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Open hearing About Accusation Against Judge Brett Kavanaugh Is Set On Thursday; President Trump Ramping Up His Presence On The Campaign Trail. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired September 23, 2018 - 18:00   ET


[18:00:10] ANA CABRERA, CN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for staying with me.

Right now, we have more details about this week's open hearing when the woman who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her will tell her story in person on Capitol Hill. Christine Blasey Ford will go first. Kavanaugh will then be given time to respond afterward. It's scheduled to happen on Thursday starting at 10:00 in the morning eastern time before the senate judiciary committee.

As for who will be steering the conversation, who will ask the questions, that and a few other things are still up in the air.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is following developments in Washington and Boris Sanchez is outside Trump tower in New York where the President just arrived here in New York ahead of the U.N. general assembly.

Jessica, tell us more about what's going to happen on Thursday and what still has to be worked out.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, there are still several sticking points for Blasey Ford's attorneys. But on those points, the committee really isn't badging. So Blasey Ford's team, they want witnesses. And right now the committee is only scheduled to hear from Blasey Ford herself as well as judge Kavanaugh.

So Blasey Ford's attorneys, they had wanted trauma experts to testify as well as other people who were supposedly at that party. But to that end the committee's chairman, Chuck Grassley, has issued a lengthy statement on this saying that the committee has already been investigating for the past week plus and they have talked to all four people who were allegedly at that party. And the committee is now reiterating that all four of those people, including judge Kavanaugh, say they have no recollection or knowledge of this alleged party where Blasey Ford said the sexual assault took place.

And in addition, the committee says it is already tried to interview Blasey Ford with no luck here. So the committee is saying this.

The committee ask Dr. Ford to participate in a confidential interview with Republican and Democratic committee staff the day after learning her identity, that we know was on September 17th. The committee has reiterated that request over the last week. So no response yet from Blasey Ford's attorneys on that point. But

they have been in these ongoing negotiations for several days now.

And finally this morning that's when they came to terms on this testimony for Thursday. So here's what Blasey Ford's attorneys said earlier today.

They said, despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her.

So obviously from that statement, her attorneys want what's said to be done at the hearing and not in any interview before that.

So what do we know about Thursday's testimony? Well, she will, in fact, testify first after which judge Kavanaugh will go before the committee. All of this commencing at 10:00 in the morning. It will be open to the public and Christine Blasey Ford will have dedicated security along with two attorneys at the counsel's table while she is questioned.

So Ana, it will certainly be a high stakes hearing that we now know will be happening on Thursday -- Ana.

CABRERA: Boris, the President has certainly made his opinion now in about the woman accusing his pick for the Supreme Court. Any tweets or statements this weekend about these new developments?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: None yet, Ana. The President actually relatively quiet on Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

I should note President Trump's motorcade is just arriving here at Trump tower where he is scheduled to have dinner with Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan later tonight.

Just a few days ago, the President did tweet out a number of statements, not only claiming that left wing radicals were out to destroy Brett Kavanaugh's career but also questioning why it took Christine Blasey Ford so long to come forward with these allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

That did not sit well with a number of Republicans including the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell who sources say called President Trump Friday morning to tell him that those tweets were not helping the cause. They would not help get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.

Since then we haven't really seen the President wade into this. He sent out a tweet a short while ago it was about that dinner with Shinzo Abe. It did not have to do with Brett Kavanaugh's nomination.

I did want to note some reporting from "the Washing Post" that we are seeing today, Ana, that Brett Kavanaugh has spent several hours over the past couple of days at the White House going through mock confirmation hearings with aides, White House aides play acting as specific senators throwing questions at him repeatedly about Christine Blasey Ford's accusations, about his time at Georgetown prep school, et cetera, et cetera.

According to that reporting, there were certain questions that Kavanaugh did not want to answer but obviously the White House is trying to prepare him as best as possible for that hearing on Thursday, Ana.

[18:05:02] CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez in New York. Jessica Schneider in Washington. Thank you both.

Let's talk it over now with CNN politics reporter and editor at-large Chris Cillizza, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig.

Laura, here's what we know. Republicans are not budging on outside witnesses. There will not be an independent investigation at least at this point. It looks like that is the case. So on Thursday, we will hear from Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. That's it. What should the committee expect to get out of this?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is going to be very evident to the American people that this is not a court of law. And although the requests made by Dr. Ford are intending to recreate that, and justifiably so, her concerns are well merited here, but this is not actually a court of law. It's a political process and a political panel. And so, they are going to try essentially to use this scenario as a foregone conclusion of Brett Kavanaugh's credibility. If you are the Republican members to push him through.

If you are actually on a fact-finding mission, which they really should be on, you would welcome other sources of information, other credibility assessments and, frankly, if you are Brett Kavanaugh, you would think you would want as much of a comprehensive investigation to either clear your name or undermine your credibility. And if you are Dr. Ford, you want to have the opportunity to speak your story and you want to have just as much if not more process than they did back in 1991 with Anita Hill. And she was able to call witnesses and have several weeks to prepare.

CABRERA: As Jessica pointed out, there are three other potential witnesses that have all denied knowledge of this incident and the party itself. Elli, does it matter if they testify?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Sure, it could. You know, if they say they were there and nothing happened, it could matter depends on what we are talking about, right. There was only three people in the room. There is Dr. Ford, there is Kavanaugh and there is Mark Judge. They are going to be the most important people --.

CABRERA: And that's according to Dr. Ford.

HONIG: Right. And I think it's pretty telling how afraid the Republicans seems to be of having Mark Judge come in and tell his story because he is goings to corroborate a key aspect of Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony which is the drinking. I mean, she says right up front, they were falling down drunk. And there is indications that Mark Judge would have to confirm that. And that is an important piece of corroboration that could be there for Dr. Ford.

So if other people come forward and say I was there but I didn't really see anything, the response to that could be, they would have seen anything if they were in the room. It was a very discrete event. It happened in the room. If weren't in the room, you wouldn't necessarily have known about it.

But if they are going to come forward, they should come forward and testify live. Senator Hatch tweeted that they are going to submit official written statement. But that is it. He said it's the exact same thing as testimony. Of course, not. There's no cross examination. There is no meaningful testing.

So I agree with Laura, let's get the full facts. Let let people who are relevant witnesses come forward, testify live, let them be subject to real questioning and see what stands up.

CABRERA: We know there are still negotiations underway. We have been told according to a source familiar with the conversation telling CNN that Republicans on the senate judiciary committee are rejecting other requests from Ford's team to subpoena Mark Judge as well as the polygraph examiner who conducted Ford's test along with a couple of trauma experts.

Chris, the fact that Republicans aren't demanding further investigation, say they won't call more witnesses, what does that tell you about their determination to get to the truth?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, they want to -- their belief, Ana, is that capital t truth is unavailable here. That's their belief. That you are going to have the Kavanaugh side, the Blasey Ford side and then people are going to decide. And by people I mean them because the judiciary committee will vote depending if he gets through that and then there will be a full floor vote.

You know, it is -- Laura makes this point well. And I think you have to distinguish between this is a political process. That's why I think Republicans are wary of having 11 men, 10 white men and Ted Cruz being the ones doing the questioning. That's why we are talking about the possibility of someone potentially a woman asking questions, so that the political perfect sense doesn't work against them because the reality of the situation is the election is now -- you know, we are within 40-ish days of an election, an election that is likely to be a referendum of Donald Trump. A president of the United States whose approval rating is under 30 percent among women in the CNN poll and who has more than a dozen accusations against him, standing accusations against him for his behavior as it relates to women.

So the capital T truth may not be available. What Republicans are trying to do is do everything they can to insulate themselves from massive political fall and, yes, trying to get Kavanaugh through this what is undoubtedly a much more complicated process than they thought it was going to be ten days ago. CABRERA: Laura, if you had the chance to question both Kavanaugh and

Ford, how would you approach it? What types of questions might you be asking?

COATES: Well, I would be asking for the general recollections. I would want to know about the parameters of the event. Oftentimes in the criminal code and criminal law, you don't tend to have a specific date at or around. I wouldn't look for the specific nuances that most people who are at a criminal proceeding would not be held to, the at or around.

But I would want to know, who was there, who did you tell? Who could corroborate the story if you are Dr. Blasey Ford? Did you talk to somebody afterwards? Was anyone who saw you running out? Did you have a diary entry? Did you talk to a therapist about it? All of which we know to be the case particularly the therapist. I would want to know about the ways in which to corroborate to somehow bolster her credibility.

And if I'm asking Brett Kavanaugh, I'm also looking at the opportunity to objectively bolster his credibility and say, well, not about reputation as a drinker. That wouldn't in and of itself allow me to conclude this actual event occurred. But I would want to know information about why he is so sure it didn't occur if he fails to recollect even the at or around period.

So, I'm looking for information generally about what occurred, generally the reaction about their meetings, and they saw each other I think one more time at this event took place. There was a discomfort she writes about in a letter to Dianne Feinstein. I want to know about that instance.

I have to understand because I would want to understand why she failed to report and maybe she talked to somebody, a counselor at school, but I wouldn't look at this as an opportunity to say, well if she failed to report it instantly, we can automatically conclude she is not credible. And if he denies it, we can automatically guarantee that he is truthful. I would be on the fact-finding mission.

[18:11:26] CABRERA: I'm wondering, Chris, is it really surprising that Republicans aren't going to subpoena Mark Judge? We heard from Elie. I mean, they could ask him a little bit more even if he denies the event itself. They could ask him a little bit more about what he remembers about at that time, about his relationship with Kavanaugh, what they did together, so on and so on.

CILLIZZA: Yes. I think you can argue it's the other witnesses. But the Mark Judge one is tough for me to see how you can say that there's no relevance there. We have two people, Christine Blasey Ford said this happening, Brett Kavanaugh said it didn't. Christine Blasey Ford said there is Mark Judge was in the room.

So why would we not, given that Mark Judge is available, right, he is alive. He is available theoretically to come and tell his story, even if he has subpoenaed to do so, why would we not want that other person that -- there's only three people in this mix according to Christine Blasey Ford. Why would we not want that third person? Why would we be satisfied with him saying, I don't recollect that?

That to me is tough. And the answer is they, Republicans, want this to go as quickly as possible. They want to hear from her, hear from him, Brett Kavanaugh, have a vote in the judiciary committee that if party lines hold it will be 11 to 10 and he will get out of judiciary. It will go to senate floor where Republicans have a two-seat - a single seat majority 51-49. And they get him confirmed before the November election, at which point, they can lose control of the Senate, not likely but a possibility. That's why we are seeing this process simplified.

But it's hard to defend the lack of pushing on Mark Judge just to hear his version of the story which may wind up helping Brett Kavanaugh or hurting. We don't know. But why wouldn't we hear it?


"The New York Times" now reporting though that there is perhaps more evidence that could be part of the conversation and it's this calendar, Elie, apparently that Kavanaugh kept back in 1982 that he still has that doesn't show anything about any party during that time period, that summer in which professor Ford alleges this happened. I mean, that doesn't necessarily mean that the party didn't happen, that he wasn't at this party, right?

HONIG: It's a strange piece of evidence that a 17-year-old would keep track daily of his summer and then keep it for 30 years, but let's look at it. Let's take it for what it's worth. And I think that's sort of the point that a lot of people are making this. Let's get this as close to the truth as we can. This is why there should be and there is still time. There should be a full FBI investigation. They did it in 1991. The FBI can do this as quick -- they can easily have this done by Thursday.

CABRERA: But what do you make of what some of the senators are saying that they are doing their investigation. The FBI wouldn't be able to do any more than what they are already doing.

HONIG: Yes. The FBI is way better in investigating than these individual senators. And I agree with Chris. I think what the Republicans are really trying to do here is let's just get this over with as quick as possible. Let's truncate it. Let's just have it come down to he said/she said. And that's a very dangerous phrase that I cautioned against as a prosecutor.

When people say he said/she said, what they are hoping is you just throw your hands up and go, who is to know? It's 50-50, let's just walk away. That's not what good prosecutors do. That not what good investigators do. You look at all the other evidence. Maybe these calendars are a little a couple points on the scale for Kavanaugh. Maybe the fact that Dr. Ford told people back six years ago is a big factor weighing in favor of her. But why this hesitancy from the Republicans to get the facts? Why on earth would they be scared of getting all the facts? I think that tells us a lot.

CABRERA: Elie, Laura, Chris, thank you all. Chris, of course, you are back with me in just a moment.

Coming up, red wave or code red. Why Republican leaders are seeing a much different picture of the midterm elections than the President?



[18:19:03] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A poll came out. They said, everybody is going out in 2020 because they want to vote for you. They want to vote for the President. But they are not maybe coming out in 2018. Get out in 2018 because you are voting for me in 2018. You are voting for me.


CABRERA: Just over six weeks now until the midterms. President Trump there ramping up his presence on the campaign trail. "The New York Times" now reporting Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House speaker Paul Ryan privately told aides President Trump needs to sound the alarm about a potential huge blue wave hitting Capitol Hill.

Yet as the President has been working to fire up his base bringing his signature rallies to battleground states all around the country. We have heard him at times call the threatening blue wave fake news.

Chris Cillizza, our CNN editor at-large and host of "THE POINT" on You Tube is back with me now.

Chris, six weeks to go, that's not much. A new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll now showing Democrat is holding a 12-point advantage. What's your read?

[18:20:06] CILLIZZA: Yes. Well, look. If this was an isolated poll, I guess you could dismiss it. It's not. CNN's poll last week showed a 12-point advantage. Several others national polls out in the last week showed a 10-point advantage.

For people who are wondering what does that mean for my number, that's the generic ballot test. It is just a way of saying, broadly speaking which way is the wind blowing in the country? When you see a lead for Democrats of 12-ish point, historically that has been a gain of 30- plus seats. They need 23 seats to be in the majority.

I think that you touched, Ana, on the concerns of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan is this. Donald Trump tends to say things like forget the blue wave. There is going to be a red wave. And that can breed complacency in an election where every sort of metric that we look at suggests that Democrats are in for a very good election.

CABRERA: There is one bright sign for Republicans. That same poll shows Republican enthusiasm about the upcoming midterms has increased drawing nearly even with Democrats. What's behind that?

CILLIZZA: Well, look, I actually think that clip you played of Donald Trump saying vote for me, I'm on the ballot, that's a -- that's as good a message as he can get. The question is, will his supporters do it? Is this a Trump coalition or is it a Republican coalition? That's question number one.

And question number two is to your point earlier, there's 40 days left. A lot of the dynamics of the election are set. Yes, there is no question that Republican enthusiasm needs to bump up. History would suggest that the out party, the party who doesn't control the White House tends to gain a significant number of house seats and some Senate seats in midterms. Only three midterms since the civil war has the party in power either stayed neutral or gained seats.

So history suggests it. Donald Trump's popularity mid-30s, high 30s, again, like I said, if you are going by metrics, if you are going by the way we judge these things, everything points to a good Democratic year almost no matter what Donald Trump does.

CABRERA: I bet, you can always remember what happened in 2016. Everything Donald Trump does is so out of the norm.

CILLIZZA: That's -- yes. I was just going to say that.

CABRERA: So nothing can be compared to the norm, right

CILLIZZA: I remember being on television in 2016 and saying, every metric that we have, literally these same words, point to a solid Hillary Clinton victory.


CILLIZZA: So yes, there is no question he broke all rules that we typically have governed elections by. The issue is, again, is that Donald Trump's capacity to do that once? Could he do it twice in 2020? We will find that out. Can he do it for his party in 2018 given that all signs suggest the answer is no. And that's why we -- that's why elections are interesting.

CABRERA: Let's take a look at a couple of the individual races at this point.


CABRERA: We have Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller considered one of the most vulnerable in the upcoming midterms as far as the Democrats are concerned. He had a once strained relationship with the President but with just a few weeks now until the election he has decided to go all in with Trump and the President was there stumping for him in Las Vegas last Thursday. Listen to this.


TRUMP: We started out, we weren't friends. I didn't like him, he didn't like me. And as we fought and fought and fought, believe it or not, we started to respect each other. Then we started to like each other. Then we started to love each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Is this smart strategy on Heller's behalf? Is it the conservative base that could make a difference and push him to victory in this election?

CILLIZZA: Right. So I think you have to remember that of the nine Senate Republicans up for reelection this November, only one is in a seat that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, and that's Dean Heller in Nevada. So it's always going to be a tough road for him.

I think what Heller realized, he realized it a few months ago was I have zero chance of winning this election if the Republican base doesn't come out and vote for me. Now, I may wind up losing people because I'm going to be for Trump. I may wind up losing people in the middle and lose the election, but I can never win the election if I'm seen as a Trump opponent because Republicans won't come out for me. So he had a tough road no matter what. Probably the best path is the one he is on now. Still could come up short.

CABRERA: A lot of people are watching Texas considered one of the most reliable Republican states in the country for the last few decades, but polling shows Democratic senate candidate Beto O'Rourke is within striking distance of GOP incumbent Ted Cruz. Cruz has received lots of criticism, Chris, for accepting the President's endorsement, allowing Trump to campaign for him in Texas especially given their past. Let's just listen for a moment to how Cruz defended himself at the candidate's first debate on Friday.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I have got a responsibility which is to fight for every person here and every person in this state. And so I have worked hand in hand with the President on substance, and we have delivered remarkable victories.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: If the President attacks you personally, your wife, your father, how you respond is your business.

[18:25:07] CRUZ: Thank you.

O'ROURKE: But when the President attacks our institutions, this country, allows a foreign power to invade our democracy, that is our business. We need a U.S. senator who will stand up to this President.


CABRERA: What's your reaction?

CILLIZZA: So look, Ted Cruz, I mean, I do remember during the 2016 campaign, he called Donald Trump a sniveling coward. He said you stay away from my wife. Remember there was a tweet in which Donald Trump not that suddenly suggested that it was retweet. He suggested that Melania Trump was more attractive than Heidi Cruz. So it is a little bit of a strange bed fellow setup.

But again, this is like Dean Heller in Nevada, Ana. He needs him. Donald Trump is the most popular figure in Republican politics, not even close. Ted Cruz needs the Republican base to come out, but one thing we shouldn't be --.

CABRERA: They need each other I guess, too, right.

CILLIZZA: Absolutely. Look, because Donald Trump needs Ted Cruz and Dean Heller because he needs a Senate majority. But one thing I would remind people of. You would think Texas - we always think of Texas so Republican, so Republican, Donald Trump only won by nine. He won Tennessee, a state that also has a competitive Senate race by 26. So there is a significant Democratic base in that state. The question is, is there enough? Do they turn out? Can Ted Cruz sort of win enough Republicans? So it's still hard for O'Rourke. I still don't think he is the favorite. But my God, he has gotten a lot closer I think than anybody thought.

CABRERA: That's what makes it exciting.

Chris Cillizza, good to have you with us, sir.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you for being here on the weekend.

And we want to let you know every week Chris is cutting through the spin. He is tackling the surreal world of politics in the age of Trump. He has a new You Tube show, "THE POINT." Tune in every Thursday. Is there a specific time that we should be turning in, Chris?

CILLIZZA: We are going to try in the morning. And we will go twice weekly relatively soon. But It is on the CNN channel. Check it out. It's me talking with good graphics. Emphasis on the good graphics. You don't have to look at this mug too much.

CABRERA: Thanks, Chris. Talk to you soon. We look forward to your new show.

All right. After the storm, CNN's Kaylee Hartung is live in South Carolina now. It is not over there. People are still in flood waters there. There's Kaylee. She is riding along with the Cajun Navy after hurricane Florence. Take it away, Kaylee.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Ana, the volunteers of the Cajun Navy continue to do work, fill in holes and help the people who need it the most. Coming up we'll tell you about the mission some of these guys are on right now to get medication to a 5-year-old who needs it to save his life.


[18:32:14] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: New tariffs on Chinese goods kick in on Monday. So what will that mean for your bottom line? CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans has your "Before the Bell" report.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. The trade war escalates tomorrow. That's where the U.S. imposes 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China retaliates with five to 10 percent tariffs on U.S. imports worth $60 billion.

Stock market investors said, trade war? What trade war? The Dow and the S&P 500 hit new records. Those corporate tax cuts are still rocket fuel for investors, but this round of tariffs could eventually hurt company profits.

Stores like Target and Walmart now face a tough choice. They can either absorb the higher costs, or they can pass it on to their customers. And if their profits suffer, so will stock prices.

Higher interest rates are also a stock market risk. We expect an interest rate hike on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve. What the Fed does after that is more uncertain.

Most economists are still betting on a December rate hike, but some think the Central Bank could skip that one if there's evidence that trade war is starting to hurt the economy.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

CABRERA: Thank you, Christine. A long, drawn-out recovery effort is beginning in the Carolinas even as floodwaters are still rising in some communities.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung is near Wilmington, North Carolina, and she is with the Cajun Navy, a volunteer group assisting communities hit by national disasters.

Kaylee, tell us about what you guys are doing.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ana, we made our way up the Cape Fear River. Our boat now in waters on top of roads in White Stocking, North Carolina, as we take a moment here to sit on the roof of a church. That's where our boat's tied up, if you can believe it. That's how high these waters have gotten.

I'm here with two volunteers from the Cajun Navy Swift Water. Our boat captain, Panama Swift Water.

The mission today has been to deliver medicine to a 5-year-old boy in Rocky Point, North Carolina, medicine that is needed to save his life. Can you just walk me through the challenges that we're going through in this process right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, what the challenge has been so far is finding a way in, with the easiest way in. When I tried to make it that way but with the bridge being so high and other washouts through the road, you can't access it. Because you'd have to drop a boat in the water, go a mile, and then get back out and you can't get your vehicle back there. So right now, what we're trying to do is find another route in,

following upriver, and then back down into creeks and everything like that just to find a way in. I supposedly have a way in now. I've got some guys looking into it through the floodplain maps.

And also, we're looking at talking to the Coast Guard for a helicopter, if need be.

HARTUNG: And this is what the Cajun Navy does. The manpower, the boats, to get where other organizations, other governmental agencies can't get.

Panama, you live near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You're home in danger as the storm approached, and yet you chose to come down here to join up with these guys, this volunteer group, for the first time. Why was that important for you to do?

[18:35:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, as I was finishing my preparations myself for the storm, I walked inside to watch the weather channel to see what was going on with the storm. And sure enough, they said they suspended all rescue efforts because the water and wind conditions were too severe for them to be out on the water.

And I'm sorry, I'm not one of those people to let people that possibly couldn't evacuate, whether it be that they didn't have the trustworthy vehicle, the money, the funds, a place to go to -- I mean, whatever the case may be, they couldn't evacuate.

Somebody's got to get out there and save them. I'm sorry I'm not going to stand by and let innocent lives be thrown away because our government agencies are too scared to get out on the water.

HARTUNG: And between the two of you guys, more than 500 rescues that you've been a part of at Swift Water. I know you've worked with the Cajun Navy through three different hurricanes, 18 floods. How do you put into perspective the conditions that people are dealing with in Hurricane Florence's aftermath?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From what I've seen from Florence, it's made it harder to do rescues, the way that this area, this terrain is, with the way it's flooded.

There's a lot of low-lying areas that go right back into hills. Well, it's almost the same way back home for me in South Carolina. And that makes it really difficult because there are so many places you just can't get access to.

And it's costed a lot of time trying to get rescues. We've been on this one for three, four hours now just trying to get where, if we had roads, 10 minutes up the road. As it is, it makes it difficult. And by far, this is probably the second worst I've worked when it comes to difficulty.

HARTUNG: You told me earlier the first being Hurricane Sandy in New York.

Thank you both, guys, for all that you're doing.


CABRERA: Insane that you are sitting on the roof of a church. I can't believe how high those waters are.

Kaylee Hartung, we can't forget what's happening there. Thank you for filling us in.

Some breaking news from the sports world. He's back! Tiger Woods wins his first tournament in five years. We'll get a live report next in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:41:36] CABRERA: Some breaking news in the sports world. Golf legend Tiger Woods is back. He just won his first PGA tournament in five years, taking the tour championship by two strokes.

He's 42 years old now. He held off a slew of challengers including Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson. When it was over, Woods talked about completing his comeback that seemed so improbable for so long.


TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: All of a sudden, it started hitting me that I was going to win the tournament and, you know, my -- I started tearing up a little bit and the reason why I knelt down behind the ball.

I said, you know, I've got to get back to work here. Come on, just finish this off. And I just can't believe I've pulled this off after, you know, what the season's gone through and --



CABRERA: CNN's sports correspondent Patrick Snell is joining us on the phone from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Patrick, Tiger just silenced all the doubters and critics who thought his best days were behind him. What a comeback, what a moment for him.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Ana, it really was. I just came off the 18th green where we witnessed a very special piece of golfing history because, you know, this is a golfer who really didn't think, at one point, that he was even going to have a future in the game. He wasn't sure about where he was going to go.

Last year, he underwent what is now considered to be career-saving style fusion surgery. His world ranking, Ana, plummeted to below the 1,000 mark. His last victory was in 2013 in Ohio over 1,800 days ago.

But what a response and what a way to end the U.S. PGA tour with an emphatic victory. He may not have won the FedEx Cup, but this is a huge statement of intent. Too many people felt his best days were behind him. He has proven otherwise, Ana.

CABRERA: Exactly, and he's 42 now. It was the early 2000s which seemed to be the glory days. He won his first big PGA Tournament at age 23. So, I mean, here it's two decades later.

And so much of this game, Patrick, is mental. To get that bear off his back, so to speak, and break through mentally to victory, I mean, put that into perspective for us.

SNELL (via telephone): Yes. This is a man who used to dominate the sport. Fourteen career majors, second only to the legendary Jack Nicklaus who had 18.

But look, Tiger, we saw what it means to him just moments ago when he admitted to fighting back tears. That is a rare display from Tiger Woods when it comes to emotions. And it just tells you it is highly indicative of what this victory means to him.

Now, he has the Ryder Cup to look forward to with Team USA. He is going to Paris with a win tucked under nicely in his belt. But, look, this is huge. At 42 years of age, he has proven that he is there and he is still a force in the game.

And I just want to point one thing out. There were some golfers included who said Tiger needs to rediscover how to learn again. Well, I'll tell you what, he's done just that.

CABRERA: Patrick Snell, good to have you with us. Thank you so much.

It was one of the most feared street gangs in the country, and our own Lisa Ling is embedded with police now to understand the real terror of MS-13. She will join us live with what she has discovered next.


CABRERA: Thirteen years after first reporting on the world's most dangerous gang, Lisa Ling returns to the ultra-violent world of MS-13. America's most feared and violent street gang is making headlines again with a series of killings on the East Coast.

And on tomorrow's season premiere of "THIS IS LIFE," Lisa embeds with groups on the frontline combating this deadly gang resurgence.


LISA LING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armed with tactics of seduction, coercion, and threats, MS-13 has had no shortage of potential recruits. Over 100,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived in the United States since 2014, and most are vulnerable to recruitment.

[18:50:08] Under the cover of night, I met one such target, a young teen recently reunited with his mother after a decade apart.

LING (on camera): How old were you the first time you saw someone get killed?


LING (on camera): You were nine years old? Did a lot of your friends join MS-13 in El Salvador?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, some of my friends joined MS-13.

LING (on camera): And what happened to their lives?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of them are dead already.


CABRERA: Lisa Ling is with us now.

Lisa, I've done some of my own reporting on this gang as we have discussed, but you really dig deep. Tell us, just how widespread is MS-13? How big is this threat?

LING: Well, Ana, I know you've done some terrific reporting on MS-13 as well. So the President would like us to believe that MS-13 is a transatlantic international criminal enterprise, but the reality is, according to the FBI, there are over a million street gangs and MS-13 accounts for less than one percent.

They are, however, a tremendous threat to their own communities and, particularly, so many unaccompanied minors who have come to the United States. Most of them are very young. They have experienced tremendous levels of trauma.

They don't really have relationships with their families because so many of them have been separated from their families for a long time, and so they are vulnerable to being preyed upon by MS-13.

Now, as you know, MS-13 has been in the United States since the 1980s. But in the last few years, they just have this new pool of recruits in these young unaccompanied minors.

CABRERA: And when I spoke to the Suffolk County District Attorney who was the police commissioner during some of the high-profile MS-13 murders on Long Island, here is what he said about the gang targeting unaccompanied minors, which you just talked about.


TIMOTHY SINI, U.S. DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK: Many of them don't speak English. They don't have money in their pocket. Their parents typically aren't with them. They are seeking a sense of belonging.

And MS-13 comes to them and says, hey, we can provide that sense of belonging. We can put some money in your pocket. We can protect you. And they also threaten these kids.

You know, they certainly use the carrot. Here are the benefits of joining the gang. But, by the way, if you don't join the gang, this is what's going to happen to you. And you know what, we know where your family lives.


CABRERA: Lisa, you talked to law enforcement, social workers, church leaders, even former gang members. How do you break the cycle? What's working?

LING: Well, I think that law enforcement is essential. It's the best way to combat the actual gang. But I think that we also need to recognize that community interaction is really important. We can't make people in those communities feel afraid of getting deported if they're going to report on MS-13.

And also, providing the kids who have arrived here with some support and, you know, help them deal with the trauma that they experienced in their home countries and figure out how to better transition to life here. I think that really is the best way to prevent MS-13 from growing.

CABRERA: You speak to a young woman -- or had correspondence with a young woman who was drawn into this gang. I mean, it's just so interesting to me that girls are becoming targets. Tell us more about that.

LING: Yes. In the last couple of years, because there are so many young girls who've also arrived here from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, they have become a target as well.

We covered a fairly high-profile case of Damaris Reyes Rivas who, at 15 years old, was assassinated by a group of MS-13 members. And the attack was initiated by a 17-year-old girl.

And interestingly enough, both of these girls came from the same hometown in El Salvador. They both came to this country as unaccompanied minors, and now one is dead and one is facing the rest of her life in prison. So devastating story.

And I think for people to really understand what this gang is about and who it actually preys on, I really hope you'll watch our episode tonight.

CABRERA: We look forward to it. Lisa Ling, thank you for your time.

And be sure to catch all of the season of "THIS IS LIFE." But, again, starts tonight at 10:15 right here on CNN.

And that will premier right after one of the final episodes of "PARTS UNKNOWN" hosted by our late colleague, Anthony Bourdain. Here's a preview.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Who gets to tell the stories? This is a question asked often. The answer, in this case, for better or for worse, is I do. At least this time out.


[18:55:05] First time on this continent?


TEXT: Winner of 11 Emmy awards.

BOURDAIN: It's unbelievable.


BOURDAIN: Astonishing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always wanted to do it.

BOURDAIN: Try that in New York.

New York, in your mind, was where the writer's life was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, here we go.

BOURDAIN: This is so superb and crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, here we are.


TEXT: Lower East Side. Spain. Texas. Indonesia.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN." The final episode starts tonight at 9:00 on CNN.



[19:00:04] CABRERA: Seven o'clock Eastern, 4:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you with us, so much to talk about.

It is just a matter of days now when the nation will hear --