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The Situation Room
January 6 Committee Subpoenas Former President Trump; 1/6 CMTE Presents New Evidence, Testimony & Never-Before-Seen Video; Supreme Court Rejects Trump's Plea To Intervene In Mar-a-Lago Case; Jury Recommends Life Without Parole For Nikolas Cruz; Ukraine Suffers Fourth Day Of Russian Missile Attacks; New Inflation Data Americans Punished By Rising Prices; January 6 Committee Votes To Subpoena Former President Donald Trump. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 13, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, the January 6 select committee punctuates its final hearing before the midterm elections with a bombshell, a subpoena for former President Donald Trump. The panel also playing arrowing never before seen footage of congressional leaders sheltering from the mob during the attack.
Also tonight, the U.S. Supreme Court deals another legal blow to Trump's defense in the Mar-a-Lago investigation, rejecting his plea to intervene in the fight over classified documents seized by the FBI.
Plus, a gut punch for the families of the Parkland School massacre victims. A Florida jury recommends gunman Nikolas Cruz not received the death penalty and instead spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the Situation Room.
Let's dive straight into the very dramatic developments up on Capitol Hill today. Former President Donald Trump now facing a subpoena from the January 6 select committee. Our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju has a closer look at all the latest news from today's hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those in favor will say aye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aye.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight the January 6 committee escalating its fight with former President Donald Trump issuing the subpoena for documents and testimony after compiling a mountain of evidence showing his role provoking the deadly attack on the Capitol.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY), VICE CHAIR, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion.
RAJU (voice-over): The move coming at the end of the committee's 10th public hearing after revealing new evidence showing Trump plan all along to try to stay in office regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election.
CHENEY: Trump had a premeditated plan to declare that the election was fraudulent and stolen before Election Day, before he knew the election results.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The key thing to do is to claim victory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get right to the violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Biden's win, Trump is going to do some crazy.
RAJU (voice-over): Even drafting prepared Election Day statement days before votes were cast declaring that Trump had won. But while Trump privately admitted to some that he lost, he continued to fight, becoming enraged when the Supreme Court threw out a Republican effort to overturn the election, telling his chief of staff Mark Meadows that something else needed to be done to stay in power.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER MARK MEADOWS AIDE: I don't want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. Figure it out. We need to figure it out.
RAJU (voice-over): Trump began pushing the bogus notion the voting machines switch votes from Trump to Biden, even something his own advisers said had no basis in truth.
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I went into this and would, you know, tell him how crazy some of these allegations were. There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts are.
RAJU (voice-over): And the committee is showing deposition from witnesses describing Trump's inaction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is watching the T.V.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my understanding he was watching television.
RAJU (voice-over): All while playing new video of lawmakers running for shelter from violent rioters who are trying to keep Congress from certifying the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apparently everybody on the floor is putting on a tear gas masks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to call up the iffing secretary of DOD.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I have something to say, Mr. Secretary. Well, I'm going to call the mayor of Washington, D.C. right now.
Just breaking windows. You're doing all kinds of -- is really that somebody -- they said somebody was shot. It's just horrendous and all at the instigation of the President of the United States.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Yes, why don't you get the president to tell them to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General, in your law enforcement responsibility.
RAJU (voice-over): New messages revealed by the committee showing how the U.S. Secret Service was well aware of the violent rhetoric in the days leading up to January 6.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: In this email, an agent received report noting a lot of violent rhetoric on Parler directed at government people and entities, including Secret Service protect these. One of these protectees was Vice President Pence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every single (blip) in there is a traitor, every single one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are moving to the Capitol after the POTUS speech.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RAJU: Now I asked the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, about what the committee would do if Donald Trump decided to fight this, would they take this to court? He would not go there. He did say no, they do not plan to subpoena former Vice President Mike Pence.
Now, for Trump himself, he posted on his social media page in response to the news of this subpoena saying "Why didn't that unselect committee asked me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting? Because the committee is a total bust that has only served to further divide our country, which by the way, is doing very badly, a laughingstock all over the world."
It's important to note too, Wolf, that he has directed -- Trump ask some of his aides not to cooperate with this committee. The committee also indicates they investigate potential allegations of obstruction to deny some witness testimony before the panel. Wolf.
BLITZER: Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
Let's discuss all of this with our Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez, CNN Chief National affairs Analyst Kasie Hunt, Defense Attorney Shan Wu and our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
Gloria, what's the message the committee is sending with this very dramatic unanimous vote to subpoena the former President Trump?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, Wolf, I think part of it is theatrical. I don't think any of them expect that the President is going to comply with any kind of subpoena, and that would involve a lot of court action, etc. But I think there was also a clear message to the American public, which is that this hearing today was all about Donald Trump. It was about that this was a Donald Trump initiated, premeditated, attempted a coup.
And that if you didn't ask or attempt to ask Donald Trump himself directly questions about this attempted coup after you have witness after witness saying, yes, Donald Trump was involved, and after you've put hundreds of people in jail, saying, yes, Donald Trump told me to do this, you know? How could they for the history books say, yell, you know, we decided just not to ask the president. I think they had to do it.
BLITZER: Yes, they certainly did. You know, Kasie, how much does this subpoena underscore the committee's laser focus on Trump and his alleged culpability?
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I think it really does underscore the very point that Gloria was making there. And, you know, I think one of the most important things to do is to put what we've learned today in the context of what we know may happen in the coming couple of years, because it is not -- in fact, it may be likely that the former President Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee for president again, which gives him basically a 50-50 shot of going back to the White House, and the members of this committee and this, I think, idea and pushes led by Liz Cheney on the Republican side, they are acutely aware of that is the fact that that's what is at stake here. And so, to fail to take action, I think and to try to, you know, in two ways, one is legal, right, this is a legal move that they're making, but the other is political.
And it shows that they, you know, they strongly believe, and I know Cheney believes this because I've asked her this directly, you know, she does not think there are some concerns raised by Republicans that the Department of Justice, for example, should not indict Trump over this because it could cause political unrest and strain in the country. She believes that that is absolutely not the case. And this is what she has control over.
BLITZER: She certainly does. You know, Shan, you're a legal analyst. We've seen other committees subpoenas dragged on and on in various courts. So is this purely a symbolic move by the select committee?
SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, not purely symbolic, but I think echoing what Gloria said that this is the equivalent of a committee saying Trump needs to answer for these issues. And it certainly will drag out, I have no question that he's going to litigate it. But, you know, there's been a lot of talk about whether a constitutional crisis was averted or will this put us in one if he was resisting it. To me, we're already in a constitutional crisis. And really, the answer to at the beginning of the answer has got the rest with the Department of Justice. BLITZER: We'll see what they do after this -- the Select Committee wraps up its final report, which should be coming out fairly soon, we're told.
You know, Evan, the committee showed, also some new video that had previously never before been seen. You see the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top leaders in the Congress making desperate calls for help. They were beginning to panic.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, once they were taken out of the Capitol to their safe place at Fort McNair, there were all these calls. We knew, you know, I was sitting at the Justice Department, we knew that they were fielding calls, the FBI had people going to the Capitol to try to clear the Capitol to try to make it safe for the Congress to continue its constitutional duty.
And, you know, I think what this -- those images capture is just how haphazard everything was, because there was nobody at the White House necessarily who's calling the shots. And so you saw Nancy Pelosi, you saw, you know, governors.
Wolf, we knew that that day, there were police that came all the way, police departments all the way from New Jersey, that traveled down to the U.S. Capitol answering the call for help. And so, that was how crazy and how just insane that was.
HUNT: Can I say -- just jump in to underscore your point briefly because when I was in that complex as that was happening as they were being evacuated, those were some of the longest hours of my life and of all of our lives, quite frankly, as we -- I mean, the idea that you could sit in the United States Capitol where we all went to work every day, assuming it was one of the safest places in all of Washington, I mean, perhaps you'd expect or not expect, but you might be aware, like could be a victim of a foreign terrorist attack, but to have your own countrymen come down the mall, and then not know who's going to come and help you, I mean, that was kind of the atmosphere. And that video just captures it in this incredibly raw way.
BLITZER: Yes. We're going to be sharing a lot more of that video coming up, as well.
Gloria, how powerful is it to get that behind the scenes look at top leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, by the way, amid this violent assault on the U.S. Capitol?
BORGER: Well, to echo what Kasie is saying, I -- and it's incredibly powerful, because you see them trying to do what the White House did not do. They're trying to get some people up there to defend them. I mean, you see Nancy Pelosi on the phone with Governor Northam, you see them saying, OK, we're -- I'm calling the mayor of D.C.
And what was stunning to me also about this behind the scenes footage is that you saw Nancy Pelosi talking to the Vice President of the United States. That is a conversation that the then president never had with the vice President of the United States. And what he said to her was so important, which is, we're going to be able to meet within an hour. And that meant that the election was going to be certified.
And that made me feel good, which was this was something they felt that they needed to do for the country. They felt they needed to do to, in a way, save a free and fair election. And they managed to do it and it was the vice president, whose life was in danger, who delivered the news, and the same vice president never heard from the president of the United States.
BLITZER: Yes, good point.
You know, Kasie, the committee also showcased very dramatic interviews with former Trump cabinet officials. I want you and our viewers to watch what former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told the committee about resigning after January 6, watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELAINE CHAO, FORMER TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I think the events at the Capitol, however they occurred, were shocking. And it was something that, as I mentioned in my statement, that I could not put aside. And at a particular point, the events were such that it was impossible for me to continue given my personal values and my philosophy.
I came as an immigrant to this country, I believe in this country. I believe in a peaceful transfer of power, I believe in democracy. And so, I was a -- it was a decision that I made on my own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: It was also significant, Kasie, the committee made a very important point to rely on Republican voices, Republican voices throughout all of these hearings, didn't they?
HUNT: Yes, they absolutely did. And I think that's been a critical decision throughout, Wolf. I think it's something that has given the committee more credibility with voters who are perhaps on the fence who are independent voters, and perhaps also Republicans who may not want to see Donald Trump reelected to the White House. This -- while it's been criticized by the former president and by many on the right, as you know, they call it a show trial, etc., the reality is all the information that we're learning, and some of this, by the very nature of the reality, Republicans were in power, they were in the White House, they're the people who knew what was going on that day. And they are the ones who are, you know, educating us and telling us all of this.
I mean, that Elaine Chao clip is pretty interesting. I mean, I, you know, I'd be interested to hear a little bit more of how she was saying that because I sort of heard she was saying this was my decision, it didn't have necessarily to do with my husband who, of course, the majority -- minority leader, Mitch McConnell. But you know, she was not the only one in many Republicans that I've worked with who, you know, behind the scenes privately have disdain Trump for many years. I mean, they do feel this way about our democracy, they were appalled by the attack on the Capitol.
Many of them were willing to say that in the immediate aftermath, it has turned pretty quickly. I mean, it only took a few weeks really before that the tune changed in January, February of 2021 because many of these people realize that Trump's voters were still sticking with him. But that doesn't mean that the people that this committee can potentially convince and show again and again why Trump should not be reelected aren't open at least a little bit to hearing some of this new information and the messengers are very important.
BLITZER: All right, Kasie, everybody standby. We have a lot more to discuss in -- we'll have much more on today's hearing coming up, including newly disclosed U.S. Secret Service messages sounding the alarm about potential violence, weeks, weeks before the insurrection.
And it's not your imagination, everything costs more. The new report that means Americans wallets are about to get hit even harder. Stay with us.
BLITZER: We're back with more on today's truly stunning January 6 select committee hearing. Let's go back to our legal and political experts for more analysis.
Gloria, we learned some very explosive new details from more than a million U.S. Secret Service messages handed over to the committee. Just listen to the types of warnings they got to the lead up. This is an advance of what happened on January 6.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: Days before January 6, the president's senior advisors at the Department of Justice and FBI, for example, received an intelligence summary that included material indicating that certain people traveling to Washington were making plans to attack the Capitol. This summer he noted online calls to occupy federal buildings, rhetoric about invading the Capitol building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Norquist says during one of these calls, the greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their plan is to literally kill people. Our lawmakers in Congress can leave one of two ways, one in a body bag, two, after rightfully certifying Trump, the winner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So Kasie, how damning is this? Gloria, I should say. BORGER: Well, look, it's very damning because the Secret Service was very well aware that this could turn violent. And we know from testimony that we've heard before at the January 6 committee hearings, that the president himself was told this could turn violent and he didn't seem to care. He wanted the max (ph) to open up to people who had weapons, for example. So, it's very concerning, it's very damning, it makes you ask questions about why there weren't more people there to protect the Congress of the United States if there were all these red flags --
BORGER: -- and the Secret Service knew.
BLITZER: And Kasie, that's an excellent point, because the Secret Service clearly knew what was going on what to expect. We heard of the -- all that evidence today. Just how big of a failure was this?
HUNT: I mean, I was just going to underscore that exact point. The reality is that we're still learning everything about what the Capitol Police and those defending the Capitol knew about what might or might not have happened that day. But this certainly seems to make it look as though the Secret Service was prepared for something that these other law enforcement agencies were not prepared for. And there clearly could have been steps taken, whether it was with the National Guard or the Metropolitan Police Department or any of these other agencies that had to come in after the Capitol had been ransacked after those police officers had been beaten, and were trying to hold off this mob all by themselves. I mean, you saw some of them sitting in committee hearing room today, it was just incredibly difficult for them to watch all of this.
I mean, to learn that the Secret Service was very aware of all of these threats and the possibility of them and that they were preparing for them themselves and potentially not sharing that information with people that they could have shared it with is very concerning. And I imagine will merit additional investigation into the future.
BLITZER: I suspect you're right. Evan, while the committee certainly has been conducting its investigation, the Justice Department, and you cover the Justice Department, their own probe has just ramped up pretty dramatically as well. We got a possible window into their work today. Tell us about that.
PEREZ: Well, right. That's right, Wolf. Our fantastic team at the U.S. courthouse right across from the Capitol saw a couple of witnesses who went in to speak to the January 6 grand jury. We saw the prosecutor Tom Windham, who is overseeing the effort -- the investigation into not only January 6, but also the efforts to impede the transfer of power. That grand jury was in today, Marc Short, the former aide to the former Vice President Pence was there, Kash Patel, a former National Security aide to former President Trump was also there.
We're told by sources that in the case of Short, he's certainly sat answered questions. He had previously appeared before the grand jury, Wolf, and had declined to answer certain questions because of the former president's claim of executive privilege. What's been going on behind the scenes is an executive privilege fight under seal in secret before a judge and it appears he was finally compelled. Our sources are telling Pamela Brown, he was compelled to appear today and answer some additional questions.
We expect, Wolf, that this is not a fight that's over. We expect that other witnesses, people like Pat Cipollone, Patrick Philbin, important witnesses that the former president has tried to stop from testifying, providing testimony, we expect those people to be called back before the grand jury and to answer those questions from the -- from prosecutor.
BLITZER: Important point, you know. And Shan, in another blow to former President Trump, illegal blow to former President Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected his emergency request to intervene in the dispute over the highly classified documents seized from Mar-a- Lago. So where does this go from here?
WU: Well, I think this pretty much ends Trump's ability to go into the court on this. He may come up with other issues to try them again, but the court has made the very right decision not to validate this unprecedented interference with a criminal investigation by the judiciary. So, I'm happy to see that the court has followed the legal analysis and some of the concerns we've had about partisanship, they followed the law on this one.
BLITZER: Certainly. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.
And be sure to tune in later tonight for an "Anderson Cooper 360 Exclusive." They'll debut born never before seen footage of congressional leadership on January 6. It's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.
Up next very emotional reaction to the jury sentencing recommendation in the Parkland Florida School shooting that killed 17 people. Parents of some victims calling it disgusting and a gut punch.
Plus, chilling new developments in the war in Ukraine, as Russia now steps up its use of so called kamikaze drone attacks.
BLITZER: The Florida jury has recommended a sentence of life without parole for Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz, whose valentine day attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 people, 14 children, three adults. CNN's Carlos Suarez has the latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JUDGE ELIZABETH SCHERER, BROWARD CIRCUIT COURT: Eligibility for the death penalty --
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Defeated and disappointed, family members who lost their loved ones in the deadliest high school shooting in the U.S. listened in agony as the judge read the jury's recommendation to spare the life of convicted killer Nikolas Cruz 17 times.
SCHERER: We the jury unanimously find that the aggravating factors that were proven beyond a reasonable doubt outweigh the mitigating circumstances established, no.
SUAREZ (voice-over): On all 17 counts of first degree murder, three jurors showed Cruz mercy. According to CNN affiliate WFOR. Something Cruz's own attorneys said he did not show his victims the day of the massacre.
DR. ILAN ALHADEFF, ALYSSA ALHADEFF'S FATHER: I'm disgusted with our legal system. I'm disgusted with those jurors.
SUAREZ: His daughter, 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was shot several times at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day in 2018.
ALHADEFF: You set a precedent today. He set the precedent for the next mass killing and nothing happens to you, you'll get life in jail. I'm sorry, that is not OK. As a country, we need to stand up and say that's not OK.
SUAREZ: The jury returned a verdict of life without the possibility of parole after deliberating for one day, ending a lengthy penalty trial that began in April to have recommended death, the jury would have had to unanimously agree that the aggravating factors, the reasons for a death sentence outweighed mitigating circumstances including doctor's testimony that Cruz was mentally ill was enough to spare his life. They did not.
FRED GUTTENBERG, JAIME GUTTERBERG'S FATHER: This jury failed our families today. But I will tell you, the monster is going to go to prison and in prison, I hope and pray, he receives the kind of mercy from prisoners that he showed to my daughter and the 16 others. He is going to go to prison and he will die in prison. And I will be waiting to read that news on that. He should have received the death sentence today.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SUAREZ: And late this afternoon, Wolf, one of the jurors that voted against the death penalty wrote a letter to the judge saying that an allegation she heard from a another juror that she had made up her mind before the trial got underway was not true. Cruz will be sentenced on November 1st and the families they're going to get an opportunity to address the court that same day as well.
BLITZER: Well, that will be a powerful moment indeed. CNN's Carlos Suarez in Fort Lauderdale, standby. I also want to bring in CNN legal analysts Paul Callan and Joey Jackson. Paul, what do you make of the verdict these jurors reached today life in prison without the possibility of parole.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It was really a shocking development I thought because here you have a young man who pled guilty. He admitted to killing 17 people. He admitted to attempted murder charges against 17. He never asserted an insanity defense of any kind. And yet, in the face of that the jury found not only was this a cold calculated, premeditated and cruelest kind of murder, as you could possibly imagine. But that -- the mitigating circumstances were absolutely minimal as far as the evidence was, and yet, they handed down such a light sentence.
I mean, ever, I think everybody looked at the case thought there would be a death penalty. And the second thing that I felt was very surprising was with so many victims, with so many families affected by this, the jury didn't spend longer to try to reach this conclusion, a minority of these jurors really dictated this sentence. Even if only one juror wanted -- did not want the death penalty. The law in Florida is clear you cannot get it.
So why not spend a couple two, three, four days deliberating about it to see if you could all reach a conclusion. I think they rushed to this verdict. And I think a lot of people are going to be very unhappy about it.
BLITZER: Yes. A lot of people including the families, they're very, very unhappy. 17 people killed brutally including 14 children in this school. Joey, I'm anxious to get your thoughts. The jurors clearly had the option of imposing the death penalty, which is legal in Florida, but three of them thought there were some mitigating circumstance that prevented them from opposing it. What factors might have led to that decision?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, well, if it's really hard to fathom, if ever there was a case that would warrant the death penalty, this would seem to be the case that did just that when you talk about the manner of his brutality, when you talk about the aggravating circumstances. Before pivoting to your question with the mitigating factors, you would think that going back to ensure that people are dead, who you shot at the first time and just -- it really reaping the carnage that he did there would be enough. Apparently, it was not.
When we looked at the mitigating factors, any case, Wolf, is about the battle of the narratives. The narrative of the defense was that the defendant didn't stand a chance. In fact, they argue that in utero he had poisoning is it related to alcohol and drugs and other substances already.
So by the time he was born, his dysfunction, his level of mental acuity, et cetera was off, and that's what they hung their hat on. But when you look at the aggravation, that is the cold, calculated, premeditated nature of what he did versus the mitigation, as I just discussed, you would think the jury might have had a different conclusion.
Last point, Wolf. There are some I would imagine on the jury who believe that a penalty of serving your life in jail perhaps was more substantial than sending him to death. I'm sure jurors will be questioned and evaluated as to how they reach their conclusions. But it's just -- if you look at a case where there's a death penalty, you would think would be a no brainer based upon what he did to those families, Wolf, if it would seem that this would be that case, apparently, it was not.
BTLIZER: Yes, clearly, you know, Carlos, we're hearing from family members who say this verdict is a gut punch. They're very, very disgusted by the decision. Tell us more about how the families of the 17 victims are responding tonight.
SUAREZ: Wolf, many of them told us what you said they're disgusted. They were angry by this verdict. A few of them were just staring at the jury the entire time, shaking their head as they came back on one count after the other after the other, at least one family member walked out before the verdict was finished.
The sense in talking to a lot of these folks afterward is they were surprised. They were shocked. They were still trying to process what happened. But make no mistake about it, Wolf, they were very, very angry with this decision.
BLITZER: Which is totally so understandable. All right, guys, thank you very much, Carlos. Joey, Paul, appreciate it very much. Just ahead, the fourth straight day of Russia's missile barrage on Ukraine, and now Russia is actually stepping up its use of what are called Kamikaze drones. We'll take you to Ukraine and break down the latest battlefield developments. That's next.
BLITZER: As Vladimir Putin brutally steps up his renewed assault on Ukrainian civilians for a fourth straight day. Russia is now turning to drone strikes to wage this awful, awful campaign. CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has our report from the warzone.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Early Thursday morning and attack on a town west of the Ukrainian capital. Russia continues its bombardment of Ukraine's key infrastructure. Across the country, scenes like this one in central Ukraine are a common sight wreckages of power plants. That tactic is familiar. The weapon until recently was not.
A kamikaze drone seen here after an attack on the other side of the country in Kharkiv of cheap, self-detonating and unmanned they are a new weapon and Russia's war on Ukraine. The marking say Geran 2 but this is no Russian made weapon.
Its name is Shahed designed and manufactured in Iran, known as a loitering munition that could circle a target and the lightweight airframe can travel long distances. The U.S. government says a Russian delegation traveled to Iran in June to inspect the drones seen here and satellite imagery obtained exclusively by CNN.
In recent weeks, Russia has massively stepped up its use of the drones, evidence posted on Ukrainian social media on a near daily basis.
SERHIY BRATCHUK, SPOKESPERSON, ODESA REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION: The enemy is trying to save up on cruise missiles, various caliber types. These Shaheds are firstly, much cheaper, they can be used much more frequently, and they work in pairs.
PLEITGEN: Ukraine too uses kamikaze drones like the much smaller U.S. manufactured Switchblade. Though there is no evidence to suggest Ukraine has used the weapon against anything but military targets.
Ukraine's air defense has been fairly successful in downing Russia's drones, but the fact that they are so cheap has the Ukrainians worried and plays a big part in their push this week for more Western help with air defense.
Ukraine's President Zelenskyy says Russia has ordered 2,400 kamikaze drones from Iran. Officials here fear that as Russia increasingly targets population centers, kamikaze drones are a growing part of the arsenal.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PLEITGEN: And that's exactly why the Ukrainians are saying they need more of those Western air defense systems are quite interesting because the Ukrainian president he came out earlier today and he said right now the Ukrainians only have about 10 percent of the air defense capabilities that they actually need. Of course, we know that the U.S. has said it wants to get those NASAM systems to the Ukrainians as fast as possible.
The Germans have given a little bit. The Spanish today have said they want to give some air defense systems as well. And NATO is now saying it's specifically wants to give anti-drone equipment also to the Ukrainians to try and combat this threat. Wolf.
BLITZER: Will save a lot of lives if they do. Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much. Be careful over there. Let's take a closer look right now at the battlefield in Ukraine with our military analyst retired Colonel Cedric Leighton is joining us. Colonel Leighton, tell us more we're learning about Russia's use of the so called Kamikaze drones.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Wolf. Well, these drones are really quite remarkable in the sense that what they do is they actually end up exploding on impact. And the way these Shahed drones as Fred mentioned in his report work is they go after a target and it explodes on impact and destroys the drone. This is not a reusable drone. It's very similar to the Switchblade drone in some aspects.
The type of production that the Iranians have is such that they will really have to ramp up to really make the Russians supply this kind of -- this kind of drone for the war effort. So that really makes a big difference that way.
BLITZER: Certainly does. As we see the Russians now increasingly targeting civilians in urban areas, is this we're entering a new phase right now?
LEIGHTON: I think it is. And Wolf, these phases in a war can vary quite a bit that really depends on exactly where the Russians are going to strike and with what they're going to strike. But you see the map here, and you have all the strikes. The circles are the ones were Tuesday and Monday morning, these other strikes right here on Wednesday. And there have been further strikes on Thursday.
These kinds of attacks become really important because what they're doing is they're going after the civilian infrastructure. And that's the goal here. These aren't normally military targets with a few exceptions, like you're in Vinnytsya, which is an airbase. But other than that, we're really looking at mainly civilian targets.
BLITZER: Are these new attacks, Colonel, against civilian targets in the U.S. considers these to be war crimes? Are they the result of this new Russian general who was brought in to take charge?
LEIGHTON: Yes, I think they are. Because what you see here, this is General Sergei Surovikin. And General Sergei Surovikin is a known for his brutality and for his ability to integrate different parts of the Russian Armed Forces. He not only serves as an Army General, but previously he served as the commander of the Russian Air Force. So he has a varied career. He has experienced a lot of combat in Syria and in Chechnya, and he has a reputation that really boils down to the fact that he is quite ruthless in the way he conducts the war, and also quite ruthless in the way he goes about executing the war plan that the Russians had.
BLITZER: They killed a lot of civilians in Aleppo, in Syria when he was in charge over there. He's really considered brutal. I want to show you in our viewers, Colonel, a clip of some newly mobilized Russian soldiers who are already on the frontlines. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): We've got this for trainings, knows what kind of house we're at. Three armor piercing cartridges. We're in Svatove, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): What region? Luhansk region. We are mobilized. We don't have to be here at all. 11 days from when we were deployed. We left Moscow 11 days ago. How many times did you shoot already? Once, three bullet cartridges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So Colonel, what do you make of that?
LEIGHTON: Complete lack of training, Wolf, and the fact that they can't resupply these troops or they can resupply the ones that are in combat and they can't resupply the ones that are moving in to this part of that 300,000 group of conscripts. It's a disaster from a Russian war effort.
BLITZER: Yes. All right. Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you very, very much. Coming up, your bills here in the United States are only going to get more expensive why the latest inflation report could change your spending habits.
And the January 6 Select Committee escalates its fight with former President Donald Trump by subpoenaing. What's his response? Stay with us.
BLITZER: A troubling sign tonight for the U.S. economy a key inflation number proved -- proving what Americans already know. Prices keep going up. I want to bring in CNN's Marc Stewart to explain what's going on. Marc, today's numbers released today mean there is likely what more pain on the way, is that right?
MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Wolf, if you talk to economists, they will make it very clear that inflation is going to be a persistent problem. And the numbers today really do paint a bit of a bleak narrative.
If we look at the data that we just got today, prices last month shot up by 0.4 percent in the month of September. But then if we take a broader look over the past 12 months, we've seen a spike of about 8 percent. And that is touching Americans in every aspect of their lives.
For example, and most notable is at the grocery store prices have been rising. This includes everything from fruits and vegetables, to things that we eat for dinner every night like steak, some pork products, some types of fish, but the inflation goes well beyond the grocery store. If you are paying rent, like many Americans do, you likely saw an increase last month, even medical care Wolf is increasing. And these are expenses and cost that many of us just cannot live without.
BLITZER: Well, today's numbers Marc being that the Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates, again?
STEWART: Very likely. And the reason why I say that is the Fed Chair Jerome Powell has made it very clear that he is going to base his decisions based off of data and the data that we are seeing right now isn't so good.
In addition, I just was talking with an economist a few months ago, who pointed out that these interest rate hikes they take some time for them to take effect anywhere from about five to nine months. These hikes started in March of this year. So we're still in that window right now.
BLITZER: With everything costing, more and more social security is about to get a boost as well, right now its biggest increase since 1981 to keep up with inflation. BLITZER: Right, a cost of living adjustment, although we heard from one analyst at CNN today that there are real questions about whether that is going to be enough based off of these numbers that we are reporting.
Also important to point out that a lot of Americans have their money invested in the stock market with their retirement accounts. And right now, as we saw today, the market has been wobbly.
BLITZER: It certainly has. Marc Stewart, thank you very, very much. Coming up, a dramatic end to today's January 6 hearing. The committee voting to subpoena former president Donald Trump, we're learning new details right now. And we're diving into the shocking never before seen video of congressional leaders sheltering while the U.S. Capitol was under siege. Stay with us. Lots more are coming up.
BLITZER: Happening now, a surprise ending to today's January 6 hearing, a vote to subpoena former president Donald Trump. We're breaking down all the new evidence presented by the House Select Committee including the first ever look at video of congressional leaders out after they escaped the riot.