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Video Shows First Pics Of U.S. Sons Born In Captivity; Grandparents: U.S. Boys Think Captivity Is A Game; Soon: Lawmakers Debate Repeal Of "Bathroom Law"; College Football Star: "It Felt Like A Dude Hit Me"; Bana Alabed Meets Turkey's President In Ankara; Rocker Richard Marx Helps Subdue Unruly Passenger. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired December 21, 2016 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. "Save them from their nightmare," that's the plea from an American-Canadian family that has been held hostage for almost five years now. Kaitlin Coleman, a U.S. citizen from Pennsylvania, was actually pregnant when she and her husband, Joshua Boyle, were taken hostage by the Taliban back in 2012.

Now the Taliban's media network has released a new video showing for the first time not just the couple but their two little boys. Their faces soiled with dirt. We will not here at CNN play the audio of this video as their appeals were made under duress.

But I can tell you that in it you hear Coleman, who is covered by a veil begging both President Obama and President-elect Trump to help them. The video is the first time Boyle's parents have seen their grandsons and today the grandparents released a statement and I want to read part of it for you.

They say "It is an indescribable emotional sense one has watching a grandson making faces at the camera while hearing our son's leg chains clanging up and down on the floor as he tries to settle his son. It's unbelievable that they have had to shield their sons from the horrible reality for four years."

With me now, someone who's been held hostage by the Taliban as a "New York Times" reporter in 2008, David Rohde, was kidnapped by the hardline Islamist group. He managed to escape after seven months in captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. David, nice to see you.


BALDWIN: It's obviously -- first of all in one sense I can't imagine being a grandparent and seeing my grand kid for the first time like this. Second of all, it was even John Kirby who said it was reprehensible that they would have put the kids in the video. Just knowing the Taliban as you have, how would the kids be treated?

ROHDE: I obviously have a bias in this because of my own captivity. It's appalling these two kids, they appear to be four and roughly two are being held captive, it's extraordinary. I think they're treating the kids well, though. Their faces are dirty, but they appear to be well fed and it's -- this is a clear strategy to keep them alive.

They don't really necessarily care about their lives, but they want to keep the children alive, keep the parents alive so that they can get the best deal possible. I had a doctor come see me when I was sick at times. I was given shots at times by my guards and we want to keep you going long enough so we can get the best price for you.

BALDWIN: They want to keep you healthy because they want something out of this, potential exchange or what have you. Why, though, include the children in the video?

ROHDE: I think it's a push now for some kind of a deal. Maybe there's an appeal to President Obama, maybe he will make a deal before he leaves office and then to President-elect Trump. So I think this is a sign by the Taliban, these captors are alive and they might want to do a deal now.

BALDWIN: What would the conditions even be? I know every person's situation is different but to have a -- initially in 2012, a pregnant woman give birth twice. What would the conditions be for her?

ROHDE: So they're probably held in the mountains of Pakistan, it's a tribal area. I was held there for seven months, Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier was held for five years, also held in the same part of Pakistan.

[15:35:08]And it's a real problem that Pakistan doesn't try to get control of this area, but women give birth there. There are towns. There are midwives.

BALDWIN: There are no obstetricians so what do you have?

ROHDE: Again, this is how the local women are forced to live. There was a very high maternal death rate during birth. It's dropped a lot in Afghanistan since 2001, but she clearly has survived this. There might have been a midwife. They would want her to survive the deliveries so again they could sell her for a higher price.

BALDWIN: Just last question. We know that they made this plea both to the current president and the next president. What would your message be to the grandparents, sitting at home seeing their grandkids for the first time, would they be receiving help? What would you say to them?

ROHDE: I think they will -- I have talked to one relative of one of the captives, but they've asked me to keep that private. They will keep them alive because they are valuable. And so they should rest assured with that but, you know, that I clearly want a prisoner exchange, there was an exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, that was denounced by Republicans.

Donald Trump will be the new president. Would he do a prisoner exchange? That's not very clear. There's two senior Taliban captives they want in Kabul to be released for this family and there are reports of other prisoners being held, other Americans in the tribal areas also.

That's what they're looking for. What will Obama or Trump do? It's not in the hands of the family.

BALDWIN: David, thank you.

ROHDE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: David Rohde.

Right now, in North Carolina, lawmakers are getting to vote on a bill that would repeal the controversial HB-2 law also known as the quote/unquote "bathroom bill." Critics say this new version doesn't go far enough. We are live in Raleigh, North Carolina, next.



BALDWIN: There's still no vote in North Carolina where state lawmakers are supposed to vote on repealing the controversial HB-2, what you probably know as the bathroom law. This legislation requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender at birth.

State lawmakers are handing the matter in a special session. It follows the Charlotte City Council's vote to fully repeal the city's non-discrimination ordnance. Opponents say HB-2 discriminates against LGBTQ community and has cost the state millions of dollars.


CHRIS SGRO (D), NORTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE: You know, unfortunately, $650 million, thousands of jobs, tons of discrimination later we are here too late, but we've got get it done now. So what I know is that people in both parties have recognized, especially Republicans that we can't move forward as a state until this is gone from our books.

We're not winning ACC tournament games back. We're not bringing Paypal back. Bruce Springsteen is not coming back to North Carolina until House Bill 2 has been repealed.


BALDWIN: Now the bill supporters say it is -- they say it's law, it should not be repealed. CNN's Nick Valencia is outside the statehouse. We know no vote but State Republicans have filed a new version, tell me about that.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This day started off with drama and there's been no shortage of drama throughout the day, Brooke. It was a short time ago that Senate Bill 4 was introduced to the legislature by Republican leadership. Senate Bill 4 called on the surface "Repeal HB2." But according to State Democrats it does anything but. It puts a six- month moratorium on non-discrimination revisions meaning that this repeal won't happen for another six months. That extension could keep going and going, which is why State Democrats are unsatisfied with this.

I just spoke to Representative Chris Sgro, who just heard from there, who says that Democrats will not support this bill. He started off this morning and a lot of people in this state optimistic about a chance, a prospect at a full repeal of House Bill 2, the so-called "bathroom bill." Right now that optimism is basically non-existent -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Tell me about the lawmaker who you talked to who denounced this whole special session as essentially unconstitutional.

VALENCIA: So I mentioned this morning, it started off dramatic. It started off a special session in the House with a representative standing up in protest to the special session saying that it was unconstitutional at its very core, there was no extraordinary event that led them to having this special session called which is why he said it should be null and void.

They've had a lot of recess today. In and out of recess, hours upon hours of caucusing and recess. It was at the first recess I caught up with Jeff Collins and asked him about why he was protesting this bill.


VALENCIA: I wanted to see what the reasoning was behind your protest.

JEFF COLLINS (R), NORTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE: I gave my reason and said what I meant.

VALENCIA: You don't think this is constitutional?

COLLINS: It's not. There's been no extraordinary occurrence.

VALENCIA: And the response by Paul Stam who is a figure head here, did that change your mind at all?

COLLINS: No, he just said he thought the rules were fine, which I agree. But we're here unconstitutionally.

VALENCIA: Are you planning on voting no against the repeal?

COLLINS: I'm planning on voting no on anything that's done here because it's all unconstitutional.



VALENCIA: It was reported that earlier this week the leadership in both the Republican side and the Democratic side brokered a deal. If the Democrats were able to get the city council in Charlotte to rescind their ordnance, which is how this all started, Brooke, in February. Then it would clear the way and any obstacles for a full repeal of House Bill 2.

It doesn't seem like that will happen any time soon. The anticipation was that a vote for House Bill 2 repeal was going happen by midday and we're still waiting -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, we continue to wait. Nick Valencia, thank you so much in Raleigh.

Next, caught on camera, surveillance video of a University of Oklahoma football player -- this is tough to watch. He is punching a woman in the face and for the first time we are hearing what he told police during the investigation. What his team is now saying.



BALDWIN: For the first time, we are hearing Oklahoma University star running back, Joe Mixon, tell his side about what he says happened on the night in 2014 when he was captured on surveillance video punching a woman inside this bar. So his interview with police investigators just after the assault has been released. He says the woman was the aggressor.

CNN's Ed Lavandera joins me now with some sound from that interview. How does he say she is the aggressor?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the video is really tough to watch.

BALDWIN: It's tough to watch.

LAVANDERA: According to Mixon, he says that there was an altercation argument that started outside where Miss Molitor blew smoke in his face and the altercation moved inside and Mixon says that one of the woman's friends used a racial slur against him, the "n" word and then she pushed him, slapped him.

And that's when he delivered the incredibly tough blow to her that knocked her down instantly, slamming her head into a table, her face was broken, had multiple bones broken in her face. There are multiple videos that even though this incident happened back in 2014, the videos are just now emerging.

They've been part of a focal point of a lawsuit, some other legal matters as well, but just a few days ago, these videos have been released and one of those videos includes the interrogation, the interview that Mixon gave to police days after this incident. He explains what happened.


JOE MIXON, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL PLAYER ACCUSED OF PUNCHING WOMAN: She swung on me, and after I was so shocked because she hit me so hard. It felt like a dude hit me because after that, like boom. Even though she pushed me, I didn't think she was going to hit me.

And even though she hit me like how she hit me I was so shocked because she hit me so hard, it felt like really like a dude hitting me and then, like, my face just started ringing and that, like, it was just like a reaction.


LAVANDERA: So it felt like a dude hit me is what he said. Mixon did not serve jail time for this. He was put -- he was charged with a misdemeanor and served a year's probation -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll leave it there. Ed, thank you. Ed Lavandera.

To Syria now, where you have state media saying the evacuations from Eastern Aleppo have restarted after a delay. The Red Cross says all those in need of hospital attention have -- are out. But snow has been following -- falling and people are struggling to keep warm.

One of those evacuated over the weekend was a 7-year-old Bana Alabed, whose tweets from inside Eastern Aleppo were shared around the world. Earlier she was a guest in the presidential palace of Turkish President Erdogan.

[15:50:10]Muhammad Lila tells her story.


MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the latest footage of 7-year-old Bana Alabed, not in war-torn Syria, but in Turkey's presidential palace in a carefully managed photo op with President Erdogan, with the camera lens snapping away. Bana wearing new clothes smiles, kissing Erdogan on the cheek. He in turn kisses her hand. Later, as she and her brother sit on Erdogan lap, she looks to Erdogan and says --

BANA ALABED: I would like to thank you for (inaudible) Aleppo and helped us to get out. I love you.

LILA: The opulence of the presidential palace is a stark contrast to the dooms day scenario she and her mother had been warning about on Twitter for weeks. Living in an area controlled by the armed opposition, an area bombarded almost daily by air strikes and artillery.

Her family somehow managed to get an internet connection. Her mother tweeting several times that each tweet would be their last. But the tweets weren't their last. As the evacuations were under way, photos of young Bana surfaced smiling at a refugee camp run by a Turkish religious charity in Northern Syria.

At one point her mother tweeted directly to Turkey's president and foreign minister, saying, "Please, please, please, make the ceasefire work and get us out now."

Turkey's Foreign Ministry told reporters they were making special arrangements specifically for Bana and her family to be whisked out of Syria and straight to Turkey's capital, Ankara.

Many praised Bana and her family for offering a daring glimpse into the harsh realities of living through a devastating war. Critics accused armed rebels of exploiting her to further a conflict that's killed hundreds of thousands of people on both sides.

Today Bana's only tweets were these, the official government photos of her smiling and safe. Muhammad Lila from along the Turkish-Syrian border, CNN.


BALDWIN: Muhammad, thank you so much.

Coming up next, you knew him, you loved him in the '90s. Richard Marx comes to the rescue of some flight attendants. What he did, along with his wife, when a passenger on that plane got a tad unruly.




BALDWIN: That takes me back to school dances. Richard Marx, guys, one of the '80s, '90s rockers, "Right There Waiting," "Now and Forever," right? Richard Marx is making news for a totally different reason when a fellow passenger on the plane got unruly. He did something about it.

The trouble started when a man reportedly began pushing flight attendants and pulling their hair, OK? This is when Richard Marx and other travelers leapt into action, tied him up with a rope. Marx's wife -- he's married to former MTV VJ Daisy Fuentes. She posted photos online.

So Chloe Melas is with me, our CNN entertainment reporter, to walk me through, what happened?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Interesting tidbits here between Richard, Daisy and the unruly passenger and the rope. Where did he find the rope? The good thing is, Brooke, nobody was hurt. This took place over the course of the entire duration of the flight from Hanoi to Seoul. It was almost a four-hour flight.

You can imagine as a passenger on that airplane that you would be totally stressed out and worried and nervous. That's what Daisy and her husband said on social media. This was totally distressing. They did everything they could. They tied the passenger up several times. He kept breaking free from the restraints.

BALDWIN: The taser guns weren't --

MELAS: He said the flight attendants had taser guns, but they didn't know how to use them. They ripped the airplane apart. They said the Korean Air did not do a good job and that they should have been more prepared for a situation like this.

BALDWIN: What has the airline then said in response?

MELAS: Brooke, the airline came out and gave a statement saying, look, as soon as the plane landed authorities came on board and they took the man off. They decided that he was intoxicated. They defended the flight attendants and said they did everything that they could.

And that they didn't want to use the tasers, not that they didn't know, but because they didn't want to hurt the other passengers who were near them. Not really sure if that's true or not, but at least nobody was hurt.

WHITFIELD: For the record because I looked. Richard Marx is still on tour. He's got some new tour dates next year.

MELAS: He was performing in Hanoi, right?

BALDWIN: And vacationing in Vietnam and on his way to L.A. Chloe, thank you. Nice to have you on.

It has been more than two weeks since cancer took the life of a jeopardy champion but her winning streak is still ongoing. Cindy Stowell began taping her appearances on the game show over the summer after telling a producer she wanted to compete but only had about six months to live. She told them, but last night, she won, for the sixth straight time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over to our champion, Cindy. She had 13,600. She wrote down, Maryland. That is right and it will add 10,201, giving you a one dollar lead as we come to Julia Kite, who was very impressive. Did she come up with Maryland? No. Ohio.

Did you lose a lot, 5,000, you'll finish in second place. But Cindy, congratulations, young lady, you are now a six-day champion with 108,303. You get to play tomorrow. I'll look for you then.


BALDWIN: How about that. Cindy and her boyfriend actually kept the outcome of her Jeopardy winning streak secret. So even her friends and family have been watching it play out on TV.


JASON HESS, CINDY STOWELL'S BOYFRIEND: When the lights were on, I think, call it a surge of adrenaline or what, she was able to sort of fight through all that was going on and, you know, I -- it still is pretty amazing to me because she was fairly -- she was not doing well the day before and was, you know, understandably worn out and exhausted right afterwards. But she did great when it came time to present.


BALDWIN: She has won more than $100,000 which will go to a cancer charity. Good for her. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. "THE LEAD" starts now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Brooke. They had him and they let him go. THE LEAD starts right now.