Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Police Investigating Movie Set Safety Protocols After Fatal Shooting; Interview with Representative Mondaire Jones (D-NY) about Infrastructure Package; Filthy, Used Nitrile Gloves Make It into U.S. Supply Chain; Protesters Support Kyrie Irving's Decision to Go Unvaccinated; Georgia Lt. Gov. Who Fought Trump Wants to Reboot the Republican Party; Haitians Protest Country's Insecurity, Fuel Shortage. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 24, 2021 - 19:00   ET




LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New developments in the Alec Baldwin movie set shooting. Sources telling CNN the assistant director on the film "Rust" faced previous complaints about safety and his behavior on two previous movie productions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an industry-wide safety committee. It's bulletin number one. Firearm safety.

KAFANOV: Actor Alec Baldwin saying his heart is broken after meeting with Halyna Hutchins' grieving husband and son.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Deal or no deal? As we enter a crucial week in Washington, President Biden hosting Senators Manchin and Schumer at his Delaware home in a push to finalize his spending bill.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have 90 percent of the bill agreed to and written. We just have some of the last decisions to be made. But it's still bigger than anything we have ever done.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are big bags of discarded medical gloves. Many, filthy dirty. They are part of a global supply chain aimed at countries worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know what they were, where they came from. Some of them had blood stains.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I am Pamela Brown in Washington. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

In New Mexico tonight, police are still sifting through haunting questions and disturbing new details from that awful movie set accident. Major safety concerns are emerging from the aftermath of the deadly shooting during production of the Alec Baldwin movie "Rust." A prop gun that was supposed to be rendered harmless killed a cinematographer and wounded the movie's director.

Well, today, new photos of Alec Baldwin meeting with Halyna Hutchins' son and husband in New Mexico. And CNN has now learned about past safety complaints against the movie's assistant director. The last person to handle the prop gun before giving it to Baldwin. His name is David Halls and two people who work closely with him tell CNN he was accused of several safety complaints on two productions back in 2019.

So let's dive a little deeper on all of this. I want to bring in CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor Paul Callan.

Hi, Paul, good to see you.


BROWN: So there is an extensive investigation. And we want to be upfront about that. We still have a lot of unanswered questions. There is still a lot that we don't know. But at first blush, it appears unlikely Alec Baldwin would face charges. Why is that?

CALLAN: I think it's highly unlikely, Pam, because he really was in a position where he had to depend upon others with respect to the gun that the shot was fired from. What was going on on the set that day was there was a rehearsal in this movie called "Rust." And the scene that was being rehearsed involved Alec Baldwin firing a weapon, firing a handgun and that gun was handed to him by an assistant director named Dave Halls, who you mentioned in the opening.

Halls was also one of the directors of safety at the movie scene. And Halls shouted out cold gun before passing the gun to Baldwin. Now that would indicate that the gun was in a safe condition. In this case, probably having blanks, not bullets, loaded in the gun. And Baldwin, knowing that or thinking that that was true, then fired the gun in the rehearsal. And unfortunately, he fired a shot that ended up killing somebody else on the set, this young woman, Miss Hutchins and wounding somebody else.

BROWN: Yes, it's just --

CALLAN: So I think what prosecutors and investigators look at this case, Baldwin's activities and actions, I think, will be defensible. But I don't know about whoever was involved with supplying this gun to Baldwin. That person made a very, very serious error and it may be up to prosecutors to decide whether that's a criminal error or not.

BROWN: And you point that out, what happened with the assistant director saying that it was a cold gun. There are significant safety concerns that have also surfaced, like reports of accidental discharges from weapons on the set prior to this deadly shooting. So who else could potentially be charged in this?


CALLAN: Well, the chain of command on this movie set with respect to firearms went from the armorer who was a woman named Hannah Gutierez. Now the armorer is really the person in charge of getting the guns that are going to be used./ And remember, this is a Western, and I am sure there were a lot of handguns involved in various scenes in the movie. And she would be the person who would be involved in setting the guns up.

In this case, supposedly, there were three guns set up on a table. And then that gun is passed from the table to another individual. In this case, we understand and we have heard from court documents that we've seen, Dave Halls. And Halls, then, yelled cold gun and passed it to Alec Baldwin who fired the fatal shot.

So prosecutors are going to be looking at that chain. All three of the individuals involved to decide whether anything criminal occurred. Now, I think clearly that Baldwin had no intent to cause injury or hurt anybody else. He thought he was firing blanks from the gun. So, I don't see any criminality there. But there are also crimes, manslaughter crimes, reckless endangerment crimes, that involve being extremely negligent in the way you handle something as dangerous as a gun.

And prosecutors certainly would be looking at other people on set in their handling of the gun. And there is one key question that I have. Why would anybody put a live bullet --

BROWN: Right.

CALLAN: -- in a prop gun that was supposed to be used in this movie.

BROWN: That makes no sense.

CALLAN: That's the key question, I think, Pam.

BROWN: And it raises questions, really important questions.

Paul Callan, thank you so much.

CALLAN: Thank you, Pam.

BROWN: Also tonight, new signs of optimism from top Democrats on Capitol Hill. A source tells CNN that House leaders are hoping to hold a vote on President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Their goal is to agree on a framework for the larger social safety net package before the vote in order to win over progressives. Earlier today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that Democrats are extremely close to reaching such an agreement.


PELOSI: We have 90 percent of the bill agreed to and written. We just have some of the last decisions to be made. It is less than we had -- was projected, to begin with. But it's still bigger than anything we have ever done in terms of addressing the needs of America's working families.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you saying in the next week the framework will be agreed to? There will be a deal on the social safety net bill.

PELOSI: Let's call it an agreement.

TAPPER: An agreement. There will be an agreement on that, and you will also vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill? Both of those things will happen in the next week.

PELOSI: That's the plan.


BROWN: We're also learning that Senator Joe Manchin may be open to raising his ceiling on the price of that larger social spending bill.

So let's discuss with New York Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones. He is a key member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Thanks for your time tonight.

REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure.

BROWN: All right. So let's start off with this news. The fact that we're learning that there could be a vote on Wednesday or Thursday of this coming week on the infrastructure bill. And that Democrats are hoping to have a specific framework, an agreement in place on the social spending bill before to get progressives, like yourself, to vote on that infrastructure bill. Will you if that is the case?

JONES: Well, I am as excited as I have ever been about passing this president's broadly popular economic agenda. We are talking about, as you know, universal childcare, high-quality childcare at that, expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing. Of course, investing in climate action in a way that creates millions of good- paying jobs. And so, I am cautiously optimistic that we can get something done this week.

We are -- because of the progressive strategy -- so much further along than we were a few months ago when Joe Manchin was talking about passing the Build Back Better Act in the year 2022 which is way too late. So I'm really excited about it. And I trust the speaker, as she continues to negotiate with Senators Manchin and Sinema, and, of course, the White House has been tremendous.

BROWN: And just to be clear, there are still major sticking points. Even the dental, vision, and hearing being covered. That is still up for negotiation. There is also items like tuition-free community college. That has been dropped, for now, is our understanding. So, to be clear, what would it take for you to vote for the infrastructure bill this coming week? What would it take for you and the spending bill in order to do that?

JONES: Well, I could only speak for myself, of course. And for me, I want an assurance from the president, for example, that we will pass this larger social safety net package because that contains the bulk of his proposals.


It's why he has joined progressives in calling for the passage of both of these bills. This isn't just a progressive strategy. This is the White House's strategy. This was the original strategy of the White House, the majority leader in the Senate, and of course, the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, before a few Democrats -- a few conservative Democrats tried to derail that strategy in calling for a vote on the bipartisan bill on September 27th.

So, you know, I'm optimistic that we are going to get this done in the next couple of weeks. Obviously, the speaker has expressed optimism about reaching some agreement this week. I await that proposal. And I'm looking forward to delivering the president's agenda on behalf of all Americans.

BROWN: But the bottom line is there are two high-stakes races in New Jersey and Virginia for Democratic governors. Was it a mistake to not go ahead and move forward with the vote on the infrastructure bill before now? That was something moderate Democrats were willing to vote for at the time. And it was progressives, like yourself, that said, no, wait a second, we need both of these on the same track. We are not going to vote for the infrastructure bill, unless we know what's in that social-spending bill. Was that a mistake?

JONES: It was not a mistake. In fact, we've seen moderates, in many instances, join progressives in September of this year in calling for the passage of both of those bills which of course, was the original strategy. Articulated by the president himself the speaker of the House, and the majority leader. The problem is that Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema were not talking about the reconciliation bill at all.

They weren't even trying to help pass this president's economic agenda which is why progressives said, no, we have to stand with the original strategy of passing both of these bills, together. That is what is going to deliver for the American people and help us keep the majority going into November of 2022.

By the way, those states that you just mentioned are blue states. OK. There is no reason why the two Democratic nominees for governor in both of those states should have any trouble winning an election, and I believe that they will. And they will have nothing --

BROWN: Well, in Virginia, it's pretty tight right now.

JONES: It shouldn't be.

BROWN: But really quickly, really quickly, you brought up Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Kyrsten Sinema. We know that Manchin met with Biden today. He said he's willing to potentially, according to sources we spoke with, move the number up to $1.75 trillion from $1.5. He would argue that he did -- he does want to pass a lot of these policies. He just thought the number was too high. Too much spending. What is your message, though, to Senator Sinema tonight and Senator Manchin?

JONES: The president's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act was completely paid for. And so this isn't a question of spending. This is a question of materially improving the lives of the American people by passing legislation that we ran on. That the president ran on and that the American people expect us to deliver for them.

We mentioned some of those things tonight. The expansion of Medicare, to include dental, vision, and hearing. High-quality, affordable childcare. Climate action. Investments in --

BROWN: And a lot of that is still up for negotiation.

JONES: It is, which is part of the legislative process and I get it. I've been frustrated at times in this process, as well. Looking at people who ran as Democrats, try to derail this president's broadly popular agenda. But we have made so much progress. And we are so close to getting this done. And my message to them is that we will do this, and that we can do this. And that, they should come to the table in good faith, as Senator Manchin has done for his part.

BROWN: Congressman Mondaire Jones, thanks for joining the show. We appreciate it.

JONES: Thanks so much for having me.

BROWN: And still to come this hour, wild and possible history-making weather is wreaking havoc out West.

Also ahead tonight, a Republican who stood up to Donald Trump's election lies now calling for a reboot of the party. I'll ask Georgia's lieutenant governor if he's planning to run in 2024.

And then, a CNN investigation reveals how soiled surgical gloves are being repackaged and finding their way into the U.S. medical supply chain. Isn't that disturbing?

Plus, singing superstar Ed Sheeran stuck at home after revealing he has COVID.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


JAMES CORDEN, LATE-NIGHT SHOW HOST: Moderna or Pfizer will do.

ED SHEERAN, MUSICIAN: You'll be good after jab number two.

CORDEN: But wait two weeks for it to take effect.

SHEERAN: Doesn't fit this song, but it's important.




BROWN: Disturbing and potentially dangerous revelations from a CNN investigation. It found millions of substandard, sometimes used surgical gloves made their way into the U.S. supply chain. Possibly putting patients and medical workers at risk. And as CNN's Scott McLean reports, shipments of these secondhand gloves continued for months despite multiple warnings.


MCLEAN (voice-over): This rundown industrial area on the outskirts of Bangkok is the hub of a new trade that's making a few people very rich, while putting millions of others at risk. These are bags of discarded medical gloves. Many, filthy dirty confiscated by the Thai Food and Drug Administration in December. It says they are part of a global supply chain aimed at countries worldwide desperate to buy medical-grade natural gloves amid a worldwide shortage that will take years to ease.

One of the customers who thought he was buying the real thing was Florida-based businessman Tarek Kerschen.

TAREK KERSCHEN, CEO, V12 HEALTH: We start getting phone calls from clients completely upset and, you know, yelling and screaming at us.

MCLEAN: Kerschen was one of many customers of a Thai company called Paddy the Room Trading Company.

KERSCHEN: These were reused gloves. They were washed, recycled, we don't know what they were, where they came from. Some of them were dirty. Some of them had blood stains.

MCLEAN: Kerschen says he sent the gloves to landfill and notified the USFDA in February.


But this is just one case. In the middle of a pandemic, Paddy the Room had plenty of willing buyers and the U.S. continued allowing the shipments into the country according to import records examined by CNN.

Louis Ziskin's company was another looking to cash in on the lucrative business.

(On-camera): You guys were seeing dollar signs?

LOUIS ZISKIN, CEO, AIRQUEEN: Yes. 100 percent. We saw dollar signs. We also saw we had legitimate medical customers who were literally begging for this stuff.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Ziskin's company AirQueen paid Paddy the Room more than $2.7 million for 400 boxes of medical grade nitrile gloves. Reassured by glowing inspection reports purportedly carried out by a reputable third party but that inspection company tells CNN those reports were forged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open them up. MCLEAN: The shipment was independently inspected when it arrived in

Los Angeles. Most of the gloves were actually lower quality latex or vinyl packed into nitrile boxes. Many others were very clearly soiled and secondhand.

(On-camera): Not fit for use in a hospital?

ZISKIN: Not fit for use by anybody.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Ziskin's shipment sat for months in an L.A. warehouse, so we sent an expert and our camera to see for ourselves. Douglas Stein has spent 30 years importing PPE from Asia and has been tracking fraud and scams in the nitrile glove industry since the pandemic began.

DOUGLAS STEIN, EXPERT TRACKING FRAUD AND SCAMS: But you can see the way it's packed, they're just clumped like somebody just took handfuls and stuffed them in the box. These were washed definitely. This one is completely brown, discolored. This is nitrile but you can tell it's been through a washer and a dryer. And it's changed color due to the heat.

MCLEAN: Ziskin's shipment of counterfeit soiled gloves came in fake boxes of the legitimate Thai brand Sri Trang which says it has nothing to do with Paddy the Room. Kerschen's gloves were branded SkyMed, the company the Thai FDA says is, quote, "for sure fake."

ZISKIN: To me, the fact that these companies were never blacklisted is shocking.

MCLEAN (on-camera): E-mails provided to CNN show that back in February, his company did inform U.S. Customs and Border Protection that Paddy the Room was sending substandard and used medical gloves to the U.S. Yet import records show that 28 containers, totaling more than 80 million gloves, were imported to the U.S. from that same company after the Ziskin's warning was sent. It's unclear where most ended up or if they've been used in a medical setting.

(Voice-over): The Department of Homeland Security is investigating Paddy the Room but acknowledged to CNN that fake medical products do reach the U.S.

MIKE ROSE, SPECIAL AGENT, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATORS: I think all of us would love to get to a point that not a single counterfeit dangerous good entered the U.S.

MCLEAN: In March, Ziskin's company also informed the FDA which that same month acknowledged that Paddy the Room was using fake safety documents for its shipments. The FDA did not alert concerns about Paddy the Room until August, five months after they were tipped off. It would not comment on the ongoing investigation.

But in any case, so desperate was the need for PPE, that some of the normal checks on imported nitrile gloves had been temporarily waived.

DOUGLAS STEIN, CEO, PPE ADVANTAGE: There was just no other answer. That opened the floodgates for all the nefarious behavior.

MCLEAN: The FDA told CNN that to help ensure the U.S. has enough gloves during the pandemic, it does not intend to object to the distribution and use of patient-examination gloves that lack full safety paperwork as long as they meet standards and don't create an undue risk. In reality, there are no routine checks on gloves arriving into the U.S., unless a company has been flagged.

CNN attempted to reach out to Paddy the Room and its partner company, but they did not respond to questions. The Thai FDA raided Paddy the Room in December last year, but did not succeed in shutting it down.

(On-camera): How can that happen?

SUPATTRA BOONSERM, DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL, THAI FDA (though translator): They just kept moving around and created a new fake company. One once being shut down they would move to another location.

MCLEAN: It's not just Thailand that has a problem. Law enforcement officials say similar scams are common throughout Asia.

(On-camera): Now, two other companies told CNN they'd also received unusable gloves from Paddy the Room. But the truth is, we don't know how many fake or used medical gloves have entered the U.S. during the pandemic. Louis Ziskin went to Thailand to try to get his money back but was charged with assault and kidnapping after a confrontation with a glove salesman. When Thai Police produced no evidence against him, he was allowed to leave the country, though Thai Police tell CNN the investigation is not closed.

As for all those gloves in the L.A. warehouse, they were finally seized by federal authorities five months after Ziskin first raised the alarm.

Scott McLean, CNN London.


BROWN: New tonight, a large group of protesters supporting Brooklyn Nets' guard Kyrie Irving's decision not to get vaccinated staged a demonstration right outside the Barclay Center today.


Police say some even tried to break through barriers near the arena's front entrance.

CNN's Alison Kosik is there live. So what happened?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pamela. So this was the first home game of the season for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and the focus, believe it or not, was less on what was happening inside the Barclay's Stadium in the game against the Charlotte Hornets and more about what was happening outside.

Right before the game began, about an hour or two before, a lot of protests had gathered -- protesters had gathered. At one point, it became really intense where they tried to break through barriers to get inside the arena. That didn't happen. But mostly, these protesters, anti-vaxxers and people against the vaccine mandates, they were chanting. They were chanting, no vaccine mandate. They were chanting, we stand with Kyrie.

These protesters were here in support of the Nets' star point guard, Kyrie Irving, who is refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, he hasn't played in any of the three games, so far, this season. Here's what some of the protesters had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support Kyrie because it is a personal choice. If Kyrie wants to do that, it's his body, his choice. Selfishly, do I want him with the Brooklyn Nets? Of course, as well as millions of other fans. He's good for the NBA. He's got a lot of talent and brings a lot to the table. Obviously, they look like they miss him. But at the end of the day, it's more than basketball.


KOSIK: So for his home games, Kyrie Irving is prevented from playing on the court here inside the arena because of a New York City vaccine mandate requiring that those inside have to have at least one vaccine. As far as the wider policy, the nets have their own policy which is basically saying, listen, Kyrie, if you don't participate in most of the games, you can't practice or play in any of the games.

As for today's game, the Nets went ahead and lost. They lost 111-95. So a 16-point loss there. A rough game for the Nets, certainly -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Alison Kosik, thanks so much.

And new tonight, Ed Sheeran says he is self-quarantining after a positive COVID test. The news comes just days before the British singer's fourth album is released. Sheeran says he is doing as many interviews and performances as possible from home.


CORDEN: Moderna or Pfizer will do.

SHEERAN: You'll be good after jab number two.

CORDEN: But wait two weeks for it to take effect.

SHEERAN: Doesn't fit this song, but it's important.


BROWN: Late-night host James Corden and Sheeran teamed up in July to change the lyrics of his hit song "Shape of You" to phrases about getting the vaccine. Sheeran has not said if he has been vaccinated. Well, he fought President Trump over the election results in Georgia.

And now, Republican Lieutenant Governor Jeff Duncan thinks his party needs a reboot. Jeff Duncan joins me, next.



PAMELA BROWN, CNN NEWSROOM: Tonight, a Republican who stood up to former-President Donald Trump over his election lies is now calling for a reboot of the Republican Party. Georgia's Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan made headlines when he resisted Trump's efforts to overturn election results in his state. Duncan says that decision alienated him from the pro-Trump base of his party but also inspired him to start a new movement, which he calls the GOP 2.0.

Lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan joins me now. All right, give us your pitch for the -- your new Republican Party. Why do we need one and what will it stand for?

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): Well, GOP 2.0 is not a new party, it's just a better pathway forward for the conservative party. I think we've lost our way. We have forgot to remind people why we're Republicans and why they should vote for Republicans. We certainly forgot to be empathetic enough to grow the size of the tent and our tone is atrocious. Donald Trump's tone is one that set -- set them -- the marketplace for dissension and rancor across the political spectrum and GOP 2.0 is about turning the page and looking forward. I think voters want to look forward and see what the plans are and I want to make sure they are voting for Republicans.

BROWN: What makes you think voters want that, because it seems like Donald Trump has a -- a pretty big strong hold on the Republican Party, and millions of Americans who support him no matter what? So what makes you think voters would want a GOP 2.0?

DUNCAN: Yes. This past week, I was up in New Hampshire meeting with voters all across the political spectrum, and really laying the groundwork for GOP 2.0 to make sure we set their expectations in the first and in the nation primary process to want a GOP candidate with a 2.0 approach and I am hearing from them, they're ready for real leadership.

You know, if we are all being honest with ourselves, we wouldn't let Donald Trump or Joe Biden be the leader of any company in this country, certainly, not even a lemonade stand, we wouldn't pick them. But yet, they're -- both of them were the presidents of our country. We need to look for better -- we need to expect better as Americans and I certainly think that that's where we're headed.

It doesn't feel like it today but I can guarantee you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that when we wake up in 2024, America, especially Republicans, are going to want to vote for adults in the room and I think GOP 2.0 is going to represent that.

BROWN: That's quite a declaration, without a shadow of a doubt. All right, we will be seeing what happens there.

In the meantime, only nine Republicans voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress this week. What do you say to the rest of the GOP lawmakers in the House? Are they putting party over country?

DUNCAN: Well, certainly, it does feel like there's politics being played in that realm and, unfortunately, there is some sort of strange relationship continuing to go on with the former president. But the reality is I am focused on looking forward.


I want to make sure we have got leadership in place to make sure America has the right direction for us.

And, you know, right now we're looking at failed leadership and I say this as an American. I can't explain to my kids what happened in Afghanistan or what's happening on the southern border. I can't explain to anybody in the business world what's happening to inflation or at least the reaction to it. And so I think we are going to wake up and all this sideshow stuff going on is going to fall behind, and we are going to look forward and try to lead this country.

BROWN: You have obviously been there on the forefront of saying the election was not stolen. But in Georgia, for example, how could voters have faith in elected officials when there are no laws in Georgia that could let partisan lawmakers take over and certify election counting?

DUNCAN: Well, certainly, we had a very vigorous discussion here in the state of Georgia over our elections law. And, you know, fortunately, the process did work. The first few versions of the bill were absolutely terrible. We worked with a number of bipartisan ideas to include them in the bill.

But, look, you know, Republicans didn't lose the election because it was rigged. We lost it because Donald Trump failed to remind enough Americans why we should vote for him. That's why we lost the election at the top of the ticket. But I am still proud of the 53.7 percent of Georgians that voted for a Republican state senator here in Georgia because they value conservative leadership in Georgia.

And, certainly, I am hoping that folks show up to vote for Brian Kemp in 2022. You know, it was very disconcerting to hear the former president make some sort of crazy statement that Georgia Republicans should vote for Stacey Abrams over the most conservative governor in our state's history, Brian Kemp. That was one of many self-inflicted wounds that I think are going to continue it play out for Donald Trump.

BROWN: Very quickly, are you going to run for president for 2024?

DUNCAN: Well, I am laser-focused on healing and rebuilding this party and I certainly have a long list of to-dos to get there. There is a long time between now and those decisions. And I am going to stay focused on healing and rebuilding the party.

BROWN: But you are not closing the door. You are leaving that possibility open, right?

DUNCAN: Certainly, like every other person in politics, it would be a great honor to be mentioned but that is not on my mind at this point. I certainly have enough to do trying to fix this party.

BROWN: All right. Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, thank you.

DUNCAN: Thank you.

BROWN: A massive rockslide shutting down a California highway as an extreme and rare weather pattern bashes the west coast.



BROWN: Wild and possibly historic weather is thrashing parts of California, heavy rain from what's known as an atmospheric river combined with high winds from a so-called bomb cyclone have triggered several landslides. Look at this video right here. I mean, this is incredible. This one shut down Highway 70 in both directions about 100 miles north of Sacramento. At least 6 million people across the west are under flood and flash-flood watches.

Well, it's been eight days since a gang in Haiti kidnapped 17 American and Canadian missionaries. The gang leader has threatened to kill them if ransom isn't paid. Family members of the hostages say they have received messages and prayers from all over the world.

Protesters in Haiti have gone on strike over fears about the country's security, as well as its fuel shortages. UNICEF warns that hundreds of women and children who need emergency care and health facilities could die if solutions to the shortage are not found. UNICEF says 71 women and 30 children have been kidnapped this year in Haiti.

The organization is helping a young-Haitian girl with counseling after a street gang kidnapped her and held her for a week. The family had to come up with a roughly $300 U.S. dollars ransom to get her freed, a huge amount of money in an impoverished company, where most people live on a few dollars a day.

CNN's Joe Johns has their heart-wrenching story.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's as common as the tire fires burning here in the streets of Port-au- Prince. Haiti is one of the kidnapping capitals of the world. The entire country has fallen victim, in some way. Commerce and the economy are suffering. Children fear walking to school, even to church. It's a parent's worst nightmare. Everywhere you go, people are worried they could be next. The human toll sinks in talking with the victims.

This 15-year-old school girl was abducted in early September and released seven days later after an unimaginable ordeal. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About three men were holding my hands and feet. They raped me.

JOHNS: Did they threaten you? While you were there or make you afraid to try to escape?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: yes, they just closed my eyes and they took me somewhere. And I entered inside of the house, they tore off my clothes. They blindfolded my eyes and just left enough for me to see.

JOHNS: She was kidnapped in Croix-des-Bouquets, the same neighborhood outside Port-au-Prince where the American hostages were taken. Her mother says they initially demanded $50,000 ransom, an unheard of sum for a family living in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.

Her mother says the family banded together and sold everything they owned to get her back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told me if I didn't come to get her, they would kill her. I didn't have the money. I called my family from the countryside to help out. I negotiated with them for 20,000 Haitian dollars but they rejected the offer. I then called my family. They sold what they had and we settled on 30,000 Haitian dollars and they told me they would release her.

JOHNS: Though the current ongoing case involving 16 Americans and one Canadian has generated intense international interest, Haitians are much more likely to be the victims of kidnappings in this country and their families, much less likely, to be able to come up with the cash, initially, demanded.


And it's women and children who are increasingly being targeted. More than 100 abducted, so far, this year according to UNICEF, which has been providing victims counseling and relocation for this girl and her mom. They have been working with a local NGO that caters to women in distress. Before she came here, the girl couldn't even speak about her harrowing days as a captive to one of Haiti's ruthless gangs.

LAMERCIE CHARLES PIERRE, COORDINATOR, ORG. OF COURAGEOUS WOMEN IN ACTION: because we have received so many cases of kidnappings, the space has been reserved for 25 women. Now, we have exceeded that number. That's why we have land. We will build a bigger center to welcome more women, more victims.

JOHNS: Tonight, UNICEF is warning about yet another danger to women and children resulting directly from the kidnapping trends and general lawlessness in Haiti, a fuel crisis, motivated in part by the danger in the streets, jeopardizing patients in hospitals and healthcare delivery with no end in sight.

Joe Johns, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


BROWN: And this just in. The passing of an actor you probably know simply by the name of his character, Gunther.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say, Rachel, I was wondering if you would like to go to a movie with me sometime as my lover. Too out there. Maybe, you'd just like to get something to eat with me sometime as my lover?


BROWN: That, of course, the love-struck manager of Central Perk on the sitcom Friends. James Michael Tyler died peacefully at his home today after a three-year battle with prostate cancer.

Tyler planned to take part in the televised reunion of the Friends cast but backed off citing his health. James Michael Taylor was 59.



BROWN: Princess Diana's global celebrity took an extreme toll on her marriage to Prince Charles. That is the focus of this week's all-new episode of the CNN original series, Diana. Here is a preview.


JULIE MONTAGU, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke: It's five years into Diana and Charles' marriage. To the outside world, it's still the fairytale, but the reality is something completely different.

ANNA PASTERNAK, AUTHOR: Even though Diana was the most vetted woman in the world and everyone adored her, actually, the one man she really wanted to adore her did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it was because he was always in love with another person. Diana certainly believed that, all along, this sort of shadow of Camilla was always there. I'm not sure that is entirely true. I think he did make a real effort to make the marriage work, but he was a selfish man.

ANDREW MORTON, AUTHOR, DIANA, HER TRUE STORY: Princess Diana, when I asked her about Prince Charles always said he was the love of her life. If Diana has got the love and affection from Prince Charles, she would never have dreamt of looking elsewhere.


BROWN: Rachel Bowie, the host of the Royally Obsessed podcast joins us now. Good evening to you.

So, you might think that the more popular Diana became, perhaps the happier the royal family would be, but that was not the case. How did Dimania impact her relationship with Charles? RACHEL BOWIE, HOST, ROYALLY OBSESSED PODCAST: Well, Dimania was on full display when Charles and Diana touched down in Australia in 1983. Hundreds of thousands of people turned up to see the prince and princess of wails but was very obvious very fast was that they didn't care about Prince Charles, they were there to see Diana.

There is a famous example where there was a walkabout that was basically a big part of a royal tour and Diana was on one side of the street and Charles was on the other. And there were audible groans from the crowd. They really, really just wanted to see Diana, and Charles became very resentful of that fact.

BROWN: And Diana really tore up the rule book, right, when it royal parenting. How did she approach raising her sons and how do we see her influence on how the sons are raising their own families?

BOWIE: Well, It's honestly one of my favorite parts about princess Diana. She was so warm, so compassionate, so hands on as a royal mom. It was a total contrast to the royal parents that came before her. And I think that we look William and Harry, Diana was taking them growing up to McDonald's, to theme parks, but she also took them to homeless shelters and hospitals.

And I think that's what we really see in the boys today. They are grown men and they choose amazing causes but they're a force with what they take on. And I think every time I see them doing vaccine equity or earth shot, all I can think is Diana.

BROWN: Right. And it was during this time that Diana also learned she could leverage all the media attention to shine a spotlight on marginalized communities, right?

BOWIE: Yes, absolutely. I think the second it was a real pivotal moment for Diana when she realized she could use the attention that was on her for such good. I think a great example of that is the HIV crisis in the 1980s. It was a huge stigma that you couldn't touch the hand of a patient because you would contract the virus. But Diana opened the very first HIV unit in the U.K. and showed up gloveless and shook their hand.


I think, for her, it was a real power and she made radical choices with the causes she took on. She didn't play it safe at all and really that changed everything for the Princess of Wales.

BROWN: All right. Rachel Bowie, thank you. And all-new episode of the CNN original series, Diana, airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern.

Thank you so much for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela brown. And I'll see you again next weekend.