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Riot Police Deployed to Stop Catalonia Vote; O.J. Simpson Leaves Prison on Parole; Trump Ridicules San Juan Mayor Who Begged for Help; U.S. Justice Department Wants Facebook Info from Anti-Trump Users. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired October 1, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:00:24] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen live from Atlanta.
Our breaking news: riot police in the Catalonia region of Spain have been restricting residents from voting in a controversial independence referendum. Clashes broke out in the northern city of Girona, Sunday morning. Police were physically preventing voters from entering at least one polling station.
Spain's highest court says this vote is illegal and unconstitutional and the government vowed to shut it down. Police then broke windows and padlocks on a door to get into the building. Spain's interior minister tweeted that national police have seized ballot boxes from some polling stations, but the Catalonian president was able to cast his vote later in a town near Girona.
CNN's Isa Soares joins us live from a polling station in Barcelona.
And, Isa, you've been telling us some people there are able to cast their vote.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Good morning to you, Natalie.
The polling station behind me, which is a school that has been occupied for the past two days, so to make sure people can vote, people are going in and voting. They're doing it ten at a time to try to control the numbers. The elderly have been going in first.
And many people have been here since 5:00 or so in the morning in the rain, waiting to cast their vote. A vote they said is their democratic right. Of course, the Spanish government saying all along that this referendum is a sham, saying that it is unconstitutional and is illegal. But as you are mentioning there, we have seen the guardia civil, the state police, really breaking down windows, and dragging some people from Girona.
And this is in Barcelona, and where the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, was expected to vote. He -- but he voted elsewhere. We have been told we have seen images of him voting. We also have seen several other politicians from the Catalan government voting. Here where we are we saw one of the ministers of the Catalan government coming early to vote. When he left, he was greeted by applause.
There was some technical hitches, let's say, Natalie, about an hour or so ago when the system that verifies your identity in order to vote, that was frozen. Officials then came out, representatives of the vote came out and told people to stay away from their phones while they try to refresh the system. But we have been told that's now up and running and people have been going in, people have been queuing in the rain.
And I can tell you, this queue snakes right around the corner and waiting to vote. That might not be the case in other polling stations, but what we have been hearing is in social media is that if you can't vote in one, you can vote in others. And this is something the governor has been saying in the -- in the early hours of this morning, you can vote at any station, polling station, in case some are closed.
Seventy-three percent says the minister, one of the ministers of the Catalan government, 73 percent of polling stations are open as of about an hour or so ago, Natalie.
ALLEN: That's good news for the people waiting forever. There was such a festive atmosphere right before that polling station where you are, Isa, was opened. And the people had to be demoralized there just for a moment when they weren't sure if they would be able to cast their vote.
Do you think there was surprise at the heavy-handedness to try and shut this down across Catalonia?
SOARES: You know, in the last week or so, many people here have been surprised by the way the central government has handled this, that's what they have been telling me. But it is important to point out that not everyone here in Catalonia agrees with -- or agrees with the referendum. The last poll conducted by the Catalan government back in July said that 49 percent didn't want independence, 41 percent wanted independence, but crucially, Natalie, 70 percent wanted to have their say.
And as I was speaking to the guest you heard in the last hour, from "La Vanguardia" newspaper, he was basically making the point that perhaps those more moderate Catalans who did not have a need or desire to vote for independence, given the heavy-handedness by police, he said, that probably shifted some of the argument and convinced some of them to vote for the separatist cause -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Isa Soares, we thank you for your reporting there during this tumultuous time.
[05:05:03] Emmy Eklundh is a lecturer of Spanish and international politics at King's College, London. She joins us from London to talk about this.
First, I want to get your reaction, Emily, to what we're seeing as Isa just reported, over 70 percent -- as Isa Soares was reporting, there are 70 percent that are open there, people getting to vote, but Spain has certainly showed that it is cracking down and trying to prevent some of the voting from taking place.
EMMY EKLUNDH, LECTURER, SPANISH & INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Well, I think what is remarkable is really the absence of dialogue in this process as was reported before, we can see that the Spanish government has responded quite fiercely against this referendum. And as a result, we have over the last week seen that actually a lot of people want to have this referendum regardless of whether they are pro or against independence. And I think that that has really been the surprising factor in the government's response.
Also, they have been sending in the national police in order to make sure that the referendum would not take place, and as we have seen this morning, the regional police force have been refraining from going into polling stations, shutting them down, leaving that to the national police, which are then authorized to go in with, I would say, stronger force than the regional police.
ALLEN: Polls showing that 49 percent would not support independence, 41 percent yes. Why is this vote -- this symbolism of this vote so important?
EKLUNDH: Well, it has been important for many, many years. This is not something that has just happened over the past couple of weeks. But since the democratic transition in Spain, in the late '70s, since the writing of the Constitution in the 1978, we have really seen that there has been a tension between the nationalities in Spain, that would be not only Catalonia, but also the Basque Country, Angelicia (ph), that they were not granted the level of autonomy in the constitution that they were looking for after 40 years of oppression under the Francois dictatorship.
Now, of course, the constitution was intended to unify a very, very divided Spain at the time, but you must perhaps consider this is 40 years ago under Franco dictator and would there be possibilities to re-evaluate that setup between the central Spanish state and the regional autonomies.
ALLEN: What has the government done, Emmy, to try to thwart this situation, to try to, as you say, for a while, their autonomy was lessened, then it came back, they tried to vote again in 2006. Is there more the Spanish government has done to help them feel like they have more autonomy and a little more freedom without it coming to something like this?
EKLUNDH: Well, I mean, we have had an increase of autonomy since the transition, the democratic transition. But it's not the same as independence. And there has also been quite a few disputes between the regional government and the central government with regards to education, with regards to the role of the Catalan language, how much is Catalan language promoted in the region, and the central government had resisted these markers of national identity out of fear of obviously -- of a break of the Spanish state.
And now, so I -- and especially I would say the conservative government that is now in place has been very much against Catalonian independence and Catalonian autonomy, much because it emanates from a strong tradition in Spain that -- which actually dates back to the dictatorship itself that the right wants a unified Spain, they want a whole Spain and they do not really respect their regional autonomy.
ALLEN: Last quick question, is there a workable solution? Is there something that could be resolved? What if this vote takes place, they declare most people voted for independence, what then?
EKLUNDH: Well, that is a really interesting question. I do not have the answer to that question. What I would say is that it could go two ways. We could see perhaps more resistance from the Spanish government, revoking autonomy that has been granted to Catalonia, or we could perhaps see a beginning of a dialogue, which would be preferable in my opinion and I think would be preferable in the eyes of the international community if there could be a peaceful solution to this problem.
This always depends on what happens today, will the yes side win, how many people will be able to vote, and I think that really sets up the conditions tomorrow for the possibilities for negotiation.
[05:10:02] ALLEN: We thank you for your helping us understand the situation. Emmy Eklundh, thanks, Emmy.
EKLUNDH: Thank you very much.
ALLEN: We're also tracking breaking news out of the U.S. state of Nevada, that's O.J. Simpson right there, former U.S. football star, walking out of prison. He was released a short time ago. He's been released on parole after serving nine years for a Las Vegas armed robbery.
Those charges were unrelated to the charges that made O.J. Simpson infamous, back in 1994. He was charged with murdering his ex-wife, he was the key suspect in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. This case riveted the country. The trial was watched for months and then O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.
For more on this development, I'm joined by our Paul Vercammen. He's tracking events from Las Vegas, Nevada, where O.J. Simpson was released.
What can you tell us about his release and it comes in the middle of the night. Was there a reason for that, Paul?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, they sure was, and that, Natalie, is because they want to try and ensure the safety of prison guards, of Mr. Simpson, and not have any sort of incident with the media or paparazzi.
So, at 12:08, Sunday morning, Simpson walked out of the Lovelock Correctional Center, that is actually 400 miles and about six or seven hour drive north of Las Vegas where he's expected to end up. They say he will begin serving his parole in a rather exclusive gated community at a friend's residence and that's in the Summerland area of Las Vegas, a very affluent community. When he left, the spokesperson at the prison said, don't come back,
and Simpson apparently said, I don't intend to. He took with him a box of small -- not necessarily valuable belongings, but clothes and they said a hot plate and some other items like that.
So, this is not unusual he would take that with him and then he apparently got into a light colored SUV with a friend and drove into the Nevada high desert from the Lovelock Correctional Center.
ALLEN: So, went with a friend, no family there, no other support system there, as you can tell, and any question about where he'll go from there?
VERCAMMEN: The answer that has been given by his attorney and by his close friends is he plans to live, as I said, in the Las Vegas area, in specific, an extremely affluent enclave, one that has golf, friends are saying that O.J. Simpson will not hide, perhaps lay low for a couple of days, but they say he's a personable man, he will get out, go to dinner, do that sort of thing, say he wants to focus on seeing his family and his friends and perhaps eventually get out there and golf like he liked to do in the past.
So, we've all heard he wanted to go to Florida, that's what he said, openly, at his parole hearing. That plan is scratched for now as he's not turned in the Florida paper work, Natalie.
ALLEN: All right. Paul Vercammen there covering it for us and there you see it right there -- O.J. Simpson, a little over an hour ago, walking out of prison.
Coming up, Hurricane Maria left this town completely shut off from the rest of Puerto Rico. We'll tell you how a task force is finally able to get aid to the residents. That's just ahead here.
[05:16:27] ALLEN: The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, it is still growing. Eleven days after the hurricane wrecked the island, most of the 3.4 million Americans who lived there are still desperate for outside help. Many say they feel abandoned by their government. Even the mayor of San Juan is living in a shelter, sleeping on a cot, but late Friday when she pleaded to Washington for speedier federal aid.
The president of the United States seemed to take it personally. He tweeted, from New Jersey, where he is at his golf resort this weekend: The mayor of San Juan who is very complimentary only a few days ago has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them, when it should be a community effort, 10,000 federal workers now are on the island doing a fantastic job.
CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with the mayor about President Trump's Twitter attack that targeted her. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You woke up this morning to a tweet of the president of the United States. What did you make of what he said?
MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: I smiled. I smiled. Really, I have no time for small politics or for comments that really don't add to the situation here.
COOPER: He said that -- he talked about you, your leadership and he said they -- I don't know if he meant they, the leaders, or they, the people of Puerto Rico, want everything done for them.
CRUZ: I believe -- you know, it was kind of funny because I got them real late because we don't have Internet. It's spotty, at best. But he did say that he wanted things to be done.
You know, the truth is staring us in the face. Just today, I was telling you we had to evacuate yet another hospital because the generator caught on fire. So, this is in another hospital that we won't be able to work for another week. We transported 14 patients to one of our facilities.
The dams in the eastern part of the island is two towns, for the first time that I know of in my lifetime on Puerto Rico, two towns are being completely evacuated.
People are still coming and saying, the mayor of San Lorenzo, the mayor of Comerio, the mayor of Ponce, the mayor of Loiza are saying, you know, where is the help? We need it. Please help us.
COOPER: Do you feel that your speaking out has been effective?
CRUZ: I don't know. But if it has, you know, good.
COOPER: The president also said in a tweet early this morning that you had been nice to him early on, but that Democrats told you, you have to be nasty toward him.
CRUZ: You know, I don't know. Maybe he is used to women who have to be told what to do. But, you know, that's not who we are here in San Juan. But really, you know --
COOPER: Have Democrats said anything to you --
COOPER: -- about how you should treat him?
CRUZ: Not at all. Actually, I am not a Democrat. I share values with the Democratic Party in the United States, but I do not participate in the Democratic Party.
COOPER: You also -- CRUZ: So, it's interesting. Senator Marco Rubio sent representatives
to here. So, he's not a Democrat. I just think he is looking for an excuse for things that are not going well.
COOPER: Brock Long, the FEMA administrator, has said today about you that there is a joint command and that is essential.
[05:20:04] There is a unified command and that there is a joint field command office, and that you should go by there to kind of get clued into what is really going on.
CRUZ: Well, yesterday, after my press conference, all of a sudden, things started coming in from FEMA. And when they give me my phone, I could show you the text. I got a text saying that more supplies were coming. And all I want is more supplies. You know?
COOPER: So, you feel speaking out has actually pushed FEMA to bring more --
CRUZ: A lot of people, a lot of mayors are scared of speaking out because they think if they speak out, whatever help they haven't been getting will not get to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Well, let's talk about the back and forth there from President Trump being critical of Puerto Rico with Brian Klaas. He's a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics.
Brian, thanks for being with us.
BRIAN KLAAS, COMPARATIVE POLITICS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: My pleasure.
ALLEN: Certainly, this president has been criticized widely for tweets. But this -- this is almost surreal that you have an island in crisis, people suffering, we have four reporters on the ground that have been reporting on that and the resourcefulness of the people pulling together to try to help each other out through these tremendously horrible times. And suddenly the president doesn't like that Puerto Rico is saying, please help us, please hurry, and he puts down this may, we just saw, he puts down the people, he says they're not doing enough to help themselves, they're expecting people to come help them, it is almost surreal that that was the response of the U.S. president to an island that is suffering so.
KLAAS: Yes. It was disgusting. We have 1.8 million Americans who don't have clean drinking water right now, and the president from his golf club, the second weekend in a row since the storm hit, is attacking the mayor who is wading through water trying to save people's lives in a time of greatest need.
This is a low point. It is a low point that shouldn't exist because the easiest thing for a head of state or any president to do is to not attack hurricane victims. And since this storm made landfall, 11 days ago, the president has focused national attention on NFL stars, criticizing racial injustice. He's focused attention on his health care bill, he's distracted from everything other than the storm.
And then when criticism went on the U.S. government for the fact this response was too slow, he effectively blamed the Puerto Ricans for having debts to Wall Street. He tweeted about their bank debts, then didn't waive the Jones Act which could have helped them faster because he said the shipping industry didn't want that. Then eventually he did, and when he was criticized by the mayor, he lashed out at her.
I mean, it's a disgusting display of a complete abdication of leadership at a time of national crisis for people who are Americans, who pay taxes, who serve in the military, and who need our help right now.
ALLEN: And he did it as well as far as London terrorism, he immediately evoked politics when that happened, when people were suffering, and hurt and scared, he went that route. It's like, where is the empathy, where is the support, where is the encouragement from a leader?
KLAAS: That's absolutely right. I actually -- I live in London as you know. And I found out about the terrorist attack because I got a notification on my phone that Trump had tweeted attacking the mayor of London. That's who I found an attack was happening two miles away from where I live.
This is not just about being a good president anymore. It's about being a good person, a decent person. It is about reaching out to people when they're suffering and not playing politics and small ball and making every story about himself.
And this story is coming back to Trump. He always says I'm getting good marks. Don't believe the fake news. He's telling people who don't have electricity and don't have clean drinking water to not believe stories about them on television, which they cannot watch, that they don't have electricity or clean drinking water.
It is completely baffling and it's below the office he holds and it is embarrassing internationally. I can tell you over here, in the rest of the world, people look at this and they just see a small person who is not up to the task of being president.
ALLEN: Yes, and when he finally got a one on one with the victims there in Houston, he saw his numbers go up. You know, like, people are wanting to hear something like that from this president, empathy, support, we're here for you.
But, anyway, I want to talk about the NFL story, as he's tweeted constantly about this, much more on that, than the Puerto Rico story, urging again for what we're seeing here, the NFL not supporting players that kneel in their one knee protest of racial injustice. But there is a poll, 49 percent of Americans agree with the president that this makes it very uncomfortable and they think it is wrong.
[05:25:04] So, is there any justification for the president staying on this story? KLAAS: Well, I think politically, he's driving a wedge for cynical
reasons. He believes that painting himself as the definition of the flag is superior in painting people who are behaving in patriotic ways in their own minds by dissenting against what they believe is an unjust government as enemies of the country. It is a tried and true tactic to divide people. And hopefully, it won't work.
The problem is the flag stands for protest. It stands for a very unique idea in the world that you can stand up to your government and try to improve it without having any consequences, without being demonized publicly. And the president using his power and his pulpit to attack black athletes speaking out against racial injustice, that's what the flag actually stands for, their right to do that.
So whether the polls say this is a good idea or not, I think it is against the ideals that America stands for. Whether they're doing it the right way, that's a debate that people could have, maybe they should kneel at a different time, fair enough, these are fair criticisms. But I think for the president to lash out against these people for exercising their constitution is again an improper use of his office.
ALLEN: Brian Klaas, thank you, Brian, for joining us.
KLAAS: Thanks for having me.
ALLEN: We appreciate your thoughts.
Well, Spain is a country divided, thousands trying to vote right now in Catalonia's independent referendum. But riot police are physically blocking some from casting their ballots. We'll go back live for the latest from Barcelona next here.
[05:30:01] ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.
Here are the top stories we're following this hour. We're having breaking news.
Clashes have broken out in polling stations in parts of Spain as police try to block voters in Catalonia's controversial independence referendum, voting started just over about two hours ago. Here, right here in the northern city of Girona, riot police are physically preventing voters from entering the building. Spain's highest court says the vote is illegal, it has vowed to shut it down.
Former football star O.J. Simpson has been released from prison in the U.S. state of Nevada. He left a short while ago on parole after serving nine years for a Las Vegas armed robbery. Simpson became infamous in the 1994 case for being the key suspect in a double murder, one of the people who killed was his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. He was found not guilty of those charges. The Trump administration is acknowledging for the first time it is in
direct contact with North Korea over the nuclear crisis. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. is using a couple of communication channels to determine if leader Kim Jong-un is willing to negotiate.
Let's get the latest on the vote for Catalonia's independence, see how it is going and who is getting to vote and who isn't.
Our Isa Soares is at a polling station in Barcelona.
And you've been there, Isa, since before the polls opened. People were cheering and festive. And then weren't sure. And now it does look like some people are allowed to vote. What can you tell us?
SOARES: Yes, people have been here -- been here since the early hours of this morning, before really before the polls open at 9:00. The station -- the polling station behind me, Natalie, has been open for about an hour or so. People have been going in, going in roughly about ten at a time, this is one of several polling stations are open, the Catalan government saying the last half hour, that 73 percent of polling stations in Catalonia are open.
But, of course, we had seen some of the reinforcements by the police, the guardia civil, the state police, who have been going in to some polling stations, one of them in Girona and breaking windows and really threatening to get into stopping people from voting. People here are screaming, as you can hear, we will vote.
But in Girona, that's where the president of Catalonia was expected to vote. He didn't vote there. He surprised many people who went elsewhere to vote. But he then also later showed up at this very location where the police had appeared to show -- with a carnation in hand to really say how peaceful the Catalan -- some of the Catalans -- the independent Catalans who want referendum, how they are handling this.
And just to give you a snippet of what is happening here, we have a long queue of people waiting to cast their vote. One gentleman in charge of the ballots taking place here, he came out in the last ten minutes or so and he said, ask people to stay here, in case the police does show up. And critically important to point out that Catalan government said earlier today, if you can't vote in one station, you can vote at any station.
And, of course, this is a moment of -- a lot of tension here in Catalonia, extremely divisive issue, not just for Spain, but of Catalonia, not everyone supports what is happening here today.
ALLEN: Yes, and the big question is, what happens when all of this is over, so we'll wait and follow it as the day pushes on. Thank you, Isa Soares for us in Barcelona.
Well, remote areas in Puerto Rico are starting to see some relief, the city of Utuado was shut off from the rest of the island after the Hurricane Maria hit. A task force had to build a pulley system to give people much needed supplies. They had to get creative. A lot of that going on in Puerto Rico as people work to survive and get help to their neighbors.
Our CNN's Brynn Gingras has the story. She's there.
MYRIAM ROSARIO CRUZ, STRANDED UTUADO RESIDENT: The wind sounded like a monster.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Myriam Cruz rode out Hurricane Maria from inside this bedroom. The storm's eyewall traveled right through mountainous Utuado, a city 90 minutes from San Juan. The river that runs through this area rose more than 20 feet.
(on camera): What was your thought looking out the window and seeing this river go up?
CRUZ: Terrible. I thought it was going to come, you know, up here, but it didn't. Thank God for that.
GINGRAS (voice-over): But the flooding caused landslides and knocked out this bridge, the only way for Cruz's community to get out.
CRUZ: We were afraid we would be left alone.
GINGRAS: But they weren't.
[05:35:00] (on camera): Right now, we're crossing a river with a pulley system constructed by a task force under the direction of FEMA. And really across the river, about 40 families who haven't seen relief up until today, up until this whole system was constructed.
(voice-over): This group of specialized officers, firemen and EMS, come from New York, Indiana and Ohio. In the past week, their teams across Puerto Rico have saved more than 800 people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
GINGRAS: This task force took us to Cruz's neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While we were conducting those assessments, that's how we received information from the local emergency management officials that, hey, in these particular areas, we haven't been able to get there yet, we have no communication with them, can you help us? And that's really what we're here to do.
GINGRAS: Now, residents are rationing this new shipment of supplies, and they're grateful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I saw them come, the first time, I saw heaven.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, finally, we knew that they knew of our situation.
GINGRAS: But with a broken bridge, food and supplies will be needed again, and communications are still out. This man can't get in touch with his daughter, bringing him to tears.
(on camera): What do you want to say to your daughter in Texas?
GILBERT SERRANO, STRANDED UTUADO RESIDENT: We're safe.
GINGRAS: You're surviving?
SERRANO: We're OK, because -- we appreciate your help.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Even without the help, we found this community doing all they can to stay alive.
CRUZ: See that line there? That's how we got the water on this side.
GINGRAS (on camera): You did that yourself?
CRUZ: No, yes, the people here. Not me, but the men. You know, the men.
GINGRAS: So if you didn't have that --
CRUZ: We would have no water.
GINGRAS (voice-over): That despite President Trump's recent criticism of Puerto Rico's leaders and local response.
CRUZ: Of course, we get frustrated because, you know, we have done what we can.
GINGRAS: As for the task force, this assignment is over. And they're on to the next mission, continuing to help the people of Puerto Rico.
Brynn Gingras, CNN, Puerto Rico.
ALLEN: Look that they're trying to do to help people out. I mean, that is really -- they're being creative, resourceful, any way to figure it out.
And Derek Van Dam is here, you had something positive to say about the weather, but it is still very concerning the rain they're getting.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, they have had several inches of rain over the past 24 hours, not what they wanted to hear. There's still some rain in the forecast for today, but there is light at the end of the tunnel at least for Monday and Tuesday, looks like it will dry out, we'll see the sunshine and that will help maybe perhaps speed up some of the recovery efforts going on now.
According to a spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico governor, they say that on recommendation of FEMA, authorities have started to evacuate a few hundred residents from the areas adjacent to the Guajataca Dam, that's the northwest quadrant, where you see that shading of red on the map of Puerto Rico there. That's where we have flash flood warnings in effect. Residents are -- authorities are worried that the dam we have been talking about so much again could give way, could collapse or ultimately fail. So, we continue to monitor that, because additional rainfall there has put more stresses on an already failing dam.
This is the abundant moisture that has moved across the Caribbean lately. There is a break at the moment, but look at the cluster of showers and storms to the south of Puerto Rico. And as we get some daytime heating from sunshine right now, on Sunday afternoon, that's why I believe the uptick in shower and thunderstorm activity will take place through the rest of the day today.
So, we do have our computer models indicating another additional 25, maybe 50 millimeters of rain, especially in the mountainous regions. The good news here is that there are no river gauges across Puerto Rico that are showing major flood stage at the moment. There are some approaching flood stage, but none right now showing any moderate or minor flooding as it stands at this moment in time.
Of course, the ground is extremely saturated, so additional rainfall won't really soak into the soil that well. And so, we'll see the potential for flooding to continue, that's why there are flash flood watches across the entire island territory and we do have more shower and thunderstorm activity in the forecast for today. And then we start to clear things out into the day on Monday.
Good news is we're starting to see slowly some utility services restored across the island territory. In fact, put together this map, show you where water has been restored, at least 72 percent in the southern part of the island, 46 percent of the eastern parts. San Juan, metro, at 55 percent, so you can see where it really targeting some of the resources there, and that's across the board, they're trying to get telecommunications, electricity up and running as well.
Slow road to recovery, to say the least, Natalie, but you can see blue skies at least in that picture.
ALLEN: I did notice that picture.
VAN DAM: That's promising, of course, and we'll see how long the rain lasts for the day today. But hopefully we can try things out tomorrow and move on.
ALLEN: Yes, we have been focusing a lot on Puerto Rico for good reason.
[05:40:01] But as we know, it was Hurricane Irma, other islands were hit, many were still trying to recover when Hurricane Maria hit.
Our Michael Holmes reported on the damage from both storms and next, he'll tell us about the devastation and desperation he witnessed.
ALLEN: Well, certainly, everyone gets a sense from all of the reporting that's being done that the Caribbean is nothing like what it used to be before Hurricane Maria and Irma. Within days of each other, those storms destroyed islands, destroyed lives, leaving death and unbelievable devastation behind.
CNN's Michael Holmes reported from both. Here's what he witnessed.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Have a look at the conditions around us --
(voice-over): It really was an extraordinary couple of weeks covering two separate hurricanes.
(on camera): We began this trip by covering, of course, Hurricane Irma, once we knew what sort of impact Irma had had on some of the Caribbean islands. We flew down to San Juan. We anchored from there for a couple of days and we came down to Antigua to start to look at the effects, the damage that Irma had done.
Because we knew Anguilla had been hit pretty hard by Irma, ironically, the best way to get there from Antigua because of the damage that had been done to the island was to rent a boat. We spent some time on Anguilla. We were with a local deejay actually who showed us around and we do a story on him as well.
We put that story together on the boat, actually, because we had to leave Anguilla to head back to Antigua. We wanted to go to St. Bart's, but there was another storm coming through and, of course, that turned out to be Hurricane Maria.
The thing is, bear in mind, we're 120 miles or more away from the main track of hurricane --
[05:45:02] We actually did what a lot of reporters do, and that is you end up broadcasting from your hotel balcony. You get a great backdrop, but you have some protection.
So, it gives you a sense of how the live shots work, this is our cameraman's room, he's got all the cases here, over here, got about ten iPhones, which is about normal for us.
Alex is our cameraman. This is where we have been doing the live shots throughout the whole storm.
After Maria passed, we knew that Dominica, the island of Dominica, had been right smack in the path, the first landfall, category 5, and Maria had just ripped through the middle of that island. We knew we had to get there. We knew the damage was bad. The trick was how to do that.
Now, this is as close as we or anyone can get to Dominica, at least for now. The airport is shut down.
It was interesting because our pilot who flew us around the island, he flies the islands for living, this is what he does, and even he was shocked.
Now, the next day the runways were cleared to be safe, but there were assessment teams going in and the like and it was hard to get permission to land. But the prime minister himself wanted us, wanted CNN to come in and see what happened to his island. So, he and his aviational authority said you're clear to come in, please, come in.
Not only do they have immediate needs, their entire industry of agriculture, the tourism industry that they were trying to build up around those rain forests, gone.
(voice-over): The drive between Dominica's capital Roseau and the coastal village of Point Michel usually takes no more than ten minutes. After Hurricane Maria, getting between the two is to embark on an odyssey of hurricane carnage.
(on camera): It was an incredibly difficult walk, because we're climbing over all this debris, we're climbing over tree trunks that now formed what was the road and we knew we had to get there. We just set off and we walked and we walked and we filmed and we filmed.
And all along the way, we're thinking, never seen anything like this before. This is just incredible. And as we're going into Point Michel, people are coming out. I mean, they're worried about getting food. They were starting to run out of food. So, they're all walking their way back to the capital Roseau to try to get supplies.
One of the striking things about Dominica is that it had these beautiful lush rain forests, promotional videos you can look at that show you what it was like. And then when you look at what it is now, that's gone. It's all gone.
Of course, the communications were down all across the island. Nobody could talk to somebody down the street, let alone relatives in the U.S., so we had people coming up to us and saying, please, when you get out of here, please call my family, tell them I'm OK, tell them I've lost my house, but I'm alive.
And, you know, Dominica, our producer would write down the name and the number, I took a couple of names and numbers and when we got back to Antigua, we did. We called the families and sent the messages on.
(voice-over): During the storm, ravines and waterways became furious torrents, obliterating everything in their path. There is no running water on Dominica. These waterways are now the only way to bathe or wash clothes.
What we heard here around these islands is things are changing. These storms are not category 5s. There is not a category for it. They need to invent a category 6 or 7, that's what people told us, because these storms are getting stronger, they're getting bigger, they're getting more frequent. And these Caribbean islands are right in the path.
[05:52:33] ALLEN: The Trump administration is going after three Facebook users who are critical of the president. The Justice Department is demanding access to their private Facebook account information.
Our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider has that from Washington.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Legba Carrefour is the self-described anarchist, who urged protesters to flood into the streets of Washington, D.C. on inauguration day. Now, he believes his words are making him the target of the Trump administration.
LEGBA CARREFOUR, ANTI-TRUMP FACEBOOK USER: For a fascist government, it comes as no surprise that they want to suppress dissent in the streets.
SCHNEIDER: His words are strong. Carrefour argues his organizing actions weren't illegal, which is why he's fighting this search warrant served on Facebook by government lawyers. He's one of three anti-Trump Facebook users the government is demanding wide-ranging details from, like photos and videos, direct messages, chats, video calls, livestreams and credit cards numbers and billing records.
SCOTT MICHELMAN, ACLU ATTORNEY: We should all be shocked. We should all be vigilant and very concerned because this is not what the Constitution allows.
SCHNEIDER: Scott Michelman wants the government to rescind the search warrants, or at the least narrow the focus. The warrants target Carrefour's account, another private user's page, and the public Facebook site for DistrupJ20.org, a group that helped organize the protests on inauguration day and that account owner estimates 6,000 users liked.
More than 200 people were arrested and charged for rioting in the street. But Carrefour and the other Facebook user named on the warrant say they weren't there and they have no pending criminal charges.
CARREFOUR: I think it's definitely an attempt to criminalize speech and an attempt to more so than criminalize speech, criminalize organizing.
SCHNEIDER: The Justice Department isn't commenting and all of the other court records are sealed, including any that disclosed the reasons for issuing the warrants.
Facebook went through seven months of legal proceedings so it could make Carrefour and the other two Facebook users aware that the government wanted their online details.
It released this statement: We are grateful to the country and civil society organizations that supported us in arguing for people's ability to learn about and challenge overly broad search warrants.
MICHELMAN: Facebook has made clear that they're not going to be a tool of the government, at least in this respect.
SCHNEIDERMAN (on camera): It is not completely uncommon for government prosecutors to request this type of wide-ranging personal information from online sources.
[05:55:04] But it usually only happens in criminal prosecutions like child pornography cases. Attorneys for the ACLU point out that no criminal activity has been alleged here and that their clients only spoke out against the Trump administration.
Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Well, the show that constantly goes after President Trump is after it again. American sketch comedy show "SNL", "Saturday Night Live", returned this weekend, wasting no time roasting Donald Trump. With his award winning impression, Alec Baldwin lampooned the president's response to the Puerto Rico crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand, Mr. President, certain Mayor Cruz of San Juan is on the line.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so glad to have you on the phone. I'm begging you, Puerto Rico needs your help.
ALEC BALDWIN AS PRESIDENT TRUMP: I hear you loud and clear and you called the best person for the job. Trust me, I know things aren't as the locals say, despacito.
I don't know if you know this, but you're in an island in the water. The ocean water, big ocean, with fishes and bubbles and turtles that bite. We want to help you, but we have to take care of America first.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, you do know we're a U.S. territory, don't you?
BALDWIN: I mean, I do, but not many people know that, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: And that is CNN NEWSROOM, thanks so much for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.
"NEW DAY" is next for those in the U.S. For our viewers around the world, stay with us for "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT". Either way, you're with CNN, the world's news leader.