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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 12, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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morning and read about things i allegedly said or things mr. trump allegedly said or people who are going to be fired or whatever, and it's just not true. that's my frustration. i mean no disrespect to you all. >> he said more than that. we'll talk about all of it, but let's go first to cnn's jeff zeleny who's at the white house. what are you learning about why general kelly came out today to speak to the press? >> reporter: anderson, actually, we learned just a short time ago, i was talking to a white house official who tells me that the president asked his chief of staff to go before the cameras today to quell so much of the questions here that have been going on about all the things in the west wing, staffing, other matters. so this was the president urging and asking his chief of staff, who's quite camera shy, which was pretty striking when he walked out into the press briefing room to make his first appearance there, he was on the direction on the order of the president. anderson, tonight i'm told, by this white house official, the
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president thought he did a good job by putting to rest some of the speculation and talking the about serious matters. but i was struck by how much the chief of staff sounded like the president. he talked and railed against the false reporting in his view, the media in his view. he did not, however, address the tweets or the statements or the issues from the president himself. that's one thing he steered clear of. tingsally intentionally focussing on the false reporting. he did so with a small and got some laughs in the room, but in many ways he sounded like his boss. >> he also talked about what the president considered to be his biggest challenge. >> reporter: he did, indeed. he laid out, in pretty stark terms, what the challenges are, which we've heard, of course. but to hear this retired four-star marine general laying them out was pretty stark. north korea, of course, not a surprise. he said, yes, people in the u.s. should be worried and concerned that the homeland here could be struck. also talked about iran. so those were the top two challenges. also talked about how slow
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things move through the government here. he didn't talk about the terrorist threats or afghanistan or isis, but did talk about the nuclear threats both in north korea and iran. >> general kelly was very specific what he considered his job to be when it comes to the president. >> reporter: anderson, i think this was perhaps the most interesting thing of all, because, of course, the general was brought in to instill some discipline and order into this white house. we heard, if you will a job description, at least how he's viewing it now, 11 weeks in, saying i can't control the president. but i can control what the president sees and hears. let's watch. >> i was not sent in to -- or brought in to control him. and you should not measure my effectiveness as a chief of staff by what you think i should be doing. but simply, the fact is i can guarantee to you that he is now presented with options, well thought out options. those options are discussed in detail with his team.
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and then he comes up with the right decision. >> reporter: so there's no question he has instilled some order here. but, anderson, at the end of the day, all the challenges that were there yesterday and earlier today still remain tonight. >> jeff zeleny at the white house. jeff, thanks. i want to bring in the panel. bakari sellers, molly ball, alex stewart and jenn saki. molly, when general kelly comes out and says everything is fine in the whitehouse and people shouldn't believe stories about chaos or dysfunction, a, is that believable, and, b, is he saying it as much for the president to hear as much as anyone else with jeff zeleny reporting that the president asked him to go out? >> right. i mean, nothing says i'm not going to get fired like calling a press conference to tell the world you're not going to get fired. this has happened over and over. this is like the tillerson press conference from last week and also similar to when jeff sessions was under fire and he called a press conference to say we're going to go after leakers. i think the people around the president have realized, that when he's mad at you, if you can show him that you have a common enemy, in particular the media, that is something that endears you to president trump.
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so i do think there's tension there. you never know where you stand with this president. he doesn't actually like to fire people, despite some of his bluster, but he does like to keep people on their toes and sometimes even hang them out to dry. so you have these continued sort of humiliating command performances by top members of the staff or cabinet in order to curry favor, in order to your question, i think, to speak directly to the president through the media and to say, look, i have your back and i'm subservient to you. >> janice, as someone who worked in the white house, how did you see today? >> look, i think they have this problem, which is this perception that general kelly was unhappy, that he was about to leave in some capacity, whether being fired or of his own accord. in that sense, he helped himself and he probably helped the president for the moment because he took some air out of that balloon. there were things, as molly said, that he said that were a little strange and slightly bizarre, that probably, if john
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kelly were talking to you, anderson, and not on camera, he wouldn't have said. like the president believes that there shouldn't be nuclear weapons in the world. that he agreed with everything the president's tweet said this morning. part of this was the audience of one, and that's donald trump. so part of it was john kelly reassuring trump he's with him and also trying to take some air out of the balloon publically. he helped himself, i think, for the time being. >> it is interesting because time and again over the months we've had people from the white house come out and say, look, the reporting about problems in the white house with jeff sessions, with, you know, anthony scaramucci, with sean spicer, with reince priebus, it's all incorrect. only then later to have the other shoe drop. >> sure. and that's normal when we're talking about a lot of palace intrigue kind of news stories. i think a couple things with regard to the timing. general kelly made it clear he intended to address the press
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and attend a briefing once he got his feet on the ground and figured out what base he was on any given day. that, in addition to the president ask ing him to put out these fires is why we have the press conference today. i think the question -- the main points with regard to answering a lot of the palace intrigue, i'm not quitting, i'm not getting fired, i'm not here to control the president's tweets, those are things the press has been talking about. but he also went further to say, look, my job, one of my priorities is to control the flow of information to the president, and i've been successful with that. i think the bigger substantive issues that he addressed today that i think americans are really concerned with are what keeps him awake at night, what keeps the president awake at night, and he addressed that with regard to nuclear weapons with north korea and, in time, with the iranians. and he said, look, as molly said, the president talks more about, i'd just as soon do away with nuclear weapons. and i think that's important. in addition to reinforcing the administration's commitment to helping puerto rico and those affected by hurricanes.
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>> bakari, you're a democrat, how did you see what kelly said? >> well, there wasn't much difference between what chief of staff kelly, general kelly, and others have said behind that same podium. look he came out, he defended donald trump, he deflected anyone from believing there was any discord in the white house, and he blasted the media. it was the same type of message we've heard from the white house. the difference was the messenger was more calm, he was more serene, he was more subdued, he was more thoughtful and deliberate. what people expect from someone who stands behind that presidential seal. dare i say that the chief of staff, general kelly, looked more presidential than the president himself himself. i know that's going to drive the white house crazy and the president crazy. but he looked more presidential than even the white house. but can i just say, let's just toss aside this belief that somehow general kelly is going to change donald trump. that has not happened. that's not going to happen. what we have seen for the past 70 years in donald trump is
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going to be the same person that we see through the tenancy as president of the united states. general kelly is -- >> sorry. molly, it also seemed like general kelly was basically trying to reset in the public's mind the parameters of what his job are. bakari's point, saying i'm not here about tweets. all i'm here about is the flow of information, presenting the president with options in an organized way. >> i think along the lines of what bakari was saying. you did see in a lot of ways the reasons general kelly is valuable to the president, the white house, because of that even temper, demeanor. but also very much because he has realistic expectations. he knows if you go in there thinking you're going to rein in donald trump, you're going to drive yourself and everyone else crazy. he has a realistic idea of what the parameters of the job are. he knows nobody is going to make donald trump stop tweeting weird things in the middle of the night. so he's focussed on, in a very
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sort of precise and military way, what are the things i can control. what are the the inputs i can get a handle on. what are the aspects of the chaos i can tame. given that the man in the center of it, the chaos generator in chief, is not tameable. >> what's interesting, jenn, though, this isn't all just stuff coming from reporters with sources named or unnamed. you had senator bob corker talking on the record to the "new york times" saying, i know that every day in the white house it's a battle for people to try to control the president. >> that's exactly right. and as we know from other reporting, a lot of the sources are high level people in the white house, including president trump himself and people who are senior advisors. so the notion this is coming from absurd sources doesn't pass muster. they cleary have a problem with this ongoing "game of thrones" style mode of governing. i think general kelly clearly has, at least from the outside, taken steps to improve information flow, but not only
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can he not control president trump, he can't control a lot of the characters and personalities that are still in the white house, even after the departure of people like steve bannon. >> anderson, one thing, they've always had troubles with leaks throughout the campaign and the administration. that's something i'm sure general kelly and all of them would like to address. the reality is, as much as i would like them to succeed, a lot of the problems with regard to the media come from the president's tweets that get them off message. so at the end of the day, if there was any way anyone could pull back on that a little bit, that would solve the issues they're dealing with. >> it not only gets them off message, but often undercuts what his own people have said the day before. much more to talk about with the panel ahead, including the president's executive order on obamacare. depending on who you ask, it either makes good coverage more accessible or amounts to out and out sabotages a program that millions of americans rely on. we'll discuss that next. and later, the sort of thing you simply cannot imagine, moms -- mothers being deceived, children for all intents and
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some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before or during treatment, always tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have flu-like symptoms or sores, have had cancer, or develop any new skin growths, or if anyone in your house needs or recently had a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems, including headaches, seizures, confusion, and vision problems. these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. some serious allergic reactions can occur. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. we're fed up with your unpredictability. remission can start with stelara®. talk to your doctor today. janssen wants to help you explore cost support options for stelara®. the president took more action today to keep a campaign promise to undo obamacare. at the same time he did something he criticized president obama for time and time again, namely using executive order to get what he wants instead of relying on congress. he signed an executive order making it easier for small businesses to join together to buy coverage, also to extend short-term policies. critics say this could draw
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younger, healthier people away from obamacare marketplace and drive costs up there. it also points to provisions that would allow certain plans to drop customers with certain medical conditions or raise their rates. the president and many other republicans call it a step toward greater choice, lower rates. >> this will cost the united states government virtually nothing, and people will have great, great health care. and when i say "people," i mean by the millions and millions. >> back now with the panel. the president saying that he keeps hearing repeal and replace, this executive order starting that process -- is that what this is? >> no. this is not a repeal or replacement of obamacare. but one thing the administration and its opponents agrees on is this is an undermining of obamacare. it's an attempt to undo some of the parts of obamacare that critics find onerous that
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supporters of obamacare believe are essential to the health care system and are forecasting there could be disastrous consequences for the already troubled health care markets. i think politically what it means is whatever ends up happening in terms of potential legislation on health care, whether or not anything can get done, which the president is apparently optimistic about, the president is going to be on the hook for this politically. if people's rates continue to go up, if people start to lose coverage, this is now going to be -- he's going to own this. >> allison, to that point, the president is promising this is going to be great health care. to the point, does he own this now? >> well, the pottery barn rule goes into effect here, if you break it, you own it. i don't think we're on the way to breaking health care. i think it needs to be fixed. the reality is, you look at the numbers, one-third of counties in this nation right now have one health choice for people. if the health insurance companies continue to pull out of the market at the same rate,
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next year one half of the counties in this country people will only have one option. that's not sustainable. look, we're finding out that barrack obama is not the only person with a pen and phone. and since democrats and republicans in congress can't come together to do what needs done, which is repeal and replace obamacare, it seems the president has no option but to take executive action. i think it's good to increase competition. that will help to bring down costs. i think it's good to allow people to shop across state lines. and i also think it's good to enable small businesses to join together to purchase health insurance. so, ideally, we could have all republicans follow through on their campaign promises to repeal and replace obamacare, but in the meantime, this is the first step. >> jen? how do you see it? >> here's the problem. there are things that need to be fixed about obamacare, there's not enough competition in the marketplace, the cost sharing reduction payments aren't being made, that's the fault of the current administration. but you don't fix that by
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creating junk plans that lower the standards. the problem with these plans that he announced today in the executive order, is they will not cover pre-existing conditions, they won't cover maternity care. these are some of the issues that a lot of people, republicans, frankly had with some of the plans working their way through congress. and it will allow these associations to cherry pick which small businesses they want to work with. which means small businesses that have older americans, that have people with health issues will be in a bad spot. so this doesn't solve the issues. it, frankly, makes a situation that needs to be fixed much worse. >> bakari, is this trump fulfilling a campaign promise? >> this is anything but. the fact is -- and i think you said undermine earlier, but the probably better term is that this sabotages the affordable care act, also known as obamacare. you couple this with the fact the site will be down mysteriously for 12 hours on
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sunday, i was with the former secretary of health and human services that said there's research that shows sundays are the day people sign up for the market more than any other day. this is an intentional effort by the trump administration to undermine and sabotage obamacare. practically speaking, with these junk plans -- i'm 33 years old. many of my peers, many of those individuals who are getting off their parents' insurance and finding themselves in between, they're going to go out and they're going to purchase these junk plans. what that means is older, sicker middle class americans are going to have their premiums go up. it's not going to affect lower class and those in poverty because they will have subsidies, but it will affect middle class. donald trump and house republicans do not know what they're doing with health care. that's why every other group is opposed to this and only house republicans and donald trump are the only ones cheering. >> alice, if that is, in fact, the impact that bakari is saying, won't that hurt president trump and republicans a year, two years from now at the polls?
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>> time will tell. look, you have to go back to -- i hate to revisit this issue again and again, but you have to remember when obamacare was passed. we were promised if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance. lower premiums. and none of that proved to be true for many americans. so i think all intentions are best on the front end, time will tell how this plays out. i think insurance is like any other product that consumers buy. the more choices, options you have, the greater incentive it is for those in the insurance industry to provide better quality care at a lower cost and that is a benefit for people out there across the country. so the more we can do to increase competition for people across the country, the better. >> it does seem the president did repeatedly promise that preexisting conditions would be covered and people could stay longer on their parents' plans.
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if what bakari and jen are saying is true, that's not going to be fulfilled. >> he made a lot of promises. he promised that everyone would have health care and everyone would have great plans that would cost less. he's clearly not going to be fulfilling the fullest extent of all of these things he promised. i think, in large part, that's because he was willing to say anything on the campaign trail and let people cherry pick the things they liked out of the different things he said. so i think this has been an interesting object lesson in the leadership style of a president who is new to politics, who is new to governing. this is a situation where he failed to lead his party in the house and senate, despite the majorities they had. he was not able to use the power of his office and his personality in the bully pulpit and everything else. he was not able to lead them to a solution, bring his own party together behind legislation, even though they all agreed on
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the end point of some kind of repeal and replacement. but he wanted to get something done, and so he decided to do it in this manner and that was his priority. >> thank you. up next, once again president trump goes on a twitter rant over so-called fake news. this time he takes his anger to a new level and threatens to revoke broadcast licenses. could he actually muzzle the media? we'll get into that in just a moment. ♪ if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective. if other treatments haven't worked well enough, ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's.
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president trump is threatening the press again. twice on twitter yesterday he went on the attack suggesting broadcasting licenses should be revoked over critical stories about him. here's one of those tweets. with all of the fake news coming out of nbc and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license. bad for country. that question, when is it okay to challenge a news outlet's license is a loaded one, obviously. i want to talk it over with cnn contributor john dean, white house counsel for president nixon, and also cnn's chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin, a former federal prosecutor. john, you were actually in the room with president nixon when he discussed doing almost this exact same thing. explain what he wanted to do. >> well, what happened is i was in there to report on the indictments that had been handed down. he was very happy it hadn't gone higher than the men who were arrested at the watergate plus hunt and liddy. it was a 50-minute conversation where he rambled on about what he was going to do to his enemies in his second term, and
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that included a plan, that i now know today, he was developing with colson to file against licensees to try to get their broadcast licenses, and particularly "the washington post." indeed they would have conversations in some detail about setting up what today became fox news. not in that particular conversation. >> jeff, president trump obviously loves to go after the press, loves to bluster. how seriously should this threat be taken? is this something he actually could do? >> i think the answer is no basically. the way the licensing works is that local stations are licensed by the fcc. nbc, which he hates more than cnn at the moment, doesn't have a license to do news. it doesn't need license. cnn doesn't need a license from the government. but the idea of government harassment of the news media simply because the government
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doesn't like what the news media is reporting, is something that is prevalent in authoritarian countries, in russia, in china, in turkey. it is really -- the idea the president of the united states would suggest this is so repugnant that the fact it's basically impossible for him to do this is almost minor in comparison. >> john, obviously no president really loves the press. they're not supposed to be loved by the president or those in authority. not loving the press, though, and wanting to silence them are two very different things. >> very different. it certainly comes with the job they can expect criticism. nixon, his sore spot was the leaks, not unlike trump. he went to extremes to deal with leaks, to try to figure out who the leaker was. he wiretapped some 13 different people, including his own staff, to try to find out who was leaking.
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we don't know -- we don't believe that's happening at this time, but nixon was certainly always distressed about leaking. yet it came with the job. >> jeff -- go ahead. >> you don't have to be a lawyer. all you have to do is read the first amendment. congress, that is the government, shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. this would be a straightforward attack on the press, because the government, that is the president, doesn't like the press. and that is something that is simply not done in the united states. and that's been outside of politics. yes, all presidents get angry. but the idea that you would use the government's power has only been suggested by richard nixon, and as my brother john dean will tell us, it was part of what got him thrown out of office -- or on his way out. >> in terms of, john, an idea that's not a conservative value, the idea of government
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interfering with businesses in this way, let alone -- you know, ignoring the first amendment altogether, just from that is not a conservative value. you had republican senator ben sasse of nebraska, no fan of the president, tweeted, mr. president are you recanting of the oath you took on january 20th to preserve, protect and defend the first amendment. to jeff's point, john, that is what this comes down to. >> that's exactly what it is, it's an attack on the press. it's trying to intimidate them by threatening their licenses. he doesn't seem to understand it won't work that way. i think nixon had a better understanding. he thought the way to do it was create competition because he could only find voices on the left, and he had roger ailes in to talk about getting a voice on the right. >> thank you. breaking news out of california. the wildfires of the north, the death toll has risen to 31. making it now the state's deadliest ever.
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that number could, of course, rise with the potential for all of this to get worse in the coming days. a lot depending on the weather. we'll get the latest from the front lines next. hey, man. oh! nice man cave! nacho? [ train whistle blows ] what?! -stop it! -mm-hmm. we've been saving a lot of money ever since we switched to progressive. this bar is legit. and now we get an even bigger discount from bundling home and auto. i can get used to this. it might take a minute. -swing and a miss! -slam dunk! touchdown! together: sports!
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we have breaking news to report. 31 people have now lost their lives in the california wildfires. that gives it the distinction of being the state's deadliest ever. with strong winds blowing in,
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the fire fight could get worse over the next couple days. dan simons has the latest. >> reporter: we're on the front lines as firefighters try to keep another town from burning. the fire is coming up this hill. you can see the flames below us, the smoke is billowing. >> small spots only do two or three feet. >> in the hills above calistoga, it is a race to keep up with the flames. endless fuel makes it a daunting task. >> it's steep, rugged, there's a lot of thick vegetation. there's winds, spot fires burning everywhere. >> reporter: a half mile down the road, the fire has done just that. inching down this hill toward it is community. the team puts it out. they're exhausted, they use fire hoses as rope to make it up the hill. we find this firefighter trying to catch his breath. >> erratic fire behavior. that's about it. >> reporter: how difficult has
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it been the last couple days? >> it's been busy. it's definitely been busy. >> this is the worst fire i've seen in california. i think it's because of the amount of people affected. you have whole swaths of neighborhoods that look like a bomb has gone off. it looks like we've been bombed. >> reporter: the fire swept through so quickly here, residents say they didn't have time to grab even the most basic belongings. >> i took a photo of my brother and me, i lost him 11 years ago, and i wanted to make sure i had a photo of us. >> melissa cruz trying to keep the loss of her three-bedroom house in perspective. >> it's just stuff. at the end of the day, it's just stuff. man the smell is just terrible. >> reporter: back on the line, crews working overtime with little or no sleep. >> got about an hour's sleep last night. >> reporter: you're not able to get any rest? >> no. you have to keep up with the fire so that way you can try to save homes, property, and lives.
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>> the number of missing people, where does that stand tonight, dan? >> reporter: right now, anderson, it is at 400. that number continues to change. it is a very scary number. we now know this is the deadliest fire on record in california, and unfortunately it's probably going to go up. it's something that we should keep in mind is that this fire swept through the community in the middle of the night. we know when covering natural disasters, whether it's a hurricane, a tornado, a wildfire, for some reason people are not able to evacuate at night or choose not to evacuate we're seeing the -- apparently that being compound ed here in northern california as the death toll continues to rise. >> joining me is the deputy chief of the california department of forestry and fire protection, scott mclain. where do things stand with the containment of this fire? >> the containment on the tubbs
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fire i went up to 10% early this morning. it's continuing to climb, but it's a slow process. as you can imagine all the homes behind me that have been thoroughly destroyed. and we have to go through each home, each plot to make sure there's no hot spots so there's no chance of any embers. you go back up the hills you have topography that's difficult to climb and get into. so it takes times for our crews and dozers to get in there and do their job. >> so i mean, the difficulties -- the particular challenges with this fire is the topography and the winds. >> definitely the winds. this fire started eight to ten miles to the east in a community, calistoga it was compelled this way and by 1:00 hit a subdivision over the hill, 1:00 in the morning when everybody is sound asleep. and then it came through here, went across a four-lane freeway, and hit here.
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again, people are sound asleep. you look around here, you see cars. every home almost has a car still in front of it or in the driveway. so that's kind of telling me that it hit so hard people had no time. >> i understand it's also not just the flames and the winds, the smoke is also causing significant difficulties. >> yes and no. during the course of the fire, after that particular fire storm went through, we had what's called an investigation layer. the cold air holds that smoke down close to the ground. so sometimes we do have visibility issues and that would ham per our aircraft efforts at times. aircraft, they pumped 331,000 gallons of retardant yesterday alone, which is an all-time record. >> an ember that's carried by the wind, how far can that go and land and restart a fire? >> well, that's a very good point.
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with that wind pushing this fire this way, it was throwing embers way out, it could be a quarter mile, half mile, possibly up to a mile, depending on the topo a topography. every one of those embers is going to land in that vegetation and start a fire. that's how receptive this vegetation is in california right now as i speak. once those fires start from those embers, they grow and grow and grow. and they'll actually add to the speed of the main body of the fire. they'll draw that main body of the fire to them, making that fire most even faster and with the wind pushing it as well. >> this is a dumb question, but the fact that an ember can travel a half mile or mile and can light another fire is extraordinary. you're saying, if it does that and starts a fire, that draws the existing fire to it? >> it can, yes, as that new fire starts and develops and starts growing and growing, we're talking a decent size fire that's dropped from that,
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because it still has time to grow because that fire could be maybe three quarters of a mile away and it's growing quickly and starting that fire. i'm not talking just one ember. it could be a whole series of embers out in front of that fire. >> just incredible. chief mclain, thank you for talking to us. wish you and all your firefighters the best. you're doing an extraordinary and difficult job. when we come back, the heartbreaking story of this little girl taken from her home in uganda, sold to an american couple who thought they were adopting an orphan. a cnn investigation that uncovered families being duped next. take 5, guys. tired of your bladder always cutting into your day? you may have overactive bladder, or oab.
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randi kaye has part one of our exclusive of kids for sale. >> this is namada, and this is her with her adopted family in ohio with her adopted family. namada was born here, but in 2015 when she was 5. jessica and adam davis adopted her. they call her mada. the ohio couple already had four children of their own but wanted to take in an orphan. in october 2014, they got the call from their adoption agency, european adoption consultants. >> what did they tell you? >> we were told her father was deceased. that she was being severely neglected at home and her mother was leaving her open to abuse. >> couldn't provide education. >> never been in school. >> couldn't provide daily sustenance. >> they just kept saying this is a mother that does not want her child.
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>> so it was made clear to you that mada's mother was relinquishing her? didn't want her? >> 100%. >> no question? >> no. no. not at all. >> in april 2015, they flew to uganda to meet mada, their new daughter. >> she was in an orphanage, no toys, bars on the windows. >> the orphanage was called god's mercy. by september 2015 she was in ohio bonding with her new siblings. after about six months, as mada's english improved she opened up to jessica davis about her life in uganda and what she shared was alarming. mada told jessica that her biological mom was a really good mom who loved her. she even detailed how her mother there would walk her to school every day. >> every single thing in that file and that we were told aside from the file she unravelled to be a lie.
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>> a lie, how could that be? jessica alerted the u.s. state department. what did you tell the state department? >> everything she told me. everything was not true. and it sounds like she has a mother out there who really loves her and possibly a father. >> what were you afraid you'd find? >> that we somehow had participated in taking a child from a loving family. >> their fears would be realized. jessica contacted an organization run by karen riley, who found mada's biological mother in uganda and arranged a video reunion. >> why are you so excited? >> because i get to talk to my mom! >> how nice. are you happy? >> yeah! >> we are doing fine. how are you?
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>> and in that moment, everything changed. the real story of why she was given up by her mother to this family in america was exposed. >> with that face time call, she learned -- >> the true story. >> -- that her mother was tricked. >> tricked the davises say because mada's mother was lied to. she was told the davises were sponsoring her daughter's education in america, not adopting her. and that, if you can believe it, was just the tip of the iceberg because the davises have learned their experience was not unique. in fact, a cnn investigation has discovered multiple families have been duped. >> it works like this. children are being taken from their homes, placed in orphanages, and then sold for as much as $15,000 a child to unwitting families. the promise of an education with
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an ultimate return home all just a ruse. >> they hone in on vulnerable families, usually being single parents, with the "would you like an educational opportunity for the children." >> karen riley runs a group called reunite uganda says a villager turns trafficker makes a pitch at a church. mada's village was targeted. >> that's how it started in the beginning was the person who came to the church. that's what happened in the village, seven children went from the same village. >> one of many documents obtained by cnn has a statement from her mother. i had not realized that i had gone through a process to take away my parental rights completely. she states clearly she thought mara was going to be educated and returned back to me. >> i don't want to see another mother go through this. >> a uganda court says mara's referral form to god's mercy
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orphanage is fraudulent. it says her mother is helpless. the reason given for referral, no care is provided by the mother. the referral form is dated october 21st, 2014, exactly one week after the davises say they got the call that mara was available for adoption. at the time of that call, the davises now believe mara wasn't an orphan at all, but still living at home with a mother who loved her. >> if our child had been taken from us, we would want our child back. >> so, the davises did something remarkable. they filed paperwork to have the adoption vacated. they would take mara back to her birth mother. >> did you have the state department's blessing? >> they were saying you can just keep her if you want. i said to them, i didn't purchase her at wal-mart. >> one year after they brought mara home to ohio, this. >> so, mara, what's today?
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>> i'm going home. >> are you excited? >> yes. >> are you going to uganda? >> yes. >> what's the first thing other you're going to do when you see your mom? >> hug her. >> is this a long flight or a long flight? >> long. 0 >> after a 14-hour journey, mara finally arrived home to her village. [ laughter ] >> oh, my god! >> in september 2016, the uganda government officially gave parental rights back to her biological mother. but jessica's story wasn't unique. enter stacey wells. >> i just wasn't in it to, i don't know, to buy a child. i didn't need a child. >> stacey wells and her husband sean already had two sons, but in 2016 they adopted 7-year-old
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viola from uganda. they worked with, you guess itted, the same company the davises used. they, too, paid $15,000 to the company. they say that agency told them a story strikingly similar to namara's but this time it was about viola. >> what did they tell you about her mother? >> they abandoned the girls. after the dad died they told us she didn't feed them, that they were found sick, like dying basically. >> viola, it turns out, was taken to the same orphanage as mara, god's mercy. but later at her new home in west virginia, as viola became fluent in english, the truth started to unfold. >> a lot of it was how she talked about her mother. her experience in her home just did not match the paperwork. >> stacey, who spoke exclusively with cnn, also contacted reunite uganda to find viola's
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biological mother. karen told us her mom was also lied to by local traffickers, using the same false promise of education in america. >> viola wasn't an orphan. she was made an ovg so you could adopt her. >> right. >> stacey traveled back to uganda in november 2016 and reunited viola with her mother. >> i mean she was just running, and we get out, and her mother just embraces me. >> viola's adoption was a fraud and stacey says it's all about money. >> they are getting the orphans because there's a dollar sign. a market has been created. >> a market for children with a pipeline, it appears, back to the united states, which is where european adoption consultants is headquartered. and where we found the director of eavc's adoption programs. you helped with the uganda
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adoptions? >> no. >> were these mothers lied to? >> absolutely not. >> the story that happened to the families, it's obviously heart breaking. how many families could be affected here? >> it's hard to say how many families, anderson, were misled or tricked. but we may have just scratched the surface actually. we had been told about at least two other girls from uganda. they're actually viola's sisters who were adopted by american families and so far those women have been unwilling to reunite the girls with their mother in uganda. >> so, you mentioned the orphanage where mara and viola were taken. is that still open? >> the uganda government told us, anderson, the orphanage has been closed. they found they were operating illegally, prosecuting guardianship orders fraudulently and traffic being children. we weren't able to reach anyone from the orphanage to ask about this since it as p been closed the meanwhile the fbi and state department have been investigating eac to its ties to the alleged trafficking scheme.
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in fact, last year the state department debarred and shut down that adoption agency for three years after finding that eac failed to adequately supervise its foreign country providers to ensure that they didn't engage in the sale, abduction or trafficking of children. no charges have been filed against eac, but the fbi told us the investigation is ongoing, anderson. >> all right. incredible reporting. thank you. we'll be right back. hwab. oh really? thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs. how am i going to explain this? if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab. schwab, a modern approach to wealth management. does it look like i'm done?yet? shouldn't you be at work? [ mockingly ] "shouldn't you be at work?" todd. hold on.
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controversy out of the white house tomorrow afternoon at 12:45 eastern time the president is expected to declare the 2015 multi country iran nuclear agreement is not in the national interest. this de-certification edge, then, leaves what to do next in the hands of congress. a full report on that tomorrow. time now to hand it over to don lemon. cnn tonight starts now. >> this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. here's what we heard from the white house just today. on north korea, quote, right now we think the threat is manageable but over time if it grows beyond where it is today, let's hope diplomacy works. on congress, quote, i have nothing but respect for members of the congress and the staffs that work so hard for them. and on the devastation of hurricane maria and puerto rico, quote, our country will stand with those american citizens in puerto rico until the job is done. sounds good, right? calm, steady, mature responses to some of the challenges this administration faces. and i'd love to be able to tell