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Latest Clinton Emails Examined; Russian Hackers Going After Journalists; Obama Sees Flood Damage First-Hand In Louisiana; Blast Kills U.S. Service Member, Wounds Another; Sixteen-Year-Old Becomes Fourth Known Survivor In U.S.. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired August 23, 2016 - 16:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Obama administration was concerned about this.


BERMAN: They wanted a strict separation.

And when you're dealing with more than half the visitations, when you have Doug Band e-mailing Huma Abedin to set up meetings, again, it is just the appearance that there are these fuzzy lines.

FELDMAN: Two things.

First of all, obviously, it is an unusual situation, right? A post- presidency and a foundation set up by a post-president doesn't always include a spouse who ultimately ends up becoming secretary of state and running for president in her own right.

So, I agree. And there was a lot of overlap between individuals who had interests and worked for these various entities. And obviously the Clinton campaign and the Clinton team find that there is an appearance issue here, which is they took the steps they did yesterday to try to remove this issue a little bit from the campaign table.

But let's not forget, we're in the middle of a presidential campaign, so it's not unusual Obama for people to grab on to issues like this and try to gin them up and raise them in the context of a heated presidential campaign.

BERMAN: Sarah Huckabee, let me bring you into this, because Donald Trump calling for transparency when it comes to Hillary Clinton's role in the Clinton Foundation, wants a special prosecutor.

But he doesn't want transparency when it comes to his own tax returns, right? Why are the two issues different at this point?


Hillary Clinton not only broke the law. She then lied about it and put our national security at risk. (CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: To say that that is the same thing as Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns is laughable and ridiculous, frankly. Those are not even remotely similar things.

BERMAN: What evidence do you have that a law was broken in terms of the Clinton Foundation? Donald Trump calls for a special prosecutor. What evidence of it there that a law was broken?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think it's pretty clear that there is pay-to-play activity here. I mean, Hillary Clinton has basically put our government up for sale to the highest bidder. If that is not breaking the law, then I don't what is in.

Hillary Clinton gets to play by a different set of rules than anybody else in America. At my house, if you break the rules, then you get in trouble. There are consequences. When my kids break the rules, they get in trouble. When Hillary Clinton breaks the rules, she asks for a promotion.

That is entirely different and certainly something that should disqualify her from becoming president and certainly gives us cause to ask for a special prosecutor in this case.

BERMAN: Sarah, I keep hearing the words pay-to-play, and I keep hearing broke the rules, but again what evidence do you have that there was a quid pro quo, that someone was given something from the State Department, by the State Department because of the donation given to the Clinton Foundation?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think that is part of the reason you would ask for a special prosecutor so they can actually dig in.

But I think that right now there is so much smoke, in fact, there is not just smoke, there is fire here where you have got e-mails between Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's top aides, and donors asking for special favors. The likelihood that 50 percent of the meetings that Hillary Clinton took place were also from major donors to the Clinton Foundation.

That is just too much coincidence that that would happen. I think there is certainly not only reason and cause, but the American people defense to have somebody that can be objective and look into this and investigate it properly.

BERMAN: So, Michael, the Republican Party thinks they're on to something with this issue. Donald Trump keeps on hitting on it. Reince Priebus excited about it.

Reince Priebus did a conference call, the chairman of the Republican National Committee earlier today, where he said: "It's going to be important for us and Donald to continue down this measured path that he's on. If he does, I think he is going to be tied or ahead at or just after Labor Day."

Do you think Donald Trump might be ahead or tied by Labor Day?

FELDMAN: Well, I don't know. We will have to look at the polls after Labor Day.

I will say this. Today might have been the first day that Donald Trump hasn't gotten in his own way an issue relative. I understand why Sarah and others have been marching out with their talking points today on this issue and I understand why they're digging in.

But on the whole, I think Mr. Trump has probably gotten in his own way and kept these issues from being litigated. As a pure political matter, I think that's been his problem.

BERMAN: But pure political matter, people have been saying Republicans they him want to focus on Hillary Clinton and not these other things, and you think at least today he has done that?


Look, he is with himself. He is also apparently undergoing a rapid transformation on his immigration probably, one that is likely to end up closer to President Obama is than where he started out in the campaign.

And that of course is probably generating discussion within the Republican Party right now. I think there is equal measure in terms of conversation about that, but I understand the political tactic involved here

BERMAN: Sarah, last question.

Does Donald Trump still want the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, does he still want them out?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: What Donald Trump wants is a secure border.

He has been very clear and very consistent in his position on immigration. And that is first and foremost, we have to secure the border. He has not backed down from that. And that is the top priority. And that will continue to be the top priority when he becomes president.

BERMAN: Still want to know about those 11 million people.

Sarah Huckabee, thank you so much. Michael Feldman, great to have you here with us.

BERMAN: Other news, hackers believe to be working with Russian intelligence attacking the United States again -- who they targeted this time and why Russia may not be alone.



BERMAN: We're back with breaking news in the world lead. Hackers believed to be working with Russian intelligence apparently

hacked "The New York Times" and other U.S. media outlets. According to U.S. officials briefed on the matter, this was not a one-time deal.

The FBI and other security agencies are investigating a series of cyber-breaches specifically targeting journalists.

CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez Evan joins us now with a first on CNN.

Evan, we hear this, we know about the recent hacks on the Democratic Party organizations. Do your contacts say it is related?


U.S. investigators think this is part of a broader wave of cyber- attacks by Russian intelligence. The question is why? We are used to seeing state-sponsored hacks of government systems. That's what spies do. What officials think the Russians are doing here is targeting any organization with a window into the U.S. political system.


That includes think tanks and now reporters. The FBI is working with private security companies to investigate these intrusions targeting "The New York Times" reporters and journalists for other outlets.

Now, the concern is that the Russian spies have obtained not only information about who reporters are talking to in the government, but also details of their communications and perhaps even stories that have not yet been published.

"The New York Times" declined to comment on any possible breach, but it did say that it generally works with outside investigators and law enforcement to try to defend against hackers.

Now, there is some debate inside the Obama administration about what to do about all of this. Some officials want to name and shame the Russians, and others are concerned about the possible escalation of what is already an undeclared cyber-war. That is not just my language, John, but also the language of the head of the director of national intelligence, who says that is exactly what is happening here.

BERMAN: A cyber-war.

All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much.

I want to bring in Hemu Nigam. He's a former computer crimes prosecutor who worked for the Department of Justice.

And, Hemu, I think it is scary to say this, but you're not surprised by this news.

HEMU NIGAM, CYBER-SECURITY EXPERT: I'm actually not surprised at all, and I don't think any of us should be surprised by this news, although I will tell you, because it is election season, I'm actually more surprised that people haven't noticed that this was going to during an election season when, especially at a time when, if you actually -- if read the news, whether it's "The New York Times" or other outlets, there is a clear demarcation between Donald Trump being aligned with the Russians and Hillary Clinton being seen as anti-Russian.

BERMAN: Then if this is Russian hackers, as is our reporting, what are they trying to do here? Are they trying to just get information or are they trying to influence something?

NIGAM: Well, your reporter was mentioning that one of the things that happens with the news sources, news outlets is they have amazingly high-level access to very important people in the government, whether they are a source or they are an on-the-record individual.

And the Russians, if it is them -- or it could be the Chinese, it could be anyone. Whoever it is who may be an enemy nation state is looking at it and saying let's go find out what they're really saying. Whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats win, when the time comes to sit across a diplomatic table, we will already know the thoughts, and the thinking, and the analysis that has gone into this particular group of individuals that we're sitting across the table from.

And that can be very useful in other types of negotiations, whether it is related to some type of war, supporting an ally, creating some sort of treaty. All sorts of things can be garnered from this information.

BERMAN: So, the theory is, the Russians want to know things. They know reporters know things, so they go after the reporters who do know these things.

Is it just the Russians who do this? Any other actors out there?

NIGAM: No, I would actually expect every actor that is digitally savvy actor.

And I would actually even put, as much as we don't like to say it, the United States government in the same bucket, which is they need to know what is coming at them from other parts of the country, especially when there are sensitive issues being discussed.

We have actually seen that disclosed in the past with the NSA, and the CIA, and even with allies. We have seen it happen with the U.S. government being identified as doing it. So, I would actually look at this and say, hey, it is not only the Russians. It's the U.S., it's other foreign governments and agencies.

This is the digital Cold War. People like to say there is no more Cold War. The reality is, it's a silent digital Cold War until somebody says, I think I got hacked and an investigation happens.

BERMAN: All right, Hemu Nigam, I'm going to go change my password. Thanks so much.

NIGAM: Thanks for having me. BERMAN: Medical news, brain-eating amoebas live in warm freshwater,

and only four people have survived an infection since the '60s. Now, what you can do to protect yourself, that is next.


[16:46:10] BERMAN: Welcome back. Topping our National Lead, moments ago, President Obama wrapped up his trip to Louisiana. That region torn apart by devastating floods.

The president saw for himself how the rain ravaged homes and neighborhoods. He met with residents in Baton Rouge, but critics say this came a little too late.

I want to bring White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski. Michele, the president really fired back at critics who said that he should have visited Louisiana sooner.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, he brought it up because he knows it's being brought up, most notably by that Baton Rouge local papers editorial a few days ago. Wondering why President Obama was playing golf while Louisiana was suffering.

Today, the paper didn't criticize him, they welcomed him. President Obama really wanted to focus on the long-term federal response. Here is in part how he addressed that criticism.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sometimes once the flood waters pass, people's attention spans pass. This is not a one-off. This is not a photo-op issue. I guarantee you no one on this block, none of the first responders, no one gives a hoot if you're a Democrat or Republican.


KOSINSKI: We've heard that sentiment from people on the ground as well and also officials. The state's top ranking Republican, the lieutenant governor said today that he welcomed Donald Trump's visit. He welcomed the president's visit. He will welcome Hillary Clinton's visit.

These things all shine light on the problem and can lead to more support. I will say, though, years and years of covering many hurricanes. When you're there on the group, often when there is an official visit, whether it's a governor or a president, there is a collective eye roll.

Like, OK, everything shuts down for several hours while this person comes and does the same things that are always done, and says the same things, but it is still a good thing. I mean, when somebody shows up even though some on the group could take it or leave it, they still see it as a positive.

It's when you don't show up or you show up late, it's all the more conspicuous because then it looks like you just don't care -- John.

[16:50:05]BERMAN: All right, Michelle Kosinski, thanks a lot.

The World Lead now, we are waiting to learn the identity of the U.S. service member killed in Afghanistan today. The American trigged an improvised explosive device while walking on patrol on (inaudible). This is the capital of Helman Province where Afghan troops have struggled to fend off Taliban attacks.

The second American and six Afghans were hurt in today's blast. The American killed work in a group of about 500 troops that helped train and assist Afghanistan soldiers. This is the second American killed by hostile fire in Afghanistan this year. According to the Pentagon, nearly 2,000 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

It is almost always deadly, but a Florida teenager is now one of only four people in the U.S. to survive a brain eating amoeba since the '60s. So what doctors did to save his life, that's next.



BERMAN: Welcome back, a miraculous recovery. This is our Health Lead today. A 16-year-old is alive after being infected by brain eating amoeba. The parasite is so deadly that at least 97 percent fatality rate.

Doctors today identified Sebastian Deliones (ph), the fourth known survivor in the United States ever. The teenager was vacationing with his family in Florida when he was infected, now doctors say they're optimistic about his recovery.


DR. HUMBERTO URIANO, CRITICAL CARE PHYSICIAN TREATED BRAIN EATING AMOEBA CASE: We decided within hours -- sorry. He is walking. He is speaking. I saw him this morning, and he is ready to go home. We can't let him go yet.


BERMAN: Here's some facts. The amoeba lives in warm fresh water lakes and rivers, and flourishes in places like Florida. So much so that if you scooped out a handful of water in a lot of places there, you would likely grab up some of the brain eating amoeba also.

But actual infections are rare with only about eight cases a year. Until now, the only other to survive in the U.S., a case in 1978, two children who survived in 2013.

Haley (inaudible) was one of those survivors. She was 12 when the amoeba infected her brain after swimming in contaminated water at an Arkansas theme park. That year an 8-year-old boy also survived, but he suffered permanent brain damage and then there's the case this year. For more now on how this young man survived, I'm joined by Dr. Corey Hebert. He is a professor at Louisiana State University and also Tulane. First off, Dr. Hebert, thanks so much for being with us.

When you here brain eating ameba, when you hear about these deadly infections, how do you know if you have one?

DR. COREY HEBERT, PROFESSOR, HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER AT LSU: Well, I tell you what it does make you feel very scared like if you go swimming in a lake, you will get this, but you have a bigger chance of getting hit by a car and dying from than accident than getting this.

I mean, it is just like a general infection that you might feel like if you had the flu. You would get a headache. You'd get vomiting, some diarrhea, some neck stiffness that's one of your first major thing that you would feel if you're going to have this particular amoeba.

Also, you would start getting a seizure, coma, all of these types of things that lead you to think that if I was swimming in a lake very recently, then I need to be checked out immediately because it is a very fatal illness.

BERMAN: So 97 percent fatality rate, Dr. Herbert. In fact, three other people who caught it this year have died. So why then did this boy survive?

HEBERT: Well, you know, it had to be a perfect or imperfect storm, however you want to think about it because a lot of people get exposed to this. I mean, the CDC did a study in 2009 that actually showed that a lot of people have antibodies to this because they have been exposed to it.

But everybody's antibody response to different types of organisms, viruses and bacteria are a little bit different. So the thing that probably saved him is the amount of that amoeba that got into his nose and brain, it had to be relatively small and his antibodies had to be relatively high for him to actually survive.

But some of those things can still even be variable and you still wouldn't survive. So he's just a very lucky young man.

BERMAN: So a lot of us have antibodies because you know, it's alarming when you find out that this amoeba is in the water and quite often you're swimming in it and you don't even know.

HEBERT: Exactly and that is the reality and we find this affects mostly teenage boys. Why? Because teenage boys are a little bit reckless. So what do they do? They're in the high impact water sports, which means when you hit the water, that water is forced up your nose.

So anything that you have that forces water up your nose puts you at risk. That's anything from hot springs or diving into water or any type of water sport or even actually using one of those sinus rinse bottles if the water has not been sterilized. We had a couple of cases from those sinus rinse bottles. So those are bad things to us. We just need to make sure that the water is sterile before you use it.

BERMAN: So aside from not swimming or using one of those sinus bottles, what can you do to prevent infection?

HEBERT: You know, I would tell people really, you know, you kind of look a little bit, you know, odd if you use a nose clip when you're swimming in a lake, but if you're not going to use a nose clip, you really should avoid going under the water at any point with high pressure.

And that is the only thing you can do. But you got to remember this, this is very rare, but in medicine we talk about thing that's are odd, so, you know, if it is at a million to one odds, but that one person is you, it's 100 percent in your house.

So I just tell people try to avoid that at all cost going underneath that water that amoeba gets into your nose up to your olfactory nerve, into your brain and then eats away at your brain. I know that sounds really awful, but that is actually what happens.

BERMAN: Dr. Corey Hebert, thanks so much for your insight. Really appreciate it, Doctor.

HEBERT: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, make sure you follow the show @theleadcnn on Twitter, you can follow me, too. Thanks so much for joining us. I now turn you over to Brianna Keilar in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."