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Carr Fire Grows; Low Humidity Fuels Flames; Trump's Anti-Press Rhetoric; Malaysia Airlines Report; Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 30, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:33] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Six people are now confirmed dead, seven more are missing in the largest of the California wildfires, fed by dry weather and triple digit temperatures. The Carr fire has doubled in size just over the weekend. It now covers more than 95,000 acres. It is only 17 percent contained and continues to threaten thousands of homes and businesses.

Our Dan Simon is in Redding, California, this morning with more.

It's astonishing what has happened and how quickly it has expanded. I know six people dead, including a woman and her two great grandchildren, is that right?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Poppy. I had a conversation with somebody, this is one of the most difficult conversations I've ever had, with a 76-year-old man who is broken after losing the most important people in his life. This is Ed Bledsoe. And he and his wife, Melody, they were raising their two great grandchildren. They had them since birth. Five-year-old James, who they called Junior, and four-year-old Emily.

Now, on Thursday night, Ed left his house around 7:00 just to run a quick errand in town. And then he received a frantic phone call that the flames suddenly were approaching his house. He tried to get back, but he just couldn't. And I'll let Ed pick up the story from there.


ED BLEDSOE, WIFE AND GREAT GRANDCHILDREN DIED IN FIRE: I talked to Junior on the phone until he died. He just kept saying, grandpa -- he said, come get me. He said, come and get me. The fire's coming in the back door. Come on, grandpa. I said, I'm right down the road. He said, come and get us. Emily said, I love you grandpa. And grandma says, I love you grandpa. And then Junior says, I love you, come and get us, come and get us. I said, I'm on my way. My wife was the greatest woman in the world and my grandkids was excellent.


SIMON: Well, as you can imagine, Ed is feeling a tremendous sense of guilt for leaving, but he says that he never got a warning from anybody that the flames were getting close to the house. And that just goes to show you how fast this fire quickly spread through the community.

I can show you where we are right here. We are in the town of Redding. This is Lake Redding Estates. This is just one of the neighborhoods that has been leveled. So many homes have been destroyed. Right now 874 structures are gone.

But fortunately, Poppy, fire crews do say they are now making some progress. Right now they're up to 18 percent contained. That may not sound like a lot, but just 24 hours ago it was just 5 percent. So hopefully crews will continue making some good progress on the lines.


HARLOW: Oh, my God.

Dan Simon, thank you. I can't imagine what it was like talking to that man. Those beautiful children, four and five years old.

Thank you, Dan.

Let's get to Chad Myers in the Severe Weather Center, for more.

Chad, they said that this is -- you know, you heard Dan say this is 18 percent contained. It really -- it doesn't sound like a lot. And you've got this extreme heat, the wind that continues. I mean is there relief in sight?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The good news, Poppy, there is some relief. But the good news is that most of the containment is near the town of Redding, near the city limits there. This firestorm that his family was caught in was in an urban and wild land interface area where trees are backing up right to the neighborhood. And so they really didn't have any warning as the winds gusted out of control.

So right now we're seeing this fire somewhere in the neighborhood of about seven times bigger than the island of Manhattan, not quite as big as all of the boroughs put together, but about 150 square miles to the west of Redding. We still have very dry conditions. It's not going to cool down. The high today will be 104 or 105.

[09:35:12] Now, heat doesn't make fire, but the dryness of the air doesn't allow the plants to absorb any humidity and they just burn very quickly. What we have here, completely covered in smoke. Even air quality advisories for some of the people out there in the valleys as the smoke is being trapped there and it's unhealthy to breathe. Temperatures are going to be in the triple digits. We've had moderate drought and many trees are killed because of pine beetles or whatever other problem they've had out there. So many dead trees burn so quickly here. Not only is it deciduous but also into the evergreens. But when you get dead evergreens, then you get real fuel. The next chance of rain, take a look at this, zero, zero, and zero.


MYERS: Poppy, the next chance of rain for the fires out here won't be until next Tuesday. So the firefighters have to do their jobs and get the fires put down because Mother Nature isn't helping.

HARLOW: Eight days away.

Chad, thank you for the update.

A meeting between President Trump and the publisher of "The New York Times" was supposed to be off the record. Well, then the president tweeted about it. Now it's certainly on the record. We're going to explain exactly what happened, next.


[09:40:26] HARLOW: Welcome back. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And let me be clear, it started as an off the record meeting. Earlier this month, 10 days ago in fact, between President Trump and the publisher of "The New York Times," what he calls often the failing "New York Times." But then the president tweeted about the meeting, putting it all on the record.

"The New York Times" publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, released a statement over the weekend saying he told the president his language, quote, was not just divisive, but increasingly dangerous. He went on to say that he implored him, being the president, to reconsider his broad attacks on journalism. A look at the president's Twitter timeline shows he may not have gotten that message or taken it to heart.

Our senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, joins me now.

So walk me through the back and forth between the president and Sulzberger on this.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: So "The New York Times" says that the White House requested Sulzberger go to the White House and so this meeting actually happened on July 20th.

HARLOW: Right.

DARCY: Sulzberger went to the White House and they apparently discussed Trump's attacks on the media, particularly him labeling the media as the enemy of the people. Sulzberger said in a statement after the meeting, I told Trump that although the phrase "fake news" is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists the "enemy of the people." I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.

So when the president tweeted that they talked about "fake news" and the "enemy of the people," it seems like Sulzberger actually was taking him to task on those labels.

HARLOW: Well, right, because just to be clear here, to clarify for people, the president's tweet seemed to be misleading if you believe what Sulzberger is saying.

DARCY: Yes, the president said that they had talked about the vast amount, supposedly, of fake news that the media is putting out.

HARLOW: Right.

DARCY: Which is not really what they talked about. It seems like they talked about the president's use of the phrase the enemy of the people, which is particularly alarming, and he keeps using it. I remember when he first used it, it was like, wow, the president's --

HARLOW: But now it's --

DARCY: And now it just seems like it's -- he's desensitized everyone into thinking that this is normal language for the president of the United States to use, to call the journalists enemy of the people.

HARLOW: I was surprised just to learn that it was the White House that initiated this meeting, that it was the president that wanted to sit down with the publisher of "The New York Times," an entity that he consistently refers to as failing and insists that he has no interest in and does not care about. Do you know why he wanted this sit-down?

DARCY: Well, publicly the president, obviously, says that he doesn't like "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," et cetera, et cetera. But, you know, privately he's particularly obsessed, it seems like, with these papers. So it's not too surprising to me that he would want to meet with the publisher. I'm not sure exactly why he met with them in this particular instance. But the president's shown he is particularly interested in how the media covers his White House and behind the scenes what's going on.

HARLOW: Any response -- and there's a legitimacy of issues. So, I mean, the president's a New Yorker. He's a guy from Queens. I mean "The New York Times" is the preeminent New York paper. One of the most preeminent papers in the country. There is sort of a legitimacy issue when you are talked about a lot in "The New York Times," right?

DARCY: Right.

HARLOW: And there's been a lot of reporting that he has been seeking that for a long time.

Any response from the White House now to what Sulzberger is saying?

DARCY: I don't think there has been a response directly. But the president is having his first press availability today. There's going to be a pool spray. I think the first time after the Kaitlan Collins incident. So it's going to be interesting to see how reporters question the president. And, also, he's holding a press conference later this afternoon --

HARLOW: Right.

DARCY: And he's likely to get questioned on -- on all of this stuff.

HARLOW: On all of this.

DARCY: Yes. HARLOW: He didn't take questions on Friday after that announcement on the South Lawn about the economy. So, yes, you're right, this is the first time in about a week --

DARCY: Right.

HARLOW: They'll get a chance to ask questions.

Thank you.

DARCY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Nice to have you, as always.

Ahead for us, MH-370, that plane, we may never know what happened to it, but now, four years later, we may know what didn't happen. A new report out this morning.


[09:48:45] HARLOW: Before it disappeared on its way to Beijing with 239 people on board, investigators say Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 turned back toward Malaysia under manual control. This is information according to a report on the investigation. It was released this morning by Malaysian authorities. But they can't say whether or not that means the pilot was in control of the plane.

Our correspondent Will Ripley joins me now from Hong Kong.

It is heartbreaking over and over again for the families that just want answers. And even this report, years later, it doesn't give a lot.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And there's still kind of that cloud of suspicion that hangs over the pilot and potentially the first officer and their families because they were the ones presumably in the cockpit, although this report doesn't rule out somebody perhaps breaking into the cockpit.

But what's been so frustrating and difficult for investigators is they have extensively checked the backgrounds of all 239 people who were on that plane. Not a single person, including the pilot or first officer, had any indication of stress or anxiety or a motivation to want to make that plane turn around and head on that probable flight path, because it's only really an estimated guess that it went down somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean. And now you have this 495 page report, which could perhaps be the final report out. And it has a lot of facts about the search. It talks about 230,000 square kilometers searched. Those searches turned up nothing. Twenty-seven pieces of debris have washed up, up and down the east coast of Africa. Only three actually confirmed to be pieces of the wing of the plane. And yet still not the most important answer for these families, which is why and where is the plane and where are the people who they love right now.

[09:50:20] HARLOW: What about sort of where this all goes, Will? I mean I know they felt this urgency or this need to get something out there. Does this mean they stop investigating until any significant, new piece of evidence turns up or does this continue on and on?

RIPLEY: Well, the most recent search, which was conducted by that private U.S. company, Ocean Infinity, where they searched 112,000 square kilometers, that was called off at the end of May. They said that they were using the most, you know, high technology available right now. They didn't find anything.

And, at this point, there are no plans to resume the search. So until they find the main wreckage, if that ever happens, they're not going to be able to issue too many more reports because even this report, more than four years later -- we counted it, 1,606 days since the plane has disappeared, and a lot of the facts that are laid out are the same ones that we were talking about in the initial months after MS-370 disappeared.

HARLOW: Right.

RIPLEY: So it might be a situation, Poppy, where some day, you know, out of -- you know, out of the blue there's a discovery that it will be perhaps more accidental than anything else because these deliberate searches just haven't yielded any results.

HARLOW: OK. Will Ripley, appreciate the update for us from Hong Kong. Thank you.

Authorities are taking safety measures today to protect mourners at the funeral of this British woman who was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok. Forty-four-year-old Dawn Sturgess died on July 8th. English health officials say the risk of exposure to the public is low. Still, though, they have advised the funeral director to take precautions, not have pallbearers, make sure the coffin is in place when the mourners arrive, for example. Her partner was also exposed to the nerve agent but survived. And investigators say the couple was possibly poisoned by a small bottle they picked up thinking that it was perfume. Now, this happened just four months after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were also exposed to Novichok. They lived. Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she hopes to stay on the high court at least another five years. That would mean until she's 90 years old. She pointed out that her colleague, former colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, stayed on the court until he was 90. And she has hired law clerks for at least the next two terms, indicating as much. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton back in 1993.

Travels beware, you might not be on a watch list, but you might be being watched by the TSA. A new report, next.


[09:57:08] HARLOW: It all started with an idea at Harvard Business School. That is when Katrina Lake founded Stitch Fix. It's a personalized shopping service. Today she's 35 years old and runs the $2 billion company and is the youngest woman ever to take a company public. Believe it or not, we go way back. Look at this. As embarrassing as it might be, that is me and Kat Lake in high school growing up together in Minnesota. That's right, I wanted to be a lawyer. She wanted to be a doctor. But, you know, now she runs a $2 billion. So, good for her. We got together a few weeks ago for my latest "Boss Files" podcast. It releases this morning. Here it is.


HARLOW: You said, I'm not somebody that people looked at and said, oh, she's going to be a CEO one day. Why?

KATRINA LAKE, FOUNDER AND CEO, STITCH FIX: I don't know. I mean partly it really wasn't my aspiration. That wasn't the path I was putting myself on. And, you know, people sometimes ask me, like, oh, was it Stanford that did it? Like, you were to Stanford and you were surrounded by all these entrepreneurs and --

HARLOW: Stanford then Harvard.

LAKE: But Stanford is like, you know, meant to be -- like Larry and Sergey were grad students and Mark Zuckerberg had dropped out of Harvard and was spending time there.

HARLOW: I love that you're on a first name basis with Larry Page.

LAKE: Oh, I'm not.

HARLOW: And Sergey Brin.

LAKE: They were all (INAUDIBLE) at Stanford at the time. And so people sometimes ask me, like, oh, is Stanford the place that gave you the inspiration to be an entrepreneur? And the kind of crazy thing is, I almost feel like it deterred me from being entrepreneur.

HARLOW: Really?

LAKE: Because I looked at people like Larry and Sergey, who were coders, who were sitting in a garage --


LAKE: And building a company. And I looked at that and didn't see myself in that. And so I just think it took me a while to think that this was a path that was available to me.

HARLOW: You are making history as the youngest female CEO to take a company public. As you look back and reflect, what's the biggest lesson on that?

LAKE: Yes, I think it's resilience and grit is one. To be able to have a moment of adversity and to feel really challenged and motivated and to use that as fuel rather than use that as, you know, something that drags you down.

HARLOW: There's a picture that went viral. You held your 14-month-old then son on the floor of the Nasdaq the day that the company went public and you rang the opening bell there. And it meant so much for other women, I think for men and women who are parents, and that wasn't even apparently a planned moment, right? What happened?

LAKE: Yes, he was there with me. It was an important day. And so he and my husband were there. And for -- there's a moment before the kind of bell ringing where you give remarks for the company.

HARLOW: Right.

LAKE: And so for that I had been holding him and kept him with me. And it -- the response was amazing. Like I never anticipated it. And I wasn't, you know, I wasn't smart enough to plan all of these things. But, you know, and I -- and I understand why because I think as myself, like I never -- this wasn't a goal of mine. Like when we were in high school, I didn't think, oh, I'm going to be an entrepreneur and I'm going to take a company public. Like it wasn't even on my radar as like this is a possible outcome for me.



HARLOW: All right, congratulations to her. Hats off.

You can hear my full interview with Katrina Lake on my CNN podcast "Boss Files." Subscribe today on iTunes.

[10:00:11] Top of the hour. Good Monday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.