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At Least 15 Dead as Wildfires Tear Through California; President of the United States Blasts Senate Foreign Relations Chairman's Height; Source Close to White House: Trump Not Joking About Tillerson IQ Test; Explosive New Allegations Against Harvey Weinstein. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 10, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news on the wildfires in Northern California, the wine country, and all across the state. Fifteen people are dead, many more injured. At one point, the fast-moving flames were consuming the equivalent of a football field every three seconds. They're being pushed by winds reaching hurricane force at times.

CNN's Ryan Young is on the fire. He joins us now.

What have you been seeing around you on the ground?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's just amazing. When you watch that video, you get sort of an idea of what it was like. But then when you stand here, it jut blows your mind because if you look back at this direction. This was an entire neighborhood.

In fact, we're standing right in front of a home. This garage is just what's left. And we saw a file cabinet back there. It's the only thing we can make out inside the home. And that repeats itself over and over. It's kind of weird that the only thing that really survived in this neighborhood are the trees.

And you look at this car. I mean, it's stuck in the middle of the road. You can only hope that people made it out, even the tires have disintegrated at this point. As we were looking here, we're looking at the damage kind of walking through, the idea of 15 people died, 183 people are still missing.

Now, we've been told by officials they don't believe all 183 people are dead. There have been some miscommunication issues around this area because the fires were so intense, it hits some of the towers.

But then you think about 2,000 structures have been destroyed. At this point, zero percent of the fire has been contained. And this scene sort of repeats itself over and over again as we have been driving through the area. This looks like someone dropped a bomb in certain areas, Anderson, as it's been so powerful.

And as we look back at this direction, even as we're talking right now, there is smoldering still going on. In fact, firefighters told us this is an active fire that they're still fighting right now.

COOPER: As I understand it, the police tonight are saying that the area where you are, it's still not safe, right?

YOUNG: Absolutely. And as we walk back in this direction, Anderson, you'll notice, there are people kind of popping up everywhere. One other thing that the police officers told us not only is this an active fire situation, because there are 17 fires that are still active right now, but they're so stretched thin that they want us to know they're dealing with looters as well.

And as we came into this area, they wanted us to know that we were on our own should anything happen because of that fact. They are trying to case people out of here at the same time keep people safe. This is one of those situations when you stand here and realize how much has destroyed. You get the idea why everybody's so thin right now.

COOPER: Did you say there's zero percent containment at this point?

YOUNG: That's what we were told. But some of these firefighters are going on their 16/17th-hour shift. Those winds that were shifting so quickly were fueling the flames. But now, as you can notice, even during this live shot, the winds have died down, this is given a chance for firefighters to get ahold of that.

But as we were coming in we saw the lights and sirens pushing to the front lines in certain areas. Again, we were told, active situation. Be very careful.

COOPER: All right. Ryan Young, thanks very much.

And now to politics, the president today doing what we reported last night he'd do, taking yet another shot at Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Chairman Corker, you'll recall, spoke out against the president on Sunday, talking with the "New York Times," raising concerns, his concerns about the president's temperament, his judgment, even the possibilities unintentionally setting the stage for, in the senators words, World War III.

He also said this: I don't know why the president tweets out things that are not true. You know he does it, everyone knows he does it, but he does.

Well, this morning, as if it to prove the senator's point about those tweets, the president said something in the tweet that was demonstrably false and attacked the senator based on his height. Staying classy, the president tweeted: The failing @NewYorkTimes said Liddle Bob Corker up by recording his conversation, was made to sound a fool and that's what I'm dealing with.

Now, it's hard to say how recording the senator could somehow make him say something he didn't want to say. But keeping them honest, the president's tweet is not true in any fact. The only set up involved the times and the senator agreeing in advance to record the conversation. Here he is talking about it with "The Times'" Jonathan Martin.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I know they're recording it and I hope you are too.

REPORTER: Yes, I am.


COOPER: So, when the president tweeted this morning, he was tweeting a falsehood.

And when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the senator's broader complaints about the president, she said this:


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, Senator Corker is certainly entitled to his own opinion but he's not entitled to his own facts.


COOPER: Well, that goes for the president too. By the way, Senator Corker told "The Times" that most of his Republican colleagues agree with his assessment of President Trump. However, beyond several coming forward to praise him, no one has said anything in support of what he is alleging. We invited each and every Republican senator on the program tonight, none of them said yes. The invitation stands.

However, Jonathan Martin, David Chalian did agree to join us. Jonathan, as you heard, spoke with Senator Corker, co-wrote "The Times" piece. He's also a CNN political analyst. David Chalian is CNN's political director.

[20:05:01] Jonathan, do you have any idea what the president was talking about when he claims Senator Corker was set up by "The Times?"

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I can't speak to that, Anderson. I can't surmise what's in his head when he saw that, beyond the fact that he's looking to sort of explain this somehow and, you know, make the senator look bad.

But as you played there in the setup, the senator not only knew he was being taped, he asked to be taped by me and informed me that his staff was in fact taping our conversation. And the reason he did that is because he wanted to make a point, he wanted to make news here. And he very purposefully said what he said because he recognizes that this president respond to intervention via the media more than he does private conversations.

And that's why Senator Corker spoke so forcefully and did so on the record with me in our taped phone call conversation. COOPER: And, David, I mean, you know, yet again here, you have the

president of the United States mocking somebody, in this case, for his height. I mean, we saw him on the campaign mocking somebody for a disability, you know, going after John McCain, all sorts of things. But here as president of the United States, I mean --

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Also for their height in the campaign, Marco got the moniker --

COOPER: Right, yes.

CHALIAN: -- little Marco as well.

You know, these nicknames he sees as a branding exercise, and hoping to gain advantage. I don't know what it does to actually accomplish his goals.

Anderson, what I think makes this scenario different than just sort of a back and forth or name calling, or Corker's tweets versus Trump's tweets, is what you and Jonathan was just mentioning was well, this notion of -- that Corker wanted to speak and not just for himself, but clearly in talking to Jonathan, wanted to try to speak for the whole conference, even he -- if you read the transcript, told Jonathan, I know if you go and ask these other guys, these senators, they're not going to come and say these same words.

He was trying to sort of provide the conscience of the Senate in his mind, of his Republican colleagues, knowing that he was politically liberated to do so by not running away in the way that many of his colleagues are not.

COOPER: Yes. And, Jonathan, it's very easy in this, you know, given the kind of the news cycle we're in and given the actions by this president, time and time again, to kind of just play this off as, oh, this is yet another Twitter war, another fight between, you know, like Ivana Trump and Melania Trump yesterday, when you actually sit down and think about it, I'm wondering when you have this conversation with Corker, if it hit you in that moment, just how stunning it is what Senator Corker is saying about the president of the United States. You know, risking World War III.


COOPER: About him lying, not telling the truth in tweets repeatedly, about having -- that Corker knew for a fact that every day, the people in the White House are trying to contain the president from his own impulses.


COOPER: I mean, it's extraordinary.

MARTIN: You just mentioned three of them. When I was on the phone with the senator on Sunday afternoon, where I was typing and taking notes and obviously taping the conversation. But I was -- I was really struck by what he had said, and especially the World War III remark, because this is not some freshman member of the Congress who just got up here and got some ax to grind and is looking to get some attention. This is the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. This is a possession, was august post in Congress that has been held by a number of influential people in American history.

And when I was listening to that conversation, I kind of knew what I was hearing would stand for posterity and that the charges that he was making were very much premeditated, that he knew what he was doing. As you pointed out, he did want to speak on behalf of a lot of his colleagues who are constrained by political reality, at least for now about what they can and cannot say.

But even beyond the World War III comment, Anderson, him sort of blowing the whistle on what a lot of folks in Washington say, but no one wants to put on record, certainly not senators. And that is the fact that while he is the president of the United States, President Trump in a lot of ways is controlled or minded by a coterie of retired generals and senior officials who basically have to protect him from himself, and in effect guard the country and the world from the elected president of the United States.

Those are his words. That's what he's saying. And that's an extraordinary charge to make. And it's putting on the record kind of, you know, a 10-month long conversation that's been taking place in Washington about who actually is running the country.

COOPER: And, yet, David, no, you know, senators would come on tonight to discuss it.

CHALIAN: Nor has anyone come out publicly to echo the sentiments at all of what Bob Corker said. As you noted, you get some praise for Bob Corker as an upstanding guy. But nobody has sort of said, let me, you know, associate myself with my colleague's remarks. I full agree with what he's saying.

This notion somebody that Bob Corker gave voice to something that is said in private, that's why it's so damning is because these are conversations that have been happening in private.

[20:10:01] And one senator now gives it voice in public, but you're not -- just -- you're not going to find his colleagues running to sort of, let me add my voice to that. They don't want to do that, although I will tell you, there are several Republicans that I've spoken with in the last couple of days that are quite glad that this conversations in the open now in the sense of sounding the alarm about the notion that Corker said last week, which is people separating the country from chaos -- this notion of containing the president.

COOPER: It's frightening.

David Chalian, thank you. Jonathan Martin as well.

Coming up next, the president challenges the secretary of state to compare IQs. The White House press secretary calls it a joke. We'll ask the man the president said it to. We got new reporting on whether it really was a joke and talk to a Trump biographer about the wisdom of always claiming to be the smartest guy in the room.

And later, all the accusers coming forward in the stories of sexual advances, even sexual assault. They're telling about their encounters with Harvey Weinstein.

Also, late reaction from former President Obama and Mrs. Obama. Also a look at the legal jeopardy that Weinstein may face.


COOPER: Before the break, we talked about President Trump's latest jab at a member of his own party. Now, his latest poke at a member of his own cabinet. He's been steaming lately at reports that Secretary of State Tillerson called him a moron or perhaps an F-ing moron. And now, he's reacting for the upcoming issue of "Forbes" magazine.

The president telling "Forbes", quote: I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.

Now, as you might imagine, that got people talking and asking questions at the White House press briefing today.


REPORTER: How does the president expect the secretary of state to be effective when he's questioning his intelligence?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, he wasn't questioning the secretary of state's intelligence he made a joke. Maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime.

[20:15:20] But he simply made a joke.


COOPER: Well, put aside for a second how many times this president and his staff have tried to use the "he's joking" excuse to get out of hot water, put it aside, because just a few minutes ago, a source close to the White House told CNN's Jim Acosta, no, it was no joke. The source telling Jim he's spouted off about the IQ test because he was mad. The whole IQ insult, it's one of the president's favorite go-tos.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I went to an Ivy League school, I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I know I have an IQ better than all of them. I know that.

I guarantee you, my IQ is much higher than theirs.

Governor Perry, nice guy, he made nasty statements about me. And then I challenged his IQ.

I keep hearing about global warming. Now, they'll say, he doesn't understand. Oh I don't understand. Let's do IQ test.

Some of the pundits, you know, the guys, believe me, we're much smarter than them, IQ-wise, it's not even a contest.

I guarantee, my IQ is much higher than any of these people.

I want to match my IQ with some of those guys, with all of them.


COOPER: He was joking, right?

More now on all this with the man who did the interview with President Trump, where the whole IQ thing surfaced, "Forbes" editor, Randall Lane, and Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio.

So, Randall, what -- I mean, when the president said this, was he joking?

RANDALL LANE, EDITOR, FORBES MAGAZINE: I listened to the tape just before coming on here to get the nuance. I laughed when he said it, he did not laugh. So, I guess you could, you know, it's a judgment call that President Trump knows.

But he -- when I first asked him about Secretary Tillerson, he paused and he thought about the answer, and he gave kind of a more vague answer about his background and, at the end of the day, he's in charge and a difference of opinion.

I asked him about the moron comment. And that he immediately went into, I think it's fake news, but maybe we have to take an IQ test. Then he paused, I laughed. And he said, but I would win it.

So, I don't know. He doesn't laugh very much, just because he didn't laugh doesn't mean it's not a joke, but that's what happened.

COOPER: It is interesting, Michael, just the amount of times he talks about going to an Ivy League school, that he's smart, that he has a high IQ.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Well, don't forget the hand size. This is a guy who wants to measure everything. And he thinks that somehow it all can be measured and that everyone will accept the results and that he will always prove to be the brightest, the biggest, the grandest --

COOPER: But, I mean, every really smart person I know, or really rich person I know, does not talk about how rich they are or how smart they are.

LANE: We have -- we've been doing the Forbes 400 list for 35 years. The very first Forbes 400, 1982, Donald Trump was on it. We put him in $200 million. In 1982, the comment says Trump said he's worth $500 millions. Of the 1,600 people who've been on the Forbes 400 list because of turnover over the years, the only -- we've said this for many years, the person who cares most about what we said about his net worth is Donald Trump.

D'ANTONIO: Well, but this does keep us from talking about his charge that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. We don't talk about the fact that he said millions of illegal immigrants voted in the election when they didn't. So, there is this haze of distraction he's throwing up.

But I think Randall got at the real man. This is definitely who Donald Trump is, bragging, exaggerating, off on tangents but certain he's right about everything.

COOPER: But it's interesting, because one of the things that Senator Corker actually was saying about him is like, you know, the whole notion there's this madman theory. That he's playing the madman and, you know, Tillerson -- that that's not true. That it basically just -- he's just reacting in the moment. I'm not sure that he's consciously thinking, oh I will -- I will challenge the IQ of my secretary of state and that will create a diversion from things that I --

LANE: I actually asked him whether or not -- I mean, because when he undercut of North Korea because that's more serious than IQ, whether or not, wasn't he just basically neutering his chief diplomat. And he said, no, no, no, I was strengthening him. But it's impossible -- there's no way to negotiate if the person you're negotiating with doesn't think you can deliver what you say.

COOPER: Right.

LANE: And thus, what Donald Trump has done and he said as much in our interview at different times, he's the decider, at the end of the day, he strengthen himself. There's no doubt he'll weaken Tillerson.

COOPER: Michael, I want to read part of Randall's piece. He writes quote: Rather than an opportunity to turn ideology into policy, he views governing the way he does business as an endless string of deals to be won or lost both at the negotiating table and in the court of public opinion.

D'ANTONIO: Well, that's exactly right. I think Randall hit a home run with this article. He got the president at his Trumpiest. This is a fellow who thinks that America's interests are the same as his interests, and that whatever he says is the policy must certainly be right.

Now, in the long-term, the United States needs to deal with technology issues, needs to deal with energy issues. We see in the front page of the "New York Times" today that China is leaping ahead of us in the production of electric cars.

[20:20:01] These are profound issues, but we have the person who's focused on the next moment, not on the next week.

LANE: Transactional. What I was struck by most in the article, I asked him several times to try to -- the idea that continuity -- I mean, what's great about America is that administrations change but policy, again it evolves. But you honor the deals of the previous administration, the previous administration honors the deal. And again, it doesn't mean you don't tweak them and new policies don't come in. But there's a constancy.

And he doesn't believe that and he said that. You can see it on Obamacare where he's like, you know -- he says -- you know, he's acting -- I asked him, don't you have an obligation until we have something else to try to make Obamacare work. He says what ever happens is Obama's fault. It will, quote, it will never be our fault. It is only Obama's fault.

So, there's no sense of trying. You know, this administration is a new deal literally for Donald Trump, where he thinks, he gets to re- dice everything.

COOPER: Yes. Fascinating interview. Randall Lane, thank you. Michael D'Antonio as well.

Coming up, explosive new allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, as an audio recording of him pressuring a woman in a hotel surfaces. Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, are also breaking their silence. What they're accusing him of doing and watch his reaction when we continue.


COOPER: Tonight, former President Obama is breaking his silence on movie mogul and major Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein, who, according to report, is accused of sexual assault and harassment. The president says: Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.

[20:25:03] We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories and we all need to build a future, including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect, so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.

Hillary Clinton also released a statement today, quote: I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.

Meanwhile, the list of Weinstein accusers is growing and now includes more big Hollywood names. Plus, "The New Yorker" magazine has audio of one encounter that Weinstein had with an accuser.

Randi Kaye tonight has new developments.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He allegedly preyed on some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Actress Ashley Judd said film producer Harvey Weinstein asked if he could give her a massage or she would watch him shower.

When Gwyneth Paltrow was just 22, she told "The New York Times" that the mega-producer had put her hands on her and suggested they head to the bedroom of his hotel suit.

Actress Angelina Jolie told "The Times" that Weinstein made unwanted advances towards her in a hotel room back in the 1990s.

Actress Mira Sorvino told "The New Yorker" magazine that Weinstein sexually harassed her more than two decades at the Toronto Film Festival, chasing her around a hotel room.

Weinstein harassed or assaulted at least 20 women over the years, according to "The New Yorker" and "The New York Times". Many of them, aspiring actresses who were hoping to get their big break.

Just today, "The New Yorker" released audio of Weinstein trying to convince a model named Ambra Gutierrez to come to his hotel room in Manhattan, a day after he allegedly forcibly groped her.

The disturbing conversation caught on tape during a sting operation by the NYPD in March 2015.

AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ: What do we have to do here?

HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Nothing, I'm going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink. Water.

GUTIERREZ: I don't drink.

WEINSTEIN: Then have a glass of water.

GUTIERREZ: Can I stay on the bar?


GUTIERREZ: I don't want to be touched.

WEINSTEIN: I wont do a thing, please. I swear I won't, just sit with me. Don't embarrass me in the hotel. I'm here all the time.

GUTIERREZ: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

WEINSTEIN: Please come in now. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.

GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

WEINSTEIN: Oh, please, I'm sorry, just come on in. I'm used to that. Come on. Please.

GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?

WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.

KAYE: In another incident detailed in "The New Yorker", Lucia Evans said she was assaulted by Weinstein back in 2004 when she was still in college. It happened during a meeting arranged by one of Weinstein's assistants, which is how many of these meetings came to be.

After she says he told her about two scripts, she says he forced to perform oral sex on him.

One accuser, a former Fox News anchor, said Weinstein cornered her in a hotel a decade ago and masturbated in front of her.

LAUREN SIVAN, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That's where he cornered me in this vestibule and leaned in and tried to kiss me. That's when he blocked the entrance or exit for me and said, well then, just stand there and be quiet. He immediately exposed himself and, you know, began pleasuring himself.

KAYE: In response to the "New York Times" investigation, Harvey Weinstein issued a statement saying: I appreciate the way I behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain and I sincerely apologize for it.

He promised he was working with therapist and would deal with this issue head on.

A spokesperson for him also telling "The New Yorker", any allegations of nonconsensual section are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein, adding Mr. Weinstein has confirmed there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.

The spokesperson says Weinstein is hoping for a second chance.

(on camera): A second chance? Weinstein has already been fired from the Weinstein Companies, a stunning blow to one of the biggest names in Hollywood, a man some women say subjected them to what they call turn-down duty.

According to "The New York Times" that meant preparing Weinstein for sleep, with Weinstein at times appearing naked in front of them and requiring them to be present for bathing or massages, all of this for years an open secret in Hollywood.

SETH MACFARLANE, ACTOR: Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.


KAYE (voice-over): What was once a joke on the Oscar stage now revealed as a horrible truth, s the allegations grow.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: And joining me now, CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers, also CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

I mean, Jeff, obviously, some very serious allegations including three women who say that he raped them. Is there -- I mean, is he going to face charges?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: He may well. The real question is why hasn't he faced them before, because given the volume and the fact that, you know, Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, had one chance to prosecute him, didn't do it, but apparently just left a serial before, because given the volume and the fact that, you know, Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney had one chance to prosecute him, didn't do it, but apparently just left a serial rapist to roam Manhattan for years.

And, you know, the first account, the first story in Seth MacFarlene story in the "New Yorker" is of a clear sexual assault in Manhattan in -- I think it's 2004. But there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault --


TOOBIN: -- not in New York state. And, you know, where is law enforcement on this? I think they have been totally asleep at the switch.

COOPER: It is incredible Kirsten how someone like this in insulated. I mean if it's an open secret in Hollywood oh, you know, that he did this. And whether its -- because this power in Hollywood, or his, you know, power in the political realm of, you know, friends with the Clintons and the Obamas and big liberal donor, it's stunning.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the power is the main thing. I mean when I was reading the "New Yorker"| article it was striking me over and over, is just how similar it was to what happened at Fox News with Roger Ailes. That you had women who were basically, you know terrified. Very similar climate in the sense that if you went up against Harvey Weinstein they would possibly ruin you, you know, plant bad things about you in the media that was always a fear for the women at Fox as well that that would happen. That the HR department was completely complicit that they just basically if you went to complain to them just went straight to Harvey.

It was exactly the same on Fox News. I mean it was just exact same sort of institutional set up and it was completely driven by the fact that this person had so much power and that nobody wanted to take them on and they assume addictive.

TOOBIN: And used it.


TOOBIN: I mean that -- within that statement was such a lie in so many respects. When Mira Sorvino talks about how her career suffered. Patricia Arquette said her career suffered because she turned him down. So it wasn't just like the feeling that --

COOPER: But also that this company -- I mean I find it hard to imagine that people in that in his company did not know. I mean if they're having all these settlements, they're having people coming to hr complaining --

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: -- making allegations that the board of directors didn't know, the same thing at Fox.

TOOBIN: By the way, it was part of Disney for some of this period. So, you know, where was Disney in all of this? But it's -- the institutional failures here are so gray. And by the way I don't think we can give the Clintons and the Obamas a pass here. I mean as that Seth MacFarlene joke illustrates, a lot of people knew or had very strong suspicions that this was a very bad guy.


TOOBIN: Notwithstanding that, you know, the Obamas and the Clintons embraced him, did fundraisers with him, paid tribute to him. And, you know, I think it's a dark mark on their record.

COOPER: You I think you said Patricia Arquette, it was Rosanna Arquette just for the record.


COOPER: Do you think, I mean that this shows some sort of turning point, I mean what's happening at Fox, what's happened here, that I mean I hopefully it's some sort of turning point, but do you think it actually is?

POWERS: I mean it definitely feels like our culture is starting to take this seriously. But, you know, I do think that there are little mini Harvey Weinstein all over the place. I mean he's an extreme case obviously. You know, I don't think most people are acting that way, even powerful people. But I do think that this kind of things happen and people look the other way. If it's a powerful person that can help them and look at how slow the Hollywood men were to come out and condemn this. You know, people who knew that this was going on. And I think or even frankly how slow I think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were to come out and condemned. It's something -- I mean it's been five days, right.

TOOBIN: And, you know, I mean the timing of their regret that mean less to me than the fact that they associated with him in the first place. And as we talk about progress in society with Roger Ailes, with Bill Cosby, with Harvey Weinstein. We can't forget, one guy got elected president of the United States.


TOOBIN: So it can't be that all the country takes it all that seriously because 65 million people voted for that guy.

POWERS: Yes, I mean I think we have a broader problem in the country in terms of understanding misogyny and sexist on. And to this point, but Donald Trump is the president so clearly people are willing to look the other way. COOPER: We're going to talk a lot more about this in the next hour. Thank you very much.

Coming up, a CNN investigation you'll only see here. The Environmental Protection Agency chief paves the way for a mine. The critic say will be toxic to one of the last great salmon fisheries on earth, he does this right after a meeting with a mining executive. We got exclusive new report on how that meeting happened. Next.


[20:38:12] COOPER: You don't often expect the Environmental Protection Agency to be involved in action, many believe will hurt the environment. Well today though EPA Chief Scott Pruitt signed a propose rule to begin withdrawing from the so-called Clean Power Plan. President Obama's policy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Now that move grabbed a lot of attention, but there's something else Mr. Pruitt's done that's slipped under the radar. The decision to let the protection of a pristine area in Alaska, that could pave the way for a mass of new mine there. A mine that could spread a while salmon fishery called the most valuable in the world. Pruitt made a decision after meeting with a mining executive. Tonight, we have exclusive new details how on that meeting took place and what's at stake.

Here's CNN chief investigator correspondent Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CHIEF INVESTIGATOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The meeting at EPA headquarters was brief and to the point. By the time it ended a mining company hoping to dig for gold and copper got just what it wanted. On Monday, May 1st, the CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership asked newly appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to withdraw environmental restrictions on Alaska's Bristol Bay, they were put there by the Obama administration to stop that company from building a massive mine. Pruitt quickly agreed.

At 10:36 a.m. eastern little more than an hour after Pruitt met with the mining CEO, EPA staffers were shocked to receive this e-mail obtained exclusively by CNN. Which says, "We have been directed by the Administrator to withdraw the restrictions." The proposed protection of that pristine area was being removed. Pruitt opened the door to what the EPA feared could become the largest open pit mines in the world in an extremely sensitive watershed in wild Alaska.

[20:40:00] What's more, according to multiple sources he made that decision without a briefing from any of EPA's scientists or experts.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): For Pebble Limited Partnerships CEO Tom Collier it was a huge win and it comes with no apologies.

(on-camera): And do you think it was not wrong that Mr. Pruitt did not even look at what the work had been done?

COLLIER: Not a science decision, it's a process decision.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): You know, the optics on this look?

COLLIER: The optics on this are right, they don't look bad up yet.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Bad, if this looks like a head of a gold mine went to a new administrator and got him to reverse what an entire department had worked on for years.

COLLIER: Then put your glasses back on because you're not seeing the right optics.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The Obama EPA detection detailed in hundreds of pages of report is called a Clean Water Act Designation. So rare it's only happened like this one other time in the EPAs history. It was put on Bristol Bay Alaska specifically to stop Pebble Mine even before its owners applied for a permit. The mining company sued the EPA, saying it wasn't treated fairly.

In the same morning, Pruitt met with the mining company he also agreed to settle that lawsuit as well. To understand the significance of Pruitt's decision that day, you must first understand why the protection was placed on Bristol Bay in the first place. Bristol Bay and its tributaries are home to one of the worlds largest and most pristine Sockeye Salmon fisheries roughly have the world's wild Sockeye Salmon come from here.

This watershed is among the last places on earth like this, and intact ecosystem, supporting about 50 million wild salmon part of life or indigenous cultures that stretch back 4,000 years.

In 2011, Pebble Partnership owner Canadian mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals filed a mind building assessment with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The mine could create a footprint bigger than the island of Manhattan and nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon according to the EPA. Alarm bells went off, and local tribes and fisheries asked the EPA to study the potentially impact a mine that big could have.

After a three-year study the EPA published a report showing a pollution from the mine would result in complete loss of fish habitat with the potential to destroy 94 miles of streams and tributaries and in additional 4,900 acres above Bristol Bay. The EPA said, "All these looses would irreversible." But fishing industry here employs 14,000 people, no one knows how many jobs will be lost if the fish vanished.

THOMAS QUINN, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: It's a uniquely bad place geologically to put this kind of thing. Protecting it works, patching it together afterwards doesn't work.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): One of the scientists who was used in that study is Thomas Quinn. A professor of fisheries at the University of Washington. He has studied the area for 30 years. QUINN: This is the jewel in the crown of America's fishery resources in salmon. If you don't think this is worth saving, what is? And if you don't think there's danger in this, you simply haven't looked at it carefully.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): According to several EPA insiders of briefing book being prepared for Scott Pruitt wasn't finished when Pruitt had made his decision. The scientist never got the chance to brief the administrate. Unbeknownst to many at the EPA lobbyist for the mine had already been lobbying to overturn their work, lobbying Trump's EPA transition team even before Scott Pruitt was sworn in.

But it sounds like you do have a friend in the administrator. After a half hour without apparently looking at any of the science, he said yeah we're going to remove this --

COLLIER: So the premise of your question offense me?

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Because?

COLLIER: Because I don't have a friend at EPA. What I got is somebody who's following the damn law for the first time. OK, that's not friend. And the issue was not a scientific issue, the issue was a due process issue.

GIRFFIN (voice-over): Former EPA director Gina McCarthy disputes that. Everything about Bristol Bay and the Clean Water Protection was based on science she said. Decades of scientific research, years of study and public comment to the EPAs due process. It is why she officially approved the protection. And like many at the EPA is stunned it all could be so easily undone at the bidding of a ming company.

GINA MCCARTHY, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: This wasn't about EPA taking an extraordinary proactive step on its own, it was really about using a tool to provide certainty to those Alaskan native villages and all those people that rely on that resource for their jobs and the economy that we were being protective of that ecological resource.

[20:45:16] GRIFFIN (on-camera): It by our reporting took one election and one- half hour to overturn everything you did.

MCCARTHY: Yes. Well, I spent a whole lot more time on it than that. And (INAUDIBLE) very big decision and one that deserved really thoughtful discussion between that career (ph) and political staff.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Scott Pruitt declined CNN's request for an interview. But in a statement and EPA's spokesperson tells CNN, "The meeting with the mining company was an opportunity for Administrator Pruitt to let Pebble Limited Partnership know that they are simply being granted a fair opportunity to apply to build the mine." And add Scott Pruitt did not prejudge the outcome of the process nor make any assurances about the final decision." The statement goes on to say, "EPA's rev will be based on the whole record, all the science and an actual proposal from the company." (on-camera): But he made that decision, right, after a half hour meeting with the head of a guy who wants to mine gold in an area that many scientist believe will destroy one of the most pristine sockeye salmon supporting grounds in the whole world. What am I missing?

COLLIER: What you're missing is if they're right then we won't get a permit.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Pebble just last week posted this document on its website telling a new path forward, saying the mine will be much smaller, have less impact and that its policy is to work in a save environmental responsible manner.

(on-camera): You know that mining is a dirty business no matter how you get around it.

COLLIER: I don't buy that for a second.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Are you telling me you're going to be able to put a clean mine up there that isn't going to have an affect on anybody's habitat?

COLLIER: Absolutely. Exactly.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And if they get the permit and the mine gets build --

QUINN: I find a horrifying prospect, take the place in the world that you know best and you value most, the most beautiful, most productive and most special place you can conceive, and then think of the most devastating thing you could do to that place. You'd be horrified just as I am.


COOPR: Drew joins us now. What's the reaction been to all of this?

GRIFFN: Well quite frankly Anderson, it has been outrage. Tomorrow and Thursday the EPA's going to hold public hearings in Alaska on this change of plans. We've heard from several groups that are planning to protest the united tribes of Bristol Bay. They represent several of the indigenous tribes up there. They're going to flood the meetings. We've also heard from the fisheries industry, they too plan to voice out raise, but it seems like this is a done deal again with almost no discussions. The mining company CEO told us, he's going to plan to have his proposal in place for a Pebble Mine submitted this December. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Drew Griffin, I appreciate the reporting, thanks.

Up next, breaking news out of Las Vegas, new details on what investigators found in the gunman's hotel room plus the changing timeline of how the events that night unfolding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:52:23] COOPER: There's breaking news tonight in the Las Vegas investigation. CNN is learning new details about what investigators found in the gunman's hotel room. Plus the changing timeline of that night.

CNN's Sara Sidner has lead details. So Sara, what are your learning about -- first of all what was in the room?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Our reporters Kyung Lah and (INAUDIBLE) both talked to law enforcement. And a source telling them that there were incendiary bullets, special bullets that explode on contact that he was able to shoot at a very large fuel tank. That fuel tank did not explode, but that is new information coming out. Also that there were trace amounts found inside of that hotel room. Those help a shooter aim and hit their target especially at night and lastly bullet proof vests and some kind of breathing apparatus were also found inside the room.

That is coming out as the sheriff has now given a new timeline as to just how this all unfolded.


SIDNER (voice-over): Initially investigators said Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos was shot after surprising the gunman who had already begun shooting into the crowd of concert goers below.

KEVIN C. MCMAHILL, UNDERSHERIFF, LAS VEGAS: It was very heroic security guard who was shot during the search for that suspect.

SIDNER (voice-over): But the Las Vegas sheriff says it turns out the search had not yet begun. He revealed a new timeline saying the security guard was actually shot at 9:59 p.m., before the shooter turned his gun on the crowds at 10:05. That's a full six minutes from the time Jesus Campos was shot and injured and the time the gunman began his murderous rampage.

JOE LOMBARDO, SHERIFF, LAS VEGAS: He was injured prior to the mass volley of shooting.

SIDNER (voice-over): The sheriff wouldn't say how he thought that may have affected the shooter but former U.S. marshal and CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick says the guards presence may have sped up the shooter's plan.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I still think the security guard going up there basically interrupted the shooter from whatever he was doing at that point in time and caused him to move his time schedule ahead.

SIDNER: Authorities say the guard went up to the 32nd floor after being alerted about an alarm due to an open door. Campos heard the sounds of drilling when he got there. He was spotted by the shooter who had rigged cameras to show the hallway and the shooter unleash a barrage of bullets of Campos wounding him in the leg.

The sheriff said Campos immediately notified the hotel dispatch but the police officers did not know he was shot until they saw him.

LOMBARDO: They weren't aware of him being shot until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator.

[20:55:03] SIDNER (voice-over): It is still unclear while that vital information didn't make it to law enforcement right away. What is clear is that Las Vegas police didn't make it to the 32nd floor until 10:17, a full 18 minutes after the shooter fired at security guard compost who pointed out the room to police. Now, authorities say they have also learned there was someone else with Campos as bullets were being fired at him.

LOMBARDO: There was also a maintenance worker that presented himself on the 32nd floor and Mr. Campos prevented him from receiving any injuries.

SIDNER (voice-over): At 11:20 p.m., one hour and two minutes later, police say they blew open the door of the shooter's hotel suite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.

SIDNER (voice-over): They found the shooter dead. He had apparently killed himself.


COOPER: Sara, is there any change in law enforcement stance that the shooter acted alone?

SIDNER: It's a good question, because so many things have changed but the answer to that is no. The sheriff very explicitly said, we now have some evidence of this shooter in Las Vegas 200 times and not one of those times was he accompanied by anyone. They still believe he acted alone. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks.

When we come back, wildfires ravaging California where at least where 15 people are dead, many more injured. Plus the feud between power forward Republican Senator Bob Corker and President Trump heats up today with the taunting nicknamed laden tweet from the commander-in- chief. All that next.


COOPER: We begin the hour with the president's ongoing feud with the top Republican senator also with his secretary of State, his IQ challenge to him the White House reaction and late reporting that reveals the central White House claim on that that it's a joke to be false. CNN's Jim Acosta joins us now with the latest. So Jim, first of all what are you learning about that?

[21:00:01] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course as you were saying earlier today Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary she was pressed on this comment from the president that was reported in Forbes that he challenged essentially the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to an IQ test that debate (ph) their IQ test.