Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Kelly's Deputy Nominated For Homeland Security; Trump Executive Order Chips Away At Obamacare; Trump Aid To Puerto Rico Can't Go On Forever; White House Pushes Back On Reports Presidency Is Unraveling; Friend Says Trump Not Isolated, Manages By Conflict; Kremlin-backed Trolls Targetted Players Of Pokemon Go; Trump Appears Ready To Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal; Former Israel Prime Minister Urges To Keep Iran Nuclear Deal; California Wildfire Deaths Climb To 31; 3500 Homes And Businesses Burned Since Sunday; At Least 31 Killed In California Wildfires; Many Puerto Ricans Still Struggling for Basic Supplies; New York and London Police Looking Into Assault Claims Against Harvey Weinstein; Modern-Day Freedom Fighters Inspired by Abraham Lincoln. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 13, 2017 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, the White House goes on damage control after a new report claims Donald Trump is unstable and unraveling.

VAUSE: One of California's deadliest wildfires is still burning out of control and officials fear more lives and probably could be lost in the coming days.

SESAY: And later, CNN goes where emergency officials have not. We take you to some of the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico still waiting for waiting for hurricane relief.

VAUSE: Hello, everybody, thanks for being with us for yet another hour. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A. White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, is often seen standing near the U.S. president, but he is rarely heard. The former Marine Corps General prefers to let Donald Trump and others to do all the talking, but that changed on Thursday.

VAUSE: John Kelly made his first appearance at the White House briefing to end speculation he was about to be fired or quit. The Trump administration official told CNN, Kelly's performance before the cameras please the president. Details now from Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEN. JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I'm not quitting today. I don't believe, and I just talked to the president, I don't think I'm being fired today. And I am not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): with

those words today, White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, trying to clear the air and calm the chaotic waters of President Trump's tumultuous west wing. To make his point, he said it again. Although this time, with a slight caveat.

KELLY: Unless things change, I'm not quitting. I am not getting fired. And I don't think I'll fire anyone tomorrow.

ZELENY: 11 weeks after coming on board to instill discipline in the White House, the retire Four Star Marine General made his debut before the cameras. He made clear, where at least some of the president's irritation lies.

KELLY: One of his frustrations is you.

ZELENY: It was an unusual sight where the chief of staff effectively upstaged the president for a moment at least.

KELLY: I was not sent into or brought into control him, and you should not measure my effectiveness as a chief of staff by what you think I should be doing. But by simply, the fact is I can guarantee to you that he is now presented with options, well thought out options.

ZELENY: Kelly said, Americans should be concerned about North Korea's ability to reach the U.S. homeland with its missiles.

KELLY: Right now, there's great concern about a lot of Americans that live in Guam. Right now, we think the threat is manageable, but overtime, if it grows beyond where it is today, well, let's hope diplomacy works.

ZELENY: Kelly came to the West Wing after the serving as the secretary of homeland security. Today, the president nominated Kelly's top deputy, Kirsten Nielson to replace him.

KIRSTJEN NIELSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY NOMINEE: Thank you very, Mr. President. Thank you for the honor of this nomination and for your extraordinary leadership.

ZELENY: Earlier today, the president signed an executive order waddling away Obamacare. Yet it was hardly what he had in mind. After the Republican-controlled Congress repeatedly failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the president acted alone.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just keep hearing repeal and replace, repeal and replace, well, we're starting that process.

ZELENY: He and many Republicans blasted President Obama again and again for using his pen to bypass Congress.

TRUMP: Wouldn't it be nice if they could actually get Congress together, and, you know, do it the old fashion way where people work and they cajole, and they have bridged together, and they get along with -- they don't get along.

ZELENY: There was none of that skepticism in the air in the Roosevelt room.

TRUMP: Today is only the beginning. In the coming months, we plan to take new measures to provide our people with even more relief and more freedom.

ZELENY: All this as the president took new aim to Puerto Rico. In a tweet, he said, "We cannot keep FEMA, the military, and first responders, who have been amazing under the most difficult circumstances in Puerto Rico forever.

Now, the White House chief of staff said the president's tweet was exactly accurate. He said first responders and members of the military will not stay there forever. John Kelly, however, did not respond to why the president drew a distinction between the responders on Puerto Rico, and Texas and Florida. He has not yet called for anyone to leave in those two states. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: All right. Well, let's bring in Political Commentators: Mo'Kelly, Host of the "Mo'Kelly Show"; and John Phillips, a Political Columnist for the Orange County Register and a Trump Supporter and a Radio Host and so many other things besides. Gentlemen, thank you for being with us once again.

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR AND POLITICAL COLUMNIST FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: And I'm Contributor of the show.

SESAY: Yes, obviously.

PHILLIPS: I'm a jack of all trades.

SESAY: John, do you want to take stab at Jeff Zeleny's question there? Why the distinction on how the president is treating Puerto Rico versus Florida and Texas.

[01:05:10] PHILLIPS: Well, if you are the Feds and you are going in after a natural disaster and all three areas were hit by horrific natural disasters, FEMA is there to coordinate and work with local authorities -- work with the police, work with the fire departments, the EMTs, et cetera. And when you're talking about Puerto Rico compared to Florida and Texas, you're talking about a place that is bankrupt, you're talking about a place that is insolvent. There's not a whole lot to work with there. Now, the Feds will be there and help them get them back on their feet, but they don't have a magic wand. They're not going down there, and they're not going to transform that place into something that it wasn't before. And so, I don't think they should expect that, I don't think anyone's expecting that.

SESAY: I think you're right, they're just expecting water and power, they're expecting things to be better by now after three weeks. Nobody -- I don't think anyone in Puerto Rico expects them to wave a magic wand and make their lives better than they were before.

PHILLIPS: And resources were sent down there: 10,000 people, a general to go down there and coordinate and organize the effort. I mean, even when the mayor of San Juan who loves to be on television was complaining about not getting any resources and not getting any help. She was standing in front of a bunch of food and water and medicine that she didn't distribute.

VAUSE: Was that like the three million meals that they need that she's standing in front of her?

MO'KELLY, RADIO HOST: So, the question is: who is the president's audience when he's tweeting about "Puerto Rico, we can't have FEMA down there and indefinitely or forever?" Who is he trying to make this plea to? Is he talking to the residents of Puerto Rico who don't power? Who can't even get on Twitter? Or is he trying to talk to the American people and further marginalize Puerto Ricans in the sense of -- he keeps talking about them as if they are a foreign country, a foreign entity as opposed to the aspect that we are Americans collectively.

VAUSE: It's funny that you should bring that up. Because if you're curious as to the initial tweet that started all this, "Puerto Rico survived the hurricanes now financials crisis looms largely of their own, making sort of Sharyl Attkinson." That's was the original tweet. So, who is Sharyl Attkisson? Well, she is a journalist with the right-wing broadcasting group and here she is. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARYL ATTKISSON, JOURNALIST: Puerto Rico survived the hurricane, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A total lack of accountability.

ATTKISSON: The uphill battle to fix Puerto Rico on the next "Full Measure."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: If it sounds to me that's because, you know, apparently her show went to air and then the president tweeted very similar words to Sharyl Attkinson. So, clearly, he was obviously watching. But Mo, you have a situation that conservative media be it Fox, Breitbart, (INAUDIBLE) or whoever, in some ways seems to be setting the president's agenda.

M. KELLY: Well, what bothers me more is this is really not a partisan issue. This is a humanitarian crisis where Americans are dying. We can quibble about how many people are in harm's way or how many people are dying, but they do not have potable water, they do not have electricity. They are American citizens. And whether FEMA stays there another week, another month, another year, it should be in immaterial or inconsequential in terms of the message that the president is trying to send to the world. He's not talking to Congress, he's not talking to the governor and mayor -- one will wonder about how we're going to work to this crisis. He's trying to embarrass Puerto Rico and also make the argument that they don't deserve this continuing help.

PHILLIPS: Sharyl Attkinson is a respected journalist prior to going to some issues with CBS news for years and years and years, part of the CBS T.V. news.

VAUSE: Part of the ring wing conservatives.

PHILLIPS: CBS is not. I used to work there and I can attest to you that it is not a hot seat for the right-wing activist.

VAUSE: Since it's clear now.

PHILLIPS: If you want to talk about someone that pull stunts for partisan purposes, how about the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is a woman who endorsed Hillary Clinton, is a partisan Democrat, then went back on that and endorsed Bernie Sanders when that could get her more ink.

SESAY: John.

PHILLIPS: And now is what she's is she initially said that she was getting the resources that they need. Then, she flipped on that and just started attacking the White House.

M. KELLY: What did she gain?

SESAY: Let me talk. She is the mayor of San Juan, and this is the president of the United States. It is not --

PHILLIPS: Because she's on T.V. so much, she probably gets the better half attention of the media.

SESAY: But we're not going down that rabbit hole.

VAUSE: Anyway, let's talk about John Kelly's debut at the White House briefing room. He turned up front, you know, write in a sheet these concerns about the White House in turmoil because of a string of stories, you know, like this one in Vanity Fair. "'I hate everyone in the White House': Trump seethes as advisers fear the president is unraveling." John, it's a bit of a catchphrase, isn't?

PHILLIPS: Nice reflection.

(LAUGHTER)

VAUSE: If there was no turmoil, then why would John Kelly make this appearance? But if he didn't make this appearance, and speculation would continue that he was about to be fired. So, what do you do? I guess you'd do what he did and he did it quite well.

PHILLIPS: Yes. These are hard-charging guys. I mean, John Kelly is the guy with a career in the military. Donald Trump, a long career in business. They're working together, trying to make this thing work in the White House. And people are acting like they're Sherry Lewis of Lamb Chop. And they're not the same person. And sometimes they're going to agree and sometimes they're going to disagree, but that's the process in government that's how it works, that's what James Madison talked about with warring factions and having, you know, everyone have a seat at the table and have a big food fight. We can end up with a result that we can live with.

[01:10:13] M. KELLY: No. This is now how government works. This is not normal. This is not how a well-functioning, well-oiled machine, or as what president said it actually works and is productive. I would like to see a major legislative accomplishment -- one. And then, when we see that, then we can say that everything is working as it's supposed to.

PHILLIPS: We got Gorsuch through.

SESAY: OK. Well, here's the thing: John Kelly, did come out, but I'll going to keep going on with that one. And listen, it was a bigger achieve granted. Mo, John Kelly did project an air of calm, we have to give him that. You know, it did, you know, smooth those rubbles --

VAUSE: The serene marine, as you said last hour.

SESAY: You did.

M. KELLY: That's important.

SESAY: He did. But the fact is, it's his word versus Senator Bob Corker who said this: "I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it's a situation of trying to contain him," referring to the president. Who was more convincing? Who are you going to believe?

M. KELLY: Well, it's a good news/bad news. If you have John Kelly who is projecting that air of calm, then we all know that that's important. And if John Kelly is doing that and that's helpful, what does it mean when the president is doing the exact opposite? I would say that that is hurtful. If we listen to Bob Corker, who says he has the ear of everyone on the Hill, at least a Republicans go, his opinion is shared by many. But since he's not running for reelection, he's freer to say it.

VAUSE: OK. On Wednesday, close Trump friend, Tom Barrack, the man known as the Trump whisperer, gave an extraordinary interview to Washington Post, saying he was shocked and stunned by some of the president's statements. Here's part of the report: "He thinks he has to be loyal to his base," Barrack said, "I keep on saying, but who is your base? You don't have a natural base. Your bases now are the world and America. So, you have all these constituencies, show them who you really are. In my opinion, he's better than this." Thursday, Mr. Barrack was on CNN to clear the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS BARRACK, TRUMP WHISPERER: He's not isolated. It's a president who has managed his whole life, for the 40 years that I have known him. He's been successful at everything, but he manages by conflict. So, he brings in various points of view, he listens to them all, and then he curates a point of view based on differing ideas. Nothing has changed. But what's made it better is General Kelly is creating a different menu for him to curate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: John, the conflict part goes to your sort of management style. So, this is business as usual now, right?

PHILLIPS: Well, I think this guy was going to the news media and was -- people can sometimes get braggadocios when they have access to the White House. And he's the guy that's known the president for a long time, and he does have the president's ear, and he wants the world to know that he's the guy that can give honest advice where he doesn't work for him, he doesn't need anything from him, he's not lobbying him for anything in particular, and he can just go in there and tell him whatever he thinks is the right thing to do. I think he was just trying to show to the world that he can go in there and talk to him with complete independence.

M. KELLY: And if that is true, then he's giving an independent point of view which says that this president is not acting in a way, which is consistent, with what he knows as a rational reasonable person would act.

VAUSE: OK.

SESAY: We're going to leave it there. $

M. KELLY: Good point. Thank you.

SESAY: Rational and reasonable. We're going to leave it there. Thank you, gentlemen.

(LAUGHTER)

VAUSE: OK. Well, a CNN investigation has revealed new details about the extent and sophistication of Russia meddling in last year's U.S. presidential election. With Kremlin-back trolls targeting the social media game Pokemon Go.

SESAY: As you may recall, Pokemon Go was a short-lived but wildly popular phenomenon last year. In this exclusive report, our own Dylan Byers explains how trolls try to use it to stir up political divisions ahead of the election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: Guys, CNN has learned tonight that the Russian meddling efforts in U.S. politics went well beyond just Facebook and Twitter, it extended to other social media platforms like YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, and even all the way to Pokemon Go -- the augmented reality video game. CNN has identified an account called "Don't Shoot Us," which was posing as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. They sent out videos, images, messages, effectively trying to

galvanize African-Americans to protest police brutality while at the same time portraying the Black Lives Matter movement as a threat to America. It goes right to the heart of what the larger Russian effect was here -- it was to drive a wedge between Americans, to amplify political discord, to exploit the tensions that already existed in this country and create an atmosphere of chaos.

The way they used Pokemon Go, they announced on a Tumblr page that if users went out, found Pokemon, and name them after victims of police brutality -- Eric Gardner, Philando Castille. If they did that, and they won this contest, they would be awarded Amazon gift cards. It gets to the level of sophistication and a level of strategy that was involved by these Russians. All of whom tied to the Kremlin through the Internet Research Agency, the sophistication they had in going after Americans in trying to sow discord in American politics. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:15:29] VAUSE: The plot thickens.

SESAY: It does, indeed. Now, President Trump is said to roll back a key piece of Obama-era foreign policy. Senior U.S. officials say he's ready to decertify the Iran nuclear deal.

VAUSE: In the coming hours, the president is expected to outline his plans for the future of the agreement, which is often being criticized by him as being the worst deals ever made. Dalia Dassa Kaye is the Director of the Center for Mid-East Public Policy and Senior Political Scientist with the RAND Corporation. She joins us now from San Francisco.

Dalia, thank you for taking the time. It does seem there's a little bit of, sort of, smoke and mirrors going on here with the White House. The certification requirement is not part of the actual deal, it was a requirement imposed by Congress. So, decertifying doesn't mean the U.S. actually pulls out of the agreement. Even so, there are consequences, right?

DALIA DASSA KAYE, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR MID-EAST PUBLIC POLICY AND SENIOR POLITICAL SCIENTIST WITH THE RAND CORPORATION: Absolutely. It's not technically a violation of the agreement, but it will start a process that will lead to great uncertainty about whether this deal can survive. Because ultimately, it's going to kick this issue over to Congress for 60 days. If Congress reimposes sanctions, that would violate the agreement.

The indications are now that Congress is not likely to do that. But again, that's a long time, and given the concerns about Iran's other behavior in the region, which is I think going to be a big focus of the president's speech tomorrow. I think there are a lot of question marks about whether this deal can sustain this new confrontational approach to Iran. So, there's a lot of question marks even though, technically, won't be pulling out of the agreement. VAUSE: Former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, is no fan of this nuclear deal with Iran. But he also thinks decertifying it is not a good idea. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EHUD BARAK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF IRAN: Yes. The deal, we believe, is a bad deal. I was hopeless on Iran all along my service in government. From Israel's part, it remains a bad deal. But it is a done deal. So, to decertify it now, it will -- basically throwing it to Congress, Congress will not pull out of it. The real story is that the Iranians will be sewed by it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So, what is he saying here in the sense that Iran will be the ones will be sewed, will benefit from this.

KAYE: Well, they'll benefit in that. The deal will likely weaken over time even if sanctions are re-imposed or the president to continue to waive sanctions, all of the things which would absolutely kill the deal. The constraints would probably weaken because the United States is unlikely to be able to get our international allies, our European friends, but especially not the Russians or Chinese to renegotiate this agreement.

They've been very clear, they're not going to renegotiate. There may be an ability to talk about add-on agreements of areas of concern. But that's not likely to happen with the U.S. signaling it's leaving this deal. And I think the decertification is going to be a signal in that direction. So, I think the concern is that the Iranians will have fewer restraints over time, and U.S. credibility will at stake because I think a lot of people are wondering given that the IIEA has suggested multiple times, confirmed Iranian compliance with disagreement -- the entire international community is in agreement that Iran is complying.

It really looks like the United States is the one to blame not Iran. And so, that gives Iran an upper hand that it shouldn't have. The idea is, if this deal is going to fall apart, it should be because of some action the Iranians take, not action the United States takes. So, that really weakens the U.S. hand and the international community, and unfortunately, will strengthen Iran. And the fact that the former prime minister and defense minister of Israel are on record in saying that, I think it's an indication of just how isolated the United States is on this.

VAUSE: The (INAUDIBLE) speaking to you in Texas a few hours ago had some very harsh words for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard saying this: "They are the cudgels of a despotic theocracy with the IRGC -- Iranian Revolution Guard -- accountable only to a supreme leader. They're the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East." This seems to be setting the stage with the designation of the Republican Guard as a foreign terrorist organization like ISIS or al-Qaeda. That could also come on Friday, and that would have immediate and far-reaching implications, much more so than decertifying this nuclear deal.

KAYE: Yes, it absolutely would. It's not clear that's going to be what happens but it is pretty certain that this administration wants to further escalate and impose non-nuclear sanctions on individuals and entities and activities of the IRGC. And they do engage in incredibly destabilizing activities in terms of their links Shia Militia forces throughout the region, their support of the Assad regime. This is one of the biggest worries, frankly, of Iran's neighbors -- it's less the nuclear issue and more these destabilizing activities.

[01:20:21] You know, the problem is the nuclear deal is not what causes these destabilizing activities. Iran's influence and strength in the region really grew after the 2003 Iraq War. So, the argument is this nuclear deal is actually a good way to make sure all of the destabilizing things the Iranians do, do not take place under the cover of a nuclear weapon. And this deal has been pretty successful in containing and rolling back the Iranian program. It's not perfect, but it's the best option we have out there, and there's a lot of concern in the international community that is speech tomorrow and this decertification decision is going to be the beginning of the unraveling of this very, very important agreement that took many years to complete.

VAUSE: I just keep hearing that over and over again: it's not perfect but it's the best option we've got right now, and yet it is still under the threat of being scrapped in some way. Thank you so much. Good to see you. We appreciate you being with us.

KAYE: Thank you very much.

SESAY: Well, happening now on the Turkish-Syrian border, these are live pictures of the convoy of Turkish military vehicles crossing into the Northern Syria. Syrian rebel group is taking part in the operation in Idlib Province. Turkey says it's moving in to enforce a de-escalation zone in the region. Its defense minister says the troops will stay until all threats are eliminated. You're looking at live pictures there.

VAUSE: It seems to be quite open-ended.

SESAY: It does, indeed.

VAUSE: OK.

SESAY: Next on NEWSROOM L.A. California residents deal with lives lost and their homes in ashes as raging wildfire scorched the state.

VAUSE: Also, a new development in the Harvey Weinstein investigation. One actress tells what happened to her when she was just 17-years-old.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well misery and heartbreak caused by nearly two-dozen wildfires, burning across Northern California is unlikely to end anytime soon. The death toll now stands at 31, hundreds of people have been reported missing, and there fear strong winds will continue to fuel the flames in the coming days.

SESAY: Well, fires have reached through the region since Sunday, destroying at least 3,500 homes and businesses, and burning nearly 80,000 hectares throughout the state. Thousands of firefighters are working all around the clock trying to contain the outbreaks. Well, Zach Block joins me now on the phone. His home in Santa Rosa was destroyed in one of the fires. Zach, thank you so much for making time to speak to us at this really difficult time. I know that you were in your backyard when the fire was advancing. Can you tell me about the moment you saw the flames and what it took for you and your wife and your dogs to get out of there?

ZACH BLOCK, RESIDENT OF SANTA ROSA: Yes. So initially, my brother and I went outside, obviously, to see exactly what was happening. It started to get pretty dense with smoke. The fire started to show. Flames started to jump over the fence and onto our backyard. And then, we started to really figure out how serious this was. Found ourselves about five minutes out loading my 11 months, my three dogs, my wife. My brother is working firemen, so he had his two dogs there as well. And it was a relatively quick process; within two and a half minutes of the flames touching down in my backyard, we had about a five-minute window to get out of the house safely and away from the fire as far as possible.

SESAY: Wow. What sticks out from you -- what sticks out for you from that moment seeing the approaching flames? I mean, what do you remember -- I mean, what do you remember? I mean, in terms of how you were feeling in that moment, was it just utter panic?

BLOCK: It was, and it wasn't -- it was pretty far away when we had a chance to visualize it. So, we thought we had a little bit more time than we thought. And then, we started to really understand how significant the flames and fire was approaching our actual, our actual portion of our house. So, we realized we had to get out there pretty quickly. So, you know, the thought was, you know, have a little bit time to figure it out, and then, you know, as it approached us, we had about five to ten minutes to get out of the building and make some pretty significant decisions on what we were taking and what was important to us at that time.

SESAY: I mean, when you left the house, were you thinking you would find something, something would survive, and then, obviously, you made the journey back and saw the state it was in. Talk to me about that.

BLOCK: Yes. I mean, the most important thing was my family. That was material, will always be replaced. But you know, we didn't really get a chance to think about it until we got to a safe location. We're staying here in Clayton with my sister and brother-in-law. So, we start to really think about what we could've grabbed or what we could have done to be more prepared. You know, I actually start to think about those, but, you know, we really felt it was the most important have our family and we are really intact and that was all we need at that point.

SESAY: Well, we are pleased that you and your family are safe. Our hearts go out to you and everyone affected by this. Stay strong, we wish you the best for the future and we hope they get these fires under control soon. Zach, thank you.

BLOCK: Thank you.

VAUSE: Meanwhile, Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is with us now at the CNN International Weather Center with more on the forecast and what's the conditions that all these firefighters are looking at overnight and going into the next couple of days. It's also this red flag warning out there Derek which is of particular concern.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. John, I recognize that the firefighters are working hard to contain the fires, but there is a narrow window of opportunity where weather conditions will actually play along and help the firefighters contain, but things are going to go downhill from Friday evening right through Saturday morning. Take a look at the active 23 wildfires burning across the state California.

Remember, much of San Francisco choking with terrible air quality because the winds have generally been out of the north to northeasterly direction, taking the fires that are burning the Napa and Sonoma Counties. This is the atlas fire threatening the greater Napa region and blowing in some of that smoke across the greater San Francisco area, even delaying and canceling some of the flights.

Look at this, this is the tubs fire that has burned so many structures in Sonoma County. Unbelievable to see what's taking place there. But when we look at the containment of the largest fires that are taking place just outside of San Francisco, they still have at least 90 percent to go, to actually get a full handle on these large fires that continue to burn -- many of them, over 40,000 acres.

And we still have an elevated risk of fire through the course of the day to day for much of Central and Northern California. In terms of winds, what I want you to notice is how they start to increase as we head into the evening tonight which is Friday and into the day on Saturday. Winds relatively calm; this is that narrow window of opportunity I was talking about, really, for the next 12 to 18 hours. But then, conditions go downhill from here -- we're talking about 30- mile per hour wind gust and relative humidity dropping very quickly. John and Isha, that will not be good for firefighters.

SESAY: It certainly won't. They need a break, and it's just not on the cards.

VAUSE: No, not for a while. Derek, thank you.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAN DAM: All right.

[01:29:34] SESAY: Quick break here. The president is telling Puerto Rico, just shoulder more of the burden as we recover some of Hurricane Maria, but many people are barely surviving.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:32:11] ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I am Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm John Vause. Let's check the headlines this hour.

The death toll from wildfires raging across California has risen to 31. With most fatalities in the state's famous wine-producing region. More than 8,000 firefighters have been fighting to contain the outbreaks with reinforcements on the way from across the United States and around the world. We're also just learned the Santa Rosa area, home of Charles Schulz, the late creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip, was lost in the wildfire. His son says Schulz's widow fled the home and is safe.

SESAY: The Canadian-American family are free after five years in Taliban captivity. Pakistan's security forces rescued Caitlan Coleman, Joshua Boyle and their three children as they were being moved in a new location. Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped in 2012 while traveling in Afghanistan. She gave birth to three children during captivity.

VAUSE: President Trump has warned the devastated island of Puerto Rico there is a limit to federal government's assistance in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He tweeted Thursday, "We cannot keep FEMA, the military and the first responders, who have been amazing under the most difficult circumstances, in Puerto Rico forever."

SESAY: While that's obviously true, many called Trump's comments insensitive to the Puerto Ricans still struggling to survive.

VAUSE: Well, to find out the full extent of devastation caused by Maria, CNN's Leyla Santiago visited some of the most remote parts of the island.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The destruction, a constant reminder, Maria's eye was here just 24 hours three weeks later Puerto Rico is unrecognizable. But for us this is familiar. We were here in Quebradillas just four days after Hurricane Maria struck. When we arrived a woman, a complete stranger, embraced me in a way I will never forget.

Desperate, she explained no one else had been to her town since the storm. No one else had come to see if that mountaintop community had even survived.

Her name is Brenda. We wanted to find her again to find out how she's doing.

(On camera): That's her right there. That's her.

(Voice-over): She recognizes us immediately. The mayor, she tells us, brought a box of emergency food. Her neighbors all shared it. There's nothing left now.

(On camera): The president has said that he's doing an A-plus job in recovery efforts. How would you grade him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No. No way.

SANTIAGO: What grade would you give it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll give it a D. We have not seen anything.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): It's hard for them to give the U.S. government a good grade when they still don't have power or water. More than 80 percent of Puerto Rico no electricity.

Maria left these mountains scarred. Mudslides are closing off entire communities across the island.

[01:35:03] (On camera): So this is as far as I can get in this part of Anasco. There's a whole community back there. You can see there's water that's taken over the road. There's mud. Trees down making it difficult to reach this community so we're going to have to go by foot in order to get to them.

(Voice-over): Along the way, we meet David. He's a veteran. An orange farmer from the neighboring town who just wants to help. He hiked in with a full crate of water and ice.

(On camera): So right now you having to walk through all this, why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the people.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): The people. That's what makes it so hard for him. At 70 years old, he's one of the few reaching the people in this community that he loves.

A half hour hike through an area once plush now stripped of leaves and color. We learned one helicopter landed here since the storm. But bottled water is running out along with the food for Josean (ph), 5- month-old, completely unaware of the reality surrounding him.

(On camera): She's worried about the milk and the water for him.

(Voice-over): Mom tells me it's only enough for another week and a half. She needs more. She needs more power. She needs another helicopter to land here soon. A third of the island doesn't have clean water.

As we move to another part of the island, we spot help.

(On camera): What are you guys doing down there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're headed out to a store right now.

SANTIAGO: Are you bringing supplies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (INAUDIBLE).

SANTIAGO (voice-over): In Utuado, the interior, the director of emergency management tells us they've been able to reach everyone here. His challenge, communication.

(On camera): This is what -- this is what they've been given out here. OK. It's got a number. It's got a Web site. But in an area where there's no cell service and there's no Internet, that's the problem.

(Voice-over): He insists help is flowing. But it's not what we found when we talked to (INAUDIBLE) up the road. Her home battered by Maria. The floors still wet. No power here either.

(On camera): I noticed she doesn't have a roof. But I also noticed that flag she's flying.

(Voice-over): The reason, she says --

(On camera): She says that's their salvation.

(Voice-over): Among the devastation, the desperation. She says she flies this flag with pride. Waiting for help to arrive.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Puerto Rico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, Jamie Harper has family in Puerto Rico and she joins us now from Miami.

Jamie, good to speak to you once again. Let's just remind our viewers on what the president said on Thursday about Puerto Rico in a series of tweets. In the first two he essentially blamed the island for its own crisis, saying the electrical grid and infrastructure were a disaster before the hurricanes but it is his final tweet that most found truly shocking. He said this, "We cannot keep FEMA, the military and the first responders, who have been amazing under the most difficult circumstances, in Puerto Rico forever."

Jamie, what did you think when you first saw this tweet from the president?

JAMIE HARPER, HAS FAMILY IN PUERTO RICO: Those words are just hurtful. You want your president to help the American citizens. We're all Americans in Puerto Rico and these people have fought in the wars for USA so it's kind of a kick to the throat, kicking people that are in need of help. I want him to really step in and help them.

SESAY: Well, to that point, the president says FEMA, the military and the first responders have been amazing during their time in Puerto Rico. Your family is there on the island. How do their experiences match up with the president's own assessment of the federal government's performance?

HARPER: Their experience have been no water, no food. They haven't received anything from FEMA. They did receive a little package from Red Cross of Mexico that I'm really thankful that they got to the areas that have been forgotten.

SESAY: And your uncle died in Arecibo. What happened?

HARPER: The lack of supplies. There's no generator in the hospitals -- you know, people that are coming in with any emergency, if there's respiratory or -- you know, there's nothing that they could do so there's a lot of people that are dying from this.

SESAY: I'm so sorry for your loss, Jamie, you and your family. The federal response to Puerto Rico has been different to what we saw in Texas and Florida. The tone, the speed. I mean, is it -- is this just the case that, you know, this is -- it is the way it is in Puerto Rico because, you know, the president says it's an island far away from the mainland?

[01:40:09] Or is there something else at play here? I mean, how do you see it -- the president's tone, his comments and the response?

HARPER: I just pray he could change his heart and really step in and help our people. Puerto Rico is not that far away. There's so many people that go to vacation there. There is -- he has a hotel there. He has a golf course so it's not that far, far away. I think the response could be better. Personally I wish that it could be better, that they figure out a way to help our people. Like right now the problem with the water -- I saw videos of water that is coming out yellow and brown and it's filled with bacteria.

And there's a lot of people -- there's cases, I wrote it down, there's leptospirosis, there's conjunctive, there's Dengue. They're investigating a case of cholera.

SESAY: Yes.

HARPER: I mean, those are really crazy things that we need to pay attention. From 45 dead, it could be hundreds.

SESAY: Jamie, if indeed the president, you know, follows through and in the near future pulls out the federal relief workers and they leave, what would that mean for your family? What would it mean for your loved ones and the future of Puerto Rico?

HARPER: It will be devastating. That's like letting American people die and it should not be happening. I really hope that he searches in his heart and help our people because it's not -- it's just there's babies that are dying, there's elderly that are dying, and I just can't stand -- I just can't understand what is the reason behind this. He just needs to please help our people. Our American citizens.

SESAY: Yes. And that's the -- the most important to stress here, that they are American citizens.

Jamie, my heart --

HARPER: And humanitarian crisis that is happening in Puerto Rico.

SESAY: Yes. In real time. Our heart goes out to you and your family. Again we're sorry for the loss of your uncle and we'll continue to check in with you. Thank you so much for making time to speak to us.

HARPER: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

VAUSE: There are victims that Sanjay Gupta says are the stupid -- to be there in half the time. Because they survived the storm.

SESAY: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

VAUSE: And then weeks later they passed away. It could have been prevented.

SESAY: Yes. And could every death after the storm made landfall.

VAUSE: Most likely could have prevented.

SESAY: Yes. Mostly likely have been prevented.

VAUSE: OK. Short break, when we come back new developments in the Harvey Weinstein investigation. More accusers are coming forward. More police departments now involved. We'll have details in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, the Harvey Weinstein scandal has now spread to Britain with Scotland Yard investigating claims the Hollywood movie producer abused an actress in London. The case dates back to the 1980s.

[01:45:05] SESAY: And New York Police are reviewing claims made by alleged victims in a "New Yorker" article. They included a 2004 incident involving actress Lucia Evans in an office at Miramax Films.

VAUSE: Actress Kate Beckinsale says she was just 17 when she became one of Weinstein's victims. On her Instagram page she says the incident happened at New York Savoy Hotel.

SESAY: Yes. She went there for a meeting with Weinstein. He opened the door in his bathrobe and offered her alcohol. Beckinsale rejected his advances and left, she says, uneasy but unscathed.

VAUSE: Actress Rose McGowan is now the fourth woman accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape. On Twitter, McGowan directed her anger at the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

SESAY: She said, "I told the head of your studio that HW (Harvey Weinstein) raped me. Over and over, I said it. He said it hadn't been proven. I said I was the proof."

Amazon and the Weinstein Company were partners in two upcoming TV series. A spokeswoman for Weinstein said, quote, "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

VAUSE: Well, Caroline Heldman is a woman's advocate and associate professor of politics at Occidental College and she joins us now for more on this, which just seems to get bigger and bigger by the day.

You know, proving once again there is safety in numbers, the list of women coming forward just keeps growing. Among them is Jessica Barth. This is what she told CNN about her experience with Weinstein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA BARTH, WEINSTEIN ACCUSER: At first he started talking about career stuff and how he wanted to fly me to New York and give me a role in Sara Jessica Parker's new film. He alternated between that and asking me to give him a naked massage in the bed. So I told him that that wasn't going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. So take the Hollywood out of this. You know, this pattern seems really typical, right? You've got this powerful executive, dangling this potential job opportunity in front of a young person who wants a break, and it ends up in some kind of sexual harassment or worse. And the victim is left making this calculation about the real-life consequences of speaking up. And this happens not just in Hollywood. Not just in Silicon Valley. It happens everywhere, right?

CAROLINE HELDMAN, WOMEN'S ADVOCATE: It does. It does, John. In fact one in three American women and one in 10 American men will experience some form of sexual harassment during their work life. And very few of them report. In fact fewer than 15 percent report. And the reasons that they don't report, that they fear that they won't be believed and oftentimes they are not believed but perhaps more importantly that they'd be retaliated against. That they won't get justice, that it will harm their reputations.

So what we're seeing with Weinstein is celebrities coming forward, they have even more to lose. So this is kind of a remarkable moment in fighting for these issues that so many women are coming forward all at once.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, because for a lot of actresses, and my wife is an actress, she said she went through it as well, is that, you know, you make the calculation, do you speak out, and then you lose that chance of ever working in this town again because it's a small community. And the other part of this, here's an example of Hollywood sort of openly jokingly about Weinstein. We'll start with the scene from "Entourage" and a character named Harvey Weingard, a volatile movie producer who's abusive to his staff and then there's got a lot of clips. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[01:48:18] MAURY CHAYKIN, ACTOR, "ENTOURAGE": Don't call me (INAUDIBLE) thief. You know who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I am?

GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: I do all my movies for Harvey Weinstein. That's Miramax for all of you.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Yes.

PALTROW: And I'm lucky to do them there. But he will coerce you to do it. LETTERMAN: And so Harvey said, I'll tell you what, go on and then

talk about your movie. Is that what Harvey said?

PALTROW: Yes.

LETTERMAN: And in return, what will Harvey do for you?

PALTROW: Nothing.

LETTERMAN: Really? Well, what's wrong with that equation? As the kids say, you do the math. You know, I'm kind of fed up with Harvey's behavior.

TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR, "30 ROCK": Don't do it, Jenna. You don't want to mess with Weird Al.

JANE KRAKOWSKI, ACTRESS, "30 ROCK": Oh, please. I'm not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions. Out of five.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And so this wasn't coming up. This was institutionalized. And if you're an actress or someone trying to make it big in Hollywood, and that's the actually the convention.

HELDMAN: Exactly. Well, it sends a really clear message, if everybody knows about it, it's an open secret then it means that he gets to get away with it. And Hollywood is worse than most other industries perhaps other all industries because it's run on these informal networks and so there aren't these mechanisms of accountability. Harvey Weinstein is the boss. Right? And he's not alone. I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of women that he has abused over the years because he's been at it for 30 years. But it's not just him.

We've seen just today, you know, revelations coming out and allegation against an Amazon executive, an allegation against Oliver Stone. So I think this is opening the floodgates that we're going to see both more allegations against Weinstein and he's up to 38 right now. And we will also see this against others in the industry.

It's a casting couch culture of harassment that has been around for a century, right? Since the inception of this industry.

VAUSE: You mentioned Oliver Stone. He reportedly makes the comments at the Busan International Film Festival. He said, "I'm a believer that you wait until this thing gets to trial. I believe a man shouldn't be condemned by a vigilante system. It's not easy what he is going through, either," in relation to -- I mean, look, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But when do you get beyond that point in something like this?

HELDMAN: Well, and it becomes really difficult when you look at the fact that in our system of justice only 3 percent of rapists will ever see a day in jail so if we were to wait for that then 97 percent of rapists would never have any form of accountability. And in this sense they're not -- you know, probably won't get much judicial accountability but at least there's some media justice. And I think that this is why so many women are coming forward, not only because they feel comfortable and empowered but this is a form of justice, right? It's a form of catharsis. In fact there's this whole, you know, called "Rose Army" right now on Twitter that is boycotting Twitter tomorrow for 24 hours starting at midnight, #womenboycotttwitter, because they silenced Rose McGowan.

VAUSE: Right.

HELDMAN: There is something going on right now that we haven't seen before.

VAUSE: The former Vice President Joe Biden, he's joining the list of Democrats slamming Weinstein. He also praised the women who were brave enough to come forward. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: But because of the bravery of so many courageous women speaking up, putting their careers still at risk to save other women. This is disgusting behavior at least on the part of Harvey Weinstein has been brought to an abrupt and justifiable end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, Biden has been (INAUDIBLE) when it comes to, you know, women's rights and the rights of victims and that kind of thing. But this story broke almost a week ago. Is this another example of at least safety in numbers, it was safe for him to come as a Democrat and condemn Weinstein? After all he's a big Democrat donor.

HELDMAN: Well, and I would say yes. I think that's the case. I was disappointed that a lot of people waited, right? I don't believe obviously in holding other people accountable for his actions. But why not condemn them immediately as soon as, you know, you have more than one person coming forward. The odd -- I mean, this idea of false reporting, right? FBI finds it's 2 percent to 8 percent. So when two survivors come forward, the odds are miniscule that both of them are not telling the truth. So I think it behooves us as a country to start believing women to stop the victim blaming that happens. If we were to do that then we would see a cultural shift. We would see a lot of survivors coming forward. And so beyond this, you know, looking at sexual violence, it's 1 in 5 women in the United States will face it. And Biden has been really great on that.

VAUSE: Yes.

HELDMAN: But I really wish he and others would have spoken up immediately when this came out.

VAUSE: A few people have a blot on their coffee book over this one, I think.

Caroline, as always, thank you so much. Good to talk with you.

HELDMAN: Great to speak with you. Thanks, John.

VAUSE: We will take a short break. A lot more news here in just a moment. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Well, the fight against modern-day slavery often means looking to the past to gain insight in how to put a stop to it.

VAUSE: As Lynda Kinkade reports, some students are learning lessons from the Great Emancipator himself, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[01:55:02] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's summer but this is no break.

The subject matter, ending slavery. Now in its fifth year, the Students Opposing Slavery summit or SOS provides teenagers actionable skills for how to stop human rights campaigns in their own country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I would do in order to bring it back to my school, probably like start a club or something. And we can spread awareness to my school because I'm sure a lot of other students in my school don't know about this problem.

KINKADE: The setting for the summit is equally impressive. Known as Lincoln's Cottage, this is where President Abraham Lincoln spent his summers when he needed a break from the White House.

(On camera): And even more significantly this is the place where President Lincoln drafted the "Emancipation Proclamation," a landmark piece of legislation setting the path to free slaves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lincoln wants to declare that all slaves everywhere shall be free.

KINKADE (voice-over): Erin (INAUDIBLE) is the executive director at Lincoln's Cottage. In preserving this cottage there was an inclination to bring Lincoln's legacy into modern times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lincoln said that the fight for freedom was unfinished. And so we see doing things like making sure we have slavery free rugs part of carrying out that unfinished work.

KINKADE: As this summit was taking place, in another part of D.C. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined the global response to human trafficking with the release of the U.S. government's "Trafficking in Person" report. It ranks every country's response to the problem.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is our hope that the 21st Century will be the last century of human trafficking and that's what we are all committed to. KINKADE: And perhaps nowhere where you'll find more commitment to the

future of freedom than with this makeshift group of idealistic classmates gathered in a historic cottage.

Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Live from Los Angeles. I am Isha Sesay. Be sure to join us on Twitter at CNN NEWSROOM L.A. for highlights and clips from our shows. We'll be right back with more news after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.

SESAY: The deadly sweeping wildfires in California history and they're not even close to being extinguished.

VAUSE: That aid won't last forever. Three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Trump warns the --