tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN September 14, 2019 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
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country's major oil facilities. joining me now, cnn's senior international correspondent ben wedeman. ben, how devastating is this for the oil industry and for saudi arabia? >> reporter: this is a massive blow not only according to sources familiar with saudi oil operations, saying 5 million barrels per day have been knocked out of production. that's about 5% of the world's oil supply. one of the places that was hit, that's the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world. so this is a massive blow to the oil industry, certainly in saudi arabia. now, these ten drones claimed by the houthis flew at least 500 miles to hit their targets. this is a level of sophistication from the houthis we have yet to see as far as
this war that's been going on between the houthis and the saudi led coalition. now, the coalition has come out with a statement saying that they're describing this attack as a terrorist attack, but interestingly, even though the houthis claimed responsibility, the coalition statement says they're still investigating who might have been behind it. fred? >> ben wedeman, thank you so much. joining me to discuss, cnn intelligence and security analyst and former cia operative, bob baer. bob, good to see you. these attacks and yemeni houthis, who in your view is supplying them with these at least ten drones? how would they be able to do this? >> reporter: well, the suspicion will be iran. the saudis will definitely accuse iran of this. and this is what is probably true because the houthis are backed by the iranians.
it's a very potent proxy force and the iranians know how to keep their fingerprints off an operation like this, but the suspicion as i said, fred, will be iran. >> so the two attacks alone have shut down half of saudi arabia's oil output. how vulnerable would saudi arabia be feeling about now? >> reporter: well, fred, it's hard to overestimate the effect of this attack because it's not just a fire that's the problem, it is release of poisonous gas, h 2 s, hid row general sulfide. it is deadly gas, will contaminate the infrastructure, and some estimates would put two years to repair it. so this is a catastrophe. >> and so what about endangering people that might live near
that, when you talk about contaminants? >> reporter: it certainly will, and workers there. we don't know that this attack took out the exchange which would have released hydrogen sulfide, but back in the '80s, this was the worst nightmare of the white house, that the iranians would hit saudi facilities, in particular outcake, and take out saudi production. we have to wait to see what sort of damage it did, these attacks. >> who would come to the assistance of saudi arabia in a case like this? you know, what allies in the region would assist in some kind of response or even do you see the u.s. in any way engaging? >> reporter: well, certainly american engineers will help repair the equipment but the real problem is if the houthis continue to attack, if iran is held responsible, and attacks continue all along the gulf, you know, we're moving toward the
logical war with iran. i don't see it any other way. >> then this comes at great risk, how the u.s. would calculate how to assist its ally, saudi arabia, when the u.s. not only provides arms to saudi arabia but has other interests in that country too. so what is being calculated for the united states on how and whether or when to engage? >> well, the real question now at the white house is should we hit iran in response to this attack. and what will the iranians do. this could cascade into a major war. we know this president is reluctant, very reluctant to get in a war with iran, he's even been talking to rowhani. but his back is against the wall. these attacks cannot continue without bringing down oil markets around the world. you just run the numbers, it's not good. >> so then what would be the calculus, what's the provocation
that comes with yemeni houthis targeting these tanks? >> reporter: well, i mean, they can also hit rostenura, shut off 10% of the world's oil resources, one figure. would they attack the uae, take out their oil? yes, it is possible. apparently there's no defense against the drones, they can come in low, fast, they're hard to detect, they can strike before you can respond to them, and there's no air defense system clearly that can take them out of the air. this is a huge attack, fred. >> what are they saying, i mean why, why would they attack in this manner, what would be the gain? >> reporter: well, the only way the houthis can respond to saudi bombardment is attack oil facilities. they have been doing it more than a year. they know that eventually they can bring the saudi economy
down. saudi arabia does not have the military to invade yemen. it's a quagmire already, they're just not going to go in. so who do you respond against? it's a real dilemma, respond against iran, get something that looks like world war 3, you don't respond at all, risk the houthis going after the arab gulf side, all of the oil facilities. it's a mess. >> it's a mess, and it's very significant. bob baer, thank you so much. appreciate it. >> reporter: thank you. still ahead, a former baseball all-star, red sox great david ortiz speaking out for the first time since being shot. what he is saying about the ordeal today. plus, president trump announces victory in the war on terror. u.s. counterterrorism operation killing the son of osama bin laden. details coming up. kim is now demonstrating her congestion. save it slimeball. i've upgraded to mucinex.
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a cockroach can survive heresubmerged ttle guy. underwater for 30 minutes. wow. yeah. not getting in today. terminix. defenders of home. red sox legend david ortiz speaking publicly the first time since shot in the dominican republic. in an exclusive interview with univision, ortiz recounted the moment he was struck, saying quote, when the bullet hit me, the first thing i felt was like a sting. the first five seconds i thought i was having a nightmare. he went on to say i was feeling something that i had never felt before, and that was just the
feeling of trying to survive. in june, ortiz was at a santa domingo bar with friends when video shows a man coming up, shooting him from behind. police don't believe ortiz was the target, but rather the victim in a botched hit attempt. i am joined by usa today columnist christine brennan. great to see you. >> great to see you, fred. >> amazing to hear his thoughts about all of this, amazing that he is making an incredible recovery. we saw him appear publicly for the first time, throwing out the first pitch at fenway park. how significant is this come back, the way in which he is handling it all? >> david ortiz and boston sports are intertwined in a way few athletes are linked to a city and in this case a franchise in
the red sox. he is remembered for bringing the world series to boston after all the decades of waiting, such a hero for the red sox team that won the world series three times, but also when the boston marathon bombing occurred and he went on the field and with an an expletive said this is our blanking city, it is a s if he was speaking for everyone in boston. sports fan or not. because he is larger than life, linked to the beloved team in boston, so fitting he would come back, throw out first pitch, surprising everybody and have his come back from this horrible shooting exactly three months earlier, have his come back so linked to boston and the red sox in a glorious way. >> so amazing. he even admitted that he almost died, falling into a coma but he
says he still only worries about his country's success. what is meant by that, how is that being received? >> the baseball stars and other athletes and other sports, especially the baseball stars going back to island nations, the dominican in this case with other incidents with athletes who go back, and they are of course loved, beloved, revered as heroes, coming back to talk to kids, be part of the community that's so admirable, but they're also targets and they have to be careful and this is certainly a warning to every athlete everywhere obviously, u.s. as well. but coming back and being part of their culture is so important to them, and again that's something that we should be applauding. obviously there are risks involved as we saw in this case. >> potentially being the target, that's one of the realities of being a public figure, but at the same time he was hanging out
at the bar with friends, is a testament to who he is, how comfortable he was at home. he was asked why did you go back there and not have security with you, and he is like you know what, i haven't argued with anybody in a really long time, and that time was on the baseball field. so that says a lot about his kind of character, demeanor. >> big papi, beloved in boston and in his home land. so many people were rounded up, around a dozen that are suspects in the case. i'm sure there's a sense of relief, looks like they captured a lot of the people, if there's a show of force like this in any community, you hope people that have the idea of targeting athletes wouldn't do that again. but it has lead to one of the great come backs over the summer. everybody that's been a fan of his is breathing a sigh of relief when they see him back, especially back in fenway park. >> lovely to be able to tell this story, you know, this way
and for it to be full circle. again, he is somebody that symbolizes hope, fight, and just an amicable, nice guy. christine, thank you so much. good to see you. appreciate it. >> you too, fred. take care. up next, beto o'rourke is demanding mandatory government buy back of assault style weapons. now the white house is responding as president trump looks to twent2020. more coming up. liz, you nerd, cough if you're in here!
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all right. gun violation is a passionate issue on the campaign trail. beto o'rourke delivered one of the most definitive responses to the issue in the wake of two mass shootings in texas last month, including one in his hometown of el paso. o'rourke said this about assault style weapons. >> in odessa, i met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an ar-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by the ar-15 in
odessa, there weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time. hell yes, we're taking your ar-15, your ak-47. not going to allow it to be used against fellow americans any more. >> so the trump administration is already seizing on those comments. >> when they were talking about higher taxes, they were talking about gun control, not just gun control, you had leading candidates for the highest office in the land talking about taking firearms away from law abiding citizens. well, the american people deserve to know this president, this vice president and these house republicans will always stand for the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. >> all right. let's talk more about this. i wi good to see you both. all right. iliana, you first.
o'rourke's comment, it is playing into the hands of the trump administration, republicans that are broadening it, saying it is not just assault style weapons but trying to take your guns away. how effective is this counter messaging tool, o'rourke's message going to be? >> i think it is likely to be pretty effective. the trump campaign strategy is to portray democrats as extremists, even before they have a candidate, to define the candidate before they're nominated and to say these are socialists, they're coming for your guns. and that used to be more extreme than where democrats were, but i think you're right, thathe played into their hands, likely to be played in a republican ad, regardless of who the candidate is in midterm campaigns and in the presidential campaign ahead of 2020. >> flip side to that, though, is that people know this hit really
close to home for o'rourke, happening there in el paso. you saw his visceral response on the campaign trail, what was happening. and now he has t-shirts that are already selling with, there it is, with this quote from that debate stage. do you feel like people will look at o'rourke and his moment on the debate stage and say wait a minute, i can identify with that, i, too, am frightened about when the next mass shooting might be. >> yes, and those people might exist in the democratic party. right now, standing for the gun control issue gets a boost for himself and be the voice for that on that democratic field, pulls the democrats to a line where they take a stand that says yes, we are in favor of control, or move closer to that than where the middle of the
debate politically has been a long time. the point is that him saying that, sticking to that issue, doubling down on the debate stage does put a standard out there that candidates have to answer to. many of them are moving that direction. we have seen from polling, even though the majority of the country does still favor issues like the assault weapons ban, majority of democrats especially, it is a polarizing issue when you get into questions of buy backs or assault weapons bans or magazine bans, unlike background checks, 90% of the country and 80% of republicans seem to support. as a primary for democrats, it will resonate with people. not an overwhelming majority that made president trump change his mind, but give the party something to rally around to distinguish the democrats in the primary season, whether it causes them problems for taking a stance that may be further than most of the vast majority
of the country is comfortable with in the general election, that remains to be seen. we have seen that gun control, there's appetite for some gun control in the general population. this puts more debate out there to continue as we go forward. >> gun violence, the economy, and health care are huge issues for the american voter. at the debate, you heard joe biden reminding people where he is on health care, defending his stance on building on obamacare and bernie sanders was challenged on his medicare for all. this as we see voters confront candidates at their events, giving their personal stories like this one at a sanders event last night. >> how are you going to pay it off -- >> i can't, i am going to kill myself. >> stop it. you're not going to kill yourself. >> i can't deal with it. i have huntington's disease, do you know how hard it is? you probably don't, do you.
i can't drive, i can barely take care of myself. >> all right. let's talk later at the end of the meeting, okay? >> so does this exemplify, make or break with candidates where are you on health care, and voters' accessibility to health care. sans debt. >> it is heartbreaking obviously. well handled by senator sanders, but health care really has become the defining issue of the democratic primary, and i think the debate was good in that it did give the top tier candidate, senator sanders, senator warren and former vice president biden a chance to really go at each other about health care. you saw senator sanders and senator warren attack biden and really say not going in for
medicare for all is a hack measure, he is not where he needs to be. and biden demands of them to explain how they're going to pay for these plans which he called impractical, said would be absolutely disruptive to the existing system. >> that was a unique approach for senator warren who is like i'm with him, bernie sanders, i like his plan, not necessarily elaborating on one she might be thinking about. >> right, interesting that warren hasn't tried to severely distinguish herself from bernie sanders' health care plan. that might work well for her. she's in large part not completely drawing her support from the same as bernie sanders, but a good number of support, but we're hearing ka could have knee. it is good to see candidates try to articulate what they would do with health care. it is also coming up as a mess on the debate stage as they argue with which element of
whose plan are better for which portion of the population, it can get a bit confusing. not taking a step that goes any more differently than bernie's plan, warren leaves herself room heading towards general election. clearly whatever democrat comes forward has to answer for the general conversation that's happening in the primary season in the party. and if it is her, she may have a chance to distinguish herself freshly coming out of that, if she ends up being the nominee, she said i'm with bernie, she hasn't put her own finishing touches on it. that's ground she could cover. >> maybe a reminder that the health care debate that's been going on decades, didn't just start within the past couple of years. all right. thank you so much. good to see you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. the son of osama bin laden killed by a u.s. counterterrorism operation. how big a victory is this for the war on terror? more next. in my line of work, i come face-to-face with a lot of behinds.
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we continue to follow breaking news in the war on terror. president trump confirming the death of hamza bin laden in a u.s. counterterrorism operation. he is the son of osama bin laden and was seen as an emerging leader of the terror group, al qaeda. the president releasing a statement today that said bin laden had been killed in a united states counterterrorism operation in the afghanistan pakistan region. with me now, retired rear admiral john kirby, former spokesperson for the state department and pentagon, also cnn military and diplomatic analyst, also with me, david rhode, executive editor. good to see you both. first reported hamza bin laden was killed over the summer. what's the procedure of verifying that before notice like we saw today from the white house is made public?
>> a couple of things go into this, fred. one, you want to be sure that you did in fact kill the person you think you did, and you're going to usually wait awhile to string all the bits of intelligence you can get, and all of the different strands to make sure you got the target you think you've had. we made the mistake in the past of announcing certain terrorist killed here or there, finding out later maybe they were grievously injured and survived. number two, you want to extrapolate all the intelligence through conduct and execution of the operation so you can disrupt future attacks or ongoing things they might have been planning. you want to be sure you take all of that information in intelligence on board before you come out definitively with a statement. not surprised it took awhile. clearly they were trying to get ducks in a row, make sure they had all the ducks in a row they needed to prevent future operations by al qaeda. >> david, what kind of impact
does this counterintelligence operation have on al qaeda? >> i think it has a large impact. there was concerns i think around the intelligence community that he could emerge as a new charismatic leader like his father. we're not sure of his exact birthdate, he was in his late 20s. there were reports that hamza bin laden married the daughter of atta, one of the pilots that crashed into the world trade center. so i think this is a significant victory for the u.s. intelligence community. my guess is a drone strike. there might have been signal intelligence came through to confirm his death. >> and david, none of us can forget, you were kidnapped by the taliban, it was in afghanistan, right, in 2008. you escaped and are here to tell us about your experience. so this correlation or relationship between the taliban and al qaeda, how strong is this
bond, is this ongoing relationship, almost like reliance on one another even? >> it is. i mean, it is a fact the taliban did shelter bin laden and al qaeda when they planned and carried out 9/11 attacks. there's a chance the taliban could mean this pledge of if they were in power in afghanistan, they would not allow al qaeda to carry out attacks. the question is so many groups are present now. there's a big and powerful isis affiliate in afghanistan, can the taliban control the country, even if they make this pledge. it shows how difficult it is to counter terrorism permanently and risks of pulling out of afghanistan. >> isn't it considered isis is kind of an off chute of al qaeda. i mean, sharing a similar ideology, even if some of the
methods may be different. >> al qaeda is in many ways shadow of its former self. off chutes, i agree it is symbolic, significant that we get hamza bin laden, but you just can't count out the entire group or off chutes. this should be a reminder that groups like al qaeda are still powerful, looking for ways to damage our interests and interest of allies and partners. i think it is very important that the president remembers if he wants to and should take credit for killing hamza bin laden, he remembers al qaeda and taliban still have a relationship, taliban haven't denounced al qaeda. i agree it is questionable whether they have the ability to prevent other terrorist groups from operating effectively inside afghanistan should they come back to power. >> david, what kind of chatter will be monitored, what would
the intelligence community look for in terms of response coming from the now confirmed death of hamza bin laden? >> there were several drone strikes near where i was held captive. foreign militants were killed when i was there, militants from use beck stan. my guards were angry, calling on cell phones and expressing anger. there may have been communications initially about hamza being killed and you would wait to see if new communications emerge over those several months, confirming he's alive. they were very angry. they saw these people that had been killed when i was captive as sort of great mujahideen, great leaders. i'm sure there was reaction like that when hamza bin laden was killed. >> good to see you both. thank you so much. still to come, the debate over gun control enters the corporate world. some of the top ceos in america
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welcome back. 145 ceos and counting, that's how many business letters signed a letter demanding lawmakers take action on the nation's gun violence epidemic, addressed to the u.s. senate, the letter implores leaders to, i am quoting, support common sense gun laws, including background checks and red flags. they also argue that doing nothing about america's gun violence crisis is unacceptable. the group of executives say the proposals are not only bipartisan but widely supported by the american public. rob frowine is the ceo of cabbage, a tech company that specializes in lending. he is one of the 145 ceos that signed the letter. good to see you, rob. >> thanks. i am grateful for you having me
on. >> what compelled you to do that? first off, how did you learn of the letter and that you would sign on? >> one of our investors shared the letter with us and asked whether it would be something we would support among other portfolio companies, so as soon as we saw it, myself and my co-founder, it was a no brainer. it was literally a few second decision to do that. it was consistent with what we had done in the past. >> let's talk about that in the past, after parkland, you were compelled to doing. >> yeah. what we did is we looked at our own practices and realized we're lending capital to small businesses throughout the u.s., and some of those businesses sold automatic weapons and sold guns to kids under the age of 21. we made a decision we weren't going to do that any more, then we also backed it up with capital, matching funds and contributions specifically. >> so this time what was the impetus, what are you hoping this commitment will then do? >> well, i believe you have to,
and you read the letter, that you have to do something, you can't stand around and do nothing. i'm for it, everybody has a different something. ours is we have the time, the stage, and we have the financial backing to be able to share this message and get more people to realize this is something that needs to be done. >> and doing something means you're urging congress to do more. do you feel they would be much more receptive to the letter of more than 140 american ceos urging you to do so when so many of the american voters or electorate, family members, people who were victimized by a host of mass shootings feel like they haven't been able to get them to move the ball on something. >> yeah. look, i agree. fact of the matter is there are a lot of groups that obviously don't support this kind of legislation, and they have a lot of money behind them, and corporations have been often asked to stay in the background,
not take a stand on matters like this. and i think it is important, my co-founder katherine thinks it is important to do the opposite and make sure we're part of that conversation. >> so what's the response you're looking for? this is a letter to congress. >> right. >> and at what point will you feel like members of congress hear you or are receptive to the letter? >> obviously, legislation, that does the trick, that allows for stricter background checks, red flag legislation. those things will be a step in the right direction. look, data, just knowing there are fewer shootings and gun violence in the united states is imperative. i as ceo, if i see data going the wrong direction, i must act as a business leader to make sure i turn it around or i should be fired. >> as a ceo, you're also calculating risk in how you make decisions and we know that walmart, that dick's sporting goods, they all took a hit,
heard from consumers that were disappointed, angry about decisions they were making about the availability of weapons on the market. so what kind of risks were you considering before signing this letter? >> you know, we have the top value at the company is care deeply, we care about employees, small business owners across america, we care about communities. when i look at that, this is a health and safety issue from my perspective. this is something that we all deal with regulation every day that relates to our own health and safety. this becomes obvious. what i need to do as ceo when my customers ask me is explain the position or when employees ask, explain the position, say it comes from the right place, from our heart, caring about people, not wanting people to be injured. >> are there complaints or grievances that come from customers as a result of you signing the letter?
>> it's been very few. there's been a few. we work with over 200,000 small businesses in the u.s. right now. you're always going to have a handful. what we really try to do is treat our customers as we would want to be treated, we talk with them, explain our position. try our best to help them understand we're on their side, on the side of everybody effected by this or could be effected by it. >> what's the personal satisfaction, if there is such thing, after signing the letter. what are you personally feeling after having joined? >> well, i'm thankful for having the opportunity to do that and i believe more organizations, by the way, the letter is now on the internet, can be signed by a multitude of additional ceos, i'm just one person out there, katherine is just one person. we need everybody to stand up and sign it now. >> all right. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thanks for coming in, too. jerry falwell jr. facing
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politico article where he is accused of presiding over a culture of self dealing, now he is facing backlash and protests over leaked emails that allegedly show him belittling staff members and a student. martin savidge is following the story. >> losing faith, an uncommon sight, students protesting at one of the largest christian schools in the world, targeting jerry falwell jr. >> not being a great religious us leader. >> founded by his father jerry falwell, liberty university in lynchburg, virginia, boasts a student body of 110,000 students. jerry falwell jr. is facing backlash over the culture and business dealings of the school. just this week, revelations from emails in the past decade where he belittles a student and staff member. >> we want to know the truth.
we want transparency through that process and want accountability from falwell. we want to know what our president is doing. >> protesters were also supporting falwell. >> i think it is taken out of context personally, but i think some of it might be true. i think a lot of it is probably exaggerated. >> reuters reported on dozens of emails, some of which contained offensive language. in one from 2010, falwell reportedly called a then student emotionally i am balanced a aand -- imbalanced and retarded. falwell quoted as lashing out about students parking in private lots instead of paying parking fees to liberty. quote, these students need to learn to play by the rules or they can go to another college. i'm tired of this crap. unquote. in other emails reported by reuters, falwell calls a university official a bag of hot air who couldn't spell the word
profit. in another, reuters says falwell calls another official a half wit, and easy to manipulate. speaking to cnn, falwell confirmed the emails were authentic, said they lacked content. saying i would have to see the full thread to see what i was talking about, unquote. falwell told cnn the emails are stolen, he asked the fbi to investigate what he calls a criminal conspiracy, saying former employees and board members leaked documents and emails in attempt to oust him. his demands for federal probe follow a poll it costory on unnamed sources, accusing him presiding over a culture of self dealing at the university, including real estate transactions that seem to benefit family and asosociates. he said i don't care what they say, in the end, they're going to look like fools. so i'm actually very much enjoying this week, unquote. martin savidge, cnn, atlanta.
>> thank you so much. a look at our top stories now. the food and drug administration has taken a major step approving its first peanut allergy treatment. the treatment could reduce severity of allergic reactions in children ages 4 to 17. the fda is expected to approve the drug by january. and a 66-year-old man has been arrested in connection with dealing and stealing this solid gold toilet from winston churchill's birthplace. police say thieves broke in overnight and tore out the fully fully functioning 18 karat gold toilet causing significant damage and flooding. that's one way to end the hour. in the toilet! just kidding. thanks for joining me. fredricka whitfield. so much more straight ahead in the news room.
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