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FEMA: 75 Percent of Florida Without Power; Clinton Releases New Book, Takes Shots at Trump & Ivanka; White House Press Briefing. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 12, 2017 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, FORMER COMMANDER, JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA: A good thing, Florida has a generator law that requires the gas stations on the evacuation route to have generators in case the community power grid is up. The next is pod, gets the PODs in, points of distribution PODs. They're very efficient for distributing those and those who don't have the ability to cook at home. The next is road. Make sure the roads, primary roads to the secondary roads so people can get back and forth and you can start distributing as well as start some cleanup. The next would be cell service. You have the get the cell towers up so people can communicate. People who can't communicate can't stay informed. The next is get the stores up so people become self-sustaining. And the last is some type of temporary housing. That can be done. When you start scoring this by town and by county, these are neighbors. If they're not and not established, people can't live there. I'm sure within 24 hours, a lot of these systems will start coming online if we can get power up.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got it. This is a long list. It's going to take a while. You mentioned temporary housing. A lot of people, General Honore, are trying to head home today, tomorrow. You see how bad it is in some parts of Florida, especially down in the Keys. How would you advise people as they are going home?

HONORE: As we advised yesterday, people should wait at least a couple of days until the roads are open, number one. And number two, that the power grid folks are in and they can start working on it. You may spend a lot of time on the roads and people are going to start running out of gas and get very frustrated. Under FEMA, if you're under one of the counties that has been declared, use your cell phone while you have cell service in this part before you go back into the area. Register with FEMA. Within 24 to 36 hours you may have money to cover your housing if you're in one of those designated counties. But register now. And go to the hotel. The hotels are going to come up more and more in Miami and other places where peek evacuated from. As they come online, find yourself a hotel and keep your family safe there until it's safe for you to go back to your House. We do not need to put camps up and bring in tents. There's enough hotels in Florida to keep people there. That would be my recommendation. Find a hotel. Stay off that highway until these enablers come up in your community. There's a lot of enforcement out there and National Guard to keep hour House safe. Don't worry about running home to secure your House.

BALDWIN: Last question, General Honore, there had been talk of evacuations from the Keys. Do you think that would be a smart idea?

HONORE: I would recommend the vulnerable population, houses that are totally destroyed, to leave and to offer them the opportunity over the next 24 to 36 hours to come up to Miami or here to Orlando. There's a lot of hotel rooms available or will be coming available as the electricity comes up. More and more hotels are going to empty. Now FEMA working with the hotel industry will start to identify with those hotel rooms so people can check in. We'll need to get that number of people we're flying in food and water to. The more of that is taken down, the more can be done. And then we're going to have to put 3,000 or 4,000 workers to get the work done. You might add 3,000 or 4,000 people to get the lights on, cell tower, get the water up and fix the roads. You're going to add to that population. People should be encouraged. Buses should be going in and getting people to voluntarily come out and spend a week up here in the mainland.

[14:35:05] BALDWIN: General Honore, thank you as always for your wise words here in the wake of these kinds of storms and disasters.

Just to remind you, we're moments away from the White House daily briefing. This, as Hillary Clinton take news shots at President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka.

You see all those people down there? They're waiting to see the former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, herself. Today is the big day. Her book is out. We've got those stories coming for you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Hillary Clinton not exactly finished talking about "What Happened." Her book tour kicking off with a signing in New York City. People lining up around the block to meet her.

She's also doing interview after interview, not holding back on President Trump. She said she is, in her word, convinced the campaign co-colluded with Russia. She says they're, quote, "Being played by Vladimir Putin and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, is complicit with the president's agenda."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So everyone associated with him, they are either on board with that or they're not. If they're not, they need to be speaking out or leaving. But if they remain silent and give lip service to contrary points of view, then they are parts of his agenda and should be judged and held accountable for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's talk about this and other political headlines today. Two CNN political analysts, Amie Parnes, senior political correspondent with "The Hill," and Joshua Green, senior national correspondent, "Bloomberg Business Week." And his new book, "Devil's Bargain," mentions Hillary Clinton's book. We'll get to that in a second. And, of course, you co-authored "Shattered."

The first question, the pictures, the people all around, wrapped around the union square, what do you make of the interest in the book?

[14:40:00] AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There's a lot of interest. She has a lot of supporters. She won the popular vote. She's very quick to point that out, she won as many -- I think except for Barack Obama. Is validating for her. We heard this on our book tour. A lot of people wanted her book to come out because they wanted to hear her voice in this.

BALDWIN: From what you read so far, what's your biggest a ha or surprise or takeaway.

PARNES: She's revealing, for her.

BALDWIN: For her.

PARNES: For her. I wouldn't go farther than that. It's not like one big bombshell where you say, wow, I can't believe she said that. She tried to be as revealing as possible. It's kind of cathartic for her and liberating.

BALDWIN: Josh Green, let me ask you, the mention of your book in her book. She writes, "In his new book, "Devil's Bargain, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency, "Bloomberg News" reporter, Joshua Green, reveals that the Trump campaign data scientists thought the effects of Comey's letter was pivotal. In an internal memoir written five days before Election Day, they reported seeing," quote "declining support for Clinton, shifting in favor of Mr. Trump and predicted this may have a fundamental impact on the final results. Sadly, they were right."

Your response?

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think she's right. I got a lot of data and memos leaked from the Trump campaign. She has ceased on what I think most interesting one because it shows, as what the Trump campaign was seeing on the inside before and after FBI Director Comey released that letter. There's absolutely no question both from the public data we had but also this private data that Clinton talks about in this book that it had a pivotal effect on the race. The effect it had to shift voter sentiment away from Clinton and Donald Trump. We could argue this was not the decisive factor in the race. I think Clinton and a lot of people believe otherwise.

BALDWIN: She was asked in the interview, to add on to what you're saying, about Ivanka Trump.

Amie, this is her answer. She writes, "Everyone associated with him, they're on board or not. If they're not, they need to be leaving. If they remain silent and give lip service to contrary points of view, they are part of his agenda and should be judged and held accountable for that."

A/K/A, read between the lines, yes, she is complicit, don't you think? PARNES: Kind of like a pseudo Democrat and they wanted Ivanka Trump

to be with Democratic issues. They wanted her to be the champion of Democratic issues. Climate change, we saw her take a different stance than her father. I think they wanted to see more of that and they wanted her to kind of buck her father in some ways and they're disappointed about that. At least one person.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president and the entire administration.

Oh, there we go.

(LAUGHTER)

What a happy class. Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

Now we're ready.

The president and the entire administration continue to monitor the situation in Puerto Rico. The United States, the Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas, and all the areas affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. FEMA Administrator Long is traveling today and the president will be making a trip to Florida on Thursday. The president's actions during these times demonstrate why he's a true leader, who can bring the country together and getting things done for the American people.

He wants to continue building unity by working on more issues involving both parties especially cutting taxes for hard-working Americans. Last week, in North Dakota he invited Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp up on stage to welcome her during his tax reform event in her home state. Tonight, he'll host Senator Heitkamp, along with colleagues from both parties, Senators Donnelly, Hatch, Manchin and Toomey for a dinner at the White House to discuss achieving more tax reform that allows Americans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

Ahead of the dinner this evening, Secretary Mnuchin and Director Cohn are on the Hill this afternoon to continue their conversation with key members on this important policy push. The vice president also attended Senate Republicans' weekly policy lunch and is meeting with House leaders on the upcoming legislative agenda.

On issues ranging from national security to hurricane relief to keeping our government functioning, the president is reaching across the aisle to cut deals that help the American people. The president truly believes as he often says that in order to succeed and grow, we must work as one team, one people, and one American family.

Finally, speaking of family, I want to say a big congratulations to Eric and Laura Trump on the birth of their son, Eric Luke Trump, this morning. We all look forward to meeting him soon.

With that, I'll take your questions. John?

[14:45:04] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, on tax reform, Director Mark Short speaking at "The Christian Science Monitor" breakfast said one thing you learn from Obamacare is you can't even rely on your own votes to come across the finish line. But at the same time, you haven't gotten much partisan support either. With that in mind what do you do?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think start that conversation. Start talking about things we all agree on. As I said many times, most even can agree Americans should keep more of their money. They spend it far better than the government can. I think that's something that is a common goal that a lot of people want to come together on. I think by nature of them sitting down with the president, that's a very good first start. They're not going to get ahead of the dinner tonight but I think it shows and is a great indicator that we have a big agenda and a very ambitious agenda. We want to work together to make sure we get as much of that done as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Looks like you may want to get a by partisan lowering in, certainly middle-class cuts. The Democrats are drawing the line for the highest income earners. Can the president cut some sort of deal that sticks to his principles in.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Or is there an unbridgeable gulf there.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The president, I think, has demonstrated both in his business world and as president that he can make deals and that's certainly what he's looking to do and he's going to work hard to make sure we get the best deal possible on tax reform, but I think that starts with things like having this conversation and moving that ball forward, working by partisan support for both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They seem to express empathy for people who live in high tax states like New York and California. If the administration goes forward and Congress approves the plan, theoretically theoretically I they could see an increase, not decrease. Is the administration committed to doing something to help people in the high-tax states?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, we're working with Congress to make sure we get the best deal possible for all Americans across the board and that includes people in high-tax states.

Matthew?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thanks. It's being reports that the prime minister staying at the Trump hotel, two questions on that. Did that come up at all in conversations with the president during meetings and is it problematic?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not sure about if that came up. I'm not aware that that was ever discussed, and we certainly don't book their hotel accommodations, so I couldn't speak to the personal decision they made about where to stay here in D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Has there been any sort of attempt to curry favor with the president?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: No, I don't.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Steve Bannon non-apparently told a roomful of people that he speaks with the president every two or three days. You said you thought they spoke only once?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I don't think they speak that frequently. I'm aware of two conversations they had, and nothing beyond that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Not every two or three days.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Not that I'm aware of.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I want to get you quickly on one other topic. Why has. President Trump called the president of Mexico in the wake of the earthquake?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: They have a call scheduled today within this hour and we'll have a readout for you this afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, I don't know if you were asked this yesterday.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: It's OK. Everybody here likes to ask the same question many times.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is it true --

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think everybody knows where the president stands on that issue. The president is proud of the decision he made. He was 100 percent right in firing James Comey. He knew at the time that it could be bad for him politically, but he also knew and felt he had an obligation to do what was right and do what was right for the American people and certainly the men and women at the FBI. I think there's no secret Comey by his own self-admission leaked privileged government information weeks before President Trump fired him. Comey testified that an NBI agent engaged in the same practice, they'd face serious repercussions. I think he set his own stage on that front. Leaking memos to "The New York Times," your own outlet. He signaled he would exonerate Hillary Clinton before he would interview her or others. He's fully vindicated by a lot of those new things and think it's the right thing.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When the president goes down there, what is he going to be doing?

[14:50:06] HUCKABEE SANDERS: Those details will be finalized and we'll keep you posted on the travel.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: First a thought on the Malaysian prime minister's visit. The probe, did that come up in conversation with the president today and secondly, a different matter, next week, of course, the president is going to New York, united nations general assembly. Presidents usually try to get across an idea. What will President Trump's be?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not aware of the situation coming up in today's meetings. In terms of the assembly, I don't want to get ahead too far. We'll plan to outline the plans and details at the end of this beak as we have done in past practice on the meetings and we'll certainly do that by the end of the week.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said the actions can be - (INAUDIBLE).

HUCKABEE SANDERS: That's not his role. That's the Department of Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is that something you'd like to see?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not sure. If there's ever a moment we feel someone's broken the law, particularly if they're with the FBI, that's something that should be looked at.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have they tested the hydrogen bomb?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not sure.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yesterday when you talked about James Comey you mentioned he gave false testimony. I didn't hear you say that today. Do you still stand by that?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I did say that today. And he did.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sorry. Secondly, when it comes to Steve Bannon, the "Wall Street Journal" reports they spoke the other night. Do you know if they discussed the "60 Minutes" interview and if it's something he would like to discuss it?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: He hasn't said whether he'd like to discuss that and at least me on that front.

John Gizy (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Sarah. Two questions if I may. First going back to John's political question regarding "The Christian Science Monitor" breakfast this morning the president was asked if he still supports Senator Luther Strange. When I asked you that question, you said legal constraints kept you from answering. He said this morning he's standing by Senator strange and he fully supports him in the runoff to September 26th. Is that the White House's official position?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Again, the president has liberties that I don't and legally I'm not allowed to comment on that, so I'm not going to weigh in on that conversation. I'm sorry. I'm not in a place where I can comment directly behind the podium about elections that are upcoming. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: My question is a political question as well.

Two United States Senators face spirited primary challenges. State representative Justin Simmons, strong supporter of the president in Pennsylvania, declared his candidacy against Congressman Charlie Dent who announced his run.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to weigh in on elections from the podium. That's something that the hajj Hatch prohibits me from doing.

James?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: What did the president -- (INAUDIBLE)?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think he actually said this is a small step and part of the process. But, look, I think that the ultimate goal here is a denuclearized Korean peninsula. That's what we voted to push toward. We're going to continue taking those small steps, but at the same time we know the very parties that voted to do this has to do more and the president's called on them to do more and we hope that they will.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, is the president comfortable with his son Donald Trump Jr testifying publicly up on Capitol Hill?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the president comfortable with his son Donald Trump Jr testifying publicly on Capitol Hill? Dianne Feinstein as said she'd like to see that?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: We're going to be transparent and cooperative. There was no wrongdoing and we're ready to see this come to its full conclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So the president would be comfortable --

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The president is comfortable with us being fully transparent and cooperating with this process as we've done every day since it's started and may do every day going forward.

[14:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If I can just ask a quick follow- up question. Jared Kushner, was there any suggestion about him stepping aside earlier this year from the administration?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: No, not that I'm aware of. And no representation as attorneys of both have gone on record to say.

David?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mark Short also said the administration would not get funding for the border wall. I think that leashes it to the interpretation of being open for the bill or the DACA recipients that would legalize them.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think what we're saying is what we've been saying all along. We haven't mixed messages here. We want responsible immigration reform. That hasn't changed. The president is very much committed to the wall. We're also committed to other principles we've laid out and none of those have changed.

John Decker?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Sarah. Just a couple of questions.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: A couple?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You mentioned guests this evening, three Democratic Senators. Senators that are up for re-election next year. Do you know how they were chosen first of all?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think by their willingness to want to sit down and have these conversations with the president. Certainly, something that we're looking forward to and hopefully will be very productive steps forward and having a very ambitious layout for the fall.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Senator has indicated he's not been invited but is open to tax reform. Does that mean he could perhaps be a future guest of the president for dinner?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The administration has been clear. With want to sit down with anybody who's willing to be serious about real tax reform for this country, providing real relief and actually looking the make bold changes. Those are the conversations we want to have. I would imagine if Senator tester wants to be involved, we would be willing to have that conversation with him.

Alex?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Last week Congress asked the pretty to legalize DACA. Why the change of heart?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think the president has spoken out very clearly, he wants us to make this decision based on a variety of factors. But the number one thing is he wants responsible immigration reform and part of that is reviewing that in the process.

Trey?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What convinced him to want responsible immigration reform?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What convinced him to want responsible immigration reform?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think the president's always wanted responsible immigration reform. He wants jobs protected and American citizens and that's why it's not one piece. It's comprehensive.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: First, you said the leaking of information likely could have been illegal. You went on to say something that could be looked at. Are you encouraging -- is this White House even encouraging the Department of Justice to investigate the former FBI director James Comey for leaking information?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: No. As I told Haley (ph), this is anybody breaking the law. If they determine that that's the course of action to take, then they should certainly do that. But I'm not here to ever direct DOJ and the actions they should take.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A lot of to conversations in washington about the midterm elections in 2018, what role is he looking to play in the 2018 elections? Will he be supporting the candidates and using leverage?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: He'll be looking to have members of Congress support his agenda.

Look, I think the president is going to support the agenda, but in terms of specific elections and whether or not he's going to weigh in, as I said, I'm not going to be able to weigh in from the podium.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Two topics, one thing, can you talk about the evening tomorrow, what's the crux of it? Also it's supposed to be about Charlottesville and HBO.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not getting ahead of their meeting. I'll be happy to provide information after the meeting is over. But at this point, it's certainly a conversation Senator Scott wanted to have with the president and he wanted to have an opportunity to meet one on one with the Senator. I'm not going to get into anything beyond that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is it happening or -- (INAUDIBLE)?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: It is going forward. It is happening. It will take place at the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: One last question. Just for understanding, how is the president receiving and getting calls from his cell phone? I know it sounds very trite. But there's a lot of controversy about how the president is being handled by General Kelly and how he's keeping certain people out. Then you're hearing --