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U.S. Troops Ambushed in Niger; Trump's Tweet Inflames Controversy Over Fallen Soldier; Xi's Thoughts Part Of Communist Party Constitution; Despite Retreat, ISIS Planning For Future; Ramping Up The Opioid Battle. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 24, 2017 - 02:00   ET





GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We owe the families as much information as we can find out about what happened. And we owe the American people an explanation of what their men and women were doing at this particular time.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): What we now know about the ambush which left American and Nigerian soldiers dead and the role ISIS played.

Also while the U.S. military speaks up, President Donald Trump fall silent. How he dodged further questions after the widow who received that controversial condolence call had this to say.


AYESHIA JOHNSON, GOLD STAR WIDOW: The president said that he knew what he signed up for. But it hurts anyways. And I was -- it made me cry.


VAUSE (voice-over): The political fallout surrounding what was or was not said.

And Mr. Trump set to declare a U.S. emergency on opioids. How a wall won't be enough to stop drugs spilling across the U.S.-Mexico border.

All of that ahead on this third hour of CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.


VAUSE: There is new information -- not a lot to be sure -- about the deadliest combat loss during Donald Trump's presidency. Part of a promise of transparency from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the families of the four dead U.S. soldiers and too the American people At a briefing on Monday, General Joseph Dunford said the patrol was heading back to the base in Niger, when it came under attack by dozens of ISIS fighters. He then describes what happened next.


DUNFORD: About an hour after the initial contact was made, they requested support. When they requested support, it took the French aircraft -- the French were ready to go in 30 minutes -- and then it took them 30 minutes, approximately 30 minutes, to get on the scene.

So from that I think it's a fair conclusion to say that about two hours after the initial contact was made, the initial French Mirages arrived overhead.


VAUSE: CNN's Jim Sciutto was at that briefing by General Joseph Dunford and filed this report.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: John, unlike some administration officials in the nearly three weeks since this deadly ambush, General Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, came to the podium at the Pentagon and prepared to answer all questions.

He said all questions are fair and he will give answers where he can. The fact is, though, that there are a lot of questions he could not answer yet, as they continue to investigate. He did clear up a few things.

He said, for one, this unit was on its way back to it base when they were attacked. It wasn't freelancing, as it were, it wasn't, he said -- or at least he has no information yet that they were going outside of their orders.

He also said that they called in for air support only after an hour into this firefight. And his assessment of why that was is that the local commanders likely thought, at least, that they could handle this firefight. Of course, it didn't turn out that way.

But also there are still many unanswered questions: one, why did it take 48 hours to find the body of Sergeant La David Johnson, missing for that time?

Why was his body found nearly a mile away from the initial contact?

Again, he took the questions but he said we just don't have answers to those questions. I asked him as well, do they know if the evacuating forces who took out the wounded and the dead did a head count when they did the evacuation to know that one of their fellow service members was missing?

He didn't know the answer to that question yet, either. But one thing he did make clear, he said that, listen, both the families and American public deserve to know answers to these questions and he said that he will deliver transparency -- his words -- to the public and to the family members -- John.


VAUSE: CNN military analyst retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now.

Colonel, this news conference by General Dunford seemed to be more about appearance than substance, this wish to appear to be transparent. But at the same time, there wasn't a lot of new information about what actually happened.

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think the reason there's not a whole lot of new information is because they don't know the answers yet. I do appreciate his offer to be more transparent and I think that's very important. But I think he put the right tone on all this and I think he appeared to try and answer the questions that everybody has.

I feel sorry for the general because he is trying to field a bunch of questions, very difficult questions and very pertinent questions. But we just don't have the answers yet. There's so many things we don't know about what happened out there.

And that's why I think the FBI has been brought into this. It's not unusual for the FBI to be brought in but they don't do it all the time.

VAUSE: The new details we found out on Monday, do they add any significant insight to you, about how all this played out?


FRANCONA: Not really. This is very classic foreign internal defense mission. This is a specific mission handed to the U.S. Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. They're very good at it. And these are very highly trained teams. They go out and work with the locals.

And Jim gave a pretty good rundown of how they do it and why they do it. And it's been very effective throughout the world, Africa being our latest challenge. And if we can get these host nations to develop their own internal defense capabilities, we won't have to deploy large numbers of forces like we had to do in Iraq and Syria.

We nip the problem in the bud long before it becomes an issue requiring our intervention. So that's what they were doing there. And I think that those missions are going to continue. And I think the general was upfront about that.

VAUSE: A number of U.S. lawmakers -- in particular in the Senate -- have raised questions about the presence of U.S. troops in Niger. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), S.C.: They're going to brief us next week as to why they were there and what they were doing. I didn't know there was 1,000 troops in Niger.

CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST (voice-over): You heard Senator Graham there. He didn't know we had 1,000 troops in Niger.

Did you?


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Did you know how many men and women were on the ground in Niger and what they were doing there?



VAUSE: It's not a covert operation. It was announced back in 2013 by President Obama.

What's the surprise?

FRANCONA: The foreign internal defense is an overt mission. It's something that we talk about. We're proud of how we're doing this. We like to talk this up, that we're working with the local population. The fact none of these senators knew that is -- it's unconscionable, John.

I knew about this and I have no special access. This has been going on for years. In Niger, right now, is the largest Air Force construction project on the books, $100 million. We're building an airfield that will handle C-17s and it's going to be the central operations base for all of the drones operating in Northern and Western Africa.

And these senators who are on the Armed Services Committee, who had to allocate that money, didn't know about it?

This is absurd.

VAUSE: You know, General Dunford's news conference, it came while the president is in the midst of -- let's call it a disagreement -- with the widow of Sergeant Johnson over his condolence call. For you, as someone who's served and you've served with men and women who have been killed in action, what's the impact of all of this, what some have been calling the politicization of fallen soldiers?

FRANCONA: Yes, this is really a sad event and I'm not going to throw stones or blame or anything. But this has got to stop. These families need to grieve. They need to be treated with respect. And this is the sacred bond between the American people and their fallen soldiers. And no member of Congress and no member of the administration should get in the way of that.

We should be supportive of this. And the last thing we need is to draw political battles over this. And you can see it starting. You can see the party lines coming out. And we don't need this. So we need to stop this now and get on with the grieving and the recommitment to this mission.

VAUSE: Yes, good advice. Just stop it. Colonel, as always good to see you. Thank you.

FRANCONA: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: What she says she heard and what Donald Trump says he said, the gap between the U.S. president and the widow of a fallen soldier, that's next when our political panel weighs in.

And then, Chinese president Xi Jinping written into the history books, ushering in a new era of leadership, all with the unanimous vote at the party's congress.


Well, the 19th party congress has just wrapped up here in China and the result, Xi Jinping has probably amassed more political power than any Chinese leader before him, since that guy right there, chairman Mao Zedong. Coming up, we'll tell you how he managed to pull it off.






VAUSE: The widow of one of the four American soldiers killed in the ISIS ambush in Niger is speaking publicly and says the president's condolence call last week made her cry. She also wants answers about what actually happened to her husband. CNN's Jim Acosta has the latest.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House appears to be putting the brakes on any more comments on the deaths of those four soldiers in Niger. President Trump was asked repeatedly about his handling of the soldier's deaths as well as his treatment of a Gold Star mother but unlike last week, there was near total silence from the president.

ACOSTA (voice-over): It was an uncharacteristically silent President Trump, avoiding questions all day long on the widow of La David Johnson. The Army sergeant killed along with three other service members in Niger earlier this month.

But the questions are not going away, in part because the sergeant's widow, Myeshia Johnson, shared with ABC that the president said her late husband knew what he was signing up for in a phone call.

MYESHIA JOHNSON, GOLD STAR WIDOW: The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways. And I was -- it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone in his voice. The only way he remembered my husband name because he told me had my husband report in front of him.

And that's when he actually said La David. I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband name. And that what hurting me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can't you remember his name?

ACOSTA: Shortly after the interview the president took the unusual step of correcting the widow, tweeting, "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson and spoke his name from the beginning without hesitation."

The widow also (INAUDIBLE) Congresswoman Frederica Wilson who was in the car with Johnson when the president's call came in.

JOHNSON: Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 percent correct. It was MSgt. Mayhew (ph) me, my aunt, my uncle and the driver and Ms. Wilson in the car. The phone was on speakerphone.

Why would we fabricate something like that?

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president and Congresswoman Wilson are still at it on Twitter, with Mr. Trump trying to capitalize politically on the exchange, tweeting, "Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party. A disaster for Dems. You watch her in action and vote Republican."

And Wilson firing back, "Niger is President Trump's Benghazi. He needs to own it."

Wilson is also hitting back at White House chief of staff John Kelly, who erroneously stated the congresswoman took credit during a 2015 speech for funding an FBI facility in Florida, something she didn't do, tweeting, "General Kelly owes the nation an apology because when he lied about me, he lied to the American public."

Now the president's near-total silence on the controversy stands in stark contrast with the scene in the Rose Garden one week ago, when he suggested he was more compassionate than past commanders in chief when it came to fallen soldiers.

TRUMP: If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Add to that, "Roll Call's" reporting the White House scrambled to obtain contact information for families of fallen service members after the president told FOX Radio he almost always makes those calls.

TRUMP: I have called I believe everybody but certainly I'll use the word virtually everybody.

ACOSTA (voice-over): It's another textbook example of the president throwing the White House off message, this week's agenda item overshadowed: tax reform.

TRUMP: People want to see it and I call it tax cuts. It is tax reform also but I call it tax cuts.

ACOSTA: The White House confirmed the West Wing did expedite condolence letters to family members after the president's remarks in the Rose Garden last week. But this official said during the process a discovery was made that there were bureaucratic reasons for why some of the letters had not gone out to the families sooner --


ACOSTA: -- and most of cases, this official said, the letters and contacts were delayed because the service member killed in action had, quote, "been involved in multiple casualty incidences." This official said the White House then directed that the condolence letters be sent out -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Here with me now, talk show radio host Ethan Bearman and Shawn Steel, a member of the California Republican Committee and former chairman of the California Republican Party.

It's good to see you both.

OK, let's just start with the White House, which has actually come to admit that there was a scramble to back up the president's claim that he made last week, that he contacted every family of a service man or woman who'd been killed in action.

One source is telling CNN, "The West Wing did attempt to expedite condolence letters to families of fallen soldiers after the president's remarks in the Rose Garden last week after a discovery was made that there were bureaucratic reasons for why some of the letters had not one out."

So, Ethan, the old bureaucratic bungle is to blame for all this.

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK SHOW RADIO HOST: Right, and then to immediately turn around and instead of accepting that there was a mistake made, then to attack President Obama, saying, but he didn't do it, either, which we know wasn't true because he did actually call and hug and give condolences to the families.

This is a problem that this president has, that he isn't compassionate to some of these people that are his citizens, that have died serving our country. And then for him to turn around and attack instead of accepting some responsibility, this goes all the way back to the campaign, though. He doesn't want to accept the responsibility; he attacks instead of acknowledging.

VAUSE: And Shawn, this is buck passing.

Is this the equivalent of a dog ate my homework?

SHAWN STEEL, REPUBLICAN: It's not even quite that. I think we're trying to create something where nothing exists. Trump actually called every single person that the military protocol gave to him 100 percent of the time. And he had his generals with him and he asked them, well, how do you talk to somebody like that's lost her husband, when the wife is pregnant and he says, well, and this was exactly what General Kelly said, he says, well, you know, you knew what husband was exactly where he wanted to be at the time. He's highly trained. He gave his life for his country.

So Trump in his best way possible gave a heartfelt condolences as he should, as a president should. And I'm sure Obama did, too. And I happen to have personal information that he did do it.

The key is, why are they politicking?

And we have this congresswoman who dresses like a circus clown that's making this thing something that was untoward and that's the line that the colonel was talking about.

VAUSE: OK, well, I think most of us would agree that, at the end of the day, Myeshia Johnson, whose husband, La David Johnson, was killed in Niger, her voice should be the one that is the loudest and the one that is most heard. And she spoke about the condolence call she received from the president. Here's what she said on Monday.


JOHNSON: The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways. And I was -- it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone in his voice and how he said it. He couldn't remember my husband name.

I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband name. And that what hurting me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can't you remember his name?


VAUSE: OK, not long after that interview (INAUDIBLE) on "Good Morning, America," on ABC, the president seemed to call her a liar, I guess, tweeting this, "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson and spoke his name from beginning without hesitation."

And, Ethan, isn't this just one time when Donald Trump should throw away the no-apology playbook and just allow a grieving widow to have the last word?

BEARMAN: Yes, you're talking about a soldier who died in the line of duty in Africa for the United States of American, the widow is clearly grieving. But I think this also speaks to something else. President Trump is known for winging it, not wanting to have notes, not wanting to be prompted by his advisers.

Have the name written down when you're on the phone, calling the widow. And all you have to do is say, I am so terribly sorry. Thank you so much for your husband's service. It means so much to us. Please accept our condolences and --


STEEL: And how small is our political world gone that when a president makes a heartfelt, good faith effort, where General Kelly, who lost his own son, never got a call from Obama, by the way, he loses his own son, he is standing right next to the president and he's saying this is a shameful moment when politicians -- and this is why Congress is so unpopular -- takes a cheap shot.

What was the congresswoman doing in the room of a grieving widow?

BEARMAN: They're in a car together. They were in a car together on speakerphone.


BEARMAN: -- on the speakerphone.

STEEL: Why was she -- why did she set it up so that she tried to get involved in the conversation? A congresswoman shouldn't have been there. She politicized --


VAUSE: They were old family friends.


VAUSE: She's known the family for years and years and years. The family invited her into the car.


VAUSE: The president was calling Ms. Johnson on the way to the airport to receive the body of her husband. It was on speakerphone. She listened in to that call just like John Kelly, the White House chief of staff listened in to the call on his end at the White House.

The president didn't answer a lot of questions on Monday about what happened in Niger. He would rather feud with Ms. Johnson but he is now firing back on Twitter against Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. She, of course, is what he revealed all of this last week.

This is what he tweeted out. "Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action and vote Republican."

Really? Is this something that you should be politicking over?

Is this an issue for politics? STEEL: John, I wouldn't do it. But Trump is a totally different type of person. And if you're going to attack him, he is going to counter punch. That's his line. And you know what, a lot of people don't like that. A lot of people are uncomfortable with it. But last time I looked, he was elected president and Hillary wasn't and the Democrats can't get over that.

VAUSE: But (INAUDIBLE) just common standards of decency, regardless of who you are?

BEARMAN: Absolutely and on top of it all, I would suggest that the Republican Party is showing its misogyny again as well, because General Kelly also said "that woman." She is a congresswoman, she has a title. You can call her representative, you can call her congresswoman. You sure don't call her --


BEARMAN: -- that woman. That woman. Congresswoman, she's a congresswoman.


BEARMAN: -- an embarrassment.

VAUSE: Well, she's -- also has her argument to make against John Kelly, the president's chief of staff. As we know, John Kelly called out Congresswoman Wilson last week. She's now hitting back.

"General Kelly owes the nation an apology because he lied about me. He lied to the American public."

And Shawn, either General Kelly got a few facts wrong because either he lied or he was given wrong information --


VAUSE: -- but regardless of how he got those facts wrong, does he deserve -- should he make an apology at this point?

Does the congresswoman owe an apology?

STEEL: I think he made a mistake but I don't think anybody at this table believes that he actually made a lie. And I think it would probably be appropriate. But I still think she's helped reinvent the word "empty barrel" because she's ringing loudly.

Frankly I like her in green than red. I don't know about you.

VAUSE: Well, what we're seeing here -- it's been playing out -- is somebody else who's been draping this administration with a reputation for honor, for service, for years of dedication to this country, is being tarnished by association with the president. The president seems to be trading off their image to protect his own and it's doing a lot of harm to their reputations. BEARMAN: there's no question, General Kelly has a sterling reputation and suddenly being trotted out to make -- somehow speak for the president on this call has hurt him because he was not telling the truth about Representative Wilson. And, again, Representative Wilson, duly elected by the citizens, in her district, not just some woman.

VAUSE: We see all this play out; Sean Spicer had a very good reputation before he took the job as --

STEEL: General Kelly came out on his own, we know that. It wasn't something put up on to --


STEEL: -- and it's defamatory. But Kelly comes out and gives the most impassioned statement of any chief of staff for the last 50 years. It was a dramatic --


STEEL: -- this is why Democrats lose. They listen to a perfectly good, responsible person and it doesn't matter how kind and loving they are, they still attack, attack to destroy.

VAUSE: OK, well you did say he should --


STEEL: You can have the congresswoman. I'll take the general and you'll continue to lose elections.

VAUSE: OK, well, the current commander in chief as most of us probably remember, received five deferments during the Vietnam War. If anybody has forgotten, here's Senator John McCain.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: In one aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance, is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we're going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.


VAUSE: So the back story here is that Donald Trump received one of those deferments because of bone spurs in his foot.

But, Shawn, liberals have certainly joined this feud between Donald Trump and John McCain.

But at the end of the day, what does it achieve?

STEEL: I think we see another politician that is completely lost his moral bearing, is not making a lot of sense -- (CROSSTALK)

STEEL: I'm talking about your politician, John McCain. And it's embarrassing to watch John. He's not doing very well. And I think we should respect him for what he's --

BEARMAN: Because the president disrespected him during the campaign.

STEEL: I agree with that.

BEARMAN: It was horrible what the president said.

STEEL: But on the other hand that's politics. And he's playing -- and McCain's playing --

BEARMAN: And by the way, so now he's getting his due because this is the most powerful man in the Senate, who has come --



BEARMAN: -- armed forces.

STEEL: He's not that powerful. McCain's service for the military was excellent in every regard, beyond the valor of most Americans. As a politician, starting with the Keating (ph) scandal, he's been a dismal failure and he's getting worse.

VAUSE: I guess even the last question, though, more liberals have been cheering what John McCain has been saying. Maybe it's little late.

BEARMAN: It is a little bit late. But look, Senator McCain has a very long and storied career in the Senate. He has himself run for president as well. Yes, we would have liked to have seen him speak more strongly about now President Trump back in the campaign. But this is his time to do it, when this is what's going on and the president is attacking essentially attacking a widow of a man, Sergeant Johnson --


VAUSE: OK, we'll leave it there. Ethan and Shawn, as always, good to have you both with us. Thank you.

Jordan's Queen Rania (ph) is calling for a stepped-up response to the plight of the Rohingya Muslims. She visited refugees on Monday in Bangladesh.


QUEEN RANIA AL ABDULLAH, JORDAN: The residents have spoken to me of unimaginable acts of violence that they have witnessed. Children have been orphaned, women brutalized, family members butchered, villages burned to the ground. VAUSE (voice-over): More than 500,000 Rohingya are now living in

camps in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in their native Myanmar. A government counter offensive (INAUDIBLE) forced them to leave the country. The United Nations calls it ethnic cleansing and is asking for $430 million aid. So far $340 million have been pledged.

Time for a quick break. "STATE OF AMERICA" with Kate Bolduan is up next for our viewers in Asia. For everyone else, the Pentagon says the U.S. president in Niger is part of a strategy to combat terror groups like ISIS. But is ISIS on the run or is it a growing threat? CNN's Arwa Damon has that report.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we're already seeing ISIS over the course of the last few years taking advantage of security vacuums that exist worldwide, expanding their footprint into North Africa, Southeast Asia and beyond.

VAUSE (voice-over): More on what the future holds for ISIS -- after a short break.



[02:30:02] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM Live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staffs says the families of four fallen American soldiers deserved access on the deadly ISIS (AUDIO GAP) Niger.


GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, JR., CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: With regard to being transparent, I think we do owe the families and the American people transparency in incidents like this, and we intend to deliver just that.


VAUSE: General Dunford also said the troops requested help about an hour after the firefight began. French military jets arrived about an hour after that.

China's Communist Party Congress has just wrapped up, elevating President Xi Jinping with a very rare honor, his political ideology and name have been added to the Party's constitution. His thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era is now a guiding principle for the party. Let's go to Beijing right now. CNN's Matt Rivers live in Tiananmen Square, has not been a rest -- oh, you're back at the Bureau. Got forced out of Tiananmen Square, it looks like.

OK, Matt, explain exactly how this honor now translates to Xi Jinping, essentially expanding his power and authority in China like few leaders ever have.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. John, slightly different than times in the past where we are forced out Tiananmen Square. This time, we were politely escorted out of Tiananmen Square. But, as far as Xi Jinping goes, look, this -- Xi Jinping thought being inscribed, enshrined if you will into the Communist Party's Constitution is something that we have not seen. The China is Communist Party dos since the days of Mao Zedong. You have Mao Zedong thought written into the constitution. And now, you have Xi Jinping thought. That puts Xi at a level that we haven't seen since Mao Zedong. Not even Deng Xiaoping, Mao's successor, managed to get to that level.

So, really, we can't overstate the importance of this moving forward for Xi. He's managed to amass an incredible amount of political party over -- or power, rather, over the last next five years and it really puts him in a unique position, moving forward over the next five years to really kind of do what he wants to do. He is now the undisputed center of power for not only the Communist Party but for China internally and abroad. It really is quite the accomplishment for Xi Jinping to have his name. Even if it's relatively symbolic, his name, next to the word "thought" written into this constitution.

VAUSE: You know, normally, at these party meetings they happen twice a decade, the leader will reveal their heir apparent and, you know, those closest to him. But it seems that may not even happen this time. What's the deal and schedule on all of that?

RIVERS: Yes. Well, tomorrow morning here in local time, so that would be Wednesday morning local time, is when the standing committee of the Communist Party's Politburo is revealed. And the way that those men are presented, and I say men because it is always men. There are no women that have been on that standing committee.

The way they're presented to the public allows us to trying to get a clue as to who the heir apparent might be. That's what happens with Xi Jinping back in 2007. And while we don't know for sure, what most analysts are saying is given Xi Jinping's success in getting his name written into the constitution, there very well may not be an heir apparent presented tomorrow morning when this Standing Committee is revealed.

So, what does that mean? Well, it means that Xi Jinping could be positioning himself to stay on longer than 2022. That has been precedent that the leaders of China's Communist Party stay on for two five-year terms. When 2022 rolls around, you would expect in the past, Xi Jinping to step down. But if there is no obvious heir apparent that comes out tomorrow morning, then you could see Xi Jinping try and stay on and maintain the grip of power that he has so successfully managed to do thus far.

VAUSE: Interesting times, which by the way, is another Chinese saying. Matt, thank you. Matt Rivers live in Beijing for us.

OK. Well, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff is also warning ISIS remains a global threat. As Arwa Damon reports, the militant group is all cashed up and making plans for the future.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, given ISIS's significant territorial losses, one can be misled into assuming that perhaps they are losing. But that's not the case when it comes to an organization that is this experienced and highly capable of morphing and readapting itself.

We spoke to two mid-ranking ISIS members who handed themselves over to the Syrian Democratic forces who had some interesting insight as to what it is that ISIS may be planning next.


DAMON: ISIS's survival is not tied to the fate of its crumbling caliphate, it planned for this day.

"ISIS did calculate that one day they will be finished," the Bahraini man says, his voice calm and steady. His name is Omar, he says he was in charge of ideological training at ISIS military camps in Deir ez- Zor and Raqqa.

[02:35:07] He tells us, "They did not put a lot of money into the battles they fought. The weapons they used were the weapons of the enemy, the money went elsewhere," Omar says. Even during times of austerity, there was always a calculation for the future. No one knows exactly how much ISIS is worth now.

In 2014, the group was thought to have a total of $1.5 to $2 billion. It was making a million dollars a day from oil fields, more than enough for its regular expenses. ISIS has distributed its revenues overseas for the next phase of its war.

Isoma is an ISIS member from Morocco, who oversaw the border crossings between Turkey and ISIS territory. He tells us, that ISIS would train and dispatch members to set up companies, which then acted as facilitators but also behaved as regular businesses.

ISIS may no longer physically control swaths of Syria and Iraq, but it thrives underground and it is widely assumed that the ISIS leadership, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his top lieutenants are in the border areas between Syria and Iraq, familiar territory. The first stage of the ISIS insurgency back in 2010 was called aggressive hibernation, making money, building networks in the deserts and cities of Iraq. In many ways, ISIS is going back to that strategy, waiting for the next opportunity. It's an ideology that exploits and feeds off of deep- seated grievances, fosters a thirst for revenge.

"They will spring up somewhere else," Omar says, "if you don't know how to fight them ideologically." ISIS plots for the long game. Its leaders are fond of saying that it's not ruling Mosul and Raqqa that counts. It's the will to fight, and ISIS will once again simply bide its time. Arwa Damon, CNN, Northern Syria.


VAUSE: Arwa, thank you. Well, the U.S. President is about to take on America's opioid addiction and Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on a role of border wall could play.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This literally is a physical wall in between series of events that (INAUDIBLE).

SCOTT BROWN, LAW ENFORCEMENT, HOMELAND SECURITY: The vast amount of hard narcotics, don't come through in places like this.


VAUSE: Coming up, confronting the opioid epidemic.


VAUSE: Later this week, President Donald Trump is expected to declare the opioid crisis in the U.S., a national emergency. And take a look at this chart which shows the dramatic rise in opioid overdoses from 2000 to 2014. That green line, that's the number of deaths involving any opioid. While the other line shows the number of deaths related to specific opioids like heroin, fentanyl, both synthetic drugs.

[02:40:10] Opioids are designed to mimic the pain reducing qualities of opium, some are legal, others are not. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says Mexican cartels are the biggest source of these illegal drugs which enter the country. Dr. Sanjay Gupta went to the border to see if a wall could actually stop the drugs.


GUPTA: What is the first thing that sort of flags this?

BROWN: Sometimes it's a driver's behavior, they're unnaturally nervous for crossing the border. Sometimes it's the car hasn't crossed the borderline or sometimes the car's crossed the border, you know, too often.

GUPTA: What you're witnessing here are efforts in stopping drugs from coming through the U.S.-Mexican border.

BROWN: You know, almost every car crossing is crossing for a legitimate reason. It's just a very small percentage that comes in carrying contraband. But I think when the inspectors pick up on something, their success rate is pretty high. When you tell the dog, sit down at the back of the car, that's how that -- the good dog alert.

GUPTA: Special agent-in-charge, Scott Brown, oversees the two some field office for Homeland Security Investigations, and drugs are a big part of what he does.

BROWN: This is how it happens. I mean, what we're witnessing here is what happens every day along the southwest border of the U.S. and, you know, the officers at the ports of entry are phenomenal, they're fantastic at identifying fresh tool marks that shouldn't be there, So, a screw that's been recently turned that there wouldn't be a reason for a screw is unturned, they can pick up on that. I mean, they're experts in what they do.

GUPTA: That's just human art and intelligence together.

BROWN: Yes, absolutely.

GUPTA: What they find, about 24 kilos of hard drugs. Minutes later, field testing reveals cocaine.

This is a win today, right?

BROWN: This is definitely a win.

GUPTA: In the midst of the countries opioid epidemic, President Trump has made building up the wall a cornerstone of his agenda.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wall is going to get built, but just in case anybody has any question, the wall is going to get built and the wall is going to stop drugs.

GUPTA: But I wanted to learn just how effective the wall would be at accomplishing that.

This literally is a physical wall in between two countries that we're looking at here.

BROWN: The vast amount of hard narcotics don't come through at places like this. The vast amount of hard narcotics come through at the ports of entry where we just were.

GUPTA: And besides meth, cocaine, heroin, or marijuana, its fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin, it's the biggest challenge nowadays. The most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control found that overdosed deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl rose over 72 percent in just a year.

GUPTA: In the past, cartels might try and smuggle 100 kilograms of drugs across the border. It wasn't easy to do, they are likely to get caught. But here's part of the problem, nowadays, they could smuggle across something that looks like this. This is just a one-kilogram bag of flour but if this were street fentanyl, it would cost about $8,000 to make, could be turned into a million pills and then sold for $20 to $30 million on the black market. All of that, from a small container that looks like this.

BROWN: The vast majority of fentanyl is produced in China, it comes into the U.S. two ways. You know, it comes into Mexico where these are pressed into pill form or combined with heroin. The other way it comes in is American consumers buying it direct oftentimes from vendors out of China.

GUPTA: Well, then it gets mailed in?

BROWN: U.S. mail, which is the most common. A very small quantity of fentanyl is very hard to detect in the masses of letters that come into the U.S. every day.

GUPTA: How effective is a wall at preventing drugs from getting into the United States?

BROWN: In terms of hard narcotics? No, I don't know if we can get an immediately safer over hard narcotics. As of right now, the vast majority of hard narcotics come in through the ports of entry in deep concealment or coming through, you know, the mail or fresh consignments.


GUPTA: So, as you can see, it's a totally different war on drugs nowadays when you're talking about a package this size, a kilogram about $8,000 worth of raw ingredients. That can get turned into a million pills, each pill costing $30.00, that's $30 million dollars. 8,000 into 39. So, the economics of it are such a tremendous incentive for people to just keep trying. Through the mail, in the back of a car, whatever it takes. That's what the war on drugs looks like nowadays with all these brand new drugs. Back to you.

VAUSE: Sanjay, thank you. And that is it for us, I'm John Vause. Stay with CNN. "WORLD SPORT" is up next, after a quick break.


[02:46:38] KATE RILEY, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello, welcome along to WORLD SPORT, I'm Kate Riley at CNN Center. It has been a decade of dominance from this two football players. We are talking about Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. And between them, they have scooped up all of the best player of the year awards since 2008. Now, their rivalry is evenly matched.

Who has the best seat of Football Awards on Monday night? Now, these awards, remember, are different to that of the Ballon d'Or and at the London Palladium, it was Real Madrid's Ronaldo, claiming the biggest prize of the night ahead of Messi in second place and Neymar in third. The (INAUDIBLE) has had another stellar year leading his team to a second consecutive Champions League Title, and Madrid's first domestic league title in five years. By Messi, this is his fifth FIFA World Player of the Year award.


CHRISTIANO RONALDO, FOOTBALL PLAYER, REAL MADRID: I'm really glad. This is a great moment for me. FIFA gave opportunity to the -- to the fans. I know I have fans all over the world. So, thank you a lot for the support.


RILEY: Sounds as though the audience were happy with that one. And it was also many congratulations for Lieke Martens who's won the Women's Player of the Year Award. She is, of course, the Barcelona midfielder, who was a standout player of the UEFA Women's European Championship in 2017. Martens helped lead the Netherlands to victory. And not only that, but she was also named the best player of the tournament, and has been quite a year for her, hasn't it elsewhere. And it was the historic night for Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, he was

named as the best coach of the year. He's previously been the best player of the year and he received this accolade in record time, just two years. (INAUDIBLE) has been in the hot seat for Madrid's back-to- back Champions League wins and their trophies so far in 2017.

Staying with football now, but away from the celebrations in London, there was nothing to cheer about for Ronald Koeman on Monday. There aren't too many tears shed for managers when they're sacked in the English Premier League. It's a very well paid gig, remember. And payments usually continue after the day of termination. However, it remains a precarious business. The new season is just nine games old but three managers are already out of work. Frank de Boer was the first to go, terminated after just four games at Crystal Palace, at the time the Eagles hadn't even managed to score a goal.

And then, there was Craig Shakespeare sacked less than a year after he took over from Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City. And now, Everton are looking for a new man. Ronald Koeman has been given his marching orders on Monday after a dismal season at Goodison Park's Sunday's humiliating 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal was the final straw, but the Toffees have looked miserable all season. They have the third worst defense in the league. Everton are now looking for their fourth manager in just over a year. And the next casualty might be on the horizon, as well. Slaven Bilic is a man under serious pressure at West Ham. And if the Hammers can't beat Palace on Saturday, he could well be a goner as well.

[02:49:46] Well, across the pond now for some NBA news. And Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors' title defense have gotten off to a bumpy start. The Californian team has lost two of its first three games. And now, Curry is being fined for the team's frustration. The NBA just fined Curry $50,000 for tossing his mouthpiece at an official. The incident happened over the weekend in a loss to the Grizzlies. Curry got upset after a ref had felt that he had foul -- have been fouled and then launched the mouthpiece in his direction. The two-time league MVP was immediately ejected. As part of the same incident, Warriors' Andre Iguodala has also been fined $15,000 this time for verbally abusing a game official.

Meanwhile, the World Series is less than 24 hours away, and it's been almost 30 years in the making for the L.A. Dodgers, the one of the most iconic teams in baseball, but you might not know why. Stay with us for the answer.


RILEY: Welcome back. We are turning our attention now to the end of the women's tennis season, where momentum can be very important. And the French tennis player Caroline Garcia certainly had it all at the end of this campaign. She's won back-to-back titles in China and squeezing into the eighth and final burst of the WTA Finals in Singapore. However, her 11 match-winning streak came to an abrupt end when she ran into the world number one, Simona Halep. In the red group, Halep was the more confident of the two in a dominant performance, racing to a straight-set victory 6-4, 6-2. Meanwhile, blink and you would have missed the other red group match between Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina. This was something of a grudge match for Wozniacki, who'd lost two finals to her Ukrainian opponent this season. Plus, she came out of the gate firing and this went rushing to Svitolina, 6-2, 6-0. She won the last 10 consecutive games in a round, so it was done and dusted in less than an hour.

World Series is one of the oldest competitions in sports. And the 2017 installment is almost upon us. And on Tuesday, night in Los Angeles, the Dodgers will be playing the Houston Astros, two teams with a great story and legitimate claim to be crowned the kings of baseball. This season, the Astros made it by edging an epic seven- game series against the Yankees. They represent a city still reeling from that devastating Hurricane Harvey. We've only ever -- they've only ever played in the four classic ones, and they've never, ever won a World Series game.

Now, the Dodgers, on the other hand, are one of the most story teams in the game, but they're making their first trip to the series in almost 30 years. And earlier, Don Riddell spoke to the baseball historian Richard Justice announced how special this particular series will be.


RICHARD JUSTICE, COLUMNIST, MLB.COM: Well, you have two 100-win teams for the first time since 1970. And two teams that if you look at the baseball season is on (INAUDIBLE) these are two -- or the three best teams, Cleveland was in the mix there, somewhere. And you know, the Dodgers have not been to the World Series since 1988. It's one of baseball's iconic franchises. The Astros have one of the most exciting players on the planet and Jose Altuve. So, it should be a good show.

[02:55:07] DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Last year, of course, we had the Cubs ending that agonizing 108-year win. They were in the mix again this year, the Indians, too. How historic are these two teams? I mean, are we talking about two teams going for the World Series here that, you know, really speak to the history and the tradition and prestige of the game?

JUSTICE: Yes, definitely with the Dodgers, they are one of the game's iconic franchises. You know, and the most important event in baseball history was Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in 1947, and it was the Dodgers who did that, who signed him. The Houston Astros represent the Sunbelt and they in 55 years, they've never won a championship, they've only been to the World Series once. But what they have is a data-driven team, kind of a new way of doing business. They have an exciting young team and a confident young team. And for fans who watch, both these teams are really a joy to watch.

RIDDELL: We know that money doesn't buy you happiness, but it should buy you success in sport, right? I think the Dodgers have spent an absolute fortune on this team. Tell me how they're able to fund this team because the payroll is pretty extraordinary, right? JUSTICE: Yes, it's interesting. They have a massive T.V. deal that pays them tons. They draw 4 million fans. The Dodgers Stadium is still one of the most beautiful places on earth to watch a game. But what's interesting is when they started spending money under this new ownership five years ago, it was to change the narrative in L.A. It was to say, hey, we're going to do business a different way.

If you look at the Dodgers now, their best player, Justin Turner was a guy who'd been let go by three teams, had never really made any money, had never even proven himself. Their next best player, the shortstop Corey Seager is a minimum salary guy, great rookie Cody Bellinger is a minimum salary guy. And so, I think they focus on the money would distract front the fact that they have great baseball people making great baseball decisions. Money allows you to keep players like Clayton Kershaw, it allows you to cover up your mistakes, but the Dodgers are really good in terms of making baseball decisions.

RIDDELL: But they do have the highest payroll in baseball, right?

JUSTICE: Yes, and a lot of that is money, guys that are not playing a lot. Adrian Gonzalez is not playing much at this point, Brandon McCarthy, their pitcher has been injured for part of the year. I don't know what his role will be for the postseason. So, yes, it comes and goes. They do spend a lot of money, they have the money to spend, but they spent the money to send a message to the fans, and the plan was always, we're going to get back to a traditional baseball operation of player development the way everybody else does it. And I think as we've seen with the Yankees and the Red Sox doing the same thing, that's what they're in the process of doing.

RIDDELL: If we had to pick the perfect narrative, what's going to be the best story? Who do we want to win from that perspective, Richard?

JUSTICE: No, what we want is we want it to be seven-game World Series. We want the games to be close just like the Cubs and Indians were last year. And it goes right down to the last -- the last inning, maybe the 10th inning or the 11th inning. And it's just like last year, back in the -- in the Cleveland clubhouse after that game, there were players saying, I know even though we lost, I've been a part of something I'll remember for the rest of our -- rest of my life. And that's the spirit you want to -- you want to go into this thing with and you want to come out of it with.


RILEY: Yes. And we're looking forward to that one. That does it for this edition of WORLD SPORT. I'm Kate Riley. Thank you so much for watching for the team and me. Stay with CNN. The news is next.