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Isa Soares Tonight
Blinken, Xi Hold High Stakes Talks in Beijing; Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Faces New Charges in Russian Court; A Submersible That Takes Tourists for Underwater Expeditions Disappears Off the Coast of Canada; Deadly Firefight Erupts As Israeli Forces Raid Jenin; Hundreds Of Bodies Found In Forest Linked To Cult; Wyndham Clark Wins First Major Title. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 19, 2023 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Christina Macfarlane in for Isa Soares. Tonight,
progress in China as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken finishes his high stakes visit. More on his meeting with President Xi Jinping. Then,
Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny appears in court facing new charges of extremism.
I'll speak to his press secretary about how he's coping. Plus, a submersible that takes tourists to see the wreck of the Titanic is missing
off the coast of Canada. What we know about the search operation, coming up. All right, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken says progress has
been made following two days of high stakes meetings with top officials in Beijing, including President Xi Jinping.
The two global powers have agreed to the need to stabilize U.S.-China relations, which plummeted to a new low earlier this year after an alleged
Chinese spy balloon was detected floating across the U.S. and hovering over sensitive military sites. Key issues remain unresolved, but Blinken says he
now expects better engagement going forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: In terms of those objectives that we set for this trip, establishing open communication
channels, directly raising issues of concern, exploring cooperation in places where it's in our mutual interest to do so, we did all of that on
this strip. But progress is hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Well, CNN's Kylie Atwood joins me now from Beijing with more on what came out of these crucial meetings. And Kylie, expectations for
this strip had been fairly low as we know China and the U.S. are also on array of issues. But both sides here are saying progress was made. How far
does it go?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, there are definitely limits to how far they were able to push forward, the efforts
that they were working on together here in Beijing. I think it's important to note however, that the Secretary of State said that both sides agreed on
the need to stabilize the relationship.
That, in and of itself, is significant. Here's a look at the secretary's visit to Beijing over the course of the last two days.
ATWOOD (voice-over): Secretary of State Antony Blinken shaking hands with President Xi during his two-day, high stakes, diplomatic visit to China, as
the United States sets out to normalize communications between two superpowers.
BLINKEN: The trip has three objectives. First, to establish open and empower communications so that our two countries responsibly manage our
relationship, including by discussing challenges, by addressing misperceptions and avoiding miscalculations.
ATWOOD: On Sunday, Blinken invited Foreign Minister Qin Gang to Washington, an offer that was accepted. U.S. officials say there won't be
major deliverables from the two-day visit, but deemed the engagement critical, particularly as they hope to regularize military-to-military
contact. In the last few weeks, aggressive Chinese maneuvers resulted in two military incidents between the U.S. and China in the international
waters and airspace of the South China Sea.
Last month, China also refused a meeting between Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his counterpart, on the sidelines of a defense conference.
LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, UNITED STATES: I think it's important that countries with significant military capacity and capabilities have the
means to talk to each other.
ATWOOD: China's foreign ministry called the first day of meetings candid and constructive. But said Blinken received clear demands on Taiwan, saying
that the self-ruled island presents the most pronounced risk to the U.S.- China relationship. Blinken plan to address U.S. concerns about China's aggression towards Taiwan among a whole host of other issues, including
three Americans wrongfully detained in China, and fentanyl precursor chemicals originating in China.
BLINKEN: Number one killer of Americans, aged 18 to 49. Think about that for just a second. Last year, we seized enough fentanyl to kill every
single American. And that's just what we seized.
ATWOOD: President Biden hopes that this visit eases tensions, as he looks ahead to a possible meeting with President Xi later this year.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm hoping that over the next several months, I will be meeting with Xi again, and talking about
legitimate differences we have, but also how there's areas we can get along.
ATWOOD: Chinese officials including the Chinese leader himself, claiming recently, and repeatedly, that the United States is leading an effort to
encircle and contain China. But China is also economically intertwined with the U.S. A key factor as China's post-COVID economic growth has recently
slowed down. And just on Friday, the Chinese leader sat down with U.S. billionaire and businessman Bill Gates, noting that Gates was the first
American friend he had met with this year.
ATWOOD: Now, on two of the topics that we talked about in that package there, progress on one, not progress on the other. When it comes to
standing up military-to-military channels of communication between the two countries, something that the secretary said he pressed the need for,
saying that they were vital in -- saying repeatedly that they were vital in his meetings with Chinese officials.
China did not agree to stand up those channels of communication. That's something that the United States will continue to push for when it comes to
fentanyl and the flow of those synthetic opioids into the United States. China did agree to set up a working group on that topic to try and stem the
flow into the United States.
And we'll track to see how the progress on that effort evolves as they get into the real, you know, efforts there. And when it comes to continued
visits to Beijing, from U.S. officials, the secretary said the expectation is that senior administration officials are going to pay visits here to
Beijing over the course of the next few weeks.
That's pretty significant because what it means is that, there is this uptick in terms of communication between the two, not just trading barbs
and you know, tweets or statements, but really sitting down and talking to one another. We have reported that the expectation is that the Secretary of
Commerce, Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen, are the two officials who the Biden administration has been expecting are going to
visit Beijing next.
MACFARLANE: So some encouraging steps forward, Kylie, but also some sticking points still remaining. Taiwan, as you mentioned in your piece
there, chief among them. Kylie Atwood there live from Beijing, thanks very much. Now the U.S. says it's still concerned China's firms may be supplying
Russia with tech for its invasion of Ukraine.
Now, speaking in Beijing, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had repeated assurances from China that it would not provide lethal aid to
China. He added the U.S. had asked for extra vigilance with Chinese businesses. It comes as Russia appears to be experimenting with new
tactics. Now, this video, allegedly shows a Russian tank laden with TNT exploding on the battlefield.
Russia says the tank was remotely detonated, it's unknown if anyone was hurt. Both Russia and Ukraine are claiming successes around the
Zaporizhzhia region in southeastern Ukraine, where some of the heaviest fighting is happening. Well, Ben Wedeman is standing by for us in
Zaporizhzhia. And Ben, as I was saying there, these tanks are being reported as a new tactic by the Russians. What more do we know about how
they're being used and their effectiveness?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christina, so far, it's only one tank. So we don't know if this is a new tactic or they were
just trying something out. But we understand it was a T-54 tank. That's a tank from the Soviet era dating back to the years just after World War II.
Apparently, it was crammed with five or six tons of high explosives.
From what we understand from a message put out on the telegram channel of the Russian defense ministry, the accelerator was pressed down, and
basically that tank headed towards the Ukrainian lines. There's an explosion, we believe it hit a mine. And then there's another small
explosion where, perhaps an RPG round hit the tank.
And then there's this massive explosion. But it happened about 300 yards or meters from the Ukrainian positions. No idea as you said any of -- if there
were any casualties on either side. If the Russians were able to exploit that explosion and barge through the Ukrainian lines, which certainly, it
is a new tactic.
Now, this is going on as we've seen, we're about a week and a half into this Ukrainian counteroffensive. This morning, we heard from the Ukrainian
deputy defense minister that the Ukrainians had been able to liberate eight settlements, and take control of 113 square kilometers. It appears a lot of
the fighting at least, today, is around a town called Pyatti Hadki(ph), which before the war had a population of about 10,000 people.
It's about an hour's drive from here in Zaporizhzhia. Now initially, earlier in the day, the Ukrainians said that they had taken control of the
town that we saw video of soldiers, Ukrainian soldiers in the town, holding up the flag of Ukraine, claiming to have taken control. Now, it appears
that, that control is not quite as firm as the Ukrainians initially suggested.
Russian sources are saying that it's essentially a gray zone where fighting continues. And just to put all of this in perspective, this offensive has
been going on for about a week and a half. As I mentioned, they've taken 113 square kilometers according to the Ukrainian government. But keep in
mind, back in September of last year, when Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, in about that amount of time, they
were able to retake 12,000 square kilometers.
So, clearly, the Russians have reinforced their defenses, and as a rule in warfare, it's much easier to defend territory than to take back territory.
They have had months to prepare for this offensive, which everyone has been talking about. So it comes as no surprise. And therefore, it appears
that the going for the Ukrainians is perhaps harder than people anticipated.
Keeping in mind, of course, and according to all observers, the Ukrainians have yet to commit the bulk of their forces, including many of the new
western-supplied advanced weapon systems to the battlefield. Christina?
MACFARLANE: Yes, and to your point, Ben, I think what we saw in Kharkiv before, means that people's expectations were high for what this
counteroffensive might mean. But as you say, it's still early days and still important to track this day-by-day as we hear these claims of
territorial gains. Ben Wedeman there live for us in Zaporizhzhia. Thanks, Ben.
Now the jailed Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, has appeared in court to face new charges of extremism. This closed-door trial was taking
place at the same correctional facility where he's already imprisoned. CNN's Matthew Chance has the details.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it paints a very disturbing picture of Russia today. Alexei Navalny; the
prominent anti-corruption campaigner here first poisoned and nearly killed, then arrested and sentenced to nine years in jail, is now facing new
extremist charges that could see his prison term extended by up to 30 years, sparking new outrage amongst his supporters.
Well, the hearing was at a remote Penal Colony where Navalny is being held. And neither journalist nor his parents were allowed inside the courtroom.
But the prosecution detailed nearly 4,000 pages of new allegations against the 47-year-old Kremlin critic, including that he created an extremist
network and financed extremist activity.
In a statement, Navalny quint(ph), that it was clear I am a sophisticated and persistent criminal, but he added that it seemed impossible to find out
exactly what I'm accused of. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
MACFARLANE: Well, Alexei Navalny's circumstances and jail are a high priority for his friends, family and supporters, as you can imagine.
Joining us now is Kira Yarmysh; the Press Secretary for Alex Navalny. Thank you so much for joining us and for your time. As we saw there, this hearing
was held in a remote location, behind closed doors, with almost no sound broadcast, no journalist allowed in.
It was pretty confusing to know what was going on. And can you clarify for us if any decisions were taken today, and what do you expect to happen
KIRA YARMYSH, PRESS SECRETARY FOR ALEXEI NAVALNY: Hello. Well, the thing is that there was only one decision made today. The judge decided to close
the whole trial, so now it will be impossible to -- for any journalist or for any visitor to enter the colony and to participate in the process. So
now, we will not be able to hear a single word from Alexei even today.
Well, at least, there was some sorts of broadcasts, but since today, there will be none, and we expect the verdict to be announced until the end of
MACFARLANE: The end of Summer. I know that you have personally been in fairly regular contact with him, albeit, not directly, but I think via
letter-writing. This is the first time I think we've seen him today in a few months. Can you tell us about his health, his state of mind at the
YARMYSH: Now, well, his health is not very well. He experiences severe back pain, and his eye vision is much worse because of conditions in his
cell. There is very dark, several very bright lamps as they don't turn off even during the night. He doesn't receive any medical care, and he is
almost -- all the time he's been held in a special punishment cell which is tiny, and it is impossible to properly move there.
But in terms of his spirits, he is still very optimistic, we can say. So, he's very positive, because he believes in what he is doing, and it keeps
him to continue -- makes him to continue.
MACFARLANE: And we saw as well today that his parents had attended in the hope of being in the courtroom, but were denied access. I mean it was
actually quite sad to see his father sitting in the room alongside, cutting quite a lonely figure. Have you spoken to his parents? What is their
emotional state right now?
YARMYSH: Well, Alexei has not been allowed to have family visits for more than a year right now. So, his parents saw him last time in May of last
year, which was 2022. Now, and this was the only chance to see him, but well, prison guards, they didn't let them in the room. They made them sit
in another one, and they have to leave after the whole trial was closed.
Well, of course, his family suffers a lot because of all this, but they support him, and Alexei tells himself many times that it is impossible to
do what he is doing without family support.
MACFARLANE: You mentioned he is still in good spirits. We saw him today post on Twitter, announcing a new project that he referred to as an
electoral campaign against the war and Putin. Can you tell us more about what that entails?
YARMYSH: Well, the idea is to create a huge network of volunteers who would be -- who would be able to communicate with the Russians who remain
in Russia, and try to persuade them that the war is a bad thing even if they're used to believe that there's -- there are some reasons behind it.
Because right now, people don't have access to truthful information in Russia.
And so, the idea of Alexei is to create such system that will allow to communicate with them, and to try to explain to them what is going on in
MACFARLANE: So, do you believe then that Russian opinion in -- Russian opinion of average Russians is turning against the war in Ukraine? You
know, despite the dire -- state television and propaganda within the country. Is that part of the purpose for this?
YARMYSH: Yes, of course, because well, it is almost impossible right now not to see what is actually going on because almost -- almost everyone in
Russia has someone or they know someone who was mobilized during the war or even died during the war. So, I mean, it is difficult to cover the truth.
But still, it is very difficult as well to get actual resources of information. So, this is what we are trying -- what we are hoping to do. We
would like to use school centers, social networks and messengers, and try to persuade the Russians that the war is something that is ruining not only
their neighbor country, but their own country as well.
MACFARLANE: Well, Kira Yarmysh, we appreciate you being on to talk to us today, and I --
YARMYSH: Thank you --
MACFARLANE: Hope we can speak again as this trial continues, as you say over the Summer. Thanks for your time.
YARMYSH: Thank you.
MACFARLANE: Now, still to come tonight, a chilling story off the Canadian coast as a company running deep-sea visits to the wreckage of the Titanic
reports one of its vessels missing. Plus, a CNN Nima Elbagir takes us inside the refugee camp to show us just how dire the situation is for
thousands of people fleeing the violence in Sudan.
MACFARLANE: Authorities are searching for a missing submersible off the coast of New Finland, Canada. What you're seeing on your screen is a vessel
run by OceanGate Expeditions, a company that runs underwater visits to the wreckage of the famed sunken ocean liner, the Titanic. They reported a
vessel just like this one is having gone missing on Sunday.
U.S. Coast Guard says it is bringing all assets to bear in the search for this submersible. Paula Newton is following these developments from Ottawa,
Canada and joins us now. Paula, this is terrifying to think about. It's not clear I think how many people are missing, but we know that there is space
in this submersible for five people. So what more are you learning on this?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you just said, up to five, perhaps, could be on board. We don't have any confirmation of how many are
on board or exactly who they are. But this is who we know. I want you to look at first to situate you on a map. Now, as you said, this is OceanGate
Expeditions, and they run what are essentially -- Christina, they are, in fact, tourism and research expeditions to the site of the Titanic.
And it's about 400, nearly 400 miles, 600 kilometers southeast of St. Johns. That's where the polar prince, which is an old coast guard
icebreaker sets off, and they bring the submersible, this mini submarine with them. So that is up to five people can then go to the depths of the
Titanic. Christina, I want you to think about this.
This is almost 2.5 miles, 13,000 kilometers to the depths of the sea. What's happened here is that the U.S. Coast Guard, the Northeast Division,
confirms that they received word of this some time on Sunday, so we're working on already 24 hours, and they have brought all their assets to
bear. What does that mean?
It means the Canadians as well as the United States, they are search and rescue, both attempting to do this from the air, but also underwater. This
is incredibly complicated, as you can imagine. And I don't want you to get the impression that because we said tourists, that this is an expedition
that goes on every day. Everything has to be perfect for this kind of expedition to even happen, and that includes the weather.
Own weather center says they don't see anything in the weather that would have detailed, which would explain that they would have had a problem.
Crucial here though is the timing. I just said it was about 24 hours since they first learned that this submersible was missing. They have, give or
take, about four days, 96 hours, you know, worth of oxygen down there and provisions to make sure that they can stay safe.
But as I've just outlined, time is of the essence. And for that reason, they have certainly gathered not just all the assets that they can to that
area off the coast of New Finland, but also all the expertise that they can from around the world to make sure they really pull the resources that they
have to know about the expertise in this deep-water rescue.
This is not going to be an easy rescue.
MACFARLANE: Yes, not going to be an easy rescue, as you mentioned, Paula, two and a half miles to the bottom of the ocean, what? Some 12,000 feet.
And as you say, time is of the essence here, 96 hours. I mean, how challenging will it be when they're down there? I mean, I was reading
reports that actually around the Titanic itself, the visuals are not good, so radar may need to be used. So, I mean, even with all assets to bear, how
challenging are the conditions down there?
NEWTON: Incredibly challenging. And it's not -- you know, when you hear, Christina, people explain what it's like to do a search, this is called the
remote deep sea, right? You're talking about corners and crevices, and even underwater. It's not weather, but certainly conditions as you rightfully
say, that can change even underwater depending on what's going on, incredibly complicated, and again, almost two and a half miles down.
That is not to say that they are down there. They could be elsewhere, which is why this incredibly complicated rescue mission is really bringing in
some very high tech assets to bear. And that includes, apparently, we're told from the rescue coronation center in Halifax, a Poseidon, a P-8
Poseidon aircraft. And that can -- really has the radar and the capacity to see underwater from the air.
They are also dropping buoys, right, Christina, to make sure that if they hear anything, that they will be able to pick up on any noises that they
hear underwater. Again, so many people coalescing around this emergency right now and trying to lend the expertise that they have, and of course,
so many people offering best wishes, that these people are found safely and soon.
MACFARLANE: Yes, thoughts are with the crew members and families for sure. Paula, really appreciate you giving us the latest on what you know. Thank
you. Now, Pakistan is observing a day of mourning for those killed in a migrant boat sinking off Greece. The Pakistani government says it believes
more than 300 of its citizens died in the disaster last week.
And authorities in Pakistan say they have began a clampdown on human trafficking networks. More than 750 people were on board in overcrowded
boats. Greece says the remains of at least 80 people have been recovered. The nine Egyptian nationals arrested for the tragedy were in court today
where they were granted 24 hours to reappear.
The men face charges including people smuggling, manslaughter, forming a criminal organization and causing a shipwreck. They pleaded not guilty. A
72-hour ceasefire now -- is now in effect in Sudan following intense fighting between rival factions. The latest truce comes as the United
Nations hosted a conference in Geneva today to raise more funds to support refugee relief efforts.
Almost 2.5 million people have been displaced as fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces enters its third
month. The U.N. says about $3 billion is needed this year to help ease the humanitarian crisis. U.N. Secretary General is asking countries to step up
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: Before this conflict erupted, Sudan was already grappling with a humanitarian crisis. And this
has now escalated into a catastrophe affecting more than half the country's people. Deadly violence against aid workers and the looting of humanitarian
properties and supplies have made aid operations even more difficult and dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Tens of thousands of Sudanese are fleeing to South Sudan, a country already stretched for resources. CNN's Nima Elbagir shows us
conditions in refugee camps are dire.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is Africa's largest refugee crisis. And you can see the
conditions here for yourself. The people here are being largely ignored by the world. Aid agencies are doing what they can, but it is simply not
South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world. They barely have enough to feed and shelter their own returnees. And they're also being
asked now to absorb fleeing Sudanese and other foreign nationals with limited support from the outside world. And it is almost impossible.
With rainy seasons starting, what you see here is only going to get worse. So many of those speaking to us say that they feel a sense of humiliation,
that the message that they're receiving from the world from the international community is that they are not worthy of support. And until
aid arrives here in meaningful quantities, it's hard to argue with that. Nima Elbagir, CNN, Renk, South Sudan.
MACFARLANE: All right, still to come tonight, a deadly raid in the occupied West Bank. An Israeli helicopter opened fire, something that
hasn't happened in years.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back. Now to a raid in the West Bank that turned into a massive firefight hours ago. Israeli troops went into Jenin, a flashpoint
town. They came under heavy fire, and were then backed by an attack helicopter. It's rare for Israeli helicopters to open fire while evacuating
wounded troops like this. Palestinian officials say five Palestinians were killed and more than 90 injured in an operation that lasted about 11 hours.
Our Hadas Gold is live for us in Jerusalem tonight. Hadas, just walk us through how all of this unfolded and who the IDF say they were originally
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christina, I definitely don't think the IDF intended for this to turn out into the day that it did.
It started out with a very early morning arrest rate that involves some undercover specialized forces trying to go in to arrest two wanted suspects
in Jenin, which, as you noted, has been a hotspot, especially over the last year and a half, two years, not only for militant groups, new militant
groups, but also for regular Israeli military raids.
But what happened today was interesting not only because of just how long it dragged out, but also because of the tactics we saw being used both by
the militants and by the Israeli military. I'm going to start with what the militants were using. And that specifically was the use of an IED roadside
bomb that was so powerful that it managed to blast off part of the underside of a panther command armored vehicle. And I think that's what
we're showing right now. You can actually see that blast take place. It seems like there's something on the road as the vehicle start driving by.
We know that some of the seven injured Israeli soldiers were in that vehicle, at least five other Israeli army vehicles were rendered inoperable
as a result of gunfire and other things, explosives thrown at them during this operation. And in fact, some Israeli soldiers were waiting for
extraction in Jenin, for several of gunfire and other things explosives thrown at them during this operation.
And in fact, some Israeli soldiers were waiting for extraction in Jenin for several hours. And that's part of why this operation ended up lasting 11
hours as long as it did.
Now, while they were trying to extract soldiers, that's when the Israeli military used something that we haven't seen since the days of the Second
Intifada, since the early 2000's, and that's the use of an Apache helicopter firing to provide cover while they're trying to get these
Israeli soldiers out.
Now the Israeli military say that this helicopter fired towards open area just to try to get cover, and we haven't heard specifically of injuries as
results of this helicopter fire. But this is something, again, that we have not seen scenes like this of a military helicopter firing over what is a
very crowded and dense urban area. This isn't some middle of nowhere places. This is a very crowded density in the city of Jenin. To see a
helicopter like this firing, that's something that has not been seen in years.
Now five Palestinians were killed, more than 90 were injured. We have the seven Israeli soldiers injured as well. Of the five Palestinians killed,
three have been claimed by the Islamic Jihad militant group as their fighters. But we know that among those killed was a 15-year-old, among the
injured is also a girl who was critically injured, as well as a freelancer photojournalist who was covering the raid when he was injured as well,
MACFARLANE: Yes. With these new tactics, as you say, Hadas, another worrying escalation clearly her in tensions. Hadas Gold there live from
Jerusalem. Thank you.
Americans are marking a national holiday today, Juneteenth. Back in 19 -- no, 1865, June 19th was the day that emancipation came to enslaved African
Americans in the U.S. state of Texas. It's long been an important day in the country's history. But it only recently became a federal holiday just
two years ago. A historic slave trading port in South Carolina is about to become a Museum and Research Center. It offers resources that will allow
people to trace back their ancestry. CNN's Victor Blackwell followed his lineage back to slavery. And what he found brought him to tears.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Very few moments in my career have ever brought me to this.
BLACKWELL: This is -- oh, man.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): It happened at the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, which opens this month. Six centuries
of history packed into 150,000 square feet at the historic Gadsden's Wharf.
TONYA MATTHEWS, CEO & PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: Above 40 percent of all enslaved Africans would have come in through
Gadsden's Wharf. We've been referred to as the Ground Zero of importation of enslaved people into the United States.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Dr. Tonya Matthews is the museum's president and CEO.
BLACKWELL: Space of solemnity, or celebration.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I refuse to choose.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Tribal art and contemporary fashion, relics of protest and reports of resistance.
MATTHEWS: It's this infusion of trauma and joy constantly that we'd like to talk about here. You get the full story, but you're going to get all the
context in it.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): What arguably is the best illustration of full context is the Museum Center for Family history. It's a team of researchers
with access to millions of records that can trace African American lineage, sometimes back to a slave ship that came into this very poor. The expert
genealogist here spent months tracing my lineage and this was the day of the long awaited reveal.
SHELLEY MURPHY, GENEALOGIST, INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM: Make sure you got a box of Kleenex by you, and sit there and enjoy.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): That's the museum's top genealogist, Dr. Shelley Murphy, on the laptop. She's joining us from the University of Virginia.
MURPHY: This is a tree, just a snapshot of your tree, and I'm following your maternal line.
BLACKWELL: Wow. That's a lot to seeing the tree.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): You see that box? Well, that represent David Veney, my great grandfather's great grandfather. He lived in coastal Richmond
County, Virginia on a farm with his wife Judy and their 18 children. And in 1871, he filed this claim to be reimbursed for livestock and supplies
requisition by Union troops during the Civil War.
MURPHY: Another thing that is significant is that he owned the land that he's on, and it was 23 acres.
BLACKWELL: Where did a man in the 1870s, so soon after the end of slavery, get the money to buy 23 acres?
MURPHY: Absolutely. And the thing of it is, I wouldn't even question he said he was freeborn.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Well, for some answers, we have to go back more than 300 years to my great, great, great, great, great, great, great,
great, great, great grandmother, Mary. She arrived on a ship in Northumberland County, Virginia in 1712, before America was America.
Her granddaughter, my eight times great grandmother, Bess, was with her. That's according to this centuries-old deposition that Dr. Murphy's team
uncovered. Why a deposition? We'll learn that a little later.
MURPHY: And Bess, at the time, was about 13 years old. Witnesses apparently said they looked like they were Indians.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Researchers believe that Mary and Bess were actually Mattaponi like these people of that region of Virginia called the
MURPHY: We're not sure where they came from. But Thomas Smith of Richmond County did enslave one of Bess's children. And that was Sarah.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): And it's Sarah, my seven times great grandmother, who changes the trajectory of her children and all her descendants who
MURPHY: There was a law back in 1705 that declared that all children that are enslaved or free, their condition would be based on whatever their
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Remember, Sarah and Bess arrived free people.
MURPHY: So Sarah has a lawsuit that's filed saying we're free.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): This is the actual lawsuit filed by Sarah suing for her freedom and for the freedom of her descendants. And that deposition, it
was from a witness who saw Mary and Bess arrive decades earlier.
MURPHY: So in 1791, the court agreed with Sarah and her children and grandchildren, and all of those relatives, who were descendants of Mary and
Bess are going to be free.
BLACKWELL: That my ancestors filed and sued for their freedom. It is remarkable.
MURPHY: We're not done.
BLACKWELL: We're not done. We're not done. OK. We're not done. Let me get a Kleenex, doctor.
MURPHY: I told you to have a box there.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): But not all of Sarah's family was free. Before the court's decision, Sarah's enslavers illegally sold her daughter, Rachel,
and then Rachel was sold again. And for the next 20 years, unaware of the court's ruling, Rachel and her children remained in bondage. When she
learned of the decision in 1807, more than a quarter century after her mother's groundbreaking lawsuit for freedom, Rachel filed this lawsuit
against her enslaver, claiming that she was the daughter of a free woman, and therefore, she and her children should also be free.
MURPHY: And guess what? The witnesses and things all came through, and they were awarded their freedom. So what do you think?
BLACKWELL: This is -- oh, man. To be an enslaved woman suing your slave master, to do it twice in one bloodline, is remarkable.
MURPHY: And Virginia. Your line started out enslaved and became free to up until where you're at right now.
BLACKWELL: It became free because those women fought for it.
MURPHY: Of these women. I'm going to tell you what, Victor, the women in your family is unbelievable.
BLACKWELL: Hmm. It fills in a lot of gray, a lot of blank space. There was nothing there. There was an assumption. Now there are names, relatives, and
places and stories. It certainly fills in more of the story of my family's place in this country.
MACFARLANE: What an amazing story. And CNN will be honoring black culture today with Juneteenth, a Global Celebration For Freedom with a special
appearance by Vice President Kamala Harris. Our special coverage starts Monday 7:00 p.m. in New York, midnight here in London, and Tuesday 7:00
a.m. in Hong Kong, right here on CNN. We'll be back after this short break.
MACFARLANE: Hundreds of bodies have been found in a Kenyan forest as part of an investigation into a religious cult that pushed its members to starve
themselves in exchange for salvation. According to court documents, the cult's leader encouraged members to, "Neglect the children to starve and
CNN's David McKenzie spoke with families affected by the group's practices. And we warn you, his report contains disturbing material and may be hard to
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He called it the wilderness, luring his flock to a remote corner of Kenya. We've come to try
and understand how, over many months, so many could die.
In the Shakahola forest, the dead are still being found. Forensic teams carefully remove the remains of members of a Christian death cult from
shallow graves. They have already unearthed more than 300 people, many of them children, many showing signs of starvation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS WANJE, FATHER OF CULT MEMBER: It's painful. It was so painful. This is my daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Francis Wanje says his daughter and son-in-law both abandoned good jobs and took their children to the forest cult. What
happened next is hard to comprehend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANJE: Everyone should die and meet Jesus and they have to start with the children.
MCKENZIE: The members of the cult, including your own family, they were starving the children.
MCKENZIE: And then when the children didn't die quickly enough --
WANJE: They suffocate them.
MCKENZIE: They suffocate them
WANJE: They suffocate them, yes.
MCKENZIE: And this is your own blood.
WANJE: And I wonder where my children or my child, my daughter could change to be such an animal, a wild animal, to kill her own children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Pastor Paul Mackenzie began his cult in Malindi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: This is the church where Pastor Mackenzie had a huge following in his sermons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE (voice-over): He amplified his message online. He preached a doomsday prophecy for at least a decade, calling on the faithful to reject
modern society, pull children from school, avoid hospitals. He demanded total devotion.
"You must deny yourself, you must reject yourself, you must reach a point of ending your life," he says, "for the sake of Jesus."
His anti-government stance got him arrested and detained, but never prosecuted. In 2019, the church was closed down. Later, the pastor started
his forest community.
We found a former cult member in Malindi. We agreed to hide her identity for her own safety. She escaped the forest last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Why did you move your whole home and all your children and move into the forest?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE (voice-over): "The pastor used to call me," she says. He was calling me, telling me, "My daughter, you are being left behind. And when
the ark is closed, it will be too late." So, I decided to go.
When the COVID pandemic hit, she says many saw it as evidence that the prophecies were real.
Mackenzie charged her family $80 for a piece of land in Galilee. There were seven other biblically named settlements in Shakahola with more than a
thousand followers, she says. Still, cult members made regular trips to a nearby village for food and water. "In December, those trips suddenly
stopped," says this village elder.
The starvation had begun. He says they alerted authorities, but they did nothing, even after hungry children started escaping to the village.
What's been called the Shakahola Massacre has shocked this nation. Pastor Mackenzie and his closest followers are being held under terror laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: What happened in the forest with your followers?
PAUL NTHENGE MACKENZIE, CULT LEADER: I can tell nothing about that because I've been in custody for two months. So, I don't know what is going on
outside there. Have you been there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Francis Wanje says there needs to be justice. He mounted a rescue mission to get his grandchildren out. When they found his
grandson Efrem, he was close to starvation. His two brothers were already dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANJE: He went through hell. He went through hell, I'm telling you. In fact, when he was rescued, he told them that if you could come here maybe
late -- a bit late, you would have already found me and already gone to see Jesus because the grave is there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE (voice-over): The very highest levels of the Kenyan government have apologized for their inaction and the pain it has caused.
The scale of what happened in the forest is still being understood. Hundreds are still missing and many more mass graves need to be exhumed.
David McKenzie, CNN. Malindi, Kenya.
MACFARLANE: Welcome back. It was high emotions on the final day of the PGA 2023 U.S. Open Championship, call it a final hole drama as a 29-year-old
Wyndham Clark edged out golf superstar Rory McIlroy to claim the top prize, a $3.6 million winner's cut out of a record $20 million prize purse, the
largest ever awarded in major history.
This is what Clark had to say about his first major title.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYNDHAM CLARK, 2023 U.S. OPEN WINNER: I've always thought of myself as a star and I always dreamt of being one. To finally get to the point where I
feel like I'm at their level is, you know, is a dream come true. And I'm hoping this is a start of a run of a bunch of great wins and, you know,
obviously launch me into my career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACFARLANE: Clark dedicated his win to his mother who he lost to breast cancer in 2013.
Now finally tonight, a big bear with a big problem. This fellow was captured on video trying to figure out how to escape from an upper storey
window of a house in Colorado. Now you can see the bear hanging here by its claws from a windowsill, deciding even some way anyway, it can make it down
safely. It even considers the roof before heading back inside there.
The bear tried to climb out multiple times before rethinking the escape route and obviously came up with a good solution. It finally escaped
through another window on to ground level. Unbearable. Good for it. Glad it didn't drop out the window. That would have been awful.
Thanks so much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. We have QUEST MEANS BUSINESS coming up next.