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The Situation Room

Suspect Charged in Paul Pelosi Attack; Democrats Campaigns on Battleground States; Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the Attack on the Pelosi's; Homeland Security Secy On Warning Of Violence Surrounding Election; Desperation On Ukraine As Russia Targets Water Supply & Power Grid; Supreme Court Hears Cases That Could Gut Affirmative Action In U.S.; Death Toll From South Korea Crowd Crush Rises To 155; Officials Condemn Antisemitic Messages Displayed In Jacksonville. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 31, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We are close to a new era for our morning television. You can catch Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins on CNN this morning tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. sharp. And if you ever miss an episode of "THE LEAD" you can listen wherever you get your podcasts. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Federal prosecutors charged the suspect in the Paul Pelosi attack with assault and attempted kidnapping. There are chilling new details about his alleged plan to take the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hostage and break her kneecaps. We're standing by for a live update from San Francisco officials.

Also tonight, the final frantic eight days of campaigning before the crucial midterm elections. Tensions ratcheted higher as federal officials now warn of a heightened threat to the election from violent extremists here in the United States. The Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas joins me this hour.

Plus, growing misery in Ukraine right now as Russia steps up its attacks on vital infrastructure. Much of the capital city is without water tonight and officials warn they're running out of equipment to repair the country's devastated power grid.

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 get straight to our top story tonight. The suspect in the Paul Pelosi attack now facing federal charges. Prosecutors are revealing stunning new details about the man's apparent scheme to break Nancy Pelosi's kneecaps if she didn't tell him what he wanted to hear. CNN law enforcement correspondent Whitney Wilde has our report.


WILLIAM SCOTT, CHIEF, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE: Attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary. WHTINEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New

details emerging tonight as federal criminal assault and attempted kidnapping charges are filed against the man who allegedly broke into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her husband with a hammer.

The complaint says the suspect, 42-year-old David DePape was carrying rope, zip ties, a roll of duct tape, two pairs of gloves and a hammer when he broke into the back door of the Pelosi home looking to kidnap the Speaker.

BROOKE JENKINS, SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This has been a very, very jarring, I think, event.

WILD (voice-over): According to the affidavit, the suspect hit Pelosi in the head hard enough to knock him out when police arrived after a small struggle over the hammer ensued.

SCOTT: This was intentional. It is not random. We know that.

WILD (voice-over): The FBI says DePape wanted to wait in the house with Pelosi for days. DePape told police he was focused on Pelosi as the, quote, "leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party." DePape told investigators he was, quote, "going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her." If Nancy were to tell DePape the truth, he would let her go. And if she lied, he was going to, quote, "break her kneecaps."

He went on to say that he was certain Nancy would not have told the truth. At one point, the suspect let Paul Pelosi into the bathroom where he managed to call 911 and ran to open the front door once police arrived. Police say Pelosi grabbed DePape's hammer right after opening the door. Police told them to drop the hammer and that's when DePape told the police Pelosi's husband would be, quote, "taking the punishment instead," hitting him in the hit with the hammer so hard it knocked him out.

DePape is now facing up to 50 years in prison if convicted on federal felony charges brought against him. State charges are also expected to be filed. Police have been reluctant to define the motivation in this case publicly but the complaint notes DePape's alleged intent to interfere with Speaker Pelosi's official duties as House Speaker.

DePape explained to investigators he wanted to break Nancy's kneecaps because then she would have to be wheeled into Congress which would show other members of Congress there were consequences to actions.

SCOTT: It is a very, very sad state of affairs, with all the rhetoric that's out there, conspiracy theories that are out there.

WILD (voice-over): Speaker Pelosi saying the attacker demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband, Paul. Our children, our grandchildren and I are heart-broken and traumatized by the life- threatening attack on our Pop.

JENKINS: At the point at which the police arrived, he did turn and use that hammer against the Speaker's husband in a manner that appeared that he was intending to kill him.


WILD (on camera): That affidavit is full of details, but what it makes very clear is that Paul Pelosi and DePape did not know each other. It also says that investigators upon searching the area he was living in found a sword and more gloves, a pair of rubber gloves and a pair of cloth gloves. These federal charges likely coming in addition to local charges. We expect to hear more about those local charges around 6:00 p.m. tonight, Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll have live coverage of that. Whitney Wild, thank you very, very much.


Let's discuss what's going on with our legal, political and law enforcement experts, Evan Perez, let's begin with these federal charges, assault on the immediate family member of the federal official, and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. Just how serious are these charges?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is very serious, Wolf. The assault charge carries a 30-year possible prison sentence if he is convicted. The kidnapping charge carries a 20-year sentence.

And look, I mean, as Whitney pointed out, you know, initially this was being handled by the San Francisco Police Department, but very early on the FBI became involved once it became clear some of the statements that the assailant made once he was read his Miranda Rights and once, he started talking to the local authorities.

It became clear that the cause for this was the fact that this was the Speaker of the House of Representatives' home and that his motivation seemed to stem from that. Again, there's a lot more that we're going to hear from the authorities, but the political aspect of this, some of the stuff that he was doing online, really does paint a portrayal of somebody who was moved to do this because of Nancy Pelosi and her position as the Speaker of the House.

BLITZER: Paul Callan, you're a legal analyst. In this newly unveiled criminal complaint, the FBI says, and I'm quoting now, "DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the truth, in quotes, he would let her go. And if she lied, he was going to break her kneecaps."

The FBI goes on to say, "DePape told police he was trying to send a message to Congress." With that in mind, do you expect additional federal charges maybe filed as this investigation continues?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, yes. I do expect additional federal charges. These are just preliminary charges to enable the Feds to hold him. But obviously you've got an attempted kidnapping here, you have an assault, you have an attempted murder. You have a whole bunch of additional crimes that could be charged, in addition, of course, state charges are also in the offing, and there you would have attempted murder and other charges under California law.

Double jeopardy does not apply because under the Constitution both the state and the federal government can charge for criminality arising out of the same incident.

BLITZER: Maggie Haberman, the suspect said he viewed Speaker Pelosi as, quote, "the leader of the pack." She certainly is in a league of her own when it comes to criticism from Republicans and that extends to the leader of the GOP, former President Trump, for that matter, doesn't it?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It does, Wolf. And look, there has been criticism of Nancy Pelosi. She has been an avatar for Republicans to go after for well over a decade. And much of that, or at least earlier in the decade, fell within something more akin to standard political language.

What has happened in the last several years as there has been much more violent rhetoric that has amped up in politics as Donald Trump, you know, has done things like, say, to the Proud Boys, stand back and stand by in the debate. You have seen people get activated, and based on everything that is alleged in this complaint, that is what happened here.

It is not surprising that Nancy Pelosi is a target. She is by no means the only person who has been targeted politically over the course of the last decade, that's true. But breaking into someone's home, the nature of this crime, is very, very ugly and very specific.

BLITZER: It certainly is. Phil Mudd, we're learning more about what the suspect had with him at the time of the attack. The affidavit, the criminal affidavit says law enforcement searched DePape's backpack at the Pelosi residence and they found, among other things, a roll of tape, white rope, one hammer, one pair of gloves and cloth gloves, as well as a journal. What does that tell you?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Boy, it tells me a little bit and there's a lot I don't know. The first thing it tells me is thank God he didn't plan even more carefully. Imagine the scenario where the Speaker's husband did not have access to his phone.

For example, the stuff in the backpack, the tape and the ties, if those had been used initially and the Speaker's husband didn't have access, again, to his phone, how long would we -- would he have been sitting there and what damage would the attacker have done?

The questions that I don't have answered, we just talked about what was in the backpack. What do we know about communications with other people? What do we know about the kinds of material this individual was looking at and whether other people accessed that material? We can learn a lot here from the feds and state, Wolf, and we haven't seen all of that yet.

BLITZER: You're absolutely right. You know, Maggie, Republicans who have condemned this attack are largely focusing in on the need to combat crime without acknowledging the rogue conspiracy theories out there played in this targeted, brutal attack. That's a critically important distinction I must say.

HABERMAN: That's right, Wolf. I mean, look, they're having a different conversation, which is about rising crime rates, which in some cities do exist.


But that's not what happened here. This is somebody who, based on everything that we know, based on everything that has been described so far on this show, everything that we know about this complaint from prosecutors, this was a targeted attack. And this involved hitting an 82-year-old man in the head with a hammer. He's still in the ICU. This is not some, you know, routine break-in. This is not that there was somebody in the area.

Now, is there a mental illness conversation to have? Yes, but you can't have this conversation without acknowledging the role that talking about violence and glorifying violence plays in how certain people hear it.

BLITZER: Alright, guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, I'll discuss the latest political violence here in the United States with the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Standby for my exclusive interview.

And with eight days to the midterms, GOP leaders voice confidence as Democrats bring out their heavy-hitters and pivot to a new message. We'll go live to key battleground states. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: With the midterm elections now just eight days away, control of Congress could come down to just a handful of neck-and-neck races out there.


CNN is covering the final stretch in all the key battleground states as well as here in Washington. CNN's Eva McKend is joining us from Atlanta, Georgia, MJ Lee is over at the White House, but let's start with Omar Jimenez in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the Senate race is a toss-up right now.

Omar, Democrats didn't think the race to defeat the incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson would be this close. They've been bringing in their heavy-hitters in these final days. Update our viewers.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They really have, Wolf. Well, Ron Johnson has won what some would have viewed as improbable races before and Republicans are hoping he can repeat that result. Well, yeah, Democrats aren't taking any chances with polls showing no clear leader in this Senate race.

In just the past week alone, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and of course, former President Barack Obama have made visits to the state. Over the weekend, President Obama said the reason he came to Milwaukee was simple, to get people to vote. And he even said he saw a little bit of himself in how some are trying to portray lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Just because he's a Democrat with a funny name, he must not be like you. He must not share your values. I mean, we've seen this. It sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? So, Mandela, get ready to dig up that birth certificate. Get ready.


JIMENEZ: And jokes aside, both of these candidates have campaigned on the country being on the line and they believe the path to victory is to the highest turnout possible. It's why both of them are on their own RV and bus tours right now to try to translate some of those handshakes and cheers into votes.

BLITZER: Good point. You know, MJ, you're over at the White House for us. President Biden is heading back out there on the campaign trail later this week. What do we know about his closing -- his closing message?

MJ, LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Wolf, you can really tell how close we are to election day if you look at how much President Biden is hitting the road. Take a look at the coming week, for example. Tomorrow, he is headed to Florida where he's going to be campaigning alongside Charlie Crist and Val Demings.

Later in the week, he heads to New Mexico. Over the weekend, he is going to be in Philadelphia where he is going to participate in a joint rally with former President Barack Obama. This is certainly a bit of a shift in dynamic, as you know and as we have talked about. President Biden recently has participated more in sort of official events where he can talk about the Democratic agenda and their legislative accomplishments, and less so on sort of the political rallies alongside individual candidates.

And Biden advisers in terms of just the closing message have been so consistent in saying it is all about contrast, contrast, contrast on issues ranging from the economy to abortion and reproductive rights, to gas prices. That is going to be the tone and the theme that we hear from the president, which is look what Democrats have done under my presidency. And if Republicans take Congress, all of that could go away.

BLITZER: Eva McKend, recent polls in Georgia in the Senate race there have tightened with Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker neck and neck right now. This race has really changed in just a few weeks, right? EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: You know, Wolf, I have

been on the ground in Georgia for the better part of the month, and it has been remarkable to see this evolution. It seems as though Democrats were feeling a lot more confident just a few months, just a few weeks ago. I wonder if they feel as though it was a misstep to dismiss Walker, to sort of characterize him as not a serious candidate because what we have seen is conservatives surround him and really support him through his many controversies.

What I will say, though, is that despite the poll fluctuation, Senator Warnock remains a really disciplined candidate. He is not really weighing in on this. He's asked about this on the campaign trail, asked about Senator Schumer's hot mic moment casting doubt on winning -- being successful -- Democrats being successful here in the Senate contest in Georgia.

And he always steers the conversation back to that he's principally concerned with Georgians. And so that is probably the best tactic to take as these polls go up and down here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Eva, thank you very much. Alright, guys, all of you, stand by.

Just ahead, as shocking new details are emerged about the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband, we're learning more about the suspect and the effort by right wing extremists to demonize the House Speaker. I'll speak about the latest political violence with the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.



BLITZER: We're standing by for a news conference on the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and we're learning right now chilling new details as the suspect has been charged with assault and attempted kidnapping. CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin looks at how conspiracy theories and violent speech fueled his effort to harm the woman who is second in line to the presidency.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, the right-wing extremists have been demonizing Nancy Pelosi.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): And some of that was shared by David DePape, the man now charged with attacking Paul Pelosi.

UNKNOWM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported BLM and the Antifa riots.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): DePape was detached from reality, say his acquaintances, but wrapped in far-right conspiracies.


His Facebook page and blog posts littered with QAnon, racism, support for Adolf Hitler. He posted videos with Mike Lindell's made-up lies about the 2020 election being stolen. And that the House Committee investigating January 6th is a farce. In other words, he was consuming and reposting the political lies that led to this.


The 42-year-old DePape broke into the Pelosi's' home repeating the same chant, "Where's Nancy?" according to police. But for those who study the radicalized right, the suspect's actions are influenced by lies.

CYNTHIA MILLER-IDRISS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: One of the things that we're seeing is that conspiracy theories, disinformation, propaganda, mobilize both individual actors to violence and large groups of people.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The suspect's former partner, who is in jail, said at one point, DePape thought he was Jesus.

OXANE TAYB, FORMER PARTNER OF DAVID DEPAPE (via telephone): He is mentally ill. He's been mentally ill for a long time. He thought he was Jesus. He was constantly paranoid, thinking that people were after him.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Republicans eager to distance themselves from the politics of the attacker are latching onto reports he may be mentally ill. But mentally ill or not, nearly every post he made was rooted in right-wing conspiracies or lies about the left.

MILLER-IDRISS: I think this is a classic case of somebody who was steeped in a toxic mix of online content, were sharing that toxic mix, following hyperlink after hyperlink down different kinds of rabbit holes.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And while Paul Pelosi lies in a San Francisco hospital, those not trying to excuse the attack are spinning new conspiracies, fueled by partial information and outright false reporting. Listen to this police dispatch call of the incident.


UNKNOWN: There is a male in the home and that he is going to wait for his wife. RP stated that he doesn't know who the male is but he advised that his name is David and that he is a friend. RP sounded somewhat confused.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): While a law enforcement source told the "Los Angeles Times," investigators believe Pelosi was giving coded information while also trying to de-escalate the situation. Right-wing twitter feeds lit up with the word friend, suggesting Pelosi knew his attacker, which the San Francisco police chief told CNN is not true.

SCOTT: As a matter of fact, the evidence indicates the exact opposite.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Then a local Fox News station incorrectly reported then retracted information, saying the attacker was in his underwear. Again, false. But it's led to popular far-right figures, like former Trump official Sebastian Gorka, and even Trump's son to insinuate Pelosi and his attacker were romantically linked.

Dinesh D'Souza, the maker of the discredited film "2000 Mules" tweeting, "Could this Pelosi situation be a romantic tryst that when awry?" And even potentially more disturbing, Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, re-tweeted to his 112 million followers of garbage article on the attack and said he's begun to question what really happened before deleting the tweet.


GRIFFIN (on camera): Wolf, even DePape's own stepfather told us today he is disgusted and sickened by these conspiracies and lies about his stepson. He fears it could hurt his business. But as we've seen, those who spread these conspiracies and especially those using their huge social media power to spread these lies do not seem to care. Wolf?

BLITZER: CNN's Drew Griffin, thanks very much for that report.

And joining us now, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas. Mr. Secretary, I know you're very busy. Thank you so much for coming into our "Situation Room." Let's talk a little bit about what has happened because it's so shocking, the attack on Nancy Pelosi's home in San Francisco.

The suspect was looking, clearly looking for Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He brought zip ties and a hammer into that home. And the social media, as you well know a lot better that I do, was rife with election conspiracy theories. Was this domestic terrorism?

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: You know, Wolf, let me first express our prayers and thoughts with the Pelosi family. Just what a horrific, violent attack against an individual in this home. There's no place for it in this country. It's very difficult for me to label it as domestic terrorism. That has legal implications. This case is being investigated and prosecuted by local authorities, so I'm going to let that process play out in a court of law.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): I asked that question because the attack came on the same day that the Department of Homeland Security, your department, released what was called a joint intelligence bulletin on the domestic violent extremist threat upcoming to the midterm elections here in the United States, specifically warning, and I'm quoting now, "of lone offenders who leverage election related issues to justify violence." How concerned are you, Mr. Secretary, about the threat of copycat attacks? MAYORKAS: Well, let me say, Wolf, that domestic violent extremism is a

terrorism related threat to the homeland that we have been tracking now for a considerable amount of time.


It's one of the greatest terrorism related threats we face in the homeland.

BLITZER: So domestic violent extremism, these extremists, these domestic violent extremists, they're terrorists.

MAYORKAS: Well, we use the term interchangeably, but domestic terrorism has specific legal implications for particular proceedings in a court of law. So we use the term domestic violent extremism, it's a real threat. We have confidence in the elections, in our midterm elections, their integrity. We've been working very, very closely with election officials, state and local around the country. So we have confidence in the integrity of those elections. And it is fundamentally important that people exercise the right to vote, that is the foundation of our democracy.

BLITZER: So are you worried about these copycat attacks?

MAYORKAS: What we do is we track the threat environment, and we push that information out to state local, tribal territorial law enforcement so that they're aware of the threat and alert to it. That's what we do. And this product that we issued on the 28th of October was certainly not our first with respect to the threat of domestic violent extremism. We have produced more than 100 products over the last 20 months addressing this and other threats to the homeland.

BLITZER: In the bulletin that you released the other day, together with the FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, you warned that potential targets included, and I'm quoting now from the bulletin, "Candidates are running for public office, elected officials, election workers, political rallies, political party representatives, racial and religious minorities, or perceived ideological opponents." So what does the federal government, Mr. Secretary, need to do to protect these potential targets?

MAYORKAS: So we do a number of things, Wolf. We issue bulletins like that, which we issued on Friday on the 28th, to make sure that local law enforcement is alert to the threat and they can deploy their resources accordingly. We guard institutions and organizations. We guard and help strengthen their cybersecurity.

We work very closely with law enforcement to assess the physical security of institutions and organizations and provide recommendations with them. We do a whole range of things through our cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency and other parts of our department.

BLITZER: The Capitol police here in Washington up on Capitol Hill, sent a list of what they call it security suggestions for lawmakers. Members of the House and Senate telling them to choose the best security system for their homes and ask local police to conduct drive bys. Are lawmakers though essentially on their own, when it comes to protecting themselves and their families?

MAYORKAS: So we do not play a role in at, the Department of Homeland Security, in providing the physical security. But that's precisely why we put push the information out. So for example, a member of Congress can work with local law enforcement, and they are alert to the threat and they can navigate and deploy their resources accordingly. That's one of the things we do. We also help with physical threat assessments and make recommendations how to harden a facility so it is most secure.

BLITZER: As you know, Republicans have been vilifying Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the house for years and years. So far, very few Republican leaders have forcefully condemned the attacks that preceded the assault on her husband at his home in San Francisco. Donald Trump Jr. even mocked the assault. How much blame do you place on the Republican Party leadership right now for amplifying dangerous rhetoric?

MAYORKAS: Well, I think dangerous rhetoric is something that divides our country regrettably. And that division is itself can be a threat that our adversaries, nation states exploit Russia, Iran, China and that spread of disinformation. They tried to fill that divide with disinformation and misinformation. I thought that Leader McConnell spoke very powerfully in condemning the attack against Mr. Pelosi, those were very important words from one of the -- our nation's leaders.

BLITZER: I know you got to run one final question before I let you go. How worried are you about the increase in antisemitic incidents here in the United States?

MAYORKAS: We're very concerned, Wolf. Well, we've seen a rise in antisemitic rhetoric, and we've seen a rise in violent acts born of that rhetoric and the underlying hate sentiments. We've seen a rise in hate in this country. And we get involved in the department when there's a connectivity between that abhorrent hate and violence.

BLITZER: Yes, it's really concerning. Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, thanks so much for coming in. We really appreciate it.

MAYORKAS: Thank you, Wolf.

Coming up right at the top top of the hour, the San Francisco District Attorney standing by to give us an update on the Pelosi attack. We'll bring it to you live.


But first, Russia launches devastating new strikes on Ukraine civilian infrastructure, power and now water are hard to come by. We're going to live to Kyiv. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Right now, we're following increasingly desperate situation that Ukraine as Russia steps up its attacks on the country's water supply and power grid. CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is on the scene in Kyiv for us tonight.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Life just got harder in Kyiv. Monday morning, 80 percent of the capital's water off following a new barrage of Russian airstrikes. Spigots not used since the war began, a lifeline again, but not unexpected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone who are in Kyiv right now and they choose to stay here, they are like ready for this.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): Will it make you leave the city?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I will stay here. I didn't leave it since the war began. So why I have to do it now?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Despite the long lines in some parts of the city, patients are plenty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I stay in seven minutes, my friend is in one hour, maybe two, maybe three. Maybe no water after 20 minutes.



ROBERTSON (on-camera): Scenes like this are becoming increasingly normal across Ukraine. Government officials say that there were 10 different regions targeted Monday, 18 different sites.

(voice-over): Among them, a hydroelectric power plant Ukraine's biggest in Zaporizhzhia, another power Gen site in Cherkasy central Ukraine. Kharkiv subway in the East stilled by strikes on vital infrastructure there. And despite intercepts 44 across the country, according to the government, groups of missiles getting through at least three according to this witness near Kyiv's a hydroelectric power plant.

A missile flew over our house. I went to the balcony and saw the second missile and a drone, she says. Both were flying in the direction of the power plant. It's so scary when you see it.

Three weeks of targeting Ukraine's electricity network is pushing the power grid towards a tipping point. No doubt more of this to come.


ROBERTSON: By the end of the day here, the mayor said the water supply was back up to 40 percent of that repaired, so halfway back. But electricity officials are telling us that they are literally running out of spare parts. They're appealing to international allies and partners and the cost into the hundreds of millions of dollars. It literally is getting away from them, Wolf.

BLITZER: Terrible situation indeed, getting worse. Nic Robertson, thank you very, very much.

Other news we're following tonight, two pivotal cases before the United States Supreme Court which could got affirmative action in American education. CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider is on the story for us. Jessica, based on all your hearing and seeing, how are the justices leaning in this very sensitive and important case?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this solidly conservative court really does seem poised to end affirmative action. These were five hours of arguments and in it, the conservative justices really seized on two big points here. First, they were asking repeated questions about why other rationales wouldn't be enough to create diversities at college campuses aside from affirmative action.

And then they also ask the question, when is enough enough when it comes to affirmative action. In particular, Chief Justice John Roberts as well as justices, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, they asked if maybe there might be a time to sunset affirmative action. You know, Chief Justice John Roberts, in particular, has been outspoken throughout his time at the Supreme Court against racial remedies in any scenarios. And today, he pointed the question about when it might be time to end affirmative action. Here he is.


JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't see how you can say that the program will ever end. Your position is that race matters because it's necessary for diversity, which is necessary for the sort of education you want. It's not going to stop mattering at some particular point, you're always going to have to look at race because you say race matters to give us the necessary diversity.


SCHNEIDER: And that line of questioning that we heard repeatedly really stems from a 2003 decision that actually upheld affirmative action. But in it, Sandra Day O'Connor, then the Justice writing the majority said that maybe there would eventually and maybe 25 years come a time for affirmative action to end. Well, Wolf this June would mark 20 years since that opinion. So it's possible that this would be a timeframe that justices are looking at to maybe wind down affirmative action, possibly ending it forever. Wolf?

BLITZER: CNN's Jessica Schneider reporting for us, thank you very much.

Coming up, disturbing new images from South Korea, where survivors describe the horror of the crowd surge that claimed more than 150 lives.



BLITZER: South Korea's mourning the 155 victims who died Saturday in a crowd surge in Seoul. CNN's Will Ripley reports on the chaos that unfolded. And a warning, this report contains disturbing images.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Each new video from Saturday's crowd crush only adds to the horror. On Monday, the death toll rose to at least 155. Han Lew shot this just before joining desperate attempts to perform CPR. He can't shake the trauma of watching so many young lives fade away on the streets of Seoul.


(on-camera): Did any of the people that you tried to save make it?

HAN LEW, WITNESS: No, nobody.

RIPLEY (on-camera): They all die?

LEW: Yes. Because when they were brought out here, their heart had stopped for like maybe 10, 20, even 30 minutes.

RIPLEY (voice-over): All of them buried under a horrific human pile. A pile of people pushed from all directions by the surging, likely alcohol fueled crowd in the narrow alleys of Itaewon. Police say the popular nightclub district packed with around 100,000 people Saturday night.

I told you not to go, says this brother in between waves of grief. His sister died on the sidewalk just steps away from this growing memorial. A small mountain of flowers and emotional tributes to the mostly young lives lost. Around two-thirds of them women for more than a dozen countries.

By Monday evening, all of the victims have been identified. Two American students, both college juniors lie among them. Steven Blesi, a college student from Georgia, celebrating the end of midterm exams. He'd only been in South Korea two months. Anne Gieske, a nursing student from Kentucky. Her devastated and heartbroken father called her a bright light love by all.

This is a week-long period of national mourning. The streets of Itaewon usually bustling, deserted.

(on-camera): As this memorial grows, obviously, the anger, the public anger grows as well. Yes, there's grief and you can feel it. You can cut through the grief with a knife out here. But there are so many questions about how this could have possibly happened.

(voice-over): In comprehension turning to outrage. Why did the city fail to have any guidelines or manuals for events like this, events without a clear organizer. A city, a nation heartbroken and demanding answers.


RIPLEY: And joining this large and growing memorial out here, the pictures of our two American students, Wolf, who died along with so many others talking about 14 countries plus South Korea and all throughout the overnight hours here. We've seen people coming here and just breaking down sobbing.

The grief is really palpable here and so is, as I mentioned, the anger because the police station, I'm looking at it, it's right there. People were walking up, they were asking police why weren't they coming to try to control the crowd that was getting dangerously large, even an hour two hours before this deadly incident? A lot of hard questions that need to be answered, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, horrible, horrible situation indeed. Will Ripley reporting for us. Thank you very much.

Now to a very disturbing story we're following here in the United States, in Jacksonville, Florida, where officials are condemning antisemitic displays at a major public event. CNN's Brian Todd is tracking all of this for us. The fallout is pretty significant, Brian. What can you tell us about these messages?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they are jarring, frightening, and they have prompted concern about whether extremists might act upon those messages of hate.


TODD (voice-over): A disturbing antisemitic message projected on the side of Jacksonville's main football stadium, saying, quote, "Kanye is right about the Jews." It plays off rapper Kanye West tweet earlier this month, saying, he was quote, going death con 3 on Jewish people. This latest message flashed on the side of TIAA bank field on Saturday night during the high profile game between the University of Florida and the University of Georgia.

TED DEUTCH, CEO, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE: Whoever it is who's responsible for that is capitalizing on the moment that we're in where Kanye West's antisemitism, has made it possible, has encouraged the kind of outrageous actions that we've seen.

TODD (voice-over): Videos on social media showed the same message visible on another building in Jacksonville on Saturday night. The previous weekend as West who now goes by the name Ye, was losing sponsors and business deals over his tweet. A group of demonstrators hung banners from a freeway overpass near Los Angeles supporting West. One of those banners with the very same message that was seen in Jacksonville.

MARIAM FEIST, CEO, JEWISH FEDERATION & FOUNDATION IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA: It's the person driving by or the person reading it, with the person seeing it who says this is my call to action. And I'm going to go in and cause carnage. TODD (voice-over): Tonight, the Jacksonville sheriff's office tells CNN its investigations into the projected messages are over, asked if they found out who did it. A spokesperson said she didn't have that information. That officer told CNN the messages are not a crime and are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.

The FBI also tells CNN, quote, "No matter how abhorrent or repulsive expressing one's views is protected by the First Amendment, and not a crime by itself." Why wouldn't it be a crime?


ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI ACTING DIRECTOR: They've stumbled upon a somewhat unique approach by just kind of broadcasting with lights or lasers whatever that might have been onto the side of the building. They don't have to step on a property, they don't damage the building in any sort of permanent way. They fold up their technology likely in the car they came in and drive off.

TODD (voice-over): And no specific threat appears to have been made. In a video posted by a record label in recent days, Kanye West said this.

KANYE WEST, RAPPER AND FASHION MOGUL: I have no association to any hate group. If any hate happens upon any Jewish person, it is not associated --

TODD (voice-over): The Republican mayor of Jacksonville has condemned the antisemitic messages projected on Saturday, as has the Republican U.S. congressman who represents that Florida district. One person who's not been heard from so far, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was at that stadium for at least part of the Florida Georgia game. CNN has reached out multiple times to DeSantis' office for comment on the incidents. We've gotten no response.


TODD: Former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe says he expects that the FBI is coordinating with members of the Jewish community around Jacksonville to assess the threats there tonight, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting. Thanks, Brian, very much.

Coming up, shocking new details about the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband. We're standing by for an update from the San Francisco District Attorney. We'll have live coverage. That's next.