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Trump Rails about Possible Second Whistleblower; Barrier Is High to Remove U.S. president from Office; Iraq Death Toll in Violent Protests Rises to 100; Shadowy U.S. Program Keeps Muslim Migrants in Limbo; U.S. and North Korea Break Off Nuclear Talks; Sanders Vows to Return to Campaign Trail After Heart Attack; Researchers Seek Cause of Vaping-Related Illness; Hong Kong Demonstrators March against Police Violence, Mask Ban; France Prepares for Impact of No-Deal Brexit. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired October 6, 2019 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Growing concern: a handful of Republicans now criticizing the U.S. president for asking foreign powers to investigate his political rivals.
Plus, thousands protest in Hong Kong. Activists hit the streets again, defying the law that bans face masks.
Worries about vaping: with long-related injuries and even deaths possibly linked to vaping on the rise, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta sits down with them to learn about their latest investigation.
Live in CNN headquarters in Atlanta. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell. The CNN NEWSROOM starts now.
HOWELL: 4:01 on the U.S. East Coast.
We start with the Ukraine scandal. And now reports of a second potential whistleblower. It all seems to have caught the U.S. president's attention, Mr. Trump on Twitter saying the first whistleblower has been discredited, so a second whistleblower is being brought in, also armed with secondhand information. "Keep them coming," he said.
And while the president's words on Twitter may be enough to some to accept as fact, quite to the contrary, in fact, none of what he said is true. Let's go point by point with the facts at hand.
The first whistleblower did not get the president's conversation wrong. That's borne out by the White House's own rough transcript.
And as for the second potential whistleblower, "The New York Times" describes this person as an intelligence official who corroborated the first whistleblower's complaint with firsthand knowledge of the call.
Only a few Republicans are stepping up to criticize the president's actions. Susan Collins, for one, now the third Republican senator to do so. Collins told a newspaper in Maine that it was, quote, "a big mistake" for the president to ask China to investigate Joe Biden.
We have the latest now on the impeachment investigation from CNN's Jeremy Diamond.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: House Democrats are indeed ramping up their impeachment inquiry into the president and this administration after already issuing subpoenas for the State Department.
House Democrats on Friday issued subpoenas for the White House. But at this point it is unclear how this administration is going to comply with this.
What they are considering is issuing a letter to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying that they are not compelled to provide the House committees with any documents until they go to the House floor to vote on opening a formal impeachment inquiry.
Now that is something that has been done in the past but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, there is no constitutional requirement for there to be a vote. But what the White House is clearly doing here is daring Democrats, especially those vulnerable Democrats in Trump districts, to put down their vote in favor of an impeachment inquiry, something that Republicans have already used to go after those vulnerable Democrats as well as to fund-raise.
What we are seeing from the president this weekend are attacks, attacks in particular on Senator Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans to publicly criticize the president's handling of this Ukraine matter, "wrong and appalling," that is what the Utah senator Mitt Romney is calling President Trump's request that Ukraine and China investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.
The president on Saturday firing back in a series of tweets, including this one, where he says, "Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous ass who has been fighting from the beginning, except when he begged me for my endorsement for his Senate run. I gave it to him. And when he begged me to be secretary of state I didn't give it to him. He is so bad for R's," that is Republicans.
President Trump also calling for Senator Romney's impeachment. Now while senators cannot be impeached they can be expelled from the Senate. There is no indication, of, course that would happen but what the president is doing here is sending a signal to Republicans that if you do not stay in line with, him, if you don't support him in the face of this impeachment inquiry, you could be the target of one of his Twitter tirades -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: Thank you, Jeremy.
No U.S. president has ever been removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached in the Watergate scandal. That was 1974, 45 years ago. Removing a president is challenging.
HOWELL: Impeachment by the U.S. House requires only a simple majority, at least 218 votes.
But two-thirds of U.S. senators, 67 of them, must agree to actually force the president to step down. Democrats and two independent allies currently hold 47 seats in the U.S. Senate. Even if all of them vote to convict the president, they would still need at least 20 Republicans to agree to remove President Trump from office.
The former U.S. vice president is pushing back against President Trump's attacks.
Joe Biden writes in Sunday's "Washington Post" opinion page, quote, "Our first president, George Washington, famously could not tell a lie. President Trump seemingly cannot tell the truth -- about anything.
"He slanders anyone as he sees as a threat. That is why he is frantically pushing flat-out lies, debunked conspiracy theories and smears against me and my family, no doubt hoping to undermine my candidacy for the presidency."
A lot to talk about this with Thomas Gift at University College London in our London bureau this hour.
Good to have you with us.
THOMAS GIFT, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Good morning, George.
HOWELL: So let's start with the former vice president's response in "The Washington Post." Clearly a move to make sure people see what he has to say. It will likely be headlines for sure on this Sunday political talk shows. He first broke his silence late Wednesday night in the state of Nevada with this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now let me make something clear to Mr. Trump and his hatchet men and the special interest funding his attacks on me.
I'm not going anywhere.
BIDEN: You're not going to destroy me and you're not going to destroy my family. I don't care how much money you spend, Mr. President, or how dirty the attacks get. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: But then a report in "The New York Times" says that speech came out so late in the West, it barely got any traction against the president's unfounded claims. Critical of both timing and his tone. The analysis, Joe Biden struggled to form a response describing the candidate as weary of being baited into a dirty fight, missing the moment, seemingly more vulnerable.
Can Biden shift the narrative?
GIFT: Well, I think that's what he is trying to do with his "Washington Post" op-ed. He is trying to control the story, rather than let the story control him. I do think that concerns about him being relatively slow to respond to President Trump's charges, being relative live flat-footed are true.
He has a real opportunity here, though. Although there's certainly downsides to this story and the perception that he didn't do anything -- the perception that he did something wrong, although unfounded, he can basically say, look, the president is so afraid of me that he was willing to kind of put his political career on the line, take all of these steps with Ukraine.
That's not something that he would be willing to do with other candidates. For a politician whose entire case for the presidency rests on the notion of electability, I think he can basically say, the president is afraid of me, give me the nomination and I'll beat the president.
HOWELL: Thomas, we have also seen some Republicans, namely Senator Mitt Romney and Representative William Hurd speak out against the president's actions. Now Susan Collins said his decision to launch a probe was a big mistake.
Do you think Republicans will speak out or does Republican criticism only remain whispers in private?
GIFT: Well, you're certainly right that the number of Republicans who have actually criticized President Trump have been few and far between. I think that reflects the extent to which the center right in Washington has been totally gutted.
Moderate Republicans have just displayed very little political courage, I think, in the face of these relatively blatant abuses of power by President Trump. And so whether more Republicans will come out or not, that is a relatively open question.
But I think the real question for Republicans is why?
Why defend this president for some more tax cuts, for the continuation of a trade war that many of them probably don't philosophically agree with to begin with?
It is really fairly puzzling. I think if you do see Republicans that shift against President Trump, that it is all going to happen at once. They will get a critical mass and then you will see this tidal wave of disapproval by President Trump. But that hasn't happened to this point.
HOWELL: There is the request to talk about documents from the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, now finding himself deeper into the mix of this controversy.
HOWELL: Should he be concerned?
GIFT: Well, I think that the Republican response by the White House up until this point has been to stonewall and to block requests for subpoenas. And I think you're going to see that continue going forward.
They want to press Nancy Pelosi for a full vote to formally launch an impeachment inquiry. They will say, until you do that, we don't have to respond to your requests. President Trump has acknowledged that the House has the number of votes to do so; but he will force them to put their names on the record.
HOWELL: And wants to see the pressure on anyone who wants to put their name on the record. Thomas Gift, thank you so much.
GIFT: Thank you, George.
We're following events in Hong Kong, the protests on the ban on face coverings. A high court rejected an appeal to stop the ban. Protesters are on the street marching. You see them there under the umbrellas. Pro-democracy lawmakers tried to stop it from taking effect.
After the ruling, the court agreed to a judicial review hearing on the ban to take place later this month. CNN is live on the streets of Hong Kong with Anna Coren.
What is the latest, given ruling from this high court?
ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: George, this march has been going for two hours and there is still a constant stream of protesters, defying the anti-mask ban that came into place Friday at midnight. The chief executive, Carrie Lam, said she had to invoke these emergency laws which brought about this face mask ban because of the escalating violence.
She said the Hong Kong government needs to restore law and order to the streets of Hong Kong. We have seen the violence escalate now for 18 weeks these protests have been going on.
The people here wearing face masks come from a cross-section of society. We have seen mothers carrying children, older people marching the streets calling for Hong Kong freedom. It is really quite incredible.
This is an unlawful assembly. They could be arrested for just being here, let alone wearing a face mask. Now you can receive a fine and be jailed for up to a year. That is what these people are defying.
We are really getting a sense that despite what the government are doing, people are still taking to the streets, marching, gathering. And then, as often happens, violence and clashes erupt between the hardline protesters and police.
The fact that people have turned out in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, George, is really quite extraordinary. They are sending a very strong message to the Hong Kong government that they are going to continue to protect and fight for their civil liberties.
HOWELL: Anna, thank you.
In Iraq, chaos on the streets as well. Violent protests show no sign of letting up. We'll take you live to Baghdad for the latest there.
And the story of a man who worked in U.S. for years and the obscure national security program that is keeping him from truly calling America his home. Stand by.
HOWELL: Tensions continue in Iraq between protesters and police and the result has been more bloodshed on the streets there. At least 100 people were killed in violence this week.
Chaos also played out at the Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya in Baghdad. A correspondent says gunmen with masks stormed in, injuring several people. He also points police also declined to help. CNN has reached out to the interior ministry for comment. Let's get the very latest, live in Baghdad, our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is on the story.
Arwa, the protesters promising to keep the pressure up, come bullets or death.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, George. And it's not just Al Arabiya offices that were attacked by these unknown masked men. There were also attacks on a number of other local, smaller Iraqi news channels.
As for the streets, the curfew has been lifted. People are out and about during the day but at night, it's an entirely different story. We were out last night. The security forces are everywhere. They are blocking a lot of the main roads. They set up a ring of security around the main square that demonstrators would want to reach to. So that is forcing them to group in smaller numbers and in different areas. They are burning tires and they are absolutely enraged. The more the violence continues, the more determined they say they are becoming.
A number of number of them said their friends have been killed in these demonstrations. One young man told us that, from his perspective, their demands are quite simple. They want an end to corruption. They want to have job opportunities. They want to have basic services improved.
A lot of demonstrators out there are young adults. They are university graduates. We met a young man who studied physical education. He said he was unemployed. Another young man who said he studied law but the only employment he could find was as a hairdresser.
DAMON: They have run out of patience with the government, the government's promises to address their concerns. This is not the first time Iraqis have taken to the streets making these same demands.
And what they are saying right now, the only thing that is going to stop them is concrete action from the government to actually address these issues. It is a very, very tense situation. The population is on edge, especially at nightfall, when demonstrators try to take to the streets.
That is when we get a more accurate idea of just what is transpiring. But this is hardly a country that can afford this level of insecurity at this stage, given how tenuous the security situation historically has been.
HOWELL: The nation's prime minister seemed to have acquiesced; in a speech earlier this week, saying they had some legitimate demands but suggested the curfew and deadly actions by security force, were, quote, "bitter medicine" that needed to be swallowed.
How is that going over with the crowds?
DAMON: Well, all the statements being made by the government and even by religious leaders here are not going over well with the demonstrators. Any attempts to try to appease them quite simply is not working.
The perspective of the demonstrators we spoke to is that the government is giving license to security forces to do whatever they want to do. People are concerned about going to the hospital to try to pick up relatives that have been wounded because they are afraid of being detained.
That's what some of the demonstrators we spoke to told us. They said, when people are injured during these demonstrations, ambulance services are not able to assist them. They are trying to assist each other. We heard the speaker of parliament, who also acknowledged the
demonstrators' grievances saying his party would be attempting to put together a package to try to address some of the reforms they are demanding. Again, at this stage it is just rhetoric, George. Until the rhetoric turns into action, the anger on the streets is really only growing.
HOWELL: Arwa Damon live in Baghdad. Arwa, thank you.
Now to the story of an Iranian man trying to become a U.S. citizen. He's lived and worked in North Dakota for many years now. He met and married his wife there. He started a family there.
But thanks to a mysterious national security program, the life that he has built may come crashing down. CNN religion editor Daniel Burke has his story for you.
DANIEL BURKE, CNN RELIGION EDITOR: So what is this?
What is all of this?
MEHDI OSTADHASSAN, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA: This is basically our immigration case and somehow how we are trained to make a life in the U.S.
BURKE (voice-over): This is Mehdi Ostadhassan. He is at the center of a landmark lawsuit that could affect the U.S. immigration system and many other immigrants who want to live and work in the United States.
OSTADHASSAN: I am paying for my name.
BURKE (voice-over): The ACLU is representing Ostadhassan in a class action lawsuit that accuses Donald Trump and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of holding his application for extra vetting, in part because he's a Muslim who has lived and traveled to Iran. Ostadhassan first applied for a green card five years ago. He says the long delay has affected his job and his family.
OSTADHASSAN: I just want my immigration to go through because I just need to see my family. If I leave this country, it would be impossible for me to come back.
BURKE (voice-over): Ostadhassan's lawyer believes his green card application was flagged by a little known national security program called CARRP.
SABRINA BALGAMWALLA, OSTADHASSAN'S ATTORNEY: CARRP is like another program that a lot of Americans know about, which is the no-fly list,, that you could end up on the no-fly list and not know how you got there.
BURKE (voice-over): Under CARRP, USCIS flags applicants for additional vetting if the government believes their application presents a potential national security concern. The ACLU counters that CARRP unfairly targets Muslim immigrants and immigrants from Muslim majority countries.
Immigration officials say Ostadhassan omitted some significant facts when applying for a student visa to study in the United States in 2009, including his membership in the student branch of an Iranian organization called The Besiege.
OSTADHASSAN: Basically when I was a student, the only available organization was Besiege because Besiege was responsible for cultural activities, religious activities.
BURKE (voice-over): In 2019, the Trump administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its subsidiary organizations, including The Besiege, as foreign terrorist organizations. USCIS declined to answer CNN's questions about CARRP or Ostadhassan's case citing the pending litigation.
BURKE (voice-over): In a statement a spokesperson said that the agency fairly identifies, vets and adjudicates applications that present national security or egregious public safety concerns.
In April, almost five years after he first applied, Ostadhassan's green card application was rejected for a second time. He could be deported at any time. Whether or not a judge rules in his favor this spring, it's a class action lawsuit, which means the outcome could affect thousands of immigrants who suspect CARRP has played a role in delaying their applications as well.
OSTADHASSAN: If I pay the price, at least things get better for everybody.
BURKE: That's a lot to have on your shoulders, though, isn't it?
OSTADHASSAN: Definitely. Definitely. But I think I am able to handle that.
HOWELL: That was CNN's Daniel Burke reporting for us.
The Ukrainian president is not only under scrutiny for the Trump phone call. Now many of his fellow citizens have a bone to pick with him. We will explain that to you.
Plus nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States appear to have stalled again. But Washington still holds out hope for a breakthrough. Details ahead in a live report.
(MUSIC PLAYING) HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.
HOWELL: At the heart of the impeachment inquiry in the United States is its ally, Ukraine. But that nation is facing troubles of its own as well. In the coming hours, thousands of people are expected to protest a controversial decision by President Zelensky.
He is supporting a deal with pro-Russian rebels that would introduce a special status and elections for Ukraine's breakaway regions. That's where a five-year war between separatists and Ukrainian troops has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014. Our Sam Kiley is live in Kiev this hour.
Sam, some Ukrainians are critical that their newly elected president is not holding the line against Russia and that this new plan would legitimize Russian proxies.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There is a very serious concern for that. Equally, a lot of young people, who think the last three or four years or more of fighting against this Russian sponsored incursion, which sliced off a good chunk of the east of the country -- and also bear in mind there is the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, which often gets forgotten in this context, George.
What was it all about if now the new president Zelensky is prepared to give a very high degree of regional autonomy backed up with some kind of local election process that could reinforce that and ultimately cement Russian dominance, if not control, over a region of Ukrainian territory?
The flip side of that argument is that Ukraine is impoverished by this process. It is losing people to it. Just in the last 36 hours, a 33- year-old infanteer was killed in exchange of artillery. He is being buried today. The daily drumbeat of war is exhausting this country and draining its resources.
That has been the focus for many Ukrainians in terms of public discourse over the last week or so rather than the internal political travails of the Trump administration and allegations that he tried to use his office to bring private political pressure to bear here on the new president -- George.
HOWELL: Sam Kiley live in the capital of Ukraine. Sam, thank you.
Nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea have broken down in Sweden. Both sides are painting different pictures of what happened there. The U.S. said the two sides had a, quote, "good discussion." Pyongyang claims Washington came to the table empty- handed. Paula Hancocks is following this story for us.
This sharp criticism from North Korea comes as the nation has been venting its own frustration with missile launches.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, George. When you listen to the two descriptions of this meeting, you could imagine the U.S. and North Korea were actually in completely separate meetings. This isn't unusual. You hear two very different accounts of what happened behind closed doors.
From the North Korean side, they are saying the U.S. didn't bring anything new to the table. They kept the same standpoint and the old attitudes.
Now what we can read into that is that the U.S. is not willing to ease sanctions until they have seen something concrete from the North Korean side. This is fundamentally what North Korea wants at this point, some relief from the sanctions that the U.S. and the international community has on them.
But we also heard from the North Koreans that there is a crossroads of dialogue or confrontation at this point. The U.S. should go away, think about it and come back by the end of the year with something fresh.
But then, of course, what we heard from the U.S. side is they were good discussions and what the North Korean delegation was saying was not representative of this 8.5 hour discussion they had in Stockholm. They said they had fresh ideas.
HANCOCKS: As far as the U.S. was concerned, Sweden had invited them back in two weeks' time to continue in these discussions, which they said they were willing to do.
There was just a few hours after they had agreed this weekend they would be meeting, North Korea had fired that missile, a submarine launched ballistic missile, launched from an underwater platform in North Korea. So obviously making its frustrations known.
And once again showing also that it is -- it does feel that it can do that and it is not going to derail talks at this point, as the U.S. president said up until now, the short-range missiles don't concern him too much.
HOWELL: Two very different stories. One from Washington, one from North Korea. Paula, thank you for the reporting.
A story to tell you about in the U.S. state of Texas. A key witness in the case of a former Dallas police officer convicted of murder has been shot and killed. Joshua Brown was a neighbor of Amber Guyger and the man she murdered, Billie Jean. He testified at trial about the night of the killing.
Brown was found shot several times outside his apartment complex on Friday. He died at a nearby hospital.
Just days earlier, Guyger was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She said that she mistakenly entered Jean's apartment, thinking it was hers and shot him, thinking he was an intruder.
New York police are investigating a series of beatings in which four homeless men were killed apparently as they slept on the streets. Police say it seems the beatings were random. One person is in custody. Our Polo Sandoval picks up the details here.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Detectives here in New York City have established what happened. Now the key question is why it happened as they try to establish a motive, investigators saying four homeless men were beaten to death early Saturday morning in New York City's Chinatown.
It is a neighborhood usually bustling with activity, very vibrant. However, at nightfall, the streets clear out and there are many homeless individuals that usually will spend the night on the streets, sidewalks or in doorways in the area.
Investigators believe that's what happened in this case. These four men were likely sleeping when they were attacked by an individual with a metal pipe in what is being described as a series of random attacks.
Investigators do have a suspect in custody. They have only identified him as a homeless 49-year-old man. There is also a fifth victim in all of this. The only person who survived and individual who was 49 years old, also homeless. Investigators are hoping to speak to as this investigation presses forward.
What I can tell you is it is certainly shining an even brighter spotlight on the issue of homelessness across the country and in America's largest city here in New York.
According to statistics from New York City's Department of Homeless Services, at least 60,000 homeless individuals woke up in area shelters Friday morning. Consider that, plus the thousands of unsheltered homeless individuals, who continue on the streets, on the city subway system.
That is who authorities say is perhaps the most vulnerable -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
HOWELL: Thank you.
Some call it a mass panic but U.S. authorities say it is time to stop vaping now. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The outbreak of pulmonary injury associated with vaping or e-cigarettes is an emergency.
HOWELL (voice-over): But businesses aren't so sure about that. They say if you ban vaping products, they won't be able to survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: An update to share with you now on the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders after treatment for a heart attack. He's now back at home in Vermont.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: How are you doing?
QUESTION: How are you, Senator?
QUESTION: How are you feeling?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good --
QUESTION: Hi, Jane.
JANE SANDERS, BERNIE'S WIFE: Hi, guys.
QUESTION: You happy to be home?
B. SANDERS: Very.
J. SANDERS: Enjoy the weekend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: On Saturday, the longtime U.S. senator, seen there with his wife, Jane, spent two nights in a Las Vegas, Nevada, hospital after experiencing chest discomfort during a campaign event last Tuesday. Sanders, who is 78 years old, still plans to be on the stage with other candidates at CNN's Democratic debate. It will be held October 15th.
Businesses in New York and Massachusetts are pushing back on the state's new vaping bans. Vape store owners say they will be wiped out if they can't sell those e-cigarettes. A New York judge put a temporary pause on the ban on Thursday. So for now shops are in the clear. But after an outbreak of unexplained illnesses connected with vaping,
U.S. officials are cracking down on what they call a public health emergency. More than 1,000 people have experienced vaping-related lung injuries, this according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
As of Friday, 21 deaths have been connected with vaping. Researchers and doctors are scrambling to figure out what's happening here. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has more for you.
ADAM HERGENREDER, VAPER: I had the shivers and I couldn't control it, so I would just randomly convulse.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His is a story now repeated hundreds of times around the country.
HERGENREDER: I couldn't control myself.
GUPTA (voice-over): Young, healthy and then suddenly struggling for his life.
POLLY HERGENREDER, ADAM'S MOTHER: To be laying in a bed and not being able to breathe, it's every parents' nightmare.
GUPTA: It is cases like Adam Hergenreder's that have prompted the Centers for Disease Control to now open their emergency operations center.
(on camera): I'm used to it being activated around things like Ebola or hurricanes and things like that.
DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: The outbreak of pulmonary injury associated with vaping or e-cigarettes is an emergency. We're seeing young people become critically ill and die.
GUPTA (voice-over): Most frightening, eight weeks into the investigation no one knows exactly why.
SCHUCHAT: It's important to say that no single product, substance, brand or additive is linked to all the cases right now. And what is on a label may not actually be what the product is.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Our guidance is quite simple -- don't do it. Don't do it because we don't know that it is safe.
GUPTA: Why did you do it?
JAY JENKINS, VAPER: I didn't think there was any risk in trying it. I'd never heard about anybody having any negative effects from it, so I thought that I had nothing to lose.
GUPTA (voice-over): Last year, Jay Jenkins and a friend drove to a convenience store and bought a product labeled CBD, called Yolo -- YOLO meaning you only live once -- and they vaped it.
JENKINS: I took two puffs off of it. The next thing I know I'm feeling crazy, not thinking straight and not being able to move.
GUPTA: Within seconds, Jay lost consciousness and started to have frightening hallucinations.
GUPTA (voice-over): His friend drove him to Lexington Medical Center where he started having seizures and breathing difficulties.
JENKINS: I thought that I was in hell and that I was already dead.
GUPTA: So what did cause Jay to react so violently?
It's what Professor Michelle Peace has been trying to answer.
(on camera): They call it the vape lab?
Is that what happens?
MICHELLE PEACE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF FORENSIC SCIENCE, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY: Well, originally, we called it the vape lab.
GUPTA (voice-over): What her lab and others have shown is that two- thirds of these products are not what they seem. Some have THC, some have other things.
Jay Jenkins, he had vaped a totally synthetic substance. It had no CBD whatsoever and no way to know who manufactured it.
GUPTA: Is the CBD supply chain safe?
PEACE: There are pockets or lanes in the supply chain that, right now, probably cannot be trusted. Identifying those lanes, good luck.
SCHUCHAT: I think that for the consumer, you really need to be aware right now. Something is leading to death in a number of people and leaving otherwise healthy young people to be hospitalized in intensive care on mechanical ventilators.
GUPTA (voice-over): We just don't know what it is. But a possible hint, according to the CDC, nearly 80 percent of people reported using vape products containing THC, whereas just 16 percent reported using nicotine-only vape products.
And keep in mind, because THC is illegal in many states, there might be many more people who used it but won't admit it.
JULIE ZIMMERMAN, PROFESSOR OF CHEMICAL ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, YALE UNIVERSITY: And science says that what's in that liquid isn't necessarily the same composition that's in the vaper.
GUPTA: Julie Zimmerman is part of the team of Yale researchers focused on the chemical and physical reactions when people vape. ZIMMERMAN: There are chemical reactions happening in that solution after the manufacturer mixes the chemicals, even without any heating. The FDA actually regulates them and calls them generally regarded as safe, but that designation is for eating ingestion, not for inhalation -- breathing them into your lungs.
GUPTA: You sort of super-heat these chemicals with these heavy metal coils. You sort of atomize these molecules. They get back into your lungs, they reaccumulate or re-congeal.
I mean, I don't know what that does to the body, just like they didn't know what cigarettes did to the body when they first came out.
Does that part of it worry you?
DR. MICHAEL SIEGEL, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: So, it worries me, for sure, because we don't know the long-term effects. But it doesn't worry me for smokers.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Michael Siegel is a professor of public health at Boston University.
SIEGEL: It doesn't worry me for smokers because I know that one out of every two of them is going to die from smoking if they continue to smoke.
GUPTA: If you can't be certain that something is safe right now, would the CDC recommend, at least for the time being, that people just not do it?
SCHUCHAT: What we're recommending is if you're concerned about your health risks in light of this investigation that you consider not using e-cigarettes or vaping products until we know more.
GUPTA (voice-over): It's a warning Jay Jenkins has heard.
JENKINS: I certainly won't do it again.
GUPTA: You won't?
JENKINS: I will not. I took a chance and lost once but, luckily, they were able to safe my life.
HOWELL: Dr. Sanjay Gupta there on the story. Stay with us next hour as this very important conversation continues. Sanjay will talk with his own kids and their friends about why, despite the risks, it's so appealing for people to vape.
Another tough weekend for the British prime minister Boris Johnson as his Brexit plan falls flat with European leaders. And in France, they're preparing for that worst-case scenario.
HOWELL: We're bumping in with these live pictures in Hong Kong as we've done for 18 straight weekends, where we have seen these protests. Right now the camera shaky there. But it is on police. We have seen the police fire tear gas out toward the protesters.
As the camera widens, you will get a better view here. Again, the protesters are determined to make sure their voices are heard. They are protesting against police violence and against a ban on face masks.
Protesters have been out on the streets with their umbrellas in hand. Police firing tear gas. We will keep our eye on this shaky shot for now. Again, what we saw just a few minutes ago, police firing tear gas. We will have more as we continue to monitor.
With less than a month to go before the Brexit deadline, there are new problems for the British prime minister. His Brexit plan received a thumbs down from his Dutch counterpart. Mark Rutte said questions remain about the British proposals. And there are plenty of questions in France about what's going to happen next. Our Jim Bittermann has this.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The British Parliament is a long way from the farms of France. But its decision- making could soon have an impact here. Third generation cattle farmer Philippe Dufour worries that a hard Brexit and a hard border with Ireland could ship cheaper Irish beef, now sold primarily to Britain, to markets in France.
PHILIPPE DUFOUR, CATTLE FARMER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It is a huge concern because you don't know in the end what impact it's going to have on market prices.
BITTERMANN (voice-over): Dufour outlined his worry to British farmers, who, a few days ago, paid a visit to their counterparts in France. But the Brits had a different worry, their lamb business. About a quarter of the lamb consumed in France does not come from here but from Britain.
And farmers there are worried hard borders with tariffs and delays for veterinary inspections could shut them out of their most lucrative market.
RICHARD FINDLAY, U.K. FARMERS UNION: In the -- in the (INAUDIBLE) would have huge repercussions at home. At the moment, we're trying to plan for every outcome because we don't know what's going to happen.
BITTERMANN (voice-over): There is no less uncertainty along the French coast, where 10,000 truckloads of trade go back and forth through Britain each day.
BITTERMANN: Here the finishing touches are being put on new procedures required when Britain leaves the European customs union. So when you talk about hard borders after Brexit, this is one of them. This is a customs station that's been built, brand new, in Calais, France, to handle the truck traffic from Great Britain.
And here's another part of it. This is a veterinary inspection station to handle food and animal products that come in from Britain to make sure that they are up to European standards.
French customs has hired and trained 700 new inspectors nationwide to accommodate the worst-case Brexit scenario.
GILBERT BELTRAN, CUSTOMS DIRECTOR, DUNKIRK REGION (through translator): At the end of the month of October we will ready to face up to whatever formalities we need to take.
BITTERMANN (voice-over): Not far away from a Calais border post at a discount wine store, Ben Peake and his mother, Sharon, from England are also preparing for the worst.
BEN PEAKE, WINE MERCHANT: No one knows what they're going to do, do they?
All the people in Parliament, they haven't got a clue, have they?
BITTERMANN (voice-over): Suspecting that a hard Brexit could end their ability to buy unlimited quantities of reduced taxed wine in France, they, like hundreds of other Brits this day, have traveled across the Channel to stock up.
The Peakes figure they've saved more than 1,000 pounds sterling on the 460 bottles of wine they bought. And what's more, because they're good customers, the wine store paid for their ferry ticket across the Channel.
But the surge in pre-Brexit wine sales to worried customers could be a short-term gain for what may be a long-term pain. Stores could be put out of business, depending what form Brexit takes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the question everyone is asking. But we don't know and nobody knows.
BITTERMANN (voice-over): So to paraphrase a mythical headline, there is a fog of uncertainty and confusion on the continent as Britain cuts itself off. And for now the sheep may as well have the last word -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Garesville (ph), France.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: Jim, thank you.
And thank you for being with us this hour. The news continues right after the break.