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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Pence: "Trump Was Wrong To Give A White Nationalist, An Anti- Semite, And A Holocaust Denier A Seat At The Table"; University Of Idaho Students Return As Quadruple Killings Remain Unsolved; First Lady Jill Biden Unveils White House Holiday Decorations. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 28, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Former Vice President Mike Pence, perhaps the most high-profile Republican, to date, to condemn his former running mate's dinner, last week, with a white nationalist.
The dinner was at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence. Seated at a table, with the former President, Kanye West, now known as Ye, and a white supremacist, well-known in Republican circles, Nick Fuentes.
It takes a lot, for news, to break through, during the long Thanksgiving Day weekend. And this dinner, on Tuesday, did it with a vengeance.
This was Pence, earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table. And I think he should apologize for it, and he should denounce those individuals, and their hateful rhetoric, without qualification.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Now, he's not the only Republican, willing to condemn Trump's choice of dining companions. Many Republicans, today, primarily in the Senate, have done so.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp spoke with my colleague, Kaitlan Collins. His full comments, will air, tomorrow, on "CNN THIS MORNING." This is part of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): I mean that was a bad decision. There's no place for that in the Republican Party. I know he's got, you know, his answer to that question, and I'll let him speak to that. But my views on that are very clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Again, you can watch Governor Kemp's full comments, tomorrow, on "CNN THIS MORNING."
But this is still the party that twice nominated Donald Trump for president. And, Donald Trump, of course, is now running for a third time.
Missing from the condemnations is Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, at least so far. He reportedly said he'll have his normal question-and-answer period, tomorrow, with reporters, who can ask him then, about it. Also the man, who hopes to soon be the next Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.
Earlier this year, just days after two members of McCarthy's Conference appeared, at a Conference, founded by this same white supremacist, Trump dined with, McCarthy condemned Nick Fuentes, and anyone who would associate with him. Quoting McCarthy, in his comments, to CNN, at the time, "There's no place in our party for any of this." That was then. McCarthy has yet to comment on Trump's dinner with Nick Fuentes, this time.
I'm joined now by two CNN Political Commentators.
Bakari Sellers, a former Democratic lawmaker, in South Carolina. He's also the Author of the children's book, "Who Are Your People?"
And Scott Jennings, a former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush., and longtime political adviser, to Senator Mitch McConnell.
Scott, we have heard some Republicans come out. We heard the former Vice President. We've heard some governors, some senators. But one person we haven't heard from yet is the guy who wants to be Speaker of the House. He wants to be the top Republican in the country.
Where's Kevin McCarthy? Why is he silent on this?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, he's juggling a complicated deck over there. And, I guess, I'm mixing metaphors. He's juggling a complicated set of bowling pins over there, in his quest to become Speaker.
And my suspicion is he's taking the temperature of his Conference. And probably we'll, I'm guessing, we'll hear from him, and McConnell, by the way, as well, after they have a chance to talk to their members. That's the one thing about these guys in leadership is they do tend to take the temperature of the people that they represent, before they make comments.
But I think the correct answer, for any Republican leader, or a rank- and-file or whoever is very clear. This was a terrible decision. This was wrong. And, as a political matter, we're going to have a year and a half of
this crap. And if we nominate Trump, then we're going to have four months, five more months of it. And then we're going to expect the American people to make him president again? It's not going to be.
And so, I think there's a moral answer, which is clear, there's a political answer, which is clear. And the number of Republicans, who have stepped out tonight, and said the President was wrong -- former President was wrong, to me, is heartening, and shows he's losing his grip on the party.
BERMAN: Yes, a number have stepped out. But Scott, if you can clarify, what's complicated, politically, or morally, in speaking out against white nationalism?
JENNINGS: There's nothing complicated about speaking out against it. But when you are the leader of a Conference, you do have some responsibilities, to talk to those people, listen to them, and figure out.
Because, you're not just, representing yourself. You're representing a whole large group of people and you want to make sure that you get it just right, and you're fully representative, as you can be, of that crowd. So I suspect that's what's going on in the leadership ranks, right now.
BERMAN: Bakari, then, what about that crowd that Scott is referring to that Kevin McCarthy has to be careful with, politically, right now?
BAKARI SELLERS, HOST, "THE BAKARI SELLERS PODCAST," (D) FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE MEMBER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For me, I'd rather just have the interview, between you and Scott, because that's what most Democrats want.
There's no conversation that needs to be had with us involving ourselves in the fact that there's anti-Semites, within the Republican Party. There is a portion, not all, and I want to stress that as much as I can.
There's a portion of the Republican base that acquiesces to Nick Fuentes, Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, many others who go to his conferences. I mean, Kanye West. There're people who -- I think he calls himself Ye, now. I don't know. Black folks have disowned him for a period of time now. And now, others are just getting around to it. And so, look, there are people, who grasp these individuals, who are lightning rods, who are anti-Semites, who do not deserve a platform.
And Scott's absolutely correct. I would love nothing more than for the next year and change for we to be talking about Donald Trump, and anti-Semitism, and Kanye West, and many others, instead of talking about the bread-and-butter issues that we deserve to talk about.
And that is what happens, when you nominate somebody, like Donald Trump. That's the fear, and that's also the balancing act, that people like Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell have to win.
BERMAN: Do you think Scott's right, Bakari that you are starting to see the beginnings of Republicans may be turning their back on Trump, by the numbers that have come out so far, although not McCarthy?
SELLERS: I mean, look, I mean, my heart wants me to believe that Scott is right.
I honestly don't think there's any place for anti-Semitism, whether or not it's somebody like Kyrie Irving, or whether or not it's somebody like Donald Trump, or whether or not it's whatever it may be.
I just fundamentally don't believe there's a place for anti-Semitism. Because, I think that when you see anti-Semitism, you also see anti- Black racism, I think you see transphobia, I think you see all of these other things that rise at the same time.
And so, I totally agree with Scott, that we want to get to a place, where we're having a conversation, about inflation, where we're having a conversation, about foreign policy, where we're having a conversation, about immigration. One of the things that Donald Trump takes away from that is we are not able to have those conversations.
That's not my problem, though. That's the Republican Party's problem. And, right now, they need his base to win. I don't think Scott's right. But I want to believe in my heart that we can get there.
BERMAN: So Scott?
JENNINGS: Can I just respond to that?
JENNINGS: Because, I think, Bakari -- I think Bakari raises a really interesting point about this being the Republican Party's issue. I think he's totally correct. And the way you sort these issues out is in the context of political parties. And we're fixing to have one. Donald Trump's going to have an opponent or opponents. I hope it's a smaller number, not a larger number, personally.
SELLERS: Yes, right.
JENNINGS: And this is where we're going to sort this out, as a family. It's not -- Bakari's right. It's not really for Bakari, and the Democrats, to sort out. It's for the Republicans, to sort out.
And you have to ask yourself, do you want to put yourself, your party, your country, through all of this, all over again? We did it once. He backed into the presidency. He's never gotten more votes than a Democrat in his life. Nothing's going to happen in the next two years that's going to make him look any better, to the people, who don't like him. And what will happen are episodes like this.
So, I actually think Bakari's right on it. This is for the Republicans to sort out. That's why I'm -- tonight, I saw Governor Kemp's quote, I saw a lot of folks, in the Senate, already coming out. I think you're starting to see people express a very similar (ph) sentiment. "I don't want to do this anymore." And, I think, the more Trump makes these kinds of mistakes, the worse his candidacy is going to look, as we move on with the primary.
BERMAN: Yes. All I'll say is when former presidents, when national leaders are dining, literally breaking bread, with white nationalists, I think it's something that we all can gather around, and speak out about. It's something that concerns every one, of every party.
Bakari Sellers, Scott Jennings, great to see both of you. I hope you both had wonderful Thanksgivings.
SELLERS: Thank you.
BERMAN: So, we should point out Nick Fuentes is not the only controversial visitor, at Mar-a-Lago. In fact, as our Randi Kaye reports, Trump's Florida residence has been the site of a number of visits, most presidents and former presidents would not entertain.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump has often hosted GOP donors, and foreign dignitaries. But other guests are more controversial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The incredible Kari Lake.
KAYE (voice-over): That's former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, visiting Trump, at Mar-a-Lago, just days after she lost her election, despite Trump's endorsement.
KARI LAKE, FORMER ARIZONA REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I will do everything in my power to make sure this man gets back in the White House. We need him now more than ever.
KAYE (voice-over): Lake also dined with Trump. Lake has made baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. And Trump is still pushing the false claim that Arizona's midterm race was rigged, and that's why Lake lost.
She's not the only election denier, to visit Mar-a-Lago. Trump's former attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has been there, as well as former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty, twice, to lying to investigators, about his conversations, with Russia's ambassador, before Trump pardoned him.
Georgia congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is also known for previously supporting QAnon, and spreading misinformation, about COVID-19, posted this video of her with Trump at the club, in March, last year. DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's great to be with Marjorie, a very special person. She's out there fighting hard.
KAYE (voice-over): At Mar-a-Lago, Trump has also met with longtime confidant, Roger Stone, who Trump pardoned. Stone had been convicted of witness tampering, obstruction, and making false statements, during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Stone posted video of their embrace at the private club, back in April.
TRUMP: Roger! My man! Roger! My man! I didn't even see you. How could I not see you? God bless you.
KAYE (voice-over): Another guest, who garnered attention, Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy.
Last year, long after Trump lost the 2020 election, Lindell interviewed him, at Mar-a-Lago. A 35-minute clip was posted online.
MIKE LINDELL, FOUNDER & CEO OF MY PILLOW, INC.: Hello, everyone. I'm down here in Mar-a-Lago, and I'm going to be interviewing our real President, Donald J. Trump.
KAYE (voice-over): During the interview, Trump called Lindell, "Brave" and an "Incredible patriot."
To this day, Lindell continues to spin election conspiracy theories, despite being sued by Dominion Voting Systems, for his baseless claims, they rigged the election.
And then there's Kyle Rittenhouse. In 2020, when Rittenhouse was 17, he used an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, to kill two men, and wound a third, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It happened during a protest, after police shot a Black man.
The visit to Mar-a-Lago took place, shortly after Rittenhouse, who argued he was acting in self-defense, was acquitted, by a Wisconsin jury. Trump called Rittenhouse, "Really a nice young man," painting him as the poster boy, for self-defense.
TRUMP: He called. He wanted to know if he could come over and say hello, because he was a fan.
KAYE (voice-over): At Mar-a-Lago, it seems the door is always open, for anyone, willing to heap praise, on the former President, no matter their own baggage.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.
BERMAN: All right, still to come tonight, the U.S. against Iran, tomorrow, at the World Cup, a must-win soccer game, if the U.S. wants to move on. But a new controversy beyond the pitch has enveloped this match. We have live reporting, from Doha, next. Also, we'll speak to some students, at the University of Idaho, now returning to campus, with police still no closer to catching the person, or persons, responsible for those mysterious murders, of four students.
BERMAN: At 2 PM, tomorrow, the U.S. Men's National Team's fortunes, at the World Cup, rests on a match, against Iran. To advance, the U.S. must win. A tie won't do.
But this has moved well beyond the game already, and encapsulates all the decades of tension and strife, between these two countries. Now, Iran wants the U.S. kicked out, after the U.S. Soccer Federation posted this image, on it social media account.
The picture shows an outdated Iranian flag. It's missing the emblem of the Islamic Republic. Iran has claimed this action breaches rules, governing these matches.
U.S. Soccer told CNN, it made the change to show, quote, "Support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights."
The U.S. Soccer Federation later posted an image with Iran's current flag.
We have two reports now on the controversy, and the protests.
CNN's Don Riddell is in Doha, in Qatar, site of this year's World Cup action.
And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul, with the latest, on the protests, as well as new reporting, on threats to the Iranian team, made by its own government.
Don, first, the coaches from both teams addressed this controversy. What did they say?
DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST, WORLD SPORT: Well, it was just the most bizarre and extraordinary press conference, John. This is the United States' biggest football match in eight years. And in the press conference, on the eve of the match, there was hardly any discussion of football.
The American coach, Gregg Berhalter, found himself fielding questions about the U.S. Naval fleet in the Persian Gulf, and immigration policy. And he had to say, "I'm not a politician," numerous times.
The Iran coach, Carlos Queiroz, took the opportunity to throw an awful lot of shade, at the country of the United States, highlighting the gun violence epidemic, and the culture of racism, in the United States. So, really not much talk about football at all.
Of course, the American players and the coach really wanted no part of this. They were keen to say that they do support women's rights. But they said that they had no knowledge that the U.S. Soccer Federation was doing this.
And the U.S. Soccer Federation's Director of Communications said, this was supposed to be a moment, where we could show our support. But it's a moment that became a 48-hour diplomatic scandal.
BERMAN: Yes, look, this is going to be a dramatic match, in the first place. Even more so now, because of the geopolitics involved here. You think that'll factor in on the field, tomorrow?
RIDDELL: I mean the stakes are so high. Of course, everything is riding on the match. The United States team, have to win. Nothing else is going to do for them. So that's pressure in itself. But there's now all these other kind of factors that have been layered in.
I would imagine, this has been an uncomfortable experience, for the American players. But even more so, for the Iranian team. And they are no stranger to being involved in kind of political sideshows, whenever they play. But you have to remember the pressure these guys are under. Are they pro-Regime? Are they sympathetic with the protesters? Everybody wants to know.
It was a huge moment, in the opening game, against England, when the Iranian players refused to sing the national anthem. But we understand that since then, they've come under increasing pressure, threats, as CNN have been reporting, even to their families. So, they appear to mouth the anthem, in the second game.
What they do ahead of this? We don't know. But with threats to their families, and all the other stuff, going on? So hard, for them, to focus on a game of football. But the way they played against Wales, in the last game, was impressive. So, these guys can deal with the pressure. It remains to be seen if a very young American team can do the same.
BERMAN: Well, the young American team did pretty well against England the other day. I will say that.
Look, I was reading from U.S. journalists. There was an incongruity, where they were not allowed to ask questions, to the Iranian coach, but the Iranian press was allowed to grill the U.S. coach, and its players, including team captain, Tyler Adams. How did Tyler Adams handle this?
RIDDELL: Yes. I mean, he handled it really well, given what he was having, to deal with. And we're going to play you a clip, from a really bizarre exchange. Because, I mean, they were pummeling him, asking him about racism, in the country, and how could he live there, and all the rest of it.
But this question was preceded with a "Oh, and by the way, you don't even know how to say our names." So, it's pronounced Iran. Many people in the United States call it "Iran." And he was told pretty bluntly, it's Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYLER ADAMS, UNITED STATES CAPTAIN: My apologies, on the mispronunciation of your country.
Yes, that being said, you know, there's discrimination, everywhere you go. You know, one thing that I've learned, especially from living abroad, in the past years, and having to fit in, in different cultures, and kind of assimilate into different cultures, is that in the U.S., we're continuing to make progress, every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: Yes, I think Tyler Adams handled that situation very, very well. Remains to be seen how the players will handle it.
Remember, by the way, the Iranian team learned the other day that one of their former teammates has been arrested in Iran for distributing propaganda. So, I mean, for those guys, this is becoming a life-and- death situation. They're all just trying to play a game of football, out there. And hope the best team wins, but just so much going on around this game now, John.
BERMAN: Yes, no question the pressures they are facing, simply enormous.
Don Riddell, thank you very much.
BERMAN: Now, to CNN's Jomana Karadsheh.
Jomana, CNN is reporting that the families of Iran's World Cup soccer team had been threatened by the Regime. What more have you learned about that?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really disturbing information, John. This is reporting from our colleague, Sam Kiley, who spoke with a source, who's involved in the security, of the World Cup. And this source has been also monitoring the activities of Iran's security agencies that are operating, in Qatar, during the World Cup.
And as Don mentioned earlier, during that opening match, in their game, against England, the Iranian team did not sing the national anthem. A lot of people took this as a show of support, for the protests, back home.
So, what the source is telling CNN is that, after that happened, the team had a meeting, with members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, who essentially intimidated and threatened the team telling them that they will, quote, "Behave," that they will sing the national anthem that they will not take part in any protests, against the government, or their families back in Iran will face torture and violence.
And what we understand from the source is that there is a large number of security forces, from the Regime that are present, in Qatar, right now. They're collecting information, and they're monitoring members of the team. According to the source, dozens of IRGC members are monitoring the players, who are not allowed to mingle, with anyone, outside the squad, or any foreigners.
And possible hint as to what to expect, tomorrow, John, the source is saying that during their last game, with Wales? Of course, that's when we saw them singing the national anthem, after they had been threatened. According to this source, the Iranian regime had sent hundreds of actor supporters, to try and show that they had a lot of supporters, amongst the fans. The source says they're going to be sending thousands to the match against the U.S.
BERMAN: What is going on, on the ground, inside Iran, in terms of the protests, Jomana?
KARADSHEH: Well, John, it's very difficult for us to get information, in a timely manner, out of Iran, because the government continues to restrict communications, with internet blackouts that make it very difficult, for us to communicate, with people, for activists, to get video and information out to the world.
But I can tell you, the popular uprising has entered its third month. It shows absolutely no sign of stopping. The Iranian regime has been using a brutal force to try and crush these protests.
They're continuing to dismiss this whole movement, as some sort of a foreign plot, and a conspiracy, to try and destabilize Iran. They describe the protesters, as rioters, and thugs, and mercenaries of foreign states, including the United States, and Israel.
And we've heard from the United Nations, saying the situation on the ground, right now, is a human rights -- full-fledged human rights crisis. We're talking about at least 300 people, who have been killed, more than 40 of them children. And again, the U.N. is saying this is a conservative estimate.
More than 14,000 people, men, women children have been arrested, since September, and at least six protesters, have been sentenced to death, in what's being described, by human rights groups, as these sham trials.
But John, none of this seems to be stopping the protesters. What this crackdown is doing is making people angrier, more defiant, more determined, to continue protesting, to demand an end, to the Islamic Republic.
BERMAN: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much, for your reporting, tonight.
And as we sit here, still no suspect in custody, or murder weapon found, in the killings of four University of Idaho students. And anxiety is running high on campus, as students begin to return from the Thanksgiving break. We have the latest, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:30:00]
BERMAN: So tonight, some University of Idaho students are back on campus, as a killer, suspected of stabbing four students to death is still on the loose. It's now been more than two weeks, since the students were killed, in an off-campus home, and investigators are still on the hunt, for a suspect, and the murder weapon.
CNN's Veronica Miracle spoke with some of the students, who chose, to return today.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Idaho State Troopers slowly patrol the University of Idaho campus. A visible police presence, aimed at reassuring students returning to class.
MIRACLE (on camera): Do you feel safe, coming back?
LEXI WAY, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO STUDENT: Well with all the campus security, and them upping that up, and with the Safe Walks, and I have a lot of friends here, so I never really go anywhere by myself.
MIRACLE (voice-over): Memorial, surrounding campus, honor the four students, who were stabbed to death, more than two weeks ago, at an off-campus home. There are no suspects in the case, which the police still consider a targeted attack.
AVA FORSYTH, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO STUDENT: I feel safe in my dorm.
MIRACLE (voice-over): Ava Forsyth, like many of her classmates, returned for end-of-semester tests. But others are taking the University's offer, to finish their work, online.
FORSYTH: One of my roommates is staying home. But I don't blame her, you know. She doesn't feel safe here.
And some of my friends though, they agree, you know, come back, because they just like being around each other.
MIRACLE (voice-over): On Wednesday, a vigil will be held on campus, for the four victims, Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.
Since the murders, there's a sense of fear and anxiety on campus. Several students tell us they've used the school's existing Safe Walk program, which provides security escorts, for students, 24/7.
(VIDEO - PERSONAL ALARMS SOUND)
MIRACLE (voice-over): Personal alarms, like these, are being given away, to hundreds of women, and sororities, on campus, the giveaway now expanding.
KELLY UHLORN, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO ALUMNA: Just yesterday, I placed another order for another 1,200 alarms that are going directly to the University, to distribute to any student that wants one.
MIRACLE (voice-over): The money to fund them, raised by a former student. Anything to make students feel safer, even if what they want most is a break in this case.
HAYDEN RICH, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO STUDENT: Seems kind of sad, upsetting. It's kind of quiet. Most people are friendly. But now it's just kind of, I don't know, people are kind of sketched out.
MIRACLE: And John, it has been days, since there has been a substantial update, to this case. The Moscow Police Department says that they are making progress. They've received about a 1,000 tips, about a third of those in the form of surveillance video and images. They continue to ask the public for help.
And Idaho's Governor dedicating $1 million to continue to fund this investigation, as so many await answers, as to who did this, and why it happened.
BERMAN: Right. Veronica Miracle, thank you so much for that report.
Let's get more perspective now, from former NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence & Counterterrorism, John Miller, who is now CNN's Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst.
John, for people who say, "Two weeks, no suspect, no murder weapon," how do you explain what's taking so long?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, FORMER NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERTERRORISM: Well, I think you have a case, where they come in, and they see, here is a number of victims. Here's a bunch of phone calls that were made, in the early morning hours. Here's an ex-boyfriend, and you know what they're calling a crime of passion.
And then after a little investigation, they find out, OK, that guy's got an alibi. That's not the -- not going to be the killer. There's a mystery man by a food truck. He's identified. He's eliminated. There's a guy, who drives them home, his alibi checks out. And all of this is backed up by technology and other evidence. And then you find yourself, a couple of weeks into it, really starting at the beginning.
So, as you point out, what police don't have is a suspect, who's identified, with a clear motive. What they don't have is a murder weapon. What they do have is 113 pieces of physical evidence, 4,000 crime scene photos, and 488 tips, in terms of video and technology that's been submitted.
But you can also see they're taking a real step back. If you look at the area that they've blocked out and said, "We want to collect all video from this area," that's an area bounded by everything, surrounding the crime scene. And why are they doing that now? They said, "Even if there's nothing
on the video, we want to get the Ring doorbell cameras. We want to get the security cameras from the businesses. We want to get everything."
Because, if that video gets erased between one day, or 181 days, from when it's recorded, there may be something useful on it that they may find out about later. So they really are vacuuming all that up.
BERMAN: Yes. They don't know what they don't know. It may be they need something later. And if they don't get it now, it'll get erased.
What about the FBI? I know that there have been some asks, for the FBI, to come in and assist. What could the FBI's role be in this?
MILLER: I think when you look at the FBI, and as a former Assistant Director of the FBI, I know that when the FBI comes into one of these cases, it's not to take over the case. It's not to big-foot the investigators, and say, "This is a federal matter." It's to bring the kinds of resources that the FBI can bring, to assist local law enforcement.
And, in this case John, that would be CAST, the Cellular Analysis Support Team. They can tell you what phones were pinging in the area, at 3, in the morning, and which of those phones were pinging at the same club that two of the victims were at, beforehand. They can do analysis of where those phones went. And that could become a useful factor.
There's also the Behavioral Science people or as we call them, the profilers, who can look at the crime scene, and tell you about offender characteristics, by how the killing was done.
There's also, of course, the ViCAP system, which can tell them, was there four other people or two other people or three other people murdered using the same MO, four states away, two years ago, and can connect those dots.
So, the FBI can bring a lot in terms of support, to the Moscow Police Department, and the state police.
And Governor Brad Little has pushed a million dollars, from Idaho, to the state police, to cover additional patrols, overtime hotel rooms, for troopers, who have been shipped up there, to cover the Police Department, while they focus on the murder. It's a real team effort.
BERMAN: All right, John Miller, thank you so much, for helping us understand what we're seeing, and not seeing there.
Up next, a dire situation, in Ukraine with, hundreds of thousands, without heat, water and electricity. This is during the Russian invasion.
We'll speak to CNN's Sam Kiley, next, who's in Zaporizhzhia, where Ukrainians are expecting Russians to leave the nuclear power plant that provided a large amount of electricity to the country. What Russian-backed officials are saying about that, ahead.
BERMAN: Tonight, hundreds of thousands, across southern Ukraine, are without heat, water and electricity, as Russia continues its attacks, on infrastructure, in the country. The U.N. says the humanitarian situation is dire and critical, although electricity supply is gradually being restored.
One photographer captured just how ominous the situation is, at a children's hospital, in Kherson. He says some nurses are working 48- to 72-hour shifts, often using the light from a lamp or flashlights. Nurses are caring for orphan babies, and children, almost completely in the dark.
And, in this photo, a doctor tends to a 4-day old baby, under the light of just a desk lamp that's in the children's ICU.
Meantime, over the weekend, the head of Ukraine's nuclear agency provider said Russian forces may be planning to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. That's Europe's largest nuclear power facility. It provided up to 20 percent of the country's electricity before the invasion.
Joining me now, in the City of Zaporizhzhia, is CNN's Sam Kiley.
And Sam, I want to talk about the nuclear power plant, in just a moment. But first, the situation in that hospital, in Kherson, it seems dire. And Russia has continued to strike at the city, which they recently pulled out of. What's the status?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, ironically, the situation is dire at the hospital, in terms of the power supply. But it's better than it was a few days ago, because in fact, Kherson has nearly got 20 percent power restored to it. Because, the Russians not only destroyed the local power station, but also destroyed the lines connecting it, to the rest of the country's network.
The network, as you rightly pointed out there that itself has been under pressure, nationwide, right across the country, as a result of what the Ukrainian government, John, says have been seven different waves of attacks by predominantly cruise missiles, fired by Russia.
In just, in the last 24 hours, President Zelenskyy has been warning his population, to heed air raid sirens, because as far as Ukraine is concerned, they have Intelligence that there is likely to be another wave of attacks, against the power infrastructure.
BERMAN: And what about the power plant, the nuclear power plant? Who is in control of it? How much longer will the Russians stay? What do we actually know for sure? KILEY: Well, this has been a very real location, in terms of the military strategic necessity, or victory, really, for the Russians, who captured it, back in March.
They have been lately the head of the Ukrainian nuclear industry, who's in touch with people, in the neighboring town, has suggested, although provided very little evidence for, the suggestion that the Russians may be preparing to withdraw. But he admits that it doesn't appear to be particularly imminent.
I think this would probably be seen as part of the ongoing psychological warfare to go alongside the hot war. Because, the nuclear power plant, as you rightly point out, provides, at its peak, 20 percent of the generating capacity, for the whole Ukrainian electrical industry, an industry that the Russians have been trying to systematically destroy. So they're very unlikely to give that up.
On top of that, John, it's a very important location, in terms of, if the Russians pulled out, the Ukrainians would move back in. That would give them a bridgehead, on the other side of the Dnipro River, to continue their campaign, which in all probability they're likely to do, over the next few weeks, perhaps in the Zaporizhzhia front line, which really has been frozen, for the last six months.
So, the status of the nuclear power station, remains extremely tenuous though, with the U.N. observers still there, regularly reporting that they see the evidence of shelling, and the results of shelling, which both the Ukrainians and the Russians blame each other for, in that very, very tense and dangerous location.
BERMAN: All right, Sam Kiley, in Zaporizhzhia. Sam, stay safe. Thank you so much.
Joining me now with more is former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, retired General Wesley Clark. He's now a Senior Fellow at UCLA Burkle Center, and CNN Military Analyst.
General, nice to see you this evening.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, SENIOR FELLOW, UCLA BURKLE CENTER: Yes.
BERMAN: We've seen Russia continue to carry out these huge missile strikes, drone attacks, across Ukraine. How long could Russia keep up this kind, this level of intensity?
CLARK: Probably several weeks more, maybe longer. We know that they're drawing down their inventories. We know they can't produce the most modern missiles. But they've got old stuff that can be thrown at the Ukrainians.
They're apparently now taking nuclear warheads off some of their missiles, and just lobbing them in there, either as decoys, or letting the metal speak for itself, when it hits the ground. So, they're going to keep this up for as long as they can.
This is the Russian strategy. They can't win on the battlefield. Maybe they can humble (ph) the Ukrainian people, into demanding a ceasefire, to get their grid restored. And that's what Putin wants. He wants the fighting to stop. He wants some sanctions relief, wants to rebuild that military, so he can kick this thing into high gear, again, and finish his mission, of taking over Ukraine.
BERMAN: You say the Russians can't win in the battlefield. They're trying to win in at least one city, in the Donetsk region, in the east, Bakhmut. The Russians claim that they're encircling this city. But the Ukrainians say they are defending it, even as Russia tries to throw more forces at it.
What do you think the Russians are trying to get out of this very focused, what they claim to be, offensive on this city?
CLARK: Well, look, the way you operate in the military is you do have to focus your combat power. So, they are focusing it, on this point. And if they take Bakhmut, it does open the door toward Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, but it also serves as a sort of killing ground, for grinding up the Ukrainian forces. And this is what they want to do.
If they can put unbearable pressure, on these Ukrainian forces, before they can bring the other forces, back from Kherson, to bear? If they can cause the Ukrainians to blink, to request a ceasefire, to ask for a breathing spell? Putin wins. So, he's got a place, where the Ukrainians do have to hold. They are dug in. They are holding. But they're taking heavy losses. So, it's a meat-grinder.
BERMAN: The temperatures have fallen below freezing, in some parts of Ukraine, and it's only going to get colder. What does the onset of winter mean for both armies?
CLARK: Well, traditionally, it means that you can maneuver off-road. You can still maneuver on-road, right now. You can still send infantry forward. You can still fight in these built-up areas. So, we shouldn't make too much of this. In the 1940s, Ukraine didn't have paved roads. And so, the mud was a real problem. But there's a lot of paved roads there now. So yes, it's a problem for off-road maneuver.
But the other thing we saw, at least last winter? And I watched the temperature on December, January and February. The ground never really froze well, especially in the southern area. You might have a day or two below freezing. You'd have 35-degree, 40-degree weather. You'd have snow mixed with rain.
So, it wasn't like the hard freezes of 40 years ago, 50 years ago, where the temperature was 20 degrees and below for weeks on end. That could happen this winter. But it certainly didn't happen last year. If it does, then yes, there'll be a lot of opportunity, for widespread maneuver, if the Russians have the forces to do it.
BERMAN: Aside from that, for the Ukrainians, what's the best opportunity for them, to push their offensive, a counteroffensive, as the case may be?
CLARK: They need to work reconnaissance-led attacks. They need to get across Dnieper. They need to move into Crimea.
Crimea is the sweet spot. If you can move, south of Zaporizhzhia, if you can take Melitopol, combine it with partisan actions, get your special forces in there, do your reconnaissance-led strikes, with the HIMARS, you can push that Russian force, back into Crimea, threaten Crimea, cut off the supply line that runs along the Sea of Azov? You've got a winning hand there.
The Donbas is maybe important, in the old terms, for political reasons. But the supply lines run along the Sea of Azov. And the sensitive territory is Crimea. And that's where I believe the Ukrainians are headed.
BERMAN: General Wesley Clark, thank you so much, for helping us out tonight.
CLARK: Thank you.
BERMAN: So, after all this, we all could use some levity, some holiday cheer. So, stay with us. We're going to take you to the White House, to see this year's Christmas decorations, up close. That's next.
BERMAN: Many of you may be feeling in the holiday spirit this Cyber Monday.
It is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at the White House! Earlier, first lady Jill Biden unveiled this year's holiday decorations that have a theme of "We the People." 77 Christmas trees and more than 83,000 lights now illuminate the People's House.
More than 150 volunteers decorated the public rooms and decked the halls. Here was Mrs. Biden thanking them today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, some of you may still have a little glue gun residue on your fingers.
BIDEN: Or sore backs from hanging up all that snow in the Colonnade. And yesterday, you might have thought, "If I have to tie just one more bow, I'm out of here!"
BIDEN: But I also hope you've made some lifelong friends and felt the unique joy that only comes from the chaos of the holidays.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I mean I always think staple guns work best!
Kate Bennett joins us now, from the White House.
So, Kate, the first lady, she clearly put a lot of thought into this. What more can you tell us about the official White House Christmas tree? And I also understand there's a new menorah, this part of the celebration this year.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is, you know, the planning for this starts basically the day after the Easter Egg Roll, and then really gets confirmed in the summer. So, you think of all those months of planning that went, into this that goes into it every year, here at the White House.
The Christmas tree though I have to say is pretty spectacular. It's an 18.5 foot fir, from Pennsylvania. And it's decorated with all of the state birds. So, in the bottom of it is like a giant nest. And when she said, "Glue gun," it's really glue gun. These are all paper mache birds all over this tree. So, it's very intricate, and very detailed, this year.
And the menorah is actually -- there's a menorah every year. But this is the first year that there is one part of the White House collections. So, that means it was made here. It will permanently be in the collection.
It's made of, at the bottom, that wood base there, is actually reclaimed wood from the Truman renovation, which was the last significant renovation, of the White House, during the Truman administration. So, that block of wood there, was saved from that renovation, and that was used it for this menorah. So, that will also be there in the Cross Hall, which is pretty cool, and be part of that collection, forever.
BERMAN: Very cool! All right, so how are Willow and Commander, the first cat and dog, how are they incorporated into the decor?
BENNETT: They're also they've been paper-mached. They are paper-mached all over the decoration. Commander's about a year old now, and Willow, the cat, who's Jill Biden's constant companion. They're in different rooms. They pop up, a couple times, in this year's decorations.
And I think it's nice to include some White House pets. Michelle Obama would always do big things of Bo and Sunny. So, it's nice to have pets back there always. Pour one out for Major, the poor re-homed Biden dog, who was the biter. But Commander is the new Biden puppy, so well he's now holding the place there (ph).
BERMAN: Commander is there, even if Major is not. We will pour out the eggnog for Major!
Kate Bennett, thank you very much. Happy holidays to you. The news continues. "CNN TONIGHT" with Laura Coates picks it up in just a moment.