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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Book Donations To Poor Kids Boost Literacy; Funeral Today For Sergeant La David Johnson; Trump, Kelly Was "Offended" By Wilson Listening To Call; U.S. Helping Niger Investigate Deadly Attack; Bannon Delivers Blistering Attack On George W. Bush; President Obama, Bush Take Swipes At The Successor; Residents Outraged At Factory's Release Of Toxin Into Air; Raqqa Liberation Reveals ISIS Prisoners Messages; Billion-Dollar U.S. Disasters This Year: 16 And Counting; California Firefighters Brace For High Winds This Weekend. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 21, 2017 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Brand new children's books going to waste. So, Rebecca Constantino started an organization that has donated books to poor children for nearly 20 years.

DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN ANCHOR: And she has even transformed now the place where they go to read them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For a child, the library can be a magical place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm officially the most awesome girl in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It can transform you academically but it can also nurture you emotionally. What people don't realize is that school libraries are sometimes not funded at all. We provide libraries for under-served communities and schools. Our whole goal is to spread literacy and the benefits of literacy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exact words they have written.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: All right, to see Rebecca and her team in action, go to CNNHeroes.com.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sergeant La David Johnson was found nearly a mile away from the central scene of the ambush.

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: U.S. Military does not leave its troops behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The war is morphing. You're going to see more actions in Africa, and not less.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The military dictatorship -- that appears to be what the White House thinks the United States is.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate.

GEN. JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Even for someone that's empty barrel who were stunned.

SANDERS: If you don't understand that reference, I will put it a little more simply. As we say in the south, all hat and no cattle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a credibility issue with the president. Now, there's a credible issue with the chief of staff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ISIS no longer rules here. But once again, they've left behind a city scarred by their occupation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: I wish you a good morning, everyone. I am Diane Gallagher, in Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.

GALLAGHER: And we want to start with honoring service and sacrifice. Today, a soldier who died fighting in the war on ISIS will be taken to his final resting place. 25-year-old, Sergeant La David Johnson, will be laid to rest in his Florida hometown. Flags in the state will fly half-staff in his memory.

SAVIDGE: CNN has learned that Johnson's body was found nearly a mile from the side of the ambush in Niger. It's important to note that this, of course, is based on early report. But there is still no word on how he was separated from the 12-member team or why his body was recovered two days after those of the other three soldiers who were also killed in that attack.

GALLAGHER: This comes as the president stands by Chief of Staff John Kelly's attack on a Florida congresswoman. Representative Frederica Wilson is a close friend of the Johnson family and she was with them when Johnson's widow, Myesha, took Trump's condolence call on speakerphone. Wilson said that he was insensitive. Now, in a new interview with Fox News, the president says that Kelly was outraged that Wilson was even listening in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was so offended that a woman would be -- that someone would be listening to that call. He was -- he actually couldn't believe it. Actually, he said to me, sir, this is not acceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: And meanwhile, Steve Bannon has delivered a blistering attack on former President George W. Bush, questioning his intelligence and whether or not he fully grasped the nature of the speech that he gave on rejecting Trump-era nationalism earlier this week.

SAVIDGE: We're going to begin though, with the investigation into that Niger ambush. The FBI, who's now joined that investigation, as the Pentagon tries to pin down the exact time line of what happened.

GALLAGHER: As Barbara Starr reports, U.S. officials are clarifying key points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Sergeant La David Johnson was found nearly a mile away from the central scene at the ambush according to four administration officials familiar with the early assessment. They all cautioned this is the early picture -- and the investigation continues.

The Pentagon is looking at the exact circumstances of how he became separated from his unit. The entire team led by Greet Berets has been interviewed officials say about when they last saw Johnson. The U.S. team had stopped in the town on the Niger-Mali border, so the Nigerians they were working with could pick up supplies, including food and water, and then, they met with village elders. Investigators believe the ambush may have begun when U.S. soldiers were back in their vehicles, possibly even driving.

As those killed are laid to rest, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Capitol Hill briefed Senator John McCain one day after McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, threatened subpoenas if the Pentagon does not start telling Congress what it knows.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I felt that we are not getting sufficient amount of information and we are clearing a lot of that up now.

[07:05:08] STARR: Mattis, refusing to publicly comment why the FBI is now involved in gathering intelligence on these suspected ISIS militants that ambushed the U.S. forces.

TOM FUENTES, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: The FBI would have jurisdiction to investigate and bring the perpetuators to the U.S., if it can be done.

STARR: The pressure is mounting for a public explanation: what did happen to Sergeant Johnson?

REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: He was abandoned for two days, for 48 hours. Why? Why didn't they pick him up and put him on their shoulders, like they did the other fallen comrades, and put him on a helicopter and take him to safety. He could've still been alive.

STARR: But Mattis is fiercely adamant that troops on the ground did everything they could.

MATTIS: Having seen some of the news report, the U.S. Military does not leave its troops behind. And I would just ask that you do not question the action of the troops who were caught in the firefight, and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once.

STARR: And taking pain to point out, all troops face risks. Top press, pushing back hard.

LT. COL. KENNETH MCKENZIE, DIRECTOR, JOINT STAFF: I'll tell you categorically that from the moment of contact, no one is left behind either the U.S., our partner Nigerian forces, or French who were on the ground actively searching for the soldiers.

STARR: In the first 48 hours, when Johnson was still missing, CNN was one of the news organizations had agreed not to report an active search was under way for him because no news organization that is responsible would interfere with an active operation if it was even possible a soldier is still alive out there. Barbara Starr, CNN, The Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GALLAGHER: And Senator Lindsey Graham is issuing a stark warning the wake of the Niger ambush. Beef up forces there, or maybe face a 9/11 silent attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think most Americans want to do the following: where (INAUDIBLE) and want us to deal with it. They don't what another 9/11. We don't want the next 9/11 coming from Niger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: I want to bring in Major General James "Spider" Marks, CNN Military Analyst; and CNN International Correspondent, David McKenzie. Now, David, first to you, what exactly can you tell us about the U.S. operation and the terror threat in Africa?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Diane. Yes, there's a robust U.S. operation, around a thousand soldiers, according to the Pentagon, in Niger. Now, the U.S. uses Niger as a kind of staging ground for its operations in the southern region. It's a vast area -- to put it in perspective for your viewers. They are dealing a threat that covers the size of a continental U.S. Much of the U.S. involvement is around intelligent gathering through a new hundred-million-dollar drone base, based in Agadez. Now, that helps the regional government, U.S. allies to try and track down and eliminate this threat or the terror threat come from threats loosely affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda. And worry is: with the collapse of Libya, and guns and ideology spreading throughout those region that the U.S. and others needs to keep involved in the fight against terror in that part of Africa, so that it doesn't get out of control. Diane.

GALLAGHER: Thank you, David. General Marks, if I can ask you now. Based on some early reports, we've heard that Johnson's body was nearly a mile away from the site of that ambush, what went wrong here?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, let's all agree that none of us were present during that ambush. And so, we don't know the circumstances around what happened. But I can tell you that immediately, and environment that had been assessed in advance of operation as permissive. In other words, they went in a light posture -- they had no large weapon systems, they didn't have immediate air support. So, what happened is, you walk into an ambush like that, and I think the initial reports coming back is that Sergeant Johnson was, in fact, one of the drivers of one the vehicles of this convoy, carrying the special operations team into the village.

And that, when this became an ambush site, when this became what we call a very contested beating zone, a hot area, he was probably trying to get his comrades out of the area. He might have been in the vehicle by himself, picking some additional folks. So, we really don't know that in the confusion of the noise, and the killing, and the blood, and the screaming, what took place and he ended up a mile away. We'll figure that out. Now, I do want to address, you know, the two-hour -- the two-day period between when the ambush occurred and when he was eventually recovered is a period that's unknown to all of us.

Again, they probably -- the soldiers probably tried to work their way back in there immediately and simply could not get in because they were overwhelmed by the firepower. All of this will come out in the investigation, we'll figure it out.

[07:10:11] GALLAGHER: But General Marks, we just heard David say, they have an increasing footprint there in the area, multi-million- dollar drone facility. Do you think the attacks could have stem from bad intelligence?

MARKS: I would say they did stem from bad intelligence. And the guy who spent his life in the intelligence were all -- it's very difficult to say that, but you never have a clear picture. The enemies that we go up against try to mask their intentions and their capabilities all the time. So, it's not -- it's absolutely not unusual to assume that there is probably a failure in intelligence. And also, bear in mind of the context: they had done patrols like this 29 times before they didn't, when on this patrol. That's not to suggest that they put their guard down but they are creatures of habit, and every mission requires certain preparation.

I know with certainty, they went through those stages of preparations. Obviously, something had changed, ISIS fighters most likely, came across -- from across the border in Mali, which might've been out of the purview of where they were searching at moment. So, yes, I would suggest that there is potentially an intelligence failure again. The Department of Defense and Africa Command, which has ownership over all of this, will reveal that shortly. And I hope they'll get to it as quickly as possible.

GALLAGHER: I think everybody does. So, a lot questions. David McKenzie, General Spider Marks, thank you.

MARKS: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: President Trump says that his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, couldn't believe what he was hearing after a Florida lawmaker criticized Trump this week. CNN White House Report, Jeremy Diamond, is standing by with more. Good morning, Jeremy.

JEREMY DIAMON, CNN REPORTER: Good morning. You know, this is the controversy that just won't seem to go away. The president yesterday, in an interview with Fox Business, continuing to push back on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson's account of his conversation with the widow off Sergeant La David Johnson. And the president in that interview also defending his chief of staff and explaining why he felt so compelled to speak out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He was so offended because he was in the room when I made the call, and so were other people. And the call was a very nice call. He was so offended that a woman -- that somebody would be listening to that call. He was -- he actually couldn't believe it. Actually, he said to me, sir, this is not acceptable. This is really not -- and he knew I was so nice, I was -- like quote in many people, and I would think that every one of them appreciated it. I was very surprised to see this, to be honest with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMON: Now, General Kelly's appearance in the White House briefing room this week was an attempt by the White House to kind of turn the page on this controversy, but instead, it helps propel it because of General Kelly's false claim -- later revealed to be false claims about what Congresswoman Wilson said at an unrelated 2015 event in the opening of a Federal Bureau of Investigation sealed office in Miami. What also happened was the White House continued to defend General Kelly's statement despite the fact that they were proven to be false. And the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders yesterday, suggesting that General Kelly should be beyond reproach because of his status as a retired four-star marine corps general. Sarah Sanders yesterday, putting out a statement after that press briefing, saying that, of course, everyone can be questioned.

SAVIDGE: Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thanks very much. Good to see you.

GALLAGHER: All right. Two members of the president's club, taking aim at their newest member, accusing President Trump of dividing America with his politics.

SAVIDGE: Plus, smackdown; a fighting attack against George W. Bush from President Trump's former right-hand man.

GALLAGHER: And later, the EPA says that more than 20,000 people in Louisiana have the highest risk in the country developing cancer from toxic chemicals in the air. State regulators say, the threat is not imminent but local people are still afraid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Husband and wife died from across the street. Because of an (INAUDIBLE) from cancer, both of his sons got cancer. Where are all these cancers are coming from?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: They are desperate for cleaner air. Hear how they are fighting back in a CNN investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GALLAGHER: President Trump's former chief strategist delivering, really, just a blistering takedown of former President George W. Bush.

SAVIDGE: Yes. We're talking about Steve Bannon, who spoke at the California GOP Convention last night and bluntly questioned President Bush's intelligence, and whether even understood his own speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: President Bush, to me, embarrassed himself. Speechwriter wrote a high (INAUDIBLE). It's clear he didn't understand anything he was talking about. He equates the industrial revolution, the (INAUDIBLE) revolution, globalization. He has no earthy idea where he's coming or going, just like it was when he was president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

BANNON: I want to apologize up front to any of the Bush folks outside, in this audience, ok? Because there has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush's.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: All right, that leads to a discussion. And with us now to do just that, Eugene Scott, Political Reporter for The Washington; and Kelly Jane Torrance, Deputy Editor of The Weekly Standard. And Kelly Jane, let me start with you. What do you make of Bannon's remarks there? They were just scathing.

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: They were. You know, it's a little bit rich for Steve Bannon to talk about people using speechwriters, it's not as if Donald Trump doesn't make full use of them himself, and high-flouting? I mean, what were the high- flouting words that George Bush use? Humanity, freedom, humility? Look, these certainly are words that you don't hear coming out of Bannon's mouth or President Trump's mouth very much. So, you know, perhaps that was the problem, is that George W. Bush was talking about the kind of things that inspire people, and talk about values that Americans have held ever since the founding. And these are not values that are held by Bannon or President Trump.

[07:20:23] SAVIDGE: And that kind of folks, in which he tried to connect with his audience with onto. Eugene, his attacks, of course, follow President Bush and Obama. And they are taking a very thinly veil swipes at Trump on the same day. So, how rare is it for former president to criticize his successor?

EUGENE SCOTT, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON: We don't see it happen often, but, I mean, if this administration has been anything, it's been unprecedented. And I don't think it's a surprise, though, to see people like -- people familiar with the Obama administration and Bush administration to want to come out and defend their legacies and their efforts to make the world a better place. Because the Trump's administration's so regularly and aggressively attacks what they've done. And I think when we this right there with Steve Bannon where called Bush as one of the worst administrations in history which was quite shocking --

SAVIDGE: What do you think -- what do you think Bannon was trying to do? What was he trying convince that audience?

SCOTT: Well, I'm not surprised that Bannon came out and attacked the Bush, because, One, you're not going to attack Trump and not get a response from Trump -- I guess, unless you're the rapper, Eminem. And second, I mean, the reality is that we saw Bush attacked Trumpism, which is bigger than Trump. And many people are saying that Steve Bannon is the man behind Trumpism. And so, I feel like Steve Bannon was personally attacked by Bush, and so he went and attacked him in response.

SAVIDGE: Kelly, we're going to switch gears here. And Kelly Jane, this was for you, at least, to begin. Another controversy, and when pressed about false statements that were made by the Chief of Staff General John Kelly about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it's inappropriate to question a four-star general, here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: If you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general, I think that that's something highly inappropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: The freedom of speech seems to have been lost here. But Sanders later did backtrack slightly. Although, it seems like more she was just re-deburden, and she release a statement saying, "Of course, everyone can be questioned but after witnessing General Kelly's heartfelt and somber account, we should all be able to agree that impugning his credibility on how best to honor fallen heroes is not appropriate." So, what's your reaction about it?

TORRANCE: Well, we're not allowed to criticize four-star generals or people of that rank. Then, why is Donald Trump -- he's threatened to take out the commander from Afghanistan because he thought he wasn't doing a very good job. And you know, I'm sorry, when a four-star general gets into political life and takes on a political job, he becomes fair game in terms of talking about politics. And you know, I will say, I was really, really moved by General Kelly's speech and his remarks; he talked about -- you know, he got really emotional. So, why is my son back there?

And it was totally moving, and then at the end, he completely ruined it by attacking Congresswoman Wilson. And it was totally unnecessary if he had just left it where it was, I think everybody would have said wow, this guy is -- you know, he's a very, serious man who's, you know, helping keep us from chaos, as Bob Corker might say. Or by taking cheat shop like that, and one that it turned out to be untrue. He just, you know, totally ruined everything good that that he said in that speech.

SAVIDGE: I agree. We were all deeply moved. But I wonder, Eugene, you know, in doing just as he did, it kind of -- Kelly looks bad because of it?

SCOTT: No, absolutely. I mean, I think it's really important not to let the conflation that we saw in that release of Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands. No one is attacking his story about what he experienced as a Gold Star father, everyone was moved by that. People are pushing back on the story that he told about Representative Wilson that had absolutely nothing to do with Niger, that ended up being inaccurate. I think what's most interesting is that we a couple of weeks ago: General Kelly came out and say that it was not his job to control the chaos in the White House. To some people this week, it's looking like he is a part of the chaos, and so that's perhaps why he can't control it. I think what all Americans want to do moving forward is focus on figuring out why these four soldiers and more were in Niger, and what can be done to prevent situations like this from happening again.

SAVIDGE: Kelly Jane Torrance and Eugene Scott, thank you both for joining us this morning.

SCOTT: Thank you.

TORRANCE: Thank you.

GALLAGHER: Well, the EPA says chemicals coming from a Louisiana factory is putting nearby residents at the highest risk in the country of developing cancer from air toxins. State regulators, though, say the threat is not imminent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:25:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got to live here to try and breathe the air, drink the water, see the children so sick and watch your people die. If you don't live in the area, you cannot say anything and everybody is supposed to believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: CNN investigation looks at how local people are fighting for relief

SAVIDGE: Plus, a landmark moment on the war on terror. ISIS's de facto capital has been liberated. CNN takes you to Raqqa, Syria. See inside one of the terrorist prison or captives tried to do what they could to not be forgotten.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GALLAGHER: Welcome back. I'm Diane Gallagher, in for Christi Paul.

[07:29:58] SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell. People in a small Louisiana community say that on some days, it is literally sickening to be outdoors. A local factory is releasing chemicals at the -- is putting or placing that community the highest risk in the country. A developing cancer from air toxins, at least that's according to the EPA.

GALLAGHER: And a State regulator say that the threat is not imminent. But, local people say that cases of cancer are pretty common and they're afraid and they are begging for help. Victor Blackwell has this CNN investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GERALDINE WATKINS, RESIDENT NEAR A RUBBER FACTORY: The air is so foul, the water's so messed up and so many people are ill and dying of cancer.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Geraldine Watkins is afraid. Her family has lived in St. John, the Baptist Parish in Louisiana for almost 40 years. She loves the people but recently she learned that she and more than 20,000 others who lived nearby had the highest risk in the country of developing cancer from air toxins. The toxin, in this case, is chloroprene.

According to data from the EPA's National Air Toxins Assessment or NATA, the risk for people who live in this area highlighted in red, ranges from roughly five to more than 20 times the national average.

WATKINS: I was outraged because I'm trying to figure out why people hadn't been informed of this earlier.

BLACKWELL: The source is this plant owned by Denka, the Japanese company bought it from DuPont in late 2015. The company makes a synthetic rubber found in wetsuits, electric insulations, and other common products. The plant has emitted chloroprene as part of the process for more than 40 years.

We asked the EPA for an interview, they declined but agreed to answer questions via e-mail. The EPA tells us, 99 percent of the chloroprene that's emitted by facilities across the country comes from this plant.

In 2010, the EPA determined chloroprene as likely carcinogenic to humans, meaning study show, it likely causes cancer in humans. And the EPA says there are many other health problems associated with the exposure to chloroprene.

ROBERT TAYLOR III, RESIDENT NEAR A RUBBER FACTORY: I grew up with a chronic kidney disease all my life.

BLACKWELL: Robert Taylor III says he grew up near the plant and that he was in and out of hospitals for most of his childhood. He moved away after high school and had no problems for more than 20 years. Then, just six months after moving bark, Taylor says his kidneys failed. And Taylor says cancer diagnoses are common in his neighborhood.

TAYLOR: Husband and wife died from cancer across the street. Husband over here died from cancer, both of his sons got cancer. Where all these cancers coming from? These people filling us up with this poison.

BLACKWELL: In the spring of 2016, the EPA installed six canisters in the neighborhood surrounding this plant. They're collecting air samples, they're tested every three days to find out just how much of this toxic chemical is in the air. And for more than a year now, the EPA has repeatedly found concentrations of chloroprene that are 10, 50, 100 times. And in one case more than 700 times the amount it says, is that the upper limit of acceptability for cancer risk.

And for more than a year, the EPA's testing found average chloroprene concentration that significantly exceeded that amount. And one sight, more than 49 times the recommended amount.

CHUCK CARR BROWN, SECRETARY, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY: They say it's 10 times or 20 times or some other magnitude times higher than what a standard is. Well, there is no standard.

BLACKWELL: Chuck Carr Brown is Louisiana's Secretary of Environmental Quality. He's right about those spikes. The EPA has not set a legal limit for chloroprene emissions, it says it's a year's long process. But according to this May 2016 internal memo obtained by CNN, federal regulators have set a recommendation based on cancer risk an annual average of 0.2 micrograms of chloroprene per cubic meter, as what it is, calls the upper limit of acceptability. Just remember the number, 0.2.

It's represented by the red line on this graph. Now, look at the average chloroprene concentration found in the air at those six testing sites between May 2016 and August 2017. One of those testing sites is here. Near Fifth Ward Elementary School, just a few hundred yards from the plant.

We found that the average concentration in the air near the schools over 17 months was more than 34 times the EPA's cancer risk recommendation of what's acceptable.

BROWN: That is just --

BLACKWELL: The State's top environmental regulator who says part of his mission is to protect human health, also says this.

BROWN: 0.2 don't mean anything to me. I want to get to as close to zero as I possibly can. To artificially target a number that you can't -- you can't legally enforce, it actually makes no sense --

[07:35:02] BLACKWELL: Jorge Lavastida is an executive officer of company and the manager of the plant. So, this company doesn't believe that chloroprene causes cancer?

JORGE LAVASTIDA, EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND PLANT MANAGER, DENKA PERFORMANCE ELASTOMER: That is correct.

BLACKWELL: This summer, Denka asked the EPA for a correction. The company commission to study, which argues the chloroprene's classification should be changed. From likely carcinogenic to possibly carcinogenic. And that 0.2 should be 31.2, more than 150 times the EPA's cancer risk recommendation.

LAVASTIDA: We have looked at the study that they did in -- with NATA and how they came up with that 0.2, and we found gaps in the science of it.

BLACKWELL: The EPA stands by its findings. And despite its skepticism, a company promised the state to install controlled technologies of the plant to reduce chloroprene emissions.

LAVASTIDA: That includes four projects that reduce our emissions by 85 percent. We're investing $20 million on those -- on those projects. There's going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars of operating expenses when those are in. Very aggressive schedule and it's our number one priority.

BLACKWELL: However, equipment that was supposed to have been installed by September is now slated for the end of the year. Secretary Brown says there's nothing to worry about.

BROWN: This available control technology is an acceptable protocol.

BLACKWELL: But why not start with the risk to the people. Why not start with that number --

BROWN: That's exactly what I'm --

BLACKWELL: And then build out from there.

BROWN: That's exactly what I'm doing.

BLACKWELL: Every time I brought up the point to a number, you said it's not enforceable, it has been promulgated, it not a standard. You go back to the technology of the enforceable standard, they're from whatever the company it installs.

BROWN: And that's how, that's how you science it that solves the problem.

BLACKWELL: Why not start what the risk is to the people.

BROWN: We're -- we've got a protocol in place that our data shows that there's no imminent threat.

WATKINS: You got to live here to try and breathe the air, drink the water. See the children so sick, watch your people die. If you don't live in the area, you can say anything and everybody supposed to believe that.

If they can't cut the emissions down, shut them down until they can repair them then bring their plant back up. I don't want anybody to lose their job but we can no longer live in these emissions.

LAVASTIDA: We're not just going to sit around and let them push us surround, anybody.

BLACKWELL: Taylor is a part of the class action lawsuit to force the company to reduce the emissions to meet the EPA cancer risk recommendation. He's joined on behalf of his 10-year-old daughter, Navy Love. He says she develop asthma and needs to use an oxygen machine several times per week, he blames the emissions.

TAYLOR: They don't have any compassion for human life. My little girl, 10 years old, she innocent.

BLACKWELL: And at 76 years old, Watkins hopes that federal regulators, state regulator, someone will force Danka to adhere to the cancer risk recommendation, for her sake and for the sake of her family.

WATKINS: Let me live. Whatever time I have left, let it be decent. We need clean air. We need help to get this done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: So, an important question here obviously is, are there more actual cases of cancer in those communities with the highest risk of developing cancer? Well, the state does not know. And here is why, because cancer rates are measured at the perish level. Not the smaller census tract level like the EPA toxins study. So, right now, there is no way to know if just that part of the perish around the plant has a disproportionate amount of cancer cases.

But, that is going to change soon because a new law in Louisiana requires the LSU tumor registry which keeps track of cancer numbers, to publish cancers stats at the smallest census tract level. And then we'll be able to compare the EPA's estimated cancer risk to the actual number of cancer diagnosis. Martin, Diane, back to you.

SAVIDGE: Thank you, Victor, very much.

GALLAGHER: All right. The terror group that sickened the world with beheadings of numerous prisoners has now lost control of its self- declared capital, Raqqa, Syria. But, as people celebrate in the streets, behind the walls are signs of despair and tragedy left behind by those ISIS considered traitors. We have that story, coming up.

SAVIDGE: Plus, U.S. weather disasters, tying an old-time record so far this year. And the California wildfires, the latest to join the billion-dollar list and the year is not over.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:44:06] GALLAGHER: World leaders have called it the head of the snake.

SAVIDGE: Now, Raqqa, the city ISIS called its Capital has been liberated from the terror group. But years under siege have left much of Raqqa, a wasteland.

GALLAGHER: Amid the ruins are haunting and heart-breaking signs at how ISIS treated the victims and how they tried to survive. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh shows us what was left behind in one prison.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: ISIS usually leaves places looking like this, and their self-declared capital was no different. With one exception, where are the people? Hardly a soul here but the victors swarming around ISIS's old H.Q., the stadium.

It's extraordinary to stand exactly where ISIS just a matter of weeks or months ago may, in fact, have been plotting attacks against the West. This -- the stadium, one of the symbols of their presence here.

[07:45:00] It was underground where this place mattered most. Torture, imprisonment of foreigners even their own.

Eerily graffiti here. Some of it actually explaining the prisoners why they were here. One is saying, if you reading this, there's four main reasons why you're here. You did the crime and were caught red- handed. Using Twitter, GPS locations, or having GPS locations switched up on on a mobile phone. Uploading videos and photos from a sensitive Wi-Fi account source. I -- you need your mayor's permission which you didn't do. Be patient, be patient, be patient. The enemy of the Muslim, Satan, will do every whispering while you stare at the wall or the floor.

Further down still, that hasn't, that still the hazard it still remains. A city beset by tunnels that run deep. The main fight may be over but the flame that ISIS's sick ideas lit flickers worldwide online. The global fight here for its volunteers, though, is over.

How was it?

[07:46:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sad now that we're not playing anymore.

WALSH: You enjoyed it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, like -- yes.

WALSH: John is on his way back to Sleepy Colorado.

How close did ISIS (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like seven meters, you could see them running in the street.

WALSH: Is this kind of a thrill for you really or?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's better than sitting in a dessert, doing nothing, drinking chai.

WALSH: Will life for him be the same again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm 24, I was doing customer support, fix computers and stuff.

WALSH: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I don't know what I'll do after.

WALSH: So, probably not that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably not that.

WALSH: What life can return here where the only building not eviscerated is a hospital where ISIS-held human shields. This is the only ISIS fighter we saw, the bodies cleaned up fast.

And the dust of this refugee camp where many have fled misery are these new sparkling tents, home to 200 ISIS fighters and their families who surrendered after a negotiated deal.

We weren't allowed to talk to them, they once lived on and in fear. Yet fear drove them to surrender and their future uncertain, almost certainly now haunts their nights under the cold canopies here. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Raqqa, Syria.

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GALLAGHER: Still to come, the California wildfires remain, they are still blazing. Firefighters now bracing for more high winds this weekend and into next week. We'll have that update live, next.

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GALLAGHER: So, American spend a whopping 93 percent of our days indoors. That means you're not breathing fresh air or really isn't seeing the sky and it is hurting our health. This week's "STAYING WELL" looks at forest bathing, take a look.

[07:49:57] JULIA PLEVIN, FOUNDER, FOREST BATHING CLUB: Put one hand on your belly, the other hand on your heart. So, forest bathing comes from the word "shinrin-yoku", which is Japanese word. And it means being in nature. In Japan, they have a special medical forest where people can go be out in nature. You're coming into a forest with a conscious intention to slow down, to connect, to heal. It's all about moving slow, a lot slower than you expect.

You mean, like peppery? And about engaging all your senses.

NOOSHIN RAZANI, PEDIATRICIAN, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OAKLAND: In our hospital, we actually prescribe nature. Studies have shown that within minutes of walking into a forest, your stress improves. Heart rate will come down, blood pressure will come down. Then, over the course of an hour to one hour and a half. If you're walking through an actual setting, symptoms of depression or anxiety improve. I like to say, pretend that you've just landed on Earth and you've never seen any of this before. Really invoking that curiosity in people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gosh, it's really beautiful here. You can smell the eucalyptus and the flowers. You can see that the berries are just starting to come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has nothing do with the destination. It has nothing to do of getting there fast, it's just slowing down.

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[07:53:27] SAVIDGE: You know, if you've been feeling like there's been a lot of disasters lately, well, there has. The U.S. has tied an all-time record for the most billion-dollar disasters in a single year. That according to the World Meteorological Association -- or Organization. The California wildfires, by the way, marked the 16th billion-dollar weather-related disaster since January.

GALLAGHER: Yes, CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joining us now. Allison, we still have two months left to go this year. 16!

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, yes. And some of those fires that triggered that 16th billion-dollar disaster are still running in some of these areas. Again, we still have 15 active large fires. The majority of them in that region of Northern California were we had so much of that damage. Again, and that -- those fires from a week ago ended up bringing us to our 16th.

You can see them on the map here, the 16th. Again, that's a record. The previous record was back in 2011. So, we've tied that, but you have to keep in mind, we still have two months to go -- a little over two months to go for the end of the year. And the fires are expected to increase, particularly in Southern California over the coming days. We have red-flag warnings out that does include the City of Los Angeles, because the winds are expected to increase.

Now, not so much this morning but really as we go to the day today, in a second half of the weekend, you'll notice those wind gusts, 20, 30, 40, even 50 miles per hour. In addition to that, one thing that's going to make it difficult for the firefighters are the temperatures. Notice how they jump, take the Los Angeles, for example, 81 for the high today to nearly 100 on Monday. And that's just Monday.

Now, you have to take into account what's going to happen later into the week. Tuesday, we all know guys, this is when the World Series happens. Forecast high take a look on Tuesday, 102 degrees. This means, this is likely going to be the hottest World Series game on record. And, if we do get up to 102, could beat the old one by maybe as much as 10 degrees.

[07:55:25] SAVIDGE: Wow, that is striking numbers right there. Allison Chinchar, thanks very much for that.

GALLAGHER: Right, in our next hour, ISIS terrorists have now lost control of their self-proclaimed Capital, Raqqa. But, what happens now to those who have fled including the wives and children of ISIS fighters? We are live at a refugee camp, right after this short break.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sargent La David Johnson was found --