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Former Press Secretary: I Terrified of Trump Running; Taiwan Reports New Record Incursion by Mainland Air Force; Officials Say Up to 144,000 Gallons May Have Spilled; Bubba Wallace Makes History in First Win. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 05, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: And she is not the only one talking about another Trump candidacy. CNN's Brian Todd reports.



BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The eyes of the political world are squarely on Donald J. Trump. Four of the former president's former aides have until Thursday to respond to a request for their documents on who knew what and when among Trump's inner circle leading up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

That request comes from a House select committee investigating January 6, which has subpoenaed the aides to testify. It's unclear if Trump himself might be subpoenaed. But if he is --

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP: If they ask him to testify, he will definitely refuse and fight it in court.

TODD (voice-over): This comes as there are more rumblings about Trump seeking a return to the White House.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: At the moment he is doing everything that one would be doing if they were running.

TODD (voice-over): "The Washington Post" reports that in August, as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan spiraled into chaos, Trump discussed with advisers the possibility of announcing right then that he would run for president again in 2024. "The Post" reports his advisers talked Trump out of making that announcement.

MICHAEL SCHERER, THE WASHINGTON POST: There were concerns that he would give a boost to Democrats in the midterm elections if he announces too early. Clearly, that helps Democrats in the 2018 midterm election when he wasn't on the ballot. And so, President Trump settled on the strategy that he's been using ever since, which is to basically act as if he is a candidate very far out from an election.

TRUMP: That's thousands of people trying to get in. TODD (voice-over): That means holding campaign-style rallies. This weekend Trump will travel to Iowa for a rally, a state where according to a Des Moines Register Mediacom poll, Trump has a 53 percent favorability rating, higher than it ever was there when he was president.

TRUMP: Thank you.

TODD (voice-over): Trump has also sent a strong signal to at least one potential presidential opponent within the Republican Party, saying this to Yahoo! Finance about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

TRUMP: Number one, I don't think I will face him. I think most people would drop out. I think he would drop out. And if I faced him, I'd beat him, like I would beat everyone else, frankly.

TODD (voice-over): Which frightened one former Trump's loyalist Stephanie Grisham, former White House Press Secretary, who worked with Trump for more than five years, and who's now out with a tell-all book, said this to ABC's Good Morning America.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I am terrified of him running for president in 2024.

TODD (voice-over): A Trump biographer worries what the former president could do just in launching a candidacy.

D'ANTONIO: Think about the violence of January 6. Think about how he fomented that violence and really crusaded to make it happen from the day that he lost the election of 2020 and imagine that applied to the nation as a whole between today and 2024.

TODD: The analysts we spoke to say at this point the only thing that might prevent Trump from running for president in 2024 is his health. Trump is 75 now and will be approaching 80 at the time of that election. But author The post reports his advisers talked Trump out of making that announcement.

There were concerns that he could give a boost to Democrats in the midterm elections if he announces too early, clearly that helps Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections when he wasn't on the ballot so President Trump settled on the strategy he has been using ever since which is to basically act as if he is a candidate very far out from the election. But author Michael D'Antonio says he doesn't think Trump's ego will allow him to sit out the 2024 race.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SOARES: Now Taiwan's president says if Beijing took over the island the consequences would be catastrophic for the entire region.

President Tsai Ing-wen, wrote in and appeared "Foreign Affairs" magazine, after yet another incursion by the mainland's air force, Taiwan says at least 56 warplanes flew into its air defense identification zone on Monday, that is a new record.

For the latest on all of this Will Ripley joins me now live from Taipei. And Will, you and I were talking about this yesterday. Now we're seeing another four incursions by Chinese aircraft. Give me a sense of how worried Taiwan is but also its allies here.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a palpable sense of relief that at least this is a slower day. You have to keep wondering how many days are they going to keep escalating the number of planes, so at least for now, the numbers that have been reported publicly are small. But the day is young, and we know that these operations happen by day and by night.

But look, the trend has been that these types of operations, these missions into Taiwan, the self-declared air defense identification zone have been escalating, and increasing in size, and particularly over the last five days. I mean, you had three of the last five days where Beijing actually broke its own record in terms of the number of planes, 38 on Friday, 39 on Saturday, 56 on Monday.

And the planes that were seen were, you know, spanning the range of a military intimidation, two different kinds of fighter jets. I mean it was 149 planes in total, most of them fighter jets but also you had nuclear capable bombers, anti-submarine aircraft, early warning aircraft.


The exact kind of thing that can really intimidate a much smaller, much, you know, in many ways less equipped armed force here in Taiwan. But that is not causing this country's military to back down, in fact, quite the opposite. They have put together a propaganda video, the Taiwanese air force, so they're not just scrambling their jets and deploying the missile defense system or issuing radio warnings, they're also sending a message to the people here in Taiwan. Take a look.




RIPLEY (on camera): In many ways, that dramatic music kind of resembles the propaganda that we've seen the mainland put together. Just as recently as June where they put out this ominous message, telling the island of Taiwan to prepare for war.

Both sides are clearly waging a rhetorical battle. A propaganda battle. A political battle. Whether it be intimidation in the skies, or the parade that's going to be happening here in Taipei on October 10th where there are missiles and planes rolling through the streets, pretty out of character from what we're used to seeing here in Taiwan, Isa, but this is a different day.

And as President Tsai Ing-wen wrote in that opinion piece for "Foreign Affairs," this is a bigger issue for the perspective of the leadership here than just this island and mainland China, or this island in the United States. She says that this is a battle between authoritarianism and democracy in Taiwan as a flashpoint could actually the outcome here could determine the future of the entire world. That is what she is writing and that is what she is hoping U.S. allies will keep in mind coming to the defense of Taiwan, if these intimidating acts escalate into something bigger.

SOARES: It's an issue of course I know you'll stay on top of. Will Ripley for us in Taipei, Taiwan. Thank you very much, Will.

And still ahead right here on CNN, authorities say the California oil spill is bigger than they thought, as they investigate a possible new lead into what caused the growing ecological disaster. That story, after a break.


SOARES: Now, local officials fear the oil spill in Southern California may be bigger than they thought with nearly 150,000 gallons spilled into the ocean so far. They say the spill has already devastated the coastline, shut down beaches and destroyed delicate wetlands. And California's governor has now declared a state of emergency. CNN Camila Bernal is on the scene in Huntington Beach.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Warnings of an environmental catastrophe, and the impact far worse than what's seen on this aerial video.

REBECCA ORR, U.S. COAST GUARD LONG BEACH: We know that there is oil ranging from Huntington Beach and now we know as far down as Laguna and likely moving -- continuing to move in a southerly direction based on the wind and the weather and the currents.

BERNAL (voice-over): A 17-mile pipeline off the coast of Southern California spewing more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean. And while the leak appears to have stopped, the damage is done.

KIM CARR, HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA MAYOR: For me personally, this is a really rough one. I am a beach person. Grew up on the beach. I'm from this area. It's devastating.

BERNAL (voice-over): The cause of the leak remains unknown. The pipeline is owned by the Houston-based oil and gas company Amplify Energy. CNN has learned its subsidiary Beta Operating Company, was cited with more than 100 violations in the last 11 years. And while the parent company is investigating, the question of how this happened remains.

MARTYN WILLSHER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AMPLIFY ENERGY: There's more information to come, but I think we're moving very closely to a source and a cause of this incident. BERNAL (voice-over): The spill larger than Santa Monica and the cleanup just beginning. The Coast Guard said of the estimated 126,000 gallons of oil, more than 3,000 have been recovered. The cleanup still minimal in comparison to its size.

BRAD AVERY, NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA MAYOR: It's a big ask, because it's a huge area and it moves around. So, it's just continuous work.

BERNAL (voice-over): The oil coating local wildlife habitats, already dead birds and fish washing up. And this could just be the beginning.

MICHAEL ZICCARDI, DIRECTOR, OILED WILDLIFE CARE NETWORK: We have collected three live oiled birds. One brown pelican, one American coot, and one ruddy duck. Unfortunately, the brown pelican had chronic injuries that required us to humanely euthanize it.

BERNAL (voice-over): A swath of popular beaches closed. The county saying that excessive exposure to oil could cause problems for people, too, from skin irritation to headaches, dizziness, vomiting or shortness of breath.

DR. CLAYTON CHAU, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA HEALTH OFFICER: We strongly, strongly are advising all the residents to refrain from any activity on the beach like swimming, surfing, biking, walking, as well as gathering at this time. And we will keep you updated of the condition because we know that oil spill affects humans' health directly as well as indirectly.

BERNAL: And Amplify Energy says that it's possible that the anchor of a ship passing by the pipeline caused the leak. They say they have divers out there and will get to the bottom of this. But the district attorney here in Orange County is not satisfied with that investigation. He says the company is biased and does not want the company investigating itself. He says someone needs to be held accountable for the damage here.

Camilla Bernal, CNN, Huntington Beach, California.


SOARES: Now the south eastern U.S. is feeling a bit water logged after really of days of rain. It's not over yet and that could lead to flooding as well as dangerous conditions. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is tracking the system and has much more for us -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, Isa. We've got a very wet pattern lined up across the southern United States, the wettest spot in the country right there along portions of the Florida Panhandle and eventually into the states of Georgia and Alabama. And in fact, we do have an excessive issue at risk here for at least a slight risk. Let's say on a scale of one to four, it's a two in play for portions of Alabama, into Georgia and again, includes metro Atlanta where we have upwards of 13 million people in its entirety across this region that are highlighted in the green and also in the red boxes. Those are indicated of flood alerts that are in place across the area. Back down along the areas of Pensacola on into Florida, as much as

eight inches coming down in the past 24 hours. And believe it or not, not a record for the day there because of course, it is peak hurricane season across the region. So, rainfall typically comes in bunches around the region. But this is not a tropical system. Just tropical moisture surging in here and notice areas in northern Georgia, as much as four to six inches. More than a month's worth of rainfall in store for areas around Atlanta and points northward over the next couple of days.

Speaking of tropical systems, there is one trying to form offshore but all models suggest it doesn't have what it takes here to develop. So, just some thunderstorms, around the Bahamas, around the Turks and Caicos and maybe along the eastern seaboard.


But speaking of the tropical system that has formed, that's Sam. It's been there in place, north of the Canadian Maritimes. It is a category one still hanging on there for a least few more hours but taking the scenic route into cooler waters and our friends across Iceland and Greenland maybe seeing some indirect impacts associated with it as the system arrives late next week.

But here's what is happening in the United States. Warmth developing in portions of the Great Lakes region. How about one last breath of almost summer-like warmth in place. Chicago climbing up to almost 80 degrees. In places such as New York City and the middle 70s. And around the nation, we look, and we have cooler spots in Atlanta, and looking at the rainfall there, and highs around 70 degrees -- Isa.

SOARES: Thanks very much, Pedram.

Now, the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health is reportedly planning to step down. According to the "Washington Post," and "Politico," Dr. Frances Collins will announce he is leaving the job later today. As director, Collins has been the forefront of the U.S. pandemic response. And his resignation comes as the country is facing a new battle against COVID-19 and that's preventing a holiday surge. New cases and hospital admissions are declining but experts say that trend could reverse if Americans get too complacent. The country's COVID death toll should be really a sobering reminder of just how much there is to lose. On average, more than 1,800 Americans died from COVID every day, last week.

And experts say the majority of those deaths could have been prevented with vaccinations. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the vaccine is also the best way to ensure happy and safe holiday season. He clarified some of his comments about the holidays to CNN. Take a listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The best way to assure that we'll be in good shape, as we get into the winter, will be to get more and more people vaccinated. That was misinterpreted as my saying we can't spend Christmas with our families. Which was absolutely not the case. I will be spending Christmas with my family. I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good normal Christmas with your family. But just the way all of the other disinformation goes around, you say something, talking about a landmark of a time, and it gets misinterpreted, but I'm saying you can spend family Christmas time. Which is nonsense, you can.


SOARES: Dr. Anthony Fauci there.

Well, Southwest is the latest U.S. airline to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees. The company announced the policy on Monday, citing the Biden administration requirement that employees of federal contractors be vaccinated. United, Americas, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have all announced similar requirements. And that leaves Delta Airlines as the only major U.S. carrier without a vaccine mandate. But the company insists its voluntary approach is working and unvaccinated Delta workers face mask mandates, weekly testing and starting next month, higher health insurance costs.

Still ahead right here on CNN. Making history in his home state, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace has accomplished something that hasn't been done in six decades. Will have that and much more in our minute in sports. That's next.



SOARES: Now it's the ultimate out of this world location shoot. You are looking at live pictures because any minute now, in about three minutes or so, a small Russian film crew will blast off to the International Space Station to shoot the first feature film in space. An actress, film producer and veteran cosmonaut have been training for months for a 12-day trip to shoot scenes for a film called "The Challenge." Actor Tom Cruise has been working with NASA to shoot his own movie in space, but he wasn't fast enough to get there first. We'll keep on top of that story.

The Russian crew aren't the only ones getting a trip to space. Take a look.



Enterprise. I'm alone.


SOARES: That's right, William Shatner best known for the role of Star Trek's Captain Kirk is getting his own trip to the stars thanks to Jeff Bezos. It may not the voyage of the star ship Enterprise but Shatner will be a passenger aboard Blue Origin's new Shepherd rocket later this month for an 11-minute trip. And at 90 years old, he'll become the oldest person to reach space.

Well, Hollywood film and TV crews are ready to strike. Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees voted to authorize a nationwide strike which would be the first in the nation's nearly 130-year history. They've been negotiating with the producers union, for higher pay, safer onset conditions and greater health benefits but the talks stalled last week. The producers say they value their crew members and that both sides must be willing to compromise.

Now, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace is thanking fans and his supporters for sticking through rainy weather to share in the history-making victory in the home state. CNN's Patrick Snell has your minute in sports.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Isa, well thank you. History in the making for the USA's Bubba Wallace who's won his first career NASCAR race. And in doing so becoming the first black driver to win a major race in that series in almost six decades. Wallace was in the lead with his number 23 car, with NBA legend Michael Jordan when the race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama was shortened 117 laps due to the heavy rain there. The 27-year-old now the first black competitor to win the cup series since 1963, when NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott emerged victorious.

And what a night for the young quarterback of L.A. Chargers. Justin Herbert becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to complete 500 passes before his 20th start. The 23-year-old really rising to the challenge and delivering big time. In total he has three touchdowns passes. Chargers going on to win it 28-14.


And all eyes on the latest installment of major league baseball biggest rivalry, later this Tuesday, the clash of the titans, as the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees go head-to-head, at Fenway park. This a one and done American league wildcard game, and with that, it's right back to you.

SOARES: Thanks very much, Patrick.

Now, when a global outage left Facebook and its family of apps inaccessible to its billions of users four hours on Monday, the Internet had a field day. The @InstagramDown trended on Twitter. And people around the world use the outage to poke fun and share some of the frustration over the situation. Take a look at these.

Even big corporations got in on the act. Twitter joking right at this moment as the go to social media platform tweeting -- Hello, literally everyone, on the company's main account.

McDonald's seized the opportunity in the spotlight, to ask Twitter: Hi, what can I get you?

The Twitter account responded with: 59.6 million nuggets for my friends.

Mr. Bean showing off his ability really to shine next to a person representing Facebook. As you can see there Instagram and WhatsApp.

And finally, here's one user on Twitter, making a Netflix Squid Game series, reference about the outage. Of course, and as you know, one of the Netflix's most popular shows.

And if you remember this story, if you bought your Powerball story in Morro Bay, California, you may be almost $700 million richer today. A single ticket matched all six numbers in last night's drawing, that's the seventh biggest in history. No one had won the grand prize since June 5th. The lucky winner can choose to have the money paid out annually, over the next 29 years, or collect $496 million up front. Both options are subject to taxes. Congratulations to the winner.

And that does it for me for this hour. Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Isa Soares. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett up next with more on the upcoming Facebook whistleblower testimony. Do stay right here with CNN. And I'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.