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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Justice Department Seeks Pence Testimony In January 6 Criminal Probe; Victims Of Virginia Walmart Shooting Identified; Idaho Police Lay Out Clearer Timeline Of Idaho Killings; English Professor On Life In Kherson After Russia Invaded; Arizona Communities At The Epicenter Of The Water Crisis. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 23, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thank you so much, Lisa.

LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS LIFE": Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And be sure to tune in, the final season of "This is Life" with Lisa Ling premieres on Sunday night at 10 o'clock only on CNN, and you can find every episode of "This is Life" from all the prior seasons that Lisa talked about streaming on Discovery+.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

AC 360 starts right now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The former President was already having a turkey of a legal week, now comes with could be a sign of trouble.

John Berman here, in for Anderson.

Barely a day after three or four legal setbacks depending on how you're counting, including a Supreme Court defeat on his taxes, Trump now has one more thing to worry about, the possibility that his former Vice President, the one he sicked the mob on with a tweet at 2:24 PM on January 6th, could one day offer potentially damaging testimony against him.

So far, Pence has avoided giving evidence under oath. And just last week, Pence told our Jake Tapper, he is not cooperating with the House Select Committee.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The January 6 Committee, Congress has no right to my testimony because under the Constitution of the United States, as Vice President, we had two co- equal branches of government.

The Congress doesn't report to the White House, the White House doesn't report to the Congress and I truly do believe in defense of the separation of powers and to avoid what would be a terrible precedent. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So that's out he says. But what about testify in a criminal investigation? Because as we learned late today, that's exactly what Federal prosecutors are now seeking. We also learned he could, Pence, could be open to it. Couple that with the possibility that the former Vice President is weighing a presidential run against his old boss and you have got quite a dish this Thanksgiving Eve.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is working the story for us and joins us now with the very latest.

Katelyn, at this point, how likely is it that former Vice President Pence would provide testimony in the Justice Department investigation?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE SENIOR REPORTER: John, it's quite possible right now. They are at a starting point. That's where they are. There is a lot of eyes right now on the Special Counsel, Jack Smith.

From our reporting, we understand that this request from the Justice Department went to Pence's team a couple of weeks ago, so before Smith's appointment, but from prosecutors who are going to continue working on this January 6 criminal investigation.

So how much Smith is going to want to push forward on this is really a big question, but we do know from our reporting that Pence is open to discussing the possible agreement with the Justice Department where he could come in to testify, that might be a grand jury, it also could just be with the FBI directly he could be providing some information, and it doesn't look like he is saying no outright -- John.

BERMAN: So, Pence made clear that he has no interest in cooperating with the House Select Committee investigation into January 6. So just so people understand, what's different about the Justice Department probe?

POLANTZ: It is different because this is a criminal probe. That is a much different thing than a congressional probe. A congressional probe, they are their own branch of government and they are equal to the executive branch, so they can't really reach into the executive branch and pull out everything that they want.

There is a standoff there that continues often, whenever the Congress is trying to get information. But in this sort of circumstance, a criminal investigation, that's the Justice Department's doing, they would be looking into their own branch of government and also, Justice Department criminal investigations, historically have gotten lots and lots of information that they want, including around past presidencies.

There is nothing that is here that would say that the Justice Department can't get anything out of Pence. They have already gotten information out of his top deputies, and in the past, the Nixon presidency, the Clinton presidency, even the Reagan presidency, all of those presidencies have been times where the Justice Department has been able to build criminal investigations and look into them.

BERMAN: And Katelyn, you know, Vice President Pence just published a book. He is doing a book tour, and inside the book, it details some of his interactions with the former President Donald Trump, as Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election. So, might that undermine any potential claim of executive privilege here?

POLANTZ: Yes, look, Donald Trump is the person who could try and claim privilege and fight it. Mike Pence in his own right was a very important and powerful person who has his own authority. So he ultimately may be able to make a decision on his own. It's possible the Trump team would try to fight, but that book that you mentioned that Pence put out, we know that he is already saying in the book, he is divulging conversations that were directly between him and Donald Trump.

He is saying when he was telling Trump, I don't believe I have the authority to overturn the presidency, to block the certification by Congress, he says in his book, he writes Trump told him that he was wimping out, that he might have been perceived as a wimp.


Those are the sorts of details that the Justice Department may want to nail down. We know they are already nailing down quite a bit, John, from many of the other people around the White House around Trump, even around Pence. So if they do ultimately get him, John, that would be what they say is gravy.

BERMAN: Gravy. Well done on this Thanksgiving. Katelyn Polantz, a very Happy Holiday to you. Thank you for being with us.

POLANTZ: You as well.

BERMAN: Perspective now from CNN legal analyst, Carrie Cordero; also CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Alice Stewart.

Carrie, you heard the report from Katelyn just there. How big of a deal is this?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think the fact that the Vice President's team, the former Vice President's team is talking to the Justice Department is important, and this is a process, John.

So first, they're going to open a dialogue, which it sounds like they've done, then they're going to ask him, does he want to be -- the question for him is does he want to voluntarily come in and be interviewed, or potentially testify before the grand jury? And then the next question is, is he going to be compelled?

And sometimes, John, there is this gray space in between the government forcing someone serving a subpoena, and when the potential witness actually would prefer to receive a subpoena and prefer to be compelled. That way they can sort of publicly especially if there's politics involved, have the appearance of sort of holding back a little bit, not volunteering to go in, but at the same time, if they are served with lawful process, cooperating with a valid law enforcement investigation.

BERMAN: Yes, please compel me. You know, I only testified because they forced me to -- that kind of situation.

Alice, about the politics, if the former Vice President does choose to cooperate with this investigation and also chooses to run for President in the coming year, you know, he could be offering testimony against a rival for the Republican nomination.

So how do you think he looks at the politics of this?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I truly believe Mike Pence did the right thing on January 6th and he will do the right thing with regard to a criminal probe, regardless of the political consequences.

Look, any of the potential candidates that Donald Trump will face in 2024 understand full well what that means. That means if you are someone that stands in Donald Trump's way you will be called a name, you will be criticized, you will be mocked. And all of those that are currently potential 2024 candidates are already receiving that.

And I don't see Mike Pence shying away from doing the right thing based on what could happen in 2024, and how Donald Trump would respond. But Donald Trump clearly has already gone after DeSantis. He has gone after Glenn Youngkin, and speaking with leaders on their teams, they are going to ignore him, because Republicans see every day with each passing day, Donald Trump increasingly irrelevant within the Republican Party, and the best thing to do is to ignore him and look at issues moving forward to advance the country and advance the next peaceful transfer of power and just put Donald Trump in the rearview mirror.

BERMAN: So Carrie, Katelyn talked about the possibility of the former President trying to exert executive privilege to keep the former Vice President from testifying. How successful would that be? What would the impact of that be? And keep in mind that some of Mike Pence's aides have ended up testifying whatever executive privilege the former president wanted there, it didn't hold up.

CORDERO: All right, well, so there are huge differences, as you were also describing between the congressional inquiries where so many aides have tried to assert executive privilege on behalf of the former President versus this criminal investigation that the Justice Department is conducting.

And so while there can be stronger cases of executive privilege when you're dealing with the two different branches, Congress trying to get information as part of a political or legislative process versus the Justice Department, which is part of the executive branch, conducting a criminal investigation and then using the Court system to facilitate that investigation.

So there is a huge difference there in terms of the ability to use executive privilege, and the fact that the former Vice President has also written some of the things that he might talk about in an interview or testimony in his book would even make arguments that would be made on the behalf of the former President even harder, because if it's already out there, if he has already communicated that information publicly, then if he were to receive a subpoena to testify, and then were to challenge it and use executive privilege, the fact that he has already put some of the information out in the public, I think would make that an even weaker case and that's not even getting into the fact that executive privilege really is the domain of the current President.


BERMAN: Yes, and look, the bottom line is, the Justice Department has gotten the testimony. It's wanted so far. It has taken some time, more time than they maybe would have liked in some cases, but they're getting what they want so far.

Alice, what about Mike Pence? What role do you think he wants in the Republican party going forward?

STEWART: He wants to continue to have a big part in the party as he already has. Look, if you recall when Donald Trump was the nominee, Mike Pence was instrumental in galvanizing social evangelicals behind Donald Trump and encouraging him to look for Scalia-like Justices and really go all in on the pro-life issue and issues that are important to social evangelicals. That is, Mike Pence's calling card.

And whether he puts his hat in the ring for 2024, or he is advising someone else, he has a key role in keeping issues that are very important to a big part of the Republican Party, front and center.

And look, it's going to take someone with the temperament of Mike Pence to do what needs to be done with the Republican Party, threading that needle with keeping Donald Trump's base on board and broadening the tent to the Republicans who are disaffected due to Donald Trump's extremism.

Republicans across the country, John, speaking with them since this last election, Donald Trump's extremism has expired and they're ready to turn the page. They just need someone with the temperament of Pence to keep Trump's base on board, but also broaden the tent and whether it's pence or DeSantis or any number of people that are looking at 2024 that needs to happen.

BERMAN: Well, look, it will be very interesting to see what happens with this possible testimony, and perhaps also when.

Carrie Cordero, Alice Stewart, thank you both so much for being with us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

STEWART: You, too, John.

CORDERO: Thank you. BERMAN: Next, a trauma surgeon's perspective on what she saw in the wake of the country's latest mass shooting overnight at a Walmart in Virginia, and later a new update on police efforts to solve the mysterious killings of four University of Idaho students and what a cold case expert and forensic scientists make of it all.


[20:16:18 ]

BERMAN: Before there was even time for loved ones to bury, let alone grieve for the five people murdered in the latest mass shooting to make national headlines, there has been another. This is how it goes.

The grieving for one interrupted by the shock of the next, a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club Saturday night; last night, a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, and six more of our friends and neighbors gone.

We just learned that all six worked at the store. Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, Tyneka Johnson and a 16- year-old whose name has not been released because he is a minor.

In a moment, a trauma surgeon who treated the wounded, first, CNN's Dianne Gallagher with all we know about what happened.


KEVIN C. HARPER, WALMART SHOOTING WITNESS: You are a coward for that matter, you kill -- you kill people that did nothing to you.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The shooting happened just before the store closed for the night.

This video was taken by employee Kevin Harper. He says the gunman was a store manager.

HARPER: Just left out of break room [bleep] come in there, started capping people up in there.

BRIANNA TYLER, WALMART SHOOTING WITNESS: The manager just came from around the corner. He never entered the break room, but he just stood in the doorway and he just opened fire to anyone in the room.

He looked at me and he shot near my head and it was about inches away. I'm not going to lie.

There were people just dropping to the floor. Everybody was screaming, gasping, and yes, he just walked away after that.

GALLAGHER (voice over): The Chesapeake Police Chief provided a timeline of how it unfolded.

CHIEF MARK SOLESKY, CHESAPEAKE POLICE: Our 9-1-1 dispatch center received the first call at 10:12 PM last night. The first officers arrived on scene within two minutes at 10:14 and entered the store approximately two minutes later at 10:16, and the scene was declared safe by 11:20 PM.

GALLAGHER (voice over): Police say the gunman was the 31-year-old manager on the overnight shift. He died at the scene from a self- inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities say that he was armed with a handgun and multiple magazines.

What remains unclear is why.

SOLESKY: We don't know at this time. The investigation is still ongoing. So there is no clear motive at this time.

TYLER: I am new, but I'd heard from the very beginning that he was the one to watch out for.

He was just really standoffish, I'll say, he kind of gave off like a loner vibe.

GALLAGHER (voice over): The city says two of the victims were found in a break room, another near the front of the store. Three others died at the hospital.

This woman's relative who works at Walmart was injured in the shooting moments after he started his shift.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He went in at 10:00 PM tonight and we received a phone call -- well, his wife received a phone call about 10:18 Saying that he had been shot.

He clocks in at 10, so he hadn't even been there 10 minutes.

GALLAGHER (voice over): Walmart released a statement saying it is shocked by the tragedy and it is "praying for those impacted, the community, and our associates."

This is the second mass shooting in Virginia in two weeks, something Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin addressed today.

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): This is a horrendous event. It's a horrendous, senseless act of violence.


BERMAN: And Dianne Gallagher joins us from the scene.

Dianne, you also spoke with other survivors and employees about a possible motive this shooter might have had. What did they tell you?

GALLAGHER: John, they seem just as perplexed and just stressed out by what this may have done as anybody else.

I spoke with survivors. I spoke with some of the employees who said that the gunman just came in and started shooting. He had a blank look on his face and didn't say anything at all, but almost everyone we spoke with who had worked at this Walmart and had dealings with the shooter said that he had exhibited odd or even threatening behavior in the past, noting according to one woman, he had been mean and condescending to the employees there.


Look, Walmart has said that he was not a salaried manager, but that he was an overnight team, essentially, a supervisor. We talked to these employees who said that they felt that he relished in the power over them when he worked here. None of them though, expected what happened not even 24 hours ago here at this Walmart did happen. They said that he seemed strange and standoffish, but they never ever thought that he would take lives.

BERMAN: Another tragedy, Dianne Gallagher, thank you very much.

Perspective now from Dr. Jessica Burgess, one of the critical care surgeons who treated the incoming wounded.

Dr. Burgess, thank you so much for joining us. The patients who came to your hospital after the shooting, how are they doing tonight?

DR. JESSICA BURGESS, CRITICAL CARE SURGEON: Sure, as I can report that out of the three patients that were here, the hospital, one was being discharged today and then two remain in critical condition.

BERMAN: All right, well, one being discharged. That is a piece of good news. Thank you for that. How much do they remember about what happened to them? Have you had to tell them more details?

BURGESS: I can't go into a lot of details about that, but certainly, they are aware of what's happened and know what they've been through.

BERMAN: Doctor, can you walk us through what was going through your mind with the patients first started arriving and you saw the full extent of what happened to them?

BURGESS: Sure. So I was actually on backup call that evening. So, I was called by my partner, Dr. Carver and let us know that we had a mass casualty incident and that we are going to be getting multiple patients. Because at that time, we didn't know how many.

So at that point -- we drill for this on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we have mass casualty incidents all too frequently. So, this is something that we are very prepared for. So on my way into the hospital, I was calling in other surgeons to be available if needed, making sure that we had the appropriate number of operating rooms available and making sure that we had ICU beds and pulling in any additional staff that was needed.

BERMAN: And I understand you had only just reached out to one of your colleagues in Colorado Springs, who had taken care of shooting victims there. You know, did you ever think it would happen where you are just days later?

BURGESS: Sure. Yes, that was a very sobering realization, when I realized what was happening after I had just spoken with one of the surgeons out in Colorado Springs. It is heartbreaking. You know, we go through this all too often. Even in Norfolk General, we've had multiple mass shooting incidents whether it was the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, an Old Dominion University party, at one of the local bars in the downtown area. We have multiple mass shootings like this on a not too infrequent basis. So unfortunately, I think everybody that is a trauma surgeon in the US knows it. It's not if you have a situation like this, it's when.

BERMAN: Not if, but when. I mean, I know it's your job and I know unfortunately you have experience of this, but how hard is it to separate the job what you have to do from letting reality of what is happening sink in?

BURGESS: Sure. I certainly think in the moment and I speak for myself as well as the outstanding team of nurses and respiratory therapists and anesthesiologists and surgical residents and techs that we had working with us last night and when we're in the moment and doing the work, we don't really think about that. We just go to work and do the best we can.

This is the job we trained for, this is the job I love, and in moments like this, there's no other place I'd rather be in the hospital than helping these people out in their time of need.

But certainly once the dust settles up, it certainly takes a toll. You know, with these great emotional highs from helping save a person's life come pretty drastic lows at times. You know, it can be tough -- you know, telling parents that their child will never come home or their loved one passed away when they arrive to the hospital. The memory of those family members' reactions is forever burned into your brain.

And again, while there are amazing days where I absolutely love my job and there are days where I come home and I hug my kids and you know, try not to let them see me cry. So, is -- it can be a very hard job at times.

BERMAN: Dr. Jessica Burgess, thank you so much for the work that you do. I have to say I'm sorry that you have to do it so frequently. Thank you.

BURGESS: Thank you. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: We have more now from Colorado Springs in the murder of five people at a nightclub that was an anchor of the LGBT community there.

Today was the first Court appearance for the alleged shooter. CNN's Nick watt is outside the county jail for us where the defendant is being held.

Nick, what did happen in Court today?


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well John, the suspect sat throughout, slumped in the chair by video link from this jailhouse behind me wearing an orange jumpsuit, heavy bruising around the face. If you remember, the suspect was taken down in that club, and a young naval officer and a trans-woman kick the suspect in the head repeatedly.

The suspect didn't say much, name, then said yes when asked if they'd watched the video outlining their rights. No, when asked if they had any further questions.

Now, the lawyers for the suspect have said in Court papers that this suspect identifies as non-binary, uses the pronouns they/them. The Judge in court did not use they/them pronouns, and afterwards, the DA was asked, you know, is this non-binary status going to have any impact? He said, no. No impact on the investigation, no impact on the prosecution. This suspect is the defendant now.

Today, we just had the arrest warrant charges, five counts of first- degree murder. Five bias crimes, that is what they call hate crimes here. Formal charges are expected December 6th. So, that's just under two weeks from now --John.

BERMAN: Nick, you also spoke, I understand to the neighbor of the shooter. What did you learn?

WATT: Yes, we did John, and this isn't just a neighbor, this was a friend. The two of them had bonded over video games, spent hours playing together. They lived just across the hall from each other.

Xavier Kraus, this young man lives with his girlfriend. The suspect lived with his mum across the hallway up until September.

Now this man, Xavier Kraus said that the suspect not once never mentioned his non-binary status. Kraus also said that the suspect would have outbursts, he said that came from a place of anger. Those outbursts were at least once directed at the gay community. Apparently, the suspect said that they hated gay people, used a slur to describe gay people.

But Kraus said that those outbursts were mainly towards other races. The suspect also apparently very proud of his guns, showed them off to Kraus and said at one point, "Bro, it's not the guns. It's the people you've got to be scared off." Kraus said that conversation sat with him -- John.

BERMAN: That is very interesting.

Nick Watt, appreciate you being there for us tonight. Thank you very much.

Up next, we're getting new details tonight in the investigation into the murders of four University of Idaho students. We will tell you what we know and what remains unanswered. That's next.


[20:31:09] BERMAN: New details tonight in the investigation into the mysterious murders for University of Idaho students. Idaho police today held a much-awaited press conference laying out updates on the investigation. Tonight, there's still no one in custody.

CNN's Natasha Chen is in Moscow, Idaho with the very latest. Natasha, what did police say today?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well John, not a whole lot. That's new information. And that was very frustrating for people in the room. And we've heard from victims families about wanting to know more than just vague statements and little bits of details here and there. There was a little bit of new information including the fact that the man that was called several times from one of the victims' phones, in those early hours he has been added to the list of people cleared as potential suspects here. The police also explained their process because behind the scenes, they are processing more than 100 pieces of evidence they took 4,000 photos, they're chasing after more than 1,000 leads and interviewed 150 people.

So, they wanted to explain that, to tell the public that they are making this a high priority, even if they can't release a whole lot to the public.

BERMAN: Without a suspect in custody at this point, what are the plans for when students returned from the holiday break?

CHEN: Right. Well, the university president issued a statement last night to students saying that after they come back from Thanksgiving, they have the option to finish out the rest of the semester remotely or in-person. There's just a couple of weeks left in this semester. And today we learned that there's going to be a pretty heavy police presence. Granted, this is a really a big shock for a college town of about 25, 26,000 people. Here's what Captain Roger Lanier told the press.


ROGER LANIER, MOSCOW POLICE CAPTAIN: You know, in some ways this took our innocence, I would tell students that you need to stay with a friend. I know that the university staff is looking at different options to increase some of the safety on campus and providing certain options to students. So yes, going forward. There's a lot of things that maybe we wish we would have done before but we need to start doing now.


CHEN: And one of the questions asked of him today was why can't they share who was targeted among the four people or if it was all four of them? Because information like that could help allay some fears in the community. But the answer to that was they could not say because they wanted to protect the integrity of the investigation. John.

BERMAN: All right. Natasha Chen, we appreciate you being there for us. Thank you very much. Perspective now from forensic scientists, Lawrence Kobilinsky, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, also retired Cold Case investigator, Paul Holes. He's the host of HLN's Real Life Nightmare.

And Paul, you just heard Natasha's report there that law enforcement officials are sifting through about 1000 tips, 150 interviews, but they still haven't named or arrested any suspects. Where do you think they go from here?

PAUL HOLES, HOST, HLN'S REAL LIFE NIGHTMARE: Well, you know, they've actually got multiple investigative processes underway, but these take time. Even the forensics that Dr. Kobilinsky is going to talk to, think about it 103 items of evidence that sounds like a lot. But imagine one bedsheet that these victims was killed on contains maybe 100 bloodstains, and maybe one of those is from the offender. This takes time for the analyst to get through.

Now also going through all the digital evidence, video surveillance, the cell tower dumps that they're going on, man hours, so they are getting to a point where now I think they're going to start being able to narrow in after almost two weeks, week and a half to two weeks. They're going to start narrowing in and potentially Identify the offender but it's it does take time.


BERMAN: And Professor Kobilinsky if the perpetrators DNA is present at the crime scene, what's the timeline in terms of processing that? How long can it take?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: It takes time, as you just heard. This is a very bloody sin. There are four people who were murdered brutally, with multiple stab wounds for each individual. So, this is a very difficult scene to work up. Even for forensic scientists who are very experienced with bloody sins. There are a hell of a lot of murder cases in the city of Moscow. So, you know, when you have something like this a quadruple homicide, people are frightened and they want instant action, they think, you know, it's like television, you turn it on 60 minutes later, you got the crime solve, that's not the way it is. You've got a lot of different kinds of forensic experts working this case, there are fingerprint people trace evidence people, there are people doing DNA analysis. And also, don't forget, you had the autopsy, which is a very important piece of information, I think out of that autopsy, what we learned was that the murder weapon is probably a military style knife, whether it's serrated or not, comes out in the autopsy. Or if there's a straight edge that comes out in the autopsy, the width of the blade that comes out in the autopsy.

So, there's a lot of information that we have gathered already, that is just not being revealed, we just don't know all the details yet. It will take a lot of time, there's a lot of information, finding the point of entry is very important. There aren't a lot of possible points of entry. At that point, you've got to look for all kinds of evidence that might reveal the name of the person who did this, there are only really two kinds of forensic evidence that can turn up a suspect instantly. And that is fingerprints and DNA analysis. So, you're asking the right question, DNA can do it, fingerprints can do it. But sometimes this takes time.

BERMAN: So Paul, if neither DNA nor fingerprints do it, if it doesn't show up in any database anywhere, Paul, then what?

HOLES: Well, then they have a long haul to go because now you're relying on other traditional investigative tactics. You know, we have the world of high tech. So, it's looking at the victims' devices. It's hoping that the offender carried a smart device that is got his location services turned on and potentially, you know, getting information as to, you know, what devices were at the crime scene at the time that the attack occurred could be critical. It's going through video surveillance, but then now you have to expand out because if a turret the longer this case goes on, and they don't identify the offender, it ends up being more likely that the offender is an actual stranger with no prior interaction with the victims and it becomes very, very hard at that point. And now you are casting a much wider net. And this investigation turns more into a marathon than a sprint.

BERMAN: Yes, which is the last thing I think they want to hear in that community, particularly with people coming back from the holiday break has to be a scary time to be a student there.

Professor Kobilinsky, Paul Holes, thank you both very much. And a quick reminder, Paul dives into some of the greatest criminal mysteries in his series Real Life Nightmare airing on our sister network HLN, that Sundays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

Just ahead, Ukraine's defiance for an onslaught of Russian missiles that killed at least seven and knocked out power in much of the country. Plus, my conversation with a British-American professor who managed to hide out and survive for months under Russian occupation of Kherson.



BERMAN: At least seven people were killed today in Ukraine after a new barrage of Russian missiles temporarily knocked out power too much of the country. Those fatalities according to Ukraine's First Lady include a two-day old infant after a missile struck a maternity ward. Ukrainian armed forces say that Russia fired 70 missiles, 51 were intercepted along with five attack drones. The White House today said the missile strikes do not appear to serve any military purpose and a top officials will the World Health Organization told CNN today that the lack of electricity and fuel this winter could put the lives of millions under quote, massive threat.

Yet despite the misery many in Ukraine are grateful for their freedom tonight. Timothy Morales is a British-American teacher he was trapped in Kherson from the time of the Russian invasion last February. He basically lived behind enemy lines for eight months in an occupied city until Kherson was liberated last month. I spoke to him earlier.


BERMAN (on-camera): So, Timothy when the war first started in February, what was your thinking then? Did you try to leave?

TIMOTHY MORALES, HID FROM RUSSIA MILITARY IN KHERSON FOR EIGHT MONTHS: Well, yes, the first. The first day I was woken up at five -- 5:40 with an SMS asking where I was. It was my ex-wife. And that's when she told me that the Russians have invaded and that first day we spent my ex-wife, my daughter and I have a 10-year-old daughter she was there at the time. Trying to pack quickly and find petrol. The petrol stations were just absolutely inundated with cars, lines two, three kilometers long. We got petrol we headed to on the way out and (INAUDIBLE) should say the road that connects Mykolaiv to the Antonovsky bridge the basically the one way out of Kherson westward, they were taking (INAUDIBLE). We saw, physically saw the tanks moving back and forth fighting each other and, you know, understood that maybe adults might take the chance but certainly not with kids on board.


So, we decided not to leave at that time.

BERMAN (on-camera): What a time. And what a time it's been ever since What's it been like? Or what was it like during those particularly tough periods, to hear sirens and explosions day after day.

MORALES: One of the things that's that sort of interest in this might several people contacts here in Odessa who previously lived in Kherson, and it's not just me who feels this way, the people that were left in Kherson were more upset, not upset but more unnerved, I guess by silence. If it went through a couple of weeks without any explosions, which happens in September, October. We used to get nervous we'd like to, we'd like to hear the sound of the (INAUDIBLE) blowing up it was just a sense that we hadn't been forgotten.

So, we from the early days, of course, when you first hear explosions going on, it's a little bit unnerving. But later on, we learned anticipates, wait for love the sound of the (INAUDIBLE) going off. So that part wasn't that.

BERMAN (on-camera): What was it like to be in Kherson when it was liberated?

MORALES: We'd gone approximately 10 days without any electricity, without any water. So obviously no internet or mobile phones. And I had the first few days were very, very difficult adjusting to that. But people adjust to situations and I would spend my afternoons while it was light mornings afternoons, looking out my window. So, it was one of those afternoons I was sitting there looking out the window and the car drove down the streets and it had two Ukrainian flanks flapping. This one's flapping from the windows, on either side of the car. And I was like, OK, this is probably just somebody you know, being brave. We hadn't seen Russians for a couple of three days, but then it was released. So maybe a minute, a minute and a half, a pickup truck came down the streets with a bunch of people in the bed with an enormous Ukrainian flag. They were honking, they weren't being discrete at all, honking, shouting, cheering. And that sort of opened the floodgates down the street came. I would say hundreds maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but a lot of cars, honking, screaming, flags flying.

So, I was like, OK, I walked down in (INAUDIBLE) towards (INAUDIBLE) which is the central, the epicenter of Kherson in front of the governance house. Everybody cheering, everybody happy carrying their flags. Some of the flags were brand new. Some of the flags would like dirty and tattered from people who had buried their flags so that they wouldn't get in trouble with the Russians. And I got to the center and probably about five to 10 minutes later, the first military truck showed up with soldiers and the crowd went wild. Yes.

BERMAN (on-camera): What a time. Timothy, I'm so glad you're safe. I wish you a very peaceful winter.

MORALES: Yes, me too.

BERMAN (on-camera): Thanks so much for being with us.

MORALES: Thank you very much. Nice to talk to you. Bye, bye.


BERMAN: And still to come tonight, the water crisis in Arizona's largest county as CNN's Lucy Kafanov discovered the large swaths of green in the urban areas, it only masks growing mega drought in the region.



BERMAN: A mega drought is hitting Arizona has seen the Colorado River plummet to record lows.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports the impact is everywhere from farming to flushing a toilet.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This picture perfect but parched corner of Arizona is the Rio Verde Foothills and unincorporated expanse of upscale homes and sprawling ranches about an hour's drive from downtown Phoenix.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And are here is a 5,000 gallon water tank.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Karen Naboti loved her little slice of paradise until it began to run dry.

(on-camera): What keeps you up at night?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Water, water, water, water.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Neighbors wells have begun to dry up, others harvesting rainwater as an extra buffer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the stockpile that's about to go into the house to be used to flush our toilets.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Many homeowners rely on private water deliveries from nearby Scottsdale, which no longer has enough to spare.


KAFANOV (voice-over): Last November, Scottsdale informed water hauling companies that starting in 2023 they could no longer buy Scottsdale water to deliver outside city limits including the Rio Verde Foothills. The man delivering the water and more recently the bad news is John Hornewer.

HORNEWER: There's no question about it. The drought is reality. Rio Verde is the first domino to fall because of the drought that we're in.

KAFANOV (on-camera): Are people taking it seriously enough?

HORNEWER: They're not. Water is more precious than you realize. And once you go to your faucet and you turn it on and there's no water, then its value becomes real.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Across swaths of urban Arizona signs of drought aren't immediately obvious. As the taps run dry, developers keep building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a symbol of the massacre of the Maricopa County.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Maricopa County which includes the Rio Verde Foothills is the fastest growing in the nation, adding more residents last year than any other county, But as cities boom the drought pushes Arizona farmers to the brink.


(on-camera): Thanks to Colorado River, Pinal County is or at least was when the most productive farming regions in the United States. The crops grown here are shipped all over the country. But as the mega drought continues to worsen and water supplies like this dry up, the farmers here fear their fertile fields could become desert again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once we hit tier two shortage. we lost all of our water.

KAFANOV (voice-over): For three generations, Will Fillander's (ph) family has tilled the soil in Pinal County, an hour's drive south of Phoenix. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we're looking at where I grew corn last year, but we didn't have enough water. So, field sets empty. 50% of my farm has fallen out.

KAFANOV (on-camera): And that's a big economic hit.


KAFANOV (voice-over): Neighboring farms have folded up. Others have sold their land to solar companies and developers.

(on-camera): Do you fear that the future of farming in Arizona is under threat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. No one can produce it like the Colorado River can for food. So yes, I'm really worried. And 50 years down the road unless we come up with solutions farming won't be here.

KAFANOV (voice-over): To survive, Fillander (ph) is placing his hope on a new crop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at a plant called (INAUDIBLE) --

KAFANOV (voice-over): A drought resistant desert shrub that produces natural rubber for tires while using a fraction of the water. But he wants politicians to listen up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People just keep saying, we'll pump some water what happens in 50 years? But I was the people's kids and grandkids and where's all the food come? Just kicking the can down the road and hoping for the best is what everyone seems to be doing I don't think is a path for success.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Back in the Foothills residents see their plight as a warning to others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America wake up for the folks that are sitting there and surrounded by water and have great wells and other states and that kind of thing. Don't think you're not going to be affected.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Arizona.


BERMAN: And we'll be right back.



BERMAN: The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Kasie Hunt in "CNN TONIGHT." Kasie.