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Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti by "400 Mawozo " Gang; Maduro Aide Saab Due in Florida Court After Extradition; House Committee to Vote on Contempt Charges for Steve Bannon; Bill Clinton Released from Hospital Following Infection; Buttigieg Says Disruptions Likely to Continue Into 2022; Rescue Operations Underway After Deadly Floods in India; La Nina has Arrived and Will Stick Around. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 18, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Isa Soares in London. And just ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM.

New details on the abduction of 17 missionaries in Haiti. We'll have a live report on who was behind the kidnappings.

Lawmakers investigating the January 6th insurrection consider their next move while Donald Trump's former strategist ignores a subpoena.

And China's economic growth is slowing down. The impact it's having on global markets.

ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Isa Soares.

SOARES: Hello everyone, it is Monday, October 18th. And we're now learning who Haitian security forces believe is behind the brazen kidnapping of 17 missionaries. The security source tells CNN they're pointing the blame on a powerful gang called "400 Mawozo," set to be really fueling the country's recent surge of kidnappings. Now the U.S. organization Christian and Aid Ministry says 16 Americans and one Canadian were abducted on Saturday, five children were among the group.

Now it happened after they visited an orphanage east of Port-au- Prince. And we're told that gang members stopped their vehicle at gunpoint. In a statement Christian and Aid Ministry requested urgent prayers for those abducted saying authorities are seeking ways to help find them. The kidnapping, of course, is the latest in a spike of lawlessness. Earlier we spoke about the deteriorating security situation with Amy Wilentz, the contributing editor of "The Nation", this is what she said, take a listen.


AMY WILENTZ, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE NATION: The one involved in this incident, a very, very big gang, they've had branches throughout Haiti, it's one of the biggest employers in Haiti right now, other than the government. And all of the gangs put together are probably the second biggest employer right now in Haiti. These gangs have, you know, undercover relationships with political figures, political parties, and this is not new in Haiti, but it's way worse than it has ever been.


SOARES: Well, CNN's Melissa Bell recently returned from reporting in Haiti and follows the developing story and joins us live. Good morning to you, Melissa. What more do we know at this stage about this gang 400 Mawozo?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That it is one of those gangs -- as you've just been hearing -- so involved in that huge surge in kidnappings. Just give you an idea of the figures even before this latest kidnapping of the 17 missionaries including 16 Americans and one Canadian, Isa. It was 629 kidnappings since January, only 29 of those are foreigners, however. And it's a reminder that this is really a scourge in the daily life of Haitians, first and foremost. We've seen a 300 percent rise in number of kidnappings, just since the month of July. That was also of course you'll remember the month in which the Haitian president was killed in his own bed. And a reminder just how insecure the country has become.

Now one interesting parallel to be made, is with the kidnapping that take place in April, very same neighborhood Croix des Bouquets to the northeast of Port-au-Prince. It was a group of French missionaries that had been kidnapped on April 11th, released by the end of the month, and in its statement, welcoming their release, the French foreign ministry had really praised the Catholic Church in all it had done behind the scenes to try to compensate for the lack of security. And interestingly it was that very kidnapping that had led to such outrage and eventually to Jovenel Moise reshuffling his cabinet just ahead of his assassination.

So, it's a reminder of how cross, how angry Haitians are with the lack of security in their country, and we expect today a demonstration of that in the shape of a strike that will take place and demonstrations on the streets of Port-au-Prince -- Isa.

SOARES: Melissa, do U.S. authorities, Canadian authorities, or indeed the Christian Aid Ministry, do they know the whereabouts of these 17 missionaries at all?

BELL: For the time being, no word on where they might be. All we know according to that security sources, as you mentioned, is the identity of the group that is apparently behind the kidnapping and in whose hands they are. But for the time being, and since those very last communications from the missionaries, no idea of where they are.

But I think again that case from April is interesting, because when diplomatic pressure was brought to bear, and the Catholic Church got involved, it was possible to secure the release of the missionaries. Presumably that is what is happening behind the scenes now. The aid organizations for a start to try to get a better idea of exactly where they may be being held -- Isa.

Melissa Bell for us there, thanks very much, Melissa.


Well officials in Haiti are in touch with Canadian authorities as well as the U.S. State Department, in urgent that mission, Melissa was mentioning, to locate the missionaries. CNN's Kylie Atwood has more now from Washington.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: A Christian aid organization based in Ohio confirming there were 16 Americans and one Canadian, 17 in total, missionaries in Haiti, who were abducted by a gang over the weekend. Now, they were there working at an orphanage. They are kidnapped, when they were doing the work, leaving that orphanage, headed to a place just north of Port-au-Prince.

Now I am told the U.S. government according to a senior U.S. government official, doesn't know the current location of those Americans who have been kidnapped. They are working around the clock, State Department officials, FBI officials to try to figure out where they are, and of course, how to secure their release. Now the State Department's spokesperson saying they are aware of the reports not going much further with regard to details. We're waiting to see if the White House comments on this.

But the State Department travel advisory for Haiti says do not travel. That is for all Americans, they suggest that they don't travel to Haiti particularly because of these kidnappings. That travel advisory cites kidnappings and we should note kidnappings in Haiti have been on the rise in the last few months. Since July, they have risen 300 percent. And of course, that doesn't include this latest development over the weekend with these 16 Americans kidnapped.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.


SOARES: Well, a Catholic priest who spent six years working in Haiti says the gang are a danger for everyone, not just for missionaries and others from outside the country. Take a listen.


FATHER ENZO DEL BROCCO, SPENT SIX YEARS AS A MISSIONARY IN HAITI: The consequence are for people, I mean, the kidnappings are not just affecting Americans, or ethnic, or any kind of religious domination, people of ordinary life, and they are kidnapped. And we're talking about now this last group, but just last week, you know, women and men who just travel on public transportation are being kidnapped and so many times raped. And the police unfortunately are not able to face this whole situation because the gangs are more powerful. It as a matter of fact, they control a lot of the places in the country. And if you pass in front of a certain police stations, I mean, they look like Swiss cheese for how many bullets have been shot against these places and the police are not there. So, and people are really left on their own.


SOARES: Frightening picture Father Enzo is painting there. Of course, we will continue to follow this story and bring you any developments.

Now, a Columbian businessman is set to appear in a Florida court today as the case fuels the latest standoff between the United States and Venezuela. Alex Saab is a close aide to the Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro and faces charges of money laundering. Now Venezuela is retaliating, going after a group of detained Americans. CNN's Rafael Romo has more on the fate of the six.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isa, the group of five U.S. citizens and one permanent U.S. resident were imprisoned only hours after a businessman close to Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the United States, leading many to think that it was a retaliation move by the Venezuela's socialist regime. The group is known as the "CITGO 6," because they're all former executives of the CITGO Petroleum Corporation. They were arrested in 2017 in Caracas on embezzlement charges which they deny and had been under house arrest since May.

Two attorneys who have been working to get all six released, told CNN Sunday that they're now being held at Helicoide prison in Caracas, the capital. This is the same prison where former defense minister and general, Raul Isaias Baduel, considered by many a political prisoner, died Tuesday, of COVID-19. According to a coalition for human right, an NGO, 20 inmates have tested positive for the virus at the prison where the CITGO 6 are now being held.

The family of Jose Pereira, one of the six, posted a video where he says he was afraid that if taken to prison again, it would be under the worst conditions possible. Pereira also said he wanted to record his testimony because he was very worried. Many of the Venezuelan opposition say this is nothing more than a retaliation move for Alex Saab's extradition Saturday from Cape Verde to the United States.

Saab a Columbian businessman close to Maduro who is expected to appear in court Monday in Florida, after being indicted in the U.S. He also faces money laundering and fraud charges in the native Colombia. Why is the Venezuelan government protesting his extradition? Because it means that one of President Maduro's closest confidantes may be available for interrogation by U.S. authorities, someone who knows the ins and outs of a totalitarian regime. Isa, back to you.


SOARES: Thank you very much, Rafael.


Well, family members of the CITGO 6 have written a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden. They're hoping really to direct talks with the Maduro government can get their people and their families and their loved ones out of prison. I want to read you part of the message.

They say to Mr. Biden: Our loved ones' situations are not your fault. You did not cause them to be arrested on fraudulent charges, prosecuted in closed doors, and politically convicted. But you are the key to their release and we need your help. Our loved ones are already being played as pawns in Venezuela. It is unacceptable for our own government, your administration, to do the same -- they write.

We'll stay on top of that story for you.

Now, the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection is moving quickly to determine what role the White House played in events leading up to the riots. Several allies of former President Donald Trump has been subpoenaed to submit documents and testify. You're looking at some of them on your screen. Former strategist Steve Bannon has refused to comply -- we brought you that news last week. Representative Adam Schiff told Jim Acosta the committee is ready to take action that will send a message to anyone else who ignores the subpoena, take a listen.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are right now on Tuesday night, going to be taking up the criminal contempt report. It'll be taken up subsequently in the House of Representatives. It will be sent to the Justice Department for prosecution. And that is a far swifter, far more serious remedy. And the fact that if the Justice Department prosecutes Steve Bannon, other witnesses will see, they'll face real consequence, including jail time and potentially stiff fines. That is a way of getting people's attention.

So, you know, Bannon is an important witness in his own right but it's also important to send a message that the rule of law is back, and people are going to need to pay attention.

I think the biggest area where we still have so much to learn is around the president's conduct in the days leading up to January 6th, on that day itself, Steve Bannon was one of the president's closest advisers. He was predicting that all hell was going to break loose on January 6th. So, he clearly has relevant information to share with the committee. And we're going to make sure that he does.


SOARES: Well, some committee members aren't ruling out the possibility of issuing a subpoena to Trump himself.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Just speaking quite honestly, if we subpoena all of a sudden, the former president, we know that's going to become kind of a circus and that's not necessarily something we want to do up front. But if he has pieces of information we need, we certainly will.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SOARES: Well, the House Select Committee isn't the only sworn testimony Trump is facing. He is scheduled to give a video deposition Monday in connection with a lawsuit by protesters to who claim Trump security team assaulted them. Kara Scannell as the details for you.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: For the first time since leaving office, former President Donald Trump will testify under oath. On Monday, Trump will sit for a videotaped deposition in a case stemming from a 2015 lawsuit where a group of men sued the former president and his company alleging, they were assaulted by Trump's then head of security while protesting about Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric.

Last week a New York state judge who has called Trump's testimony in this case indispensable, ordered Trump to sit for the deposition ending years of litigation. The plaintiff's lawyer is expected to question Trump about any instructions he gave to his security team. And because the lawyer is suing for punitive damages, he will likely question Trump about his net worth and finances. The lawyer could also ask Trump about Matthew Calamari, his top official overseeing security and his compensation, an area that is part of an ongoing criminal investigation by Manhattan prosecutors.

Trump has previously denied any knowledge of the alleged incident and said he delegated full responsibility of security to Calamari. Monday's deposition will be played before a jury when the case goes to trial. The former president is also facing a late December deadline for a deposition in another case, the defamation lawsuit filed by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos.

Kara Scannell, CNN, New York.


SOARES: Now coming up, right here on CNN NEWSROOM, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is now out of the hospital. What his doctors are saying about his recovery from sepsis.

Plus, days of rain have led to a deadly flooding and landslides really in southern India. Look at these pictures. We'll have a live update from New Deli just ahead.



SOARES: President Bill Clinton is now recovering at home after spending five days in a California hospital. He was treated for sepsis after a urinary tract infection spread to his blood stream. CNN's Natasha Chen has more now from California.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Former president Bill Clinton left the hospital Sunday morning, very early Pacific time, with his wife, Secretary Hillary Clinton arm in arm. She first gave a wave over to the media stationed across the street here and when someone shouted, Mr. President, how do you feel? That's when he gave a thumb's up.

The couple did thank the medical team there, shaking hands, even giving some hugs, very grateful for the care he received at this hospital for five nights. Again, he had checked in here, Tuesday evening, they had been in Southern California for a private event for his foundation, when he started to feel unwell. He went through I.V. antibiotics treatment here for urinary tract infection that affected his bloodstream.

And we're told that is very common for men of his age and it could have been very dangerous. He is 75 years old and had previously years ago gone through bypass surgery though this situation this week we're told was unrelated to any heart problems and also unrelated to COVID- 19.

The chair of the department of medicine here, and the executive director of the hospital, released a statement through Clinton spokesperson saying that his fever and white blood cell count are normalized and he will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics. On behalf of everyone at UC Irvine Medical Center, we were honored to have treated him and will continue to monitor his progress. Back to you.



SOARES: Now, the U.S. is gaining ground in its fight against COVID-19. The rate of new cases is improving. Fewer COVID patients are in hospitals and deaths are down compared to a month ago as you can see on the screen. Plus, the CDC says 57 percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated. The winter, of course, is on its way which means more people gathering indoor, plus a busy holiday season. Dr. Anthony Fauci says we could see another coronavirus surge if more people don't get vaccinated.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're going in the right direction. The problem is, as we all know, we still have approximately 66 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not vaccinated. The degree to which we continue to come down in that slope will depend on how well we do about getting more people vaccinated.

You can enjoy the holidays, you can enjoy Halloween, trick-or- treating, and certainly Thanksgiving, with your family, and Christmas, with your families, that's one of the reasons why we emphasized why it's so important to get vaccinated.


SOARES: Well, meanwhile, millions more Americans could soon be eligible for a vaccine booster. CDC advisers are scheduled to discuss the issue later this week. It comes after an FDA panel recommended boosters for all adults who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Experts say they should get an extra shot as soon as it's available to be fully protected. On Sunday Dr. Fauci also suggested boosters might eventually be recommended for everyone. He says data from Israel shows the extra shot benefits younger people, as well as older and high-risk people.

And in Minnesota, a nurse's strike temporarily closed an emergency room at one hospital in Plymouth after 50 nurses went on strike seeking fair pay and benefits for those on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic. The closure began Sunday morning and will last three days according to a statement.

Well, the pandemic is also hitting American in their wallets just as the holiday shopping season arrive, higher demand, plus pandemic- fueled labor shortages are creating a growing supply chain crisis and the bottleneck is driving up prices, slowing down shipments and limiting what stores can really keep in stock.

And U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN, those backups well likely continue into next year. The comments came as he made the case for Congress to pass President Biden's stalled infrastructure bill, as well as the price of social spending plan to really help ease the situation. Take a listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Demand is off the charts. Retail sales are through the roof. And if you think about those images of ships for example waiting at anchor on the West Coast, every one of those ships is full of record amounts of goods that Americans are buying. Because demand is up. Because income is up. Because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession.

One thing that has not been talked about enough is their finding about how the overall Build Back Better vision is designed to reduce inflationary pressures. So, if you care about inflation, you ought to care about, not just the supply chain issues, not just the infrastructure things I work on, but also the provisions in Build Back Better like paid family leave, like making it easier to afford child care, like community college that are going to give us a stronger labor force and help us deal with that major constraint on economic growth.


SOARES: Well, rescue operations are under way in India, after deadly flooding in the state of Kerala. At least 22 people are killed and five are missing after landslides, were followed by days of rain. The Indian Military's flying in emergency supplies and personnel to the hardest hit areas. Vedika Sud joins me now from New Delhi. And Vedika, what do we know -- do we know how many residents are trapped by these floods, at the moment? What's the latest on the rescue operation? VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Well, the numbers are being updated every

minute, Isa, but what I can tell you is that almost 6,500 people have been evacuated from the worst-hit areas. We know two districts have been heavily hit by the torrential rains and about 184 relief camps have been set up. Those people being evacuated are through military choppers, through boats and rafts.

A lot of these homes have been submerged due to the landslides that took place, 22 people have been killed in those two separate landslides and five remain missing. Rescue efforts have stepped up. As we know, we heard that from the officials. And what we do know is that there has been a huge loss to people and property, and there's some people who have been talking to the media, after they lost their homes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was my livelihood. Everything is gone. Look. Everything is gone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The Hill broke off near us. There has been a lot of damage and loss. The house is gone. Children are gone. All that has happened, the water entered our homes. That's when they moved us.


SUD: The state Kerala area is predominantly a coastal area in South India. We do know that between the months May to September, it receives a huge amount of rainfall, Isa, but this is happening in the month of October. Experts have been saying that there has been a lot of organizations and construction in the areas due to which these landslides have become more frequent, so have flash floods.

The Indian Prime Minister has spoken to the state chief minister. He has also expressed his condolences over the loss of lives and this remains a worry, (INAUDIBLE) are trying to also reach those cases that have been cut off by the floods to provide food and medical amenities to the people who've been stranded this in those areas. That's the latest update we have from Kerala as I speak to -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and I believe I read more that more rain is coming later on this week. So, a very worrying time indeed. Vedika Sud for us in New Delhi. Thanks very much, Vedika.

Now I want to show you these images. Lava from an inferno raging in the Spanish Canary Islands. Experts are warning that one of the lava flows from the volcano La Palma is very close to reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Contact with sea water can cause explosions and emissions of course of toxic gases. The eruption began about a month ago and officials warn there is no end in sight.

Now, the weather phenomenon known as La Nina has arrived and it is here to stay. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri tells us what it means with the forecast -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, Isa, good October 18th to you. And it looks like the pattern change here is about to take shape. A La Nina advisory has been issued which gives us about a 90 percent chance that through this winter, we experience a La Nina pattern. Now what is that mean for the United States? Broader picture, typically that translates to warmer also dryer weather for the winter months across the eastern half of the United States, especially if you're in the southern portion of the United States.

While back towards the West, drier weather also persists, could even see some warmer weather in place as well. But really the predominant changes here come in across the Northwest and parts of the Midwestern U.S. where wetter weather is expected. And of course, in the Midwest that translates sometimes to snowier conditions as you get much cooler air and it drops in across that region. But when you take a look at the perspective here for that long-range forecast, the warmer pockets of air are going to be expected across the Southwest, the Southeast and parts of the Northeastern United States.

And as far as the forecast holds for October through December. And then we know how that translates and certainly not going to be good news for the Western U.S., where over 90 percent of the Western U.S., dealing with drought conditions. In fact, almost 60 percent of it dealing with extremely or in the worst drought conditions which would be exceptional that are in place there.

So, if you put in warmer weather in this region, we know fire weather is also going to be an issue going into those months. But at least in the immediate term of the forecast, there is a system coming through, Isa, that will bring with it some wintry weather in the higher elevations, some showers across portions of the state of California, Oregon on into Washington and it could be a potent storm system into parts of the intermountain West. Could bring down some decent amounts of amounts of snow showers. So, not a bad start in what a season here that could really be a drier and warmer one before it's all said and done.

For now, 61 in Salt Lake City. 76 in Denver. And highs around Louisville, it's about room temperature, 72 degrees -- Isa.

SOARES: Thank you very much, Pedram.

Now coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, a former British spy defense the controversial Steele Dossier, with his first on camera interview. Christopher Steele explains why he's speaking out now.

Plus, the world's second largest economy posts its slowest growth rate in a year. Will look at whether China's swift rebound is starting to lose steam. Both those stories after a very short break.