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Judge in Guyger Murder Trial Speaks Out; White House Refuses to Cooperate with Inquiry; Two Killed near Synagogue in Germany; Supreme Court Weighs Two LGBT Cases. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 9, 2019 - 08:30   ET



ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Expected to speak directly to Amber Guyger. His family said the young man had been quiet and they were worried about him. But he was actually preparing for this moment.


JUDGE TAMMY KEMP: In my mind I had decided, well he's probably too broken up to do this.

I was very surprised that this young person was so poised, so composed and expressed a level of forgiveness and maturity that I don't think anybody expected from him at the time.

JEAN: Can I give her a hug, please? Please?

LAVANDERA (on camera): I think that's part of what -- what got me, got -- got a lot of people, it was that second "please." Like he was desperately begging you to give him this moment. Like, he needed this moment.

Did you -- did you feel that?

KEMP: I really think I was on the verge of saying, that's not allowed. I couldn't look at him. I couldn't say no. And so I said yes. And --

LAVANDERA: Knowing that that's something that's not allowed. Typically not allowed.

KEMP: Yes. Yes.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Amber Guyger rushed in Brandt Jean's arms and the intense hug lasted for nearly a minute.

KEMP: I thought Mr. Jean needed that. And when Miss Guyger ran to him, I understood that she needed it, too.

LAVANDERA: Judge Kemp spent a long while talking to Botham Jean's family, offering prayers over hugs and tears. Amber Guyger was still in the courtroom.

KEMP: I said to her is, Ms. Guyger, Mr. Jean has forgiven you. Please forgive yourself so that you can live a purposeful life. And she asked me -- she said, do you think my life can still have a purpose?

And I said, I know it can. And she said, well, I don't even have a Bible. I don't have a Bible. I don't know where to begin. And that's when I went and retrieved my Bible and gave it to her.

LAVANDERA: Judge Kemp read her a Gospel passage about salvation and then Guyger asked the judge for a hug.

KEMP: And when she asked me, she said, can I hug you? I was thinking, did she say can I hug you? And I don't think anybody would have refused her a hug had she asked it of them.

LAVANDERA (on camera): In that moment?

KEMP: In that moment.

LAVANDERA: What do you say to those critics who say you had no business hugging a convicted murderer in that courtroom?

KEMP: You saw Amber Guyger from behind. All you ever saw was a petite woman coming to a courtroom and sitting stoically. But I watched her from the front. And I saw the change in her during the course of trial.


LAVANDERA (voice over): Amber Guyger made the judge one last promise before she was led away in handcuffs. That she would personally return Judge Kemp's Bible when she gets out of prison in ten years.

KEMP: And I hope that she will be a better person coming out than she was going in.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, Ed, it is just still so emotional to see all of that. And, of course, this has become such a racial flashpoint as well. So did you ask the judge about all this criticism that this -- that Amber Guyger is seen as sort of the ultimate example of white privilege?

LAVANDERA: You know, she's very sensitive to that. Judge Kemp said, you know, Amber Guyger shouldn't bear the punishment and the anger and the hate for all of the other cases that have been mishandled or where the outcome didn't come out the way many people had expected or had wanted to see.

And she did say, it was like, you know, more often than not, in these situations, and I think you guys had this conversation last week where you talked about how it's so often black victims giving forgiveness to white perpetrators and how that has really kind of frustrated so many people across the country. And she says that, you know, that happens because more often than not it's African-Americans who are the ones that are victimized.

But she said, you know, giving that forgiveness really unleashes a lot of burden and makes people live a healthier and happier life. And, in the end, she thinks that's a very good thing.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Ed Lavandera, you've done terrific reporting down there. And it is remarkable to hear directly from the judge here.

I will note, as we did last week, what -- what many have said, Bakari Sellers, other people who have been attorneys with many, many, many, many defendants, including black defendants, they have never seen a judge hug a black defendant, someone convicted of far lesser crimes than murder.

CAMEROTA: Well, in terms of the Jean family, all I'll say, having interviewed the dad here, is that this is their own personal journey towards closure. This is their journey. And they didn't mean to make it a national conversation. It's their journey to forgiveness.

BERMAN: They're to -- the Jean forgiveness and the judicial hug may be two separate issues here, but part of the same discussion.


Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 9:30 a.m. ET, Secretary Pompeo speaks in D.C.

12:45 p.m. ET, Joe Biden speaks in New Hampshire.

3:15 p.m. ET, President Trump signs executive order.


CAMEROTA: All right, the White House is refusing to comply with the House impeachment inquiry. What's next? Well, Joe Lockhart and Paul Begala have some ideals on that.



CAMEROTA: The White House says it will not cooperate with the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, setting the stage for a constitutional clash.

Let's discuss with CNN political commentators Joe Lockhart, he was President Clinton's press secretary during that impeachment process, and Paul Begala, he also served in the Clinton administration during the impeachment process.

So you both are the perfect people to talk to. You've seen this movie before.

Paul, how does their tactic of stonewalling differ or follow what you all decided to do?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's radically different. It's completely different. It's a cover-up. It's an ongoing cover-up that President Trump has engaged in.

In the Clinton days, we complied with -- I looked it up -- over 1,000 congressional subpoenas. We made all -- three of Clinton's chiefs of staff available in the -- in the Starr investigation. Clinton himself personally testified, which Trump didn't have the guts to do. And he even gave blood, Alisyn -- you're too young, you weren't born then -- he gave frickin' blood --

CAMEROTA: You're good.

BEGALA: To confirm that the DNA, in fact, was his.

Trump is doing the exact opposite and so he's advertising that he's guilty.

I think -- I think the -- the two metrics here I think everybody ought to look at is, which side is more partisan? And so far Nancy Pelosi, God bless her, has banked some of the partisan fires in her party and she seems to be entering this is a very reluctant and very somber way. I think that's smart.

Second, who has an agenda that the American people support? One of the reasons we won -- I think Joe would confirm -- is that every single day Bill Clinton went out there and he did not talk about impeachment. He talked about child care. He talked about head start. He talked about his agenda that he wanted to get back to that these terrible partisans like Newt Gingrich were distracting him from. I think those are the two things.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, he was impeached. I mean you're saying you won.

BEGALA: And he -- he was, and that's a stain on Newt Gingrich more than it is on Bill Clinton because he was found not guilty, even by a Republican Senate.

CAMEROTA: History -- yes, history has been kind, I would say, at this moment, history has been kind on the Bill Clinton impeachment. But if President Trump is trying to avoid being impeached by the House, he's trying just a completely different tactic.


BERMAN: So, Joe, I -- this letter and what the White House is doing, a, constitutional, non-legal, as it might be, puts Democrats in a bind or forces a decision on them. How does Nancy Pelosi handle this? How should she?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think she has several options. And, again, you know, what the White House is trying to do is to make this all about process, which you were talking about at the top of the show, and that's exactly right. And in some cases, the parallel between, you know, Clinton and Trump is, they want to make the argument, like we made, that, you know, it's -- this isn't fair. It's very difficult, given the underlying facts and what they've already released, to make that argument.

So I think Pelosi has a couple options. I think she can go back and write the president today that says, if we take a vote, will you guarantee that every -- you will cooperate, you will respect all congressional subpoenas? And I think that's calling their bluff. Or she could just, you know, bring up a narrow vote or she can fight with the hand she has now, which is actually a better hand.

You know, at some point, you know, you've already seen the numbers move in the polls. A process fight is not going to help you when you're in the hole. It -- you know, arguing fairness when Bill Clinton was at 73 percent job approval was a lot easier than Donald Trump will have, you know, at 38 percent.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Paul, if they're being blocked now from any sort of future cooperation or witnesses or documents that Democrats are looking for, then what is stopping them from voting on articles of impeachment now? How long is this process going to go on if the White House has said that their cooperation has stopped now?

BEGALA: Well, you do want to -- this is the most serious thing Congress can do expect send troops into war. And so you're talking about, you know, indicting effectively is what the Congress does. And you still have to have due process, even if the president won't participate.

So I do think that they have to be judicious. They have to be constitutional. They have to be somber.

This whole thing, it's a very thin read in this ridiculous, Cipiloni (ph) screed. My constitutional law professor would be proud. Sandy Levinson (ph). Sandy, if you're up watching.

The Constitution is really, really clear, OK? It's -- I have to look it up, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 says, the House has sole power of an impeachment and Article 1, Section 5 says the House determines its own rules.


The White House can't tell the House what rules to proceed under.

And that's not enough of a defense. That's not enough for Trump supporters to rally around. They can't rally around saying, build a stonewall. I mean that's not much.

BERMAN: So, Joe, CNN is reporting that Trey Gowdy, former South Carolina congressman, who has spoken out before --


CAMEROTA: Very passionately.

BERMAN: About the powers of Congress to conduct oversight. CNN's reporting he's going to be brought in as an outside counsel in the impeachment investigation.

How do you assess that decision?

LOCKHART: Well, I think the outside counsel, when they use that, they mean someone to go on TV and make their case because Rudy Giuliani is so toxic right now.

I think Trey Gowdy is a challenging choice for two reasons. One is, the statements he's already made, which we'll see over and over again, in 2012. The second is, Trey Gowdy ran the most aggressive Oversight Committee I think we've ever seen. You know, you remember they did dozens of hearings on Benghazi and every congressional -- every request for information from the administration, the Obama administration, was met. Hillary Clinton sat in front of that committee for 11 hours taking some of the most inane questions you could possibly -- with a smile and said, I'm going to be here as long as you have questions.

So I think we're -- it's -- it's -- it's hard to see how they -- how Trey Gowdy helps them in this whole process debate given that he was so on the other side of this for so long.

CAMEROTA: And, Paul, it's hard to see how this helps Trey Gowdy given what he said to us last year when I asked him why he was retiring from Congress.

Here's what he told us that day.


REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC) (February 14, 2018): I miss the justice system. I like jobs where facts matter. I like jobs where fairness matters. I like jobs, frankly, where the process matters. And is not just about winning and it's not just about reaching a result.


CAMEROTA: So he was done with the congressional -- with the partisan racket at that time.

BEGALA: There's nothing more partisan than this. No matter who's being impeached or whatever. It's a very, very political exercise. And, again, the challenge is to try to rise above that. And I think Trey there had the right sort of comments for the moment. Probably the right comments for today. And as Joe points out, Trey Gowdy's committee spent longer investigating Benghazi than Congress investigating 9/11. He got 100,000 documents -- he didn't get. The Obama administration gave him 100,000 documents, 50 witnesses. They complied with, by my count, I looked at Trey's report last night, 102 requests for documents or subpoenas complied with by the Obama administration.

So if his goal -- if -- I think Joe's right, I think Rudy's kind of slightly overexposed. So if they put Trey on. And I don't mean to tell you your job. How is he going to be able to answer any of this? How is he going to be able to get past his long record of congressional oversight, which I think was very excessive, but it was complied with. How does he get past that? How does he ever talk about what he wants to talk about for Trump?

BERMAN: We'll see. He's a very skilled litigator. Trey Gowdy has a long history as -- as a skilled litigator.

BEGALA: He better be.

BERMAN: So we may see those abilities on display shortly.

Paul, Joe, thank you very much.

BEGALA: Thanks.

BERMAN: We do have breaking news we're following very closely.

There's been a shooting outside a synagogue. This, of course, on Yom Kippur. We'll have new details for you, next.



CAMEROTA: We're following an unfolding situation in Germany. Two people are dead after a shooting near a synagogue in central Germany. We have seen cell phone video of more shots being fired several miles away from the scene. Police say one of the suspects got away. The attack comes on Yom Kippur, of course, one of the high holy days, the day of atonement for Jews.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us with all the breaking details.

What do you know at this hour, Nic?

NICK ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Alisyn, we're getting more information in about these separate shootings. And I think one piece of sort of background information here that's worth bearing in mind, that this is an area in Germany that has seen a significant rise of the right wing parties, the AFD, Alternative for Germany Party.

Let's set that aside. Let's look at specifically what happened in this shooting.

So far we have an eyewitness who saw a man in camouflage clothing with a steel helmet holding what he believed was an automatic weapon, throwing grenades over a high wall into the synagogue. Now we're also hearing from eyewitnesses who were buying their lunch in a nearby kabab store on the same street as the synagogue and they describe the gunman approaching that store, there was half a dozen people inside. The eyewitness said he fled and hid in the toilet. He said there was shouting, but there was so much confusion, all over in five seconds.

But it is chilling in its detail. He said that he saw the attacker throw what appeared to be a homemade grenade type of thing wrapped with gafis (ph) tape, threw it in through the door of the kebab shop. It lands at the feet of an old lady after bouncing around but doesn't explode. And then the gunman, who raises his weapon and shoots through the window of the store.

So what we now know is that one person inside that store, that kebab shop where people are buying lunch, is dead. One person outside the synagogue is dead. The police have apprehended a gunman. We've seen the video there. The gunman gets out of his vehicle, a gray vehicle, in the middle of a deserted street, he's wearing what appears to be a camouflage green top and a steel helmet and he fires his weapon from one side of the vehicle, moves to the other side, fires the weapon again. A lot of smoke. It appears to be more of a shotgun than an automatic weapon.

Now, police say a number of people have been injured as well. They do have one person in custody. Not clear if this is all the details or if this is still a developing, evolving situation.

BERMAN: All right, Nic Robertson, please stay on this for us. Thank you very much for that obviously troubling on the high holy days.

A huge week in the Supreme Court. The justices sparring over the meaning of sex, which will have huge implications for LGBTQ workers across the country.


Ariane de Vogue live in Washington with the latest here.

Interesting questions, Ariane.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. This case is going to impact millions of LGBT workers. At issue is whether federal employment law that bars discrimination based on sex, includes claims of sexual orientation and gender identity.

At oral arguments, the liberals, they seem like they were going to side with the LGBT side here. But what was interesting is President Trump's two nominees, all eyes on them. Brett Kavanaugh, remember, he took the place of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a hero to LGBT rights. Kavanaugh didn't say much. But Neil Gorsuch was interesting. On one hand he said, if you look just at the text of the law, the LGBT side might win. But if you look at what a massive social upheaval would occur with such an opinion, maybe then this issue should be decided by Congress. And that, of course, is the Trump administration's view. And over the next few months, the Supreme Court is going to have to look at this huge issue that will come down during the presidential election. It's a huge case. CAMEROTA: Very interesting.

Ariane de Vogue, thank you very much for that reporting.

Meanwhile, there's new reporting on the impeachment investigation. That's next.