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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Trump Says Reports on Khashoggi Murder Premature; Finns Make Jokes About Trump's Fire Raking Comments; Britain Is Circulating A Draft Resolution at The UN About Yemen; Nissan Chairman Arrested for Corruption. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 19, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, from Islamabad to Helsinki, migrants to the
Mueller probe, Donald Trump is on a rampage of global proportions. We look at what could be behind the tweets and between the lines. We'll also head
to some of the regions that the President has been talking about. Including reaction to his comments about the killing of journalist Jamal
Khashoggi. In other news, he's credited with rebuilding Nissan over almost two decades. But it's taken just one day for the company's chairman to
fall from grace in a spectacular way. We're live with the latest.
Well, world leaders often make course corrections at the midpoint of their terms and if the past few days are an indication, the U.S. President's
aggressive style may be about to ratchet up even more. Donald Trump picked fights and hurled insults on everything from the Russia probe and the
killing of Osama Bin Laden to that caravan of central American migrants headed to the U.S. border, and in spite of reports that the CIA concluded
that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ordered the killing of "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Mr. Trump said such an
assessment is premature.
Jeremy Diamond joins me now with the very latest from the White House briefing room with more on what could be a bumpy road ahead. Jeremy, first
of all, the president has said he's not sure if he was lied to by the Saudi's regarding the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Lindsey Graham, a top
Republican on capitol hill, though, had this to say. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you know anything about Saudi Arabia and anything about MBS, the fact that he didn't know about it is
impossible for me to believe. They're an important ally but when it comes to the crown prince, he is irrational, unhinged and did a lot of damage to
the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. And I have no intention of working with him ever again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So where does that leave the Trump administration vis-a-vis Saudi?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was traveling with the President on Saturday as he visited the devastating wildfires in California and during
that flight over to California the President did speak with his CIA director who briefed him on these reports of an assessment by the CIA that
MBS was indeed behind the killing and when I asked the President after that whether he believed that assessment and whether that is indeed the case,
the President suggested that the U.S. government has not released -- you know, reached such a conclusion up until this point and he promised that
there could be some kind of an update perhaps in the form of a report he suggested this coming Tuesday. But as of now, the President is certainly
not backing what we have heard as the CIA assessment that MBS in all likelihood was indeed the person who orchestrated and ordered the killing
of Jamal Khashoggi. The President casting doubt on that and what's becoming clear is the President made a calculus whether or not MBS was
behind this killing, the U.S./Saudi relationship as it currently stands, that is as it's currently constituted, is more important to him.
GORANI: Let's talk a little bit about tweets from a few hours ago. They're attacking Pakistan not for the first time for not revealing the
location of Osama Bin Laden before U.S. responsibly forces found and killed him during the Obama administration. Tell us more about that. Because
this is really something that angers the Pakistanis.
DIAMOND: That's right. It was just yesterday that the President had this interview with fox news and he was pressed about the criticism of Admiral
Bill McRaven formerly the head of the joint special operations command who oversaw the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden and the President fired back at
some of the criticism that McRaven issued recently by saying it would have been better if bin laden was killed or previously.
[14:05:00] Of course, none of that has to do with the admiral overseeing the raid to successfully kill him and the President continued that
criticism on Twitter tweeting of course we should have captured Bin Laden long before we did and then raises an issue of the billions of dollars that
he says the United States has given Pakistan in security assistance. It is true that the President has rescinded some of that aid, withheld some
several hundred million dollars in security assistance to Pakistan. The Pakistani prime minister fired back at the President in his own series of
tweets which seems to be the way diplomacy is conducted these days. And me pushed back that the United States should be looking at its own failures
and not the role of Pakistan. Hala?
GORANI: We interviewed him before he became the prime minister and already then he was extremely angry with Donald Trump at the accusations that had
been directed at his country before. Now, the President does dish it out on Twitter and should be no surprise to get trolled right back in this case
by an entire country. I'm talking about Finland and after visiting the town of Paradise, California, calling it a pleasure a couple of times and
suggested that the President of Finland told him they don't have forest fires because they rake their forests regularly. The Finns took to Twitter
with tweets like this that have gone viral.
Here's a woman vacuuming a forest. One of the most popular ones. And then a group of Finns in concert raking their backyard. Any reaction to that?
I imagine the President is not happy when he's mocked in this way.
DIAMOND: No. I can't imagine he is. We haven't heard about him on the topic but this is just one of those instances where the President tries to
make a point by pointing to the Finnish President or pointing to his friend Jim or talking about, you know, the various people he said told him things
and turns out not to be true and it is true that the President seems to have discussed forest management briefly with the Finnish President in the
trip to Paris just last week. But the Finnish President again said he did not discuss the notion of raking forest floors in any way. The President
though did continue to hammer home the point of forest management after the visit to California where the wildfires have been devastating the regions
and also a controversial point because it is not just the question of forest management but also the question of the population centers and also,
of course, the broader question of climate change which this President continues to cast some serious doubt on despite an overwhelming scientific
GORANI: Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thanks very much. We mentioned Donald Trump's comments on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi earlier and I
want to return to that now. The President says he's been briefed on a recording of the murder and that he himself says he does not and will not
listen to it. He told Fox News it's a, quote, suffering tape. This is what he told Fox News about the recording.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS: Why don't you want to hear it, sir?
TRUMP: It's a suffering tape, a terrible tape. I've been fully briefed on it. I said to the people, should i? They said you really shouldn't. I
know exactly -- I know everything that went on the tape.
WALLACE: What happened?
TRUMP: Very violent, vicious and terrible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, meanwhile, saw Saudi Arabia's king gave a public speech in the last few hours and when he gave the speech, was he going to mention the
name Jamal Khashoggi? That was the big question. And joining me now, Ben Wedeman from Beirut with more on that. So, we heard from the Saudi king
and would have been an opportunity for him to bring up, of course, this topic and this story and this killing that's been dominating headlines now
for weeks. Did he?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He didn't touch it, Hala, with a ten-foot pole. This was a speech, an annual speech, he gives
to the council which is an appointed consultative body and mentioned the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman the architect of vision 2030. That's the
crown prince's plan for the modernization of the Saudi economy and its diversification.
[14:10:00] He talked about the most important issue for Saudi Arabia is Palestine and how Saudi Arabia hopes for the establishment of a Palestinian
state with east Jerusalem as the capital and didn't go anywhere near the topic of Jamal Khashoggi or the reports we saw over the weekend that the
CIA believes with high confidence that the crown prince was the state with east Jerusalem as the capital and didn't go anywhere near the topic of
Jamal Khashoggi or the reports we saw over the weekend that the CIA believes with high confidence that the crown prince was the one who ordered
the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate on the second of October.
GORANI: we read into this -- because I don't know if you heard Lindsey Graham say he'll never do business with MBS again and Democrats and
Republicans like graham saying that the U.S. should reconsider the relationship with Saudi Arabia. Should we read into the king's address the
fact there's -- it's not in his plans at all to replace his son as crown prince?
WEDEMAN: Certainly, there were no hints from the 83-year-old monarch who's apparently not in good health. If that's the case and we have just seen a
few moments ago that Mohammed Bin Salman is going to be representing Saudi Arabia at a conference in Argentina. So, it doesn't appear that his wings
have been clipped in any way at this point but certainly what we heard from Lindsey Graham, from Rand Paul and other American politicians is that he is
tainted goods as far as they're concerned but it doesn't appear that that message is sinking in in the kingdom. Hala?
GORANI: All right. Ben Wedeman live in Beirut, thank you so much.
Khashoggi was penning columns toward the end of his life critical of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen and saying the longer it lasts the more permanent the
damage will be. There's new hope for a cease-fire and the millions of civilians struggling every day to survive. There's broad support among the
parties for a U.N.-sponsored peace talks. The Saudi backed government said it will take part after rebels announced to stop attacking Saudi coalition
targets as a goodwill gesture. Should we be hopeful or careful? The war began three and a half years ago. 66,000 people have been killed or
wounded. The lack of food and functioning health facilities taking a huge poll on the population. Putting up a few numbers for context. The World
Health Organization says more than 22 million people need help. Yemen has one of the world's worst outbreaks of cholera. 10,000 cases or more
reported each week.
Britain is behind a draft circulating at the U.N. trying to speed up all these efforts. Let's get more now from Sam Kiley, Ryan Browne. Sam, I
want to start with you. The new draft resolution, is there new hope? If so, why?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is grounds for a little bit of hope. One shouldn't hope too much in the case of
Yemen. More than five years of war, minimum of 10,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands of casualties, 400,000 children facing imminent
starvation. 14 million on the brink. So, in that context, there is now a huge amount of pressure building up on the belligerence. Night before
last, the Houthi leadership with an offer to cease its missile and drone attacks against the Saudi-led coalition inside Yemen and beyond its
borders. Then today we had the Yemeni government saying that it would attend peace talks that are hoped to get under way in Sweden. Now we have
the United Kingdom tabling a draft for discussion with the members of the U.N. Security Council that asks for we understand a cease-fire around the
port city and above all unfettered access to the disaster unfolding there that's the joint responsibility of both sides. We understand that perhaps,
Hala, this resolution was watered down a little bit in terms of setting up if you like a moral equivalence of the Houthis and the Saudis. The Saudis
rejected that we understand over the weekend but there are signs if this U.N. Security Council goes forward they may be able to whip in the
belligerent parties at least to attend peace talks. If that happens there will be more than a little glimmer of hope.
GORANI: Ryan Browne at the Pentagon, is the U.S. putting pressure on Saudi Arabia here?
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, you know, this kind of was one of the things that the Pentagon and the State Department said
they wanted to see was this how Houthis stopping the missile attacks.
[14:15:00] Mattis and Pompeo said they called for a cease-fire and see them stop the missile attacks and if that were to happen, call on the Saudi
coalition to stop bombing in civilian areas, highly populated areas so that's something to watch, whether or not the coalition with the second
step and of course the U.S. Congress putting mounting pressure on the Trump administration to cease its support of the Saudi-led coalition. The
administration recently saying to stop aerial refueling of Saudi planes but congress wanted to go further, wanting to stop all cooperation, some
members of congress and the Democrats take power here in the coming weeks, it's going to be something to watch is whether or not they attempt to pass
new legislation for U.S. support and for now the beginnings of this cease- fire arrange. The Pentagon saying that they want a U.N. brokered cease- fire. We'll see if that comes to pass.
GORANI: Sam, a lot of people have connected the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the fact that the CIA, other institutions, have pointed the finger
directly at the Saudi crown prince with increased pressure on the country to accept some sort of peace agreement or cease-fire. Is it fair to make
KILEY: Yes, it is. It is absolutely fair, Hala. I mean, the -- in many ways the crown prince was the author of Saudi Arabia's involvement.
Certainly, Saudi Arabia's escalation in the war against Yemen. Have to be said that the Saudis and the united Arab emirates where I am is part of an
international coalition with the support of the international community broadly speaking in defense of what's seen as the illegitimate government
and simultaneously with the pressure baring down on the Saudis, we have had Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary recently in Riyadh and leaving
we understand Teheran and bringing pressure and he's been talking to the government in Iran to get them to put pressure on the Houthis. No side in
this war now gains from being blamed for what is an impending humanitarian catastrophe and that's the Trump card here, Hala.
GORANI: Sam, many thanks. Ryan, as well, at the Pentagon. Thank you too.
So, a quick check of what stocks are doing because the drop is pretty significant. So, we're down almost 500 points for the Dow. Under 25,000.
The reason for this is that tech stocks are under pressure. Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Apple stock falling. Because yet again this is a concern.
Ongoing over the last several weeks. There hasn't been as much demand for its key products, the iPhone XS and others. So, people's expectations are
not being met and therefore the stocks are getting punished. We'll keep our eye on that. Especially if the -- if this decrease is more severe.
Still to come, Nissan is preparing to oust the chairman after making stunning allegations against him. Find out what they are next.
Predictions on when the deadly northern California fire might be contained. We'll get the latest from the front lines. Stay with us.
[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: The chairman of the world's biggest car making alliance is arrested in Japan. Nissan says Carlos Ghosn and another board member
committed significant misconduct a. Whistle blower from within led Nissan to investigate the allegations. Now the man who was the driving force
behind the company's success is behind bars. Anna Stewart has more.
ANNA STEWART, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: He's one of the auto world's highest profiled and highest paid business leaders. Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn
arrested in Japan after claims of financial misconduct. The company he built into a global car giant preparing to oust him. Born in Brazil,
educated in France, he started in the 1990s. Where his radical restructuring of the French auto firm earned him the nickname the cost
killer. Teaming up with Nissan in 1999 they were struggling and Ghosn was ruthless, cutting thousands of jobs, closing factories and selling off
assets. His plan worked. He returned Nissan to profit. Over next two decades, he expanded taking control of Russian tar car maker and Japanese
rival Mitsubishi. By 2017, the alliance was a third biggest car seller in the world. Carlos Ghosn, a globe trotting business leader and a massive
name in Japan. Known for his work ethic, media dubbed him 7-eleven for the hours he worked and splitting the offices of Paris and Tokyo. His life
story was turned into a comic. Carlos stepped down as CEO in 2017 and stayed on as head of Renault until 2022 with a heavy invest. In electric
cars, pledging to lay the groundwork for the company's future. Now his own future is very much in doubt. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
GORANI: Not a question of if but when Carlos Ghosn is ousted because Nissan saying the board of directors meet on Thursday to discuss removing
him and the other executive Greg Kelly from the positions. I want to speak with John Davis joining me now from Maryland, a creator and host of the TV
show "Motor Week." Thank you so much for being with us. What did you make of this? This man is a legend, a legend in the motor industry, the
automotive industry. He saved Nissan. He has a whole comic book series, you know, inspired by him in Japan. What did you think when you heard the
JOHN DAVIS, HOST, 'MOTOR WEEK": Well, I was stunned because I met the man a number of times over the years covering him and he always seemed to have
his eye so firmly fixed on what the company's futures were. And he was -- what made him an icon is not saving Nissan and looked like Mitsubishi is
that he saw very early on these companies needed to get together. They weren't big enough to survive in the new age with autonomous vehicles and
electrified vehicles and he saw they had to work together and share the costs and that's still very true despite what's going on with his personal
life. So, this was totally stunning to myself and everyone else I know that covers him.
GORANI: Yes. Early on he saw the need for alternative vehicles, right? Electric vehicles. I was reading quotes from him from ten, 12 years ago
already saying this is the future. It is especially going to be the future in emerging economies. This is where growth will come from.
DAVIS: Yes. We all like to talk about tesla and we forget that the Nissan leaf got there early. At an affordable price and still one of the leading
electric cars out there. That vision he had been able to spread that technology to Renault and Mitsubishi and so forth. That's what really made
himself iconic. He could see way down over the horizon for the industry.
[14:25:00] GORANI: You know cars. You eat, sleep and breathe cars. You know the man, as well. I wonder what difference will it make not to have
him in this business? Because even though -- I mean, he wasn't CEO and chairman, he was chairman of the Nissan group and still such an influential
DAVIS: I think it's a very -- it puts in doubt whether this alliance can hold together because you have a lot of outside factors. You have folks
that are very unhappy in Japan that he made so much money. You have union pressures in France against Renault and probably like to see this strong
man and his ability to hold these three companies together fall apart. On the other hand, anyone with any -- that understands what he was after and
also looks at what else is going on knows that Renault and Nissan is medium sized and Mitsubishi smaller and likely won't survive without some kind of
an alliance. If they have to go back to square one, I think it's going to be a real tough going for all three firms.
GORANI: I was reading about his career and one thing is he was offered the chairmanship of Ford. And he said I wouldn't take it unless I'm also the
CEO. This gives you insight into the man's approach to the business. He needs to be the big boss. And essentially, he was told no. It is chairman
only. Not the CEO title. Sorry. The other way around. Not the chairman title. So, it's interesting kind of to look at the management style this
is someone known as a very overpowering personality.
DAVIS: Very overpowering. He demanded 150 percent from all of those close to him. I knew a couple of executives that worked with him. They worked
almost around the clock and then had a hard time keeping up with him. He not only wanted the big picture but make very important decisions,
especially on product and technology and if he didn't have all of that under his helm, he wasn't interested and he walked away from ford. You are
GORANI: John Davis, thank you so much. Creator and host of "Motor Week." Great to have you on here to discuss this and we'll wait and see the
developments and seems as though it's really something that's expected to happen with mere certainty that the board will oust Carlos Ghosn.
You would think it doesn't make sense to pick fights with retired four-star admirals. But this is the era of Donald Trump. So, I guess all I can tell
you is think again. We'll be right back.
[14:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GORANI: Well, back now to the top story. U.S. President Donald Trump lashing out and it seems like nothing is off limits and doubling down on
the attack of a retired four-star admiral that oversaw the raid that killed bin laden. Mr. Trump says it should have happened a lot sooner, dismissing
William McRaven as a Hillary Clinton fan. The president was responding to McRaven calling his attack on the media, quote, "The greatest threat to our
democracy in my lifetime."
Mr. Trump is also making headlines for remarks he made while surveying the devastation from the California wildfires. He was there in Paradise,
California, with the governor of the state. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was with the president of Finland and he said we have a much different -- we're a forest nation. He
called it a forest nation and they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don't have any problem and when it is,
it's a very small problem. So I know everybody's looking at that -- to that end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That's not the way the president of Finland remembers the conversation. In fact, he says he doesn't quite remember ever bringing up
raking with Donald Trump. Let's bring in CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins.
There's been a lot of tweeting over the weekend and again and today and a few gaffes, as well, from the president.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There have. Because he's not only talking about what the president of Finland he says told him, even
though that's obviously a much different climate than what is happening in California, but the president is also going after some of his political
enemies, as well.
One of those is Congressman Adam Schiff who also criticized the man the president picked to run the Justice Department and that is Matt Whitaker,
who was Jeff Sessions' chief of staff. Now, he has come under the scrutiny of several Democrats for his comment about the Russia investigation that
were critical. And therefore, have led some of the president's critics to believe he is not fit to oversee the Russia investigation.
Now, after Adam Schiff made those comments, the president tweeted this yesterday over the weekend raising some complaints of his own saying,
quote, "So funny to see little Adam." And instead of saying Schiff, he changes the last two letters of his name. He says something very
different, which most White House officials did not see as a typo. He says, "Talking about the fact that attorney general -- Acting Attorney
General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate."
The president then counters that by saying, "Neither is the Special Counsel Robert Mueller."
Now, that's true. Robert Mueller wasn't confirmed by the Senate to be the special counsel but that's because it's not a cabinet level position and it
doesn't require Senate confirmation.
Now, when Bob Mueller ran the FBI, he was confirmed by the Senate twice for that position but not for this job. Of course attorney general is a
position that does require you to be confirmed by the Senate if you are the permanent replacement.
Adam Schiff has responded to the president's tweet on his own and he quoted and said, "Wow, Mr. President, that's a good one." And then he himself
brought up the president answering those questions of the special counsel which he announced he's completed but has not yet submitted this week.
Now, this has been a long running feud between Adam Schiff and President Trump. This isn't anything new. But we are seeing it go to a new level
and we should note that Adam Schiff is likely to become the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It's not final yet but he is likely to
become that and it really is just setting us up for this fight that we are going to see now that democrats have taken over the House.
The fight between them and the White House that's expected to happen for the rest of Donald Trump's presidency. The next two years essentially.
GORANI: Yes. That tweet certainly raised some eyebrows, especially from a White House asking for a decorum during press briefings and we were
mentioning the fact that the president lobbed some criticism at Admiral McRaven who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. This is what he
said about that. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: -- McRaven, retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years. Former head of U.S. Special Operations.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Special operations --
TRUMP: Excuse me. Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein, and that killed Osama bin Laden, says that your sentiment
is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.
TRUMP: OK. He's a Hillary Clinton backer. And an Obama backer. And frankly --
WALLACE: He is a Navy SEAL for 37 --
TRUMP: Wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. So we've had a response from Admiral McRaven.
COLLINS: That's right. He's responded to the president, in kind, because the president's remarks there, a, he said he did not endorse Hillary
Clinton or Barack Obama as the president says there.
But largely, I think what most people or the president's criticism on someone saying that they took too long to kill Osama bin Laden. Now, of
course, that's not really what McRaven's job is to do. They were informed by the CIA which does the intelligence gathering and then McRaven was in
charge of the special operations that carries out the raids.
And, of course, several people in the military are speaking up in favor of McRaven, as well. And the criticism that the president that they took too
long to kill Osama bin Laden. And one of those is Robert O'Neill who says he pulled the trigger to kill him. He was tweeting today that it was a
bipartisan effort that they got him as quickly as they could and that everyone was on the same page about that.
[14:35:09] Essentially, refuting the president's criticism there. But, of course, that criticism of McRaven does come in that interview when the
president also acknowledged a rare misstep saying that he should have gone to Arlington cemetery right outside of Washington on Monday on Veterans Day
instead of spending his time back here at the White House after he returned from Paris. That isn't something we often see from President Trump.
GORANI: All right. Which is why it's notable. Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much, live at the White House.
We were just speaking of those devastating fires. Well, we have an update on the Camp Wildfire in Northern California and it is gut-wrenching.
Officials say the fire isn't even halfway done burning yet. If you can believe it. The blaze has already killed 77 people and destroyed thousands
of homes and it looks like it won't be fully contained until the end of this month.
Now, the news is thankfully better in Southern California. The Woolsey Fire there is 91 percent contained across the state. At least 80 people
have been killed.
Now, with the fight on the fire lines still raging, there's some incredible stories of heroism as is so often the case during tragedies. One involves
a school bus driver who's being praised for helping students escape the flames. Here's CNN's Paul Vercammen.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the Camp Fire raged, Kevin McKay, a few months into his job for the Paradise School District, braised for the
bus drive of his life and the lives of two dozen others.
KEVIN MCKAY, BUS DRIVER, PARADISE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: Well, it was just -- it was time to go.
VERCAMMEN: Stranded children and two teachers jumped on.
MARY LUDWIG, TEACHER: There were 22 kids and my first thought was just getting them on the bus and getting them out of there because the sky was
CHARLOTTE MERZ, FOURTH GRADE STUDENT: It was so crazy. And there were like fires left and right, everywhere you looked there was like smoke
everywhere and people trying to get out and it was like really hard.
VERCAMMEN: Were you scared?
MERS: Very scared but I tried to just like calm down because that would just make it worse for everybody else.
MCKAY: We started getting fire on both sides of the bus. Kids starting to get pretty antsy. At a couple of points, I think that, you know, we had
some honest discussions about is this the time to get out of the bus?
VERCAMMEN: Smoke seeped into the bus, children starting inhaling and falling asleep.
ABBIE DAVIS, TEACHER: I ran to the front of the bus and I said, "Kevin, these kids are telling me they are tired right now." And Kevin without
everybody thinking about it took his shirt off and tore it into little pieces and Mary started -- we just started tearing it up as quickly as we
could to make filters for these kids to breathe.
VERCAMMEN: McKay drove in the middle of the road to avoid burning trees and buildings.
DAVIS: Just being gridlock trapped in the road. There was nowhere for us to go, the traffic wasn't moving. And then our last stretch too, I think
that was the -- that was the moment I thought that we might not make it out.
VERCAMMEN: Somehow, after five terrifying hours, everyone came out alive.
MCKAY: Safety is such an important part of a bus driver's role. And, you know, I must have paid close attention.
VERCAMMEN: A reference to the class he took on how to keep his precious passengers safe.
GORANI: And Paul Vercammen joins me now live from Paradise. And this news, Paul, that the Camp Fire is only half contained, I mean, is it -- is
it surprising? Should it have been more contained by now? What's causing it to keep going for this long?
VERCAMMEN: Well, it's just such a vast area. You've seen that the acreage and is something like 151,000. And let me walk away from that figure just
a little bit though, Hala. We saw another figure that said it was 66 percent contained and that came out this morning.
Also, it is well-known throughout California that those containment numbers are often underinflated, because nobody wants to be commanding a fire that
once again gets out of control and then one other little subtext to that, we often watch for active and huge flanks of flame. We're just not seeing
What we're seeing more of is colossal destruction like this behind me. This city completely destroyed. This going down right now as the worst
wildfire in California history. So as you walk around Paradise, a city of about 26,000, so many structures damaged. They're going to need to rebuild
this whole city from the ground up, Hala. It is absolutely incinerated.
GORANI: It's unbelievable to see these images. And I wonder, I mean, it's almost Thanksgiving in the U.S. It'll be Christmas after that. Kids are
out of school presumably. If their school building's burned down.
[14:40:02] First of all, where are all these people staying? And if this is a long-term homelessness situation, what happens to all these families?
VERCAMMEN: Well, unfortunately, in this era of the mega fire in California, we're seeing this too much. So they're spreading out. Some
are staying with relatives, including this one family, the one little girl that we saw in that piece on the bus, she's staying in Red Bluff. A long
ways away. Hour-plus drive.
Then we've got people in shelters. We have people in hotels. We have people staying with relatives. And that's about the only way they can
attack. This is on a multitude of levels because as one top official said here in Butte County, where this lies, they have lost one-tenth of their
housing stock and that's why they have to become resourceful and really to borrow a line, get by with a little help from their friends, Hala.
GORANI: Paul Vercammen, thanks very much, for that update.
Still to come tonight, a child is auctioned off as a bride not in some seedy backroom but publicly on the world's biggest social media network.
How Facebook is responding to the backlash after it failed to prevent human trafficking. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, I want to talk to you about a shocking story exposing the very dark side of social media. Facebook is being slammed for it not
stopping a child from being auctioned off as a bride on its platform and it's now promising to do better.
Business and tech correspondent Samuel Burke is here with me. Talk to us about the story. What happened?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Hala, this is truly one of the most barbaric uses of technology that I've ever seen and
you and I have reported on some deeply disturbing content many times.
What's reported to have been carried out here was this 16-year-old girl was put up for auction. Now, some might call this a dowry. But according to
reports, she was sold to somebody for 500 cows, three cars and $10,000. This is how much the father got in exchange for his daughter and this was
all carried out on Facebook.
And I think what's interesting here is the reports show that this was originally posted on Facebook on October 25th and we know that Facebook
became aware of this on November 9th. That's 15 days. We don't know for certain when it came down, but we do know that it's down.
I want to just put up what a Facebook spokesperson is telling us about this terrible case. Quote, "Any form of human trafficking, whether post, pages,
ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook. We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to
Facebook. We're always improving the methods we used to identify content that breaks our policies, including doubling our safety and security teams
to more than 30,000 and investing in technology." But clearly, it's not enough.
GORANI: What country was this in?
[14:45:59] BURKE: In South Sudan. And just think about the time that elapsed. I mean, we talk so often about all the technology that's out
there. We hear from folks like Mark Zuckerberg. Artificial intelligence is going to help us. We know they've hired people so that they can use
different languages. And if this post is up for 15 days so that multiple men can increase their bids for this young girl, clearly, it's not enough.
GORANI: But I wonder is it just not realistic? I mean, to expect. This platform is used daily by how many people?
BURKE: Billions of people.
GORANI: Two billion or something? Isn't the genie out of the bottle? Like we've just -- this is it, we've created the internet. It's virtually
impossible to police every last inch of it. And I get that Facebook is not the dark web. Still billions of people using it every day.
BURKE: But when I talked to investors, most of them have no time for something like this. They don't have any time for excuses. When you talk
to people who put tons of money and who have reaped incredible profits, they say, if it's still happening, then they're not doing enough. And I
think another thing that's important to mention here is the fact that even though this is illegal in South Sudan, you can't get marriage before the --
get married before the age of 18 --
GORANI: Or presumably auction off your daughter.
BURKE: UNICEF says that 34 percent of girls get married before the age of 18. But I just would say that so many people, they look at Silicon Valley
and they think, oh, well, you know, they seem to be OK. That's how it's going. But people who have millions, if not billions invested in these
companies, know that if they're getting their profit from it, that these companies have to do more -- and this is part of the reason that we're
seeing Facebook stock.
GORANI: And what do you do? They have 30,000 employees monitoring the platform. Do they have to double that? Triple that? I mean, at some
point, it's going to be such a huge expense for them, isn't it?
BURKE: Clearly, neither you nor I have the magic number but we have the facts here. And the fact that if this still happening, 30,000 isn't
GORANI: All right. Samuel Burke, thanks very much for joining us. We'll continue highlighting these stories, as well, that reveal some of the big
issues with the social media platforms still.
And staying in tech, U.S. tech firms and government agencies are trying to keep Russian connected accounts from spreading propaganda online. But the
misinformation from this so-called trolls is still very much continuing and as an ongoing issue, one of many. Fred Pleitgen has the story from Moscow.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Russian troll factory once known as the Internet Research Agency is still
up and running. Now operating as various new legal entities under the name Project Lakhta, according to a U.S. criminal complaint.
CNN has obtained video of this flashy business center in St. Petersburg where several of Project Lakhta's firms are now apparently working.
And Project Lakhta is putting down more cash to harm America. Company financial records in the U.S. criminal complaint reviewed by CNN show huge
budget increases since 2013, especially in 2018.
Around 650 million rubles, almost $10 million in the first six months of this year alone, though the prosecutors say not all the money goes to
operations targeting the U.S.
BRET SCHAFER, SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYST, HAMILTON 68: It is essential to look at these efforts as consistent and persistent as opposed to they rally
around a specific geopolitical event or election. The way that they actually gain influence is by talking to these specific populations over a
period of time.
PLEITGEN: A former employee, we're not naming out of safety concerns, tells CNN Project Lakhta's operatives constantly create new online
identities using special tools caught anonymizers along with virtual private networks and varying cloud services to mask their origin.
SCHAFER: I don't think there's anything that we have established at this point that's going to fundamentally deter them from continuing this kind of
operation, because, frankly, it's been pretty successful.
PLEITGEN: According to the criminal complaint, Project Lakhta is part of a sprawling business empire controlled by this man, Russian tycoon, Yevgeny
Prigozhin. Nicknamed "Putin's chef" because of his close ties to Russian president, Vladimir Putin and because of his restaurant empire. Putin has
denied the two men are close.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I know him but he is not among my friends. This is misrepresenting the facts. He is a
business man. He has restaurants and some other businesses but he is not a state official. We have nothing to do with him.
PLEITGEN: But Prigozhin clearly has major dealings with the Russian state. A firm linked to him runs a mercenary company active in Syria that even
attacked U.S.-backed forces there.
CNN also spotted the man who appears to be Prigozhin in this video from Russian state TV, a meeting between Russian officials and Sudan's
president, Omar Al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for severe human rights abuses.
[14:50:00] Prigozhin's firm tried to push back on the special counsel's indictment, arguing, like President Trump, that the Mueller investigation
is a witch-hunt.
On Thursday, a federal judge refused to dismiss the indictment charging Prigozhin's company with having a role in Russia's efforts to interfere in
the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Meantime, cyber security experts say Project Lakhta's trolling efforts are expanding in the United States and elsewhere. Their message, unabashed and
unapologetic, like this recent online meme planted by the group, which reads, "Remember, 90 percent of online trolls are paid professionals."
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
GORANI: We will be right back. Stay with us.
GORANI: London has long inspired great minds for Thomas More. It was the eternal city that haunted him. For Samuel Johnson had offered everything
life could afford. But now someone is seeing something in the city that few others ever have. The chance to turn the so-called big smoke into
something else. Take a look.
DANIEL RAVEN-ELLISON, GUERILLA GEOGRAPHER: I absolutely love being in nature. Throughout London, there are thousands of parks like this one.
With just beautiful tree canopy. And I love the curvature of the branches, the dappled light coming through the trees. The sound of wind going
through the branches.
I'm Dan Raven-Ellison and I'm working to make London a national park city. When most people think of national parks, they think of deserts or
rainforests or mountains or moorlands but I've explored all of the U.K.'s national parks and I noticed that maybe something is missing and that's a
major urban area.
We share the city with 15,000 other species of wildlife. And I don't think that the urban life is worth any less. I don't think that an urban red fox
is worth less than an arctic fox or a desert fox. It's just a red fox.
I think people are awakening to the fact that we need to have a better relationship with nature. For our own health and well-being, for the
health and well-being of wildlife populations, but we also need to have a better relationship with nature for the health and resilience of our cities
to tackle climate change.
We started the campaign to make London a national park city five years ago now and when I started out, I think that most of all thought that I was
completely bonkers but I'm delighted to share that after all this work, London is going to be launched as the world's first national park city in
July of 2019.
GORANI: The U.S. president has made clear he does not believe climate change has any impact on those devastating wildfires in California. But
Donald Trump's theory of what could prevent fires is both bewildering and to some at least amusing. Phil Black explains how Mr. Trump is raking in
the satire, especially from the clever people of Finland.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even in these divided times, we can usually all agree you shouldn't make jokes about wildfires but then
Donald Trump stood amid the destruction in California and offered a theory on how it all happened. Well, not his theory, he said.
[14:55:56] TRUMP: I was with the president of Finland. He said we have a much different -- we're a forest nation. He called it a forest nation and
they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don't have any problem. And when it is, it's a very small problem.
BLACK: The citizens quickly answered the call to rake America great again. Spreading the message on social media. #RAGA. #RakeNews. These Alaskans
got to work in their pajamas. This rake was seen keeping South Dakota safe. The iconic painting "American Gothic" was touched up. And America's
fire prevention mascot, Smokey the Bear put down his shovel and picked up a rake.
Meanwhile, in Finland --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the rake. It's mandatory in Finland. We have to rake two hours per day. But hey. We got the greatest rakes in the
BLACK: Finns enthusiastically joined in proudly and ironically showing off their fire hazard reduction equipment. So many rakes. This lady said she
takes a break from raking by preparing lunch on her rake.
President Trump is right on a couple of points. Most of Finland, 86 percent of it, is covered by forest. And Finnish president, Sauli
Niinisto, seen here offering aid to the United States says they did speak about California recently. But the Finnish head of state says he never
mentioned rakes and he says fires are prevented in his country with a good monitoring system.
Some other Finns suggested, mockingly, yet another reason why their homeland, a great part of which sits within the Arctic Circle may not be
the best point of comparison for California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't have to do anything with our climate. No, no, no. Although it rains like hell and it's cold as (BLEEP). We have to
BLACK: In some hot, dry climates, firefighters try to manage the build-up of leaves and potential fuel on the ground because it can help prevent
fires starting and spreading. But in the worst case conditions like Northern California, it is high temperatures and powerful winds that drive
flames forward at incredible speeds across vast distances creating firestorms that consume everything before them.
Phil Black, CNN.
GORANI: Yes, the Finns certainly were having a bit of fun with this one. A quick check on the Dow. "Quest Means Business" is on the other side of
this break. He'll be talking about this -- or they will be talking about this on the program. We're off session lows, 400 points lower at 25,000
and a tiny -- and just a few points, 25,006. Tech companies, Facebook, Apple, Amazon not doing the too well today and pulling the overall indices
There'll be a lot more as I said after the break on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place tomorrow.