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Trump: "Don't Like The Optics" Of Price Jet Scandal; HHS Secretary Tom Price Resigns Amid Private Jet Scandal; Massive Lines Form For Vital Supplies, Food, Clean Water; Desperation In Puerto Rico As Vital Supplies Run Low; The White House's Revolving Door; CNN Poll: Americans Sharply Divided Over NFL Protests. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 30, 2017 - 06:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm not happy, OK? I can tell you, I'm not happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump today accepting the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Price knows better. He railed against people using private jets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was time for him to go. He had lost the confidence of the American taxpayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parts of Puerto Rico are at risk for flash flooding this weekend.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We will not rest until the people of Puerto Rico are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're taking food, water and medicine everywhere. We would like it to be quicker. Of course, it's not where it needs to be, but we recognize that there is a limitation in terms of the logistical support to get there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're dying here. We're truly are dying here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm tired of the president always talking about how much it's going to cost. It's costing lives.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So grateful to have you with us today. I'm Christi Paul and --

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. It's great to be with you and great to be with all of you. PAUL: It's so good to have you here with us. So, we want to talk about first of all another dramatic departure that is rocking the White House this morning. There is right now a new acting health and human services secretary. His name is Don Wright. This after Tom Price is now out amid the growing scandal over his private flights on the taxpayers' dimes.

SAVIDGE: Let's go first to CNN senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, with more on the president's reaction and the fallout at the White House.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Martin, the first casualty of President Trump's cabinet, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price finally submitted his resignation, really bowing to the pressure of this White House to leave his position after day, after day, after day of questions about his air travel.

Both on private planes as well as military aircraft amounting to about a million dollars or so. Even after Secretary Price said he would pay back some $52,000, that did not sit well with this president.

We asked the president on Friday if he still had confidence in his secretary. It was clear that he didn't.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's not a question of confidence. I was disappointed because I didn't like it cosmetically or otherwise. So, I don't like to see somebody that perhaps there's the perception that it wasn't right.


ZELENY: So certainly, private planes were one big concern of this president, but it was more than that I'm told. Health care was one of the reasons that Tom Price was brought into the cabinet in the first place. He was supposed to lead the charge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

That of course didn't happen. I'm told the president increasingly lost patience with him. These flights were simply the thing that put it over the top. This is something that flies in the face of the president's pledge to drain the swamp. So finally, after a full week of this, the resignation accepted now there's one more vacancy in the cabinet -- Christi and Martin.

SAVIDGE: This has been a pretty tough week for the president. Let's just take a look back and remember what kind of week. It was a little more than a week ago that the president launched an all-out attack on NFL players protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out? He's fired. He's fired.


PAUL: And of course, Arizona Senator John McCain announced that he would not support the GOP's latest health care bill dooming their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare again. Fast forward to Tuesday when the president's candidate in Alabama, GOP Senate primary lost to the candidate backed by former White House senior advisor, Steve Bannon.

SAVIDGE: And then Thursday, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke called the government's response to the devastation in Puerto Rico a good news story. She later had to walk those comments back saying that she meant people working together in response.

But many in Puerto Rico are still struggling to get food, water, and gas over a week after the hurricane. San Juan's mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, is among those urging the government for more help.


MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: We're dying here. We truly are dying here. And I keep saying it. SOS., if anyone can hear us. If Mr. Trump can hear us, let's just get it over with and get the ball rolling.


PAUL: We'll continue this with CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News, Errol Louis, and White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Gabby Morrongiello. Thank you both for being here and good morning to you.

Errol, how much of this, we just heard the president say and I want to focus first of all on Tom Price. The president said he didn't like the optics of this. How much of this resignation -- forced resignation as we understand it was about the planes? Was it about the optics? Was it about a man who couldn't get health care through?

[06:05:10] ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I trust Jeff Zeleny's reporting so that if there was this underlying problem, I'm sure there was something to that. On the other hand, when he talks about optics, you know, this is a president who watches a whole heck of a lot of television and day after day there were these negative headlines.

And you know, I think, it's the nature of it, Christi. In this case, this wasn't some sort of abstract problem. You know, when there were problems with some of the other members of the leadership team about what they knew or didn't know about Russia, about private conversations, we don't really know what happened.

Everybody I think understands luxury travel, flying around like you are some kind of a -- of a multimillionaire when in fact, you're using taxpayer dollars. I mean, it's the simplest thing in the world and it was a direct contradiction of that promise to drain the swamp. So, I think President Trump realized that this was a political problem that couldn't be spun away, talked away, wished away.

PAUL: Yes, and not only, you know, undercut the draining the swamp, questionable use of taxpayer money and Gabby, with that said, is there any indication how expansive this might be? I mean, does it stop at Tom Price?

GABBY MORRENGIELLO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, no, I mean, there have been numerous reports this week and previously that there are other cabinet secretaries who have engaged in private travel that are costing American taxpayers several thousands of dollars.

And I think that it's something that the White House is taking seriously now. You know, we saw last night that Chief of Staff John Kelly has sent out a memo to every cabinet agency saying that, you know, if there's any attempt to take a private charter flight that it needs to be signed off on by the White House.

And so, I think that this goes back to what Errol was saying that this really flies in the face of that drain the swamp message that President Trump ran on. You know, I spoke with a White House official earlier this week, who was inclined to say that President Trump is likely to make an example out of Tom Price, to send a message to the rest of his cabinet that this will not be tolerated.

That this kind of do as I say and not as I do swampy behavior is not something that's going to be a good image for the White House and it's not something that's going to be allowed and so, I think that's exactly what happened last night when he accepted Secretary Price's resignation.

PAUL: Jeff Zeleny talked to about how the president said that he was really angry about I guess the attempt Tom Price was going to make to reconcile this. He wanted to write a $52,000 check.

At the end of the day, this was in excess of, as I understand it, analysts say $500,000 and up in terms of taxpayers' money that was wasted. Will we see that check, that $52,000 check, and does it matter at this point?

LOUIS: Now that he's been forced out, I suspect Tom Price might be looking at his finances a little bit more closely and that promise I wouldn't necessarily bank on that $52,000 check or the true amount, which is about ten times higher as you suggest.

I mean, look, something that's got to be said is that the tone starts at the top and these officials around the president have watched the way he conducts himself. Weekend after weekend at his own luxury golf courses and clubs, having the federal government pay his club and this president and his private company from which he has never severed his financial ties.

And I think they very logically looked at it and said, well, look, I'm not going to be less careful about this than the president. You know, and that's what you get. So you know, if Donald Trump really wants to sort of fix this after this firing, he's going to have to look in the mirror as well and maybe think about setting some leadership by example here.

PAUL: Changing some of his own habits I guess you're saying. Gabby, let's listen together to something that former Obama senior adviser, David Axelrod, had to say about this a few hours ago.


DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: There are two reasons why people are forced out. One is scandal and the other is failure. They've had a lot of both in the first eight months and not a whole lot of success.

Now, I think John Kelly has gotten the White House under a degree of control that didn't exist before, but the problem always persists as to the man on top and the ability to control him.


PAUL: OK. So, he's talking there a lot about what you just said, Errol, but he also mentioned John Kelly. Is John Kelly getting control of the White House? Do we know how much influence he truly has in terms of what's going on there, Gabby?

MORRENGIELLO: Well, in some areas he has certainly exercised significant control over the flow of news to the president, over the president's interactions with various members of his cabinet, with various White House staffers, and also making sure that the president sticks to his message.

[06:10:03] I mean, if you recall those images from the U.N. speech when the president kind of went off script and started talking about "Rocket Man" in North Korea, you could see the frustration on John Kelly's face.

And so, I think there's definitely discipline that he's brought not only to the chain of command but also to the president's message. But as we all know, you know, President Trump is at the end of the day is going to do and say whatever he wants and say.

So, ultimately, as for as much control and discipline that John Kelly can exercise, the president is always going to be unpredictable.

PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, Gabby Morrengiello, always good to have both of your voices in the conversation here. Thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: No food, no water, no power, no money. Devastated communities in Puerto Rico are begging for more help. CNN's Boris Sanchez is in San Juan talking to struggling storm survivors.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there. Good morning, Martin. Yes, there is a lot of frustration and anger here on the ground. There's also a discrepancy between what some federal officials have said about the situation in Puerto Rico and what local officials are saying. But what are everyday Puerto Ricans who are struggling tofind some very basic good saying? You'll hear from them next.




YULIN CRUZ: I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying. I am mad as hell because my people's lives are at stake.


SAVIDGE: The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico making a very emotional plea for more help while slamming the government's response to Hurricane Maria. More than a week after the Category 4 storm devastated the island, desperation is growing.

Hours long lines for food, water, gas. Millions without power and no way for storm victims to communicate with their loved one. And then there is this infuriating site, thousands of containers of aid just sitting at the port not getting to those in need.

CNN correspondent, Boris Sanchez, joins us now live from San Juan and Boris, we're wondering, are you seeing any signs of improvement where you are?

SANCHEZ: There are incremental signs, Martin, and in some places, aid is being passed along to those who desperately need it. In others, people are flustered. They're angry. They feel the federal government has not done enough to help the island of Puerto Rico.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Getting key resources has proved daunting for Puerto Ricans. Many camping in their cars outside a gas station forming a line more than a quarter mile long, waiting hours to fill their tanks.

PAOLA MEDERO, WAITED IN LONG LINES FOR GAS: It's really hard, like when you have to go and check on your family, you have to waste gas and you have to come and make all these lines so you can get gas. It's pretty hard.

SANCHEZ: Massive lines are also forming outside grocery stores and banks and many businesses are only taking cash which is now in short supply. Much of what these people desperately need, essentials like food, water, and medical supplies have proved elusive.

CANDIDO MALAUVE, RESIDENT: No here. Nothing. Water, food.

ROSE M. COLON RAMOS, RESIDENT (through translator): It's been about nine days that we don't have help. Supposedly the U.S. has provided help but we don't have water, food or medicine. They keep telling us it's coming from the U.S. but we don't see it.

SANCHEZ: In other parts of Puerto Rico, cries for help are being answered. People run on to the streets to wave down the mayor and other officials in Guayama (ph) City as he drives through town offering emergency food and water from FEMA.

The mayor asked for calm and admits he knows they will need much more. Further complicating recovery efforts, the weather forecast. While many remain homeless, parts of Puerto Rico are at risk for flash flooding this weekend with rain again expected to hit the already battered island.

KEVIN QUINONES, RESIDENT: They said there was rain coming this weekend. I don't know how we're going to deal with it because it's still flooded everywhere.


SANCHEZ: And that last gentleman you heard from, Kevin Quinones, tells me that he lives in a neighborhood that has a channel running through it and it floods on just a typical rainstorm. During Hurricane Maria, raw sewage was flowing into people's homes and now he has taken two families into his home who had their roofs blown off during the hurricane. When he says more rain comes this weekend, he really has no idea what he's going to do.

SAVIDGE: Boris, let me ask you this. So, of course, the administration is saying that they are delivering everything they can to try to help the island there, but is it a problem of not having enough stuff or is it a distribution problem? In other words, they have the stuff, they just can't get it out to the people?

SANCHEZ: Well, there are several different things at play here. You mentioned some of those shipping containers that have been stuck at the port now for several days. Technically, that is not federal aid.

In other words, that wasn't provided by the federal government, but those are commercial goods that are lacking in store shelves right now. I spoke to a woman yesterday who was waiting in that line for gas, who told me that she spent hours outside the grocery store waiting to get inside only to find the shelves bare.

There was no water in there for her to take home. So, it is not just a problem of getting aid here, but it's also a problem of taking what's already here, the commercial supplies and actually getting them on the tables and homes of Puerto Ricans.

The difficulty there is that there are several layers of issues. For one, they've had a shortage of truckers available over the last several days either because of a lack of communication or a lack of fuel for those people to actually get to work.

[06:20:00] Beyond that, it is a series of grid locks because as you saw in our piece, there's a lack of cash because there's no electricity in many places so banks and ATMs are shut down.

So, even if those people were try to go to a bank to get enough money and go get in line for gas, it would talk a long time for them to be actually able to then get those goods out to where they need to go. There are a series of problems and it will take time to unravel -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes. It will indeed, but fuel seems to be one of the most critical needs of all. Boris Sanchez on the ground in Puerto Rico, thank you very much.

And later this morning, FEMA will update us on Puerto Rico and the federal relief efforts there. CNN will have live coverage in our 8:00 hour.

PAUL: And to make things worse, CNN meteorologist, Allison Chinchar live in the CNN Weather Center says there's a flash flood watch for this area. What are they going to be looking at today, Allison?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. So, that's the problem. We're not talking a half inch to an inch of rain. We're talking 2, 4, 6 inches of rain in an area that's now starting to recover from Maria. The entire area of Puerto Rico is under a flood watch going forward for the next couple of days.

But you have to understand how much rain has already fallen. This was what Maria did, the red areas you see here, 6 to inches, the purple 10 to 15 inches. The white areas were in excess of 20 inches of rain.

The problem with that is you still have a lot of rivers and streams that started to crest and are now starting to come down, but they haven't gotten to normal levels so now you start adding more rain on top of them and you're likely to start to see those rivers and streams swell again, causing even more problems.

Here is a look at the satellite, OK? Here is Puerto Rico for reference. You can see all of this tropical moisture surrounding and pushing offer to the north adding more of those showers and even some thunderstorms to this region.

Normally, we would also show you the radar to show you exactly where some of those high precipitation storms are but we can't. This is all that's left of their radar. There would normally be a dome right up here but it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

So, we are limited to just satellite data. That also makes it harder to pinpoint which areas get more rain, which in turn can be tougher for those living in the communities who maybe don't get the alerts as fast as they would want to. Forecast rainfall, guys, we're still talking an additional 4 to 8 inches in some areas.

PAUL: My gosh, just cannot imagine what these people are going to be dealing with. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

And Puerto Rico isn't the only island struggling from these storms. We have to point out, there are residents on the U.S. Virgin Islands who are suffering this morning. We'll have more on their story.

SAVIDGE: College football also ahead. Wisconsin versus North Western where players plan to take the field with arms locked in a show of unity with the NFL players. Coy Wire will have a live report from that coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


PAUL: It's 27 minutes past the 6:00 hour on a Saturday. You're up early, but we are glad for it. Thanks for keeping us company. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Pretty extraordinary week so far. There's been controversy. There's been failure for President Trump and the White House it seems this morning in damage control mode.

SAVIDGE: Very latest setback, President Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign in scandal. Price dominated headlines after it was revealed he used taxpayer money to take flights for government business.

PAUL: And there's the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico. The president has been sharply criticized for his administration's slow response in helping the 3.5 million Americans there who are still suffering after Hurricane Maria hit the island that was ten days ago.

SAVIDGE: Another GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare failed. Trump endorsed the wrong guy in the Alabama Senate race. Luther Strange lost to Steve Bannon's pick, Judge Roy Moore, a former judge.

But the moment that the PR crisis really started was when the president called African-American players SOBs, remember that? For kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.

PAUL: So Tom Price is just the latest high-profile departure from the Trump White House. Just ten days after his inauguration, President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend his immigration ban.

Michael Flynn was forced to resign a few weeks later and then about a month after that, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked dozens of U.S. attorneys to resign. All of them did so except Preet Bharara who said the president told him he could keep his job after he was elected. He was then fired.

Let's take you to May now, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Days later, White House Communications Director Mike Dubke stepped down. In July, we've got the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Schaub, who resigned.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quit, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was replaced and not far behind Anthony Scaramucci, who's firing made him the shortest serving communications director in history.

Also, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon followed him out the door in August and days later, there was Sebastian Gorka, who left his post as a White House adviser, and now of course, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigning over his use of private jets for government business.

SAVIDGE: Well, according to a CNN poll, Americans are sharply divided over whether NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem are really doing the right thing when it comes to expressing their views. But a majority agree that President Trump did the wrong thing by criticizing their actions.

We go live now to Madison, Wisconsin where our own Coy Wire is covering today's big game. Coy, the debate over kneeling during the national anthem has certainly gone far beyond just the NFL, there's the NBA, they've weighed in and now all eyes are on college football players and how fans are going to respond, right?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Martin, and it's been a week since the heated debate of kneeling during the national anthem got more heated. NFL players who do it being called SOBs and even being called to be fired if they don't stand for the anthem.

Now in college football, Martin, things are different. Players are not even on the field when the national anthem is played and we know that here in Madison today, the Northwestern Wildcats, they're going to take the field with locked arms as a show of unity when they take the field to play the Badgers.

But as for the NFL, week four kicks off in London with the Saints taking on the Dolphins and the Saints have already announced that they're going to kneel just before the national anthem and then they'll stand while it plays.

This week several players spoke about how they've become more united since the uptick in divisive rhetoric and plan to continue to call for change and awareness. Atlanta Falcons minority owner Warrick Dunn says that they want to get the fans involved. Listen.


WARRICK DUNN, ATLANTA FALCONS MINORITY OWNER: The Falcons, we're going to stand up for the national anthem. We're going to arm lock and we're going to ask the fans who attend the game to arm lock as well. We're going to show unity. And I think that message is going to go out to all 32 teams. Of course you're going to have players on other teams that -- they're not going to stand up and arm lock, but I still respect the way they're protesting because they want to raise awareness. They want their message to be heard that we want everyone to be treated equally in this country.


WIRE: As Martin mentioned, it's not just the NFL. We've seen MLB player kneel and the NBA pre-season tips off tonight and the league has already sent teams a memo reminding them there is a rule that states all players must stand for the national anthem.

Guys, we will how NBA players respond there. Regular season tips off October 17th.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. That will be very interesting to watch.

Coy Wire, thank you very much for that.

Let's discuss with Errol Louis, he's the CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Gabby Morrongiello, she's the White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner."

Good to see you both.



SAVIDGE: I want to begin with, you know, this latest CNN poll on President Trump's feud with the NFL, and while a majority of Americans think that the president, his profanity-laced rant at least against the NFL last weekend was uncalled for, most Americans polled agree with his message. 49 percent say that the protesting players are doing the wrong thing to express their political opinion.

So, Errol, is the president winning on this as far as the culture war?

LOUIS: No, I would say absolutely not. I mean, look, this was a dormant issue. The underlying question about police treatment of civilians, especially black American civilians, was not really at the top of the agenda until the president put it there and he did it very deliberately. It was, in my opinion, race baiting. It was for political reasons. He sort of stirred the pot in order to sort of get some kind of a political advantage.

He's been doing it his entire political career and even before he went into politics. He does this from time to time. It's not a terribly honorable thing to do but the president brought it up so I think the American people have done exactly just as you suggest, Martin, what you would hope that they would do, which is to say, look, we agree with the president on the substance, but we also think the people have the right to express themselves and he is deliberately sowing division by criticizing their absolute right to express themselves.

SAVIDGE: You know, we should point out that there is of course a racial split over the players' protest. 59 percent of whites saying protesting during the national anthem is wrong compared to just 12 percent of blacks. The president blasted the players in front of a mostly white audience.

So, Gabby, what does this say about the president's ability to heal race relations in this country?

MORRONGIELLO: Well, you know, I have to disagree with a bit of what Errol said. I do think that if he's benefitting from anything in wading into this argument he's certainly been catering to his base and that's something that we're seeing in this poll that, you know, 87 percent of Republicans think that players should not be kneeling during the national anthem regardless of the protests that they are trying to partake in where as 72 percent of Democrats think that it is the right way to protest race relations and police brutality in this country.

And so I think that, you know, that is a perfect example of an area where this is benefitting President Trump. It's a message that really breaches his platform -- reaches his base, I'm sorry, and something that they welcome, but, again, I mean, you know, he is sowing racial division by wading into this, especially at a time when his administration is trying to focus on tax reform, something that congressional Republicans are really hoping to get through in the next three months.

This does not help, it only creates bad optics through the administration, for congressional Republicans, and questions that are uncomfortable for a lot of lawmaker to have to answer.

SAVIDGE: Errol, we know, what you said, that the NBA has sent out a memo, it went out last night, that's reinforcing the rule that players and coaches must stand for the national anthem. It also suggests that there are other ways to protesting including a joint address to fans prior to the national anthem or some kind of PSA.

[06:35:09] Is this evidence that the president's remarks are influencing not just the NBA but professional sports?

LOUIS: Sure. Yes, in fact, I mean, I don't do a lot of predictions, as you know, Martin, but I'd say in this case, I think the president is going to lose this culture war ultimately. I mean, he may get a couple of points here and there. It may have helped him with his base a little bit, no denying that. He wouldn't be the first demagogue to sort of play to the crowd, but I think in the long term, I mean, I go to some NBA games here in the city and they have a million different ways, those players do, to express what it is they're doing.

I mean, all eyes are on them. Tens of thousands of people watching every little move and gesture. The alterations to their uniform, fists in the air, what they do after the game, you know, the commercial sort of impact that they have, I think they are going to use it and we should keep in mind, by the way, that the NBA is a very different league than the NFL. They have a very different level of sort of power and influence, the players do, and nobody is going to sit down and shut up because the president cast them out and told them to stop complaining about racial injustice in this country. It's just not going to happen.

SAVIDGE: All right. We're going to have to leave it there.

Errol Louis and Gabby Morrongiello, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

LOUIS: Thank you.

MORRONGIELLO: Thank you. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, police say Seahawks defensive end

Michael Bennett was lawfully detained despite his claim otherwise. Las Vegas police released this surveillance video of Bennett's detention yesterday after he claimed that he was racially profiled last month. The alleged incident happened outside the Cromwell Hotel following the Mayweather versus McGregor fight.

He says several people including Bennett running after hearing what they thought were gunshots. Bennett claims an officer stopped him, put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him. The department said it reviewed 800 body dash and surveillance camera videos, concluded there was no evidence that that happened.

The detaining officer who drew his weapon didn't activate his body camera. Bennett's attorney disputing the police department's conclusion that race is not a factor and police saying none of the arresting officers were white. They say two here were Hispanic and a third was black.

SAVIDGE: Over a week after Hurricane Maria, many in the Caribbean are still of course struggling to get food, water and gas. We talked about that. But Puerto Rico wasn't the only island that was hit hard by the two storms in a row.

Next, we get the latest on the U.S. Virgin Islands and they also struggle to recover.

PAUL: And there is serious mysterious sound like sonic attacks in Cuba. Well, the U.S. State Department says now it's pulling families of U.S. diplomats out of Havana.

Coming up, what Cuba says about that.


[06:42:14] SAVIDGE: The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is of course gripping the country, but they're not the only island that is struggling to recover.

PAUL: We can't forget about the U.S. Virgin Islands. They were hit by back-to-back hurricanes as well.

Here's CNN's Robyn Curnow.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This isn't Puerto Rico, but in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the trail of destruction and suffering are much the same. The U.S. and British Virgin Islands were dealt a one-two blow by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Irma during the first week of September, then Maria two weeks later. Once pristine, the landscape of the British Virgin Islands is now littered with twisted metal and tangled tree trunks.

(On camera): Quite frankly, the scene is like something out of a horror movie. Very apocalyptic. And also when you just look at the landscape as well, we've seen the decimation of all green vegetation. You know, everything has gone basically. So it's pretty stark.

(Voice-over): Some 2,000 British military personnel are on the ground in the British Virgin Islands. And more than 100 tons of aid have arrived there. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, residents feel they've been left in the shadows of Puerto Rico's recovery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We understand Puerto Rico's a much larger island and a lot more populated people there. But we do have our own needs here on the island. And we don't see the supplies coming in for us as much as we need them. You know, we hear the plane flying over to Puerto Rico and sending them lots of supplies.

CURNOW: Aid is reaching the U.S. Virgin Islands slowly. Complicating the situation, many goods bound for the Virgin Islands come via also hard-hit Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Air Force has flown in communication equipment. The National Guard and FEMA have teams on the ground there. And the Salvation Army is serving food to nearly 5,000 residents daily.

Officials say more help is on the way as residents take recovery the only way they can, one day at a time.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Atlanta.


SAVIDGE: After a series of unexplained sonic attacks the State Department is pulling the families of U.S. diplomats out of Havana.

Next, how that move could change the American relationship with Cuba.


[06:48:33] SAVIDGE: The U.S. State Department says that it's pulling out all the families of employees and nonessential personnel from Cuba.

PAUL: Yes. This is a response to a string of mysterious attacks against U.S. diplomats. Here's Havana bureau chief and correspondent Patrick Oppmann.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA-BASED CORRESPONDENT: Just two years after the re-establishment of full diplomatic ties, the U.S. embassy in Havana has seen better days. Hurricane Irma battered much of Cuba and the Havana's seafront boulevard where the embassy is located.

U.S. diplomats are still picking up from the storm and now are facing another calamity. Diplomats' families and nonessential personnel are being ordered to return to the U.S. after at least 21 members of the embassy staff were targeted by what U.S. officials say could have been sonic attacks.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have it under evaluation. It's a very serious issue with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered. We've brought some of those people home.

OPPMANN: U.S. officials believe that starting last November, devices that emit sonic waves could have targeted U.S. diplomats while they're in their homes or staying in hotels.

Who is behind the attacks and the motive is still unclear. Cuban officials deny responsibility and say they are investigating the incidents.

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA, CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Cuba has never perpetrated not will it ever perpetrate actions of this sort, nor has Cuba allowed or will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties for that purpose.

OPPMANN: U.S. officials say they believe the Cubans know more than they are saying and that what they call rogue elements of the island's formidable intelligence services could be involved.

[06:50:09] (On camera): Not long after the U.S. complained to the Cuban government about the attacks, Raul Castro himself personally promised American diplomats that Cuba would investigate the incidents. The FBI was allowed to come to Havana and security increased at U.S. diplomats' homes. But U.S. officials say still the attacks continued.

(Voice-over): U.S. officials say as a result of the attacks, they will stop issuing visas to Cubans effective immediately and issue a travel warning to Americans thinking of visiting Cuba.

Despite the harassment, both current and former U.S. diplomats say now is the wrong time to lessen the U.S. presence on the communist-run island.

VICKI HUDDLESTON, FORMER CHIEF U.S. DIPLOMATIC MISSION IN HAVANA: It is the worst possible thing that could happen to both countries. And what worries me more than anything is that hard-liners on the Cuban side and the U.S. side might be behind pushing this idea.

OPPMANN: U.S. officials say their first priority has to be to keep U.S. personnel and their families safe. But they concede that American diplomats leaving Cuba could be just what the people behind these mystery attacks were hoping to accomplish.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


PAUL: Patrick, thank you.

Listen, we have got to talk about what's happening in Puerto Rico, particularly with the medical crisis. Doctors are taking matters into their own hands now. They're volunteering to take medicine and supplies to those hospitals and clinics.


DR. ASTRID MORALES, VOLUNTEER: We're tied up here because we don't have IV antibiotics to give the patients and we have no place to get them.



[06:55:58] SAVIDGE: Medical crisis in Puerto Rico is growing by the day with hospitals and clinics slowly receive supplies for patients. So volunteer doctors have begun taking matters into their own hand.

PAUL: Doctors traveling to the island to obtain and deliver them back to hospitals and clinics who are so desperately in need of it.

Here's CNN's Sanjay Gupta.


MORALES: We're tied up here because we don't have IV antibiotics to give the patients and we have no place to get them.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I kept thinking to myself how difficult could this be? If these life-saving supplies are on the island of Puerto Rico, why aren't they getting to the people who need it? What's standing in the way of that happening and can I make it happen myself?

First I'm going to try these DMAT tents, disaster management assistance team. This is the federal government. Let's see what they have to offer.

I was with the doctors yesterday who were volunteering and this is what they were asking for.


GUPTA: OK. So we've been waiting about 45 minutes now outside the HHS tent. We know that they have medications. What we heard is that they got to run it up to lines of command, two chains of command, and then they get back to us. But, you know, it's been 45 minutes.

How are you doing? We're going to go to try somewhere else. We're trying to get to some of these medications because we went to some of the shelters --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can get some here.

GUPTA: Is there medications here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have the medications just arrive.


GUPTA: OK. OK. Thank you.

Because the hospitals have been slow to start back up, these are all volunteer doctors over here, who have basically come, trying to gather supplies and take it out to the people who need it. They're trying their best. It's a slow process.

OK, OK. Yes, if we can get a few doses, we will take it over there.


GUPTA: Is it through?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Accepted. We have only some of the antibiotics on tablet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need it also.

GUPTA: Yes, that would be great.


GUPTA: Right. Perfect. OK, Doctor, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other one I will give you --

GUPTA: Appreciate it. Thank you.

It's all about getting the supplies and then getting them to the people who need it. These come from an organization called Direct Relief. You can see they're set up right underneath this parking structure with all these medications. We got them. Now we're going to take them.

What Dr. Morales asked was that we get these medications and see if we could bring it to this clinic, this hospital. This is one of those places that is up and running. But without these medications, they haven't been really able to take care of patients.

Dr. Rodriguez, I was told to bring you this.

DR. RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

GUPTA: These are --

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

GUPTA: Let me tell you what we have. There's all sorts of antibiotics, primarily. But Dr. Morales said that you were needing a lot of this.


GUPTA: Is that true?


GUPTA: How are you getting -- you can go through it. And there's also pediatrics. Well, I hope this helps.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, a lot. Thank you.

GUPTA: You're doing a great work here. Keep doing what you're doing.


GUPTA: It's like a little baby.


GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Loiza, Puerto Rico.


PAUL: It is that valuable certainly down there right now.

We're going to continue to talk about Puerto Rico this morning. Also Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he's meeting with Chinese president Xi Jingping.

I want to share with you some of the video that just came into our newsroom here. This is about trade and the North Korean standoff. Those are high on the agenda in terms of talking points. Secretary Tillerson expected to speak with reporters soon as well.

As he does that we'll let you know and we'll keep you updated as we get more information about this trip and what they're talking about.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not happy. OK? I can tell you, I'm not happy.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump today accepting the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Price knows better. He railed against people using private jets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was time for him to go. He had lost the confidence of the American taxpayer.