centuries of a mismanagement of the nature imbalance, harm to climate, and the planet.

If we are not addressing these problems, we're going to be seeing more instability around the world. What we need really to see this time that we need to shift from the weather and when questions into the how. And the how is all about finance.

ANDERSON (voiceover): Finance, that is so important for countries like Pakistan, which emits less than one percent to the world's planet-warming gases, but is now faced with a $40 billion bill. Becky Anderson, CNN, Sharm El Sheikh.


VAUSE: And we'll be back with more international stories. Thanks now. But for now, let's head back to Erica Hill in New York for what more about U.S. election coverage. Erica.

HILL: John, thank you. Appreciate it.

Well, it is election day here in the U.S. And as Americans get ready to go to the polls, there are growing concerns about misinformation spreading online. Just ahead, we'll show you how to separate facts from conspiracy theories. Next.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: They take boxes of ballots and they put them here and they take a wheelbarrow (INAUDIBLE). You got some -- nobody knows what's going on. Why are they moving all those ballots? Why are they going? This is the most corrupt system.


HILL: Former U.S. President Donald Trump there to rally in Ohio. Once again, pushing false election claims. Americans are set to head to the polls in the matter of hours here in the United States. And one of the biggest concerns has been the surge of misinformation that is spreading online. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has the details.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lots of uncertainty this election day but one thing is for sure, we are going to see a tidal wave of misinformation circulating on social media. A bit like this video in the last election in 2020. It purported to show ballots being set on fire. Ballots that were marked for Trump went viral. It was viewed millions of times, even reposted by the then-president's son but it turned out to be totally false. Yet some people we met, many people actually pointed that that video is an evidence that something was wrong the election. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to trust anybody anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have honest elections, there's no question that Kari Lake will win.

O'SULLIVAN (voiceover): We asked Maricopa County Board of Supervisors' chairman, Bill Gates, who happens to be a Republican, to address their concerns.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I want to ask him about the extent that they can verify that mail -- ballots that were mailed out are actually filled out by the people they were intended for and returned by them and not filled out by anybody else.

BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: On the envelope itself, they fill out an affidavit and they sign an affidavit that indicates that it was them. And then if that signature does not match the signature that we have in our voter registration records then we will call them up and try and confirm, did they actually do this?

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): And I think there are some election officials who have gotten through FBI type training to look at signatures and to compare them, right?

GATES: Yes, absolutely.


O'SULLIVAN: And so, there is going to be a lot of misinformation in your feeds on this election day. We're taking time as you go through your feeds. If you see something that is clocking up all those views, just be very mindful that there are people out there who are working very, very hard to try and undermine your trust in elections. Back to you.

HILL: Appreciate it, thank you. Be sure to stay with us throughout the day for in-depth special coverage of the crucial U.S. midterm elections. These elections, of course, will determine control of Congress. Our special coverage starts at 4:00 pm eastern, 9:00 London.

Thanks for joining us this hour liver from New York. I'm Erica Hill. Stay tuned. I'll be back right after the break with much more.