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House Democrats to Hold Public Hearings in Impeachment Inquiry; "Unprecedented" Fires in Australia's New South Wales; Orangutans Threatened As Borneo Rainforest Burns; Interview with Cindy McCain, Senator John McCain's Widow, on the State of Politics; Rep. Jim Jordan Accused of Ignoring Sexual Misconduct; Supporters of Texas Inmate Seek Stay of Execution; Murdered Atlanta Student Had Filed Report against Roommate's Boyfriend; Japan's Imperial Couple Greeted by Thousands; Sierra Leone Uses Yoga to Help Soldiers. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired November 10, 2019 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's official. Public impeachment hearings begin this week. Based on what we have seen the last 24 hours, it looks like it will be a showdown.

Flames ripping across the Bush in Australia. Now we are learning these are the most fires ever burning in this country.

Rodney Reed is expected to be executed in 10 days in the state of Texas. But his case is quite controversial about whether that should happen. We will have his story for you.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: Republican lawmakers in the United States Congress are getting a clear message from the Democrats. Their latest requests regarding the impeachment inquiry pretty much nonstarters. CNN's Jeremy Diamond looks at what they want and how the Democrat leading the investigation is responding.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: House Republicans on Saturday putting forward a list of witnesses they would like to see come forward as the House impeachment inquiry moves into its public phase.

The list of witnesses seems mostly an attempt by Republicans to divert attention from the allegations that President Trump is facing over his handling of policy toward Ukraine as well as to bolster his case as he announces his defense in the face of impeachment.

The list includes Hunter Biden, the former vice president's son, as well as that anonymous intelligence whistleblower that Republicans have been clamoring for. The House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff would need to approve any of the witnesses to have them come forward. He has said he will give due consideration to the Republican list.

But he also says this inquiry is not and will not serve, however, as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens over 2016 that the president pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit or to facilitate the president's effort to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower, who courageously raised the initial alarm.

That seems like a pretty clear message from the chairman of the Intelligence Committee that Hunter Biden and the whistleblower will not be brought forward during this impeachment investigation.

Meanwhile, the president is saying he will release the transcript of another call he had with the Ukrainian president, the first call he had with Zelensky after he was elected in April.


TRUMP: Now they want to have a transcript of the other call, the second call. And I'm willing to provide that. We will probably give it to you on Tuesday, Monday being a holiday. We will probably give it to you on Tuesday. But we have another transcript coming out, which is very important. They asked for it and I gladly give it.


DIAMOND: While he is positioning this as an act of transparency, his decision to release a second rough transcript of a call with the Ukrainian president comes after a week when the White House has directed numerous White House and administration officials not to comply with the House impeachment inquiry.

Mick Mulvaney, White House chief of staff, and several other officials, not appearing despite the threat of congressional subpoenas this past week -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Let's talk about these developments with Inderjeet Parmar, professor at the London School of Economics.

Good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.

INDERJEET PARMAR, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Good morning, very happy to be here.

ALLEN: Well, first up, Republicans requested the whistleblower and Joe Biden's son, Hunter, to testify in public hearings this week.

Any surprise that Democrats pushed back on that?

PARMAR: Not really. Each side is vying to paint a picture, project an image. And I think the Republicans' kind of last throw of the dice is to muddy the waters, change the narrative, switch it onto the Democrats. Maybe maligning in some way the whistleblower. I think it is not a surprise.

Given that we are moving toward a TV show in the middle of the week, I think this kind of ploy is probably going to be practiced a lot more.

ALLEN: Right. Well, early on, when the whistleblower first made the complaint, the testimony was seen as paramount. Weeks into the inquiry, Democrats don't think so.


What does that say about the strength of evidence they believe they have amassed against President Trump?

PARMAR: I think it's clear that they believe that the overall evidence is overwhelming. They have got enough witnesses, enough testimony, enough transcripts. I think what they want to now do is to focus the attention of the American public.

I think you can say Democrats have polarized, Republicans are already polarized. A section of them are willing to listen to the facts. The majority of independent voters are willing to listen to the facts. I think that is now where the game is going to be played.

It is going to be trying to convince those who are not fully convinced yet that any wrongdoing has occurred and whether articles of impeachment ought to be launched and so on. That is really where we are.

And I suspect that the Democrats don't believe -- believe that the rights of the whistleblower need to be protected as far as they possibly can and the attention needs to be focused entirely on the telephone call and other conversations that have been had already. And I think that's going to be their primary concern.

ALLEN: What do you make of it that here we are with a presidential election coming up in 2020, campaign well underway, that this is coinciding with an impeachment inquiry?

That is unusual.

PARMAR: Well, not entirely unusual in the sense that Richard Nixon was also taking on in regard to impeachment in the run-up to the next election sort of thing. I don't think it's unusual. But it shows the depth of the crisis of authority within the United States, within the White House, within the broader political system, has got deeper and deeper.

And I think it really shows us one major thing, which very often isn't raised in this impeachment process. That is there is a fundamental schism between President Trump and his ideas about America's role in the world and those who are in, if you like, the traditional national security establishment. That's where President Trump talks about, for his own reasons, despite

wrongdoing. He talks about a deep state. And the fact that the majority of the people who are coming forward are from the foreign policy service or the intelligence community or the military community so on, I think it gives a little bit of credence to it.

His argument is you have been after me since 2016 when I got elected about Russia and now you have moved on to the Ukraine. And I think that is what he is going to play his major card on.

If you like also finally, his greatest strength was he was a transactionalist, a doer of deals. He could make America great again by doing great deals. In a way now trying to do a deal with Ukraine has been his Achilles' heel itself. He will be on trial for the greatest strength he claimed to have in representing America in the world.

ALLEN: That is a very good point you make there. Meantime, we have learned a few hours ago, that his former national security adviser, John Bolton, who left when their relationship soured, has a book deal that may come out during the 2020 election. We know that Bolton's lawyer indicated this week he has something to say about that Ukraine call.

Does it seem to you that Bolton could be a major player in this process?

PARMAR: I think he knows he is. I think he is keeping his own counsel, using legal means to avoid being called as a witness to give testimony. I think the ruling by the court will be on the 10th of December. I suspect that national security adviser, if there were 12 other people on the call to the Ukrainian president, John Bolton wouldn't have been very far away.

I think he's been present at so many different meetings. He will have a great deal to say. But we will represent, as President Trump said, when John Bolton departed the Trump administration, he represents many things that President Trump argues against in regard to foreign policy.

So I think this will be a very, very powerful testimony, if and when it comes. But the book deal does suggest a very cynical attempt to withhold information until it can have its maximum impact. So he may well hold onto it for quite some time. The book isn't due out until just before the election.

ALLEN: Right. And, you know, Republicans continue to call this impeachment process a sham. It's been opaque. It's been vague. But this week it comes into the public arena.

So do you think they will be able to continue to make that claim?


PARMAR: It's starting to be more and more difficult. It wasn't particularly convincing to most people who watched with some attention in the first place. But for a large number of people in the world and in the United States, when things come on the television, the television is the visual medium which we are used to watching the news on. And I think the issue now moves to how clearly and how responsibly, in my view, media outlets can really show what the true facts are, explain to people what impeachment really means and who is in charge or a conviction in the Senate really means, what the Constitution says about these processes.

In a way it is not like a demeaning 101 American Constitution lesson. But I think by doing news well, presenting facts, I think the media could regain a great deal of authority and really, if you like, puncture a hole in the whole idea of the fake news media that President Trump tries to paint all the time.

I think that's where we are moving on now. It is a real test of the watchdog role on great power that the American media claims to represent. And I think this is going to be one of his biggest tests ever, I would think.

ALLEN: Well, we appreciate that, especially the news media here at CNN. We will try very hard to stand up for that. We always appreciate your expertise. Thank you for joining us. Have a good morning.

PARMAR: Thank you very much.

ALLEN: Well, President Trump took a break from the impeachment heat in Washington to attend a college football game in Alabama where he has plenty of support. That state does.

But there were protests. Look what showed up. The balloon has become famous. It is called Baby Trump. But Baby Trump didn't last long. A man slashed it would a knife. Local media report he was arrested. Not sure what the charge would be there. For more on the otherwise friendly reception in Tuscaloosa, here's CNN's Sarah Westwood.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump attended the pivotal football game between Alabama and LSU here in Tuscaloosa Saturday. He received a warm reception.

He has attended three major sporting events the past two weeks, including the World Series. The president received a mixed reception, some boos at Madison Square Garden. Not here. CNN spoke with tailgaters. Many of them had very supportive things to say about President Trump. Take a listen


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a bunch of (INAUDIBLE). I think they're fishing. It's a fishing expedition. It's been like that for three years now.

WESTWOOD: How much are you following what he is being impeached for. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For something in the Ukraine, where he told the president take a look at Biden for his misdeeds while he was in office. If he was corrupt, he was corrupt. Put him in jail.

WESTWOOD: Did you vote for Trump in 2016?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely I will. Even if I have to go in there in a wheelchair.


Trump was acknowledged publicly twice during the game to mostly cheers from the more 100,000 fans in the stadium. He had Alabama Republicans joining him in the box. One of those was Congressman Bradley Byrne. He is running against former attorney general Jeff Sessions. No sign of Sessions at this game.

But the president attending this major football game is something of a respite. He's been weathering an impeachment inquiry. Next week there will be public hearings in those impeachment proceedings in the House. He's also facing a difficult week ahead -- Sarah Westwood, CNN, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


ALLEN: The Iowa Democratic caucuses are less than 100 days away. In the coming hour, CNN will host a town hall in Iowa with candidate Tom Steyer and Joe Biden will be the featured candidate Monday night.

Fire officials in southeast Australia have a stark warning. Even though there are dozens of fires already raging, things are about to become even more dangerous. Ivan Cabrera will be by later for us.

And later an endangered species facing a fiery threat. How humans are putting orangutans at risk.





ALLEN: In California, a firefighter is being treated for injuries he suffered while battling a small brushfire in Hollywood. His arm and leg were wounded. Thankfully they aren't life-threatening injuries. The fire has burned 34 acres -- 14 hectares -- in the Hollywood hills and forced Warner Brothers studio lot to be evacuated.

Let's turn to Australia. Dire warnings from fire officials in the southeastern part of the country. There are already dozens of brush fires spread across the state of New South Wales and Queensland. Firefighters are scrambling to contain the fires already going before new ones flare up. Nine News reporter Airlie Walsh has more about it.


AIRLIE WALSH, NINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The bush fire emergency in New South Wales and Queensland is heading into unchartered territory. In Sydney, residents in the greater metropolitan area are being told to brace for catastrophic conditions Tuesday.

It will be a dangerous day with hot and dry and windy conditions. It will be the first time Sydney has ever been met with such catastrophic conditions; more than 40 schools will be closed with emergency crews warning residents to get their evacuation plans in place now.

As it stands, more than 70 fires are burning across New South Wales, 150 homes have been destroyed and three people killed. Across the border in Queensland, people have also been forced to flee with more than 40 fires burning across the sunshine state with dire warnings that the worst is yet to come.



ALLEN: One of the world's most endangered animals faces a renewed threat to its survival. In Indonesian controlled Borneo, forest fires largely manmade are putting orangutans on the island at great risk. They are in danger already due to deforestation. And as fires burn and deforestation increases, their populations plummet. Our Ivan Watson went to Borneo.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A grinding battle deep in the jungle. Firefighters on the Indonesian island of Borneo struggle to control a forest fire that threatens a national park.

WATSON (on camera): This is just brutal, brutal work they're doing here.

WATSON (voice-over): Toxic smoke in the tropical heat.

KRISYOYO, LAHG SEBANGAU PATROL UNIT MEMBER: The outbreak in here, almost two weeks already in here. Stay in here. Sleep in here.

WATSON (on camera): The rainforests in Indonesia are burning. Firefighters have been battling this blaze for weeks. And at its peak this summer, there were thousands of similar fires in other parts of the country. The fighting on the ground and in the air.

WATSON (on camera): These are aerial firefighters and right now, we're on a water-bombing mission.

WATSON (voice-over): Helicopters dump giant buckets full of water on the flames.

WATSON (on camera): Bombs away.

WATSON (voice-over): Firefighters say this crisis was ignited by man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the fire coming, I think from human, yes.

WATSON (on camera): You think humans started this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course.

WATSON (voice-over): An unusually dry summer fuels this inferno, visible from space. The haze engulfed cities in neighboring countries like Singapore and Malaysia, while in Indonesia, the smog closed airports and schools, creating apocalyptic skies.

This doctor saw panicked civilians flood his hospital. Indonesian authorities estimate about a million people suffered respiratory problems.

DR. KEVIN SUTRAPURA, PALANGKARAYA HOSPITAL: The air that we have, it is not toxic like this because not everyone can enjoy a fresh air.

WATSON (voice-over): The forest fires also threatening one of Asia's last great rainforests, home to orangutans, symbols of an entire ecosystem under threat.

WATSON (on camera): This is Poppy and she's a 1-year-old example of one of the world's most endangered species. Right now, she's attending a class in jungle school.

WATSON (voice-over): Activists from the Centre for Orangutan Protection take orphaned animals and teach them to survive and hopefully, one day return them to the wild.

As Borneo's rainforests shrink, the orangutan population has plummeted.

FLORA FELISITAS, VETERINARIAN, CENTRE FOR ORANGUTAN PROTECTION: The threat is deforestation maybe because of illegal logging or like conversion of the forest to make building or something by human and also for the forest burning.

WATSON (voice-over): These activists also rescue and relocate orangutans stranded by mass deforestation. The clash between man and nature on display when an ape confronts the heavy machinery ripping down its home.

And this is what's replacing much of Borneo's jungle -- sprawling plantations of palm trees, Indonesia's most lucrative cash crop.

Palm fruit like this makes a vegetable oil used in around half of all household products sold in your neighborhood grocery store. As palm oil exports ballooned over the last 20 years, so did the Indonesian territory used to grow palms. It's now bigger than entire countries, like England or Greece.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's now way out of our control in Indonesia.

WATSON (voice-over): Even this industry insider is calling for a stricter government regulation of the palm oil industry.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we just do it halfway we should always expect this forest and land fire in the future.

WATSON (voice-over): But this cash crop has also lifted millions of Indonesians out of poverty -- people like this farmer.

"Before I grew palms, I couldn't even afford to feed my children chicken," he tells me. "Farming palm, I've been able to buy a TV and a refrigerator."

The cheapest way to clear land for farming is to burn it. The government says it's trying to crack down on these manmade fires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us, forest fire is a serious crime.

WATSON (voice-over): Officials show me how they use thermal satellite imagery to detect fires to then prosecute palm oil companies. They say they've opened cases against 21 companies in the last four years, but some activists fear it's too little too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Please put out the fires.

WATSON (voice-over): Ramadhani (ph) is trying to reintroduce a rescued orangutan named Michelle to the wild. But the island halfway house where she now lives is in the shadow of a growing coal mine. Yet another industry, yet another threat.

Michelle's protectors fear that in 20 years' time there may be no forests left for these incredible animals -- Ivan Watson, CNN Indonesian Borneo.


ALLEN: So sad for those animals. A tough situation there. All for palm oil.

Next here, he's come to Donald Trump's defense many times. Now this U.S. lawmaker is on the defense after being accused of turning a blind eye to sexual misconduct years ago back in his home state. We'll tell you about that. Plus --


DAVID AXELROD, CNN HOST: What would John McCain be saying right now?

CINDY MCCAIN, JOHN MCCAIN'S WIDOW: Oh, gosh. I think he would be disgusted with some of the stuff that's going on.

ALLEN: The late senator John McCain did not exactly get along with the U.S. president. His wife tells us why he would be so upset with the state of politics right now. That's coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.






ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S. and all around the world. Appreciate you watching. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: Cindy McCain is telling CNN how her husband might think about the latest developments in the Trump administration. Before he died in 2018, Senator John McCain was an outspoken critic of the president and was a target of Mr. Trump's personal insults.

CNN's David Axelrod asked Ms. McCain why President Trump wasn't invited to her husband's funeral service.


AXELROD: So you had two presidents speak and there was one president who wasn't there, obviously, that was President Trump.


MCCAIN: Well, I had to -- I had to worry about my family. And the family was somewhat bitter about things that had been said about their dad and so it was -- it would have been very disruptive to my children and so I took their lead on this whole thing.

It was ultimately my choice and my decision. But I just didn't want any disruption. I didn't want anything to overshadow John McCain that day because that's why we were there.

AXELROD: Yes, words matter.

MCCAIN: Words matter, words matter, especially to a dying man.

AXELROD: What would John McCain be saying right now?

MCCAIN: Oh, gosh, I think he'd be disgusted with some of the stuff that's going on, I really do. I think he'd be -- what he'd be saying was that he'd be railing against what's going on.

And I think John provided a lot of cover for other members and, when he would do it, then they could get behind, that kind of thing. And I am not seeing that, a real rudder in the Senate right now.

I think John would be -- I know he would be terribly upset by this whole thing. He was upset before he died. He saw what was going on. So I just wish -- I wish he were here, like all of us. I wish he were here. But we need him more than ever, we really do. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: That's just part of the interview. You can catch the rest on "THE AXE FILES" with David Axelrod.

A U.S. Republican lawmaker Jim Jordan has made headlines for defending Donald Trump against his impeachment inquiry. Now Jordan is making headlines for entirely different reasons.

A new lawsuit accuses him of failing to take action against sexual misconduct back when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1990s. Jean Casarez has more on the case.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This case was just filed and the complaint alone is 165 pages. There are 43 accusers. Some are named. Many are anonymous. But they all say they were abused in some form or fashion by Dr. Richard Strauss.


CASAREZ: All of the athletes from the various sports of OSU are in this complaint: track and field, soccer, baseball, cheerleading, wrestling. One of the accusers was not a student at OSU. He was a paid referee and says that, in 1994 or 1995, after he had refereed a game, he was in the locker room and he was going to take a shower. He was alone with Dr. Richard Strauss.

And as he went into the shower, Strauss followed him in. He said the two of them were alone and he suddenly saw that the doctor, the physician in charge of male athletics and all of those associated with it, was pleasuring himself in the shower.

He said he had some words for him, went out and then he went to the head coach and also assistant coach Jim Jordan to say what he just witnessed.

He said the response by both men were, "Yes, that's Strauss."

The attorney for the accusers told CNN this is not a political issue in our estimation. This is an issue about Ohio State. This isn't about Jim Jordan. He happens to be a witness. He just happens to be a name or a person who was present.

Now a spokesperson for Congressman Jim Jordan said Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any kind of sexual abuse and, if he had, he would have dealt with it. Multiple investigations have confirmed this simple fact.

Ohio State University has told CNN that Ohio State has led the effort to investigate and expose the misdeeds of Richard Strauss and the systematic failures to respond. And the university is committed to a fair resolution.

Jean Casarez, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: In Texas, a man is convicted of murder and his execution is days away. But his supporters say he didn't get a fair trial. The case they're making to save Rodney Reed.





ALLEN: There is a growing outcry in the U.S. state of Texas to stop the execution of Rodney Reed. His supporters picketed the state capital in Austin Saturday. He was more than two decades ago convicted for the brutal killing of a 19-year-old woman.

DNA links him to the crime but his backers say evidence actually points to a different suspect. CNN's Ed Lavandera has the story from Texas.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1996, 19- year-old Stacey Stites was found dead on the side of the road in Bastrop, Texas. She was partially dressed, bruised and strangled with a belt. Investigators say she was raped and murdered just after 3:00 in the morning on her way to work at a grocery store.

For months, the prime suspect was her fiancee, a police officer named Jimmy Fennell, until DNA evidence pointed to another man she knew. A year later, tests confirmed Rodney Reed's semen was found inside Stites. A jury convicted Reed and sent him to death row.

But the saga was just beginning.

BRYCE BENJET, SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY, INNOCENCE PROJECT: It almost reads like a book. Hopefully, we don't execute the wrong man for this murder. LAVANDERA: Reed's attorney says the evidence points to Jimmy Fennell as the killer. They say Reed and Stites were engaged in a consensual affair and Fennell found out about it. Reed talked about this in an interview.

RODNEY REED, DEATH ROW INMATE: Prior to her death, there were times we were together and she said if Jimmy found out that we were together, that he would kill me. I just took it as a figure of speech. I didn't take it literally.

BENJET: And that is clear motive for him to have killed Stacey and ultimately having Rodney Reed take the fall for that murder.

LAVANDERA: Reed's case has garnered celebrity attention. Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and others are pushing to stop Reed's execution scheduled for November 20th. Reed's lawyers say the murder investigation is full of holes. They say the time of death is inaccurate and that police never searched the apartment where Fennell and Stites lived together and that DNA tests were never conducted on the belt used as the murder weapon.

But Fennell's lawyer says the push to exonerate Reed is a circus that has been rejected by appeals courts and that Reed is a monster.

ROBERT PHILLIPS, ATTORNEY FOR JIMMY FENNELL: Rodney Reed is a garden- variety sociopath who has convinced his lawyers and lots of other people that he's just a poor, unfairly charged black man being railroaded to the death chamber.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Prosecutors here in Bastrop, Texas, maintain Rodney Reed is guilty and deserves the death penalty. They have also pointed out in court documents that Reed was suspected of sexually assaulting and raping six other women. He was acquitted in just one of those cases.

BENJET: These are allegations. They're not convictions. And they have nothing to do with whether or not Rodney Reed committed the murder for which they're trying to execute him.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): There is also this. Jimmy Fennell spent 10 years in prison for kidnapping and raping a woman in 2007 while he was on duty as a police officer.

In a court affidavit, an Aryan Brotherhood inmate claims that when they were in prison, Fennell said to him, "I had to kill my N-word- loving fiancee."

PHILLIPS: The next surprise witness will be Mother Theresa appearing via epiphany. Each one of the stories is laughably lacking in credibility.

LAVANDERA: Rodney Reed also has one advocate that once lived by him on death row.

(on camera): Anthony Graves, you spent 18 and a half years on Texas death row. You were fully exonerated, released. You were wrongly convicted. Why do you relate to Rodney Reed?

ANTHONY GRAVES, DEATH ROW EXONEREE: I relate to Rodney because I know for a fact that those same players didn't give a damn about whether I was innocent or not.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Anthony Graves was wrongly accused of murdering a family of six people in 1992. The same judge, medical examiner and court-appointed defense attorneys that worked his case also worked Rodney Reed's murder trial.

GRAVES: I was in his seat. I know his story. It just sent chills up my spine when I read and know what Rodney is going through.

LAVANDERA: Graves has been free almost 10 years and now works as a criminal justice reform advocate. GRAVES: A young white woman was murdered and a black man was convicted of it. That is their case. They're not listening to anything else. Rodney Reed was definitely framed. And they're taking it all the way to the execution table.


LAVANDERA: While prosecutors who worked the case say the thought of Rodney Reed getting out of prison is absolutely terrifying -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Bastrop, Texas.


ALLEN: Atlanta police say a murdered college student had filed a police report against one of the suspects in her killing just days before she disappeared.

Authorities found the body of Alexis Crawford Friday in Atlanta's Dekalb County. In the report, Crawford had described unwanted advances by her roommate's boyfriend. We'll get more on this story from Natasha Chen.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The medical examiner's office has determined that Alexis Crawford died of asphyxiation. Police found her dead in a park in DeKalb County on Friday after one of the two suspects led police there. Both suspects are now in custody, charged with murder. And they are Crawford's roommate, Jordyn Jones, and the roommate's boyfriend, Barron Brantley.

Crawford's family first reported her missing on November 1st when they hadn't heard from her for a couple of days. Police noted in that report that Jones, the roommate, was not on speaking terms with Crawford. Here's why that may matter.

Police say Crawford herself filed the police report just days before she disappeared. That was for unwanted touching and kissing from Brantley, the roommate's boyfriend. That report was taken from Crawford at Grady Memorial Hospital, where she was taken at the time for a rape kit to be administered.

She told police she had been drinking with the roommate and the roommate's boyfriend when Brantley started touching and kissing her. Crawford told police that she then went into a bathroom and closed the door by herself.

But later the roommate found that Brantley was in there with her and he emerged with no shirt on and that Crawford was found also with just a bra on. Crawford told police that she did not remember Brantley being in there before she blacked out.

So police are definitely now looking into that report in relation to this murder investigation -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: We'll have more news after this.





ALLEN: An historic moment in Japan at the imperial enthronement parade. Thousands turned out to see Japan's new emperor and empress in Tokyo. There was music and ceremony as the imperial couple greeted their subjects. Will Ripley has more about it.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After months of careful planning and preparation and a delay last month after a super typhoon ravaged Japan, the imperial parade, the final celebration, if you will, of the new emperor and empress finally happened exactly according to plan.

The route lasted about 30 minutes, 4.5 kilometers from the imperial palace to the Akasaka palace. The emperor and empress were traveling on heavily guarded routes through Tokyo past the Japanese diet, the legislative building. The crowds estimated to be around 100,000 people and it was picture perfect weather for them.

There were also 26,000 police officers lining the route to make sure that the imperial couple and spectators remained safe. It does say a lot about Japan that the emperor and empress were able to ride in an open top vehicle through one of the most crowded cities on Earth.

It's a country with very strict gun laws and almost no civilians have firearms. It says a lot about the safety of the country that they were able to do that.

In fact, we expect to see the emperor and empress in an open top vehicle next year at the 2020 Olympics. Now the celebrations are over, they can get to work. They meet with hundreds of dignitaries every single year. They often have a grueling travel schedule. There is a lot of official duties that they need to perform.

They also face the challenge of remaining relevant, of continuing to break down the barriers between Japan's imperial family and the Japanese public. It was something the emperor emeritus did so masterfully, something emperor Naruhito has most of his adult life to watch and study from.

So his approach moving forward, well, we have to wait and see and we have to see what role his wife will play. Remember, she was not born into a royal imperial family.

She was the daughter of a diplomat, she herself Ivy League educated, a promising diplomat who gave up her modern life for the confines and the careful control of life behind palace walls. Now that she is the empress, will she be given a bigger role?

Will we hear more from her?

Those are the questions we will continue to watch moving forward in this new era in Japan -- Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.


ALLEN: Now we have this story from Sierra Leone. They fought Ebola and a civil war. Now the country is using yoga to help soldiers deal with trauma from those events and military leaders are looking to expand the program. Lynda Kinkade has that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stepping out of your comfort zone.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dog tags on a yoga mat, soldiers stand with bare feet instead of booths, reaching for the sky instead of a weapon. This yoga practice is part of a new initiative in Sierra Leone to help soldiers who are suffering from mental trauma after fighting both war and disease.


KINKADE (voice-over): The focus on breathing, posing and stretching, a welcome relief from the haunting memories that many of the soldiers still endure.

SGT. FELIXON MUSA, SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Yoga help people with trauma. By training yoga you think -- you don't always think about what has passed. You think about the present moment.

KINKADE (voice-over): Some soldiers are still troubled by the civil war, which ravaged the country from 1991 to 2002, claiming the lives of 50,000 people.


KINKADE (voice-over): The brutality of the war especially hard for some former child soldiers to overcome.

LANCE CPL. MICHAEL KARGBO, SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES (through translator): I come from a district where the rebels were based. We had boys who killed their mothers and fathers all before they even turned 12.

It was at that age they took me. I'm still traumatized but I am now able to control it because of how yoga transformed me. I am a new person.

KINKADE (voice-over): More recently, the soldiers faced a new kind of horror during the Ebola outbreak which hit West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Almost 4,000 people died in Sierra Leone. Soldiers cordoned off infected towns, guarded treatment centers and removed bodies from houses. For some, the job took a heavy toll.

MAJ. JOHN KAINESSIE, SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES: We were in the forefront, fighting the Ebola virus disease. You know, most of the memories (INAUDIBLE) thinking about (INAUDIBLE) I can take you back to the worrying (ph) days.

KINKADE (voice-over): Instructors say the program has been such a success they hope to expand it to others on the front lines so emergency responders and hospital workers can also learn how to decompress and face the rigors of the day with a warrior pose.


KINKADE (voice-over): Lynda Kinkade, CNN.


ALLEN: We'll end on that one. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. If you're joining us from the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. If you're an international viewer, "Business Traveller" is coming up. I'll be back with your day's top stories.