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California Fires Claim More Lives; Family Escapes Fire; North Korea's Words about Trump; Trump and Trudeau Meeting; Trump on NBC Report; Trump on Press. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 11, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:03] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
Let's get straight to California, the breaking news there. Raging wildfires are turning increasingly deadly and more destructive. Flames moving so fast, devouring areas the size of football fields every three seconds. The winds sometimes hurricane force.
At least 17 are now dead and there are nearly 600 people reported missing. The devastation there taking a grim toll on people's lives and property. So far, 2,000 homes and buildings destroyed, more than 100,000 acres burned, and more than 17 fires still burning.
And this couple, Charles and Sara Rippey, married for 75 years, Mr. Rippey a World War II veteran, they were killed inside their Napa home while trying to escape. Charles was 100. His wife, 98. And their son says his father died trying to save the love of his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE RIPPEY, LOST PARENTS IN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: We often talked among each other about, you know, how either one of them would deal with life without the other. And we always -- you know, we were certain -- we were definitely not looking forward to the day that the first one died and the other one had to go on alone, especially my father. He just -- he loved my mother and he just -- he called her the queen right up until -- right up until the end. Yes.
And, you know, we can -- we can see by where they found his body, that he was trying to get from his room to her room. He never made it. And even if he had gotten there, and couldn't get her out, she just couldn't move well at all, there's no way he would have left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And through all of this, we still don't know how the fires started.
Ryan Young is our CNN national correspondent on the ground there in Santa Rosa, where the biggest fire, the Tubbs fire, has basically wiped out this area. Ryan, I have looked up at the TV all day seeing you. It's like a movie
set, but it is so entirely real. Hearing about the 100 and 98 year old, it just is gut-wrenching.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's unreal. And, you know, you love love, and to hear the fact that they were together for 75 years and you hear their son talking about that, that's got to be heartbreaking. We've all been attached to that number ourselves, 75 years of marriage. And then you look at all this destruction. The fact that, like you said, like a movie set. This looks like a war zone. Like someone dropped a bomb in it.
BALDWIN: It does.
YOUNG: And we've been talking to people in this area. In fact, the gentleman just got in to his truck right her. They were telling us that they were in the house with their family and then at some point they realized the fire was coming and they had to go. And as they were pulling out of here, the embers were coming down and the houses started to fall. That has to be scary.
But, Brooke, we want to walk you down this direction. We keep hearing stories of survival all over the place. One man telling us his dog woke him up in the middle of the night. There was no warning. And that's how he was able to escape.
Brooke, people are coming back and asking about their neighbors because no one knows where their neighbors are right now. They want to know if their neighbors survived.
You know, you talk about the death toll, 17 people so far have died in this. And what's worse is, I don't know if you can hear it, but the wind is starting to pick up again, which is not great for the firefighters who have been battling this nonstop. In fact, we just had two units of firefighters come through this area to check it out.
When you look at this neighborhood, 8,000 people used to live here. It does not look like 8,000 people used to live in this neighborhood. We have been trying to figure out where the houses start and stop. The chimneys and the trees are really what's all that's left behind. Somehow these trees stood the test of time here. Twenty thousand people have evacuated. So when you look at these numbers and think about the human impact, it's unbelievable that they're still dealing with the devastation.
BALDWIN: It's like for weeks we were talking about hurricane ravaged homes, right, and walking around with -- you know, flooded with water. And now here you have fire.
Ryan Young, thank you so much. I am so glad you're there. And we'll come back to you.
Speaking of dogs barking and saving lives with fires quickly encroaching, my next guest says her parents lost everything in the Tubbs fire. The Santa Rosa neighborhood they lived in, gone. The couple escaped with their lives, a few personal belongings and their pets. The only thing at the home that survived, a statue -- look at this -- a statue of the virgin Mary there still standing in their front yard. The couple's daughter, Margaret Curzon, joins me now on the phone.
Margaret, thank you so much for being here.
I know this was your parents' home. I'm sure, you know, it was -- had a special place in your heart. How are your parents? And I understand it was their dog yapping early in the morning that got them out.
[14:05:04] MARGARET CURZON, LOST HOME IN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE (via telephone): Hey, Brooke. Thanks so much for having me.
Yes. So basically what happened is around 2:00 a.m. my parents' dog, his name is Brady (ph), he starts whimpering and that woke my parents up. And when they woke up, they just smelled very potent, intense smoke. And so my dad ran to the front door. He opened the front door. He said that it looked like a bomb went off. He thought that North Korea had dropped a bomb on us. He said the sky was just red and orange and glowing. And there were pieces of embers just everywhere. Just -- and there was smoke. He couldn't see a couple feet in front of him. And the wind was going maybe 60-mile-per-hour. He just said it looked like we were at war.
And, you know, thank God for my dog for waking them up because who knows what would have happened if they got out of the house any later. But I'm just very grateful that they are both alive and they both got out safe. And my two dogs are fine too.
And it's really devastating and sad to see what's happened to my family's house and the neighborhood. But I'm just trying to stay as positive and optimistic as I can.
BALDWIN: Had it not been for the dog, I mean, I had read, you know, Margaret, that your mom had initially woken up and thought the neighbors were barbecuing and went back to sleep.
CURZON: Yes. She -- she feels so guilty and sad because she feels like if she would have woken up at midnight when she initially smelled everything, that she could have done so much more. But I keep telling her that she can't think like that.
BALDWIN: No, she can't.
CURZON: But she did wake up at midnight and she did say that she smelled something and she thought it was the neighbors because our neighbors barbecue all the time, or she thought somebody was, you know, just, you know, burning a fire in their fireplace. She never in a million years would have thought that a fire was coming and was going rip through our neighborhood. Nobody would have thought that. But, you know, and she was half asleep, so she just went back to sleep. And then --
BALDWIN: Anyone -- anyone in a drowsy state of mind would have thought the exact same thing. Thank goodness for the dogs. I'm so glad your parents are OK. You're OK. Your dogs are OK. CURZON: Yes.
BALDWIN: I'm just sorry about --
BALDWIN: About the home, as we just really keep a focus here on California.
Margaret, I'm going to thank you for now.
BALDWIN: Thank you so much. We're going to move along and talk about North Korea.
Here's the breaking news on this. Here's a quote, he lit the wick of war, words from North Korea. This latest provocation aimed directly at President Donald Trump. The country's foreign minister reacting to the president's September speech to the U.N. General Assembly, calling it bellicose, insane, and adding that North Korean forces will, quote, not leave America, the aggressor state, unpunished.
With that, Jeffrey Lewis is good enough to sit next to me. He's with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
And so, Jeffrey Lewis, the line, lit the wick of war, what does that say to you?
JEFFREY LEWIS, JAMES MARTIN CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES: Well --
BALDWIN: What's the signal they're sending?
LEWIS: It's terrifying, right? You know, I think what the North Koreans are trying to say is that they're not intimidated. One of the very interesting features of this conflict is, both the president and Kim Jong-un seem to like to swear at each other.
BALDWIN: They're playing the same game.
LEWIS: Yes. They love this. So this is just going to keep going back and forth with the rest of us held hostage.
BALDWIN: But in addition to lit the wick war, the other line from this foreign minister out of North Korea was that they believe their country is winning the rhetoric war.
LEWIS: Yes. I've got a weird job. I read a lot of communist propaganda, both from the past and from today. And one of the things the North Korea say that's so interesting is, the frightened dog barks loudest. So what they think is that when Trump comes out and threatens them, that that's a sign their strategy's working. That the reason he's threatening them is because he doesn't know what to do and that he's --
BALDWIN: Because he's frightened?
LEWIS: He's frightened. That's right. So in a weird way this kind of constant talk of threats encourages the North Koreans. It rewards them by giving them what they want.
BALDWIN: And it's anyone's guess how this plays out. It's this back and forth and back and forth between the two countries.
Let me move on and talk about how CNN is also reporting that North Korean hackers have allegedly stolen U.S. war plans. A member of South Korea's defense minister reveals the hack exposed classified military documents from their database, including procedures to, quote, decapitate the North Korean leadership. How serious is the breach?
LEWIS: Well, it's a little hard to know exactly what they got their hands on. But I think the bottom line that is the most disturbing about all of this is the fact that our war plan is to try to kill Kim Jong-un before he gives the order to use nuclear weapons. If you think about what that means is, Kim is going to have a very itchy trigger finger. So if he got his hands on documents that suggest that's true, I think we have to be very worried that in a crisis he's going to worry we're going to try to take him out and he may act first.
BALDWIN: So here's what the Pentagon is saying, just as a reaction. They declined to comment specifically on the reports of any sort of potential breach, which isn't surprising. They say, we're confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea.
[14:10:03] Do we know if this even, the hacker, does it come from within North Korea?
LEWIS: Well, it's actually really unclear. I mean the way that this surfaced was through a South Korea legislature. And, you know, legislatures say the darnedest things. So we're not really --
BALDWIN: A pretty darn thing to say.
LEWIS: It's a heck of a thing to say. I mean this is a heck of a situation to find ourselves in. I don't think there's any question that in a war the United States is going to win, but the question is, what will the cost be? And so to the extent that the North Koreans get information that makes it easier for them to do the things that they are going to do, that's a bad thing.
BALDWIN: I know Kim Jong-un is entirely unpredictable and that's part of the enigma that is Pyongyang. But what do you think he's thinking with all this?
LEWIS: Well, look, I think he is worried about his own skin. He doesn't want to end up like Saddam Hussein. And so what he's really thing about is how to keep the U.S. at bay. I think he feels pretty good right now, to be honest. He's been able to test a thermal nuclear weapon. He's been able to test an ICBM that I think can hit the United States. And he's got the president talking about him all day long. I think if you're Kim Jong-un you think, this is going all right for me. BALDWIN: Well, that's a little scary.
Jeffrey Lewis, thank you. Thank you, on all things North Korea.
And coming up next, Eminem unleashing a verbal tirade against President Trump while drawing a line in the sand with his own fans. So what does President Trump think of the artist known as Slim Shady? Well --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump is telling you right now, Slim Shady is a winner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was a video, blast from the past.
Also ahead, the Boy Scouts of America, not just for boys anymore. An historic shift just announced welcoming female scouts. Why did they make the change?
And happening right now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visiting the White House. We are waiting to see if he and President Trump make any remarks. Obviously we'll be listening very, very closely and bring them to you if that happens.
Stay with me. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
BALDWIN: The president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all very much. I very much appreciate it.
We are here with a man who has become a friend of mine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mrs. Trudeau. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
And we are discussing many things, including NAFTA. But we have discussions scheduled for quite a few subjects. And I think we both look very much forward.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: We do.
TRUMP: And I want to just tell you, Justin, it's a great honor to have you both with us. Thank you. Thank you very much.
TRUDEAU: Thank you. Great to be back here in the Oval Office.
As the president said, a lot of things to discuss. We have an incredibly close relationship. Two countries that are interwoven in our economies and our cultures and in our peoples. But we have a good partnership. And there's always ways to improve it. Always issues we need to talk through. And that's why having an ongoing, constructive relationship between the president and the prime minister is really important. And I'm glad to be able to meet with you here again today.
[14:15:05] Merci beaucoup.
QUESTION: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
TRUDEAU: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
QUESTION: Mr. President, is NAFTA dead?
TRUMP: We'll see what happens. We have a tough negotiation. And it's something that you'll know in the not too distant future. But we are going to be discussing NAFTA and we'll be discussing defense, because we have a great -- I mean these are truly great and original allies and mutual defense is very important.
And I guess we'll also be discussing mutual offense, which people don't mention too often, but offense is part of defense. So we have many things to talk about, but NAFTA will certainly be a big factor today. OK?
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) you want to address the nuclear option?
TRUMP: No, I never discussed increasing it. I want it in perfect shape. That was just fake news by NBC, which gives a lot of fake news lately.
No, I never discussed. I think somebody said I want ten times the nuclear weapons that we have right now. Right now we have so many nuclear weapons, I want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. That's the only thing I've ever discussed.
General Mattis put out a statement or is putting out a statement saying that that was fake news, that it was just mentioned that way. And it's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it. No, I want to have absolutely perfectly maintained, which we are in the process of doing, nuclear force. But when they said I want ten times what we have right now, it's totally unnecessary, believe me. Because I know -- I know what we have right now.
QUESTION: You want no increase whatsoever? You're happy (INAUDIBLE) --
TRUMP: We won't need an increase. But I want modernization and I want total rehabilitation. It's got to be in tip-top shape.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump, you said that (INAUDIBLE). What changed?
TRUMP: Well, I don't think anything changed. We're negotiating a NAFTA deal. It's time, after all of these years. And we'll see what happens. It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible that we will.
We have a great personal relationship. And we have a relationship now as two countries, I think, that's as close as ever. But we'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need. We have to protect our workers. And, in all fairness, the prime minister wants to protect Canada and his people too. So we'll see what happens with NAFTA.
But I've been opposed to NAFTA for a long time in terms of the fairness of NAFTA. I said we'll renegotiate. And, I mean, I think Justin understands this, if we can't make a deal, it will be terminated and that will be fine. They're going to do well. We're going to do well. But maybe that won't be necessary. But it has to be fair to both countries.
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think there should be limits (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: No, the press should speak more honestly. I mean I've seen tremendously dishonest press. It's not even a question of distortion, like the question that was just asked before, about ten times the nuclear capability. I know the capability that we have, believe me, and it is awesome. It is massive. And so when they make up stories like that, that's just made up. And the generals will tell you that. And then they have their sources that don't exist. In my opinion, they don't exist. They make up the sources. There are no sources. Any other question?
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) decide what happens to NAFTA?
TRUMP: We'll decide over the next fairly short period of time. But I think it's going to work out very well for both countries and Mexico.
QUESTION: What's your thinking on the Iran deal?
TRUMP: You're going to see very soon. We're going to be announcing that very shortly.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) with Mexico (INAUDIBLE) free trade (INAUDIBLE)?
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) If you can't reach a deal with Mexico, can you envision still having free trade with Canada?
TRUMP: Oh, sure. Absolutely. It's possible we won't be able to reach a deal with one or the other. But, in the meantime, we'll make a deal with one. But I think we have a chance to do something very creative that's good for Canada, Mexico and the United States.
QUESTION: So do you want to see NAFTA survive?
QUESTION: How would you -- how was your lunch with Secretary Tillerson and Mattis?
TRUMP: Very good.
QUESTION: Full confidence --
TRUMP: You mean last week?
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) --
TRUMP: John, you're so far behind the times. You mean today or last week? Because today I didn't have lunch with him.
No, I had -- I had a lunch last week. And we had a very good lunch.
We have a very good relationship. The press really doesn't understand that, but that's OK. We actually have a very good relationship. What else?
TRUMP: I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) --
TRUMP: And I listen to everybody. But ultimately my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? That's the way it works. That's the way the system is. But I think I might have a somewhat different attitude and a different way than other people. I think perhaps I feel stronger and tougher on that subject than other people. But I listen to everybody. And, ultimately, I will do what's right for the United States and, really, what's right for the world, because that's really a world problem. That's beyond just the United States. That's a world problem. And it's a problem that has to be solved.
[14:20:13] Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.
QUESTION: If NAFTA -- if NAFTA doesn't work out, will you negotiate with both countries individually?
If NAFTA -- if NAFTA doesn't work out --
TRUMP: I would.
QUESTION: Would you make a deal with each individual country?
TRUMP: Yes, I would see that, yes.
Thank you, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Richard. Thanks, Richard. Thanks, everyone. (INAUDIBLE) the exit. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
BALDWIN: All right, let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, who was listening just as closely as I know I was. And so I heard really just deny, deny, deny when it came to that report out from NBC this morning alleging that it was President Trump who over the summer said he wanted to increase the U.S.' nuclear arsenal some tenfold. And without a doubt the president said, no.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke, he did say that. He was denying -- dismissing that NBC report. We know, though, that President Trump, during his campaign and during his transition, talked frequently about modernizing and expanding the nuclear weapons arsenal. But let's set that aside for one second, Brooke. I think the most
significant thing came near the end there when he was asked by the pool reporter about his lunch with the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. The president said h had lunch with him last week. Well, the White House told us it was yesterday. So we will check on that to see if he misspoke. But regardless of when it was, he said that, look, he gets along with him fine, but then went on to say, we have different attitudes on North Korea. So openly saying that he has different attitudes on North Korea. Went on to say that ultimately it's my decision, my attitude is what matters. He talks a tougher view.
So, Brooke, as I was listening to that, I was seeing play out in real time what the president has tweeted as well, that he indeed does have a different view than his secretary of state, the top diplomate, of course, here. And they have been going sort of back and forth about North Korea. So that would seem to suggest that the differences between the president and the secretary of state have not been resolved, at least in terms of North Korea.
But back to the nuclear weapon situation, which, of course, is part of the same thing here, we're talking about a nuclear threat and the nuclear capability. The president repeatedly dismissed that NBC News report. He said he is not interested in expanding.
Brooke, the reason that that has sort of inflamed conversations here because NBC has reported that that is when Secretary Tillerson described the president to others in a derogatory fashion about the nuclear conversation. The White House has denied that. The president said not true. But interesting that they -- we're seeing that from the president today.
But, again, the conversation at the end about Secretary of State Tillerson and not being tough enough on North Korea stands out to me, Brooke.
BALDWIN: I think that is an excellent point. I've got Jeffrey Lewis, who's been good enough to hang out.
And let me ask you about that. And there's been all this reporting on how -- and I shouldn't say just reporting, it's been the president tweeting and now the president telling the press pool there that he and the secretary of state see North Korea very differently. How much of a problem is that?
LEWIS: I mean I think it's an enormous problem. I know that people imagine that you can kind of do a good cop/bad cop routine. But the reality is, getting the North Koreans to the table requires being able to credibly talk to them. And if the secretary of state has a reputation as saying one thing and the president just, you know, appears on Twitter to take it away, then if you're the North Koreans, why do you even bother.
BALDWIN: Senator Corker telling "The New York Times," it is not a good cop/bad cop routine, even though to many it appears that way. When you also listen to the president talking about, in his way, you
know, rebuking the reporting that he wanted to increase the nuclear arsenal here in the U.S., he also then went on to say, no, no, no, it's awesome and in tip-top shape. What does tip-top shape mean to you? You're the expert.
LEWIS: Well, I have no idea. I mean earlier in the year he referred to Russia's nuclear arsenal.
BALDWIN: He wants it to be tip-top.
LEWIS: He said it was tippy top and he wanted a tippy top one too. I think it's pretty tippy top. You know, the way I look at it is, we've heard for years people said there are problems in the U.S. nuclear arsenal and I think the simplest way to answer that question is to ask any general who has ever been -- or any admiral who's ever been responsible for U.S. nuclear forces, would you switch with the Russians? It's been asked a number of times and the answer's always, no. So I think it's tippy top.
BALDWIN: Tippy top. And we're talking about nuclear arsenal.
To you, sir, covering the media, hearing the president say it is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write. Is he calling the press disgusting?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I believe he is. And the idea of a free press disgusting. Brooke, we've heard a lot of anti-media attacks from this president. This one is one of the worst. And I don't want to stoop to his low level and say it's frankly disgusting that he has a profound disregard for the press, but I will say it's disappointing.
[14:25:04] You know, he benefits from the First Amendment and the press just like you and I do. He benefits from a free and fair news media. And yet we've seen in the past couple of weeks that the president gets more and more frustrated by how his own White House is performing, or underperforming. He's lashing out at what he calls the fake news, that's really real news, and he's looking for solution, whether it's saying the Senate Intel Committee should investigate or saying there should be a fairness doctrine on TV or now today he's saying maybe we should look at the licenses for TV stations. It seems to me he's reaching for excuses, reaching for ways to punish the media for the stories he doesn't like.
But i do want to just point out, the NBC story that he says the sources were made up for it. They have three sources that were in the room -- in the room for the meeting where this talk happened about a tenfold increase. Making up sources, you know, Brooke, that's the worst thing in journalism. It almost never happens. And when it does, those people get the heck out of the profession. They get fired. So, no, NBC did not make up these sources today, even though the president thinks they did.
BALDWIN: Brian, thank you.
BALDWIN: Jeffrey, thank you.
And Jeff Zeleny.
Coming up here, let's talk more about Harvey Weinstein, that scandal. The New York D.A. explaining why charges were never brought against the Hollywood mogul despite allegations of sexual assault.
Also, rap artist Eminem unleashing a verbal tirade against the president of the United States, while drawing a line in the sand with his own fans, essentially saying it's either Eminem or Trump. We'll talk about it, coming up.