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Trump Confirms Osama bin Laden's Son Killed in U.S. Counterterrorism Operation; Dems Deep Divide on Health Care on Full Display; Northern Bahamian Islands in the Path of Looming Storm; New York Exposes $1B in Wire Transfers by Sackler Family; Israelis Head to the Polls as Netanyahu Faces Multiple Probes; NASCAR Shocks Gun Industry, Blocks Multiple Firearm Ads. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 14, 2019 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone and welcome.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with this breaking news.

President Trump confirming the death of Hamza bin Laden in a U.S. military operation. He is the son of Osama bin Laden and was seen as an emerging leader of the terror group al Qaeda.

The President releasing a statement today that said "Bin Laden had been killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

CNN has team coverage on this breaking story. Let's begin right now with Sarah Westwood at the White House.

Sarah -- Hamza bin Laden had been reported dead in late July. So what are we learning now?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred -- this is significant because the White House is confirming for the first time that Hamza bin Laden is dead and filling in a little bit of the blanks as to how this happened saying it happened through a U.S. counterterrorism operation and the where, in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

But you're correct. This is not necessarily a new development. It's not necessarily a recent development. CNN reported July 31st that the administration had intelligence that led officials to believe that Hamza bin Laden was in fact dead.

And in fact, just a couple of weeks ago Secretary of Defense Mark Esper appeared to confirm that news during an interview with Fox News but there wasn't a whole lot of details about how or where Hamza bin Laden may have died. Now I want to read to you part of the statement that the White House released this morning. "The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives al Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group. Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups."

Now the State Department earlier this year had labeled Hamza bin Laden an emerging leader of al Qaeda. The Department also offered a million-dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Hamza bin Laden. And documents obtained from the Abbottabad complex where his father was killed in 2011, Osama bin Laden, had suggested that Osama bin Laden was grooming his son to replace him as the leader of al Qaeda.

So there's still a lot of details to be learned about how this happened and when specifically and why the White House decided to confirm it this morning. But we're getting the official word for the first time that Hamza bin Laden is dead -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. And then Sarah -- is there an answer to why now we're learning this? What confirmation perhaps did the White House had that it felt more confident about revealing he's officially dead today?

WESTWOOD: That's an important question -- Fred, because about a month ago when CNN and other news outlets reported that the administration had this intelligence leading it to believe that Hamza bin Laden was dead, President Trump was asked about it and he specifically said he did not want to comment on it.

So something between now and then has prompted the White House to release this statement confirming the death but we don't know exactly the timeline here. We still don't know when Hamza bin Laden was killed. But it seems to be at least a month ago -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood at the White House -- thank you so much.

All right. So let's get more on this military operation that killed bin Laden. CNN's Ryan Brown joins me with more on that. So Ryan -- what more are we learning about this counterterrorism operation?

RYAN BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred -- there's very few official details that have been released about this counterterrorism operation which is being described as having taken place in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

Now, no timeframe of when this operation took place has been disclosed but there's some interesting kind of clues there. The Afghanistan/Pakistan region, the U.S. military does not operate in Pakistan. Sometimes that term is used because of that kind of porous border that the terrorist groups operate.

If the operation took place in Pakistan, it was likely a CIA operation, likely an intelligence operation not a military operation. So interesting to know whether or not who exactly led this operation that killed Hamza bin Laden.

The also interesting thing is the timing. Of course, we reported almost several months ago that there had been this intelligence that Hamza bin Landen was in fact dead. We are understanding that Defense officials, intelligence officials have been pouring over intelligence to make the assessment as to whether or not he was, in fact, killed in this operation.

Now, al Qaeda itself has been uncharacteristically quiet about his death. Usually when a high-profile terrorist like Hamza bin Laden is killed, there is some kind of announcement, some kind of obituary martyrdom announcement. That has not occurred.

So very few details at this point. We're looking to learn more -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Ryan Brown -- thank you so much for that from Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's bring in CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman. So Ben -- what do we know about Hamza bin Laden? And what kind of reaction would come from confirmation of his death?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that he's probably around 30 years old. He probably was born either in Pakistan or Afghanistan. He's the 15th of Osama bin Laden's 20 children, the third to be killed so far.

We know that, for instance, from documents found by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan where, of course, in May 2011 they killed his father, Osama bin Laden, all indications were that Hamza was in some way being trained or groomed to succeed his father.

Now over the last few years he's put out several audio statements calling for lone wolf attacks against Americans, British subjects, Russian citizens and others. And that according to what we saw from the statement from the White House that he was somehow involved in planning activities by al Qaeda and also coordinating with other terror organizations.

But sort of in the big picture it's important to keep in mind that these terrorist organizations whether ISIS or al Qaeda or others tend to be working in small cells. And, therefore, the death of what we call leaders doesn't necessarily mean that the organization will die with them.

As we've seen with the death of -- the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the organization is still very much in existence in places like Afghanistan, in Yemen, in North Africa and in Syria as well, very much so. And therefore, the death of Hamza bin Laden, though certainly significant in sort of a symbolic sense, doesn't necessarily mean that the organization as a whole is going to suffer in any way -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ben Wedeman -- thank you so much.

With me now to discuss Matthew Rosenberg, national security correspondent for the "New York Times"; and Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst. Good to see you both.

Peter -- you first. as one of the few western journalists who interviewed Osama bin Laden talk to us about the role of Hamza bin Laden and if, indeed, was he groomed to be the next leader?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he was certainly in touch -- Fred, with his father. You know, he spent about a decade under some form of house arrest in Iran after 9/11 and he was released by the Iranians. He made his way to the tribal regions in Pakistan and was in touch with his father when his father was living in Abbottabad, Pakistan. And there were certainly, you know, very friendly discussions.

Bin Laden was concerned that Hamza bin Laden, his son, might die in a CIA drone attack which seems to be what actually happened, and was urging him to kind of leave the area where all these drone attacks have happened which is along the Pakistan side of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

You know, what does this mean for al Qaeda? Al Qaeda, the organization, is really in deep trouble already. They've lost many of their top leaders. Their ability to attack in the west is extremely constrained. The last successful attack al Qaeda Central conducted in the West was in London on July 7, 2005 which is almost a decade and a half ago.

And so you know, the fact that bin Laden -- Hamza is dead, you know, is not insignificant, but I wouldn't sort of say, you know, this is a seismic event. I mean if you look -- Fred, at the State Department the reward for Hamza bin Laden was a million dollars. The reward for Ayman al Zawahiri, the present leader of his group is $25 million.

So that kind of gives you a sense of how the State Department at least regarded their relative significance within the organization.

WHITFIELD: And isn't the structure of say al Qaeda or many terror groups -- I mean, that there are several lieutenants or there are many potential leaders, you know, in the wings just in case one, whether it's a promising leader or one who was already in the lead is taken out so there's always a replacement, so to speak?

BERGEN: There is. And you know, Al Qaeda was founded 31 years ago last month and that's a long time for a terrorist group to still be functioning.

They are functioning. The question is, you know, how much can they -- how much damage can they inflict. And right now I think the essentially local jihadist group along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border with scant ability to attack the west. They do have affiliate's in Syria, North Africa and other places which are relatively strong but again are kind of focused on local issues.


WHITFIELD: And Matthew -- you know, there have been reports about the death of Hamza bin Laden since July 31st. You heard our Ryan Brown talk about intelligence, you know, pouring over intelligence for many, many months in which to confirm. But what do you assess in this announcement from the White House that he is, in fact, dead? Is it an issue of solidifying DNA evidence or is it something else?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, "NEW YORK TIMES": It could be any range of things. I mean look -- if it's a drone strike or some other kind of operation, these things are done in places where the U.S. and its allies have very little or no presence on the ground and no ability to get to the scene of where some of the structures somebody is killed.

So there have been times -- I mean when, I think there was a leader of the Pakistan Taliban who was killed I think three times before he was actually killed, two or three times.

You know, like Peter said, this is a group that has been fading or kind of just hanging on for a while. Hamza bin Laden was kind of the great young hope. He was 30 years old. ISIS and other rivals have painted Ayman al Zawahiri, the current leader as old and out of touch.

Hamza, the famous name, was sort of behind him to reinvigorate it and this does sort of suggests that, you know, it's going to be that much harder for al Qaeda to kind of reemerge to what it once was.

WHITFIELD: And Peter -- is there anything to -- in your view -- the White House's announcement of this -- this on a week, you know, only a week after the President said there was going to be a Camp David meeting with the Taliban and then it was called off? Do you see any ties here?

BERGEN: I just don't know. But just to pick up on what Matthew said, you know, there are other forms of confirmation that go beyond let's say getting DNA which is very hard in the (INAUDIBLE) of tribal regions where this event likely happened

One would be signals intelligence. I mean I told to somebody who's quite close to the members of the bin Laden family. She confirmed to me that Hamza is indeed dead. Now, members of the bin Laden family are certainly being listened to by various security services including the Untied States and including our allies.

And so chatter about his death has almost certainly happened. And my guess is that's would be a pretty good confirmation if family members are truly saying to each other as I'm sure, thy have. Yes, Hamza is actually dead.

WHITFIELD: And Matthew, do you see any kind of chatter, if there is to be any chatter, as a result of this, you know, announcement. Or if there has been a chatter. That has been, you said, as a recruitment tool?

ROSENBERG : I mean it goes both ways. I think, you know, the U.S. and others have delayed announcing when they think they've killed somebody, they try and pick up on who is talking about it and kind of get a sense of internal dynamics within groups by listening in to what they're saying.

I mean after the fact, this seems to make it harder to recruit more than kind of be a recruitment tool. You know, having another young bright, potential leader killed. And it's had its upper ranks just, I mean, devastated over the last 10 years. It seems like it would it harder to let me go out and fight find new people.

WHITFIELD: All right. Matthew Rosenberg, Peter Bergen -- good to see you both. Thank you so much.

All right. Straight ahead, Senator Elizabeth Warren is in the top tier of Democrats running for the White House and she's got a plan for nearly everything. So what's the hold up on her plan for health care?

Plus a new threat to the Bahamas. The island still reeling from destruction left by Hurricane Dorian now in the path of yet another storm. We're live coming up.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back.

As the 2020 Democrats fan out across the country, their clashes on policy issues are defining the 2020 race -- one major topic: health care. As the divisions between the candidates come into picture, so are the stories of millions of Americans struggling with health issues.


LANDON JOHNSON, KICKED OFF MEDICARE: I feel like I'm going to die before I'm 30, man. I really do because -- I mean I can't afford insulin. What do you do at that point? I have friends who are diabetics who have needles I can use. I just look around to see where I can get insulin from but I don't really have any options.


WHITFIELD: Stories like Landon Johnson's, a 23-year-old, kicked off Tennessee's version of Medicare with medical bills piling up, as you see right there, highlighting the dire need for a healthcare solutions for so many.

Interestingly one top-tier candidate, Elizabeth Warren, does not have a plan of her own on health care

CNN political correspondent M.J. Lee is in Massachusetts where Warren will be speaking shortly.

And so M.J. -- while that may not seem that unusual that a candidate may not have a full-fledged plan for somebody who says I have a plan for that, that's why so many take notice. M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. You

know, Elizabeth Warren, as you said is the candidate who has a plan for everything, but the exception is on the topic of health care. When it comes to the issue of health care, Elizabeth Warren is running on Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-all plan.

She has said a couple of times now the words, "I'm with Bernie", when asked about her stance on health care. And it is clear that she has no intention as of this time of releasing her own comprehensive plan on health care at least during the primary race.

And we saw this come to the surface during the debate just this week in Houston when she was asked the question of whether Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-all plan would end up raising taxes for the middle class. This was how she answered that question to reporters after the debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't answer the question about the middle class tax hike on your health care plan.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sure I did. I talked about how we're paying for health care in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But will there be a tax hike on the middle class? That was the question.

WARREN: What matters is how people pay and how much they're paying. When we pass Medicare-for-all, it's going to mean that the very richest in this country, wealthy individuals and big corporations, are going to pay more. But middle class families are going to pay less.


LEE: so it's very clear, Fred -- that Warren's strategy right now is to not answer that question with a yes or no answer, but simply to talk about the total cost of Medicare-for-all instead, clearly health care is going to continue being a big dividing line in the Democratic contest.

WHITFIELD: All right -- M.J. And then, you know, there's been a lot of talk this week about the age of some of the Democratic candidates -- really, namely one that people have been kind of focusing on.


WHITFIELD: Has Warren, you know, weighed in on age, particularly of Joe Biden being made an issue by some of the fellow candidates?

LEE: Well, you know -- Fred, just keep in mind it's so fascinating that the top three Democratic presidential candidates right now are in their 70s. So it is not surprising that the issue of age has come to the forefront especially at the last debate when we saw Julian Castro questioning Joe Biden's memory. Some thought that that was sort of a personal dig at Joe Biden's age. And since then the former vice president has said he plans to release his own medical records before voters vote in the Iowa caucuses. And just yesterday Warren's campaign also telling me that Senator Warren will also put out her own medical records before Iowa as well. She is 70 this year.

So clearly these Democratic candidates are in their own ways trying to reassure any voters that are worried about the ages of some of these candidates. So those steps are being taken right now.

And I will just quickly note that we are currently at the Massachusetts Democratic Party convention. This, of course, is Senator Warren's home state so we expect her to get a pretty friendly reception here -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, M.J. And of course, only a year or two really difference -- you know, difference between the three that you just signaled there in the Democratic field and their ages not that different from the sitting president right now.

All right. M.J. Lee -- thanks so much.

Ok. A lot to discuss. David Swerdlick is the assistant editor for the "Washington Post"; Patrick Healy is the "New York Times" politics editor. Good to see you both.

So gentlemen -- you know, at this debate we heard Joe Biden, you know, defending his stance on Obamacare and building on it. And Bernie Sanders, you know, was challenged on his Medicare-for-all. And now Warren appears to not have a plan of her own.

You know, this as we are seeing voters confront candidates at their events like at this moment last night at a Sanders event. Take a listen and watch.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't. I can't. I'm going to kill myself.

SANDERS: Hold it John -- stop it. You're not going to kill yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't deal with this. I have Huntington's disease. Do you know how hard that is? No, you probably don't, do you? I can't drive. I can barely take care of myself.

SANDERS: All right. Let's chat later at the end of the meeting, ok.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you -- sir.


(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. This is touching. And this is real. I mean, David and Patrick -- these candidates cannot overlook or really even, you know, say enough about the importance of health care and people's struggles. This as so many more Americans -- we just we saw in a report this week, so many more Americans are going uninsured.

So David -- how vital is it that candidates crystallize their plans on health care?


Yes, I think it's important. And first of all, good on Senator Sanders. There was that footage there of him and Jane Sanders talking to that man. It brings into relief the fact that these debates are not just about hypothetical issues, that they affect individual people's lives.

It is important that candidates are specific about their health care plans. This is something that we've been debating sort of furiously for more than a decade now since the Obamacare fight.

I think in the case of Senator Warren and some of the questions about why she doesn't have her own plan, I think even though her tag line is "I have a plan for that". She is basically coming out here and without saying it, her plan on health care is to not have a plan.

And I think that's for two reasons. One, as M.J. just reported, she wants to talk about total costs. Her theory of the case being that maybe if there are taxes, even though she hasn't said she'll raise taxes to pay for Medicare-for-all, there will be less expenses for businesses to pay for health care or individuals to pay for healthcare. Whether or not that actually materialize is another thing but I think that's her theory of the case.

The other lesson learned from 2008 is that I think a candidate who wants to win and wants to govern wants to be nimble -- Fred. She knows that President Obama wasn't for the individual mandate in health care when he ran for president the first time, but then came around to that plan because that was the plan the Democrats could get passed.

So if I had to guess, I would say she's keeping her options open.

WHITFIELD: So do you agree with that -- Patrick, that she wants to be nimble or that really she might have plan just doesn't want to reveal it right now?

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, "NEW YORK TIMES": No, I think David's right. I think she wants to be nimble. I think her plan is to be the Democratic nominee and to have running room. Now that she -- I think as she rises in the polls, she's the one Democratic candidate who has shown right now an ability to really grow and sustain a lead.


HEALY: They're thinking pretty seriously about a general election and the reality is she can say in a way that satisfies liberal voters and left wing activists in the party, I'm with Bernie. I support, you know, the Sanders' (INAUDIBLE) bills in congress and that is satisfying enough.

So if she feels like she can sort of contain, you know, any kind of blowback from the liberal wing and not have to put out a hard plan that would have specific tax increase numbers that, you know, her opponents can latch on to, that's a good space for her.

And right now she's not facing enormous pressure from voters or liberals to come out with a plan. I'm with Bernie seems to be enough and gives her that running room.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Health care is huge. So is gun violence is an issue that these candidates are trying to tackle. And David -- CNN is learning that efforts between the U.S. Justice department and the U.S. Congress to find any consensus on background checks for guns has ground to a halt.

Sources are now saying the Attorney General Bill Barr is signaling that hopes for a President Trump supported gun bill are in serious trouble.


WHITFIELD: And we know the Trump administration, you know, has tried to be out front on promises of making some changes, but then the President kind of backpedaled on a few things. And now the administration is seizing on Beto O'Rourke's passionate moment during the debate this week.


BETO O'ROUKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15. And that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa (INAUDIBLE). There weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time.

Hell, yes -- we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.


WHITFIELD: All right. So David -- you know, the Trump administration, Republicans are saying see Democrats want to take away your guns. And we know as a result of that moment T-shirt sales with O'Rourke's quote, you know, are on the rise. People are interested in it.

Some Democrats however, flipside to that, are a little worried that this is now fuel to the Republicans and the Trump administration to saying, look, your Second Amendment, see, is in jeopardy.

SWERDLICK: Right. So on the Democratic side of the ledger, Fred -- you have Congressman O'Rourke out there essentially trying to seize the moral high ground, which he did. But he also I think probably, and most Democrats I think would say this, made it harder for Democrats to make the case that they just want measured incremental gun control policies, not to grab everybody's guns. And that's what Republicans are going to jump on.

On the Republican side of the ledger on most issues Republicans are handcuffed to President Trump -- whether it's tariffs or his rhetoric, Republicans have just to sort of eat it and go along with the President.

This is one issue where the President is handcuffed to Mitch McConnell and to his caucus and to the NRA. And that's why I think we're unlikely to see a big push on gun reform in the coming weeks.


HEALY: I think, you know, Beto O'Rourke is not right now a leading candidate for the nomination. I think that the Democratic candidates are fine looking to him to be kind of a moral conscience on this.

And you know, if the Republicans try to hang that quote around their necks, you know, months down the line, I think there will be a response that Beto O'Rourke, you know, coming out of the El Paso gun massacre, you know, was talking passionately about this issue. I don't think it's something that that sort of restrains them.

The reality is that the Republicans really playing a very cynical game here, that they only talk about serious gun control reforms in the wake of death, you know. It's not a really good look for that party.

And the reality is President Trump is the one who is the decision maker here and it looks like Mitch McConnell is really saying that, you know, he's going to be owning this during the general election.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Patrick Healy, David Swerdlick -- thanks to you both. Appreciate it.

SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Fred.

HEALY: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: Next, a tropical storm is on its way to the already hurricane-devastated Bahamas. Can the islands withstand yet another sea storm, we're live next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

Right now, thousands across the Bahamas remain homeless as yet another storm zeros in on areas already decimated by Hurricane Dorian. Tropical storm Humberto is expected to get near or directly hit Great Abaco Island at some point today.

That's just one of the islands that saw heart breaking death and destruction from Hurricane Dorian.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joining me now from the CNN Weather Center. So Allison -- what kind of impact are we talking about?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. So let's talk about the latest update that just came out at the top of the hour. Winds have actually increased a little bit, up to 50 miles per hour. But the forward movement -- this is where we really saw the biggest change.

It had been moving to the northwest at 7 miles per hour, now completely stationary. We're hoping what this means is that it's going to start its quick turn to the north here, moving it away from places like Freeport, away from Florida. But it will all come in due time.

The question is how much of an impact does it make before it starts to turns off to the north and eventually out to the east?

Now, once it hits warmer water over here, we do expect it to intensify into a hurricane. Category 1 initially and maybe even possibly as high as Category 2 as it approaches Bermuda in the coming days.

But in the short term, the biggest concern for areas of the Bahamas are going to incredibly gusty winds -- 40, 50, if not even 60 mile per hour wind gusts. That's why you have tropical storm warnings out for several of the islands.

But rain is going to be a concern for a lot of these islands here. Very heavy rain even as the storm moves away, is going to be pushed into some of those islands.

So again, Fred -- I mean even if you're just talking two to four inches, you have to remember, a lot of these homes they don't have roofs on them. A lot of the buildings are already structurally compromised. So even a 50 or 60 mile per hour wind can cause even more damage.

WHITFIELD: All right. Allison Chinchar -- thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: All right. With Humberto approaching, recovery efforts are on hold now for the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. USAID is in Abaco this morning helping Bahamians get ready for yet another round of heavy rain and winds. And that includes

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in the Bahamians get ready for another Bahamians get ready for another round of heavy rain and winds and that includes covering up already damaged structures.

CNN national correspondent Dianne Gallagher is in the Bahamas for us. So Dianne -- what are they bracing for? It's looking sunny behind you but it's what's on the horizon that's so worrisome.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. And we're in Nassau which I want to sort of reiterate here was completely untouched for the most part by Hurricane Dorian. We're talking about those northern islands like Abaco, Grand Bahama that were completely decimated by Dorian.

And unfortunately, they are the ones that are going to likely receive the most impact from Tropical Storm Humberto. Our fixers and speaking with people who are on Abaco, right now they're describing the conditions as thunderstorm-lite at the moment.

So they're getting rain -- it's a little more than these like showers we were seeing in the afternoon. But right now they seem to feel like they're ok.

The concern is exactly what Allison said there. These structurally compromised homes and businesses that may have, sort of made it through Hurricane Dorian probably can't take much more. So USAID has been working over the past couple of days in preparation for Humberto to try and distribute these fix-it kits that have nails and tools in them to assist the Bahamians who are staying in their homes right now or trying to repair them to try and put these large heavy plastic tarps over their roof tops.

The government officials in the Bahamas would like for people to go ahead and evacuate to sanctioned shelters instead. In fact, they were offering rides to people a little bit earlier this week.

Fred -- I think that we've got to pay attention mostly though to the fact that even once this storm passes, it is the emotional and mental impact of them getting hit again even though it's not as strong.

Just two weeks later and what that does to people. That terror of watching that storm, watch and come in in, and that rain and that howling wind just retraumatizes people.

WHITFIELD: Unthinkable. All right. Dianne Gallagher -- thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, the family that owns controversial drug maker Purdue Pharma reportedly tried to hide $1 billion in off store accounts. Did the family try to protect its wealth from incoming lawsuits? A live report next.



WHITFIELD: Wire transfers and offshore accounts -- that's what New York officials say they have uncovered after looking into the family that owns Purdue Pharma. The Sackler family has been allegedly moving billions of dollars offshore to protect their wealth amid accusations that their pharmaceutical company is fueling the country's opioid crisis.

Already officials say they have found about a billion dollars in wire transfers and there could be more.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me right now. So Polo -- what are New York authorities saying?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These allegations -- Fred, are coming from New York state prosecutors just a few days after Purdue actually proposed a settlement as part of that ongoing litigation that you just mentioned. And now, these new allegations coming from New York's attorney general that the Purdue family was essentially trying to conceal some of their wealth with this storm of litigation that's ongoing.

I'll get to at least two of the allegations that are being brought forward by the Attorney General Letitia James here. The first one has to do with Mortimer Sackler. He used to sit on the board of Purdue here, specifically the allegation mentions that he essentially transferred millions of dollars into a real estate company here in New York that had various property interests here.

I'll read you the exact allegation that's being brought forward by the AG's office here in the state of New York. The AG writing, "Because defendant Mortimer Sackler has placed these New York real estate holdings in the name of shell companies, the ownership would have been impossible to detect from publicly available records and without access to financial records."

Just one more example to mention here -- Fred. Sackler also allegedly received money that was funneled through some Swiss bank accounts. So that's just what the attorney general's office is doing right now, is essentially to try to find out exactly how much wealth they have and where it is.

Now, as for the Sackler family they have responded particularly -- or at least specifically Mortimer Sackler, who said "This is a cynical attempt by a hostile AG's office to generate defamatory headlines to try to torpedo a mutually beneficial settlement that is supported by so many other states and would result in billions of dollars going to communities and individuals across the country that need help."

Sackler has additionally called these transactions quote, "Decade-old transfers that were perfectly legal and appropriate at the time." They also insisted they have actually provided many documents already, Fred, to try to substantiate that but of course, you have prosecutors who say they still want to see more documents.

WHITFIELD: Polo Sandoval -- Thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: Thanks -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Keep us posted.

And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right. This week's election in Israel could determine the fate of the country's longest serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Trump weighing in just moments ago saying this in a tweet. "I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a mutual defense treaty between the United States and Israel that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries. I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month."

But with mounting accusations of corruption and multiple investigations into the prime minister, Netanyahu's future is all but clear.

CNN's Oren Liebermann has details.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are the dark clouds hanging over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's political and personal life -- multiple accusations of corruption stemming from three separate investigations.

The 69-year-old has denied the charges and on the campaign trail he rarely discusses them. But he's facing allegations he took gifts from overseas businessmen and prosecutors say he tried to get a newspaper mogul to give him more favorable coverage.

He also faces potential bribery charges. Prosecutors say he advanced regulatory benefits worth nearly $300 million to help his friend -- a wealthy businessman, also for favorable media coverage.

Netanyahu's troubles have led to a tight race.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Right wing voters, right now we are losing the elections.

LIEBERMANN: In the final polls before election night, all five polls show a race too close to call. Neither Netanyahu nor his opponent, former Israeli military chief of staff Benny Gantz has a clear path to victory.

The coalition scandals go beyond Netanyahu. Interior minister Aryeh Deri served two years in prison in the early 2000s after he was convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He returned to politics and is once again interior minister and once again under investigation for similar charges.


LIEBERMANN: Then there's deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman. Police say they have enough evidence to indict him on fraud and breach of trust for illegally helping an alleged sexual predator avoid extradition.

Coalition chair David Bitan and welfare minister Haim Katz both resigned their positions following corruption investigation. Katz has already been indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust.

All of these politicians insist they're innocent and they all may get their day in court to prove it. Until then they're just hoping to win at the ballot box.

One of the questions surrounding Netanyahu is does he want to legislate immunity for himself from prosecution? But you see he's not the only politician here who may have that interest in mind.

It's also important to note that in the opposition, Arab lawmaker Basel Ghattas was just released from two years in prison. He was convicted of illegally sneaking cellphones to security prisoners.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- Jerusalem.


WHITFIELD: And still ahead, an unexpected development in the fight for gun control. NASCAR now making a bold move blocking multiple gun ads. Details next.


WHITFIELD: All right. First it was Walmart, then Walgreens, CVS and Kroger following suit. Now NASCAR is adding its name to the list of corporations taking a position on gun rights in this country.

CNN's Sara Murray has more.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: NASCAR is shocking some gun companies as it appear to reject some adds that were supposed to advertise certain firearms.


MURRAY: Now, this is kerfuffle that started happening a couple of months ago. There were a few gun companies that were approached by an advertising vendor, that's a group NASCAR would really like some ads (INAUDIBLE), why don't you submit them.

Well, a couple of months later they heard from this advertising vendor which said NASCAR is having a gradual shift on its gun approach. They don't want ads depicting assault style rifles. Things like AK-47s, things like AR-15s.

But they're happy to take ads for less controversial accessories, maybe concealed carry firearms. Well, this set the gun companies up in arms. They were livid. They said NASCAR is alienating their fan base. They pointed to the overlap between NASCAR fans as well as gun owners.

And we've seen this trend of companies reevaluating their stance on whether they're willing to advertise guns, whether they are willing to sell guns, how they want to partner with organizations like the NRA. But things are still a little murky when it comes to NASCAR. In part because they won't publicly clarify their position. The gun companies have pressed for more information about the gradual shift. I have reached out to NASCAR multiple times to say what does this mean about your approach to Second Amendment issues, to your willingness to partner with firearms companies and so far NASCAR hasn't responded.

It is worth pointing out thought that the NRA has taken notice of this story. They put up a blogpost online making it clear that they are none too pleased about what they see as a not so gradual shift.

Sara Murray, CNN -- Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, President Trump confirming the son of Osama bin Laden has been killed in an airstrike. What this means for the fight against al Qaeda, next.