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Hala Gorani Tonight

Nine Members Of Mormon Family Killed In Mexico; Turkey Captures Sister Of Former ISIS Leader Baghdadi; Key Races Test Voter Enthusiasm Ahead Of 2020; U.K. Report On Kremlin Interference Delayed; U.S. Begins Formal Process Of Leaving Paris Climate Accord; Administration Seeks To Ease Rules For Coal Plant Waste. Aired 2:28-3p ET

Aired November 05, 2019 - 14:28   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani.

You've been watching, just in the last half hour, special CNN coverage of the release of transcripts from the U.S. impeachment inquiry, including

some very interesting developments involving Gordon Sondland, who's the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., who sent an addendum to his testimony that he

gave behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, suggesting perhaps that there was in fact quid pro quo involved with withholding military aid.

We will bring you more headlines out of Washington as they come, of course, in the coming hours. But I want to bring you some important other stories

around the world.

Nine members -- and this story is just absolutely tragic -- nine members of a Mormon offshoot community were massacred in Mexico, very near the U.S.

border. And officials are investigating whether the attack was a targeted attack, or whether it was the result of mistaken identity.

The victims were on their way to visit family. This is the aftermath, some charred cars, the carcasses of vehicles. They were traveling together for

safety when authorities believe they were ambushed by criminal groups.

And just in to CNN, this image of the family. These are some of the victims. They show five of the victims, the woman you see here and four

of the children including the two infants. The man you see on the photo is alive, and we've blurred the faces of the children who survived.

Matt Rivers joins me now from Mexico City with more. And, Matt, what more do we know about what led to the horrific deaths of these people in Mexico?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Hala, these people are members of a several-hundred-strong community of people that have been in this

area, this part of Northwest Mexico, for decades.


And what they were doing, according to family members that we were speaking to, they left -- three women, driving three different cars with 14 minors

scattered throughout each one of the cars -- they left together from the community in which they live going different places but starting their

journey together. Because in their mind, there was safety in numbers.

This attack that you talked about started around 3:00 p.m. according to the Mexican government, and it was carnage. There is really no other way to

describe it. I mean, look at the video, look at the after math, you can see that that car is peppered with bullet holes all over the place and it

was lit on fire.

We spoke to the man who shot that video. The man who shot the video of that car was the grandfather of the four children that were inside who die,

and he wanted to record that. He told us because he wanted the rest of the world to see the savagery of the people that did what they did. He's

obviously devastated, he is heartbroken, but he's also very angry. And what he says is the Mexican government's complete willingness to allow

impunity to criminal groups operating in this area.

And just quickly, Hala, about this area, this is Sinaloa State, this is a state -- excuse me, Sonora State, and this is an area that has plagued by

drug trafficking for decades now. Right now, there are groups battling over lucrative drug smuggling routes.

And what could have happened here, according to authorities and to family members is that they were targeted in a case of mistaken identity, cartel

gunmen mistaken these women and children for rival gang members.

GORANI: So that's a theory. But then I've read reports that some of the kids who survived actually run away, that some of them were shocked as they

were running away. So that would seem to discount the theory that this was some sort of unfortunate tragedy of a family caught in the crossfire. I

mean, there's still so many questions.

RIVERS: Absolutely. And that was a question that I put to some of the family members that we've spoken with throughout the day today. And they

do give the possibility that this was a mistaken - you know, targeted by mistake.

But they also say that it could have also been a specific targeting of these people. What they say is that over the last several months, these

community of hundreds of people, which has been here for decades, has come under more threat by drug cartels operating in the area.

And if you ask why, the people who live there will say that it's because of the government in Mexico, and the belief amongst criminal groups that they

can get away with more simply than they used to.

Now, the government would, of course, deny that. They would not buy into that but that is what people on the ground are saying. And anyone who

doesn't tow the exact line that drug cartels want them to tow, which perhaps this community is not, they could be targets.

Again, we need to point out, we don't know exactly why this is happening, but that is certainly, you know, you bring up a good point, and that's

something the families are considering as well.

GORANI: Yes. And this fits into a wider, wider pattern and statistic in Mexico over 30,000 murders this year. So there's a big problem there with

that -- in that regard.

Thanks very, Matt Rivers, live in Mexico City.

And the U.S. is offering to help Mexico, by the way, with this investigation. President Donald Trump says, "This is the time for Mexico

with the help of the United States to wage war on the drug cartels and the U.S. is ready to help." He tweeted Mexico's president thanked Mr. Trump

for the support and says they will talk further.

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney echoed Mr. Trump's remarks urging Mexico to crack down on the drug cartels. He calls the killing a great tragedy and the

cautioned the attack is under investigation.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): The briefings I have haven't suggested a motive, and so I really don't have an answer to that. I'd be surprised if it was a

targeting, frankly. I think it's more much likely to be something associated with the business of the cartels. But I don't think we'll know

until a full investigation is carried out.


GORANI: Mitt Romney, of course, of the Mormon faith, and the people who were massacred and murdered in Mexico from the Mormon community as well.

And now to northern Syria where Turkey says it may have found an intelligence gold mine by capturing the sister of none other former ISIS

leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He was killed last month during a raid by U.S. Special Forces. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in the Syrian town of Tell Abyad where she's embedded

with Turkish forces carrying out their operations there.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senior Turkish officials telling us that Baghdadi's sister was captured along with her

husband and a daughter-in-law.

They were captured in the town of Azaz in northern Syria in a housing container. And now they are basically -- Turkish authorities are

interrogating them.

And, as you mentioned, they believe that this could potentially be an intelligence gold mine. They're hoping to get insights into how ISIS

operates. That's something that would help Turkey and Europe understand the threat that is caused by ISIS.


Now, while ISIS does remain a serious threat for Turkey, another threat, officials say, is Kurdish separatists, Syrian Kurdish fighters who, up

until recently, were operating in this area.

We're in the town of Tell Abyad. As you recall, this was one of the locations that saw some seriously intense fighting when that Turkish

offensive began on October the 9th. And it's been about three weeks since major combat operations came to an end here.

But, still, we're seeing Turkish forces, who were embedded with, today, carrying out clearance operations. They're sweeping areas and sweeping

them multiple times checking for explosives, for devices that have been left. And we are told by Turkish officials that they're finding explosives

on a daily basis and diffusing them, anywhere between 10 to 100 devices on a daily basis according to a senior Turkish official.

And just a short time ago, a car bomb, we're told, exploded in the center of the town of Tell Abyad. This just coming a few days after that

devastating car bomb attack that you mentioned took place at a marketplace, a civilian area where at least 19 people were killed in that attack on


Now, no one claimed that attack, but Turkey blames Kurdish fighters for that attack. The Syrian Democratic Forces, that mainly Syrian Kurdish

fighting force, have denied any responsibility for that attack.

But these kinds of missions right now are critical, especially as they're seeing civilians starting to return to their homes. According to the

United Nations, more than 20,000 people have returned to the town of Tell Abyad in the past few days. So this is what makes these clearing

operations very critical.


GORANI: Thank you, Jomana Karadsheh in Tell Abyad in Syria.

Still to come tonight, Russia's role in the British elections. I'll talk to the man behind the report, Boris Johnson is refusing to release. We'll

be right back.


GORANI: Right now, voters in four American states are heading to the polls in key races that will be very closely watched ahead of next year's

presidential election.

There are governor's races in Kentucky, in Mississippi, and they could signal just how enthusiastic the president's supporters are feeling.

Donald Trump held rallies recently in both of those states which he carried pretty easily in 2016.

Also, voters in New Jersey and Virginia are voting for state legislatures controlled of those State Houses will shape political districts after the

2020 census. So this is basically taking the temperature ahead of 2020 to see where voters are.


And, of course, because the system of the United States is not universal suffrage, it is an Electoral College system, battleground states are

extremely important like Michigan, for instance, which President Trump won in 2016. By the skin of his teeth, you might remember.

CNN's Jason Carroll takes us back to that state.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Picturesque small towns, affluent suburb, and overwhelmingly white. Michigan 11th is a

congressional district carved out of an area just northwest of Detroit.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who won the state of Michigan after decades?

CARROLL: It's also a district that voted for Trump in 2016 --

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Haley Stevens, the Democrat --

CARROLL: -- then flipped and elected a Democratic congresswoman, Haley Stevens, in last year's midterms.

It's a swing district in a swing state. So no surprise voters split on the impeachment inquiry.

SUSAN KERRIGAN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's a sham, OK? I think the president --


CARROLL (on camera): Horrible?

DUNNING: Yes. It's horrible.


DUNNING: Just horrible what they're doing.

KERRIGAN: The president's doing a great job.

CARROLL (voice over): In Plymouth, Michigan, Rita Dunning, a former autoworker, proudly shows her support for Trump on her Ford pickup truck.

DUNNING: Women in Michigan love President Trump. End of story.

CARROLL (on camera): Well, I saw your truck. I saw your truck.

DUNNING: Yes. Women keep -- quit saying women are not for Trump.

CARROLL (voice over): Tell that to Amy Neale, a marketing director who says the inquiry is long overdue.

AMY NEALE, SUPPORTS INQUIRY: I think it's heading in the right direction finally, the impeachment. I think we're getting the evidence we need. And

I -- you know, I hope he gets what's coming to him.

CARROLL: UPS worker, Steven Place, says it's the Democrats who deserve to have what's coming to them, he says for undermining a president who has

done so well on the economy.

STEVEN PLACE, UPS WORKER: Look at the real estate. I mean, house goes on the market, it's gone in a week. I mean, the economy is just booming.

CARROLL: Since Trump's election, the state's unemployment rate has dropped nearly one point. It should be noted, he narrowly won Michigan in 2016 by

just over 10,000 votes, after Obama won it twice.

CHRISTINE WILLIAMS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: He needs to face consequences for his actions.

CARROLL: Christine Williams is a small business owner who supports the inquiry. She says it's about more than just the bottom line.

WILLIAMS: I think it's important that the inquiry be going on. I also think it's important that we not be distracted by it and that there's

actually governance going on as well too.

CARROLL: About 30 miles northeast of Plymouth, in the upscale suburb of Birmingham, former Marine, Paul Kane, also supports the inquiry.

PAUL KANE, SUPPORTS INQUIRY: I've just been very disappointed in President Trump's behavior.

CARROLL: Kane says he's upset over how the president and his allies have criticized decorated war veteran and White House official, Lieutenant

Colonel Alexander Vindman.

KANE: That was just totally uncalled for.

CARROLL: James Melstrom, a financial adviser, could not disagree more.

JAMES MELSTROM, SUPPORTS TRUMP: I think that the Democrats are really just trying to overturn the results from 2016. And I think it's going to fail


CARROLL: Melstrom also says his newly elected Democratic congresswoman, Haley Stevens, will pay a political price for supporting the inquiry.

So much division, but that doesn't mean those who may disagree cannot be friends.

CARROLL (on camera): All of you 50.


CARROLL: You've been friends, some of you, since grade school.



CARROLL: And you can all talk politics?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even after we have a couple drinks.

CARROLL (voice over): This group celebrating their lifelong friendship and their differences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think, as a country, we've forgotten that we're all the same on some level. Political divisiveness isn't what is going to

further this country. We have to act on a common ground.


GORANI: Jason Carroll reporting.

Well, speaking of politics in this country though, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is delaying the release of a report on Russian interference

in the 2016 Brexit vote until after the December election.

Of course, the question of Russian interference has been a big topic of discussion in the United States, as well as in this country.

However, some lawmakers say that what Boris Johnson is doing is intentional, that they're accusing the government of covering things up.

The report was supposed to be published Monday. But Downing Street said it needed to go through an extensive review.

The chairman of the intelligence and security committee who authored that report said that it was cleared in early October and he called it

unprecedented, why there has been no response explaining the further delay.

And that lawmaker, Dominic Grieve, joins me now. He's also a former member of the Conservative Party who was expelled when he voted against a no-deal

Brexit. Thank you, Mr. Grieve, for being with us.

Why do you think the government is holding on to this report?

DOMINIC GRIEVE, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I have no idea why the government is doing what it's doing. It's quite clear it hasn't

followed normal process and it's putting out the most extraordinary fibs, really, about why it's not publishing.


It's argued that often, there's been a six weeks delay between submission to the prime minister and publication. But in the past, the committee has

sometimes decided not to publish immediately. It's wanted to organize press conference. He's making sure that copies are available.

In this case, we've done it a bit more in a rush because we want to get it out for the election, because otherwise, it's likely will never get out

until the spring of next year. And the prime minister has simply not provided an adequate explanation as to why he's not doing it.

GORANI: But you know what's in that --

GRIEVE: The report has already been cleared by our intelligence agency.

GORANI: And you know what is in the report. Is it something that would embarrass the government? Is there a reason electorally, you think, in

terms of Mr. Johnson's campaign strategy? Could it harm him politically? What is it in that report you think that the government does not voters to

see before December 12th?

GRIEVE: Well, I'm afraid that as the report is classified, I'm simply not in the position to comment on its content. It's important to understand

the report isn't just about Russian interference, you know, electoral processes or possible electoral interference, it's about Russia's threat

more generally to the United Kingdom, in terms of espionage, assassination, cybersecurity, a whole range of issues.

But one of those is uses undoubtedly Russia's established reputation for interfering in democratic processes in other countries, and it's possible

bearing on us. So I think it would be very informative for the public to have the content of our report. And I'm very sorry, it's not going to come


And as I say, there is no credible justification by the government for not doing it, but why the prime minster should have chosen this route, I simply

don't know.

GORANI: Well, so I know you told us this is the information contained within this report is classified. That being said, should voters in your

country in the United Kingdom be concerned that there is potentially even ongoing efforts by Russia to interfere with this vote coming up in


GRIEVE: The existence in this country should be concerned of Russia's capacity for attempted interference in democratic processes, and should be

interested in what is available to try to counter that. Those are key issues and our report is designed to shed the light on some of that.

But as I say, I can't go any further about the content of the report. Until the redacted report is declassified, I can't comment on it any


GORANI: All right. And you're saying you don't know why the prime minister is holding on to it, you can't comment on the content of the


Last question, do you think that voters in this country will be making the most informed decision that they can without having seen this report?

GRIEVE: I think it will be helpful for voters to see this report to understand the nature of the risks. That's, you know, a piece of sensible


I can't say more than that. As I say, what they should be worried about is a government that seems to now be falling into a pattern of telling really

untrue -- relations to explanations as to its conduct, and it's quite a pattern that this emerging here. It's rather Trump here quite frankly and

I'm rather worried about it.

GORANI: Dominic Grieve, the chairman of the intelligence and security committee here in the U.K. Thank so much for joining us this evening.

Still to come tonight, the U.S. formally cuts ties with the landmark Paris Climate deal amid an urging warning that climate change is making parts of

our planet uninhabitable. We'll be right back.


GORANI: A warmer planet could threaten life and cause, quote, untold suffering." And there may be no turning back according to thousands of

scientists from around the world who are declaring a climate emergency.


This is the United States does the opposite and takes a big step back to roll back regulations to protect the environment.

The Trump administration officially began the year-long process of leaving the Paris Climate Accord which is aimed at cutting climate warming gas.

The president has said the deal hurts American businesses and workers and this is why the U.S. is going to walk away from the Paris Accord.

However, many say the cost of leaving could be, in fact, much higher than advertised. Our Bill Weir has just backed from California where he saw

firsthand some of the results of climate change, and he joins me now from New York.

So this takes a year? What happens next now that the U.S. has formally declared its intentions to walk away?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's all built into the original framework. You know, when you get a lot of countries to agree on

something, getting them out of those agreement is sometimes just as complicated as the initial negotiations.

So a three year cooling off period was built in. And if a country says we're not going to do this, then a year would take place for them to

unwind, sort of planetary Brexit sort of situation.

But the -- ironically, the timing of that year is the day after the next presidential election in the United States. So the new president,

theoretically, could on day one, put America back in to this agreement.

GORANI: All right. A planetary Brexit, I hope not, or they're going to be negotiating in the next 30 years.

WEIR: Exactly.

GORANI: What's the real -- right. What's the real world impact of U.S. failure to adhere to these goals? Because the U.S. is -- and correct me if

I'm wrong. I'm not sure if it is the U.S. or China now anymore.

But is the U.S. the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses?

WEIR: Historically, yes, yes. The United States lead -- led the industrial revolution, so they put a lot more fuel into this fire as well.

But in terms of the real politic of this, while over 185 countries are in, a few have not yet ratified, and among them Iran, and Iraq, and Turkey.

Russia just ratified. China is actually nine years ahead of schedule.

And so if the biggest player on the block, the United States says we're not playing this game, that will change how all of the new technology happens

and who will be the winners and losers.

But what's interesting is you talk about the study at the top, Hala, by the scientists, these scientific warnings are getting more alarming by the


And as a result, there's a new study out of the London School of Economics had found as a result, economists are grossly under predicting the cost of

how much is this going to hurt and how much this is going to cost. They say, because, quote, the risks lie outside the human experience.

We're the first humans to walk on the planet this warm. And the last time there is this much carbon in the sky, the seas were 30 feet higher than

they are now. So there's no way to accurately model what comes next.

And so while a lot of people are paying attention to impeachment in the United States, and whether -- you know, the Ukrainian phone call will

cement the legacy of Donald Trump, I'm sure our children's children will look back at this moment and say this was the decision that will define

Donald Trump for generations to come.

I mean, imagine if FDR, as the Nazis were marching into France, and said, you know what? I'm the president of Pittsburgh, not Paris. They would be

speaking Germany in Pittsburgh in Paris, as a result and this is the equivalent of that on a factory of 100.

GORANI: Right. Sure. Certainly history would have unfold it very differently.

Thanks very much, Bill Weir. Appreciate having you on. And speaking of the Trump administration on Monday. It also proposed scaling back rules on

waste from coal fired power plants. This would affect how utilities store and dispose of toxic waste water and the coal ash, which is another form of


The administration says the change could save power plant operators $250 million a year. But opponents worry about the dangerous waste seeping into

the environment.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now live.

And let's talk a little bit about the impact of this rule -- I mean, what's thinking behind this rule change?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's exactly what you said. This is about profits, you know, frankly over

people. You know, the way people often cite the amount of money that could be saved, although those numbers are even a little bit hard to arrive at,

just in terms of whether or not those savings would ever materialize.

But, you know, what's happened here, Hala, is there was two big coal ash spills in the United States, one back in 2008 in Tennessee. Another one in

2014. I think we have some video of that. These were large, large amounts of coal ash.

What happens is you have these coal fired plants, they are built by, you know, usually rivers. They need some sort of water supply, since we've

started burning coal, one of the big concerns was, what did you do with the waste? They basically dug these holes on the ground, these pits and dump

the ash into those pits.

When they spill, as they did in 2008 and 2014, it prompted people to say, look, we've got to do something different. So in 2015, they said, you've

got to start closing these unlined pits. They're too much of a potential risk.


Those rules, it's those rules specifically now that are being reevaluated and saying, hey, look. You don't have to close them right now. We'll give

you more time, and that's where the people who are worried about the environment, that's what they're really concerned about.

And people usually think about air pollution when it comes to coal. But this really affect water supplies.

GUPTA: This is -- water supply. And, you know, part of it is just looking again at these -- the images, looking at how close these coal ash ponds are

two big bodies of water.

I traveled down the Catawba River in North Carolina, state in the United States, and it is considered one of the most electrified rivers in the

country because of the number of coal fire power plants all up and down this.

But exactly to that point, if there is a big weather event, you know, a hurricane or something, and some of the coal ashes actually pushed out

because of that, or if it just seeps out of these unlined pits into the groundwater, that could be a problem.

There's not evidence yet, to be fair, Hala, that it's gotten into the drinking water, but these are heavy metals we're talking about, cadmium,

arsenic, things like that. They want to do everything they can to prevent that from happening.

And they worry that the rollback of these rules, the ones that are proposed today, could potentially put them -- those areas in greater danger.

I should point out, you know, I've spent a lot of time there, Hala. Many of the people who work at those plants live by those plants. They want to

make sure it's as safe as possible as well. So today, they have additional concerns about that happening.

GORANI: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much for joining us. Thanks to all of you for watching tonight.

Stay with CNN. We'll have much more on the revelations out of Washington from those transcripts in the impeachment inquiry including the U.S.

ambassador to the E.U.'s revised testimony describing a quid pro quo.

This was an addendum that was sent from Gordon Sondland's attorney to Capitol Hill. And there were also some very interesting news emerging from

the transcripts of Kurt Volker, who was the former special envoy to Ukraine.

All that against the backdrop of two more witnesses today scheduled to testify who have refused to do so. So a lot going on with this impeachment

inquiry and you'll have a lot more on it on CNN in the coming hours.

That's it from me, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: An hour before the closing bell and the questions, of course, records on and off. But obviously, last night,

we're closing the record.