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Thousands Gather in Memory of French Rally; Maine Governor Defends Racially-Charged Comments; California Gas Leak Triggers State of Emergency. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 10, 2016 - 07:30   ET




[07:31:27] QUESTION (translated): The U.S. government thinks that the Mexican government does not want to arrest you. What they want to do is to kill. What do you think?

JOAQUIN "EL CHAPO" GUZMAN, DRUG LORD (translated): No, I think that if they find me, they'll arrest me of course.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That is just part of this really rare interview with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. There's a new twist in this story now.

Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn met the Mexican drug lord for a secret interview, sent questions weeks later for that recorded segment you saw there. That was the response.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: A "Rolling Stone" article details a seven- hour meeting between actor and Guzman as you see here in this picture, where he revealed new information about his life and his drug trade. Guzman, of course, did. We're going to have more details for you throughout the morning.

Meanwhile, Guzman's number may be up, but, oh, the dream is still alive for all of you Powerball players. There was no winner last night's drawing, which puts Wednesday's jackpot at $1.3 billion with a "B" dollars. Check your ticket before you toss it because there were more smaller prizes here.

I want to give you the winning numbers in case you missed it, 32, 16, 19, 57, 34, and that Powerball was 13.

BLACKWELL: So, you see there French President Francois Hollande, also a Parisian there, Anne Hidalgo, and other invited guests. They are remembering those killed in the January attack on the offices of the "Charlie Hebdo" magazine, unveiling a plaque there in their memory.

CNN correspondent Jim Bittermann is there and joins us live. That was about two hours ago. It's difficult to encapsulate the

motion with the camera lens there. But give us an idea of the feeling there, Jim.

JIM BITTERMANNN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a very emotional ceremony with the French national army, as well as very famous pop star Johnny Holiday here serenading the crowds. A thousand invited guests who were directly connected to the various attacks here, either the families of victims or survivors who were involved in the attacks.

It was meant to memorialize not only the attacks a year ago, on January 7th of "Charlie Hebdo" later on with the kosher supermarket, but also the attacks of November 13th in which 130 people died. So, quite a moving moment. And now, today, now, the square is opened up for the day today to the public, and they're being encouraged to come and bring handles and commemorate the event the way they would like to with each individual on their own to sort of commemorate things.

So, we are expecting we'll see hundreds, perhaps thousands of people gathering here off and on during the day for their own kind of memorializing.

I'd like to bring into the picture Stefan de Vries from RTL, one of the giant radio networks in France and elsewhere around Europe.

Stefan, I get the impression the French are struggling to figure out a good way to memorialize the events of a year ago.

STEFAN DE VRIES, JOURNALIST, FRANCE 24: Yes. I think that is right, Jim. Actually, the French are hesitating between anger and fear, because as you know, we are still living under the state of emergency.

[07:35:04] There was another attack earlier this week, on Wednesday, a guy attacking a police station in the heart of Paris.

It's also -- it's very difficult for the Parisians because at the same time they would like their lives to go on before, but they also know that is not really possible. I mean, having a drink on a terrace which is typically Parisian has become very dangerous, well, at least in the minds of a lot of Parisian people. So, they are fighting with it and they're struggling with it. At the same time, of course, the economy is not doing well in France. So, there's a lot of ingredients to be pessimistic nowadays.

BITTERMANN: A year ago there was a crowd here, a huge crowd here, millions of people --

DE VRIES: Millions.

BITTERMANN: -- that had gathered, including world leaders, basically saying they were Charlie. Has that spirit faded away? Has that idea of unity, you know, fading away?

DE VRIES: I think, yes -- well, first of all, I'm not sure whether this spirit has ever been there. This unity was more -- was more political rhetoric and, of course, that is something the politicians have played upon the last year. And we have seen all over Europe a very -- a shift towards more populism, stronger rhetoric against immigrants, and all of this with a nationalistic flavor.

It's difficult, because everything is being mixed now. I think the real spirit of "Charlie Hebdo", which was at the beginning ,well, until the 7th of January, a very small newspaper and nobody knew it. I think it has been abused by a lot of politicians to just show we have to fight terrorism and everything is possible in that fight.

BITTERMANN: Thank you very much, Stefan de Vries from RTL.

Back to you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Stefan de Vries there for us, remarkable to hear him say that although we watched a year ago tomorrow, those huge crowds holding those signs "Je Suis Charlie", that that sense of unity was never really there.

All right. Thank you both.

PAUL: So, of course, as the French mourn today, there are new details this morning in the most recent terror-related incident in Paris. A man was shot and killed, remember Thursday as he tried to launch an attack on a Paris police station. Well, German police say they have launched a raid on his apartment in the city of Recklinghausen where he had been living in housing that's reserved for asylum seekers.

We do not know -- we want to clarify -- we do not know if the attacker was, in fact, a refuge.

But, for more, we want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes.

Because, Tom, if this attacker did, indeed, come to Europe as a refuge, it would make three terrorists who have posed as refuges and had the ability to gain access to Europe. I'm wondering, do you see any other protocol that could better secure this process?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Christi, I think, yes, in this case, there would be. The allegation is the person who did the attack was born in Morocco and it would be easy then to trace criminal background with the Moroccan authorities.

By the way, I worked with the Moroccan authorities and they actually have a law where 18-year-olds have to register and get a national identity card. So, if that person was still in Morocco at that time, they would be in their identity.

But, additionally, they are saying the fingerprints taken from the attacker at that police station come back to someone arrested in 2013 in France for another violation. So, I'm trying to figure out how that would happen that if that person was arrested and ordered to leave France, why they would attempt to come back in as a refuge in the first place, knowing that they have a criminal record on file already. PAUL: Would it be because they are going back to, as we say a lot of

things happening in the U.S., criminals go back to places that they are familiar with.

FUENTES: Well, they do but would you go back as a refugee? That would be the other -- you know, were they ever come back in that refugee system, or were they be in that system?

I'm not sure that they have got the identity 100 percent. That's why the authorities have not officially released the identity because they are not positive yet either.

PAUL: OK. Angela Merkel has recently proposed making it easier to deport asylum seekers who break laws. Do you see this as the beginning of the deterioration of people taking in refugees or a better crackdown of it?

FUENTES: Well, it's kind of -- you know, it surprises me to have to even require that. In other words, if you're trying to extradite somebody, that's a very involved legal process to do that. But deportation is pretty much of a country doesn't want you, go home or go somewhere else, either the country you entered from or the country of your citizenship.

I don't know why it would require any additional legal authority to do it. They can just arrest somebody and, at that point, say you're not desired in this country, go home.

[07:40:02] We are seeing that with our affluenza teenager in Mexico. The mother was almost immediately deported and the guy is going to be deported soon.

So deportation is normally, by international law, a fairly easy process. You just don't want the person and you send them out.

PAUL: OK, Tom Fuentes, it's good to have you here this morning, Tom. Thank you.

FUENTES: You're welcome.

BLACKWELL: Protesters enraged about methane gas leak reported to be the worst in history. Thousands of San Fernando Valley families forced to evacuate their homes.

PAUL: Also, the governor of Maine apologizing for racially charged remarks he made and now he is accusing somebody of twisting his words.


GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: I was going impromptu in my brain and didn't catch up to my mouth.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: The outspoken governor of Maine, Paul LePage, is casting blame on the media for criticism over comments he made that some are calling racially charged. The town hall regarding drug trafficking, Governor LePage said his state's epidemic was caused by men with names like Shifty, D-Money, Smoothie.

Our Phil Mattingly has more.


LEPAGE: I don't like politics. I hate it.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maine's Republican Governor Paul LePage says he doesn't like the business he is in.

LEPAGE: I don't really care what the press thinks about me.

MATTINGLY: The business where racist controversial comments cause public backlash and require humble public apologies.

LEPAGE: I may have a slip of the tongue but my job is to protect Maine people.

MATTINGLY: The problem, how LePage described who's protecting Maine from? On Wednesday, the two-term governor took aim at drug traffickers infiltrating his state. Here is what he went with.

LEPAGE: Guys of the name D-Money, Shifty, Smoothie, these types of guys that come from Connecticut, and New York, they come up here and sell their heroin. Incidentally, they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.

[07:45:01] MATTINGLY: Inflammatory remarks from LePage aren't new. He's the same governor who once told the NAACP to quote, "kiss my butt" and appeared to compare the IRS to Nazis. But his newest comment now has the provocative politician backpedaling, right into Democratic hands.

LEPAGE: My brain was slower than my mouth.

MATTINGLY: Hillary Clinton's campaign wasted little time reacting, releasing a statement saying LePage's racist rants sadly distract from efforts to address one of our nation's most pressing problems. The main NAACP official called the comments sad and foolish. In neighboring New Hampshire, just this week, GOP presidential hopefuls addressed the heroin epidemic as the region's most serious issue.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to get on with it and make this a much higher priority than we have.


MATTINGLY: Chris Christie sharing his own close ties to the problem. Viral video watched nearly 9 million times on "The Huffington Post" Facebook page. CHRISTIE: We need to start treating people in this country, not

jailing them.

MATTINGLY: The New Jersey governor's first statewide endorsement in July? Maine Governor Paul LePage.

LEPAGE: Chris Christie.

MATTINGLY: Now serving to undercut the candidate on an issues where he's led and a state crucial to his campaign.

CHRISTIE: Why do LePage and I get so much attention over the years? Because we say what we really think.

MATTINGLY: So far, Christie is keeping what he thinks about the comments to himself.

(on camera): One thing to point out in that relationship, the Christie campaign knew what they were getting when it came to Paul LePage. Obviously, the two very close and Christie crucial to LePage's re-election as share of the Republicans Governors Association. The group dumped millions into the race. Christie himself campaigning multiple times.

LePage's apology pushing him a little bit more towards a LePage the Christie campaign wants than maybe the one they heard about this week.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: So when we come back, hundreds of San Fernando Valley residents are outraged today. A methane gas leak, complaints of headaches, asthma, bloody noses. We're talking to one of those people who are affected.

BLACKWELL: Plus, in northern California, a shooting on a train at the BART station, which is the public transportation there. It happened in Oakland, it let one person dead. We'll have the details when we come back.


BLACKWELL: There is a state of emergency in southern California.

[07:50:02] A damaged storage well is spewing methane gas at a rate of up to 100,000 pounds per hour. That leak has forced thousands of families from their homes. Others say they're getting sick, and protesters who are understandably angry, they're now demanding action.



BLACKWELL (voice-over): Hundreds of outraged protesters call on Southern California Gas Company to shut down a damaged gas storage well. It's been leaking methane gas since October 23rd. San Fernando Valley residents crowded into a Granada Hills high school gymnasium to listen to testimony before the south coast air quality district.

The sulfur-like odor from the gas has permeated the Porter Ranch area. And now, there are complaints of headaches, problems with asthma, bloody noses.

MARK MORRIS, V.P. OF SAVE PORTER RANCH: What they know the short term affects can be neurological problems and gastrointestinal problems. And we're concerned about that. We don't want to be a bunch of guinea pigs.

To date, SoCal Gas says roughly 3,000 homes have been outfitted with air purifiers, with families living in another 2,500 homes have been temporarily relocated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole family has been sick. The kids, they've been sick, too.

PAULA CRACIUM, PRESIDENT, PORTER RANCH NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: Anything that will stop that odor and stop you from getting sick. The effects that it's had on the community which means people leaving, our businesses are suffering. I mean, it's tough.

BLACKWELL: On its Web site, the company apologizes for the unpleasant smell caused by the natural gas leak, but it maintains that the leak does not pose an imminent threat to public safety.

Saturday's day long hearing was to review a proposal developed by air quality regulators and SoCal Gas to control the leak. The plan involves using pollution control equipment to capture the gas and treat it to remove the odor so the gas can be recovered or burned off. Gas company officials say they welcome the public review.

ROBERT WYMAN, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GAS COMPANY ATTORNEY: We recognize that expert public agency involvement and oversight is essential to assuring our neighbors and customers and the general public that this accident is being addressed as safely and expeditious as possible.

BLACKWELL: There are a lot of people who support the proposed plan of action. But others call on the site to be shut down for good. They also accused the gas company and state regulatory agencies of dragging their feet to address the problem.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH, L.A. COUNTY SUPERVISOR: They've had their thanksgiving. They had their Hanukkah, they've had their Christmas, they've had their New Year's, they're had their family celebrations all disrupted because of irresponsible action from the state to the gas company


PAUL: Paula Cracium is with us now. She's the president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council. She works in Porter Ranch, lives about five minutes away. Thank you so much, Paula, for being with us. As you hear them say

from Southern California Gas that there isn't a health threat, what have you been seeing? Do you believe that?

PAULA CRACIUM, PRESIDENT, PORTER RANCH NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: Well, it's a little disconcerting because there's certainly a health effect. It's hard to say it's not a health threat when you have people with bloody noses, severe headaches, and the rash that seems to appear as well.

So, it's a little different to hear there's no health risk. And in the long-term effects, the benzene, the carcinogens that are in this, mercaptan, this additive are sort of untested at this long-term exposure. Even though the levels are extremely low, the long-term exposure has never been tested, and that's what the challenge is, we're now the test study for these long-term risks.

PAUL: Right. And I'm wondering for you can help us understand as we're watching this from, you know, the outside looking in at your community. Help us understand how it affected you. People are removed from their homes. Schools have been closed, is that right?

CRACIUM: Yes. We have 13,000 homes in our community. Close to 4,000 people have been relocated or in the process of being relocated.

Our schools -- one school was very close to the site. The schools have been -- we no longer have a public school in our community. These were two of the top schools in Los Angeles.

We're tight-knit community, so not having our children in our community is very, very difficult. Property values are suffering, and the businesses are suffering because 25 percent of their community has moved out. These small businesses just can't take hits like that without it having a huge impact. So the long-term concerns for the community are huge as well as just the data-to-day of people having to live outside of their home, outside of everything they know, playing with their neighbors, and being involved in the community the way they have been.

PAUL: We know that California governor declared a state of emergency earlier this week. Do you have confidence that is going to help in some way?

[07:55:03]: That it's going to force Southern California Gas Company to take action?

CRACIUM: We're hopeful. One of the things -- when we talked to the governor was just that there's no oversight. There's a huge alphabet soup of all of these agencies all working in different areas and on different parts of the gas sites, they have regulatory purview over them.

There's not one organization that had an oversight that was trying to lead the charge and give us some clear definition, a clear direction of where we need to go with this. I'm hopeful that will be helpful. Certainly better testing. The way that our understanding is, the way they test the wells for leaks they walk around the 115 wells and they smell. If they smell gas, then they know there's a leak. Certainly in 2016 there are --

PAUL: It doesn't sound very scientific, is that what you're saying?

CRACIUM: It doesn't sound very scientific. We're confident there are better methods so we don't end up with an incident that has been spewing for awhile before they find it. And don't know what that is. We know they found it and we don't know what the time period was.

But there's better methods to make the community safe. Shut off valves. Some of these wells were built in the 1950s. I think there's only 50 of those wells-ish left. But they're not up to current standards. That's one of the ones that broke.


CRACIUM: We're hopeful that this would definitely make a difference.

PAUL: We're hopeful with you as well. We'll continue to follow up. Please keep up with us and our best to you folks in the community. We can't imagine how tough it is. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up at the top of the hour, the new twist in this saga about the Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. You see Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn shaking hands with Guzman. They met at a Mexican jungle, had dinner and drinks for seven hours. You're going to hear part of an interview, a rare interview.

Plus, Sean Penn, is he facing any legal trouble?


PAUL: Good morning. So grateful to have you onboard with us here. I'm Christi Paul.