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Trump At Military Dinner: "Calm Before The Storm"; Trump, Tillerson Deny Reports Of Rift; Officials: Trump To Decertify Iran Deal Next Week; Gunman's Car Rigged To Explode If Fired Upon; Investigators Look At Paddock's Travel History; May Under Pressure To Go; Lawmakers Push For U.K. Leadership Election; Concern After Trump Mentions "Calm Before The Storm"; Tropical Storm Nate Threatens US Gulf Coast; Harvey Weinstein Faces Sexual Harassment Allegations; Russian Trolls Behind An Anti-Muslim Protest In U.S. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 6, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. Welcome to our viewers around the world. You are watching CNN. Good that

to have you with us.

We begin with a cryptic message that seems almost like a reality show cliffhanger except that the potential consequences could be all too real

and scary. The American president, Donald Trump, is still keeping America on edge today about his remarks that we could be witnessing, quote, "the

calm before the storm."

He was asked, Mr. President, what does that mean yesterday. Listen to what he said when he was asked again a short time ago.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: -- thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what did you mean by calm before the storm yesterday? What did you mean by that?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You'll find out.




GORANI: We'll see and you'll find out when asked what he meant as he was meeting with top military brass yesterday when he said this could be the

calm before the storm. What does storm mean?

Mr. Trump first made the remark, as I mentioned, at a dinner for military commander setting off intense speculation.

CNN's Joe John has details.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minutes after a meeting with top military leaders, President Trump raising eyebrows with

these cryptic words.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You guys know what this represents? (Inaudible) Maybe it's the calm before the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the storm?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Could be the calm before the storm.

JOHNS: When pressed by reporters, the president refused to clarify.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What storm, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have the world's great military people in this room. I will tell you that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What storm, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You'll find out.

JOHNS: The White House also declining to elaborate on what storm the president was referring to. But his administration is currently

confronting a range of urgent foreign policy matters including Iran, North Korea, ISIS and Niger where three U.S. Green Berets were killed this week.

Two senior officials tell CNN that the president is planning to decertify the Iran nuclear deal next week.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They have not lived up to the spirit of their agreement.

JOHNS: Going against the advice of his top national security advisers including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James


SENATOR ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Do you believe it's in our national security interests at the present time to remain in the JCPOA?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Senator, I do.

JOHNS: The decision would kick the matter to Congress which would then have 60 days to determine a path forward. Earlier Thursday, the president

publicly admonishing his generals about the time it takes the Pentagon to provide him with military options with this stunning rebuke.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Moving forward, I also expect you to provide me with a broad range of military options when needed at a much faster pace. I know

that government bureaucracies slow, but I am depending on you to overcome the obstacles of bureaucracy.


GORANI: That was Joe Johns reporting. All this coming amid reports of a serious rift between Mr. Trump and the Secretary of State, the president

and Rex Tillerson both deny it publicly, but more than a dozen sources tells CNN their relationship is actually reached a new low.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst, John Avlon, editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast" and we are also joined by CNN military analyst, Steve Warren,

a retired army colonel and former Pentagon spokesperson.

So, I'll start with you Colonel Warren. First of all, the calm before the storm, the president of the United States said that twice, refused to

elaborate, then teased America and the entire world about what he actually meant the first time surrounded by military brass. What did you make of it

and what did you think he was referring to?

COLONEL STEVE WARREN (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's difficult to know exactly, of course, what we know for a fact is that based on what Joe

Johns just told us moments ago, the national security space is not exactly calm.

Additionally, we don't exactly see a storm on the immediate horizon. So, calm before storm is not calm out and we don't see a storm coming. So,

it's difficult to know what he was talking about.

I think we have to keep in mind the fact that this may simply have been sort of a verbal version of President Trump's regular tweets, a bunch of

words that may be just don't mean a whole lot other than he's trying to call attention to himself and to the generals and admirals around him.

GORANI: John Avlon, what did you make of it?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the lineup that Joe has described is distressingly likely. I mean, this is a president who doesn't

have much of a filter and still doesn't seem to fully appreciate that a president's words carry real weight.

[15:05:03] But the fact that that comment came after the cabinet meeting in which he rebuked the generals in fact for not giving more military options

faster I think made it quite logical to wonder whether he was telegraphing something about any future military action.

But that would be reckless to do in public, but this president is also known for being reckless certainly rhetorical.

GORANI: And Steve Warren, we know during the campaign that now President Trump said he knows more than the generals when it comes to fighting ISIS,

you know, even though he himself has zero military background. How do you think top military brass is likely to react or is likely to have reacted to

statements such as I need a broad range of military options much faster?

WARREN: Honestly, I don't believe that they will react very positively to that at all. Now they will keep their criticisms to themselves because

they are military professionals, but I believe it even if you really look closely at that little bit of footage that we have while the president is

saying those words, you can see them squirming in their seats, visible discomfort in my assessment. And I don't believe the generals and admirals

appreciate that one bit.

GORANI: And John Avlon, it's not just the military officials, it's also State Department officials and sources, many of them, not just, you know, a

couple that many of them have said there is real tension between Rex Tillerson and Donald Trump.

Even though the Secretary of State came out a few days ago and I reaffirmed his commitment to the president. I mean, are we -- what's going on there,

I guess? I mean, are we likely to see him leave?

AVLON: The often contemplated Rexit, yes, I mean, look, unfortunately, in this administration, there is not a credibility gap. There's credibility

chasm because over and over we've seen sort of the official line depart from the real story, which we sometimes hear from the president himself.

Look, you know, I understand the White House is not liking the report coming out of the Pentagon that the secretary of state called the president

a moron, but it was not outright denied it was simply disregarded.

And there have been long-standing reports of tension between the Secretary of State and the administration and the trick is that we've got a situation

where we've got General Kelly as chief of staff, General Mattis as secretary of defense and Rex Tillerson and the H.R. McMaster as national

security adviser, who have tried to form this informal bull work to effectively contain the president's worst instincts. And there's --

GORANI: Do you think, John, that's what it is that you have that triangle there of men? Because I've heard that theory before that they are the

adults in the room. They're there to try to sort of control behavior from the president that could be reckless even dangerous. Do you they have some

sort of agreements between them?

I think some functioning agreement. Look, they are all strong personalities. They are going to have disagreements on different issues

and Tillerson has the disadvantage of formerly running a major corporation, Exxon, but not working in government or the military.

And there is still a lot of open positions in the State Department and so they are probably a delegation and policy flow problem and execution. That

said what you're describing is sometimes called the axis of adults and that is distressingly real.

This administration can be seen as an exercise in containing the president's worst instincts and impulses. When there are people who

actually have experience in governing, in military affairs, or national security.

Because it's not just a bumper sticker, it's not just a campaign rally. It's geopolitics and policy with massive implications for people's lives

and that's when these loose comments come out when the president slips.

They can move markets. They could, you know, help put people on (inaudible) trigger warnings and people like General Mattis understand the

responsibility (inaudible) enormously.

I think Tillerson is at a particular disadvantage because he's doubly inexperienced, but it's illustrated by the input he's gotten from the White


GORANI: And Steve Warren speaking -- I mean, obviously, General Mattis is someone with a very long and distinguished military career. He has said he

believes the Iran deal staying in it for the United States is in the best interest of the country.

And now we are hearing the president putting it in question and if he decertifies the deal as we expect him to do, it would go back to Congress.

What do you think what impact that would have in terms of Iran's commitment to this deal to contain its nuclear program?

WARREN: Well, the presidential decertification has no real teeth. It's really kind of a piece of red meat to toss out there to his base. This is

a president who ran on the platform of "I don't like the Iran nuclear deal."

And so, this gives him an opportunity to say I've now shown my displeasure with this deal by doing something. But unless Congress takes action, there

will be no -- there will be no change to the sanctions regime, which is really the heart and soul of this thing.

[15:10:08] So, Congress would have to take action and it appears that there are enough grown-ups in the Senate to appreciate the fact that scrapping

this deal would harm U.S. national security.

So, I think he's kind of in this place where he wants his cake and eat it too, the president that is, so he can say, I've decertified the deal,

although, the decertification is really again another example of s'mores.

Now all that said, you're going to make our European allies nervous. You will potentially trigger some sort of reaction from Iran, remains to be

seen what, and don't forget China and Russia are part of this.

This so-called (inaudible) plus one. And so, it remains to be seen exactly how they will -- we can expect the Chinese and the Russians to simply sit

back and do nothing in the face of this decertification. So, there's a lot more to follow.

GORANI: And we know the Europeans are committed to it. (Inaudible) is already doing business in Iran. They are taking advantage some of loosened

sanctions. Thank you very much to both of you, John Avlon, Steve Warren, really appreciate your time and analysis.

Let's take you now to Las Vegas, Nevada and get the latest on that Las Vegas massacre investigation. Authorities believe the gunman, Stephen

Paddock, rigged his car to explode if it was fired upon.

It was packed with a tremendous amount of firepower, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and powerful explosive. You are seeing images from the inside

or in the outside of the hotel room where he shot into the crowd.

Investigators have also recovered a notebook with numbers on it that were apparently significant to the gunman. Forty seven different types of guns

belonging to him have been found. Sunday's massacre killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more. But the killer's motive is still a total mystery.

Brian Todd joins me now live from Las Vegas. So, Brian, let's talk about the latest here in this investigation. This rigged car that was rigged we

understand to explode if it was fired on. What more can you tell us about that?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Hala. Officials telling us they believe it was rigged to explode it was fired on or if maybe it had some

other kind of impact. It was, as officials have told us, it contained, the car contained dozens of pounds probably between 50 and 90 pounds of

Tannerite and also ammonium nitrate in addition to 1,600 rounds of ammunition inside that car.

So, officials now saying they believe it might have been rigged to explode upon impact. But we are also told by law enforcement experts that

Tannerite, one of those explosives can also be used for long-range target practice.

The marksman often places a Tannerite square, you know, hundreds of yards away from where they are firing and if they hit the target, there is a

small explosion telling them they've hit their target.

That might speak to the precision nature of this gunman's planning from everything we know it went beyond meticulous. He rigged his room with

cameras. He brought his guns in suitcases, 23 of them, up to a hotel where he assembled them.

He had a bipod one of them according to one of the pictures that we saw. He barricaded the room next to -- the stairwell door next to his hotel room

so that law-enforcement officers couldn't use that to get him.

He then broke glass in two different places with a hammer so that he could take a vantage point and fire from those places. And I'm told by a former

SWAT team member in Las Vegas, who I brought to another room in the Mandalay Bay, just two floors up from the shooter's room with a similar


He took a look at that and he said he's convinced that this shooter picked that room very precisely because it did not allow police snipers a vantage

point where they could take him out.

There's no building right opposite that room where he can fire at a level position directly into the room. They are buildings on either side. There

is part of the Mandalay Bay that kind of just out at an angle where you could try to fire on him.

But from all those angles, Hala, it would hit -- the bullets would hit at weird angles and fly off in different directions. This SWAT team member

who I talk to, John Sheen (ph), believes that was very much part of the calculation.

That he planned, you know, where his room was going to be so that police snipers couldn't take him out -- Hala.

GORANI: It's just such a confusing situation at an unlikely suspect and so meticulously planned, someone who didn't have military experience it seems

in the past and we understand from a law-enforcement source that he went on some 20 cruises, some to foreign ports including one in the United Arab

Emirates, in Jordan, and other parts of the world. What more do we know about his travels?

TODD: Well, you know, not unusual that someone of his, you know, financial stature, of his age bracket socioeconomic bracket might take several

bruises, 20 is a pretty big number.

[15:15:04] And of course, we know that, you know, from law enforcement sources that he was very much in a high-end gambling. There are a lot of

casinos on these ships.

We also are told from sources that his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, went with him, I believe, on at least nine of those cruises. So, again, maybe

she is going to be just a key figure here to talk to people about his mental state.

What was he like when she spent that time with him on the cruises and in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting? We do know that he sent

her away to the Philippines. He bought a plane ticket for her. He wired money to her in the Philippines.

She told investigators according to her lawyer that she believed that was money sent to buy a house, but also that may be a signal that he was

breaking up with her. You know, her information to investigators about his mental state is going to be crucial to this. And now there's new

information about those cruises could add to that.

GORANI: All right, Brian Todd live in Las Vegas, thanks very much.

Still to come this evening, is the prime minister of this country, Theresa May, on the brink? A group of MPs from her own party want her out and they

want her out quickly. We'll have the latest.

Also coming up, a sign of remorse from Madrid over the police response to Catalonia's referendum, but tensions remain that's next.


GORANI: Theresa May has come out with a simple message, what the country needs is calm leadership and that is what I am providing. But after a

disastrous speech at her party's annual conference, many disagreed. As Nina dos Santos reports, some within her own party are plotting to get her



THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Our economy is back on track while -- excuse me --

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN MONEY EUROPE EDITOR: (Inaudible) performance of the British prime minister at the Conservative Party Conference is viewed by

many as a symptom of a deeper malaise, a crisis of confidence in the British government triggered by disastrous election, which cost the

Conservative Party its majority and left some to suggest Theresa May is in office but not in power.

Now words that 30 of her own MPs would back a call for her to stand down. That claim coming from the former co-chairman of the Conservative Party

(inaudible). The public face of this rebellion, 48 MPs are needed to trigger her removal. Today, Theresa May move to steady the ship.

MAY: What I think is necessary for the country now, what the country needs is calmly to shift, that's exactly what I'm providing and I'm providing

that the full support of my cabinet. Thank you.

DOS SANTOS: But this call for calm like the falling lesson behind her conference backdrop as she delivered he speech is not a good look for the

Prime Minister and the timing is terrible.

With Brexit negotiations set to continue on Monday, the Prime Minister's weakness cannot have escaped the notice of E.U. negotiators or of the

markets with the pound having its worst week in a year.

[15:20:07] The prime minister had hopes that the mea culpa over her decision to call a snap election would have turned the tide on (inaudible),

but to no avail.

MAY: I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I lead the campaign and I am sorry.

DOS SANTOS: There is one saving grace for Theresa May that's the fact that faced with a resurgent labor in opposition, her party will do all it can to

avoid triggering a general election.

So, until its members could fix on a suitable successor, it's likely that she may lead on a little while longer. Nina Dos Santos, CNN, at

Westminster in London.


GORANI: So, what is going on in British politics, is Theresa May really at risk and if so who could replace her? I'm joined now by political analyst,

Carole Walker. Thanks for being with us, Carol.

So, how much in jeopardy then is Theresa May because that speech was calamitous obviously. She's made many blunders. The first one being

calling a general election and then actually losing her majority. Is she, you know, going to last?

CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think she's living on borrowed time. I think what is happened is that that disastrous conference speech was not

the thought of it. As you mentioned ever since she failed to win a majority in the election that she did even need to call the campaign what

she has herself admitted was not as good as it should have been.

People have been asking questions about her. You know, her party were seeing this gathering, this conference as chance for her to try to

establish her authority and try to revive her party. Instead, she went to a series of hesitant defensive interviews to this speech, which was frankly


GORANI: They had letters falling off. The wall of prankster handing her a pink slip, a coughing (inaudible), you name it. Let me ask you that you

were there, right? What is it about Theresa May that is not -- I mean, is bad strategy? Is it her personality? Was it about her that -- it seems

like she is just not able to connect with voters, to get her own party support? What is it about her?

WALKER: She appears to be one of these politicians who was very effective at being a secretary, in charge of security matters like that, but that

since she became Prime Minister, although, she gave a pretty effective speech at the beginning, she hasn't really managed to deliver any kind of

vision or indeed the policies to put that in place.

That's what people were saying at this party. They are looking at a revived Labour oppositional under Jeremy Corbyn, and are saying we've got

to show the people what we've got. She doesn't appear to be delivering it. Having said that, many in her party really don't want to have a leadership

contest at the moment.

GORANI: Some do, there is a small group of MPs.

WALKER: We've seen today that this plot has been exposed. Grant Schatz is a former chairman of the party says he's got 30 people who think that she

should go now. Not many of those have put their heads up above the (inaudible).

An awful lot of other people in the party are very worried that if you have a leadership contest now, you are going to have the party tearing itself

apart because of the deep divisions there are about Brexit.

You are going to have this whole Brexit process, those very difficult negotiations, in even deeper trouble. The whole process could be derailed

and you could end up with the general election, which --

GORANI: It's kind of a mess. So, I know many of our viewers don't follow U.K. politics as an (inaudible) so they may not be familiar with some of

the names. They know Boris Johnson is the current foreign secretary. He potentially could be a leader of the party.

Then you have Amber Rudd who is the current Home secretary. David Davis is the Brexit secretary. This is Boris Johnson, who just a few days ago said

if you clear the dead body off of (inaudible), you can have a Dubai and Libya. I mean, he really is quite tactless.

This is Amber Rudd here, 54, Home secretary. Do we have David Davis? We see him a lot in the Brexit -- contact of Brexit negotiations. There he

is. So, are any of these serious contenders for the leadership?

WALKER: Boris Johnson would have been, but he is now seen I think as damaged goods because he was openly disloyal to the prime minister over the

future of the U.K. after Brexit. What the relationship should be?

He seemed to be too openly challenging her and damaging the party, damaging the reputation of the country, a whole series of gaffes such as the one

that you just mentioned.

I think it will be very difficult to see him taking over now. Amber Russ has been very strongly supportive and loyal to the Prime Minister. She has

been seen as very effective as the home secretary, but she was also very strongly associated with the campaign to remain in the European Union, the

campaign against Brexit so many in her party might not want to go for her.

[15:25:03] Under those circumstances, David Davis, who is leading those Brexit negotiations could be seen as a safe-ish pair of hands, but to see

that he is going to revive his -- the party's fortunes, I think it's quite hard to see that. Many would like to see somebody who is not even on the

international radar at the moment.

Some of the new generation who are coming up with some interesting ideas and someone like that might be the sort of person to take over. At the

moment, the majority still want to avoid that leadership --

GORANI: That's right. We don't have any names that come to mind. So, we'll see if any emerged --

WALKER: And that is the other factor that's helping Theresa May for the time being.

GORANI: That's prolonging her prime ministership. Thank you very much, Carole Walker. Really appreciate you.

For the first time -- now moving on to Spain, for the first time, Madrid is admitting not everything went well during Sunday's independence referendum

in Catalonia. This is the first time they've done this.

The Spanish government's representative to Catalonia has apologized on Catalan TV for police violence, some of that violence you see there in

those images on your screen. Regional authorities say nearly 900 people were injured.

However, the standoff between Spain and Catalonia is far from over. The regional parliament will now meet Tuesday after Spain's highest court

blocked Monday's session.

Senior international correspondent, Atika Shubert is in Barcelona. What do we expect then on Tuesday that the regional government will announce that

it has -- it is now an independent region of Spain? What's the expectation?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the million-dollar question. It's not exactly clear what's going to happen

other than the fact (inaudible) basically said he will discuss the results of the referendum and those official results did come out today.

No surprise that 90 percent of those who voted, voted for independence, about 2 million voted out making it about 43 percent of eligible voters,

but all of those numbers do not matter to Madrid.

Madrid says the referendum results are completely invalid. So, what we expect over the weekend is a sort of low right now in the political crisis

as both sides are able to step back and assess the aftermath, there will be protests both for and against independence here in Catalan in Barcelona.

And then Monday, they were hoping that plenary session. It's now happening Tuesday, but what exactly will be said and perhaps more importantly how

Madrid will react to that whether they will allow that plenary session to go ahead is still unknown -- Hala.

GORANI: Atika Shubert, thanks very much. Our live update from Barcelona this evening.

Still to come, hustling over some rather ominous sounding and unexplained words from the U.S. president. What could happen to the Iran nuclear deal?

What did the president mean when he said this could be the calm before the storm?

And the U.S. is on high alert as another storm, a real one, heads towards the gulf coast. We'll be right back.


GORANI: So, something American President Donald Trump said Thursday night is prompting both curiosity and concern.

He was speaking to reporters after hosting top military officials and their spouses at a White House dinner. There is a picture of all of them in the

Oval Office. And he said, you know what this represents, maybe it's the calm before the storm.

A reporter then asked, as anyone would, what is the storm, Mr. Trump? His answer you'll find out. He said it again a short time ago and winked.

That comes with sources saying President Trump plans to decertify the Iran nuclear deal next week.

Let's bring in our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott in Washington. What is being said at the State Department and what are your sources

telling you in the US government about what the president is doing right now by saying these things - the calm before the storm and then teasing

everyone about what it really means?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hala, nobody knows what it really means. They're kind of just reducing this to the president being

the president. He likes to be unpredictable. He's got this whole count of Nixonian madman theory going on where, if leaders think they're

unpredictable, then they'll be scared of him.

I don't think anybody knows when he says the calm before the storm, what that really means. They don't - I mean, sources that I speak to don't

think it's indicative of any type of military operation or things like that.

But you have this heated environment where the president is expected to decertify the Iran deal. You have these tensions with North Korea. And

so, it's obviously very vague, but also very concerning that the president is saying things like this.

The White House is say, well, the president will never tip his hand about what he's doing, but, I mean, to suggest that something is in the offing,

even if it isn't, I mean, I think that some people think that's kind of irresponsible.

GORANI: Well, yes, but also strategically speaking, I mean, if there is always this sort of - if adversaries of the United States keep hearing the

president saying, I want more military options, the storm could be coming, wait and see, wait and see, and then nothing happens, I mean, at some

point, it's going to be kind of just empty talk. It's going to be seen as empty talk.

LABOTT: It is going to be seen as empty talk. Kim Jong-un has I think figures that the US is bluffing. But President Assad thought that the US

was bluffing before - on the whole issue of chemical weapons in Syria and then President Trump launched that surprise attack on the airbase in Syria.

And so, I think no one really knows what this president is going to do. Certainly -

GORANI: But that was kind of a pin prick. I mean, that really didn't -

LABOTT: That is a pin prick. I'm just saying that this president is treating foreign policy and national security kind of like a reality show.

I mean, this is a guy who became famous for "The Apprentice" and for trying to shock people.

And, certainly, this isn't a way that you would expect the leader of the free world to act in foreign affairs. I mean, I just think that - we can't

say what leaders are thinking they could think that it's kind of like the boy that cried wolf, that story here in America, where after the president

says that so many times, people don't believe him.

But the one time that they don't believe him, he could launch that strike. I just think that this president is so unpredictable. Nobody really knows.

But I have to say just from talking to sources, I don't think his words are indicative of any type of pending operation or things like that. But as

you said, that's the problem.

So, is the Iran deal - I mean, North Korea is a separate issue. But is the Iran deal really in trouble or is this decertification just his way of

satisfying his base, knowing Congress will sort of keep it in place?

LABOTT: Well, that's exactly right. I mean, what I've been told is that Secretary Tillerson has been working with Congress already on some kind of

plan to carve out the Iran deal, kind of compartmentalize it, put it on the shelf and make this certification process.

The real problem what some Secretary Tillerson has argued, the real problem is not the Iran deal. The real problem is the fact that President Trump

has to keep recertifying every 90 days a deal that he has trashed is the worst deal in the world.

But that doesn't mean that he doesn't know that Iran is making good with it and he doesn't see the value of keeping it. And so, what I've been told is

that Congress is going to rewrite the legislation, so that instead of certifying on the Iran deal every 90 days, you're essentially certifying on

Iranian broader behavior, kind of a broader assessment of Iranian behavior and what the US is doing to counter it.

In this way, that keeps the Europeans onboard, certainly the Europeans have acknowledged that there is other problems such as ballistic missiles, human

rights, those type of things, they are willing to go after that. They're not willing to renegotiate the Iran deal.

So, it's kind of a both a face-saving way for President Trump and a way to keep everyone on the focus - on the more imminent threat from Iran.

GORANI: All right. Elise Labott, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Some analysts say, and we were mentioning, we were discussing this with Elsie that the Iran deal actually could be in trouble and that Mr. Trump's

approach could isolate the United States.

Ian Bremmer joins me now from Chicago to talk about that. He's president of the Eurasia Group. Thanks for joining us. First of all, I've asked all

my guests this evening. What is the calm before the storm, Ian?

IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Well, you said he winked after that. And as you know, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man. So,

that's just for you.

Look, I think it is all optics. It is great for Trump to have everyone in the media talking about what he could mean, tune in next week, could it be

World War III, is he really going to strike North Korea.

It is true that he does want the unpredictability to provide him with sort of more leverage with the North Koreans and the Iranians. That's something

he's been doing pretty consistently. But it's not like this is coordinated with Tillerson at all that's undermined the secretary of state.

And it also causes some problems. I mean, if the North Koreans really believe that Trump might engage in a preemptive strike, that is a good

reason for the North Koreans to publicly build ICBMs with reentry capability and test hydrogen weapons as soon as possible to ensure that an

unpredictable Trump knows that the North Koreans can hit the US back in an unacceptable way if there were to be preemption.

So, it absolutely plays both ways. It's not just having a madman president who is unpredictable. It's suddenly like a great strategy that doesn't

have secondary knock-on effects that could hurt the United States.

But I really don't think there was all that much. He had the drama of all these military men and women around them. And he wanted the media to see

that, hey, you never know what that President Trump is going to do and, ultimately, the power is his. It's not Tillerson. It's not Pence. It's

not even Mattis. It's him. The president is all-powerful.

Watch this. Don't watch anybody else. It's very, very consistent with what we've seen from President Trump historically. And the fact that I'm

now being asked about this on all of the networks shows that, from Trump's perspective, it's actually working.

GORANI: Well, yes. How do you ignore that statement? I get that it's probably rhetorical. He's probably not saying that the military strike is

being planned against one country or another. But at the same time, as a reporter, as a journalist, as a commentator, how do you not make that a

primary central question of a conversation on foreign policy?

BREMMER: Hala, you know I respect you immensely both personally and as a professional journalist, but I have to say on this, the way you report it

is you say, Trump has tweeted and said a whole bunch of things on foreign policy, and if you look at North Korea, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Russia,

China, none of what he has said and tweeted has actually led to what US real policy is.

Real policy is what -

GORANI: I get that. Ian, I get that. And believe me, we provide that context. No, no, it's not what I am saying.

I'm saying that, obviously, when the president twice says, you'll see when he's asked what he means by the calm before the storm, within the context

of meeting with top military officials, that is kind of like the first question.

But it leads me to other questions, including the one about Rex Tillerson. Rex Tillerson, based on many sources, did call the president an effing

moron over the summer. He came out a few days ago, reaffirmed his commitment to President Trump. Why is he staying if it is the case, as

many sources have told CNN, that the tension between them has really reached - has really become problematic between the two men.

BREMMER: Look, he does servility, public servility really badly. You probably remember the first public cabinet meeting when Trump had all of

the cabinet members around and they were all saying what a blessing of God it was to be able to serve the great President Trump, and Vice President

Pence did it very well.

Mnuchin, who's a salesy kind of guy, was born to make you feel as if he really loves you. He's a sales guy.

[15:40:02] Tillerson, really his personality is antithetical to that. He doesn't fake it and he's not going to provide a public show of respect when

it's just not there. And so -

GORANI: But he kind of did, though, didn't he? He kind of came out and - he did come out and did that.

BREMMER: No. The media went nuts, as you know, because he refused to actually say, no, I didn't call him a moron, right? I mean, even then,

he's only willing to go so far. It has to eat Trump up. It has to eat Trump up that he won't do servility.

GORANI: Yes. He sent out of his spokesperson after, who said, no, he didn't call him a moron.

BREMMER: Yes, yes. I know it's beautiful. Look, I think the importance of whether or not Tillerson called Trump a moron, I mean, the number of

times his administration are calling him things behind his back that aren't OK, all the time.

Again, how much does it matter? I think what really matters here is that, of the adults in the room around Trump, Tillerson is not critical, he's not

really - he hasn't been very effective. His own State Department officials don't really like him.

When he said he was going to make big cuts, Congress stopped him from doing it. So, he wasn't even able to execute on the thing that he said was his

top priority.

And there are others that are certainly capable of taking that job, where in the case of Mattis, you have a career military man who is revered by his

soldiers and actually is effective and can be more insubordinate against Trump, but still get his job done.

I think that Tillerson, that really isn't the case. And I don't expect him to stay very much longer.

GORANI: All right. Ian Bremmer, always a pleasure. Thanks so much for joining us from Chicago, the president of Eurasia Group. We really

appreciate it.

This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. A Hollywood heavyweight accused. "The New York Times" lays out decades of sexual harassment allegations against

Harvey Weinstein. We'll be right back. Stay with us.


GORANI: There's been a long list of dangerous hurricanes in the last few weeks, but another storm is headed toward the US Gulf Coast. Tropical

Storm Nate has already caused havoc in Central America, killing at least 22 people. It is expected to reach US Gulf Coast as a hurricane.

Let's go live to the CNN weather center. Allison Chinchar has more. What is the timeline here and the trajectory for this storm?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So, in the next 24 hours, we expect this to get back out over open water in the Gulf. That's when the

intensification process will take place.

[15:45:01] Here's a look at the current statistics. Right now, winds about 85 kilometers per hour. It's gusting up to 100. The movement is pretty

fast. North, northwest about 34 kilometers per hour. As it continues to make its way in between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba, this is where the

real questions become. How quickly can it intensify before it gets to the Gulf Coast of the United States?

We have tropical storm warnings out for both the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the Western Coast of Cuba. From there, it continues to go up to the

north. It doesn't very much time to intensify.

So, the question is, how strong can it get? At this point, the National Hurricane Center believes it will make landfall in the Southeastern United

States as a Category 1 storm. From there, it continues up to the north and east, impacting at least a dozen more states, including major cities like

Atlanta, New York City, Washington DC as well as Boston.

But the question is, why this track? Why not hit places like Florida or Texas? Well, the reason it can't hit Florida is we have a high-pressure

system sitting right over it. That's blocking Nate from entering over towards Florida.

OK. So, why not go further west? Why not the impact towards Texas. The reason for that is we have this huge trough. That's not only going to

prevent Nate from going towards Texas, but it's also what's going to be the big steering mechanism to take it through many of those other Eastern

states along the US.

So, Hala, again, there's a lot of impacts here. The timing looks to make landfall sometime late Saturday evening local time.

GORANI: All right. Allison, thanks very much. One of Hollywood's biggest players is responding to explosive allegations in "The New York Times" that

he sexually abused a number of women.

A lawyer for - and harassed them over decades. A lawyer for movie producer Harvey Weinstein said she is preparing a lawsuit against "The Times"

because the story is both saturated with false and defamatory statements.

"The Times" details numerous accusations of sexual harassment against him over three decades. It also identifies several of the accusers, including

the actress Ashley Judd.

The producer says, "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain. And I sincerely apologize for it.

Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."

Here's what his lawyer Lisa Bloom told CNN.


LISA BLOOM, HARVEY WEINSTEIN'S ATTORNEY: I've had very frank and honest conversations with him about, Harvey, your behavior needs to improve and he

acknowledges that.

What our beef has been with in the last couple of days has been with "The New York Times" who gave us two days to respond to an article they've been

reporting on for months and months. We had witnesses, we had information to discredit some of what they said.

But that's not really the point because as Harvey has acknowledged, he has demons that he needs to flay.


GORANI: Weinstein is an extremely powerful man in Hollywood and beyond in the entertainment industry. He's the cochairman of The Wiseman Company.

He cofounded Miramax.

Some of the movies he's produced include "The King's Speech" and Silver Linings Playbook. Senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins me now

from New York.

Brian, now that this is out in the open, we hear from many people saying this was just an open secret in Hollywood, that women knew for a long time

that they shouldn't go alone to meetings or visit Harvey Weinstein.

So, why did it take such a long time to come out publicly?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This was enveloped in secrecy partly for legal procedures, like non-disclosure agreements, that

restricted women from speaking about their experiences with him.

There were also settlement payments in some cases, according to "The New York Times," at least eight settlement payments. Those usually come with

restrictions on people being able to talk about it.

But then, more importantly, there was a culture of silence in Hollywood. These stories will be talked about between women and men in Hollywood, in

the entertainment world. These will be whispered about. They'll be just treated as rumors in some cases.

I think, honestly, in some cases, folks didn't want to believe the whispers about Harvey Weinstein. And in other cases, he was viewed as so powerful,

so influential that it was something that was not going to be pursued further.

But, honestly, there's a lot of explanations that need to come from the people that surrounded Weinstein over the years, including the board of

directors of his company. And there is talk today about whether he will remain at the company or not. I think we're going to hear more from the

board about that in the days to come.

GORANI: And he was a big - he organized fundraisers for Democratic politicians, including Hillary Clinton. So, he was - as all people

extremely powerful in their industry, always very well-connected in many industries including politics.

So, I wonder what impact this would have in political circles.

STELTER: We've already seen some prominent Democratic politicians saying they're going to return the donation they received from Weinstein.

Chuck Schumer, for example, just coming out recently saying he's giving back the donation. So, there's some of that happening today.

[15:50:07] But then, there's a broader recognition of a cultural shift that is underway. Let's take Bill Cosby, for example. There were rumors about

Bill Cosby's behavior for a long time. Women recounting harassment and abuse by Cosby dating back decades, but it didn't come out until recently.

Roger Ailes, the head of "Fox News," he was accused of harassing women in the 90s and the 2000s, but didn't come out until last year. And now, in

the case of Harvey Weinstein - each of these cases is quite different, quite unique, but there are stories going back decades from women that are

only now coming to light.

This is a sign of a profound cultural shift in the United States around the power dynamic between these powerful individuals, accused of perpetrating

harassments and the alleged victims, who say they weren't heard in the past, they felt they couldn't speak in the past, but they're now able to.

GORANI: You know what I found interesting is, obviously, I wanted to speak to an actress or a woman in the entertainment industry on air to talk more

about issues of sexual harassment in entertainment because it's, I believe, based on many accounts I've read, possibly more prevalent in this industry

than others perhaps.

But even those that tweeted a lot about it today, that spoke a lot about it in statements didn't really want to appear on television. I just wonder

what your thoughts are about that. Is there still concern that really speaking out about it on a television program is one step too far?

STELTER: Look at Ashley Judd, who described an encounter with Weinstein from 20 years ago, and now says to "The New York Times" is long past time

to have this conversation publicly. The choice that she made was courageous to give that interview, to speak publicly.

As recently as two years ago, that she wouldn't name Weinstein. She referred to an encounter with a powerful Hollywood executive and wouldn't

name him.

So, there's something that has changed, but we're still on this journey, aren't we? The fact that folks are not willing to talk on camera about it,

that there are many people that I'm seeing today saying, there's others out there like Weinstein. He is not the only one. He is not the only one.

But we're not necessarily hearing names of those individuals.

There's still a long way to go on this issue.

GORANI: Exactly. And everybody needs to do what they want to do in their own time. It's no pressure. It's just it was - on a day like today, it

was something that quite naturally, as the presenter of a news program, I wanted to speak to a woman in that industry and, hopefully, in the next few

week, we will be able to have more of those conversations publicly and openly.

Thanks so much as always, Brian Stelter in New York. Have a great weekend.

Coming up, the news was fake, but the reaction was very real. We'll tell you how an anti-Muslim protest in Texas was, in fact, was orchestrated by

Russian trolls. We'll be right back.

GORANI: Welcome back. We have heard numerous times from American officials that Russia meddled in last year's presidential election. Now,

we're learning more about the tactics and just how effective they were in the real world. Clare Sebastian takes a look at a protest that took place

in Texas, but originated entirely in Russia.


[15:55:05] CLARE SEBASTIAN CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A small group of anti-Muslim protesters gathered outside an Islamic center in Houston,

Texas in May of 2016.

A much larger counterrally forms across the street. Just another example of the struggle for tolerance and understanding in America. And yet, this

is different.

The anti-Muslim protesters were responding to an event promoted on Facebook called Stop Islamization of Texas. It was organized by a Facebook group

named Heart of Texas.

Heart of Texas, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, is among 470 fake pages or accounts Facebook turned over to Congress, following its

investigations into ads generated by Russia, ads Facebook says came from an organization called Internet Research Agency that, according to people

who've worked there, operated out of this building in St. Petersburg, 55 Savushkina Street, more than 5000 miles from Texas. The Houston rally, an

example of a Russian effort that had real impact on the ground.

Well, the stated mission of Heart of Texas was to promote Texan secessionism, CNN has recovered parts of the account that just sowing

religious, racial and social discord was also part of its playbook.

One post asks, since when has this country turned into a liberal cesspool full of all sorts of ethnic and sexual minorities. Another raises the

issue of voter fraud. And another argues against gun control.

The Houston rally was small and ended peacefully according to the Houston Police Department. And yet the Council of American Islamic Relations in

Texas have alerted the FBI after a post on the Facebook event page threatened to "blow this place up."

(INAUDIBLE) divisions on the streets of Houston engineered in Russia.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


GORANI: Finally, when Saudi Arabia's King Salman travels, he does it in style. A huge entourage, a huge plane and even a golden escalator to get

him to the tarmac.

But on his first trip to Russia, it was a bit of a problem. The escalator malfunctioned, meaning he had to walk down to the bottom. The King met

with Russian president Vladimir Putin on a trip expected to focus on energy and the conflict in Syria.

I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching. If it's your weekend, have a great one. I will see you Monday, same time, same place. "Quest Means Business"

is up next on CNN. Stay with us.