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At This Hour

Buffalo Shooting Suspect Pleads Guilty To Murder, Terror Charges; Kim Kardashian Reassessing Balenciaga Ties After Controversial Ads; Iran Calls For U.S. To Be Expelled Over Social Media Post. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 28, 2022 - 11:30   ET



IGOR ZHOVKVA, CHIEF DIPLOMATIC ADVISER TO PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY: Need this. And when it did and it's already coming from the countries of the European Union, and we're thankful for this but we need more in order to survive this winter.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Yes. The head of Ukraine's nuclear energy provider says that they see signs that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The Kremlin is denying any reports of this. But how big of a deal would it be if Russian forces would abandon the plant?

ZHOVKVA: Well, we don't have any evidence of this information. I also saw this in the news but you know it's very simple. You have to simply withdraw several hundreds of armed people from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We don't have any new entity in the world operated or where operations are taking place under the control of the man and the uniformed man with the guns.

So, very simple -- not any kind of way of supporting any kind of demilitarization soon, but very simple to start with total withdrawal of Russian Armed Forces from the station. Ukrainian personnel knows how to deal with it -- with this nuclear power plant. This nuclear power plant should be brought into the electricity system of Ukraine and to feed -- you know they have six units, the biggest power plant in Europe, so to feed electricity system of all the grain of all Ukrainians.

BOLDUAN: But as you -- but just to be clear, you are also have not seen signs that they are preparing to leave the plant or vacate the plant.

ZHOVKVA: Me, personally, not.

BOLDUAN: You know, in the United States, the Republicans who are taking over power in the House, they're promising continued support for Ukraine, but also -- what they're also calling for is more transparency. I want to play for you with the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee how he put it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, (R-TX): You know, and the fact is we are going to provide more oversight, transparency, and accountability. We're not going to write a blank check. We have a voice now and we're going to do this in an accountable way with transparency to the American people. These are American taxpayer dollars going in. Does that diminish our will to help the Ukrainian people fight? No, but we're going to do it in a responsible way.


BOLDUAN: Congressman McCaul has always pledged his support for Ukraine in this fight. But do those comments like that -- do they reassure you or do they concern you?

ZHOVKVA: They reassure us because we hear this very important bipartisan support to Ukraine, which is rendered by both parties. And very important that the Republican Party, which is obviously gets the majority in the House will support us on the very important issue of weapons, no less important than sanctions and financial support from the U.S. As far as the transparency issue is concerned, my president have been meeting to the congressmen and senators he always says we are the first country, we are the first people you know to be -- to be needed (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: It seems that we've lost that connection with the very end there. Igor Zhovkva, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

So, a fashion label facing fierce backlash right now after a controversial ad campaign. The company apologizing, celebrities are speaking out. Details on that, next.



BOLDUAN: Now this is just into CNN. An avowed white supremacist pleading guilty now to charges in the racist massacre at the Buffalo grocery store, 10 black people you'll remember were killed in that attack. Erica Hill has been watching all of this. She's joining me now. So, there's a press conference going on but tell me -- give us the backstory of what we've just learned.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we just heard from the DA, the mayor was speaking when I ran down here from my office, and we are expecting to hear from attorneys for the families likely later today. So, as you mentioned, the defendant who, of course, opened fire on this grocery store in Buffalo pleading guilty to these charges of first-degree murder and domestic terror charge as well. The charges are really important here. And what they -- what they do as the DA was just laying out, he was noting how the defendant pleaded guilty to the highest charges that were in that indictment. He had put some lower charges in because he wanted to cover all his bases, he said.

What this does is this ensures life in prison without parole. The defendant's attorney has said he will not appeal. These are the state charges. They can't say much beyond that because there are still federal charges pending. But this will ensure life in charge -- life in prison rather, without parole. The sentencing will be February 15.

Victims' families -- survivors will have the opportunity to speak then. And as you mentioned, 10 people were killed in this horrific shooting, a number of others injured. The DA laying out the evidence with -- that was there including the 180-page document where the shooter talked about his hatred for black people, for Jews, for immigrants, for other minority groups, his plan to carry out these killings, and also talked about how he had looked up how to modify his weapon, modified it himself so that he could kill as many people as possible.

BOLDUAN: So, I do make it clear that the evidence at least from the outside looking in seems overwhelming against this guy.

HILL: Yes, including a helmet camera.

BOLDUAN: Exactly, including that. Erica, thank you so much for bringing that to us. I really appreciate it.

Let's turn to this. Now the city of Chesapeake, Virginia will be holding a candlelight vigil tonight to honor the six Walmart employees shot and killed by a store manager happened there last week. It was the second high-profile mass shooting in the last week. The city council is also expected to vote today on an emergency declaration to provide funding to support the communities recovering.


Now, to a story that you really have to see to believe. Just take a look at these pictures we're going to show you. A pilot and a passenger were rescued from that small aircraft. You see it crashed into power lines in Maryland. This entire ordeal, it actually lasted hours -- several hours. More than 100,000 customers had their power knocked out in the -- in the -- in the meantime. Pete Muntean live at the crash site for us. Pete, how lucky are the people on board that plane?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: They're saying in flying, Kate, better lucky than good sometimes. They were indeed lucky in this case. That 65-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman on board the single-engine Mooney airplane. It's a four-seater. It got caught up in that tower transmission pulled back there, and they had to wait there for hours, seven hours to be exact, as fire crews and ground crews from power provider, Pepco, used a bucket truck, a cherry picker, to try and get up to them and do this very successful but very delicate rescue.

This was not an easy job. They actually had to communicate with the two people onboard the plane via cell phone. I want you to listen now to one of the 100 firefighters who was on the scene here, who describes this very tricky situation to get these two people out of that plane one by one and back onto the ground.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCOTT GOLDSTEIN, CHIEF, MONTGOMERY COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: One of our concerns is the safety of the occupants in the airplane, the safety of the fire rescue personnel, and the re -- the rescue thereof. We are taking measured and risk-balanced steps to approach this activity and we'll be doing this in a manner which we will aim to extricate these two folks out of the plane.


MUNTEAN: The big question now, Kate, is why this crash took place in the first place. Because the weather here was so bad, reported as very low clouds and poor visibility at the time of this crash. You can see from this map that we're only about a mile away from the Montgomery County Airport here really aligned directly with the southeast-facing runway. The work here is still continuing though not only for the investigation but also to repair the power transmission pole behind me. Pepco crews are on the scene here to try and make sure everything is OK.

BOLDUAN: Thank goodness for those two people rescued, seriously. Pete, thank you for being there.

So, Kim Kardashian is now speaking up and says she's reevaluating her relationship with the luxury fashion brand Balenciaga. This is all about the company's recent ad campaign, which featured photographs of children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear. The company has since apologized, and people turn to Kardashian on this one as she has long been a brand ambassador with the company. But now, I don't know. Who knows?

Chloe Melas is tracking this one. She's joining me now. There's a lot of people, obviously, talking about this. Kim Kardashian is now speaking, what is she saying now?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, look, I mean, Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous faces, one of the most famous celebrity ambassadors for Balenciaga. She's walked in their shows, she's always wearing their outfits, so a lot of people who follow her, she has over 70 million followers on Instagram, they were commenting -- a flood of comments over the past few days saying, why are you not speaking out? Why are you not saying anything about this?

Because if you see these images of the children with these teddy bears that are dressed in these bondage outfits, I mean, it's really unbelievable that they even made it so far as to actually get published and get posted and actually go viral like it did. So, Kim said, like you said, Kate, that she's reevaluating her relationship with the company and that she actually got on the phone with the executives to tell them, you know, this is incredibly serious, and how are you going to make sure that this doesn't happen again? Now, she didn't reveal the details of that call but you know, she said, that based off of their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with, and the actions I'm expecting to see them take to protect children.

Now, Balenciaga is saying we sincerely -- we sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Adding our plush bear bag should not have been featured with children in this campaign. Now, they say that, Kate, they're going to take action. You know, file a lawsuit and go after those that they said put this campaign together and that they didn't have anything to do with those images. So, they say.

BOLDUAN: I see where the buck stops on that one. It's good to see you, Chloe. Thank you really much -- very much. I appreciate it.

MELAS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: So, Iran is taking issue with the U.S. team ahead of tomorrow's very big World Cup match. Why they are now calling for the American team to be expelled? That is next.



BOLDUAN: The controversies of the World Cup continue to add up. Iran is now calling for the U.S. team to be thrown out of the tournament after the U.S. Soccer Federation posted an image on social media showing the Iranian flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. This comes, of course, as widespread protests across Iran continue over women's rights or lack thereof. The post has since been deleted, but U.S. players, they're now being asked about it.


TIM REAM, DEFENDER, U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: Like we said, we support women's rights. We always have we always will. That message will remain consistent. And what we're doing as a team is supporting that, while also trying to prepare for the biggest game that the squad has had to date.



BOLDUAN: And CNN's Amanda Davies is live in Doha with more on this. Amanda, this is just, of course, as he was talking about, the U.S. is preparing for Iran in a must-win matchup.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely, Kate. And what we didn't know about this pretty unprecedented move was who had signed off on it, who had sanctioned it, and who knew about it. What we did know is that U.S. Soccer had said it was a one-time moment for 24 hours to show solidarity support for the women of Iran. Iran, for their part, as you mentioned, had calls for the U.S. to be thrown out of this World Cup to be suspended for 10 games, but we were still waiting for World football's governing body, FIFA, and are still waiting for any comment from them.

But what I can tell you is the U.S. coach, Gregg Berhalter, has just apologized for this. In his pre-match press conference, he says sometimes things are out of our control. All we can do is apologize on behalf of the players and staff. But it's not something we are part of.

The U.S. haven't shied away from addressing social and political issues here at the World Cup, but it's obviously not been ideal preparation for what is, without doubt, their biggest match of the tournament so far. The deal is win or go home.

BOLDUAN: It sure is. Thank you so much, Amanda. I really appreciate it. Joining me now for more on this is CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan. She's a sports columnist for USA Today. What do you think of this protest and really just kind of the tension surrounding all of this?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Kate, this is in keeping with the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team and U.S. Soccer. And the way they've been handling this World Cup, which is to say they have taken opportunities when they've been given them to make statements, social statements, cultural statements, political statements, bravo to them. I'm actually a little sorry to hear from Amanda's report that the U.S. coach has apologized.

You don't need to apologize for this. This is exactly what this team and what U.S. Soccer is all about. Keep in mind. Of course, this is the U.S. Men's National Team. Earlier this year, Kate, they're the ones who agreed to give up some of their money to the U.S. women so the U.S. women would get equal pay. That's what this team is. It is young American men.

Obviously, the Soccer Federation is run by a woman. Cindy Parlow Cone is the president of U.S. Soccer, a 1999 hero from that great World Cup. And so this is what is in keeping with U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Men's National Team. They're very much Title Nine males. And I think what they did was fantastic, in terms of highlighting the issues, the protests, and of course, women's rights, or the lack of women's rights, obviously, in Iran.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And talk to me about what this -- what this means, does, or doesn't do in terms of the game tomorrow. I mean, it's a must-win for the U.S. And now there's -- well, there was already politics wrapped up in it, but now even more so.

BRENNAN: For sure. But the U.S. men have been doing this all along. I mean, the U.S. Soccer Federation has the rainbow shield, not on the uniforms but throughout. They've had it in their team hotel, their parties, and other social events. The U.S. Men's National Team has a rainbow shield as opposed to the red, white, and blue, obviously, in support of LGBTQ rights, another huge issue in Qatar.

And so, I don't know why this would distract them any more than the other things they've done, which of course, I think history and you and I would understand this, certainly as journalists who cover these issues is history will regard them very well. This is not a distraction. This is the right thing to do. And the United States men and the U.S. Soccer Federation are leading the way on this.

BOLDUAN: And also, I just saw it -- really, people are tuning in just more broadly for the World Cup. More than 15.3 million viewers, set a record for the most watched men's soccer match on U.S. television, the match between the U.S. and England. That was amazing.

BRENNAN: Yes. And only the women from 2015, U.S. against Japan, the World Cup final has more viewers, amazing again, that the women would have more -- the most viewers ever in the United States. And that's why FIFA is not going to kick the U.S. Men's National Team out of the World Cup. They desperately want U.S. viewers. And the sponsors, of course, want the U.S. men to do well also.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you, Christine, thank you so much.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: We'll chat after the next match for sure. I really appreciate it.

So, before we go, we must celebrate together that Merriam-Webster finally got it right finally confirming what you have known all along -- we've all known along. We are -- have -- we are all being gaslit. Yes, you can believe it. That is Merriam-Webster's word of the year, gaslighting. Merriam-Webster defines it as the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one's own advantage. And the company says searches for gaslighting on its website increased, get this, 1,740 percent this year as the word has become pervasive in politics and pop culture.


The term itself though comes from the play and amazing in 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman, and a very young Angela Lansbury, actually. That movie is about a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is going insane in order to try to steal the family jewels. So, there's that. So, the gaslighting, my friends, will continue and now at least we know we're not alone in it. Comfort on a Monday.

Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this break.