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At Least 5 Dead as SUV Plows into Christmas Parade; 2 FOX Contributors Quit Over Carlson's January 6th Propaganda; Soon: Closing Arguments in Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 22, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.
Breaking overnight, at least five dead in a Wisconsin Christmas parade after an SUV plows through the crowd. This morning, new information, with a person of interest in custody.
Two FOX News personalities say they've had enough. The moment that drove them to quit.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And the jury in the trial of the three men charged in Ahmaud Arbery's death to hear closing arguments this morning. We are live in Georgia with the latest on that.
And a wild fight broke out on the basketball court between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. And the drama left one NBA star's face bloody and bruised.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
Good morning to our viewers here in the U.S. And around the world. It is Monday, November 22. And we are beginning with breaking news this morning.
Another community left reeling from yet another senseless act of violence coming just days before the Thanksgiving holiday.
On Sunday in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a day that was supposed to be a day of celebration, it turned into a deadly nightmare. Five are dead. There's more than 40 people who are injured because of an SUV plowing through police barricades into a crowded Christmas parade.
A Catholic priest and at least a dozen children were among those injured. Lawn chairs, hot chocolate, shoes spilled all over the streets.
Police, we have learned, have a person of interest in custody, but they are not saying if it's the driver of the SUV.
BERMAN: This morning, White House officials say they are closely monitoring the situation. President Biden has been briefed. We are getting fresh witness accounts of the moments of chaos and tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELITO TENORIO, WITNESS: It is truly horrifying and shocking and very saddening and upsetting. Parents were -- were running around the area looking for their kids, looking for their families, looking for their friends. People quickly trying to get out of the area, trying to get to safety.
CARSON, WITNESS: I saw, I mean, three people right in front of me get hit. And I saw people on the ground. There was blood. It was really bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This morning police say it is a very fluid investigation. We expect formal updates in the coming hours. CNN's Natasha Chen, live on the ground in Waukesha. Why don't you bring us up to speed with the latest, Natasha?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, this morning police are working on investigating why this happened. They still have a lot of the downtown historic court closed off this morning as they investigate.
We are over by Main Street where the parade route was. We're standing about three blocks west of where the red SUV initially hit the first group of people.
We can see police markings on the ground, people's belongings still strewn across the street.
I'm going to show you some video that happened, but just a warning to our viewers that this can be very disturbing to watch.
CHEN (voice-over): A Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, turned deadly after an SUV plowed into the crowd Sunday afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a car going westbound pushing the parade route. A red escape.
CHEN: Watched from another angle, as the red vehicle speeds down the street barely missing a child wearing a pink coat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were a lot of screams, and we all thought maybe it was Santa. But it was a red SUV, and it hit a lot of people.
CHEN: This disturbing video shows the incident from above and the chaos after the car sped into the parade route, mowing down performers and onlookers.
CARSON: I saw maybe three people right in front of me get hit. I saw people right away run to the people that were hit and start doing CPR. And I saw people on the ground. There's blood. It was really bad.
CHEN: Angela O'Boyle tells me she just started watching the parade when she filmed this video from her apartment balcony.
ANGELA O'BOYLE, WITNESS: The next thing I heard was screams and turned my head and saw the car come and plot into the band that was just past my balcony at that point. It hit at least two people right away, rolled over both of them, and then continued down the road.
CHEN: In the city's livestream, you can see a marching band playing. The red SUV then barrels down the street. Moments later, the video shows a police officer chasing after the vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have multiple casualties. We got about 10 to 15 people down in the street.
CHEN: According to the city of Waukesha, at least five people are dead and over 40 injured.
CHIEF DAN THOMPSON, WAUKESHA POLICE: The vehicle struck more than 20 individuals. Some of the individuals were children, and there are some fatalities as a result of this incident.
CHEN: At least 28 of those hurt were treated at local area hospitals.
CHIEF STEVE HOWARD, WAUKESHA FIRE DEPARTMENT: We do not have any specifics on the -- on the injuries at -- at this time. All the patients were transported.
CHEN: Authorities are investigating the event this morning.
THOMPSON: We're no longer looking for a suspect vehicle. We do have a person of interest in custody at the moment. But this is still a very fluid investigation.
CHEN: The FBI is aware of the incident, and President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation.
Meanwhile, in Waukesha, the community is stunned and shaken by the celebration turned into a tragedy.
MAYOR SHAWN REILLY, WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN: I'm deeply saddened to know so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.
CHEN: The -- the mayor of Waukesha was at this parade and told us just how stunned and shocked and in pain he was to see this celebratory moment turn so tragic.
In talking to one of the witnesses who saw this, the thing that sticks with me is that -- how she heard the parents yelling out their children's names to see if they were OK.
This is a community that is in a lot of pain right now and still in a lot of shock, as I mentioned. Still waiting for answers on why this happened, John.
BERMAN: Natasha Chen, you've been there reporting all night, listening to people. I know schools are closed in Waukesha today, which only highlights the concern that many of the victims might be quite young.
Natasha Chen on the ground for us, thank you.
KEILAR Joining us now to discuss this is former FBI Deputy assistant director Peter Strzok. This is so horrific and senseless. What are -- what is law enforcement doing right now?
PETER STRZOK, FORMER FBI DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, it truly is terrible. And my heart goes out to the Waukesha community, because something like this, especially around the holidays, is very, very hard.
But you're faced with a lot from a law enforcement perspective. This is a very large crime scene. There are a lot of individuals who are on the ground who are injured. There are people and bystanders who are taking photographs, who are taking video. So all that evidence needs to be collected.
And let's not forget, too, the person of interest that's in custody, the authorities haven't indicated whether or not he's cooperating or talking to law enforcement. But certainly, another avenue that they're going to be looking at is what motivated this person? Did he act alone? Is, in fact, this person the one who's responsible?
So law enforcement has a lot on their plate right now. And I'm sure they'll be working throughout to try and get to answers about just what was behind this event.
KEILAR: I think one of the things is there is already a lot of video footage that we've seen, right, from cell phones and from stationary cameras. Are you expecting a lot more of that?
STRZOK: I think it's reasonable to expect there is. Again, keep in mind that this was a parade. So people come out to watch. People come out to photograph and to video what's going on. So every one of those people who are present potentially have evidence that would be of a great deal of assistance to law enforcement. And I'm sure that they're in the process of collecting that and will -- will be faced in the days ahead with a lot of information to go through.
KEILAR So the FBI is aware. What does that mean? That they have not been called in there, maybe to assist on the ground.
STRZOK: Well, certainly, they issued a statement that they were aware of it and that local and state authorities were leading the investigation.
What that tells me at this point is that the -- the crimes that are, you know, potentially facing law enforcement at this point are not of a national scope.
Now, again, I'd caution you and your listeners this is very early on. And a lot is not yet known, so we shouldn't rush to conclusions. But at least at this point the fact that state and local authorities are the ones in charge lead me to believe this is not an act of -- at this point, seen as an act of terrorism.
KEILAR: Have you ever seen something like this?
STRZOK: Not like this. I mean, this is absolutely tragic. To see so many people. To see so many young youth and non-adults who were injured at the same time, particularly in the context of a Christmas celebration that was not held last year because of COVID is just heartbreaking. And again, my heart and prayers go out to the -- to the Waukesha community.
KEILAR: Yes. So this is a parade in Waukesha. But we're going to be seeing parades and Christmas celebrations all over the country, right? New Year's celebrations, as well.
What are the lessons that need to be taken away from here when it comes to security, if anything? Obviously, this is rare. But what do folks need to be focused on when it comes to security?
STRZOK: Well, I think large public gatherings have historically been a place of great emphasis from a law enforcement and security perspective, certainly with Thanksgiving Day parades, New Year's celebrations. This is something that law enforcement has keyed in on.
Obviously, there's a great deal of tension right now in the nation and the concern about violence coming out of, you know, anything from recent events and, you know, the trial in Kenosha and Rittenhouse and others.
But I think there's a sense that, you know, if anything, to look at this, to try and take politics out of this event, to look at our shared humanity and understand that, you know, this is something, potentially, where we can come together as a nation rather than something that will further take -- take us apart.
KEILAR: As they're looking at a person of interest, what makes that -- what makes it a person of interest and not them saying, look, this is the suspect?
STRZOK: Well, law enforcement needs to build a case. They need to gather evidence. They need to make sure that they have the facts that they need. They don't want to prejudice any potential jury pool or adversely impact any charges.
I would expect law enforcement is moving very quickly to gather up evidence and then to work with prosecutors. And if merited, if this person is, in fact, somebody that they'd seek to charge, that you would see criminal charges coming in the days ahead.
KEILAR: Peter, thank you so much for sort of taking us inside what they're doing right now. Really appreciate it. Peter Strzok.
Coming up, two FOX News contributors, they just quit unexpectedly. Why they said it was Tucker Carlson's series on January 6 that finally pushed them over the edge.
And the jury in the Ahmaud Arbery death trial will be hearing closing arguments this morning. We are live in Georgia with the latest.
BERMAN: And LeBron James draws blood, literally. Ejected for just the second time in his career. The brawl, the backlash, and questions about whether he was out of line.
BERMAN: Developing overnight, two longtime FOX News contributors have quit in protest over Tucker Carlson trying to rewrite history in his so-called documentary on the January 6th insurrection.
Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg write, quote, "The special is presented in the style of an expose, a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism. In reality, it is a collection of incoherent conspiracy- mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracy, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions. The release of Patriot Purge" -- that's the name of the special -- "wasn't an isolated incident. It was merely the most egregious example of a longstanding trend. With the release of Patriot Purge, we felt we could no longer 'do right as we see it' and remain at FOX News."
Joining me now, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. These are big reservations.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BERMAN: I know they're not major stars at FOX, but it's making a statement.
STELTER: Yes. This very, very rarely happens anywhere in cable news, to see two long-time commentators walk out because they just couldn't take it anymore.
And one of the reasons why they're not bigger stars, John, is because they have been kind of constrained within the FOX News orbit. Ten years ago, Steve Hayes, Jonah Goldberg, they were on FOX all the time. They were very significant players in the conservative commentary world.
But they have been squeezed out. They've been sidelined in the Trump years, because they are not sufficiently Trump loyal. They are sharp critics of the narcissistic direction the GOP has taken and the control that Trump has over the party.
So as a result, they decided they couldn't take it anymore, Tucker being the last straw. And this says a lot, both about Tucker Carlson and his power at FOX and about the fact that there are people inside the GOP media who just can't stand it.
BERMAN: I want to read a quote that Jonah gave Ben Smith of "The New York Times." And I guess Ben broke this story? STELTER: Yes.
BERMAN: Yesterday, overnight. Let me read you a quote from Jonah. Suggesting that he and Steve Hayes thought that maybe FOX would be changing --
BERMAN: -- after the election. Listen to this.
They say they "stayed at FOX News as long as they did because of a sense from conversations at FOX that, after Mr. Trump's defeat, the network would try to recover some of its independence and" -- as he put it -- "right the ship."
STELTER: I heard this from sources at FOX, as well, right after Trump lost. That, OK, maybe the fever has now broken. This is a version of the conversation you're having about the Republican Party and politicians in Washington.
You know, will they break with the loser who failed to gain a second term? Well, the answer has been no. The answer had been FOX has continued to slavishly promote Trump and also, even more importantly, double down on incendiary, radicalized rhetoric.
There's a reason why Tucker Carlson is the highest rated host. There's a reason why he is putting out this 1/6 denialism, putting out this Patriot Purge documentary, which really isn't a documentary at all, where he comes out and suggests a new war on terror, trying to hurt half the country.
That radicalized poison is now what FOX stands for. And I think essentially, what Goldberg and Hayes are saying is, We were hoping that this place might come back to normal, go back to a more moderate place. It's not happening. Every sign is that FOX is choosing its lane, and its lane is more radical. Its lane is over Marjorie Taylor Greene and Louis Gohmert's side and Lauren Boebert's side, and not on this more moderate, back to politics sort of lane. You know what I'm saying?
BERMAN: Explain to me Rupert Murdoch and what he said that he felt FOX should be doing and why it's not doing that.
STELTER: Right. Well, just a few days ago, Murdoch comes out and says President Trump, the past is the past. In order to have a constructive debate about the future and have conservatives leading the way, we need to let the past go and focus on the future.
And yet over the weekend, Trump calling into the Laura Ingraham show, saying the election was rigged. And he's on Sean Hannity's show tonight, and he'll probably say the same thing.
The idea that anyone could expect Donald Trump to move on and let the past go is laughable. But I think Murdoch, in his gentle way, is jabbing the former president again. But Murdoch's jabs often seem unconnected -- disconnected from what's actually airing on FOX News. If Rupert Murdoch really cared about this, he would have made sure Steven Hayes and Jonah Goldberg stayed on the payroll and didn't resign last night.
BERMAN: Maybe Rupert Murdoch knows somebody within FOX who can help get his views heard.
STELTER: That's the problem. That's the problem.
BERMAN: Finally, Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, is this the beginning of something, or is this the end of something?
STELTER: There are others inside FOX who have the same concerns, who share the same fears about Tucker Carlson, who recognize the danger that exists from this radicalized FOX News. But it's very rare to see anybody resign.
I mean, they're giving up -- These guys are giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts by resigning suddenly. I would be surprised to see others making this move. But it doesn't mean there's not others who know it's the right move.
BERMAN: Brian Stelter, appreciate you getting up this morning. Thank you.
BERMAN: So just a few hours from now, closing arguments in the trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. What is the decisive evidence that could sway the jury?
KEILAR: Plus, the Chinese tennis star who went missing suddenly reappears. What she told officials in a new video call and why it's only raising more questions about her well-being.
KEILAR: Today is going to be a very busy day with multiple high- profile trials under way in America right now. Here in just a few hours, closing arguments will be heard in Brunswick, Georgia, in the trial for three white men charged in the fatal shooting of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.
In Virginia, the jury begins the second day of deliberations in the civil case that involves white nationalists who organized that two-day unite the right rally in Charlottesville back in 2017.
That, you may recall, is when a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one of them and injuring others.
BERMAN: The not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial triggered demonstrations in several U.S. cities. The 18-year-old was acquitted Friday in the fatal shooting of two men and injuring a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In California, Elizabeth Holmes is expected to be back on the witness
stand in her federal fraud trial. The founder of the company Theranos is facing allegations that she knowingly misled investors, doctors, and patients about her company's blood testing capabilities in order to take their money.
KEILAR: Let's go now to CNN's Ryan Young. He is covering the Ahmaud Arbery case in Brunswick, Georgia. Ryan, can you tell us what we're expecting today?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Brianna.
We think that the closing statements will start today. And of course, the jury could get this either today, or it's early tomorrow morning. When you think about this case and how it's wrapped around race, there are so many people who are holding their breath for the end of this week.
YOUNG (voice-over): It has been two weeks of testimony.
TREVOR MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: I'd just killed a man. I had blood on me still. It was the most traumatic event of my life.
YOUNG: And two weeks filled with controversy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which pastor is next? Is Raphael Warnock going to make -- be the next person appearing this afternoon?
KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But also show solidary with victim Ahmaud Arbery's family.
And multiple calls for a mistrial from defense attorney Kevin Gough because of high-profile people in the public gallery and gatherings outside the courtroom.
GOUGH: This is what a mock dominated (ph) trial looks like in the 21st Century. And we're asking for the mistrial.
YOUNG: All three denied. But today might be the last chance for either side to sway the jury in the state trial of three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.
The man who fatally shot Arbery was one of the last taking the stand.
LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LED PROSECUTOR: Didn't brandish any weapons?
MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.
DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any guns?
MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.
DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any knife?
MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.
DUNIKOSKI: Never reached for anything, did he?
DUNIKOSKI: He just ran?
MCMICHAEL: Yes, he was just running.
YOUNG: That runner was Ahmaud Arbery, seen running on this disturbing video in February 23, 2020, near Brunswick in Georgia.
DUNIKOSKI: So you're telling this jury that a man who has spent five minutes running away from you, you're now thinking is somehow going to want to continue to engage with you, someone with a shotgun, and your father, a man who has just said, "Stop or I'll blow your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) head off," by trying to get in their truck?
MCMICHAEL: That's what it shows. Yes, ma'am.
YOUNG: The defense team has argued their clients, Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan Jr., were trying to make a citizen's arrest and pointing out the neighbors' concerns about the perceived crime in the area.
The prosecution has, however, reminded the court over and over again what the defendants told police after the shooting.
DUNIKOSKI: During your statement to the police, did you say that you and your father were trying to arrest Mr. Arbery? Did you?
MCMICHAEL: In the statement?
DUNIKOSKI: Yes, to the police.
MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.
YOUNG: Prosecutors also pushed back against claims of self-defense.
DUNIKOSKI: And you were right there, and you just pulled that trigger immediately?
MCMICHAEL: No. I was struck. And he was -- we were face-to-face and being struck, and that's when I shot.
So I came up, I think is when we were hit. He started striking. He was on me. He had a shirt, or you know tugging on my shirt. I had the gun. And I was too close to draw on him.
DUNIKOSKI: So you're saying that all of that took place. He's got your shirt. He's striking you. You've got the gun up in this thing, and you can't draw down on him. And it's just -- it's a struggle, and he's on you and you're going back and forth in front of the truck. Is that what you're saying? MCMICHAEL: Yes.
YOUNG: The racial implications of three white men charged with murdering a black man have not going unnoticed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lift your hand as high has you can.
YOUNG: Thursday there was a prayer vigil outside the court, and that day, Arbery's mother expressing hope.
WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: And now we're here, and I'm very confident that we will get a guilty verdict. Very confident.
YOUNG: Inside the court, the defense lawyer voiced his frustrations.
GOUGH: This is not 1915. This is not 1923. There are not thousands of people outside with pitchforks and baseball bats.
This is what a public lynching looks like in the 21st century, with all due respect.
YOUNG: Judge Timothy Walmsley calling Gough out for continuing to make inflammatory statements in court.
JUDGE TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, PRESIDING OVER AHMAUD ARBERY MURDER TRIAL: I will say that is directly in response, Mr. Gough, to statements you made, which I find reprehensible.
YOUNG: Brianna, when you think about the racial history in this country when it comes to lynching, the fact that Kevin Gough would mention that in court really caught some people by surprise.
Of course, he's been making statement after statement.
Also want to tell you we can already see a level of security that has sort of been raised in the area, especially around the courthouse, with extra deputies that are here.
Let's not forget, this all starts this morning. Again, it will be interesting to see how this plays out for the rest of the week -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And Ryan, just to be clear, is the jury hearing that kind of thing, when you have Gough talking about that?
YOUNG: No. He hasn't -- they haven't heard any of that. This has all been happening with the jury outside in the -- outside of the court.
KEILAR: All right. Ryan Young live for us in Brunswick, Georgia. Thank you.