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January 6 Committee Subpoenas Former President Trump; Supreme Court Rejects Trump's Plea To Intervene In Mar-A-Lago Case; Parkland School Shooter Avoids Death Penalty; Russian Government To Evacuate Residents From Occupied Kherson Region Of Ukraine As Kyiv's Forces Advance; New Inflation Data: Americans Punished By Rising Prices. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 13, 2022 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Also tonight, new reaction to the Parkland school shooter avoiding the death penalty as the jury recommends he serve life in prison without parole. I'll talk with the widow of the school's athletic director, one of 17 people who were killed in that brutal massacre.

And Ukraine suffers more punishing Russian attacks as Vladimir Putin steps up his use of a very deadly known as kamikaze drones.

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

This hour, Donald J. Trump faces a congressional subpoena as the January 6th select committee closes a very significant phase of its investigation and weighs its next moves.

CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider has details on today's very dramatic hearing.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): An extraordinary move from the January 6th select committee.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Those in favor will say, aye.

SCHNEIDER: Unanimously voting to subpoena former President Trump for testimony and documents in their ongoing probe after the hearing where members continued to make their case that Trump is a clear and present danger to democracy.

CHENEY: The central cause of January 6th was one man, Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of this would have happened without him.

SCHNEIDER: The committee unveiled never-before-seen footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scrambling to safety as protesters breached the Capitol.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have got to get -- finish the proceedings or else they will have a complete victory.

SCHNEIDER: In the hours that followed, anger and disbelief from Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

PELOSI: They're putting on their teargas masks.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I'm going to call up the effing secretary of DOD.

PELOSI: Oh my gosh, they're just breaking windows, they're doing all kinds -- it's really -- they said somebody was shot. It's just horrendous and all at the instigation of the president of the United States.

SCHUMER: Why don't you get the president to tell them to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney general, in your law enforcement responsibility, a public statement they should all leave?

SCHNEIDER: The committee also disclosed snippets from the nearly 1 million records they've received from Secret Service, detailing how officials knew days before January 6th the violence that could unfold. In a December 26 email a Secret Service field office relayed a tip that the Proud Boys planned to march into Washington, saying they will outnumber they police so they can't be stopped. Their plan is to literally kill people. Please, please take this tip seriously and investigate further.

In the days after the election leading up to January 6th, Trump's own officials repeatedly tried to dispel the false claims of election fraud that Trump continued to repeat.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Suitcases of ballots out from under a table. You all saw it on television, totally fraudulent.

RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: There is no suitcase. The president kept fixating on this suitcase that supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that the suitcase was rolled out from under the table. And I said, no, sir, there is no suitcase.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I told him that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that. And it was doing a great grave disservice to the country. There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.

SCHNEIDER: The committee also released new testimony from Trump's former chief of staff and former transportation secretary, both of whom resigned in the wake of January 6th.

STEVE MNUCHIN, FORMER TRUMP ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: I was stunned by the violence, and I was stunned by the president's apparent indifference to the violence.

ELAINE CHAO, FORMER TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: 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.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): And minutes after the hearing ended, the former president quickly fired off criticism of the committee subpoenaing him for testimony and documents. He wrote this on his Truth Social platform saying, why didn't the unselect committee ask 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.

And, Wolf, the committee is saying now they needed to subpoena Trump at this point because they've really been unable to nail down his exact actions, his exact conversations. And the people closest to Trump, of course, that they've interviewed so far has repeatedly pled the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer any questions.

BLITZER: We'll see if Trump does the same, if he ever shows up. All right, thanks very much for that, Jessica Schneider, giving us the latest developments. I want you to stay with us, Jessica.


I want to bring in more of our legal and political experts as well.

Jamie Gangel, what went into the committee's decision, pretty dramatic decision, to subpoena the former president of the United States?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. We knew this was coming, but it was not an invitation. They went straight to subpoena. And as Chairman Bennie Thompson said, quote, it is a question about accountability to the American people, it's our obligation to get Trump's testimony. So, no one thinks he's going to show up, especially because he would have to testify under oath, but they had to lay down their marker and do it for history, Wolf.

BLITZER: They certainly did. Elie, let's talk a little bit about what's going on. There's really no time for the committee to pursue this because the legal battle could be lengthy. But in theory, how could this play out, in theory?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think that's right, Wolf. I think it's very unlikely, as Jamie said, that Donald Trump agrees to testify. If the committee wanted to pursue this, however, what they would have to do is vote to hold Trump in contempt of Congress, then send that vote to the entire House of Representatives which would send the case over to the United States Department of Justice to consider whether to prosecute for criminal contempt of Congress. This is exactly what happened to Steve Bannon, who, of course, was tried for that very same offense. He was convicted and now he's set to be sentenced next week. So, that would be the way DOJ would go -- excuse me -- that the committee would go if they wanted to pursue this, Wolf.

BLITZER: We shall see. John Dean, you stepped up, as all of us remember, to testify during Watergate. Do you agree with the committee's symbolic step right now on this subpoena?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I do because I think the committee would have been criticized had they not given him an invitation at minimum, a subpoena more realistically. But I think he will fight the subpoena, he will not be responsive to it. He'll try to wait out this committee in the hopes that the Republicans take over the Congress and they will kill the committee. However, if the Democrats take that committee over again and control, he might have a fight.

BLITZER: We will see sooner rather than later.

Dana, the committee also very dramatically played some jaw-dropping, new, just-released-video showing behind-the-scenes look, a look at the top congressional leadership, how they were dealing with this revolt, this attack on the U.S. Capitol.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was amazing to see, and I really can't wait to see more of it. I know it will be on Anderson Cooper tonight. But we talked earlier a lot about the begging for more help, security-wise, for the National Guard, that you see right there, the speaker and Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate were doing with the governor of Virginia, the mayor of D.C. and so forth.

One other thing that was really striking to me, Wolf, was the determination that they all had, particularly the House speaker, to get back to work. She was very, very focused on when can we get back in there, when can we continue to do what is constitutionally required of them, which is to certify the election. That was a top, top priority, of course, also, the personal safety of everybody there.

And the ultimate -- the time that they found out, the way they found out was Mike Pence telling them that they could go back in, and it's safe to come back in and they would hear about that officially soon, the very person who was himself a target by Donald Trump -- of Donald Trump's supporters because he refused to go along and he was going to certify -- oversee the certification.

BLITZER: Jamie, I'm anxious to know what struck you, what stood out to you from this newly released video?

GANGEL: I think it was striking that, first of all, it was bipartisan. In this clip, we only really saw the Democrats. But Mitch McConnell is there. Kevin McCarthy is there. You see John Thune there. They're all in the same boat. And, obviously, it is in striking contrast to Donald Trump, the person who should have been doing this, but instead was sitting for 187 minutes watching T.V., not doing it. And why didn't he do it? Because look what happened when he finally did send out the tweet and tell everyone to go home, they did. He didn't want them to and he didn't send that tweet until he had to.

BLITZER: There was another dramatic moment -- a lot of dramatic moments, Jessica. The committee laid back just how far back Trump's plans went to reject the votes of the American people. I want you and our viewers to watch this.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): As you can see, the draft statement, which was sent on October 31st, declares, we had an election today, and I won. And the Fitton memo specifically indicates a plan that only the votes counted by the Election Day deadline -- and there is no Election Day deadline -- would matter. Everyone knew that ballot counting would lawfully continue past Election Day.


Claiming that the counting on election night must stop before millions of votes were counted was, as we now know, a key part of President Trump's premeditated plan. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Good point. How critical is it, the case of the select committee, that the violence on January 6th, and we all saw the violence, it was brutal, was not spontaneous?

SCHNEIDER: The committee has been working throughout all their hearings to lay out this evidence methodically about just how much and how long Donald Trump was working to build up this anger and subsequent violence from his supporters. He talked about fraudulent election even though he was repeatedly told that there was no widespread election fraud.

And then, of course, now we have an even better glimpse of the timeline here, not only the memos from the end of October, where he did plan to dispute the election even before the election, but then we've also heard from the committee member, Zoe Lofgren, about their interview with Trump's campaign member, Brad Parscale, and how he relayed that Trump, as far back as July, had said that he would dispute the election if he didn't win.

BLITZER: Yes, and that's exactly what he did.

All right, guys, everybody stand by. There's much more we need to discuss, including very disturbing information about the warnings the U.S. Secret Service got ahead of the assault on the U.S. Capitol.



BLITZER: More now today on today's very dramatic House January 6th select committee hearing and the new revelations of warnings, many warnings, of the violence that ultimately happened that brutal day.

Let's get back to our legal and political experts for more analysis.

Dana, we learned very disturbing new information today on the sort of warnings that the U.S. Secret Service got about what was about to unfold. And I want to play this clip. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Days before January 6th, the president's senior advisers 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 summary noted online calls to occupy federal buildings, rhetoric about invading the Capitol building.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Norquist says during one of these calls, the greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol.

SCHIFF: Their plan is to literally kill people. Our lawmakers in Congress can leave one or two ways, one, in a body bag, two, after rightfully certifying Trump the winner.


BLITZER: So, Dana, how big of a failure was it? All these warnings had come in in the days and weeks before this assault on the U.S. Capitol, yet they weren't prepared.

BASH: It's a huge failure and we still don't know why there was such a failure. And our Whitney Wild, our colleague, just got a statement from the Secret Service saying that they -- regarding this -- they are a consumer of intelligence information and they received information that, in part, Adam Schiff was talking about, and that in the weeks leading up to January 6th, the Secret Service was in constant communication with law enforcement in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere about the potential for the protests to erupt into violence.

It's still not an answer to your question. And that is a fundamental question that I still don't really think that we have a handle on. And whether it is a failure of imagination that nobody could actually envision the protests and believe the protests would turn into such violence despite what we saw today in this hearing, was said on the internet, in social media very, very clearly, very violent discussions.

BLITZER: They had a lot, a lot of warning and they obviously ignored all those warnings.

John Dean, former President Trump, he, himself, was warned of the potential for violence. He was kept informed of everything as it unfolded. So, how damning is that?

DEAN: It certainly is informative for understanding his lack of action and how he was so aware of what was going to happen or likely to happen. It's somewhat inexplicable. I can't understand, unless he really did want those people to suffer harm, he really did want Pence, his vice president -- he really believed this concocted scheme to upturn the election was possible, which the more details I've learned of it, the less likely it seems it could have really happened, I think that this information is very damning and very important to understanding what went on.

BLITZER: Yes, they've got to learn lessons from this. It's really important. Jessica, I know you're getting some new information now on the Justice Department's investigation into January 6th. What can you tell us?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. So, at the same time this hearing was happening on Capitol Hill, there were actually two former Trump officials, Trump White House officials, who were actually at the federal courthouse. And we've learned that at least one of them, the former chief of staff to Mike Pence, Marc Short, he was, in fact, testifying before the grand jury today for the second time.

And the reason why he was back for a second time was because the first time he actually refused to answer several questions on the basis of executive privilege. And we know that that's been an ongoing secret court fight as to the extent of executive privilege and how much Trump aides can actually assert that privilege.

So, Marc Short was there before the grand jury today. We also spotted Kash Patel, a national security aide with the White House during the Trump years. Unclear why he was there but he could have been before the grand jury as well.

BLITZER: Yes, very interesting, indeed.

Elie Honig, you're our legal analyst. Former President Trump got a blow today from the Secret Service in the Mar-a-Lago investigation, a separate investigation. They rejected his emergency request. So, where do things go from here?

HONIG: Yes, Wolf. This was a definitive loss for Donald Trump. The Supreme Court refused to even consider the case relating to those classified documents, the 100 or so classified documents that the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago.


So, that means those classified documents do not have to go through the special master review. That means DOJ can access those documents, use them right now in their criminal investigation and in their national security investigation, so, definitely a setback for Donald Trump today.

BLITZER: Very much of a setback, indeed.

Jamie, the select committee revealed today more details will be emerging when the committee wraps up their investigation, issues their final report, including evidence of potential obstruction. What else are you learning?

GANGEL: So, first of all, we have to see whether the committee -- and I think my reporting is it is likely to happen, that there will be criminal referrals, plural. And so that's next step. They're writing up the report. But also the committee said today that they are not finished going through those Secret Service documents. They are continuing to do that, and I'm told they are continuing to interview possible witnesses. So, their work is going to continue and we're going to have that report in December. BLITZER: In December. We'll see what happens on that front. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Be sure to tune in later tonight for an Anderson Cooper 360 exclusive. He'll debut more never-before-seen footage of the congressional leadership on January 6th. It all begins at 8:00 P.M. Eastern only here on CNN.

And coming up, the Parkland school shooter spared the death penalty, the jury recommending life in prison instead. We'll talk to the widow of one of his victims and get her reaction. That's next.



BLITZER: Life in prison without the possibility of parole, that's the sentence recommended by a jury for Nikolas Cruz who gunned down 17 people, 14 of them children, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on valentine's day back in 2019.

CNN's Brian Todd is here with details for us. Brian, we saw very emotional and totally understandable reaction from the families.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of the victim's parents called this sentencing verdict a gut punch to the families, an illustration of just how raw this proceeding was. None of the jurors looked in the direction of the victims' relatives while the verdict was being read.


TODD (voice over): The facial expressions and body language were excruciating as the sentencing verdict for Nikolas Cruz was read in court today, mothers shook heads, wiped tears, fathers slumped down with heads in hands or could barely contain their anger.

JUDGE ELIZABETH SCHERER, BROWARD COUNTY, CIRCUIT COURT: The jury having returned a verdict of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

TODD: Cruz, who pleaded guilty to the 2018 massacre of 17 people are Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, avoided the death penalty. Victims' relatives pouring out their heartache in graphic terms.

ANNE RAMSAY, MOTHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM HELENA RAMSAY: Today, we let off someone that murdered 17 people in cold blood. How do you describe someone dying and bursting open their head?

LORI ALHADEFF, MOTHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM ALYSSA ALHADEFF: I sent my daughter to school, and she was shot eight times. I am so beyond disappointed and frustrated with this outcome.

TODD: Lori Alhadeff's 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was one of 14 students killed that day. As with other victims, Judge Elizabeth Scherer read the jury's finding, did the aggravating factors of Alyssa Alhadeff's murder, factors which would prompt a sentence of death, outweigh mitigating circumstances that would prevent the death penalty?


TODD: Prompting a muttered expletive from Alyssa's father, Ilan, her mom covering her face in anguish. Ilan Alhadeff later telling reporters what he thought of the outcome.

ILAN ALHADEFF, FATHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM ALYSSA ALHADEFF: I'm disgusted with our legal system. I'm disgusted with those jurors.

TODD: Three jury foreman said three jurors voted against the death penalty, one of them because they believed Cruz was mentally ill. Mental illness was one of at least 40 mitigating factors the defense presented to persuade jurors that death wasn't the appropriate sentence. Other mitigating factors, that Cruz had been exposed to alcohol and drugs in the womb, that he had been sexually abused by a trusted peer.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The mitigating factors in this case, particularly those that went to his state of mind and his mental health were critical in sparing his life.

TODD: But those factors only seemed to draw fury from parents, like Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter, Gina, was shot four times.

TONY MONTALTO, FATHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM GINA MONTALTO: Pressing the barrel of his weapon to my daughter's chest, that doesn't outweigh that poor little, what's his name, had a tough upbringing?

TODD: Another father saying what he now wishes for the shooter.

FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND VICTIM JAIME GUTTENBERG: In prison, I hope and pray he receives the kind of mercy from prisoners that he showed to my daughter and the 16 others.


TODD (on camera): The judge will issue the formal sentence on November 1st, but she cannot depart from the jury's recommendation of life in prison. The judge has also set an early December date when victim's relatives can give a statements saying why they believe the death sentence should have been imposed, but that, too, cannot change this verdict, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Brian Todd reporting for us, thank you very, very much.

Joining us now, Debbie Hixon, her husband, Chris, was the school's athletic director and one of the 17 people who was murdered in the Parkland shooting. Debbie, thank you for joining us. Our hearts go out to you. It's an awful situation.

I understand you were there in the courtroom today. Can you take us inside that room? What was your reaction, Debbie, when this verdict was read?


DEBRA HIXON, WIDOW OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM CHRIS HIXON: You know, when they read the first one and they said, no, that they were not unanimous or didn't agree that the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating, I thought, well, okay, maybe the next one. And as they started to go through, it really started to sink in that he was not going to get the death penalty, and it felt like someone just punched me in the chest.

The biggest thing -- it isn't so much that someone couldn't give him the death penalty. I think I could deal with that. What is bothering, I think, all of us and what hurts the most is that there is a belief that any mitigating circumstance could outweigh what he did to our loved ones.

BLITZER: Yes, awful, awful on that Valentine's Day in 2018. Your husband, Chris, was killed while trying to actually disarm this shooter. You said that the jury's decision says the shooter's life meant more than the 17 who were murdered. What's your message for the jury tonight?

HIXON: That I just can't understand how -- like I just said, even if you believe all of those mitigating factors, and some of them are very well true, some of them maybe not so much, but there's no way that those mitigating factors could have outweighed what happened to those 17 people.

Now, you could have come back and said, yes, the mitigating -- yes, the aggravating factors outweighed mitigating, but we just can't bring ourselves to vote for death, and that would have been more acceptable than the way it came out, because the way it comes out is that his life has more value than those that were murdered.

BLITZER: I know you and your sons testified in this trial, Debbie, and you'll also have the opportunity to speak out again before the formal sentence is given on November 1st. Is there anything else you want to tell the court?

HIXON: I think, really, the opportunity is more to speak to the shooter. And he wanted notoriety. He wanted the families to suffer. And I just want him to know that I'm not going to give him the satisfaction of watching me suffer. I am going to pick myself up, my family, and we're going to pick ourselves up and we're going to honor Chris every day in positive ways and we're going to shut the door on this and we're never going to think about him again.

BLITZER: You sent us some pictures of your husband, Chris, that I'd like to show our viewers. What would you like us to know about Chris and about what it means and what about what he means to you and your sons and how he cared for the students at the school where he worked?

HIXON: You know, Christopher was the life of the party. He made everybody feel like they were family when he came into contact with them. And most importantly, he was what made us feel safe. He was the head of our family. And we are broken and we will never be whole again.

And we honor him every day by trying to do positive things. We have started an organization to provide scholarships to student athletes in his name. And we also, Tommy and I, my older son, work hard to make sure that responsible firearm ownership is something that our country values. I do it through Stand With Parkland. Tommy does it through every Town Gun Safety with the veterans program.

And it's time in our country that we put a stop to what's going on. We cannot just let people, anybody own firearms. There are people that are -- and I'm not going to argue that this person is mentally ill. Clearly, we all agree that something is wrong with him. He should have never had the opportunity to purchase a weapon.

And so the fact that red flag laws are now in place, that's a positive thing. But we have to stop looking at the idea of -- you know, I get frustrated that people worry about the right to life, but somehow that only happens when someone is in the womb. What happens to the rights of people to live once they're out of the womb? If we believe in a right to life, we should believe in it from conception to when there's a natural death.

BLITZER: Debbie Hixon, thank you for sharing your feelings with us today. And you have all of our deepest, deepest and most sincere condolences for the loss of your loving husband, Chris, only 49 years old. May his memory, as we say, be a blessing. Thanks so much for joining us. [18:35:00]

HIXON: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Just ahead, we have new video showing top lawmakers pleading for help as they hid from the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. We'll talk about today's historic hearing with one of the journalists who helped expose the Watergate scandal, Carl Bernstein.


BLITZER: More now on that captivating video of congressional leaders sheltering and pleading for help on January 6th, seen for the first time during today's House select committee hearing and underscoring the drama and the fear of that very dark day in the nation's history.


Here are some of those terrifying moments. Watch this.


PELOSI: We have got to get -- finish the proceedings or they will have a complete victory.

There has to be some way we can maintain the sense that people have, that there's some security or some confidence that government can function and that we can elect a president of the United States. Did we go back into session? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did go back into session. But now, apparently, everybody on the floor is putting on gas masks to prepare for a breach. I'm trying to get more information.

PELOSI: They're putting on their --


PELOSI: Do you believe this?


SCHUMER: I'm going to call the effing secretary of DOD. This cannot be just we're waiting for so and so. We need them there now, whatever you've got.

PELOSI: Breaking windows and going in, obviously ransacking our offices and all the rest of that, that's nothing. The concern we have about personal --

SCHUMER: Safety.

PELOSI: -- Personal safety is -- it just transcends everything. The fact is, on any given day, they're breaking the law in many different ways, and, quite frankly, much of it at the instigation of the president of the United States.

What we are being told very directly is it's going to take days for the Capitol to be okay again. We've gotten very bad report about the condition of the House floor with defecation and all that kind of thing as well. I don't think that that's hard to clean up but I do think it was more from a security standpoint of making sure that everybody is out of the building and how long will that take?

I could take time to clean up the poo poo that they're making all over, literally and figuratively, in the Capitol, and that it may take days to get back.


BLITZER: All right. Let's dig deeper right now with one of the journalists whose reporting exposed the Watergate scandal, CNN Political Analyst Carl Bernstein. He's also the author of the book, Chasing History, A Kid in the Newsroom. Carl, thanks very much for joining us.

How powerful is it to see that new video just released today for the first time and to see Pelosi, Schumer, Mitch McConnell, all of them huddled together, calling the Pentagon for desperate help amid the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's extraordinary, it's unique in our history and it's also emotionally very moving. Because what we see there is the Republican and Democratic leadership of the Congress of the United States determined, unlike the president of the United States, to see that the election of the president goes through, that there is an orderly transition of power, that Donald Trump will not be able to stage a coup, which he's trying to do, that the insurrection will fail, and that leaders of both parties, unlike now, now, the leaders of the Republican Party and much of the rank and file have gone along with this Stop the Steal notion that has been totally discredited by this investigation. And yet we see a great moment in which the leaders step up and say, American democracy must succeed, this election must go forth.

BLITZER: In a truly historic move, the select committee voted today, Carl, to subpoena former President Donald Trump. This may be largely a symbolic move, but do you believe this is the right decision?

BERNSTEIN: I think it's the right decision. But I don't think it's the same consequence of a lot more that we've seen today and that we've seen through these hearings. These hearings along, with the Joe McCarthy hearings in the '50s and the Watergate hearings are the most important and singularly essential to the preservation of our democracy that we have seen in -- certainly in my lifetime.

And this committee has established from top to bottom, open and shut, that Donald Trump stood atop a conspiracy to undermine the election of the president of the United States, to ensure and try to make himself almost a king, that he would succeed to the presidency again without having won the election.

And one of the significant pieces of information that came out today is that Trump told those closest to him, including Mark Meadows, that he knew he had lost. All of this is taking place after he had acknowledged to those around him he had lost. He knew he was lying. He knew that this whole Stop the Steal message was a fraud, just as he has had such a fraudulent term as president of the United States in what he has done with telling the American people lie after lie after lie.


It's stunning. It stops you from saying what have we gone through here.

BLITZER: Yeah, good point. You broke the Watergate scandal, as we all remember, along with Bob Woodward. And the Watergate hearings certainly changed the course of American history. How do you believe these select committee hearings will be remembered?

BERNSTEIN: Well, there's a big difference. And that is the Republican leadership in Watergate marched down to the Oval Office and told Richard Nixon he had to leave office because he was a criminal president.

The Republican leadership has done just the opposite here. They have been silent. They have called this investigation a partisan witch hunt. It is anything but, and at the same time the information developed by this committee gives a minute-by-minute tick tock of how this attempt at a coup began before the election, how it proceeded through the election. And we now have information being turned over to the Justice Department developed by this committee that is irrefutable. We also at the end of this hearing today were given a list of five or six people closest to the president, Bannon, Mark Meadows, Flynn, Roger Stone, who are under investigation and they are the wall of the cover-up that is still going on.

And now, we'll see whether that cover-up continues as the Justice Department moves forward.

BLITZER: A very dark day in American history indeed.

CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein, thanks very much for joining us.

And once again, Anderson Cooper will have much more on the never- before-seen video exclusively later tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360", 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll have more news right after this.



BERMAN: Tonight, Russian state media reporting that Moscow will help evacuate residents from the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine as Kyiv's forces make new advances on the battlefield.

CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground for us tonight.

Nick, a very significant development potentially in Kherson which as been under Russian control. Give us the latest on these Ukrainian gains.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yeah, on surface, Wolf, this seems to be an admission things are not going the way Russia want them to in Kherson, the vial part of the south that it occupies in Ukraine that it certainly declared falsely as being part of Russia. It's how this came around that's intriguing.

The Russian-backed heads of that area, Vladimir Saldo, made a public appeal to help evacuate civilians for what he referred to as a potential for missile strikes. And you might consider that to be a reflection of how badly things are going. But it was only after he made that appeal that Russia said, okay, fine, we will help evacuate civilians from that area.

In many ways, you could interpret that, are they potentially making their job to defend that city the one provincial capital they still occupy easier by removing civilians? Are they trying to ensure the people are loyal to Ukraine get removed for a complicated defense in the months ahead? Unclear.

Regardless, it's a sign of weakness. But it comes troublingly as the reverse is in fact true today. The bombardment Ukrainians are facing from Russia is continuing. A southern city of Mykolaiv on the receiving end of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles used to attack an apartment block. An 11-year-old boy was trapped in the rubble for six hours. He was pulled out by rescue workers alive, but then later died of a heart attack.

Ukraine being told by NATO they will be getting assistance to help them target -- sorry, stop missiles like those but also some Iranian- made drones that are attacking, but also for Americans another piece of news that an American citizen, Dane Partridge, age 34 from Rexburg, Idaho, a U.S. Army veteran, was killed fighting in the east and died after eight days in hospital in a coma from his injuries -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yeah, horrible developments, indeed. Nick Paton Walsh in the war zone for us, stay safe over there. Thank you very much.

Just ahead, how the latest inflation report here in the United States affects nearly everything you spend your money on.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: A new inflation report released today spells out more trouble tonight for Americans already struggling to pay for basic necessities.

CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon has details.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS REPORT: Wolf, this report delivering a tough but unmistakable message. The Fed has a long road ahead in its inflation fight. Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in the month of September, twice what many economists were expecting. Inflation also higher by 8.2 percent over the last year. Costs continue to rise in key categories like shelter, medical care and food.

In fact, grocery prices rose in all six major categories, including fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish. Now, on the other hand, prices for gasoline fell in September, 4.9 percent, although we know they have been creeping up more recently, CPI report also illustrating that inflation has spread beyond food and energy.

Core inflation, which strips away those categories, rose 0.6 percent in September, or 6.6 percent annually. That's a 40-year high. The report comes after months of inflation readings that suggested perhaps inflation was moderating.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's tweeting in response: No amount of hand waving can make today's CPI less ugly. The hotter than expected inflation report increasing the odds the Fed will increase the interest rate. If so, that would be four consecutive rate hikes of that size, something we have not seen in modern history.

When the Fed raises rates, the cost to borrow goes up making things more expensive, which is the point, right? The Fed is trying to cool spending just enough that prices start to ease. But if spending cools too much, we could experience a recession. The Fed finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Do too much,

risk a recession. Do too little, let inflation linger for longer, making it a tougher problem to solve down the road.

It's sort of like a leak in your roof. If you don't deal with it now, it only gets worse. One part of the economy still working in our favor is the jobs market, which remains very strong with unemployment at historic lows -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Rahel Solomon, thank you very, very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching. I'll be back tomorrow 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.