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High Security for Suspects' Trial in 2015 Gun Rampage in France; Alleged 9/11 Plotter Appear at Guantanamo Pretrial Hearing; Bolsonaro Slams Supreme Court, Calls Election a "Farce"; Larry Elder Leads Republican Candidates to Replace Newsom; 19-Year-Old Leylah Fernandez Advances to Semifinals. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 08, 2021 - 04:30   ET




CHURCH: In about an hour and a half, France will revisit its deadliest attack in peace time. Twenty men suspected in a 2015 terror rampage across Paris that killed 130 people are going on trial. And security around the specially constructed courtroom is high. Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris with the latest. So, Melissa, what's expected to come out of this trial in the end and what is the mood on the streets of Paris on this first day?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, a great deal of security all around me, Rosemary, in front of this courthouse. It's been specially redesigned to accommodate what is going to be the biggest trial ever held in France. Some 330 lawyers are involved, some 300 victims are going to be held over the course of the next nine months. The French President Francois Hollande at the time will be heard.

But this on the first day is really seeing a massive police cordon all around this courthouse. And a great deal of anticipation I think from people who've been waiting for this moment and I think particularly here those who are going to be heard, those who survived or the families, the victims. Have a listen, Rosemary, to what the president of what the victims' association had to say about what this trial is going to be.


PHILIPPE DUPERRON, PRESIDENT, VICTIM'S ASSOCIATION 13ONZE15(through translator): This trial must take place now. It is something that we have been impatiently awaiting but that is also distressing.


Because we know that this trial, its duration and the emotional intensity that it will generate will be an extremely painful ordeal for everyone. This will be the moment in the victims, the civil parties, some of whom we represent will be able to bear witness to what they have lived through, to what they are still enduring. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL (on camera): Now, Rosemary, we've been speaking to survivors these last few days and what they all say is the same thing. Only those who were there who bore direct witness to those events that night all across Paris when those 130 people were killed by those series of attacked claimed by ISIS subsequently can really understand the trauma that it represented, the violence of what they lived through. So, there will be there direct experience of this, what they recount.

And then of course for France, all this represented. If you cast your mind back nearly six years to those dreadful events of November 2014, the outpouring of grief, the sense of shock. This is something that has been closely watched by the entire country. And then of course, with this question, we've been hearing from defense lawyers of just how independent the judiciary can be because of the weight of public opinion. Now what the defense lawyers say is that they have faith in the judiciary. They believe that that space will be given, that proper defense can be held for those being accused and that it is the very sense of France's democracy that depends on it -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, many thanks to Melissa Bell joining us live from Paris.

In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba the pretrial hearing for suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of planning and executing the attacks is under way again. Tuesday was the first- time the suspects appeared in court since February of last year. CNN's Alex Marquardt reports.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Days before this somber 20th anniversary of 9/11, five of the alleged planners of the attacks have appeared in court for the first time in 18 months. The most famous, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, often called KSM, the accused lead plotter of the attacks that left nearly 3,000 Americans dead.

The court appearance underscoring that 20 years after the attacks, this trial is still not over.

JAMES CONNELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR AMMAR AL BALUCHI: It's just one more example of how having this case at Guantanamo means a whole lot of issues that would not be in play if it were taking place anywhere else.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Today's proceedings were a pretrial hearing for the men one of whom is KSM's nephew. Family members of those killed on 9/11 were in attendance. The defendants wore traditional clothes, provided to them by their lawyers.

Journalists watched from behind thick glass in a gallery at the back of the courtroom, on a 40 second delay to make sure that classified information was not revealed publicly.

The charges date back to 2012, 11 years after 9/11. They include terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy and murder.

The defense team argues that interrogations that were tainted by torture done at so-called black sites should not be allowed as evidence. In the past, some victims' families have called for the death penalty.

CLIFF RUSSELL, 9/11 VICTIM'S BROTHER: It has to be the death penalty. It doesn't have to be an ugly death.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The proceedings have been delayed by all kinds of bureaucratic headaches and other issues. The latest among them, the COVID-19 epidemic. KSM had been charged in 2008, but former President Barack Obama stopped the case, hoping that KSM and the others would be tried in civil court in the U.S. instead and Guantanamo would be closed.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice. The American people insist on it. And my administration will insist on it.

MARQUARDT: A fierce political backlash reversed those plans.

President Joe Biden hopes to succeed where Obama failed, closing the prison facility which was built the year after 9/11.

MARQUARDT: And with the 20th anniversary of 9/11 coming up this weekend, a joint intelligence bulletin has been issued by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center, worrying that foreign terrorist groups may exploit this anniversary as well as chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan for propaganda purposes. That groups like al Qaeda and ISIS may use this 20th anniversary for recruitment and radicalization.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, at the Pentagon.


CHURCH: And still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, huge crowds filled Brazil's streets as the country's president railed against the judiciary and cast doubt on next year's election.



CHURCH: In Brazil the country's president is attacking the integrity of next year's election. Huge crowds of supporters cheered as Jair Bolsonaro called the election system a farce on the country's Independence Day. Opposition protestors also took to the streets in major cities on Tuesday.

And this was a competing rally in Sao Paulo on Tuesday. Protestors are unhappy with the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic among other issues. Critics say Bolsonaro is attempting to undermine confidence in the voting system as a ploy to challenge the election results if he loses.

And CNN's Isa Soares has been covering the protests in Brazil. She joins me now live from London. Good to see you, Isa. So apparently straight out of Donald Trump's playbook, Bolsonaro casting doubt on the country's election system, are voters buying his strategy?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment it seems his base seems to be buying it of course. But if you look at those images of those counterprotests, the numbers were large especially on the pro Bolsonaro camp. His base is incredibly galvanized but his numbers are dwindling, Rosie, and that is the concern the reality that he faces.

If you look at his approval ratings, the numbers are hovering between 20 and 25 percent, that's the lowest they've ever been. So, he knows that these images are important not just for the people in Brazil but also to the world to demonstrate really a sense of power.

He is under pressure. The economy is pretty much crippled, inflation is going through the roof. In the meantime, he feels that he needs to step up and he needs to galvanize the population. And it's creating so much division and mistrust as well.


And as you said, he is trying to sow doubt on the integrity of democratic institutions including the electoral vote. Electronic voting has been happening for some 25 years or so. He wants now that to be supplemented by paper ballots for next year's election. He said if that doesn't happen, and if he loses, then he won't recognize that vote. Take a listen to what he had to say.


JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We cannot have elections where there are doubts among the voters. We want clean auditable elections and with a public vote count. I cannot participate in this farce sponsored by the superior electoral court president.


SOARES (on camera): And does that sound familiar. He's really taking his cues from the Donald Trump playbook. The concerning Brazil right now, and of course, is that if he doesn't recognize the results come next year the concern in Brazil is that if he doesn't recognize it the result come next year should he lose, Rosie, is that we may see scenes that we saw on Capitol, in Washington, this year on January 6 and that is a huge concern -- Rosie.

CHURCH: Yes, eerily familiar. Isa Soares bringing us the latest there from London, many thanks.

Well, U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will hit the campaign trail in the coming days. They are expected to rally for California's embattled governor who is facing a critical recall election next week with national implications. CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports now from Los Angeles. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With just days left to convince Californians that he deserves to keep his job.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Are we going to vote no on this recall?


KAFANOV (voice-over): Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is delivering his closing arguments.

NEWSOM: Racial justice is on the ballot. Economic justice is on the ballot. Social justice is on the ballot.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Striking a national tone.

NEWSOM: We did not defeat Trumpism. It's still alive all across this country. It has come to the state of California.

KAFANOV (voice-over): With help from high profile friends from Washington.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I will fight with everything I've got to keep from putting one more Donald Trump Republican in office.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): It is part of the same thing suppressing the vote, going into the Capitol, stopping our democracy.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Newsom has sought to turn the race into a referendum and how to fight the pandemic.

NEWSOM: Our approach to this pandemic we believe is save lives. Their approach, we quite literally believe will impact not only the public health in the state but impact our economic recovery.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Making a woman's right to choose a central theme after Texas bans most abortions this month.

NEWSOM: You saw what just happened in Texas.

KAFANOV (voice-over): On the other side of the recall effort.

LARRY ELDER, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: Just a few more days, you're going to have a new governor. His name is going to be Governor Larry Elder.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The leading Republican contender conservative radio host Larry Elder also not shying away from national implications.

ELDER: God forbid Governor Elder should replace Dianne Feinstein, they're afraid I'm going to replace her with Republican which I most certainly would do. And that would be an earthquake in Washington D.C.

KAFANOV (voice-over): On the campaign trail, Elder also talking up local issues.

ELDER: Cost of living is going up. Homelessness is up. Crime is up. Where has this man done anything right?

KAFANOV (voice-over): Touting his outsider status as a selling point.

ELDER: I've never run for office before unless you count fifth grade class president.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Though for some of his supporters, it's all about the personal appeal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's like Donald Trump. I voted for Donald Trump twice.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The former president has refused to concede the 2020 presidential election, making false claims that it was stolen and full of fraud.

Elder seeming to take a page from that playbook.

ELDER: In the 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans and my fear is they're going to try that in this election right here in recall. We have a battery of lawyers. We're going to file a lawsuit in a timely fashion this time.

KAFANOV (voice-over): California Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. For Newsom, turnout is the name of the game.

NEWSOM: Let me be explicit. Either we vote no on this recall, or in a matter of weeks. The next governor of the state of California is Larry Elder.

KAFANOV: And it seems that governor Newsom's strategy to try to energize the Democrats by nationalizing the race is paying off at least in terms of the early returns. Of the nearly 6 million ballots cast so far, more than 53 percent came from Democratic voters. While more than 24 percent came from Republicans.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: Unruly behavior among air travelers is skyrocketing leaving more flight crews facing off with disruptive passengers like this. What one man had to say after witnessing one of the latest incidents.



CHURCH: Britney Spears' attorney is declaring a massive legal victory in the pop star's fight to regain control of her multimillion dollar estate. This comes after the singer's father Jamie Spears filed a petition to end the 13-year court ordered conservatorship that has him overseeing her personal affairs, health issues and finances. The petition said the singer's circumstances have changed enough that grounds for a conservatorship may no longer exist. Pressure has been mounting on Jamie Spears for months now after his daughter accused him of years of abusive treatment.

Well, the teenagers continue to impress at the U.S. Open. Plus, Cristiano Ronaldo is back on the pitch for Manchester United. Patrick Snell has our minute in sports -- Patrick.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Hi, Rosemary, well it's a very proud Tuesday night to be for Canadian tennis. Leylah Fernandez has booked her spot in the semis at the U.S. Open. The 19-year-old continuing her amazing return at this year's tournament in New York City with a three set victory over the fifth seed Elina Svitolina. Look at that reaction there. Fernandez now the youngest woman to advance to the semis at Flushing Meadows since 18-year-old Maria Sharapova


To England where football megastar Cristiano Ronaldo back and training with Manchester United after joining the Red Devils from Juventus last month. The 36-year-old could make a second United debut in the Southbury's Premiere League match against New Castle.

To World Cup qualifying action, where Holland thrashed the 10-minute turkey in Amsterdam as Barcelona's Memphis Depay make it a night to remember. His first ever hat-trick for the Netherlands, 6-1 the final.

And anything that you can do, Norway's Erling Haaland also helping himself to three. The 21-year-old inspiring his country to the 5-1 victory authorize way helping himself to three. 5-1 over Gibraltar in Oslo.

And with that, Rosemary, it's right back to you this Wednesday.


CHURCH: Thank you, Patrick, appreciate it.

Well rage appears to be on the rise in the skies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down. Sit down now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't hold us on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not on the ground.



(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: And this was just one of the latest incidents showing an unruly passenger facing off with an American Airlines crew member while en route to Salt Lake City. The Nevada man was charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication after refusing to take his seat and growling at the staff. Police later escorted him off the plane. The man who captured this video described the tense situation.


DENNIS BUSCH, AMERICAN AIRLINES PASSENGER: He would get up out of his seat, that really put other people, you know, kind of on edge. They really handled the situation to the very best of their abilities and we were really lucky that we had such a well-trained crew.


CHURCH: Unbelievable. Thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett is up next. Stay with CNN and have yourselves a wonderful day.