Return to Transcripts main page
Barbuda "Barely Habitable" after Hurricane Irma; Haiti Braces for Hurricane Irma, Orders Evacuations; Trump Jr. Meets with Senate Russia Investigators; Trump to Dreamers: Nothing to Worry about for Six Months; Bannon: Gary Cohn should've Quit after Charlottesville. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired September 7, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A Red Cross official just told us that on the island of Barbuda, everything is literally decimated. Look at these pictures. In Puerto Rico, 1 million people are without power, 56,000 without water.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Irma has already killed nine people. In Florida, the message from the governor we just heard, deadly storms surge life-threatening winds. We are beginning to see what could be one of the largest mass evacuations in U.S. history. 25,000 people, according to the governor, have already fled the Florida Keys. And while Irma's exact track is still unknown in terms of where it might strike the United States specifically. A significant impact is expected in the state of Florida before this hurricane may turn north to Georgia and the Carolinas.
We are tracking all of Irma's developments. Let's begin in the CNN's Weather Center with our Chad Myers. What can you tell us, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the storm is to the north of the Dominican Republic. Just moving to the north of Haiti, probably here in the next couple of hours and then into some very warm water near the Bahamas. And that's why they are evacuating those Bahamas islands.
And here is the latest cone. I'll get a new cone in about 55 minutes or so. But the cone still has landfall in south Florida. And this is the problem. There's still a chance that it goes on this side of the cone, probably 5 percent over here. There's still a 5 percent chance that it's on this side of the cone, but there is at least a 60 percent chance that we are somewhere in the middle. And the middle ends up being south Florida, Miami-Dade and the like.
Here are the computer models. We talked about them all the time. Just to the east of Miami for the American model and the European model right over Islamorada. Here is how the European model and the GFS, the American model differs. Here is what they look like now all the way to Saturday, overnight Saturday, almost Sunday morning, coming straight into Key Largo, Ocean Reef into Biscayne Bay.
This is worst case scenario. Without a doubt there is no such thing as a worst case scenario than this except possibly slamming straight into Miami proper. There's the storm right there. We are going to have so much storm surge water pouring into Miami, pouring into Biscayne Bay, pointing it to Fort Lauderdale and all the like.
There could be 20 feet of surge. If your house is less than 20 feet above sea level, it's going to be wet. And now we change you in moving on up to a West Palm. Now it a lot better for you, still that storm onshore, pounding wind, 140 miles per hour, tearing up the entire coastline and all the houses. A 140 mile per hour storm is like an EF- 3 or a 2.5 tornado that sits over your house for 30 or 40 minutes. So that's what you have to think about. That's how strong these winds are, plus the surge as well.
Now, the American model, kind of a little bit happier here, somewhere in between the Bahamas, if we could keep it right here, not hitting the Bahamas and not truly striking the east coast, now we would have winds of 100, but not 140, not 150. As the storm continues to the north, to the West Palm Beach area, it's not slowing down because it hasn't hit land. It's still 140.
And then it makes aim somewhere near the coast of Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina as still a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane. That's the rub with this storm is that there's nothing that we can do to make it hit nothing. This is so big. We are going to get damage somewhere.
Now, I just want you to notice and I don't know if this is true or whether it's just slightly a wobble, but if you look at the last couple of frames, right there, the storm has turned to the north just a little bit. That was not in the forecast. We'll see if this is a meaningful change or just a little wobble and it goes back on its path. We'll know probably in an hour or two to see what this is really going to do to see if it does change path a little bit, which would make all the forecast different. By 11:00 a.m. we'll know.
HARLOW: Chad Myers, we'll check back in with you then. Thank you so much as always.
BERMAN: Unbelievable detail, watching the path of that storm. Really appreciate it Chad.
All right, we want to go now to Haiti. Chad mentioned the storm right now passing the Dominican Republic and Haiti as we speak. CNN's Paula Newton is there. Paula?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes and given what Chad just said, that a little move to the north, highly significant from where I am standing right now on the northern coast of Haiti. The point is, though, guys listen, even if this does not hit as the Category 4 or 5 because you are outside that cone, a Category 1 or 2 can absolutely devastate this place.
We have started to see only in the last 24 hours really about the government telling people who live in homes made of, you know, tin roofs and plywood to actually try and go to those evacuation centers. We don't know exactly how well equipped those things are. As you see this storm move off of Haiti, though, the danger here remains. Why? Because of all those very dangerous mudslides and the flooding that is unknown at this point in time. You know, a very severe rainstorm here can wipe out homes and kill people.
[10:05:01] And that is why people here on the island are quite terrified. They have not seen this kind of impact here for several years. And they are all wondering what it will do to people who really have no way of coping in terms of evacuating anywhere where they will have supplies or water or in terms of dealing with the devastation that is surely to come. And just a reminder, guys, they are still trying to get over hurricane Matthew here from last year. It struck the south of this country, killing hundreds of people. John, Poppy?
HARLOW: Yes. For those of us who have been - Paula, thank you -- in Haiti and seen what their homes are made of, it is terrifying to think what this could mean for a lot of Haitians. We'll keep an eye on it.
Let's go to Florida. You've got traffic building up there as many Florida residents are trying to flee Irma's path. Our Rosa Flores is in Miami Beach. Rosa, what is the latest you are hearing?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know since we last talked, Poppy, we have two new developments. First of all, Miami-Dade opening four more shelters. That increases the number of shelters in this county to eight. There's at least one pet friendly shelter.
And also, the latest from American Airlines that they are winding down operations tomorrow with operations cancelling through the weekend, of course, this is because the giant storm is heading this way and everybody heeding the warning here in south Florida. When it comes to evacuations, our friends to the southern Monroe County more than 25,000 people there have already evacuated. They are all moving north. They are all headed this way.
Here in Miami-Dade, there are new evacuations starting this morning at 7:00 a.m. That includes zone "A," which includes a lot of the coastal areas, includes the island that you see here to the south of me. It also includes all the barrier islands. I'm standing in one of them. This is Miami Beach. It also includes everyone that lives in a mobile home.
Now, as we move further north to Broward County, folks there also are heeding the warning. They are also under a mandatory evacuation. Here are the areas that are under mandatory evacuation. First of all, low lying areas, anyone living in a mobile home and anyone -- living east of U.S.-1, that includes Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, all of those folks also making their way out of Florida and the only way to get out of this peninsula is to go north. You can't go east, you can't go west.
That is why we're hearing from Florida Highway Patrol that they're seeing increased volume. Now that is definitely a good sign. That means people are heeding the warning. They are leaving this area. They are heading north. They're either finding hotels or gracious family or friends that are willing to take them in and hopefully to higher, safer ground. Poppy?
BERMAN: Rosa Flores, thank you very, very much. One of the things that the governor did note was that you can get to safety without going all the way north, out of Florida. There are places in each and every one of these counties where you can go to stay safe. Governor Rick Scott wanted that message to get out. Again, check with your local officials to find out where the shelter is, if you in fact need one.
As we said, this storm has already caused huge, historic devastation, especially in the tiny island of Barbuda. Our next guest traveled around that island with the nation's prime minister to see the damage.
Joining us now is Marlon Carr. He's a photographer. He took the photos you are looking at right now. Marlon, if you can hear us, we are looking at your photos right now. Just tell us what you saw. Describe what it looked like.
MARLON CARR, PHOTOGRAPHER (via telephone): It looks like a garbage disposal. There were rubble and roof galvanized all over the island. It looked like those - couple of the houses looked like they were imploded on. So the rubble stayed in the same position the house was, but it was flat, completely flat.
HARLOW: What did you hear from people on the ground there because we are also looking at pictures of the team that you traveled with? You were there, again, with the prime minister, who went just hours after the storm passed to survey the damage because there's been no communication out of the island to reach you guys by telephone. What did the residents say?
CARR: Well, most of them, they were saying that the experienced was like something that you saw on a movie. It was people running from house-to-house trying to get shelter. They saw 40 foot containers flying, cars flying, animals flying. There were some who, you know, stayed in their home and the house started going piece by piece until they had to shelter in their bathroom.
There was one lady that said that she had to put three kids inside a cupboard inside of the bathroom. Up to now, she doesn't know how she did it but they got in there. And then, right after the eye came over and the place got a little calm, she took her kids and they headed for more secure area. It was like a total movie thing that you see on TV, but you would never think of experiencing.
[10:10:10] BERMAN: As we are looking at this picture, it's hard to imagine where to begin to recover from something like this. What is your sense of what the most urgent need is as of this morning?
CARR: Well, I think the basic needs, water, medical supplies and stuff like that. I think that's what the immediate need is. But, what we have decided to do here is, we've decided to evacuate the island as much as we can to bring the people to the mainland because there's no infrastructure in place down there for them to, you know, live a normal life.
So, there's no phone. There's no communication at all. There's no electricity. There's basically no running water. So, it is uninhabitable at this moment. So, most likely, they will be evacuating most of the people to Antigua.
BERMAN: Imagine that, a near total evacuation of this island, more or less completely destroyed. Marlon Carr, thank you so much for being with us and thank you for showing the world what happened on Barbuda.
HARLOW: Uninhabitable his words and they've got another hurricane churning in the Atlantic that they're worried about. We'll keep track on that and the people of Barbuda.
Meantime, in Washington right now, happening currently on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump Jr. is facing Senate Russia investigators. We'll bring you a live update.
BERMAN: And hurricane Irma headed toward Florida as we speak. Stay with CNN for our continuing coverage of this monster storm. We have a new forecast update coming in a few minutes. You are going to want to hear it.
[10:16:11] BERMAN: Happening now on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump Jr., facing Senate Russia investigators. He just gave his opening statement, we are told, describing meeting he had with a Russian lawyer last year, that lawyer had promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
CNN's senior congressional reporter Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill. And Manu, you had a number of lawmakers who wanted to see this testimony as originally agreed upon in public, it is not though. It is behind closed doors at least for now.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: It is for now. But there are a lot of members who believe that eventually it will be public. That is something that Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee told me yesterday. That Trump Jr. has to come publicly, otherwise, they are prepared to subpoena him for his appearance, but Donald Trump Jr., today, going to lengths to avoid being seen using entrances to get to a secure, classified briefing room, in which the public cannot access. He has not actually been seen by people here on the Hill. Even though he is in a session behind closed doors meeting with staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee who are asking about this Trump Tower meeting as well as any other contacts that he had with Russian officials.
Now, senators are attending. Some are dropping by, but they are not allowed to ask questions. Couple of senators who did emerge, Chris Coons of Delaware, Dick Durbin of Illinois did say that he did give an opening statement, about 10, 15 minutes' worth. But questions are expected to go on for a very long time. The question is when will Donald Trump Jr. come next? Will he come before this committee or the Senate Intelligence Committee?
And I just had a chance to speak to Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He said that they want to move forward in questioning Donald Trump Jr., but they want to ask questions first to a number of other people who are in the room in that meeting and then from June 2016, including some of those Russian operatives. He did not have a time frame when. But that is how they are proceeding at this point. So, clearly, even Donald Trump Jr. is behind closed doors today, but it's not the last time that he will be here on Capitol Hill, guys.
HARLOW: Manu Raju on the Hill reporting as that is underway, that meeting with Donald Jr. Thank you very much.
Moments ago, the president took to Twitter, and here's what he wrote. "For all those DACA that are concerned about your status during the six-month period, you have nothing to worry about -- No action!"
Let's discuss. With us, CNN political commentator, Hilary Rosen, CNN political analyst, Rebecca Berg and CNN senior political commentator and former senator, Rick Santorum.
So, Senator, can you help us understand that? I mean the president makes this, you know, highly controversial move that pleases his base, and he ends DACA. And then he goes out of his way and bends over backward just now to say don't worry, don't worry, don't worry, nothing is happening.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, the bottom line is DACA is more than just -- it's not just removal. I mean, I think what the president probably saying is no worry, you know, no one is -- we are not going to target you for as a priority to be removed. But as you know DACA does much more than that. It allows people to go to work. It allows people to have a driver's license, social security number and all those types of things.
And so, those things, you know, very well could change. It all depends on what the administration does. But if they are not enforcing that, if DACA is removed, then those things are going to be pulled back. So I, frankly, don't understand what the president just tried to communicate.
BERMAN: And by the way, there is also a message of complacency perhaps there that might be misleading because if the president and the administration follows through and what they have ordered, there are people that need to apply to renew their DACA status within the next six months. So no action for them, taking no action could have dire consequences if they want to stay in the country.
That said, Hillary, a lot of people are looking at this as the president once again trying to sort of bend over backwards to please his friends, Chuck and Nancy, as he now refers to them. Senator Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, with whom he struck this deal yesterday.
[10:20:02] You were on the Democratic side of the aisle. This is a deal that Democratic leadership wanted. Are you encouraged that the president seems to be moving in the way of Democratic leadership on all these issues? HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, let's just briefly talk about DACA, which is obviously, there was a huge blowback to President Trump's desire to kill DACA and human consequences were all over TV for days. And he was, I think, upset at seeing the reality of what he was doing. So suggest it, nobody has to worry for six months is just outrageous. I mean, you are playing with people's lives here, you know, people who are trying to make plans, have lives, have careers, live with their families. Just jerking these people around the way he is doing out of -- because of politics. It is just worse than cruel.
And you know, I think Democrats just want good policy. And so, when Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi went to the White House and said, we have been trying to pass an immigration bill for a long time. It is Republicans who have resisted that because they don't want legitimate folks who have been in the country to stay here, maybe Donald Trump heard some of that, who knows.
What he did hear, though, was that the politics of division and destruction that the Republicans were looking to jam things through was not going to work. And that's why he made that budget deal on the debt ceiling with the Democrats.
HARLOW: So, Rebecca, two moves now in the last 24 hours to please Democrats, right? This tweet we just discussed. And second of all, agreeing to this three-month extension on the debt ceiling so they have to fight it out in mid-December. There's an interesting column in the "Washington Post" this morning, the headline, a president who believes nothing. Fair?
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this was the criticism we heard throughout the election, throughout the Republican primary and then into the general election that Donald Trump was just ideologically fluid. He'll go wherever the wind is taking him. And really, what happened yesterday and what is happening today, again, in regards to the president and Democrats is what Republicans feared in the Republican primary, what Ted Cruz and others warned about in the Republican primary because they had seen Donald Trump over the years go from being a registered Democrat and supporting Democrats to a Republican supporting Democratic positions to Republican positions and we have seen that consistently from Donald Trump in the White House as well.
But what guides him is a political sense, his political gut. He wants to get his approval rating up. He wants to show his supporters and even his detractors that he is getting something done here in Washington. So it's possible that this deal he brokered with the Democrats, although very upsetting and stunning to some Republicans including Congressional leaders could show them potentially that he's trying to make some progress here.
BERMAN: Guys, just in the last hour or so, CBS released some sound from a "60 Minutes" interview that Steve Bannon did that is going to air Sunday night, a lot of news in this interview with the former senior strategist from the White House. I want you to listen to how he talks about White House staffers who have been critical in some cases behind the scenes or in front of the scenes of the president himself. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: You can tell him, hey, maybe you can do it a better way. But if you're going break, then resign. If you're going to break with him, resign. The stuff that was leaked out that week by certain members of the White House I thought was unacceptable. If you find it unacceptable, you should resign.
CHARLIE ROSE, HOST, "60 MINUTES": So who are you talking about?
BANNON: I'm talking -- obviously, about Gary Cohn and some other people. That if you don't like what he's doing and you don't agree with it, you have an obligation to resign.
ROSE: So Gary Cohn should have resigned?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANNON: Not much subtlety in, Senator Santorum, you know, that's what we call stabbing in the front right there, Steve Bannon to Gary Cohn. Senator, your reaction?
SANTORUM: Well, I mean, the point that if you don't agree with the president, you should resign. I would suggest that there's some gradation to that. That depends on what you are disagreeing on. If it is something that is truly foundational and you find abhor and that -- you can't support, you can't be quiet about, then you probably should step away.
I mean, if that's big enough and it violates your principles enough that you don't feel you should continue to serve, then you should probably step away. So I think that's what Steve was saying and I think he felt that issue was an important enough issue.
Look, no staffer is going to agree with what every - what the president does all the time. The question is, what's your obligation is not to go out there and counter the president. You are there to serve the president. And that is -- as part of his staff, you should keep your disagreements between the two of you, and not go out and try to publicly - the president. I think that was the second point Steve was making.
HARLOW: Hillary Rosen, quickly before we go. You are chuckling, why?
[10:25:01] ROSEN: Well because it's just ridiculous. Steve Bannon, you know, makes his views as well-known as Gary Cohn does. I think that a lot of them, the fact that this is a White House personality, not a White House of good, thoughtful policy, reflect the fact that Donald Trump does not have an ideology that benefits American people.
Let's not make too big a deal out of this, quote, "Democratic deal." We are still accomplishing nothing for the country. We did end up paying for needed hurricane relief but we are still not moving forward. And nothing is getting done and that lays at Donald Trump's feet and this infighting.
BERMAN: Although, look, if we have a moment of bipartisanship, which have been rare. For years, I think we at least need to acknowledge that it's happening, even if it only lasts three months.
ROSEN: It's a three-month extension on the national debt, which should not be political anyway. Come on, that's not exactly getting something done. That's saying, oh yes, we tactically agreed with Democrats instead of tactically agreeing with the Republicans. Come on.
HARLOW: Well, I think we got to leave it there. But I do think for people that this means more hurricane relief to.
ROSEN: That's important.
HARLOW: It's getting something done for them. But I take your point. Hilary Rosen, thank you. Rebecca Berg, Rick Santorum, thank you.
BERMAN: All right. We are minutes away from a new forecast on hurricane Irma, very important forecast to tell us where this storm may be headed. Stay with us.