Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Monster Hurricane Kills 3, Now Aiming For Florida; More States Declare Emergencies: Hurricane Irma Packing 185 MPH Winds Longer Than Any Atlantic Storm In History; GOP Leaders "Blindsided" By Trump's Deal with Dems; Mandatory Evacs Just Announced for Parts of Miami-Dade County; Facebook Sold Ads to Russia-linked Accounts During Election; Interview with Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Aired on 7-8p ET
Aired September 6, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: "OutFront" next breaking news, Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest hurricanes in history now aiming straight for Florida and two more powerful hurricanes churning in the Atlantic at this hour. Could Irma be just the second storm? Plus, President Trump making a shocking deal with Democrats, leaving his own party speechless. Let's go "OutFront."
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight the breaking news, deadly and historic hurricane Irma right now tearing through the Caribbean, setting its sights directly on Florida.
Here's you're live pictures out of Puerto Rico at this hour, one of the strongest storms to ever form in the Atlantic right now delivering a devastating blow there. There is a dangerous storm surge, trees falling, power cut to thousands.
Also just coming into CNN, we have brand-new video. This is just in from the Caribbean Island of Barbuda, which has been completely without communications all day. Take a look. Devastation as far as the eye can see. The prime minister says upwards of 90 percent of the island has been destroyed.
NASA also releasing brand-new satellite images. It's incredible to look at this. This is just stunning as you watch it scroll for just a moment. This is the eye, including the most damaging winds that are right outside that eye. Those winds right around the center there moving at an astonishing 185 miles an hour.
When you see it like this, it's almost a beautiful and serene thing, but we want you to hear, to hear what it's like to be caught in the middle of those powerful wind bands. That is Saint Martin. The interior minister there telling CNN that some of the strongest buildings on that island, including barracks and the police station have been destroyed.
Just north of that location that you're looking at, cars flooded, boats tossed. Official say three people have been killed so far. And as the storm tracks west towards Florida and possibly Miami, of course one of America's biggest cities, thousands are on the move. Gas stations running dry. (INAUDIBLE) from the Florida Key's headed north.
The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, says tonight no one should over estimate the danger of this Category 5 monster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: This is serious and we cannot take chances. This is life threatening. This is not a storm you can sit and wait through. I cannot stress this enough. Get prepared. Know your evacuation plan. Listen to the local officials. This storm has the potential to devastate our state and you have to take this seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, state of emergencies have been issued, of course, for Florida. You heard Governor Scott, but also Georgia and North and South Carolina. There is still so much uncertainty about the strike.
Tom Sater is "OutFront" live in the weather center tonight. Our team of reporters, of course, standing by on the ground. And I want to begin first with you, Leyla Santiago, who is "OutFront" in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The storm, of course, starting to come where you are, about to strike in full. And, Leyla, what is the situation where you are?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, as you can tell, it's becoming difficult in some areas to just stand because those winds are picking up so heavy, are becoming so heavy here on the northern part of the island. Behind me you can actually tell the palm trees are waving. The water is certainty coming in and becoming a bit more aggressive, giving how close Irma, hurricane Irma is.
Now, I just got off the phone with emergency management officials. They tell me they have had to carry out one rescue thus far this evening. No major injuries. So that's the good news. But now they are in a wait and see what's next type of situation.
This is -- the governor has said expected to be a catastrophic form -- excuse me, a catastrophic hurricane of a magnitude they have never experienced on this island. And remember, we are in hurricane season, so they are used to, as much as one can be, these types of situations, but not of this strength.
Power outages are already coming across the island as well people dealing with that and no word on when that will be restored, given the economic crisis on this island right now. The power system itself could be out for not just days, but we're talking about weeks and months.
So the fear that we have seen in the last 24 hours as we talk to people who said this is now in God's hand, the people who called this a beast of a storm, is now playing out here in Puerto Rico as these winds pick up, trees come down, power goes out and emergency officials begin rescue operations. Erin? BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Leyla Santiago. As the storm approaches where you are, please stay safe. We're going to be checking back in with you, Leyla, as the storm approaches this hour.
[19:05:10] I want in the meantime, though, to go to our meteorologist, Tom Sater, who's "OutFront" in the weather center. And, Tom, obviously, you know, you can hear the wind and the rain picking where Leyla is. What is the latest that you are seeing on what has been such an unpredictable storm path?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Conditions are going to continue to deteriorate in San Juan and all of Puerto Rico. They're not looking at a major land fall. It was not expected to. But this is the second strongest hurricane we've ever had in the Atlantic, only by 5 miles per hour to Hurricane Allen in 1980. But this has surpassed Allen in another devastating category.
Allen didn't churn for 30 straight hours with winds over 180. That's never happen. So this is the strongest that has ever made land fall in the Leeward Islands and it is devastating island after island.
Look at the radar where within 15 miles now at San Juan. Notice the eye still. This is where the strongest winds are, but you'll notice a secondary eye in yellow here. We may be going through a reorganization process, but one thing we know for sure, that secondary eye, that's heavy rain fall. That's strong winds. Hurricane winds are now sliding across all of Puerto Rico, again, devastation in its wake.
But let's look forward right now. We'll revisit that in a moment. Warnings now for Turks and Caicos and the Southeast Bahamas Islands where they're looking at a 20-foot storm surge, the northern island of Puerto Rico maybe six, six and a half. The difference is, they're going to be in that northeastern quadrant where the winds and the storm surge and the waves are stronger.
The track from the National Hurricane Center changed a little bit from last night to this morning. This afternoon's run pretty much like this morning, but it shifts everything eastward about 60 miles to 70 miles. Still leaves that cone of uncertainty into the Gulf of Mexico and well offshore to the east.
But, again, when you look at this, I want everyone to understand, this does not mean you're going to get hit with a Category 4. I don't like to play mind games with you, but get yourself prepared because this still can happen. We've got several days. But the models have been in agreement.
Maybe no longer will we have interaction with land in Cuba. That would help Cuba out tremendously if it did not reach their mountains and squeeze out torrents of rain fall. But it would sustain its strength as a major or catastrophic hurricane now moving into Monroe or Miami Dade.
Now, again, these are models and some are trending just off the coastline, which is a lot like hurricane Matthew last year that devastated this area and moved on to the Carolinas. But, again, in its way through our many islands right now, Erin, that are uninhabitable.
BURNETT: And on that front, I mean, let's just try to get an understanding, you know, when you talk about the damage. Can you show us, Tom, you know, where the hurricane has hit so far? What has actually happened thus far as it started to go island after island?
SATER: OK. Last night we figured that this eye, 23 miles in diameter, would probably move right over the Island of Barbuda, and it did. This is Barbuda to the north. Let's get in a little bit closer.
Prime minister saying they're barely habitable here. Majority of the buildings either totally destroyed or partially destroyed. And then we go on and we can go watch to around Saint Martin. Now, there is a French section to the north and dust to the south.
The French foreign minister is now saying the four largest buildings in Saint Martin have been completely destroyed. The majority of their buildings are either totally destroyed or partially. We have had very little of any communication with these islands, and absolutely none with Anguilla. So that is a concern, communications, power are out.
The British Virgin Islands took a hit to the north. There has been some flooding in Saint Croix in New Harbor. They were not hit as bad, but we're going to continue to keep our eyes on Puerto Rico tonight as conditions, the winds, the storm surge and the rain pick up in intensity. Then we will follow it through to the Bahamas, to the Southeastern U.S., Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Tom Sater. Of course, every one hoping for that outcome where it skirts the U.S. coast and does not have that direct hit. But, we just don't know. And you just heard what Tom said. Puerto Rico, all eyes on Puerto Rico right now. 3.4 million people right now are in the path of that storm in Puerto Rico.
I'm joined on the phone by the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello. And, Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. I know that all eyes are on you and Puerto Rico. Right now the storm is about 50 miles from where you are, what is the situation right now?
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO (via phone): Well, thank you, Erin. Thank you for the opportunity. You know, we've been preparing mightily for this storm for the past week. We've got activated protocols we've been designing for the past couple of months. We've been moving people into shelters and we've activated 460 shelters all around the island.
And our message was simple, you know, let's put people out of harm's way. Let's make sure that our families are secure because, you know, the winds that we are experience -- we're experiencing right now are like nothing we have experienced before. They are very severe.
You know, it is getting -- they are getting harsher right now in San Juan and we've already seen some of the damage that not even, you know, the part that's connected to the center of the storm has hit in the northern east part of the island.
[19:10:16] So our main focus right now is to make that sure people are safe. But certainly, we're seeing strong gusts of winds and they expect to get a little bit more intense.
BURNETT: And, Governor, you know, we look at the models. Obviously we see those winds right outside the eye at 185 miles an hour which they have been churning at for more than 30 hours, unprecedented for an Atlantic storm. And then you see that second band around the eye with incredibly strong winds that could strike you in Puerto Rico.
We saw the images from Barbuda, Governor. 90 percent of their structures are gone. Are you expecting massive loss of buildings? Are you prepared for that?
ROSSELLO: Well, Puerto Rico has, you know, in -- many of its structures have been designed in hard concrete. We expect, you know, some of them to withstand. But, of course, there are some lower level infrastructures that we expect to lose. That's why we make such a big effort to mobilize people into safe, hard concrete structures, so that they could be safe.
So -- but there's no telling right now what the -- what it would look like. I can tell you, you know, from our per view from the center of operations that we have over here in San Juan, you know, there is a pretty significant damage already done and we've been getting, you know, we've been connected to the social media and so forth.
So we expect a lot of damage, but perhaps not as much as was seen in Barbuda. They essentially got the very heavy winds. We're getting wind gusts up to 100 and 110 miles an hour. But certainly some destruction and as I stated all along, Erin, you know, infrastructure, we'll work on that after the storm goes by, but right now our focus is to keep people safe.
BURNETT: Right. I know, of course, you've got the crisis of the storm and the bigger crisis that you face in Puerto Rico right now with the infrastructure. Governor Rossello, thank you so much for your time. And we are all thinking of you tonight.
There is also a state of emergency in Florida. Residents lining up to get out of Irma's way in time. Kyung Lah is "OutFront." She's in Miami. And Kyung, we heard the governor. He is not mincing words.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And they are still certainly hearing him loud and clear here, Erin. And what they're doing is trying to take care of the essentials like gas.
I'm at a corner where there are three gas stations. The one over here, it is completely out of gas. The one right across the street as we were talking here just a few minutes ago, they just ran out of gas. They had to take all their numbers down. And the one all the way over there, the marathon, half their pumps are dry. They are the only gas station in this corner that is still able to give gas to people. People here bracing for this hurricane.
LAH (voice-over): Irma's force already slamming the Caribbean, across Miami pressing and bracing with the monster coming.
LAH (on camera): How much is Harvey hanging over everything that's happening to you today?
TANYA BHATT, MIAMI BEACH RESIDENT: I think because we all just saw the images of devastation and loss and the heart break and assistance that people were giving each other, I think people are really taking this seriously.
LAH (voice-over): Florida counties and state government taking the barrel of the Cat. 5 hurricane very seriously. Mandatory evacuations began out of Southern Florida's Monroe County, more evacuations coming Thursday in part of Broward County. The big concern with Irma, the storm surge.
TREVOR BLAIR, CPM SERVICES: So these are pretty much state-of-the-art flood panels.
LAH (on camera): You're expecting a five-foot storm surge, potentially.
BLAIR: Potentially, yeah. So, hopefully it doesn't get that bad.
LAH (voice-over): What is already bad, trying to get the basics. Some gas stations already out of fuel. This one told us they don't know when they'll be able to get more. Trying to get bottled water, this sight greeting shoppers across Miami Dade County.
KAPHERINE PINA, FLORIDA LAUDERDALE RESIDENT: No water up there. No water up there at all. No home depot. No -- publics was running out of them. CVS had no water. Walgreens had none at all.
LAH (voice-over): Kapherine Pina finally got some water after seeing people fight over it in other stores. Here's what she heard.
PINA: Make sure you get some, but I'm not giving out my water. People were even asking to buy from him, from his own cart.
LAH (on camera): People are fighting for water?
PINA: Yeah, for water.
LAH: And what you're looking at is the line of cars pulling up and getting bad news as they wait. You know, we've talked to some of the people here. They waited an hour to try to get gas and this gas station is just out. So trying to get those to essentials, Erin, that's what the emphasis is on here in Miami. Erin?
[19:15:05] BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much. Of course, still crucial. People aren't going to ply up, they're going to drive out. They need to have that gasoline in order to even follow the rules and the requests to evacuate.
More of our breaking news coverage, next. People are fleeing Irma's path. One Hurricane Hunter, though, is flying into it and he is our guest. Plus two more hurricanes turning in the Atlantic, right now they are behind Irma. You can see them. Are they headed for the U.S.?
And more breaking news, President Trump stuns Republicans with a major deal, siding with Democrats celebrating with a senator he's called a crying clown. And ads purchased on Facebook during the election linked to Russia. A top senator investigating Russian meddling is "OutFront."
BURNETT: We are following the record setting hurricane Irma churning through the Caribbean at 185 miles an hour sustained winds. It's been now a deadly storm is closing in right off the coast of Puerto Rico barreling towards Florida, one of the strongest storms in history.
My next guest has made several flights into Irma, just returning. "OutFront" now is NOAA Hurricane Hunter Pilot Commander Justin Kibbey. And, Commander, I appreciate your taking the time. I know you literately just went from Barbados to Florida flying through the storm.
[19:20:03] What is it like flying into this particular storm with such incredibly strong winds, Commander?
COMMANDER JUSTIN KIBBEY, NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER PILOT (via phone): Well, Erin, thanks for having me here. I appreciate it. It's a very powerful storm and I'd say it's -- I've flown in other Cat. 5 before and this is my eighth hurricane season flying with NOAA. This is by far the strongest most turbulent storm that I've ever been in.
BURNETT: I mean, it's incredible when you say you've done eight years. You've been in the Cat. 5 before, that this is by far the strongest. You know, we're looking at video right now, Commander, that your crew filmed in the storm as you were going through the clouds. And right above them, I mean, it does. It's that beautiful silent serene picture. And then all of the sudden you go inside and it's that chaos and destruction and turbulence. The devastation as you can see off your wing there, what is it like inside that storm?
KIBBEY: It is -- as you mentioned, it can be very violent. A lot of up drafts, downdrafts and a lot of rains. The crews are well-trained from the front end to the back in the plane and they put the aircraft in a safe position where it won't damage the plane, but we're still able to get that data off the plane for the public. So it's just -- it can be a very chaotic environment, but we fly it safely and efficiently. So it can be hair raising to say the least.
BURNETT: I mean, you know, when you say that this is by far the worst you've ever seen, I mean, what is it that makes this one so different than all the other Category 5 that you've experienced?
KIBBEY: I think, you know, our last flight, which was Tuesday morning, it was just a -- they went from a Cat. 4 and then Cat. 5 while we're in there. And I think it's the amount of rain that we saw, the amount of turbulence that we saw and not only the eye wall, but on the outer bands, you know, 60 miles to 70 miles away from the eye. It was just a lot of bouncing around and a tremendous amount of rain and wind.
BURNETT: When you talk about 60 miles to 70 miles out from the eye, I think that gives everyone a sense. I mean, just scale of what we're talking about here.
But, Commander, you mentioned that you're trying to gather data. You're not going in here on a lark. You're going in here for fun. You're going in here and to try to get information that could save lives and help us learn more. This is some of the equipment that you're using when you're up there. What are you gathering from this storm?
KIBBEY: Right. So the biggest things we're looking at are the exact location of that eye, that center. That very much helps with the track forecast and we're going through -- we have -- we drop drafts on which are things that come out of the bottom of our plane that are measuring temperature pressure, humidity, wind speed, all throughout the storm.
And then we have a whole suit of radars that really help us basically take a cat. scan of the hurricane itself and all that data gets assimilated into models. It is put out by the National Hurricane Center and really helps us nail down that track and that intensity forecast.
BURNETT: Commander Kibbey, thank you so very much. I appreciate your taking the time.
KIBBEY: No problem, absolutely.
BURNETT: And pretty stunning what he said, just that he had never seen anything like it in terms of eye wall, but also the bands of wind and rain, 60 miles to 70 miles out from the center of that storm.
That storm, of course, bearing right now for Florida and I want to go now to the mayor of Key West, Craig Cates. And, Mayor, Rick Scott, your governor, governor of Florida, just said this is a life threatening storm. You just heard Commander Kibbey who's been flying into it say he's been flying for eight years into hurricanes. He's flown into many Cat. 5. He has never seen one like this. What do you expect?
MAYOR CRAIG CATES, KEY WEST, FLORIDA: Well, I totally agree. Fourth generation here in Key West and we have never seen anything like this either. We're watching very closely.
I see the damage that's done due to Caribbean on its way towards Florida and we're depending on it turning up within 100 miles of us and he just was saying how the storm is so powerful, 60 miles from the center. So we're worried, but we're preparing for it absolutely.
BURNETT: And I know there are mandatory evacuations. The residents of Key West where you, people who are visiting, are you confident everyone is following your order, that they get it?
CATES: Yes, more than ever. (INAUDIBLE) hurricane I've ever seen here. They've been following the order. The town is almost empty. All the tourists are out of town. But our issue is we also are evacuating closer to where the storm it could possibly go. So the report, we were trying to decide if we want to continue the rest of the evacuation when the hurricane could hit in Miami and that's where our shelter is.
BURNET: Right. And I know that shelter is opening tomorrow. I mean, I guess the big question for you in terms of getting everybody out, if they're driving, they're driving there. They could fly if they could. I mean, do you have all the resources that you need right now, Mayor, to make sure that everybody gets out and they get out to some where safe?
[19:25:06] CATES: Yes. The airport will stay open until tomorrow evening with many flights as they can, but a lot of cars are driven out. Although we're basically out of fuel down here because the rest of South Florida is using so much fuel, they're delivering as fast as they can, but it just had a maximum amount of fuel is being used.
And also, we are going to run our busses starting tomorrow. 14 of our busses will be going to our shelter. But we also have concern of sending residents to that shelter where they can't leave it from there if the storm comes to Miami. So, those are things that we're dealing with. But as you'll see, we're trying to make the right decision for our residents.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Mayor Cates, I appreciate your time. We wish you luck and thank you, again, Sir.
CATES: Well, thank you very much.
BURNETT: And "OutFront" next, more of our breaking hurricane coverage. Take a look at this, the dot in the middle, a commercial plane from San Juan to New York right in the middle of those bands, dangerously close to the storm. We're going to hear from a couple holed up in Puerto Rico as the storm hit. And Irma not alone, Jose and Katia, two more hurricane turning this hour.
And more breaking news, the President makes a shocking deal with crying Chuck. His party, his own administration reeling tonight.
BURNETT: Breaking news, we're watching the massive deadly hurricane this hour. Irma right now heading, it appears, for the coast of Florida. It is already devastating island after island in the island after island in the Caribbean.
[19:30:02] It is one of the strongest storms ever recorded, 30 straight hours at 185 miles. We're going to keep you updated throughout the hour.
Our other story breaking right now, though, the president blindsiding, well, Republicans. That's how Republican officials are describing how Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan felt after the president sided with Democrats on a major deal.
Take a look at this picture. It says it all. To the Oval Office window, you see the president mid-hug with the Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer. That is the same guy he's called a clown and crying Chuck in more than one occasion.
The photo was taken at a meeting this afternoon where the president cut a deal with Schumer and the Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi to a three-month extension of the debt ceiling and funding for the government, in exchange: $8 billion in relief for Hurricane Harvey.
This was not the deal Republican leaders wanted. In fact, an hour earlier from that picture, the House speaker, Paul Ryan, called the deal ridiculous.
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT at the White House.
Sara, this was fascinating. It was unexpected by the president. It was a backstab, a slap in the face. It took Republicans by surprise.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely did, Erin. We saw a president who is not ideological generally reach across the aisle and as you said, it blindsided Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, members of his own party.
Sources tell CNN that they were shell-shocked by the president's decision to do this, to go along with what Democrats had put on the table, rather than what Republicans were hoping to get out of this. But sources also tell CNN, look, the president went into this room in deal-cutting mode, in "Apprentice" mode, and obviously, he has made clear that he is very frustrated with Republicans in leadership positions. He made that even clearer today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And, by the way, Ivanka Trump, everybody loves Ivanka. Come up, honey. Should I bring Ivanka up? Come up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: And this is yet another vignette in the president's day-to- day. We also heard that Ivanka Trump popped her head in during this meeting, caused visible annoyance among some GOP leaders. Clearly, the president went out of way to lavish praise on his daughter and a key adviser when he was in North Dakota today, and spokeswoman for Paul Ryan's office says it's not true that leaders were annoyed. Of course, others said otherwise, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara. And let's go now to Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst, along
with former Republican Senator Rick Santorum, and Jen Psaki, the White House communications director for President Obama.
Gloria -- oh, a picture can say so many things. The clown, crying Chuck Schumer. The president has called him twice on Twitter and here they are in the midst of a loving hug. Wow.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Besties. I'm kind of wondering if you extended the lens of that, what the faces of the Republicans would look like because they were not so thrilled as Chuck Schumer.
They believe that Chuck Schumer was bluffing the president and that, of course, the Democrats could have gone for a debt ceiling behind three months. They believe the president threw them under the bus, to say the very least, because they didn't want to vote on the debt ceiling again. It is a politically toxic vote. They didn't want to vote on raising the debt ceiling again in December. They wanted to get it out of the way.
His own treasury secretary had suggested that they ought to have a longer deadline on this, and the president paid absolutely no attention to him.
So, what we saw today clearly was a president who wanted to cut a deal, period. He wanted to cut a deal. He wanted to win something. He had been to Texas and was clearly affected by that, and what's going on in Florida and he was kind of sick of it and he feels like he owes the Republican leadership absolutely nothing.
BORGER: He spent much of his summer dissing the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. So, he just handed it to the Democrats.
BURNETT: I mean, Senator, it's incredible. You know, when you look at Mitch McConnell, right, they haven't met for a week -- in a month, I'm sorry. The first time they met in a month was yesterday. No love lost between the president and the majority leader, who opposed this deal, along with Speaker Paul Ryan.
And in fact just an hour before that picture, before this deal that slammed them in the face or stabbed them in the back, I can't determine the better word to use, Paul Ryan slammed the plan just before the president signed it. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that's a ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment when we have fellow citizens in need to respond to these hurricanes so we do not strand them.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BORGER: Ridiculous and disgraceful, and then their own president goes and cuts a deal with the people they just called that. I mean, will Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, Senator, get revenge on the president? Will they make him pay for this?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. Well, I don't know if they will get revenge on the president. I think, you know, the president, as Gloria said, I think he is frustrated. I think he wanted a win and he doesn't hold the leaders at this point in time in very high esteem because they haven't been able to deliver on the things that they promised they could deliver on.
[19:35:08] So, look, I am surprised the Democrats didn't do more of this. I mean, I think there was a tremendous -- there's been a tremendous opportunity for a year for the Democrats to come forward and actually offer something to Donald Trump. And he's a transactional guy. If he can get votes to get something done, he'll do them.
And, so, I think it is a shot across the bow to Republicans. You've got so start putting together winning messages and votes if you are going to get this president to support what you are doing.
So, I think up next, you know, you got a tax bill. You still have health care on the table. There is still opportunity for Republicans to get out of September with a win.
But I think this is a message to the president. You don't start putting things together and getting your votes together, you know, there is another way for me to get things done.
BURNETT: And is there, Jen? I mean, on those issues the senator is talking about, certainly he's not going to get Chuck Schumer, for example, on board of his tax reform plan. But is this a possible alliance he could use against the GOP so angry at?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I wouldn't hold by breath this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between President Trump and Chuck Schumer. I think as Gloria alluded to, you know, he wanted a deal, he smelled a deal, he got a deal.
However, I do think it means that what Democrats got here is another chance to add something to a must-pass bill in December. That's something that Trump and the Republicans are going to have to plan.
I don't think it is the beginning of deal making. I do think that on tax reform, Democrats are for tax reform, too. Everybody is for tax reform. The problem right now is we have no idea what the deal is. We have no idea what the details are.
Once we know more about the details, people are going to hate some things. They like some things, both in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
BURNETT: So -- BORGER: But he handed the Democrats leverage, which is -- he handed
them leverage in December because he knows he's going to need Democratic votes to pass the debt ceiling in December. So, the Democrats again, you know, have some power that they didn't have before.
BURNETT: And I guess we'll see who wins, but generally speaking, you never give up leverage if you have it. It would be a bad thing in a deal.
OK, Ivanka Trump, can we pause here for a moment? She made an appearance at the meeting. Republican leaders, you heard Sara Murray saying some of them were visibly annoyed. Then this afternoon, the president brought her on stage at his speech on tax reform.
Let me just play a little bit of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everybody loves Ivanka. Come up, honey. Should I bring Ivanka up? Come up.
Sometimes they'll say, you know, he can't be that bad a guy. Look at Ivanka.
Come on up, honey. She's so good. She wanted to make the trip. She said, dad, can I go with you?
She actually said, daddy, can I go with you? I like that, right? Daddy, can I go with you? I said, yes, you can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. Putting aside the strangeness of a 35-year-old asking her daddy if she could go with her daddy anywhere, Senator Santorum, what is her presence at these events accomplishing? Is it helping him?
SANTORUM: Well, look, I mean, I was at an event with Ivanka Trump this morning, at Americans for Tax Reform, which is a very conservative group. She spoke in front of a group of conservative leaders, along with Senator Mike Lee and me. So, she was there to talk about how we're going to do -- we need to do more pro-family type of tax reforms. It shouldn't just be focused on the economy. It should be focused on the little small businesses called the American family.
So -- and she was, by the way, very warmly received and I think it went over very well.
So, look, I think there is a little typecasting going on here with Ivanka. But I can tell you that on the things she's working on with respect to family leave and respect to the tax credits for families, there is a warming to her message and to the message, you know, from a lot of conservatives. BURNETT: And I will say, Senator, with all due respect, and, Jen, I'd
put this question to you, it's her father who is typecasting her. Her father is the one who's talking about honey and daddy.
SANTORUM: I mean, he's talking about his daughter. I guess you could say. I give a little liberalization when you talk about my daughter. I call my 21-year-old -- excuse me, 20-year-old daughter sweetie-o. So, he could get away with that, even at 30, I hope.
PSAKI: Look, I think there are elements to a dad-daughter relationship, that's for sure. And that would have been embarrassing if my dad did that to me, no doubt.
PSAKI: But I think the difficulty here is the awkwardness of trying to be daughter and first daughter and be a surrogate, which is entirely appropriate while also being an advisor. It is which are you? It is difficult to be both.
There is a reason we haven't had family dynasties rule in democracies and I think we're seeing the awkwardness play out in public here.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
And next, our breaking news coverage of Hurricane Irma, heading for Florida and two more powerful hurricanes now as you see in the mix on your screen. Tom Sater in the weather center going to talk about those, where they are headed.
[19:40:03] And more than 3 million Puerto Ricans bracing for Irma at this hour, just miles off the coast. We're going to talk to a couple riding it out tonight.
BURNETT: Breaking news on the historic threat of Hurricane Irma. The deadly storm churning through the Caribbean, heading straight towards Florida. Winds topping 185 miles an hour now for more than 30 hours. Miami-Dade County now at this moment issuing a mandatory evacuation for all mobile homes and a number of communities along the coast.
Just to show you, that's the strength here, already doing that and days away from it happening or knowing if they are getting a direct hit.
Right now, we are getting new pictures in from St. Martin. Take a look at this, the before and after. They are just starting to assess the damage. These are pictures of a marina before and now destroyed buildings, boats destroyed by the category five winds.
Tom Sater is OUTFRONT in the Weather Center as we check in with you again, Tom, as these forecasts continue to move. You are looking at Hurricane Irma and two other hurricanes right now. SATER: And then there were three. Hard to believe.
We knew Jose was going to become a hurricane. We saw it following Irma for some time and we saw, OK, this will become a hurricane. We'll talk about that in a moment.
But this was a little bit of a shocker. A cluster of storms in the southern Gulf of Mexico, developed to a tropical storm early this morning, and by 5:00, it was a hurricane.
[19:45:03] Three hurricanes, three is a crowd. But take a look. I mean, we've got a cold front dropping through the southeastern U.S. It's too bad, Erin, that this front was not moving through this area come Friday or Saturday, because that would really help push Irma away from the U.S. but timing is everything.
It is going to help Katia stay down to the south. So, those of you still suffering and trying to pull it together and do all the clean up work in Texas, Louisiana, it's not going to affect you.
Let's talk about Jose, and there's a couple of ways of looking at it. We knew it was going to follow suit. We had an idea it was going to slide into the open Atlantic. But by looking at the rain pattern from Irma, and you can see the track, how it stays mainly over water and heavy rainfall, that's even southern Florida, you can see the rain track for Jose.
It does slide off kind of follows Irma and moves to the north. But it gets dangerously close to those northern islands of the Lesser Antilles, and it could be a major hurricane at that point.
What we have going on right now are conditioning continuing to deteriorate in Puerto Rico. We're finding the back edge slowly leaving the islands so they can get some aerial assessment tomorrow in daylight.
Erin, this storm, again, continues to make its way toward the Turks and Caicos and the Bahama Islands. As you know, we've all seen the track. And we'll continue to update it. And the new track comes out 11:00 tonight.
BURNETT: All right. We'll be watching for that in the hoping it inches off that coast.
Tom Sater, thank you very much.
And to our other breaking news, Facebook admitting to Congress it sold ads, political ads during the presidential election to a so-called Russian troll farm that was trying to target, trying to influence the election and American voters. This as Congress continues to probe interference in the election. Facebook has been facing heavy criticism for being a platform for fake news during the election, and the company said, oh, 99 percent of the information on their site was true. They said, only, a, quote, very small amount was fake.
Now, we're learning tonight, at least $100,000 worth of ads were sold around the election, to the troll farm. Some of these ads directly mentioning the candidates, Clinton and Trump. Others talking about divisive issues like guns and immigration.
And OUTFRONT tonight, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, which, of course, is conducting a major investigation into the Russian meddling in the election, Senator Mark Warner.
Senator, thank you for your time tonight. I know you say this Facebook news is important to your investigation. Why? What does it tell you?
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, for months I have been wondering Facebook, Twitter, how much were they used by some of the Russian trolls? We have asked these questions.
We got a preliminary answer today. I think maybe we saw the tip of the iceberg where Facebook acknowledged that they found about $100,000 of Russian placed ads and a number of pages that they will subsequently in groups that they will take down. I think that's a good first step, but it really pails in comparison to the fact that before the French elections, Facebook took down 50,000 accounts that had one tie or another to misinformation and disinformation.
I think Facebook is learning along the way. I think it really raises a series of questions, though, about a number of social media firms and we've got to talk to Twitter as well about making clearer about public disclosure. I think the public needs to know what kind of misinformation and disinformation might be appearing on their Facebook news feed or their Twitter news feed.
BURNETT: And you think this is the tip of the iceberg. Are you referring to overall social media, or do you think Facebook could be finding a whole lot more money that came from Russian trolls trying to influence the election?
WARNER: Again, this was a staff interview today. I've got a lot more questions to ask. I believe they -- this was a fairly narrow focus. They discovered one of these Internet troll farms that was based in St. Petersburg. There had been reports that there are many, many more.
And again, as you kind of broaden the scope of this kind of inquiry, you might find for evidence. You know, I'm happy that Facebook came in. I've got more questions for them. I've got questions for Twitter, and this is an area that's going to require a lot more examination.
BURNETT: Also tonight, the president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is preparing to appear on Capitol Hill tomorrow to testify about that meeting, of course, to the Senate Judiciary Committee staff about that meeting with the Russian lawyer who promised him dirt on Hillary Clinton. I know you are also going to be speaking with him.
Is he right now central, crucial to this investigation as you see it, Senator? WARNER: Well, I want to make sure that we get a chance to talk to
everyone else who was in that meeting. We've talked to Mr. Manafort, but there are a number of other individuals we want to talk to. I'd like to get their sides of the story first before we get a chance to talk to Donald Trump Jr.
But obviously, me, as a member, and I know other members of the committee from both sides of the aisle we're going to want to talk to him as well, Mr. Trump Jr.
BURNETT: You know, we're also getting today a first look at Hillary Clinton's new book, Senator. She talks about why she thinks she lost the election and she blames herself but has plenty of blame for others, including the president.
In her new book out today, Clinton also writes, and I quote her, what makes me such a lightning rod for fury?
[19:50:04] I'm really asking. I'm at a loss. I think it's partly because I'm a woman.
Do you, Senator, think it's partly because she's a woman?
WARREN: Erin, we can -- you gave me a whole bunch of quotes from the book. I've not read the book. I hope to read it at some point in the future. I'm a lot more about how do we move forward as Democrats that can try to take back some of the folks who were clearly disaffected in 2016. A lot of folks who Hillary won, Virginia, I'm proud of that.
But there were wide swaths of rural Virginia where I've done well for years that didn't support her this past election. I'd hike to find messages that reach out to them to make sure that they can support Democrats in the future.
BURNETT: All right. Senator Warren, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it tonight.
WARREN: Thank you, Erin.
And next, more our breaking news, Hurricane Irma, the deadly storm and extreme threats to Puerto Rico at this moment. We're going to go live there and talk to a couple who is riding it out, and we hear from the couple. They survived other hurricanes. But this one unlike any before.
BURNETT: Back now to our breaking news. Hurricane Irma already has killed three people, is now striking Puerto Rico, about 50 miles off the coast of the U.S. territory, about 3.5 million people right now facing heavy rain and dangerous storms surges.
The governor of Puerto Rico telling me moments ago that winds there, in his words, are like nothing we have experienced before.
[19:55:00] Four hundred shelters have been activated in Puerto Rico. OUTFRONT now, our own George Howell. He is in San Juan.
George, you know, the governor said there's already significant damage in San Juan, where you are. What are you seeing?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, what we have seen, power outages. We know that is a big problem. This island is quite vulnerable to power outages. They've seen many strong storms come through.
But again, this is a category 5 storm. It is one of the strongest seen. So, there's a question about how long it will take to restore power to this island. Another concern, Erin, storm surge. So, that can be from two to three feet.
And then later, storm swell, the swell from the ocean, anywhere from 25 to 30 feet high. So that's two to three stories high of water that could come rushing in on any part of this island. The wind gusts, they come and go. And again, these winds so strong, they can knock you right back. You have to be very careful with them.
This situation that we're showing you here in Puerto Rico, if you take anything from it, here's the thing -- this is a historic storm. If you're in the path of this storm, and I say this with the greatest of sincerity -- take shelter, prepare, because this is not one of those storms you want to ride out.
I have covered several of these, Erin, and I've never experienced the wind gusts quite as strong as I've seen with Hurricane Irma.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, George Howell.
And, you know, so significant what George is saying, because this is about 50 miles off the coast, right? When you talk about that double eye, it gets even stronger and stronger as these hits continue and you are seeing such damaging winds never seen before in history.
I want to go to my next guest that owns a local bar in Puerto Rico, in Rincon. It's outdoors. Obviously, he has great fear that he could lose everything.
Dennis Ritch joins me now on the phone.
Dennis, let me just start by asking where are you? How are you doing?
DENNIS RITCH PUERTO RICO RESIDENT (via telephone): Well, we're doing okay. We're starting to get a lot of wind, rain bands moving in every so often. But we ended up moving out of our home and moving down to where our business is. We have some cabins, and we're in a more secure area here out of the wind.
BURNETT: And, obviously, that is so crucial that you're safe. I know you know they're talking about a storm surge that could be two or three stories and so dangerous. Are you prepared for that, Dennis? I know, obviously, you're with your wife, are you prepared and safe? RITCH: Well, we're not as prepared as we could be, yes. I feel
pretty safe where we're at. We're not really in a zone, area prone to flooding. But most of the restaurant is in a low lying area. So, you know, right now, it's dark here, so it's really -- we won't know the extent of the damage until the morning.
BURNETT: And I know, Dennis, you are not a newcomer here. You obviously have a business in Rincon. You've got vacation rentals. You've lived in Puerto Rico, if I'm right, at least since 1980.
You have seen a lot of storms. I don't know -- you know, the governor told me earlier he's never seen anything like this one. Have you? How is Irma different?
RITCH: Well, like I said, it's dark right now, so we can't tell what's going to happen. But this is by far the worst thing that's hit Puerto Rico since Hurricane George back in '98, I think. And I have some friends on the south side of the island that said they were having winds over 100 miles per hour, uprooting trees. They haven't had power all day. So, yes, Puerto Rico is getting hit really hard right now.
BURNETT: And, Dennis, are you worried about what comes next? Obviously, there's an economic crisis on your island. There's been a lot of issues for power. Power could not come back for a long time.
Are you ready for something like that?
RITCH: Well, actually, we are kind of ready. We have a backup water and power supply for our restaurant and bar and our business. Actually, that's probably where we'll be living for a few weeks or maybe a few months if this doesn't get sorted out.
But we're just hoping for the best, you know? Like I said, at this point, we can't tell what's going on except the wind seems to be picking up every minute, it's stronger and stronger. And we're supposed I think to really start getting the full force around midnight.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dennis, you know, we're going to be thinking of you. Good luck. I know you said you've gone to a place that is safe. Please stay that way.
Dennis Ritch joining us, have lived there since 1980, and you heard him say he's never heard anything like this.
The full brunt of the storm expected to hit there at Rincon around midnight, as he says. But you heard him say, on the south side, friends reporting winds of 100 miles an hour, and that storm is still about 50 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico.
Our breaking news coverage continues now with "AC360."