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Virginia State Senator Stabbed; Police Hold Press Conference; Japan Welcomes Ambassador Kennedy; Suicide Bombings in Lebanon; Toronto Council Conflict With Crack-Smoking Mayor Continues

Aired November 19, 2013 - 12:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: A Virginia state senator and former candidate for governor, Creigh Deeds, in critical condition this hour with stab wounds after being attacked in his home.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: State police say another person was found dead in his home. Want to go to CNN political director Mark Preston for the details.

What do we know about this so far, Mark?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, Suzanne and Michael, what we do know is, in fact, the Virginia State Police where is called to Creigh Deeds home early this morning. They found the state senator seriously injured from the assault. They found another person deceased in the home.

Creigh Deeds was transported to Charlottesville, to a hospital in Charlottesville. But to tell you where he lives is in a very rural part of Virginia. It's really the far western part of Virginia. Creigh Deeds, who was a Democratic nominee for governor in 2009, when he lost, he remained as a state senator.

I have to tell you, I spoke to someone who's very close to the family, pretty shaken up by this right now, described Creigh Deeds as one of these individuals who was very good for politics, a very humble man, a very nice man, a very gentle man, but a man right now, as Michael said, is having some big difficulties right now in the hospital. We should know more details though, Suzanne and Michael, within the next few moments. State police will be holding a news conference to give us more details.

MALVEAUX: Yes, very popular figuring in Virginia.

Mark Preston, thank you so much. Of course we're going to get back to you as soon as we learn more details about that. But really tragic when you hear about this very popular guy.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes.

All right, moving on now, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter, of course, of the late President John F. Kennedy, receiving some rock star welcome in Japan. A not unusual sort of things either when you talk about Japan. Of course she's there in her new role as U.S. Ambassador. MALVEAUX: Now, President Kennedy, he actually had plans to travel there. He would have been the first U.S. president to visit Japan, but his ambitions, of course, cut short when he was assassinated. Well now, 50 years later, Caroline Kennedy is in Tokyo fulfilling the legacy and picking up where her father left off.

HOLMES: On her first day, and you can see there, she was treated to that hero's welcome. A carriage carrying her through the streets of Tokyo to meet the emperor to present her credentials. CNN's Kyung Lah was right there as it all happened.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Clutching cameras and waving, thousands of Japanese lined the streets to watch a daughter fulfill her father's sojourn.

"She's completing the mission he couldn't fulfill," says Junko Shibazaki. "This is significant here."

JFK was to be the first U.S. president to visit Japan, but he was assassinated. Fifty years later, nearly to the day of his death, his only surviving child made her way through the streets of Tokyo by horse-drawn carriage to the emperor. She passed by many in this crowd who witnessed the first-ever live TV images broadcast out of the U.S. to Japan 50 years ago, news coverage of the assassination, images of the two young Kennedy children seared into the collective Japanese memory.

"Caroline is like my friend," she says. "Of course we are in totally different worlds. But to me, she is special." This is the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for pop stars or the Japanese royal family.

LAH (on camera): Do you remember anyone ever getting this excited about a U.S. ambassador here in Japan?

LAH (voice-over): "Heck no," say the Watanabes (ph), who traveled 200 miles to be here.

And ask anyone about job qualifications -

LAH (on camera): Caroline Kennedy doesn't have a lot of diplomatic experience.

LAH (voice-over): "That doesn't matter," she says emphatically. "She can do the job."

This is a country, after all, where blood lines trump all. Why American Nancy Nichols, who lives in Japan, says this child of Camelot is royalty here.

NANCY NICHOLS, SPECTATOR: Making a full circle and closening the bonds that we have and I think it's great.

LAH: After a brief ceremony with Emperor Akihito, Ambassador Kennedy returned to her carriage to begin her path in U.S./Japan history.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.


HOLMES: A lot of fondness, as you can imagine. Caroline Kennedy actually did consider a run for Senate, if you didn't know, but it does seem she's now following in the diplomatic footsteps of her grandfather, who was ambassador to Britain.

MALVEAUX: It was interesting, you know, she was a fixture on the Obama campaign. I had a chance to interview her. And it was really, I mean, a turning point for the president because they did not go with the Clintons, they went with the Obamas at the time. They all thought, yes, this means eventually she'll have a job somewhere in the administration.


MALVEAUX: Yes, that was the speculation. We're seeing it today.

Well, many boomers, baby boomers, say that they remember where they were the day that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It's going to be 50 years ago on Friday.

HOLMES: Yes, but they may not remember the exact spot where JFK was shot, especially now that it's been paved over. Now, Dallas street - Dallas street workers are got rid of those painted white Xs that have marked the spot on Dealey Plaza Road for so many years. Nobody knows, actually, who originally painted them.

MALVEAUX: So when we asked the city what happened to the Xs, they said workers poured over asphalt to level out the streets for Friday's remembrance day. Well, recently, Dallas' mayor said that the city wants Friday's ceremony to focus on Kennedy's life, not the (INAUDIBLE) of a murder.

HOLMES: We'll turn our attention now to the Middle East. Al Qaida affiliates have apparently struck with some precision in Lebanon. Deadly attack. Blood and bodies strewn on the streets of Beirut after a double suicide bombing.

MALVEAUX: At least 23 people were killed, 146 others injured in those blasts. The back-to-back explosions happened in the front of the Iranian embassy. This was in an upscale southern section of the city. And the scene outside the embassy, you can see it there, just devastating there. Almost like a war zone. Massive flames, pillars of smoke billowing into the sky.

I want to bring in our Nick Paton Walsh in Beirut.

And simply explain to us here, what was this about, because this really is about those who are fighting a war, not only in Lebanon, but also in Syria.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Suzanne. Let me explain a bit the scene behind me. I'm standing just a few meters away from the gates of the Iranian embassy where those twin suicide bombers detonated. There's been a pretty intensive clean-up effort and you can see security measures are still in place.

But when there was light here, you could see also the facade of the nearby buildings torn off by the sheer force of the blast. The Lebanese army, in a statement, saying there were two suicide bombers, one on a motorcycle, one in a jeep detonating their devices not too far apart from each other. And some reports suggesting, in fact, that the guards outside tried to fire at these bombers as they approached.

Among the dead, we now understand from multiple media reports, the cultural (ph) attache to that embassy and a claim of responsibility from a group known as the Abdullah Azzam Brigade. Not particularly prominent here, accused of firing missiles into Israel from Lebanon, but they're quite clear, they were targeting this embassy in a bid to get the political and militant group here, Hezbollah, fighting alongside the Syrian regime across the border, to get them to pull out of the Syrian conflict. Many worried though this is another sign of the slip over of violence inside Syria falling into Lebanon and the possibility of that dragging this country into wider conflict.


HOLMES: And, Nick, what about the impact of Hezbollah on the battlefield? How much help have they been to Bashar al Assad, not just on the battlefield, I suppose, but in terms of cutting off supply roots for the rebels from Lebanon into Syria?

WALSH: Well, it's differing reports as to how widespread Hezbollah's involvement has been in the Syrian campaign. It's quite clear they lead a leading role in taking a town known as Kasar (ph). That's a vital border city to the north of Lebanon, the border there. They were pretty helpful earlier in the year in the move to retaking that. It had been heavily fought over between the regime and rebels over a substantial period of time.

There are reports of their activity across Syria all around the country in different parts of the frontline there. Sorry, you can see there's still motion behind me. This is still very much an active clean-up site.

But the key issue has been its impact inside Lebanon. There's been a lot of criticism from the Lebanese about Hezbollah's decision to be so openly involved. Their leader, Hassan Nasrallah has said they will stay alongside the Syrian regime right until the end. And the, I think, part of the background to this blast and the claim of responsibilities direct statement they want to see Nasrallah pull his forces outside Syria is about amplifying the impact that's had inside Lebanon.


HOLMES: Yes, Nick, thanks so much. Nick Paton Walsh there on the spot. And it's very worrying. Of course it was only a couple of months ago there was another bombing there too when Hezbollah went into Syria, the rebels in Syria said, if you don't get out, we'll attack you at home, which means Lebanon. The big fear, that that then fans the flames of the sectarian situation in Lebanon. Very worrying.

MALVEAUX: And - yes, absolutely.

And the White House, of course, is focusing on the region. An unrelated development involving Iran. President Obama today making a personal push for Congress to delay any sanctions against the Iranian government. Now, the president, he's been meeting today with a bipartisan group of Senate leaders and he is updating them on the international negotiations that have been taking place, trying to curb Tehran's nuclear program. The president wants lawmakers to simply give diplomacy another chance.

HOLMES: Yes, we're going to take a closer look at the diplomatic effort and the U.S. position a little later this hour. We're going to have a discussion about that.

Meanwhile, it's a royal mission for Prince Harry. Well, it would be, wouldn't it? Any mission would be royal. He's not known to shy away from a challenge. But this next one could test his strength.

MALVEAUX: He looks really cold. This is his race to the South Pole coming up.

Plus, we're going to have the latest from the tornado disaster zone. How families are returning to their homes, only to find nothing remains the same.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good Lord above was with me. All I can say is, I got three angels up there. I got my father, my grandparents. My grandma and grandpa up there, they're looking down on me. You know, they're my guardian angels today. They said, you've got to stay here and take care of your family.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

MALVEAUX: We want to go directly to a live event out of Charlottesville, Virginia. This, of course, Virginia State Police talking about the attack that took place on Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds. Let's listen in.

CORINNE GELLER, VIRGINIA STATE POLICE SPOKESPERSON: Despite efforts by troopers and first responders there at the residence, he died at the scene. The investigation obviously remains ongoing right now by the Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Salem Field Office and this -- with the assistance of the Bath County Sheriff's Office. And as I mentioned, investigators are working right now on confirming the motive and the exact sequence of events that involve these assaults at the residence. We're less than five hours into the investigation. There's still a lot of work to be done. And we'll release more details once we're at that stage where we can confirm the facts and release them at this time.

Do you have any questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there any (INAUDIBLE) any (INAUDIBLE) 911 call (INAUDIBLE) was there anyone else at the house (INAUDIBLE)?

GELLER: We're not releasing who called in the 911. We have gotten the tapes. The 911 call came into the sheriff's office originally. They notified us, which is not uncommon. When you dial 911 in Virginia, it automatically goes to the local jurisdiction. The sheriff's office contacted state police. We were able to dispatch troopers and deputies to the residence.


GELLER: At this time we're not commenting if there was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) happened this morning and (INAUDIBLE) later last night?

GELLER: No, the incident, we believe it happened this morning, shortly before the 911 call came in. We were notified at 7:25 this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reason to believe the gunshot wound was self- inflicted?

GELLER: As to the motive and the actual sequence of events, that's what's still under investigation right now, and that's we're really working to piece that together.


GELLER: At this time, no, we're not looking for any suspects at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was this the permanent residence of both the senator and his son, Gus?

GELLER: It was the permanent residence for Senator Deeds. I'm not sure about his son. I know his son lived in Millboro. He does have a Millboro address, but I'm not certain of that at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just for clarity, you identified Senator Deeds' son (inaudible).

GELLER: Yes, I'm sorry. That's the information I got was he goes by Gus, yes. It's his son.

I believe he has four children, and it's his only son, I believe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there anyone else at the house this morning?

GELLER: Actually, I don't know at this point. I don't have that information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the son have any kind of a criminal record?

GELLER: We can't comment on any kind of criminal history. State law actually prohibits that in Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us about the condition of Senator Deeds (inaudible)?

GELLER: Unfortunately, due to HIPAA prohibitions, we're not able to give of the details. He does have serious injuries. You'll have to contact the hospital to find out what they classify as his condition at this point.

His family is there at the hospital. We have state troopers at the hospital with the family, and we'll remain there to support them in any way we can and provide them with whatever assistance they need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was Senator Deeds able to say anything to troopers or first-responders as he (inaudible)?

GELLER: Yes, he has made some statements to the -- to our folks, to the investigators and so forth, but I can't comment, obviously. on what those are at this point.


GELLER: I don't know. I don't have that information.


GELLER: Again, I don't know. I just -- basically, what I've got is what I've just released.

I know you guys probably have more questions than answers at this point, but we're still very early into the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) Jim's question, whether he made statement, so he was alert at the time?

GELLER: Yes. Yes, he has been able to talk with our investigators and the troopers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that early in the morning or was that since he's been at the hospital?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great. To be clear, though, you're not seeking any other suspects?

GELLER: No, we're not seeking any suspect at this time.

Oh, yeah?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you say who made the 911 call?

GELLER: No, we're not identifying who made the 911 call. I just said it did come in originally in to the sheriff's office and then the sheriff's office dispatched their deputies, as well as contact the state police immediately, and we dispatched our troopers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it come from the home, from the residence or from another --?

GELLER: I'm not sure exactly where the 911 call was placed from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just so I'm clear, (inaudible)?

GELLER: Yes, he was located inside Senator Deeds' residence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was Senator Deeds located inside or outside?

GELLER: I'm not sure as to his exact location when troopers arrived on scene. I'm not sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you say, you know, you've only been investigating for five hours, help us to understand what sorts of questions you have to answer and why this is so tricky?

GELLER: Unfortunately, it's not like a TV show where you can have the entire case wrapped up in an hour. It's a very complex investigation, treated like any incident we respond to.

There's a substantial amount of evidence that must be collected and maintained. And, of course, that's got to be sent off to the state lab and so forth. You've got various interviews you've got to seek out. It's a very complex investigation, just like any kind of criminal investigation state police conduct. And these things do take time, so we appreciate everybody's patience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) no further information will coming out of this (inaudible)?

GELLER: Yes, we'll probably hold another press briefing later today. Hopefully, we'll have some more details that we can share with everybody.


GELLER: I don't know. I hadn't gotten that far yet. I just got through this one. I was thinking maybe 3:00. Does that work kind of good for folks and deadlines later today?


GELLER: Hopefully within three hours, I'll have some more information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)? GELLER: You know, I don't know. They flew him. It may have been flight time, distance. I don't know. The trauma capability? I don't know to be honest with you, no idea.


GELLER: I'm not sure. I know UVA has a helicopter. We don't have -- I don't know if they sent our med flight or not. I know they dispatched two helicopters to the residence, one for the son and one for the senator, but in order to fly a patient, they have to be stabilized.

And unfortunately, they could not stabilize the son well enough to fly him out. And unfortunately, he did pass away there at the scene.

So -- but they were able to fly the senator out, and they brought him here to UVA.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) previous 911 call (inaudible)?

GELLER: I don't know. I'm not sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there alcohol or drugs (inaudible)?

GELLER: I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just going back, I think you're not saying at this point whether or not the fatal wounds were self-inflicted?

GELLER: No, no.

The motive and the actual sequence of events is the real crux and the focus of the investigation for our folks today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The address of the --

GELLER: It's 26 Vineyard Drive. It's in the Millboro community of Bath County.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) surgery (inaudible)?

GELLER: I don't know. UVA would have to provide -- the hospital would have to provide you with those kinds of details.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any chance they could be giving a press conference (inaudible)?

GELLER: I don't know. I can reach out to them, see if we can get them to -- I know I've been in contact with them before I left Richmond, but we'll see if maybe they can come at 3:00 or so and give an update.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you -- do you have any eyewitnesses (inaudible)? Who are you talking to?

GELLER: We're not -- we can't release who we're talking to at this point. It's an ongoing investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there clear indications that this was an attack by his son?

GELLER: At this point, we're not confirming what the sequence or motivation may have been behind it. You know, until we can confirm the facts, we'll release them, but at this point, it's speculation. And there's still a lot of work to be done before we can get to that point.

All right, guys. Thank you.

MALVEAUX: You've been listening to Virginia state police explain the details, the tragic details, surrounding the attack on the state senator, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, and found at his home. stabbed multiple times and his son Gus, only 24-years-old, found alive, but later dying from gunshot wounds.

I want to bring our Mark Preston in. Mark, it was interesting to note that she said they weren't looking for suspects. What does that tell you?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It would lead you to believe there was some kind of altercation between Senator Creigh Deeds and his son, although she was very careful to say that they did not want to talk about the sequence of events or the motive at this time.

She noted this is an ongoing investigation. They've only been five hours into it, Suzanne, but it is interesting, the details we did just receive right now. Police were called out there early this morning. They found Senator Creigh Deeds with stab wounds to his head and his upper torso. They found the son with gunshot wounds, as well, on the scene. He was still alive when they were able to reach both men. However, the son died at the scene.

Creigh Deeds was stabilized, put on a helicopter and flown to Charlottesville where right now he has some very critical wounds and he's being treated at this point.

I have to tell you, where this occurred, Suzanne, this happened in a very far western part of Virginia, a very rural area where Senator Creigh Deeds lives.

And, in fact, the police right now are still at the scene. They're trying to piece it all together. They have been able to speak to the state senator, Creigh Deeds. He has been able to communicate with them, both at the scene and also at the hospital at this time.

Creigh Deeds a state senator here in Virginia, but known very well throughout the whole commonwealth, Creigh Deeds was the nominee, the Democratic nominee, for governor in 2009, Suzanne. A very terrible, sounds like a very, very violent scene this morning out in Bath, Virginia.

HOLMES: And politically, how widely known and how well regarded was he, or is he, in the state? And the political scene, generally?

PRESTON: Well, Creigh Deeds, you know, emerged from a very difficult primary back in 2009 to become the nominee for governor. He ended up losing to Governor Bob McDonnell, the current governor, right now. He ended up losing. However, he was always a man who was very well respected, very humble, very nice. I spoke to a family friend just about an hour ago who is devastated by the news, but said this is the type of person who you wanted in politics, somebody who cared, somebody who was giving.

But, Michael, as we're talking right now, somebody who's in hospital right now the with some very serious wounds from a very violent assault just a few hours ago.

HOLMES: Yeah, still learning details.

Mark, appreciate that. Thanks so much. Mark Preston, let us know if you hear any more.

Interesting that the senator has made statements. He's still in a critical condition according to the latest bulletin from the hospital.

MALVEAUX: And they've got a statement from William and Mary, the college where Gus Deeds, the son, attended.

And it says, "William and Mary very saddened to hear this tragic news. Gus Deeds was a member of the William and Mary community, had enrolled as a student since 2007, though not continuously. He withdrew from the college last month and was not currently enrolled at the time of his death. Our hearts go out to the entire Deeds family." That, of course, from the president of the college.

HOLMES: Yeah, all right, we'll keep an eye on any developments there.

Meanwhile, we'll take a short break. "AROUND THE WORLD" will be right back.


MALVEAUX: Rob Ford, we're talking about his new status as a mayor with no power.

Ford still has the title, but the Toronto city council stripped away most of his political powers, made sure that he really can't do anything for, or rather to, the city.

HOLMES: Yeah, we've seen the video from the meeting. You can see there, Ford's behavior pretty much turning it into a circus, again.

And as you might expect, Ford, well, he blames the council, look at him, basically calling them a bunch of hypocrites who did him wrong.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: All they did was stab me in the back and over issues, the same issues, that I've admitted to that they do, but nobody knows about it.

I'm dealing with health care professionals on a number of issues, and I just leave it at that.

Talk is cheap. Come back in five months. And if you don't see a difference, and you can say, Rob, I don't believe you. Go take a drug test or a urine test or an alcohol test. No problem.


HOLMES: Yeah, Ford's vowing to run for re-election, by the way. He does have some support out there.

But get this. He's not happy with just being mayor. He wants to be Canada's prime minister.

MALVEAUX: Right. Good luck to that.

For now, Ford's deputy mayor, Norm Kelly, pretty much in charge of the city.

And we're going to take you to Toronto. That's where our Nic Robertson is joining us.

So, you talked to the number two guy, who essentially has all of the power now. How does he explain how he deals with Ford, the mayor?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the way he explained it is this. He doesn't deal with him.

That was my first question. Have you talked to the mayor? He said, no, I'm going to let him cool down, give him a few weeks, give him a little time, then he can work jointly on his agenda, still fiscal conservatism, the deputy mayor says.

But right now, he says that if the mayor doesn't cooperate, then potentially, they can call in the province, push him out of office.


DEPUTY MAYOR NORMAN KELLY, TORONTO: What could happen in the end, if he continues to get in the way of good government, if he continues to bring the government of Toronto in disrepute, then we may finally in the end have to fall back on the province --