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London Fire; Russia Investigation; French Voting. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired June 16, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour, grief turns to anger and now demand for answers after the high-rise inferno.
President Trump's Twitter tirade trying to knock down reports of an obstruction of justice investigation with him at the center of it.
A wave of immigration arrests and possible deportation has the Iraqi Christian community in the U.S. outraged.
Hello, everybody. Great to have you with us for the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause.
VAUSE: London's fire commissioner Dany Cotton has admitted she genuinely has no idea how many people remain missing after Wednesday's high-rise inferno. And she says it will be an absolute miracle if anyone else is still alive.
At least 17 people are now confirmed dead. And officials say that number is likely to rise as crews continue to search the building. Scotland Yard has appointed a senior investigating officer to look into the fire.
Right now officials say it's too early to confirm the cause of the blaze. At the same time, grief surrounding the tragedy has sparked anger and frustration, some of that directed at London's mayor, Sadiq Khan. This is how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: Understandably, the residents are very angry and concerned and have genuine questions that demand answers. And so what -- whereas --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone needs to be held accountable. KHAN: Well, of course we --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These deaths could have been prevented.
KHAN: Well, of course, we welcomed the call from the prime minister independent public inquiry. We need answers now --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now.
KHAN: -- and that's why important on the --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a year from now. Not two years from now. We need it now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We're also getting a first look inside the charred interior of Grenfell Tower. These scorched rooms, once home to as many as 500 people.
Erin McLaughlin joins us now live from London.
So, Erin, let's start with that very grim news that we're hearing from police, which includes some victims may never be identified.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John, that was said at a police briefing at Scotland Yard yesterday. I was at that police briefing. They don't want to get into detail in terms of the condition of the bodies out of respect for the families. They said the fire was extremely hot and they will be relying on dental records for identification purposes.
At this point authorities' top priorities are twofold: to identity the number of missing and to recover the bodies. They were inside the building yesterday, describing really hazardous conditions. They actually had to pull crews from the building because fires sporadically began to start up inside the building again yesterday.
Just to give you some of the conditions they're working with, some two -- they said that it'll take several weeks for them to go through that entire building: 17 confirmed dead, six of those bodies had been recovered from outside of the building; 11 bodies were seen inside the building, though not recovered. Six victims in total identified so far.
Their other priority is figuring out the number of missing. They say they still do not know; some 5,000 calls were fielded after this fire to report missing people. One person they said was reported missing some 64 times, 64 phone calls from friends and loved ones from that victim.
So just gives you a sense of the confusion, what they're trying to deal with in terms of establishing the number of missing. They have received a list from the local council of residents inside the building. But just because the residents are on that list doesn't mean they were actually there at the time of the fire. So some of the challenges authorities that are dealing with when trying to provide people with badly needed answers -- John.
VAUSE: And Erin, we're also told the investigation will be a slow process as well, clearly not what many survivors wanted to hear. Look at the front page of "The Sun."
The headline says, "Now Comes the Anger."
And the "Daily Mirror," the headline for today on the front page, simply "Criminal." So with that in mind, we saw many directing their anger and frustration at London's mayor Sadiq Khan but they're also essentially angry as well all the way up to the prime minister.
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. We're getting a real sense of a mix of emotions right now, John. I'm here outside the community center.
MCLAUGHLIN: This is one of many places that people are coming to drop off donations. Although there are signs posted outside this community center now, asking for people to stop doing that, that they have enough donations for the families who lost their homes, for the victims.
But you are getting a sense of the mixed emotions here outside this makeshift memorial that has been set up for the victims of this tragedy.
Let me just show you here. You see people posting signs for the missing, desperate for information. People also laying flowers. You also see candles here, notes of remembrance. But just over here, you can see, John, writing, "We want answers and justice," mixed among messages saying "Rest in peace."
It just gives you a sense of how people are feeling here in London. The prime minister has announced that there will be a public inquiry, a separate inquiry into the events that unfolded, how this fire started, why it spread so quickly.
The police have also announced their own investigation, led by a senior officer.
VAUSE: Erin, thank you, Erin McLaughlin live this hour, 7:06 there in London. Thank you.
And you can help the victims of the high-rise fire, please go to our website, cnn.com/impact. There you can find out what you can do.
The game was America's pastime, baseball. For those keeping score, the Democrats beat the Republicans, 11-2. The real message behind the annual congressional charity event this year was political unity. Came a day after a gunman critically wounded House majority whip Steve Scalise during practice. It also says he's undergone a number of surgeries but is improving.
Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch was special agent David Bailey of the Capitol police. He was wounded in Wednesday's shooting along with a few others.
At the game was Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, by her side, House Speaker Paul Ryan. They both spoke of bipartisan harmony in the aftermath of the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It's a partisan, polarized country. What we're trying to do is tone down the rhetoric, lead by example and show people we can disagree with one another, we can have different ideas without being vitriolic, without going to such extremes.
And so that's what we're trying to demonstrate here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, that game raised more than $1 million to charity, twice as much as it did last year.
VAUSE: For more now on the ongoing federal investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. And the vice president, Mike Pence, now the latest member of the Trump administration to hire his own private attorney.
CNN's Brianna Keilar has more on the investigation that now reportedly involves the president, an allegation which Donald Trump says is just, well, "phony."
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The President of the United States under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. According to "The Washington Post," special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether Trump asked the FBI director, James Comey, to drop the investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn before firing Comey.
Trump admitted to NBC News that the FBI investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia was a factor in the termination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR (voice-over): But Ken Starr, former special counsel, whose investigation of President Clinton ultimately led to his impeachment, says it's a tough case to make.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN STARR, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, CLINTON IMPEACHMENT INVESTIGATION: Obstruction of justice is really a very hard crime to make out. It's not just you want the investigation to go away. You suggest that the investigation goes away. You have got to take really affirmative action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You solemnly swear to tell the truth.
KEILAR (voice-over): Comey says Trump did suggest it, saying he hoped Comey could let the Flynn investigation go.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I took it as a direction. He's the President of the United States --
KEILAR (voice-over): The president denies it.
TRUMP: I didn't say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he lied about that?
TRUMP: Well, I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you I didn't say that.
KEILAR (voice-over): The president also reportedly bragged to Russian officials, "I just fired the head of the FBI. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off," according to "The New York Times."
As early as this week, investigators will interview the nation's top intel official, Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. He met with the Senate Intelligence Committee today, a week after promising a closed door discussion on whether the president pressured him to push back publicly against suggestions that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia as it meddled in the 2016 election.
Last week, Coats declined to talk about it publicly.
DAN COATS, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I do not share with the general public conversations that I had with the president.
KEILAR (voice-over): Mueller's team will also interview NSA director --
KEILAR (voice-over): -- Michael Rogers and is seeking information from former deputy NSA director Richard Ledgett. Ledgett wrote a memo, according to a source, about a conversation in which the president allegedly asked Rogers to help the FBI to, quote, "lift the cloud" of the Russia probe.
Meanwhile, investigations could be multiplying. Chuck Grassley, the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the FBI, has not ruled out a request from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein to open a separate probe into possible obstruction of justice.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-), CHAIRMAN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We're going to leave that to a conversation with Feinstein.
KEILAR (voice-over): Today in federal court, CNN filed a lawsuit, trying to force the FBI to turn over the memos Comey wrote about his conversations with President Trump.
The memos are not classified and the FBI has not explained its refusal so far to release them, despite a ruling from the Justice Department that it should expedite a Freedom of Information Act to do so -- Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.
VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) and Republican consultant John Phillips are with me now in all of this.
OK, so a few hours ago, "The Washington Post" moved in what looked to be a pretty big story. The headline read this, "Special counsel is investigating Jared Kushner's business dealings."
Jared Kushner, of course, Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.
Robin, I read this five times and there just wasn't any sort of there there. It was an incremental movement. And there is a danger of hyping everything that's happening. I guess the only thing we can take away from this is the investigation continues to grow with a focus, I guess in one part, on the financial dealings of the Trump campaign and those who worked within the Trump campaign.
ROBIN SWANSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That's right. And I think this is going to elicit a reaction from Donald Trump because this clearly family. So it is going straight for the jugular.
But the truth is, Jared Kushner gave them reason to investigate. He has a relationship with the ambassador. He did dealings with a bank that was sanctioned by the U.S.
VAUSE: We don't know he did --
SWANSON: He -- well, he -- and he asked that they establish a line of communication that was secret. So there's things he's done that have been suspicious. So, yes, he's going to be investigated and we'll see what happens from there.
VAUSE: Before we get to, this is the statement from Kushner's lawyer. "We do not know what this report refers to. It would be standard
practice for the special counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia.
"Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any inquiry."
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If Jim Comey's fanboys are going to leak allegations every hour on the hour, can they at least leak some evidence, too?
Because it seems like every single day it's like reading the directions on your shampoo bottle, where you just rinse and repeat. Every day, there's an unnamed source that brings out a new allegation that's unsubstantiated. We debate it back and forth. We're told that it's going to change the course of the investigation.
Two weeks later, you can't even remember what it was because we moved on to the next one.
VAUSE: But someplace in (INAUDIBLE) stories have panned out like when Michael Flynn, the national security adviser, who was fired met with the Russian ambassador, that was an anonymous source which was true. Kushner met with Kislyak and (INAUDIBLE) turned out to be true. Sessions meeting with Kislyak, again, true.
PHILLIPS: Some of them turned out to be false, including the story that said that when he testified, Jim Comey said --
VAUSE: There are lots of contacts between the Trump campaign officials and the Russians.
PHILLIPS: Right, "The New York Times" reported.
SWANSON: Follow the trail. And, honestly, you know, Donald Trump and his associates, the idea of a President of the United States enriching himself and his family as president, I think, is at issue.
VAUSE: And, again, that has not been proven.
SWANSON: It hasn't but it sure should be investigated. And that's why Jared Kushner is under investigation.
VAUSE: Well, the president, he made his feelings known about the Mueller investigation. He released an official statement on Twitter.
It started like this, "You are witnessing the single greatest witch hunt in American political history, led by some very bad and conflicted people." That was in the morning. It was followed by a rare afternoon Twitter
This one read, "Why is that Hillary Clinton family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at but my nondealings are?"
And that was followed by, "Crooked H destroyed phones with hammer, bleached emails and had husband with AG days before she was cleared. And they talk about obstruction."
And so, Robin, I guess the Hillary Clinton what-aboutism, that's in a separate category. Is there a concern, though, when he starts to describe -- or at least seems to describe Robert Mueller as "very bad and conflicted"?
SWANSON: Well, clearly anybody who's against him is very bad and conflicted but this was somebody who served under Ronald Reagan, under two Bush presidencies. This is not a -- he is a Republican investigator. By and large, you know, Paul Ryan wanted Bob Mueller, like this is someone who's universally respected.
So the fact that the president, again, is attacking --
SWANSON: -- you talk about rinse and repeat, he just attacks anyone who doesn't toe the party line.
VAUSE: John, they did interview Robert Mueller for the FBI position the day before he was hired as special counsel.
PHILLIPS: Special prosecutors or special counsels don't exist to say there's nothing to see here. They want to go out and they want to find something. Let's not forgot the Whitewater investigation started out to investigate real estate dealings in the state of Arkansas and ended up about Monica Lewinsky.
This started out being about Russian collusion. Who knows? It could end up investigating Trump for clipping the tags of his mattresses.
VAUSE: You know, I remember last year, there was somebody who made this very dire warning of what could happen if a president was actually under federal investigation.
There was somebody made this warning -- we have got the tape.
Can we play the tape?
Who was that that made the warning about the problems?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary Clinton will be under investigation for a long, long time for her many crimes against our nation, our people, our democracy, likely concluding in a criminal trial. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He went on to say that essentially nothing would get done and you know, the agenda would stall.
And, John, that's what's happening right now because nothing's going through Congress. And the Republicans (INAUDIBLE) before they know it. It'll be Halloween and there'll be nothing to show for it.
PHILLIPS: Right, which is why my advice to the president would be to cooperate with the investigators and just move along with your agenda. They tried to do that last week with infrastructure. They've been doing --
PHILLIPS: -- they can with executive orders, obviously. They got the Gorsuch nomination through. I would start building the wall.
VAUSE: OK, well, last point here, Mike Pence, he made a little history today, or on Thursday, the first vice president to lawyer up four months into his first term. He now has his own private counsel. That news led to this tweet from Congressman Ted Lew (ph).
"Anonymous sources sure have caused lots of Real Donald Trump associates to hire lawyers. Flynn, Manafort, Kushner, Pence and POTUS, President of the United States himself.
Robin, is there any indication that Pence is a person of interest in this investigation?
But he could be a key witness.
SWANSON: Listen, I think everyone's worried; 150 days into this administration, there's a lot of trouble brewing. And this is a slow burn and I think people are afraid of getting burned. So I absolutely think he's protecting himself. And there may be something to hide there.
VAUSE: Donald Trump is paying a lot of work for lawyers in Washington.
Well, the jobs.
PHILLIPS: He is the jobs president.
SWANSON: Full employment act.
PHILLIPS: Look, if I'm Mike Pence or I'm anyone of the administration, I'm lawyering up right now because look what happened to poor Jeff Sessions. He forgot about the Russian ambassador being in attendance from some speech that he gave at the RNC and suddenly that became a huge issue.
PHILLIPS: If Mike Pence doesn't recall that like someone was in a room or something, then he could theoretically get in trouble. So, yes, I'd lawyer up.
VAUSE: OK. Good advice. John and Robin, nice to see you.
SWANSON: Thank you.
VAUSE: And even in Moscow they're asking about Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, just one of many questions for President Vladimir Putin during his annual televised Q&A sessions. And just as he's done countless times, Putin denied the Kremlin was involved.
But this time he was ready with a joke about the fired FBI director.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): What makes the FBI director different from Mr. Snowden then?
It seems to me that, in this case, he's not so much the head of the FBI as an activist with his own particular point of view. By the way, if he faces some sort of prosecution for this, we're prepared to give him political asylum, too. He should know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Diana Magnay joins us now live from Moscow.
Diana, we're assuming it's a joke. We didn't know Mr. Putin had a sense of humor but it does seem the Russian president is certainly enjoying the turmoil in the U.S. right now.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's a man who knows how to make headlines in the West, John, especially in a four-hour marathon session that was mostly about domestic problems.
And with that Comey line, he certainly did that. He said that he hadn't listened to the Comey testimony in detail but then went into quite a lot of detail about it, saying that Comey hadn't had any evidence of interference by Russia in the elections but that Russia had clearly influenced the elections, which Mr. Putin then turned on its head to say every country influences people's public opinion in other countries and especially the U.S. by actually directly funding NGOs in other countries and that there was nothing unusual about that.
And he also said that he thought it was quite unusual that someone should write a memo and then leak it to the press. And that was the context in which he put this Comey comparison with Edward Snowden.
I think he is a man who enjoys the occasional quip, especially when it comes at America's expense -- John.
VAUSE: Yes, but as you say, this was a four-hour long --
VAUSE: -- Q&A session. For the most part, there were some very tough questions for Mr. Putin and some very unhappy people calling in about the state of the economy.
MAGNAY: Yes. That is the format of this show and it is a chance for Mr. Putin to sit there as the great father of this nation, as a modern-day czar and listen to people's problems across this vast country, as they call in to talk about low wages, poor roads, bad health care. And they certainly did that.
And that is not that unusual that domestic affairs dominate this call- in session. Normally what happens -- and this time is no exception -- Mr. Putin sits there and listens and says, yes, we will deal with these problems. And there's always the implication that somehow it is the middleman, the local bureaucrat, the local governor who isn't doing what they should be for the people of Russia.
And Mr. Putin will make sure that that is corrected. It's never a good day for Russian bureaucrats.
But I think what was interesting, especially this time around, was that the format had changed slightly in an attempt to update it with social media in the modern day. So you have this ticker tape scrolling along the bottom, with people's SMS messages written in.
And some of those were really quite interesting.
They said things like -- and this was quite early on -- "Putin, do you really think that people believe this circus of staged questions?"
Or "Maybe you're tired, in need of rest," a reference to Yeltsin's resignation speech.
Now whether that was planned or whether it was part of the choreography, who knows. But it was pretty interesting and pretty new -- John.
VAUSE: Yes, I guess beware of the social media, I guess. Diana, thank you, Diana Magnay there, live in London.
We'll take a short break here on CNN. when we come back, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and his new party looking for a huge win in Sunday's election and that means there will be a lot of new faces in power.
VAUSE: French president Emmanuel Macron's party is projected to win a big majority in the French parliament. His centrist party La Republique En Marche is expected to win between 415 to 445 seats after Sunday's second round of voting. If that happens, it would mean the lion's share of the 577 seats in
the lower house. Mr. Macron's party was formed just a year ago. CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris.
In some ways, I guess, Melissa, Macron's electoral success, some are saying this is renewal of political order in France.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much so, John. You really have to consider that in France, perhaps more than in any other Western democracy, politicians have tended, over the course of the last few decades, to get into power and to stay in power.
The same old elite power goes for one side to the other but it is the same faces --
BELL: -- that dominate politics and the national assembly. That looks as though it's about to change. Last Sunday's voting saw the first round of voting in the parliamentary elections; on Sunday we'll see the second round of voting and we'll have a better idea.
But as you say, polls suggest that Emmanuel Macron really is on track to do something that's never been done before and that is really to renew France's political class as a whole. He's really chosen an unusual bunch of characters to stand in his name.
BELL (voice-over): Cedric Villani was known as an award-winning mathematician. Now he's campaigning as part of Emmanuel Macron's movement to become a member of parliament.
Villani is one of 525 candidates standing for Macron's movement, about half are new to politics and, like Villani, hope to bring to parliament more than just their ambition.
VILLANI: I know about science. And science is more important than ever in the public debate, even very technical scientific questions are now everyday in debate, about climate change or artificial intelligence or you name it.
I've been a teacher and very much involved in the scientific culture. And this will be important because one of the crucial things needed in politics now is people being able to explain to a wide audience, not thinking that people are too dumb to understand the complexity but explaining the complexity in simple terms.
BELL (voice-over): Jean-Michel Fauvergue hopes to bring another set of skills to parliament. The former head of France's elite police force says security is why he joined Macron's movement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He's a man who can bring people together and, more importantly, for the cop in me, he's a real commander in chief. BELL (voice-over): Another candidate is Marie Sara, the former bullfighter says she's simply taking to another arena the determination she's shown in the bullring. Polls suggest she's on course to beat the far right incumbent.
MARIE SARA, EN MARCHE MP CANDIDATE (through translator): There's an extraordinarily movement which is happening in France with a real renewal of the political class. If I can be a part of that, then I will be very proud. I'm going to try and meet people to explain to them that they don't need to be scared.
BELL: So on Sunday night, John, we'll find out whether these and the other people standing in Emmanuel Macron's name have won their seats. And he has gambled. Since this is what it was all about, first of all, he was to become president; no one thought that was possible.
Then he said that he believed he could go from parliamentary nothing -- since he doesn't have a single MP at the moment in the national assembly -- to a parliamentary majority. No one had believed that it was possible.
He is now on track, John, to secure not just a parliamentary majority but a parliamentary majority the size of which has never been seen in the history of the Fifth Republic.
VAUSE: And that means a lot for him, delivering on all those campaign promises. We'll see what happens. Melissa Bell, live in Paris. Thank you.
Still to come here, the British politician making an emotional plea for a thorough investigation into London's apartment fire. More on that.
[02:30:33] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live in Los Angeles. I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour.
VAUSE: British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the horrific tower fire. Right now, officials say it's too early to confirm what caused Wednesday's blaze. But wherever an investigation leads, one official is demanding that it be handled properly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The view I take and the view I expressed to my officials, we have to act and think, if it was our friends, our family in that building. We have to have that emotional connection with what's going on because there's no room for cool, detached, plodding bureaucracy. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: At least 17 people were killed in flames. That number is likely to rise as crews continue to search the building and officials have warned the bodies of some victims may never be identified.
For more on this, joining me from London is fire and safety expert, Steve Mackenzie.
Steve, thanks for coming in.
VAUSE: There seems to be a lot concern to on the cladding that was added during the recent renovation. Take a look at the front page of the "Times." I'm sure you've seen it. It's reporting the cladding is banned in the U.S. But apparently, it's legal in the U.K. There's also a fire-resistant version, but it costs a few extra dollars per square meter. What do you know about that?
STEVE MACKENZIE, FIRE & SAFETY EXPERT: I've caught the press this morning. I've been also in dialogue with my American colleagues through the night and evening. We know from the press, the American reports, that this material is now banned, the foam-based material, whereas, there's a rock based material with less combustibility indexes. The manufactures are reporting it complied to standards and regulations, that's potentially one off the one of the aspects of the parliamentary inquiry and the public inquiry to look at and focus on. But it shouldn't be the only aspect in this fire. It's one contributing factor. Until we have the full investigation of the external fire route and the internal ones, and why that life safety protected steel core failed on the occupants and resulted in occupants being trapped. And then the fire authorities being forced to make the decision to advise people to stay in place and await rescue, which is quite rare in the U.K. to occur. Because the risks to the occupants, whereas, if you stepped outside the flat, the come immediate to the combustion, whereas, behind the door, the fire service was trying to maximize the amount of time that they had in this catastrophic building failure.
VAUSE: Obviously, a lot of parts to this investigation which is only just started.
Let's look at the issue with the U.K. fire regulations right now. You touched on this. Essentially, there's been no revision of the U.K. fire regulations in more than 10 years. Would you say it's long overdue?
MACKENZIE: That's a misnomer. Our fire legislation is updated constantly and constantly kept under review for the public and private sectors. Various government advisory committees and private sector lobbying groups as well, such as the Fire Industry Association and the Fire Prevention Association. Our primarily legislative review, which essentially set aside everything from the 1970s, was released in 2005, and it will be kept under review. Do we need to revisit it? I think in light of this fire, yes, we do. Not only fire safety legislation, but also our building regulations and building codes. They were more recently updated in 2013.
[02:35:16] VAUSE: You touched on the fact people who did the renovations to Grenfell Tower believe everything they had done was up to code. How concerned are you about the fact there are other high- rise buildings in London and maybe other cities as well, which have undergone similar renovations to Grenfell, and maybe they're facing a similar situation?
MACKENZIE: Yeah. This problem comes up every couple of years with the combustible panels. That combustible core, once the external skin is compromised, it can result in quite significant fueling fires that building codes are trying to protect against. There will be other blocks of flats. My advice to any concerned persons is contact your building manager, ask them to review the risk assessments. There is a major conference in London next week within the fire community at Fire X. This will be a mainly topic of discussion, and we'll be reviewing all kinds of compositioning. I am aware of a number of expert witness cases with concerns about over cladding of buildings, the fire barriers, and also the internal containment of those protected, safe areas.
VAUSE: Very quickly, Steve, I've been looking at this building and I keep reading about concerns that it could collapse. How seriously are you taking that?
MACKENZIE: I think it's needs to be taken seriously. Fire crews and the local authorities would have had their structural engineers on site. They are reporting the main structure core is relatively stable. But the may need to do demolition. They may be forced to do that but at this point in time the focus is on maintaining the building for the recovery of the persons still missing.
VAUSE: Steve, thanks. Steve Mackenzie, fire and safety expert, joining us there live from London. Thanks so much.
MACKENZIE: Thank you.
VAUSE: There has been an outpouring of support for the victims of this fire. Amid the grief and anger, some families are clinging to a faint hope that more survivors might be found.
Oren Liebermann has more.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Notting Hill Methodist Church, very close to the scene of the fire, has, in and of itself, become a scene of a memorial and an ongoing candlelight vintage. People have come, dozens, if not hundreds, to say a few words at these flowers, to think and mourn respectfully, as well as to light these candles here as they hope there are some miracles left in this story while worrying and fearing that the number dead at this point will only rise.
(voice-over): Jessica Urbanno's family is still holding out hope. They're out there 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's the case, she'll wake up soon and let us know where she is.
LIEBERMANN: In the first minutes of confusion of the fire, Urbanno was separated from her family, her cousin says. In the smoke and the fire, 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last we heard from her were the phone calls she made from inside the building from another person's phone, who is also missing. Since that second phone call, we've had no contact at all.
LIEBERMANN (on camera): If you walk around this neighborhood near the fire, you cannot miss the face of Jessica Urbanno. Her friends are wearing her picture on their shirts. We saw her picture taped to concrete walls, anything they can do to get the word out about Jessica Urbanno.
(voice-over): Jessica Urbanno is one among many still missing. There are fliers with more faces, more pleas for help, and families who want answers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police are posting the number of dead is rising and rising. And we don't know who. We don't know who whether they are in the building or in the hospital. We still don't know what's going on.
LIEBERMANN: For Ahmed, grief turned into frustration. His sister's family and three children were inside the tower. The youngest child is still missing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're hoping. He might be in a different place. We don't know.
LIEBERMANN: At community centers, churches, and mosques in the area, there's been an outpouring of support. Londoners trying to help so many families who now find themselves homeless. Many overflowing with clothing and food and donations, turning away any more. It's a way to ease the transition for the hardest hit.
[02:40:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People coming from all parts of London and everywhere else, it's been amazing to see how everyone's helping each other.
LIEBERMANN: The fire swept through the Grenfell Towers so rapidly that every life saved is a miracle. Every life lost, a tragedy.
More than 36 hours after the fire, Jessica Urbanno's family praying she is one of the miracles.
(on camera): There are still many missing. The exact number we don't know. But this is a sign of how many are still trying to hold out hope. Pictures and names of those who are missing, numbers to call, e-mails, descriptions, ages, apartments, floors. It is all an attempt to find those who are missing by loved ones, by friends, by family, trying to get some answers where, until now, there have been none.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, London.
VAUSE: With that, we'll take a short break here on NEWSROOM L.A. With fighting raging in Iraq, the U.S. is looking to deport some Iraqi Christians back home, a move which they believe could be a death sentence.
VAUSE: Almost 200 Iraqi nationals living in the U.S. have been detained since May, part of a crackdown on immigration. Authorities say most have serious felony convictions, which means they could be deported to Iraq.
As our Kyung Lah reports, many of those are Christian, and they fear a return to Iraq would be a death sentence.
LYUNG LAH, CNN CORERSPONDENT (voice-over): John, just today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit trying to prevent the deportation of people who were swept up by ICE in Detroit. The grounds? That if they are deported, they face torture and possible murder.
LAH (voice-over): A daughter screaming for her father.
LAH: He's just been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement among nearly 200 here targeted for deportation since May.
LAH: But the difference with some of these detainees, say families who wave to their loved ones from behind a gate, is the country they fear they'll be sent to, Iraq.
LAH: A war zone where ISIS terrorizes civilians, executing all those who resist, people like this man, Nazia Konja (ph).
NAZIA KONJA (ph), IRAQI CHRISTIAN LIVING IN U.S. (voice-over): Everybody here like me are scared to death --
LAH: He's on the phone calling his brother from an ICE facility in Youngstown, Ohio.
KONJA (ph): Please don't send us to Iraq because you are sending us to our death.
LAH: He's terrified because he's a Christian. In Iraq, they're known as an ethic minority known as Chaldeans. ISIS has targeted the Chaldeans, marking their homes with this red Arab letter, pro-claiming them a target, undergoing what human rights groups call a genocide.
Konja (ph) immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq with his parents when he was 15, four decades ago. At age 21, he was convicted of drug conspiracy charges and served 20 years in prison.
Since his release, he's opened this business, paid his taxes, and hasn't been in trouble, not even a single traffic ticket, says his brother.
[02:45:16] LAH: The federal government, just two days before this ICE sweep, agreed to reopen his case to obtain a green card, due to the possibility he'd be tortured in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this United States? Is this what this country's about?
LAH: Most painful for him, like many other Christian Iraqis, he's knows, in Michigan, he voted for Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought they were picking up hardcore criminals. We thought they weren't going to touch innocent people or people who turned their life around.
LAH (voice-over): ICE's contention is that these are not innocent people. In a statement to CNN, an ICE's spokeswoman says that the people who were arrested have multiple and serious felony convictions. We understand tonight that all the people who were detained remain in ICE custody -- John?
VAUSE: Kyung, thank you.
Mark Arabo is president of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation. He joins us from San Diego.
Mark, thank you for staying up.
Let's be clear here. Both the Obama and the Trump administrations declared the persecutions of Chaldean Christians in Iraq a genocide. So that would suggest the current administration is aware of what will happen if this deportation goes ahead.
MARK ARABO, PRESIDENT, MINORITY HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION: Absolutely. This is a full-blown Christian genocide. Vice President Pence said it a few weeks ago. Families are being torn apart, and our plea to President Trump is do not send these Christians to death. If they are sent back to Iraq, they will get slaughtered and mutilated, tortured and persecuted. Please reconsider. We're so happy and proud of the ACLU are spearheading this fight to
make sure we halt all deportations.
VAUSE: You mentioned Vice President Mike Pence. He made this statement at a religious summit in Washington. This is what he said, "Protecting and promoting religious freedom is a foreign-policy priority of the Trump administration. The suffering of Christians in the Middle East has stirred Americans to action."
Persecutions of Christians has been a big issue for many Christian groups, many evangelicals. But it seems right now there's not a lot of support for the Iraq Christians in the U.S., and about to be deported. Why is that?
ARABO: That's the question we're asking this administration. We hope Vice President Pence and President Trump reconsider and put their words to action to make sure they stand behind what they say. If they truly believe in standing up for religious minorities and Christianity, why would they send Christians like cattle to the slaughter back to Iraq.
VAUSE: Sorry to interrupt.
VAUSE: Absolutely. But all this can be traced back. This didn't happen in a vacuum. This can be traced back to the president's travel ban. There was a deal struck between the Iraqi government and the White House to get off the list of banned countries. And that was in the revised order, travel ban, 2.0. But at the moment it hasn't gone into effect. It's still before the court. So how do these issues play into each other?
ARABO: The travel ban idea in general is a bad one. Prime Minister Abadi is not someone who can say he'll protection Christians. We know Christian genocide is a crime right before our eyes. We need to make sure that we never send back innocent Iraqi-Americans back to Iraq like cattle to a slaughter. They will be persecuted.
VAUSE: This travel ban is still before the courts and there's arguments whether or not it's even legal, but it seems the Iraqi end of the deal is going into effect. They are accepting the Iraqi nationals who are being deported. That was part of the deal.
ARABO: And that's why this whole deal should end. It was a bad deal, not just for America, a bad deal for these innocent people that are being deported. And families are being torn apart. These folks had low-level crimes in the '90s. They've served their time and they're productive people in the America. We need to give them an opportunity and hope, not punish them and detain them and send them back to their death.
VAUSE: You mentioned some of these people had committed some serious crimes. There's also some pretty minor violations as well. I think I read one person was detained because they had a marijuana possession charge 20 years ago. That doesn't seem to be any discretion here.
ARABO: There is not any discretion. It's a disaster. It's a nightmare. Many of these people are low-level crime, some are child support, marijuana possession. Do these crimes constitute killing by ISIS, death by sword? Let's be clear, if they are sent to Iraq, they will be massacred by ISIS. It's exasperating.
[02:50:20] VAUSE: How much hope do you have for this lawsuit, being brought by the ACLU, to stop all of this? Is this kind of your last legal stop?
ARABO: We will take this all the way up to the Supreme Court if we have to. We are all in, us and other foundations and community leaders throughout our country. The Chaldean community has stepped up in a significant way. We're so thankful to God and to the ACLU for working together in making sure we tell President Trump do not send back Christians like cattle to a slaughter.
VAUSE: Very quickly, so many people in Michigan voted for Donald Trump. Some of the people who are being deported, their relatives voted for Donald Trump. There's some politics in this.
ARABO: And I can tell you, if the election was today, I don't think Donald Trump would carry Michigan, because it is very people that voted for him in Michigan are being detained by ICE and being sentenced to death by being sent back to Iraq. We are hoping and pleading that the Trump administration changes route, rights the wrong of the past, and does the right thing by making sure that these deportations are halted.
And we're happy to update you on your program, on Wednesday, Judge Goldsmith, the federal judge, will hear this case on Wednesday filed today by the ACLU.
VAUSE: We will keep following it, too.
Mark, thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.
ARABO: Thank you so much.
VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, the American student held in North Korea is now back in the United States. He is in a hospital and he is in a coma. His doctors will give their assessment of his condition.
Also, a dead locked jury in the Bill Cosby trial. Could this now mean a mistrial is not far away.
VAUSE: We now know a little bit about the college student brought home from North Korea earlier this week and the extensive brain damage he suffered. Doctors say Otto Warmbier has a condition known as unresponsive wakefulness, meaning he can blink but shows no signs of understanding of language. Warmbier is 22. He can't talk. He was held in North Korea for 17 months. He was found guilty of committing a hostile act against the country. He took down a sign in a lobby hotel.
Doctors said they had no information about the care he received whilst he was in North Korea.
His family, though, does not believe the explanation from Pyongyang for their son's medical condition.
CNN's Miguel Marquez has more.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORESPONDENT: A very difficult time for the Warmbier family in Ohio. Doctors here at University of Cincinnati Medical Center saying they did a full body scan of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old. They looked at his bone structure and the soft tissue, and they found no indication of any trauma that would lead to the state he's in now, essentially, saying the oxygen to his brain was cut off for a long enough period to do serious brain damage.
Fred Warmbier had spoken earlier at a press conference, a very emotional press conference. It's hard to watch a father speak about his son, who he didn't know what had happened to him. Then when he did find out he was in a coma, and when he finally gets his arms on him, he discovers his son can't respond to anything he says.
Mr. Warmbier wore the jacket his son wore the last time anyone saw him in good shape. He was seemingly forced to make a statement in North Korea wearing a white jacket. His father wore that jacket and said this about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:55:41] FRED WARMBIER, FATHER OF OTTO WARMBIER: I'm able to wear the jacket that he wore when he gave his confession. I'm not confessing. I'm speaking. But, Otto, I love you and I'm so crazy about you, and I'm so glad you're home. You are such a great guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: His father also upset about the tour company, Young Pioneer Tours, based in China. He says they basically lured his son onto that tour in order to take him hostage by the North Koreans. He did say that he and his wife OK'ed their son to go on that tour. He reserved most of his anger for the North Korean government. He also blames the Obama administration, saying they didn't do enough to get their son out. He thanked President Trump and the secretary of state for bringing their son home.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Cincinnati, Ohio.
VAUSE: The judge in the Bill Cosby trial is telling the jurors to go back to deliberations. On Thursday, the jury said they could not reach a decision. Cosby pleaded not guilty to aggravated indecent assault. Prosecutors say he drugged and assault Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee at his home. All this happened 13 years ago. Cosby's lawyer asked the judge to declare a mistrial for a third time. That request was denied, saying it was premature.
Holy icon TV tribute for a superhero legend.
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VAUSE: There it is, the bat-signal on city hall Thursday night in honor of actor, Adam West. West played the original Batman as well Bruce Wayne in the 1960s television series. The bat-signal, was used when the police chief needed help, he put the signal in the sky. Adam West died a week ago in Los Angeles. He had battled leukemia. He was 88 years old. And by all accounts, he was a really decent guy.
Thank you for watching. I'm John Vause, here in Los Angeles.
The news continues with George Howell in Atlanta after a short break.