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Protests Erupt As Autopsy Contradicts Police Account; Police Release Profanity-Laced Video Of Alton Sterling Killing; Trump Breaks Twitter Silence Slams Amazon (Again); Calls For EPA Chief To Resign Over Rental Deal With Lobbyist. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired March 31, 2018 - 12:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And Ryan, you know I've been walking around in San Antonio. All the fan bases are definitely represented here. I'll tell you what, the sentimental favorite is definitely Loyola and Sister Jean.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, probably not a surprise at all. Andy Scholes, thank you very much.

We have much more ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now.

Hello, thank you for joining me. I'm Ryan Nobles in today for Fredricka Whitfield.

Right now, outrage growing over two high-profile deadly police shootings. Protesters are expected for another day in Sacramento after an independent autopsy reveals an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, was shot eight times by police. His family demanding answers.

And in the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Louisiana, a graphic disturbing body camera video laced with profanity was just released. It shows an officer threatening to shoot Sterling within seconds of arriving at the scene. Sterling's family now begging for a national conversation on black men dying at the hands of law enforcement.

And CNN has team coverage. Ryan Young, live from Sacramento, Kaylee Hartung live from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and we'll be joined by CNN law enforcement analyst, Charles Ramsey to break all of this down.

But up first, let's check in with Ryan Young from Sacramento. Ryan, another day of protests expected. Tell us what it's like there.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, we are preparing right now for another protest to start here. You look behind me. There's a stage that's getting ready to be set. This could be the protest over the last few days. Of course, protesters making news here in the city because for several times they blocked the entrance to the NBA games here. That has stopped over the last few days.

There's a lot larger conversation going on in this community with how protesters can also walk around but not sort of interfere with the businesses that have been happening downtown. We saw last night's protest get started pretty late. By the time they started marching, most of the businesses downtown were shut down.

I can say this, they are passionate about the cause here especially after the independent autopsy. We are told that Stephon Clark, by the lawyers his family has hired, was probably shot for the first time on his side and then turned his body and was hit six more times in the back. One more time in the leg.

That had people in the crowd very upset. We could hear people saying murder, murder, murder. When you think about this father of two, the 22-year-old in the back of that house, so many people have wondered if the police narrative would stick.

Well, the lawyers for the family are saying they don't believe he was charging towards officers when he was shot. If any one of those wounds according to the pathologist would have been a fatal wound. And he sat there for several minutes before he got help.

So that conversation now is exploding sometimes on streets with people being very passionate about the fact they want to see things change here. When they talked to the Sacramento Police Department in terms of just how their reaction to this independent autopsy, they have said they will not come back point by point just yet until this investigation is over -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right, Ryan Young, live in Sacramento, thank you for that report.

Now to Alton Sterling's death in 2016. It also sparked similar protests. Let's check in now with Kaylee Hartung, live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kaylee, some disturbing new body camera footage of Sterling's death was just released. What are you learning?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, it was cell phone video shot by bystanders on July 5th, 2016 that became public very quickly after that incident. That helped spark those protests that summer. But what we're seeing now, video from both officers' body cams as well as surveillance video from the convenience store that night, it's giving us a more complete picture of what happened. I want to remind you again this video is graphic.


HARTUNG (voice-over): Graphic and disturbing new video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I do? What I do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't (inaudible) move. I'll shoot your (inaudible). Put your (inaudible) hands on the car.

HARTUNG: Showing the controversial shooting death of Alton Sterling in July 2016. The Baton Rouge chief of police announcing Officer Blane Salimoni, who shot Sterling six times during a struggle with him, will be fired over his actions. CHIEF MURPHY PAUL, BATON ROUGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: The violation of command of temper has been sustained. Officer Blane Salimoni has been terminated from the Baton Rouge Police Department effective today.

HARTUNG: This week, Salimoni refused to answer any questions. During a disciplinary hearing, the chief said, while Howie Lake, the other officer involved, answered them all. Lake, who the chief said, made mistakes but controlled his temper during the encounter was given a three-day unpaid suspension.

PAUL: Two different perspectives, and one officer did not follow the tactics training, professionalism, and organizational standards.

HARTUNG: The police chief making it clear their administrative investigation was separate from the federal criminal charges both officers were already cleared of. The police department released four videos from the night of the shooting, including this surveillance footage from the Triple-S Convenience Store.

[12:05:10] That's Sterling at the front of the store, sitting at a table where he's selling CDs. Minutes into the tape, he's seen conducting a transaction with an unidentified man. Here he removes what appears to be a gun from his front pocket followed by money from the same pocket.

Within seconds, Sterling is seen jokingly making a shooting motion towards the man. That night police were initially called to the Triple-S Convenience Store responding to a 911 call from a witness who saw a man with a gun. Watch closely as things escalate quickly. From Salimoni's perspective, you can see a brief struggle, then his gun is trained on Sterling's head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to shoot you in your (inaudible) head. You hear me? Don't you (inaudible) move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hold up. Hold up. You're hurting my arm.

HARTUNG: Sterling then was pinned to the ground and tased twice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground! Get on the ground!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pop him again, Howie!

HARTUNG: Before being fatally shot. Previously released cell phone videos recorded by bystanders show at this point in the encounter Salimoni believed Sterling was armed. A gun was recovered from Sterling's body. But the federal and state investigations determined that the officer's actions were reasonable and couldn't prove that Sterling wasn't reaching for a gun.


HARTUNG: Blane Salamoni's attorney tells me they will appeal the police chief's decision to fire him as a matter of principle more than anything else. As this new video circulates, Alton Sterling's family is trying to keep his five children from seeing it. The family's attorney says what's most disrespectful in this video is how you can hear the officers cussing over Alton Sterling's body, calling him names as he laid bleeding and dying -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Kaylee Hartung live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kaylee, thank you. All right. Let's talk about this now. I'm joined by CNN law enforcement analyst, former D.C. police chief and Philadelphia police commissioner, Charles Ramsey.

Charles, the independent autopsy results for Stephon Clark seem to contradict what police say happened. It says the officer shot Clark eight times. Six times in the back. What's your reaction to those findings?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, clearly, it's troubling. It's going to be important that they conclude this investigation as quickly as possible. It will be interesting to see how it matches up with the county medical examiner's report. I have no doubt it will match.

But you need all pieces of evidence before you can draw any conclusion. This is a case where you have body camera. You have the thermal imaging from the helicopter. You've got witness statements from the police officers. So, all these things have to come together, but the forensic evidence needs to match up with the officer's statements.

NOBLES: You mentioned body cameras and the officers involved actually muted their cameras after the shooting. That's raising a lot of red flags. Even Sacramento's police chief says it builds suspicion. As a former officer, how critical is it, especially early in the investigation, to establish trust with the community?

RAMSEY: Well, you got to have trust and muting the camera certainly doesn't move you in that direction. It was just -- I don't know why they would do something like that. But that's also a clue, now, for police chiefs across the country to check their policies around body wearing cameras to make sure if you're involved in any use of force, any level use of force, you do not turn off video, you do not turn off audio at all under any circumstances. That was not a good thing for them to do at all.

NOBLES: Speaking of video, there's new video out in the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge. It shows that within seconds of confrontation, one officer can be heard threatening Sterling. From what you've seen from this video, what stands out to you?

RAMSEY: Well, listen, first of all, I would have fired him too, so I think the chief did absolutely the right thing. I mean, we train and teach officers how to deescalate a situation and now you've got a guy that escalated the situation. You don't point guns at people, threatening to blow their heads off and all that. That is just flat- out wrong. He should have been fired. He should never be a police officer anywhere else in the United States.

NOBLES: Do you think it took too long for the Baton Rouge Police Department to respond to this? It took two years to discipline Blane Salamoni. It took a year and a half for this video to be released. Now the other officer involved, Howie Lake, has also been suspended for three days without pay. Should it have taken so long for this discipline to be handed down?

RAMSEY: You know, that's a problem in a lot of internal investigations. I don't know the particulars around this one, but obviously two years is a long time. Too long especially when you have something as controversial as this. In some departments, when you have a case like that, where there's a potential for criminal charges, and you turn it over to state's attorney, prosecutor happens to be.

You got to wait for them to come back and make a decision as to whether or not they are going to decline and prosecute or whatever before you can move forward administratively. That creates a problem. We've got to be able to deal with these things. The video, for example, being released.

[12:10:09] I mean, bad news does not improve with age. If you've got something controversial, get it out there, and continue your investigation. That's just a long time. It destroys trust.

NOBLES: Right. To your point, hopefully, police chiefs around the country are paying attention to what's happening in both of these cases and policies can be addressed. Charles Ramsey, we appreciate you being here, thank you.

Next, the president relatively quiet on Twitter until now. President Trump unleashing a tack after attack, but it's what he's not tweeting about that's raising some eyebrows. We'll discuss it all next.


NOBLES: After a period of relative quiet from the president, Donald Trump is lashing out at Amazon again. Criticizing the company's business practices and tax payments tweeting, quote, "The U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to billions of dollars."

[12:15:08] He then added, "If the P.O.," meaning Post Office, "increased its parcel rate, Amazon's shipping costs would rise by $2.6 million. This post office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs, and in parenthesis, and taxes now."

CNN White House correspondent, Abby Phillip, traveling with the president. Abby, there isn't -- these tweets are not exactly 100 percent accurate. There's a lot of things the president could be talking about this morning.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, it's been a relatively quiet period. Even while he's down here in Florida playing golf, the president is clearly willing to continue his feud with Amazon on Twitter.

He's been talking about this for several months now. But in the last week, some reports have come out about some private conversations the president was having with his friends and advisers about Amazon in which he complains that Amazon was cheating the American taxpayer, cheating the postal service and not paying state and local taxes.

He also worried about the effect that the company was having on brick and mortar businesses with its online business model. But the underlying critique that the president made this morning in his tweets were actually about the "Washington Post," which isn't owned by Amazon but is owned by Jeff Bezos, who is the CEO of Amazon.

Jeff Bezos bought the paper with his personal money, but the president called it the fake "Washington Post" and accused it of being the lobbying arm of Amazon. As you mentioned, lots of factual problems with the president's tweets including that the postal service has defended its relationship with Amazon, saying it does charge Amazon a lower rate like it does with a lot of other large shippers.

Because they ship a lot of packages through the postal service and that arrangement they have said it mutually beneficial. Amazon pays sales taxes on its sales that it does online. Third-party sellers who used Amazon as a platform do not, but for the most part, Amazon does pay taxes.

So, the president here is having some issues with the facts but also is really going after Amazon and really "The Washington Post," in part for publishing stories he doesn't like.

NOBLES: The president, we know, on the golf course right now, but he also sent out another tweet before he headed over there taking shots at California's governor today. What did he say about that?

PHILLIP: Yes, these issues don't really seem to be all that related but he's talking about Jerry Brown, the governor of California, who he has been also feuding with for several months over the issue of illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities. Jerry Brown this week pardoned five illegal immigrants who Brown said had been convicted of these crimes many, many years ago and had turned their lives around.

He gave them clemency from their sentences and the president called that out, accusing him of letting loose bad individuals back into California's society. He's highlighted kidnapping and robbery, badly beating wives, and threatening crime with intent to terrorize, dealing drugs.

The president says, "is this really what the great people of California want." The president was watching clearly some coverage of this on Fox News this morning, who had done a segment about it just before he started tweeting.

But obviously, this is an issue he talked about for quite some time. He's willing to go after California. He doesn't want California to get away with defying the federal government by making the state essentially a sanctuary state. President Trump also made his weekly address this week a little bit about the subject of sanctuary cities -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Abby Phillip live in Palm Beach, Florida. Abby, thank you for joining us.

Up next, a potential serious conflict of interest and questions over the use of taxpayer money has EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's future in Washington in doubt. We'll explain why next.



NOBLES: A member of President Trump's cabinet is facing backlash. This time it's EPA Head Scott Pruitt under fire for how he's spending taxpayer dollars. Sources tell CNN that senior White House aides are frustrated that Pruitt has been renting a condo in Washington from the family of an energy lobbyist. CNN's Rene Marsh has the details.


RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two days after firing one cabinet secretary, the White House is growing increasingly frustrated with another cabinet member, sources tell CNN. The focus now on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt following two damning stories in less than a day.

First -- CNN reporting that Pruitt went to the Rose Bowl, the college football semifinal featuring his home team, the Oklahoma Sooners.

SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: The best game in college football all year long.

MARSH: Then took his family to Disneyland. Both personal trips with his EPA security detail in tow. Pruitt also used that security for trips home to Tulsa, Oklahoma. All that accord to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, after the Democrat said he viewed documents that backed up the claim. Whitehouse has been a fierce critic of Pruitt since his nomination to the EPA.

SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: This God-awful nominee. Clearly, this is an epic ram job.

MARSH: Senator Whitehouse recently sent a letter to the EPA's inspector general laying out the new details about Pruitt's round the clock security detail. The letter which CNN reviewed raises questions about the cost of Pruitt's unprecedented EPA funded security.

NORM EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Let him go on vacation. If he wants to go to Disneyland, put on a baseball cap and some sunglasses, nobody knows who he is. He's not that famous.

[12:25:06] MARSH: The EPA tells CNN because of the unprecedented number of threats Administrator Pruitt follows the same security protocol whether he's in his personal or official capacity. Pruitt is also facing scrutiny over the condo he lived in when he moved to Washington.

ABC news first reported that Pruitt has been renting a condo at this Capitol Hill property, which CNN confirms it owned by the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist, whose firm represent a long list of companies that are regulated by the EPA.

"Bloomberg News" reports that Pruitt's arrangement allowed him to only pay $50 for the nights he actually slept there for a total of $6,100 over six months, well below market value.

EISEN: It appears to be an impermissible gift. Here's why it matters because the owner of this condo is married to a lobbyist who seemingly has business through his firm, the lobbying firm, important client interests at the EPA.


MARSH: The EPA does have an Ethics Council to consult with over issues like this. I spoke with an EPA official with direct knowledge of this situation who says this was not an ethics issue and the condo was not considered a gift because Pruitt paid value for it in the form of rent.

The source added that the landlord was a friend of Pruitt's and the law does not, quote, "ban federal employees from receiving a gift from a friend." Now, we spoke with several ethics experts who actually disagree with this line of thinking especially considering that Pruitt paid below market value for the condo.

We should also point out that CNN did some research and found that Pruitt's landlords, they also were political donors. Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.

NOBLES: All right, Rene, thank you. Joining me now to discuss this, Amy Kremer, the co-chair of Women Vote Trump, and Josh Schwerin, former national spokesman for Hillary Clinton. Amy, let's start with you.

I mean, you saw that report from Rene on the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Is this overblown or is this something that he should be held to account for? Should he step down from his post as a result of this?

AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP: I think he should be held accountable for his actions. I think everyone in Washington should. It's been turned over to the IG at the EPA and the IG I'm sure will get to the bottom of it.

But, you know, President Trump promised to drain the swamp and that goes for both Democrats and Republicans. We have seen already what happened with Tom Price. Trey Gowdy who is a Republican congressman, has already asked for all of Pruitt's travel records I believe.

So, there's already been an investigation going into this. There's two things, one, the issue of security and two, the issue of the condo. The condo from my understanding is just renting a room for nights he's there. If he were to rent that condo or whatever it is, the townhouse for an entire month, that would be $1,500 a month.

I guess you could look at it as he's either staying in the condo at 50 bucks a night or he could go get a hotel because we all know the cost of hotels are astronomical in D.C., 300 bucks a night.

As far as the security goes, I know what kind of attacks or I have somewhat of an idea because I will get mean and hate stuff from just being on here. What our elected go through and what cabinet secretaries go through, you know, I'm not going to question that.

I'm sure that the IG will get to the bottom of this. Why would you need more security detail if you're not getting those threats on your life? We know he's trying to dismantle the EPA, Ryan, and that is something the left is apocalyptic about.

NOBLES: Josh, Pruitt isn't the first cabinet member to come under fire for excessive use of taxpayer dollars. You've got former Health Secretary Tom Price, recently ousted VA Director David Shulkin, and several other cabinet members come under scrutiny. We talk about draining the swamp, Josh. Is this draining the swamp?

JOSH SCHWERIN, FORMER NATIONAL SPOKESMAN FOR HILLARY CLINTON: They've done a horrible job of draining the swamp. It seems like every week there's a new cabinet secretary who's wasting money on $140,000 door or a $25,000 phone booth which was, again, a Pruitt scandal.

What we're seeing is when it comes to taxpayer dollars the Trump administration has no thriftiness whatsoever. But then what we're seeing with Scott Pruitt is he is using whatever loophole or gift or lobbyist connection he can to get a deal that no other person in D.C. could possibly get if they don't have a job in this administration. That is a huge ethics problem. It ties into these larger scandals that we're seeing across the administration.

NOBLES: And of course, we should point out there is a lobbyist connection to all of this. The wife of a lobbyist did own this property. Let's move on to other topics, Amy. We mentioned the VA director, David Shulkin, let go this week. White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is gone. There's been a lot of turnover in this Trump administration. Do you view that as a positive thing or is it something that you're concerned about?

KREMER: Well, if the president thinks it's not working, he's going to move on and try something different. He went to Washington to disrupt things. And he's not your typical --

NOBLES: This is his own administration he's disrupting, right?

KREMER: Right. But Shulkin was an Obama holdover.


KREMER: And so -- and if there's one thing that the president has talked about is supporting our veterans. I mean, he has been a real advocate for our veterans. And the change at the VA has not happened like he wanted. And what's the definition of insanity? To continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. So he's changing it up. And he wants to see results.

The president is about results. Results driven. And that's different for Washington. Washington doesn't usually work that way. So --

NOBLES: Well, Josh, "The Washington Post" reports that the office charged with vetting political appointees is understaffed, inexperienced and even prone to playing drinking games in the office. I mean, what are the implications for an administration with this kind of turnover rate? We were seeing turnover quite a bit. But there's a lot of positions that haven't even been filled yet.

JOSH SCHWERIN, FORMER NATIONAL SPOKESMAN FOR HILLARY CLINTON: And the ones that are filled, they clearly don't vet for. We saw that with Rob Porter. And I think one of the most remarkable parts of that "Washington Post" story was the response from the White House was don't worry, these drinking games happen in other offices, too. This isn't unique to this one.

So I think what we're seeing is across the administration, they have no -- they don't take any responsibility for their actions. There's no accountability. And Trump promised that he would hire the best people. And what we've seen is the highest turnover of any administration in recent history. And that's causing a government that doesn't work. And it's going to impact our foreign policy, our domestic policy, and prevent them from running the government in an efficient way that benefits the people. That's a huge problem.

KREMER: Can I just jump in here and say I wouldn't say the government was ran more efficiently under Barack Obama. Remember the GSA and their $800,000 tab for their conference in Las Vegas and all we, the taxpayers, got was the bill.

NOBLES: Right. OK. But I do want to touch on one other quick topic before we go, and this is Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut, Elizabeth Esty, under fire for keeping a top aide on her staff after several months of learning about abuse allegations. She's apologized but she hasn't resigned yet. Do you think she should resign, Amy?

KREMER: I do think she should resign. She also wrote a letter of recommendation, my understanding, for the staffer. But this is from one staffer to another staffer. It happened in her office. She kept it under wraps. She needs to resign. There's no excuse for this.

NOBLES: And Josh, quickly, I mean, this isn't just a Republican or Democrat problem. How should Congresswoman Esty respond?

SCHWERIN: Well, it doesn't look good. I think the details are still coming out. But what we've seen so far are pretty bad. And this absolutely should be investigated. And people should be held accountable. The actions that they took were as wrong as they seem to have been.

And one thing that we've seen over the past year is, you're correct, there have been Democratic scandals and Republican scandals. And for the most part, Democrats have stood up and held themselves accountable, called on resignations, called for their members to be investigated. And Republicans haven't always done that.

Remember, Donald Trump has scandal after scandal that Republicans refuse to call out. And this has to go both ways. Both parties need to take their own actions into account.

NOBLES: Right. We're going to wrap it there. All right, Josh Schwerin, Amy Kramer, thank you so much for joining me. We appreciate it.

The U.N. now calling for an independent inquiry into the most violent day in Gaza in four years. Details on the escalating crisis that's left 17 Palestinians dead and more than 1,000 injured.


[12:37:47] NOBLES: There were funerals and more protests in Gaza today. Palestinian leaders declared a day of mourning for at least 17 people who were killed in clashes with Israeli Security Forces along the border with Gaza. Israeli officials estimated tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters marched toward the Gaza border fence where the protest turned deadly.

Israel is blaming the militant group Hamas for inciting violence and turning the border fence into a war zone.

Ian Lee and Nic Robertson are following the developments for us. Let's start with Ian in Gaza, and Ian, what sparked these protests?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, organizers planned these protests to commence on land day which was yesterday and to continue through six weeks up to May 15th which Palestinians will celebrate the Nakba or the catastrophe. This is when in 1948 many Palestinians fled their homes during that war and became refugees. This day is also Israel's Independence Day.

And so these Palestinians are gathering and yesterday we saw larger protests than we saw today. There's tens of thousands of people going out there and we saw a real -- a real heavy clashes and violence we saw at one point going closer to front lines and so many casualties there, putting two to three people in each ambulance and at times they didn't have any ambulances so people just had to wait.

But today it's been more subdued. We haven't seen the numbers. We didn't see the intensity of the clashes, although you can probably see behind me there's still ambulances there as well as the camp. Hundreds of people came out today. And again, we did see the tear gas. We saw the tires that they lit on fire. As well as the Israelis shooting bullets. So we don't know if they're rubber bullets or live rounds. But we had still that intensity today.

It really all, though, depends on that border. Israel says they're going to protect that border so no one goes across it. Palestinians have told us, though, that's their goal -- Ryan.

[12:40:06] NOBLES: You are along the border there in Gaza.

Now let's go to CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, he's in Jerusalem.

The Israelis are blaming Hamas for inciting the violence, Nic. What's the reaction been from other countries?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the reaction at the United Nations was that from the U.N. secretary- general that there should be an independent inquiry. And other representatives of the U.N. said that there should be -- that both sides should try to calm the situation.

What the Israelis tell us that they're seeing from their side behind the southern berm there, on the other side of that flimsy fence in the fields around Gaza, is a different picture to that being presented by the Palestinians. The Israelis say that thousands of people have approached the fence, some of them with sling shots, some of them setting fire, rolling tires at the fence. And at nighttime they captured some video of some Hamas gunmen approaching the fence. And you can see some gunmen there putting what appear to be explosives on the fence, an explosion at the fence.

They had other daylight video as well showing people setting fire to the fence. And what the Israelis said at the outset, they warned very clearly that this is sovereign territory, that anyone that tried to breach the fence, and this was their concern that Hamas would use these thousands of people to breach the fence. Anyone who did that was in danger. The Israeli Defense Force made that very, very clear in Arabic broadcasts. And that's what transpired on the day that people approached the fence, the Israelis say that many of those that were killed they know were Hamas activists and Hamas has actually acknowledged and released photographs of some of their fighters who were killed in the confrontations there -- Ryan.

NOBLES: Yes. And so, Nic, if there's already tension in that region, we saw protests when President Trump announced that the U.S. was moving the embassy to where you are in Jerusalem. That move is expected to happen soon. Could we see Palestinians protest a move again when it happens?

ROBERTSON: Look, Hamas will be absolutely aware that this is an event that they can capitalize on. They'll note that, you know, that the United States has done this, that most Palestinians reject it, most Israelis accept it. There aren't many other countries around the world. In fact, almost none that have followed suit with the United States.

The day that this protest, this six-week protest is designed or intended to time out, according to Hamas, is right around the time the consulate here in Jerusalem would then become the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. So you can see this whole protest has the possibility to be timed to ramp up its violence, ramp its message at what is already a very tense time. And that's got to be a concern at the moment.

NOBLES: All right. Nic Robertson giving us the very latest from the situation in Jerusalem.

Nic, thank you.

And up next, the "Roseanne" reboot. How the show revival is giving a voice to Trump's base and breathing new life into the star's right- wing conspiracy theories.


[12:47:36] NOBLES: The rebooted "Roseanne" sitcom just renewed for a second season by ABC. But Roseanne herself is under new fire for promoting right-wing fringe conspiracy theories.

CNN's Brynn Gingras has more.


ROSEANNE BARR, COMEDIAN: Thank you for making America great again.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The "Roseanne" revival drew more viewers in the demo than any comedy on television since 2014 which means more eyeballs on the show's lead who is no stranger to politics and controversy.

BARR: To start curing this world, I am officially announcing that I am running for president of the United States of America. As well as prime minister of Israel. This is a twofer.

GINGRAS: Roseanne Barr is a Trump supporter who seems to already be taking a page from the president's playbook and causing controversy on Twitter. This week Barr faced backlash for tweeting a doctored image of Parkland high school student activist David Hogg accusing him of giving the Nazi salute at Saturday's March for Our Lives rally.

But it wasn't a far leap from past posts when Barr was focused on spreading right-wing conspiracies like this one just last November engaging a deep state conspiracy, or post-election when one of Barr's tweets backed the pizza-gate conspiracy theory which stated some Democrats including Hillary Clinton were part of a sex trafficking ring in the basement of a Washington pizza restaurant. Barr also spread the conspiracy that there was a cover-up surrounding the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich. Barr's Twitter account has since been scrubbed of these tweets.

LAURIE METCALF, COMEDIAN: I guess I didn't mean to imply that you're some right-wing jackass. I should have tried to understand why you voted the crazy way that you did.

GINGRAS: But the star's posts aren't stunning her fans who tuned in heavily for the reboot's premier with major viewership in red states. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, which sided with Trump in 2016, 1 in 5 households watched and the president took notice, even calling Barr personally to congratulate her.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look at Roseanne, I called her yesterday. Look at her ratings. I got a call from Mark Burnett. He did "The Apprentice." He's a great guy. He said, Donald, I called just to say hello and to tell you, did you see Roseanne's ratings? I said, Mark, how big were they? They were unbelievable. Over 18 million people. And it was about us.

[12:50:01] GINGRAS: For Roseanne, both on screen and off, the feelings for the president are mutual.

BARR: Trump offended half Americans, she offended the other half. So that's great for sitcoms. We're lucky to have him as a president.

GINGRAS: Conservatives around the country riding the wave of the actress's popularity. FOX host Sean Hannity begging for an interview with Barr, even offering for her to host his show.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


NOBLES: And still to come, Bill Cosby's attorney revealing new details in the Cosby sexual assault case as the retrial is set to begin next week. More on that ahead.


[12:55:01] NOBLES: Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial. A judge ruled this week that five other women who claimed the actor and comedian assaulted them will be allowed to tell their stories in court. The testimony will come in addition to that of Andrea Constand, a woman who Cosby says -- who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004. She's just one of more than 50 women who have lodged complaints against Cosby.

Tonight's CNN's Jean Casarez has an in-depth look at the numerous allegations the man once known as America's dad is facing and his first trial that ended in a hung jury.

Here's a sneak peek.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Do you believe they had a romantic relationship?

BRIAN MCMONAGLE, COSBY ATTORNEY: I don't think there's any doubt about that fact. I mean, the testimony in this trial was that Miss Constand had been with -- his home on a couple of different occasions. That there had been romantic settings, romantic interludes.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Constand testified the relationship was not romantic. He was a Temple friend, she said, somebody I trusted, a mentor. As for the romantic interludes McMonagle says happened, Constand insisted they were passes from Cosby that she rebuffed, which made sense to Diana Parsons who says her sister has no interest in romantic interludes with men.

DIANA PARSONS, SISTER OF COSBY ACCUSER ANDREA CONSTAND: Andrea was actually about 16 years old when she told us that she was gay.

CASAREZ: Cosby's attorneys used phone records to try to prove a romantic relationship, pointing to more than 50 calls Constand made to Cosby after the alleged assault and before March 31st when Constand left Temple. MCMONAGLE: I found it to be the game changer. There were calls after

the so-called sexual encounter. There was call after call after call after call.

CASAREZ: Constand testified she was just returning calls from Cosby, a Temple trustee.


NOBLES: And Jean Casarez now -- joins me now to talk about her reports.

And Jean, really looking forward to it. First, I want to ask you about the fact that we're going to hear from Andrea's sister for the first time. How pivotal is Constand's testimony to this case?

CASAREZ: Well, Andrea Constand, Diana's sister, who obviously is the accuser, her testimony is pivotal in this because this arises out of an incident in 2004. She says that Bill Cosby was her mentor. He invited her to his home where she had been before. But she said that time she was drugged and sexually assaulted. He says that anything between them was consensual. And so there's no forensic evidence with all this time. And it's all about credibility.

So her testimony is very important, as well as the other bits and pieces of evidence. This is a circumstantial case. You put it all together. But the jury will have to see beyond a reasonable doubt if, in fact, she was drugged and sexually assaulted.

NOBLES: Yes. We know already that prosecutors have a high bar to cross. The first trial ended in a mistrial. I mean, how confident are attorneys that they can make the case this time around?

CASAREZ: You know, I see in the courtroom because I was there for the last two days for the pretrial hearings, and both sides are just so invested in this. For very -- for different reasons, right, I mean, Bill Cosby if convicted very likely could spend the rest of his life in prison and the commonwealth, they want justice for what they say and believe is a victim of Bill Cosby's.

Prosecution on its side has five other women that are going to be able to take the stand to say me too, Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted me. But the defense is fighting hard. And last time around, we heard about Quaaludes because that was in a deposition that Bill Cosby gave during the civil case, that he gave Quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with or a woman, he changed that, but the judge hasn't decided. But in arguments yesterday it sounded like he may not allow that to come before the jury. So that would be a win for Cosby.

NOBLES: And you mentioned the Me Too movement. It's obviously much different than it was the first time that Bill Cosby was facing a trial of this sort. Could that change the atmosphere in the courtroom this time around?

CASAREZ: You know, Ryan, it's amazing. I mean, the trial was just last June. But in the last months since June, there has been such a change. Me Too movement has been just in the forefront of news and on the minds of people. Also this trial is being held in Montgomery County, which is where Bill Cosby was, you know, the hometown boy that became such a super star for American television.

So jury selection may be difficult. People that are into the Me Too movement that know about this case that informed an opinion against Bill Cosby or people that adore him and love him and cannot be fair because of that bias.

NOBLES: Yes. Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

"THE CASE AGAINST COSBY" airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Must-see TV right here on CNN.

And the next hour of the NEWSROOM starts right now.