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First Charges Filed in U.S.-Russia Investigation; Thousands Rally for Spanish Unity; Five Months Adrift at Sea. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 30, 2017 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[00:00:32] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: A cloud of suspense -- In a matter of hours, there could be an arrest in Robert Mueller's Russian meddling investigation.

Plus this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is concerned. That's why we are here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Thousands rally against Catalonia's independence push as the Spanish government pushes for unity.

And lost at sea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had they not been able to locate us, we would have been dead within 24 hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: They were adrift for five months. How did they survive? We'll tell you their story.

Thanks for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier live from the CNN NEWSROOM here in Atlanta.

Well, for Donald Trump this week should have been about his first trip to Asia as President or the big Republican tax reform but overshadowing both of those at moment, possible arrests which could come within hours in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

The first indictments were approved on Friday. Now, we don't know what the charges are or who will be charged, but we do know that the President is not happy. On Twitter Donald Trump says the Democrats are using this so-called witch hunt for evil politics.

The President's one-time confidant Chris Christie says let Mueller do his job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think anybody who has been advised by the special counsel's office that they're a target in the investigation, which I'm sure he has done to those people who are, should be concerned.

I say it's for us to have confidence in this process. We have to make sure that the grand jury process remains confidential, remains secret so that the special counsel can work effectively to be able to get to the bottom of all that he's looking into.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz helped break the story of these first indictments. Now he tells us what's coming next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: We expect to learn later today what charges were filed in connection with the special counsel investigation once a federal judge unseals the indictment. A federal grand jury has approved these charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe but the charges are sealed so we don't yet know who will be charged.

We've been told that the expectation that it was going to happen Monday and anyone who is facing the charges will be arrested and taken into custody by FBI agents. And then at some point will face a judge here in Washington, D.C.

Now, this indictment, once it's unsealed, will likely give us a window into some of what the special counsel has been looking at and how it potentially relates to the Russia investigation.

Shimon Prokupecz, CNN -- Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Let's bring in Page Pate, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Page -- we really need you tonight.

I am glad that you're on set because there are a lot of things that we need to understand and untangle.

First of all, what are you going to be looking for specifically from a legal point of view tomorrow when the indictments are made public and the charges are revealed? I mean outside of the obvious of who is charged and what for.

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure. Well, the process is relatively straightforward in federal court. The indictments remain under seal until the defendants appear in front of a federal magistrate judge.

So it could be that Mueller's team has already advised the defendant's lawyer, hey, we have an indictment against your guy. He can turn himself in on Monday we'll appear in front of a judge. The judge will then tell him what he's charged with, explain his rights to him and then go ahead and address bond.

And usually in cases like this they'll let him out with a signature bond, no money down, just make sure you show up for court. Once the indictment is unsealed, then we're going to get to read not just the charges and who is charged but the story of the investigation.

Most good prosecutors lay out their case in the indictment. I've seen these indictments -- 10 pages, 20 pages, up to 50 pages. So it's not just we're advising the defendant what he's charged with, but we're sending a message to other people who may be charged later.

In a case we're going to know at that point essentially what they have -- what the investigators have on a given person or people.

VANIER: We could.

PATE: The prosecutor is not required to put all that in the indictment, but most of them do for a couple of reasons. One, so that people in the media can see it and understand the scope of the investigation. And two, it puts other people on notice.

You may see unindicted co-conspirator then some initials. And it will indicate to that person that they are a target and very close to being indicted.

VANIER: Ok. So, two things here. Number one -- is that going to tell you how strong the case is against that person?

[00:04:59] PATE: It could. It just depends on how far they go in drafting the indictment. They could keep it very short and sweet and to the point but I don't expect that in this case. I expect them to lay out the facts of the case in the indictment.

VANIER: Ok.

And number two, what do you make of this idea that maybe they're going after somebody in order to ultimately get to someone else?

PATE: Well, that would be common. I mean in a federal criminal investigation like this, it is rare that the first indictment is the last indictment.

You will usually start with the person who is most clearly culpable. You've got strong evidence. You know you can take it to a grand jury and get an indictment.

I anticipate that that means it's probably Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn -- someone who we know that the government has been investigating for some time.

VANIER: Yes. That wouldn't come as a huge surprise --

PATE: Not at all.

VANIER: -- because we know that they've been after them and they've been looking into them. PATE: Right.

VANIER: Is there anything that Mr. Trump needs to avoid saying?

PATE: Yes.

VANIER: I want you to listen -- yes, ok -- listen to Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney in New York.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY IN NEW YORK: One -- whether or not Donald Trump has some reaction and talks in a way that could be used against him in the future -- is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts suggesting that people should not be talking and people should keep their mouths shut?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: So the President needs to be careful what he says?

PATE: Absolutely. And certainly what he sends out on Twitter. I've never represented a president but I've represented many people in federal criminal cases. The government loves to change the indictment to add obstruction charges after that first indictment is unsealed.

So if the President does anything to suggest that maybe some witnesses don't want to cooperate, this investigation is off the rails, you don't need to talk to Mueller, anything either directly or indirectly that tries to influence a witness who may be part of the government's case or a defendant from cooperating with the government, that could be obstruction.

VANIER: Listen to what the White House special counsel Ty Cobb said. He was talking about the President's tweets. All day the President tweeted about Russia and the Russia investigation. And Ty Cobb said that the tweets were not related to the Mueller probe. I mean that's just strange.

PATE: It is. Well, he's a defense lawyer. He's trying to do his job. He's trying to spin what the president is saying, and that's very concerning because if right now at this critical stage, Trump is not listening to his lawyer who is telling him stay off Twitter as far as this investigation is concerned, and so the lawyer now has to somehow try to redefine or reinterpret those tweets, Mueller is not going to pay attention to Cobb's explanation, he's going to look at what's on Twitter.

VANIER: One last thing. It's entirely possible that the persons charged tomorrow and the reason the charge that is brought actually doesn't reach the President or actually doesn't damage the President, right?

PATE: Oh yes. Look, I would be surprised if it got that far on the first indictment, yes. VANIER: But I mean is there -- politically -- insulating yourself

politically is one thing, but it could also just be the case that this is remote from the presidency itself?

PATE: It's possible. The one thing we know about federal investigations is that they generally take a long time. If the special counsel's office was ready at this point to indict somebody in the White House, I would be surprised. I mean that's record speed.

So what I anticipate is this indictment is going to cover some investigation that predates the special counsel. That would be Manafort. That would be Flynn. Something they've had time to develop and finally got to the point where they have enough to bring an indictment.

VANIER: All right. Pate -- thank you very much for your explanation.

PATE: Thank you -- sir.

VANIER: Separately this could be the week the President gets closer to his first major legislative accomplishment -- tax reform. Republican lawmakers are set to reveal their plan on Wednesday. However, they're facing growing opposition over the elimination of some popular tax breaks.

And in the meantime, Mr. Trump is once again trying to put the focus on Hillary Clinton.

Boris Sanchez has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No public events for the White House on Sunday, but the President was, as he often is active on Twitter. In a series of tweets fired up over what he calls a lack of investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

And he specifically cites a number of accusations that he's made previously in the past. He references that now-infamous dossier that was put together by Fusion GPS -- at one point a company that was hired by the Clinton campaign to gather opposition research on then- candidate Trump.

He also mentions the uranium deal, this accusation that he's made before the Hillary Clinton took bribes in exchange for giving Russian officials a more favorable deal for uranium.

Beyond that, he again, reiterates his attack regarding her e-mails, and he talks about what he calls the Comey fix, this idea that former FBI Director James Comey declined to press charges against Clinton during the course of the investigation and her use of a private e-mail server in order to carry favor with her.

In one very revealing portion of these tweets, the President writes that instead of focusing on these issues, on these accusations, they are focusing on phony Trump-Russia collusion, which is non-existent, he goes on to say.

[00:10:04] CNN got a chance to ask Ty Cobb, the White House attorney, about the President's tweets and whether or not they're related to the recent news coming from Robert Mueller's special investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, that there will soon be charges in the matter.

He denied that. He said that the President's statements on Sunday had nothing to do with what's going on with the special counsel. However, it's hard to imagine that those investigations -- these investigations, are not on the President's mind at a time when none of them have concluded. They are still ongoing.

And as we see in the case of the Mueller investigation, they've now produced charges. Beyond that, it is certainly curious that the President is choosing this time, shortly before these charges are filed, to attack a political opponent that he defeated almost 12 months ago.

Boris Sanchez, CNN -- at the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Coming up after the break, Spain tightening its grip on the region of Catalonia after it declared independence. Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have been out voicing their opinions.

And an incredible story of survival against all odds -- our Ivan Watson spoke to the two sailors who survived a terrible ordeal. Five months lost at sea. We'll tell you how they survived.

Stay with us.

[00:11:25] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: With Catalonia declaring independence from Spain, hundreds of thousands of protesters in Barcelona rallied for unity. Some chanted for the arrest of deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

The Spanish government is taking unprecedented measures to quash Catalonia's independence bid. It dissolved the regional government and called snap elections for December. The Catalan people are deeply divided on the movement.

Roger Senserrich is with us now. He's a political scientist and a contributor at "Politico". And Roger -- has Catalonia's bid for independence failed?

ROGER SENSERRICH, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: It's too early to say but I think we can start getting to that conclusion that yes. They are actually not going to be able to go much farther than that. The proclamation on Friday was the start (ph) really, and they haven't gotten any government, any work recognized in the secession.

And it seems that beyond the real hard-core secessionists, most of the population is understanding that there is not much change in the situation between the situation today and before the proclamation.

VANIER: Who is running the region right now?

SENSERRICH: Right now the Spanish central government; more specifically, the vice president of the central government, is charged with running the day-to-day operations of the Catalan government.

It's a bit too early to say yet if there is going to be any of the regional ministers that are going to try to work (ph) at their offices on Monday, storm the office and try to make a big deal of getting arrested. But so far it doesn't seem like the central government is getting too much resistance from the regional authorities and being taken up (ph).

VANIER: Yes. I'm glad you mentioned that, because we're just a few hours removed from potentially, as you say, some of the ministers or even perhaps the former president of the region, Carles Puigdemont may be trying to get to their offices to make a point that they're still in power.

In fact, Carles Puigdemont made a public statement broadcast on TV -- they gave the impression he was still in power.

SENSERRICH: It was an extremely carefully-worded statement. He never said that he was president, and he never said --

VANIER: But he is still -- he's still presented as president on the Twitter feed.

SENSERRICH: Yes. But in the statement itself, he never actually went that far. So same with the proclamation on Friday -- the Friday proclamation was ambiguous (ph) -- if you read it closely it was not -- a lot of the -- I mean this is legalese, but a lot of the really secessionist-sounding soundbites were on the preamble of the declaration not in the real part of the bill that they were voting for.

So they have been hedging their bet in the sense that they are not really talking or acting, for instance -- Puigdemont actually didn't give his speech from Barcelona, from the (INAUDIBLE) -- from the seat of government. He actually gave it from Ginola (ph) and they taped it and gave it live.

So they had been really careful at hedging their bets and not actually acting like they are independent too much.

VANIER: Roger -- can I ask you how you feel about this? You're a Spaniard, not just a Spaniard, you're a Catalan yourself, your family is there. How do you feel about this?

SENSERRICH: I think secession is the (INAUDIBLE) -- and I've been pretty torn these past few days on how the regional government has behaved like there was this kind of anonymous (ph) report within the region that there was a huge groundswell of Catalans asking for independence where actually every survey result over the past few elections, the regional elections, general elections at the Spanish level, have shown that this side is really quite equally divided, probably with a slight measure of people that want to remain in Spain.

VANIER: Roger -- thank you for joining us on the show. I appreciate it.

SENSERRICH: Thanks for having me.

And now to this amazing story.

Two friends lost at sea in a damaged boat for five, long hope-starved months. It could have easily ended in tragedy but here's what happened instead. The two women set off on a trip from Hawaii to Tahiti, but they were knocked off course by a storm that severely damaged their boat. They lost communications and after months of drifting alone, they also lost hope.

But last week the women were rescued by the U.S. Navy and now they're on land again in Okinawa, Japan thanking the men and women who saved them.

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[00:20:04] JENNIFER APPEL, RESCUED AFTER FIVE MONTHS AT SEA: Had they not been able to locate us, we would have been dead within 24 hours.

These fine men and women behind us took us into their care, brought us under their wing, gave us safety, took care of our animals, gave us toothbrushes -- things that we didn't even think about bringing with us when we left.

They have provided for all of our needs. They have exceeded our expectations, and I have never been on a navy ship before. This place blew my mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Now, Ivan Watson spoke to the survivors. Ivan -- how are they doing, and also what's their mindset because it was a very close call for them and the story almost didn't have a happy ending.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean I'd say that it's a mixture of kind of euphoria and then some serious concern about the future because the 50-foot sailboat that these two women set out on from Hawaii at the beginning of May, that was their home. They've been living on that and they had to leave it behind when they boarded this giant U.S. Navy ship, the Ashland, when they were essentially rescued, because the sailboat was deemed not worthy, not seaworthy after it hit a number of storms.

They say that basically they hit a perfect storm of malfunctions and problems with the communications technology on their sailboat and that is essentially why they were drifting in the Pacific Ocean for more than five months.

Take a listen to an excerpt from our conversation earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) APPEL: We had no VHF -- no range on it. No weather comm, no SSB, single side band. We didn't have our ham radio, and our radio telephone inside the boat was not working. And also our iridium sat phone was not working. So we had no way to realize that we were about to enter a typhoon that had winds of 100 to 150 miles an hour and minimum wave heights of 40 foot height.

WATSON: How is it possible that all of these different communications devices malfunctioned?

APPEL: They are dependent on the antenna. And when the antenna went out, everything went out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: So these two mariners, Jennifer Appel and Natasha Fuiava who admits she was a novice sailor starting out on this journey, they made the trip and survived the ordeal with their two rescue dogs, which I got to play with a little bit -- Zeus and Valentine, who are in very good condition, I can report. And are going into quarantine now that they've landed on the Japanese island of Okinawa and they will now have to go through processing to try to get back to the U.S. and try to rebuild a life after this incredible adventure that has fortunately ended with everybody safe and healthy and intact -- Cyril.

VANIER: So Ivan, what was the hardest thing for them during those five months?

WATSON: Well, I think there were a number of serious challenges. They say that at certain points, they were essentially being hunted by tiger sharks. They say that tiger sharks were slamming into the hull of their sailboat.

At another point they say they were within sight of Wake Island -- it's a U.S. island in the middle of the Pacific, and that they reached for help and were told that nobody was going to come to help. At the darkest moments, they say they spent time reading the bible -- Cyril.

VANIER: Ivan -- that's an amazing story. The tiger sharks, calling for help and not getting a reply -- or rather getting a reply that nobody is going to help them. That's just strange.

Ivan Watson -- thank you for your reporting in Okinawa, Japan. Thanks.

Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM -- arrests connected to the U.S.-Russian probe are anticipated as early as Monday. We'll discuss with our guests after this.

[00:24:14] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: Hey, welcome back, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier at the CNN NEWSROOM. Let's take a look at some other stories we're following for you this hour.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un took a break from making nuclear threats to visit a cosmetics factory with his rarely-seen wife. She's seen here in a black and white dress. State media released images of the couple at the newly-renovation factory in Pyongyang.

London's Heathrow Airport is reeling after a major security breach. Officials are trying to figure out how a USB memory stick filled with highly sensitive information allegedly made it to the streets of London for a passerby to discover. The USB drive had details including the routes that Queen Elizabeth takes when she uses the airport.

And British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered an investigation of one of her international trade ministers for inappropriate behavior. Mark Garnier reportedly asked his personal assistant to buy sex toys and used a sexual slur against here and then he told the "Sunday Mail" that these incidents were not sexual harassments. The allegations emerged after British media reported that parliament researchers and aides were sharing stories of alleged inappropriate conduct by lawmakers.

Ok. So back to U.S. politics now -- within the next day or so, we could see the first arrests in the investigation looking at Russian meddling in the U.S. election. On Friday a grand jury approve the first charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. We don't yet know who will be charged or what charges they will face.

We have also received no official word from the White House. But President Donald Trump did unleash a torrent of tweets, calling the probe a witch hunt.

Later cooler heads prevailed. Mr. Trump's lawyer released a statement saying the President comments are unrelated to the activities of the special counsel with who he continues to cooperate.

Let's bring in Michael D'Antonio, a CNN contributor and author of a biography on Donald Trump called "The Truth about Trump". Also with CNN political commentator John Phillips and KADC talk show radio host.

Michael -- as a biographer of the President, what do you think the mindset of Donald Trump might be in a moment like this? How do you think he's approaching this?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think he's very confused actually. This is perhaps the first time in his life that he's faced with a judicial proceeding of the likes that Robert Mueller is carrying out. He's in a venue that's unfamiliar. In New York City, he was engaged in many legal battles but he always had the top lawyer in town and certainly someone --

(CROSSTALK)

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, he still does doesn't he?

D'ANTONIO: Well, he does but this is a very different, less political environment. In New York, he could get pretty much what he wanted almost all the time or --

VANIER: You're saying the White House is a less political environment than when was a businessman?

D'ANTONIO: I'm talking about the legal venue. The court that he's facing in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, in his previous legal battles, he's been involved in lower court state level, where he could buy someone off who was suing him, make a settlement and make it go away.

This is also a nightmare for him because he's subject to the kind of fact-finding that hasn't taken place before. Those tax returns --

VANIER: John, as a conservative, are you worried what we might find out, worried for the Trump presidency?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not. In fact you know if I'm Trump right now, the first thing I'm thinking is to take a bucket and put it under Mueller. There's been so many leaks so far in this investigation.

But we don't know what he's going to come out with tomorrow; it may be something totally unrelated to Russia. I've been reading news reports today, saying he's looking into Paul Manafort's business dealings, going back over a decade.

So if this is a big swing and a miss by Mueller, Trump and come out and go on the offensive and say, you know what?

We've seen this before. Let's not forget the Whitewater investigation started out to investigate real estate transactions in Arkansas and it ended up being about Monica Lewinsky.

If this investigation starts out about Russia and starts getting involved into Paul Manafort's business dealings over a decade ago, he could really use it as an opportunity to rally the troops and get his supporters behind him and really expose this investigation as a witch hunt.

VANIER: Michael, just making the point, that this might not necessarily constitute a major political blow for the president -- it depends on who is being charged and what for.

D'ANTONIO: The question is, how low can he go?

He's now at 38 percent approval in two different polls, which is about as low as he has been. And if Mueller is leaking, I'd like to understand how. No one knows what he's doing. In fact, this has been the most buttoned-up investigation, I think, of any presidential scandal.

So I wouldn't expect that tomorrow will be something frivolous. It may be looking at Manafort --

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: No, it may not be --

(CROSSTALK) VANIER: -- but John's point is that it may not be directly connected to the president or not really implicate the president in any majorly harmful way.

D'ANTONIO: Well, I don't think we know. And I think to say that this is a witch hunt is just a buy-in to the political line that the president has been offering. There's no evidence that Robert Mueller is at all political in the way that Kenneth Starr was or, for that matter, previous special prosecutors. He's about as straight as they come.

So I think we should watch, we should see what he comes out with and not forget that this is just the first step after a very short period of time.

You know, this is just a few months that he's been doing this job. He's moving very quickly. It could be wrapped up in a very short time. So for people to speculate that this is going to be a long, drawn-out, abusive process, where we'll end up with a Monica Lewinsky situation, I think, is really putting the cart before the horse.

VANIER: Yes, we will have to wait and see.

John, the president and Republicans pretty much all week have been leveling attacks at Hillary Clinton.

Is that a coincidence or do you agree with this argument that's being put out there that this was a diversion ahead of these charges?

THOMAS: I don't think it's a diversion at all. I think it's entirely possible that much of what we're seeing involved in this Russia investigation could have stemmed from the Russian dossier that Hillary Clinton and the DNC helped fund.

So if the FBI is now conducting investigations and we're now having a president that's being looked at by investigators because of a political document that was put together by his opponents -- and, by the way, they didn't acknowledge at the time that they were the ones that put this together.

They're still out there saying that Hillary Clinton probably didn't know about it before the election, which is something I have a hard time believing. I think it's absolutely relevant to the entire story, given the fact that it could have been the impetus.

VANIER: But there's no evidence of collusion. As the president alleged there was collusion between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Russians. There's just no evidence of that.

THOMAS: Yes, and I would say there's been no proof of collision between Trump and the Russians. Look, when you're running a campaign, one of the things that you do is you do opposition on your opponents and you talk to whoever calls you.

The difference between that and collusion --

[00:35:00]

THOMAS: -- is if you're colluding with the government and it's a quid pro quo. You're promising something in return for that information. We have yet to see any proof that Donald Trump is colluding with the Russians or anyone else or his campaign.

D'ANTONIO: Cyril, there's one thing that bears mentioning here. This investigation was not prompted by the Russian dossier; it was prompted by Michael Flynn lying about his relationship with foreign governments; it was prompted by the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. and several other members of the campaign had with Russians, who were referred by the Putin government.

There are so many things, including the president's own potential attempt to interfere with Comey's investigation, that go far beyond any dossier. So, you know, so much of this is because of the actions of people in the Trump administration after the election.

THOMAS: We don't know --

VANIER: Gentlemen, gentlemen, I have to leave it at that but I have a lot more questions for you. We'll bring you back on later in the show. Please do stay with us but I thank you both.

THOMAS: Thank you.

VANIER: The Iraqi Kurdish president is stepping down. He took a gamble for Kurdish independence but it backfired. A look back at his 12 years in power after the break.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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VANIER: It's the end of an era in Kurdish politics. The Iraqi Kurds president, the face of Kurdish nationalism for decades, is stepping down on Wednesday. Masoud Barzani served 12 years as president. He took a big gamble last month, when he pushed for an independence referendum and that gamble backfired.

The vote prompted the Iraqi military to retake oil-rich territory from the Kurds, including the key city of Kirkuk. Barzani still has supporters, like these demonstrators, who stormed the Kurdish parliament. CNN's Becky Anderson looks back at his years in power.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He took them to the brink but not to the end. Iraqi Kurds charging ahead, voting to make themselves a state anew from parts of Iraq, a dream so long in the making for Barzani.

MASOUD BARZANI, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT PRESIDENT (through translator): The time is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The time though wasn't now, that dream crushed under the weight of Iraqi forces and a political assault from Turkey, Iran and Baghdad, destroying the political legacy of Masoud Barzani himself.

He'd been widely respected for doing something no one has ever done before: given the Kurds a space in which to rule themselves and largely be left to it. Kurdish business, life all booming there. Decades of handshakes, nods and schmoozing finally paying off.

Then a moment about like any other. The Kurds, key to crushing --

[00:40:00]

ANDERSON (voice-over): -- ISIS.

So surely a country of their own would be their prize?

Also Barzani, after years of hope and work, before these scenes reckoned on.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I congratulate Iraq's leaders on the agreement reached yesterday in Baghdad.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Such words from Washington leading to Barzani's epic miscalculation.

BRETT MCGURK, PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR THE GLOBAL COALITION TO COUNTER ISIL: Having a referendum on such a fast timeline, particularly in disputed areas, would be, we think, significantly destabilizing. And we've made those views very clear.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Caution though to the wind, it was now or never, went thinking in Kurdistan. This was what they had suffered before. Just some 30 years or so ago, Iraq's barbaric despot, Saddam Hussein, slaughtering Kurds with chemical gas.

A man just a few years later, Barzani then made friends with, to fight a civil war amongst the Kurds themselves, a war he won.

Barzani has lived a fighter, born into the struggle for Kurdistan, his father a legendary fighter, raising the kingdom for Kurds that evaporated under the British assault. The dreams of the father now not to be lived by that son, so instead perhaps by his. For the Barzanis, independence is a family struggle -- Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Some 45 million people in the northeastern United States are under a flash flood watch, threatened by a powerful storm heading into New York and New England. And thousands have already lost power. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis has the latest.

(WEATHER REPORT) VANIER: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. Do stay with us now for "WORLD SPORT." And I'll be back at the top of the hour with more NEWSROOM around the world.

[00:30:10] In New York City, he was engaged in many legal battles but he always --