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Indonesia Quake Tsunami; Trump Not Limiting Probe of Kavanaugh; U.S. Navy Sailors Help Rescue Plane Crash Victims; Britain Gambles on Brexit as Deadline Looms. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired September 30, 2018 - 03:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): At least 830 people killed. The death toll from Indonesia's earthquake and tsunami increases dramatically (INAUDIBLE) continue to search for survivors.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's never been anybody that's been looked at like Judge Kavanaugh. I think that it's going to work out very well.


VANIER: Donald Trump says he does not need a backup plan for his Supreme Court nominee. This as the FBI investigates allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against Judge Kavanaugh.

Plus a Boeing 737 misses the runway in Micronesia and plunges into an ocean lagoon, incredible pictures. Thankfully the passengers were saved. We'll have that story later on in the show.

Live from CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.


VANIER: We feared something like this might happen. In the last few minutes, officials in Indonesia announced the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has more than doubled. They now say at least 832 people were killed in the disaster. Hundreds more are seriously injured or missing. Rescue teams are searching for survivors.

The country disaster's management agency says at least 50 people are currently trapped under the rubble of an eight-story hotel this in Palu city. The devastation goes on for kilometers upon kilometers.

Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, is on his way to Palu city but right now aid groups are having trouble reaching some of the hard-hit areas. The local airport is closed and some roads are just destroyed.

Will Ripley is in Hong Kong with the latest. Will, unfortunately, this is a feature of these types of natural disasters, that the jump -- that the death toll can just jump, 832 dead.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Cyril, the disaster mitigation agency in Indonesia is saying that this may not be -- it may get worse because a lot of the hardest hit areas, communications are still down. So they haven't been able to find out what the situation is on the ground.

Sadly, when an earthquake hits in Indonesia, and Indonesia was just rocked back in August by an earthquake that killed 405 people altogether. This one, the death toll has now surpassed that.

You have a two-pronged incident. One, you have the 7.5 quake, which rattled buildings, collapsed homes. Some of them made out of brick. You have a lot of deaths from that, not to mention all the infrastructure, power down, roads destroyed.

The airport is closed obviously so even to get supplies and whatnot that are badly needed into Palu city, which is the coastal area, hardest hit, people are having to drive 10 to 12 hours from the nearest airport.

But then after the earthquake, perhaps even the more dangerous situation, at least for people along the coast, is this tsunami, just 3 meters, 10 feet which does not sound like a lot.

But I want to play for you a piece of video that was just posted on social, which really gives you a sense of, one, the terror as this is coming in but also the devastation that even a 3 meter tsunami can cause. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).


RIPLEY: And people are there on the road, trying to run, to get up to higher ground. Imagine if you are in your car or on a motorcycle and, all of a sudden, this wave hits. It is absolutely horrific. You know I have been -- I used to live in Japan and I went to the area affected by the Japanese tsunami after the earthquake in 2011.

The waves come through. They devastate everything. They lift up homes. They sweep cars far inland. And so to imagine that there are people who were caught up in that, who are now possibly buried under debris. You can't imagine how somebody could survive, even an experienced swimmer, waves of that ferocity.

So the situation as we know it now, the vast majority of those who have been killed. Sadly, the local population, they're (INAUDIBLE). There were 61 foreigners in Palu at the time. They have all been accounted for with the exception of a handful, three French nationals, one Korean, one Malaysian are still missing. So the vast majority of the people affected by this, devastated by

this, whether they're killed or injured, the people in Indonesia and, of course, so many people around the region, hoping, praying for them right now, more than nearly 17,000 people have been evacuated.

Thousands of homes destroyed and devastated and, Cyril, as we're learning, we could get even worse news in the hours and days to come.

VANIER: Will, I had not seen the video you showed us and it is absolutely chilling. You can clearly hear the person saying the word "tsunami," shouting the word "tsunami."


VANIER: And it is a trauma. As we both know, Indonesia, based on the 200+ thousand victims in the region, most of whom were in Indonesia back in 2004, when there was that huge and devastating tsunami.

What is going to happen over the next few days and what's the priority going to be?

I understand a lot of people are now homeless.

RIPLEY: Yes. And I want to mention, too, on the video interview, you hear the man's voice. There is panic initially as the waves are coming in but then the waves actually hit. The tone almost changes to this resignation or this sadness and he -- and he -- it really does take you into that moment, that terrifying moment because he was trying to warn people on the ground.

And I would encourage anybody who watches that and is moved by that to donate to the reputable aid organizations and try to help because what people are going to need, Cyril, in the coming days and weeks is assistance from the Red Cross, from aid agencies, who can bring things to the hospitals, like supplies.

They do not have -- not only do they not have power and communications, but they're going to need tents, canvas, obviously medications and what not are going to need to be brought in because of the influx of people who were injured as a result of this.

They will need -- they will need food, they will need supplies to rebuild their homes. They will need assistance, not just in the initial days when all of the eyes and attention are on the affected area but in the months to come.

These are -- a lot of the people in Indonesia and many countries in this region and around the world, they don't have insurance. They can't -- they don't have aid agencies necessarily come in and rebuild for them. They invest everything they have. Their lives going into building their homes and their businesses that are then destroyed in an instant.

So these people are going to need a lot of help from around the world, from countries that are able and willing to get themselves put back together and their lives put back together. VANIER: And we still have not been able to assess the full impact of the damages. You know from covering these natural disaster stories, unfortunately, at first, because you see all the damage in the main cities where the cameras are. That is what we see.

And then days later we find out that there are those remote communities, blocked off, the roads leading to them are blocked and they have had just as bad or worse damage.

All right, Will Ripley, thank you very much. We will continue to follow that story for us. We appreciate your reporting.

Typhoon Trami is headed toward Japan's main island. If it makes landfall, it would be the fifth typhoon to hit the nation since July. It has already pounded the southern Ryukyu Islands with hurricane force winds and rain.

Now Japan's main island is bracing for powerful hits.



VANIER: A short time ago U.S. president Donald Trump tweeted that he is not limiting the FBI investigation of his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. At the Senate Judiciary Committee's request, Mr. Trump authorized the probe on Friday to look into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault against Kavanaugh.

He said Saturday that he is confident Kavanaugh will come out of the investigation just fine. Those were his words. And at a rally in West Virginia, the president accused Democrats of railroading his nominee.


TRUMP: For 10 years -- he is a young guy -- but for 10 years I've been talking about him, longer than that. I did not know him but I've heard about him a lot because they were all saying he should be on the United States Supreme Court.

That is why I put him up and -- and I will tell you, I will tell you, I will tell you he has suffered the meanness, the anger.


VANIER: The FBI is looking into allegations made by two women, Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers.

And another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were both in college.

The FBI probe is supposed to wrap up no later than next Friday. Sources tell CNN three key senators set the terms of the investigation. A Republican aide says the FBI's findings are expected to be private and available to senators but not to the public.

Then senators will move forward toward a yea or a nay vote on Kavanaugh's nomination. We'll have more now from CNN's Kara Scannell.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An FBI investigation against allegations of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh is underway. A lawyer for one of the women who has accused Kavanaugh tells CNN he has been contacted by the FBI and his client, Deborah Ramirez, will cooperate with the investigation.

Ramirez alleges kava exposed himself during a party while they were classmates at Yale. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

The White House has ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental background investigation of Kavanaugh that is limited in time and scope. The heart of the matter are the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. She alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her during a house party while in high school.

How this works if the FBI will fan out agents around the country to conduct interviews with any potential witnesses. Three people of the people Blasey Ford said were in the House at the time of the alleged assault have said through their attorneys that they will cooperate with the investigation.

None of them remembered the assault and Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations. This is not a criminal investigation. So the FBI cannot compel anyone to talk to them and they will not reach any conclusions about the allegations of the assault.

But the FBI will submit 302s. Those are the forms that agents fill out summarizing their interviews, impressions and observations from when they talked to these potential witnesses.

Those documents will go to the White House and ultimately to the senators as they make their decisions later this week whether to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court -- Kara Scannell, CNN, Washington.


VANIER: I want to bring in political analyst Peter Matthews. He is a professor of political science at Cypress College.

Let us get one thing out of the way, Peter. The FBI's findings in the end may not support a definitive conclusion one way or another.

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: That is right because all they can do is issue a report. That's it. They cannot call for guilt or innocence and, therefore, it is not as good as if they had subpoenas issued through the court, the committee itself.

If you Judiciary Committee had subpoenaed the witnesses and then they would be under oath, it would a much stronger investigation, which I do not think President Trump really wants.

VANIER: Peter, I am not referring to the fact that the FBI does not draw the conclusions from their investigation. We know that, the senators will draw the conclusions. I am referring to the fact, maybe the FBI does not really provide the senators with information that convincingly sways them one way or another.

MATTHEWS: That's very possible that they're only giving the FBI one week to do this. I question why there was a one week limit put on it and why the investigation didn't occur before Dr. Ford had to witness and testify.

There should have been no limit, an extensive FBI investigation called for by President Trump, just as President George H.W. Bush did in the case of Clarence Thomas and Trump didn't do that.

He's trying to control the investigation right now by his White House, the White House counsel sent in a list of witnesses, apparently, for the FBI to interview and to limit that the interviews to that list.

So that's much of an interference by the White House (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: You mentioned a list of witnesses. One of the priorities in this investigation, I would assume, is going to be talking to Mark Judge, the friend of Brett Kavanaugh, whom Dr. Ford puts in the room --


VANIER: -- at the moment of the alleged assault.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Absolutely, very important. Extremely important person to the interview. But if Mark Judge had been brought, subpoenaed in front of the committee, he would have been under oath.

In this case, he is overnight, although it is illegal for him to lie the FBI. He is still not under formal -- under oath and this is a problem in the modus operandi of the particularly investigation here.

And it won't be as strong as if we had gone with the FBI ahead of time, had subpoenas issued and a complete, comprehensive investigation took place, especially with Mark Judge being placed in the room by Dr. Ford. That's a key witness right there.

VANIER: Donald Trump and other Republicans as well as media supportive of the president accused Democrats of manipulating all of this in order to derail Kavanaugh's nomination.

Do you see a political manipulation here?

MATTHEWS: No, I do not. And that's an affront to the integrity of women in general and Dr. Ford in particular and possibly even Ms. Ramirez to challenge women's claims as unwarranted.

If a president, Trump to come out and say that if this was serious that this would have come, that Dr. Ford's parents or heard would have reported this when she was 15 years old. That is one thing that is completely egregious against women when men challenge them that way and say you're not serious because you didn't come open with the claim early on when it happened.

And yet we know that when studies have been done, that most women who are assaulted like this sexually are very loathe to come forward. They're already shaken up to begin with, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

And how can they come forward right away?

It takes months it not years for them to even consider doing this. And you can see Dr. Ford not really wanting to even come forward. She originally wanted to be anonymous.

So I don't think the president's being very honest or straightforward about this and he'd better -- there will be a big reaction in the polls in November. I am hoping, I think there will be on the part of women voters when it comes to the Republican Congress and the Republican Senate, for example.

VANIER: All right, Peter Matthews, thank you so much for joining us, always a pleasure speaking to you. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Cyril.

VANIER: Back to Donald Trump's rally in West Virginia. He did not make it all about Judge Kavanaugh. He also discussed his special relationship, his unique relationship, in fact, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.


TRUMP: You know, the interesting, what I did is -- and I was really being tough and so was he. And we go back and forth and then we fell in love. OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they're great letters.

We fell in love.


VANIER: All that and they have not even had a second date.

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo says he will meet with Kim Jong-un next month to plan a second summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader.

They are lucky to be alive and they know it. A planeload of people grateful for fast acting U.S. Navy sailors and local fishermen after their jet belly lands in the ocean. We'll have more on the astonishing rescue.




VANIER: I want to show you this. We're getting new video of U.S. Navy sailors rescuing the passengers and crew from an airplane that crashed into a lagoon -- this is in Micronesia.

The sailors were working in the area when the Boeing 737 went down a short distance from the runway. That was on Friday. They then use an inflatable boat to help local fishermen shuttle the 47 passengers and crew to shore.

All this happened as the jet was rapidly filling with water. Joining us on the phone now is the sailor who led the rescue, Petty Officer John Monahan.

Thank you so much for being with us.

Can you describe to me what you saw?

PETTY OFFICER JOHN MONAHAN, U.S. NAVY: Yes, Cyril. We saw the plane coming in for approach and it was far too low. (INAUDIBLE) we saw it slide into the water and we just immediately got everybody back on the boat and starting heading toward the aircraft.

VANIER: So wait, when you say it was far too low, you knew actually before it hit the water that wasn't going to make it to the runway?

MONAHAN: Yes, sir. We'd been working in the vicinity of the runway at the main commercial port here. And we've seen planes coming in out of here from past months. So we knew when we saw that it was way too low. (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: So you got onto your boat.

Were fishermen already there at that stage?

MONAHAN: Not yet. They were -- most of their boats were still in the small boat basin. And we were about a third of the way where we were working to the craft from the small boat basin.

VANIER: So you were the first ones on the scene?

MONAHAN: Yes, sir.

VANIER: So the pictures that we're looking at -- and, I mean, honestly, I cannot, just cannot take my eyes off the screen. The plane is actually sinking.

Is that what I'm seeing?

Because the plane -- the water is coming into the plane.

MONAHAN: Yes, sir. It looked like when we approached the plane there was maybe a buckle (ph) about halfway from the wings, the tail section and the water was rushing in through there.

And then by the time we got there, the water was about ankle- to shin- deep and we (INAUDIBLE) the wing.

VANIER: Did it seem to you like the situation where every second mattered because the water was coming into the plane?

MONAHAN: Yes. We (INAUDIBLE) start showing up and (INAUDIBLE) tail down and nose was going to come up (INAUDIBLE) ensure that all the passengers and crew and the pilots were (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: Tell me about the passengers that were then under your care.

MONAHAN: So we started taking about the starboard side and they approached (INAUDIBLE) opened the emergency exit door on that side and we poked our head in and had people start to come out that way (INAUDIBLE) everyone was trying to (INAUDIBLE) the port side of the vessel.

So we started yelling in and then I believe we took either six or seven on the boat. That was all the room we had. So we entered the aircraft and made sure everybody got safely into life rafts and then two gentlemen, (INAUDIBLE) farmer and (INAUDIBLE) went to the back of the plane and started to sweep from the aft galley forward and looking through each and every row on the aircraft, ensuring that everybody was out.

VANIER: Was anybody injured?

How are they doing?

MONAHAN: There were some injuries; some were critical. They got medevaced off of (INAUDIBLE) last night, I believe. (INAUDIBLE) around midnight the Coast Guard medevaced them out. (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: So what did they say?

Were you able to exchange words with them when you safely brought them back to shore?

MONAHAN: No, so we, once we split (ph) the plan and we knew everyone was out, we got to our boat and took our boat filled with passengers and crew to the small boat basin. And then we just immediately turned back around and went back out to make sure that there was no (INAUDIBLE) out there floating in the water.

Then we went to the airstrip and (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: Well, sir, it has been a pleasure speaking with you, Petty Officer John Monahan, those -- and that footage is truly remarkable, 47 people who basically owe you -- and the fishermen who came as well to the site of the crash -- their lives. Thank you so much for taking the time. We appreciate it.

MONAHAN: Yes, sir. Thank you. VANIER: The deadline for a Brexit agreement is just six months away and with both sides upping their no deal preparations, the stakes could not be higher.

What are the odds of all of this ending well?

CNN's Bianca Nobilo has more on the huge gamble.



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britain took a gamble when it chose to leave the European Union --


NOBILO (voice-over): -- staking its independence against a less certain future. And with only six months to go, there's all to play for.

The referendum was 27 months ago and the future is as uncertain now as it was then. One thing is for sure, both sides are running out of time.

So much so there is growing concern in Britain about a blind Brexit, paying over the 39 billion pound divorce bill to the E.U. without knowing exactly what Britain would get in return.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't even know what's going on with it. It's just really up in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it was messy, what is going to happen when we leave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just crazy because nobody knows where we stand at the moment.

NOBILO (voice-over): Cinder (ph) depends on probability and chance. Just like Brexit, you need to hit Several targets to win. Theresa May says the U.K. must respect the result of the referendum. That means leaving the customs union, single market, stopping free movement and ending vast sums of money going to the E.U.

Both the U.K. and the E.U. have committed to avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland. And the E.U. maintains that Brexit must respect the integrity of its single market.

Get all three, bingo. Brexit.

And what are the chances of that?

It's hard to see how Theresa May has the numbers to get any deal she's likely to get with the E.U. through Parliament. And if she can't get it through Parliament or she can't get the deal in the first place, or she's replaced by leadership context or a general election -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All bets are on.

NOBILO (voice-over): -- and even a second referendum could be on the table --Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


VANIER: The U.S. comedy show "Saturday Night Live" premiered its 44th season just a few hours ago with a merciless satire of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in Washington. Surprise guest actor Matt Damon portrayed the controversial Supreme Court nominee as a beer-obsessed frat bro. Take a look.


MATT DAMON, ACTOR, "BRETT KAVANAUGH": Look, I like beer. I can't -- I like beer. Boys like beer, girls like beer. I like beer. I like beer.

CECILY STRONG, ACTOR, "DIANNE FEINSTEIN": OK, so I asked if you drank in high school and you said "I like beer" 10 times. That leads me to the next question, did you ever drink too many beers?

"KAVANAUGH": You mean was I cool? Yes.


VANIER: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I've got the headlines for you in just a moment. Stay with us.