Return to Transcripts main page


"Monstrous" Hurricane Takes aim at Florida Panhandle; Nikki Haley Resigns as U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 9, 2018 - 21:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Hurricane Michael's just hours away from slamming into the Florida panhandle, now a category three. That's stronger than Florence. We have new information on what to expect and when.

The big question is whether or not Florida is ready. There are lots of eyes on Tallahassee. Mayor Andrew Gillum right now, he wants to be governor, and Hurricane Michael may stand in his way.

Plus, Nikki Haley's departure, surprise or not? The president said he knew months ago. Yet her staff, Bolton, Pompeo, all reportedly caught off-guard. Why did the U.N. ambassador announce her exit weeks before the midterms? We'll dig deeper for you.

And if you're watching this show, you know Chicago has a unique gun violence problem. Is stop-and-frisk the solution? The president is pushing for it. Is it what he says, or is it a recipe for a new problem?

It's that time again, my friends. Let's get after it.


CUOMO: All right. We know this as a matter of fact. Hurricane Michael is barreling toward the Gulf Coast. It's not weakening. It's gotten stronger.

Florida candidates are putting a pause on politics with only four weeks until Election Day but they have a job to do and it literally could be life or death. On Monday, President Trump, he didn't take a break. He called out one of the candidates, Democratic nominee for governor, Andrew Gillum, for being corrupt and a ticket to making Florida Venezuela.

Gillum is also mayor of Florida's capital, Tallahassee. So, what does he have to say about this slight in the midst of a category three hurricane, 120-mile-an-hour winds headed his way?

Andrew Gillum, thank you for joining us.

Let's deal with what matters here first. How are you doing in terms of preparation?

MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM (D), FLORIDA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: Well, we feel good about our government's preparation. We feel like we're ready for this storm. Chris, as you know, we're, unfortunately, over the last three and a half years well-practiced. This being our third storm that we've had to encounter.

What we want to make sure at this stage is that our residents are making the proper preparations to deal with what will be a life- threatening event. This will be the strongest storm to hit our area in over a century. We want to make sure people are making the right preparations.

CUOMO: Right. And here's the problem. One, people get complacent with time. You haven't been hit this way in a while. So, the memory gets short. People think it was easier than it actually was in some cases.

Second, you've got a lot of poverty in and around this area that's going to be vulnerable. There are rural places outside of places like Tallahassee, people who are remote, hard to reach. How do you deal with those challenges?

GILLUM: Yes. Well, we have had to be a welcoming place to other communities in times of natural disaster and this time is no different. We have opened up five shelters so far all around our community, with I believe a sixth may be online as early as tomorrow morning. We know that we're already receiving guests from some of the lower lying areas along the coast given the storm surge that they're going to be facing.

So, we're welcoming those folks and trying to make it as welcoming a stay as possible. But really what's at stake here is the life and the safety and the security of people, and if they're in the low-lying areas, here in my own community, if you're in a modular unit or a mobile home, we want to you get out of harm's way and go to one of our shelters where we can ensure your safety.

Listen, we can put houses back together. We cannot replace a life. So, we're hoping people will take advantage of the sheltering opportunities available to them.

CUOMO: Amen.

Now, one exigency of a political nature is registration. Registration window is about to close. The storm could very well complicate efforts to get people registered to vote. People in your party are calling for a delay where they can reopen the window after the storm. Your position?

GILLUM: Well, I mean, I think we want to do everything we can to assure that people get the opportunity to register to vote. I think you've probably saw some of the spikes that have been reported on the final day of voter registration that occurred just in the last 24 hours. We know that people make a rush towards the end. And I would plead

with the governor and on those in charge of this process to extend the opportunity for as many people to get involved and get registered in the process as possible. If you're worried about your life and safety, you're probably not thinking about voter registration at this moment. So, a little bit of grace for those folks I think is in order.

CUOMO: Now, 2016, you guys in Tallahassee, and you specifically, got blame put on you for not accepting the governor's offer of help. You say you have an answer to that. That it's a false charge.

What's the reality?

GILLUM: Well, it is a false charge. Unfortunately, that was a situation where we had a storm get politicized. And I think that's the last thing that you want in a storm event where people are trying to keep themselves and their family safe. That was the first storm to hit our community in over 30 years.

We woke up the next day to recognize that over 90 percent of our public infrastructure had been devastated. Our entire sewer system knocked out. And what we came out and said is that we would work as diligently as we could to get our community up and going. Seventy-two hours later, over 90 percent of the people in my community had their power restored. And then we obviously worked as a community over the remaining days to get people back connected.

I think what President Trump did last night by attacking me, attacking my city, I don't think we've ever seen a sitting president go after a sitting mayor in a community that is preparing itself for a near category 4 hurricane --

CUOMO: Right.

GILLUM: -- to attack it.

Listen, we don't need partisanship, we need a president. We need a partner. We need someone who was going to come to our aid when we need it, not throw cheap political shots.

CUOMO: Well, Mr. Mayor, for those who didn't hear it, here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look at Ron DeSantis, he's done fantastically well. I backed him from the beginning. He's great. He's doing a fantastic job. He'd be a great governor.

His opponent runs a place that has a lot of problems, and I know it very well, but it's got a lot of problems, tremendous corruption, tremendous crime. This is not what you want to run Florida. His opponent is, I think, a horrible choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: So, is this a reflection of our new normal? Nothing is sacred. Nothing is above politics.

GILLUM: Well --

CUOMO: Nothing is apolitical. It's all go all the time.

GILLUM: Well, I find it unfortunate. I find it most unfortunate, obviously because of the timing and, secondly, because of the fact that it's not true. I preside over a city experiencing a five-year low in our crime rate.

The hard-working men and women who you may be able to see behind me, they deserve better from their commander-in-chief. They don't deserve to be reduced to partisan politics. They're working as hard as they can to keep the life and safety of the people who they have charge over protected in what will be a pretty major storm. The president should have taken that opportunity to encourage people to get out of harm's way to prepare themselves for the storm and then to offer his unmitigated support, not just to me but my state in the aftermath of this disaster to help us get back up and going as quickly as possible.

CUOMO: Well, look --

GILLUM: But regardless of that, I know that we're ready, we're prepared, and we're going to do what it takes to make sure that our community gets up and going.

CUOMO: Well, look, let's hope everything there -- that everything is a little bit exaggerated. Let's hope. Let's hope it's better.

As I was saying to Anderson before the show started, it's the only time a journalist wants to be wrong. I hope these estimates are wrong. I hope I don't have to be down there with you face-to-face 36 hours from now because we're dealing with such a terrible aftermath and that we see President Trump, you know, taking jump shots with paper towels to people who are desperate in our own state of Florida.

A lot of your people and citizens in your state watch the show. What is your message to them right now? Hopefully, they're going to have power up and through when the storm comes tomorrow afternoon, but the window is closing. What do you want them to know?

GILLUM: Well, first off, if you're one of our neighbors who is along the coastline, the storm surge that is expected there is life threatening. It is deadly.

If you have not gotten out yet, do not assume that you can ride this storm out. Get to higher ground. Come to your capital city here in the city of Tallahassee. We will do our very best to accommodate you here.

For my residents here in the Tallahassee, Leon County area, know that we're ready for this storm. You're government is ready. And what you need to ensure is that you're ready in your own homes and your own neighborhood. We will be able to repair and get back up and going in our

communities. What's most important at this time is that you keep yourselves and your families safe during this storm event which will begin in earnest in just a few hours here.

CUOMO: All right, Mr. Mayor, as we say with all local leaders when this kind of event is headed their way, use this as a resource. If you have information that needs to get out, if you want to coordinate getting people the help they need in the aftermath, we're here for you. That's why we have the job.

GILLUM: Thank you. Thank you for that.

CUOMO: All right. Be well.

GILLUM: Really appreciate it, Chris, and Godspeed.

CUOMO: All right. Be safe. I hope that it is better than expected. Mayor Andrew Gillum, good luck to you.

We also invited his opponent, Congressman DeSantis, on. He declined the offer. Just so you know.

Hurricane Michael is closing in as we speak. Who is at the greatest risk? Where is the most vulnerable? Why is this one different from Florence?

There are answers to all those questions. We have them with the latest forecast next.


CUOMO: All right. Florida's governor is warning of, quote, total devastation when Hurricane Michael strikes, and with good reason. It was just a few weeks ago that we were talking about Florence, another hurricane that made landfall, that one in North Carolina.

But the superlatives you're hearing now, monstrous, historic, don't dismiss them as hype or hyperbole.

Let's bring in Tom Sater, CNN meteorologist, joining us right now.

And you can put meat on the bones of why it's not hyperbole. Let's start with two facts.


CUOMO: The category three storm has only strengthened as it's gotten closer to the panhandle, and an area, this area where it's going to get hit. It hasn't seen a big storm in a dozen years, right?

SATER: That's true, Dennis 2005. Exactly right. October, Chris, ranks as the number one month for hurricanes to make landfall in the state of Florida. However, there have been very few category three or higher hurricanes to ever hit the panhandle. The last one was Dennis. We're looking at something historical here. This is not just going to

be the strongest hurricane to make landfall since 2005, 13 years ago, but we went back a little bit more in history and we believe that within 40 miles of Panama City, this is going to be the strongest in recorded history.

I mean, that is -- that says something because there's a whole generation of people that never had to go through something quite like this. There's a whole entire area of real estate that has never been tested by the winds and surge of a storm like this.

CUOMO: And, look, now, we hear a lot of contractors and municipalities talk about things being hurricane proof and windows and different aspects of their construction. We'll see now, you know, 2004 Hurricane Ivan, Hurricane Dennis. That was -- Ivan and Dennis will be painful reminders for people in that area.


CUOMO: I mean, you just -- you remember living those pictures, horrible.


CUOMO: Now that's not the big problem, though. Wind, as, Tom, you instruct us all the time, wind isn't what kills you. Water is in hurricanes, storm surge.

Please, Tom, explain to us the different aspect here of dealing with the shelf, low-lying areas in terms of feet above sea level but, also, the shelf, the Continental Shelf. Why does that matter?

SATER: OK, great question. Big difference between the Atlantic coastline on the outer banks and the Gulf, all right? We do have a continental shelf off the Carolina coast and we also have, you know, barrier islands. We've got the intercoastal area, something to protect the coastline, but the continental shelf in the gulf is much broader, there's much more of an area that the water is shallow.

When you have a storm of this magnitude, moving into this region, what you're finding here and this is Ivan, just, by the way, 2004, when they moved to the region, the wave height grows with time. The tsunami last week following the earthquake in Indonesia, the reason the tsunami was so high is the water went through a very narrow and shallow area of water, kind of shaped as a submarine so the tsunami grew with time.

There's the Ivan you were talking about, Chris.

CUOMO: Right.

SATER: This is Dennis. Ivan actually made three landfalls but Dennis came through, they were all west of Panama City.

To get more and talk about that surge, because I want to get back to history for you, let me just quickly show you -- oh, we had it up here. Here it is, the surge inundation map. We talked about this, of course, when Florence was coming on.

So, let's get in a little bit closer. And the reason this is a big concern is that there's a lot more red on this map than we had in parts of the Carolinas. Where you have Apalachicola, the curvature of the Big Bend is going to catch the brunt of those forward moving wave heights.

So, again, with that shallow continental shelf you're talking about, Apalachicola is going to get hit hard. This little inlet right in here, there are some homes and there are some barrier islands but Panama City, Destin, over toward Port Walton, we just don't have that protection. So, you've got that gradual slope of that ocean floor slowly rising and continuing.

So this is going to inundate several areas of the Big Bend region. If there's an area to be hit it will be this one. It's a nature land area, a lot of wetlands.

CUOMO: Right. So, you got the wetlands issue, and there's two other things real quickly, just to kind of button up Tom's point and then I want to ask something else. Here, I just quickly showed you what he's talking about in terms of gradation of the shelf.

And as it gets more and more shallow, as you go in, it's going to allow wave, amplitude and volume to increase and that's going to create a bigger surge effect. Also, you know, a lot of the folks who live around here, yes, you got money in and around here living on the coast, beautiful homes and all that, but there are lots of pockets of rural communities as well and poverty.

Those people don't have the same access to emergency relief. They're going to be harder to reach. It's going to be harder to know what's going on. Those are unique challenges here.

SATER: Good point.

CUOMO: Now, Tom, king tides, what are they? When are they? Relevance?

SATER: King tides, typically, it's hard to give a scientific definition because there's some discrepancy in how this is formed. But they're usually the highest point of a tide cycle. Some say it's once a year. Some say it's once a month, just the highest tides.

But we're already seeing flooding. This is king tide time. We're seeing flooding. We see it in Miami but now, we're seeing it already in Tampa, St. Pete, Dauphin Island. It adds about an extra foot to that incoming surge of water.

That is taking into consideration when the National Hurricane Center puts out its surge warning which, by the way, they use life threatening inundation and today, they used the word historic, mainly because all the storms have been west of Panama City since 1950. We haven't had them this close into the east.

So, you know, you were talking about building codes. Andrew in '92 changed the way many homes were built.

CUOMO: Right.

SATER: It changed the codes. There were so many homes built before 1992 that just do not have those supporting hurricane brackets or the way they pretty much adhere their tiles. So, this is going to be a whole new test for people.

I wouldn't be surprised, Chris, if this does become a 4 just before landfall. We're seeing in --


CUOMO: God forbid. I hope that's wrong. I hope 36 hours from now, you're not coaching me through an IFB that's wet and windy because we're dealing with an aftermath that's way worse than even what we anticipated.

Tom, thank you very much.

SATER: Sure.

CUOMO: All right. We're definitely going to come back to the storm. The information is changing and we want to get it to you people in this area as quickly as possible. I want to keep the rest of you connected to your brothers and sisters where the storm is going to come because they're going to need help.

Just like the people in North Carolina. They're still in such trouble there. The kids just got back to school. They need books, they need clothing, they need essentials. Go to our website. You'll find a way to help.

All right. Another big story, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, she didn't really have an answer for why she's stepping down. Is there something about the timing? Was this intentional before the midterms? A great topic for a great debate. Let's have it, next.


CUOMO: The speculation surrounding what prompted U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to resign has the Internet swirling with conspiracy theories.

But to be fair, they should have given more information -- what did they think was going to happen if she does this right after Kavanaugh, right before the midterms, and they don't say why. And the truth is no one besides Nikki Haley know what is truly motivated her to quit, as far as we know.

She tamped down speculation that she was going to challenge Trump in 2020. Listen to this.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: I will say this, for all of you that are going to ask about 2020 -- no, I am not running for 2020. I can promise you what I'll be doing is campaigning for this one. So, I look forward to supporting the president in the next election.


CUOMO: Now, because we're dealing with politics, can you really believe that answer? And somewhat, thanks to the man sitting next to her, do we really trust what politicians say at all?

So, the more important question is not whether she has presidential ambitions but what does this mean for the administration?

Let's ask our great debaters, Angela Rye and David Urban.

Good to see you both.

Angela, what's the premise of this -- of this question, the premise is she's good for the administration. She's a strong, independent, female voice most of the time in this administration. She doesn't just do whatever Trump says, even when that rankles a little bit and she gets sideways. And when she gets sideways, she fights back.

If she leaves, how big a deal?

ANGELA RYE, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: I think it's a big deal because of the number of vacancies Donald Trump's administration has seen since he won the election and was sworn in during the inauguration. I think the reality is he has not been able to keep a whole lot of folks whether we're talking about people right next to him at the chief of staff level or someone as distant as this U.N. ambassador position. Many would argue that Nikki Haley has made that position very strong because of her ability to be independent from the president and push back when she disagrees with him.

I think the question I'm wondering, this is less than a month after the U.N. General Assembly. This is just a few days after the Kavanaugh nomination vote. Sure, there may be speculation around 2020 and to your point, Chris, I don't believe much of what politicians tell us. But she sounded pretty convincing in that meeting.

I would say the other flag that we have is that there's an ethics investigation requested by the Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics in Washington into seven, not one but seven free plane rides on private jets from businessmen in South Carolina. So the timing is eerie there. That was just yesterday.

CUOMO: That's true, Angela, though, but by Trump standards, that's nothing compared to what other cabinet people have weathered and existed.

RYE: That's true. I'll give that you.

CUOMO: The timing is not good, Dave. I don't know why she left now.


CUOMO: But the timing is not good.

URBAN: Look, Chris, our colleague Chris Cillizza put out a piece today that said, hey -- and I agree with him, that say Ambassador Haley's timing is impeccable. She had an incredible two-year run. Quinnipiac poll just out in late April, early May, had over 60 percent of the respondents had a favorable opinion of her job.

CUOMO: Fifty-five percent Democrat.

URBAN: Fifty-five percent Democrats, right?

CUOMO: Right.

URBAN: That's unheard of in this administration. She's been there coming this January will be there close to two years.

CUOMO: Right.

URBAN: That's a long run in this business. As you know, it's a grind job. She finished up UNGA very successfully. If she left after the midterms, it would be like she's running after the midterms because of the House flipping or something upcoming. There will always be an excuse. There's never a good time.

CUOMO: She could have just said why she was leaving.

URBAN: There's never a good time to leave. You know --

RYE: She could have said why.

URBAN: Chris, she could stand up there and she's going to say, I want to spend more time with my family, that everyone is going to say, oh, that's --


CUOMO: She could have said, I need to make some money. I did a great job. I want to leave on top and make money.

RYE: I need more private jet flights.

URBAN: Listen, Chris, she's going to go spend time with her family and kids. Look, this administration, this is one position where you have a very strong bench. Dina Powell is a very, very capable woman, can step right in tomorrow and fill those shoes, without missing a beat.

CUOMO: Not known as being a foil to Trump, though. You raise an interesting point. I'm not this isn't about criticizing Dina Powell. I know that she's a name on the list. We'll get more into it when she becomes more real. But, if the president --

URBAN: She's real, because -- listen, the president on Air Force One this evening said there's only one -- the only name mentioned so far dismissed Rick Grenell, said Rick is not on the list, but if he will, he'll put o the list.

CUOMO: I know.

URBAN: The only person he's mentioned is Dina Powell. So, I know you say she's not real.

CUOMO: No, I'm saying -- I didn't say she's not real. I said I don't want to criticize her right now when she gets more real because just because Trump says something on an airplane doesn't mean I think it's something invested with a lot of thought.

URBAN: But, Chris, don't demean Dina --

RYE: David, why are you so defensive?

CUOMO: I want to give her some time before we critique her.


CUOMO: I don't want to critique her just because her name popped out of the president's mouth.

URBAN: OK. That's fair. But she's been -- she's long served in foreign policy roles in two administrations.

CUOMO: Right, but she's not known as a foil, and this is my question --

RYE: She's also not nominated yet.

URBAN: Well, Chris, neither was Nikki Haley before she took the job.

CUOMO: Well, hold on. She was an independent voice. She was not a huge fan of Trump for a long time and I think that to his benefit and hers. But if he doesn't replace Nikki Haley with someone like her, do you think he takes a step backwards?

URBAN: Look, I think he's going to pick the best person for the job. I don't know where you -- you're not going to find another Nikki Haley. She's a unique individual. She's very well-qualified. I think she left at the perfect time to preserve lots of things for her future.

So, she's -- it's going to be tough, big shoes to replace. But I think Dina is quite capable of filling those shoes.

CUOMO: Right. But you know why I'm asking this, Angela, because he has a penchant to pick yes people.

RYE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: If he now picks a yes person to fill the spot, do you think he winds up losing on the trade?

RYE: I think Donald Trump needs people around him who can hold him accountable to help him find the higher ground because he struggles to find that whether it's on Twitter, in a press conference or some other venue. He absolutely needs people around him who will tell him the harsh real truth, and it can't just all fall on Ivanka, right? Like their guys, it has --


RYE: David, David, David, David, David, you talked.

URBAN: You can't talk all night.

CUOMO: All right, all right. One point at a time.

RYE: OK, we should run that back. Let's just run that back.

CUOMO: Angela, make your point and then, Dave, you respond. Hold on. We're wasting time.

RYE: We should run that back just on time today. I can't wait. You know what? Point is made. I cannot wait for people to run that moment back. Let's compare --

CUOMO: Let's make a new moment.

RYE: -- minute to minute how much you talked tonight, especially.

CUOMO: All right, let's make another moment.

RYE: Cut the crap.

CUOMO: Let's make another content moment. Make a point, Angela, and let's get a response to it.

RYE: The point was already made. The point was made. He just didn't like it. So, he's talking about -- respond, David. The floor is yours.

URBAN: OK, I'm sorry. A three-second delay.

So, Angela, the point being no one is going to get through the Senate who is not tough and will push back. Questions are going to be asked. This is going to be a cake walk.

CUOMO: Well, they have the votes. How do you stop somebody?

URBAN: Well, Chris, you can put a hold on. They're going to have a tough time.

RYE: Did you just watch the nomination that happened this weekend?

URBAN: I did, yes.


RYE: OK, all right, all right. This is interesting. Twilight zone tonight, Chris. Twilight zone. URBAN: People will not getting through who are qualified. There's going to be someone who's going to push back. Look, Dina Powell, whoever is, Rick Grenell, everyone is going to push back, Chris, on this president. I assure you of that.

CUOMO: How can you sure of that? He's put --


RYE: You know Dina real well.

CUOMO: He's surrounded by people who don't push back.

URBAN: At least you think so, Chris.

CUOMO: I got pretty good sources in there, Dave.

URBAN: I think I got some pretty good sources, too, Chris.

CUOMO: Let me tell you something, if you think he's got people who pushed back on him, then you and I define it differently.


CUOMO: Hold on a second, Dave, if you -- first of all, Kellyanne -- anyone there a long time is not someone who makes the president uncomfortable on a regular basis.

RYE: That's exactly right.

CUOMO: And if they did, he would not say and tweet the things he did if he had a real strong political hand at his side. No self- respecting politician who understands messaging and understands the role of that office, if they had the ability would allow what's coming out of it in terms of the rhetoric, in terms of the rhetoric, Republican or Democrat.

URBAN: Chris, you want to call Kellyanne weak, that's fine. I think she's a very strong woman.

CUOMO: You can put words in my mouth as much as you want. I didn't say it. That's why you're not the comms director, you're not great at this messaging thing. You just throw stuff out there with no basis in fact.

URBAN: You just said no basis in fact.

RYE: I feel like I'm watching the great debate tonight.

URBAN: You said the president didn't have anyone strong next to him. I just said Kellyanne, our mutual friend, is very strong. You said, no, she's not.


CUOMO: No, I said nobody lasts a long time if they don't tell him what he wants to hear and you have to find another way.

Final point to you, Angela.

RYE: Yes, I think I would just love to see David name three to four people in the White House who he thinks regularly stands up to Donald Trump. It just doesn't exist.

I like Kellyanne. I remember when she was a commentator here on this network. That's a different Kellyanne that we have now.

That doesn't mean that she never stands up to Donald Trump, but we can also acknowledge that Kellyanne is regularly on message, David. You can shake your head.


URBAN: Angela, if she comes out doing battle on behalf of the president, she's on message. Of course, she is.


CUOMO: If he listened to Kellyanne every time she gave him advise, he wouldn't be saying the things that he says as often as he does. That's all I'm saying. And he's the president, so he should be the last word. That's the way the system works. But he'll be held to account the most as well.

Angela, thank you very much. Dave, always a pleasure. Thanks for being on the show.

URBAN: Chris, thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right, from all of that foul wind to an actual storm. Hurricane Michael is coming. It's just hours from making landfall.

Now, you'll keep hearing it could be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida panhandle in decades. Why? They haven't gotten hit this way in a long time. We're going to talk to a congressman who is on the ground, his area, his district is especially vulnerable. He has a message to you who are down in Florida in the path and beyond, next.


CUOMO: Hurricane Michael is intensifying as it gets closer to the Gulf Coast. That is a fact and this part of the country is particularly vulnerable.

Florida Congressman Neal Dunn's district is right in the middle of it.

Congressman, thanks for being with us. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances.

But you got a lot of people from the Florida area in the path of the storm who watch us at this time of night. So, they'll be listening to you.

Are you ready for what's coming and what's your concern?

REP. NEAL DUNN (R), FLORIDA: Thank you very much, Chris, and thank you for helping us get the word out about this storm because it really is a catastrophic storm. And I think the window of opportunity to evacuate has almost closed.

People that are going to get out of town, they need to be getting in their car right now or going to a shelter. And there are four shelters opening, in Bay County, many shelters across the 19 counties affected going -- trailing off to our east.

CUOMO: A quick question, are all the shelters equipped for this level of storm because there's reporting on the ground that some of the shelters you have shelters but they're not open, because they're not equipped for this.

DUNN: So, I can't address all of the shelters but we have four in Bay County and I just came from our center. Yes, they're all ready for this storm. They're ready for a cat 4 storm --

CUOMO: Good.

DUNN: -- which this could be.

CUOMO: Right. That's what we're hearing. It could get stronger. Tom Sater, our meteorologist, just told us that. There are a lot of hydrodynamics involved with this with the Continental Shelf and what it can build in that area, because you have shallower water. It holds temperature differently. So, we'll see what happens. We'll wait and see.

And I'm always open to being wrong, Congressman, about this. I always want to be wrong about hurricanes. I always hope they're weaker.

Your district, you have a lot of pockets of poverty and you have rural areas in your district --

DUNN: We do.

CUOMO: -- harder to access, harder to check on, harder to get to places that are safe for them, slower to leave in a lot of cases. How do you deal with that?

DUNN: So, you're right, it's a rural, agrarian district and a lot of communities are out at the end of the road. I mean, they're not necessarily seaside type resorts.

CUOMO: Right.

DUNN: And a lot of people who make their living fishing and oystering and stuff. And these people are a little bit overboard (ph), a little harder to pry out of their homes when the weather hits.

CUOMO: So, what do you do about that?

DUNN: Well, we have -- we've actually developed over the last few years a much more active preparation for storms, much more robust response right after the storm. So, we'll swarm in there with all normal utility, trucks and everything you could imagine, first responders, to try to help everybody who is still there. But really like it when people get out of the way of the storm ahead of time, especially with the kind of surge that we're looking at here. This is a surge that's probably higher than anybody has ever seen in their lifetime in the panhandle.

CUOMO: What do you know about how people have responded to the call in the areas mandatory evacuation or where it's recommended? Are they listening?

DUNN: Not as well as we would like. And that's why I appreciate you doing this, because I think there's still room for people to get out of harm's way. We wish they would because it's a lot easier to take care of people who are out of the way of the storm surge than it is to go in and try to get them out afterwards if they stay.

CUOMO: Congressman, as I told the mayor and we tell local officials all the time, when something like this is headed their way, if you need to get the word out, if you need to say what is needed, you know, our brothers and sisters in North Carolina, even up in Wilmington, they're just getting their kids back in school, they have a need for all kinds of essentials and hopefully the storm doesn't wind up exacerbating that for them.

Whatever you need, we'll get the word out for you. See us as working for you in that occasion.

DUNN: Thank you. We appreciate that very much. It's important and people, you know, they get complacent. They think they're old hands of hurricanes because they've been through a couple of category one storms or category twos. This is a totally different critter (ph).

CUOMO: Yes, Ivan, Dennis, 2004 and 2005, it's been a while.

Congressman, be well, stay safe. I'll talk to you soon.

DUNN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. You've heard President Trump talk a lot lightly about due process. Now, due process is very important. The question is: is it only good for some and not others in his eyes?

Why do I ask? He's now pushing to bring back something that has a hard time reconciling itself with due process. I'll give you the details, next.


CUOMO: Twelve seconds aside, isn't it weird the same day that the U.N. climate report comes out and all the problems that we're seeing in systemic changes in climate and we're talking about all these storms and nobody connects the two? Isn't that odd the president says, well, I'll look at it but I can see reports either way.

No, you can't. It's called science.

All right. Now, unto another topic. Innocent until proven guilty. It is one of the most sacred principles of our criminal justice system, of course. And when President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was credibly accused of sexual assault, it became a regular refrain right up until his confirmation from the president.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country, a man or a woman, must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. And with that I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.


CUOMO: Now, look, I don't know who wrote it but the presumption of innocence is a valued, valued construct in a court of law. We were not in a court of law. This was a kangaroo court. You know, this was politicians fighting over a position on the Supreme Court.

So proven innocent, the president said. It's a perfect time for Mark Twain's quote -- lies, damn lies, and then you have statistics.

It is a lie to say that the presumption applied here, because like I just said, we're not in a court. And Trump knew that this was going to be a political measure, so it's a lie. It's a damned lie to say that he was found innocent.

We certainly don't know to any certainty that Kavanaugh was blameless on all fronts and then there are statistics, which take us to Trump's latest statement about crime in Chicago.


TRUMP: Stop and frisk, it works and it was meant for problems like Chicago. It was meant for it. Stop and frisk.


CUOMO: Again, I don't know who wrote it, but stop and frisk runs counter to innocent until proven guilty. The key statistic, in Chicago, officers stop blacks 72 percent of the time. What percentage of the population are they of the population? Not 72 -- 32.

A reminder, the controversial policy was previously implemented in New York City, right? Allowed officers to stop anyone they believed committed or was about to commit a felony if there was, quote, reasonable suspicion. The policy was so selectively enforced that it was criticized as little more than racial profiling in practice. And a federal judge in 2013 ruled its methods discriminatory and unconstitutional.

But the president, he keeps citing stop and frisk, insisting that it works. This is also a man who said the Central Park Five were guilty, and in both instances, he relied on anecdotes over evidence. Notwithstanding that New York City's murder and overall crime rate have continued to drop since the policy all but stopped.

And to this point the mayor in Chicago says that gun violence was down 30 percent last year and that's when the policy was curtailed.

So, how does Trump's call for the presumption of innocence make any sense? Simple. He hands out innocence if it seems to be politically useful.

Let's bring in Don Lemon for his take.

Where am I wrong, Don?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": You're not wrong anywhere. And I wrote something similar to what you said about stop and frisk years ago and people misinterpreted, saying that I was condoning the practice and that wasn't it. I was simply pointing out what a difficult choice it is because some people think as the president does that they're actually safer when people are stopped and frisked.

OK, put that aside. Let's say that's true. It's not. But we know from the numbers that you've given, and just from the facts, that police don't stop people who are not of color at the same rate they stop people of color.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: So, they don't dole it out to everyone. If they stopped every person regardless of color, hey, I need to check your bag, because it's really stop, question and frisk. I need to check your bag.

You know they're not going to do that. They're going to say, get on the ground. What are you carrying, you know? That's was going to happen and that was the thing.

So, to make your point, statistically, this is a Brennan Center, there's no relationship between stop and frisk and crime seems to be apparent. There's no relationship between stop and frisk and crime. New York remains safer than it was five, 10, or 25 years ago. The murder rate is still going down with no stop and frisk, as it was on the previous mayors before Bill de Blasio.

CUOMO: Look, the statistics don't lie. Of course it always gets complicated. You always have multiple measures going on at the same time. Who knows what's to blame for a crime going down?

Sometimes people -- criminologists will even argue it's simply a metric of the economy, that the better the economy is, the less crime because there's less necessity.

But here's the problem on this for Trump. He says things that he doesn't apply consistently. Due process for Kavanaugh! Innocent until proven guilty! When it doesn't apply and if anything that process was rigged in favor of Kavanaugh. And then he'll apply the same logic to stop and frisk, just like he

did with the Central Park Five. It feels right to him. These guys looked guilty. They gave confessions. That's good enough.

When you confess, you're always telling the truth. And then he just pops it out there and lets everybody else justify it for him.

CUOMO: Well, that is my same problem -- the same problem that I have with Kanye West. He likes to give these platitudes like the president. They're one and the same really. They like to give these platitudes.

But they don't do their homework. They don't do their research. It sounds good, but none of it's true, and none of it makes sense. And we're going to discuss that as well.

Again, as you said, Central Park Five, lock her up, what about due process when it comes to that? Never happened.

CUOMO: D. Lemon, big fan. See you later.

LEMON: Yes, see you soon.

CUOMO: Ambassador Nikki Haley's resignation stunned a lot of people today. The one thing everybody wants to know is why?

Enter Chris Cillizza. He has not one, not two, but three possible reasons, and he'll lay them out and be tested, next.


CUOMO: In a "nothing shocks me anymore" political environment, this did the trick. Nikki Haley resigning as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. without explaining why.

Chris Cillizza has three theories.

Chris, theory number one: she got edged out by the likes of Bolton and Pompeo. Explain.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: OK. Quickly, remember Nikki Haley is sort of the golden child of the first year of the Trump administration. But while she was sort of publicly very sort of strong in the way Donald Trump likes on the world stage, she's more of a moderating influence behind the scenes.

Pompeo, the secretary of state now, former CIA chief, and John Bolton, a noted skeptic of the U.N., but the national security adviser are the newer sort of baubles in the Trump cabinet. Reporting suggests they were having a heavier hand in decision-making than Haley.

So maybe she saw the writing on the wall that this wasn't going to get better. That's my option one.

CUOMO: All right. That's one. I was looking for a place to write. I was going to write meh after this. You get a meh on number one. Maybe that's true. Maybe that isn't.

Theory number two: she needed to make some money.

CILLIZA: Yes, OK. So this one I think we always forget that these are really people. They're not just politicians.

Nikki Haley in 2015, the year -- the second the last year she was governor, the year before she becomes U.N. ambassador, her family makes combined family income $170,000. She has a kid in college, a kid going to college in the next few years.

Now, she made more than that. She made $190,000 the year before. She made $2 -- almost $300,000 the year before that. But the point is this is not a person of significant means starting off. And, two, she's got a lot of debt.

CUOMO: She got a lot of debt.

CILLIZZA: We know from her 2018 financial disclosure, a $1 million plus mortgage.

CUOMO: Right, now, that's an important factor, Chris.


CUOMO: Because 200 grand, 190 grand, that's good money in most places in the country.

CILLIZZA: You can live on that, yes, but --

CUOMO: But with a million dollars in debt to service and a line of credit of $250,000 to $500,000 -- is that how much she has out, or is that how much she has access to? Do we know?

CILLIZZA: Well, we know she has access to somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000. But we don't know how much she's paid back, right? So, these financial disclosure reports are very broad.

But the point is, $1 million mortgage, somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 line of credit and over $50,000 in credit card debt. So, somewhere between 25 and 50.

So we know the broad, but it suggests someone with real debt.


CILLIZZA: Remember, Nikki Haley in the private sector makes a lot more than Nikki Haley in the public sector.

CUOMO: A hundred percent, especially right now, especially the way she went out.


CUOMO: Especially with all the glow that the president seems to have until theory number three. Theory number three is the one we're going to get after. She wants to run for president.

She said she's not running, Cillizza. Can you not hear?

CILLIZZA: She said she's not running in 2020, which is smart because she would be very dumb to run against Donald Trump in a primary in 2020, and I'd say that about literally any other Republican.

People focus on Trump's approval numbers broadly. Fine. Not very popular. Will be vulnerable in 2020, but not in a Republican primary.

CUOMO: Uh-hmm.

CILLIZZA: His numbers are hugely positive among Republicans.

So, Nikki Haley is smart to rule that out because that would never work even if she wanted to do it. But what's the next race after that, Chris? I know people say you're getting ahead of yourself.

Politicians, good ones, plan. The next race after that is 2024. And whether Trump wins a second term in 2020 or loses, the 2024 Republican nomination is open as in no incumbent.

CUOMO: Why did she have to leave now to get ready for that?

CILLIZZA: She doesn't have to leave now, Chris, but I think she's got those two years of Trump service. She's good enough with the Trump folks, and now, maybe she spends time making some money. I do think that matters.

And also sort of doing, well, I can be a Trump person but also the establishment doesn't like me. Don't forget, her approval, 67 percent in a Quinnipiac poll. Name me one other Trump official with anything close to that.

CUOMO: All right, 55 percent were Democrats too. So, she's got a like going on right now.


CUOMO: Chris Cillizza, you're beautiful. Thank you.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, my friend.

CUOMO: Thanks for watching us.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.