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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Missing More Than Two Weeks, Amanda Eller Found Alive in Maui, Hawaii; President Trump's Visit to Japan; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Close Relationship with President Trump; How Does Abe Line Up Now With Where President Trump and the U.S. is on North Korea?; Two men are Dead After Trying to Jump Their Car Over an Open Drawbridge; Courtside Celebs Becoming Main Characters in the Eastern Conference Finals Drama. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 25, 2019 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amanda Eller has been found and has been found a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank your lord because this is an answer.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to have protection in the Middle East. We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): There will be fighter jets now sent. Additional Patriot missiles, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft.

TRUMP: The United States and Japan are hard at work negotiating a bilateral trade agreement, which will benefit both of our countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Trump's arrival launches a four-day state visit to Japan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Always good to be with you on a Saturday morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. I'm Jessica Dean in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: All right. Breaking overnight, a woman vanished more than two weeks ago during a hiking trip in Maui. But last night, Amanda Eller was found alive. OK. We've got the video for you here. This is the moment the 35-year-old yoga instructor was airlifted out of the Maui forest. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there she goes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there she goes. Yes. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There she goes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, we could celebrate. (inaudible) We did it. We did it. Oh, my God! We (BLEEP) did it. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: The Findamanda Facebook page the announcement overnight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Missing more than two weeks, Amanda Eller is found alive in Maui, Hawaii. Her rescue was announced on this post on a Facebook page sent out by family and friends. "Urgent update, Amanda has been found. She got lost and was stuck and slightly injured in the forest, way, way out, somewhere way far above Twin Falls. Between two waterfalls, down a deep ravine in a creek bed."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can cry now. It's awesome, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's like the--

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're taking pretty well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a good Memorial Day now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): A photo on the page showed Eller just before the air evacuation surrounded by members of a search team. She appeared to be only slightly injured. And this picture of the ravine where she was apparently found.

JULIA ELLER, AMANDA'S MOTHER: I was crying with tears of joy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Her mother, Julia Eller, told CNN affiliate KHON, Amanda used water sources and ate the berries she found, strawberries and guava and other items to sustain her.

J. ELLER: I never gave up hope for a minute. And even though at times I would have those moments of despair, I stayed strong for her because I knew that we would find her if we just stayed - stayed with the program, stayed persistent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Authorities said, Eller, a 35-year- old yoga instructor, disappeared after going on a hike May 8th. Her car was found with her cell phone inside a forest reserve parking lot. A last image of her was captured on surveillance video buying a Mother's Day gift the day before she was reported missing. A $50,000 reward was being offered for information regarding her disappearance and possible abduction. But now, there's an ending that some are calling miraculous.

(CRYING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable. If you believe in prayer, folks, thank your lord because this is an answer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DEAN: In the last hour, we spoke with Javier Cantellops. He was the lead rescuer on that helicopter to find Amanda Eller. Listen to how he describes finding her.

JAVIER CANTELLOPS, LEAD RESCUER OF AMANDA ELLER (voice-over): We're in an open-air helicopter, no doors, we're all hanging out, and we're going up this one particular goal. We're, right now, as the crow flies, about seven miles east of where her car was found. But if you walked, it'd be more like 25 miles just because of the up and down terrain. But we're flying up this gulf, we're flying up this ravine.

And as we're looking down, man, we're passing waterfall and going up and the river continues, and we're passing waterfall and the river continues up.

[08:05:00] And we're all looking around, and at the same time, we all looked to our right. And it's like a movie, man, like a double-take. We all looked to our right. And it's like, oh, look at that hiker out of the wood, and out of the woodwork, you see Amanda Eller, man, my friend, coming out waving her hands. We're about 200 feet up - 250 feet off the canopy. So it was unbelievable, dude.

BLACKWELL: Just a fantastic story. I mean, do you see the reaction, the cheering, the crying, the laughing. They went out there, and Javier said he knew that she would be there, he knew that she would be OK. And we're all glad that she is. And we understand Amanda spent the night in the hospital and is receiving treatment for her injuries. You saw the injuries to her legs there. But a great story, she has been found alive.

Turning to politics now, President Trump landed in Japan overnight for what's being billed as a mostly ceremonial state visit. And he plans to play golf with the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, attend a sumo wrestling match, and become the first foreign leader to meet Japan's new Emperor.

DEAN: But it's all happening while the U.S. and Japan are in the middle of trade negotiations, and a trade war with China is rattling the markets. The President spoke to business leaders at the home of the U.S. Ambassador. He took a shot at the Fed, reminding his host of their trade imbalance with the U.S., and urged Japanese business leaders to invest in American businesses. Let's go live now to CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez, who is in Tokyo. Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Jessica and Victor. Yes, plenty to discuss between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, mainly focusing on security and trade. Clearly, the two men have a very close relationship. Abe, definitely one of the world leaders who has made numerous

overtures to President Trump - remember that President Trump recently claimed that Abe sent him a very nice letter and nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

On the security front, both men have a lot to discuss regarding North Korea and the recent aggression by the North Korean regime and testing those short-range ballistic missiles. Also, the growing influence of China in this region is a topic of discussion.

And on trade, both sides still very far apart. On a potential bilateral trade agreement, President Trump wants Abe to open up Japanese agriculture markets to American businesses. And conversely, Abe wants President Trump to step back from the threat of tariffs on auto parts and other Japanese electronics that could potentially be devastating to the Japanese economy.

And we should point out, a big part of this trip isn't really about settling that trade deal. It has to do with elections that are coming up in July. And Abe wanting to prove to the Japanese people that he's extremely close with President Trump, a big part of that has to do with the economy here in Japan. Listen to what President Trump said about the state of relations between the two nations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you join in seizing the incredible opportunities now before us, in terms of investments in the United States, I think you're going to see tremendous return on your investments. It's my sincere hope that the Reiwa era, the economic ties between the United States and Japan, continue to grow deeper and stronger, if that's possible. I think we, right now, probably have the best relationship with Japan that we've ever had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Again, the White House officials have told us not to expect any breakthroughs on a trade deal here. This is really, as you said, a ceremonial trip, one that's designed to demonstrate the strength of the alliance between these two countries, Victor and Jessica.

DEAN: All right. Boris Sanchez, for us live from Tokyo, thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now to discuss, Toluse Olorunnipa, White House Reporter for "The Washington Post." Toluse, good morning to you.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So the Prime Minister - Prime Minister Abe has fully embraced President Trump and not just, you know - I mean, this is the full bear hug. First to fly to New York to meet with the President- Elect. They played golf. This rollout now. Has this been beneficial for Japan, for the Prime Minister? OLORUNNIPA: Well, the Prime Minister has had a lot of opportunities to

make his case to President Trump over the past couple of years. The Japanese officials often tell reporters that they've spoken or met 40 times since President Trump was elected.

It's not clear that Prime Minister Abe has been able to get a lot of policy wins with this White House. But that close relationship is something that he values, and he's able to get the President on the phone when he needs to. He's able to get the President to come to Japan and show that there are tight relations between the two countries.

It's something that's helpful for him politically, as he's looking towards a re-election. He can show that the U.S.-Japan alliance continues to be close. But President Trump has not relented on putting tariffs on Japan. Other countries have gotten some exceptions, but Japan hasn't.

[08:10:00] Trump has continued to threaten auto tariffs on a number of countries, including Japan, and he's continued to complain about the trade deficit that exists between the U.S. and Japan. So it's not clear that Prime Minister Abe has been able to win on policy due to these close ties that he has and all of the red carpet rollouts that he's provided for the President, but it is something that he values in having that close relationship with President Trump. And we'll have to wait and see if he's able to get some sort of policy outcome over the next couple of years.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's talk about the policy outcome potentially over this trip now. This is mostly ceremonial. This is a state visit. But with so much on the table that you just described so well, what's the White House explanation for not having substantive talks, at least publicly on the schedule, about trade, about North Korea, about China?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes. Our understanding is that President wanted to do this trip when he was told by the Japanese that he would be the first leader to meet with the new Emperor and that this event in Japan, in the words of President Trump, was a hundred times bigger than the Super Bowl. So the President's ego is being stroked here, and that's part of the reason he's deciding to go.

The U.S. officials also do tell us that showing that close relationship with Japan, one of our closest allies in the region, is especially important at a time when we have some trade skirmishes going on with China. There is the North Korea issue as well. And there's likely to be some policy talk even if there aren't any deliverables out of this trip--

BLACKWELL: Yes.

OLORUNNIPA: --including on the issue of Iran because the Japanese are seeing themselves more and more as a conduit or an intermediary between the U.S. and Japan - or the U.S. and Iran.

The Japanese have a close relationship with Iran and they are opposed to some of the actions that the U.S. has taken, including pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal; in other words, sending troops over to the Middle East. The Japanese see themselves potentially as an ally that can stave off a war or mediate between the U.S. and Iran when it seems like the drumbeat of war seems to be beating right now.

BLACKWELL: How does Japan - how does Abe line up now with where President Trump and the U.S. is on North Korea? I described it earlier as a 270-degree turn here because we started with "little rocket man," and then there was the about-face of, you know, "We fell in love," the President said last year.

And now with these short-range missiles, there may be some hybrid of that. Where does Japan line up? Because those short-range missiles go into the sea of Japan, right? So those short-range missiles are a threat to Japan, not so much the U.S.

OLORUNNIPA: That's exactly right, Victor. The Japanese were never comfortable with the love phase between Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. We often heard from Japanese officials that the U.S. should be careful about sort of listening to the words of the North Koreans and showering them with praise, given the fact that they have not gotten rid of their nuclear weapons, they have not really taken very many steps to show that they're serious about denuclearization.

So the Japanese have been the skeptical party in this relationship. They've been respectful of the President and given him the space he needs to negotiate. But they have, behind closed doors, have been very concerned that President Trump might get played in these negotiations by praising Kim Jong-un and normalizing on the world stage even when he continues to show that he is not giving up his nuclear weapons. And the short-range missiles continue to be a threat to Japan and other countries in the region.

And the Japanese are also concerned about the issue of abductees. North Korea has been accused of abducting a lot of Japanese citizens, and the Japanese have called on President Trump to raise this issue with Kim Jong-un multiple times. But we have not seen any deliverables on that front either.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see what comes out of this visit over the next several days. Toluse Olorunnipa, thanks so much for being with us.

OLORUNNIPA: Thank you.

DEAN: The Trump administration approved selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia over tension with Iran. How the President bypassed Congress to make that happen?

BLACKWELL: Plus, the President's plan to pay for the construction of border wall comes up against a legal barrier.

DEAN: And listen to this, and we'll show you what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! (END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: A federal judge has ruled President Trump cannot use Defense Department funds to build parts of the Southern border wall.

DEAN: The judge said the Trump administration would need approval from Congress first to use that money. This decision affects specific projects in Texas and Arizona that could have begun as early as today, according to the ruling. It does not prevent the use of funds from other sources. The decision comes more than three months after the President declared a national emergency in order to be able to put Pentagon funds toward border construction.

BLACKWELL: The President is approving the sale of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan, but to push through the $8 billion sale, the President is using a rarely used Federal law to bypass Congress.

DEAN: His actions come on the same day he approved sending 1,500 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran. A United States official tells CNN, many of them will be engineers to support Patriot missile batteries and reconnaissance aircraft.

And joining me now, Shan Wu, CNN Legal Analyst and former federal prosecutor. Good morning to you, Shan.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning.

DEAN: All right. Let's talk first. There is a legal loophole - this weapons export law that permits the President to bypass Congress to sell these weapons. Explain that to us.

WU: That's right. There is a loophole in the Arms Control Export Act. And so, technically speaking, the President's actions are not illegal here. Other presidents have used it. Reagan used it and both Bush presidents used it. But from, I think, a point of view for our viewers to think about is that none of those presidents had the same contempt and dismissive view towards Congress that this President does.

Not only that, if you look at his choice of what country, who he's sending the arms to, it also reflects his great attraction towards authoritarians. And here, of course, despite our intelligence gathering that the Saudi prince was responsible for the murder of "The Washington Post" journalist, President Trump ignores that and continues to cozy up to them.

DEAN: So more of that point you were just making, the President appears to be invoking this loophole because he knows that lawmakers would likely shoot down this arms sale. I want to read you something.

[08:20:00] Senator Chris Murphy told "The Wall Street Journal", he said, "It sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that future presidents can use to sell weapons without a check from Congress." It seems you agree with that. Is that right? WU: I do agree with that. And like so much in our system of checks and

balances, it is a system of checks and balances. Not a system of absolute authority for any one branch of the government to override the other. And that's what the problem is with this President's present administration. I mean, there's no sense of that balance. And therefore, these loopholes, which exist for valid reasons, can be abused. And that's, I think, what the concern is being reflected there.

DEAN: And you're saying there is a high threshold to be able to invoke this. How do you anticipate the President's going to justify using this loophole or will he have to?

WU: He may not have to, really. I mean, it's sort of almost - one of his favorite terms is declaring emergencies. And he likes to use that as his rationalization for it. So, because that exception does exist in the Act, he probably will not have to justify it. Now, Congress can certainly ask him to justify it. And theoretically, they could try to test the provision in court, but I think that would be an uphill battle in this instance.

DEAN: So, really, at this point, Congress's hands are somewhat tied in all of this, you think?

WU: I think on this particular provision, yes, I don't think they have too much recourse.

DEAN: And I want to talk a little bit about the border funds that we were just telling people about. A federal judge has blocked President Trump from using those defense funds to build part of the border wall. This is another example of the President going around Congress.

Here's what the judge said in that order. He said, "The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise. It is not about whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to existing conditions at the southern border of the United States. Instead, this case presents strict legal questions regarding whether the proposed plan for funding border barrier construction exceeds the Executive Branch's lawful authority." Does it do that?

WU: Yes. I agree with the judge. And that's an example of good tight legal analysis. The judge's opinion is pointing out this is not about the broader question of "do we have a issue with immigration, is a wall the right solution?" He's focusing on something very specific, which is "how should it be funded, what can the President do, and is the President usurping Congress's funding powers?" And that's what he's saying that the President is doing by trying to use these funds in a way that Congress did not intend for them to be used.

Of course, the President always believes that he'll win in the courts. He certainly believes he'll always win in the Supreme Court. But I think he is likely to be mistaken on some of these issues.

DEAN: All right. Shan Wu, thanks so much for your insight. We appreciate it. WU: Sure thing. Good to see you.

DEAN: Me too.

BLACKWELL: A win for anti-abortion activists fighting several new strict abortion bans. A federal judge is blocking Mississippi's new abortion law saying it prevents a woman's free choice.

DEAN: Plus, this holiday weekend, more than 40 million people from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes are under severe weather threats. We've got the latest forecast for you. That's next.

[08:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell.

DEAN: I'm Jessica Dean in for Christi Paul this morning.

Strict abortion laws recently passed in several states are facing their first legal challenges. In Mississippi, a federal judge has blocked a law that bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In his decision, the judge said the law prevents a woman's free choice. The law would have taken effect in July.

BLACKWELL: Alabama's abortion law is facing a lawsuit from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. The suit argues that the law conflicts with Roe v. Wade, which the bill sponsors say they are aiming to challenge the Supreme Court. The ACLU is also vowing to stop the abortion ban just signed yesterday by the Governor of Missouri. It bans abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy and does not have an exception for cases of rape and incest.

2020 Democratic Presidential candidates are focusing in on women, a very important vote in - over the next few months.

DEAN: That's right. New restrictive abortion laws passed across the country like the ones we were just talking about recently have sparked a national conversation about protecting women's rights. And CNN's Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic Presidential hopefuls are increasingly setting their sights on a critically important voting bloc, women. The entire field of candidates is hoping to seize on the political backlash from new restrictive abortion laws popping up across the country.

At a CNN town hall Tuesday night in Iowa, Beto O'Rourke pledging to make protecting abortion rights a priority--

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For so long, women have been leading this fight, shouldering the burden of making sure that their reproductive rights are protected. It's time that all of us join them in this fight.

ZELENY (voice-over): --and promising a litmus test for all judicial nominees.

O'ROURKE: --to every federal bench, including the Supreme Court, understands and believes that the 1973 decision Roe versus Wade is a settled law of the land.

(APPLAUSE)

ZELENY (voice-over): A majority of Americans support abortion rights. A new Quinnipiac poll today finds 60 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases while 35 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

Abortion has long-fired at the Republican base more than the Democratic one. But the 2020 race could be different, with Democrats trying to rally their own voters, particularly women, against President Trump.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He apparently wants to have a war on women in America, and if this is a war that he wants to have, he will have it and he will lose it.

ZELENY (voice-over): In hopes of breaking through their own credit field, Democratic candidates step forward with these new plans today alone.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pledging to implement what she calls a family bill of rights in the first 100 days of her presidency, focusing on prenatal care to affordable nursery care.

Senator Kamala Harris is introducing legislation to address the black maternal mortality crisis, saying the risk of dying from pregnancy- related causes is three to four times higher for black women.

And Senator Cory Booker is vowing to create a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom to safeguard reproductive rights and access to health care.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[08:30:00] ZELENY: So, as 2020 Democrats try and seize on this potential advantage, Republican strategists close to the President are actually worried by some of these abortion laws. One Republican strategist telling me, it's the last thing we need.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.

DEAN: More wind, rain, hail and even tornadoes are possible. Omar Jimenez is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where people are already dealing with storm damage and severe flooding there, Omar, and possibly more.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The sun is coming up on what is becoming an all-too-familiar scene here across the Oklahoma area. Coming up, we'll show you some of the devastation we've seen and explain why the threat isn't over yet.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Officials in Oklahoma say at least two people have died after a week of severe weather slammed that state. Another round of severe storms expected this weekend. More than 40 million people are under severe weather threat. And that threat extends all the way from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes.

DEAN: And take a look at this video from earlier this week. You see the two homes just hanging over the water in Oklahoma after floodwaters wiped out the ground underneath them. Officials say more than 10 inches of heavy rain has led to widespread flooding there and has impacted at least a thousand homes.

CNN National Correspondent Omar Jimenez joins us now live from Tulsa. And Omar, now the sun is coming up this morning, what are you seeing?

[08:35:00] JIMENEZ: Yes, Jessica and Victor, the sun is coming up on really an all-too-familiar scene for people here in Oklahoma, and that is the flooding. Now, you see just behind me, we were actually able to drive through this exact spot two days ago with no problem and no water. As you can see, that has changed dramatically.

And you can see just off in the distance, that is the Arkansas River, and there is no difference between that river and where we are standing right now. Now, that river at about 22 feet, a little bit off the record, but still very well in the major flooding category. And of course, it's not just Tulsa that is being affected, it is places all across the state.

We've passed through Oklahoma City since we've been here. And just north of that city, we saw homes literally hanging on the edge, just inches away from completely falling into the Cimarron River there. And that was just because the flooding eroded the soil under those homes just so dramatically that literally before our eyes it was collapsing. This is now on the tail end of what has been a week full of deadly tornadoes, flooding and more severe weather as well. So people are really just trying to recover from, again, this latest round of severe weather.

Now, statewide State Emergency Operations Center is still activated this Memorial Day weekend. The Governor extended that statewide state of emergency to all 77 counties. And here in Tulsa, there are more than a thousand residents being affected by this. But the prognosis moving forward is quite simply how much water is going to come from the Keystone Dam, which is what controls the flow coming in here to Tulsa.

The Army Corps of Engineers has slowly had to increase it over the course of the past few days. Where they are now is about 255,000 cubic feet per second of water is passing through. And an easier way to put that, to put that in laymen's terms, that is equivalent of about 1,000 school buses per second of water flowing through the dam. And that's just to keep up with the high water level, to give you an idea of some and what they're up against.

Things are expected to be sunny over the course of today, which is great, but deceptive because there are so many rivers and tributaries that feed into the Arkansas River here. The Army Corps of Engineers says whatever happens upstream definitely will flow through and quite literally create a ripple effect down here to Tulsa. So those are some of the things we're going to continue to monitor over the course of the next few days. Jessica, Victor?

DEAN: It is just so destructive down there. All right, Omar, thank you.

Well, as the flooding in Oklahoma continues, another round of severe storms moves in later today. And that means more than 40 million people are now under severe weather threat from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar with the latest. Allison, this has been going on for days now, more than a week. It looks like we're going to go into another one.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely yes, and that's unfortunate. When you look at the last 24 hours, this is the amount of storm reports that have come in. It's over 100 of them; 11 of those were tornado reports. That now marks the ninth straight day in a row of reported tornadoes across the United States.

Here's the thing, though. For a lot of people, we say, oh, that May has been absolutely crazy because you're thinking about the last few days. So let's put this in perspective. In the month of May, we typically average 268 tornadoes. So far this month, we've had 327.

Now, that's a preliminary number until they can actually go out and verify all of those tornadoes. But it really seems like a lot. Not only because it's above average, but last year, we only had 170. So I think for a lot of folks, it just seems like it's been a lot because of comparison to other years. The unfortunate part is, that 327 number is likely to go up because we are expecting more severe weather in the forecast, not just today, but for the next several days.

The focus today is from Texas, all the way over to portions of Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. The main threats, however, are going to remain the same that they have for the last nine days, which is damaging winds, large hail, and the potential for a few tornadoes mixed in.

We already have storms ongoing across the Midwest this morning. That will gradually push east over into the Great Lakes region. But another section will develop later on this afternoon and evening for places like Texas, Oklahoma, as well as Kansas.

The other concern we've talked about is the rain. A lot of it is expected to fall in the next few days, widespread, two to four inches. And here's the thing. It's in places that just don't need to see it. You saw Omar just a few minutes ago talking about all of the rivers that are concerned.

Take a look at this. You're talking 400 river gauges at or above flood stage. And a lot of those dots line up with where we expect to get additional rainfall. Now, you may be saying it seems like a lot of these places have been getting severe weather. Yet you're not crazy. This is the truth.

They are all developing right here along this ridge that is built. South of that ridge, though, the main concern is actually going to be the record heat across much of the southeast, and not just for one day, but for multiple days. In fact, over 70 potential record highs could be broken over the next several days, Atlanta being one of them.

And again, here's the thing. Victor and Jessica, it could be not one, not two, but five of the next straight days that Atlanta ends up having record highs.

[08:40:00] DEAN: Goodness.

BLACKWELL: Looking forward to it.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: You love that hard weather.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

DEAN: Thanks, Allison.

Well, a tragic reminder to leave stunts to the professionals. Two men in Louisiana tried to jump their car over an open drawbridge and paid for that stunt with their lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEAN: Two men are dead after trying to jump their car over an open drawbridge. Louisiana State police say the driver pulled up to the bridge while it was closed due to a passing boat. A witness told police that's when the passenger got out and lifted the gate for the car to pass underneath.

BLACKWELL: So then they tried to reverse and then accelerate to race up the ramp. But the airborne car landed in the water and sank. Investigators are working to determine whether alcohol or drugs were a factor.

[08:45:00] Coming up on CNN, Memorial Day, a CNN original series special presentation, "COLIN QUINN: RED STATE BLUE STATE," starring comedian Colin Quinn.

DEAN: In this special, Quinn takes a look at the vitriolic rhetoric creating so much division in America today and wonders if the United States should actually stay united after all. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN QUINN, HOST, RED STATE BLUE STATE: John Adams said the two-party system is a greatest political evil onto our constitution. George Washington cautioned in his farewell address against excessive political party spirits and geographical distinction. Wise words. They tell us what to do about it? They did not. They just said it and they died. (LAUGHTER)

QUINN: Now, they left us to figure it out.

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: Real geniuses.

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: America, two parties, still all these years later, two parties. There's 350 million people and there's two parties. There's 15 genders, and there's two parties.

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: There's--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: Colin Quinn joins us now, comedian and creator of "COLIN QUINN: RED STATE BLUE STATE."

Good morning to you. Thanks for being with us this early (ph).

QUINN: Good morning, guys, Jessica, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Good morning.

DEAN: Yes. We were giggling as we watched there. This was originally a Broadway play. Now it's CNN's first comedy special. What can viewers expect when they tune in on Monday?

QUINN: Well, I mean, it's funny.

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: It's funny, but it's serious. Like a lot of people came out and they said, oh, I feel like crying all the time. I was like, what? Because it's sad. Because I'm talking about the country breaking up, you know?

BLACKWELL: So what did you learn?

QUINN: That people really - now people really - there's no - no one is going to change the way they think about things. You know what I mean? So we've got to figure something out.

DEAN: Well, I noted - I saw in one interview you did - at one point, you said people on both sides were annoying you.

QUINN: Oh, yes.

DEAN: So you're kind of taking swipes at everybody in this. It's not coming from the left or the right.

QUINN: No.

DEAN: When did you kind of sit down and say, OK, I'm going to put together a whole piece on this?

QUINN: Well, I've been doing - I did another show that was sort of about this a few years ago, but not to the extreme it's gotten where now people are just - it's just an - it's an unpleasant place to live right now. Everybody is fighting all the time. This country used to be - if nothing else, it was like a kind of enthusiastic place. You know what I mean? It was kind of - maybe it was a little cocky, but we were like positive. But now, everybody is just in a hateful mood from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. So you have to laugh at it because it's absurd.

DEAN: It's hard to stay hopeful. Are you hopeful after doing this?

QUINN: Yes. I mean, I feel like we - at some point, we have to all have some kind of a constitutional convention. That's what I would do every year. I'd have a constitutional convention and have people really be able to speak honestly, say whatever they want, once a year. That's what it comes to.

BLACKWELL: Well, speaking of a hateful place and people saying whatever they want, let's talk about social media.

QUINN: Right.

BLACKWELL: And the impact of social media on our political discourse. It feels like people, they don't really hide behind avatars anymore and just talk trash online.

QUINN: No - yes. Now, social media, I say in the show that free speech - free speech is one of those ideas that sounded good. It turned out to be - it sounded like the ultimate democracy. It turned out to be drunks at a wedding grabbing the microphone out of the best man's hand.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: And now you can just broadcast that to anybody and everybody.

QUINN: Yes.

DEAN: Yes. Well - what are you going to do? So--

QUINN: Yes.

DEAN: What comes next for you after this, Colin?

QUINN: Nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

QUINN: I mean, I go back to stand-up, go back to the clubs. (LAUGHTER)

QUINN: I'm already back in the clubs, you know.

BLACKWELL: Oh, I'm just enjoying this exchange.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: We like to laugh every morning. This is refreshing.

QUINN: That's why I became a comedian because even when I'm trying to be serious, people would laugh at me when I was a kid.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: Well, I appreciate you getting up to do this at 8:48 in the morning.

QUINN: Oh, thank you, guys - no. Thanks for having me, of course.

DEAN: Yes. Thanks - thanks so much for being with us.

BLACKWELL: All right. Colin Quinn, be sure to watch the CNN original series special presentation, "RED STATE BLUE STATE." It premieres Memorial Day at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Drunks grabbing the mike out of the best man's hand at the wedding.

All right. It's all been a lot of drama between the Raptors and Bucks, but it's not limited to what's happening on the court, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor. Courtside celebs becoming main characters in the Eastern Conference Finals drama, and wait until you see some of the prop bets Vegas has created that might have some folks cashing in on their antics.

[08:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DEAN: Well, it's a must-win for the Bucks in Game 6 against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals--

BLACKWELL: Coy is here.

DEAN: --tonight.

WIRE: Yes. Good morning to you. Happy Saturday.

DEAN: Hi.

WIRE: This Conference Finals has - they've been so wild. You've had these players, celebrities sitting courtside in beer-chugging contests. You have Raptors super-fan Drake giving the head coach back- rub during the game. There's (ph) actually prop bets for what Drake might do in Game 6 tonight. Like, will Drake actually touch the Raptors' coach again? Yes, this is the real thing. Or will he have to be removed from the game by security? Remember, the Bucks' coach did complain about Drake's behavior. And you can also bet on whether or not Charles, Ernie, Kenny and Shaq

will say "Drake" during the halftime show. Toronto up 3-2 in the series can make their first ever NBA Finals with a win tonight. Game 6, 8:30 Eastern on our sister network, TNT.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Yelich (inaudible) was one of those celebs chugging brews to pump up Bucks fans during Game 5 Thursday. Well, Yelich went from chugging to slugging. Brewers hosting Phillies yesterday, and Yelich (inaudible) hits his 20th home run of the season that leads the MLB. He didn't reach that mark until August 20th of last season. Now, he hits 20 nearly three months faster. Philly still won, 6-4.

Check this out. Indiana Fever, (inaudible) WNBA season with a bang buzzer-beater from Teaira McCowan for the one-point win over the Liberty. Well, what a moment for McCowan! Her WNBA debut. The rookie out of Mississippi State, she said there were times she didn't want to leave her house growing up. She was six-foot-seven in sixth grade. People were staring at her. She felt it. Now she's a star, giving the Fever the first season open win since 2012. Thanks to McCowan, things looking up for Indiana who had a franchise worse, six wins, last season.

[08:55:00] Let's go to one of the loudest golf shots we've seen in a long time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Oh, indeed. This was the shot from Brian Harman at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Dallas. It flies over the green, hits the grandstand and somehow bounces to within three feet of the hole. And yes, he did go on to sink the birdie, tossed the ball into the crowd. I guess, Jessica, Victor, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

DEAN: Apparently.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: I like the announcer, "Oh!"

WIRE: "Oh!" Yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Expecting that that was done for - you know, your producer Brian (ph), I have to say, oversold the sound effect though because he came up and said this is the best - this is the perfect doink (ph) sound--

WIRE: Hey.

BLACKWELL: --and we all listened to it like, yes--

DEAN: We went "Oh." BLACKWELL: --OK, that was--

(CROSSTALK)

WIRE: --the other way.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

WIRE: Lesson learned, Brian (ph).

BLACKWELL: Yes. It just--

(CROSSTALK)

WIRE: High expectations when you settle--

DEAN: Yes. Right.

BLACKWELL: But - is Drake allowed to go and just massage the coach?

WIRE: We'll see. There are lines that people were supposed to stay on the sidelines. And that's what the Bucks coach said. Look, there are lines there for a reason. And the Raptors, they let it slide on their home court, of course, but players and coach now, they're annoyed by it. We'll see if we'll get marking (ph) those lines tonight. We'll see.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

DEAN: Hats off.

WIRE: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

DEAN: All right. Coy, thanks so much for being here.

WIRE: All right. Welcome.

BLACKWELL: Well, thank you for starting your morning with us. We're back here at 10:00 Eastern for an hour of "CNN NEWSROOM."

DEAN: "SMERCONISH," he is coming up after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. Does President Donald Trump actually want to be impeached? That's today's survey question at smerconish.com. And I--