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Rep. Adam Kinzinger Asks ATF to Reevaluate Bump Stocks; White House Requests $29 Billion for Puerto Rico Relief; Tropical Storm Could Hit Gulf Coast as Hurricane Nate; Country Music Community Rethinks Gun Ban Debate; 3 U.S. Green Berets Killed in Ambush. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 5, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R), ILLINOIS: Again, it's hard for me to get into his mind of what he's thinking. And I can't justify what he says or doesn't say.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you agree? Give me your assessment.


BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly.

KINZINGER: My perspective, look, I think the president is doing a good job, great people around him on foreign policy that are advising him and I think he recognizes what he doesn't know and leans on those people. In terms -- I think any administration, you're going to see people fighting and turning their backs on each other. You've seen it everywhere. That will probably continue in this one to some extent, too. That's just natural part of government. I'm focused for what I'm doing out here saying how do we continue to enforce America's leadership around the world using soft and hard power when necessary and how do we defeat these threats that we face.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, it's always get have you. Thanks for coming on.

KINZINGER: Yes, any time. Take care.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Coming up for us, back to the Las Vegas massacre. It struck at the heart of the nation and the heart of the country music community, and now some artists who were strong Second Amendment supporters are second guessing that now. This has changed their view. Where is that conversation amongst the country music community? Live to Nashville, that's next


BOLDUAN: As we keep an eye on the aftermath in Las Vegas, we're watching the crisis in Puerto Rico. Right now, 13,000 federal aid workers including more than 800 FEMA person really on the ground there. It is now, though, more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, but still only about 9 percent of the island has power. The death toll now stands at 34.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration asked Congress for an additional $29 billion in disaster aid. Sources say that Congress could get to voting on it by the middle of the month. But what exactly does that mean for the folks on the ground and how is recovery going as we speak?

CNN's Nick Valencia is live in San Juan for us.

Nick, what are you hearing and seeing there?

[11:3$:58] NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. Help is here on the island of Puerto Rico, but it's not enough. Progress is being made but those who desperately need help, it's not going fast enough.

And as we learned yesterday, there are many communities on this island that still have not been touched by the local government.

It was yesterday that we met a man named Johnny that took us into his home, or what's left of it, and he had very pointed words for the local government and specifically President Donald Trump.



VALENCIA: He says, "This was a real disaster."


VALENCIA: "So where the president saw it's not like this."


VALENCIA: "Where the real damage happened, he didn't come."

What more real is this? How can it be more of a real disaster than this?


VALENCIA: "We're not that people. We help when there's disasters. Why aren't we getting the help now?"


VALENCIA: He says the president says nothing happened here, but --


VALENCIA: "What more do you want to happen to me," he says?

(END VIDEOTAPE) VALENCIA: Millions are still without a semblance of modern life. There are still so many on the island that don't have electricity, don't have clean running water. And there are also thousands, if not millions of others, like Johnny, who have nothing left -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: You're on the ground. Aid personnel still on the ground. No one is giving up.

Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

Joining me to discuss this and much more, the number-two Democrat in the House, Congressman Steny Hoyer.

Congressman, it's great to have you.

REP. STENY HOYER, (D), MARYLAND: Thank you, Kate. Good to be with you.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Puerto Rico. This aid package that White House is sending over, do you foresee any issues getting this aid package passed?

HOYER: I hope not. They've sent down $29 billion about half is debt forgiveness which will give the FEMA some additional head room. But the fact of the matter is we're going to need much more than that over the long term. But this tranche is a significant figure and I expect more to come. Hopefully, they will not be burdened down with politically controversial items that the majority may want to put in these bills. I hope that's the case. This is a humanitarian crisis.

Kate, it's interesting, in terms of the figures you gave, within two weeks of Haiti's earthquake, we had 22,000 military personnel on the ground. We need more people on the ground. We need more resources allocated. Frankly, the military is the one institution in our country and, indeed, in the world, who could respond to deal with the crises that you have displayed on your screen. And we need to be in the rural areas. So many are going to San Juan. San Juan has got resources, and is getting up to speed, but it is the rural areas in which most of the Puerto Rico lives that are in such crisis, without sufficient water and sufficient food and without sufficient sanitation.

BOLDUAN: On exactly that point, and what's being done, what's going there, you were just at FEMA headquarters, I assume getting an update on things. Are you satisfied with what you heard there?

HOYER: No, but I'm going to follow up with them. I'll be talking to Governor Rossello, which I talked to some days ago. I talked to Secretary Mattis just two days ago about the necessity to give all resources necessary, to get electricity up, get water availability, make sure they have access --


BOLDUAN: Who's dropping the ball?


BOLDUAN: Does FEMA need more people? What are you hearing?

HOYER: My own view is the president needs to authorize both FEMA, but also the armed forces, which do have the resources, do have the money, to respond to the crisis now. And certainly, we're going to pay for it. That $29 billion, and we've done billions before that, is a start. But it's going to take time to assess --


BOLDUAN: Of course. But when Governor Rossello says, when he was -- the president was down there, was complimentary everything the president and the White House and the administration has done. You say you don't believe it?

HOYER: Kate, I think that Governor Rossello knows he's dealing with President Trump and the Republican administration and he wants to make sure that he's on good terms with them. But very frankly, I'm going to urge the governor to tell us what he needs, what the condition is on the ground and, frankly, be animated about getting that to them. We have the ability to do that. We need the will and then we need to get it done.

BOLDUAN: But, Congressman, do you think he's not telling the truth?

[11:40:53] HOYER: No, I don't -- I wouldn't ascribe that to Governor Rossello at all. I think he may be tempering what he's saying to the president. You would have to ask him on that. But I'm going to be talking to him, hopefully, later today. And I'm going to urge him to, as accurately and fully explain what is needed, what is being done, but more importantly, what is not being done to save lives, to intervene in areas that otherwise are inaccessible. And he has to energize both the Puerto Rican infrastructure and resources in terms of human capital on Puerto Rico, but it is the armed forces of the United States, in my opinion, that has the capacity to put in the kind of resources necessary to save lives, and to stabilize communities.

BOLDUAN: Look forward to seeing where those conversations go.

Congressman, thank you so much. We'll have you on. Keep us updated.

Thank you.

HOYER: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

Now, after talking about one disaster there, there's also this. Yes, that graphic is behind my head once again. A new tropical storm is picking up strength in the Caribbean and it could be headed to the United States by this weekend as a hurricane.

Chad Myers is tracking Nate in the CNN Weather Center.

Tell me, Chad, tell us, what are we watching? CHAD MYERS, AMS METEROLOGIST: Kate, meet Nate. Right over Nicaragua

right now. Over land, so it's not gaining strength but going to gain strength when it gets back over water. A 40-mile-per-hour storm right now. Then goes into the Gulf of Mexico. When it gets in the gulf, it's going to hit something. There's no way out of it. No way out of the gulf without hitting parts of Texas, Florida, or something in Cuba. The forecast now for category 1 making landfall saturday night/Sunday morning somewhere 100 miles either side of the line around New Orleans. It makes a difference if it's 100 miles left or right where you live. There's also the chance with this very warm water, well above 85 degrees, this could be stronger than a category 1. You have to watch it all weekend and we will be right here -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely will. Let us see.

Chad, thank you. Appreciate it.

Coming up for us, after the tragedy in Las Vegas, the country music community is grieving. Fans and artists alike, starting to have a conversation, asking is it time to start talking about gun control and gun safety. We're going to go live to Nashville and see where the conversation is right now.


[11:46:26] BOLDUAN: The Las Vegas shooting has shocked and saddened the entire nation, but nowhere was the tragedy more deeply felt than within the country music community, which was the target of this attack.

CNN's Diane Gallagher is live from the home of country music in Nashville, Tennessee, for us.

Diane, what are people saying there?

DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it's so interesting because it's a unique situation. We are 1800 miles from Las Vegas, but if you didn't know any better, you would be living under a rock and showed up today, you might think that shooting happened here. It has hit this city, this country community like an asteroid. People have no idea how to cope with this right now. There's grief.

We went to a country music radio station this morning, A.M. radio not usually talking about grief and how to cope and what to do with politics. It was the exact opposite this morning. It's a difficult conversation. They feel as if someone has invaded their sanctimonious community that is so close.

I want you to hear what one of the deejays said trying to explain why it touched Nashville so hard.


SHAWN PARR, DEEJAY: It's an attack on everybody. I mean, you have to feel what has happened. Here's the best part. If I could -- I always try to look for something positive. Once you start the healing process, we still don't understand why this happened, but we have to move on. We have to move forward. You share the prayers, you share the love, but country music, for me personally, for people around the world, has always been so healing.


GALLAGHER: And, of course, some of the artists went on Eric Church last night here at the Grand Ole Opry talking about it. The point is right now, Kate, is they have an open dialog. They're discussing the shooting and how it makes them feel instead of pretending like it didn't happen and trying to move on.

BOLDUAN: So hard hit the entire community. Some in country music not just talking about their grief and how they're dealing with this attack but also about the issue that is being discussed in washington, gun safety. What are they saying?

GALLAGHER: Yes. I mean, morning radio on country radio, they were discussing gun control and where people -- they were having debates and discussions. A lot of this was sparked by Caleb, a guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band. I want to read what he tweeted out not long after the shooting. They were there that night. He said, "I've been a proponent of the Second Amendment my entire life, until the event of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was." He went on to say, "We need gun control right now."

Now of course, there was some backlash on that. This is a topic, Kate, a lot of people aren't comfortable talking about, and not being forced to talk about it because somebody came in and took what healed them anyway. Music is what many in the country community look to heal them and almost protect them from reality. Their escape. Somebody allowed a very poor reality to invade their escape and now they're forced to talk about political topics. Caleb experienced blowback, but others are rallying around him, saying it's his right to say what he wants.

[11:49:21] BOLDUAN: Diane, thanks for bringing us the story. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up for us, a stunning ambush on elite Special Forces that left three Green Berets dead. What happened here? That's next.


BOLDUAN: New details of an ambush that left three U.S. Special Forces soldiers dead and two others wounded. This happened in the African country of Niger. The troops were on patrol with local forces when the attack happened.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has much more on this.

Barbara, what are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. A significant and ongoing military operation at this hour. Three United States Green Berets killed in action and two were wounded several hours ago in this. When they came under attack, they were on a mission with local Nigerian forces in West Africa. What we know now is that French forces in the region are conducting operations on the border looking for the attackers. It was also French helicopters that moved in overnight and evacuated the American dead and wounded and provided covering fire at the location where they had come under attack. So now this very much turning into an international military operation in West Africa.

What were the U.S. troops doing there? They partner up with the West African forces and try to help them in advising and assisting them in going after, whether it's al Qaeda or other ISIS elements in the region, trying to help them with the terrorism threat that these nations are facing in this very remote part of the world -- Kate?

[11:55:26] BOLDUAN: Quickly, Barbara, do we know when they will be brought back?

STARR: What we know is they have been evacuated. The wounded are in the hospital in Germany where so many have been treated over the years from the frontline war zone. Those who are deceased are being returned to the United States. Family notification is under way -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Barbara, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead, Las Vegas fire officials and first responders are set to have a news conference any moment now on the Las Vegas shooting. We will bring it to you.