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Massive Wildfires In Northern California; Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall; White House Adviser Doubles Down On Tariffs; Third Lawsuit Filed Against Ohio State Over Sexual Abuse Scandal; Woman Meets Biological Parents 36 Years Later. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 29, 2018 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hello again everyone and thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Officials are warning of explosive, dangerous fire behavior today as wildfires rage in California. This, as we're learning that 12 people are missing and five others are dead as a result of that massive fire near Redding. Among those killed, a woman and her two great- grandchildren who perished when flames engulfed the woman's home. A firefighter and a bulldoze operator have also been killed.

The blaze has burned nearly 90,000 acres and is just 5% contained. CNN's Dan Simon joins us now from Redding. Dan, what are firefighters up against right now?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Fred. The conditions remain absolutely brutal out here. It's very, very hot today, about 105 degrees. I want to show you something behind me. You can see these firefighters behind. They're putting out hot spots because of the potential for more winds tonight. They're concern that you might have some flying debris that could catch other homes in this subdivision on fire.

This is the Lake Redland Estates Subdivision, which absolutely got decimated by this fire. So that just tells you about the ongoing concern that crews have out here, that there could be more fires, even in a neighborhood where the fire has already passed through. So the red flag warning remains in effect at least until tomorrow morning.

The bottom line here, Fred, is really there's no end in sight with these conditions. And a lot of ways, this region feels like it's paralyzed with so many people, thousands of people under this evacuation order. You can't get a hotel room in the area. A lot of the evacuation centers are at maximum capacity as well. And so folks obviously want things to end, but really what crews are saying is that with these conditions, they just don't know when they'll be able to get this fire under control, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then, Dan, you got crews behind you there, you know, trying to douse these hot spots or potential hot spots. But in general, what are the kinds of resources that these firefighters need to try to contain more and to keep themselves safe?

SIMON: Well, there's really only so much they can do. At this point, this fire is 5% contained. A lot of this just depends on the weather and particularly the wind. There are a number of firefighters out here. I mean, 3,500 have been assigned to it. And of course, you have a lot of aircraft that are dousing the flames when they see them erupt.

But really, it just comes down to Mother Nature and the weather cooperating. Obviously, they're trying to do the best they can to put out hot spots when they see them, to put out the flames. You have the hot shot crews trying to build containment lines, but the bottom line is these conditions remain fierce because we're talking about, you know, bone dry conditions and heat. And so no matter how many firefighters you throw at this thing, the challenges remain.

WHITFIELD: And then, Dan, this Carr fire is just one of several wildfires there in that state. You know, what are the distinctions? Are they all kind of, you know, morphing together or are they still staying relatively separate?

SIMON: The fires are separate, you're right. There are a number of fires burning in California and across the West Coast. And so really, it's up to the regional crews, regional management crews to determine how many firefighters they want to throw at any particular fire. This is really the worst one in the state.

As a matter of fact, this fire already ranks among the top 20 destructive fires in California history. So this is already a historic wildfire with more than 500 structures burned. And once again, who knows how long this is going to go on for.

WHITFIELD: Yes, all right. Dan Simon, thank you so much.

So at least three police officers have lost their homes in that fire near Redding, and one of them is Redding's Police Chief, Roger Moore, who is joining me right now on the phone. So, Chief Moore, how are you and your family holding up knowing that you have lost your home?

ROGER MOORE, REDDING'S POLICE CHIEF: Thank you. You know, we're doing good. We're doing better than many. We have over 517 homes that were lost. Many people are displaced here in the city of Redding. As far as my family and I, we are safe and property can be replaced. I know it displaces us a little bit, but with the loss of the two firefighters and our citizens, it pales in comparison.

WHITFIELD: So, Chief, what were the moments like before losing your home?

[15:05:00] Were, you know, your family members, you at the house? Did you have to evacuate? What were the circumstances?

MOORE: Yes. So the fire made an incredible run from Whiskeytown National Park Area on Wednesday, almost touching our city. So Thursday, we were getting ready for evacuations. The winds kicked up like we had spoken about. And these gale force winds that created these fire tornadoes.

So I was actually sitting in my subdivision monitoring it. I had gotten my family out. And I watched it go completely north through the Lake Redding subdivision, which my father's home also was burned, up to my neighborhood and then take out many, many neighborhoods that evening. And that was the worst of it as far as the city goes.

But this fire is unpredictable. It's going in many, many different directions. It's very hard to predict.

WHITFIELD: And thank goodness that your family members, you know, and you are OK. But talk to me about what this is like now. You know, you usually respond, and you're continuing to respond to emergencies. But now you are, you know, straddling both those worlds, now that you all have been victimized like this. Describe for me, if you can, what this feels like for you.

MORRE: Well, of course, we, you know, we signed up to continue working through disasters. My family has good support here. I will continue to remain on duty with my personnel. And I can tell you that it's been overwhelming support from OES and Cal Fire, National Guard, all the highway patrolmen, all our law enforcement officers, and all of our volunteers.

Our city is really coming together to give food, stand-up shelters. And so, we just -- we carry on, and we'll get through this. The fire right now is still moving west and south. And so they're trying to get a containment line on that. But it is a giant fire and it's going to require a lot of resources because of the winds.

WHITFIELD: Well, we wish you and your family the best. And, of course, also counting the blessings that you are all very safe, Redding, California Police Chief Roger Moore. Thank you so much.

All right, let's talk more about this explosive, dangerous fire behavior expected today in California. Joining me right now, CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater. So, Tom, talk to me about the conditions there, why people there are feeling like there is no end in sight?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, there's no rain in the forecast. And the winds are erratic. Fredricka, this has been a terrible couple weeks around the globe. Remember, last week 80 lives were lost in Greece. For over two weeks, fires have been burning in Sweden. They don't typically have fires like this up by the Arctic Circle. In Ontario, Northeastern Canada, there are 29 large fires and 19 are out of control.

It's the erratic winds and a lot of this is topography. Some of this is the drought. Notice where the drought is, southern plains all the way through the desert southwest, as you would typically find this. But you're starting to see where the fires are really starting to flame up. 89 large fires, we'll concentrate on, of course, the three big ones in California.

The Carr fire doubled in its size Friday night into Saturday morning. Now, a lot of this is because when it massively grows like this, it produces its own wind, its own weather. And the winds were just erratic. And when you have these slopes, say a 30-degree slope, and fire may travel uphill about 24 miles an hour. But the more severe that degree, say a 40-degree slope, it's almost up to 50 miles per hour. And so, there are several valleys and, of course, all these ranges that are producing this wildfire, if you will.

The smoke is another issue now. Starting to see large areas from Central and Southern Oregon and most of Central California where the air pollution and air quality is so bad. You're starting to see some go into medical treatment to find out what's going on with the eyes burning and the throats. But let's break these down.

Carr fire, over 89,000 acres scorched. Only 5% contained, 3,500 firefighters. They've got a squadron of about 17 water dropping helicopters. So they have been able to get a little bit of a buffer on that. The Cranston fire, 13,000 acres, that's the one that prompted a rare closure of Yosemite National Park. And, of course, Ferguson is up to 30% containment.

So there's a lot going on. The problem is we have nothing in our favor. Triple-digit temperatures, the winds are gusty and out of control and erratic. We're in a moderate drought. No rain in the forecast. And think about this, I mean, even the fires in Oregon, Fredricka, Seattle's typical high temperature is 78 degrees and they're going to be in the low 90s for the next couple days. Wish I had better news.

WHITFIELD: Our hearts are going out to all the folks there. Tom Sater, thank you so much.

SATER: Sure.

WHITFIELD: All right. Threats of another US government shutdown, President Trump making his case to fund the border wall ahead of the September budget deadline. But how will that play out in November's midterm elections? And later, free trade or tariffs? The rest of the world is watching, so why is the White House saying targeted tariffs are now OK?

[15:10:00] We'll talk about that coming up.


WHITFIELD: It's the final sprint to the midterms. In just 100 days, voters will send a strong message on President Trump's first two years in office. Trump sticking to what fires up his base, teeing up the immigration issue. He's now threatening a government shutdown if Congress does not fund his long-promised border wall and is already pointing the blame on Democrats.

This new shutdown threat happening as the government's deadline to reunite separated children with their families has come and gone. More than 700 children still have not been reunited. CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez joins us live from New Jersey near where President Trump is spending the weekend. So tell us more about Trump's border threat. [15:15:06] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. President Trump wants his border wall by any means necessary. Here's the tweet this morning that signaled that he was ready to potentially start a government shutdown over this. He writes, quote, "I would be willing to shutdown government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for border security, which includes the wall, must get rid of lottery, catch and release, et cetera, and finally go to a system of immigration based on merit."

Fred, we have been here before. Last year around September, Congress had to start passing continuing resolutions all the way to the beginning of 2018 because they couldn't agree on a budget, President Trump wanting funding for his border wall. I want you to listen to something the President said at that point back then.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: If we don't change the legislation, if we don't get rid of these loopholes where killers are allowed to come into our country and continue to kill, if we don't change it, let's have a shutdown. We'll do a shutdown.


SANCHEZ: Deja vu, Fred. I wanted to point out to another tweet the President sent out this morning. He writes in part, quote, "Congress must act on fixing the dumbest and worst immigration laws anywhere in the world. Vote R, R for Republican", the President trying to make this an issue in the midterm elections.

Though, we should point out, not all Republicans are on the same vote in terms of a threat to shutdown the government. Just this week, we know the President met with the Republican leadership, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And they discussed how appropriations bills were moving forward at a steady clip in a bipartisan fashion.

Sources close to the Republican leadership indicate that they were trying to push the idea to the President, that a shutdown would not be necessary. Sources say, the President was receptive to that message. Obviously on twitter this morning, though, he is still threatening one, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez, thanks so much. So the court- ordered deadline to reunite children separated from their families at the border is now in the rearview mirror. One out of three children Remain separated from their parents with no clear indication when they will be reunited.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us now near the US Mexican border in McAllen, Texas. So, Kaylee, you know, what is the latest?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, in the past couple of days, the government has been patting itself on the back, saying they've reunified all families eligible for reunification by that court-ordered deadline. But as you mentioned, that still leaves 711 children at the government's last tally who have been separated from their families who have not been reunited because they're deemed ineligible for reunification.

And no two family stories are the same. And in the course of covering this story, in the bigger picture, the common threads have been that of confusion, frustration, chaos and incredible challenges in communication. This story best incapsulated today by the story we're learning of a woman who we'll call Alejandra.

About a month and a half ago, she and her six-year-old daughter crossed the border coming here from their home country of Honduras, looking to escape gang violence there. They were detained and separated. Ten days ago, Alejandra was given release paperwork and said that day she would be reunified with her daughter. But today she is still in detention here in Texas. Her daughter still in New York and she can't get answers as to why they're in this limbo.

Now, Health and Human Services telling her daughter's attorney a red flag has been raised in the child's case, but again no answers as to what that means or how to challenge those red flags. HHS not willing to discuss cases specifically with us, but a spokesperson telling CNN today, quote, "Parents in ICE custody that have not yet been reunited with their child are a result of concerns over safety on parentage. ORR, that's the Office of Refugee Resettlement, is working with HHS to evaluate if a parent eligible for reunification on a case-by-case basis and will continue to put the safety of children first during this process."

So as I said, no two families' stories are alike. And we're reminded that timing is everything for these families. Alejandra says if she would have known she would have been separated from her daughter, she never would have come here in search of a better life. But just yesterday I met another mother and daughter. They traveled here for a month from El Salvador. They crossed the border four days ago. They were detained, never separated.

Yesterday, I saw them get on a bus heading to Indianapolis to meet with family. Fred, they're now there awaiting their first court date. No two stories are alike here, Fred, but the confusion that so many are experiencing, the frustration and the chaos, it continues.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kaylee Hartung, thanks so much in McAllen, Texas. All right.

Joining me right now, Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun Times. Good to see you, Lynn.


[15:20:00] WHITFIELD: So, you know, when news of family separations first broke, there was a lot of outrage on both sides of the aisle. Is it the feeling that outrage has subsided, or might this still be a potential ballot box issue come November?

SWEET: Well, that's a good question, Fred, because the answer is mainly on a case-by-case basis. I don't think as long as families are separated it's going to go away as an issue. As we know in this Trump White House, every day can bring a whole new tsunami of news. But here's why it won't go away.

These are very human stories. And they are taking place in Congressional districts throughout the nation. This is not now just a border story. For every House member in a big race, that means this may be part of their campaign, even if it's not on the front pages anymore, you know. So there's a few ways to go about it.

Look at the human stories your reports just described. Those are stories that have high political impact. And then you go to the competence of the Trump White House for carrying out this policy.

So no matter what you think about the policy, you do have to say that the way this was carried out is poor to bad to unbusiness like, to unseemly, going to this core matter that you separated children from families and you separated them and didn't even have a record of what child was going where in the beginning, making a bad situation worse.

All of these are thinks that are political ad, political test messages that become messages. And no matter how many tweets the president sends out, it will not diminish this as a campaign issue in a lot of many places because now we're less than a 100 days.

WHITFIELD: So the President via tweet and even in a recent rally, you know, he's focusing on the border wall issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the President was willing to be patience for that kind of funding. Listen.


PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We walked the President through our strategy for appropriations before the fiscal year. He agreed with our strategy. So we think we have a unified strategy to make sure that we can get as many appropriation bills done as possible. As far as the wall is concerned, we've gotten some wall funding already under way. That is become funded. But I think it's not a question of if, it's a question of when. And the President is willing to be patients to make sure we get what we need so we can get that done.


WHITFIELD: Patience. Well, if you look at the tweets, you know, from the President this morning, it doesn't necessarily sound like he's being too patient about it all. So, where is the disconnect here?

SWEET: Well, the disconnect is in a few places. President Trump -- we've been at this juncture before where Congress has been willing to put some money in for a wall. And then, Trump says I want all the money up front. Well that, even in the best of times, it's very hard to get full project funding in a multiyear project.

Look at these infrastructure projects that, you know, are spread across years that you never get all the money up front. And then there's the core issue Mexico was supposed to pay for this wall. Where is that discussion? Now, this is something that Democrats will talk about, even if Republicans don't want to. I mean, look at the sound bite you just ran from Paul Ryan. He didn't factor in that we'll appropriate money and then what, we're silent on the Mexico pledge. But it does show that Democrats are willing to put up more money for border security, and the wall and other places in order to get compromise on the broader immigration issues.

WHITFIELD: All right. Lynn Sweet, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.

SWEET: And thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. The White House's chief economic adviser says tariffs are OK, but only if they're targeted. So what do his fellow Republicans have to say about that?

[15:23:48] We'll ask a former economic adviser to President Reagan, ask what he thinks.


WHITFIELD: President Trump's top economic adviser is doubling down on tariffs. Larry Kudlow, who in the past has referred to tariffs as regressive, was asked on CNN's STATE OF THE UNION if he now agrees with the President, who recently tweeted tariffs are the greatest.


LARRY KUDLOW, TRUMP'S ECONOMIC ADVISER: You know, if they're targeted for good purpose, as for China, I think the answer is absolutely yes. That's always been my view. Most free traders agree China has not played by the rules, and the trading system is broken, largely because of them.

Let me say this. The president has adopted a view with which I completely agree. He's a free trader. And he wants to have no tariffs.


WHITFIELD: I want to bring in Art Laffer, he is an Economist and also was Adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Ben Stein, also an economist who worked for President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford. Good to see you both.


WHITFIELD: All right. So art, you first, the President argues these tariffs are a short-term pain for a long-term gain and that tariffs are the greatest. Do you agree?

LAFFER: No, I don't think tariffs are the greatest. But they may be a good strategic plan for getting China to come to the negotiation table. And to renegotiate zero tariffs-zero non-tariff payers. You know, China has been recalcitrant on this issue. And it should be lowering its tariffs. They should be more free trade than they are. They shouldn't steal intellectual property. And if this strategy brings us to zero tariffs or much lower tariffs, less trade restrictions, I'm fully in support.

And Larry Kudlow knows this all very, very well, is one of my best friends. And believe me when I tell you, he's arguing the good cause internally and he's just phenomenal.

[15:30:08] WHITFIELD: So, Ben, how do you see it?

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Well, tariffs are such a complicated issue. It's almost unbelievable. Adam Smith, the father of economics, said tariffs are a bad thing, we should have free trades. But just in recent years, a great, great genius certainly before his death. Paul Samuelson said, sometimes we do need tariffs. There are countries like China that do require tariffs.

So I think there are key words there. If targeted properly against countries like China, I think they can work very well. Targeting them against countries like Canada and Mexico, very, very grave doubts about that. But China is very much an outlier in terms of trade and does need some work.

WHITFIELD: And so, Art, do you see that targeting, you know, China could ultimately bring the best benefits for the US?

LAFFER: I do. I think it's sort of humorous today, though. If I may bed side there, he is tariffs (inaudible) day off. Look at tariffs exactly like the Laffer curve, as an example of the Laffer curve effect, that student the drooling on the table top there, Ben, if you remember.

STEIN: Oh I remember.

LAFFER: Now, I think it can work with China. I think it can work with the EU. As long as it's done correctly, Trump has told me personally several occasions that he's a free trader. He is totally a free trader. And this is a tactic for him to get the negotiations to bring those tariffs down.

And if he does that, it's a miracle. It'll lead to a phenomenal increase in prosperity, just the way it deed under Kennedy, and under Reagan as well by the way. And I would be very happy if that were the case. And Larry Kudlow, I put 100 percent been on the quality of Larry Kudlow's work.

WHITFIELD: And, Ben, we've heard from farmers who are saying right now they are hurting. President Trump says he has that $12 billion bailout to farmers. You know, and that it's forthcoming. Is that just a form of welfare? Is it welcome? Is it a short-term or a band-aid fix as I've heard some farmers say?

STEIN: I don't know exactly what it is. I think it would depend on what countries are involved. If it's aimed at Canada, look, we already have pretty darn good agricultural tariff situation with Canada. Not perfect by any means but pretty darn good. But I don't like the idea of farmers suffering and $12 billion coming from the taxpayers to help the farmers is a very questionable idea to me.

But I think we definitely are not being treated fairly in terms of our agricultural exports. If Mr. Trump can make progress on that, God bless his soul. Let's try to handle this in the most low-key possible way. It doesn't do any good to slap these people across the face and say we're going to beat you to a pulp until you surrender. I think it would be a lot better if we said to these people, we want to work together with you, especially Canada.

I mean, Canada, for God sakes, is our best friend in the whole world. I don't think we ought to be hurting them.

WHITFIELD: So, Art, the economy overall. We heard, you know, that the President be very excited about this 4.1% growth just, you know, in the second quarter. Do you see this as temporary, or do you see that there's, you know, potentially some real movement to the future with this kind of growth?

LAFFER: It's a lot better having 4.1% for that quarter than it is a much lower number. Let me put it that way. And temporary and long- lived are very funny concepts. I'm much better at forecasting the past than the future.

But let me just say that with the right policies in place under Ronald Reagan, which had the first two years were disastrous, but in the next 18 months, the US economy under Reagan, from January 1st, 1983 to June 30th, 1984, 18 months, we grew at 12% in real terms, an 8% per annual rate. That's a very, very large increase in output.

Kennedy did the same thing with the same types of policies that Trump has. Clinton did the same thing. He did a great economy under Clinton, I voted for him twice. And he did a great job with good economic policies as well. So am I thinking that this is going to be a longer term solution? Yes, I do. But I'm not sure. It can obviously go sideways at any time. But it sure better having a 4.1 percent this quarter than it is a much lower number.

WHITFIELD: Ben, short-term, long-term?

STEIN: I think long-term it's going to work out fine. Mr. Trump is a person who gives the impression as the Chinese saying being -- working in the realm of chaos, but in the event things get to be fairly orderly. By the way, the Kennedy round of tariff cuts were not in action until after Kennedy died. So you can't really give Kennedy too much credit for that.

But I think Mr. Trump is pursuing the right thing. I would like him to do it in a quieter, more diplomatic way. But I'd like for him to do a lot of things in a quieter, more diplomatic way.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ben Stein, Art Laffer, we'll leave it right there. Thank you thanks so much.

LAFFER: Thank you, Fred. Thank you very much.

STEIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Accusations of decades of abuse and now Ohio State University facing tough questions and lawsuits over allegations about a former doctor's alleged sexual assaults on athletes.

[15:35:09] We'll get the latest on the investigation coming up.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. A third lawsuit has been filed against Ohio State University accusing the school of ignoring sexual misconduct by a team doctor.

[15:40:01] More than 100 former students have reported firsthand accounts of abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss. He died by suicide in 2005. The university announced in April that it is investigating the allegations against Strauss.

Edward Sutelan is Editor-in-Chief of The Lantern at Ohio State, good to see you, joining us from Washington. So what can you tell us about this latest accusation and lawsuit?

EDWARD SUTELAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE LANTERN AT OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes. So in the latest lawsuit filed against Ohio State basically comes from a number of different plaintiffs. In each of the three previous ones, they've all been class action. This one has been led by someone named Steve Snyder-Hill who claims that when he was a student at Ohio State, he went to a physical with Dr. Strauss. And during the physical, he was abused by Strauss.

Afterward, he then went to the director of Student Health Services, Ted Grace, and complained to him about these accusations. Now, these was -- and he said that -- he said there was no action taken after that. That Grace took the side of Strauss.

Now, the lawsuit also cites that Ohio State knew as early as 1978 when Strauss was first hired that complaints had been made suggesting sexual abuse from the doctor. So in a number of these allegations, it's always claimed that Ohio State had knowledge of and had received complaints of the sexual abuse from the doctor. These are ones that go into more specific detail.

WHITFIELD: So how is that documented? I mean, how does the university or how is it able to reflect, you know, what its response was at the time and now?

SUTELAN: Yes, it's tough to say. One of the biggest issues that Ohio State has run into is the fact that a lot of these documents aren't necessarily kept for too long. Much of the investigation has been done sort of through witnesses. And it's sort of just trying to piece together different things, you know, like Ted Grace is no longer with the university.

They've also talked now with recently with more than 100 former student-athletes and students who were abused by Strauss. So at least for right now, there's not a ton of documentation that they necessarily can comb through, at least that I'm aware of. And it's mostly been just going through old witnesses and talking to them about it.

WHITFIELD: So Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan was a wrestling coach during that time of this alleged abuse, you know, carried out by Dr. Strauss. But some of the accusers say Jordan knew about the abuse or at least should have known. Listen to how he responded in a Fox News interview earlier this month.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: It's false. I mean, I never saw, never heard of, never was told about any type of abuse. Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than people come up talking about abuse. No one ever reported any abuse to me. If they had, I would have dealt with it. And what bothers me the most is the guys that are saying this thing, I know they know the truth. I know they do.


WHITFIELD: So does that suffice or is this still a problem? Is the school even responding to his tenure there and any, you know, correlation or knowledge of this?

SUTELAN: Yes. I mean, with Jim Jordan, there have been a lot of wrestlers who have come forward and said that during his tenure as an assistant coach there that he knew. There also have been several who have come to his defense and say he did not know about the allegations. You know, it's one of those things, again, there's not a ton of hard evidence necessarily at the moment to say, at least that I'm aware of, to say that he for sure know, he for sure did not know.

What we do know now is that, several people, you know, have come forward saying, you know, of course he knew, he was an assistant coach at the time. All the coaches knew. And several others have come out saying, you know, well, he did not know.

What we do know about the coaching staff of the wrestling team, the head coach, Russ Hellickson, did know and he complained several times to the university. Specifically, he said that there was, I believe he called it a cesspool of deviancy at the Larkins Hall, which is -- was at that time the recreational facility, students would use it. The wrestlers would use it.

So he was aware of allegations against Strauss of sexual abuse, and he did bring those up to the university, requesting that his wrestling team be moved from Larkins Hall to some place more private. And based on all the documents that I've seen and based on previous lawsuits and what Russ Hellickson has said, the university did not do anything about his claims. They essentially just kept them in Larkins Hall.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, these lawsuits ongoing now with this newest one being filed. Ed Sutelan, thank you so much. It is a disturbing story all the way around, all right. Also very disturbing, babies taken from their parents, put up for adoption without consent.

[15:45:04] And now, some of those taken away as infants are finding their biological parents decades later, their stories coming up.


WHITFIELD: They are called children of silence, babies stolen from their parents during, in Chile rather, during a dictatorship in the '70s and '80s and sold to adoption agencies in the US. But now, those babies are all grown up, and they are looking for the families that they say never wanted to give them up.

[15:50:01] CNN's Rafael Romo followed one woman as she went back to meet her biological parents for the first time in this exclusive report.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There were no words. Just tears of joy. This is the hug that Silvia Beatriz Cordova wishes she could have given her daughter 36 years ago.

ALISA CLARE COHEN, STOLEN AS A BABY: I've been waiting my whole life to find my mother.

ROMO: Alisa Clare Cohen grew up in the United States with her adoptive parents. Cohen says they were always forth coming about her adoption and the country she came from.

COHEN: And the story I was told was that my family had essentially never meant to keep me.

ROMO: But she says she always wondered if she had truly been abandoned as her adoption documents state. She contacted the Chilean authorities in February to ask for help in finding her biological parents. She got the answers she was hoping for. Her biological parents were still alive and very eager to meet her. Her biological mother says she never intended to give her up for adoption.

SILVIA BEATRIZ CORDOVA (through translation): No, no, no. Never, never. I had already made a bassinet for her. I made it myself. I made it when I learned I was in the third month of my pregnancy.

ROMO: Cordova says she had a difficult labor and nearly died.

CORDOVA: I saw her when she was born and didn't see her again. I was hospitalized for three to four months.

ROMO: During that time she and her husband and other members of the family asked the employees at the state run hospital about her daughter, but they never found her again. Chile was living under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and Cordova and her a family feared that asking too many questions would put them in danger. COHEN: With the politics at that time and adoption not being regulated until years after I was adopted, and even looking at the social worker who processed my adoption, there are a lot of things, elements of it that were just incomplete and inconsistent with what I was told.

ROMO (on-camera): Chilean government officials today say there with so many questionable adoptions back then that the authorities now have a name for babies like Alisa. They are called "children of silence". They are babies who were taken away from their biological parents in the '70s and '80s, in many cases, without their consent or knowledge, and given to adoptive parents. Those children are now in their 30s and 40s and asking about the origins and about a secret that was kept from them for four decades.

CNN has documented several adoptions like these, and including that of Travis Oliver who was also raised by American adoptive parents, but he did not meet his biological parents until he was 41 years old.

TRAVIS OLIVER, STOLEN AS A BABY: I was wanted. You know, I was not given up willingly like, you know, I thought for all these years. So that makes my heart feel wonderful.

ROMO: In 2015, Chilean authorities name the special prosecutor to begin investigating a list of these so-called irregular adoptions, a list that is reported to include more nearly 600 families. Constanza del Rio heads an organization that helps families find each other, and has an even larger list.

CONSTANZA DEL RIO, DIRECTOR, NOS BUSCAMOS: We have 3,000 people looking for them. And these are adopted people and families that looking for these babies that were now, and they were stolen from them.

ROMO: She says that during those decades, there were entire mafia stealing babies from impoverished families to profit from the sale while the Pinochet government looked the other way or simply ignored the victims.

DEL RIO: Who is responsible for this? Doctors and the midwives and social assistants that were looking for poor people to sold their kids, because we need to understand that these kids were sold. This is not for good, and this wasn't for a good thing. They were mafia selling babies to the -- outside Chile.

ROMO: There will always be unanswered questions, the hospital where Alisa Clare Cohen was born no longer exists and the same goes for the adoption agency. But for now, it doesn't matter.

How do you feel right now?

COHEN: Happy, very happy.

ROMO: Her adoptive parents passed away a few years ago and so she says her Chilean family and adopted sister are all she's got.

COHEN: It is my mom. It is my family. You know, I think it is just -- you always want to know where you came from.

[15:55:09] ROMO: Neither one of them speaks the other's language, but the love between the mother and the child they say knows no barriers. Rafael Romo, CNN Santiago, Chile.


WHITFIELD: Wow. That is powerful. all right.

Shutdown showdown, President Trump threatens another government shutdown unless Democrats help secure funding for the border wall he wants. It's a familiar tune from the President but will it play with the midterm elections and control of Congress hanging in the balance? We'll dig in coming up.