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NFL Players Blast Trump; Stevie Wonder Taking a Knee For America; Bannon And Trump Battle For Alabama Seat; Anthony Weiner's Sentencing; Hurricane Maria Aftermath; Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony To Thunder; Penn State Beats Iowa; Florida State Upset By Unranked North Carolina State; Tom Price, No Business Trips On Private Planes For Now Aired 6-7a

Aired September 24, 2017 - 06:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Wouldn't love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a (inaudible) off the field right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy that who we put in charge has tried to divide us once again.

STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Just kind of beneath I think a leader of a country to go route. It's not what leaders do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black people, black athletes get attacked by people like you and the president of the United States when they have every right to be here!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Catcher Bruce Maxwell is believed to be the first Major League player to not stand during the national anthem.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Rocket man should have been handled a long time ago. We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, he has tried to turn the U.N. arena into a gangster's nest where money is respected and blood shed is the order of the day.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Politics, patriotism, and America's most popular sport. We could see this divide, this collision as kickoff comes in a few hours in the NFL.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. It's the question swirling in the sports world this morning. What is going to happen on the field before the games after President Trump criticized players who take a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality. This morning, we know more NFL executives and athletes are talking. The controversy protest, it's spreading to another pro sports league as well.

BLACKWELL: Plus listen to this from the president, they won't be around much longer. President Trump ratcheting up the threats on North Korea after its foreign minister speaks at the U.N. saying that President Trump's insults are pushing the countries closer to open war.

PAUL: By the way, we are following the latest on President Trump's travel ban because it's set to expire today. There is a new ban on the way. We are going to tell you how that could impact your travel.

But let's get first to what is happening with the NFL. Now it appears Major League Baseball just had its first player take a knee during the national anthem.

BLACKWELL: Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland A's knelt with his hand over his heart while the anthem played before last night's game. In a statement, Major League Baseball said it respects its players' individual backgrounds and opinions. Here's what Maxwell said after the game.


BRUCE MAXWELL, OAKLAND ATHLETICS CATCHER: My hand over my heart symbolize the fact that I am and are forever be an American citizen and I'm more than grateful for being here, but my kneeling is what is getting the attention because I'm kneeling for the people that don't have a voice. This goes beyond the black community. The scope beat goes behind the Hispanic community because right now we are having an indifference and a racial divide in all types of people.


BLACKWELL: Our Coy Wire with CNN Sports is with us now. Coy, a lot of people, we know, are watching the games today to see if more players will kneel if there will be more protests.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's exactly right. Good morning to you. Now I've reached out to several players, general managers, and I could hear the discouragement in the voice of one of the general managers to whom I spoke.

He said his organization would never fire a player for kneeling, as President Trump suggested NFL owners do. His team has not yet had a player take a knee in peaceful protest of racial injustice but now he says do not be surprised one bit if players from his team do, in fact, kneel during the anthem for the first time.

And we talked a bit and he said don't be surprised if there is an entire team kneeling on the sideline and keep our eye on that as games commence. I talked to one high profile source with ties to the league to the coaches and players.

He said, quote, "We are going to do to him, meaning President Trump, what we did to Donald Sterling," end quote. Former owner of the L.A. Clippers who was caught on recording using racist remarks and he was banned from the NBA for life and force to part ways with the franchise.

Let's take a look at some of the reaction to President Trump's remarks about athletes from the sports world yesterday. NBA star, Chris Paul, who was on that Clippers team said, quote, "With everything going on in our country, why are you focused on who is kneeling and visiting in the White House? #stayinyourlane," end quote.

Now CNN has obtained statements from 12 NFL players. San Francisco 49ers CEO, Jed York, said in part, quote, "The callous and offensive comments made by the president are contradictory to what this great country stands for. Our players have exercised their rights as United States in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice," end quote.

Now one of the biggest narratives among people with whom I spoken and on social media amongst athletes and celebrities yesterday is that President Trump referred to people marching in Charlottesville among whom where white supremacists as quote, "very fine people," unquote.

[06:05:04] Yet he called predominantly black athletes who have been peacefully protesting racial injustice sons of you know what. Here's Steph Curry, NBA star, commenting about that narrative.


STEPH CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I don't know why he feels he needs to target certain individuals rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it's kind of -- just kind of beneath, I think, a leader of a country to go that route. It's not what leaders do.


WIRE: Steph Curry is one of many high-profile athletes and entertainers speaking out about President Trump's comments yesterday -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coy Wire, we know a lot of NFL team owners have donated to the Trump Inaugural Committee, including Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, donated a million dollars. What else can you tell us about the relationship between specifically Kraft and the president?

WIRE: Well, team owner, Robert Kraft is one of the several NFL owners to donate a million dollars to President Trump's Inaugural Committee. Robert Kraft was at President Trump's pre-inauguration dinner.

His deep ties to the president when Robert Kraft's wife died in 2011, Donald and his wife, Melania, were there for him. He expressed condolences and in that year, Robert Kraft says he was very depressed and one of five or six people who were there for him and he remembers that.

Now, remember, this team visited the White House. They gave President Trump a Super Bowl ring. That is not very common. Tom Brady, star quarterback, he was spotted with make America great again hat in his locker. He, of course, downplayed it but nonetheless he has said that President Trump is friends with him. Head Coach Bill Belichick also has written a letter in support of President Trump.

You can see that this team, it is no surprise that they are one of the organizations that have not yet written a letter in support of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell where the players deep ties and strong ties there with the New England Patriots and President Trump.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coy Wire, thank you so much. We'll continue this conversation throughout the morning.

NBA superstar, Lebron James defended Steph Curry after the president revoked the White House visit. James went on Twitter telling the president this, "Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up." James later expanded on why or rather expounded on why he sent that message.


LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Basically at a point I'm kind of, you know, just a little frustrated, man. Just because this guy that we have put in charge has tried to divide us once again, and, obviously, we all know what happened with Charlottesville and the divide that caused.

And now it's even hitting more home for me now even more because he is now using sports as the platform to try to divide us. And we all know how much sports brings us together, how much passion it has, how much we love and care, and, you know, the friendships and everything that it creates.

And for him to try use this platform to divide us even more is not something I can stand for and is not something I can be quiet about. You know, you just -- you look at him kind of asking, you know, the NFL owners to -- to get rid of players off field because they are, you know, exercising their rights, and that is not right.


PAUL: Let's talk to Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Melissa Quinn, breaking news reporter with the "Washington Examiner." Good to have both of you here.

Let's talk about the Trump White House. It's (inaudible) a few private employees in recent weeks. We have Sarah Huckabee-Sanders saying that (inaudible) called the president a white supremacist, who are, quote, "firable offense."

Now the president saying NFL players should be fired for kneeling during the anthem. Is there a strategy here, Errol? I mean, does he want to intimidate his critics, rally his base? Can you help us understand what is happening?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, strategy is probably too strong of a word. When you saw the president sort of cussing and raging from the podium at a political rally in Alabama the other day, he joined a long line of politicians who have done exactly the same.

You know, it was kind of clear who he was targeting his hatred at and who he was trying to sort of stir the crowd up against and trying to be the angriest guy in the room, the old demagogue trick of trying to sort of appeal to people's base or instincts and show that he is one of them and that he is going to be part of them.

It is what Donald Trump has done throughout his career, you know. I mean, look, the birther lies that launched his political career set the template for where his politics has gone.

Whenever it comes anywhere near the question of race. So, when it comes time to sort of denounce actual Nazis marching with torches, chanting in German and beating and one case killing someone at a rally, you have to pull any kind of condemnation out of the president.

[06:10:10] But let there be somebody, whether it's a commentator or an athlete or something like that and he is quick with the Twitter finger. So that, you know, this is where we are and what we have got.

I think it's kind of clear. I think the rest of the country has spotted this and sort of understands exactly what is going on here, and it will be up to us to figure out what all of this means.

PAUL: Well, I think it's important to get back to the crux of this, Melissa. Kaepernick, first, he sat, back in 2016 then he knelt. This is what he said about it. He said, "I'm not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for country that owe presses black people and people of color.

To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the streets and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Now he went on to say, after he met with former Green Beret and NFL Long Snapper Nate Boyer, he said this, "We were talking to Boyer about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military and not take away from fighting for our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are.

And as we talked about it we came up with taking a knee because there are issues that still need to be addressed and it was also a way to show more respect to the men and women who fight for this country."

So, he was trying to find -- he is saying taking a knee is in respect for the people who fight for our country. President Trump then, overnight, tweeted, "Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country and tell them to stand."

Is there a disconnect between not just the president, but other people in this country who just don't understand why people are kneeling? MELISSA QUINN, BREAKING NEWS REPORTER, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Yes. I think there absolutely is a disconnect. Look. These players are not protesting something that is a menial issue. This is a very important issue that Colin Kaepernick is trying to shed more light and attention on.

What I think is interesting is not only did Colin Kaepernick go out and seek the opinion and advice of a veteran, a former Green Beret, which I think is very admiral, it shows that he wants to show that respect to the U.S. military and those who fought so valiantly for this country.

But Colin Kaepernick and every single NFL player who is kneeling is just exercising their First Amendment Rights. They have a First Amendment Right to free speech, a First Amendment Right to freedom of expression and those instilled in our Constitution, which makes this country so great.

So, they are just exercising the very things that makes the United States so wonderful and I don't think that we can dismiss the things that they are protesting for, as President Trump seems to want to do.

PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, Melissa Quinn, we appreciate you both for being here. Thank you.

QUINN: Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Another late-night attack from President Trump. This going toward North Korea. The words going from the U.S. to North Korea show no signs of stopping. President Trump tweets that the North Korean leaders won't be around much longer. Why he said that? Next.

Plus, stranded without power, water or any means of communication. People in Puerto Rico are still reeling from Hurricane Maria. Look at this. Now churning towards the east coast.



BLACKWELL: All right. New this morning, President Trump and North Korea are still going back and forth with this pretty rough rhetoric. The president tweeted this threat after Pyongyang slammed him at the U.N. here it is, "Just heard foreign minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of little rocket man, they won't be around much longer."

PAUL: This is happening as U.S. bombers and fighters stage to show force off the North Korean coast. Yesterday at the U.N., North Korea's foreign minister, slammed President Trump's threat to, quote, "totally destroy North Korea." Let's hear what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RI YONG HO, NORTH KOREA'S FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission. If innocent lives in the U.S. are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.


PAUL: CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, joins us live from Tokyo. So, Ben, is there any indication how far President Trump's voice can go before North Korea might actually take some action?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's one thing to say all of these things. It's another to actually become involved in a shooting war. I think we are still a bit away from that. Certainly, we did see the United States today or rather yesterday flying B-1 bombers as well as F-15 fighters up along the eastern coast of North Korea above the DMZ, above the 38th parallel, which divides the two countries.

And according to an American spokeswoman this is the first time that they've fly that far north since the beginning of the 21st Century, which of course is only 17 years ago. But it does indicate that the United States is not just talking in the form of President Trump's speech at the U.N. and his tweets.

But it's also showing the Koreans that it has the force to project itself very close to the area where, in fact, these nuclear tests are taking place. The sixth one so far since 2006 taking place on the 3rd of September.

And of course, if you look, if you listen to the speech by the North Korean foreign minister at the United Nations, you can see, this is a man who is familiar with the west. He was the ambassador to the U.K. from 2003 to 2007 so he knew what he was saying.

[06:20:02] He was delivering a message directly from the leadership in North Korea and if you just listen to one bit that he said, it's clear why President Trump might be a bit annoyed.


YONG HO (through translator): The absurd reality that a person like Trump, a mentally deranged person, full of (inaudible) and complacence, the person who has chastised even by American people as "commander-in-grief, lion king, president evil," is holding the seat of the U.S. president.

And the dangerous reality that the gambler who grew old using threats, frauds and all other schemes to acquire a patch of land holds the nuclear button. These are what constitute the gravest threat to the international peace and security today.


WEDEMAN: So, this volley invectives certainly is causing concern in the region. In fact, we have heard from one of the spokesman for the Democratic Party, which is the ruling party in South Korea, saying that this kind of exchange of rhetoric is not helping the situation at all at the moment.

BLACKWELL: So, Ben, let's just look back a few years. In 2008, New York Philharmonic along with other U.S. officials traveled to North Korea for a concert and a cultural visit and that was under Kim Kong- Il, but what has made things change so dramatically in just the last nine years?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think since Kim Jong-un took over in 2011, you have to keep in mind that he is a very young man. It's believed he is just now in his mid-30s, half the age of President Trump. He is insecure. He needs to show the people around him that he is in charge, that he is strong.

That, for instance his nuclear program is something that makes him a factor on the world stage and not simply the ruler of an impoverished remote country in the back waters of Asia. So, this is his way of making his mark domestically probably more so than internationally.

Because, of course, he is the third in line -- rather the third member of his family to rule North Korea since 1945. He is a young man relatively inexperienced so he has to show through his nuclear program and some of his brutal actions within the country itself, that he is in charge.

And of course, when he is on the receiving end of these insulting tweets from President Trump, he needs to show even more that he can stand up to the leader of all the United States, but it comes at a considerable risk.

BLACKWELL: It does, indeed. Ben Wedeman there for us in Tokyo. Ben, thanks so much.

President Trump is going after some of the nation's best known professional athletes and they are attacking back. You're going to hear the back and forth.

PAUL: Also, Anthony Weiner is set for sentencing tomorrow for lewd online conduct with a 15-year-old girl. The question, is he going to go to prison?



PAUL: So good to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

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

The president's controversial travel ban expires in a few hours and he plans to replace it with new country specific restrictions.

PAUL: White House officials say they have worked with Homeland Security and the State Department to create some new guidelines here. Those are based on how a country issues passports, their security levels, and whether they share information about terrorists inside their borders.

Now the president recently said the ban needs to be, quote, "far larger, tougher, and more specific. The president's previous ban restricted travel from these six countries. You see them there. Multiple courts ruled against his order, though.

This is all happening as the president enters a critical week for health care legislation, despite two firm noes from Senator John McCain and Senator Rand Paul. Republicans say they are still working to repeal Obamacare by Saturday's deadline.

Behind the scene, the president and Vice President Pence are trying to flip Senator Rand Paul from a no to a yes. They would also have to get Senators Murkowski and Collins on board. Those two, along with Senator McCain, were key to sinking the last effort.

So how will Senator Susan Collins vote on her party's last-ditch effort to end Obamacare? Well, you can hear what she is going to say on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper at 9:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific this morning.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the president's controversial comments about the professional athletes and now the growing response. Let's start first with what the president said on Friday night in Alabama.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out? He is fired! He is fired!

You know, if you hit too hard, right? They hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game! It is hurting the game. But you know what is hurting the game more than that? When people like yourself turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem.


BLACKWELL: The president made those comments as we said during the rally in Alabama supporting a Republican Senate candidate, Luther Strange.

Let's talk about it. Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and Wesley Lowery, CNN contributor and national reporter for the "Washington Post." Gentlemen, good morning to you.

So, Wesley, let me start with you and what you tweeted and I want you to explain a little bit more about this beyond the 140 characters you had, "Any player who stands for the anthem after their teammates have been attack this way, should be asked to explain why."

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. Should be asked to explain why. In part, you know, you think about the many iterations we have gone through in this conversation, right? When Colin Kaepernick initially didn't stand for the anthem, was sitting then kneeled after having kind of conversations with a fellow player and a veteran, right?

And we have put him through this ringer, in this conversation where, you know, what is this for? We have had him -- have to entertain bad faith interpretations of his act of protest, right? That he was somehow being disrespectful to the troops or disrespectful to the military.

What we have seen here is the president of the United States, you know, really attacking players for expressing their first amendment rights. No matter how you feel about the cause of Colin Kaepernick and others have been supporting, the idea that they would be fired or retaliated against. But beyond that, you had, you know, the president of the United States using some pretty coarse language, you know, again, calling on these SOBs is not something that is known in the sports world we talk about a lot about brotherhood and camaraderie, about teammates, about standing up for someone like that, no matter how a player feels about these protests.

The idea that someone would come at your colleague, your teammate that way and you wouldn't stand with them or in this case kneel with them would raise some real questions about a lot of what we tell ourselves about our professional athletes. And so I do think that today as the players take the field, it's a political statement one way or the another, whether they kneel or not, every player is weighing in on this.

And so I'm very interested to hear from players, no matter what their decision is, about what -- why that decision has been made because, again, either you're -- if someone came to one my colleagues like this I couldn't fathom, you know, not in some ways responding in solidarity with them no matter whether I would agree with that protest initially or not.

BLACKWELL: So, Brain, let me go (ph) to you with what Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse tweeted that, "Trump wants you to kneel -- because it divides the nation, with him and the flag on the same side. Don't give him the attention he wants."

So does this protest now become about the president instead of what it initially was about as Wesley was talking about?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think today in many ways it is about President Trump as well as about the original intent to call attention to racial injustice, prejudice, and oppression.

That was Colin Kaepernick's goal a year ago. Certainly the anthem protests are still seen that way, among people who are acting in good faith, as Wes said, some folks have tried to reinterpret it as an act of disrespecting the flag, but that has been a mistake.

Today, what reporters will be watching for is whether folks are kneeling as a protest against President Trump. What we saw one baseball player do it last night. This is the first time that these protests have moved into the baseball stadiums.

Now we got the first game today early in London 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. We are going to start to see football games today so we're going to start to see what players decide to do.

And if I can just highlight one other piece of what President Trump said.


STELTER: There is an unmistakable racial element to this when he is criticizing African-Americans players. Those are the players who have been kneeling at these NFL games.

But he is also talking about trying to change the rules of football to make it more dangerous. You know, there has been an attempt to make the game safer because of the scourge of concussions. President Trump is up there on Friday night saying, we should get back to the days where people were hitting each other even harder.

He said that on the campaign trail as well. That is all part of kind of a make America great again nostalgia that he is playing to, playing in front of an almost entire white audience in Alabama. But there is an element of white identity politics here that is just hard to ignore.

BLACKWELL: One thing we cannot ignore, Wesley, is that although we have the statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell -- although not calling the president by name or specifically quoting his statements there and standing on the side of the players as some have interpreted it, "Colin Kaepernick still has not been picked up by a team so let's not exonerate these team owners in their statements thus far in this confrontation with players and the president."

LOWERY: Of course. I mean, by almost every analysis we have seen, Colin Kaepernick is talented enough to be on an NFL roster. This is a player who, not long ago, led his team to a Super Bowl. And has, you know, in the years since his initial protest, found himself unable to find himself on an NFL roster.

And so there is a real question about what happens to Colin Kaepernick who has told everyone who has asked him that he wants to play football and wants to be back on the field. Again, I think it's interesting as we entered this season which is still only a few weeks into the season, we saw the rise of additional players either kneeling or raising a fist in part in support of Colin Kaepernick who has been left off of the field. In fact, you know, was given the Players Association community service award as a player who is not even taking the field these weeks.


What I would be shocked if we don't see many more athletes today as these games commence taking a knee, raising a fist. What we have seen each time is that as there has been blowback to these protests, what we have seen additional players kind of saying, look, I've got to get myself involved in this as well. And so it has -- it has a duel effect.

I think that Donald Trump almost guaranteed that additional players would be taking a knee today.

BLACKWELL: Brian, quickly --

STELTER: Doesn't Ben Sasse -- yes, sorry.

BLACKWELL: -- quickly to you. I want to talk about the NBA just for a moment and then Steph Curry and the -- I guess rescinding of the invitation there. And what the Golden State Warriors will be doing. They will be going to Washington --


BLACKWELL: -- instead of going to the White House specifically.

STELTER: And they say they will hold events involving diversity and inclusion partly to make a statement about the president and against the president.

You know, we heard from Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, saying we wanted the players to be able to go to the White House but he also respects this group decision. It's interesting that, you know, Trump disinvited them after there was already talk about the team not going after all.

I actually connect this to celebrities, to CEOs. There are all of these leaders throughout the country they're having to make these choices about whether to be associated with president Trump or not.


STELTER: We didn't see this with Reagan or George W. Bush or Clinton or Bush or Obama to the extent that we see it now with Trump. A lot of celebrities, a lot of CEOs and a lot of athletes choosing to avoid ever being associated with the president.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter, Wesley Lowery, thank you both.

LOWERY: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: The backlash the president's comment about protesting athletes is spreading to the entertainment industry as well.

Stevie Wonder last night during a concert in New York, we want you to see this.


STEVIE WONDER, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING ARTIST: Tonight, I'm taking a knee for America. But not just one knee. I'm taking both knees.

Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world, and our globe.


BLACKWELL: Yes. He made the gesture just before his appearance at the Global Citizen Festival. And he told the concert attendees there that he did not come to preach, that is his word but, that -- quote -- "our spirits must be in the right place all the time."

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Well, it is now Steve Bannon versus Donald Trump in the battle for an Alabama Senate seat.

Bannon is traveling there today to campaign for Republican Roy Moore even though his former boss is stumping for Luther Strange. Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development secretary, also now publicly supporting Roy Moore. So we will see how that goes.

Also the question is will it be prison or will it be probation? Anthony Weiner's sentencing scheduled for tomorrow for lewd sexual conduct with a 15-year-old girl. And the prosecutors they want to see him spend 21 to 27 months in prison.

Weiner, remember, admitted to sending graphic photos and having obscene video chats with the teen. His attorney say he's making progress in counseling so they are asking for probation -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Well, right now millions of people in Puerto Rico have no power, no access to clean running water or communication, after Hurricane Maria tore across that island. We have got a live report for you next.



BLACKWELL: All right. Breaking news into CNN just moments ago. Another earthquake in Mexico. This one magnitude 5.7 centered in southern Mexico.

PAUL: This comes after two earthquakes struck near the same area yesterday. Mexico is still feeling tremors after Tuesday's big quake near Mexico City that killed 307 people and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria millions of people still don't have power this morning.

They don't have water. They don't have any way to communicate with anybody. Here is how the prime minister of Dominica summed up the crisis at the U.N.


ROOSEVELT SKERRIT, PRIME MINISTER OF DOMINICA: We dug graves today in Dominica. We buried loved ones yesterday. Where there was green, there is now only dust and dirt.

The dissolution is beyond imagination.


PAUL: CNN correspondent Nick Valencia is live from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Nick, you've been bringing us some pretty incredible images. Help us understand what it's like there right now.


Here we are three days since the storm passed over the island of Puerto Rico and there are still parts of it that are under more than two feet of water if you can imagine that. This was an epic storm. The worst hurricane that has passed through Puerto Rico in nearly a hundred years.

You mentioned no clean running water in some cases. The infrastructure has been decimated beyond recognition in some parts. Hospitals have been ruined. The people are having trouble getting food in some cases.

It was earlier that I caught up with the governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello and I asked him about the recovery efforts.


GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: This was something that we had anticipated a category five hurricane. This is no slouch. It essentially wiped out all of the telecommunications.

We are trying to reestablish them. We are trying to use alternate means so that you can communicate with your loved ones and we won't rest until all of those loved ones in the (INAUDIBLE) or anywhere in Puerto Rico can find a way to communicate with those over here.


VALENCIA: With this, local officials are trying to do is take generators to some of those cell phone towers to try to establish communication. There are so many people on the U.S. mainland that are trying to get in touch with their loved ones and still don't know their fate. At least 10 people have died as a result of this storm but many concerns that that death toll could go up.


And if this island hasn't been through enough, here we are dealing with a possible dam breach in the northwest part of the territory. The Guajataca Dam, there was a crack found in it by local engineers. It's affecting about 70,000 people between two townships.

Evacuations are under way. Local officials are taking buses to try to get out those people that can't get out themselves.

And you want to talk about the cost? It might be too early to talk about the cost but, yesterday, I asked the governor about that. He said this is going to cost more than Hurricane George did and that took about $7 or $8 billion for this island to recover.

Guys, it is still a desperate situation as ever -- Christi. PAUL: Oh, my goodness. Nick, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Parts of the U.S. could feel the impact of Hurricane Maria.

Possible warnings coming. In the next hours across the map you see here. We are tracking the path of this hurricane and the possible dangerous conditions.



BLACKWELL: Hurricane Maria is turning towards the East Coast this morning and while the storm likely will not make direct landfall the storm may bring extremely dangerous conditions to Carolinas.

PAUL: Yes. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar has been tracking (INAUDIBLE). We have been wondering for several days now where this thing was going to go. What will the impact be?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It looks like the storm is going to get close to the U.S. and then quickly veer away. Almost as if it was teasing us. But not before it brings some pretty serious impacts.

Right now, Maria has winds about 110 miles per hour. As it moves off to the north, we expect it to weaken even more which is fantastic news.

But notice here, it starts to go north, creeps back a little bit to the west. Almost like it's coming back just for North Carolina and then takes a sharp turn to the right away from the U.S. in doing so, however, it's going to trigger some rip currents. It's already started to do that.

In fact in North Carolina yesterday there were 25 rescues from rip currents alone and we haven't even seen the peak of the rip current. Those are likely to peak tonight into Monday.

So we talk about what rip currents are and what can you do to protect yourself if you happen to be caught in one. OK. So, for example, in these conditions, as Maria approaches the coastline, she is going to push a lot of water up against the shore.

In doing so, all of that water has to go somewhere so it ends up getting spread back out and has to come back out. But it forms these very tight channels that can end up going at relatively rapid speeds.

If you happen to be swimming in one of those, you can get caught up in one. And quickly rushed into much deeper water than you are likely to feel comfortable with. The best thing to do, if that happens, is swim parallel to the beach to get out of it and then you can find your way back.

Victor, Christi, the thing people need to realize is this isn't just going to be a problem for North Carolina. This is likely to go several states further north through the mid-Atlantic as the storm continues to pass by.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Allison Chinchar, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: President Trump not backing down in this feud with some of the country's best known athletes. But is this -- this war rhetorically distracting from his key issues on his agenda?



PAUL: Well, big day of NFL play today. A lot of headline moments, though, already last night and again yet this morning.

Coy Wire is here.


PAUL: The president is tweeting.

WIRE: He is tweeting and we're going to save that for -- in a few minutes because we have to get some of the good stuff. Sport is still fun, right?



PAUL: Yes.

WIRE: Let's do that.

So four of the top five trending stories on this morning have to do with the -- perhaps one of the biggest sports stars in NYC being traded to Oklahoma City. We're talking about Carmelo Anthony, franchise player for the New York Knicks being traded to Oklahoma City to join fellow all-stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George. I'm calling this the new NBA super team.

The Knicks will receive two Thunder players including big man Enes Kanter and a 2018 second round pick in the deal which is set to be finalized on Monday by the league office.

Now there was a late night thriller in the heartland. My goodness. After 35-yard touchdown run by Akrum Wadley, you got to love college football, don't you? Iowa takes a four point lead over four (ph) (INAUDIBLE) Penn State late in the fourth quarter.

But with four seconds to go, quarterback for the Nittany Lions Trace McSorley -- McSorley crushes the hearts of Hawkeye nation. Look at this.

How does he fit that in there? Just like fitting a pint glass into a shot glass with that touchdown pass. As time expires Nittany Lions using one of their nine lives there and escaping the Hawkeyes in Iowa City with a 21-19 victory.

Now after a long layoff due to Hurricane Irma, 12th ranked Florida State shocked by unranked N.C. State at home. And after the Wolfpack's 27-21 win, check out one of their players, Bradley Chubb seen spitting on the midfield logo. He did later apologize for this gesture but Florida State now 0-2 on the season.

Of course, they are without their star quarterback there who they lost to injury. A lot of action yesterday but of course all of the action today will be focused on NFL, NFL Sunday and what is going to happen with the player protests in wake of President Trump's comments about athletes.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Coy.

PAUL: Thanks, Coy.

So Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says he is going to stop using private jets for government purpose trips while the practice is under investigation. Price faced some criticism for how much his trips cost such as this one a few weeks ago.

Politico estimates his private flight cost $25,000 when a train ticket for the same trip cost $72.00.


TOM PRICE, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: We have heard the criticism. We have heard the concerns. And we take that very seriously and have taken it to heart.

We welcome this review. We want to make certain that we have the full confidence of not just this administration but the American people.


PAUL: Price says he is also asked for an internal review of travel practices.

BLACKWELL: Well, there is a lot to talk about this morning so let's do that right now. The second hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a (EXPLETIVE) off the field right now?

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: This guy that we have put in charge has tried to divide us once again.

STEPHEN CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: It's just kind of beneath, I think, a leader of a country to go that route. It's not what leaders do.

[07:00:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black people, black athletes get attacked by people like you and the president of the United States when they have every right to be here.