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Russia Intensifies Attacks On Ukraine's Energy Infrastructure; Police: No Suspect Yet In Killings Of 4 University Of Idaho Students; Club Q Annual Thanksgiving Meal To Go On At Different Venue. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 12:30   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Power coming back for homes across Ukraine, this after a barrage, just the latest barrage, frankly, of Russian missiles struck that country yesterday, leaving at least 10 dead, shutting down the nuclear plants that deliver electricity there. For the first time in 40 years, all of the country's nuclear plants were shut down. CNN's Sam Kiley is live in Zaporizhzhia at the site of one of those nuclear plants. This was also a protective measure, Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They're not shut down in the sense that they are deactivating the cores and the reactors that would be very, very difficult indeed. But what happens is that when the national infrastructure of electricity is attacked in this way, the cooling system for those nuclear reactors gets compromised, and they have to switch to diesel generators that are on site. And of course, they are vulnerable to break down fuel supply, and so on.

And if they fail, then you could go into a meltdown. So for the first time in 40 years, the nuclear powers stations across the country with supply 50 percent of Ukraine's power, electrical power, was shut down in this wave upon wave of cruise missiles that slammed into targets right across the country. Most were shot down, I have to say, Erica, but those that get through are clearly part of an ongoing campaign, the seventh wave the government says, of attempts by the Russians to break the back of the civilian back of the war effort here in Ukraine.

Ukrainians, of course, as ever, so far, picking themselves up repairing the systems and getting the power back. But 10 people killed, including a two-day-old baby here in Zaporizhzhia. Erica?

HILL: Sam, appreciate it. Thank you. Joining me now, John Herbst, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Good to see you, good morning. President this morning, rather, President Biden was just asked a short time ago about future aid to Ukraine. Here's what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is no time to walk away from Ukraine, not at all. Now we had a lot of talk in this last election about whether the other team is going to continue to support Ukraine, I still believe there's enough support there.


HILL: So in response to what have been perhaps increasing calls by different groups and lawmakers to rethink aid to Ukraine, perhaps even cut it off you and a number of others in a new op-ed in the Hill, you're warning about the cost here, the potential costs of not providing more aid to Ukraine, saying that the authors of the letter don't appear to understand or to see rather the great danger to the U.S. posed by Putin's ambitions. What's at stake?

JOHN HERBST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It's very simple, our security and our prosperity. Putin's war and Ukraine is only a prelude to further moves into NATO countries. And if he does, he'll to succeed in Ukraine and move for example, on Estonia or Latvia, we will be obliged to send American soldiers to fight and die to stop them there. So we will lose American lives. And the cost of doing this will be far more than the aid we sent to Ukraine.

So the authors of that letter calling to end our assistance to Ukraine are sharply limited, simply don't understand American national security interest. They're like hostages with their heads deep in the sand.

HILL: The reality is, things could change in January, right, when a new Congress is sworn in. The appetite may not be there, even perhaps among the American people. So how do you keep this top of mind? How do you continue to make sure that people do understand what you see as this very real threat to this country, not just to Ukraine?

HERBST: I think that the administration has not provided sufficient leadership on this issue. They have not stated in nuclear terms that people who understand geopolitics recognize that would -- that Putin's war in Ukraine is a direct challenge to core American interests. If they were to make that please, that case clearly and plainly every week, I know that Republican leadership in the Senate believes this. So this could be a bipartisan case. And the American people hear it all the time, they will be pulled along.

It's worth remembering that sending, you know, mobilizing American soldiers for possible entry into World War II was unpopular in 1940. You need strong leadership today, as you did then. Putin is not Hitler, but Putin is directly challenging core American interests and we need to stop him. And the money we're sending to Ukraine, while significant is a tiny fraction of what we would pay if we have to send American troops to defend our NATO allies because that's what Putin is heading for.


HILL: I do want to get another topic but real quickly. Do you have any sense that that messaging is changing and or will be changing in the near future?

HERBST: Oh, you hear, you get parts of this at times, but not a clear direct statement of the problem. And I think that's related to the overall caution of the administration. If they're laid out that clearly, then they're afraid they'll take the blame, quote, unquote, if Putin wins in Ukraine. We should be doing everything possible to make sure that the Ukrainians win. And they will win if we provide all support Ukraine needs. And we should not be apologetic about this. We should be clear. These are defensive measures designed to protect American security. I would love to hear this coming from the President's mouth.

HILL: It'd be interesting to see if that happens. I also do want to get your take on this. So CNN has learned Iran has agreed to help Russia produce attack drones, to use in its war on Ukraine. David Sanger writes this morning in "The New York Times" that a quote, new era of direct confrontation with Iran has burst into the open. Would you agree? And if so, what are the repercussions there? What could that mean?

HERBST: Well, this is a new predictable development, predictable because they have been affected effectually allies for decades, Iran and Russia. This new development as a result, in fact, of the success of American export controls, which have greatly weakened the soul of the Russian arms industry, so they need Iranian drones. But here to administration timidity is the problem. Those drones are wreaking havoc on Ukrainian civilians and Ukrainian infrastructure. If we sent Ukraine the attack missiles which can travel 300 kilometers, they could strike the basis in Crimea from which those drones are being launched.

Many Ukrainian lives would be saved and Ukrainian infrastructure, energy, heating, water would be in much better shape. The administration is considering this but not agreeing from us. It's time for them to move.

HILL: Ambassador John Herbst, good to see you this morning. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

HERBST: Thank you.

HILL: Just ahead here, 10 days after four University of Idaho students were killed and still no suspects. We'll bring you up to speed on the investigation, next.



HILL: Investigators in Idaho say they have now processed more than 1,000 tips, conducted some 150 interviews in response to those gruesome killings of four University of Idaho students. And yet at this point, police say they do not have a suspect. CNN's Stephanie Elam joining us now with more. So where does this investigation stand? I know some of the families are pretty frustrated.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can only imagine how frustrated it would be to not have answers on why this could have happened in this quiet town where this murder just doesn't occur like this. And so now there's been this idea that there was a stalker, Erica, that one of the murdered roommates here was being stalked by someone. That would be Kaylee Gonsalves.

And when you look at what the police are saying is that they've heard this through witness interviews of people who knew them. And several say that they heard this from several people. But police are saying they haven't confirmed this, nor have they been able to identify anyone. Her family, however, is not so convinced that this stalker idea is a real thing. In fact, take a listen to what Gonsalves' sister said to CNN.


ALIVEA GONCALVES, SISTER OF KAYLEE GONCALVES: Obviously, any of that information would be new to us as well, Kaylee FaceTime, you she didn't call her, it's actually FaceTime me for literally hours almost every single day. And she was extremely cautious. She was very vigilant. I think that she really would have noticed something that she would have said it to us. She wasn't, you know, scared to get us involved in her life in any capacity like that.


ELAM: So now what is also noteworthy as well, the police have not identify who anyone who is a suspect, they are clearing up people who are not involved. And that would include first of all, the two roommates who slept through the murders as they occur. They have ruled them out and that they do not believe that they're suspects. Also, both Gonsalves and another one of these young people who was murdered Madison Mogen. They both tried to call a man shortly before they were killed. They now believe that that person who didn't answer those calls, was not involved in this as well. And her family, Gonsalves' family, believes that that was perhaps her ex-boyfriend, so they don't believe that's the person either. So no answers here, but obviously they're looking to get more safety on campus when school comes back into session after Thanksgiving.

HILL: Yes, absolutely. Stephanie Elam, appreciate it. Thank you.


Just ahead here, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo making history at the World Cup. What did he do this time? You're just going to have to wait until after the break. Stick around.


HILL: A big headline from a soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is now the only men's soccer player to score in five World Cups. The 37-year- old striker made history just moments ago in Portugal's opening match against Ghana. This means he's now scored at least one goal in the 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 World Cups in addition, and it also of course, follows the news getting a whole lot of attention that Ronaldo was leaving his club Manchester United by mutual agreements also a lot of questions about where he'll end up.

With a horrific mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that killed five people is understandably making this Thanksgiving really difficult for so many in that community. The horror of that tragedy, however, is not stopping the oldest LGBTQ organization in southern Colorado from hosting their annual Thanksgiving meal. Now normally, it's held at Club Q. This year, a local Community Church has stepped up to host allowing the community to celebrate the holiday with their chosen family.

And joining me now is Joseph Shelton, the president of United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire. It's great to see you this morning. This is such an important moment to be able to continue this Thanksgiving tradition. Did it ever seen that that this was not going to be able to happen especially on a year when it's so, so needed?


JOSEPH SHELTON, PRESIDENT, UNITED COURT OF THE PIKES PEAK EMPIRE: Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me on the show. And thank you for giving a voice to our community in this time of need. You know, we never expected when, when the tragedy struck, and we didn't know what we would do in terms of making sure that this continued to be held successful. There's only been one year where we didn't have much of a Thanksgiving dinner, and that was during COVID. But besides that, we've always held strong on making sure that our community is able to come together, and be supportive and actually just have that place to feel love and acceptance in who they are.

HILL: For so many people across the country, the holidays are tough, we talk so much about it being a time of family and being together and being thankful. And for a lot of people in this country, and especially for members of the LGBTQ plus community, they may not have that family that they grew up with, they may not feel comfortable being at home, but they have the family and the community that they have chosen. Just talk to us about the importance of this community, if you would, of having a safe space with people who will wrap their arms around you and who understand you and who are grateful for you not just on a holiday, but every day.

SHELTON: Yes, most definitely. Like you said, you know, unfortunately, when it comes to the LGBTQ plus community, when people come out as with their identity of being LGBT, there's many times parents have, some parents have shut their kids out. And given the old, not in my house, and made it where some of the kids are not welcome there. And so it's hard for them on one end, it's hard for them because they don't have a family to go home and celebrate the holidays with, they don't have a family to be, have a laugh with, they don't have a family just to have a shoulder with and just hang out with and be there with.

And it's not only for LGBTQ plus community. But, you know, for others who can't make it home as well, some college students, unfortunately, are still poor are still here for the holidays and can't make it back home to their places because of whatever reason. And so this is not only hard on our LGBTQ plus community, but it's hard on other communities as well. And so this type of event, and especially during this tragic time, after the unfortunate tragedy that happened just a few days ago at Club Q, this event is more important now than ever, to show that we here in Colorado Springs, we love and accept every person and we have a place where they can come and be their true authentic self, and have that environment to just love themselves in.

You know, it's so important that this -- on this community know that they are welcome in Colorado Springs. There's many people right now, unfortunately, who are questioning their LGBT questioning, do I belong here? Do I have a place here? And we're trying to show them that, you know, you all do have a place here, you do belong here and you matter here. This isn't just a place for one side of use. This is a place for every person to have a seat at the table and be able to love themselves no matter who they are.

HILL: In terms of Colorado Springs being a welcoming place, being a place for everybody. There was a huge historic pride flag that was raised at the city hall yesterday, that sends such an important message to everything that you have just mentioned, to see that there. What does that mean for you?

SHELTON: You know, for me, it means so much. Unfortunately, Colorado Springs was the birthplace of amendment too, where many years ago, they tried to make it where discrimination is allowed and is legal, and that it was OK to discriminate against a person due to their sexuality. And so this city was the birthplace of that and it actually labeled the state of Colorado the hate state for many years.

And to see that our city has come so far from being labeled as the hate city to see that our city has come so far. You know, we've not from a few years ago, we did had a mayor who would never recognize our pride fest. And now our current mayor, he recognizes pride fest every year and make sure to write a letter saying welcome to Pride Fest in Colorado Springs. We have city council members years ago who would not show up to the pride festivals or show up to any kind of festivals or events that included LGBT people.

And now we have city council members who make it, year round June. They show up to our pride festivals. They come out and they walk with us they walk in parades, they show that they -- this community matters to them. So to see where we were years ago to where we are going today, it means so much to see that pride go up and show that we are continuing to move forward and we're not falling back. We are continuing on that path of moving forward and moving up.


HILL: So important and you're bringing so many people along with you. I'm out of time but really quickly, can you tell me how many people you're expecting today, Joseph?

SHELTON: We're expecting between 150 to 175 but we have enough food for about 250 people.

HILL: And you are going to be a source of refuge and family and community for so many. Thank you for joining us today. Happy Thanksgiving. It will be a tough one but so important to be together. And if you'd like more information on how you can help the victims, the families at the Club Q mas shooting, go to where you can donate to the Colorado healing fund. Thank you all for spending part of your holiday with us. I'm Erica Hill from all of us At This Hour. Happy Thanksgiving. CNN Newsroom with Boris Sanchez is next.