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Gunman May Have Cased Other Locations For Shooting; Country Music Reckons With Guns Rights Debate; Nra Calls For Federal Review Of Bump Stocks; Trump Escalates War On Media; Trump Demands Military Options More Quickly; Tropical Storm Nate Lashing Central America; Puerto Rico Divided on Trump's Visit to Island; Mueller Team Speaks with Man Behind Dossier in Russia Probe; Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Harassment. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 6, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Ahead this hour, investigators believe Stephen Paddock considered other targets in the days before his deadly shooting spree on concert goers in Los Angeles.
SESAY: Plus, the Catalan crisis deepens are Spain blocks an attempt by Catalonia to declare its independence.
VAUSE: And an already devastating season is not over yet. Yet another tropical storm taking aim at the United States.
SESAY: Well, hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Thank you for being with us for the third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.
Authorities believe the Las Vegas gunman then considered other music festivals before his deadly rampage on Sunday. A week before he opened fire on country music fans, Stephen Paddock rented a room and a Las Vegas condo complex overlooking the Life is Beautiful festival, a much larger event than the one he targeted on Sunday. And in any one given night, it could be more than twice the size.
Well, Paddock may have also booked a hotel room near one of the country's biggest festivals, LollaPLUza, in Chicago. A man named Stephen Paddock made a reservation for the same time in August and officials are trying to determine if he's the same man behind the massacre in Vegas.
Investigators also say they think Paddock had every intention of surviving his attack. The Las Vegas sheriff didn't offer specifics, but said Paddock put effort into an escape plan.
Well, retired FBI special Steve Moore joins us now. Steve, always good to have you with us.
STEVE MOORE, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Good to be here. SESAY: So, these details of Paddocks scouting other locations, possibly other sites for attack unconfirmed, but this is the working theory right now. What does it say to you?
MOORE: It's orthodox. Every mass shooter case that I've been involved with, there is a questioning - a self-questioning, what target do I want. When Buford Furrow came to Los Angeles and ultimately machine-gunned a class of kids because they were Jewish, his first target was the Holocaust Museum, the Museum of tolerance.
He then went to several venues around Los Angeles before he settled basically on plan D or E. And so, they frequently chicken out of the first target and force themselves later to suck it up and go after that are less vulnerable.
SESAY: OK. There was a note down found in Stephen Paddock's hotel room. It wasn't a suicide note according to Sheriff Lombardo of the Vegas police. It's a note that had numbers on it. Help us understand how the FBI would go about trying to ascertain its significance or interpret it. I mean, what's going on behind the scenes?
MOORE: There are people at Quantico who do nothing but this, do numerology codes, encryption ciphers, and they will most likely find out what these numbers are.
He's an intelligent - Paddock was an intelligent man, but likely he hasn't gotten a code that's going to be more sophisticated than the FBI can undo.
SESAY: OK. FBI going through all his electronic devices, phones, computers. By this stage, where we are at now, this happened on Sunday night, would they have completed that search by now?
MOORE: They may have completed the harvesting of the information, but you cannot just sweep through this like a CliffsNotes book. You have to go through every webpage.
And what I found in some of the cases where I worked, the only indication that would be available to the outside world that this person was spinning out of control were the websites they went to.
And so, I am going to be fascinated by what websites he was on, what chat rooms he was communicating with, the treasure trove is just being unlocked.
SESAY: You talk about the electronic footprint that they're hoping they discover. They're also looking to the live-in girlfriend for human intelligence, Marilou Danley. She is back in the United States. Has already been interviewed. Still considered a person of interest, but she is not in custody.
So, how does this work typically in these situations? Would it be a case where you bring her in several times over consecutive days? Would you put an agent with her? I mean, what's the rhythm of interviewing someone like this because I'm it's sure it's down to fine art? MOORE: It is a fine art, but it's a very quickly evolving fine art. They are going to call audibles. They are going to make decisions on the fly as to how they deal with her. They may even change their mind halfway.
But what is known for sure is if they had lost interest in her, if she had completely answered their questions to the FBI's satisfaction, she would be back on her way to the Philippines.
[02:05:12] There is something in - as an FBI agent, I can list three or four questions right now that absolutely would keep me awake at night if this were my case until I got it answered.
SESAY: What are those questions?
MOORE: The first question is just something obtuse. When she's in the Philippines and she hears that her husband has become a huge mass shooter in the United States, a friend or a relative calls her and says, have you seen the news?
Anybody else in that situation, I think, would have been terrified, would've been grieving, would have been confused, and would have wondered what the future held for them.
SESAY: How do we know she didn't do those things?
MOORE: The Filipino authorities are saying that her communications, her response back was, I've got this, I did nothing wrong and we're going to take care of it.
To me - and I could be wrong - I mean, it's just as likely that she is completely innocent - but that statement indicates to me that there was something pre-thought out.
SESAY: Kind of awareness.
MOORE: An awareness and I've got a plan. Well, how do you have a plan unless you knew something was happening beforehand. Again, I could be wrong. FBI agents are wrong and that's the beauty of the FBI. I hope that we admit when we are. But we have to follow trails like that.
SESAY: OK. Sheriff Lombardo, without providing any evidence to support it says he thinks he got help, he thinks Paddock got help. Does that strike you as credible given what you know of the planning, the cases that he would have had to carry into the hotel, just everything he acquired over time.
MOORE: I don't understand what he bases that on. The cases that I've worked where there was mass shootings, people always seem to think that one person can't put it together, but they really can.
And so, I will give Sheriff Lombardo the benefit of the doubt because I'm sure he -
SESAY: He may be privy to something we don't know. MOORE: He didn't get where he was by being dumb. However, I'd have to see the information that he based that on because I don't see it just patent in front of me.
SESAY: Steve Moore, always appreciate the insight. Really interesting. Thank you very much.
MOORE: Thank you very much.
VAUSE: In recent days, some of the biggest names in music have taken to social media demanding tougher gun laws, artists like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Moby, the list goes on.
But for the most part, mainstream country artists have remained silent in stark contrast to the industry's long and cozy relationship with America's gun culture. From Johnny Cash 1957 and "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" -
VAUSE: - Miranda Lambert's 2007 hit "Gunpowder and Lead" -
VAUSE: Country singers know their mostly conservative fan base like their guns and are passionate about gun rights.
Dianne Gallagher reports now from Nashville where many have started to talk about gun laws and how to stop the next mass shooting.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 harvest festival Sunday night, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds in Las Vegas, his bullets also pierced the soul of the country music community in Nashville, Tennessee.
One thousand eight hundred miles from the scene of the deadliest shooting in modern history, music city is grappling with grief.
It didn't happen here, but it happened to their people.
KELLY FORD, RADIO HOST, NASH FM: More than just a genre, it's a family. It really has a whole cloud over the city for I don't even know how long that will last. Probably a very long time.
GALLAGHER: And the grief is playing out on morning radio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an attack on everybody.
GALLAGHER: This week, the DJs on the nationally syndicated Ty, Kelly & Chuck Show have been doing a lot more listening than talking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's the weird thing for us is that that's what radio is like, it's like laugh therapy. GALLAGHER: And when they do talk, the topics have become a bit more controversial. In the hours after surviving the massacre, Caleb Keeter, the lead guitarist for the Josh Abbott band who performed at the concert posted a message on his Twitter account saying, I've been a proponent of the Second Amendment my entire life until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. Enough is enough. We need gun control right now."
TJ Osborne who performed on a different night of the Route 91 Festival called into the show to talk about his changing feelings on the issue.
[02:10:11] TJ OSBORNE, COUNTRY MUSICIAN: I'm sorry. It's just gun control - I mean, it is out of control. It isn't controlled. For someone to be able to legally purchase a killing machine like that, it seems as though he did it lawfully to this point, just shows that that's not enough.
GALLAGHER: But those artists have received some backlash. With a fan base that leans conservative, it's an industry with close ties to the National Rifle Association, which even sponsors a popular concert series.
FORD: I think people are so afraid of getting political that I don't expect a ton more artists to do that. That was pretty bold.
GALLAGHER: But the conversation is happening.
SHAWN PARR, LEGENDARY COUNTRY DJ: Whatever side you're on, it's opened up a discussion. It's like, hold on a second, I was in that scenario, let's take a minute and look at how this happened and what can we do to prevent that.
GALLAGHER: Right now, though, Nashville is focused on how to heal.
ERIC CHURCH, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: That night, something broke in me. Also, I think when that happened -
GALLAGHER: And it seems music city plans to do that by doing what it does best.
CHURCH: And the only way I've ever fixed anything that's been broken in me is with music.
GALLAGHER: Now, of course, those musicians, those artists want to help their fans heal as quickly as possible, but the music industry is worried about the artists and those who work around them as well, making sure that they are working through exactly what happened in Las Vegas.
An organization called Music Care is already on the ground here in Nashville, holding listening and therapy sessions, so they can make sure that their artists and the people who surround them are also processing exactly what happened.
Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.
VAUSE: Kris Daniels is a radio host at 102.7 in Las Vegas, a country music station, and she was backstage of the concert on Sunday night.
Kris, thank you for being with us. It must have been a pretty tough few days. You're also a therapist. So, tell me how you and your husband are coping right now?
KRIS DANIELS, COUNTRY MUSIC RADIO HOST AND FAMILY THERAPIST: We're doing really well. I think it really hit us Monday after - we hadn't really watched a lot of the news and then we started watching the news at Monday.
For myself at least , that's when I started really processing what was going on. I've been trying to help people since. I've been counseling - we've been counseling each other. I've been counseling him. So, we're doing a lot better. Thank you for asking.
VAUSE: I had one person say, thank God, this is a country music concert because that meant there were a lot of ex-military, ex- servicemen, off-duty police who were in the audience and they kind of sprang into action.
DANIELS: You know what was incredible was just - first of all, you never think this is going to happen, obviously, to you. You never think this is going to happen anywhere, especially a country concert.
But everyone was helping everyone. It was just - looking back now, it was just amazing to see how everyone was just coming together and - we didn't even know half the people. They didn't know us. And that was something that (INAUDIBLE). And there were a lot of military there as well.
VAUSE: The country music fans are known for mostly being conservative and liking their guns and their gun rights.
Does someone like you, you've spent 20 years in the country music industry, do you think this will change any attitudes towards guns and gun laws?
DANIELS: Because it's so weird to be in a situation like this because you never expect to be in a situation like this, I think everyone - well, I can't say everyone. I can only speak for myself. But I'm still processing what happened and I'm more concerned about the mental health of a lot of my friends or people that reached out to me that were like, can you please just help us with therapy; and I'm like, absolutely.
I've offered free therapy for those in need, who were there because I understand. I was there. Obviously, I'm a therapist as well.
So, I haven't even really - I haven't even thought about join in the politics direction or the gun direction.
VAUSE: Well, eventually, I guess the conversation will come to that, but, right now, it seems in the country music industry are maybe avoiding talk about gun violence.
For example, this in Billboard, Billboard reached out to more than two dozen country music acts and executives asking them if the October 1 massacred led them to reconsider their gun views. Most declined to comment. So, as you say, it could be too soon to start this conversation.
Are they worried about a Dixie Chick like backlash that was - the group spoke out against the Iraq war in London in 2003. This was the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIE MAINES, LEAD VOCAL, DIXIE CHICKS: As usual, I didn't plan anything, but I thought I'd say something brand new and to say, just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[02:15:09] DANIELS: You probably remember better than most that they were shunned for years, no one bought their tickets, no one bought their albums. They did manage to come back, but it took a very long time.
Are there similar concerns if country music artists come out and start talking about, well, we need some sensible gun reform here?
DANIELS: I can't speak for any of the country artists because I can tell you this, the country artists are amazing. They all have - they are just great to their fans and that's why everyone as country music fans come together.
But I think that - I think there are some pretty strong personalities out there that, if that's how they feel, they would maybe phrase it a little different because that wasn't necessarily owning guns, that was - against the president at the time.
VAUSE: Yes, it's interesting because there has always been this argument that if guns are there, if people had guns, they could defend themselves. A good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.
But in a situation like you went through, this guy was on the 32nd floor. There wasn't a lot a good guy with a gun could do.
DANIELS: Yes, that's true. And this was a very sick individual that, unfortunately, for whatever reason, is something that 22,000 people are going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives. And not only that, but the rest of the nation.
Will you feel safe going to a concert?
DANIELS: That's a kind of a thought. And the thing is, though, we can't let this stop us going to concerts. VAUSE: I've got a 13-year-old daughter. She loves going to concerts.
We're terrified as I guess a lot of people are as well.
I'm glad you're doing well. I'm glad your husband is doing well. And I hope the healing and the process continues and thank you for sharing your story. We appreciate it.
DANIELS: Yes, thank you. Pray for Vegas.
SESAY: There are many prayers being said.
VAUSE: Pray for Vegas.
SESAY: Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, the Las Vegas massacre may push Congress to take action on at least one gun control issue. We'll explain what they might do.
Also, a new tropical storm pummeled Central America. It's not done yet. We'll have those details.
SESAY: Prior to Sunday night's massacre in Las Vegas, few Americans had ever heard of so-called bump stock.
It's an add-on device that uses a rifle natural recoil to fire more rapidly, almost as fast as a fully automatic weapon, and that's what you see here in this video. You're seeing a demonstration of one in action.
VAUSE: Many of the guns in the shooter's hotel room had been modified with bump stocks. Even the National Rifle Association seems to say that they need to be regulated.
SESAY: The gun lobbying group said in a statement, "The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."
[02:20:08] VAUSE: While US lawmakers and federal regulators consider what to do about bump stocks, the US president has indicated he is willing to do something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll be looking into that over the next short period of time. We'll be looking into that over the next short period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us now is political analyst Peter Matthews. He's the professor of political science at Cypress College. Good to see you. Thank you for coming in.
PETER MATTHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here. VAUSE: Notably, no details on what the president actually plans to
do, but I think we have a bit of a clue in this statement that we got from the NRA. We'll read another part of it now.
"The National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law."
Specifically, the NRA wants a government agency to look at this, not Congress. So, there's no prolonged gun debate here.
CNN is also reporting that the ATF option is the one preferred by the Republican leadership in both houses. So, this is sort of get this out of the way, do something small and then be done and move on.
MATTHEWS: It's all tactical. And this is something that they want to do intentionally that way. That way, you can keep control of the debate and not have too much of a regulation, just a minimal one, so it looks like something has been done. In the end, nothing will be done that has to be done to really stop this.
SESAY: So, from the Democrats point of view, do you take the victory, in that bump stocks have been regulated or do you push for more, bearing in mind the midterms are right around the corner? What's the strategic move there?
MATTHEWS: You've got to go for more because the bumps stock regulation, whatever that means, will not be nearly enough. Background checks are important. There are so many other things that have to be done in terms of the -
SESAY: But they can't get them with Republican majorities. So, how hard do you push?
MATTHEWS: Well, here's the thing. I think quite often they're stuck in a bind about - there are not enough Democrats in the House. They look at the numbers rather than going for the issue.
And if they would just act in a nonpartisan way, bring people together in both parties to say this is common sense, they might be able to get enough Republicans to join them, to pass some kind of real gun control reform - gun regulation reform, let's put it that way.
VAUSE: It's a pretty low bar this is the best they can do, tweaking a few regulations for bump stocks.
MATTHEWS: Oh, it's a very low bar. Look what Australia did.
MATTHEWS: They went much further than that and had the impact on reducing the number of mass killings.
SESAY: And when you look at it, you have to wonder - I mean, obviously, there is the fear of the NRA. But then, you counter that with the fact that 90 percent of the country wants to see some kind of common sense gun control.
And you have to say, how much is that just misplaced fear and kind of almost like over-lording the NRA?
MATTHEWS: Well, the NRA used to be for some kind of gun regulation, way back in the 1920s when it was founded. It got away from that with all these gun manufacturers making lots of money from the sale of guns.
So, the public is with the reforms. And the NRA has to be challenged by the public and by Congress, with the public pushing Congress to go forward with some significant reforms.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) that the NRA the lobby group (INAUDIBLE).
MATTHEWS: Huge amount of money.
VAUSE: OK. Well, the president started his day escalating the war on the media with an early morning tweet. " Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!"
Well, later, the White House opposed person Sarah Sanders, she was asked about this and if the president wanted the news organizations to be investigated. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think, right now, when we've seen recent information that says that only 5 percent of media coverage has been positive about this president and this administration, while at the same time you have the stock market and economic confidence at an all-time high, ISIS is on the run, unemployment is at the lowest it's been in 17 years, we've cut regulations at a historic pace, we're fixing the VA for our vets, you've only found 5 percent of your time to focus on some of those big issues, and frankly, those are the issues most Americans care about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK, Peter, so essentially what we're hearing now is that, for this administration and for this president, fake news means non- fawning news.
MATTHEWS: Right. If you don't fawn over him, it's fake news.
MATTHEWS: Even though it's actually factual. And this is a phrase he has used during the campaign and this has been - he's using it over and over for his base to be - to responding to him - the base, the 35 percent that supports him. And the fact is it's completely fake in itself.
VAUSE: I just want to pick up on that 95 percent that she talked about, the 5 percent positive coverage. There's also been a lot of things the president has done which has generated negative coverage, like his reaction to Charlottesville, his trip to Puerto Rico -
SESAY: DACA -
MATTHEWS: So much.
VAUSE: So, to cherry pick some good economic statistics, which people can argue are a legacy of the Obama era, that in itself seems quite disingenuous.
MATTHEWS: That's pretty fake if you ask me. If you look at some of the actual facts, so-called facts that Trump has come up with - for example, he says United States space more taxes than any other country in the world, and yet if you look at the percent of GDP, it's only 26 percent are taxes in our situation. In Europe, it's 34 percent.
[02:25:02] So, he comes up with these nonfactual lies basically or misinformation and then he claims that it's true. But it's really not true at all and he doesn't look at the details of it at all.
VAUSE: Broad-brush strokes.
MATTHEWS: It's propaganda basically. Broad strokes, yes.
SESAY: As John said, his point is that, they want the media to fawn over them. They want to cower the media with this kind of language and investigations and all the rest of it.
But, I mean, I'm sure this White House realizes that news organizations aren't likely to fall in line and do what they want. So, what is the end goal with all of this rhetoric?
MATTHEWS: They better realize that because this is a very dangerous game they're playing. It's going at the heart of democracy because democracy requires independent media, a critical media, including - and that's what President Obama said. We welcome criticism when he was in office. Many presidents. President Bush said the same thing.
SESAY: But you know you're not going to get there. What are you playing for at this point?
MATTHEWS: He's playing for his audience through his tweets and sort of the mainstream media. He is going for that 35 percent. He can't afford to lose any of that because if he goes down below 30 percent, the Republicans in Congress will leave him and they might even - other things may happen.
VAUSE: Just a little bit of intimidation.
MATTHEWS: It is an intimidation tactic to inhibit the people in the news.
VAUSE: OK. Last item here, just a few hours ago, the president met with military commanders in the White House. He made it clear that he wanted them to move a lot faster when it came to drawing up military options. That's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Moving forward, I also expect you to provide me with a broad range of military options when needed at a much faster pace. I know that government bureaucracy is slow, but I'm depending on you to overcome the opposite goals of bureaucracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He didn't talk about any particular situation, but is that about North Korea, is that about Iran? He's about to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. Is he about to declare war? I mean, he also said that this is the calm before the storm.
MATTHEWS: He's setting the agenda and setting the atmosphere to do things like decertify the Iran nuclear deal, which will be a horrible mistake. I mean, all the major countries in the world are a party to that. Other nations want to keep that deal.
That should be a model for what we do with North Korea. That's a good negotiating model in the same way. And, in fact, the prime minister of Britain or Germany said that would be the way to go. Use that Iran model with North Korea and negotiate and work that out. I think it was Merkel that said that.
And we should - the president is trying to scare - set up an atmosphere of fear and of militarism as opposed to negotiation. And he contradicted Tillerson, the secretary of state, the other day, which was so -
SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) which isn't likely to go over well and will have ramifications. That's what no channel is saying.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he will say that.
VAUSE: Peter, good to see you.
SESAY: Peter, thank you. Appreciate it.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.
VAUSE: And time for quick break. "State of America" with Kate Bolduan is up next for our viewers in Asia.
SESAY: And for everyone else, the deepening crisis over Catalonia's independence vote, Spain's highest court makes a controversial new move.
[02:30:17] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Isha Sesay.
The headlines this hour.
SESAY: Another escalation in the crisis of Catalonia's independence vote. Spain's highest court suspended the parliamentary meeting planned for Monday when the Catalonian president was expected to formally declare his region's independence from Spain. Catalonian leaders call the court's move a violation of free speech.
VAUSE: For more details on the political crisis in Spain, here's Erin McLaughlin reporting from Barcelona.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Thursday, we saw more pressure from Madrid. This time in the form of a high court order suspending the special session of the Catalonian parliament scheduled for Monday. After that session, we expected declaration of independence. Now, with this court ruling, that sequence of events is in doubt. The president of Catalonian parliament saying they're currently weighing their options. If and when they declare independence, all eyes will turn to Madrid.
Thursday morning, we heard from the Spanish prime minister saying that all options are on the table, including the Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which would allow them to exert emergency powers over this region. That's really seen as a last resort.
We are hearing more calls for dialogue but, so far, the two sides aren't talking. The Spanish government ruling out mediation, an independent mediator, which the Catalonian government has been calling for. Spanish government saying the Catalonian government needs to start acting within Spanish law.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Catalonia.
VAUSE: Tropical Storm Nate is lashing Central America with life- threatening floods and mudslides. The storm is passing over Honduras with winds of 64 kilometers per hour. Some areas could receive up to 20 centimeters of rain.
SESAY: Nate may be the weakest storm in this busy hurricane season but it has already proven deadly. At least 20 people have been killed. And 5,000 people are staying in shelters.
VAUSE: Let's go to our meteorologist, Derek Van Dam, following the storm. He has more for us now.
Derek, at the start of this hurricane season, they said it would be busy and, boy, is that an understatement.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's really shaped up, hasn't it, John. This storm is starting to show more organization as the minutes clock on. We just got a 2:00 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. The center of Tropical Storm Nate has moved off the coast of Honduras into open warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. And it is actually strengthened by five kilometers per hour. So, current sustained winds at 75 kilometers per hour. You start to see a spin in the cloud cover as well. That's, not something we want to see out of a developing tropical cyclone.
Now that it is over the open waters, it has the got its eyes set on the Yucatan peninsula. Will it make landfall? Won't it make landfall? That has big impacts on the storm's trajectory and its strength. I'll explain that in a second.
But let's talk about the ongoing threats across Central America, specifically Honduras and into Nicaragua and Costa Rica. They've had significant rainfall totals over the past few days from this system. We've had fatalities. Flash flooding is ongoing. More rain to come for these three countries. They can see rainfall totals in excess of 150 to 250 millimeters, especially in the mountainous regions. And again, the northeastern sections of the Yucatan peninsula, Cozumel to Cancun, you have the potential for flash flooding as the system and the trajectory of its path brings it over the northeastern tip of the Yucatan.
Let's talk about the path. Really, it's so crucial. We talk about this so frequently, the cone of uncertainty. It does appear the path will bring it over the Yucatan peninsula. Will it start to erode the center of the storm? Time will tell. That will play a crucial role in how strong it will be once it eventually reaches the gulf coast. Right now, the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center has it as a Category 1 with sustained winds just over 120 kilometers per hour.
One thing for sure, this system has nowhere to go but north. That puts the Gulf of Mexico in its path. In fact, Louisiana has increasing chances of at least tropical storm-force winds. In fact, the National Hurricane Center just hoisted hurricane watches for this area, including Lake Pontchartrain. Tropical storm warnings or watches, I should say, to the east of that, including the Florida panhandle. We have storm surge watches across the coastal areas. You can see the rainfall totals going forward for this region.
John, Isha, I want to tell you one more thing. We have roughly 700 oil rigs across the Gulf of Mexico, six of which have already been evacuated. So they're starting to catch wind of what is about to come -- John?
[02:35:35] VAUSE: Here we go again.
VAUSE: Sound familiar.
Derek, thank you.
SESAY: Derek, thank you. VAN DAM: All right.
SESAY: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence assisted at a disaster relief center in Florida Thursday to help Puerto Rican residents who had been displaced after Hurricane Maria their homes more than two weeks ago.
VAUSE: Mr. Pence will also travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Friday to meet with officials. He'll also visit the churches and take an aerial tour of the damage.
SESAY: Earlier this week, President Donald Trump made his own trip to Puerto Rico, and some locals found his visit less than inspiring.
VAUSE: Some may want to forget about it. But that could be easier said than done.
Here's Nick Valencia.
NICK VALENICA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): This was President Trump during part of his visit to Puerto Rico. Tossing out paper towels to a crowd desperate for resources.
Many on the island were not only offended by what he did but also what he said.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that's fine. We've saved a lot of lives.
VALENCIA: It was a moment the people of Puerto Rico would soon say they would rather forget. But if tradition continues, it's likely they'll have a constant reminder.
VALENCIA: Here in front of Puerto Rico's capital building stands the walkway of presidents. Nine statues in all of every sitting president to visit the land since 1906.
(on camera): This walkway has become a recent part of Puerto Rican tradition. This marker tells us why. It's for presidents whose human side seems to beckon to come closer together. But after his controversial trip here, many wonder if that tradition should continue for President Donald Trump.
JAY KONSECA (ph), INDEPENDENT POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Shame on you, Mr. President.
VALENCIA: Jay Konseca (ph) is a popular independent political commentator in Puerto Rico. If it was up to him, he says, President Trump wouldn't get a statue of his own. He doesn't deserve it. KONSECA (ph): We appreciate American people, but what the president
did, we hate that. It was shameful, and we're always going to point that out.
VALENCIA: It was former Democratic Puerto Rican Senator Kenneth McClintock's idea to commemorate presidential visits to the island. He says nothing should change for President Trump.
KENNETH MCCLINTOCK, (D), FORMER PUERTO RICAN SENATOR: You can always find reasons not to do something, but in this case, I think it would be discriminatory if you take the flaws of one president to not put up the statue when you have not taken into account the flaws of other presidents.
VALENCIA: To his credit, President Trump was the only sitting president to visit the island after a disaster. But that's still not enough for those we spoke to, like this local resident, who is just seeing the video of the president tossing out paper towels to the people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How someone that does this could deserve a plate or a statue being here. He doesn't even deserve to be here.
VALENCIA (on camera): Do you think the statue here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VALENCIA: He says, "No, absolutely not. The president is not very well received. He is not very well respected."
(voice-over): And so even while the president ran the risk of appearing to not care about the feelings of those affected during his visit, it's because of his trip that the island will likely remember him forever.
VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
SESAY: Quick break. Coming up, exclusive details on the Russia probe. Investigators with the special counsel's office speak with the man behind the dossier.
[02:41:01] SESAY: In the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, you may recall that infamous dossier that came to light a few months back that included alleged Russian efforts to help the Trump campaign.
VAUSE: We have new exclusive details on that and the investigation led by special counsel, Robert Mueller.
Here is CNN's justice correspondent, Even Perez. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators working with Robert Mueller met this past summer with Christopher Steel. Steel is a former MI-6 officer who put together a series of memos detailing alleged Russian efforts to help Donald Trump's presidential campaign. The special counsel working to determine whether any of the series of contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives broke U.S. law.
We do know that Steel may have provided to Mueller's team but we do know that Steel has previously provided the FBI with some information to try to verify some of the sources that he used to put together the dossier.
We are also learning that late last year, top officials at FBI and CIA and the Director of National Intelligence actually discussed, including part in the Steel dossier, in the official intelligence document on Russian meddling. Sources tell us the intelligence community didn't want to include it because they didn't want to explain what parts of the dossier they had been able to corroborate. And they also were concerned about revealing sources and methods they had used to do so.
So while President Trump calls the dossier a hoax, it appears that intelligence agencies have a vastly different view.
Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.
SESAY: Let's go to Moscow and speak with, CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty.
Jill, thank you for joining us.
Special Counsel Mueller meeting with Christopher Steel in the summer. What is the view of Steel and his dossier there in Moscow?
JILL DOUGHTERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: From the beginning, Isha they dismissed it. They said, quoting, the foreign minister, Mr. Lavrov, he called Steel, "a fugitive charlatan from MI6." When President Putin - also this is going back to January, they both spoke about it. President Putin saying the dossier was obviously fake, that is was part of an ongoing acute political struggle. He said it was meant to undermine them, newly elected or President-elect Trump. He also said the idea that Russian security is chasing after every billionaire is ridiculous.
And I think it important also to note that some of the Russians who were named in that dossier have filed suit. They're suing on the basis of defamation that they're charging against Steel and the organotin that he was working for at the time, which was Fusion GPS, the opposition research organization.
So we haven't had anything that I've seen recently, but you can bet that that hasn't changed.
SESAY: I mean, the issue here is that the more details the special counsel can verify or stand up from this dossier, the more damaging it is for Russia and its hopes to rebuild the relationship with the U.S.
DOUGHERTY: That's true. In a way, we have a year of this.
SESAY: That's true.
DOUGHERTY: So if you look at every single detail, yes, the dossier is notable. But if you look at the relationship in general, there are so many moments right now where the relationship is going straight to the bottom, that I think you would have to say that would be just one of maybe.
The most important thing that I see from that statement by President Putin is the same thing he is saying now, which is this is an attempt to bring President Trump by his enemies. In fact, the foreign minister just the other day was talking about that, saying the previous administration, Obama, had left booby traps for this administration. So that's the approach they're taking.
[02:45:05] SESAY: OK. The thing about an approach publicly and dismissing it and then underplaying it, but, you know from your sense of -- of Russian intrigue, how closely would the Kremlin be following all that we are learning of the special counsel investigation? Here in the United States, you know, we follow every twist and turn. What is your sense of their -- you know, in the Kremlin and in Russia as a whole?
DOUGHERTY: In the Kremlin, I am sure there are people who are following this very closely. It concerns them very deeply. However, on a public basis, they're not going to engage on every single wrinkle in this investigation. Their position from the beginning has been precisely denying that they had any influence in the election. Pretty much calling it ridiculous. But they have to be watching because, right now, this relationship has become kind of tit for tat. The idea there may be retribution coming from the United States, for anything like hacks, et cetera, can be very serious. I believe -- I do not know directly -- but I would very much believe that they're watching every minute but they're not necessarily going to react.
SESAY: Jill Dougherty, joining us there from Moscow. Thank you, Jill
VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, some say it was an open secret in Hollywood until it was published by "The New York Times." Sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein. What he is saying, next, on NEWSROOM L.A.
VAUSE: He's the Hollywood powerhouse behind some of the world's most famous films, and now Harvey Weinstein is apologizing for years of sexually harassing women.
SESAY: It comes as "The New York Times" detailed numerous allegations going back three decades, identifying some of his accusers including actress, Ashley Judd.
In a statement, Weinstein said he, He came of age when rules of behavior were different. He said he knows he has caused pain and sincerely apologizes.
Let's bring in, Sharon Waxman. She's the founder and CEO of "The Wrap."
Sharon, thank you for being with us.
Let's say, off the bat, you know Harvey, you covered him. Called him a friend. Get that out of the way.
SHARON WAXMAN, FOUNDER & CEO, THE WRAP NEWS: Yes.
SESAY: Let me ask you this. Lots of people he known for a long time these allegations were out there about improper behavior. It was open secret. How much of shock is "The New York Times" piece? How much outrage is it generating here in Hollywood?
WAXMAN: That is a really good question. I think it is not a surprise. I don't think it is a shock. I don't really think there is a lot of outrage in Hollywood. Because people did know that there were rumors for years. I, myself. And while, it is true that I considered Harvey a friend, certainly, when I am practicing journalism, he knows that I know that we have to set that aside. When I spoke to him today, I spoke to him purely as a journalist. He understood that. He also knows that 10 years ago I did an investitive piece that never made it into print when I was a "The New York Times" correspondent covering this. At the time, there were not people who were willing to go on the record, like they did now. I think one of the things that changed, and you haven't asked me about it but I'll just go there. Today, as to why it's taken all this time.
[02:50:19] SESAY: You knew I was going to ask you that.
WAXMAN: Well, it is fair question. Two things are happening. One is, and this is most significant one, is that women are feeling more emboldened to speak out. They're willing to put their name on things. What's happened in the past, with Harvey, which made it difficult for reporters who wanted to write about this or other executives who wanted to give you information, but you couldn't print it, because this is very libelous kind of stuff. You have to be careful. It's that you needed somebody who was willing to stand up and say this happened to me. In fact, what "The New York Times" is telling you is there are eight cases. In fact, we reported this afternoon there is actually probably 12 cases, admitted by Harvey's lawyer in a board meeting, an emergency board meeting Tuesday -- so there's probably more coming -- of payoffs. The payoffs are by definition, so the women don't talk.
SESAY: Yes, yes.
WAXMAN: That's why they were done. So it is really hard for this to come out in public. The other thing that is going on is the reality that Harvey Weinstein does not have the power he had 10 years ago or 20 years ago. The movie business in general is more challenged. So I think that he doesn't pose the same threat that he might have, certainly if publications where he might advertise, might think twice before they went ahead and published this story.
SESAY: You mentioned you spoke to him.
WAXMAN: This evening. Yes, I did.
SESAY: Tell also about the conversation.
WAXMAN: Basically, he called to dispute something we published this afternoon, which is that he wanted us to know he wrote the apology himself.
SESAY: OK. Because people said it was odd. It was rambling.
WAXMAN: It is odd. And it is rambling. That's true. Because he goes on and he apologizes and he does take accountability for bad behavior. But at the same time, he says that he is going to take a leave of absence, and channel the anger that he needs to deal with --
MAXMAN: -- into fighting the National Rifle Association, which is a complete non-sequitur. Some people felt it was a half apology that kind of gained him some kind of excuse or cover. He was calling to say -- oh, at the same time, other piece of it is that people found mitigating that apology was his lawyer, Charles Charter (ph), coming out and saying he was going to sue "The New York Times." I didn't really understand that. I'm like, are you apologizing, but you're caught doing bad things. We don't know exactly what. And you will sue "The New York Times," how does that work? So he was calling to say, look, I meant that apology. I wrote that apology. I'm sincere about it. I'm not going to challenge the victims. I'm not going to attack the victims.
SESAY: Is he going to follow "The New York Times" --
WAXMAN: Yes, he is intending to go with suing "The New York Times."
SESAY: I want to read something about that. We are almost out of time, but I do want to read this. He gave an interview to page six. This is what he said. We'll put it up on screen. He explains why he is going off on to "The New York Times." He says, "What I'm saying is I bear responsibility for my actions. But the reason I'm suing is because of "The Times'" inability to be honest me and their reckless reporting. They told me lies. They made assumptions. "The Times" had a deal with us that they would tell us about the people they had on the record in the story so we could respond appropriately, but they didn't live up to their bargain."
WAXMAN: OK, that's not exactly what he told me. He told me, because he made a series of interviews.
WAXMAN: -- page six. Look to ours, which is not vastly different. Basically, he said, they only gave me two days to respond. It wasn't enough time. Then Lisa Bloom, his lawyer, pops on the phone and says, and not only that, they said they had to publish today at 1:00. We asked them to hold so we could go through these multiple allegations and go through them one by one. Some are true. Some are not true. He wanted to admit to the things that are true and counter the ones that aren't true. But the reality is I don't believe for a minute that "The New York Times," having worked there, knowing the reporters involved, did not actually give him the names and details, but he probably wanted more time.
SESAY: Sadly, Sharon, we are out of time.
Thank you. Thank you for coming in. Great getting him on the phone, getting his side of things. We appreciate it. Thank you.
WAXMAN: Thank you.
VAUSE: "Did he or didn't he call the president a moron" today continued for another day, fueled because the U.S. secretary of state did not make an outright denial. The White House says it is beneath the secretary to comment on such rumors.
The late-night comedians on U.S. television took if farther.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In public, the secretary of state said of President Trump --
REX TILLRESON, SECRETARY OF STATE: He is smart.
MOOS: -- while everyone else gleefully quotes him calling the president --
UNIDENTIFIED A moron.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: A moron.
JAMES CORDEN, THE LATE LATE SHOW: A moron.
Yes, I guess, secretary of our state as the he is secretary of stating the obvious.
MOOS: And as if being called --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A moron.
MOOS: -- wasn't bad enough --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My source say that he called him a moron. He said an F-ing moron.
MOOS: -- the best moron, according to this Internet meme.
There were satirical headlines. "Rex Tillerson says he remains fully committed to moron's agenda.
And even late night, knock-knock jokes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:55:21] UNIDENTIFIED LATE SHOW HOST: Knock, knock. Who's there? Moron. Moron who? Moron that later. Trump is a moron.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW: Hold on there, Tillerson. Nobody calls our president a moron, except me.
MOOS (on camera): But it's not so easy using the word "moron" when you are face to face with Rex Tillerson's spokesperson. Prepare for some un-naming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea he called the president a moron.
MOOS (voice-over): Or how about if you're hosting a show that you know the president himself watches.
UNIDENTIFIED HOST: How about a story out there that he called the president a moron?
MOOS: The classic, "Catcher in the Rye" made a comeback as commentators like Bill Kristol quoted it. "He was a damned stupid moron. He hated it when you call him a moron. All morons hate it when you call them a moron."
And this came back to haunt the president. Back in 2014, before he was a candidate, Trump retweeted what he called an interesting cartoon. Shows the founding fathers saying, "I keep thinking we should include something in the Constitution in case the people elect a complete moron."
COLBERT: Spoken like a true moron.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: What a week it has been.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
The news continues with Natalie Allen and George Howell in Atlanta after a short break.
[03:00:11] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: New information about the Las Vegas shooter. He may have been scouting other --