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Carr Fire In California Continues And Only Five Percent Has Been Contained; Mueller Is Scrutinizing Trump's Tweets; Trump's Attorney Rudy Giuliani Is Confirming That Joint Defense Agreement Between Trump And Cohen Is No Longer In Effect; Today Was Dr. Mark Hausknecht's Funeral; Police: "High Profile" Slain Doctor Was Targeted; Five Killed, Thousands Evacuate Raging California Fires; Alaska Residents Divided Over Oil Drilling Plans; Proposed Changes To ESA Consider Economic Impact Of Conservation. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 28, 2018 - 20:00   ET



[20:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: It's 8:00 eastern, 5:00 in the evening in Redding, California. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. So glad you can be with us.

We have some breaking news. It's devastating news for a family in Northern California. Their missing loved ones did not survive the deadly wild fires. They are 5-year-old Emily Roberts, 4-year-old James Roberts and their 70-year-old great grandmother, Melody Bledsoe died when flames engulfed their home in Redding, California Thursday night. So that brings the death toll from the Carr fire to five.

The family posted this statement on a Gofund Me page. With a heavy heart we are sad to inform you all that Mel and the great grand babies were confirmed to be in the home. Ed is the surviving great grandfather. He has lost everything important to him. His whole world has been ripped away from him.

CNN's Dan Simon joins me now in Keswick, California.

Dan, what more can you tell us about this family?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Ana. These are the first confirmed civilian deaths associated with this fire. We know that 70- year-old Melody Bledsoe was watching her great grandchildren, 5-year- old Emily and 4-year-old James when the fire came through their house. We know that Bledsoe called her husband at work saying that he needed to come home quick because the fire was getting close.

That was the last anyone had heard from them. The family then searched area hospitals, search evacuation shelters to see if anyone had seen them. Then they got word this afternoon that their bodies had been recovered that home where Bledsoe was watching her two great grandchildren. And another family member saying on Facebook that Bledsoe did everything she could to protect their children including hovering over them with a wet blanket. Quote "grandma did everything she could to save them." Ana.

CABRERA: It is just so, so heart breaking, Dan.

A bigger picture. There are thousands of people now evacuating and we are hearing reports of looting in some of these evacuated neighborhoods? What have you learned?

SIMON: That's right, Ana. Any time you have situation like this, unfortunately, you always have people trying to take advantage of the situation. And we know that there has been some reports of looting. The chief of police saying that police are patrolling certain neighborhoods and that they have made some arrests.

He is also telling people that if they haven't evacuated yet and that they are going to make sure they take all of their valuables with them just in case a looter wants to come by. But a really unfortunate situation with this tragedy.

CABRERA: All right. Dan Simon, thank you very much.

To learn more about this family or if you want to help, I have tweeted out link to their Gofund Me page. Just me @AnaCabrera.

Now the Carr fire, it's only five percent contained. It has already claimed the lives of five people. These flames are being fueled by high temperatures, erratic winds, heavy vegetations as you can see here. Officials say more than 3400 fire personnel are battling wildfires with more than 300 engines and 17 helicopters. But again, just five percent containment right now.

I want to bring in meteorologist Gene Norman in our CNN weather center.

Gene, what does mother nature have in store? What is the outlook for this fire fight?

GENE NORMAN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Ana, there is no break in site, unfortunately, from the very destructive conditions that we have been dealing with.

I want to point them out to you. First all, of the big area of high pressure that's been baking the west, even as far north as Seattle and Portland, they have been setting high temperature records. And very little will penetrate that big dome of heat.

There are some big storms that are firing off in the front range, even we have reports tornadoes in Wyoming of all places today. But until this big dome of high pressure moves, we are not going to see much relief in the way of lower temperature.

Another couple of days of high heat with a combination of heat watches, advisories and warnings that stretch all the way from California back up into Washington and again effecting about 13 million people.

Talking about triple digits for Sacramento, Fresno, and Las Vegas, even in Seattle. Again, low 90s may not seem like triple digits but it is hotter than they are expecting for this time of year and that's a big, big challenge in those areas.

Overall we're looking at 89 fires that have been tracked at least, large fires in an area that's had a lot of droughts. Indicated on the map here by the yellow, orange and red colorings, where you see those flame symbols indicating where the fires are located. And in those dry conditions, these fires are spreading very quickly and very broadly.

I want to point this out to you again. The Carr fire only five percent contained. That's about 125 square miles, which is about the size of the city of Kansas city, believe it or not. And we can see that smoke stretching for a long way.

This is the smoke in clouds, a scene from the visible satellite. You see the plume and how much of the sky it covers. That was yesterday. I'm going to show you what's going on today. Pretty much the same story as that plume moves through.

The other challenge, of course, is that these fires are creating their own weather patterns. You probably seen the dramatic pictures of the firenado. I want to quickly break down how that is occurring.

Of course, you have the heat from the fire. That allows temperatures to rise very, very quickly and the air rushes in where the fire is occurring. And what will develop is what we call a firenado. Basically a tornado made of fire and just like a tornado spreads debris and spews debris around, the firenado does the same thing.

Embers from the fire within are then spread out and cause new blazes to occur. That's one of the reasons why the five percent containment level is there, Ana. No chance for rain, no chance for (INAUDIBLE) these triple digit temperatures. More misery out there in California. Hopefully, the firefighters can get a handle out there or at least try to make some headway but the weather certainly isn't helping.

[20:06:12] CABRERA: And you just can't get beyond that. Mother Nature is so powerful.

Gene Norman, thank you for that update.

We are also following some breaking news in the investigation into President Trump's former attorney and long-time fixer, Michael Cohen.

Tonight, Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani is confirming that joint defense agreement between Trump and Cohen is no longer in effect. Now that agreement would have allowed attorneys for both men to discuss aspects of the case. That is no longer happening. This news comes just one day after CNN exclusively reported that Cohen might be looking to make a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Sources tell us Cohen now alleges knew in advance about that infamous Trump tower meeting back in 2016. That's when top Trump campaign officials met with Russians who are promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Cohen's claim that Trump knew in advance about this meeting would

completely contradict repeated denials by Trump an his legal team even the White House secretary who have said Trump had no idea.

With us to discuss this breaking development, two attorneys, Michael Moore, is a former U.S. attorney and Renato Mariotti is a CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.

So Renato, Michael Flynn, I recall, ended his joint defense agreement with Trump before he flipped. Is that what Cohen is about to do, do you think?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's certainly what Cohen wants to do. He is telegraphed pretty obviously. It's -- he's not being coy at all about his new found desire to turn on the President. The question is just whether prosecutors are interested in his cooperation, whether he can hammer out a deal. But it definitely appears headed in that direction. At this point Cohen has been, I think publicly critical of the President both himself and through his attorney.

CABRERA: Michael, this investigation into Cohen is being led by the southern district of New York, not Mueller. So how would he be involved in any possible plea deal?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: YOU know, these things don't happen in a vacuum. In Mueller's case, just - it is just if you have prosecutor in one district handling on a case and they had a cooperating witness who is charged with a crime in another district, there would be some discussion back and forth about what they might have expect in sort of a timing of pleas and terms of plea agreements, cooperation, that type of thing.

So nothing is happening as happen in a vacuum. I think it was a smart thing to have the case handled in the southern district of New York. I don't think there any doubt and there shouldn't have been any doubt some period of time that Cohen was going to flip. I mean, we have been talking about that now for some time and here he goes, you know.

What's interesting and I think what we will find is that Bob Mueller probably already has the corroborating information that is going to be necessary to move forward on Cohen's testimony. That is, my guess, is he has looked at phone records. He may have matched the anonymous number that was dialed off thereof. He has probably talked to other witnesses. They may have looked at logs about who was in the building that time or who is the building before hand and maybe looked to see, you know, at emails. We don't know. Maybe Hope Hicks had some information about it and we just don't know yet.

So my guess is that corroboration piece has already been made. And now, you know, on to the races for Michael Cohen who at least is getting good legal advice to watch out for himself because Trump's pretty clearly indicated that he is going to watch out for nobody but himself.

CABRERA: Renato, I want to ask you more about the idea of corroborating evidence. Because sources say Cohen doesn't have any part of such as recordings, just his word. But he says other people were in that room when Trump was told about this meeting. Does someone else need to corroborate Cohen's account for that evidence to be strong enough?

MARIOTTI: Well, it certainly wouldn't hurt. And what prosecutors typically would do is try to question all of those people who are in the room. And even though a lot of those people are obviously going to be very loyal to the President, you know, as we are starting to see in this investigation, when you are facing potential prison time, when you are questioned under oath, when you have your own lawyer and have a grand jury subpoena or in for questioning with the FBI, that changes things.

And with that many people in the room, it's very hard for me to believe that all of them are going to stand with the President and not, you know, not be willing to talk about what happened. So I would expect at some point we are going to see somebody else in the room talk about what happened. And the question will be how close their account is to Cohen and then as Michael said what other corroborating evidence there is whether it's phone calls or other things that can help corroborate at least some portion of what Cohen is saying.

[20:10:52] CABRERA: And we know that Mueller has already gotten a couple of people for lying. And that has been the undoing of some of these people who have gone before Mueller's team of investigators.

MOORE: That's right. And remember there's nothing unusual about this case as it relates to a case. Rats don't stay on a sinking ship. And that's why you see in drug cases time and time again. People involved in the drug conspiracy start telling on people on up the chain.

This is just another case like that. People, when they start to feel the noose tighten and they start to feel ship go under water, they are going to start jumping and talk in to. So they are not going to stand with the President. If they are beginning to recognize that in fact Bob Mueller and his team or the southern district of New York has information that is now going to be used against them. And so we are seeing that with Michael Cohen. We may see that with other people in the room and who have information that they will share.

CABRERA: Trump's legal strategy at this point seems to be to paint Cohen now as liar.

MOORE: Sure.

CABRERA: But that is not what they have always said. I want you guys to listen to Rudy Giuliani. A couple of months ago compared to now.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: He doesn't have any incriminating evidence about the President or himself. The man is an honest, honorable lawyer.

I expected something like this from Cohen. He has been lying all week and you know - he has been lying for years, I mean.


CABRERA: He is so honest. Now he has been lying for years. Well, another one of Trump's former lawyers spoke out about this, specifically the first sound bite where Giuliani praises Cohen. Here's Jay Goldberg.


JAY GOLDBERG, TRUMP'S FORMER LAWYER: I knew as soon as Giuliani spoke that he was damaging Trump's case immeasurably.

CABRERA: Immeasurably.

Goldberg: Immeasurably. No defense orients his lawyer would say that.


CABRERA: Renato, has the damage been done? Can Giuliani have it both ways?

MARIOTTI: I got to say Giuliani has done a lot of damage to the President's case. He really is somebody who would do a lot better saying much less on television.

You know, I am a legal analyst for CNN, but when I represent clients in cases, I'm very thoughtful and careful about saying anything to the press about a case. And often, the best strategy for a lawyer is to say as little as possible to the press about a case no matter how high profile it is. And a lot of the people connected with this entire set of legal cases would do better saying a little bit less and doing little bit more.

And I will say for Mr. Giuliani, most of the things he has uttered have ultimately been problematic to the President's case. From the time he was talking about what Trump knew regarding Stormy Daniels payment, to waving privilege over the recording by discussing the contents of the recording of the Trump-Cohen recording, to him praising Cohen's credibility. He really should be much more careful about what he says.

CABRERA: Well, it will be interesting to hear what he says tomorrow morning. Because I know he is scheduled to go on a couple of Sunday morning shows. So, we will listen and we will have you guys back and we can continue the discussion.

Renato Mariotti and Michael Moore, thank you as always for being with us.

MOORE: It is good to be with you.

CABRERA: Just ahead we have learned special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at the President's tweets in what could be an obstruction of justice cases. Will Trump's twitter use become his unravelling? We will discuss next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[20:18:20] CABRERA: This week we learned special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating a new subject, the President's twitter feed. According to "The New York Times" Mueller is scrutinizing Trump's tweets. A negative statements directed at attorney general Jeff Sessions and former FBI director James Comey. The Times reporting, Mueller also wants to question Trump about his tweets.

I want to bring in CNN Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley to talk more about Trump's possible twitter troubles.

Douglas, legal experts telling "The New York Times" quote "prosecutors who lack one slam dunk piece of evidence in obstruction cases often search for a larger pattern of behavior. And Douglas, you said just a while ago that twitter could become the President's unravelling. Is this what you have in mind?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. Because, you know, Donald Trump has used twitter as an effective political tool. It is his got up the day (ph). He has able to do massive amount of spin work on his behalf on his White House on his presidency.

But from a legal point of view he could be in deep jeopardy. I mean, we could -- just one piece of a puzzle, one tweet about Jeff Sessions, one comment about Rosenstein and these can end up having a boom rang effect. It is now going to be part of this investigation of both the southern district and the Mueller investigation that these tweets now will be part of court room type of proceeding. They are evidence that he is kicking forward for people. And so I think it has been a -- the politically expedient the tweets are good but from a legal point of view it could be a disaster.

CABRERA: Any historical precedent for this? Other president who face potential legal scenarios over what they wrote in letters or other writing?

[20:20:07] BRINKLEY: You know, I got to edit Ronald Reagan's diaries. And what Reagan would do as he was angry about somebody or something, even during the Iran contra period, he put in his handwritten diary and keep it in a sock drawer, you know, so people wouldn't have access to. What Donald Trump is using with his - with twitter is just this kind of impulsive craziness, sometimes at weird hours. Remember early in his presidency, sometimes he do them at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

But it really, most ring, Ana, my Nixon bell the Nixon tapes. People were wondering why didn't Nixon burn the tape? Why keep that kind of record? Where Donald Trump's case he has twitter out there which isn't a tape - isn't anything you can burn because it's already put on the public record. So there's nothing like this sort of unvarnished, unhinged use of social media like Donald Trump's done. And it's going to cause him legal problems.

CABRERA: I want to ask you more about what you touched on just a moment ago. And that is how the president has used twitter to his advantage. I mean, he has said without twitter and that direct unfiltered way he can communicate with his followers, he might not have won anything. Do you think twitter has been more a blessing or a vain for this president?

BRINKLEY: It is a great question. I think it's been a blessing for him. Anytime a President use as new mode of communication and masters it. You know, whether it's FDR using, you know, radio or John F. Kennedy with the press conference, it's a positive.

But what's good for you on the campaign trail isn't necessarily good for being President of the United States. Twitter was a genius tool for Donald Trump running against Hillary Clinton. But once he became President, he needed to have cooled it off to have been a more professional, more Presidential about his use. Instead he continued to be Donald Trump. He didn't have a learning curve with it.

So for example, Ana, when he says that Barack Obama created a felony because he bugged Trump tower. He is accusing a former President on twitter of a felony that he never did. These are starting to pile up to such a degree that it's showing a kind of President that's not stable in his thinking, that's unhinged and often irrational.

CABRERA: And so as a historian, how do you feel about Trump's tweets eventually being stored with writings like Lincoln's Gettysburg address or JFK's ask not what your country can do for you speech?

BRINKLEY: Well, there is a great project for ambitious people, maybe graduate students to do the collective tweets of Donald Trump in a couple of volumes and then you put footnotes to try to explain it. But there's so much fabrication going on, you know.

But these - look, 20 years from now, 50 years from now, his tweets will be seminal primary source of this era because he uses it with such frequency on such a diversity of topics that it will tell us about our popular culture, about our view of money, about our view of the environment, Republican politics. So it's a valuable tool that will be looked at to understand the Trump presidency. But from a legal point of view it's got fangs all over it as you saw it. And Mueller and the southern district may be able to tap into that.

CABRERA: Douglas Brinkley, good to see you. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and giving us a little bit of the historical insight.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Just ahead we have more breaking news.

Back to these fires that have turned deadly in California claiming the lives of two small children, their great grandmother and the fire's just five percent contained. Next, that race to evacuate thousands in time.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[20:28:16] CABRERA: Shock and grief both very high this weekend. More than a week since a well-known doctor was shot dead in broad daylight on his bicycle. Today was Dr. Mark Hausknecht's funeral. His family invited the Houston community to a memorial service earlier. The person who shot the doctor who once treated the elder President Bush has not yet been caught or identified.

CNN's Sonia Moghe is in Houston and joins us now.

Sonia, sad day, obviously for this doctor's family, but the mystery of who done it is still looming over everything. What are police saying today?

SONIA MOGHE, CNN PRODUCER: You know, police aren't saying a lot. They are saying that they don't want to make statements every day on this case. It has been eight days since this incident happened. Because they want to focus on so many of the other gun crimes and other crimes they're dealing with in this city. It's a very large and busy city.

But friends and family saying that they did, you know, get to have a peaceful day saying goodbye to their friend. They are a little frustrated that there hasn't been a gunman caught yet. But they did get to have peace for today for saying goodbye to the man who was by many accounts a peaceful, a fixer in the community, and loving father and husband and friend. We talked to people outside of the funeral who talked about what this loss meant to them.


BRENT SHEMAN, HAUSKNECHT'S FAMILY FRIEND: Just a very down to earth guy. Just so humble and so nice.


MOGHE: Many people talking about how he had recently converted to Buddhism and he, you know, really cared about the environment. Loved grilling and gardening, taking care of his yard. So a lot of people just really grappling with why anyone would want to target this man. That is one thing that police are saying is a high possibility that he might have been targeted.

[20:30:00] CABRERA: Sonia, we know that he, the attacker or believe to be the suspect of this case, was caught on surveillance video. There have been images that have been put out there and yet he is still on the run. What challenges are investigators facing there in Houston?

MOGHE: Well, this is such an interesting case because this man was shot and killed right here in this spot. It's in the middle of a very busy part of Houston. It's called the medical center. There's hospitals all around here. Lots of traffic. He was shot during rush hour and yet the view was partially obstructed because as you can see he was shot right next to a construction scene. The scaffolding sort of blocks part of that view and that construction site had about 500 workers there at the time of his death. People said that they recognize him from this construction site because he would wave all the time and you can see that there are cameras here literally feet away from where he was shot, but they're facing the other direction.

So police have gotten their hands on some surveillance video. We know that they have video of this gunman following Hausknecht closely on bike while he was on his way here. That video is from just a few blocks away. And we know that neighbors have banded together in the streets nearby where that gunman might have fled to try to encourage others to look through their own security camera footage for any other images of the gunman. But right now, police still saying they don't know what the motive us and have not announced an arrest of the suspect.

CABRERA: Sonia Moghe reporting. Thank you very much. We are back in just a moment.

MOGHE: Thank you.


[20:35:53] CABRERA: Back to our breaking news out of California. The Carr fire has claimed three more lives. A woman and her two young great grandchildren, ages 4 and 5. The relative of Melody Bledsoe say her home was quickly over taken by flames. Five people have now lost their lives in this fire. Tonight, the raging inferno is only five percent contained. Hundreds of homes entire neighborhoods have been lost. With little notice, people have been forced to leave everything behind and run. This fire exploded overnight, it nearly doubled incise today. It is an emergency that caught a lot of people by surprise.

Joining us on the phone is the city manager of Redding, California, Barry Tippin. Mr. Tippin, I'm so sorry for what your community is having to go through. I know there are a lot of emotions there right now. You've just left a community meeting. What is the latest information you can share with us?

BARRY TIPPIN, CITY MANAGER, REDDING, CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Ana. Yes, the community meeting, it was conveyed to us that the fire, while it is still very active and it's moving much to the northeast and to the southeast and west, most of the city of Redding has been protected and they're pretty comfortable that they can hold that line but we're still at risk, of course, within the area of west Redding. They also confirmed that in areas of the city that might be able to release and repopulate, that they're working hard with the utility companies to make sure that it's all safe to keep the green light. And as you just notice, they did confirm that they had found the three deceased in their homes.

CABRERA: And the latest numbers we have are there are 38,000 people who have been asked to evacuate, forced to leave everything behind and just run. Where are these people supposed to go?

TIPPIN: Through the Red Cross which is being run jointly by Cal Fire and the National Park Service working through Red Cross have opened up centers, shops to colleges at Simpson university at a cross point church and they are working to open up a fourth, if necessary at high school.

CABRERA: We've also been reporting today about the state of emergency declaration that the president signed. How does that help you on the ground there?

MOGHE: Yes. So in the long run that's going to help in terms of reimbursing the extreme cost of fighting the fire as well as keeping the evacuated neighborhoods protected and restoring the infrastructure and so a lot of that will help to fill those funding gaps that obviously are going to be there. It also provides us access to federal and state resources that we otherwise wouldn't have.

CABRERA: My heart is just so heavy for that great grandmother and the two young children who we've learned are among the victims of this fire. Can you help us understand the circumstances? Obviously, this fire moved so quickly. It was so unpredictable. Talk to us a little bit more about how quickly the conditions changed.

TIPPIN: The fire that came in, it was on the west side of the Sacramento River and it moved actually about five miles overnight from the national park into close to Redding and during the day, it relatively stagnant at the western border of the city of Redding. By about 6:00, it had sparked and it jumped across the river and just flew up one of the hillsides there and took out a number of neighborhoods, some partially, some in total and it just moved rapidly what I hear from the fire individuals is that the fire behavior was that with which they had never seen before. They referred to a fire tornado, for instance, and I think there's been video out there that shows that. And so just extreme fire conditions. And fire behavior that people in the fire service for 30 years have never seen before.

CABRERA: Finally, to wrap this up, what is your message for your community tonight?

TIPPIN: I think really it focuses on two things. Number one is maintain safety today. Stay out of evacuation areas, let the police and fire personnel do what they do best and stay where you're at, house with friends, go to the evacuation centers and also know that we are working very hard to get the city back open and not only immediately repopulate those areas but to set up processes and programs. We're working with the federal government and county to make sure that people can get back to their homes, get their homes rebuilt and reestablish their lives. And so we're here for the long haul.

[20:40:27] CABRERA: We wish you and everyone in that area the very best. Please stay safe. We'll continue to keep you on our thoughts and prayers and hopefully we'll have better news to report very soon. Barry Tippin, the city manager of Redding, California, thank you very much for your time.

TIPPIN: Yes. Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Excuse me. Just ahead, the Trump administration putting a plan for oil and gas exploration in Alaska on a fast track and that news not sitting so well with a lot of people. The legendary Jane Goodall joins us next to discuss here live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[20:45:27] CABRERA: The U.S. government is moving forward and pretty quickly with plans to eventually drill for oil and gas in one of the world's most unspoiled places. I'm talking about Northern Alaska, the vast arctic natural wildlife refuge. The official go ahead to look for oil here came bundled with last year's tax reform bill. Now, contracts have been signed, leases are being negotiated with the goal of someday soon pumping out oil from this so far untouched place that is home to bears and migrating caribou.

CNN's Bill Weir went way above the Arctic Circle to talk to people there who are torn between cultural heritage and the potential goldmine that is literally beneath their feet.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the little hamlet of Kaktovik, Alaska, the only village inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, there are three topics of conversation most days. Polar bears, the weather, and Donald Trump.

Are you a fan of President Trump?

CHARLES LAMPE, KAKTOVIK RESIDENT: Yes, he does good things, you know, he does bad things. I'm grateful that he got that bill passed.

WEIR: December's tax cut bill also opened the Arctic Refuge to drilling and the government is now moving fast to lease 800,000 acres on this pristine coastal plain. This is where the last great caribou herds give birth. A place brimming with life and beauty made all the more fragile by a staggering rise in Arctic temperature.

REPORTER, ITV, BRITAIN: Do you believe in climate change? Do you think it exists?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a cooling and there's a heating. If the ice caps were going to melt they would have been gone by now, but now they're setting records.

WEIR: That is the exact opposite of the truth.

And this time-lapse of NASA satellite data clearly shows how the relentless burning of fossil fuels is melting the Arctic at a record pace, including the oldest, thickest ice seen here in white.

Which is why more and more emaciated Nanook are wandering into town. They need sea ice to make dams and hunt seals and without it, whale scraps are the next best thing.

WEIR: But skinny, hungry polar bears aren't the only warning sign up here. That is the Kaktovic airport and they're moving it away from the coast due, in part, to sea level rise. They're seeing more and more freakish rainstorms in the winter and blizzards in the summer. But at the same time, all the modern creature comforts in this town, from the clinic to the school, were paid for with oil money. And with the promise of fresh millions for their native corporation, most of the folks here are eager to tap into the one product that is changing their land forever.

GLEN SOLOMON, KAKTOVIK RESIDENT: What do we use for whaling? We use gas and oil. What do we use to go hunt caribou? We use gas and oil. We have this right to develop on our own land.

WEIR: A so-called scoping meeting with federal officials lays bare just how emotionally divisive the issue has become.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Think about what's going to happen to this land if there's an oil spill and the response that's going to come along with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for that message. Can we ask where you are from?

WEIR: That loaded question and the tension in the room shows how much resentment there is for outsiders who want to protect the refuge.


CABRERA: That was Bill Weir reporting and I want to bring in someone now who feels so strongly about this potential energy exploration in the arctic that she wrote an open letter to U.S. senators from the global institute that bears her name. These words from Dr. Jane Goodall. "There is compelling scientific evidence as to why it is truly important to protect this place. Around the globe so many indigenous people have been harmed in the name of progress. Let us not have one more tragedy to the list. We have other sources of energy. Please vote against oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

And Dr. Jane Goodall is with us now from Southern England. Dr. Goodall, it is such a pleasurer to have you with us. Thank you for being here. The Trump administration has put this exploration plan on a fast track. Clearly, they're eager to get started. Tell us why this worries you so deeply.

JANE GOODALL, FOUNDER, THE JANE GOODALL INSTITUTE: Well, it looks -- and this, you know, happening in many cases and once these pristine areas are invaded, they'll never come back the same and the stupid thing is that there are other ways of getting you clean, green energy. There's the sun, the wind, there's the fire. We don't have to destroy this very few last (INAUDIBLE) places. We've been following this and been extremely disgust.

[20:50:14] CABRERA: Dr. Goodall, I know you are also a staunch advocate of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. You call it the American law that has been most effective in protecting wildlife from extinction, established in the Nixon presidency in 1973. The Trump administration is thinking about changing key parts of the ESA. Your thoughts on that. GOODALL: Well, my thoughts are that if we're doing anything with that act, we should be strengthening it and not diminishing it, because everywhere, wildlife is under threat. There's destruction of the habitat, there's all this drilling for oil, for gas, and, you know, the logging and all the other ways and we're harming the environment. We've got wildlife trafficking, the illegal trafficking, killing animals to sell them for their meat or tusks and horns. And also for pets and so on and the (INAUDIBLE) and so everywhere, wild animals are under threat and they need more protection, not any lessening of the --

CABRERA: I mean, do you see what's happening right now as more of a bump on the road for the conservation movement and for these animals who are currently protected or is this a real emergency?

GOODALL: Ii think it's a real emergency. It's well accepted that we are in a great extinction, of course, by now. And, you know, some animals are so close to extinction. And we really have to get together to get on what's happening. What will we say about if all contingencies to us (INAUDIBLE) what will you say about our community? About what we are doing to something that is so beautiful, and not only that, but these animals, and other habitats, we need them, too. We need them to provide us our clean air, clean water, and for our own spiritual development.

CABRERA: You know, some of the proposed changes include allowing economic consequences to be considered, at least, when deciding whether to give protected status. And this administration also wants to end treating threatened species the same as endangered. What do you tell this administration and some lawmakers who believe the Endangered Species Act is threatening economic development and American livelihood?

GOODALL: Well, this is an argument that you hear, not just in the United States, but everywhere. IT should be economic development against the environment. And the thing is that the environment is so endangered today that if we don't protect it, then many, many more species will become extinct. And the beauty about it (INAUDIBLE) we need to get together now to protect what's left.

CABRERA: Dr. Jane Goodall, thank you very much for lending us your time and your perspective and your knowledge of this issue. We appreciate it.

GOODALL: Thank you. We must remember, each of these animals is (INAUDIBLE) individual, and they suffer individually, just as we do.

CABRERA: Thank you again.

GOODALL: Thank you.


[20:55:27] CABRERA: The latest episode of the CNN original series "THE HISTORY OF COMEDY" looks at what it takes to be the voice of an animated character. This episode is called "Drawn to Be Funny." Here's a peek.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Voice-over for animated comedy, you need people who can emote through their voice. And standups are some of the best voice of motors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Comedians are very in touch with how they come across, so, I think that skill lends itself to voice acting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The manatee is endangered, and I think it's because it's out of shape. Doesn't a man kind of look like a guest on The Ricki Lake Show?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you got to do is get yourself an education and a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what you're talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're fat, you got to get weight watchers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a lot of blubber to keep me warm in the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever. Talk to my hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The standup comedian, Jonathan Katz created a show called Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist where he would interview comedians in squiggle vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just thought the manatee was such a weird animal, and so I came up with some jokes and I had this voice that went with it. It lent itself to this Dr. Katz bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's some bits from Dr. Katz because they were visual. In fact, I thought the animation was competing with the jokes. Took me a while to realize that we're a team.


CABRERA: Don't miss an all-new "HISTORY OF COMEDY" tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

That's it for me tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. I'll be back tomorrow evening at 5:00 Eastern.

Up next, back-to-back episodes of CNN's "THE 2000s." Good night.