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CNN NEWSROOM

Gulf Coast Residents Brace For Hurricane's Impact; President Trump Tweets Cryptic Comments on North Korea; Republicans Seem Open to Ban on Bump Fire Stocks; Rep. Trent Franks Talks Gun Control Debate & Health Care; Trump Speaks to Reporters at White House; Hurricane Nate About to Make Landfall on Gulf Coast. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 7, 2017 - 17:00   ET

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


[16:59:36] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM, I am Ana Cabrera in New York. And we are watching closely a hurricane emergency again this weekend. This time, the people living on the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are getting ready for the impact of Hurricane Nate.

Now, the outer bands of the storm are already being felt in Louisiana and this storm is moving very fast. Meaning, conditions are getting worst by the minutes. The hurricanes should make land fall in the next two to three hours of a category two storm. CNN has reporter teams and meteorologists in places across the impact zone. And of course, we'll be with you all night tonight with updates on the storm's location and where it is headed.

First to the CNN's severe weather center and meteorologist Tom Sater. Tom, the national hurricane center just issued an update. What is the latest?

TOM SATER, METEOROLOGIST: Right now, sustained speed is still the same at 90 miles per hour. That is a high-end category one. And it still has the time and space to get to category two strengths. It only needs to get to 96 miles per hour. It is currently 140 miles south of Biloxi. It is about 50 miles away from the mountain of Mississippi in Plaquemine Parish. We are seeing some convection of the northern end of what an eye you can see on the radar. Hard to detect on this infrared image or any satellite imagery.

But it is still making its way north ward and it's going to bring whether it's some pretty good winds. But the storm surge I think is the biggest issue right now. If you notice the outer bands making their way in, the first batch moved through the area. We are getting closer. But we already starting to see now water spouts, this is taken up from around Orange Beach that is near the gulf shores Alabama which produced some activities as far as the national weather service creating some and issuing somewhat of a tornado warnings.

But this is the threat we'll going to find a little bit later on. So, the threat for some rainfall obviously is going to flood these areas and most of the rain seems to be on the northern quadrant of the storms. Warnings are in red. Tropical storm warnings in blue through Alabama even tropical storm watches and the Atlanta metro area into North Georgia. Remember a million and a half people lost power even when Irma moved through into Florida.

So, as we watch this area of concerns of this track. Anyone who lives along the center of the track or eastward could see some damaging winds. I mean, we are talking about maybe snapping branches and power lines that could be dropped by these winds and that extends all the way into the northeast. Now, that's going to lose some of its strengths obviously, but we are about five hours away from a land fall. Pretty close to what could be Plaquemine Parish and they will take that near Biloxi as well.

Could it make two landfalls? It could if it moves into around Plaquemine. But we're going to be taking to look, a closer look at some of the storm surge threat. That is our biggest issue right now. So, we'll going to dive into that coming up in the next 30 minutes -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Tom, keep us posted.

Meantime, Kaylee Hartung on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter joining us now. Kaylee, you have met people there who have no intention of going anywhere as this hurricane hits. Why are they risking it?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And none whatsoever here Ana but I do need to say that the areas where people have been asked to evacuate outside the compound of the floodgates that have been built to protect the city of New Orleans, people there heeding the warnings and getting to safety. But here in the French Quarter, it is a party as you would expect. It is concerning to Mayor Mitch Landrieu as you will hear from him here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU, NEW ORLEANS: If that category two storm actually starts piercing winds, especially in the CBD through those large -- somebody can catch a stop sign in the head. Something that's loss in the quarter if it would buzz through one of the windows of folks that think that they're just having a good time if people can get hurt. And of course, when that happens, the first responders then have to go out in difficult condition and their lives are threatened as well. So, as I've said many, many times, I can only tell people what I think they should do, ask them to do it and hope that they'll be respectful of their neighbors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: And Mayor Landrieu says, he recognizes there could be about 40,000 visitors in New Orleans at any given time.

So, there is this 7:00 p.m. curfew in effect tonight because of the storm, is that of any concerns to you guys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurricane Veronica? Sorry, Hurricane Nate. No, honestly, we are taking a cue from a lot of the locals, and they've told us that we just need to be prepared. They told us to stay inside. Have water, have drinks and have a good time. So, that's what we're going to do.

HARTUNG: And this bar here, Malis of the Markets (ph) says, they have no intention of closing. Bar that's been opened since 1974. They say, they've only closed once and that was because of Hurricane Katrina -- Ana.

CABRERA: So does that mean they're just ignoring the curfew or are they in some way not part of that curfew?

HARTUNG: Well, Mayor Landrieu also says, he recognizes this is New Orleans and they're not about to start handcuffing people on the streets because they are out pass that curfew. It is more of a strong encouragement for the folks here. There is a man down the street right now hollering and asking, who's going home at 7:00. You can see the group behind me saying that have every intentions of staying. We just hope that they'll be save through it.

CABRERA: Exactly, you took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you very much, Kaylee for bringing us a sense of what's happening there.

Derek Van Dam is in Biloxi, Mississippi is also with us. And Derek, emergency officials are advising people there to expect of this self- sufficient for at least 72 hours.

[17:05:04] DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Without a doubt as the National Hurricane Center official track makes it right through Biloxi. Just to the east of the actual city. I want to show you where we are. Behind us, this is the Beau Rivage casino and hotel. One of 12 casinos along the Mississippi coast under a current mandatory evacuation. In fact, that was the hotel that our crew was staying at.

We no longer have that hotel to our availability. Of course, there is a curfew tonight that's just been issued by the city of Biloxi, and that is in effect by 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. Of course, land fall tonight expected around midnight here along the coast of Mississippi. Behind me, a staple, a landmark within Biloxi, this is the lighthouse, one of the few structures that was stood Camille and Katrina, 1969 and 2005, hundreds of deaths, billions of dollars in damage. We know nature's weaker, however the same threat exist here with storm surge. We are already starting to see this push of water from the Gulf of Mexico.

Remember, the gulf is extremely shallow and because of that nature, it puts this area at a higher risk for storm surge. Seven to 11 feet. That is the official forecast from the national hurricanes center. We have had tornados, not here but just to our east that have spun up the tornado threat continues to increase as the center of Hurricane Nate gets closer to us. Back to you, Ana.

CABRERA: Derek Van Dam in Biloxi, Mississippi, thank you for that reporting. Kaylee Hartung, thanks to you as well.

We are also closely following the ongoing investigation in Las Vegas. The city now marked by the country's deadliest mass shooting in modern history. Vice President Mike Pence is in Vegas this afternoon, he and his wife Karen joined a unity walk honoring the 58 victims being killed there Sunday night. Here is part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In America we morning with those who mourn. We grieve with those who grieved. And I stand before you today on behalf of my family and every family in America to say, we are with you. Today we are all Vegas strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: While the city tries to heal, investigators are facing the chilling task of trying to get inside the mind of a mass murderer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNDERSHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: We are coming over this man's entire life from birth to death to try to find out. It is hard to believe that one individual planned this attack and executed it without anybody else knowing anything about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: For the latest on the investigation, let's bring in CNN Stephanie Elam in Las Vegas. Stephanie, it has been six days there is still no motive what evidence are investigators going on right now.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is what's frustrating. Investigators so much right now at this point, Ana is the fact that they don't know the motive. Normally by now they would have some idea of what would drive somebody to do this. And it is still unclear why the 46-year-old, amassing weapons over the last couple of decades or so, and why would he bring them up the 32nd floor to his suite and do this.

Now, what they do know now is that there is a note pad with some numbers on it and they're trying to figure out what that is. What that could mean. They are looking at that information there. Also what we have found out is that investigators won't say why, but they do say that believe that at some point, the shooter was planning on making it out on his room and back to his car. They did find his car which had 1600 rounds of ammunition and 50 pounds of tannerite. And tannerite is something if you were to shoot upon it, it would explode and if you think about that, it could have been another mass casualty event separate from him shooting into the crowd at that concert venue.

So, because of these things, I do believe that there is more reason that he thought he was going to get out of there. But one thing to note here Ana is the security guard from Mandalay that went up to the 32nd floor, his name is Jesus Campos. He went up there to answer an open door alarm not to the shooter's room but to a room several doors down. Well, as you may have remember, he had cameras rigged, the shooter did, cameras rigged outside of the hall. When he saw that security guard arriving, he shot through the door at

him, shooting him in the leg. And because of that response, the security officer was able to radio saying, he needed help and they tell him exactly where the shooter was in that building. If it hadn't been for that chance to counter, this could have been a much, hard to believe, even more terrible event than what happened last Sunday because he would have been shooting longer into the crowd.

According to authorities' timeline, they do believe the shooter did not engage back firing into the crowd once he had come across, the security guard came across his door. So, really just quite a phenomenal detail there.

[17:10:05] CABRERA: What an amazing coincidence I've heard authorities used that word. That was luck that the security guard ended up essentially confronting the shooter, stopping the attack and already 58 people had been shot and killed with more than 500 injured.

Stephanie Elam in Las Vegas. Thank you.

Now, President Trump issued a cryptic plead about North Korea this afternoon saying only one thing will work. Let's take a closer look, next.

But first, CNN's Randi Kaye investigates the killing of Jessica Chambers. A young woman burned alive in her car. CNN special report, "Justice for Jessica" airs tonight at 8:00 Eastern. Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A quite town.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a pretty nice, it is a small town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A local girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's always smiling, she's always laughing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A shocking mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What could a 19-year-old girl do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Horrifying crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was saying help me, help me. She says, somebody set me on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That left -- with questions, until now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was close to a murder

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN Special Report, "Justice with Jessica," tonight at 8:00.

(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:15:19] CABRERA: More cryptic comments from the White House. President Trump began tweeting about North Korea just last hour writing, "Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years. Agreements made in massive amounts of money paid has not worked. Agreements violated before the ink was dry making fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry but only one thing will work."

White House reporter Kaitlan Collins is joining us live now from Greensboro, North Carolina where the President is scheduled to attend a campaign fundraiser tonight. And Kaitlan, the President only one thing will work comment. Is that a threat of war with North Korea?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is certainly fuelling these questions about what the President means when he makes these very cryptic remarks. He lamented decades of what he says is failed foreign policy and he said that only one thing will fix the situation in North Korea. But he happens to leave out what that one thing is. And I reached out to Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who just yesterday at the press briefing at the White House repeated that all options are on the table in North Korea.

And I asked her about the President's tweets. She said that all options remain on the table but did not add anything further. But all of this comes Ana, as the President is been making this very ominous remarks throughout the week, just this week during a meeting with senior military members at the White House. He made an unprompted remark that could be the calm before the storm when he was asked what storm he was referring too.

The President just told reporters that they would find out soon and then he repeated that remark again later when he was asked about that in the Oval Office. But what's becoming very clear to us here is that the President enjoys keeping people guessing -- Ana.

CABRERA: Well, it just does not sound like he's on the same page as the rest of his administration when he says very specifically only one thing will work and they're saying all options are on the table. It does not sound like the President is suggesting that there are multiple options on the table?

COLLINS: That's not what it sounds like and we actually saw this again recently after the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that he had a line of communication to North Korea. The President swiftly got on Twitter and told him to save his time and stop wasting his energy because talking with North Korea in the President's view is not going to work here.

CABRERA: All right. Kaitlan Collins for us, thank you in North Carolina. Keep us posted if you hear anything more from there of course.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joining us now from Washington. And she's a member of the House Budget and Judiciary Committees involved with immigration reform. And I do want to ask you about that. But first, I have to ask about your reaction to President Trump's tweeting just an hour or so ago, only one thing will work in North Korea, what do you think he means?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: Well, Ana, I think it is an incredibly irresponsible. These are war tweets is what it looks like. It's, you know, undermining all of his negotiators who are trying to find other ways, I believe, to address the situation in North Korea. It is terrifying for the country because I really don't believe that Americans want the United States to go to war unnecessarily and they certainly don't want us to be the bullies in the schoolyard taunting North Korea to go to war with us.

So, this is really disturbing as your reporter said earlier, it follows on a very cryptic comment that when I heard that comment that, you know, "This was the calm before the storm." Honestly, my heart was chilled because I do believe that this president had been itching to go to war, he's certainly talked about it a lot during the campaign. He's continued to act as if we have no responsibility here for our actions and ensuring that North Korea does not attack us. So, I think it is very, very troubling.

CABRERA: Do you think he is listening to his military advisers?

JAYAPAL: I think they are trying to perhaps hold him in check certainly since John Kelly came in as chief of staff, you had seen a little bit more discipline, but I think it is very difficult to hold this president in check which is what I find terrifying. He's the guy that got his finger over that nuclear war buttons. He's got the codes and I think that hopefully our military commanders who are around him and who he does to some extent to listen to a little bit more than others. Hopefully, they understand that this is an extremely serious situation.

You know, even Trump's former campaign advisor Steve Bannon said that a military option is really not viable in North Korea. And so, that's also, you know, I think something that's very troubling because right now I feel like the President is undermining all his negotiators and he is preventing us from perhaps finding a way through it isn't the military option.

[17:20:12] CABRERA: When we heard all that drama earlier this week about Rex Tillerson and the issue with the chief of staff trying to really reign in with some control in the White House. What do you in the timing of this tweet?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think it is all coming together. You know, I think that Rex Tillerson probably did say some of the things that he certainly did not deny saying them at the press conference. And I think that he's very frustrated, you know, it is very difficult to have cabinet secretaries who are trying to do one thing when the President is trying to do another thing and I think that any cabinet secretary would rail under that situation and I think that's certainly what we have seen with Rex Tillerson.

I do believe that Rex Tillerson seem to be trying to talk about diplomatic negotiations. And I think that, you know, increasingly every single cabinet secretary that tried to assert some level of, you know, rational policy is then contradicted by the person that they report to, by the commander-in-chief and that is not anyway to rule the country, certainly not anyway to prevent war.

CABRERA: Let me ask you about the immigration debate. The renewal deadline for the deferred action for touted arrivals program. DACA came and went this past Thursday and now it's passed, roughly a quarter of eligible recipients had not yet filed to renew their statues. Those who will be up here the next five months or so. Why do you think that is?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think there are a lot of reasons, I think, you know, first of all, we had written a letter, I was on this letter asking for the deadline to be extended. It was a very short period of time. It was just a month. We also asked for an extension because there were many states that have large numbers of undocumented dreamers like Texas and Florida that were hit by the hurricane.

And in those states, it was extremely difficult for people to deal with all the issues around the hurricane and, you know, file for their renewal status. I also think I have talked to a lot of young people who say to me, look, I don't know if I trust this administration. And if I update my information, my address information, there are some young people that have actually moved addresses, moved homes because they're afraid that they turn into this information.

You know, we made a promise to them, that if they turned in their information, if they told us where they live, if the were registered and they were eligible that they would be safe. And in fact, what's happening now is, if we are not able to come to a solution, then you know, the Security Department has all the information of where they are.

So, I think there are also people who are not only did not know about the deadlines and could not the fees, the money for the fees to apply. But I also think that there is a lot of people who are very afraid of once again turning in their information and perhaps having it used against them to deport them.

CABRERA: Very quickly if you will. Will we see bipartisan legislation to protect these people, these dreamers?

JAYAPAL: Well, the President promised that we would bring forward the Dream Act of 2017. That is what he told Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. And unfortunately now Stephen Miller and somebody that I have called on for the President to fire from the White House because of his extremist views. He has gotten engaged and he is making it absolutely impossible for us to consider a bill with the kinds of things he's proposing.

So, we need a clean dream act brought to the floor and I hope that the President reigns in Stephen Miller, takes him back out of the picture and allows us, Republicans and Democrats to bring forward the Dream Act of 2017 which is the only bicameral and bipartisan bill on the Dream Act. And it really is the solution. So, I believe we need to do that. I hope we still can do it. And I believe that a lot of my colleagues across the aisle know that it is the right thing to do and what to vote for, for the Dream Act.

CABRERA: Thank you for joining us, and I hope to continue the information conversation with you down the road.

JAYAPAL: Thank you so much, Ana.

CABRERA: Organizers decided a gun show would go on this weekend in Reno, Nevada. Just days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The hot topic, bump stocks. A live report, just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:29:04] CABRERA: The nation continues to debate gun laws in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting. In particularly a potential band on bump stocks. Legal accessories for semi-automatic rifles which the Las Vegas gunman used. They allow shooter to fire bullets more rapidly. Now, gun show is scheduled for this weekend in Las Vegas was cancelled in the wake of last weekend's killings. About seven hours drive Northwest of Vegas, a gun show in Reno, Nevada is going on as planned. And we had a chance to speak with our Dan Simon who on scene there last hour.

He tells us that people are coming quickly and trying to gather up more and buy up those bum stocks there. Again, 58 people were killed in the Las Vegas attack and nearly 500 others were injured. It can be hard to wrap your head around numbers like this.

[17:30:00] Last hour, one of our guests was able to put this shooting into perspective and explain exactly what this killer was able to accomplish. And it's terrifying.

Former FBI supervisory special agent, James Gagliano.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Ana, in 10 minutes, this subject was able to kill 58 people and wound 500. That is roughly the equivalent of an American military fatality. In the bloodiest battle in Iraq, in the Iraq conflict, in 2004, span of November and December of 2004, the battle of Fallujah, 82 men killed, 600 wounded.

Let that sink in just for a second. That in 10 minutes, this man was able to kill and main almost the equivalent of the casualty loss in the battle of Fallujah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: One of the reasons this killer was able to shoot so many people in such a short amount of time was because he had the bump fire stocks. Again, perfectly legal. That could change.

I'm joined by Republican Congressman Trent Franks, from Arizona. Congressman, House Speaker Paul Ryan seems to be open to a ban on bump fire stocks. Would you support legislation banning that kind of accessory?

REP. TRENT FRANKS, (R), ARIZONA: I haven't talked to Paul about that. I haven't heard anything that he has said. I guess it's important to keep in mind that the machine gun, the fully automatic machine gun that he used was already illegal. I supposed any number of different ways can be utilized to turn a semi-automatic into an automatic. I personally know that is the case. So trying to enact legislation, if you probably have to be along the lines of turning any legal gun into an illegal gun. I mean, we

CABRERA: I mean -- I'm sorry. Forgive me, Congressman, for interrupting, because that's the first I've heard of him using a weapon that was not legal. Do you have additional information that you can share about that?

FRANKS: Yes. A fully automatic machine gun, that he was using, is an illegal weapon.

CABRERA: My understanding is that he did not --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: -- based on the information that I have, that I've had a chance to look at from investigators. In fact, he purchased all of his weapons legally and that he used these bump fire stocks that were allowing him to essentially simulate an automatic weapon by attaching it to the gun. I'm not a gun expert, and I don't pretend to be --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: know a lot of hunters and gun enthusiasts are also unfamiliar with, as also Paul Ryan pointed out. And he is one of those outdoorsmen/hunter enthusiasts. That's why they have become center of this gun control debate. A lot of people say they allow guns to mimic automatic weapons.

FRANKS: Sometimes it's hard to draw the line very sharply here. But a fully automatic machine gun, a fully automatic machine gun, it's legal only with special permits. It would be illegal for him to have that. If he had some sort of ways, whether it's the bump stock or firing off the cocking mechanism in a semi-automatic to turn it into a machine gun or a fully automatic, on my judgment, puts the gun into an illegal category. Now, if I'm wrong on that, I will certainly express that. But the fully automatic machine gun without a permit's illegal now.

The report you had about Fallujah, the gentleman mentioned that this monster killing these innocent people at a greater rate than the people died at Fallujah. It's important to keep in mind that, at Fallujah, there were people that were shooting back both ways. So there's protection for the innocent, even for the guilty, as it were. They had their own protection with their own fire power. In this case, this guy was the only one who had a gun, the only one who had a number of guns. He was in a very difficult spot to reach. He was just, you know, completely unstoppable.

Ultimately, there's always going to be these damnable lunatics that gain that kind of advantage. We have to be able to protect ourselves in this country. Ultimately, you have look at what the real cause is of this. I know it's a hard thing to divine. I don't have the answers on that. But we have to look at the cause. Because guns in the hands of police and other rational people save lives every day in this country. So it's not the guns. It's whose hands they were in. In this case, they were in the hands of an evil monster.

CABRERA: Congressman, am I hearing you say that you believe, if people in the crowd had more guns, they could have ended his shooting spree sooner and prevented some of the deaths?

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS: Maybe if the security guard at the hotel that's a few rooms away or something, had been able to face him head on, like the lady in the Colorado church shooting did. She was an off-duty police officer. Stopped the gunman before he was ever able to do the horrible things he was doing. Sooner or later, when you find monsters like this that have weapons of almost any kind, sooner or later, they'll transfer whatever weapons we outlaw. Sometimes, they'll get something else. We have to be able to have the ability to defend ourselves.

(CROSSTALK)

[17:35:12] CABRERA: Congressman, as far as we know, it was a security guard in the hotel that did stop this gunman. And not because he confronted with gunfire but he was able to interrupt the attack because he came walking down the wall way of the 32nd floor, according to investigators. We just learned this in the last 24 hours. He was responding to a door alarm, a door that was ajar down the hallway. It was not the gunman's door or the gunman's hotel room that set off this alarm. But when he came walking down that hallway, that interrupted the attack of the gunman. The gunman then turned the fire on the security guard but he stopped firing on the crowd below. That was the end of the firing down below. So it was, indeed --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: But all the experts that we have talked to have said that this is a situation in which it would have been impossible for anybody in the crowd to return fire to stop this gunman.

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS: Well, I agree with that. I don't suggest the people in the crowd could have shot up at the hotel. I don't think many of them even knew where it's coming from.

But I think the scenario that you laid out is sort of my point. If there has been people that were in charge of security in that hotel, had been better armed and been able to help this gentleman, that interrupted him in the first place, it might have saved lives. I don't know. I know there are no perfect answers. But I'm convinced of this much. If we are going to deal with these challenges, we have to deal with the cause. Terrorists have now gone to using vehicles. And just as you can turn a semi-automatic into a simulated automatic with a bump stock, you can turn a family car into a car bomb with a sufficient amount of ammonia nitrate.

So the bottom line is we have to get to the mindset, to this evil justification for murdering the innocent. I would suggest to you, at the heart of this, in the final analysis, is that somehow a disrespect or a lack of respect of innocent human life has become more and more prevalent in our society. If we don't arrest that, we are seeing the tip of the iceberg of the tragedies that will come.

CABRERA: I know that you, as we all do, want to try to prevent something like this from happening again.

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKS: Oh, I so, so do.

CABRERA: Let me show you the latest poll from Quinnipiac on gun control. It finds that 94 percent of Americans think there should be universal background checks for gun purchases. That includes 93 percent of Republicans, voters in your party. Why is there bipartisan support in Congress for something that Americans are nearly unanimous about?

FRANKS: Well, I think that over the historical perspective, if you look at whether it's in China or Germany or wherever it might have been, there's ample evidence that whenever governments begin to get too able to take innocent civilians, that were law-abiding civilians, when they're able to disarm them, terrible things follow. Tens of thousands of people died as a result of that. If the laws in Germany had not been changed and some of the people had not been deprived of their ability to defend themselves, Crystal Night would have turned out a very different way. So it's hard to somehow know the right answer. But I'm convinced this much, that the Second Amendment and people's ability to own their own firearms that is are law-abiding citizens save lives and not takes them. There are those circumstances where there's some monster, who does not care about law or life, does these terrible things. It's our job, I believe, as a society, to try to ascertain what the cause of that is and to address it directly.

CABRERA: Congressman, when you say more guns save lives, not take lives, I just have to ask, it seems like these shootings are getting worse and not better. What evidence do you have that more guns are making things better, that are saving lives verses people losing lives?

FRANKS: Well, I will leave it to CNN to check out statistics. But I think it was about 10 or 12 years ago, we had some statistics. And that has changed, I'm sure. But that two and a half times as many people in American were successfully defending their own lives, for every one person that was shot by a firearm of any kind, including those that were shot in the line of duty by police officers. That's a telling thing. I would be interested to see what that scenario is today. But I am convinced, as I've said, that the guns that are in the hands

of law-abiding citizens save lives. And they're able to give us some ability to defend ourselves.

Steve Scalise is probably the perfect example. I don't want to put everything on him. He was shot and, yet, he strongly rejects gun control, because he realized that if guards had not had the ability to defend themselves and defend him, maybe dozens of members of Congress would have died.

The challenge is for us is sometimes to look past the emotional reaction that I have and you do. It's right to care about our citizens. This is the most horrible thing that we can see, is innocent people deprived of life. That is the foundation of America, that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law. He did that. And so, we want to find out what actually has caused it. And not go after the tools of his terror, but go after the cause of what made him pull the trigger and murder all these innocent people.

[17:40:45] CABRERA: Congressman, real quick, I want to ask you about a bill that you're cosponsoring. We talked about health care as well this week. There are some new maneuverings by the administration to essentially allow organizations to remove the contraceptive mandate, essentially, from the Obamacare legislation. And there's also been additional health care conversations as early as or late as today, in fact, with the president tweeting about having a conversation with Chuck Schumer.

You have a bill that passed the House, preventing late-term abortions. Do you think it can pass in the Senate?

FRANKS: Well, I think if it gets a fair vote, it passes easily. I was extremely grateful to President Trump for having a statement of administrative policy on this bill. That's the first one that's ever been put out. That's one of the reasons why he was president, because there was such a distinction between his policy on protecting unborn life and Mrs. Clinton. On the debates, when that came up, she defended abortion into the latest possible time, and he said, that's not OK with me. I think it made the difference in the debate. I think he's president because of his commitment to protect the most innocent in our society.

This bill is a bill that simply protects pain-capable unborn children at the beginning, starting at the beginning of the sixth month, through the remainder of the pregnancy. That's something overwhelmingly supported.

And I would suggest to you, we were just talking about the respect for innocent human lives. Sometimes I wonder if our focus is not on really protecting human lives. If it were, maybe there would not be some of these other horrible things. I mean, we had, just yesterday, 3,000 unborn children die in America, 3,000. Some of those were very late-term abortions that most Americans are against. They want to protect the late-term pain-capable babies. And I have been convinced of this much, that regardless of whether it some evil monster shooting people from the hotel window or if it's some Planned Parenthood abortionist making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year killing innocent children or if it's terrorists mowing people down in crowds with trucks or if it's some racist monsters doing the same thing in a car, it all comes down to one basic foundational premise, and that's, we, as a society, as a human society and human family, have to promote the protection of innocent life to the ultimate degree, or otherwise, the failure to do so manifests in some terrible, dark evil ways.

CABRERA: Congressman Trent Franks, thank you for your time. You're welcome any time.

FRANKS: Thank you, Ana, very much. Great interview, Ana. Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you.

President Trump just spoke moments ago. We'll have that for you next.

But first, in this week's episode of "Parts Unknown," Anthony Bourdain shows off his lack of skiing skills as he and his good friend took to the slopes in the French Alps.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, UNKNOWN: The French Alps, these mountains are majestic and beautiful.

My friend, Eric, grew up in mountains like this. He's an expert skier. This is like home to him.

(on camera): Have you ever milked a cow before?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BOURDAIN: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

I'm not a graceful skier. I'm an enthusiastic one.

Oh, Christ.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing.

BOURDAIN: And that's why you come here for winter and early spring, some of the best slopes on earth. Where I learned to ski.

We're going to ski. And lucky to get warm chicken fingers and a Bud Light at the lodge.

Here we start with pan-seared --

All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you do that on the ski slope? Seriously?

BOURDAIN: Also, cheese, apparently, a lot of cheese.

(CROSSTALK)

BOURDAIN: Let's do the fondue.

Oh, man, that's good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:44:47] CABRERA: Explore the French Alps with Anthony Bourdain in the next episode of "Parts Unknown," this Sunday, at 9:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Welcome back. I want to take you straight to Washington, D.C. Moments ago, President Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House.

CNN correspondent, Ryan Nobles, is joining us with what he had to say.

Ryan, fill us in.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president is headed to North Carolina right now for a fundraiser to support the RNC. But on his way to Marine One, he had quite a bit to say on a number of different topics. The president talking about North Korea, talking about health care. He talked about Harvey Weinstein and the "Access Hollywood" tape. I asked him specifically about his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his chief of staff, John Kelly. It was only about five minutes, but he covered a lot of ground.

Here is the entire exchange.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you people ever rest?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

[17:50:01] TRUMP: Well, if we can make a deal at least on a temporary basis because Obamacare is exploding. It's gone. The premiums are through the roof. You see what's happening. So if we could make a temporary deal -- because, ultimately, we're going to have it back to the states. We're going to block grants, back to the states. But if we made a temporary deal, I think it would be a great thing for people. But it's really up to them. Obamacare is a disaster. The numbers are out. It's exploding, like I said it would. So basically, if we can do a one-year deal or two-year deal, as a temporary measure, you'll have block granting, ultimately, to the states, which is what the Republicans want. That really is a repeal and replace.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: Nothing -- nothing to clarify.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: You'll figure that out pretty soon.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: I have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship. That was fake news. That was fake news by NBC. Sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: John Kelly is one of the best people I've ever worked with. He's doing an incredible job. And he told me for the last two months, he loves it more than anything he's ever done. He's a military man. But he loves doing this, which is chief of staff, more than anything he's ever done. He's doing a great job. He will be here, in my opinion, for the entire seven remaining years.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: No, no. He likes Secretary Tillerson. So do I. We have a very good relationship. We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.

ELIZABETH LANDERS, CNN PRODUCER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: Well, he says they were inappropriate.

LANDERS: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: That's locker room. That's locker room.

Yes, go ahead?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: We're going to see what happens.

So now I'm going to the really great state, a state that I love, of North Carolina. And I'll see you later.

Go home and rest.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: What?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: You're going to see very soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: So a couple of things that stand out there, Ana. He said that he still has full confidence in Secretary Tillerson. He said he believes his chief of staff, John Kelly, will be in the job for the next seven years.

And also I want to point out his response to our producer, Elizabeth Landers, when she asked specifically about the "Access Hollywood" tape that came out one year ago this week. He dismissed it, just like he did a year ago, and said that's locker room. Of course, this comes after he was criticizing Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, for the report in "The New York Times" about his alleged sexual assaults. So the president dismissing the accusations against him and taking the opportunity to attack a liberal Hollywood producer. Again, his answer? That's locker room -- Ana?

CABRERA: Well Ryan Nobles, thank you for that.

Ahead, an update on Hurricane Nate as it hits the gulf coast. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:57:54] CABRERA: A fast-moving hurricane about to make landfall on the gulf coast of the U.S. Hurricane Nate spinning into the Louisiana and Alabama coasts right now. The rain and the strong winds already being felt with the full strength of the storm not far behind.

Meteorologist Tom Sater watching the hurricane from the CNN Weather Center.

Tom, where's the danger zone right now?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It still looks to be from around Pascagoula, Mississippi, eastward. So that would be Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, over towards Pascagoula and Mobile Bay.

Look at the colors that we're starting to lose here, Ana. This is some good news. Nate is still a strong category 1, but its chances of becoming a category 2 before landfall are dwindling. Dry air is starting to infiltrate the system. And that's great. We don't want to see it be stronger. Before it's moving at a good clip, around 23 miles per hour, it can intensify. They don't like to move this fast.

Hard to see the eye on satellite, but on radar, you can. We're within 50 miles of the mouth of the Mississippi. Most of the winds and wind damage will be east of that on this coastal area. There will be some stronger gusts. You take 90-mile-per-hour winds and you couple that with its movement at about 23, 24 miles per hour, there will be some power outages. The biggest threat now, with the exception of a few isolated tornadoes around Panama City, will be the surge. First, the track, and it's moves quickly. So anyone along the track,

even around Alabama and Georgia, could have power knocked out and there may be flight delays as you get in New England. That's later on, after the weekend.

But let's talk about the surge. Most places can handle three and four feet. But when you get to five or six or even more, that's going to be an issue. And that's a concern for all of those areas that we're going to watch with the storm surge, the colors of orange. This is Pascagoula. As we move forward here, winds coming out of the north will cause issues. Winds coming out of the south, you see there on Bay St. Louis and over towards areas of Biloxi. So this is something we'll dive into in more detail throughout the evening. But hopefully, it'll stays at a category 1.

CABRERA: Tom, we know you'll be watching it. So will we. We'll be monitoring it throughout the next hour.

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York for now. And I'll see you one hour from now live with more coverage of the southern coast bracing for Hurricane Nate.

"SMERCONISH" starts right now.