Return to Transcripts main page


Lower Florida Keys Reopening to Residents; Police Arrest Second Man Connected to London Bombing; Trump Gets Ready for United Nations Debut; Trump to Campaign for GOP Senator Ahead of Tight Race; Annual Awards Show Kicks Off Tonight at 8PM ET. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 17, 2017 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:08] ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, as we follow three big stories this hour.

Right now in Florida, thousands of people are sitting in a line waiting to get back to the lower Florida Keys. Authorities have reopened that area and people are going to see, for the first time, what is left for them after Hurricane Irma.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, security is tight all over London. A second man has now been arrested in connection with that train terror attack.

And everyone is looking ahead to Tuesday when President Trump will make his debut at the United Nations General Assembly. What will he say? We'll talk about that.

PAUL: So, let's go to south Florida, first. Residents in Florida's Lower Keys, you saw them there, finally on their way home for the first time since Irma hit. Key West's mayor says you better be ready for a shock when you get back to that island.

CNN correspondent Nick Valencia live for us along the line of cars trying to make it back.

What are they saying to you? How concerned are they about what we are going to find? Most of them know whether they have a home left?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been about a week since Hurricane Irma hit and I think people are just as helpless and hopeless as the day it made landfall. We've talked to a lot of residents this morning, some of whom know that they're going back to absolutely nothing. It's an estimated one-third of these homes in Monroe County are either uninhabitable or just flat-out destroys.

Let me show you what's going on here this morning, guys. This is one of the two checkpoints. This is the first checkpoint that residents going back into the Keys will come across this morning, what these officials are doing is making sure that they have local IDs, making sure that they are who they say they are. So, you just, they're a couple that's probably been waiting in line a good hour or so.

We know at least in some cases, people started lining up here overnight. I was talking to a gas station attendance which was a staging area this morning as cars were waiting to go in. Some people showed up at 11:00 p.m. last night. Others have been displaced for at least a week. Three hundred miles in one instance, a man drove 300 miles overnight this morning with his wife. He says he knows he is going back to nothing but hoping he can salvage something from his second story.

In another case, I spoke to somebody earlier who was displaced and went all the way to Wisconsin and he talked about how he is broke right now. They have been hemorrhaging money coming out of pocket, in some cases, because people say FEMA is just -- the wait is too long to get to FEMA. Two hours at some point, one resident told me. And they haven't been supplementing some of the relief efforts for some of the residents that we've spoken to.

So, again, this is one of the checkpoints. There's another checkpoint. We don't know how many miles up the residents have to go through, but this is what the scene looks like, guys. Thousands and thousands of cars and people. The mayor is telling people, though, to temper their enthusiasm and expectations to what we are going back into.

PAUL: Nick, are people planning to go back and stay back or are they planning to go -- are you talking to anybody who is going back and assess the damage and possibly try to find something else until they can figure things out?

VALENCIA: I talked to one resident this morning who said he is prepared to go in at least two days to assess his house, assess his property and then get out. We have seen cars here, though, that look like they are in it for the long haul. Some people -- not this car but we saw a little earlier that was loaded up with gas canisters, at least a half a dozen pallets of water. You see this man here going back in with his motorcycle. I don't know if you can make that out.

People going back in with their jet skis, you know, trying to hopefully get back to normal. But, you know, guys, this is -- it's not normal. This is anything but normal. Maybe the traffic here, you know? But definitely not for this time of day.

But looking behind here, you know, these checkpoints, it's sort of surreal to think this is where people go on vacation in the Keys. You know, it's a very special place where you can go and unplug and get away from everything. Today, though, it's hard to not think about what all these residents have been through -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: And what lies ahead for them. No doubt about it.

Nick Valencia, so good to see you, sir. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, 800,000 customers still in Florida who do not power after Irma, and now, three new storms have formed in the Atlantic. One of them is strengthening and could hit the same still in Florida. One storm could hit the same islands that is strengthening that Irma hit and we have seen what is there.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us live.

Which one is headed toward those islands?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, two of the three could potentially have impacts on the U.S. but it's Maria that we are concerned about in the short term especially for those folks into the Caribbean. Again, you can count them. We've got one, two, three different storms out there.

But we start with Jose. This is the one that's out in the Atlantic just due east of Jacksonville, Florida. Winds about 80 miles per hour, gusting up to a hundred. It's already begun that complete northward track up the East Coast.

At this point, it looks like a U.S. landfall is unlikely. With that said, there is still expected to be impacts nonetheless for the U.S.

[07:05:00] We still expect very dangerous rip currents and some tropical storm force winds could impact places of Massachusetts. Here is a look at tropical storm Maria. This is about 65 miles per hour, less than 10 miles per hour off from being a category one hurricane. And we expect it to get up to a category one hurricane likely within the next 24 hours.

This is not good news, because by the time we get to Monday night, it could already be crossing over portions of the Leeward Islands and then from there, it moves on towards Puerto Rico and into the Dominican Republic. Again, guys, these are places that were just hit by Irma.

Now, when you look at the long track models, here is a look at those. This red dot, this is the American model, the GFS. The blue dot is the European model. Now, at this point, you're talking next Monday. You're talking eight days out from now.

After that point, this is when they start to split. The American model begins to go out over the open Atlantic. The blue, the European model, takes it much closer to the U.S.

So, it's certainly something we have to keep a close eye on because as of right now, Maria has already prompted tropical storm watches and even hurricane watches for the same islands, Victor, Christie, including St. Maarten, which we know was all but basically destroyed from Irma now having to brace for yet another storm.

BLACKWELL: Yes, barely into the phase of recovery and cleanup, and now, this is on the way.

Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.


(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) PAUL: Lots of tense moments there and some strong emotions overnight. These are protests in St. Louis. Some that turned violent. At least nine people were arrested, in fact.

BLACKWELL: Well, the night started peacefully but, as you saw, things got pretty tense. Some demonstrators refuse to do leave, confronting police directly. Protesters frustrated with a judge's decision to acquit former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith that happened back in 2011.

CNN's Ryan Young was in St. Louis when the violence started.

What did you see?


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are on Delmar Boulevard.

If you look behind me, you can see the heavy machinery behind me that the police brought in here. That's is a Bearcat. And the officers in their riot gear. About 50 percent of the businesses are coming down Delmar Boulevard look like they suffered some sort of damage. We were starting in the crowd. Look, the organizers told peaceful marchers to go home, but about a half hour after that, we saw another group that decided to stay here. And that started to build and there was a confrontation between police and those protesters.

At some point, someone started throwing rocks and bottles at the officers and started breaking out windows of businesses. Officers started to advance and try to arrest a few people and then it was total bedlam. People started running. We saw people being pushed down in the streets and we saw cars racing down the streets and we saw officers advancing.

At this point, right now, you can see how they staged right here to make sure that that property damage should stop. I can tell you, though, there were some tense moments that were very scary here. You thought it was going to get out of hand. Police got it back under control in about 30 minutes.

Ryan Young, CNN, St. Louis.


PAUL: All right. Ryan, thank you so much.

And there has been second arrest in connection with the London terror attack overnight. Nina Dos Santos is live from London this morning.

Good morning, Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christi.

Well, a 21-year-old man has been arrested overnight in West London. And the home secretary says that that means Parsons Green may not have been the work after lone wolf attacker. More details to come. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:12:38] PAUL: Well, new this morning. London police arrested a 21-year-old man. This is the second arrest in connection with the underground train blast and people have also searched a house in a suburb west of London which the U.K. press association says belongs to a foster care known to take in refuge children. An 18-year-old man police arrested is still in custody. The terror threat level still at critical, which means an attack may be imminent and security has been ramped up across the city.

Thirty people were injured when that bomb went off in a train car during rush hour on Friday morning.

CNN's Nina Dos Santos has the story live from Scotland Yard.

Nina, what are hearing about this latest arrest?

DOS SANTOS: Thanks very much, Christi.

Well, we know that the arrest of a 21-year-old man who was apprehended overnight in the borough of Hounslow, which is about nine miles to the west of Parsons Green, the site of that attack on Friday. He is currently being held at a south London police station where he is questioned under the terrorism act. And we also know that the 18- year-old who was apprehended in the port of Dover earlier on yesterday is also being held at a south London police station and is being questioned under the terrorism act.

The home secretary has taken to the British television sets today giving an interview to BBC saying that the second arrest suggests that Parsons Green may not have been the work of what she called a lone wolf attacker but having said that, she has rebuffed the suggestion that ISIS may have been behind this, despite the fact that ISIS has claimed this attack. She says as the Metropolitan Police here at New Scotland Yard have said there is no credible evidence at this point to suggest that ISIS really was the mastermind behind this particular attack, Christi.

PAUL: The COBRA -- there was that COBRA meeting yesterday. Have you heard anything what came out of that meeting and what plans are forward to tackle these kind of attacks?

DOS SANTOS: Well, it's a good question, Christi. The home secretary and the chair of that meeting, normally the prime minister chairs them but this is the weekend, so the home secretary is in the hot seat. She said that it was too early to say whether these individuals in particular, in particular the 18-year-old who had been arrested was already known to authorities.

There has been pressure on the British government to ramp up its security efforts and the home secretary has respond to do that today announcing on television that 24 million pounds, about $32 million, would be given to police officers to help shore up security.

[07:15:06] But, of course, remember, this is the fifth successful terror attack that has happened and the fourth so far this year on the British capitol.

Christi, Victor, back to you.

PAUL: All right. Nina Dos Santos, so appreciate the update. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now to discuss, Michael Weiss, CNN security analyst and author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror".

Michael, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, first, let's start with the obvious question. Who is responsible as investigators begin searching and this investigation? Do you see any hallmarks of ISIS in this attempt here?

WEISS: Well, besides of the fact that they themselves claim credit for it, although as the U.K. authorities say without providing any credible evidence, sure. The use of TATP as the main explosive material in this device, that's a substance that as Paul Cruickshank and others have pointed out has become a hallmark of ISIS terror, though, other terrorist groups have used it the in past before. But we saw this most effectively used in Paris and Brussels two years ago.

You know, the fact that we are now talking about multiple actors instead of just one, it's become kind of a cliche, really a myth in the media to describe attacks like these as lone wolf attacks. More cases than not tend to be coordinated. I don't want to even say cells, but an association of people that are behind the coordination and planning and the execution of these attacks. So, the fact that two people have now been arrested, more may be coming, that doesn't surprise me in the least.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about the top of your answer there that ISIS has claimed responsibility but British authorities have at least downplayed it at this point, have not completely debunked it. How often do we hear these claims of responsibility from ISIS and they're false? Is that their typical M.O.?

WEISS: They have claimed responsibility for things that they simply haven't done in the past. But, you know, we are in this zone of ambiguity here because when they say this is one of the lions of the caliphates, or this is one of the soldiers of our jihad, that doesn't necessarily mean that this person had had any real material or substantive connection with ISIS. He may have been radicalized or recruited remotely.

Virtual entrepreneurs is a term that has now gained ascendancy in jihad study circles. In other , somebody who's online goes out and literally runs and recruits an agent halfway around the world that he or she has never seen, and then connects that person with other people in the vicinity. So, I think the Brits are being a little cautious in saying we don't know for sure that this is directed by ISIS.

But, again, that is almost a distinction without a difference this day and age. Most of these attacks tend to be done by people who are arm's length removed from the so-called caliphate. And, by the way, and this is an important point. This is the fourth major terror attack in the U.K. in 2017, and this is a year that has seen ISIS lost terrain like no other.

They've lost the city of Mosul, which was in effect their second capital, their second largest city. They're about to lose Raqqa, the de facto capital of their so-called caliphate. So, what this shows is that a loss of terrain, the crumbling of the caliphate does not necessarily mean unfortunately that the threat is diminished with respect to the terror attacks in the West and outside of Syria and Iraq.

Their foreign operations branch has been in the works for well over a decade pioneered by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al Qaeda in Iraq. And now, it's gained such prominence and a level of sophistication. The people who are running this are from the West. They're no longer born in the Arab world, although may be of Arab descent, including agents who come from France and Belgium and have gone over to join ISIS. So, these are native sons and daughters of Europe who are in effect running ISIS version of their CIA, if you like.

BLACKWELL: So, you say that there's no correlation directly between the loss of territory and we shouldn't expect the decrease in attacks, but could there be an inverse relationship that we will see more of them because there is a decrease in the territory in Iraq and Syria so far?

WEISS: Well, this has been the supposition, that you know, the spate of these international attacks started really with the loss of terrain beginning with Kobani in northern Syria. However, if you look at the largest injunction to the fellow travelers and loyalists of ISIS by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who is formerly the spokesperson since killed by the coalition, his claim, which has now become famous to pick up a rock and smash the infidel's head in and get in a car, drive over the infidel with their car, stab him with a knife, shoot him in the head, et cetera, was actually made before ISIS had began to shrink on the battlefield.

As I say, it's true that they will look to try to distract from their territorial losses by focusing the media's attention on their capabilities as a terror organization elsewhere.

[07:20:03] But don't be under any misassumptions. This is there's also been a track two for ISIS's policy, and that was the exportation of jihad beyond the boundaries of the Levant and Mesopotamia. You know, in their marketing, they are a messianic, global and indeed apocalyptic organization.


WEISS: But the way they want to drive that point home is blood and carnage on the streets of major European capitals.

BLACKWELL: All right. Michael Weiss, thank you so much. WEISS: Sure.

PAUL: Well, Russian forces fired on a U.S.-backed rebel group in Syria, as both Russian and coalition forces converged on the former ISIS stronghold of Deir Ezzor. Several fighters belonging to the Syrian democratic forces were wounded. No one from the coalition forces were hurt.

BLACKWELL: Both the U.S.-led coalition and Russia are battling ISIS in Syria. Now, the U.S. is supporting some anti-government rebel groups, while Russia is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

President Trump will address the U.N. for the first time since calling it an underperformer and several other things. What the president plans to tackle as world leaders gather in New York.

PAUL: Also, an Alabama Senate showdown. President Trump and his former chief of staff, Steve Bannon, are backing opposing candidates.


[07:25:31] PAUL: Hope you're getting a little R&R this morning.

Twenty-five minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Sunday to you.

PAUL: So, the line of cars is moving in south Florida, heading to Lower Keys. They are reopened to residents for the very first time since Hurricane Irma hit.

BLACKWELL: The mayor of Key West says the people who live there, should be ready for a shock when they get home. FEMA estimates that a fourth of the homes in the Keys were destroyed and now, three new storms have formed in the Atlantic. You got Jose, now tropical storm Lee and tropical storm Maria.

One of them, Maria, is strengthening and could impact the same islands Irma hit. You've seen what is there. It's still too far out to see if it could affect the U.S.

President Trump will make his debut at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. He will host world leaders tomorrow and then formally address the general assembly on Tuesday. The annual meeting comes right after another missile launch from North Korea. The president will have the opportunity to directly address the regime's delegation Tuesday at the U.N.

White House reporter Jeremy Diamond joins me now live.

And, Jeremy, President Trump and South Korean President Moon discussed the strongest sanctions against North Korea. What are you learning about that conversation?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. Well, a South Korean spokesman telling CNN and other outlets that the president of South Korea and President Donald Trump spoke for about 25 minutes last night to discuss the latest string of ballistic missile tests that we've seen from North Korea, as well as their nuclear launches. The two men discussed ways to strengthen and ramp up pressure essentially on North Korea in part via sanctions. This, of course, comes as the two men are set to arrive here in New York for the United Nations General Assembly and, of course, big focus of these meetings this week, these diplomatic summits will be discussing ways to ramp up pressure on North Korea.

Last week, of course, the United Nations passed its latest sanctions bill, but President Donald Trump has kind of downplayed that sanctions effort. He said it was not that big a deal, saying that there is a lot more that the international community and the United States can do. But even as the United States and other countries prepare to discuss these sanctions measures and other diplomatic pressure efforts, the president's own administration is talking about military options, making very clear that despite the push on diplomacy right now, there is, of course, still a military option for the United States to address the problem with North Korea.

But while there are military options, most military officials and foreign policy experts say that those options are not necessarily very good in particular because they could, in fact, result in many civilian casualties.

BLACKWELL: All right. Very, very important week for the president. Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much.

PAUL: President Trump has -- so far has a contentious relationship with the United Nations often berating its leaders. So, what can we expect the first time at the general assembly speech?

Ambassador John Limbert, former deputy assistant secretary for Iran, is joining us now.

Ambassador Limbert, thank you so much for being with us. We understand that President Trump will be talking about America first. Can he balance an America first agenda without alienating other leaders?

AMBASSADOR JOHN LIMBERT, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR IRAN: Christi, that's a good question. I mean, who can predict what is going to do and say. The question really is, which Trump will the people of the United Nations see? Will they see the President Trump of the 3:00 a.m. tweets, or will they see the President Trump of the bizarre crowd rants, or will they see the more measured teleprompter Trump?

I'm sure that 98 percent would like to see the last one. But there's no guarantee. Just as this America first line I think was perhaps unexpected at his inauguration, something like that is not necessarily calculated to build the kind of coalition and long-term cooperation that you're going to need in a difficult problem such as North Korea or the other kinds of problems that the U.S. is facing where it needs cooperation from our friends and adversaries at the United Nations.

PAUL: I want to listen with you here to something that U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said just a couple of days ago.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: To start off with this speech that the president gives I think you can see it for yourself. I personally think he slaps the right people, he hugs the right people and he comes out with U.S. being very strong in the end.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, he slaps the right people, he hugs the right people. Who do you think he'll slap, who will he hug and how will it make the U.S. stronger?

AMBASSADOR JOHN LIMBERT, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR IRAN: The problem it's a person you slap today, you might need his help tomorrow. Things change. Situations change. Working against North -- about North Korea, for example, it's going to -- take some patience and take a lot of cooperation from a lot of different people.

So, slapping people around, that sounds nice. But it's not calculated to build the kind of -- make the kind of effort that, for example, we saw in the case of President Obama and Iran where it took months, years actually, very patient diplomacy with friends, but also with adversaries to build the kind of coalition that eventually worked.

PAUL: Well, and, you know, when you say that, let's remember that Vice President Pence is going to be there. We've got Secretary Tillerson who's going to be there. National Economic Council head Gary Cohn is going to be there.

Will any of these leaders, world leaders have expectations that they can perhaps have more substantial or make conversations or make more leeway in these sideline meetings with other leaders as opposed to direct face-to-face with President Trump?

LIMBERT: One would hope so, Christi. But the problem is it's the president who at the end of the day speaks for the country. It's not the most productive way of operating if these other officials that you mention, including the secretary of state, have to keep going around and explaining, will the president meant this or the president meant that.

Secretary of State Tillerson to be honest, with you, seems to be more fixated on process at the State Department than the kind of issues. He has not reached out to experienced, he's not reached out to expertise to work out these problems. He seems to be, as I said, more focused on what he calls reforming the way the State Department operates.

PAUL: And that brings me to this question about the Paris climate agreement that is in the news today. The White House contends President Trump's position to withdraw has not changed. There was this report in "The Wall Street Journal" that European official said he had gotten word that might change, that they may be more open to renegotiating. Why would a climate official say that, if not having been given

information from somewhere?

LIMBERT: That's a very good question. I don't -- I don't know. It a little bit makes you long for the days of no drama, doesn't it? I mean, where you have a certain message discipline and I think what's happening -- I don't know what is happening but, clearly, there isn't the process or the system that imposes discipline on the foreign policy establishment.

PAUL: OK. Ambassador John Limbert, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us. We appreciate your thoughts.

LIMBERT: My pleasure, Christi.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The president will be campaigning next weekend in Alabama, supporting a Senate candidate there. This trip is really interesting. This race was remarkable even before Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, backed another candidate. These two on opposite sides. We'll talk about that race.

PAUL: And the glitz and the glamour of the Emmys. It's tonight. We're going to have a preview of the hottest contenders for the 69th annual awards show.


[07:36:08] PAUL: All right. I know sometimes you want to mix up your fitness routine. Well, have you heard about spike boarding? It's this week's "Staying Well".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I'm spike boarding, I get looks and comments from a lot of people. People say, oh, that's really cool or what is that? It takes that motion of cross country skiing and turns it something you can do on a board with wheels, kind of a long skateboard.

You're carrying a single spike and you're using that to thrust yourself ahead. A lot of strength is required, but it's not something that hits or impacts you when you do it.

You feel the wind blowing through. It's fun and it's free. When I was a kid I used to skateboard and I felt comfortable.

I'm 53 years old, and I started piling up injuries, like shoulder injuries from jujitsu, and my back really needed something that wasn't as high impact like the kicking that I was doing against heavy bags.

Spike boarding was one of the few things I found that didn't aggravate my back and, in fact, did the same things kickboxing did in strengthening. So, when I first did, I couldn't go up even one minute up a hill. It was that hard. But then over a period of months, you build up. The idea of getting out at the end of day and going out in the sun, I

look forward to it. It allows me to keep my body in shape so I can hopefully play with my grandchildren someday.



PAUL: So, President Trump is going to be campaigning in Alabama this week. He'll be in Huntsville to support incumbent GOP Senator Luther Strange in his primary runoff. The president announced the trip last night.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's a closely contested race there. And the president's visit could give Strange the boost he needs to hold on to this seat. Remember, Strange was appointed after Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned that seat earlier this year. But now, in many respects, the president's trip less is about the race and more about the power struggle with his former White House chief strategist Bannon.

[07:40:08] Bannon has backed Strange's opponent, former state supreme court judge, Roy Moore. Plus, just last night, a third place candidate in that primary, Congressman Mo Brooks, he supported Roy Moore, endorsed his campaign.

All right. Let's talk about this now, CNN contributor Wesley Lowery and CNN political analyst, Nathan Gonzales, are both here with us.

Good morning, gentlemen.


BLACKWELL: So, Wes, let me start with you, this was an interesting race even before Steve Bannon backed Judge Roy Moore. The interesting element here about Luther Strange, the incumbent, who has only had the job a few months, is that he has the endorsement of a very popular figure there with the president, 80 percent plus approval rate in Alabama with Republicans, but also Mitch McConnell, the groups there allied with him who are investing, who's not very popular.

Does it appear the president's popularity is enough to outweigh Mitch McConnell's unpopularity?

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think there's going to be interesting. I mean, I think there's always a question to the extent at which the leadership factors into these type of races. I mean, very often does not a state official can overcome perhaps the support of someone who otherwise may not be popular. But I do think that Donald Trump's popularity in Alabama is something that is going to perhaps factor into this race and seriously factor into this race.

But obviously, as you were eluding to earlier, you know, I think that one of the story lines here, the major story lines here for me at least is to follow a potential for a split, a divide between Steve Bannon and President Trump. This is an area, and coming on the heels of what seems to be a departure from a chief strategist in terms of how he is handling DACA, as well as a few other things.

You know, a moment in which you have Trump seemingly aligned with a more establishment wing of the party who does not always, you know, aligned with, and opposing a candidate backed by someone like Steve Bannon and Breitbart and the more, kind of far right wing of the Republican Party.

So, it's going to be interesting to see how the dynamics continue to shake out.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I want to talk more about Bannon and his support for Judge Moore in just a moment.

But, Nathan, to you, just out line for people who are not familiar with admittedly the GOP primary runoff in Alabama. Why Mitch McConnell is so opposed to Moore's campaign and his candidacy?

GONZALES: Well, I don't know that it's Leader McConnell being opposed to Roy Moore. It's that he is supporting the incumbent. Whether -- when you're the majority leader, when you are the establishment, you support your own. And even though, as you correctly pointed out, that Luther Strange in office ten minutes or so, a few months, he is the incumbent.

And I think it's becoming symbolic, because if Roy Moore is able to knock off Luther Strange, and that could inspire other candidates to challenge other United States senators in the 2018 elections and I think there's a feeling that if Moore wins, that the establishment is going to have more problems. So, that is why this has escalated, continued to escalate.

BLACKWELL: Yes, when I was in Alabama covering the primary race when Mo Brooks was a part of that front-runners, the line that Moore went around the campaign stops and said, that I am campaign to go repeal Obama and replace Mitch McConnell. So, those would be at loggerheads if he gets into the Senate.

Wes, let me come back to you and I want to read something from Andrew Surabian, who worked for Bannon in the White House and now is a senior adviser to f Great American Alliance. He said the establishment should be worried. Republican voters rejected all of their preferred candidates in the 2016 primary. They're in the midst of rejecting a golden boy in Alabama and I'm confident they will reject their never Trump stalking horses running in 2018.

How much of this or is this really a harbinger for the 2018 primaries?

LOWERY: Well, look, I mean, I think this is and I think as Nathan has just pointed out, I mean, this is one of the concerns. I mean, if you're Mitchell McConnell and you're Republican establishment, you know, again, you've got a moment here where Republicans control what the Senate and the House and the presidency. And what I don't think the Republicans establishment wants to do is get stuck in a bunch of messy complicated primary races against incumbent senators, right?

This is a moment in which theoretically, the Republicans want to be governing, leading and acting their agenda, as opposed to having protracted intraparty fights, beyond which -- you know, even, you know, what we know is that very often, on average and, obviously, you have a case-by-case basis in any election or race, you want incumbents running statewide against Democrats, right? There is a world in which, you know, if you have several incumbents who are knocked off in primaries, where they may in fact, Republicans may, in fact, be feeling weaker candidates statewide against Democrats who are hoping, you know, to attempt to either take back the House or the Senate in as a means of, you know, preventing things like repealing and replacing Obamacare or getting rid of DACA.

So, you know, I do think there is going to -- you know, I think that you have -- again, one wing of the Republican Party that is very active and very interested in having a massive interparty fight and to knock off some incumbents and then the establishment wing of the Republican party that is very disinterested in that idea.

[07:45:11] BLACKWELL: Yes.

So, Nathan, the polls across the state and many analysts who watch this race, say that Judge Moore has a lead over Senator Strange. How broad or how wide that lead is, that varies, of course. But what would a loss for Strange after this visit by the president, what would that mean for President Trump?

GONZALES: Well, I think a loss would be a huge story, even though it might, by the numbers and by the makeup of the Senate, may not be a big deal. I think that we could see the president blame Mitchell McConnell, blame the Republican establishment because we know that the president doesn't like to lose and probably in his words, he doesn't lose.

But this is, I think, one thing that's key coming into this it looks like Roy Moore either has a narrow lead or a slightly larger lead depending on which point you're looking at. But Roy Moore and his allies are getting outspent tremendously on television. Since the primary and heading up to the runoff, Roy Moore and Steve Bannon and company are spending about $500,000, including only about $26,000 from the Steve Bannon's group.

On the other side, Luther Strange and allies are spending about $4.7 million. And so, even though Roy Moore might have a narrow lead right now, I'm not sure that he can sustain that advantage by getting outspent so dramatically on television.

BLACKWELL: All right. The runoff is on September 26th. Nathan Gonzales, Wes Lowery, thank you both.

GONZALES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. And later this morning, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, and California Senator Dianne Feinstein will be on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. That's 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: And do stay here. The Emmy Awards are kicking off tonight. Don't think politics is going to be sidelined -- not with this host. We have a preview, coming up next.


[07:51:19] BLACKWELL: All right. It's going to be a glamorous night in Los Angeles. We are talking about TV's biggest night. The 69th Annual Emmy Awards are tonight when the best in television will be honored.

PAUL: Yes, if it was going to be as rogue --


PAUL: You're watching it.

BLACKWELL: Was he rogue --

PAUL: Besides the awards, I know, the red carpet, the show is not complete without a host. And this year, making his debut, Stephen Colbert, who, by the way, his late show is up for six awards.

So, joining me now with a preview, radio personality and co-host of "The Daily Blast Live," Ebony Steele.

Ebony, good to see you. So, I'm going to be loyal to my co-anchor here.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes.

PAUL: He is dying over "This Is Us."

BLACKWELL: Isn't that the best show?


PAUL: What is the deal "This Is Us"? What are the chances?

STEELE: Well, first of all, I don't want Victor to die over this. But I wanted him to live for it, because everybody is living for this show right now. That is the big buzz.

As a matter of fact, I would consider that to be the show that everybody is talking about. Everybody is loving this one, especially with Mandy Moore. You know, who just got engaged as well in real life, but people wanted her to be engaged to her co-star. That's what makes it even more (INAUDIBLE) people love the show.

PAUL: What else are you hearing about, you know, the best comedy, best drama? Walk us through it.

STEELE: I would say the best comedy now, the big buzz, or I think, is "Atlanta." The show "Atlanta" is hilarious. People love it. He can dance, he can sing, he can do it all. That's another big buzz.

And also, I just have to keep going back to "This Is Us". But I'm also going to have to say "Veep". Julia Louis-Dreyfus, people love her, love that show, and she's so consistent.

PAUL: Particular stars that you think shine tonight?

STEELE: You're talking about people shine?

PAUL: Yes.

STEELE: Oh, I think Reese Witherspoon will shine, of course, with her show, "Big Little Lies".

PAUL: Yes.

STEELE: And Claire Foy, of course, with "The Crown", she's awesome. I think it is just so many things, there are so many people, so many great shows on right now, it is going to be hard. Yes.

You are already talking about Stephen Colbert.

PAUL: Yes, that's what I was going to ask. How political do you think it's going to get tonight?

STEELE: Well, I think that if he is not political, it would totally not be his platform. And everybody is going to be kind of looking for that. So, a political climate right now, not just that, but everything that's going on in the world. Even the weather and the tornadoes and storms, I hope he addresses all of that.

And so, we know the opening number is going to be bomb, it's always is. I actually saw him preparing to roll out the red carpet for the show and were like, hey, who is going to be on there? And he was like, nobody is going to call me back. It's not going to be -- I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know what I'm going to do for the opening number. So, who knows if it's going to be something special for that?

PAUL: You know what's interesting is so many of these shows are coming from Netflix.


PAUL: They're coming from places that are not being main networks. What do you make of that?

STEELE: I think it's just telling us the way that entertainment is going right now. I mean, if you remember, years and years ago, I'm not going to say what year because I don't want to age myself, but I sat down with my mom and dad and, you know, watched the ABC movie, Sunday night movie. There were five networks.

Then cable got big. And Netflix and Hulu are coming out with the other shows, there's a lot of options. That tells us people love to binge-watch. And people love movies, but they love series as well. They have to take advantage of that.

[07:55:00] BLACKWELL: I think we also have to watch out for "SNL" is up to 22 awards after the political season and introducing Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer and Alec Baldwin as the president. The work they have done. We'll see if they're rewarded tonight.

STEELE: Yes. I think -- and even if they're not, which I think they will be.


STEELE: -- I think people are going to continue to enjoy them, especially as supporting actor in a comedy, Alec Baldwin. He's phenomenal.

PAUL: Ebony, thank you so much. We appreciate you being here.

STEELE: My pleasure.

PAUL: Have fun tonight.


STEELE: All right. You, too.

PAUL: Thank you.

And everybody, thank you so much for joining us. We hope you made some good memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right after the break.