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China's Leadership Shuffle; Two Republican Senators Fiercely Rebuke Trump; U.K. Asks Facebook for Russia-Linked Brexit Ads; New Politburo Standing Committee Announced; Two Republican Senators Fiercely Rebuke Trump; Mother On Son Addicted To Heroin, It's a Living Hell. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 25, 2017 - 02:00   ET





SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Leadership knows where the buck stops. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly or debased appetites in us. So Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Republican Trump critic calls it quits bowing out, blaming the U.S. president and burning him in along speech. And then this:

SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TENN.), CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Unfortunately, I think world leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue.

VAUSE (voice-over): Another Trump detractor lays into the president on the very same day.

Could this be a sign of what's to come?

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus he accused Putin of a mysteries death. Now he is in the crosshairs and claims Russia is trying to take him down.

This is CNN NEWSROOM live from L.A. Hello, everyone, I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE (voice-over): Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

VAUSE: Well, China's President Xi Jinping has unveiled his new leadership team. Notably amongst seven members this powerful politburo standing committee there is not an obvious successor to Mr. Xi.

SESAY: There are five new faces replacing retiring members. The announcement follows Tuesday's historic move of enshrining President Xi's name and his thoughts in the Communist Party's constitution. That raises President Xi to the same status as China's founding father, Mao Zedong.

VAUSE: Matt Rivers joins us now live from Beijing. He's been following the Communist Party Congress for the last couple of days.

Matt, thanks for being with us. A lot of speculation for what this all means for the future, moving beyond this five-year term and if President Xi intends to be ruler for life.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you can look at is this seemingly is the culmination of President Xi Jinping's quest to amass a lot of political power, the kind of political power that we really seen held by one Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

And really when these five new standing committee members walked out there, joining Premier Li Kichong and Xi Jinping himself, it can be seen as the last step, the formalized solidifying of Xi's ultimate rule over this country. He has become an authoritarian strongman, if you will, in his stranglehold over the Communist Party.

What he says goes at this point and look no further than whom he appointed or who made it onto the standing committee. They're all men, they're all over the age of 60 and they're all Xi loyalists. Some of these guys have gone back with President Xi for decades.

The other ones they have earned Xi's trust over the the past couple years. And like you said, there's no obvious successor not only because they're extremely loyal to Xi himself but look at their ages.

Generally speaking, successors are a name to the standing committee in their 50s. Xi Jinping himself was in his mid-50s when he was first named to the standing committee. These guys are men in their early 60s and so there is no obvious successor and that leaves the door open in a majority way for Xi to potentially stay on in some way, shape or form after 2022 and hold on to the power that he has worked very hard to get to this point -- John.

VAUSE: OK, Matt, thank you; of course one of the concerns is that the last five years there's going to be a crackdown on dissent, especially on government censorship on the Internet and concerned that the next five years there could be a lot of more of that.

OK, Matt, thanks for being with us, Matt Rivers live in Beijing.

Now for some startling developments in Washington unfolding as President Trump was trying to put on a show of party unity to sell his tax reform plan. But even before he got to Capitol Hill he picked a new fight with an old adversary, fellow Republican Senator Bob Corker.

Mr. Trump went out to him in a tweet storm, tweeting that Corker couldn't get elected dog catcher in his home state of Tennessee.

This coming after the senator in a round of morning TV interviews criticized Mr. Trump.

SESAY: Following the Twitter attacks, Corker, who's not running for reelection, told CNN bluntly Mr. Trump has failed to rise to the presidency.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TENN.), CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The president has great difficulty with the truth. I don't know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard, the debasement of our nation will be what he'll be remembered most for. And he's obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.

I would hope the --


CORKER: -- staff over there would figure out ways of controlling him. World leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue. He purposefully is breaking down relationships we have around the world that have been useful to our nation.

RAJU: Do you think he's a role model to children in the United States?


RAJU: You don't?

Do you regret supporting him in the election?

CORKER: Let's just put it this way: I would not do that again.

RAJU: You wouldn't support him again.

CORKER: No way. No way.


SESAY: Well, the Trump-Corker fight alone would be a huge story. But then this happened. Senator Jeff Flake announcing Tuesday that he, too, won't be running for reelection, also delivering a stunning rebuke of the president, saying he's degrading the country and urging fellow Republicans to stand up to him.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: We were not made great as a country by indulging in or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorifying in the things that divide us and calling fake things true and true things fake.

And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.

This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more and I say the sooner the better. Because we have a healthy government, we must also have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and

shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man and always look for the good.

Until that day comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it, because it does.


VAUSE: Joining us now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson; John Thomas is a Republican consultant, also a CNN political commentator and Michael Genovese, political analyst and president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, thank you all for being with us.

SESAY: Welcome, everyone.

VAUSE: What was a very big day.

And, Michael I'd like to start there. We seem to ask this question a lot.

But has there ever been a day like this, with two senior senators criticize the president in such stark terms, a president from their own party adding to a growing chorus of Republican voices speaking out against the president from their own party?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, LEGAL ANALYST: Well, not in our lifetime. And this was significant because in the past, when the president was criticized during a campaign in the primaries, he was criticized by the losers -- sore losers, perhaps.

Then the Democrats criticized him -- and you expect that; it's partisan. Then the media criticized him and they said, well, he had tried to inoculate himself by saying it's the fake news.

But this is a case where inside the family they went after the president. And so the president has been outed. He's been exposed. And the Republicans now have no excuses. They know what he is. They've called it by name. They've done it within the party leadership.

Three major Republicans going after him. And so there is no more ambiguity. We now know what he is and Republicans, if they're going to support him, know now what they're supporting, a person who attacks war heroes, who goes after Gold Star families, who says I just grab them by the blank.

And so the question is, will Republicans continue to be enablers?

Or will they stand up?

We need more Republicans of characteristic to stand up to him.

SESAY: John, Im going to bring you in because I saw you shaking your head as did our viewers at home. I take it you disagree.



THOMAS: First of all, it's amazing how the people who are criticizing him from within their own party. If you look at their approval ratings, Jeff Flake had a 17 percent approval rating in his own state. He was hated by his own constituents. He's upset that he went up against the president and the president won in this feud and now he's burning the place down.

SESAY: Does it make anything he said any less true just because he's down in the polls?

THOMAS: Well, it's not just polling, it is a reflection of I think it's that he's bitter, he's angry, he doesn't like the president's style. And I think he means it. I'm not saying he wasn't sincere in his criticisms.

SESAY: But were his criticisms inaccurate?

THOMAS: I think a lot of them are. He doesn't like the president's style. But the president, as far as Republicans are concerned, is getting things done on the Supreme Court, on the economy, on underemployment.

So you may not like his style but we're happy with the results so far. And it's not surprising that you see bitter politicians that can't get reelected. A U.S. Senator probably has a large ego and losing his powers is a pretty big blow.

VAUSE: I just can't remember three senators all, one after another --


VAUSE: -- sitting president.

THOMAS: And you're right, John. But here's the difference because typically when sitting U.S. senators know they are --


THOMAS: -- about to lose and have to resign, it's because they were hugging the president; in this case he is having to resign because he distanced himself from the president.

VAUSE: I think the jury's out on where Flake was in his popularity and his ratings. But I want to get to this internal war within the GOP, the civil war because if this truly is now open warfare within the GOP, it would seem the president and his allies are the ones who are claiming victory by forcing Flake out.

This was the headline on the alt-right website, Breitbart.

"Jeff Flake retirement another scalp for Bannon." That's a reference to Steve Bannon, the president's former strategist.

Dave, despite this criticism and this rebuke from two senior Republican senators, was this a good day for Donald Trump?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think so. I think it's clear that Donald Trump has become a cancer that's eating at the Republican Party. Breitbart's a mouthpiece on behalf of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon is the spinmaster and he's always going to spin whatever the news of the day is in Donald Trump's favor. That's just the reality.

But I think this is going to have a massive impact if we look at the midterm elections in 2018. You're right; Jeff Flake was taking a nose dive in the polls. But even Kelly Ward, the Republican, who was challenge Jeff Flake, she is losing to the Democrat Christian Cinema as of today, according to 538. So -- and he was arguably or that seat is, I think, one of the most vulnerable seats for Republicans and Democrats are obviously --


THOMAS: -- it opens it up to a robust primary perhaps better challengers than even Kelly Ward. So it might, in fact, put the seat back in --

JACOBSON: But here's the issue. Like the Republicans have a 52-seat majority when it comes to the Senate. So obviously Democrats are going to target Arizona. You're right. Obviously there's going to be a healthy primary on the Right.

But at the same time, Republicans are going to be vulnerable. This is a state where Donald Trump just won by 4 percent.

THOMAS: I'm not as concerned about losing majorities. But what I am concerned about is Trump's legislative agenda between now and the midterms because you have got --


THOMAS: -- it's troubling because you've got these people who have nothing to lose except settle scores. John McCain, Corker, Jeff Flake. And may rebuke the president's agenda on tax reform if they fundamentally agree with it just to give a screw you to the president. And that's very likely. It might happen.

JACOBSON: John, you're a Republican; you can count. Clearly Donald Trump isn't of that mindset because he's engaging in open warfare with the Republicans but he only has a 52-seat majority.


THOMPSON: -- teaching Republicans a lesion that if you cross me, say goodbye to your seat.

SESAY: Michael, I think it's interesting as I listen to John and I hear the way he frames it, that this is just about people who were petty; these were people who just don't like president's style.

It gives us insight into the way a number of other Republicans on Capitol Hill see this, as in what Jeff Flake and what Corker have said have no real validity.

And as a result, Michael, we're not seeing them coming out and standing by Flake and Corker. So to your point, this is a moment to choose, even the president.

GENOVESE: This is a sign of the president's strength and weakness. The strength is that he's still popular within the Republican Party. He still controls a lot of votes within his base. And even Republicans who don't like him feel they have to stick with him. They don't want to be primaried. They don't want to have to go through an expensive challenge before the general election.

And so right now, the political arithmetic still goes to the Republicans standing with the president. But I think today was a big day. Today opened a door and it created the possibility that other Republicans now have a safe passage if they want to go after the president.

VAUSE: So Flake is retiring. And some have questioned the wisdom of that because really, is he just empowering the president?

Wouldn't he be better off at least standing and proving the fact that the base is rabid and there's this fever which he talked about. But he's made this decision and someone said that's opening the way for the people he loathes to take over the party. And that raises the question of who those people are.

Flake was a moderate while Roy Moore, a favorite to win the Senate seat in Alabama, Dave, he is the gun-toting former judge who believes the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality is worse than the Supreme Court's ruling which endorsed slavery back in 1857. He's questioned whether President Obama was born in this country. He says Muslims should not be allowed to sit in Congress.

So Dave, if this trend continues, if you lose moderates like Corker and Flake and you replace them with someone like Moore, what will this party look like in the coming years?

JACOBSON: Well, I think you're going to continue to see this splintering. But the fact is Jeff Flake is -- was more moderate, I think, tonally. But he --


JACOBSON: -- but wasn't like a Tea Party extremist radical. So I think that's the question, are you going to see more of the Moores? I think it's plausible that are. Alabama is a state that Donald Trump won by over 20 points. Obviously the polling is neck-and-neck at this point. But I think in a special election you'll have lower turnout that we would in a presidential year.

And it's most likely the Republicans are going to maintain control of that seat. As a Democrat, obviously, I wish --


JACOBSON: -- that's not the outcome but that is the reality, at least as of today.

That being said, I do think you're going to continue to see the splintering particularly because Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are backing these fringe (INAUDIBLE) candidates.

THOMAS: But I think the fundamental difference you're seeing is it's not so about much Roy Moore's views on social issue; it's establishment versus antiestablishment. That is the war that's going on within the party.

The final thing I'll say about Arizona is I think it's a good thing at the end of the day because Flake would have lost and would have drained a lot of resources from McConnell and others that the Republicans would have used to defend important seats, to go after, to support Flake and eventually he would have lost that seat anyway.

SESAY: To your point, back to David's point of these fringe candidates, if you will, that are being endorsed by Bannon, can they win elections?

Could they win general elections?


JACOBSON: I don't know that a Kelly Ward can win a general election against the Christian Cinema. And you've got a state like Arizona and then you've got another Republican who's vulnerable, Dean Heller in Nevada, a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

If Democrats pick up those two seats, then it's a 50-50 split. And there's no longer -- you've got the --


THOMAS: How's the president doing?

How's the economy doing?

There are things larger at play. But you're right, the standard playbook has been that you want more moderate candidates in these swing races.

VAUSE: I just want to play an interview that we had on CNN a little earlier with a Republican from Idaho, Representative Risch, I think it's James Risch, he was specifically asked why would he call out the president for not telling the truth and this is what he said.


REP. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: We have a president who has a very unique personality and a very strong character. And if you indeed publicly fight with him, he's going to fight back.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: But when he lies about something and you know it's a lie, shouldn't you speak up?

RISCH: That's your job.

BLITZER: That's your job -- you're a United States senator. You're an equal branch of the -- a coequal branch of the U.S. government.

RISCH: Well, if I went around criticizing a statement that was made by the president or anyone of my fellow senators or anyone of the congressmen up here or people in Idaho who hold public office, and I stood up and talked every time they talked and said I don't like this, I don't like that, I would be busy all day long.


VAUSE: So he won't call out the president for what others see as lying or falsehoods or whatever. This was also today. There was this show of unity. In between the attack from Corker and the attack from Flake, Donald Trump met with Senate Republicans, had lunch with Mitch McConnell, talking about this tax reform plan.

Later Donald Trump tweeted, "So nice being with Republican senators today. Multiple standing ovations."

Actually did get three, apparently.

"Most are great people who want big tax cuts and success --


VAUSE: -- "for the United States."

Michael, to you, you have James Risch, the lawmaker from Idaho, refusing to stand up to the president, refusing to call him out, doesn't think that's his job.

You've got the Senate leadership of Republicans senators meeting with Trump to today to get this tax cut through.

Did they make a Faustian bargain of how much they want this tax cut and how much they are willing to put up with Donald Trump to get it?

GENOVESE: Well, it's kind of a devil's bargain. And Senator Risch demonstrated the moral vacuum that exists now, that Republicans won't even criticize -- some Republicans won't even criticize the president, even when they know he is way out of bounds.

And so that corrosive effect that it has on our politics, on our culture and on our people, it's evident when you hear a senator saying, I'm not going to say anything. I'm not going to criticize. I'm going to keep my mouth shut.

His job isn't to keep his mouth shut, it's to do the right thing. And but Trump has a power over the Republican party still that is threatening, that is frightening to some Republicans and that threatens their very political existence.

SESAY: John Thomas, Dave, we're almost out of time but very quickly, for all of this, this fear, people trying stay in line, you're not getting anything done on Capitol Hill.

THOMAS: I think we're close.

VAUSE: But no cigar.

THOMAS: Yes. But I think the senator makes a good point that is the job of the press, is to hold people accountable. If politicians had to hold all the other politicians accountable, that's all they would do all day.


SESAY: But it is the President of the United States.

THOMAS: But it's a slippery slope.

Where do you stop?

If that's your role, Democrats aren't doing it, either.

Why aren't Blue Dog Democrats criticizing Bernie Sanders for his crazy economic solutions?


Because it's not their job.

VAUSE: You say it's the press' job to hold the president accountable?

Let's go to the FOX News' alternative website in their alternative universe and see what the top story of today was. Look at this.

There was not one mention -- it was actually a little bit down in the left-hand column. "Jeff Flake still finds --"



THOMAS: But to their credit, it was a pretty big story --


JACOBSON: -- Donald Trump propaganda --


JACOBSON: -- the president, A, is held to a different standard than everyone else, number one.

[02:20:00] JACOBSON: And number two, results matter and Republicans haven't gotten anything major legislatively done through the Congress. So we'll see if they can actually deliver on this because to date, they haven't gotten anything done.

VAUSE: David, John and Michael, good to have you on with us. Thank you so much.

SESAY: Thank you all. Thank you, thank you.

Well, first the U.S. 2016 presidential election, now the leadup to the Brexit vote. Britain is investigating fake news by calling out Facebook. How the Russian government might have used the website to manipulate voters.

VAUSE: Plus Republicans launch an investigation into an Obama-era Ukrainian deal. And also we have new details about the infamous Trump dossier and the Clinton campaign's involvement.




SESAY: A new ransomware attack is spreading through Russia and Ukraine and into other countries around the world. The ransomware is known as Bad Rabbit and thieves are using it to seize files and extort money from their victims.

VAUSE: Here's some advice from the experts who say if you're a victim, do not pay up because there's no guarantee you'll actually get any of your files back. The attackers appear to fans of "Game of Thrones." The code contains references to characters from the popular book and TV series.

A bunch of nerds.

SESAY: I like "Game of Thrones."

VAUSE: I rest my case.

SESAY: In the U.S. --


SESAY: -- now in the U.K., officials are investigating whether Russia used social media to influence elections. British lawmakers are asking Facebook for information about ads linked to Russia (INAUDIBLE) last year's Brexit referendum. Our own Samuel Burke has more from London.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This has all the makings of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections but this revolves around the 2016 Brexit referendum here in the U.K.

The chairman of a U.K. parliamentary committee has sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking for examples of all ads purchased by Russian linked accounts. Examples of all pages set up by Russian linked accounts and information regarding the targeting of these ads and pages that MP leading this inquiry told me what pushed him to send this letter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook have analyzed it elsewhere in the world. They've done it in America and they've done it in France around the French presidential election. They took down 35, 000 accounts they thought were linked to spreading this information.

There's not been the same sort of deep dive done in the U.K. from their data and that's why I think it's important that we ask the company whether they have any suspicions based on data they have, looking at the behavior of users of their own service.


BURKE: Now this MP has also sent a letter to Twitter, asking for information about accounts run by bots that may have affected the Brexit referendum. Twitter says they're adapting their approach as patterns of malicious activity evolve and that their automated systems are now catching double the amount of suspicious activity.

What's lacking now is any type of public evidence of Russian social media accounts --


BURKE: -- affecting the Brexit referendum. And while it may seem farfetched, now Mark Zuckerberg also dismissed the notion that the platform he designed had any effect in U.S. presidential elections until his own company found evidence to the contrary -- Samuel Burke, CNN, London.


VAUSE: A source tells CNN that Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped pay for research that led to the now infamous Russia dossier.

SESAY: It contained allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin. Earlier, CNN spoke with Brian Fallon, who was Hillary Clinton's press secretary during the campaign. He said he didn't know about it but thinks some good could come of it.


BRIAN FALLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Campaigns engage in opposition research all the time. If any of this is corroborated by Bob Mueller's investigation, turns out to be able to verify some of these details and it leads to shoes dropping in this investigation, then I think that that's important for the public to know.

And for me, there's no shame in the fact that the campaign sponsored this.

SESAY: Well, "The Washington Post" broke the story. President Trump denies the allegations in the Russia dossier.

VAUSE: For conservatives, one of the biggest unresolved controversies involving Hillary Clinton is a deal which gave Russia control over 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply, which was approved during the Obama administration. Now Republican lawmakers have started an investigation into that deal.

Democrats are calling it nothing more than a distraction.

CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider has more now from Washington.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: House Republicans are now launching a probe into the Russian purchase of a uranium mining company that was approved by the Obama administration seven years ago, when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

Now it's gaining steam now because of new reports that the Russian entity approved for the purchase was simultaneously under investigation by the FBI for bribery and racketeering. An executive eventually pled guilty and was sentenced.

So that, coupled with the fact that then secretary of state Hillary Clinton was involved in the approval of this deal at the same time The Clinton Foundation was accepting donations from business entities with an interest in that uranium deal, what has made for a rallying point for Republicans amid their call for an all-out congressional instigation now.

In fact here's chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIF.: This is just the beginning of this probe. We're not going to jump to any conclusion at this time. But one of the things as you know that we're concerned about is whether or not there was an FBI investigation.

Was there a DOJ investigation and if so, why was Congress not informed of this matter?

I have not talked to anyone at the White House about this; I don't know if Peter or Ron have but this is basically based off of our conversations with informants over the last several months.

SCHNEIDER: And Chairman Nunes there, referencing an informant who worked for the FBI on the probe into the nuclear company. Now than informant says he's being prevented by the FBI from disclosing what he knows. And the informant says he has more information about corruption.

But Hillary Clinton says the claims that donations to The Clinton Foundation somehow influenced her decision to support that uranium deal all those years ago in 2010, she says it's ridiculous.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It's the same baloney they've been peddling for years and there's been no credible evidence by anyone. In fact, it's been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked.

SCHNEIDER: Now we have reached out to Hillary Clinton's spokespeople and they say that Hillary Clinton herself, she was not intimately involved in approving the uranium deal as secretary of state.

They say that that was left to her staff for the most part. But of course that isn't stopping Republicans from launching an all-out probe to find out if there was any corruption when the Russians were approved to buy what was a Canadian firm that owned uranium mines in the U.S.

The firm is actually known as Uranium One. It became known as that once the Russians owned it and Uranium One, it controls one-fifth of the uranium mining capacity in the United States.


SESAY: Our thanks to Jessica Schneider there.

Still ahead, new details revealed about the U.S. Army team ambushed in Niger and the mission the soldiers were trying to carry out.


[02:32:03] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Half past the hour in the homestretch, I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay, you're watching NEWSROOM L.A.

VAUSE: Well, China's week-long Communist Party Congress is over and President Xi Jinping heads into his next five-year term with no clear successor in sight. He revealed his new leadership team in a nationally televised ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (through translator): Over the past five years, we have set out a broad agenda. Some tasks have been completed, while others need more work. This Party Congress has set new goals and new tasks. We must make coordinated efforts to see them through.


VAUSE: Just a day earlier, the Congress enshrined Mr. Xi's name and thoughts in the Party's constitution, elevating his status to be on a par with Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China.

SESAY: Well, President Donald Trump was said to be in high spirits following Senator Jeff Flake's announcement, Tuesday, that he will not run for re-election. Republican has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, and delivered another blistering criticism of him on Tuesday, this time on the Senate floor. But Flake isn't the only Republican Senator taking shots at the President, more now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Capitol Hill trying to sell his tax plan, and revive the agenda of a fractured Republican Party. But only an hour after leaving with a wave and a smile, Republican Senator Jeff Flake delivered a stinging rebuke of the President.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal, they are not normal.

ZELENY: Flake's announcement that he would not seek re-election and his blunt concession that he's no longer comfortable with Trump's Republic Party.

FLAKE: There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal by mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle -- the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people.

ZELENY: Came on the same day, the Republican picked a new fight with Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. It was an extraordinary moment for a party in power. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called Flake's decision to leave the Senate, good news. And blasted his speech as inappropriate.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I noticed that a lot of language I didn't think was befitting of the Senate floor.

ZELENY: She also defended the President's fight with Corker.

SANDERS: He's a fighter. We've said it many times before. The people of this country didn't elect somebody to be weak, they elected somebody to be strong.

ZELENY: After Corker said in a round of morning television interviews, the President should leave details of the tax plan to Congress. Mr. Trump launched a searing attack on Twitter. The President said, "Corker, who couldn't get elected dogcatcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts." Seven minutes later, the President added, "Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record."

[02:35:07] The Senator fired off this rebuttal. "Same untruth from an utterly untruthful President. #alertthedaycarestaff." The extraordinary exchange between a Republican President and one of the Party's Senior Statesman devolved from there. Corker, who also decided against seeking re-election next year, said the President did not refuse to endorse him.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: No, it's not accurate and, you know, nothing that he said in his tweets today were truthful, nor accurate and he knows it. And people around him know it, and I would hope the staff over there would figure out ways of controlling him.

ZELENY: When asked by CNN's Manu Raju, if the President is a liar, Corker had these to say.

CORKER: The President has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.

ZELENY: Asked whether he would support him again, Corker did not hesitate.

CORKER: No way. No way. Now, I think that he's proven himself unable to rise to the occasion.

ZELENY: Taken together, the decision by Flake who also has quarreled repeatedly with Mr. Trump, underscored the challenges facing the GOP and potential complications to the President's agenda.

FLAKE: Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as 'telling it like it is' when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified. And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy.

ZELENY: The move stunned Republicans and overshadowed discussion of a tax plan the party still hopes will be the one major legislative accomplishment of the year. House Speaker Paul Ryan was among GOP leaders trying to extinguish the unusual, and to many, the unseemly civil wars.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: So, all of this stuff you see in a daily basis on Twitter this and Twitter that, forget about it. Let's focus on helping people --

ZELENY: As Republicans watched this widening civil war inside their Party, the question is, what effect will it have on legislating? Will they still be able to get the Tax Cut plan through with or without the help from some of these Republicans who are now disenfranchised from the President? Once again the White House message overshadowed by all of this fighting. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Well, new details now on the ambush in Niger which killed four U.S. soldiers. Also, we know a little more about why they were there and what they were doing. Jim Sciutto has details.


has learned the U.S. soldiers ambushed in Niger were under orders to gather intelligence on a terrorist leader believed to be operating in the area. The unit was not however on a mission to kill or capture the leader. Their mission was one of the unit's first patrols. The team had only been in the country a matter of weeks, defense officials say.

On the morning of October 3rd, one day before the ambush, U.S. and Nigerian forces left the capital of Niamey en route to the village of Tongo-Tongo to meet local leaders.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, JR., CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: They did not expect resistance in this particular patrol, at least when they first planned it.

SCIUTTO: The next morning, October 4th, as they completed their meeting, the troops suspected the villagers were delaying their departure. The first indication something may have been wrong. Later that morning, the U.S. and Nigerian forces left the village. And we're heading back to their operating base when some 50 ISIS- affiliated fighters ambushed them with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. soldier's front back, but we're in unarmored vehicles and carried only light weapons. It was one hour before they called in air support.

DUNFORD: When they didn't ask for support for that first hour, my judgment would be that unit thought they could handle the situation without additional support.

SCIUTTO: Within minutes, a U.S. drone arrived overhead, capturing video of the scene. French Mirage jets swooped in one hour later. Two hours in total after the firefight had begun. The French aircraft which were armed did not open fire because they could not distinguish enemy from friendly forces on the ground.

In the chaos, Sergeant La David Johnson was separated from the rest of the team and left behind. 48 hours after the attack, Nigerian forces found his body. A full mile away from the central scene of the ambush. The circumstances surrounding Johnson's death remain one of the most pressing questions of the investigation.

DUNFORD: 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.

SCIUTTO: Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


SESAY: Well, a quick update on the response to recent hurricanes. The U.S. Senate approved an aid package of $36.5 billion to respond to the natural disasters.

[02:40:01] VAUSE: That includes emergency credit for the Puerto Rican government and food assistance for low-income residents on the island. The legislation now goes to President Trump for his signature.

Well, he blew the whistle on Vladimir Putin's alleged corruption, now he says Russia wants him dead. Details in just a moment.

SESAY: Also, our CNN special report on America's opioid epidemic, you'll hear from one mom whose son has been addicted to heroin for 20 years.


DONNA PRINCE, MOTHER OF HEROIN ADDICT: It's a living hell. OK? You worry day and night, you try to do other things but it's always in the back of your mind.



SESAY: Hello, everyone, this just into us here at CNN, the U.S. is ramping up naval assets in the Pacific, ahead of President Trump's visit to Asia, early next month.

VAUSE: Two aircraft carrier strike groups have joined another already in the region. The move will likely anger North Korea but may also be a message directed to China as well and its continued activity in the South China Sea.

Russia is going after a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of murder.

SESAY: A western financier, William Browder, says, the Kremlin is trying to silence him by making false accusations. Our Brian Todd has more details.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Vladimir Putin has a well- known whistleblower in his crosshairs, a man who has exposed Putin's alleged corruption.


TODD: Russian prosecutors are claiming that this man, American-born financier, Bill Browder, conspired to murder Sergei Magnitsky, an investigative lawyer who Browder had himself hired to blow open a tax fraud scheme worth hundreds of millions of dollars benefiting people linked to Putin.

BROWDER: I think it's totally absurd, it shows that Putin has effectively lost his mind and he's totally rattled about the Magnitsky Act.

TODD: The Magnitsky Act is an American law, spearheaded by Bill Browder, which sanctioned individual Russians close to Putin. Putin is furious over it. MATTHEW ROJANSKY, DIRECTOR, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: He takes very seriously the threat to his economic interests.

TODD: Browder, who once ran a hedge fund in Russia, hired Magnitzky because Browder believed Russian officials were ripping him off. After Magnitsky exposed that tax fraud scheme, Magnitsky was jailed. He got sick in a Moscow prison and died in 2009. Browder believes because Russians officials purposely didn't care for him.

BROWDER: Sergei Magnitzky is dead, he suffered terribly and he's dead because he's my lawyer.

TODD: Putin and his aides have repeatedly denied Browder's allegations. And now, they claim Magnitzky's death was all Browder's idea.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Underneath are the criminal activities of an entire gang led by one particular man. I believe Browder is his name.

TODD: CNN has obtained from Bill Browder, a letter from a top Russian prosecutor to Justice Officials in Moscow, asking them to investigate Browder and an unidentified person employed by the British intelligence agency MI6. Accusing them of a, quote, criminal plan to take actions aimed at the termination of rendering medical care to S.L. Magnitsky.

[02:45:14] ROJANSKY: It's also absurd because of the implication which Russians themselves would deny that somehow MI6 or Bill Browder are able to control what Russian prison officials do. How exactly would that work?

TODD: When we interviewed Browder recently, he spoke of being targeted by the Kremlin in an even more menacing way.

What are the security threats you have received?

BROWDER: The Russian government has made numerous death threats against me. They want to kill me, they'd like to kidnap me, they'd like to me have me arrested and sent back to Russia.

TODD: The Kremlin denies wanting Browder dead.

CNN got no immediate response from the British Intelligence Agency, MI6 to the Russian prosecutor's allegations. We also reached out here in Washington and in Moscow to Russian officials to ask them what specific evidence they have against Bill Browder and against MI6, tying them to the death of Sergei Magnitsky. We didn't immediately get a response to that, but Vladimir Putin has called Browder's charges of corruption against him, garbage. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SESAY: Well, President Trump is expected to formally declare the U.S. opioid crisis a national emergency in a speech on Thursday. In the second part of the CNN series, Killing America: Inside Opioid Epidemic, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at a controversial way to help addicts survive by giving them a safe place to shoot up.


PRINCE: It's a living hell. OK, you worry day and night. You try to do other things, but it's always in the back of your mind. You go to bed at night, I say goodnight, Taylor, and I keep him in my prayers and just hope that I'm going to hear from him.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The story has become a common one. Donna Prince's son Taylor is addicted to heroin. Right now, she's sick with worry because she hasn't seen him in six weeks.

Do you worry about that?

PRINCE: All the time.

GUPTA: About him dying?


GUPTA: For the last six weeks, I mean --

PRINCE: No, for 20 years.

GUPTA: For 20 years.

PRINCE: 20 years, my son has been a heroin addict.

GUPTA: Donna tells us there's a good chance Taylor is here, at the CORNER Project in Washington Heights. It's a needle exchange but also has this, one of the most controversial bathrooms in the country, a place where people like Taylor come to use drugs. But are also monitored and can be saved with the medication called Naloxone or Narcan, which can reverse an overdose.

GUPTA: When Taylor first told you about the bathroom, what were your first thoughts when you heard about that?

PRINCE: He's going to do it whether he wants to or not, whether he's going to do it under the bridge, where they go, or if he's going to go in my bathroom and do it. At least there, I know that people are watching over him, and if he does overdose, he's not going to die because they'll be able to save him.

LIZ EVANS, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON HEIGHTS CORNER PROJECT: I think there is an acknowledgment, generally, that drug users are using bathrooms all over the place, and people are dying in those bathrooms. And so, there is an acknowledgment that as a syringe exchange provider, we have a moral obligation to make sure that people don't die in our building.

GUPTA: Liz Evans directs the CORNER Project. She moved here from Vancouver, Canada where she helped found Insite, the home of the only legal safe injection sights in North America. Over 14 years, there have been over 3 million visits there and not one single death. The rates of overdose in the surrounding downtown area dropped by 35 percent. And Insite users were 30 percent more likely to get addiction treatment. But here in the United States, this is a very gray area.

How does a place like this exist in the sense of the interactions with the legal world, the law enforcement world?

EVANS: There are policies that exist that the State has provided to encourage access to Narcan, clean surfaces, and other suggestions for how bathrooms operate in syringe exchange programs.

GUPTA: Hector Madda manages the CORNER Projects Bathroom Program.

HECTOR MADDA, MANAGER, CORNER PROJECTS BATHROOM PROGRAM: Actually, our clients will do (INAUDIBLE) they come and go, they'll sit down, they'll put all of their supplies here to make filter, preparing their heroin or cocaine or whatever substance they're going to inject. There's a cooker, and we have cotton can in there for people to use it to like filter the heroin or whatever they are injecting.

GUPTA: You've got an intercom in here. So, you can talk to somebody and check on them. You got a timer, so you can sort of keep an eye on the time.


GUPTA: What you're seeing is a particularly provocative way of trying to reduce death from heroin overdose. Some see it as condoning drug use, but others see it as a logical solution to a big problem. In a year, more people in the United States die from drug overdoses than from guns or car accidents.

[02:50:11] MADDA: When overdoses happen in our bathroom, people are not dying. I have reverse 25 overdoses in this bathroom myself.

GUPTA: 25?

MADDA: 25, yes.

GUPTA: You reversed 25 overdoses.

MADDA: In this bathroom, in this space.

GUPTA: Three of those times, he saved the life of Taylor Prince. Today, at least Donna knows where Taylor is. And on the day we visit the CORNER Project, she finally gets to see her son again.


GUPTA: Well, again, as you can see there, there's no question, this is a provocative potential solution to cutting down deaths from heroin overdose and drug overdose in general. But if you look at Insite, this syringe exchange that's been around since 2003, they've had, you know, 3 million, 3.5 million people who visit. They've had 6,000 people who've overdosed and not a single death. If the goal is to save lives from heroin overdose, there are some good results here. People are also more likely to get into rehab, more likely to get some kind of addiction counseling. It can make a dent with regard to this heroin epidemic. So, it's something that, again, is a provocative solution. Some people do see it as condoning drug use. But if the goal is to save lives, it's worth taking a look at. Back to you.

SESAY: Thanks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta for that great reporting. For more on America's opioid epidemic, visit our Web site

VAUSE: Well, after the break, we'll go to Dodgers Stadium and a potential hall of famer made a big mark during game one of the World Series. More on that in just a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: High fly ball into left, off the bat of Turner, at the wall, it's gone. Turner makes it 3-1 Dodgers in game one.


VAUSE: That's what I want to do.

SESAY: Shame.

VAUSE: That score held up as the Dodgers took an early lead in this year's World Series. Dodger's ace played in crucial silenced. The Houston Astros high-powered offense in a dominating performance. Over to you.

SESAY: Our Paul Vercammen has the recap.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Isha, after this long drought, the World Series returned to Los Angeles fans, coming into the stadium. We're joking they weren't sure whether they were going to have water or beer, most said they were going to choose both. When the Dodgers began playing, they started with Clayton Kershaw, their ace on the mound, and he delivered. He gave Los Angeles the masterpiece it was looking for. Justin Turner hit a home run as did Chris Taylor, and the Dodgers won 3-1.

Now, after the game, Kershaw who's had some tough times in the postseason was ecstatic ta talk about his first World Series game.


CLAYTON KERSHAW, PITCHER, LOS ANGELES DODGERS: It was hot tonight, you know, started warming up, didn't take long to get loose, but you know, try to get that first inning under your belt. And fortunately, I got out of that, and then C.T. hitting that home run first pitch of the game. You know, I think it kind of all -- it almost settled us all in a little bit, I think, and just getting that momentum early is huge. And, you know, let the crowd kind of feed off of that. It was -- it was definitely as good a start as we could have hoped for.


VERCAMMEN: You may know, the Dodgers are a very international team, Yasiel Puig from Cuba, you have Kiki Hernandez from Puerto Rico, you have Yu Darvish who is Persian and Japanese, and then there's Kenley Jansen, he's from Curacao. He pitched for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Well, he got to pitch in his first World Series game, closes out for the Dodgers, and here's what it was like for Kenley.


[02:55:12] KENLEY JANSEN, PITCHER, LOS ANGELES DODGERS: This is awesome, I mean, you know, for me, just being -- have an opportunity to pitch for the Dodgers, for such a historic team is just unbelievable, and representing Curacao, such a small island, you know, is awesome. So, I'm going to do it for the Dodgers, for the whole L.A., and both my country.

VERCAMMEN: Describe for us what it was like when you're finally able to feel that first hit?

COREY SEAGER, SHORTSTOP, LOS ANGELES DODGERS: Yes, I mean, just your first World Series game is incredible. You grew up thinking about that, dreaming about that, and it's everything you could ever think of.


VERCAMMEN: Cory Seager had missed the league championship series with a back problem. Now, before the Dodger fans get too euphoric, they're going to face Justin Verlander of the Astros tomorrow, and he has been a dream killer in the postseason, just ask the Yankees. He's Kate Upton's better half and Verlander has been devastating. So, it's Justin Verlander versus Rich Hill tomorrow, and by the way, they expect to continue to be hot here, unseasonably hot, at Dodger Stadium. Back to you now, John, Isha.

SESAY: Thank you, Paul. It looks hot.

VAUSE: He had fun, though. Yes, he had a good time.

SESAY: Well, for the right price, you too can own something that once graced the arm of a Hollywood legend, Paul Newman's Daytona Rolex is expected to fetch millions of dollars when it hits the auction block in New York, Thursday.

VAUSE: The story behind the watch is part of the appeal of Phillip's Auction House. Said Newman's wife Joan Woodward bought him the Rolex as a gift during the filming of the 1969 movie, "Winning." Newman was a passionate race car driver and also made salad dressing. The watch was specifically designed for motorsport.

SESAY: Some years earlier, Newman had been injured in a serious motorcycle accident. Woodward was said to be nervous about his racing from then on.

VAUSE: OK. So, she had the watch engraved on the back with the message, "Drive carefully -- me." At the time, the watched retailed for about $250. It could actually go for about $11 million according to those who know about this kind of stuff. Wow!

SESAY: $11 million.

VAUSE: It's a nice looking watch.

SESAY: Very nice, too.

VAUSE: If you want to have a good time, you've got have a good watch.


SESAY: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live in Los Angeles. We're going to go back and figure out what he just said there. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Rosemary Church is after the break. See you tomorrow.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: China's powerful President signals he may stay in his role for some --