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U.S. Aide Confirms Phone Call between Trump and Sondland; Trump Attacks Yovanovitch on Twitter as She Testified; Trump Pardons Two Military Officers, Reinstates a Third; Eight Killed as Bolivian Morales Supporters Clash with Police; Yellow Vest Movement One Year On; Rough Transcript of April Trump-Zelensky Call Released; California School Shooting Dies from Injuries; Venice Flooding; Prince Andrew Opens Up about Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; Season Three of "The Crown" Premieres Sunday. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired November 16, 2019 - 05:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Two witnesses, two testimonies, one place. We'll bring you all the latest on Capitol Hill.

And Donald Trump has once again ignored advice from his own advisers; this time, it involves the pardoning of service members, with war crime allegations.

Also Prince Andrew addressing his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein for the very first time. Hear what he has to say, coming up.

And live from CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOLMES: Welcome, everyone.

Friday's testimony from two U.S. diplomats painting a vivid picture of the U.S. president's direct involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

First up, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, literally outlining how she became the target of a smear campaign. The president went after her on Twitter. We'll have more on that in a moment.

The other witness, David Holmes, a U.S. State Department aide in Kiev. Holmes said he was told the president did not care about Ukraine, only about getting political dirt on Democratic political rival Joe Biden and Biden's son, Hunter. And the person who told him that was the ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland.

Holmes said he was with Sondland in a restaurant as Sondland spoke with Trump on the phone.

Quote, "I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president and explain he was calling from Kiev. I heard President Trump then clarify that the ambassador was in Ukraine.

"Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky, quote, 'loves your ass.'

"I then heard President Trump ask, 'So he's going to do the investigation?'

"Ambassador Sondland replied, 'He's going to do it,' adding that President Zelensky will, quote, 'do anything you ask him to.'"

And it comes on the heels of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's public appearance. Even some Republicans were taken aback.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," the president wrote. He added that Ukrainian president had spoken about him. Yovanovitch was told about the tweet moments later.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?


SCHIFF: It's designed to intimidate, is it not?

YOVANOVITCH: I mean, I can't speak to what the president is trying to do. But I think the effect is to be intimidating.

SCHIFF: Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.


HOLMES: People in the gallery applauded ambassador Marie Yovanovitch at the end of her six hours of testimony. We get more now from CNN's Alex Marquardt.


YOVANOVITCH: Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A blistering opening statement by Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, highlighting her often dangerous decades of service, as she took aim at the smear campaign to oust her from her post. YOVANOVITCH: I mean, there's a question as to why the kind of campaign to get me out of Ukraine happened because all the president has to do is say he wants a different ambassador.

And in my line of work, perhaps in your line of work as well, all we have is our reputation. And so this has been a very painful period.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The president has criticized Yovanovitch repeatedly, including on the July 25th call with President Zelensky, calling her "bad news" and saying she would "go through some things."


YOVANOVITCH: I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of states in such a manner where President Trump said that I was "bad news to another world leader that I would be going through some things.

So I was -- it was -- it was a terrible moment.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Terrible and threatening.

YOVANOVITCH: It sounded like a threat.



MARQUARDT (voice-over): Yovanovitch quickly called out Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, for leading the smear campaign against her.

YOVANOVITCH: I do not understand Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me nor can offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Republicans did not defend Giuliani's role or his parallel policy in Ukraine.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): I am not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today. This is the House Intelligence Committee that has now turned into the House impeachment committee.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): They argued that the president has the right to recall any ambassador he likes. But Yovanovitch said the way she was attacked with no defense from her bosses and then suddenly pulled out has created a chilling effect.

YOVANOVITCH: Not only in the embassy in Kiev but throughout the State Department because people don't know kind of whether their efforts to pursue our stated policy are going to be supported. And that is a -- that is a dangerous place to be.

MARQUARDT: What was clear in this hearing was how profoundly disturbing this experience was for Yovanovitch, a 33-year career coming to a crashing halt after she had been asked to extend her tenure in Kiev then yanked out of her post by a 1:00 am phone call and told to get on the next plane home.

She use those words, "shocked, appalled, devastated," then when she read the transcript of the July 25th call, when the president talked about her "going to go through some things," she said the color drained from her face and she had a physical reaction.

So it's no surprise that Yovanovitch thinks there's been a chilling effect -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: Leslie Vinjamuri is with Chatham House and joins us from London.

Thank you for joining us. This evidence from David Holmes, those words are being used by the Democrats, being, of course, criticized for secondhand evidence.

How do you view this?

How significant is it for the president?

LESLIE VINJAMURI, CHATHAM HOUSE: Well, I think it's very significant. And, of course, remember that these impeachment hearings are not meant to be partisan. They're meant to be looking into whether or not there was a quid pro quo and whether the president of the United States was withholding military aid for purposes that had to do with getting dirt on one of the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination, Vice President Joe Biden.

So it's not meant to be partisan. But, yes, that was testimony was tremendously important because it suggests very clear evidence that the president was directly pressuring the Ukrainian president to conduct investigations and linking that to military aid.

HOLMES: And, of course, that all in the face of denial, Donald Trump denied this week knowing anything about that call, never heard about it, he said. He's also said he hardly knew Sondland.

Yet, this is a man, Sondland, who can pick up a cell phone in a restaurant in Kiev and get the president on the line. And according there are other people who might testify about that.

Where does that leave the president in terms of his denials about all of this?

VINJAMURI: Yes. I think what we're seeing in these hearings a few days in, you know, we're seeing the credibility of the claims that the president is putting out being consistently undermined. And next week, we'll have Sondland testifying.

The other thing is I think what we're seeing in the hearings is an effort to establish the broader context of how significant Ukraine has been for U.S. foreign policy. The two key goals of that policy have been rooting out corruption and assisting Ukraine towards a successful democratic transition and providing for its national security in the context of the 2014 illegal annexation that Russia undertook of Crimea.

So an incredibly important context to establish. And then to drill down on the president's disregard for the very important goals of American policy in support of these pressures to have this investigations.

HOLMES: All right. Now let's talk, for a moment, about the former Ukraine ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, in that public hearing.


HOLMES: What was the headline for you out of that testimony?

VINJAMURI: Well, I think there were a couple of things. One, again, is that we are talking about an ambassador who, you noted, served for 33 years. Taking a very challenging post, who has been very committed across Republican and Democratic presidents; first served under president Reagan.

So what we've seen for three years, those people most committed to America's engagement diplomatically overseas, that State Department, is being hollowed out. So I think that general point was really on display.

But also, of course, the fact that the president was tweeting during this testimony suggests that he is not taking seriously the integrity of impeachment hearings and that there is a very serious threat, that witnesses, not only the ambassador while she was testifying but future witnesses, are being subject to intimidation by the president of United States of America. It's tremendously grave.

HOLMES: In fact, there was blowback even from GOP members and journalists on FOX News as well criticizing the president for that tweet.

In the totality, how do you view the events of Friday, Yovanovitch's testimony, David Holmes' testimony, you've got Sondland next week, other witnesses coming up. Somebody from the Office of Management and Budget as well. The Roger Stone verdict. How does it impact the strategy despite the impeachment?

VINJAMURI: Well, you know, the Republicans, unfortunately, at the moment, it does seem to be an impeachment hearing -- the hearings do seem to be viewed through a partisan lens. One hopes that won't be the case.

But the Republican strategy has varied. It's, for some, I think it's a strategy of saying is this really so significant? Once the evidence becomes clear and clearer, as it did on Friday, that the president was pressuring Zelensky, the Ukraine president, to conduct those investigations and linking it to military assistance, then the strategy is to move towards saying, is it really that significant.

I think one of the big questions here and this is what we're really waiting to see is how public attitudes of Americans will develop.

Will they change?

How dynamic is this?

And will Americans remain somewhat fixed in their views?

And you know, Congress men and women are going to be watching, to see how their constituents respond to these public hearings. That is what we don't know yet. But that is what I really think is most significant as we move forward.

HOLMES: Always reminds you of the saying that the Republicans were with Richard Nixon until they weren't. Leslie Vinjamuri, thanks so much.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

HOLMES: U.S. House Democrats hope to be done with the impeachment by Christmas, they say. So a lot of witnesses are being called to tell Congress publicly what they know. Eight scheduled for next week, including the U.S. ambassador to E.U., Gordon Sondland, where he will attempt version three of his testimony.

While the president faces impeachment hearings, one of his longtime advisers is being found guilty of lying to and obstructing Congress. Roger Stone convicted on seven counts Friday. They include lying to Congress and failing to turn over documents related to WikiLeaks. For the most serious of the crimes, witness tampering, he faces 20 years. Stone had this reaction to the verdict.


QUESTION: Mr. Stone, what's your reaction to the verdict?

STONE: No comment.

QUESTION: Will you be seeking a pardon from President Trump?

STONE: No comment.


HOLMES: The 67-year-old is still under a gag order as he awaits sentencing, which is in February of next year. Stone is the sixth Trump associate to have been convicted of a crime since the president took office. All of those cases stemming from the Russia investigation.

And President Trump has ignored advice from his Defense Secretary and Pentagon officials and absolved three service members accused of war crimes. CNN's Ryan Browne with more.


RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump making a major decision on three high-profile military justice cases on Friday, pardoning two U.S. Army soldiers and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL, who had been convicted of posing with a corpse in Iraq.


BROWNE: The Army soldiers who were 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who was convicted for ordering his troops to open fire on an Afghan man, and Army Major Matthew Golsteyn, who was charged with the murder of an unarmed Afghan man.

The pardons mean that Lorance and Golsteyn will return to the U.S. Army in good standing. Lorance, after being convicted, had been imprisoned in Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas. He will likely, we're told, return to the military.

President Trump had been expected to make some decision on this. Some members of Congress had lobbied President Trump. And some FOX News personalities had lobbied Trump for full pardons for Lorance and Golsteyn.

He overruled the advice of his senior military commanders, who are worried this decision do have a negative impact on good order and discipline, as well as potentially underline the UCMJ, the Uniform Code of Military Justice system.

The White House says President Trump as commander in chief has every right to make these types of decisions. This is something he had promised to do, take a look at these cases and he's fulfilling that promise.

Again, a controversial decision, embraced by some. Some are also criticizing it as a potential abuse of the military justice system. For now, President Trump making it clear these three men, two will be pardoned and one will have his rank restored despite objections of some -- Ryan Browne, CNN, the Pentagon.


HOLMES: One year ago, parts of France descended in chaos. Fuel hikes backing violent protests across the country. Now there's fear of a Yellow Vest resurgence. We'll have that when we come back.

Also, class is out for the semester at one Hong Kong university. How protesters are turning campuses into fortresses. We'll have that as well, when we come back.




HOLMES: There's more unrest on the streets of Bolivia as supporters of the ousted president, Evo Morales, clash with police.

[05:20:00] HOLMES: At least eight people died, 125 people injured in Friday's unrest. Bolivia's interim president blamed Morales, accusing him of trying to stay in power. The ousted leader condemned the violence, saying he's willing to stay out of the race but willing to get back into it as well.

Morales resigned from office on Sunday over allegations of irregularities in the last election.

Turning now to Iraq, where officials say at least one more person is dead, 16 injured after a roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad near anti- government protests. No claim of any responsibility as yet.

Iraq's human rights committee says at least 320 people have died, 15,000 have been injured, since this wave of anti-government protests began in October.

And violent unrest in Hong Kong has forced the Polytechnic University to cancel all face-to-face classes for the rest of the semester. For the past week, pro-democracy protesters have occupied the campuses across the city, guarding them with makeshift brick walls, petrol bombs and obstacles.

Some protesters abandoning other universities but many dug in at the Polytechnic because it's near a tunnel that links Hong Kong Island to the rest of the city. The university is asking the students to complete their course work online. And telling staff to work from home.

One year on, Yellow Vest protests no longer grinding Paris to a halt, protesting a hike in the fuel tax and more. Since the movement began, the government has made many concessions. But the anger still remains and there is still fear that the protests could erupt again, sending France into chaos. Melissa Bell reports.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They seemed to come from nowhere. On November 17th, 2018, more than 250,000 protesters took to the streets of France. In Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse, they wore the yellow vests that French motorists are obliged by law to carry in their cars.

Their target: a hike in the fuel tax, announced by the government in the name of the environment.

After that first protest, Yellow Vests occupied roundabouts, rallying their sympathizers to social media, setting up permanent roadblocks and waiting to see how many would join them the following week. The leaderless revolt setting a trend that would come to be followed elsewhere, not least in its violence.

FRANCK BARRENHO, YELLOW VEST PROTESTER: After one year, every weekend having the furbishen (ph). Now even the police, they can feel it. We are not afraid anymore. BELL (voice-over): By early December, Paris was burning. With the violence worsening week after week in the face of a government response, judged too little, too late. On December 12th, the French president canceled the fuel tax hike and later announced an $11 billion package of wage hikes and tax relief for the least well-off, conceding to many of the demands of the Yellow Vests.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): I accept my share of responsibility. I may have given you the feeling that I was not concerned, that I had other priorities. I also know that I have hurt some of you with my statements.

BELL (voice-over): But the concessions seemed only to broaden the grievances of the Yellow Vests, from high taxes to the cost of living to inequality in general. The anger unleashed proved impossible to contain.

With the police facing off each week with ordinary groups of protesters but also with more radical and violent activists from both the far right and the far left. By the end of January, Emmanuel Macron held meetings across the country, holding marathon sessions with local officials and ordinary citizens in order to hear their grievances himself.

New anti-riot legislation was introduced and, little by little, the movement lost its momentum. By then, according to interior ministry figures, 2,400 protesters and 1,800 policemen had been injured and 11 people had been killed, mainly in traffic accidents.

Yellow Vest organizers say that 24 people lost an eye. As the violence became more sporadic and the numbers of Yellow Vests dwindled, the question of what had been achieved was debated, not least amongst the Yellow Vests themselves, with some more pessimistic than others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We achieved nothing. Government give us nothing. Only terrorism and violence in the streets. Nothing else.

BELL (voice-over): One year on, have the Yellow Vests advantaged for good?

Or can they once again appear to come from nowhere?


HOLMES: And Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris.


HOLMES: I know you're keeping an eye on things there.

What have you been seeing?

BELL: Well, we're starting to get a sense, Michael, of how this day is likely to pan out. It isn't so much that the numbers of protesters are that massive at this stage; it's that we're seeing their determination to get into confrontations with the police.

Two clash points, one to the west of Champs-Elysees and where marches have set off and what we've seen in the course of the past hour are fires being lit and tear gas being sent by police. I think that's crucial.

What we saw over the course of that year with protests, was the protesters at first having advantage over police, which hadn't had the mobility they needed to take them on successfully.

We saw the police in the beginning, in the first few months, regularly outfoxed the protesters who managed to get around the tactics they were using and cause destruction and violence.

Now already you've seen those protesters trying to do that once again, lighting those fires, trying to set up blockades. But very quickly, those highly mobile units that police used to disperse them and using tear gas very effectively.

So Yellow Vest protesters trying to create areas where they can cause damage to take on the police. And the police trying to ensure that can't happen, Michael.

HOLMES: Melissa Bell keeping an eye on it for us. Thanks, Melissa.

Well, the White House finally puts out a transcript of President Trump's April phone call with Ukraine's leader. But it's most newsworthy for what's missing. The details coming up.

Also in California, a community in mourning, with questions looming over why a student opened fire and killing two students. We'll hear what police have to say, coming up.





HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. These are the top stories this hour.


HOLMES: Now the appearance of Holmes and Yovanovitch on Capitol Hill overshadowed another development, one the Trump White House probably thought would help the president. For details on that, here's CNN's Kaitlan Collins.


SCHIFF: The committee will come to order. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Marie Yovanovitch's hearing was gaveled in today, the White House released the long-promised transcript of President Trump's first call with the leader of Ukraine, which the ranking Republican Nunes then read live on television.

NUNES: When you're settled in and ready, I'd like to invite you to the White House. We'll have a lot of things to talk about.

COLLINS: The transcript immediately raising questions because it made no mention of corruption. That contradicts a readout published by the White House months ago which claims the two leaders discussed ways to root out corruption during their first call.

The White House has insisted fighting corruption was the primary reason Trump held up the military aide to Ukraine and officials didn't explain the discrepancy when CNN asked for comment.

Today, the press secretary said Trump would only watch Nunes' opening statement, but for the rest of the day, he will be working hard for the American people.

Though Trump later admitted he had been paying close attention.

TRUMP: I've been watching today. For the first time, I started watching.

COLLINS: Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch turned bad, Trump tweeted an hour into the hearing. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?

Then fast forward to Ukraine with a new Ukrainian president spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. president's absolute right to appoint ambassadors. They call it serving at the pleasure of president.

In a surreal moment, Adam Schiff read the tweet live on television.

SCHIFF: Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter and I'd like to give you a chance to respond.

MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I can't speak to what the president is trying to do but I think the effect is to be intimidating.

COLLINS: After facing criticism even from Republicans for his tweet, Trump said it wasn't witness tampering and insisted he had the right to speak up.

TRUMP: I don't think so at all. I'll tell you about what tampering is, tampering is when a guy like Shifty Schiff doesn't let us have lawyers, tampering is when Schiff doesn't let us have witnesses.

COLLINS: With the readout of that actual call transcript said it's the National Security Council who handles the readouts of the president's calls and they say this one in April was handled by their top Ukraine expert, that's Alex Vindman who testified behind closed doors about his alarm over the president's second call to Ukraine. He's expected to go before lawmakers publicly on Tuesday -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: In California, the 16-year-old gunman who opened fire on his classmates before turning the gun on himself has died from his injuries. Police say the teen shot five students, killing two. And a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.

Now as the community grieves, investigators are left trying to piece together why this tragedy took place. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here in Central Park in Santa Clarita, California, this is where parents came to reunite with their children after a school shooting at Saugus High School. The shock of that shooting has started to subside.


SIDNER: Now sorrow is setting in.

SIDNER (voice-over): A sign of sorrow and remembrance after tragedy, a makeshift memorial grows each hour after yet another deadly school shooting. This time it happened in Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.

NADIA FURMANSKI, SAUGUS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Me and my friends were running up this hill, everyone's falling trying to get to safety.

SIDNER (voice-over): One of 14-year-old Nadia Furmanski's friends never had a chance to get to safety: 15-year-old Grace Anne Muehlberger was shot to death.

FURMANSKI: She was such a pure person. It's so sad to see something like this happening so close to home. She was one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Ever talked to.

SIDNER (voice-over): Also killed 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell. Three other students were wounded. Sheriff's investigators say it was the shooter's birthday. He had just turned 16 the day he opened fire, using the last bullet to shoot himself in the head. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said surveillance video showed the shooter pulled the .45 from his backpack.

SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: In 16 seconds he cleared a malfunction, was able to shoot five people and himself. He seemed very familiar with firing the weapon.

SIDNER (voice-over): Investigators say the gun used in the killings was not registered. Six others recovered from the family home belonged to his deceased father. What has not been discovered is why. CAPTAIN KEN WEGENER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Suffice to say, we did not find any manifesto. Any diary that spelled out, any suicide note or any writings which will clearly identify his motive behind this assault.

SIDNER (voice-over): The deadly assault on this community is exacting a terrible toll. It lives on in the minds of the students, staff and parents who endured it.

FURMANSKI: It's so hard because the sound of gunshots and the sights of everybody running is just replaying in my head.

SIDNER: A terrible thing for a 14-year old, a freshman in high school to have playing over and over again in her head. But the school district says there is counseling available. And the community here in Santa Clarita is coming together like never before -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Santa Clarita, California.


HOLMES: We'll take a short break here. When we come back, Venice is in for another tough day. Historic flooding shutting down many businesses and landmarks, causing millions of dollars of damage.

Also Britain's Prince Andrew finally addresses his friendship with late convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. Why the royal is saying he let his family down.





HOLMES: Venice waiting for relief from days of what forecasters call exceptional flooding. The rising water is crippling the lagoon city, forcing businesses and historic landmarks to close. The city actually under a state of emergency.

It is the worst flooding Venice has seen in more than 50 years, costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Scott McLean joins from us Venice with an update.

The last hour we spoke, the tide was on its way in.

What has changed in the last hour?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Michael, so we're about 15 minutes away now from high tide. You can see St. Mark's Square is completely flooded. But there are also a lot of tourists getting back to their normal business. Cafes have opened for the first time.

Today, the high tide, even though it looks dramatic, is much less, significantly less than it was earlier in the week. It will peak at 105 centimeters above sea level. This is the door to St. Mark's basilica, imagine the amount of water we have, add 80 centimeters on that and you've got a heck of a lot of water.

It bears reminding how ornate this basilica is. Is it is one of the historical treasures of Italy. It is not the kind of thing you want to see underwater or with water right up to the door.

The problem here, Michael, is that they are expecting more water tomorrow. Not what we saw on Tuesday but close, 160 centimeters. Again, imagine what we have now. Add 60 centimeters to it, hello. You'll see the water somewhere near the top of these platforms.

So again, the issue is, a lot of the businesses, a lot of the store fronts and things like that and houses as well, they do have some flood defense -- you know, metal gates that are water tight that they can put in that can stop some water like what they're seeing right now from causing significant damage.

The issue is when it reaches a certain level, it's either going to jump on top of the gates or simply come up from the ground, come through the plumbing. There's nothing they can do to really stop it at all.

They've been seeing this phenomenon more and more over the last couple of years. The mayor, who was actually in this square in the last hour, touring around officials from the Italian government, said this is climate change. He's pinning this on climate change.

We can't pin one specific event on climate change. But he is correct in saying, look, sea levels have been rising, which is exacerbating these high tides we've been seeing here in Venice, Michael.

HOLMES: Indeed, can't argue with that. Scott McLean there in Venice, thanks so much, popular with the tourists. Let you get back to schmoozing.



HOLMES: Britain's Prince Andrew speaking publicly for the first time about his links to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew telling the BBC he let the royal family down by associating himself with Epstein.

The royal author claims he has no recollection of meeting one of Epstein's accusers, who says she was a minor when she was forced to have sex with the prince. That's a photograph there of the two taken together in 2001. Hadas Gold is live in London with more details.

A lot of anticipation about this interview. Fill us in.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was a blockbuster interview and it was clearly done with the queen's blessing because it actually took place in Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening. The BBC said it was a no-holds-barred interview and none of the questions were vetted. In the two clips we've seen so far, we have one where Prince Andrew saying he never recalls meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims that Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was a minor.

Previously the prince has denied strenuously the allegations and in an interview with BBC, he says he just doesn't remember meeting here despite that photo you just showed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts has made allegations against you. She says she met you in 2001. She said she dined with you. Danced with you at Tramp nightclub in London. She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend.

Your response?

PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady. None whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't remember meeting her?

ANDREW: Never.


GOLD: And Prince Andrew also said that he let the palace down. He said that he regrets meeting with Epstein, even after Epstein had been convicted of sex crimes.

Now he is getting some support from important places, including his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

She tweeted, "It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure, real truth that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs. Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness."

But if the prince thought that this interview would help quell the controversy around him, it likely has not. There's a lot of questions, including from attorneys for Epstein's accusers, asking why is he willing to sit down for this interview but has yet to speak to investigators in the United States?

HOLMES: Hadas Gold, thank you so much.

And the woman accusing Prince Andrew of assaulting her, she spoke to Vicky Ward last month.


VICKY WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What should we in the media be doing in your view that we're not? VIRGINIA ROBERTS GIUFFRE, EPSTEIN VICTIM: We need to change the way we talk about victims, huge in the media. One thing that bothers me so, is in terms of Prince Andrew, they call me Prince Andrew's lover, Prince Andrew's prostitute, Prince Andrew's sex slave. I've got all of those names in the news.

And I think, like, I'm not any of those things. I was trafficked to this man. I was a minor, being trafficked. I didn't have a choice in the matter. I couldn't say no.

So let's start using stronger, more powerful words so victims feel like they can come forward, you know. And I just encourage the media to continue to work hand in hand with the authorities and with the victims because it's going to take all of to us make it happen.



HOLMES: Vicky Ward has reported on Jeffrey Epstein for almost two decades. Her CNN podcast, "The Jeffrey Epstein I Knew," will have new episodes starting November 26th. And hear the full interview on CNN's podcast. We'll be right back.





HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.

Season 3 of Netflix's hit show "The Crown" drops on Sunday. And with the new season comes an entirely new cast. Lynda Kinkade with more.



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The changing of the guard for Season 3 of "The Crown," the hit Netflix series returns Sunday, leaving behind the young royal couple seen in the first two seasons, portrayed by Claire Foy and Matt Smith.

And skipping forward to the mid '60s, with a new cast headed up by Academy Award winning actor Olivia Colman as the queen and Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip. The actors say they're excited to be part of the new season but admit it's a bit daunting to play a royal.


KINKADE (voice-over): Especially one that could be watching it.

TOBIAS MENZIES, ACTOR: I'm actually a bit nervous about them watching it, I'd be amazed if they watched it but maybe they do. I'm not sure if he would be a Netflix kind of ensure (ph) kind of guy. I think he's probably a bit more documentaries and, you know.

KINKADE (voice-over): Actress Helena Bonham Carter takes over the role of the queen's younger sister, Margaret, and says it was a challenge to pick up a role started by another actress.

HELENA BONHAM CARTER, ACTOR: It's quite intimidating to take over from somebody who's so brilliant. And then I realized, one, I'm shorter than her so I can do the short and I'm older and we were employed to be old, which is kind of nice.

KINKADE (voice-over): The new series also introduces us to a young Prince Charles, played by Josh O'Connor, who says the show can sometimes blur the lines but, in the end, only the people they are playing can really ever know what life is like behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace.

JOSH O'CONNOR, ACTOR: There are punctuation marks to the fact and real events. But ultimately it's just the -- it's we are creating drama.

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


HOLMES: A man in England is being called a real-life Iron Man after taking human flight to the next level. British inventor Richard Browning broke the Guinness world record for the fastest speed in a body-controlled jet engine-powered suit. He reached almost 137 kilometers an hour, more than doubling the previous record that he set back in 2017.

Browning set off from Brighton pier wearing a suit controlled only by body movement. Gentle landing as well.

That wraps up this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for your company and spending time with us. I'm Michael Holmes. If you're here in the U.S., "NEW DAY" is just ahead. For international viewers "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" just ahead. But I'll have your headlines first.