Return to Transcripts main page
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; Hurricane Florence; North and South Carolina. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired September 16, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
[16:00:13] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Alex Marquardt in New York. We will have more on the flooding aftermath in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence in just a moment, but first our other breaking news.
The woman who recently accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school is now coming forward publicly. Christine Blasey Ford is a professor in California and she is sharing the disturbing details with the "Washington Post" even saying, quote, "I thought he might inadvertently kill me."
Reaction is pouring in from Capitol Hill. Some lawmakers calling for a delay in Kavanaugh's confirmation vote that was set to take place in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. We'll have more on the political side of all this in a moment, but first let's start with CNN's Ariane De Vogue. She covers the Supreme Court for us.
Ariane, until now the woman had wanted to remain anonymous, keeping the focus on Kavanaugh. She has now come forward not just revealing her name, but some incredibly disturbing new details. What more do you know?
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT: Right, Alex This woman has come forward publicly. Accusing Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party more than 30 years ago. And as you said according to the "Washington Post," the woman's name is Christine Blasey Ford and she is a professor at Palo Alto University.
It's worth noting that Brett Kavanaugh vehemently denies her allegation. On Friday he issued a statement and he said, "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this become in high school or at any time." But the "Washington Post" said she attended this party in a suburban Maryland home back in 1982, Kavanaugh and a friend were stumbling drunk she alleges. She said she was corralled into a bedroom and at one time he tried to take her clothes off and he put his hand over her mouth, she said. And at that moment she said, I thought he might inadvertently kill me. And she also said he was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.
She tells the "Washington Post" she was able to escape the room. And she only shared the details of this years later, in fact in 2012 with her husband and a therapist. And according to the article, the husband recalls his wife using Kavanaugh's name but the therapist's notes, which were reviewed by the "Post," they don't mention him. And it's also worth noting that the other man who was then a teen who is mentioned in the article, he's come forward in another publication and he said he has no memory of this. And he also said he never saw Brett Kavanaugh act that way -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes, Ford had said that she didn't want to come forward and reveal her name and tell her story publicly because according to the "Post," why suffer through the annihilation if it's not going to matter. Now then several reporters tried to discover her identity and she probably assumed that they were going to reveal who she was and now it appears wants to tell this story in her own terms.
In terms, Ariane, of the actual vote itself, we now have statements from Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Dianne Feinstein who were saying that the vote needs to be delayed until there is a thorough investigation by the FBI that takes place. How will this affect that vote that as I just mentioned was supposed to take place on Thursday? Is this now entirely up to Senator Grassley who is the chairman of the committee?
DE VOGUE: Well, I talked to a Republican source just a few minutes ago and he said that the vote is still on for Thursday. But you're absolutely right about Dianne Feinstein because Republicans have been frustrated because she received these allegations all the way back in July. That's before the hearing, before she met with him, before they went into closed sessions. And she never -- she only referred it to the FBI afterwards, after the hearing, and just before this big vote.
But now she has herself released a statement and she says, "I support Mrs. Ford's decision to share her story and now that she has it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee."
Remember, Alex, already they had been fighting about documents. They had wanted documents to be produced and Senator Grassley had said not. And now the Democrats as you see Feinstein is asking for this to be investigated. So we're going to have to see how Grassley handles this coming up on Monday.
MARQUARDT: We will indeed. Are these allegations, Ariane, so deeply disturbing and such game changers that you think that somewhere in the White House some people may be starting to think about a backup nominee?
[16:05:02] DE VOGUE: The White House -- when I talked to the White House today, they said that they stand by the judge's denial here and they point out that he had been through so many investigative background checks on his way to the Circuit Court and in other jobs. So we don't know. But what's really changed is we see that we knew a lot what was in the letter, but it was always anonymous. Right? And we know that some people were bothered by the fact that she wouldn't come forward publicly. And now she has and that changes things considerably.
MARQUARDT: Yes, it does. All right, Ariane De Vogue there in Washington, thank you very much for joining us. DE VOGUE: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: I want to bring in CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.
Dana, what have you learned since this broke?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, this is -- it's too early to say whether or not this is a game changer. But are Ariane is right, at this point, at this moment, again this just broke within the last few hours, Republicans are saying that they are standing firm, that they are going to move forward on this committee vote on Thursday despite what we were just hearing from Ariane, these calls Democrat after Democrat saying whoa, whoa, whoa, we can't just hold this committee vote on Thursday, we have to conduct a thorough investigation.
Those conversations are going to be going on until we hear from a couple of important players. Two Republican female senators. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, they are the pivotal votes even before these allegations, separate from these allegations. They are the pivotal vote in determining whether Brett Kavanaugh will be a Supreme Court justice or not.
Now throw in these allegations, it's going to be a very big open question whether or not they are going to say the same thing that the Democrats are saying. Perhaps there needs to be more of an investigation before there is a vote. Now these two senators I just mentioned, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, are not on the Judiciary Committee, but they certainly have a lot of sway given the fact that they hold the cards as to whether or not Brett Kavanaugh will be a justice.
One other thing I just want to mention to you, Alex, is I'm actually in Colorado right now starting do a story on kind of a key suburban district that will help determine whether Republicans keep control of the House or not. What is the big voting bloc in this district and others across the country? Suburban women.
BASH: And I've already heard from Republicans as they were getting this "Washington Post" story on their phones saying, whoa, this could be a big, big problem. For a number of reasons. But just the political reality of where we are right now. Less than two months before election day, and it is very important the voting bloc could see these allegations and potential, as of now, Republican decisions to just go forward with this vote and not be happy about that, and that could have real political ramifications.
So those are the things that we are looking for as this shakes out again just a couple of hours after it broke.
MARQUARDT: Dana, what about the reaction from the White House? We haven't heard directly from the president just yet, but if you look back at his reactions to these types of accusations against the people around the president both when he was a citizen and since he became president, and I'm thinking specifically about Roy Moore, is there any reason to think that he might try to distance himself now from Kavanaugh?
BASH: No. Knowing his personality and, you know, the mantra that he has lived by personally, when you get attacked or people accuse you of things particularly when it comes to sexual assault, sexual harassment, his MO is fight back and fight back harder. It's hard to imagine he is not going to respond that way.
But the person to watch as much as the president is Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. He is the guy who's running the show, he's the guy who knows where the votes are, understands all of the different, you know, atmospherics surrounding this because if we can just play this out for a second and again nobody is saying that Kavanaugh is going to be withdrawn right now, but if it gets to the point where even if it's delayed to let this investigation go forward, we're going closer to the midterms and that is not necessarily a great thing for Republicans politically to have this be the conversation, not Brett Kavanaugh, you know, the Republican -- the new Republican president's Supreme Court justice, you know, accomplishment, check that on the W column, but a big, big mess surrounding allegations from this woman.
[16:10:05] That being in the zeitgeist, that being, you know, part of the discussion so close to the election might not be what Mitch McConnell -- we know it's not what Mitch McConnell and certainly on the House side, even though they don't get a vote, is part of the discussion. What they want, and the question is, where the writing is on the wall given again going back to those two key votes Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, the question is what are they going to say about whether to hold the vote or whether they're going to call for a delay and then to investigation -- investigate, rather.
MARQUARDT: Dana, it's still very early, you know, as you've highlighted this just broke just a short time ago, but I want to put the same question to you that I asked Ariane. Do you think that there is -- there are groups of people, a small group of people in the White House who have started to consider the possibility that they might have to change the nominee?
BASH: In the White House I'm not sure yet. But just in terms of the texts that I have gotten from Republicans not directly involved, let me be clear, not directly involved, but around this issue and Republicans who are singularly focused on the November election, trying to keep control of the House, trying to keep control of the Senate, there are definitely peripheral conversations going on.
Whether or not that is actually going on inside the Senate majority leader's office or whether he is on the phone having those conversations, it is way too early to say that.
MARQUARDT: All right. Dana Bash, in Colorado, thanks as always for your expertise.
Now I want to bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez, he joins us live from the north lawn of the White House.
Boris this nomination was a fierce fight from the start. The White House has stuck by Kavanaugh when these allegations first came to light. Has anything changed?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Alex, in a word, no. Actually, what we've heard from the White House in light of this new detailed allegation coming from Christine Blasey Ford is the same response that we heard previously from the White House when she was still anonymous and it was simply a letter that had been put out there by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah pointing out to the same statement that the White House issued on behalf Brett Kavanaugh earlier last week writing, "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I didn't do this back in high school or at any time." The White House apparently feeling that that denial is sufficient to cover some of these specific new allegations coming from Blasey Ford.
I do want to point out as you noted previously certain Democrats are calling for the conformation to be postponed, Senator Chuck Schumer of course, Dianne Feinstein, a key member of that Judiciary Committee, Republicans are responding fiercely. I did want to point out to a statement put out by Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of that committee. He writes, quote, "It raises a lot of questions about Democrats' tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee's attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way. Senator Feinstein should publicly release the letter she received back in July so that everyone can know what she has known for weeks."
Further the president has not weighed in on Twitter and I did want to touch on something that you asked Dana, that you pointed out. CNN has previously reported that when certain people close to the president, whether close friends of his like Steve Wynn or candidates that he's endorsed like Roy Moore in Alabama, when they have been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior, sources have told us that President Trump himself has had to weigh allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior against him before ultimately speaking publicly.
We don't know if that is happening right now in the case of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. But it is a question that we're posing to sources here at the White House -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Yes. He hasn't wanted to open that can of worms, looking into his own personal life.
All right. Boris Sanchez there at the White House. Thanks very much.
Now joining me on the phone is Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu. He's a member of the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Congressman Lieu, what would you be telling -- what are you telling your colleagues in the Senate on the Judiciary Committee since they're the ones who are supposed to be voting on this this week? REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Alex, for your question.
I'm a former prosecutor and we look for indicators of credibility when a victim comes forward with a sexual assault allegation. I believe Christine Blasey Ford, because her story has a lot of indicators of credibility. First she told her therapist privately about the sexual assault allegation in 2012, as well as her husband. She also passed a lie detector test and she was not seeking publicity. She didn't want her name out there until it got leaked. So I think it would be a dereliction of duty for the Republicans to go forward with this vote. They need to postpone it.
[16:15:01] MARQUARDT: And some of your Democratic colleagues are in agreement. Senator Schumer, Senator Feinstein.
I was just talking to Dana Bash about the reaction from the White House, the lack of the reaction from President Trump so far, and she was talking about his tendency to push back whenever accused. And I want to read part of the new Bob Woodward book "Fear" in which he was telling a friend who was also accused of sexual assault allegations, quote, "You've got to deny, deny, deny, and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you're dead. That was a big mistake you made."
Now this comes, as Dana was noting, less than two months before the midterm elections. So do you think that the reaction now from the White House could be any different? Because as she highlighted, women are -- independent women in particular are going to be so crucial in this midterm vote.
LIEU: That is a great point. It's clear that the president of the United States is not interested in the truth. He is interested in protecting himself. And we'll see how he responds to this Brett Kavanaugh nomination.
Now I think the best way to protect himself would be for him to pick a new Supreme Court nominee because he shouldn't put someone on the Supreme Court who has this very disturbing allegation against him. And this is not some sort of, you know, photograph or him say things. This is full-on sexual assault. That is a serious allegation that needs to be investigated.
MARQUARDT: I mean, to your point, and what I was asking Dana as well, are you hearing any rumblings among your colleagues both in the House and the Senate about whether Kavanaugh should be replaced?
LIEU: It's too early to tell. But I do know there's nothing magical about this Thursday for a vote. There is no reason that the Judiciary Committee couldn't reopen the hearings, put Kavanaugh under oath, ask him these questions, have the FBI investigate and then make a decision. There is no timeline that necessitates any sort of vote this week.
MARQUARDT: How does what's been written in the "Washington Post" this afternoon change the dynamic of this nomination and confirmation? We already knew about the allegations last week. We didn't have her name and now we are learning more details. But what is -- what is so -- what are we learning now that could be potentially so upending to this whole process?
LIEU: We got several new facts. We got the accuser's name and her story in detail. We know she passed a lie detector test. We know she told her story many years before privately to her therapist. So it's clear she is not making this story up on the spot and that is a lot of credibility behind her story. I think Brett Kavanaugh is in trouble.
MARQUARDT: We will see. These certainly are earth-shattering revelations and details.
Congressman Ted Lieu, thanks for joining us this afternoon.
LIEU: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: All right. Ahead, more on our other big story, parts of the Carolinas bracing for some of the worst destruction yet from remnants of Tropical Storm Florence. We'll take you live to Fayetteville, North Carolina, in just a moment.
[16:22:22] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Erica Hill live in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, warning folks earlier this afternoon we basically haven't seen anything yet. This storm is not done. There is so much more to come. Now is not the time to be complacent. There have been more than 900 water rescues across the state and calls are still coming in.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung has been on this story from the very beginning, and joins us now from will Wilmington, North Carolina, one of the areas that has been so hard hit, Kaylee, and that is at this point essentially closed off.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Erica. You can't get closer than 40, maybe 20 miles to Wilmington and its surrounding areas because so many of the roads have become impassable as these floodwaters continue to rise and continue move. But I have an update for you. Just as you mentioned, the 900 rescues in the North Carolina vicinity, we have just learned with the help of a Cajun Navy that about 200 calls for service have come into Leland, North Carolina.
That is just on the other side of the Cape Fear River from Wilmington. Overnight the Cajun Navy was hard at work in Wilmington making up more than 250 rescues. But as the waters moved and receded in a lot of those areas where there was great concern, the Cajun Navy and their assets were looking for their next project, they were looking to chase the water.
The head of the Cajun Navy, Todd Terrell, made a call to Brunswick County, just the next county over to Hanover where we are here in Wilmington, and they said, yes, come on over. So those guys loaded up, they were able to get to Leland because again it's just over the other side of the Cape Fear River in their big trucks and with their boats. They are now in the process of answering what I'm told is about 200 calls for service in that area -- Erica.
HILL: All right, Kaylee, appreciate the update. And so important to have them there on the ground as well helping out with those rescues.
We also want to check in now with CNN's Polo Sandoval who's been in Lumberton, North Carolina, for the last couple of days, an area just a little bit south of where I am here in Fayetteville where folks are very concerned about the Lumber River, about the flooding to come -- Polo.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erica, we've been driving the streets of Lumberton really assessing what's happening. The situation certainly is going from bad to worse mainly on the interstate. I want to give you an aerial view of the interstate which is the area that we're in right now, parked directly on top of it. You can see why about 20 miles or so of the interstate right now remain closed on I-95 from U.S. 64 all the way up to Dunn, North Carolina, and nearby Interstate 40 closed as well.
[16:25:03] And this is why. All of this water is coming from the Lumber River which the folks in the city are extremely familiar with. Look at what they have been doing. For the last several days, they have been coming together, basically creating a makeshift levee in the area of the city where they believe that the water breached back in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew. Sadly about two hours ago while we were riding along with the U.S. Coast Guard we watched this levee be compromised.
City officials, however, say that the actually levee near the river is still OK so what this is doing now is slowing down the flow of water. As we bring you back into our roving coverage vehicle, I want to also show you what the rest of the roads here in Lumberton look like. And I can tell you that there is plenty of water that is still filling some of these streets. For example, this is what you would see if you come right off of the interstate and that was open, and you can see roadblocks are set up there. All of this water coming again from the Lumber River that is expected to reach record levels tonight into tomorrow.
But again, we have to highlight that main point. Authorities say that the main levee along the banks of the Lumber is still holding out. That is OK. However, as one official told CNN earlier today, if that does not hold the water, then all bets are off.
Finally, I should mention that a majority of the areas near the river did evacuate before we saw that breach earlier today. But I have to mention, Erica, we see this all the time, and I saw it two years ago when I was in this city, there are still many people who refuse to leave their homes.
HILL: And they don't want to go for a number of reasons, but it is so important that they get out.
Polo, thank you.
In fact that's one of the things that we spoke about with Mayor Mitch Colvin, the mayor of Fayetteville, here earlier today, who said don't let transportation get in your way. There is nothing that can get in your way, we will come to you, we will help you get out. But if you decide not to obey this mandatory evacuation, you need to notify your next of kin because we cannot guarantee anything after that.
We'll be back with much more as our continuing covering continues on the other side of this break.
[16:30:01] ALEX MARQUARDT, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: Welcome back. We'll have more coverage on the flooding in North Carolina and South Carolina in just a moment, but we're picking up on our breaking news surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The woman who recently accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school is now coming forward publicly.
Christine Blakey Ford has revealed not just her name, but more troubling details to the Washington Post. So for more on what this could mean for Kavanaugh, we are turning to Constitutional Law Professor, Gloria Browne-Marshall. Professor, there is -- I want to take a look at the different statements from Ford and from Kavanaugh.
So in this new piece in the Washington Post, Ford said that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers, and clumsily attempting to pull off her one piece bathing suit. When she tried to scream, she said he put his hand over her mouth. Now Kavanaugh, for his part has said I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation.
I did not do this back in high school or at anytime. Professor, there is a huge gulf in these statements. There is no room. There is no gray area. This is a Supreme Court nominee now with a serious credibility issue. So how do you see this playing out?
GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR: I see it playing out with the Republicans based on what they have said so far, still backing this nominee. When Senator Orrin Hatch said within three hours of the controversy around the missing 100,000 documents that Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed anyway instead of a stage, in which they're going to draw the line.
And they are going to say no matter what happens with this candidate, then we're going to push him forward. But just like in the situation with Clarence Thomas, when he was before the judiciary committee with allegations against him by Anita Hill, the idea of this person is going to be confirmed anyway, but then that case will follow them well into their years on the bench as it has Justice Clarence Thomas.
MARQUARDT: Yeah. You can't help but think about that episode with Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas in his hearing. One element really stood out in this piece, one part of this story. Ford says that she took a polygraph test that was administered by a former FBI agent. And the results concluded that Ford was being truthful. So how do you think that plays into all of this? BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, we know that a lie detector test, even though
it is something that has been used often for credibility reasons is not, you know, admissible in a court of law. But it does give her credibility in this situation. It also brings to the fore the idea that this vote that is coming up and before the Senate Judiciary Committee and therefore once they have the votes needed there, going to the full senate, is premature.
I think that it is necessary for credibility sake for the American people. It is one thing for a federal court judge at a trial court level, even the appellate court. But when we get to the nation's highest court, we've got to be sure that we're dealing with someone of the utmost character. And it reminds me of the case of Judge Ginsburg, who was a Harvard professor, great credentials, but it was said later that he had smoked marijuana when he was a law professor at Harvard.
[16:35:04] And students came forward with that allegation. And that ruined his nomination. And he withdrew. So this might be an instance in which although the Republicans want Kavanaugh's nomination -- confirmation, maybe Kavanaugh himself should withdraw.
MARQUARDT: What do you think -- how do you think the FBI is looking into this? What is going on right now behind the scenes?
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, initially what I read was that the FBI rejected an investigation when Senator Feinstein requested it. But now there is so much public outcry around this that I think that the FBI probably will go forward and ask questions and follow up. I mean we're talking about, you know, two decades later that they are investigating something.
Who are the witnesses? And they are saying that during this high school episode, these are minors. There was a lot of drinking going on. I am sure there are a lot of fuzzy memories. And those same people from that very exclusive high school are now in very high ranking positions. I mean what are they willing to say to the FBI if there is an investigation that's going to go beyond he said-she said.
MARQUARDT: Yeah. Let's just remind our viewers that Ford is alleging that there were four young men in the house that night, Kavanaugh, his friend, Mark Judge were the ones in the room she says. But then there were two other young men as yet unnamed. And you would have to imagine that the FBI is certainly reaching out to them if they haven't already.
Professor, final question, which is the million dollar question, do you think that this could ultimately prevent Kavanaugh's confirmation?
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Unfortunately, I don't have a crystal ball there, but as willing as the Republicans are to walk in goose steps to follow the push to have this nominee. I think without those two FEMAle senators, that it's going to be very difficult. But if there is a way for the Republicans to get him through, they will.
MARQUARDT: All right. Well, it's going to be a huge week in Washington with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall, thank you very much for your insight.
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: All right. Well, tropical depression Florence now continues to cause problems across the Carolinas. Where are the flooding concerns the greatest today and for the rest of the week? We're going to delve into that next.
[16:40:00] ERICA HILL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The water that you see in the park behind me, this is from Cross Creek (Inaudible) park here in Fayetteville. And when we first came upon this park at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, there is a little stone wall back there. You could barely make it out. There is a bench there you can't see anymore. The base of this light pole, you can't see anymore. The bushes behind me, which are nearly under, they weren't under water at that point.
And this is a perfect example of why officials are concerned. The water has risen swiftly over the last few hours here and back during Hurricane Matthew when Cape Fear River rose to 53 feet. This entire park was under water. This time around, it is expected to crest around 60 some odd feet. So you can see why officials are telling people to take these evacuations seriously because of course the rain is not done yet.
Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the CNN weather center and joins us now with more on the forecast for this now tropical depression Florence, Allison.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Right. Yeah, so here is the problem. It is not only raining in the same places it has already seen a lot of heavy rain, like Fayetteville or Wilmington or Myrtle Beach, but it is now starting to push inland and affecting other areas. Take Charlotte for example, they are now under a flash flood emergency, particularly for the southern region of that county.
Keep this in mind. Albeit it may not look that impressive on the radar, just a little bit of blue, green, indicating some light rain, but what you have to understand is that the Charlotte airport has reported measureable rainfall for the last 30 hours straight. That adds up to something. That is why a lot of those streets and people's front yards are under water, because of all that rain.
And because of this -- again, you have a lot of flood warnings, flood watches, flash flood warnings, and even the flood emergency like we mentioned around Charlotte, North Carolina. And it is very likely to see this red color, which is the most extreme of the warnings begin to spread west and spread further off to the north as more of those areas begin to pick up rain.
Another concern too is a lot of the mountainous regions of both Virginia as well as North Carolina, because here is the concern there, not only the flood threat from the rain coming down, but also the fact that it could potentially trigger some landslides because now you are having to deal with that elevation that you didn't necessarily have to deal with right along the coastline where everything is pretty much flat.
Overall, rainfall totals has been truly astonishing, 33 inches in Swansboro, 2 feet from places like Emerald Isle, Moorhead City, and even Wilmington. And the thing you have to understand is that for a lot of these places, Erica, they have got this in about 48 hours, and on top of that, it is still raining.
HILL: I mean you said it perfectly. There is so much already here. There is still more to come, and there is no where for this water to go. Allison, thank you. Just ahead, we're going to check in with CNN's Miguel Marquez who is in Pender County, North Carolina, an area where we learned just a few hours ago, officials were concerned they couldn't respond to rescues because they were running out of fuel. That is next.
[16:45:00] HILL: We are closely monitoring the situation across the Carolinas. And of course, South Carolina also dealing with significant threats of flooding after a significant amount of rain fell there as well. CNN's Scott McLean is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a closer look at the damage and also the concerns moving forward, Scott.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hey, Erica. Yeah, we're about 15 miles inland now from Myrtle Beach. And we're starting to see some of the first signs of flooding. I am standing on what should normally be a road. This is actually a driveway down there. There's a house at the end of that street, likely has some water inside of it. This is the actual roadway. It goes all the way down to that bridge there.
There's supposed to be a swamp or a creek that runs under there. It's obviously backed up into this area, causing some flooding issue. And since we've been here, it's only continued to rise. You can see this house here, the water is almost up to the -- or it's at the top step, almost at the door really. It's also completely covering the swimming pool in the backyard.
[16:50:00] And this house over here, the red one, it will likely be flooded as well before this is all said and done. That is because this area has already gotten 13 1/2 inches of rain. There might be a little bit more still to come before the day is done. But really, Erica, it is all of that rain from all of those other places that is funneling down into these watersheds.
The (Inaudible) river is the local one here in Conway. It is about 11 1/2 feet above what's normal. It is expected to get a couple of more feet before the end of the week. That is nearly where it was during Hurricane Matthew two years ago, and that was absolutely devastating for this area. So whatever mitigation efforts, whatever preparation efforts people are doing.
They need to happen pretty quick in the next couple days because that water is going to continue to rise, Erica. HILL: Certainly will. All right, Scott McLean with the latest for us
there from Conway, South Carolina. Thank you. As we continue to monitor efforts around the Carolinas, we also wanted to check in with the folks over at Fort Bragg. (Inaudible) public affairs official Tom McCollum joins me now. Sir, appreciate you taking some time for us today.
We are not too far apart from one another since I am in Fayetteville here. And we've talked a lot in Fayetteville about the Cape Fear River. I know where you are. You're also keeping a very close watch on the little river, correct?
TOM MCCOLLUM, SPOKESMAN, FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA: Yes. Cape Fear River won't affect us directly, but the little river does have the capability to block off some north-south highways on the insulation. And -- but one of the big things that I'd like to stress is where we are located, we're up on high ground by the little river. So our airfield and the people that live around it, they're in fairly good shape at this time.
HILL: So they're in fairly good shape. In terms of the surrounding areas, is Fort Bragg lending assistance at this point?
MCCOLLUM: We've been doing that ever since and before this even began. Fort Bragg is a large staging location for FEMA. We're able to give them a secure location with a large area to park hundreds of trucks and fuel tankers along with generators. And it gives them easy access to the highway system right by us. Plus, we've been sending out convoys.
HILL: Sorry, Sir. Go ahead.
MCCOLLUM: Yes. I was also saying that we've been pushing out convoys from the units on Fort Bragg to the point where we are now taking in convoys coming out of Fort Campbell from the 101st, and we're expecting another convoy in from Fort Drum with the 10th mountain division. They'll be here tomorrow. But even the 101st guys, they arrived this morning, and they are quickly turning around.
And later this evening, they're going to be heading out towards Goldsboro and (Inaudible) Carolina both with about 25 trucks full of supplies. And these trucks are high-water vehicles. So this is something that we take very seriously, but we also take a lot of pride in being able to help the people of the country and especially the state of North Carolina.
HILL: Yeah. And then a number of those places we've had reporters stationed, and they certainly need that help. Appreciate you joining us with the update, Tom McCollum joining us there from Fort Bragg. Thanks again. I do want to check in now with our Miguel Marquez, who's as we mentioned is in Pender County, North Carolina. He just filed this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This is highway 421 in Pender County. It is now a lake. Several hundred yards wide this lake, down that way is Wilmington. Up that way is Raleigh. You can't get there. This is all runoff from the long creek that feeds down into the Cape Fear River. It is still rising. The Cape Fear River is still rising. On the other side of this area, Wards Quarter, where we are, is the Black River.
That river is also rising and cutting off roads there. It is becoming dire for this situation -- for this location. Officials that I speak to here say they had 300 calls for water rescues in this area overnight. And they were able to get to about 172. But they need more resources. They lost two ambulances in the water overnight.
They don't have enough fuel for some of their rescuers to get to those rescues. In one case, there was a woman and two children clinging to a tree for much of the night as helicopters try to pluck them out. And we don't even know yet whether they survived. It is a critical time for the people in this county and in this area.
There are shelters open, but the rain keeps coming down, and the rivers keep rising. And it is not clear how long the people can survive here, especially those who have been cut off by very fast rising waters, back to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:54:55] HILL: Miguel Marquez with the latest there from Pender County. It is important to stress the words that we heard from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper earlier today. The storm has never been more dangerous than it is now. This flooding is only beginning. The river is expected to crest over the next couple of days. What we know at this point, more than 900 water rescues here in North Carolina already and more are under way, 15 deaths as a result of this storm across two states. There are still hundreds of thousands of people without power.
There are major areas of interstates that are shut down in the state of North Carolina, towns that are shut off because of flooding. We will continue to stay on top of all of that. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.