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George Zimmerman Trial Continues; Egyptian Army Ousts President
Aired July 3, 2013 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNIE DE LA BIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Can you just --
ANTHONY GORGONE, DNA ANALYST: I swabbed the cuff and lower sleeve area. And I consider that from the elbow or midpoint of the sleeve forward. So I did the chemical test for blood from about here forward and the cuff, which tested negative. And I was not able to obtain any foreign DNA.
DE LA BIONDA: And did you do that also from his left sleeve?
DE LA BIONDA: OK. And when you're doing that, are you doing both sides or one side or what part of the sleeve are you doing?
GORGONE: All the way around, so the front and back of the outside surface.
DE LA BIONDA: And then you said here also that -- tell us about this, what you're doing here with the cuffs.
GORGONE: The same thing. It was all collected with one swab, the cuff area to here.
DE LA BIONDA: OK. And there was nothing foreign to Trayvon Martin? In other words, you didn't find another person's DNA on those, either one of those?
DE LA BIONDA: Thank you.
May I -- may I take it back?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: President Mohammed Morsy, you know what? Let's listen in to hear what they're saying. These are opposition leaders authorized by the Egyptian military to make this statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And it will continue to be away from the political actions and the political involvement that armed forces has felt, based on its own vision, that the Egyptian people is calling on it to support it and not calling on it to be involved in power, to hold on power.
And this will continue to be its duty to protect and safeguard the people and to achieve the demands of the revolution. And this was its mission, the mission that the armed forces has gotten from all the Egyptian people, from all its cities and villages. And the armed forces has also understood this call and understood its meaning and appreciated its own role, and came closer to the political scene hoping and wanting and adhering to with the framework with its duties and responsibilities.
The armed forces has spent efforts throughout the last few months, many efforts directly and indirectly, to contain the situation, the internal situation today, and achieve a national reconciliation between all the political forces, including the presidency.
Since last November 2012, the armed forces started calling on the national reconciliation effort. All the patriotic movements agreed to it, including the presidency in the last minutes. The events and the cause repeatedly continued on, including the initiatives since then until today.
The armed forces also has presented repeatedly with offers to estimate the strategic situation internally and abroad. That included the most important challenges and dangers that is facing the country from the perspective of security and economically and politically.
The armed forces has its vision. As a patriotic constitution, its role is to contain the civic problems and face the challenges and the dangers to exit the current crisis. Within the framework of following up on this crisis today, the armed forces has met with the president of the republic in the Al Quba palace June 22, 2013, which offered him the opinion of the general command and told him and to prevent the insult of the state institutions and reiterated its mission that to end the insults against the Egyptian people.
There was a hope that reconciliation will continue on in forming a road map for the future that will provide stability for the people, which will achieve its goals and its hopes.
However, the speech of the president last night and before the 48 hours' deadline did not achieve the goals of the people, which resulted that the armed forces, based on its own national and patriotic duty, to consult with several leaders, civic and religious and youth, without excluding anyone.
The people who were in meeting agreed on the following steps. They will build an Egyptian society, strong and stable, that will not exclude any one of its sons, including its old political currents, and end the conflict, and the road map will follow as follows, suspend the constitution on a tentative -- the chief of the constitutional court will swear before the court hold an elections, a presidential election, while the chief of the constitutional court will assume the presidency.
The chief of the constitutional court has the right to declare constitutional declarations throughout the transitional period, establish a government that is strong and diverse that has all the powers to manage the transition period, four, a committee that includes all the people to revise all the constitutional amendments that will be -- that were suspended temporarily.
Call on the Supreme Constitutional Court to establish an elections law for the parliament and to start to continue for the parliamentary elections. Establish a code of ethics for the media that will prevent all other transgressions against the media and will establish values and ethics for the media to follow.
Establish methods to empower the youth to be participants in the decisions within all the framework of the executive power, establish a higher committee for the reconciliation committee from leaders who are credible and has the ability to reach the national forces.
The armed forces call on the Egyptian people, the great Egyptian people, with all its diverse groups, to continue to have peaceful protests and end the crisis and shed the blood, and warns that it will respond with cooperation of the Interior Ministry with a strong -- and determination against anyone who deviates from peaceful protests in accordance with the law.
This is based on its own responsibility, historic responsibility. The armed forces salute the men of the armed forces, the police force, and the judiciary, the honorable ones, for their own patriotic duty and their sacrifices to safeguard and the safety and the security of its great Egyptian people.
May God preserve Egypt and its people.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BLITZER: All right. So there you have it. You see the excitement in Tahrir Square.
The anti-Morsy demonstrators, they are thrilled. You just heard the Egyptian general, the leader of the Egyptian military, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, make it official. The Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsy, is out. He is no longer the president of Egypt.
He has been removed. And new steps were announced by the general going forward with what he called a road map to democracy. The anti- Morsy elements there, you see them, fireworks going off. They are thrilled right now. They are very happy that Morsy is gone. But this is clearly a very tenuous moment right now. You see some of the pro- Morsy elements. Obviously, they are furious about what just was announced.
Morsy is gone. We don't know his whereabouts. We don't know where he is. But the Egyptian military has made it clear he is gone. Call it a coup or call it whatever you want. But Morsy, elected one year ago as president of Egypt, he is no longer the president right now, according to the Egyptian military.
CNN's Ivan Watson is watching what's going on.
Ivan, I take it you're not far away from the anti-Morsy demonstrators, is that right?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Tahrir Square is behind me. And the moment that the announcement was made that the constitution be suspended, a huge cheer erupted behind me. And now the fireworks are not only going off here in Tahrir Square, but I can see from my view, my vantage point here, fireworks in different neighborhoods across central Cairo as some Egyptians are applauding and celebrating this move by the Defense Ministry announcing the suspension of the constitution and declaring what they're describing as a road map forward for future presidential elections.
While the people here are celebrating, we can be guaranteed that the supporters of Mohammed Morsy, who predominantly come from the Muslim Brotherhood, are probably very angry right now. They have been warning about what they are describing as a military coup -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by for a moment, Ivan Watson. I want to get immediate U.S. reaction.
Dan Lothian is over at the White House.
Any official statement yet from the Obama administration to the dramatic announcement we just heard, that Mohammed Morsy is no longer the president of Egypt?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is certainly a dramatic turn, especially for this administration, who had been pushing for the democratic reforms in Egypt, and now this turn.
No official reaction yet from the White House. But at the State Department earlier today, the spokesperson there Jen Psaki saying that the administration had very deep concerns about what was going on, on the ground in Egypt. As you know, Wolf, officials, U.S. officials had been essentially cautioning the military there in Egypt against a military coup, saying that the $1.5 billion in aid, annual aid, that the U.S. provides to Egypt each year could be in jeopardy.
So, it will be interesting to see whether or not the U.S. will use the $1.5 billion in aid as any kind of card in the future transition there in Egypt. Unclear whether President Obama has spoken to President Morsy today. We do know that the president did phone him on Monday, where the president expressed concerns of what was going on in Egypt.
The president also saying that the U.S. continues to be committed to the democratic process in Egypt, but not committed to any one individual or any one party -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Clear joy by the anti-Morsy forces, the elements in Cairo. You see them celebrating that Morsy no longer the president of Egypt, removed by the Egyptian military.
But there's deep, deep anger by Morsy's supporters, most of whom from the Muslim Brotherhood, elsewhere in Egypt as well. This is a moment in Egypt's history a lot of us did not necessarily anticipate. It clearly is a fast-moving situation right now. We're watching what's going on, and I must say it's taken a lot of people by surprise how quickly all of this unfolded.
Dan, I know you're getting -- Dan Lothian is getting more reaction from the Obama administration. Ivan Watson is still watching what's going on.
Ivan, this looks like New Year's Eve in Cairo.
WATSON: It does. I mean, and it's not just here. I was traveling throughout central Cairo, oh, just about a half-an-hour ago and I saw these pockets of Egyptians celebrating what many of them felt was the imminent overthrow, you could call it, of Egypt's first ever democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsy, who was elected just a year ago.
I'm frankly quite stunned at just how much ill will he had generated amongst so many Egyptians that they just felt it was time now to throw away the electoral process and simply start fresh. It poses a lot of big challenges here.
It was also remarkable to see the soldiers, the troops, the police, the special forces deploying on bridges, on major roads, blocking traffic, especially around areas where the Morsy supporters had set up protest camps, one in particular that we visited in front of the University of Cairo. I have met some of the young men who are walking through there who are not military.
And one of them said to me, Wolf, of course, this is a military coup. But I want this. I want to protect the people from the Muslim Brotherhood who are out for blood. That's what one supporter of this move by the military said to me.
And then, of course, I walked across the 200 meters, the 200 yards from the phalanxes of special forces and police and armored personnel carriers to the encampment of Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were also firing off fireworks about an hour ago.
And they said this is a military coup. We're not going anywhere. We are nonviolent. We're going to stay here and defend our man, Morsy, even if it takes us dying, to the last drop of blood. You have incredible polarization right now, Wolf, between the people here who are celebrating the suspension of the Egyptian constitution and those who voted for Mohammed Morsy, some of whom who are saying, at least, that they're willing to die for him to stay in office -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And you just heard the announcement from the top military leader in Egypt, General Abdel Fattah Saeed al-Sisi. He made it official, Morsy, Mohammed Morsy, the democratically elected president of Egypt, no longer the president of Egypt right now.
We do not know his whereabouts. We do not know his condition. We do not know if he's under house arrest or anything along those lines. The only thing we know is what the general told us, General al-Sisi making it clear that there is now a new road map. There will be new elections. And this process will go forward.
In the meantime, the constitution of Egypt has been suspended. Fareed Zakaria is joining us. He's been a student of Egypt for a long time.
Fareed, I was saying, I was there in January. And I interviewed President Morsy. He gave me a lot of quality time over at the presidential palace in Cairo. I must say, even as someone who has studied Egypt myself for a long time, how quickly he was removed is almost breathtaking.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's absolutely breathtaking. And it's quite -- it's unusual that the military would choose to put themselves back in this position, because remember the military has remained very powerful throughout this process. They have retained all their economic power and privileges. They still run vast swathes of the country. They still have a budget that is a black box.
No one is allowed, not the president, not parliament, to scrutinize the military budget. But they got involved, I think, because they saw the level of polarization in the country and the level of opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood rising and decided that they could ride this wave. It's a fairly dangerous move, Wolf, because what we have -- we are now witnessing this process of this soft coup, what the next step is surely going to be, that the Muslim Brotherhood will react to it.
Remember, they were able to survive and flourish through five or six decades of complete persecution, an outright ban on their activities. So they're not going to go anywhere. They're going to come out. And they will be -- they will be out for blood. I don't mean that literally, but I mean in the sense they will be very passionate about trying to push back on this. And that suggests that the tensions in Egypt are likely to get a lot worse before they get better.
BLITZER: And I want to go -- Fareed, hold on for a moment, because Reza Sayah is watching what's going on. He's right there on the scene for us.
Reza, the word coup is critical right now, because the anti-Morsy elements, they insist this is not a military coup. This is democracy in action. This is a revolution. The pro-Morsy forces say this is a military coup.
And I must say there are U.S. laws as far as U.S. aid is concerned. If this is a military coup, that could put some of the $1.3 billion or $1.5 billion in U.S. military aid into some sort of jeopardy, another $250 million in non-U.S. military aid, if, in fact, the U.S. government describes this as a coup. There are legal ramifications.
So give us the sense. What are you seeing right now, Reza? Is this a coup or is this not a coup?
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, all of what you said is correct.
However, rest assured that the armed forces is going to make every effort to reject any kind of claim, any kind of accusation that this is a coup. And you saw it with the announcement. They said it's not us who's going to be taking over. It's going to be the head of the constitutional court.
And a council is going to be established to put forth this transition to this road map. So, currently, there's all sorts of indications where you could argue this was a coup, that it was the armed forces who stepped in and led to this tipping point and the ouster of President Morsy. But they're making all sorts of efforts to say this wasn't us, this was the people, this is what the people wanted. And it's the head of the constitutional court that's going to take control. They have a council. And we're going to have new parliamentary elections very soon.
As you can see behind me, the euphoria, celebration, an explosion of joy right after the announcement was made. You can take a look at the fireworks going on behind us. This is a campaign that started months ago with a petition drive, an effective campaign that built a groundswell of support for the campaign and a groundswell of rage for President Morsy.
And it worked. Mission accomplished. January 25, 2011, will go down in history as the Egyptian revolution part one. Mark your calendars down for July 3, 2013, Egypt's revolution part two, Wolf.
BLITZER: Part two, indeed. And that celebration presumably only just beginning, but across town not very far away there are thousands and thousands of pro-Morsy forces, people who are demonstrating. They are deeply angry right now. We can only imagine. I fear for the worst. Let's hope that there is a sense of calm and that people calm down.
But you take a look at the two pictures, on the left part of the screen the anti-Morsy demonstrators at Tahrir Square. On the right part, you see people just standing, and I'm sure many of them in shock at how quickly the military moved to get rid of Mohammed Morsy.
Fareed Zakaria, let me just quickly get your thoughts. The Obama administration has to make a major decision right now. We know that there were extensive discussions. The president, President Obama, on Monday spoke with President Morsy. We know Chuck Hagel, the defense secretary, spoke with General al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian military, over the past 24 hours. How the U.S. reacts to what has just been announced in Cairo is going to be very significant. What do you anticipate?
ZAKARIA: You put it exactly right, Wolf.
The crucial question is, is this described as a coup or not? You notice that the military is trying very hard to make the case that this is not a coup and that, therefore, those triggers that you talked about, the cutoff of U.S. aid and such, do not apply.
Just looking at it plainly, Wolf, it's very difficult to see how the removal of a democratically elected government by the military would not be described as some kind of a coup, whatever follows. So the question is if they can come up with a way to convince both the United States and the world and the Egyptian people that there is a very quick path back, then perhaps there's a way to square the circle, because you can have a two-month suspension or some -- you don't even have to have that.
But I think it all depends on getting back on track democratically and fast.
BLITZER: Because you remember, Fareed, when there was a military coup in Pakistan, the U.S. immediately suspended delivery of all fighter aircraft and other military hardware to Pakistan and poisoned that relationship, as you well remember, Fareed, for a long time. How the U.S., how the Obama administration now reacts to what is happening in Cairo on the streets of Cairo will be significant.
And I suspect the president, even though we're not seeing him now, we will be hearing from him and his top advisers fairly soon. You want to just add one thought, Fareed, before I move on?
ZAKARIA: I think the crucial question right now is whether the Muslim Brotherhood decides it's going to fight this, resist the military in some kind of show of force, because if that happens, the military will have to decide whether they're going to clear the streets of Cairo using force.
And that's not going to be pretty. The Brotherhood, I know somebody who belongs to the Brotherhood who said to me, we are going out there with our shrouds. In other words, we are ready for death.
BLITZER: And if that happens, this situation, where you have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people on one side vs. hundreds of thousands on another side not very far from each other in a major metropolitan area, namely Cairo, a huge city, who knows what's going on. I see the Egyptian military, though, is moving. They're taking steps right now.
Fareed, hold on. Stand by for a moment.
Jill Dougherty is our statement department correspondent.
Jill, what are they saying over there?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they're not saying anything specifically. This has been moving very, very quickly.
But I think it's very important to point out that before this happened, the State Department on that issue of aid and whether it would have to be pulled if they were a coup, they actually explained that according to the law there is some wiggle room, that if you do have a coup or a decision that has -- or the decree in which the military plays a decisive role, they have to restrict it.
However, it depends on a thorough analysis of the particular set of facts that may arise. So they are not necessarily saying that it automatically happens that they have to cut aid.
BLITZER: Jill, hold on. Hold on, Jill, for a moment. We're going to get back to that thought.
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a leader of the opposition, is now speaking.
MOHAMED ELBARADEI, EGYPTIAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): Constitution will be amended, so we can all of us build it together and we agree on democratic constitution to guarantee our freedoms.
The plan will have national reconciliation effort so all of us come back again as reconciled people together. I hope that this map, this road map, this plan is a beginning for a new beginning to continue with the May 25 revolution through which the Egyptian people had spent dearly to achieve what we, all of us want, social justice for every Egyptian man and woman.
BLITZER: All right.
All right, so there you have Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the opposition leaders. He has been outspoken in the fierce criticism of the now former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy, making his statement, saying there is now this road map. You heard the Egyptian military announce it just a little while ago, a road map towards new and early elections. They have suspended, though, the Egyptian constitution for the time being.
Ed Djerejian is a retired U.S. diplomat who spent an enormous amount of time in the Middle East. He knows Egypt well.
Ambassador, I assume you're as stunned as I am at how quickly the Egyptian military forced Morsy's removal.
EDWARD DJEREJIAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA AND ISRAEL: Yes, Wolf. This has been a very rapid scenario.
But, again, as the chief of staff, the minister defense, Sisi, stated, the military has been in very intense discussions with Morsy. And they tried to get him to do certain things, which he did not do. And I think what the military has decided, Wolf, is that Morsy was recalcitrant, that the Muslim Brotherhood was spending its time consolidating its power and not demonstrating the pluralism that's necessary to govern Egyptian society, which you know is so diverse and multiethnic and concessional.
And what is remarkable, if you will remember, when Mubarak was overthrown and the military defense minister, Tantawi, took the podium, he was alone. Look at what Sisi has done. He took the podium and he was flanked by the secular leadership, Mohamed Baradei, by the head of the Coptic Church, with the rector of Al-Azhar University, the highest voice in Sunni Islam, and others, and even Salafist groups, Islamist parties that are not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
So there's something different happening here. It's not just a military move. It's a military move that's bringing together, if you will, the non-Muslim Brotherhood elements of the core constituencies in Egypt. And this is -- if he -- if the military can keep this type of political together, if we can call it that, together, I think there can be the -- well, let me put it this way -- the possibilities for a political transition in Egypt to a pluralistic governance system may be possible.
BLITZER: Well, that would be the best-case scenario under the circumstances, especially if that could be done peacefully.
But you know the Muslim Brotherhood. They have been waiting, as you know, Ambassador, for, what, 80 years to reach this point.