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California Wildfires Claim 31; Puerto Rican Humanitarian Crisis; Black Man Beaten at Racist Rally Faces Charges; Wildfire Death Toll Climbs To 31, Hundreds Missing; Family Free From Taliban Captivity After 5 Years; President Trump And San Juan Mayor Butt Heads On Twitter; Many Puerto Ricans Still Struggling For Basic Supplies; Facebook Exec Wishes Ads Were Found Sooner; Don't Shoot Us: Created By Russians To Sow Discord; New York & London Police Looking Into Assault Claims; Trump Set To Take Swipe At Iran Nuclear Agreement; "Dirty John": Story Of A Woman And The Stranger She Married; Singer Jason Aldean Resumes Tour After Las Vegas Massacre. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 13, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The deadliest week of wildfires in California history and they're not even close to being extinguished.
VAUSE (voice-over): The aid won't last forever. Three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Trump warns the island, federal help has its limits.
SESAY (voice-over): Plus "Dirty John," the popular podcast that will make twice before ever going on a date again.
VAUSE (voice-over): Especially with a guy called Dirty John.
SESAY (voice-over): Indeed. Hello to our viewers around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.
SESAY (voice-over): I'm just John Vause. Welcome to this third hour of NEWSROOM L.A.
VAUSE: Well, we're following what looks to be a catastrophe in California, where nearly 2 dozen wildfires are burning out of control and the death toll continues to rise. The fires have killed at least 31 people since Sunday. Hundreds more are still listed as missing and there are fears that winds will spread the flames even further.
SESAY: Fires have raced through California Wine Country since Sunday night, destroying at least 3,500 homes and businesses and burning nearly 80,000 hectares throughout the state. Firefighters are working around the clock to contain the wildfires even as some of their own homes have been hit.
VAUSE: A mandatory evacuation order is in effect for Calistoga, a city of about 5,000 people in Napa Valley.
SESAY: Our own Dan Simon is closely following the conditions there.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're on the front lines as firefighters try to keep another town from burning. The fire is coming up this hill. You can see the flames below us. The smoke is billowing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's only two or three feet.
SIMON (voice-over): In the hills above Calistoga, it is a race to keep up with the flames. Endless fuel in the form of dry trees and brush make it a daunting task.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really steep. It's rugged. And there's a lot of thick vegetation. There's wind. There's spot fires blowing everywhere.
SIMON (voice-over): Controlled burns like this one are meant to block the fire from advancing. But a half-mile down the road the fire has done just that. Inching down this hill toward the community.
The team puts it out. They're exhausted. They use fire hoses as rope to make it back up the hill. We find this firefighter trying to catch his breath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sporadic fire behavior, that's about it.
SIMON: How difficult has it been the last couple days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been busy. It's definitely been busy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is absolutely the worst fire I've ever seen in California. I think it's because of the amount of people that are affected. You have whole swaths of neighborhoods, it looks like a bomb has gone off. It looks like we've been bombed.
SIMON (voice-over): The fire swept through so quickly here, residents say they didn't have time to grab even the most basic belongings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took a photo of my brother and me. I lost my brother 11 years ago and I wanted to make sure I have a picture of us.
SIMON (voice-over): Marisa Cruz trying to keep the loss of her three- bedroom house in perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is all just stuff. At the end of the day, it's just stuff. But man, the smell of this is just terrible.
SIMON (voice-over): Back on the line, crews working overtime with little or no sleep. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had about an hour of sleep last night.
SIMON: You're not able to really get any rest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. You've got to keep up with the fires so that way you can try to save homes, property, lives.
SIMON: The number of those said to missing continues to fluctuate but right now it stands at about 400. A scary number to be sure but authorities hope it will be pared down as people report that their loved ones have been found safe -- Dan Simon, CNN, Calistoga, California.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) days taking a toll on firefighters in Santa Rosa. One of the town's fire stations was burned to the ground earlier this week, leaving the crew nowhere to rest. So they headed for the nearest piece of lawn.
In nearby Sebastopol (ph) firefighters caught up on lawn chairs, used rocks for pillows or they just slept on the road. Fire battalion chief Mike Mohler joins me now on the phone. is with CAL FIRE, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Destruction.
Mike, thank you for taking the time for this update.
What is the latest right now in bringing these 21 fires under control, in particular the biggest of them all, the Atlas and the Tubbs fire?
MIKE MOHLER, CALFIRE: Well right now we have over 8,000 firefighters on the line, battling these fires. We're over 191,000 acres. Unfortunately, in your report we have 35 homes and commercial structures that have been confirmed as destroyed and unfortunately with the fire conditions that we experienced this past week, we expect that number to climb.
We are 3 percent containment on the Atlas fire. It may seem small but we have such a large fire really our priorities right now are still to protect life and property.
VAUSE: How concerned are you about this red flag warning for increased wind speeds as the week goes on?
MOHLER: It's very concerning to us. Anytime we have open fire lines, we look at that that say that 3 percent containment on the Atlas fire, that's just a small snapshot of the open fire line that we have.
And then when you bring in the red flag conditions, the red flag doesn't only mean it's going to be wind, it also brings in the temperatures. But the humidity level's dropping to the single digits. So I can tell you we've ordered additional resources in anticipation of this red flag warning. But it is high on our radar and we'll do everything in our power to hold it to where it's at.
VAUSE: There are reinforcements coming in as well, is that correct, from out of state?
MOHLER: That is correct, actually nationwide. And we have some international resources that will be arriving also to assist with this firefight.
VAUSE: We keep watching this death toll tick upward. Many of the victims, if you look at the ages here, they seem to be elderly.
Are they especially vulnerable in a situation like this?
MOHLER: Absolutely. But regardless of age, with this fire in 12 hours had caused so much devastation, the fire was being pushed by a sustained wind at 50 miles an hour with gusts to 80 miles an hour.
Regardless, if you weren't prepared, it can catch anybody guard. And, unfortunately, as it stands right now, we have 31 that have perished and, again our hearts and prayers from all first responders are with those families affected by this.
VAUSE: If you look at the extent of the destruction so far, it seems almost beyond belief.
Are you expecting more lives could be lost and more property will be destroyed before all of this is done?
MOHLER: Well, again we're doing our best to priority life and property. We do have that missing unaccounted number right now. That is troubling to us. But we also have to remember that some people who did evacuate may have gone out of the area to stay with family members. That could be a possibility, too.
We're hoping for the best. But unfortunately, again, the fire moved so fast and there was so much devastation, that number could possibly rise.
VAUSE: Mike, we wish you all the very best and thank you once more for taking the time for the update. It is very much appreciated.
MOHLER: Thank you. Thank you so much.
VAUSE: The U.S. president Donald Trump is issuing another warning for Puerto Rico. There is a new series of tweets. We'll get to these guys in just a minute because we're going to do the Puerto Rico stuff first. OK, these are the tweets coming from the president.
"Puerto Rico survived the hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms, largely of their own making, says Sharyl Attkisson, a U.S. reporter."
Mr. Trump went on, "A total lack of accountability, says the governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend."
And finally, "We cannot keep FEMA, the military and the first responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in PR forever!" The mayor of San Juan, who's been feuding with the president over relief efforts, fired back -- Isha.
"Your comments about Puerto Rico are unbecoming of a commander in chief. They seem to come more from a hater in chief," he said.
Chief of staff John Kelly backed up the president's remarks -- sort of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KELLY, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: This country, our country, will stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done. But the tweet about FEMA and DOD -- read military -- is exactly accurate.
They're not going to be there forever. And the whole point is to start to work yourself out of a job and then transition to the rebuilding process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. And joining us now, political commentator Mo'Kelly, host of "The Mo Kelly Show" here in Los Angeles and also CNN political commentator, John Phillips, a Trump supporter, talk radio host, loves his mother and is a political columnist, OK.
Good to see you guys.
VAUSE: All right. Here is the former governor of Puerto Rico. Here's the question and a lot of people have been asking this about the president's tweet when it comes to Puerto Rico. And he actually answered but let's listen to what he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO GARCIA PADILLA, FORMER GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO: Why there's no same argument from President Trump after Hurricane Irma hit Florida?
Why he doesn't address the same issue in Houston after Hurricane Harvey?
he's talking to his electoral base. he's not talking about law or about history. And he's showing up that he's just racist. Let's call it by name."
VAUSE: OK, John, let's pick up where the governor or the former governor left off. Firstly, is Donald Trump playing to his base and is he a racist?
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I understand why this guy's throwing punches at Trump considering he was part of the crew that bankrupted the island and made them insolvent. So I understand why he comes at this with a certain amount of
animosity. I would advise him to get on a plane and travel, because I've been to Houston, I've been to South Florida. Both of those areas are very diverse places.
You have people from lots of different countries, lots of ethnicities, lots of religions. The one big difference between Houston and South Florida and Puerto Rico is that Puerto Rico is bankrupt.
And when FEMA and the Feds go in to help after a natural disaster, their primary role is to go assist the local authorities. It's not to go in and be a one-stop shop, where they take care of everything for you. And because they're bankrupt, they have limited resources, much fewer resources than Florida and Texas.
VAUSE: So they've got to pay as they go, they've got like cash up front, is that --
SESAY: Mo, is that how you see it?
SESAY: That's the only distinction here?
That's what's driving the president?
MO'KELLY, ARTIST AND RADIO HOST: We can look at the president's own Twitter remarks as far as how he's referred to Texas. He said we're there if you -- we're going to rebuild. And but he publicly shames Puerto Rico.
I don't understand why he would publicly shame Puerto Rico, regardless of the financial implications of what's going on. The citizens of Puerto Rico had nothing to do with that. They had nothing to do with their hurricane. They are suffering. They are looking for potable water. They're looking for electricity. They're trying to survive.
Why our president is shaming American citizens on Twitter, I have no idea.
THOMAS: Well the president tweets, it seems like the mayor of San Juan just puts her tweets on her T-shirt. So I should send her a T- shirt that says "Just do it," so she can take all the supplies --
SESAY: John, what about that point that Mo is making?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- punching down.
SESAY: Yes, and as Mo said, this isn't something that the people did. This is an issue of bad governance. Nobody can discount that.
Does that mean that the people now suffer, you punish them for the actions of bad governance?
THOMAS: No, he's not punishing the people.
SESAY: Well, he's saying that he's going to pull out.
THOMAS: The Feds never stay in perpetuity anytime there is a --
SESAY: Ten weeks and he's talking about we're ready to pack our bags?
THOMAS: Right. And they're going to go in and going to help them out and make sure they have what they need. But if the local people, the local politicians, the people, the boots on the ground can't fix the problems that they created, it's not -- the federal help is not going to fix all their problems
SESAY: No, but the problem right now is clean water. It is electricity. It is being able to have hospitals that work so people don't die because they can't get their insulin or can't get their dialysis. Those are the issues we need right now.
THOMAS: He sent 10,000 people down there. He sent a general down there to do the organizing. He waived the Jones Act. he's --
VAUSE: And President Obama sent more people to Haiti.
THOMAS: He didn't tell them to drop dead. he's giving them help --
THOMAS: -- on the ground because they're bankrupt. That's her fault. That's not his fault.
KELLY: But this is not about fault. This is about responsibility. The fault has to do with what led up to this moment. But it's the responsibility of the federal government moving forward.
We can quibble about the actions of the mayor of San Juan. We can quibble about the governor. But the responsibility of this president is to all the American people, which includes Puerto Rico.
THOMAS: And I would point this out, too. It's always funny when we have a big national election and you live in a state, where the results are already decided, like California. We knew we were voting for Hillary Clinton. Then you have a local election and you get like 18 percent turnout.
The local elections have a much greater impact on your life than --
THOMAS: -- and people just totally ignore those. Government matters and we're seeing that play out in Puerto Rico.
SESAY: So you're saying they should sit in the dark without water until the next local elections and then they can fix -- ?
THOMAS: I'm saying they should elect people that will keep them financially solvent.
KELLY: That's OK. But it's not the time to talk about this now.
VAUSE: We had a very unusual appearance at the White House briefing on Thursday. It was the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. He rarely makes these public appearances.
But it was an attempt to right the ship, reassure that all these reports of turmoil and chaos in the White House just are not true. He also wanted to end speculation about his job.
He also went on to talk about some of the problems and some of the frustrations that the president actually has with the media. I guess this could be an example of the frustrations the president has with the media.
This is what John Kelly said when he talked about why the president was going after certain media organizations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KELLY, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It is astounding to me how much is misreported. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks, whatever you call them. But I would just offer to you the advice. I'd say maybe develop some better sources.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He was very charming. He should do this every day, he was very good. But the bottom line, John, is that a lot of presidents are frustrated with the media. Anyone who deals with the media gets frustrated with the media. But presidents in the past have not threatened the First Amendment.
THOMAS: Yes, they have.
VAUSE: By threatening to -- but not in recent memory.
Who -- ?
THOMAS: Yes, they have.
Barack Obama --
THOMAS: Absolutely. When he came back and he put on the FCC and they went for the fairness doctrine so they could shut down talk radio because talk radio politically was on the opposite side of the aisle, that threatened our livelihood.
(CROSSTALK) SESAY: Let's bring Mo'Kelly, who's also --
KELLY: I'll concede the point because I know where you're going with that. But let's talk about proportionality. There has not been a day which went by in which this president hasn't assailed the media, hasn't questioned the right of the media to report on him, to report his comings and goings, from day one, where he ditched the White House reporters pool.
This president has been overtly adversarial with the media since the very beginning, talking about trying to pull the FCC license, which you really can't do, with NBC and others. If we're going make a comparison, let's be intellectually honest in that comparison at least.
THOMAS: If Barack Obama and his FCC commissioners got the fairness doctrine back, I'd be on my radio show talking about cooking souffles. I wouldn't be talking politics.
VAUSE: Mo, the fairness doctrine -- I remember this. But I don't think it's entirely as John is --
SESAY: Can you fact check it?
Is he accurate?
KELLY: Well, the fairness doctrine, for people who don't know as far as the equal time as far as how you present subject matter, which was removed by President Reagan, if I'm not mistaken, that is really not even the relevant point today, if only because whether you agree that news agencies are accurate, they have the right to report.
And unless the president's going to allege slander and libel, I don't know what he's talking about.
THOMAS: KABC (ph) was the first talk radio station in the country, the station I worked at. And prior to the fairness doctrine, the guy that did my time slot was Mr. Blackwell, who talked about fashion.
VAUSE: Well, things have moved on, haven't they, which is great.
But I think the problem from the media's point of view, is that when this president accuses the media of lying and of fake news, it's a little hard to swallow when you look at "The Washington Post."
SESAY: The number of --
VAUSE: -- the truth tracking blog. And this is a president who is averaging five lies a day every day since he was inaugurated.
THOMAS: There's a difference between being a liar and being a B.S.er. And he is the --
(CROSSTALK) KELLY: And he is former as opposed to the latter.
THOMAS: he's a guy who's aspirational. he's a guy, "This is the greatest thing in the world -- "
SESAY: And when he say the U.S. pays more tax, the highest tax --
THOMAS: He was talking about the stock market today and everyone jumped on him over that.
SESAY: He said it affected the debt.
THOMAS: -- how great the stock market was doing and it will eliminate the debt.
SESAY: It's not.
THOMAS: He was trying to make the point --
KELLY: -- willful and verifiable.
SESAY: But it was wrong.
THOMAS: No, I know. But I'm telling you --
KELLY: But the stock market's great and that's the point he was trying to make. But he just always takes it a little bit too far.
There aren't degrees to lies. Either it's true or untrue. And if it's knowingly untrue, then that makes it a lie.
VAUSE: If you say something that you know is not right, then --
THOMAS: he's a B.S.er.
THOMAS: Don Lemon would actually say it but I'll say he's a B.S.er.
That's called generous read.
SESAY: OK. We're going to just call time on this. Gentlemen.
VAUSE: That's the most honest thing you've actually said about him on this show.
SESAY: Can everyone please mark the time and the date?
Gentlemen, appreciate it, thank you.
VAUSE: And we will be back.
You may remember this. A black man beaten by white supremacists in Charlottesville back in August, he's the one now facing charges.
SESAY: In Charlottesville, Virginia, the city and a group of business owners have filed a lawsuit, hoping to prevent any more white supremacy rallies like the one back in August, when an anti-racist protester was killed. The suit targets private militia groups, include several leaders of the rally and it points to state law that prohibit unlawful paramilitary activity.
VAUSE: At the rally, one of the more notorious events, a black man attacked by a group of white supremacists in a parking garage. And now the man who's being beaten there, DeAndre Harris, he's the one facing charges of injuring a white supremacist on that day. Harris turned himself in Thursday and was released on bond.
SESAY: Let's bring in Austin Dove. he's a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.
Austin, thank you for being with us on this.
We just put up that video and showed a little bit of the vicious beating of DeAndre Harris that we all saw. Now he's facing a charge of unlawful wounding, the same charge as the folks who set upon him and gave him a beating and a kicking.
His lawyer described this move as very upsetting and insists that DeAndre is innocent of the charge. And we want to show the two men who have been charged with beating DeAndre Harris and DeAndre himself, all of them facing the same charges. Same type of charges.
His lawyer says he's innocent of the charge, suggesting this is cut and dry. Is it when we're talking about DeAndre?
Is it a straightforward, they've got no case here?
AUSTIN DOVE, ATTORNEY: I wouldn't agree with that proposition. Here's why. There's some evidence -- and, first of all, to get to the threshold where they're going actually bring charges against DeAndre Harris, they've got to have some evidence. Either a witness, something corroborated, perhaps a video. I know there's some information that it looks some videos were turned over to the prosecution.
It looks like Mr. Harris may have been involved in something himself. It's unlikely it's unusual but it's very common for a person to, on the one hand, go out and be the victim of the crime (INAUDIBLE) could have been the first or second -- be the victim first and later on be the perpetrator.
But somehow in those confluence of events that night, it looks -- or that afternoon it looks like perhaps Mr. Harris himself did something to someone else. So you can be both a defendant and a victim al in the same course of events.
SESAY: Interesting. One other thing that struck me about the way this unfolded was that Harold Ray Cruz (ph), who is the man who's basically brought these charges against DeAndre Harris, he's saying he's a victim at the hands of DeAndre Harris. He's a self-identified Southern nationalist. This man is a racist.
He now goes to the magistrate, Judge Merlin Goshel (ph), and basically makes his case. She issues an arrest warrant on these charges. But it's based solely on what he says. And the video -- in other words it seems as if she's taken the words of this man who clearly has some kind of agenda and running with it.
Does that strike you as odd?
Because it seems very odd that they're taking the word of someone like Harold Ray Cruz (ph) and saying that that is enough to bring charges.
DOVE: It is unusual. And here's why. You have to consider the source, like everything else. In this case, the individual, Mr. Crews, who's bringing these charges, he has an ax to grind. First of all, he himself is identified as being involved in an assault. He's more than just a passing witness that can say, I'm being objective here.
He has some skin in the game. In this case what he's trying to do is upset things and put the -- it's almost like he's turning the defense into an offense and saying, now I'm going to go after the people who went after me.
And it could be the very -- obviously the very same individual saying, no, I'm the one who's the victim. So that's probably strategy. And then we have to remember in the context of all the political environment that we're in, the D.A., the prosecutor's office is in a very kind of precarious or delicate situation.
Because now they've got to say, well, we've got to consider this as well if we out and out decline to file charges against people from white nationalist groups, then we're going to look like we're doing the bidding for another organization.
SESAY: And it's worth pointing out to our viewers that obviously he had to file a police report before he could go off and see the magistrate. He did file the report but the police themselves say they were surprised by this move that he went off to see the magistrate to seek a warrant, that basically they thought they would get time to basically launch a full and thorough investigation.
So again it begs the question, why not let an investigation take place?
Why jump that step and go straight to the magistrate?
DOVE: You actually make a very good point to me. It's a different procedure when you can go straight to the magistrate and have a warrant issued. You have to meet a pretty high threshold.
Normally, it's the police; they go to the prosecuting agency; things are reviewed and then the prosecutor decides, we're going to file a felony complaint or a misdemeanor complaint or some crime against this individual and then they go out and make the arrest.
But the fact that this individual -- and maybe the course of events was that he went through some police agency, was frustrated by that, found another means to do it. The fact that it is a criminal case, though, it means it's being handled by the prosecutor's office and it is unusual that he, an individual, who is accused on the one hand is the same person that can turn the tide and say, no, I want to go after the person who's accused me.
SESAY: But the decision as to whether this goes to trial is going to rest with the commonwealth's attorney.
SESAY: How do you see this going?
How much will external mood music, the moment we're in...?
DOVE: I think that will play a very, very huge role. What's going to happen is when you weigh this whole thing out, and I think there's one thing that's important to note. Defense of others is an important right that you have. You don't have to be defending only yourself.
If someone that you know or care about or even being a good Samaritan, someone is in distress and you come to their aid, then that's a lawful -- you can use reasonable force in that situation.
And it appears to be, from the information I reviewed. I'm sure there's more coming out. What Mr. Harris did. Mr. Harris said I'm coming to the aid of someone else. So if someone else is using a flag as a spear or something like that and another friend or associate of his is being harmed, he can intervene in that situation and use that reasonable force.
That does not make constitute an assault in the sense that Mr. Cruz (ph) is suggesting. So, yes, it is peculiar. It's unorthodox. And I would say when this all washes out, Mr. Harris has a pretty strong position to say, wait a second, all I did was lawful. I defended myself or I defended someone else when they were being set upon and, in the other context, I was just outright beaten.
SESAY: Austin Dove, thank you so much for bringing some clarity to this. We'll see how it plays out. Thank you.
Time for a quick break now. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is coming up next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, the U.S. president is urging Puerto Rico to step up and shoulder more of the burden for its recovery.
[02:30:06] JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: Welcome back, everybody. We're at homestretch now. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN HOST: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour, the death toll from wildfires raging across California has risen to 31. Most of the deaths have occurred in the States important wine- producing areas. More than 8,000 firefighters are trying to contain the outbreak.
VAUSE: A Canadian-American family are free after five years in Taliban captivity. Pakistan security forces rescued Caitlan Coleman, Joshua Boyle, and three -- and their three children, as are being moved to a new location. Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped in 2012 while traveling Afghanistan, she gave birth to three children while in captivity.
SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump and the Mayor of San Juan are trading jabs again. Mr. Trump tweeted that, "Federal aid cannot stay on the island forever." to which Mayor Cruz responded that, "His comments were unbecoming of a Commander-in-Chief and seemed more like they to come from a Hater-in-Chief."
VAUSE: As that feud continues, there are growing fears, hundreds of people may not survive the coming weeks because of the devastation in many parts of the island.
SESAY: Many Puerto Ricans have been left wanting for the most basic supplies. Ed Lavandera has this report.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Humberto Guzman is racing against time. He's driven by the urgency to save the lives of Puerto Rican's sweltering in the aftermath.
You think people are just hanging on by a string here or --
DR. HUMBERTO GUZMAN, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: I know so, that's why we're looking for the elderly, the more frail.
LAVANDERA: We're in the town of Yabucoa, which is a city that sits right on the water's edge on the South East corner of Puerto Rico. The eye of Hurricane Maria roared right through here. Dr. Guzman and this team of volunteer doctors are offering medical care to the hardest-hit areas of the island. The doctors have walked to 32 different towns in the last three weeks. Checking in on storm victims like Irma Torres and her husband.
GUZMAN: These people are living on the edge right now and --
LAVANDERA: You get emotional about it?
GUZMAN: They are not, they're opening their houses to us and we're able to see the conditions that they're living and it's impacting for us.
LAVANDERA: The hurricane ripped part of the roof of their home. They've received little if any relief and they're not strong enough to stand in lines for supplies. Dr. Guzman worries that across Puerto Rico, there could be hundreds of storm victims not strong enough to survive.
Do you think the death toll as it stands now is an accurate number?
GUZMAN: I don't think so. I don't think so. We've been throughout the island last 20 days and we've seen -- I've seen independent patients struggle.
LAVANDERA: Mark Sawyer leads a group called "Wings of Hope" and helps the medical volunteers with logistics and supplies. He says there are dozens of communities that haven't been reached by relief workers, and with more than 110 people still listed as missing, he also fears the death toll will rise significantly.
MARK SAWYER, LEADER, WINGS OF HOPE: Every day is a survival mode for most people. If you go out in the more remote areas, I mean, some of these people have nothing, its crisis for them.
LAVANDERA: And Dr. Guzman fears for those storm victims who've been cut off from access to medical care.
And do you worry that the people that might die in the next few days or the coming weeks, that those were preventable deaths? That if help could gotten here sooner, that they would have been able to be saved?
GUZMAN: Certainly. We've seen the struggles in the communities, we've seen the struggles in the hospitals. In my opinion, the death toll that is reported, it's really low.
SESAY: Really love Ed Lavandera there.
VAUSE: Yes, and it keeps growing. It would -- it doubled in the last 24 hours or so -- 72 hours. So, it will continue to climb.
SESAY: More news now, as U.S. Investigators look into Russian meddling in last year's U.S. Presidential election, one issue attracting a lot of attention is advertising on Facebook linked to Russian accounts. Still unknown is whether the Trump campaign targeted the same audience as those ads.
VAUSE: Facebook's top executive refused to speculate on that central question during a recent interview but she did say she wishes that Facebook had found those Russian-linked ads a lot sooner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERYL SANDBERG, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FACEBOOK: We were looking at this, you know, certainly not as early as we would have liked to because we wish we had found it before it ever happened. But, as early as we heard any rumors, we started our investigation.
So, if you think about 2015, 2016, the threats most people were worried about, were hacking, taking down accounts, getting into your e-mail account and sharing all of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, the level of sophistication used by Russian terms was much greater than previously thought. A CNN investigation reveals they created social media groups aimed at exploiting racial tensions before the election.
VAUSE: In this exclusive report, our Drew Griffin shows how one fake group, in particular, seemed to align with the Black Lives Matter Movement and even targeted players of the game Pokemon Go.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: It was a strange e-mail that came directly to the desk of Baltimore City Paper Editor, Brandon Weigel. Don't Shoot Us, a group claiming to be made up of black activists, was promoting a protest outside the upcoming court hearing of a Baltimore police officer involved in the death of Freddie Gray. They wanted Weigel to cover it, but he was immediately suspicious.
[02:35:14] BRANDON WEIGEL, EDITOR, BALTIMORE CITY PAPER: It wasn't a group that I had heard of either locally or nationally.
GRIFFIN: CNN has now learned Don't Shoot Us wasn't local nor national, it was Russian. And the black activism Don't Shoot Us was promoting in Baltimore was part of a much bigger strategy. That Georgetown Professor Mark Jacobsen says was aimed at attacking the U.S. Democratic System.
MARK JACOBSEN, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: What the Russians are doing by fomenting distrust for the American government and by also trying to organize rallies is what you do when you want to destroy a country from within. These are war-like acts. These are acts designed to destroy the United States.
GRIFFIN: A CNN investigation shows Russia's propaganda attack on the U.S. went beyond using fake accounts and ads on Facebook and Twitter. CNN tracked multiple accounts from Don't Shoot Us across the internet. A Web site that boasted 300,000 followers. A YouTube channel with videos of police brutality, a Tumbler account. Most surprising, a post announcing a contest on Pokemon Go, when it was at its most popular, directing gamers to visit locations where alleged police brutality took place.
All part of a Kremlin-connected campaign of misinformation that actively sought to influence opinion and meddle inside the U.S. The e-mail that arrived on Brandon Weigel's City Paper computer said, this is Don't Shoot. "We raise awareness of police violence against people of color. The idea is to protest in front of the Baltimore City Court House and demand justice for Freddie Gray."
WEIGEL: It makes sense that it would be a hot-button issue but I didn't think it was something that the Russians would have exploited.
GRIFFIN: The Russians not only exploited divisive racial issues in the U.S., CNN has learned Don't Shoot Us was operating almost a rapid response to those shootings. In Minnesota, last July, the day after Philando Castile was killed by a white police officer, Don't Shoot Us was using social media to organize its own protest. The effort failed because local community members determined something was wrong. Turns out they were right and their suspicions had Russian links.
GRIFFIN: The evidence to the extent, Russian's used to try to divide the American electorate just keeps on growing. Blacktivist is another site made up by Russians simply to sow discord between police and black people in this country. The group even went so far as to sell its own T-shirts, Blacktivist T-shirts online. As far as we know, none of the people who engaged with Blacktivist or Don't Shoot Us had any idea these sites were actually Russian propaganda tools. Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: Well, the Harvey Weinstein scandal has now spread to Britain with Scotland Yard investigating claims the Hollywood movie producer abused an actress in London. That case dates back to the 1980s.
SESAY: And New York Police are reviewing claims made by alleged victims in a New Yorker article. They include a 2004 incident involving actress Lucia Evans in an office at Miramax films.
VAUSE: Still to come here on NEWSROOM L.A., President Trump appears ready to undo a key piece of Obama's foreign policy. We'll have the very latest on the Iran nuclear deal in just a moment.
[02:40:41] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. In the coming hours, the U.S. President is expected to reveal a much tougher stands on Iran.
SESAY: Senior U.S. Officials say he's ready to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. That could be a strategic move or another attempt to scrap the Obama legacy rather. For more on what's at stake, here's our own Robyn Curnow.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: In 2015, the Obama administration along with five other world powers made a land's mark deal with Iran, to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of more than $100 billion worth of sanctions. But there was a catch, Congress passed a law that requires the deal to be recertified every 90 days, and that deadline is up on Sunday.
TRUMP: You'll be hearing about Iran very shortly.
CURNOW: Trump has hinted that he will not recertify the deal because he thinks that's the bad one that doesn't cover missile testing. While also claiming that Iran isn't complying with the terms of the agreement, even though the IAEA says they are. Even so, some of Trump's top officials have advised him not to dump the deal.
JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES DEFENSE SECRETARY: Absent indications to the contrary, it is something the President should consider staying with.
CURNOW: Other countries have signed on to the deal, agree. Saying the benefits of the deal outweigh the potential consequences of the U.S. pulling out.
SIGMAR GABRIEL, GERMANY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Our big concern is that the security situation would get worse if the U.S. rejects the Iran nuclear deal and not better.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIA FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We think this program is really one of the most important achievements of the International Community and that its implementation makes a contribution to reinforcement of nuclear non-proliferation regimes.
CURNOW: Iran says there'll be no renegotiation. At the United Nations last month, the Iranian President gave a stern warning to the U.S. to keep its end of the bargain.
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If the new officials in the United States believe that the violation of the Iran deal will bring pressure on Iran, then you can say that they are completely and absolutely mistaken in their political equations.
TRUMP: And everyone in this room --
CURNOW: If Trump decides not to recertify the nuclear deal, the next step falls to Congress. And lefts 60 days to consider re-imposing nuclear sanctions on Iran. Robyn Curnow, CNN.
VAUSE: Joining us now from Tehran, Raheem (ph) Mostaghim, a journalist with the Los Angeles Time, Raheem, thank you for being with us. How is Iran expected to react if the President does as expected and goes ahead and decertifies the nuclear deal?
RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, JOURNALIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Of course, Iran doesn't expect IRGC be blacklisted by -- from administration. That is what they expect but on the other hand, they have done everything they could be done -- do. And they have left no stone unturned to make sure that the nuclear deal remains intact. And I suppose at the end of the day, the government, the incumbent moderate government, does want to keep the commitment and avoids anything that may mean slamming the nuclear deal. Because that is the best option for them and they appreciate that. Of course, if Trump notify it or slammed the nuclear deal, that would be a gift and treasure for the hard-liners inside Iran ruling establishment.
VAUSE: Well, you say that they re-valued this nuclear agreement, they want to try to make it work. Is there a chance here that they may look at renegotiating some passive? Because of, you know, the speculation that the U.S. would like to add new conditions to the deal. Extend the sunset clause, for instance, that's when restrictions would be lifted right now, it's 2025. The Trump administration would like to make that longer, for example. Is that something which could be looked at?
MOSTAGHIM: Yes, of course. There are gray areas and between the line, the diplomats in Iran are sending the signal that they are ready for even grand negotiations, who talk about everythings and consider the nuclear deal done and not to be renegotiated. But on the other hand, they say let's talk about everything, but they don't say it clearly, but between the line, they get it -- understood that they are ready for a grand bargain and grand negotiations. And they want just to go further from this impasse because they have no other options. And actually, they tried to make a deal to survive and to keep the country going on.
[02:45:37] VAUSE: You say they're open for negotiations and they put this out there. They haven't made it very clear, though. Do we know if there's any -- bid any sort of formal communication between Tehran and Washington to that point?
MOSTAGHIM: I think they are in direct sending signals if there is no secret talks but there is some signals that it seemed that they read each other's message indirectly and they try to send the message that let's talk. I mean, that is -- apart from the rhetorics hard-liners say that OK, if Trump tear it, we will bury it like that. But apart from that, they just want to say that, OK, even in the worst scenario if America -- American administration drop it, we will keep it as Europe (INAUDIBLE)
VAUSE: Ramin, thank you for being with us. We appreciate the insight. And talks are always good. Appreciate it.
MOSTAGHIM: Thank you.
SESAY: Well, coming up, once you start listening to the new podcast "Dirty John," you won't be able to stop. After the break, we'll talk to the creator who tells us all t Jason Aldean restarted his "They Don't Know" Tour hours ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma
VAUSE: OK. Also, the singer in the Las Vegas mass shooting, back on the road. Jason Aldean's first concert since the massacre in just a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: Well, there are countless stories of people meeting their true
love online and living happily ever after, but still, when you see the picture of that handsome stranger, you start chatting him up, you have to ask yourself, just who am I actually talking to? What secrets do they have? What aren't they telling me?
SESAY: Yes. Well, a new podcast from the L.A. Times and (INAUDIBLE) is gripping and it's been widely praised for telling the story of one woman and her harrowing experience with a man she found out was nicknamed "Dirty John."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD, STAFF WRITER, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: These days, if you're one of the rare people who meet a violent death in Newport Beach, Matt Murphy is the prosecutor who will hear about it. The homicide case that landed on his desk in the summer of 2016 was particularly violent. And it was unique in his experience.
MATT MURPHY, SENIOR DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Number five is on the left, more to the upper arm area. Numbers six, seven, and eight are close to the midline region of the upper back. All of these stab wounds are superficial wounds. Wound number 13, which is the fatal wound, is the upper left eyelid, one centimeter in size. Only wound number nine has some bruising around it and then, and another bruise noted around 12 and 13. So, when you -- when you review something like this, what it tells you is this young woman fought like hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Christopher Goffard, Staff Writer for the Los Angeles Times, and co-creator of the Podcast "Dirty John," is with us now. Thank you for coming in.
GOFFARD: Glad to be here.
SESAY: Thank you.
[02:49:56] VAUSE: You know, this is, you know, incredibly compelling and you just want to keep listening to it. What we just played there, and that's where the Podcast actually begins. Everything else in the series leads up to that moment. It's the story of Debra Newell as she met John Meehan online. After five weeks, they moved in together, after two months or so, they were married. It doesn't end well. That's all we're going to say. I had to keep reminding myself these are real people and this is real life, this isn't just some kind of piece of entertainment.
GOFFARD: Yes, this is journalism. This is a work of long-form, non- fiction. It's a narrative journalism with the standards you would expect from the Los Angeles Times married to a suspense audio format.
SESAY: Yes. And you did such a great job of marrying the different voices and the different perspectives on this character. Can you tell us a little bit about how you found the story and how you constructed it? Because it is beautifully constructed. GOFFARD: Well, it's hard to talk about without giving away the ending.
GOFFARD: And I don't want to spoil it for too many people, but I --
SESAY: But did it come to you in a tip or --
GOFFARD: I will -- I will say that the death of one of the central characters gave rise to -- gave rise to the story. And I think that I structured it so that by the end of part 6, you understand that everything in the story points in a certain direction, it's not a shaggy dog narrative that meanders toward no conclusion. This is a story with a set of characters in a very tense situation. It's basically about the scariest and strangest man I've ever written about in my 20-plus years as a reporter.
VAUSE: OK. So, with that in mind, here's another brief clip from the Podcast. We're not giving too much away. This seems almost a turning point for Debra Newell. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I opened the mailbox, and there was a letter from a guy from jail. And what happened was -- I thought, why is he getting a letter from someone from jail?
GOFFARD: She tore it open and began reading there in the walkway. It said something like "I'm so happy you've met the woman of your dreams. Hope you're well." It sounded like he and John had actually been jailed together. She stood there frozen for a minute or two. She looked up and John was rushing toward her. She realized that he had been watching her on camera, that maybe he'd been watching her more than she realized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. And their relationship goes from bad to worse from that point. Again, not giving too much away, but what I thought, because it really highlights how hard it can be to actually get out of an abusive relationship. You know, it answers that question in a very compelling way that a lot of women are asked, well, why don't you just leave the guy? And when you listen to this, the answer is it's not that simple.
GOFFARD: Yes. I hope it's a cautionary tale. I hope that it raises awareness about a very serious issue, which is something called coercive control, which I didn't know a lot about before I got into this. But this is a form of psychological manipulation in a relationship. It doesn't necessarily involve physical violence, but a partner can control another in a psychological ways. They might install cameras to watch you. They might demand that you dress a certain way. And control is the -- control is the issue. In the U.K. this is now a crime, and people are being prosecuted for it, not so in the United States. But I think this series is a -- is a vivid real- time illustration of how this process works and how a manipulative psychopath works on a victim.
SESAY: And it's also -- it also raises questions about just the times we live in and how we meet people and how we vet people and how we form relationships and attachments.
GOFFARD: Yes, it is a cautionary tale about online dating as well. They met at a -- they met on an over-50 dating site and this guy, John, seemed to check all the boxes, he's handsome, he says he's a physician, he says he's just back from Doctors Without Borders where he volunteered in the Middle East. And he's a very charming, charismatic man.
VAUSE: And she had been married, what, four times?
SESAY: Four times.
GOFFARD: She had been married before and she just -- she just gotten out of a relationship that did some damage to her self-esteem. And this guy told her exactly what she needed to hear.
VAUSE: She was vulnerable.
GOFFARD: So, it was a -- it was a marriage of predator and victim.
VAUSE: Wow. You know, we've been talking -- there have been a lot of great reviews for this series, including one from, you know, our friend of the show, Bob Lefsetz (INAUDIBLE) Lefsetz Newsletter. Bob, too, bit of a legend. But in a very Bob way, he does add this to his review. The L.A. Times is a joke. It's gotten so thin, there's little news in it. Is this how they save the brand with investigative journalism and attendant podcast?" You know, I thought it was a good question because, you know, just to expand that, is this one way of actually saving the --
[02:54:54] GOFFARD: He obviously doesn't read the paper. We've got -- we've got an amazing amount of great work every day. So, it is a way that we're looking to reach new readers. We're hoping that the podcast draws people to the newspaper and to our Web site. And we're hoping also, that people who read the series in the paper go to the podcast so there's some cross-pollination going on.
SESAY: I know -- to your point because I read all the pieces. John listened to it and it's a very different experience when you're projecting what their voices sound like in your head as you read versus when you hear them, and feel like you're getting closer to them. It's a very different experience.
GOFFARD: Right. And there's a level of intimacy. You hear the voices of the charters and you form a mental picture of them.
VAUSE: Very quickly, do you think this is the future of print journalism, this is a way that, you know, those online Web sites many -- look, I think the L.A Times is wonderful. I know you guys do a great job. But you know, struggling at the moment like everybody else. Is this one way of -- for the future?
GOFFARD: It's one way, and considering that, you know, 40 percent of Americans are now -- have listened to a podcast and the number is growing by the year. I think this is a logical way to do it.
VAUSE: Well, you're a pioneer. You've done a great job.
SESAY: And you are a phenomenal writer.
GOFFARD: Thank you.
VAUSE: I'm envious of your writing skills. Christopher, it's good to see you. Thank you very much.
GOFFARD: Thanks for having me.
SESAY: Thank you. All right. Well, worth a watch and a read. Now, the singer on stage during the Las Vegas mass shooting is back on tour. Thank God, Jason Aldean restarted his "They Don't Know" Tour hours ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
VAUSE: He canceled shows last week out of respect for the Las Vegas shooting victims. He visited some of them in hospitals and pulled Thursday night's crowd he'd been deeply affected by the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON ALDEAN, COUNTRY SINGER: The one thing I wanted to do tonight is I want to say that, first of all, no matter what happens, sometimes this country can be really divided. It seems like really divided a lot of times. And that's really an unfortunate thing to see. But it's been really cool to see all of the -- all the support -- all the love and support that's been going on over the last 10 days or so because of what happened in Las Vegas. And I just feel like if we could do that on a daily basis, man, the world would be a lot better place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, the next stop on his tour less than a day away, and that will be in Arkansas.
SESAY: Well, you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Please follows us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from the show. Isha loves to hear from you, all of you, every one of you. The news continues next with Cyril Vanier.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: It's one of the deadliest outbreaks in California's history, hundreds of people are missing --