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Former Intel chiefs: Trump is being played by Putin; GOP senators: Moore accusations stronger than denial; Brennan: Trump possibly intimidated by Vladimir Putin; Young addicts; families refuse to give up; Memorial to victims of last Sunday's shooting opens; Sixty-one dead in 7.3 earthquake on Iran-Iraq border. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 12, 2017 - 17:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[17:00:00] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And we start with something you will only see on CNN. Two men who were once responsible for the security of the United States today saying that President Donald Trump's quote naivety, ignorance or fear, might be putting the U.S. in danger.

I'm talking about James Clapper, the former head of the CIA and John Brennan, one time director of National Intelligence. They were both singled out by name this weekend by President Trump who called them, quote, political hacks.

This after President Trump declared that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin and not the American Intelligence Community on whether Moscow actively helped him win the White House last year.

The Russians saying no, they did not meddle. American intelligence officials across the board even some appointed by this president strongly disagree. Earlier today those two men, Clapper and Brennan were on CNN on State of the Union saying this president is being duped by foreign interested. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, first of all, he was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to delegitimize intelligence community systems. He has gone, Jim Clapper, Jim Comey and John Brennan did not write that assessment.

It was written by the professional intelligence officers and law enforcement officers of this great country. Secondly, I feel very honored to be associated with Jim Clapper and Jim Comey in the same category.

And considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor. And third, I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans Day, Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper who served in uniform for 35 years.

Who responds to the call of this country to go to Vietnam, flew and over 70 combats if court missions over Vietnam and like Senator McCain really did put his life at risk because of this country's National Security.

And to impugn the character of somebody like Jim Clapper on Veterans Day who has dedicated so much of his life to this country, I just find that outrageous and something that I think that Mr. Trump should be ashamed of but it doesn't seem as though anything he does he feels any shame whatsoever.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: CNN Senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta has been traveling with the president all over Asia. Today he is in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Jim, John Brennan and James Clapper have credibility.

They are well-respected in Washington and their comments about president are unlike many we have heard before. Do you have response from the president or his insiders?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris. No apologies. No regrets from President Trump. He did not express them yesterday with respect to the stinging criticism of those former members of the Intelligence Community.

You did hear President Trump try to cautiously walk back his comments that he initially made on Air Force One when he suggested that he believed Vladimir Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community when it comes to this question of Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

Listen to how President Trump made the comments at this press conference with the president of Vietnam yesterday on this side of the world.

This is how he said it when he was asked the question, do you definitively once and for all believe the U.S. Intelligence Community when they say that Russia meddled in the election. Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I said I'm surprised that there is any conflict on this. I said there is that I believe he believes that, and that's very important for somebody to believe.

I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies especially as currently constituted with the leadership. I believe in our Intel agencies, our intelligence agencies. I worked with them very strongly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, when you listen to that, Boris, obviously you did not hear him answer the question yes or no, do you believe the Intelligence Community and that -- it was another opportunity for the president to put that matter to rest once and for all.

He did not do that. As a matter of fact, after the press conference was over, we have sort of chased the president around a little bit in the gardens of the Vietnamese presidential palace because he was standing there right in front of us.

We tried to ask the question and there was no response. But the White House and the president did sort of dangle a bright shiny object in front of us right before that press conference in the form of a Trump tweet on North Korea.

He said that why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat. Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend and maybe someday that will happen.

Of course, that tweet ended up being one of the questions at the news conference. One of our colleagues at Reuters asked the president what about this idea of you and Kim Jong-un becoming friends and the president said strange things have happened.

And I think that is a pretty accurate statement for strange things that happened on this foreign trip with the president overseas.

The other thing that we are looking for, for the rest of this trip, he only has a couple of days left. He is here in the Philippines. He'll be meeting with the president of the Philippines.

[17:05:00] President Duterte who has obviously come over heavy criticism for human rights abuses and cracking down on drugs on this part of the world.

We'll see if the president calls him out on that. We're not expecting to do that but he will be meeting with him throughout the next 24 to 48 hours. That will obviously be a big question for us as we watch this closely. Boris.

SANCHEZ: The details of that meeting will certainly be interesting to come over. Jim Acosta, reporting from Manila, thank you.

Before we get to our panel, I want you to hear another portion of Jake Tapper's exclusive interview with John Brennan and James Clapper specifically what they say they think about President Trump saying that he wants to have a better relationship with Russia. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENNAN: I think what he is doing is saying to Vladimir Putin we need to put this behind us because there is important -- is important work to be done. And I agree. We need to be able to find a way to improve relations between Moscow and Washington.

But I think by not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know that you are responsible for this I think he is giving Putin a pass.

And I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and to try to play upon his insecurities which is very, very worrisome from National Security standpoint.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Again, right at -- the Russians are going to pursue like interests with us is slim and none. And I think it is very naive and again fact perilous to this country to make an assumption that Russia is going to behave with the best interest of the world or the United States in mind. They are not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And to reiterate, the nation's former top intelligence officials saying that the president is being played and that his hope of having a relationship with Russia is not only naive but perilous.

With us to discuss the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, he is also a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor emeritus for World Policy Journal David Adelman. David, previously work as the Southeast Asia bureau chief for the New York Times.

Ambassador, I would like to start with you and set the context here. Vladimir Putin is a former KGB agent. Around the world he is regarded as a strong man, long accused of squashing opponents often brutally. So should the American people take Vladimir Putin at his word the way President Trump seems to be doing?

THOMAS PICKERING, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Boris, I think that is a huge stretch. We have just seen the intelligence community and the president having been on one side of the issue flip right before our eyes to the other side of the issue.

And said he is sort of aligning himself with the American Intelligence Community because it was rather implausible the other way around, and I think that the notion that a practiced, well trained significant intelligence agency who deals in plausible deniability that is, if you can get by with it, it is OK.

You should in one way or another be the soul of honesty and truth, and that somehow the president can see into this man's mind and heart to say he really believed what he was saying to me is a stretch beyond a stretch.

I just don't see how in any way at all this is taking us anywhere. I do agree with John Brennan it is extremely important that we find a way to deal with some of the problems between the U.S. and Russia.

But that way is not to credit things that don't have any basis in fact and that doesn't have any basis in fact with reality and with truth.

SANCHEZ: David, to you -- again, you were the Southeast Asia bureau chief for The New York Times. You are familiar with this part of the world.

It's a sensitive time for that part of the world with North Korea being so aggressive, with China flexing its muscle. What does this do to the president to have top former National Intelligence officials say he is being played by Russia? What does that do to our allies and for the world?

DAVID ADELMAN, EDITOR EMERITUS, WORLD POLICY JOURNAL: Well, first of all, there is no question he is being played. But the question is, how do we move as Ambassador Pickering quite rightly said, how do we move past that? What is most important?

After, by the way -- after Southeast Asia I spent three years for the times in Eastern Europe. So I don know both sides of the coin as it were, it seems to me that effectively, we are playing right into Putin's hands.

Every pass that Putin gets on this, every time that we get to distract from the really important issues going forward, let's set this aside and say you know, absolutely. You know, they played with us. They did a horrible thing.

Let's get down to the substance. When he has five minutes only, the president, to speak with Pickering -- to speak with Putin do we want to actually deal with those kinds of issues of the American presidential election? No.

We I think need to really get down to brass taxes and let those two negotiators get together. The big question is, does Trump really feel he is able to stand up to Putin in a real negotiation or whether this is not perhaps something that he has set aside.

[17:10:00] SANCHEZ: Just to make sure you're stating this. I am interpreting correctly, you are saying that we should look past what was a direct attack on our democracy?

ADELMAN: Not at all. No. Not at all. No. I think we need to say, there was no question it was an attack on our democracy but what are we going to do about it?

What we can do about it is now begin to draw the Russians into and hold their feet to the fire on some very important issues that they do not want to deal with.

And they are very happy to see this other issue as a distraction from the issues that they don't want to concede anything to us. We need to make them concede to us on critical issues, Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, they need to help us on that. So we need to really make sure that they are playing ball with us regardless of what has gone before. We need to look to the future.

SANCHEZ: Ambassador, do you agree with, David, or do you think that the president has a duty to confront Vladimir Putin at every turn about what happened in last year's election?

PICKERING: Of course, he has the duty to confront Vladimir Putin and that means obviously pushing back hard. Pushing back hard doesn't mean that he can't deal with other issues. And I kind of agree with, David. Some pressure back on Putin might help to open the door, for example,

on Syria where we seem to be hanging back perhaps even more than the Russians and the others in the ball game are hanging back.

Or in Ukraine which is infinitely complicated and obviously will require a hell of a lot of effort and pressure and support from our friends and allies to move there.

But Putin can't believe, in fact, that he can just merely tell Mr. Trump that everything is simply splendid. Of course, I had nothing to do with your elections, that is not relevant at all and expect that to lead into some kind of super honeymoon in which if I can put it carefully and quietly, Mr. Trump doesn't end up on the bottom of the heat.

SANCHEZ: David, I wanted to site something that you wrote for CNN.com, an opinion -- an opinion column titled what Trump and Putin should have really discussed in Asia.

You write that quote, conflict resolutions that rely on a personal relationship with Putin might have a better chance of happening.

President Trump himself has said that President Obama didn't have a chemistry with Vladimir Putin. Do you believe Donald Trump has that chemistry with Putin or is he as Clapper and Brennan stated, is he intimidated by the Russian leader?

ADELMAN: Well, first of all, I don't think they have any kind of chemistry in that sense. The Russian leader as Ambassador Brennan -- Ambassador Pickering said and as Mr. Brennan said before that, he is a constant KGB agent.

He knows how to play people. He is without question playing Trump. The big question is can Trump actually play him back in some fashion? And I think that is very important to understand.

That again, every moment that goes by when we don't have some kind of a substantive of discussion with the Russians on these important issues and simply leave it as was the case over this weekend to the staff to put together some sort of anodyne joint statement that will resolve none of the issues on Syria in particular.

We are playing right into Russia's hands. They get another six months, another year of doing what they will in Syria. That is not good for anybody.

SANCHEZ: Ambassador, I'm wondering what kind of leverage do you think that the president has when dealing with Vladimir Putin if Congress earlier this year overwhelmingly passed sanctions that it appears the White House is not fully enforcing to an extreme extent?

PICKERING: I don't know about not enforcing. I hope they will. I think that Putin understands that kind of pressure. I think it is even more important if we go back to the Cuban missile crisis.

That brought a really important come to each other significant moment in both the Soviet Union as it was then and the United States. And we began to say hey, we have to build some stability, some security in our nuclear relationship.

We are now wandering down a path where seemingly we could get into that kind of an accident or that kind of a miscalculation again. And that would be extremely serious.

So it's in the adult interest of both -- interest of both countries here to do everything we can to avoid both that kind of misunderstanding and if I can say so foolishness. And we ought to tighten up on where we are on the nuclear side.

We can move there and we should get, put it this way, get the flame away from the gasoline in Syria and the Middle East. If we can possibly do that, we both have some interest in that.

There is no military end to that solution despite the fact that it see-saws around and is now slightly in Mr. Assad's favor for a while. But that I don't think is one way or another going to solve the problem. And there are other issues.

Russia could help, as David, said in North Korea. That would be extremely useful. There are other places in fact where Russia tries to drive wedges between us and the Europeans. So far that hasn't been successful.

But they will keep on doing it until we in fact get them to understand that they need to stop it. It isn't going to produce anything special for them in Western Europe.

[17:15:00] And it certainly isn't in any way at all going to solve the problems that we had between the U.S. And Russia right now which I think are moving not to a useful conclusion by kindness and gentility but to a bad conclusion through misunderstanding and misperception.

SANCHEZ: David, we are just about out of time but a very brief response.

ADELMAN: Yes, well, I would like to say that you know, you asked me first about sort of -- some kind of condominium between leaders. Do they get along well.

If you have to go back to Roosevelt and Stalin -- Roosevelt and Stalin actually got along pretty well personally. You know, he used to call Stalin, Uncle Joe and so on.

And really they had a chemistry. When you have a chemistry between leaders, Nixon and Mao Zedong for example, Kissinger and Mao Zedong, all of this can produce results in the future if it is focused properly. And we need to focus properly on what is lying ahead.

SANCHEZ: We will see how this plays out. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, David Adelman, thank you so much both of you, for the time.

PICKERING: Thanks, Boris. SANCHEZ: Coming up, Senate candidate forcefully denies allegations of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old. But with the special election one month away and calls for him to step out -- to step aside from the race, how much do voters in Alabama even care?

And we go back to the streets of Boston after CNN profiled the struggles of two heroin addicts. Their families were able to reconnect with them. Stick around for an inspiring story.

[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Republican senators seem to be changing their tune somewhat about the sexual misconduct accusations against Roy Moore, their party's nominee for the vacant Senate seat in Alabama.

Four women told The Washington Post that Moore pursued romantic relationships with them decades ago when they were teenagers including one who was 14 at the time. The age of consent in Alabama then and now is 16.

Moore vehemently denied the allegations at his court's public appearance since the article was published, calling them politically motivated. GOP Lawmakers initially said that if true, Moore should step aside. But now some are giving deference to the accuser over Moore's denials. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I don't know how this is going to turn out. Yes, this is a terrible situation. Nearly 40-year-old allegation will probably know for sure exactly what happened.

But from my point of view, you know, I have to say I think the accusations have more credibility than the denial. I think it would be best if Roy would just step aside.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Certainly the allegations are very strong. The denial is not as strong as the allegations. I think if the allegations are true there is no doubt that he should step aside and not for the party but for the American people.

We have to find a way to restore trust and confidence in our elected officials in our government. And this goes in the wrong direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: CNN's Martin Savidge joins me now from Gadsden, Alabama. Martin, you have been gathering reaction from church goers in Roy Moore's hometown. What are they saying about this race and this scandal?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are saying a lot, Boris. Good evening to you. You know, there is no question that much of the support that Roy has enjoyed really has come from the Christian conservatives. And they have been the staunch backers of him throughout not just this

race but other races that he has done which is why it was so interesting to have conversations with people right after church. Here, just listen to some.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Moore is my friend. I'm a Democrat. I'm not going to vote for him because I'm a Democrat. But I have known him a long, long time.

The thing that bothers me about those charges is that he has been in public life running for many offices and as many times as this happened, no one has ever said anything until now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there was a Roy Moore supporter to begin with. I see no reason why several women would come out and start talking about this stuff if it wasn't true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am waiting for more information to come out. But again, right now I feel that where there is smoke there is fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really hate that all of this negative attention is on my home state and especially on my city, Gadsden, Etowah County, Alabama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Two things that are very interesting. Of course, the first gentleman who was saying that he does believe it is you know, sort of political trickery that's going on here. He doesn't believe the allegations but he believes it's the Republicans that are behind it.

Most folks might think if you thought that it would be the Democrats, the opponent. There are actually a number of people down here who believe this is the Republican mainstream somehow cooking up a problem for a person who is considered to be a sort of out there candidate on the Republican side.

And then there are those who are very much have said about how this is all bringing so much negative attention on the stereo typical attention to the state of Alabama. They have been troubled by that throughout this whole ordeal.

It is really very difficult to tell what the impact is going to be on voters, the election one month away from today. Roy Moore certainly has fought back but these allegations are very strong.

The biggest problem people have is they say why now? That's why they are so suspicious. Supporters of these women say there is no wrong time to tell the truth.

And they believe them and there are a lot of people who believe especially, Corfman, who is the one who says she was molested at 14 by Moore. They don't believe she is doing this for political reasons. Boris. SANCHEZ: Yes, and many more are coming forward to collaborate her story. Martin Savidge, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much reporting from Alabama.

Coming up, as the president down plays his past skepticism, why won't he admit that Russia meddled in the 2016 election? More discussion next.

[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: President Trump is on the last stop of a five nation tour of Asia. Today he is in the Philippines but his comments about believing Vladimir Putin but also siding with the American Intelligence Community on the issue of Russian meddling have many wondering just what the president believes at all.

I want to get Eugene Scott in here. He is a political reporter for the Washington Post. Also with us is Sarah Westwood, she is a White House Correspondent for the Washington Examiner.

Eugene, let's start with you. The two former top U.S. Intelligence officials in the country were on CNN today saying among other things that the president is giving Vladimir Putin a pass.

[17:30:00] Suggesting that he is letting himself be played by Russia and China. That is some very strong criticism.

EUGENE SCOTT, POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely. And to be fair to the president, he later came out saying that he actually does believe American Intelligence. But I think he received as much criticism as he did because his initial response left that unclear.

And the reason why that matters beyond the partisanship ideas of it all is that to believe a Russian president over the American intelligence agencies is a national security issue and Senator John McCain brought this up.

SANCHEZ: Sarah, to you, I want to listen to John Brennan suggesting that President Trump was intimidated by Vladimir Putin. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENNAN: I think Mr. Trump is for whatever reason either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do or what might come out as a result of these investigations. So it's very worrisome.

And I think it sends a worrisome, very disturbing signal to our allies and partners who are concerned about Russian interference in their democratic processes as well. So either naivety, ignorance or fear in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-a-vis the Russians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Naivety, ignorance or fear. I have been refreshing my Twitter feed to see what the president is going to say. Safe to assume he's gong to have a strong response.

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: That probably say to assume. The president is not someone who takes personal criticism well because Brennan and Clapper have previously been critical of President Trump that may be one explanation for why he singled those two out as being responsible for perpetuating what he believes to be still some sort of false witch hunt against his administration.

And he did credit his own Intelligence Community with being accurate when it comes to talking about Russian interference because keep in mind that the CIA or Pompeo, a Trump appointee actually did push back on the notion that the conclusions about Russian meddling have somehow changed.

So he did stand by the Intelligence Community under his own leadership but not surprising that two former Obama administration officials who have spoken out against Trump in the past did receive some pushback from Trump this week when he was in Asia.

SANCHEZ: Eugene, the president said that he believes that Putin is being genuine. But as you heard he also said that as you mentioned he sides with the Intelligence Agencies. Do you have indication of which one he believes because those two are contradictory.

SCOTT: Well, he probably believes Mike Pompeo, the CIA director that Donald Trump himself appointed. To be fair to the president, he said that the people in the Intelligence Community that he has most problem with are those who came before he entered the White House.

He has a bit more confidence in those who came after him. The thing is both of these groups say that Russia interfered in the U.S. election and they are concerned that Russia could interfere in future elections in the U.S. and elsewhere if the White House doesn't take a stronger approach in pushing back on that activities.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Sarah, I wanted to ask you about that because the president tweeted about haters and fools arguing that the U.S. should have a more positive relationship with Russia.

But how is that possible if according to several sources, Russia is apparently planning to do the same thing again in 2018 and in 2020.

WESTWOOD: It's extremely difficult because the situation is so high pressure for President Trump that the White House at this APEC summit in Vietnam avoided a formal bilateral meeting for the exact reason to avoid what is happening right now.

They didn't want to have this kind of scrutiny of President Trump's pushback on Russia meddling. They didn't want to have this sort of intrigue over what it is that Putin and Trump said to each other at the summit.

So they avoided the kind of sit down that they had at the G-20 in Germany and they still were not able to escape this kind of controversy because President Trump himself invited it when he brought up his conversation with Putin.

But that aside, it is really hard to try to stabilize relations and work with Moscow on areas where the U.S. actually does need to foster cooperation like Syria or North Korea when the situation is so politically toxic at home that President Trump can't even really mention Putin's name without inviting controversy. The White House has to find a way to work through that really difficult situation.

SANCHEZ: I want to pivot to two other topics. Eugene, first to you. Roy Moore in Alabama, the accusations are horrendous. His denials are absolute. How do you see these allegations playing out in a month from now when voters go to the polls to pick a senator?

SCOTT: Well, that's right now what people are trying to figure out. There have been several Republicans who have talked to the governor of Alabama hoping that she could somehow delay the election to give Republicans some time to figure out the best way to respond to these allegations. She has come out and said she won't do that without some type of direction from the White House.

[17:35:00] But the reality is this is just another issue -- the latest issue in fact that shows the Republicans are divided regarding how they should move forward. Some people want Roy Moore to stay in the race. Others want him to move.

SANCHEZ: Sarah, we have heard rumblings that there are Republicans in the Senate that have been exploring different scenarios behind the scenes to try to get Roy Moore out of this race. Have you heard anything?

WESTWOOD: It is really difficult to see him being an effective senator even if you were to over come these allegations and still win the election, how he could come to Washington and then work side by side with some of these people who denounced him with such intensity.

There have been efforts for Republicans and Democrats to like to explore ways that they could expel him from the upper chamber if he were to win election. That was sort of would be a remarkable situation all around.

But this is a really remarkable election. And so, even if he does still beat Doug Jones in the special election it is difficult to see him been going on to have any kind of normal political career.

SANCHEZ: The last topic I wanted to hit on was Joe Biden. Oprah Winfrey spoke with him about the possibility of him running for president in 2020. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not saying here now -- great respect to your faith. I'm over 70. I'm -- thank god, right now in awful good health right now.

I -- you know, but I don't know what else, the things are going to be two years from now. I just don't know. I promise you I'm not doing anything to organize running but I'm going to go out there and continue to do what I have done since I have been 26 years old.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Eugene, first to you, Does Joe Biden run in 2020?

SCOTT: Well, as of right now it doesn't look like he has made a decision. But he has made a decision to address many of the issues that people are talking about right now, specifically related to sexual harassment, related to child care, making it affordable, related to working class Americans having more opportunities to achieve the American dream.

So while he may not be officially campaigning, he certainly is addressing many issues that voters have said mean the most to them.

SANCHEZ: Sarah, what do you think his chances are that he runs?

WESTWOOD: I think it really depends on what other candidates the Democratic Party is able to produce between now and 2020. He is clearly keeping his powder dry, leaving the doors open to run in case there isn't a clear front runner.

And in case there is no consensus behind who they should run because he can tap into the economic populism that Democrats are looking for in 2020.

He can reach out to those Middle Americans in a way that a lot of progressive front runners can't. But if there is someone the Democratic Party coalesces behind it is hard to see Joe Biden running at this late stage in his life.

SANCHEZ: Sarah Westwood, Eugene Scott, we have run out of time. Thank you both for spending your Sunday night with us.

SCOTT: Thank you. SANCHEZ: A joint -- a joint U.S.-Niger Military investigation team has visited the site of the ambush attack that killed four American soldiers. The men died October 4th in the Niger village of Tango Tango.

Investigators say they are there to interview local villagers and they are also retracing actions that led up to, during and after that ambush.

Coming up, we will take you back to the streets of Boston to see where the heroin addicts profiled in CNN, who is just two weeks ago are. Their families didn't know what was happening to them until they saw our report. We'll tell you what has change next.

And an emotional weekend for many in a small Texas town shattered by a shooting last week as worshippers and families gather. You are taking a live look at Sutherland Springs, Texas. We will show you how that community is healing next in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: You're about to see two families dealing with heartbreak, their children deep in the often deadly cycle of drug addiction living on the streets of a major American city. Gary Tuchman went back to Boston to check on the progress of two young heroin addicts and the families that refuse to give up on them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Last time we saw Billy Donovan, he was trying to find a vein for his needle.

BILLY DONOVAN, OPIOID ADDICT: I'm a junky. I have been shooting heroin for 16 years. I am homeless and live on the sidewalk. This is my life.

TUCHMAN: We met Meghan DiGiacomo in the same neighborhood just South of downtown Boston. She is also a heroin addict.

MEGHAN DIGIACOMO, OPIOID ADDICT: I lost the love of my life because of overdose. (Inaudible)

TUCHMAN: Are you afraid you are going to die from this?

DONOVAN: I know I'm going to die from this.

TUCHMAN: Are you afraid you are going to die from this?

M. DIGIACOMO: Not really afraid. Honestly, sometimes it just death seems easier.

JULIE CHANDLER, MEGHAN DIGIACOMO'S MOTHER: I'm never giving up on Meghan. She won't die. She can't.

TUCHMAN: This is Julie Chandler, Meghan's mother. Until she saw our story she didn't know where her daughter was, a daughter who she says was always a happy go lucky little girl. She didn't know for sure if Meghan was alive.

Remarkably, the same goes for Billy, until his mother also saw our story, she didn't know for sure where her son was. The little boy she says who was always kind and friendly, and she too feared the worse.

KRISTINA BARBOZA, BILLY DONOVAN'S MOTHER: If my son were to die I just don't know how I would go on.

TUCHMAN: Both Meghan and Billy have gone through treatment many times but they have always relapsed. Two weeks after we first met I went back to find Meghan. It is nice to see you again. How are you?

M. DIGIACOMO: I'm good.

TUCHMAN: and I found her dad, too. Paul DiGiacomo, Megan's father saw our story, located his daughter and is now living in the streets with her, refusing to leave until she gets help. He brought Meghan's dog along, too.

M. DIGIACOMO: I was like literally sleeping here.

[17:45:00] And I woke up to my dog licking my face and my dad is like, we all moved in. I'm like, what are you doing here? He's like I'm not leaving until you get help or go to the hospital.

PAUL DIGIACOMO, MEGHAN DIGIACOMO'S FATHER: My kids are everything to me. They really are.

TUCHMAN: Is she breaking your heart?

P. DIGIACOMO: Of course, she is. Of course, she is.

M. DIGIACOMO: And for me like I feel all right with myself sleeping on the street. I'm like, I check on him 100 times during the night and see...

TUCHMAN: Isn't that the irony, you check in on him and but you're the one how really needs the help.

M. DIGIACOMO: That's how I am. I always take care of other people before I take care of myself.

P. DIGIACOMO: She wants to help others before she will help herself.

TUCHMAN: As Paul tries to convince his daughter to leave the streets and seek treatment, Billy's mother walks out of her house with some of her son's personal and sentimental belongings for a special delivery.

Billy has decided to get treatment. Some of Billy's friends who saw our original story found Billy and convinced him to go to this Detox Center in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Kristina Barboza is making the delivery to her son at the facility and hopes that this time, treatment for Billy works. She talked to him on the phone for the first time in many months the night before. What did you say to Billy when he called?

BARBOZA: I told him that I loved him and he said I know, and he said I love you, too.

TUCHMAN: How did that make you feel?

BARBOZA: Like I was dancing on top of the moon.

TUCHMAN: Meanwhile, Meghan remained on the street among the dozens of other heroin addicts in this neighborhood. She loves her father and wants him not to worry anymore. Can you go in for treatment?

M. DIGIACOMO: Yes, I want to.

TUCHMAN: So why don't you go? Am I being too simplistic?

M. DIGIACOMO: No, I don't -- I don't know like one moment I really want it and the next, you know, I'm like I will go later. I'm a procrastinator. TUCHMAN: We say good bye to Meghan. And she, her father and her dog

prepare to spend another night outdoors sleeping on plastic bags in the mud. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Difficult story to watch, struggle that hits close to home for so many. Still ahead, one week after a deadly massacre at a church in Texas, that community is gathering to mourn the lives lost there as the church reopens its doors. We'll take you there live next.

[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: One week ago today, a lone gunman walked into a church in Texas and opened fire. The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs lost 25 members and unborn child who died in the massacre.

Worshippers had gathered today for their service in a tent on a baseball field nearby. CNN's Kaylee Hartung is at the church and joins us now live. Kaylee you were just allowed inside the church building for the first time to see that sanctuary which is now been turned to a memorial for the victims. What was it like inside?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, I'm still processing what I just observed. Construction teams have been working day and night for the past three days, ever since law enforcement officials turned over the site for this purpose.

It was truly stirring. I was told before I walked in that anybody who knew what that sanctuary looked like before we find the scene unrecognizable. The carpet was removed, it was painted ceiling to floor in all white.

There were chairs -- 26 chairs in that room placed at the site where each of the victim's bodies were found. Each white chair had the victim's name written in gold along the back.

A red rose stood upright leaning against each chair and one small pink rose for the unborn Holcombe child. You could hear a recorded playing in the room. As we learned in hours after the shooting, this church recorded each of its Sunday services for the past three years.

And of those who were killed last Sunday, many of them were involved Sunday-to-Sunday in the church's services. So the recordings played overhead, those were the voices of the victims as they had been involved in previous services.

There is a plaque along the back of the church that reads a scripture that was supposed to be read last Sunday but that point in the service was never reached. That asks you to believe in the lord's power.

This memorial site is opening in just a few minutes to the public. For the first time it will remain open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. the following week. And next Sunday, the First Baptist Congregation will return to their sanctuary. I'm told that plans have not yet been hatched out for exactly what the

sanctuary will look like next Sunday when it's filled with people, whether they will bring in pews. I find it very hard to imagine that they will move the chairs that have been put in place where the 26 bodies were found.

SANCHEZ: All right. A moving, emotional memorial. Kaylee Hartung reporting from Sutherland Springs, Texas. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Breaking news, 61 people are dead, and at least 300 injured after a 7.3 earthquake hit the Iran-Iraq border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: You can see this chandelier swaying inside a building in Baghdad some 200 miles from the epicenter near Halabja. Iraqi state media is reporting the quake was felt throughout the country and beyond.

The video was recorded -- this one was inside a Baghdad grocery store. You can see items moving around inside, overhead lights changing, as well. Iraq's meteorological organization is warning people to stay away from buildings and not use elevators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Back in the United States, cameras were rolling when the floor gave way in an apartment full of college students. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(FLOOR COLLAPSING)

(SCREAMS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: The floor collapsing right under them. Several partygoers falling into an apartment below them during the home coming celebration at the University of North Texas, witnesses say they had been jumping up and down when the floor collapsed. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries.

You are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Ana Cabrera. It is 6 p.m. here in New York City. Thank you so much for joining us.