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At This Hour

U.N. Security Council Holds Meeting On Anniversary Of War; China Unveils 12-Point Plan For Ending War In Ukraine; Alex Murdaugh Testifies In His Murder Trial. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired February 24, 2023 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: At this hour, the United Nations Security Council is holding a critical meeting on the war in Ukraine as the world marks one year since Russia's unprovoked invasion. We just heard a little while ago from the Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, in a blistering and important speech. And in Ukraine, President Zelenskyy is also speaking this morning and promising victory for his country in 2023. He's also once again pushing for more support from the West in order to pull it off.

For Russia's part, they show no signs of letting up, of course, the -- with ongoing shelling in Ukraine's east and south, killing at least three civilians and injuring several others in just the last 24 hours. And make no mistake. The war is reaching a critical juncture as Ukraine is preparing for an unexpected Russian spring offensive. And in a new interview with CNN, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed the role that China could play in the next year of this war if China begins providing lethal support to Russia as is feared.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We've not seen any -- China provides any material assistance to Ukraine -- to Russia at this point. China hasn't taken that -- taken that off the table for sure. I engaged my counterpart early on and told him that this would be a very bad mistake if China were to do this. It would further complicate things.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: And do you think they're preparing to do that?

AUSTIN: I don't -- I can't speak for the Chinese. I mean, they have tremendous capabilities. And so, again, if they were to do that, it would be ill-advised.


BOLDUAN: Let's go to Ukraine right now. Alex Marquardt is standing by in Dnipro. Alex, President Zelenskyy, he was also defiant today in his speech when he met with reporters. What's it like they're on this one- year mark? ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, it is a moment of reflection. People are looking back at the past year and realizing that this war has been going on for quite some time. It is a moment of trepidation as well because there has been considerable fear that Russia would try to do something on this day.

This country has been bracing for some kind of Russian attack. So far, that has not come today. But Ukrainian officials are talking about provocative acts that Russia could undertake. Thankfully, that has not happened.

But you -- but President Zelenskyy, we have heard from multiple times today, he has thanked troops who have really -- who have obviously led the fight against Russian forces. He visited soldiers in the hospital. He's also trying to deliver an upbeat message to his population.

It was, remember a year ago, Kate, when President Zelenskyy made the point that there would be no war. He was trying to calm his population. Of course, that turned out to not be the case.

Now, he is trying to put a positive tone on his messaging. He's saying that this will be the year for victory. He said to reporters, including our Christiane Amanpour earlier today that victory for Ukraine is inevitable. Here's a little bit more of what he has to say.



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: (Speaking in a foreign language)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we all do our homework, we -- victory will be inevitable. I am certain there will be victory. I don't think I want it this year. We have everything for it. We have the motivation, certainty, the friends, you, the diplomacy, you have all come together for this.


MARQUARDT: He said we have everything for it. We have the tools for it. He certainly has the support. And he has a year's worth of international aid from countries all around the world, Kate. But we've also heard him, particularly when he met with President Biden just a few days ago saying that there are still things that Ukraine is pushing for in terms of weapons, that they feel that they need to push the Russians out of this country, including longer-range missiles, and perhaps for the longer-term fighter jets.

The fight is obviously extremely active. It is despite the fact that the front line is relatively stagnant. There is a huge demand from the Ukrainian side for weapons not just in terms of increased sophistication, but in increased speed. Because there is an expectation that Russia will carry out a new offensive that we're already seeing the early stages of. But that Ukraine itself wants to go on a new counter-offensive against the Russians. Kate. BOLDUAN: Alex, thank you very much. Let's talk more about China and the new and increased focus on China's role -- potential role in Ukraine. China's calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine and for peace talks to begin as soon as possible. Those proposals are part of a new 12-Point Plan that China put out today as Beijing faces mounting questions over its growing relationship with Russia and also facing new accusations from the secretary of state that it's trying to have it both ways when it comes to Ukraine.

Kylie Atwood is live at the United Nations where the Secretary of State just spoke. Kylie, what's -- what was Blinken's message to the UN Security Council just now?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen. The secretary of state made an incredibly powerful message that the world cannot accept what Russia is doing in Ukraine as the new normal. Saying that the world cannot grow numb to the atrocities that are happening, saying Bucha isn't normal, attacks, bombings on schools and hospitals isn't normal, reminding folks of just how incredible these atrocities that Russia has carried out over the last year over the course of this war have really been.

He also took stock on what the United States has done, what the international community has done to support Ukraine over the last year while Ukraine has so valiantly defended itself. Listen to his reflections.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: When President Putin couldn't break the Ukrainian military, he intensified efforts to break Ukrainian spirits. Over the last year, Russia has killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian men, women, and children, uprooted more than 13 million people from their homes, destroyed more than half of the country's energy grid, bombed more than 700 hospitals, 2600 schools and abducted at least 6000 Ukrainian children, some as young as four months old, and relocated them to Russia. And yet, the spirit of the Ukrainians remains unbroken.


ATWOOD: Now, he also said that no member of the council should call for peace while also supporting Russia's war. And what that appeared to be was a jab at the Chinese peace proposal that you were just discussing, Kate, that the Chinese put out today. Because what the United States has repeatedly said over the course of the last few days, weeks and months is that China is trying to have it both ways here.

They are trying to publicly say that they are someone who's trying to broker peace but they're not actually doing that. They are actually siding with the Russians. They're providing economic support to Russia, providing non-lethal support to Russia potentially providing lethal support to Russia. The secretary of state calls for a just and durable peace. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, just and durable peace. Thank you, Kylie. It's great to see you.

Let's get to Russia now where the world is watching for clues as to what Vladimir Putin's next move will be. You know, we're actually going to need to go directly right now though, back to South Carolina because the court is now back in session in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll be out now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) record before the jury comes in?

NEWMAN: There'll be an opportunity to put something on the record. If it's regarding an objection, it can be done later.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury is ready, sir.

NEWMAN: Thank you. You may proceed.

CREIGHTON WATERS, LEAD PROSECUTOR: When you picked up that chicken, was there any blood on it?


WATERS: Did you wash your hands are all?

MURDAUGH: At that point in time, I don't believe that I did.

WATERS: And when you say you were there, you said Maggie was nearby you. Is that correct?

MURDAUGH: Right by me.

WATERS: Was she messing with the hose at all?

MURDAUGH: At that time, no. She was not.

WATERS: Does she mess with it the entire time that you were there according to your new facts today?

MURDAUGH: While I was there, she did not touch -- she was not fooling with a hose at all.

WATERS: OK. all right, I'm going to move this thing along. I'm going to put up on the screen states 519 which is the condensed timeline. If I could have that computer input, please?

JIM GRIFFIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) 519? WATERS: It's a condensed timeline, Mr. Griffin.

GRIFFIN: Thank you.

WATERS: Can you see that out there, Mr. Murdaugh?


WATERS: All right. I'm on page five. Do you see that cell tower down there?

MURDAUGH: That is up on my screen?


MURDAUGH: I do see that.

WATERS: Would you agree with me that it reflects no cell tower activity on your phone from 6:52 to 9:04?

MURDAUGH: I do agree with that.

WATERS: Let me ask you this, Mr. Murdaugh. Would you take your phone with you down to the kennels, according to the new facts that you testified to yesterday and today?

MURDAUGH: I must not have.

WATERS: You must not have?

MURDAUGH: If this is accurate, no, sir.

WATERS: Is that typical for you?

MURDAUGH: Sure, it is. Absolutely.

WATERS: OK. Tell me why that's simple.

MURDAUGH: If and when I'm going. Now, it wouldn't be -- it would be unusual if I was going out for any extended period of time if I was going -- even on a property, if I was going somewhere for an extended period of time, I would usually have my phone. But for me to go -- no one and I'm going to the kennel and coming right back, that's not unusual at all.

I mean, there's very -- you've heard the testimony about the service out there. The service is terrible. You have to be in a particular spot.

WATERS: All right.

MURDAUGH: And you have to find a spot.

WATERS: So, the answer is you don't know whether or not you took it down there?

MURDAUGH: I believe that I probably did it based on this data.

WATERS: Based on this. But unlike the photographic memory about other things, you don't remember whether or not you had your phone on you.

MURDAUGH: Mr. Waters, I've never claimed to have a photographic memory but I do not specifically remember if I had my phone that night. I do not dispute it based on these -- on this data. And that's not unusual for me.


WATERS: It feels like you don't remember, according to your new story, the last conversation you had with Maggie?

MURDAUGH: No, I remember -- I remember having the con -- my last conversation with Maggie.

WATERS: Looking at this screen, you have the map up there on page six and it shows you arriving back at Moselle at 6:42. You don't dispute that now, is that correct?

MURDAUGH: No, that's what the -- this data appears to show.

WATERS: Now, I'm looking at the data. Moving on to page seven, you have Paul arriving at about 7:04. Is that correct? You don't have any reason to dispute that?

MURDAUGH: Well, this one says he arrives at 4147 Moselle Road, which is the address of the shop. The house is 4157. I believe that Paul actually got there a little bit before that. But I think that's approximately accurate. I think Paul got there a little bit closer to seven o'clock.

WATERS: All right. You would agree that's the earliest data point that reflects his presence in Moselle?

MURDAUGH: If that's what the record show.

WATERS: And you don't dispute that?

MURDAUGH: I don't dispute it, that's -- if that's the earliest data point. But again, I believe he got there a little bit earlier. And I tried to look at these records to see if I could just -- if that could be refuted. And I believe he got there a little closer to seven or a little bit before seven.

WATERS: No, it's a good point. You looked at these records a lot before you had your testimony yesterday and today, didn't you, Mr. Murdaugh?

MURDAUGH: I've looked at these records other than the OnStar records that just came when they were provided to me. Sure, I looked at them.

WATERS: OK. Right here, we have some steps on your phone, 29 steps. And then down at the bottom, we have 89 steps. Is that consistent when you and Paul were together on the property? MURDAUGH: I mean, sure. We would go to different locations on the property. Sometimes we would get out. Sometimes we wouldn't -- we get out and walk around, we look at stuff, we do things. For example, you saw me messing with the tree. There'd be other ones we may get out and look at a feed or maybe other ones we get out and look at hog signs where hogs are rooting, so it would be perfectly consistent with what Paul Paul and I were doing that day.

WATERS: And 8:05 to 8:09, would you agree that that's the last steps recorded on your phone before 9:02 when you become a very busy baby?

MURDAUGH: If that's what these records show, I see. I took steps -- this record show I took steps between 8:05 and 8:09.

WATERS: All right. So, would you concede then that you're at the house around 8:09?

MURDAUGH: I would have thought so. Yes.

WATERS: OK. And you said Paul was already back at that point?

MURDAUGH: No. I said just the opposite.

WATERS: When did he get there?

MURDAUGH: All right. Are you talking about when I left the shop and went to the house when Maggie was there?

WATERS: Yes. Before you ate dinner.

MURDAUGH: No, as I said earlier, Paul and I were at the shop. Maggie got home. I left Paul at the shop and I went to the house. I think you were saying that I said I met Paul at the house. And that's incorrect.

WATERS: Paul was still down at the shop when you were at the house. Correct?

MURDAUGH: When I first went to the house, Paul was still at the shop I believe.

WATERS: All right. And was Maggie there when you arrived at the house?

MURDAUGH: Yes, I believe she was.

WATERS: All right. And eight or nine is the last step that you have on this phone before 9:02, correct?

MURDAUGH: That's what the data shows.

WATERS: Looking now at page 15 -- I'm sorry, page 14. The stuffs that you say when you got the house is eight or nine and Paul stood out in the shop. But don't these records reflect that Paul is pinging with GPS data at the house at 8:08?


MURDAUGH: This record appears to show Paul at the house at 8:08.

WATERS: All right. So, those records don't fit with your new story that you've testified yesterday and today. Is that correct?

MURDAUGH: No, I don't -- I don't believe even right now, Mr. Waters, if that's right. I'm not saying -- what you're doing is you're taking 8:09 and saying that I'm at the house. And I mean, that may or may not be right. But what I'm saying is that when Maggie came through, I left and I believe that Paul stayed at the shop.

Now, did Paul come right behind me? I'm not sure. But when I -- when I left him, I believe that -- when I left to go to the house, I believe that Paul stayed at the shop for a minute.

WATERS: When you got to the house, did you put your phone down?

MURDAUGH: I'm sure I did.

WATERS: Did you put it in the car, in the Suburban?

MURDAUGH: Did I put it in the Suburban?

WATERS: When you got back to the house, did you put it in the Suburban? Was the Suburban parked out front?

MURDAUGH: The Suburban would have parked -- been parked wherever I parked it.

WATERS: Which is where?

MURDAUGH: I believe on the side.

WATERS: OK. And did you put the phone -- your phone in the Suburban?

MURDAUGH: At that time? No, I did not.

WATERS: Where'd you put it?

MURDAUGH: I'm not sure where I put it.

WATERS: You're not sure about that either, huh?

MURDAUGH: No, I'm not sure. When I went in the house, I'm not sure where I put my phone. I would think that I -- you know, I would think that I put it down somewhere. Probably about a couch.

WATERS: Didn't you testify yesterday when you were being asked by your lawyer about that pause of Alameda when you were living -- leaving, and you had a very specific recollection of your phone had fallen down in the crevice and you had to pick it up and get it out? Do you remember testifying to that?


WATERS: But you don't remember what you do with your phone when you got back at this point, huh? MURDAUGH: I mean, Mr. Waters, these are two distinct different things. I'm coming in the house and I put my phone now. I don't have a routine spot that I put it in, right on this corner or right there, you know.


MURDAUGH: I would -- I would assume that when I went into the house, I put it somewhere, either on the table, you go by going to the -- go into the couch, I may have taken it to the bathroom when I take a shower

WATERS: That console story (INAUDIBLE)

MURDAUGH: -- it may have taken me a few minutes to go to the shower. So, I can't tell you exactly where I put it.

WATERS: That console story is an -- that console story is an awful specific recommend -- recollection when you need it to try and make the new story that this jury is here and everyone's hearing yesterday and today with the data, correct? But you're awful fuzzy on far more important things, aren't you, Mr. Murdaugh?

MURDAUGH: Which question -- here, I'll answer the first one first. No.


MURDAUGH: I don't believe that's convenient. And I disagree with your categorization of the description.

WATERS: All right. But you remember the console story but you don't remember where you put your phone whether or not you took it down to the kennels, whether it was on the -- you put it in the Suburban. You don't remember any of that but you remember that console story, correct?

MURDAUGH: Well, I don't remember the console story but you know in that Suburban -- and it's not the first time that it happened. But when that phone got down there, you had to go to great efforts to get it out. And you couldn't just reach over there and get it out.

WATERS: All right. Do you say when you got to the house that Maggie was already there?


WATERS: OK. Now, we saw your last steps were at 8:09?

MURDAUGH: Well, that's what you saw when my -- this data recorded my last steps but as you heard his testimony too, Mr. Waters, you know that's not a precise -- that's not a precise -- you heard the testimony. You know what it is.

WATERS: Well, how did you get back to the house? Remind us.

MURDAUGH: From the shop?


MURDAUGH: I went into a white pickup truck.

WATERS: You went in the white pickup truck? OK. And when you got into the house, where did you go?

MURDAUGH: We've already discussed this. I took a shower. Whether I did things for a moment before I went to the shower -- I'm sure I talked to Maggie because she'd been gone. And if she came through the kennel which I believe she did, we only talk briefly. So, I would have talked to her but I would have quickly gone to take a shower.

WATERS: OK. Going over to page 16, you would agree with me that the data reflects Maggie start logging steps and her phone disconnecting from the Mercedes around 8:17, correct?

MURDAUGH: I agree at 8:17, her phone ends connection to her Mercedes.

WATERS: And starts logging steps?


MURDAUGH: I don't see that but I don't dispute it.

WATERS: All right. Well, you see the purple line talking about it disconnected from the Mercedes -- (INAUDIBLE) --

MURDAUGH: I do see -- I see where you talking about. So, yes --


MURDAUGH: -- at 8:17, her phone starts logging steps. I agree with that.

WATERS: OK. So, what you can see that that appears to be when she arrived?

MURDAUGH: No. I don't believe that's when she arrived. I believe that -- I mean it was very normal for Maggie when she's driving to jump out of the car, run inside, go to the bathroom, do things and either send me or Paul or go back -- or Buster or go back to her car herself and unplug her phone, so -- I mean I agree that's when her phones unplug but I believe that Maggie got to the house a little bit before that. That's the whole reason why Paul and I went to the house.

WATERS: OK. But you're saying Paul arrived after Maggie. Is that what you're saying? Got the house (INAUDIBLE)

MURDAUGH: I believe so. Yes sir.


MURDAUGH: That's what I recall. And Paul arrived at the house after I arrived at the house. I believe. And if Paul got to the house around about the same time, he wasn't inside with Maggie and I when I get to the shower. WATERS: (INAUDIBLE) So, you say if Paul got, he wasn't inside with Maggie and you? Is that what you said? Mr. Murdaugh, is that what you said?


WATERS: You said if Paul got the house prior to that, he wasn't inside with you and Maggie. Is that what you said?

MURDAUGH: I'm saying he was not inside when I went to get in the shower.

WATERS: OK. But again, looking back at this data point, 8:08, we see a little blue dot right there in the middle of the house, don't we?

MURDAUGH: Yes, that's what these records show.


MURDAUGH: And it also shows that circle that folks testify to what the range of what it could --

WATERS: Yes, absolutely.

MURDAUGH: -- be within. So, I mean, it clearly could be --

WATERS: Look at that circle. Look at what's right in the middle of that circle. Almost like somebody drew a circle around the house, don't you agree?

MURDAUGH: Yes, I do. But also, in that circle is where you would park a truck if you pulled up.

WATERS: All right.

MURDAUGH: So, you know. And I'm not saying that he wasn't in the house at some point in time there. But when I wanted to get in the shower, he wasn't in the house. And he very easily could have been there and been parked in the yard.

WATERS: All right. Do you agree at the bottom of page 16 that at about 8:30, Maggie starts tracking steps again on her phone?

MURDAUGH: Yes sir. That's what the data shows.

WATERS: All right. It's the wrong button. And you agree with me that at about 8:38, Paul's phone shows him back up at the kennels?

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir. I agree that at 8:38 -- let me see, which one. It was hard for me to figure out which one of these rings but at 8:38, it shows Paul in whichever one of those rings is 56 meters wide. And I have no reason to believe he wasn't at the kennel.

WATERS: All right. And then at 8:44 or 8:55, we've already gone through, that's the kennel video, right?

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir. That's correct.

WATERS: And you would agree with me that it lasts about 50 seconds, correct?

MURDAUGH: Yes, sir. I agree with that.

WATERS: And you would agree with me moving on to page 19 that both Maggie and Paul's phones locked for the final time at around 8:49?

MURDAUGH: That's what the data shows.

WATERS: OK. After that, you would agree that Maggie's phone around 8:53 shows some steps being taken?

MURDAUGH: That's what the data shows. Yes, sir.

WATERS: Later then shows carrying over that's what it shows. Is that correct?

MURDAUGH: That is correct.