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Fifteen Killed, Hundreds Awaiting Rescue in Montecito, California; Steve Bannon Lost Three Jobs As Result of "Fire and Fury" Fallout; Spotlight on the Rise of Filmmaker Ava DuVernay; Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired January 10, 2018 - 10:30   ET



[10:32:51] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of people waiting right now to be rescued in California. These deadly mudslides, flash floods, have already killed 15 people overnight. Officials on the ground in Santa Barbara say 300 people are sheltering inside their homes. Rescuers trying to get them out. And officials say they have no idea exactly how many people are missing at this point. On top of that, you have sections of the 101 closed for at least 48 hours while this rescue work continues.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Our Paul Vercammen is in Montecito, California, right now, really the center of this all.

Paul, it just looks horrible behind you. What's the very latest?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy and John, as you look behind me, you can see that this is one of those houses that got destroyed. It looks like there was some sort of a gas leak here. And it just blew out the front windows in its entirety. And then you can see that massive debris field.

This is Olive Mill Road in Montecito. I'm about a mile, I'd say, from the ocean. And what happened is a creek just overflowed its banks. You can see the cars over there, also sealed off. And it turned this street into a virtual river.

When the Thomas Fire hit, it completely stripped the very steep mountainsides up here of their vegetation. And it goes from about 3,000 feet to sea level in no time. Look at just some of the boulders. These aren't some of the massive boulders, they're regular- sized, but this is the kind of stuff that they're reckoning with, when they clean this up.

And, you know, not only is that house that had the gas issue, damage, you see the neighbor's house also a mess. And then over here, another house completely devastated. The whirl of helicopters suggests to me that they may have started a helicopter evacuation of the Romero Canyon neighborhood. That neighborhood got completely cut off by much larger debris fields than even this, with massive boulders and trees and telephone poles, they were describing to me.

So as you may have heard yesterday, there were a lot of what they call hoist rescues, where the coast guard or others go in and use a hoist to pull people out. We saw that there was a family of five and a baby rescued. That's going to happen today in that Romero Canyon neighborhood that got cut off.

[10:35:07] They just told those people, you might as well just shelter there in place. How many homes damaged? They don't know. It's too early to tell. One county official just telling me, we can't even get in to red tag these homes because part of the focus is, this is still an active search and rescue effort.

Now, in our driving around here, I would say dozens of homes damaged. I'm not sure. I'm talking about just Montecito, don't forget, Carpinteria, Ventura, also compromised. But this is a tragedy of enormous, enormous dimension, as you can tell, just by looking behind me.

HARLOW: It is. Paul Vercammen, thank you for bringing it to us. We're thinking about all the folks there. We'll stay on it.

We do want to get to Capitol Hill, though. Our team there has Chuck Grassley again. Listen.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- possibly illegal. What do you make of that? The president tweeted about Senator Feinstein releasing that transcript. He said it was sneaky, underhanded. He said it was possibly illegal.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think I have -- I don't want to get into what the president said because I only know what you told me that the president said and I don't think that's a very good basis for my comment.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm happy to show you the tweet.

GRASSLEY: But -- no, I'm not going to. I said I'd take two or three questions and I'm going to go. So let me answer your question. I think that, obviously, I was a little disappointed because I had an understanding, I had a time that to be released, when we both agreed to release it. And I think I've shown my cooperation with the other side by just yesterday agreeing to two interviews that they want, of their -- at their request. And so I think we're going to move forward without any glitch in the way we've been operating.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator, he -- the president said that you should take control of the investigation in light of the release of the transcript. Are you losing control of this investigation? And should you regain control?

GRASSLEY: Um, I don't know what the president has in mind and I don't think I'd better comment until I have a discussion with the president on that point. And I don't intend to have a discussion with the president on that point. And I hope he doesn't call me and tell me the same thing that you said he said.


RAJU: Thank you, sir.

BERMAN: All right. You can see Manu Raju talking to Chuck Grassley right there. Chuck Grassley not weighing in on the president's statement, where the president called the Russian investigation once again a witch hunt. In the end of his statement, he said Republicans should finally take control. And Manu was right, that's no small thing. Is the president suggesting that the Republicans should stop the investigation?

HARLOW: What he means by that. And by the way, as you noted earlier, Bob Mueller is a Republican.


HARLOW: So what's he talking about? Interesting that Grassley said, I don't want the president to call me, I don't want to call him, I don't want to ask him what he meant by that.

BERMAN: Right. The president will have a news conference later today, perhaps he will be asked what he means that the Republicans should take control. We do know one thing. What happens when you cross the president.


BERMAN: Apparently you're at risk of losing all of your jobs. Steve Bannon out and out and out. We'll discuss, next.


[10:42:14] BERMAN: This morning, Steve Bannon out at Breitbart, stripped of his radio show, and FOX News prophylactically -- and yes, I just like to say that word. Prophylactically tells him --

HARLOW: Twice this morning.

BERMAN: Three times now. They tell him they will not hire him as if anyone asks.

HARLOW: Right.

BERMAN: All of this is the consequence apparently of crossing the president in the new Michael Wolff book, "Fire and Fury."

HARLOW: I mean, keep in mind. This was the man on the president's side, the former chief strategist, the man who declared war on the Republican establishment for 2018. Does he have any fighting power left?

Joining us is Kurt Bardella, he's a former spokesman for Breitbart News. Not only that, someone who was hired by Bannon, worked side by side with him, talked to him in and out every day.

Kurt, your expertise is needed here. Who is Steve Bannon without all of this?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER BREITBART SPOKESMAN: I think he's a man without a movement. This is someone who, for the last year, has really been trading on the idea that he had this access to President Trump, that he had a billionaire in his back pocket to fund his efforts and campaigns and candidates of choice. And a platform in Breitbart to reach the Republican primary electorate. And within one week, all that's been taken away from him.

And so he's left now as the self-declared leader of a movement that's actually now left him. And in the choice between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, it wasn't even a competition. And I think what Steve failed to realize is that most people in the Republican Party, most people, most voters, they don't know who Steve Bannon is. They've never asked a candidate or congressman, hey, where are you on Steve Bannon? They ask, where are you on Donald Trump?

BERMAN: So, you know, will Steve Bannon go quietly? Is he a threat now, do you think, to the Trump administration in any way? A wounded animal that you can't predict?

BARDELLA: Well, I think that he's going to spend this intermediate period trying to rebuild and recapture the relationship of President Trump. I think that Steve believes, if he just waits quietly, exercises loyalty, and humility, that he'll find his way back to Trump. And certainly Trump has shown a penchant for attacking people one day and embracing them the next. Look at his own attorney general Jeff Sessions.


BARDELLA: And so I think Steve believes that if things get bad for Trump, that could be the way for Steve to get back in his good graces.

HARLOW: There's also a difference, though, for Sessions, right, and how it would look if he were to fire Jeff Sessions versus, you know, with Steve Bannon. With different calculation. What message do you think this sends overall to anyone who's considering crossing the president or his family?

BARDELLA: Well, if you certainly work for the president, work in his administration, don't talk about his family. And you wouldn't think that actually would have to be said. That's kind of common sense, right. You know, if you're working in the administration, working in the White House, maybe it's not a good idea to talk to a book writer and bad mouth the president's son and daughter and son-in-law. But, clearly, that needs to be said, because Steve spectacularly just blew himself up doing that.

BERMAN: Are you surprised at all, Kurt, to the ends to which this White House, the president seems to be going right now to outlaw Steve Bannon? I mean, it's not enough that he lost the White House job, but Breitbart had to push him out.

[10:45:05] Sirius XM Radio now dropped him, and FOX News, you know, so nervous about what the president might think, feels compelled to come out in advance of anyone even discussing it, saying Steve Bannon won't work there.

BARDELLA: Well, I think it just shows you the power of President Trump and that he has a true stranglehold right now on the Republican Party, in that - you know, if it comes down to it and he says, choose me or them, the party and everybody, billionaires, benefactors, platforms, media entities, they're going to side with Donald Trump.

HARLOW: Kurt, we appreciate your insight. Thank you for coming on.

BARDELLA: Thanks for having me on.

BERMAN: All right, Oprah Winfrey right now, everyone talking about that speech. What will the impact of it be going forward? Can she reach heights that no woman ever has before?


[10:50:17] BERMAN: It is a new day in the Oprah Winfrey trial balloon. Sources still telling CNN she is actively thinking about a 2020 White House run. Her best friend, of course, Gayle King, says she is intrigued.

HARLOW: She is also very close to the filmmaker, Ava DuVernay, who is part of our new CNN series, "American Woman." It is Brooke Baldwin's series. She sat down with DuVernay to shed light on women who have shattered ceilings across their respective industries.

Watch this.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Who's helping you? Do you have a woman like holding your hand at all?

AVA DUVERNAY, FILMMAKER: No. Through my films is how I met and connected with other women. On the film festival circuit, in the independent film scene. I started to see that I was a part of a small tribe of women filmmakers, even smaller tribe of black women filmmakers. And I started to feel very empowered.

It's not even 10 percent of directors in Hollywood are women. Not even 10 percent are people of color. That's 90 percent of everything that you watch on television and film being controlled, those images, those ideas, those scripts, the way the cameras move, the way that women dress, everything is controlled by men.

BALDWIN: How do young, black girls grow up in a house like this?


BALDWIN: And think, I can and I will?

DUVERNAY: Because they see it. They see Issa, you know what I mean? They see me. Dee Reese, Jennifer (INAUDIBLE), Jill Solway, Lynn Shelton. They see these women doing it in a way that might not have been as amplified before. Now I feel it's being amplified through people like you, through people like me. We loud. We're not going to go quietly.

BALDWIN: We have a voice.

DUVERNAY: Yes, we have a voice.


HARLOW: Brooke Baldwin is with us now. This is one of so many stories. You spent the last year shooting for this series.

BALDWIN: Ava DuVernay, quite seriously, may have been my favorite human being that I met on --


HARLOW: On planet earth.

BERMAN: Every other woman that you shot with in this series now is --

BALDWIN: Would you stop that, John Berman?


BALDWIN: I love every single woman in my series.

BERMAN: All right then.

BALDWIN: But sitting with Ava DuVernay, she has such that magic about her and she sprinkled it among myself and in our crew when we were down on Clean Sugar, this is her set down in New Orleans -- you're so naughty. We were down in New Orleans, shooting on set of her show, "Queen Sugar," on the Oprah Winfrey Network. You saw her Sunday night sitting with Oprah.


BALDWIN: At the Golden Globes. And so of the eight women who I chose for this series, I really wanted to talk to Ava because on the show, "Queen Sugar," and of course we know her from "Selma," she's directing "Wrinkle in Time," which is huge. First black woman to direct a $100 million budget film. But every single show of "Queen Sugar" is actually directed by a woman.

And I mean, name for me, Ana, on one hand how many female directors you know of in Hollywood, period. And that's part of her whole message, you know, and how she's trying to change that. And so I have this whole idea for this series. And thank you, guys, so much for sharing this.


BALDWIN: Just in the wake of covering the presidential election and being there at the Women's March and really just listening and seeing all these women coming out in record numbers that we haven't seen before.

HARLOW: We should note you started shooting this well before the #MeToo movement even became --


HARLOW: -- what it is --

BALDWIN: I did not see the future, I did not know it would become, you know.

HARLOW: But you knew the importance of it.

BALDWIN: Totally. I mean, you know, being at debates, being at rallies, covering -- you know, hearing from all these young women. And so many of them, obviously, they wanted to come out and see history be made and the first female president. But also I would -- there were other people who wanted other people to win, and they said to me, we believe a woman is going to win in our lifetime.

But I wanted to capture that and listen to them and I just wanted to dedicate this next chapter of my career to women. Something special is happening. And then Me Too and everything else happened at the end of the year. And just the perfect timing.

BERMAN: Is there any single thread that connected all of these phenomenal human beings that you spoke to?

BALDWIN: That's a great question. I really wanted to purposely pick -- listen, there are a lot of amazing women out there, but I wanted to pick women, first of all, some of them just took a chance on me and believed in me because this series started from the ground up and it was just a passion project of mine. Every single one of these women have shattered their own glass ceilings, but it had to -- I wanted it to be a step further.

Every single one of these women want also to help reach back and help other women, young girls, women, women of color, you know, realize their own dreams, as well. Ava, it was the best -- it was the best quote, you know, part of our interview, I was like, well, why don't you just take all of the love and fame and everything to yourself and why are you sharing it with all these women on your show, "Queen Sugar."

And she said to me, because I don't want to be at the party alone. I don't want to be at the party alone. And that is so emblematic of who Ava DuVernay is, and all of these eight African-American women who I tapped for this series.

HARLOW: Amen to that. Where can people see it?

BALDWIN: Go, it's online. I'm loving all these -- all the feedback from everyone. Go to

HARLOW: There you go.

BALDWIN: And thank you for your Instagram video. I also want to hear from just everyday extraordinary women.

HARLOW: Yes. She re-posts them.

BALDWIN: So go to your Instagram, upload a video, tell me where to find you as an American woman and then I'll re-post it.

[10:55:08] Include the #Americanwoman. I'm @brookebCNN, because I want to hear from you. Just be inspired.

HARLOW: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Don't we need a little inspiration?

HARLOW: Yes, daily. I mean, I get it here daily.

BERMAN: I get no credit.

BALDWIN: I mean, John Berman --

BERMAN: That's right. That's right. I don't qualify as that. All right.

HARLOW: Thank you, Brooke.

BERMAN: Brooke, great to have you here. And thank you very, very much.

The breaking news this hour from the Senate Judiciary Chairman, Chuck Grassley, what he makes of the release of the transcript of this testimony from the founder of Fusion GPS. That, plus, what does the president mean when he says Republicans, it's time for Republicans to act now in the Russia investigation.