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Hurricane Harvey Makes Landfall; Trump Pardons Arpaio, Gorka Is Out; North Korea Launches Ballistic Missiles. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired August 26, 2017 - 05:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Good morning to you. So grateful to have you with us here. Two breaking stories we're working on right now. As you were sleeping, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas head on. And the White House is making major headlines, after a wave of controversial decisions were announced late last night.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Let's begin with the hurricane. Harvey has been downgraded to a category 2 storm. It is still dangerous, though, top sustained winds at 110 miles per hour. The eye of the storm now whipping through the Texas Gulf Coast.

Millions of people we know were there. So many decided not to leave. A lot of them in the dark now. They've lost power. The winds have knocked down trees. Power lines have been snatched down.

PAUL: And there is torrential rain that's destroying buildings, we're told. The flooding will become life threatening, if it has not already. We should point out one driver, take a look at this, tried to get through storm surge, didn't make it. Ran into some really deep water there.

Forecasters warning some of these areas we're looking at, they'll be uninhabitable for weeks, possibly even months. There's one mayor telling his residents, if you didn't evacuate, write your Social Security number on your arm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who are going to stay, it's unfortunate that they should make some type of preparation to mark their arm with a Sharpie pen, put their Social Security number on it and their name.


BLACKWELL: Wow. Also some major news coming out of the White House last night. First, President Trump, he pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now Arpaio could have faced jail time after he was convicted of

criminal contempt related to targeting undocumented immigrants. Then his controversial White House adviser Sebastian Gorka also resigned. And the president signed a directive banning transgender military recruits.

PAUL: And more follow-up in the Russia investigation. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting this morning that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining the possible role that former national security adviser Michael Flynn played in seeking and getting Hillary Clinton's e-mails from hackers.


PAUL: So obviously, a lot to talk to you about this morning. But first, we want to share with you some of the most recent images that we're getting in to CNN of what Hurricane Harvey has done to the Texas Gulf Coast.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The rain is on track to create a disaster for that area. And our reporters are seeing the worst of it.



MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems that every hour, I keep telling people that it couldn't get worse. And yet, every hour it does seem to get worse. And now, it's about the worst we've seen.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you're out here in the darkness, you can -- the wind is howling so loudly that it's really hard to hear anything beyond that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane Harvey is making landfall as we speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Corpus, we've been dealing mainly with this strong wind. And it's been going for three or four hours now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that wind right there. Not only is the water parting but the wind is whipping it into a froth.

SAVIDGE: Even though this storm has come ashore. It's not the end of anything. This is really the beginning of the second or perhaps even more the more deadly or dangerous phase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our ears were popping when the eye was arriving. The pressure dropped really, really quickly, like you're going up in an airplane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From this spin process (ph), rain and heavy, heavy wind.

SAVIDGE: This just fell a short while ago on our position here. You could imagine and this is why you don't go out in a storm like this, when this stuff is in the air. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's interesting that this thing is turning into quite the marathon.


PAUL: All right. We have a team of reporters on the ground in South Texas. Nick Valencia is in Corpus Christi, Polo Sandoval standing by in San Antonio.

Let's start with meteorologist Allison Chinchar tracking Hurricane Harvey. She is in the CNN Severe Weather Center.

Allison, now a category 2 but that's wind only?

Still a rain event?



PAUL: Thank you so much.

I remember last night listening to Martin Savidge saying -- and this was before the rain even hit -- but he said the wind itself felt like a blast from a jet engine and that was before the rain came in. Now he's finally been relieved of his duties and is going to able to get hopefully some sleep if he can.

Nick Valencia is taking over live from Corpus Christi now as well. And that's where Hurricane Harvey made landfall of course.

BLACKWELL: Nick, how is it now right now?

I see you have the jacket off, so it looks like the rain has slowed down at least?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have the cover of a parking lot here, Victor. So we have yet to go out in that rain. In fact, officials just tweeted a short time ago, warning residents not to go outside because of the potential for dangerous downed power lines.

That's the story line this morning, Hurricane Harvey hit South Texas and weakened. Make no doubt about it, those rains were heavy and those winds were howling, starting at 7:00 pm local time. But the power outages here were the main problem.

Of the about 211,000 people without power in Texas, the majority of them are right here in Corpus Christi, about 160,000 of them. While we were expected to take a direct hit and suffer the major brunt of Hurricane Harvey's damage, it was about 20 miles away from here in Rockport that suffered significant damage.

The eye of the storm hovering over that city. We heard stories of firefighters hunkered down in a fire station as that eye of the storm passed over. Even though this hurricane has weakened, however, there is potential for major catastrophe. Allison was emphasizing in her report a while ago --


VALENCIA: -- the concern for officials is the potential for major flooding, as this storm system stalls over Texas and continues to dump rain in the days to come -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Nick Valencia for us there in Corpus Christi.

Nick, thanks so much.

Let's go down to CNN's Polo Sandoval, he is in San Antonio, Texas.

PAUL: Polo, I understand you're seeing the first effects of the bad weather there. And we need to point out, evacuees moved from some of those more coastal areas in San Antonio to try to find a reprieve, try to find some protection.

What are you seeing there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Christi, this is certainly temporary home for hundreds of people. A couple of reasons why we're here in San Antonio. One is the precipitation that this storm will be bringing, we're finally starting to see the first of it, that first band, of course, we're expecting more rain in the days to come.

There is that concern of flash flooding in inland cities like Austin and San Antonio. And the other reason why we're here, this is a state and federally designated evacuation area.

Yesterday, we spent some time in one of the shelters here that's been set up in San Antonio that's received hundreds of people from these coastal communities from Corpus Christi. At this point, San Antonio now offering up to 6,000 shelter beds. These are people coming in from the coast.

We saw something like this play out in 2005, with Hurricane Katrina, when Behr County, which is where San Antonio is located, essentially opened up its doors and offered refuge to some of these residents.

I heard from the mayor yesterday and the governor, they're saying that they are setting up the shelters indefinitely. After I spoke to one of the evacuees, they're saying they have no idea when they're able to go back home.

And lastly, to Christi, there are so many individuals saying because their homes are much older than others, they feel like they may not have a home to go home to. This is where they're waking up today, about 130 miles away from the coast -- Christi.

PAUL: I think this is what's so difference for people to stomach, is that they just have no idea how long it's going to before they can go back and see what is left for them. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. We appreciate it. BLACKWELL: As you say, we have our reporters stretched out not just the Gulf Coast but across the state. And we'll continue to watch Hurricane Harvey, now a very strong category 2.

Again, that downgrade does not mean that the danger is over. This is still a wind event and the rain event could go on into the middle and maybe the end of the week. Stay with us here on CNN. We'll get you all of the information on the hurricane.

PAUL: And we also have to talk about the Trump White House and the busy Friday night they had, including the controversial presidential pardon for the man once known as the toughest sheriff in America.





BLACKWELL: Welcome back to our live extended coverage of Hurricane Harvey. You see the radar on your screen. The storm now pounding the Texas coast. And we've seen a lot of the damage. We're going to show you more of the video that we get in.

Taking down trees and ripping off roofs. There was a report of severe damage to the courthouse in Rockport, Texas. And this storm came ashore as a pretty strong category 4.

PAUL: You had obviously the high winds, as you can see there, the torrential rain. And right now, it has been downgraded to a category 2 storm. This is still very dangerous. The winds at 110 miles per hour. And the flooding, officials are warning, life-threatening. Not just for today. But the next five to seven days. That's what we have to watch for.

Here's the thing, thousands of people, they did evacuate the area. But there were many who refused. They wanted to ride out the storm, as you see this person who is trying to get through some water, didn't work very well.

Rockport, Texas, as Victor mentioned, officials there -- and this might be the most jilting thing we've heard -- are telling the people who stayed to write their names and Social Security number on their forearm to, quote, "help our first responders, should they find a body."

BLACKWELL: We'll continue to watch Hurricane Harvey. But we're also watching what's coming out of the White House, beginning with president Donald Trump pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A staunch Trump supporter, you know that, Arpaio was recently convicted of criminal contempt for violating a judge's order in a racial profiling case. And he continued to target people at traffic stops. He was awaiting sentence when this pardon came down.

PAUL: Also controversial presidential adviser Sebastian Gorka is now the latest White House departure. This was a move that wasn't a complete surprise, we should point out. He just lacked the credentials to be a counterterrorism expert. We're getting the latest on all of this from CNN's Alexander Marquardt.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is no coincidence that the Trump administration decided to drop not one, not two but three major stories as Texas braced for a massive hurricane and a disaster to follow. White Houses have long been known for dumping stories negative for them on Friday nights.

But the Trump administration has become notorious for it in the past few weeks.

Now first, a presidential pardon for the highly controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to stop racially profiling Latinos. The president had hinted strongly that he would do it.

Now the Justice Department making clear they had no role and a source telling CNN, this is the president's pardon. Arpaio thanked Trump on Twitter. Trump called him "a worthy candidate" for a pardon after a, quote, "life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration."

Then another bombshell: senior White House counterterror aide, Sebastian Gorka, out. He was a vocal and high-profile spokesman for the president, firmly in the camp of Steve Bannon at the White House and with Bannon out, it was believed it would just be a matter of time before Gorka was as well. Part of the house cleaning that chief of staff John Kelly has undertaken since he took the job.

And with no fanfare, a third major piece of news, a signed memorandum by President Trump, blocking transgenders from joining the military. It's a reversal from an order from President Barack Obama. President Trump ordered a six-month study of transgenders in the military to be carried out by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

In the meantime, it is unclear what that means for transgender troops currently serving. Much of it will be up to the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. So while many questions still loom, it is little mystery why these three stories broke tonight -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: Certainly, after the presidential pardon, Arpaio tweeted his thanks to the president. He also called his conviction a political "witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama Justice Department."

PAUL: The former sheriff also spoke to FOX News about what he's planning next.


JOE ARPAIO, FORMER ARIZONA SHERIFF: He supports law enforcement. I'm very humbled. If you recall two years ago, I supported him and I said publicly recently, 'Pardon or no pardon, I will be with him until the end.'

I'm going to have a news conference early next week and get to the bottom of this, show the abuse of the judicial system and politics. I'm not going down without trying to defend myself --


ARPAIO: to all those people that don't like what I've done.


PAUL: In the meantime, there's been a lot of reaction to this. Arizona senator John McCain in fact says, "The president has the authority to make this pardon but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law, as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions."

BLACKWELL: Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general fired by President Trump in January, tweeted this, "With his pardon pen, POTUS reveals his own contempt for our Constitution, our courts and our founding principles of equality and justice.

PAUL: And CNN political commentator Ana Navarro calls the pardon, quote, "a slap in the face of Latinos."


ANA NAVARRO, CNN COMMENTATOR: Part of me is not surprised but at this point, I don't expect anything. I just don't expect anything positive out of Donald Trump. But part of me is shocked, shocked within a week, where there has been the backlash out of Charlottesville, in a week where he just now signed the order banning transgender.

It's like this guy, all he wants to do is represent the 34 percent base. He's not the President of the United States of America. He's the president of the divided states of America. All he wants to do is pit American versus American.

He has got to know what it means to the Latino community, to most of us in the Latino community, to pardon Joe Arpaio. It is a slap in the face for most Latinos.

This man has built his career o n being a racist, discriminatory, a guy who does racial profiling. He is symbolic of attacks on the Hispanics and immigrants in Latino communities of Arizona. What he's done today, Donald Trump, is another slap in the face to the Latino community.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL: We'll talk more about what came out of the White House overnight and the timing of those.

But next, Hurricane Harvey hitting the Gulf Coast of Texas and we'll go live to Corpus Christi and speak to a storm chaser who's been watching all the damage.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: So glad to have you with us here during our live coverage of Hurricane Harvey. It is a monster storm. And it is barreling along Texas' coast right now. It's got catastrophic rain attached to it, brutal winds we've been watching. It made landfall as a category 4 storm. It has been downgraded to a category 2.

But do not think that things are OK there. Take a look at some of the pictures coming in here. There are power lines down. There are roofs collapsed. There are upwards of 200,000 people who do not have power.

BLACKWELL: So many people headed north, headed west, to try to get to higher ground to get away from the storm. We know thousands of people stayed. Unfortunately, many of the rescuers cannot get to them when the winds are as strong as they have been.

See that on your screen, someone there trying to drive across a flooded road. Never do that. You may think you know the roads, you may think that you know how deep the water is based on an ordinary day.

You have no idea if the road is still there. We know that first responders are staying where they are, waiting to assess the damage, so they can get out to some of the people who need some help.


STEVE SIMS, FIRE CHIEF, ROCKPORT, TEXAS: Well, as being a firefighter, of course, we're still bunkered down in our station, we have hurricane force winds outside. But we do know we have significant damage throughout the area. We are inundated with calls, with people needing help. But we're waiting on the weather to allow us to do it.


PAUL: Here's what's so frightening about this storm, too. We're watching it unfold today. But this is an event that's going to last for five to seven days. And I want to go to Allison Chinchar, our meteorologist, who's been watching this.

Allison, talk to us, too, about the eye of the storm. When that eye starts to deteriorate, you know things are getting better.

What does it look like?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And, Christi, you and I were talking about this earlier. That was the part that's surprising. The eye is actually still relatively intact even though it's now inland. Usually you see the storms deteriorate rapidly once they get over land, they're no longer are in what we call as a favorable environment.

But this one is still holding its own as best as it can in the short term, which is why it is still a category 2 hurricane. Yes, it had been a 4; we are starting to see things improve. But I don't want people to let your guard down. Folks, it's still a category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 miles an hour. The gusts being even higher than that.

One of the other threats we are also concerned with, flooding is going to be your biggest one. But there's also the threat for severe weather in terms of tornadoes. We had some reports of tornadoes yesterday. And that threat for tornadoes is going to exist for the next several days.


BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar, stay close. We're going to get back to you in just a moment. We're going to check with some of the reporters who are out in Texas now.

Let's go to CNN correspondent Nick Valencia, he is in Corpus Christi.

Nick, first to you. I just want to get an idea of not only of the conditions now but is there an idea of how many people stayed in Corpus Christi, despite the warnings and the requests to leave?

VALENCIA: And, Victor, you know this from coverage storms in the past. There's always, no matter what part of the country you're in, going to be a group of people who ignore what local officials say, ignore what state officials say and decide not to evacuate.

There was no mandatory evacuation issued by the city of Corpus Christi.


VALENCIA: It was just an order for voluntary evacuations. I spoke yesterday to a city official who says we hope we don't come to regret that.

This morning though, we still don't have a true sense of the magnitude, the impact here. He have to wait until the sun comes us. But there were a lot of people, we still don't have an exact number but there were a lot of people who decided to stick it out here.

This is an area in coastal Texas that has been through severe weather before. I'm joined by one of those local residents, Dave Burch (ph).

You're here, you evacuated to the Omni Hotel right across the causeway here in Portland.

How did you fare last night?

What did you think of the storm?

DAVE BURCH (PH), LOCAL RESIDENT: Just had a lot of winds, a lot of rain. It was a little unnerving with things hitting the windows. But aside from that, we were able to get some sleep and everybody is fine and good.

VALENCIA: Talk to us about your evacuation. You said you were working late in the afternoon and you didn't have time to board up your house. Take us through that.

BURCH (PH): That is correct. I did have time to board up the house but just enough time. So I made reservations at the hotel about three days ago. My wife and I got off of work, not until late in the afternoon. We both came home and in a frantic pace, boarded up our house and got everything taken care of and headed over to the hotel. We're just 10 miles away.

VALENCIA: We were talking all day yesterday reporting from that seawall, we came across so many people who decided not to evacuate. Our anchor, Victor Blackwell, wanted to know how many people were -- decided to do the same thing.

Do you know a lot of the people that decided to stay in Corpus Christi as well?

BURCH (PH): Not a lot. But unfortunately, we didn't have that choice. It was a --

VALENCIA: You missed the window, I guess.

BURCH (PH): Exactly. We missed the window. And by yesterday morning, it was -- the conditions were already getting pretty rough. We didn't want to get stuck out heading north on I-37 and get stranded out there in the storm.

VALENCIA: Was this as bad of a storm as you thought it would be?

BURCH (PH): Well, it's really hard to say, we've been in the dark the entire time in our hotel room.

VALENCIA: And it's not over yet, right?

BURCH (PH): It's not over yet. That's just it. We don't know what we're going home to.

VALENCIA: All right, Dave, well, thank you so much for taking the time this morning with CNN. You can't see off camera here but he's got a cute little puppy that he's walking around. A lot of the residents just doing laps in the parking lot. They've been hunkered here for the last several hours, the worst of this storm hitting at about 7:00 pm last night and going all through midnight.

You saw Martin Savidge's reporting throughout the morning. Corpus Christi was anticipated to and projected to get a direct hit. It seems though, just from our vantage point right now, we'll go out in the elements a little later as that sun comes out. But it seems that we dodged a major bullet here, guys -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Our Nick Valencia for us there in Corpus Christi, good to know that. One of the concerns that a lot of people have when they decide whether or not to evacuate or not is what can they do with their pets. It's good that this gentleman was able to bring it with him to get out of his home. Nick Valencia, thank you so much.

PAUL: And so a lot of the people that did evacuate ended up going to San Antonio. San Antonio is going to feel effects of this storm, though. So we're going to take you there live in just a moment. Stay close.





BLACKWELL: Harvey has now been downgraded to a category 2 storm. But, listen, this is still dangerous. Top sustained winds are 110 miles an hour. One mile faster, one mile more, it would be a major storm at 111. That would be category 3. So category 2, don't discount that.

The winds really pulled apart -- you saw this building here in Port Aransas, thousands of people have lost power. We know that the rain will continue for days and create life-threatening flooding. We've got our team of meteorologists and reporters out watching the conditions, both the radar and what's happening there in Texas.

We'll get you the very latest throughout the morning. CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in San Antonio, Texas, this morning.

And we need to point out that a lot of people evacuated went to San Antonio and San Antonio itself yesterday closed schools and some businesses in preparation for this.

It looks like the wind might be starting up a little more where you are. You're going to feel the effects of this at some point.

SANDOVAL: Absolutely, Christi, it may have taken a while but we're now seeing the weather effects from Harvey, mainly the precipitation has just started in the last hour or so and it's just going to get worse here. That's why officials in San Antonio are worried about the risk of

flash flooding, not just here but other inland Texas cities like Austin. Many of those cities are now serving as temporary homes for hundreds of people who left some of these coastal communities and left Corpus Christi.

There was one man, a 35-year-old Corpus Christi man I spoke to at a shelter yesterday, who said he has no idea when he's going to be able to go back home. And also no idea if he will still have a home to go home to. However, he's with his wife and his 7-year-old son, Julian. And they're keeping their hopes high.

And that's really what we saw yesterday from hundreds of people who are, right now, really all of their belongings are limited to what they have with them here in San Antonio.

The city offering about 6,000 shelter beds, that's in addition to several of other people, hundreds of other people who are potentially staying at area hotels. San Antonio here established by the state and the federal government as an evacuation zone.

It's something that kicked into place in 2005 here during Hurricane Katrina, where we saw thousands of people from Louisiana make their way here to the Lone Star State.

Again, we see it this time, though, these are people from only about 150-200 miles away. But, again, two reasons why we're here, not only because of the flash flooding but also because this is now home for now for hundreds, if not thousands of people -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: So, Polo, 6,000 shelter beds available. Of course, there's no way to know how many people are in hotels.

Do we know how many people have taken advantage of those shelter spots?

SANDOVAL: What I heard from the city mayor yesterday evening, he said that there were about 700 evacuees that were staying in San Antonio shelters. Keep in mind, Victor, as he was telling me this, there were buses pulling up behind. They were unloading dozens of other people. That number likely to surpass 1,000 and go even higher.

The reality here, this is a multiday event. As we see more of the rain, we could see more of the flooding; that means more displaced families that will be looking for a safe and dry place to stay.

PAUL: That's what I wanted to ask you about. When they're talking about this being an event that will last five to seven days. We know FEMA has said the shelters are prepared to support 20,000 people.

I think the question is, for how long?

Did the government talk about that at all?

And I'm just curious as to what these people are going to do for that period of time. SANDOVAL: Yes, I posed that same question to officials yesterday at one of the shelters. The mayor of San Antonio saying as long as it takes. They have the support from the federal government, according to them. As a result, they are in it --


SANDOVAL: -- for the long haul. The reality is many parts of the Texas coast, as we've heard from officials yesterday, may be uninhabitable for quite some time. As a result, officials from some of the inland cities like Austin and San Antonio are preparing to offer shelter to some of these families for as long as it takes.

That's where FEMA would have to kick in to potentially offer them long-term housing.

PAUL: Good to point out. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. Appreciate the update there this morning.

Look, there are a lot of parts of coastal Texas that do not have power right now. Upwards of 200,000 people. There's also an issue with running water. A lot of people don't have that.

And that was just as the storm was beginning.

BLACKWELL: And there are also the structural issues. We have reports of buildings falling apart, roofs being ripped off, walls collapsing. Let's go to storm chaser Ben McMillan. He was with us a little earlier on CNN from near the point of landfall, Corpus Christi.


BEN MCMILLAN, STORM CHASER: You're looking at what we call storm surge. It's a lot of wind-driven water, which is coming up, out of Corpus Christi Bay, onto Highway 181 here, which is separating the highway between the city of Portland and the city of Corpus Christi.

his is going to be the first threat in a range of threats to deal with water over the next week here, for this weekend because of all the rainfall that is forecast. Some models indicate over 30 inches a rain, obviously an tremendous amount of water coming into this region. And we'll be here monitoring it.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Driving around, talk to us just about what you have seen as far as, I guess, what would be the standard fare when a storm like this comes in?

Downed power lines, any infrastructure that has been damaged, what is the sense of the situation right now as far as damage?

MCMILLAN: George, the biggest inconvenience is just the lack of normal necessities that people are used to, all that infrastructure, power, running water and things people take for granted each day.

When these significant storms, the major hurricanes come in, they shut a large percentage of that infrastructure down, that makes it very difficult for folks to go about their daily routine.

And that's why a lot of those mandatory evacuations were issued for a lot of the coastal areas to get people out so they don't have any issues.

HOWELL: Ben, do you get a sense that a lot of people stayed there in Corpus Christi?

And, just by the way, we're looking at another image right now, coming to us from Rockport, Texas, and you can see the storm is still in effect there as it is throughout that part of South Texas.

But do you get a sense that many people decided to stick around with this storm or did people heed warnings and get out of the way?

MCMILLAN: In the areas where mandatory evacuations were issued, oversight of the folks heeded those and left; however, some stayed. And you mentioned Rockport, that was the city that sustained significant structural damage because the eye of Hurricane Harvey came on land right in that area.

And when you have -- there was 120-130 mph wind, that's why they issued those evacuation orders. You started to have roofs peel off of buildings, walls come crashing down, obviously a dangerous situation that many officials here in Texas were hoping people would avoid.


PAUL: And we're going to continue to watch this. He mentioned Rockport, the city manager, Kevin Carruth (ph), said that there is extensive damage through the downtown area there and that the National Weather Service told him he can expect hurricane force winds through tonight. So we're going to continue to talk about what the storm is doing right now.

BLACKWELL: North Korea fires off missiles. Next, we'll tell you where they were aimed and what U.S. officials said about those launches.





BLACKWELL: All right. Bottom left of your screen there shows that Hurricane Harvey is over land. The eye now over land there, dumping feet of rain, we're expecting over the next several days.

You see in the top left, the forecast showing it will be over land throughout the weekend. And as we're watching the storm, we're also watching what is coming out of the White House overnight.

Let's start with president Donald Trump pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. We know he was a staunch Trump supporter; still is. Arpaio was recently convicted of criminal contempt for violating a judge's order in a racial profiling case and continuing to target immigrants at traffic stops.

He was awaiting sentencing when the pardon came down. Joe Arpaio has been controversial and for some a divisive figure in Arizona politics for decades. CNN's Sara Sidner takes a closer look at his legacy and his relationship with the president.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The case against Arpaio and his department's behavior began in 2007. A class action lawsuit accused him of implementing a policy of racial profiling and unlawful traffic stops of Latinos.

Arpaio was sued, accused of encouraging his deputies to detain people for no other reason that they were suspected of being in the country illegally. Known for his tough speak, his department's workplace raids, the tent city where inmates were housed and the pink underwear he made inmates wear, Arpaio argued his department was simply enforcing the law.

JOE ARPAIO, FORMER ARIZONA SHERIFF: I'm the elected sheriff, I report directly to the people and I'm not going to be subservient to the federal government when they have come up with no proof.

SIDNER (voice-over): But Arpaio lost his argument in a civil lawsuit. In 2013, a federal judge put an injunction in place, ordering the department to halt unconstitutional policing practices.

According to prosecutors and a federal judge, Arpaio and his deputies defied the order. Arpaio claimed the order wasn't clear and he didn't mean to violate it. But a federal judge found Arpaio showed a flagrant disregard for the court's order. His critics cheered the decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Racism in any form is wrong and Joe Arpaio, again, has been the center of racist policies and racist attitudes and he has been criminally convicted.

SIDNER (voice-over): From the start in 1999, when Sheriff Joe Arpaio was elected to office, he began an crusade against undocumented immigrants. His deputies' actions terrified not only the undocumented but anyone who looked like they could be.

ARPAIO: Donald Trump will build a wall.

SIDNER (voice-over): Arpaio's fiery speech and immigration policies gave him a kind of celebrity status in conservative circles and a kinship --


SIDNER (voice-over): -- with the man who would become the 45th president -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And we also this morning have to talk about what's going on with North Korea because North Korea launched three missiles overnight. This just a week after secretary of state Rex Tillerson praised North Korea for showing restraint with its weapons program. CNN's senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski walks us through what's happened now.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Based on the assessment from U.S. Pacific Command, these are three short-range missiles that all failed, two of them in flight, one exploded almost immediately at launch.

To put this in perspective, it was just last month that North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles, you know, seen as a real provocation. One of them flew more than 500 miles.

After that, the U.S. president threatened "fire and fury" on North Korea, saying the U.S. was "locked and loaded" after North Korea also threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam.

And the U.S. believes that North Korea has been steadily moving toward miniaturizing a nuclear weapon. So after all of that tough talk and threats, things quieted down. North Korea hasn't launched anything for weeks -- and now this.

But you have to keep in mind, this comes right in the middle of a 10- day period, when the U.S. and South Korea are working together on military exercises, yes, as a counter to the North Korean threat. But North Korea always sees this collaboration as a threat.

So this may well be the reason why Kim Jong-un decided to launch this now, that he wanted to do something, assert himself, express displeasure, by launching short-range missiles but not wanting to fan the flames too much -- Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the State Department.


PAUL: Since that report was filed we just want to make clear, the U.S. Pacific commander, David Benham, has said the first and third missiles launched did fly approximately 250 kilometers in the northeast direction, not considered to be failures, so to speak.

BLACKWELL: Well, this morning, the U.S. military is searching for a missing service member after a Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a training exercise.

PAUL: This happened off the coast of Yemen yesterday. Five service members who were also on board were rescued following that crash. But the military says an investigation is getting under way.

BLACKWELL: Ahead, a man in Texas rides out Hurricane Harvey at home with his family. He will tell us what it was like when it hit. (MUSIC PLAYING)




BLACKWELL: Rockport, Texas, is catching the worst of the storm. But with reports of massive structural and building damage, firefighters there were kind of staying in place, at the fire station, as the eye of the storm was over them. The chief of the Rockport fire department spoke with CNN just a short while ago.


STEVE SIMS, FIRE CHIEF, ROCKPORT, TEXAS: We're still bunkered down in our station, we still have hurricane force winds outside. But we do know we have significant damage throughout the area. We are inundated with calls, with people needing help. But we're waiting on the weather to allow us to do it.

HOWELL: I'm looking here at the image of the storm and it seems you're just to the south of the eye of this storm. But you're certainly within these bands, those strong bands of rain. You mentioned there were people who decided to stay, to stick around in the storm.

Do you have any indication of how people are managing the situation at hand right now, those who decided to stay?

SIMS: Well, that I really don't know, because, like I say, we've not been able to get out and start doing any kind of search and rescue or seeing what we got and how many homes we got that need our help. It's -- the eyewall actually came right over Rockport.


SIMS: And we had some severe winds on that, you know, the oncoming of the eyewall.


PAUL: We want to let you know we're just getting word that Hurricane Harvey has now been downgraded to category 1. That would be 74 to 95 miles per hour. I don't know the miles per hour specifically that it's been clocked at this point.

But again, it has just been downgraded to a category 1. It hit as a category 4. There were people who said, I'm going to stick around here. I'm not going to -- I'll wait it out. I'll take my chances. And because of that, they were the ones that got to witness what happened as it came ashore.

And our producer, Victoria Kennedy, just told me that the winds are sustained at 90 miles per hour now, so down from where they were but still 90 miles an hour, still enough still enough to cause damage.

For those who stayed where they are, stayed in their homes, CNN's George Howell spoke with one of them and he was in Corpus Christi as the storm made landfall.


HOWELL: Let's bring in Nick Bignac (ph), he decided to remain in Corpus Christi to ride the storm out, Nick is live with us on the phone.

Nick, I want to ask you first of all, what this experience was like. We're thankful to be chatting with you here to get your assessment of what happened.

How intense was the storm when it came through?

NICK BIGNAC (PH), RESIDENT: Hi, there, I'm glad to be talking with you, too. I have to agree with the gentleman who was just speaking a few seconds ago. It's interesting that this thing is turning into quite the marathon. You expect these things to be a quicker flash than they are.

To be honest, the intensity still hasn't let up. As the storm came in earlier this evening, things were a little lighter than they are now. And you'd expect it to get intense and then let up. But things have not let up at all. It's lasting for hours and it's quite interesting.

HOWELL: Nick, talk to us about the decision that you and your family made to stay there.

How did you reach that conclusion?

You know that city, you know this area and I'm sure you've seen your share of storms come through.

How did you reach that decision?

BIGNAC (PH): Well, yes it was a tough decision. A number, actually probably the majority of my friends and family have left town, left town as early as Thursday. And my children actually were able to leave town with their mother.

However, I happen to have a mother who have a surgery on her neck scheduled for a number of months, on Thursday.