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First Charges Filed in Mueller Investigation; What JFK Assassination Files Revealed; Two Former Opioid Addicts Helped by Kratom Plant; Mueller Charges Not a Surprise?; Deadly Bacteria Contaminates Puerto Rico Water Supply; Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 28, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:42] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Saturday. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Let's get right to it.
President Trump has called the special counsel investigation being led by Robert Mueller a hoax. But the investigation just got incredibly real for the White House and the Republican Party and the Russia investigation in general this weekend.
CNN was first to learn that a federal grand jury in Washington has approved the very first charges in its probe. Now the person or persons indicted could be arrested as soon as Monday. And I say persons because this indictment is still sealed, so while we know there are some charges, we don't know exactly what they are or who they are against.
What we do know is that Mueller is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. And he's also been looking into foreign lobbying by key Trump associates like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is one of our reporters who helped break this story.
So, Shimon, what can we expect come Monday?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, what we've been told is that at the very least on Monday, we should expect some kind of court action. And, you know, initially before that, some sort of law enforcement activity. Now whether or not the person or persons -- whether it's more than one or there are two people indicted here, we don't know right now.
And we do expect that sometime Monday, as early as Monday, people will surrender or be arrested in connection to at least this part of the case. At least in part to the charges being filed on Friday by the indictment and by prosecutors here in Washington, D.C., with the special counsel's office.
So basically we've been told that the court is ready to hear some court action. Could be arraignments, could be presentments, in connection to the charges. So presumably whoever's been charged would appear before a judge here in Washington, D.C.
CABRERA: Shimon, do you know if that person or persons have been notified yet?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, so that's unknown. I mean, so far, everyone that we here at CNN have talked to, the lawyers that are connected with some of the people who have been under investigation here have told us that they have not received notice from the special counsel's office to have their clients surrender. So it is very likely that the people who are charged or the person that was charged has not been told.
And really the only way that they may know is that come Monday morning, FBI agents show up at their door, knock on their door, and say, hey, come with us, we have a warrant for your arrest. So we may not know any of this until Monday morning unless there are surrenders. Unless the special prosecutor's office or the FBI calls these lawyers and say we would like your clients to surrender, wherever that may be, Monday morning, and then will begin this court process that I mentioned earlier.
CABRERA: Several weeks ago we were reporting that a grand jury had been empanelled. So help us understand how the grand jury process works. What does it take exactly to get an indictment?
PROKUPECZ: So this is a several-month process, at least that's our understanding. That the grand jury has been seated here in Washington, D.C., for several months, listening to evidence in regard to the collusion investigation. The grand jury was empanelled by the special counsel's office. And generally what happens is documents are presented to these jurors, there could be anywhere from 12 to 23 jurors. They sit in a room here in Washington, D.C., at the courthouse. And they basically listen to evidence.
Witnesses will come before them. Prosecutors will ask questions of those witnesses. Could be FBI agents, it could be people that are close to some of the folks who have been under investigation. It could be business partners. You know, we really don't know exactly everyone that's come before the grand jury.
And also it's investigative tool for prosecutors. Prosecutors and investigators generally use the grand jury to force witnesses to come before them. So it's a pretty long process that appears at least in part to have come to an end. And we should know more hopefully, hopefully Monday.
CABRERA: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, we know you're working your sources this weekend. Thank you so much for the update.
I want to bring in our panel now. Joining us is CNN legal and national security analyst, Asha Rangappa, she is an associate dean at Yale Law School and a former FBI special agent. And also with us is national political reporter for RealClearPolitics, Caitlin Huey-Burns.
[15:05:05] So, Asha, I want to ask you about the significance of this new development and what does it mean exactly for where the administration is currently? ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. So I
would caution against concluding that this whole thing is going to get wrapped up with all these charges that will be unsealed sometime early next week. There are a lot of outstanding leads that we know, things like interviews of White House officials relating to potential obstruction charges, the Facebook warrant that was done. So there's a lot of leads. But what we do know is that there have been two active grand juries, one in Virginia, one in D.C., on Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.
And even if there's still a lot of other leads in this investigation to pursue, there are reasons for Mueller to potentially bring charges now if he believes he has the evidence to prosecute and can obtain a conviction. Number one, it can signal to other people that he may be coming to interview or target, that he means business. It can also put pressure on the people he's indicting to talk if they've been uncooperative so far.
And, Ana, it can also be a little bit of a testing ground for him to see what the president is going to do in terms of, is he going to use his pardon power, for example.
RANGAPPA: And that will help Mueller know whether he may need to lay the groundwork, the legal infrastructure may be to bring charges at the state level for some of these people if they violated state crimes which the pardon power wouldn't reach. So I think there are a lot of reasons that he has to move forward at this stage, even if the entire investigation may not be complete.
CABRERA: I do want to ask you, though, because we don't know the charges. What we do know is that the deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, he did have authority to reject this grand jury indictment if he didn't think it was within the scope of the investigation. The fact that he didn't do that, what does it tell you about the possible charges here?
RANGAPPA: Well, it tells you that they are substantiated. I think that's a great point that you make, Ana, which is (INAUDIBLE) step that he wants to take in the investigation. So he's been doing that so far. But he also has to present to the deputy attorney general the charges that he -- the charges that he wants to pursue for prosecution. And Rosenstein does have the power, as you said, to decline that.
If he did that, he would have to turn around and report to the Judiciary Committees in Congress why he did it. So he would need to have a basis for doing that. But the fact that he approved the step by Mueller, and Rosenstein is a prosecutor, too, means that he believes that the evidence that has been gathered substantiates the charge and is sufficient to potentially bring a conviction if it moves forward toward a full prosecution. So there's a there-there is what it basically means.
CABRERA: So, Caitlin, a senior administration official says the White House has no comment. The president hasn't fired off any tweets. We know he's spending another day, another weekend at one of his golf resort properties.
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right.
CABRERA: So on the outside I guess, it's kind of business as usual. But politically speaking, how big of a deal is this for Republicans in the White House?
HUEY-BURNS: Well, it's a huge deal. And we saw the president kind of preempting this sort of thing or at least trying to, not saying that they knew about it, of course. But we saw the president's tweets this week again trying to undermine the status of the investigation, tweeting out that everybody has concluded that there's nothing there. That there's no collusion between Trump and Russia, which, of course, the committees haven't completed their work, and obviously Mueller's investigation is well underway.
CABRERA: There is that tweet where he says this is a costly investigation, there was no collusion clearly between Russia and Trump. Their investigation's not done, and clearly is going somewhere.
HUEY-BURNS: Exactly. And so this is a really important moment in this because it does show the public that this investigation has something going on. And this is kind of a really important marker here. And as people have mentioned before, there could be more to come. Lots of questions here. But the White House and Republicans in Congress have been trying to kind of move the conversation over to the Clintons. We saw them trying to talk a lot about the uranium deal, talking a lot about that dossier. These issues are not similar, but again, they're trying to push the focus away which also is very revealing.
CABRERA: Were they successful in muddying the waters, do you think?
HUEY-BURNS: Well, I think this became kind of a bipartisan issue this week. And I think Mueller's investigation and the news this week shows that there is potentially something there. And remember, this indictment could be anything. Mueller's probe is pretty -- the mandate is pretty expansive, right? It could cover a lot of different things.
[15:10:05] But Republicans in Congress have been in charge of the House at least for six or seven years now, have had a lot of time to go after the Clintons. So there was that question, of course, about why were they doing it now, and this shows that they are trying to muddy the waters here.
CABRERA: Asha, if you are the White House, what is the best case scenario as to who's been indicted?
RANGAPPA: I don't think this is a good situation any way you slice it, Ana. You know, both of these -- as far as Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, I'm just going to use those names simply because we know that there are grand jury investigations going on with both of them, though perhaps there could be other people who might be charged. These are people who had ties to the Trump campaign. So I don't think that there is a lot of wiggle room to -- for the White House administration to distance themselves.
Now again, as Caitlin said, these charges could be about anything. I mean, it's not going to be we charge with collusion. And collusion is not legally speaking a crime. There could be conspiracy charges or something. But these could be crimes that preceded the Trump campaign that involve financial dealings, for example. So they may not necessarily directly tie the Trump administration, but the individuals may have ties that make it more difficult for the administration to distance itself.
CABRERA: Real quick, Caitlin, the other big story this week has been about that dossier. And we learned a lot more about who was behind the funding of the research that was eventually included in that dossier. We learned the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign ultimately funded the excursion by GPS -- Fusion GPS to hire Christopher Steele. But now we know -- this news just came out, that it was "The Washington Free Beacon" that was the initial sort of ignition of this opposition research during the Republican primary. So did we just put to bed that whole mystery surrounding the dossier this week?
HUEY-BURNS: Well, there has been a lot of information coming out. And as you mentioned, that shows that, you know, Republicans were very intent over the course of the primary of trying to take Donald Trump down. We know of course they tried to prevent him from getting the nomination. And this was a long, drawn-out process. What this dossier does, though, the Trump and supporters have been trying to kind of make this show the same kind of thing. Right? They've been trying to say that the Clintons, the campaign colluded with Russia, and that's just not the evidence here. Right?
And in fact, the White House was asked on Friday, do you have evidence for this alleged collusion that you're talking about. And they wouldn't say what the president was referring to when he was talking about that. But again, this is an issue, you know, the Clinton campaign has said that this is opposition research. It is questionable, of course, if you're using foreign information or entities and such. But they were trying to see that this was -- they were trying to uncover Donald Trump campaign associates and collusion, and that wasn't what they were doing themselves. So a lot of blurring of the lines here but they are different issues.
CABRERA: All right. Caitlin, thank you so much. Asha Rangappa, thank you as well.
Coming up here in the CNN NEWSROOM from alleged plots to kill Castro to an alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe. What we're learning from the thousands of newly released files on the JFK assassination.
Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:17:42] CABRERA: President Trump is vowing to release all the files on President JFK's assassination after this week's incomplete document dump. The president tweeted this, quote, "After strict consultation with General Kelly and the CIA, and other agencies, I will be releasing all JFK files other than the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living. I am doing this for reasons of full disclosure, transparency, and in order to put any and all conspiracy theories to rest."
Now President Trump made available to the public about 2800 files this week, holding back some potentially sensitive documents for further review.
Now our Randi Kaye got a look through all these documents, breaks down the most intriguing revelations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just weeks before assassinating President John F. Kennedy, newly released JFK files reveal not only did Lee Harvey Oswald travel to Mexico City but Oswald spoke with a KGB officer there at the Russian embassy who worked for a department responsible for sabotage and assassination. Adding to the intrigue, a CIA memo detailing an intercepted phone call from Oswald to the embassy. Oswald in broken Russian asked if there was, quote, "anything new concerning the telegram to Washington."
The new documents also reveal the president's brother, attorney general Robert Kennedy, and the FBI had been warned about a new book alleging Robert Kennedy's affair with actress Marilyn Monroe. An 11- page document addressed to then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reveals how the book claimed the younger Kennedy had an affair with Monroe and had her killed when she threatened to expose that affair.
The allegations was deemed false, with a memo noting that Robert Kennedy was in San Francisco with his wife at the time of Monroe's death.
(On camera): And it turns out even before Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, there was a warning his life was in jeopardy. A memo from then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reveals that the day after JFK was killed the FBI got a call from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.
[15:20:03] Hoover says the FBI shared that information with the Dallas police chief. Hoover said back in 1963 that he was assured adequate protection will be given. However, this was not done. Oswald was shot dead while being escorted out of the basement of the Dallas Police Department.
(Voice-over): And what about those rumored plots to kill Fidel Castro who at the time was the leader of Cuba. The new JFK files contain a 1975 document detailing how then attorney general Robert Kennedy told the FBI that he learned the CIA had hired someone to approach the mob about killing Castro.
Another plot to kill Castro detailed in the documents would have involved the CIA's use of an American lawyer sent to negotiate with Castro for the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. The plan was for the lawyer to give Castro, who liked to skin dive, a dive suit contaminated with a disabling fungus and tuberculosis in the breathing apparatus. The American lawyer didn't go through with it.
In another surprising twist, the documents show that the FBI had once suspected Kennedy's vice president Lyndon Johnson may have been a member of the KKK. A internal FBI memo from 1964 shows an informant said the KKK had, quote, "documented proof" that Johnson had been a member of the Klan early in his political career. Fascinating, perhaps, but no proof was ever provided.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
CABRERA: Fascinating, isn't it?
Joining us now, Larry Sabato, the author of "The Kennedy Half Century," and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
So, Larry, obviously this week's document dump did not address all the unanswered questions. Some have said it may lead to more conspiracies. But do you think the answers will be found in those files still being withheld?
LARRY SABATO, AUTHOR, "THE KENNEDY HALF CENTURY": I doubt the big answers will be found. For one thing, I'm not sure all the documents were ever turned over in the 1990s. Some of the most sensitive or incriminating may have been destroyed a long time ago. But the ones that we have, and we've got much more sensitive ones supposedly coming out April 26th, I hope that the promise is kept. But just the ones we have -- and we've been through an eighth of these, Ana, this is an extraordinary number of pages.
No one could have read through all of this at this point. But at this stage, I think we can say that we are learning bits and pieces that color in some of the blanks about the assassination, little things that make -- may tell us some important stories. You mentioned or rather Randi did in the package the "Operation Mongoose." All these ideas to kill Castro. One new one that we discovered is for a biological agent to have been dropped via insects on the crops in Cuba to have --
CABRERA: This is stuff movies are made out of, right?
SABATO: Yes. No. It's just unbelievable. They were hoping to get a popular revolt against Castro. When you read it, you go back if you're old enough to the '50s and '60s and you remember how our whole world revolved around this bipolar system, the United States versus the USSR, Cuba being the ally of the USSR.
CABRERA: I want to ask you kind of bigger picture here because the president has said he wants all the files to get out there in the name of transparency. That is the same reason he says he needs to see all of the Hillary Clinton e-mails from her tenure as secretary of state that have not yet been made public. He wants those out there ASAP, as well. He instructed the State Department, in fact, just yesterday to speed up its e-mail review to get those public.
So, Larry, do you think this is really just about transparency?
SABATO: No. And I think the president's already hinted that. You know, for a week there, he gave us some tweets that suggested that everything was actually going to come out on October 26th, which, Ana, a law passed in 1992 and signed by President George H.W. Bush mandated. They've known about this for 25 years.
On the last day, the last day, the CIA and other agencies bombarded the president with memos and frightening scenarios that this would happen and that would happen.
SABATO: And guess what, the sensitive things were held back.
CABRERA: So how important is transparency, though, to American voters? Because Trump, as we know, is trying to pass tax reform. Yet he still hasn't released his own tax returns.
SABATO: Clearly that didn't matter in the campaign, did it?
SABATO: And that's remarkable. But you know, on this -- you know what's interesting about this, Ana? This is one of the few things that I've seen since Trump was elected that's united Democrats, Republicans, and independents. I have yet to come across anybody not in the CIA or FBI who doesn't want 100 percent of the documents revealed after 54 years.
[15:25:11] CABRERA: I have to ask you because I have you there in Virginia. We're all watching the Virginia governor's race. It's heating up, just 10 days now before the election. You say if Democrats lose there in Virginia, they're in real trouble for next year's midterms. How do you see it?
SABATO: Because, look, Democrats had that shock last November. And they've been in a daze ever since. Virginia is now a leaning Democratic state. Even in non-presidential years. The Democrats have won every presidential contest since 2008. They won all the statewide contests. Both state -- U.S. Senate positions. If they can't hold Virginia with the advantages of having Trump in the White House and being very unpopular in Virginia, then when are they going to win a big election? How are they going to get any momentum moving into 2018? So the stakes are enormous for both parties, and that's why they're pulling the tricks that they're pulling right now. CABRERA: Well, I'd love to talk to you after the election and see how
things end up landing and what it means signaling for both parties going forward.
Larry Sabato, as always, thank you for your time.
SABATO: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Coming up, with President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency, many Americans are finding that conventional treatment may not work for them. But we'll tell you about an unorthodox treatment one family is turning to. Could it be a cure to opioid addiction?
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:31:04] CABRERA: The DEA wants your unused or expired drugs. Today is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. And there are drop-off sites in cities all around the country letting you safely drop them off, no questions asked.
This year's effort follows President Donald Trump's declaration of a nationwide public health emergency to tackle an epidemic of opioid drug addiction and overdoses. Administration officials say they plan to ask Congress for money to help battle the opioid crisis which likely affects someone you know.
The Centers for Disease Control says more than 64,000 people in the U.S. died from a drug overdose just last year. Most of them from heroin or fentanyl. And you see the chart. This is a problem that's getting worse, not better.
There is some hope. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on an herb some former addicts say has helped them kick their habit.
PATRICIA SLEVIN, FORMER OPIATE USER: Everything hurts, you're sick, you're nauseous, throwing up, diarrhea. Your will to live is gone.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Withdrawal from opiate drugs. Many will tell you that you continue to use because after a while it's no longer about getting high. It's to chase away the feeling you're about to die.
For Patricia Slevin, it all started four years ago with abdominal pain and a prescription for Dilaudid. It was the first time in her life she had ever taken an opiate.
SLEVIN: They upped the dose and it just kept to the point where I was taking a very high dose of pain meds. I had to get on pain management.
LISA VINSON, FORMER OPIATE USER: Every month they say how are you, and I say, well, it's not really helping as much. I'm still in a lot of pain. OK. We'll add this to it, this pill and then this patch.
GUPTA: Lisa Vinson, Patricia's younger sister, also had abdominal pain. Over the past 10 years she's had five operations including a hysterectomy and yes, she also had lots and lots of narcotics.
VINSON: I was torn between not being able to care for my family or, OK, I can take care of them if I just take some more pills.
GUPTA: Within months two sisters, Lisa and Patricia, were both addicted to opioid painkillers. But things would soon turn even more desperate for Patricia.
SLEVIN: Every time they would give me more my body just get immune to it. If I didn't have it I would get sick, sick, real sick.
GUPTA (on camera): So what did you do?
SLEVIN: There was a guy that I worked with, his wife had Dilaudid but she didn't like them and she didn't take them so he would sell me what she had so that I ran out then I still have some.
GUPTA (voice-over): But one day that same guy didn't have any pills and offered up a cheaper alternative, heroin.
SLEVIN: And the rest, as they say, is history. It just went downhill from there.
VINSON: She called asking for money for more heroin and I told her I will not send you money for drugs. I will not. But I will buy you kratom.
GUPTA: Kratom. Around the world, kratom, an herb, has been used for centuries to help people manage pain, but also for the withdrawal from opium. Lisa knew from personal experience.
VINSON: The reason I started taking it was because I didn't want to withdraw. I had no idea that it was going to help me with the pain like it did.
CHRISTOPHER MCCURDY, MEDICINAL CHEMIST: We definitely believe that this could be a solution to or part of a solution to the opioid crisis that we're currently in.
GUPTA: Christopher McCurdy is a medicinal chemist. He's also one of just a handful of scientists in America studying the Southeast Asia plant.
MCCURDY: I don't see anything that rivals or even comes close to the ability for this plant to serve as a potential treatment.
GUPTA: And yet, in the U.S., it is banned in six states and the DEA considers it a drug of concern over worries of potential addiction and even some reported deaths. According to McCurdy, that concern is because kratom is not regulated and has been mixed with other drugs.
[15:35:07] MCCURDY: Definitely there needs to be regulatory measures put into place with this plant material, but there is a huge wealth of anecdotal evidence out there and some scientific that there is definite medical potential for this plant.
GUPTA: For something so promising, you may be wondering why others including big companies haven't investigated it. Part of the problem, it is a plant and that means no one can patent it.
MCCURDY: There is no financial incentive for any drug company to really pursue developing this into a drug.
GUPTA (on camera): How does the future look for you now, you, your family? All your teenage kids that you have.
VINSON: Right. It looks beautiful. I have hope.
GUPTA: How confident are you that you won't go back to heroin?
SLEVIN: Never fully confident. Never fully confident.
SLEVIN: It's a powerful -- it's a powerful drug, but I think as long as I have kratom, as long as I can get it, me, personally, I'll never go back.
GUPTA: So you may be watching that and saying, that looks like it's too good to be true, that a plant, that an herb could actually have such an impact. Well, the truth is that it's been used for hundreds of years in other countries. It is starting to get more interest from the scientific community here. But there are still a lot of tests that it needs to be done.
And if you buy kratom, you've got to make sure of a lot of things right now because it's unregulated. You've got to make sure that what you're getting is kratom, you've got to make sure that you're getting the right dose, and you've got to make sure that it's not mixed with something else. So there are some significant caveats here still. But this is one of the possible angles, one of the possible options and alternatives to try to make a dent in this opioid crisis.
CABRERA: Such important reporting. Thank you so much, Sanjay.
Coming up, we will have the latest on the looming charges in the special investigation by Robert Mueller and why one security expert thinks that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
We'll discuss next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:41:18] CABRERA: Back to our major story breaking this weekend. CNN the first to report that charges have been officially filed in the special counsel investigation being led by Robert Mueller. Again this is the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.
Now this indictment has been sealed. So that means we don't know who has been charged or what they've been charged with just yet. But sources say an arrest could come as soon as Monday.
So let's talk about what this means with CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She is the former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, Thursday you here on CNN predicted something big was going to happen before Thanksgiving. What gave you the impression and is this what you had in mind?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. The impression was just simply the pace. And you know, if you sort of try to tune out all the noise, it was just clear that something fast was going on with the grand jury and Mueller. The number of people coming in as witnesses, the number of people admitting that they had been witnesses or contacted by the special prosecutor.
And then this week with the White House doing what I have to just say is just sort of a -- you know, the sort of "Hail Mary" attempt to sort of talk about Hillary Clinton's collusion or fake news regarding Mueller and sort of attacking him directly made it seem like to anyone who knows how these cases unfold that something was going to hit quickly. And that would have been a sealed indictment and potentially, as we're reporting, an arrest.
It is not the end, though, certainly, and you know, people should not think that this sort of settles any issue. This is, of course, just an indictment. But it does mean that Mueller has proved something not just to a grand jury but obviously his chain of command at the Department of Justice.
CABRERA: So it's a sealed document. So we don't know who will be charged.
CABRERA: But does the who matter as much as what the charges are?
KAYYEM: It's both. And -- but I think the who is very significant for political purposes for the White House. And that is, if it's someone like Manafort or Manafort, a campaign chairman, a man who we all know just by our own reporting and other reporting has a lot of complicated financial dealings with the Russians, has been under contract by friends of Putin, that, you know, if it has to do with him, the White House might be able to distance themselves relatively quickly from his behavior before he was tied to the Trump campaign.
If it is Mike Flynn, you know, the former national security adviser, someone who is basically exists because of Trump, right? He is the national security adviser, he's part of the campaign, he's the man who yelled -- you know, "lock her up" from the RNC, he's part of the transition and served as national security adviser for a little bit, and lied essentially about his interactions with Russia, I think -- I don't know how the White House gets out from under that because it would suggest that the -- that this was so close to Trump and his campaign.
Of course, the what the indictment is also important, and we'll see. But to be honest, this won't be first of these indictments if the case is as strong as it appears to be and so, you know, these charges will be mixed in with lots of other charges at some stage.
CABRERA: And you are the second person within the last hour to say that on our air, that this could be just the tip of the iceberg, it's just the beginning, maybe not the end.
You've warned in the past that President Trump might try to fire Robert Mueller. Now that there are formal charges coming out of this special counsel investigation, does that influence your thinking on this?
KAYYEM: Yes. And so I think -- you know, I think President Trump has only three options, right.
[15:45:04] So one is that he, you know, believes that the search for truth is important and he doesn't get -- go on defensive. And they let the prosecutor -- they let Mueller go on as he will. I don't think any of us believes that that's go to happen, but that is an option. And many defendants have done that, right.
The second is the pardon power. I have to believe that if this gets close to in particular Jared Kushner or Donald Trump Jr. that we will begin to see the pardon power exercise. I cannot imagine Donald Trump would allow it to get to -- you know, these indictments to get to family members.
And then the third, of course, is the ugliest, the one that gets us to a constitutional crisis. Not even clear how Donald Trump does it. Will he be able to get someone who's at the Justice Department who's willing to fire Mueller? You know, others -- you know, the people there may not be willing to do it. That is going to be -- that is also a third option. And I have just been warning I think as citizens rather than commentators or national security experts, we really do have to brace for that possibility because there's not that many choices left for Donald Trump since it's clear he does not want to go the sort of fact, truth-telling route at this stage.
He's not left Mueller alone. He's going after him. And you've got to believe that is going to be their strategy in the weeks to come.
CABRERA: And yet after this news broke, the only news we've heard from the White House is no comment on this. Interesting.
Juliette Kayyem, thank you for your expertise and your analysis.
Coming up, more than a month after Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, the majority of the island is still without power. And many still don't have clean water. Those desperate for water are now washing and drinking water from potentially contaminated rivers and streams that could breed killer bacteria bugs. How the government is reacting, next.
[15:51:25] CABRERA: More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, killing 51 U.S. citizens, seven in 10 Puerto Ricans still have no electricity and now a $300 million contract, the little known energy firm that had only two employees when Maria made landfall is under review.
The Department of Homeland Security has launched an inquiry into the deal with Whitefish Energy. This contract raised a few eyebrows since the firm is based in Whitefish, Montana. That's the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke tweeted yesterday that he had nothing to do with Whitefish being awarded this contract. And then there was the Twitter spat with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who tweeted, "If Whitefish Energy feels that asking for transparency is misplaced, what are they afraid of? What are they afraid we will find."
Whitefish responded with this. "We've got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city and 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?" Now the company later tweeted an apology to the mayor and the people of Puerto Rico saying it would do everything it can to help everyone in their time of need.
Now, on top of all that, the people of Puerto Rico still have serious problems with access to clean water. A deadly bacterial disease has contaminated some water supplies and it has resulted in several deaths and dozens more are infected.
CNN's Martin Savidge traveled to a town where one of the first victims died and he filed this report.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jorge Antonio Sanyet struggles to understand how his father died two weeks after the hurricane, describing the symptoms that came on so suddenly.
JORGE ANTONIO SANYET, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: Nausea --
SAVIDGE: Nausea, stomach pains, headaches and diarrhea. The doctor diagnosed the flu and sent the man home where he only got worse.
(On camera): So the family brought him to this regional hospital where unfortunately he died. And it was only then they learned what had made him so sick. Leptospirosis.
(Voice-over): I asked Jorge if he knew about it. "No, I have never heard of it before," he tells me.
The source is bacteria and animal urine, making its way into rivers and lakes especially after flooding. Hurricane Maria triggered massive flooding while knocking out fresh water to many on the island. In desperation, Puerto Ricans have been turning to potentially contaminated rivers and waterways to wash, even to drink. The Cruz family still has no water at their Canovanas home, so every
other week they've been coming to the river. They do laundry and the children play.
I asked Jose if he had any fear about the water for his family. His answer was simple.
SAVIDGE (on camera) : No?
SAVIDGE: But in the town of Juncos, Maria Flores is worried. It's why every day she, along with her daughter and grandchildren, come to town and filled plastic jugs at the community well. "We're in desperately need of it," she says. "I live on the second floor and I carry the containers with water every day. It is exhausting."
As the number of confirmed and suspected cases of leptospirosis have grown, the government is trying to keep public fear in check, describing the situation as neither an epidemic nor a confirmed outbreak. But they are treating it as a health emergency.
Puerto Ricans have endured a long list of sufferings in the aftermath of Maria. Now comes another potentially fatal threat lurking in the very water some of them relying on just to survive.
Martin Savidge, CNN.
CABRERA: Still ahead, with the Russia investigation intensifying and word that charges have now been filed, the White House and most importantly the president has stayed mum.
[15:55:08] But one topic they are breaking their silence over is Hillary Clinton's e-mails. And there's now a push to get the State Department to release more of them. We'll explain next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
But first, meet this week's CNN Hero if you have a garage full of used soccer balls, tennis rackets, golf clubs maybe, well, Max Levitt has found a creative way to give forgotten sports equipment a new life. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAX LEVITT, CNN HERO: A lot of kids learn the importance of work ethic on the sports field.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go. Good job. Both of you. Do it again.
LEVITT: Sports were the most important part of my childhood. I thought it was a given for kids to play sports but so many kids can't afford to play sports. There's millions of dollars of sports equipment that is not being put to use, that is either being thrown away or wasting away in garages, I thought why don't we just create a food bank for sports equipment?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: To see how Max's equipment is really making a difference, go to CNNheroes.com and next week get ready. We will be revealing the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2017.
We're back after this.