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Tanker Bombed in the Red Sea; Refugees in the Middle of Heavy Fighting in Northern Syria; Two of Rudy Giuliani's Associates Indicted; More Subpoenas Issued by House Democrats; Former U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine To Testify; Giuliani Associates Who Sought Dirt On Biden Arrested; Turkish Operation In Syria Threatens Civilians; Sanders On The Mend; Democratic Candidate Pledge To Fight For LGBTQ Rights; Violence On Transgender Women; Hong Kong Tweet Firestorm; California Wildfires; Nobel Peace Prize Award. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 11, 2019 - 03:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to ow our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is 3 a.m. in Washington, 10 a.m. in northern Syria. From CNN headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen, and this is CNN Newsroom. Let's get started.

Under arrest, two business associates of Rudy Giuliani linked to efforts to get dirt on Joe Biden are in custody. We'll have the latest on the Ukraine controversy.

Under siege. Thousands of civilians in northern Syria try to flee after two days of Turkey's military offensive in the region.

And in the spotlight, CNN's equality town hall. Nine Democratic presidential candidates discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

ALLEN: Our breaking news. Iran's media reporting an Iranian oil tanker has erupted in flames after being hit by two missiles. They report the tanker is in the Red Sea 60 miles or 100 kilometers from the Saudi port of Jedda.

CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has spent a considerable amount of time in Tehran, he joins us now from Moscow with more about what you're hearing about this. Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Natalie. We're still very early stages after this explosion took place. Apparently taking place just a couple of hours ago. Now the information that we've been getting so far comes from the IRNA News agency in Iran which is Iran's official news agency.

And as you said, they were saying that this tanker was about 60 miles or 95 to about 100 kilometer off the coast of Jedda in Saudi Arabia when apparently it was hit by either one or two explosions. It's unclear how far apart these explosions were if in fact those were two explosions.

There were some initial reports about there then being a fire on board. Unclear whether or not that's been substantiated. So far, what we don't have luckily is any reports of any casualties on board. However, what the national Iranian oil company has been saying, and this also according to IRNA news as well.

They say that the two main oil compartments of this tanker have been damaged in these explosions or this explosion that took place. They say that oil was leaking into the Red Sea. It's unclear at this point whether or not that oil leak has been brought under control.

Certainly, one of the things that the oil company was saying is that the workers on board that tanker were trying to bring that leak under control.

So, certainly, right now still a lot of things were unclear. Was this an attack? Was this not an attack? What could have caused this explosion? Also, where was this tanker coming from? Where was it going? Which direction was it going in the Red Sea? Was it going more towards the Suez Canal or was it going towards the south?

It could bring it back towards the territorial waters of Iran if it went around, for instance, Yemen. So, a lot of things still very unclear. But certainly, it seems as though this could be, if indeed this was an attack on this tanker another major incident in a region that of course, Natalie, you and I have been reporting about has been extremely volatile over the past couple of months, Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. And could this, Fred, impact the security situation between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Well, it certainly could. I mean, as we've been saying, this is still be extremely early stages. No one at this point in time we have to say is pointing fingers of blame at anyone else. So far, we haven't heard anything, for instance, from the Iranians as to whether or not they think anybody might be behind this or whether or not they think this could be an attack at all.

Now, of course, however, as we've said this is a region that has been in a lot of turmoil over the past couple of months. We have seen recently cruise missile attacks and drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, causing massive damage there which is the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has held Iran responsible for the Iranians have said it wasn't them.


And then of course, you had a string of tanker attacks that took place in the Persian Gulf and in the Strait of Hormuz region, where, again, the U.S. and other gulf nations have said that they believe Iran could be behind those attacks. The Iranians, once, again for their part saying that it wasn't them. On top of that, the Iranians have shot down an American drone as well

in that region. So certainly, you have seen that escalation. But I think one of the really interesting things that we've been hearing, especially after the attacks on those Saudi oil facilities is that there seems to be at least a little bit of an effort, or seems to be in a least a little bit of an effort a de-escalation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

There were talks that many -- many of the -- there was talk that maybe Iran or Saudi Arabia were trying to get some sort of indirect talks going between one another. Still very much in the early stages, but certainly if it turns out that this was an attack on the Saudi oil tanker, that of course could drastically change the situation not just between Iran and Saudi Arabia but generally lead to further destabilization in that region that's very volatile anyhow, Natalie.

ALLEN: Absolutely, the one thing we don't want to see. All right, Fred Pleitgen for us breaking it down. We know that we'll be learning more shortly. Fred, thank you.

Well, this is happening as a result, the news of the tanker explosion has sent oil prices higher. Brent crude at West Texas Intermediate crude, both up. Brent crude up 1.68 percent and 1.64 percent respectively.

We'll continue to watch that part of the situation as well.

Well, there is a big day ahead. The Democrats push to impeach Donald Trump. We should find out in the coming hours if former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify before Congress. She was removed by President Trump in May after Rudy Giuliani and others accused her of being anti-Trump.

U.S. Prosecutors have charged two associates now of Giuliani with allegedly funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars of foreign money into U.S. elections. Authorities say the men played a key role in Giuliani's efforts to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on Democrat Joe Biden.

House Democrats have subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry for documents related to the Trump administration's contact with Ukraine. Perry admits he ask Donald Trump multiple times to call Ukraine's president but he says he wanted them to talk about energy, not Joe Biden.

Well, Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail for the first since House Democrats launch their impeachment investigation. In Minneapolis, the president attacked Joe Biden and his family and railed against the impeachment investigation.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The wretched Washington swamp has been trying to nullify the results of a truly great and Democratic election, the election of 2016.

They want to erase your voice and they want to erase your future.


TRUMP: But they will fail because in America the people rule again.


ALLEN: We get more about this from CNN's White House chief correspondent Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With two men involved and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden now suddenly indicted on campaign finance violations, President Trump sounded off to reporters as he left for a rally in Minneapolis.


TRUMP: I don't know them. I don't know about them. I don't know what they do, but I don't know. Maybe there were clients of Rudy. You have to ask Rudy. I just don't know.


ACOSTA: The arrest of Giuliani associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas as they were allegedly trying to flee the country are only adding to calls from Democrats for the president's outside lawyer to testify in the impeachment inquiry.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Giuliani has been involved up to his neck in this entire mess. He has an obligation to testify under oath so he can be asked questions and so this can come to light.


ACOSTA: The president's lead impeachment lawyer Jay Sekulow responded in a brief statement, "Read the indictment. Neither the candidate nor campaign have anything to do with the scheme these guys were involved in."

But photos are surfacing of Fruman and Parnas meeting with Mr. Trump and his family. Giuliani was just boasting earlier this week that he wants to tell his story to lawmakers.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: I would love to testify, and give me a half hour to point out Biden Inc., four decades of crime, I would love to do it.


ACOSTA: The president continues to blast the fast-moving impeachment proceedings tweeting, "The president of Ukraine just stated again in the strongest of language that President Trump applied no pressure and did absolutely nothing wrong."


TRUMP: They have eviscerated the rules, they don't give us any -- any fair play. It's the most unfair situation people have seen. No, lawyers who can't have lawyers, you can't speak, you can't do anything. You virtually can't do anything.



ACOSTA: But past supporters are coming forward to criticize the president's call on the leader of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his family, including Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it is appropriate for the president of the United States to solicit foreign interference in our political process? Thank you.



ACOSTA: George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has formed a group of conservative slamming Mr. Trump's action, saying in a statement, "These acts based on what had been revealed to date, are a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation."

Conway told CNN contributor Preet Bharara the White House refuses to cooperate with the impeachment probe doesn't hold up.


GEORGE CONWAY, KELLYANNE CONWAY'S HUSBAND: The thrust of it is that there are some kind of constitutional obligations that the House has failed to meet that therefore render its impeachment inquiry illegitimate and unconstitutional, which is complete nonsense, because all the Constitution says is that the House has the sole power of impeachment.


ACOSTA: The president is lashing out a new Fox News poll finding 51 percent want to see Mr. Trump impeach and removed from office, tweeting, "I have never had a good Fox News poll. Whoever their pollster is, they suck."

As for whether the White House would cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, the president hedged and said that depends, quote, "if Republicans get a fair shake."

The president went on to explain why his aides went to great lengths to keep his call with Ukrainian president under wraps. The president responded he doesn't want spies in the White House.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

ALLEN: U.S. presidential candidates pledged to fight for LGBTQ rights.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a civil rights issue. It is covered by, in my view, and the court may not agree, this is a civil rights issue, protected by civil rights, the Civil Rights Act and we should be focusing on how to enforce that.

We talk about being able to --


ALLEN: Ahead here, we hear from other presidential hopefuls about their plans.

Also, tens of thousands flee airstrikes and artillery fire as Turkey targets Syrian Kurds. We are live from the Syria-Turkey border, just ahead.





ALLEN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN Newsroom.

Tens of thousands of people in northern Syria are being forced to escape the shelling and airstrikes just days into Turkey's military offensive. Turkey launched the operation after Donald Trump announced U.S. troops would pull back from an area occupied by U.S. allied Kurdish forces.

The U.S. President defended the decision on Twitter and laid out three options the U.S. has now. Send in thousands of troops and win militarily, hit Turkey hard financially with sanctions or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds.

It is the latest option, Mr. Trump says. The last option there that he says he favors.

Meantime, let's go to CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh. He is near the Syrian-Turkey border. And you have been seeing the toll, Nick, this is having on Kurds, suddenly caught in the midst of Turkey's attacks. NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not on this

side but, yes, on the other side of the border in Tell Abyad, our colleagues have been reporting the devastation, frankly, roll from some of the communities there having to flee in their tens of thousands.

You are hearing behind me the occasional artillery which Turkish military are firing towards, it seems Syrian territory. And we've been moved here from the view we had yesterday, where we could see where the artillery lands, often around Tell Abyad, fair to say, not in its populated areas, on its outskirts to this area where the artillery is behind us.

We also saw yesterday large numbers of coaches arriving here in the night towards what looked like a military base or a facility here that were carrying Syrian rebels. Now those are parts of the Syrian rebellion, moderate to some degree, backed by Turkey and are being brought here and called the Syrian national army part of Turkey's military plan to insert Sunni Arab Syrians into the areas which their military clear and use them in the fighting as well.

So, clearly given the volume of people we saw coming here yesterday, something major is underway here. And we have heard from a U.S. military official that I think probably they're going to try to clear from here all the way down there to Ras al-Ayn, possibly 30 kilometers deep inside.

But today, there will be more political wrangling over President Erdogan's forthright decision against Stoltenberg, the NATO chief is in Turkey at the moment and scheduled shortly perhaps give a media availability where he may speak about NATO's broad feelings about how their member, Turkey, is conducting this operation despite pretty much all other NATO members with the exception of the prevarication of the United States being against it.

I can't remember really a moment which divided NATO so much as this apart from the Iraq War in 2003.

Donald Trump has stepped forward and not complicate things but tried to give himself a way out by suggesting he'd prefer to see a deal mediated between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds. It is hard to know how that would happen.

We know that there are U.S. forces still in the same number as they were before inside northeastern Syria, so perhaps they could engineer some sort of agreed area of retreat for those Syrian Kurds, but the Syrian Kurds view this as an extraordinary betrayal, so quite why at this point they would listen to their, as fair to say, erstwhile American allies. It's unclear.

And you're hearing more artillery being launched there, obviously where we are standing here at a mass ranks of Turkey's state media as well along with foreign media too. So, it's no accident that we've been brought to this particular location where we are allowed to broadcast today.


But clearly, Turkey emboldened, not really feeling the criticism is received from really everybody you'd expect to be a Turkish ally normally is going to slow this down, they are pretty broad in their scope.

They say that they are fighting terrorists, that's what they call the Syrian Kurds who were America's ally doing most of the fighting and dying in pushing ISIS out of Syria. And they feel that they have a pretty large operation, I think ahead of them here, potentially as much as 18 miles, 30 kilometers deep into Syria they want to go.

They say they'll put Syrian refugees into that area, the 3.6 million that are settled in Turkey who'd fled Syria's Civil War. Remember, this is an issue that's been going for eight years. This is a crisis that has embroiled the entire region just the latest development in it.

They say they'll be able to clear the area behind us here, 18 miles 30 kilometers deep and send those 3.6 million refugees back there. That's a massively ambitious plan involving reconstruction, resettlement of people, the voluntary decision by Syrian to go back to that particular area.

And President Erdogan said yesterday is a sign of how emboldened clearly, he feels about all of this that if Europe doesn't stop calling this, the European Union doesn't stop calling an invasion, that he might well send those 3.6 million refugees north, reminiscent to the mass migration of 2015.

But it's interesting to see from our perspective here, you get a sense of the scope of this, particularly when we saw those coaches arriving, that was possibly thousands of Syrian rebel militants who will be bused in, presumably, or used as part of any further operations inside here.

So, this is something which will unfold. It looks faster than perhaps I originally expected in the weeks ahead. Back to you.

ALLEN: All right. Nick Paton Walsh for us, thanks for giving us the lowdown. We appreciate it.

Let's talk more about it now from Los Angeles is retired U.S. Army Major General, Mark MacCarley. Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. MacCarley. First of all, I've read accounts of many military analysts who said that this move by Mr. Trump may result in one of the riskiest national security decisions he has made. Do you agree?

MARK MACCARLEY, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: I absolutely do. I agree. As we discussed on this program on Tuesday, I use the term we are really from a world security standpoint, falling into absolute chaos. You have an instance now where Turkey, an erstwhile U.S. ally a member of NATO, has taken advantage of a situation, of a one-sided deal brokered between Erdogan and our president.

The net result of which is to destroy those Syrian Kurds who bore the brunt of the fighting to rid ISIS from Syria, and of course the Kurds in Iraq from Iraq. It's really reprehensible activity and certainly, should be the subject of condemnation by our western European allies and all countries that respect the rule of law around the world.

ALLEN: Yes. Many people are very much feeling for the Kurds and being put in this position. Let's look at the larger picture too. What are the risks for this region? We know ISIS is still there. The Kurds are holding ISIS prisoners, but who knows if they can hold on to them as they try to defend themselves, and of course there is the humanitarian disaster.

MACCARLEY: You have. For instance, if you, look in the question that has not even been raised is what is the net result of the actions on the part of Turkey? Turkey has asserted, even today in Erdogan speech, that he will move forward, his soldiers, his troops will move forward create this buffer zone.

And within this buffer zone as we explain earlier tonight, two to three million Syrians, display Syrians, would find themselves in camps in Turkey will be relocated. Well, the instant question before us is, what happens to those Syrian Kurds who have not only shed blood but themselves have established themselves in that particular area.

There is nothing put forward as you call a humanitarian crisis, nothing, no way ahead. Assuming that this campaign is not stopped either through negotiation or through the imposition of military forces from where we do not know, but what will happen to those Syrian Kurds, and maybe Erdogan gave us the answer.

He said, well, if western powers continue to condemn my actions, I'll just open the floodgates and have these men and women find their way up to Western Europe. Western Europe


ALLEN: Right.

MACCARLEY: -- as refugees. Another active intimidation.

ALLEN: Right. He was quite angry when he said European Union, listen up, you know. This is not an invasion. And he went on to make that threat about unleashing Syrian refugees.

Well, President Trump is now trying to reverse what's happened. I mean, the White House says it will work on a truce between Turkey and the Kurds. He is getting widely condemned in Washington by Democrats and Republicans, including Lindsey Graham. But can it be undone at this point?

MACCARLEY: You, know I really expected this question and my answer is, since we have our president who touts his ability as perhaps one of the greatest strategists, I think the deal has already been made and that deal was consummated in that telephone call, and perhaps earlier communications, but definitely in a telephone call took place between Erdogan and Trump earlier. And so, to go back and say that we can find another path ahead at a point where we are in a much better position two to three days ago, when we had American forces on the ground close to the front lines, actively assisting the Kurds, the Turks would never have struck Americans in the locations that they were at two to three days ago. That was a stabilizing influence.

Now we withdrawn as a consequence of borders from the president is going to have to -- assuming that there was any form of deal, and then it appears that economic sanctions might not have any effect on the Turks, and that even takes into consideration whether Trump would even move forward with such penalties on the Turks.

So, we have lost our bargaining position. That is what is so frightening about the evolving events that we've seen just in the last 24 hours.

ALLEN: Yes, and all the result what it seems to be an impulsive foreign policy moved by this president.

We really appreciate your insights so much. Retired U.S. Army Major General Mark MacCarley, thank you so much, Mr. MacCarley.

MACCARLEY: Thank you.

ALLEN: The U.S. presidential candidates are speaking out on equality in America. Talk about the news from the other camp here in the United States. Hear what the Democrats said at a CNN town hall about the rights of the LGBTQ community.

And presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he is ready to get back on the campaign trail after having a heart attack.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen. With an update on you on our top news this hour. The House impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump gets back to business today with testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She was removed by the president back in May after Rudy Giuliani and others accused her of being anti-Trump.

U.S. Prosecutors have charged two associates of Giuliani with allegedly funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars of foreign money into U.S. elections. Authorities say the men played a key role in Giuliani's efforts to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on Democrat Joe Biden.

An aide group, the International Rescue Committee says more than 60,000 civilians in northern Syria have fled their homes as Turkey continues its military offensive against Kurdish led forces. Turkey says its aim is to end the presence of terrorists in 277 have been killed. Syrian Kurds were major American ally in the long fight against ISIS. Well, candidate Bernie Sanders says he's ready to get back to work

after a heart attack, campaigning to be U.S. President.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably next week. I'm not going to do four rallies a day. I think I have done more rallies than any other candidate who is currently running for president of the United States, but I am feeling great and we are going to run a vigorous campaign. We are working on our schedule right now, which is going to take us to Iowa, to Nevada, probably back to New Hampshire. We are ready to go full blast.


ALLEN: Sanders says he ignored warning signs which included excessive sweating, sudden fatigue and arm pain. While he was hospitalized, he had two stints inserted in an artery. He says there was no attempt to hide his condition.

Sanders was notably absent from the CNN town hall on equality as nine fellow Democrats in the U.S. Presidential race took the stage, on Thursday, hoping to win the key support of LGBTQ voters. The candidates answered questions about how they plan to fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, Transgender and queer rights. They spoke about pressing issues affecting the community from hate crimes to Supreme Court debates on job discrimination. Here is some of what they said.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 2020 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a civil rights issue. It is covered, by in my, view although the court may not agree, this is a civil rights issue, protected by civil rights, the civil rights act, and we should be focusing on how to enforce that. We talked about being able to get married on Sunday, and, or Saturday, and get fired on Monday. The vast majority of American people don't think that is possible. The vast majority of people don't know that that is possible.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), 2020 U.S. DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Look. We've got the Supreme Court. We know the case is resting in the Supreme Court, but we all have to remember about this case. Supreme Court rules, as it should, that LGBTQ people are protected under current law, were done. We've got it. We are fully protected.

If not, then we need to pass the equality act, we need to get it through Congress, but the way I see this is, you asked the right question, how are you going to get it through Congress? Well, get it through the House! Because we've got a majority in the House and all it takes on the House is a simple majority to get it done. What is going to take in the Senate, I'm just going to be blunt, we got to have more Democrats in the Senate.


(CHEERS) [03:35:00]

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND-IN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our country is so torn apart, we are so fragmented, and here we had the LGBTQ plus world that is everywhere, we're in every state, every community, whether folks realize it or not, we are in every family and that means we can also have the power to build bridges, and when somebody is weighing whether to come out or just coming to terms with who they are, it is really important for them to know that they're going to be accepted.

There is no right or wrong way to be gay, to be clear, to be Trans, and I hope that our own community, even as we struggle to define what our identity means, to find it in a way that lets everybody know that they belong among us.


ALLEN: Sarah Kate Ellis, is the president of GLAAD and she joins us me now to talk about this. Sara Kate, thanks for coming in.


ALLEN: The first, top, what's your reaction to the hour's long debate just focusing on issues affecting the LGBTQ community?

ELLIS: I think it is wonderful, and it is about time, so I am glad we hosted one about two weeks ago that lasted about two hours in Iowa with all of the candidates, specifically around LGBTQ issues and then tonight we had four more hours of speaking specifically about LGBTQ issues, and that is really important right now, because we are living under an administration who is rolling back our rights and attacking us to rhetoric.

And so right now, this, week, right, in the Supreme Court heard, three arguments about, employment, discrimination, or can they discriminate against LGBTQ people just for who they are, how they identify? It is a very pivotal time for our community. This election is critical. So having this time, hearing from the candidate, I think what was overriding tonight and what was really wonderful was that most the candidates, all the candidates really came out intrusive port of the LGBTQ community.

They supported the equality act, they support nondiscrimination for housing and for employment and so, I think, that was really important. I think also having Elizabeth Warren talk about Trans issues and many of the candidates talk about Transgender issues and how it is affecting, especially Transformative color has been critical for us.

ALLEN: Right. Yes, they are being discriminated against and they are the recipients of violence across this country.

ELLIS: That came out quite a bit, right? The rise in violence against the LGBTQ community and specifically against Transwomen of color has been absolutely epidemic at this point in time and needs to be addressed. It needs to be address by the highest office, in which now we have a president who is putting targets on the Trans communities backs, whether it's banning them from the military, rescinding rights, especially young kids in school who identify as Trans, making it hard for them at school in different ways, and so I think we are looking at this election as a moment for the LGBTQ community to once again become a priority or at least be considered by the administration.

ALLEN: Right, so the administration is one thing and you've got the Democratic candidates as well. The question is, how they take this from this debate and move across America and keep these issues at the forefront. What will you be looking for?

ELLIS: Well, a lot of what we are looking for is the media to keep this at the forefront. I think that in the 2016 election, Trump got a pass on LGBTQ issues and then the first day that he got into office, he raise us from the website and he started rolling back our rights. And he says on stage one time that he was for LGBTQ people.

ALLEN: He has spoken that he supports --

ELLIS: None of his actions back that up. And he needs to be held accountable and so we will be hold in the media accountable to hold them in these debates, when we get, down when we narrowed the field down and we have the final candidates, to hold them accountable, how they are going to treat the LGBTQ community, because we are a voting block and our allies are voting block and it is an important block, that you want to win the race.

ALLEN: All, right issues we will be following, of course, and you have the general campaign coming up as well. Sarah Kate Ellis with GLAAD, thank you so much for giving us your insights.

ELLIS: Thank you.

ALLEN: As we just heard, hate crimes against the Transgender community had become a big issue in America. Next, we meet one woman brutally attacked just because of her identity.



ALLEN: Well, right now the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments that could re-shape the landscape of gender identity rights. This comes as the city of Dallas Texas is experiencing a string of deadly attacks against the Transgender community. CNN Sara Sidner, spoke with a woman who survived one of those brutal assault.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daniela Calderon Rivera, recounts the shots hitting her body, six shots, each one riddling her with entry and exit wounds. Police say she was shot by a man who didn't know her, but she says, he hated her, because of who she is.

He, said why is your voice deep? I said, I'm Transgender. She, says her attacker thought she was a pretty girl. He wanted to pay her $80 for an hour of sexual acts. She agreed. It's how she makes a living.

What did he say to you?

He said, today is the day you will die. She says she got away from him, he followed her in his red pickup. She hid in a store, she eventually headed to the bus stop. She had no idea he was hunting her.

He stopped and he started shooting. One, two. I don't want to remember this moment, this is the worst memory I will have from my entire life. Shot four times in the abdomen, the arm, the hip, she says she said her goodbyes, prayed to god, called up for her family and close her eyes, waiting for the end, but she survived.

Police say they arrested her attacker, who confessed to shooting her, because she was Transgender. The attack against Calderon along this street is just the latest in a string of attacks and killings of Transgender people here in Dallas. One of the most brutal attacks was caught on camera.


Blow after blow, the cell phone video reveals the brute force this Malaysia Booker Endort, after being involved in a fender bender in Dallas. She survived this brutality. A month, later though, her mother was mourning her death from another attack. Police made two arrest, one for the beating, another for the killing.

The human rights campaign, says, the number of Transgender attacks in recent years is alarming. Booker was the 18th person identified as Transgender to be killed in the U.S. this year. The majority of victims are black. Texas leads the nation in Trans murders.

Stacey Monroe became an activist because of her own struggles as a Trans woman. She lives in greater fear now than ever.

STACEY MONROE, ACTIVIST: Am I going to wake up to another killing? Another attack? What is next?

SIDNER: Monroe says the dangers for Trans people have a lot to do with laws. She says she lost a job, because she was Trans. In Texas, that is legal.

CROWD: Trans lives matter.

SIDNER: The Supreme Court is currently taking up the case to decide whether gender identity is protected under the civil rights act. Monroe says when she heard what happened to Calderon, she rushed to be by her side, but as they bonded, they learned the man suspected of shooting her was free after posting bail.

In the moment, my biggest fear is that soon I'll be out of this hospital, but this person is also out. I'm afraid that's he's going to finish what he started. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: It is important to note, Sara went to the last known address

of the victims accused attacker, to try to get comment. He did not answer the door or the phone when Sara and her team called. It is unclear whether he has a lawyer. We will be right back.





ALLEN: National Basketball Association is trying to save its relationship with China and keep access to billions of dollars in potential revenue. It has been days since the Houston Rockets, general manager tweeted support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. The NBA quickly distanced itself from that tweet, though the leagues commissioner says he respects the manager's freedom of expression.

But watch what happened when CNN reporter Cristina MacFarlane asked two Houston Rockets stars about the controversy.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The NBA has always been a league that prides itself on its player and its coaches, being able to speak up openly about political and societal events. I just wonder after the events of this week on the fallout we've seen, whether you both felt differently about speaking out in that way in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me, we are taking basketball questions only.

MACFARLANE: It is a legitimate question. This is an event that has happened this week during the NBA. This particular question has not been answered. James?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the other question?


ALLEN: Later, after that, the NBA issued an apology saying a team representative inappropriately interjected to prevent CNN Cristian MacFarlane from receiving an answer to her question. We have apologized to Miss MacFarlane as this was inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events.

David Culver is covering the story for us from Shanghai. A reporter there, David, called up in a delicate balance, it seems that the NBA is playing in China over this.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and you have to also look at the discomfort from the players perspective too, Natalie. They are ask this questions, normally, these are players who are happy to answer a range of questions. They'll talk about just about any topic and they are comfortable doing so, and here they are now feeling the restrictions and feeling like they're in a complicated situation and what is interesting here that we noticed during last night's game, the Thursday evening game between the Lakers in the Nets, this was one of two pre-season NBA games to be held here in China.

The other one is scheduled for Saturday, but that game didn't go forward last night, we were there and we were expecting a pre-game press conference. That was canceled and then after the game, normally you are able to, as the media, ask the players a few questions. That likewise was canceled. That shows us just how sensitive the NBA is about anyone who represents them or any of the teams, saying something that once again could be taken out of context and further deteriorate the relationship between the NBA and China.

It is incredibly complicated issue that is playing out here right now, and it is not clear that it could be salvage this relationship. We know that Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, has been here in China meeting with representatives from the Chinese Basketball Association, also some government representatives trying to smooth things over, but from a broadcaster perspective, the only ones who are able to see those games, CCTV, which normally broadcast them all, they pulled that from the pre-season. So, the only ones able to see those games of the folks actually in the stadium for last night games, and it was packed, and those who will be in the stadium for Saturday night's game.

ALLEN: Yes, and, David what about business? Nike, is the official apparel sponsor of the NBA. Could it be affected?

CULVER: Oh, absolutely, and I think it is a real concern right now and that is why they are closely watching where this relationship between the NBA and China go from here. To your point, Nike, the official apparel sponsor of the NBA. They've got their big swoosh over all sorts of things that they are hoping many eyes here will see, well, because of the broadcaster hold out for these games.

That's hundreds of millions of eyes that won't not see Nike's logo and as far as sales are concerned, this is a growing market for Nike. If you put in perspective, they had a growth of 21 percent from this year compared to last and if you look at the U.S, for example they only sell 7 percent growth there. So this is huge for them, not only, Nike though, Adidas, Under Armor, other sponsors looking at this really closely, Natalie.


ALLEN: Certainly understand that. All right, David Culver on top of the story for us there. Thank, you David.

Multiple wild fires are raging in southern California. They've destroyed dozens of structures in Riverside County. That is about 70 miles or just over 100 kilometers east of L.A. and scorched about 300 hectares and a fire in Sylmar, just north of Los Angeles is lighting up the night sky. It ignited near a residential neighborhood. Strong winds pushed the flames uphill and forced a shutdown of a nearby freeway. Power is being cut off to a limited number of Southern California residents to prevent winds from downing lines and perhaps sparking more fires.

Well, in a few hours we find out who was the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner. According to bookmakers, 16 year old, Greta Thunberg is the clear favorite. Her passion and apparent fearlessness in speaking up around the world about the dangers of climate change puts her on the top spot.

Some of the other favorites, Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, who brought an end to his country's decades long conflict with (inaudible). And Chief Raoni, the indigenous Brazilian leader who led a campaign to protect the Amazon from deforestation. And Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's Prime Minister. We will of course have the announcement when it happens here on CNN. Thanks so much for watching CNN Newsroom. I am Natalie Allen. Early Start is up next.