tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN November 8, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PST
at 1:00 p.m. eastern. in the meantime join me on twitter at ana cabrera. the news continues next with alisyn and victor. hello, everyone, i'm alisyn camerota, thank you foz joining us. >> i'm victor blackwell. the fallout is growing after the deadly concert in houston. a criminal investigation has begun and eight people were killed and including 21-year-old axel acosta, a junior at western washington university. more than 300 people were treated for medical issues at the venue. >> everyone around us was just trying to take each individual breath and there was no air left for anyone to breathe. we were too closely compact.
everyone was too pushed up against each other. there was just nowhere to go and no air to breathe. >> he finished the concert and i went to the memorial and i saw that the person that i saw was in fact somebody who died that night. >> you couldn't control where you were going. i was pushed into a mosh pit where you are being thrown into a ball of violence. >> it was going on for over two hours and it got worse and worse. it felt like a weighted blanket on you. >> houston police say the crowd surged toward the stage as travis scott was performing, leaving scores of people as you heard crushed and gasping for air and begging for help. authorities and concert-goers want to know why the performance kept going. travis scott stopped but then continued on. there is a clip on social media with two concert-goers are screaming at the staff to stop the show.
♪ [ bleep ]. >> the new york time reports that hours before the concert, houston police chief talked to travis scott about his serious concerns about the energy of the crowd. >> rosa flores is in houston with the latest development. so we know that travis scott just sent out a new message about the tragedy and tell us about that and latest on the investigation here. >> reporter: well, travis scott saying that he is going to pay for the funeral costs for the eight individuals who died and that he is getting in contact with the family members to do that. he's also saying that he is going to be partnering with multiple organizations to provide mental health for free. that this mental health will be provided online.
i've talked to a lot of concert-goers who say they are traumatized after this event. they talk about having difficult breathing and survival instincts kicking in because the situation was so chaotic and so dire. some of them saying they had no control of their bodies and now that they're heading back home to parts all over this country, some of them telling me that they're going to have difficulty being inside of a party because of this traumatic event. so that news from travis scott something that will resonate with a lot of the concert-goers. now about the lawsuits that have been filed, there have been multiple lawsuits filed. in general some of the allegations are gross negligence, in essence, the plaintiffs claim that these organizers did not organize a safe event. manual souza is one of the concert-goers who filed one of the lawsuits and here is an excerpt from that lawsuit. it said, quote, the plaintiffs
suffered serious bodily injuries when the uncontrolled crowd at the concert knocked him to the ground and trampled him. the plaintiffs' injuries were the result of defendant's conscious disregard of the extreme risks of harm to concert-goers that had been escalating since hours earlier. now cnn has reached out to the defendants in this case and it includes travis scott and also live nation and also the promotor score more. we have not heard back. as for the latest on the investigation, at last check hpd said they were hoping to get videos, surveillance videos of this event so that they could look closely to see what triggered this crowd compression toward the stage and they're also looking for criminal activity. now that not only is the homicide division involved, but also the narcotics division is involved in this investigation after a security officer
reported that smomeone pricked his neck and he went unconscious and was revived with narc can. so there is a lot of layers to this investigation because it started with crowd compression and it escalated into a criminal investigation. >> so rosa, tell us more about what we know about the people who were killed? >> reporter: you know, now we're learning that the names of all of the eight individuals. the medical examiner releasing the names just within the hour or so. here are their names. 23-year-old rolla pena from loredo, 21-year-old franco pitino,' tended dayton university and he's from illinois. 20-year-old jacob juryneck. 16-year-old brianna rodriguez, she attended houston heights high school here in houston.
john hillgert, 14 years of age, a ninth grader at memorial homeland security. 27-year-old niecea vague. 23-year-old madison dubbinski and 21-year-old axel acosta. and alisyn and victor, getting answers for all of the families are that are now mourning loves oned and for the ones that remain in the hospital. at last check, at least six individuals still remain in the hospital. five of them in the icu. >> rosa flores, thank you for those updates and those names. the youngest victim there 14 years old in the ninth grade. thank you for that. we have new developments coming in. cnn is just learning there was a detailed operations plan for the astro world music festival but it did not include a contingency for a surging crowd incident. although three people were trampled and hospitalized at the
same festival in 2019. let's bring in now attorney steve aidleman, vice president of event safety alliance and the principle author on what is considered the industry rule book for crowd management and safety. steve, good to have you. let's start with this new reporting. this 56-page document that cnn has, it has scenarios to address active shooter, severe weather, possible riots, civil unrest, but nothing for a potential surge in crowd. the significance of that omission from that plan? >> i haven't seen the plan. so i will comment in general terms. that doesn't surprise me. and the reason for that is any serious life-safety plan, which is what we're talking about right now, it is called a life-safety plan, would have measures which deal with among other things crowd surges. so those measures are security deployment, barricade
configurations, the risk assessment about various levels of crowd activity, dealing with signage that people know where the exits are, there are a whole host of crowd management issues which would bear on a crowd surge situation. so it doesn't surprise me that that particular set of words doesn't appear. it is because it would be part of a much larger issue which is very comprehensively discussed in a life-safety plan. >> but, steve, just help us understand, once there are 50,000 rowdy concert-goers, and their pushing toward the stage and people are being compressed, what can security do at that point? what is the protocol? how do you start extricating people before they die? >> well first of all, not everybody pushed toward the stage. there are a lot of people who don't want to be in a densely
packed crowd so they'll be further back. but in this instance some people did push toward the stage and that is not uncommon. just like none of the issues we're talking about here are completely unfamiliar or unforeseen. rather, the contingencies are pretty standard for people right up against the barricade and they are in obvious distress, the security guards standing on the other side of the barricade will lift them up out the crowd, over the barricade, and into an area where there is no crowd at all so they could catch their breath, get some water, just chill out for a minute before they are sent through a passage way to either re-enter the event towards the back where the crowd is much less dense, or go to medical if they just want to take some time, or leave the event entirely. >> but, steve, sorry to interrupt, they were doing that. do you see security guards trying to get bodies over the gate. but what happened was it was so
densely packed that in the middle of the crowd, the security guards couldn't get to them. people were basically becoming unconscious standing up and or falling to the ground and they couldn't be lifted and crowd surfed over to them and what do you do at that point? >> well, i think the issue at this point, two days after this tragedy, is to first ask why did that happen. either was it something that happened within the crowd, was it something that happened outside of the crowd, either during the planning process or the implementation of friday night show, i think that is the better question right now. because once the crowd is so densely packed that people are literally fainting on their feet, there isn't much that can be done. so the whole point of crowd management is to keep that situation from happening. >> steve, let's stay right here with the questions you have and the questions investigators are trying to get answers to in this
criminal investigation to determine what went wrong here, what are they assessing and do you see a single major failure that led to what we saw on friday night? >> i don't see a single major failure and frankly would you be surprised if there were one failure that was the key to everything. very rarely in any kind of event- event-related disaster over the long span of time in this country has it been the result of just one failure to the exclusion of everything else. almost always, it is a series of really innocuous things that went in one direction rather than another that seemed to add up until finally the straw broke the camel's back and then you get catastrophe. because the one thing that we know for sure, is we're not having this conversation every day or every week. two the contrary. we know that this event was
highly unusual. that is why we're talking. so the key right now is to figure out what happened at this event, friday night, that was different than all other similar events. >> okay. steve, thank you very much. we appreciate your time. let's bring in now elie honig, a former federal and state prosecutor and cnn senior legal analyst. whose fault was this? was this the concert organizers or security? who gets the blame for this. >> so i think the first thing you you have to look for is who owed the duty of care and who was responsible and i think that certainly would include the concert organizer, the promotors, the artist and the people around him. and i think to then take it to the next step, the question is who failed to pearform under tht duty of care. as the prior guest said, this is a multi-fact question. there is probably not one and only one thing that you could point to. but i'll tell you some of the
questions i would have. first of all, was this event oversold, was the crowd too large for the venue, what was the training like of the security staff, were they properly trained or just sort of people plucked out of college campuses as happens sometimes, were there proper barricades and a big question is why did it take as long as it took for the show to stop after it became originally apparently to a lot of people that there was danger happening in the crowd. >> so what do -- we know that the first lawsuits have been filed, the first single lawsuit. what are the plaintiffs here have to prove and how likely is this to go to trial? >> yeah, so let's remember what, we've seen to far are civil lawsuits, not criminal. we could get to that in a moment. but civil lawsuits seek money damages and it is important to remember we're going to see these not only from the families of the poor people who died but from other concert-goers, people who were injured or traumatized, that kind of thing. what they have to show is
negligence and by a preponderance of the evidence meaning 50.1%. and if you look back at history, we have had incidents like this over history and in all of the cases from the rolling stones in 1969 and altamont to the great white concert in rhode island in 2003, you also see a spate of civil lawsuits an they tend to settle because there is a lot of money at stake and liability in this case is clearly established so i don't expect to see trials, i expect to see settlements. >> and i think there are cell phone video, travis scott and stops and points at something and seems confused about something going on and that is the moment that ambulances were pulling up. what is his liability? >> so that piece of video is important because it seems to show that travis scott knew something was going on in the audience. something severe enough that he would stop and point out into the crowd. that is an unusual step for a
performer to take. but the ultimate responsible is with the promotors. about but i would ask what did the houston police chief tell him and how specific were the warnings that we heard the police chief gave travis scott beforehand so i think travis scott has been named as i defendant in the civil suits. i think criminal liability, that is a whole different step of liability that you would have to show. you have to show gross negligence, but think these are some of the unanswered questions that relate to him and others. >> eli honig, thank you. so after almost 20 months the u.s. is now reopening its borders to many international travelers. ahead, we'll tell you the requirements an restrictions for vaccinated tourists. >> and we have bipartisan infrastructure bill an ott way to the president's desk. democrats now shifting their focus to the spending bill. the social safety net bill that is still in limbo.
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today for the first time in 20 months the united states borders are open to international travelers fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries including the u.k. and much of europe can now enter the u.s. by air, land and sea. without quarantining. now air travels will need a negative covid test to fly. >> cnn business editor-at-large richard quest joins us from one of the u.s. most popular tourist attractions, the top of the empire state building. richard, it looks nice up there today. does this mean that the u.s. is back to business as usual? >> absolutely.
as far as possible and that is what the commerce sect said to me today. she said it was a shot in the arm and it proves if not maybe back to normal, the u.s. is back open for business. because besides, you have to think about all of the people who live in those countries, the eu, et cetera, that is now open, but all of the travelers who were transit through frankfort, paris or rome or london on the way to the u.s. and that is way today at kennedy, dozens of airports across the united states, there were extraordinary happy scenes. people not able to come from 20 months, seeing relatives and seeing family and here to do business for the first time. you know, zoom is good as they say. but getting on a plane and saying how are you and shaking a hand, they believe is much better. >> and of course this is great news for those tourists locations like where you are. they're used to seeing so many
international tourists? >> oh, they're talking about a massiv massive christmas in new york. i was around the city and it was packed. and now if you add in all of the -- remember the airports are putting on extra capacity. united airline is going to five flights aday from london alone. and now add on more flights from the other european destinations and the new york and company is expecting it to be not a bumpy year but packed. prices will be higher for hotel, we're seeing higher rates and can you get a reservation or a broadway show. so maybe january or february for those looking fior a bit of a bargon. >> new york city more packed than usual. richard quest, thank you very much. >> thank you. after months of gridlock the
$1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is heading to joe biden's desk. but even the larger social safety net package is still in limbo. >> kaitlan collins and cnn correspondent jessica dean with us now. first, it is now to this bill. what will this money be spent on, what is in the bill? >> reporter: right. now so we turn to the money what they set it aside for and these are items that would you consider traditional infrastructure so we're talking roads, bridges, broadband internet and the railways, airports, water systems. so billions of dollars heading all across the country to various projects that will shore up america's infrastructure and also expand it into the 21st century. that is the idea, the kind of modernize some of the items that
haven't been modernized in years and years. and what was interesting on friday night here was just that last-minute scramble, to get this over the finish line. and it took house speaker nancy pelosi really threading the needle between the various factions of her party, getting them as much moving together in the same direction as possible with each side making promises to one another and then interestingly, getting some help from 13 house republicans that supported this bill. that was more than frankly we were really expecting. it got 19 senate republicans to support it but 13 house republicans supporting it over on the house side. and that got it over the threshold. and now it heads to president biden to become law. but again, a major truly bipartisan bill from both chambers now heading to the president's desk. >> so kaitlan, what is the status now of the build back be better package? where are we. >> reporter: that remains to be seen because we're waiting for the moderate democrats who
assigned on to this agreement on friday night for wait for the final score, the financial impact of what the bill is going to look like. they say they want to see the numbers before they vote for that bill. although they did sign this agreement on friday night saying that if it doesn't pan out to what the administration and what they believe the numbers are going to look like, then their on board with it. but the question is about the timeline really. because house speaker pelosi said this deadline of november 15th for the bill in the house and then it will go to the senate where the white house is acknowledging it is going to change once in the hands of the senate. that is remaining to be seen what in a will look like. president biden has not signed this infrastructure bill. white house said he's waiting until the members of congress who helped him pass it are back in town from the recess to have a sharm here at white house. but the other focus turns to implementing this bill and selling it and when it comes to the transportation secretary pete buttigieg was just from the briefing room telling us that
the transportation department will have staff up because it is hundreds of billion dollars of new federal aid going to the projects that jessica was talking about and that is going to require coordinating within the departments not just the transportation department but several others as well. and the other big aspect is selling the bill and making sure the public knows what jessica just said what is in there and how it will change lives and here is what pete buttigieg said about that in briefing. >> that will be led by the president traveling to show where the need is and where the action is. but i'm certainly eager to be part of that effort. i mean, look i a lot of this sells itself because communities never needed to be persuaded that their bridge needed to be fix or their airport needed an upgrade or their port needed investment. >> reporter: now the president has said he believes you could start to see the effects of the bill within two to three months. it is not being laid out what that is. but he will start by selling this himself on wednesday in
baltimore when he visits the port of baltimore to talk about how this infrastructure bill that was just passed will help with that. >> kaitlan collins at the white house and jessica dean on capitol hill, thank you. in georgia, new testimony in the ahmaud arbery murder trial takes us live into the final moments of his life. we're live from the courthouse next.
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the trial of the three men accused of chasing down and killing unarmed ahmaud arbery in a georgia neighborhood is continuing today. prosecutors call the sergeant who was first on the scene. now they show the jury a graphic pictures of his body, the gunshot wound to his chest, blood on a shotgun as well. >> you could imagine the images were upsetting. inside of the courtroom several jurors were seen squirming in their seats and arbery's mother appeared in distress. ryan young joins us now. so what did we learn today? >> reporter: the pictures that your describing were very tough to look at and were from all angles. crime scene investigator arrived and the pictures were at the center of the investigation. at the time the crime scene investigator didn't realize that the trucks were involve and
video in possession of some of the men standing nearby. i could tell you as i look over right now, the first officer who arrived on scene actually was talking since about 11:00 and there has been a lot of back and forth about how he proceeded once he arrived to the area. one thing that we noticed and even ahmaud arbery's mom said the same thing, he did not render aid as he was on the ground. he said hes would worried about his safety so he wanted to check the scene first but as you watched this it was a cashality to everything going on and people were talking back and forth when this first happened. listen to the testimony and back and forth in court just in afternoon. >> did he say specifically that he blocked ahmad during this straight? >> yes, ma'am. >> okay. did he say specifically that he cornered ahmad during this chase? >> yes, ma'am. >> how many times did mr. bryan say that he either blocked ahmad
or cornered him during this chase. >> after going back and reviewing the transcribed body camera, it appeared to be approximately five times. zblfrnts and that was the first officer aw.h.o. arrived on scene. he's no longer an officer. at some point he looked nervous during his testimony. ahmaud arbery's mom talked during the lunch break and he was surprised that he did not render aid. and then there is the conversation about how the men were allowed to sort of walk around the scene. that was going back and forth. so we've seen this progression about the investigation, what happened in the moments leading up and we saw more video today and and i could tell you there were people that bristles when they heard the audio, a shotgun three times and you could see his body kind of rocking backwards during those shots being fired. could you tell again that was such a gut punch for so many
people in the courtroom. so this is continuing. we don't know how many people will be on the stand for the rest of the day as this is extending with the first officer on scene, especially after all of the video we saw on friday that rocked peoples minds in terms of how graphic it was. the pictures setting the tone for the entire day as investigators and the prosecution and defense sort of goo bit by bit. >> ryan young, thank you for that reporting. let's discuss this with former new york prosecutor and civil rights trial attorney charles culman jr., great to have you here in studio. explain to me how a self-defense argument works? ahmaud arbery, it is clear, was on a jog. he was out for a jog. he was unarmed. these guys, the defendants, chased him down, they had guns, how can they claim self-defense? >> well, alisyn, one of the things i'm thinking about as i watch the trial unfold, is the defense has a narrow window
through which they could plead a viable self-defense claim. they were athe gressors. ahmaud arbery was out numbers and outgunned. so as the ones that provoked the altercation, established that they are going to have to do a really good job treading the needle as of yet it hasn't been seen and i don't know that they're going to be able to do it. right now we don't know if the judge will give a self-defense instruction to the jury. >> they might not let them. they might not let them claim that. >> that is correct. >> and we heard that william ryan five times said that he blocked or corner ahmaud arbery so reconcile that with self-defense. it doesn't seem like you could. >> legally you can plead in many jurisdictions, georgia being one of them self-defense even if you provoke the altercation but it is up to the judge after having heard the testimony to determine whether the defense or the
whether the prosecution has left open a window or factually enough for the defense to plead a self-defense and get that instruction to the jury. so at this point in the trial, it is probably too early to make that determination. but they do, the defense, have an uphill battle to climb. >> so much has been made about the racial makeup of this jury. one black juror. >> right. >> do you think that will impact the case? >> absolutely asking the right question, alisyn. i think this is think conversation that too few of us are having. this race in this case is sort of 13 nl juror as i would say. in as much as it is one of the things that is hanging in the balance and it is coloring this trial and sort of very few people want to talk about it. we know what it is, when we look at the race of the defendant and you look at the race of the victim here. but when you think about in a larger context what it was to select is that jury because on one hand you had the defense attorney who was trying to preclude jurors because they
didn't want people who had been effected or felt things related to their experience or of being black in america or related to racial prejudice or discrimination and so on and so forth but that is a part of so many different people's experience that you kept eliminating people and so it is like we want to be able to identify as a black person but not with the experiences of what a black person does. and so that is very challenging for many people and i think that as we go forward in to this trial, if prosecutors are smart, they'll figure out how to bring the element out and make it apparent to the jury without using the words explicitly. >> we heard the reporting there from ryan young of ahmaud arbery's mother reacting to the pictures of the blood stain sheet over her son, and the blood on the gun. what is the influence of those reactions on the jury potentially? >> victor, those things are incredibly important. because what you are seeing the prosecution do is that they are recreating the entire scene for
the jury. normally you have witnesses who will talk about what happened, what they observed, what they smellsed, what they saw, the heat and the pain all of these things are l be described from a first person's point of view and we're going to hear from police officers and first responders and people that deconstructed the crime scene and the 911 operator but there is one person that you won't hear from and that is ahmaud arbery and ooze the only person that could paint that scene. so those types of things, his mom being in the courtroom and the jury witnessing her seeing that tape for the first time, those all sort of give people a color for what this trial is about. that can't be recreated by officers or 911 representatives or anyone else. and it is missing because ahmaud arbery can't take the stand. so that is a key element of what the prosecution is trying to do to make this case real for the jury. >> an emotional day for her and the jury. their squairming in their seats
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>> evan perez is live in the justice department with the details. so, tell us about this man. >> reporter: well, victor and alisyn, not oven does law enforcement have good news when it comes to the hundreds of million dollars paid in the ransom ware attacks and in this case they're charging a man, he's arrested right now and being held by polish authorities. the justice department said that they're going to seek him extradition in with regard to an attack on u.s. companies, on companies worldwide using this ransom ware known as our evil. there is also in the announcement today from the justice department charges being announced against another man. this guy is at large. he's a russian national believed to be back in russia. and the importance of these two twin announcements is the fact that it is very rare for the justice department to carth and
figure out who is behind some of the ransom ware attacks and today they also said that they were able to seize $6 million that were paid in some of the ransom attacks. listen to attorney general merrick garland talk about this today. >> our message today is clear. the united states, together with our allies, will do everything in ow pourer to identify the perpetrators of ransom ware attacks to bring them to justice and to recover the funds they have stolen from the american people. >> reporter: and alisyn and victor, unrelated to today's announcement we asked the attorney general about the criminal referral against steve bannon. this is the referral that was made by the house select committee looking into the january 6 attacks. the attorney general refused to talk about it. obviously this very -- a lot of impatience on capitol hill as to when the justice department will take action on this. it is been over two weeks now
that under review by prosecutors here at the justice department. >> evan perez at the justice department for us. thank you very much. so this was a rare moment, a former u.s. president slams another on foreign soil. but what we saw play out today when president obama rips his successor for pulling out of the paris climate dealal. hear what he said. there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark. but with our new multi-cloud experience, you have the flexibility you need to unveil them to the world. ♪ with directv stream, i can get live tv and on demand... together. watch: serena williams... wonder woman. serena... wonder woman... serena... wonder woman... ♪ ♪
crisis and tried to assure the world the biden administration is committed to fighting climate change. cnn's rene marsh joins us now from glasgow to tell us more about president obama's message today. >> reporter: good afternoon, yeah, president obama's speech, this all came at a time where there's this hard fought battle to hammer out details for these climate negotiations among nations. so the timing of this speech was no coincidence. but during his speech, obama really teased out his genuine concern and worry about countries around the world not acting fast enough, aggressively enough to save the planet but he also spoke about the politics of climate change. take a listen. >> now, back in the united states, of course, some of our progress stalled when my successor decided to unilaterally pull out of the paris agreement in his first year of office. i wasn't real happy about that.
>> so part of obama's role here today was really to assure the country, the world that the united states was back and they are fully committed to combatting climate change, this on the heels of four years of, as you heard him say there, the trump administration. but he also took time to call out the leaders of russia and china for actually not showing up to the conference because the science shows that the truth of the matter is that everyone needs to come to the table with aggressive and bold plans in order to truly save the planet and russia and china's leaders are actually not present, but also equally as significant here today is just the fact that president obama, former president obama was here. i mean, he came out of retirement to travel here to glasgow. our conversations with u.s. envoy to -- for climate change john kerry discussing this possibility, and that's how it
came to be. and it really speaks to the urgency here because we all know that this is something that was a big part of president obama's presidency. he has that legitimacy. he has the credibility when it comes to climate change, and this is an example of what the biden administration wants to be an all hands on deck sort of response here at cop26 to try and reinvigorate the talks and negotiations happening here because they know that former president obama is still so widely respected on the world stage, and again, has that credibility when it comes to climate change. so that's a lot of what we heard here today, but again, everyone hoping that it was enough because noticeably missing, once again, was china and russia, and again as the president said, former president said, everyone needs to be at the table, no one can afford to be on the sidelines. >> renee, very rare to have a
former president in this role, but even more rare to have a former president on foreign soil go after or in these references another former president. and this was not the only reference that you played there. >> reporter: right. there were more. he certainly did not mince words. i mean, it was interesting in that he didn't mention former president trump by name. he referred to him as his successor, but everyone knew exactly who he was talking about, but i think that all plays into what obama's role was here today, and it was to say that was four years ago. the u.s. is back. we are committed to this. and we are partners with the world in trying to aggressively combat climate change, victor. >> rene marsh, thank you very much for that. i totally agree with you, on foreign soil is what makes that criticism a little bit different. we'll see if president obama says anything about that. meanwhile this, the houston
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