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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 23, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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coming just days after the mass shooting in a colorado nig nightclub. thanksgiving travel is ramping up, despite soaring inflation, airfare, gas prices and hotel rates all hitting near-record highs. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world, obwolf blitzer is of tonight. i'm alex marquardt, and you're in "the situation room." let's get straight to our top story. the department of justice pursuing testimony from former vice president mike pence in its criminal probe of january 6th. cnn's senior crime and justice reporter kaitlan has been working her sources. what is the likelihood of pence agreeing to this request? >> this is at the very least a starting point, and for the justice department, a lot would have to happen before they could get him to come in to testify.
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but we have been able to confirm that pence is open to the discussing a possibility agreement to speak with the justice department about what he knows about after the election in 2020 and the lead-up to january 6th. this is a watershed moment for this justice department investigation into january 6th. we know there's been a lot of interest in what exactly was said in the oval office in those days, especially on the 6th. the justice department has tried to nail down things, including direct conversations with donald trump. we know that there's a special counsel that's coming in. i should note this discussion, this request, it did happen before the special counsel was appointed. so now we're going to be watching to see how any negotiations behind the scenes may be playing out as jack smith, the new special counsel, comes in and leads this investigation forward.
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>> pence did reject the request by the congressional committee to testify. he said this in a cnn town hall last week. >> congress has no right to my testimony. the very notion of a committee in congress salomoning a vice president to speak about the lib rais deliberation that took place at the white house i think would violate the separation of powers. >> if congress doesn't have the right, why would doj? >> he may not have a choice. this is a criminal investigation. it's different. when congressional investigations play out, congress is a separate but equal power of government. so often they can't really pry that much out of the executive branch. when the justice department is doing a criminal investigation, they often can get lots of information, and often all of the information that they really want, especially around the presidency.
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if you look back historically, even in iran-contra, in that affair, there was a criminal proceeding that arose off it, the prosecution of a defendant and former president ronald reagan did testify in court for that. >> caitlyn, i want you to stay with us, as we bring in paul cal lan and shan wu. it is sounding like the former vice president is considering complying, but his former boss has fought to stop testimony from his inner circle. how do you think this will unfold? >> legally at the end of the day i. implication -- as kaitlan was alluding to, there's precedent about this, and a criminal investigation would trump the executive privilege. the problem is how long will all of that take? it's quite obvious that trumply try to delay it through the court, and pence in that clip is signaling that he thinking
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whatever he was talking about is part of the deliberations, which i would disagree with. the fact that you could easily, quickly resolve this is highly unrealistic. if i was the special prosecutor, i would charge without pence's testimony and let the defense worry about pence. >> paul, we have already seen two top members of the defense team testify before the grand jury last month. what do you think prosecutors will be trying to learn from pence himself that will fill in some of the gap? >> pence is a key witness, a critical witness in the investigation, in a sense he was a victim of trump's alleged action. remember, the crowd was screaming they were going to hang mike pence, seemingly inspired by comments that the president himself had made earlier in the day at the rally. i think on the issue of executive privilege and separation of powers, something very important you have to
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consider. congress is a separate branch of government. the department of justice is part of the executive branch of government, so there is no separation of powers issue being presented. there is no executive privilege that's legitimate here, because we're talking about the commission of a crime. in watergate and as caitlyn pointed out, executive privilege did not apply. they'll have the ability to do it. in a sense he's a victim of the crime, as much as the country was. >> shan, to that point, this investigation is clearly viewed differently, is willing to reveal also important details in a new book he just put out. how do you reconcile all of that? >> i think it's hard for pence to revealsh that he also wants to claim is some part of confidential deliberation. i understand he could view congress differently from the
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justice department. you know, it's different from political motivations in congress. one interesting aspect, is there's so little case law on executive privilege, but what is the sanction if pence did the right thing and says i want to testify, executive privilege be damned? who's going to sanction him for it? he's not in a representative capacity, there's no attorney-client privilege, and he's not a federal employee anymore. >> kaitlan, you mentioned the new special counsel, jack smith, overseeing this investigation as well as the documents that were recovered at mar-a-lago. does this news today about pence tell us anything about where this process assistants? >> i think it does. we have had a lot of hints recently this is a pretty mature investigation, that there's been a lot of evidence gathered, and this is just another bullet point to speak to that, that this is a mature investigation where prosecutors are making decisions to do things that
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would ruffle feathers. this is the top person besides donald trump leading the country at that moment, and this quite a bit responsibility on the shoulder heading into january 6th. for them to want to talk to him very likely about his direct conversations with the president of the united states, that is not an easy ask. we also know the other point of why this is so mature, is greg jacob has not been just into the grand jury once, but forced to come back to reveal more after some adverse court rulings against trump. so there is really a lot at stake here with this request to pence now. >> in terms of the resistance, paul, do you think the justice department may have to issue a subpoena, even if it's essentially a friendly subpoena, in order to get pence's testimony? what could the next moves reveal
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about the special counsel's approach? >> the doj may have to issue a subpoena, and sometimes a witness wants the cover of a subpoena to give him the right to testify. if trump wants to come in from left field, that would be litigated, but this all spells delay once you gets into executive privilege. and hopefully jack smith is going to come in, and we're going to see this investigation wrap up a bit faster that's correct the mueller investigation. let's hope so. >> shan, everything we have heard about jack smith is he does move with some speed. what do you expect the first effects of him taking on these two cases to be? >> i actually think what's telling is that we don't see much effect. as we saw with the eleventh circuit argument, he's not trying to stop things so he can take a fresh look.
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he recognizes the fact that an enormous ma'am of work has begun. i think what you can really tell about his no-nonsense approach is he's not trying to grandstand or say let me take a fresh look. i mean, there's going to come a time where he has to exercise discretion and make the recommendations, but right now it shows that she is using very good sense to use the existing work and momentum that's already been built up. paul, we heard shan saying it wasn't necessary to name a special counsel. now that it's been a few days since merrick garland cause came out and put jack smith in charge of these investigations, do you think it was the right move? >> i think it was the right move. i think this shows that we put a little distance between the current administration and the special prosecutors. so i think it's important.
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i think smith will move expeditiously with this investigation. all right. paul callen, kaitlan paulens, and shan wu, thank you very much. happy thanksgiving. two american communities reels from mass shootings. we'll have live updates on the mass akers. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ? this is financial security. and lincoln financial solutions will help you get therere. as you plan, protect t and retire. ♪
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chesapeake, virginia, is the latest american city to reel from a mass shooting. tonight the scene of the carnage, this time at a walmart where six people are dead after a walmart store manager opened fire. diann gallagher has this report. >> you're a coward. you're killing people that ain't done nothing to you. >> reporter: the the latest shooting, happening just before the store closed tonight. kevin harper, said the gunman was a manager. >> just started capping people in there. >> the manager just came from around the corner, he never
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entered the break room, just stood in the doorway and just opened fire to anyone in the room. he looked at me, shot near my head. it was inches way, i'm not going to lie. people were dropping to the floor, screaming gasping, yeah, he just walked away after that. >> reporter: wednesday the police chief provided a timeline. >> our 911 dispatch center received the first call at, the first officers received within two minutes, entered store two minutes later at 10:16. the scene was declared safe by 11:20 p.m. >> reporter: it's said he's a 31 manager on the overnight shift. he was armed with a handgun and multiple magazines. >> we don't know at this time. there's no clear motive at this time. >> i am new, but i had heard
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from the very beginning he was one to watch out. he was just standoffish. >> reporter: the city says two of the victims were found in a break room, another near the front of the store. three others died at the hospital. this woman's relative was injured in the shooting moments after he started his shift. >> he went in at 10:00 p.m. tonight. we received a phone call -- well, his wife received a phone call about 10:18, saying he had been shot. he clocks in at 10:00. >> reporter: walt mart releasing a statement saying it is shocked by the tragedy. this is the second mass shooting in virginia in two weeks, something that governor glenn youngkin calls horrific. >> it's a horrendous, senseless act of violence. >> reporter: there were more than 50 people in the store at
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the time of the shooting. there's still wounded in the hospital, and of course the trauma art that people are still trying to process. i want to introduce you to the six people who were killed in this walmart behind me. lorenzo gamble, brian pendleton, kellie pyle, rand 58, that nikkei johnson and a 16-year-old male whose name the city has not released, and is not releasing his photo, because he is so young. those are the six people who lost their lives to a gunman in that walmart behind me, whose families will celebrate thanksgiving without them at the table and the people in this community that will have to figure on the what to do after the shooting came home. >> six families tonight devastated.
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dianne gallagher, thank you. an update on the colorado springs shooting. nick watt has been there for the past several days. the suspect just made their first court appearance today. what happened? >> reporter: that's right, the suspect appeared by video from the jailhouse behind me. the suspect was seated throughout, slumped, slurring, wearing an orange jumpsuit with a lot of bruising around the head. remember, during the attack he was brought to ground by patrons. the appearance was short. here it is. >> could the defendant please state his name? >> anderson lee aldridge.
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>> did you watch the video concerning your constitutional rights in this case? >> yes. >> do you have any questions about those rights? >> no. >> reporter: and that was pretty much it, apart from the lawyers and the judge talking about when the suspect will make the next appearance, scheduled right now for december 6th. that is when we should have formal charges. for now, alex, the arrest want charges are five counts of first-degree murder and bias-related crimes. that's what they call hate crimes here in colorado. >> nick, what more are we learning about the shooter? >> reporter: well, we learned from the lawyers in the filing that the shooter identifies as non-binary, goes by they/them. this morning, i spoke with a
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neighbor of the suspect, a friend of the suspect. they bonded over video games, spent hours playing together. this young man, xavier, told me the suspect had never once raised with him that the suspect is non-binary. xavier also told me the suspect would have occasional outbursts, that he says came from anger, sometimes directed towards the lgbtq community and the suspect used slurs to describe how they did not like -- they hated gay people, but i was told most of the outbursts were actually directed at other races. he also told me the suspect seemed proud of the firearms that the suspect had. at one point krouse said they make me nervous, and parent he told him, it's not the guns you have to be afraid of, but the people. >> still so much to learn.
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nick watt, we appreciate it. let's discuss this with charles ramsey, and peter lakota. thank you both for joining me. several of the co-workers at that walmart, they want he exhibited threatening behavior, that he made disturbing comments. do you see any red flags from what we've heard so far? >> you know, the funny thing is red flags are easy to find after the fact. you know, they're saying he acted 0d, disturbing behavior, but did they report that to anyone? was it sufficient to take any kind of action at all? i don't know the answer to that. it's easy to see things after the fact. at this investigation unfolds, we'll learn more, but right now it is just a tragedy. i don't know if there are any red flags that could have changed it, other than certainly
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the gun laws that we currently have that just allow people to constantly get their hands on guns that really should not have them. >> he was the manager you wanted to watch out for, one of the workers at walmart said. peter, in colorado springs, the suspect there, we just saw that video, they had had had previous stand jot with law enforcement. what in your minds needs to change at a structural level, as well as local officials to do a better job at preventing these mass shootings. >> law enforcement sometimes, their hands are tied. as chief ramsey said, a lot of times they individuals get reported to law enforcement, whereas the fbi, local sheriff's office, state or city munic municipality, the police will go ahead and knock on the door, potentially interview this person, do a basic background check to see if at least any
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criminality in their past. generally that's about as star as they can take it. structurally, it's the gun laws. the recent law that was pasted that both the current administration and congress has praised, honestly hasn't done enough. it focuses on mental health issues, which is a big part of it, but that's not by far the only issue. there's a big issue how weapons are acquired and who can in fact acquire them. >> in both cases, the balance sheets arrived almost immediately, yet so much harms was inflicted, so many lives were lost. to peter's point, how much more dangerous is it when police arrived quickly on the scene and there's all these guns present. even in chesapeake, virginia, it was just a pistol. how much more dangerous is it for those officers? >> the response time was excellent in both cases.
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the faster you gelt there, the more likely are to encry the individual who is the actual shooter, but that's part of the territory, why you train for it, do the best you can to minute nice any injury to yourself and certainly to others, and neutralize the person committing the crime. it's even more dangerous for the people in the store. they don't have a gun. they don't have anything. that's really the hardest part, to really deal with whenever you talk about these kinds of things. these are innocent people. a 16-year-old boy was one of the victims? i mean, come on, and it is not going to stop. we'll be talking about something else next week. we just have short memories, we don't focus, and we don't take the steps we need to take as a society to stop it. >> we only have a few moments
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left, but because of the risk to officers' lives, what can law enforcement do in terms of pushing lakshman achuthan? >> well, law enforcement, it's training, training, training, something . all right. thank you both for your time took. we'll go live to one of the busiest airports in country. that's next. week, deep wrinkles in 4. so you can kiss wrinkles goodbyeye! neutrogena®
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on this thanksgiving eve, holiday travel is almost back to pre-pandemic levels, according to aaa. that means crowded airports, clogged highways in many parts of the united states. omar jimenez is at ohay, one of the busiest airports in the country. what are you seeing there? >> reporter: not super busy right now, but it's when the day started, as the first wave of flights went out, it was absolutely packed, shoulder to shoulder. local officials here have told me they expect across the chicago airports, an increased level of travelers, but that's in line with what we're seeing nationwide. over the past few days, around 4.5 million people screened through tsa, which is up through the same dates in 2021.
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but we are talking around close to 49 million people over the roads, slightly up from last year, slightly down, but bottom line, people will be hitting the roads. it's not just congestion, but congestion in traffic lanes, depending on when you're going, of course. aaa estimates air travel will be up 8%, but one of the travelers we talked to was caught in the dynamic. >> i'm so glad we god here early, because it's more crowded than they expected. we gave ourselves two hours. i hope that's enough. >> reporter: i'm also a two hours person. that gives you enough time what you need to, but aaa is estimating this would be the third busiest thanksgiving
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travel period they have seen since they started measures this data. so far so good on the front. >> omar, thank you, sir. appreciate it. retailers are hoping for a happier holiday season, as shoppers return to stores, as the pandemic drove more to buy online. here's the story. >> reporter: on this year's holiday shopping menu, more sales, but with a healthy side of inflation. >> cutting off your circulation. >> i'm going crazy. >> reporter: denise is in the middle of her holiday shopping. >> this is for my mom, then i got stuff for my kids and my niece. oh, my god. >> reporter: this year the wish list is looking a little different. last month inflation cooled, but still running hot at 7.7%.
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>> i've had to cut back on shopping. i do have three girls, they do understand that times are heart right now, and it's just me being a single mom. >> reporter: the national retail federation estimates that nearly 8 million more people will shock between black friday and cybermonday and spend up to 8% more than last year. >> we're looking at records in all categories. it's remarkable in the face of the pressures, that consumers are still finding a way to drive economic activity. >> reporter: last metropolitan, retail sales beat expectations, up 1.3% in october, but this month, consumer sentiment fell. still, higher prices haven't shopped some people from shopping has that impacted the way you're going to spend this holiday season? >> for me, not really.
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i try nod to over-spend anyway. i try not to exceed what he can do. >> reporter: according to the national retail federation, while online sales are expected to increase, a return to in-store shopping will make up a larger portion of all holiday sales. >> i kind of like in person more. >> why is that? >> it's more the field of trying it on for the stores that you're allowed to, and then being amongst everybody else. >> reporter: it's that holiday nostalgia that willowbrook mall will help this year's season return to pre-pandemic expectations. >> reporter: do you anticipate inflation will play a role in how people shot? >> i think people are planning better, in terms of what their experience will be. i think they have budgeted. >> i don't cut back at christmas. >> reporter: how many more stores? >> maybe five more?
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i don't know. [ laughter ] >> reporter: shoppers looking for deals this holiday season will find them. there will be steeper discounts going on for a lot longer. retailers are trying to off-load excess inventory. that's a difference from last year when retailers had a tough time getting inventory because of the snarled supply chains. some retailers are doing away with free returns. that's because they too are experiencing inflation, trying to cut their bottom line. read the fine print, make sure you don't get hit with any additional fees. >> and for those small businesses, there's small business saturday this weekend. havan vanessa, thank you very much for the report. a major ruling from the georgia supreme court on abortion. what that will mean going forward and the possible implications it could have.
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with just a few weeks under the critical senate runoff? georgia, today the supreme court announced two major decisions that could affect the race. a request from republicans to block counties to offer early votes on saturday, and it reinstituted a six-week bans on abortion with georgia, with some exceptions. let's discuss this. thank you all for joining me this evening. eva, i want to start with you. the two significance rulings, we know abortion of course has been hugely motivating for voters in
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these midterm elections. how do you expect the developments by the court to influence this senate runoff? >> alex, you are correct. the threat over abortion access has been a highly motivating issue for democratic voters, democratic women. it's arguably why democrats had a better than expected performance in the mid terms. we know in georgia, most georgians believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. so this supreme court, the state supreme court upholding the six-week ban puts the issue back front and center in this senate contest. of equal importance is the decision of the state supreme court not to interfere with this saturday voting. this runoff is about turnoff. it's turnout, rather, it is a turnout game. we know that democrats advocated for this saturday voting, but republicans vote on saturdays, too, alex.
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>> to that point, alex, this could be a victor of voters, but republicans tried to block this. clearly they think it would give democrats an ex. >> yeah, historically, you know in the trump era, democrats have availed themselves of it more, and republicans have generally tried to restrict it. i think the bigger problems is this is no longer the 50th vote in the senate. giving the person doubts that even some voiced about herschel walker, if they can turn out -- when the vote is not at issue, i think that's the biggest challenge. >> there's another change, van, for herschel walker. there's a new report that revealed he's getting a tax break for a primary residence, but the residence isn't in georgia, but it's in texas. to what extent do you think that
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turns off georgia voters, or do you think his potential supporters are just used to all of his controversy? >> if our herschel walker voter at this point, nothing he does is going to scare you off. i agree it's about turnout. both sides have reason to worry. because herschel walker is a bit behind in the polls, some democrats may let up off the gas, so you have the movement voter project, unite here, black votes matter, they need the support to get the ground game going. on the republican side, they are doing everything they can, bringing in the big guns. if the big guns couldn't get it done the first time, i don't know that they'll get it done this time. >> herschel walker is now getting a boost from governor brian kemp, who just won reelection. this is after kemp kept his distance during the general election. let's look at a bit of that ad.
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>> herschel walker will not be another rubber stamp for joe biden. i hope you'll join me in voting for him. >> even in the general election, he seriously underperformed kemp. >> the ad could be helpful, but, you know, i think georgia voters, eye specially the voters the walker campaign are trying to capture are sophisticated. 9 general election was only a few weeks ago, and they didn't campaign together. what changed so quickly? perhaps what might be more consequential, the key fund-raising operation for senate republicans, injecting $2 million into governor kemp's get out the vote operation, to help walker. that is really, i think, very, very important. that is money for organizing, for people on the doors, and, again, if we are looking at turnout, that might be more
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consequential than governor kemp giving herschel walker a hug on the campaign trail or appears in an ad. >> ron, what do you think? this last-minute embrace will make a difference? >> it can't hurt, but i think the core problems with the republicans, given their doubts about walker, will feel 1u69ly motivated to turn out. can i just go back to the abortion issue? georgia is indicative of one of the most striking patterns we saw in this election, which is that in the states that actually have banned abortion, there was very little sign of a backlash. the resistance was really overwhelming, though, in the blue and purple states where it's still legal. that was the sharp faultline. >> van, do you think president biden should go down there? >> i think every democrat should help. >> we understand that president biden will be doing that.
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iva, ron, van, thank you all very much. just ahead, russia launching a new barrage of missiles all across ukraine, killing multiple people. highly recommend it! zifans lovove zicam's unique zinc formula. it shortens coldlds! zicam. zinc that cold! ♪ over the last 100 years,
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we are following deadly new russian strikes on ukraine apparently designed to inflict maximum pain on ukrainian civilians. cnn senior international correspondent matthew chance is on the scene in ukraine for us tonight. >> reporter: the latest target in russia's ruthless missile barrage. the ukrainian maternity ward
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pounded from the skies. emergency workers pulling a doctor and a young mother from the rubble. a newborn baby just 2 days old couldn't be saved. tatiana is the grandmother now in unbearable pain. her daughter's face and legs were wounded by thashrapnel, bu it's the loss of that child that's left her daughter emotionally shattered. another life, another family now in ruins. across ukraine, the roar of russian missiles is tearing up the skies. near the capitol kyiv, a residential building was hit, turned into a smoldering disaster zone. officials say casualties are high with dozens injured or killed as russia tries to target energy and water infrastructure
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across ukraine. and apparently deliberate attempt to make people here suffer. and another obstacle, the ukrainian leadership is vowing to overcome. the task has been set. we will restore all of this, and we will get through all of this because we are an unbreakable people. >> reporter: but, with power outages nationwide, these are fragile times. shops operating by flashlight, public transport at a virtual standstill. and even hospitals far away from the war zone on emergency supplies. russia's barrage may not have broken ukrainians, but it is making them suffer.
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well, tonight the ukrainian authorities say they're opening more than 4,000 what they call invincibility points across the country where people can go and get some hot food, they can charge their phones, go on the internet, or just keep warm amid these freezing temperatures plunging below freezing point now as winter really sets in. but no matter what the government does, if russia persists with its constant missile strikes against energy infrastructure targets, millions of ukrainians are set to face a very long, a very cold, and very dark winter. alex, back to you. >> tough times ahead. cnn's matthew chance in odesa, very much. you and your team stay safe. police unveil new details into the killings of four idaho college students. we'll be rightht back. some are of intetensity, others, joy. all are of - ahhhh. listerine. feel the whoa!
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own home. cnn national correspondent natasha chen has been following this story and is on scene tonight. what did the police say? >> reporter: alex, a lot of the information they said today was a repeat of information we already knew, which is frustrating for a lot of the community and the victims' families. one interesting thing they said was that the man who was called multiple times from the phone of one of the victims in those early morning hours, he has been added to the list of people cleared as possible suspects. now, one of the questions posed today was the public safety of the students in this college town, in this small college town of about 25 26,000 people. here is what the captain said. >> in some ways, this took our innocence. i would tell students that you need to stay with a friend. i know that the university staff is looking at different options to increase some of the safety on campus and providing certain options to students.
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so, yeah, going forward, there is a lot of things that maybe we wish we would have done before, but we need to start doing now. >> reporter: between now and the end of the semester, they said that there is going to be some heavy police presence around the university of idaho campus area. the university president was also at this press conference. and he had sent a message last night to students saying that they could finish out the semester either in person or remotely because so many students had given feedback about how they wanted to finish out this year, alex. >> cnn's natasha chen, thank you so much for that report. and our thoughts of course are with those families. i'm alex marquardt in "the situation room." thank you so much for joining us. to all of our viewers here in the united states, have a happy thanksgiving. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, a rash of mass shootings. eight in the past week alone. the latest inside a walmart in


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