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Flash Flood Emergency in South Carolina; Father of Umpqua Gunman Speaks Out; Suspected Air Strike Kills 19; Hillary Clinton Goes on "SNL." Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 4, 2015 - 06:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We just got this video in. We are staying with the flooding here in South Carolina. This is Columbia, South Carolina. You see the people here making a human chain. Notice on the right of your screen, that is a stop sign that man is holding on to. They are trying to get to him, but I think they are being -- let's drop the banner, guys, so we can see that. So we have seen this. This is being called catastrophic, crippling, historic, and this really gives us an idea of what the people here are dealing with.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Because this was a street. That stop sign indicates it's not as though they were standing on the banks of the river and it just kind of overtook them. This is what -- this is a road where normally a car would be, where they are, hanging on to a stop sign trying to pull each other out of water, that is not just -- it's not just sitting water that is getting deep. You can see the movement of this water. It's just like emergency officials will tell you, it takes a foot of water to move an entire car. It's all it takes, so you can imagine what it takes to move a person.

BLACKWELL: That water was up to that man's neck. You see he was able to get out of the rush of the water there.

PAUL: Thank goodness. We are glad they are okay, at least.

BLACKWELL: 27 million people dealing with some level or some degree of the flooding this morning. Advisories across several states. Again, this is a video from Columbia. People crippled by the flooding waters. Firefighters just told CNN that they have had more than 50 swiftwater rescues overnight.

PAUL: Officials are calling it catastrophic flooding, if that gives you any indication here. Three counties in that state under a flash flood emergency right now. Nearly 30,000 people do not have power. South Carolina, by the way, is one of seven states dealing with advisories and warnings. We are going to continue to bring you live updates throughout the morning because one of the biggest concerns here is the fact that this is what they are dealing with, but there is still so much rain on the way today. They are staying some of the heaviest possibly tonight, into tomorrow morning. BLACKWELL: Some areas have already seen 18 inches of rain. Let's go

to Oregon now. And where students there, faculty as well, preparing to return to Umpqua Community College tomorrow. No classes held tomorrow or at all this week. The campus is being reopened. Investigators are giving an update on their findings thus far. They say that 14 legally obtained guns have been linked to the killer, and that he committed suicide after engaging with that shoot-out -- in the shoot-out with police.

PAUL: A lot of people are wondering about the mother in this case, because she was who the son was living with, the shooter was living with. We haven't heard from her. We have heard from the father. As you can imagine, he says he is devastated by Thursday's attack. Not obviously just for his own family, but says his heart goes out to the families of the victims as well. CNN's Ryan Young spoke with him about the shooting and specifically talked about how his son may have gotten a hold of so many guns.


IAN MERCER, FATHER: It has been, as I said before, devastating for me and my family. But we are not alone in this. My heart goes out to all of the other families that were affected by this.


And I know words will not bring your families back, and I know that nothing I can say can change what happened, but please, believe me, my thoughts are with all of those families, and I hope that they can get through this.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you talked before, you said you are at a loss for words when it comes to something like this. There are so many questions somebody could ask you, but you really said you don't have answers for them?

MERCER: Sometimes, you try to find the right words, and there really isn't -- there's nothing I can really say and find the right words. It's just, sometimes it's overwhelming, and, you know, trying to understand how it could happen. It's just -- it's incredible. I'm at a loss for word right now, even.

YOUNG: You told me before you didn't want to talk too much about your son, obviously, because you're going through so much pain, but you also realize that people are going to remember him differently now forever?

MERCER: I know he will be remembered for what he did on Thursday, I know that. I can't change that at the moment. I'm just leaving it up to the police to do their investigations, as to, you know, his history and everything in his background. I'm sure they will announce what they find all in good cause. Right now, I'm just going to leave it up to them.

The only thing I would like to say is a question I would like to ask is -- is -- is, how on earth could he compile 13 guns? How can that happen? You know? They talk about gun laws, they talk about gun control. Every time something like this happens, they talk about it, and nothing is done.


BLACKWELL: We will hear more from that shooter's father later in the show.

I want to get to that bombing in Kunduz overnight Friday, into Saturday. A U.N. official now saying the suspected U.S. bombing of that hospital could be a war crime. We will go live to Afghanistan in a moment.

Also, Hillary Clinton back on Saturday Night Live. Joking about her policies, Donald Trump, even her marriage.


DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR: Did somebody say vacation? Oh, my God! They are multiplying!




PAUL: 41 minutes past the hour right now.

And I just want to give you a heads-up that some of the information I'm about to tell you is really tough to take in, and I don't want you to be caught off-guard. But an eyewitness to this weekend's deadly U.S. air strike on an Afghan hospital says, quote, "there are no words" to describe the horror he saw. Doctors Without Borders nurse Lazha Soltan (ph) says he watched his colleague dying, his friends crying uncontrollably, and in the intensive care unit, he witnessed six patients who were burning in their beds.

The White House released a statement from President Obama offering condolences and vowing to get answers. Quote, "The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy. I expect a full accounting of the facts and circumstances," unquote. Now, international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live with us in Kabul. Nic, I'm really wondering what the conversations are there in Kabul and in Afghanistan about this event.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: (inaudible) the president here has said that the U.S. military is having an investigation. He has said (inaudible) ongoing operations in Kunduz still to clear out the Taliban to avoid civilian casualties for all forces, both the NATO forces, U.S. forces working with the Afghan forces on the ground. That's highly important. But what we're hearing from Doctors Without Borders is that while the U.S. military is having an investigation, they would really like to see an independent investigation.

They would like it to be as transparent as possible. Their concern is that if the U.S. military investigates its own actions, it may not have the same transparency, if you will, as an investigation by an independent outside observer. They are very concerned that this strike on the hospital is going to influence the way that -- their hospitals and other hospitals, not just in Afghanistan, but in conflict zones around the world, can be treated in the future.

It's not just the tragedy of losing so many of their staff and the hospital, but it's also the message that this sends to other forces and other people around the world. There is a great deal of concern here with Doctors Without Borders that this is done, the investigation is done in a transparent way, Christi.

PAUL: We read that the MSF president called it abhorrent and a grave violation of international humanitarian law. Is there any way that this, if it did happen, if it was via the U.S., if it was an accident, could still be seen as criminal in some nature?

ROBERTSON: Well, if there is an investigation and the investigation shows -- if -- and we really need to wait for the investigation to be carried out, undoubtedly, the first steps in that are already under way. But if the investigation does show that somehow this was U.S. forces and this was an accident of some description, then that should go a long way to answering the questions of how and why this could happen.

(inaudible) have said that from the beginning of the week, when the Taliban first got into the town, they went to the Doctors Without Borders hospital and said to them, look, we want you to stay there and we want you to continue there and carry on working. Close -- they have treated close to 400 people already this week.


But it's an article of international humanitarian law that hospitals are not places of conflict, not places that weapons are taken into. The Doctors Without Borders hospital has a big no gun sign on the outside, as do pretty much all of the hospitals here in Afghanistan, it's a very clearly understood thing here in Afghanistan, where there has been so much conflict for so long. So will it answer that question? It may ameliorate it to a degree, but really it's getting those clear transparent answers I think everyone is after at the moment.

PAUL: Nic Robertson, we appreciate the insight. Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: 27 million people on the East Coast under some type of weather advisory right now. At the top of the hour we are going to go live to South Carolina. Almost 30,000 people there are without power in one county. Just one county. 140 people have been rescued in this storm, and the rain still falling there.

Also, you know, it's not late night -- at least fun late night this time of the year or this cycle without one of the political candidates, and on Saturday night, it was Hillary Clinton's turn. If you missed it, we are going to have some of the funnier clips, and we're going to break down the strategy next.

PAUL: But first, we have been talking a lot recently about the record-breaking drought in California. Well, I don't know if you're aware, but in much of India, water scarcity is just a way of life, and in the country's driest region, families rely on water brought in by tankers, and even then, people use just 10 percent of what average Americans use. This week's CNN hero found a solution for his homeland by looking to the skies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rajasthan is arid, dry. It is the driest region in India. In many villages, the ground water is disappearing. Wells have dried up. Women have to walk miles to get water for their family. They will do their (inaudible), but they don't use water. Water is so salty, you can hardly drink it. The only time that people get relief is during the monsoon season.

I was born in Rajasthan. And came to the U.S., working with the corporate world. In 2003, (inaudible) bankrupt. I decided, I was going to find the solution for the drinking water. Aakash Ganga is a rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater is collected from the rooftops. Through gutters and pipes. And then what I do is divide (ph) it into two parts. One part for the home owner and another part for the community. The main pipe which is buried under the (inaudible) located about 500 meters away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then water is pure, cleaned, (inaudible). Today, there have been 10,000 who can live healthier lives.


PAUL: To learn more about Baghwati (ph) and his work, go to Anderson Cooper, by the way, is revealing this year's top 10 heroes on Thursday, October 8, on "New Day." Be with us.



BLACKWELL: I don't know if you saw it last night, but Hillary Clinton earned some big laughs. Clinton appeared on the season 41 premiere of NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Her role here, a bartender named Val, chatting with a Clinton impersonator.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Val, I'm just so darned bummed. All anyone wants to talk about is Donald Trump.

CLINTON: Donald Trump? Isn't he the one that is, like, ugh, you're all losers! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is him!

CLINTON: Do you think he'll win the primaries?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He must. I want to be the one to take him down. I will destroy him and I will mount his hair in the Oval Office!


BLACKWELL: Now as soon as the sketch ended, Clinton tweeted "a vote for Hillary is a vote for four more years of Kate McKinnon's impression, #citizens." Let's talk about this with CNN politics senior reporter Stephen Collinson. Stephen, the latest poll shows Clinton is doing well and far ahead, even advancing against Bernie Sanders and the other competitors, but the likability numbers, the favorability numbers, the trustworthy numbers have struggled. Is this one, an effort to change that? And is the campaign privately really concerned about those numbers?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Victor, I think they must be. Since Hillary Clinton entered this race, her popularity rating, her favorability numbers, as you said, have dipped, they have plunged in fact to some of their worst levels for about 20 years. So elections tend to be won, presidential elections especially, by the more likable candidate. And the email situation that Hillary Clinton has been trying to negotiate and can't really move on from has reminded people of some of the less flattering aspects of her character, suggestions that she's not honest and she's not completely trustworthy.

So I think appearances like this allow the candidate to establish a bit of a bond with the audience, to show a different side of their character, and to, you know, try and reverse some of this slide in the popularity ratings.


BLACKWELL: All right, let's cue up the next clip here, because there were some topics that were part of the sketch that people would expect, and some that, obviously, were not. Glaring omissions. Watch this.


CLINTON: I'm just an ordinary citizen who believes the Keystone pipeline will destroy our environment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with you there. It did take me a long time to decide that, but I am against it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Clinton, I'm so sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to say, my sister's gay, so thank you for all you've done for gay marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you're welcome.

CLINTON: It really is great how long you've supported gay marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I could have supported it sooner.

CLINTON: Well, you did it pretty soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It could have been sooner.

CLINTON: Fair point.


BLACKWELL: The Keystone pipeline, same-sex marriage. No mention of the e-mail scandal. No more wiping the server with a cloth or loving Snapchat.

COLLINSON: That's right. Well, as you mentioned, she did joke about the e-mail server about six weeks ago in a press conference, saying she would perhaps -- should she have wiped it clean with a cloth? That was a remark that came across as very off-key, it turned out that it backfired. So I think there must have been a clear signal sent from the Clinton campaign to "Saturday Night Live" that the e-mail server and jokes like that were off limits, because they would, you know, take away from the whole purpose of this appearance, which was to make Hillary Clinton more likable.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Now "Ellen" and "SNL" and maybe a shift here in the media approach.


BLACKWELL: Stephen Collinson, we have to wrap it up here, but always good to have you, Stephen.

COLLINSON: Okay, Victor.


PAUL: Catastrophic and crippling, those are words that are being used to describe the historic flooding this morning. Live pictures you're looking at here, the highways in Charleston, South Carolina. It doesn't look bad necessarily on the highway, but some of the other video that we have that we've gotten in, we will show it to you, as we keep getting some new pictures minute-by-minute. All of that.

Plus a live report at the top of the hour. Stay close.


PAUL: All right, 58 minutes past the hour right now as we head towards the 7:00 hour. And I want to show you some video that we're getting in here. Do you see that? That is a home or at least part of it floating off the New Jersey shore. The house was reportedly vacant and falling into the water for years, but this weekend, severe weather, the storms, the floods, finally dislodged it. It's already floated more than half a mile, we are told. BLACKWELL: And the death toll from another massive weather event, the

landslide in Guatemala continues to rise. Officials say that now at least 86 people were killed when the side of this hill just came crashing down on a village. You saw what happened to the homes there. Many more are feared dead, because as many as 600 people are still missing.

PAUL: And the death toll is expected to climb higher in France. The pictures we are getting in here. At least 16 were killed when extreme downpours reached havoc on the French Riviera. Authorities say more than 6 inches of rain fell in a span of two hours.

BLACKWELL: Third-ranked Ole Miss got destroyed by Florida 38-10 in one of this weekend's four wild college football upsets. In another shocker, Clemson pulled off a two-point win over sixth ranked Notre Dame. Arizona State also upended No. 7 UCLA 38-23, and finally, Alabama blindsiding no. 8 Georgia 38-10. This is the one so many people (inaudible).

PAUL: Oh, yeah. We're so grateful that you're starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We have got a lot more ahead in the next hour of your "New Day." It starts right now.