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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
London Mayor Calls For Interim Report This Summer; West Londoners Stand Together In Face Of Disaster; Families Search For The Missing After Huge Fire; "Washington Post": Special Counsel Investigating Trump For Possible Obstruction Of Justice; Sources: Mueller Plans To Interview Intel Chiefs; British PM, Opposition Leader Visit The Scene; Theresa May Meets Northern Ireland Leaders; Locals Express Outrage Over Lives Lost; Man Shares heartbreaking Story of Missing Wife; Ex-North Korea Detainee's Brain Severely Injured; GOP Lawmaker Undergoes Third Surgery; Report: Mueller Investigating Trump for Possible Obstruction; Neighbors Help Neighbors in Wake of Fire. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 15, 2017 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Hala Gorani on the streets in West London, there is grief tinged with anger. People here are
demanding answers. How could this tragedy happen? Here's what we know.
The death toll stands at 17 and could well rise. Authorities warn that will go up in the last few hours. We have also learned the name of the
And speaking about a tragedy for this young man, the 23-year-old who has been named is a Syrian refugee, Mohammad Ahaj Aly, who was an engineering
student at the University of West London. He lived with his brother, Omar, in a flat on the 14th floor. His brother made it out alive.
A little bit earlier London's mayor was here. He was surrounded by local residents. Some of them were very angry. Sadiq Khan is now demanding a
full independent inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower.
Now some long-winded study that will take years. He wants it this summer. Here is what he told reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: I have had a chance again to visit the site of the horrific fire, a couple of days ago. It is still a very distressing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quiet, quiet, the mayor is speaking!
KHAN: -- as you all be aware the firefighters with (inaudible) rescue teams and the frantic teams are working through the building as we speak.
They will be working through the course of the day, and the five commissioners confirmed that it has taken a number of days but weeks to go
through the entire block.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Sadiq Khan there, and you heard him getting heckled by some of the residents. Now while there is a anger, there is also and it has been on
full display over the last 24 hours, a sense of solidarity in this community.
Oren Liebermann is live outside the Notting Hill Methodist Church that's where the locals are rallying around the victims of the fire. And I
understand there is also a vigil planned and people there really wanting to show that they are present there for the neighbors and willing to help out
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that vigil is actually starting now, set to start in just a couple of moments here. There are candles set
up as well as flowers and that is part of the solidarity that the community is showing with those who have lost their homes, and those who are still
In fact, on the Notting Hill Methodist Church here behind me, behind the car moving at the moment, there are pictures of those who are still missing
and crying for help for the community reaching out, and the families missing their loved ones and friends with phone numbers to call and e-mails
to reach out to.
People and family members who are looking for any bit of info information on where the friends and their families are.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Jessica Urbano's family is still holding out hoping against all odds. They are out there walking the streets, handing
out fliers hoping perhaps that someone saw the 12-year-old girl who lived on the 20th floor, and someone saw her get out or maybe she is in a
hospital unconscious and unable to tell her family she is OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope that is the case and that she'll wake up soon and let us know where she is.
LIEBERMANN: In the first minutes of confusion of the fire, Urbano was separated from her family, her cousin says and the smoke and fire and chaos
spread as quickly as the flames. The last time they spoke was at 1:40 in the morning, 45 minutes after the fire started.
JASON GARCIA, JESSICA URBANO'S COUSIN: The last we heard from her, the two phone calls that she made from inside of the building from another person's
phone, who we also have understood is to be missing, and so since that second phone call, we have no contact at all.
LIEBERMANN (on camera): If you are walk around the neighborhood near fire, you cannot miss the face of Jessica Urbano. Her friends are wearing her
picture on their shirts. We've seen her picture taped to concrete walls, and they are fliering cars. Anything they can do to get the message out
and the word out about Jessica Urbano.
(voice-over): Jessica Urbano is one among many still missing. There are flyers with more faces, more pleas for help and more families who want
AHMAD CHILAN, RELATIVE OF MISSING RESIDENT: And the police are reporting that the number of dead is rising and rising and we don't know who, and
whether they are the ones that were in the building or the ones in hospitals. We still don't know what is going on.
LIEBERMANN: For Ahmad Chilan, grief has turned into frustration, his sister's family and their three children were inside the tower. The
youngest child is still missing.
CHILAN: We are still hoping that he might be in a different place or different list, we don't know.
LIEBERMANN: At community centers, churches and mosques in the area, there's been an outpouring of support.
[15:05:01]Londoners trying to help so many families who now find themselves homeless. Many overflowing with clothing, food and donations, and turning
away any more, as a way to ease the transition for the hardest hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People coming in from all across London. Anyone bringing in stuff has been amazing to see how everyone is helping each
LIEBERMANN: 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 Jessica Urbano's family praying she is one of the miracles.
LIEBERMANN: Jessica Urbano's picture is one of those here behind me as her family looks for answers. That as the prayer vigil begins and I will step
out of the way so you can have a better look. There is a hushed silence as many in this crowd are holding candles as part of that vigil, praying for
the missing, praying for those who need help.
There are so many who need help. Part of that has led to a frustration and an anger that is mixed in with the grief and the mourning for those who've
lost their lives. That frustration and anger coming from two different aspects.
The first is that authorities have not been able to give a better answer on how many have perished in this fire. We know that number stands at 17, but
it's expected to rise. That has led to the confusion, the frustration and the anger.
As well as part of that also coming from the concerns of safety that we've seen since the very beginning, although the mayor and the prime minister
have promised a public inquiry that many feel should have come a long time ago.
Because the concerns of safety of the building of that tower were raised long ago by some of the residents who tried to reached out to the
management of the building and felt their questions weren't answered.
Then went to the council and beyond to try to get them to look at the safety concerns, concerns we've heard repeated since we were here and
echoed since we were from early tomorrow morning and perhaps now with that inquiry, they will get the answers they were looking for -- Hala.
GORANI: Certainly, they are demanding answers, the residents here. Thanks very much, Oren Liebermann.
And we have a guest here who might be able to provide -- certainly shed some light on fire safety and compliance and really for all our viewers as
well around the world who live in high-rises and there are so many of you.
What should you be looking out for as well? Kuldeep Virdi is a professor of structural engineering at City University in London. Thanks for being
with us. So let's talk a little bit about what might have gone wrong here. We are in 2017 in London in a rich western city, and we saw this towering
inferno burn this to a shell. What could have gone wrong?
KULDEEP VIRDI, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING, CITY UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that most fires started by the accident, and
then depending on the fire load, the fire expand, and if it goes beyond a certain size, then you will get something like this.
GORANI: Is there a risk that this building will collapse?
VIRDI: Well, there is a risk. But this will be decided by testing and going in to see what is the residual strength of the concrete there. And
if they find it is too weak, then, of course, it has to be demolished, or they might keep it a while for further tests.
GORANI: For further tests to see how well it is perhaps was able to sustain the fire for as long as it did. So many of our viewers live in
these tall buildings now, and they must be some of them wondering how can I tell if my building is safe? How do I know if I have the right escape
route? If I have the sprinklers, what would you tell them?
VIRDI: Well, I think that most buildings are designed according to certain standards and in these standards we take to see that the residents will not
die from the fire. So the primary building regulations and standards will show that loss of life does not occur.
GORANI: In this case, it didn't. But what would you say to other people in other parts of Europe or even Asia or the Middle East or Africa live in
these tall buildings?
VIRDI: Well, I think what happens in other countries sometimes a poor construction that can be the cause of a disaster. But in general, unless
the same kind of fire is created again, you won't have another disaster, and of course, the people will take precautions.
GORANI: And there has been a lot said about the external shell that they added to beautify the building and all o4 that, and this could have been an
VIRDI: From what I have seen in the reports, it is possible that one contributed might have been the materials used in the cladding.
GORANI: We saw fires like this in very rich Gulf States like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, there was no loss of life, but the fire extremely dramatic, there
was one in 2016. So it is not completely unusual to see these very dramatic fires.
VIRDI: Well, one thing to say is that the taller the building the greater care is taken in the design to make sure that disaster from fire does not
GORANI: And especially these are modern buildings. Now this was a building from the 1970s. It was retrofitted but not necessarily with
sprinklers, with more than one staircase and those are all ways to escape a building.
[15:10:06]VIRDI: That's right. When we deal with fire safety engineering, we look at compartmentation. We look at means of escape and depending of
the size of the building, you may have to have an alternative means of escape which probably in this case was not there.
GORANI: I mean, obviously people will be wondering, and one of the things you would say to them based on everything we've discussed now is to make
sure you have a way to escape if you need to.
VIRDI: Well, it is not for an individual to decide, it's for the authorities to make sure that there is provision for means of escape.
GORANI: So if the authorities failed to do that, then there is certainly somebody needs to be held accountable.
VIRDI: Of course, of course.
GORANI: Thank you very much for joining us. Kuldeep Virdi, emeritus professor of structural engineering at City University London. Thank you
joining us. We appreciate your analysis and expertise.
A lot more to come this evening and we turn our attention to the United States with the latest political news.
And also reminder that Brexit talks begin in just four days. But hang on, is there a government in this country? We will be right back.
GORANI: Let's turn our attention now to the United States and reports off a major turning point, significant turning point in the investigation into
the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. The "Washington Post" is reporting that President Donald Trump himself is being investigated for
possible obstruction of justice.
Mr. Trump is firing back on Twitter, but his dismissive response actually seems to confirm that he believes he is now a target. He wrote, "They made
up a phony collusion with the Russian story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice."
Well, the investigation does not end there. The "Washington Post" says the special counsel's team is also looking into possible financial crimes of
Let's bring in CNN contributor, David Swerdlick, of the "Washington Post." We are also joined by Mark Preston, executive editor for CNN Politics.
David, let me start with you. So what does this tweet by the president mean? Is he confirming that he believes he is under investigation for
obstruction of justice?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Hala, one of the problems for the president all along as you have pointed out is that his
tweets have been getting him in trouble, and when you add this tweet to his statement to Lester Holt of NBC News several weeks ago saying that Russia,
and the Russian investigation was on his mind when he fired Director Comey.
It is very plausible to reach the conclusion that these things are interrelated despite the denials and the pushbacks from the president and
from the White House. He keeps digging himself deeper and deeper in this.
And as many people have pointed out, if the president just let this play out, went on about his job with the domestic agenda, there is a chance that
he would be, you know, exonerated or cleared or ultimately, the several investigations going on would find that there is no wrongdoing.
[15:15:07]But the fact that there now maybe an obstruction of justice charge in the offing, whether that's weeks or months or years down the road
is in part, according to the reporting of my "Washington Post" colleagues is based on the idea that at the time that Director Comey was in office, he
told President trump he was not under investigation, but now maybe under investigation because of the firing.
GORANI: And so, Mark, what are the political implications for the White House at this stage?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are already -- they are already taking root in the sense that we are not necessarily
seeing President Trump enact his domestic agenda as David was saying. We have not seen any major progress on his signature issues.
The overhaul of health care in the United States has been enacted in part because Donald Trump has not focused on it, instead he is really focused
his time and attention at going after his enemies and political enemies.
We are also seeing that tax structure here in the United States, you know, come under a big debate about how to overhaul that, but they can't get to
that because they can't get to health care. And in many ways the way that things work here in the U.S. when it comes to policy, it is a domino
In order for the overhaul and the restructuring of our tax code, it kind of has to be done after health care is done. So, there is a lot of things
that are really taking President Trump off message, and as David said, it is really his own fault.
This obstruction of justice investigation now is something that he, himself, has created and quite frankly is adding more oxygen to the fire to
keep it alive and burning a lot brighter.
GORANI: And, David, obviously, this could cause big problems down the road for the president and the big question would be, you know, obviously, this
investigation is unfolding, and ongoing and taking some time, but what about the Republicans on Capitol Hill? Are they still rallying around the
president or could they or are they finding that potentially an association with him when midterms come around might be problematic for some of them?
SWERDLICK: Yes, so, if you read the tea leaves and you parse finely some of the comments of a lot of rank and file Republicans in Congress, you can
see that they don't want to outright dismiss the idea of an obstruction of justice charge.
They don't want to outright dismiss the fact that the special prosecutor or their own congressional committees need to get to the bottom of A, an
investigation about what role Russia had in meddling in the U.S. election in 2016, and B, whether or not members of President Trump's circle were
involved in this.
But at the same time, they are not for the most part with maybe one or two exceptions, Hala, breaking with President Trump, and part of that is
because even if you look at approval ratings, President Trump is at 38 percent in today's Gallup poll.
It's a low -- it's a weak approval rating, but it is much higher narrow that to just among Republicans. He still has strong support among
Republicans. Republican legislators know this and Republicans control Congress. So they are not yet ready to break with him at this point.
GORANI: Yes. And Mark, I guess the head scratcher is why does the president keep tweeting and I guess maybe this is not -- I mean, I don't
know the inner workings of the White House when it comes to social media and the president's access to it, but if it is hurting him, and if he is
making it harder for himself to, you know, sort of escape accusations of wrongdoing, why does he keep using the social media?
PRESTON: Hala, how can you ask me a question that is unanswerable, my gosh, because he should, and you know what, we don't know why he keeps
tweeting, right. We don't know. He clearly has shown that he has no governor meaning he has no ability to keep himself in check.
The people who he has surrounded himself with whether that be his senior staff, his chief of staff and those helping him with government as well as
his legal counsel don't seem to have enough influence over him to prevent him from tweeting.
While we are just focusing on this issue right now when we are talking about this Russia investigation, let's talk about it for all of the viewers
around the world, when he is sending out nasty tweets about the leader of Germany or the leader of Australia or talking about the United States
commitment or non-commitment to NATO.
So he is sending the messages out that in many ways is causing a lot of people to scratch their heads at best and at worst, cause great concern
about where the U.S. is when it comes to being a key ally to other nations.
GORANI: And David, last one, I mean a lot of people abroad are watching of course, and following fascinated the developments surrounding this special
counsel investigation, the Mueller investigation, and wondering how long will it take?
[15:20:03]I mean, this process until there is some sort of answer as to whether or not this special counsel finds any evidence in his estimation of
SWERDLICK: Hala, I think this is going take months if not years. Look, those who may be either are more sympathetic with Democrats or people
around the world who are maybe skeptical of Trump, who are waiting for the other shoe to drop, for there to be a body blow that completely hobbles or
takes out the Trump administration or the Trump presidency, I think that they are going to be waiting a long time for that.
On the other hand, for Republicans or people who are still supporting President Trump, the idea that he is going to be vindicated anytime soon is
also a long way away. We are in here for a long slog and that is because the process of the congressional committees and the special prosecutor just
have to work their way.
And as Mark said, fuel keeps being added to the fire because the president in a way, keeps adding, you know, one tweet after another like logs on a
fire that are just perpetuating the news cycle, and the controversy one day into the next.
GORANI: All right. It is every political journalist's first reflex in the morning to check Donald Trump's Twitter feed. Thanks very much, David
Swerdlick and Mark Preston. Appreciate it.
Well, maybe one tragic event has in fact served to unify the politicians on both sides of the aisle on Congress. President Trump is in fact suggesting
that a Republican congressman badly wounded in a shooting on Wednesday is in worse condition than first realized.
Mr. Trump says Representative Steve Scalise is, quote, "in some trouble." The lawmaker was critically wounded when a gunman opened fire on a baseball
practice for a bipartisan charity game.
Now a source tells CNN that Scalise is undergoing a third surgery today. We will have much more on the investigation into the shooting, and also as
I mentioned there you have politicians from the Democratic and the Republican parties, both uniting there in their condemnation of this
horrendous attack, but also in sympathy toward those who were injured.
Now, back to the U.K. where two leaders have two very different responses to the tragedy. Members of the local community have criticized Prime
Minister Theresa May for not meeting with them.
Now, she did come close to the site here a few hours ago, but she did not meet with ordinary residents. She spoke to police and firefighters. Mrs.
May said she understands the resident's anger and she's launching a formal inquiry to provide answers.
Now perhaps this is a good way to see the different campaigning styles it has to be said of the two party leaders, because by contrast, the
opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn met and hugged some members of the local community.
Let's go to our Nina Dos Santos who is outside 10 Downing Street. Let's talk a little bit about the different responses by the two party leaders,
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN MONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, rightfully said, Theresa May really stoked public anger in the immediate vicinity of the Grenfell
Tower, but also among other Londoners as well who said, (inaudible) humanity, why didn't she go and meet with any of those people who were
Like she did for instance after the London Bridge attacks and also the Manchester attacks as well. Probably you can imagine that for her advisers
inside Number 10, just seeing Theresa May as an embattled prime minister, weakened after than snap election, be confronted by residents' anger was
probably one PR disaster too far after the difficult week that she has had.
Hala, as you said there, you could not contrast it any further with Jeremy Corbyn's easy response here among the community. He was out and about and
talking to the people at local churches and also community centers, and raising people's concerns about what could happened to other people who
live in big, high density blocks like this, will they be safe in their beds tonight?
Remember that high density, high rise towers like this a part of the social fabric of London, but also other cities around the U.K. providing vital
affordable housing in some of the most expensive places in the U.K.
So she has as you have rightfully said, announced a public inquiry will be held urgently. There can also be some anger surrounding that in the future
too because remember that we had an inquiry about another fire in one of these tower blocks back in 2009.
One that killed three women and three babies, very little was done in the aftermath of that, and the public inquiries are known for being long
winded. Yes, they're public. They get things out in the open, but their recommendations are not binding and they cost an awful lot of money --
GORANI: And obviously, four days away from Brexit negotiations starting with all these political uncertainty in the country, what is expected to
happen next Monday?
DOS SANTOS: Well, that is one of the reasons why Theresa May did not spend her whole day there in Northwest London or North Kensington near the
Grenfell Tower site is also because she is going to try to form a government.
[15:25:02]So she came back here to Number 10 Downing Street to spend much of the afternoon meeting with the five largest parties of Northern Ireland
largely to try and get their support or at least try and convince them that a deal with the DUP wouldn't be bad for Northern Ireland or the rest of the
She tried to apparently convince them, according to a number of them that we spoke to here throughout the course of afternoon that the details of a
deal would be made public. They said that they would try their best to support what they could, but she gave them frankly, very few details.
And what we do know is that Sinn Fein's Jerry Adams said that he told here that is she did a deal with the DUP, she would be in breach of the Good
Friday Agreement. Remember that the Good Friday Agreement struck in 1998 means that the British government has to be an impartial part of the peace
And of course, the question is can she be impartial if of course the conservatives have a confidences to supply the deal with the DUP. But the
other thing that came up time and time again was also the issue of Brexit.
All of these parties mentioned Brexit, and that they did not want a hard border between Northern Ireland and also the Republic of Ireland. We did
get news on the Brexit front today as you quite rightfully mentioned the Department of Exiting the E.U., its Secretary of State David Davis
confirmed what Theresa May had said a couple of days ago that Brexit talks will officially start on June 19th.
But remember, Hala, this is two days before the queen's speech which is now been delayed. So when I was speaking to the politicians in Strasburg
earlier in this week, they said that she may not have the credibility to negotiate with them at this point -- Hala.
GORANI: Thank you very much, Nina Dos Santos. We will be in touch with more U.K. politics news. Now just as it is not clear what happened in that
tower behind me that led to the deadly fire, it is also not clear what happened today, thousands of miles away from here in Eastern China, the
picture we are about to show you are disturbing.
It is a horrific scene at a school 700 kilometers south of Beijing. Authorities are investigating a blast there outside the gates of a
kindergarten. State media say at least seven people were killed, obviously, those images are blurred.
We don't want to show you because they are terribly graphic. None of them are children or teachers and the cause of the blast is under investigation.
There is some amateur video of the aftermath of that explosion.
Just ahead, the families are desperately searching for their loved ones after the fire here in West London. There are many people still missing.
Names of people circulating with family members and friends saying they have not heard from them. We speak to one man looking for his wife, after
two days of searching, he still has not found her. We will be right back.
[15:30:10] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Let's bring you up to speed on what's happening here in West London. The Prime Minister and now the city's Mayor
are demanding a public inquiry into that horrific tower fire.
Police say 17 people are now confirmed dead. That number is likely to rise. They also warned that the bodies of some of the victims of the fire
may never be identified.
Some of those who did get out with their lives now have lost obviously everything, but that pales in comparison with the absolutely life-altering
devastation of losing a love one.
Let's get the latest developments now on this investigation. Fred Pleitgen joins me now live.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hala. Yes, and one of the things that the authorities have said, and the Mayor also,
Sadiq Khan, said as well, is that the investigation is going one that certainly is going to be very difficult. The London Fire Department said
that as well. Simply because they have such a large area to search in there.
And they said what's going to take place is that you're going to have a dog searching in there, also fingertip searches as well, because, of course,
they want to know if, indeed, there are still any remains that need to be recovered inside of the building.
At the same time, however, of course, the community here and anybody who was affected by that is demanding an investigation, and is demanding an
investigation that happens very, very quickly.
Sadiq Khan talked about this, the Mayor. But when he was out there earlier today, he said that he believed an interim report needed to be released at
least at the end of the summer for various reasons.
On the one hand, of course, the folks here want answers, not only as to why this fire broke out in that building, but then also, first and foremost,
why it was able to spread so quickly up the side of the building.
It was one of the things that so many eyewitnesses have been telling us. They said one of the things that was remarkable about the fire was that
they saw it unfold.
It started on around the fourth floor of the building. And then all of a sudden, started moving up the side of the building very, very fast, which
the fire experts have said is highly unusual because, usually, fires tend to spread from the inside-out of a building and not from the outside-in.
So that's certainly something that investigation is going to look at from the point of view of having to clear up what exactly happened and how it
happened to, of course, help the folks who were involved and who were affected by this.
But then, also, because of the fact that so many other buildings here in the city, and indeed in this country, have similar panels on the sides of
them. And certainly, the authorities are going to the have to find out whether those are a safety risk on those buildings, especially if there is
So an important investigation, and one that at least the Mayor of the city says needs to happen or at least an interim report needs to happen fairly
GORANI: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much, with the latest on the investigation.
Now, for some residents of the tower, surviving the fire was just the beginning of their anguish. One man has been searching in vain for his
wife since they got separated trying to escape the building. Max Foster has his story.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1:30 a.m., Wednesday morning, Sabah Abdullah and his wife, Khadija Khalloufi, were about to go to bed on
the 17th floor when there was a knock on the door. They were told to leave.
When they got to stairwell though, it was thick with smoke and people rushing to get downstairs. Sabah tried to keep hold of his wife's hand,
but he struggled.
SABAH ABDULLAH, WIFE MISSING SINCE GRENFELL TOWER FIRE: Pushing each other. Lots of them. Pushing each other. But then I just couldn't just
keep my hand on my nose and the other one catching my wife. So what about my balance, right?
FOSTER (on camera): So you let go of her hand?
ABDULLAH: Yes, because I need to catch something, you know, to keep my balance because they kept pushing me.
FOSTER (on camera): Yes.
FOSTER (voice-over): Sabah assumed she 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.
FOSTER (on camera): My thoughts are with you and I know you've got other families supporting you. And we don't know what to say really, sir. The
whole event was horrific and you --
ABDULLAH: I don't know what to say myself. I don't know what to -- I have lived this this situation. Well, I don't know what to say. Do you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there's a lot to say.
FOSTER (on camera): You were one of his wife's friends?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Best friends for 30 years. So this is her best picture. And like you see her now in here, it's the same as usual,
smiling, kind, very friendly. Everybody loves her, and she makes friends very easily. Very clever.
And I'm sure she's somewhere because, otherwise, she will look for her husband because she loves her husband and he loves her as well.
FOSTER (on camera): You've tried everywhere?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ABDULLAH: Everywhere we can --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Possibly think.
[15:35:00] ABDULLAH: Everywhere possible to look for her. I mean, there's nothing else we can do.
FOSTER (voice-over): They wanted to speak to us in the vain hope that Khadijah was still alive and will see this report.
FOSTER (on camera): I hope she is watching.
ABDULLAH: I doubt it. I doubt it because it means she couldn't leave the flat. She couldn't leave the whole building. I don't think she came
downstairs. I don't think so.
GORANI: Doctors treating an American student freed by North Korea say Otto Warmbier is currently in a state of unresponsive wakefulness. He's lost a
lot of brain tissue.
Warmbier was found guilty of committing a hostile act against North Korea last March and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
Now, he was flown home earlier this week, and his family is flatly rejecting North Korea's explanation of how he was injured. His father says
the family is heartbroken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED WARMBIER, FATHER OF FREED AMERICAN STUDENT: My wife, Cindy, is at Otto's side this morning as she has been since the moment he returned to
Ohio. She wanted me to tell you that she knows that Otto is a fighter.
And she and I firmly believe that he fought to stay alive through the worst that the North Koreans could put him through in order to return to the
family and community he loves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Miguel Marquez joins me now from Cincinnati, Ohio. You heard his doctors update the public moments ago. What did they say?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's bit more of a mystery to the story. The doctors are saying that they received Mr.
Warmbier about 40 hours ago. They did a full body scan MRI from head-to- toe, basically. They also did soft tissue scans of Mr. Warmbier to understand what it is that is going wrong with him.
They say he is spontaneously responsive and suggest he can move his eyes. He is seemingly awake, but he doesn't have any response to his
surroundings, to people talking to him. There's no real sense that he understands what he is going through.
They said those scans that they took of him show no trauma to any of his bones throughout his body, even the soft tissue scans. So whether it was
from drowning or suffocation or electrocution, they show no damage to Mr. Warmbier, at least at this point. Assuming he was in a coma for the last
year-plus, some of those things, particularly the soft tissue, might not show up.
Another doctor also said, with regard to the claim that he suffered from botulism and then took a sleeping pill, which is what the North Koreans
say, they didn't find any indication of botulism in his body. But given that it's been a year and a couple of months since they say that he was
sick with that, one would not expect to find that in the body.
[15:40:14] It is a bit of a mystery for the doctors here, it seems, as to why he is in the state he is in. And the one thing that they know for sure
is, is that the oxygen to his brain was cut off long enough so that it killed parts of his brain throughout his entire brain. Whatever it was, it
was a long period before he was able to get resuscitated -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. That sounds terrible. Thank you very much, Miguel Marquez. He's in Cincinnati.
In the United States as well, and in a rare show of unity, Democrats and Republicans say a congressional baseball game will go on as planned tonight
Now, this comes as investigators learn more about the gunman who opened fire at a baseball practice on Wednesday, critically wounding a Republican
congressman. Steve Scalise is undergoing a third surgery for his injuries.
Ryan Nobles joins me now from Capitol Hill. What do we know of the condition of Representative Scalise today? Initially, the reports were
that he was responsive, he was awake, and then it appears as though his condition deteriorated?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is some type of confusion as to exactly what type of condition Steve Scalise is in.
And aides close to the Congressman say that his condition hasn't really changed all that much, it's just the interpretation of that condition and
what's gotten out to the media that has changed. They described the situation as grave right from the very beginning.
He was shot in the hip. There was no exit wound from that point, and he lost a lot of blood. It was a situation that, from the beginning, his
family knew was going to require multiple surgeries. As you mentioned, the third surgery took place today.
And, actually, President Trump himself described the situation as dire. He said that he is in a lot of trouble.
I will tell you, though, this morning, I was just outside of a meeting of Republican congressmen and women who had gathered together today to talk
about this incident. The feeling, for many, as they left was optimistic. That even though he was facing a tough road ahead, that they ultimately
thought that Steve Scalise was going to be OK.
We haven't heard from the Congressman himself. His family is being very tight-lipped about the situation. I think that everyone is waiting to see
how he comes through this, but there is no doubt that he suffered serious injuries on that baseball field yesterday -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. And any more on the investigation into the actual shooter? What are they saying on Capitol Hill about what they think the
motive might have been based on what police are telling them?
NOBLES: Well, right now, police investigators are just pouring through his social media posts. They've located a laptop, a computer. They located
the vehicle that he was in, and both guns they believed were used in the shootings. And they're trying to piece together exactly what could have
led to this incident.
There's obviously some thought that it was politically motivated. He was someone that was very openly critical of President Trump and Republicans in
general, but investigators themselves are stopping short of using that as the ultimate motive.
And I should also say, Hala, that members of Congress seem reluctant to go down that road as well. Instead of creating another divisive line between
Republicans and Democrats, they're instead looking at this as one member of their body being shot. That means all of them were shot.
And they're using it as call for unity. In fact, tonight at this baseball game, which will be Republicans versus Democrats, in the crowd, instead of
Republican members that aren't playing in the game sitting on one side of the stadium and Democrats sitting on the other side, they've decided to sit
together to show that, even though they're going to be competitive on the baseball field, that they still view themselves as working together in the
They all say that this could strike a new chord here in Washington. But we've seen this country go through tragedies before and there is a lot of
talk in the beginning, and it rarely materializes, Hala.
GORANI: Ryan Nobles, thanks very much, on Capitol Hill. We appreciate it.
It's been less than five months since Donald Trump took office. Now, he is reportedly under criminal investigation for possible obstruction of
justice. "The Washington Post" reported that bombshell and President Trump seemed to confirm he is a target with this tweet.
"They made up a phony collusion with the Russian story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice."
Now, the reports says the FBI began looking into obstruction even before Special Counsel Robert Mueller took over the investigation. It says the
focus widened after Mr. Trump fired the FBI Director, James Comey.
Our next guest may have seen this coming last month. CNN Legal Analyst Paul Callan predicted that Comey's firing could go down in history as a
fateful day that leads to grave consequences. He is joining us now from New York.
Paul, thanks for being with us. So this tweet, does this confirm that the President believes he's under investigation or that he is under
investigation? How should we read this?
[15:45:04] PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, I think it confirms that he has a sincere belief that he is under investigation, and I would find it
hard to believe that he would be tweeting this out unless that was a reality. So I do believe that Mueller and his team of lawyers has
investigating the President on the list.
GORANI: Are his tweets legal evidence? I mean, within the context of a legal inquiry or investigation, what weight do investigators give tweets
like this? Because they come in fast and furious.
CALLAN: Yes, that's a great can question, Hala, and sometimes they're written, you know, at 3:00 in the morning or 6:00 in the morning. But from
a legal standpoint, they are absolutely evidence of the President's intent.
And if this was a case being tried in court, they would be absolutely admissible in court as evidence against the President in the event that he
tweets something that would indicate obstruction of justice.
GORANI: And his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions -- or the Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- refused to answer some questions when he was testifying on
Capitol Hill this week about the content of his conversations with the President but didn't cite any legal basis for refusing to answer those
questions. How does that affect the investigation?
CALLAN: I don't think, ultimately, that will affect the investigation. I mean, clearly, Sessions was invoking executive privilege, which is this
privilege that the President has to shield confidential conversations he's had with his top staff people, such as the Attorney General.
However, what was unusual about it is, usually, in advance, the Committee is advised that there's going to be a proffer of executive privilege, and
there's a lot of debate back and forth about whether they'll go forward with questioning the witness. So here, he just said, I'm not answering on
the grounds of confidentiality, and he refused to state why.
But I think, in the end, it's really not going to make much of a difference because it could be taken to court or Congress could hold him in contempt
or try to if he continues not to answer.
GORANI: But ultimately, will the investigation itself make a difference, and if so, how?
CALLAN: Well, under a criminal investigation in the United States, executive privilege will generally not be and cannot be used to block the
production of evidence that's required in a criminal investigation.
So, for instance, if there is a grand jury subpoena issued, executive privilege is claimed by the President, the courts then make a decision. Is
this meted evidence? And they generally will not allow executive privilege if the evidence is necessary to prove a criminal case.
GORANI: But what I mean is, the investigation itself, fundamentally, that involves a sitting president, when both Houses of Congress are controlled
by the party of the president, if, for instance, at the end of this, what we believe will be a very long process, it is found that there is some
wrongdoing, what happens then, legally speaking, to a sitting president?
CALLAN: Well, that's a great question. A president who is currently in office is immune from criminal prosecution. So even if they come up with
evidence that he obstructed justice, he cannot be prosecuted.
And what normally would happen is the Attorney General would send the findings to Congress, and then Congress would have the right to return
articles of impeachment against the president if they wanted to.
But impeachment is a political process and Congress is controlled by the Republicans, so they might very well look at the report and say, well,
we're not going to impeach the president, and nothing will come of it.
And I think, ultimately, nothing will come of this obstruction of justice investigation, unless there is new evidence they are hiding something that
we don't know about currently. But certainly, it's unlikely that the President will be impeached for firing Comey.
GORANI: Or the midterm elections create a situation where the Democrats control one or both houses.
CALLAN: Oh, absolutely. And then everything changes because then you would have, theoretically, a majority in the House of Representatives that
would and would probably very much like to vote to impeach the President. And then, of course, it has to be tried before the Senate, and you have to
see what the composition of the Senate is because it's such a political process, impeachment.
GORANI: Paul Callan, as always, pleasure having you on. Thanks very much.
CALLAN: Thank you, Hala.
GORANI: Speaking of Donald Trump's tweets, he has just tweeted this -- I'll speak with you soon.
What has he tweeted? Can you put it up because I have not seen it.
"Why is that Hillary Clinton family and Dems' dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my nondealings are?"
[15:50:03] There you have it. The President, once again, invoking the name of Hillary Clinton in his defense.
Coming up, back here in London, neighbors are helping neighbors. Donations are flooding in. In fact, shelters and organizations are saying, stop,
we've got everything we need. But survivors in London are still processing the tragedy.
We'll be right back. Stay with us.
GORANI: You are looking at images of London coming together. Neighbors rallying behind their fellow citizens in need in the aftermath of the tower
fire. We saw a lot of that.
We saw it after the terrorist attacks that have rocked this country. In Manchester, for instance, we saw it. And we're seeing it now after this
I'm joined now by one of the incredible neighbors who stepped in to help people left homeless by the fire. Samia Badani is the Chair of the Bramley
House Residents Association. And you, in fact, live across from this tower?
SAMIA BADANI, CHAIRMAN, BRAMLEY HOUSE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION: Absolutely.
GORANI: Tell me what happened when that fire broke out and then in the hours after the fire, how you and your neighbors came together and tried to
help the victims.
BADANI: Well, initially -- luckily or unluckily -- I was out at 1:05 in the morning, and it looked like a really small, contained fire at the top
right corner of the building.
BADANI: But within half an hour, it just spread. And I think we're shocked by it but, instinctively, the ones really shocked by most -- the
most vulnerable people would be even more shocked by it. So we rushed to the community center that got opened. We prepared hot drinks for people, a
place to sit down. Some of it --
GORANI: But that was before you knew how bad it had gotten, yes, that you started helping out?
BADANI: Well, no, because --
GORANI: Or was it the next day?
BADANI: No. It was about one hour after it started because I think --
BADANI: -- we came to the realization that that was a big fire. It spread so quickly. What we saw was quite spectacular and horrifying.
So we stepped in and tried to help people, to find them a shelter, getting people with cars to transport people out of the area. And then from then
on, you know, we've been mobilizing people on the ground to try and see what the needs were and respond to the needs.
GORANI: It's been really overwhelming, the response, hasn't it?
GORANI: I mean, some of the aid workers have said, we have enough shoes, jumpers, all that stuff. Now, we need people to help organize and
distribute these things.
BADANI: Absolutely. And what happened today, they had enough volunteers. They were turning volunteers away. And people were coming to me and said,
what can we do? And we just thanked people and said they've done enough.
I think we've seen incredible gesture of generosity. A man came to us and just signed a check of 4,000 pounds. And we collected 10,000 pounds in
coins just from passersby. So it's amazing act of solidarity.
GORANI: And what will you do with that money?
BADANI: Well, we will have a committee that will look at what it needs to be spent, look at the needs. Also, work more in connection with local
authorities who have tried to help, but there's many gaps and we have to step in, so.
GORANI: The authorities have said they will provide shelter for the people who've been left homeless there.
BADANI: Oh, that --
GORANI: Has that been arranged? Are people still uncertain where they're going to spend the next few nights beyond these days after, immediately
following the tragedy?
BADANI: Yes, I visited the Westfield Center where the people are staying overnight. So I saw a bunch of mattresses and people waiting anxiously. I
was told by the housing authorities that there's some delays with providing emergency accommodation, which is not really satisfactory answers.
BADANI: And the concerns that people have is not only they'll have to wait to be sent somewhere but that they'll be sent outside of the area, which is
[15:55:01] GORANI: And some of them have kids in school. They don't want to be --
GORANI: Last one. Tragically, some people obviously still don't know what happened to their loved ones because they have not identified all the
victims. Talk to us about that.
BADANI: Yes. There is an information deficiency in the borough, and we're not too sure where to turn to, apart from looking at organization like ours
or the volunteer sector.
People are a bit confused at what's happening, and it's quite difficult to find out what happened to missed one. And some people are told to go and
check A&Es. Hospital rounds is not really good, so we're just concerned at the lack of information.
GORANI: Right. All right. And what you're saying is, some people are told, go to the hospital yourself to check A&E, as in Accident and
GORANI: -- to go see for yourself if you find your loved ones.
BADANI: Yes. I even had where somebody was told, well, you can go and identify bodies, which wasn't appropriate. So it's quite --
GORANI: That's really --
GORANI: It's tough to hear. Thanks very much, Samia Badani. Sorry this happened to your neighborhood, but the world has seen just how you've all
BADANI: Well, thank you.
GORANI: And it's a beautiful thing to watch. Thank you so much.
BADANI: Thank you for your coverage.
GORANI: We are here on the streets of London seeing this grieving community, as we mentioned with Samia there, pull together and support
those in need. But grief is, in some cases, giving way to anger tonight. People want answers.
Why did this happen? Could it have been prevented? What should be done now to ensure that it never happens again here and in other parts of the
world? All questions that will be answered, hopefully, as soon as possible for all those who deserve them this evening.
This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.