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A.G. Merrick Garland Appoints Special Counsel; Elon Musk Reinstates Controversial Accounts, No Decision Yet On Trump; Police Release Timeline In Idaho Killings; Biden Celebrates Granddaughter's Wedding On His 80th Birthday Weekend; Explorer Who Traveled Non-Stop Around World Without Using Any Fuel Shares Ideas To Save Planet; Elizabeth Holmes Sentenced To 11 Years For Defrauding Investors; Cuba Hopes To Attract Visitors With Shark Tourism. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 19, 2022 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

It was a decision prompted by quote "extraordinary circumstances". That is how Attorney General Merrick Garland is describing the appointment of Jack Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor and registered Independent to be the special counsel to oversee two criminal probes involving former President Donald Trump, both the investigation into sensitive government documents found at Mar-a-Lago as well as Trump's actions surrounding the January 6th attack.

Garland says the appointment was necessary now that Donald Trump is a 2024 presidential candidate and President Joe Biden says he also intends to run for reelection.

Trump's lawyers had been dreading the prospect of a special counsel announcement and the former president quickly seized on the opportunity to publicly bash the move.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in a long series of witch hunts. They want to do bad things to the greatest movement in the history of our country but in particular bad things to me.


ACOSTA: And joining me now is CNN contributor and Nixon White House counsel John Dean and CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. He's also the author of the book "The Threat: How The FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump".

Andrew, let me go to you first. What's your reaction to what Trump is saying about the Justice Department? I guess this is to be expected and it's why Smith better have some thick skin.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Buckle in, Jim, and buckle in, Mr. Smith because they can expect a steady diet of this for the extent of his tenure as special counsel.

You know, we'd like to believe that appointing a special counsel somehow insulates the investigation from accusations of partisanship. That is not the case. We know that from watching the experience that Robert Mueller had.

However that doesn't mean it's the wrong decision to appointment one, there are no hard rules or policies or laws that demand the appointment of a special counsel here. It's up to the attorney general.

He's obviously taken a look at the situation and assessed that the obvious concerns of conflict of interest now that Trump is a candidate make it the most prudent thing to do to appoint a special counsel. I complete agree with his decision. But I hope that Mr. Smith is bringing some thick skin to the job.

ACOSTA: And John, what do you think? Do you think Merrick Garland needed to do this?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they're certainly within the regulations what he has done. And the extraordinary circumstances, I don't think we have the full understanding of what he sees in his vision.

For example, we're all aware that he's looking at Trump. Is he also looking at members of Congress who may have been integral in the January 6th episode? So that's one of the things I thought about when I read his order appointing Jack Smith.

I think it could be a much broader investigation than people perceive. It's just not somebody who's been placed on the president to chase him -- or the former president but rather to look at the entire situation. Interference with the certification is very broad.

More focused of course is the second investigation or the other investigation into the document mistreatment by the former president.

ACOSTA: Yes. And Andrew, speaking of that, Trump's former attorney general Bill Barr spoke about the federal investigation into the handling of those documents. Let's listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there ever a circumstance you think it's appropriate to indict a former president?

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Oh, yes. You know, if a former president commits a crime, you know, especially a serious crime, they should be indicted for it.

If the Department of Justice can show that these were indeed very sensitive documents, which I think they probably were, and also show that the president consciously was involved in misleading the department, deceiving the government and playing games after he had received the subpoena for the documents, those are serious charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a serious enough crime?

BARR: That's serious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a serious enough crime?

BARR: Well, I said -- I personally think that they probably have the basis for legitimately indicting the president -- I don't know, I'm speculating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're speculating.


BARR: But given what's gone on, I think they probably have the evidence that would check the box. They have the case.


ACOSTA: And Andrew, in the previous hour we asked the former attorney general Alberto Gonzales essentially the same thing and he said there might be a case there with the document case when it comes to, you know, whether to indict the former president. What do you make of these comments?

MCCABE: Look Jim, both former attorneys general are simply doing the math that all of us have done over the last several months, certainly since the search warrant in August. Simply from the information that's widely known to everyone, what's been reported in the press and what the government has revealed in their numerous court filings and the fight over this information after the search warrant, we know that they have a lot of very serious information that indicates a strong and sound basis to bring charges.

Now that doesn't mean that charges will be brought. They could also be aware of all sorts of other things that are potential defenses or problems with that evidence we're not aware of. Clearly DOJ still has a decision to make.

But based on what we know from what is already in the public record, this is a case that is far beyond, I would say far beyond the halfway point. And let's think about that as compared to the job that Special Counsel Mueller walked into when my colleagues and I pushed then acting attorney general Rod Rosenstein to appoint the special counsel.

At that moment we were at the very beginning of a broad scope investigation into potential foreign influence. So Mueller was brought in and essentially told determine if this happen, and if so, should charges be brought.

With respect to the Mar-a-Lago case we know what happened. We know a lot of what happened and we know that based on what we're aware of, there could very well be an indictment in this case.

ACOSTA: And John, we should point out, the key difference between these investigations and the Mueller probe is that the former president is now out of government with no power over the special counsel. He can't threaten to fire him.

But what about what Andrew was just saying there a few moments ago, that this does not look very good for the former president, that it appears that this investigation has traveled a pretty long distance?

DEAN: Well, certainly the documents case is not a difficult case. There are lots of precedents to prosecute in these circumstances. A group at the Brookings Institute of former federal prosecutors and some defense attorneys went through all of the existing record of prosecutions of these types of cases, and found plenty of precedent where Trump is actually one of the more egregious based on the facts we know.

And no one knows of any mitigating facts and there has been litigation on this in a Florida court where the president has tried to dance around a little bit on the fact that he got a subpoena served on him that uncovered a lot of his misbehavior.

And that is indeed the record that Jack Smith will pick up and pursue. And I don't think it'll be very long until he makes a decision one way or the other. And I don't suspect it's going to be a decision Mr. Trump is happy with.

ACOSTA: All right. John Dean, Andrew McCabe -- thank you very much. We'll stay on top of it. Appreciate the time.

And speaking of Trump, could he soon be back on Twitter? Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk is currently running a public poll on whether to reinstate the former president in his account on Twitter. On Friday Musk announced that several other accounts that had been previously banned or suspended would be restored.

CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy joins me now. Oliver, tell us about some of these accounts that have been restored and I guess, where do things head next?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes Jim. As if there's not enough controversy and mayhem around Twitter, Elon Musk is announcing some decisions on content moderation. So yesterday he announced that a few people he was going to allow to return back to the platform, Twitter had previously permanently banned them.

That includes Jordan Peterson, Kathy Griffin, and this conservative parity outlet. Peterson had been banned before for misgendering actor Elliot Page. And Kathy Griffin, you'll remember had been banned a few weeks ago for impersonating Musk. So he's letting them all back on the platform.

He also announced that he essentially believes in shadow banning which is what conservatives had accused the previous ownership of doing or management of doing over at Twitter, which is downgrading the reach of a tweet.


DARCY: Elon Musk says that he believes in freedom of speech, not freedom of reach. And in this case, he says if there's a negative tweet or hateful tweet, unclear exactly how he defines either of those, those tweets will be basically downgraded and not amplified on the platform.

ACOSTA: And Oliver, what are we supposed to make of this decision on reinstating Trump? You know, we were talking to Kara Swisher earlier on the show earlier this afternoon and she was saying that this was sort of a game that Musk is playing.

She called it starketing, you know, trying to rile people up, drive traffic to Twitter. Do you think that is what's going on here?

DARCY: That's what it seems. I mean he's kind of making a spectacle out of this whole thing, right. So right now, on Twitter he has this running poll on whether he should allow Trump back onto the platform. Previously, Jim, he had said he was going to form a content moderation council to make all these decisions, sort of distancing himself from the big decision on whether Trump is allowed back on the platform.

And then you saw yesterday him announce those other people would be allowed back. And he also announced that Alex Jones, the right wing conspiracy theorist was not going to be allowed back.

But it's unclear exactly when a decision might come on Trump or how it's happening. You know, when he announced this content moderation council, that he would form it, we don't know who's on it.

And seemingly they're active because a few people have been allowed back on the platform. But this is not done in a very transparent way. This is just sort of a giant spectacle that he's turned this whole thing into, Jim.

ACOSTA: And of course, this comes after Musk gave staffers this choice: do hardcore work as he described it or leave Twitter altogether. And then how did that turn out?

DARCY: Not good. Like most of the things he's been doing on the platform, this one did not turn out very good. There's been a mass exodus basically in the past few days from Twitter. Hundreds of staffers choosing that they rather leave the site, or leave the company than do what he described as hardcore work.

I mean Jim, there has been so much happening at Twitter, it's difficult to summarize it in a segment. But you remember a few weeks ago, he laid off half the company and they laid off too many people, they had to rehire some of those people back.

And so these hundreds of people that have now left the company, it's certainly going to make it difficult to keep the site up and running. Keep basic functions afloat. We'll see what happens. Because the World Cup is starting and that's usually a time when Twitter's systems are stressed quite a bit with the influx of traffic.

ACOSTA: Yes. I think he just likes to see himself trending on Twitter. And you'd have to ask the question, is that any way to run a company.

But Oliver Darcy, all right. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

DARCY: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: In other news, we want to take you overseas. Russia is accusing Ukraine of war crimes. Moscow claims videos circulated online show Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.

CNN has geo-located the videos to the outskirts of Makiivka (ph), a recently liberated village in the eastern Luhansk region. The edited video purports to show a group of Russian soldiers lying face down on the ground with their hands over their heads. More soldiers are seen emerging from a building and lying down next to the other troops in the yard.

A man can be heard shouting, come on out one by one, which of you is the officer. Has everyone come out. A short exchange of gun fire is heard before the video cuts off. A second clip shot from a drone appears to show the same men dead on the ground surrounded by pools of blood.

We have to emphasize here, we're unable to verify what exactly happened in the first clip or what happened between the clips. But we know from Reuters that the U.N. Human Rights Office is aware of the video and is investigating.

In the meantime, CNN has reached out to Ukraine's general staff for comment twice but we have not received a response as of yet.

Russia's ministry of defense says the video shows quote, a deliberate and methodical killing of more than 10 immobilized Russian servicemen. Executing prisoners of war is also war crime under the Geneva Convention.

Ukraine has also accused Russia of multiple war crimes since the invasion began. We want to just stress one more time, we're still looking into all of this. These are allegations coming in from the Russians at this hour.

We'll follow up and get the latest information to you as it comes in.

Coming up, new details on the investigation of the fatal stabbings of four Idaho college students. Investigators hope surviving roommates will be able to help them figure out what went down and why. We'll go to Idaho live next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ACOSTA: Nearly one week after the horrific killings of four University of Idaho students there are still many unknowns. Police say the four were likely asleep when they were attacked and killed inside an off- campus house. And so far there's no suspect that we've been told about and investigators are still trying to find the weapon used.

CNN's Camila Bernal is in Idaho. And Camila, detectives have been combing through hundreds of tips. This is just a baffling case. Have they been able to uncover anything new?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they won't say. At least not yet, Jim. They're saying that they still have a lot of work to be done. And we've seen a lot of movement here at the crime scene throughout the day.

Just recently we saw a number of authorities going inside of the house. They're still in there. Or at least we haven't seen them come out.

We also saw earlier some cops that were measuring some tire marks right outside of the house. So clearly there's still a lot to be done here at the crime scene but also we know that they've been talking to as many people as possible. They've interviewed already 38 people at least. They have about 500 tips that they're going through.

But yet no suspect, no weapon. And so many questions from the people in this community because frankly people are scared and confused. Initially authorities said look, there is no threat here. And then they said be vigilant because we don't have a suspect. We have not made an arrest. So there's sort of this message going back and forth of what is really going on here.


BERNAL: The one thing though that they keep saying is that they believe this is a targeted attack. They do not say why they believe this is a targeted attack. But at least that is some part of the investigation that we are clear on from authorities.

We also know, as you said, according to the latest information, that most of the victims or they believe at least, all of them were sleeping at the time of the attack. They believe they were stabbed multiple times and some of them had defense wounds so it's possible that they fought back.

The father of one of the victims, the father of Xana Kernodle (ph), saying that he believes his daughter fought back. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard from her before we they went out -- the last time I heard from her, I mean she was fine. They were just hanging out home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.


BERNAL: Now we know authorities are also asking local businesses to see if they sold a knife recently. They went through at least four dumpsters and collected some stuff there to look and see if there's any evidence there.

They also released a map detailing exactly what the students were doing a week ago on the night of the attack. And we know that at least two of them were at a fraternity party and then the other two went out to a local sports bar. Then went out to a food truck.

They believe that all of them were back home at around 2:00 in the morning. And authorities have said that they believe the attack happened in the early morning hours.

The 911 call though came in at around noon on Sunday. They say there were two other students inside of the house. They do not believe that they are suspects in this case. But of course, still so much to learn here as these friends and families mourn the loss of these four students, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Camila Bernal, thank you very much.

Just in to CNN, the Biden administration has started notifying some applicants who had been approved for federal student loan relief even as lower courts have blocked the program nationwide and its future is in limbo.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is following this for us over at the White House. Arlette, what is the White House telling applicants.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Jim, the Biden administration started sending out emails to applicants who had applied for this federal student loan relief and its' notifying those applicants who have been approved.

But this comes as the Department of Education is prevented from discharging any of the student debt as lower courts have blocked the program from going into effect.

And in this emails -- we received one of the sample emails that was being sent out -- in this email from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, he talked about how those lawsuits are preventing them from actually implementing the program.

He writes in that email notifying applicants of their approval, Cardona writes, quote "Unfortunately a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present.

We believe strongly that the lawsuits are meritless and the Department of Justice has appealed on your behalf. Your application is complete and approved and we will discharge your approved debt if and when we prevail in court." But this program has now been in limbo for weeks as there have been lower court rulings that have blocked it from going into effect. Now, on Friday, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to allow the program to go into effect while these lower court challenges are playing out.

This comes as so many millions of Americans remain in limbo. About 26 million people applied for this program and the Biden administration says that 16 million have been approved. But for the time being they can't give any of that relief to these applicants.

Now also in addition to this, that pause on federal student loan payments, it's set to end on January 1st. This has been a pause that has been in place for over two years now due to the pandemic. And one question that the White House has started to face is whether they might consider extending that pause yet again.

White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre yesterday said they're considering all options, that there are millions of Americans who right now remain in limbo about the future of their student debt.

ACOSTA: A very important decision coming up for the administration. All right. Arlette Saenz, thank you very much.

It's a big weekend at the White House for other reasons as the first family celebrates President Biden's 80th birthday and the wedding of his oldest granddaughter Naomi.

White House weddings are a pretty rare thing and details on this one have been kept very hush-hush but we're getting a few photos of the ceremony which took place on the South Lawn of the White House earlier this morning.

Our Kate Bennett joins me from outside the White House. Kate, what do we know about Naomi Biden's wedding. They kept the riffraff like us out for good reason. But what do we know?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They certainly did. You know, no press was allowed which a lot of people thought was unfair considering this is the People's House. However, there are some pictures coming out.


BENNETTE: The wedding itself is not quite over yet though Jim. This evening all 250 guests are scheduled to return to the White House for a reception with dessert and dancing that should go on I hear until about midnight tonight.

But it was earlier this morning in about 38 -- 39 degree weather that those guests were out on the South Lawn to watch the wedding of Naomi Biden and Peter Neal. Of course, the president and the first lady were there. The president walked the first lady down the aisle, escorted her.

And the couple wrote their own vows. It was a relatively short ceremony, just under an hour or so again in the cold weather.

And then, after the ceremony, the family -- the wedding party essentially, it was a very small wedding party, went to the White House, had a small luncheon and reception. Again, the guests went home, they had this sort of day-long break. Then they'll come back tonight to party.

Here's the important stuff that people care about. Her dress was designed by Ralph Lauren, it's custom, it had a cathedral length train that flowed all the way down the aisle.

And she looked lovely though I hear tonight the bride will be wearing other outfits for the party. So this is a multi-dress affair. But certainly something interesting for the president.

Tomorrow he does turn 80 making him the only octogenarian president ever in history of America. We're told the first lady is going to host a brunch for him.

But otherwise they're sort of down playing his birthday because it is the wedding weekend.

I also hear that it's not a coincidence as the president hits this milestone in his age. But certainly a busy day here at the White House for the Biden family, Jim.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. Our congratulations to the first family. The couple looked beautiful.

All right. Kate Bennett, we knew you'd have all the fashion details as well. So we appreciate that as well. Kate, thanks very much.

Coming up next. How can taking a trip in a hot air balloon help save the planet? Our own Bill Weir took to the skies -- check this out -- to find out.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.




ACOSTA: World leaders at the U.N.'s climate change conference in Egypt are working overtime with negotiators from nearly 200 countries pushing for a deal on various climate issues.

Ahead of the summit, our own Bill Weir went to great heights to meet one attendee, the first person to fly around the globe nonstop without using fuel. And he's got some ideas to save our planet.



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is easy to suffer from climate anxiety these days. And watching diplomats bicker and barter for the 27th time hardly inspires.

But if you ever need a lift --


WEIR (on camera): Ready.

(voice-over): -- Bertrand Piccard is your guy in more ways than one.

PICCARD: Bye-bye.

WEIR: He comes from a Swiss family of explorers so renowned that, when "Star Trek" created a captain, they named him Picard.

PICCARD: You see the balloon quite high over the top of the mountain?

WEIR (on camera): Right.

PICCARD: This is the Chateau. That's where I took off to fly around the world.

WEIR (voice-over): He definitely lived up to the legacy by winning a race to become the first to circle the globe non-stop using only hot air and fickle winds.

PICCARD: It was very emotional because it was my last chance. I had failed twice already. It was the last balloon, the last opportunity.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Round-the-world record-setting balloonists, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones touched down today.

WEIR: And then he stopped himself by building a solar airplane and flying around the world on clean quiet sunlight.

PICCARD (voice-over): I speak to you from the cockpit in the middle of the Pacific, flying on solar power only, no fuel.

(on camera): For me, Solar Impulse was not about transporting passengers. It was about transporting a message to show that you can achieve so-called impossible goals with technologies, renewable energy, no fuel, no pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How smooth it is.


WEIR (voice-over): Six years later, he says there are about 600 electric aviation projects in various stages around the world.

And as nonprofit Solar Impulse Foundation, they promote over 1,400 money making earth-saving startups to governments big and small in sectors from food and construction to transport and energy.

Like Wave Roller, which hopes to power entire coastal communities using natural ocean energy. And UBQ, which turns garbage and dirty diapers into a replacement for conventional plastic. While nations struggle to agree on what to do next, Piccard has an

immediate action plan for cities because local leaders, closer to local problems, can help unleash and scale countless innovations.

PICCARD: If I come to a head a state and I say there are a lot of interesting ideas for the future, the guy is going to tell me come back in the future.


PICCARD: I want to come to heads of states and executives of big corporations and say, look at the solutions that exist today.

WEIR: And while Piccard is a techno optimist, he is also a licensed psychiatrist.

PICCARD: When you fly in the balloons, you are pushed by the winds into the unknown.

WEIR: Which comes in handy when trying to save humanity from itself.

PICCARD: And your only way to steer the balloon is to change your altitude to take another wind, another wind layer that has another direction.

And in life, it's exactly what we have to do. Drop the ballast of your certitude, your paradigms, your beliefs. You throw that overboard so you can change altitude in your mind.


Then you take a new narrative a new direction, protection of the environment as something exciting, creating jobs, developing the economy because it's profitable, offers new business developments for the industry.

And you replace what is polluting by what is protecting the environment. It's a complete change of altitude.

WEIR (on camera): Yes.

PICCARD: And if you do that, you will have much more people supporting you. The businessman, the politicians they will think, wow, that's really something that we can identify to. It's not threatening us. It's offering us a better future.


ACOSTA: And joining me now, chief climate correspondent and daredevil, Bill Weir.

Bill, an incredible assignment.

Do you just go out and try to find the coolest assignments that CNN will buy into and then just go do those?


ACOSTA: Is that essentially how it works?

WEIR: Pretty much. You're onto me, Jim.


ACOSTA: Tells us about this.

WEIR: I was very kind giraffe in a previous life. That's the only thing I can explain.

ACOSTA: That's the best way to go about it.

Why was this so important to do? Great segment.

WEIR: He's a symbol for what's going on in this conference with all the countries. It's going to go into a second extra day. So they can't agree on loss and damages for developing countries that didn't make the problem and are suffering the worst results.

And now Saudi Arabia at the 11th hour decided they wanted to strip out the energy section and remove "renewables" language because it discriminates against their interests.

Piccard said he talked to a lot who were inspired by his ideas. At the national levels, how do you convince the Saudis, petrol states to convince their altitudes?

Like the World Cup, one country can decide to take beer away from the world. And at top, at these conventions, one country can gum up the works.

Almost 200 countries have to agree on this language. We're not in the world agreeing on moving beyond fossil fuels. Countries are arguing for that as we speak.

But it speaks to the enormity on the global scale but also of the problem at the national scale. That can make a huge difference.

And a lot of people argue COPS are successful by existing because they open up the dialogues. They bring together countries that would never meet otherwise and hopefully inspire, propel good ideas.

ACOSTA: It's fascinating. And, Bill, the assignment was terrific. A great piece. Glad you got back down safely.

And always appreciate you coming on to talk about this very important segment of climate change. We'll keep doing it.

Bill Weir, thank you very much.

WEIR: Thanks for having me.

ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, would you jump into these shark infested waters with no cage? Officials in Cuba are hoping you will. We'll dive into their push for shark tourism, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: And we have a tragic update to a story we brought you earlier. The young girl who was hit during a parade by an out-of-control float truck in Raleigh, North Carolina, has died.

Raleigh's mayor just tweeted, "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of a young girl who lost her life today at the Raleigh Christmas parade. Our prayers are with her family, friends, and the dancers from C.C. and Company."

Information about the truck driver and the circumstances surrounding the incident have not been released.

You can see the video there of this out-of-control parade truck that was causing some problems, to say the least, in Raleigh, North Carolina earlier today. A young girl has died after being struck by that truck.

In the meantime, Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced for defrauding customers in her blood testing company that was once the darling of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

CNN's Natasha Chen has the details.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison as well as three years of supervised release after that.

She was fined $400 but a separate date will be set to determine restitution, a possible $800 million.

Holmes was convicted in January on four counts of defrauding investors but found not guilty of defrauding patients.

She had at one time been an icon in Silicon Valley for being a young female entrepreneur, starting the company, Theranos, and claiming her technology could use just a few drops of blood to conduct a variety of tests.

But that technology didn't work. Prosecutors said, when faced with failure, she chose fraud.

A separate trial earlier this year found Theranos' second in command, "Sunny" Balwani, guilty on 12 counts of fraud.

Holmes has to turn herself in to custody next April. That may have something to do with the fact she's currently pregnant. Her pregnancy and her 1-year-old child with partner, Billy Evans, were

brought up by some of her supporters when they wrote to the judge, stating how one must consider very young children growing up without their mother.

There were more than 100 letters written in her support.

Holmes had a chance to speak for herself on Friday before the judge read her sentence. She was emotional in telling the court, quote, "The people I tried to get involved with Theranos were the people I loved and respected the most. I am devastated by my failings."

Her team is expected to appeal her conviction and sentence.

Back to you.


ACOSTA: Natasha, thanks.

The waters off eastern Cuba are teeming with sharks. And in an effort to boost tourism, the island nation is letting visitors jump in the water with them without a cage. Yes, you heard that right.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann, our man in Havana, takes us underwater for this story.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA-BASED CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Usually, they are the last thing you want to see in the ocean. But sharks are the reason why we have come here to the waters off Eastern Cuba. We're hoping to see the predators up close and with no cage.


Local guides say this is the only place in Cuba, perhaps one of only a handful in the world, where divers can safely swim alongside bull sharks. We are taking them at their world, praying the sharks had a big breakfast.

Bull sharks are considered some of the most aggressive in the world, but the ones we see seem mostly curious, swimming around me for a closer look before gliding away.

Guide Lasarow says they want to teach visitors to respect sharks and to protect them.


OPPMANN: The shark is the perfectly machine, the perfect predator, he says. Its inspiring emotionally and satisfying to interact with him.

Marine biologists say robust shark populations are necessary to maintain healthy coral reefs. In 2015, Cuba placed restrictions on shark fishing, one of an

increasing number of countries in the Caribbean to realize that sharks are not only important to the environment, but a way to attract visitors.

OPPMANN (on camera): People in the Caribbean used to commonly catch and kill sharks, either for food or because they were considered a nuisance.

But more and more countries in this region are now taking steps to protect sharks. It's not just about conservation. Shark tourism visitors specifically coming to a country to dive with sharks can generate millions of dollars in revenue.

OPPMANN (voice over): Just before her first dive with sharks, Canadian tourist, Carrie, tells us she's been terrified of them ever since seeing "Jaws."

CARRIE PREVOST, DIVING WITH SHARKS: I watched the movie very young, and I was even afraid to swim in pools, let alone the ocean. So this is a challenge to overcome.

OPPMANN (voice over): Guides spear fish to attract the sharks but are careful to use the minimum bait necessary.

They say they've never had an attack involving a client or guide. And that people come to dive here gain a new perspective on sharks.


OPPMANN: "It's the myth of the shark being dangerous, a maneater that is aggressive," he says. "Then you manage to see a shark a meter and a half away from you, and when you come out of the water, they say, this is the best time of my life."

The sharks we swim with are undeniably powerful, and also incredibly beautiful. At the top of the food chain, but never seeming to threaten us.

OPPMANN (on camera): They said the shot of adrenaline, they were not kidding.

Nobody admits to being afraid. But they're very impressive creatures.

(voice over): Creatures that there are now more and more reasons to try and protect.

Patrick Oppmann CNN, Playa Santa Lucia, Cuba.


ACOSTA: As my Cuban grandmother used to say, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

Patrick, please, be safe. All right, coming up, basketball superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, did

not become an NBA champion by letting obstacles get in the way of his training. But next, we'll show you what led to this post-came confrontation with a ladder and a member of the opposing team.

And a quick programing note. CNN's Sara Sidner hosts "MICHELLE OBAMA'S MISSION," a conversation with Michelle Obama Melinda Gates and Amal Clooney. That's tomorrow night at 8:00.



ACOSTA: Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love. Unless you're playing for the other team, of course.

Take a look at this bizarre incident that occurred between Milwaukee Bucks superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Philadelphia 76ers' Montrezl Harrell.

First, Giannis, who struggled badly from the foul line in that loss earlier that evening attempted to practice foul shots after the game on Philadelphia's home court. Seems innocent.

Harrell says he was trying to get a workout in and Giannis ignored him. So, Harrell took the ball. Yes. He took the ball. There it is right there.

At that point, the two-time MVP of the league decides to try his luck on the other side of the court. One problem, an employee with a ladder was working on the court. So, yet another confrontation. Giannis decides to remove the ladder.

For his part, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar called it an unfortunate event and said he was merely trying to push the ladder out of the way when it fell. There you go from the world of sports.

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot at a political event in 2011. Now, a new CNN film tells her inspiring comeback story.




RON BARBER, (D), FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM ARIZONA: Her charisma still comes shining through.

GIFFORDS: We need bold solutions, courageous ideas. Leaders who put people first, not politics.

BARBER: Personality, galvanizing everybody.

GIFFORDS: I know the perfect person for the job.


GIFFORDS: He is tough. He is smart. He works just as hard as I do. Well, almost.


GIFFORDS: My partner, my rock, Mark Kelly.



ACOSTA: "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 here on CNN.

It's time to meet one of the top-10 "CNN Heroes" of 2022.


CARI BROECKER, CNN HERO: Peace of Mind Dog Rescue has a dual mission, helping senior dogs and senior people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a Peace of Mind dog now.

BROECKER: We take in 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.


BROECKER: 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.


ACOSTA: Vote for your favorite "CNN Hero" right now at

It's reminded me that I need to go check on my dog, Duke. He is waiting for me patiently at this very moment.

That is the news. Reporting from Washington, I am Jim Acosta. See you back here tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Brianna Keilar takes over the CNN NEWSROOM, live, after a quick break.

Have a good night, everybody. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)