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First Charges Filed in Mueller Investigation; Navy SEALs Investigated in Death of Green Beret; Uncertainty Mounting in Catalonia; Kenyan Presidential Election Result Expected Monday; Barzani Stepping Down as Iraqi Kurdistan President; Saudi Arabia To Allow Women Into 3 Sports Stadiums; Heathrow Airport Investigating Security Lapse; Hurricane Maria Obliterates El Yunque National Forest. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 30, 2017 - 02:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Early Monday in the U.S. East Coast. But before the day is over, someone could be in custody in the Russia investigation.

A massive unity rally in Barcelona Sunday, showing not everyone in the region supports Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain. We'll have a live report from Barcelona this hour.

And lost at sea for five months. Two women finally made it back to land with their dog. And CNN was there to capture the moment. We'll have a live report from Okinawa, Japan.

What a happy ending to that one.

Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. And that is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: Our top story, the dark clouds looming over the White House could grow more troublesome on Monday. The first arrest or arrests in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation could come within hours.

His main focus has been whether there was any collusion between Trump associates and the Russians during last year's election. Shimon Prokupecz helped break the news of the indictments and explains what comes next.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: We expect to learn later today what charges were filed in connection with the special counsel investigation, once a federal judge unseals the indictment. A federal grand jury has approved the charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe but the charges are sealed so we don't yet know who will be charged.

We've been told the expectation that it was going to happen Monday. And anyone who is facing the charges will be arrested and taken into custody by FBI agents and, at some point, will face a judge here in Washington, D.C.

Now this indictment, once it's unsealed, will likely give us a window into some of what the special counsel has been looking at and how it potentially relates to the Russian investigation -- Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: So what should we look for when these indictments come out?

A former U.S. attorney who was fired by President Trump spells it out for us.


PREET BHAHARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So I would look for a couple of things. One, whether or not Donald Trump has some reaction and talks in a way that could be used against him in the future, because Bob Mueller would do that.

And the second thing I would look at is to see if the President of the United States sending some kind of message to the potential defendant or other witnesses. And that's in two categories.

One, is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts, suggesting that people should not be talking and people should keep their mouths shut, which happens in life from time to time?

And the second thing is whether or not he sends a message of reassurance.


ALLEN: It is still a waiting game until we know who is indicted. But in the meantime, President Trump and the Republicans are going after, you guessed it, Hillary Clinton, the same Hillary Clinton Trump beat in the presidential election, the same Hillary Clinton who hasn't been in politics since that election.

But Mr. Trump will not let up. For more on this, here is CNN's Boris Sanchez.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No public events for the White House on Sunday. But the president was fired up on Twitter, lamenting what he calls a lack of investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

In a series of tweets, he specifically cites several accusations that he has made before about the former first lady and secretary of state, citing the now infamous dossier that was put together by Fusion GPS, a company that was at one point hired by the Clinton campaign to dig up opposition research on then candidate Trump.

He also talks about the uranium deal, the idea that Hillary Clinton took bribes from Russian officials in exchange for a more favorable uranium deal, a charge that he has made before.

He also talks about her e-mails. And in one revealing portion, he says that, instead of focusing on this, on those controversies, people are focusing instead on what he calls phony Trump-Russia collusion, which is nonexistent.

While this news is coming from the special counsel, the charges are imminent, the president is choosing to focus his attention on an opponent he defeated almost 12 months ago -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


ALLEN: Joining me now is CNN global affairs analyst and online news editor of "The New Yorker," David Rohde. David is also a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.

David, big week ahead. We know someone has been indicated in the Mueller investigation. Let's talk about the investigation getting to this point, the significance of this.

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's a big step forward. I think it shows that Robert Mueller and his team are very serious.


ROHDE: They have found some sort of criminal activity. It's very unclear who it will be, though. And I think a lot of the story will be how does President Trump react.

Will he take this calmly or will he overreact, as the president has in the past sometimes?

ALLEN: I was going to ask you about that. He hasn't tweeted about this revelation this weekend. He has, however, tweeted about his favorite nemesis, Hillary Clinton.

Is that a move to deflect?

Or is there any merit to what he is alleging as far as she colluded with the Russians?

ROHDE: Yes, there is this long running theory he has been peddling that had been checked out by various fact check organizations about her selling some uranium deposits.

It was essentially a transaction that was approved by multiple government agencies during the Obama administration. It wasn't something controlled by Hillary Clinton herself. So it's found to not be true.

But he is distracting, I think, from this Russian news. And it's not working, I think, with Americans who oppose him. But I do think to his base that it does work. People sort of make fun or joke about the president using Twitter. But I think he is successfully distracting his political base from these looming charges against his former aides, it looks like.

ALLEN: But will time run out on that distraction if that investigation continues to bring more charges?

And the big question I want to ask you is, how significant will be it be if this charge isn't directly related to the Trump team colluding with the Russians, if it's something very indirectly related?

ROHDE: I think it's too early for, you know, Trump himself or his supporters to declare a victory. And it's too early for Trump's critics. It's going to be unclear, based on the one charge. There are charges coming out. But they're assumed to be against one person to decide.

The end of Mueller and Trump's being exonerated or it's the beginning of something larger. Mueller is very methodical. I think we might know within three, four, five, six months. But this is just the beginning.

The worst thing I think Trump could do politically is to overreact; there is talk of him potentially firing Mueller. That could cause a constitutional crisis. But it's just unclear.

To be fair to him, he could be exonerated in the end by Mueller. And I think his best play here is to wait.

Even if his aides are indicted, did Trump himself know of any collusion?

That's the line. And if there is no proof of Trump himself, then he can move forward from this.

ALLEN: Right. Mueller has a reputation for being fair and apolitical. So it seems like it would be a dangerous thing to go after Mueller at this point.

With an arrest, David, does the cloud of suspicion get grayer at this point?

Any way inhibit his focus on what he is trying to do, say vis-a-vis tax reform?

ROHDE: Yes, this is not great timing. This is a critical -- this week and the weeks ahead, he and the GOP are pushing a major tax reform, would be his first major legislative victory.

He needs, as has been talked about, he has this problem with only a two-vote majority in the Senate. This will further alienate opponents of Trump, who don't want to take risks for him. So this could hamper his presidency, not bring him down, but it's

never a good sign when a president has a former aide charged criminally. That's not going to help him move his agenda forward in Congress.

ALLEN: And certainly the White House has likely been talking about how they will officially respond. This president, of course, likes to tweet things. His chief of staff has been trying to put a little more order into the White House. We've got his White House spokeswoman, who doesn't really seem to favor many probing questions from the news media.

What is on their plate as far as how they respond?

ROHDE: The lawyers around Trump are urging him to let this play out, saying there is no collusion here; Mueller will be fair and the president will actually be exonerated and be strengthened by this investigation.

But the president is not patient. He can say whatever he wants on Twitter. Again, the red line is if he tries to interfere in Mueller's work, if he tries to remove Mueller. That's when he could overreact and actually create a situation where he is obstructing justice.

And that could lead to -- that adds strength to an argument that he shouldn't face impeachment. That's a very extreme step. He hasn't done that yet. But this is a key moment where he has to, I think, again, remain calm. Firing Mueller will worsen his problems, not simplify them.

ALLEN: All right. Journalist David Rohde, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it. We'll talk with you again this week.

ROHDE: Thank you.

ALLEN: In other news from Washington now, the U.S. Defense and State Department secretaries are set to testify on whether the White House should ask Congress --


ALLEN: -- for a new authorization to use military force. U.S. military operations abroad are being scrutinized after four U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger. Rex Tillerson and James Mattis will be questioned by Congress on Monday. They have said a new military authorization is not needed.

The last one was approved 16 years ago after the September 11th attacks.

Meantime, the U.S. Navy is investigating the death of a U.S. soldier deployed to a mission in Africa. Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar with the Army Special Forces was found dead in June at a U.S. government compound in Mali. Authorities now want to know if he was killed by two members of the most elite special force of the U.S. Navy. For more, CNN's Ryan Browne now. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The United States Navy is investigating two U.S. Navy SEALs, part of the elite SEAL Team 6, for their role in the death of Army Green Berets' Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, who was working in support of the U.S. embassy in Bamako, Mali.

Now the U.S. Army's medical examiner ruled Melgar's death a homicide and his widow was informed that he had been murdered. But the Navy took over the investigation in September once Navy personnel were linked to his death.

Now the United States Navy's Criminal Investigation Service or NCIS would not comment, citing an ongoing investigation. But the U.S. military is looking at two Navy SEALs to determine exactly what happened -- back to you.


ALLEN: Puerto Rico's power authority is working to cancel a controversial contract awarded to a small utility company out of the state of Montana. Whitefish Energy was given a $300 million deal to help restore power after Hurricane Maria.

The company is located in the U.S. Interior Secretary's hometown, raising questions about the selection process. But the White House says the decision was made solely by the power authority in Puerto Rico.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He did ask Secretary Zinke just for clarification purposes and he reiterated, once again, that we have no role, the federal government, and specifically he had no role in that contract.


ALLEN: The U.S. Navy ship Comfort is back in San Juan after treating patients around Puerto Rico. The floating state-of-the-art hospital was deployed by the U.S. government after Hurricane Maria.

But many clinics on the island did not know the protocol for sending patients to the ship and it sat mostly empty for the first couple of weeks. But now Puerto Rico's governor says 60 percent of the ship's beds are full and a number of surgeries have been performed on board.

Next here on CNN NEWSROOM, now that Spain has dissolved the regional Catalan government, what does that mean for government employees heading into work?

We'll go live to Barcelona after this break.

Plus the Iraqi Kurdish president is stepping down. He took a gamble for Kurdish independence but it backfired. We'll look back at his 12 years in power, next.







ALLEN: Welcome back.

All eyes are on Catalonia as it opens for business Monday, after a weekend of uncertainty in the region. Thousands of government officials are expected to turn up for work.

The big question remains, will they be allowed into their offices?

Spain took control of Catalonia and dissolved this government after the regional government defied Madrid and voted for independence on Friday. CNN's Erin McLaughlin has been covering the story for some time in Barcelona.

That's the big question, isn't it, Erin?

A new workweek; will it be business as usual?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie, especially when you consider, ever since Friday, these two sides have sort of been living in two diametrically opposed realities.

On the one side, you have the now dismissed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, over the weekend, operating as though he is trying to build a new country. Pretty much said as much in his address to Catalonia on Saturday.

He made that address from Gerona, (INAUDIBLE) independent stronghold, also his hometown. That's where he spent the weekend, calling on people to democratically oppose emergency rule from Madrid.

Meanwhile, you had Madrid moving in to exert direct control over this region. They appointed the deputy prime minister as the head of Catalonia until elections on December 21st.

They also sacked the police chief, the head of the local mosque (ph) on Saturday. So now you have a situation where you have two sides living in separate universes, so to speak.

The real question is, here in Barcelona today, will Puigdemont show up to work?

And if he does, how will Madrid respond? -- Natalie. ALLEN: Exactly. And, of course, we saw this weekend a unity rally. So it remains to be seen what will happen in the streets as well because clearly, there are many people that want independence but there are also those that don't.

So it makes a complicated situation even more so, doesn't it?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, that's right, Natalie. That unity rally that we saw yesterday was really a great illustration of just how divided Catalonia is on the subject of independence. Yesterday at least 300,000 people took to the streets to show their support for Spain.

I was at the rally. Many people telling me they see themselves as Catalan, they see themselves as Spanish, they see themselves as European. They see themselves as all those things. Many expressing their frustration. They feel that their democracy has been taken from them with this --


MCLAUGHLIN: -- independent vote because, the fact of the matter remains, the lawmakers, the Catalan lawmakers who passed the legislation to declare independence, actually only really represent 48 percent of the electorate.

So Catalan is deeply divided on the subject of independence. So where this goes next and how people ultimately respond, if these two parallel realities continue to exist, is an open question.

ALLEN: Certainly will be a telling day there. Thank you so much. Erin McLaughlin for us.

Now to Kenya. There is still no winner in Thursday's presidential vote. The country's election commission is expected to announce the result Monday. But there is controversy about how many people in the country actually voted or stayed away from the polls in protest. Farai Sevenzo is following this from Nairobi.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The middle of Nairobi, spring rains behind me, we are essentially waiting for results. It's going to be a difficult guess as to who the winner is because essentially the race only had one man in it. That is President Uhuru Kenyatta.

As you well know, Mr. Raila Odinga pulled out about three weeks ago. But eight weeks in after the supreme court's massive ruling to make sure that these elections are done again, we are essentially waiting for the numbers.

That is the big question on Kenya's minds, how many people turned out to vote, how many people didn't vote? How many people were in each constituency?

Because there has been some dispute over these numbers. Basically we're still waiting for the final voter turnout figures. This was an election that was deeply divided. Large swaths of the country did not vote, nor participated in protest.

And the figures of how many people turned out to vote in this refreshed election for the president remain in dispute. But we know for certain that, back in August 2017, the figure was nearly 80 percent. You and I saw those amazing images of Kenyans all around the block.

And that isn't the case, which, of course, is leading to Kenya's number crunching a great deal.

How many people did turn out in their constituency?

How many people did not?

We know that the results should be announced either later today or tomorrow, which leads to a whole new question what will happen in terms of legal challenges.

Will Mr. Kenyatta's mandate be a strong one, given so many people didn't vote?

We know that many people who didn't turn out to vote were not just Raila Odinga supporters. Kenya has gone through months of presidential election and general election speculation.

So many people were tired. It takes a great deal for Kenyans to exercise their right to vote. Some of them live out country. Some of them go and vote in different regions of the country and there just wasn't the will anymore for them to do that in this fresh election. And that's where we are at the moment -- Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.


ALLEN: President Kenyatta right-hand man, William Ruto, spoke with CNN earlier. He said opposition leader Raila Odinga is lying when he calls the election process a sham. Ruto insists the original election in August was valid and that his candidate is looking to the future.


WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT: We didn't agree with the supreme court annulling our win. But because we respect the constitution and institutions set up by the constitution, we agreed to go back to a reelection. And that is why we went into this repeat election.

We will abide by the decision of the people of Kenya. As for engaging Mr. Raila in discussions, we are an open society. We speak to all citizens. We will speak to Mr. Odinga the way we speak to all other Kenyans on forging a way forward.

We're ready to discuss with him. We're even ready to discuss with him his retirement package.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: It's the end of an era in Kurdish politics. The Iraqi Kurdish president is stepping down Wednesday. Masoud Barzani has been the face of Kurdish nationalism for decades and served 12 years as president. He took a big gamble last month, when he pushed for an independence referendum and it backfired.

The vote prompted the Iraqi military to retake oil-rich territory from the Kurds, including the key city of Kirkuk. Barzani still has supporters, like these demonstrators, who stormed the Kurdish parliament. CNN's Becky Anderson looks back at his years in power.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He took them to the brink but not to the end. Iraqi Kurds charging ahead, voting to make themselves a state anew from parts of Iraq, a dream so long in the making for Barzani.

MASOUD BARZANI, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT PRESIDENT (through translator): The time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The time though wasn't now, that dream crushed under the weight of Iraqi forces and a political assault from Turkey, Iran and Baghdad, destroying the political legacy of Masoud --


ANDERSON (voice-over): -- Barzani himself.

He'd been widely respected for doing something no one has ever done before: given the Kurds a space in which to rule themselves and largely be left to it. Kurdish business, life all booming there. Decades of handshakes, nods and schmoozing finally paying off.

Then a moment about like any other. The Kurds, key to crushing ISIS.

So surely a country of their own would be their prize?

Also Barzani, after years of hope and work, before these scenes reckoned on.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I congratulate Iraq's leaders on the agreement reached yesterday in Baghdad.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Such words from Washington leading to Barzani's epic miscalculation.

BRETT MCGURK, PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR THE GLOBAL COALITION TO COUNTER ISIL: Having a referendum on such a fast timeline, particularly in disputed areas, would be, we think, significantly destabilizing. And we've made those views very clear.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Caution though to the wind, it was now or never, went thinking in Kurdistan. This was what they had suffered before. Just some 30 years or so ago, Iraq's barbaric despot, Saddam Hussein, slaughtering Kurds with chemical gas.

A man just a few years later, Barzani then made friends with, to fight a civil war amongst the Kurds themselves, a war he won.

Barzani has lived a fighter, born into the struggle for Kurdistan, his father a legendary fighter, raising the kingdom for Kurds that evaporated under the British assault. The dreams of the father now not to be lived by that son, so instead perhaps by his. For the Barzanis, independence is a family struggle -- Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


ALLEN: Coming up here, we go live to Okinawa for the incredible story of survival against all odds. We'll hear from the two women who survived a terrible ordeal five months lost at sea.

Plus security secrets of one of the world's largest airports.

How were they reportedly left on a street in London?


[02:30:35] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to our viewers here in United States and around the world, I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM, and here are our top stories. Someone could be in custody within hours in the U.S.-Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. A federal grand jury approved the first charges on Friday. No word yet on what they are or who might be arrested, but we should know perhaps in hours.

Hundreds of thousands of anti-independent protesters are calling for a unified Spain. Madrid dissolved Catalonia's parliament after the region declared independent on Friday. New elections are now set for December. Spain has threatened to charge the suspended Catalan leader with rebellion.

The U.S. Navy is investigating whether two of its elite members killed this U.S. soldier, Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, with the Army Special Forces, was found dead in June at a U.S. government compound in Mali. A medical examiner says the Green Beret could have been strangled to death.

Saudi Arabia says it will let women into three sports stadiums as spectators, starting early next year after long barring them from arenas. The Saudi Crown Prince is promising other ambitious reforms for women. Starting next June, women will finally be allowed to drive on Saudi's streets.

We turn now to that story of an amazing saga at sea. Two friends along with their two dogs lost and adrift in a damaged boat for five long hope starved months. The two women set off on a trip from Hawaii to Tahiti but were knocked off course by a storm that incapacitated their boat. They lost communications and after months of drifting, they also lost hope. But last week, the women were rescued by the U.S. Navy and now their feet and their dogs are on dry land. Ivan Watson is covering this story for us, he's at White Beach U.S. Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan. And Ivan, these two women are obviously ecstatic to be alive, to be rescued and they're amazingly articulate and it seems have it together after an unreal, harrowing misadventure at sea.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think the ecstatic, euphoric, and very, very grateful to the U.S. Navy and the crew aboard the USS Ashland, which rescued them last week in the middle of Pacific Ocean. It took them days to finally land here in Okinawa, where they touched dry land for the very first time.

And there's also a concern because the 50-foot sailboat that they were sailing on and adrift for more than five months, that's their home and they had to leave it out at sea because of the damage to it. That's why they ended up drifting for so many months in the first place. Because storms, they say, broke the mast of their sailboat and flooded the engine so that they could not direct the vessel and messed up their communications. Take a listen.


JENNIFER APPEL, RESCUED AT SEA: We had no VHF, no range on it. No weather com, no SSB, Single Sideband. We didn't have our ham radio and our radio telephone inside the boat was not working. And also our iridium sat phone was not working. So, we had no way to realize that we were about to enter a typhoon that had winds of 100 to 150 miles an hour, and minimum wave of heights of 40-foot height.

WATSON: How is it possible that all of these different communications devices malfunctioned?

APPEL: They are dependent on the antenna.


APPEL: And when the antenna went out, everything went out.


WATSON: So, how did they survive? Well, they said they had a water desalinization unit that they were able to get drinking water from seawater effectively. And that they had many, many months' worth of dried food stored, including dog biscuits for their dogs. And they also had a wind generator and solar cells that helped power their remaining functioning devices. Natalie.

ALLEN: My goodness, and we also know they were hunted and surrounded by tiger sharks at one point. They had no connection to the outside world. To what did they contribute their stamina and they resolve in all that time? Especially, that little situation with that tiger sharks.

[02:35:09] WATSON: That's right, they say that there were sharks ramming up against the hull of the sailboat, which you can imagine we probably quite frightening out -- at in the middle of the night, in the middle of Pacific Ocean. One of the dark moments was when they drifted past Wake Island, it's a U.S. island in the Pacific. And they were able to connect with a coastal unit, they say.

But, they say that the authorities there said, they would only be rescued if they could make it to the harbor on the Southside of the island. And they were on the north side being pushed west. And when they drifted past out of sight of the island, one of the mariners said she just cried all day. And what helped her at that point were the dogs. These two rescue dogs that they brought with them, Zeus and Valentine, who licked the tears from their faces, and helped give them hope for the days and weeks that they had ahead of them. Natalie?

ALLEN: Yes, and there are the dogs there. Yes, what an amazing story. Ivan, thanks so for bringing it to us.

London's Heathrow Airport is reeling after a major security breach. Officials are trying to figure out how a USB memory stick filled with highly-sensitive information allegedly made it to the streets of London for a passerby to discover. The USB drive had details including the route Queen Elizabeth takes when she uses the airport. For more now, here's Samuel Burke.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely stunning to think about one of the busiest and biggest airports in the world having some of their most confidential and secret of information show up on a USB stick, 13 miles from the airport in a London neighborhood. That information, not password protected or even encrypted. Now, Heathrow Airport says they've already launched an internal investigation. But they say, they believe the airport is secure.

Now, you mentioned the Queen there, she doesn't take the same gate that the rest of us take going in and out of Heathrow Airport. And some of the most intimate and important details about the Royal suite were on this USB drive. In addition to lots of other information including the routes that foreign dignitaries take inside Heathrow Airport.

So, Presidents and Prime Ministers visiting the U.K. In addition to maps with the security camera position. Certainly, we wouldn't want anybody with any nefarious ideas knowing how to evade those cameras. And the locations of the network of secret tunnels and escape shafts that lie under Heathrow Airport.

Now, speaking to cybersecurity experts, they tell me undoubtedly, the Heathrow intelligence folks will be looking at who might have been behind this. But also looking at where this information may have ended up in addition to the USB drive. Their worst fears would be that it ended up on the internet somewhere, maybe even on the dark web where terrorist could find that information. And certainly, nobody needs any reminder of the fact that airports like Heathrow remain high-value target for so many terrorists. I'm Samuel Burke in London. Back to you.

ALLEN: That is one mystery, isn't it? Well, British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered an investigation of one of her International Trade Ministers for inappropriate behavior. Mark Garnier reportedly asked his personal assistant to buy sex toys and used a sexual slur against her. He told The Mail on Sunday that these incidents were not sexual harassment. The allegations emerged after British media reported that parliament researchers and aides were sharing stories of alleged inappropriate conducts by lawmakers.

Still ahead, Puerto Rico's National Rain Forest used to be sprawling with trees and animals. But after Hurricane Maria, we'll show you what it looks like now.


[02:42:10] ALLEN: Welcome back. Karen Maginnis is here because the North Eastern United States is being hit by a powerful, powerful storm. People have already lost power, it's also the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Nothing like that, but still, it's kind of like -- it feels a little bit ominous for people there.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It does, and it has its impact because we are looking at areas that have flooding. We have seen lots of property damage. But no, this is nothing like we saw Sandy that produced the staggering rainfall totals and just widespread damage with billions of dollars' worth of damage there. This system is nothing like that, but nonetheless, its impacts are downed trees, downed power lines.

We have about 250,000 people reportedly without power across the Northeast. My guess is that number is much higher in some areas that are not reporting just yet. Boston, you are in line for a powerful amount of rainfall here over the next couple of hours. With perhaps as much as an additional 2 to 4 inches or maybe 50 to 100 millimeters expected.

All right, as we go out to the afternoon, those wind gusts will be dying down just a little bit. So, our storm system is still kind of ramping up. (INAUDIBLE) and Northeaster, there's been some conflict just to whether we call it that. Essentially, it typically means we see some snow with blizzard conditions. This happens to be a rain event that is producing all the damage across this region along with the windfall.

But about 40 million people under flash flood watches, or area flood warning. And we've got an additional about 31 million people that had high wind watches. You can see right along the coastal regions of Washington State, also into Massachusetts, Maine, rather, and into Massachusetts, that's what we have seen. Wind gusts perhaps as high as 100 kilometers per hour or about 60 miles per hour.

This comes out of Germany. In Northern and Eastern sections of Germany, they're sweeping over towards Austria and into Slovakia. This is where we saw some just amazing damage in reports of fatalities with these. And this area of low pressure is expected to move on over towards Western sections of Russia with some gusty winds and temperatures that are dramatically cooler.

The other wind is still going to be problematic especially along the coastal regions of Poland. Maybe 100-kilometer-per-hour winds definitely affecting the region there. Take a look, right around Moscow, Monday looks to be the mildest day, at least for a week, and maybe for an extended period of time. Then going into Tuesday, it's a rain-snow mix coming up in the forecast. Still an unsettled weather picture across a good portion of this region. So, Natalie, two powerful storm systems in North America and Northeastern U.S. And you can better believe those business travelers are not going to like the messy weather up there, this morning.

[02:45:05] ALLEN: I don't think so.


ALLEN: It had to be on a Monday.


ALLEN: All right, Karen, thank you. We're going to talk about another weather issue that we've been following. Of course, Puerto Rico's spectacular National Rain Forest has been obliterated. Trees and animals unique to that environment have their home ripped away when Hurricane Maria tore through the island more than one month ago. CNN's Martin Savidge is there, he has a firsthand look at what's left of the tropical rainforest.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carlos Touche makes a living driving this road.

CARLOS TOUCHE, TOUR GUIDE: I myself will go between two to four times a week, but my staff was pretty much up there every day with two to three vehicles.

SAVIDGE: More than a million tourists a year make the day trip at El Yunque, the only Tropical Rain Forest in the U.S. forest system. Well, at least they used to until Hurricane Maria. Two weeks after the hurricane, CNN flew a drone of the park's entrance, but most of the forest remained out of sight.

Now, we've been given permission to take you inside. If you knew El Yunque before, you would not recognize it now. The farther into the forest you go, the greater the destruction. The Category 4 storm obliterated the forest, defoliating pretty much all 28,000 acres.

The first team's in fought to open roads blocked by trees. Now, they fight to hold off landslides and maintain access to one of El Yunque's most urgently needed resources. The forest supplies one-fifth of the islands entire water.

20 percent of the water --

CAROLYN KRUPP, U.S. FOREST SERVICE: 20 percent of the water comes from El Yunque.

SAVIDGE: -- comes from there.

KRUPP: So, it's important that we clear access into those water intakes so that the water supplies can be restored

SAVIDGE: Water isn't the only treasure, there were 23 species of trees here found nowhere else, their faiths unknown. The same is true for America's only native parrots still living in the wild.

It's no wonder that the very first people who got to the park were shocked by what they found. Even now, five weeks after the hurricane, it is still stunning. An entire rainforest canopy has been ripped away.

Scientist Tana Wood was studying El Yunque and climate change, when literally overnight, three years' work was blown away.

TANA WOOD, RESEARCH ECOLOGIST, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TROPICAL FORESTRY: I mean, it basically cut this forest in half, it completely, completely, completely took out all the leaves, like there was nothing green here at all.

SAVIDGE: Her team built this tower to study the top of El Yunque's tree canopy. Now, there's nothing to study but open sky.

Her original experiment may be in ruins but she's got the front row seat for a brand new one.

WOOD: This is nature. You know, this is what happens in this forest. You know, we have hurricanes that come through and, you know, I mean, my job is to study what happened.

SAVIDGE: And there are signs the Rain Forest is already hard at work on recover. Always a source of pride for Puerto Ricans, El Yunque can now be something else, inspiration.

WOOD: Seeing it get greener, I think can be a sense of hope for people as they recover from this hurricane.

SAVIDGE: A living lesson on starting over. Martin Savidge, CNN, El Yunque, Puerto Rico.


ALLEN: And it certainly sad to look at, isn't it? Well, coming up here, France is missing a key ingredient. And Chefs across the country are feeling the loss. Why some significant shelves are empty? We'll have that for you.


ALLEN: A year-long mourning period for Thailand's late king is officially over. His cremated remains were placed in their final resting places, Sunday, ending a five-day, $90 million funeral ceremony. The king's remains were moved to the Royal Palace and several Buddhist temples. He ruled for 70 years and was the world's longest reigning monarch. Hundreds of thousands of mourners paid their respects in Bangkok.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I didn't want today to come

but still it came. However, I will always have the king stored in my heart. Whether as pictures, however old and torn, the memory of him will always be kept in my heart.


ALLEN: He was revered as a stabilizing figure during years of political turmoil. He died last October at the age of 88.

It is being called a croissant crisis. And French chefs and home cooks are not taking it lightly. There is not enough butter to go around in France. And there are a number of reasons why. Jim Bittermann is in Paris for us.


JULIA CHILD, CHEF: Now, here comes a very important step which is softening the butter.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anyone who remembers Julia Child whacking the daylights out of a stick of butter on her T.V. show, "The French Chef" also will know she wasn't angry at it, she loved the stuff. Saying as the French often do, "With enough butter, anything is good." But if chefs here seem to be treating their butter better these days, it's because there is not enough.

CHRISTOPHE VASSEUR, BAKER: When you -- we ask to the supplier, we want to buy 200 kilos of butter, they answer maybe 150 but not 200.

BITTERMANN: And a butter shortage in a nation that consumes more butter than any other in the world, eight kilos or about 18 pounds per person per year, a shortage is a real crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cooking without butter, eating without butter, it's unthinkable for me.

BITTERMANN: But don't blame these guys, they've been doing their job. It's more a question of how the government has churned the butter market over the past few years, spreading milk subsidies too thickly, and then thinning them to next to nothing. And as a consequence, supplies have gone up and down, while prices have gone down and up. A ton of butter now costs more than double what it did in the early part of this year.

Christophe Vasseur who each day turns out a thousand croissants and other leafy pastries at his Paris bakery has had to pass along the increased cost to his customers. A croissant is 10 cents more today than it was in September.

VASSEUR: The second pile of butter we're going to put later on --

[02:55:08] BITTERMANN: Because 30 percent of the content of one of those pastries is pure butter. Vasseur believes part of the increased appetite for butter stems from new health studies which have improved the product's fatty image. VASSEUR: Everybody now is saying, oh, we should have butter on a daily diet a little bit. But on the daily life, it means that the demand is exploding. And on top of that, last explanation, some new markets opened like China, like Southeast Asia, like Japan.

BITTERMANN: But improving the butter situation is a slippery challenge, especially with the end of the year approaching when the French really chew their fat.

Perhaps to avoid a run-on, dwindling supplies, something that could lead to a butter meltdown, the government has been trying to be very reassuring about the situation, saying it has it in hand and that supplies will be back to normal before the holidays. But professionals are not so sure, and some are taking things into their own hands.

Something Vasseur is happy to show you in his refrigerator.

VASSEUR: So, usually, I ordered every week, I receive like two or three. So I had to order for two months because I don't know whether in two weeks' time, they're going to be able to supply me, so I --

BITTERMANN: Observers here say it's just unthinkable that butter shortages might lead to rationing for the holidays. As one headline writer put it, "sacre bleu." Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


ALLEN: All right, France, you need to fix that for all of us. Thanks for watching this hour, I'm Natalie Allen. I'll be right back for another hour of the latest news.