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Growing Sexual Assault Accusations Against Donald Trump; New Round of Talks on Syria; Some Western Powers Say Russia Should be Investigated for War Crimes; France Marks Three Month Anniversary of Bastille Day Attack; Thailand Bids Farewell to King; Cuba Hopes to Capitalize on Cigar Market. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired October 15, 2016 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:00:12] PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: More abuse allegations. Donald Trump brushes off the growing number of women accusing him of sexual assault. A new round of talks on the bloodshed in Syria, but expectations are low. Plus, Cuba hopes to capitalize on the Cigar Market in a country that once banned its products.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Paula Newton. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
There are now two more sexual assault accusations against the U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump bringing the number to at least eight. Now, one woman says Trump fondled her under her skirt at a New York nightclub in the 1990s. Another says Trump grabbed and aggressively kissed her after she was the contest on the reality show "The Apprentice". Now, Trump says these stories are not true and he's the victim of a smear campaign.
Jim Acosta has more. And I warn you, some of the language you're about to hear is gross.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No apologies and no admissions of guilt from Donald Trump who is still angrily denying he's ever sexually assaulted woman.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I look on a television. I think it's a disgusting thing. And it's being pushed. They have no witnesses. There's nobody around. They just come out. Some are doing it for probably a little fame. Phony accusers come out less than a month before one of the most important elections in the history of our country.
ACOSTA: But every day, it seems Trump faces more accusations. The latest, Summer Zervos, who appeared at a news conference with Attorney Gloria Allred, who say she was abused by the real estate tycoon after she was featured on Trump's hit T.V. show, "The Apprentice".
SUMMER ZERVOS, EX-APPRENTICE CONTESTANT, TRUMP ACCUSER: He came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed and he was pulling me towards him. He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said, "Come on man, get real."
He repeated my words back to me, "Get real" as he began thrusting his genitals.
ACOSTA: Another accuser Kristin Anderson tells the "Washington Post" Trump reached up her skirt and groped her back in the 90's.
KRISTIN ANDERSON, TRUMP'S ACCUSER: He did touch my vagina through my underwear.
ACOSTA: Both women say they came forward after seeing Trump brag about grabbing women's genitals in a hot night moment caught on camera.
TRUMP: You can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want?
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy.
ACOSTA: And after women surfaced to share their stories of alleged abused as Jessica Leeds did on "AC 360".
COOPER: Did he actually kiss you?
JESSICA LEEDS, BUSINESSWOMAN: Yeah, yeah.
COOPER: On the face or on the lips?
LEEDS: All over, wherever he could find a landing spot, yes.
ANDERSON: After that, I was like, OK, you know what, let me just back these girls up. You know? That's not okay.
ACOSTA: Trump says Anderson's account is false.
TRUMP: One came out recently where I was sitting alone at some club. I really don't sit alone that much. Honestly, folks, I don't think I sit alone. I go in with groups of people - I was sitting alone by myself, like this. And then I went, "Wow." It's like unbelievable.
ACOSTA: And he cast doubts on Leeds's story by suggesting she wasn't attractive enough for him to assault her.
TRUMP: Yes. I was with Donald Trump in 1980. I was sitting with him on an airplane. And he went after me on the plane. Yeah. I'm going go after her. Believe me, she would not be my first choice that I can touch.
ACOSTA: Trump's running-mate, Mike Pence, says he has faith in the man at the top of the ticket.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has asserted that all of these recent unsubstantiated allegations are categorically false and I do believe it.
ACOSTA: And Pence politely pushed back on First Lady Michelle Obama who denounces Trump's behavior.
MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: I can't believe that I'm saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.
PENCE: I have a lot of respect for the first lady and the job that she's done in the American people over the last seven and a half years, but I don't understand the basis of her claim.
ACOSTA: Despite the fact that the campaign promised reporters all day long that they would provide evidence proving Trump did not sexually any women. The campaign did not produce any such documentation. Instead, Trump told a rally here in Charlotte the allegations against him are 100 percent false.
Jim Acosta, CNN Charlotte.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: During Jim Acosta's story there, you heard accuser Kristin Anderson alleged how Donald Trump assaulted her in the early 1990's. Now, she also discussed why she didn't report him at the time.
ANDERSON: It was one of those things that happened really quickly and I pushed him off and moved away. And I sort of didn't really ponder on it that long. And I didn't tell anybody, I've seen a few people like, "Oh, we should have said something," yeah, say what? To who? Like ...
[04:05:11] COOPER: And do you feel if you had said something to, you know, the club management or security or something like that, did you think about that at all?
ANDERSON: I've thought about it now. Could I have said something? Maybe. But, you know, whom I going to tell? So, I go to the club manager and then say, "Donald Trump put his hand up my skirt," and they'll be like, "Yeah," and they'll go to him and say, "Did you do this?" And he'll say no.
And then where do we go from there? It's kind of like where we are now. So he', you know, he's saying no and there are a ton of women saying yes. And more will come out. Because if it was nonchalant, there's no way he didn't do it to many other people.
COOPER: At that time did you consider it sexual assault?
ANDERSON: No. I didn't think of it that way, no. But assault in my mind meant something else. You know, hitting is assault. And I was very unaware with -- unaware of, you know, mental abuse, manipulation, bullying. I mean, that is just straight up bullying.
And maybe not exactly what happened to me, but certainly what happened to some of these other girls who didn't get up and lead very quickly.
NEWTON: Very blunt conversation there. Now Hillary Clinton has largely avoided commenting directly on the sexual assault allegations against Trump. She's also telling supporters she takes no satisfaction in what is happening to Trump because of the damage it's causing the U.S. During an event on Friday, she did find an opportunity to attack his character once again.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The whole world has heard how Donald Trump brags about mistreating women and the disturbing stories keep coming. This is who Donald Trump really is. We know that. Now, we have to demonstrate who we are. America is better than this.
NEWTON: Meantime in the battleground State of Ohio, U.S. President Barack Obama warned voters not to let Donald Trump and his supporters discourage them from going to the polls on Election Day, November 8.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, her opponents made it pretty clear. He's going to drag this election as low as it can possibly go. And he figures that if he makes our politics just toxic, then maybe you'll just figure out you got no good choices, and you just get discouraged and you just don't vote. But don't fall for it.
NEWTON: CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott joins us now live from Washington via Skype.
I mean, Eugene, you kind of have to catch your breath after all this and really take a step back and say what we're talking about here day after day is sexual assault, so much, so many of the issues in this campaign have absolutely been put to the side.
I mean, do you get any sense from the Trump Campaign that they want to get back to the campaigning or at least they're trying? Because many have pointed out every time he gets on stage, he talks about the allegations against him.
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: We certainly had hear on CNN multiple Trump's surrogates and supporters say that they wish their candidate used his rallies to focus more on the issues that separate him from his opponent Hillary Clinton. But whether or not people on the inside of the campaign have been able to convinced Donald Trump that he needs to use these next two or three more weeks to pivot is not really clear. As he mentioned, I mean we see a significant amount of time at these rallies spent defending himself, explaining away some of the accusations, and not really talking about the issues that voters say matter most to them. NEWTON: Yeah, you're so funny. Kellyanne Conway -- I mean, you know, Trump's campaign strategist tweeted after a reporter said, I heard someone in the background at one of the rallies say, "Talk about the issues." And Kellyanne Conway tweeted, no, that was me.
She was actually heckling Donald Trump, she says, to stand there and talk about the issues. I mean, absolutely extraordinary. I mean in terms of dealing with the allegations themselves, we've had some late- breaking developments. And we want to point out that a cousin of, this would be "The Apprentice" contestant, Zervos's cousin, has come out with a statement saying, "I'm completely shocked and bewildered by my cousin Summer Zervos and her press conference today. Ever since she was on "The Apprentice" she had nothing but glowing things to say about Mr. Trump for almost a decade.
[04:10:05] My cousin would talked about he looked up to Mr. Trump and viewed him as an inspiration of success stories she wanted to copy. That was until Summer invited Mr. Trump to her restaurant during the primary and he said no. I think Summer wishes she could still be on reality T.V. and in an effort to get that back. She's saying all of these negative things about Mr. Trump." Now, immediately, her lawyer, Gloria Allred said John Barry is a huge Trump supporter. He was employed at Summer's family restaurant until several months ago when his employment ended. Since then he has expressed hostility and ill will towards Summer.
You know, we're getting a flavor of how this is going to go if we want to go through every single solitary allegation against Donald Trump. You know, I have to ask you we heard yesterday Mike Pence, the Vice- Presidential nominee, saying that there would be true -- a proof in a matter of hours to discredit a lot of the women making these allegations from Donald Trump.
Have we heard anything more about that at all?
SCOTT: We've certainly heard the campaign say that they have e-mail records showing that there have been accusers that have had ulterior motives for what they are presently doing. But, no, we have not heard responses to every single accuser. And I can imagine that the Trump campaign would want to this respond publicly, I mean, we're dealing with some serious legal issues and so I would imagine that they would want to approach things carefully through the court of law.
The reality is these problems would not be solved. They're worked by the end of the election. And the truth is that there could be more accusers coming forward after the election. I think what most voters want the candidates to do is focus on these issues and try not to continue to drag this situation into the mud before Election Day.
NEWTON: Yeah, it so true. And in terms when we look to the Election Day, it's been a little bit more than a week since we've heard Donald Trump in that video on that bus making those lewd remarks. What affect has it been having on the polls, especially in those key battleground states?
SCOTT: It's very interesting. We saw our own John King do his magic walk being showing how women voters have responded to these allegations specifically over the last week. And we saw even among republican women, Donald Trump dropped about 6 percent. He already was struggling with women across the board.
Unless the campaign pivots, you know, finds a way to start talking about the subjects and topics that woman voters say that they want their candidate to address, this could continue. So I think we want to encourage people, to encourage the candidates to stay focused so that we can move forward in all of this.
NEWTON: Yeah, and extraordinary that the polls have moved that much with Hillary Clinton, basically, not doing much of anything and also her dealing with her own e-mail scandals, and a lot of damaging information coming out from her campaign.
Eugene Scott for us. I appreciate it.
Now, Diplomats will meet in a few hours to discuss a possible cease- fire in Syria. Ahead, why there's of course little optimism the talks will bring any significant change.
NEWTON: I'm Paula Newton and these are the top business headlines. The Federal Reserve Chair has spoken in favor of a so-called high pressure economy. Johnny Ellen's as one example of that would be keeping the label market tight. As expected, there was no announcement on raising interest rates. The last rate hike was the end of 2015.
Banking Giants, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup and even scandal hit Wells Fargo have all posted better than expected quarterly results that helped bank stocks rise on Friday.
[04:15:06] Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are scheduled to report their results next week.
Salesforce says it has no interest in buying Twitter. Salesforce was the last possible bidder after Google, Disney, and Apple dropped the bid. Twitter shares ended the day 4 percent lower.
U.S. authorities are banning Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from all flights saying passengers who try to smuggle the devices on the planes will face criminal prosecution. It comes just days after the tech giant announced it had stopped making the phone after reports that the device is and the replacement is catching fire.
The U.S. is lifting limits on how many Cuban Cigars and how much Rum American travelers can take home with them. It's the Obama Administration's latest round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with the communist island. Those are the top business headlines. I'm Paula Newton at CNN Center in Atlanta.
NEWTON: Three U.S. men face terrorism charges in Kansas for allegedly plotting to bomb an apartment complex occupied by Somali immigrants. Now Federal Officials say the men had talked about filling four vehicles with explosives and then detonating them near the complex. The FBI spent eight months investigating the case before charges were filed against the men who belong to a militia group called the Crusaders. Officials say the men could be sent to life in prison.
Forces in Iraq are gearing up for a major battle with ISIS. Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the battle to liberate Hawija is eminent. Now, the city is one of the last ISIS strongholds in Kirkuk province and an offense there comes ahead of an expected operation to retake Mosul. Abadi was in Kirkuk City on Friday to meet with civil and military leaders. Shi'ite paramilitary say government troops and Kurdish forces will join them in the battle for Hawija.
Diplomatic efforts to save thousands of Syrians have fallen through before, but diplomats in Switzerland will try again in the coming hours. We have seen even more horrific violence unfortunately in and around Aleppo just during these past weeks. Some experts say this is though a turning point for the brutal Syrian Civil War.
Senior International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson joins us now from Lausanne, Switzerland.
And Nic, how many times have you heard that before? This will be the inflection point. This is the cross roads. This is the crucial point. We've heard this for months, if not years. Nic, in terms of actually finding that precious common ground as we sitdown to negotiations in Switzerland, what is it? Does it begin with just trying to find a pause so that humanitarian aid can go in?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I don't think we're even seemed to be at that space there, Paula. I mean, as circuit laborers, the Russian forum ministries said in advance of these talks he has no special hopes, no special expectations. Indeed, he said he that he would be holding his western partners accountable for upholding previously agreed U.N. Security Council resolutions he didn't see compromised on the western side as much as he felt the Russian had compromised their position. It doesn't seem to be an auspicious tone upon which to start these meetings, but if you compare that with the rustling of rhetoric and the increased tensions between the United States and Russia over the issue of Syria's, specifically over Aleppo over the past couple of weeks, this does give Lavrov and Kerry a chance to kind of reset that rhetoric and perhaps get back to some discussion.
But it very much appears these talks have been shaped to bring in far fewer of the players. Secretary Kerry won't be flying to these meetings as he has been in the past by his European allies. British, French, Germans won't be there. They're not invited. There will be what Lavrov calls a regional power. He said he expected the Saudi Foreign Ministers Kothari (ph), and Turkish Foreign Ministers to be around the table.
[04:20:07] Of course these parties have competing interest inside Syria and it will certainly give Lavrov the opportunity greater than he would have had in the past. If he so desires to play one off against the other, we heard what Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Minister said a couple of days ago about the last time all parties met together. He said everyone was beating up on Russia and it took the Iranians to speculate the negotiating table to calm that down.
So this will be a much smaller group, but ahead of the talks, you do have to say the hope of trying to change the situation in Aleppo doesn't seem to be particularly high. And if you listen to what President Bashar al-Assad said just in the past couple days with Russian journalist, visiting Damascus, he said that Aleppo will be the springboard for clearing terrorists out of the other parts of Syria. Every indication from the Assad Regime and therefore from the Russians backing them that the military operations take precedence and will continue in Aleppo. Paula.
NEWTON: And through all this, Nic, we have had the White House hint this week that they are looking at America's military options there. What are they? We've heard for many years that there really aren't any good military options.
ROBERTSON: You know, that's something that we heard echoed from Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister who is in front of the British Foreign Affairs elect committee answering questions and he got several questions on the issue of Syria and he was asked precisely that what options are there. And he said, well, you know, potentially more kinetic operations, you know, potentially more aircraft, the talk of a no-fly zone.
But then he immediately said, "I'm not getting up anyone's hopes, none of this can be done without a coalition. A coalition can't exist without the United States and the leadership of that coalition. And there appears to be particularly to the time of the changing presidency in the United States. No change in policy towards that increase in military action."
So really, although Boris Johnson raised that as an issue, what he's saying is, from what his knowledge of where discussions are amongst the U.S. and its allies, that sort of ramping up of a military side of trying to resolve the situation in Syria, from a U.S. and coalition standpoint of view, is not realistically on the table at the moment.
Johnson said it was really more about trying to get humanitarian aid into the city, trying to find a way perhaps of the help being able to warn the citizens of Aleppo when air strikes were coming. This was all aspirational and that, as he said, was a long day's march from where we are today, meaning that no one heads with at the moment. Paula.
NEWTON: Again, our Nic Robertson keeping an eye on things there in Lausanne, Switzerland as they try and get some type of cease-fire together for Syria. Nic, I appreciate it.
Now, you know, we were just talking about all the tension with Russia around that table there in Switzerland. And some western powers say Russia should be investigated for possible war crimes in Syria. Russian war planes along with Syrian Military jet are blamed for deadly air strikes escalating tensions between Russia and the west. Ever further, our Matthew Chance has more now from Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN NEWS CORREPONDENT: As Russian war planes continue striking Aleppo, the carnage in Syria, has pushed Moscow's relationship with the west to new loads. The western powers again debating military action. Russia has upped its forces in Syria.
CHANCE: In his flagship current affairs show, Russia's top state news anchor issued this stark warning for global war.
CHANCE: British behavior towards Russia, declared Dmitry Kiselyov could have nuclear dimensions. It is an apocalyptic vision, quite literally. Not since the conflict in Ukraine, where Russia fueled an eastern rebellion after annexing Crimea, the tensions between Russia and the west, particularly the United States has been so strange.
Critics accused Moscow of dangerously undermining the international order. Many Russians former Cold War warriors like these retired generals see it very differently.
GEN. EVGENY BUZHINSKY, PIR CENTER: The Russia is fighting U.S. dominance over the world. That's -- that's the reason. It's not always -- it's not all about Syria or Ukraine. In Ukraine, it was a definite coup supported by the United States. So we have different views on the -- what's going on in the world.
CHANCE: So, these are just flash points in a much larger battle that fights U.S. thumbs (ph)?
BUZHINSKY: Of course, of course.
CHANCE: It's a battle to secure Russian interests in Syria to protect its last toe-hold of influence in the Middle East and Ukraine to prevent yet another former soviet state turning to Nato in the E.U. It is a strategy they say that sets Russia and the west on a collision course (ph).
[04:25:04] FYODOR LUKYANOV, RUSSIA IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS: Since collapse of the Soviet Union, the west had opportunity or capacity to reshape the whole world's according ideas which the west believes were correct and right.
So, what we see now, there are attempts to believe that this arrangement, the post-Cold War arrangement, can be restored or prolonged. Unfortunately not.
CHANCE: And what will replace it may not be to everyone's like.
Matthew Chance, CNN Moscow.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: Coming up, France marks a Grim Anniversary, three months since the Nice terror attack. Some of the survivors are trying to recover. That's ahead.
Plus, conflicting reports over the deal to release 21 Nigerian school girls once held captive by Boko Haram.
NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Paula Newton and here are the headlines this hour. Two more women now accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. One says the U.S. Presidential candidate groped her under her skirt in the 1990s. A former contestant on Trump's show "The Apprentice" says he grabbed and kissed her aggressively in 2007. There are at least eight accusers. Donald Trump recently denied all the claims.
Almost 200 countries have now agreed on a major step to reduce global warming. Delegates warn the families (ph) to reduce the greenhouse gasses used in the refrigerators and air conditioners.
[04:30:01] Now, those gases are more dangerous for the environment than carbon dioxide. The deal gives developing countries more time to make changes than wealth to your country.
A U.S. aid worker has been abducted from outside his home in Niger and taken toward Mali. Now, a government source says the kidnappers killed the policeman and guard who were protecting the worker. That source says they forced the man to strip to his underwear to avoid being tracked.
Mexican officials say the infamous (ph) accused drug lord "El Chapo" could be sent to the U.S. early next year. The country's national security commissioner says Joaquin Guzman could be extradited as early as January or February. Guzman's lawyer just disagreed saying it would be hard if that happen so soon.
Now, in France, Friday marked the three month anniversary of the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice. Eighty six people were killed when a man drove a truck through a crowed of revelers in July.
Now, a national ceremony to honor the victims is set to begin soon and the French President Francois Hollande is expected to attend. For more in the events and how the victims are recovering our Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris.
And, Melissa, you know, it's important to remember that until now, the French government even discouraged these kind of memorial services. They didn't want people to gather in those numbers and thought it would be dangerous.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: And, it is important to remember, Paula, that this is a ceremony that's been organized actually by relatives of the victims. They are really at the heart of these ceremony. Francois Hollande as you mentioned will be present, he will be speaking.
But this is really about the victims, those that were close to them and the thousand or so people that helped on that day, the 14th of July, just after Mohamed Bouhlel's truck crashed into the Promenade des Anglais causing all those deaths and so many casualties.
Now, ahead of that ceremony at which those relatives will be a central part, we caught up with one family that was involved in the attacks, Paula, one American man. Now, he comes from Los Angeles. He came on holiday with his wife and his 10-year-old daughter and he's been here ever since. Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Slowly at first, the white truck made its way down to Promenade des Anglais. Then, with the crowds who've gathered for Bastille Day firmly in his sites, Mohamed Bouhlel sped up.
GREG KRENTZMAN, NICE ATTACK SURVIVOR: It all happened so quickly. The truck was going 70 miles an hour. My wife was about 10 feet in front of me and she screamed out loud, Greg, look out, there's a truck. Then I looked straight ahead and I saw the truck in front of me the big white truck. I had a choice to either jump to my right or jump to my left because the truck was swerving. So I have to make a decision which way to jump. I decided to jump to my left and thank God I did because if I didn't, I would have been dead.
BELL: Eighty six people did die in the attack and those who survived suffered horrific injuries, road crash injuries, but on a massive scale. Greg's leg was fractured in eight different places. But amidst the chaos, all he could do was wait for help.
G. KRENTZMAN: An ambulance didn't come for me because they were too busy with people who were dead or more injured than me. So, a Good Samaritan, a French gentleman came by in his arm, he picked me up and whisked me to the hospital Pasteur.
BELL: That night, 300 people were treated here. It was the first time the doctors of Pasteur had seen anything like it. Sadly, the man who saved Greg's leg doesn't think it will be the last.
DR. PASCAL BOILEAU, HOSPITAL PASTEUR: We know that it can happen again, and unfortunately. But this is what we have to face actually. We have to realize that we are in war.
BELL: Mohamed Bouhlel's attack was the third major terror attack in France over an 18-month period. But for the first time, the victims were mostly families.
G. KRENTZMAN: I have hatred of course for that person. You know, I have a lot of anger when I think about it. Why me of course comes up. I mean, how could it be me and my family?
BELL: Greg's 10-year-old daughter was also injured in the attack, but she was one of the lucky ones. That night, ten children lost their lives. LOLA KRENTZMAN, GREG'S DAUGHTER: I was shouting to everybody like, "Help, help!" There was ambulances everywhere and people trying to help and taxis and it was just like a crazy night.
BELL: Do you know -- do you wonder about why, what happened happened?
L. KRENTZMAN: Well, I know that for some reason, it happened. And I know that it -- like it was like -- it was there for some reason, it happened and only God knows what it's for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[04:35:00] BELL: That question put so eloquently by that little girl would really be at the heart of the ceremony today. So much emotions, just three months after the attack, Paula. It is a very tightly controlled ceremony. Only those who have been invited will be allowed to attend. Because, of course, as you mentioned in your question, authorities do worry about large gatherings. This is what France has become used to, sadly. That the fact of the matter is that even as the country grieves the last attack, it has on its mind the fear about a possible next one.
NEWTON: Yeah. You always have to keep that in mind as places like Nice, let's say, that they'll be forever train of changed and portion by this incident. Melissa Bell there. Thank you. Appreciate it.
Reports conflict now over whether the Nigerian government released some Boko Haram commanders as part of the process that freed 21 Chibok girls.
Now, a source close to the deal says some captured militants were freed. The Nigerian government says no swap happened though. Isha Sesay joins us now from Abuja, Nigeria where the girls were welcomed home on Thursday.
I mean, Isha, I have to ask you, you've been talking to the families of these girls for so long now. If we look at the context, I mean look at the controversy over whether or not the commanders were freed, how would they feel about it if that were true, although the government denies it?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Paula. I don't think that the families would care in the slightest. So again, this has been two and a half years of misery. Two and a half years where they were felt and there are many indications that they were on their own, what they're suffering when their children has taken from them. So for them they hade always said and have been very adamant. They didn't care what needed to be done. They just wanted to see their children come home.
Now, as you make the point, you know, more than 200 were taken that night, April 14th back in 2014. We are now celebrating the release of 21 of them which still leads well over 180 girls still in captivity.
But this is a very, very, very important step, if you will. An important step that it shows that a deal can be done and these 21 have been released. We understand that the families are making their way, at least some of them from Chibok and in Northern Nigeria down to Abuja where the girls were taken upon release.
And we expect, you know, an overjoyed reunion when they finally do reconnect. I mean, this has been a moment that has really transfixed Nigeria, the fact that after such a long time, these girls are finally back.
The question is in the days to come as to what deal was done or what condition the girls are, what information they can share with the government. Everyone will be paying very close attention to. But for the families themselves, they had always said just bring our girls back. We don't care what you have to do. Paula.
NEWTON: And a precious few are now back. I mean, Isha, what of the ones that Boko Haram still holds?
SESAY: Yeah, I mean, that's the question, right? I mean, you can imagine that for this group of families, you know, almost 300 families, 21 overjoyed at the moment. But for the rest, it is pure heartbreak with the knowledge that their girls were not released. I mean, our understanding is that negotiations will continue in the days ahead, that the release of the 21 was that the outcome of many, many days of negotiation involving the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross, parties that will continue to talk with Boko Haram fighters to secure the release of more girls. That is not certain, of course, that outcome.
What we can say with certainty and with great joy, especially for me personally as someone who has covered this story from the very beginning, is that 21 have been released and they will soon reunite with their love ones.
NEWTON: Yeah, there will be some tender moments to come for their families. Our Isha Sesay is there to cover it and she will continue to bring you of that coverage in the coming days. Isha, thank you so much.
Now, many people in Thailand are still in shock and disbelief after the death of their king. A live report from the country's yearlong period of mourning, that's straight ahead.
[04:42:18] NEWTON: People in Thailand are bidding a tearful farewell to King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Tens of thousands watched on Friday as a procession burying his body wound through Bangkok to the Grand Palace. Now, the nation's official mourning period last an entire year.
CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Bangkok with more. And, you know, the images are amazing, just, you know, how transfixed the entire country is right now and how they're really mourning every hour of the day. I mean, it just seems to have seized everyone there.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is incredible, Paula. It is a beautiful day here in Bangkok, a Saturday afternoon. And you can see there are still thousands of people here outside the Grand Palace. And I would say more than 90 percent of the people out here are tourists and locals alike are wearing black, which is the national color of mourning during this one-year mourning period that began yesterday.
People are coming here. They're taking photos. They're going inside the Grand Palace. You see this lady here taking photos and they're going inside the Grand Palace to sign a condolence book for the King Bhumibol and the royal family who really have gripped the nation when they watched those live pictures yesterday of the ceremony where the king was taken on his final journey here. The Royal Hearse coming through the streets, and the emotion in these streets, silent, but palpable.
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RIPLEY: A sea of black outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Tens of thousands gather in grief, on the first day of Thailand's year long mourning period some openly weep for King Bhumibol Adulyadej. A man considered the father of modern Thailand. A man many can't believe is gone.
What is the hardest part that you're going through right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the hardest part is like, we do not like to accept the truth that our king has just passed away and it's still very hard for everyone, not just me, for us. We're just like crying every time we look around, we see people, or watching T.V., or something like that. It just makes us feel very down to accept that he's really, really passed away.
RIPLEY: Police say the crowd outside the Grand Palace alone easily exceeded 100,000 people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the people around, you know. Atmosphere, everything is young face, old people, student. This meant a lot to us. Today is really like an important day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like our heartbreaking days.
RIPLEY: Aside from the ceremonial canons outside the Royal Palace, you don't hear much noise despite these huge crowds.
[04:45:04] The Thai people don't tend to sob or wail. Theirs is a silent grief.
The Royal Hearse took the king from the hospital where he lived for the last two years, passed the doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly to save his life.
They drove through Bangkok's normally buzzling streets. Now, ear of the silence.
Salutes along the route as the king made his final journey to the palace. His body bathed in Thai Buddhist tradition. A ceremony led by his son and successor, the crowned prince, as his wife of 60 years, the Queen Sirikit, looked on. The ailing queen hasn't been seen in public for several years.
Even a full year of official mourning may not be enough for those who believe Thailand lost more than a king. They say it lost part of its soul.
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RIPLEY: But what is so moving out here today, yesterday there was a lot of grief in the streets, but today people are in an uplifting mood. And you can see they're handing out water and snacks and refreshments. You can't walk more than a few feet out here outsides the Grand Palace without people wanting to come to you at least give you things. They've set up so many things to make sure that people are comfortable here so that they can come, they can pay their respects. It almost feels like a street festival where people are smiling and they're sitting together with their friends and families, but everybody is still wearing black and some are holding pictures of the king and reminiscing about their memories.
So, this is a weekend, yes, of mourning, but also feels like a weekend of celebration here in Bangkok. And as, you know, for tourists that have come here, you know, obviously, a lot of the night life in the city is a bit subdued right now. Businesses aren't close but tourists have been asked to wear somber colors. The outdoor bars are not operating. All of the bars are operating inside.
And yet, you're still witnessing something really remarkable. You're seeing a piece of Thai culture, perhaps a different piece of this conservative society than people expect when they come to Bangkok.
And so, even in his death, the King Bhumibol is still teaching the world a lesson or two about his country that he loved so much and served for 70 years.
NEWTON: And we can see in the pictures all around you, Will. Indeed it is more of an atmosphere of celebration. Celebrating the king's life and what he meant to Thailand. Our Will Ripley there live on the streets of Bangkok. Appreciate it.
Now, the U.S. Pacific Northwest is bracing for another day of wild weather. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, is at the world weather -- he was here with me. You're going to go world ...
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm right here. Right next to you.
NEWTON: But listen, we're not -- I mean, it's a cliche, isn't it? You always say the West Coast doesn't get crazy weather. You shouldn't worry about it.
VAN DAM: You're right, you're right. I believe it's on average two tornados a year in Oregon. And they had ten tornado warnings issued by Portland, the National Weather Service in Portland just in one day. So that's a record for them. And, we have one of those tornados cued up right here for you to see actually, a visual medium. So we got to show you what happened.
Look at that tornado. That actually stretched just under a mile right along the coast of Oregon in a town called Manzanita. It's about 100 miles west of Portland or 60 miles I should say. The path of the tornado was about 700 feet long. So only on the ground for a short period of time, but it did enough damage, Paula to ruin 128 structures. There were no injuries, but certainly scary moments for several of those residents catching them off guard, even though they did have warning ahead of time in terms of a massive storm was on its way.
But here's some of the leftover damage from the tornado that moved through the Manzanita region. And guess what. There is yet another low pressure system that is weighing in this one's wings. So it is not going to get better. It's actually going to get worse over the next 24 hours.
So, believe it or not, this is actually the remnants of a previous typhoon. It's traveled across the entire Pacific Ocean and now it's reached the shores of the United States.
Look at the wind gust. This is the storm that came through on Friday, Oceanside, Oregon over 100-mile per hour winds. This is hurricane force, by the way, in Megler, Oregon. We have high wind warnings in place for this area. You can imagine that coastal erosion is a concern. The potential for flooding rains as our secondary storm system slams the Pacific Northwest.
And again, gust is 60 to 70 miles per hour, even so those higher elevations could easily top hurricane force once again today, in Saturday, and into the overnight periods into Sunday morning.
Look at this just constant barrage of moisture just impact in West Coast of the United States specifically from Washington into Oregon and Northern California. They have the potential for 6 to 10 inches of additional rain on top of what they've already experienced. No wonder there are mudslides potential in this area considering that the ground is already saturated from the recent rainfall.
[04:50:01] So, this is going to be a storm that they will no soon forget. Because I've got some friends out there, Paula, that were sending me some photos earlier today coming out of the Alki Beach region in Seattle. And the waves were just pounding up and over the coastal breakers there and one of scary moments, definitely.
NEWTON: Yeah. And as I said, it's unexpected, right? Last weekend, we were talking about hurricane Matthew. And here we are, this storm kind of snuck up on us.
VAN DAM: It's early in the season for this as well.
NEWTON: OK. Thanks. Appreciate the update.
Now, the Cuban Cigar is one of the island nation's greatest calling cards. How the industry could soon see massive growth.
NEWTON: President Barack Obama is lifting more U.S. sanctions on Cuba, including import limits for Americans on perhaps its most famous product, cigars.
Here's our Patrick Oppmann visits a Cuban tobacco farm to see how they're preparing for an expected surge in sales.
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PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Harvesting cigar tobacco, Cuba's green gold, one leaf at a time. Long banned in the U.S., the island's legendary cigars bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, a bright spot in an otherwise teetering economy.
[04:55:05] But many more Americans may soon be lighting up a legal Cuban cigar following a change in U.S. regulations that allow U.S. citizens visiting Cuba for the first time in over a half century to bring home an unlimited amount of Cuban tobacco products.
Tobacco farmer, Maximo Perez says the loosening of restrictions presents a huge opportunity.
The first thing we have to do with the Americans, he says, is create an appetite for our product because they have lost that. But since what we make is excellence, as soon as they try it, they will see the difference.
The question now is whether Cuba can begin to supply a new market for their famed smokes. Much of the work on this tobacco farm is done by hand, the way it's been done here for generations. Cuban producers say that they make some of the best cigars in the world. But that means that they can't cut any corners. And meeting a rising U.S. demand could take years.
For Cuban cigar producers, the air is filled with smoke and the realization the industry needs to prepare for many hopes will be the eventual lifting of all U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba, which would allow for the sell of Cuban cigars in the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's obviously buildup demand and excitement in the United States for people to smoke Cuban cigars. They have many of those smokes legally for more than 50 years. I think all cigar smokers in America are probably don't want to give a legal Cuban Cigar a try.
OPPMANN: Executives of the Spanish Cuban Cigar adventure has fells (ph) Cuba's cigars say that within a few years of the lifting of the U.S. embargo, they could control some 70 percent of the U.S. market for cigars without compromising their product. "Quality is something we can never give up," he says. Entering any market, including the U.S. market will happen with a product of maximum quality. Cuba's cigar producers say their tobacco doesn't like to be rushed, which means that Americans will have to wait a little longer before they can fully quench their taste of the island's once forbidden cigars.
Patrick Oppmann, San Juan y Martinez, Cuba
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NEWTON: I'm Paula Newton and I'll be right back after the break with another full hour of news.