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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  September 21, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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good afternoon. i'm pamela brown in for brooke baldwin. and we are following breaking news involving two major natural disasters, the scope of devastation becoming more apparent by the hour. right now in mexico city a race against time after tuesday's massive earthquake. rescue crews searching for signs of life at a collapsed school where dozens remain mising at this hour. of course we will take you live to the scene, but first, puerto rico is in desperate recovery mode after hurricane maria left a trail of destruction across the u.s. territory. blocks of collapsed homes and a power system that officials say is, quote, basically destroyed.
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the governor said it was the most devastating storm to hit the island this century, if not in modern history. all of puerto rico is under a flash flood warning. and rescue teams are out looking for people who may be trapped. maria is now a category 3 hurricane with an eye that spans 30 miles. imagine that, 30 miles. it's headed right toward the bahamas and turks and caicos islands and forecasters say rainfall totals could be the likes of that catastrophic hurricane harvey. today, the president, who plans to visit puerto rico, says help is on the way. >> puerto rico was absolutely obliterated. their electrical grid is totally destroyed. and so many other things. so we're starting the process now, and we'll work with the governor and the people of puerto rico. >> and nick paton walsh, cnn senior international correspondent, is in san juan with a look at the devastation there. so how is it? >> reporter: well, pam, actually, just as i was talking
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the wind has picked up here and we've seen a slight sort of change in the rain after a very calm morning. but people i think considering today the calmest they've seen in quite the last 36 hours or so. and really here most of the time walking around open mouth just trying to take in the kind of debris on virtually every street you find here. you know, this 36 hours ago was a prosperous bustling part of town and now it's got people walking around in a slight sense of daze trying to work out what their future lives actually spell for them because amongst all the statistics we've heard, the 3.5 million people here are without electricity for possibly the next four to six months. now, the buzz you hear in the background is of our generator keeping us on air with the signal, but most people around here are going to have to deal with a totally new way of life. what does that mean for your job, your education, your health care, if you can't rely on basic
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electricity. you've seen why because the electricity cables across the country, we took a drive from where the hurricane made landfall the east coast to here last night has shattered, strewn everywhere across the road, had to drive under low lying ones to get here, that means basics cannot be counted upon. that means the economy here already suffering heavy will probably take another heavy hit too. a more interesting problem short term people are facing is they simply have no information. there are no cell phones in operation right now. the hotel around the corner has a gaggle of people outside using free wi-fi to learn what they possibly can about the outside world, what happened here, people asking us when is the airplane open, it's tomorrow, by the way. also, how fast was that storm? 155 miles an hour and that's about the worst for at least 90 years. but moving forwards now the more simple questions about where do we eat, what do we do, how's fresh water going to come to us, if we haven't got electricity to pump it, all those amplify while unfortunately the attention of
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the world and the drama of the storm begins to -- so puerto rico already in a state of economic real concern before hurricane irma hit a fortnight ago, that was a glancing blow but caused a billion dollars worth of damage. puerto rico in for a very bad few months ahead, pam. >> absolutely. and just the thought of all these people there just concerned about having their basic needs met day-to-day in the wake of that hurricane. nick paton walsh, thank you so much. so will maria have an impact on the u.s.? cnn meteorologist allison chinchar is watching the current computer models. the 2:00 p.m. hurricane briefing came out whachlt are you learning? >> pam, we did see a slight increase in the winds. here you can see the storm. it's starting to finally begin to push to the north of the dominican republic, but they're still getting incredibly heavy rain from some of those outer bands. winds are now up to 120 miles per hour gusting to 140. the good news is this is a weaker storm for the dominican republic that it was crossing over places like dominica and
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puerto rico, however has potential to increase a little more before ends up making its way towards the turks and caicos, however it moves further north and eventually hits warmer water. we expect to see this thing weaken pretty quickly because that cooler water really doesn't help hurricanes at all. and we're going to see a big difference. it's going from upper 80s now to mid 80s, then low 80s, then eventually into the upper 70s. that's really going to hurt the storm in terms of intensification factors. that's a good thing though for the folks along the u.s. who may end up getting some very strong rip currents and maybe some other impacts from this storm over the coming days. again, for the comparison note, this yellow line was irma, the red line was maria. we started off a little bit further south, pam, but now we're likely going to end up much further north than irma's track. >> all right. looks like on the trajectory it's not going to hit the u.s. allison chinchar, thank you so much. meantime, there's simply no overstating the devastation in
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mexico city right now. look at these visuals. we now know at least 250 people are dead. look at that. easy to see. rescue workers and volunteer digs on hands and knees trying to locate possible survivors under rubble. just incredible moments here as a woman is pulled to safety. you can see the relief on her face. freedom after being trapped for two long days under the rubble. at least 50 people have been saved from under the debris so far. and at a collapsed elementary school where dozens of children were killed emergency workers and volunteers are frantic this hour but exhausted, working through the night scrambling to save a 12-year-old little girl they believe is still alive there under the rubble. her voice, you can hear it under
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the rubble. well, rain throughout the night increasing fears of another collapse, workers are now using beams and pulleys to try and shore up the structure. i'm going to go straight to miguel marquez in mexico city. miguel, is there any indication rescue workers are close to freeing this trapped little girl? >> reporter: well, they think that she is still alive down there. and i'm whispering because we're in a period of silence here where the rescuers have asked that the entire area to be quiet so they can listen for signs of life. they believe that they have located the location where she is, there may be others down there with her. they are moving in from two different locations. i want to show you a little of what's happening here. you have volunteers up here and all the material going on this way where the rescue is actually taking place and they are meticulous, hand by hand, scoop
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by scoop as they are trying to get where they're going. they are for the most part using plastic buckets now to move debris out of the school so they can -- and then they bring it out into the street and pile it up and move it off into dump trucks later on. it is a much more organized effort here today than it was just 24 hours ago. but we are 48 hours into this now, so there is a sense of great concern that focus on the part of rescuers they did pull one person out today, unfortunately she was dead, it was a teacher in her 50s. she did not survive. rescuers now just hoping they can get to this 12-year-old and possibly some of her classmates, pam. >> just a tenuous situation there as they try to rescue this little girl. and toe are mind our viewers, you're whispering, miguel, because they want to be able to hear her voice or locate her if they can or any other kids that may be under the rubble. how concerned are crews that this building could suffer from
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additional collapse? >> reporter: well, that's the huge problem. it's like building a mine in reverse, essentially. they're going in as they move toward the location where she is they prop it up with 4 x 4s and steel, we've seen them take heavy pieces of steel in to try to prop up the building, but it's very, very slow going, pam. >> all right, miguel marquez, thank you so much. keep us posted there on the scene in mexico city as rescuers try to save a little girl and perhaps other children or teachers underneath that rubble. joining me now to discuss a rescue expert to explain some of what these emergency crews are facing right now. director of the california governor's office of emergency services, mark, this little girl it's been 24 hours since they heard her cry, they've been able to get supplies, like water to her, but why is it taking so long? what is going on right now? >> well, you know, you have to
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understand that when you have a collapse of a building of this nature, the size and the scope of the collapse, it is very, very difficult. it's like a house of cards that has basically collapsed. and so the rescuers have to consider the potential for secondary collapse. if they make a wrong move, if they cut the wrong rebar. if they move the wrong rock in an inappropriate way, it could bring down the building further. they could possibly kill the victim that they know exists, or they could injure or kill rescuers. so they have to proceed very carefully to be able to get in, dismantle this building and make a pathway to where the child is. and really that includes shoring up the building, using stability and reconstructing some sort of stable environment for a safe and secure way of getting in and getting out. >> and just curious, if rain comes, i believe that was in the forecast, how might that factor
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in to how crews handle this and how the rescue and the concerns that may raise? >> well, rain is a big factor in these kind of environments. the water adds weight, it depends on how much rain comes, but the water does add weight. you have water then pouring down into the structure. it basically takes a very bad situation and generally makes it worse. and, you know, in the past, you know, they're going to have to consider what is the impact to the rescuers as well as does that affect actually the victims still alive in the buildings. >> right. because there's great risk for the rescuers as well. i mean, they face the prospect of additional collapse. i remember i was in haiti after the earthquake there several years ago. and i was amazed just by the work of the rescuers and also even the victims. some were rescued a week after the earthquake.
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tell us what the prospect or prognosis could be for this little girl trapped under the rubble? >> well, it's hard to say without being there, but, you know, the fact of the matter is that a positive sign is that she's still alive, that she's still communicating. rescuers are still hearing noise from her. that indicates she's either in a void space or survivable space. now the question is now how do they carefully and methodically get into where she's located. it's not uncommon in a case like this where you've got all of this concrete debris that it could take hours, i mean, maybe even a day, to be able to get in and systemically and safely dismantle the area, the structure, build in a pathway and be able to get the young girl out. and this is going to be hundreds of these kind of rescues that are going to be taking place throughout the area. so this is one.
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they're about 42 hours into it. it's really just the beginning of the search and rescue operations. this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, as they continue to hear people and hear people's cries and then having to go in and dismantle those buildings. >> and we were just talking to our reporter, miguel marquez, who was on the scene who was whispering because the rescuers are trying to hear the voice of the little girl or anyone else who may be trapped under the rubble to help locate any of the victims under there. so we of course will be keeping a close eye on this. mark, standby, we're staying close to miguel marquez on the scene there. we're getting new video as well from right inside the rescue zone. stay with us as crews hopefully get closer to this little girl and any other survivors. we'll be back. i work overtime when i can get it. i need my blood sugar to stay in control. so i asked about tresiba®.
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welcome back. at this hour a frantic race to rescue a little girl underneath the rubble of a collapsed school in mexico city in the wake of an earthquake there. we have some video that we want to show you of the scene where these rescue workers have been working tirelessly to try to pull this little girl out of the rubble. they've been trying to locate her. it has been 24 hours since they heard her voice. they have been able to get some water to her, but they are still frantically trying to pull her out. i want to go to mark, director of the california governor's office of emergency services there. as you see in this video, mark -- actually, i don't know if you can see it. i can see it. our viewers can see it. but there are a lot of people there trying to rescue this little girl right there. i'm curious what is the risk when you have civilians involved in a rescue effort like this? >> yeah, i mean, well, there is a risk because you've got this
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great effort and enthusiasm to want to get in and help. you can see in the video people are making debris line and being able to help. there is a benefit in that it gives you force capacity of people, but when you want to get into the building, you really need expertise to be able to get in and shore that building up and be able to safely get to where the victims are located. and so sometimes when you have too many people it's a little chaotic. you can see the things here it's asking people to be quiet. it's very difficult at times to get the crowd to be quiet. they're not really using -- it doesn't appear they're using electronic listening devices or other kinds of high-tech equipment. so they're really having to listen for themselves as to where the sound is coming from. it's difficult to hear where the cries are coming out and where
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you're hearing it could be a different location to where the victim actually is. >> right. >> all these people are great to help, but you do need a sense of coordination and to be extremely effective. >> i was wondering how reliable that was because as i mentioned it had been 24 hours since hearing her voice. what are some of the other challenges that are facing these rescue workers at this hour? >> well, you know, with each hour that passes it becomes more challenging to, you know, for survivability. there's no question about that. the fact that you'd reported they were able to get some water to her tells me maybe they know exactly where she's at. it's just they have to get the building dismantled around her. and, you know, dismantling the building like this in a collapsed pattern, this is almost like a pancake collapse, as we call it, it's difficult to be able to move debris and concrete or cut a piece of rebar without maybe having another
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reaction to the building. so, again, they have to really -- they have to shore up a pathway to get to her. and then once they get to her, you know, they can maybe start to actually do medical treatment before she's actually extricated. the survivability goes way up if you can actually begin to do medical care at the victim's side even before the victim is actually extricated. so, you know, they've got some challenges ahead of them. but if they in fact know where she's at and they can reach her even before she's extricated, the chances for her survivability will go up greatly. >> so walk us through what they need to do to prevent that domino effect of further collapse of the building, which of course, you know, could mean very bad things for the victims who are still alive trapped underneath that rubble. what do they need to do to sort of prevent that from happening? >> well, the first thing is is to be able toeally have -- you're basically rebuilding the
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stability of a structure that has lost its structural integrity. and so you have to find the most appropriate way, if there's a pathway into the building, and then begin that process of doing what we call cribbing. these are a series of blocks to build up this foundation. and then using these long shoring devices, which you see in the video is actually these large poles that are -- that they're using to be able to make sure that the building doesn't come down. so in essence the rescuers have to rebuild that structural integrity as they move forward. they dig a little. they remove debris, maybe they're going to use heavy equipment. they have to do that very carefully. and so they have to consider that for every action they take there will be an equal and opposite reaction to the way that building performs. and of course they're doing this all when there's potentially aftershocks. and an aftershock can, you know,
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destabilize the structure even more. so it takes a lot of very careful action. that's why these kind of situations take time. you also are using heavy equipment. you're using cutting tools. you're using breaking tools to break through concrete. you just can't move a large slab of concrete. you have to cut through it or break it and then move forward, build that structural integrity and take another couple steps forward. so, you know, here you see th they're using dog teams. that also helps to tremendously accurately accelerate the point at which victims can be located. it also gives the rescuers the ability to build the plan. so you've got the dogs that alert, you may want to come in there with listening devices to confirm. and then the rescue teams begin the process of building the plan to go in and reach to where the victim is located. it's a concert of activity, coordinated activity with all of the teams working together to get to where the victims are at.
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>> yeah, they really have to work in harmony to be able to reach those victims. thank you so much, mark ghilarducci, thank you. >> thank you. more on this breaking news in mexico city, plus, puerto rico starting to get harvey-like rains as hurricane maria devastates the region. this is cnn's special live coverage. we believe in a fit for all. maybelline's fit me foundation. fits skin tone and texture. blurs pores. controls shine. our most diverse shades ever. maybelline's fit me matte and poreless. make it happen. ♪ maybelline new york it's my decision ito make beauty last. roc® retinol, started visibly reducing my fine lines and wrinkles in one week. and the longer i use it,
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well, breaking news. the president has just signed an executive order slapping north korea with new sanctions. and tightening the economic screws on north korean leader kim jong-un hoping he'll stop his development of nuclear
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warheads and the missiles to deliver them. this comes as the world is still reckoning with president trump's threat to totally destroy north korea. trump's words rattled many, but not it seems, north korea's foreign minister. back home, we have a saying, the dog barks but the caravan continues. if he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that's really a dog dream. joining me now matthew rosenberg, senior national security analyst and national security correspondent for "new york times." so, matthew, what do we know about these sanctions? >> the sanctions try to target kind of broad section the north korean economy from manufacturing information, technology, i think textiles are there. the trump administration's going to be briefing in about 20 or 30 minutes for mull full picture of it. but looks at banks outside north korea doing any business with north korea. it really is an attempt to choke off north korea's economy. saying if your going to keep
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pushing on this, there are ways to punish you short of trump's promise which is destruction. i think at this point anything that sees an attempt to peacefully resolve this problem or this issue is probably welcome news to most people in the world and certainly people in the region. i think, you know, there's the issue of how far can you push north korea. you don't want to collapse its economy. south korea's made very clear japan, china, do not want to see a state collapse there. and if you're going to really aggressly try to knock out its economy, you're risking a lot more disorder, a lot more, you know, problems that aren't necessarily easy to manage. >> right. because these countries that you mention they all have a stake in it. so what is china's posture with this? what is china's role? >> apparently, so trump as he was announcing this said china's central bank has instructed its banks to stop doing business with north korean banks. if true, and that remains to be confirmed by china, that seems to be a step in support. saying, okay, we agree with you, we'll get on with this.
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that would be a real diplomatic victory. i don't think we want to downplay that that if that is the case, if china, russia and others agree to go along with tighter sanctions, then, you know, that is a diplomatic success for the trump administration. >> and speaking of diplomatic successes and the idea of perhaps going to the negotiating table with north korea when asked about possible dialogue with north korea, the president said why not. what did you make of that response? it seems like a different tone than just a few weeks ago where he insinuated that that would not be an option. >> i mean, at this point, you know, expecting consistency from president trump on these issues, it just -- i don't expect one and i don't think many of us do. but, look, i think in a lot of ways that's similar to president obama, president bush, president clinton. if you want to this to end, you're probably going to have to talk to north korea. and if they're willing to talk, you know, that certainly seem what is trump is willing to do. again, that would be, i think for most people in the region, around the world, a good thing.
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because, again, that's not the use of violence to resolve this issue. but that threat hangs over there. and how talkative the north koreans are going to be with somebody who's constantly threatening to destroy them, to bomb them, you know, that will only go so far. and i think north korea's shown it doesn't respond particularly well to threats. it tends to get its back up like many countries and many people around the world do. >> right. almost seems to embolden them even more. h.r. mcmaster, trump's national security adviser, was on cnn's "new day" this morning and i want to play his reaction to a question about him calling kim jong-un the rocket man. >> well, it got everybody's attention, right? and we need to get everybody's attention. we cannot take the same approach we've been taking on north korea. it is really, really an urgent problem now. >> so what do you make of that, matthew? getting everyone's attention, do you think the shock tactics work when dealing with someone like kim jong-un? >> we've talked about it, people
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have really seemed to notice it. if you wanted his attention, that seemed to have worked. i don't know what you do with the problem with north korea, i don't think president trump does, i don't think anybody does because there have been a lot of attempts to try to solve this through sticks and carrots and none of them have quite worked. so i think, you know, at this point, i don't think mcmaster is being insincere there. i'm not sure many people would choose to kind of be glib, refer to somebody as rocket man, but, you know, if it works, it works. >> right. all right. seems like nothing is working at this stage with north korea, but we will have to see how this unfolds with the news today that there will be new sanctions imposed on north korea. matthew rosenberg, thank you so much. >> thank you. and up next, back to our breaking news out of mexico city. crews working around the clock scrambling to save a 12-year-old little girl they believe is still alive in the rubble of a collapsed school. dozens of others missing. we'll take you back live to the scene up next.
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back to our breaking news out of mexico city. crews have been working around the clock scrambling to save a 12-year-old little girl they believe is still alive. her voice heard underneath the rubble. i want to check back in with cnn's miguel marquez in mexico city. so what's the latest? >> reporter: well, we're in the same situation we were earlier. i'm whispering because they've called for silence. it seems every time we're about to go live they call for silence. we've had this many, many times an hour just down this way. now we're actually back to normal volume. they've called off whatever moment of silence so that rescuers could listen very intently to the area where they are searching. what they believe they have done is found -- figured out where the little girl is using thermal imaging. they say it is possible that there are others down there with
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her alive. they are moving in from two different directions, but it is very, very slow going. it is very difficult for them to do because the building has basically pancaked on top of itself. they don't want to cause further collapse. they don't know how much room she has to move. we were told they were able to get a tube down to her and get water down to her. it's not clear whether she can actually get to that water, whether she is pinned or not. it rained quite heavily here last night which further complicates things as well. they did have -- were able to bring out one person today, an adult, unfortunately, it was a teacher here at the school and she did not survive. the teacher in here 50s here at the school. we just saw one of the students here, a young woman named lulu who had a bunch of dolls with her, she has come back to the school with her mother just to see what's happening here to seek some sort of solace. she escaped here. so many of her classmates are left behind in that building.
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21 have died there. they're hoping they can bring these others out alive, but it is fascinating to be in this location because it is become sort of this magnet for the entire community. there are people who come to sing religious tunes. there are volunteers everywhere just waiting to be called to go into the scene so they can help. it has become an entire communal effort here everyone focused on this one little girl. they feel if they can save her they can certainly feel much, much better about how things are going. keep in mind this is one location. there are many, many locations not only across mexico city but in large cities to the south, closer to the epicenter, cities like puebla hit very, very hard by this earthquake, and we are only beginning to understand how much of those cities have been affected. in some cases entire neighborhoods were pretty much flattened, pam. >> just very quickly, when was the last time they heard this little girl's voice, do you
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know? >> reporter: i don't know. 24 hours ago they were saying they were able to hear her. it sounds like they are able to keep some sort of communication open with her. it's one reason that they keep asking for moments of silence because they are trying to communicate with her, figure out where she is, who else might be down there with her. so it sounds like they're in some sort of regular communication with her, but i don't know when the last time they were able to have some sort of communication with the little girl, pam. >> okay. miguel marquez, thank you so much. of course we'll go back to you in just a few moments. we also have some new reporting today about president trump's former campaign chairman and possible contact with kremlin-linked officials during the campaign. "the washington post" reports that paul manafort offered to brief a notorious russian billionaire about the election two weeks before trump accepted the gop nomination.
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well, that billionaire has worked with manafort in the past and has direct ties to vladimir putin. a source told the post that in july 2016 manafort sent an e-mail to an intermediary that said, quote, if he needs private briefings, we can accommodate. "the post" also reported that message is just one of a cachet of e-mails being reviewed by special counsel mueller's team. joining me to talk about this cnn lauren coates and cnn garrett graph executive director of aspen institute's cyber security and technology program. first to you, garrett, in manafort's private briefings he asks how he could use his positive press and reputation to, quote, get whole. what do you make of that? >> it's a puzzling comment. and it's not the only puzzling comment that we see in both this report from "the washington
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post" as well as others that we've seen come out from -- concerning paul manafort and the way he was mixing business and politics throughout the campaign last year, both before he officially joined the trump campaign, while he was on the trump campaign and then after. and it's important to also understand that the russian oligarch that you mentioned isn't the only russian oligarch that in fact paul manafort has been doing business with. he has business ties to dimitri furtach who is one of the justice department's most wanted criminals, trying to extradite him to chicago right now from austria. and this is someone who is directly linked to simone mogalevich who is perhaps the most wanted fbi russian organized crime boss who for a number of years was the only international figure on the fbi's ten most wanted list with
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osama bin laden. >> huh. so, laura, to you. it appears based on "the post" reporting these e-mails that paul manafort was using his proximity to trump during the campaign to his advantage, perhaps creating an opportunity to get access to the russians. is there a legal consequence to that? >> well, there very well may be because what you have here is the prosecutors and the criminal probe investigators like robert mueller trying to figure out and assess whether or not somebody had motive, opportunity and whether they were vulnerable to being infiltrated or coerced into doing this sort of action. remember, what you have here is paul manafort who appears to be trying to not only capitalize on his position but perhaps monetize. those e-mails included trying to get people to pay debts back to him that were owed from the trump campaign e-mail address. so you have someone trying to monetize his proximity which allows prosecutors and criminal probe to say, well, now we may have somebody who was trying to
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do all that he can to secure that position and ensure that his global positioning, especially in the area, was at its top. but you also have the absence quite frankly of one smoking gun. it's been described as innocuous, these e-mails, not particularly explicit on what he was going to do or whether the meetings actually took place, but you don't actually need that in this particular prosecution because what you need here is leverage. i think that's what mueller is trying to capitalize on somebody by going 11 years back into his financial dealings, trying to figure out whether this person will in fact be able to cooperate with the mueller investigation. that's why all eyes right now are on manafort. >> right. it's all about the leverage it seems in this investigation. garrett, vice president mike pence talked about russia this morning. take a listen to what he said. >> what i can assure you is that we're fully cooperating with the special counsel. and we'll continue to do that.
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i've made clear that during my time on the campaign i was not aware of any contacts or any collusion with russian officials. i stand by that. >> during my time, does that sound odd or especially nuanced to you? >> it sounds very legalistic. it sounds like, and lara can certainly speak to this as well, sounds like the type of answer you would be practicing and rehearsing so that when and if you're interviewed by robert mueller's investigation or grand jury down the road, you're giving a very narrow nuanced answer. but remember, this is consistent with what mike pence has been saying basically since the first moment these allegations began to swirl, which is that he has been trying to distance himself from them. he has been saying that he had no knowledge of these contacts, that he does not have -- he's not linked to the aides who have
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been linked to this. and that he's trying to put as much distance between himself and this investigation as he possibly can. in part because if this does end up targeting donald trump at the highest levels, either with a criminal charge or impeachment, then obviously vice president pence would be the one potentially stepping into that role. >> all right. lara coates, garrett graff, thank you very much. >> thank you. we are following breaking news involving two major natural disasters including the desperate scene unfolding right now in puerto rico getting pounded by heavy rains after hurricane maria devastated the region. cnn is on the ground there and we will check in live coming up.
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late-night comic jimmy kimmel has gone from funny man to fact checker once again in the nation's health care battle. for the second time in days he called out senator bill cassidy and his new health care bill. well, kimmel says the graham/cassidy failed to live up to cassidy's promise of passing the jimmy kimmel test by fully covering americans with pre-existing conditions. the louisiana senator then pushed back saying kimmel doesn't understand the bill. and kimmel fired back yet again. >> i get it, i don't understand because i'm a talk show host, right? well, and then help me out, which part i don't understand, is it the part where you cut $243 billion from federal health care assistance? am i not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having
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pre-existing conditions? maybe i don't understand the part of your bill in which federal funding disappears completely after 2026, or maybe it was the part where the plans are no longer required to pay for essential health benefits like maternity care or pediatric visits. >> all right. let's talk more about this. i'm joined now by chris cillizza, cnn politics reporter and editor at large. chris, how ironic is it that a tv host is becoming an obstacle of sorts to the president's agenda right now? >> about as ironic as a celebrity reality tv star is the president of the united states, pam. >> fair point. >> we live in interesting times. look, i do think to an extent this is reflective of a broad thing we've seen which is there are really no more lanes anymore. remember people say stay in your lane when lebron james would say something about politics or that kind of doesn't exist anymore. and kimmel, i think, is the most recent and most high profile example of it, but the truth of the matter is he's right.
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you can say that this bill -- let's just take pre-existing conditions. you can say that this bill covers them because theoretically it would, but it allows insurers to set rates on it, which means you could say we'll cover your pre-existing condition, but your premium is this high and you're not going to be able to afford it. so it's a question in theory it would cover it, in practical terms it's more likely that jimmy kimmel's view on it is accurate of how it would play out as opposed to bill cassidy who are is selling -- understandably he's the bill's sponsor but is selling the best case rosiest version of the bill. >> right. and it says in there that it would have to be affordable, but that's not well defined in the bill. so there's a lot of question marks still about that. >> yeah, affordable is in the eye of the beholder, right? >> exactly. >> we know that. unless there are set numbers, you get into dangerous territory there. >> right. and there are no set numbers there as far as i understand. senator grassley just made some frank comments about how passing
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a plan to replace obamacare is more about politics than policy. here's what he told "des moines register." he said, you know, i could maybe give you ten reasons why this bill shouldn't be considered, but republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. that's pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill. your reaction. >> michael kinsly famously says a gaffe in washington is when someone tells the truth without meaning to. i don't know if chuck grassley meant to or not, but that's a fact. this is a rock and a hard place for republicans. the rock, they spent eight years saying the second we have full control we're going to get rid of obamacare. and everyone cheered and it helped them win back control in the house and senate in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. the hard place, very little polling suggest people want this. there are real world concerns that people could lose their insurance, people could struggle to meet medical needs with this
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insurance. and, frankly, as chuck grassley pointed out, they still can't necessarily get to that 50-vote plateau. this is what happens when you are the minority party and you make a lot of promises and you become in control of everything, house, senate and president. people expect you to make good on those things you said. and it's a lot harder to govern than it is to campaign. and that's a truism for both parties from the time politics started until today. >> yeah. >> and it will be year in the true 40,000. >> it's not going to change. that is the truth. >> that prediction i feel comfortable making. >> you feel good about that one. i do too. all right, chris, thank you. >> thanks, pam. we have some more breaking news. president trump today taking action to put new pressure on north korea. this time china is directly involved. the question now, will this plan work to de-escalate the nuclear standoff? the white house briefing just moments away. patrick woke up with back pain. but he has work to do. so he took aleve.
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and top of the hour now. i'm pamela brown. we are anxiously awaiting to see whether a little girl trapped in the rubble of her school for two days now will be pulled out alive. the frantic search to find her and other possible survivors a familiar scene across dozens of sites across mexico city and beyond. buildings reduced to rubble in tuesday's quake. and we now know at least 250 people are dead. just one look at this is easy to see how that death toll could rise. rescue workers and civilians

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