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Trump tweet: should've left UCLA players in jail; Jared Kushner's attorney speaks to CNN; Major Alabama newspapers: reject Roy Moore; Why did Trump waver on big-game trophy ban; This Is Life tonight at 10 p.m.; Bourdain explores Seattle tonight at 9 p.m. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 19, 2017 - 17:00   ET



[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Ana Cabrera in D.C. We begin with a Twitter feud that just escalated with the president's words sending shock waves over situations involving Americans in prison abroad.

Today President Trump fired a shot at Lavar Ball, the outspoken father of both NBA rookie Lonzo Ball and one of the UCLA players arrested in China for stealing. Now here is what the president tweeted.

Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, Lavar Ball, the father of LiAngelo is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shop lifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail.

If you are not familiar with Lavar Ball, he makes the president at times look like the head honcho of the high road. He once bragged he could beat Michael Jordan one on one and said his son Lonzo was already a better basketball player than Steph Curry.

This weekend he made a comment, the president clearly didn't appreciate. CNN's Boris Sanchez is live for us at the White House. Boris, what is the White House saying about the president now picking this fight at this time?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. We are still working on getting an official comment from the White House on this tweet but previous occasions where the president has had a bit of a Twitter beef we have heard them taunt this is a symbol of President Trump's strength.

The fact that he doesn't back down from a fight when he's attacked. This all started when the president was on his 12-day trip to Asia when these three UCLA players were detained allegedly for shoplifting.

Once President Trump became aware of this, the White House tells us he personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to release and return these three student athletes to the United States. Xi complied and as they were in the process of returning, that recall, the president tweeted out wondering aloud if they would thank him for his role in their return. The three of them did and president tweeted at them saying, he was

glad that they were home and they should be wary of many pit falls in life. But then on Friday, LiAngelo Ball's father, Lavar spoke to ESPN and he down played the president's role in all of this telling them, quote, what was he over there for?

Don't tell me nothing? Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out. Well, the president's response you just saw on Twitter suggesting that perhaps he should not have helped return these U.S. citizen college students from being imprisoned in China over the fact that one of their parents didn't give him credit in public. Ana.

CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez at the White House, thank you. Let's talk about this with our panel and Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun Times, Lynn Sweet, and Washington correspondent for Time magazine, Jay Newton-Small.

Is the president essentially suggesting in this tweet if you don't offer thanks and gratitude or you don't agree with him, there will be no help overseas.

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Well, it's hard to know what he will do in the future. In this way, President Trump did the right thing. He helped an American citizen in a jam by using influence with the Chinese leader. So that is the right thing for an American president to do under these circumstances.

Now whether or not it is ever enough to give to -- if there is ever anything to give Trump pause, you would -- we haven't met it yet and where he will go, and react from somebody who you think could be otherwise ignored. After all, the players who were the ones who Trump helped did thank them.

CABRERA: Other U.S. leaders are responding right now Democrat tweeting a reply just a short time ago, I want to read it to you. He says the president would have left American students in a foreign jail because their families didn't lavish sufficient praise on him. How can someone in such a big office be so small. Jay, what is your take on the president's message?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, Ana, I think it is two things. First of all, it's like he wants credit for everything, right? So he did this one little thing and he wants everyone to sort of recognize it and say, hey, I deserve credit for this.

And when that was one tiny, tiny part in what was a very long trip to Asia that was just involved that had a lot of very important issues in the table whether it's security concerning North Korea or whether it's trade concerning China and the rest of Southeast Asia.

And so there is a ton of stuff going on with Asia the negotiation to release these three players was one very insignificant part of that trip. And also there are -- secondly, there are a lot of Americans who are being held against their will abroad all over the world. One of them back here, Namazi who is an Iranian-America work for

Unicef. He is an 81-year-old. He's being held in Iran. His family was here in Washington lobbying for his release clearly trying to praise the Trump administration publicly to get their help in releasing this 81-year-old Unicef worker. And so why focus specifically on these players?

CABRERA: What do you think the family members of those other Americans who are in prison overseas are thinking seeing this tweet?

[17:05:00] NEWTON-SMALL: Exactly. I mean it is sort of like it does set the precedent that if we give a press conference and lavish lots of praise on Donald Trump, is that going to help my loved one's case?

That does mean he's going to take up that case and now, you know, lobby that government for their release or if I am -- paradoxically if I am critical of the president will my loved one be left to waste in jail somewhere?

CABRERA: Lynn, of course one could argue what was Lavar Ball thinking when he made his comments?

SWEET: So let's say we don't know why he had to go there, that he could have just appreciated that his son and his buddies got themselves in a jam with their own making and just thank god he is out and move on. So that is I guess where Adam Schiff was going.

Doesn't President Trump have other things to do than to think about why the father of this kid did something that, yes, I think is unwise. Why pick a fight with Trump over this especially when your kid got himself in the jam?

And you know, portioning blame and praise is something that you would hope a president would be above. You do the right thing for the right reason. That's what President Trump did. Now you're suggesting, Ana, that he might not in the future.

And let's just hope that the President Trump doesn't do this take away that he has to get some assurances that he will be rightly praised doing it.

And this was a celebrated case as, Jay, pointed out. You know, the president also has to care for the people who aren't in as highly publicized cases who are in big trouble overseas.

CABRERA: And, Jay -- go ahead.

NEWTON-SMALL: I have been thinking, I add to that that this is sort of classic Trump. I mean this is -- this isn't the first time he has gotten into a Twitter feud over a split sports figures, right?

So whether it is Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors or whether it's NFL players taking the knee, this is something he likes to do to distract America from the very real problems facing the country.

CABRERA: That is what I was going to ask you about because like you point out, he is a counter puncher. So I kind of wonder though, how much of this is him taking the comments that Lavar -- Lavar Ball made personally and he is upset about those or is he trying to change the focus from Russia or the Roy Moore sex abuse allegations?

SWEET: You get it all in this tweet, OK? All of the above. OK, it's also kind of easy. It is -- to even craft a tweet for the time it took him as he says it's not much time. Look what he is able to accomplish.

We are not talking about taxes or about sexual harassment. We are not even talking about positive aspects of the Trump agenda that he might want to have advanced this afternoon. He is talking about a fight with an ungrateful father after he helped his kid out of a jam.

CABRERA: Well, quick, Jay, I'll give you the last word.

NEWTON-SMALL: I was just going to agree with, Lynn, this is sort of classic Trump and it sort of all smoke and mirrors. Look over here. Look at this big shiny object, like this outrage on this side and don't worry about all the other really important problems facing the country that we should actually be talking about.

CABRERA: And let's not forget tax reform is a big one, too, that they are trying to accomplish inside the Capitol right now. Lynn Sweet, Jay Newton-Small, thank you so much.

We are also following some big news right now in the Russia investigation. Jared Kushner's attorney just wrapped up an interview with our Evan Perez, this amid new revelations on that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting where Kushner along with other members in the Trump campaign met with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Now the man who set up that meeting is breaking his silence and says he is ready to talk to investigators. Music Publicist Rob Goldstone tells the Times of London that he puffed up his e-mails to Donald Trump Jr. about what sort of dirt he had on Clinton.

And I quote, I could have said that the Russian attorney believed she found a black hole or believed Santa is real. It didn't really matter. So when Trump Jr. replied if it is what you say it is I love it, I just thought my teaser had worked. More stunning details coming up.

But first CNN speaks to Jared Kushner's attorney. Let's get right to Justice Correspondent Evan Perez. Even, what did Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell tell you?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, for months there has been this growing perception that Jared Kushner hasn't been up front, hasn't been forth coming about Russia contacts.

And his failure to listen from his affiliates or list them on his security clearance application to this past week when the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a bipartisan and public letter to Kushner saying that he hadn't turned over documents that the committee know exist. And so the committee says that these documents cover everything from campaign contacts with WikiLeaks to this Russian back door proposal to connect the Russian President Vladimir Putin with the campaign idea by the way that Kushner rejected. In an interview with me this afternoon Abbe Lowell, Kushner's attorney pushes back against those accusations.

[17:10:00] Take a listen.


ABBE LOWELL, ATTORNEY FOR JARED KUSHNER: The committee investigations unfortunately are devolving into political got you games. As committees selectively leak parts of interviews or send me letters through the media.

Or turn Jared Kushner's very clear e-mail that there should be no contacts with anybody in a foreign country into what they call is a missing document then they are undermining their own credibility. The issue of Russia interference is in the 2016 election is a serious one. But these committee actions are not.

PEREZ: So what I hear you saying is that you don't believe that there are any missing documents and you don't really plan to provide any additional documents.

LOWELL: Let me be cleat that what we told the Judiciary Committee is that we would send them what we already sent the intelligence committees and then work with them if there was anything else that was relevant. And then they decided to do is to create a media event. That undermines the seriousness of their endeavor.

PEREZ: So do you not plan to allow another interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee, that seems to be what they're asking for.

LOWELL: Mr. Kushner has been very clear that he will cooperate as he has been voluntarily with all bipartisan requests from committees on anything that is relevant. He has done it and he'll do it again.

PEREZ: So, in these cases as you know the perception is often as important as the facts. And the perception that has been built here is that Jared Kushner perhaps has something to hide because these committees say that he is not being as forth coming as others have been.

They received the same requests -- the same broad requests for documents and they provided documents that Jared Kushner did not provide. Is there a problem with Jared Kushner's ability to...

LOWELL: Let's be clear again.

PEREZ: Right.

LOWELL: In my communications with the Senate Judiciary Committee I said, take these documents and let's talk about what else is relevant. They jumped the gun to make a media event. And any perception that Mr. Kushner has been anything but not only

cooperative, but if you look at the contents of these e-mails, he is the hero.

He is the one who is saying there shouldn't be any contacts with foreign officials or foreign entities. That is what the Senate Judiciary Committee should pay attention to and not create some sort of partisan got you game.

PEREZ: The perception though is built because of the SF 86, the fact that he didn't disclose all of those contacts at first and the fact that these documents they say are missing that were provided by others.

LOWELL: When they say that he did not disclose a SF 86, again a misperception. It was sent first time with a hit of a send button before it was complete. And then within days and weeks, it was completed. I mean that is just silliness.

PEREZ: It took -- it took a couple of months for the 100 additional contacts.

LOWELL: It took a couple of months to get it thorough and also make sure that it was complete. That is not atypical in this process.


LOWELL: And, Ana, the bottom line here is that Kushner is not promising to provide an interview to the Senate Judiciary Committee. And while his attorney says he is cooperating with Congress, Kushner has another investigation that he has to keep in mind, that's the criminal investigation that's being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

And right now, Mueller is still working through the roster of White House officials who are coming in for interviews. And we expect that Jared Kushner is going to be one of them. Ana.

CABRERA: All right, of course Hope Hicks, too, expected to testify we are learning by the end of the month. Evan Perez, thank you for that. Joining us now to talk more about this and the growing Russia investigation is CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd.

So, Samantha, first Kushner's lawyer's reaction, he says the take away from all this is that Jared Kushner is a hero because those documents that he apparently didn't turn over actually show him telling the Trump team during the campaign that there shouldn't be contacts with foreign leaders. What is your take?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I am glad to hear Kushner's lawyers say there shouldn't be foreign contacts by campaign officials. But, Ana, I have to disagree with one thing that Lowell said up front and that is that this is a political gotcha game.

That is just factually untrue and that's also exactly the kind of statement that the Russians want us to make. The intelligence community has assessed that Russia interfered in our election just so division.

And the fact is the ranking Democrat and the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Kushner asking him to clear up inconsistencies in his testimony. That shows this is not A Republican issue, it's not a Democratic issue, it's an American national security issue.

CABRERA: On top of that, this got you game idea, I mean, couldn't this all have been essentially solved if they had just turned over those other documents like everybody else apparently did who were given the same request for documents? I mean I don't really understand how he can argue the optics of that transparency.

VINOGRAD: Well, we have kind of two related issues here, Ana. One is whether there is anything legal by the campaign including whether after they were elected, they purposely did not turn over documents. The second is the direct Russian attack on the United States.

[17:15:00] And I was actually glad to hear Lowell saying that Russian election interference is a serious issue. We know that President Trump failed to confront Vladimir Putin on this issue in Vietnam just a few days ago.

And we need to take steps to deter another attack. If Kushner really believes that Russian election meddling was a serious issue and that there should not be undisclosed contacts with foreigners then we can take steps to hold Russia accountable like, for example, implementing the bipartisan sanctions that Congress passed a few months ago on time at the end of January.

CABRERA: But that haven't been implemented because of the process we are told by the White House. I want to turn to Rob Goldstone. He is the apparent middle man who set up that now infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

A reminder here of who attended that meeting, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, campaign chair Paul Manafort. Well, Goldstone now is speaking to the Sunday Times in the U.K.

And he says quote, the hardest part is just dealing with people's perception of what went on and ultimately having to say nothing. Clients have often asked me to do crazy stuff.

Those things don't freak me out. What freaks me out is silence. There is nothing harder than saying nothing. So, Samantha, it sounds like he is eager to talk.

VINOGRAD: Sounds like he is eager to talk and it makes me feel much better that the Special Counsel is looking into all of these things.

CABRERA: Remember this is the guy that wrote an e-mail promising dirt on Hillary Clinton and stated the Russian government wanted to help elect Trump but in this interview again with the Sunday Times, Goldstone is painting himself as the height man. How much cravens does Mueller give Rob Goldstone? VINOGRAD: I think that Mueller is speaking to a lot of people and I can't really speak to how much credence he gives Rob Goldstone. But what's clear is that there were a lot of people making a lot of contacts with the campaign.

And that the Russian government was orchestrating a serious operation to really infiltrate the campaign at every point possible and the unusual thing, Ana, is how open the campaign was to all of these contacts and that they didn't disclose them any sooner. That is very unusual to me.

CABRERA: All right, Samantha Vinograd, we always appreciate your expertise and insight. Thank you for your perspective. Three of Alabama's largest newspapers are coming out against Senate candidate Roy Moore today. Why the scathing editorials say this isn't about politics but rather than moral accomplish of Alabama voters. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: In Alabama today, the Republican who wants to be the newest U.S. senator saw the biggest newspapers in the state urge their readers to vote for somebody else, anybody else. The Birmingham news largest of the papers splashed this on the front page today, stand for decency, reject Roy Moore.

In smaller type an endorsement for Moore's opponent, a Democrat, in a big deal that defrock state, the same headline jumped out from all three major newspaper in Alabama.

Judge Roy Moore is now accused by eight women of sexually assaulting inappropriately touching the, or pursuing them for a relationship when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

The special election of the vacancy in the U.S. Senate is December 12, that is 23 days from now. So what is going to happen next? We know all three papers are speaking with the same voice and earning that same editorial.

This is part of it, quote, a vote for Roy Moore sends the worst kind of message to Alabamians struggling with abuse. If you ever do tell your story, Alabama won't believe you.

Now as for what the White House thinks about these charges of sexual impropriety against Senate nominee Roy Moore, and a special election that has potential to impact balance of power on Capitol Hill, the president is saying nothing.

Even when asked directly by reporters, President Trump has so far declined to offer one word specifically about the Roy Moore Senate race but a White House official is speaking for the president this weekend. Watch this.


MARC SHORT, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE: The president has expressed his concern about this. As you know that the president has not gone down to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore since the primary concluded.

We have serious concerns about the allegations made but he is also concerned that these accusations are 38-years-old. Roy Moore has been in public service for decades and the accusations did not arise until a month before election.

So we are concerned about several aspects of the story. We are very concerned about the allegations but at this point as I have said we think it is best for the people of Alabama to make the decision for them.


CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN political analyst from Princeton University professor, Julian Zelizer. So, Julian, you just heard Marc Short say the president has serious concerns about the Senate race in Alabama. Serious concerns about the allegations against Roy Moore. So why won't he say that or even tweet it?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a puzzle. President Trump usually doesn't refrain from saying a lot about things that matter. And we have heard almost nothing from him.

So you would at least have to think that partisanship is part of this that he is being silent to protect a Republican candidate in a valuable Republican seat.

That is the best interpretation we can give. But really compared to everything else from today's news to Senator Franken, we have heard absolute silence from the president.

CABRERA: Meantime, some prominent senators have suggested if Moore is elected, he should be expelled, I mean these Senate leaders, house leaders, they have not pulled any ounces. They say they believe the women. And you have a new piece in the Atlantic today about this idea of if he is elected could he be expelled.

[17:25:00] You say just floating that idea out there might actually give Republicans in Alabama another reason to vote for Moore. Explain that.

ZELIZER: Well, Republicans are almost out of options. They wanted Moore to step down and he didn't. They talked about a write in candidate like Jeff Sessions. That didn't happen.

So now there is a promise if he is elected some leaders are saying they are open to expelling him which would require a two-thirds vote and literally kick him out of office. The problem is, Congress rarely does this.

The only time we really seen it in any significant number was around the civil war era and they are very reluctant to kick out their own members. So that's a promise I think that gives voters cover. You can vote for

him and we'll take care of it but based on the history there is not a lot of evidence to suggest they will do that.

CABRERA: So what would be best case scenario for Republicans regarding the Moore situation?

ZELIZER: I think there is an argument to be made that the best case scenario is actually to lose the seat. I think if these allegations are true and he is a Republican in the Senate, this will not be good for the party.

The baggage that will come with this, the moral problems that come with this will be much greater than the partisan gained from the seat. And so I think there is something to what the newspapers are saying that this might be a better case for Democrat to win.

CABRERA: Julian Zelizer, we appreciate your analysis. Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

CABRERA: Now someone else who reportedly has no intention of stepping down, Minnesota Senator Al Franken. This is according to one of his aides we are learning.

There have been calls for Franken to resign since a news anchor came forward accused him of groping and kissing her during a USO tour back at 2006. It was before Franken became a senator.

A spokesperson for Franken added that he is doing a lot of reflecting while spending time with his family through the thanksgiving holiday but again has no intention of stepping down.

Coming up, more details are now emerging about what might be behind the president's pause for a thought over lifting restrictions on trophy hunting specifically talking about elephants in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa. We will have more on this developing controversy live in the CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: Embattled Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is defying demand from the people and even his own party to resign. He gave a speech today. He acknowledges the criticisms that led Zimbabwe security forces to seize power from him last week after 40 years of rule.

But he vowed to stay in power and preside over the African nations Congress in December. This ruling party appointed the former vice president and its new leader but has not removed Mugabe from office.

Now Mugabe fired that vice president earlier this month. Party leaders set a Monday deadline for Mugabe to step down or face impeachment in parliament.

President Trump putting his controversial decision about hunters and trophies of endangered elephants on hold and of course this is all affecting Zimbabwe, as well. We are learning more now about why the president may have hit pause on this decision.

The president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, apparently met with the Humane Society CEO on Capitol Hill Friday along with some GOP lawmakers and reportedly pushed for passage of several animal protection bills.

Lara Trump is the wife of the president's second so, Eric, is an animal rights advocate. Hours later, the president put on hold his own administration's decision to lift the ban on bringing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and then into the U.S.

I want to bring in Wayne Pacelle, he is the president and CEO of the Humane Society. Wayne, thanks for spending time with us. What happened during this meeting with you and Lara Trump?

WAYNE PACELLE, CEO, HUMANE SOCIETY: Well, Lara Trump and I have been talking for a while as you mentioned in your setup. She is a devoted animal advocate. It is surprising to some people. But she is very sincere.

This has been a life long passion for her. It was actually on Thursday that she and I went to Capitol Hill. We met with a number of Republican lawmakers about element of the agenda of the Humane Society of the United States.

Passing a federal anti-cruelty statute, passing a stronger law dealing with terrible practice called horse soaring where the front legs of walking horses are injured to cause them to exaggerate their gate and step higher. We talked about a ban on killing and eating dogs and cats in the United States.

CABRERA: So did you talk about this issue in particular revolving -- regarding the elephants and the hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia?

PACELLE: We didn't have detailed discussion about that issue. We had a number of bills which had been advanced. But I think Lara's interest is broad. The Humane Society of the United States is really about protecting all animals.

And I think she saw that I was outspoken on this issue on Wednesday I had issued a blog on my blog called A Humane Nation about this issue.

And we began to, you know, amp up the pressure on it and what happened is that conservative pundits and liberal pundits, and business leaders, and evangelical leaders, and some of the others really objected to this idea of allowing the import of sport hunted trophies from African elephants who have become a cause to live because of the assault on the animals as a consequence of ivory trade that has been out of control.

Ninety-six elephants a day being killed and for so many people this was incongruous that the United States would say let's stop the ivory trade.

[17:35:00] But we will allow the small set of wealthy elite trophy hunters to kill elephants for their ivory. It just didn't make sense. d CABRERA: I remember covering an event a couple of years ago in which there was an ivory crush that took place in order to send a message to your point about the ivory trade and those poachers who are trying to make money off of these animals at a time when of course animals are endangered species.

But, Wayne, the president of the safari club international is calling Trump's move to now put his own administration decision on hold a publicity stunt. Do you think that's what's going on?

PACELLE: I don't that think you know, issuing a tweet as he did on Friday night that 7:30 saying he is putting this on hold is a publicity stunt.

I think that there are millions and millions of American whose are deeply concerned about an action by the Department of Interior to put at risk the world's largest land mammal to allow or enable Americans to shoot these incredible creatures and then bring their head and their tusks back into the United States.

I think that this was the president reacting to an outpouring of concern with the American public. And wherever you are on President Trump he certainly has a lot of intuition about where Americans, you know, are on a lot of the major subjects that are debated in our society.

I think he has finger on the pulse. And I think Lara and others I'm sure, you know, helped him understand the gravity of this decision from the Interior Department and that, you know, really this is just not good publicity for the Trump administration.

CABRERA: But he didn't say he is reversing his decision, he is only putting it on hold for further research. The Safari Club president also says that he believes that ultimately, this lift on the ban is going to go through.

He says science is on their aside and so are economic befits writing quote, honesty, saying we have the science on our side, the money generated from hunting is in the millions and millions of dollars and that supports programs world wide. How do you respond to that?

PACELLE: Well, this is a self-interested organization, of course. The Safari Club International is a consortium, an organization of trophy hunters. They give out awards that you get if you kill different categories of animals.

And one of the most coveted award that the Safari Club gives out to its members is called the Africa big five. And you have to shoot an African elephant or rhino, a lion, a leopard, a Buffalo.

They have other awards like cats of the world, you have to shoot a lion, a leopard and other big cats, bears of the world. This is an organization that is trading on the exploitation of some of the rarest most majestic animals in the world.

The American public doesn't agree with this organization. I would argue that 90 plus percent of Americans don't like this idea of Americans going to shoot African elephants and killing them for tusks, this who argument about the economics is a canard.

There is limited amount of money that's generated through trophy hunting. There is a vastly larger amount of money that is spent in wildlife watching activities from Kenya to South Africa, everywhere in between.

Billions of dollars are generated by people who go to see these animals and who are happy to see them left intact after their experience is done. The pool of trophy hunters is small.

The pool of people who want to go on wildlife watching Safaris and excursions is vast and it's growing. There is no future in safari hunting. There is a future in Safaris featuring cameras and binoculars, and other wildlife watching experiences.

CABRERA: Wayne Pacelle, thank you very much. We appreciate your time and your thoughts.

PACELLE: Thank you.

CABRERA: Still ahead, Jared Kushner's lawyer speaks to CNN as the president's son-in-law is under new scrutiny from lawmakers over his contact with WikiLeaks and Russia during the 2016 campaign. His explanation for why Kushner didn't disclose his contacts, next.


CABRERA: When you think of Las Vegas images of glitz and glamour probably come to mind. But off the strip is a much different story, it's the subject of tonight's all new episode of This Is Life.


LISA LING, CNN HOST: Las Vegas, every year millions flock here trying to fill a dream and win big. This is the Las Vegas the world knows, the casinos, the hotels, the clubs.

But step off the strip and you will find another world that couldn't be more different, a world where lost people hide in plain sight. This is crazy.

In the middle of the desert --oh my gosh. In boarded up buildings -- wow look at this place. Even underground -- it is pitch black in here. It's a world that can be dark, unpredictable and sometimes very dangerous. Someone is just coming out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could be a drug deal or could be anything.


LING: Tonight Las Vegas natives introduce us to a side of sin city that few get to see. Someone is in there. And it is shocking. Oh my god.


CABRERA: Lisa Ling is joining us now. What a teaser that is, Lisa. So how far off the strip were you exploring?

LING: Well, we explored many different parts of Las Vegas. But I think the most interesting thing that we experienced and I don't know if a lot of people know this but underneath Las Vegas there are about 500 miles of storm drains.

Las Vegas floods very easily and is prone to flash floods. And an estimated 500 somewhat people live and inhabit those storm drains. And it's a pretty surreal place. When I went in and we went in with the help of a local organization, I saw people living on beds down there.

[17:45:00] I saw book shelves, people call this very dark world their home. Most of these people are chronic homeless and are people who are addicted to drugs but that doesn't stop these organizations from continuing to go down and try to provide aid for them.

CABRERA: Wow. And you also went on patrol with officers looking for squatters, people who move into homes with no legal rights to them. Why is that a problem there in Las Vegas?

LING: So that's a different story. There certainly are homeless people inhabiting vacant homes. But after the foreclosure crisis and the recession, thousands and thousands of people lost their homes.

They estimate that still today there are over 10,000 vacant homes in Las Vegas. And there are homeless people who seek out these homes. There are people who have figured out to gain the system and even are able to get water turned on, and services provided.

And there are task forces that have been -- that have been resurrected by police departments because they get calls about illegal squatting almost daily still in Las Vegas.

CABRERA: So it all points to this idea of people without homes. And as you uncovered this widespread problem with homeless camps springing up just about anywhere like in these storm drains, are there also people who are coming into Las Vegas and falling on hard times or are these people who are just there and have nowhere else to go?

LING: It's both. Las Vegas has always been a prime attraction for all kinds of people and certainly homeless people find it an attractive place, as well, because it is a big transient community.

There are so many people coming into Las Vegas and panhandling as anyone who has visited Las Vegas knows is quite an epidemic there. Many homeless people will go into casinos to see if people have left money in the slot machines.

And it's an easy way for homeless people to be able to survive and they also know that there are services. You know Vegas' social services are very attractive for people without homes. And they know that when they go there, they might be able to find

housing somehow because it's a community that makes itself known amongst the homeless community.

CABRERA: So do they just allow some of these people to live in the storm drains or do they find these homeless camps or families that are living down there and then try to move them to a better situation?

LING: Well, it is illegal to occupy the storm drains. And authorities will go in quite regularly and clear them out but people just continue to go down there. I mean as you know Las Vegas can get very, very hot.

So it is a -- it is a more comfortable place of refuge than panhandling or existing above ground in some cases. And it's a -- it's a place that has been inhabited for a number of years.

But these services that we have been spent time with -- we spent time with one of the biggest social service organizations in Las Vegas called help, they are regularly going down there and they are finding permanent housing for people who live homeless throughout Las Vegas including inside the storm drains.

CABRERA: Well, Lisa, thank you for shedding light on this issue and thank you for joining us. Don't forget to tune in tonight. It's a new episode of This Is Life at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Coming up, we will tell you which U.S. city made history by electing its first-ever woman for mayor. The details next. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: In New York City, five people were hurt when a scaffolding came crashing to the sidewalk along a very busy street in lower Manhattan.

Our affiliate WABC reports there were high winds when this happened. But firefighter say it is lucky more people weren't hurt because that scaffolding fell on top of a subway entrance.

Making history, city council member LaToya Cantrell became the first women mayor of New Orleans this weekend. Cantell clinched 60 percent of the vote. She will succeed current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

And the New Orleans city council tweeted this after her victory, congratulations to our very own district city council member LaToya Cantrell.

Our city's first elected female mayor. To Seattle now in Anthony Bourdain on this week's Parts Unknown, he explores the city's booming tech industry and the food scene that's popping up with it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Seattle. If you're looking for a dump site to dispose of the recently killed victim of your serial killing spree, this would be the perfect environment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Literally you can hide bodies like a short drive from wherever you are.

BOURDAIN: The fact is when favored by serial killers throughout the ages, also chefs. Wow, that's really good, and musicians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds and thousands of bands here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that you had us on the show made me realize that we'd run out of things to...

BOURDAIN: Are you kidding me? You know, it's the landscape that inspired Kurt Cobain.


BOURDAIN: Look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no idea how much that cost to arrange.

BOURDAIN: Yeah. Huge stunt whale.


[17:55:00] CABRERA: Follow Anthony Bourdain through Seattle tonight at 9:00 eastern on CNN's Parts Unknown. Still ahead here in the Newsroom, the president is going after the father of one of the UCLA players who he help get out of a Chinese jail, saying he should have just left him there. We'll discuss what's behind the president's latest attack next.


CABRERA: Hello on this Sunday, you're in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in Washington. Tonight the president is now locked in a Twitter feud with someone equally blunt and outspoken.