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Thirty Six Dead As Heavy Winds Threaten To Fuel Inferno; President Trump Unravels Obama's Legacy; Trump: If Democrats Are Smart, They'll Negotiate Health Care; Freed Hostage Says Captors "Authorized" Infant Killing; Puerto Rico Facing Slow Recovery; The Academy Meets Today to Decide Harvey Weinstein's Fate. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired October 14, 2017 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:04]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone and thank you so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We're continuing to follow breaking news out of California. Right now, several thousand people are being evacuated in Santa Rosa. That's according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

This video coming from KGO and you're looking at Sonoma County, and this is how firefighters are trying to examine the terrain, where people live, and where they do business. You can see with that mapping. You see street names.

All of that is underneath this billowing smoke there as they zoom in now on active flames and the fire underway there in Sonoma County. But when the view was broadened out, you can see just how widespread, how many people are in danger right there.

Street names, highway names under all that billowing smoke. Just imagine, people live and do business on those streets, there are wineries, farms, so many impacted. More than 20 million people are under a dangerous red flag fire warning rights now in parts of California.

At least 20 active wildfires are scorching the state, and so far, horrible numbers, 36 people are dead. More than 200 others remain unaccounted for.

CNN's Ryan young is in Santa Rosa with the very latest. That the smoke, it's very difficult to breathe. Ryan, now we're talking about thousands of people who are being asked to evacuate in the area where you are. Describe what's going on.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's absolutely choking at some point with the smoke. We want to show you this, when we first started our day here, this smoke cloud wasn't that bad, in fact, we saw a small fire just in the distance and then really over the last few hours, it started to grow.

In fact, fire officials were already telling us this was going to be a challenging day because of the weather here. The weather was supposed to have wind 24 to 40 miles per hour, we get up around 11:30, 12:00 at night, start making our drive around.

We notice that this morning, it was the heaviest wind so far. Now we know that several thousand people are being evacuated in the city of Santa Rosa, they're getting a heads up early, that's good news, we had shifting winds happen this weekend.

The wind was moving from 60 to 70 miles per hour, almost hurricane force like winds. The difference now is, they're letting everyone know as soon as possible to get them out of the way of this fire.

Don't forget 8,000 firefighters are battling this fire. They're trying to do a consistent battle in terms of trying to knock down flames from getting close to people's homes. In fact, we shot a video yesterday, we were with the crew of 100 firefighters as they were setting backfires and knocking down the brush in the mountain line, that's what makes fighting this fire so difficult.

Up there, you see it's a mountain, on top of this, the fact that you're dealing with the terrain, sometimes the fire's above your head and it leaps down below you. Sometimes it crosses highways. You understand the difficulty that firefighters are dealing with.

I talked to several firefighters yesterday who said they were working nonstop for four or five days. He said, we are exhausted but at the end of the day, I would rather be no place but here.

Just to show you our vantage point. We're in a neighborhood. I'm standing in someone's drive way. There's nothing left. If you look back this direction, you can see there, that is someone's house and behind their garage is a car that they weren't able to get out of their garage.

We talked to people who said they had seconds to react. Sometimes it was the dog who let them know it was time to leave. So, this is one of those situations where people are really dealing with the worst- case scenario.

This entire neighborhood is gone, that's repeated itself over and over again, don't forget, 200 plus people are missing, that is the scary part here, when you talk about the death numbers, 36 people already dead, 200 still missing, we did have a communications problem, but they're really going to go into recovery mode.

They brought cadaver dogs in, and they're going to go through some of these neighborhoods to figure out some of those people missing are actually dead. So, it's one of those numbers when you think about how dangerous these fires are, when you look at what's left behind after the fire moves through.

And then realizing that just slight wind shift this morning has led to all of that, and the health concern from the smoke. I can't imagine having asthma and having to deal with this for several days.

WHITFIELD: So, heart breaking. Ryan Young, thank you so much. So many lives upside down and so many lives on the line. Appreciate it. We'll check back with you from Santa Rosa, California.

[12:05:06] All right. Also, today, President Trump is boasting about his latest effort to dismantle Obamacare by cutting billions of dollars meant to help poor Americans buy insurance. The president claiming that his controversial executive order to end subsidies that help six million lower income Americans pay for health insurance will actually help make health care more affordable and more available, he believes.

Trump tweeting this morning, "Very proud of my executive order, which will allow greatly expanded access and far lower cost for health care. Millions of people benefit."

CNN's Boris Sanchez joining us now live from the White House. So, Boris, what is the White House hoping to accomplish with this executive order ending health care subsidies?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, critics say cutting these subsidies to lower income Americans, some 7 million lower income Americans exposes and exacerbates a key problem in Obamacare with some Republicans have called the death spiral with fewer Americans being able to afford these healthcare plans that means that insurance companies have to raise rates.

Thereby meaning that other people may not be able to afford these insurance plans and ultimately leading to, as we've seen, some companies pulling out of markets all together. To be clear, these subsidies were found to be illegal in court previously.

The president, though, has suggested that there is a solution and he is calling on Democrats to come to the table and find one. Here's some of what he said about these health care moves on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: That money was a subsidy and almost you could say a payoff to insurance companies. What we have to do is come up with great health care. That's what I did partially yesterday, that's going to cover a big segment.

But now for the rest, we have to come up with great -- whether it's going to be block grants or something else. We just about have the votes. If the Democrats were smart, what they'd do is come and negotiate something where people could get the kind of health care that they deserve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Now it's interesting that the president says that, because Democrats have been critical first of the executive order, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi calling it spiteful and cruel.

And then of these subsidy cuts as well essentially suggesting the president is sabotaging Obamacare. Keep in mind, Fred, previously in the period of reconciliation when Republicans needed only 50 votes, a simple majority to pass a repeal and replacement of Obamacare, they couldn't twice.

So, now to get 60 votes, they will certainly need Democratic help. It will be interesting to see how the president moves forward on trying to assuage them. It is pressure that he is applying now to Congress -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right. All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much. Let's talk with our panel. Does that mean trying to get legislation or does it mean potentially chipping away with further executive orders? So, what does all of this mean?

With me now, Mustafa Tameez, a Democratic strategist and former consultant to the Department of Homeland Security, and also with me, Ben Ferguson, a CNN political commentator. Good to see you both, Gentlemen.

All right, Mustafa, you first, you know, by eliminating these subsidies for Obamacare, will Trump and the GOP now own health care's successes or failures?

MUSTAFA TAMEEZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, first, Fredricka, our hearts go out to people in California and Puerto Rico that are suffering so much. Rather than the president focusing on them, he's burning down the health exchanges and the health market and abandoning a deal that kept the world safe from nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

The president is just now focusing in our law. He's trying to appeal to his narrow base, rather than fix the health care system, he's actually creating sabotage that will hurt millions of Americans and we've never seen a president who puts his political ambitions ahead of the country and hurting Americans in the meantime. It's just unbelievable to me.

WHITFIELD: The president tweeted this morning that he believes that millions will be helped as a result of his plan. Why is he wrong in your view, Mustafa?

TAMEEZ: Well, look, he's using alternative facts to try to pull us into an alternative reality. The reason why this doesn't work is that when you start to take these markets and subsidies away, you drive the cost not just for the people that were getting these subsidies, but for everybody else, you're destabilizing these markets.

You're going to start seeing markets where it's hard to get coverage, more insurance companies are likely to leave. He kept on saying, the Obamacare is imploding, that was alternative facts. Now the fact of the matter is, he has sabotage this so that will happen. That's his alternative reality.

WHITFIELD: So, Ben, the non-partisan -- hold on, Congressional Budget Office says this move by the president will raise premiums, where some people might be experiencing $300 or so premiums in a year.

[12:10:09] Now after subsidies taken away, they could be looking at over $3,000 in premiums, and the president says, you know, millions will get help. If these subsidies really do undermine the affordability portion of this, why wouldn't the president go after insurance companies, when he says, insurers have only been lining their pockets?

Why then come up with something that says we're going to penalize those insurers for lining their pockets as opposed to making sure that premiums are low so that under the Affordable Care Act people can have access?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But what this is, and a federal judge declared this last year, these basically are nothing more than bribes to insurance companies.

WHITFIELD: Except that it's now -- it's still in the appellate court.

FERGUSON: Let' be clear. The last judge to rule on this, said these payments were unconstitutional. There's an appeals process, but the last judge clearly stated that you cannot do this. The same way the president could not go out there, and decide he's going to subsidize building the wall without an appropriation from Congress. It would be the same exact law that would apply in both of these circumstances.

WHITFIELD: But it is the law until it's not, and that's what Congress is for. So why not --

FERGUSON: Let me finish my point here. I think the president is going to continue to work with Congress, but these payments were not a part of Obamacare. People need to understand what the president just did, did not just change any of the law of Obamacare.

What the president did was say these unlawful payments that are going to subsidize insurance companies, so they have a fake price on the market for people that are going to buy insurance. We're going to stop those illegal payments which a federal judge said was illegal. There are going to be tons of Americans that will be helped out because --

WHITFIELD: And explain how that is when you look at the numbers in terms of 300 versus 3,000 in premiums. How is that?

FERGUSON: A great example is, the fact that I'm on the Obamacare exchange. I had one plan that was an option for my family last year. It's a bronze plan, there was no silver or gold now I would have the ability to pull together with other small business owners and get a plan that protects my family.

My premiums have already gone through the roof, and the second part about this is it also allows me to have the right to go across state lines and pull together with many small business owners. This is going to help out millions of Americans just like myself who had no option --

WHITFIELD: And you look forward to that and you think that's going to make it simpler for you and more affordable?

FERGUSON: Of course, it is. Look at my premiums this year, I'm out -- not only I'm out almost $13,000 in what I'm having to pay for insurance. Then I have a deductible added in there of $6,600 on top of that.

So, before I get any benefit of insurance, I'm almost out $20,000 for my family with a bronze plan that didn't allow my wife to go see the doctor of her choice while we were having a child.

So, that is not choice. I didn't get to choose my doctor. I didn't even get to choose my plan. I didn't get to keep plan and I'm paying now more for insurance than I've ever paid in my entire life, for the worst plan that I've ever had since I graduated from college in 2004.

There are millions of Americans with the same story. All this is doing is pulling the band aide off a bad situation that we already --

WHITFIELD: So, Mustafa, the president says the next step potentially would be to give time for Congress to come up with a replacement plan in the interim, but if that replacement plan doesn't come, I mean, we've lost count, there have been 60 votes on repeal and replace.

If it doesn't happen this go round, isn't it more likely that the president will use another executive order to do something else to the existing plan before there ever is a replacement? What do people do if they're counting on it. In the interim, your plan just expires and then you have nothing?

TAMEEZ: Well, look, I mean, this is where this is headed, the president is not putting the American public. He is using these partisan political tactics and he's the one that criticized President Obama for all these executive orders, now he has 50 executive orders.

Look, I want to explain what Ben is saying because there's a very important point. By creating these markets across the country, what he's doing is he's taking healthy people and putting them in skinny plans that don't provide very much coverage.

And when you take these people into these skinny plans that don't provide any coverage, you end up basically putting a risk pool for unhealthy Americans, older Americans and making it expensive for them. Ben, look, I listened to you --

FERGUSON: What you're saying is true, you only have one option --

TAMEEZ: What's going to happen for people like you, there's going to be less and less insurers in various counties --

FERGUSON: I have one option. You can't get any less than that.

TAMEEZ: You're not likely to have that option either with what the president just did.

FERGUSON: I have one option.

TAMEEZ: That's what like in places like Nevada and Arizona, you'll see the health exchange implode even more. You're likely to have zero options with what the president just said, and that's the reality, Ben, this is going to hurt Republicans that voted for the president in many of the states.

[12:15:14] WHITFIELD: OK, we're going to leave it right there, Gentlemen. We'll have you back and talk some more. We still have a good 2-1/2, almost 3 hours left today, so we'll have you back. Mustafa, Ben, appreciate it.

All right. Still ahead, they were held hostage for five years by the Taliban, so what happened while they were in captivity? We'll hear from the newly released family right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A disturbing new claim today by the family that was freed from Taliban affiliated captors after five years. Joshua Boyle, a Canadian along with his American wife and their three children, all of whom were worn while in captivity arrived safely in Canada last night.

[12:20:02] Boyle told reporters in Toronto that his kidnappers authorized the killing of one of his children and raped his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSHUA BOYLE, HELD CAPTIVE BY TALIBAN AFFILIATED NETWORK: The stupidity and the evil of the Haqqani Networks, kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorizing the murder of my infant daughter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN international correspondent, Paula Newton, joining me now. So, Paula, you spoke with Boyle's father, what is he saying?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Before he arrived in Canada, we spoke to the Boyle family, with his father and his mother, and his father made it quite clear that in speaking to his son, he was quite angry over about what he considered horrendous crimes committed against his family specifically his wife, American, Caitlan Coleman.

I want you to listen now to Patrick Boyle, Joshua's father just described what he was hearing from his son within hours of him being rescued.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICK BOYLE, FATHER OF FREED TALIBAN HOSTAGE: Joshua told me he was looking forward to coopering to the fullest to provide evidence against the captors to bring them to justice for the horrendous things they did to his wife. That would have been the only time Josh lost it in the 20 minutes of talking to me and another 20 minutes of talking to his brother and his mother.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: You know, the key here, Fred, is in listening to the statement, and he didn't take any questions that Joshua Boyle gave at the airport about 12 hours ago, it is this -- what he calls a murder of an infant daughter.

The family had told me that they heard there had been a forced abortion, they have not had a chance to talk to their son at length about it, but it seems that is only one of the things that is at issue here in terms of what had been five absolutely excruciating years.

Giving birth to at least three children in captivity, and the family, everyone calls this a miracle that they've made it home alive. They are now sleeping and trying to get some rest and cope with everything that is to come -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: A traumatizing experience. All right. Thank you so much, Paula Newton. Appreciate it in Ottawa.

I want to bring in David Rohde. He is a CNN global affairs analyst and as a "New York Times" reporter. Back in 2008, he was captured and held captive by the Taliban for more than seven months before his escape.

I remember it was on our air when you escaped how we reported how that was able to unfold. David, now, I'd love to talk to you about now hearing about this family's ordeal, and based on what you went through, what are your thoughts when you hear about this family, a couple who went to Afghanistan, still unclear what their original mission was, how they were captured and held against their will for five years?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Look, they're victims of a horrific crime. I was held by the Haqqani Network. It's a faction of the Taliban that frankly has worked very closely with Pakistan's military and intelligence service.

After my case, Bowe Bergdahl was held by the same faction, the Haqqani Network for five years in Pakistan, treated horribly, he was brutally tortured. I was personally treated well and not tortured.

And this poor family is again, is held by five years by the Haqqani Network. People questioned what were they doing, they were backpacking. You know, he talked about aiding local Afghans.

Maybe they were naive when they went to Afghanistan and were kidnapped. I made a mistake, I went to interview a Taliban commander. This family, they are crime victims. This was a horrific crime that was carried out against them.

WHITFIELD: And in your case, you escaped, a harrowing escape that you had. In their case, you know, there has been some negotiations of trying to, you know, for the U.S. to try to get them and get them back on a U.S. based plane.

But then he -- Mr. Boyle as a Canadian said he didn't want to be on a U.S. plane. This is very complicated. What strikes you about this story and some of the obstacles being met by getting this family out of Afghanistan?

ROHDE: So last night Josh sort of -- he said he didn't refuse to get on the plane, I think there's a lot of confusion about this stuff. I just think that it's -- what's unusual, I talked to a U.S. intelligence official, this happened because U.S. intelligence got some actionable information that they were being moved in this car.

The Pakistanis went and stopped the car, there was some kind of gunfire, maybe they killed some of the captors, it's not clear, maybe they ran away, what's unusual is that Pakistan acted, there are still -- there are two elderly American men.

Paul Overby (ph), a journalist, 74 years old. Kevin King, a college professor, 60 years old, they are being held by the Haqqanis right now. If Pakistan -- I blame the Haqqani's first, these are criminals. They are kidnapping innocent civilians.

[12:25:07] And then I call on the Pakistani government to please free these other prisoners. If they're going to be more active, I applaud them for freeing this family. Free Kevin and Paul also.

WHITFIELD: What can U.S. authorities learn in conjunction with Pakistani authorities as they perhaps pursue interviewing Caitlyn and Josh to learn more about the network, their captivity so as to eventually rescue the two other Americans you just mentioned?

ROHDE: Where they were held, how they were moved, the fact that they moved them in this car, the family was in the trunk of a vehicle to hide them. I was put in a back seat and always had blankets under me. There's talk of this family being held underground for five years.

So, their intelligence tips maybe to get another, you know, a good break like occurred in this case, and just again pressure Pakistan to get into these areas and help these people.

If they were being held in Iran for five years, would we be so patient? I'm biased, I was kidnapped myself, but I think there's more Pakistan could do, but I applaud Pakistan for freeing this family.

WHITFIELD: Well, let's hope that this kind of information does lead to the eventual release of Paul Overby and Kevin King, wouldn't that be something? All right. Thank you so much, David Rohde. Appreciate it.

ROHDE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Eight days of accusations over sexual harassment and the Harvey Weinstein drama is not going anywhere. Today, the film academy is holding an emergency meeting to determine the fate of the producer. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:31:09] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, residents are taking desperate measures just to stay alive. CNN has learned residents are drinking water pumped from a federally designated hazardous waste site. The EPA confirms the location of the well is part of what's called super fund site and is testing the area this weekend.

Puerto Rican officials say they weren't aware this was a hazardous site until CNN provided match to them, new numbers show how the recovery is progressing or not. Eighty-four percent of the island has no power, more than a third of the residents have no water or sewage service. And more than 60 percent of the cell towers are still down. It just one aspect of the struggle facing Puerto Ricans everyday.

Ed Lavandera has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Along a winding road high in the mountains South of San Juan, this stream of water is a lifeline, a pit stop in the daily routine for thousands of people.

Beverly Cancel and her husband pull up under the makeshift waterspouts, PVC pipes dipped into this stream overhead to divert the water into massive tanks.

BEVERLY CANCEL, NARANJITO RESIDENT: Every day is a struggle.

He wakes up at 4:00 in the morning, he comes here, he fills up and he takes it to our neighbors.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The water isn't safe to drink, but people use it to take showers, washcloths and cleaning. And for some like Adrian Santiago (ph) who've lost their jobs since the storm. Delivering this water to residents is a way of making extra money.

Santiago delivers the water to Nelson Vazquez who lives several miles away, he keeps two large 55 gallon barrel drums in his garage next to a generator to power the basic necessities in his home, he says living in the storm's aftermath is like traveling back in time.

NELSON VAZQUEZ, NARANJITO RESIDENT: Our great grandmothers used to carry cans of water on their hip from the lake to washcloths.

LAVANDERA (on camera): The roads way into this neighborhood was washed away by the storm. There are about 40 families that live on the other side, essentially cut off from the rest of the town. So they're having to figure out ways to get in and out. And this is one of those makeshift ways, a path so people can walk in and out of their own neighborhood.

(voice-over): And on the other side of the road collapse is where we found Elizabeth Diaz carrying for her newborn baby boy. Diaz gave birth two days before Hurricane Maria struck. And when she left the hospital, she walked out into the ruins left by the storm. Her only focus now is carrying for her baby who was born prematurely. (on camera): Her house where she normally lives is unlivable right now because of the hurricane damage. So she's living here. No place for take a newborn baby.

(voice over): Here in the mountains of Central Puerto Rico many residents say they're settling into the reality that a normal day isn't even a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel yet. One man put at this way. We're prepared for a dark Christmas, there will be no holiday lights decorating the island this year.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Naranjito, Puerto Rico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[12:34:37] WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Welcome back, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is holding an emergency board meeting today to determine the membership fate of Harvey Weinstein. A spokesperson for Weinstein said this week that "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied. Mr. Weinstein has futher confirm that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."

The Academy is meeting today, and it follows the British Academy of Film and Television Arts decision to suspend Weinstein's membership, and employees of the Weinstein Company are talking about resigning. Comparing the company to the Titanic, it's sinking.

Let me bring in my panel to discuss all of this. Joining me right now CNN Senior and Media correspondent Brian Stelter, CNN Human Behavior expert Wendy Walsh and Cultural Critic and writer Michaela Angela Davis. Good that all of you could be with me, thanks so much.

All right, so Brian you first, you know, we know the Film Academy is meeting today in an interview with Hollywood reporter Bob Weinstein, Harvey's brother says he wants him kicked out. And then the academy said in a statement today, they're meeting "To discuss allegations again Weinstein and any actions warranted by the Academy.

[12:40:06] But what is that mean? What action, just membership or just something more to it?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: There are multiple options on the table for this board meeting. It's going to start in a few minutes. They could decide to kick Harvey Weinstein out of the Academy, take away his lifetime membership.

They could decide to go further and try to claw back the Oscar that he won for movie Shakespeare in love. My sources say expelling him is likely clawing away the Oscar is unlikely. But we don't know what's going to happen. There are 56 members, people like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and Laura Dern who are going to be making this decision, and we'll have the result later in the day. But this is going to be a symbol of statement condemning Weinstein's behavior. It's going to be a big statement by the industry. And I expect we will see some action. Even if just expelling him, even it it's only an expulsion, but there's no president for this. We've not seen this happen before in Hollywood.

WHITFIELD: Yes, the allegations are just eye opening and they're sickening and so many have read. So many different accounts of these allegations from many, and when it all began with that Ronan Farrow, you know, interview and story that we all read.

So, how industry wide might this alleged behavior be when the numbers grown from at first his reporting, you know, a dozen to now, you know, upwards of near 20 and over?

WENDY WALSH, CNN HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: Well, human behavior is a funny thing. This was actually the status quo, and the way -- excuse me the way the culture maintained itself for many, many, many decades.

And now I watch the men in the industry scrambling to be on the right side of women's rights, this is how change happens. And I'm sure there are men who are shaking in their boots wondering if they will be the next one. Let's think about this cultural change, it began with an investigation with the New York Times, well, really Gretchen Carlson and Roger Ailes then on to what happened with myself and Bill O'Reilly.

And then it went into Uber and the tech industry. And now we're getting to the juicy industry, the entertainment industry.

WHITFIELD: So you really are speaking to how pervasive it is and the common dominators here power, men mostly wielding power, a women who are trying to ascend in the most honest way as possible. But then being told you have to do this in order to get there. And now there are, you know, people in large numbers who were saying, this is my story Wendy.

WALSH: Yes, exactly. I mean when I was a young model, I was never an actress but when I was model, you know, 30 years ago, I was told to always bring a bikini in Los Angeles to every single audition. And plenty of the auditions I went for had nothing to do with your body, but you still were told to put on a bikini. Just so that they could see the show.

And all of these is going to change now. Women will -- hopefully the reduction in being objectified. Remember Gloria Steinem one said that really patriarchy is about abet (ph) to controlling women's reproduction. Controlling our bodies is really the game of patriarchy, and this is what's changing.

WHITFIELD: So Michaela, will is it change as a result of, you know, this can of worms being opened? Because, you know, we hear Wendy say it is systemic. You see it in other industries but now the micro scope is on, you know, Hollywood particularly Weinstein.

And, you know, so many of these young ladies said they were threatened by Weinstein if you don't do this you'll go nowhere. You know just look at X, Y, Z, how do you suppose she got there.

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CULTURAL CRITIC & WRITER: Right.

WHITFIELD: And so now, does it also make you perhaps look at the field of talent and say, oh, my goodness, for those women who did ascend, did they have to go through this in order to get there?

DAVIS: Well, you know, I think Fed, it's already changed. Because here we're having this conversation, right? And the critical difference now, the way that you work against patriarchy is in sisterhood, in numbers and the reason why we've had this breakthrough, because, you know, we talked about this, it happened in every industry, whether it's Hollywood or fashion or wherever there's money, power, fame and a gross imbalance of males in power, right and women needing to be part of that, to create whatever industry.

But now we are numbers, so when you have 13 women, right? So that 13 women makes up for that one big Harvey. So the women's march showed us that it is our coming together that is -- that's the game changer, it's not just one woman's voice, not just one woman who's going to lose her career, but a whole cacophony of women saying this time is over it's over.

WHITFIELD: Interesting. So,, you know, Brian as we talk about and hear about the now growing investigations whether it's a matter of Weinstein losing membership, whether he's potentially facing, you know, criminal charges, is it really just his career, his reputation that is potentially soiled or can it also be that of many people who were complicit, those who remain silent?

And they remain silent because either they were either fearful of losing what they had, or perhaps they've been silent because they were fearful of losing the potential?

[12:45:06] STELTER: Right, you know, there's severe scrutiny on the board of the Weinstein Company. This was the movie studio, the TV studio, the Harvey Weinstein controlled. The men that were around Weinstein, working with him, what did they know? It was all male board and most of the board members have now resigned.

We heard some of these board members say, we knew he was creepy, we know he was sleeping with women that weren't his wife or trying to sleep to women that weren't his wife. But we didn't know he was engaging and possible criminal activity.

So these board members find themselves kind of pointing fingers, looking the other way, there's a lot we don't know about that. That's partly why this company may crumble as a result.

WHITFIELD: You know, what I wonder too. You talk about these men, but then, you know, if you read a lot of the material, you talk about the honey pot, you know, young ladies who were the assistants to Weinstein, and they may have known and actually helped in some cases facilitate but then are they strictly victims or were they also complicit, Brian? STELTER: There's this issue of women and men potentially looking the other way, not wanting to know exactly what was going on behind closed doors, because Weinstein was so powerful. And that's the through line from a Roger Ailes at Fox News or a Donald Trump, the allegations that were made against Trump before Election Day or Harvey Weinstein, these people in some cases were millionaires, billionaires, and some cases with a lot of power and those people maybe didn't want to know what was going on.

WHITFIELD: And Wendy?

WALSH: May I add something?

WHITFIELD: Yes.

WALSH: That when someone signs your paycheck, you really don't have the ability to give consent, both sexual consent or the ability to be a whistle-blower when the culture is pervasive. Think about how language was changed.

Not so long ago these men were simply called womanizers. And the women they were persecuted and told oh, she's sleeping her way to the top. Now we understand these women are victims, even if you've had sex with your boss ladies that is evidence that you've been sexually harassed, you need to come forward and speak in sisterhood.

WHITFIELD: All right, Wendy Walsh, Michaela Angela Davis, Brian Stelter, thank to you all. Appreciate it. And we'll be right back.

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[12:51:36] WHITFIELD: Tonight, don't miss an all new episode of "The Wonder List." Bill Weir takes us inside Madagascar. An island 80 million years old and home to hundreds of species found nowhere else on the planet.

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BILL WEIR, HOST, "THE WONDER LIST" (voice over): The locals call them Bobakutu (ph). After an ancient story about a boy name Kutu (ph) who lost his father to an accident in the forest and was nursed by lemurs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as the boy was healthy again, then they brought him to the village. And so the village said well, it's very sad that your father died, but you actually have a new father now which is the Invi (ph). So that became the father of Kutu (ph), Babakutu (ph).

WEIR (on camera): Babakutu (ph).

It's the Madagascar version of Tarzan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More or less, yes.

WEIR (on camera): Raised by the lemurs. (voice-over): because they eat such a wide variety of plants, injury cannot survive captivity. You will never see one in a zoo. So help lemur lovers get a closer look, Regis (ph) spent months earning the trust of this family and that is no easy task in a land where subsistence hunting is common.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Gorgeous, I caught up with Bill Weir to find out more about tonight's episode.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Bill, the rate of deforestation is really reaching a crisis point in Madagascar, is it the case like the native species like the lemurs that we just saw are really in trouble?

WEIR: Absolutely. Yes, by some estimates, about 15 percent of the original forest remains there, and it's really just pure desperation, human need, most of the people on that island nation about 20 million live on $2 or less a day.

And so they burn the trees, they cut them down, they burn them into charcoal either to sell or fuel their lives. In low laying areas they do slash and burn farming to grow rice, there are timber mafias in the rainforest as well who sell this precious rose wood to the Chinese furniture market, the demand for there.

So all of these economic pressures. And meanwhile a lot of these species exist nowhere else in the world. You know it's like a eighth continent that is split off from Africa so while they have monkeys, Madagascar's lemurs, every else has lizards. They have these chameleons that exist nowhere else, and sometimes they carry the secrets to curing diseases we don't know about. So all life is really fragile, and there's so much at stake.

WHITFIELD: So all these beautiful natural resources, why is there such economic turmoil in Madagascar?

WEIR: You know they're a French colony up until about 1960 and ever since there have been coups and assassinations, and failed democracy. It's listed high on the list of corrupt governments. The current president says he's going to try to clean all of that up. But they've just gone one bad break after another.

And now there's actually rare pneumonic plague outbreak. It sounds almost medieval. But this is a place with such unique life and culture. But it's also a seen such sort of epic biblical scale misfortunes, both man made and natural.

WHITFIELD: So what enamored you most about this country?

WEIR: I've been to almost 100 countries. I'm lucky enough to fill a couple passports and this is hands down the most exotic place I've ever been. The landscapes are so bizarre. You don't see them anywhere else. These Baobab alleys, these big trees that look like, you know, massive carrots.

[12:55:11] There are these canyons of rock delicate curse (ph) rock that like stake knife edges and you go in with the most magnificent creatures and bees that lived there. So that is -- it should be a tourist heaven. It should be the It list for all of the clampers (ph) around the world.

But they need help and maybe some adventurous people wants this plague is dive down. Well, think about it to try to see a little bit of money in there. They've love a tourism industry but they had such sort of primal needs, you know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Don't miss the new episode of "The Wonder List". That's tonight at 9:00 eastern only on CNN.

We got so much more straight ahead in the newsroom and all starts now.

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