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A Former U.S. Government Official`s Guilty Plea; Tax Bill in the U.S. Senate; CNN Reporters` Impressions of a Slave Auction; Last Night`s Supermoon
Aired December 4, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: This week, CNN`s down to the middle coverage starts with a pair of political stories out of Washington, D.C.
First on Friday, a former U.S. national security adviser pled guilty to lying to government investigators. His name is Michael Flynn. He`s a
retired lieutenant general with the U.S. army and an expert in military intelligence. Last year, he worked as an adviser on candidate Donald
Trump`s political campaign and he served as president Trump`s national security adviser early this year.
But Flynn resigned after less than a month on the job. The reason? In December 2016, he had several phone conversations with an ambassador from
Russia. U.S. prosecutors say Flynn discussed sanctions, economic penalties that the Obama administration had placed on Russia. It`s illegal for an
unauthorized private American citizen to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the U.S.
And because President-elect Trump had not taken office yet, and Flynn was not yet U.S. national security adviser, he`d been suspected of breaking
that law. Flynn initially told investigators that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But after months of investigation
by the FBI, Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of making false statements to U.S. investigators.
A special counsel if investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Flynn is the first person who served inside
President Trump`s administration to be implicated. The White House says that Flynn`s plea only indicates that he himself did something wrong.
Flynn`s agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
Second story out of Washington broke in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Republicans in Congress took another big step toward a major overhaul of
the U.S. tax code. The Senate passed a tax reform bill at 2:00 a.m. Fifty-one Republicans voted for it. One Republican and 48 Democrats voted
Like the bill that the House of Representatives passed in November, the Senate legislation would reduce taxes for most Americans and decrease the
taxes that businesses pay on their profits. Unlike the House bill, the Senate version would keep seven different income tax brackets, though it
would change their rates. It would allow teachers who used their own money for classroom supplies to deduct more from their taxes and it would take
away the Obamacare law that requires Americans to buy health insurance.
Critics are concerned that the bill would increase the deficit. For decades, the government has spent significantly more money than it collects
through taxes. Those who opposed the bill say reducing taxes would further increase that deficit. Supporters of the bill say it will help the U.S.
economy grow enough to offset that.
What happens next? Both bills have to be reconciled to a single piece of legislation that has to pass in the House and Senate. If it does, it will
head to the Republican president`s desk for signature. President Trump`s hoping to have that done by Christmas.
On November 15th, we brought you an in-depth report on modern day slavery. CNN correspondent Nima Elbagir traveled with the production crew to the
North African nation of Libya. There, they witnessed a slave auction taking place. And today, we have their impressions of what they thought
and felt as they uncovered an astounding and disturbing event.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Once we arrived in Tripoli, it was essentially a wishing game. We knew that there were a
number of these auctions going on in a variety of different locations and we knew that they happened once or twice a month.
It was I think probably the longest few days -- among the longest few days of life, wishing to hear whether this was actually happening.
We needed to push to try and get access to those people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: There are one to two of these auctions every month and that there is one happening in the next few hours. So, we`re going to --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: I don`t honestly know what I was expecting going in. I think I couldn`t figure out how you could mentally process selling of the human
beings and then when I heard, when we heard them speaking about these people that they were selling as merchandise, it made sense because you
need a certain degree of cognitive dissonance. You have to dehumanize someone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELBAGIR: Finally, it`s time to move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We still have a job to do, so it distracts you a bit from what you just witnessed. But when we were actually sitting there
watching the auction, it felt like everything was going in very, very slow motion.
ELBAGIR: There were all the things that we knew we needed to hit as journalists, getting hint to use the word auction on our audio to confirm
that it`s an auction. Getting to the auction and to confirm that they had sold 12 people on that night, having all of that as evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember being outside in the Treeq Alsika (ph) detention center. And when I went around the corner, and there was this
massive room and the front was open to the elements, and ostensibly, it was a cage, right? It was wired cage and people were looking at you from the
And I remember thinking, you know, if there was a single gorilla in there, people would think, how sad, he hasn`t gotten a lot of room. And it turns
out there were over a thousand people in there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day in an environment like that, not being able to take a good shower, sitting there and not having the food you need,
being thirsty. So, every hour counts. Leaving them behind in an enclosed space like that and not being able to help because you can`t help one of
them. You`d have to help all thousand plus within that because you can`t just go to a few people and be like how can I help you? You really need to
help them all.
ELBAGIR: There was point where Alex and I were interviewing Victory, the 21-year-old who`d been enslaved, and I was overwhelmed because Victory was
His dream was to be a designer. He wants to come to Italy and work as stylist and maybe one day work with Dolce & Gabbana, and it was such
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why not? Because he`s African?
ELBAGIR: And why not? Exactly.
I think this is the first story in a long time where I had nightmares. There was just something really fundamentally heartbreaking about people --
people`s dreams being exploited in that way. I think we were all thinking that, you know, we just hoped we can do justice to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
What do Hyperion, Proteus, and Puck all have in common?
Are they all comets, elements, moons, or Shakespeare characters?
The one thing all these objects have in common is that they`re moons of different planets. Ours, of course, is just the moon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Many of the moon`s nicknames date back to the early Native Americans. They named each full moon in every month to
help them keep track of their planting and harvesting schedule.
SUBTITLE: What`s in a moon`s name?
GRAY: The full name in April is known as the Pink Moon, signaling the first appearance of the wild ground phlox, one of the earliest spring
When you have two full moons in a calendar month, the second one is called the Blue Moon.
One of the more notable moons, the Harvest Moon in October, also known as the Hunter`s Moon or the Blood Moon. This is when the leaves are falling
off the trees and the animals are fat. So, this signaled to tribes it was time to hunt all they could to get them to that long winter.
And another thing to note is that the moon does not appear pink during the Pink Moon, red during the Blood Moon, or blue during the Blue Moon. The
only thing that can really alter the way we see the moon is if there`s a lot of dust, haze, ash or smoke in the atmosphere, the moon can sometimes
have an orange or red glow.
AZUZ: Well, if you thought our moon looked a little bigger and brighter last night than usual, it`s because it was. It was a supermoon, the only
visible one of 2017. And it made our planet`s natural satellite looked 16 percent brighter and 7 percent bigger than it normally does.
Now for some science, the moon`s orbit around the earth is not a perfect circle and when the moon`s at perigee, it`s close point, and when it`s
full, it`s considered a supermoon. This happens at new moons, too, but you can`t see those.
Don`t shed a tear if you missed last night`s supermoon. Two more of them are expected in January.
AZUZ: For "10 Out of 10", implosion failed. Now, we`re not talking about the bus that infamously blocked the Weather Channel`s view of the Georgia
Dome`s demise. For the Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan, the views were pretty good. But, well, nothing happened -- at least not yet.
Construction officials say explosives succeeded in breaking the steel beams around the superdome`s upper ring and they say it will collapse, they just
don`t know when.
It seems the Silverdome is able to stand up for itself. It`s got a spine of steel, it should be beaming with pride. May not be the last dome
standing, but when an arena is no longer considered venuseful, it steadied up to something amazing when it refuses to cave under heavy pressure.
I`m Carl Azuz. Hope to see you tomorrow.