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Tillerson: U.S. wants to stay in Iran nuclear deal; Trump threatens to cancel deal if Congress doesn't act; At least 40 people killed in California wildfires; Clinton warns "keep an eye on Putin"; EPA testing water wells at superfund sites; Fallen American soldier receives heroes welcome; Parts Unknown airs tonight at 9PM ET. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 15, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, you are in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Surviving an inferno, Northern California devastated as the death toll from several out of control wildfires continue to rise. Will firefighters finally get some good news?
Speaking out, Hillary Clinton joins CNN for a wide ranging interview, her ominous warning about Vladimir Putin and final farewell, one of the four soldiers killed during an attack in Niger is laid to rest today in his hometown. We'll take you there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We begin in Washington and CNN's wide ranging interview with the nation's top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talking one-on-one with Jake Tapper in State of the Union. And Tillerson talked about everything from Iran to North Korea, to reports that he called the president a moron.
He even addressed the accusation from a top Republican senator that the president's tweets, the one where he claimed Tillerson was wasting his time trying to talk with North Korea were an attempt by the president to castrate his own secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You don't want to say anything about the senator calling -- suggesting you have been gelded before the world that that's not anything that bothers you?
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I checked. I'm fully intact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: A light moment there. Here is much more from Jake Tapper's one-on-one interview with Secretary Rex Tillerson, first on Iran, and then North Korea.
TAPPER: Not long ago your counter at the Pentagon, Secretary Mattis was asked, if he though staying in the agreement was in the best interest of the United States, not a question about whether or not he wanted to improve upon the deal.
Or at a secondary deal, you just discussed but whether or not, the U.S. should say in it or leave. And he said staying in it was his course. It sounds like you agree with that as well that you would not want Congress to immediately impose sanctions that would end this deal.
TILLERSON: Well, I do agree with that. And I think the president does, as well. That is why he took the decision he took that look, let's -- let's see if we cannot address the flaws in the agreement by staying within the agreement and working with other signatories, working our European friends and allies within the agreement. But that let's say they may come in a secondary agreement, as well.
TAPPER: You were in China -- we just talk about the North Korea now probably. You were in China trying to resolve the dispute with North Korea in a diplomatic way as President Trump tweeted.
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man. And then he sent a second tweet saying, save your energy, Rex, we will do what has to be done.
TILLERSON: But be clear the president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically. He is not seeking to go to war.
TAPPER: So he doesn't think it is a waste of time?
TILLERSON: But I -- no, sir. He made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts in which we are and we will because I told others all those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.
CABRERA: I want to get straight to CNN's Ryan Nobles. So Ryan, let's start talking about the Iran deal. We heard Secretary Tillerson there tell Jake Tapper both he and the president want to stay in the deal.
And then he laid out the exact thought they want to address in that speech the other day, why then did President Trump hunt this to come instead of working with other signatories in the allies in south?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, there is a lot of different dynamics in play here. But most of this is political cover for the president.
You remember how strong he was and emphatic about wanting to get out of the Iran deal during his campaign for president. And he wants to continue to appear to his supporters as though he doesn't like this deal and that he wants it fixed.
And by pushing it to Congress and demanding that they make the deal tougher, that allows him to have a bit of political cover and there is clearly a difference in tone between the secretary of state and the president. Listen to what the president said about the Iran deal on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to see what happens. We are going to see what they come back with. They may come back with something that's very satisfactory to me. And if they don't within a very short period of time, I will terminate the deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Terminate the deal. That seems a lot different than what Rex Tillerson said this morning on State of the Union. That appears to be a bit of a good cop, bad cop at play here between the president and the secretary of state.
It's clear that they see this is sticky diplomatic waters or choppy diplomatic waters, I should say that they are in. They want to find a way to have it both ways, talk tough with North Korea -- oh, I'm sorry, Iran but at the same time keep this deal intact.
CABRERA: And they are doing the same in North Korea it seems like, too, with the difference messages that we are hearing but yet saying they are on the same page.
Meantime, Ryan, the exchange over whether Rex Tillerson thinks the president is a moron. And again, he refused to directly deny after making that comment. Do you think the president is going to take issue with that?
NOBLES: Well, one thing is for sure and that I'm sure the president does not want to see this continue to be in the news. And the secretary of state had a clear opportunity today.
[17:05:00] He was asked directly about this by Jake Tapper. He could have put this issue to rest. Instead this is how he responded.
TAPPER: This is literally one of the most important relationships in the world -- the one between you and President Trump. Is it true? Did you call him a moron?
TILLERSON: Jake, as I indicated earlier, I was asked about that. I'm not going to deal with that kind of petty stuff.
TAPPER: Ever since you called it petty, I have been thinking a lot about it because I reflect the guy and I understand the media, it makes mistakes and media always could improve.
But here is the thing, either you didn't say it in which case there are whole bunch of administration officials telling the press and telling the president that you did and that is a serious problem or you did say it and look, you are a serious guy.
For you to say something like that suggests a real frustration with the commander in chief. So when you don't answer the question it makes people think that you probably did say it but either way, whatever happened it is serious. So can you please clear it up?
TILLERSON: I said, Jake, I'm not playing. These are the games of Washington. These are the destructive games of this town. They are not helpful to anyone. And so my position on it is, I'm not playing.
NOBLES: Jake makes a couple of very good points there. This is one of the most important relationships in U.S. government between the president and secretary of state.
And there is another point we should raise, Ana, and that is in that same report, the secretary of state flatly rejected the idea that he sought to leave his position and that he had to be coaxed back in to stay.
He had no problem rejecting that but on this point about calling the president a moron, he still continues to refuse to say whether or not he made those comments. Ana.
CABRERA: His calculation obviously that better not to answer directly. Ryan Nobles, thank you for that report. I want to talk more about all of this with one of the lawmakers now responsible for fixing the Iran deals.
It's Republican Senator Mike Rounds who represents South Dakota. He serves on the Armed Services Committee. Senator, we really appreciate you taking up some time on Sunday with us. Realistically what would a better deal with Iran look like? What is the priority for you?
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: It is a good question. I think that one of the issues will be whether or not Senator Corker and others on the Foreign Relations Committee have the ability to provide appropriate suggestions for sanctions, should they not abide by the spirit of the agreement and whether or not we can define that within -- within a new proposed agreement.
Remember this is not a treaty. It is an agreement that was made by one president and it only lasts as long as the president wants it to last. We now have a new president. President Obama understood that since it was not a treaty that the next president could very well make changes. That's what you are seeing today.
But we do know is that under the current proposal or under the current agreement that is out there that Iran wouldn't be able to have nuclear weapons available after ten years. While that is a delay, it still lays that out for the next generation to have to deal with this -- with this threat. In addition to that it does not address the issue of ICBMs and it does
not address the issue of their support for terrorist activities throughout the Middle East. Those are the areas that I think you would find an interest in the part of Republicans within the Senate trying to make modifications.
And it is probably the reason why you didn't see an agreement or a proposal to make it a treaty in the first place is because those issues were not addressed in the first plan as proposed by President Obama.
CABRERA: But we also know that that was an agreement that spent years working to get where they got it. Obviously, I bet Democrats and Republicans in the world over would agree that those other things you mentioned, fighting terrorism, fighting their ICBM program and such are also desirable goals. But don't you think those would have been included if that was something Iran was willing to agree upon, as well?
ROUNDS: I think that is part of the issue here is that they were not included and that's the reason why you did not find agreement in Congress to begin with. I respect the fact that the former president was doing his best to try to find a way to delay or to stop the advancement at this time of the nuclear development by Iran.
But that does meantime that it should be a long term plan without addressing those issues. And the fact that right now as long as they have the patience to wait out and not get caught violating this agreement within ten years, they're perfectly capable of moving forward with their nuclear development.
So while it is a delay, it is not a permanent fix. And I think President Trump was very clear and that he doesn't believe that that is the right long-term plan. Really, if it was the right long-term plan, I think you would have found Congress agreeing with a treaty. You didn't find that. And now you have to move forward.
[17:10:00] And start readdressing a plan which could last as long as one administration was in office but probably not stand the test of time.
And that is the reason why you are hearing this discussion about how do we fix it, how do we move forward because those are concerns that are being expressed and were expressed when the first agreement was being developed.
CABRERA: I hear what you are saying. There are also other countries that are signatories to that agreement. But beyond that -- I want you to listen to something former Ambassador John Limbert told me yesterday. He is no friend of Iran. He was actually held hostage by the regime during the 1979 crisis. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LIMBERT FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR IRAN: One thing it does it reverses roles. Now the United States is in the role of the rant and -- ranter and raver. And the Iranians are in a very point to put the Iranian in very a powerful position of being the party of sweet reason.
I mean Listen to what President Rouhani says. Listen to what Foreign Minister Zarif says. They're not -- they point out and said, we are not the ones slinging insults and threats at the other side. The United States is. And I believe that puts us in a very weak diplomatic situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So senator, is he wrong?
ROUNDS: Well I would disagree with him in terms of putting us in a position now. I think the fact that we put together a plan -- a political plan which did not have the support of Congress and that's what it takes to create a treaty.
Put us in a position of finding a way to get from the plan that was in place to now one in which the new administration said, look, this is not a good deal. And sometimes that is a hard thing to react to. I won't go into whether or not we are slinging, you know, inappropriate comments for now.
I -- I think most members of Congress have been careful not to do that. But I also think it is one of the responsibilities that we have to point out where there are problems with agreements that are in place. I think a lot of people would have liked to have a say in how that original plan was being developed.
That was not provided and I think you will find that members of the Foreign Relations Committee and also members on the Armed Services Committee spoke up strongly during the time in which it was being developed suggesting that we disagree with the final outcome of that plan. In the meantime right now we have not left the plan.
Remember, we have already put our money into it. We have nothing else right now under this. And that is one of the weaknesses in the plan. We put dollars in up front. And now as Iran continues to test the limits of this agreement, there is very little that we can do under this plan except protest it.
And you know, the president has now done what he thinks is right. And I happen to agree with him that you decertify it, you bring it back in and you share with the rest of the countries who are concerned and who would like to see at least a delay in their development that we don't want to kill it.
We want to make it better. And I think we had secretary of defense in front of us and he expressed the same concerns. Didn't want to get out of it but he thought that we should -- that we should fix it and that there is a way to do it.
CABRERA: I want to move on to ask you another question before I let you go because you are on both the armed services and Veterans Affairs Committees. And today, one of the four green berets killed in that ambush in Niger is being laid to rest. The president has yet to comment or even tweet about their deaths. Why is he silence?
ROUNDS: I'll let the president speak for himself. I can tell you that our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families of those individuals who lost their lives and the rest of the service members that were involved in that unfortunate incident.
Every time we lose a soldier, it impacts an entire family, it impacts our country and our communities, and our states. I went to 31 funerals while I was governor. I can tell you that everyone of them stays with you.
And I would suspect that this president feels just as strongly about the loss of life as any president before him or any president, Republican or Democrat in the future.
CABRERA: So does his silence surprise you?
ROUNDS: I can't really speak to it because I don't know what he has done behind the scenes. You know, sometimes in many cases, when I was governor, I know that the comments that I brought forward went first to the families.
And I shared my thoughts individually with families in a lot of cases before I did anything public except to offer prayers and support.
Once again, I think this president truly cares about these individuals. I think he has a huge amount of compassion for them. His reasoning and the process that he will use I will leave that up to him to share with the American public.
CABRERA: All right, Senator Mike Rounds, thank you again for your time today.
ROUNDS: Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, driving through the inferno, stunning new video. Take a look at the terror in California. We'll show you two room mates' remarkable escape from a wildfire when we come back. You're in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: The death toll rises again from northern California's massive wildfires. Officials now confirm at least 40 people are dead overcome by the fast moving fires which have also destroyed about 5,700 homes and other buildings.
California's governor says this may be the deadliest outbreak of wildfires in the state's history. CNN's Dan Simon is joining us in Kenwood, California in Sonoma County. Dan, what is happening near you right now?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Ana. In general, things are getting better but there are some problem spots. I want to show you what is happening behind me. This is a new fire. This is called the Oakmont Fire in Sonoma County. And you can see some flare ups right there. Now, normally you have to
worry about the wind pushing those flames into the community and causing more destruction but no wind to speak of today. We are no longer under a red flag warning. So that is good news.
But that is something that firefighters will definitely keep an eye on. That is number 18, number 19. I really lost track in terms of the number of fires.
[17:20:00] We are seeing a number of firefighters in the area just protectively making sure that no more structures at least in this area catch fire. But yesterday was really a tough day, Ana, where we saw a number of evacuations in Sonoma itself and a lot of structures caught fire in the town of Sonoma.
But today is a different story with the winds calming down and firefighters say they are making progress. I want to tell you about the worst fire that we saw in Santa Rosa. That one is called the Tubbs Fire.
We are now hearing containment is up to 60 percent. So that is good news. They do have about 1,000 firefighters working the line, number of helicopters and airplanes including a 747 dumping fire retardant.
So that is beginning to make a difference with the containment numbers going up. Again, the winds are down, still low humidity, still a lot of fuel out there.
So this fire will continue to rage for the next few days. But in terms of structures being lost with the winds dying down once again firefighters say it looks like we are turning a corner. So that's great news, Ana.
CABRERA: That is some good news. I also understand that the evacuation order was lifted in some places like Napa. So some folks presumably are able to return to their homes, those that have homes to return to. Have you had a chance to speak to any of those folks?
SIMON: We certainly have, Ana. It is just devastating. You know, you go through these neighborhoods and they are picking through debris looking for anything they can find. At this point it is still unsafe for residents to return to some of those burned down areas.
But nonetheless, some of them are getting through. And you can understand that they're just wanting to see what is left of their homes and try to see if they can salvage any belongings. But obviously, you know, you go into neighborhoods like Coffee Park (ph), for instance where there is not a single home left standing. So odds of finding anything are pretty slim.
CABRERA: All right, Dan Simon for us in Sonoma County. Thank you very much, Dan. Thousands had to flee their homes for these wildfires. We are getting new video of the harrowing escapes made by this case where there a couple in the middle of the night.
They were room mates Michael Vien and Layton Smith. They threw their dogs into their car. They took off through flames and smoke. This is the cascade fire near them. They captured their escape on this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shouldn't be driving into this gorge. I can't breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come, we (Inaudible) baby! You can do it, girl. This is the only option. There is no way of going back. There was blow right through our house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My eyes are burning, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My eyes are burning, too. We still got oxygen. So we are not dead yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on the road. We're on the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You busted that (BLEEP).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to. I can't get out of it. I guarantee. My hands were burning going out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't see. I can't see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, the road is on fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Mike and Layton, and their dogs did drive through that gate. They made it out unharmed. Their home and possessions were all lost in the fire. Multiply this story by thousands and you get an idea of the devastating impact of the fires. Now another hurricane is spinning in the Atlantic this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This one is a bit of a surprise to weather experts because of where it is. This is hurricane Ophelia headed for Ireland and the United Kingdom. No hurricane ever has travelled so far, east in the Atlantic.
It is a major storm, category 2. And even though meteorologists say it will weaken before landfall, officials in England and Ireland, and Scotland, they are all warning people to brace for the high winds and possible flooding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Words of warning from Hillary Clinton still ahead. She is talking about Vladimir Putin. What she says everyone needs to keep an eye out just ahead here CNN Newsroom.
[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: A stark warning today from Hillary Clinton concerning Russia's Vladimir Putin. Clinton warning, keep an eye on Putin. He is not done yet.
Now the former secretary of state who lost her bid for presidency to Donald Trump as we all know sat down with CNN's Fareed Zakaria and they had a lengthy interview. She talked about how President Trump is handling North Korea and Iran, and Putin's role in the 2016 election. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He was shrewd in his analysis that I would have been much more willing to stand up and speak out as I had as a senator and as a secretary of state.
And he had some familiarity maybe not personally but through proxies with Trump and with Trump's mindset which is very positive toward authoritarian behavior. And I think he made a smart bet from his perspective.
Now at this moment, he is not getting everything he wants because thankfully we have checks and balances, and we have members of Congress who pass sanctions which Trump signed but is not enforcing to send a clear message that you can't mess in our elections, Vladimir Putin.
So he got some of what he was looking for both with the president who was elected and with the divisiveness that was generated. He hasn't gotten everything. But keep an eye on him because he is not done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN political analyst.
[17:30:00] And New York Times deputy culture editor, Patrick Healy. So, Patrick, keep an eye on Putin because he is not done she says. And we have heard similar warnings from other lawmakers who were currently in the Senate, as well as Congress. We have heard those warnings from national security experts.
But coming from Clinton, given her personal experience and involvement in the election, does she risk people seeing this as sour grapes?
PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is a great question. I mean John McCain said that Putin is more dangerous than ISIS. Both Republicans and Democrats as you said, pass sanctions bill on Russia.
Trump is pretty isolated on Putin in terms of saying he wants this better relationship with Russia but he hasn't explain why we should have it when they clearly interfere in out election.
But getting to Hillary Clinton, you know, after all the years of covering her as smart as she is and as strong a case as she can make, it still -- she has a hard time winning over people who see her sort of fundamentally as a partisan or as someone who has sour grapes or someone, you know, who they for whatever reason never trusted.
She was secretary of state for four years. Her approval ratings were never higher. She understands Putin very, very clearly. George W. Bush and others have said this. And yet, it still sometimes comes across as just Hillary talking. It's a needle to thread.
CABRERA: Yes and I wonder given she did win the popular vote. We reported on that widely. But where does she fall in terms of her role now? I mean do Democrats still see her as the leader of their party?
HEALY: I don't think so. I mean, most Democrats right now are so focused on preserving President Obama's legacy and if there is kind of a leadership energy in the party right now it's to preserving Obamacare, preserving the Iran deal, working on climate change, sort of protecting that legacy.
But right now, you know, it's the Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren wing. It is Joe Biden thinking about running. It's Andrew Cuomo thinking about running. There is a leadership real -- a leadership vacuum. And you're just seeing a separate wing as the only thing they really agree on is trying to keep those parts of the Obama legacy.
CABRERA: So how much weight do her words carry now?
HEALY: You know, I think she is -- it is pretty clear she has a book to sell. She still has, of course, like very strong views about the election and what happened as her book title is. But I think for her supporters, I think there is real kind of moral cause in standing with her.
They saw her absolutely. She was the winner of the popular vote. They still see her as a great voice on these issues. But you know, in American politics it is about reaching that middle.
It's about reaching those sort of purple state, those voters and the swing counties in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and Wisconsin. She wasn't able to reach them. I don't know if these kind of statements do that.
CABRERA: She spent a lot of her earlier years fighting for women and so I want to ask you about the Weinstein scandal because you know, it took Hillary Clinton about five days after the New York Times broke the story about the accusations against Weinstein for her to come out and make a statement. It was Tuesday when she finally did and then she also spoke with Fareed about this. Let's listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I was just sick. I was shocked. I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way. And you know like so many people have come forward and spoken out. This was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Should she have spoken out sooner?
HEALY: It was really surprising. I mean on Thursday night when the story broke, you had Democratic senators who were giving money back sort of right away. They weren't waiting for you know, how the allegations were going to play out.
But Hillary Clinton waited for five days. You know, she and President Obama, New York money was very important to them and Harvey Weinstein was a major donor to them.
And I think it was surprising a lot of people that she waited that long especially since as she said over many years fighting for women's rights, for children, for how women are treated in the work place is a huge issue for her.
So it was surprising that she waited that long and even in that clip still that sort of very sort of careful language not sort of saying his name, sort of choosing the words carefully it just is surprising.
CABRERA: I guess on the flip side we want to be fair. And while people are criticizing her for not speaking out sooner and condemning him, I mean, the president of the United States spoke quickly in saying he wasn't surprised but he too hasn't said anything negative or condemned the action.
HEALY: Absolutely. As we know he has not laid any kind of claim to being a moral authority on the treatment of women, like far from it. I mean we heard those comments. We all know those comments. We live with those comments and he is president of the United States.
[17:35:00] He did not try to say something different. He did his sort of usual Donald Trump well I knew him. It doesn't surprise me. Hillary Clinton on the other hand has a, you know, history of 50 years of fighting for women's rights.
And again it was a little surprising because we all knew covering the Clinton campaign 2008, 2016. You know, Harvey Weinstein -- you know, he was a real player in the Democratic Party.
CABRERA: Where it goes from here we will see. Patrick Healy, thank you very much for coming on.
HEALY: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Good to see you. Now nearly a month after hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico only 15 percent of that island has power and now there are new concerns about people drinking contaminated water. We will go live to San Juan just ahead.
CABRERA: Puerto Rico has a long way to go to recover from hurricane Maria's devastation and right now just 85 percent of the island is still without power. But Puerto Rico's governor says he wants to have 95 percent of the power restored by mid December.
[17:40:00] Meanwhile, a CNN report that people are drinking contaminated water from a hazardous site has a leading House Democrat now calling for a federal investigation into water quality there. CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us live for San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ed, what have you learned about the drinking water? ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a situation that has emerged
in a town just called Dorado west of San Juan, the capital here in Puerto Rico. It is a question about whether or not people have been tapping into water wells that have been potentially contaminated.
It is an area that is designated as a superfund site. And for those who were not familiar with what that mean, superfund -- superfund site is designated by the Environmental Protection Agency. These are areas where the ground is dangerously contaminated with toxic chemicals.
In this particular case it is an industrial toxins. They are believed to be in the ground there. So this designation was issued last year. So there is still a lot of testing going on. But in this area there are a number of water wells that people have been tapping into to get water here since the storm hit.
One of those wells government officials say has been deemed safe to use. In fact, we have seen long lines at one of these particular wells where people have official been getting water delivered to them. There are a number of others that doesn't seem that it is exactly clear what kind of water is coming out of there.
EPA teams have been going to some of the sites over the weekend to gather up the testing but they tell us it can take the better part of this week to determine exactly or get latest sampling of what is in the water. We caught up with one of those EPA officials and he explained what they are concerned about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY LIPTON, EPA INCIDENT COMMANDER, PUERTO RICO OPERATIONS: It's not absolutely clean, you know, pure water. There are some contaminants. This is a science. There are lots of unknowns in that. Again, it is not considered by the EPA. An acute risk meaning we are not saying that somebody is at immediate danger by drinking this water. We are considering it a long-term risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: What EPA Officials are saying that they believe it would require long-term exposure drinking this water to suffer the serious side effects and health problems associated with drinking the water over a long period of time.
We have also spoken with a number of independent experts on these water issues and they do say that it is alarming and disturbing that perhaps these wells weren't shut off or turned off given the possible implications of what it could mean long term.
So that work continues here this week. Even after EPA teams, we have seen go to some of these water well sites, we have also seen people going back. Many people, Ana, we have spoken with say they have no idea that these water wells fell under this superfund site in this part of Puerto Rico.
CABRERA: That is concerning certainly. Ed Lavandera in San Juan, thank you. A fallen American soldier has received a hero's welcome in his hometown. Coming up, we will take you live to Lyons, Georgia where one of four soldiers killed in an ISIS ambush in Niger last week has now been laid to rest. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Overseas now, still no claim of responsibility for a double car bombing that has killed at least 230 people this weekend. This is Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Two car bombs went off Saturday, minutes apart in two crowded neighborhoods.
Terrorist violence is not new to people there in Mogadishu. An extremist group linked to al-Qaeda is active in Somalia and has claimed responsibility for several deadly bombings there. Again, no one is claiming responsibility just yet in this most recent one.
One of four U.S. soldiers killed during ISIS ambush in Niger has been laid to rest. The American soldiers were killed when 50 ISIS affiliated fighters attacked them in a remote south western area of the African nation.
Army Sergeant David Johnson, Staff Sergeant Brian Black, Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright and Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson were ambushed. They have just met with local leaders and were walking to their unarmored pickup truck. Staff Sergeant Wright was laid to rest in Lyons, Georgia today with full honors.
He joined the army in 2012 and was stationed at Fort Bragg. Kaylee Hartung is joining us now from Lyons. Kaylee, you attended the funeral, tell us more about how Sergeant Wright was remembered.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, on this field that he was once a Friday night hero for the Toombs County High School football team. Dustin Wright was honored today as a hero for his country.
His friends say he was built like a tank but was more of a gentle giant. The commanding officer of his Green Beret unit said when Dustin first joined the team, he was quiet but it didn't take long for his confidence to burst through for the self-described southern gentleman to charm all who he encountered.
That charm and that confidence, and a heart built for service, those qualities were bred here in this small world Georgia Town and a house where he was one of four brothers to a mom and dad who both served in the Army. On behalf of the grieving family, Dustin's brother, Will Wright spoke with us.
WILL WRIGHT, DUSTIN WRIGHT'S BROTHER: The last words I said to my brother were I love you. Last words he said to me were I love you.
HARTUNG: Will Wright last spoke to his younger brother Dustin on December 24th, Dustin's 29th birthday. WRIGHT: Talked about kind of how things are going, the ups and downs,
and how he's feeling, talked to me about his girlfriend, and his plans when he came home and where he was going, and some potential moves in his future.
[17:50:00] HARTUNG: Ten days later, the future the brothers discussed was taken away. Army Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright was serving his third deployment, a second tour in the northwest African country of Niger when the Pentagon says his Green Beret unit was ambushed by ISIS fighters.
Staff Sergeant Wright, Staff Sergeant Black, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sergeant David Johnson are the first American combat deaths in Niger as the U.S. counterterrorism mission there continues to expand.
WRIGHT: It's a war zone, even if you don't hear about it on TV.
HARTUNG: The Wright familiar is not unfamiliar with the harsh reality of war. And their military legacy dates back to 1812.
WRIGHT: To our records we have not lost a single member until Dustin. That's 205 years, that's a good run. So it's been -- it's been great to hear that history and share that history and you know, if once every 205 years this is the price we pay, then that's what it takes.
HARTUNG: I don't doubt that Dustin knew what he signed up for but what was he ultimately fighting for?
WRIGHT: I think he was fighting for his brothers. I think he was fighting for his family. I think he was fighting for his country, ups and downs, good and bad as the political currents sway, soldiers stand fast and they do their jobs. And we're blessed to have him.
HARTUNG: The job in Niger for the Third Special Forces Group is to advise, assist and train local forces, a job that suited Dustin's personality and passion.
WRIGHT: It didn't matter if he known you for a day or his whole life. The man was a servant and he love people. He found a way for him to serve others, to sacrifice and to love people and do it in some of the worst environments in the world. To his final breath he was doing that.
HARTUNG: A lifetime of service, celebrated and mourned when this humble hero returned home to Georgia on Saturday.
WRIGHT: I know my brother didn't want accolades. I know he didn't need praise and awards, and anything else. He did the job not for the president to say, you know, good job but he did it because that's what he loved and that's what he's born to do.
HARTUNG: The people who gathered for Dustin's funeral here today knew him better than anyone but even they heard a story today for first time. It came from the captain of Dustin's Green Beret unit.
He said the two of them were paired together for a training exercise. They culminated and then being put in rough waters awaiting a helicopter rescue. Then those rough waters, the captain went under. He said he was drowning until he felt Dustin's hand on his shoulder.
Once they got to save ground and the captain went to thank him for saving his life, and asked him to keep that story between the two of them, Dustin said I thought I was the one drowning with a smile, and with a hug he said, you're secret is safe with me. Ana, that selflessness, that fearlessness and that charm, that was Dustin Wright.
CABRERA: What a brave, brave man. You mentioned, Kaylee, the Wright family has the military tradition that goes back from 200 years. Do you know if anyone in the Trump administration has reached out to them?
HARTUNG: Well, Will Wright told me that from every range of soldier, servant and government officials, they have received condolences in some way, shape or form.
When I asked him specifically about the president, Ana, he wouldn't confirm or deny except to say that he personally hadn't spoken with the president.
But will also being a man of military service said he feels his family's needs are being met by the government and the military when it comes to the support and the information that they need.
CABRERA: That's good to hear. Kaylee Hartung, thank you for that. We're back in just a moment.
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Be sure to watch CNN Tonight at 9:00 as Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown takes us to Nigeria. The ingenuity of the Nigerian people there is the focus of Bourdain's journey as he explores their food, their music and their rich cultural diversity.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Interreligious and intertribal violence has been a fact of life for years in Nigeria. There are over 300 tribes and tens of thousands have died during such conflicts. In Lagos, some are trying to rewrite that narrative. The neighborhood of Agege is a melting pot of different tribes and religious groups. This was originally a Yoruba area, yes?
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: At the house and people have been living here a long time cooperating...
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Yeah, intermarriages in between us and then so that is why we're -- lots of understanding.
BOURDAIN: Masa, rice cakes made from Nigerian sticky rice and sugar and potash, a mineral rich salt.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: This is made from millet and milk.
BOURDAIN: It's more like a yogurt, slightly sour. That's great.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Sort of a surprising food. It's also made of beans.
BOURDAIN: These are all beans?
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: High protein bean flour dumplings served with tomatoes and onions, and peppery sauce. Delicious.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Moringa?
BOURDAIN: And moringa salad, made from the leaves (Inaudible) tree. And such have medicinal properties. Kuli kuli powder is a garnish or condiment made from ground peanuts.
CABRERA: Antony Bourdain is in Lagos, Niger. A dynamic city that do it yourself spirit on the Parts Unknown tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.