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Sources: White House Controlling Scope of FBI Probe; Scramble to Find Quake and Tsunami Survivors: At Least 844 Dead; GOP Senators Under Pressure; Soccer Star Ronaldo Accused of 2009 Rape in New Lawsuit. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 1, 2018 - 10:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Warren, I want to ask you, and trust me, I understand the political position you have been put in here. Set that aside if we can for a moment, if that's possible in this environment, but let's say this was another nominee on another day in a different political environment. If you had done a background check on someone and then a new witness came forward -


SCIUTTO: -- and alleged behavior, even years of years before, would you reopen that background check?

FLAGG: Absolutely. And I would say, and I don't know because I'm not running the investigation, but I will tell you, I would be shocked if they didn't contact her, see if she would be granted a --

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But they're being guided, the parameters, by the White House.

FLAGG: No, I disagree. And you heard from former Director Comey. We do things independently.

HARLOW: It sounds like you're saying that you believe that even if the White House and Don McGahn - I think you can talk to x, y, and z, they're going to do - they're going to go beyond if they see their that leads take them there.

FLAGG: I would be shocked that they didn't reach out. (CROSSTALK) It's very important that we remain independent. We have already been thrown under the bus by --

HARLOW: It's like a journalist. It's like Jim or I not following a lead on a report that we're doing.

FLAGG: Exactly --


SCIUTTO: Is it possible, though, that they have not reached out to Blasey Ford yet but might after they have talked to other people? Could she be a next step or you know later in the week or a final step?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: She could, but she also testified for a long period of time, so you know, they may also feel like they have heard enough from her through that testimony. They could speak to her lawyer, I suppose, if they wanted to get leads of other people to talk to, but she kind of covered all of that in her testimony. So I'm not surprised they're focusing on others first.

HARLOW: Susan, let's talk big picture about that dramatic moment on Friday. I think we have the video we can pull up, guys in the control room of Jeff Flake gets out of his seat and he walks around to the Democratic side of the hearing room, right? And he gets his friend, Chris Coons, and they go, and they're literally huddled in a phone booth. OK? Negotiating this one-week pause for an investigation and then they sit down for this interview, right, a historic moment.

We will tell our kids about that one day, right? They sit down for this interview with Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes" last night and then the politics and the reality of the America we live in today is just clear.

Listen to what Jeff Flake said when asked, could you do this if you were running again?


SCOTT PELLEY, HOST, "60 MINUTES": Flake, you have announced that you're not running for re-election. And I wonder could you have done this if you were running for re-election?


PELLEY: Not a chance.

FLAKE: No. No.

PELLEY: Because politics has become too sharp, too partisan?

FLAKE: There's no value to reaching across the aisle. There's no currency for that anymore, there's no incentive.


HARLOW: And to be fair, it's not as though we saw reaching across the aisle. Obamacare was passed with no Republican votes. This isn't just a Republican or Democrat. I think they both do it, but where do that candid answer from Flake - where does that leave us as a country?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Well, you know, doesn't that explain why our politics is so broken, that there's no incentive for reaching across party lines and reaching a compromise? And I think Senator Flake is exactly right when he says that. I think it's incredibly illuminating to hear him describe that.

SCIUTTO: In fact, you could argue there's a disincentive, right? That it could be fatal, you know, in a primary or the funny thing about that phone booth. You know, I have often been up on the Hill, and you still have these lines of phone booths, which I think our kids would not even recognize what they were.

HARLOW: Look what happened -

SCIUTTO: Finally, they found a use for those empty phone booths.

FLAGG: That one is going to the Smithsonian.


HARLOW: I think you're right. It's nice to have you guys. Thank you all for being with us today on a very important day, Susan Page, Jennifer Rodgers and Warren Flag.

We want to take you back after this to Indonesia where it's just an absolute tragedy. Hundreds of people in mass graves after the deadly earthquake and tsunami hit, rescuers searching frantically for survivors. Officials fear the worst is still to come. We'll take you there live next.


[10:38:42] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Pay attention to this story because it really is a tragedy unfolding in Indonesia. Rescuers they're digging through destroyed buildings, through huge mounds of debris for any survivor. This, after Friday's monstrous earthquake and the disastrous tsunami that followed the earthquake, at least 844 people are now dead in the city of Palu with the death toll expected to climb much higher.

HARLOW: Just look at those images. You have got hundreds of victims that they're burying right now in these mass graves. They're trying to prevent the spread of disease, and then if you missed it over the weekend, stop and look at this video. This is the moment when that tsunami wave 10 feet high is rushing in, slamming into the coast of Palu.

Let's go to Matt Rivers. He's there now. I mean, Matt, you know where you are, this makeshift clinic was not supposed to be a clinic, and there are people in the midst of this tragedy suffering right on the ground behind you.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's difficult to watch, frankly. We have been here all day long, and what these people are putting up with behind me, with very serious injuries. I mean, it's hot here. It is humid. There is zero breeze to be frank. You can smell from what we talked about last hour, there are corpses, 150 meters away from here.

[10:40:00] It's not a healthy environment, at all. And yet these people are having to go through this because this is a part of the world that does not have the kind of infrastructure that can stand up - let alone to earthquake but you know, put a tsunami on top of that, they can't do that. And this is the result of that, and these people are going through that. They're trying to get international aid in here. They're trying to get more NGOs up here. They're trying to get more heavy equipment up here to get people out of the wreckage, but it is a slow process.

I mean, just to get here, for us to travel, I was in Bangkok, I came here. It took almost two days to get here. And it's not that far, as the crow flies. So if I had that trouble, other people are going to have that trouble. And it just exacerbates what's already a difficult situation.

And when we talk about the death toll going up, it will go up. It's not a matter of -- it's just a matter of how much it will go up. There's 744 homes that we're told are buried under mud about a half hour drive from here. Were people in the homes? You have to imagine they were. How many people were able to escape before the landslide happened? We're not sure. That's the kind of questions that authorities still have, but that's why we know the death toll is going to go up, guys.

HARLOW: And just, Matt, before you go, on that warning that Jim brought up last hour, that you know, "The New York Times" is reporting there are these 22 buoys that are supposed to indicate and give warning after the tragedy of 2004, and none of them were working and have not been working for a long time. Is that right?

RIVERS: Yes, I mean, that's -- the government is denying it officially. What the government is saying is that the tsunami warning, which there was a tsunami warning that went out. People here will tell you that. And then people here will also tell you that 35 minutes later, that tsunami warning was lifted and the tsunami wave hit after that. The government is disputing that.

But if you talk to all these people around here, especially people who live in the coastal communities that are now decimated. Wooden houses don't even exist anymore.

HARLOW: Right.

RIVERS: They will tell you that something is wrong with the tsunami warning system.

SCIUTTO: Heartbreaking to imagine. Matt Rivers there on the scene for us, thanks very much.

Joining us now is Jan Gelfand, head of the International Federation of Red Cross Delegation in Indonesia. Thanks very much for taking the time. We know you have a lot on your hands. You said earlier, that -- and I'm quoting you, I don't think we have quite seen the worst of things yet. I imagine you're expecting the death toll to rise. Do you have any sense of the scale at this point?

JAN GELFAND, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS DELEGATION IN INDONESIA: I think Matt (INAUDIBLE) This is in the nature of an earthquake, and I think we need to recognize that where it is right now, Palu is not even where the epicenter was. This was an earthquake that was 7.5 on the Richter scale, also 10 kilometers deep. And that means a tremendous amount of movement. And so, we haven't gotten you know up and down the coast because of the difficulties in transportation and not even inland where there's landslides, slightly smaller communities, rural communities. The numbers are going to go up significantly. I don't want to -- we have in communities, we have rescue workers that are beside community worker, beside the army. They're going to keep going until they find everybody or live people. That's just the way that they are. But this is going to go up, no question.

HARLOW: I was so struck by what our reporter on the ground, Matt Rivers, just told Jim and myself and that is that it took him two days to get there from Bangkok. OK? If it takes him that long to get there, what does that mean for the time that's running out for people that need to be rescued or treated urgently? What does it mean for just the supplies?

GELFAND: It's very difficult because especially in the area of rescue, you need certain kinds of equipment. You don't just go climbing into rubble and start looking for people. We need equipment so that you can keep your teams safe and so forth. That equipment can't even make it there. It's not a question of whether somebody wants to bring it in or not. It's impossible to bring it in.

And so, that's just causing huge amounts of problems. The same thing, we have, the Indonesian Red Cross is bringing in 15 water trucks, we're bringing in tents, we're bringing in kitchens, bringing in a mobile clinic and surgical teams, but to get that equipment in there, some of it we're bringing it by boat. There's a huge logistical challenge. So every time, as long as it takes, you know, time is going by. So I talked to -- we have 180 volunteers in there. Some of the stories I hear from them, they mirror what Matt said. This is a terrible tragedy. It's serious, and we haven't seen the worst of it. That's what earthquakes do. It takes a long time.


SCIUTTO: We're going to keep following these stories. We're also going to let you know how you can help, because I'm sure there's going to be an outpouring of requests for aid.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Thank you very much, Jan. We appreciate it, and good luck to all of the Red Cross teams doing the work there.

If you're watching and you want to help the victims affected by this earthquake and the tsunami, you can go to Again, that is A lot of ways listed there that you can help.

SCIUTTO: Senator Susan Collins is one of the few GOP senators whose vote will be crucial when it comes to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. So, what are her constituents telling her, if Collins votes yes on him or no.


[10:49:36] HARLOW: All right, so we're watching what happened to the president's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh and when it may reach a vote, if it reaches on in the full Senate. His confirmation may very well come down to two moderate Republican female senators. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Susan Collins of Maine, both facing pressure from some of their female constituents about what their vote will be.

SCIUTTO: Joining us now with a look at what these voters are telling their senators is CNN correspondent, Kaylee Hartung.

[10:50:02] So, I know you have been out there in Susan Collins' state, meeting a lot of women. What are they telling you, and crucially, what are they telling her?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Jim and Poppy, the phones have not stopped ringing in Susan Collins' offices across Maine and in Washington since Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings began. Many women here in Portland now telling me the phone calls and the e- mails, they no longer seem like enough. They're showing up in person to ensure their voices are heard.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where I needed to be. This is the work that I needed to be doing today in encouraging Susan Collins to please vote no and protect our Supreme Court and our daughters and our country.

HARTUNG (voice-over): Vivian McCain (ph) and a minivan full of her friends have come to deliver a very pointed message to Senator Susan Collins' Portland staff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It happened to me. And she was as credible a witness as I have ever seen in my 17 years of practicing law. So I believe her.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, BRETT KAVANAUGH'S ACCUSER: I believed he was going to rape me.

HARTUNG: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations, still, Dr. Christine Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a trigger for women to organize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I sat all day watching her, and it was heartbreaking. It was gut-wrenching. Her story is like so many other people's stories, and if it was me, I wouldn't want to feel alone either.

HARTUNG: Protests from Maine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Senator Collins is listening, what she's telling young women is, your bodies don't matter. They're not yours. You're not in control of your life. And these boys can do anything they want.

HARTUNG: To Alaska.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Hey, hey, ho, ho, the patriarch has got to go.

HARTUNG: Pleas for their undecided senators to listen.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, once again key deciders on a critical vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's frustrating that once again that so much of this burden is being put on the women from the GOP.

HARTUNG: Women believing they have a responsibility to speak loudly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have friends all over the country who would love to be able to have a senator that they could go speak to. That they felt like was a decision maker.

HARTUNG: Not only in their home states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're seeing is the Maine contingency right now.

HARTUNG: But also in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would like to know when we're going to able to meet with Senator Collins.

HARTUNG: This group driving overnight from Maine, five of them able to meet face-to-face with their senator.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do feel like she heard us. She was very sincere and listening to us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're very aware that Collins' vote is absolutely critical to the future of this country.

HARTUNG: The consequences of a vote for Kavanaugh.

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUG, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Before the Senate and the nation --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would suggest to me that she no longer felt that she was a representative of the people of Maine. And I would never vote for her again.


HARTUNG (on camera): Opposition is loud, but there is quiet support among women for Brett Kavanaugh, though here in Portland, when we have met a few of those women who say they would support a yes vote, they haven't been willing to talk to us on camera. Jim and Poppy?

HARLOW: That's really interesting. And it makes you wonder how broad is that support, right? Thank you, Kaylee, good reporting. We appreciate it.

We're minutes away from the president speaking live in the Rose Garden to tout the deal that will replace NAFTA. The big deal.

SCIUTTO: The big deal. And the markets are welcoming it.

HARLOW: Yes. We'll bring it to you live.


[10:57:45] SCIUTTO: One more story we're following this morning. A Las Vegas woman is publicly accusing the soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo of a rape in 2009.

HARLOW: She says this attack allegedly happened in a Vegas hotel room in 2009. Her lawsuit was filed last week, and her name is Kathryn Mayorga. She says Ronaldo apologized to her after she says he raped her.

In an Instagram post, he appears to dispute the claim. He claims the allegations are quote, "fake news."

Let's go to our correspondent Nick Watt who joins us from Los Angeles with more. And Nick, when you read about this, the detail with which she says she was pushed into this room and she said no, no, no, and he continued this also follows a settlement, right, a settlement between the two.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. They actually came to settlement in the months after this alleged assault back in 2009. And in that settlement, this woman, Kathryn Mayorga, was given $375,000 on the condition that she would not speak. She now says that at that time, she was fragile, she was perhaps coerced into that agreement. And that she has since suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Just to put this in a little bit of context, Cristiano Ronaldo is not just a soccer player. He's arguably the best soccer player in the world, and he's also unquestionably one of the most famous soccer players in the world.

Now, he met the Miss Mayorga back in 2009, in June at the Rain Nightclub in Las Vegas. He invited her allegedly and some others up to his penthouse suite to enjoy the view and to use the hot tub. She says that as she was getting changed into shorts and a T-shirt to go in the hot tub, he came into the bathroom, exposed himself, demanded oral sex and then took her into a bedroom and raped her as she continued to say no, no, no.

Now, Cristiano Ronaldo's reps have come out in response to the "Der Spiegel" which is the German magazine which first reported this, and they say, "The reporting in "Der Spiegel" is blatantly illegal. It violates the personal rights of our client Cristiano Ronaldo in an exceptionally serious way. This is an inadmissible reporting of suspicions in the area of privacy."

Cristiano Ronaldo also appeared to deny the allegations in an Instagram live. Mayorga is seeking damages for physical as well as emotional loss. Back to you, guys. SCIUTTO: The details in the allegations are chilling, for sure.

HARLOW: Thank you very much, Nick Watt. We'll keep everyone posted on that as it develops. And thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.