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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Threatens The Press; Trump Teases Foreign Nation News; Blistering Vanity Fair Report On "Unraveling" Trump; Vanity Fair: Bannon Says Trump Has Only 30% Chance Of Full Team; Weinstein Accuser Lauren Sivan Speaks Out; At Least 21 Dead As Wildfires Rage In California; Mandalay Bay Engineer Warned: "Someone Is Firing A Gun Up Here"; Interior Secretary's Trips May Have Violated Federal Law. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 11, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:00:07] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody, but ultimately, my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? That's the way it works. That's the way the system is. But I think I might have a somewhat a different attitude and a different way than other people. I think, perhaps, I feel stronger and tougher on that subject than other people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: CNN's Jeff Zeleny begins our coverage tonight at the White House. The president is going after the press again tonight in invoking potential government action.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He is, Anderson. And this is in a series of messages again on social media. After that tax rally in Pennsylvania, as he's making his way to the White House, he's tweeting again, talking about what he was talking about earlier, about fake news, as he often does, but he's escalating that, going after the idea of network licenses, broadcast licenses, which, of course, are the purview of the public air waves.
This is what he said in a tweet. Let's take a look at this, Anderson. "Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!"
Anderson, this has echoes of the Nixon administration, when similar things were tried in the Nixon White House, with some local licenses of T.V. stations owned by "The Washington Post" at the time, that was breaking all of those stories. Of course, this is difficult to do. The president is largely just venting frustration. His aides said earlier. But, again, extraordinary for a president to go after network T.V. licenses.
COOPER: You know, president of the United States, I mean, a president in some countries, might not be so extraordinary, but certainly in the United States.
Also tonight, you've got some new reporting on what precipitated that now-infamous moron comment from the secretary of state.
ZELENY: Anderson, we did. We dig down a little bit deeper on that, and it all stems from a July 20th meeting at the Pentagon, which comes after a meeting here at the White House one day earlier that did not go so well. It was with the president, his top military advisers. Some of them thought he didn't have enough of a grasp of what was happening in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. They wanted to have a second meeting with him. And he, of course, was eager to meet with these generals, as he talks about so often. So they went to the Pentagon on the 20th of July and talked a lot about all the hot spots around the world.
We talked to several officials from all different agencies who were at that meeting, who said that some of his lack of understanding and nuance about the world problems left them quite alarmed, particularly the nuclear arsenal, other areas of concern. So that is the meeting we're told that precipitated the secretary of state now as we all heard, for the last week, calling the president a moron.
COOPER: There was another comment the president made today on foreign policy. He was giving a speech in Pennsylvania. And I want to play it for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: America is being respected again. Something happened today, where a country that totally disrespected us, called with some very, very important news. One of my generals came in and they said, you know, I have to tell you, a year ago they would have never done that. It was a great sign of respect. You'll probably be hearing about it over the next few days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you have any clarity on what he was talking about? Essentially teasing, like he is prone to do.
ZELENY: Anderson, we don't. He was talking about some remote part of the world, obviously, that he said, used to treat the U.S. without respect, but did not answer that. It was almost like he's teasing the next episode of a reality show or something else coming up.
We did talk to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who told us earlier this evening that this would be revealed when they can. It's unclear if people here at the White House know what he was talking about, but Anderson, it's very similar to what he said a week ago when he was surrounded by a military officials, and he was also giving a glimpse of potential storm on the horizon there. So we do not know what he was talking about. But, again, unusual for most Commanders- in-Chief, for this one, simply teasing something that's to come.
COOPER: The president loves to tease. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
Now some new reporting by "Vanity Fair's" Gabe Sherman, it is quite the attention getter, starting with the headline, "I Hate Everyone in the White House!": Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is "Unraveling". Sherman citing half of those Republicans and Trump advisers says they all describe a White House in crisis, his words, "As adviser struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods."
With us now are two White House veterans, Former Obama Senior Advisor, Axe Files host, David Axelrod, and also Former Carter White House Speech Writer and current "Atlantic" magazine National Correspondent, James Fallows. So David, do you think the president is serious about getting the FCC to take action against news organizations or is this just him, you know, venting?
[21:05:03] DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know whether he's serious or not. And I don't know if he really knows what his authorities are. He often makes these comments, sort of, without knowledge of how the system works. It's interesting, I heard him earlier on your air on tape, saying about North Korea. Well, I get to decide, and that's the way the system works.
Well, the way our system works, also, is he doesn't get to pull licenses, because he doesn't like what's being said. In fact, if he had -- if he read history, which he concedes he does not, what he would know is this has been -- that's a bedrock principle of our democracy. This is what our founding fathers talked about. The need for a scrutinizing, independent free press. And of course, it is enshrined in the first amendment.
So, I don't know if he's serious about that or not. I don't know, you know, I'm beginning to wonder about how he views reality versus sort of the television show that is the presidency, when he says, you know, when he hints at some cataclysmic event coming up, military event, Jeff's quite right. It was like he was teasing an episode of a T.V. show. But one worries, does he make the separation, or does he thinks, well, this might be helpful. This might be a good plot twist for me, as the heroic character. That's not the way you want these kinds of grave decisions to be made.
COOPER: James Fallows I mean, you see this "Vanity Fair" report saying that among other things, that people close to the president describe him as, "unstable," "losing a step," was another phrase they use, "unraveling." It obviously does not sound good. I'm wondering what you make of it.
JAMES FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: So, it is, obviously, it doesn't sound good. And I think it's different from what we've seen ever before in a number of significant ways. One is how early this is happening. We're less than nine months into the beginning of this presidency. And if you look back in the first year of other administrations, Republican or Democratic, there were complaints and there were successes and failures, but there wasn't this kind of very early questioning of the president's own abilities, which is the second really profound difference that criticisms that people had of Ronald Reagan in his first time or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter, when I was working for him, they were about judgment calls that the president made or policies that he was choosing, not about his basic temperament, his basic knowledge.
And so if you look at the nature of some of the recent reports, whether he understands how nuclear weapons work. Whether he understands how disaster relief works. Whether he understood anything about health care, that leads to the other thing that I think is different, where you have -- there's a remarkable piece by Fred Kaplan, in slate this afternoon, pointing out that Senator Bob Corker essentially said that the president is bringing on, you know, the risk of real warfare and no Republicans really spoke up to say, this is untrue. So they're not contradicting it, but they're not doing anything about it. And that tension is quite distinctive and bad.
COOPER: Well, I mean, David, to James' point about what Corker said, it's very easy to, and we've talked about this the last couple of night, it's very easy to have it just be yet another Twitter war between the president and somebody else or, you know, like between Ivana Trump and Melania Trump. But when you actually step back, I mean, this is Senator Bob Corker, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, saying that the president is risking World War III, and that the people around the president have to contain him and it's a battle to contain him every single day. It's stunning.
AXELROD: It is stunning. And it's important, because Bob Corker is a very serious guy, as you mentioned, he's chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He's not a guy who's known to be frivolous in his remarks. The president said he was trapped by "The Times" into making the comments that he made on tape. He asked that they be made on tape. And he chose his words very, very carefully, because he wanted their impact to be felt. He is sending out an alarm about his concerns about president.
Now, he's also a guy who's retiring from Congress. And so, there is this tension that Jim mentions between the concern that Republicans in Congress feel about the base, that is loyal to the president and that is part of their party and their concerns as -- their responsibilities as members of the United States government. And so, that tension is really glaring when one of them speaks out, as he did, and the others stand by silently and talk off the record.
COOPER: Yes. Go James.
FALLOWS: And just to follow up for a second. I think it's really significant to follow David's point about the kind of alarms and cries for help we are hearing. When you have reports from "The Washington Post," from "The New York Times," and "The Wall Street Journal" that are quoting 12 people, 15 people, 18 people, not by name, but the numerous people who are there, you know, and saying that we're seeing these outbursts, we're seeing people trying to control him. When you have somebody as cautious as Senator Corker, choosing what he says, and nobody contradicting him, if you see the ecology of news and politics, these are messages going out for a purpose. I wish the Republican Party would step up, but people are sending out a signal that something is wrong.
[21:10:06] COOPER: And James, I mean, "Vanity Fair" --
COOPER: Go ahead David.
AXELROD: That Tom Barrack piece in the New York -- I'm sorry, in "The Washington Post" this morning was very, very meaningful. He is someone who --
COOPER: A lifelong friend.
AXELROD: -- is reported as a lifelong friend, and also someone who has been talking to reporters all along, off the record, but rarely on the record. And he chose to give this interview at length and say the things he said. That tells you something about the state of -- about what he believes the state of affairs are in the president's mind and in that White House.
COOPER: And James, "Vanity Fair" says it has sources who claim Steve Bannon said there's only 30 percent chance of the president making it through his term. That Bannon told the president that he should be more worried about the 25th Amendment, which allows the cabinet and vice president to remove him from office than impeachment.
Do you buy the idea that the feeling is really so dire? Or I mean, who knows what Steve Bannon's impulses or motivation is.
FALLOWS: Yes, exactly, who knows what Steve Bannon may be saying or why. But I do think it's significant that lots of people who are around the president in the national security apparatus are sending out messages as clearly as they can that something is awry. And that we do have Republicans who are on -- they're in the middle, I think, of a historic transition, where some of them are beginning to say, look, we have concerns. And the silence of the others speaks volumes.
In fact, in any other administration, you would have, as soon as some of these critiques came out, you would have the majority leader, you have the speaker of the House. You would have all of these people saying, oh, no, no, nothing like that is true. We have absolute faith in the president. You have not heard anybody --
FALLOWS: -- in the Republican leadership say that.
COOPER: That's true. James Fallows, David Axelrod, again, thanks very much.
Coming up next, one of the accusers in the Harvey Weinstein scandal is telling her story. Hear what she has to say. The story is unbelievable. Totally remarkable of what Harvey Weinstein did to her.
Later, another member of the president's inner circle is under scrutiny for flights he took on the taxpayer's dime and whether some of them may have violated federal law.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:15:41] COOPER: Another new accuser came forward today in the Harvey Weinstein sex abuse scandal. Actress Cara Delevingne, all told now, more than two dozen women have come forward, including Los Angeles based local reporter, Lauren Sivan who says that Weinstein harassed her at the New York restaurant 10 years ago.
She recently tweeted, "For those asking why I waited? YOU try telling that story 10yrs ago. Only possible now because of women with bigger names far braver than I." I spoke with Lauren earlier today.
COOPER: Just, first of all, how hard was it for you to decide to come forward?
LAUREN SIVAN, WEINSTEIN ACUSER: You know, I -- it was kind of an emotional decision. I had told people this story over the years. Like, dozens of people, probably. So, it wasn't a deep, dark secret I had. I just never came out publicly.
When I saw those actresses make their claims, when "The New York Times" piece came out last week, I was, you know, in awe of them for being that brave. It wasn't until I saw his apology that he came out, which frankly wasn't an apology.
COOPER: The idea that he was the child -- he came of age in the 60s and 70s, and therefore, didn't, somehow, understand that this was disgusting and inappropriate.
SIVAN: Right. That made me furious. Calling these women liars, basically, saying these claims -- he got -- you know, he's apologizing and yet also saying these claims were patently false. It just seemed like he had absolutely no remorse, that he is still completely delusional about what his behavior was. And it made me furious. And I thought, you know, if I can do something to validate their claims, I know I'm not a liar, and in my mind, I believed those women.
And so when a reporter contacted me, to possibly talk about the story, at first I didn't want my name on it, but then I thought twice and I said, you know what, I do want my name on it. I'm not an actress, you know, I'm someone else that has a different perspective on this.
COOPER: It's not like you're in that industry and needed -- had the same concerns that some others in that industry might have.
SIVAN: I was very, very lucky. I didn't need anything from Harvey Weinstein. I just met him by accident at a dinner one night.
COOPER: Yes, how did this happen? I mean, how did you first meet him?
SIVAN: You know, it was one of those nights in New York City where a girlfriend invited me to meet her out. I've been working at the time and I got off work late so they had already been out. And I went to Cipriani, which is pretty well-know place in Manhattan. And there was a big table of people and from all different, you know, walks of life, businesspeople, and I sat in the empty seat and Harvey Weinstein came up behind me and said, I think you're in my seat. And I recognized him immediately and I apologized, and he said, no, no, no, stay there. And he pulled up a chair next to me and we just, you know, began chatting.
And he was very kind, really engaging. We talked about news, we talked about politics. This was 10 years ago. And at the time, I was a local news anchor, you know, News 12 Long Island, my hometown station, and I was just desperate to be taken seriously. And so a conversation like that with Harvey Weinstein was wildly flattering.
SIVAN: And like I said, he was just really kind and charming and lovely. And when, you know, the night went on and we moved to a different venue, and he asked me, hey, I actually own this place. Would you like to see the restaurant and the kitchen downstairs, I said, sure. Why not? I had no reason to believe, you know, anything mysterious was going on.
COOPER: Right, you're in a public place.
SIVAN: We're in a public place, you know, there's plenty of people upstairs, all chatting and drinking and enjoying themselves. So when we got downstairs though, I thought it was going to be like this bustling kitchen with people screaming and, you know, plates shattering and there was no one there. It was desolate. There was a guy sweeping up and so when he dismissed that guy sweeping --
COOPER: He told the guy sweeping up to leave.
SIVAN: -- to leave, and we were completely alone. And that's when I realized, I -- this was a bad idea and I need to get back upstairs. But at that point, I said to him, like, you know what, I've seen it, I want to go. And he said, no, no, no, no, just come back here with me. Walk back here with me. I'll show you the rest. I'll show you the rest.
And he walked me into like a vestibule, so it was a dead end, basically, and he stood in front of the doorway and he tried to kiss me. And I said, I pulled away and I told him, I apologized, I wasn't interested, and, you know, I'm in a relationship, and I'm sorry. And kind of intimidated like, let's go back upstairs. And that's when he told me, you know, can you just stand there and be quiet?
[21:20:11] COOPER: He actually said, just stand there and be quiet?
SIVAN: Yes. So that was a completely different person than the guy upstairs who was chatting and was friendly and was engaging and made me feel great, to, can you just stand there and be quiet. And that's when I realized -- I didn't realize -- I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew something was about to happen.
COOPER: And what happened? SIVAN: He exposed himself. And he just began masturbating in front of me. And I just stood there kind of frozen.
COOPER: It's unbelievable. I mean, it's believable, but it's just -- it's so -- it's crazy.
SIVAN: I know, I've been telling this story over and over again, and as it comes out of my mouth every time, I'm like, I cannot believe this happened.
COOPER: In a public place with friends and people upstairs --
SIVAN: And it wasn't just anyone. It was Harvey Weinstein doing it. I mean, that's what --
COOPER: He unzips his pants and starts masturbating in front of you.
SIVAN: Keep in mind, I had only met him maybe an hour and 20 minutes before this happened. I mean, I was virtually a stranger. And so it's amazing to me how casual he was with that kind of encounter and how risky that is. I mean, he knew I worked in news, but I have to think that he didn't think that I would be any kind of threat to him whatsoever.
COOPER: And what do you what did you do in that situation?
SIVAN: I was frozen. Kind of, you know, a panic response, I guess. People are always like, why couldn't you just push by him, or, you know, punch him, or get out of the way? I mean, I guess -- I guess I could have if I felt my life was threatened. I didn't feel my life was threatened.
COOPER: Well, so unless you want to get anywhere near him to push by him while he's, you know.
SIVAN: Yes, you don't want to --
SIVAN: -- participate in any way. I am 5'1", he's 6'2" he's not a slight man. So -- also, in these situations, when women are sexually harassed, your first gut instinct isn't to physically fight the person. It's, how do I get out of this situation as politely as possible and flee. I mean, that's all I wanted to do, was just get out of there.
COOPER: Was he saying anything to you?
SIVAN: Nothing. It was a really disturbing scene to watch. I was just leaning up against a wall and waiting for it to be over. And, thankfully, it was over quite quickly.
COOPER: And then, once it was over, what did he do?
SIVAN: I said can I go now? Are we done here? Can I go? And he said, yes, let's both go. And so he -- COOPER: As if nothing had happened?
SIVAN: Right. And so he turned around and he walked back out through the kitchen. And at that point, my girlfriend have been looking for me. And so she came down and said, where have you been? What have been you been doing. And I just grabbed her by the arm and we fled.
And I told her the whole story in the car and she was just stunned and shocked as I was. I mean, that's an impossible situation to predict. I mean, even if I knew it wasn't a good idea to go downstairs with him, never in a million years that I think that would happen.
COOPER: Also, the idea that you should be the one who has to think, oh, maybe this is not a good idea. I mean, it's beyond the pale that that should even enter your mind.
SIVAN: But I think that illustrates the type of man these women were dealing with. This was a guy who's unbelievably bold and brazen and took incredible risks.
COOPER: Right and shameless I mean --
COOPER: -- just disgusting.
SIVAN: Yes, shameless.
COOPER: Did he ever reach out to you again?
SIVAN: The most bizarre part of this story is the next day, while I was at my station, he called my office and I answered the phone, I hear, I have Harvey Weinstein on the line for you, and I froze again and my heart sinks. And I pick up the phone, and he says, I just want to let you know I had a lovely evening. And I couldn't believe what I was hearing. And I said, what? He goes, I had a lovely time last night. Listen, I'm going to Hong Kong. I'm going on these business trips, blah, blah, blah, but I would love to see you when I get back in town. And I just -- was completely stunned. I just said, you know, no, thank you. I think I made it clear last night, you know, I have a boyfriend. And I quickly got off the phone with him.
But that was what really made this whole thing bizarre, because, that was someone that either didn't realize that what he did was basically sexual assault or, you know, or he has an illness, maybe.
COOPER: But also, I mean, if he did this to you, somebody he just met --
COOPER: -- who knows how many other people there are out there.
SIVAN: Right. I mean, if you want to do the math, 30 years, perhaps, this kind of behavior has been going on. Think about how many meetings he's taken in 30 years. Think about how many women he meets by chance, at dinner parties, like he did with me in 30 years. I mean, the amount of women he must have come across and potentially victimized, who knows? I mean, I can only speak for my own experience. But in my mind, in my heart, I believe those women.
[21:25:06] COOPER: I appreciate you coming out and I appreciate your strength. Thank you.
SIVAN: Thank you for having me.
COOPER: That was truly horrifying, what you just heard is, just ahead, we're going to dig deeper into another deeply disturbing aspect of this entire scandal, beyond what Lauren and others endured, namely that so many others seemed to know about Harvey Weinstein's behavior and did nothing.
COOPER: Harvey Weinstein's alleged behavior was an open secret, open to the point that it was even referenced in jokes on television shows a couple times over the years. Though, for the women accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault this certainly is no joke. Randi Kaye tonight has more.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Film producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged harassment and assault of women, an open secret in Hollywood. Often finding its way into comedy scripts, like this 2012 scene from NBC's "30 Rock."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, please. I'm not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions, out of five.
KAYE (voice-over): Funny then, not so much now. Weinstein's reputation for flexing his Hollywood muscle and using his power to inappropriately touch or assault women, apparently well known among Hollywood insiders. Still, the jokes continue.
[21:30:12] SETH MACFARLANE, ACTOR: The 2012 nominees for best performance by an actress.
KAYE (voice-over): During the Oscar nominations in 2013, Actor Seth MacFarlane read the names of the actresses up for best supporting actress, then, joked.
MACFARLANE: Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.
KAYE (voice-over): There, at one of Hollywood's biggest moments, a disturbing nod to Harvey Weinstein's reputation. We reached out to Seth MacFarlane asking why he joked about something so serious. His rep directed us to his statement on Twitter released today, which explains a friend of his in 2011, had confided him in about Weinstein's alleged advances. And that he couldn't resist the opportunity to take a hard swing in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger.
In response to our request, the academy of Motion Pictures would only say, "It finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents."
We also asked NBC about poking fun at Weinstein's alleged abuses, but were told no one was available to respond.
(on camera): Still, the question is, who knew what when, and how could anyone think any of this was funny? Actress Rose McGowan, certainly isn't laughing. "The New York times" reports that in 1997, when McGowan was just 23, Weinstein paid her a $100,000 settlement, after, "episode," he had with her in a hotel room during the Sundance film festival. In a new twist, McGowan is now attacking Actor Ben Affleck, in response to his statement about Weinstein on Tuesday.
(voice-over): In it, Affleck said, "I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn't happen to others." An enraged McGowan took to Twitter implying Affleck knew of Weinstein's behavior and told her about it years before. Quoting Affleck in her tweet, she posted this. "Goddamnit, I told him to stop doing that. You said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie."
McGowan later confirmed to "The New York times" she was indeed accusing Affleck of lying by not acknowledging that he was aware of Weinstein's alleged behavior, telling the paper, I am saying exactly that.
Our attempts to reach both McGowan and Affleck were unsuccessful. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, joining me now is CNN Senior Media Correspondent, Brian Stelter. Brian, I'm clearly at least some people knew something was going on with Harvey Weinstein, given the jokes and other comments.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MERDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Some people inside his company called the Weinstein Company, also, within the Hollywood community. We've heard from actresses like Angelina Jolie, describing how she warned colleagues, warned other actresses about his behavior. There was a whisper network in Hollywood and in New York, warning people about his behavior.
And within the Weinstein Company, there's 200 employees. Some never interacted with Harvey, but others talked with him all the time and worked with him closely.
I had one staffer say to me today, we knew he was a creep, but we didn't know he was a criminal. That would be a generous summary of the situation. The more damning summary would be, the parties were fun, the money was rolling in, and nobody wanted to look too closely at what was going on. COOPER: Well, you know, I mean, and "The New Yorker" Ranon Farrow interviewed a number of people from the Weinstein Company and it seems like women in the company were kind of aided and abetted, and others in the company seemed to kind of aid and abet in this by they would be present at meetings and hotel rooms where a young actress or model was brought in. And then, they would be told to disappear and go, and then suddenly it would just be Harvey Weinstein and the person he was targeting.
STELTER: Indeed. And it was at least clear, if nothing else, that he was engaging in immoral behavior. He was cheating on his wife. Now, whether that crossed the line into illegal behavior, some staffers may well not have been aware of that or not wanted to know if he was.
But you know, there is now a law firm that's been brought in by the Weinstein Company, or what remains of the company, now that Harvey has been fired. That law firm is investigating who knew what, when. They are promising to get to the bottom of this. But there are questions about whether this company will even survive now, in Hollywood, Anderson.
COOPER: Has the Weinstein Company said when they or -- said or announced when they claim they found out about all of these allegations?
STELTER: Very scant details. Nothing knew from the company today. It's clear that in some cases, there were executives present, as you're saying, at the time it was happening, 10, 20 years ago.
And remember, that 2015 sting operation, after that alleged groping incident. That was well publicized. So there was no way anybody could present not to know about that.
[21:35:01] COOPER: Brian Stelter, appreciate it. Thanks, Brian.
Up next, breaking news, 21 people dead, hundreds of homes destroyed in the California wildfires. The worst of it may not be over. New danger tonight as winds pick back up, threatening to spread the blaze even further. The latest from the fire lines when we continue.
COOPER: There's breaking news on the almost two dozen wildfires ripping through California tonight. Fire officials just wrapped up a news conference gave new details on the level of destruction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. KEN PIMLOTT, DIR., CALIFORNIA DEPT. OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION: Just in the last two days, over 170,000 acres have burned in these 22 large fires that we're engaged in. Very conservative estimates are 3,500 structures lost across all of these fires. Very conservative number. That number will go up.
Also, tragically, 21 individuals have died as a result of these fires. So majority of them right here in Sonoma County. We continue to evaluate missing persons, unaccounted for individuals and work with local law enforcement.
Our priority on all of these fires is to ensure life, safety, and protection of property.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:40:01] COOPER: CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us now with more. So I understand authorities have expanded evacuations tonight.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An enormous area of evacuations. They just called for evacuations in Geyserville, which is far north of here, north of Healdsburg, and they go as far south as Napa, all the way to the south.
This is what they're concerned about. This is why they've called these new evacuation orders. You can see that smoke on this mountain moving off to the right, that's 180 degrees from where it was moving about an hour ago.
The winds have shifted. They're afraid that the 45 miles-per-hour gusts may happen tonight and that may put a whole slew of new communities in the line of these fires, Anderson.
COOPER: There are also hundreds of people missing right now. I mean, how much of that is just -- people who they're not sure there were -- I mean, do we know what exactly that means?
MARQUEZ: There's a lot of uncertainty with that. And keep in mind, there's about 300 people missing. That's only in Sonoma County. There are probably many more that are missing or people can't make connection with in Napa and the surrounding areas.
People moved out of here so fast. You had winds at the worst of this moving at 75 miles-per-hour. People didn't have time to even grab anything. They just got out of their houses as quickly as they could.
So friends, family don't know where loved ones are. There's a lot of confusion out there. The big concern is the dead. They found 21 so far, and I think officials saying that's only the beginning, Anderson.
COOPER: Are authorities even able to search right now for missing?
MARQUEZ: That's the biggest concern they have, that the 21 individuals they have found dead, they've found them by chance. They just happened to be responding to something in the neighborhood, at the house, and they just happened upon these bodies. They haven't begun to even search the 3,500 homes and businesses and they think that 3,500 numbers is low. They haven't even begun to search those places that have been destroyed by the fire so far. Anderson
COOPER: Just incredible to watch this happening. Miguel Marquez, thank you very much. Appreciate you being there.
Up next, new details on what exactly happened in that hallway outside the Las Vegas gunman's room, and the big question, in what order?
[21:46:26] COOPER: New details are emerging in the timeline of the Las Vegas shooting, especially what happened and when in the hallway outside the gunman's Mandalay Bay hotel room. Kyung Lah tonight joins me. So what have you learned so far?
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we're learning is exactly what happened inside that timeline, inside that hotel, Anderson. We know that the gunman, according to the sheriff, turned his attention to the security guard for six minutes before shooting into the crowd. And all of this is adding up to some new details that we're getting from radio traffic. Listen very carefully and you can hear the sound of gunfire.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTTIFIED MALE: Call the police. Someone is firing a gun up here. Someone is firing a rifle on the 32nd floor down the hallway.
It's at the end of the hallway. I can't tell you what room. It looked like he fired down the hallway when I got closer to the door.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LAH: That's the voice of the hotel engineer. It's remarkable how calm he is, Anderson. And then minutes later, the gunman would begin his murderous assault on that innocent crowd below.
COOPER: So that that was a call from the engineer to the hotel? Do we know, did they then call law enforcement?
LAH: That's the question. In what order did all of this happen? At this point, they simply aren't detailing that. We do not know. We want to know what happened in those six minutes. And that's a real question here, Anderson.
COOPER: We're also learning that the gunman used the freight elevator prior to the shooting.
LAH: Absolutely. This is a detail that really caught our eye. Because when you check into a hotel, you normally use the regular elevators.
Well, the Mandalay Bay, MGM resorts released this statement, acknowledging that the gunman did use the freight elevators saying, "As law enforcement has confirmed, the shooter was accompanied by a bellman on two occasions and a service elevator along with his luggage. It is not a special perk and guests do request to remain with their bags and they may be taken to their room via the service elevator." This did not raise an alarm, even with the person who helped the gunman with his bags, Anderson.
COOPER: I understand one of the first lawsuits has been filed by one of the injured victims.
LAH: And I want you to take a look at this victim. She's 21-year-old Paige Gasper. She's from California. She is in college. She's on the dean's list. Her family says, and you can tell from the pictures, she smiles very easily.
The bullet went through her torso. She has extensive injuries and a long road ahead. The lawsuit that is being filed, her mother spoke at a news conference and she said the reason why the family is filing the lawsuit is exactly the question you asked, Anderson.
What happened in those six minutes? Did the hotel call 911 right away? What time was that call?
This lawsuit wants to get a hold of the 911 calls and it's a huge question for the family, because they want to know, Anderson, were all the security measures followed as they should be? Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, appreciate the update. Another member of the president's cabinet is under scrutiny for his travel habits. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is being investigated for trips he took on the tax payer dime trips and they have broken law? Rene Marsh has details.
RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDEN (voice-over): Ethics hawks are zeroing in on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's travel and whether he violated a federal law intended to insulate federal employees from political influence.
RYAN ZINKE, INTERIOR SECRETARY: It's great to be here.
MARSH (voice-over): One trip to Las Vegas caught the attention of the office of Special Counsel.
[21:45:03] Zinke met with the Vegas Golden Knight NHL team which is owned by a billionaire former donor to Zinke's congressional campaign. The special counsel probe he is trying to determine whether the visit violated the hatch act which prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain political activities.
NOAH BOOKBINDER, EXEC. DIR. CITIZEN FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: If everywhere he's gone or many of the places he's going are being used for political purposes in addition to his official work, it starts to look like he's planning his job around politics. And that's not what you want your cabinet secretaries to be doing.
MARSH (voice-over): But CNN has learned there are more trips that are raising questions. March 30th, just weeks after being sworn in, Zinke flew to U.S. Virgin Islands. While he did a series of official meetings on an island that falls within his purview, he capped the day giving brief remarks at a GOP dinner where guests paid up to $5,000 a ticket.
On May 12th, Zinke was in his home state for official business, meeting with tribal leaders and energy producers and a horseback tour of a mine with Vice President Pence. But later that evening he attended a rally for then Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte. BOOKBINDER: We don't yet know who is paying, who paid for each of these trips and how much. And we don't yet know exactly what he said and whether he was in his official capacity. So we can't say there was a legal problem, but there certainly could be one.
MARSH (voice-over): It's not just political activities that are raising concerns. Some are questioning whether official business was scheduled in a way that would allow him to visit his home regularly. Of six trips, Zinke made to his home state using taxpayer dollars, his schedule allowed him to travel to his house in Montana at least three times.
And interior officials said any suggestion there's anything wrong with that is ridiculous, noting the state has many department of interior lands, offices and assets. Officials in the Interior Department say its ethics office signed off on all of this, but that's not convincing some lawmakers on Capitol Hill or ethics watch dogs.
COOPER: And Rene marsh joins us now. So, Rene, I understand lawmakers sent a letter to the Special Generals office about the travel what are they hoping to find out?
MARSH: Right. So Anderson this is the letter, three pages here, that lawmakers sent. The House Democrats sent this letter. They sit on the committee that essentially oversees the Interior Department. And they are writing the letter to the inspector general also raising concerns about Zinke's mix of political activities and official business. They too say that they want investigators to answer if all the laws and rules were followed on these trips.
But again, we do want to point out we do not know at this point if any laws were broken. That is the very question that is under investigation, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Rene Marsh. Rene, thanks very much.
Coming up, something to make you smile at the end of the day. The "Ridiculist" is next.
[21:56:52] COOPER: Coming up for "The Ridiculist" and tonight we're talking about a fine outfit called Hurts Donuts. They have stores in several states and they have delivered their branch in Springfield Missouri, posted a video on Facebook inviting people to call to have donuts delivered to their loved ones.
I officially apologize to everyone with coulrophobia, a fear of clowns. And warn you there are more clowns ahead. Just think of this "Ridiculist" as a small car and know that the clowns are just going to keep coming out of it.
Coulrophobia built on the ancient Greek word for stilt walker. The donut clowns they don't walk on stilt toes, they just drive right up in their emergency donut vehicles because the only thing more fun than getting donuts from a creepy clown is when the clown arrives in an ambulance.
At this point, you might be asking, who are these people ordering donuts from creepy clowns?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our wives have called us to go out and scare their husbands. Some people are scared of it and they run. Other people don't really quite know what to think.
We had one individual that decided to just take off running from us. And we never did get to deliver the donuts to her. So we had to give them to her friend. And she's just afraid of clown her husband sent us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hold on. Is that what marriage is, sending some clown to terrify your spouse? It sounds awesome. Although, let's be honest, if the Hurts Donuts delivery clowns have to emulate this video, those are some pretty big shoes to fill. And sometimes the reality doesn't quite live up to the hype.
It's true about life. It's true about planned donut delivery.
Take this one in Iowa. The recipient isn't even a little bit startled, he just kind of glazes (ph) over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn't really scared because I'm not really afraid of clowns. Yes, I was more surprised on what the treat was that my mom sent for my birthday. I was expecting an edible arrangement or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CCOPER: OK. Forget clowns. The real fear we harbor in the darkest corners of our minds is that someday we might get donuts when we're expecting edible arrangement. You can use the next time you're telling scary stories around a campfire.
I get the scary clown thing, but donut clowns aren't all that scary. The clown from the movie "IT" is scary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not supposed to take stuff from strangers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, well, I'm Pennywise, the dancing clown. Now we aren't strangers, are we?
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: That's the most I've seen in that movie. I'm too scared to actually go see it. Even that photo (ph) typically scary clown isn't as scary as these real life pictures someone tweeted when they went to see the movie. "Went to see IT, I'm first in the screen and this f guy just sitting there." And then, "Now he's wandering around." OK, that is seriously unsettling. And again, I apologize for all the creepy clowns tonight.
If you need some comfort food, I know where you can get it, on "The Ridiculist". Donuts, clowns. Thanks for watching. Time to turn things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.