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Protest Spread In Russia As Putin Calls Up 300,000 Reservists; Iran Protest Rage After Death Of Woman Arrested By "Morality Police"; Iranian President Pulls Interview After CNN Anchor Refuses To Wear Headscarf; Mar-a-Lago Special Master Orders Trump Team To Back Up Any Claims Of FBI "Planting" Evidence; Appeals Court: DOJ Can Resume Probe Of Classified Mar-a-Lago Docs; Justice Thomas' Wife, Ginni, Agrees To Interview By January 6 CMTE; Political Fallout From Migrant Flights Reshaping Midterm Fight; Kushner: "Troubling" To See Migrants Used As "Political Pawns"; Judge In Alex Jones Trial Threatens Contempt Hearing For All Parties After Heated End Of Day Testimony; Wounded Iraq War Veteran Inspired To Help Others. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 22, 2022 - 17:00   ET




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Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, growing division inside Russia's military as Vladimir Putin struggles with new setbacks in Ukraine and angers his generals by giving them direct orders. We're following all the backlash after Putin's massive column of military reservists including spreading protests across Russia right now.

Also tonight. The special master reviewing documents seized from Mar- a-Lago is pushing back at the Trump team again. He just ordered the former president's lawyers to offer proof if they have it of Trump's claim that the FBI planted evidence.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Russia's military said to be divided tonight over Ukraine's stunning military offensive, retaking 1000s of square miles from Moscow's forces which are now on the defensive in eastern and southern Ukraine.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance has the latest for us.

Matthew, CNN is reporting that Putin himself is giving directions to generals on the battlefield as Russia's military appears increasingly divided on how to proceed with this war. Tell us more of what you're learning.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Tonight, another illustration of just how much intelligence just an access the U.S. authorities have, US intelligence has on the thinking of what's going on inside the Russian command structure. They're talking about intercepts that they've sort of made available to CNN, we were reporting on that, about how there are disagreements on the battlefield between senior officers in the Russian military about what the tactical response should be in various scenarios. They've been flung into this array, according to these intercepts, because of the dramatic advances on the field by Ukrainian forces in the north of the country, around the city of Kharkiv.

And you know, there are intercepts talk looking at, you know, recording officers complaining to their loved ones at home and to their fellow colleagues about the strategic decisions that have been made by Moscow. So all of this points to a sort of chaotic, sort of mess, if you like, in terms of the command structure.

More than that, though, these U.S. intercepts suggest that Vladimir Putin himself, the Russian president, has been speaking directly to and giving orders directly to Russian generals in the field. Now, that's an extraordinary management strategy, if you like, for a modern military like rushes and it indicates that these -- first of all it indicates a dysfunctional command structure, but it also indicates that the military plan in Russia, such as it exists, seems to be determined by the politicians by Vladimir Putin. It indicates that the strategy is a political one, not a military one. And that may account for some of the battlefield losses that the Russian military has suffered over the past seven months, Wolf.

BLITZER: And Matthew, all this comes as you well know, as the pressure is clearly mounting on Putin back home.

CHANCE: Yes, a lot of pressure mounting. He's been trying to raise the stakes by announcing referendums in the areas of Ukraine that Russia occupies. But actually, the stakes have been raised at home because he's introduced a mobilization that we call the partial mobilization of reservists. Trying to get 300,000 Russian men who've previously served in the Russian military into the forces.

It's really led to protests on the streets with more than 1300 people detained so far. There are dramatic scenes, border crossings around Russia as men of military age and their family attempt to escape the country before they can be sort of swept up into the armed forces and sent to the front line. But it really is ratcheting up pressure on Vladimir Putin at home.

BLITZER: Yes, big time indeed. Matthew Chance, thank you very, very much.

Let's go to Ukraine right now where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy talked about the Russian mobilization in his nightly address to his nation. CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is on the scene for us tonight.

Ben, how is Ukraine reacting to news of this Russian mobilization?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first just as your show began, Wolf, the air raid siren went off here. As far as the reaction, Zelenskyy actually was making his nightly speech today, and normally it's in Ukrainian, it started in Ukrainian, and then he switched to Russian, addressing the Russian people directly.


He said that the announcement of a partial mobilization is a frank admission that the Russian army has failed in Ukraine. He said that Russians who have done nothing to resist the war are accomplices in war crimes and torture in Ukraine. He went on to say, for instance, that it is time to choose for Russian men, gets to choose whether to die or be crippled or to survive. For Russian women, it's time to either let their sons, their husbands, their grandchildren die or to let them survive.

He noted that according to the Ukrainians, 55,000 Russians have been killed since this war began last February. And that their choices -- they have choice either to protest, to fight back, to run away, or if they're in Ukraine to surrender to Ukrainian forces. Wolf.

BLITZER: Ben Wedeman reporting for us. Ben, thank you very, very much.

Let's get some more in all of these dramatic developments. Joining us right now CNN's Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, thanks for joining us.

This Russian mobilization, as you well know, may be a desperate move by Putin. But is it a sign he's digging in on this war?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL HOST: This is what the Europeans and Americans and basic Western alliance people are telling me here at the U.N. I spoke to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, she believes and so do others, who I've spoken to, that what's happening now shows a measure of desperation.

And what you've just heard from Ben and from Matthew regarding what's going on on the ground is testament to that, that Putin, if he really is calling up generals on the front and directing from, you know, the Kremlin bunker, this is not how modern war is waged. In addition, any mobilization is being protested right now, but will take time to actually stand up, including training and getting them ready to actually to go into battle.

The E.U. has said that they will be imposing a new round of sanctions in retaliation for any, quote, "sham elections" that are going to take place according to Putin in the Russian occupied parts of Ukraine. And that is meant to be starting these sham elections tomorrow.

For their part, the Ukrainians are saying now is the time to give us the weaponry we need to make good on the progress that we've already made, and to help us keep territory and keep pushing Russia back to the February 23 borders. So, that's essentially what is going on right now. BLITZER: I know you're also following the dramatic, very intensifying protests that are going on in Iran right now, after the death of a 22- year-old woman in police custody. You were set to actually raise this issue with the Iranian president in a rare interview in New York where you are right now until they made a last minute demand. What happened?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, they did. We thought we had this interview, we were going to be the only, you know, western U.S. channel to be able to sit down with Raisi, the president, here in New York. I've done it many, many times with Iranian presidents, and got their view of international affairs here in New York. There you see the picture, though, that shows me waiting, and the president not turning up because a senior aide came up with the last minutes after hours and weeks and months of trying to make this happen, that I needed to be wearing a headscarf.

Well, that is a violation, essentially of our journalistic principles and is not in accordance with American law. I don't need to wear a headscarf in the United States. So therefore I respectfully declined. And they said, well, then there's absolutely no chance of an interview.

So that was a shame because I was going to put this issue to him. And it's a big issue. These are the biggest protests inside Iran since 2019. Already several people have been killed according to reports from inside Iran in the protests.

The woman herself, the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, her parents feel were killed in custody after they said that the, you know, the Iranian said that she wasn't wearing the correct outfit. But you can see in the security video that she seemed to be wearing the right overcoat and the scarf was on her head. So what's happened is a increased crackdown on women's rights and social rights in Iran and this is causing an explosion.

Raisi, as I said, didn't talk to me. He did then held a press conference later today. He said he's spoken to the parents. He will get to the bottom of it, he says, and investigate.

Meantime though, the protests are growing and the revolutionary guard are sending out ominous warnings about what they might do or what might have to happen in their view to tamp down these protests. So it's a very volatile situation.


And of course, Wolf, I was asking also -- I wanted to ask about the nuclear deal, which hasn't yet been set, and there doesn't seem to be any room first for that until at least after the midterms.

BLITZER: Yes, doesn't look like that's happening. Christiane Amanpour, thanks as usual for all your excellent reporting. We're grateful to you and you clearly made the right decision.

Coming up, former President Trump facing a new round of legal setbacks, major legal setbacks. We're going to break down how the latest court ruling dismissed several of Trump's biggest claims.


BLITZER: Former President Trump is facing even more legal setbacks. Today, the special master overseeing the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation is ordering Trump's lawyers to back up their out of court accusations that the FBI may have planted evidence at his home. This, after an appeals court ruled the Justice Department's criminal investigation into those classified documents can once again move forward.


Our Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is with us right now. So tell us more, Evan, what else are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is Raymond Dearie, he is the senior judge who's serving as the independent third party reviewing these documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago.

BLITZER: The special master?

PEREZ: The special master, correct. And he was somebody that Trump and his legal team actually picked for this job. And he's calling their bluff on this question of whether the FBI planted evidence. He says they have until September 30 to list for him whether there were any items that he believes were not present when the FBI seize these documents, in other words, did the FBI plant evidence? Of course, the former president was on Hannity last night on Fox News, and he addressed this very issue.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The problem that you have is they go into rooms, they won't let anybody near them, they wouldn't even let them in the same building. Did they drop anything into those piles or did they do it later? There's no chain of custody here with them.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Wouldn't that be on videotape, potentially?

TRUMP: No, I don't think so. I mean, they're in a room.


PEREZ: And of course -- now, of course, they have until next Friday to produce this list of any items they believe the FBI may have planted, Wolf.

BLITZER: And all this is coming right now, as you all know Evan, as the Justice Department has resumed its work reviewing those classified documents seized over at Mar-a-Lago.

PEREZ: That's right, and the fact that this 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta, this three by -- three judge panel, including two judges that were appointed by the former president, saying that the Justice Department can restart its criminal investigation, focusing on those 100 pages or 100 classified documents, Wolf.

One of the things that the judges said was, you know, this is a national security matter and there's a public interest in the FBI, the Justice Department continuing to investigate these documents to see whether there was any harm done. Of course, the former president has addressed this, he says that this is all about documents that he declassified. Listen to him again on Fox News last night.


TRUMP: If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it's declassified even by thinking about it, because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or to wherever you're sending it. And it doesn't have to be a process.


PEREZ: Look, he is right. As the former president, he had the power to declassify, but no one seems to have heard of anything that he did to actually make that happen. So, that's one of the reasons why, you know, you saw the special master call him out on this very question again, Wolf, they asked his legal team to say whether they declassified these things, and they have so far refused to say.

BLITZER: If you declassified documents, you have to notify the agency and you have to write it down so people know these documents are no longer --

PEREZ: Someone should know. Right.

BLITZER: -- highly classified. These are top secret documents.

PEREZ: Right. It appears that this is an excuse that the former president is coming up after the fact because of the legal trouble he's at.

BLITZER: Yes, good point to. Stay with us, Evan, we got more to discuss.

I also want to bring into this conversation CNN's Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borgia and Dave Aronberg, the Florida State Attorney for Palm Beach County.

Dave, the special master, as you know, is now giving the Trump team until next Friday to back up its claims that the FBI may have planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago. What will happen if the Trump team misses this deadline or acknowledges that it can't back up those claims?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Just going to expose this lie and the lawyers know that they can't lie to the judge. They can get sanctioned, they can get disbarred. Trump can say whatever he wants the public with impunity, but it's different for his lawyers. And you know, this whole thing is yet another self-inflicted wound by Trump's legal team because, remember, they're the ones, Wolf, who suggested Judge Dearie as special master, and Judge Dearie is serious jurist because -- and he's not going to put up with any gas lighting. And so, you know, what he's doing here is putting an end to all this nonsense, and asking whether Trump really believes that the FBI planted documents and whether Trump really declassified the documents. And trust me, the lawyers are not going to be able to tell Judge Dearie that Trump mentally declassify the documents through some Jedi mind trick.

And all this matters, Wolf, because when you go around spreading falsehoods, it tears at our American institutions. So Judge Dearie is single handedly trying to stitch the fabric back together.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. You know, Gloria, Judge Dearie is also opening the door for witnesses to testify about the Mar-a-Lago search and the materials that were seized. How much of an impact could that have?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it could have a huge impact if he can find people to testify to come forward. Look, what the judge is saying is you can't just say stuff, you have to put up or shut up here. You know, you can't just say, oh, you know there was a telepathic declassification, there's got to be somebody who knows about the declassification.


If you are somebody, for example, who had a conversation with the President about a document that should be privileged, let that person who worked at the White House maybe, come forward and talk about it. So what he's saying is, folks, I'm giving you a chance here, just come forward with your evidence, get your witnesses to come before me, we can have a discussion about it, but you can't just make stuff up.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. You know, Evan, when you take a look at the series of decisions, and they're very significant decisions, from the special master that he has to bake, what does that tell you about how he sees his very powerful role?

PEREZ: Well, he's giving them some very tight deadlines, Wolf, for them to come to terms on exactly what the rules are that are going to govern the review of these documents. So he knows that the Justice Department has a deadline, they're trying to get this investigation done as quickly as possible. And he's trying to work within that, you know, given the fact that we know the former president is just trying to lengthen this out as much as possible.

So, he's trying to run a tight ship. And it's clear that the former president was expecting something else from this judge, you know, they seems that they thought that he might be a little bit more in their favor. And that's not how it's turning out today.

BLITZER: Not happening now. All right, standby. You know, Dave Aronberg, I want to turn to that decision, important decision from the appeals court ruling that the Justice Department can continue reviewing these classified materials that were founded the former president's Florida beach home. How big of a win is this for the Justice Department?

ARONBERG: Wolf, this was like what your bills did to the Titans on Sunday, that big of a win. And it didn't really have to happen. I mean, Judge Cannon was embarrassed, I think by this, but didn't have to happen because the DOJ gave the judge a way out and off ramp, saying that just let us continue to review these 100 classified documents and then we'll accept the special master for everything else and we won't appeal, but she ruled against them.

And so, they're forced to go to the 11th Circuit, which is known as a conservative circuit. And two out of the three judges from the panel here were appointed by Donald Trump and still they repudiated Judge Cannon. And they noted that comms lawyers provided zero evidence to doubt that these documents were indeed classified.

And it wouldn't matter anyways, because a former president has no possessory interest in such government documents, classified or not. So it's unfortunate had to get to this stage, but the 11th Circuit did the right thing.

BLITZER: Yes. And you know, and Gloria, Ginni Thomas, the wife of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed, we're told, to be interviewed by the January 6 Select Committee in the coming weeks. How significant is this development?

BORGER: Well, you know, when the January 6 committee first convened, they had no idea about Ginni Thomas sending e-mails to people in states or about sending texts to Mark Meadows. And once that was revealed, I think they felt that they had an obligation to interview her because, of course, she's married to a Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas.

So, I think the committee did not really want to say that they didn't want to subpoena her. They know that, you know, she's not a major player in all of this. But it is still significant that she is an election denier, an active election denier, her husband sits on the court, and could in the future judge cases on election denial or anything to do with the -- with 2020. And so, what they did was kind of arrange something in formal so they could talk to her and they negotiated that out and we'll see where that goes.

BLITZER: Good point. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

Up next, the latest on the political firestorm surrounding the migrant flights from Texas. We'll have an update from San Antonio.

Plus, Alex Jones taking the stand in his second civil trial over his role in spreading Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.



BLITZER: The migrant transfers from Republican led states in the south to northeastern cities show no signs of letting up. CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us now from San Antonio. He's got details.

Ed, more than 90 migrants, I'm told, including children arriving today by bus in New York City. Give us the latest details.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's more than 1000 since this past weekend. We are outside the migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas. This is the area where many of those migrants have been put on buses or picked up and put on that flight that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent out earlier this week.

But all of this, you know, continuing to put a strain on those cities up north, the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, says that he's even considering putting some of these migrants on cruise ships to help alleviate the strain on social services there in the city.


And it also comes at a time where the attorney representing 30 of the 50 or so migrants that arrived on Martha's Vineyard by plane, courtesy of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, says that their clients have been receiving hate messages and death threats since they filed a civil rights class action lawsuit just a few days ago. So all of this heating up very intensely, Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed, are we learning anything else, anything more right now about those flights to Martha's Vineyard and who helped organize them on the ground in Texas?

LAVANDERA: Well, as we know, there's a criminal investigation ongoing with the sheriff's department here in San Antonio. And one of the things that they were trying to do is identify this woman who -- migrants that was a woman named Perla who had kind of connected with migrants here on the ground in San Antonio, and lured them onto the flight to Martha's Vineyard. But so far, we have no indication that investigators have been able to track down who this person is at this point.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, was asked today about the flights and whether or not they would continue. He wasn't specific about whether or not more flights would be imminent. But he says that he believes by organizing that flight that is put the immigration issue on the forefront of people's minds across the country, even though there has been a great deal of criticism and many government officials, the Biden administration saying that simply the governor is trying to create chaos at this issue at this time.

BLITZER: Ed, I want you to stay with us. I also want to bring in CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein. Ron, how is the fallout from these migrant flights, reshaping potentially the political landscape right now, especially as we approach these upcoming midterm elections?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, thanks, Wolf. You can see the long-term play for DeSantis politically, is that very much in the Trump mold, well, how the Republican Party has been reconfigured, he wants to be seen as a fighter who will take even outrageous action to take the, you know, kind of take the cudgels to liberal institutions. In the near term, Republicans want immigration to be a bigger issue in the midterm election.

The Biden administration so far has not taken the bait in the sense that they have not intervened legally to try to enjoin the governors of Texas and Arizona and Florida from doing this. They've kind of stepped back and allow that class action lawsuit to make that case. And that's one of the things they are seeking is an injunction against further transfers.

But there's something, I mean, beyond the immediate political maneuvering, I mean, what you've got here is an attempt by red states to try to seize control of immigration policy from below. Two sides to that. On the one hand, you see these governors intruding or trying to incur into federal authority over immigration in a way that may violate the 2012 Supreme Court decision that reaffirmed the primacy of the federal government.

And then at the same time, the same red state shifting coalitions have filed over 20 lawsuits in federal courts to try to prevent Biden from shifting direction on hardline Trump immigration policy. So it's a pretty coordinated effort to try to seize control of this issue, in effect from below.

BLITZER: You know, Ed, you've been reporting on these flights since the beginning, and doing an excellent job, I should say, as well. How did the migrants themselves feel about winding up in the middle of a political firestorm?

LAVANDERA: Well, many of the migrants you talked to, Wolf, don't fully grasp, that they were stepping into this minefield of immigration politics in the U.S. You know, much of what they get, and what they're focused on, is trying to get to a place where they can start over and start establishing some sort of process to get back on their feet after spending weeks, if not months, migrating here to the U.S.

So, you know, they're more concerned about upcoming immigration court dates, making sure they're in the right place to get to those places. Because once you start missing court dates or anything like that happens, it really throws a wrench in the whole process for them, and puts their asylum requests at risk. So that's what they're mostly focused on at this point.

And they have kind of a combination, if you will, whether it could -- whether it's, you know, stuff they've heard on WhatsApp chats, and through their process of migrating. So it's kind of a convoluted mess of information that they're dealing with, because they hear it from so many different points, vantage points. And in many cases, by the time they get that information, it's been highly manipulated. So exactly what the truth is for them is difficult for them to dissertate.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. You know, Ron, not every Republican is on board with these flights, including the son in law, of former President Trump, we're talking about Jared Kushner, who called it, and I'm quoting now, troubling, troubling his word, to see migrants used as political pawns, his words again. Is there an opening for a Republican rival to go after Governor Ron DeSantis on this specific issue?

BROWNSTEIN: Interesting question. I mean, clearly, if you look at the complaint that was filed in a civil rights case, these people were misled. I mean, they were promised, you know, streets are paved with gold, kind of at the other end of the flight and none of the services and benefits that they were promised materialize.


So clearly there was -- they were misled. They're being used as pawns and we're down to, you know, including children. Sometimes we've been left off at the side of highways in these buses. It's tough in a Republican primary. I mean, the Republican Party has morphed over the years as certainly, you know, from the period when Bush was president, and a bipartisan filibuster proof majority that included Mitch McConnell, in 2006, passed immigration reform that included a pathway to citizenship now in polling 70 to 75 percent of Republicans will say the growing number of immigrants threaten American values.

So I don't know how much opening there is against the sentence within the Republican Party. Certainly, in a general election debate, not only in Florida, but around the country, this is the kind of move that I think will prove vulnerable to many voters who are uneasy about the Republicans on rights and values to begin with.

BLITZER: Good point there. Ron Brownstein, Ed Lavandera, guys, thank you very much.

Just ahead, the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones testifying in his second, second civil damages trial and doubling down on his deep state claims about the Sandy Hook school shooting. And a new storm is brewing that could threaten the United States. We're also tracking Hurricane Fiona. We've got all the latest and a new forecast that has just come out.



BLITZER: A heated day of testimony today after conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took the stand today in his second civil damages trial for the hoax he perpetrated about the Sandy Hook shooting. After multiple heated exchanges, the judge threatened all parties with a contempt hearing. CNN's Erica Hill is joining us now live from the scene. Erica, tell us what happened in court today.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you're right, contentious is a great way to describe it. It started out in the morning, the judge reminding Alex Jones, that to answer the questions ideally he should stick to yes, no or I don't know. Now, she reiterated that guidance multiple times throughout the morning. And she also reminded him that when his attorney would object, he needed to stop talking so that she could listen to the objection.

At one point, Wolf, even saying your attorney just objected, I ruled in his favor. He won. And yet you're still talking. He apologized multiple times said it would stop, it didn't. And then it escalated, Wolf, until we got to the end of the day. And there was this exchange. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rob Porter (ph) sitting right here. He's real, isn't it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And for us, you put a target on his back, didn't you?

CHRIS MATTEI, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: Objection to the form of that, Judge.


JONES: Well, I mean --


JONES: I've admitted I've said his name. It's true. I've said other people's names. I don't know who they are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You put a target on his back just like you did every single parent and loved one sitting here, didn't you?

JONES: No, I didn't.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's argumentative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no, there is.


JONES: Just you're unbelievable. You switch on emotions on and off when you want. You're -- that's just ambulance chasing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you show a little respect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, Judge. I think that if -- you get what you give in this courtroom.

JUDGE BARBARA BELLIS, CONNECTICUT SUPERIOR COURT: You're in a court of law. You have to follow the rules as the attorneys do. They are officers in the court and they are accountable to me. I will deal with them. However, while there were media in the room, this is not a press conference. This is clearly not your shell and you need to respect the process. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The judge a short time after that, also warning all parties, both the attorneys and Alex Jones, that she would hold a contempt hearing, if necessary, didn't want that to have to happen. Multiple times as well, Wolf, during the hearing today, the jury was actually sent out of the room so that they could deal with different issues about what could and could not be asked and even some of the objections.

Alex Jones is set to take the stand tomorrow morning. Once again, court resumes at 10:00 a.m. Interesting to note, Wolf, after the judge made those statements at the end of the day and again, that warning about content, when Alex Jones left the building today uncharacteristically, he did not stop and talk to the cameras but just walked on.

BLITZER: Interesting. Erica Hill reporting live from Waterbury, Connecticut. Thank you very, very much.

We're also keeping a close eye on Hurricane Fiona right now. It's churning toward Canada, where it could strike as the country's strongest ever storm. Tom Sater is joining us now from the CNN Weather Center with an update. Tom, just how unprecedented and devastating could this hurricane be for Canada?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The lowest pressure, Wolf, ever recorded in Canada we were -- we measured in millibars is 940 back in 1977. This is going to get down to 925, 935. So that's equivalent to a Category 4. This is a generational storm, it'll become their Superstorm Sandy.

Right now at its peak Category 4 staying well to the west of Bermuda, they're starting to see the weather conditions deteriorate. But as it slides northward, even though you see it go from Category 4 to Category 3 and lose its characteristics as far as what we call a hurricane, it's still going to carry this massive amount of catastrophic energy up into Canada. We have advisories along the coast, easily, 8, 9, 10 foot waves on the coast, but we're near the center, near Bermuda.

Wave heights, Wolf, we're getting up to 50 and 60 feet high. So all of that upwelling it's going to get carried right up into Nova Scotia and areas of Newfoundland, the likes they've never seen. A damage could be widespread. Tens of thousands of trees down, 400-mile wide paths of tropical storm force winds, power out to hundreds of thousands and heavy rain to boot.

BLITZER: And Tom, if that were not enough, we're told now that another storm could actually track towards The Gulf of Mexico. Give us the latest there.


SATER: Yes, Wolf, we didn't have one named storm in the entire month of August. That hadn't happened in 25 years. Look at this activity. This is the acorn that will become the oak tree off the coast of South America moving through the Caribbean to be a hurricane. The first to affect Mainland U.S. sometime Monday, Tuesday.

Model is still in disagreement Monday, will it hit South Florida? Will it go toward the Yucatan up toward the Panhandle? The models American and red, European and blue are pretty good agreement, but still we just don't know it's too far out. But this is the one to watch as we get in toward the weekend and the beginning of next week, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, very worrisome indeed. Tom Sater --


BLITZER: -- thank you very much.

Coming up, the special master reviewing documents found at Mar-a-Lago, orders former President Trump to prove his claim that the FBI was, quote, planting evidence.



BLITZER: This week our CNN series called "Champions for Change" is highlighting people who are making the world a better place. CNN's Jake Tapper introduces us to an Iraq war veteran Adam Kisielewski, who inspired -- who was inspired by his own life changing experiences to help other disabled veterans.


SGT. ADAM KISIELEWSKI, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET.): Deployed to Iraq in 2005, operated in and around Fallujah. There was a school and there's a bomb rig to the doors so we opened it, it exploded, killed the lieutenant that was with me James Cathy. Stayed conscious the entire time up until my first surgery, so pretty much immediately knew that my left arm and right leg were gone.

It was a challenge, you know, from gone, and to be completely independent, you know, suddenly, you know, bedridden, you know, relying on other people to try to take care of you when I was newly married to. So I'm certainly put my wife through a lot really early on.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: At some point you and your wife, realize that like the house you're living in, is not working for the new situation.

KISIELEWSKI: It's a nice home, you know, nothing particularly special, but it was built on three floors. But it wasn't until we had our son, that we realized what a challenge it was not only difficult, but also dangerous.

TAPPER: I was covering President Obama's State of the Union address and one of the guests he had was a veteran who had lost both his legs. He had a home that had been given to him by this group called Homes for Our Troops. Its mission was to find severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to provide them with specially designed homes that were mortgage free.

KISIELEWSKI: Some other veterans with Homes For Our Troops that really encouraged us to apply. And we were reluctant.

TAPPER: Why were you reluctant?

KISIELEWSKI: It's always easy to just say others are more important.

TAPPER: So you moved into this home 11 years ago?

KISIELEWSKI: Yes, 11.5 years.

TAPPER: And what does living in this home allow you to do?

KISIELEWSKI: It's -- every bit as significant as getting blown up in the first place. I don't think we recognized all the challenges that we're facing until we moved in and realize that we didn't have to deal with them anymore.

It's not so low that it's uncomfortable for people who aren't in a wheelchair.

TAPPER: The bad news is that you can also have access to the dishwasher, so you don't get out of it.

KISIELEWSKI: It is bad news.

What I didn't really anticipate was the financial stability in not having a mortgage, you know, provided. So I was able to leave my job and go back to school, and most importantly, was able to go to work for nonprofits providing other opportunities for veterans.

TAPPER: Adam was grievously wounded while serving for this nation. Nobody would begrudge him leading whatever kind of life he will lead after these wounds, but he's an inspiration.

I know you're in the veterans' advisory group for Homes for Our Troops.

KISIELEWSKI: I actually helped stand that program up. So Homes For Our Troops has a tagline of building homes and rebuilding lives, but always argues that the rebuilding lives element is the more important, you know, part of what they do. We wanted to make sure that, you know, the guys that were doing well, we're in a position to kind of help mentor some of the guys that maybe weren't doing as well, didn't have some of the same opportunities.

TAPPER: I went to the key ceremony giving a home to one of these veterans in Virginia. And that was it. It was as if this incredibly worthy charity had picked me and they asked me to be an ambassador.

KISIELEWSKI: So key ceremony is a pretty special event, because it gets the whole community involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm glad I'm going to become more of a role model for people that think they're disabled but actually aren't. KISIELEWSKI: It's a real honor to be here, excited to welcome you as part of our family, Homes for Our Troops.


TAPPER: And he's more active than most people I know. He is more charitable than most people I know.

KISIELEWSKI: My life's goal now is just to try to provide some of these opportunities for other veterans and help them out wherever I can. Frankly, I get more out of it than I ever put into it.


TAPPER: And Wolf, I cannot even begin to express what an amazing role Homes For Our Troops has played in my life. It's incredible to watch and play a small part in the life changing impact that these mortgage free specially designed homes play in the lives of these veterans and their loved ones. Adam, of course, is a shining example of the many veterans who go on to give back to others after getting this home.

He's now in charge of an amazing organization and a separate one called No Person Left Behind Outdoors, which gets veterans even though severe rarely disabled back doing activities such as hiking or fishing or hunting.


Our thanks to Adam and Homes For Our Troops for being so welcoming and letting us tell their story. Wolf?

BLITZER: So, so grateful to these veterans. Jake, thank you so much for all you are doing as well.

And to our viewers, be sure to join us Saturday night 8:00 p.m. Eastern for the remarkable stories of Champions for Change, only here on CNN.

Coming up, the special master of the Mar-a-Lago documents case opens the door to witness testimony. We have new information and details when we come back.


BLITZER: Happening now, even more illegal pressure on the Trump team as the Mar-a-Lago special master issues new orders.