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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Hurricane Florence Is About to Make Landfall In North Carolina And South Carolina; Florence May Be the Biggest Storm Ever to Hit the United States; Hungary Is to Be Sanctioned by European Parliament; Bishop Accusing Wyoming Of Being A Sexual Predator. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 12, 2018 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London on this Wednesday, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, the message is get out. It

is the warning for millions on the U.S. east coast. As a monster hurricane threatens catastrophic damage. We are live on the eastern seaboard.

Also, tonight. The EU takes a stand against one of its own. It's sending a tough message to Hungary. We'll tell you why and how.

And he was instrumental in publishing the Edward Snowden files and the expose into the news of the world phone hacking scandal. I'll speak to

former Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger about why he thinks journalism needs to be remade. I look forward to that discussion.

And we start this hour with the east coast of the United States bracing itself for a storm that may be unlike anything it's ever seen before. The

awesome power of Hurricane Florence is threatening enough. Packing winds of more than 200 kilometers an hour. You see it there on the weather map.

Where it is located now in the ocean. And another big fear is the updated forecast which has Florence stalling out just as it comes ashore along

North and South Carolina. Hammering parts of those states with days potentially of torrential rain. Forecasters say Florence will slow to a

crawl barely the speed of someone walking. And more than 25 million people could feel the punch of the storm over the next several days. And

officials say time is running out to evacuate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY COOPER, GOVERNOR, NORTH CAROLINA: The time to prepare is almost over. This morning's forecast shows the storm is only hours away. North

Carolina, my message is clear. Disaster's at the doorstep and it is coming in.

GORANI: North Carolina could take the heaviest hit from Florence. Kaylee Hartung is in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. She joins me now. Are

residents heeding the evacuation orders at this stage?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here, on Carolina Beach, for the most part, yes. Truth be told, I see about a dozen or so people in line of

sight on this beach. Don't let that or the beautiful weather fool you. The deadline for evacuation here is 8:00 p.m. tonight. And of the 6,300

residents who live here the mayor tells me he believes about 100 people are intent on attempting to ride out this storm. That being said, those folks

will get a knock on their door once that 8:00 p.m. deadline comes around. I should say at that time the bridge allowing people on or off the island

will be closed but they get a knock on the door tonight and they will be asked if they intend to stay they need to hand over contact information for

their next of kin.

Local officials they don't mean to use it as a scare tactic but want them to process what that means and recognize the severity of their decisions to

take their lives into their own hands at mother nature's will and risk it all to stay at their home. All barrier islands along the North Carolina

coast under mandatory evacuation. Other inland areas like Wilmington, a city we keep hearing referred to as going to take the eye of the storm,

that city just voluntary evacuation. Many people feeling safe just a few miles inland. If you will. Even some just a few blocks. But no one to my

understanding is taking this storm lightly. If they are, attempting to ride it out, they're saying that they're taking all the precautions that

one would need to but again local officials, state officials, federal officials warning that that cost could be your life.

GORANI: Now, North Carolina, South Carolina, they've all experienced big storms before. They have had hurricanes, as well. Why is this one -- is

it the strength of it only? Is it the fact it will stall and therefore will dump rain and heavy winds on this part of the United States for days?

Why is this one particularly scary?

HARTUNG: There are so many ways to answer that question. Because this storm poses so many different types of threats. One, this storm is huge so

while we -- hem and thank you at this storm, it's 150 miles wide and continues to get bigger as it approaches the east coast of the United

States.

[14:05:00] So, while you may not be somewhere where the eye is headed straight for or exactly where this thing makes landfall, the affects of the

storm will be felt so far and so wide across the east coast. Those affects being for one life threatening storm surge. You know, we are sitting here

on the Atlantic right now. Look how far I am from the beach. You can see just high tide makes this beach incredibly short and you see those young

men just casually walking down this beach hours before the storm approaches.

But this area with sand dunes about 12 feet tall, those are expected to be toppled by this life-threatening storm surge. That being one affect.

Another being hurricane force winds that could take down trees and power lines. Officials warning residents they could be without power for weeks.

But the mayor of Wilmington who I just spoke to said they're staging assets from the power companies about 100 miles inland. As soon as the storm

passes, they can race in to help people get the power back. Finally, there's the flooding and it is not just how you think of water washing up

from the ocean but the rain that could come down in tremendous amounts. This slow-moving storm as you mentioned to come to the coast and then sit,

a lot of freshwater inland in North Carolina in particular. You then get concern about those riverways and tributaries overflowing and the damage

that can be done in flooding that way. It's just any way you look at it this storm poses every threat that one could.

GORANI: All right. So, it's really just ticking every box in terms of how a storm can be devastating on people, on the environment, on man-made

structures and the rest of it. Thanks so much, Kaylee Hartung.

President Trump created a political storm again. It started with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP. U.S. PRESIDENT: The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in Puerto Rico I think was

tremendous. I think Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: The president is referring to the Puerto Rico response as an unsung success. Now, you may recall not too long ago on the program, the

breaking nulls that the official death toll skyrocketed from 64 people to nearly 3,000. But he didn't misspeak and we know that because the

president doubled down once again with this tweet today. He said the government's job in Puerto Rico underappreciated and ready for the big one

that's coming. I want to bring in Joe Johns of Washington. It is interesting that the president I guess made the political calculation that

he needs to repeat his assessment that the response to Puerto Rico was a success.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Yes, I can hear you now, Hala.

GORANI: I was saying that the president really doubled down with that tweet when it comes to Puerto Rico.

JOHNS: Yes. That's exactly the word, too. And this was in the midst of talking about how the government is prepared for Florence and the question

is, you know, what planet an individual would be on because when you think about it the number of lives lost in a hurricane is almost arguably the

most important metric that can be used in determining both the severity of a hurricane as well as the government response to a hurricane. And the

president indicating that in his view the response to Hurricane Maria was a good response, certainly belies the fact that the next most severe

hurricane in terms of lives lost in the United States was Hurricane Katrina and fewer than 2,000 people lost their lives in that hurricane. Clearly a

very severe disaster.

So, it depends on what metric you use but if you think the metric of human tragedy is more important than the metric of financial losses, then the

president is suggesting, you know, this wasn't that severe at all. Of course, the president got blasted for making remarks like this by people

including the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who said if 3,000 lives lost is a success then god help us all. Hala?

[14:10:00] GORANI: Joe Johns live at the White House. Just minutes ago. We got new information on the forecast for hurricane Florence. CNN

meteorologist Jennifer Grey has the details. So, what does the latest model us, Jennifer, about where it will hit and what category the storm it

will be when it makes landfall?

JENNIFER GREY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The category is expected to be a category 3. But where it goes once it intersects the United States that

has changed a little bit. The latest advisory about ten minutes ago, weakened. 205-kilometers-per-hour. It doesn't matter. It can strengthen

before it makes landfall and then making landfall yet again at a category 3 by Friday morning. Here's where it's changed. Yesterday we were talking

about this going straight into North Carolina. And slowing down significantly. It's still going to slow down. You will be able to walk

faster than this storm is moving. But it's just going to meander down the coast and bad news because this means more of the coastline is impacted and

also means all that flooding is now going to be in South Carolina, as well. Even parts of Georgia.

So, this storm is basically going to sit here and shred this coastline, bring a lot of rain and it's going to bring extremely high storm surge.

Here's the rain accumulation. We are going to see more than 500 millimeters of rain in eastern North Carolina all the way down the coast.

250 to 500 millimeters of rain. This is significant for the U.S. and this part of the country is already saturated. Some of the areas seen the

wettest year on record and so to add the rainfall is significant. This storm is big in size, as well. That means the hurricane force winds are

going to extend well from this center and tropical storm force winds beyond that and talking about tropical storm force winds 300 miles. It is going

to cover coastline all across North Carolina as well as portions of South Carolina. That hurricane force winds extend very far out and so that's

more of the coast that's going to be impacted. As far as storm surge is concerned, we are looking at 3 to 4 meters of storm surge and this is going

to be lasting for quite sometime. We could get hurricane force winds for 24 hours. We could also see storm surge coming in during several high tide

cycles, Hala. That's significant for the coastline of the Carolinas.

GORANI: Yes. And we're going to be talking about this for many days. Into Monday potentially. So, this is going to be going on all weekend.

Jennifer Grey, thanks so much for that update.

Now the battle for the soul of Europe. The European Parliament sent an unmistakable message to Hungary's right-wing leader today. Enough is

enough. The lawmakers made history voting to trigger a process some call the nuclear option, to sanction a fellow member state. They accused Viktor

Orban's government of posing a systemic threat to the EU's Democratic values. Hungary is under criticism for its anti-migrant policies and other

crackdowns. Hungary quickly fired back calling the EU parliament vote petty revenge by pro-immigration politicians. I'm joined by Erin

Mclaughlin for more. What the EU unhappy with regards to Hungary?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Guilty of any number of infractions cited in this report that was passed overwhelmingly, two thirds of those

who voted, voted in favor of passing this report. Any number of refractions -- infractions, rather, cited anything from undermining the

judiciary to attacking the free press there in Hungary to mistreatment of refugees, asylum seekers. There's a whole litany of complaints that some

448 MEPs signed on to today and seen as a last resort for the EU. Article 7 has never been invoked before by the parliament.

GORANI: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: So, essentially triggering a formal process. For years, though, EU leaders, officials have used informal channels to try and

approach Orban to bring him in line in principles and values and rule of law. This is an acknowledgment that the informal process essentially has

not failed. Now they're going to go through the formal channels. It is not without controversy. Some MEPs saying that they disagree. It would

only serve to alienate Orban more.

[14:15:00] There was a press conference after the session today in which Judith Sargentini who wrote the report fielded a question from a Hungarian

journalist. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have only a very simple question. What is your problem with Hungary?

JUDITH SARGENTINI, MEP, NETHERLANDS: You asked me that before on the very unfriendly way and see how polite I am that I still going to give you an

answer? Sir, I like Hungary. I like your wine. I like your culture. I saw a fantastic exhibition at the Amsterdam Jewish Historical Museum filled

with paintings from the 19th and 20th century of Jewish Hungarians. It was fantastic. I go to holidays in your country or I would love to in the

future. There is nothing wrong with Hungary, its citizens, its country. You have a government that takes away your rights and actually puts you up

to this kind of questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: You can feel the tension there. She's questioning where that particular question from this journalist is coming from.

GORANI: Yes, Yes. We interviewed Judith on the show, in fact. And she said similar things about Hungary. We have no issue with the people of

Hungary. It is the Orban government we have an issue with. Here's the thing. Article 7 is triggered but that doesn't mean that sanctions will be

applied. You need a qualified majority which is I think close to three quarters perhaps of the MEPs to vote in favor of sanctions like suspending

voting rights s. This in the end a symbolic rebuke?

MCLAUGHLIN: It is. Sort of in terms of the next steps in that press conference Sargentini outlined to go to the council next. Bring this to

the European council level. There it would require a unanimous approval by all 28 EU member states to impose sanctions against Hungary, seen as

unlikely because Poland is also facing the article 7 procedure. That had been brought forward by the commission so it would seen that any sort of

action at the council level then vetoed potentially by Poland and unlikely to result in a sanction such as the stripping of the voting rights. It is

symbolic and politically also seen as important especially when you consider that Orban is a member of the EPP party, the main party, the party

of Merkel and Junker in the European Union and in May elections and want to be able to tell their electoral we uphold the rule of law and Orban is not

an exception.

GORANI: This is the symptom of the crisis in the EU. There's no mechanism for expulsion. Brexit with the UK and it's really -- it is what we said at

the beginning. A battle for the soul of the political project.

MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely. And it will be interesting the see where Orban goes next. There's a question mark surrounding whether or not he's going

to remain a member of the EPP or go it alone with, say, forming a right- wing bloc to take on the mainstream parties in the EU and upcoming elections. It is interesting to see what he does next and worth

remembering that Hungary relies on EU funding and that's certainly a factor here, as well.

GORANI: So many countries and regions in fact that voted for Brexit in this country rely EU funding, as well. Still to come, the UK said these

men poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter but the Russian president said there's nothing criminal about them.

The news as we know it is broken. That's the argument of the Guardians former editor in chief, his take on how we remake it, and more on his new

book just ahead.

[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: A taunt of Russia to the United Kingdom as the investigation into the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter moves on. Moscow today

countered Britain's assessment that they're members of Russian military intelligence. The UK has accused them of the attack in March and the

Russian president Vladimir Putin says they're civilians with, quote, nothing criminal about them. Matthew Chance as been following it all from

Moscow. Matthew?

MATHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, the Russian president Vladimir Putin is now saying that the two prime suspects in the

Skripal poisoning case is identified and said they're citizens and not criminals. They said they were from the military intelligence service, the

GRU. President Putin's comments mark a significant change of tack by the Russian authorities. Up until now, the Russians had categorically denied

any knowledge of the suspects in the Skripal poisoning, the images circulated were meaningless, Russian officials insisted and the names on

the passports. But speaking at an economic forum, the Russian president said the two men had now been identified as innocent civilians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): We, of course, looked at what kind of people they are and we know who they are. We found

them. I hope they appear and speak about it themselves. This will be best for everyone. There is nothing unusual or criminal there. I assure you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: And as if on cue, Russian state television within hours broadcasting a telephone call with what it said is one of the suspects. A

man identified by the channel as Alexander Petrof said we had no comment at the moment and may speak to the media next week. The channel said he works

for a pharmaceutical company in Tomsk and never made any secret visits to London. The development is unlikely to satisfy British authorities

investigating the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter who spent weeks in hospital. Two suspects

of Petrof and Bashkirov were photographed entering London and caught on security cameras in Salisbury where the attack took place. British

investigators say traces of Novichok was found in the hotel room where the two Russians stayed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, UK PRIME MINISTER: Based on the body of evidence, the government condition colluded that the two individuals named are officers

from the Russian military intelligence service. Also known as the GRU. The GRU is a highly disciplined organization with a well-established chain

of command.

[14:25:00] So, this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: The allegation this was a state sanctioned assassination mission with a chemical weapon is denied by Russia and provoked diplomatic

expulsions and sanctions. British officials say their attempts for an explanation from Russia for the poisoning always met with obfuscation and

lies. It will be interesting to see who the Kremlin says are the poisoning suspects and to hear, of course, their version of events. But given

Russia's record of spinning multiple narratives, there is still plenty of room for skepticism that either of the figures identified as suspects by

the British ever really emerge into the public eye. Hala, back to you.

GORANI: All right. Matthew, thanks very much, in Moscow.

Few countries have been untouched by revelations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups by the trusted leaders in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is

taking the boldest step yet to deal with the allegations engulfing the church. It's an unprecedented move. He has summoned the most senior

bishops to the Vatican for a meeting in February to discuss, quote, the protection of minors. Now, the pontiff also meeting with U.S. bishops on

Thursday to discuss allegations against a former top cardinal and as the Vatican is trying to address that it's still criticized for its response

and a major push for justice happening in the state of Wyoming. As Rosa Flores explains why it's such a remarkable case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Criminal justice is rare in these cases because it requires a church that is willing to report predators from

within and the statute of limitations that is friendly to survivors. Here in the wild west of Wyoming, you find both. Beneath its rustic serenity, a

dark reckoning lurks for Cheyenne's faithful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wyoming is a perfect place to keep that stuff hidden.

FLORES: Joseph Hart, Bishop Emeritus of Cheyenne and a revered pillar of the community of more than 40 years is under criminal investigation for

sexually abusing children when he was a bishop. The highest ranking Catholic in Wyoming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's possible to be a pillar of the community and also a predator.

FLORES: One of Hart's accusers we'll call Jimmy was 14 years old and vividly remembers Hart's breath wrecking of cigarettes and alcohol as he

said the bishop forced him between his knees. On the walls hung pictures of the alleged attacker smiling alongside two different popes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember standing on the altar as an altar boy with the bishop saying in mass, I look up and think, hey, you know, Jesus, this

doesn't seem how it should be. This guy here.

FLORES: Bishop Hart retired in 2001 and still lives a well to do life there maintains innocence. If he is charged criminally it will be the

first time in U.S. history that a bishop is prosecuted for abusing children. But it wasn't Jimmy or anyone in law enforcement who all these

years later undertook an agonizing look into the church's past. It was the man who today holds the bishop's staff. Steven Biegler who made unearthing

the Hart file the first order of business.

STEVEN BIEGLER: I went to bishop Hart and said this is where we're at.

FLORES: What did he say?

BIEGLER: You know, he didn't say much. He was disturbed, obviously.

FLORES: It took months of meetings and interviews with accusers, investigators and boards and going to Rome to seek the Vatican's blessing

to go after one of its own. Why do you feel like you needed to be proactive?

BIEGLER: For the diocese as a whole. It needed to be resolved.

FLORES: While some welcomed the investigation, others believed the scales of justice should weigh favorably toward a now 87-year-old man who they say

contributed greatly to their community.

BIEGLER: It was very, very hard for friends of bishop Hart to see this being done. There was some really strong anger, in fact.

FLORES: Through his attorney, Hart accused Biegler of seeking to inflame public opinion against him. Regardless, Wyoming with a wild west legacy

and spirit to match offers a new frontier of justice. Unlike other states, there is no statute of limitations here for prosecuting crimes.

BIEGLER: Something that took place in the '70s, the '80s, the 90s, whenever it may have been is something to take action on today.

FLORES: Do you hope that your brother bishops will follow if your footsteps?

BIEGLER: It is obvious that some bishops did not do what need to be done especially in regard to other bishops. I'm confident that bishops will get

this right but I do think we need address that abuse of power and the environment that enabled it.

FLORES: According to police, the investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed. And they have asked victims and witnesses to come forward

by September 21st and tips continue to come in. Rosa Flores, CNN, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Still to come tonight, phone hacking revealed and the Snowden story. All big stories that were broke within the help of a British

newspaper under the direction of this man. We speak to the former editor of the Guardian about the state of journalism, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:20] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Who broke the news? That is the question the former editor in chief of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger

is posing in his new book, among other questions. He was at the helm of the British paper for two decades and was instrumental in breaking two of

the biggest stories in recent years.

First, the expose of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's then "News of the World" and publishing details of controversial files leaked by Snowden and

WikiLeaks. His new book is titled, "Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now." It details his own experience of how

traditional journalism has now changed forever. Will we ever go back to the old model? Well, Alan Rusbridger joins me now.

So, who did break the news? Is it the internet?

ALAN RUSBRIDGER, BRITISH JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: It's the internet, yes. It's the way -- two bits of the internet. I mean, we did the first

internet which was essentially about changing the distribution excellence and this thing then called Social media came along which was enormous and

it's a revolution in society. And I think journalists having to rethink almost everything about what they do.

GORANI: Because everyone is a journalist. Everyone is a commentator. Everyone is an analyst. Everyone distributes content now or can. Where

does that leave legacy media organizations as you call them?

RUSBRIDGER: Well, I think -- I mean, I think of visual for that the world was arranged vertically and we had printing presses or broadcasting studios

and we were in charge, we were the gatekeepers. And now, four billion people can communicate horizontally and that leaves journalists try to work

out what their job is. And I still think they have a vital job. But I think they have to rethink exactly their relationship with this ability of

everyone to publish.

GORANI: What conclusion did you come to?

RUSBRIDGER: They have to be better.

GORANI: How?

RUSBRIDGER: Well, I just thought -- I mean, I'm a citizen, I'm a civilian and there were two things recently. One was Brexit and one was climate

change. And if our argument as journalists is we're better than that, you know, there's a lot stuff out there but we have a craft and we're better

and we're going to keep people informed about what's important. We haven't done a very good job with Brexit and with the climate change.

GORANI: But so that's the part -- that's the responsibility that traditional -- I guess, old-school traditional journalists and these legacy

media organizations have to say, we made mistakes. It's partly our fault where we are today.

RUSBRIDGER: It is. I mean, the trust in mainstream journalism is not good, veteran broadcasting less, less good in newspapers. And for years,

we've brushed that off. It was almost a badge of pride. But another thing we have to think, well, what can we do to be more trusted? I really

believe in journalism. And I think, just as I believe there's an awful lot wrong with social media, there's some terrific stuff on social media and we

have to really rethink our relationship.

[14:35:16] GORANI: You quote and so I noticed this quote. I mean, you're quoting Axel Springer, talking about social media platforms, talking about

Twitter obviously. Facebook. They have a scale. They have the direct customer relations. They have the data. They have all the insights and

they can connect the dots and then they're doing this a lot better than we will ever be able to.

Rusbridger: Yes.

GORANI: That's scary. We can never really get back to the old vertical model.

RUSBRIDGER: We can.

GORANI: So where's the future?

RUSBRIDGER: And it may be that the commercial model that sustained newspapers for 200 years just won't come back. It was an -- it was an

accident, if you like, that advertising attached itself to news. But the Facebooks and Googles of this world are struggling with all the ethical

issues and editorial issues that these papers and broadcasters are rather good at. So, I think there's going to be a sort of a marriage between the

two.

GORANI: Let's talk about fake news because that's become quite the term. It's favored by the U.S. President, Donald Trump. So few people trust

journalists now and regularly insults are lobbed at us of the worst kind on social media by people who think we are ill-intentioned liars with an

agenda. How do we get past that?

RUSBRIDGER: I think by sticking to facts. So you could see --

GORANI: Seriously, we're post-fact, aren't we?

RUSBRIDGER: No, I don't think we're all post-facts. I think --

GORANI: Well, the U.S. president will say -- well, actually, contradict himself within 24 hours and some of his supporters will trust him more than

people who rely on facts like journalists.

RUSBRIDGER: He is trying to create an atmosphere of which people are encouraged to think that facts don't matter although there are no such

things as facts because then he can operate on an emotional level which he's rather good at.

So I think our job as journalists is to just keep saying no. In the end, it's about facts and it's tiresome. It's tiresome to repeat -- to correct

4,000 errors or lies, but that's what we have to do.

GORANI: Now, of course, I was in the introduction talked about two of the stories that our viewers around the world will be familiar with. The phone

hacking scandal and that was exposed in your newspaper. Also the Snowden leaks. And I wonder, would you have published -- you publish those two

stories. Would you have published the anonymous op-ed that appeared in the New York Times? From an insider.

RUSBRIDGER: Well, I have great respect for the New York Times and I assume -- so I trust them. I assume that a great paper like that wouldn't do

something so extraordinary without a good reason. So I'm inclined to trust them, but I accept that it comes with big risks because if it turns out

that the guy is, you know, or girl is not very senior, and that --

GORANI: But the idea of it is you think --

RUSBRIDGER: Well, I think it does --

GORANI: It's quite unprecedented.

RUSBRIDGER: It helps us understand what's going on inside the White House.

GORANI: One of the things you talk about here, and I think this is crucial really to our business, is money. Profit. How do you monetize serious

fact-based journalism? It's becoming more and more difficult, because the traditional models have been shattered. The Guardian is still free, all

content, pretty much. Why make it -- I know you're not still there. But what's the best model here to try to still survive?

RUSBRIDGER: Well, it's working for the Guardian. It's been very patient and had some difficult times, but it's working. The strategy is coming

good. And the advantage of a free model is that everybody can access it, so you make your facts and you're reporting available to all.

The danger of having gated communities of people who can pay is that you leave the playing field open to all the people who want to flood the

playing field with lies. And I think that's why you've got these very polarized communities. We've seen it in Sweden recently where the -- where

the far-right can use the internet to lies. And the very good journalism is invisible so --

GORANI: Behind the pay wall.

RUSBRIDGER: Behind the pay wall. It's not to be against pay walls but they have downsides, as well upsides.

GORANI: You still have a lot of career left in you, I know. But in the 20 years you spent at the Guardian, what was your highlight?

RUSBRIDGER: I think the Edward Snowden story and the phone hacking story. They were pieces of public interest. And I think that's all we have to

concentrate on as journalist.

GORANI: And your biggest regret?

RUSBRIDGER: I think probably that we didn't go fast enough. I think this is the biggest revolution in communications in 500 years and maybe we were

a bit too slow.

GORANI: Why did you leave?

RUSBRIDGER: Well, I've done it for 20 years.

GORANI: Well, I've been doing this for 20 years. I hope I still have a little bit of --

RUSBRIDGER: You should try --

GORANI: A little bit of gas left in the tank. So you thought, OK, that's it. And, of course, lots of younger aspiring journalists contact me over

social media. I'm sure they contact you as well and asked for advice. And I hope that the advice has never run a mile in the opposite direction

because this industry has changed so much. What would you give -- what advice would you give someone who's considering this?

[14:40:22] RUSBRIDGER: Well, two things. One is do it. The world needs journalists. The world needs arbiters of truth and untruth. And the

second is that you don't have to necessarily just think of a local newspaper or the traditional way that we would have done 20 years ago that

-- you go work for an NGO, go and work for a charity, go and work for a political organization, because everyone is producing stuff that looks like

journalism, but some of it is very good.

GORANI: All right. Well, Alan Rusbridger, thanks very much. Breaking news, the remaking of journalism and why it matters now. And I recommend

it to anyone. Hoping to become a journalist or in fact already established journalist. Thank you so much.

RUSBRIDGER: Thank you.

GORANI: All right. And our senior media correspondent and analyst is actually in California right now where it is September and so therefore for

Apple enthusiast it means one thing that's a new iPhone. The tech giant has just unveiled its newest smartphone. They're calling it the XS. The

trillion dollar firm is showing off the device in California and it will come in two sizes.

Brian Stelter is in Cupertino, California and joins me live. What did we learn today, Brian?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Yes, they're just wrapping up here, Hala, in announcing the prices. The most important part, of course,

for these new iPhones. So the XS, it's kind of like tennis, the XS that you mentioned is going to costs $1,100 here in the U.S. That's $100 more

than last year's top of the line.

So Apple is continuing to see just how much it can charge for these high- priced iPhones. There' a couple other lower-priced iPhone, when I say lower-priced, I still mean $800, $900, $1,000 here in the U.S. And this

will go on sale in the coming weeks.

GORANI: So, the question is, investors, potential customers, is there enough there to, you know, generate enthusiasm? Because people have argued

about Apple for a while now, despite the fact obviously that its market cap keeps growing and growing and growing, that it's -- just tweaking an

existing product here.

STELTER: Yes. It's a trillion-dollar company now. But from what I've seen here at the Steve Jobs Theater, nothing revolutionary has been

announced. It's been the last hour and a half. Now, maybe they'll surprise us at the end of the presentation. It is still going on.

But what Apple is doing, like what other smart phone makers, they're adding more, more, more. They're making better cameras, faster processors,

they're promising improvements to the core features that we all have come to expect in our phones.

Honestly, Hala, I'm most impressed by the new watches because the watches have really interesting new health features to measure your heart rate, to

tell if you've fallen down and you need help and an emergency. We can see these companies trying to turn their devices around. The devices that we

are all addicted to and make them more helpful in our lives.

But right now, to me, so far, the watches are the big headline because of those new features. The phones, of course, look, there are a lot of Apple

loyalists who will the next phone, as soon as they come out no matter what it has, no matter what it does. So I don't think Apple is going to be

hurting for buyers. But so far, nothing revolutionary in today's announcements.

GORANI: All right. Brian Stelter, in California, thanks very much for joining us.

Still to come, they were spared from the fighting for more than seven years, but now, it's almost reached their doorstep. Tens of thousands of

Syrians are fleeing for their lives as soldiers close in on Idlib province. We'll be right back.

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[14:45:52] GORANI: The warnings from the international community are growing more dire with each passing day. But the Syrian army still appears

ready to launch that all-out war in Idlib province. The last remaining rebel stronghold is home to millions of civilians. And the U.N. is warning

it could become a bloodbath.

We have two special reports for you tonight. One covering soldiers on the front lines and the other, families fleeing for their lives. We begin with

Fred Pleitgen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Driving to one of the final frontlines in Syria's seven-year civil war. In the distance,

Idlib province, the last territory held by the rebels.

This artillery position is pretty much as close as we can get to the frontline. Now, the rebel-held territory of Idlib province is about two

kilometers, in that direction the fighters say. They say, of course, there's increased airstrikes by the Syrian air force and the Russians. But

they also say that the rebels have increasingly been firing back.

The Syrian military has cornered the remaining rebels. Many hard line Islamism fighters in Idlib. The U.S. and U.N. are concerned about a

reported three million civilians also trapped inside. A commander tells me, government forces want to defeat the opposition fighters.

"All of us have been letting blood for seven years," he says, "so that Syria can stand with its head held high and fight terrorism and we are

fighting it here to keep it away from Europe and America."

The U.N. has warned Idlib could be one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history. But this village, about five miles outside Idlib is

suffering, as well. A recent rocket attack killing 10 here, folks tell us. Including Lin and Selene Salu (ph), while they were out running errands.

Their uncle grieving. The only one capable of speaking on camera.

"These kids were so young," he says. "They were flowers. They were angels. These children. What crime did they commit to be killed by these

rockets?"

Across the plain, Idlib province lies in the crosshairs of the Syrian army, as the international community attempts to find a way to postpone or

prevent a final assault.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Muhradah, Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Now, we want to show you the civilians who are desperately trying to escape from all of that. Ben Wedeman has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yet another Syrian family is on the move. Like millions of others over the last seven years

who fled their homes as their towns and villages became battlefields. This family's fleeing for the first time from rural Idlib. They lived in an

area that was spared with fighting until now.

"It was the first time we saw bombings," says 15-year-old, Layla (ph). "We've seen it on television and on phones and now it's right before our

eyes."

Syrian government and Russian aircraft have intensified airstrikes in preparation for the much anticipated offensive to regain control of Idlib

province. The last stronghold held by an armed opposition now dominated by Islamist extremists.

Layla's family has come to a camp, one of many near the Turkish border. Their tent isn't ready. It's hot. They're tired. Others arrive. More

than 30,000 people have had to leave their homes in Idlib in the past week. Half the population here comes from other parts of Syria now under

government control.

Layla's father, Abu Hamid (ph), pitches in with setting up their tent. When it's done, he goes do get Layla. She's been unable to walk since

childhood. Their tent is bare. They left home in a hurry leaving behind most of their possessions.

[14:50:06] "We escaped with only our lives," says Abu Hamid who worked as a stove repairman. The U.N. gave us this tent but nothing with it.

It's a new home Layla, handicapped and heartbroken, is finding difficult to come to terms with.

"I didn't want do come," she says. "I didn't want to."

Ben Wedeman, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: More to come, including as the U.K. prepares its big departure from the E.U., another major exit maybe in the cards. Politicians have

reportedly met to discuss toppling the prime minister. We have the details after the break.

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GORANI: British Prime Minister Theresa May's future is in question. Yet again. There have been rumors for a long time of a rebellion forming

within the ranks of her own party.

But on Tuesday night, 50 MPs reportedly met in a show of dissent discussing how to force Mrs. May to stand down over her handling of Brexit and her so-

called Chequers deal for leaving the E.U.

Let's break it down. Bianca Nobilo joins me now with that.

So let's talk about these Brexiteers, including Boris Johnson and things. They want to get rid of Theresa May, because they believe, what? They have

a shot at the leadership of the conservative party?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, a testament how fractured politics is in the U.K. at the moment, even within the Brexiteers

faction of the prime minister's own party. There's also a split.

GORANI: OK.

NOBILO: So within those Brexiteers that you're talking about and the 50 that were present last night at this shadowy meeting which took place in

the ominously name Thatcher (ph) room inside the Houses of Parliament where they discussed openly how they might oust Theresa May. Boris Johnson and

Jacob Rees-Mogg and other power players were not present, so that's quite significant.

But within those Brexiteers, there's a set of people who think Theresa May should go now. They're worried that she'll betray the entire Brexit

process and they don't trust her. Then there's another set led by David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, that just want do get rid of her

Chequers plan. They cannot get on board with it. They think it would be worse than staying in the E.U. And they want to see that ripped up to be

done.

GORANI: Why is that? What do they hate about this Chequers plan so much?

NOBILO: They feel like Britain needs more autonomy and would prefer to revert to world trade organization rules. That's how they rip their

rebranding

GORANI: So they want a hard Brexit, rather than the Chequers deal?

NOBILO: Exactly. But some of them happy for Theresa May to stay on as prime minister provided that she delivers that. But she's committed to her

plans so that she's not going anywhere.

GORANI: All this fragmentation really illustrates one thing, that in this country, no one faction, no one party has a real majority behind them.

NOBILO: And no one Brexit plan will ever have majority support. And that is the problem that she faces because beyond all of this fractured

discussions within her own party and the fact that it's so split and she has such little support relative to most prime minister at this stage. The

fact that she has to pause whatever deal she gets with the E.U. through parliament.

And at the moment, it doesn't look like she has the numbers to do that. And even though these Brexiteers have the numbers to call a leadership

challenge or a vote of no confidence, they don't, at the moment, have the numbers to depose her as prime minister. But what they can threaten is to

vote down her Brexit deal if she gets one with the E.U. They have the numbers to do that.

[14:55:10] GORANI: But I mean, if they remove Prime Minister Theresa May and there's some sort of leaders have challenged and someone else is

elected leader of the party and then therefore becomes prime minister, whoever that person is. Eventually, that forces another general election.

Eventually, that could open up again the question of whether or not we need another referendum in this country.

NOBILO: Exactly. And that's why this is so contentious, Boris Johnson is the name that everybody's talking about. The one that keeps threatening to

challenge her surreptitiously, indirectly but then doesn't at the last moment.

However, even he knows that in politics, it's not like boxing where if you knock out your competitor, you win. That's not the case. Often, the

person that fires the starting kind of the leadership context isn't going to be the one that ends up as the leader.

GORANI: Speaking of firing guns, the spectator has a really -- I have to say -- it's funny.

Nobilo: It is.

GORANI: And members of the conservative -- I'll just basically aiming guns at each other and one is even, I think, aiming a gun, a rifle at herself.

NOBILO: And her foot in her mouth. Yes. So she's aiming that rifle at her --

GORANI: So where does that leave -- I mean, this is infighting in the Tory Party that led to a referendum, then a general election, now this mess,

frankly. This is hurting the country. This is putting the country in a difficult negotiating position.

NOBILO: It is.

GORANI: So much division.

NOBILO: I think obviously in a parliamentary democracy, you need that robust discussion, that argumentation, but it should be between the party

in power and the opposition. But at the moment, both of the major parties in the U.K. are so split and can't agree on any of the main policies and it

is weakening that democratic debate and you see that in prime minister's questions today. And it's something which is apparent at a time when

Britain really needs a policy which it can get behind to enter into the last phase of negotiations with the E.U.

GORANI: And the clock is ticking. March 2019, the official divorce day.

Bianca, as always, thanks very much.

Quick update on our top story. New information tonight on Hurricane Florence. It's now a category three, but that's not stopping Americans on

the East Coast from preparing, because it is a massive storm.

Take a look at it from space. It's incredible video we're getting from NASA. It is forecast to start delivering this tropical storm force winds

Thursday into Friday. So about this time tomorrow add a few hours is when really the brunt of it will hit the East Coast. Before slowing down and

dumping torrents of rain ahead of expected landfall this weekend. And that's one of the problems, by the way. It will slow down to a crawl. You

could walk faster than that storm in the overnight hours between Thursday and Friday, so therefore it will hover over that part of the United States

and potentially cause damage.

I'm Hala Gorani. A lot more ahead with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."

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END