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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  September 6, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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we've got to be there for three or four months at the minimum in order to save lives. >> reporter: but for these people, mere survival is a daily struggle, and these clear blue skies aren't expected to last long. more devastating monsoonal rains are days away to further terrorizing a traumatized country. anna coren, cnn, hong kong. thanks for joining us. ac 360 starts now. good evening. there's new video tonight from the attempt to overturn the 2020 election that could foretell trouble this fall and potentially 2024. with exactly two months to go until midterm elections t is sobering to think 2020 still has so much to say. here is the new video. it shows a republican county official in georgia, who was also a fake presidential electorate the time, escorting a team of operatives into the coffey county elections office. these operatives were working
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for one of the former president's attorneys, sidney powell. this video was taken the same day that a voting system there was in some way breached. cnn's drew griffin joins for more on that, but for now, it is enough to say the facts of drew's story say this was part of a larger plan to subvert the election. this isn't just about some threat that has come and gone. when it comes to election subversion, the past is never dead, as william faulkner wrote. it's not even past. worst, the signs right now point to it being prologue. shakespeare. nevada republicans have nominated an election denier for secretary of state. also in arizona and michigan, people who actually oversee the 2024 election in those states. the republican nominee in at least 21 of this year's governor rations is someone who has rejected, declined to affirm, raised doubts about, or tried to overturn the 2020 election. the former top of the ticket can't seem to quit it either.
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this is him on saturday. >> it was corruption and election interference on a scale that we have never seen before in our country. the 2020 election was rigged and stolen, and now our country is being destroyed by people who got into office through cheating and through fraud. >> for another chance in two years, suggesting repeatedly now that the 2020 election should be rerun or demanding to be declared the winner, as if that is a thing, which it's not. now, the former president may not be held in responsible in any way for january 6th, but today a federal judge in new mexico decided to hold one elected official there accountable, removing this guy, a january 6th rioter and a founder of the group cowboys for trump, from his elected position as county commissioner. now, he did so under the 14th amendment's provision barring insurrectionists from public office. it's believed to be the first time this has happened since 1869, which is remarkable enough, but in order to do what
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he did, the judge, francis matthew, had to rule that the january 6th attack was, in fact, an insurrection. and that, too, is a first. in a moment, we'll be joined by michigan's secretary of state. but first, more on the new surveillance video from the attempt to overturn the 2020 election in georgia and what occurred. cnn's drew griffin unkfr covered when he began digging into the story behind us. he joins us now. what more can you tell us about the video, drew? >> reporter: anderson, you covered some of it, but the surveillance video shows this elections office in georgia, just one of the states where these breaches of voting machines are under investigation. kathy leatham used to be chairwoman of the coffey county gop, already under investigation for posing as a fake e elelecto. she's seen escorting a team of these pro-trump operatives into this office, where we know that these machines were breached. they were opened up. the software basically scanned
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or robbed, you might say. this is the election software system. that's what they were after. one of those people is paul imagineio. he's the i.t. specialist whose company was hired by trump attorney sidney powell. how do we know they were breached? well, this guy, scott hall, actually admits to it in audio obtained by cnn. that's scott hall there. listen to this audio. >> i'm the guy that chartered the jet to go down to coffey county to have them inspect all of those computers, and i've heard zero, okay? i went down there. we scanned every freaking ballot, and they scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot. >> that's basically what they did, anderson. scott hall is an atlanta bail bondsman and described as a
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republican operative. we've gotten no response from him today. kathy leatham, the woman who opened the door in the video, has been connected to the plan to access these elections offices through emails and texts documented in a civil case. this is what her attorney told us. ms. leatham has not acted improperly or illegally. ms. leatham did not authorize or participate in any ballot scanning efforts, computer imaging, or any similar activity. the i.t. specialist firm says it has no reason to believe the lawyers that hired them would direct them to do anything wrong, but there seems no doubt, anderson, this county's machines were compromised and ballots were scanned on behest on these operatives working for trump. >> we know there are investigations into improper access of voting machines in multiple other states. are they connected? >> reporter: the players definitely overlap. a similar breach happened in michigan. it's connected to what happened in georgia. take a look at this video we want to show you. the ceo of cyber ninjas shows up
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at this coffee county elections office. this is two weeks later. doug logan. he was there for two days. his company ran that, you know, so-called audit in arizona. he is named as a co-conspirator in a vote machine scheme in michigan, and now here he is in coffee county, georgia, where these election machines were breached. it all seems to be part of a coordinated plan to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election. >> drew griffin, appreciate it. as you heard in drew's report, michigan had a voter machine breach in 2020 as well. they also had a group of fake electors who made their way into the capitol to upend the work of real electors who were already inside the state senate chambers. the officer is telling them, quote, the electors are already here. they've been checked in, unquote. and this group of fake electors outside was saying, well, we should be let in. they weren't. we're joined now by secretary of state jocelyn benson, whose state asked the federal government to investigate the
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fake electors scheme there. secretary benson, first of all, what do you make of this video showing two operatives working with an attorney for the former president going into this georgia county's election office the very same day the voting system there was breached? >> i think it underscores both the severity of the attempts to intervene with our elections and also the coordination of it. the fact that this was not an isolated incident, and it occurred in many other states. we know that are attempts in michigan that have been investigated. we know it was connected to attempts to submit fake electors, all designed to try to undermine the will of the people not just? a few states but really nationally. also it shows it's not isolated, we shouldn't assume, to 2020. that's our focus now. >> there's an ongoing investigation in michigan into voting machine tampering. the attorney general has requested a special prosecutor to look into it. according to cnn's reporting, evidence has emerged linking several people who gained access
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to the voting symptoms in ant rim county, michigan, to this breach in georgia county. do you believe the evidence will show that this was a coordinated plot? >> yes, absolutely. i mean what we have seen really over the last several years is a complete evidence, ongoing evidence of coordination among really several states, not just michigan and georgia, but also arizona, pennsylvania, wisconsin, and it's what we lived, frankly, in 2020. we saw many things being attempted in michigan, being attempted in other states as well as the same time. >> now, when people say there's a breach of a voting system, what does that mean? does it mean someone breaking into it? >> it means -- it's potentially that. someone has gained access to the machine, and there are various things someone can do once that happens. now, in michigan, anyone who is not authorized to have access to machines cannot have access to machines regardless of what they do once they have that access. and what it also causes is
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regardless of what happens once that access is attained, we have to decommission that machine, and we've done that in michigan. i'm sure it's happened in other states, and replace that machine because ultimately we don't know the extent of the damage that could have occurred by that access, and we have to ensure for every election that we have full confidence that our machines are secure. >> so we're now nine weeks from the midterms. as you are the person responsible for michigan's elections, what are you most concerned about in the lead-up to election day in your state? >> i'm concerned, anderson, about violence, both on election day and real threats against our election workers, against our poll workers, against voters themselves. and so in response to that, however, we are making plans, working with local law enforcement and clerks to ensure if there is any disruptions, even potentially violence, or violent threats, that we eliminate it immediately. we are there to quickly respond to it and minimize its impact on the election itself. so we're preparing for essentially the misinformation that has bled into so many
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aspects of our society over the last few years, for that to transform into causing people to act in a way to disrupt our elections. but if that does happen, we'll be ready. we'll hold anyone accountable. we'll work with law enforcement to ensure quick action and, above all, ensure voters have protected, unfettered access to our elections, to their vote, and that our officials similarly are protected as they do their work as well. >> what do you say to voters who may have concerns, even if based on misinformation, about election integrity in your state? >> one, we invite individuals who are interested in learning more about the process to come to one of the public accuracy tests prior to the election, where they can see the machines for themselves accurately tab yup late ballots. that's what we do before every election to test machines. that's public and open to everyone. we also encourage people to seek out information from trusted sources. we have a website, that takes on every myth and responds with
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facts. it's one of the reason why election officials continue to be that trusted source of information for voters. the last thing i'll emphasize is all of these challenges over the last several years have really just made us as a community stronger, more adaptable, and more prepared for whatever is thrown at us. that's why i'm increasingly confident that we're ready for november, but we're working diligently with law enforcement and everyone else to make sure that truly is the case. >> obviously there are security concerns that you have about election day itself and protection of workers and stuff. traditionally, though, election day is not a day where you see heavy security at polling places, and that's really intentional. people -- you know, you don't want the feeling of the state being there overseeing this with armed, uniformed officers. how do you walk that line? >> indeed. we essentially have a web of individuals all across the state. we don't want that presence. we don't want any efforts to potentially even unintentionally intimidate voters from participating on election day.
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we also need to be able to rapidly respond to any incidents that occur. in michigan on election day, we ensure that we have at all times someone from my office and working with the attorney general and law enforcement within five to ten minutes of all precincts. so as soon as we hear of anything, we're able to get there and rapidly respond to it and mitigate any damage while also, again, maintaining distance if there's nothing happening so that we can ensure the election goes smoothly. >> jocelyn benson, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. next, to mar-a-lago. there's stunning new reporting just now on how sensitive some documents were. also what our legal and political experts make of the former president's court victory. what his former attorney general is saying about the ruling. whether the justice department should appeal and whether the ruling carves out special privileges no one else is entitled to. later, answers tonight in the search for a missing teacher and mother who was kidnapped on friday. just not the answers that anyone was hoping for. ♪ leaping through the sky like a tiger ♪ ♪ defyingng the laws of gravity ♪
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tonight. new reporting from "the washington post" on just how sensitive some of the documents recovered from mar-a-lago actually were. now, i'm quoting for the headline of "the washington post." material on foreign nations nuclear capabilities seized at trump's mar-a-lago. the subhead reading, some seized documents were so closely held, only the president, a cabinet level, or near cabinet level official could authorize others to know. now we're trying to connect with one of the reporters on the story right now. there's also this just in. mark warner says he and his members are expecting a briefing soon from the intelligence committee on sensitive documents recovered from mar-a-lago. chairman warner indicating to cnn's manu raju that he is trying to get an update without waiting for a final report. meantime, on judge aileen cannon's ruling that a special master be appointed to review the materials, listen to what the former president's attorney general said about it last night on fox. >> the opinion, i think, was wrong, and i think the government should appeal it.
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it's deeply flawed in a number of ways. i don't think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up. >> when or when an appeal comes is one question. whether it should is another. so is the question of whether judge cannon's ruling give the former president better treatment than others might get under similar circumstances. let's talk about it with former federal judge nancy gertner. also david urban, who served as political strategist to the former president. and jennifer rodgers, cnn legal analyst and former federal prosecutor. jennifer, first of all on "the washington post" reporting, we don't have more details or we can't independently confirm what "the washington post" is reporting, but on just . >> it's consistent with some of the reporting we've heard before that there are very, very high-level, highly classified documents held at mar-a-lago. nuclear secrets are among the most closely held in government.
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this is consistent with what's been out there although with more detail. i do wonder how it's getting out and who's leaking it. i think it's problematic if those leaks are coming from inside the government. but in terms of the government's case, you know, listen, this is the kind of document that you would charge a case about, and it's not a document that's going to be subject to any sort of executive privilege or attorney-client privilege. so when you think about documents that are going to be available to the government to charge criminally if they choose, this is the sort of document you're talking about. >> i want to bring in one of the reporters on the byline on "the washington post" reporting. can you just talk about what you have learned? >> right. so we have learned that when the fbi conducted its search on august 8th, obviously there's been court documents describing a lot of classified material that was taken. we're told that one of the things found in the course of that search was a document that described a foreign government's
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military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities. and obviously that was a cause for some concern although there's a lot of material in this tranche of stuff they searched for and found that is a cause for concern. >> in the article, you detail the kind of procedures which would normally be put in place to protect such a document. >> right. so we're talking the most serious category of this type of information is what's referred to often as special access programs. >> so this is above top secret clearances? >> it's sort of a very tight circle within the larger circle of top secret if that makes sense. it's a type of top secret information in what's been described to us as some of the s.a.p. material that was seized was so close hold that only the president, some cabinet secretaries, and near cabinet-like officials were authorized to share or allow other people in the government
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to see that kind of information. so extremely close hold, extremely tightly held. and there was an allusion to this in one of the court filings if you remember. one of the filings said that even the investigators who recovered the material, some of them weren't -- even though they were counterintelligence agents, some of them weren't authorized to review some of the documents when they first found them. >> so some of the fbi agents who were on the scene in mar-a-lago, they didn't even have the kind of clearance that would allow them to look at these documents? >> correct. and not just the agents, some of the federal prosecutors involved in this matter also didn't automatically have a clearance to look at some of the this material. that's how close hold it was. >> and you talk about close hold, who would be able to see it and who would grant that authorization, whether it's either the president or cabinet level or near cabinet level official. these are also documents that how they are stored, obviously a lot of thought is put into that. >> right. you're talking about documents that should be stored in a scif.
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it's a government acronym for a very secure room and should have someone who's designated, a government official designated to keep very close tabs on those kinds of documents. that's another cause for concern because obviously when they conducted this search, they looked in a storage room. they looked in the former president's office. you know, those aren't nearly the kinds of places with the kinds of security for documents like that. >> has the former president's legal team responded to your request for comment? >> we have not heard back from them yet. obviously when we've done prior reporting on this question of nuclear weapons material, nuclear weapons information, the president called it a hoax. and in that same statement suggested that evidence was planted on him by the fbi agents. >> obviously it's not clear why the former president would have
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had this information at mar-a-lago. there's a whole myriad of reasons, but obviously any information about the nuclear secrets of any country, there are a lot of people who would be interested to know those nuclear secrets. >> sure. i think, you know, i think it's such a sensitive area that, you know, there's categories and subcategories of that kind of information. some of it is essentially department of defense information that falls under the classified system umbrella, and obviously when you talk about special access programs, what you talk about nuclear capabilities of foreign military agencies, those are things that the government -- the u.s. government in no way wants spread around. >> and just to be clear, in the article, you don't name the country that the information is about. is this the -- i mean you've reported in the past about
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nuclear-related material. is this the same material now that you're talking about with just further -- greater clarity on it? >> well, i think what we were describing in the past story -- and you can see it now in the subpoena that was unsealed since that story -- is that when trump's people were served with the subpoena for all classified information in his possession back in may, that subpoena listed a whole slew of categories of different types of classified information. but i think one of the important categories of that was information about nuclear weapons. and so they were trying to -- in that subpoena, they're trying to cover the waterfront, but they're also saying, if you have any information that fits into these categories, this is the type of thing we are seeking in this subpoena that must be turned over to the government. and so this story takes it a step further and says, okay, they serve the subpoena.
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they conducted a search. and this document that we describe is one of the things that they found in the search. >> it is fascinating. devlin barrett, appreciate the reporting that you and your colleague, carol leonnig, did at "the washington post" on this. jennifer, just in terms of what we have just heard, what stands out to you? >> well, i mean, again, these are very, very serious documents. you know, they're not the sort of thing that should be anywhere outside of the proper places inside the scif. it seems to me that this is the sort of thing that makes it more likely that ultimately we'll see a criminal charge here, whether it's an actual classified documents charge or the statute that they listed in the search warrant about national defense information. >> david urban, does it make sense to you the former president would have these documents at mar-a-lago? >> no. anderson, i don't know any reasoning why you'd have this level of classified information anywhere outside a scif, as has
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been referred to earlier. as devlin was saying, this is not just top secret, but s.a.p. programs, special access programs, or programs that you are read into individually. just because you hold a top secret clearance doesn't mean you're -- all these programs are on a need to know basis. so you're read into these individual programs and only certain people are qualified based on their need to know. so it is a very, very, very small subset of people who are even authorized to handle, deal with this type of information. it should not be obviously stored anywhere outside its proper, you know, safeguarding facilities like a scif or other facilities. to be there for at least 18 months, you know, is kind of unexcusable. >> judge gertner, what are the implications of this? >> well, first of all, the judge that appointed a special master dignified the claim that some of what trump had was shielded by executive privilege. the classified information being
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described is not and can't possibly be shielded by executive privilege. in other words, he didn't have a right to have it. he didn't have a right to have it at his beach house, end of discussion. that needs to be returned. with respect to non-classified materials, the non-classified materials, you know, we sort of glance over it when we talk about this. but one of the things about other evidentiary materials that could bear on why in the world he had this stuff. what did he have in mind? what was the issue? what was he planning to do with it? so there's a classified box, but the rest might show what else he had in mind, which is very troubling, you know, and this is not just a memento. >> judge, to the argument made by some in the former president's orbit that, look, this is a housekeeping error, this is, you know, something maybe he wanted for his library or research down the road, or he just didn't know what there was in these boxes. >> well, you know, that might
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work -- might have worked in january 2021. it does not work after the national archives pummeled him for nearly, what, a year to turn over documents which they believed to be classified. it doesn't work when he had a grand jury subpoena. it doesn't work when the fbi visited him, and it certainly doesn't work as a result of this search. in other words, he had more time than any potential criminal defendant, any defendant had to go through the materials and come up with an explanation, and he has not. and i don't think that there is one except maybe nefarious ones. >> jennifer, just -- go ahead, david. sorry. >> anderson, i was going to point out what jennifer referred to earlier, what i don't like about this either is the fact that devlin is giving this information over the transom, right? this information is probably classified in and of itself, right? these types of documents, the contents of the documents, those are classified in and of themselves, and somebody is
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improperly -- some probably at the department of justice is improperly throwing this over the transom to devlin. that's just as improper as well and should be condemned. >> i want to -- >> and it's probably illegal. >> sorry, judge. go ahead. >> well, just as improper? i mean improperly. sure, a leak is improper, but the notion that you want to put the leak in the same category as boxes and boxes of -- >> it's illegal. you wouldn't be condoning illegal behavior. >> this is the reason we don't have secret documents in a beach resort, because they get out and people can do things with them, leaking whatever it may be. i want to bring in gloria borger. gloria, you've done a lot of reporting on the mar-a-lago search. again, i want to repeat cnn has not confirmed this "washington post" reporting independently. >> well, one thing that strikes me from devlin's reporting is that i think it's very clear that this is not just a storage issue as marco rubio, senator
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rubio has called it, and it really begs an explanation because what we have not received from the former president is an explanation of what he was doing with these documents. we've had a lot of sort of smoke and mirrors here. you know, maybe it was for the library, or maybe it was a love letter from kim jong-un, or whatever. but if, indeed -- and, again, as you say, we have not confirmed this reporting. but if, indeed, this includes information about a foreign government's nuclear readiness, then you have to answer the question about why donald trump had that in his possession at all after leaving the presidency. not only why was it at mar-a-lago, but what was he doing with it? >> right. >> and, you know, we do not have an answer to that. >> i want to bring in james clapper, who is the former director of national intelligence. director clapper, does this make any sense to you? what stands out to you about
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this reporting by "the washington post"? >> anderson, it does not make any sense to me at all. i can't imagine why on earth the former president would purloin a document like that. from an intrinsic standpoint, this is potentially profoundly damaging in that it could reveal not only what our analytic capabilities are with respect to this country, but what they are not, which could also be very damaging for us. and of course as others have spoken to, i just, you know, can't imagine what was the motivation for taking a document like this. but this is sort of worst fears realized from what has been described about these documents so far. >> director clapper, in the world of espionage, where
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information has tremendous value, what sort of value does information like this have? i'm not talking about -- we have no reason to know why the president would want this information. but what is the value of this information to a foreign country to know another country's or, you know, a foreign leader to know another country's nuclear capabilities and the u.s. capabilities on reporting about the nuclear capability? >> for the nine or ten countries, depending on how you count them and who you include, this is among the holiest of holy, if you will, in terms of sensitivity of the information because for countries that possess nuclear weapons, this gets to the very existence. the countries view it as their ticket to survival. so this is a very sensitive thing -- a very sensitive matter for each country, and
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accordingly, everybody, to include the united states, goes to extraordinary lengths to protect information on such sensitive matters. then it gets to the question of because this information is so sensitive, what extraordinary lengths might we or any country go to, to obtain such information on another country? and that gets to whether sources and methods may have been compromised. it sounds like they might have been. so on many levels, this is really disturbing. >> director clapper, in your experience in the world of intelligence, which you spent much of your entire life in, if you learned that a foreign leader who had left power had
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highly sensitive nuclear information about a country you were interested in, or any nuclear information about other countries or any nuclear power in his beach resort, in a non-secure scif facility, how interested would any intelligence service be in that information? >> oh, extremely. extremely interested. i think mar-a-lago, before all these revelations about the documents that have been found there, mar-a-lago has to be a high-priority intelligence target for foreign intelligence services. and so data like this would be, from an intelligence perspective, would be gold. and so if people knew it was there or suspected it was there, i think they'd go to extraordinary lengths to include take a risk, if they could, to
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obtain it. the other dimension of this, of course, it once again calls into question the u.s.'s ability to protect sensitive information. and that, in turn, could have a chilling effect on allies of ours who, in the past, have willingly shared sensitive information that they collect. they've shared that with us. well, if they see how cavalier we are about it, i think that could have a -- that would be an inhibiting factor in the future for sharing sensitive intelligence with us. >> just to be clear, we're talking about a facility this document is being kept in where the price of entry is -- i don't know. i think it's like $100,000 or $200,000 or something. but anybody can join basically if you have the money and, you know, go through the application process.
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>> and so from the standpoint of intelligence collection, that's kind of a bargain to obtain access to, you know, sensitive information that apparently was stored down there under very questionable physical security conditions. >> director james clapper and judge nancy gertner, david urban, jennifer rodgers, gloria borger, thank you. up next, more on politics in the u.s. the sprint on for midterms. two men not on the ballot this fall locked into bitter battle as they campaign for their candidates. we'll have the latest from the campaign trail ahead. and find the answer that was right under their nose. or... his nose. with directv i can get live tv and on demand together: football, housewives, football, housewives... whoops. i just want to tk!
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coffe as we noted at the top of the hour on this day after labor day in the world of politics, it means welcome to the unofficial kickoff of midterms, and it is etting up to be a fight like few others before. there's the bitter battle between two big names not on a ballot, president biden and the former president. there's also a handful of races that could decide what party will control the house and senate. the latest on the pennsylvania senate race from cnn's jeff zeleny. >> reporter: the fall campaign sprint is on with two months until voters settle the midterm election fight. >> democracy is at stake. >> reporter: president biden is leading the charge to make the campaign a stark contrast with republicans rather than a referendum on his own presidency
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and democratic control of washington. >> we're going to have to ask whether we want to be a country that moves forward or backwards. >> reporter: a remarkable era of uncertainty hangs over the races, as does the long shadow of former president donald trump, who is still relitigating his battle with biden. >> he's an enemy of the state. >> reporter: in november, of course, neither biden nor trump are on the ballot. but that's often hard to tell as the 2022 campaign is unfolding like a sequel to their 2020 contest. it's a brighter political environment than democrats had imagined, fueled in part by the supreme court's decision to overturn roe v. wade, which enrages and energizes voters like shirley mayton. >> i think this is huge. it absolutely is. i think it's going to really hurt the republican chances, and hopefully they're getting the message that this is not something that they should, you know, stand on. >> reporter: the issue of abortion rights is now at the forefront of house, senate, and governors races. >> mehmet oz is so extreme, he
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wants to make abortion a crime in pennsylvania. >> reporter: even as republicans are countering with concerns about crime, inflation, and immigration. >> the radical left has gone crazy. >> reporter: control of the senate is up for grabs with competitive races unfolding across the country from arizona to new hampshire as republicans try to erase a one-seat edge held by democrats. in the house, republicans are only five seats away from winning the majority. and in governors races, some of the most closely watched contests are flaplaying out in same states that delivered biden the white house. pennsylvania is at the center of it all, starting with the senate race between john fetterman -- >> i'm going to make it really simple for all of you. it's a choice. it's a choice. >> reporter: -- and mehmet oz. >> this is not about health. this is about honesty. >> reporter: they're locked in a contentious duel over debates. with biden on fetterman's side and trump standing with oz,
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voters like linda frank have much to sort out over the next nine weeks. >> i am perplexed because i was a trump supporter, and i don't know where i stand now. >> reporter: yet she does believe the biden administration could use a check on its power. >> i think that the check system is leaning too far to one side. you know, we need to get it back in the middle. >> so you'll vote republican in november in state races? >> yeah, i will. >> reporter: and to say that trump's shadow looms large over this race certainly is an understatement, anderson. dr. oz saw that earlier today firsthand. he was asked if he was in the senate at the time, if he would have certified the 2020 election results. he said, yes, he would have. of course that puts him at direct odds with the former president, whose supporters he is still trying to win over. there were nine weeks left in this midterm election campaign, but there are a lot of elements
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in play here. it's very dynamic. republicans are feeling that they don't have the qualified senate candidates necessarily. democrats have some winds at their back, but clearly, anderson, this senate absolutely up for grabs. >> appreciate it. up next, a tragic update on the search for a teacher in memphis, tennessee, who authorities say was the victim of a violent abduction. s value and gives you a real offer in seconds we'll come to you pay you on the spot then pick up your car that's itt at carvanana if you're turning 65 soon or over 65 and planning to retire... now's the time to learn more about an aarp medicareupplement insurance plan from unitedhealthcare and get help protecting yourself from the out-of-pocket costs medicare doesn't pay. becausthe time to prepare is before you go on medicare. don't wait. get started today. call unitedhealthcare for your free decision guide.
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couy police say a body found in memphis is mom and teacher eliza fletcher, who was abducted in the early morning hours last friday. this comes as the suspect in her kidnapping is set to be arraigned tomorrow on new charges. our gary tuchman has details. >> reporter: today is a very sad day in the city of memphis. >> reporter: the memphis police chief confirming the worlths, that eliza fletcher was dead, her body found behind an abandoned duplex. this man, cleotha abston, has been charged with murdering her. he was arraigned on the initial kidnapping charges today. he had been arrested over the weekend and charged with the kidnapping. surveillance images showing eliza fletcher being attacked by a man while she was jogging near the university of memphis campus. he forced her into his suv and then drove away. that man, say police, is abston. according to authorities, he wasn't talking to them about what happened to the 34-year-old
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wife and mother. >> you are charged with especially aggravated kidnapping. >> reporter: but with today's identification of her body, the prosecutor informed the judge -- >> additional charges were filed this morning for murder, premeditated murder, and murder in the perpetration of a kidnapping. >> reporter: the judge set another arraignment for the murder charges on wednesday. abston was wearing a mask but appeared to show no emotion. less than a day earlier, a south memphis neighborhood was virtually shut down with crime tape as scores of police conducted an intense hours-long search. the location where her body was found about one-half mile away from where a witness told authorities she saw the accused murderer cleaning his car after eliza fletcher was kidnapped and acting oddly. >> we worked together to identify various locations, and that was our search concentration, and we're just blessed that we were able to identify this location, and our officers were successful in
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finding her. >> reporter: the surveillance camera on a building at the university provided key evidence because it clearly showed a vehicle that had damage to it and a partial license plate. and with those images, u.s. marshals found what they say is the same vehicle at the suspect's residence. an affidavit also declares abston left a pair of his sandals at the crime scene. authorities were able to obtain dna from those sandals that matched abston. >> do you swear or affirm -- >> reporter: at least one reason he was in the dna database, he had been found guilty in 2000 of another kidnapping in memphis, with a victim who escaped. abston served about 20 years behind bars. he was released a little less than two years ago. >> any kind of violence, of course, is unacceptable. but repeat violent offenders particularly deserve a strong response, and that's what they'll get from this district attorney's office. ♪ i'm gonna let it shine ♪ >> reporter: eliza fletcher was a mother of two small boys, a junior kindergarten teacher at a private school in memphis, a
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member of a prominent and philanthropic memphis family. some of her family members were in court. they quietly watched and listened, witnessing the man charged with murdering their loved one. the d.a., who says there is no reason to believe this was anything but a random attack, says he's been in touch with the family throughout this horrible ordeal. >> to lose someone so young and so vital is a tragedy in and of itself. but to have it happen in this way with a senseless act of violence, it's unimaginable. >> reporter: anderson, we received an additional affidavit today that gave us more of an idea of how the area was pinpointed where eliza's body was found. and what we learned from that is they used an fbi cellular analysis team, and what that team did was literally analyze cellular data from this past friday. and based on that analysis, the police officers on the scene went to different homes. four particular police officers went to one abandoned home. they saw tire tracks in the tall
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grass. one of those four officers then went to the back of the office. they saw stairs leading to the back door. next to those >> it's incredible they can track somebody like that through that data. appreciate the reporting. coming up next, uvalde students returning to the classroom for the first time since the robb elementary shootings.
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just moments ago, the texas department of public safety suspended two officers with pay as they investigate the response to the uvalde school shooting. this comes on the first day back with students. no students or staff were able to return to the actual site of the shooting. they were attending other schools in the district. >> reporter: seeing these students return to school, some of them i have been around quite some time. it was -- there were a lot of smiles, but certainly a lot of anxiety from family, from parents as they were dropping their kids off.
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hugs, high fives and therapy dogs greeted students in uvalde today. you doing all right? how are you holding up? >> i'm good. >> reporter: you are smiling. you happy? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: happy to go back to school? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: nervous? >> yeah. because i'm not used to this school. >> reporter: a.j. was in room 112 at robb watchin a g a movie when a gunman entered his classroom killing 19 of his classmates and two teachers. he drove under backpacks trying to height. he was shot through his leg. trying to get back to normal? >> yeah. >> reporter: this is a good first step. deciding what to wear for the first time at his new school, a.j. chose a shirt with a photo of the friends and the teachers he lost. his wounds may slowly heal, but
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the emotional toll will be harder to overcome. you all right? >> like i said, scared, worried for my kids and teachers and students coming back. that's all i'm worried about. >> reporter: it's a difficult day for a.j.'s mom. when we sat down this summer, she shared her advice to her son. >> he tells me, i hate the shooter. i hate that he killed my friends and my two teachers, mom. he is like, i will never see them again. i said, i know, babe. but you have to be strong. because that's what they would want you to do. >> reporter: as they filed into their classrooms, uvalde students were met by a heavy law enforcement presence. some schools in the district have new security measures, like eight-foot fencing and cameras. at a.j.'s school, the fencing hasn't been completed in time for first day.
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back in the drop-off line, zeke is in the back of his dad's truck. ready to bravely face his fears. how do you feel about coming back to school? >> i'm really nervous. i'm so scared and shocked after what happened at my old school. i'm still scared and nervous. >> reporter: you were at robb. what grade are you in now? >> fifth. >> reporter: were you in the class were the shooting happen order a different room? >> i was down the hall. >> reporter: you could hear? >> i could still hear the gunshots. it was very terrifying and traumatizing for me. >> reporter: still is? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: coming back to school -- >> it's scary. >> what can you tell bus the two officers who have been suspended? >> reporter: the texas department of public safety, which released this information,
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they are not releasing much more. this is three months into this, and they are just getting through parts of their investigation. they are announcing these two officers have been suspended with pay. they have referred three other officers, five officers all together, for a formal investigation with the inspector general. that's about all that we know about this, anderson. keep in mind, there were 91 department of public safety officials on scene that day. that was the second largest police presence outside of border patrol. also, keep in mind that so much of the blame has been put on local police department officials. the school police department and the local police department. so many people didn't think that any blame would come to the department of public safety. now we're seeing something different here. finally, more accountability. we still yet don't have that transparency as to why this is happening. hopefully, at some point, we
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will learn that. >> great to see them going back to school and doing okay. shimon, appreciate it. we'll be right back.
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it has been a busy hour. i want to hand it over to casey hunt. >> thank you so much. i'm casey hunt. this is "cnn tonight." summer is unofficially over. pressure is building on both major political parties with the midterms nine weeks away. in this home stretch, president biden is taking the opportunity today to tout his administration's summer victories while assembling his cabinet since the first time in march. we saw the ex-president fire back this weekend. >> donald trump and the maga republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations o