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CNN Live Event/Special

Speaker Pelosi Gives First Interview Since Attack on Her Husband; Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman Deliver Final Campaign Speeches in Key Pennsylvania Race; Oligarch Known as Putin's Chef Admits U.S. Election Interference. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 04:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So if you didn't see this interview last night on "ANDERSON AC 360" you're going to see a part of it now. It's fascinating. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking out, breaking her silence in her first sit-down interview since her husband's attack. It is a CNN exclusive. And in this interview with Anderson the House speaker described the moment Capitol Police woke her up to tell her about the horrific ordeal.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: First of all, I'm so sorry for all that's happened. How is your husband doing? What does his recovery look like?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Well, thank you. Thank you for asking. He's doing OK. He is -- it's a long haul but he knows he has to pace himself. He's such a gentleman that he's not complaining but he's also knowing that it's a long haul. He's so concerned about the traumatic effect on our children and our grandchildren, and we're concerned about the traumatic effect on him. But, again, he's on a good path with excellent care from San Francisco General and his health care providers.

COOPER: Has he been able to talk to you about what he was thinking when he woke up and found this person in the room?

PELOSI: We haven't quite had that conversation because any revisiting of it is really traumatizing. It was hard -- one of the hardest things all week was to go back into the house for him. The entrance which is, of course, where --

COOPER: Where the attack took place.

PELOSI: Where he got hit and of course upstairs in the bedroom where that person made his entrance, shall we say. But -- so we haven't -- and the doctors have said, you know, we don't want him to watch the news. We don't want him to be revisiting a lot of this, at least not now because it will add to the trauma. And the operation was a success, but it's only one part of the recovery. The traumatic, the drastic head injury. It takes some time.

COOPER: Have you been able to listen to the 911 call? PELOSI: No. I haven't been able to listen to that or the body cam, any

of that, no. I imagine when it is in the public domain is when I will have a chance to see it but even then --

COOPER: Do you want to hear it?

PELOSI: I don't think so. I don't think so. But -- I don't know if I'll have to. I just don't know. That's all what matter, the legal side of things.

COOPER: There are obviously a lot of details in the affidavit. But, I mean, had your husband not had the presence of mind to call 911 and be able to call 911, there's no telling what would have happened.

PELOSI: He was cool. Paul's cool.


He called and with enough information but not too much information because the guy was very threatening. He was very big. I don't know if you can see that. He was very big, 6'4", 260.

COOPER: The assailant.


COOPER: The assailant.

PELOSI: The assailant. And he was right there, you know, just like a few feet away from Paul, hearing all of this, so he had to -- and he saved his life. Paul saved his own life with that call because that really gave enough information to go.

COOPER: Had the 911 operator not been --

PELOSI: Right.

COOPER: You know, figured it out --

PELOSI: God bless her, yes, for that. And then took it from one level of concern to another and, therefore the police came and that's what got the police there.

COOPER: Where were you when you got the news?

PELOSI: Well, I was sleeping in Washington, D.C. I had just gotten in the night before from San Francisco and the -- I hear the doorbell ring and think, it's 5:00 something. I look up, I see it's 5:00, it must be the wrong apartment. No. It rings again and then bang, bang, bang, bang, bang on the door. So I run to the door and -- I see the Capitol Police and they said, we have to come in to talk to you. And I'm thinking my children, my grandchildren.

I never thought it would be Paul because, you know, I knew he wouldn't be out and about, shall we say? And so they came in at that time. We didn't even know where he was or what his condition was. We just knew there was an assault on him in our home and now they were taking him to a hospital which turned out to be San Francisco General, which is the leading trauma center. Thank God they went there. It wasn't the closest. We have hospitals a few blocks away. It wasn't the closest but it was the right place to go for that.

COOPER: He was actually struck in the head with the hammer?

PELOSI: Right on the top. Two places. And that's pretty awful. That's pretty awful, but the good news was when he came -- when he had the operation, we were blessed by the health care professionals at San Francisco General. They told us it had not pierced his brain, which could be deadly or worse --

COOPER: So the hammer had not actually crack --

PELOSI: Oh, no, it had cracked. Well, what they have to do is they have to take off the skull, reshape it, put it back so it doesn't scratch or pierce the brain. So it's pretty -- it's a pretty serious operation.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: To hear a wife describe what happened to her husband in that way at the end there, to take out part of his -- I mean.

LEMON: Yes. And you see -- you hear the severity of it. You just hear hit in the head with the hammer, yes, that's terrible, but then you have to, you know, redo his skull and so on, it's terrible.

HARLOW: And from what the DA said and the police that this was a politically motivated attack.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, that's what stood out to me is what she told Anderson, as she said, you know, this is an attack that was intended for me.

HARLOW: Right.

COLLINS: My husband is paying the price. And just talking about the effect that it's had. She says we're traumatized. They're trying not to retraumatize their husband. Paul Pelosi is trying to not talk about it in front of their grandchildren and whatnot. It's a difficult family dynamic.

LEMON: It reminded me of what you always say.


LEMON: That family is more important than any job.

HARLOW: It's everything.

LEMON: How do you prioritize all of that, right?

HARLOW: And can you imagine feeling what she clearly communicated there to Anderson, I think it sounded like guilt in a way or saying like this was -- this is a price he paid for an attack that was supposed to be on me, something that's so horrendous. Yes, a reminder of everything that matters is in your home.

LEMON: Yes. And she spoke about what happens I think to her career moving forward.

HARLOW: OK. This is interesting. Listen to this because Anderson, you know, asked her to answer what's ahead for you if Republicans take the House. Here's that exchange.


COOPER: Have you looked ahead? And I mean, have you made the decision in your mind whatever that decision might be?

PELOSI: Well, I have to say my decision will be affected about what happened in the last week or two.

COOPER: Will it be -- will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?


COOPER: It will.



LEMON: Yes. Yes. And I think I know what she -- you know when someone's reached the point where they're like, you know, yes.

COLLINS: Well, I think the thinking it already --

LEMON: I think that for her -- how do I say this? It matters because she's fought for so long to help people and to be in the -- you know, to help the American public, but I think this is so important to her that she -- I think she has re-evaluated what will happen going forward.


I don't think that she wants to be speaker as much as she wanted to be and I would not -- if they do keep the House, I don't think she's going to want to be speaker anymore. I really don't. I'm sorry.

HARLOW: Kaitlan, what were you going to say?

COLLINS: I think she had already kind of had this calculus before that a lot of her members, they were saying that they wanted different leadership. If, I mean, they're not going to keep the majority, it doesn't look like based on conventional wisdom, we'll see what actually happens when voters go to the poll, but you could see how obviously something this traumatic would affect a decision like that.

LEMON: Yes. Do you disagree with -- do you think that she'll make a different decision?

COLLINS: I don't know. I mean, it's up to Pelosi but you've heard from certain members of her caucus when you talk to them about what she could potentially do here, what they want her to do, what they think the future is. Of course she's a difficult person to replace as House speaker because she has been a formidable person for Democrats.

LEMON: It's not surprising that this is life altering, this changes the trajectory in your mindset.

HARLOW: I mean, I remember even Tim Ryan -- I know we got to go. I remember Tim Ryan after he challenged her for speaker talking about what an effective speaker she had been under former President Trump. So.


HARLOW: You'll see more of that interview throughout the show by the way.

LEMON: So a few hours from now polls are set to open in Pennsylvania where the Senate race is now essentially a dead heat. Why voters there could potentially decide the future of the country. That is up next.

HARLOW: Also, voters cast their ballots. There is one big issue that is top of mind for most of you and it is the economy, inflation. A look at both parties' economic closing arguments. That's ahead.



MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: This is what they've been telling you. Washington is getting it wrong because there are too many extreme positions in Washington.


Too much out there pulling us away from where the real answers lie. I will bring balance to Washington. But John Fetterman, he'll bring more extreme.

JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Every day I feel better and better. By January I'll be even better.


FETTERMAN: But Dr. Oz will still be a fraud. He sold miracle cures that I couldn't pronounce even before I had a stroke I couldn't.


COLLINS: Those are the closing arguments from Pennsylvania's Senate candidates. Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman in a race that could determine the fate of the Senate. We're also closely watching the governor's race in Pennsylvania between Democrat Josh Shapiro, Republican Doug Mastriano.

To give you a sense of just how critical this state is, President Biden, former President Obama and former President Trump all descended on Pennsylvania in the final days. So joining us now is Capitol reporter for "Spotlight PA," Stephen Caruso.

Stephen, as Don noted, you got up very early for us. So thank you for getting up. You know, I think the most important sense of what's actually happening on the ground as some reporters who are there on the ground, so tell us what you are watching today as voters are going to start going to the polls.

STEPHEN CARUSO, CAPITAL REPORTER, SPOTLIGHT PA: Yes. Honestly, you know, there's a lot to watch. I think a lot of eyes will be on the courts because there's a lot of legal action that's going to be taking place over a very small number of ballots potentially. Maybe in just the thousands. But given how close I think most people on both sides of the aisle think the Senate race is going to be, those handful of mail-in ballots and what the courts end up saying about that will be key.

HARLOW: Since there has been so much focus on mail-in ballots and a lot of lies spread about it, let's get to the facts here. Explain to people what is going on? Fetterman's campaign overnight is suing, they're making a First and 14th Amendment argument that you have to count these ballots. Explain why and who will ultimately decide.

CARUSO: Yes. So what these ballots are, to be super clear, are mail-in ballots that were timely arrived at the county. So a person who legally requested one, legally sent it back, but -- well, illegally sent it back because they forgot to put a date on it and -- but it was received by the county before election day or on election day. It's not coming after the election day. Forgot with her signature to put a date or they put the wrong date, they might have put their birthday.

These ballots have been in limbo in Pennsylvania since 2020. They've decided, the Senate race they decided the primary or there were attempts to try to make this the Republican primary. So there's been a back and forth in the courts. The state court has gone one way, the federal courts have gone another. What the federal courts did find is that, you know, a 2021 case over these ballots, is that there's actually no proof that the dating actually prevents fraud or any sort of misuse.

And also I think it's worth noting that most of the reporting that's been done finds that people who are misdating them are usually older folks who, you know, this is their best option for voting is to fill out mail-in ballots than going to the polling place and they just forget to put the date or they put the wrong date because they got confused. And the universe maybe like we're not entirely sure. But I think the most recent count we've seen is about 7,000 ballots of these are out there.

And, you know, it will be decided. At this point the state Supreme Court are deadlocked on this issue. We're actually down a member due to a sudden death so this is going to be up to the federal court, potentially the U.S. Supreme Court.

HARLOW: Good point. Yes. Go ahead.

COLLINS: It's a big question. And of course one thing we're also watching today is when it comes to counting ballots. And that is something that we have kind of been trying to brace the audience for on what that's going to look like and it may not take as long as it did in 2020 but it will take a little bit of time to count the mail-in votes.

CARUSO: Yes. Pennsylvania does not allow counties to process these ballots before 7:00 a.m. on election day. So that means it's going to take a little bit more time. Now also, say, (INAUDIBLE), where all but four counties will be counting, like once they start counting, they can't stop. So I think we will see maybe returns a little bit earlier for mail-in ballots. There's also not many mail-in requested. You know, a change of state could lead to counties being able to count those ballots. But the Republican general assembly and Governor Tom Wolf, they have just not been able to agree on anything when it comes to election law. Might not surprise your viewers. So, you know, we'll see what happens. Expect a delay.

HARLOW: It's a great point. For anyone who complains that, you know, it's going slowly in terms of the counting in Pennsylvania, the state legislature and the governor over these years could have done something about it to change the laws. They kept fighting about it instead of changing it so a lot could have done.

Stephen, thank you.

COLLINS: Thanks so much, Stephen.

HARLOW: Very much.

LEMON: I think he brought up a very good point which brought it home to me. I don't know what day it is. Wait, what day? You know what I'm saying?

HARLOW: It's election day, Don.

LEMON: I don't know, I mean, in general.

HARLOW: Yes. You're writing it down. Yes.

LEMON: And you're writing it down. You're like, you can get it mixed up or what have you. So.

HARLOW: Informative.



HARLOW: OK. So new this morning, another American -- sad news to share with you. Another American killed in Ukraine while fighting on the front lines. This comes as one of Vladimir Putin's closest associates makes a new admission. We'll tell you what it is ahead.


LEMON: So this is what the State Department is confirming this morning, that a sixth U.S. citizen has died in combat in Eastern Ukraine. The International Legion in Ukraine identified the man killed as Timothy Griffin and called him a brother in arms. Both the State Department and the International Legion said that they were in touch with Griffin's family. They have asked for privacy. At least five other Americans have been killed in action, fighting alongside Ukraine forces since the Russian invasion began in February.

HARLOW: Very sad news. Also this morning, a Kremlin-linked oligarch appears to be admitting to meddling in U.S. elections. In a Telegram post a man known as Putin's chef because he is so close to Putin and has catered events for the Russian president, said Russia has and will continue to interfere in U.S. democracy.


Matthew Chance joins us live from London and CNN this morning. I mean, this is what U.S. intelligence has said, but the fact that someone so close to Putin is admitting this, his name is Yevgeny Prigozhin, what have we learned?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is interesting. In a sense, of course we all know it's true, that Russia has been meddling in elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world as well. But this is the first time the man or one of the men who has been accused of spearheading those interference activities has come out and sort of basically sort of said that, yes, we did it.

I mean, he was being ironic. He was being sarcastic. But take a look at what he said. It's quite compelling. He said, "Gentlemen, we interfered. We interfere and we will interfere carefully, precisely, surgically, and in our own way." He went on to make other sort of references to the surgical operations that he's carried out.

But, Poppy, I think it's important to remember as I've just said, he was being sarcastic, he was being ironic. This is not a change of Russian government policy or position on this issue. Everybody who's spoken about this in the Russian government in the past 24 hours has stuck to the Kremlin line that there was no meddling, and if there was, Russia was not involved.

COLLINS: But, see, Matthew, here's my question is, you know, you see this and he's just straight up saying it, we all know it's true, but do you think that he had permission from high-ranking officials in the Kremlin to make these comments as sarcastic as they were?

CHANCE: I don't think he would have had to have sought that kind of, you know, expressed kind of authority to do it. I think he's just trying to sort of do what the whole purpose of Russian meddling is in the first place. Remember, and I think this is important, you know, the whole purpose of Russian meddling isn't necessarily to change the outcome of the election in the United States.

They don't have the reach, they don't have the power to do that. But it's to sew anxiety about the institutions of the election, about the democratic institutions. And Russian meddling has been very successful in doing that. This is another attempt to push that agenda.

COLLINS: And of course doing it one day before the midterm elections.

Matthew Chance, thanks for that report.

Voters, of course, following those comments, set to cast their ballots today. CNN has reporters across the country covering the marquee midterms races. We'll tell you details on what it's looking like on election day.