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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Five Ex-Officers Charged With Murder In Tyre Nichols' Death; Biden Hits The Road To Tout His Economic Agenda; Rep. Adam Schiff Launches Bid For Sen. Feinstein's CA Senate Seat; Ukraine: 11 Dead After Fresh Onslaught Of Russian Missile Attacks; News Conference By Attorneys For Ex-Officers Charged With Murder; Former Twitter Employee Who Gave Evidence To January 6 Committee Gives First TV Interview. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired January 26, 2023 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Our Shimon Prokupecz reports if there will be a news conference sometime within the next hour. Of course, we will bring you the news that comes out of that.

But for now, THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts in just a few seconds. .

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Tyre Nichols, the latest high profile case of police brutality to resolve and murder charges.

THE LEAD starts right now.

First fired, now charged. Five former officers indicted in the death of Tyre Nichols. The victim's family says he was beaten like a human pinata. What led to the traffic stop that escalated to a physical encounter and nickels death three days later? That is the big questions still today.

Plus, the murder trial for Alex Murdaugh, the once prominent attorney accused of killing his wife and son. The first witnesses called to testify and the key reporting the jury heard today.

Plus, party fight. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff dropped his name in what is shaping up to be a hotly contested Senate race.


BROWN: Well, welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown. Jake Tapper is on assignment today.

And we start today with breaking news, five fired Memphis police officers have not been charged with murder in the death of 29 year old Tyre Nichols. The Shelby County district attorney announced the charges this afternoon, which include second degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Police say officers pulled Nichols over on January 7th and, after a confrontation, Nichols ran away. When officers caught up to Nichols, police say there was another conversation before he was taken into custody. Nichols then complained of shortness of breath, was taken to the hospital and then died three days later. The district attorney said today there was a quote elapsed period of time in getting medical help for Nichols when he was injured during the traffic stop.

Now, video of the incident is expected to be released tomorrow night. Attorneys for Nichols' family who saw the video Monday described it as a heinous police beating. And the Memphis police chief called it inhumane.


CHIEF CERELYN DAVIS, MEMPHIS POLICE: This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual. This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane. I did the vein of transparency, when the video is released in the coming days, we will see this for yourselves.


BROWN: The family described Tyre Nichols as a family man who adored his mother and was working to create a better life for his four-year- old son. They said he loved skateboarding and photography, especially photographing sunsets.

CNN's Sara Sidner and Don Lemon are on the scene in Memphis for us.

Sara, walk us through what these charges mean and the possible sentences.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, these charges are big, they're huge, I think it's the best way to say it, because you have a secondary murder charge. The family had been very clear that they wanted to see a murder charge, because they believe, from what they saw on this video, that was absolutely egregious and brutal. It was murder. And the district attorney agreed, and so did the grand jury.

So, you've got the second degree murder. You've got two charges of aggravated kidnapping, of two charges of aggravated assault. These are charges that the family believes match what happened to Tyre Nichols.

And we also heard very clearly from the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations just how bad things were. He talked about the fact that we are here today because of this wound to one family that actually hurts us all. He said he was aggrieved that he himself, someone in law enforcement for a very long time, is shocked and sickened by what happened. And then he ended with saying it was absolutely appalling. And this was not only bad policy, that they didn't follow policy, it was illegal. He feels at the right thing has been done here.

So, these charges are very serious. Second degree murder here in Tennessee could be anywhere from up to 16 years in prison. So, these are extremely serious charges that each and every one of the police officers who are fired will now face him BROWN: And you heard the D.A. also say that look, you know, these

charges are more aggressive than what you typically see in police brutality cases. But we feel these charges are warranted. Now, of course, he saying this ahead of the video that's expected to be released tomorrow night, Don. As you just heard from Sara, just carry the description from the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, after he watched that, video it just gives you a sense of how horrific it is.

How is the city preparing?


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING: Well, they are concerned about the possibility of violence, but it's believe that they don't think it will happen, because of how they laid this out. The planning in this, not releasing the videotape ahead of the police chief and ahead of the charges, they wanted to get the charges out of the way, but they wanted to speak to the family and that they wanted to release the videotape.

Now, there is some concern, quite honestly, about releasing that videotape after 6:00 on a Friday night. Some believe that it may escalate the violence, because it is a Friday night and people aren't working or what have you. But there, others when I just spoke to, the president of the NAACP here. It actually gives people the time to absorb. And they believe the circumstances on this are different.

Honestly, there isn't the element, they believe, speaking for the community members are saying, the element of race. All the officers are Black. The victim is Black. The police chief is Black. The community is Black.

But the one constant that we have here is that the officers involved are blue. No matter the ethnicity of the officers. Obviously, this was misconduct, according to the district attorney, and to the police chief herself, saying that this is heinous. Her words.

So, releasing the videotape was surprising to some on a Friday night. They weren't sure when they are going to really, say I got information earlier that it was going to be tomorrow, turns out that was indeed the case.

Initially, Pamela, I thought it would probably be around noon. To give people midday chance to digest, it get off work about their business. But after 6:00 on a Friday, night tomorrow night, it's one that videotape is expected to be released. Three different angles. One from a sky cam or pull cam, that's according to our John Miller. Similar if not the same. And then other body camera video, over an hour of it. Some of it will have to be redacted or edited to protect witnesses and civilians and sources.

BROWN: All right. Don Lemon, Sara Sidner, were bracing for the release of that video.

I want to bring in CNN's Nick Valencia. Nick, there is still a lot of questions about what exactly happened on

January 7th. But local officials have given a rough outline, even with those questions outstanding.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have. And we learn new details during this press conference earlier this afternoon, with the district attorney, for the first time hearing that a Taser was used. Or rather pepper spray was used during this confrontation as it's characterized by, police. But much of what we know officially happened came out from a police statement almost immediately after this incident occurred. So, we know that Tyre Nichols was pulled over on the evening of January 7th at around 8:30 pm. They say officers attempted to make a traffic stop for reckless driving.

The statement went on to say that as officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation occurred. And Nichols ran.

Officers, they say, then pursued Nichols, attempted to take the suspect into custody, they were into the statement. All the time to take the suspected to custody, another confrontation occurred. They say ultimately the suspect, Nichols, was apprehended. The second confrontation is what it's been characterized by Nichols family as this savage and violent beating.

The statement went on to say that, afterward, the suspect complained of having shortness of breath. I wish time an ambulance was called. The suspect, Nichols, was transported to Saint Francis Hospital in critical condition. The statement concluded by saying, due to the suspect's condition, the district attorney generals office was contacted and it was determined that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would handle this investigation.

Now, we did reach out to the Memphis Police Department a try to get our hands on the police report, the incident report. They declined to give that to, as a citing an active investigation.

But earlier this afternoon, we did speak to a family friend of one of the officers involved, and Emmitt Martin III. We spoke to his longtime family friend Bennie Cobb, who's a retired Shelby County sheriff captain. And Cobb said that Martin showed up in the days after the incident with Nichols, appearing nervous about his future with the police department and remorseful.


BENNIE COBB, RETIRED CAPTAIN, SHELBY COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: I saw the pain on his face, he said he hadn't slept and probably five or six days. When he was expressing to meet the things that went on, he was teary eyed.


VALENCIA: Cobb said that Martin went on to defend his use of force, saying he had to do what he had to do in order to get nickels at their custody. Clearly, the district attorney agrees, Martin now facing second-degree murder charges amid a slew of other charges -- Pamela. BROWN: Yeah, the district attorney certainly does not believe that he did what he needed to do. That he went way beyond that.

Nick Valencia, thank you.

Here to discuss, civil rights attorney Areva Martin, former incident commander in Ferguson, Missouri, Captain Ron Johnson, and former Richmond, Virginia officer and CEO of Police Brutality Matters, Joe Ested.


Areva, I want to start with you, talking about these charges. Each officer is facing the same charges even though, as the D.A. said, they played different roles in Tyre's death. He says they're all responsible for his death and that's why they're all facing these charges.

What do you make of them and that strategy?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Pamela, it tells us all of these officers played some role because we know that if any of them had made even any effort to intervene, stop the other officers from engaging in this conduct, perhaps it be facing different at perhaps not even charges that all. But because all of them have been charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, we know that they all played some role. And it had to be a pretty significant role, Pamela, in the beating of Tyre Nichols.

What we did here in the press conferences was anything to suggest that Mr. Nichols had a weapon, that they had any information that he was violent or anything that would suggest that five officers needed to be involved in what we now know was that second altercation that led to the brutal beating. I think that's important to note, because we've seen too many of these cases where it's a routine traffic stop, a nonviolent encounter with police that should not end in the death of a civilian like Mr. Nichols.

BROWN: Yeah, you heard that from Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney, saying they need to be better low threat procedures. This happens way too often.

And, Ron, prosecutors could have gone for lesser charges for these officers, such as involuntary manslaughter. But they went with second degree murder, which the D.A. said knowingly killing someone. The district attorney also said it's because of what we're going to see in this video. What do you make of that? Joe?


BROWN: Go ahead, could you hear the question? But the fact --

ESTED: No, I didn't.

BROWN: OK, so the D.A. said that they could have gone for lesser charges. But instead they went with second degree murder. Which means they believe these officers knowingly killed someone. And they said it's because of what we're going to see in this video, that one of the officials there said was appalling. What do you make of that?

ESTED: I'd be glad they went with more serious charges, because what we have seen is very serious. You have officers, a part of the anti- crime, unit which I was definitely a part of. These guys are supposed to be out here targeting drugs, stolen vehicles, burglaries, prostitutions.

It was a reckless driving offense. The guy runs out. This is very common in this particular unit. Guy runs out, whatever confrontation happens, five officers had no justification in beating Tyre down like that. That was sad, and I'm glad the charges that the prosecutor was able to obtain were implemented.

BROWN: Ron, you know, again, we heard the head of the Tennessee bureau of investigation say there of investigation say it was, sickening appalling after serving in law enforcement for decades. Remember, this is a law enforcement agency, the head of one, talking about another law enforcement agency. That stuck out to me.

How unusual is it that you see such strong language like this in this circumstance?

CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL (RET.): Well, I think we have law enforcement officers throughout this country doing a great job, but I think we've seen throughout the years that, when we have incidents like this, officers to stand up and say that is wrong. And we should send that message to the public. Also officers that wear the same uniform that we wear, we're not going to tolerate that. That then our profession is better than that. So I think the head of the TBI did not very well and what he said today, he was heartfelt compassionate to the family about what happened and what he saw.

ESTED: It also appears today that the Memphis Police Chief was not in attendance at today's press conference. The D.A. said he doesn't know why. I'm wondering, Captain, had you think her department prepares for when the public sees this incredibly disturbing video of officers who are formerly in her own police force? What do you think about, that captain?

JOHNSON: Well, I think her interviews thus far have stood out and been transparent and honest. She said that this is not what is expected of a law enforcement officer. This is not defining her department. And immediately, those officers were terminated.

So, I think it says a lot about her and the stance that she is taking. And I think she must talk to the men and women and let them know that this can't define us. This has to make us better and make our community better.

BROWN: I'm wondering, Areva, what you made of this. Because to my knowledge it was the first we heard in this press conference that there is a lapse of time after the second confrontation, for when police finally called for help, for medical help. And I'm wondering how you see this factoring into these charges, particularly when it comes to the second degree murder charge, knowingly killing someone.


What do you think?

MARTIN: Yeah, I'm concerned about that as well, Pamela. Don was able to do an interview with the district attorney before the press conference and asked about, would there be charges filed against those first responders? Apparently there were two. And the district attorney said this investigation is ongoing, so he wouldn't commit to whether or not there would be charges.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if we see some additional charges charged against those EMT workers. But you're right, it plays into this notion that the officers, five of them, who brutally beat Mr. Nichols knew -- knowingly engaged in conduct that they knew could've resulted in his death. And they delayed in getting a medical treatment after he said he couldn't breathe, I think that also played into the prosecutor's decision to file second degree murder charges rather than lesser charges.

BROWN: It was clear, officials are today, they did give new information but they made it clear they wanted the video to be released and have a community -- the public decide what their takeaways are. So, we will see soon. Thank you all for being here in giving us your insights. We appreciate it.

And we are standing by for an attorney for one of the fired officers charged in the case to respond to the indictment. We will bring that to you, so be sure to stick around for that.

Plus, just moments, ago comments from President Biden as he tries to move away from his classified documents scandal.

And a second look at the fine print, as Facebook's parent company, Meta, welcomes Donald Trump back online.



BROWN: And we are back with our money lead.

The U.S. economy grew by almost 3 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, defying fears the country is on the brink of recession. Well, this is welcome news for President Biden as he attempts to cast Republican economic proposals as catastrophic for Americans.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is at the White House for us.

So, Phil, the president just spoke in Virginia. What was his message?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, I was riding the winds of those good GDP numbers, better than expected numbers, as well as better than expected unemployment claims really underscoring what the president believes that his administration has accomplished over the course of the last two years. But also drying a very clear contrast with what they've seen from House Republicans in their opening weeks of the new majority, including on an issue that everyone is focused on for the months ahead, the debt limit. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're actually threatening to have us default on the American debt. And the debt that's been accumulated over 230 years, okay? And the interest on that, that we've never ever done that. What in God's name with the Americans give up the progress we've made for the chaos they're suggesting? I don't get it.

That's why the MAGA Republicans deliberately choose to inflict this kind of pain on the American people, I will not let it happen. Not on my watch.


MATTINGLY: You know, Pamela, this was a nearly 40-minute speech just in Virginia. It was kind of a laying the groundwork type moment. The president's going to be on the road over the course of the next couple of weeks, in the lead up to the State of the Union Address. The economy, what he believes are his accomplishments on the economy, and those contrast with House Republicans in particular will be a central focus of all those remarks, obviously, all leading into the State of the Union Address, and potentially a reelection announcement in the weeks ahead.

BROWN: Yeah, we shall see.

And also, Phil, the one year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is next month. I mean, hard to believe it's almost been a year and you have some new information about how the Biden administration could mark that date?

MATTINGLY: You know, Pam, over the course of the last several weeks, White House officials have been meeting and mulling options to try to really elevate this anniversary, to underscore both the resilience of the Ukrainian people in terms of how administration officials see it, but also the durability of a coalition that has stuck together throughout the course of the last 11 months, soon to be a full year.

We saw it in vivid displays yesterday with the U.S. decision to send tanks in order to clear the way for Germany to send their own. And that may include, when that anniversary, comes up travel for the president to Europe. Potentially Poland is one of the ideas they're considering at this moment.

There will be -- there's also discussion about a high-profile speech as well, making very clear they want to mark this moment both for the symbolism but also to underscore the necessity of keeping that coalition together for as long as it takes, Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Phil Mattingly at the White House, thank you. So, let's discuss.

Francesca, I want to kick it off with you. Biden, not surprisingly, is really touting these strong economic numbers saying, hey, here's the proof, the economy is working under my administration, and also using it as an opportunity to bash Republicans. Is this previewing perhaps his reelection message?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: But also the State of the Union, I think Phil is exactly right about. That one key thing we heard from the president today is that the $35 cap on insulin for seniors under Medicare, he said that something they want to expand all Americans this year. So, that's a firm policy commitment we heard from the president.

But he also said that he would spend his time talking about the policies that they implemented last year through the Inflation Reduction Act. That's something Democrats tell me they see is very helpful in a time of congressional gridlock. This opportunity to talk about those accomplishments they had the last Congress.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: I think it does come with some risk, though because we're not out of the woods yet on inflation. The last time he was loud and proud talking about MAGA Republicans, in that speech I believe in Philadelphia, he did receive a lot of criticism from the right that it was anything but unifying. But Republicans have really given President Biden an opening here with their previewing of this fight over the debt ceiling by not outlining specifically what programs they would cut.

Congresswoman Nancy Mace, she was asked about this of South Carolina. She couldn't really give a clear answer, suggesting that we're going to look at the agency heads and let them make a decision. Very reticent to actually talk about what social programs they're willing to eliminate.

MICHAEL LAROSA, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Yeah. And you saw the Ways and Means chairman put out a press release last weekend blasting Biden for not negotiating and wanting all the spending cuts, but refused to say what he would like to cut. One word you didn't see was entitlement, because they know very well that that is a losing issue for them.

Also, look, you don't negotiate overpay your credit card bill every month, right? That's an obligation you have.

The last time Vice President Biden negotiated the debt ceiling, it didn't work out too well. Our credit rating was down, downgraded. The market was destabilized.

And Republicans blew through the spending caps on the deal that they did make. They blew through those caps as soon as they got a Republican president. So they can't be trusted to negotiate it anyway.

BROWN: The Republicans, some of them drawing a line in the sand on this one, Charlie. CHARLIE DEAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is how it's

going. It will be a rerun of 2011. They're going to run bills about the cap, cut, and balance, which is going to go nowhere. They're going to run a bill on debt prioritization, which again is going to go nowhere. And sooner or later, it's going to be a serious negotiation and there will be a raising of the debt ceiling.

The question, is what happened before after the caps drop comes in? I hope it's before. I've been through so many of these fights, and you're going to end up with something probably close to that ceiling.

If they're smart, they'll do a Simpson-Bowles 2.0, maybe with some teeth, require a vote on it. But that's where it's going to go.

BROWN: You've been to the show before. You know how this is going to play out.

DEAN: Can you imagine, they want $100 million? Let's say McCarthy gets $50 billion. A lot of these guys demanding cuts, they will vote for debt ceiling anyway.

BROWN: Right, so there is that. I also want to note, you know, we're having this discussion amid a new poll that just came out, that Republicans are obviously less than a month into their new House and this new poll shows that nearly three quarters of Americans, 73 percent, think House GOP leaders haven't paid attention to the most important problems.

As we know, Republicans ran on inflation, the economy, saying, you know, we're going to impose spending cuts. But so far, they mainly talk about investigations into Biden and his family. It seems like perhaps that's backfiring here.

CHAMBERS: And that's part of the contrast that President Biden and Democrats believe that they can draw here. But back to your point, Charlie, about how these are going nowhere, as Biden said today, that he would -- he would veto these.

And you saw on CNN's polling, that most Americans do believe that Republicans will have more influence over the agenda than Biden, but realistically this is our gridlock Congress. Republicans are going to control the House, Democrats in control of the Senate, and Biden in control of the White House.

And so, again, you're just not going to see much of these, bills whether that led by Democrats or Republicans, getting through Congress.

BROWN: I think that's the reality.

OK. We have to talk about Meta, big news from Meta today, and Donald Trump, right? Meta saying Donald Trump, come back on Facebook and Instagram. Of course, he was removed after the January 6th riot.

But they've established some confusing rules, I guess you could say, for what he'll be allowed to do on the platform. He will be permitted to attack the results of the 2020 election without facing consequences from the company. However, the spokesperson, said if Trump were to cast doubt on that upcoming election, the presidential race, the social giant will take action.

So, they're saying, basically, he can lie about the past, not the future. How does that square?

MCKEND: Well, they've also said they're going to put guardrails and they will intervene when they have to. Listen, we don't have to go very far to see how the former president, what he might say if he's let back on this platform. He has won now in Truth Social, and we see him elevating, you know, QAnon conspiracy theories.

So, that is a real risk here. But it looks like Facebook or Meta does not want to be in the center of this perennial argument over what should constitute as free speech.

BROWN: Right. And, you know, there have been some organizations who have come out and said, this is a good thing. Organizations that haven't necessarily been in favor of Trump, but say, the public news to know what's on his mind, what he's thinking, the question is, will he get back on Facebook?

He hasn't gotten back on Twitter. He's allowed back there. Of course, Facebook is a different platform, it's hard to run for president without Facebook.

LAROSA: Yeah. But like, look, this is the result of the insurrection, which was the result of a lie the president started, about an election that was run fairly. In the words of Mitch McConnell, it wasn't even a very close election. The president won by 7 million votes, I think it was maybe the eight most close election in history.

So, when you're starting lies that lead to violence, that led to an insurrection, it's like giving an arsonist a match isn't letting them run around, you know, a can full of gasoline.

BROWN: Yeah. All right. We can't let you go before we ask about -- go ahead.

DEAN: I could care less whether he's a Meta or Facebook or Twitter. I really could care less. It was nice when he was quiet on social media, and we didn't have to listen to it. But he's got a platform that I think most of us are well beyond whether he's on social media.

BROWN: Yeah.

All right. Let me ask before I let you guys go, about Adam Schiff announced today he's going to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate in California, joining Katie Porter in that race. Senator Dianne Feinstein hasn't announced her intentions but isn't expected to run again. Barbara Lee has signaled to colleagues she will enter that race as well.

This is shaping up to be a really competitive race for the Dems. Who has the advantage here, Eva? MCKEND: You know, it's hard to say. They're going to be really

similar on all their platforms. California, not necessarily a competitive state for Republicans. I would imagine a lot of money is poured to this race.

We have seen Congresswoman Porter able to elicit a lot of attention during these committee hearings, and that's why she had these big fundraising numbers as soon as she announced. I don't know who really pulls ahead.

What do you guys think?

BROWN: Yeah. Well, Speaker McCarthy, by the way, I'm just wondering how this all plays into it, taking Schiff off of the Intelligence Committee. Does that give him --

LAROSA: I think it was a huge gift to --

BROWN: Yeah.

LAROSA: -- to Schiff, not just for fundraising but just highlights in a Democratic primary in California. Schiff sort of led the charge against Donald Trump not once but twice.

BROWN: What do you think?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is wide open, I agree, Michael, I think taking Schiff off Intel is only going to help Schiff in this primary. That's a gift, and I think Schiff will be a very formidable candidate for this seat. But it's wide open, and again --

LAROSA: There's a lot of talent. The lieutenant governor has won state wide before, she's quite popular, as other members who are considering getting it as well.

CHAMBERS: He will have a lot of progressive support. But on the other hand, as you were saying before, Adam Schiff, when we talk about January 6, he's been a real leader on that particular issue, too. So, Democrats are going to have to find ways to distinguish their positions.

BROWN: It's going to be quite the fight in California for that seat.

Thank you all so much.

Up ahead, the murder trial for the former attorney accused of killing his wife and son. The key reporting played in court today and the first witnesses called to testify, up next.



BROWN: In our world lead, Ukraine officials say 11 people are dead after an onslaught of Russian missile strikes across the country today. These homes just outside of Kyiv are now unrecognizable. Some in the capital city of Kyiv spent the morning sheltering in the subway. Urged by local officials to take cover while Ukrainian air defenses trying to shoot down as much of the incoming fire as possible.

Let's get right to CNN's Sam Kiley in Kyiv.

Sam, you are on the scene after muscle debris killed a man. What did you see there?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a missile that had actually been shot down but the debris landed on Kyiv, killing a man in his 50s, injuring two others and landed pretty close, I have to say, to a pretty important electrical generating plant, which was clearly the Russian target. As indeed, Pam, you know, this has been an ongoing campaign by the Russians using the Iranian made Shahed drones in the first wave to draw off their air defenses and then following up with cruise missiles, some of them armed with a substantial warheads of some 400 kilograms.

Others of them, older nuclear era cruise missiles, minus the nuclear warhead which just again used to draw off air defenses, because clearly, the Russians are bent on two things. One is to break the back of the energy capacity here in Ukraine, to cripple the civilian government firstly. And secondly, to try to overwhelm the air defenses so that they can use their aircraft and missile capabilities more effectively against the Ukrainian troops.

And it is air defenses that President Zelenskyy has put right at the top of his shopping list now for many months. Notwithstanding the promise of tanks that's come recently, Pam.

BROWN: All right. Sam Kiley, thanks so much. And attorney for one of the officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols is speaking. Let's take a listen.

BLAKE BALLIN, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER MEMPHIS OFFICER DESMOND MILLS JR.: The next step will be that we officially sign on as lawyers for these defendants. That triggers the beginning of the discover process. Sometime in the near future, we will get not only once released to the public but everything else. Every single angle out, there every interview. Every piece of paper that the state has, they will have to turn over to us.

REPORTER: Council, your clients were part of the Scorpion unit?

BALLIN: Yes, I can confirm that Mr. Mills was part of the Scorpion Unit.

REPORTER: And, Mr. Massey?

BILL MASSEY, ATTOREY FOR FORMER MEMPHIS OFFICER EMMITT MARTIN: Yes, I can confirm, Mr. Martin was part of the Scorpion unit.

REPORTER: There's a difference in the bonds between your two clients, but the charges are identical. Any thought or explanation there? MASSEY: We won't have the information to answer a lot of these


REPORTER: At this point, you're just clueless of what's going on with the whole thing? Because you don't have any answers for us right now because you have released the video, you just know bits and pieces, just like many of us.

MASSEY: The state, TBI evidently have the answers right now that you want to know the answer to. The questions you want to know the answer to. And we are without information to answer the question.

BALLIN: I object to the characterization of clueless. But obviously, I don't want to speak for Mr. Massey, but we've spoken with our clients. We obviously have started to think about potential defenses. We are getting to know our clients.

I've spent some time with Desmond Mills and have learned a lot about his background. What I have learned so far is that he is known not only here locally, but back where he's from in Connecticut, as a gentle, respectable father, a family man. I actually spoke with some of his family members today, his father who talked about his own admiration for his son. As somebody who's dedicated his life to being a law enforcement officer.

And not only is Mr. Mills obviously devastated to find himself charged with a crime but, as somebody is on the other side of law enforcement, somebody who has been in charge of keeping our community safe, to be accused of something like this hurts him on another level.

REPORTER: You either have prior experience in any law enforcement departments?

BALLIN: Desmond Mills does. We're not law enforcement but he has been a jailer, both in Mississippi and Tennessee.


REPORTER: I understand attorney-client privilege, but can you kind of talk about their disposition today?

BALLIN: So, Bill, how you answer that one first.

MASSEY: Well, anytime a police officer is going to jail, it's a traumatic moment. He was experiencing that this morning. I surrendered him to the TBI this morning. And he had resolved himself. And it's moving forward.

BALLIN: It's hard to know with anybody, but especially with somebody like Mr. Males, who is very mild mannered, very respectful, he has put on a very strong facade. I know underneath it all, this is causing him and his family a lot of anxiety and a lot of pain. Not only for his own situation, but for what this kind of accusation, this kind of incident is doing to our city.

So, we are concerned, I know I'm concerned not only as a lawyer for my client safety but for this community, the frustrations that exist in this community, especially with these kinds of events. So, with that, mind talking about turning them in and you do appreciate how law enforcement has cooperated with us and with our clients and making sure that they were able to turn themselves in safely. They are safe within the jail and that they will be released safely.

So, I know that Mr. Mills is posting his bond, he's in the process of being led out. That will be, we are now at the very beginning of what will be a long process.

REPORTER: Sir, can I ask you? I'm Sara Sidner from CNN. If Mr. Mills has said anything about Tyre Nichols and the family and what happened?

BALLIN: So, when you talk about what happened, that is obviously something I can't talk about at this point.

REPORTER: Have you been able to see the video?

BALLIN: No, they have not let anybody see the video. That's going to be released soon, we will be watching obviously from a different angle, but we will certainly be watching as well.


REPORTER: As Mr. Mills spoken about Tyre Nichols and his family, or offered any condolences to the family?

BALLIN: He could not be more upset about this entire situation. Again, somebody who's dedicated his life to protecting society, protecting the community, to be accused of being involved in the death of another is devastating to him. We have not had a conversation specifically about Mr. Nichols.

But knowing Mr. Mills and the kind of person he is, I cannot imagine he has anything other than feelings of grief for this family who has lost somebody. I understand we are defense lawyers, we are representing people accused of causing somebody else's death. But that doesn't mean that we're not aware of the fact that there is a lot of pain from the Nichols family and in this community. We and our clients, again, not to speak for Mr. Massey, but I and my client, Mr. Mills, are well-aware of that.

MASSEY: All of us are, I think all of us are. And the state has this matter indicted and there are numerous allegations against all the officers. I watched the conference today of General Mulroy, did a very nice job of presenting his side to the medium. And he asked for justice.

And we agreed. Justice means following the law. The law says that no one is guilty until the jury says they are guilty. So, that is a process and that's going to take a long time. Eventually, this state will be able to place their case in front of the jury -- a group of citizens from the community.

And if they have sufficient proof, the jury will say guilty. If they do not have sufficient proof, that jury will say not guilty. At this, point we don't know what proof they have, because we have not seen what they've discovered and we've not seen the video. So, we're kind of blind right now. And this process is just starting.

REPORTER: Mr. Massey, can you explain to us if -- have you had your initial conversation with the client?

MASSEY: Certainly. I spent the week with him.

REPORTER: Similarly, your description of them, is at the same? It's time as a police officer, how is he responding to it?

MASSEY: There is no way I think, no one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die -- Tyre Nichols to die.


No one. No one.

REPORTER: And is he bothered --

MASSEY: That's shocking. That's shocking to the officers. It's shocking.

I would just imagine, police officers have a very difficult dangerous job, sometimes a thankless job. That is probably one of their worst fears that something like this would happen on their watch. That's shocking.

REPORTER: Gentlemen -- I'm sorry to interrupt, gentlemen, both of you are experienced lawyers here. This city hasn't seen anything like this with five officers being charged at one time.

What would you say about the meaning and the historical context, this case, what it means for the city of Memphis? And, you know, any observations it's to whether this will be a spotlight in terms of police reform, brutality -- anything to say about that?

MASSEY: I think the public will get to see how the justice system works, in Memphis and Shelby County.

BALLIN: And I would say that sometimes, you can find a silver lining in a tragic situation. You asked about police reform, and whether these individual officers committed a crime or did anything wrong, it's certainly something that will be talked about and looked into for the next few months if not longer. But talking about the idea of police reform, anytime you have a catalyst to make your community better, even if it comes out of a tragedy, that's all you could hope for, right? That is the result of --

BROWN: We're listening there to the attorneys for two of the indicted police officers there in Memphis, Tennessee, Emmitt Martin and Desmond Mills. You heard there the attorneys defending their clients, saying that this has been a traumatic moment for them. Being taken into custody, going to jail over the killing of Tyre Nichols, saying that all of this is causing pain and anxiety for them, but they could not be more upset. The attorneys also made clear that they have not seen all the evidence, including that video that will likely be released tomorrow night.

We'll be right back.



BROWN: A former Twitter employee who gave evidence of the January 6th Select Committee is speaking out publicly. The whistleblower says the committee missed an opportunity to hold social media companies accountable for their roles in the Capitol insurrection.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has this exclusive report.


ANIKA COLLIER NAVAROLI, TWITTER WHISTLEBLOWER: I do fear for the future and what it may hold.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You think there could be another January 6 in this country?


O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Anika Collier Navaroli is a former Twitter employee turned whistleblower who testified before the January 6 committee initially anonymously.

NAVAROLI: (INAUDIBLE) stand back, standby, those tweets were in response to Donald Trump.

O'SULLIVAN: Now, she's speaking inclusively to CNN in her first television interview.

NAVAROLI: I think it's really important for these findings from the committee about the role that social media played within January 6 come to light.

O'SULLIVAN: Navaroli says she can't talk specifics about her time at Twitter publicly, but she shared eye-opening details and depositions with the January 6 committee.

One example, as Trump supporters gathered in Washington on the eve of the Capitol attack, Navaroli and her colleagues and her colleagues warned management at Twitter, there might be someone getting shot tomorrow, according to the transcripts of her deposition.

ALEXIS RONICKHER, TECH WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY: But Twitter leadership refused to take action.

O'SULLIVAN: Attorney Alexis Ronickher spoke to CNN on behalf of a second Twitter whistleblower who is remaining anonymous.

RONICKHER: It wasn't actually until the doors of the Capitol were being breached that Twitter leadership started taking action at that point it was too little to, late the real world violence had happened. O'SULLIVAN: How did you feel, as an American, just seeing this


NAVAROLI: Terrified. It was horrifying. To experience political violence happened within our country at such a grand scale.

O'SULLIVAN: Jacob Glick was a lawyer for the January 6 committee who deposed Navaroli.

JACOB GLICK, INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: She described employees, including herself, coming forward to warn their supervisors. In Anika's telling, they were denied over and over and over and over. And who knows what could have been avoided if they had listened to her and her colleagues sooner.

O'SULLIVAN: But Navaroli is not happy with the January 6 committee's final report.

NAVAROLI: Social media companies are mentioned hundreds of times within the final report. However, their role or their responsibility within that day at the events of that day and the violence that occurred has not been fully laid out.

O'SULLIVAN: The committee had a so-called purple team dedicated to looking into social media and extremism. CNN obtained a copy of an unpublished draft document to the team prepared. Much of it focused on social media's role in the run up to January six, and did not make it into the final report.

This is what did not make it into the final cut. Social media companies fail to anticipate postelection violence, social media platforms have a delayed response to the rise of far-right extremism. Twitter was paralyzed by a fear of political reprisals. Key decisions at Twitter were bungled by incompetence and poor judgment.

NAVAROLI: I risked a lot to come forward and speak to the committee and share the truth about these momentous occasions in history. I think it is really a missed opportunity that the committee did not include that information more front and center in that report.

O'SULLIVAN: Anika and others say the January 6 committee missed a real opportunity there.


You worked on the committee, do you agree with that?

GLICK: The report did its job exceedingly well, which was to show the American public the dangers posed by President Trump's multi-layered attack on our democracy.

O'SULLIVAN: As for the draft document, Jacob Glick says it includes errors and shouldn't have been released.

Do you think social media companies fully appreciate the role that they played in January 6th? GLICK: I don't think so. That lack of awareness, of responsibility,

is stark.

NAVAROLI: By seeing this information, we will be able to understand better what happened on January 6th. In order to ensure that it doesn't continue to repeat itself.

O'SULLIVAN: And, Pam, social media companies like Twitter have gone to great lengths over the years to explain what they say they're doing the crackdown of violent rhetoric around the platforms, including of course on the run up to January 6th.

Now, in response to these whistleblower complaints, some sources told us, look, not everything the committee learned could fit into that final report.

BROWN: Thank you. And just, ahead more reaction from Memphis to charges in the death of Tyre Nichols.