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CNN NEWSROOM

Williams Shocking Upset Overshadowed by Spat with Umpire; Trump to Provide Answers in Defamation Suit; Alabama Voters Sound Off on Trump's Attacks on Sessions; Trump on the Hunt as Leaks Gush from the White House. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired September 9, 2018 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:41] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Erika Hill, in today for Ana Cabrera in New York.

The 2018 hurricane season just got a whole lot busier. There are now two hurricanes in the Atlantic. One of them headed straight for the East Coast. Hurricane Florence is closest to U.S. at this hour taking aim at the Carolinas. Forecasters fear it will become a category 3 or even worse before landfall.

And keep in mind here, the storm is not traveling alone. Helene which you see in the bottom right of your screen just upgraded to a hurricane within the last hour and Tropical Storm Isaac also churning in the Atlantic.

Meteorologist Tom Sater joins us now from the CNN Weather Center.

So how concerned, Tom, should folks in the Carolinas be at this hour?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Greatly concerned. And I think for good reason, too. Typically when we have a storm at this latitude and longitude based on history and the historical tracks, we've never had one mover toward the U.S. They typically move north. But the steering currents are different with this but I want everybody to understand that what I say tonight could be different come Tuesday night.

I mean, this system is 1400 miles away. This is not going to make landfall. If it does until late Thursday. Maybe late Thursday night. But again, it does and will create large impacts. The entire East Coast should be aware of this. Some of the models, give it a landfall. Some keep it offshore. And if it spins for days on end, that could be catastrophic flooding for the Carolinas and the outer banks.

The computer models all pretty much are in good agreement with where it's taking this. But there's always an out outlier and of course as mentioned we're several days away so things can change.

One thing we know for sure. NOAA aircraft was in this. They find it strengthening from 75-mile-per-hour winds to 85-mile-per-hour, I think overnight tonight it will develop an eye. It keeps it into the waters from below 80s to the mid 80s to upper 80s. So that's going to be fuel for his system to really fire up and possible strengthen overnight tonight to a major category. That's category three, four or possibly five. That's not out of the realm here of possibilities. But this could be a cat 4 once it makes landfall.

Anyone to the Carolina coast, South and North Carolina, watch this. But also to the north, if this thing wants to tick upwards and move north, that means the outer banks in toward areas of Del Marva.

Helene is now a hurricane. I'm not worried about it. It's going to stay in open waters. Isaac is moving toward the lesser Antilles and that could give heavy rain and become a hurricane overnight tonight. But when it comes to the rainfall, what we're watching, I just want everybody to understand there's just one model here that drops easily over 10, 12, 15 inches of rainfall in North Carolina. But this is just one model.

When we look at this, Erica, throughout the week, this is going to change greatly. If this thing stalls off the coast like Harvey did in Texas last year, catastrophic flooding. Let's hope that's not the case. But we've got a couple of days to kind of tweak it until we find out exactly what it's going to do late Thursday.

HILL: All right. We know you'll continue to keep a close watch. Tom, thank you.

SATER: You're welcome.

HILL: Virginia, North and South Carolina are not taking these warnings lightly. Already preparing for Hurricane Florence. The governors of those three states declaring a state of emergency well in advance of the storm's expected landfall. Empty store shelves have been spotted at this Wilmington, North Carolina, Walmart. So let's hope that that's a sign folks are taking Florence seriously.

But until Florence arrives, still kind of a nice day out there on the beach on this Sunday despite that storm lurking off shore. CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung is on Carolina Beach.

Kaylee, good to see you. Obviously some folks still soaking up the sun. Are they concerned, though, in terms of what they're hearing about Hurricane Florence?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, this beach behind me has been filled all day but as these last few folks who are enjoying the last of the sunshine on this day, tourists say they're headed out of town. They know the storm is on its way and locals say they're prepared. I spoke with Rick Thayer, a resident of Wilmington, North Carolina, not far from here and he expressed a sentiment we've heard all day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICH THAYER, WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: Walk during the day and come Wednesday when it starts to get bad, we'll put the outside stuff away. We've already bought our water. So we're good to go. We'll hang out.

HARTUNG: Not any more complicated than that? Not any more concerned?

THAYER: No. Because look, it is beautiful out. So we'll enjoy it and we'll deal with it when it gets here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Another longtime resident of this area told me, he wakes up every day prepared for a storm. That's the risk you take when you live on this coast.

[18:05:03] But I also spoke to the director of emergency services for this county, Erica. She told me their directions to their employees this weekend were to go home, get prepared, get organized but come Monday they're going to need to hunker down for the challenges ahead.

HILL: And we know, too, just to point, people might be questioning why these states of emergency declared well in advance. That's really to make sure everything is ready to go if and when it's needed, correct, Kaylee?

HARTUNG: That's right, Erica. And South Carolina's governor Henry McMaster said it best. You know, you hope for the best but you prepare for the worst. So in declaring those states of emergency down this coast so early, that's exactly what it's going. It's part of the preparation allowing these states to get their resources organized and deployed so they're ahead of these storms.

HILL: Kaylee Hartung, with the latest for us. Kaylee, thank you.

Fresh controversy for 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams. The superstar slapped with a $17,000 fine today for three different violations in the second set of that championship match yesterday. The match of course won by 20-year-old Naomi Osaka. Her victory in many ways being overshadowed by the headlines which highlight the exchanges with the umpire you see there, Carlos Ramos, and Serena Williams. Serena visibly upset after she was given a warning over illegal coaching which she tried to explain to the umpire.

After that she did smash her racket, a penalty there, and then she ended up being docked a game after she approached the umpire another time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: You need to make an announcement that I didn't get coaching. I don't cheat. I didn't get coaching. How can you say that? You need to -- you owe me an apology. You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand what's right for her and I've never cheated. You owe me an apology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Andy Scholes in is Flushing Meadows at the tennis center there with the latest. This is still a hot topic nearly 24 hours later. That may be an understatement, Andy. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly a hot topic

right now. Erica, you know, the debate going on on social media was, you know, who was right and who was wrong in this situation. You'll find people that say you know, that both Carlos Ramos and Serena were wrong. But if you counted the numbers, more people are definitely on Serena's side. You know, when we're talking about a grand slam final, the next day we should never be talking about the umpire.

In that situation many people think that Ramos should have tried to deescalate the situation as opposed to hitting Serena with a third code violation. That being said, others think Serena definitely overreacted in this situation. And that maybe if she was winning this match she would have maybe brushed off that first code violation for coaching as opposed to going at Ramos the way she was because she did have a frustrating first set. Serena, though, after the match, said she was just trying to stick up for herself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: I'm here fighting for women's right and for women's equality. And for all kinds of stuff. And for me to say thief and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, like how -- he's never took a game from man because they said thief. For me it blows my mind. But I'm going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal -- like Cornet should be able to take her shirt off without getting a fine. Like this is outrageous.

You know, and I just feel like, the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves and they want to be a strong women, and they're going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn't work out for me but it's going to work out for the next person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Yes. And tennis legend Billie Jean King showing her support for Serena on Twitter. She tweeted earlier, "When a woman is emotional she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same he's 'outspoken' and there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same."

And Erica, many men tennis players and former men tennis players they came out as well on social media saying they in fact have said much worse to umpires than calling them thief, and they did not get penalized whatsoever. So many people are agreeing with Serena that this is definitely a double standard.

HILL: Yes. Well, there's a lot of evidence out there, if you go to the videotape.

Really quickly before I let you go. I haven't seen anything. Has there been any talk about what might happen to the umpire?

SCHOLES: No. Officials have come out and said, you know, he's -- and that's the thing, Erica. If you went by the rule book, Carlos Ramos did nothing wrong. He's citing he saw coaching. He gave her the warning. She smashed her racket, that is a point penalty. And then Serena did berate him multiple times. And, you know, that is up to the umpire's discretion. But by the rules he is allowed to give her that game penalty.

[18:10:07] So according to the rule book, Ramos didn't do anything wrong. Now that being said, he definitely could have used some discretion and not given Serena that game penalty there because it's kind of like if LeBron is in the NBA Finals in the fourth quarter, you're not going to give him a technical foul at the end if he argues to the ref. They always show discretion. That's where Ramos went wrong in many people's minds here.

HILL: All right. Andy Scholes, thank you.

We are following breaking news, CNN learning CBS chief Les Moonves will step down following an internal corporate battle, one that has been playing out very publicly as more and more women also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault and harassment.

CNN senior media correspondent, the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter broke this story.

So, Brian, where do we stand at this hour.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This is a stunning down fall. I mean, those are two words that come to my mind, talking about Les Moonves who is a legendary broadcasting executive, arguably the most powerful man on TV. Also one of the highest paid men on TV. But six weeks ago that first story by Ronan Farrow about alleged harassment and abuse, it included accounts from six women. That was really one of the first dominos here. And earlier today a second story by Farrow. Six more women, all on the record with even more disturbing accounts of Moonves' behavior.

HILL: Very disturbing.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Yes.

STELTER: We're talking about forcible sexual contact and things like that. That makes a total of 12 women. And CBS had known the second story was coming for several days. So behind the scenes there have been negotiations for his exit, for Moonves' exit. Those negotiations have finished. They've been completed today. And Moonves is out. It's a done deal. It's a matter now of when it's announced. So will that be tonight? Will that be tomorrow morning before the market opens? Either way it's an end of an era at CBS and I think for many of the women who accuse him of wrongdoing, a key moment of accountability.

HILL: There's also -- I mean, there are really two storylines happening here. Right?

STELTER: Yes.

HILL: There are all these accusations from these women. There's a separate corporate battle that was happening in terms of CBS, before those allegations were made.

STELTER: Right. That's right.

HILL: So there's that part of it. And there's also this question about money and how much money Les Moonves is walking away with.

STELTER: And ultimately this is all about money. You know, as much as this is about a Me Too case, and it is, the difference between this case and all the others we've talked about in the past year, and the amount of money involved, Moonves was running this empire at CBS worth billions of dollars and he was getting paid $60 million, $70 million, $80 million a year.

In fact his contract that stands today he would be owed $180 million if we were to be all of a sudden fired. But of course if you're fired for sexual misconduct, that changes everything. So right now this is a matter of negotiation between his lawyers and the other side's lawyers. And we don't know how much money he'll be paid on the way out the door. We do know advocates and Hollywood have already said he better not be rewarded for this alleged behavior.

And Moonves, for his part, he has admitted to some mistakes but he's also said he never abused his power. You know, that is hard to square with the accounts from these women on the record who say they were denied opportunities, they were denied jobs as a result of rebuffing him or as a result of having experiences with him. So it is very much a cloudy circumstance but it's very clear that CBS, the board of directors who have been widely criticized for not taking action sooner, have reached an agreement where he will be stepping down.

And by the way, it's the first time, of all these Me Too cases, that a Fortunate 500 CEO is leaving. I do think it's another key moment in this story that began a year ago with Harvey Weinstein.

HILL: It certainly is. All right, Brian. Appreciate it. Thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

HILL: As the White House scrambles to find out just who the author of that anonymous op-ed is, we're at the point now where the vice president is saying he'll take a lie detector test to prove he wasn't behind it. This as one former Trump campaign adviser tells CNN he thinks he knows who is behind it. His theory, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:18:08] HILL: A former aide to President Trump's campaign says he's fairly certain he knows who wrote that damning op-ed in the "New York Times" last week. Talking about the anonymous opinion piece by someone who claimed to be a senior official in the administration, and part of what the author referred to as an act of internal resistance.

Michael Caputo joined my colleague Fredricka Whitfield on CNN a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Let me tell you, Fredricka, I'm fairly certain I know who it is. I've been, you know, going through this parlor game just like everybody else has. And I'm also completely 100 percent certain that the person who wrote this is on the list of people who said they didn't write it.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so who do you think it is?

CAPUTO: I'm not going to go into that. My attorney tells me it's a bad idea, but I can tell you this, I believe, first of all, that this person --

WHITFIELD: So you've talked to your attorney. You've consulted your attorney, you've said, I think I know who this is based on certain language that was used? And you've consulted your attorney --

CAPUTO: Based on language --

WHITFIELD: -- and your attorney says don't reveal it?

CAPUTO: Right, I mean, based on language, based on the fact that I believe that the -- these kinds of people leave a trail of crumbs when they're trying to deceive people around them. That's the way it always is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: There's one take. Deal with that what you will.

I want to talk a little bit more about this White House who done it and its impact, its broader impact in Washington. Joining me now AB Stoddard, associate editor and columnist for RealClearPolitics, and Symone Sanders, former national press secretary for Senator Bernie Sanders in his 2016 White House bid.

Always good to talk with both of you. So, AB, you wrote and I'm quoting here, "For Republicans in Congress the anonymous op-ed came just in time." Why is it just in time?

AB STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST FOR REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, imagine if that op-ed had not landed last Wednesday. We would be talking about the Woodward book and how many people around the president at the highest levels believe that he is unfit for the job and potentially a national security threat. That is what the conversation would be about.

[18:20:05] For Republicans on Capitol Hill the op-ed in the "New York Times" became an opportunity to not have to answer questions about Bob Woodward's credibility but an opportunity to defend the president because this was an outrageous act in their view of cowardice by someone within the administration coming forward and getting an anonymous space in the "New York Times" to launch an ad hominem attack against the administration.

And as you've seen in the days that followed, they are all outraged about it, one can't be more outraged that the next. They want to go on TV and talk about it. They want to write pieces for major newspapers about it. And they're all out to try to help the president out of this jam. And I think it was a lucky break for them.

HILL: A lucky break for them. But the book is coming out. So we'll see what happens come Tuesday of course when all of this changes.

Symone, as we look at this, there have been a number of Democrats as well who denounce the author of this op-ed saying, listen, if this is really the issue, you should stand up. You should either resign. You should say hey, it was me. Stop hiding behind the anonymous and actually do something.

Is that the right road for Democrats to take here?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, look, I absolutely think that as a person who has run press shops, that has been a chief spokesperson, this was in fact an act of cowardice. If you don't like what your principal is doing then you need to get off the pot. But I do not think this op-ed goes far enough. There are very real concerns that are raised here. And I think if this person is so concerned they should go straight to Congress.

Now currently the Republican-held Congress has demonstrated they're willing to exert any type of oversight over the Executive Branch and perhaps that's why this person hasn't gone there. But I do think that Democrats, while they have commented on this in the media, the midterm elections are less than 60 days away. And they are still talking about the issues in the states and around the campaign trail.

And so this is I think more of an issue for Republicans right now than it is Democrats. But I do think across the board in general, we should all be outraged and concerned that many people within the president's inner orbit believe he's essentially unfit to serve. And I think that is cause for some type of oversight, some type of action. But I don't think we'll see it from this Republican Congress.

HILL: It is fascinating to see the media blitz, though, from the White House. I mean, the White House doing a very good job of keeping this story top of mind while sort of complaining on the side and people are still talking about it.

SANDERS: Which makes no sense to me.

HILL: Right. But they are keeping it top of mind. And as you say especially from your communications background, Symone, it doesn't make any sense. The other thing that's fascinating is, you know, Kellyanne Conway just this morning saying to Jake Tapper her feeling is this letter is all about sowing discord and chaos. But no one, and AB, I'll throw this one to you, they don't seem to refuting the claims in the letter, which is fascinating. It's just sort of talking about other issues beside them, but not actually coming out there and saying, this is all terribly false, it's more, hey, I'll take a lie detector test, it wasn't me.

STODDARD: That's absolutely right. What this -- they want us to know that this is an obsessions of President Trump's. They want us to know they're on the hunt for the person. They want us to know that they want the person to pay a dear price that the president believes this is a national security threat.

Mike Pence wants us to know, the vice president, that he definitely didn't do it and take a lie detector test. They want the focus off of the substance which you mentioned, which is so dramatic and so profound and so potentially damaging to the whole country in case we get into a crisis as Bob Woodward said in an interview today. They're not denying that that's really what the matter is. So they're trying to make it about the goose chase, so that we'll focus on a who done it and a mystery and stop focusing on the fact that they're not coming out and rebutting the claims in the piece which are the entire subject of, you know, several hundred pages in a Bob Woodward book.

HILL: Which we're waiting for that to drop as we said. The other thing that was fascinating this week are the two different Barack Obamas we saw. We saw this fiery speech on Friday when he was accepting an award, calling out Donald Trump by name. Talking about everything he saw that wasn't working and that needed to be addressed.

And then on Sunday, Symone, when we saw him at his first real campaign event, on Saturday, rather, in California, it was a different Barack Obama. He was a slightly more subdued tone. Is that what's actually going to get people up and out there to the polls?

SANDERS: Look, I think President Obama's message when he accepted his award in Illinois the other day is the message that rings true across the board for Democrats all over the spectrum. What President Obama said is no one is coming to save us. That we cannot way for a messiah, for someone to get us energized and fired up. And I know that's what so many people, myself included, love about former President Obama. But his message was clear that this is a people powered midterm election and change will come about because the people demand it and they go to the polls.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: So I think that is what's needed.

HILL: But do you think (INAUDIBLE) message on Saturday, because there wasn't as much of that fire on Saturday, Symone.

[18:25:06] Does he need to bring that with him?

SANDERS: Well, I don't think this is on President Obama, frankly. You know, I'm one of the people that -- you know, there are lots of people that said President Obama should have gotten out there sooner. And I'm one of the folks that have noted, look, President Obama did his due diligence. He served two full terms. He went out there on the campaign trail in 2016 and left it all on the floor. So I actually do not think it is up to Barack Obama. I think there's a number of people out there on the campaign trail

that's been making very good pitches to the voters. And eventually it's going to be up to the voters to make a decision. And I'm confident that they're going to choose for folks who are going to put a check on this president and get something done in Congress. And those are the Democratic candidates.

HILL: Symone Sanders, AB Stoddard, always good to talk with both of you. Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you.

HILL: September is historically one of the toughest months for the stock market and so far September 2018 doesn't appear to be much different.

Christine Romans has that and more in our "Before the Bell" report.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica. You know, it has been a rocky start to September for the markets. An escalating trade war. Weakening currencies and implosion and emerging markets. Stocks selling last week. Investors fear trouble in emerging markets could lead to what's called contagion, eventually infecting even developed markets.

And Friday's jobs report, strong jobs report, which showed the strongest wage growth since 2009 that could revive worries about inflation. September of course is historically challenging for investors. Since 1950 the S&P 500 has dropped half percent on average in September. That's the biggest average decline of any month.

This week investors are also watching Apple. On Wednesday the company is expected to unveil new iPhones. It could also announce the release date for its next IOS operating system. Apple shares have been on fire lately. They jumped nearly 20 percent last month. That was after a strong third quarter earnings report.

In August Apple became the first U.S. company to cross $1 trillion in value.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

HILL: Christine, thank you.

A stunning upset at the U.S. Open shrouded in controversy after tennis superstar Serena Williams is hit with three penalties. Today came the $17,000 fines. Why more and more people is hit with three penalties. Today came the $17,000 fine. Up next, why more and more are saying yes, there is a double standard on the court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:31:59] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Serena Williams says she is proud of her behavior during that U.S. Open upset last night.

The historic win for Japan's Naomi Osaka overshadowed, in large part, by the confrontations between Serena Williams and the umpire who penalized her a point and an entire game after she called him a thief at one point.

Williams in tears pleading with officials, insisting men do and say far worse on the court without punishment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, TABLE TENNIS PLAYER, UNITED STATES OPEN TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS: It's not right. That is not right. This is not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. For calling you a thief.

WILLIAMS: That's not right. He thinks (ph) I'm a cheater.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: In the end, the final score of that match six-two, six-four, Osaka. Serena, though, venting more of her frustration. She didn't say much at the trophy presentation, saying she wanted it to be about Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old, her first Grand Slam title. But during the post-match press conference, Serena she did talk a little more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. And for me to say thief and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, like, how -- he never took a game from man because they said, thief. For me, it blows my mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Joining us now, ESPN tennis analyst Rennae Stubbs who is also a U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, a four-time Olympian.

It's so great to have you here. Listen, you've won the Open. You -- it's not your only Grand Slam title, as we mentioned. Do you agree with Serena? Is there a double standard on the court?

RENNAE STUBBS, ESPN COMMENTATOR: Listen, this, obviously, is being talked about a lot over the last 24 hours, particularly with us at ESPN, with our crew.

I think that the bottom line is the umpire overstepped his boundary at the start of this match when he gave the warning for the coaching. We all know that there's coaching going on from the sidelines.

What Patrick Mouratoglou did with the innocuous movement with the hands is so something that should have really been let go of. And I think that was the problem from the beginning.

I think he should have said to Serena, I saw Patrick. It would have given Serena an opportunity to say what she did once the warning was given, which was he never coaches me. I don't look at him. I'm not somebody who cheats. And I think once Serena felt that she was being unfairly treated at

that moment by getting a warning for something she doesn't do -- she's not known to be a cheater and certainly not --

HILL: Right. And that's what she was trying to explain to him.

STUBBS: And she was --

HILL: Hey, I just want you to know we don't do this.

STUBBS: Yes, she was so upset. And I think the one thing I want to know from Serena is, did she think that he was going to take that warning away once she sort of made the argument to him on the changeover?

So then when she broke the racket for the second warning -- and then she didn't even realize that she had a point penalty. You know, as a player, once you get that second warning, there's a point penalty. She walked down the other end and actually walked to the first court.

You should have walked to the second court knowing that you've had a second warning. So I wonder if she even realized that he didn't take the warning away. As a player, you know.

HILL: Yes.

STUBBS: Once a warning is given, it's on the books. Then she should have known. So she was very careful, I believe, in the third instance when was going at him at the chair --

HILL: Yes.

[18:34:58] STUBBS: -- to not swear, to not say anything that would've given her another warning because then she knows possibly it's a game or the match. So she was very, very understanding of that rule.

And I think what she said, in my opinion, was a little innocuous. I mean, that was something that a lot of other players, particularly men, have sworn at him --

HILL: Right.

STUBBS: -- have said things to him in the past and have not got a warning. This is not about taking the game. This is about giving a warning.

HILL: Right.

STUBBS: The cumulative effect of that was the game.

HILL: Is the game.

STUBBS: And that's why the crowd was so upset as well.

HILL: You know, a number of men -- I mean, I spoke with James Blake earlier. He was one of them. He said, look, I've done far worse things. I mean, there are plenty of examples we can all point to, but a lot of men have come out, you know, even on social media, and said she's absolutely right. You know, I have done worse.

It's interesting as we talk the umpire. Sally Jenkins wrote this morning in "The Washington Post."

I'm going to just quote a little bit here, but she was talking specifically about Carlos Ramos in his role saying, he took what began as a minor infraction -- to your point -- and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis all because he couldn't take a woman speaking sharply to him.

She goes on to say, all good umpires in every sport understand the heart of their job is to help temper the moment and to be quiet stewards of the event rather than to let their own temper play a role; going on to say, he made himself the chief player in the women's final.

Would you agree with that assessment?

STUBBS: One hundred percent. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind what Sally wrote was perfect because in that instance -- and I've talked to a bunch of umpires that have done very big matches in the last 24 hours.

And one of the things that you have to understand as an umpire, the moment. You have to understand the player. You have to understand the time that it's happening. And I think the first warning for the umpire -- for giving the coaching was the worst decision that he has made in a long time.

I've had him as an umpire. I've actually sworn on the court in an instance where he didn't give me a warning. So we've all had our instances with him where it's a little ambiguous.

And that's the problem with the umpires, is that there's too much ambiguity. And that's where you heard Patrick Mouratoglou say Rafa's coach coaches all the time.

HILL: Right.

STUBBS: And Sasha was coaching from the other end. And that's the problem. And I think for Serena, who is somebody who is not known to not get a lot coaching from the side of the court -- she doesn't even use on-call coaching when it's available to her. She's the last person that would probably. So that's where it got really heated for her in the end.

HILL: Really quickly, we're tight on time.

STUBBS: Yes.

HILL: But what about Naomi Osaka?

STUBBS: I know.

HILL: I mean, it is getting -- she's playing her idol.

STUBBS: Yes.

HILL: She's --

STUBBS: Yes. It was --

HILL: I mean, the emotion from her --

STUBBS: It was terrible. It was so terrible to see what happened on that dais when she was about to receive. She played unbelievable last night. She deserved that win.

The last point was an incredible serve. She didn't get overruled by the situation. I've got to tell you, it was one of the most amazing matches that I've seen a young player play, to play her idol.

But that moment, unfortunately, was overshadowed by what happened last night. And I know Serena putting her arm around her on the trophy celebration there was a pretty amazing moment. And for me, as a player, and all of us as viewers, it was hard to watch. And I hope she can enjoy this moment today.

HILL: Yes, I hope so, too.

STUBBS: Yes.

HILL: We really appreciate you coming in.

STUBBS: You're welcome.

HILL: It's a pleasure to meet you.

STUBBS: Yes.

HILL: Thank you.

STUBBS: Thanks.

HILL: President Trump will answer questions in a defamation suit brought by a former "Apprentice" contestant but he won't be doing it face-to-face with his accuser or her attorney. So what could that mean for Stormy Daniels and other accusers?

[18:38:07] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: President Trump will be answering questions under oath in a pending legal case. No, this is not connected to the Special Counsel investigation.

This one we're talking about is the defamation lawsuit filed by Summer Zervos who, you may recall, once appeared on the reality T.V. show, "The Apprentice." She claims the President defamed her, calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault.

Shan Wu joins me now, a former federal prosecutor. So, Shan, the President is going to provide these written responses.

The thing that I think has a lot of people going, wait a minute here, is that the questions that he's given are not necessarily or they don't have to be limited to the -- to things that are connected to this defamation suit, correct? I mean, the scope could be fairly broad in discovery.

SHANLON WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's exactly right, Erica. And the key is that the link here for discovery to the defamation suit is a very broad link. The standard is the questions just need to be calculated to reasonably lead to admissible evidence, and that's really broad.

The idea is to have no surprises, to ferret out any issues. So for example, these questions are going to be very expansive, very intrusive. They're going to ask about every single possible allegation involving other women, accusations of harassment that's ever occurred.

And that's the problem for the President in this kind of a defamation suit. It becomes a mini-trial about the allegation of why is it false. She's going to say it's not false at all, let me tell you why it's not false. You need to tell me all these other things that happened. So it's going to turn out to be a miniseries form of a parade of all these other accusations.

HILL: In terms of this case, too, listen, this is not the only case involving the President. As we know, there are other attorneys who have open cases who would love to make sure that the President would sit down and answer these written questions. Does this, in any way, set a precedent for any of those other cases?

WU: Well, it may not set a precedent for the criminal matters. But what it does do is it makes it a much more dangerous environment for him because now he finally will have answers that are under oath. Even though they're in writing, I mean, there's still the question of, will he be deposed or not?

But finally, he's going to be on the record under oath. And it's very easy for this particular witness to contradict himself. And now that he's going to have a record under oath, it exposes him to much more danger in terms of false statements or perjury in the future. So that's a big concern for him and his legal team.

[18:45:01] HILL: Shan Wu, always appreciate it. Thank you.

WU: Good to see you, Erica.

HILL: President Trump has strong support in Alabama. So does the former senator, current Attorney General Jeff Session who has been attacked repeatedly by the man his folks in Alabama helped to elect president. So at this point, whose side are folks on, the President's or the Attorney General's? We'll find out, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:49:51] HILL: Sources tell CNN embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions is prepared for whatever outcome awaits him, including being fired. Those sources telling our own Kaitlan Collins, Sessions has come to terms with the fact that his relationship with the President has worsened in recent weeks.

And perhaps, the new book from Bob Woodward is a reason. In it, the President is quoted as saying of Sessions, this guy is mentally retarded. He's this dumb southerner. He couldn't even be a one- person country lawyer down in Alabama.

CNN's Gary Tuchman recently traveled to Alabama to find out what voters there think of the President's attacks of their former senator.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alabama might have voted for Donald Trump, but really it's Jeff Sessions' country.

LAUREN ASHELY, ALABAMA RESIDENT: I think he's doing a great job. I'm behind him. I really like what he stands for. I like the way he thinks, I like the way he executes. I feel good about it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Folks around here look out for their own, and they don't like the way the President is now treating the Attorney General.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What would you say to President Trump if you could talk to him about this?

ASHELY: I would say, hey, Trump, let's talk about your personal skills with people. Maybe you could be a kinder, gentler Trump, more understanding, more open-minded, and slightly less of a jerk.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This is the Dew Drop Inn, a Mobile, Alabama restaurant where Jeff Sessions has been a frequent customer.

It's full of people who are glad Donald Trump is president but who are troubled with how disrespectful he has been with Sessions, particularly now with the revelations in the Bob Woodward book.

TUCHMAN (on camera): When you hear these quotes calling Jeff Sessions -- allegedly calling him, quote, mentally retarded and making fun of him as a dumb southerner, how does that make you feel as a Trump voter?

MARK DODSON, ALABAMA RESIDENT: Oh, it's upsetting and very discouraging that would do that if, in fact, he did that.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So do you believe the book?

DODSON: I don't -- I'm not sure. In Washington, who can you believe?

(LAUGHTER)

TUCHMAN (on camera): Who would you believe more, a guy like Bob Woodward or a person like the President of the United States? If you had to put money on it. Honestly.

DODSON: Ah, if I was honest, I'd probably believe Mr. Woodward.

DIANA WHITEHEAD, ALABAMA RESIDENT: Jeff is a patriot. He loves this country.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Diana Whitehead says she has personally known Sessions for about 20 years, and she says she voted for Donald Trump.

TUCHMAN (on camera): The President disparages him, disrespects him, puts him down, criticizes him, makes fun of him. How does that make you feel?

WHITEHEAD: Not very good.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are Trump and Sessions supporters here who say it's not a big deal, that this is just Trump being Trump.

SUGAR WARREN, ALABAMA RESIDENT: It doesn't bother me. I don't think it bothers Jeff.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You don't think it bothers him?

WARREN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Attorney General, can we ask you a question?

TUCHMAN (voice-over): We couldn't find out if the Attorney General is bothered because he did not take reporter questions at the dedication of a new federal courthouse in Mobile.

The strange relationship with the President certainly bothers a great many people in this city where Sessions lived and worked.

VERNON FOWLKES, ALABAMA RESIDENT: I'm surprised that Jeff Sessions ever really got involved with somebody of that low character.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The Attorney General has plenty of support here, and a lot of people wishing Donald Trump would join them in that.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Mobile, Alabama.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: The East Coast bracing for a major hurricane that, by landfall, could be a Category 3 storm. We have the latest forecast on where it is headed. That's next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:57:43] HILL: Just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you. A classic line from "Catch 22" fitting for a week that sent the President down a rabbit hole. That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bob Woodward's book about Trump and that anonymous "New York Times" op-ed hit the world like meteors. And now, the presidential hunt for the sources behind them begins.

JEFF BERGMAN, ACTOR: Be very, very quiet, I'm hunting rabbits.

TAPPER (voice-over): Now, every White House has had leaders.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you mean that was leaked out of the Pentagon?

TAPPER (voice-over): But this is something else entirely. After all, when it comes to attacks on the President, it seems like the classic thriller "When a Stranger Calls" had it right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've traced the call is coming from inside the house.

TAPPER (voice-over): It will be a complicated task to figure out who has been trashing Trump. As former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is quoted in the new Woodward book, quote, when you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls, things start getting nasty and bloody.

Denials have been issued, of course, but even those are telling. Chief of Staff John Kelly is quoted in the Woodward book telling staffers he's an idiot, he's gone off the rails, we're in crazy town, this is the worst job I've ever had. But Kelly's denial simply said, the idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true.

Still, the show continues with operatic intensity and the desire for vengeance. The President is determined to find out who betrayed him.

MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: Tattaglia is a pimp. He never could have outfought Santino. But I didn't know until this day that it was Barzini all along.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Triple threat Florence taking aim at the Carolina coast as two other dangerous storms loom in the Atlantic.

Contentious call. Fresh fallout for Serena Williams less than 24 hours after that stunning ending in the U.S. Open final.

Executive exit. Sources telling CNN longtime CBS chief Les Moonves is out as new allegations of sexual misconduct surface.

[19:00:03] HILL: Thanks for joining us in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Erica Hill in for Ana Cabrera in New York.

Two hurricanes and a tropical storm now churning in the Atlantic Ocean, one of them headed for the East Coast.