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Fate of Ukrainian City of Soledar Unclear Amid Conflicting Claims; Biden Faces Special Counsel Probe Over Classified Documents; Iranian Regime Promoting Hardliners to Top of Government; Top Republican Lawmaker Launches Investigation into U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan; Protests in Peru Show No Sign of Ending; Seven Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through Southern United States; Lisa Marie Presley, Daughter of Elvis, Dies at 54. Aired 10-10:45a ET
Aired January 13, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been watching as they've been firing mortars in the direction of Russian positions and
rockets as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: CNN reports from the trenches near Soledar as Russia claims capture of the town in eastern Ukraine. A special counsel
appointed to probe Joe Biden's improper handling of classified files, the fallout for the U.S. president and his party is live from Washington this
hour. And remembering Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley, dead at 54.
I'm Becky Anderson. Hello, and welcome to the show.
Is the prolonged battle for Soledar finally over? Now conflicting accounts against today. Russia's Defense Ministry claims its forces captured the
town in eastern Ukraine after what a Ukrainian minister called a night of hot fighting. A Ukrainian military official denies that Russia is in
control and says fighting continues.
The taking of Soledar would bring an end to one of the war's deadliest battles, and marks Russia's first significant victory in months. The
announcement from Moscow notably makes no mention of the claim by the Wagner paramilitary group that only its fighters have been fighting for
Soledar. Wagner fighters posted a video disparaging Russia's claim that its own army conscripts took part.
Ben Wedeman and his team are positioned just outside the town. Here is what he has been seeing there today.
WEDEMAN (on-camera): We're in a trench, just about two and a half miles or four kilometers from the front, from Soledar. Now the situation in Soledar
at this point is not altogether clear. Ukrainian officials say they still hold part of it. Speaking to the soldiers, it's a mixed story. Some of them
say it's either fallen or it's about to fall. Others say they still are making minor advances inside.
Now what's interesting in these forward positions, we've spoken to many of the soldiers. They are fairly confident, and morale seems surprisingly high
given the situation. They are confident that they can hold these positions, the rear position. But what appears to be going on is an organized pullout
from the town of Soledar.
We've been watching as they've been firing mortars in the direction of Russian positions, and rockets as well. You can hear, in fact, some of the
thuds of some of that fire. Some of it, of course, going towards Soledar. Some in the direction of Bakhmut, and of course, there is fire coming the
I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, outside Soledar.
ANDERSON: Well, Scott McLean is with us out of Kyiv this evening.
And Scott, Ukrainian soldiers have been communicating with you as I understand it, and have some very pertinent information. What have you been
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Becky, a couple of things. So first off, the Ministry of Defense say -- the Russian Ministry of Defense
said that the town was captured last night thanks to artillery and airstrikes which cut off Ukrainian supply lines and also cut off escape
routes for soldiers, and at least that part of their statement seems to match up with one soldier that we spoke to late yesterday who said that at
least his unit was abandoned and they were pinned down with no food, little water, and a very small window to actually escape that may have actually
already closed already.
I spoke to a different soldier who was in the area yesterday and obviously he's been speaking to soldiers who are on the frontlines today, just a
couple of hours ago, and he says that the Ukrainians, yes, they still have a presence in Soledar but it is more of a toehold than a stronghold. They
control a very small part of the city around the western edge, a very minor part of the city that he concedes.
He described the fighting inside the city as intense, when it did take place in very small groups, maybe 10, 30 meters away, maybe four to 15
troops on each side.
And he said that the Russians were well-equipped, but not all of them. He said some of the Wagner mercenaries showed up with no guns, only grenades.
Their goal was to get as close to Ukrainian positions as they could, and then throw their grenades. He described that as a kind of suicide mission.
As for the loss, or mostly loss, town of Soledar, I asked him about the significance there and he said, frankly, militarily, it wasn't that big of
a deal. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. TARAS BERESZOVETS, 1ST SPECIAL FORCES BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: I believe that the general staff, they understood that it would be
very hard to hold these positions. First of all because Soledar is not such well-fortified as Bakhmut, for instance, because while Bakhmut definitely
looks like a stronghold. So I think the plan was to kill as many Russian paratroopers and Wagner mercenaries from the very beginning. And I think
they could completely complete this task.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: Now, Becky, the Russians said that capturing Soledar would allow them to cut off supply lines to Bakhmut, but I asked the soldier about that
and he said that there are still plenty of ways to get into Bakhmut and it is extremely well-fortified, not only with their on military defenses but
also with the natural geography and topography of the town as well. He believes that the Russians' real goal is to get to the much larger city of
And just quickly, I also asked him about this internal feud that we're seeing between the Russian military and the private military contractor,
the Wagner mercenary group, which says that it captured Soledar without any help from regular Russian troops. And this soldier says that, look, that is
not the case. There were regular Russian military paratroopers who were holding the northern and southern parts of the town.
Their job, he believed, was to encircle the town, and the Wagner forces were doing the fighting in the middle of it. He says that the troops that
they had encountered in the city, doing the fighting, house to house, the vast majority were Wagner but not all -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes. Interesting, isn't it? We've been reporting on this rift between this private mercenary group, the Wagner Group, and the Russian
military. And there certainly seems to be a battle for control of the narrative between these two Russian entities.
Just if you can, provide us some context for what is going on here, and why we should care about this layer of the story.
MCLEAN: Yes, so the reality for the Russians, Becky, is that things have not been going all so well for them on the battlefield. They have not had a
major win for the last six months or so, they lost a huge amount of territory in Kherson. They also lost a huge amount of territory in Kharkiv.
And so now they have been relegated to positions that aren't, frankly, moving all that much. They have been trying and failing to take the town of
Bakhmut for ages, and this effort has been led by the Wagner private military group, who's been throwing a heck of a lot of shade on the regular
Russian forces, describing bureaucratic problems, internal disputes, logistical issues that continue to plague those groups.
It was also regular Russian forces, Becky, who were in Makiivka that strike on the temporary barracks, Ukrainian strikes, that even the Russians say
killed 89. And so the Wagner Group is trying to say, look, any success on the battlefield is coming from us, not the regular troops. Obviously, the
Russian troops want to show that they are capable of taking towns as well, and so both of them, interestingly enough, are claiming to be doing a lot
of the fighting in Soledar. But I think the reality is probably closer to what that soldier said that the regular troops around the outside and the
Wagner troops doing the more dangerous work in the inner part of the city but it really does illustrate a rift, especially given that there is a
brand-new commander just in the last couple of days that has been installed to lead this so-called special military operation -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Scott McLean is in Kyiv in Ukraine for you. Scott, thank you.
Well, it might be the biggest political crisis of Joe Biden's presidency. The U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, has named a special counsel to
investigate whether classified documents found at Mr. Biden's home and former private office were mishandled. Now this material is from his time
as vice president under Barack Obama. The current White House says it did nothing wrong, but Garland says the extraordinary circumstances, to quote
him, required action.
This means President Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, are both the subjects of special counsel probes at the same time.
Well, CNN's Paula Reid joins us now from Washington.
Paula, the lack of transparency here has been a real problem for the current White House and the attempted damage control frankly doesn't seem
to have gone well either. What's the fallout or potential fallout here? Just explain.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's a disaster. You now have a special counsel investigating the possible mishandling of
classified information. This is a full blown criminal investigation now regarding classified information that was found at three locations
connected to a sitting president. And the White House has made a strategic decision not to get out in front of this matter.
Before the attorney general's press conference yesterday, pretty much everything we learned came from news reports and was then followed by these
begrudging statements from the White House that were often lacking key details that we learned the next day. Now they stay that they are deferring
to the Justice Department, allowing the Justice Department to do its work without interfering.
But certainly the Justice Department does not comment on ongoing investigations, but the White House did have a choice here, particularly
when they realized that CBS News had the story. They could've just come out. They could've come out, given a statement, released all the facts, but
instead it's been drip, drip, drip. And it has created an optics in communication problem.
Based on what we know now, it does not appear that the president is in some great legal jeopardy. There is also sort of norm of not indicting a sitting
president. So it doesn't appear that the jeopardy is really legal right now, it is more political, and we have seen, particularly with the
investigation in the possible mishandling of classified information in Hillary Clinton's case, we have seen that if the public thinks there is any
kind of cover-up, it's going to become a real political liability.
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Paula Reid is on the story.
That is just after 10 past 10:00 in Washington. Ten past 7:00 here in the UAE.
The Trump Organization getting hit with the maximum penalty for a decade- long tax fraud scheme. A judge has just issued a fine of $1.6 million. Two Trump entities were convicted last month of 17 felonies, including tax
fraud and falsifying business records. Former President Donald Trump himself was not charged in the case.
Well, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Coming up, as protest persists in Iran, the government is promoting hardliners to crack down on dissent. A look at the latest notorious figures
rising to the top.
Plus, Republicans' list of investigations into the Biden administration gets longer, this time the focus is on America's chaotic withdrawal from
Afghanistan. More on that after this.
ANDERSON: For nearly four months, protesters have taken to the streets of Iran. On a near daily basis, demanding serious reform even the overthrow of
The popular uprising is one of the greatest threats of the authority of the Islamic Republic since its inception in 1979, and it is fueling a
crackdown, not just on the streets but within the ruling elite with the clerical establishment promoting hardliners among their ranks and
sidelining any government officials seen as reformists.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz with this report.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iran's government is sending a message to its own. Fall in line or else. A former deputy defense
minister, Alireza Akbari, was sentenced to death by the country's Supreme Court. His execution could be imminent.
The dual British Iranian citizens stands accused of spying for the U.K., according to a government affiliated news site. But in a tweet, the British
Foreign Office condemned the sentence. "This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life."
The execution order comes at a time of massive demonstration. Akbari, analysts say, is seen as a pragmatic, pro-reform figure.
SONAM VAKIL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: The willingness of the Islamic Republic to sentence one of
their own officials to death is a very clear message that they will do whatever it takes to stay in power.
ABDELAZIZ: And there are other signs that Iran's government is hardening. The country's supreme leader recently promoted Brigadier General Ahmadreza
Radan to chief of police. Radan is notorious for leading the crackdown on the 2009 protest movement. He was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2010 for human
Another hardline official rising to greater prominence and also sanctioned by D.C. is Abolqasem Salavati, a senior judge in the Islamic Republic's
revolutionary court. The U.S. calls him the judge of death for handing down the sentence of death by hanging to countless political prisoners. Now
Salavati is presiding over the trials of hundreds of protesters. Four have been executed so far with dozens more potentially facing the same grim
(On-camera): What does this tell us about how Iran's government is handling this protest movement?
VAKIL: It tells us very directly that the Islamic Republic has no intention of reform or meeting protesters' demands. It tells us that a purge of the
political establishment is well underway and there is a hardline conservative monopoly of power.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): But even as the Islamic Republic toughens its stance, brave protesters keep taking to the streets.
ANDERSON: CNN has reached out to the Iranian government for a response, we have not yet received one.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joining us now from London.
An important report, Salma. What more do we know about these hardline officials, let's call them that, and what does this mean for the future of
the protest movement? I know you were discussing that with that guest.
ABDELAZIZ: Absolutely, Becky. I think it's important to just emphasize how huge of a challenge this is for the Islamic Republic, again almost four
months of demonstrations, and it seems the government has tried every tool in the toolbox. Remember, we know that thousands of people have been
arrested according to rights groups. More than 300 killed, again according to rights groups.
This very brutal crackdown where the Iranian government has said these protesters are not protesters at all. They're rioters instead, calling this
a foreign conspiracy, a plot against the country, and yet with all that crackdown, Becky, we have yet to see this protest movement slow.
So what happens? Well, analysts tell us and observers tell us that that means within the halls of government, within the corridors of power in
Tehran, there is infighting. There is a struggle. There is a conversation over how to handle these protesters, and increasingly it is the hardline
voice that is winning out, Becky.
And the message here that we get from these indications, like the potential execution of Akbari, the promotion of this new chief of police, is that
anyone, anyone, who wants to meet protesters' demands, who wants to compromise, they will be put aside. What Iran is clearly sending as a
message to these protesters is only the toughest response -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Salma Abdelaziz is on the story. Salma, thank you.
Well, U.S. Republican lawmaker has launched an investigation into America's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. On Thursday, Congressman Michael
McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, requested a vast number of documents from the State Department related to that exit. Now the
agency has less than two weeks to respond. If it doesn't comply, McCaul has threatened to subpoena.
CNN U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood is at the State Department. What do we know at this point, Kylie? How significant is this?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, the State Department knew this was coming, right? Congressman McCaul, when he was in
the minority, before the Republicans took over the majority in the House, he already carried out an investigation into withdrawal. But now that he is
in the majority, and now that he is the chairman of this committee, what he now has, as you said, is the power of subpoena. So he can actually request
and then compel by law the State Department to provide information.
Now the question here is what exactly he's going to find. They are casting an incredibly wide net with this committee asking the State Department for
information, you know, related to the planning of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, anything about U.S.-Taliban meetings during the Biden
administration, and they're also looking at the after-effects of the withdrawal. So they want to know things such as how was the processing of
SIV is going?
What is happening to Afghan women who are still in Afghanistan? So there are a lot of questions. This is a 10-page letter they sent to the secretary
of State yesterday, and we will watch to see exactly how the State Department handles this. They have said that they recognize the role that
Congress plays, of course, their oversight role, but they haven't fully committed to providing all of these documents. So it could become a battle
between the State Department and this new House Republican leadership.
ANDERSON: Kylie, briefly, what happens if they refused to cooperate?
ATWOOD: There will be subpoenas, right. And so in this letter, very clearly, Congressman McCaul said that they are giving the State Department
just two weeks to provide all of this information. Now I think it's important to note that they have been asking for this information for a
while before when he was in the minority, so this doesn't come, you know, as something that State wasn't expecting, but subpoenas will by law require
the State Department to require that information. And so that's why I say this could turn into somewhat of a legal battle.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Thank you.
Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.
Prosecutors in Japan have indicted the suspect in the murder of the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He died July 8th after being shot while giving a
campaign speech. They say the alleged gunman admitted to shooting Abe. He's reportedly undergoing a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is
fit to stand trial.
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ordering the former president and four other top officials to pay more than $800,000 to families of the Easter bombing
victims. The court said they had enough intel to prevent the 2019 attacks. Nearly 300 people were killed.
Well, China is firing back at a British government report harshly critical of Beijing's treatment of Hong Kong. It accuses authorities of undermining
the rights and freedoms that China promised the city before the 1997 handover. In response, the Chinese embassy in London says Britain needs to
stop interfering in its affairs, and quote, "discard the colonial mindset."
You're with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.
Just ahead, protesters in Peru appeared to be willing to put their safety on the line. Anti-government demonstrations which have already left dozens
of people dead are spreading. And we'll go live to the city where a massive tornado touched down and stayed on the ground for dozens of kilometers.
That is after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the time is just before half past 7:00. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Let's get you the latest on this situation unfolding in eastern Ukraine. This is important. A few hours ago, CNN crews just outside of the town of
Soledar reported mortar and rocket fire there. They are also seeing Ukrainian troops being pulled back in what is an apparently organized
manner. Russia claims it, quote, "liberated the town" in Donbas which is considered strategic for its network of salt mines and for its proximity to
the flash point city of Bakhmut. Ukraine says it is not a done deal and the fighting is still going on. They call that fighting hot.
More political turmoil in Peru where protests there showed no sign of ending. Supporters of ousted president Pedro Castillo have arrived in the
capital of Lima, calling for the current leader to step down. After weeks of deadly unrest the country has now shut down the airport near the major
tourist draw of Machu Picchu. And the Peruvian Labor Ministry is calling it quits, demanding -- tweeting a demand for general elections. Look,
officials say at least 49 people have died since protests began across Peru back in December.
Let's get you more from CNN's Rafael Romo.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): The violent clashes erupt in the Peruvian city of Cusco, the latest wave of unrest
following the ousting of former president Pedro Castillo. Anti-government protesters threw rocks at riot police Wednesday, who responded by firing
tear gas and moving in with an armored vehicle.
Video from the scene shows the injured receiving medical aid and before being carried off. The turmoil follows demonstrations in the southern
region of Puno. 18 people have been killed there since Monday night including a police officer who was burnt to death by protesters. Prime
Minister Alberto Otarola condemned the violence during a session of congress.
ALBERTO OTAROLA, PERUVIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I deplore this aggression against the security forces. And once again I call for
order, peace, and tranquility for all Peruvians. We can't be killing each other.
ROMO: The arrests began in early December when then President Castillo was impeached and arrested after he announced plans to dissolve congress and
install an emergency government. He was apparently trying to get ahead of a congressional vote on his impeachment.
Dina Boluarte, Castillo's vice president, was then sworn in to replace him. Now Castillo supporters are calling for her resignation along with prompt
general elections, a new constitution, and the release of the former president. But last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Castillo had to
remain in pretrial detention for 18 months on charges of rebellion and conspiracy, which he denies.
The new government won a vote of confidence in congress by a wide margin Tuesday. A loss would have triggered a Cabinet reshuffle and the
resignation of Prime Minister Alberto Otarola. Meanwhile, Peru's top prosecutor has launched an investigation into Boluarte and her Cabinet
members over the deadly clashes as relatives and friends of the dead marched through the Peruvian city of Juliaca, carrying the coffins of their
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They are killing us, Juliaca's people. We are dying. We want justice.
ROMO: It's the worst outbreak of violence Peru had seen in more than 20 years.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
ANDERSON: Well, at least seven people dead after what was a powerful storm tearing through the southern United States on Thursday. The storms ripped
roofs off homes and businesses, and left tens of thousands of people without power. The system spawned more than 30 tornadoes. This was in
Alabama, in Georgia, and in Kentucky, including one tornado that was believed to be on the ground for some 80 kilometers.
My colleague Ryan Young is on the ground in one of the hardest hit communities of Selma, in Alabama.
Some of these numbers are remarkable. One tornado on the ground for dozens of kilometers. As I understand it, that is highly unusual. Just tell us
what you know and describe what you see.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Highly unusual and quite frankly quite scary for some of the people who live here. They said they didn't
realize that these storms are going to be this severe. You can see behind me just the power of the storm. This box truck was blown over like a toy
onto its side. And if you look up behind you, you can see what it did to this roof. I mean, it just totally crushed this building taking the roof
But as we walk this direction back towards the railroad tracks here, this is Broadstreet, one of the main streets here in Selma, Alabama. Look at the
twisted metal that's been left behind. This storm came through so fast there were people inside some of these businesses along this roadway, and
they had to run for cover. They ran to closets, they ran to shelters, they tried to do anything they could.
And when you look at the destruction and the path of this storm, you understand how powerful it was. In fact, take a listen to some of what
people are telling us, just how terrified they were.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH BROWN, TORNADO SURVIVOR: We had to run for cover. We had to go run and jump in the closet. Oh, my god. Oh, my god. You all look. Just the
building beside us. Oh, my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: So if you look up here right now, you can see some people have started to come out and tried to cover some of the roofs here. There's been
a threat of rain coming so you put that on top of all that these people have been through, and the power outages and the fact that people are
trapped in some of their neighborhoods because the trees are down all across the roadways. And of course crews have not been able to get in to
cut those trees up just yet.
Last night, power crews from all across three different states were rushing into Alabama to try to restore some of the power. We put up a drone a
little earlier, and look, that direction in almost every other roof has been damaged by the storm. They are going to be doing this assessment for
quite some time. Even the train that moves through, you can see this crew here, they are trying to move the debris so they can keep the freight
moving through this area of the southeast, to make sure it doesn't impact businesses.
This is a mess, Becky. You can understand this really surprised a lot of people about how powerful the storm was at such a quick moment.
ANDERSON: Because, Ryan, you know, the locals there will not be unfamiliar with tornadoes. But this was a real howler. And we will stay on this, you
know, looking at how long the cleanup will take, when that power will be restored, and just getting a sense of how people are coping. Thank you.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is with us.
Chad, tell us more about these tornadoes. How did they come about? And like I say, I mean, people in that region won't be unfamiliar with this sort of
system, but this was really, really powerful, wasn't it?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, we wouldn't go unprecedented, I mean, certainly not. But this is a big number of tornadoes. 35 tornadoes
yesterday, some of them may be the same tornado from different people looking from different directions and so that number may go down, but how
did it happen?
Well, there is the front, right about through there. On the eastern side of the front, Atlanta, all the way down to the Gulf Coast, temperatures were
about 25 degrees yesterday. Behind, you can see the snow, temperatures here, zero.
Now, just as you open the freezer if you have a top freezer, and you look at that steam or fog fall out of your freezer it goes to the floor. That's
because cold air is heavier. This cold air that tried to push into the east pushed this warm air up into the atmosphere and just like hitting a
mountain range, the storms fired because the air was going up. Warm, humid air was going up. And as the day went on, the storm just rolled right
across the southeast.
So rare, yes, but what is more rare is how many storms have already hit the United States. How many tornadoes have already hit the United States this
We have had about 95 tornadoes this year and that is unprecedented from where we should have been. From where we are yesterday, this is the area
that we're seeing the most tornado damage across the deep south. This is when it happens, this is where it happens. It always does this.
Now we do see tornadoes here, 36 on average for the entire month on January. How many so far? 95. We should be seeing a couple hundred in May
and June, that's when tornado season is, but down across the Gulf Coast, because the Gulf of Mexico, very warm, very humid, and then you get a cold
front that comes in from the north, that's when we see the potential for tornadoes in the south.
In the summer, not so much. It moves on up into tornado alley as we call it, further up into the Midwest. But we've had four times almost, four
times as many tornadoes as we should have, for this time of year already -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you, sir.
MYERS: You're welcome.
Still ahead, let bygones be bygones. Novak Djokovic finds that Melbourne has sprawled out the red carpet, one year after telling him he wasn't
welcome. And we only just saw her speaking on the red carpet earlier this week, but today the family and fans of Elvis Presley's only child are
mourning her loss.
ANDERSON: Lisa Marie Presley singing there. Today tributes are pouring in and fans are shocked by her sudden death at the age of 54. Lisa Marie was
no stranger to loss. Her father Elvis Presley died when she was 9, and she lost her son Benjamin when he was just 27.
CNN's Chloe Melas takes a closer look at her life.
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Singer Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of the late Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, died
Thursday at 54. Her mother confirmed the death in a statement to CNN. The statement read in part, quote, "The Presley family are shocked and
devastated by the tragic death of their beloved, Lisa Marie. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love, and prayers of everyone, and
asked for privacy during this very difficult time."
Lisa Marie Presley had been hospitalized Thursday morning after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest. Presley was born in 1968 at the height of her
father's fame. He died in 1977 when she was just 9 years old. She had a troubled childhood that led with her acting out and experimenting with
drugs. It resulted in her mother sending her to a series of private schools.
She told the "L.A. Times," I never really fit into school. I didn't really have any direction." The sole heir to her father's fortune, Lisa Marie
Presley lived a colorful life in the public eye. Often leading to moments in the tabloids.
LARRY KING, FORMER TV HOST: The tabloids have been rough on you.
LISA MARIE PRESLEY, DAUGHTER OF ELVIS: They're rough.
MELAS: She married four times, including high-profile marriages with actor Nicholas Cage, and a wedding with the king of pop, Michael Jackson that
grabbed all the headlines. They divorced in January 1996. Later, in a 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer, Presley said this about Jackson,
PRESLEY: When he wants to lock into you, and he wants to interview you or capture you or, you know, whatever he wants to do with you, he can do it.
MELAS: Presley had four kids from two of her four marriages. She recorded three studio albums of her own. In 2003, her debut album, "To Whom It May
Concern," reached number five on the Billboard 200. It was certified gold that summer. She said this about taking on the same career as her legendary
PRESLEY: I think I was a little more naive on that front than one would expect. And I have been a huge music lover. It has always a huge impact on
me. I want to write, I want to sing. I want to do the same thing for others. How my music hopefully do that for others one day. Not realizing,
you know, what I sort of had to climb. I had an idea a little bit, but I think that I underestimated.
MELAS: Tragedy followed Presley in 2020 when her son, Benjamin Keogh, died of suicide at the age of 27. Last September, she opened up about the grief
of that loss in an essay for a National Grief Awareness Day. Presley was most recently seen on Tuesday night at the Golden Globe Awards, which she
attended with her mother to support the Baz Luhrmann film, "Elvis," about her late father. Lisa was asked about the film on the carpet.
PRESLEY: I was mind blown, truly. I actually had to take five days to process it because it was so spot on and authentic.
MELAS: Austin Butler, who played Elvis in the film, spoke about meeting Lisa Marie.
AUSTIN BUTLER, ACTOR: It hit home when I first met Lisa Marie because I didn't meet her until after the film, and she hugged me with tears in her
eyes, and she just said thank you.
ANDERSON: Chloe Melas reporting.
From hero to zero, and then back again. That is one way of describing Novak Djokovic's return to Melbourne after a year. His COVID vaccination status
meant that his visa was canceled in 2022. I'm sure you remember the reporting on that. But earlier on Friday, it was all smiles as Novak played
a practice session.
Amanda Davies joining me now.
It's good to see him back on the court. And one wonders how he will do. Is he going to let any of this old news stand in his way, do you think?
AMANDA DAVIES, "WORLD SPORT" ANCHOR: Well, Novak is somebody who has kind of made a career of using all the negativity against him as motivation to
really make a point, but you've really got a sense with this practice match earlier, the first paid 16,000 fans watching this practice match, a new
thing happening in Melbourne, that he was enjoying this moment. He said he got emotional afterwards because it's such a contrast to those pictures as
he saw him being escorted, deported, out of Australia just 12 months ago.
I have to say, he was beaten by Nick Kyrgios, but, you know, both of the players wanting to protect themselves a little bit. He's been struggling a
little bit with a hamstring injury. But certainly all the signs are very good for Novak Djokovic, looking for what would be a 10th Australian Open
ANDERSON: Absolutely. That was a game to entertain the fans I think from both of them there, and there were some talk about whether the fans would
actually accept him back. Seems like they are perfectly happy to see him in Melbourne.
Good. Amanda, thanks. More on that in "WORLD SPORT," that's coming up after this short break. We'll be back after that.