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Trump's Asia Trip; Russia Investigation; Clinton Allegations Causing Rift among Democrats; Authorities Ramping Up Security Battle for NYC Marathon; Exclusive Look At U.S. Military Drills; Crisis in Puerto Rico; Netflix Cuts Ties with Kevin Spacey; Trump Inspires More Women to Run for Office. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired November 4, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president starting his 12-day trip to Asia.
With concern over nuclear North Korea at an all-time high, how will this president be received in the region?
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus, the caliphate crumbles. ISIS loses more ground in Iraq and Syria. We will have a closer look at one of those battles.
HOWELL (voice-over): And the fallout continues for Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey amid numerous sexual harassment allegations.
ALLEN (voice-over): Welcome to the viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL (voice-over): I'm George Howell. 5:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
HOWELL: The U.S. president is spending the night in the U.S. state of Hawaii. He and his wife arrived there Friday afternoon and later they fly to Tokyo for the first leg of an extended trip to the Pacific Rim.
ALLEN: It is the president's first trip to the region and the longest foreign tour yet of his administration. We get the latest from CNN's Ryan Nobles in Honolulu.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The longest trip of the Donald Trump administration is now underway and the president's trip to the Asia Pacific region, the longest trip by any President of the United States since the George H.W. Bush administration.
And the president, en route to Hawaii, the first leg of this trip, was busy on his Twitter feed, talking about Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton; also talked about Bowe Bergdahl, the Army soldier who deserted his post, who escaped jail time.
The president did tweet once about his trip but he hasn't talked a lot about this trip in the weeks leading up to the event. This despite the fact that it will be vital to his administration and their goals, particularly as it relates to North Korea and the growing tensions with the Kim Jong-un administration.
The president will meet with leaders from South Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan, all who play an important role as it relates to dealing with North Korea.
In Hawaii, the president had a busy schedule as well. He met with the leaders of the Pacific Command; he got a briefing from them and also he toured the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor, meeting with veterans there, the president appearing especially moved by that particular event.
The president will be wheels up from Hawaii first thing in the morning en route to the first of his Asian destinations and that is Tokyo. In all, it will be a 12-day, trip ending in the Philippines next week -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, Honolulu.
ALLEN: Let's take a closer look at Mr. Trump's long trip. He arrives in Japan on Sunday, visits U.S. troops and then meets and plays golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The next day he meets Japanese emperor Akihito.
Then it is off to South Korea to meet President Moon Jae-in. Worth noting, he will skip the demilitarized zone.
In China, the U.S. president will visit the Forbidden City with President Xi Jinping and then he heads to Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
The final stop is Manila for meetings at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Leslie Vinjamuri, a professor of international relations at SOAS University of London live in our London bureau with us this hour.
Leslie, always a pleasure to have you with us. Let's first talk about the best possible outcome for this president on this trip.
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: This is an incredibly important trip. It is surprising we have not heard as much about it from the president as we would expect. Not surprising with all of the things going on domestically this week for him.
The two big issues, one is really trying to get regional cooperation on putting pressure on North Korea so that the U.S. can move forward with some sort of strategy for trying to bring some halt to the development of the nuclear arsenal in North Korea. The second big issue is to really anchor America's role in Asia when
it comes to trade and leadership. I think there has been a real issue of trying to do that. Remember the first move from President Trump when he took office was to withdraw the United States from the Trans- Pacific Partnership.
That would seem to be a very significant vehicle for exercising U.S. influence not only for trade and bolstering trade in the region and America's role in that but for really exercising influence and leadership in the region.
With that off the table now, I think anchoring the U.S. and cementing its relationships with its allies and pushing forward on trade is absolutely crucial. But North Korea is really on top of the list. So this is an incredibly important trip. But the president, as you know, is very distracted and so there's very real concern about how that will go.
HOWELL: Let's talk more about the distraction in a moment. I want to go there with you. But I also want to ask you, pushing forward on the issue of trade. You touched on this. The president has been --
HOWELL: -- highly critical of many of the trade agreements and arrangements with countries in that part of the world, sometimes to a point that the criticism could even seem inflammatory to many of these countries.
So how does the president square the circle here and gain support to show that the United States is behind these allies, at the same time pushing very aggressively on the trade issues?
VINJAMURI: It is very tricky. Remember, this is the president that cares about trade, obviously, but he wants to see bilateral trade deals negotiated and renegotiated in some cases that serve America's interest, in large part, so that he can write back home that he has done this.
I think one of the key issues here is that, because a number of senior level officials across the administration haven't been appointed to these positions -- Remember, we don't have a U.S. ambassador in South Korea yet -- it becomes difficult in between, in the aftermath, in the build up to the trip and the aftermath of the trip to continue that sort of daily diplomacy that makes the prospects for a successful trade negotiations and trading relationships more likely.
But the president will really need to work very hard to show that he isn't seeking to inflame relations between the U.S. and its key allies, Japan and South Korea, most particularly. But that becomes even more crucial in the context of what's been the growing crisis over the nuclear problem with North Korea.
So it is absolutely vital. Inevitably, the politics surroundings these two issues mean that they become very linked. HOWELL: North Korea, big issue. Trade, a big issue. At the same time, you touched on this, there is a bit of a distraction this president may be dealing with, concerned about what is happening back in Washington, D.C., the continuing investigation into the Russia probe.
How does the simple fact that investigation is taking place and ramping up -- does it undermine the president as he is dealing with the world leaders?
VINJAMURI: I think the leaders across Asia will be looking to see. It has been said and I think it is right that there have been many American presidents that have faced domestic distractions. But I think the thing that is unique about the current president is that he is very well placed to be tremendously distracted by temperament and, of course, because of the nature of the Russia investigations, because of what we saw Monday, he's paying a lot of attention to this.
He was tweeting about this and trying to play his strategy of diverting attention to trying to shift focus onto the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
So it is clearly on his mind. And I think that won't play well. Leaders will watch this and will be aware of this. And I think approaching their meetings with a degree of hesitancy , will the president be in the room with them and really engaged on the issues at hand?
So a lot will come down to whether or not -- this is a long trip,12 days is a long trip for anybody, especially for this particular president. So I suspect that we might see more difficulty as the trip progresses, for him staying on message and really committing to the key issues.
And these are vital issues for the United States. The United States has been trying to reshape or reframe and lead in Asia. Remember that President Obama tried to pivot to Asia; that was very difficult to do because of a number of issues and distractions, major distractions for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
But President Trump knows Asia is vital, has wanted to take a far less conciliatory stance. He's opened up a space for China. And so getting this trip right is crucial. But it is likely to be very difficult because he will be distracted.
HOWELL: 9:08 in London. Leslie Vinjamuri in our bureau there, thank you for your insight today.
VINJAMURI: Thank you.
ALLEN: And continuing on that story. We are learning more about contacts between Donald Trump's campaign officials and the Russians.
HOWELL: The campaign's national security adviser, Carter Page, he tells CNN he had a brief passing meeting with the deputy prime minister while in Moscow last year. CNN's Jim Sciutto has more details for us.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A pressing question: were President Trump and Attorney General Sessions misleading when they denied any knowledge of campaign contacts with Russians?
Here is Mr. Trump in February.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I told you General Flynn obviously was dealing, so that is one person, but he was dealing as he should have been.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, nobody that I know of.
SCIUTTO: And here is Mr. Sessions in testimony just last month.
SENATOR AL FRANKEN (D-MN), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You don't believe that surrogates from the --
FRANKEN: -- Trump campaign had communications with the Russians, is that what you're saying?
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I did not and I'm not aware of anyone else that did. And I don't believe it happened.
SCIUTTO: In fact court filings unsealed this week show that former Trump campaign Foreign Policy Adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators suggested at a March 2016 meeting that Trump meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
J.D. Gordon, a former national security adviser to the campaign, who was in the room for that meeting tells CNN that Trump heard out Papadopoulos and another source tells CNN that Sessions, a top campaign national security adviser and surrogate rejected the idea. The president responded by saying he doesn't remember much of the meeting.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting took place a long time, don't remember much about it.
SCIUTTO: Another former campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, tell CNN that he testified before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday that he informed Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, though he said that the trip was not tied to his role with the campaign.
Papadopoulos' account is placing another under Trump adviser under scrutiny, Sam Clovis, who served as deputy campaign chairman. Court documents show that Papadopoulos contacted a campaign supervisor, who the "Washington Post" has identified as Clovis about a potential trip to Russia to meet Russian officials.
The supervisor responded encouraging Papadopoulos to make the trip. Papadopoulos' account was unsealed the same day as indictments of former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, in relation to their lobbying work for the Ukraine government.
In the indictments, the government alleges that they received tens of millions of dollars for their work and to hide that income, laundered the money through, quote, "scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts."
Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty to charges, which cover activities prior to Trump's presidential campaign.
We're learning of another meeting between a Trump campaign associate and a Russian government official during the campaign that had not been revealed before. Carter Page, who served as a foreign policy adviser during the campaign, confirms to me that, in July 2016 during a visit to Moscow, he met with a senior Russian government official; that official, the deputy prime minister of Russia, Arkady Dvorkovich.
Now Carter Page tells me this was not a formal meeting, it was more of a casual hello, that they were both speaking at the same conference at the New Economic School in Moscow and, at that conference, he met with him there, again, saying it was not a formal meeting.
But earlier on Friday, Carter Page was interviewed by my colleague, Jake Tapper, and said that he didn't meet any government officials, Russian government officials, during his trips to Moscow, just business people, academics, et cetera.
This is another case of people, who were in the Trump campaign, who initially denied any contact with Russian officials under questioning or, when other evidence is revealed, admitting that, indeed, there were meetings,
"The New York Times" reporting that this was the subject of questioning during the House Intelligence Committee interview of Carter Page earlier this week -- Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: Jim, thank you for the reporting.
In the meantime, the Democrats are dealing with internal strife that has burst into the open.
ALLEN: Due to a new book out that alleges Hillary Clinton used her fundraising machine to gain power within the Democratic National Committee even before she was the nominee. CNN's Brianna Keilar explains.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Explosive charges coming from the former acting head of the Democratic National Committee has President Trump smelling blood.
TRUMP: You want to look at Hillary Clinton and you want to look at the new book that was just put out by Donna Brazile, where she basically forced the DNC and she stole the election from Bernie. So that's what you want to take a look at.
KEILAR (voice-over): In excerpts of her new book, published by Politico, Donna Brazile alleges that Hillary Clinton's primary campaign signed a fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee that gave her control over who the party hired and how they spent money, even before winning the nomination.
"If the fight had been fair," she writes, "one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act but, as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity."
A former Clinton campaign official said Clinton's priority was to raise money for the party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The party was in shambles. It needed to be rebuilt. Secretary Clinton raised a lot of money to make sure that happened. And the money that she raised would go on to help whomever the nominee was for president.
KEILAR (voice-over): The claim has reopened a deep rift in the Democratic Party.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Senator, do you agree with the notion that it --
TAPPER: -- was rigged?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASS.: Yes.
KEILAR (voice-over): President Trump seized on that comment by liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren, who Trump calls by a racist term in reference to her claimed Native American heritage.
"Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, led by the legendary crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the primaries. Let's go, FBI and Justice Department," he tweeted, urging, "Bernie Sanders supporters have every right to be apoplectic."
Brazile fired back against Trump, saying, "Today's lesson, being quoted by Donald Trump, means being misquoted by Donald Trump. Stop trolling me #NeverSaidHillaryRiggedElection." But Brazile's new revelations certainly feed into the long-held claim Trump has made about the primary system. This was Trump two weeks before Election Day. As even from accounts from within his campaign, he was expecting to lose to Clinton.
TRUMP: It's rigged. It's broken. It's corrupt. They want me to take that back. Let me tell you, folks, it is a rigged system.
ALLEN: Brianna Keilar there with that story.
A new U.S. government study contradicts the Trump administration's position on climate change. It says human activities, especially greenhouse gas emissions, have been the dominant cause of global warming for decades. And there is no other convincing explanation. As proof, the scientists who wrote it cite warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, more forest fires and heat waves.
HOWELL: You'll remember President Trump has called climate change a hoax. His administration is dismantling numerous climate protections. But while a White House officials said climate is always changing, he has also said the administration supports rigorous scientific analysis and debate and encourages public comment.
Still ahead, when we come back, a U.S. soldier sentenced for desertion and the president doesn't like it.
ALLEN: Also ahead here, a call for celebration in Iraq and Syria as ISIS suffers two stunning defeats in one day.
ALLEN: Law enforcement agencies are beefing up security for Sunday's New York City marathon in the wake of the worst terrorist attack to hit the city since 9/11. Eight people were killed when an ISIS- inspired terrorist drove a truck down the Manhattan bike path on Tuesday.
HOWELL: Officials say there are no credible threats around Sunday's marathon but they're stepping up security out of an abundance of caution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've added more sand trucks and more blocker vehicles. The most that we have ever used in any detail in this city. We've also increased the number of observation teams and counter sniper teams.
And it is not just in Manhattan. They'll be placed strategically at locations throughout the five boroughs. We will have hundreds of counter terrorism trained officers on the route. They will radiation detection devices on their person.
There will be a substantial number of explosive detecting K-9s on the route. We will utilize our aviation unit to monitor the crowds, the event, the race, the rooftops from above. Harbor, our harbor vessels will also be involved. They will be anchored at the river crossings and certainly they'll be patrolling our waterways.
HOWELL: The NYPD there at the ready. Marathon organizers expect about 2.5 million spectators and more than 50,000 runners on Sunday.
The U.S. president Donald Trump has slammed the sentence handed down Friday against a U.S. soldier who deserted his post in Afghanistan. This happened back in 2009.
ALLEN: Bowe Bergdahl was held captive then by the Taliban for five years then released in a controversial prisoner swap. CNN's Nick Valencia has details on the sentence and reaction to it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bowe Bergdahl walked into court on Friday at Ft. Bragg, visibly tense. Just moments later, a military judge sentenced him to be dishonorably discharged, thereby avoiding jail time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sergeant Bergdahl has looked forward to today for a long time.
VALENCIA (voice-over): It was the culmination of a nearly 10-year saga for the 31-year-old, who just last month plead guilty to desertion and misbehaving in front of the enemy. It was June 30th, 2009, when Bergdahl deliberately walked away from his army post in Afghanistan.
Within hours, he was captured by the Taliban and held hostage for almost five years. Bergdahl said he spent most of the time living in a metal cage, barely big enough to stretch his legs, repeatedly beaten and tortured.
Several servicemen were injured while looking for Bergdahl in Afghanistan, including Master Sergeant Mark Allen, who was shot in the head and left paralyzed.
In 2014, Bergdahl was released in a controversial prisoner swap for five detainees.
And during the campaign, then candidate Donald Trump blasted the decision and Bergdahl.
DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're tired of Sergeant Bergdahl, who's a traitor, who should have been executed. Thirty years ago, he would have been shot.
VALENCIA: Today, President Trump slammed Bergdahl's sentence, tweeting: The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our country and to our military. Bergdahl tearfully apologized Monday to the soldiers who searched for him, saying, "My words can't take away for what people have been through. I'm admitting I made a horrible mistake," a mistake he'll have to live with for the rest of his life -- Nick Valencia, CNN, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
ALLEN: A second suspect in the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya, appeared in court in Washington on Friday. Mustafa al-Imam is charged with material support of terrorism involving death. U.S. forces captured him in Libya last weekend.
Four Americans, including the ambassador, were killed in 2012 in the assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Another man, the suspected leader of the attack, is already on trial in Washington.
HOWELL: Iraq and Syria are celebrating two milestone victories in the fight to reclaim ISIS-held territory. Officials in both countries say the city of Deir ez-Zor in Syria and a town in Iraq are now liberated. That effectively squeezes the terror group at the border between the two countries.
ALLEN: CNN's Frederik Pleitgen flew to Deir ez-Zor with Russian forces when the battle was in full swing back in September. Here is his report.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Syrian army's final major push into one of ISIS' last strongholds in Syria. Pro-Assad forces now say they've taken all of Deir ez-Zor City in the southeast of the country, a major victory in the quest to destroy the terror group. Units of our armed forces in cooperation with allied forces completed their duties in reestablishing security and stability to Deir ez-Zor City completely, the spokesman for Syria's Army says.
We flew to Deir ez-Zor with the Russian military, which backs the Syrian Army when the battle there was raging in September. (on camera): Even though the Syrian and Russian Army (inaudible) support to ISIS back, there's still are a lot of ISIS fighters here in this area. Taking the helicopter is the safest place to get to Deir ez- Zor.
Deir ez-Zor was one of ISIS' most important strongholds right in Syria's oil and agricultural heartland. ISIS' apparent demise in Syria recently leading Vladimir Putin to praise both Russia's and Iran's role in backing Bashar al-Assad.
Thanks to our joint efforts with Iran and also by Turkey, the situation regarding the fight against terrorism in the territory of Syria is developing in a very positive way, Putin said at a meeting with Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani. Russian and Syrian forces are not the only ones beating ISIS back, U.S. allied fighters have also been rounding the terror group from large chunks of the so-called caliphate it once occupied including Mosul and ISIS' self- declared capital of Raqqa where the U.S.-led coalition is now trying to restore a civilian administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as what happens in Raqqa after ISIS has been cleared and Raqqa is liberated, the Raqqa Civil Council is already established and they are already eager to begin work, to restore essential services.
PLEITGEN: Like in so many places in Iraq and Syria, ISIS wreaked havoc on Deir ez-Zor's population, besieging a Syrian government enclave in the city for around three years.
Now that the group has been defeated here, both Russian and U.S.- backed groups believed they're in the final stages of crushing the group and ousting its remaining fighters from almost all of Syria -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.
ALLEN: Coming up, against a backdrop of threats from North Korea, we are in the Pacific Ocean for an exclusive look at U.S. military drills off Okinawa.
HOWELL: Plus why some of Puerto Rico's towns are still entirely in the dark after the hurricanes left. Just ahead here, CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta, Georgia, simulcast on CNN USA here in the States and CNN International worldwide this hour. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the headlines this hour.
HOWELL: Ahead of President Trump's trip, the U.S. is flexing its military muscle in the region, including B-1 bombers flying near the Korean Peninsula and a long-range B-2 stealth bomber mission to the Pacific region.
ALLEN: CNN was granted exclusive access to rapid response drills off Okinawa. They happen every year but there's no escaping that heightened tensions make this year's exercises a bit different. CNN's Ivan Watson is there. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pounding through the Pacific Ocean, a U.S. Navy transport vessel approaching the flooded belly of a much larger warship.
We are watching now how one of these landing crafts come on board the dark landing ship. It's a remarkable piece of engineering. And it takes a coordination of dozens and dozens of sailors.
Some call this complicated procedure "taming the dragon." We have been invited to see annual military exercises off the coast of Okinawa on board the U.S.S. Ashland. This is a ship that can transport dozens of vehicles and house hundreds of sailors and Marines. A small floating city, where a visiting officer marks an important step in his military career.
A ceremony at sea where Marine Lieutenant Jesse Schmitt (ph) receives a promotion to the rank of captain. The U.S. commands the world's largest navy, but in two separate incidents last summer, Navy ships from the 7th Fleet collided with merchant vessels, killing 17 sailors. The Navy concluded, these accidents could have been avoided. Commanders say they've served as a wake-up call.
STEVEN WASSON, COMMANDER, U.S. NAVY: Not being complacent and use all means available to evaluate your current situation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming upstairs. Steady on course. One, two, zero. Checking one, two, five.
WATSON (voice-over): In response, the Navy fired eight senior officers and stepped up training and monitoring from the decks of these giant vessels.
Every night, the chaplain leads the ship in prayer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
WATSON (voice-over): At dawn, hundreds of marines prepare for the day's big event, assimilated assaults on a beach in Okinawa. Amphibious assault vehicles splash up the back of the Ashland. And line up for the invasion. This operation on land, sea and air --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Push, push.
WATSON (voice-over): -- requires the coordination of thousands of sailors, Marines and soldiers.
WATSON: These exercises help prepare the armed forces for the possibility of conflict. But they're also about sending a message of deterrence to U.S. enemies like North Korea which continue to engage in a war of words with Washington.
WATSON (voice-over): Senior commanders say these annual war games also send a message to U.S. allies. KEVIN NORTON, COLONEL, U.S. MARINES: They're well over 22 countries in the Pacific that are friends and allies training, working together and that network, quite frankly, provides stability and security throughout the entire Pacific.
WATSON (voice-over): The U.S. has been the preeminent military force in the Pacific since World War II. In the era of "make America great again," some --
WATSON (voice-over): -- wonder whether the U.S. can or wants to continue playing this role here -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Okinawa, Japan.
ALLEN: An undocumented child with cerebral palsy is being held in U.S. custody. The girl's attorney said that she has been approved for release but it is still unclear whether she will be deported. The 10- year old was to receive emergency surgery when her ambulance was stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol.
HOWELL: The agents escorted Rosa Maria Hernandez to a hospital in the U.S. state of Texas. They detained her once she had received treatment. Rosa Maria's mother says the girl has been living in the United States since she was 3 months old.
In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, there is still no light at the end of a very long tunnel for so many people there. This more than six weeks since Hurricane Maria tore through that island.
ALLEN: Entire towns are still without power, despite the governor's office touting restoration figures. CNN's Leyla Santiago has the latest for us from San Juan.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you can't see across the street, people, life without power.
SANTIAGO: This is the only light that he has. And you can see that it's a little light from like a Christmas tree, it looks like. And it's powered from a car battery, which I know it's difficult to see so I'll actually light it with my cell phone.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Six weeks after Hurricane Maria, Luis Rivera (ph) now sleeps next to the open window in his home to get through those long hot nights with no power. He is one of many. Satellite images show the island before Maria, after and now.
Not much has changed and Puerto Rico's power authority claims there's no way of knowing how many people like Rivera are in the dark.
So we called each municipality, that's 78 of them. We couldn't reach most. Communication still not reliable. But of those reached, the overwhelming majority say most people do not have power. Nearly a third say the entire town is in the dark. And yet the power authority and the governor's office insist they are on track.
When it comes to power restoration, they say they're at 37 percent on the island. But that's the percentage of power generation. How much power is being produced, not how much is actually making it to homes and businesses. A big difference when you ask one of the unions at Puerto Rico's power authority.
EVANS CASTRO, PRESIDENT, UEPI UNION: (Speaking foreign language).
SANTIAGO: He said he can technically have no one with power but still have 100 percent generation. That's why he thinks the numbers are questionable.
We noticed government officials changed how they report the numbers on power, initially using the percentage of clients with power, something they denied until we reminded them of this tweet by the governor's mansion, retweeted by the power authority listing clients with service two weeks after Maria.
The governor's office said it was a mistake. The tweet was deleted shortly after CNN asked about it.
When we first approached the governor's office and (INAUDIBLE), we were told by both that they have always reported generation, not clients.
FERNANDO PADILLA, DIRECTOR, PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE, PREPA: I'm not sure on the facts. But (INAUDIBLE) what I can state is when we started restoring critical loads, it's more you can identify better who are the clients. That's as much -- as I can say. It was during a very limited period of time.
SANTIAGO: Since the power authority says those numbers are no longer available, we asked their workers. Their estimate, about 5 percent of customers may have service, not nearly as high as the percentage of generation. And Rivera worries a bad situation may be getting worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SANTIAGO: He believes that because the contract was canceled this is only going to take longer. Puerto Rico has now announced it plans to cancel a controversial contract with a company hired to help bring back the island's power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SANTIAGO: He has no idea it would last this long. As he sees it, politics may now be another reason he and countless Puerto Ricans may not be getting power any time soon -- Leyla Santiago, CNN, Puerto Rico.
[05:40:00] HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, in the United States, women seeking elected office in much greater numbers than before. We will hear why the U.S. President Donald Trump is their inspiration to do so. Stay with us.
ALLEN: The streaming video service Netflix is cutting ties all of its ties with the actor Kevin Spacey and is stepping back for now from its flagship show, "House of Cards." Spacey has been in the hot seat after nearly a week of sexual harassment allegations. And now Netflix is cancelling the release of the movie, "Gore," which Spacey acts in and produced.
HOWELL: But Netflix appeared to leave the door open for the possibility of broadcasting "House of Cards." That is only if Spacey is not involved in it. The company that produces the political satire says it has suspended the actor as it continues to investigate the various allegations against him.
In the U.S. state of Virginia, it could be a political gamechanger. On Tuesday, voters will cast ballots for a new governor. They'll also choose delegates to the state's legislature.
ALLEN: So far, it sounds like a pretty standard race. But since last year's presidential election, it's anything but politics as usual. Now there is a new group of candidates running in full force: women. And they could signal the future of politics in the U.S. Here is CNN's Kyung Lah with that.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not one but countless introductions.
KIMBERLY TUCKER, VIRGINIA HOUSE SEAT CANDIDATE: My name is Kimberly Tucker.
LAH (voice-over): For this Democratic hopeful's campaign for Virginia's 81st House seat.
LAH: I know Donald Trump isn't central to your campaign at all. But he was part of the --
TUCKER: He inspired me.
LAH: He inspired you?
TUCKER: Absolutely. I think he inspired women to say, I'm not going to stand by and watch this. We marched. We said no. But that's not enough.
LAH (voice-over): It is no longer just march and talk. The female aftershock to Trump's 2016 political earthquake is on the ballot. In Tucker's home state of Virginia, November 7th, we'll see 51 women from major parties on the state ballot, a 60 percent increase compared to the last two comparable state election cycles; 26 of the 43 Democratic female candidates have never run for office before, an unprecedented number.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of data you can look at.
LAH (voice-over): Across the country, organizations training women to run for office report exponential growth in women signing up since November 2016. The non-partisan group She Should Run says it went from 1,800 women to now 15,000 female trainees.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Election Day came and went and the floodgates opened.
LAH: What do you think of the current gender makeup of the -- ?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it is disgraceful.
LAH (voice-over): The women candidates in Virginia are a marker, a sign of what's in their training pipeline pledge advocates.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While these women may be an exception -- and that's an exceptional number for a state like Virginia -- they will provide the inspiration that's need for the, I think, even bigger bump that we're going to see in future election cycles.
TUCKER: Thank you so much for coming out tonight.
LAH (voice-over): Kimberly Anne Tucker's path here began months ago.
We met the former public school teacher in February, protesting at a town hall. A member of grassroots group Indivisible, formed to fight the Trump agenda. A grandmother driven to protest for the first time in her life.
LAH: And now you are...?
TUCKER: I'm a candidate for the house of delegates.
LAH: You're on the ballot.
TUCKER: I'm on the ballot, yes.
LAH: That's quite a metamorphosis?
TUCKER: It is. It is. I think I'm more surprised than anyone else that I know.
I'm just knocking on doors to make sure that I talk to people.
LAH (voice-over): Tucker is the assumed underdog in this predominantly Republican district.
TUCKER: I hope I can rely on you to vote for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
LAH: What did she say?
TUCKER: She said, oh, I asked her if I could count on her vote. And she said, "Absolutely."
LAH (voice-over): One step forward on the long path to political parity -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
ALLEN: Of course, we will report on the outcome of those races in the state of Virginia.
And still to come here we'll preview the --
ALLEN: -- key moments and challenges that Donald Trump faces as he embarks on his tour of Asia.
HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. It is our top story this day. The U.S. president kicking off his tour of Asia with a pit stop in Hawaii. On his trip, he will meet some of the region's most powerful leaders.
ALLEN: A 12-day trip. There's much on the agenda and our CNN reporters in that region take us through his major challenges.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Tokyo, the top priority is the U.S.-Japan alliance. So you can expect to see Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. president Donald Trump projecting friendship as they tackle two major issues, trade and North Korea.
Over in Pyongyang, officials are still furious over President Trump's speech at the United Nations, when he threatened to totally destroy their country and insulted their leader, calling him "rocket man." They're also angry about ongoing joint military exercises. The North Koreans tell me the time for talk is over and it's time to send President Trump a message.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Manila, President Trump will meet a fan of his in Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. The popular but controversial figure has had nothing but praise for the U.S. leader and the two will discuss Duterte's ongoing war against drugs.
RIVERS (voice-over): The big question --
RIVERS (voice-over): -- will Trump bring up alleged human rights abuses committed by Duterte's government on targeting not only drug dealers but drug users as well?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The priority for South Korea during trump's visit is North Korea. President Moon Jae-in has gone along with the U.S. policy of sanctions and pressure. But ultimately Moon wants dialogue, more engagement with the North and it's a desire that, in the past, Trump has called appeasement.
And then there's trade, Trump has convinced Seoul to renegotiate the trade deal between the two countries but Seoul doesn't want many changes.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: President Trump's biggest schedule challenge in Vietnam will likely be convincing APEC leaders with his views on free trade. He will address the Asia Pacific Economic Committee Summit, telling them he wants fair trade and balanced trade.
Perhaps the most watched event, if it does happen, is a possible bilateral between President Trump and President Putin of Russia, although, if it does take place, it's likely to be shrouded by discussions of Russian meddling in U.S. presidential elections.
The other event still not on the schedule that may happen, a trilateral between President Xi of China, President Putin and President Trump; likely, North Korea on that agenda.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest issue for China when President Trump arrives here in Beijing will be North Korea. The Trump administration wants China do more to force North Korea to stop developing its nuclear weapons.
China says it is doing enough already. That issue will dominate conversations, though expect discussions over things like trade and opioids as well.
ALLEN: That is CNN NEWSROOM for the hour. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: I'm George Howell. For the viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For others, "AMANPOUR" is next. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.