tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN November 18, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PST
learning and advancing its techniques. >> now we're seeing the evolution of your information becoming power and how it gets used against you. it's a new world. hello and welcome to our viewers here in the united states and of course all around the world. you are watching "cnn newsroom," and i'm rosemary church. dangerous escalation in hong kong. protesters at a university are using makeshift weapons to fight off riot police who are trying to clear out the campus. a critical week in the impeachment inquiry. witnesses coming forward include a trump administration official who has given conflicting accounts of the ukraine scandal. plus prince andrew's decision to sit down for an interview. why critics say it was a p.r. nightmare.
good to have you with us. so a tense standoff has been raging in hong kong between pro-democracy protesters and police, and the situation has once again turned violent. authorities have fired more tear gas trying to remove demonstrators from a university they've occupied. many protesters have started to leave, but others are staying put. police are urging those who remain to come out and give up their weapons. meantime, a victory for the protesters. hong kong's high court has struck down a controversial ban on wearing masks at public gatherings, which was passed last month. so let's go live now to hong kong where our paula hancocks is standing by on the streets just not far from that campus, in fact. paula, talk to us about the
situation there and what you're learning in terms of the weapons these students are possibly using. >> reporter: well, rosemary, this is sort of a few blocks from the polytechnic university itself. you can see that the protesters here are trying to distract the -- i'm sorry. i'm going to have to put my gas mask on. if you want to see the protesters down there, you can get a good idea of just how many there are. and what they're trying to do at this point is to distract the police from the polytechnic university itself. now, they've been saying that they want to try and help their fellow protesters to escape from that particular area. now, we know that there are a number of protesters still holed up inside the campus itself. we have a source telling cnn that there are some dangerous concoctions being made within there as well. we know they've been mixing
household products together, some of them mixing that with petrol to make explosive devices for when the police come. that source saying they do have that ready. when we were in there the past few days, we certainly saw a number of crates of these petrol bombs, so they certainly were ready for the police as they were coming. now, it's very difficult to know exactly what is happening at the university at this point. there is a cordon around here because earlier this morning, we did see dozens of these protesters actually escape from the campus, running in the direction of the cross harbor tunnel, which is a key transport infrastructure to the hong kong island. that's been closed for days by these protesters, and police extended the cordon to try and track them down and arrest them. they have been calling on those protesters still in there to leave the campus and to come out. we did speak to one of the protesters inside, though. he was a 23-year-old who said he
did want to meet. he said he was basically sitting there at this point with about 20 other protesters, waiting to be arrested. he said people are tired. they are exhausted, and they have no means to fight against the police. now, of course, there are a number of different kind of protesters. he sounded like one of the more peaceful protesters. there are these more radical, violent element, and it is them that the police is most concerned about, going into that campus, what kind of explosives and corrosive material those violent protesters would have at hand. rosie? >> all right. our paula hancocks reporting there from just near that university campus. many thanks to you for bringing us up to date on the situation there on the streets nearby. appreciate it. and ted huey is a member of hong kong's legislative council. he joins me on the phone from inside the university where these protesters are barricaded. thank you so much for talking with us. if you could just describe to us the scene where you are and maybe give us an estimate of how
many students are barricaded inside the campus there. >> sure. i'm right now inside the campus in one of the campus building with a lot of protesters on the fourth floor of the "s" lot. and i estimate that there are around a thousand protesters still inside the campus who have no choice of escaping at all, and it's a total blockage, and we cannot go out. >> now, we understand that they have been putting together petrol bombs. what sort of number of petrol bombs and what are they planning to do at this juncture? >> it's very hard for me to count how many of them. there are quite many. but even you can see that they are petrol bombs, but i just
want to assure the international community that they are not trying to hurt anyone. they're trying to defend the police from attacking and entering the campus. >> but why use petrol bombs? what is the use in this sort of situation of escalating violence? how does it help their cause? >> i agree that the use of more stronger weapons may be escalating the situation. but i would say it's the police who used excessive violence at the first place, who used excessive tear gas, and so far they have used more than 10,000 rounds of tear gas already in the past four months and uncountable rounds of rubber
bullets and shooting protesters and journalists at the head. so this is more like a response to the escalated violence initiated by the police. i wouldn't say that the use of petrol bombs is correct, but i think it's only natural that the students responded that way. >> right, and you mentioned there's about a thousand students still barricaded in the university. that's a lot of students. we had understood that a number of them had already left and they had been arrested as they left the campus. but many people are describing those that are barricaded in there as radical groups, small radical groups. how would you describe these protesters and what they're trying to do here? >> i cannot tell if there are different groups of students here. there are, of course, more radical groups who would really fight back when under attack by the police. but the majority of them would
be protesters who actually want to leave the campus and go home now. they are afraid, and i would say that not all of them are from the polytechnic university. there are high school students who came here to support the movement and now being trapped inside the campus. they cried and they called on me to bring them out. i tried to lead the way and talk to the police. and whether you can let the underage and high school students out, but i was totally refused. >> you're saying these students are looking for a way out. so if the police can give them an opportunity to leave that campus, they would do that peacefully. is that what you're saying? >> yes, that's what i'm saying. >> right. >> i would say that the majority of students here right now, they actually just want to leave and go home. the majority of them. of course there are more radical ones who really want to stay here and protect the campus, but
it's only -- they are only the minority. >> all right. let's hope that happens and that this can be resolved peacefully. and hopefully there is an off ramp here and something can be achieved. it's just not sustainable as it stands right now, is it? ted hui, thank you so much for talking with us from inside that campus where a thousand or so students are barricaded in. many thanks. all eyes on washington this week as the next round of public impeachment hearings takes off. there are eight people up to testify, including the u.s. ambassador to the eu, gordon sondland. he has direct knowledge of president donald trump's ukraine dealings. and in a stunning turn of events, "the wall street journal" on sunday revealed emails from sondland that show he had been keeping trump administration officials in the loop on the push to get ukraine to investigate the bidens. on july 19th, prior to the
infamous trump/zelensky phone call, sondland wrote this. i talked to zelensky just now. he is prepared to receive potus' call. we'll assure him he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will turn over every stone. now, all this comes as u.s. president donald trump attacked another witness in the impeachment inquiry on twitter. jennifer williams is an aide to vice president mike pence, who will also publicly testify on capitol hill this week. cnn's jeremy diamond has our report on that. >> reporter: president trump on sunday lashing out at yet another witness in the impeachment inquiry, this time going after jennifer williams, a special adviser to vice president mike pence for europe and russia. a career foreign service officer who has been serving in the president's own administration. the president took to twitter to say, tell jennifer williams, whoever that is, to read both transcripts of the presidential calls and see the just released statements from ukraine.
then she should meet with the other never trumpers who i don't know and mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack. now, there is no evidence to support the president's claims here that jennifer williams is a never trumper, just like there's no evidence to back up the president's similar attacks on lieutenant colonel alex vindman, a ukraine expert at the national security council as well as the ambassador bill taylor, the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine, both of whom the president has also branded as never trumpers. but it is a pattern of the president going after these individuals who are bringing to light this ukraine scandal. jennifer williams testified in a closed-door deposition last week that the president's requests of ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky, in this july call, that he carry out these specific politically charged investigations was, quote, unusual and inappropriate. williams is just the latest trump administration official to face these kinds of attacks of course. but what was perhaps more startling here was the response
from the vice president's office. vice president mike pence's press secretary, katie waldman, i asked her for comment on these attacks from the president on an adviser to the vice president. and her response was to say, jennifer is a state department employee. now, while that may be technically accurate, jennifer williams is indeed a state department employee, she is detailed to the vice president's office like so many other career foreign service officers who are detailed to the white house, who become then white house advisers, white house officials in their current capacities. and so that was quite remarkable to see the distance being put there. but democrats are likely to also raise questions about whether once again this is the president attempting to intimidate a witness. jennifer williams, while she did already testify behind closed doors, in just a couple of days on tuesday, jennifer williams is expected to come forward and testify publicly on capitol hill. jeremy diamond, cnn, the white house. >> joining me now, jacob
parakiles, a u.s. foreign policy consultant and an associate at lse ideas. that is a think tank at the london school of economics. thank you so much for being with us. appreciate it. >> good morning. >> so how significant might gordon sondland's public testimony be, do you think, in light of these new details in "the wall street journal" that he apparently kept the trump administration apprised of efforts to get ukraine to investigate the bidens ahead of the president's infamous july 25th call? >> i think it's a little bit tricky to decide in advance how significant one thing or another might be. but there is some suggestion that sondland's testimony might be more significant than the testimonies we've seen so far because first of all, sondland had to revise his previous testimony given behind closed doors. he reversed his decision to not testify originally. sondland is caught in the middle of all this.
he probably shouldn't have been involved in ukraine in the first place because he was ambassador to the european union and not to ukraine, and of course ukraine is not an eu member. but he was pushed into this and took part in the conversations and in the back channel with rudy giuliani. i think he will have to weigh between how much he is able to sort of speak to his own experiences and how much he wants to avoid potentially perjuring himself. he will be testifying under oath. the intensity of the public view on this will be significant. so i think he will have some very, very tricky terrain to walk across in this testimony, and i think that could lead to some really significant revelations and significant drama. >> right. and of course, you know, he could be in a lot of trouble because he hasn't revealed a lot of these details. he's sort of been pushed to, hasn't he? and sondland will be one of eight to testify in the impeachment inquiry's second week of public hearings. another critical voice will be that of an aide to vice
president mike pence, jennifer williams. now, she listened in on that july 25th phone call and found it unusual and inappropriate. and as a result of that, president trump has attacked her on twitter. how critical could her testimony be because she was listening in on that call, and given she's been attacked by the president, who engaged in essentially intimidating a witness, which we've seen him do? >> well, to answer your first question first, the real -- the significant question is how accurate is the memorandum of conversation that the president himself ordered released and which he's encouraging everyone to read. read the tricanscript. it's not actually a transcript. it's a very detailed write-up of notes of conversation. we already have seen testimony from lieutenant colonel vindman suggesting there were things in the conversation that were -- there were some ellipses in the
transcript or memorandum. so the extent to which she's able to pry apart the difference between what actually happened on the call and what's written in this memorandum of conversation could be significant. but also to the second question, the tweets from the president directed at her, previously directed at ambassador yovanovich during her testimony, i think are really significant because they could in and of themselves constitute an article of impeachment, witness tampering. i think that's -- i don't see a strategy there. aside from the president's view that he's capable of intimidating people into silence, which, you know, may or may not be true. if people are being silent, we wouldn't necessarily know about it. but it's not -- it's not a strategy that i think likely to bear fruit given the number of people who have come forward, who have testified publicly, who have been willing to accept whatever comes their way from putting what they saw -- putting their facts and their truth into the public record. >> thank you so much for your
analysis and perspective. appreciate it. all right. so we are tracking developments in the u.s. state of california where police say at least four people are dead and several injured after a mass shooting in fresno. all of the victims are between the ages of 25 and 30. authorities say the shooting took place in a backyard where people were watching a football game, and that's when at least one unknown suspect approached on foot and opened fire. an investigation is under way. iranians flood the streets to protest a hike in gas prices. ahead this hour, we will break down how the move could hurt drivers' wallets. plus it's being called a car crash interview and a p.r. disaster. britain's prince andrew is being widely condemned after going public about his friendship with a convicted sex offender. we're back in a moment.
been playing out for days now. the u.s. says the government is using lethal force against the demonstrators. iran's supreme leader says several people have died so far. despite the unrest, he says he supports the government's decision to raise prices. now, the new prices are a big blow to many iranians. here's the breakdown for you. the price they pay at the pump will now jump by 50%. iranians used to pay the equivalent of 24 u.s. cents per liter, but the new price will be 36 u.s. cents, and that's just for the first 60 liters that are being rationed each month. if they need more fuel for the month, the price per liter jumps to 71 u.s. cents. and for those of us in the united states to understand it more, because those numbers appear low when you live in the u.s., but according to the u.n., the 2017 salary for a family on a median income was about $3,300
a year. well, britain's prince andrew is coming under fire after speaking out for the first time about his friendship with the late financier and convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein. lawyers for epstein's victims are now demanding that the british royal talk to the fbi. cnn has more now from london. >> reporter: prince andrew may have hoped sitting down for an extensive forensic interview with the bbc would help quell the controversy surrounding his relationship with jeffrey epstein. but it seemed to have only fanned the flames. the british press pounded the prince for his answers and demeanor, not expressing enough sympathy for epstein's victims, they said, with blaring headlines like not one single word of remorse. >> do i regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? yes. >> unbecoming? he was a sex offender. >> yeah, i'm sorry. i'm being polite.
i mean in the sense he was a sex offender. >> reporter: prince andrew claimed in the interview aired on saturday night that he and epstein were not that great of friends, but then said he went on to stay at epstein's house in manhattan just months after epstein had been released from prison in order to -- he told the bbc he kicks himself daily for visiting epstein, realized it was the wrong thing to do and let the royal family down. the interview was taped on thursday at buckingham palace. according to the bbc, it took six months to arrange and was conducted with the queen's approval. for the first time, prince andrew provided al buys for the allegations leveled against him, that in a 2015 court filing, she was forced to party with prince andrew and engage in sexual acts with him. but the duke of york has repeatedly denied all of the allegations saying he couldn't have been with her on at least one of the occasions she cited because he was at a pizza
express restaurant with his daughter, princess beatrice. prince andrew says he has no recollection of meeting her despite a photo shows him with his arm around the young woman in 2001. >> are you saying you don't believe her? she's lying? >> that's a very difficult thing to answer because i'm not in a position to know what she's trying to achieve. but i can tell you categorically i don't remember meeting her at all. i do not remember a photograph being taken, and i've said consiste consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever. >> gloria allred, an attorney for some of epstein's victims, has called on prince andrew to
speak under oath or testify to u.s. investigators. the prince said he would be willing to do so if his legal counsel advised him to. when asked if buckingham palace had a reaction to the fallout from the interview, a spokesperson said on sunday that the duke's words speak for themselves. hadas gold, cnn, london. we turn now to venice where rising floodwaters are threatening the city's infrastructure. water levels reached 1 1/2 meters sunday, the highest since friday. the city is under a state of emergency as businesses and iconic landmarks remain closed. the flooding is expected to continue in the coming days. a wildfire is devastating eastern australia. dozens of blazes still aren't contained in parts of queensland and new south wales with hot, dry weather fueling the fires. hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and four people have died. a total fire ban is in effect, and officials say water restrictions could intensify.
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welcome back to our viewers here in the united states. you are watching "cnn newsroom." i'm rosemary church. a big week in washington. the trump impeachment inquiry is in full swing with eight more officials set to testify in the coming days. now, they include gordon sondland, u.s. ambassador to the european union. he has firsthand knowledge of president trump's ukraine dealings. and "the wall street journal" is
reporting he kept administration officials updated on efforts to get kiev to investigate the bidens. cnn's erica hill takes a look at why this week's hearings are worth watching. >> reporter: three days, eight witnesses. >> this has been an intense period for the house intelligence committee, and this coming week could be its final act. >> reporter: and an increasing focus on one man, gordon sondland. >> he's the one who seemed to have an awful lot of access to the president. >> reporter: sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the european union and a million dollar trump donor is scheduled to testify on wednesday amid new questions about his role. >> in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, ambassador soundland called president trump and told him of his meetings in kyiv. >> reporter: just one month after the july 25th call that led to the whistle-blower's complaint. >> i made a perfect call. >> reporter: ambassador sondland told president trump ukrainian
president zelensky would do anything trump asked, including launch an investigation into the bidens. >> manu, i understand you have new information. >> reporter: a bombshell confirmed late friday in closed-door testimony by a staffer who overheard it. >> the gordon sondland testimony is going to be highly significant because he has already amended his testimony to now say he told a top ukrainian official that security assistance from the united states, roughly $400 million, was likely tied to the ask for investigations. according to multiple witnesses, the reason why he knows that is because of a conversation he had with president trump. >> reporter: tim morrison, a former national security council official, set to testify on tuesday, told lawmakers last month sondland was acting at trump's direction when he encouraged ukraine to announce the investigations and described the eu ambassador as a problem according to newly released transcripts. >> new details are piling up quickly in the impeachment inquiry.
>> reporter: morrison listened in on the july 25th call, as did jennifer williams, an adviser to vice president pence, who will also appear tuesday and said the call struck her as unusual. lieutenant colonel alexander vindman immediately raised concerns after listening to the july 25th call. he too is slated to appear on tuesday. >> there is no one star witness that this whole case will rise or fall on, not that we know of right now. but i think vindman is sort of another brick in the wall that house democrats are trying to build. >> reporter: former special representative to ukraine kurt volker defended the president's actions in closed-door testimony, telling lawmakers there was, quote, no leverage implied. >> there was no linkage. i think further testimony and depositions will confirm that multiple times. >> we've got text messages from volker and sondland. >> reporter: volker's private text message the morning of the july 25th call revealed ukrainian officials pushing for a white house meeting. volker writing to an aide for
zelensky, assuming president z convinces trump he will investigate, get to the bottom of what happened in 2016, we will nail donwn a date for the visit to washington. good luck. on august 9th, sondland messages volker. i think potus really wants the deliverable. going on to suggest volker should ask for the ukrainian president's aid in crafting a, quote, draft statement so we can see exactly what they propose to cover. volker will also appear on tuesday. >> kurt volker, let's remember, is a former career foreign service officer. kurt volker knew what normal policy looks like. >> reporter: the final witness, fiona hill, is expected to describe what she saw as a nightmare scenario, private interests driving u.s. policy. >> where do you think everybody needs to be at the end of next week? >> i think democrats need to be in a position where they can say we are confident in this case, and i think the republicans need to be at a place of either
there's doubt about this case, about whether it's true, or maybe it happened but it's not serious enough to merit impeachment. >> reporter: high stakes heading into a potentially explosive week of testimony. erica hill, cnn, new york. last week, we heard from several officials in the ukraine probe. house minority whip steve scalise tried to discredit them. but fox news' chris wallace shut him down. take a listen. >> the real bottom line is he got the money. ukraine got the money, chris. >> first of all, a dozen people listened in on the phone call and a number of them were immediately upset because what the president said about burisma. >> those were schiff's witnesses. >> no, sir. they're career foreign service officers and these are people who worked in the trump administration. >> they're schiff's witnesses. there are other witnesses we've -- >> sir, you had a woman yesterday who was on vice president pence's staff. she said it was inappropriate.
you had tim morrison, who was on the nsc staff, who said that he -- alarm bells immediately went off for him. alexander vindman immediately went to see -- these are all people -- you say they're schiff's witnesses. they all were working in the trump administration. >> well, president trump's unannounced hospital visit is raising questions in washington. he went to the walter reed military hospital saturday. the white house says he had an exam and lab work done as part of his annual physical. but officials are not saying why he didn't have his entire physical done. and sources say hospital staff were not told in advance about his visit, which is unusual. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta spoke about this on sunday. >> basic labs and a physical exam was done. that was what was done at walter reed. having visited the white house, the facilities at the white house themselves, those are things that can typically be done within the white house. so the question really becomes
what was done at walter reed that couldn't have been done at the white house. why was this split up? why didn't they just basically do the entire physical exam in one setting as they have in the past? we don't know the answers to these questions. one thing i will say that spokeswoman stephanie grisham has been clear about. she said many times there was no symptoms or any kind of medical problem that sort of inspired this visit. of course that's the first thing i think any medical professional would be asking if someone makes a surprise visit to the hospital. was there something that sort of prompted that? again, no suggestion of that. >> another source said mr. trump appeared to be in good physical health. well, after years of supporting a controversial police tactic, a potential presidential candidate does an about-face. >> however, today i want you to know that i realize back then i was wrong, and i'm sorry.
>> coming up, michael bloomberg's change of heart on stop and frisk. thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor is for postmenopausal women or for men with hr+/her2- metastatic breast cancer, as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole significantly delayed disease progression versus letrozole, and shrank tumors in over half of patients. patients taking ibrance can develop low white blood cell counts
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in the race for the white house, there's a new democratic front-runner in iowa, the state which holding the first caucuses in the nation. south bend mayor pete buttigieg, who has spent a lot of time and money in iowa now leads at 25% in a cnn/des moines register poll among likely democratic voters. it is a tight three-way race for second place among elizabeth warren, joe biden, and bernie sanders. buttigieg explains his theory on the 16-point surge in support. >> i think the moment when folks are switching from -- you can see it sometimes in people's eyes, the difference between when they're just getting to know you and sizing you up and
when they're deciding what kind of president you would be. and i think the turning point really has consisted of more and more voters looking at what i'm offering, looking at the kind of president that i propose to be, and feeling that that meets this moment that we're in, not just in terms of the very important policies that we're advancing but an approach that builds that sense of belonging in the united states. >> and as michael bloomberg considers joining the democratic field, the former new york mayor is changing his tune on a controversial policing strategy. during his 12-year tenure, the stop and frisk tactics by police disproportionately targeted african-american and latino men. >> i got something important really wrong. i didn't understand that back then, the full impact that stops were having on the black and latino communities. now, hindsight is 20/20, but as
crime continued to come down as we reduced stops, and as it continued to come down during the next administration to its credit, i now see that we could and should have acted sooner and acted faster to cut the stops. i wish we had. i'm sorry that we didn't. >> bloomberg made his apology at an african-american mega church in new york. christina alessi has the details now. >> reporter: a surprising about-face for the former mayor of new york, apologizing for a policing tactic that he's defended for years even as recently as this year. so the timing of this apology, on the eve of possibly announcing a presidential run, does open him up to criticism that it's too little, too late. now, opponents are already questioning whether the apology is genuine. let me put some context around stop and frisk. it was a major nypd tactic was
bloomberg was mayor, empowering police officers to detain, question, and frisk people and at its peak, police stopped more than 200,000 people during the first three months of 2012. now, the new york civil liberties union estimated that blacks and latinos accounted for more than 50% of the stops in 70 out of 76 new york precincts and more than 90% in 32 precincts. activists, no surprise, called the measure racist. now, bloomberg has denied that accusation and touted the reduction in crime and incarceration rates. still, after intense and sustained backlash at the time, the stops started to decline until they were ultimately reduced by 95% by the end of bloomberg's administration. now, bloomberg, however, continued to defend the tactic as recently as january. now, it's hard to tell whether an apology will help bloomberg win over democratic primary
voters, but we'll have to wait and see. >> so bloomberg's successor isn't having it. bill de blasio said bloomberg had plenty of time to reconsider stop and frisk but didn't. he called the reversal a death bed conversion. >> i just have to say people aren't stupid. like they can figure out whether someone is honestly addressing an issue or whether they're acting out of convenience. years ago in this city, at the beginning of this decade, there were many of us saying this was broken. it wasn't working. it was discriminatory. it was harming families, holding us back. michael bloomberg wouldn't listen. it was not just stop and frisk. he opposed a law to ban racial profiling. he opposed a law to create an independent inspecor general for our police department for accountability. this was part of a pattern. when people raised concerns, he didn't listen. so i would like to remind you also you know who's been the biggest booster of stop and
frisk in recent months? donald trump. if michael bloomberg couldn't find it in his heart during his own mayoralty, that would have been the time for mike bloomberg to come forward and say, i was wrong. bloomberg also believed in arrests. last year we had 150,000 fewer arrests than the last year of his term, and we got safer. we had less mass incarceration. >> de blasio dropped out of the presidential race earlier this year. well, syracuse university is taking action after six racist incidents have been reported on campus in less than two weeks. the school is now offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. administrators have also suspended all social activities at fraternities and increased
campus security. some of the investigations include graffiti of a swastika found outside a dorm and a racial slur toward a student. meanwhile, students are voicing their frustrations through protests and sit-ins using the hashtag #not again su. rodney reed was set to be executed just two days from now. but after more than 20 years on death row, his case is now getting a second look. details on what's next in his fight to prove his innocence.
in a rare appearance, the woman who accused u.s. supreme court justice brett kavanaugh of sexual assault says it was her responsibility to speak out. last september, christine blasey ford testified before the senate judiciary committee alleging the then-nominee assaulted her when they were teenagers. kavanaugh has strongly denied the allegations and was confirmed to the court. on sunday, blasey ford received a courage award from the american civil liberties union of southern california. upon accepting, she spoke about life after her testimony. >> i understood that not
everyone would welcome my information. i was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks, the vilification, the loss of personal privacy, and the collateral damage to my friends and my family. i have learned a lot over the past year. i have learned that there is a well financed attack machine out there ready to flood the internet and the media anytime i raise my head, and i know it's not going to go away. >> supporters of death row inmate rodney reed say they are hopeful after he was granted a stay of execution by a texas court. there's a growing outcry to spare his life. cnn's ed lavandera has been speaking to reed's mother and brother as they wait to learn his fate. >> free rodney reed. >> reporter: just days before rodney reed's scheduled execution, the calls to stop it were heard. the texas court of criminal
appeals agreed with reed's lawyers that new evidence and witness statements that could prove his innocence must be looked at closer. >> the fight right now for rodney's life is not over. >> reporter: before the court ruling, rodney reed's mother and brother sat down with cnn. >> if they take my son's life, it would be pure murder. >> why does your son deserve a new trial? >> he never got a fair trial. it was a horrible thing. >> all we have to do is get justice off the street and bring it back into the courtroom. >> that's right. >> where it needs to be, and rodney reed will be free and exonerated. >> reporter: in 1998, rodney reed was convicted of raping and murdering stacie seitz in bastrop, texas. a year after the murder, reed was interviewed by investigators. in this rarely seen video of that interrogation, reed repeatedly denied knowing
stites. but the investigator knew what reed did not know at the time, that his dna was found on stacy stites. this may reed the prime suspect. reed has long said he was having a consensual affair with the 19-year-old. in a death row interview, reed said he lied because stites was engaged to a small town white police officer named jimmy fennel. >> it wam up she was seeing a police officer. that's why we tried to be as discreet as possible. she said if jimmy found out we were together, he would kill me. >> reporter: fennel's lawyer -- denying first, then admitting to knowing the victims. >> oh, that stacy stites. i'm having a torrid sexual affair with her. just in that little capsule of the life and times of rodney reed, you can see what a liar, what a rapist, what a dangerous
human being that he is. >> reporter: reed's supporters say he's never been convicted of those other crimes and the allegations are being wrongly used to justify the execution. >> a young white woman was murdered, and a black man was convicted of it. that is their case, and they're taking it all the way to the execution table. >> reporter: stacy stites' body was found in these woods about seven miles outside of bastrop, texas. her family hasn't said much in the weeks leading up to the scheduled execution of rodney reed, but one of her sisters tells cnn that rodney reed is not only a rapist and a murderer, he is also a liar and that her family has had to endure and relive this crime now for 23 years. the innocence project says it has uncovered evidence and new witness statements that dismantle the case against reed. reed's lawyers say the murder weapon was never treated for dna. the apartment where stites lived with her fiance was never
searched. there are also seven new witnesses who the lawyers say exonerate reed and implicate fennel. >> this truth should set him free. this truth should give him a new trial. >> and they just did everything they could do to ensure that my brother was the murderer of this crime whether he was innocent or guilty. they just ran with it. >> reporter: but the road to death row started in this interview room 22 years ago. >> am i being charged with something? >> reporter: hours later, reed was charged with capital murder. but for now, reed's life has been spared. >> this is crazy. >> reporter: ed lavandera, cnn, bastrop, texas. thanks for your company. i'm rosemary church. "early start" is up next. have yourselves a great day.
the e.u. ambassador under scrutiny, ahead of testimony on capitol hill. eight witnesses on the schedule. the president attacking yet another one. a new leader for the democrats in iowa. what a rise of pete buttigieg means for the 2020 field. and the president backing off a major commitment to curb vaping. does his re-election bid come before teenagers' health? this is "early start" i'm dave briggs. >> i'm christine romans. it's 4:00 a.m. in new york,
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