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U.S. President Returns to Firestorm over Mueller; Trump at Davos; Interview with Alexei Navalny; Dozens Wounded in Explosion in Afghan Capital; Casino Billionaire Accused of Sexual Misconduct; Toronto Police: Billionaire Couple Murdered; 2018 Grammys. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired January 27, 2018 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Donald Trump, the salesman. The U.S. president touts the strong U.S. economy in Davos.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A Las Vegas casino mogul faces allegations of sexual misconduct.

HOWELL (voice-over): And Paris on alert as rising floodwaters continue to threaten parts of that beautiful city.

ALLEN (voice-over): It is all coming up here this hour. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. We are coming to you live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell. At CNN World Headquarters, NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: Around the world, good day to you. It is 4:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast.

Following his two-day trip to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. president back in the United States. He arrived back at the White House Friday night. And of his time in Switzerland, he told reporters that, quote, "Davos was really great."

ALLEN: It was Mr. Trump's first time attending the prestigious gathering of global movers and shakers. In his speech before them, Mr. Trump promoted his vision of America first and took credit for a surging U.S. stock market.

But the president's good mood might not last long. He returns to even greater scrutiny over possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.

HOWELL: While Mr. Trump was out of the country, it came to light that he tried to fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller, last June, this despite numerous statements to the contrary. We have the latest now from CNN's Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After months of denying the president was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you considering firing Robert Mueller?


SCHNEIDER: ... tonight, the White House and the president's lawyers are refusing to comment on reports that the president tried to do just that.

CNN has learned President Trump order White House ordered Don McGahn to fire Mueller last June. But McGahn balked and threatened to resign if the president went forward, a source tells CNN.

In statement, Trump's attorney would only say: "We decline to comment out of respect for the office of the special counsel and its process."

Trump has repeatedly and publicly disparaged the inquiry into Russian meddling in the election.

TRUMP: The entire thing has been a witch-hunt.

SCHNEIDER: But the stunning revelation that Trump tried to oust the man leading the probe is perhaps one more point in a pattern of behavior some say could be considered obstruction of justice, the criminal act of interfering with a law enforcement investigation.

In addition to trying to fire Mueller, the president asked former FBI Director James Comey for his loyalty in January. Then, in February, Trump asked Comey to drop any investigation into fire National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He fired Comey officially in May, saying it was because of the FBI director's handling of the Clinton e- mail investigation, but later told NBC's Lester Holt something different.

TRUMP: When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse.

SCHNEIDER: The president also pressures Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia probe, which Sessions ultimately did in March.

And Trump asked his directors of national intelligence, NSA and CIA to push back on reported connections between the Trump campaign and Russians. Sessions was also publicly urged by the president to fire then acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

And "The New York Times" reports Trump also considered dismissing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has been overseeing the Russia investigation, since the Sessions recusal. MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In this case, you can add all of the activities together. Then you can take the attempted fire and use that as a window into the president's intentions and, from that, build an obstruction case.

SCHNEIDER: Since the president's reported push to fire Mueller in June, he has repeatedly denied Mueller's firing was ever a consideration.

TRUMP: No, I'm not. No. What else?

I haven't given it any thought. I have been reading about it from you people. You say, oh, I'm going to dismiss them. No, I'm not dismissing anybody. I mean, I want them to get on with the task, but I also want the Senate and the House to come out with their findings.

SCHNEIDER: As the special counsel weighs whether all of this amounts to obstruction of justice and prepares to meet with Trump, it could be the president's perception that first takes a hit.

ZELDIN: The president said repeatedly that he was not intending to fire Mueller, whereas this story seems to say not only was he intending to, but he attempted to. And so that puts him in a very difficult position in terms of people believing him. His credibility I think was greatly damaged by this.

SCHNEIDER: And since June, when the president reportedly made that push to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, members of the president's team have denied on nine separate occasions that Mueller's job --


SCHNEIDER: -- was ever in danger -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: All right, Jessica, thank you.

Now for the president, for the most part, the president got a warm reception in chilly Davos. That speech that he gave before economic and political leaders there, it was the centerpiece of the trip.



ALLEN (voice-over): Organizers brought in a Swiss marching band to welcome the U.S. president with a rousing fanfare. When he took the lectern, Mr. Trump became the marketer in chief, putting his America first rhetoric in a global perspective.

TRUMP: America is the place to do business. So come to America, where you can innovate, create and build. I believe in America. As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America first does not mean America alone.


HOWELL: Mr. Trump there brought up a familiar campaign theme but crafted it for the audience of global leaders.


TRUMP: We will enforce our trade laws and restore integrity to our trading system. Only by insisting on fair and reciprocal trade can we create a system that works not just for the U.S. but all nations.


HOWELL: Let's put it all into focus now with Inderjeet Parmar, Inderjeet a professor of international politics at City University of London, live in our London bureau this hour.

Inderjeet, always a pleasure to have you here on the show.


HOWELL: Let's talk about the president's speech in Davos; it was highly anticipated. The tone of that speech and how it was received, were there any surprises, in your estimation?

PARMAR: Obviously it's well known that President Trump, on this occasion, stuck to the script generally speaking during the speech. And I think the speech was reasonably well received. He didn't really change tack very much. I think what he's done is, over a whole series of speeches, he's laid out the position which he outlined in Davos.

And I think the big issue as far as I could see was that the Davos discussions were all around a major report which is entitled something like "Fractures, Fear and Failures."

That is all about fear, about an unraveling global system, the danger of warfare between great powers and the degree to which populism at home could lead to political repression and political violence and so on.

And really, the Davos group seemed to listen to President Trump and many of them appeared to be quite complacent because the tax cuts and the corporate deregulation has made the United States a kind of a -- sort of continue in a broadly neo-liberal direction and has opened America for business.

And a lot of people think well, President Trump hasn't done too badly. Economic growth may not be 3 percent, as was predicted, but it's got to 2.6 percent, which is higher than it has been for the last three years or so. So he outlined a major program. Not very big change. And I thought the Davos group seemed to be fairly complacent about the big issues facing the world today.

HOWELL: Let's talk more about that, the message and optics of America first. Because Inderjeet, what we saw there on that stage was a more nuanced approach, I suppose, to the America first message that he campaigned on with his base, championed by the everyday working man and woman.

So let's talk about the optics, first of all, of this U.S. president, along with elites at Davos and, secondly, the message, this more nuanced approach, how that might play with the base that certainly put him in office?

PARMAR: I think, at the moment, it's probably going to be OK for President Trump but it's quite clear that he has moved a very long way from the kind of very narrowly defined economic nationalism which he outlined during the campaign.

And I think this tells us some really important things, that President Trump really isn't trying to wreck the international trading or any other system. I think he's trying to extract a lot more value from it. That could have repercussions, of course. And I think his base will probably wait and see.

But as we know, a lot of his base is not really secured by the effective policies being pursued but by the symbolic character of this administration, that --


PARMAR: -- he plays to that kind of broad, anti-immigration, which we heard just a week or two ago, where he prefers Norwegian immigrants as opposed to Africans and others. And I think that's the kind of -- the part of the message which seemed to secure a large part of his base.

But those that are looking for a greater level of investment in jobs, good, well-paying jobs and security, I think they are going to watch and wait because the steps toward some sort of an agreement in regard to the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, suggests that he is willing to make any kind of deal which he believes will secure a greater economic interest for big American corporations.

HOWELL: Inderjeet, just briefly here, I have another question on this topic of message.

Given that Steve Bannon is certainly no longer in the Trump administration, what are your thoughts here?

And again, briefly, do you think President Trump would even be in Davos, had Steve Bannon still been on the team?

And what would the message have been, a different America first than what we heard?

PARMAR: I think there was a big struggle going on within the administration between the Bannon nationalistic wing and the sort of Gary Cohen head of the National Economic Council wing, which is much more to do with Goldman Sachs and the international system.

I think there has been a big shift as a result of the removal of Steve Bannon; whether or not President Trump would have gone to Davos, I'm not sure because in a way, the speech that he made yesterday was really an attempt to attract large-scale investment. He was selling the United States. "I have cut taxes for big corporations."

He claimed to put more money in the pockets of American workers and he's deregulated in such a big way, that this is a good climate for investment. So I don't think that was ever off the agenda, really. So I think the sidelining of Bannon is important. But I don't think the underlying message in a big way has really shifted because there had been a shift, already, away from the hard-core Bannon populism, in any case.

HOWELL: The president certainly back here in the United States and we'll now have to see how this plays out politically, this news that he ordered the special counsel, Robert Mueller, fired but then backed off after the White House attorney threatened to resign had he moved forward with that. So that's the story in play.

Inderjeet Parmar, thank you for your time. We'll stay in touch with you.

PARMAR: Thank you.

ALLEN: In Russia, a major opposition figure says he has no doubt the Kremlin tried to influence the U.S. presidential race. Alexei Navalny says he, too, has been the target of hacking and fake documents.

HOWELL: He planned to run in this year's Russian presidential election but has been banned from doing so. Still, Navalny tells CNN's Matthew Chance he won't be silenced, in this exclusive interview.


ALEXEI NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): The Putin regime is built on corruption and that himself is the most corrupt. His family is directly involved in corruption. According to official data, over 20 percent of our population lives below the poverty line. And people link the obvious.

Why are we so poor?

Because they steal so much.

CHANCE: Regardless of the popularity of that issue, you have been prevented from standing in these forthcoming presidential elections.

Do you think that Vladimir Putin is genuinely concerned or fearful of you as a political opponent?

NAVALNY (through translator): He is scared of all real competition. We see in these elections that he only allowed those to run who did not even resist, do not even do any campaigning.

When they saw that we are actually fighting for people's votes, they got scared. The famous Putin's ratings, all these 86 percent, 70 percent, all of that sociologists and political analysts love to talk about, they exist in only one scenario: when Putin faces the candidates, he controls.

CHANCE: But that issue of polling numbers, I think, is important because, as you say, Vladimir Putin is polling more than 80 percent popularity in this country, if you believe the opinion polls.

But you are polling just 2 percent.

How much of a political threat does your movement really pose to this Kremlin juggernaut?

NAVALNY (through translator): Look, I stood for election just once in my life. In 2012, I participated in the Moscow mayor elections. And everyone was showing me polls when I had 2 percent. And without money or any media support, I got almost 30 percent.

Same thing goes for the presidential elections. Putin doesn't have an 80 percent rating; he has an 80 percent rating when compared to other candidates whom he has let run.

CHANCE: As we now approach the election season, we are already in the election season, as we approach the election, what are you going to do?

What is your plan to try and get yourself on the ballot, to try and promote --


CHANCE: -- your cause or have you abandoned all hope at this stage of standing in this election?

NAVALNY (through translator): We urge all Russians to join a voter's strike, not just refusing to vote but campaigning so others don't vote as well. We are actively organizing this boycott. And this is the reason why we are being raided every day and our staff are being attacked.

CHANCE: As the leading opposition figure in Russia, you have been harassed; you get regular visits from the authorities, the police, the other inspectors; you have been insulted widely and, of course, you have been attacked.

How concerned are you, in a country like this, where opposition figures have been killed in the past, how concerned are you about your own safety and security?

NAVALNY (through translator): I'm a reasonable man. I ran my election campaign for 12 months. And out of these months, I spent two in prison. So I have a clear understanding of what this regime can do.

But I'm not afraid and I'm not going to give up on what I'm going to do. I won't give up on my country. I won't give up on my civil rights. I won't give up on uniting those around me who believe in the same ideals as me. And there are quite a lot of people like that in Russia. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Matthew Chance there with an exclusive interview.

Still ahead here, a billionaire Las Vegas casino giant is facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations. We'll have the response to the accusations, just ahead.

ALLEN: Also police are now talking about how this billionaire couple died in their home in Canada in December. We'll have the details coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.






ALLEN: We have breaking news to report out of Afghanistan.

HOWELL: That's right. Authorities say more than 30 people are dead after an explosion in Kabul. Witnesses tell CNN the blast came from a car bomb in front of the old interior ministry building. Again, this is a story we continue to follow on this network.

Authorities telling us this number of people who were affected. We'll bring you more details as we learn more.

ALLEN: This follows last weekend when there was an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.

HOWELL: So 79 people wounded, is we understand at this point, 79 people have been wounded. We'll bring you more information as we learn more.

ALLEN: Other news we are following now. All past conduct of public figures is being scrutinized in light of the #MeToo movement.

And now under that heading, CNN has confirmed that when Hillary Clinton first ran for president in 2008, one of her senior advisers was allowed to keep his job, despite being accused of sexual harassment by a female subordinate.

HOWELL: Burns Strider, who acted as Clinton's faith adviser, was accused of inappropriate touching, kissing and sending suggestive e- mails to a woman that he shared an office with. Clinton's campaign manager wanted him fired. But Clinton overruled her. Instead, Strider underwent counseling and then had his pay docked.

He hasn't responded to CNN's request for a statement.

ALLEN: But the law firm that represented the campaign said, quote, "To ensure a safe working environment, the campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policy and appropriate action was taken. This complaint was no exception."

HOWELL: Sources tell CNN that Strider was later fired over similar allegations during Clinton's second run for the White House. And at that time, he worked for one of the political action committees, a PAC, that supported her candidacy.

ALLEN: A short time ago, Clinton sent out this tweet, "A story appeared today about something that happened in 2008. I was dismayed when it occurred but was heartened the young woman came forward, was heard and had her concerns taken seriously and addressed."

HOWELL: One of the biggest names in the Las Vegas casino business is now the latest high-profile man accused of sexual misconduct.

ALLEN: Steve Wynn denied the accusations from dozens of women who worked at his casinos, detailed in a "Wall Street Journal" report. On Friday, the board of his company, Wynn Resorts, formed a special committee to investigate the charges. CNN's Miguel Marquez shows us why the impact is being felt from Vegas to Washington.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Preposterous," says Steve Wynn, the Vegas hotel and casino billionaire, to charges that he ever assaulted any woman.

The blistering statement from Wynn himself after a bombshell "Wall Street Journal" report that a manicurist in 2005 was forced to lie on a massage table naked while she claims Wynn raped her.

The "Journal" also reporting Wynn paid the manicurist $7.5 million in a settlement. Wynn in his statement said, "The instigation of these accusations is the continued work of my ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement."

Elaine Wynn's attorney told "The Journal" that's just not true. Wynn, the latest high profile, wealthy and politically connected man accused of sexual misconduct. "The Wall Street Journal" says it spoke to more than 150 employees and dozens reported a pattern of sexual abuse by Wynn.

Wynn in his statement said, "We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations regardless of the truth and a person is left with a choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation."

The allegations now reverberating in politics where despite a history of supporting both parties --

STEVE WYNN, CASINO MOGUL: I'm friendly with Don and Hillary and I'm a friend with Donald Trump's. I haven't given a dime to either one of them and haven't decided on who I'm going to vote for.

MARQUEZ: Wynn is now closely tied to President Trump as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.


MARQUEZ: Democrats are demanding the RNC return any campaign contributions from Wynn much the way Republicans did with Harvey Weinstein.

Allegations against Wynn are now being used to put pressure on the Republican Party. The Democratic National Committee saying today, "The RNC have helped fund the campaign of an alleged child molester, blindly supported the GOP's attacks on women's health and supported a president who has been accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women.

And now they remain silent amid sexual assault allegations involving Steve Wynn, one of their party's most senior officials."

So last weekend the president had to stay in Washington, D.C., because of the shutdown. He was supposed to be at Mar-a-lago at an RNC Trump victory campaign fundraiser.

One of the co-hosts of that fundraiser, you guessed it, Steve Wynn. Now the president sent a video and said, singling out Steve Wynn. CNN obtained audio of that video.


TRUMP: Steve Wynn, I want to thank you. I want to thank the whole group of money raised. You are special people. Thank you very much, we'll see you the next time.


MARQUEZ: Now in fairness, the president did mention several other people in that video but Steve Wynn was certainly among them. And coincidentally, Steve Wynn turned 76 today. Back to you.


HOWELL: Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.

Students at Michigan State University are rallying in support of women abused by the school's former sports doctor, Larry Nassar.

On Friday night, hundreds of people marched toward the school's administration building, demanding that the board of trustees resign.

ALLEN: Like many of the young women who were abused, they say the board is complicit in Nassar's decades of crime, for hearing complaints about Nassar but failing to act. The school is dealing with several lawsuits and is under investigation by the NCAA, which regulates U.S. college athletic programs.

U.S. President Trump is back in Washington after a major speech to the world's business and political leaders.

HOWELL: But the big question, how did it go over there in Davos?

We take a look as CNN NEWSROOM continues.





ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world, You're watching CNN NEWSROOM I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. Breaking news we're following out of Afghanistan. Authorities say at least three people are dead. More than 70 people have been wounded after an explosion that took place in Kabul.

Witnesses tell CNN this blast came from a car bomb in front of the old interior ministry. We'll continue to follow the story.


ALLEN: When President Trump went to Davos, most didn't know which Donald Trump would show up.

HOWELL: True, but would it be the bombastic president full of fiery rhetoric or would it be the more pragmatic president that we've seen before with measured tones for a global audience of movers and shakers?

ALLEN: What they got, a bit of both, the one who lambasted the news media, which he often does, but the audience booed in response to that, and the one who stuck to his America first rhetoric but with a global twist.


TRUMP: As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America first does not mean America alone.


HOWELL: That was the president at the podium, a more nuanced America first message for world leaders there, business leaders.

But the question, how did they react to it?

ALLEN: Our Nic Robertson took the pulse at Davos.



TRUMP: America is (INAUDIBLE) in business and we are competitive once again.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, The applause wasn't as loud as I was expecting. I did manage to speak to somebody in there I know, a former minister from the Middle East.

And I asked him what he thought of it.

And he said, well, you know, sort of disappointed. There was nothing in there about the world, nothing there that he was really hoping to hear. Anyway, let's go and find out what other people have to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Donald Trump. I know one thing, he stuck to the script. Everybody was expecting, especially the American media, that he'd slip up, make some mistake, make a fool of himself. He did nothing of the sort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the band was very good.

ROBERTSON: And the speech itself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the speech, the speech I would say awful (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would give the speech itself a thumbs up but the content a thumbs down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's at Davos. He's going to act like a reasonable person. But we know who Trump is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard him say that he's going to be very selective about his immigration and choose people who contribute to the government.

How do you determine that?

How do you determine if a refugee contributes the government before they come in to a country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that what Donald Trump stands for is a world of competition. I'm not against competition at all. But if governments compete, there's 50 percent winners and 50 percent losers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of America, we expect a global perspective and how we see the changing (INAUDIBLE) in the world. And that was not there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's a lot of curiosity as to what those comments would be. But I think it was well received here in Davos. ROBERTSON: People are beginning to leave now and take their thoughts away home with them. I guess my takeaway, along with some of the things I've heard from people here, is they have heard the words, now let's see what the actions are. Another year before the next Davos -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Davos, Switzerland.


ALLEN: All right, let's talk more about it with Steven Erlanger. He's chief diplomatic correspondent for "The New York Times." He is in Brussels, Belgium.

Steven, thank you for being with us.

After listening to those comments, sounded a bit lukewarm. But overall, Mr. Trump didn't do anything glaringly --


ALLEN: -- bad, like sometimes he can, going off script, except, of course --

STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": No, I think he was behaving himself.


ERLANGER: Look, he was -- he's a business man, he's a salesman, he's a real estate guy and he's also president. Which comes first, sometimes one wonders.

But he was in with the global elite, the same people he loved to criticize during the campaign, and he felt comfortable with them. These are business leaders. And he read a speech, a speech that was written for him by his economic team, a pretty good speech.

It had a few misleading things in it. I mean, he claimed to create 2.4 million jobs since he was elected. Of course, there was three months of Obama in there. And the previous 14 months, more jobs had been created.

But he did do well. At the same time, during the Q&A, after his speech, he did get in some zingers, as he likes to do, against the media. And I suppose this was a way to remind his base that he's still the Donald Trump they voted for and hasn't been seduced by Davos.

ALLEN: Exactly. Let's talk about that line that's getting a lot of play from his speech, as you say, that his business folks wrote for him, America first does not mean America alone, putting a global twist on it.

What did he mean, specifically?

ERLANGER: I think it was meant to be reassuring. America first is one of those lines that -- like take back control. One isn't sure what it means. He's a nationalist. He's a protectionist. He is someone who believes that global trade is a zero-sum game, he's believed for 30 years or more that America's allies take advantage of the United States, the United States negotiates badly in terms of global trade.

But in Davos, he wanted to reassure people that America does want allies. He talked about trade as being fair and reciprocal and he hinted that he might even try to re-negotiate an American entry into the Asian free trade deal that he had turned his back on.

So these are emollient lines and we'll see what they produce. I think after a year in office, the president is understanding both the limits of his job and some of the responsibilities.

And some of the responsibilities have to do with bringing America into relationships with the rest of the world. It cannot be America alone; it never has been. The question is, who will be America's friends and what will America be willing to do for them and not just for itself?

Now that's the question Trump hasn't really answered.

ALLEN: Exactly. Two of the concerns at the World Economic Forum this year from reports, the rise of populism and wealth disparity. Of course, Mr. Trump's tax cuts tend to favor corporations and the more wealthy taxpayers. But he did not address those issues, specifically.

We heard some people there, after the conference, and they wish he would have stepped out and addressed more issues.

What more could he have done there?

ERLANGER: Well, he could have talked more explicitly about the World Trade Organization. He could have talked about American leadership in the world, which is something I think makes him uncomfortable because leadership involves alliances, it involves bringing people along with you.

I think some of his rhetoric has undermined America's standing in the world because America is what it represents as well as what it is. And it represents rule of law and freedom of speech and, ideally, some decency and openness to the world.

And there have been times where his, you know, middle of the night tweets have indicated a kind of different perspective. Some of that is political. Some of it may not be meant.

But if you start calling half the world S-countries, they get insulted for some reason and they are less willing to do what you would like them to do, sometimes less willing to do what is even in their own best interest.

So Trump I think was trying harder in Davos to show that America means to lead but it also means to lead along with others and that its nationalism is not purely self-interest.

ALLEN: Again, those were the words. We'll wait and see the deeds. Steven Erlanger, thank you so much for speaking with us.

ERLANGER: Thanks, Natalie.

HOWELL: All right, I want to update you on the breaking news we're following this hour out of Afghanistan.


HOWELL: We are now getting new video of the aftermath of an explosion that killed at least three people. This happened in the capital city of Kabul. Authorities say that more than 70 people were wounded.

A Taliban spokesperson has claimed responsibility for the attack, targeted Afghanistan's old interior ministry building. Again, these are the first images we are seeing of the aftermath of this attack. Of course, we'll continue to update you as we learn more.

ALLEN: Looking very bleak there at that scene.

Floodwaters are putting a damper on the City of Light. Paris is awash after days of heavy rain. Ivan will have the forecast for us when we come back here.




ALLEN: We turn to that murder mystery that has gripped Canada. Toronto police are now saying what many people have suspected for weeks, a billionaire couple was targeted in a brutal killing.

HOWELL: Barry Sherman was the chairman of the successful generic drug business. He and his wife, Honey, were well regarded philanthropists. But a painfully long police investigation has so far produced no arrests. Our Paula Newton reports.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After six weeks of exhaustive investigation, Toronto police left the home of Barry and Honey Sherman admitting they still have no suspects, no motive, but one chilling conclusion. The billionaire couple was murdered.

DETECTIVE SGT. SUSAN GOMES, TORONTO POLICE SERVICE: We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation, and that both Honey and Barry Sherman were, in fact, targeted.

NEWTON: Targeted for murder by one or more people determined to see them die in their own home in a gruesome fashion.

GOMES: Honey and Barry Sherman were found deceased in the lower level pool area hanging by belts --


GOMES: -- from a poolside railing in a semi-seated position.

NEWTON: There were no signs of forced entry and police say they're still talking to neighbors, witnesses, family members, business associates, anyone who knew anything about the Sherman's lives or even their last hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are in shock and crying.

NEWTON: This murder mystery has shaken many, not just in this affluent Toronto neighborhood but throughout Canada. Barry and Honey Sherman were high-profile billionaires. Barry the pioneering generic drug tycoon always eager to take on big pharma and his wife, Honey, patron of several charities.

Together they gave away tens of millions to several causes. All the more incredible that they were targeted and left to die in such a horrific way. The Sherman's children have launched an independent investigation of their own and in a statement to media said their preliminary findings are consistent with that of police.

The Shermans had close ties to prime ministers both past and present. Their murder had shaken the political establishment with many wondering who could have wanted to see them dead and why -- Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


HOWELL: Paula, thank you for the report.

Now to France; heavy rains there this week have turned the River Seine into an inland sea. Paris and surroundings, many parts of the city flooded.

ALLEN: The water's creeping up more slowly now but it has submerged roads, tunnels and Metro lines and forced people to get to safety.


ALLEN: Coming up here, we'll have a preview of Sunday's Grammy awards.

HOWELL: Musicians honored for their craft but many will be using their fame to bring attention to the #MeToo movement.






HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM.

The Grammy Awards are being handed out in New York on Sunday. They are all about honoring the power of music and the people who make it.

ALLEN: But as we have seen in other awards shows, it will also be about activism. Our report is from Chloe Melas.



CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York: the city Jay Z famously paid homage to, now hosting the Grammys for the first time in 15 years. So it's fitting the rapper also happens to lead the pack in Grammy nominations.

He's up for eight, including Album of the Year.

Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars come in second and third as the most nominated artist. Both are slated to perform at the show, which will be hosted again by "Late Night's" James Corden.

But music's biggest night comes at a complicated moment for the entertainment industry, a sexual harassment reckoning that spun the #MeToo movement has dominated awards shows. Expect to see White Roses on the Grammy red carpet and a message of female empowerment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are very strong, self-aware female musician who are going to be taken the Grammy stage. You've got Kesha, you've got Lady Gaga, you've got Pink, Lorde, Miley Cyrus. I think we are going to see some really strong, wonderful moments.

MELAS: Musicians tend to be a more unbuttoned, unpredictable crowd. But here, at Madison Square Garden, there's the sense that anything can happen on Grammy night.


MELAS: And that probably includes some jabs at President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Historically, the Grammys have not been as politically charged as other awards shows. But given that we are just a little over a year past the election and the mood in this country is very fired up and still very divided, I would be very surprised if no artist spoke about politics at all at the Grammys this year.

MELAS (voice-over): The topic of race may also come up, especially in light of President Trump's controversial comments about African countries. Either way, the Grammys are already sending a strong message of diversity.

This year, the seven most nominated artists are all people of color. And "Despacito," the Latin crossover sensation, could make history. It could become the first Spanish language song ever to win Song of the Year -- Chloe Melas, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: That's a great song.

ALLEN: Finally this hour, a sale so good, it made people go a bit nutty.


ALLEN (voice-over): Would you go nutty for Nutella if it was on sale?

George would.

HOWELL (voice-over): I think I would.

ALLEN: The food supermarket chain Intermarche (ph) dropped the price of the chocolate and hazelnut spread by 70 percent. So shoppers came in the hundreds to get their hands on as many jars as they could.

HOWELL: Pushing and shoving to get it. A scene described as riots happened. Across France, one store had to call police after fights broke out. There were no arrests made. Intermarche has apologized to its customers, saying that it was surprised by the demand.

But can you really be surprised?

ALLEN: I know, come on.


ALLEN: I'd be in there, wouldn't you?

Thanks for watching this hour. We're coming right back. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues here on CNN. We'll be right back after the break.