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The Situation Room
Trump Lashes Out At Unfair Special Counsel Appointment; Republicans Call For Hunter Biden Special Counsel After DOJ Move On Trump; Deadly Snowstorm Pummeling Buffalo, Four To Five Feet Expected; Kim Jong Un's Daughter Makes First Confirmed Public Appearance; Ukrainian Ambassador: Russia To Blame For What Happened In Poland; Police: No Suspect In Idaho Killings, Public Must "Stay Vigilant". Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 18, 2022 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Trump now is saying he'll make a statement later tonight. This hour, I'll discuss all of this and more with a key member of the January 6th select committee.
Also tonight, Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives her blessing to a new younger generation of House Democratic leaders after her decision to step aside. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries now likely to run for the top job unopposed.
And we're tracking a deadly and potentially historic storm pummeling Western New York right now, four feet of snow already on the ground paralyzing the Buffalo area with more expected to fall this weekend.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
First up this hour, the special counsel appointment shaking up the Trump investigations and new reaction coming in from the former president. CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid has our report of the bombshell announcement by the attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Justice Department officials had hoped that appointing a special counsel would help insulate the department from claims that these Trump investigations are politically motivated. That's, of course, something that will become even more important as the 2024 presidential cycle gets underway. And today's appointment of this little-known former Justice Department Official Jack Smith suggests these investigations are far from over.
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: In certain extraordinary cases, it is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution. REID (voice over): Attorney General Merrick Garland naming former Justice Department Official Jack Smith to independently head up two major criminal investigations focused on former President Donald Trump. The move coming just days after Trump announced his third run for president, underscoring the legal jeopardy the former president faces as CNN has learned prosecutors recently sent out a fresh round of subpoenas in both probes.
GARLAND: Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.
REID: Jack Smith has previously served in multiple roles at the Justice Department. And since 2018, he has been the chief prosecutor for the special court of the Hague investigating war crimes in Kosovo. He will now oversee the criminal investigation into whether Trump mishandled national secrets after the FBI seized thousands of documents from his Mar-a-Lago residence in August, including some marked classified that were taken from the White House.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They should give me immediately back everything they've taken from me because it's mine, it's mine.
REID: The special counsel will also now oversee aspects of the investigation into the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, and what Trump's role may have been leading up to that day.
TRUMP: And we're going to the Capitol.
REID (on camera): This move also protects Garland from having to deal with congressional oversight of these probes, especially from the new Republican-controlled House. Because aside from their budget, a special counsel does not need to share details of their work with lawmakers until the end of their investigation, and even that is subject to the discretion of the attorney general. Wolf?
BLITZER: Paula Reid reporting for us, thank you very much.
The former president, Donald Trump, is lashing out bitterly at the special counsel appointment and we're now expecting him to deliver a statement from Mar-a-Lago down in Florida later this evening.
For more on that, I want to bring in the co-Anchor of CNN This Morning, Kaitlan Collins is joining us. So, Kaitlan, what can we expect to hear from Donald Trump?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Wolf, it still remains to be seen what this statement is exactly going to look like. We know the former president is at Mar-a-Lago, at his club. He is not happy, obviously, with the appointment of the special counsel by the Justice Department, something that, as Paula noted there, the attorney general said he did primarily because of Trump's announcement on Tuesday night that he is going to be a candidate for president in 2024, saying there was a conflict there obviously given. Biden has stated his own interest in potentially running in 2024. And so I would expect the former president to be critical of this.
He has been essentially bracing for this knowing that this was a possibility that was out there. There had been some reporting that the Justice Department was considering appointing a special counsel. He's basically been likening it to Robert Mueller, of course, the special counsel who oversaw the investigation into Russia, and their efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
And so, really, Wolf, I would expect the president to be heavily critical of the special counsel. But his own legal team had essentially been dreading this prospect because what they believe a special counsel does is they are going to have a really big budget, and it is potentially going to extend the timeline and the lifespan of these two investigations. One into the documents when it came to what the former president took with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office, and then the other one that is into these aspects of the January 6th investigation.
And the legal team that Trump has was fully aware that once he announced he was running for office, that this was something that the Justice Department was likely to do, a potential next step. So, there could be no conflicts of interest.
And so I would expect him to be heavily critical of it. Of course, you saw him on Tuesday night liken himself to a victim, saying that he's a victim of the Justice Department. So, expect to hear some of that language as well. But I think it's a real concern for Trump's legal team because this is going to be -- it's not going to have the same kind of time span that a Justice Department probe would typically have. It's got this special counsel now on it. And so it takes on essentially a different life of its own. And they are deeply concerned about what exactly that could look like, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Kaitlan, stay with us. I'm going to get back to you shortly. I also want to bring in some of our legal and political experts for more analysis on this as well. So, Elliot Williams, you're our legal analyst was. This the right decision by the attorney general of the United States?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, Wolf, let's go right to the regulations that set up why we have special counsels sometimes. And if there is a conflict or a, quote, other extraordinary circumstance, then the Justice Department can bring in a special counsel.
There is no more extraordinary circumstance than a former president of the United States coming back and running as a candidate for office and potentially being investigated. So, look, by the book, it's probably the right decision.
Now, as a practical matter, does it change things or slow things down dramatically? That remains to be seen. But at the end of the day, if you just look at the regulations, it's probably right.
BLITZER: Well, Carrie Cordero, you're a legal analyst as well, you know this subject very well. Does it slow things down, the timeline, now that there's a special counsel? That's the concern that some people are having.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think there's a question as to whether or not it will slow it down. There could be a marginal delay because the special counsel then needs to come in, does need to set up an actual office, does need to be officially resourced. I'm not too concerned personally that it will delay the conduct of the investigations because these investigations are already underway. And so, basically, as a practical matter what's going to happen is the investigative teams currently under the authority of the attorney general are going to move under the authority of the special counsel who then will have the authority to make decisions about the progress of the investigation.
BLITZER: Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst, is with us as well. We're going to hear more from Trump later tonight. He's already bitterly lashing out at this decision.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And I think you're going to hear the same. I mean, earlier in the day, his people called it a political stunt and I think Trump called it that himself. He's going to do it again.
Wolf, he has no other choice politically. I mean, here is a man who has been impeached twice and has had two special counsels. What he is saying and will continue to say and what some Republicans will also continue to say is that the Democrats have weaponized the Justice Department. That's a really favorite phrase. And there are lots of Republicans who will say, yes, that is absolutely true, and that will be something he says on the campaign trail.
The question that I have is how many Republicans will continue to say that, or will say, enough is enough, as they said after the election? Like he's not helping us anymore, we don't want this anymore. So, we'll see. I mean, Ted Cruz came out today and said, yes, Democrats are weaponizing the Justice Department. Will that continue? We'll have to see.
BLITZER: Let me bring Kaitlan Collins back into this. Kaitlan, we all remember Trump's attacks on then Special Counsel Robert Mueller. How much is the Mueller investigation, do you believe, looming over this new investigation?
COLLINS: It kind of looms over it almost entirely in the sense of what he believes a special counsel is, what it does, and I think, primarily, he saw just how expansive Mueller's investigation was, how many people he sat down with and spoke with and interviewed and just how far-ranging that was. And so I think that is what the former president is thinking of when he talks to other people about what this could look like. He's been likening it to the Mueller investigation time and time again. I will say on Tuesday night, we talked about the idea that what was, in part, driving that announcement from Trump was the idea that if he announced that he was running for president, it could potentially shield him from investigations. Now, his legal team has been quite clear with that, that that is not what is ultimately going to happen. If there is a decision by the Justice Department to pursue something there, that is not going to change that. Whether or not it delays it with the announcement of a special counsel, that remains to be seen if that is a path they even go down.
And so I think he's kind of in this field where you saw the investigation in the search of Mar-a-Lago happen in August. That was something that the former president felt boosted him. He heard from Republicans who came out and defended him and criticized that search on his favorite cable news channels and in the media that he reads.
I don't know that the same reaction will happen with this one because, of course, you've seen the developments that have happened there, you've seen the avenues that the Justice Department is pursuing, particularly when it comes to the docs investigation. And I don't know that they believed it was going to go down such a serious path here if you're looking at the former president.
BLITZER: Two criminal investigations continuing right now.
Guys, stand by, there's a lot more to discuss, including Republicans now calling for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden after the Justice Department appointed one to oversee two Trump investigations. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Republicans are now calling for a special counsel to probe Hunter Biden after the U.S. Justice Department today appointed one to oversee two Trump criminal investigations.
Let's go to our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju who's watching all of this. What are you picking up on Capitol Hill, Manu?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, calls ratcheting up for a special counsel, this after Republican leaders had been calling for one for several months now, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who joined a bunch of Republicans earlier in the year, calling for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, even though he is being investigated right now by the Justice Department.
The U.S. Attorney in Wilmington had inherited -- the Biden Justice Department had inherited the investigation from the Trump Justice Department.
But in the aftermath of the decision by Merrick Garland to name Jack Smith to oversee the Trump probes, Republicans are saying now it's time to move forward separately on this Hunter Biden investigation, have a special counsel looking into the president's son.
This is what John Cornyn, who is a member of the Republican leadership, someone who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said right in the aftermath of this news today. He said, this is an admission of a conflict of interest of DOJ, now acknowledge the obvious conflict interest in Hunter Biden's investigation and appoint a special counsel.
Now, some other Republicans are taking it a bit further, even Ted Cruz, the other Texas Republican senator, accusing the Justice Department of weaponizing, being weaponized against Biden's political opponents. Some on the far-right even going further, Marjorie Taylro Greene, who will be in the majority in the House Republicans in the next Congress, calling for impeachment of Merrick Garland, calling to defund the Justice Department. Those are pressure points that Kevin McCarthy, the incoming Republican leader who wants to be the speaker of the House, will have to face.
McCarthy himself, though, Wolf, has not yet commented on this news. And in the aftermath of Jack Smith being appointed today, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader on the Senate side, also had not yet commented yet. We'll see if any of that changes after Donald Trump makes his statement tonight, but still grows are calling on the right for more investigations, a special counsel to look into the president's son at this point.
BLITZER: Let's see what happens. Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill, thanks very much.
Let's get back to our political and legal experts. Elliot Williams, you served at the Justice Department. You were a deputy assistant attorney general of the United States. What do you make of this call by Republicans for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden?
WILLIAMS: So, let's look at the arguments for and the arguments against. Look, back to the law and the regulations, if it's an extraordinary circumstance, which that might be the case when you have the son of a president of the United States being investigated by the Justice Department. That's sort of the argument for the Republicans are going down.
Now look on the other hand, famous people, notorious people, whatever it might be, are investigated by the Justice Department all the time. And certainly, that's the case happening right now, number one. And number two, it's also important to note how spectacular the circumstances are involving the former president, where you have possibly the former president being investigated by the Justice Department of the man who beat him, and he might be running against. That's crazy. And so, certainly, you can make an argument that there's more of a basis for the Trump investigation and not Hunter Biden. But, still, it's a tough call.
BLITZER: Let me get Kaitlan Collins back into this conversation. Kaitlan, you covered Trump for four years when you were our White House correspondent. What's your reaction to all this?
COLLINS: I think the big question here is what it means for this investigation and what it means for possible indictments that could happen, whether it comes to that January 6th investigation that they're looking at. It's not just the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation. I think that's important here.
And one thing that Trump's attorneys were doing today after Garland made this announcement is looking at this language very closely to see what exactly the purview of the special counsel is going to be, what they're going to be looking at. And also, Wolf, if you listen to that announcement, you heard Attorney General Garland, which it was notable in and of itself that he was announcing this, but you also heard him use the word obstruction twice. That is something that stood out to me. I know that is also something that stood to those around the former president as well as they were listening to that.
And so when it comes to the other aspect of this, which is what Manu was just talking about there, with the Republicans and their calls for similar investigations into Hunter Biden and the Biden family, this also comes in a week where you saw a lot of Republicans break with Trump. Not all of them, of course. Certainly, some of them endorsed him after he ran or announced his candidacy on Tuesday night. But I will be watching to see what the reaction is from the Republicans around Trump, those who typically have aligned themselves with him and how they respond to this, do they distance themselves from it, do they come to his calls and rallying cries? That remains to be seen.
BLITZER: A good point. Carrie, despite all the political posturing that's going on right now, does today's move by the U.S. Justice Department confirm that Trump himself is right at the center of these two separate criminal probes?
CORDERO: Well, he clearly is implicated in these. The documents that were taken from the government were at his residence, and he is potentially at the center or involved in the investigation related to trying to overturn the election result itself.
So, I think Kaitlan points out a really important point, which was the attorney general's mention of obstruction a couple times in his public remarks today. Because that is one channel of the investigation that actually is sort of the most straight-forward charge. The potential conspiracy to overturn the election, that's a more complicated case. And handling any investigation that involves classified documents is something that potentially can stretch on and is complex.
But that obstruction case, it might be the more straight-forward of the three.
BORGER: You know, this puts Republicans in a really difficult spot. Because after the search on Mar-a-Lago, a lot of them defended Donald Trump and were saying they shouldn't have done this, how could they do this to a former president, some of them defended him by agreeing with him that he could declassify any documents, et cetera, et cetera. Now, this is going to a special counsel. Now, a lot of those same Republicans have distanced themselves from Donald Trump, as Kaitlan was saying. So what do they do?
Well, here's what they do. They call for a special counsel for Hunter Biden. That's easy to do. You already have Republicans yesterday in the House saying we're going to investigate Hunter Biden, we want to bring him up here before the committee. So, they have to walk this kind of fine line, and they have to pick who they want to pick on. And so that's going to be Hunter Biden, they'll distance themselves from Donald Trump a little bit. But I think they'll still defend him on Mar-a-Lago because, otherwise, they'd have to take back what they said before. It's tough.
BLITZER: Very tough. Elliott, I'm anxious to get your thoughts on the person who was named today to become the new special counsel, Jack Smith, a career prosecutor.
WILLIAMS: Look, no matter who is conducting the investigation, investigating a former president is going to be fraught with politics. We know that. Now, look, if there was one individual who actually could probably pull it off, it's this person here having the number one, a state and federal prosecutor, number two, a domestic and international prosecutor, number three, he worked in the public integrities section, a very prestigious organization in the criminal division at the Justice Department, going after crimes of high, senior and elected officials.
And so it's sort of the prosecutor's prosecutor and somebody who, by every measure, is respected across the profession. So, it's as good as somebody you're going to get. But, again, it's an extraordinary circumstance, Wolf, so it's hard to say.
BLITZER: It certainly is. All right, guys, thank you very much.
Just ahead, a deadly and potentially historic snowstorm is dropping feet of snow on Western New York right now. We're live on the scene. We'll talk to the mayor of my hometown, the mayor of Buffalo, who's standing by. We'll discuss.
BLITZER: We're following a potentially historic snowstorm that's pounding Western New York tonight and already blamed for two deaths.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Buffalo with the latest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we got some snow.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Heavy snowfall, thunder, lightning, a potential historic snowstorm is pummeling areas surrounding the great lakes with Western New York State in the bull's- eye. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little deep. Oh, my God.
SANDOVAL: The storm already dumped around four feet of snow south of Buffalo, prompting the NFL to move the Buffalo Bills' Sunday game to Detroit. Highmark Stadium, their usual home in Orchard Park, left completely covered in white. And the storm is expected to hit the city hard tonight. The National Weather Service and New York officials warning the snowfall will produce life-threatening conditions into the weekend.
MAYOR BYRON BROWN (D-NY), BUFFALO: It can turn very quickly. This is a very unpredictable storm.
SANDOVAL: Even with the warning, some people in Buffalo don't seem too worried.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We live in Buffalo, it's expected. That's all I can say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been through this before. To me, it's no big deal to me, but my family wants everything done.
SANDOVAL: Officials reminding people to stay inside and off the road, saying there is a travel ban in South Buffalo with many flights in and out of the region canceled.
CHRISTOPHER SCANLON, BUFFALO CITY COUNCIL: Police stay indoors. Do not go out unless it is an absolute emergency.
SANDOVAL: National Weather Service forecasters explain lake-effect snow is fueling this extraordinary storm. That occurs when cold air blows over warmer lake water, picking up more moisture and leading to higher snow amounts downstream. Climate experts warn water temperatures in the great lakes grow increasingly warmer each year, shortening the length of time ice covers the surface during the winter.
DAN NEAVERTH JR., COMMISSIONER, ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I just want to remind everybody that there is a lake-effect warning still in effect. So, this thing is still moving, so we need to still take this serious.
SANDOVAL (on camera): And tonight, there are communities just south of where we are here in downtown Buffalo that have already seen and even exceeded five feet of snow in the last 24 hours, Wolf. And, sadly, authorities are also confirming that at least two deaths have been reported in connection to this storm. These are two individuals that suffered a cardiac episode while they were clearing out the snow.
So, it's important to remind the public, according to authorities, that this is that wet, very heavy snow that takes a lot of effort to clear out. So, they're reminding those people, especially that have a heart condition, if they're safe, if they have what they need, to simply hunker down indoors, wait for the future waves of snow to pass and then get some help clearing it out. It's simply not worth exerting themselves -- overexerting themselves.
BLITZER: Keywords, get some help to help shovel those driveways and sidewalks and all that. All right, Polo, thank you very much.
Let's get some more on what's going on in my hometown of Buffalo. Byron Brown is joining us, he's the mayor of Buffalo, New York. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us.
Two people, as you heard and as you well know, already have died as a result of this storm. How dangerous right now are these conditions and what's your advice to our fellow Buffalonians to stay safe?
BROWN: With the snow that's falling, it's potentially pretty dangerous, the south towns, South Buffalo, Kaiser town area of the city of Buffalo getting hit very hard.
In the southern part of Buffalo, between 45 to 52 inches of snow falling very fast, very heavy, very difficult to move. So, in those areas where the snow is falling that fast, it can be very dangerous.
Fortunately, most of Metro Buffalo is in good shape, downtown north, east, west good shape, South Buffalo has gotten extremely hard, like the south towns of Buffalo have been hit hard.
BLITZER: So, what are your experts telling you, Mayor? How much more snow are you bracing for right now, and what will the next 24 hours alone look like?
BROWN: So, the snow band is over the south towns, over the southern part of Buffalo. That's expected to shift north and hit the rest of the city between 10:00 and midnight tonight. We're expecting another 10 to 12 inches of snow citywide when the snow band shifts to the north.
So, right now, we do have a travel ban in South Buffalo. We have a travel advisory throughout the rest of Buffalo. And we're asking people if you don't need to go out, if travel is not necessary, please stay at home so snowplows can do their job.
BLITZER: Good point. Do you have the resources, Mayor, to handle this very serious storm?
BROWN: Yes. Fortunately, we had a lot of preparation time. We had days to prepare, working very closely with the state and Governor Hochul, the county and county executive pull and cars (ph), the level of cooperation, sharing of equipment, resources has been absolutely incredible. So, we do have the resources that we need to fight this storm, which has been pretty unpredictable with the snow band hovering over the south getting ready to move back north overnight.
BLITZER: The Buffalo mayor, Byron Brown, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck to you and good luck to everyone in Western New York, including, of course, in Buffalo. Thanks very much for joining us.
BROWN: Thank you, Wolf. Thank you so much.
BLITZER: Coming up, we'll have more on the appointment of a special counsel to oversee two Trump criminal investigations, including the one into his role in the U.S. Capitol riot. We'll talk with a key member of the House January 6th select committee, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is standing by live. We'll discuss.
BLITZER: A major new development in two investigations into former President Trump, the attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, naming a special counsel to oversee the criminal probes into the classified documents found at Trump's Florida home and Trump's role in last year's deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection.
Joining us now to discuss, a key member of the House January 6th select committee, Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California. Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.
As you know, former President Trump is already blasting this decision by the attorney general. Will the appointment, do you believe, of a special counsel do anything to bolster the integrity of these investigations and all the political attacks?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, first, let me just say this is not really a January 6th committee topic. We really don't have anything to do with it. But on the Judiciary Committee, and, you know, I think the attorney general made it clear that he did this appointment to remove any appearance of political involvement since the former president has now announced that he's running for president again.
Now, this has been spun as a politicized action when, in fact, it's the exact opposite. I think what's troubling the ex-president is that it's now become clear -- I think it was clear before -- that he is very much the subject of inquiry when it comes to the Mar-a-Lago documents. But even more telling, obviously, you know, the subject of inquiry about January 6th. And we didn't know that for sure before the naming of this special counsel. But I think it's a logical conclusion based on the attorney general's statement today.
BLITZER: Because, as we all know, you and your committee members, you've been investigating the events around January 6th. You're a member of the select committee, of course. Where does the process stand on whether to take the symbolic step of making what are called criminal referrals from your select committee to the Justice Department?
LOFGREN: Well, the chairman has appointed a subcommittee, which is like all the committee members who are lawyers, including me, and we are going through all of the evidence that has been compiled, and then discussing what we think should or should not be referred, and then we'll present that to the full committee. We haven't finished doing that yet.
BLITZER: When do you think you'll finish that?
LOFGREN: Sooner rather than later, I hope. There's so much work going on getting the report finished up and going through additional evidence and we're still interviewing.
So, we're really to the max. But I hope that we'll -- very, very soon that we'll be done with that.
BLITZER: Well, how concerned are you that the new Republican leadership in the House will cancel your committee and end it?
LOFGREN: Well, the committee was always going to end at the end of this Congress. Select committees are only lived for the life of the Congress. And we've always known that that would be the end date.
BLITZER: So, you want to wrap everything up by the end of this year?
LOFGREN: We've always wanted to do that, yes.
BLITZER: All right, good. I'm glad you clarified it.
Some Republicans now say the Justice Department should also appoint a special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation. Congresswoman, how do you respond to that?
LOFGREN: Well, I think they are trying to divert attention from a serious matter, which is the former president's, you know, potential problems here. The select committee has made it pretty evident that the former president was very much the center of these fraudulent efforts to overturn the election. He called the mob. He sent them to the Capitol.
I'm for the equal administration of justice and I believe the attorney general, if there's ever a reason to investigate someone for a crime, he'll do that.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, thanks so much for joining us.
Coming up, we are seeing now the first ever images of Kim Jong-un's daughter, the insight it gives us into the North Korean leader, that's next.
BLITZER: New images tonight showing Kim Jong-un with his daughter. She was with her father to witness what the North Koreans just confirmed was the launch of a, quote, new kind of intercontinental ballistic missile.
I want to bring in CNN's Will Ripley who's been to North Korea several times.
What do these images show us for the first time now, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this certainly makes take your daughter to work day a whole new level. Kim Jong-un unveiling for the first to the world his daughter, holding his hand as they walked around a giant new missile that North Korea claims is capable of hitting pretty much anywhere in the world with the exception of some portions of South America, that certainly would include anywhere on the mainland U.S. and most U.S. territories.
It is an extraordinary thing to see the scale of this thing. They are dwarfed by the transporter erector launcher that then fired up this missile. It traveled more than 3,700 miles up into space on what's known as a lofted trajectory, that means it goes that high but doesn't travel that long of a distance.
But it's basically demonstrating that it can travel to almost any continent in the entire world. This is a major threat potentially. Of course, this is all theoretical because we don't know North Korea's ability to deliver a nuclear warhead with a missile like this.
And that is raising speculation of what tests can be coming up next. They've had 34 missile events this year. They've launched more than 50 ballistic missiles so far this year, all of that in violation of U.N. Security Council resolution. Many believe that a seventh underground nuclear test could be coming at any moment.
Vice President Kamala Harris is here in Bangkok for the APEC summit. She and the leaders of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and South Korea all issued a statement strongly condemning this launch.
But silent on the issue, Wolf, Russia and China. U.N. security council permanent members with veto power that have prevented the council from giving Kim Jong-un any severe consequences for this unprecedented barrage of missile testing blitz this year that is likely to continue unabated because he has no desire at this stage to talk to the United States, Wolf.
BLITZER: Potentially a very dangerous moment, indeed.
Will Ripley reporting for us, thank you very much.
Other news we're following this hour, Ukrainian experts have now joined the investigation into a deadly missile incident in neighboring Poland. Two people were killed when a projectile struck just miles from the Ukrainian border.
And joining us now, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova.
Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us. I know how busy you are.
As you know, Ukrainian experts are now working at the site of that missile strike in Poland, not far from the Ukrainian border. Does the evidence so far suggest this was a Ukrainian accident as Ukraine was defending itself against a wave of brutal Russian attacks?
OKSANA MARKAROVA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Thank you, Wolf. Thank you for having me.
Well, it's too early to talk now, but we are working very closely with our partners, and it's very important for us to be fully transparent about everything there. And as soon as our partners and all of us are ready to disclose more information, I'm sure it will be public.
But you're absolutely right, we have to remember why this accident happened, tragic accident. And our heart goes to the families of the people killed in Poland. Because more than a hundred rockets on that day was flying over Ukraine everywhere. And as a result now, 50 percent of our energy system is, again, destroyed, and people are dying all over.
It happens for more than eight months now in Ukraine, and this full- fledged war, which unprecedented, unprovoked aggression by Russian Federation. This is a reason of everything that happens in Ukraine, and unfortunately, Wolf, what happened in Poland.
BLITZER: Good point.
CNN has now spoken to Ukrainians held prisoner in the liberated area of Kherson, who say they were subjected to physical and psychological torture. They say Russian guards executed Ukrainian prisoners simply for chanting pro-Ukrainian statements or for their pro-Ukrainian tattoos.
How extensive, Ambassador, is all that evidence that's out there of potential war crimes under the Russian occupation?
MARKAROVA: Wolf, this is massive. We saw it. We saw horrible scenes from Bucha or from Izium. What we see in Kherson after liberating Kherson is beyond even calling it war crimes. Many people were subjected for months to torture, to executions, to -- for just having a Ukrainian flag or for just speaking Ukrainian.
So this is a genocidal war. Russians are doing it everywhere. That's why we need to liberate our territory faster. That's why every day that we can actually liberate our territories, we save lives of our people there.
BLITZER: Let me get your reaction also, Ambassador, while I have you, to the latest comments made by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. He had a slowdown in fighting in Ukraine this winter could provide a window for a political solution.
Is that realistic?
MARKAROVA: We -- you know, nobody wanted peace more than Ukraine, and nobody was ready and tried diplomacy before February as extensive as we can and even after February.
But Russia is not ready for diplomacy. Russia does not want diplomacy. They are waging the war on us, and they have to leave in order for diplomacy to start doing what diplomacy can do. So right now, we need more weapons. We need more sanctions on Russia.
We need more support to Ukraine so that we can liberate our country within international recognized borders.
BLITZER: The Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for doing all you're doing, and good luck to the Ukrainian people.
MARKAROVA: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: Just ahead, investigators released a timeline of where the four Idaho college students went in the hours before they were killed. What it could reveal about the case. That's next.
BLITZER: New details are emerging about the four Idaho college students who were killed. Investigators released a timeline today detailing where the four victims went in the hours before their deaths.
I want to bring in CNN's Brian Todd, who is working the story for us.
Brian, what does the timeline tell us?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the timeline reveals not only the victims' locations but also the windows of time when they were at those locations and when they all got home that night. But still, there are some serious gaps to fill in this case.
TODD (voice-over): Critical new information tonight as investigators continue to hunt for the killer or killers of four University of Idaho students. Police now saying where in the house the bodies were discovered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe the chief provided that information, and I believe it was the top floor and the middle floor. So, the third floor and the second floor.
TODD: Scenes of horrific violence described by the Latah County coroner.
CATHY MABBUTT, CORONER, LATAH COUNTY, IDAHO: I saw lots of blood on the wall.
TODD: Investigators also today releasing a map and a timeline of the students' movements the night they were murdered. Two of them, Ethan Chapin, and Xana Kernodle, police say, attended a fraternity part last Saturday night. They say Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen were at a sports bar between 10:30 p.m. and at 1:30 a.m. Police say all four victims were back at the house sometime after 1:45 Sunday morning. CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE CHIEF: You look for
cameras. You look for ring doorbells. You look for anything that you might pick up that shows the movement of these individuals and whether or not was there somebody following them? You know, were they driving? Were they walking?
TODD: Police say this was a targeted attack. The four victims stabbed to death inside their shared off-campus home Sunday morning. Adding to the mystery, there are no named suspects, no murder weapon, and two additional roommates were inside the home at the time of the murders, police say, neither of whom were injured or held hostage.
Police say the roommates have been fully cooperative but won't say if they're witnesses, suspects, or neither. The coroner says there were no signs of sexual assault on any of the bodies, but she did give new information on the nature of the wounds of at least one victim.
MABBUTT: There were stab wounds on the hands of at least one of the students that make it appear that it would be defensive wounds.
TODD: Jeffrey Kernodle, the father of victim Xana Kernodle, told a CNN affiliate he believes his daughter fought her killer to the very end.
JEFFREY KERNODLE, XANA KERNODLE'S FATHER: Bruises, you know, maybe, torn by the knife or whatever. She's a tough kid.
TODD: But former D.C. and Philadelphia police chief Charles Ramsey says new questions are raised by the indication that at least one victim fought their attacker.
RAMSEY: Which means, there was noise. This wasn't quiet. I don't know how you could quietly kill four people with a knife and no one in the house would hear anything. And so, it's very important that we know more about the roommates.
TODD: Charles Ramsey also says a key focus of the investigation will likely be the social media footprints of all four victims, which can provide clues on who they might have communicated with on social media, whether any threats had been made to any of them, and who else they might have met up with that night.
Wolf, a lot of gaps they've got to fill here.
BLITZER: A lot of work to still be done. Thanks very much, Brian Todd, reporting for us.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks very much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.