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Shock And Anguish As A Puerto Rican Family Returns Home; Trump Administration Official Visits Puerto Rico Amid Backlash; San Juan Grocery Store Reopens For Business; Trump: U.S. Will Not Rest Until Puerto Ricans Are Safe; Trump Cabinet Secretaries Under Fire For Private Flights; British Prime Minister Weighs In On Uber Ruling; CNN Meets Kurdish Forces Preparing To Fight ISIS. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 29, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in

London in for Hala Gorani this evening.

It has been 10 days since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico. Millions of American citizens still aren't getting what they need simply to

survive and the majority of the island has no power. Just half the territory has access to running water.

And many Puerto Ricans are waiting in line for hours just to get gasoline to power the generators on the island. Well, despite the stark realities

on the ground, U.S. President Donald Trump is praising what he describes as a massive and unprecedented federal response.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All appropriate departments of our government from Homeland Security to Defense are engaged

fully in the disaster and the response and recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this.

This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water. We are closely coordinated with the territorial and local governments, which are

totally and unfortunately, unable to handle this catastrophic crisis on the wrong, just totally unable to.


JONES: Well, CNN has seven reporters covering the complex and challenging recovery effort in just a moment. We have to go live to our Rafael Romo.

He is at a supermarket that incredibly has not just received some much- needed supplies.

But first, while Puerto Ricans and tourists are trying to leave the islands for the mainland, some are also now just returning back to their homes

after the hurricane. Our Brynn Gingras joined one family on its emotional journey home to Puerto Rico. Take a look.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Karen Delgado wiped away tears while from the middle seat, she desperately tried to get a

look at what she calls her island. She hasn't been home to Puerto Rico in three weeks. A lot has changed since then.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Find out we do not have a home and totally destroyed.

GINGRAS: We first met Carmen and her husband, Edgardo, at the Philadelphia Airport. their eyes were glued to the gate. Carmen called the flight a

miracle because the other three he booked all canceled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All our kids are back over there and we are really worried about them.

GINGRAS: Her family lived in Umaga (ph), one of the first towns wiped out by Maria when it made landfall more than a week ago. All she knows about

her home is from these pictures sent by her daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went to panic. We were crying, really frustrated. Now the idea that we are going home is just a relief.

GINGRAS: On the ground, the couple looked for a red car. Their children were supposed to meet them, but with no cell phone service, they were

unreachable. So, Carmen and Edgardo drove with us, an hour outside San Juan to their home. The relief Carmen felt on the plane turned to shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like a fire just came through all here and just burned everything out.

GINGRAS: At her home, those feelings intensified. The roof gone. Bedrooms wiped out. Their garage crumbles and their backyard, Carmen told

me, is a skeleton of what it once was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the living room. That's the kitchen. We used to have three bedrooms.

GINGRAS (on camera): You had pictures. How does it compare?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is nothing compared to my house and we had everything was so nice.

GINGRAS (voice-over): But all of this, Carmen says, is replaceable. She has her husband and her kids, who now hours after landing she still hasn't

seen. Then Carmen finally spotted that red car.

The family back together again and now for the first time together in their shell of the home each well aware of what lies ahead.

(on camera): What is your biggest fear?

[15:05:07] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My biggest fear is how much time it's going to take us to get this together again. When does help is going to

get here? Most important of all, even though we don't have a house, home is not house. I think home is family.


JONES: Brynn Gingras with that report. Brynn joins me now from Puerto Rico. I guess, one of the things to point out here, Brynn, is that

remarkably, thankfully, the death toll from Hurricane Maria on the island is still relatively low.

But of course, for those people who escape with their lives, they've returned to just find their livelihoods and their homes just completely


GINGRAS: And honestly, it's surprising that it's slow because the point is in San Juan we are seeing resources, but if you just go outside like we

did. That was about an hour outside San Juan, to that town where Carmen lived, there's nothing.

They don't have communication. We saw rows of cars lined up alongside the highway, Hannah, and we asked, you know, what are they doing? They're

sitting there all throughout the day just to get one signal on their cellphones to be able to make just one phone call to anyone and try to


Food is certainly dwindling as well as water and they are just hopeful and praying that they'll some resources soon especially --

JONES: All right. It looks like we've lost Brynn Gingras there, but we got her fantastic report there showing just the devastation that's been

left behind in Puerto Rico and the people returning to what's left of their homes to try to rebuild.

Now a leading Trump administration official is visiting Puerto Rico to survey the damage firsthand, a day after her comments saw a major backlash.

On Thursday, Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security said she saw the recovery effort in Puerto Rico as a, quote, "good news story."

Here's how she responded to the criticism today.


ELAINE DUKE, ACTING U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The end of my statement about good news was it was good news that the people of

Puerto Rico, the many public servants of the United States and the government of Puerto Rico are working together and I do believe that that

is the way -- part of the way we believe. And it is nice to see the communities together trying to recover and support each other.


JONES: But Duke's comment may have come too late for San Juan's mayor. She lashed out at the secretary's good news story comment earlier on CNN.


MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Well, maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story. When you're drinking from a creek,

it's not a good news story. When you don't have food for a baby it's not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from their buildings

because -- you know, I'm sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me.

You know, get -- I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns and then make a statement like that, which frankly, it is an irresponsible

statement, and it contrasts with the statements of support that I have been getting since yesterday when I got that call from the White House.

This is -- damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. This is -- there's a

truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting

food and water.

If I could scream it a lot more louder, it is not a good news story when people are dying, when you don't have dialysis, when the generators aren't

working and the oxygen isn't providing for them. Where is there a good news here?


JONES: Well, in one positive sign, though, a supermarket in San Juan managed to reopen today after receiving a delivery of supplies. Our Rafael

Romo joins me now live from there.

Rafael, the White House may have jump the gun slightly on this, but is this at least a start of a good news story now?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, Hannah, but you got to remember that these are the lucky few in Puerto Rico right now.

This is not what's happening to some of the other locations that we've been to where they don't have to this day water or food or the basic


And let me explain to you what it means to be part of the lucky few in Puerto Rico right now. It means that you get up very early. You come to

supermarket like this one and you stand in line for hours and hours and hours for the opportunity to get some groceries.

Now they are rationing water here. They only allow sales of 3 gallons of water per family and so you stand in line for all of those hours and you

have to leave with only 3 gallons of water.

And people here tell me, I need milk for my children. I don't have power at home. My food went bad, spoiled already, and so I have to come here.

[15:10:09] It breaks my heart to see a lot of elderly people standing in line here. It's a very hot day today here in San Juan about 30 degrees

Celsius. It's been raining on and off. So not only is it hot, but it's also very humid.

People standing here hours and hours. Now the owner of the supermarket told me that for the last three days or so, they've been getting regular

deliveries of merchandise, but that's what is happening everywhere else on the island.

And they are operating with a power generator so it's not necessarily the best of situations, but at least people can get some food here and some

water -- Hannah.

GORANI: And Rafael, we've been hearing about containers of aid -- you know, crammed into the port, just waiting to be delivered. What efforts

are being made to try to combat the broken infrastructure and perhaps even air drop some of these aids to the most needed places?

ROMO: Yes. I was in Port of San Juan earlier today and there was a conflict of information, different versions of the story. A top executive

or a shipping company, I should say, Crowley, was telling us that there were 10,000 containers with food, water and other necessities just sitting

there because of logistics, because of problems trying to get the distribution channels started.

The governor of Puerto Rico later said that that is not the case. Yes, there are some containers that are stuck there, but they belong to private

contractors and not to the governor, and he said we are going to work with those private businesses to try to move merchandise swiftly or if that not

happens, we are going to buy all those supplies from them to distribute to the people.

But distribution has been a very, very difficult problem, people in many areas still not getting all the help they need and by the way, this store

will only remain open for another 40 minutes or so.

So, what you see right there -- these are the only people that are going to be able to get food for their families -- Hannah.

JONES: Yes. And maybe not all of them as well. Rafael Romo, thanks so much for updating us there from San Juan. Appreciate it.

Now U.S. President Donald Trump's promise on Friday not to rest until the people of Puerto Rico are safe may not satisfy his critics and he is also

dealing with the controversy over a highflying cabinet secretary, who would like to travel on the taxpayer's tab.

White House reporter, Stephen Collinson joins me now from Washington to talk about all of this. Stephen, let's talk about Puerto Rico. Donald

Trump, the president defending the government's response earlier on today.

Also talking bizarrely what about the fact that Puerto Rico is an island surrounded by big, big water. Do you think that the people of Puerto Rico

are feeling comforted by that or is that still this big disconnect between what the White House is saying and what the reality is on the ground?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think the disconnect still what you see in the last 24 hours is a perceptible increase of political

pressure on the administration over the response to Puerto Rico.

That was partly precipitated by those comments you showed by Elaine Duke when she said that this was a good news story and also the sort of

proliferating reports and pictures that you've been showing coming out of Puerto Rico just showing how difficult the situation there is.

Whenever you have a disconnect between Washington and the situation on the ground that's when the political exposure to this comes in and one of the

reasons the president was out there this morning talking about this was I think the White House realized that this got an increasing political


The only thing about that, though, is the president is not always that convincing as you mentioned the White House keeps reminding us that this is

very difficult. That Puerto Rico is an island. It's not like it's a state like Florida or Texas where it was easy to get to.

But you know, they knew that before this hurricane struck and some people are asking well, did they preposition enough aid? Are they being proactive

enough? Is the fact that Puerto Rico is not a state, is not important electorally somehow factoring into the administration's calculations. So,

there are a lot of questions swirling about this now.

JONES: Yes. The other thing in his in tray as well is this question over his health secretary, Tom Price, and his use of private planes to do a

business. Tom Price defended by saying he is going to repay the money for his seat at least on one of those private jets.

And saying that it's an unprecedented gesture. Is it unprecedented for him to pay some of it back or is it unprecedented for a government official to

use a private jet?

COLLINSON: It's not unprecedented, but the level of use of the jets that Secretary Price took advantage of is unprecedented. He said he is going to

pay as you say for his seat, which is about $51,000.

[15:15:06] But that's a fraction of the cost of what it cost to charter these jets. Private jets are of course very expensive. The fact that he

flew on short distances on a private jet from Washington to Philadelphia, for example, the $24,000, which he could probably get a train ticket for

about 75 bucks to do that and get there just as quickly is one of the reasons why he is in trouble.

The president has left him swinging in the wind a little bit. A lot of people think he is probably in his last few days as health secretary just

because this is such a dangerous political problem for the president.

He was going to be the person that came to Washington and drain the swamp as he said repeatedly during his campaign. He was going get rid of corrupt

officials, who sort of get fat on the taxpayer dime.

JONES: Right.

COLLINSON: And this (inaudible) break the prophecy and I think he realizes that it could actually be one of the things that is actually damaging to

his administration with his ever-loyal political base.

JONES: Yes. He might have a bit more draining of the swamp to do as well. We've been hearing from a couple of other officials in the Trump

administrations as well. Ryan Zinke (ph), who is the interior secretary. He had this to say about his colleague's use of a private plane.


RYAN ZINKE, INTERIOR SECRETARY: Just like to address the words of Gen. Schwarzkopf, a little BS on travel, and I just want to read a little

statement for you as we have it is that I believe taxpayers absolutely have the right to know official travel costs.

There are times however we have to utilize charter services because we often travel in areas that are under circumstances that we don't have other

flight options.


JONES: So, he is saying that this is all just (inaudible) all BS in his words. Do you think Americans and American taxpayers will feel the same


COLLINSON: I don't think so. I think this is, you know, a classic political scandal. One of the problems with Secretary (inaudible) travel

was it was on the jet of an oil and gas industry executive that's one of the areas he oversees as interior secretary.

But more than that, it's just the latest example of this administration over the last few days has really had a (inaudible). The comments about

the hurricane. Zinke's comments there. The president saying how great their response to Puerto Rico has been over and over again.

And Gary Cohn, the president's top economic advisor was selling the tax cut the president is pushing by saying middle-class people could get a thousand

dollars back and they could buy a car or redo their kitchen.

Phrases that made him sound very out of touch given that he is a multimillionaire himself. So, the administration has been getting itself

into a lot of trouble politically over the last few days just by sounding like it's out of touch and whenever that happens it causes political


JONES: Always good to get your perspective. Stephen Collinson, thanks so much.

Still to come on the program tonight, Uber has been having its fair share of troubles in London recently. Now Britain's prime minister is weighing

in. Details on that in just a moment.

And a polarizing vote, Catalonia gears up to head to the polls in an independence referendum, but Madrid is certainly not happy about it. Stay

with us for more.



JONES: They say the road to (inaudible) with good intentions and that's not a road that Britain's Prime Minister wants Uber to go down. While

Theresa May recognizes that the company has issues, she says the decision to revoke its license here in London could cost tens of thousands of jobs.

Our Samuel Burke has more.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hannah, this has gone all the way up to the highest office in the land now with Prime

Minister Theresa May weighing in about what seemingly a London only issue, but anytime you have the capital city at odds with the biggest startup in

the entire world, it signifies much more about how the United Kingdom broadly can work with these disruptive technology companies.

Now the Prime Minister is taking a jab at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, they are of course, from opposing political parties. Take a listen to what she



THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: (Inaudible) what the matters has done is risk 40,000 jobs and of course, those 3.5 -- damage to the lives of

those 3.5 million Uber users. Yes, there are safety concerns and issues for Uber to address, what I want to see is a level playing field between

the private firms and our wonderful London taxis. Our black cabs are a great national institution. I want to see a level playing field. I think

a blanket ban is disproportion.


BURKE: And Hannah, I'll be covering (inaudible) when you make his visit here to London next week and would all be looking for it is that change in

tone that we've heard from him as compared to the previous Uber CEO Travis (inaudible) actually can translate into actions and nobody will be looking

for that more than the transport for London board.

JONES: Samuel Burke there. Now at least 22 people have been killed in a stampede at an Indian train station. It all happened during morning rush-

hour in the country's commercial capital of Mumbai.

Thirty five people were injured. Here you can see people hanging onto railings as the crash unfolded. India's railways minister has expressed

his condolences and has promised high level inquiry.

Iraq has cut off international flights to the Kurdistan region just days after people there voted for their independence. Some have been calling on

the U.S. to intervene given its dependence on Kurdish fighters in the war on ISIS. The U.S. State Depart insist it has not been sitting by quietly.


HEATHER NAUERT, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Keeping silent would be a mischaracterization of the U.S. position on this. We have been very

clear from the beginning that we oppose that referendum because we thought it would be destabilizing.

As we see some of these reports in the media, unfortunately, that has been borne out. This is destabilizing. We want Kurdistan. We want the Kurds.

We want Iraq, the central government of Iraq to remain focused on the fight against ISIS. We have concerns that this will take the focus off the fight

against ISIS.


JONES: Well, CNN has an exclusive insight on this story. Our Nima Elbagir went to a camp where Kurdish forces are preparing for their next battle

against ISIS. Nima joins me now from Erbil.

Nima, the Peshmerga forces are, of course, so crucial in the fight against terrorism, ISIS in particular. Could their efforts be compromised even

jeopardized by this ongoing brawl now over the Kurdish independence vote?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is absolutely the concern. Both of those we've been speaking to on the

ground, but also as you saw there from the State Department and since the State Department spokesperson made that statement.

We have also heard from the secretary of state himself, Rex Tillerson, in a statement saying that again they believe that this is key -- the

maintaining of stability in this region is key to the end of the fight against ISIS.

And that ISIS is seeking to exploit any and all instability and that was definitely reflected by some of the concerns and some of the delays we saw

on the ground. Take a look at this.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): The bridge across (inaudible) River. A bullet scarred watchtower looms over the remaining few meters of Kurdish-Peshmerga

controlled territory.

(on camera): This bridge right here, this river, this was the border between ISIS-held territory and the territory held by the Kurdish forces.

[15:25:05] It took them an entire year with air cover from the U.S.-led coalition just to be able to push ISIS back just another kilometer to the

ISIS frontline, which is just up there where we are headed.

(voice-over): Major (inaudible) Majid (ph) is in charge of this garrison on the outskirts of Kirkuk. As he walks us up to look out punched out

towards the frontline. It's eerily quiet.

(on camera): All of this that you can see out there, that is still under ISIS control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All of our intelligence information is that ISIS's morale is low. Their fighters are attempting

flee. They are weak in (inaudible).

ELBAGIR: This was essentially supposed to be the staging ground for the operation to retake (inaudible), but that hasn't happened yet. Since the

referendum for independence was carried out against the wishes of the Iraqi federal government so much of what pertains to this operation to retake one

of ISIS's last remaining strongholds is in flux.

(voice-over): Shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. (inaudible) this commander's patch at the base. American supplied armored vehicles line up

against the wall. The Kurdish forces are increasingly trained and supplied by the U.S., but that doesn't mean that they have the United States'

support and their bid for independence from Baghdad.

The U.S. State Department has said the referendum has already affected coordination in their bid to dislodge ISIS from its remaining territory and

is raising tensions they say ISIS is looking to exploit.

Major Majeed and his men expected the Iraqi Army units to arrive on the 26th. Days have passed but no sign of them. They are still waiting and

they are growing worried. An Iraqi armed forces spokesman tells CNN the Peshmerga were never expected to play a key role in the push on


Major Majeed shows us a wall bearing the names of the comrades they lost to ISIS. His men, he says, are committed to honoring sacrifices, committed to

the war against ISIS. But these very sacrifices are the reason they believe they've earned the right to independence. Earned their right to go

it alone whatever the rest of the world may think.


ELBAGIR: The air embargo is now in place here enacted by Baghdad, by the Iraqi central government, and the hope expressed by Secretary Tillerson and

many of the key allies involved in this US-led ISIS -- anti-ISIS coalition is that Baghdad and Erbil can find a way through this not just for the good

of the fight against ISIS, but for the good of broader region and its stability -- Hannah.

JONES: Nima Elbagir live for us there in Northern Iraq with that exclusive report. Nima, thank you.

A U.S. military aircraft have crashed in Syria. Officials say one U.S. servicemember was wounded, but the injuries are not life-threatening. We

have also been told that the cause of the accident itself was a hard landing and not enemy activity.

This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Still come on the program this evening, as Catalonia prepares to vote on independence, what role is Russia having in

the online debate? I'll speak to an (inaudible) journalist who says, well, that role is a big one.


JONES: Welcome back to the program. This is news just into us here at CNN, concerning a story we were telling you about a little bit earlier and

concerning President Trump.

The president of the United States says he will make a decision about his Health and Human Services Secretary. That's Tom Price. He'll make that

decision "sometime tonight."

The president was speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. He is expected to leave for New Jersey this evening for the rest of

the weekend, before then going off to Puerto Rico next week, but that's the latest we're hearing about Tom Price. This, of course, over his use of

private planes in his role as health and human services secretary.

Donald Trump has already said that he's not happy about it and we understand he'll make a decision about Tom Price's fate in that role in his

administration at some point this evening.

Now, it is the polarizing referendum that could have repercussions for Spain and indeed for Europe. Catalonia is gearing up for a contested

independence vote on Sunday.

The separatist government there is vowing to press ahead despite Madrid calling that vote illegal and saying the results will not be recognized.

It's all leading to a very tense situation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): First, it was the students, then came the firemen and, finally, the farmers. The last day of campaigning in

Catalonia's independence referendum may have drawn to an end, but the tension on the streets is only building.

The Spanish government has said Sunday's vote is illegal and must not go ahead. Barcelona's port has become a staging ground for Spanish police,

extra forces, and police vans shipped in from across the country, all to try to block people from voting.

The Spanish government has seized millions of ballots and campaign leaflets, arrested Catalan officials and closed down political websites.

It's a vote long campaigned for by separatists in Catalonia. The region in northeastern Spain already has limited autonomy from the central government

in Madrid. It has its own flag, its own national anthem and its own language.

But, still, many Catalans want more. They want full independence for their region, which is Spain's number one tourist destination, famous for Gaudi,

the iconic Sagrada Familia and as the birthplace of Salvador Dali.

Catalonia is also home to FC Barcelona. The football club has spoken out in support of the referendum.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, speaking earlier this week, alongside the Spanish prime minister, said he wants a united Spain.

TRUMP: I really think the people of Catalonia would stay with Spain. I think it would be foolish not to, if you're talking about staying with a

truly great, beautiful and very historic country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A historic country which could have its borders redrawn in a matter of days according to Catalan leaders. They threatened

to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours of the votes.


JONES: Well, let's go live now to Barcelona. Our Isa Soares is there for us. Evening, Isa. What's the mood like? Is it excitement or a level of

trepidation about what's to come on Sunday?

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll let you see the pictures for yourselves. If I move out of the way, Hannah, this is really

a party atmosphere. We've got people here draped in red, yellow and blue, the colors of the Catalan flag.

They have been singing. They have been chanting. And they have been saying from the top of their voices, we will vote, and calling for

independence. So, very much a mood of defiance, which is one that I've seen throughout Barcelona here.

Despite what you reported there, the heavy-handedness of the central government, of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, closing down websites, some

150 websites, arresting 14 Catalan politicians and also seizing thousands of these little ballots that basically ask people whether they want to vote

yes or no for independence, for Catalan independence, despite all of this, people believe they can vote and they will vote and their voices will be

heard, Hannah.

[15:35:14] JONES: Isa, they say they want to vote, they are determined to get to those polling stations, but, realistically, with the police presence

on the street and the view of the Madrid government, if this vote actually likely to go ahead.

SOARES: Well, they believe so. And they will show up they tell me come rain or shine. They said nothing will stop them and people are doing what

they can to actually get to the more than 2000 polling stations.

As I was saying, some 150 websites are being closed down. So, what we have seen today is really the most traditional form of campaigning on the

street, basically handing out these ballots.

So, people take them with them, vote them home and pop them into the polling stations. So, it's very, very quick.

At the same time, there is more than 2000 polling stations, many of them school, Hannah (ph). What we have seen is many people are going to be

sleeping there for the next - until Sunday morning really, for the next day-and-a-half.

So, the police cannot stop them, cannot close the schools. This is what they're doing. They're going to make sure those pooling stations remain

open. So, here it's a very much a grassroots effort and very much doing what they can to make sure that nothing will stop them.

Of course, on the day, it will be a different matter. We - as you mentioned, the police there along the harbor, on the port, waiting for

orders from central government to step in.

Meanwhile, the police, the police of Catalonia, the Mossos, are really stuck between the Madrid government and Catalonia. Whether they'll let

them to vote, well, we shall see on Sunday, Hannah.

JONES: Yes, party atmosphere at the moment and a determination, of course, for this vote go ahead. Isa, we appreciate it. Thanks so much.

We're staying with this story. And the upcoming vote has got people talking with the debate not just taking place on the streets, but also

online. And there are accusations that Russia is involved in meddling once more.

It is being reported in the Spanish newspaper, "El Pais". And their managing editor David Alandete joins me now from Madrid. Thank you so much

for joining us, sir.

I want to ask you about this Russian alleged meddling to start off with. And if I can, just quote something that you've written yourself in "El

Pais," your paper.

You said in there, "the Kremlin is using the Catalan crisis as a way to deepen divisions within Europe and consolidate its international influence.

It appears in the form of websites that publish hoax stories, the activity of activists such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and a legion of bots

- millions of automated social media accounts that can turn lies into trending topics."

My question to you is, what evidence is there that this is actually taking place and that Russia is somehow involved in this independence referendum?

DAVID ALANDETE, MANAGING EDITOR, "EL PAIS": Well, we have been tracking the activity of some accounts in social media, mainly Twitter because

that's their preferred way of meddling in this type of political crisis.

And we've been following them for quite a while, with the help of some companies and think tanks that actually devote their time and resources for


And we started seeing a couple of months back how they were pushing these Russian-associated accounts. They were pushing propaganda, here in

Catalonia, divisive messages.

In the beginning, it was just not taking a side. It was like, you would see a piece of (INAUDIBLE) something that was exaggerated, but lately

you've seen these accounts pushing heavily towards independence, comparing the situation in Spain with the Tiananmen massacre in China in 1989 and

other international crisis.

So, we compared the pattern of behavior of these social network accounts and we saw that there was a similarity between the Catalan crisis, Brexit,

the rise of the far-right party, Alternate for Deutschland in Germany and Front Nationale and other right-wing party in France as well as the

American election last year.

JONES: OK. And just to be clear then, the allegation is that Russia would be in favor of Catalan independence. Why? What would Russia get out of


ALANDETE: Actually, that is not the point. The point is actually dividing the people that take part in this crisis. It would be actually pushing

fake news and exaggerations and misrepresentations that actually aggravate the crisis and make the actors involved not actually reconcile themselves

with each other.

[15:40:03] We've seen news on how Catalonia would actually recognize Crimea, which was annexed by Russia couple of years back, or how it would

actually reach out to the Kyrgyzstan.

So, what these accounts are doing is not just taking sides with an independentist movement. It's just like pushing stories that are going to

fuel energy within this movement that are going (INAUDIBLE).

JONES: And the Catalan government would presumably be hugely concerned about this because it undermines their referendum. It undermines

everything that they're trying to fight for and there will be huge concern presumably over the integrity of this vote and whether there's widespread

voter fraud as a result of potential meddling.

ALANDETE: Well, in a way, the Russian interference is benefiting the Catalan government because the Catalan government is trying for this to be

an international crisis.

Now, if you listen to President Donald Trump of the United States, if you listen to Emmanuel Macron from France or Angela Merkel in Germany or even

the European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, they will all say that the Catalonian crisis is an internal crisis that Spain has to deal with.

It's just an internal division.

But by trying to bring this crisis to the international arena, to make parties like Ukraine, Iraq, Russia get involved and parties in Germany and

France, what the Russian hackers and the Russian interests are pushing here is to turn these into an international crisis where actually independence

can happen, when it can. It possibly can at this point because this referendum doesn't have the basic guarantees in order to be free and fair


JONES: We wait to see whether there could potentially even be some sort of compromise that could be reached before this vote goes ahead or in the

immediate aftermath. Nonetheless, it's a busy weekend, no doubt, ahead for you. David Alandete from "El Pais", we appreciate your time. Thank you.

Now, you're watching THE WORLD RIGHT NOW here on CNN. Just ahead on the program, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner is now facing questions

from Senate investigators about his private email account. We'll have a live report. Coming up next.


JONES: President Donald Trump has just spoken at the White House about the hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico, which he thinks is going really well.

Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can you comment (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you said (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what about your other cabinet members. Will you order a review?

TRUMP: We'll see. I mean, we have - he's a very fine man and we're going to - we're going to make a decision sometime tonight. He's a very, very

fine man.

[15:45:01] As far as Puerto Rico is concerned, that's been going, as you know, really well. It's been total devastation. We have over 10,000

people in Puerto Rico right now. We're getting truck drivers because the people from Puerto Rico, the drivers just aren't there. They are looking

to their homes. They have a lot of other problems.

Likewise, with the police force, but I think it's going really well considering.

Rick Scott was just - Governor of Florida, that's been a success. Rick is going to get involved also with Puerto Rico and we've made tremendous

strides. Very, very tough situation.

And a big question is what happens. We have to rebuild - I mean, if you look at it, the electrics gone. The roads are gone. The

telecommunications are gone. It's all gone.

And the real question is what's going to happen later. It's a tough situation. The loss of life, it's always tragic, but it's been incredible

the results that we've had with respect to loss of life. People can't believe how successful that has been relatively speaking.


TRUMP: I can't hear you, John. Go ahead.


TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you, the governor of Puerto Rico has been unbelievably generous with his statements. He's been praising our efforts

and this is a very difficult - this is a total devastation.

When you look at Texas, then when you look at Florida, it's a whole different level. Nobody has ever seen - when you have a Category 5 wipe

out an island like this because you have nothing.

You don't have the roads. You don't have anything. And you don't the people even to operate the equipment. That's why we have literally

hundreds of truck drivers being brought into the island to operate the truck because those people have lost their homes. So, they aren't able to

do it.


TRUMP: And the police have lost their homes. So, they are unable to do it. So, it's a tough situation. John?


TRUMP: Well, I haven't heard what she said. I can tell you this. We have done an incredible job considering there is absolutely nothing to work



JONES: OK. So, there's President Trump just a short moment ago on the South Lawn of the White House talking about the government's response, of

course, to the crisis in Puerto Rico there.

At the end of that, saying that they've done a fantastic job, given the fact that they are working with nothing, all the generators, all the power

is out across the island.

Also, significantly, at the start of hearing the president, then he made some comments about Tom Price. This is his health secretary whose job is

very much on the line at the moment in the aftermath, of course, with those revelations about his use of private jets for official work.

And the president there saying, he will make a decision tonight about Tom Price's fate, whether he stays or is indeed fired from that position. He

says he is very disappointed and he knows the optics, at the very least, are bad. More on that as soon as we get any further news.

Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee is now demanding that Jared Kushner hand over emails from his personal account that may relate to the Russia


In his closed interview with the committee, Kushner, who is the White House senior adviser, did not to disclose the existence of his personal email

account, which he reportedly used to conduct official business.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is in Washington with more on this now. Shimon, can we put this down to a rookie error or something more?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, hard to say really, Hannah. When you think about it, there has been a lot of

controversy surrounding Jared Kushner meetings and other things whether he has disclosed them, whether he has left them behind or whether he just

forgot to tell the government about different meetings that he had previously.

He's been at the center of controversy surrounding whether or not he admitted to the government, whether or not he released information on


And now, the intelligence committee, given this pattern, the intelligence committee now wants to know whether or not these private emails contained

White House - official White House communications, whether he was communicating using his private email and communicating White House

business that is related to their investigation into Russia.

So, it's hard to say whether this is a rookie mistake. When people go and work at the White House, when they work at the various different agencies

at the government, they're given sort of a guide on what they can do legally, what they're allowed to do using devices, using personal email


[15:50:01] So, he should've received that kind of a briefing. And we really don't have any reason or any response from his people as to why he

was using the personal account.

JONES: Is he going to cooperate as well because he has, of course, said in the past after he gave that closed-door evidence before to the committee,

he said he's being completely upfront and honest about it.

Now, we're finding out that he hasn't been. And we are, of course, talking about the president's son-in-law. He is not just a senior administration

official and advisor. He is the president's son-in-law and there's been so many questions about his security clearance already. Is he going to kind

of like come clean now?

PROKUPECZ: So, we've asked his attorney, who received this letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying basically how unhappy they are with

learning of this private email that he was using in the White House through media reports.

When he appeared there, when he went there, when Jared Kushner came before he them, said he was going to cooperate, provided statements, gave them all

sorts of information on his different relationships with business people, people he met with during the campaign.

And then, they learned just recently, through media reports, that he was using his private email account, certainly, has left them very unhappy.

And they've said so in this letter that they wrote to his lawyer.

We don't know if what his lawyer is planning. His lawyer certainly hasn't told us of what the plan is. But usually what happens in these cases,

someone like Kushner, will turn around, get his emails to his lawyer and then his lawyer will look through them and make a decision as to what may

be relevant to what the committee is looking at.

And, of course, they're looking at Russia interference, Russia meddling. This is the Senate Intelligence Committee, who is basically taking charge

on the Senate side for this investigation. And, really, I think for them, this is more just suspicion. They just feel that he hasn't been as

forthcoming as he claims he's been.

JONES: Shimon, appreciate it. Shimon Prokupecz there, thank you. Now, when we come back after this break, more rain is heading for hard-hit

Puerto Rico. We will get you the very latest on the weather forecast.


JONES: Ten days after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, millions of US citizens there are still struggling to survive.

Most of the island has no power and only about half have access to running water. Food is running out and there is limited access to fuel and cash.

Aid is flowing in, but the difficult challenges have made the distribution of that aid very slow going indeed.

And now heavy rain is expected to drench Puerto Rico this weekend and that is raising more concerns about flash flooding.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins me now. As if they haven't had enough, now they've got the rain on the way. How hard is it going to be?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: In some areas, it's actually already started, Hannah. So, all of Puerto Rico is currently under a flood watch.

That's the green color you see here. But in this northwestern region, you see those red lines, that indicates a flash flood warning.

That particular region of Puerto Rico has already picked up 2 to 3 inches or 50 to 75 millimeters of rain and more is on the way. So, because of

that, they've already triggered those flash flood warnings.

You have to keep in mind, not that long ago, they got an extremely high amount of rain from Hurricane Maria.

This is the map. OK? The red color indicates about 6 to as much as 10 inches. You're talking in excess of 200 millimeters there. The white

pockets, however, are over 20 inches. Imagine that, you're talking 300, 400, 500 millimeters of rain. And now we're going to be adding more rain

on top of that.

[15:55:10] Here is a look at the satellite. These are you Lesser Antilles, you've got the Virgin Islands. And this right here is Puerto Rico. You

could see that disturbance swirling around it, with all of the convection or thunderstorms.

We're going to continue to see more of this develop around Puerto Rico as we go through the weekend.

Normally, now, we would take you on a tour of what the local radar shows in terms of more finite storms, but we can't. This is all that's left of the

radar in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria took over.

You would normally see a giant dome at the top here. It's no longer there. There is also some close-up shots of where the dome used to be.

This means they are going to be limited to mostly satellite data to help in trying to take a closer look at this particular storm. The forecast

rainfall for this particular event, widespread. You're going to be talking about say 2 inches, which would be up to about 50 millimeters of rain, but

many areas are likely see double that. And that's just in the next few days.

This is a very slow-moving system. It's this X right here that was located. This is low. As it moves to the north and west, has about a 20

percent chance of tropical development. Again, that's low.

Basically, what that means that, if it were to intensify, it would potentially have the ability to become our next main topical system. At

this point, however, that chance is very low.

But the point is, regardless of whether this becomes the next named hurricane, this is going to produce a lot of heavy rain.

JONES: All right, Alison, thanks so much for the forecast. We appreciate it.

And thank you for watching. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. "Quest Means Business" is coming up next.