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Trump Accusers Call For Investigation; Republican Committee Is Now Supporting Moore; Pipe Bomb Attack In New York City; Thomas Fire One Is Fifth Largest In Modern California History; Macron Awards Grants To U.S. Researchers; Nominations Honor Best In Film & Telivision. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired December 12, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, they're back, the women who accused then-candidate Trump of sexual harassment, going public again and demanding Congress investigate their claims.
SESAY: Plus, authorities say, it could've been a whole lot worse, a pipe bomb goes off in the middle of New York City, but fails to fully detonate.
VAUSE: And still not contained, one of the biggest and most destructive wildfire in California's history continues to burn, already destroying hundreds of homes and buildings and other structures.
SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: Great to have you with us, I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A.
Well, it's been a common political call among Republicans lately: let the voters of Alabama decide. And in just a few hours they will. Doug Jones is hoping to be Alabama's first Democratic Senator in more than two decades.
SESAY: Here's what's fueling this hope: Roy Moore, the Republican Candidate comes with a lot of political baggage, including significations accusations of sexual assault. He denies these allegations and stands behind his reputation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: One thing I don't like the media said, that a lot of people who are Republicans claim they're going to vote for me and ignore what they believe. I'm going to tell you, if you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: When Roy Moore was first accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by multiple women, there was initially deafening silence from the White House, and then three weeks ago came the president's arms' length tacit endorsement when urged voters of Alabama not to support Doug Jones, the Democrat running against Moore for the Senate. Now, there's nothing arm's length about it. The president is all in for Roy Moore, a candidate who is also an accused child molester.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hi, this President Donald Trump, and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. We're already making America great again. I'm doing to make America safer and stronger, and better than ever before. But we need that seat, we need Roy voting for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The support from Trump has been a lifeline to the Moore campaign. And if he's elected to the Senate on Tuesday, it will be in no small part because of the president's backing. But could this be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, is this a lose/lose scenario? Well, for more, CNN Political Analyst and Princeton History Professor, Julian Zelizer, is with us now from New York. Professor, good to see you.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND PRINCETON HISTORY PROFESSOR: Thanks for having me.
VAUSE: Can you explain the president's evolution here from the silence to the hedging, to now no holding back? Is this about something more than just getting a tax plan through Congress?
ZELIZER: Yes, I think there's two things at work. One is, the president gradually realized or at least was willing to acknowledge the value of this seat in the Senate. And as it became more real, that it could go to Democrat, I think he decided to double down and be more vociferous in his support of this candidate. But I also think the candidate in some ways represents the kind of Republican Party that he envisions. And I'm not talking about the sexual molestation issues, but I am talking about the pretty extreme positions Moore has taken on a number issues involving race, involving immigration, involving religion and the state. And I think in some ways he likes this anti-establishment in your face kind of candidate.
VAUSE: Well, there are Republicans who's spoken out against Roy Moore, notably Richard Shelby, the Senior Senator from Alabama. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SHELBY, SENIOR SENATOR FROM ALABAMA: Well, I'd rather see the Republican win, but I hope that Republican would be a ride-in. I couldn't vote for Roy Moore, I didn't vote for Roy Moore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:05:04] VAUSE: And on Monday, Will Hurd, a Republican Congressman from Texas, he publicly went against the president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: I disagree with President Trump on a recent thing -- Roy Moore. I think Roy Moore is an abomination to the Republican Party, and that's one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on, and the senior senator from Alabama even said that. Alabama deserves better, and the American people deserve better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But most Republicans seem to have followed Trump's lead they've fallen in line, but seems to suggest that Roy Moore is not an outsider, and he's welcomed by the party.
ZELIZER: That's exactly right. I think while there are handful of voices who have said something, including Senator Shelby, most Republicans have really not said much, they've certainly not done anything like campaign for the Democrat to really express their opposition to this candidate. And then, you have the president who is now an open and enthusiastic supporter of Roy Moore, the RNC has recommended its resources -- the Republican National Committee, to this candidacy. And so, it's not so easy for the Republicans to say, he's not really our candidate. He is. He's on their ticket. Most Republicans are supporting him either openly or not saying nothing. And if he wins, he will be a big piece of baggage for this party.
VAUSE: So, essentially, what you're saying is that this is now sort of judgment day, if you like for the future of the Republican Party. Because, there's a short-term gain, keeping this majority, but it comes with long-term consequences both politically and I guess in a moral sense as well?
ZELIZER: That's exactly right. If you go back to the presidency of George W. Bush, he had ambitions of creating a broad Republican coalition that included immigrants, that included educated suburban voters, that included more female voters. And what we've seen since President Trump -- and this election will be a key test -- is the Republicans have actually narrowed their appeal.
And narrowed the kinds of arguments that they are making, focusing much more on White male voters. And so, this election is really quite important, because if he is elected, assuming he's not expelled from the Senate, he will be here for six years and he will be another very loud voice for the Republican Party. And come election time in 2018, in 2020, you can bet Democrats will remind voters all over the country this is the party of Trump and the party of Roy Moore.
VAUSE: Well, a pro-Trump group, it's called the America First Project. They sent a 12-year-old girl called Millie March to interview Roy Moore -- this will happen Monday. Millie is well-known among conservatives as being one of the president's biggest fans. Here's part of the interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLIE MARCH, TRUMP SUPPORTER: What are the most important issues to the voters of Alabama?
R. MOORE: Well, I think, one religious liberty, I think we've got to look at that. Madison said a long time ago, that if we don't preserve that, they will become tyrants and we will become slaves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, the interview was fairly (INAUDIBLE), but it seems an odd strategy to send a child to interview a man who is accused pedophile -- it seems to have failed to recognize the seriousness of those allegations against Moore. Especially, when you compare it to what's happening within the Democratic Party forcing too their high- profile lawmakers out because they're accused of sexual harassment.
ZELIZER: I think you're exactly right. I think in many ways this is an effort to dismiss the accusations that are being made. It's an advertisement or a message that says, we're just not taking any of this seriously. And so much that we're willing to broadcast this kind of a message. And there aren't many commentators who were noting, sort of, asymmetric attitude between how Democrats are handling this issue now, purging some of their biggest stars. And the Republican Party, which specifically, in this case, is really not doing much. We'll see if that changes. But I think the ad is a reminder of how the parties are in a different place in terms of how to respond to these kinds of issues that have emerged.
VAUSE: Professor, thank you very much. We appreciate you being with us. Some really good insights there. Thank you.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
VAUSE: If there was a Venn Diagram with one circle representing Roy Moore, the other circle is the U.S. President, overlapping in the middle would be allegations of sexual harassment. At least 13 women accused then-Candidate Trump of inappropriate sexual behavior spanning about decades. And Monday, three of them called on Congress to investigate their claims. Part from just outright denying the instance never happened, the White House added there are eyewitnesses to prove the president's innocence. But the women say, this is all about accountability, it's not about politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:10:02] JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: Some areas of our society, people are being held accountable for unwanted behavior. But we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is.
RACHEL CROOKS, TRUMP ACCUSER: I want to believe that as Americans, we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things, in fact, you transcend politics that we will hold Mr. Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein and the other man who were held accountable for their reprehensible behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us now, Jessica Levinson, Professor of Law and Governance at Loyola Law School. Jessica, thank you for being with us. The line we have from the White House is pretty much the same line that it has been for a while now. American voters knew all about the allegations. Donald Trump won the election. Case closed. Sarah Sanders repeated it, and was at it again on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations, and this took place long before he was elected to be president. And the people of this country had a decisive election, supported President Trump as we feel like these allegations has been answered for that process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: That kind of worked very well for Candidate Trump. This never happened, (INAUDIBLE), I never did it. They've been using the line: the election proved my innocence, which it kind of didn't. But 2017 is a very different world now compared to 2016. So, is this excuse being put forward by the White House, how much longer will that continue to hold?
JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND GOVERNANCE AT LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Well, I actually think it'll hold for quite a while, and that's because we have seen this me-too movement really become a full- fledged movement. I mean, we are truly a nation of amnesiacs. We will forgive and forget almost everything. But it seems like this is really a movement that's gaining steam. And we've seen really powerful men be toppled and continue to be toppled. But I do not think it's going to will reach the president for actually the reason that Sarah Sanders talked about, which is that the American people did know who they were voting for.
And the vote didn't say, I don't think that there's any way we can say the vote said, oh, you weren't guilty of sexual harassment. I think we knew full well who we voted for and still voted for him. So, I feel that, the vote was not a vindication of you didn't do this, but it was a vindication of him, and that there is a certain percentage of the American public that will continue to support him. If this presidency ends, I think he's much more, likely to be based on the Robert Mueller investigation, than it is these allegations of sexual harassment.
VAUSE: Because those Democrats are calling for Donald Trump to resign, he's not going to resign. But it does seem that during the campaign, there was sort of an end stop. He had to get to the election, he hadn't make it through to the election and had to survive. There doesn't seem to be the same point in time here. This could just continue to go on and on as long as he is president.
LEVINSON: Well, and I think it will go on and on because there are a number of very credible allegations. And I think that because this has become something that we talk about in every sector in the legislative branch, in the judiciary, in business, and Hollywood, in sports, that we will continue to talk about it with respect to the president. But unfortunately, I think that there's going to be a kind of fatigue and a deflection. I mean, every time I see the press secretary, I imagine her holding up, you know, a mirror. Because she is so good at deflecting every question.
VAUSE: OK. Jessica Leeds, she added a new detail to her story. She is the woman who claim that she was essentially, you know, groped by Donald Trump on a flight many, many years ago. She has added this detail about a meeting that she had with Donald Trump three years after the incident on the plane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEEDS: He stands there as I'm handing him this table assignment. And he says, I remember you, you were that woman from the airplane. He called me the worst name ever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mean, there was descriptor before a woman?
LEEDS: Yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you give us hint?
LEEDS: It's the worst one. It really is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want to say it out loud but is it that begins with a "c"?
LEEDS: Yes, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Here were gasps from the audience when Jessica Leeds shared that story. When you get details like that, and you know, as you say, these accusations and the story will continue on. Doesn't it just get harder and harder for the president and those around him to defend him?
JESSICA: I wish I could say, yes, I absolutely -- how could he withstand this? So, it's not only that there are -- the allegations continue and that they're not going to die down, but now there are new allegations that make it even more troublesome. And I wish I could say, I think this is a game changer, but I actually really don't. And I --
VAUSE: But why is it a game changer for everyone else but Donald Trump?
LEVINSON: Well, because I think that President Trump has looked at the paradigm of American politics and then stepped outside of it and still won the presidency. And so, I think that we are kind of accustomed, unfortunately, to normalizing his behavior and kind of saying, well, that's the president. And you know, he is just different and he is not a typical politician. And so, I hope that I'm wrong. But, I think that what he's proven is that -- there are so many things where I thought our bar for tolerance is so different from what I'm seeing. You know, from everything, from calling the press fake news, to just flat out lying to the American public, to not understanding basic things about how our government functions. And so, I don't think that this is going to be the thing that takes him.
[01:15:42] VAUSE: OK. Well, this all comes full circle with the president throwing his support behind Roy Moore. This is Alabama's Special Senate election, which is on Tuesday. There was a last-minute campaign event. Roy Moore made it pretty clear it's all about us versus them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. MOORE: We're not going to stand by and let other people from out of state and money from California control this election -- this election for the people of Alabama. We dare defend our rights and we will defend our rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, Donald Trump is trying to send a message during the presidential campaign, it worked for him, will it work for Moore?
LEVINSON: I think that it will. I think that if you look at -- we all talk about the allegations, and we all talk about the fact that this is an unprecedented election in so my ways. But still, when we think about elections in America, what we have to do is look at the voter registration in the state, look at the past voting records. And remember, this is a special election, which means it's a typically low turn-out election, despite all of the attention, and know that in special elections it's usually the die-hard voters that are the ones that turn out.
I think all of those factors indicate that there absolutely could be a Roy Moore victory. And I think that that is something that maybe will surprise a lot of people outside the state. But Roy Moore has picked up on, as you said, a message that's been extremely powerful to people which is it's me, it's us, we're in this together, versus you -- those outsiders that don't know anything about.
VAUSE: You know, Roy Moore fixing these allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. You know, before that, you know, he being accused of being a bigot, anti-Semite, he was a racist, he was homophobic, he was Islamophobic. A few hours ago, his wife, trying to set the record straight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLA MOORE, WIFE OF ROY MOORE: We had many friends that are Black and we also fellowship with them in church and in our home. Fake news would tell you that we don't care for Jews. I tell you all this, because I've seen it all. So, I just want to set the record straight while they're here.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
K. MOORE: One of our attorneys is a Jew.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: One of our attorneys is a Jew. One of my best friends is African, yes, I'm not racist.
LEVINSON: Well, I mean, what you just said, it's the quintessential example of what we hold up as people who claim to not be racist or claim to not be bigoted or claim to not hold discriminatory views, which what my good friend is a member of x group. And, I mean, the fact that this is said without any irony that, well, someone who works for us is a Jew. So, we can't be anti-Semitic. I mean, this is a trope that we have seen come out to play in so -- for so many decades, about so many different minority groups. And you know --
VAUSE: I was just going to say it just seem like it was preyed out of the, like, 1970s.
LEVINSON: Well, or the 1930s.
VAUSE: Or the 1930s, yes.
LEVINSON: I mean, perhaps, more chillingly. And so, I do not think -- if this is their best argument for this is why we're not discriminatory, unfortunately, I think it's a winning argument, but it's a troubling one.
VAUSE: OK. Jessica, thank you. We appreciate you coming in.
LEVINSON: A little sunshine for you today.
VAUSE: Yes. Thank you.
SESAY: All right.
VAUSE: A little sunshine.
SESAY: Yes, a little, little sunshine. Next on NEWSROOM L.A. a terrifying explosion at the soft of the morning rush hour in New York City. Police say the suspect vowed allegiance to ISIS. The latest on the vacation is next.
[01:19:17] VAUSE: Also, the president, he's a lot more than tea turtle, he's a diet coke guzzler -- a dozen a day, apparently. More on that when we come back.
SESAY: Hello everyone, for the second time in just two months a lone wolf attacker has targeted New City. The suspect detonated a pipe bomb in an underground walkway near the city's busy main bus terminal, and had at least one more -- at least more than one device.
VAUSE: This all happened during Monday's morning rush hour. Five people suffered minor injuries. Jason Carroll reports the suspect declared allegiance to ISIS during police questioning.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, a man is in custody after
an explosive device detonated in the busy port authority bus terminal near Time Square. This cellphone video captures the moment. New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, calling it an attempted act of terror.
BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: And let's be also clear this was an attempted terrorist attack.
CARROLL: Police have identified the suspect as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a Brooklyn resident of Bangladeshi descent. Authorities say he was wearing a homemade device that either malfunctioned or did not go off as planned.
JAMES O'NEILL, POLICE COMMISSIONER OF NEW YORK CITY: The preliminary investigation at the scene indicates this male was wearing an improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body. He intentionally detonated that device.
CARROLL: With more than 200,000 commuters passing through the terminal daily, authorities say the situation could have been much worse. The suspect is under a close watch at Bellevue Hospital where he is being treated for burns and lacerations. A law enforcement source telling CNN that the suspect had pledged allegiance to ISIS, and that he was motivated by recent action in Gaza.
Most recently, investigators say, Ullah had worked near the Port Authority doing electrical work along with his brother. He had been licensed to drive a taxi in New York, but it's unclear if he ever did. His license expired in 2015. Ullah is a permanent, legal resident that came to the United States in 2011 to join family members already living in New York. This attack comes just over a month after an ISIS sympathizer killed eight people by driving a truck down a busy New York bike path. And tonight, new questions about security levels in New York's transportation hubs.
O'NEILL: Listen, we have almost 3,000 transit cops that work in the subway system every day, and we have the strategic response group, we have the critical response command -- all parts of the system are patrolled.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: This is New York. The reality is that, we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom. We have the statue of liberty in our harbor, and that makes us an international target -- and we understand that.
CARROLL: The Port Authority is open, 42nd street open as well. Authorities want to talk to the suspect's family including his brother who he worked with. At this point, they believe this was an isolated attack. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
SESAY: Well, CNN Law Enforcement Contributor and Retire FBI Special Agent, Steve Moore, is with us once again. Steve, good to have you with us again. STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR AND RETIRED SPECIAL
AGENT: Good to be here.
SESAY: So, this young man, 27-year-old, Akayed Ullah, has been admitted to Bellevue Hospital with burns, is what we understand and he seems to be talking rather a lot. According to sources speaking to CNN, he told authorities about pledging allegiance to ISIS, also, you know, the motive as he tells it as due to Israel's actions in Gaza. Let me ask you this: how surprised are you by how freely he appears to be speaking?
[01:25:09] S. MOORE: I'm not that surprised. Because, what we have found in these terrorist attacks whether they're domestic or international is that these people, if they survive, can't go back on what they, what they set out to accomplish, because then they lose their martyrdom or they lose their status within the group that they hang out with. So, they are usually very concerned with their status and not their personal status and not their legal status.
SESAY: Having said that, Saipov, the gentleman from the attack in New York at Halloween, who used a vehicle that killed eight people and injured many more. He has denied in court, he's plead not guilty to something like 22 charges. I mean, I guess, my question is, you speak and then you get to court, and you plead not guilty? Or is that just a legal defense here?
S. MOORE: I think that's a legal defense. I have seen that before where somebody gets with a lawyer, and the lawyer explains just exactly what's ahead of them, and that can change their minds quite quickly. Especially, when you get them off the internet and away from all these radical voices they've been hearing.
SESAY: I mean, in the case of -- in the case of Ullah, do you think bearing -- I mean, I'm assuming his intention was to kill himself, I mean, regardless of the fact that this was an improvised low-tech explosive device as described by the New York police commissioner.
S. MOORE: Well, low-tech can be very efficient in killing people, unfortunately. And what I -- they say it was Velcroed to him and wire-tied -- zip-tied.
SESAY: Yes, that's right.
S. MOORE: I would want to see whether he had clipper with him to undo that. But usually, if you're going to -- you're going to leave the explosive, you're not going to attach it to your body, you can put it in a backpack.
SESAY: Yes, absolutely. What do you make of the choice of target here?
S. MOORE: It's orthodox. I mean that's what ISIS wants to do. New York is the -- is the big target. And in New York, what do you have? You have the tall buildings or you have the subways. That's where most of the New Yorkers go, they believe. And if you can disrupt the subways, you can disrupt New York as a whole. And so, that's going to be their targets.
SESAY: Let's put up this quote on the screen from William Bratton, he used to Police Commissioner. This is what he says, he says: "The reality is that if someone wants to take time to plan an attack, there's no shortage of places that they can plan an attack on and in New York City. The pace of the attacks has accelerated, which is naturally a concern." OK. The fact that he's saying multiple choices -- in terms of places to attack. The fact that we're seeing an increase in the frequency of these types of attack. It begs the question: how does law enforcement and intelligence officials respond?
S. MOORE: Well, you have to come at it from about ten different directions. You want to know who's buying one-foot length of pipe with threaded ends. I mean, from that direction. From the other end, you're going to want to know, statistically, how do these people act before the attacks. And statistically, what we have found is that a large portion of them go overseas to predominantly Muslim areas, and usually radicalized Muslim areas, stay for a good frame of time, and come back with a new frame of mind. And this is what we need to be better at looking at.
And again, I know that's difficult from a civil liberties point of view, but as we were discussing earlier, insurance companies have computer programs that will tell them who the worst risks are and who the best risks are. And those are colorless, those are -- they don't discuss religion. If we could not come up with something like that, within the United States where we'd looked at travel habits, and compared them to other factors which might be adding to the threat, then, then, where are we? I mean, we have to do something different because the old way isn't catching people like Ullah.
SESAY: And the people who are homegrown, radicalized and don't travel, I mean, what happens then?
S. MOORE: Well, again, one planned --
SESAY: It's not a catch-all.
S. MOORE: Right, it's like cancer. We can cure some, we can't cure all. But it does not mean that we shouldn't be looking at all directions, because if you can kill one cancer, you may as well.
SESAY: Well, some would say, how about you start building bridges with the communities that are locally here and that --
S. MOORE: Again, obviously, that's another -- if we are not doing that, then what we're doing is fomenting it, we're continuing --
SESAY: So, you want to get to the point before they get on a plane and go out. You know, you want to be catching them here in country where, from what we have seen, they've been here for a long and slowly getting radicalized?
S. MOORE: Right. It's like heart disease.
SESAY: Yes. S. MOORE: You want to have a defibrillator to in a building to make sure if they have a heart attack, you can revive them. But at the same time, you want to help people to eat better. So, it's the same holistic approach.
[01:30:09] SESAY: Steve Moore, we keep talking about it, and it keeps happening. We'll see what happens next.
Appreciate it. Thank you.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Time for a quick break. Coming up next on NEWSROOM L.A., the latest on the Thomas Fire, one of the largest ever in California, which has cost the state almost $50 million, and it's not done yet.
SESAY: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We check the headlines this hour: it's the final push for votes in Alabama's Senate race. Republican Roy Moore is hoping to overcome allegations, he harassed and assaulted teenage girls well in his 30s. The former judge had a significant boost winning support from the U.S. President, even though the controversy means Democrat Doug Jones is competitive in a state which normally votes overwhelmingly Republican.
SESAY: Authorities say the suspect who detonated a homemade pipe bomb near New York City's main bus terminal had at least one more device with him. At least five people were injured in the Monday morning explosion. Police say it was an attempted terrorist attack and the device failed to fully explode. The suspect is in custody and officials say he pledged allegiance to ISIS.
VAUSE: Six major wildfires are burning through Southern California, the largest is the Thomas Fire, burning more than 90,000 hectors so far in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, while the wind speeds have decreased, there's no rain in the forecast for at least 10 days.
Ian MacDonald is the Public Information Officer for the Thomas Fire. He joins us now on the line from Ventura County. Captain, thank you for taking time to speak with us. It seems right now, it's not the Santa Ana winds which are the problem, it's more the terrain and a lot of dry fuel which hasn't been burned off like this for decades.
IAN MACDONALD, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, ABBOTSFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: You are correct. We have been dealing with significant winds for an extended period of time, but even longer than that, is the lack of rainfall in this area. We've gone over 250 days now without any recorded rain in the area. So, the conditions are extremely dry, we have mature chaparral fuels that haven't burned in 50 to 60 years. So, those conditions are really exacerbating the fire as well as that steep terrain and the steep slopes that you just mentioned. VAUSE: And with the terrain in mind, is there -- is there one town, is there one area within the fire zone which is your biggest concern right now?
[01:35:00] MACDONALD: Well, like we normally do, we're worried -- not, worried, but we're very concerned about the coastal communities, because that's where most of our development is. And in this case, we have a very unique situation because we have mountain ranges that extend almost all the way to the sea. So, we have fires burning in these heavy mountain ranges and they are burning down towards the communities.
However, the wind is not pushing the fire down the slopes, so firefighters are waiting for the fire to get down closer to the base of the slopes, so they can safely put out the fire instead of trying to hike halfway up the slopes, which would be very unsafe.
VAUSE: Last, before we had the fire 20 percent contained, is there an update on that? When would you expect to see it to be fully contained?
MACDONALD: Well, we still are at 20 percent containment, we are at over 230,000 acres, which makes this fire the fifth largest fire in California history. We have just under 7,000 firefighters that are -- that are engaged in the firefight. And so, as you can imagine, there's a tremendous amount of resources and firefighters are working very hard to extinguish this fire.
VAUSE: OK. Captain Ian MacDonald, thanks so much. We appreciate you being with us, and we wish you and everyone on the frontlines there the best of luck.
MACDONALD: Thank you so much.
SESAY: Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the latest conditions in Southern California. Pedram, how is it looking? Are they likely to get any help from the weather any time soon?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, it's just a little bit of an improvement as far as the wind speeds calming over the next couple of days, but really, not -- far from ideal, really, the best way to put it. But if you look at what's already been down across this region, we know with the Thomas Fire, 90 percent of the land consumed between all six fires, the Thomas Fire has done the vast majority of the damage. In fact, breaking this down further and looking into, say, if you take all five boroughs of New York City and then bringing in, say, the City of Boston, put them together, the perspective -- it doesn't look like the graphics are going to work for you -- the animations essentially shows you -- we're talking about the amount of land consumed that would essentially be larger than all five boroughs of New York City and Boston put together. That's how much land has been consumed in a matter of just little under a week here.
But here's the perspective, between 85 to almost 100 percent containment in the smaller fires. The Thomas Fire are the more significant one, of course, sitting there to the north of town. And we've had a shift in the winds here that have pushed the smoke from the southerly direction back up towards the north. But when you look at the most destructive fires in state history, with the amount of structures taken here, the Thomas Fire now makes the list of top 10. Of course, when only 20 percent containment has been reached, this could very easily move its way up into the top three over the next several days, but that's where we hope weather comes in and brings us some improvement.
And notice the top three, of course, all happening in the last couple of months here with the October fires we had across Southern and parts of Northern California as well. But here are the wind speeds over the next 24 hours and mainly going in to Wednesday -- Tuesday morning there. Ventura County, that's the area of the concern. The highest winds could actually set up shop right across that region. That would initially really begin to essentially bring us back up into a higher risk zone, right now, sitting at elevated, we could see that bump up towards critical. Of course, much of last week, we're sitting in the extreme category. So, there is some gradual improvement. But when you look at the moisture content of the atmosphere, down to 10, 15, 20 percent, that's not going to help.
The winds, a little bit lesser than this time last week when we're up to 80 or 90 kilometers per hour. We're now looking at 30, 40, and 50 kilometers per hour. Again, far from ideal, but when you look for the long-range pattern, you know, high pressure is going to weaken it just a little bit, that allows the winds to weaken. Initially, that could bring us a hope for some rain showers, but again, we think that could be at the very earliest, guys, some 10 days away. But the models at least, are saying that this pattern looks to be pretty likely here, going in between the 20th and the 22nd of December to get some decent rainfall into Southern California. So, we've got some time to go.
SESAY: Yes, that's a long, long way away for --
VAUSE: It will be very welcome for Christmas.
SESAY: Absolutely. Appreciate it, Pedram. Thank you.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, when President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord in June, French President Emanuel Macron told U.S. scientists, they are welcome to do their research in France. And true to his word, Macron has unveiled the Make Our Planet Great Again grants. A clear dig at Mr. Trump's campaign slogan.
SESAY: The multi-research grants are offered to 18 professors and researchers, 13 of them are from the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: I do want to thank you for being here. For you answer to this first call, your decision to move and come to Paris. One of our main perspective is of usually to address the current challenges for climate change, but it's too boost your research, to boost your initiatives and to be sure that here, you have a hub, in order to deliver more rapidly and to do more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:40:11] SESAY: Well, President Macron is also hosting the One Planet Climate Change Summit, Tuesday, the two-year anniversary of the Paris Accord.
VAUSE: A short break and when we come back, a dozen diet cokes a day, that is quite the bad Presidential habit. What is that doing to Mr. Trump's health or to his teeth?
SESAY: Hello, everyone. Donald Trump likes his fizzy drink a lot. The U.S. President downed some 12 diet Cokes a day. That's according to the New York Times and is a lot of artificial sweetener and caffeine.
VAUSE: But it's diet. OK. Alice Benjamin better known as Nurse Alice is a board certified clinical nurse, specializing in cardiovascular health. She's author of "Curb Your Cravings: 31 Foods to Fuel Your Appetite." I need that book. OK, she joins us now. Thanks for coming in.
ALICE BENJAMIN, CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST: Thank you.
VAUSE: OK, let's start with the diet Cokes. There was a study published earlier this year, it was in the American Heart Association journal. And researchers found just one diet soda a day increased the risk for stroke. They also found that those who drink one a day, were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia. What's the risk from drinking 12 a day?
BENJAMIN: I know. 12 cans of diet soda is a lot. And if you think about it, it's actually more than a gallon of soda. And so, although we're tricking our body, thinking, oh, I'm going to have a sweet drink, no calories, chronic use of it can actually trick us and so our body will say, you know what, I love that sweet stuff, but there's no calories, I need you to eat more, drink more. And so, we're gaining weight. It increases our blood sugars, and actually that's what puts us at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and dementia.
VAUSE: And is there a case of the more you drink, the more the increase risk?
BENJAMIN: Yes, it is. Everything in moderation, right? I love a diet Coke every once in a while.
VAUSE: We all like a diet Coke.
BENJAMIN: Exactly. But the key is moderation, not 12 cans a day.
VAUSE: Good point. The President clearly likes his fastfood as well. Back in 2002, he appeared in an ad for McDonald's. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know how you do
it. I put together some really impressive deals, but this thing you pulled off, it's amazing. A big and tasty for just a dollar? How do you do it? What's your secret?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Such a funny ad. There's a new book out about last year's -- inner workings of last year's campaign. Here's a quote, "Trump's appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald's, with a dinner all consisting of Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate molten. Trump's fast-food diet is a theme. On Trump Force One, there were four major food groups: McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and diet Coke."
OK. So, for a 71-year-old man, what are the health risks from that type of diet?
[01:56:01] BENJAMIN: Oh, my gosh, that's --
VAUSE: Like what are not the health risks?
BENJAMIN: Exactly. Well, that's totally what he shouldn't be eating. For one, he's 71 years old, he has a very stressful job, so that alone puts him at risk for a lot of chronic conditions. Now, you couple that with all that burgers, fried foods -- I mean, a burger alone can be 600 calories by itself.
VAUSE: Filled with sugar, filled with fat --
BENJAMIN: And salt.
VAUSE: -- and salt.
BENJAMIN: So, definitely, a recipe for disaster. Something he really shouldn't be eating, and with all of his resources, I would hope that he'd have a salad or something else of, you know, lean meats, proteins, baked fish, something like that, not the fried foods, not the burgers.
VAUSE: And this is also a President who doesn't get a lot of sleep, maybe five hours a night. I mean, looking at his Twitter feed here, he's up all through the night tweeting about a whole bunch of stuff. You know, I heard that as you get older, you don't need as much sleep, but you know, five hours a night while he's still in this job seems like it's not enough.
BENJAMIN: Well, that's definitely not enough sleep. The average adult should get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep. And it could be attributed to his diet. So, when you're eating fatty foods, lots of sugar, and then, he's drinking all of these sodas.
VAUSE: And the caffeine.
BENJAMIN: Absolutely. It's weighing down on the body, and those things can influence your sleep. And then, also, in those caffeine -- in the sodas, there's a lot of caffeine, so that's going to keep him wired. It's going to contribute to the insomnia. So, definitely not the type of diet that he needs to stay healthy and be in an optimal health state to make all these important decisions.
VAUSE: Because this is a tough job. We've seen presidents age before our eyes, which Barack Obama aged, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. And we've also seen this President, he's looked tired at times. There was a -- there was a G7 summit in Sicily, all the other leaders, you know, walked the 500 yards to the photo -- to the pool photo area, Donald Trump took a golf cart. And then, there's also this reporting from last year, Mr. Trump apparently gave up exercise because he "believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted." For a start, that' not true. But what is the impact here of, you know, no exercise at all?
BENJAMIN: Right. So, those are all the wrong answers. So, he definitely should be exercising. And according to the American Heart Association, the average adult should participate in about 150 minutes, so five days a week, 30 minutes of activity. It's very important. It help us to circulate oxygen-rich -- oxygen-rich blood to our body, it makes the heart healthy, it helps drop the weight, it helps burn calories so we don't pack the pounds on around our waist. And so, he should be exercising. And it's sad to see that he's given up on exercise. Because I bet you, exercise and a little bit change in his diet would make a big difference for him. He'd probably sleep a lot better, he'll lose some weight, and he'd probably be a lot more attentive in some of these events.
VAUSE: Well, he'd also have that endorphin release that you get from exercise. It might make him a little bit happier, put him in a better mood.
VAUSE: So, if you're Melania, the first lady, or you know, Ivanka, the first daughter, you know, how can they change his habits because he's a very determined man who's set in his ways?
BENJAMIN: Right, he is very determined, and I see this a lot (INAUDIBLE) patients, and it's really important to have a support group. So, whether it's your daughter, your wife, your neighbor, someone --
VAUSE: Your Four-Star General who happens to be the Chief of Staff.
BENJAMIN: Absolutely. But this is the President, so he probably has a private chef, he probably has a trainer at his beck and call, if he wanted to use it.
VAUSE: He's a billionaire.
BENJAMIN: Absolutely. So, he definitely needs to surround himself with people that are going to make sure that he's making healthy choices. And this might be a case where they need to practice tough love, and say, look --
VAUSE: Oh, good luck.
BENJAMIN: Look, President Trump, I'm sorry, I know you're the president of the free world, however, we're going to swap this soda for a glass of ice water.
VAUSE: It's not stopping him from tweeting. I don't think he's going to eat carrots, but we'll see how -- what happens.
BENJAMIN: No, no. Maybe I could tweet him some healthy recipes and some recommendations.
VAUSE: Sounds like a good plan. All right. Thank you so much.
BENJAMIN: Thank you.
SESAY: Let us know how you do on that one.
BENJAMIN: (INAUDIBLE) good luck.
SESAY: Yes. Up next, Hollywood's award season is upon us with the Golden Globe nominations. Yey!
SESAY: Also, the frontrunners and the biggest snubs next on NEWSROOM L.A.
[01:50:43] VAUSE: Well, after a 35-year-long ban going to the movies might soon become part of everyday life in Saudi Arabia. Commercial cinemas will be granted licenses starting early next year.
SESAY: The kingdom called it a watershed moment for the cultural economy, it's part of an economic overhaul under vision 2030. Saudi Arabia's blueprint for becoming less dependent on oil, it plans to have 300 movie theaters up and running over the next 12 years.
VAUSE: The ban also became useless with satellites and downloads and the internet, so good call. Hollywood awards season is --
SESAY: You love it.
VAUSE: I love it, love it, love it. The Golden Globe nominations are out. Had a love story about a (INAUDIBLE) custodian and a sea creature. Already a favorite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This may very well be the sensitive asset ever to be housed in this facility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: A winner. SESAY: "The Shape of Water", a dark (INAUDIBLE) film from Director Guillermo del Toro leads the motion picture, packed with seven nominations. Joining me now, entertainment journalist Segun Oduolowu. Segun, you love award season, even if this one doesn't.
SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Well, yes. No, I'm hosting a new show called See It, Skip It for Rotten Tomatoes. So, yes, I'm a movie junkie. Did you like the plug?
SESAY: I do like the plug. All right. Let's talk about the leading contenders in the film categories. Let's up nominations by motion picture and see what we've got going on here, and we see "The Shape of Water" leading the pack with seven; "The Post" with six; "Three Billboards: Outside Ebbing, Missouri," six; "Lady Bird," four. And so, they go on. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, they did the voting here, showing much love to women-centric films, women-centric stories.
ODUOLOWU: See, I have to cross shenanigans on the Hollywood Foreign Press.
SESAY: Let me hear it. Let me hear it. Because I'm talking about the "The Shape of Water", "Three Billboards," "Lady Bird," and "I, Tonya," all stories focusing on women, the women at the heart of them.
ODUOLOWU: Right. But there's a wonderful article by Mekeisha Madden Toby that's actually on our Rotten Tomato site, and it talks about the 75-year history of the Golden Globes, only five women have ever been nominated as a director. So, "Wonder Woman's" Patty Jenkins is completely excluded. Greta Gerwig for "Lady Bird," completely excluded. But he movie -- again, how can the movie be nominated but the person that actually directed the movie not? So, this is, like I said, it's shenanigans, it's a little bit of smoke and mirrors. It looks like its female-centric but the creators, the women behind the scenes, the women who should be getting lauded for what they're actually putting on the screen aren't being -- aren't being noticed.
SESAY: OK. Noted. I want to move on and talk about the big shock in that list that we put up on screen, in terms of nominations by motion picture. On that list was "All the Money in the World." This --
ODUOLOWU: Yes. Ridley Scott.
SESAY: Ridley Scott, fascinating. Bearing in mind, this film originally had Kevin Spacey in the supporting actor role. And we have a trailer. As you see it, let's take a quick look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- pay to release your grandson if not $17 million?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SESAY: OK. Well, then, the Kevin Spacey gone overtaken by all the
sexual misconduct allegations and it no longer stars him, it now stars Christopher Plummer. Let's show a different trailer, shall we? Because in the space of a month, they reshot the Spacey scenes and edited it, and managed to get in -- it in front of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and get three nods.
ODUOLOWU: Well, let's -- again --
SESAY: All shenanigans? Motionanigans?
ODUOLOWU: That's all shenanigans. First of all, Ridley Scott is the only -- is one of the only people powerful enough and with the gravitas to do this. He said that Christopher Plummer was who he actually wanted in the first place.
SESAY: Oh, really?
ODUOLOWU: But he held a private screening specifically for the Hollywood Foreign Press so they could see his movie, this version with Christopher Plummer, so please don't think that there was no backhanding and a little handshake, wink, wink going on.
SESAY: Yes, it's true. That is true. But at the end of the day, he did managed to pull off the editing and everything in a month. That is still pretty impressive by my account.
ODUOLOWU: Well, sure. Yes, but he is a powerful guy in Hollywood. Ridley Scott is no joke.
SESAY: He is. No, it's true, he's no joke. OK. Let's move to contenders of best motion picture comedy or musical and take a look at how that appears on our screen. We get "The Disaster Artist," "Get Out," "The Greatest Showman," and "I, Tonya." Now, what is remarkable here is that "Get Out" --
ODUOLOWU: Snubbed. Snubbed. Again, we are --
SESAY: Shenanigans. Shenanigans.
[01:55:01] ODUOLOWU: Shenanigans. Where is the director? I'm sorry. Where is he? I'm looking for the guy -- his movie is there. Where is he?
SESAY: A lot of people are saying that Jordan Peele didn't get a nod for director, but I'm wondering, how does this end up in best motion picture, comedy or musical?
ODUOLOWU: Well, because again, the Hollywood Foreign Press, doing what they sometimes do. I guess, you know, this movie, the idea of black people being kidnapped for all of their attributes, a lot of people found that funny. I mean, I certainly didn't but --
SESAY: Now, now, now. The studio submitted it as a comedy, did it not? ODUOLOWU: Yes. But Peele has gone on (INAUDIBLE) said that he did not want it submitted as a comedy, that he did not find it to be funny in the least. That's not what he wanted it submitted as. So, again, studio and director, there may be crossroads but that's not what he wanted.
SESAY: I very quickly want to pick up on -- I want to pick up on television. Very quickly, because I want to take a quick look at (INAUDIBLE) television series drama, and if we can very quickly follow that up by putting up best limited series or television movie. It's a series drama that sat there, "Handmaid's Tale," "This is Us," "The Crown," "Game of Thrones." Let's put up best limited series or television movie, because what is remarkable here is that when you look at the nominations by net worth, HBO got 12, Netflix got nine, FX with eight, NBC five, Showtime five. Netflix. You talk about that.
ODUOLOWU: Streaming? Yes, because the streaming world and Netflix in particular are allowing the acting and the T.V. shows to breathe. They're not constrained by networks that are going to do a show right now. Like the next "Stranger Things" series may not start until 2019. They are giving their actors time to not only grow into the roles, but they're not pressing them, the writers especially, locking them in a room and saying, write, write us a script, get us a script now, now, now, now. And like networks do, they've got their built-in money coming from their different streaming, from the different subscriptions that you pay, and they don't -- they don't have to have their hands -- their, you know, hands tied with, oh gosh, commercials, or we got to get this, you know, in front of anybody. They've got all the time and, you know, not to quote Ridley Scott, they got all the money in the world.
SESAY: Indeed. And you know what I'm going to say? Shenanigans.
ODUOLOWU: No. Shenanigans.
ODUOLOWU: Oh, my God, is John Vause here? Where did John Vause go?
VAUSE: Hey, who do you work for again?
ODUOLOWU: I work for Rotten Tomatoes. See It, Skip It weekly on Facebook watch. Come check as out.
SESAY: Or better known as Rotten Tomatoes.
ODUOLOWU: Rotten Tomatoes. We didn't get to talk about "Shape of Water," and I know you wanted to.
SESAY: I did want to. And Issa Rae getting a nomination --
ODUOLOWU: Yes. (CROSSTALK)
VAUSE: -- not stopping it. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM --
ODUOLOWU: I'm so happy you came, John.
VAUSE: -- live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Be sure to join us on Twitter @cnnnewsroomla for highlights and clips from all our shows.
VAUSE: Segun will reply to (INAUDIBLE)
SESAY: We'll be back with more news right after this.
ODUOLOWU: Bring it. Bring it.