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Isa Soares Tonight
AH Appoints Jack Smith As Special Counsel Overseeing Trump Investigation; Young Boy Among Seven Reported Killed In Izeh Shootings; Ukraine Races To Repair & Stabilize Grid As Winter Sets In. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired November 18, 2022 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He's not starting from square one. And he will ultimately have at least the initial call on do we indict or do
Now he will have some level of independence, significant independence, from Merrick Garland, from the Attorney General, really from everybody else at
the Justice Department. But ultimately, Merrick Garland will retain that power to agree or disagree and if he disagrees to override whatever
recommendation Mr. Smith offers up.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Elliot Williams, CNN Legal Analyst, is joining us as well. The Attorney General said that the extraordinary
circumstances demanded this and he said that he identified as the catalyst for this decision, the announcement or the declaration of former President
Trump as a 2024 candidate, and the inclination from the current president to run for reelection. Your reaction to what we just heard from AG Garland?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Right. There -- you know, Victor, there really isn't a roadmap for a circumstance like this, because
of how remarkable the circumstances are in this is that, as the Attorney General laid out, you have a former president being investigated by the
Justice Department. If -- to do this by the book, to conduct these investigations in a way that sort of the textbooks would say to do it, then
yes, the Attorney General had to appoint a special counsel here because what you have to do is take out even the appearance of impropriety.
Now, look, we all know that and you know, I wasn't born yesterday, and within hours, the record of Jack Smith is going to be picked apart. And he
will probably be seen by some or criticized by some as being a partisan political hack or tool. We saw this play out with Robert Mueller several
years ago. But the simple fact is removing it from the chain of command, to some extent, as Elliott said, from the Justice Department was very
Look, one more point that I'd make here as an interesting bit of stagecraft, the one person who was not there on that stage was Jack Smith.
And that was to give at least the sense of clarity that this is a separate individual from outside the Justice Department who is coming to take this
matter over. And it's almost the best of all worlds, at least in the Justice Department's perspective, because number one, as has been said, he
gets all of the staff that had been working on this for quite some time.
And number two, a future president cannot really fire a special counsel, except there's some extraordinary reason to do so like he literally shows
up to work drunk or something like that. The Attorney General just doesn't have the same latitude that he would with a senior political appointee.
So, yes, I, you know, I know there are people who might criticize this decision, but it sort of had to be done, regardless of what the President's
actions were previously.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Evan, you are reminding us that in terms of the histories of special counsels, that actually the Robert Mueller
investigation was wrapped up more quickly than many others, including the John Durham one, which is ongoing and has been, I mean, for, you know,
roughly, well, two years now. And --
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: More than three years. More than three years.
CAMEROTA: Is that right? So it's been --
PEREZ: Yes. Yes.
CAMEROTA: -- going on for more than three years. OK. That's interesting. And so, any way to know -- I mean, since some of this work, as Elliot was
just pointing out, has already been done. And the Department of Justice has been working on it, any idea about what the timeline would look like?
PEREZ: No. And I think one reason, you guys, just before the Attorney General walked out, reported on some of the -- reporting from Kaitlan
Collins who heard from inside the Trump camp, that this is something they were dreading. And I -- look, I think part of the reason why is because of
the nature of special counsels. There -- there's, inside this building, the idea of special counsels are not very -- it's not very popular simply
because, you know, you're out of the control of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General did direct daily control, and they have a way of
just taking a life of their own, right? And there is no easy way to shut it down once you get started.
And so what you're pointing out, Alisyn, you raised it very early on is exactly right, that is the nature of them. And that is the problematic
thing. Real quick, I want to just go back to something Elliot just mentioned. I'll just say real quick that the reason why Jack Smith was not
in the room today is actually he had an injury apparently, fell during a bike accident, and had some recent surgery or some kind of medical
attention, which means that he could not be present today at this announcement.
But we expect and, you know, he's already now the special counsel as of this moment. So, he is now going to be running this investigation. And back
to the point that you were making, look, it does have a way of taking on a life of its own. They have kind of really unlimited budget, and that's part
of the problem with them and why I think there was some hesitation upstairs about naming a special counsel.
The other part of this is that, you know, they scoured, they spent weeks trying to think of a former judge, a former DOJ official.
Somebody who could pass the test and they finally landed on a war crimes prosecutor, somebody who I'm told is a political independent, somebody
who's going to pass that smell test that I'm sure Trump and Republican partisans are going to be doing right at this moment, trying to figure out
whether there's anything in his past that might indicate that he is a partisan or that could, you know, obviously give them reason to have pause
about how this investigation is going to be conducted, Victor and Alisyn.
BLACKWELL: I'm sure it wasn't just finding someone who could take the job, but someone who would considering all --
PEREZ: Yes, there is that.
BLACKWELL: -- that is likely coming for them now that they're going to head up this investigation. Jessica Schneider, let me come to you on what we
heard from the Attorney General. He says he's confident that the appointment will not slow down the investigations. We've heard Alisyn
discuss that with Evan. But what's the ramp up time? He's coming into this. There is a team already established. He's got to, as we say a news read in,
to get to a point where he can lead this investigation.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, two very wide ranging investigations that have been ongoing for quite some time, the Mar-a-Lago
one not as quite as long as the investigation into January 6th here. But despite those two wide ranging investigations, the new special counsel,
Jack Smith, he's actually been given fairly specific instructions as -- at least as it pertains to January 6th, you know.
The Attorney General mentioned it at least twice. And when he came out to talk to reporters, you know, he said that he'll be looking into the
potential interference into the transfer of power, the certification of the vote in 2020. So that January 6th investigation that's been ongoing now for
almost two years, it has many different facets. The rioters, all of those rioters who had been arrested, charged, we're now seeing the Oath Keepers
trial, that will continue to progress under the purview of the U.S. Attorney here in D.C.
But it's this very specific question about interference into the transfer of power, the certification. In particular, our team led by Evan Perez has
reported that it goes to the heart of these -- this fake electoral scheme where these Trump supporters were fake electors. They wanted to try to
disrupt the elect -- electoral count here. So, that's the primary focus of that facet of the investigation.
But then the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, we saw that peak with the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago back in August, but that has been ongoing for
several months as well. So you're right, it will take time for this new special counsel to get up to speed here. And the big question is, how
quickly will he act? Will this be a wide-ranging investigation or a long investigation, as we've seen with John Dermot -- Durham, especially
complicating things, the fact that the former president will be running for president again at the same time this investigation is ongoing from the
special counsel. So a lot of outstanding questions here.
SCHNEIDER: And in fact -- and I want to make sure that Kristen Holmes is still with us, because she has the reporting on the reaction from the Trump
team, it is so interesting, Kristen, the law of unintended consequences because President Trump, many, many people in his orbit, felt announced so
quickly for another run at the White House in order to insulate himself from any indictment when in fact it was the announcement that the Attorney
General just said was the catalyst for naming the special counsel who may end up with an indictment.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. And I just got off the phone with a source that is familiar with how the campaign is
operating. And they are -- they were aware of this. As Kaitlan said that the legal team was dreading this, so was the campaign team. They believe
that this could be coming.
And we have to continue to say that part of the reason that allies believe that former President Trump was announcing so early, in addition to wanting
to freeze the field and get out there was also that he wanted to, as you said, insulate your -- himself and have these legal protections and be able
to continue to campaign on the idea that he is the victim of a political witch hunt.
This is something that we have heard from him since these investigations began. And we heard it on Tuesday night when we were at his announcement.
He referred to himself as a victim multiple times. He said that the Justice Department was weaponized against him. He has continued to talk about the
FBI in the same way. And this clearly, as you said, and as Garland said, this was a catalyst not serving as the -- what they had hoped it would do,
which was give him back those legal protections.
However, I do not think that it seems, at least now, that Trump is going to change his tactics in any way. We know that he has doubled down on this
idea that he is a victim, that this is all politics. So, to see him shift away from that in any way seems very unlikely.
BLACKWELL: Now, in fact --
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Isa Soares and you have been watching my colleagues in the United States. We'll, of course, stay across that
breaking news for you.
In the meantime, I want to bring you some international news we've been following here. Now, for nearly three months, protests have engulfed Iran
and they seem nowhere near ending, this despite, of course a very harsh government crackdown. Five alleged protesters are being sentenced to death
and human rights groups say more than 340 people have been killed since September.
Tragically, a young boy died on Wednesday and what state media said, it was a shooting incident in the southwest of the country. Our Jomana Karadsheh
has this report.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nine-year-old Kian wanted to be an inventor. He shows off a wooden boat he made for a competition. We don't
know when this video was filmed. It surfaced on social media after little Kian was killed. He was one of a number of people killed Wednesday in what
state media said was a shooting incident in the southwestern city of Izeh where anti-government protests have been raging for days.
Family members say Kian was on his way home with his father when he was shot. The Iranian government says this was a terrorist attack. But
activists say Kian is a victim of the regime's ruthless crackdown on protests, one of more than forty children killed since September according
to rights groups.
Every day for more than 60 days now, Iranians have been burying their dead. More than 300 lives lost in this battle for change. 30-year-old Borhan
Karami was shot in the head on Wednesday according to activists. This disturbing video captures the moment a bullet struck him.
At Karami's burial, mourners chant, "Mother, do grieve for your child, we will take his revenge." With every funeral, their rage grows, the brutality
only fueling their determination to risk it all for regime change. That regime struggling to contain the popular uprising is now sentencing
protesters to death. Several have been handed the death penalty this week in what human rights groups say are sham trials, the repressive republic's
latest attempt to crush the growing dissent. But nothing seems to be stopping the will of the people.
The third month of the uprising began with a new wave of strikes and protests sweeping across the country. The rising voices for freedom,
refusing to be silenced. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Instanbul.
SOARES: The acts of defiance continuing there.
Well, as protests are met with increasing state violence, Iranian-American human rights lawyer Gissou Nia has been working on ways the international
community can hold the Iranian regime accountable. She joins me now live from Los Angeles. Gissou, thank you very much for taking the time to speak
Unfortunately, little Kian, as we've shown there in that report from Jomana Karadsheh, isn't the only life of course that has been taken away in such a
brutal way. UNICEF telling us today that an estimated 50 children have reported lost their lives in the unrest in Iran. Troubling, disturbing, how
do you see really what you've been hearing on the ground?
GISSOU NIA, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: Yes, it's very disturbing to get the news about these young children. Obviously, with Kian Pirfalak, we saw his
really touching videos discussing his inventions. And this has led Iranians inside and outside the country to really be demanding justice asking what
UNICEF is doing on the ground to stop this because UNICEF has an in-country presence in Iran and really asking world leaders what they can do.
There are estimates that at least 54 children have been killed since September, the numbers -- the real numbers may be much higher. But there is
a lot of concern about this. And what we see with violence against a fresh wave of protests that erupted today. The Islamic Republic is cutting off
Internet access to multiple cities across the country. And that's going to make it even more difficult to be able to transparently get information.
SOARES: And Gissou, you mentioned that UNICEF I mean, do you feel that UNICEF as well as the international community as a whole, have they failed
the people of Iran, those protesting?
NIA: Well, what I'd like to see happen is that the levers at multilateral institutions that can be pulled be pulled. So, this upcoming Thursday in
Geneva, there will be a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, and it will be to discuss the protests in Iran. And the outcome of that
special session will likely be an investigative mechanism or some kind of independent body that can collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of what's
happening here for accountability purposes.
What would be absolutely shameful is if that 47-member body votes no, that would be shameful.
And so I hope that the international community does the right thing and does indeed establish this mechanism on Thursday.
SOARES: And you have been pushing exactly for that, for the establishment of international accountability mechanism, just what would that look like?
NIA: What it could look like is that there could be, you know, 12 to 15 people on staff probably that are at the OHCHR in Geneva, they would be
collecting a lot of this open source information, being able to really verify what is actually happening there and sort of establish what alleged
perpetrators are responsible. So, there would be the building of files on individual perpetrators, but there would be a strong process for being able
to collect this evidence.
SOARES: Gissou Nia, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Unfortunately, we're running out of time, but thank you very much for
NIA: Thank you.
SOARES: Now, the season's first snow is usually a welcome sign for many, but not in Kyiv. This year is the unofficial start of the dark winters.
Russia's attacks leave Ukraine's power grid under strain. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that about 10 million people didn't have
power. That's more than 20 percent of the country's pre-war population.
Some areas had auto emergency blackouts, you can see there, as engineers race really against the clock to fix the damage caused by missile strikes.
Ukrainian authorities now say almost everyone is reconnected with people cheering in Odesa, as their power, as you can see there, and here is
Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Russia is reinforcing its positions in the eastern part of Ukraine, in the Donetsk, as well as Luhansk regions. I want
to go straight to our Nic Robertson who is in Kyiv for us this hour. And Nic, look, it's clear, as we've been seeing here, temperatures are
dropping, snow falling on Lviv. Meanwhile, energy infrastructures continue being pummeled. How are Ukrainians dealing what looks like will be a very
bleak winter here?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They're trying to make sure that they're going to have enough food, they're trying to find any way
to heat their properties, whether it's through an electric heater for when they do get power. And, of course, that's a concern for the government,
because they've been saying, as it gets cold, people turn on these electric heaters, that throws the country's system, electrical system out of
balance, because part of what's been destroyed is the switching stations and the nerve centers, if you will, that can monitor where there's power in
the country, how much is being used, how it should be balanced.
So, this additional strain is put on the system. People -- some people have got some gas supplies, but we know that gas is being targeted as well,
communications being hit. The people in the east of the country, who we met not far from the frontlines in the east in the town there of Kramatorsk,
were living in basements with perhaps just one tiny heater. Among many of them, one elderly lady we talked to there, told us she'd -- she was born
during the Second World War, the terrible conditions, the cold, the starvation conditions.
She said she'd survived that, but she worried that she wouldn't survive this winter. She said I might die in this war. The mayor of the town told
us that he was worried that people would succumb to the effects of the winter. The old lady I was just mentioning there, when I said to her what
happens when the electricity goes off and this little heater that's providing heat for -- in several rooms, one heater for several rooms and
dozens of people, what happens when that goes off when there's a power cut? And she said, well, simply just we put a coat on, we wrap ourselves in a
blanket, and we go to bed.
And it's very hard to see a different outcome for winter at the moment. The Prime Minister's prognosis of half the electricity infrastructure for the
country down is really a bleak outlook. Ukraine is not being able to repair at the pace that Russia is destroying.
SOARES: You've painted a really horrifying picture for so many there in Ukraine this year. Nic Robertson for us in Kyiv, Ukraine. Thanks very much,
Well, it's no deal. Really no fiancee should ever have to live through and certainly not twice. The partner of murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi is
speaking out after U.S. determined that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has immunity from a lawsuit that she filed. The U.S.
State Department said it's due to his recent appointment as Saudi Prime Minister, a reminder the U.S. intelligence says the Crown Prince approved
the operation that killed Khashoggi. Khashoggi's fiance posted this heartbreaking message from when the news broke, saying simply as you can
see there, Jamal died again today.
Well, the World Cup is just two days away and fans lucky enough to score tickets at the event in Qatar are now learning about a big and sudden
change in policy. FIFA confirms the Muslim country is banning alcohol sales in stadiums, terminating an agreement that would allow the beer to be sold
during the limited hours.
Sponsor Budweiser giving the reaction tweeting, well, this is awkward. That has since -- that tweet has since been deleted. And we'll be back after
this short break.
SOARES: Well, this week, we've been meeting young activists who are fighting for greener future. And for today's installment of Going Green, we
had to India where one conservationist is trying to change how people use one of the most wasted resources on the planet. Water. Larry Madowo has
GARVITA GULHATI We today, as a generation, have a very parasitic existence with the world, which is constantly taking but not giving back. The goal
really is to have a symbiotic relationship with our planet, so that each and every one of us can live a more sustainable life.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Garvita grew up seeing firsthand the effects of the climate crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI, FOUNDER, WHY WASTE?: India is a vastly diverse country. We face a plethora of climate issues from melting glaciers to floods to droughts to
storm to air pollution, water pollution. Unfortunately, the list is pretty endless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: She says what struck her the most is something that many of us take for granted every day. Water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI: Today, two billion people lack the simple access to clean drinking water. It is one of the biggest issues we face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Water is the most ubiquitous resource on our planet, and yet is also among the most wasted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI: I came across this piece of information that said 40 million liters of water gets wasted every year, simply in the water that we leave
behind in glasses at restaurants. And that is when I decided to start Why Waste? to change the mindsets of people towards water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Garvita first set out to tackle water waste in restaurants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI: Restaurants are one of the largest consumers of water and yet untapped in terms of water conservation. After having visited hundreds of
restaurants myself, I came up with the idea of glass half full. Here you fill your glass only half instead of filling it full. That way, you take
just as much water as you need. You don't waste and it's honestly one of the simplest solutions but can have one of the largest implications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Today, Garvita's glass half full movement is active in over 500,000 restaurants across India.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI: Up until today, we've been able to save over 10 million liters of water and reached over six million people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Garvita believes her generation is uniquely positioned to help solve the climate crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI: Gen Z just being you know, the energetic generation that we are, we demand not just, of course, a seat at the table, but to also be heard,
and our solutions be implemented.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: But she says it'll take everyone doing their part to make it happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GULHATI: You can choose sustainability, you can choose the planet, and you can choose to be a change maker.
SOARES: And for more stories on Youth Climate Leaders, you can visit cnn.com/goinggreen. Now a story sure would melt your heart. I'll introduce
you to Mahale, a 28-year-old chimp at a zoo in the U.S. State of Kansas was having a difficult birth so doctors performed, as you can see there, C-
section. Her baby struggled at first and needed extra oxygen.
But, after two days, they were ready for Mahale to meet her baby boy for the first time. Watch this moment. Beautiful. As soon as Mahale saw him
move, she picked him up and held him close. The little guy has been named Kucheza, which means play in Swahili.
Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" up next. Have a wonderful weekend. I shall see you on Monday.