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CNN NEWSROOM

School Cancels Game over Cheerleader's Pro-Trump Sign; Prince Harry, Meghan, Baby Archie Arrive in South Africa; Trial Begins for Former Dallas Cop Who Killed Unarmed Black Neighbor in His Own Home; Girl Rescued after Witnesses Say Father Jumped into Front of Train; U.S. Soldier Suggested Bombing News Stations, Other Targets. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 23, 2019 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00]

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I spoke to the medical examiner there in Pittsburgh and he said, at this point, it's simply too soon. We'll have to wait for the toxicology reports to come back.

But again, this started as what was a possible scare, but now authorities describe it as an isolated incident.

But it certainly doesn't take away from the tragedy here. Regardless of the circumstances, you have seven men whose lives were changed. Three of them permanently, who died. And the other four who continue to --

(CROSSTALK)

SANDOVAL: And this man faces federal charges.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Let us know what the M.E. eventually says.

SANDOVAL: Yes.

BALDWIN: Polo, thank you very much on that story out of Pittsburgh.

Also this today, controversy over a pro-Trump banner forced officials at a North Carolina High School to abruptly cancel a football game over safety concerns.

Cheerleaders at North Stanley High School near Charlotte were placed on probation after they posed with a Trump 2020 "Make America Great Again" banner prior to a game back in August. The North Carolina Athletic Association determined the squad violated school policy banning political advertisements on campus or at school events.

That move sparked protests. Hundreds of supporters of these cheerleaders vowed to show up at the game Friday night. School officials decided there would be no game.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is working this for us.

Tell me more. What did you find out?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, first, they cancelled the game but they quickly rescheduled it. North Stanley Comets played it on Saturday morning. They won that game.

What happens going-forward? That's what the school is trying to deal with now. Those groups that claim they were going to come out and support those cheerleaders said we are going to go and protest and show our support at future games. We're going to show up at school board meetings.

The school didn't say it was necessarily a threat that caused them to reschedule and postpone that game. They said they were notified of additional information that could compromise safety measures. We're not exactly sure what that means. They have not elaborated.

The protests are likely going to continue at this school going forward.

The athletic association still has those cheerleaders on probation. It does appear the association has backtracked or clarified what probation means.

The kids at first were concerned that this meant maybe they couldn't cheer. They weren't sure what it meant for them on the team. The association says it's just kind of a warning. Don't do it again, if you do it again, maybe that could result in a suspension.

That's what created a lot of the -- for lack of a better word drama -- that has surrounded this situation.

People who, in large part, aren't associated with the school have been getting in their separate corners online and putting up this situation as either the kids' free speech was violated or that these kids shouldn't be using political signs and political things while wearing a school uniform representing the school.

You have adults who are rallying around the children. And these children, who have already been spoken to by their school, we're told, told don't do it again, are kind of the victims, at this point, the entire student body. Moving the game. And wondering what they're going to do going forward.

We couldn't find anything specific in the handbook from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association that says they can't use any sort of political signs or things of that nature.

Brooke, the school itself has put out multiple letters to parents and the student body asking them to, please, if you're going to wear signage or shirts supporting anything coming to our games, going- forward, can you just make it the North Stanley Comets and make it about our school district?

BALDWIN: Keep it school focused.

GALLAGHER: Yes. BALDWIN: Dianne Gallagher, thank you for that.

Walking in Princess Diana's footsteps. Prince Harry's emotional journey to South Africa with his new baby.

Plus, stunning video of a girl being rescued from under a train in New York. Hear what happened coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:38:31]

BALDWIN: Since touching down in Cape Town, South Africa, for the first trip as a family, this trip has been everything but typical for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Day one of Prince Harry and Meghan's 10-day trip was full of dancing in the streets, hugging locals. And it also included messages about women's empowerment from both of them.

CNN royal correspondent, Max Foster, is following the royals in South Africa.

I know there's so much significance in where they're going and what they're doing. Everyone watching for Baby Archie. Talk to me about what Meghan has said about herself, and especially being a woman of color.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: They absolutely hit the ground running. No red-carpet welcome as we usually expect at these events. The airline, no line of dignitaries. The couple headed straight into the township.

This township has the highest murder rate in the country. More than 200 murders a year, according to the local police station. A big lockdown.

But there's a big message about them going in there. And there's a particular women's project that the duchess is keen to promote.

It's an incredible project, young women, girls, who face violence in the township, taught about empowerment, what that means, self-defense classes. She praised them for their work. Wanted to promote that work.

But in an unusual moment for a royal, a senior royal, she reached out to them in a way that I don't think another member of a royal family could do. It was all about identifying with the girls in that township.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:40:06]

MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: May I just say that while I'm here with my husband as a member of the royal family, for me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color, and as your sister. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: You can only imagine, Brooke, what it was like for people living there to see them come in in the first place, and then to be identify with her. It was an amazing moment really. People of the harshest of backgrounds to be able to identify with such a big celebrity, a member of the royal family.

BALDWIN: Reaching out, hugging these children, it reminds you of so many years ago of Diana.

Max Foster, thank you very much, in South Africa for us.

Meantime, the murder trial begins for the police officer who shot a man in his own apartment while she was off duty. Here her defense, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:46:27]

BALDWIN: The murder trial of a former Dallas police officer who killed an unarmed man sitting in his own apartment is underway. Officer Amber Guyger was returning home to work when she went into the man's home. Guyger says she thought she was going into her own apartment, and thought the man was an intruder when she opened fire, killing the 26-year-old accountant in his own home last September.

Guyger called 911 moments after the shooting.

(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)

AMBER GUYGER, FORMER DALLAS POLICE OFFICER: Oh, my god. I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to. I'm so sorry. Stay with me, bud.

(END AUDIO FEED)

BALDWIN: We remember the story when it first came out.

Ed Lavandera is there cover the trial.

What's happened so far, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we are off to a salacious start in this trial of Amber Guyger. Prosecutors say they went and reconstructed her day. Amber Guyger has said that she came home from work that day, a long day of work, exhausted, and that's why she was confused as to which apartment she was entering. He lived right above her in that apartment complex just a few blocks away from Dallas Police Department headquarters.

Prosecutors say that Amber Guyger was distracted. And they point to a series of sexually explicit text messages she had been sharing with her police partner about 3.5 hours before she left work that day. And that from 6:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on the night of the shooting, she was exchanging these sexually explicit text messages, that she was not so tired and she was going to come home and rest.

Prosecutors say she was planning a rendezvous with her partner after she had gotten off of work. And she was making unreasonable choices and was so distracted by the conversation that she missed the obvious clues that she was entering the wrong apartment.

One thing that point out to was that there's a red floor mat in front of the man's apartment and there's no floor mat in front of her apartment.

And then prosecutors described in emotional ways the last moments of the young man's life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON HERMUS, PROSECUTOR: As he was trying to get up off the coach to find out what this intruder was going coming into his home, she's leveling off her gun having found her target and she shoots at him twice. No opportunity for de-escalation. No opportunity for him to surrender. Bang, bang. Rapid, double tap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: We have just finished. This hearing wrap up moments ago. From prosecutors making their opening statements. We have not heard from defense attorneys just yet. In a few minutes, they will begin presenting their opening statements.

Brooke, this trial is expected to last several weeks -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Salacious, indeed.

We'll let you get back in there.

Ed Lavandera, thank you very much, in Dallas.

Just into us at CNN, new reporting from inside the White House as the president's phone call with Ukraine has more and more Democrats calling for impeachment. Why the president's own advisers think he's in legal peril now.

[14:49:49]

Plus, he's at the United Nations, popping in on a climate crisis summit he had planned to ditch. Why the change of heart?

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just into CNN, a horrific moment for commuters in New York today after police responded to the call of a man hit and killed by a subway train in the Bronx. The man's 5-year-old daughter was also hit. She miraculously survived.

Reporter Mickey Callaway, with CNN affiliate, WCBS, has the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: The man that I saw jump in, had a little girl in his wrists and in his arms, next thing I know he and her jumped.

[14:55:05]

MICKEY CALLAWAY, REPORT, WCBS (voice-over): Cell phone video shows Good Samaritans pulling the little girl from under the subway train just after 8:00 a.m. Others comforting the youngster who barely escaped with her life.

Witnesses could only watch as the 45-year-old father grabbed his 5- year-old daughter and jumped in front of the southbound 4 train. Witnesses say the train slowed down but couldn't stop in time, running over the man and the little girl.

UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: There was a man who went down in the front of the tracks to see if the little girl was OK. And he got her out and brought her up to us. Thank god above.

CALLAWAY: The girl suffered minor injuries while the father was killed. The incident leaving commuters traumatized and searching for answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a mom and this devastated me like crazy. I watched it firsthand and I am so thankful that she's all right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: And an NYPD spokesperson tells CNN it's still unknown whether the man jumped on to the tracks with his daughter intentionally or whether he was holding on to his daughter when the train hit. An investigation is ongoing.

President Trump making a surprise visit to a meeting he had not planned on attending at all, the climate crisis summit. The president stopped by for 15 minutes this morning as world leaders discussed the issue on day one of this year's United Nation's General Assembly. He then left to attend another meeting regarding religious persecution.

But speaking of the climate crisis, teen activist, Greta Thunberg, made a direct plea to skeptics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.

And yet, I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.

We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of economic growth. How dare you. (CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

THUNBERG: For more than 30 years, the signs have been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: She along with 15 other children filed a complaint with the United Nations accusing these five economies of violating their human rights by not taking enough action to stop the climate crisis.

The U.S. cannot be held in violation since it didn't sign the agreement allowing for the complaint process.

We continue on. Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brook Baldwin.

We begin with the breaking news about an Army soldier facing some alarming charges with potential targets being a U.S. news network or a Democratic presidential candidate.

CNN Shimon Prokupecz is with me now.

This came to light because of an undercover FBI agent.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: I was an undercover FBI agent who was in communications with this individual, this 24- year-old. And also an informant.

It seems the FBI, right after when all the shootings -- El Paso shooting, Dayton -- started reaching out. They started scrubbing their system, looking back to see concern about whether or not there would be other possible people out there who would want to target folks here in the U.S.

It appears at least that's what happened here. It was after those shootings that this informant made contact with this 24-year-old Jared William Smith.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: They hooked him.

PROKUPECZ: The hooked him. He was based in Kansas at Fort Riley. It was then he told this informant he wanted to create attacks. He wanted to make attacks in the U.S., find people who are as radical as him.

The FBI went ahead and addressed an undercover to him. It was during these conversations in August where, as you mentioned, he talked about wanting to target a major U.S. news organization. We don't know what that news organization is.

And then in September, the undercover FBI agent spoke with him. And he said he wanted to target politicians and then the conversations about possibly targeting Beto O'Rourke.

All of this having to do with possible cell phone bombs. He knows how to make cell phone bombs. That is what he's charged with. He's charged with making postings on Facebook, telling people how to make cell phone bombs. That's what he's charged with. Very concerning for the FBI.

They spent time with him. They interviewed him and he confessed to what he was doing here, telling the FBI that he knows how to make improvised explosive devices, that he provides this information, even to individuals.

[15:00:04]

These are postings on Facebook where he's giving them information knowing full well that they intend to use some of this information to cause harm to others. He did this to cause chaos.