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Woman Shot, Killed by Police Inside Her Own Home; Syrian War Defector Calls on Congress to Take Action After Reveal Atrocities Committed By Assad Regime. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 13, 2019 - 07:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. President Donald Trump launching a new defense for his attorney Rudy Giuliani. This as "The New York Times" reports that his dealings with Ukraine are under investigation.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I stand behind Rudy Giuliani, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president saying that he is considering a lawsuit against Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is one of Democrats' leaders on this impeachment inquiry.

TRUMP: Sue him in a way even if we lose, the American public will understand. And sue Nancy Pelosi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A commander in the largely Kurdish Syrian Democratic forces is accusing their ally, the United States, of forsaking them. Quote, you are leaving us to be slaughtered. You have nothing for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back. Get to the back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cell phone video capturing the exact moment a construction site at the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans came crashing down.



ANNONCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We start this hour with the new reporting on one of the key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. "The Washington Post" says that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the Europe Union, will tell Congress that President Trump told him exactly what to write in the text message he sent to the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine denying quid pro quo.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The text is a major focal point of House Democrats' impeachment probe.

CNN's Sarah Westwood is joining us now from Washington.

We need to point out, Sarah, Sondland is expected to say as well that he doesn't know if the president was telling him the truth when he directed what he was to put in that text message. Is there any reaction from the White House on that this morning? And Good morning to you.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, good morning, Victor and Christi.

And the White House not commenting specifically on what "The Washington Post" is reporting that Gordon Sondland is going -- is expected to tell lawmakers but keep in mind that the Trump administration did try to block Sondland's testimony to Congress this week. So, this is not something necessarily that they want to have happened. This week, we saw the White House declare war on the impeachment proceedings. Like you mentioned, Sondland, according to "The Washington Post," is expected to tell lawmakers that in a phone conversation, President Trump told him exactly what to write in that September 9th text exchange.

Keep in mind in that exchange, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said that it would be crazy to withhold aid with help with the campaign and Gordon Sondland replied, Bill, I believe you are indirect about President Trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear no quid pros of any kind.

Now, again, that's Sondland is expected to tell lawmakers that President Trump told him to write that. He's also expected to tell lawmakers at the time he did not know the motivations for the reason why the administration was withholding that $400 million security aid to Ukraine.

Now, Sondland is not the only or former Trump administration official expected to testify on Capitol Hill this week. On Monday, for example, tomorrow, you'll see Fiona Hill, former adviser on Russia testifying. Tuesday, you'll see George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary at the State Department. Thursday, Sondland and State Department counsel will be appearing. And, Friday, Bill Taylor, that charges d'affaires in Ukraine who was texting with Sondland, also testifying.

Obviously, all of these questions at the center of the impeachment proceedings led by House Democrats. President Trump was railing against those Democrats last night when he spoke at the Value Voter Summit. He even threatened to sue Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Speaker Pelosi. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I actually told my lawyers, sue him any way. He's got immunity. But they can't mean immunity for that. I said sue him any way. Even if we lose, the American public will understand. And sue Nancy Pelosi. Or maybe we should just impeach them.


WESTWOOD: Now, as we've noted, that is not a thing. You can't sue a member of Congress for something that they say on the floor of Congress. Lawmakers will return to Washington after a break this week, Victor and Christi, and we will see these impeachment proceedings deepen.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House -- Sarah, thank you.

President Trump is now defending Rudy Giuliani, calling him a great guy who is rough around the edges sometimes.


Now, yesterday, "The New York Times" reported that Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine are part of a federal investigation. But in a phone conversation last night, the president had nothing but praise for his personal attorney.


TRUMP: He's a great gentleman. He was a great mayor. One of the greatest -- maybe the greatest mayor in the history of New York. He was a fantastic prosecutor.

I know nothing about him being under investigation. As somebody said, I heard a report today. I can't imagine it. He is a man that looks for corruption and whatever he does, I really believe he is a totally -- I mean, I know he is an honorable man.

I stand behind Rudy Giuliani, absolutely. Again, he was a crime fighter from day one.


PAUL: It's a change from Friday when the president told reporters that he didn't know if Rudy Giuliani was still his lawyer. Giuliani, by the way, is telling CNN that he's not aware that he's under investigation.

BLACKWELL: Let's break out a bit here this president's threat to sue. The president's attorney Jay Sekulow says the president's threat to sue Schiff and Pelosi is nothing off the table.

Well, the Constitution takes it off the table. Article 1 Section 6, the speech and debate clause. Senators and representatives shall have in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace be privileged from arrest during their attendance of the session of their respective houses and in going to and returning from the same and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place. To make it simple, James Wilson, signatory of the Constitution, one of

the original justices of Supreme Court explained this about members of Congress. It is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that he should be protected from the resentment of everyone, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offense.

That is the Constitution regardless of what the president says about suing Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff.

Let's bring in now, April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN political analyst.

So, April, good morning to you first.


BLACKWELL: So, let's -- we have settled that. Let's talk about what the White House, those around the president, regardless of what he says at a summit, are they confident in a defense or a narrative that they are trying to put up what we are seeing against the Democrats in the House?

RYAN: No, they are never confident, because you have a president who could be on the page with them for a moment and then he'll change the script. So, it's always flying by the seat of your pants at the White House. But at the end of the day, this president is going to do what he wants, what he wants. And it may not always necessarily be about the American people.

At this moment, this lawsuit is about the president or the potential or his threat of a lawsuit of Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi. It's about him, his personal whim. This is not about the American public.

At the end of the day, I talked to Senator Ben Cardin yesterday that Morgan State University homecoming. And he said this is a serious constitutional issue for members of the House and Senate to undertake as it realities to the impeachment inquiry and if it goes into articles of impeachment and then they have the impeachment hearings and things of that nature. That is serious and under the Constitution and this president should not try to impede the process.

BLACKWELL: We'll see how close his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, comes to that process. He, on Twitter, called him a legendary crime buster and the greatest mayor in the history of New York City. There was some vacillating on Friday with, I don't know if he is my attorney, has been.

RYAN: Right.

BLACKWELL: We have seen the space the president between himself and Mike Cohen, himself and Paul Manafort. Is this relationship, does this appear to be different than those?

RYAN: Well, it depends on the day. And the news of the day and whatever happens behind the closed doors we don't know about, where the president stands with whomever it is.

Rudy Giuliani, yes, we know him. We knew him as a hero during 9/11. He was the mayor. He was the world's mayor. He was there when the Twin Towers came down and all of the havoc that happened around one of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.

But there has been times since then. He is now playing a different role. He is now this bombastic man who goes on television and says things as the president's lawyer that maybe he shouldn't say.

You know, he talked about going over to the Ukraine and doing opposition research on Joe Biden. And now, he is in trouble for it. Now, the president is in trouble about it and the president has gone out talking about, you know, getting China, communist country to investigate the United States.



RYAN: So, one lawyer, a good lawyer would do this, they will shut up. Giuliani is putting himself and the president in jeopardy. But of them are doing it to themselves. They need to be quiet, but it's too late.

BLACKWELL: The clearer or I guess more stark juxtaposition, you mentioned 9/11. He's now, according to "The New York Times", is being investigated by the office he once led there in the Southern District of New York. Quickly, I give you 30 seconds on this if you can just limit it to that. We know that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the E.U., will be on Capitol Hill this week, expected to tell lawmakers that what he text that there is no quid pro quo, that came directly from the president. And we'll see what he says late this week.

What is the reaction to -- inside the White House to these employees defying the orders from the State Department, from the administration, not to cooperate?

RYAN: They don't like it, bottom line. They don't like it.

BLACKWELL: Will there be a consequence or any indication if there'll be a consequence?

RYAN: There is always retaliation. Even beyond what we know, there will be retaliation from this president and this administration for whomever defies what the president says. End of story.

BLACKWELL: All right. April Ryan, good to have you.

RYAN: By the way --

BLACKWELL: Here comes the by the way. I knew there was going to be a by the way.

RYAN: Yesterday, the Morgan State University Bears won yesterday for our homecoming. I'm so sorry but I'm happy. BLACKWELL: One day of victory, I'm sure that train will not continue.

RYAN: You owe me crabs now. You owe me some Maryland crabs now.

BLACKWELL: All right. You'll get them. Thanks, April.

RYAN: All right. I know I will! Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: She said she was sorry but she didn't mean it!

BLACKWELL: Yes. She did.


PAUL: She is laughing.

BLACKWELL: I knew it was coming.

PAUL: All right. Listen, we are just two days away from the CNN and "The New York Times" Democratic presidential debate.

Coming up, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's national press secretary talking to us about his strategy now.

BLACKWELL: Plus, crews right now are working to rescue a construction worker trapped in the cement and steel of a collapsed hotel project there in New Orleans. We'll get you the latest live.






BLACKWELL: And people were hurt here. Rescue workers are getting back to the search this morning for a construction worker who is still trapped in that rubble in New Orleans. This was going to be or may still be at some point a Hard Rock Hotel. It's under construction. It collapsed on Saturday.

PAUL: Two people have been confirmed dead. We know at least 18 are injured.

I want to show you video from earlier this morning as well. A giant crane had been brought in to help stabilize the structure now, because as Victor said, they are still searching for that missing worker.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live for us now from New Orleans with the very latest.

So, do they have any indication as to how long they think they will be there, Rosa? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, they really don't, at this

point. As you might imagine, it's very early. First of all, in the investigation and they are still trying to rescue that worker.

We're told that those rescue efforts are expected to resume later this morning but as you mentioned, one person is missing, two people are dead. Those names have not been released. Eighteen others have been transported to the hospital. But take a look over my shoulder, you'll see that this area is still barricaded. Beyond those barricades, you see the pile of degree.

Here is what we know from local authorities. The call about this partial collapse came in about 9:12 yesterday morning of a partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown New Orleans when firefighters arrived, according to the New Orleans Fire Department, they found that the building was unstable.

If you take a look at the aerial footage of this collapse, you'll see that those floors flattened and it almost creates a cascading effect. Portions of that concrete flied on the street and create a cloud of dust. If you look closely, you'll see that workers are running for their lives.

According to the construction company, about 100 workers were on-site. Here is what one of them had to say. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't explain it. Man, it was like -- hearing it, it was just -- it was crazy. That sound. Like watched guys move to the side like, I don't know, man. Just crazy.


FLORES: Now, a crane was rolled in overnight to try to stabilize this structure. It was brought in by Louisiana state police escorted by those officers. And, Christi and Victor, of course, it's very early at this point to know what caused this collapse. We know the state fire marshal's office is on-site.

BLACKWELL: Rosa Flores for us there in New Orleans, thank you.

All right. We are counting down to the CNN and "The New York Times" Democratic presidential debate. Coming up, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's national press secretary will be with us to talk about his strategy.



PAUL: Well, let's talk some politics here because CNN is projecting Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is forced now into a runoff in his bid for re-election. Edwards facing Republican businessman Eddie Rispone. BLACKWELL: Rispone, one of two major Republicans in the race, garnered the second biggest amount of votes. Edwards fell short of the 50 percent threshold that he needed to avoid this runoff. He's the only statewide elected Democrat in Louisiana and polls suggest he has a decent shot at re-election.

Two days now, two days from the CNN and "The New York Times" Democratic presidential debate. Tuesday, 12 candidates will go head- to-head in a battleground state of Ohio. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker will be on that stage.

And joining me is Sabrina Singh, his campaign national press secretary.

Sabrina, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: All right. So, as I said with head to head to head, there are a lot of people on that stage. What is the mission for Senator Booker?

SINGH: As you said, there is a lot of people on that stage, 12 candidates, and just a short amount of time to make our case to the American people tuning in. But, you know, I think this is a great opportunity for Cory to yet again highlight why he is the best candidate in this race. We have a president in the White House that is stoke on dividing this country and stoking hate in our communities.

And Cory is really running on the platform of uniting people together. And so, I think that's what you're going to see a lot of come Tuesday night, talking about how we can bring this country together, how he will heal this country and really leading on past experiences to showcase that, whether his term as mayor or senator in Congress today.

BLACKWELL: So, the senator has, according to analysts, had some really strong debate performances. The second debate, CNN debate in Detroit, the ABC debate as well, but that has not transitioned into long-lasting support or momentum. Why not? What is the disconnect?

SINGH: Well, I still think it's early. I mean, we are still months out from Iowa caucuses. We're still months out from the first person being able to cast a ballot and we know at this time in 2008 and beyond, you know, Hillary Clinton was leading by over 20 points over Barack Obama.


This time, I think in 2015, we were still talking about Rudy Giuliani leading the top of the polls.

So we have a lot of time to make our case still to the American people and I think on Tuesday's debate is just another moment for us to showcase why Cory Booker is the best candidate in this race. BLACKWELL: OK. So, everyone will remember that I think about the

20th of September, Senator Booker made this urgent fund-raising appeal and he needed $1.7 million, he said to essentially stale in the race to stay on a path to the nomination. The campaign reports in those ten days, $2.1 million came in.

But let's look at the -- put up the poll, the latest poll that came in that has Senator Booker at 2 percent. This is this month. How is the path after getting that money in any clearer, any more prominent for Senator Booker?

SINGH: Well, what we saw in that 10 days was we wanted to really peel back the curtain for people. People all across the country love Cory Booker and wanted his voice to stay in this race. We saw was a tremendous outpouring of support. Even if people had not endorsed yet, we saw people like Stacey Abrams and Muriel Bowser weighing in and saying, hey, Cory's invoice is important in this race.

So, what we did was, unlike what any other campaign has done is full radical transparency. And we actually exceeded our goal of $1.7 million. We raised over $2 million. And so, we are raising certainly staying in this race.

But like you said, you know, the polls, we know that we still have our case to make to the American people. We know there is still time, even though on this program here, we talk about it on a daily, hourly, you know, minute-by-minute basis, we still have a lot of time here to make the case on why Cory Booker is the best candidate in this race.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sabrina Singh, thanks so much.

SINGH: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to tune into for the CNN and "The New York Times" Democratic presidential debate live from the battleground state of Ohio. Tuesday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: A 28-year-old African-American woman was shot and killed by police in her own home after a neighbor called police because the woman's door was open.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning. People in Texas are demanding some answers right now after a 28-year-old African-American woman was shot and killed by a police officer as she was inside her own home. This happened early yesterday morning.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get the latest now from Nicole Jacobs from our affiliate KTVT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a cool aunt who stayed up until 2:00 a.m. playing video games.

NICOLE JACOBS, KTVT REPORTER (voice-over): And that's what 28-year- old Atatiana Jefferson was doing in the overnight hours with her nephew.

LEE MERRITT, FAMILY ATTORNEY: Hardest part about this is I spoke with the 8-year-old who explained what it was like inside of the house.

JACOBS: Just before 2:30, James Smith, a neighbor of the East Allen Avenue home, called a nonemergency Ft. Worth police number when he saw his neighbor's door ajar.

JAMES SMITH, NEIGHBOR WHO CALLED POLICE: Informed them that my name was elderly sickly lady and I was concerned for her health.

JACOBS: But when police arrived, Smith recalls no lights, no sirens, no officers identifying themselves.

SMITH: Three or four tactical officers come from around the corner it seemed like walking across the street, going in front of her house and past the front doors which were open and go down the side of her house to the rear of her house and less than a minute, I heard gunshots.

JACOBS: Ft. Worth police confirm an officer shot and killed Jefferson. They followed up information with a one-minute twenty- second clip of body camera video that shows officers moving along the side of the home into the backyard with flashlights shining and then this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands up! Show your hands!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We went from a welfare check to a woman being killed by the cops.

JACOBS: Shot through a screened window. Ft. Worth officers later releasing imagines images of a firearm inside the home.

MERRITT: There was nothing nefarious or illegal about owning a firearm and they presented no way the firearm was contributor towards the use of deadly force here.

JACOBS: Community leaders and neighbors are rallying around the family who has declined to speak with the media, leaving it to activists to share their outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one I cannot swallow. We are not talking pranks for nobody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our voice is going to be heard this time.

JACOBS: Jefferson was an Xavier University graduate working in medical sales, holding down the fort while her mother was in the hospital and a neighbor just trying to be a good neighbor, left feeling like this.

SMITH: I feel guilty because had I not called is the Ft. Worth police, my neighbor would still be alive today.

JACOBS: But the demand for answers and justice and a call for an independent investigation, many in the community say an indictment is the right call.

MERRITT: That's murder.


BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Nicole Jacobs of KTVT. Now, that officer is on administrative leave pending an investigation.

PAUL: Joey Jackson, criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst is with us now.

They're pretty strong words from that community. Was it murder, Joey?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that remains to be seen. Let me say what my concerns are. Good morning to you, Christi. I have three of them.

One, of course, is strategic. The other is legal. The other is political.

From a strategic perspective, I don't get or understand why not announce yourself, right? Why not lights? Why not sirens? Why the element of surprise here? Perhaps some reason that will be explained.

The other issue is as it relates to strategic, if you're doing or tactical, I mean, or if you're going to say put your hands, perhaps you should give someone the opportunity to do that. It seems to me that time is on your side. You can have cover or anything else, and the person would be alive.

From a legal perspective, you look at the issue of the immediacy of the threat, right? Is there an eminent threat I feel my life is in danger that I have to shoot. And it seems to me a shot was out of confusion, was out of, you know, I have to shoot, I don't know any better or maybe the officer was just scared. We got to do a lot better than that.

And then from a political perspective, that involves the community. You're going to release the fact that she has a gun in the home as perhaps what?

To suggest she had a gun and that we were perhaps fearful for our life? There's no indication where that gun was. There's no indication she had that gun. There is no indication that she should not have the gun.


This is Texas, a very liberal state. So, I have a lot of concerns. I'm not ready to declare it's murder, or ready to declare anything else. But I will tell you that it's horrible when someone gets shot and

killed in their own home and you do go for a wellness check or see what is going on, if something maybe amiss, and someone ends up dead. Something is wrong and needs to be fully and fairly investigated. Community needs answers, they deserve them and should get them.

PAUL: In a statement released yesterday, the Ft. Worth police officer who said the officer whose name had not been released proceed the threat and then drew his weapon.

What does he have to prove to be convincing that he felt a threat there? He was outside a home, she was inside hers.

JACKSON: So, Christi, the concern I have is that teams to be the narrative all the time, right? All the time. Someone is dead, doesn't matter where, I perceived a threat. Those are magic words, let's let walk and let the officer go in peace. Someone is dead here.

The fact is, is that you have to show that there is a immediacy of the threat, such that I feared for my life, a life of someone else or that I would have to endure great bodily harm. So, where is the suggestion that that occurred? It's obviously dark. It's obviously dark. It's obviously a confusing environment.

You're going there for a welfare check or wellness check. Is that enough? Because you -- it's dark and someone is standing somewhere you shoot them? What else made you fear for your life? What else made your training kick in such you felt that shooting at that time was necessary and appropriate?

Forced use has to be proportionate to the threat also. What was happening other than you're responding to a home, seeing someone standing, telling them to get their hands up and seconds later firing a shot. It does not appear to be enough.

And again, I understand the community's frustration. I understand their concern, not yet again ready to say this is murder. But I'm ready to say there needs to be absolutely investigated thoroughly and if there was no basis for what the shot was fired, then there needs to be accountability on the police department.

This is happening way too much. There is a use of force continuum, right, where you go from one level to another level, and it just seems, Christi, that the deadly force, the lethal weapon continuum is being met instantly and I don't think that's fair to community and community residents.

PAUL: Joey Jackson, always grateful to have you with us. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: As this crisis in Syria continues, you'll see how one man is making a desperate plea to members of Congress. We are going to show you his journey.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: You know this, if you want to lose weight, you have to diet and exercise. But we're going to introduce today to some people in today's "Staying Well" who are getting a mental edge with their weight loss programs.


DR. MATTHEW SCHMITT, SLEEP MEDICINE PIEDMONT HEALTHCARE: During hypnotherapy, the person becomes highly focused and their brain becomes more receptive to ideas and suggestions from the therapist.


Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people understand in a conscious way your feelings, your emotions, and habits you have behind a behavior. Studies in the past showing people who did combine therapies using both the two therapies instead of one alone did achieve more weight loss.

SANDY AMES, HYPNOTHERAPIST: If somebody comes and says, I want to lose weight, I first will work with their doctor. I need to know we are not working with any kind of medical issue.

SCHMITT: Every program begins with a smart diet and exercise program and definitely seeking out guidance from professionals. From adding in hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy I think it helps enforces us to make appropriate diet choices. There's very little downside when we talk about hypnotherapy, people with psychiatric disorders will have unwanted or untoward effects from some of these therapies and unexpected perhaps reactions.

AMES: Down. Deeper down.

TERESA ECKERT, HYPNOTHERAPHY CLIENT: Hypnotherapy helps me remember all the points that I need to remember. Definitely, weight loss, I have the confidence. This is good all around.



BLACKWELL: New this morning, Turkish forces have blocked the main road to the Kurdish city of Kobani where U.S. troops are based.

PAUL: We want to show you some new video here of American troops leaving that area. This is a lot -- we're showing a lot of what is at stake in the Syrian crisis.

This man who knows more about that than anyone else, he goes by the name Caesar. He risked his life for years to expose the atrocities of the Syrian President Al-Assad and his regime. And recently, he returned to Washington to beg for Congress for action as a bill sits on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desk.

I do want to warn you about the next story. The images are very graphic and they're very disturbing, so we want you to be aware of that.

Here is CNN's Kate Bolduan.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We can't tell you his name. It's too dangerous to show his face.

He won't even allow his voice to be recorded as he speaks through his translator, but we can show you these. Almost 55,000 photos he risked his life to bring out of Syria. Some of which have never been seen publicly until now.

And he's risking his life again to plead with Congress to act.

(on camera): How are you feeling in this moment being back in Washington again?

"CAESAR", SYRIAN MILITARY POLICE DEFECTOR (through translator Mouaz Moustafa): My feeling being here is a feeling of a bit of disappointment, and at the same time frustration because after everything that I've done in order to expose what the regime has done, we have yet to see any real action.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): His code name is Caesar. He was a military photographer in Damascus when the civil war began in 2011. He says he immediately realized what he was then documenting were not accidental deaths, but torture.

"CAESAR": For example, many of the bodies had their eyes gouged out. Most of these bodies had very deep cuts. Most of them were emaciated, starved for many, many months and also marks all over their bodies from head to toe and I would see their jaws and teeth broken.

BOLDUAN: Instead of defecting right after the war broke out, Caesar says he decided to stay for two and a half years to bear witness, collect evidence and to expose what really was happening in his country, where any sign of sympathy for the dead could be interpreted as betrayal of the regime.

"CAESAR": I would work for hours taking photographs, loading the photographs and I would have to hide my emotions. I would have to pray that a tear does not come down my face because if they saw one tear, if they saw one expression on my face that showed sympathy, then I would be killed as would my family.

BOLDUAN (on camera): How did you do that?

"CAESAR": I don't know.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): In 2013, he finally fled, and brought with him what the FBI confirmed as authentic and the State Department's ambassador for war crimes described as stronger evidence than what existed against the Nazis. The Syrian government has denied responsibility and called the photos

fake. Caesar made his trip to Capitol Hill in 2014 testifying before Congress under cover in the exact same disguise he used for our interview.

"CAESAR": I honestly thought that if I could have the courage to go for the years that I did doing the work that I did endangering my life every single day that once I came out and showed the world what I had that the entire conscience of the world would move.

BOLDUAN (on camera): And then that didn't.

"CAESAR": Five whole years, the world did not move.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): I'll never forget what he showed us.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): The sanctions bill sparked by Caesar's testimony and photographs has passed the House three times with bipartisan support, but has yet to make it to the Senate floor.

"CAESAR": So, what I am pleading is for the American people to please save the Syrian people, save these people that do not deserve the hellish nightmare that they're living in.

BOLDUAN: One of the lawmakers Caesar made his case to this time, Senator Lindsey Graham. Not only is he a longtime critic of Bashar al Assad, Graham also has had the ear of President Trump and he revealed to CNN that he's introducing a resolution to declare Assad a war criminal.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To the people in Syria, we're not turning our back on you. I wish we can do better. The administration needs to do more, quite frankly. We don't have a coherent strategy in Syria and I am committed 100 percent to not letting Assad get away with it and standing by people like Caesar. And I'm going to make my colleagues in the Senate vote.

BOLDUAN: Until then the bill sits on Senator Mitch McConnell's death and leads Caesar right back where he began, putting his life on the line to try and convince the world to care and once and for all not look away.

(on camera): We're in the Holocaust Museum, and after the Holocaust the world said never again, and I'm really struck by seeing the atrocities coming out of Syria and the fact that the world is not saying that.

"CAESAR": You're right. How many more children must be killed? How many more men must be tortured to death? How many more women must be raped until you mean it when you say never again?

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.



PAUL: Your weekly dose of human kindness, here it's happening one wall at a time. There's a Cleveland woman, take a close at this, who is helping homeless people by putting basic supplies in very close reach here. Let's face it, it's winter in Cleveland or it's coming, anyway.

So hanging clothes and other supplies makes it available for people who are in need, particularly in that kind of weather. She recently reached a major milestone, 100 walls draped with necessities. Those walls are across the city.

Holly Jackson with us now from Cleveland.

Holly, thank you for what you're doing, first and foremost. And secondly, I understand that you were homeless at one point in your life. Tell me about that.

HOLLY JACKSON, FOUNDER, WALLS OF LOVE: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Yes, ma'am, about 28 years ago I was homeless and I was pregnant. I left a very volatile domestic violent situation and I felt that it was important to get out of that situation for the safety of my child. And it was a very humbling experience, very scary, and to ask for help and not be able to get it, it just made me feel really awful.

And I just never want anyone to feel like that again if I can help it.

PAUL: So how did you come up with the idea of these pop-up walls? Do they go up and they come down or do they stay up?

JACKSON: I do have some walls that are actually permanent. However, the majority of them, they are pop-up walls. They go up and they come down in different areas as needed.

And it has just been a pleasure to be able to assist people in having items to put out there for them and make their lives better a little bit at a time. It's a wonderful and it's a humbling experience to be able to do that.

PAUL: It's amazing to see the support you're getting as we look at some of these pictures. I don't know if you've been able to read what it says on that wall, but it says please take what you need, leave the rest for others, pay it forward when you can. I know that you have a fundraiser coming up November 1st, November 9th is your one-year anniversary of this project, and your hope at that point is to open up 25 walls in the city.

What do you need most to make this happen?


JACKSON: Honestly, what we need is we need community support. It takes a village. It's great to have this as my brainchild and my baby, but I can't do this without others.

So if there's any businesses that would like to partner with us or sponsor, we definitely could use all the help we could get, volunteers. A couple weeks ago they did a segment on the "Today" show and I'm humbled that they feel that my project is worthy. And I've received over 150 requests for different cities to come out and put up walls.

So I do want people to know if you invite me and you bring me, I'm coming. I want to be able to help as many people as I possibly can.

PAUL: And you are.

JACKSON: And just to let you know, on Thursday this week, we put up our 200th wall and we've helped over 27,000 people in less than a year.

PAUL: Like you say, when somebody is homeless, they need to know that somebody cares about that and wants to help.

Holly Jackson, thank you so much for all of your work.

JACKSON: Absolutely. Thank you.

PAUL: We'll be watching.

JACKSON: Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day.

PAUL: You, too. Good stuff happening there.

We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" is up after a quick break.