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CNN NEWSROOM

NGOs Setting Up Bahamas Infrastructure for Relief Efforts; Husband and Girlfriend Re-arrested in Case of Missing Mother; Interview with Lenny Kravitz. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 6, 2019 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: -- he's the relief operations manager for World Central Kitchen.

Josh, good morning. Thanks so much for taking the time this morning, I know you're doing a lot of important work there, 500,000 meals delivered so far in the Bahamas. How are you managing that?

JOSH PHELPS, RELIEF OPERATIONS MANAGER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN (via telephone): Well, we haven't gotten to 500,000 meals yet, but our goal is to get up to around 40,000 a day.

We've been here three or four days before the storm. Since we had a team tracking (ph) in Puerto Rico, of (ph) course (ph) we activated during Hurricane Maria, and then we followed the storm to Florida, we were -- we were all set up along the whole Eastern Seaboard, down to Miami.

And then when we realized that the Bahamas were going to, you know, bear the brunt of the storm at its most powerful state, we moved a team over here.

So by being here a few days early, prepping, securing (ph) vehicles, ingredients for cooking, an industrial kitchen over at this (ph) resort where Jose had the restaurant, just a lot (ph) (inaudible) be ahead of the game, once the storm subsided and we could start to get out to do that (inaudible).

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. We've got a lot of reporters on the ground there, and they talk about now. People are desperate for food, right? They're hungry. It's been so many days.

PHELPS (via telephone): Yes.

SCIUTTO: As you've been preparing for this, are you working with local government authorities? Do you have a sense that the local government is addressing this issue?

PHELPS (via telephone): Yes, for sure. We've been working very heavily with NEMA, which is, you know, the Bahamian version of FEMA, and the prime minister's office, you know, at the highest level.

Even, like I said, that was one of the benefits of being here early, is that you have a chance to (INAUDIBLE) and work and be part of their plan. So, you know, they're providing us with information on INAUDIBLE), settlements that might need feeding, things (ph) like that.

And, you know, we're starting -- as the numbers start to clarify and we start to get more familiar with the community and how many people we can really pinpoint, how many means we can take, all of them (ph) (inaudible) with sandwiches and fruit.

And then also we always have, you know, an extra couple thousand sandwiches we sell in the helicopter, that we can go out and as we -- we're (ph) trying to add a new community every time we make a helicopter shift, which is about three times a day, add a new the community or two, sell it to people, and then make that a daily trip.

So it's all coming together slowly. Of course, we'd like to feed as many people as fast as possible, but you know, there's a lot of moving parts. But we feel well-equipped, again, especially from being here on the ground so early (ph).

SCIUTTO: You've got your work cut out for you, I know. No question. And goodness, thanks so much to you for the work you're doing.

Based on what you've seen and what your staff has seen there -- because we're showing pictures now, of the devastation, particularly in the Abacos area -- are the conditions on the island even livable now?

PHELPS (via telephone): You know, that depends. You know, I'm seeing everything that you're seeing as well, and there's some reports, there's been a 45 percent to 50 percent of the homes are damaged. So, I mean, I don't know. That would mean that, you know. Living conditions have been halved.

So it's hard to say. I mean, a lot of the outer islands people are hungry, and they also (INAUDIBLE) that they want to get off the island. So, you know, NGOs like ourselves and others are working, you know, pretty much around the clock, getting people out as fast as possible.

It's harder at night, you can't always fly and stuff, so. But, you know, bringing food to keep these folks alive is just, you know, one piece of the puzzle. But there's also -- there's a lot of search and rescue going on, (INAUDIBLE) a lot this week. So --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

PHELPS (via telephone): Yes. I mean, (INAUDIBLE). People need to leave and rebuild, and that's, you know. But one thing we don't want them to worry about is where their next meal's coming from --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

PHELPS (via telephone): -- so that's where we come in, and hopefully we can provide that piece. SCIUTTO: I hear you. Well, thanks so much for the work that you're

doing. We wish you the best of luck. We know a lot of folks are happy to see you there.

And for those of you watching at home, for more information on how you can help victims of Hurricane Dorian, please go to CNN.com/impact. There are a lot of good suggestions there for reputable charities so that you know that your money can make a difference.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Still ahead, we're going to be joined by singer and actor, musician Lenny Kravitz, the legendary Lenny Kravitz, calling not only for prayers for the people of the Bahamas that mean so much to him, but for more help. He has roots in the Bahamas. We'll speak to him, get his reaction to the devastation and ways that you can help.

[10:34:43]

SCIUTTO: Plus, another story we're following. The estranged husband of a missing mother and his girlfriend have been rearrested in connection to her disappearance.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: All right. One of the key players in the case of that missing Connecticut mother of five was just rearrested. Her name? Michelle Troconis, again, charged with evidence tampering in connection with Jennifer Dulos' disappearance back in May.

SCIUTTO: She is, we should note, the girlfriend of Jennifer's estranged husband, Fotis Dulos. He was also rearrested this week.

Brynn Gingras, she is in Bridgeport, Connecticut with more. What are authorities pointing to here, now, Brynn?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The appearance of normalcy for Fotis Dulos, where he's been spotted exercising and grocery shopping in his Connecticut community. But behind that normalcy, many questions. Dulos has posted bail twice on charges related to the disappearance of his estranged wife, Jennifer, who vanished on May 24th. Those charges? Tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.

[10:40:19]

Dulos' girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, has already pleaded not guilty to charges in the case, Thursday, state police, adding more charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. She is free on bond. Her lawyer did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There's no question that she's the linchpin in terms of putting him away and getting the murder charge established. GINGRAS (voice-over): Dulos' latest arrest warrant details

surveillance video from the morning of Jennifer's disappearance, which police say shows him driving his employee's personal vehicle on a 60- mile drive to New Canaan, Connecticut, where Jennifer lived with their five school-age children. Police believe Dulos was lying in wait near Jennifer's home until she returned from dropping their children off at school.

The affidavit goes on to state, "The crime and clean-up are believed to have occurred between 8:05 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. when Jennifer's SUV is seen leaving her home. Dulos is believed to be operating the victim's vehicle, which is carrying the body of Jennifer Dulos." Detectives say forensic testing later showing Jennifer's blood was in that vehicle.

JACKSON: I've seen people convicted with less, much less arrested with less. And so the fact is, is I get police want to be meticulous, they want to dot i's, cross t's.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Dulos and his girlfriend were also allegedly spotted on surveillance video the night of Jennifer's disappearance, putting bags in trash cans on a busy city street, several towns away. Police later found those bags contained clothing and a sponge with Jennifer's blood.

The couple were involved in a contentious divorce battle after Jennifer filed back in 2017. Her parents say in court documents that they funded Fotis' business as well as the couple's home, and he still owes them money.

In the days after Jennifer's disappearance, Dulos' employee tells police his boss was acting strangely, going so far as to take the truck he borrowed to get professionally cleaned, and insisting the employee replace the front seats, authorities later finding evidence of Jennifer's blood on the seats.

Fotis Dulos maintains his innocence, as he did after the previous charges, saying after his arrest, Wednesday:

FOTIS DULOS, EX-HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: It's an exhausting fight. I love my children. That's about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE

GINGRAS: And after these recent arrests, Pattis' (sic) attorney, Norm Pattis -- sorry, Dulos' attorney, Norm Pattis, made a statement about Michelle Troconis, essentially saying this, "Our hearts go out to Ms. Troconis. We are confident that she will, in the end, tell the truth at trial. The state is a terrifying enemy but a clean conscience is a powerful ally." They're both expected in court later this month.

SCIUTTO: Jesus.

HARLOW: Brynn, is that them, pointing their finger at her?

GINGRAS: You know, it's interesting, Poppy. We are going to ask those questions to state police. They certainly have questioned her several times, and have -- she's changed her story. It doesn't appear that she's necessarily fully cooperating with officials, so it's interesting to see how this case progresses, if more charges are coming. Those are certainly questions that we are asking at this time.

HARLOW: OK. In the meantime, those five children, those poor five children who have lost their mother. Brynn, thank you very, very much.

[10:43:34]

All right, Jim. Ahead for us, Lenny Kravitz, not only a great Grammy Award-winning artist, he is now using his voice to try to help the Bahamas. He'll join us to talk about the recovery efforts in a country that he calls "a source of inspiration."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: All right. Well, there is a huge relief effort under way right now in the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas. Our next guest, an outspoken ambassador for the country he calls home. He's offering help. With me on the phone is Grammy Award winner, many times over, Lenny Kravitz. Thank you so much for being with me.

LENNY KRAVITZ, SINGER-SONGWRITER (via telephone): Good morning, how are you.

HARLOW: I'm well, I am devastated, though, because of this tragedy. I mean, as you know, the death toll is going to rise so much higher in the Bahamas. This is not only, you know, a country that has been an inspiration for you and your music, but it's where you call home. You spend most of your time there.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Yes --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: What do you want everyone to know?

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Well, I mean, this island -- two islands that got hit the worst, obviously, Freeport and Abaco. I mean, they've just been devastated, as you know. You know, cousins of mine had people that were missing for days. Most of them have been found, up until the -- you know, up to this point, which is great.

But, I mean, people are over there, they're stuck. You know, they need medical supplies, they need food, they need shelter. I'm on tour right now, I wish that I was there on the ground, you know, working. That's how close I am to this place, and how passionate I am.

[10:50:00]

But I started by donating to different charities that are on the ground there, working, and at this moment, I'm also setting up boats to go over from Eleuthera, which is the island that I live on -- HARLOW: Yes.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): -- with builders who do this, any time there's a storm --

HARLOW: Yes.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): -- we're going to be sending equipment and supplies, building supplies, and trying to get people shelter, you know? And so --

HARLOW: And I --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): -- there's further help, yes.

HARLOW: Good for you, and thank you for doing that out of your own pocket, to help those people.

What I'm really worried about, Lenny, is when the camera crews aren't there, you know? And when the spotlight is not on these islands, you know, three to six months from now.

And you're talking about -- almost all of them rely on tourism as their main, you know, economic driver --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Absolutely, absolutely.

HARLOW: And so the question becomes, like, look what happened to Barbuda, what happens a year from now, et cetera. So, you know, what do you want --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Well, that's --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: -- to say to people who aren't going to be seeing these headlines in a few months?

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Well, it's just like it was in Puerto Rico, you know? And that's one thing that I've been talking about with my team of people. When looking forward to a year, this is going to have to continue. I'm going to also, you know, be working with the government. And I'm going to make sure that I keep the word out --

HARLOW: Yes.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): -- and we don't stop because this -- these islands are going to be dealing with this for the next couple years. I mean --

HARLOW: Yes.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): -- it could be longer. So we're going to have to just be diligent.

HARLOW: And we'll help keep the spotlight on as much as we can. You're welcome on any time, of course, to tell us about the progress. I know you have family there, cousins, aunts, uncles. They've been --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Yes.

HARLOW: -- you've been able to reach all of them, they've been able to reach --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Yes, yes.

HARLOW: -- almost everyone.

But there's one interesting thing I'd like to ask you about, and that is a bipartisan effort that we have seen. It's been led by two Republicans, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio have asked the Trump administration this week, Lenny, to waive visa requirements so that Bahamians, more of them, can come to the U.S. to stay with their relatives in the meantime. Are you a supporter of that? And do you think it is extremely necessary right now?

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Absolutely. I mean, a lot of Bahamians have friends and family, especially in Florida. And I'm sure, you know, all over the United States.

These people need a place to go. I mean, as you say in the footage, you know, it's been flattened, these houses are destroyed. There's no infrastructure. It's very hard to get things in right now. So how are the people going to survive?

HARLOW: Yes.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): I mean, that would be -- that would be amazing, if there was a way for them to get in and be able to, you know, rely on friends and family. Because these people have nothing, absolutely nothing.

HARLOW: Well, again, Lenny Kravitz, thank you for what you're doing. I know -- I'm sure you planning to go down there to help yourself, after your tour --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Absolutely.

HARLOW: -- and I know CNN would love to be there by your side with our cameras, to see it firsthand, so --

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Well, let's -- let's go together --

HARLOW: All right.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): -- and then -- and see where everything is. That would be wonderful.

HARLOW: All right. We will do that. Keep us posted. Thank you for what you're doing, we appreciate it. Lenny Kravitz.

KRAVITZ (via telephone): Thank you so much for having me on. Bye- bye.

[10:53:45]

HARLOW: Of course. OK, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Well, this week, we heard about the second reported death linked to vaping, the latest one, Jim, in Oregon.

SCIUTTO: It's something to watch. State health officials said that the individual who died had recently vaped a product containing cannabis. There are, federal officials suspect, at least 215 possible cases across some 25 states. And health officials are now zeroing in on a potential chemical that may be found in cannabis vaping products specifically.

Here to tell us more, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also happens to be a surgeon. What do we know?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a real medical investigation. I've got to tell you, it's interesting because you have many states, as you mentioned, many people. First, they found that the one thing they all had in common was that they had vaped recently. And now, the next part of the investigation is, what exactly were they vaping and what was in those -- the substance that were in that vaping device.

So this is where they're sort of zeroing in. In New York State, they found that the samples in the people who subsequently got sick, when they tested those samples, they found something known as vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E, right? That's a supplement, people are familiar with it, you can ingest it, you know, take it as a pill, you can put it on your skin.

The concern seems to be, when you heat this, you vaporize it, it decomposes into maybe other chemicals, gets into your lungs and then because it's a grease, oily-like substance, it may start to re-congeal in the lungs.

TEXT: Vaping Related Lung Illness Symptoms: Pulmonary symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain); Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea); Fatigue; Fever; Headache; Weight loss

GUPTA: It's a tough image to consider, but that's where the investigation is sort of headed. These are the sort of symptoms, you see them on the screen.

Look, most people who are doing this obviously are not getting sick and ending up in the ICU, like the patients that we've talked about. But they do develop, sometimes, some significant symptoms. They're often young, healthy people. So when they develop persistent cough or persistent symptoms like that, it is unusual.

The feds are involved now, they've got to look at samples all across the country and then figure out what to do about this. This is a very unregulated area.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and it's not the first issue we've seen with vaping. Dr. Gupta, thanks very much.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Thank you all for joining us. Have a great weekend. I'm Poppy Harlow.

[11:00:00]

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.