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Trump Invites Reporters in to Immigration Meeting; Senator Releases Transcript of Fusion GPS Interview; Earthquake in Honduras; Moon: Korean Denuclearization is Path to Peace; U.S. Company Taking on MH370 Mystery; Southern California Mudslides. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 10, 2018 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:11] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.

Unprecedented access into an American presidential meeting -- was it reality TV or art of the deal?

Ambitious agenda -- President Moon Jae-In outlines his plans to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Plus after the fire, heavy rain and deadly mudslides, Southern California hit by another natural disaster.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause.

Newsroom L.A. starts right now.

It's never happened before at the White House -- reporters given unprecedented access to a meeting between a bipartisan group of lawmakers and the President. The issue was immigration reform but the goal it seems was to show Donald Trump hard at work, wheeling and dealing art of the deal style to push back on a flurry of reports questioning his mental health and work ethic.

What we saw was a president who seemed to contradict himself multiple times. At one point he appeared ready to give in to Democrats on the issue of protecting the so-called Dreamers, children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents whose legal status is about to expire.


SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: What about a clean DACA bill now with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure like we did back -- I remember when Kennedy was here.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have to problem -- I think that's basically what Dick has said. We're going to come out with DACA. We're going to do DACA and then we could start immediately on the phase 2 which would be comprehensive.

FEINSTEIN: Would you be agreeable with that? TRUMP: Yes. I would like -- I would like to do that.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, you need to be clear though. I think what Senator Feinstein is asking here when we talk about just DACA we don't want to be back here two years later. We have to have security as the secretary would tell you.

TRUMP: But I think that's what she is saying.

I think she's saying something --


VAUSE: And she was. Republicans have been using the fate of 800,000 so-called Dreamers as leverage to push the Democrats to agree to fund the President's wall with Mexico.

Later Trump tweeted, "As I made very clear today our country needs the security of the wall on the southern border which must be part of any DACA approval."

And remember this was a president who was elected on a get-tough immigration policy. Now he wants to mix in a little love.


TRUMP: I feel having the Democrats in with us is absolutely vital because this should be a bipartisan bill. It should be a bill of love. If we do this properly DACA you're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform.

And if you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat. I don't care. I don't care. I'll take all the heat you want to give me.

You are not that far way from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you wanted to go that final step I think you should do it.

We'll do DACA and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon. Ok. We'll take an hour off and then we'll start.


VAUSE: Comprehensive immigration reform. So here's the question. Where exactly does President Trump actually stand on one of the most contentious and divisive issues in this country?


TRUMP: My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with. If they come to me with things that I'm not in love with I'm going to do it because I respect them.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: So he will sign anything.

Joining me now: former Los Angeles councilwoman Wendy Greuel, Republican strategist Chris Faulkner, and Michael Shires associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University. It's good to see all of you.


VAUSE: Ok. The President said basically yes to everyone. The meeting seemed to end without any clear direction. But there was one certainty out of this and that's that some of the President's biggest supporters are now furious.

Listen to Ann Coulter.


ANN COULTER, RADIO HOST: I think we can call this the lowest day in the Trump presidency. I mean he was clearly trying to overcome the bad press of this Michael Wolff book by showing oh he's in command. But in fact what he did was fulfill every description of him in the Michael Wolff book.

He doesn't listen. He has no command of the facts. He agrees with the last person --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't need to go --


VAUSE: Chris -- I never thought I would say this but does Ann Coulter actually have a really good point?

CHRIS FAULKNER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. No. Ann Coulter obviously, you know, makes her profession on being controversial.

You know, the President basically showed some Dale Carnegie 101 today. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" -- before people listen, they've got to be listened to. He did a great job today of listening, taking in lots of information, heard different viewpoints. If this were easy we would have done it decades ago.

[00:05:00] But I think you're going to see really there is going to be resolution on this because everybody has a vested interest. There's no win in not getting this done.

And if you listen to the substantive rhetoric that's come from the House Republicans as well as Senate Republicans they absolutely want to get comprehensive immigration reform.

It's the finer points. And unfortunately demagoguery on this issue and emotional things that obviously go into such an important thing as where someone's family, where their children are has really kind of clouded some of the specifics of that.

So I think everybody has a vested interest in getting this done and it's going to get done.

VAUSE: Wendy -- is that how you saw this meeting today?

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER L.A. COUNCILWOMAN: I did not. You know, very hypocritical. We're going to have a bill of love. Well, this bill of love was one that is put on because of the fact that he told 800,000, you know, young people in this country we don't want you and you need to go. You need to go back and we're holding you hostage.

I think, you saw I think one of the points when I watched that today was to see Kevin McCarthy, Congressman McCarthy, literally jump up after Senator Feinstein asked the question which was, you know, we want a clean bill and he said yes. Yes, we want it.

VAUSE: Yes. With no strings attached.

GREUEL: No strings attached, it's ready.


GREUEL: And that's really not what she meant. And I think if you have to tweet later on I made it clear today it means you didn't make it clear in that conversation.

VAUSE: After the meeting the White House seemed to try and clarify what the priorities are when it comes to immigration. Listen to this.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: During the closed-door session the leadership agreed to negotiate and narrow the focus to four issues: border security, chain migration, visa lottery and DACA. They all agreed that those four things would be part of the negotiation. And beyond that then they could move into additional scope.


VAUSE: Michael -- what we did not hear though any mention of the wall and any mention of Mexico paying for the wall.

MICHAEL SHIRES, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, I think that when you look at this, I mean in some ways Donald Trump is a genius. We wouldn't be having this conversation if he hadn't reversed President Obama's executive orders. I mean there wouldn't be a conversation on immigration right now.

So the fact that this is on the table is a function of the fact that he did that. When you go forward in this conversation, he's trying to negotiate.

My sense is he's trying to muddy the waters. One of the strategies that I've seen a lot of times with these New York negotiating types is they want to keep everybody off balance. And so they throw a lot of things out there and then they're waiting for something to happen. And I think in Donald Trump's case I think he really meant it when he said if you guys come up with a bipartisan bill I will sign it. I think he's going to have to have some piece of the wall in it or something he can claim as a wall. But as long as he gets that little piece I think he will sign any form of immigration legislation.

VAUSE: You know, this must have been a really, really bad day for Steve Bannon because the President is talking about immigration reform and protection for the Dreamers. He got forced out of Breitbart, you know that was his last power base, the alt-right Web site.

And also on Tuesday, the White House announced that the President would be heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the ultimate gathering of global financial elite.

Chris -- is the Republican Party heading towards this sort of final showdown if you like between the Republican establishment and the sort of the Bannon wing of the party?

FAULKNER: Absolutely not. I think that the idea of the premise that Steve Bannon heads even a large group of people within the Republican Party is a total false narrative.

Steve Bannon is a caricature. He is a person that had inserted himself in the process and totally used his influence with Breitbart to maneuver his way in. And then once he was in the White House, in the administration, he used that leverage to get himself even more press.

Every time he was parodied he loved it because it raised his profile. Every time someone attacked him it made him seem like he was a figure worthy of actually feeling sorry for. And so Steve Bannon is exactly where he belongs today and that's by himself.

VAUSE: Ok. Stay with us because we'll move on now to the latest in the Russia investigation and Senator Dianne Feinstein. She's the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has defied her Republican colleagues and made public the transcript of the interview with the co-founder of Fusion GPS. That's the firm which produced that now-infamous dossier on Donald Trump.

We get details from Jim Sciutto.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Former British spy Christopher Steele was so concerned then-candidate Donald Trump was being blackmailed by Russia that he went personally to the FBI. This, according to newly-released transcripts of testimony by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson whose firm paid for the so-called Steele dossier.

He was very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat and said he though we were obligated to tell someone in government, in our government about this information, Simpson told the Senate Judiciary committee in closed-door testimony. He thought from his perspective there was a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed.

Simpson testified that Steele contacted the FBI in July 2016 and then met with the FBI attache in Rome in September. According to Simpson, Steele told him the FBI quote "believed Chris' information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing". And one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.

[00:10:06] A person close to Simpson's testimony clarified that Simpson's mention of an internal Trump campaign source actually refers to the Australian ambassador who also contacted the FBI to pass on information he received from then Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.

In his sworn testimony, Simpson also pushed back against GOP arguments that the research and release of the dossier was directed by Democrats and the DNC saying that the dossier was Steele's work.

"Did you have any input or involvement in the drafting of these or input for the research," he was asked. "No", he answered. "And did you edit them in any way?" Again Simpson answered, "no".

Feinstein's senate office released the transcript of the 10-hour interview at the same time she was sitting across from the President in a meeting today. She issued the release without the support of the committee's Republican chairman Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa who had argued the committee needed to temporarily protect certain information while an investigation was ongoing.

SENATOR CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: I think it's really unfortunate that majority and minority on the Judiciary Committee have really come to an impasse in terms of being able to make progress. I think in some ways this is the signal of the end of bipartisan cooperation in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SCIUTTO: In a state, the California senior Senator said she released the transcript because quote "The American people deserve the opportunity to see what he said and judge for themselves." Adding quote, "The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice."


VAUSE: Jim Sciutto with that report.

Back to our panel now. And Michael to you -- when you go through the transcript of that interview there's not a whole lot in that that isn't sort of already known, a few tidbits. Why not release it? Why do you think the Republicans didn't want to put it out there?

SHIRES: Well, I think when you're doing an investigation you want to keep everything inside until you have the results of the investigation so that you can tell the complete story. I mean I don't think it surprises anybody that the founder of an organization that was hired to go do this research stood behind their employee. And that's basically what the testimony is.

VAUSE: Wendy -- with Feinstein, Senator Feinstein doing this, is this the end of any kind of cooperation between the Republicans and Democrats or at least the start of the end?

GREUEL: I hope not. Senator Feinstein -- and I support her and what she did -- she is probably one of the most cautious when it comes to our intelligence or all of this. She wouldn't do anything that would harm the situation of the country as well as some kind of investigation.

What she was saying is transparency is key. There is nothing here that the public shouldn't know. And because Republicans are going so hard on this particular, on GPS and suggesting that kind of collusion and all kinds of backroom deals, she thought it was important to put it out. And I think this was something that she felt very strongly about.

VAUSE: Ok. We're moving on quickly, almost out of time. The buzz continues around Oprah 2020. "If she does decide to run she's going to lose," so says the President.


TRUMP: Oprah would be a lot of fun. I know her very well. You know, I did one of her last shows. She had Donald Trump before politics; her last week and she had Donald Trump and my family. It was very nice.

I like Oprah. I don't think she's going to run.

I don't think she's going to run. I know her very well.


VAUSE: Everyone loves Oprah. But Chris -- the idea of Oprah running for president, is that at least as plausible now as a Trump presidency was back in 2015?

FAULKNER: I think that the President's election certainly has changed the rules of the game in terms of what we can expect and what is accustomed and what the usual pathway to the presidency is. Certainly anything is possible.

It also to me speaks to a larger level of desperation on the Democratic side that they're promoting this idea so much. Oprah is a woman who's universally -- there are a lot of people who admire her. There's a lot of good things to admire there. But in terms of policy I think there is not really a lot of information that anybody really has. There is a lot of people who are ready to do this because there really isn't a lot of good alternatives on the Democratic side in terms of a candidacy.

Everyone is terrified of the idea of Bernie Sanders running again. And they look at Elizabeth Warren, no, that's not going to work. And so there is a desperation like we've got to find somebody that people will really like that we counter Donald Trump with.

VAUSE: Wendy -- is there a desperation or is it just a little bit early at this point? And the other question is the idea of these celebrity presidents so far hasn't been exactly smooth sailing. Why would Democrats go down that road?

GREUEL: I think there's a long bench of people who are (INAUDIBLE) -- I don't think we've even heard half of those that probably will step up to the plate.

[00:14:52] But I do think that now that, you know, Trump became president there are people who would have never thought of it before. And I think that conversation is we want someone who is going to lead this country who's a smart business person, who understands public policy and is going to be a good advocate for the people all across this country.

Oprah fits that bill. And I think we will see a lot of people's names thrown up there. It was -- you know, this was the Golden Globes and people are excited and it's about celebrity.

VAUSE: And Michael -- just finish it up. You know, do we actually know who the Democrat will likely be in 2020 at this point?

SHIRES: I think we're going to see a roster in both parties as long as we had in the Republican primary last time. But I've got to say if it's going to be Trump versus Oprah what a spectacle -- the queen of daytime versus the creator of reality.

VAUSE: Oh, indeed. Yes, it will be a spectacle. Can't wait for the nickname.

Appreciate you all being with us. Thanks so much. >

FAULKNER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Honduras. Forecasters say a tsunami wave is possible for countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

As you can see, Pedram Javaheri is standing by at the CNN International Weather Center with the very latest -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. John -- you know, this came just about 200 kilometers north of Honduras. It's certainly close enough to land for a lot of people to feel this -- John.

But you know, when you look at exactly the location of this, 10 kilometers deep. It's shallow enough here, of course, for some water to be disturbed. We had a quake here back in 2009 about say 200 or so kilometers to the west of this region that took with it seven lives. This particular quake does not look to be that significant in the sense of infrastructure and also loss of life and property.

But you take a look, this come sin still as a major or strong hurricane (SIC) getting up to the major status there with a 7.6. But it was a strike-slip quake meaning, much like areas around the world when you have a place (ph) side by side you're not going to have much in the way of disruption to water. San Andreas strikes-slip fault as well, disruption to water mitigated as that result.

But still could see some tsunami waves across this region 0.3 meter to 1 meter around portions of Cuba, work your way around this region into Santa Cruz early into the overnight hours and early morning hours as you see some disruptions to water in the element of (INAUDIBLE). But that is, of course, you don't expect too many people to be walking the beaches at around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning local time. But we have seen some two aftershocks in the 4 scale; could see one in the 6 scale here before it's all said and done -- John.

VAUSE: Pedram -- thanks for the update. Appreciate it.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break.

When we come back -- a day after breakthrough talks in Panmunjom, South Korean President Moon Jae-In goes public with his path to peace. Details in a moment.

Also ahead, a U.S. space company is about to take on one of the world's biggest aviation mysteries to search for MH-370.


VAUSE: South Korea's President Moon Jae-In says any future talks with North Korea must focus on removing nuclear weapons from the Peninsula. He held his news conference in Seoul on Wednesday, a day after the first inter-Korean talks since 2015.

[00:19:55] Mr. Moon says he is open to a summit with the North if conditions are right. And he welcomed Pyongyang decision to attend next month's Winter Olympics.

CNN's Will Ripley, live in Seoul this hour. So Will -- Moon Jae-In, he's looking to be the leader to build a peaceful relationship between North and South. So many others have tried and failed. How is it that he thinks he can do something differently here?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Moon Jae-In has always been about engagement. Remember his -- the first time he ever held a government job he worked under an administration that was one of two South Korean presidents to actually go to Pyongyang and visit with the late North Korean leader.

So he has -- you know, he is of the mindset that military escalation is not the solution but things like what we saw happen here in South Korea yesterday, those talks between the North and the South. And it really helps him fulfill a campaign promise.

He ran on the pledge of engaging with North Korea. He said he wants to be the president that normalized or at least brings about peace on the Peninsula and improves the relations between the North and the South.

And he talked a lot about that during his press conference. He talked about the fact that he doesn't want unification right away but he wants to take slow, small incremental steps towards bringing about peace.

And he also inevitably had to answer a question about U.S. President Donald Trump. He was asked about President Trump's tweet where he Trump essentially took credit for bringing about the conditions for these talks. And unsurprisingly President Moon gave a very diplomatic answer.


MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): I think President Trump made a huge contribution to make inter-Korean talks happen. I'd like to express my gratitude.


RIPLEY: Moon also said that war must never break out on the Korean Peninsula again. So he must have been somewhat disheartened to hear the comments at the end of yesterday's press conference by North Korea's chief negotiator who talked about his displeasure that the South Koreans even brought up the issue of denuclearization and then made a point to say that nuclear weapons are not pointed here to South Korea but are pointed directly at the United States -- John.

VAUSE: Ok. Will -- we appreciate that. Will Ripley, live for us there in Seoul.

Well, a U.S. company is aiming to do what has eluded so many in the past, and that's find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The flight was headed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished in March 2014, 239 people were on board. Suspected debris from the plane has been found across the Indian Ocean.

Now Ocean Infinity has agreed to continue the hunt a year after Australia, China, and Malaysia ended their searches.

CNN's Matt Rivers, live for us in Beijing. So Matt -- what can these guys do that no one else has been able to do so far?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's the big question -- John.

We're expecting a press conference in Malaysia to start any minute now where we are expecting the announcement, a formal announcement of a deal between Ocean Infinity, that U.S.-based company, and the Malaysian government to recommence this search in the area that was identified as the most likely place for the plane to have gone down by the Australian transportation authorities.

And this would be a private search. The key or the difference, I think between this search and others, I mean of course this is a private company. It's not going to be government-led but we've also been told by the Malaysian government that the negotiations with Ocean Infinity is centered around the notion of no-find, no-fee.

So basically all of the economic burden, the economic risk would be taken on by Ocean Infinity and they would only receive payment if this plane is found. So it does appear that this search is going to resume although Malaysian government authorities are saying at least at this point that they don't want to provide too much hope to the next of kin. That they're not really sure that something will actually be found this time that hasn't been found in the last --

VAUSE: Basically no one has anything to lose out of this.

RIVERS: Yes. I mean essentially the Malaysian government has said that they want to continue the search. This company is willing to pick up the fee for it. And presumably this company has some technology that the three governments primarily involved in the search previously didn't have.

And so the Malaysian government probably is looking at this not seeing an economic burden. They can put the burden on the company and they say, well why not keep searching, why not continue to try and find answers because the three-year government-led search didn't come up with really any answers other than a couple of pieces of debris found thousands of miles away.

VAUSE: Ok. We'll keep an eye on that and see happens (INAUDIBLE) a very short time, we'll have that for you. Ok. Matt -- thank you. Matt Rivers, live for us in Beijing.

We'll take a short break here.

When we come back, parts of southern California -- first they were hit by the wildfires then came the drenching rain and then came the mudslides -- another natural disaster right here.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with headlines this hour.

After a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers, U.S. President Donald Trump has emphasized he wants funding for a border wall as part of any immigration deal. At one point he appeared to support comprehensive immigration reform. But he also said he wanted to fix undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children first, with broader reform later.

The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the so-called Russia dossier, told U.S. lawmakers the agent who wrote that report believed Donald Trump was being blackmailed during the presidential campaign and he took his concerns to the FBI.

That testimony came in August but was only released on Tuesday. It contradicts the White House which ha said the dossier was a politically-motivated hit job by Democratic opponents.

Turkey is calling on the Syrian government and its allies to end attacks in the city of Idlib. There was supposed to be a de- escalation zone but fighting has reportedly resumed. Aid groups say more than 100,000 Syrians have fled towards Turkey in recent weeks.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In says he's open to a summit with the North if conditions are right. He held his news conference Wednesday in Seoul and says the ultimate goal must be to rid the Korean Peninsula of all nuclear weapons.

Heavy rains have triggered mud slides right here in Southern California killing at least 13 people and forcing thousands more to evacuate. The Santa Barbara County sheriff says the death toll may rise.

The water has cut off a 101 freeway with mud and debris shutting down the busy commuter route in both directions. Now six inches of rain have fallen in parts of Ventura County over the past few days. Recent wildfires have burned acres of protected brush which would have made this area resistant to flood.

We get the details now from CNN's Miguel Marquez -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John -- I want to show you the incredible power of the water in these storms here coming down from the mountains above Burbank, California. That may look like a raging river. I want you to listen to it for a second.

That is actually a street here in Burbank. Water has been flowing down here all day long. The La Tuna Canyon fire burned about two miles up the hills here. And as it rains all of that debris, a lot of it burned debris comes down that hill.

Another very good example of the power here -- this is a (INAUDIBLE). I want to show you -- look inside here, the mud up to the steering wheel in this thing, mud caking the car from the roof all the way down to the hood.

[00:30:02] And this thing -- what do you think this is? I thought it was an SUV earlier this morning and then took a closer look. What do you think this is?

I thought it was an SUV earlier this morning and then took a closer look. That's a pickup truck, sort of king-sized cab pickup truck that just got pummeled. People in the neighborhood said it took out garage doors all the way down the neighborhood as it was coming down. Just incredibly powerful water and debris as this rain keeps coming down in Southern California.

This is not the only place that is hit. But regardless where you are, it can be raining miles from where you are now. But way down in areas that may not even be evacuation zones, this is what can result -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Miguel, thank you, Miguel Marquez there.

Let's go to Ben Heyer (ph) he's on the phone from Galinda (ph), California. He was evacuated from his home in Montecito with his wife and son because of these mudslides.

Ben, we're glad that you and the family are safe. But considering the fire that swept through the region just a few weeks ago, the heavy rain and mudslide seems like the worst-case scenario right now?

BEN HYER (PH), EVACUEE: Yes, we were evacuated for the fires. We spent 10 days in Santa Monica and we were in a mandatory evac zone. Yesterday, we were only in a voluntary evac zone. We didn't really expect what happened to happen. But it was pretty scary. Our entire neighborhood is under mud right now.

VAUSE: Yes. When you left your house, it was surrounded by mud but the mud had actually stayed outside. Looking at some of the photos you've taken of the neighborhood, it appears many who live close to you have not been so lucky. It's an incredible scene.

HYER (PH): Yes. There was waist-deep mud across the road in this little family neighborhood of Montecito. The house directly across the street from us, the mud came straight through her bedroom wall. She had left the house but somebody was staying in the room. She got thrown across to the other side of the room.

Our neighbor, Jim, who lives next door to her, actually went in and rescued that lady.

There was another house at the end of our street, which parallel to the mountains and the mud came right through, it's a single mom and her two boys. And that came right through one of the boy's rooms and, miraculously, he survived and they ended up on the roof. They were on the roof from 3:00 in the morning until 7:00 in the morning --


HYER (PH): -- until the rescue.

VAUSE: This all started in the early hours of the morning. You were awake when it all sort of began.

Can you describe what it sounded like?

What were you thinking when this mud and debris surged into your neighborhood?

HYER (PH): I didn't think anything at first. I just thought, well, that's a really powerful rainstorm, it was five minutes of powerful rain. The power went off. That's what woke me up. And powerful rain for five minutes. But I knew the rain was headed for the mountains and I knew that was going to be trouble.

So (INAUDIBLE) so I just made myself something to eat and didn't get two bites into it and all of a sudden I heard this rush and the house shook and, like instantly, there was three feet of mud all the way around the house.

You've seen the pictures of the backyard, that neighbors, fences, cars gone, it was incredible how fast it came and how powerful it was. VAUSE: You say you -- obviously you can't go back right now because of the situation. Where are you staying?

Do you have a place to live right now?

HYER (PH): We haven't figured that out yet. But we've got a lot of really incredible friends. That's the thing about Montecito, that's why we live there. Just incredible friends and great people there, hence we've had so many offers of help.

We're up in (INAUDIBLE) beach now, which about an hour and a half up the coast. We just wanted to get out and away from it all. So -- and there are three other families with us here. So we're all in a hotel on the beach.

VAUSE: You know, it has been such an awful time for so many people in Southern California, the wildfires and now the mudslides, which have been made just so horrendously worse by the fires, destroying so much of the vegetation in that region.

We wish you all the very best, Ben. We hope all of this is over soon and you get back to some kind of normalcy with your life. So thanks for being with us.

HYER (PH): Thank you, I appreciate it.

VAUSE: Take care. OK, well, one of the hottest places on Earth looked a little more like a winterscape for a few hours.

Snow blanketed sand dunes near a desert town in Algeria, this area is called the gateway to the Sahara for its blazing summer temperatures. But on Sunday, apparently it received snowfall --


VAUSE: -- for just the third time in 40 years, a few centimeters in places, a third of a meter elsewhere and apparently the snow stayed for a good part of the day before melting.

Up next, H&M apologizes profusely for the hoodie scandal with the little boy in the monkey hoodie. More on that in a moment.




VAUSE: Clothing retailer H&M has issued an extensive apology for a horribly insensitive ad, many calling blatantly racist. It shows a little black boy in a green hoodie with the phrase, "coolest monkey in the jungle."

After social media lit up, H&M pulled the image and also the hoodie from its stores, but the backlash continues. (INAUDIBLE) weekend tweeted that he would no longer be working with the retailer he had collaborated with the fashion line in 2017.

NBA player LeBron James and entertainer Sean Diddy Combs edited the photo on their Instagram accounts, turning the boy into a king.

For more on this, social commentator and entertainment journalist Segun Oduolowu joins us now.

Nice to see you. Happy New Year.

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Happy New Year. It's good to finally see you.

VAUSE: Yes. It's been a while. OK, so the racially offensive ads began early this year.


ODUOLOWU: You know, typically dumb waits --


VAUSE: -- so we're off to an EARLY START.

But what do you say to people who say nothing wrong with that hoodie. I call my kid monkey or cheeky monkey all the time.

ODUOLOWU: I would say please take your hood off because when it's a black kid, there is no amount of apology that is going to sit well. There is enough vitriol and enough anger to go around. I would say the H&M, it's not even about an apology anymore. It's honestly the time to boycott that store.

And I say that not as hyperbole, but there couldn't have been a person of color in the room of the advertising that thought that this would be OK. And that's the bigger issue. So either you were tone deaf, didn't know what was going on or you did it deliberately. Everybody needs to lose their job.

VAUSE: Well, let's go to number 3 here in the control room because offering a one-line apology, H&M went into full contrition, groveling apology mode. It was all on the website, basically, our position is simple and unequivocal. An unequivocal apology, there it is.

It goes on to say "Our position is simple and unequivocal. We got this wrong. We are deeply sorry. It is obvious our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again."

OK. I think I have an idea of how this mistake happened.

ODUOLOWU: Really, how, John?

VAUSE: Let's look at the 11 members of the H&M board. Oh, there we are. H&M. #SoWhite.

ODUOLOWU: Right, right. You know what H&M stands for? Homogenized, OK. I haven't seen milk that white and I love cereal.


ODUOLOWU: So what are we doing?

VAUSE: I need to put my sunglasses on because I'm getting a reflection.

Seriously, this is the thing that -- (INAUDIBLE) -- to your point, this is a company which clearly if there is a person of color in that room, when that design was being put out there, they would have said, hang on.

ODUOLOWU: It's not so much, hang on. John, in the full picture, that black boy is standing next to a white child.

VAUSE: We have that, actually.

ODUOLOWU: So why is the black kid in the sweatshirt that says "monkey" and the white child isn't?

So please don't give me this really terrible apology.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) because that white kid is actually in an orange hoodie. This is item 2 in the control room. And it says, "survival expert."

ODUOLOWU: What is he, Bear Grylls?

VAUSE: Exactly.

ODUOLOWU: What are we talking about here?

VAUSE: And this has caused even further outrage out there because --

Have we got it, guys?

Oh, we don't have it. That one. No, you didn't get the other one. Never mind.

But this is the thing.

How many times can they apologize to say, oops, we made a mistake?

ODUOLOWU: You can't because your "oops, I made a mistake," again, this is not a Britney Spears song, oops, I did it again. This is I can't give you an opportunity to do this again.

Everybody that was responsible for this needs to be called out. They either need to lose their jobs because they don't know what they're doing or they don't realize where society is right now.

Kudos to Diddy, to LeBron James, to a lot of different people that came out and doctored the photo and made this kid -- because this kid has to live with this. This kid who was just innocently thinking that he's doing a modeling job, now this picture goes viral for all the wrong reasons.

But as I said, there's enough vitriol to go around. I'd like to know the parents of this kid, how do you let this slide?

Because my kid, the kid I don't have, love you, honey, but not yet -- the kid that I don't or will have is not posing in a sweatshirt that has that written on it. So the parents, where were you?

There are so many people that could have caught this before it fell through the crack. That's why there's enough blame to go around. And H&M should be taken to task. Look, I would call on David Beckham, who has an underwear line. People need to start pulling their support from an institution that could put this out there.

It's not acceptable. And if the women that can wear black on the red carpet of the Golden Globes and show solidarity, can we -- you can take that black dress off. You know what that kid can't do? We don't take this skin off. That ad is fundamentally racist and it furthers a stereotype that is dehumanizing to black people. And that's why H&M is not going to be let off the hook, not by me.

VAUSE: OK. He's part of an op-ed from "The Independent." It kind of sums up what's going on here.

"The problem here doesn't lie in the supposed racism of H&M but instead their misguided (INAUDIBLE). Their intention was clearly not to cause offense. It just obviously didn't enter their minds to think seriously about their black customers."

It seems time and time again, big companies, be it H&M or Dove or whoever makes that laundry detergent --


VAUSE: -- well, maybe not them, but at least Dove and H&M and all the rest, they're oblivious to these issues. Forget about doing the right thing, what about the profit motive? Why aren't they interested in appealing to black customers, whose money is just as good as anybody else's?

ODUOLOWU: Thank you. If your fundamental bottom line, the only color should matter is green, so green is the only color that matters, why would you put this black kid in this sweatshirt unless you're trying to make a bigger statement?

And, again, I can't give you a pass because you showed me 12 white people on there. Somebody's got to know that this is wrong. Hire better. If you want to talk about diversity, with a black kid sitting next to a white kid, and they're both in sweatshirts, where is the diversity amongst your board?


We have more diversity right here, sitting right here than H&M. We should run H&M.

VAUSE: We'll do it.

ODUOLOWU: It'll be more human --


VAUSE: Good to see you.

ODUOLOWU: Good to see you.

VAUSE: And good to see you. But we got to go now. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" with Kate Riley is up next.