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Michael Cohen Investigation Determines Guilt on Two Finance Crimes; Speculation of Trump's Involvement Continues; Fields Faces Life Sentence for Charlottesville Rally Death; Paris Protests Result in Arrests, Injuries, and Even Death; Army-Navy Rivalry Football Today; SpaceX Scheduled Docking Delayed. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 8, 2018 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mueller dropping a major bomb on Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now know a lot more about where Mueller is heading and who must be next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His own justice department, Trump's own appointees saying that you, Mr. President, are directly implicated in federal felonies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a normal case if he weren't the president, he should expect to be indicted, but as we know, the Department of Justice has opined that you cannot indict a sitting president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president would say, "Well, here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it." I would have to say to him, "Well Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can't do it that way. It violates the law."


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good morning, welcome to your "new day." I'm Victor Blackwell.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Hi everyone. I'm Jessica Dean in for Christi Paul this morning. Federal prosecutors are zeroing in on what may be a worst-case scenario for the White House. President Trump directly implicated in two federal crimes connected to the Russia investigation.

BLACKWELL: Now for the first time a team of investigators in New York say that then-candidate Trump explicitly directed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to break federal election law. The memo is seven pages long but here's a key phrase from the filing, and it's important that we let these words resonate. Let me read it for you here.

"Cohen's commission of two finance crimes on the eve of the 2016 election for the President of the United States struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws -- transparency. While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to two -- to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with individual one. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election."

DEAN: In a second filing, special prosecutor Robert Mueller's team says former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort lied about five major issues after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors and shockingly, they say Manafort was in contact with the Trump Administration as recently as this year. Manafort was indicted in 2017.

We begin with the latest details on the case against Michael Cohen.

BLACKWELL: CNN's M.J. Lee explains what these memos could mean for Cohen when he's sentenced next week.

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very dramatic day for Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, as he waits his sentencing next week; two separate filings, one from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and another filing from the Southern District of New York, laying out some of the details of Michael Cohen's wrongdoings.

The filing from Special Counsel Robert Mueller laying out how Michael Cohen has extensively cooperated with the special counsel's office including in seven interviews and how he provided details about his own contacts with Russians. Here's a key passage from that Mueller filing.

It says, "the defendant has taken significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct. He chose to accept responsibility for his false statements and admit to his conduct in open court. He also has gone to significant lengths to assist the special counsel's investigation." It also says that the cooperation that Michael Cohen has shown should be taken into consideration when that joint sentencing happens next week. Now the filing from SDNY, the Southern District of New York, was very bad news for Michael Cohen when taken on its own.

It said that Michael Cohen should get a substantial term of imprisonment and only a modest leniency when it comes to his prison sentence. Again, that is expected next week. This filing from SDNY laid out how Michael Cohen evaded taxes, how he lied to banks, and also how he illegally tried to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign. That, of course is referring to the hush payments that were made to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, two women who said that they had affairs with Donald Trump.

Now a key passage from that SDNY filing says that after cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress and seeking to criminally influence the presidential election, Cohen's decision to plead guilty rather than seek a pardon for his many bold crimes does not make him a hero. This will be a blow for Michael Cohen and his lawyers who are arguing that Michael Cohen should get actually no jail time because of the extent of his cooperation with investigators and also because he is committed to helping the government get to the truth. The SDNY clearly does not agree with that assessment. M.J. Lee, CNN, New York.

DEAN: M.J., Thank you. Well, President Trump appears to be brushing off the implications of these memos from Mueller's team.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez.


Boris, the president, he's tweeted out this six-word response to these 47 pages now, even more than that. What is he saying -- what is the White House saying?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there Victor and Jessica. Yeah, the president is sort of brushing off these sentencing filings on behalf of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. The president effectively saying that this is no big deal. He tweeted out, quote, "Totally clears the president. Thank you." Of course, that's not exactly what these documents do. I did want to point out Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, also put out a statement yesterday. She effectively says that on the Manafort filing that has nothing to do with the president himself. It does not implicate him. Those charges are tied to Manafort's financial crimes.

On the Cohen filing, she writes that there's no new information there. She also echoes that claim from the special counsel that Michael Cohen is no hero. In regard to the president's tweet, though, a prominent D.C. Attorney, George Conway, also the husband of a very senior adviser to the president, Kellyanne Conway, rebuffed the president. He writes, quote, quoting the president, quote, "except for the little part where the U.S. Attorney's office says that you directed and coordinated with Cohen to commit two felonies, other than that, totally scot-free." A bit of a snarky response from George Conway; we should point out there is pressure mounting on the president, not just on the Russia front but the fact that he could be facing a potential partial government shutdown in the next few weeks and, of course, a volatile stock market, the result of the president's ongoing trade war with China. Jessica and Victor?

DEAN: All right. Boris Sanchez from the White House. Thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: All right, joining us now to discuss the political and legal consequences here, let's bring in Errol Louis, CNN Political Commentator and Political Anchor for "Spectrum News," and Joey Jackson, CNN Legal Analyst and criminal defense attorney. Gentlemen, welcome back.


BLACKWELL: I wanted to go into the document. First let's start with the Southern District of New York, their sentencing memo here. And let's start here, Joey, Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign including through meetings and phone calls about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments, of course this Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

In particular as Cohen himself now admitted, with respect to both payments he acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one, individual one being President Trump. Now the question about the legal consequences, the guidelines are that you can't or wouldn't indict a sitting president. But Joey, to you, if this were Governor Trump or Senator Trump, based on what we know, would Donald Trump be indicted?

JACKSON: Good morning to you, Victor; good morning Errol. The answer is there is no question about it. What you laid out is called in law a criminal conspiracy. That's an agreement between two or more people to commit a criminal act and, in fact, that's exactly what this is. And so to the extent, however, that there is guidance by the Department of Justice that says you cannot indict a sitting president, he's not indicted. But essentially what you have described there is criminal conduct on the part of the president who apparently was the ringleader, who directed and otherwise coordinated. So the question then becomes what now. And I think the what now will very much come to life when you have the changing of the guard as it relates to at least the House of Representatives that is now in Democratic control.

So do these issues rise to the level of impeachment? I think certainly when you have the southern district of New York, certainly, you know, a very respected office in terms of the United States attorney's office throughout the country, stating that they have the goods on the president, I think that there needs to be more there. So the fact is is that the question, does it rise beyond a reasonable doubt which is a criminal standard, that's another matter. It's left to the jury, which of course, the Senate because of course as the viewers (ph) as you know, the House of Representatives by majority would impeach and then it would go to the Senate for a trial. You need 67 of those for removal, so it's less likely. Boy, oh boy, you have the description of a criminal event there. And I think it gives a lot of meat for the Congress in terms of the Democrats taking control to move forward.

BLACKWELL: Errol, that's going to happen in January when Democrats get control of the House but Republicans hold it now; nobody's expecting there will be any impeachment, that there will be any probably official censure each of the president. Where are they rhetorically even? Where is Paul Ryan, where are Republican members of the House and Senate after the Justice Department --not the special prosecutor -- but the Southern District of New York now says the President of the United States directed his attorney to commit two felonies on his behalf to help his campaign.


LOUIS: Yes, it's real serious stuff. Paul Ryan, by the way has made his decision. He chose not to run for re-election. He's on his way into the private sector where he'll probably get rich. For a lot of the other Republicans, you raise a good question, what are they going to do?

They're going to have a very difficult time I think ignoring this because the stage that we get to, whether or not there's full impeachment hearings by the House of Representatives, whether or not the question ever arrives on the doorstep of the Senate as to whether or not to remove a sitting president, these questions are in some ways subsidiary to the immediate political question of what will happen as the public absorbs this information and starts to decide that, you know, maybe there's something here. Maybe it wasn't -- wasn't all a witch hunt. Maybe there's a level of sort of low moral conduct surrounding this administration that is simply unacceptable.

And when that kind of feeling spreads through the country and gets taken out on the president's party, the Republican Party, I think that's when you'll see the Senators and the members of Congress start to stir, start to make clear that they don't want to lose another 300 legislative seats the way they did in this late midterm, that they don't want to start losing control of state houses. They'll want to continue losing control of state houses, and that something has to be done.

BLACKWELL: Errol, let me stay with you on this. In the White House, Sarah Sanders says that of the filings, tells nothing of value that wasn't already known about Cohen specifically. But on the Moscow Project, which was about building the Trump Tower there in Russia, the Mueller memo says this, the government writes, "the fact that Cohen continued to work on the project and discussed it with individual one well into the campaign was material to the ongoing congressional and special counsel's office investigations, particularly because it occurred at the same time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. Presidential election," for the first time in this document putting together the work on the Moscow Project, building the Trump Tower, and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Significance?

LOUIS: Absolutely. It is significant. There's actually additional information that is new. Sarah Sanders is quite wrong. We've learned a couple of new and important things from this latest filing. One is that there were Russians who were reaching out through Michael Cohen to the campaign to try and create what was called political synergy with Russia as early as the fall of 2015.


LOUIS: So that's a -- one key fact. Then just as you point out, look, the prosecutors have known this all along. Many members of the public have known this all along is that at the same time that a deal was being contemplated to build a Trump Tower Moscow, there was all of this interference going on in the U.S. election. That's the core of the problem that Mueller was tasked with getting to the root of and we now know that there's an important kind of connection there. It's very, very troubling.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the political synergy, Joey. It's important that we read from the documents, not just talk around them or about them but go into these filings. This also from the Mueller memo, "in or around November 15th, Cohen received a contact information for and spoke with a Russian national who claimed to be a trusted person in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign," as Errol just mentioned, a political synergy and synergy on a government level.

The defendant recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between individual one and the president of Russia. The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a, quote, "phenomenal impact" quote, "not only in political but in business dimensions, as well," referring to the Moscow project, "because there's no bigger warranty in any project than consent of the President of Russia." Cohen, however, did not follow up on this investigation. What's the legal significance of that element even considering that there was no follow up there because as the document says that he already had another in somewhere else?

JACKSON: I think it's very legally significant as it is significant you getting into the core of the document itself. We cannot be a country for sale. Why is this significant at all? Because we have to base policies not upon business deals and business decisions and wealth and money building, we have to base policies upon what's best for the country and the American people. And so in the event that you establish a tie which might suggest, hey, you know what, I'm looking to build something in your country, perhaps there could be a quid pro quo as a result of that, you do this for me, you know, we'll have this platform and we'll lessen our stance on Ukraine in terms of what we do, in terms of sanctions, in terms of concessions, and so all of this is important. And remember, Victor, last point...


JACKSON: ... you can't look at this only in isolation. You have to look at it in terms of everything else that's occurring. Why is everybody in the administration that's so closely tied to the president lying about Russia? Why is Cohen saying that, you know what, in January we were done -- no, it was really June. And so you know, then you put it together with Paul Manafort, you put it together with WikiLeaks, you put it together with the hacking, with Russia, if you're listening, you know, by the president himself, it might be a good time to release information.


And it just starts to smell really bad. And it has very big legal significance.

BLACKWELL: Of course as you suggested there, there were more than just the Cohen filings. There were the Manafort case filings, we're going to talk about those, Errol Louis, Joey Jackson, thank you very much, stay with us.

DEAN: Meantime, James Comey, the former FBI Director whose firing by President Trump ultimately led to the appointment of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, was on Capitol Hill Friday. Comey squared off with the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, and while a transcript of the closed door hearing has yet to be released, at least one lawmaker called that session tense. Here's how Comey summed up the six-hour interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO) JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: After a full day of questioning, two things are clear to me. One, we could have done this in open setting. And two, when you read the transcript you will see that we're talking again about Hillary Clinton's emails for heaven's sake so I'm not sure we need to do this at all but I'm trying to respect the institution, and to answer questions in a respectful way. You'll see I did that in the transcript. You'll see that if you get a transcript of my return visit which I think will be week after next. And then this will be over.

DEAN: And as you heard there, Comey is expected to return to Congress December 17th.

BLACKWELL: Special Counsel Robert Mueller says former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort lied to investigators but the White House says that has nothing to do with the president. Is that true?

DEAN: Plus, undisciplined and not a big fan of reading. That's how Rex Tillerson is describing his former boss. We're going to tell you what the president said in response.



DEAN: In a new court filing, Special Counsel Robert Mueller says former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort lied about several key points after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.

BLACKWELL: Now this could mean Mueller's team has more evidence about contacts between people close to the president and Russians, but during the 2016 campaign. Here's CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Pamela Brown.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mueller's team outlined in a heavily redacted filing how they believe and why they believe Paul Manafort lied in, quote, "multiple ways and on multiple occasions." Manafort, they say, lied to the special counsel's office regarding his contact with the Trump Administration this year. Even after his indictment last October, he said he didn't talk to anyone in the administration or convey messages to them but Mueller says that's not true. His team says Manifort told a person to talk to a Trump Administration official just this past May and had contact with administration officials, including a senior administration official in February and May of this year.

So this new and damaging information for the White House comes at a time when every move by Mueller appears to bring his investigation deeper into the White House and Trump's inner circle, and it shows it has expanded well beyond what may or may not have happened in the 2016 campaign. So these revelations and Mueller's filing certainly raises questions about why Paul Manafort may have been lying about these contacts and who the contacts were made with. Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, released a statement in to this saying it has nothing to do with the president and that the media is making up a story. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington. DEAN: And joining us now is talk more about what this means for the

Russia investigation, Errol Louis, CNN Political Contributor and political anchor for "Spectrum News", and Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Good morning to you both.

JACKSON: Good morning.

DEAN: After reading this, we now know Manafort had contact with the Trump Administration as recently as 2018 which begs the question who was he talking to, what were they talking about, and we could guess on that all day; we don't know. Why does it matter that he had continued contact with the White House even after being indicted and not telling the truth about it. Errol?

LOUIS: Well it matters a great deal because, look, he's in federal custody. He's on trial for his life or facing some real serious legal jeopardy, And to be in touch with the White House, to be sharing information with them as the -- the Federal Justice Department now alleges, suggests that he's really kind of never ended the criminal conduct for which he's now being charged. I mean, that he's -- he never stopped scheming. There are tantalizing blacked out passages in the sentencing document that was filed yesterday where it -- it appears that he just never even slowed down a little bit. He's changed his story multiple times. He said he was going to cooperate. He decided not to cooperate. He said he had nothing to do with at least the White House, wanted us to believe he had nothing to do with them, and you have the contact. I guess one last tantalizing part of all of this is that it happened shortly after, two days I believe, after President Trump posthumously pardoned Dak Johnson, the boxer. It raised a lot of public discussion about whether or not Manafort was angling for some kind of a presidential pardon. The fact that he then reached out to the White House suggests that that might have in fact been his goal.

DEAN: And that's an interesting point. And Joey, legally when we start talking about pardons, what does that look like, how would that work and do you think that's what Manifort's end goal is here?

JACKSON: Jessica, good morning to you. I'm in accord with Errol. We're certainly speculating as to what the conversations might be but after you're indicted, right, you're facing serious issues in trial, I'm not sure you're reaching out to the White House just to have coffee and to see what the next season in sports is going to look like. If I had to speculate, that's what it would have been about.


But it always perplexed me, Manafort to begin with, you goes through this trial where he holds the government to their proof right? He gets convicted of multiple counts, right, not related to Russia at all but relating to his business dealings. You face a separate trial because we should remind everyone he faces two separate sentencings; one in February, one in March as to separate conduct.

The reality is why do you go to trial initially and then, oh, I'm going to cooperate the second time around and the government should believe what you say? So it's problematic. As to the issue of pardons, this is a president who pardons who he feels like pardoning. And certainly you would think that Manafort might at least initially in terms of the strategy he employs either say, look, I'm with team government and I'm going against Trump, or I'm with Trump, as he made clear during his trial, and I'm not going to cooperate.

Instead, he does cooperate, and he lied in his cooperation. They have evidence to suggest that it was all made up. And so this leads him into deeper legal troubles. He faces certainly a couple of decades in prison and I'm just not sure what the legal rationale with his legal team was as to doing what they did.

DEAN: Yeah. And Joey, I want to stay with you for a minute. The White House came back out and said that, quote, "absolutely nothing -- this has nothing to do with the president and even less about collusion in terms of the Manafort filing." Do you believe that to be true legally?

JACKSON: I'm not sure what they're looking at. Remember, there's a political spin here, right? Many people are not deeply involved, that is voters, in terms of what the documents say, what they mean, and so the president tweets out, "Totally clears the president, nothing do with me." I guess for those people out there who want to believe that or his supporters politically he has to say that, but to your point Jessica, let's talk about the law.

The reality is is that you have your former campaign chairman who has these connections with the Russians, who's lying about dealings with the Russians, who's in touch with (inaudible) and who, of course we should remind viewers, himself is under indictment. He's in Russia, though, so we can't touch him jurisdictionally and so why is your campaign chairman having all of these dealings and then lying about the dealings, and he worked for you? So the fact that it clears you, the fact that it has nothing to do with you seems much of an overstatement, and not only an overstatement Jessica but a misleading statement at that.

DEAN: Yes. And Errol, we have seen so many things come through this White House; so many allegations, so many scandals, if you will. Does this stick what happened yesterday? Help us understand in the bigger perspective politically, where does this fall on the spectrum?

LOUIS: Yeah look, the only thing you can compare it to and I know the Trump people don't like this, but you have to compare it to 1973 - 1974 and the Watergate situation where you learned about an astounding number of subsidiary crimes that had nothing to do with the issues that drove Nixon out of the White House, but there was this overall sleaze. You've got Spiro Agnew, the vice president, taking cash bribes in an envelope inside of the White House. You have Mitchell, the attorney general, with a safe in his office stocked with cash that was used to pay for dirty tricks and all kind of illegal conduct.

All of that stuff was going on at the same time as the central question of what does the president know, did he order this, was he involved in a cover-up? So you know, you can -- you can stick to the main threat, and I think the public is trying in its own way to do that, but then when you see all of this other stuff going on, I think that really sort of indicates that we've got a serious political problem, and even if there are no legal consequences, there will be political consequences for this kind of conduct.

DEAN: All right, Errol Louis, Joey Jackson, we're going to leave it there. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

LOUIS: Thank you Jessica.

BLACKWELL: All right nine months after being fired by the president, Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gets candid about his former boss.


REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He acts on his instincts, in some respects that looks like impulsiveness but it's not his intent to act on impulse. I think he really is trying to act on his instincts. It was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly processed oriented Exxon Mobil corporation to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn't like to read, doesn't read briefing reports, doesn't like to get into the details of a lot of things but rather just kind of says, look, this is what I believe.


BLACKWELL: That did not go over well with President Trump. The president who once praised Tillerson as, and this is a quote, "one of the great business leaders of the world tweeted this, "Mike Pompeo is doing a great job; I'm very proud of him. His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn't have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn't get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ballgame. Great spirit at state."

DEAN: Well still to come this morning, the man who deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters in Charlottesville last year was found guilty of first-degree murder. We've got more details about that verdict. That's ahead.


BLACKWELL: And in Paris right now, almost 300 people already arrested. Demonstrators are clashing again with police this time, again, in a cloud of teargas. We'll take you there.



BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell.

DEAN: And I'm Jessica Dean in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: James Fields, you may not recognize the name, but you'll recognize the crime. He intentionally drove his car into a crowd of people. They were protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, now you remember, this was last year. He was convicted of first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison for the death of Heather Heyer.

DEAN: He was also found guilty of nine other state charges and faces over 30 federal hate crime charges. CNN's Kaylee Hartung has details.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The self-professed neo-Nazi who barreled his car into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was convicted Friday of first-degree murder and all other charges brought against him.


TANESHA HUDSON, ACTIVIST FROM CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: I think every last one of those jurors were doing what they needed to do. They made the - they made the choice to express to the world like we don't stand for this type of hate at all.


HARTUNG: A jury took just over seven hours of deliberation to find James Alex Fields, Jr. guilty of Heather Heyer's murder, eight counts of malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident involving a death. He faces a possible life sentence in prison.

Through a week of testimony and defense attorneys focused on Field's intent. The Commonwealth argued that Fields was unprovoked and acted with the intent to harm counter protesters when he idly watched the crowd before him, backed up his Dodge Challenger then raced down the street reaching 28 miles per hour before crashing and fleeing the scene. The defense didn't deny he drove the car but said he was in a state of panic and acted in self-defense. A jailhouse phone call from Fields to his mother recorded in March was played in court. In it Fields said he was defending himself from a violent mob of terrorists. But those calls revealed more about Fields. Bill Burke was one of the 35 people injured in the attack.


BILL BURKE, COUNTERDEMONSTRATOR IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: The most chilling pieces with me were the jailhouse phone calls to his mom and you could just see the way he was talking to his mother and the way he called Heather's mom Susan, an anti-white Communist and called us all terrorists and said we were the enemy and it was no big deal that, you know, Heather had died because she's the enemy. You know, that just tells me everything I need to know about what kind of person he is.


HARTUNG: On August 12th, 2017, Burke and Heather Heyer were among those demonstrating against the Unite the Right rally.



HARTUNG: (voice over) The so-called alt-right activists chanted racists slogans, some carrying guns, and flags with swastikas and Confederate emblems marched on this college town. Fields drove more than 500 miles from Ohio to participate. His attack turned an already bloody and violent and hate-filled day deadly. There was web site spread anger and outrage.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today, our message is plain and simple -- go home. You are not wanted in this great Commonwealth. Shame on you.

HARTUNG: (Voiceover): Then...

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there's blame on both sides.

HARTUNG: President Trump's refusal to condemn the racist attack in its immediate aftermath further enflamed the national conversation.

TANESHA HUDSON, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA ACTIVIST: Just because he was found guilty, this is not over. This is not over. This is just the start to let people know don't think that you can come here and do this type of stuff and get away with it because we're not having it.


HARTUNG: Kaylee Hartung, CNN.

BLACKWELL: All right, another round of violent protests across France. Live pictures for you now. You can see the Arc de Triomphe I believe right there. Thousands of demonstrators -- that's the report from police there in Paris; police now using teargas. You can see the cloud in the center of the screen there, trying to control these crowds to avoid what we've seen now for three consecutive weekends. We're live in Paris next.



DEAN: In Paris, 1,500 demonstrators and 8,000 police are facing off in the city center in the fourth weekend of violent protests across France. According to a spokeswoman for Paris police, 342 people have been taken in for questioning. Several major Paris landmarks are now closed. We also know police have removed bicycle stations and city benches to prevent them from being used as weapons. Another 80,000 officers have been deployed across the country. On Friday officials seized at least three homemade bombs in southern France.

BLACKWELL: Now the Yellow Vests Protest began as an opposition to rising gas prices and tax increases and last weekend more than 600 people were arrested. Officials say there are nearly half that number with almost 300 injured, at least 4 people have died but also, hundreds of arrests this weekend, as well. CNN's International Correspondent Melissa Bell joining us now from Paris with the latest. Melissa, good morning to you. What are you seeing there? MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Victor I'm here on the Champs-

Elysees. where you can see there are thousands of people here according to official police - from Paris police. The smell of teargas hanging heavy in the air. You see what's happening on the street. All of the side roads have been closed off to try and contain this time the Yellow Vest Protest.


What we saw of course last week Victor was violence on the periphery of the Champs-Elysees which had been closed off so a different set of tactis this week. All ready we've seen the day had begun very peacefully, people handing flowers to the riot police that gathered early on to try to contain this protest on the side of the Champs- Elysees. We've seen teargas being used (inaudible) and rubber bullets already at the protesters. [ inaudible ] the big question is get those numbers out countrywide. This after you'll remember the (inaudible).

DEAN: All right, Melissa Bell there, unfortunately, having a little bit of a hard time hearing her. Clearly things happening there in Paris that we'll keep an eye on all morning.

BLACKWELL: We'll try to fix that audio issue and get back to Melissa if we can.

DEAN: Game day on the gridiron in a storied match-up. On the line, bragging rights for a full year. It's Army-Navy weekend. Coy Wire live from Philadelphia.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Top of the morning to you. We're talking about the future defenders of our nation being put to the test of strength, will, and precision against one another. Coming up, we'll talk about why Army-Navy game is perhaps the greatest sporting spectacle in the world.



BLACKWELL: The annual Army-Navy game is not just bragging rights for the team on the field, of course.

DEAN: No, it is the biggest sports day of the year for both schools, their alumni, students. Coy Wire is live from Philadelphia leading up to America's game. Coy?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning Jessica and Victor. It's -- the game is so big that today President Donald Trump will be the 10th sitting U.S. President to attend. Already there are secret service members out here. Usually we're the only ones in the stadium this early. Dating back to 1890, this Army-Navy game is just dripping with tradition making it the most respected rivalry in all of sports. There's a roaring flyover before the game. One player told me he's been watching since he's been coming to this game with his father who also served for our country. There's The National Anthem where players and fans are brought to

tears. Yesterday I met with Army West Point's Marathon Team at the iconic "Rocky" steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, taking part in another cool tradition, the running of the game ball. Thursday the team started at West Point, New York, taking turns moving the ball essentially nonstop about 150 miles through the night, through the elements and they finished here at the field. They were met by military members, first responders, and fans along the way. They told me they were blown away by the support of the communities they ran through who were giving them snacks and water and they said no fumbles on the day. That's a good thing. After the game, one of the most heartfelt moments in sports, the singing of the alma maters by each team. Army and Navy standing arm to arm singing alma maters for each other, offering moments of reflections about what it means to truly be an American. There are always tears. The goal for that -- the winner gets to sing second. So listen to what the team had to say about that. (BEGIN VIDEO)

BRYCE HOLLAND, ARMY OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: The last two years we've had our fans arm in arm with us because they've been on the field. Singing second is an incredible feeling.

KEN NIUMATALOLO, NAVY FOOTBALL COACH: We have two schools that are, you know, trying to beat each other for three hours, and then the respect factor after that you go and listen to the other school sing their alma mater.

ANTHONY GARGIULO, FULLBACK OF NAVY FOOTBALL TEAM: You always got to let the losers go first and get their song in.

JEFF MONKEN, HEAD COACH OF ARMY FOOTBALL TEAM: I want to sing second forever. I don't ever want to sing first in this game.


WIRE: Now one of the greatest sporting rivalries in the world today at 3:00 Eastern. The 34th President Dwight Eisenhower said it best, he said the Army and Navy are best friends 364.5 days out of the year but on this one Saturday afternoon we are the worst of enemies. Later in the morning, stay tuned, we're going to show you the uniforms that these teams are breaking out. And my aficionado back there, my style guru, Victor, I got to hear who you think has the better uniforms this year. I think they're both pretty sweet.

BLACKWELL: All right, I'll weigh in. Thank you, Coy.

DEAN: Thanks Coy.

BLACKWELL: Happening now, SpaceX's Dragon capsule is docking with the International Space Station this morning and astronauts onboard are preparing for delivery of supplies and science gear but also Christmas dinner.


[06:55:00] BLACKWELL: SpaceX's Dragon is close to docking with the International Space Station.

DEAN: A satellite communication issue caused a delay in the docking schedule this morning. The cargo ship is loaded with supplies for the crew, including 250 science and research projects. There's the work but the shipment also includes a little fun, a traditional Christmas dinner of smoked turkey breast, cranberry sauce, candied yams, and fruitcake.


DEAN: Yes. All freed dried probably. The ISS crew has a spacewalk planned for Tuesday, and Dragon will return to either next month.

BLACKWELL: Live pictures here of the International Space Station. We seem to have a camera everywhere, that's NASA's camera; we can't take credit for that. Cranberry, only if it's in the can. I know it's probably freeze-dried but I can't do it if it's not in a can.

DEAN: Yes. Probably a little crunchy.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, take a look at this.


BLACKWELL: (Voiceover) That rocket is carrying China's new lunar rover. Its mission is to study the far side of the moon. It will analyze lunar soil, observe whether plants can grow in low gravity and hunt for resources