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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
London Police: At Least 17 Killed, Toll Likely to Rise; London Mayor: We Need Answers Now; Fire Brigades Union Criticize Government Cuts; London Locals Express Outrage Over Government's Response; Scalise Critically Injured, Undergoes Third Surgery. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Hello, I'm Richard Quest in London, where the fire at the Grenfell Tower Block still smolders
behind me. It's almost 48 hours after the fire first broke out. And the search for the victims within continues this evening. So far, 17 people
are confirmed to have died in the fire, which destroyed the tower block behind me.
And in fact, just saying 17 enrages people in this vicinity. Local people say that everybody clearly knows that the death toll in this incident will
go much higher, and they are angry at this point. Why the police will not confirm any further figures.
On the other hand, though, the police say they hope the death toll will not reach triple figures, over a hundred. And there is the ever-present
caution that because of the ferocity of the fire, some victims might never be identified.
The first name has been released of somebody who perished. 22-year-old Syrian refugee, Mohammed Al Haj Ali. He was an engineering student at the
University of West London and lived in the building behind.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has ordered a full public inquiry into the disaster, saying that people deserve answers. While the mayor of London
has called for an interim report into the fire to be published by the end of the summer. Sadiq Khan was confronted by residents when he gave an
update on the current situation. The mayor acknowledged the public should not have to wait months if not years for answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: Understandably, the residents are very angry and concerned and have genuine questions that demand answers. And so --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone needs to be held accountable. These deaths could have been prevented.
KHAN: Of course, we welcome the call from the Prime Minister for an independent public inquiry. We need answers now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now.
KHAN: That's why I'm calling --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a year from now. Not two years from now. We need it now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And that gives you very much a feeling of the mood. If one spends any time just in the streets around the tower, those are the views you
hear. An anger, understandable anger and resentment, not only the fact that the fire was able to take hold so fast, but that the way in which
people are being treated since. The response of the local counsel which has seemed to be remarkably lacking, and how any investigation will
proceed. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is following the investigation. Results within -- by the end of the summer, the mayor wants.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think that's something that's really important to a lot of people. From our
vantage point, Richard, where we've been standing all day, people have been saying the same thing. They also believe, like that lady who was speaking
with Mayor Sadiq Khan, said they believe someone needs to be held accountable. And not just because of the way this fire spread, because
apparently there were warnings that were coming from within the community, within the people who were living inside that building, saying they didn't
believe that the fire safety of this building was adequate.
It was on several levels. It wasn't just the building itself. It was, of course, also the plans in-place in case a fire broke out. Somebody that
we've been speaking to for the past day and 1/2 ago, since this disaster took place, that people were told to stay inside their apartments. And
it's unclear whether, with that refurbishment that went on, whether that was an adequate thing to do. And obviously, looking at what happened, it
seems like it would have been better for people to leave as fast as possible.
The fact that there was only one stairwell to get out of the building was certainly something that was very difficult for people. But first and
foremost, for the folks that we've been speaking to are saying is, the ones who were eyewitnesses to this say, it was remarkable how fast the fire
spread up the side of the building. There was one eyewitness that we spoke to, he said, look, it was seemingly going around the fourth floor of the
building. It was a raging fire, but it didn't seem to be spreading quickly. And all of a sudden it raced up the side of the building. And
that's where you have the investigation going on right now. People pointing to the cladding that was put on the outside of the building when
the refurbishment work was taking place.
And there's many people here who now believe that that could've been something that accelerated the fire going up the building. I know that
experts we've been speaking to are saying that it's highly unusual for a fire like that to go from the outside of a building to the inside of a
building rather from inside to out. So certainly, that is going to be one thing that the investigators are going to be looking at. But as you said,
for the moment, at this point in time, they're still going through that building.
[16:05:00] They're trying to find clues inside. They're, obviously, still involved in a recovery operation as well. But they want to conduct with
the greatest authority and painstakingly, one that takes place quickly, Richard.
QUEST: I was talking earlier to the deputy fire commissioner. She was saying that even though they have now been on every floor, they are still
ensuring that the building is safe, that walls, ceilings, floors, do not collapse. And that they will not be able to get basically a more forensic
search or a fingertip search. And that they're even using dogs now because dogs are lighter on the infrastructure.
PLEITGEN: Yes, absolutely. That's one of the things that was a big concern from the get-go. As we were covering this story, as it was
unfolding yesterday, was whether or not the structure itself was damaged so badly by the fire that it might collapse. That certainly was a big
concern, especially with all those firefighters going in there at the time.
If you look at the building, you look at the carcass, the shell from the outside, you can see that some of those beams on the outside, they seem to
be in pretty bad shape. You're right, one of the things that the fire department has said, is that right now they're trying to shore up that
building to then be able to go inside. That's also why they said they're going to be involved in this recovery operation for at least several days
if not longer.
And one of the things that we've been seeing here, Richard, from our vantage point, because we have one of the main access roads that the
authorities are using to move equipment in there, to conduct that operation, we've seen a lot of trucks come in, we've seen some makeshift
housing brought in as well. It certainly seems to us as though the operation is one that's being set up here to last a very long time.
Because that is what it's going to take to sure up that building. And then to make sure that the authorities can work in there.
QUEST: Fred Pleitgen, who is on the other side of the tower from where I am, Fred, thank you. The full public inquiry will boil down to one
question that has angrily spread across the today's newspaper front pages in the United Kingdom. The "Daily Mail" ran the headline, "How the hell
did it happen?" And the pages splash, well, you can see the picture of the entire tower engulfed in flames.
Let's take a look at who is responsible for Grenfell Towers. The owners, Kensington and Chelsea council. However, it is managed by Kensington and
Chelsea Tenant Management Organization, KCTMO. It's a not-for-profit company. It's spun off from the council. It's all part of a privatization
drive over many years.
The contractors who did the work on the building a couple of years ago, Rydon. They won the contract to refurbish the tower last year and that
included the fitting of the external cladding. Steve Devine is with me. An electrical engineer at the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Good to see you, sir.
STEVEN DEVINE, INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY: Thank you.
QUEST: We can start off this discussion with one simple premise. Something clearly went dramatically and deadly wrong, didn't it?
DEVINE: We would never expect a building to be engulfed in flames at such an accelerated rate as this one has. What went wrong, we won't know until
investigations have been carried out. The fire investigation team, they'll be in there and hopefully within a short period of time will start to
analyze what's left over of the building, where possibly things could have gone wrong.
QUEST: But attention is focusing on the cladding, because that seems to be -- and the foam within the two walls. Because that does seem to be the
accelerant that sent the flames right up the building, and in doing so -- the awfulness of it -- dripped flaming material, which made a bad situation
DEVINE: that are Without the results back from the investigation, I'm not really sure exactly how the cladding came to the state that it was. But
what I can say is there are British standards. The requirements for the materials used in construction, there are requirements for the way those
materials are installed. And we would expect in the modern day in Britain, people to adhere to those requirements.
QUEST: Ensuring that a building built in the 1970s is as -- I think you were telling me earlier the phrase is, practicable, reasonably practicable,
you get to that standard; is that correct?
DEVINE: Well, there are considerations that are taken in, when constructing structures like this.
QUEST: Or renovating them.
DEVINE: Or renovating them, of course. And the measures that are in place need to be sufficient to -- and particularly with modern buildings, with
regards to the spread of fire -- there need to be reasonable measures to reduce the spread of fire. In buildings such as this and many others, one
of the measures put in place is compartmentalization.
[16:10:00] So, we have fire compartments. This type of building, each compartment would be considered the home, or each apartment.
QUEST: As an expert in this area, would you agree with me, finally, that whatever happened, this is a very serious issue, not just for what happened
in this building, but for similar blocks in London, and similar methods of construction and renovation that have been used around the world?
DEVINE: Well, not necessarily. You have to look at the whole process. If the material has been fabricated to the required standards. If the
installation has been done to the required standards, then the measures should be in place to prevent a catastrophic event such as a this taking
QUEST: But the urgency to find out what happened is immense.
DEVINE: Absolutely, yes. It's extremely important that they get to the bottom of why the fire spread so aggressively throughout the whole
building. There could be a number of factors that caused this to happen the way that it did.
QUEST: Thank you, sir, good to see you.
As we continue, her majesty, the Queen, has paid tribute to the firefighters and first responders. And in doing so, she echoed the
sentiments of many people who are here. Her majesty thanked those who put their own lives at risk to save those of others. Hundreds of firefighters
were at the scene on Wednesday morning, saving 65 people from the tower. Those are the numbers that we know so far.
Jane Philpott is the deputy assistant commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, earlier when she joined me she told me they had been working
tirelessly ever since.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE PHILPOTT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, LONDON FIRE BRIGADE: We're in a painstakingly slow process of going floor by floor. And, you know,
all we want to do is to be able to get in safely. Our crews are in and recover some loved ones. You know, the families are here waiting for news
for people that are missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, the chairman of the U.K. Fire Brigade Union says his service is operating in the face of severe cuts. And those cuts mean the very
people who save lives, the firefighters who risked their own lives going into that building, could now be without the care they need after the
Grenfell Tower blaze. Gareth Beeton joined me earlier and told me none of his members had ever seen anything like the Grenfell Tower fire.
GARETH BEETON, CHAIRMAN, U.K. FIRE BRIGADE UNION: What they saw was incomprehensible, really, that firefighters just came and didn't expect to
see anything of this gravitas or that nature. It's an event of extraordinary nature.
QUEST: You have been critical of the cuts made to the fire service, to the regulatory authorities. Now, obviously one doesn't make party political
issues at a time like this. But your point would be that these are serious cuts that we're seeing the evidence of that.
BEETON: I think when the fire service has been cut over the last years, we've lost 10,000 firefighters across the country, in London under the
Boris Johnson, the mayor at the time, we've lost 27 appliances, 10 fire stations and 500 plus firefighters. But --
QUEST: How would that have made a difference? I mean, on a situation like this, you know, to put it bluntly, you had everything you needed to throw
at this sort of thing. So, is there an element of -- would a few more firefighters have made a difference?
BEETON: It's the ongoing after effects and the effects of the cuts to the canceling of well-being services to the fire service in London. The London
Fire Brigade had four counselors at one point, now we're down to two counselors. So, the after-care and the firefighters are seeing these
traumatic events and how we care for firefighters. Their mental health state of health following that have been cut back and cut down to two
counselors from four, is obviously going to have an effect.
QUEST: This idea that people should stay in their apartments, a lot is being made of this as if this was a revolutionary or perhaps outdated, this
is the orthodoxy, isn't it? In a high-rise building where your ladders can't get to the top, the best advice is to stay put.
BEETON: Is to stay put and let the firefighters come and tackle the fire directly. But the nature of this fire was unprecedented. We hadn't seen
anything of this nature before where it went up the outside of the building, it went down the outside of the building, and it just rapidly
escalated within 30 minutes.
QUEST: What does that tell you?
BEETON: It tells us there's something else involved. There has to be.
QUEST: I mean, there's obviously, some form of accelerant involved that enabled what should have been a serious but manageable incident to turn
into a of unfathomable proportions
BEETON: Absolutely. It needs to be looked at and what the additional works were that were done on the building. And those standard cladding,
that was the insulation put on the outside of the building and how that has made that effect on what it did.
[16:15:00] QUEST: After something like this, the post-traumatic stress that your members will suffer, I mean, they're used to go going into
burning buildings, that's the reason. But this is in a different league.
BEETON: It is. It's an entirely different scale. You think the 65 casualties were rescued in the course of the night by our members. That's
an unprecedented number of casualties to be rescued. The sights that they saw, no one could envision you're going to see that.
QUEST: the fire brigade union talking to me earlier. As we continue, the UK's two main political leaders were at the scene of the Grenfell Tower
disaster. There visits were markedly different. One was described as private, the other wasn't.
QUEST: The U.K.'s top politicians visited the scenes at the Grenfell Tower today. Prime Minister, Theresa May, said many of the firefighters who
tackled the infernal, it was described as a private visit. Some of the survivors are said to be angry that she did not take the time to speak to
them. The leader of the opposition party, Jeremy Corbyn also came to the scene. He spoke to residents about their safety concerns and he expressed
his fury at what had happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: Some very hard questions have got to be asked and some very hard questions must be answered. A construction of
a tower block is essentially a series of concrete boxes which are the flats. The fire is not supposed to spread from one flat to the other.
It's supposed to be contained. It wasn't. It spread and it spread upwards and it spread outside as well through the cladding. Questions on the
sprinkler system. Questions on the fire breaks. Questions on why the cladding apparently burned. Questions on building control regulations.
Questions on the safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Nina dos Santos is in Downing Street, the home of the prime minister, and joins me. So, this visit of the prime minister, a private
visit, but not seemingly to spend any time talking to anybody or at least not that we're aware of, it seems again another own goal by Theresa May.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, well put, Richard. Yes, she spoke to the emergency services, in particular those heroic
firefighters and took advice from them. But she didn't stop to speak to anybody who was affected directly by this. Probably, you can imagine that
for the embattled prime minister and her advisers after the humiliation of losing her majority in that snap election that she herself called, Richard.
[16:20:00] Well, coming face-to-face with a bereaved relative, or somebody who's left homeless by this tragedy, if they were to vent their spleen at
her, so to speak, it would be one embarrassment too far. So, she didn't speak to any members of the community, that bestowed anger. What she did
do though is say she wanted a public inquiry here into finding out the lessons of what happened. She wanted that to be done at the earliest
possible opportunity with utmost urgency.
Again, that is a message that's not going to go down well with people who have lost loved ones, lost literally everything in this fire. Because
public inquiries, as you well know, Richard, take an awful lot of time. Yes, they're public, they're re expensive, but they don't deliver binding
recommendations. This brings me to the last time we saw a big public inquiry that we tower fire that was similar, back in 2009 in Camberwell.
Three babies and three women lost their lives in a similar incident.
Theresa May is also facing questions about her judgment for appointing Gavin Barwell, the former housing minister, who repeatedly delayed an
inquiry or review into the safety facilities of some of these tower blocks, despite the fact that that particular review having been demand by public
inquiry. He lost his seat recently but she has appointed him as her head of cabinet here, chief of staff.
So, there's going to be a lot of questions about him and her judgment for having appointed him. Just at the same time, if you compare and contrast
the behavior of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, things couldn't be more different. He was out and about among the crowds, speaking to people,
listening to their stories firsthand, and saying how many more of these do we have to have before something is actually done, Richard.
QUEST: Nina, let me take you into other areas. It's been confirmed that the Brexit negotiations will begin on Monday as planned. I would imagine
these are in Brussels, I think you were over there the other day. It's going to be an element of, I suppose the first couple of meetings, just
setting outlining the parameters. But it is interesting they are going to start as planned.
DOS SANTOS: it is. It's particularly interesting because, Richard, as we also know from today, they're going to start on the 19th of June, which is
two days before the Queen's speech, which is being delayed. I was speaking to Guy Verhofstadt, the head of the negotiating party on behalf of the
European Parliament -- because remember you have the parliament to consider and then the commission -- the executive are of the EU also to negotiate
The head of the parliamentary side said, I'm not sure she actually has the mandate or the authority to come and negotiate and start these particular
talks or at least send her representatives if she hasn't managed to get the Queen's speech through before then.
So, there's some questions there on the other side of the channel about her authority here in starting these talks. David Davis, the secretary of
state for exiting the EU, has said the talks will start as planned on the 19th. But it's probably only likely, Richard, they're going to talk about
the time frame, of when they're going to have further talks, rather than us getting an idea of whether or not they're crystallized on the idea of a
hard Brexit or soft Brexit, Richard.
QUEST: Nina dos Santos who is in Downing Street on the other side of London for me tonight.
Let's go to Washington, where President Trump has reacted with anger following reports that he, the president, is now under investigation for
political obstruction of justice as reported in "The Washington Post". It's a new chapter in the special counsel's probe which had focused on
Russian meddling in the presidential election. In a pair of tweets, President Trump called it a witch hunt. And he dismissed "The Post" story
as phone. In the past few minutes he tweeted again. This time about his election rival, Hillary Clinton.
"Crooked Hillary destroyed phones, bleached emails, and had her husband meet with the attorney general days before she was cleared and they talk
about obstruction?" That's just one recent tweet.
Sara Murray is following the developments from Washington. Sara, I can see this idea of the extension of the special counsel to look into Donald
Trump's obstruction. This was arguably an inevitability, bearing in mind his tweets and his statements about his decision to fire Comey.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I certainly think that this is where a number of people thought the investigation may be headed.
But I think a key difference to remember is, you know, this president was obsessed with James Comey getting the information out there that he had
told the president on numerous occasions, Mr. President, you are not the one under investigation.
Well, now "The Washington Post" reported saying that's no longer the case. Now the president is one of the people who is under investigation, this
time for potential obstruction of justice. So that is a significant development. That's not exactly where CNN's reporting is right now. CNN
is report that the special counsel wants to meet with a number of intelligence officials and that the probe is sort of moving in that
direction. But I do think you make the right point there, Richard, that this all seems to be pointing in the same directions at this moment.
QUEST: OK. So, what happens? Because Mueller is not going to confirm one way or the other. The president is going to continue to tweet his
frustration and anger at this. The leaks will continue. And I sort of wonder, I see you're sort of nicely enjoying the hot Washington summer, as
the capital just swelters into July and August. Is that the way this will move on?
MURRAY: I think it will go on, but the president is not going to stop tweeting. We should know that lesson by now. The Russian investigation is
not go away overnight. And I think we've seen a number of his allies on the Hill, other Republicans, saying they hope the president would at least
calm down in terms of his rhetoric. They hope that he will let Mueller do his job and instead focus on the agenda. One of the things about
Republicans in Washington right now, their frustration is really palpable. They want to be doing health care, they want to be doing tax reform, they
want to be moving forward on these agenda items and they feel like they cannot do that if the president is the one who cannot let go of talking
about the Russian investigation every day.
QUEST: Sara Murray in Washington, thank you.
As we continue our coverage tonight from London. The anger, the natural, understandable anger of the people living in this area over the safety
issues and the potential risks that many still face living in tower blocks similar to the one that went up in flames the other day. That's still to
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest in London. Our coverage of the tower block fire continues in just a moment. Allow me please to give you the
news headlines at this hour.
Theresa May has announced a full public inquiry into the tower fire in west London. The police said 17 people have died and that number is likely to
rise. Dozens are confirmed missing.
A blast outside a kindergarten in eastern China's Jiangsu Province has left at least seven people dead and 66 injured. The cause of the blast is being
investigated. The local government says no students or teachers from the school were hurt.
[16:30:00] President Trump said Representative Steve Scalise is in worse condition than initially thought. Scalise was shot on Wednesday at a
Virginia baseball field. Speaking a short time ago, the president said Scalise is in some trouble. Doctors have been performing a third surgery
And doctors say the American college student released by North Korea has extensive brain damage and has not spoken or made any purposeful movements.
They have no way of knowing what happened to Otto Warmbier who is 22 years old and was flown back to Ohio earlier this week. North Korea said he had
been in a coma for more than a year after contracting botulism.
Jurors in the Bill Crosby trial have been ordered to keep trying to reach a verdict. They said earlier they're deadlocked. Cosby is accused of
drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004.
The anger is palpable here outside Grenfell Tower and for obvious and very understandable reasons. Today, we saw the mood turn from shock and grief,
which is deep and wide-ranging, to frustration and outrage. Theresa May's government is being criticized for not doing more to improve safety
standards. And the London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been challenged over the city's response when he spoke just behind me a few hours ago. This is what
some of the locals have been telling us throughout the course of the day.
UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL: These people, the management, wasn't listening. They never cared what people are saying, what people are complaining for, what
UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL: The work that was done was for aesthetic reasons because the people didn't like the ugliness of this building. What do they
think about that? What do people now think about that, looking at that every morning?
UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL: The people are being attacked at all levels, call it social cleansing, ethnic cleansing, call it what you like. This process is
UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL: It's not just anger. I've seen a lot of love and there's a lot of people just showing a great spirit. It's just really sad
that such a horrifying event happened to bring that out. I've seen the best of people in the last couple of days.
QUEST: Oren Lieberman joins me now, Oren, I was talking to one or two people earlier who say there were a lot of volunteers and the goodwill and
support and things that have been donated is huge, but frankly official help, council workers, are few and far between if indeed they're here at
OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a complaint that has only amplified, especially today, as everyone here has had a chance to process
what's been has happening. The help is here but it's not coming from the authorities, it's coming from the community. This is one of the many
donation points that's overflowed with help. The Notting Ham Methodist Church here very close to the scene of the fire, close to Grenfell Tower,
has become a prayer site, an official vigil held a few hours ago. People have dropped off candles to pray that those that are missing will be found,
whether in hospitals or somewhere else. Jessica's family is holding out hope against all odds. They're walking the streets, handing out fliers,
hoping perhaps someone saw the 12-year-old girl who lived on the 20th floor someone saw her get out. Or maybe she's in a hospital, unconscious, unable
to tell her family she's OK.
QUEST: We hope that she'll wake up soon and let us know where she is.
LIEBERMAN: In the first minutes of the confusion of the fire, she was separated from her family, her cousin says. In the smoke and fire, chaos
spread as quickly as the flames. The last time they spoke was 45 minutes after the fire started.
JASON GARCIA, JESSICA URBANO'S COUSIN: There were two phone calls she made from inside the building, from another person's phone, who we understand is
also missing. Since that second phone call, we've had no contact at all.
[16:35:00] LIEBERMAN: If you walk around this neighborhood near the fire, you cannot miss the face of Jessica, her friends are wearing her picture on
their shirts. We've seen her picture on flyers on cars, anything they can do to get the message out and get the word out about Jessica Urbano. She's
one among many still missing. There are fliers from more families who want answers.
QUEST: The number of dead is rising. And we don't know who. We don't know who and whether they're the ones in the building or in the hospital.
We don't know what's going on.
LIEBERMAN: For Ahmed Cellat, grief has turned into frustration. His youngest child is still missing.
AHMED CELLAT, RELATIVE OF MISSING RESIDENT: They might be in different place, on a different list. We don't know who. And whether they were the
ones in the building, whether they are the ones in the hospital.
LIEBERMAN: At community centers, churches and mosques in the area, there has been an outpouring of support, Londoners trying to help so many
families who are homeless, many overflowing with donations and food, turning away more.
GARCIA: People are coming in from all parts of London, anywhere else, bringing in stuff. It's been amazing to see.
LIEBERMAN: Reporter: the fire swept through the Grenfell Tower so rapidly that every life saved is a miracle. Every life lost, a tragedy. More than
36 hours after the fire, Jessica Urbano's family praying she is one of the miracles. Urbano's picture is one of the six pictures on this truck, all
of them labeled missing. Five of them are single pictures. One is the picture of the family. It is a desperate attempt to get some answers,
hoping that the worst of the news that there are 17 people who died in this fire doesn't get even worse and that that number rises. That of course,
Richard, is the fear going forward.
QUEST: Oren, perhaps the toughest question, it's been asked to me, a dozen times here, I don't really have a satisfactory answer, Oren, we pretty much
know that the number of dead is going to rise, and probably rise considerably. Why won't the authorities say that?
LIEBERMAN: They've at best hinted at it. The question of why is still a difficult one. As you point out, it's one we don't have a satisfactory
answer to, because one hasn't been given yet. Certainly, this is not an easy process. They pointed out yesterday it's a question of knowing who
was in the building to begin with. They say, yes, they have a list of who lived there, but perhaps somebody had guests, spending the night. Perhaps
somebody spent the night at somebody else's place and wasn't in the building. It seems as if they're still not sure how many people were
inside, which means they're not sure how many people got out. And that's why they're not sure how many it seems they're still looking for, which
makes the hardest and most significant questions, how many people died in this fire, it makes it still an unknown question. That has been part of
what's been frustrating for the people who lived here and certainly the people who put up those "missing" signs behind me.
QUEST: Oren, thank you for that, Oren Liebermann joining me there.
As we continue tonight, the annual baseball game between congressional Republicans and Democrats is scheduled for a few hours from now.
Meanwhile, representative Steve Scalise is fighting for his life after he and his colleagues were attacked on their practice field.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: Congressman Steve Scalise shot in the hip during an attack on Republican lawmakers on Wednesday, is now said to be in worse condition
than initially thought. President Trump says Scalise is a fighter and the shooting could bring unity to a deeply divided nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I would like to take a moment to again send our thoughts and prayers to my friend and the friend of most of us in this
room, Steve Scalise, and his great family as he continues his very brave fight. It's been much more difficult than people even thought at the time.
He's in some trouble. He's a great fighter and will pull through, we hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [00:35:00] QUEST: Do we know much about his condition?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Richard, I can tell me you he remains in critical condition. That can have varying degrees of what that might
mean. He's had three surgeries. One single shot went across the pelvis, some bone fractures and internal organs that were injured. He had internal
bleeding, in fact he had a second surgery to deal with internal bleeding as well as a blood transfusion. His body has been through quite a bit,
Richard. He's going to require rest and may require additional surgeries, according to the hospital there. It is a situation that has not changed as
far as his condition goes. Many of his friends appear optimistic after speaking with his family, after the hospital has spoken, that he will be
able to overcome this. It just may take some time.
QUEST: OK. And the others who were hurt, what do you know about them? Obviously in these situations, attention always focuses, if you like, on
supposedly the big name, the most important name. But there are others who were very badly hurt as well.
GALLAGHER: That's right. Actually Richard, I spent my whole day yesterday at George Washington University Hospital where lobbyist Matt Mika was
taken, the most severely injured of all, shot several times in the chest. We know there was damage to the lung as well. Mika needs breathing
assistance from a machine. He's not really able to talk yet but we're told he is alert enough to communicate through notes with his family. And
that's good news, because yesterday it was pretty shaky ground. Just in the past hour, his condition has improved, we're told he's no longer
critical. He is now in serious condition.
So, we are seeing these people, again, Matt Mika shot several times in the chest, improve. Watching sort of the condition of the human spirit as they
fight on. Capitol Hill officer Crystal Griner is still in the hospital, she was shot in the ankle. She got a visit from the vice president today,
as did majority whip Steve Scalise. They're talking that moment that they saw this man opening fire on a baseball field, and what they tried to do to
get away from that. A Capitol Hill staffer, Zach Barth, talked about trying to use his fight or flight instincts and not knowing what to do, to
crumple up and make himself as small as he could possibly be so he wouldn't be a target. He was shot in the ankle. He was back on Capitol Hill after
being discharged from the hospital, Richard.
QUEST: Some good news in an otherwise dreadful story. Diane Gallagher, thank you for joining us.
As we continue from London, the sheer anger, the deep grief, yet there is resolve and kindness as well to be found in the British capital. The
emotions are complex. They're palpable. We'll talk about them after the break.
[16:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: Sobering and certainly familiar. London coming together after tragedy. Now, think about it. The past six months, the British capital
has endured two terror attacks, now potentially one of the deadliest incidents since the blitz in World War II. We need to get a sense of the
city. Daniel O'Mahony of "The London Evening Standard" joins me, one of the first reporters on the scene. You were on the night shift, you were
DANIEL O'MAHONY, REPORTER, "THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD: I was here at the end of the road.
QUEST: What was it like then?
O'MAHONY: Everyone was so quiet. Just looking at the flames burning. People looking up in complete silence. It was eerily quiet, you could hear
the flames going.
QUEST: And the reaction in the day after?
O'MAHONY: Even if the first couple of hours after, you had people bringing out water bottles and blankets for people, as the sun came up, people
bringing those things out. The day after, amazingly quickly how so many people got together and galvanized and brought everything out for people.
It's been quite amazing, obviously in such a horrible circumstance, how everyone came together.
QUEST: Let's take this city, I live in New York most of the time, and a number of my American colleagues and friends will say to me, what's going
on in London, what's the mood in London? How do you answer that question?
O'MAHONY: In terms of what happened in March --
QUEST: You had March, you had obviously Manchester was slightly different, you had the bridge. But the resilience of the people here is quite
O'MAHONY: London has always been known for that, that's what the people do here. Obviously such horrible, horrible things, one would never want to
have to go through them. The people here, people do deal with it, do manage to copy, some way, somehow.
QUEST: Do you detect fear here? You shook your head immediately.
O'MAHONY: I don't think at all, I really don't think so. There are things that happened which should never happen anywhere, that have horrible for
everyone involved. I don't think people are scared. I think you have to - -
QUEST: I'm going to ask you a question that a friend in the states asked me. He sent me an email and he said, my son is due to come to London as
part of a school trip. I've been seeing the events taking place. Is it safe for him to come over?
[16:50:00] O'MAHONY: Completely. I don't think it's any different. That's like someone saying is it safe to go to New York. It's exactly the
same. Obviously, it's been a horrible -- the individual events have been horrible these are last few months. That bears no reflection on what this
city really is, definitely.
QUEST: You can see why people are asking this. Let's face it, Manchester is 200 miles, 250 miles up the road. People think of it as all one big
thing. Then you think about what happened in March and the tower bridge and what happened at London bridge and you start to see, you can construct
an environment where people are going, what on earth is going on in London.
O'MAHONY: Bad things happen, it's been a horrible three months, in the individual events. I remember when I went to New York, it was a couple of
months before an attempted bombing there. It does happen everywhere. The incredible thing about the city, it will not stop people from going out,
doing what they always do, doing what they normally do, going to the pub, seeing the family, seeing their loved ones. People will never stop doing
QUEST: It's Friday night tomorrow night, a busy night in London.
O'MAHONY: As always.
QUEST: Good to see you, sir. Thank you very much indeed, it's much appreciated.
As we continue, some residents of the Grenfell Tower surviving the fire was just the beginning of their anguish, one man searching in vain for his wife
since they got separated. CNN's Max Foster has the story.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. The man and his wife were about to go to bed. There was a knock on their door. They
were told to leave. The stairwell was thick with smoke and people rushing to get downstairs. He tried to keep hold of his wife's hand but struggled.
SABAH ABDULLAH, WIFE MISSING IN TOWER FIRE: Lots of them pushing each other. But then I just couldn't I kept my hand on my nose and the other on
my wife. So, what about my balance?
FOSTER: So, you let go of her hand.
ABDULLAH: Yes. I need to catch something in order to keep my balance because they keep pushing me.
FOSTER: He assumed she had just got ahead of him. He carried on to the bottom and went outside to find her. But she wasn't there. He waited and
he waited, for six hours. Then he walked to every shelter and every hospital, searching for her, still in his dressing gown. But he didn't
find her. And he still hasn't heard a thing. Our thoughts are with you, I know you have other family supporting you. I don't know what to say,
really. The whole event was horrific.
ABDULLAH: I don't know what to say myself. I have lived this situation and I don't know what to say. Do you?
FRIEND OF ABDULLAH AND HIS WIFE: There is a lot to say.
FOSTER: You are one of his wife's friends.
FRIEND: Best friends for 30 years. This is the best picture, she is the same as usual, smiling, kind, she makes friends very easily, very clever.
I'm sure she's somewhere, otherwise she will look for her husband because she loves her husband and he loves her as well.
FOSTER: You've tried everywhere?
ABDULLAH: Everywhere we can think to possibly look for her. There is nothing else we can do.
FOSTER: They wanted to speak to us in the vain hope that she was still alive and will see this report. I hope she's watching.
ABDULLAH: I doubt it, because she couldn't leave the building. I don't think she came downstairs. I don't think so.
QUEST: The outpouring of support for those who have lost everything in this tragedy just a day after the inferno. The local council has been
inundated with food and clothing and supplies. They say they can't take any more. To find out how to help those affected by the fire,
We'll take a short break and we'll have more in just a moment. This is CNN in London.
[16:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SADIG KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: Understandably, the residents are very angry and concerned and have genuine questions that demand answers. And so, what
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone needs to be held accountable. These deaths could have been prevented.
KHAN: Of course, we welcome the call from the prime minister for an independent public inquiry. We need answers now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now.
KHAN: That's why I'm calling on --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not two years from now. We need now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: As we finish tonight here in London, the sight of Grenfell Tower is stark, to be sure. It just stand there. No light, no sound. It just
stands there. And there is of course still no confirmation on the number of people, the number of bodies still within. If you ask people in the
streets around here, they are pretty certain that the final list, number, will be in the high dozens, maybe in the low hundreds. No one knows is the
truth. That's why the police simply will not go beyond the 17 confirmed deaths so far. Which is a deeply unsatisfactory answer to those who live
in the area. But that is the contradiction that we are in at the moment.
A group of people that are understandably angry, that feel they've been ignored, their concerns have not been listened to, and that they have borne
the brunt of what may be seen as slapdash corruption or simply poor construction. You have nothing to say to them other than a full public
investigation, and even then, they have doubts that the truth will ever come out. And if you want to know why, just look at the building. That's
our program from London tonight. I'm Richard Quest.