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Weinstein Scandal; California Fires; Battle against ISIS; Austria Decides; U.S. Values Voter Summit; Kids for Sale in Uganda; Puerto Rican Humanitarian Crisis. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired October 15, 2017 - 04:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hollywood's message to Harvey Weinstein: goodbye and good luck. The Motion Picture Academy expels the Hollywood mogul.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In Northern California, thousands more are evacuated as new fires break out but a change in weather conditions may help firefighters get the fires under control.

VANIER (voice-over): And is Austria about to swing to the right?

We'll have a report from Vienna, where voting in the parliamentary election is now underway.

ALLEN (voice-over): It is all ahead here. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER (voice-over): I'm Cyril Vanier. This is CNN NEWSROOM from Atlanta.


VANIER: Harvey Weinstein's fall from grace continues. The movie mogul has been kicked out of the film industry's most elite group, that's the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, best known for hosting the Oscars. The Academy says the allegations against Weinstein have caused him to lose the respect of his colleagues.

ALLEN: Weinstein has already been fired from his namesake company amid dozens of allegations of sexual assault, harassment and rape. He has denied many of the allegations against him and hasn't acknowledged others but has said his behavior caused a lot of pain.

VANIER: For decades Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.

ALLEN: Now the Motion Picture Academy hopes to send a message to the filmmaking industry with his expulsion. Brian Stelter has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: The Harvey Weinstein scandal has been profoundly embarrassing, not just for The Weinstein Company, but also, for Hollywood writ (ph) large. So on Saturday, we saw the representatives of the Hollywood elite make a bold statement expelling Harvey Weinstein.

Now, the Academy is made up of thousands of Hollywood workers, both stars, but also, behind-the-scenes workers, producers, et cetera, et cetera. And the Board of Governors, a group of 54 representatives of all of (ph) those different parts of the industry, met on Saturday to make this decision.

The board includes huge household names like Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg, but also, a lot of behind-the-scenes people, representing make-up artists, casting directors, producers, executives, et cetera. The Academy's rules require a two-third vote of the board in order to expel Harvey Weinstein, something that's never been done in the association with a scandal like this before. And, according to the Academy, there was well in excess of the two- thirds needed to make the decision.

Here is a portion of what the Academy said in a statement. It explained the decision by saying that this was meant to, "... send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over."

That was striking to me because it's essentially acknowledging that there are very embarrassing episodes in Hollywood's past. The sexual predator behavior that's alleged by Harvey Weinstein has also been something known in the history of Hollywood. This is something that dates back to the dawn of the movie age.

But you can feel that the culture is changing in the United States -- that sexual harassment and assault, that these kinds of allegations are being taken more seriously, and the women who come forward to make them are being respected, being supported, in a way that wasn't even true 10 years ago.

So the Academy, trying to be on the right side of history at this point. And after this decision, hours later, we still haven't heard a word from Harvey Weinstein -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


VANIER: Let's get an insider's perspective on this. With us is Sandro Monetti, he's a journalist and a committee chair of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He's based in Los Angeles, the BAFTA, by the way, the British equivalent of the Oscars.

And Sandro was telling me the first organization to expel Harvey Weinstein, pretty much like the Motion Academy Pictures just did.

Your reaction, Sandro.

SANDRO MINETTI, BAFTA: It is a great day for Hollywood. The abominable showman that is Harvey Weinstein has been cut down by the very organization that he courted so successfully over more than two decades.

His films responsible for around 80 Oscar wins and now he's been expelled from the Academy. But more than that, it is an important decision which sends a message that Hollywood no longer is going to put up with sexual harassment.

Is there any hypocrisy in today's decision, based just -- I ask the question based on the argument we've heard a lot over the last few days, that this was -- his behavior was an open secret in Hollywood, within the industry and there must have been people not just within his company, but throughout the industry, that must have known about his behavior?

SANDRO MONETTI, BAFTA LOS ANGELES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Yes, of course. It was an open secret, but what other decision could they take? Imagine if they decided not to suspend Harvey Weinstein. I'm sure they would have been mass resignations from memberships, condemnation from women's rights groups and they decided that the time was right. Yes, Hollywood has put up with this long enough. And the Academy, they sit in judgment of professional excellence.

They never sat before in judgment of professional behavior. But someone has got to take a stand. And it might as well be them who does it, because the casting coach has been around since the days of silent movies. It's time to throw it in the garbage and hopefully, this decision is the first step towards that long overdue step.

VANIER: It's interesting. I want to seize on something you just said. You said they never sat in judgment of behavior outside of the actual field -- professional field of cinema. But they have been faced with scandals before, if you think of Mel Gibson, think perhaps most famously, most notoriously of Roman Polanski in the '70s, who fled the U.S. to avoid legal consequences of a sex case involving a 13-year old.

Is this a sign of changing times?

MONETTI: Well, yes, Bill Cosby is also a member of the Academy. But until this decision, the only person ever publicly expelled by the Academy was actor Carmine Caridi (ph) in 2004 for the offense of piracy of his "for your consideration" screener DVDs. So, it's not only been about breaking --

VANIER: Not the same league.

MONETTI: Not the same league. Before, it's about breaking the rules of the Academy. And it's actually very difficult when you look at the bylaws to get expelled from the Academy. You need over two-thirds of the board of governors to make that decision. There's 54 members of the board of governors. They met on the seventh floor of the Academy office in Beverly Hills. And my understanding is far more than two- thirds were in favor of kicking out Harvey Weinstein.

And so, yes, finally, they have decided to take a moral stand rather than just a professional one and draw a line in the sand and I think all of this -- that knew this was an open secret are saying about time. Harvey wants a second chance. No, they told him, go away and don't come back.

VANIER: Just finally give us a sense of what the talk of the town is like in Hollywood. I'm sure everybody is talking about it.

What do people say?

MONETTI: Everyone is sharing their Harvey Weinstein stories and their own personal experiences. Very sadly, every single actress I know has been a victim of sexual harassment in some shape or form. Hollywood is just sitting up and realizing that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

And hopefully the punishment meted out to Harvey Weinstein will make other predators think twice and that's surely got to be a good thing because out of this horrible circumstance, hopefully some good can come -- and it is about time. Hollywood has finally woken up to its guilty little secret.

VANIER: Sandro Monetti, thank you very much. I'll remember that. I'll take that away with me. Every actress you know has been the victim of some kind of sexually predatory behavior. Sandro, thank you for coming on the show.

MONETTI: Thank you.

ALLEN: Another story we're following, flames from a new wildfire forces thousands more people to leave their homes in Northern California. The fast-moving inferno started spreading across the state last Sunday; 39 people are dead. More than 200 others are missing.

VANIER: Some neighborhoods have been reduced to ash and twisted metal. Wildfires have consumed more than 86,000 hectares, that's 214,000 acres. And officials are warning that if new fires start, they, too, will spread quickly.

ALLEN: California's governor has called these fires one of the greatest tragedies the state has ever faced. And even though firefighters are making progress, he warns California is not out of the woods.


JERRY BROWN (D), GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: I just -- we drove by the houses, hundreds of houses that were totally destroyed and it just brings home just what a horrible situation this is.

But at a time like this, we all pulled together and all the resources, the people, the police, the fire, elected officials, neighbors, volunteers, it is a real example of how America pulls together and how California is pulling together and all the local communities.

So we're not out of the woods yet. There's still fires burning, there's still danger, people have to not come to the conclusion that they don't need to be on the alert. People need to move when they're told, they have to take it very seriously. This is just part of the dangers that we face in this kind of very dry weather with high winds.


VANIER: Firefighters have been working around the clock for almost a week to contain these fires and weather conditions haven't always been working in their favor. Hopefully, however, that's now about to change. Here's CNN's Miguel Marquez.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, after a very long, hard week of trying to get a hold of this fire, this may be the last of it. The winds have really come down and three fires here in Sonoma have come together.

And you can see fire crews from the air and the ground are working this thing (ph) very hard. They've been doing it for the last eight or ten hours, just pouring bucket after bucket of water on these fires. This is up over Ledson Winery on Highway 12 in Sonoma, just right down the middle of the valley and this is the -- sort of the stuff they've been doing all day.

Moving into the hotspots like you have here and then, dumping those 300 gallon buckets of water on the fire, trying to keep it from spreading anymore, if the wind cooperates, but they think it may. From now forward, they believe they can get a hold of these fires and there goes a -- that helicopter dumping that 300 gallons of water.

If you look further south, you can see there's yet another fire down there. That's close to the town of Sonoma. This is what firefighters are dealing with -- these very big plumes, these very big fires dotted throughout this absolutely gorgeous area of California.

But now, the weather seems to be cooperating. The winds have come down. It's still warm, but it's not hot. The humidity is also very, very low, but there is rain in the forecast -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, Sonoma County, California.


ALLEN: Miguel spelling it out there, firefighters on the front lines have been pushed to their limits, they're both physically and emotionally drained, as one can understand.

VANIER: Absolutely. Hundreds of additional resources are being sent from other states to help them because of that. CNN's Robyn Kriel brings us the stories of those who are fighting some of the biggest fires the state has ever known.


ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A heartbreaking image of battle-weary firefighters. These men are from the Sebastopol Fire Department, some using a rock as a pillow, getting a brief reprieve from the fight against the deadly blaze.

Here, inmates from the California Department of Corrections get much needed rest after spending 16 hours on the front line in Napa Valley. There are similar scenes across Northern California as firefighters try to stop one of the worst wildfires in California's history.

This firehouse in Santa Rosa burned to the ground Sunday night; for the people who work here, there was no time to grieve; they were on the front line elsewhere, battling the fire.

With their fire station gone and no time to head home, they share a meal on the front lawn of a family. The kids in the picture live here, the niece and nephew of one of the firefighters.

What's even more disturbing for some of these first responders is what they're finding in remnants of burned homes: the remains of victims of the blaze.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of these remains are actually intact bodies, much easier to identify, much easier to get things from. Some of them are merely ashes and bones.

KRIEL (voice-over): Yet they go on, working endless hours. Fred Lewinberger (ph), who took this photo of his colleagues having dinner, wrote, "We slept off and on, in engines, pickups, hose beds, et cetera. And more long hours may be ahead" -- Robyn Kriel, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: Appreciate from that story what they're going through and the big question is, when will they get some rain to help out the firefighters and the families there?


VANIER: Coming up after the break, the U.S.-led coalition says ISIS may be close to losing Raqqa. We'll see how much they still control.




ALLEN: In Iraq, two allies in the war against ISIS may be headed for a conflict of their own. Kurdish troops have been sent to reinforce the city of Kirkuk amid a growing standoff with the central government.

VANIER: Tensions have been mounting in the region since the Kurdish independence vote last month. Kurdish officials say Iraqi paramilitaries have warned of an attack if the Kurds do not withdraw from a key junction.

ALLEN: In neighboring Syria, ISIS appears to be near defeat in Raqqa. The U.S.-led coalition says 85 percent of the city is liberated and there are reports ISIS militants are trying to flee their de facto capital.

VANIER: The collapse of the terror group has many residents celebrating, you see it right there, a Kurdish anti-ISIS group, the YPG, released this video, showing a woman cheering the arrival of YPG fighters, chanting their name.

ALLEN: Our Jomana Karadsheh is tracking events in Syria from neighboring Jordan. She joins me now from Amman.

Hello to you, Jomana and what is the latest on the ground in Raqqa in terms of fighting?

And what is the plan for the evacuation of ISIS fighters?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, when it comes to the fighting, Natalie, what we're hearing from activists on the ground, they're saying intense fighting is continuing in those few neighborhoods that remain under the control of ISIS militants.

The estimates that we're getting from the U.S.-led coalition and their partners on the ground, the Syrian Democratic Forces, they say that about 15 percent of the city remains under ISIS control, that they have liberated, as they call it, 85 percent of the city.

But to put things into perspective, it was about a month ago that we heard that 80 percent of Raqqa had been recaptured. So the U.S.-led coalition is really not putting a timeline on this. They expect some intense fighting to continue.

But on the other hand, we're hearing different reports from the groups fighting on the ground, expecting this to possibly come to an end in the coming days, perhaps.

Now of course, there is also -- this is coming at the same time we heard about this agreement, where the evacuation of ISIS militants announced yesterday by the U.S.-led coalition who distanced themselves from this agreement, saying that they were not a part of it, they're not involved in it but it was brokered by the local tribal council in Raqqa and that it was an agreement between them and ISIS militants in the city.

And they say under the evacuation deal, they say seeks aims to minimize civilian casualties, of course there have been reports of a staggering death toll of civilians during the months of the fighting that has been taking place in Raqqa.

They say that they're aiming to try and minimize that and that ISIS local fighters along with civilians who they're essentially using as human shields, were ready to be evacuated yesterday.

Unclear at this point, Natalie, if that convoy of ISIS -- local ISIS militants and civilians left, where they're going to be headed, what the numbers are and what is the fate of the hardcore foreign ISIS fighters who remain in those few neighborhoods, possibly also using civilians as human shields.

ALLEN: And as we watch that, what is next?

What comes after Raqqa?

KARADSHEH: Well, you know it does seem at this point that the recapture of the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS, seems to be imminent. That's a huge blow to the terror group.

But at the same time, the fighting is not over. A lot of focus right now on Eastern Syria and that desert, oil-rich province of Deir ez-Zor and also in the Iraqi-Syrian border region, where a lot of ISIS militants have moved in months. There has been a race to recapture that part of the country, whether from the Syrian regime backed by Russian airpower. On the other hand, you have the U.S.-led coalition and that is expected to be a tough fight on both sides of the border; also in Anbar province, in Iraq and those areas that are still under ISIS control.

But, again, it would seem -- you're seeing city after city are collapsing, being recaptured by forces both in Iraq and Syria. So as U.S. officials would say, the days of ISIS as a group that controls territory are numbered.

But that doesn't mean the end of ISIS, this terror group, that is so lethal, that still possesses the capability to carry out attacks, not just in Iraq and Syria but around the world.

ALLEN: Absolutely. All right, Jomana Karadsheh for us, thank you.

Coming up here, Austria may not be an especially large country but the results of Sunday's general election there could send shock waves through Europe's capitals.

VANIER: Plus Bannon's back. He's feistier than ever. Who the former Trump adviser is taking aim at now in a speech to conservative voters. Stay with us.




VANIER: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. Glad to have you with us. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the top stories at this hour.


VANIER: Atika Shubert is live in Vienna monitoring that for us.

The polling stations have now opened. Atika, before we get to the policies, the man himself, Sebastian Kurz, currently the foreign affairs minister, he just turned 31. How did he get to where he is?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, a lot of people wondering what they have been doing with their lives with the amount he's been able to achieve by the age of 31.

But basically, you know, reportedly he first decided he wanted to get into politics at the age of 10, he had taken over the youth wing of the people's party, which is sort of the center right conservative party here, at the age of 24.

And then he was -- became integration minister as well and then became foreign minister by the age of 27. So he's had this meteoric rise.

Part of the appeal is his youth. He's given this very fresh revamp to the party, not only has he physically changed it -- the colors are different, it has gone from the color black to the color turquoise now -- but he's changed the structure.

It now fields a list of independent candidates. He's really completely changed the party around and it really has shown in the polls. They're now leading the polls and he's tipped to perhaps win the most votes and possibly become the world's youngest head of government.

VANIER: Tell me about his politics.

SHUBERT: Well, you know, it is interesting; he was integration minister. He had a lot of experience with the issue of immigration, which is really the top issue this election. So he pushed forward a lot of integration policies, which got kids learning German at very early ages; he sped up a citizenship process for those who passed language tests.

But at the same time, as foreign minister, this is where he really made his mark during the 2015 refugee crisis, he took the unilateral decision to close Austria's borders. That effectively stranded hundreds of thousands of refugees in places like Greece and along the Balkan route.

But it's also what made him very popular with many Austrians who felt like the government was losing control over its own borders. So he made his mark that way and, as a result, now, a lot of people are saying he's taken the party further to the right.

VANIER: All right. Atika Shubert reporting live from Vienna, thank you very much.

Do you remember back in August, when Steve Bannon, the controversial senior adviser to President Trump, was fired?

At the time he promised to go to war.

ALLEN: On Saturday, he gave a conservative audience a taste of what he meant by that. CNN's Ryan Nobles reports.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was once one of President Donald Trump's closest advisers and one of the chief architects of his campaign. And on Saturday, Steve Bannon was in Washington, speaking to the Values Voters Summit.

And he talked a lot about undoing the establishment grip on Washington. He even went after a prominent Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, evoking Shakespeare in his conversation about taking McConnell down.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Up on Capitol Hill, because I've been getting calls, it is like before the Ides of March, right? The only question is and this is just an analogy or metaphor, whatever you want to call it, they're just looking to find out who is going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar. Yes, Mitch, the donors, the donors are not happy. They all left you. We cut your oxygen off, Mitch.

Money is not courageous, but money is smart, OK? And right now money is sitting there saying, hey, I see these folks, they're worked up, they're mad and they're mad for a reason.

NOBLES: Now, even though Steve Bannon and some supporters of President Trump may not like Mitch McConnell, he is still very important if the president hopes to get anything done. And the president is still working on trying to repair his relationship with some Republicans in the Senate.

On Saturday, he was at his golf course in Northern Virginia and he was accompanied by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham has taken opportunities to criticize the president when appropriate, but has also attempted to find ways to work with him. One area where they're continuing to hope to find some common ground is on health care.

This after the president announced he was ending subsidies to insurance companies to help keep premiums down for low income Americans. That could be one of the many important challenges that the president faces over the next several outside groups run by Steve Bannon and others that once worked in this White House, it's clear that that job is not going to be easy -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, at the White House.


ALLEN: And in our next hour here, I'll have an interview about Steve Bannon's quest. Join us for that.

U.S. adopted families told they're taking orphans from Uganda but in reality the children have biological parents waiting for them at home. Next here, a CNN investigation is uncovering what could be a network that traffics in children.




ALLEN: Welcome back.

An exclusive CNN investigation is uncovering what appears to be a network trafficking children in Uganda. Mothers there think they are temporarily sending their children to be educated.

VANIER: Instead, their kids are sold to adoptive families, who think that they're welcoming orphans in desperate need. Randi Kaye has part one of the CNN investigation, "Kids for Sale."


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her name is Namata and this is her in Ohio with her adoptive family.

Namata was born here in a tiny village in Uganda. But in 2015, when she was just 5, Jessica and Adam Davis adopted her. They call her Mata. The Ohio couple already had four children of their own, but wanted to take in an orphan.

In October 2014, they got the call from their adoption agency, European Adoption Consultants.

(on camera): What did they tell you when they called you about Mata?

JESSICA DAVIS, ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UGANDA: We were told her father was deceased, that she was being severely neglected at home and her mother was leaving her open to abuse.

ADAM DAVIS, ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UGANDA: Couldn't provide an education.

J. DAVIS: Yes, he never has been in school.

A. DAVIS: Didn't provide daily sustenance.

J. DAVIS: They just kept saying, this is a mother that does not want her child.

KAYE: So it was made clear to you that Mata's mother was relinquishing her, didn't want her.

J. DAVIS: One hundred percent.

KAYE: There was no question.

J. DAVIS: No. No. Not at all.

KAYE (voice-over): In April 2015, the Davises flew to Uganda to meet Mata, their new daughter.

J. DAVIS: She was in an orphanage, no toys, bars on the window. KAYE (voice-over): The orphanage was called "God's Mercy" and it was about four hours from Mata's village. By September 2015, Mata was in Ohio, bonding with her new siblings.

(on camera): But after about six months says Mata's English started to improve. She opened up to Jessica Davis about her life in Uganda and what she shared was alarming. Mata told Jessica that her biological mom was a really good mom who loved her. She even detailed how her mother there would walk her to school every day.

J. DAVIS: Every single thing in that file and that we were told aside from the file, she unraveled to be a lie.

KAYE (voice-over): A lie? How could that be? Jessica alerted the U.S. State Department.

(on camera): What did you tell the State Department?

J. DAVIS: Everything that she had told me. Everything was not true. And it sounds like she has a mother out there that really loves her and possibly a father.

KAYE (on camera): What were you afraid you'd find?

J. DAVIS: That we had somehow participated in taking a child from a loving family.

A. DAVIS: Yes.

KAYE (voice-over): Their fears would be realized. Jessica contacted an organization run by Karen Riley, who actually found Mata's biological mother in Uganda and arranged a video reunion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you so excited Mata?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I get to talk to my mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How nice? Are you happy?


Hi, are how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are doing fine. How are you?


KAYE (voice-over): And in that moment, everything changed. The real story of why she was given up by her mother to this family in America was exposed.

A. DAVIS: With that Facetime call, she learned --

J. DAVIS: The true story.

A. DAVIS: -- that her mother was tricked. KAYE (voice-over): Tricked the Davis' say because Mata's mother was lied to, she was told the Davis' were simply sponsoring her daughter's education in America not adopting her. And that, if you can believe it, was just the tip of the iceberg. Because the Davis' have learned their experience is not unique. In fact, a CNN investigation has discovered that multiple families have been duped.

(on camera): It works like this, children are being taken from their homes, placed in orphanages even though they weren't orphans, then sold for as much as $15,000 a child to unwitting American families, the promise of education with an ultimate return home all just a ruse.

KAREN RILEY, REUNITE UGANDA: They will hone in on vulnerable families, usually being single parents, widows. Would you like an education opportunity for your children?

KAYE (voice-over): Karen Riley who is an advocate for Ugandan and children and runs a group called "Reunite Uganda" says a villager turned trafficker usually makes a sales pitch to mothers at a local church. Mata's village she says was targeted.

[21:50:01] RILEY: That's how it all starts at the beginning. Is the person came to the church and that's what happened in that particular village. The seven children went from a tiny village, the same village.

KAYE (voice-over): This affidavit from the Uganda and government investigation, one of many documents obtained by CNN, has a statement from Mata's mother. "I had not realized that I had gone through a process to take away my parental rights completely."

She states clearly, she thought Mata, "was going to be educated in returned back to me."

J. DAVIS: I don't want to see another mother --

A. DAVIS: Yes.

J. DAVIS: -- go through this.

KAYE (voice-over): A Ugandan court says Mata's referral form to "God's Mercy" orphanage is fraudulent. It says Mata's mother is helpless. The reason given for referral, no care is provided by the mother. The referral form is dated October 21st, 2014. Exactly one week after the Davis' say they got the call that Mata was available for adoption.

At the time of that call the Davis' now believe Mata wasn't an orphan at all, but still living at home with a mother who loved her.

A. DAVIS: If our child had been taken from us.

J. DAVIS: Yes.

A. DAVIS: We would want our child back. KAYE (voice-over): So the Davis' did something remarkable. They filed paper work to have the adoption vacated. They would take Mata back to her birth mother.

(on camera): Did you have the State Department's blessing?

J. DAVIS: They were saying, you know, you can just keep her if you want. I said to them, I didn't purchase her at Walmart.

KAYE (voice-over): One year after they brought Mata home to Ohio, this.

J. DAVIS: So Mata, what's today?


J. DAVIS: Are you excited?


J. DAVIS: Are you going to Uganda?


J. DAVIS: What's the first thing you're going to do when you see your mom?


A. DAVIS: Is this a long flight or a short flight?


KAYE (voice-over): After a 14-hour journey, Mata finally arrived home to her village.

KAYE (voice-over): In September 2016, the Ugandan government officially gave parental rights back to Namata's biological mother, but Jessica's story wasn't unique, enter Stacey Wells.

STACEY WELLS, ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UGANDA: I just wasn't in it to, I don't know, to buy a child. I didn't need a child.

KAYE (voice-over): Stacey Wells and her husband Shawn already had two sons, but in 2016 they adopted seven-year-old Viola (ph) from Uganda. They worked with, you guess it, the same company the Davis' used, European Adoption Consultants.

They too paid around $15,000 to the company. They say that agency told them a story strikingly similar to Namata's. But this time it was about Viola.

(on camera): What did they tell you about her mother?

WELLS: They just said that she had abandoned the girls. That after the dad died they told us that she didn't feed them, that they were found sick like dying, basically.

KAYE (voice-over): Viola, it turns out, was taken to the same orphanage as Mata, "God's Mercy." But later at her new home in West Virginia, as Viola became fluent in English, the truth started to unfold.

WELLS: A lot of it was about how she talked about her mother. Her experience in her home just did not match the paperwork.

KAYE (voice-over): Stacey, who spoke exclusively with CNN, also contacted "Reunite Uganda" to find Viola's biological mother. Karen Riley told us Viola's mom was also lied to by local traffickers, using the same false promise of education in America.

(on camera): Viola wasn't an orphan. In fact she was made an orphan, so you could adopt her.

WELLS: Right. Right.

KAYE (voice-over): Stacey traveled back to Uganda in November 2016 and reunited Viola with her mother.

WELLS: I mean, she was just running and we get out and her mother just embraces me.

KAYE (voice-over): Viola's adoption was a fraud and Stacey says it's all about money.

WELLS: They are getting the orphans because there's a dollar sign. You know, a market has been created.

KAYE (voice-over): A market for children with a pipeline, it appears, back to the United States, which is where European Adoption Consultants is headquartered and where we found the director of EAC's Africa Adoption Program.

(on camera): You helped to organize the Uganda adoption.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. There was people in Uganda that did it. I did not --

KAYE: Were these mothers lied to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Absolutely not.

KAYE: It is hard to say how many other families were misled or tricked but we may have just scratched the surface. We have been told about at least two other girls from Uganda, they are actually Viola's sisters, who were adopted by American families and so far those women have been unwilling to reunite the girls with their mother in Uganda.

And regarding the orphanage where Mata and Viola were taken, the Ugandan government told us that's God Mercy orphanage has been closed. They found they were operating illegally, processing guardianship orders fraudulently and, yes, trafficking children. We weren't able to reach anyone from the orphanage to ask about this

since it is closed; meanwhile, the FBI and the State Department have been investigating EAC and its ties to this alleged trafficking scheme.

Last year, the State Department debarred and shut down the adoption agency for three years after finding that EAC failed to adequately supervise its foreign country providers to ensure they didn't engage in the sale, abduction or trafficking of children.

No charges have been filed against EAC but the FBI told us the investigation is ongoing -- back to you.


ALLEN: We'll have the second part of Randi's disturbing story in the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.





VANIER: A German football team is protesting racial discrimination in solidarity with NFL players in the U.S.

ALLEN: This probably looks familiar to you, the Berlin team linked arms and knelt on the field before their game on Saturday. The team says they're calling for tolerance of diversity.

VANIER: U.S. football players have denounced social injustices by kneeling, sitting or locking arms during the national anthem before games, something which Donald Trump described as unpatriotic.

ALLEN: A lot of Americans agree but looks like that protest style is being exported.

U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are struggling to survive a humanitarian crisis. Drinking water is especially scarce after Hurricane Maria devastated the island three weeks ago. And now following a CNN report, a top U.S. congressman is asking federal officials to investigate potentially toxic drinking water in Puerto Rico.

VANIER: CNN discovered local authorities were distributing water from a hazardous waste site; we were reporting on this yesterday. Consuming that water could have very serious health risks. The local water authority says it did not know the site was contaminated until CNN alerted them.

ALLEN: Lots of issues across the island but in the capital city, San Juan, there are signs of recovery.

VANIER: Still, though, you don't have to go very far to find people who lost everything and who are not getting the help they need. Here is CNN's Nick Valencia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He says welcome to his home.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Beneath the wreckage littered across his driveway is some of what's left of Johnny Dejesus' home. Here in Copelajo, about 25 minutes away from downtown San Juan, the scene is sobering.

VALENCIA: (Speaking Spanish).

"This is all that's left," he says.

VALENCIA (voice-over): As we walk up the hill, the damage gets worse.

VALENCIA: Here is the washing machine right here.

(Speaking Spanish).

This is his dog. He says he rode out the storm with his dog here, that's all he has left.

(Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA: He says this is where he sleeps right here and the dog sleeps right there.

(Speaking Spanish).

He says the dog has a better bed.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Alongside his dog, Thruco (ph), Dejesus smiles because he says it is better than crying. He does a lot of that, too. He can't believe he's not dead. He's certain he should be.

VALENCIA: Oh, this is where he was, right here, he says, in his bedroom, when the hurricane passed through. He said he just had a little transmitter radio, listening to what was going on. And when he heard the governor say, those that are in wooden homes like this, they're going to die, he said this was just shaking and shaking and shaking.

And, look, the way it is now, it is uneven, it's higher in some parts. It picked it up, the storm physically picked up his floor and that's why it is uneven here.

So what do you think when you see all of this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

VALENCIA: "It hurts him a lot," he says. He's not a man of money. VALENCIA (voice-over): For 50 of his 59 years, this has been his

home, his sanctuary. Today, there are only its broken pieces, left to remind him of what he built and what Hurricane Maria mercilessly took away from him.

Without insurance, he says, it is unlikely he will rebuild. But he has Trugo. And for now, that's enough for DeJesus -- Nick Valencia, CNN, Copelajo, Puerto Rico.


ALLEN: That man and his dog have spunk. We wish them well.

That's our news for this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Don't go anywhere. We'll be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM right after this short break. Stay with us.