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Alabama voters choose between Moore, Jones Tuesday; Trump denies allegations of sexual misconduct; Pentagon ordered to accept transgender recruits; Trump signs NASA declaration; British PM updates parliament on Brexit breakthrough; No relief from fires in sight for Southern California; California governor: Fire devastation, new normal; Saudi Arabia to allow cinemas New York; Mysterious buyer of da Vinci painting revealed. Aired 3- 4p ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. Good evening, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, we start in New York City with an attempted terrorist attack there during the morning rush, near one of the world's most well-known tourist

attractions. You can see the moment of the explosion in this video. You see it there play out. This is surveillance video and there is the


It shows people on a walkway at the Port Authority bus terminal, then a man wearing a pipe bomb detonated the device. Two sources say he built the

bomb at work. Three people have injuries, but they're not life threatening. The suspect is in a hospital. He is being treated for burns.

The Department of Homeland Security says Akayed Ullah is a lawful American resident. There's a photograph of him. He came to the U.S. from

Bangladesh in 2011 on a family immigrant visa. The attack happened near Times Square on Monday morning. One police source says it's possible the

device malfunctioned or did not fully detonate. Listen.


BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: This was an attempted terrorist attack. Thank God, the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals.

Thank God, our first responders were there so quickly to address the situation to make sure people were safe.


GORANI: The investigation is still in its early stages obviously, but one law enforcement source says the suspect told investigators that Israeli

actions in Gaza were the reason for his attack.

CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, joins me from Washington. What are law enforcement officials doing at this stage of the

investigation, Tom?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think, Hala, the main thing is to determine whether or not he had any partners, co-

conspirators, who may have been involved in this plot or similar plots that might come up and how he determined that he was going to do this, who

inspired him or directed him to do it.

How he learned how to try to make this bomb and apparently didn't do too good of a job of making it, but that's what they would like to know now is

he completely alone? Is there someone else out there that may still pose a threat? They want to iron that down first.

GORANI: Yes. It sounded like a rudimentary device, one that possibly malfunctioned that was homemade. That's going to start telling them

something about how advanced this plot was.

FUENTES: Right. We have seen this before in Christmas day 2009. We have the underwear bomber try to detonate PETN in a diaper he was wearing as the

flight was approaching Detroit in the United States. It didn't detonate exactly, but the chemical burned and burned his legs.

Hearing that this subject has burns on his body, it may be a similar situation. He didn't quite know how to create the explosive so that it

would actually detonate with full power and may have only been partially detonated and, therefore, burning -- burned his body a little bit.

GORANI: We know that he came from Bangladesh on a family immigrant visa, according to sources. Obviously, this tells us very little, that this is

somebody who could have spent many years in the United States, come from Bangladesh without any ideas about doing anything like this and then you

know, as we have seen before, check radical websites online and self- radicalize. It's also a possibility.

FUENTES: Right. Exactly. Because we have not had that many radicalized terrorists from Bangladesh. But if they come to the United States and

hearing rhetoric either in the media or online of the negativity that, you know, the western powers and in particular the United States are causing

attacks in Muslim countries and killing their fellow Muslims, that may inspire them to try to retaliate and learn how to make a device.

GORANI: What's important here obviously, as well is that this alleged perpetrator is alive and in custody.

FUENTES: Yes. He is alive. He is supposed to be talking. We don't know to what extent he is talking about what he did or why did he it. But, you

are right. It's a help to the investigation if he is alive and they can start establishing his connections and any little thing that he says about

this would be helpful in the investigation.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Tom Fuentes, senior law enforcement analyst. Thanks for joining us from Washington as always.

FUENTES: You are welcome.

[15:05:07] GORANI: It is the last day of campaigning ahead of Tuesday's Senate election in the U.S. state of Alabama. The eyes of the world are on

this race. Normally, we might not be watching a special election in Alabama this closely because that state hasn't elected a Democrat to the

chamber in two and a half decades.

But nothing is normal in American politics anymore and in this race, the controversial Republican candidate, Roy Moore is an accused child molester.

Kaylee Hartung reports.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (voice-over): Hi, this is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote Roy Moore.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump making a final push to bolster Alabama's Republican nominee and accused child

molester, Roy Moore, recording a robocall for the controversial Senate candidate after touting his support for Moore at a rally in Florida.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: This country, the future of this country cannot afford to lose a seat in the very, very close United States Senate. We can't afford

it, folks.

HARTUNG: For the second time in one week, the president's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, also campaigning for Moore, who's become the face

of Bannon's anti-establishment movement.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: If they can destroy Moore, they can destroy you.

HARTUNG: Moore's candidacy continuing to divide the GOP with the state's most prominent Republican Senator Richard Shelby denouncing his party's

nominee on CNN.

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: So many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old story, story, that was enough for me.

I said I can't vote for Roy Moore. The state of Alabama deserves better.

HARTUNG: Moore's opponent, Democrat Doug Jones immediately turning Senator Shelby's remarks into an online ad and a robocall that will play statewide

in the final hours of this election. Moore himself seeming to avoid the spotlight. The former judge has not held a campaign event since early last

week remaining largely out of sight this weekend other than a taped interview with a local tv program.

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I do not know them. I had no encounter with them. I never molested anyone.

HARTUNG: Jones on the other hand, barnstorming the state, alongside a number of prominent Democrats, who are pouring money and resources into the


DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I want to make sure when my granddaughters grow up, they don't have to endure the kind of thing that

those girls did and then sit silent for 30 or 40 years. I want to make sure that we send a message of who we are and what we are.

HARTUNG: Jones enlisting the help of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker in an attempt to shore up the

black vote, a critical demographic for Jones.

Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley saying Sunday that any woman who speaks up about inappropriate sexual behavior should be

heard, including President Trump's accusers.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: They should be heard and they should be dealt with, and I think we heard from them prior to the

election. I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.


GORANI: Kaylee Hartung reported clearly the outcome of this race could have a major impact on next year's midterm elections. In fact, it has a

major impact either way because it is closely divided, obviously, in the Senate with the Republican majority of two. So, clearly the party does not

want to lose a seat. Beyond that, there's the 2020 presidential race.

Let's get more on the campaign from our Kaitlan Collins. She's at Midland City, Alabama. Kaitlan, correct me if I'm wrong, but we have not seen Roy

Moore campaigning today. He is the favorite to win. What is going on there? What's the strategy behind that?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: No, not only that, we have not seen Roy Moore since last Tuesday when he held a campaign rally with the

former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Tonight, will be the first time we see him at this barn here behind me.

Again, appearing with Bannon at a rally, and that disappearance in the campaign trail in the last few days of this high stakes highly contested

election is certainly something his opponent Doug Jones has been trying to highlight.

They sent out an e-mail earlier today to supporters and to reporters as well noting that they knocked on 80,000 doors this weekend while Moore was

out of sight. He did do an interview with local outlet where he denied molesting anyone and he denied knowing any of the women that have accused

him of such (inaudible).

But tonight, will be the first time that we have heard from him since last Tuesday. No public events and less than 24 hours to go before voters go to

the polls starting tomorrow morning.

GORANI: And you have been speaking to voters in Alabama, both Republicans, who support Roy Moore, some Republicans who don't support Roy Moore

anymore, and those who support Doug Jones, his Democratic opponent. What are they telling you and does Doug Jones in a state like Alabama have a

chance tomorrow?

COLLINS: Well, there are certainly several different groups. We have one group of Roy Moore supporters who do not believe the allegations these

women have made. They cited the reasons that his campaign has also given, citing his denial and the fact that these women waited sometimes 40 years

before they came out and made these allegations.

[15:10:13] Then we have some Republican voters who have never voted for a Democrat in their life who are wrestling with the possibility of do they

vote for someone who does have the same policies that they do or vote for someone who has been accused of sexual assault?

So, certainly, a wide variety over here over the state. But what is stunning is that someone like Doug Jones, a Democrat, even has a chance in

a race like this in a very deeply conservative state that has not sent a Democrat to the Senate in almost 20 years.

So, the fact that we're even talking about a possibility of a Doug Jones win tomorrow is stunning in of itself.

GORANI: Kaitlan Collins in Midland City, Alabama, thanks so much covering that important story. Of course, we will have more on the critical Alabama

Senate election later in this broadcast. I will get some perspective on what it says about the state of the Republican Party. You will want to

stay tuned for that. We have some interesting voices weighing in.

Still to come tonight, Russia's President Putin declares mission accomplished in Syria. But that doesn't mean all of his troops will be

coming home. Some will be staying longer term.

And the continued fallout from the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is America losing its status as a Mideast

mediator? We'll be right back.


GORANI: We are watching two deeply sensitive and complex developments in the Middle East both linked to buy something that even a year ago would

have seen remarkable. America not driving at all in the direction many Arab leaders would like.

Donald Trump has united most of the world against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. That's one thing all Arab countries agreed

on. They weren't happy with that decision.

That's led to series of protests like these across the region for days now. The chaos is presenting a political opportunity for a key U.S. rival.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shuttling between Middle Eastern capitals today.

He's met with the presidents of Turkey, Egypt and Syria. Mr. Putin stopped earlier at a Syrian air base to announce a partial withdrawal of his

country's troops.

Let's go to our Arwa Damon first in Jerusalem before we get to Matthew Chance in Moscow. You spent the day in the West Bank, Arwa, engaged

reaction and continued fallout to this American decision to recognize Jerusalem. What did you hear?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. As you can imagine, people are obviously still quite shocked and surprised by this to

a certain degree and of course, incredibly angry and upset. Even though, you are not necessarily seeing the masses out in the streets. That doesn't

necessarily an indication of how people are feeling or what is to come.


[15:15:09] DAMON (voice-over): The billowing smoke from the burning tires creates a dramatic backdrop as cars try to weave their way through. Youths

gather rocks from the ground. Their faces covered in an attempt to diminish the effect of the tear gas. Also, so that they are not identified

by Israeli forces later.

Parents do try to half-heartedly convince their children to stay away from the clashes, but like any rebellious generation, they are not listening

especially not now. Not now that they feel that Jerusalem has slipped from their hands.

My parents say don't go and if the Arabs and big Arab leaders aren't taking action, it's not going to be liberated with rocks or young men and women.

This 19-year-old tells us. But I do what's in my head. The numbers of Palestinians who have taken to the streets remains relatively speaking low.

(on camera): There's sort of a back and forth that's pretty much the norm here. In fact, a little muted at least by what the expectations were.

People say that they are exhausted. They say that they still will continue to fight, it just gets that much harder every day.

(voice-over): Yet that is hardly a reflection of what is happening within the population's hearts, the anger of it all. As Mustafa Barhoti (ph) says

observers should not rush to any conclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 50 years of occupation, 70 years of displacement, lots of disappointment, one after the other. Of course, it has an effect

on people's psychology. I know our people.

DAMON: Back in 1987, it was the same Barhoti explains. The population suffocated by its collective disappointments. That resulted in what he

describes as the most fantastic uprising in Palestinian history.

The first Anti-Fatah that led to the Oslo Accord in 1993. The banner carried in this small demonstration reads, Jerusalem is the red line and

the gateway to peace and war. The onus is not just on the Palestinian street, but on its leadership and Arab and Muslim nations who many say

could and should do so much more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not say that this is the end of the story. I think what we see today is the beginning of a new chapter. A whole new

chapter in our relationship to Israel and the United States.

DAMON: A new chapter that may see America replaced as a mediator. A new chapter with all its unpredictability and unknowns that people can only

hope will be for the first time authored by the Palestinians themselves.


DAMON: And Hala, there have been a flurry of meetings and phone calls between the Palestinian president and various other heads of state within

the region. But to quote Mr. Barhoti again what the Palestinians need in his perspective is not more condemnations. They have a library of those.

What the need is to see some sort of concrete action that is taking place to ensure that the Palestinians also end up with what they believe to be

their own stake in all of this, their own claim to a nation that has East Jerusalem as its capital.

GORANI: All right. It's been their demand for a long time. It doesn't look like it's within their reach at this stage certainly. Thanks very

much, Arwa Damon, live in Jerusalem.

Speaking of that decision by the U.S. president, the Russian president spoke about Donald Trump's Jerusalem plan moments ago. This is what he



VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I would like to stress that Russia and Turkey think the decision of the U.S. administration

to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American Embassy there does not help to regulate the situation in the Middle East,

but on the contrary destabilizes a very complex situation in the region.


GORANI: President Putin speaking from Turkey as part of a whirlwind tour of the Middle East. He was in Syria and Egypt.

Matthew Chance is following the developments from Moscow. What is Vladimir Putin trying to achieve here? First, obviously, he is as we heard him

there criticizing the decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But now really trying to cement and strengthen

relationships across the Arab world. What's the aim here?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one of the overarching aims of this whistle stop tour of the Middle East on the

part of Vladimir Putin is to try and consolidate Russia's position as a power broker in the Middle East.

To some extent, fill the vacuum that's been left in the eyes of many sort of critics of the United States by the absence of a strong and effective

U.S. policy in the region.

[15:20:06] We heard those remarks that were made by Vladimir Putin during his meeting with President Erdogan of Turkey just hours before he said

basically the same thing with President Sisi of Egypt.

Hours before that, he was on what looked very much like a victory parade around the air base in Syria from which Russian forces have been striking

at various anti-government targets over the course of the past two and a half years.

During that visit to Syria, which is the first by Vladimir Putin since Russia's military intervention back in 2015. He announced that Russia was

drawing down its forces and congratulated his troops, essentially, on a job well done.

So, Vladimir Putin clearly thinks that his military objectives in Syria have been fulfilled. In other words, Bashar al-Assad, his ally, has been

bolstered. His military bases have been secured in Syria.

(Inaudible) as you know is the only naval base that Russia has on the Mediterranean Sea. Russia's general status in the region is now enhanced.

He wants to capitalize on that.

GORANI: All right. Matthew Chance, our senior international correspondent in Moscow, thanks very much.

It's an extraordinary complex time for politics in the Middle East. To help put it all in perspective, I'm joined by Lina Khatib, head of the

Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. Thanks, Lina, for being with us. Is Russia filling the vacuum that the U.S. has left behind?

Syria in particular.

LINA KHATIB, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: Certainly. If you are Russia, you will look Middle East and see a U.S.

inaction, U.S. retreat from the region. Lots of rhetoric, not coupled with any real activity to make this rhetoric happen as a reality. Therefore,

Russia has opportunistically moved in to occupy the space.

GORANI: What does it mean for the future?

KHATIB: For the future, it means that the U.S. has a lot less leverage than it used to in the Middle East. Russia is now the new broker for

conflicts like Syria.

GORANI: If the U.S. had decided, say, a few years ago when there was a chemical attack outside of Damascus to enforce the red line that President

Obama said was an unacceptable line that Syria could not cross, would things have been different?

KHATIB: Absolutely. I think the red line declared by President Obama that did not result in any actual follow up played a huge role in reducing the

credibility of the United States, not just vis-a-vis its opponents but even in the eyes of its own allies. Russia used that moment to basically occupy

a space that had been practically abandoned by the United States.

GORANI: And Vladimir Putin now is visiting with the president of Egypt and of Turkey. He did a victory tour of Syria. Their longer-term presence,

there's a troop drawdown now, but there will be a longer-term military presence of Russia in Syria.

KHATIB: Yes. Absolutely. But this military presence is actually quite limited. Syria has proven to be a relatively low-cost way for Russia to

assert itself once more on the international stage. Therefore, by putting pressure on Turkey, by courting Egypt that is desperate to regain a

regional position and by essentially partnering with the Syrian regime, that is now completely dependent for survival on Russia, all this enables

Russia to become the new power broker in the Middle East.

GORANI: How will this reshape the region, though? Because for so many years, the United States was involved in what many considered to be an

unnecessary, some would even say certainly very, very ill-founded war with the Iraq invasion that led to eventually the withdrawal of troops there.

But now we have a Russia present in so many parts of the Middle East. How will it shape the region?

KHATIB: I think we have to -- whether we like it or not -- accept that Russian influence in the region is long-term thing. Even if Russia

withdraws its troops from Syria, it will still have a military base with some military presence there. It will likely broker deals regarding gas

and other energy sources in the region, and there's also a political power broker. Therefore, it's a new reality.

GORANI: You have those who say if the U.S. had entered into this Syria conflict on the side of the opponents of Bashar al-Assad, that this would

have been a disaster for America. In fact, it was the right decision to stay out of it.

KHATIB: I think the right decision would have been to exert diplomatic pressure to push the conflict towards an end years ago. There was an

opportunity. There was a moment. The red line was perhaps a moment of potential military intervention.

But we have to remember that happened in 2013, two years into the war. Until that moment, the U.S. had plenty of opportunities to try to find a

way through having the political will.

[15:25:11] But that political will was not there. Without it, the U.S. has basically made itself redundant in the region.

GORANI: With Donald Trump as president of the United States, who disposed that decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but also a

close alliance with Saudi Arabia and Israel very firmly against Iran. Aligning and allying himself and the Trump administration and the U.S. with

that one side of the proxy conflict engulfing the region.

KHATIB: Yes. Aligning himself with one side, however, also causing concern for the allies of the United States. For example, Saudi Arabia is

feeling rather embarrassed about the announcement about Jerusalem. Yes, it has not engaged in any actual action against it, but this puts it in a bit

of an embarrassing corner.

Same thing about President Trump's announcement about Iran, which is harsh, meaning things like wanting to tear up the nuclear deal, et cetera, but

this has not been coupled with any real action. Therefore, on the one hand, we have rhetoric that appeals to the allies but at the same time,

actions that are concerning to them.

GORANI: All right. Lina Khatid, head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, thanks so much for joining us. It's been a

pleasure having you on the program. Really appreciate it.

Still to come, the final day of campaigning in a crucial American election. We will get perspective on the eve of decision day in the Alabama Senate


Britain's prime minister is optimistic about Brexit. She said that in the past, but she also has a warning for everyone. We will tell you what it

is. Stay with us.


GORANI: Some heated moments at the White House press briefing involving accusations against President Trump ranging from sexual harassment and

misconduct to sexual assault. All of the alleged incidents took place prior to his assuming the presidency.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders said eyewitnesses have backed up Mr. Trump's claim that there is no truth to the allegations.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations. This took

place long before he was elected to be president. And the people of this country had a decisive election, supported President Trump and we feel like

these allegations have been answered through that process.


GORANI: All right. When she was asked again, Sarah Sanders did not want to comment on these allegations. They come, obviously, one day before a

crucial U.S. Senate election in Alabama.

I was saying at the beginning of the hour, it's not often that CNN international covers special elections in the U.S. state of Alabama.

Usually it's kind of a done deal for the Republican candidate. But this one possibly not. And it could be critical to the balance of power in


Voters head to the polls today to decide between controversial Republican candidate Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Moore is accused of pursuing

teenaged girls when he was still within his 30s.

He's also facing allegations that he sexually abused a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. Moore denies the allegations.

President Donald Trump has stood by Moore and has raised questions about the women who has leveled the accusations.

At a campaign style rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday night, the president urged Alabama voters to get out and vote for Moore.

Joining us now with more insight on this crucial election, CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson. He's in the Dallas, Texas. And in Miami,

Florida, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro.

So, Ana, what do you think - I mean, the Republican establishment at first was skittish, was a little bit hesitant about embracing Roy Moore. Then,

just a few days ago, the Republican National Committee just came out and said, OK, we are backing him.

The president is campaigning for him through robocalls. What does that say about sort of the state of the party right now because it's clearly


ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is clearly divided. The RNC, the Republican National Committee, as you said, is supporting him. Donald

Trump is supporting him. The Republican Party of Alabama is supporting him.

But then, there is also very important Republicans, people like the head of the national Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Cory Gardner of

Colorado, and many in Congress who are not supporting him, who don't want to serve with him, who will subject him to an ethics committee

investigation if he is elected and who want nothing to do with this guy and understand that the ramifications for the Republican Party and for the

nation at this moment in American history, this watershed moment in American history when we are really airing out sexual harassment and making

the perpetrators pay a price will be devastating.

GORANI: And it's not just about sexual harassment, Ben Ferguson. I mean, in a radio interview, a few years ago, getting rid of amendments after the

10th Amendment of the Constitution would eliminate many problems, basically abolishing slavery, giving women the right to vote and other essential

amendments in the United States.

Does the Republican Party want this man as a sitting senator in Washington?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would argue no. I mean, I've always thought this guy is a terrible candidate. He is an individual that

was taken off the bench not once, but twice because he tried try to legislate from the bench instead of follow what the law of the land was.

This is an individual that the Republican National Committee should not have reinstated their funding for him. This is an individual that I don't

think should be in US Senate. And I also think that there's a very good chance that once he gets to the Senate that they're going to end up opening

an investigation, so his time there may be very, very short.

Now, the voters in Alabama, many of them said, they actually believe he probably won't be there for very long, but they're willing to take that

risk to make sure that, as they put it, their interests are actually represented in Washington, maybe not their moral values.

I disagree with that logic. I cannot imagine under any circumstance voting for Roy Moore in this election on Tuesday. I think this is a - people are

looking at the big broad picture of making sure that this seat doesn't turn to a Democrat, but ultimately I just could not vote for this individual.

And I think you're going to have a lot of people now, they're going to think the same way as well.

GORANI: So, do you think, Ana, that Doug Jones has a chance? And if indeed, Doug Jones, the Democrat, wins, this could signify a huge change in

Washington, right?

NAVARRO: Look, I think this particular election is less about a national change or a partisan change and it is more about this particular race.

There is no doubt that Alabama is a Republican state. It is a solid red state. And there is no doubt that if the Republicans had nominated a

normal Republican, a normal human being, that normal human being would be winning.

Instead, somehow, they managed to nominate a Republican who is unfit to serve, unfit to be in the US Senate.

GORANI: But, Ana, this is a battle for the party, for the identity of the party, right? Because is it going to go in the direction of -

FERGUSON: I don't think so.

NAVARRO: I think it's a fabricated battle. I think it's been fabricated by Donald Trump's advisor, mainly Steve Bannon, who wants to remake this

party into his image. He's got this battle going on with what he calls the Republican establishment.

And so, this is really less about Roy Moore, the Republican versus the Democrat, and this is more about Steve Bannon able to say, look, I won, I

beat Mitch McConnell, I beat the Republican establishment despite the fact that he's running a man who is unfit.

[15:35:09] GORANI: That's my point. You have two sides, two wings of this party, the Steve Bannon-Donald Trump wing and then the Republican

establishment that wasn't even able to nominate a - get a nominee out for the presidential election.

But, Ben, I want to get your reaction. We have Steve Bannon sound. Let me just get you this - get this on the air and then I'll get you to react to

that. Steve Bannon speaking to the voters of Alabama.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: The folks of Alabama were always going to decide Mitch, right?

They think you're a bunch of rubes, right? They hold you in total contempt. Did anything show they hold you in more total contempt than what

they did to Judge Moore? Remember, it's not Judge Moore they're trying to shut up. It's you they're trying to shut up.


GORANI: Ben, you heard Steve Bannon there. He's telling voters the establishment is trying to shut you up.

FERGUSON: Yes. It's a smart way to spin it if you're supporting Roy Moore as he has been since virtually day one. But the reality is, if these

accusations would've come out during the primary, Roy Moore would not have been the nominee. The people of Alabama I think would've clearly rejected

him if this were to come out.

The problem is, and what made this so awkward in a special election is, all this came out after he had secured the nomination. And so, people, at that

point were like, well, can we get a redo, can we go backwards? No, you can't, unfortunately.

Can you do a write-in? No. Can you take him off the ballot? No. All of these different issues, so the fact is, all of this broke perfect timing

for the Democratic candidate to be able to basically have the best opportunity to win. And this helped Roy Moore survive because it was after

that primary.

And so, look, the people of Alabama, they're having a tough decision to make. And I don't think this is a big referendum on the party. I think

this is such a unique set of circumstances, a special election breaking after the primary, the people of Alabama are going to have to make a

decision. Do you vote your moral values or do you vote your interests? And that's where you're going to see how this plays out here.

I vote my moral values. I don't vote interests as my top priority, and that's going to be what either gives Roy Moore the Senate seat or makes him

lose him on Tuesday.

GORANI: And this is all forcing, even more so, a conversation on perhaps the president because we heard today from three accusers at a news

conference asking for a congressional investigation. This is, obviously, in the aftermath of the floodgates opened after the Harvey Weinstein


I want you to listen to what one of these accusers said today and then, Ana, I'll get you to react.


SAMANTHA HOLVEY, ACCUSER OF DONALD TRUMP: They've investigated other Congress members, so I think it only stands fair that he be investigated as


RACHEL CROOKS, ACCUSER OF DONALD TRUMP: If they were willing to investigate Sen. Franken, I think it's only fair that they do the same for



GORANI: All right. Two of the accusers there. So, do they - I mean, is this likely to happen? And this conversation is not going away. It's not

going away with regards to Al Franken or with the president or anyone else who has been accused?

NAVARRO: It's not going away. I think this is a seminal moment. It's a fork in the road moment for America.

And I'll tell you how - I think that there is a direct connection between Donald Trump's election and what has happened since on sexual harassment.

I remember when he first got elected, women would come up to me and share their stories of being sexually harassed, just complete strange women

coming up in airports who just had this need to share this that they had carried for so many years and oftentimes so many decades, some of them.

I think that they felt that Donald Trump's election was a personal offense, was a slap on the face. And instead of defeating women, what it did was

embolden women, strengthen women, there's been power in numbers when it comes to women. We've been supporting each other and we have forced this


We've made it, so that there is not victim shaming. Now, victims are taken seriously, their accusations are heard, are scrutinized and we're seeing

perpetrators pay very high consequence.

And so, yes, there is this huge dissonance going on in America where you see people who are movie producers, who are TV stars, who are comedians,

who read the news off a teleprompter lose their jobs and pay huge consequences.

And yet, you've got somebody who stands accused by more than 12 women, who he himself boasted about sexual assault on tape in the Oval Office, and

you've got people in Congress who the American taxpayers just recently found, we have been paying to settle the sexual harassment claims against

them without even knowing how much was paid to settle whose claims.

FERGUSON: Which is insane.

NAVARRO: These are things that, I think, the American people are going to demand be solved and addressed. The conversation is not going away.

[15:40:04] GORANI: I want to continue this conversation about this, about Alabama, hopefully, in the next few days. Thanks so much, Ben Ferguson and

Ana Navarro, for joining us. We really appreciate your time.

Now, you'll remember that the Trump administration wanted to keep transgender Americans out of the Armed Forces, but it's not going so well

for the Trump administration. That effort has hit another roadblock.

A federal judge has ruled that the military must accept transgender recruits by January 1 even as the legal battle over the issue continues.

The White House says it's reviewing its legal options.

President Trump issued a directive against transgender recruiting in August, but two federal judges have blocked key provisions of that.

Ryan Browne is standing by at the Pentagon. So, Ryan, explain to me, if the president is the commander-in-chief, how can the Pentagon overrule the

commander-in-chief on something like this?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Hala, as White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today, the Pentagon is simply following a

legal court order. They're doing what the court has ordered them to do in keeping with the law.

And this case, it was to begin the ascension process for transgender recruits by 1 January.

Now, again, the transgender recruits have never been allowed into the military. It's something the last administration, the Obama administration

was looking at. They had initiated review of that policy planning to bring it forward, but, again, Secretary of Defense Mattis, when he became Donald

Trump's secretary of defense delayed that by several months pending a review of policy, review of options.

So, this is actually never allowed to have taken place before, but now with this judge's order, the Pentagon planning, preparing, if there is no

additional legal maneuvering that takes place, the Pentagon preparing to allow transgender recruits to assess into the military come 1 January.

GORANI: Ryan Browne at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

BROWNE: You bet.

GORANI: President Trump wants to send American astronauts to the moon for the first time since the early 70s. Moments ago, the US president signed a

directive in the White House saying it's the first step of an eventual mission to Mars and possibly to other new planets as well.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and

discovery. It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use.

This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday

to many worlds beyond.


GORANI: And that was just moments ago at the White House.

Let's get back down to earth. A Brexit breakthrough on a gentlemen's agreement. The British prime minister has told Parliament, there is a new

sense of optimism over Brexit talks that had been sorely missing despite the government and the EU both saying that last week's deal is not legally


Earlier, Ms. May acknowledged the biggest challenges could still lie ahead, though.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This means we want to see the whole deal now coming together,

including the terms of our future deep and special partnership, as I said in Florence.

Mr. Speaker, these are the actions of a responsible action, honoring the commitments that is made to its allies, having gone through those

commitments line by line as we said we would.


GORANI: There you have it. And by the way, this week, toward the end of the week, everyone will be in Brussels to rubberstamp the whole thing.

Still to come, those huge California wildfires are still burning one week after they began. And there is no end in sight. We'll get a live update.

Stay with us.


[15:46:10] GORANI: Well, it's a race against time in California. Those wildfires we've been covering for several days, they are raging on. And

they are scorching everything in their path.

Imagine this. The six fires have destroyed an area the size of New York City and Boston combined. Firefighters are still struggling to contain the

largest of the fires. That one has now been burning for a week.

There is good news. And that is that winds are expected to die down today, but the bad news is there's no rain expected for the next two weeks.

Let's go to CNN's Miguel Marquez. He joins me live from Carpinteria, California with more. What's the latest you're hearing from authorities


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you mentioned the dry conditions. And that's one thing they keep hammering home. It is bone dry

here. Humidity levels in the woods that they measure. about 5 percent to 10 percent. And it doesn't recover overnight, meaning there's no dew that

gets into the trees and the grass. So, that fire just rages everywhere it goes.

The good news is, is the fact that I'm not wearing a mask. In the last hour or so, the air has gotten a lot cleaner here in Carpinteria. We're

just south of Santa Barbara, north of Ventura, California.

Down there, that's the South and West. That should be the Pacific Ocean. You can see, it looks like a hazy day that is all smoke. Over there, you

should be able see mountains. You might just be able to make them out there, 1,000, 2,000 feet high or so.

The fire is burning up in there. The Los Padres national forest affecting everything in this entire area. New evacuation orders here overnight. And

it's not just the smoke. It's also the ash. You can see it along the sidewalks here. And every single surface in this town is just covered in

this stuff. Look at these table tops. It's kind of disgusting.

The better news, 8 PM Pacific Time tonight, firefighters say that the red flag conditions, those winds that blow from the desert toward the ocean,

those should end. The humidity will still stay very low, but we've seen that wind already starting to push back the other direction from the ocean

on to land, meaning that it's pushing the fire on to itself, areas that have already burned.

If that trend continues, then firefighters will be able to attack the fire directly they say, get a containment line around it and, finally, put this

thing out.

GORANI: So, they're hoping that in the next few days, this could happen.

MARQUEZ: Well, they're hoping that by tonight, 8 PM Pacific Time tonight, those red flag warnings. And literally, the winds will change direction,

as we've seen happen here over the last several hours. And then, they will be able to directly attack that fire.

What they've been able to do now is protect structures around parts of the fire, to see if there are areas where they can build line, but it's very,

very deep in the woods right now, very, very rough territory. Hard for them to take a direct action against the fire unless weather conditions

permit it.

They believe they will start having those weather conditions starting later today.

GORANI: Miguel Marquez, thanks very much for joining us with that update.

2017 has been terrible for fires in California. In fact, it's been the most active fire season California has ever seen.

The state's governor Jerry Brown called this fire devastation that we're seeing the new normal.


JERRY BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: This is the new normal. And this could be something that happens every year, every few years. It happens to

some degree. It's just more intense, more widespread and we're about ready to have firefighting at Christmas. This is very odd and unusual, but it is

the way the world is with the kind of carbon pollution that we're not only living with, but we're generating still. It's still increasing.


GORANI: Jerry Brown there. So, should we expect this new normal? And rather than try to stop a fire, build homes that won't go up in flames as

easily? Joining me now to discuss this idea is Richard Halsey. Thanks for being with us.

I mean, isn't that where we should be going in terms of strategy?

[15:50:12] RICHARD HALSEY, DIRECTOR, CALIFORNIA CHAPARRAL INSTITUTE: Well, there's two sort of paradigms or mindsets that we have.

You have municipal firefighters who look to save structures and lives. You have internal sprinklers, that kind of thing. Then, you have the wireline

firefighter, which is basically trying to stop the fire.

What's happened now is we've got fingering out into wildland areas in ways we've never had before. The client is changing.

So, we have to turnaround the diagram and how we approach these things. We have to ask one question. How do we save lives and rather than how do we

stop a fire.

GORANI: How do you do that?

HALSEY: Well, what you have to do is realize - the Australians do this. You realize you are in a fire-prone environment. There's nothing you're

going to be able to do to stop these kind of fires, especially the wind driven fires.

And so, you look at the property itself, the people who live there, say how can we protect these lives and property. And there's a number of things

you can do.

First off is planning, of course. You don't want to put communities fire- prone fire corridors, which we continually do, even though we try to retrofit them, so that they can survive the fire, these wind-driven fires,

you have these embers coming out (INAUDIBLE) it's like million killer bees. They'll find the weakest spot.

So, one of the techniques the Australians use are these external sprinklers that are connected to either a pool or to water tank. They flip the switch

and the house is enveloped in a moist (INAUDIBLE) and it's one of the best ways to prevent an ignition of a home because wet homes don't ignite.

GORANI: But that doesn't sound like a very expensive or complicated thing to do. Why isn't that standard?

HALSEY: People - it happens in every industry, every scientific sort of paradigm. People have a mindset. Even though the facts and the reality is

looking right at them, they're so wedded to the previous paradigm, they just can't seem to get it.

The only companies to really do these external sprinklers are in Australia and Canada. So, this is an opportunity for us to look at a relatively

cheap retrofit in communities that are already there.

Now, the communities that aren't there yet, politicians and the land planners, we just can't keep putting people in harm's way.

The Fountaingrove community, Santa Rosa, which was absolutely devastated, they were warned about this fire before, before the community was built.

There was a fire in the exact same place just as fierce in 1964.

So, frankly, I think there's some liability that ought to be addressed.

GORANI: Is this due to climate change?

HALSEY: Well, we've always had very big, large intense fires in California that's never been a factor of climate change. We know that.

However, climate change is changing the dryness. It seems to be expanding the period of drought. We had the worst drought in a thousand years couple

of years ago. Predictions are we're going to have an uptick here of little moisture. The next drought is going to be twice as bad as the last one.

So, we have to look forward. We can't be looking at the things we did in the past. We have to look forward.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Richard Halsey, for joining us from California with your expertise on this.

More to come, including good news for film fans. In Saudi Arabia where the price of a ticket to the movies will no longer include airfare.

We'll be right back.


[15:55:11] GORANI: Well, Saudis have had to travel to another country to do something many of us take for granted, go see a movie in the theater.

Next year, though, as part of Crown Prince Salman's 2030 reform package, Saudi Arabia will give cinemas licenses for the first time since the early

80s. That means women, men and children alike can sit in the cushy chairs to munch away on popcorn, while getting absorbed in dramas or comedies or

watching superhero films.

In addition to this being a part of social reform, it's also an economic boost, creating new job opportunities and keeping money Saudis spend on

such entertainment abroad normally in the local economy. At least that's the aim.

And speaking of Saudi Arabia, it's the biggest art sale in history, a painting by the Italian Renaissance master himself, bought by what was a

mysterious bidder at Christie's auction last month.

The mystery, though, has since been solved because Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi, one of only 20 authenticated paintings by the man himself,

was bought by Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism.

It will be displayed in the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. It cost a record $450 million. For those in the back, that's 450,300,000. That's a

lot of zeros.

And by the way, you'll remember that there was this whole report that behind the mystery buyer was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. It appears

that it was not the case, that it was destined for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi all along. Those reports had floated around.

Don't forget to get the latest news, interviews and analysis on our Facebook page, and check out my Twitter feed

@HalaGorani. Thanks for watching tonight.

Stay with CNN. "Quest Means Business" is up next.