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Late Season Tornadoes Strike Midwest; Dow Opens to Record High; Princeton Considers Emergency Meningitis Vaccine; Mount Etna Erupts; NASA Maven Ready to Launch; Toronto Council Conflict With Crack- Smoking Mayor Continues

Aired November 18, 2013 - 11:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Where do you go? What do you do when your home and all of your neighbors' homes, everything you own, is gone? Our reporters are on the ground right now, still trying to get a handle on the scope and the scale of the Midwest devastation.

Also this hour -- Oh Canada, how many more can you take? If you thought you'd heard it all from the crack-smoking mayor, just wait until you hear what he is saying now.

And let the good times roll, the record-setting Dow racing past 16,000 after today's opening bell.

Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It is Monday, November the 18th. Welcome to LEGAL VIEW.

Let's start with the top story, at least six people dead, dozens of people hurt, entire swaths of neighborhoods now nothing but piles of rubble, and hundreds of thousands of people are without power this morning.

The Midwest is no stranger to death and the destructive powers of tornadoes, but people were caught off guard by the dozens of tornadoes that ripped through the region yesterday.

It is a rarity this late in the year.

In the words of one survivor, "I don't have anything." Others are praising their neighbors for coming to their aid.

And as the shock begins to wear off, one man voices the attitude of many saying, "We will move on to a new day."

Our Chris Cuomo now with more on when the twisters hit and the devastation they left behind


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our father, who art in heaven --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prayers echo through basements as a monster-sized twister roars above.

Central Illinois took the brunt of the fury. A string of tornadoes left several dead, dozens more injured.

Just north in Peoria --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We may need to take shelter right now ourselves.

CUOMO: Newscaster abruptly rushed off-air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll be back when we can.

CUOMO: A tornado ripped right past their studio.

Down south, Washington County was devastated by a tornado. Wind reports of 200-miles-an-hour spun entire blocks of homes to the foundation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt the house shaking and waited probably about a minute and came back up and saw what you're seeing here.

CUOMO: In a community of Pekin, authorities went door to door, checking on residents for fear of gat leaks.

One resident described the aftermath as war zone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just devastated. I just feel sick.

CUOMO: Further south, a tornado carved a path of destruction in Brookport, directly hitting two mobile home parks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have anything. My whole -- it's gone. I don't know where it went.

CUOMO: Widespread funnel clouds even spotted in Chicago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please clear the seating area calmly.

CUOMO: Tornado warnings forced officials to evacuate Soldier Field, delaying the Bears' game.

But once the twisters passed, there was a new blast of energy, cleanup efforts, waves of people coming to each other's aid, looking for survivors, searching for valuables, toppled semis pulled upright, and most importantly, spirits raised.

JIM BRUEN, TORNADO VICTIM: We'll make it through it. We're just so grateful that the Lord preserved so many lives here.


BANFIELD: And our Chris Cuomo joins us live in Washington, Illinois.

Chris, a difficult morning watching your reporting. Can you give us an up-to-speed where you are now with this damage?

CUOMO: At the sun came up here, Ashleigh, people really got the first chance to survey what happened since the tornadoes yesterday. You have to remember most people were in hiding and then had to really evacuate, because it's an unstable situation, gas leaks. There's no power. Water mains are leaking all over the place.

Even right where we are here, there's a commercial building with a leaking water main. They just haven't had time to fix them.

Now, this morning we've seen people in the houses behind us. This is a beautiful suburban area. People took time to develop their property and now it's all reduced to rubble.

So they've been out looking around, but I think the biggest thing that we've seen today is this strength, this wave of resilience that came, that matched the power of the tornadoes in this community.

It's so determined to see what matters most and not see this as everything, what they've lost, and to help each other get through this, especially during the holidays.

BANFIELD: And let's not forget, Chris, this is nearing the end of November. It's cold.

How are the survivors doing? What are they saying about what they're going to be doing now just to get past these cold temperatures without much shelter?

CUOMO: (Inaudible). That's a good point, Ashleigh. Yesterday it was like 25 degrees warmer, which helped add to the number of tornadoes they had to deal with.

But today it is very cold, and it's like the combination of a cold reality and cold temperatures as they come out to review their surroundings.

But again, they're looking to each other. They're looking to family. This is a very prayerful community. There's a lot of church structure in place. That is very helpful right now.

So they're going it lean on one another, but I'll tell you. I've covered a lot of these, and when a community has strength and resilience, it makes all the difference. And that's going to have to happen here.

If you think about it, especially people of faith. They go into the holidays hoping that it's about something bigger than themselves. And they're all going to be very reminded of that here this year.

BANFIELD: Yeah, pass on our prayers and our blessings to those people, Chris. It's really tough to see.

Thank you for your reporting this morning, Chris Cuomo live for us in Illinois.

I want to get you up to speed on another big story, another milestone moment. Take a look at the Big Board. You are not seeing something that you weren't expecting, perhaps, over 16,000, the Dow setting that record-setting number after today's Opening Bell, in fact. It was sort of like instantaneous.

The Dow and S&P, now on a roll after six straight weeks of gains, and right now the Dow is up just a little under 58 points.

We're going to continue to watch that, but right there, another big moment, the Dow crossing the 16,000 threshold.

Princeton University could decide this week if it's going to offer its students an emergency meningitis vaccine. Seven of its students have contracted meningitis since the spring.

And it is not a strain that's covered by the normal vaccine, so the university is considering some different, a different vaccine that has not yet been approved in the United States. The CDC, however, does say that it is safe.

I want you to check out this incredible video of lava spewing out of Mount Etna in Italy. It's the 16th time Mount Etna has erupted just this year alone.

I'm happy to report this is not putting any homes in danger, and no one has had to evacuate despite what just looks like an awesome explosion.

But I'll tell you what it did do. It's given us quite an amazing array of pictures, and it gave those people nearby quite the light show, as well.

But again, nobody evacuated, no danger.

NASA spacecraft Maven is on the launch pad and ready to head to Mars. If the weather cooperating, it's expected to launch in a couple hours. Everyone is in their seats, almost, getting ready.

By the way, don't be counting your chickens, because it's not going to hit Mars until next September. It's headed there to study the atmosphere on that planet, and that could help scientists to figure out if Mars was ever like earth and could ever have supported life.

So this is a big day, as many of these days happen to be for Toronto's crack-smoking mayor. There's really no other way to describe him at this point, right?

The city council there, getting ready to try to strip that mayor of even more powers, and Rob Ford digs in yet again, all while he debuts a brand new TV show.

No joke, folks. Going to take you there live in a moment.


BANFIELD: Kind of feels like we've been watching the "Rob Ford Show" for a couple of weeks now, but trust me when I say this. You ain't seen nothing yet, because tonight on Canadian TV, the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto actually gets his own program.


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: I'll do a drug test and alcohol test right now, because -- why -- and I put a motion forward that every councilor do it, too.

You know what? They jumped up. They don't want anything to do with it.

And at our last council meeting, everyone says, we're going no drinking out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) the next meeting?

R. FORD: Yes, absolutely. I don't want to do this. I'm not a rat, Joe.

You know what? I know people party on the side. I know lawyers, doctors, everybody has a good time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who else on council do you know who's done it? Anybody else that you know?

R. FORD: I'm not going to name names.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not? Your name is out there. Why not?

R. FORD: Let them vote on it and see who comes forward and who doesn't.


BANFIELD: "Ford Nation" is set to debut just after city council takes another whack at Mayor Ford, this time voting yet again to further strip him of his powers and slash his budget, all of this as CNN confirms that Ford gave his mayoral staff $5,000 raises on Friday, but he still says he's under the last mayor's budget.

Joining me now from Toronto is CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson, who is on the story.

Council set to meet pretty soon, if my watch is right, probably by about next hour.

Last I heard, the mayor was going to head to court before council to try to block them from doing what they planned to do, and yet that was news to his lawyer.

Where does all that stand?


What we understand is that there is a possibility, a possibility of an effort for an injunction to stop the council going ahead, but, really, it is set to be another day of drama here in Toronto in the city hall. It is expected that the council will go ahead and vote on those issues, to take powers away from the mayor, but at the same time, his brother here, Councilor Doug Ford, firmly at the mayor's back, and saying that this is an unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically- elected government.


DOUG FORD, TORONTO CITY COUNCIL/MAYOR'S BROTHER: What is happening today is an overthrow of a democratically-elected mayor, illegally.

This is what you see in third world nations. You don't see this in Canada. You don't see this in the United States. You don't see this in the U.K.

We're talking about a third world nation overthrow here.

ROBERTSON: Why doesn't he try to avert the situation, take your advice, their advice, just step back and get some help for a short time and come back? Doesn't that avert the situation?

D. FORD: You know something, no. It wouldn't avert it, because the ship's already left the dock, and there's no rule --

ROBERTSON: Do you think that your brother did allow the ship to leave the dock by not taking the opportunity when it was presented?

D. FORD: You know something? Personally, he's made a mistake. We will rehash this for the next hundred years, folks.


ROBERTSON: Yeah, but a hundred years they may rehash it, but by then the mayor does seem to be said to be stripped from all those powers.

And as you say, on Friday, paid his staff $5,000, we're told, because that money was in the budget.


BANFIELD: So what about this TV show, "Ford Nation?" I understand it was taped yesterday, and -- I don't even know what to ask you, for heaven's sake.

What was the taping? Did people show up? Just go ahead. Tell me anything at this point, Nic.

ROBERTSON: You know, you never -- that's the thing, and that's what this city is struggling with. You never know what to expect around Mayor Ford.

Look, the taping went on for over three hours. It took much longer than the studio were expecting. The brothers, the mayor and his brother Doug, hadn't done this sort of thing before. It took a long time.

But, you know, I really learnt something standing outside the studios, waiting for him to come out.

When he came out, look at what happened here, and listen to what he says. Just let's have a look at this.


R. FORD: I didn't push her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't step on my foot?

ROBERTSON: Mr. Mayor, how did the taping go?

R. FORD: I didn't touch her.

ROBERTSON: How did the taping go, Mr. Mayor?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did the show go today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did the taping go?



ROBERTSON: You know, Ashleigh, I'm standing right at the mayor's side. I see all this happening. He tripped over someone, and he could have just said, I'm sorry. Are you okay? Can you get up? But it's the unpredictability. You don't really realize that, recognize it, until you're standing right there next to him. Then you see him explode. The pressure and the stress he's under. Whatever it is. Exploding in anger. At almost nothing. That's the surprise. That's what you learn.

BAFIELD: So, okay. Nic, you know, the assignment we sent you on continues to deliver on a regular basis. We kind of thought it might wrap up after council meeting starting to strip powers.

ROBERTSON: So it does.

BANFIELD: Keep us posted on what happens in the meeting today and certainly we will have out seven-second delay and the bleep button ready to go if he decides to take to the cameras. Nic Robertson, thank you.

By the way, speaking of the bleep button it is getting a lot of employment because our CNN cameras caught up with Mayor Ford himself. Yes that is our Bill Weir and the mayor, all of this on a recent trip to a public housing complex. After the break, the interview that Bill conducts with Rob Ford, and honestly -- completely unexpected. Just wait. It's coming.


BANFIELD: Next hour -- city council, Toronto, as we mentioned, set to consider that big vote, stripping more power, even more from the crack-smoking mayor. I can't believe I'm even saying those words, but I keep saying them over and over.

Here he is. More pictures. Going to the football game, where they really would have preferred he didn't. They actually asked him, back off the whole connection of the Argos thing (ph). Rob Ford is not backing down in this thing, though. In fact, in some parts of town he is hailed as a hero. Our Bill Weir caught up with Mayor Ford. You just have to listen.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people are worried about Rob Ford these days, worried that he'll never leave office, suing that (ph) his appetites will kill him, but you know who is not worried? Rob Ford.

ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: I'm not an addict. Why go see an addict (ph) when I'm not an addict (ph)? I'm not an alcoholic. I'm not a drug addict.

WEIR: And in the heart of Ford nation, they believe him.

ROSE, ROB FORD SUPPORTER: People can set him up, too, you know that.

WEIR: Oh, you think he might have been set up?

ROSE: yes.

WEIR: Well, he admitted to smoking crack.

ROSE: Well, maybe you just get fed up of everything.

DENZIL MINNAN-WONG, TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR: Have you purchased illegal drugs in the past two years?

WEIR: Sure, he may be a pariah on the floor of city council and a punch line on Saturday Night Live, but out in this suburban public housing project, he is, no pun intend, a rockstar. You see, he may be a slash and burn fiscal conservative downtown, but out here, they say he's bleeding heart they call when the eviction notice comes.

DOUG FORD, TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR: Everyone keeps saying Rob is a conservative. He's a huge, massive social liberal. He loves Obama.

WEIR: Counselor Doug Ford invited us here, and when his little brother showed up, we saw why. Almost everyone was thrilled to see him.

WEIR: These folks love you, but do you realize how you are perceived around the rest of the country, around the rest of the continent?

R. FORD: They can make fun of me or laugh at me all they want. They don't know Rob Ford. These people know me. They have known me for, I was born and raised here.

WEIR: Why did you decide to finally admit you smoked crack? R. FORD: I'm not going to run around and be phony and lie and have someone blackmail me and say they have videos of this over my head. You don't trust what the "Toronto Star" says. I just had enough. I was sick and tired of the allegations an all the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) excuse my words, that's all it is, I shouldn't swear in front of kids. You know what? I made mistakes, I drank too much. I smoked some crack sometime. What can I say? I made a mistake, I'm guilty.

WEIR: But can't you see why some would question your judgment?

R. FORD: So what? So Lie about it? Just hide?


WEIR: No, no no. Just that you would do it in the first place. That shows --

R. FORD: No, I didn't say that. No, I didn't say that. You are wrong. You're absolutely wrong what they said. They said, do you smoke crack and are you a crack addict? No, I don't smoke crack, and I'm not a crack addict. Have I? Yes I have. So that's what - I didn't lie. I don't smoke crack. I haven't smoked crack in over a year.


R. FORD: -- typical media. You are the same, you're all cut from the same cloth. You can spin it anyway you want.


WEIR: At this point Doug tries to calm his brother, which as we've seen ain't easy.

R. FORD: When you come and accuse me of being a crack addict and saying do you smoke crack? No, I don't. Have I, yes. I don't like people attacking my integrity.

WEIR: Couldn't you be even more effective if you are healthier?

R. FORD: I'm trying to lose some weight. I'm working out, I'm not perfect.

WEIR: Why don't you see an addiction specialists just to make sure?

R. FORD: I'm not an addict. You can spin it. You can tell me whatever you want. These people know that I'm not - have you ever got drunk before, Bill?

WEIR: Of course.

R. FORD: Okay, sure.


R. FORD: It doesn't matter. That's the thing. I don't look at myself as the mayor. I look at myself as just a normal, regular person. (CROSSTALK)

R. FORD: Yeah, you know it's enough. So guys, I'm passionate. Sorry.

WEIR: One more question, this is the one that really gets it for me, I know a lot of people who would party their brains out, but they're parents, I'm sure you are insulating your children from what's going on now?

R. FORD: Absolutely. I'm the best father around.

WEIR: But there will come a day they will Goggle their dad.

R. FORD: Absolutely, and I'm going to explain why they're - what they're hearing. I will inform my kids, you dismiss them? Walk away? I don't walk away from anybody in life. All these rich, elitist people, I'm sick of them. They sit of there and no, they're perfect. They don't do nothing. Get out of here, they don't do nothing. They're the biggest crooks around.



BANFIELD: Oh, dear. Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear. Dear, dear. Bill Weir joins me live now and I keep having to say, I'm so sorry -- so sorry. I'm a Canadian and it's devastating to watch this watch this play out.

WEIR: That's why this is so compelling, is it's - the contrast between what we think of Canada, and this gentleman.

BANFIELD: Thank you for pointing that out, that there is a contract. There is the Canada that's good and then there's this foolishness. Speaking of this foolishness, you never know what they're going to say. It seems to be a traveling road show that changes by the moment, and now when people coming out of the woodwork, it's starting to affect his brother.

WEIR: That authenticity, that's completely unguarded, you know candor, it cuts both ways. Because it seems like they're making this up along the whole damage control fallout, and we got proof of this. Hanging out in this housing project, in their suburbs, in their ward. Doug Ford brought us there. He wanted to see. And a lot of people there absolutely love the Ford boys, but then this one guy wandered up and starts complaining. Complaining about they want to evict him. He had a run-in with the cops and blames the Ford brothers for not doing enough, and while our cameras are rolling, as the counselor is trying to get him out the door he says, I remember when you sold all my friends hash.

BANFIELD: No, he didn't.

WEIR: He says this.

BANFIELD: And you're there. WEIR: And I'm there. And so, well, it brings up an interesting story. Because this summer "The Toronto Globe and Mail" had an investigation, where they found a bunch of high school colleagues of Doug Ford, the elder, who claims he spent much of the '80s as a mid- level hashish dealer. And so, we --

BANFIELD: What did he say?

WEIR: I asked him about it. Here it is.


D. FORD: No, I wasn't slinging any hash. I said it very clearly, and it's amazing what -- outside of meeting him here, and the last couple of years, I didn't know him. As far as I know, he didn't know me. I admitted when I was 30 -- 30, 31 years ago I smoked marijuana, and I didn't deal marijuana. If you want to go calling, you know, go to your buddy say, here's a joint for $10, if that's what they want to call it, so be it.


WEIR: Their other siblings have struggled admittedly, with addiction over the years. You got to wonder if it's hereditary in some way. Doug says he doesn't drink at all. He's a teetotaler. Rob Ford, as you'll see tonight on "AC360" he absolutely was adamant that he is not an addict, he's not an alcoholic, he's functional, he's a great mayor and we found plenty who agree with him.

BANFIELD: Don't go far because there's more stuff is coming up and we are going to need you to do the turn on it, especially when council has its vote, and Nic Robertson, doing this work as well. I'm sorry, sorry about this.

WEIR: I'm sorry for you.


BANFIELD: I said it before, I'll say it again. By the way, that guy and his great work, he's got the entire interview coming up on "AC360" tonight on Anderson's show. Tune in, there's more where that came from. Hard to believe it. Bill Weir reporting live for us. Thank you.

I have some updated news I want to bring you as well. I'm going to take you to North Carolina after the break. This one is a complete jaw-dropper. An 11-year-old boy handcuffed at the ankles to the porch. The sheriff says the home was filthy. Happening now, the parents are headed to court to answer charges. What will those charges be? THE LEGAL VIEW is next.