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Spain to Rule Catalonia; Sure Win for Kenya's Solo Candidate; Trump Declared Health Emergency for Opioid Crisis; Conspiracy Theories Around JFK's Assassination; Drug Addiction a Huge Challenge for Trump Administration. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 27, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Big day in Spanish politics. Lawmakers in Madrid are set to make a decision that will impact Catalonia's future.

The U.S. president say he is taking on the opioid crisis but critics say the plan falls short.

And the JFK assassinations files. Thousands of pages released. Now there's more intrigue over the documents the government decided not to disclose.

Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining us. Welcome to all our viewers around the world. I'm Cyril Vanier. You're watching CNN Newsroom.

So, Friday is going to be a pivotal day for Spain and the rest of region of Catalonia. In just an hours' time the Spanish Senate will start debating whether or not to trigger article 155 that gives them the power to suspend Catalonia's autonomy and take control of the region.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont decided on Thursday not to hold a snap election which could have eased tensions between the separatists and the central government. Spain's deputy prime minister says controlling Catalonia would restore calm to the region.


MARIA SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): Article 155 has not been implemented as some people have said as the beginning of a new political centralism. But, as the beginning of the end of a repetitive disobedience to the law and the general interest, and the use of the autonomous government against their own region. Article 155 is about protecting the government of Catalonia against the misrule by the pro-independents.


VANIER: And while the Senate meets in Madrid the Catalan parliament will also convene to decide its next step.

Our Erin McLaughlin reports. ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many moderate voice here in

Catalonia had hoped that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont would call for snap elections on Thursday. The thinking was that would provide enough political room for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to soften his stance on article 155 and provide some sort of off ramp to this crisis.

But that didn't happen. Puigdemont explained his reasoning for ruling it out. Take a listen.


CARLES PUIGDEMONT, PRESIDENT OF CATALONIA (through translator): You know that I wanted to call for this election if we had certain guarantees that would allow their celebration in period of normality. There are no guarantees to justify today that calling for elections in the parliament.

My obligation was to try, to try honestly and loyally to avoid an impact on our institutions of the application of article 155 like the council of minister and likely to be approved in the Senate.


MCLAUGHLIN: Puigdemont also said that Catalonia's response to article 155 will be made by parliament. On Thursday, there was a parliamentary session and debate expected to continue on Friday. At the end of Friday's session it is possible that they could vote to formally declare independence so we're going to have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, what seems certain is that the Spanish Senate in Madrid will move forward and formally vote for article 155 on Friday. If they do that then that means that essentially come Saturday, Puigdemont and his entire government will be stop and emergency rule will prevail in Catalonia.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Barcelona.

VANIER: In Australia now, the deputy prime minister been removed from parliament for being a New Zealander. Barnaby Joyce said he wasn't aware that he held dual citizenship. The decision by the high court effectively strips the government of its one-seat parliamentary majority and puts it at risk of a no-confidence vote by the opposition.

The Australian Constitution bars citizens of foreign countries from serving in parliament.

And to Kenya's presidential rerun election, voters went to the polls again on Thursday. Classes between police and opposition protesters left at least one person dead and several others wounded.

However, across most of the country voting was peaceful. The election was a repeat of the disputed vote in August which the nation's Supreme Court canceled because of irregularities.

Final results from this election are expected within seven days.

Our Farai Sevenzo joins us now live from Nairobi. Farai, the first presidential vote had been deemed transparent, it had been deemed to go OK but then of course that was canceled as we know. How did the rerun go?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, I've got to tell you it was a day of great division. I mean, the only one way to (Inaudible). Here's the local press today.


[03:04:58] "One Kenya, two faces." That's basically what you are seeing. The division is so entrenched. We went out to Mr. Kenyatta's stronghold of Kiambu and we also went out to Kibera, the local massive informal settlement which is mainly Mr. Odinga's stronghold and this is how the day unfold yesterday.

At 93 years old, Josephine Wambui (Ph) says she has voted in every presidential election since independence. And dressed in her Sunday best she said this Election Day is no different, that it's her duty to have a say. But not everyone is as enthusiastic or convinced that their vote even matters. And it shows in the numbers.

At this polling station in Kibera, an opposition Stronghold one election official told CNN not one vote was cast. Not one.

Nearby, you've seen the area clashed with police throughout the day. People here say that listen to opposition leader Raila Odinga's calls to boycott a vote he says is illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) several times. You vote there's no change and early possible (Inaudible) Raila Odinga.

SEVENZO: It was a different picture entirely in areas where support for the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta is strong.

CNN witnessed peaceful scenes like this in Kiambu County, north or Nairobi where thousands gathered to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a very good feeling about this day. It's a very special day for Kenyans and mostly from this area. We know that you're going to get the best from this voting.

SEVENZO: Because the opposition boycotted this election it is widely expected that victory will be handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta. But as expected low voters turn-out would likely bring with it (Inaudible) and dispute about the legality of the vote.

LINUS KAIKAI, CHAIRMAN, KENYA EDITORS GUILD: Legitimacy will be a very, very big question that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be contending with and also of course the issue of healing the nation because it goes together.

SEVENZO: Healing a nation so bitterly divided after a tumultuous and contentious election season will be no small feat. President Kenyatta must unite the nation and likely he'll face new legal challenges.


SEVENZO: And there you have it, Cyril. I mean, many of the questions that are still being asked that -- well, Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission announced yesterday that there would be a re-election in more than five counties on Saturday, the 28th because they didn't vote.

Now remember these counties are in Mr. Odinga's stronghold. He didn't specify which other counties are needed to read -- to do the fresh again. But you know, it remains very much in doubt whether or not people will turn up this second -- this third time around, I beg your pardon.

And of course we were trying our hardest. I've been reaching out to the president since I arrived here 10 months ago and to no avail, we also trying to reach out to Mr. Odinga to find out if the politicians have a way forward after this or whether it will all go back to the judiciary.

VANIER: Yes. We're going to see what happens in seven days, that's when we're expecting the results of this election. CNN's Farai Sevenzo is on the ground for us monitoring that. Farai, thank you very much.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is steering down North Korea literally. He arrived at the DMZ on Friday. The demilitarized zone to be briefed by South Korean military officials.

The visit comes amid tensions with the North and as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares for a trip to the region in the coming days.

Let's check in with CNN's Paula Hancocks who is standing by in Seoul. Paula, you've seen a number of high-ranking Trump team officials visit South Korea since you've been there and since Mr. Trump has been in office. What is the purpose of Secretary Mattis' visit?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, this time around he's coming for annual defensive discussions with the South Korean defense minister. So this is a regularly scheduled meeting between the two.

But interesting that he did go the DMZ, the heavily fortified border that splits North and South Korea today. There were some interesting comments he made while he was there as well, saying that he fully agrees with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that war is not the goal. The complete nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the goal.

Once again sounding fairly at odds with his boss the U.S. President Donald Trump who is still insinuating that war could be an option in off the cuff remarks and also in tweets.

There was also an interesting moment as they were at the DMZ. Secretary Mattis asked the South Korean defense minister as they looked across into North Korea how many artillery units are there that are stationed on that area? And Song Young-moo, the defense minister said that in my opinion a

defensive operation against this many is unfeasible saying that's why they have to look the number of different options.

[03:09:54] They were surrounded by cameras. They knew there were microphones there, so a very interesting comment by the -- by both of them really pointing out that any military option against North Korea would have devastating repercussions first and foremost from those artillery units stationed in North Korea along the DMZ pointing towards South Korea. Cyril?

VANIER: Paula, as you reference there, there's been some back and forth, some daylight between the president and the most senior members of his own team on whether they favor, they should favor diplomacy or a tougher approach, a mi1itary approach. So you seem to be saying perhaps there's a little clarity on that at least where Mr. Mattis stands?

HANCOCKS: Certainly, yes. Sorry. I had a couple of audio problems. I didn't quite catch your question but I think that the end part there mentioning how Secretary Mattis feels, how Secretary Tillerson feels obviously at this point, the Trump administration is saying they are all reading -- they're all on same page. They were reading from the same hand sheet, they all agree on what should be done about North Korea.

But we are seeing some very different off-the-cuff remarks from the U.S. president almost teasing sometimes suggesting that there could be a war when he's talking about his tweets.

Now Secretary Mattis did also meet the U.S. soldiers, the military up along the border when he was there and he did say that diplomacy is the best option but diplomats need a strong military backup to be able to give them that strength, to be able to have a, you know, a strong hand when they're trying to make diplomacy work.

And he said it was very important that the military was there along the border and within South Korea thanking them for being that strength behind the diplomatic efforts. Cyril?

VANIER: Paula Hancocks reporting live from South Korea. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops there, thousands more in neighboring Japan. Thank you very much, Paula.

Now hanging over the nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula is the long string of sanctions against the north including new measures announced by the U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday. The question, though, are these sanctions actually having any impact?

CNN' Will Ripley is in the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Korean is sure to be enraged by this new round of U.S. treasury sanctions targeting seven individuals and three entities, the U.S. accusing North Korea of not only human rights violations but also censorship, saying that the military police in this country unfairly cracked down on citizens who would dare to express dissenting views in this country where political dissent of any kind is not tolerated.

We visited one of North Korea's largest light industry factories and we found that their dissent is simply not an option.


RIPLEY: From the moment we arrived at this Pyongyang textile mill, anti-American propaganda reach us at nearly every turn. Outside missiles are blowing up the U.S. capital, inside a personal attack on North Korea's public enemy number one.

This propaganda banner says that the workers are motivated by their burning hatred for the United States, and in fact, it reads "let's tear apart the mentally deranged U.S. President, Donald Trump."

The spin doesn't stop there. If the looms weren't so loud you'd hear the patriotic music blaring over loudspeakers browsing around 8,000 workers at this sprawling model factory.

U.N. sanctions added textiles to the long list of banned North Korean exports, cutting off $700 million in annual revenue for the regime, a huge blow to the economy but only a minor inconvenience, says the factory's chief engineer. He says sanctions will only make them try harder.

The worker we're here to interview has been carefully chosen by our government guys. Mong Gang-soon (Ph) is considered a labor heroine.

What do you think about Americans and the United States in general?

"Only hatred. It makes we shudder," she says, "after hearing the absurd remarks from Trump saying he'll destroy our country it makes me think you are also part of them."

Moon grew up in dormitories like this, seven women share each room, sleeping, bathing and eating together. They live collectively until they get married. This new facility, a model for the rest of the country. It's clear not all North Korean workers live like this.

We're taken to Moon's spacious three bedroom apartment in Pyongyang, she lives here with her husband and two children. Here we learn why she was chosen to speak with us. Moon is a ranking member of the ruling Workers Party of Korea, she was even a delegate at leader Kim Jong-un's party Congress. Only the most loyal and dedicated North Koreans ever reach such a prestigious post. They are rewarded with the good life by Pyongyang standards.

Moon met her husband at the factory, Kim Yok (Ph) served 10 years in the Korean People's Army. They hope their four-year-old son will grow into a loyal soldier. Their 14-month-old daughter, a model worker just like mom.

[03:15:08] They tell me they want their children to live in peace but say they are not afraid of war. Echoing the propaganda at their factory they say North Korea will fiercely defend its right to exist at any cost. (END VIDEOTAPE)

It's remarkable to sit across from parents who were tenderly holding their children, clearly they love their children but yet they're also saying they'd rather see their entire family die in a nuclear war than to live in a world where there is no North Korea. It shows that in this country the regime is put above all else even one's own family.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is in South Korea right now meeting with his counterparts about North Korea's nuclear program and President Trump arrives here in the region in just over a week.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.

VANIER: And here in the U.S. Mr. Trump takes his first action on the opioid crisis. Why critics is saying it's not nearly enough.

Plus, when we come back from the break, Nigerian soldiers fighting terrorists in their country with the help of U.S. troops. Now we're getting new details on the ISIS ambushed that killed four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers.

Stay with us.


VANIER: We're getting new details now about the ambush in Niger earlier this month that left four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers dead. The U.S. defense official tells us that despite the convoy being outnumbered and outgunned by ISIS attackers, wounded U.S. and Nigerian troops killed 20 ISIS militants.

The U.S. Army has long partnered with Niger and antiterrorism efforts. And the team that was attacked had been gathering intelligence on the terrorist leader in the area.

Now CNN spoke to a Nigerian soldier who was one of the first on the scene.

CNN's David McKenzie is live in the Nigerian capital Niamey. David, what are we learning about the ambush.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Cyril. What we're learning from these Nigerian soldiers one of the first group of soldiers on the scene after that deadly ambush is that, he as an eyewitness to these events said that when he came across the scene he saw that these U.S. and Nigerian soldiers were standing back to back ready to fight to the death, he said.

He said he was incredibly amazed by the level of bravery. But new details are also coming out from U.S. officials and others on the scene that that convoy was split up in the early moments it seems of that attack and that possibly as many as eight vehicles from the ISIS militants and multiple motorcycle attackers coming in to reinforce that ambush came into attack. [03:19:55] The patrol that was supposed to be a routine intelligence

gathering patrol and that really is what kicked off what was a horrible hours long firefight that ended with those four American soldiers dead and five Nigerian counterparts. And that really put the focus on this battle here against terror in this region. Cyril?

VANIER: You're learning more from your sources well about what the American soldiers were doing in that part of the country in the first place, tell us more about their mission.

MCKENZIE: That's right. This Nigerian soldier who didn't want to be identified said that the patrol that went out they came across that patrol the day before this ambush. He said they were on their way to gather intelligence on a terror target. We knew this as well from U.S. sources.

He said he was a surprised that they were likely armed wearing, he says, T-shirts and baseball caps and didn't have any particular air cover. And he also said that the Nigerian forces feel they need to be better supported. U.S. official say that's pretty common in fact, that soldiers go out in these unarmored vehicles. And that until this point this year they haven't come across any enemy contact.

So again, the pressing question is why was the intelligence on this particular patrol suggesting no major threat when what they were going to find was as recently abandoned terror camp for regional terror operators. Cyril?

VANIER: Yes. And this mission and any ensuing ambush and the deaths are raising many questions on the side of the Atlantic here in the U.S. with congressmen looking into this, John McCain chief among them.

David McKenzie, thank you very much, reporting live there from the Nigerian capital Niamey.

Now to the opioid crisis in the U.S. and President Trump's pledge to do something about it. He finally did after months of promises. He just declare the epidemic a public health emergency but one big thing is missing, major federal funding.

Our Jeff Zeleny has more from the White House.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As Americans we cannot allow this to continue.


JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump declaring America's opioid crisis a public health emergency.


TRUMP: It is time to liberate our communities from the scores of drug addiction never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.


ZELENY: In the East Wing of the White House today the President and First Lady Melania Trump joining together to address a drug epidemic ravaging the country.


MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We are here today because of your courage. The opioid epidemic is affected more than two million Americans nationwide, and sadly, the number continues to rise.


ZELENY: The president's speech was a long promised effort to deliver on a campaign pledge but the memorandum he signed today does not call for new money to combat the opioid fight.


TRUMP: Effective today my administration is officially declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency under federal law.


ZELENY: By calling the crisis a public health emergency rather than a national disaster, relief funds won't immediately be directed to the epidemic as he suggested during these remarks in August.


TRUMP: It's a national emergency. We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.


ZELENY: The White House called it a distinction without a difference and the president said he was committed to reining in the abuse of painkillers and heroine. He said the government would work toward finding a non-addictive painkiller to replace opioids and launch an advertising campaign to warn children to stay off drugs.


TRUMP: If we can teach young people and people generally not to start it's really, really easy not to take them.


ZELENY: The president also grew reflective about his late brother Fred and his alcohol addiction.


TRUMP: I learned myself, I had a brother Fred, great guy, best looking guy, best personality much better than mine, but he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol and he would tell me don't drink. Don't drink. He was substantially older and I listen to him and I respected.


ZELENY: Kraig Moss who lost his son to a heroin overdose supported Trump's bid for the presidency on his promises to crackdown on the epidemic. Today, he said the president's pledge fell short.


KRAIG MOSS, LOST SON OF HEROIN OVERDOSE: I commend the president and the first lady for reaching out and addressing this issue and letting the struggling addict of this country know that that there's something going to be happening, but I certainly wish that he'd spoken more about what and how he plans to attack the epidemic by not providing additional funding.


ZELENY: The president renew this call to build a wall in the border with Mexico to help block drugs from coming into the U.S.


[03:24:59] TRUMP: An astonishing 90 percent of the heroine in America comes from south of the border where we will be building a wall which will greatly help in this problem.


ZELENY: Meanwhile today, the White House is looking ahead to trying to deliver on another campaign promise, cutting taxes. "Big news, budget just passed," the president held on Twitter. The House passed a new budget today following the Senate last week now paving the way for a full debate on tax reform.

Now the House did passed a budget today but not without some questions and some concern. Twenty republicans voted against the House budget largely because of concerns over that tax-cut package coming up.

So this next debate coming up for the next two months will test whether republicans can actually get a major piece of legislation through. The present tweeting there's big unity in the Republican Party. We'll find out if that's true.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.

VANIER: And President Trump also says that he will take up the issue of fentanyl trafficking with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Now fentanyl is a drug more powerful than heroin. It's cheap, it's easy to make and is often lethal, and China is a major source of illicit fentanyl production.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Homeland Security are strengthening the inspection of packages coming into our country to hold back the flood of cheap and deadly fentanyl, a synthetic opioid manufactured in China and 50 times stronger than heroin. And in two weeks I will be in China with President Xi and I will mention this as a top priority. And he will do something about it.


VANIER: And for background on this, many experts are calling the opioid epidemic the deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

Last year, overdoses killed more people than guns or car accidents. In 2015, roughly 2 percent of deaths in the U.S., that's 1 in 50 were drug-related. In 2014, opioids were involved in over 28,000, that's 61 percent of all U.S. drug overdose deaths.

In other parts of the world and here's where comparing is interesting especially in Europe, opioid abuse isn't as big of a problem. A study has found that in E.U. countries opioids are usually only prescribed to patients as the last line of treatment. It's also harder for patients to go to multiple doctors with the same prescription in countries that have universal healthcare system.

Once these drugs take hold it can be nearly impossible to break free.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You feel such stronger that you can't stop how we talk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. There is nothing that would stop me. That's how bad it gets.


VANIER: We'll have more on the terrifying realities of addiction later on in the show. Also when we come back, more than 50 years after the Kennedy assassination the White House releases some but not all of the secret government documents. And what about all those conspiracy theories? We'll tell you about those.


[03:30:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN, HOST: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier from the CNN Newsroom.

Let's round up your top stories this hour.

The crisis in Catalonia taking a new turn. The leader of the wealthy Spanish region now backing away from a plan to call a snap election. He is going to put the decision to his parliament. This is the Spain's Senate is set to vote in the coming hours on whether to suspend Catalonia's autonomy.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis head the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Mattis says the U.S. goal is not war with North Korea but complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Mattis is in South Korea to meet with military officials there.

And Australia's deputy prime minister removed from parliament for being a New Zealander. Barnaby Joyce says he wasn't aware that he held dual citizenship. The decision by the High Court strips the government that its one seat majority and puts it at risk of a no-confidence vote by the opposition.

The White House has released some, but not all, of the documents related to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. There are available for the public to see at the national archives web site. Now we have a tea, here at CNN going through those documents, so far no historical bombshells but there have been some interesting nuggets.

Here is CNN's Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Despite years of waiting for all of these documents to be dump out all at once here, in the end the White House said they would still hold back some of them for further review. But about 2,900 pages have been dumped out -- 2,900 files, I should say. Because this is one file, and look at this. This is 14 handwritten pages so it can be a tremendous amount of material that everyone was trying to go through out there.

But some things have been found already that are quite interesting. For example, there is a recording of a conversation, notes about a conversation between Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who killed John Kennedy, talking to a KGB agent while Oswald was in Mexico City about a couple months before the assassination in Dallas took place. And he's asking about some kind of business involving Washington.

This is believed to be tied to Oswald's attempt to get a Soviet passport or a Cuban passport. There's also comments by J. Edgar Hoover when Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby in which he says the FBI received a direct warning someone called in a calm voice said he was part of a group that was going to try to kill Oswald.

Jack Ruby later said he was part of no groovy, he wasn't involved with anyone like that. He didn't make the phone call that Hoover himself the FBI was told directly about one of these plots. And so that they felt the local police did not provide as much security as they promised they would.

And there was another brief mention in there of a note being sent to Robert Kennedy warning about a book coming out talking about his alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe. So you see there's a huge, huge range of topics being covered in all of these papers and truly an enormous number of pages to be weighted through.

Still, for all of that the few pages that are being held back or files that are being held back and not released are absolutely going to fuel the fire for conspiracy theorist who are going to say look, after all these years of the 11th hour to say we still can't release it all, that will convince them even further that there's something being hidden.

VANIER: So let's look into this. Philip Shenon is with us. He is an investigative reporter with the New York Times, he is also the author of "A Cruel and Shocking Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination."

Philip, I know it's early days yet and the documents that were released were released just a few hours ago so people are still going through them. We here at CNN are still going through them. But as far as you know for the moment is there any bombshell in there?

PHILIP SHENON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: No, and in truth we -- the documents that were released today that we've already seen most of those documents. So you know, there are two piles of documents. There is a super-secret group of about 3,100 documents that nobody has ever seen before and there was a pile 30,000 documents that we have seen in the past just in edited versions.

And most of the documents that were released today came from the bigger pile. The super-secret documents are mostly still super-secret.

[03:34:59] VANIER: But aren't they supposed to be released under the JFK Act?

SHENON: Absolutely. Today was the day under this law when all of these documents should be made public in full every word, but as we've learned there was a certain amount of chaos at the White House today and the decision was made at the very last minute at about 7.30 this evening not to release most of those documents.

VANIER: So what's new in the document that we are getting if there is anything new because we here at CNN are reading them and I'll get into it in just a second but I want your opinion on that.

SHENON: But I don't think anybody knows yet. I mean, it's early hours of going through these documents and I think some people are confused. They're seeing a document and thinking it's new when in fact a version of it has been out for many years. I think sorting out the details here is going to take some time.

But I've heard of no bombshells tonight and I've never been convinced there will be a bombshell in any of these documents, at least not a bombshell that were, for example, point to a second gunman in Dallas. But I think over time a lot of these documents will be very important and very interesting because they will point to how much information the U.S. government, the CIA and the FBI had before the assassination to suggest that Lee Harvey Oswald was a threat.

VANIER: But look, some of the things that we're flagging up here at CNN, for instance, the Soviets believed -- the Soviets believed that there was a conspiracy to carry out a coup in the U.S. Of course it doesn't mean against JFK, it doesn't mean that that was the case but that's what the Soviets believed per one of the documents back in the 60s.

That's -- things like or things like the phone call the intercept between Lee Harvey Oswald and a KGB officer two months before the assassination. There are couple of nuggets like that. What will be the...


SHENON: Well...

VANIER: Go ahead.

SHENON: I think at both of those cases that information had basically been out there. Those documents have basically been out there. I guess we've now got them in full and we have more detail which is, it's useful, and I certainly encourage that transparency. But those particular incidents I think have been known previously.

VANIER: So let me put up some numbers on screen because poll after poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill JFK. Look at this number. Who was involved in the Kennedy assassination, a stunning 33 percent of Americans believe the CIA was involved, 30 percent believe the Mafia was involved.

Let's keep looking at them. Sixty percent, 60 plus percent of Americans believe that there was a conspiracy of broader plot. That's a vast majority of Americans refute the official notion, the official theory that it was one gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, and also a vast majority believe that there was a government cover up, 62 percent.

Does anything that we're finding out now refute or does anything back that up, backup that idea widely shared by Americans that there was a conspiracy?

SHENON: Well, you know, the conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination began spinning within hours of Kennedy's death. You know, I think a lot of Americans had trouble from the very beginning accepting the idea that the most powerful man in the world could be brought down by this, you know, 24-year-old misfit with a $21 mail- order rifle that just didn't make sense.

People thought it would make more sense that there's been a conspiracy of gray-haired men behind the closed door in Washington or Moscow or Havana or someplace. And over time we've learned, the American public has learned that in fact essential information was kept from them, details were kept from them about the assassination.

And the Warren Commission investigation which first went and investigated the assassination was terrifically flawed, was rushed and failed to establish all sorts of evidence and witnesses that could've made a difference in the telling of the story.

VANIER: Right. And the process of that Warren Commission in the investigation was very controversial. Philip Shenon, thank you so much for joining us.

SHENON: Thank you.

VANIER: Thank you. So even after all this time since that fateful November day in Dallas, the questions and as you are the conspiracy theories remain.

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye with more.


RANDI KAYE, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, CNN: Nearly 54 years since the day President John F. Kennedy died and conspiracy theories still abound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth is Oswald killed the president.

KAYE: Oswald, as in Lee Harvey Oswald. The federal government says he shot the president and only him. Despite that, conspiracy theorists just don't buy it. They point to people like the man who came to be known as umbrella man. He was seen opening and closing his umbrella on the grassy knoll on a perfectly sunny day. Some have argued for decades that the man was either signaling the shooter or shooting a poison dart at the president.

SHENON: Did the umbrella man came forward. He actually testified before Congress several years ago, there never was any credible evidence tying him to any conspiracy to kill the president.

[03:39:57] KAYE: Yet many just don't see how Oswald, a guy with a $20 mail-order rifle could bring down the most powerful man in the world. There must be no more grandiose scheme, perhaps even one that involved former Cuban leader Fidel Castro who is often connected to Kennedy's assassination.

Oswald's trip to Mexico City just weeks before the assassination has long raised eyebrows. While there, previously released government documents revealed he met with Cuban and Soviet spies.

SHENON: It appears that he actually made the statement in the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City; I want to kill President Kennedy. I'm going to kill President Kennedy.

KAYE: And what about the CIA or the mob who was angry at Kennedy for his crackdown on organized crime. Theories abound on their involvement too. Even President Kennedy's own Vice President Lyndon Johnson, could he have ordered a hit on his boss? Some conspiracy theorists say yes.

Remember, it was Johnson who set up the Warren Commission to put an end to the chatter that he was responsible for the assassination.


KAYE: Still the chatter continues. Much of it focused on the number of bullets fired that terrible day. The Warren Commission's official 888 page report concluded that in all three shots were fired all from Oswald's rifle perched on the sixth floor of the Texas school book depository. The commission found one bullet struck President Kennedy and another known as the magic bullet struck both President Kennedy and also Texas Governor John Connolly who survived the shooting.

Governor Connolly had said he believed he was struck by a separate bullet which only field talk of a second shooter at Dealey Plaza. Skeptics wondered if there wasn't a second shooter how was Oswald able to fire fast enough to hit both President Kennedy and Governor Connolly given that Connolly was seated right in front of the president in the car.

Despite all the intrigue both the Warren Commission's final report from 1964 and a review by the Justice Department in 1987 agree Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

VANIER: One of the first women to publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment isn't done speaking out. In her first television interview since she went public actress Ashley Judd said that it's been a tremendously moving couple of weeks. She told ABC's Diane Sawyer how she tricked Weinstein into letting her go when he confronted her years ago but the experience still troubled her.


ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: And finally I just said when I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK? And he's like, yes, when you get nominated. I said, no, when I win an Oscar. And then I just fled and then I just fled, which I think, you know, am I -- am I proud of that? I'm of two minds, the part that shames myself says no. The part of me that understands the way shame works says that was absolutely brilliant, good job, kid. You got out of there. Well done.


VANIER: Now meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein filed a suit on Thursday against the company that he co-founded, the Weinstein Company which has already fired him. He's asking the studio to turn over all of his company e-mails and his personnel file. Weinstein's lawsuit claims that with the information you would be able to help the company defend itself against harassment claims.

Now the company has allowed Weinstein access to its code of conduct.

America's opioid crisis is taking tens of thousands of lives every year and many struggling addicts feel like they're just waiting to die. How the epidemic is hitting Boston, after the break.


VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump who was telling you is taking his first step towards fixing America's opioid epidemic. He declared a public health emergency and offered some words of hope. But there's a lot more work ahead.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks it down.

SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I think the big headline is that this is considered a public health emergency not a national emergency or national disaster. And these terms I know they're being used interchangeably but they're different.

With a public health emergency you're talking about not necessarily having any new federal dollars being spent here, which is disappointing I think to a lot of people within this community who were hoping to have new money to be able to spend on the solutions oriented programs.

Also the duration of a public health emergency 90 days versus a national which is a year. The president can renew it after 90 days but again there is no guarantee that would happen.

What we know is that next week the commission chaired by Governor Chris Christie will release its report, hopefully within the report there's going to be some specific recommendations in terms of what transpires as a part of this public health emergency.

The president has telegraphed a few things wanting increase regulations on the medical community in terms of prescribing on the pharmacies, in terms of how many pills that could be given out at any given time, even calling one of the existing opioids that's out there evil, and something that should lose its FDA approval.

He talked about the wall as he often does. Our reporting shows that the wall would not necessarily improve things when it comes as opioid crisis because so many of these pills are coming into the mail like fentanyl, for example, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine.

What the president spent a lot of time talking about was a demand in this country. I think he's right. I mean, you know, we consume 90 percent of certain classes of opioids in this country. We're not even 5 percent of the world's population, yet we're consuming 90 percent of the world supply.

It's a remarkable statistic we're paying the consequences with people dying. As the president talked about the number of deaths from drug overdoses greater than car accidents and homicides put together.

So it's remarkable. But we're waiting for this commission report to see what other details we can uncover.

VANIER: And one of the most tragic aspects of this epidemic is how these drugs can just grab hold of people and never let go.

Our Gary Tuchman went to meet some of the addicts living on the street in Boston.


GARY TUCHMAN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: For most people this is a neighborhood south of downtown Boston. To others it's a living hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm jaundice. I'm into heroin for 16 years. I'm homeless. I live on the sidewalk and this is my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I didn't grow up thinking I was going to be heroin addict like this isn't exactly what I want to be.

TUCHMAN: What are your hopes and dreams?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To get older to have a family. I've at one point thought I was going to and I lost (Inaudible) people who are overdose didn't woke up in their bed.

TUCHMAN: Billy is 31 years old. He has a five-year-old son. He wants to be a tattoo artist someday. But while we talked he was looking for a vein.

It's hard for you to stop doing the heroin when we talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was hard. If I hadn't got any it wouldn't be but...

TUCHMAN: So that's what I'm wondering like you feel such a stronger that you can't stop while we talk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. There's nothing that would stop and that's how bad it gets.

TUCHMAN: Megan also lives on the streets in the sidewalk. You're about to reach your 30th birthday, and how long have you been addicted to heroin?


TUCHMAN: And how did you start the first time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was pills then pills became expensive, hard to get and heroin is just extremely easy to get and a lot cheaper.

[03:50:00] TUCHMAN: Like Megan, the gateway to heroine for Billy was also pain pills. He was 13 years old when he started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was already used in prescription, like I feel that fell. I found out heroin was cheaper than the pills and it was more intense so I became sneaking early. And then I found out soon and it was the next step from there and I was like it is not money, and (Inaudible) the first time I saw it I feel (Inaudible) with it. It was like, I don't know how to explain, it's like I'm God.

TUCHMAN: Billy and Megan are joint in their opioid devotion with scores of other people who gather on the street that happens to be near a hospital not the down clinics and shelters of people who want help.

Forty miles up the road in the small city of Gloucester, Massachusetts police will not arrest you if you come to the police station with opioids looking for help. The strategy of help not handcuffs started here and spread throughout the country. But after a much-publicized and the courage start the police chief here is facing a stark reality, things are not getting better.

JOHN MCCARTHY, CHIEF, GLOUCESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT: We've seen an increase in fentanyl. Fentanyl is a drug that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.

TUCHMAN: Like heroin fentanyl is an opioid, even a tiny dose of it can be lethal. Craig uses fentanyl. Like everyone we met on the street he wants to stop but says he can't.

So what do you do here in the streets with opiates?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pain is every -- all the opiates right now is fentanyl so everybody is dying.

TUCHMAN: It's about to start pouring here in Boston. These people who can't live with their pills of their needles will be sleeping in dirt that will turn into mud.

Are you afraid you're going to die from this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know I'm going to die from this.

TUCHMAN: Are you afraid you're going to die from this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really afraid. Honestly sometimes it just seems easier.



VANIER: A rare and sought after Rolex sold in New York for a record $17.7 million at auction. The story behind is part of the appeal. This Rolex Daytona right here was owned and worn by the late movie star and racecar driver Paul Newman.

Newman's wife gave it to him around the time that he film the 1969 movie "Winning." Reports say that previous record for Rolex sold at auction was $5 million.

And finally this hour, the U.S. first couple has endured plenty of mockery for their public interactions from oddly professional handshakes to hand swats. They're not exactly known for their chemistry, but our Jeanne Moos saw something else on Thursday.

JEANNE MOOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The president and the first lady were all smiles at each other. No big deal you say. Well, have you seen Melania un-smile after her husband turned his back at the inauguration? But as the first lady added some empathy to the opioid announcement she and the president repeatedly exchange smiles he patted her back.



MOOS: Again, the proud smiles, the exchange glanced.


M. TRUMP: I'm so proud to support him today.


[03:54:57] MOOS: And then the outstretched arms, the warm kiss on the cheek and some nuzzling, another kiss, a pat. And just when you thought it was over a lingering gaze and a nod and another touch. This was a presidential PDA never before seen in this administration.

Usually comedians are making fun of body language like the Trump's marital handshake.

M. TRUMP: Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shut her down like a robot from West Brom.

MOOS: And if it wasn't the handshake it was the infamous hand swat.

Stephen Colbert's Late Show then added its own handy work. This cat and mouse hand play has now given way to him touching her back and her reciprocating the gesture. Melania still look like a model but not a mannequin.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

VANIER: And that does it from us. I'm Cyril Vanier. The news continues right out with Max Foster in London.

Stay with CNN.