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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  July 1, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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he could get in there and rub it in a little bit more and he's not doing that yet. >> let's reserve judgment on that. >> we'll reserve judgment, that's right. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room" who will continue the coverage of the george zimmerman trial. >> happening in his own words, jurors see and hear george zimmerman on tape recounting those dramatic chain of events that ended in trayvon martin's death. >> also, it's the deadliest blaze since the 9/11 attacks and the deadliest in arizona history. and former government george w. bush breaking his silence about the nsa leaker edward snowden in an exclusive interview with cnn. you'll see it and hear it here
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in "the situation room." i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." in the meantime, we're continuing our live coverage of the george zimmerman trial. mark o'meara is continuing his questioning of chris serino, one of the first police officers on the scene. >> more so than the shooting incident, correct. >> so with that in mind, let me just show you what the jury is seeing now and is already in evidence and ask you is that some of what you're talking about, the trauma of that? of course -- >> that's the trauma the night of. >> this is the picture that you saw that officer wagner had taken of him, correct? >> yes. >> you didn't see mr. zimmerman live in this condition because he had been cleaned up. >> right. >> and this photograph -- that's the one that john minolo showed.
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>> yes. >> i hadn't seen that. >> is that part of the trauma you were talking about he had gone through. >> sir, i think more specifically the fearing for his life trauma that he was expressing. wasn't the actual physical injuries, if i may. >> and it is that or a combination of that that led you to this thought that mr. zimmerman had sort of a flat affect about everything that had happened to him that night? >> yes, sir. >> did it come across to you, though, that he was just uncaring, that he just didn't care that he had gotten beat up and that he had to shoot somebody because of it or was it truly your thought that he was reacting to the trauma? >> i would have no -- i didn't know him prior to this. it would be included to one of my concerns, yes, however, it could be something totally different. that was one of the concerns that may have been, that he was
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uncaring or other things were going on. >> did in the investigation, did he -- i'm sorry, in the interview, and we're talking now about the one that happened at midnight, did he seem to be cavalier or uncaring in the way he answered your questions? >> not necessarily. >> anything in interview that you would point out to the jury where you thought he was acting cavalier? by that i mean something like "can i go home no?" or "are we done here?" or "there's a midnight movie i want to catch"? >> other than potentially making himself unavailable for a next-day follow up because he to go to class -- >> okay. let's talk about that for a minute. you asked him about doing the
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interview, the re-creation the next day. you asked him what time he got off and he told you i have class at 6:30. he also then told you next sentence but i can skip it? >> he may have. >> if that's what the transcript says. did it give you cause -- >> i wouldn't necessarily go there but it seemed odd he would have that on his mind based on what happened out there and what had happened out there. it struck me with being different. >> did that fall in line with him having that flat affect, of him having to shoot somebody and going through the injuries, the beating or the injuries that he said happened to him? >> among other things.
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>> was it also concerning to you that he just said i got to go to the work in the morning? after midnight he was still with you and yet he's planning on going to work in the morning. >> that was a little concerning. >> and again, concerning if in fact he was completely uncaring? >> uncaring, among other terms. >> but not a concern if it was just further evidence of his reaction to the trauma being just going flat on things. >> correct. i mean, hard to say. >> right. >> aside from the fact that he seemed to be acting with this flat affect, there was nothing in his words that suggested an uncaring attitude was there? >> no, there weren't. >> and investigator singleton told you he didn't know trayvon martin had passed and when he had passed they had a conversation about god and being
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catholic and that his put his head down and shook his head know and she finally told him that trayvon martin had passed. she told that you, right? >> i don't remember that conversation but she may have. >> okay. >> did anything at all -- and i want you to really drill into it. and i'm sorry, i know that you've heard it. i have a transcript of the interview. would that assist you as i ask you some questions about the interview. >> if you have an extra copy. i might have one myself. >> up to the state.
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i might. let me show it to the state first. it's not the official court reporter's transcript but it may be used to refresh your recollection. >> marked for identification defense exhibit double g. >> double i. >> double i. oh. >> i'm not going to have you go through it line by line at all but basically to use it to refresh your recollection to the extent that we need to.
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>> okay. >> the question is this -- and on refer to that document if you need to to refresh your recollection. was there anything in the interview with mr. zimmerman at 12:27 12:05 that was contradictory to you at that point? >> no, sir. >> for example, he said he shot once. there was only one shot fired, correct? >> correct. >> and he said his head was being hit where it was and john good told you -- >> objection. hearsay again. >> sustained. >> the witnesses had talked to you about the facts of the event. none of those facts presented by those witnesses contested mr. zimmerman's rendition of the facts, did they?
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>> not at that point, no, sir. >> including witnesses who were right there after the shooting had occurred that saw mr. zimmerman, correct? there was no conflict there, was there? >> no, sir. >> there was no conflict with the initial officer that came on the scene, what he told you did not conflict with what mr. zimmerman had told you, right? >> no, sir. >> one fact anywhere that was contested by a fact that you knew from the investigation? >> none that i found. >> thank you. if i might retrieve the document, your honor.
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and then if you would remind the jury the next time that you had contact with mr. zimmerman. >> probably over the phone prior to meeting with him on the 29th. >> okay. >> oh, i'm sorry, the next day, the walk through. >> i was going to remind you. you had contact with him the next day when he came and met with you to do the walk-through, correct? >> technically later the same day, yes, sir. >> and of course that's the video that you were here for, flight. >> yes, sir. >> so he went to work that day it seemed because he waited until you got off work, correct? >> he made our appointment. i don't know whether he went to work or not. >> okay. and he was willing to do the re-creation still, correct, as we saw on the tape in. >> yes, sir. >> any concern with doing that? >> no, he was available. >> did you notice a similar
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behavior, we're calling now this flat affect behavior even in the video as well? >> no, he was a little more animated. >> a bit more resolved? >> you can use that word. >> and focus on the re-creation and let me ask you to point out to the jury inconsistencies that you noticed. i'm going to ask you for two types. the first is tell me -- tell the jury significant inconsistencies in the re-creation video and what he had told you the night before. let's just start there. >> okay. my interview with him -- let me clear this up, if i may. >> certainly. >> was a brief overview of what i had and it want an extensive
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interview. i can attest to what the interview -- what officer singleton and the walk-through was based on what i saw, that's more fair. i kind of went there to move things along because i was kind of focused to trying to identify who the deceased was at that time. >> to what? >> trying to identify who the deceased was. >> okay. >> so the interview was kind of short but i'll try. >> you're talking about the interview at midnight? >> yes. >> i also want to you tell us of any indiscrepancies in the re-creation interview either in your interview with him at midnight or investigator or officer singleton's interview with him at 8:00 p.m. that you had available to you. so as the investigating officer,
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you've looked at -- i'm not going to talk about the other evidence yet, we're going to get to that in a second but just my client's statements to either officer singleton or you the night before and the differences that you noticed in the video. >> okay, sir. >> okay. that's my premise question. so tell me what are those? >> i can't think of them off hand. none that come to mind right now, no. >> okay. obviously you've had an opportunity to review all of this information well before today, correct? >> yes, i did. >> you were studying from the 27th until i think at least march 12th or thereabouts, correct? >> i've been studying it, yes. >> and that included all of the information and reviewing all of his statements and comparing them, correct? >> yes. but when you say
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inconsistencies, i can tell you as far as a statement saying -- >> let me premise it with this then. any situation where you have what you believe mr. zimmerman went through, both parts of that trauma and multiple interviews of him, would you expect that there were going to be some differences? >> absolutely. >> and why is that? >> because we're not robots at people. i mean, not knowing him personally, i don't think i've ever heard of somebody remembering step by step exactly how stuff occurred that they were involved in, unless you're looking from the outside looking in. >> as a matter of fact, if someone were to come to you and have the exact same story down fact for fact and word for word,
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sentence for sentence each time you talked to them, what would you think about that person's honesty or veracity? >> i'd -- either they're being completely honest or completely false. >> if you were to ask somebody three weeks apart and they came up with the exact same story each time, wouldn't you think they were lying every time? >> it's hard to say, i'm a professional skeptic. >> it's job security being a professional skeptic, right? >> job performance really. >> yeah. >> and so in the interview, you would expect things were going to change, correct? >> correct. >> and if they were to change in
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significant ways and add in brand new facts and truly chang in direction, would you note that, correct? >> yes, sir. >> because that would spo show a change in the substance of it? >> yes, sir. >> and did you notice anything to bring to the jury's attention today that caused you that concern, that spidey sense that something's going wrong with what's he's telling you? >> nothing i can articulate, no, sir. >> as a matter of fact, as we look at that video, as you looked at it, it was quite entertainment with what he had told you before, correct? >> yes, sir. >> and though it was longer and more was discussed, there was nothing in that re-creation where he moved things around or did things differently or suggested things happened in a different location, did he? >> nothing major, no, sir. >> now, let's talk about we're
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building up to what i call the challenge interview. i know that's next. but let's stick on this one, the you of course had some move information -- you had another day's worth of investigation, right, because you were working the case the entirety of the 27th, right? >> yes, sir. >> so you had been gathering more witness statements, and more of the law enforcement workout that was being done, correct? >> yes, sir. >> would you agree you probably had a dozen or 15 witness statements available to you on the 27th? >> approximately. >> and had reviewed all of those in planning for your next communication with mr. zimmerman? >> yes, sir. >> did what he say on the re-creation video contradict any of the witness statements that you had gotten so far by
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friday -- or, sorry, the 27th at 5 p.m.? >> nothing directly. >> anything at all where you could explain to the jury where you looked at it and said this piece isn't fitting? >> nothing as far as the information that he'd given us, no. >> would you agree that any of the slight inconsistencies that did exist on that video you would sort of assign as just being the way interviews go? >> perhaps, yes. >> well, anything else besides that? >> nothing that comes to mind, no. as far as something that would have triggered something more than just me continuing to talk to him. >> chris serino, the patrol officer who interviewed george zimmerman on that first night after he shot and killed trayvon martin, offering his testimony, testimony seemingly pretty good for george zimmerman and the defense. we're going to continue our
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the lawyers are still having what they call a side bar with the judge at this trial, as they consult over a sensitive issue presumably. let's bring in our analyst. sunny hostin is joining us, jeffrey toobin is joining us. jeffrey, it seems this appearance by chris serino, the patrol officer to interrogated george zimmerman on the night of the killing might be helping george zimmerman. >> they ought to teach this
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cross-examination in law school because mark o'meara is lovingly bringing out how cooperative george zimmerman was, he acted in a manner that you would expect someone in this situation. he is stretching out the cross-examination because every answer he's getting from a detective who investigated this case is helpful to the defense. >> and, you know, sunny, as we listen to this testimony from this witness chris serino, i think jeffrey makes an excellent point. it looks like it's bolstering george zimmerman's case that not only was he cooperative but he was acting in self-defense. >> well, you know, he's on cross-examination and that's what defense attorney should be doing. he should be trying to somehow bolster his client's story. but i've got to tell you, i thought that this was a very good day for the prosecution. when you listen to the tape on direct, there were so many
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things that struck me as fascinating. i mean, one of the things was you have one. detectives, detective or investigator singleton saying, wait a minute, you sound like you're running. you told me you got out of the car to look for a street sign but there are only three streets in your entire neighborhood. you didn't know what street you were on? when you look at the direct, i don't know. he was a pretty powerful witness for the state. but on cross-examination, a skilled attorney like mark o'mea o'meara, yes, it should be a good cross-examination. i got to tell you, i thought he was an excellent witness for the state. maybe we're all watching a different trial. >> no, we were watching the same trial. the judge has asked the jurors to leave the courtroom momentarily. they're discussing a sensitive issue. as they do that, let's take another quick break and resume our coverage after this.
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judge deborah nelson has just asked the six jurors to come back into the courtroom. they were out as they were reading some of the testimony from the transcripts to make sure that the lawyers were not going too far one way or another. she's going to ask these six jurors if they want to spend another half hour or so listening to testimony from chris serino, the patrol officer who was on the scene the day that trayvon martin was shot and killed. they want to continue this for another half an hour or do they want to resume tomorrow morning 9:00 a.m. eastern? we're going to hear from the jurors as we await the decision from the jurors if they want the questioning to continue. mark, before the break you heard sunny think it was a good day for the prosecution. a lot of others think it's a good day for the defense.
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>> i don't think it was a good day for the defense, i think it was a great day for the defense. you have your lead investigator, the lead detective who is saying all the things the defense lawyer wants him to do. if there's any witness you want on the state side, it your lead detective. the only way they can be won by the state is if zimmerman is giving inconsistent statements. the lead detective says all the statements are consistent. that's powerful, that's strong. they're going to go to the top of the hour. here's some more questioning from mark o'meara, the criminal defense attorney and this is chris serino, the direct from the police department who investigated zimmerman that might. >> i think you said earlier there was nothing specifically inconsistent with the statements before and ere-creation video, correct?
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>> no, sir. >> okay. now let's just sort of move forward into your next efforts in this regard. i'm going to then move us up pretty quickly to the next interview with mr. zimmerman. before before you got to thatneck interview with mr. man, tell the jury, if you would, what other actions you were doing as the investigating officer? >> from the beginning? >> yeah. we've sort of gone through the 26th, correct that, night. and we've talked about you had a dozen or so witness statements you'd already gathered on the 27th. and that we had the interview and the re-creation interview on the 27th. so moving us from that point forward. >> other than identifying trayvon himself and as far as my timeline as far as what i was doing as it pertains to george? >> yes, sir. >> the day after, after identifying -- well, on the day
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of the incident, i spent several hours attempting to identify trayvon and i spent most of the night doing that actually. and after identifying him, i had to go ahead and make arrangements to get him released. the interviews that were conducted in preparation for my next interview with george had to be listened to and compared to -- with the statement that he provided us. and ultimately, not to consolidate it for you but he -- we had to essentially -- we realized that the only person that saw what happened or how it initiated was going to be george
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because at that point we couldn't find any other witnesses to say how it began, what was the first encounter. >> and, if i might, i want to interup t int interrupt you for just a moment and then go back. at this time did you have the emergency call? >> yes, i did. >> and you also had the 911 call where you heard the screaming, correct. >> yes, i did. >> and you're telling me now you're trying to figure out no other witnesses there who can say i saw them come together. >> we could not locate anyone who said they saw that exactly. all we had were the 911 calls and the yells in the background, statements from mr. good who actually saw, no reason not to
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believe him, statements that your client made that corroborated everything else and that's where we were on that last interview. i had nothing of substance to basically toss it in to confront him with as far as the interview went, other than suspicious lack of remembering the streets, how many streets he had in his neighborhood and other oddities but that would have compelled me to go ahead and keep on interviewing him, they did quite add up. it would have had to have been further. >> so then what you decided to take on, which is another useful police tactic, if you will, is what you call a challenge interview, correct? >> at this point i wasn't ready for one but yes. >> you were also under quite a deal of pressure to get this case moved forward, correct in.
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>> yes, i was. >> and had to move even quicker than you would otherwise have moved on this case because of some of the external pressures that we now know existed in this case? >> yes, sir. >> and it was for that reason that you may have moved a little bit quicker than would you have liked to to interview mr. zimmermzi zimmerman in this aggressive manner, correct? >> yes. >> and when i say aggressive, i mean -- if you need to take control, anything it is, they teach you how to take control, get in their face a little bit, you wake them up. >> assertiveness if properly used. >> and you use your weapon systems and how to use what to get control.
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and that's what you learn as a cop, right? >> yes, sir. >> and you get that from the academy and from years of experience? >> yes, sir. >> and one of those things you get from years of experience is what i call the challenge interview. i don't know if you have a different name for it but -- is that what it is? >> i don't have a name for it but that's what it -- >> that's where you t to go in and undermine an interviewees' story to them, you challenge them. we go back and forth with you're being nice and then you're not being nice and then you set them up and knock them down, correct? >> that's a technique. >> i don't mean to give up your secrets. >> not at all. >> those are technique, the purpose of which you can break somebody's story, right? >> and discover the truth, yes. >> particularly in a case where you're under a lot of pressure from the outside and don't have a lot of inconsistencies that
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you need to either get through to mr. zimmerman in this case and break it or not, correct? >> objection. compound question. >> did you understand what i said? >> repeat it, please. >> your intent in this case because of everything that was going on was that you wanted to get mr. zimmerman in a position where if you could break him, if you could get him to change his story in a significant way, then you can find out he's lying, right? >> correct. >> that's one of them. >> yes, sir. >> the very least what you do is try and crack that door open just a little bit, get just a stream of line coming through so you can really push through it if he's lying to you? >> yeah, i'm seeking the omission that maybe there's exaggeration or maybe -- >> or the anger that may be there that didn't show before or just the hit 'em with something
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that -- you might even exaggerate as a problem just to see if he bites, right? >> absolutely. >> that's a tactic, right? >> yes, sir. >> and it works, doesn't it? >> at times. >> usually. >> sometimes. >> right? i mean, that's why you do it, right? >> yes, sir. >> and this type of an -- i'm going to use a term from now on, challenge interview, are you okay with that? >> that's fine. >> this type of a challenge interview, you often have two people there, right, so you can kind of play one off against the other? >> yes, sir. >> again, that's intentional. >> yes, sir. >> particularly you would use somebody like officer singleton because she had a decent relationship with george from thatirst interview. >> yes, sir. >> so she's the perfect candidate. >> could be. >> might even help they had that little christian connection thing going on and all that? >> yes, sir. >> and again, it sounds like i'm
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harassing your style. >> not at all. >> i just want to make sure the jury understands that these type of techniques are used for very particular purposes within law enforcement. >> yes, sir. >> we're going to continue our coverage. they're talking about the interrogation techniques that police officer chris serino used that first night in interroga interrogating george zimmerman. we'll resume our coverage in a minute. we're cracking down on medicare fraud.
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the defense attorney, mark o'meara, continuing his questioning of chris serino, the police officer who interrogated zimmerman on that first night after shooting and killing trayvon martin. they're going through right now what is called a challenge interrogation questioning that interview. let's listen in. >> you've had challenge interviews that were much more in the person's face, correct? >> usually when i had something more than what i had. >> and i was just going to say, that's where you walk in to the guy who just, you know --
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>> exactly. >> -- stole eight cars in the neighborhood and you have his fingerprints on six of them and he's just telling you he was in the library studying. >> correct. >> that challenge is you walk in the interview and go you got one last chance, you're going to prison a long, long time and or you tell me what happened. that's a really aggressive challenge interview, correct? >> yes, sir. >> you have to modify the challenge style based upon what you have to hit him with, right? >> yes. >> and in this case you didn't have a lot to hit him with, right? >> no. >> now the reason you're having him repeat everything in greater detail is to see if you can wean out any inconsistencies from him? >> or other missions.
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admissions, omissions. stuff he might have left out. more information. >> and as to the information in the first few pages, anything else that he added that he had not talked to you about? >> anything inconsistent? >> no, nothing major. >> then you start with, again, some of the psychological underplay with him that he's going to be and you lot of scrutiny, right? you're trying to go to bat for him, you're going to have to speak for him, right? just sort of laying that into the framework here? >> well, in this particular case he could have been considered a victim also. it's just -- it's one of those investigations where -- >> agreed. but you were dealing with a lot going on that impacted on your investigation, correct? >> regardless of what was going on, i still kept an open mind that he could be a victim. >> okay. >> and in focusing him on what you thought you might have to
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defend when you were saying that you'd have to speak for him and this is going to be and you lot of scrutiny, this whole question of whether you profiled him and you sort of hit him with that pretty straight out of the box, hoping for maybe a response that would give you an insight as to whether or not he profiling trayvon because trayvon was black? >> or an explanation -- more of an explanation i was seeking. >> and you asked him if he had been white if he would have reacted the same way and he said yes? >> yes. >> did that cause you any concern? >> no. >> but you wanted to see if that was something that needed to be
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opened p opened up. >> there were external concerns about that that needed to be asked and i did. >> and you also had a concern that you evidenced to him or challenged him on because you had an issue over whether or not his rendition of getting hit dozens of times were supported by the forensic evidence of his injuries, correct? >> in my view, yes. they were lacking. >> because he said -- i think one of you questioned him and he said i got hit 20, 25 times, right? >> i believe he said 25 to 30, yes. >> it didn't seem as though there was injuries sufficient for somebody getting hit 25 or 30 times, right? >> no, it did not. >> as you mentioned earlier, the
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trauma that he had been through do you believe in your investigation of him that it may have just felt like he was getting hit 25 or 30 times? >> based on personal experience it could be a panic thing more. yes, it very well could have been. >> so that in and of itself was an area that was a concern of yours, correct, but not something that suggested that he was just making that story up, did it? >> no. >> as a matter of fact, have you had a chance to look at the pictures of his injuries before they started healing when you saw him? >> yes, i did. >> those are the injuries that were taken at spd, sanford police department, that night? >> yes. >> without going through each and every one, the jury's seen
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them three or four times, would you agree there were numerous different bruising and injuries on both sides of his scalp? >> there were injuries. >> okay. >> however, based on the way i feel as a major crime investigator, who has seen injuries a lot worse than that, i didn't consider them life threatening. >> of course. >> and we don't need to see life threatening injuries, do we -- >> no. >> okay. we don't need to see any injuries, do we? >> no, we don't. >> yeah, he did have some. >> yes, he did. >> and he had the nose injuries we talked about and he had the laceration on the back. you saw those pictures, right? >> yes, sir. >> and you saw the bruising and swelling on both sides of his head? >> yeah. i saw imperfections, yeah. call it that, yes. >> what they call punctate
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bruising? >> bumps, contusions. >> and to the extent that you don't count them all here today, agree that the jury can simply look at those pictures that were available to you taken really right around the time of the first midnight interview and rely on those rather than your memory? >> yes. >> all right. so chris serino, the police officer, now suggesting that the injuries that he saw on george zimmerman that night were not in his words "life threatening." we're going to assess that and continue our live coverage right after this.
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interrogated george zimmerman on the night of the killing of trayvon martin. let's continue our coverage. >> that was when i actually walked all the way over to my street, which was those 40, 50 feet or so, correct? >> i don't recall those responses, but i was measuring from retreat view circle to his vehicle. and i'd have to listen to it again. it just seemed excessive. there was a time -- i do think that he did say that he actually paused to pick up his flashlight or something. >> pick up -- >> his flashlight, somewhere in there. >> okay. we'll defer to the tape as to what was exactly said back and forth during this interview.
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another effort that he did, a significant one, was when you told him that trayvon martin would videotape a lot of what he was doing. and that you believed that this whole event may well have been on video. >> yes, sir. >> correct? >> yes, sir. >> again, a very specific challenge interrogation technique, is it not? >> yes, sir. >> when you can say, you know, there's that bank just across the street and they had just instald brand-new cameras, night cameras, color cameras, and we got real good video. and the reason for doing that is because that's truly an attempt to let this guy know, whoever it is, that you've got him, right?
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>> that's more of a bluff, in this one, to say that i got him, that's just to put in his mind that everything may or may not be there. >> and i apologize. i spoke about two different events. this one specific event, and then some guy across the street from a bank. let me clear that up. >> okay. >> generally speaking, you might introduce the suggested existence of video evidence in order to flush out a true story. >> yes. >> and in this particular case, that's what you were doing. >> yes, sir. >> and you had suggested to mr. zimmerman there was a really good chance that trayvon martin's phone, which you had in your possession, but it was dead, the phone was dead, and you couldn't really get it out yet, but there was a really good chance that was going to have a video of this whole event. >> yes, sir. >> and that was, in effect, to get him to -- if there was something to come clean to, that he would come clean to it. >> yes, sir. >> knowing, as you said, that if
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it's there and it shows something you didn't tell us about, it's going to be really bad for you. >> yes, sir. >> and that was the way you said it, right? >> yes, sir. >> and that was the reason why you said it, right? >> yes, sir. >> and that was all part of your challenge interview. >> yes, sir. >> and what did he say when you told him that? >> i believe his words were "thank god, i was hoping somebody would videotape it." >> what indication did him saying to you "thank god, i really hope somebody videotaped it," what did that indicate to you? >> in my opinion, it would have been -- >> objection. >> i apologize, your honor. >> the question was what did that indicate to him. >> correct. >> to officer serino.
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>> that was my question. >> okay. >> what the thinking -- i think -- >> no, the indication from that response, what did that indicate to officer serino, so overruled. >> want me to rephrase the question? >> please. >> sure. the fact that george zimmerman said to you thank go i hope somebody did videotape the event, what did that indicate to you? >> either he was telling the truth, or he was a complete pathological liar, one of the two. >> okay. now, let's look at overall, was there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar? >> no. >> as a matter of fact, everything he had told you to date had been corroborated by other evidence you were already that he was unaware of. >> correct. >> okay. so if we were to take
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pathological liar off the table as a possibility, just for the purpose of this next question, do you think he was telling the truth? >> yes. >> i think this is a time for a break. >> i think it is, your honor. >> ladies and gentlemen, we're going to recess for the evening before i send you off. i'm going to give you my instructions again. you're not to discuss the case amongst yourself or with anybody else. you're not to read or listen to any radio, television, or newspaper reports about the case. you're not to use any type of an electronic device to look on the internet. anything having to do with this case, people, places, things, or terminology. and finally, you're not to read or create any e-mails, text
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messages, twitters, tweets, or blogs or any social networking pages about the case. do i have your assurances that you will abide by these instructions? please put your note pads down on the chair and follow deputy jarvis. have a good evening. >> that's judge deborah nelson recessing this day six of the george zimmerman trial. a very, very dramatic day. and we heard a lot of testimony, especially from the police interrogator, the police investigator chris serino. let's get a quick bit of analysis. jeffrey dubin is standing by. what's your bottom line? >> if i were the prosecutor sitting there listening to that cross-examination, my blood pressure would have exploded through the top of the measuring -- however you measure blood pressure. it was excruciating to listen to from a prosecution perspective. george zimmerman was honest. he was trustworthy. he told the same story over again. i used the best investigative techniques i could. i tried to trick him.
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i couldn't do it. he told the truth over and over again. and this is the lead cop in the investigation. i mean, look, i don't know what the result of this trial is going to be. i don't want to overstate one witness's testimony, but this cross-examination was extremely effective. >> sonny, you disagree. tell us why. >> you know, i don't know. because at the very end when you have investigator serino saying that george zimmerman say i was hoping that someone had videotaped it, this altercation, and the response from serino was i believed he was either a serial liar -- you know, pathological liar or telling the truth, and i believed he was telling the truth, i think the fact that they ended it with that, the examination today and the jury is going back to their hotel rooms to think about that, you know, was a pretty good ending for the defense. now, again, during direct examination, i thought that the prosecution went a long way towards showing a lot of inconsistencies within his
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statements. but i think on cross-examination, i would agree with jeff, it was a pretty masterful cross-examination. and there's more to come tomorrow. >> certainly is. don't go too far away. jeff, don't go too far away. we've got a lot more coverage coming up. just to recap, i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're beginning with the most dramatic day yet in the george zimmerman murder trial. the jury certainly did hear and watch recordings of him telling his story to police. according to zimmerman's account of what happened, trayvon martin jumped out at him, beat him, and told him he was going to die before zimmerman pulled the trigger of his gun. martin savidge is joining us right now from outside the courthouse in sanford, florida. a dramatic day indeed. for viewers who were not watching all of this riveting testimony, update us. >> well, i think even the defense mentioned that this was probably the most difficult day
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that george zimmerman has had to face so far. because it was obvious that the prosecution was attempting here to use his own words, whether it with his written statements that he's made, the interviews that he's given to police, or the reenactment that he did just a day after the shooting of trayvon martin. taking all of those instances and trying to bring out the inconsistencies in the story telling, and also to try to back up their initial claim, the prosecution's, that is, that george zimmerman profiled trayvon martin as a bad person, as a suspect from the very moment he spotted him on that night, february 26th in 2012. were they effective at doing that? there were moments they were able to show that there was some interesting developments. one of the things i heard before, and thought we knew everything, was doris singleton, the sanford police officer, the first officer to take the initial statement by george
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zimmerman. and one of the things that shocked her -- or actually, she said she was surprised that george zimmerman seemed shocked to learn that trayvon martin had died. listen to this. >> and asked you -- >> yes. >> and he told you he was catholic? >> i don't know that he said he was catholic. he asked if i were catholic and i told him that i wasn't. so i assumed that he was catholic. >> and you told him you were christian and his response was what again? >> because in the catholic religion, it is always wrong to kill somebody. >> and your response to that? >> was that if what you're telling me is truthful, then i don't believe that that is what god means when he means to kill somebody. >> is it your opinion that if what he is telling you is true -- presuming that it was true, it was your suggestion
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then to comfort him in whatever he was working through? >> to let him know if he was being truthful, that he was in fear for his life, and he had to kill trayvon, that i don't believe that that was what god meant. >> okay. >> i think it was just right after that, that you had said that trayvon martin was not identified yet? >> we did not know who he was. >> and that was when you communicated that to george zimmerman, correct? >> i don't know if it was directly at that same moment, but yes. we spoke about not being able to know who the victim was. >> uh-huh. >> i made a statement. i don't know what it was in response to. it was that we hadn't yet identified the victim. >> and his response was that he didn't even realize that trayvon martin had passed, correct? >> he gave me, yeah, like a
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blank stare on his face and said what do you mean, you don't know the victim. i said well, we don't know who he is. and he said, he's dead? and i said to him, i mean, i thought you knew that. >> reporter: after that police officer, the lead investigator took the stand, chris serino. again, the prosecution tried to point out inconsistencies. but mark o'mara quickly came back and rebutted and said, however, there may have been different ways he told the story, but was there ever a way that he told it differently that made you suspicious of george zimmerman? and, in fact, the lead investigator said no. wolf? >> martin savidge on the scene for us in sanford. let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our legal analyst, the former federal prosecutor sonny hostin. diane diamond for "newsweek." you were watching all of this
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very carefully today. what was your bottom line assessment on this, day six of this trial? >> my bottom line assessment is that whatever evidence is in the pot, that the prosecution is bringing forward, the defense has been able, quite ably, i think, to turn it around to their benefit. i'm not saying the prosecutor is doing a bad job, not at all. what i'm saying is when you get the two police detectives who had the most contact with this defendant immediately after the shooting, both sort of being sympathetic to him, talking to him about god and god would forgive you if you shot someone in self-defense, and then the male detective saying, you know, i told him he was going to have problems, anxiety, we would get him psychiatric help. i got to tell you, wolf, i think that there are defense attorneys across the country slack-jawed tonight, having watched this thinking what a great job mark o'mara did. it will be taught in law
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schools, i'll bet you. >> did mark o'mara do a brilliant job? >> i think mark o'mara is a very skilled attorney. i think he dade great job. but again, i mean, i think you've got to look at the fact that a lot of information came in on direct examination that i thought was very helpful to the prosecution. they are going step by step by step in putting their case together. and as diane just mentioned, it's sort of a balancing act at this point. there's a lot coming out for this jury. i wouldn't go so far as to say the prosecution had a bad day. but again, mark o'mara is a very skilled defense attorney, and i think he did a good job today. >> in effect, we did hear george zimmerman. maybe you could even say testified, because they allowed the playing of an interview that he did, a walk-through the day after the killing of trayvon martin. they allowed him -- the jurors to hear what he said on that day. let me play this clip.
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>> he said, you know, you got a problem. i turned around and said i don't have a problem, man. >> where was he at? >> he was about there, but he was walking towards me. somebody here opened the door. and i said help me, help me. and i said i'll call 911. i said no, help me, i need help. and i don't know what they did. but that's when my jacket came up and i had my firearm on my right side. my jacket wound up and he saw it. i feel like he saw it and looked at it. he said you're going to die tonight, [ bleep ]. >> what do you think of this videotape that was played in the courtroom? >> well, normally you tell a client never to talk. zimmerman made a choice to go in and talk without an attorney. and he was unscripted and laid it all out. now you have law enforcement saying that all his statements are basically truthful, that none of them are inconsistent
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with other statements that he's made, and we now know that mr. goode, the neighbor who came out, gave a story that was consistent with that. that's a defense lawyer's dream. they don't now have to put on zimmerman to the stand. a living, breathing human being. he's looking decent, sounding decent, and the officers are confirming and corroborating his testimony. that's a good thing for the defense. they can now not subject him, presumably, to cross-examination when it's time for them to put their case. >> i assume he's not going to be testifying directly, and let me get diane back into this conversation. diane, really based on what we just heard on that videotape, there's really no need for his defense attorneys to put him on the stand. >> right. he testified, in effect, george zimmerman testified in court today on that videotape. and he wasn't cross-amined. that's the important thing. i think that it's very important when they play a tape like this,
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and we all say oh, look at how great, and the story hasn't changed at all. in the jurors' minds, they might not be buying what george zimmerman says at all. the prosecutor is not doing a bad job. this is only the 25th witness and the second week of this trial. so there's a lot more to go. but i think it's important to note that george zimmerman's story doesn't change. it doesn't substantively change, about the fight, about how the gun went off, about being cooperative with the police officers. he comes across flat effect, no real emotion, but that's the way he is sitting in court, too. i really hope that the jurors could hear some of those tapes today, that were kind of tough for us to hear, and really hear that sort of cross-examination between the good cop, bad cop. >> go ahead, sunny. >> you know, i think diane is right in terms of the statements being consistent, but where he is somewhat inconsistent, or
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where he seems to waver is when he talks about following george zimmerman. on direct, when you look at all the statements, he says oh, we don't need you to follow him. the dispatcher says okay. but he really is pressed by both serino and singleton and they say yeah, you know, you told me one thing, which was you weren't following him, or you just got out to look at a street sign, but now you seem to be responding to the fact that he was running. and i hear wind in the background. sounds like you were running. he says well, i was just going in the same direction as you were. and serino says well, that is following. i think when you talk about the initial aggressor, i don't know that george zimmerman did himself any favors when he was talking about following and not following. i don't think he was very consistent and i think that's a very, very important part of this case. >> hold that thought, guys. we're going to have much more from the zimmerman trial a little bit later this hour. and by the way, don't miss a cnn special report, the ""n" word,
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that will air right after "the situation room." don lemon has a special report. stand by for that. much more coming up on the zimmerman trial. also, we're following three breaking stories this hour, as anti-government protests explode in egypt. the military there taking signs and giving the country's embattled government a deadline. hundreds of firefighters are batting an out-of-control blaze that killed 19 of their own. what went wrong? could it happen again? we're standing by for a news conference this hour. and a new threat from the nsa leaker. he's still holed up in russia and he may be trying to stay there permanently. out there owning it. the ones getting involved and staying engaged. they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?"
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this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following the break news out of egypt, and it is so dramatic. look at this. the clock clearly ticking now on a new deadline. the egyptian president morsi's government has been given an ultimatum, meet the people's demands or the egyptian military may step in. president obama watching the situation play out, even as he visits africa, and he appeared to try to distance himself from president morsi. >> our commitment to egypt has never been around any particular individual or party. our commitment has been to a process. >> let's bring in our senior correspondent on the scene for us in cairo. it's intense right now. ben, you covered what happened to president mubarak there. are we seeing a similar
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situation unfold right now? >> reporter: not really. during the revolution that led to mubarak's ouster, what was saw was some resistance from his supporters to the revolution. but by and large, there were very few people who were really ready to risk their lives to keep him in power. what we have now are two very large political forces. of course, you've seen the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of egyptians in the streets of cairo, alexandria, and elsewhere calling for his ouster, but there's still a very significant percentage of the population that still supports president mohamed morsi. we've been to their rallies. they're just as passionate as the people in tahrir. so you have really two blocks of people, and so far, there have been -- there were 16 deaths yesterday and violence in cairo. eight people were killed. others in other parts of the
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country. but so far, the two demonstrating groups have stayed apart. the problem is that this evening, wolf, the muslim brotherhood has called on its supporters to have nationwide marches, and if you have large marches going around major egyptian cities, while there are other anti-morsi marches as well, there's a very explicit danger that they can clash, and that is the real concern, that so far, in this grand esteem of things, it's been relatively peaceful. but there's no guarantee that harmony, that peace could last much longer, and that may explain why the army has come out with this explicit 48-hour ultimat ultimatum. not directed specifically at morsi, but all parties, the opposition as well, telling them get together, work out a program. otherwise the military says they have a long-term program that they will implement if no
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agreement is reached. >> and ben, just quickly, that muslim brotherhood headquarters in cairo. i take it it was invaded by the protesters, and literally trashed, is that right? >> reporter: that is correct. overnight, there were people attacked wi eed with molatov co. what is significant in this case, wolf, is that the police refused to provide any significant protection to the brotherhood headquarters, even though everyone knew it would be a target. and when these protesters approached the headquarters, there were just two policemen on the scene and they joined the protesters, and in fact, what we saw today when we went to the headquarters, after it had been partially burned, sacked and looted was that the police had come not to protect the headquarters, but to protect the
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ruins. >> amazing developments. thank you. let's bring in our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour. what do you make of these dramatic developments? >> well, i think the army giving both the president and the opposition this 48-hour ultimatum to get together or else the army says it will put out its own road map, i think that's very significant. we had expected today a statement from the egyptian president. it didn't come. we might get it tomorrow. there's this picture that's being released by the egyptian president, morsi and his prime minister meeting with the head of the egyptian army, the defense minister. we also know that general dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff here has been in touch with his egyptian counterpart, and we're told that the egyptian army doesn't want to take sides. it wants to be a force for stability and not instability. so this is a very, very crucial moment, and basically comes after a year -- i mean, i was there a year ago when morsi was
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inaugurated and there were huge, huge crowds celebrating that. and at the time, he said he was going to be president for all egyptians, but what's happened is that people just simply don't see that. they believe that he's way too much under the influence of the moslem brotherhood and has interfered too much in terms of gathering power to himself and not inclusive enough to the opposition. the opposition, it must be said, is also very fragmented, very divided and there hasn't been one point of unity either from their side. >> it's hard for me to seymoe mi remaining in power given these developments over the past few days. do you see a way he stays as egypt's president? >> well, he has been saying and certainly his people have been saying that this is definitely not about him stepping down. and you've heard from ben, this is not the same kind of violence that we had seen at the beginning of the anti-mubarak demonstrations. the opposition is calling for him to step down. but even president obama today said that look, morsi is
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democratically-elected. everybody signed off on that election. it was by a very slim margin, we do remember, but nonetheless, he was democratically-elected. so the challenge for him, according to president obama and others, is to try to reach out to the opposition and have a more inclusive path forward. the opposition hasn't wanted to go into a government of national unity the last time this was broached, but maybe things will change now that the government is giving it a very specifically ultimatum. both the moslem brotherhood and the presidency and the opposition believes the army is on their side. so i think this is a very interesting thing to watch. and some said perhaps the best way forward is to try to prepare for parliamentary elections and diffuse this current crisis. >> don't go too far away. there's some other stuff i want to talk to you about. we're following other break news out of russia. the nsa leaker now speaking out, making his threats. his first statement in days. we'll read it to you. stand by for that. and former president george
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this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news comes from moscow, where edward snowden is now breaking his silence. he has just issued a lengthy statement. let me read it to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. one week ago, i left hong kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. my continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends, new and old, family, and others who i have never met and probably never will. i trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which i will always be thankful. he goes on to say this. on thursday, president obama
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declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic wheeling and dealing over my case. yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the president ordered his vice president to pressure the leaders of nations from which i have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions. this kind of deception from the world leader is not justice, and neither is the extra legal penalty of exile. snowden continues. these are the old bad tools of political aggression. their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me. for decades, the united states of america, he says, have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. sadly, this right laid out and voted for by the united states in article 14 of the universal declaration of human rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. the obama administration, he says, has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. although i am convicted of
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nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right, a right that belongs to everybody, the right to seek asylum. and he winds up with this. in the end, the obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, bradley manning. we are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. know the obama administration is afraid of you. it is afraid of an informed republic demanding the constitutional government it was promised and it should be. i am unbowed in my convictions and impressed with the efforts taken by so many. edward joseph snowden, monday, first of july, 2013. that's the statement. let's bring in joel dougherty, christiane amanpour is also standing by. first conflicting reports about whether snowden has actually asked for asylum in russia. what's the latest you're
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hearing? >> they're still conflicting. maybe deliberately so. there are two reports that came out from two russian news agencies that are very closely tied to the government. one saying that he actually had -- i should say the lawyer, the wikileaks lawyer who was traveling with him, had handed over documents that were the request from snowden for asylum in russia. those who went to the foreign ministry. then, interfax news agency very quickly after that said no, no, and quoted an official who said no, that is not correct, he has not applied for asylum. and then you have the interesting statements by president putin saying well, if he wants to stay -- but he didn't say asylum, there's a condition. he cannot continue to do that work that is aimed at harming our american partners. and then he added, as strange as that may sound coming from my lips. so there's a lot of confusion. in the meantime, there's a lot of criticism being lobbed at the
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united states. >> let's get to cristiane. what's your assessment of the latest developments coming out of moscow and snowden breaking his silence with this lengthy statement? >> just in terms of the government that have been involved in this, ecuador and russia, i think it's really interesting over the last several days that they have gradually backed away from the initial wholehearted support for snowden, both ecuador and russia. you just heard jill say that statement from president putin. mind you, on russian television, he is being hailed as a hero. in germany and france today, there was an immediate backlash, angry statements, including from president hollande of france, saying unless the united states stops spying on the e.u., they will, or at least he will, france will pull out of any negotiations. this was another alleged revelation by snowden about u.s. spying in europe. so there's a huge amount of new information coming out, and this sort of war of words going on between the u.s. and europe
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certainly, and between snowden and the u.s., as you've just described. there's also a very growing concern in europe by the revelations that snowden have made. in other words, very, very concerned by the level of intelligence gathering and surveillance that the u.s. seems to be engaged in. and this is causing a huge amount of concern, in many parts of europe, because many people are saying that this -- stretches the american law to the very, very limit. many people think that it's a huge intrusion into personal life, into other people's lives, and a lot of lawyers are saying that this is not just foreigners who are being surveyed, this is also americans as well. >> what do you make, christiane, of snowden's direct frontal attack on president obama personally? >> well, i mean, it's probably not surprising given the situation he's in. it's probably incredibly difficult psychologically to be in that situation that he's in right now, stateless, and unable to pass through -- apparently,
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as far as we know, pass through the transit area of the russian airport. who really knows. i can't pretend to know everything that's going on, nor can anybody. but we just keep trying to analyze all these statements that are being made. and when he first got there, there was a very distinct welcome mat put down for him by the russian government. president putin spokesmen, other russian officials hailed him as a hero, hailed him as a human rights defender, and now they're not. and now putin himself says strange as it may seem, he mustn't do what's harming our american partners. when did you last hear president putin talk like that? so clearly, the diplomacy between the u.s. and russia has had some effect. and also, the fbi director and his equivalent in russia have been talking. and i think the u.s. itself said from the state department today that although snowden portrays this as a political persecution, we, in fact, consider it a criminal matter and we are happy
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to give him his papers to come back here to face free and fair trial. >> and just to reiterate what snowden wrote in that letter in going after president obama personally after noting that the president has pressured other countries not to allow snowden to come in, this kind of deception, snowden says, from a world leader is not justice and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. these are the old bad tools of political aggression. that from snowden blasting the president of the united states. jill, you wanted to make one more point? >> i think it's very important, the word "exile," i think that the u.s. government would take issue with that. he says that they've revoked his passport. that is true. leaving him a stateless person. he is not, according to what we understand, a stateless person. they have revoked his passport. that is a travel document. they have not taken away his citizenship. he is still a citizen of the united states. and the state department says the thing that we will do is we
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will give him a travel document to come back to the united states. of course, to be arrested, but they are not taking away his citizenship. >> he's still a united states citizen, so he isn't stateless. fair point, jill. christiane, thanks to you as well. officials in arizona, they have just released the names of those 19 firefighters killed in a single blaze. the investigation is only just beginning to how they perished last night in a wildfire northwest of phoenix. it's still raging out of control right now. we're standing by, by the way, for a news conference by state and local officials there. let's go to cnn's brian todd. he's in arizona. he's been watching this story unfold. what's the latest, brian? >> reporter: wolf, you imagine that the city of prescott has released the names and ages of the 19 firefighters killed. the ages range from 21 years old to 43 years old. the bodies have been recovered and have been brought to the local medical examiner's office as the investigation continues into just what caused the
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yarnell hill fire to overtake those 19 men. firefighters are back on the front lines of the deadliest wildfire in america in decades, knowing that 19 of their colleagues didn't make it out alive. >> it's been a long night and these are the worst of times. for firefighters. >> reporter: they were members of an elite squad from the prescott, arizona, fire department. the granite mountain hot shots lived up to their name, bravely battling raging infernos up close. >> it's a very elite group of people that are highly trained, highly motivated, very fit. they know exactly what they're doing. >> reporter: a news report last year showed how they do their dangerous and back breaking work, digging barriers to stop the racing flames. that's what they were doing on sunday when they joined the fight against the yarnell hill fire northwest of phoenix. >> when you're digging fire line, you make sure you have a good escape route, and you have a safety zone set up. and evidently, their safety zone
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wasn't big enough and, you know, the fire just overtook them. >> reporter: the conditions were p perilous. the land bone dry. the winds whipping unpredictably. authorities believed the hot shots used a last-ditch survival tool, a fire shelter, an aluminum blanket to protect them from the flames and the heat, but it wasn't enough to save them. fire officials still are trying to figure out what went wrong. >> those gentlemen were in the position of protecting property, when something tragically took place that only mother nature might be able to explain, which caused them to become casualties. >> the yarnell fire claimed the lives of more responders than any single disaster since 9/11. we honor the memory of the firefighters lost that day as they charged into the burning towers, we will remember the brave men of the granite
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mountain hot shots. >> our thoughts and prayers go out to the families. >> reporter: president obama is calling the fallen firefighters heroes. their remains have been recovered from the fire zone where hundreds of other firefighters are in harm's way right now. the yarnell hill fire is still growing. over 8,000 acres have been scorched. more than 200 buildings destroyed. but prescott's mayor is still thinking of those the fallen men left behind. >> it's tough. within a few minutes, their entire life changed. >> reporter: one member of the hot shot team did survive this, officials say because he happened to be moving a crew truck while the flames engulfed the rest of his team. wolf? >> brian todd in arizona for us. the mayor of prescott has just started speaking out there in a news conference. we're going to monitor what he's saying. we'll take a quick break, resume our special coverage right after this. how much protein
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this is cnn breaking news.
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>> the mspeaking about the 19 firefighters killed. let's listen in. >> continued to what you've done. the families and the firefighters in the community, and allow us to go through this process. so i'll turn it over to chief now and read the names. >> there is a little bit of new information. we have recovered all the casualties, they are current ll at the maricopa county medical examiner, and there's going to be a process prior to the bodies being delivered back herediano in prescott. so we're waiting for that information. some of the old information -- this is still under investigation, so there's a lot of information that we don't have yet. however, we do have the names of those people that were the casualties on the team. there has been some
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misinformation that i think has been corrected several times. however, i keep being asked if there was either 18 or 19 people. the fact is that there were 19. but there was a crew of 20. so that's just information for you. what we're going to do with this list is i'm going to name the names, and then we're going to provide you all the list that you can use, and at the same time, has already been sent to the news media, to the printed media. so we hope we're getting all this information to you in an accurate way. hopefully there will be new questions. we had a lot of them this morning. but we will be available to answer these questions. andrew ashford, 29 years old. anthony rose, 23 years old. christopher mackenzie, 30 years old. dustin deford, 24 years old.
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garret zuppiger, 27. grant mackenzie, 21. jess steed, 36. joe thurston, 32. john person, 24. kevin woyjeck, 21. eric marsh, 43. robert caldwell, 23. scott norris, 28. sean misner, 26. travis carter, 31. travis turbyfill, 27. wade parker, 22. and william warneke, 25. you will be provided this list.
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okay. one correction. i missed clayton whitted, whose age is 28. very young crew. very energetic crew. very professional crew. you will be getting this, and also in the near future, we hope to have a little bit more information about these folks. as of right now, we don't have that assembled. but as i mentioned previously, we want you to have all the information that we have. we just won't give it prematurely. >> so there you have it, the fire chief in prescott, arizona reading the names of those 19 firefighters who were killed in this fire in arizona, a wildfire that continues right now. we'll stay on top of this story. much more on that coming up. also coming up, the cnn exclusive interview with the former president of the united states, george w. bush and laura bush. also, we spoke with jimmy carter. they both are two former presidents and they have two
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very different views on the nsa leaker edward snowden. jimmy carter, george w. bush on edward snowden and a lot more coming up. i want to make things more secure.
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now a cnn exclusive. the former president george w. bush speaking candidly about the nsa leaker edward snowden. speaking also about the ailing nelson mandela, and speaking also about his successor in the white house, president barack obama. former president bush and his wife laura sat down with cnn in zambia where they're renovating a health clinic.
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listen to what they said about the man who revealed massive government surveillance programs and who may now be seeking asylum in russia. >> reporter: do you think he's a traitor? >> i know he damaged the country. the obama administration will deal with him. >> reporter: but do you tnk it's possible for one man to really damage the security of the nation? >> i think he damaged the security of the country. >> reporter: and when it comes to surveillance, there can be real understanding -- >> i put the program in place to protect the country. and one of the certainties is civil liberties will guarantee. >> reporter: so you don't think there's a compromise between security and privacy. >> i think there needs to be a balance. i think as the president explained, there is a proper balance. >> listen to what another former president -- this one jimmy carter -- what he said about snowden. very different. >> i think he's obviously violated the laws of america,
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for which he's responsible. but i think that the invasion of human rights and american privacy has gone too far. and i think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive. so i think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been in the long-term beneficial. >> so the republican george w. bush defending president obama, the democrat jimmy carter not so much. let's bring in our cnn contributoe contributor, and george w. bush's press secretary at the time. are you with the democratic ex-president or the republican ex-president? >> seeing george w. bush praising barack obama, it's a little bit like getting praised for your weight loss program from chris christie. i mean, the thought is maybe
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nice and the praise is welcome, but the source is not very credible. >> here's the important difference. important at the beginning when president bush began this, he did not include the congress, he did not have statutory authorization, needed not go to the courts for approval and supervision. president obama has a program i'm not thrilled with, president carter's not thrilled with, but at least it's legal. and the checks and balances are there. i may not like the program, but it's clearly legal what president obama's doing. >> you were the white house press secretary during that first term of the bush administration when some of these programs went into effect. were these extralegal programs that didn't have the backing of the judicial system or congress for that matter that the president simply decided to do? >> no, paul's repeating the democratic talking points on this. if they were illegal, how come president obama didn't do anything about the illegality. he didn't prosecute anybody, didn't go after anybody. why? because the programs were proper
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and legal. but you know, wolf, the real big issue is here, how do you keep america safe and what you've got going forward is an obama/bush template that really exists for the mainstream of america. you've got people who fall outside of that. essentially on jimmy carter, aclu left, and libertarian ron paul right. i'm very comfortable occupying those 80 yards of the football field where a bipartisan group exists. let the fringes be as they are. jimmy carter, i don't think he really has much influence on foreign policy on what to protect america or keep us safe because of jimmy carter, i used to be a democrat, i became a republican thanks to jimmy carter. >> in the interview with the former president bush also had this exchange involving the ailing president of south africa nelson mandela. >> sometimes there are leaders who come and go. he -- his legacy will last for a long time.
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>> he is, i think, really an inspiration to people around the world. and to a lot of americans a figure we watched from afar from the united states and i have a lot of respect, of course. >> he criticized you publicly about the iraq war. >> yeah, he wasn't the only one. it's okay. i didn't look at him any differently because he didn't agree with me on an issue. >> don't want to criticize the obama administration, is that something that you've really made a decision. >> i don't think it does any good. it's a hard job. he's got plenty on his agenda and it's difficult. and former president doesn't need to make it harder. >> because in the polls, you're now sort of -- >> i could care less. >> you don't care? >> no. >> whether people think you're favorable or unfavorable. >> the only time i cared was on election day. i guess it's nice, let me rephrase it.
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thank you for bringing it up. >> you like the idea that people, perhaps are looking at you differently? >> you know, ultimately history will judge. i won't be around because it's going to take a while for the objective historians to show up. and i'm pretty comfortable with it. i did what i did. i know the spirit in which i did it. >> he's very gracious to the current president of the united states and his poll numbers are improving right now even as president obama seemed to be sliding a bit. >> well, because he's not doing anything. he should, by the way, get credit for his program. the emergency plan for african relief. this was really important, really significant, went far beyond anything that my old boss or any democrat had ever done. he deserves credit for that.
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he also should be held to history on nelson mandela. his vice president dick cheney was chosen to be on the ticket even though in the congress cheney voted repeatedly on the side, even voted against a resolution to free mandela. they were wrong about mandela. >> ari, go ahead. >> i'm sorry, i couldn't hear your question. >> go ahead and respond very quickly. >> well, i think president bush has shown a new way to governor as the ex-president and that's with graciousness and with style. jimmy carter won't do that and i'll be curious to see if president obama will have the same grace on his post presidency that president bush has brought to it. and i love what bush said, he could've disagreed with nelson mandela on iraq and he did. that's the type of bringing people together spirit that we could all use in this country. >> ari and paul geist, thanks very much. i want to bring in robin, she's joining us right now. outside the hospital where nelson mandela is. robin, thanks so much for doing
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that interview with the former president and former first lady of the united states. and you spoke to them at length about the important work in africa. tell us a little bit about that. >> well, thanks so much and they said it was a coincidence that them and president obama were in africa. of course, the bushes were far more low key agenda. >> he painted the doors and the walls. >> you've got a lot of paint on your face yesterday. you really got yourself dirty. >> well, i'm here to serve. >> the women are dying of cervical cancer and unnecessarily so, says the former president and first lady. >> fired up. >> do you think people will be lining up outside here? >> absolutely, yeah. >> i think women really are because they know people who have died with cervical cancer. >> a mission to build on the aids program he set up while president a decade ago.
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the emergency plans for aids relief dramatically reduced the number of aids deaths in africa. with a massive investment of anti-retroviral drugs if for the region. >> i wish americans knew how many lives were saved as a result of their generosity. and some day they will. >> the program's success highlighted by bush's successor president obama in his visit to south africa. >> and while america will continue to provide billions of dollars in support, we can't make progress without african partners. so i'm proud that by the end of my presidency, south africa has determined it will be the first african country to fully manage the hiv care and treatment program. >> it breaks your heart to realize that such hope was given to communities throughout the continent of africa because of
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antiretrovirals and then women are dying from cervical cancer. so there's hope and then there's despondency. >> it really can be avoided. very few women in the united states die from cervical cancer. so if you can just add to the platform that's already established, the health system that's already up, the testing and treatment for cervical cancer, then very few african women will die of cervical cancer. >> with the commitment to the fight against hiv/aids, president bush is respected as a humanitarian in africa. his legacy on the continent secure, but it's a presidency that didn't come without the criticism even here. >> i just want to get your reaction to mandela. what kind of a man is he to you? >> an historic figure that made a huge difference in people's lives. >> they was quite tough on you, though, he criticized you publicly about the iraq war. >> he wasn't the only guy. >> he recognizes many of the decisions he made were divisive,
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but some americans seem to be softening their opinion of him. >> in the polls, you're sort of now -- >> i could care less. >> you don't care? >> no. >> whether people think you're favorable or unfavorable. >> the only time i cared was on election day. i really didn't, no. i guess it's nice. let me rephrase that. thank you for bringing it up. >> you like the idea that people perhaps are looking at you differently. >> you know, ultimately history will judge the decisions i made. and i won't be around because it's going to take a while for the objective historians to show up. and so i'm pretty comfortable with it. i did what i did. i know the spirit in which i did it. >> comfortable with his past, bush now looks toward africa in his retirement. >> you seem quite proud of this, like your new granddaughter. i get a sense this is very personal. >> i made the decision post
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presidency to stay out of the limelight, let others debate the key issues, made the decision not to criticize my successor and so the challenge for me personally was, you know, how can i make a difference? and this program pink ribbon/red ribbon is a vehicle to spend the rest of my life as best as i can trying to improve the human condition. >> so far away from where you live. >> makes it even more special. >> away from washington, the former commander in chief has found a new mission. >> that clinic opened today, the bushes are hoping thousands of lives will be saved. >> very, very important work in africa. the former president and the former first lady, i want to thank them for what they are doing. by the way, tomorrow, there'll be something extraordinary going on in tanzania, the former president and current president of the united states, they will both be there, they will
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remember what happened back in 1998 when the u.s. embassy was bombed. we'll have special coverage of that. meantime, thanks for much for joining us. i'm wolfe blitzer in the "situation room." "nigger," that's what we're talking about tonight. tonight, the "n" word, say it at your own peril. >> i beg for your forgiveness. >> it's not in my mother's vocabulary. we were not raised in a home where that was used. does any other word compare? >> creepy ass cracker? >> yes. >> is it ever okay to say it? even as a joke?