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40 People Killed in California Wildfires; After Priebus, Mueller to Question More White House Officials; Water Shortages, Broken Roads a Daily Struggle; Will Hurricanes Impact Quarterly Earnings Report? Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 15, 2017 - 18:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Anthony Bourdain is in Lagos, Nigeria. A dynamic city with that do-it-yourself spirit on new "PARTS UNKNOWN" tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.

6:00 Eastern, 3:00 in the afternoon out West. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. So glad to have you with me.

We begin in Washington this hour and CNN's wide ranging interview with the nation's top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, talking one-on-one with Jake Tapper this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION."

Tillerson talked about everything from Iran to North Korea to reports that he called the president a moron. He even addressed the accusation from a top Republican senator that the president's tweets, the one where he claimed Tillerson was wasting his time trying to talk with North Korea, were an attempt by the president to castrate his own secretary of State.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You don't want to say anything about the senator calling -- suggesting you've been gelded before the world? That's not anything that bothers you?

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I checked. I'm fully intact.


CABRERA: Quick response there. Here's more from Jake Tapper's one- on-one interview with Secretary Tillerson, talking specifically about President Trump's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal.


TAPPER: Not long ago, your counterpart at the Pentagon, Secretary Mattis, was asked if he thought staying in the agreement was in the best interests of the United States, not a question about whether or not he wanted to improve upon the deal or add a secondary deal, as you just discussed, but whether or not the U.S. should stay in it or leave.

And he said staying in it was his course. It sounds like you agree with that as well, that you would not want Congress to immediately impose sanctions that would end this deal.

TILLERSON: No, I do agree with that. And I think the president does as well. That's why he took the decision he took that, look, let's -- let's see if we cannot address the flaws in the agreement by staying within the agreement, working with the other signatories, working with our European friends and allies within the agreement.

But that -- as I said, that may come in a secondary agreement as well. So we want to take the agreement as it exists today, as I said, fully enforce that agreement, be very demanding of Iran's compliance under the agreement, and then begin the process of addressing these flaws that we see around not the absence of addressing ballistic missiles, for instance. The concerns we have around the sunset provisions, this phase-out of the agreement.

You know, we -- we know what that looks like. We've seen this in the past in the '90s with North Korea, agreements that ultimately phase out. What happened has put us on the road where we are today with North Korea. We don't want to find ourselves in that same position with Iran.


CABRERA: Let's get straight to CNN's Ryan Nobles.

Ryan, Secretary Tillerson telling Jake Tapper there both he and the president want to stay in the deal and the president went on to lay out some perceived flaws that they want addressed. So did Tillerson when the president first made those remarks. So we're hearing the same thing from both sides. So why kick this to Congress?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of this is about political cover for the White House, Ana. You have to remember back during the campaign the president was very much opposed to the Iran deal. He described it as one of the worst deals ever hatched and he wants to show his supporters that he is talking tough as it relates to Iran and he's hoping that by sending it back to Congress they can put a little bit more teeth into this agreement.

But there's also a tone question here. And you can see a good cop-bad cop scenario playing out between the secretary of state and the president. Listen to what the president said about the Iran deal and these negotiations on Friday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to see what happens. We're going to see what they come back with. They may come back with something that's very satisfactory to me and if they don't, within a very short period of time I'll terminate the deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: You don't hear the word terminate coming out of the secretary of state. He is much softer in his language. He's certainly asking for very specific things from Congress but. Ana, we have to keep in mind that if Congress doesn't do what the president asks, it will ultimately be the White House's decision to either stay in the agreement or pull out. And even the secretary of state has conceded that the preference by this administration is to stay in the deal.

CABRERA: And Ryan, Tillerson also had another chance to deny ever calling the president a moron. He didn't exactly do that.

NOBLES: Well, in fact, he avoided the topic and whether or not he said or called the president a moron. And you have to imagine from the White House's perspective that they just want this controversy to end. But given the opportunity to put an end to it today, on "STATE OF THE UNION" Tillerson passed. Take a listen.


TAPPER: This is literally one of the most important relationships in the world, the one between you and President Trump. Is it true? Did you call him a moron?

TILLERSON: Jake, as I indicated earlier, I was asked about that. I'm not going to deal with that kind of petty stuff.

TAPPER: Ever since you called it petty, I have been thinking a lot about it because I'm -- I'm a reflective guy and I understand the media makes mistakes, and the media always could improve. But here's the thing. Either you didn't say it, in which case there are a whole bunch of administration officials telling the press and telling the president that you did, and that's a serious problem. Or you did say it and, look, you're a serious guy. For you to say something like that suggests a real frustration with the commander-in-chief.

So when you don't answer the question, it makes people think that you probably did say it. But either way whatever happened, it is serious. So can you please clear it up?

TILLERSON: As I said, Jake, I'm not playing. These are the games of Washington. These are the destructive games of this town. They're not helpful to anyone. And so my position on it is I'm not playing. I'm not playing.


NOBLES: So again, the secretary of state refusing to answer that direct question from Jake Tapper, calling this whole situation petty but as Jake points out, that relationship between the president and the secretary of state may be one of the most important in Washington.

And, Ana, we should also point out that the secretary of state had no problem rejecting the other part of that report where it said that he considered stepping down and had to be talked back from stepping down. He said that was flatly wrong but has yet to say that calling the president a moron is wrong -- Ana. CABRERA: All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you for your reporting from

the White House tonight.

I want to talk more about the Iran nuclear deal, about taxes, about Puerto Rico. Joining us to discuss is Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan, a Democrat.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.


CABRERA: You heard the sound bite that we played with Rex Tillerson, talking about the Iran deal. He and the president both said they don't want to get out of the deal. They just want to make it better.

KILDEE: Well, I think Ryan's reporting is exactly right. The president is using this for political cover. In terms of making it better, you know, we entered into this agreement not just with Iran, but with other nations with really strong allies, the P5+1 included Britain and included France and included Russia, included others. It's really important that the United States of America live up to its agreements.

Now we can argue about the agreement itself and there was a lot of argument when we enacted it and there are other aspects of our relationship with Iran that we should be willing to address. But right now it is really important that the world see that the United States of America when it enters into an agreement such as this, it lives up to the agreement, it enforces the agreement, and we don't sort of play games with language to communicate to the domestic political base one thing and then try to contradict that message through the secretary of state or other words that the president might use. That's very dangerous. It's not good for the country, it's not good for the safety of the world.

CABRERA: Obviously you don't agree there with the steps that they've taken but the bottom line now, Congress, it's in your court. What are you going to do? Are you going to try to strengthen the deal? And what might that look like?

KILDEE: Look, it's in our court because the president has tossed it to Congress. It's interesting to me, given the ability of the Republican leadership in Congress to get something done on health care, on taxes, on infrastructure that something as difficult as rethinking and rewinding an agreement that is a six-nation agreement, could actually be done in 90 days in this Congress.

I don't think it should be. I think it's dangerous for us to go down this path. We can deal with Iran's other behavior but to try to unwind this agreement is dangerous and I don't think it's practical to expect this Congress to be able to take those steps without making the situation worse.

CABRERA: So you think we're going to see the status quo when all of this is done? KILDEE: I do. I think the status quo is one we have to remind

ourselves. The status quo is that Iran is prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon. That's a status quo and it's a big step forward for the world. And we ought not try to recast it as something else in order for Donald Trump sort of justified the bluster that he exemplified on the campaign trail.

CABRERA: For now, but not forever. That's part of the problem we have it with the campaign or with the deal initially.

Let me talk to you about tax reform. I understand Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, has said this is a priority. He even threatened this week to keep Congress members in session through Christmas to try to get tax reform done. We know the president is going to be meeting with the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell this week to talk about taxes.

You're on the Financial Services Committee. What do you know about where things stand? All we have heard is that initial proposal, that was so slim on details that the president's team presented a while back. Have there been any changes to that?

KILDEE: As far as we know, there haven't been. Now they are talking about changes but the problem is they put out this framework without a lot of detail. But we know this, that most of the benefit from their plan accrues to the top 1 percent, literally 80 percent of the benefit does. The thing that's frustrating to me about this is I think one of the reasons that many Republicans continue to sort of hold to President Trump and not say publicly what they say to us privately, is that for many of them tax cuts are their religion.

They believe in this more than they believe in anything else. And they are going to pursue this as much as they can. But the details matter and what they're finding out is the rhetoric to describe this tax plan is not matched at all by what few details we have seen.

[18:10:01] They say it's a middle class tax cut, they say the wealthiest will not benefit. It's precisely the opposite of that. The wealthiest benefit more than anyone else. Again 80 percent of the benefit.

CABRERA: So what changes would you like to see made that would get your support?

KILDEE: Well, I think if we were to go about this in a serious manner we would literally broaden the base and lower the rates and we would do it in such a way that middle income earners and people, you know, along the -- along the economic spectrum would be empowered with more of their take-home pay.

CABRERA: Isn't that what they are trying to do?

KILDEE: That's what they say they are trying to do but that's not what they are doing. They are actually awarding people at the very top who have control of most of the wealth in this country already. So this is again a case where saying something over and over again does not make it true. The details of what they have laid out is a big boon to the wealthiest Americans.

A hundred families in my home state of Michigan, for example, would benefit from the elimination of the estate tax. 100 families. Across the country 5400 families get a $270 billion tax cut. And that's just the beginning. So --

CABRERA: The estate tax affected people who have estates that are worth more than $5 million or about double of that if you're married.

Let me ask you about Puerto Rico real fast because Congressman Benny Thompson, he wrote a letter asking DHS to investigate these reports that officials on the ground are distributing contaminated drinking water, toxic water to residents there. I think of you and the Flint, Michigan, crisis.

KILDEE: Right.

CABRERA: Is this like deja vu for you?

KILDEE: It is. It's painful to watch. I've sat -- I sat in a meeting with about 50 members of Congress the other day and somebody said, can you imagine people not having safe drinking water for three weeks? And I thought yes, I can imagine it. My home town dealt with it. What's the similarity? Flint was a marginalized community, very poor community. A majority minority community. Puerto Rico, a marginalized population. American, full citizens, not quite, because they really don't have the kind of representation they ought to have.

And to hear the president threaten or be dismissive about whether or not the federal government will stick with them throughout this crisis, that's immoral and he should be called on that. I've been upset that there hasn't been more outrage about the president actually suggesting that we may walk away from Puerto Rico. Why did he do that? And how can he get away with it? It says a lot about him and it's not good.

CABRERA: Thank you, Congressman Kildee, for coming on and talking with us. We appreciate it.

KILDEE: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, he was once a possible running mate for Trump in 2016 but now retiring Senator Bob Corker has become one of the president's leading Republican critics. Next, what voters in his home state have to say about his spat with the nation's top elected official.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:16:55] CABRERA: Senator Bob Corker could have quietly slipped into retirement, instead the Tennessee Republican chose an open feud with the president.

There's the tweet war the two are waging. But nasty, with plenty of name calling. Then there's the interview Corker gave to the "New York Times" where he equated the president with reality TV.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Sometimes I feel like he's on a reality show of some kind, you know, it's not that big foreign policy issues. He doesn't realize that, you know, that we could be heading towards World War III with the comments that he's making and it's like he -- it's an act to him and sure, that bothers me.


CABRERA: So how is this playing in Corker's home state of Tennessee where voters are reliably Republican?

CNN's Athena Jones went there to find out.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Nashville to Chattanooga, the feud between President Trump and Senator Bob Corker has voters in Corker's home state talking. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman calling the White House an adult daycare center. Trump dubbing him "Liddle Bob Corker."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like Senator Corker. I think he's very well- versed in foreign policy.

SCOT MACGREGOR, HORSE TRAINER, MACGREGOR STABLES: I don't think he represents any of Tennessee.

JONES: In horse country, trainer and Trump supporter Scott McGregor thinks Corker has forgotten where he comes from.

MACGREGOR: You cannot just say that you're going to support and do things, and then make no effort at all to accomplish them because somebody offended you. I'm sorry that the president offended you, too bad, grow up. Be a big boy, and get to work and do your job.

JONES: He says establishment Republicans need to work with the president or get out of the way.

MACGREGOR: That's what the next election is going to present, is that we're going to see a lot of old-timers lose their job to people that are willing to accomplish the goals that were set, you know, a year ago.

JONES: Martha Child, who boards horses here, disagrees about who bears the blame.

MARTHA CHILD, HORSE BOARDER: I think there is a disconnect between the warehouse and Congress.

JONES (on camera): Who do you think is responsible?

CHILD: I think that in a large part, the president is responsible for it, simply because he does not have the experience in working in government.

JONES (voice-over): At a climbing gym in Chattanooga, a city where Corker was once mayor --

(On camera): Do you agree with any of those statements from Corker?

MARK SHARRAR, TRUMP VOTER: Unfortunately, I think I do.

JONES (voice-over): Trump voter Mark Sharrar wants results from the president.

SHARRAR: Within a certain time, you know, his presidency will be over and he needs to know that he needs to accomplish some of those things.

JONES: Despite his concerns he says he'd vote for Trump again if presented with the same choices.

In Nashville, Trump supporter Matthew Nelson who topped the charts in the early '90s says the division with the GOP means Trump is increasingly isolated.

MATTHEW NELSON, MUSICIAN, "NELSON": He's kind of a man without a country. And I think he'd have a little more faith than he should have with how easy it was going to be to get started and I hope that he gets enough support to be able to govern and to help.

[18:20:01] JONES: One thing everyone agrees on, the message for Washington.

NELSON: Get it together boys. You know, it's not -- it's not preschool.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.


CABRERA: Now Corker has some Republicans riled just this week the president's chief strategist Steve Bannon railed against him at a gathering of evangelical conservatives. Listen to this.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: As Bob Corker has trashed the commander-in-chief of our armed forces, while we have young men and women in harm's way, right, well, he said he's leading them on a path of World War III, that he is not stable, that people have to keep him moderated. That it's an adult -- it's what, an adult center and they took the morning shift off, by some U.S. senator in a position of that authority for the first time in the history of our republic has mocked and ridiculed a commander-in-chief?


CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN political commentator and a former Democratic congressman from New York, Steve Israel.

Steve, thank you for joining us. In a CNN Opinion piece you write this --


CABRERA: "Retiring Senator Bob Corker's recent comments about the White House, that it's an adult daycare center and that President Donald Trump's temperament could set us on a path to World War III reveal a basic truth about what happens to you when you leave Congress, you get to tell the truth." So what exactly do you mean?

ISRAEL: Well, Senator Corker's comments reflect what happens when you no longer have the constraints of the next election. Your tongue which is reliably fastened to the left side of your mouth or the right side of your mouth, depending on your district, suddenly finds it's easier to just roll forward. But this is -- this feud between Senator Corker and the Trump administration, it's not just the typical kind of inside the beltway grousing, this is very significant for several reasons.

Number one, the cracks by Senator Corker reveal just deepening fissures with the Republican Party. This isn't a war of words, this is a civil war. You have Steve Bannon threatening institutional Republicans, you have Republicans who are on the far right being primaried by Republicans on the far, far right.

This is a party that is experiencing some very serious problems and Senator Corker's comments about President Trump are reflective of that.

CABRERA: Now he isn't even retired yet but he does appear to be liberated. Is that good or bad for his GOP colleagues?

ISRAEL: You know, it's funny. I wrote that piece, Ana, and I received several e-mails from my colleagues, most of them were very kind. There was one that said, I can now speak the truth to you, the one thing that I really hate are free members of Congress who have the freedom to talk about what they want. And I want to be clear that most of my colleagues -- most of my former colleagues, look, they speak their minds but they've got to mind their words.

If you're in a competitive environment and I learned this from my own experience, you know, you have one wayward noun or one errant verb, and it is going to be exploited. You're going to find it on, you know, thousands and thousands of tweets. Anything you say in politics can and will be used against you. And once you don't have to worry about the next election, you have a certain amount of freedom and liberation.

CABRERA: And yet President Trump has said so many things during the campaign that so many political insiders would have considered political suicide. His supporters, though, that was the appeal. He wasn't a typical politician. He didn't talk like a typical politician. They like his authenticity and guess what, it worked for him. So do you think we might see more politicians follow suit?

ISRAEL: You know, well, you're seeing it. There are more politicians who've made a decision, that political decision that their path to winning election is vilifying people, mistreating people, mocking people. And they've become kind of Donald Trump is like a ventriloquist so they become ventriloquist to the puppet of Donald Trump. But here's the problem. All of this -- the fighting, the screaming, the vilification -- at a certain point, most voters including the ones in the tape that we just showed, they're going to want to know, these people are fighting with one another but are they fighting for me?

If you're in the middle class, are you seeing a better life? Is your quality of life improving? Your paycheck getting better? Still 85 percent of Puerto Rico out of energy, wildfires in California, still hard to afford college, still tough to figure out your next job.

So at a certain point this may play well but I really believe that a fatigue will set in. People voted for Donald Trump because he said what he means. But at a certain point, he's got to deliver certain -- very specific and substantial improvements to the American people and if he can't do that, you're going to begin to tune him out and look for alternatives.

CABRERA: I read your piece and you talk a lot about different circumstances where you felt like your words may be taken out of context where you point to as examples of the reason why you have to be so careful about how you say things and where you say things and what exactly you're saying.

[18:25:13] But now that you are out of Congress, are there things you reflect back on and say, I feel free now to talk about this when I couldn't back then? What are those things?

ISRAEL: You know, I represented a fairly competitive district in the suburbs of New York. I was a Democratic leader in the House. I was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. So when I spoke I wasn't just speaking for myself, I was speaking for the Democratic caucus in a very significant way. And Democratic candidate. And so I had to be especially careful.

But my moment of liberation came after I was elected when I was speaking at a local group and some, you know, brass, Long Islander, took me on and started attacking me and I was being nice to him, and then realized, wait a minute, I don't need his vote anymore and I just put the microphone close to my mouth and said, ladies and gentlemen, you're about to see what I love most about not needing your vote.

I looked at him and said, sir, you have no idea what you're talking about. And that was one of the most liberating moments that I've had since announcing that I would not seek re-election.

CABRERA: Did people respond positively to that or were they like boo?

ISRAEL: They clapped, they loved it.


ISRAEL: No, no, no. They clapped. They enjoyed that authenticity. CABRERA: No doubt. OK. Steve Israel, thank you so much, former

congressman, again, from New York.

ISRAEL: Thank you.

CABRERA: We appreciate your time.

And now I want to talk more about the fires in California. New fires are popping up, tens and thousands of people have already evacuated. We're going to take you live to northern California when we come back live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Massive wildfires, some of them still completely out of control, chewed up more than 200,000 acres of northern California, including thousands of homes.

The human toll is horrible. Officials say 40 people are now confirmed dead, and that's not all. The whereabouts and condition of 200 other people are unknown. These are people who live in the areas where these fires swept through, leaving nothing standing.

California's Governor says this may be the deadliest outbreak of wildfires in the state's history. CNN's Dan Simon is joining us in Kenwood, California and Sonoma County.

And, Dan, we're now hearing that as the danger lessens in one area, like Napa, for example, a new wildfire is cause for concern tonight.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. You know, while firefighters are certainly making progress, the containment numbers are going up. There still are some trouble spots.

This is called the Oakmont fire behind me in the heart of Sonoma County. You can see the fire burning up in the canyon.

So far, firefighters are basically leaving this fire alone because it's not threatening any populated areas, but yesterday was a different story, Ana. It was really windy. The town of Sonoma, many people had to evacuate, a lot of structures went up.

It's a different story today. The winds have essentially died down. No longer under a red flag warning here. And that has really helped out firefighters.

You know, the Tubbs fire, for instance -- that's the fire in Santa Rosa that caused so much devastation, and the majority of the people who died, died as a result of the Tubbs fire -- containment now up to 60 percent there. So firefighters definitely feel like they're making some progress, Ana.

CABRERA: About 75,000 people had to evacuate their homes and their towns when we're talking about the breadth of all of these fires. When will they be able to go back home? Any idea at this point? SIMON: Yes, Ana. I'm not quite sure what you said there. I lost

audio for a second, but I think you talked about when people can actually go back to their homes.


SIMON: We know that the evacuation order has been lifted for certain communities, like Calistoga, like Napa. So homes that were not burned, people can begin going back to their homes.

And I'm sure they'll be glad to do so. The shelters have been packed. People have been living, of course, out of hotels. So those folks will begin going back.

As far as the dangerous areas, like the Coffey Park neighborhood where not a single home was left standing, those areas are still considered hazardous because of all of the charred and burned debris inside.

I was actually in that neighborhood the other day, and I ran across a retired police chief who was looking for something unusual.

He was actually looking for his guns because he was concerned that looters could potentially go into the area and retrieve these guns if they were in good enough condition. He was concerned that they could get into the wrong hands.

I want you to listen to what he had to say. Take a look.


SIMON: Tell me why you wanted to look for the guns.

BOB STEWART, FORMER POLICE CHIEF, COTATI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, I was afraid that if the guns were in halfway decent shape, that they were fireable, that somebody could come through here and dig around. And then the guns would be back into somebody's hands they shouldn't be.

So, here, I had five guns, and this was an automatic revolver. You can see there's not much left there, and it's just melted metal.

SIMON: Are you going to rebuild in the same spot, you think?

STEWART: I think so. I mean, it's going to be hard. That was one of the things running through my mind, was do I really want to come back to this neighborhood and experience the devastation day after day? Because it's going to be years to build this area back up again.


SIMON: Ana, just imagine what the rebuilding process is going to look like. It's going to take a number of years until you clear out that area and when you have it in good enough condition where construction crews can actually come in and start rebuilding. You look, what, two, three years from now? It's going to be a long time.

[18:35:01] CABRERA: Yes. Some of the pictures we're seeing are just unreal. Dan Simon for us in Kenwood, California.

Stay safe, my friend. Thanks for that report.

Now, two weeks ago today, a gunman's bullets rained down on a crowd of country music fans attending that festival in Las Vegas killing 58 people. Last night in Sacramento, California, mourners gathered at Raley Field to remember one of those victims.

Kurt von Tillow was a truck company owner known for his unyielding patriotism, and so he was honored by a sea of red, white, and blue as his friends and family wore the colors of the American flag. Von Tillow's friends recall the life lost.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really can't wrap my head around it yet, and, you know, I loved him. He was somebody that, you know, you did not see for three months. As soon as you saw him, you know, you started right back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the country music and a big patriot and a big beer drinker, and just the most fun guy in the world.


CABRERA: Described as a family man, von Tillow had gone to Vegas for a family reunion. His wife, daughter, and son-in-law, they were not harmed in the shooting, but his sister and niece were hospitalized. They have since been released.

Kurt von Tillow, a husband, father, and grandfather was 55 years old.


[18:40:28] CABRERA: For the first time that we know of, the Special Counsel investigating Russia's election interference has questioned a member of President Trump's inner circle, Reince Priebus, the former Chief of Staff and before that, the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

He spoke to Robert Mueller's investigators just this past Friday. Now, as chairman of the RNC, Priebus worked closely with the Trump campaign, which is currently under investigation.

And as Chief of Staff, he was a major part of decisions President Trump made, including the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

We have previously reported that Mueller is looking into both of those things -- those firings as well.

Now, I want to talk about this pretty significant development with CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem. She is a former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Juliette, what are some of the major questions you would have, or that Mueller, you'd think, would have for Priebus?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: So I think it comes down to two key moments, one, of course, as you just said, is the firing of former FBI Director Jim Comey. We have to believe Priebus was in the room, that e-mails were -- you know, people conversed through e-mails and conversations were had.

I think the second is not to be forgotten, but was that moment in which President Trump sort of dictates to his son an explanation about that very notorious meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and others in the Trump campaign and this odd assortment of Russians, who apparently were not talking about adoption.

Remember, Donald Trump, Jr. said it was about adoption. That moment --

CABRERA: Right, last June.

KAYYEM: -- have become -- right, that moment becomes a question of obstruction of justice at this stage. And so I think those two key areas are important.

And just on your pick up quickly, Ana. I would not call Priebus sort of -- he's in the Trump inner circle, but I think what has to worry the White House right now is he's neither a son or a son-in-law nor is he a true believer like a Bannon.

Priebus is something else. And I -- to me, he seems like a very weak link if you're the Trump campaign -- or, I'm sorry, the Trump White House worried about who may be talking.

CABRERA: And to your point, I mean, we are learning more about who they want to question. Along with Priebus, they want to also talk with former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Communications Director Hope Hicks, and White House Counsel Don McGahn.

McGahn and Hicks are still in the White House, but it's Priebus and Spicer who are on the outs. They, we know, had some humiliating moments during their time working for this president. They were unceremoniously ousted. I mean, you get kind of the point this direction, but are they going to be loyal to the President?

KAYYEM: I think that the White House can't answer that question affirmatively. They have to be nervous. And you know, there's apparently conversations still between Priebus, Spicer, and Donald Trump.

That may be true, but nonetheless, they are not in the same pool as, say, a Bannon or a Jared Kushner, a Hope Hicks who's been with him a long time, or even a Mike Flynn who had strong ties to Trump before.

So I think that -- I mean, look, this is how conspiracies unfold, is that the prosecutor goes after the weakest link. He or she begins to talk, and then others realize that they're implicated.

You mentioned Don McGahn, as well, the White House counsel. Very, very interesting figure, one who has not shown a lot of strength within the White House and therefore, is now being interviewed about what did he do to, perhaps, assist Donald Trump in some of these questions about obstruction of justice.

CABRERA: We're also learning so much more about Russia and social media, the digital campaign that was waged.

Days before the election, Bloomberg reporters were given exclusive access to the Trump campaign and its digital strategy. And I just want to read a portion of their report -- it was filed less than two weeks before the election -- because this is somewhat enlightening, given where we're at in the investigation.

And it reads, instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. We have three major voter suppression operations under way, says a senior official. They are aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic White liberals, young women, and African-Americans. The aim is to depress Clinton's vote total. We know because we've modeled this as the official. It will dramatically affect her ability to turn these people out.

And now, we know Robert Mueller is looking into Russia-linked Facebook ads that also targeted key demographic groups in states that were critical to who was going to win this election, that -- those Rust Belt states who ultimately went to President Trump.

[18:45:01] You put these different pieces together, the ads, this sort of dissension. You note that dissension could be aimed at voter suppression. You hear what's in there. Where does that leave us?

KAYYEM: It leaves us with a question, which is, is this really just a coincidence? I've been saying on your show and others all along, between benign and collusion, we are, you know, as -- explaining between Trump and Russia and what was going on, we are far from benign. I mean, just because there's been lies about the meetings and attempts to sort of cover up some of those meetings that had occurred.

Are we at collusion? We haven't seen it yet on the outside, but, boy, information like what you just described, is that some coincidence that the strategy of the Russians was exactly the same as the strategy of the Trump campaign?

This is clearly what Mueller is looking at. And it's important to note that when people say, oh, well, the Russians were just, you know, sort of trying to sow dissension, that actually has voting impact.

It suppresses the vote, people's desire to vote, and in this case, suppressed the desire to vote for Hillary Clinton. That is actually how Donald Trump won.

You know, the campaign will say -- the Trump presidency will say this is just a coincidence. That's a lot of coincidences at this stage, in my opinion.

CABRERA: That's what the investigators are trying to find out, is it just coincidence? Juliette Kayyem, thank you for your analysis. KAYYEM: Thank you.

CABRERA: Now, imagine what it's like being without running water for nearly a month. How would you survive?


BEVERLY KENSEL (PH), NARANJITO RESIDENT: He wakes up at 4:00 in the morning, and he comes here. He -- real picky, he fills up and he takes it to our neighbors --


CABRERA: In Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria's devastation, the struggle for basic necessities is still a harsh reality. We'll take you there ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:51:13] CABRERA: Overseas now, still no claim of responsibility for a double car bombing that killed at least 230 people this weekend.

This is Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Two car bombs went off Saturday, minutes apart, in two crowded neighborhoods.

Terrorist violence is not new to people in Mogadishu. An extremist group linked to al Qaeda is active in Somalia and has claimed responsibility for several deadly bombings there.

It has been nearly a month now since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. And as of today, 85 percent of the island still does not have electricity. The Governor says he plans to restore power to 95 percent of the U.S. commonwealth by the first of December.

Now, in the meantime, people living there are struggling to get the basic necessities. Our Ed Lavandera is there.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Along a winding road high in the mountains south of San Juan, this stream of water is a lifeline, a pit stop now in the daily routine for thousands of people.

Beverly Kensel (ph) and her husband pull up under the makeshift waterspouts, PVC pipes dipped into the stream overhead to divert the water into massive tanks.

KENSEL (PH): Every day is a struggle. He wakes up at 4:00 in the morning and he comes here. He -- real quickly, he fills up, and he takes it to our neighbors.

LAVANDERA: The water isn't safe to drink, but people use it to take showers, wash clothes, and cleaning. And for some, like Adrian Santiago (ph), who lost their jobs since the storm, delivering this water to residents is a way of making extra money. Santiago delivers the water to Nelson Vasquez who lives several miles

away. He keeps two large 55-gallon barrel drums in his garage next to a generator to power the basic necessities in his home. He says living in the storm's aftermath is like traveling back in time.

NELSON VASQUEZ, NARANJITO RESIDENT: Our great grandmothers, they used to carry cans of water on their hip from the lake to wash clothes.

LAVANDERA: The roadway into this neighborhood was washed away by the storm. There are about 40 families that live on the other side, essentially cut off from the rest of the town, so they're having to figure out ways to get in and out. And this is one of those makeshift ways, a path so that people can walk in and out of their own neighborhood.

And on the other side of the road collapse is where we found Elizabeth Diaz caring for her newborn baby boy. Diaz gave birth two days before Hurricane Maria struck. And when she left the hospital, she walked out into the ruins left by the storm. Her only focus now is caring for her baby who was born prematurely.

She's telling me her house, where she normally lives, is unlivable right now because of the hurricane damage, so she is living here. No place for -- to take a newborn baby.

Here in the mountains of central Puerto Rico, many residents say they're settling into the reality that a normal day isn't even a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel yet.

One man put it this way, we're prepared for a dark Christmas. There will be no holiday lights decorating the island this year.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Naranjito, Puerto Rico.


CABRERA: Thank you, Ed.

Now, CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans joins us with this week's "Before the Bell." Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. It has been good times for big American companies. Their profits were fantastic in the first two quarters of the year. And this week, we'll get a good look at just how much money companies are making now.

[18:54:57] S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 2.8 percent for the third quarter. Not as strong as the first half of the year likely because of the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, particularly on the insurance industry. Now, if you exclude the insurance industry, the facts set forecast earnings growth of nearly five percent.

Wall Street also marks a dark anniversary this week, Black Monday. On October 19, 1987, the Dow fell 22.6 percent. It is still the biggest one-day percentage drop of all time. What a difference 30 years makes. The Dow is now approaching the

23,000 mark. That's a rise of more than 1200 percent since Black Monday.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.