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NEW DAY SUNDAY
One America Appeal; Crisis In Puerto Rico; Train Derails In Tennessee; Tornado Downs Power Lines In Oklahoma; Opioid Overdose Deaths In the U.S. Continue To Rise; The Tale Of Two Renoirs Aired 6- 7a
Aired October 22, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ISIS attack that killed four U.S. soldiers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need answers. We need to find out why a routine mission turned deadly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Pentagon should have been more forthcoming about some basics, much, much sooner.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A rare joint appearance by five members of the most exclusive club in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very unusual to have five former presidents together.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What we have also seen is the spirit of America at its best.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-two million dollars, it is a staggering sum of money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My conscience is clear. I can go to sleep very well knowing I never mistreated anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Diane Gallagher in for Christi Paul today.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. Nice to have you with us.
GALLAGHER: All right. This morning, we are following the latest on the investigation into the ISIS ambush in Niger where four U.S. soldiers were killed. And as one of those American soldiers, Sergeant La David Johnson is laid to rest, there are new details on how the White House tried to contain the fallout after President Trump claimed that he contacted every Gold Star family this year.
SAVIDGE: Also new this morning, President Trump is reportedly willing to pay big money for his staff's growing legal fees related to the Russia investigation. "The Washington Post" (inaudible) reporting from White House officials said the president could spend at least $430,000 on legal teams for campaign aides and White House staff members. We'll have more on that in a moment.
First, our Boris Sanchez has more on the public arguments over President Trump's private condolence car to the family of Sergeant La David Johnson that has consumed Washington all week.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the body of Sergeant La David Johnson was being laid to rest in South Florida, President Trump was spending his Saturday at Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia.
There were no public events for the president today. He did take to Twitter several times throughout the day, although, he did not mention Sergeant Johnson or the situation in Niger.
But he did go after Representative Frederica Wilson of South Florida. You'll recall that she remarked that the conversation that the president had with the widow of Sergeant Johnson was offensive and inappropriate.
She and the White House have gone back and forth over the past several days, not only about the content, but also the tone of the conversation that the president had with that widow.
The president tweeting about the representative saying that he hopes that the, quote, "The fake news media continues to focus on her because she will lead the Democratic Party to a big loss." He also spoke about the controversy on Fox Business News over the weekend. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And the call was a very nice call. He was so offended that a woman would be -- 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. He knew. I was so nice. Look. I've called many people and I would think that efficient one of them appreciated it. I was very surprised to see this, to be honest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: In that sound bite, the president was referring to his conversations with Chief of Staff John Kelly, himself a Gold Star parent who revealed that he had advised President Trump shortly before he made that call to Sergeant Johnson's widow and went as far as to say he was appalled that the details of a sacred conversation between the president and the family of a fallen service member had fallen into the hands of the press.
Meantime, the White House is not responding to a piece out in "Roll Call" that details e-mails exchanged from the White House and the Pentagon shortly after an interview given to Fox News Radio by President Trump in which he said that he had contacted virtually all Gold Star families, the families of fallen service members that had passed away after he took office.
According to "Roll Call," those documents reveal that White House aides were scrambling to get details from the Pentagon on an up-to- date list of those service members who had passed away since January 20th.
The implication there being that the president actually didn't have the information that he would have needed to go ahead and then contact those Gold Star families. Again, the White House declining comment on that story. Boris Sanchez, CNN, outside the White House.
GALLAGHER: And Boris just mentioned that. So, I want to play for you exactly what President Trump said on Tuesday to fox radio where he claimed that he contacted virtually every Gold Star family. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:05:07] PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): I write letters and I also call. Now, sometimes, you know, if you had a tragic event with -- it's very difficult to be able to do that. But I have called -- I believe everybody, but certainly, I'll use the word virtually everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: So, let's discuss now with CNN political analyst, historian and professor at Princeton University, Julian Zelizer, and White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood.
First, John Donnelly who is the author of that "Roll Call" report spoke here at CNN yesterday about these e-mails from the White House to the Pentagon. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DONNELLY, SENIOR WRITER, "ROLL CALL": What it shows is that even -- even as the president was making the statement, his staff was aware that it was not -- that it was probably not accurate and they needed -- and there was a suggestion in the e-mails that the reason they needed to gather this information so that the president could start making some calls, presumably to make what was an untrue statement on Tuesday morning a true statement as soon as possible. That seems to be the implication from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Sounds like quite the scramble there. Julian, you know, the president did use virtually everybody sort of his now infamous vague language to give him some wiggle room, but what do you make of that report that the White House was scrambling afterwards?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this isn't the first time we have heard this kind of story. Often the president says something, and the White House staff and advisers are scrambling to contain either the damage or to correct the mistakes that have been made.
So, this reflects a little bit about how the White House works and the relationship with the president on these kinds of public statements and how his team is trying to often catch up with him.
GALLAGHER: I want to shift gears here for just a bit, Sarah. Former President Jimmy Carter spoke with Maureen Dowd of "The New York Times" and he said that he is open to working with the president on the situation in North Korea.
Dowd writes that Carter says that he has talked to Lt. General H.R. McMaster. That's Trump's national security adviser, who is a good friend, including the (inaudible) Brezinski' funeral when McMaster asked to sit next to Carter.
But he has gotten so far a negative response, quote, "I told him that I was available if they ever need me," he said. Do you think that Trump would take Carter's help? Do you think that he would accept this sort of olive branch here?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, President Trump is known for rejecting any kind of offers of assistance or offers of interactions even with members of the political establishment. Jimmy Carter is someone who does have a great deal of credibility when it comes to North Korea.
He's traveled there. He's negotiated with North Korea. But keep in mind that President Trump is rejecting diplomatic ties between the U.S. and North Korea from members of his own administration. He publicly chastised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to waste his time trying to talk to North Korea.
So, it's not surprising that the administration would also issue outside help to do something that they are even willing to do themselves, which is open a dialogue with Pyongyang.
GALLAGHER: And Julian, you know, in that same piece by Maureen Dowd, President Carter actually said that he thought that President Trump was getting a little bit of a raw deal maybe from the media, that the media was harder on him than presidents of the past although Carter did call out some of the racial tensions in his administration.
Do you think that this may sort of soften it up for Trump, that perhaps this may make the president a little more apt to reach out to former President Carter?
ZELIZER: It might. Let's remember, by the way, Jimmy Carter always had a fraught relationship with the press and felt like he was handled unfairly as president as well. But I think Sarah is right. Fundamentally, Jimmy Carter stands and symbolizes something that, so far, President Trump has rejected, meaning that diplomacy should come first.
Former President Carter has devoted his post-presidency to this principle. So, it would still be a reach for President Trump to do this and even if he does reach out for him, I would be very spectacle about how much he would use him for serious negotiations.
GALLAGHER: All right. So, it's a little after 6:00 a.m. on the east coast and no tweets yet from the president this morning. But he did spend yesterday tweeting a lot about the Russian dossier, fake news, and Hillary Clinton.
He never mentioned the funeral of Sergeant La David Johnson. In a new interview, the president is defending his use of social media, though. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have friends that say, oh, don't use social media. See, I don't call it tweets. Tweeting is like a typewriter. When I put it out, you put it immediately on your show. The other day, I put something out and two seconds later I'm watching your show and Donald Trump is --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are watching your Twitter feed!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: OK. And you know, they are well crafted. I was always a good student. I'm like a person that does well with that kind of thing and I doubt I'd be here if it weren't for social media, to be honest with you. I have a tremendous platform.
[06:10:02] So, when somebody says something about me, I'm able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it. The other way I wouldn't be able to get the word out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: All right. Bing, bing, bing, it sounds like the president thinks that he can manipulate the media with his Twitter account. It's nine months in, Sarah, do you think that Twitter helps or hurts the president's agenda?
WESTWOOD: Well, it's a double-edged sword for President Trump. There are times when he is able to use Twitter effectively. We have seen him, for example, pressure individual lawmakers who are holding out against his agenda items in ways that dominate coverage and force them to come to the table and negotiate on taxes and health care.
Other times he has caused controversies by attacking people like morning show hosts and driving the news cycle that really distracts from his agenda. So, it can be a force for good, for the Trump presidency.
I think President Trump was absolutely correct that he may not be here had he not use Twitter to control the news cycles during campaign, but there are times when he can get himself into a totally unnecessary controversy by tweeting something that is on the top of his head and not necessarily thinking about the affect it will have on his agenda.
GALLAGHER: All right. That's all the time we have. Sarah Westwood, Julian Zelizer, thank you so much.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joining Jake Tapper a little bit later this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
SAVIDGE: They have already raised $31 million from over 80,000 donors, but that was before last night's main event. All five living former presidents appeared together on the same stage for a benefit concert in Texas.
They are raising money for the hurricane relief after storms devastated Texas, Florida and parts of the Caribbean. In a nod to national unity, they dubbed their efforts the "One America Appeal." Coming up, hear from the former presidents, along with a video message from President Trump.
GALLAGHER: Bill O'Reilly paid a reported $32 million sexual harassment settlement earlier this year so why did Fox give him a raise and renew his contract just a month later? That conversation, coming up next.
SAVIDGE: Also, President Trump says that he'll declare the opioid drug epidemic on national emergency. We will speak to a father who lost his daughter about his fight for new legislation that he believes would have prevented her death.
GALLAGHER: Plus, the president, himself, giving himself a 10 out of 10 on the Puerto Rico hurricane response, but with power and clean water still hard to come by, what do people on the ground think about that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump says that the government deserves a 10 grade for the performance. (Inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: So Fox News is in the middle of another sexual harassment scandal after a damming new report by "The New York Times." According to "The Times," Fox News renewed Bill O'Reilly's contract in January despite knowing that he settled with a Fox News legal analyst over claims that he repeatedly sexually harassed her including sending her sexually explicit materials.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GALLAGHER: Thirty-two million dollars, that's the amount "The New York Times" reports Bill O'Reilly paid to long-time Fox News legal analyst, Lis Wiehl. According to "The Times," Wiehl threatened to sue O'Reilly for alleged sexual misconduct. A month later, Fox News renewed O'Reilly's contract for $25 million a year.
The contract included protections allowing Fox to dismiss him in the event of new allegations, protections the company used just two months later. After "The Times" revealed the existence of other settlements with women who had accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.
Now here is what O'Reilly told NBC News about the sexual allegations against him just last month.
BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: My conscience is clear. What I have done is organized a legal team to get the truth to the American people. I can go to sleep at night very well, knowing that I never mistreated anyone on my watch in 42 years.
GALLAGHER: The $32 million payout to Wiehl is far higher than any of the previously known settlements. "The New York Times" expose comes at a time when O'Reilly is actively seeking a new TV commentary job meaning he could be challenging Fox.
His camp believes the leaks about the Wiehl settlement might be coming from Fox to hurt him and O'Reilly spokesman writes, "The Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous that is out of context, false, defamatory and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace."
SAVIDGE: All right. Let's discuss this and for that we bring in B.J. Bernstein, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, and Bill Carter, CNN media analyst. Good morning to you both.
A couple of quick questions. Bill, stand by because these are for B.J. first. B.J., this is not, of course, the first accusation or settlement for Mr. O'Reilly. How much legal trouble does Fox News face for renewing O'Reilly's contract in the middle of this huge sexual assault settlement? They knew what is going on.
BJ BERNSTEIN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, certainly affects, you know, particularly after Weinstein now, another look at the industry, whether it's entertainment or television news or any other corporate board room as to what -- you know, are you going to sweep things under the rug in order to protect people who work for you because they make you a lot of money?
This changes the dialogue because there is going to be pressure for all companies to take a look at things and say, wait a minute. We can't have this person back just because they have a settlement.
SAVIDGE: And this brings us to Gretchen Carlson because she, too, sued the former chairman, Roger Ailes, Fox News and she has, of course, alleged that this was all due to sexual harassment. That was in July of 2016. She put out a statement and I'll read it to you.
[06:20:01] And she says this, "It is horrifying to think that any company would dismiss an employee following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and then allow him back on the air a few months later."
So, again, B.J., the question here is Fox knew what was going on. They renew his contract and, yet, the message to all other employees there at the network is that, well, hey, the network says it's OK. They seemed to condone it.
BERNSTEIN: Exactly. That is where the problem is. I think Gretchen has gone right to the heart of the point and more concerning to Fox is the pending federal investigation right now with regard to looking at them how they have handled sexual harassment and what they have done in the workplace.
That is still an open investigation from all reports. So, this does not help Fox in terms of how they handled in choosing dollars and viewers versus the safety of the workplace.
SAVIDGE: Bill, so what do you think the fallout is going to be for this network? What I mean by that is, of course, they appeal to a very conservative audience. This would seem to go against all of those beliefs for conservative families, families in general. What is the fallout?
BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, usually when these things have happened with Fox, their audience dismissed them as, you know, attacks on -- unfair attacks on conservatives and that's certainly Bill O'Reilly is trying to take that tack.
You do have to wonder about the accumulation of these facts. Now there's very little reason to doubt that all of this went on. I think Fox is particularly vulnerable because they were trying to make a big deal in England for their B Sky B investment.
And you know, that has been road blocked a couple times because of these scandals and now they have another one where it looks as though they simply didn't ask him what his settlement was about and went ahead and re-signed him for this enormous contract.
Because let's face it, he was the biggest ratings getter, and they didn't want to lose him, and they didn't want to suffer the same kind of negative effect with their audience saying we don't want this guy on any more. He was the most popular guy they had.
SAVIDGE: Well, does this seem to affect their audience or their ratings negatively or their income?
CARTER: No. In fact, you know, most of the time nothing has affected their audience. None of the scandals (inaudible) seemed to affect their audience. You can argue that their conservative audience kind of wears blinders with regards to facts that come in from, you know, alternative sources. They don't believe them. Most Fox viewers watch Fox exclusively. They watch it all day long. They don't watch anything else. Information that comes in that gets dismissed, they tend to think is, you know, not real -- or they call it fake news, even though it's now, as I said, an enormous pile of information.
You would think at some point the facts creep in, but I think it's interesting to see long-term now whether a guy like O'Reilly can even come back. Can another network hire him after all of this? I mean, it seems like when you have six or seven women coming forward, it's no longer in doubt.
SAVIDGE: Well, and it's not so much just about O'Reilly, it's about a network overall. But B.J., let me bring you back to 21st Century Fox, the parent company. They issued a statement to the "The New York Times" saying that it was not aware of the amount of O'Reilly's settlement and described it as a personal issue between O'Reilly and his accuser. Does 21st Century Fox bear any responsibility in this scandal?
BERNSTEIN: It depends. I mean, it is completely viable that the lawyers in this case, the stories that are coming out with regard to settlements is that Bill O'Reilly personally settled and handled the matter without filing of a lawsuit here. This was a draft complaint.
Remember, the complainant was a legal analyst and so apparently there was a draft complaint that was never filed in court. So, it is possible that that was something not known to Fox because it's not like it was a matter of public record, a lawsuit that you could read online.
SAVIDGE: The $32 million you would have thought it would raise somebody's eyebrow.
BERNSTEIN: Well, again, though, most of those settlements are confidential. I know from handing a number of cases. There's always confidentiality clause and payments and that part of the other pushback that was happening overnight from O'Reilly's side, denying -- essentially denying the amount or that they don't know what they are talking about in terms of what "The Times" is saying.
SAVIDGE: All right. BJ Bernstein, thank you very much. Nice to see you again. Bill Carter, we appreciate it as well. Thank you both.
GALLAGHER: All right. From Fox News to Hollywood, more fallout for disgraced movie producer and director, Harvey Weinstein. The Director's Guild of America has filed disciplinary charges against him over the multiple sexual harassment and rape allegations against him. This move begins the process of kicking Weinstein out of the guild. He is in the Directors Guild because of his two co-director credits from back in the '80s.
[06:25:02] SAVIDGE: It started in response to Hurricane Harvey and then all five former presidents expanded their "One America Appeal." The storms hit Florida and then the Caribbean. Next, hear from the former commanders-in-chief at their benefit concert in Texas. GALLAGHER: Plus, Puerto Rico is still struggling without power and clean water more than one month after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.
GALLAGHER: Welcome back. I'm Diane Gallagher in for Christi Paul.
SAVIDGE: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.
GALLAGHER: All right. Martin, talk about star power here, five former leaders of the free world all chairing the exact same stage for hurricane relief.
SAVIDGE: And CNN correspondent, Kaylee Hartung got to be there at College Station, Texas to see it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five former living presidents working together to praise the American spirit.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: All of us on this stage here tonight could not be prouder of the response of Americans.
HARTUNG: And asked for continued support for hurricane recovery efforts.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is still work to be done in Texas and in Florida and our friends in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands have only begun to dig their way out of what could still be a calamitous disaster but can be a new beginning.
HARTUNG: Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama joined George H.W. Bush at Texas A&M University, home to his presidential library for a benefit concert.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I speak for the folks right here when I say we really admire and love George H.W. Bush.
HARTUNG: An evening originally planned to be the 20th anniversary celebration of Bush 41's library, transformed into an opportunity for the former presidents to help hurricane victims.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's all work together and make America still a greater volunteer nation.
HARTUNG: After Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas in September, the five former presidents led by the Bushes created the One America Appeal charity. As the hurricane season continued, so did the campaign's outreach to Florida and the Caribbean. To date, they've raised more than $30 million from over 80,000 donors. The work of the former presidents was praised by tremendous by
President Trump in a two-minute video message that was welcomed with applause.
TRUMP: In the aftermath of these terrible storms, the American people have done what we do best. We came together, we helped one another and, through it all, we remained resilient.
HARTUNG: It's unclear if the current president was invited to attend. A White House official says Trump was honored to be given an opportunity to participate in relief and recovery efforts.
LADY GAGA, MUSICIAN: Thank you so much for coming together and putting all of your differences aside. It is so incredible.
HARTUNG: Among the musical guests, Lady Gaga, who announced a partnership with One America Appeal to create a mental health program for hurricane victims.
LADY GAGA: So the response to these disasters must encompass the survivors' mental and emotional needs, as well as their physical well- being.
HARTUNG: A historic night in response to devastation and inspiration of historic proportions.
In College Station, Texas, Kaylee Hartung, CNN.
GALLAGHER: And part of that physical recovery of course more than one month after Puerto Rico was just completely devastated by Hurricane Maria people on that island are still struggling without basic amenities.
SAVIDGE: Yes. That shows that the need is still there because even now, just 20 percent of the island has power, 72 percent have access to clean drinking water.
CNN's Polo Sandoval takes a look at how residents are coping.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This school yard should be bustling with activity at the height of the fall semester, not today, not since Hurricane Maria threatened and later devastated Puerto Rico.
Like the island's other 1,100 public schools the doors to this high school have been closed since September 18th. Today the only signs of life are on the other end of the campus. Room 204 serves as Margarita Cosme Fuentes' temporary home.
MARGARITA COSME FUENTES, RESIDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SANDOVAL: This 52-year-old grandma of 11 tells me from one moment to another she lost her house and everything in it. Her grandson Ezequiel led us up the mountain side to show us what is left of their family's homes. There isn't much else he can do these days, like most of the students on this island, a return to class may provide a welcome escape from reality.
EZEQUIEL, STUDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SANDOVAL: He says the first thing he'll do when he gets back to class is hug his friends. He doesn't know when that will be, as long as displaced families like his are using classrooms as shelters classes can't resume.
The Department of Education announced Friday that some schools on the island would reopen on Tuesday but the teachers at this school say that won't happen here.
ROXANNA MIRANDA, DRAMA TEACHER: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SANDOVAL: "We have a lot of work to do," says Roxanna Miranda, a drama teacher, anxious to welcome her high schoolers back to class. There is optimism there is no real time line for when students will walk down these halls again. Even if displaced families are resettled, there are still plenty of obstacles.
MIRANDA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SANDOVAL: Classrooms are in disrepair. Roads are nearly impassible because of mudslides and there is still no running water in the town leaving families to struggle to survive.
FUENTES: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SANDOVAL: Margarita says she is staying strong and wants to see her grandchildren back in a classroom, just not this one.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, Corozal, Puerto Rico.
GALLAGHER: Well, a tornado ripped through a city in Oklahoma along with hail causing lots of damage. Allison Chinchar is joining us next with the look at that severe weather.
SAVIDGE: Plus, drug overdoses. They continue to rise in the U.S. How a father who lost his daughter to the opioid epidemic is fighting back.
SAVIDGE: A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed last night in Knoxville, Tennessee, slamming into several buildings and damaging at least two of them. GALLAGHER: Twenty rail cars tipped over fortunately there were no injuries and the train was not carrying any sort of hazardous materials. Norfolk Southern is expected to begin putting those rail cars back on the track a little later this morning.
SAVIDGE: And we're following severe weather in Oklahoma, a tornado tore through Norman downing power lines and destroying a casino's roof.
GALLAGHER: We want to bring in CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
Allison, it just seems like it never ends. Tell us what the weather in that area is looking like right now.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yesterday was a very active day in terms of severe weather. Five tornado reports, over 24 hail reports.
Again, keep in mind some of these were larger than baseballs. They were very large in terms of hail and more widespread, smaller hail, say about quarter or golf ball-sized. Thirty-seven wind reports as well.
The thing to know it's still ongoing. We have severe thunderstorm watches, tornado warnings, severe thunder storm warnings still active at this hour. So for many of these folks your night sky has been complete lit up with all of the lightning that is taking place.
This threat will continue throughout the day because it's expected to push a little bit further to the east. Now the main threat for today is going to be limited to the extremely southern region of the Gulf Coast but that does include the city of New Orleans.
Now a place that could use some of rain would be California, 16 active fires. That is up from yesterday, because the fire threat remains at either critical or elevated conditions for much of southern California.
Now here is the thing you have to understand about those fires. We haven't had much of a break for the firefighters there. Now when we look at the top 20 most destructive wildfires in California history, four of them have been this month alone.
Now we base this, Dianne and Martin, off of the amount of structures that were burned. You have to keep in mind if you're talking this many structures, these many acres that are burned, those firefighters are not getting a break.
So then to now tell them that there is a threat of even more wildfires or to have them spread, this is not good news for those folks in both northern and southern California.
GALLAGHER: All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you for keeping us up on that. SAVIDGE: Next, a father shares his compelling story about his daughter's drug addiction and fatal overdose and how the new law he is fighting for could help save others from the epidemic. That is coming up.
SAVIDGE: President Trump says that he will probably declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency next week. It would be a monumental move in the fight against a drug that kills 91 Americans every day. That according to the CDC.
GALLAGHER: Every day. More than two months have passed since President Trump first promised to sign this declaration but the president does say that it would be a big step that takes time to get right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are going to have a major announcement probably next week on the drug crisis and on the opioid massive problem and I want to get that absolutely right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: You might wonder just what would it mean? Well, a national emergency declaration authorizes funds for federal agencies and states that are fighting the opioid epidemic. These funds can then be used to bolster resources and to provide more accessible treatment for opioid users.
GALLAGHER: And joining me now is David Laws, a board member of the group Georgia Overdose Prevention. His daughter Laura Hope died of an opioid overdose.
SAVIDGE: David, thanks very much for being with us and we are sorry for your loss. Your loss actually represents just the loss of many, many Americans across this country. But tell us about Laura and tell us also how this all began.
DAVID LAWS, DAUGHTER DIED OF OPIOID OVERDOSE: Well, Laura was not unlike a lot of young people, right? They -- in high school, she was athletic and she was popular and involved in church and everything that kids go through. Also, she had struggles, right?
And one of the issues that she faced was, you know, her experimenting with drugs and alcohol and all children do that. And we are not -- you know, we are not denying that happens on a national level, but with a sports injury, a broken jaw, she was prescribed an opioid based medication.
Now at 15 years old, I know more now than I did then, but 15 years old, that could have got her on a path that she might not have stayed on. SAVIDGE: So that's how it began?
LAWS: Yes. I mean, there was other issues but, again, I'm not blaming it just on that but that contributed, 15 years old and opioid, it was liquid Lortab, something simple you would think. But I've learned now that --
GALLAGHER: How did it -- how did it escalate then from liquid Lortab -- how did it escalate?
LAWS: In being a person in long-term recovery myself, I understand addiction. So in a young mind and body, that pain relief feels really, really good. And they are going to like it.
So when a prescription runs out, you go find it other ways, whether it be medicine cabinets or, you know, and friends and this and that. But once you get hooked on that, I think there is 80 percent of the people who are exposed in opioid before 21 and up was substance use disorder. Eighty percent of people who don't get exposed to it before 21 have 80 percent don't have a chance of substance use disorder.
So -- and it's genetic too, you know.
SAVIDGE: What do you see though? I mean, obviously as a person who has dealt with this in the frontline what should we be doing? What are the answers here?
LAWS: Well, the answers are keep people alive. OK? You're not going to stop people from doing things. I mean, let's get that straight, OK?
But there's a lot of things the past administration did with budgeting, with the SAMHSA grant and funding that we have received through the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, money has flowed down from the SAMHSA grant from last year which gives it to CBO's community based organizations and there it trickles down into what we do with Georgia Overdose Prevention was able to distribute, you know, life saving Naloxone kits.
So to answer your question to what --
SAVIDGE: Wait. Just in case people don't know what that is?
LAWS: Yes. OK.
So Naloxone is -- Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. If you're in an overdose situation your receptors which the opioid, you know, drug clamps on to which causes you to stop breathing. That's when you -- OK -- yes.
GALLAGHER: And this is?
LAWS: Well, this is a nasal version. GALLAGHER: OK.
LAWS: But receptor is like this better than the drug.
SAVIDGE: So it's an antidote?
LAWS: It is an antidote.
SAVIDGE: And you want to get it into the hands of --
LAWS: High risk people, people coming out of recovery, people who know somebody, a next door neighbor, a loved one or an aunt or an uncle that's on pain management. I mean, we have now stories of older people that just get their pills wrong and they may take too much.
So this right here, in and of itself, in Georgia, there is 966 reversals that we know about from Georgia Overdose Prevention.
GALLAGHER: But it's not just -- I want to reiterate because we have to wrap up here.
GALLAGHER: It isn't just about that. It's also making sure that people aren't afraid to call 911.
LAWS: Great point.
GALLAGHER: And to prevent other parents from having to go through what you did?
LAWS: Great point. Great point.
Shatterproof is a national organization and it has helped in 14 states past legislation to expand access to Naloxone and also Good Samaritan Laws. Now Georgia's Good Samaritan 911 Law which is where you can don't run and call 911, the Governor Deal signed that into law in 2014. It is the gold standard in the nation.
SAVIDGE: This is really about getting over the stigma?
LAWS: Right. So back to the stigma part. Everybody knows -- we talked a little bit earlier before air about everybody knows somebody. So it's time to come out of the darkness and into the light. This is the new -- this is the face of addiction.
GALLAGHER: So is this.
LAWS: And so is this. And so am I.
There are so many people. There are people that choose to -- recovery is cool. Recovery works.
There is several pathways to recovery. I think in the president's announcement next week about the crisis -- you know, there's 60,000 people last year died. That is more than the Vietnam War. Put that in perspective. That is every year people are dying. So I think once people know about it and talk about it, once people are not afraid to say, I am one or I know one, you can have a purposeful life.
These 966 reversals are people who have second chances and who could end up being on the couch, being a news caster, being a politician, being a legislature and changing -- changing laws.
GALLAGHER: Changing laws. I think that's a wonderful way to end this. There is hop-e for people.
LAWS: There is. Where there's life --
GALLAGHER: Just like your daughter (INAUDIBLE).
LAWS: Right. That's right. Where there is life there's -- where there's life, there is hope.
SAVIDGE: Thank you.
GALLAGHER: Thank you so much for being with us.
LAWS: Thank you so much for having me.
SAVIDGE: (INAUDIBLE) in the aftermath of the U.S. military deaths in Niger, is President Trump rushing to send condolence letters to military families?
That discussion is coming up in the next hour.
GALLAGHER: And coming up, Jeanne Moos on the tale of two Renoirs. Trump has one but which one is the real Renoir? We're going to be right back.
SAVIDGE: This week's CNN hero was shocked when she show brand-new children's books going to waste. So Rebecca Constantino started an organization that has donated books to poor children now for nearly 20 years.
GALLAGHER: And she has even transformed the places now where they go to read them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REBECCA CONSTANTINO, CNN HERO: For a child, the library can be a magical place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm officially the most awesome girl in the world.
CONSTANTINO: 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 underserved communities and schools. Our whole goal is to spread literacy and the benefits of literacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: And to see Rebecca and her team in action, go to CNNheroes.com.
SAVIDGE: President Trump is being called out for touting a fake painting as an original by one of the world's most famous names in art.
GALLAGHER: CNN's Jeanne Moos reports. And it seems that the painting has been in a museum for the past 84 years.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forget about --
TRUMP: Fake news.
MOOS: -- we are talking about fake art. This is that really a Renoir in the President's Trump tower apartment, visible in the background as Melania didn't an interview.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS: What annoys him? What does he get mad about? What does he like?
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Stupidity.
MOOS: That's what when Tim O'Brien was writing his the book, "Trump Nation, The Art Of Being The Donald," the Renoir was hanging in Trump's plane.
TIM O'BRIEN, BIOGRAPHER: And I asked him about the painting and Donald said that's an original Renoir. And I said no, it's not, Donald.
And he said that's the original. That's an original Renoir.
I said, Donald, it's not. I grew up in Chicago. That Renoir is called "Two Sisters on a Terrace" and it's hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago.
MOOS: The Art Institute confirms it's been there since it was donated by this art collector in 1933. The institute told the "Chicago Tribune, "We are satisfied that our version is real."
Now the President's Renoir is being referenced in quotes, called a fake in various languages, the butt of jokes.
"His is signed by Wrenwahr, so it is all good." Next thing, you know, the painting was popping up all over. "Hey, I have one too. Got mine at the gift shop in Art Institute of Chicago."
Before the election, "Two Sisters on a Terrace" hovered over a "60 MINUTES" interview.
TRUMP: He is entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.
MOOS: Theorized one poster, "Without a doubt Trump bought a forgery but the master huckster can never admit he was swindled."
Biographer Tim O'Brien had a different take.
O'BRIEN: He believes his own lies.
MOOS: Remember the bogus magazine discovered on the wall of Trump as golf clubs? Someone tweeted about the painting. "Was it hanging next to his fake "Time" magazine cover?"
It is now. Somebody has been framed.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.