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Trump Calls Appointment Of Special Counsel "Appalling" And "Horrendous Abuse Of Power; More Than Six Feet Of Snow Paralyzes Parts Of Western New York; President Biden's Granddaughter Marries At White House; Police: No Suspect Named, No Weapon Found In Idaho Killings; Musk Summons Twitter Engineers After Mass Exodus Causes Uproar; U.S. Says Saudi Crown Prince Has Immunity In Journalist Killing Case. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired November 19, 2022 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST (on camera): Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right, just days after Donald Trump announced that he is running for president in 2024, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces he has appointed a special counsel to oversee the ongoing federal investigations into the former president.
WHITFIELD (voice over): Jack Smith, the former head of the Justice Department's Public Integrity section will lead the department's probe into the former president's possible mishandling of classified documents and key parts of its January 6 investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting President stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel. Such an appointment underscores the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD (on camera): CNN's Evan Perez is following the developments for us. Evan, what do we know about this special counsel?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Fred, you know, ever since we broke the story that the department was looking at appointing a special counsel, we know, we spent a lot of time looking at former judges, former -- top DOJ officials.
We never thought to look at The Hague, which is where Jack Smith has been working the last few years. He's been running prosecutions in the in the Kosovo war tribunal there in The Hague. And he comes with a -- with a -- with a very respected background from the Justice Department.
He started out as a -- as a -- as assistant D.A. in Manhattan. But his work as you pointed out, running public corruption cases out of the Washington -- out of here in Washington at the Justice Department. And as a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Tennessee.
Now, from the perspective of the department, they view him as somebody who can survive the scrutiny -- the scrutiny that you expect, the former president and his team and Republicans are going to have for him as he tries to run these twin investigations, politically sensitive investigations into the former president. Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then, what is Trump saying about this special counsel appointment?
PEREZ: As you might imagine, he's not a fan. He believes that this is another witch hunt against him.
Take a listen to what he said last night at Mar-a-Lago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in a long series of witch hunts. We started a long time ago. I feel like the investigation with the document hoax was dying or dead or over. And the investigation into January 6 in my very peaceful and patriotic speech. Remember? Peaceful and patriotically was dead, especially after the record setting 40- point loss of Liz Cheney in the great state of Wyoming, I thought it was dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: There's a lot there, Fred to break down. But look, I mean, there was no indication that this was an investigation that was going to die anytime soon.
The former president, people around him have been getting subpoenas in the last few days. So, there was no indication this was slowing down. And of course, now that there's a special counsel, we don't know how much longer this is going to go.
And it's -- this is obviously a very serious step for the Justice Department. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Yes. I don't think anybody thought that the investigations were dying or dead.
WHITFIELD: But ongoing, yes.
PEREZ: Far from it. WHITFIELD: All right. Yes. All right. Evan Perez. Thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: Let's talk more about all this with Jennifer Rodgers, sorry. She is a CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor. Jennifer, so, what do you make of this decision? I mean, the attorney general says, you know, it comes now that Trump and Biden have both expressed that they will run for 2024. And that seemed to be the most important element that he prefaced with making this appointment. Why?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (on camera): Right, Fred. You know, I actually wasn't in favor, initially of a special counsel. But after listening to Attorney General Garland yesterday, I think it is the right move.
You know, he says, listen, my boss is running and the person I've been investigating is running. It's an untenable conflict. I still don't think it's legally or ethically required, but I think it's the prudent course. And that dovetails frankly, with the way that Merrick Garland has treated this matter all along.
He has been deliberate and thoughtful, very careful and cautious, even treating frankly, the former president with more process than any other citizen would get in connection with the Mar-a-Lago search.
So, this is in line with that. It's a cautious move, intended to ensure that there is an independent person in charge of the investigation, someone whose boss is not running for office against the target of the investigation.
And so, to that extent, you know, Trump really should be pleased in the sense that it's not going to be a political decision. Of course, he's unhappy with the notion that trial lawyers coming in to take a look at this and try to make the case, which is why he's reacting as he is.
WHITFIELD: Does this special counsel appointment in any way expedite the investigations or the possibility of indictments?
RODGERS: It doesn't officially, but I do think Merrick Garland has seemed to have a slower pace with this, although it's been picking up recently.
I think that the Jack Smith, you know, listen, he's a career prosecutor. HIs job has always been to build cases, make cases, and charge cases. He's coming in with nothing else on his plate, except to get up to speed, to make decisions and to move forward if the evidence supports it.
So, I do think he also understands the timing issues here, has very brief statement indicated that he wouldn't slow anything down. We're coming up on election season, and I think everyone realizes that this is going to be a heavily litigated case if it's brought. And so, time is short, and he seems to be aware of that. So, I think he will move expeditiously.
WHITFIELD: Do you feel like the attorney general waited too long to get to this juncture?
RODGERS: It's interesting, you know, in a way, it would have been better to get going sooner. On the other hand, presumably, the folks who are actually on the ground, doing the work, interviewing witnesses, combing through documents, et cetera, have been working hard the whole time.
So, I don't know that Jack Smith could have moved things along any more quickly towards decision time. And remember, at least with respect to January 6, they are just now getting people into the grand jury who had asserted privileges that had to be litigated before they were forced to testify.
So, there were some things that were not in anyone's control to move along more quickly. So, in the end, I'm not sure that appointing Jack Smith any earlier would have made a difference. But you know, I do hope he moves quickly now.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jennifer Rodgers, good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving week.
RODGERS: Thanks, you too.
WHITFIELD: All right. And now to Western New York and historic snowfall that is blanketing that region. More than six feet falling in some places. It's unbelievable. And roads, as you can see are impassable. Officials have declared states of emergencies in 11 counties.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is live for us in Buffalo, knee deep, and maybe in some places hip deep and maybe in other places, it's like over your head almost right? Maybe not quite.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes. I would say it's close to knee deep, Fred.
SANDOVAL: Listen, it is pretty, right? But there's still very real danger.
We heard very clear from New York Governor Kathy Hochul in the last hour or so, saying that we are certainly not out of the woods. And that isn't necessarily because we expect that to Rachael's snowfall, but just there's so much snow on the ground, that it's very difficult for people to drive around, and also to walk around in all of this.
And I think it's key here to really just tell our viewers that yes, it's snowing in Buffalo, but this amount of snow is either approaching records or, in some cases, as we take in a loyal Buffalo Bills fan. Haven't shattering records or breaking records like what we saw at Buffalo's airport, which by the way, authority said today is open again. Yes, it will be flight cancelations still. But what is being seen as perhaps one of the most important flights today will be that plane carrying the New York Buffalo Bills to Detroit for their game tomorrow. That takes off later this afternoon.
But what we do know is that authorities are stressing right now that there is a travel ban in place for Buffalo. Meaning, only essential travel. That way they can try to keep those vehicles off the roads, so they can get as much of the snow off the highways. That way authorities can actually move around.
So, again, now the woods yet, we still expect more snowfall in and around buffalo, but certainly not what we've been experiencing for the last two days now. Fred, back to you.
WHITFIELD: All right. At a minimum, your brave soul walking during a live shot and talking in that very deep snow. Be careful.
SANDOVAL: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Polo.
All right. And now, to a rather momentous day for the current president and his family. The president's oldest granddaughter and daughter of Hunter Biden, Naomi Biden is getting married today at the White House.
The ceremony and luncheon happening right now. And officials have kept some of the events details under wraps.
Let's get right to CNN's Kate Bennett, because only she can learn what she has learned about this beautiful wedding taking place today at the White House. What can you share?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (on camera): Well, I mean, it sounds as though the ceremony may have ended, the music has stopped playing. We could we could hear earlier, Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve being played.
You know, the guests who have been gathered since this morning on the South Lawn and as a chilly 39 degrees here in Washington, D.C., there is no tent.
We did catch a little bit of information. We saw Naomi Biden a photograph where she's wearing a veil. So, that's all we know now. The White House has been super private about this. They have not released any official photographs yet.
But right now, as you said, the family, the wedding party are going to do a luncheon. Just a very small event after the ceremony. And then later this evening, the guests will return to the White House for a big black tie party reception with dessert and dancing, and I'm sure it'll be sort of a very momentous occasion. This is only the 19th wedding to occur here at the White House. It's certainly a big event for the Bidens, and a big weekend. Tomorrow is actually President Biden's 80th birthday as well.
But Naomi, Biden, and Peter Neal this morning tying the knot on the South Lawn a place at the White House where there has never before been a wedding ceremony.
Tricia Nixon got married in the Rose Garden in 1971. Lyndon Johnson's daughter, Lynda Johnson got married in the East Room in 1967. And her sister before that, Luci had her reception at the White House as well.
So, this is a new venue for them. But again, a chilly -- almost winter feeling-like wedding for Naomi Biden today on the South Lawn.
WHITFIELD: Nice. All right, well, happy nuptials and happy birthday to the Bidens.
WHITFIELD: All right, Kate Bennett at the White House. Thanks so much.
BENNETT: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, a devastating mystery. We are still learning new details about the gruesome fatal stabbings of four Idaho college students. Police have released a timeline leading up to the attack. That's next.
Plus, mounting backlash after the White House opts to shield the Saudi Crown Prince from a lawsuit over his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
How the administration is defending its controversial decision? Straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: All right. The search for answers intensifies after four University of Idaho students were brutally killed last weekend.
WHITFIELD: (voice over): Police shared key details of the quadruple homicides Friday saying the four victims were likely asleep before the attacks. And a week later still no identified suspect or murder weapon. I want to bring in now, CNN's Camila Bernal, who is live for us now in Idaho. Camila, what are authorities saying?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hey, Fred. Yes, no suspect, no weapon. They say they've talked to about 38 people who they believe have information that could maybe lead to an arrest.
They have hundreds of tips that they're reviewing at the moment, but frankly, people here are in fear. And they're confused. Because, initially, authority said, look, there is no threat to this community. Then, they said, be vigilant because there is no arrest in this case. The one thing though, that they continue to say is that they believe this was a targeted attack. They have not specified why, but they do believe this was targeted.
According to the latest information that we have. They believe that all four of these students were sleeping when they were attacked. They were stabbed multiple times. And it is unclear exactly who fought back. But they do say that there are some of them who have defensive wounds.
The father of one of those students, Xana Kernodle, saying that he believes that his daughter fought back. He talked to her the night of the attack. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY KERNODLE, FATHER OF XANA KERNODLE: I heard from her just before we went out. I think midnight is the last time I heard from her and she was fine. They were just hanging out home.
Bruises, you know, maybe occurred by the knife, or whatever.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
KERNODLE: She's a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now authorities do say they reached out to local businesses to see if they have sold a knife recently. They also said they collected contents of four different dumpsters in this area trying to find evidence and they released a map yesterday in hopes that people look at this map, see where these students were and maybe go and find some chips or send information that could help lead to an arrest here.
They say two of the students were at a fraternity party between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. last Saturday. The other two were at a local sports bar. That was between 10:00 and 1:30 in the morning, then, they went to a food truck at around 1:40 in the morning.
They're all believed to have been home around 2:00 in the morning. That's ideally, or that's what they believe is the time of the attack. Sometime between two in the morning. And noon, the next day when they received that 911 call, they still are not saying who called 911.
But when they got here, of course, it was a gruesome scene. The coroner saying there was blood on the walls. They're also saying though, that the two other students who were in the house at the time of the attack, they do not believe they are suspects in this case. They are cooperating. Authorities are talking to a lot of people right now. They're trying to figure this out, although there are still a lot of questions and, of course, family and friends of these victims, asking those questions, demanding answers, and of course, remembering those lives that were lost. Fred. WHITFIELD: Oh, tragic. Camila Bernal, thanks so much.
Let's talk further on all this. I want to bring in now Tom Verni. He is a former NYPD detective and law enforcement consultant. So good to see you.
So, you know, given that authorities don't have any suspects, they don't have a murder weapon, what kind of evidence would authorities have for them to at least say that they believe this is a targeted attack?
TOM VERNI, FORMER DETECTIVE, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good afternoon, Fredricka. And look, my condolences to the family and friends that dealing with this horrific, tragic event that's taking place on this college campus.
You know, I mean, when people get shot, in cases -- of murder cases, being shot is not pleasant, right? So, but being stabbed, especially being stabbed multiple times, that's a pretty, pretty intense type of murder taking place to one person never mind for.
So, you know, the Idaho law enforcement authorities that are going to be collecting a ton of evidence, any sort of DNA evidence in and around that building, especially, particularly, obviously, in those rooms, where this took place. Any video surveillance in around that campus. And it really anything that leads a video surveillance that may lead from the place, the establishment that they were at to the campus and within the campus itself?
Aside from any -- you know, anything that other students may have heard, or seen during that evening?
WHITFIELD: Yes, I mean, and these days, so many homes have cameras.
WHITFIELD: And I imagined, you know, investigators are looking at all the neighbors possible cameras of you know, various angles, and in hopes that it will be helpful.
So, the details, as you underscore, you know, of this attack are simply horrific. And we also know that there were two other roommates at the house when this happened. What are they likely being asked?
I mean, there is there will be multiple sessions of asking questions, right? So, what might they be asked, you know, to try and get some kind of information, and how might that continue DNA or forensic kind of evidence gathering at the home also be conducted?
VERNI: You know, so, they -- so, here we, were talking about this sounds to me, as far as the facts that we look today, it sounds like this was a normal college campus on a Saturday night, right?
We have college kids that are out at a local establishment, or having a good time, you know. The visiting a food truck afterwards, with there's some video for that as well, that they've seen.
And then, at some point, they returned back to their dorms. And then this horrific crime takes place. I -- now, you know, like most or many college campuses, where kids are out, you know, having a partying or having a good time, you would imagine that there's alcohol involved. You know, and maybe some other things, right?
So, depending on who may have been the top (INAUDIBLE), and, you know, who may be sleeping just in normal states -- weren't intoxicated states would determine how lucid they may have been or what they may have heard.
I'm a little skeptical, the fact that there would be a couple of roommates, literally, potentially within feet of where this took place, and they didn't hear anything.
You know, that that would be quite a ruckus that would be stirred in the attempts of you know, of an actual murder attempts, and or the defense of not trying to be murdered.
So, that was a little skeptical. But yes, at this point, police have not given any indication that these two other roommates are suspects. So, we're just going to have to go with that.
And see if they can provide anything that is useful to this investigation.
Hopefully they can. That in accordance, again, with any DNA evidence and video surveillance that can kind of map, you know, put down a trail of breadcrumbs that would lead to, you know, one or more potential perpetrators.
WHITFIELD: If you were working that case, where does that skepticism that you just expressed? Where would that lead you in terms of how you're questioning the other people who were in the home? Or how you would just manage the continued interaction with them to try and get some answers?
VERNI: So, initially, in the case like this, anyone, you know, they are conducting, what would be called, this is difference between an interview and an interrogation, right?
So, you start off interviewing people who were certainly within close proximity to where this crime or crimes had taken place. And not only within the dorm, but then from the dorm leading backwards to where we started from, which was the last known location that they were alive, which is at the bar, and or the food truck, right?
So, you know, you would interview these people first. If during the interview, you know, they give some sort of an indication that they might know a little bit more than what they're leading on to, right? You know, that interview potentially, then could turn into an interrogation, where we'll be asking more pointed questions as to well, you know, where were you and what were you doing, and, you know, didn't you, you know, did you hear anything? Or why would you call the police if you heard something strange? [12:25:15]
And, you know, the line of questioning would tend to change, right? From sort of a general kind of overall aspect as to what, you know -- what happened that night to more targeted questioning as to you know, what their specific actions were, or weren't during the time of this, you know, these heinous murders.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Incredibly perplexing. And just, you know, horrible, you can only feel for the families in what --
VERNI: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).
WHITFIELD: And what in the world they could be going through? Yes. Tom Verni --
VERNI: Yes, yes.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.
VERNI: Anytime. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead. A mass exodus at Twitter.
WHITFIELD (voice over): The future of the company, well, it's in limbo after Elon Musk's chaotic takeover. The latest turmoil, next.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Elon Musk's chaotic Twitter takeover just got messier. His hardcore ultimatum to employees has apparently backfired leading to a mass exodus at the company. And now the billionaire wants the remaining engineers to help him better understand how the platform operates.
Musk sent a flurry of e-mails Friday urging the staffers to report to headquarters despite offices being closed through Monday. CNN technology reporter Clare Duffy has the latest on this dramatic saga. So Clare, I guess it's getting confusing now too to figure out who is still there. I mean, how many remaining hardcore staff are there when there was a mass exodus yesterday?
CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Right, I think the company is really still reeling from these hundreds of workers who decided not to take Musk up on his offer to work extremely hardcore. And this comes after Musk had already fired half the staff earlier this month. One employee told us yesterday and I'm quoting here, it's a more they said, yes, we are still doing what we can today, although the pace is painfully slow.
And then you see Musk yesterday calling remaining software engineers into the office asking remote workers to potentially fly into San Francisco for this meeting if they can. And according to this picture that he posted around 2:00 a.m. yesterday, there are just so few employees left at this company, you know, and this is really crucial because many of the employees who left were the people who kept the platform online and safe and functioning for users.
WHITFIELD: Oh my, gosh. A 2:00 a.m. photo that can sometimes be a little, you know, risky. So tell us about what, you know, plans you might know that Musk might have to restore, you know, several controversial accounts that were previously banned or suspended from the platform. Is it now kind of a free for all or are there guardrails still?
DUFFY: It's really unclear, Fred, at this point. You know, yesterday, he made this sort of surprise announcement that he would be returning several sort of controversial accounts that had been previously banned from the platform, Jordan Peterson, the satire website, Babylon Bee. And he put this poll up on Twitter asking if he should restore former President Donald Trump's account. Prior to taking over the company, he said he would restore Trump's account, but then he sort of backtracked a couple of weeks ago and said he would put a counsel in place to sort of consider these big decisions. And so it's unclear at this point, what his plans are, what his strategy is, and when we might see Trump back on the platform, if at all.
WHITFIELD: Yes, it seems right now to be a minute to minute endeavor of, you know, the demise of Twitter, what's happening. All right, Clare Duffy, thank you so much.
All right, disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes will spend 11 years and three months of her life behind bars. She was sentenced Friday after her conviction in a fraud scheme that promised investors that her company would revolutionize blood testing to detect multiple diseases, but the technology did not work. She also faces restitution of as much as $800 million to be decided at a later date. Holmes must turn herself into custody in April next year, as you see right there. She is pregnant. Her lawyers are expected to appeal.
The Biden administration is facing mounting scrutiny over the decision to grant legal immunity to the Saudi Crown Prince. How the White House is defending that decision next.
But first Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot at a political event in 2011 in Arizona. A new CNN film tells of her inspiring comeback story. Watch Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down tomorrow night, 9:00 p.m.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The backlash growing after the Biden administration argues Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be granted immunity from a federal lawsuit over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The White House says, the decision is based on legal precedent after the Crown Prince was also recently named the Saudi Prime Minister. Khashoggi's fiancee condemned the decision and it also got this sharp reaction from a house Democrat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): I'm going to be very blunt. I was stunned when I read it this morning. And I have already was texting my staff very early about trying to understand what the issues were. So I think it's very complicated. But I am very disturbed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, let's bring in Susan Glasser. She is a CNN global affairs analyst and a staff writer at The New Yorker. So good to see you Susan. So this week was the deadline for the Justice Department to give its opinion on immunity in this case, but it also could have, you know, I guess they could have also just let it play out. Why do you think that DOJ did choose to weigh in?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I think, look, it's -- there's two issues here, right? One is the legal question. And you know, what kind of immunity leaders of countries were de facto leaders of countries have? And then there is, of course, the political considerations surrounding it, you want the White House, you see that immediately sort of trying to say in the hot potato, well, it's not really our call, you know, it's a matter essentially, for the lawyers.
But again, and again, and again, what I'm struck by is that the Biden administration has chosen to course, you know, of kind of pragmatic reengagement with the Saudis, regardless of the outrageous situation Khashoggi. And, you know, I think many allies on Capitol Hill are looking at this and saying, you know, what on earth has the Biden White House gotten by what appears to be selling out principles. Look at how the Saudis treated the president after he went and visited them and basically reversed itself on an oil agreement to keep prices down that the Biden White House thought they had agreed upon.
WHITFIELD: Right. I mean, it's the sequence of events as you underscored. The Biden administration have previously pledged to punish the Crown Prince over the murder. And then we saw while in Saudi Arabia, there was that fist bump right there with MBS. And then, of course, now, this and like you mentioned, I mean, there are political considerations that the White House would make, as it pertains to this. So why wouldn't the White House, you know, just kind of defer, you know, to it, like you just mentioned it, you know, it's a legal matter. And let the DOJ then explain the precedents and a head of state and how prosecuting that head of state is unlikely, as opposed to weighing in as well?
GLASSER: Well, I -- yes, I think you're going to see increasing calls among Democrats who already are extremely uncomfortable with the long- standing U.S.-Saudi relationship, and increasingly a question of, well, what is the United States getting out of what appears to be selling out its principles to Saudi Arabia anyways. There is a concern, I know, in the White House among foreign policy hands, that, you know, there is a real risk of Saudi going more and more into the sphere of like-minded, you know, autocratic governments in Russia and China.
And that part of that geopolitical consideration is almost certainly motivating how the administration has again and again and again and appeared to treat the Saudis with kid gloves. I think there's a sort of split the difference problem, the Saudis were angry with President Biden when he visited for lecturing them about human rights. But of course, back in Washington, President Biden's allies believed that he didn't do enough to emphasize the human rights problems and the terrible, you know, bone zine of an American columnist for the Washington Post.
WHITFIELD: Is there something to the timing in your view now of MBS being appointed prime minister, perhaps, you know, specifically to insulate him from any legal action?
GLASSER: Well, that may well be one consideration. Again, there are certainly broad precedents that are affected when you look at the question of whether leaders of sovereign countries can be subject to court proceedings and other countries, absolutely. But at the same time, there's also precedent for that. You know, there are international tribunals after all, that exists as far as wrongdoing by world leaders.
And, you know, it just -- it seems like, the timing is just designed to frustrate President Biden's allies here in Washington who think, you know, what are you getting out of this? What is the basis for doing this? And again, as you pointed out, it's not like the Justice Department or the State Department have offered a full rationale to the public on this.
WHITFIELD: In what way do you believe the U.S. can leverage this relationship with Saudi Arabia when clearly, it already comes with so much baggage?
GLASSER: Well, honestly, I think leverage was the theory of the case going into President Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia early this year. And it didn't play out as planned. And it's an example of where making accommodations to autocratic governments doesn't necessarily either produce the outcomes that you want, and that's why it's such a fraught situation. But again, you know, we're still looking at a global energy crisis that is prompted in large measure by Vladimir Putin's war of aggression against his neighbor in Ukraine. But that seems like it's not ending anytime soon.
And you're looking at there for a long term set of questions around global energy supply in which of course, the Saudis not only demand but at, you know, de facto have a seat at the table. You know, Russia and China are eager customers, sorry, China is an eager customer for Saudi energy. And I think that, you know, it's part of that geopolitical competition with the Chinese that we're seeing reflected in this very uncomfortable situation for a Democratic president of the United States.
WHITFIELD: Susan Glasser, great to see you. Thank you so much. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.
GLASSER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, the president of FIFA defending Qatar just hours before the World Cups opening match. He says criticism of the country's treatment of migrant workers and human rights issues is hypocrisy, details after the break.
WHITFIELD: All right, we're now less than 24 hours from the opening match of the World Cup in Qatar and instead of talking about the matches, the president of soccer's governing body is pushing back as controversy continues to swirl around the tournament. Advocates have raised concerns about Qatar's treatment of the LGBTQ community. Human rights defenders have called into question Qatar's use of migrant workers as they prepared for the World Cup. And then on Friday, the host country abruptly banned most alcohol sales around the matches. Today is -- today rather, FIFA's president sought to diminish those concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIANNI INFANTINO, PRESIDENT, FIFA: I think personally, if for three hours a day. You cannot drink a beer. You will survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN Sports Anchor Amanda Davies is live for us in Doha, Qatar. So Amanda, you know, FIFA's president surely had a lot to get off his chest during that press conference, shall we say?
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: He sure did. It just when we thought we had seen it all in the build up to this tournament. I mean, people really struggling to digest just what we saw a near hour long monologue from the FIFA president just a couple of weeks after he had warned the countries involved in this tournament to stick to their football not to get involved in the morality and the politics.
So what did he do while he decided to do just that, he hit back and hit back hard at the criticism. What he described as the double standards of the West, the profoundly unjust criticism defending Qatar's human rights record. The treatment of the migrant workers and then the LGBTQ plus community and in fact Qataris as a whole themselves, so let's just have another listen to a little bit more of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INFANTINO: I think for what we Europeans have been doing in the last 3,000 years around the world we shouldn't be apologizing for next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons. This moral lesson giving one sided, it's just hypocrisy. DAVIES: Well, it's certainly a speech that has drawn a whole lot of criticism exactly what it was trying to quell. The human rights group fair square have called it crass and clumsy. The president of the Norwegian Football Association, Lise Klaveness, said to me a few hours ago she thought it was dangerous. And this from the man who has just been announced that he will be standing for the next FIFA presidency unopposed, Fredricka, it really is quite something. But as you mentioned, this time tomorrow, this World Cup will finally be underway. Qatar playing their first ever match at a World Cup finals.
WHITFIELD: OK, and then there is football and then there were soccer in the midst of all of this. All right, Amanda Davies, thank you so much.
Still ahead, a public memorial will begin in just a few hours at the University of Virginia, honoring the lives of the three football players shot dead earlier this week. We'll take you there live next.
But first, the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2022 have been announced. One of whom will be named the CNN Hero of the Year by you, our viewers. So we are reintroducing each of our top 10 as you vote for your favorite in the next few weeks.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peace of Mind Dog Rescue has a dual mission in helping senior dogs and senior people.
Yes, these are my dog now.
We've taken dogs from senior citizens who can no longer care for them or who have passed away. And we also take in senior dogs from animal shelters.
Yes, definitely a Peace of Mind dog.
We have found homes for almost 3,000 dogs. And we have helped close to 2,000 senior citizens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She looks happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In our society, sometimes the elderly, whether that is senior people or senior dogs get ignored. And so we really want to cherish all of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Go to CNNHeroes.com right now to vote for her or for someone else for your CNN Hero of the Year. Remember, you can vote for any or all of them up to 10 times a day, every day.