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Trump: We Need "Meaningful Background Checks"; White House Wants More Immigration Raids; Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Activists Hold Sit-in at Airport; Intel Official Resigns amid Trump Loyalty Concerns; Gun Massacres Have America on Edge; DNA Test Unites Four Sisters Who Had Never Met. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired August 10, 2019 - 04:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): New details about the suspect in the El Paso mass shooting. Police documents obtained by CNN shows he was targeting Mexicans.

President Trump says the U.S. needs meaningful gun background checks but many wonder what he will actually do now.

Plus a high-profile resignation: CNN talks with the foreign service officer who resigned and then wrote a scathing op-ed blasting the Trump administration.

Welcome to viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen coming to you live from Atlanta. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: The alleged gunman in last weekend's murderous rampage in El Paso, Texas, apparently confessed at the time of arrest and told police he was targeting Mexicans. The new details are contained in the arrest affidavit, a sworn document by police, about the facts of the case. We get more from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight CNN has obtained an arrest affidavit of the suspected shooter Patrick Crusius showing he allegedly told police he was there to target Mexicans. CNN spoke to the manager of that Walmart, Robert Evans, who saw the shooter firing at victims in the parking lot. Evans said the shooting appeared deliberate.

ROBERT EVANS, MANAGER OF EL PASO WALMART: From what I saw, he seemed like he was -- he knew what he was shooting. He was very defined. He looked very focused you know. And precision on what he was -- on what he was aiming for. I mean it wasn't just a spray of gunfire. These were direct shots.

TODD: El Paso police have told CNN, the suspect surrendered to a motorcycle policeman a couple of blocks away from the Walmart, getting out of a car and telling the officer he was the shooter. The affidavit says the suspect admitted to using an AK-47 to shoot multiple victims.

Robert Evans, the manager, says he got hundreds of people out back entrances. He saw one man shot in the back staggering out of the back entrance. He says one of his employees tended to the wounded man.

EVANS: I just wanted to save as many people and get people notified that there was danger, there is danger coming this way.

TODD: Then Evans says he circled back around the front of the building and saw an elderly couple who had been shot in their car.

EVANS: There were shots to the glass in the windows of the car. And the passenger was a female and she was shot in the face and an area and she was pretty -- not responsive at the time and then the man was kind of moaning and it appeared that he was trying to drive away from harm's way and he parked kind of crooked and he couldn't drive anymore and he was bleeding severely from his back as well.

TODD: And CNN is learning more about what drove the alleged gunman, Crusius, to El Paso to commit this horrific crime. Three sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN, Crusius told investigators he didn't want to carry out an attack in his home town of Allen, Texas, expressing shame or reticence to do such a thing near his home. That is one of the reasons he targeted El Paso over 650 miles away.

The sources said Crusius believed that if he did this in another city, his family and people who knew him wouldn't know that he was responsible for carrying out the deadly attack.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The fact that the shooter traveled that far away from all of the way from Allen, Texas to El Paso in search of people that as you read his screed, didn't look like him. This speaks to his mindset. This speaks to his motivation.

TODD: The FBI says, its evidence response team is combing through the crime scene and will be for days. As law enforcement digs into the background of the alleged shooter.

SGT. JON FELTY, ALLEN POLICE PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER: We were able to locate a call that came in on Thursday, June 27th, at approximately 11:15 in the morning.

TODD: Allen, Texas police confirming that Crusius' mother did in fact call their station weeks ago with concerns about her son as first reported by CNN.

FELTY: The sole concern was the parent was motivated out of a concern that her son just did not have the training, the firearm safety training and the intellectual maturity to own this type of a firearm.

The call-taker really did a good job and comes around twice in fact and says is your son suicidal and then says has your son threatened any other person? And both times the -- it appears that there was not a problem with that.

TODD: And since --


TODD (voice-over): -- the mother didn't identify herself, Allen police could not follow up with more investigation.

FELTY: The protocol is you always ask for identification. But you can't force someone to identify who they are.

TODD: To give an idea of the scene the shooter was walking into, one official tells us they believe 3,000 people were at the store at the time of the shooting. So far, no Walmart employees were counted among the dead but two were injured -- Brian Todd, CNN, Texas.


ALLEN: Twenty-two people died in that rampage; 24 others were hurt. All week, heartbroken families have been burying their loved ones. It is a scene being replayed over and over on both sides of the U.S. border.

At least eight of the victims were Mexican nationals. Because of the nature of the crime, the FBI is investigating it as a possible case of domestic terrorism.

In the aftermath of the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio and another days earlier in California, the U.S. president is offering vague assurances that something will be done to improve background checks on gun purchases.

Mr. Trump has said similar things before, after other mass shootings, but little has happened. For more about that, here is CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a week where 31 people were killed in mass shootings, President Trump is claiming tonight that Republicans are behind him on background checks.

TRUMP: I spoke to Mitch McConnell yesterday, he's totally on board.

COLLINS: But his optimism is at odds with what the GOP has said publicly. The Senate majority leader signaled Thursday he's open to considering new legislation.

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The key to this honestly is making a law and not making a point.

COLLINS: But his office is making clear he's endorsed nothing yet.

TRUMP: This isn't a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat.

COLLINS: The president also says he's confident he can persuade the gun lobby.

TRUMP: I had a good talk with Wayne --

COLLINS: Sources tell CNN, NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre warned Trump his base isn't on board with tougher background checks.

TRUMP: I think in the end Wayne and the NRA will either be there or maybe will be a little bit more neutral.

COLLINS: And after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, it was the gun lobby that ultimately swayed the president. Asked why the country should believe him now, Trump denied changing his mind.

TRUMP: No, no, I never said what I'm saying now.

COLLINS: Asked what his message is for the children returning to school who fear mass shootings, Trump said they have nothing to worry about.

TRUMP: Go and really study hard and someday you'll grow up and maybe be president of the United States.

COLLINS: The president leaving Washington today for his own vacation as he's facing new scrutiny over his trip to El Paso, Texas, now that a photo surfaced of him grinning and flashing a thumbs up while the first lady holds a two-month-old orphaned baby whose parents were murdered in the El Paso shooting.

Amid criticism over the rhetoric on immigration, Trump is standing by the large-scale immigration raids in Mississippi which left children sobbing as they waited for word on what happened to their parents.

TRUMP: They're going to be brought out. And this serves as a very good deterrent. But you had many people --

COLLINS: Asked if Democratic presidential candidates labeling him a white supremacist will help him with voters, Trump called it a disgrace.

TRUMP: First of all, I don't like it when they do it because I am not any of those things. I think it is a disgrace and I think it shows how desperate the Democrats are.

COLLINS: We have breaking news in to CNN. The White House after the raid in Mississippi instructed senior ICE Officials to conduct more workplace enforcement operations this year. Those operations can lead to be an arrests like the ones you saw where nearly 700 undocumented immigrants were arrested -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


ALLEN: Let's talk about this with Gina Reinhardt. She is a senior lecturer in government at the University of Essex.

Thank you for being with us. We heard the president there, as he was heading to his break. The thing about it, as he said there might be some changes with the gun laws, he kept referring to Wayne. We all know Wayne LaPierre is the head of the NRA.

There is just something about that showing that he is on first name basis with the head of the NRA and consulting Wayne. Something is unsettling about that.

Do you think we are going to see change in --


ALLEN: -- the nation's gun laws?

This is three mass shootings in one week.

GINA REINHARDT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: I think that we are looking at a time when even the Republican members of Congress feel like they're being pressured to get something done.

However, these emotions and feelings are often very fleeting. And if they believe that the American people -- and their constituents in particular -- are still supporting no control and no change in regulations, we're unlikely to see it.

As although the president denied it in the clip you ran, he did say that there would be a consideration of gun control and that we would probably have stronger background checks after the Parkland shootings and then did not actually see that through.

That's largely because of the NRA headed by Wayne. The fact he is on a first name basis with Wayne and speaks about him that way, I think he uses to illustrate that he has influence over Wayne, that he and Wayne are very tight and to try to show that he has knowledge of Wayne's thoughts and that Wayne is behind him.

But for many of us, it is unsettling because it means that they are quite close and that he will be swayed by what Wayne says. And Wayne has said that his group does not support any greater regulations.

ALLEN: Meantime, the overwhelming majority of Americans favor background checks for gun purchases, 89 percent according to an NPR poll. Also an assault weapons ban did expire. There was one during the Bush administration.

The question is, the president may be on first name basis with Wayne but will this election year, could this election year impact this discussion this time around?

REINHARDT: I think it might. The question is whether the Republicans in the Senate are willing to consider these measures. And I think the assault weapons ban is more likely to be considered than the background checks.

ALLEN: I want to ask you this. At the same time, we saw that the president went to El Paso. He talked a little more about himself than showing empathy for many of the victims, we know.

Then there was this photo we saw in Kaitlan Collins' story. The first lady holding an orphaned baby in her arms. The baby's parents were murdered in the El Paso shooting. The president is giving the thumbs up.

What are the optics here and the possible impact this photo could have as this election season presses forward?

REINHARDT: This photo is obviously creating quite a stir. However, there are many other images that we have of Donald Trump that he will dismiss as fake news and his followers will believe are fake news as well.

In other words, they will say he is just being awkward. Perhaps he is trying to give the people a good show and no other media was in the hospital with him.

That's his big complaint, of course, is that he didn't get enough credit for the visits that he had. And I think this will be seized on by the opposition. But I don't think that it will sway any of his core supporters.

I do think there is a chance it will bring some of the swing voters over to the Democratic side. However, we have a long way to go in this campaign. The campaigns are well known for bringing out photos and comments and even planting rumors that are untrue.

And I think that a photo like this, if it is used too often and referred to for too long, will make the opposition look like they really have nothing else to say.

ALLEN: What about the immigration raids that we saw in Mississippi?

More than 600 people rounded up. And although we saw crying children that didn't know where their parents were, we also hear now the Trump administration plans to continue these.

How do you think that will go over, moving forward?

REINHARDT: Well, with the opposition it is only going to make people more opposed to him. It has been noted that the people who were detained and are threatened in terms of deportation are all immigrants and that nobody has been detained who was in human resources or upper management. None of the owners or anyone --


REINHARDT: -- employing the undocumented workers has been detained or arrested whatsoever.

This sends a very clear message. Whether or not it was intended this way, we don't know. But the message is that it is the fault of the people who are here and that any -- or I'm sorry -- the people who have come in and any actual documented American will not be at fault almost whatsoever.

There is also a heavy racial element, especially considering the shooter in El Paso was targeting Latinos. So it really does make the administration look questionable in terms of their feeling of racial equality. And it doesn't do good for their image in that respect.

ALLEN: Gina Reinhardt, we appreciate your insights. Thanks for joining us.

REINHARDT: Thank you.

ALLEN: South Korea says the North has fired yet another round of project projectiles.

What is behind the latest launch?

Also frustrations simmering in Hong Kong after 10 weekends of demonstrations. Protesters are not going anywhere. That is the Hong Kong International Airport you see there. We will go there live next.





ALLEN: In the Korean Peninsula, Seoul says Pyongyang fired another round of projectiles in the sea earlier on Saturday. A U.S. official said there were short-range ballistic missiles similar to others fired by North Korea.

We have Ivan Watson from Hong Kong. Tell us about what this could signal.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The short-range ballistic missiles were fired according to the South Korean military around 5:00 am local time. It fits a pattern now, five times in about 2.5 weeks of the launches. Short-range ballistic missiles that end up splashing in the sea east of the Korean Peninsula.

We had missile launches on July 25th, July 31st. A few days later on August 2nd and August 6th. Now this launch Saturday morning. Timed with the August 6th launch was a sternly worded statement coming out, attributed to a spokesman for the foreign ministry of North Korea, denouncing what is expected to be a new round of joint military exercises between the U.S. and what is supposed to be its close ally, South Korea.

North Korea saying that is in violation of the spirit of the diplomacy that the U.S. and South Korea and North Korea have all been engaged in, in the last couple of years. So this is clearly a way for North Korea to show its frustration with its rival to the south and with the U.S.

Now hours before Saturday morning's missile launches, President Trump was speaking to journalists about having received what he described as another very beautiful letter from -- not what he used to describe as Little Rocket Man, Kim Jong-un but now his apparent close friend, the North Korean dictator. Listen to what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He really wrote a beautiful three-page -- right from top to bottom, in a really beautiful letter.

He gave me a great letter. I would love to give it to you but I don't think it would be appropriate. But it was a very personal letter. It was a great letter. He talked about what he's doing. He's not happy with the testing. It's a very small testing that he did. But he wasn't happy with the testing. He put that in the letter.

But he also sees a great future for North Korea. And so we'll see how it all works out.


WATSON: So he has again and again gone on record saying he is not bothered by North Korea's short-range ballistic missile tests. They are clearly of concern of South Korea because they would be in range of the South Korean capital. They are being monitored by the U.S.' other very close northeast Asian ally, Japan.

Instead, President Trump has had some tough words for South Korea, continuing to argue it is taking advantage of the U.S. with roughly 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and demanding more money out of South Korea for including that ally within the U.S. defensive umbrella -- Natalie.

ALLEN: It doesn't really square that you have launches and very beautiful letters exchanged at the same time. It is hard to describe what's going on here. Ivan Watson, thank you for bringing us the latest.

Hong Kong's political upheaval is stretching into its 10th weekend. Thousands of people are occupying Hong Kong International Airport on the second day of a three-day sit-in. Its been a peaceful if crowded demonstration. Protesters are determined to let travelers know about their grievances with the city's pro-Beijing government. We have a report from the Hong Kong airport.

We have Ben Wedeman with -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, this is a fairly effective venue for making their point. They are making it very vividly. What we are seeing today is just as many, if not more people here than yesterday.

Thousands of people have shown up within the last two or three hours. The airport is absolutely packed. The arrivals hall, I should stress. It is getting difficult --


WEDEMAN: -- to move around. Nonetheless, the atmosphere is fairly positive. Let's show you what we are looking at. We have a sign here. It says, "Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution now."

That was originally hung by protesters from the overpasses here. But the authorities came around and made them take it down.

The crowd shouted, "Shame on you," after the police made them take it down. Here is a young lady with the sign on her back, "Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

Over to my right and your left you have baggage carts full of food and other supplies to keep the protesters happy for the many hours they intend to be here. In fact, as you mentioned, this is a three-day sit-in.

What is important to point out this is not intended to interfere with the operations of the airport. There is a focus on raising awareness among travelers coming in as to why they are holding the sit-in.

They are handing out this, "Six Common Questions When You Travel to Hong Kong." It explains why they are protesting and explains what's going on this weekend. Perhaps tourists would like to go and see some of the protests.

There are some warnings. Stay away from the riot police, which they say tend to use tear gas randomly without warning. So atmosphere very positive.

Of course, the other side of the story is that the Chinese civil aviation authority has told Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier for Hong Kong, it will no longer allow crew members on its flights to Mainland China who have participated in these protests to be on the flights.

And if any of the crew members are on the flights, they will not be allowed to go to Mainland China. So Chinese authorities do appear to be making, imposing a price on Hong Kong for its political activism -- Natalie.

ALLEN: You can certainly appreciate the resolve of these political activists there in that airport. Ben Wedeman, thank you.

Running for U.S. president is a wild ride, especially when candidates converge at the Iowa State Fair. Next are the oohs, ahs and stumbles in the race for voters U.S. heartland.

Plus a U.S. foreign service officer quits and explains why in a very public way. We will hear from him.





ALLEN: Welcome back to viewers in the U.S. and around the world. We appreciate you watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the top stories.


ALLEN: With more than 20 Democratic candidates running for the U.S. presidency, it is more important than ever for them to stand out from the pack. But it is hard for seasoned politicians to avoid missteps along the way. Arlette Saenz travels to a key campaign stop as the Dems try to court voters.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): The Iowa State Fair, a proving ground for presidential hopefuls, shaking hands with fair-goers, flipping pork chops and making their case to Iowans.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On January 20th, 2021, we will say adios to Donald Trump.

SAENZ: As the 2020 field swarms the Hawkeye State, the candidates are taking aim at President Trump, with several now calling him a white supremacist.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Based on his words and actions, yes, he is a white supremacist.

SAENZ: But others are not going as far. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it is

important to call it what it is, which is that we have a president of the United States who does not reflect the values of who we are as a people.

SAENZ: Meanwhile Joe Biden dealing with a verbal misstep after speaking to a group of mostly Hispanic and Asian voters Thursday night.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have this notion that somehow if you're poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids -- wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids. No, I really mean it. But think how we think about it. We think now we're going to dumb it down. They can do anything anybody else can do given a shot.

SAENZ: His campaign issued a statement saying the former V.P. misspoke and immediately corrected himself.

But that didn't stop Trump from seizing on the remarks.

TRUMP: Joe is not playing with a full deck. He made that comment, I said, whoa.

SAENZ: But Biden pushing back during a campaign stop in Boone, Iowa.

BIDEN: Tell him it is the second anniversary of Charlottesville and they need to divert something.

QUESTION: Are you able to, you think, go through a whole campaign with this kind of scrutiny?

BIDEN: Yes. I have to. It is legitimate scrutiny.


ALLEN: Arlette Saenz from the campaign trail there with the Democrats.

Donald Trump is shaking up the U.S. intelligence community, announcing a new acting Director of National Intelligence shortly after the number two official submitted her resignation. CNN's Alex Marquardt has the latest.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In just a few carefully chosen words, Sue Gordon makes it clear it was not her choice to leave. A handwritten note to the president attached to her resignation letter saying it is an act of patriotism, not preference. You should have your team.

A team she saw she would be no part of.

TRUMP: Sue did a great job. I like Sue Gordon very much.

MARQUARDT: The president today praising Gordon as did he on Twitter Thursday night, --


MARQUARDT (voice-over): -- announcing her departure.

But she has represented what he has railed against. Almost 40 years in the intelligence community making her firmly part of that establishment, he has long been suspicious of. Tweeting after the intelligence chief's worldwide threats briefing they should go back to school.

In recent years, she reported to President Obama's CIA director, John Brennan and then Dan Coats, the president a fan of neither of them.

Former CIA Director, General Michael Hayden, told Jake Tapper, Coats is a good man but Gordon kept the trains running on time. Trump doesn't understand what it is to be a professional intelligence officer.

When Trump did not name Gordon the acting DNI after Coats decided to resign two weeks ago, the writing was on the wall, as the president bashed the intelligence community.

TRUMP: We need somebody strong that can really reign it in because as I think you've all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They've run amok.

MARQUARDT: Congressional leaders, including some top Republicans, wanted Gordon to stick around. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr called her departure a significant loss, saying, I will miss her candor and deep knowledge.

Instead of Gordon, the president has named Joseph Maguire to be the acting DNI. The retired vice admiral is a former Navy SEAL, a Special Forces commander and the current director of the National Counterterrorism Center. But if the president is looking for a yes- man, Maguire has said that won't be him.

JOSEPH MAGUIRE, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER DIRECTOR NOMINEE: I promise to tell the truth and to be able to represent the information and the hard analysis from the intelligence community professionals as accurately and forthcoming as I possibly can and I am more than willing to speak truth to power.

MARQUARDT: It was not entirely unexpected that Sue Gordon would step down, it happened more abruptly than anticipated. My colleagues are reporting that during a meeting on Thursday on election security, Gordon was in, the outgoing DNI, Coats, interrupted it and asked for her resignation.

We don't know why he suddenly did that during a meeting but we are told that Gordon gave her a letter to vice president Pence after meeting with him instead of to president trump, even though the letter is addressed to the president -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: A U.S. State Department foreign service officer has very publicly resigned and written a scathing piece in "The Washington Post," where he criticized Donald Trump and said he could no longer serve in the so-called "complacent state."

Chuck Park wrote in part, "I came into the government inspired by a president who convinced me there was still some truth to the gospel of American exceptionalism. A child of immigrants from South Korea, I also felt a duty to the society that welcomed my parents and allowed me and my siblings to thrive.

"Over three tours abroad I worked to spread what I believed were American values: freedom, fairness and tolerance. But more and more, I found myself in a defensive stance, struggling to explain to foreign peoples the blatant contradictions at home."

Chuck Park spoke exclusively with Anderson Cooper about his high- profile resignation.


CHUCK PARK, FORMER FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER: The past three years have felt like the house is on fire. And not only is it on fire, but there is a man purposely lighting more fires.

And so, you know, when I see -- when I talk to my colleagues, it's not that they don't feel the same distress that I do. They absolutely do.

It's not like they're not as concerned as I am about that house on fire. It's not that they don't have compassion for the people in that house who are being hurt. It's that they decide to keep their distance and hope that the house is still standing afterward. And for me, that is the definition of complacency.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You, in fact, say that there is no deep state, there is a complacent state. So explain -- I mean, because look, foreign service officers are working for the American people. They're working, representing America overseas. They're not representing any particular administration.

There is an ambassador who's appointed -- usually, sometimes its career foreign service person, sometimes it's some donor who knows nothing but has given a lot of money. And yet, plenty of people serve overseas in administrations they don't like. They don't agree with the policies but they faithfully execute the policies, as is their job.

PARK: That's absolutely true.

COOPER: Is that complacency or is that service?

PARK: So, let me come back to that particular question. But what I'll say is, I thought about this for --


PARK: -- a long time, you know, at least two and a half years, not more than that. And what I'll say is, I rationalized to myself using the same words you used, you know, I swore my oath to the Constitution.

You know, I serve the American people. I don't swear an oath to a particular president or a particular party. And that's true, but that's really abstract.

So when you read the commission of a foreign service officer or a diplomat like me, you'll see that it's written there explicitly.

"We serve during the pleasure of the president."

And so what that means is the way we serve the Constitution, the way we serve the American people is by working for the president that they elected. And right now, that president is Donald J. Trump.

COOPER: So did you -- were there specific events in the United States or specific policies that you just felt that you could no longer essentially be the face of in a foreign land?

PARK: You know, there is no single kind of straw that broke the camel's back. There is a slow buildup and maybe I'll call it moral distress kind of -- with each successive kind of tweet or action. I mean, it started with the Muslim ban, the executive order in January 2017.

And then defending white nationalists after Charlottesville, those family separations. It was revelations about squalid detention centers. It was -- was it just yesterday, federal agents kicking down doors and arresting parents on their children's first day of school.

So what's different about this administration for me -- and I only worked under two -- but, you know, at least in my lifetime I've seen a number of presidents. What's different is kind of the naked, unapologetic cruelty, that's the first thing.

The second thing is, you know, the sheer kind of managerial incompetence.

COOPER: There's a long and proud tradition of -- in Democratic and Republican administrations -- of people, foreign service officers and others saying I can no longer stand by and do this job and I resign.

It's rare that people then write an op-ed and it's a very public resignation in the way that yours is.

Why did you want to write an op-ed and send a very strong message about why you were leaving?

PARK: So, you know, I've been asked a bunch of times over the last 24 hours whether I'm calling people out. The answer -- the short answer is yes.

But I'm not calling out my former colleagues in the foreign service. I'm not calling out other civil servants in the federal bureaucracy. They're doing their jobs and they're working hard. I am calling out the American people.

If you are concerned with what's coming out of this White House, if you're disgusted, dismayed by images of, again, children in squalid detention centers, if you don't like your president using the rhetoric that emboldened white nationalists, then it's up to you to resist.

And you can resist by protesting. You can publish an op-ed. You can run for office or you can vote. And so I hope to do one or more of those things now that I'm out of government.


ALLEN: Coming up here, a powerful storm in eastern China turns deadly. Now rescue operations are under way. The latest on the devastating typhoon with Derek Van Dam. That's next.





ALLEN: In eastern China, a powerful storm has left at least 13 people dead and 16 others missing. Typhoon Lekima battered the region with winds of 110 miles an hour when it made landfall on Friday. The downpour has flooded the streets in some coastal areas.


ALLEN: Four sisters separated at birth and who never knew each other existed.


ALLEN: Well, they do now. They have been reunited. The incredible story of what finally brought them together right after this.





ALLEN: Imagine searching for your roots, taking one of those online DNA tests and then discovering you had siblings you never knew. It happened in the U.S. for four sisters who had been put up for adoption at birth.

Despite being separated from each other their entire lives, the sisters found they had remarkable similarities, as Vince Gerasole reports from our station WBBM.


TAMI HARRIS, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA: We keep pinching each other because we can't believe it.

VINCE GERASOLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ladies in this quartet...


GERASOLE (voice-over): -- are a brand-new sister act.

HARRIS: When you see that they look like you, there's no denying they're your sisters.

GERASOLE (voice-over): Though they've been around for decades...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- I always wondered why --


GERASOLE (voice-over): They're amazed by their many similarities.

HARRIS: We both have scoliosis. We both have had both of our knees replaced and we have identical bunions.

GERASOLE (voice-over): You see, each was put up for adoption at birth, never knowing the others existed. [04:55:00]

HARRIS: This is my first time meeting my sisters in 70 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It shows close matches.

GERASOLE (voice-over): An online DNA test brought them together in just the past few months.


GERASOLE (voice-over): And though Jennifer Tomsovic from nearby St. John, Jody Ruble-Castle from Tampa, Florida, Tami Harris from Scottsdale, Arizona, and Fran Whiddon from Cedar Bluff, Alabama, have a lot in common, look closely and you'll notice a big difference. It's their ages.

GERASOLE: Jennifer is 53. Jody is 55. Tami is 69 and Fran is 70.

Their birth parents apparently never married and had an on again-off again relationship that lasted four years.

GERASOLE (voice-over): Joseph Burba and Helen Wierzbicki may have had as many as eight children together, each given up for adoption.

HARRIS: I get a call from Jody and she goes, "I'm your sister. Don't hang up."

GERASOLE (voice-over): The women have identified another sister, Sandra, who died in Texas 30 years ago, and a brother, Craig Dube Zach, now 63 and living in Hawaii.

TOMSOVIC: He says, "It's a good thing I moved out of Highland, Indiana, when I was 17. I could have been dating one of my sisters."


GERASOLE (voice-over): They were all born in northwest Indiana, most growing up just a few miles apart. Jody and Jennifer even went to the same beauty school.

RUBLE-CASTLE: We remember the same professors.

GERASOLE (voice-over): Learning they were Polish, a visit to Pierogi Fest was a must.

HARRIS: And we have our sister bracelets.

GERASOLE (voice-over): They read, "A Sister Is God's Way of Making Sure We Never Walk Alone."

Jennifer, who recently lost a son, is finding that out.

TOMSOVIC: I don't have time to cry. When I cry, they just pick up the pieces.

GERASOLE (voice-over): A sentiment that now runs in the family.

HARRIS: Blessed; not alone in life anymore.


ALLEN: How about that one?

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