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Roger Stone Sentenced To Over Three Years In Prison; Forensic Files II Returns With New Science, New Voice; Nevada Holds Democratic Caucuses Tomorrow. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 21, 2020 - 08:30   ET



BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: -- ended America's longest war. So here is where we are tonight in Afghanistan which, of course, is just hours from now, a seven-day period of a so-called reduction in violence supposed to go into effect. Taliban agree no attacks. If there are attacks, the U.S. military will quickly try to determine who was responsible.

If this seven-day period works, and it is a big if, then on February 29th, they will sign a more formalized peace agreement. This is the hope. The idea is all of this leads to the U.S. being able to bring home U.S. forces, 12,000 troops there now. They hope to bring it down to 8,600 or so.

But, don't count on U.S. troops fully leaving anytime soon. They still want to keep U.S. troops in the region in Afghanistan to fight against terrorists. And the Taliban want all U.S. troops out of the country. So there is still potentially a very long way to go on all of this. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is all falling apart before. We're watching it very closely. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you very much.

STARR: Sure.

BERMAN: So, President Trump is attacking the jury in the Roger Stone trial. This was at a political rally.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury, the woman who was in charge of the jury, is totally tainted. When you take a look, how can you have a person like this? She was a anti-Trump activist.


BERMAN: The president's comments came after Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison, and the president hasn't ruled out the possibility of pardoning him. Joining me now is Seth Cousins. He was on that jury for the Roger Stone trial. Seth, thanks so much for being with us. How does it feel when the president of the United States attacks the jury that you've sat on?

SETH COUSINS, ROGER STONE TRIAL JUROR: Hi, John. Thanks for having me. Honestly, it's appalling to me.

John, 8 million Americans are called and report to jury service every year. That's 40,000 people every court day. Forty thousand people today are showing up for jury duty. And for the president to issue these baseless attacks on our jury and on our foreperson really denigrates the service that each of those people is doing.

I mean, they took -- made arrangements to take the day off work. They made arrangements for child care, to do their civic duty, to check their bias at the door, and to judge the case by the facts as they're presented. That's exactly what we did as a jury. That's exactly what Tomeka, our foreperson, did in the process. She helped us through.

I think it's appalling. I wish he wouldn't do it.

BERMAN: And aside from the fact that the defense allowed every single one of you to be placed on that jury, I've heard you talk about the fact that the foreperson was the most rigorous in terms of demanding facts, correct?

COUSINS: She was. I mean, most rigorous. She was the person who helped us through the process and helped us, you know, sort of establish the framework by which we would examine each and every element and each charge by itself and would tie each element back to the evidence that we had been given. So, yes, she was, you know, sort of principled person in making sure that we took our job very seriously and rendered a correct verdict.

BERMAN: So Judge Amy Berman Jackson, no relation, had a lot to say yesterday when she was issuing the sentence to Roger Stone. Let me read you one part of this, because it gets to the impartiality of the judiciary and the jury system. She says -- well, I'm not going to read what they have up in the screen right now. I'm going to read another one.

She says, "This case also exemplifies why it is that this system, for good reason, demands that responsibility falls to someone neutral, not someone who has a longstanding friendship with the defendant. Not someone whose political career was aided by the defendant. He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president".

Now, I don't know how closely you were able to pay attention yesterday. But you've probably heard some of Judge Jackson's words. How important are they to you?

COUSINS: They're very important to me. I think that she is spot on when she describes what he was prosecuted for. There has been discussion or, you know, sort of baseless accusation that he was prosecuted for being involved with Russia or something like that. That's actually not the case. He was prosecuted for lying in a congressional proceeding, for obstructing that proceeding, and for tampering with a witness.

As Judge Jackson also pointed out yesterday, as a result of his actions, the report that the House Permanent Select Committee put together was incomplete and inaccurate. So, yes, he did those things, and he is now facing the consequences of that.


BERMAN: Three plus years in prison. That is if, if the president does not pardon him. Let me play a little bit more of the president on that subject.


TRUMP: I'm not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States. I want the process to play out. I think that's the best thing to do, because I'd love to see Roger exonerated, and I'd love to see it happen because I personally think he was treated very unfairly.


BERMAN: Few things. Was he treated unfairly?

COUSINS: He was not treated unfairly by us as a jury. From everything that I saw happen in the courtroom, I don't believe that he was treated unfairly in the courtroom. I, you know, of course, have no knowledge of what happened outside of that or before that.

BERMAN: How would you feel if the president pardoned Roger Stone?

COUSINS: It would be pretty supremely unfair, I believe. I'll say I won't be surprised if it happens. But it would be indicative, I think, again, of a close confidant of the president getting away with behavior, getting away with covering up for the president and helping advancing the president's agenda. So, it would feel corrupt to me.

BERMAN: Seth Cousins, we appreciate you being with us this morning. We appreciate you serving on a jury. It is among the most American things that one can do, so thanks for everything.

COUSINS: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: All right. Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That was great. Great to hear from him.

A wall of flames after a tanker overturned on an interstate. The driver survived this, which is unbelievable when you look at your screen. Thanks to a Good Samaritan who saved him. So we have the incredible story, next.


CAMEROTA: There was a huge explosion on an interstate in Indianapolis after this tanker overturned. The driver miraculously survived thanks to the heroic actions of some Good Samaritans.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on this incredible rescue. I mean, running towards that, Polo, is terrifying.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you can add this to the list of people doing some incredible things. You can see the driver of that tanker truck is lucky to be alive today thanks to the actions of those two Good Samaritans. His tanker truck basically tipped over causing this fiery scene here.

One of those Good Samaritans now identified as Holly McNally. She pulled up to the scene there on I-70 in Indianapolis and helped pull the driver who's partially covered in flames away from this scene just moments before it exploded. Here's what's remarkable. She just had a baby this week.

In fact, she says that she was headed home after visiting now five- day-old Connor when she came upon this fiery wreck.


HOLLY MCNALLY, GOOD SAMARITAN: I'm scanning, and people are videotaping and watching, but nobody is running over there. Smoke was hitting us and I was like, you know, just praying like, God, please let me get out of here so I can go see my baby.

Because I thought, what if that's my son? What if that were Connor, you know, when he's 30? Would you want somebody to just leave him there?


SANDOVAL: Yes, McNally told NBC News this morning that she had just brought a life into this world. She was not prepared to see one go. As for the driver, he remains in critical condition this morning, Alisyn and John.

As authorities made very clear yesterday, there is no question that he is alive today because of the action of these two Good Samaritans, including this woman that now has a heck of a story for a baby.

BERMAN: She should do something productive this week.

CAMEROTA: Like run for president. Yes, we will vote for her for president in this upcoming season. She is --


CAMEROTA: -- incredible.

BERMAN: Yes. CAMEROTA: She just had a baby and wasn't thinking -- well, she was thinking about her own baby, but she was just imagining how she would feel if she was that driver's mother.

BERMAN: What have you done this week?

CAMEROTA: I mean, really, I don't think I would be capable of doing that, of running towards the flames.

BERMAN: That's amazing.

CAMEROTA: I just don't think I would do that.

BERMAN: Amazing. All right, Polo, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: My gosh.

BERMAN: So, calling all couch detectives. The legendary true crime series "Forensic Files" is back and it's better than ever. It's packed with new mysteries, new technology, and a new voice. Watch this.


BERMAN (voice-over): After a nearly decade-long hiatus, a pioneer true crime series returns this weekend. "Forensic Files" first broadcast under the name "Medical Detectives" in 1996, aired its last new episode in 2011. Since then, reruns of the show have boasted a cult- like following with fans ranging from everyday couch detectives to megastars.

BILL HADER, ACTOR: But I have seen every episode of "Forensic Files."

BERMAN: But now the real-life CSI series is back with 16 new episodes.

PETER THOMAS, FORMER NARRATOR OF FORENSIC FILES: Mary, unarmed and outmatched, didn't stand a chance.

BERMAN: The iconic sounds from the original program came from the legendary voice of the late Peter Thomas.

THOMAS: Identity of a man who had eluded police for over a decade.

BERMAN: In the new season, acclaimed film and TV actor Bill Camp steps into the role.

BILL CAMP, ACTOR AND NARRATOR OF FORENSIC FILES II: I am a devoted fan of Peter Thomas in the "Forensic Files" original series.

BERMAN (on camera): What's new with Forensic Files II?

CAMP: We see cases that have been cold for decades. But because the science has evolved and has progressed in such an incredible way, we're able to see cases that never would have been able to be solved.

There's a case in Louisiana down in a bayou where a young woman was murdered, and through a candy wrapper and Touch DNA, they were able to put the DNA through a computer process, a massive computer process, and create an image of somebody strictly from their Touch DNA on a candy wrapper.

BERMAN: Why do you think people are so fascinated with true crime?

CAMP: I think people like to be scared, but these are also detectives and scientists and families that are real, and that sucks us in. And then there's also the great, you know, satisfaction you get of mystery being solved.



BERMAN: So the brand-new season of "Forensic Files" kicks of Sunday night, 10:00 p.m. on HLN.

CAMEROTA: That I can do. When you want to know what I can do, I can watch "Forensic Files".

BERMAN: People watch the heck out of "Forensic Files" --


BERMAN: -- again and again and again.

CAMEROTA: Oh really.

BERMAN: Did you ever see Trey Gowdy from the '90s? Like old attorney --


BERMAN: -- Trey Gowdy as one of the voices --


BERMAN: -- in that?

CAMEROTA: It is really interesting to see him. All right, meanwhile, we're just one day away from the Nevada caucuses. How are election officials there working to avoid a repeat of Iowa?

BERMAN: Very carefully.

CAMEROTA: The Democratic Party chairman is going to tell us that, John, next.


CAMEROTA: Democratic caucuses in Nevada are tomorrow. Of course, officials want to avoid the debacle of Iowa.

Joining us now is William McCurdy. He's the chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party. Good morning, Mr. McCurdy.



CAMEROTA: Great to have you. On a scale of one to 10, how confident are you that everything will go smoothly tomorrow in Nevada?

MCCURDY: Oh, we're at a 10 for sure. And we're looking forward to this opportunity to have our voice heard tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's talk about that, because if there was a lesson learned from Iowa, one of them was that technology can fail us. So in Iowa, there was an app and that ended up not working for the precinct captains as they had hoped. In Nevada, as I understand it, there's a calculator.


CAMEROTA: So that also sounds a little bit complicated, the calculator, because here's what one precinct captain there in Nevada told our reporters this week. "The real problem is that they try to mix and match two different, completely different systems of voting. And they're really struggling with how to communicate the results from one over to the other." And what that precinct captain was referring to was the early voting that's already under way and it's been happening and the caucusing tomorrow.

So, how have you figured that out?

MCCURDY: So, from the very beginning, what we've been doing here at the party is making sure that, number one, what happened in Iowa will not happen in Nevada. And what we've done since then is we've put our head down, we've gotten to work, and we've made sure to implement off the shelf low-tech option, which is our caucus calculator that will enable our precinct chairs who will be largely working with the caucus calculator on caucus day to be able to enter in that data, and also help them eliminate human error. And I believe that it will go just fine.

CAMEROTA: This is the video -- as you're speaking, we're showing some video of the calculator and our reporters have actually tried it, you know, in, obviously, a sort of controlled setting where there wasn't -- it wasn't high pressure or high stakes where they had to deliver the results on a deadline.

But Mr. McCurdy, have you yourself given this a dry run?

MCCURDY: Yes. And I actually have -- was one of the first people to give it a try. And I am very confident that when it all comes down to it, our precinct chairs will be able to utilize this caucus calculator. And again, it helps them to reduce any human error. And at the end of the day, everything that can be done on our caucus calculator can also be done on pen and paper. So we feel very confident with what's been done. We've made sure to, you know, test it and continue to evaluate it, and we feel very confident.

And I might add that we are making sure that we train, you know, our volunteers and precinct chairs on the caucus calculator, and they will be ready to go come caucus day.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, that's tomorrow, just to point out. And, you know, when our reporters talked to them earlier in the week, they did not -- some did not feel ready. Let me read to you what one precinct captain said about the training that you just brought up.

"One precinct captain tells CNN they've had more than four hours' worth of Nevada Democratic provided training, both in person and webinars, and feel they have not gotten all the information they need for Saturday. 'They kept telling me, we'll get back to you and we'll get back to you, and we'll get back to you. And I'm like, guys, it's Saturday.'"

So, since then, are you sure that everybody has had enough training?

MCCURDY: Absolutely. And you know what, what happened in Iowa was, you know, less than ideal for Nevada. And what we've been able to do is actually show our resilience within this process. You know, like -- and let's take a step back. We said that we were going to put on the most accessible, transparent and expansive caucus yet, and we did just that.

We just completed our early vote period where we saw over 75,000 people show up. We know that, you know, on the first day of early voting, we had over 18,000 people participate. And of those 18,000 people, over 56 percent of them were first-time caucus goers, early voters, excuse me. And what this shows is that we are doing exactly what we set out to do, is make this process more expansive, more accessible. And speaking back to the training, just since Saturday, we've held over 50 trainings. We are continuing to hold trainings even up until today. And we've actually been able to train over 1,400 people.


MCCURDY: So we are doing the work. We are keeping our head down, and we know that come tomorrow, we will execute a successful caucus and folks will feel very confident with what we've been able to show the rest of the nation. So we're excited for this --


MCCURDY: -- moment.

CAMEROTA: William McCurdy, we look forward to watching and to finding out what the turnout is in Nevada. Thank you very much for all of the information this morning for us.


MCCURDY: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

MCCURDY: Thank you. CAMEROTA: John.

BERMAN: All right, time now for the good stuff. A therapy dog packing on a few extra pounds, but we're not judging, is taking better care of herself after having a few too many treats.

CAMEROTA: Oh, what are her secrets?

BERMAN: Again, we're not judging.

CAMEROTA: What are her secrets?

BERMAN: So, five weeks into her weight loss journey, the Labradoodle named Bailey (ph) has already lost three and a half pounds. Bailey's owner says she gained the weight at church because people were feeding her dog treats at each service. Now, she's hitting the gym, running on a treadmill several times a week.

CAMEROTA: Is that running? Because that's how I run, right there.

BERMAN: You know, moving on the treadmill. The goal is for Bailey to lose 10 pounds. She still does get one treat a day after the workout because as you well know, moderation is important.

CAMEROTA: That looks very similar to my gym routine.

BERMAN: I did a piece once on a dog fat camp. I don't know if you ever (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: I didn't but I'd --


CAMEROTA: -- love to see that.

BERMAN: You know, it was --

CAMEROTA: How did they go?

BERMAN: So it was really interesting. It was really interesting. You know, the dogs ended up better.

CAMEROTA: OK, there you go.

Meanwhile, there's new reporting on the Kremlin helping to get President Trump reelected. CNN's coverage continues after this very quick break.