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Trump Lawyers to Respond to Mueller; Hurricane Michael's Aftermath; America Pastor Freed in Turkey. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired October 12, 2018 - 15:00   ET



GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The big question is, what are they going to do about obstruction, on the question of obstruction, which comes after he became president?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And does this mean, then, that there's no way the president is going to sit for a face-to-face interview?

BORGER: No, not at all.

In this arrangement, the special counsel reserved the right to go back and ask more questions. And they're doing it in two parts. And so it's hard for me to think that, on the obstruction issue, when it goes to intent and what is in your mind at a certain point, that the special counsel won't say, we really do need to sit down with the president.

But they're kind of taking it one step at a time. I think they all agree that negotiations went on for almost a year, and that was about enough. So they go through this step. They will see what Bob Mueller wants next.

KEILAR: All right, Gloria Borger, great reporting.

BORGER: Thank you.

KEILAR: Thank you so much.

And let's go back now to Brooke. She is in Florida.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here we are. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We are back, day two, in Mexico Beach, Florida, what has been referred to, and for good reason -- look just over my shoulder -- at ground zero of what was Hurricane Michael, Category 4 hurricane, winds clocked at 155 miles an hour, which explains this.

You see, this mattress moved from who knows where. I mean, stories of homes being thrown because of -- it's not just the wind. It's the 13- foot storm surge that I have seen within people's own homes, homes kicked about on the other side of Highway 98. And search and rescue continues. We're going to talk to the City of Miami fire chief in just a second, who's got some numbers and an update for us here as far as the status of Mexico Beach. The death toll overall from the storm across state lines is 13. It is

expected to rise. As I mentioned, search-and-rescues are still under way. Convoys of first-responders, they are going door to door. They are looking for survivors. They are in some cases having to extricate certain people who are physically not able to get out of some of these homes themselves, sending others to hospitals.

We were just talking to Dianne Gallagher there in Panama City. Some hospitals have been just utterly destroyed. And so patients are having to be relocated elsewhere.

This is pretty cool, though, in covering this hurricane, we have got a CNN drone. John Rubenstahl is our CNN drone pilot. You are looking at us here under this tent bringing you this show live here in Mexico Beach, as it flies over my head. Look at what lies beneath.

Much of Mexico Beach is leveled. Some condos do remain, depending on if they were built more recently up to better, updated hurricane standards. And we're getting numbers, though, as far as how many people chose to ride it out, many of whom thought this would be a Category 2 hurricane, thinking perhaps they have been through those before.

But, sadly, they were rudely woken Wednesday morning to a much more fierce storm.

I have with me Chief Joseph Zahralban from the City of Miami and Florida Task Force 2.

Chief, thank you so much for making a minute for me, because I know it's your whole team that is in charge of search and rescue for this entire area of Mexico Beach.

Can we talk about what they're up to over there at that home and what they found?


As I indicated when we spoke offline, we came in and did a primary search. And we spent the entire day trying to touch as many lives as possible. Now we come back today and we do a more thorough secondary search. Part of that secondary search ultimately reveals individuals who might not have survived.

And that's what we're trying to confirm at this time.

BALDWIN: Trying to confirm if there is a body or not.

You were telling me before the storm came in, you know, there was an assessment done. It was determined that about 200 people were going to choose to ride it out, specifically here in Mexico Beach.

What have you found in the last 24 hours as your teams have been here going door to door of what doors remain?

ZAHRALBAN: Right. Well, the local resources did do an excellent job confirming those numbers for us, the 200 or about that stayed behind. And so far, what we found on initial arrival was, we had one individual that we actually did have to extricate from a home.

BALDWIN: Can you tell me more about that?

ZAHRALBAN: There were just -- there was some debris trapping them and preventing them from getting out. And we successfully extricated them. They were OK. And we sent them on to the hospital.

And then about five or six other people needed EMS treatment, nothing really serious, but they did need to be seen at the hospital. So we sent them off as well.

BALDWIN: Now, there's a home -- I don't know if you can see it, but there's this -- these two yellow homes over my right shoulder. And so I was told by Scott Dean, one of your guys, yesterday that there was a family, two parents, two kids, decided to ride it out.


They saw their neighbor, a gentleman next door, who they were saying, come to us, come to us to seek refuge. He did. You can confirm he is OK.

ZAHRALBAN: There is -- remember, a lot of this information is ambiguous initially.

What I can confirm for you was, there was an individual, a neighbor, who did ultimately decide to ride out the storm with the family. And he is OK. I did speak to him, and his house was destroyed.

BALDWIN: You have been working as a firefighter at City of Miami for 28 years, you were telling me. And no -- each storm, each hurricane is unique. But for people who are just watching these pictures from a TV at home or from their mobile device, how do you describe this?

ZAHRALBAN: It's surreal. It's really indescribable.

And when you look at it, as you're watching it at home from TV, you have to look at it from the perspective, this could be me. How would I feel if I were living this surreal life right now?

And when you walk around, and you talk to people, you quickly realize that they are awestruck. When you speak to them, you can tell that they're not coming from a place of normalcy. And you can...

BALDWIN: For a lot of people, it hasn't hit them. It hasn't hit them. They're just like, OK, I'm going to find the pieces of my life. And I'm going to clean up and I'm going to figure out what I'm going to do. And they're exhausted and they rode out the storm.

The other piece of this that I think doesn't as much translate to people watching is all these beeps. The beeping is 360 degrees around us. And it's smoke detectors from people's homes. It's burglar alarms, and you were saying it's particularly haunting for firefighters to hear these high-pitched beeps, because why?

ZAHRALBAN: Well, these sounds sound eerily familiar to a device that we call a PASS unit, which is a device that every firefighter -- every firefighter wears. And if that firefighter becomes immobile for more than 30 seconds, that device goes off, indicating to us that he is in distress and we need to find them.

So as we go around and search these areas, in the back of our minds, we're hearing PASS units go off, indicating people are in distress.

BALDWIN: It is chilling. I hope you have a positive update with this search-and-rescue recovery, who knows what it will be, that's under way right now just over that way.

Chief, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

As we are here, we were one of the first crews to actually arrive via helicopter yesterday morning before the FAA shut the airspace for military only. And we were able to bring you those initial live photos this time yesterday.

And just before I came on TV, I met a woman -- her name is Sherry (ph) -- who was walking in off the beach with two of her girlfriends. She had left Mexico Beach. Her home was here. Left Mexico Beach and had ridden out the storm just down the way at Port St. Joe.

And she was coming back. And I happened upon her as she was trying to see where her home was. She found where it was. Watch.



BALDWIN: Nothing's there.


BALDWIN: There are just no -- there are no words.


There's so many memories here. Now I don't know what I'm going to do.

BALDWIN: Were you able to take anything before you left?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't get my pictures. i had to rush out here. Just some clothes and my jewelry box. I didn't get a chance to get my pictures.

BALDWIN: Can you tell me what Mexico Beach was like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, it was beautiful. Everybody was just kind and they helped each other. If you was in need, they helped you.

I just knew everybody here, just about it.

BALDWIN: And to see this...


BALDWIN: ... feels like what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't describe it. It's just terrible. It's -- I just can't describe the feeling. And I know I'm not the only one here that feels the same. They have lost everything.


BALDWIN: She is definitely not the only one who finds these images indescribable.

I will tell you, as we have been passing along, as we were one of the first crews here yesterday, and there is zero cell service here. We were able to pass her our satellite phone, so she could call a loved one, Brianna, and at least let them know that she was alive and to tell them that there was nothing left of the home.

KEILAR: And that is -- and you have been doing that with multiple people because they don't have communications.

Their stories are amazing, Brooke, but so is their compassion too for their neighbors that you're seeing over and over again.

BALDWIN: They keep asking us how we are.

I had a guy yesterday offer me water. We had someone -- the only way we were able to actually go live this time yesterday, we used what's called a BGAN. You have to hit a satellite, because obviously there's no cell service here. We were out of juice.


We had no battery in our computer. We had a fellow who was here from Mexico Beach. His -- his car was missing the front piece of it because it hit a tree because of the storm. He had a quarter of a tank of gas left. He gave us juice from his battery on his truck, so that we could use up the computer to hit the satellite to go live, because he wanted to make sure we were telling the nation what had happened to his home.

KEILAR: Yes. And you are, Brooke. And we're going to be back there with you in just a moment.

First, though, we want to talk about this story, an American pastor who was arrested in Turkey and 2016, and he has just been freed and is expected to leave Turkey tonight.

We have video from today. Pastor Andrew Brunson had been living and preaching in Turkey for 23 years when he was arrested in July 2016. He was accused of helping a plot a coup against Turkey's president.

Today, a Turkish court sentenced Brunson to three years and one month in prison, but then it chose to free him for time already served. President Trump had recently put new pressure on the Turkish government to release him.

I want to go now to CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman. He is in the town in Turkey, where Brunson lived.

Ben, tell us where is Pastor Brunson now, and when is he going to get to the but?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, we saw him leave in a motorcade of American consular vehicles from -- this is the street where he used to live.

He left about 35 minutes ago, we are assuming, to the airport and out of Turkey, because, of course, he has finally been released after two years in detention, after we saw in court he was accused of aiding and abetting terrorism.

But the judge came out with this ruling were, on the basis of time served, which is two years in this case, and good behavior, he was allowed to leave. So our understanding is that he is probably at the airport, almost certainly about to board an aircraft to return to the United States -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Ben Wedeman, and many people in the U.S. awaiting his return. Thank you for your report from Turkey.

As the president celebrates the release of the pastor, he's under mounting pressure to respond to what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. A source says that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows the father of four was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey after he entered that consulate on October 2.

There's video that shows him going inside of that consulate. The evidence, as described from the source, is found to be -- quote -- "shocking and disgusting."

"The Washington Post" reports -- quote -- "You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured, and then murdered."

Saudi Arabia says it has no involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi. And, today, a Saudi team arrived in Turkey to investigate.

Now, while the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations had little to say to CNN about all of this -- check it out.


QUESTION: Ambassador, could you give us two seconds to explain Saudi Arabia's view on the Khashoggi matter and what happened to him, just two seconds?


QUESTION: What is the view.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: We really want to dig into this.

We have CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. We have seen and White House reporter Stephen Collinson with us as well.

So, the understanding then is, from having video and audio evidence in the consulate, is that the consulate was bugged, right. This would be sort of...


ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the supposition, right, that they were bugged and that there was a camera in there.

KEILAR: That's right. But if there's a camera, if there is a microphone, if there is evidence of this, isn't it, Elise, indisputable, if the Saudis are looking at realizing that they may have had something that was -- I mean, this is proof potentially?

LABOTT: Well, I don't know if we're ever going to really see that audio or video. And I will tell you why. I think the Turks want to have it both ways, OK?

They have evidence that they say that the Saudis did it. And there's a lot of tension in the Saudi relationship with Turkey right now over the bigger feud in the region with Qatar, over some other issues.

But at the same time, it's an important relationship. And now you see them kind of working together. So Erdogan wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He wants to say the Turks did it -- the Saudis did it. But he's not saying it officially. He's having little officials kind of leak out that there's a video and it's awful and it's disgusting.

I'm not saying that the Saudis aren't responsible. There's mounting evidence that they are. But the Turks are also playing a double game here. And there's a lot of conspiracy theories about how this was done, and whatever.

There's mounting evidence of Saudi culpability, but we have seen very little hard information and hard facts.

KEILAR: And now the question is, how does the U.S., Stephen, respond to this, right, because you have businesses that are pulling out of this prominent economic summit in Saudi Arabia. CNN was supposed to be a media sponsor. CNN is not going. Many media outlets are not going.


And Jared Kushner -- you have written about this -- is friends -- he's been very friendly with the crown prince. He actually reached out to Jared Kushner on Tuesday.

Tell us about how the administration is responding and also how this Kushner-crown prince relationship maybe complicates some of this. STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right.

So every administration really over the last 40 years has faced this dilemma in a way. Saudi Arabia is so important to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. But it's always had a bad human rights record that conflicts in many ways with U.S. values and what America is supposed to stand for.

The dilemma is particularly acute for this administration, because they have put so much political capital on its relationship with the crown prince, who was seen 18 months ago as a reformer in the Middle East and across the Arab world.

What's happened since then is that he's become much more reckless and ruthless than perhaps many people thought throughout the United States and in the West. We have seen the civil war in Yemen. We saw the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, taken to Saudi Arabia and detained.

So it's become a much more sort of politically damaging relationship from the administration than it looked like it would be going in. And I think the question is now, is the administration going to wait for this to blow over, as it looks like it's trying -- it hopes will happen, or is its -- sort of the key anchor of its Middle East policy that rests, so important for its confrontational policy with Iran, the relationship with Saudi Arabia, is that now in serious trouble?

KEILAR: And it's such an eventful day today, and this is going to have eventful days here following. We know that you guys are going to be watching all of that.

Stephen Collinson and Elise Labott, thank you so much to both of you.

Next: Some stunning new drone video shows people sifting through homes that have been left without walls from Hurricane Michael. We will take you back live to Mexico Beach, Florida, as people get their first glimpse of the destruction.

Also ahead, an alarming report on the number of unvaccinated children in the U.S. and what that may mean for your child's chances of getting sick.

And first lady Melania Trump gaining in popularity in a new CNN poll, just as a new interview with her is released. Hear how she responded to a direct question about her husband's alleged affairs.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching special coverage here in the aftermath. Really, cleanup day number one, is what it feels like in Mexico Beach, Florida.

I'm Brooke Baldwin, alongside my colleague Brian Todd. And, gosh, the last time I saw you was when we were both rolling into

town ahead of the storm. You rode it out in Panama City Beach, and had those incredible, incredible pictures. And now here we are.

Tell me what you have been up to today. You got here really early this morning.


And we have been kind of combing through some of these neighborhoods here that were just flattened that you gave the world the first glimpse of.

We talked to South Florida urban search-and-rescue team members who just actually deployed from not far from where we are. They're heading down that way to look for possible survivors, taking what they call a live find dog with them specially trained to sniff out people who might still be living.

So they're -- they're still coming through this wreckage. They said that they had to use specialized equipment to extricate one person from a home.


TODD: Otherwise -- 15 people had to be otherwise helped out of their homes who couldn't make it out.

So sometimes local officials are telling us that they have got a handle on this, but they always hedge it. Now you're kind of getting a sense that maybe they don't quite know the extent of what we're dealing with here.

There's a -- unfortunately, a very grim possibility that we're going to find survivors trapped here, possibly some dead people here.

BALDWIN: Yes. And you were also talking to me earlier about what I -- what I noticed yesterday, it was much, much quieter. I think the difference between yesterday, when we were rolling in as the National Guard was rolling in, and then today you have these big front-end loaders and Caterpillars and convoys coming in.

And people are trying to get back in to clean up. But you made this point to me earlier. I think it was the mayor who said to you, don't come to Mexico Beach.

TODD: They do not want people coming back to Mexico Beach. The people who live here, they don't want coming back to Mexico Beach, because he's not trying to insult people, but he says, you're getting in the way.

You're getting in the way of the responders who are looking for people. You're getting in the way of the front-end loaders who have to clear all this stuff out. And so they just don't want people to come back. It's not safe. And they're trying to get the word out. But, again, communication is sporadic, when you're trying to do it through social media or whatever.

Are people who left here going to get that message? They want to come back here and see their homes. We, unfortunately, were right behind a family who just came upon their home that had been completely flattened, blown across a canal.

And the woman was just shaking in agony, fear, anger. She looked up at the sky and said, "What did we do to you?"


TODD: You're just -- you can't -- you don't want to tell these people don't -- not to come back. But then you see -- you see that it is dangerous, but you see kind of the emotion, and it's just a lot to get your mind and your emotions around.

BALDWIN: I had never -- I grew up in Atlanta. I would come down to this part of the Florida Panhandle for vacations with my family. But I had never been to Mexico Beach.

And so this is -- this is what I know of Mexico Beach, and I had people who saw me yesterday send me pictures just to show me how beautiful it was. I mean, it was a gorgeous little seaside town, so tight-knit, and we were on more of the west side of town yesterday.

Now we're here on the east side. And I think, for people watching, it's not like we're standing in front of the worst of it. Like, the worst of it is everywhere.

TODD: Is everywhere.

I mean, you have the odd structure that is standing. Nothing is habitable that we have seen. The mayor, Al Cathey, told me that his family founded this place in 1949. He's going to try to get it back to the way it was, kind of a sleepy, old Florida resort.


But he's -- he kind of -- his chest sank and his heart sank, and he said, "I don't know if I can recapture that."

So it is just -- again, just now trying to get their minds, their emotions -- how do you -- how do you organize your life when this is your house? How do you do it?

And the family that I was talking about earlier who had their home just blown across this canal, the gentleman of the family was an assistant manager of the Ace Hardware store. He said: "I have got no money. I have got no renter's insurance. I really have nowhere to go."

He said, "I'm probably going to be sleeping under a bridge somewhere."

And you just -- how do you react to that? You can say, I'm sorry, but -- and try to tell the world about their plight. That's what you can do, and just then walk off and have your own emotional moment, you know?

BALDWIN: Which is what happens to all of us at the end of the day.

Brian Todd, your reporting has been excellent. Thank you so very much.

TODD: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you very much.

And, Brianna Keilar, this is the story here in Mexico Beach. And by no means is this the obviously only area that is so, so badly hit, but when they say ground zero, there is a reason why.

But, again, the graciousness and spirit of the people here in Mexico Beach who've been walking around and finding their own homes or what's left of it or little precious items that they can at least have as mementos, just they have been so lovely with us. And we're just grateful for it.

KEILAR: Yes. As you said, the worst of it is everywhere, not just behind you, which is a horrific scene.

Brooke, thank you so much for bringing the stories of the folks there of Mexico Beach to us. We do appreciate it.

And we are focusing on other headlines as well this day. We have just had a very candid interview with the first lady, how Melania Trump responded when asked about the president's alleged affairs.

Plus, he's one of the most controversial advisers in the West Wing, and now Stephen Miller's former teacher is being punished for comments that she made about him when he was a young student. We will have that story ahead.