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Former Presidents Unite for Hurricane Relief Concert; Trump to Allow Release of Classified JFK Files; Pentagon Releases Few Details of Deadly Firefight in Niger; Fox Gave O'Reilly Big Contract after $32M Settlement; White House: No Melania Trump Body Double; The Wonder List: Sunken City of Pharaohs. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 21, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Any minute now, all five living former presidents will be on one stage to raise money for hurricane relief. You just saw Barbara Bush there in the video.
President Trump will be noticeably absent, though, but he did record a video message that will play during the concert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we begin to rebuild, some of America's finest public servants are spearheading the "One America Appeal." Through this effort, all five living former presidents are playing a tremendous role in helping our fellow citizens recover.
To presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And while we wait, I want to talk about this remarkable moment. Joining us is CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and CNN contributor and Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio.
Thank you both for coming on.
Douglas, first to you. Just help us understand the significance of this moment.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's very unusual to have five former presidents together. I mean, sometimes you see it at an inauguration or at a funeral.
But Jimmy Carter has been very, very ill, fighting cancer. He says he's feeling better now and has it under control. And Bush 41 has been confined to a wheel chair and doesn't do many public appearances.
So to see them all there and remind our country about the devastation of the hurricanes but also the heroism of the first responders and volunteers and the fact that we can all pitch in a little bit of money and help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, and Texas rebound, I think, is a very heartening and positive thing.
And the fact that there are -- some of them were Democrats, some Republicans, but they all come together for what's best for America is a good message after a very bleak week like this.
BROWN: And, Douglas, what do you make of President Trump's absence? Is that unusual for an event like this?
BRINKLEY: Well, you know, I thought about it. And let's say he came, he very well would have gotten a lot of boos.
I mean, people really paid the money not to see the five ex- presidents. They're coming to hear Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen and Sam Moore. It's a real rock and roll concert, and I'm not sure that there wouldn't have been some jeers there.
And it could, in other words, would have been kind of a big footing thing for him to be there. So probably, in the end, the video message and let the five ex-presidents have that evening is for the best.
BROWN: And, Michael, just two days ago, as you'll recall, former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama delivered thinly veiled attacks on Trump, politics under his administration. Is it normal for president -- former presidents to speak out against the current Commander-in-Chief in?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we know that it happens. There are occasions when it happens, typically critiques of policy. But it is most unusual, I think, to have a Republican and a Democrat sounding the same notes.
And I think what they were talking about was civil society and their joint and shared commitment to a certain way of conducting the presidency. And I think they have both, and really probably all the presidents in Texas tonight, recognized that we're in a different place, that we have a White House that --
BROWN: I just want to --
D'ANTONIO: Go ahead.
BROWN: Just, Michael, not to interrupt, but I want to listen in on this significant moment of the five past living presidents on stage there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXAS A&M SINGING CADETS (SINGING): Oh, say! Can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming; whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say! Does that Star- Spangled Banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:05:24] BROWN: And you're watching life as the five former living presidents join one another on stage, a very unusual moment. Presidents Carter, Clinton, the Bush's, President Obama, all there, united, as they raise money for hurricane victims.
Again, this is a very rare, unusual moment there, but they joined each other on stage in Texas. And I want to bring in our presidential historians again.
As you watch that, Douglas, what went through your mind?
BRINKLEY: Well, you know, I recall just how, you know, Jimmy Carter really started a lot of this. Not only is he a Nobel Peace Prize winning ex-president, but he reached out to Gerald Ford many years back.
And here they were rivals against each other in 1976, and they became best friends. Jimmy Carter actually gave the eulogy at Gerald Ford's funeral.
And we saw, more recently, when Hurricane Katrina had hit in -- on August 29, 2005, Bill Clinton and George Herbert Walker Bush, former rivals, went against each other in 1992, pulling together for a hurricane relief back then. And then becoming very close friends. There have been jokes that Bill Clinton is an adopted member of the Bush family.
So it reminds us that, right now, where times are oppressive and we're having this bitter partisan, you know, warfare going on, but there are, at times, moments that, you know, we have states people that can heal the country. And these five gentlemen are heroes to Americans.
They withstood the presidency. They're all very -- public opinion polls have all five of them higher than the sitting president, Donald Trump, right now. So it's a special night in College Station, Texas, for all those people to say, I was there when five presidents took the stage.
BROWN: Yes. I mean, no matter what your politics are, it's just an incredible moment. Douglas, I want to ask you -- OK. Actually, we're going to listen in on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE GREENWOOD, EMCEE, ONE AMERICA APPEAL CONCERT: Please be seated. Thank you so much.
GREENWOOD (SINGING): If tomorrow, all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life, and I had to start again with just my children and my wife. I'd thank my lucky stars to be living here today because the flag still stands for freedom, and they can't take that away.
And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Because there ain't no doubt I love this land.
God bless the USA.
From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee. Across the plains of Texas --
GREENWOOD (SINGING): From sea to shining sea. From Detroit down to Houston.
GREENWOOD (SINGING): And New York to L.A. Well, there's pride in every American heart, and it's time we stand and say.
I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Because there ain't no doubt I love this land! God bless the USA.
[20:09:53] Oh, I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Because there ain't no doubt I love this land! God bless the USA!
GREENWOOD: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to Reed Arena. We are coming to you live from Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
GREENWOOD: Let me first start by thanking the A&M Singing Cadets for that wonderful performance with me. Please.
GREENWOOD: Thank you so very much, Cadets. As we continue with our show, I'd officially like to welcome you to the deep from the heart One America Appeal Concert, benefiting those recovering and rebuilding from the recent devastating storms.
Tonight is a very special night of hope and unity. And this historic event celebrates us one America, united, helping our fellow brothers and sisters.
GREENWOOD: Texas, the rest of the country, we are strong. And to all those who have been devastated by the recent natural disasters, we say, we've got your back. We are here --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: You're watching the benefit there in Texas, raising money for hurricane victims. And five past living presidents there, all united, to raise money for those victims.
That is Lee Greenwood who was singing and now emceeing that event, as we keep an eye on what is happening down there in Texas.
There you see former President Bush, his wife, Barbara Bush, there in the audience. Really just a rare, unusual -- I'm sorry, Laura Bush, I should say. Really just a rare, significant moment for these five past presidents to come together.
And I want to bring in our presidential historians again, and just kind of sum up what we're seeing there tonight. You know, the five members there of the most exclusive club of the world, all for a good cause, to raise money for these hurricane victims, Michael.
D'ANTONIO: Well, I was reflecting on what Douglas had to say about Presidents Ford and Carter, who he has written about and knows their record and their stories very well.
These are two men who contested an election fiercely. I actually covered it in New Hampshire during the general election and the primaries, and I recall how hard they fought.
But the dignity and mutual respect that we're seeing here is really remarkable and inspiring. And I think this is something that these former presidents can give the country. I think it's a dose of good medicine for all of us, and it really is the epitome of patriotism.
BROWN: It certainly is. Douglas, I want to go to you and ask you about this interview that "The New York Times" did with former President Jimmy Carter.
It was really one of the more substantive interviews he's done in a long time. It was with him and his -- the former first lady, Rosaline.
In it, Carter tells "The New York Times" that he wants to work for President Trump to help de-escalate tensions with North Korea. What do you make of that?
BRINKLEY: Carter has always been that way. You know, since he's left the White House, he tells whoever is president or Secretary of State, use me, I'm here. And they have.
I mean, you're looking at 41, President Bush, there had Jimmy Carter help in the -- during his presidency to monitor elections in Nicaragua and in Panama. Jimmy Carter was -- you know, went into Haiti during Bill Clinton's presidency to try to de-escalate tensions there.
Jimmy Carter believes in public service. And it's not just the Carter Center attacking guinea worm disease or river blindness or election monitoring. It's his work with Habitat for Humanity. It's sort of just like this event tonight.
It's about Americans pulling together in a public sphere to help people. And right now, I'm in Texas. I teach in Houston.
A lot of people need Habitat for Humanity, like homes rebuilt. Their insurance didn't cover the damage from the hurricanes. And Carter has become a symbol for grabbing a hammer and a nail and going out there and serving.
And whoever is president, they always know they can call Jimmy Carter and he'll be there. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has never made that call to him. And one hopes President Trump would start reaching out to these elder states people.
In Great Britain, we have House of Lords. And, you know, in the United States, there are -- they freelance, these ex-presidents. But they are walking citadels of knowledge and information and what it's like to be president.
[20:14:59] BROWN: Certainly. And as we all know, Jimmy Carter has battled cancer. And now, there he is. He is at this concert joining the four other past living presidents.
I'm not sure, Michael, if you had a chance to read this interview he did with Maureen Dowd of "The New York Times." It's truly, truly fascinating.
And what certainly caught my attention was that when it came to Donald Trump -- President Trump -- he was actually pretty forgiving, pretty understanding. Almost came to his defense, in a way.
And you contrast that with the other two speeches we've heard from the past presidents, Bush and Obama, just in the last week, where they had these sort of thinly veiled criticisms of President Trump and, really, the politics under his administration.
D'ANTONIO: Well, one of the remarkable things about President Carter is his generosity of spirit. It's always been there.
And I also think that he is so deeply committed to his Christian faith and has lived it so thoroughly that none of this surprises me. It's so consistent with his character, his ideals, and his commitment to peace and to the world.
When we talk about the great expertise that these presidents have, their experiences, 32 of the last 40 years of the presidency, that's a remarkable thing. And I think they each bring goodwill with them wherever they go in the world.
Ironically, Bill Clinton, I would say, is second to President Carter in the example he has set in his post-presidency, and yet he came in for such a hard time during the campaign. The Clinton Foundation was somehow turned into this negative when, really, it's one of the great forces for good in the world.
So you have all this talent, you have all this expertise, and all the goodwill that's stored up on both sides of the political divide and around the world. It's a considerable resource. And if President Trump could bring himself to deploy it, imagine what he could accomplish.
BROWN: All right, Michael D'Antonio, Douglas Brinkley, thank you so much.
D'ANTONIO: Thank you.
BROWN: Well, coming up, they have been kept secret for more than 50 years, but President Trump says he plans to release the last classified files on the JFK assassination. What might be in there and would it -- will it put those Kennedy conspiracy theories to rest?
[20:21:42] BROWN: For decades, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has haunted generations of Americans and inspired endless conspiracy theories about whether other forces were at work besides the shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Well, today, President Trump revealed that, subject to the receipt of further information, he intends to allow the release of more than 3,000 classified documents relating to the Kennedy assassination.
This decision comes just days before a deadline set by Congress back in 1992 in the wake of Oliver Stone's film, "JFK."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN COSTNER, ACTOR: There are hundreds of documents that could help prove this conspiracy. Why are they being withheld or burned by the government?
All these documents are yours, the people's property. You paid for them. But because the government considers you children who might be too disturbed or distressed to face this reality, or because you might possibly lynch those involved, you cannot see these documents for another 75 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And back with me now, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. He is also the author of the 2017 book, "JFK: A Vision for America," published in commemoration of the centennial of Kennedy's birth.
Doug, do you believe these documents will reveal any new information regarding JFK's death?
BRINKLEY: I don't think they're going to reveal a lot of new in the big sense, meaning that there's a second or third guns -- you know, gun's man as a murderer of John F. Kenney. That will still -- I think all arrows are going to be at Lee Harvey Oswald. But there are people that are serious academic scholars of the Kenney
assassination. This is a trove of new material from the FBI and the CIA.
When we talk about 3,000 files, each file is going to be very large. And we're going to have CIA profiling done, for the first time, of Lee Harvey Oswald.
We're going to find out, perhaps, what he was doing in Mexico City at the time. And we're also going to see how the agencies, FBI and CIA, handled the Kennedy assassination.
So it is going to be very rich for scholars, but I don't think it's going to change the main narrative of the assassination.
BROWN: And do you have any sort of context in regards to why there was this deadline set 10 years ago by Congress for them to be released or for the President who made the decision before October 26th of this year, why they've been so tightly held up until now?
BRINKLEY: Well, because the Warren Commission itself was done quite quickly. I mean, Lyndon Johnson wanted to -- he got Earl Warren to head it, and he had an ace panel determine what happened.
And now, ever since the Warren Commission report has come out, it's just fed conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. But Oliver Stone's movie was a big deal when it came out, and Congress thought, you know what, let's just kick it down the road 25 years. We don't have to worry about it.
Well, lo and behold, Donald Trump's now, before the deadline that's looming, said we are going to get to see all these documents. I think he did the right thing, and we'll have to see what comes out. I'm very interested in looking at these documents this week.
BROWN: But he did have a caveat, Doug. He said that he'll release them subject to the receipt of further information. What should we make of that?
[20:25:05] BRINKLEY: That a lot of these documents have parts that may be redacted or excised out for security reasons. It's hard for me to imagine what those could be this many decades later, but there may be a couple of spots where it's blanked out and it will just create more conspiracy theories. What are they covering up on that page?
BROWN: Right. And we know that President Trump, he loves some conspiracy theories. I mean, there has been a lot of talk about his love of conspiracy theories. Do you think he is releasing these files as a play to his base?
BRINKLEY: I do think so. You know, he even floated the conspiracy that -- in the campaign that Ted Cruz, Senator of Texas, was somehow part of the killing of --
BROWN: Or his father.
BRINKLEY: Yes, I know, the father. You know --
BROWN: Father, yes.
BRINKLEY: It was -- I mean, it was the Cruz family. So he's dabbled in these conspiracy theories. But, look, he had a deadline looming. He had to make a yes or no decision, and I think he went with transparency, did the right thing.
And certainly, it appeals to that Alex Jones info war kind of people that don't trust the federal government and want everything released, thinking that there's smoking guns everywhere.
BROWN: One thing is for sure. There is this sort of enduring fascination with his life and then his death and the circumstances surrounding it. Douglas Brinkley, thank you again.
BROWN: And as we go to break, let's listen in as singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen performs at the hurricane relief concert.
[20:31:22] BROWN: In South Florida today, unimaginable sadness and loss for the family of a U.S. soldier killed in combat overseas.
That was La David Johnson's wife you saw kissing his casket, now widow, six months pregnant, with two little children we see in the video. It is the burial ceremony and final resting place for the Army sergeant.
He was 25 years old, killed earlier this month when his unit was ambushed by ISIS in Niger. He wasn't the only one. Four American soldiers in all were killed in that firefight, two of them members of the Army Special Forces, the Green Berets.
As for what happened that day in Niger, the Pentagon is not yet saying much. But a few details, some when's and where's, did emerge this weekend. Here is Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Sergeant La David Johnson was find nearly a mile away from the central scene of the ambush according to four administration officials familiar with the early assessment. They all caution this is the early picture and the investigation continues.
The Pentagon is still looking at the exact circumstances of how he became separated from his unit. The entire team, led by Green Berets, has been interviewed, officials say, about when they last saw Johnson.
The U.S. team had stopped in a town on the Niger/Mali border so the Nigerians they were working with could pick up supplies, including food and water. And then they met with village elders. Investigators believe the ambush may have begun when the U.S. soldiers were back in their vehicles, possibly even driving.
As those killed are laid to rest, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Capitol Hill briefed Senator John McCain one day after McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, threatened subpoenas if the Pentagon doesn't start telling Congress what it knows.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), CHAIRMAN, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES: I felt that in -- that we were not getting sufficient amount of information, and we are clearing a lot of that up now.
STARR: Mattis refusing to publicly comment why the FBI is now involved in gathering intelligence on the suspected ISIS militant that ambushed the U.S. forces.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI would have jurisdiction to investigate and bring back the perpetrators to the U.S. if it can be done.
STARR: The pressure is mounting for a public explanation. What did happen to Sergeant Johnson?
REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: He was abandoned for two days, for 48 hours. Why? Why didn't they pick him up and put him on their shoulders like they did the other fallen comrades and put him on a helicopter and take him to safety? He could have still been alive.
STARR: But Mattis is fiercely adamant that troops on the ground did everything they could.
GEN. JAMES MATTIS (RET.), SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I've been seeing some of the news reports. The U.S. military does not leave its troops behind. And I would just ask you not question the actions of the troops who were caught in the firefight and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once.
STARR: And taking pains to point out, all troops face risk. Top brass pushing back hard.
[20:35:03] LT. GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, JR., DIRECTOR OF THE JOINT STAFF: But I'll tell you, categorically, that from the moment of contact, no one is left behind, either U.S., our partner Nigerian forces. Our French forces we're on the ground, actively searching for the soldier.
STARR: In the first 48 hours when Johnson was still missing, CNN was one of the news organizations that agreed not to report an active search was under way for him because no news organization that is responsible would interfere with an active operation if it was even possible a soldier was still alive out there.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
BROWN: Our thanks to Barbara Starr, and we will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:39:55] BROWN: Well, CNN has learned that former Fox News host,
Bill O'Reilly, made a whopping $32 million sexual -- million-dollar sexual harassment settlement in January. "The New York Times" also reporting Fox re-signed O'Reilly to a $25 million-a-year contract just one month after that confidential settlement.
O'Reilly released a statement today through a spokesman saying, quote, in its latest diatribe against Bill O'Reilly, the "Times" printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace.
CNN Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter has the very latest.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: $32 million. It is a staggering sum of money. The amount of money that Bill O'Reilly paid to a long-time legal analyst on Fox News, Lis Wiehl, when Wiehl came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct.
Now, Wiehl agreed to the $32 million payout, and she disavowed the claims that she made against O'Reilly.
All this happened privately back in January, but the timeline here is remarkable because just a couple of weeks after the settlement, the $32 million settlement, Fox News went ahead and renewed Bill O'Reilly's contract.
He was making about $25 million a year at Fox, but he didn't last very long at the network.
As I'm sure you recall, back in April, "The New York Times" reported on other settlements by O'Reilly to other women accusing him of harassment.
Now, those settlements were smaller sums of money, but the revelations about them caused advertisers to flee from his show and caused Fox News to cancel the show.
All of that happening a few weeks back in April, but now, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and a conversation all across the United States about sexual harassment in work places, "The New York Times" has published this new story about this $32 million settlement.
And that price tag is really astonishing to a lot of people. You know, Harvey Weinstein reportedly paid accusers $50,000 or $100,000.
Bill O'Reilly had paid small sums of money to other accusers. But the idea that he was willing to pay $32 million to a single accuser is really shocking and causing a lot of people to wonder why Fox News was willing to renew his contract at all.
Now, here's what Fox says. It says it didn't know exactly how much money was given over. According to the company, when the company renewed Bill O'Reilly's
contract in February, it knew that a sexual harassment lawsuit had been threatened against him by Lis Wiehl, but was informed by Mr. O'Reilly that he had settled the matter personally on financial terms that he and Ms. Wiehl had agreed were confidential and not disclosed to the company.
So that's the official word from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. Two big questions moving forward for Fox. Number one, will this affect the ongoing U.S. federal investigation into Fox News?
Remember, the Department of Justice has already been looking into how settlement payments were paid to accusers of Roger Ailes, the former Fox News boss who was also caught up in his own harassment scandal last year.
Ailes passed away a number of months ago, but the ongoing federal investigation is looking into Fox's conduct in the matter. So that's one issue for the Murdochs.
The other big issue is involving the Sky deal, this ongoing attempt to buy up the rest of the British satellite network, Sky. It has had a hard time -- the Murdochs have had a hard time getting the deal through because of scandals back in the United States.
And it would seem that this latest revelation about Bill O'Reilly will only complicate matters even more for the Sky deal.
Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
BROWN: Our thanks to Brian Stelter. And coming up on this Saturday evening. The Internet goes wild, speculating that the first lady is actually a second lady. The story behind those bizarre body double theories involving Melania Trump.
And as we go to break, let's take a listen in to the Gatlin Brothers performing for -- their song, "Houston," at a hurricane relief concert attended by all of the former living presidents.
[20:44:29] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROWN: Will the real first lady please stand up? Melania Trump making an appearance to donate her inaugural gown after a bizarre conspiracy theory that had the Internet abuzz. Have you heard about this?
It's alleged that, on occasion, the first lady we think we see is actually a body double. Here to clear this all up for us is White House Reporter Kate Bennett.
Kate, how did this all start? Where did this come from?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it's like one of those classic conspiracy theories that just takes off on the Internet. There is a gentleman who had several thousand followers who, on
Twitter, claimed -- put two pictures of her, of Melania Trump, side by side and said this isn't the same person, it can't be.
It is the same person. There is no body double. It took a couple of days for this to spread like wildfire, but, eventually, all these conspiracy theories came up.
The White House did respond to me about this. They completely denied it. Melania Trump's spokesperson just said it was a ridiculous story.
We find ourselves consumed with a ridiculous nonstory when we could be talking about the work the first lady is doing to help children.
[20:50:00] So clearly, it's not a thing. It just took off.
BROWN: It just took off. And when it takes off, sometimes, there's no bringing the train back to the station.
BROWN: And helping to fuel the story is that the first lady happens to have a Secret Service agent who looks a bit like her, right?
BENNETT: She does. Her lead agent is a woman who -- and her face does look like her. So as this conspiracy theory grew, of course, people were finding pictures of this agent in the background and saying, OK, that's the double.
The Secret Service does not use body doubles. The woman in question, the agent, has nothing -- was not chosen because she looks like her. The Secret Service doesn't do that. I spoke with a source there.
So this is, again, another sort of component to this conspiracy theory. And I will say, you know, Melania Trump has a little bit -- maybe not to blame for this, but it's easier to see that people don't know her that well, even nine months into her husband's presidency.
We're not as familiar with her, seeing her, hearing from her. She's a little more mysterious than past first ladies of recent history, so it becomes probably a little bit easier for these sorts of rumors and conspiracy theories to take off.
BROWN: And on Friday, as you know, she took part in this century-old tradition of donating her inaugural gown to the Smithsonian, but it wasn't that long ago that some designers were refusing to dress her because of her husband's policy.
Has that -- policies, I should say. Has that relationship with the fashion world changed at all, considering that recent polls show that she has experienced a surge in popularity over the last several months?
BENNETT: Yes. I mean, she has -- there are designers who say they won't dress her, and they probably won't dress her. However, more and more -- this week, Victoria Beckham came forward and said she would happily dress her.
The man we're seeing now on the screen, Herve Pierre, is her personal couturier. He designed her inaugural dress and he helps her with styling.
But I will say this about Melania Trump. She buys lot of her clothes off the rack. So designers saying I won't dress her isn't as appropriate or applicable as, you know, perhaps it was with Michelle Obama or Laura Bush or who had real sort of custom-made clothes.
You know, it's just an interesting fact of the fashion world. Michael Kors is not a fan of the Trump administration. He campaigned for Hillary Clinton. But Mrs. Trump does wear a lot of Michael Kors. But she buys it in the store, so it's a different thing.
BROWN: Off the rack.
BENNETT: Yes, exactly.
BROWN: That's really interesting. Kate Bennett, thank you.
BENNETT: Thank you.
BROWN: Thanks for clearing up the conspiracy theory for us.
BROWN: All right. Coming up on this Saturday, Bill Weir travels to an ancient Egyptian city lost for years beneath the Mediterranean Sea. A preview of tonight's brand new "THE WONDER LIST" up next.
[20:55:34] BROWN: So could ancient artifacts predict a dark future? On tonight's brand new episode of "THE WONDER LIST," Bill Weir explores a sunken city that serves as a warning to the threat of rising sea levels. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Corniche is Alexandria's popular seaside highway. A poignant backdrop for relic hunters like Eric, a scuba-loving native of Key West, Florida.
ERIC WARTENWEILER SMITH, ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIVER: Sometimes, you'd come to the surface on a calm day, and you can see the people riding bikes or horse-drawn buggies. And you could hear their voices and see all those buildings. Six million people --
SMITH: -- and yet here on the bottom is another city. The same city that disappeared. And it makes you wonder, do they know? Do they think about it ever? WEIR: Right.
SMITH: Do they wonder?
WEIR: Welcome to Thonis-Heracleion. Not the greatest visibility down here, but if not for the silky murk, looters would have picked it clean long ago.
Fishermen have been dragging nets here forever, clueless to the columns, crockery, bones and ghosts just 20 feet below.
We float in the belly of a ship that sailed the Nile, centuries before Cleopatra took her own life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: That is just fascinating, what he said, you know, the comparison. We see the people --
BROWN: -- and the buildings. And then to think --
BROWN: -- like that existed, and now it's under the ocean.
WEIR: When you look at the pottery, when you hold a plate --
WEIR: -- that hasn't been touched since a woman set the table, you know, 1,300 years ago.
BROWN: That's so crazy.
WEIR: And the family who were going to eat that dinner that night, they thought their city was forever.
WEIR: You know, it was a huge -- it was the second largest city after Cairo, and Alexander the Great actually built Alexandria to replace this city.
BROWN: My God. And it really is an eerie reminder of how vulnerable our cities are.
WEIR: Right. Exactly, yes. So there's a lot going on, on that coast of Egypt. I mean, there's the political unrest you've seen and all of that. But what's happening to nature -- the Nile Delta is getting saltier as the sea levels slowly creep up, and that is farmland that feeds 40 million people.
It's the breadbasket of Africa and the Middle East. And so every year, the crops are getting are a little bit shorter. But it also threatens these precious antiquities. Catacombs full of, you know, priceless artifacts are flooding more and more regularly.
But, you know, if we don't study history, we're doomed to repeat it, you know, is the old cliche.
BROWN: Yes. I mean, if it happened before, it can happen again, right?
WEIR: It can happen again, especially with the projections that you see, so you got to prepare.
BROWN: Right. And just to be down there touching those old artifacts, I mean, it's --
WEIR: It was really cool, yes.
BROWN: -- insane. Before I let you go, I want to turn to just Puerto Rico.
BROWN: Because while you were working on this, you were also covering the breaking news after the hurricane in Puerto Rico.
BROWN: We know that President Trump has said that his administration's efforts are a 10 out of 10.
BROWN: But when you go talk to people on the ground there, it seems as though perhaps they don't agree with the President. There is a wide range of opinions, given the reality of what's going on the ground.
WEIR: Well, look, our President came up as a real estate salesman. And it would be tough for him to sell a building where 20 percent of the apartments had electricity and half had water. You wouldn't rate that building as a 10 out of 10.
But the good news is, within the last few days, it seems like the government has finally understood the need for the first time in a month. So the last week, everybody from line workers who were the first ones down there trying to hook up power lines and cell towers, they're saying we're finally seeing more troops, more guardsman, more aid. And so it's --
BROWN: A good sign.
WEIR: -- and it's going to take a lot more help.
BROWN: It's a good sign.
WEIR: Hopefully, it keeps coming. Yes.
BROWN: One month after the hurricane hit there. WEIR: Exactly. Yes.
BROWN: Bill Weir, thank you as always.
WEIR: Thanks, Pam.
BROWN: Appreciate it. And the new episode of "THE WONDER LIST" airs next right here on CNN.
That does it for me. I'm Pamela Brown. And we leave you with Sam Moore performing "Soul Man" at a hurricane relief concert in Texas.