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Dow Opens Higher; Devastation in Florida Panhandle; Turkey Frees U.S. Pastor; Pope Accepts Cardinal's Resignation; Trump Lawyers Preparing Answers for Mueller; Stemming Climate Change. Aired 9:30- 10:00a

Aired October 12, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Losses on the Dow. We saw the Dow dropping over 1,000 points in two sessions.

What's the big driver for the bounce back? Corporate earnings. Third quarter earnings season getting underway today. J.P. Morgan Chase, the first big name up to bat today, handily beating expectations. So nothing like soaring profits to ease some minds in these turbulent times.

Also calming fears today, news that Chinese President Xi and President Trump will be meeting at the G-20 summit next month. The hope is that that will keep the escalations of the trade war from happening.

But, keep in mind, those -- those things that created all of the turbulence yesterday and the day before, they will continue lingering in the background. I'm talking about those trade war fears. I'm talking about inflation. I'm talking about those interest rates rising and oil prices and, of course, the housing market slowing at a time when we're seeing mortgage rates at levels we haven't seen in seven years. So all of those things will continue to simmer in the background. But today, at least at this point, we are seeing green arrows across the board, Poppy.

CAMEROTA: All right, we'll watch it. Dow up 387 at the open.

Alison, thank you.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the total devastation left behind by Hurricane Michael could take your breath away. Impassable roads. Homes literally wiped off the map. But now the mission for many is simple, try and rebuild what's been destroyed.

CNN national correspondent Miguel Marquez joins us now live again from Mexico Beach, really just ground zero of this horrible storm.

Tell us what you've been seeing there, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The level of devastation is incredible. And search and rescue still trying to get through much of this town to see if anyone is injured, anyone is dead. Everyone we speak to says they will be shocked if there are not deaths in this town.

This is what's left of it. This is the reason why. This was a neighborhood, a normal neighborhood, just 48 hours ago. Now it is literally, most of it, just scrubbed off the face of the earth. We have a mass cam that we can sort of -- put us in context of the neighborhood that we're standing in. Most of the city looks like this right now. One hundred parent of Mexico Beach has been affected. Some of it wiped off the face of its foundation altogether.

Getting word out that they are even alive is difficult here. We spoke to one person, he borrowed our satellite phone yesterday. Here's what he told his daughter.


BUTCH ALLEY, HURRICANE MICHAEL SURVIVOR: Do not come down here. Do not. You can't get in. It's -- everything's -- it's devastating. You have -- we've got a hole in our house, but that's all that's wrong with it. Grandmother's house is completely gone. It looks like a bomb went off (ph).


MARQUEZ: I was shocked to hear him go through that litany of places that were just wiped out. Everything. His business. All of his neighbor's homes. All of his families homes in this area, it's just gone, begging his daughter not to come here. And people in this town now just beginning to take on the enormity of what lies ahead for Mexico Beach.


SCIUTTO: Let's just hope that hidden in that wreckage is not evidence of more lives lost.

Miguel Marquez, we know you're going to stay on top of it.

Another story this morning, Pope Francis has accepted the recognition of the embattled arch bishop of Washington, D.C. He faced growing anger over his alleged role in two clergy sex abuse cases. We're going to have a live report from Rome. That's ahead.


[09:37:33] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SCIUTTO: This is just in to CNN. A Turkish court has now freed the American pastor, Andrew Brunson. This -- he's been at the heart of a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the United States. Our Ben Wedeman is in Turkey covering the story.

Ben, has had been a big priority for the Trump administration, particularly the vice president, Mike Pence, and it appears that the Turks have now delivered.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a bit complicated verdict. Apparently he was sentenced to 3.1 years in prison, but they subtracted the time he's already served behind bars through other legal maneuvers. At the end of the day, yes, he will be released, we understand. The counselor (ph) officials are already talking about details for him to travel out of the country. The house arrest he was under, the travel ban he was under have been lifted. Andrew Brunson is now a free man.


SCIUTTO: Yes, it's interesting, that is a formula that other countries around, for instance, have used when they've freed Americans is that they -- they don't say that you're innocent in effect, but they say you've already served your time.

WEDEMAN: Yes, that's right. And it appears that the Turks -- what we understood, sort of the atmosphere within the courtroom today was that the witnesses for the prosecution had contradicted themselves and it did appear that the prosecution was pulling back and that some sort of resolution was inevitable. And this resolution took place just moments ago.


SCIUTTO: Ben Wedeman, thanks very much.

The headline there, the American pastor, Andrew Brunson, he'd been held in Turkey for some time, part of big dispute between the Trump administration and the government of Erdogan in Turkey, that now resolved. Brunson, free.

Poppy, back to you.

HARLOW: And, Jim, really significant, right? I mean this is someone who was accused of plotting to overthrow Erdogan and, you know, and the Turkish government. And it had been this sticking point. And now given all that's happening in Turkey right now, given, you know, Khashoggi and the Saudi consulate there, really significant.

SCIUTTO: Yes. We should be clear, you know, accused of plotting to overthrow, but very much politically motivated charges against him.

HARLOW: Right. Yes. Right. Exactly.

All right, we'll keep you posted as we hear response, I'm sure, from the administration on this one.

Also want to bring you this headline. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, weeks after the Pennsylvania grand jury report found that more than 300 priests sexually abused and assaulted more than 1,000 children in six catholic diocese across the state. Wuerl implicated in that report. Some damning, damning allegations against him, including that he covered up these abuse allegations by the -- you know, at the hands of these predator priests for decades on end.

[09:40:28] Our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, is in Rome with more.

This is very significant. He has continued to deny that he covered this up, but he does not believe that he can serve anymore, and nor clearly does Pope Francis.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Yes, that's right, Poppy. I mean Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was unquestionably perhaps the single most influential figure in the American Catholic Church for some time now. A close papal ally and confidant of Francis. Today, Pope Francis ending about three months of speculation since that Pennsylvania grand jury report did accept his resignation, though two notes there are important. One is that he has asked Cardinal Wuerl to stay on as the interim leader of the arch diocese until a new archbishop is selected.

The other, Pope Francis took the highly unusual step of releasing a public letter to Cardinal Wuerl today in which he praised Cardinal Wuerl for what he described as the nobility of the way he's handled this situation, thanked him for choosing the good of his diocese and said he's proud of him.

So, Poppy, while Cardinal Wuerl may have lost his job, he hasn't lost the pope's confidence.

HARLOW: Well, that's both very important points that are not going to sit well with those who accused him of not coming forward for decades on end.

John Allen, thank you very much.


SCIUTTO: After months of negotiation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller may finally get some answers, written answers, from President Trump. Sources telling CNN that the president's lawyers are in the midst of prepping written answers to Mueller's question. There's speculation this could be a sign that the 17 month long investigation is at least winding down.

Joining me now is chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

So these negotiations have been going on a long time. A lot of back and forth about what questions the president would answer and would not answer. They're going to hand in their work. Is that the idea?


Look, I mean, we have been, as you said, and were a part of the Russia reporting team here watching this back and forth for about a year now, right? And where this is significant is the development that, as you mentioned, the Trump legal team has questions, written questions, that Robert Mueller and his team have provided, and they are working on the answers, just about the question of collusion.

So the questions are dealing with issues leading up to when the president was inaugurated. So that is sort of the framework of this. We don't know the specifics of what the questions are, the specifics of what the answers are that they're giving, but this has been a long and plotting negotiation just to get to this point for Robert Mueller to even allow for written questions.

Now, as I mentioned, this is just around collusion. The other big question, as you well know, is obstruction of justice, and that is still up for negotiation in a big way. That is still something that Robert Mueller wants to talk to the president about face to face and it is something that the Trump legal team has been resistant on and frankly feels that they have more of a -- more legal ground to stand on because they can claim executive privilege because he is -- he will have been already in the White House.

SCIUTTO: So the president has said publically many times that he'd be willing to sit down face to face with Robert Mueller. His lawyers have said, Dana -- I mean call me a skeptic. He's been holding this out there for some time. Realistically, is that going to happen?

BASH: It's hard to imagine. It is really hard to imagine that happening. And the reason, and you know this, part of the reason why this negotiation has taken this long is because it's a delicate dance with Robert Mueller for the president's legal team, but it's also one with their client because he has said this publically and privately, I got nothing to hide, and they, you know, have been wanting to protect him from himself.

SCIUTTO: And he's often said that if you're not willing to sit down, about others, that that must be a sign of guilt, right?

BASH: Exactly. Exactly. And he feels confident in his own ability to say what he's going to say and people around him are less confident in those abilities because they don't want him to walk into a perjury trap and/or forget about a perjury trap, to perjure himself because he tends to go off script, even under oath.

SCIUTTO: Right. Right.

BASH: And we've seen that in the past before he was a public figure and before he was president.

SCIUTTO: And his own lawyers, clearly worried about that prospect.

BASH: Very worried.

SCIUTTO: Dana Bash, thanks -- thanks very much.

BASH: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: We've covered it for a long time.

Poppy, back to you.

HARLOW: All right, great reporting from Dana. Thank you, guys.

[09:44:56] Hurricane Michael, part of a string of devastating storms hitting the United States in just the last year, but are these, quote/unquote natural disasters? Well, frankly, what role do humans play in all of this, ahead?


HARLOW: All right, welcome back. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And the death toll from Hurricane Michael now stands at 11. FEMA says expect that to rise. Just last month, Florence devastated the Carolinas killing 51 people. The official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, 2,975. And that same month Harvey pummeled Texas, becoming the second most costly hurricane to hit the United States in over 100 years.

[09:50:02] But how do we talk about these storms? It is a question that our colleague CNN's John Sutter poses in a fascinating new piece, "Are These Storms Natural Disasters or Do We All Play a Role?" We asked the same question on the week, the same week that leading experts released a U.N. climate change report warning the planet only has until 2030 to stem catastrophic effects of climate change. And just yesterday the Senate voted to confirm a climate change skeptic to head the DOJ's environmental division.

Joining me now, Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science and the hurricane expert at MIT.

It is good to have you here, Doctor Emanuel. Thank you.

Are these natural disasters?

KERRY EMANUEL, PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE AT MTI: Well, I don't think they should ever have been called natural disasters. Nature adapted to hurricanes eons ago. Hurricanes are part of nature. Nature copes with hurricanes just fine. It's humans that don't cope well. We insist upon building in dangerous places. And that's what causes the disaster.

HARLOW: But when you talk to skeptics, climate change skeptics, even though 97 percent of climate scientists agree humans drive global warming, they want to know how global warming, in your mind, and the minds of so many scientists, make these hurricanes that much worse. What is it?

EMANUEL: Well, the physics behind it is actually pretty straightforward. Hurricanes are powered by the flow of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere when water evaporates, and the greater the difference between the temperature of the ocean and the temperature of ultimately (ph) the atmosphere of the ocean, the stronger hurricanes can theoretically become. So the speed limit on hurricanes goes up with global warming.

HARLOW: You know, the president this week said that he would read the U.N. report, but he also said this. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was given to me. And I want to look at who drew it. You know, which group drew it. Because I can give you reports that are fabulous and I can give you reports that aren't so good.


HARLOW: He's skeptical of the findings here. If you had five minutes with the president on this, what would you say?

EMANUEL: Well, I think the best that we can do is simply present the evidence and present this as a problem of risk. I mean m\any, many decisions have to be made based on assessments of risk in people's everyday life and in the life of organizations and great nations. And this is a risk. Are we absolutely certain about the outcome? No. We are very seldom certain about the outcome in any risk situation. The evidence that we're accumulating large risk is growing every year. And it's substantial. I would simply try to assuage him to see it that way.

HARLOW: Do you believe that more powerful hurricanes, more rapidly intensifying hurricanes with shorter time spans for warning that make predicting them and forecasting them more difficult, is that the new normal unless something dramatically changes in human behavior on the environment?

EMANUEL: Well, yes. I think both theory and models are in pretty good agreement on this, that as we go forward in time we're going to see more rapidly intensifying hurricanes and a greater frequency of the high intensity events. There's some argument within my profession about what will happen to the low-intensity hurricanes, whether they might increase or decrease. But, in practice, they're not usually the ones that do a lot of damage.

HARLOW: Right. All right, well, look, we've seen the havoc that Michael has wreaked across the panhandle. We appreciate you being with us. Professor Kerry Emanuel, thank you.

SCIUTTO: This morning, the death toll from Hurricane Michael rises as shell-shocked residents start to pick up the pieces after this really destructive storm. We're following it all. Please stay with us.


[09:58:15] SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

With the midterms rapidly approaching, we want to know what is motivating all of you to vote. And every day we're asking people across the country of all political motivations to share their reasons on Instagram.

HARLOW: Right. In today's edition of "Why I'm Voting" we're hearing from young people who are going to the polls for the first time. Listen.


MELANIE LOUCH, VOTER IN HOUSTON: My name's Melanie and I'm a proud first-time voter who's super passionate about ending gerrymandering where I live. I live in a county that's currently split up into four precincts. And not only are these precincts shaped really weird, they kind of look like the gastrointestinal system, but they're also really spread out. So I'm currently being represented by somebody who lives almost 30 minutes away from me.

BRANDON FARBSTEIN, VOTER FROM WASHINGTON: The only way things are going to change is if we step up and we say, this isn't right. And Congress needs to represent the wants and needs of all Americans, not just a certain group.

SARA JADO, VOTER FROM GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA: What's motivating me to vote is all the lives lost by gun violence every single day. We, as students, are scared for our lives.

KELLY CHOI, VOTER FROM CYPRESS, TEXAS: I'm super excited to be able to vote, and I hope that everybody else who can is too because it's so important, especially for this upcoming midterms because state and local elections do matter. These are the people that are going to represent us in the House and in the Senate, and they're going to pick the legislation that goes through, they're going to pick the issues that are going to be put on the table, that presides over the country for years and years to come.


SCIUTTO: Your vote matters. Every vote matters. Post a video to Instagram telling us what is pushing you to the polls, what's going to make a difference in your vote. You can use the hashtag #whyivotecnn.

[10:00:03] SCIUTTO: Good morning. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington.

HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. We're glad you're with us.

Finally this morning, the storm that shattered records, lives, homes, entire communities in the Florida panhandle