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Gunman in Mall Shooting Not Dead, Still on the Loose; Paris Protests over Rising Gas Prices Turn Violent; Report: Climate Change will Shrink Economy and Kill Thousands; U.S. Has Record 14,000 Unaccompanied Migrant Kids in Custody; Roger Stone's Associate is in Plea Talks with Mueller; American Missionary Killed by Isolated Tribe. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 24, 2018 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:11] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. We start with a stunning admission from an Alabama police department. The manhunt is back on for the gunman in a mall shooting Thanksgiving night and Hoover Police admitting the man they killed likely was not responsible for two people being shot.

It was chaos that broke out on one of the busiest shopping nights. Police say an altercation escalated into a shooting that left two people hospitalized. A police officer then shot and killed 21-year- old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., an armed man police originally believed was responsible for the shooting. And now they say Bradford is not the man who fired the shots and the search is on for the actual gunman.

CNN's Natasha Chen joins me right now. Good to see. How did this discrepancy begin?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I reached out to the agency that's taken over the investigation and they haven't responded yet to my questions to clarify this.

Right now we don't know where the gunman is or frankly how many people they're looking for. Overnight, the Hoover Police Department issued a statement that said our department does not typically issue media updates during an internal investigation, but there was information discussed with local media last night that merits update and clarification.

The initial report was that two men had gotten into a fight of some kind at the mall that resulted in a 21-year-old shooting an unarmed 18-year-old. That victim was taken to the hospital.

The update now says the 21-year-old identified as Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation but he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim. The Police say Bradford did flee the scene, brandishing his weapon. That's when an armed Hoover police officer who was working mall security shot and killed him. So if Bradford is not the one that shot the 18-year-old, there's someone out there who did.

Police say they now believe there were more than two people involved in the initial fight, with at least one gunman still at large who could be responsible for the 18-year-old shooting victim as well as a 12-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire. She was also taken to the hospital.

We've learned from the army that Bradford had enlisted but did not complete his training. It is not clear right now if police believe that he may have fired any of the shots during this incident, though they say he was somehow involved.

And last we heard, the officer involved in the shooting is on administrative leave while they investigate -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen -- thanks so much. And update us when you get any more information on this.

All right. Joining me right now, former FBI assistant director and CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. So Tom -- good to see you.

Police originally reported that they killed the man they thought was responsible. Now they're going back on that. So how is it something like that could happen. This is very unusual, isn't it?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes -- Fredricka. This is unusual. And I think part of it is that there's so much pressure on the police and the authorities when there's an officer- involved shooting to get out as much information as quickly as they can, even if it involves some kind of speculation or they're jumping to a conclusion that this must have happened.

And this is an example where these issues are complicated. They need to be investigated. And the police should have said it will be investigated. We're not sure exactly what happened and we'll let you know when we have a better idea of what happened. So that's the problem here.

Now, you know, headlines about this make it sound like the police just gunned somebody down that turns out to be the wrong guy. But on the other hand, if this deceased person was involved in the original altercation, had a gun, maybe fired shots -- we don't know -- then was fleeing, and then confronted by an officer and then didn't surrender, didn't drop his gun --

WHITFIELD: right.

FUENTES: -- then you could see where a mistake could be made like that.

WHITFIELD: But it doesn't sound like that is the case if police are now making an admission --

(CROSSTALK)

FUENTES: That's the point.

WHITFIELD: -- the wrong person.

FUENTES: We're going by what it sounds like and what we think happened. And what the police conclusion was in that mall at that time with everything going on. It just needs to be investigated.

Hoover Police issuing a statement, they're not going to be investigating this. It's going to be investigated by the county police and if necessary the state police, and if necessary the FBI if it turns into a civil rights case.

So at this point we just don't know enough to know for sure the circumstances that led to Bradford being shot.

WHITFIELD: Right. And clearly we don't know a lot. And that's why there are continuing to be all of these questions.

[11:04:55] But then in your view, are you surprised that police would make this admission so soon as opposed to making this admission much later as they learn more about the overall investigation? What does it tell you that they're willing, there is this willingness right now to say this is not the alleged gunman?

FUENTES: No, I think they had to because the initial reporting, if it comes out and looks like they gunned down the gunman, the person responsible in the altercation for, you know, wounding and, you know, hospitalizing the other individuals then, you know, for the public's sake, it is like the search is over.

Now what they're saying is wait a minute, we have a gunman at large who has not been apprehended and has not been publicly identified yet. So the public needs to be aware of that.

So I think that the second press release that they put out was necessary because of the mistake made in the first press release. And I think it is just better at this point that they say look, you know, it is more complex than we thought at first blush, and we have the county, an independent agency investigating this, let's let them do their work before we jump to any more conclusions in this case.

WHITFIELD: All right. And because the alleged gunman is still out there, obviously police will be counting on witnesses, people who were at the mall that day, there at that moment to perhaps provide some sort of information?

FUENTES: Not just witnesses but there should be security cameras all over the inside of that mall, all over the parking lot outside that mall where they might see the person that ran out and what kind of vehicle he may have gotten into.

So they may have more just from studying that but we don't know that yet. And I think at this point they're going to be a little cautious in any future press releases in this case until they have more information that's verified.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tom Fuentes -- thanks so much.

FUENTES: You're welcome. >

WHITFIELD: And we're also following this breaking news out of Paris where angry protests over rising gas prices have turned violent.

Police are using tear gas and water cannons as thousands protest along the famous Champs-Elysees. Protesters are venting their anger over increased prices for diesel and they're also protesting against the French president, Emanuel Macron's environmental policies.

Gas in Paris already costs more than $5.50 a gallon. Officials say that two people have died so far in the unrest that began last week.

CNN senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann is live for us now in Paris. So Jim -- protests are not unusual overall in Paris but there's something distinctively different about this one. What's going on?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Fredricka.

Probably the most distinctive thing that makes this different is the fact that there's not a real established leader. There' not a union behind this. There's nothing that's sort of an organizational tool that the government can get its hands around. It's a lot of spontaneous protests by a lot of different people.

Now, we have been watching this for the last seven hours. There's been confrontations between the police and demonstrators who are wearing these yellow vests which all French motorists have to have in their car. And so as a consequence, it's very easy for someone to take part in this movement and show where their sentiments are.

Gas prices was the beginning of it but in fact now in the week that has passed since the original protest, there have been a number of people that have joined for other reasons, for the fact that the rising cost of living, pensioners are worried about their pensions. Just a number of different reasons.

Now, we've been hearing chants this afternoon of Macron (INAUDIBLE) which is, you know, basically "Macron quit", resign from the presidency. That's not likely to happen. But he is going to say something later this week -- earlier next week rather -- on Tuesday basically to calm the situation I think. We'll see what happens on Tuesday. They're not saying exactly what it is going to be.

Ironically though, Fredricka, just a few moments ago these Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysees went on. They were lit for the first time on Thursday, which usually marks the beginning of the shopping season. But I can tell you something, there's not many shoppers down here on the avenue today -- Fredricka. WHITFIELD: Right. And you can see from that wide shot, you saw these beautiful, what appear to be red lights; contrast that with some of this unrest.

But then I wonder, you know, Jim because earlier I saw pictures of people who were presumably putting trash or, you know, making piles later to ignite and you had authorities who were also there. So what are the boundaries or, you know, what is accepted when it comes down to protests, the organizing, you know, the intent behind putting the trash and then eventually burning? Does that lead to, you know, arrests, does that make the protest even that much more volatile for law enforcement there even?

[11:10:04] BITTERMANN: Well, so far there haven't been that many arrests. There's been about 35 arrests nationwide and about 18 here in Paris. But in any case we seem to feel, this is just a feeling about it, that the police are laying back as long as the protesters don't attack some of the high value shops along the Champs-Elysees.

They are burning these barriers, these construction barricades that are along the avenue here. and about the most damage that they've done was they set fire to a construction crane a few minutes ago and burned out the crane, the cab of the crane. So that's about the most distinctive damage that we have seen.

But I have a feeling we will see some insurance claims nonetheless on this from a number of different businesses along the way, restaurant awnings have been burned, and chairs stolen and taken. And basically there's been some damage, probably not as much as there could have been though -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Right. Ok. Jim Bittermann -- thank you so much. We'll also you to find out what, you know, is the root cause of the sounds we're hearing in the background, too. Thank you so much -- Jim.

All right. Still ahead, a new government report on unchecked climate change warns of premature deaths and extreme economic consequences if global warming is not addressed. So how will President Trump, a skeptic of global warming respond now?

[11:11:28] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

A new government report delivers a dire warning about climate change. The federally-mandated study details the devastating impacts of global warming if left unchecked. The report warns climate change could have a catastrophic effect on human health, quality of life, and the U.S. economy.

The grim findings run counter to President Trump's consistent message that climate change is a hoax.

Let's bring in CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny in West Palm Beach, near where President Trump is spending the holiday weekend. So Jeff -- has the White House responded to this report? This is one that is congressionally-backed. It's federally-mandated to have this report. It has happened before in years past but now how is the White House responding to this one?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning -- Fredricka. This is a product of the Trump administration. Some 13 federal agencies come together to produce this report. So in effect, it is a product of the White House, of the Trump administration.

But of course it is at odds with the President's policies as you said. And the President has been utterly silent about this report. Of course, whenever he wants to speak about something, he certainly finds a way to do it, but he has been quiet about this entirely.

There was a statement from the White House yesterday that said this is largely based on a scenario, the worst case scenario, and they said it started under the Obama administration, so they want to give some more time if you will to have a better sense of this. But the reality here is the evidence is by preponderance of scientists and others that the climate is changing and the economic argument in this certainly is a strong one, one we do not hear the President talking about a lot in terms of the effect to the economy on the changing climate.

So we'll see if the President says anything. But as of today, as of now, Fred, he has not said a word about this. Of course, He is enjoying this warm weather in Florida out on the golf course right now here in West Palm Beach.

WHITFIELD: And one has to wonder whether he got some of head's up as this, you know, conclusion was coming.

Meantime, Jeff -- you know, the President has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his transgender military ban after it was blocked in the lower courts. So is it likely the Supreme Court will actually take up this case?

ZELENY: It's unclear if they will or not -- Fredricka. And this is why. This is a very unusual thing the White House is asking the Supreme Court to do because there's not been a ruling from an appeals court yet. So they essentially are asking the Supreme Court to bypass the normal route that it would go from a federal judge to an appellate court.

But the White House clearly is not pleased with the court of appeals. The President has made that very clear all week long, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. So the White House is trying to go around the appellate process in going right to the Supreme Court.

We will see if they do it or not. Their argument is that it is of an urgent nature to do this. So it would be unusual if they would take this up. We will certainly have to see.

But the President has made no secret at all about his disdain for the appellate courts largely on immigration and other matters here that on this itself, he has also been quiet.

And so far today, as we speak Fredricka, no tweets at all from the President. He's finally enjoying a day of rest on this Thanksgiving holiday, heading back to Washington after the weekend -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeff Zeleny -- thanks so much.

All right. Let's talk more about all of this. With me right now, Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times". Lynn -- good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving.

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: All right. So let's begin with reaction after the President's attempt to go around lower courts, you know, take his transgender ban to the Supreme Court. You know, why does he see this as more advantageous for him to take this route?

SWEET: Well, it's because he wants to avoid a ruling in these two circuits where he thinks he is at a disadvantage. There's three cases, together they're in the Ninth and the D.C. Circuits. What's interesting here in the petition that's filed in the court is that these cases are called -- that the court needs to act on what they call the Mattis policy, dealing with transgenders, when everyone knows that it started with a tweet from the President.

In fact, I think this is one, you know, this is a Supreme Court brief that actually shows the pictures of the Twitter posts from Trump in it.

[11:20:02] So the scheme that the Trump administration wants is to find a way to get around the Ninth circuit and the D.C. Courts. And as Jeff has said and as you're asking me, and I think the reason is as obvious as Trump himself has said, he wants a work around.

Now, the judges on the Supreme Court just don't do work arounds to get cases out of appellate judges that a plaintiff or defendant --

WHITFIELD: Somebody in his world has to know that, has to have conveyed that to him. That you just can't say ok, Supreme Court, I want you to handle this. Forget the lower courts. Let's just, you know, put this on the docket.

SWEET: And to have it handled as this emergency treatment. it just is something that the Justice Department and that the attorneys are going along with because the boss is ordering it.

And what we are seeing now is a new chapter. I don't know how it will end, where Trump is stepping up his criticism of judges all the way up to the Supreme Court. And we know a few days ago, Justice Roberts has reacted.

Now, if he continues on this attack on a circuit that he deems is against him, then what will happen? You know, people do form shopping all the time. There are cases that people who advocate conservative causes, bring in Texas.

This is form shopping. It happens. And you don't always know what appellate panel you're going to get, but you can game the system a bit. But not the way the President is trying to do it when he has already stated in advance.

And this is where his own words impale him sometimes. The judges don't have to work in a vacuum. They already know why he wants to avoid the Ninth circuit.

WHITFIELD: Ok. Now, let's, you know, talk about this climate change study, this National Climate Assessment publication. It is the fourth comprehensive look, you know, at climate change, how it impacts the United States. And just about everything in it thus far is contrary to what the President has already espoused to be his belief. But this report would be released on Black Friday.

I mean so there are a lot of things here. A, you know, that it would be released on a Black Friday holiday weekend, and that it would be released contrary to what the White House's, you know, the President's point of view is. So what's behind this?

SWEET: Well, what's behind it is that there are even some things that President Trump can't control in government. And there are reports that have to be disclosed and they are.

He's tried, of course, to act like a king and just ignore rules, procedures, institutions that churn out reports. I don't put too much on that it was released on Black Friday when people aren't paying attention because people will be paying attention, especially when the Democrats take over the house in January.

And you'll hear more from people like former Vice President Al Gore who has been a climate change crusader. So the fact that the report came out on a Friday where people weren't paying attention right now. But I don't think that's going to halt.

I also don't know if there's anything in there that will persuade Trump to change his mind. But the report nonetheless could go perhaps a way toward changing other people.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Does it say anything about, you know, the agencies involved here. You know, 13 federal departments and agencies who have their input on this saying that humans cause 90 percent of climate change.

Does it say anything also about a willingness and no longer a fear to say this, a fear of upsetting the President who has already said he doesn't believe in these theories.

SWEET: Well, it's written in pretty plain English if people want to Google it.

WHITFIELD: It's scientific findings, beyond theories but their scientific findings.

SWEET: Right -- which are there. You know, there is an executive summary at the top you could read that is not technical. And, you know, for an administration that wants to scrub the words "climate change" out of -- out of -- out of how people talk about things, and how you refer to things when you write, I don't know if they could -- they could not scrub this report away from what it is about.

That climate change exists. It is real. It has an impact, and it is something that needs to be addressed.

President Trump as we know can disregard the findings of his own defense intelligence agencies. So again, I don't see why he would necessarily pay attention to 13 federal agencies. But for the moment you have to consider the game changes so much in January, Fredricka, when the Democrats take the House.

WHITFIELD: Lynn Sweet -- thanks so much. Good to see you.

SWEET: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead -- 14,000 undocumented migrant children are in U.S. custody, a record number. A health and human services spokesman tells CNN additional requirements by the Trump administration are not helping.

[11:25:04] We'll ask a former health and human services secretary next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Right now, a record number of migrant children are in custody across the country. The Department of Health and Human Services says the latest number has reached now 14,000 unaccompanied children. Children separated from parents at the border account for less than 200 of the number.

[11:29:57] With me now is Donna Shalala, president of the Clinton Foundation and former HHS secretary who worked with President Clinton. Secretary -- good to see you.

DONNA SHALALA, FORMER HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: So when you hear these numbers -- 14,000 unaccompanied children, minors who are in U.S. custody, what are you envisioning and how do you suppose it came to be?

SHALALA: It came to be because of this administration's desire to attach enforcement to child welfare. It just shouldn't happen this way.

What's happening is all OF these children, most of them, arrived with a little piece of paper. They've got the name of an aunt or an uncle or a cousin that they're going to go and stay with. They expect that to happen.

But this administration makes a phone call and in that phone call they ask about the legal status of the adult on the other end of the phone. If they're undocumented, they turn that information over to ICE. And so they're going to frighten large numbers of undocumented immigrants who have been in this country for a very long period of time who are willing to take their relatives or their friends of people from their own country, they're willing to take the children. But because of this enforcement mechanism that's tied to the phone call, they're scared off.

And so as a result, we have lots of children who could go to stay with a caring adult, but they're being held literally as prisoners in facilities when it doesn't have to happen. Every previous administration did not tie immigration enforcement to the settling of children. And frankly our priority was always the safety and the health and the education of those children.

In addition to that, the administration has now announced they're going to put children in tents on federal land, really as a way of avoiding state requirements for the services those children should receive -- educational services, health services.

So they created this unbelievable, horrific humanitarian crisis because of the unintended probably consequences of stupid decisions about enforcing immigration while we're trying to resettle children in this country.

WHITFIELD: So is it your feeling that the common mission of these unaccompanied, you know, children is, you know, trying to seek a better life, trying to, you know, meet up with family members who are already in the U.S., trying to get an education, and --

SHALALA: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: -- that their mission is I guess interrupted by, you know, a lack of understanding or -- I mean, what is the spirit behind what you see these new administration policies to be? What is the goal for these 14,000 kids who are currently being held?

SHALALA: The administration policies are just mean. They're un- American, and frankly they're immoral. These children should be settled with relatives who are already here in this country and we should probably -- it is likely that if we didn't pay attention to the immigration status of these relatives, we could settle these children.

During the administration that I led at HHS we didn't ask those questions. And we certainly were more concerned about the children's welfare than we were the immigration status of their relatives.

(CROSSTALK)

SHALALA: Once you start asking those questions, sharing the information with ICE you're simply going to scare off parents, relatives, others that would in fact embrace these children and give them a secure environment. They should not be -- go ahead.

WHITFIELD: Got you. The Trump administration, you know, says that the previous administration set the stage for this crisis, that that is why this administration is compelled to change the way in which it processes unaccompanied children. What's your response to that?

SHALALA: Well, it's not processing them at all. It is not processing them at all. By setting up this standard in which ICE gets information about the prospective relatives that would take these children into their homes it is providing a standard that's leaving the children in these unbelievable conditions and basically traumatizing them.

No child -- these are temporary quarters. They're supposed to be temporary quarters. This is supposed to be a transition home for them.

WHITFIELD: And what are you -- what are worried is happening to these 14,000 kids right now?

[11:35:00] SHALALA: Well, I'm worrying that they're being traumatized, that they're being held in facilities. Some of the facilities are very good. But if we start moving thousands of children to tents in Texas who will not be covered probably by state laws protecting them, then we really should be concerned.

But more than anything else, these children need to be settled with families. They should not be held for long periods of time in holding facilities basically. And we have a system for doing that. But we've got to remove ICE from the equation.

WHITFIELD: And then, how do you see this ending? What do you see the demise of these kids will be? You mention the tents. Being in a tent city -- but then what?

SHALALA: Well, I think the new Democratic administration in the House of Representatives, of which I'm going to be part since I've just been elected from Florida to represent Miami, this new Democratic administration in the House of Representatives will take a good, hard look and press this administration to stop doing what they're doing, particularly ICE from being involved in the decisions of where these children can be placed.

We've got to take the fear out of the immigration -- out of the immigrant community and let these children go with relatives and be settled in communities. Americans believe this.

WHITFIELD: Secretary Donna Shalala -- we'll leave it there. Thank you so much.

Straight ahead, an associate of the President's friend and longtime adviser Roger Stone is in plea negotiations with the special counsel. If he flips on Stone, does that spell trouble for the President in the Russia investigation?

[11:36:51] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Now, to the latest in the Russia investigation. An associate of long time Trump campaign adviser and friend Roger Stone is now in talks for a plea negotiation with Robert Mueller's office. Jerome Corsi is his name. He could face a number of charges spanning from perjury to making false claims to obstruction of justice.

The investigation is looking at whether Corsi was an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks. And Roger Stone is trying to downplay this development.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: I think that this is, you know, this is prosecutorial misconduct. It appears to me, that poor Jerry Corsi has been pressured and refuses to lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin joins me now to discuss all of this.

All right. So good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: To you too -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: So what could be the valued information potentially from Jerome Corsi?

ZELDIN: Well, to understand the role of Corsi, you have to understand what the issue is that Mueller may be investigating with respect to Stone. And that is whether or not Roger Stone, prior to release of the hacked information from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, had any dealings with either WikiLeaks, the distributor of the information, or Guccifer 2.0, that who Mueller accused of doing the hacking.

If he did either of those things, then he may be under inquiry by Mueller for some type of criminal conspiracy to interfere with the election. Corsi is a communicator between WikiLeaks and Stone, it is believed. And so the question is what does Corsi have to say, if anything, about the relationship between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.

And that is what is apparently under consideration by Mueller. And whether or not Corsi is pleading guilty and cooperating, or just pleading guilty and not cooperating, we just don't know.

WHITFIELD: And you heard Roger Stone, you know, who said this could be prosecutorial misconduct. He is playing it cool. Listen now to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: This idea that Jerry Corsi could implicate me, there's simply no evidence whatsoever that would show that I knew about the source or the content of any allegedly stolen e-mails or any allegedly hacked e- mails that were published by WikiLeaks. Just not so.

WHITFIELD: All right. So what are your thoughts on that?

ZELDIN: Well, so that's in a category of Roger Stone saying he hopes that's not the case but he doesn't know what Mueller knows. So it could well be that he is right. That Mueller doesn't have sufficient evidence to link Roger Stone in a criminal conspiracy with WikiLeaks or Guccifer 2.0. And that he is pressuring Corsi to give him the evidence.

But more likely it is that he believes, Mueller does, that Corsi has information that he wants him to share that he either has shared and is going to seek a cooperation agreement, or hasn't shared and Mueller thinks that it is a lie and is going to charge him like he did all the others who Mueller believes lied to him.

WHITFIELD: And there would be no plea negotiations if there wasn't something to gain from it, right?

[11:44:48] ZELDIN: Well, except that we saw in the matter of the young lawyer from the Skadden Arp Law Firm, van der Zwaan and perhaps even in the case of Papadopoulos is that they seemed to have limited information to give to Mueller. But Mueller stood fast on the notion that you just cannot come into our offices, talk to us under oath, lie and get away with it.

So it could be that Corsi fits into that latter category of not much information to share, but knowing and purposeful lie, that he's going to pay the price of an indictment for.

WHITFIELD: All right. Michael Zeldin -- we'll leave it there. Thanks so much.

ZELDIN: Ok.

WHITFIELD: All right. Next, an American missionary's last words. Hear what he wrote about the isolated tribe that he was hoping to convert them and how he feared his death was imminent.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:50:05] We're learning new details about a letter an American missionary wrote before he was killed on a remote island near India. John Allen Chau gave the letter to a fisherman before he left their boat for the last time.

And in it, he revealed he knew the isolated tribes people on the island were dangerous and his life was at risk. It's believed Chau was killed by the tribe.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is one of the oldest and most isolated tribes in the world. And authorities say they're responsibility for last week's killing of American missionary John Allen Chau.

This archive footage from Survival International provides some of the few existing images of the tribe known the Sentinelese. They live in complete isolation on the tiny island of North Sentinel.

According to Indian officials, Chau illegally paid fishermen to take him to the isolated island hoping to convert the tribe to Christianity. Authorities believe he first canoed to shore on November 16, deliberately disregarding an established perimeter around the island. According to journal entries left with a fisherman and shared with the "Washington Post", the 26-year-old wrote, "I hollered, my name is John. I love you and Jesus loves you." He was then reportedly shot at by a member of the tribe with an arrow piercing his bible.

Next day, Chau made a second attempt but never returned.

The fisherman he hired later reported seeing the young man's body buried on the beach by tribe members. Chau's last entry in his journals reads, "You guys might think I'm crazy in all this but I think it's worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people. God, I don't want to die."

In 2006, the same tribe killed two poachers who had been illegally fishing near their island. Survival International, a group advocating for tribal people, believes the native's decision to remain isolated should be respected.

SOPHIE GRIG, SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL: They've made it very clear they don't want contact. Somebody comes, they have no idea what he's coming for and why. You know, I think it's far more self-defense than it is murder.

SANDOVAL: On social media Chau's family wrote their son "Loved God, life, helping those in need, and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people. We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death," they wrote. All they can do is wait to find out when or if their son's body will be recovered.

Polo Sandoval, CNN -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Let's talk more about this. Sophie Grig from Survival International joins me right now. Good to see you.

We saw you in the piece, that you call this almost self-defense on the part of this tribe. So explain, you know, what they were interpreting, what they were seeing when they saw John Allen Chau.

GRIG: Well, obviously, it's all conjecture. We really don't know what they're thinking or what they're experiencing because they have had no real contact with anyone and no one's ever been able to talk to them or understand their concerns.

But certainly they've made it very clear they don't want people landing on their island. They've always -- other than an extremely brief period in 1991 which is when that video was taken -- they've always rejected people coming on and demonstrated that very clearly by firing arrows and so, you know, it seems that they're very determined to defend their land and defend their independence and have given a very clear message for people to stay away.

WHITFIELD: So it's common knowledge, you know, to really leave them be even the fishermen, I suppose, that, you know, were paid, you know, by John Allen Chau. They presumably knew to keep a particular distance. Do you believe that they would --

GRIG: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: -- have in any way kind of even warned him or told him, you know, you don't want to do this?

GRIG: Absolutely. I mean even the most cursory Googling of the Internet would have told you that this is what would happen if he goes to North Sentinel Island. Also that it is completely illegal.

Although that being said, earlier this year in June, the Indian government did, for reasons now one can fully understand, relax one of the permits that is required for going to this island. It still was illegal but that sort of confusing message coming out from the Indian government really doesn't help and it is really essential that they revoke that and put those permits back in place so it's completely clear to everyone absolutely no one should go there.

WHITFIELD: And so that it is off limits, that island and the people. And the family of Mr. Chau, you know, they want his remains. They want his body. But it sounds as though you're also painting a picture that, you know, these people and their on their island really have the right to keep it, don't they?

GRIG: Well, I mean obviously everyone feels for the family and it's a terrible situation for them. But there's no safe way to go and collect the body either --

WHITFIELD: Right.

GRIG: -- for the people who are doing it or for the Sentinelese.

[11:54:59] And when the fishermen were washed out there in 2006 were killed, their families, after the attempts to go and rescue the bodies by lowering a helicopter, were fired at by the Sentinelese, the family said, well, we accept they shouldn't have been there and we just accept the bodies will have to remain there for everyone's safety.

WHITFIELD: Do you think this incident in any way now will change the way in which these people and this island exist?

GRIG: I hope not. I mean obviously the strongest hope is that he wasn't able to pass on any germs to them in the short time that he was there. And they're actually going to be ok.

The policy -- the government policy is good. It says that no one should go there. The area around their island is protected. But it needs to be policed better.

And so I hope that this tragic incident will stop anybody else going there and make sure that the government revokes this strange change in order that they issued in June and also polices the area better to stop any fishing boats and poachers or adventurers or missionaries ever getting there again.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sophie Grig -- thank you so much. GRIG: Thank you.

And we'll be right back.

[11:56:08] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)