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Biden On Midterm Stakes:" Democracy Is On The Ballot"; Source: Paul Pelosi Released From Hospital; Sources: Trump Aide Patel Ordered To Testify Before Grand Jury. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 03, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That is tonight at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.
And our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Happening now, five days until the midterms, Democrats are playing defense and deploying more famous faces to try to bolster their chances and key races. President Biden has a rally out west this hour building on his newest warning to voters that democracy is on the ballot.
Also ahead for you tonight, a new revelation about the man charged with the attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Immigration officials disclosing he was in the U.S. illegally and may face deportation.
And Ukrainian officials fear Russia is playing a dangerous trick in Kherson as Moscow signals a withdraw from the embattled city. So, isn't a retreat or a trap.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Pamela Brown. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Our top story tonight, candidates from both parties and an all outs wrench before Election Day. With just five days of campaigning to go CNN reporters and correspondents are covering the key races and all the major battlegrounds across the country.
I want to start tonight in Albuquerque, New Mexico with CNN's Arlette Saenz.
So Arlette, you're traveling with President Biden who's campaigning for the Democrat in this key governor's race. What is the President's message to voters?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, President Biden is trying to lay out the stakes of this election. Just a short while ago, he finished a speech where he talks about the economic relief he's trying to provide Americans through his student loan forgiveness program. And he also challenged and criticized those Republicans who are challenging that program in court. The administration and White House very keenly aware of the fact that the economy and inflation are top of mind for American voters. And in just a short while the President will be taking the stage just behind me to try to boost that New Mexico's Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham who is facing a tough reelection fight from her Republican challenger who has centered much of his race on crime issues.
Now, so much of the focus in this election has been on maintaining or Democrats trying to maintain control of the House and Senate. But the White House also is trying to keep as many Democratic seats in governor's mansions across the country heading into this election as they are keenly aware that the Democratic governors could help enact his agenda over the course of the next few years.
Now the President is also planning a series of events heading into Election Day. Later tonight, he will be campaigning for a vulnerable house Democrat in California. He's also slated to travel to Illinois and Maryland where Democrats are hoping to pick up a governor seats there. But perhaps the most marquee events of the coming days will be when President Biden links up with his former boss, President Obama in Pennsylvania, one of the few states the President has gone into with a competitive Senator race this cycle.
BROWN: All right, Arlette Saenz, thanks so much for that.
And turning now to the surprisingly tight governor's race in New York. CNN's Gloria Pazmino is at a campaign rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathy Hochul.
Gloria, tonight's rally will feature big name, Democratic headliners, Vice President Kamala Harris and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pam, and Democrats are playing defense across the entire country. But New York is not the place where they were expecting to have to do so. And this rally is exactly about trying to get enthusiasm increase across voters here in New York.
Republican Lee Zeldin mounting a significant challenge to the governor according to some polls, so she is bringing out some pretty big names out here. And they've been talking about the historical nature of her election. Kathy Hochul would be the first woman elected Governor of New York. She is, of course, already the first woman governor.
But should she be able to win this race? She would make significant history. But Democrats are acknowledging that there is a lack of enthusiasm among the electorate. In fact, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on CNN this morning talking about that lack of enthusiasm and saying that that's just the way it is for midterms, no matter who is in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think it's more of a turnout issue. So our job is to convince our voters to turn out. Because if they turn out, then there's no doubt that we will win. But it is an uphill battle in a midterm election to convince people to get out and vote, whereas the other side is motivated because they want change at any cost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAZMINO: And that is showing up in the polls. And we can see that there is more enthusiasm among Republican voters. Here's 38 percent versus 24 percent for the Democrats here in a state like New York where Democrats outnumber Republicans. It's going to come down to a question of turnout, making sure that people are energized to vote in this election. And they're excited about the potential to elect the first woman governor.
That is certainly what tonight is going to be all about. A full lineup of women that have made history here in New York politics all drumming up support and enthusiasm for the incumbent Kathy Hochul. Pam.
BROWN: All right, Gloria Pazmino, thanks so much for that. And now to CNN's Eva McKend on the campaign trail in Georgia.
Eva, the most recent polls have the Georgia Senate race neck and neck?
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Pam, it is incredibly tight here. I actually just asked Senator Warnock about this, is he prepared for this race to go to a runoff if neither candidate, neither Warnock or Walker get to that critical 50 percent, he said he was prepared to do whatever it takes, and also said that he believes that Georgians would make the right choice.
These candidates cannot get any more different, Senator Warnock on the trail today, really stressing his bipartisan credentials, something that he has made crucial to his election argument, saying that he is willing to work in service of Georgians, willing to work across the aisle ultimately in service of Georgians talking a lot about health care.
Meanwhile, Herschel Walker has tried to tie Warnock with Biden, characterizing the Biden administration many fail -- as full failure, a riddle, and tying Warnock to Biden. That is what Walker has stressed on the campaign trail, making this argument about inflation in the economy.
So many people here have already voted already, though, Pam, that is what is so critical. More than 2 million people have already made up their minds. So there's very few persuadable voters left but both Walker and Warnock in their closing arguments still trying to capture those Georgians. Pam.
BROWN: All right. Eva McKend, thanks so much for the latest there from Georgia.
So let's discuss with our Chief Political Correspondent, Danna Bash, our Chief National Affairs Analyst Kasie Hunt, and CNN Contributor Evan Osnos.
All right. So, Dana, I want to start with you because, you know, you look at where President Biden is today in New Mexico, right, and then you take a closer look at his campaign schedule, and it's notable, with just five days to go until the midterm election, his absence from some key states. Is that, I say, more than his presence on the trail, what do you think?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, save for Philadelphia or Pennsylvania --
BASH: -- because he, you know, could pay taxes there at this point because he's got travelling -- he made to Pennsylvania --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BASH: -- so much. But it's -- I can't remember which of our excellent reporters made this point, but, you know, the motivation out there to vote among Democrats is not exactly where Democratic strategists want it to be. And look, that is true for any midterm for any first term president in their first midterm election, it's just the way it is. And so, what he is trying to do in so many of these trips, but even and maybe even especially in the speech like the one he gave last night right here in Washington, D.C., is to put out some -- send ups and flares to say to Democrats who might be either annoyed with Washington, I know that's hard to believe, but annoyed with Washington, or just feel like, this is not my year, I don't -- or I don't normally vote in midterms, get out there and vote. And so they're trying to do that strategically to help and not to hurt.
BROWN: And one of the ways they're trying to get voters out is to talk about democracy being at stake, Evan. I mean, you have studied President Biden and his long political career. Is his plea for democracy the right closing argument for this moment? Is that going to really jazz up voters to get out there and vote?
EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, the phrase that leapt out at me last night, to Dana's point about getting people involved, getting them to take action, as he said, silence is complicity. You know, in a sense, he's speaking to the many Americans who said, gosh, I don't want to have anything to do with Washington, and I bet this will just turn out fine, this is probably another kind of election fight. And what he said was, no, this is no ordinary year.
Also a memorable expression because next week Joe Biden celebrates 50 years since he was first elected to the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
OSNOS: He's seen a lot of elections. When he says it's no ordinary year, he's calling people out of their houses to say, I know you don't want to vote, but this is essential to who we are as a country.
BROWN: Gosh, 50 years. Wow. So, Kasie, as you might expect, President Biden former President Obama, they're in lockstep with this messaging. Let's listen to how Obama put it last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if you've got an election denier serving as your governor, as your senator, as your secretary of state, as your attorney general then democracy as we know it may not survive in Arizona. That's not an exaggeration, that is a fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Clearly a lot of passion there from --
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL ANALYST: Yes.
BROWN: -- former President Obama. Do you think that that message, that closing argument is resonating with voters there, and Arizona and elsewhere?
HUNT: Look, we know from the numbers that there are actually a significant number of people that do care about democracy as an issue, it is very important to many voters. But the challenge, of course, is that currently Democrats hold power. This was an easier argument to make when Republicans were in power. And they could say, you need to throw these guys out if you don't like what you're seeing and elect us instead. And you saw some of this, obviously, in the 2020 election, that obviously ramped up incredibly, after January 6, in early 2021 before the inauguration.
But the -- I mean, the challenge for Democrats is to convince their voters that, you know, they may be paying more for their gas, they may be paying more for their groceries, that may be due to some of their policies. I mean, the White House doesn't want to admit that, but there are some economists out there arguing that and say, look, this stuff's more important. And that's -- I mean, there's reason -- it's tough sledding for Democrats right now. That is a hard argument.
BROWN: Right. Because the rising prices are right in front of them, they're experiencing it day out, day in and day out. The threat to democracy is less tangible, right? And Hillary Clinton actually spoke out about that this morning on CNN. Our colleague Don Lemon asked her about her argument that voters aren't really grasping the gravity of this election. So let's listen to what she had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: And so, it's more challenging to say, hey, look, they're going to go after Social Security and Medicare, that is not something we're making up, they're saying it themselves. And hey, you know, they're going after democracy and even counting votes that they think will help them and not others that won't. I mean, those are real threats, threats to individuals and our lives every day and threats to our country. But it is more challenging to get that focus on the future. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: What do you think about what you had to say?
BASH: She's right, there's a lot more of a challenge getting people to focus on the future to use her term and to focus on the fact that their income hasn't changed or maybe their income has come down and the prices for basic things like eggs, like fuel, like milk are higher. And so that is something that is right in front of them.
Now, then the next question is, well, who's going to make that better? Is it really true that if you fire your Democratic congressperson or Senator that that's going to change things? Maybe not. But if you're angry and you're looking for somebody to blame, that's the way -- that's your tool that you have.
BROWN: Yes. And historically, Republicans are looked at as being better with the economy. Whether it's fair or not, that is how it's looked at.
So thank you all so much. Appreciate the conversation.
Coming up, a new twist in the investigation into the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband. Officials now say the man charged with trying to kill him is in the U.S. illegally. We have some new information for you coming up right after this break.
BROWN: Paul Pelosi just in the CNN. Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is out of the hospital one week after a brutal attack at their San Francisco home. CNN Jaime Gangel is joining me now with more with this exclusive reporting from her.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So Pamela, it's nice we have some good news tonight. According to multiple sources familiar with the family, Paul Police Pelosi was released from that San Francisco hospital a little bit earlier today. And he is now back at home. I'm told that he is resting comfortably, that we should expect a sort of more details and an update a little bit later today.
Just to remind people, it was six days ago that he was attacked. He was treated at the hospital. He underwent surgery for fractured skull for serious injuries to his right arm and injuries to his hands. So this is really nice news.
I will tell you I spoke to someone over the last couple of days who told me he was very anxious to get home. He was pushing to get out of the hospital. So, I think that, you know, he was clearly ready to go.
BROWN: Can't blame him. The hospital is not a fun place --
BROWN: -- to be. But thanks for bringing us that good news, Jamie.
And now let's bring in CNN's Veronica Miracle. She is right outside of the Pelosi home in San Francisco. Veronica.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, about less than two hours ago we did see a van arrive here. We don't know that it was Paul Pelosi, we cannot confirm that week, but we do understand that he is at home and resting. But when that white van came there was a lot of police activity, the most police activity that we have seen here over the last few days. There certainly been a big security presence. But when that white van returned, we certainly saw a very big presence and a lot of activity out here, Pam.
BROWN: All right. Thanks so much, Veronica.
Let's get more analysis from CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller.
So John, really good news here for the Pelosi family that Mr. Pelosi has been released from the hospital nearly a week after that brutal assault. But this could have been so much worse, right?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, it could have been. And you know, you have an individual who's 82 years old who was struck in the head with a hammer that led to a fractured skull and he was out cold. The police say he was out and unresponsive on the floor of his home and bleeding for three to five minutes before EMTs and Police Officer Ariana (ph) who got in the ambulance with him was -- we're able to actually get him to respond conversationally. So, it was a serious injury. It could have been much worse.
I think the idea that we're seeing him come home today gives us an idea that the doctors felt he was safe from neurological damage which they'd been watching out for just beyond the actual head injury. So, you'll see that police presence continue there for the indefinite future while they kind of work through this.
BROWN: Right. And also sources telling CNN, John, that the Capitol Police are considering 24/7 monitoring of homes for members of leadership or other lawmakers that are facing heightened threats. What else is under consideration? And how feasible are these plans?
MILLER: Well, this is enormously complicated, Pam, because, and I can tell you this based on my own personal experience, we have a large congressional delegation here in New York City and when I used to talk with them and their chiefs of staff about protection, you got a lot of different answers. So, there's 400 -- 535 different opinions on that on Capitol Hill, but I think it's going to boil down to Tom Manger, the chief of the Capitol Police has got to work out kind of a combination between personnel, how many more people is he going to need, especially if they're going to expand personal protection or security details.
Technology, that's alarm systems, motion detectors, panic buttons, increased video, and sensors. And then of course, there is who wants what, in terms of protection at the -- on the Hill?
BROWN: Yes, and of course, all of that costs money, right? So Jamie, what more can you tell us about how the family is processing all of this a weekend?
GANGEL: So I think what -- look, the family is thrilled that he was released from the hospital, clearly, but what I've been hearing over the last couple of days is they really are intent on making sure that everyone remembers that we have been talking for, you know, since January 6, about a clearing present danger. The January 6 committee talks about it all the time. Paul Pelosi was the victim of this attack, but the target of the attack was the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
They do believe that this was a political attack that comes from the disinformation, from the lies about the election not being a free and fair election, et cetera. And they want the public to know that this needs to be taken seriously and it was a political attack.
BROWN: Yes. And she is the member of Congress facing the most threats according to our reporting. So --
BROWN: -- important reporting from you Jamie Gangel, John Miller, as well, Veronica Miracle, thank you all.
And up next, a Russian flag is taken down in Kherson. One of many conflicting signs of how close Ukraine could be to taking back its city. We're going to go live to the war zone.
Plus, North Korea second straight day of an aggressive missile blitz. We're going to have new details about this latest barrage right after this quick break. Stay with us.
BROWN: Anxiety gripping the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson tonight where there are conflicting signs of a Russian withdrawal and fear of what Vladimir Putin's forces might have planned next. CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is on the scene in Ukraine for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLAMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): A top Kherson's main government building a change no Russian flag. On a bus nearby, residents cheer realizing a Russian checkpoint is gone. A city resident whom CNN is not identifying for their own security describes the changes.
There's no large armored vehicles in the city during the day, he says, and all the military checkpoints in the city are gone.
The region's Russian installed governor told a Russian media propagandists Russian troops are holding the city for now, but added most likely our troops will leave for the east bank.
What Russia is planning not clear. Ukrainian officials fear deception.
NATALIA HUMENIUK, SPOKESPERSON, UKRAINE DEFENSE FORCES SOUTH (through translator): We see it and realize that these may be certain tricks, military maneuvers to build correctly offensive as they see it. Nevertheless, we see that in Kherson there are still regular units wearing civilian clothes.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): But Ukraine still claiming gains. Thursday destroying several boats in Kherson port, and Wednesday destroying a Russian surface to air missile system often used to hit Ukrainian civilians in nearby Mykolaiv. In the Black Sea too, Russia appears on the back foot as grain shipments resumed following Putin's reversal of his refusal this past weekend to cooperate with the U.N. brokered deal, citing new guarantees from Ukraine.
PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA: Russia reserves the right to withdraw from these agreements if these guarantees are breached by Ukraine.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Another sign, according to Ukrainian's president that Putin is being forced to change.
PRES. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): Two hundred and fifty-two days ago Russia demanded security guarantees from the United States of America. After eight months of the Russian so called Special Operation, the Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): In Kherson, Putin's intent still far from clear. Residence report plenty of Russian heavy weapons on the edge of the city.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ROBERTSON: Now, the Ukrainians themselves are well familiar with pulling a trick or two on the Russians. Remember a few weeks ago, the Ukrainians made lightning gains up here in the north. Well, part of the way they did that was to trick the Russians into thinking that they were going to attack in the south. The Russians put reinforcements in the south and then the Ukrainians took the territory in the north.
And I think the other thing in play here that Ukrainians know, Kherson is so important to Putin, it's going to be a huge embarrassment if and when he loses it quite simply. It's a capital of one of the four provinces he illegally annexed and now claims to be part of Russia. If he loses it, that's going to look very bad on him.
BROWN: All right. CNN's Nic Robertson, thanks so much.
We're also following growing tension on the Korean peninsula where North Korea has fired more ballistic missiles and an alarming and increasing display of aggression that has the region they're on edge. CNN Senior International Correspondent Will Ripley is live in Seoul for us tonight. So Will, give us the latest on this storm really, a missile launchers.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Storm is a good way to put it, Pamela, when you're talking about more than two dozen missiles launched yesterday. And then today, an attempted launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the most powerful missile known in the North Korean arsenal that they tried to fly over Japan for the second time this year but it failed midflight and disappeared from radar in the waters between Korea and Japan. However, had it done that original flight path which actually triggered air raid sirens in Japan because it was headed right in their direction, it would have been even more provocative and more troubling than it was. But the intent is there and it's believed that North Korea will attempt to launch that intercontinental ballistic missile known as the Hwasong-17 over Japan at some point in the near future.
In response, the United States and South Korea have extended these massive joint military drills called vigilant storm with 1000s of troops from both sides, South Korea and the U.S. And also hundreds of warplanes, Pamela they're extending that to an unknown date and saying in direct response to North Korea's provocations.
BROWN: All right. CNN's Will Ripley, thanks so much, live for us from South Korea.
And just ahead for you tonight, a top Trump aide now ordered to testify in the Mar-a-Lago probe. So could his firsthand account about classified documents make the difference?
BROWN: With five days to go until the midterm election, some Americans casting early ballots are being met with an unfamiliar and some say unsettling site armed law enforcement officials. CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early voting in Berks County, Pennsylvania is underway --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get your ballot.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): -- where voters face a short questioning by an armed sheriff deputy before they dropped their early ballot in a secured ballot box.
DONNA GORMAN, VOTER, BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: He just say a stiff those were our ballots and we said yes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): You would think this is in response to some sort of vote fraud that took place in Berks County, but it is not.
CHRISTIAN LEINBACH, BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, BOARD OF COMMISSIONS: It's about giving voters confidence that this is a safe place to vote.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): County officials said there were no security issues with drop boxes yet. By September, they adopted a new policy of deputies questioning voters spearheaded by county commissioner Christian Leinbach.
LEINBACH: If something negative was going to happen, some criminal activity may be perpetrated. A sheriff's deputy is trained to respond.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Election experts are concerned about the potential impact.
MARIAN SCHNEIDER, SENIOR VOTING RIGHTS POLICY COUNSEL, ACLU PENNSYLVANIA: Anytime that you have uniformed and armed law enforcement around places where people are trying to vote that that raises a dangerous risk that you'll cross the line into intimidation.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): What's happening in Berks County as part of an alarming trend of law enforcement becoming involved in elections across the country. Some sheriffs say they plan to safeguard the midterm elections even though that is normally the duty of election officials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to make sure that people are not coming over and over again putting ballots in the boxes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): And Arizona Sheriff named Mark Lamb now leads a right wing group of roughly 70 colleagues across the country. He's launched an initiative with True the Vote, a controversial nonprofit that has trained poll watchers and pushed false claims of fraud.
MARK LAMB, ARIZONA SHERIFF: There's nothing more important than defending your vote.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): E-mails obtained by CNN show Lamb has been reaching out to other sheriffs asking them to join his so called election integrity efforts. Document show his group recommends increased patrol activity around Drop Box locations and video surveillance with access points directly on Sheriff Department computers. Warning, if they don't do that the opportunity for illegal activity is incredibly high. And Lamb is far from the only sheriff spreading bogus election conspiracy theories.
SHERIFF RICHARD VAUGHAN, GRAYSON COUNTY, V.A.: I've saw the True the Vote documentary 2,000 Mules. It should open anybody's eyes. And if the federal government's not going to investigate that, I think the sheriff should.
SHERIFF CALVIN HAYDEN, JOHNSON COUNTY: I talked to some guys yesterday that actually showed the algorithm of the machines. I think they've been programmed in by some foreign entities, and they're manipulating the vote.
SHERIFF DAR LEAF, BARRY COUNTY, M.I.: They get offended when you start questioning the election. And folks, this has been going on a long time, this vote manipulation, electronic and computerized voting.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Again, none of that is true. The fear of what could happen in this midterm election is based on what's happened in America's past.
MARY MCCORD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ICAP AT GEORGETOWN LAW: Law enforcement meddling in elections throughout history this country has been used for oppressing black voters, other minority populations and the signaling there is we don't trust you, we think you're cheating.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Back to those deputies in Berks County, Pennsylvania's interim Secretary of State warned the county to not station deputy sheriff outside of ballot drop boxes in Berks County and to refrain from stopping and questioning prospective voters. That didn't happen. Fact is, this is a county that went for Trump. There is no vote fraud. The deputies are nice. Voters don't seem to mind the deputies.
RAEDELL MARKS, VOTER, BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: Because of everything that has gone on with the contentious things happening and that's perfectly fine. If it makes people feel better, great.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): But remember, people should have already felt great about the last election in Berks County. It was secure. It was fair. Unnecessarily having armed deputies guard this election may be sending an entirely different message.
MCCORD: It sends this broader message that our elections aren't secure, that there's widespread fraud. We, the law, need to be there to ensure that's not the case.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
GRIFFIN: Pamela, there's a fear that the sheriffs could on Election Day interject themselves and election workers across the country had been warned about it. Meanwhile, here in Georgia, despite having no problems with ballot boxes, the Republican legislature decided to move them all inside and make them inaccessible.
But that's not the big story here in Georgia today. This is the last day of early voting, and as of today, more than 2 million Georgians have cast their vote. That is a record. Pamela.
BROWN: Wow, 2 million. CNN's Drew Griffin, thanks so much.
Well, other news we're following for you tonight, sources tell CNN Trump advisor Kash Patel must testify before a grand jury investigating the handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. A federal judge is granted Patel immunity for any information he provides to the investigation. CNN's Paula Reid has more on the story. So what are you learning about this deal to get Patel to testify?
Clearly DOJ thinks he's an important person here in this?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, he is, of course, one of former President Trump's closest advisors. Prosecutors believe that he has critical information for this investigation. Not only is he a former Trump administration official who worked in national security and defense, he's also one of the people that was designated to deal with the National Archives and the Justice Department as those agencies were trying to get back these classified documents that former President Trump took after he left office.
Now publicly, Patel was also insisted that Trump declassified these documents before he left office. Let's take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASH PATEL, TRUMP ADVISER: In October of 2020, President Trump put out for the world to see a sweeping declassification order, and he did it via social media, every single Russia gate duck, every single Hillary gate duck, every one, those are his words, that is the precedent that the President United States is allowed to operate under. And then in December and January on the way out, I witnessed him declassify a whole sets of documents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So that -- prosecutors are going to want to drill down --
REID: -- on that. Because look, it is not a crime to lie to the media, but you cannot lie when you're testifying before a grand jury. And he was one of a small group of Trump associates who have potential legal exposure in the Mar-a-Lago document investigation. But with this immunity, he cannot be prosecuted for any truthful testimony that he gives. So it's going to be really interesting to see what he says about those comments.
If that's true, well, that model certain aspects of any potential prosecution. But if he says, actually, no, I was wrong, I lied publicly, that's complicated, too, because then you have a witness who said one thing in front of the grand jury and another publicly. But a source close to Patel tells me that he will remain, quote, "loyal to the president." What does that mean, Pam? Well, I don't think we're really going to know until he testifies and that has not yet been scheduled.
BROWN: All right. Loyal to the President as he testifies the grand jury. OK. Well, we'll have to keep watching this story. Thanks so much, Paula.
Let's dig deeper into all of this with CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
So Preet, how significant is it that Patel was not only ordered to testify, but then he's also been granted immunity. What does that tell you?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that mean it's getting very serious. I signed applications for immunity orders from time to time when I was in office. It's not something that you like to do.
You know, generally speaking, prosecutors have a mission if they think there's a crime has been committed and they can prove it to hold everyone who was involved in the crime responsible and accountable. Sometimes, however, you need testimony from someone who was lower down on the totem pole to prove a case against someone who was higher up on the totem pole. And in those circumstances, you weigh on the one hand, letting someone get away with a potential crime in favor of on the other hand, holding someone who's very serious and important accountable, in this case would be the former president of the United States.
You don't do that unless you thought very carefully about the consequences for maybe someone not being held accountable. And you don't do that lightly because you're dealing with the former president of the United States. So to me it means not that there will necessarily be a charge relating to the Mar-a-Lago document, but it is very clearly under consideration and could happen.
BROWN: I'm wondering what you think about what Paula just said. We were just talking about how an official she spoke to, a person close to Kash Patel said he will be loyal to the president when he testifies before the grand jury. Of course, as she noted, you can lie to the media, you can say whatever you want about Trump declassifying information, it's a different story when you get in front of a grand jury.
BHARARA: Yes, look, one of the reasons they want him for the grand jury is not simply to get information about conversations you had with Mr. Trump and others, the state of mind of Mr. Trump and others with respect to these documents, but to lock him down to one story, so that if there ends up being a trial against Trump or someone else, they're not surprised by testimony. It's one thing to say something on television or at a rally or on a podcast, it's quite another thing to say something under oath under penalty of perjury. So if he sticks to his prior story, and it turns out that that was false, that helps the government at trial, and also subject Mr. Patel to potential criminal charges himself, separate from the documents, but related to his perjury. So, I think it's a smart move, and one that's clearly not undertaken lightly.
BROWN: What does it tell you about what's happening behind the scenes in this investigation? I mean, there are concerns, more classified documents may still be missing. Of course, we all remember the empty folders.
BHARARA: Look, I think that -- I think the government has been very thorough. You know, there's this other investigation we keep talking about, the January 6 committee investigation that has now morphed into more clearly a Justice Department investigation. That is complicated. That is messy. That is a ways away from being resolved in one direction or another in favor of a charge or against a charge on this.
I think the government is really seriously contemplating the charge, it may never happen and there are other considerations to weigh, but they're trying to look under every rock, they're trying to get every witness in recalcitrant witnesses. It seems like they're prepared to grant immunity too. They want to see what other documents are out there. They're engaged in conversations with Mr. Trump's lawyers on an ongoing basis.
And by the way, the other thing is, they brought on a very seasoned terrorism prosecutor David Raskin, who I've known for 22 years, who has left his post in Kansas to help with this investigation and prosecution. All of those things tell me the way they're going about the investigation, the thoroughness of it, the willingness to grant immunity, bringing on somebody who was in the Southern District for a long time and oversaw terrorism prosecutions, all of that together tells me, again, they're very, very serious about a potential prosecution here.
BROWN: All right, Preet Bharara, always good to see you. Thanks so much for your analysis.
BHARARA: Good to see you.
BROWN: And coming up for you, tonight, NBA star Kyrie Irving is on the defensive tonight after promoting an anti-semitic film. So will he actually apologize? His latest comments up next.
BROWN: NBA star Kyrie Irving says he takes, quote, "responsibility" for promoting an anti-semitic film on his Twitter account, but he still has not apologized. CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us.
So Brian, Irving is facing widespread condemnation right now, saying, look, I wasn't the one that made the documentary but I accept responsibility for putting this on social media. What else can you tell us?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, he is really working to limit the damage tonight by working with his team in the Anti- Defamation League to educate people on antisemitism. But a key question given Kyrie Irving's very controversial past, will it fly?
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TODD (voice-over): A seven time NBA All Star and former world champion on the defensive when asked if he has anti-semitic beliefs
KYRIE IRVING, BROOKLYN NETS GUARD: Just because I post the document doesn't mean I'm anti-semitic.
TODD (voice-over): Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving widely condemned, including by his team's owner, for his tweet last week of a link to the film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: This was a piece he found on Amazon filled with ugly, vicious anti-semitic, slandered accusations that Jews invented the holocaust, that 6 million people didn't really die. It is without any basis in fact, and it's exactly the kind of lies and incitement that's led to real world violence against Jews.
TODD (voice-over): Irving today asked if he's apologizing said this.
IRVING: I didn't mean to cause any harm. I'm not the one that made the documentary. I take my responsibility for posting that, some things that were questionable in there, untrue.
TODD (voice-over): Now, Irving is partnering with the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to donate a million dollars to education on antisemitism and the Nets and the ADL will hold events raising awareness of the issue. So far, neither the NBA nor the Nets have disciplined Kyrie Irving drawing criticism from star basketball analyst Charles Barkley.
CHARLES BARKLEY, TURNER SPORTS NBA ANALYST: I think the NBA dropped the ball.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In what way?
BARKLEY: I think he should have been suspended. I think Adam should have suspended him.
TODD (voice-over): NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said he's, quote, "disappointed with Irving and will meet with him in the next few days.
This isn't the first time Kyrie Irving has been on the fringe. In 2017 he claimed the world is flat. Last season, he missed most of his team's games because he refused to be vaccinated against COVID. This year, Irving reposted a video of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ranting about a cabal of elites seeking world domination.
DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, THE NATION: Kyrie Irving is somebody who digs in politically. He dug in on being a COVID denialist. He dug in when he put out a video by Alex Jones.
TODD (voice-over): How damaging is it that Erving and rapper Kanye West, two superstars in their respective fields have drawn so much attention to antisemitism recently?
ZIRIN: The allies that they're getting, which is different than any other time in the history of black politics or Jewish politics, bringing in allies who come from actual Nazi white supremacist communities were celebrating Kanye West, were celebrating what Kyrie Irving did.
(END VIDEO TAPE) TODD: Sports Columnist Dave Zirin believes it may not be the best idea for the league or the Brooklyn Nets to suspend Kyrie Irving. Suspending him, Zirin says, might turn Irving into a martyr and draw even more attention to that antisemitic film. Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Interesting point. Thanks so much, Brian Todd.
Breaking news, up next, Nancy Pelosi's husband released from a hospital six days after a brutal attack by a man who was targeting the House Speaker.
BROWN: Happening now, breaking news, CNN has learned that House Speaker Pelosi's husband, Paul, is back home in San Francisco after being released from the hospital just a short time ago.