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Record Flooding in Arkansas and Oklahoma; Severe Storms in Texas; Pelosi Resisting Impeachment; Israel to Hold New Elections; Climber Describes Struggle at Mount Everest; Trebek Cancer Update. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 30, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:23] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Thousands of people who live near the Arkansas/Oklahoma border are under water and preparing for the record flooding there to get even worse.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with more.

What's the situation there this morning, Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, good morning.

Take a look at all of the water that you see here behind me. There was no one big rain event here in Arkansas that caused this. This water is coming from Oklahoma, from the destructive and deadly storms that have happened there. There was so much precipitation that fell in that area that the water is being drained through the Arkansas River. And that's why you see this flood event here.

Take a look behind me because in this neighborhood you'll be able to see that the houses are under several feet of water. You even see a boat here. From talking to one of the officers here, he tells me that people have been driving as close to their property as they can and then walking and then getting on boats to try to check on their property.

Now, in Fort Smith, there are about 90,000 people. According to city management, they tell us that about 1,000 homes and businesses are under water. They're impacted. About 26 miles of roads and streets are also under water.

And this city is nestled in a bend of the river. And there is a levee that goes around. Well, that is the case for about 14 counties in the state of Arkansas that are being impacted. There is this infrastructure of levees and according to state emergency management, they are very concerned about the levees because some of them are showing weaknesses. They're showing leaks. Some of them are too low.

And, of course, John, what the state here is trying to do is to protect life. There has been one death. And the governor will be touring the impacted area to report back to the people of Arkansas.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Rosa Flores for us in Arkansas. Rosa, thank you very much.

The threat of tornadoes also continues as parts of Texas saw a severe storm that spawned this funnel cloud. We don't have the video. Take my word for it, there was a funnel cloud in Texas. The U.S. has already seen nearly 1,000 tornadoes this year.

Our meteorologist, Chad Myers, has the forecast.

Chad, what can we expect today?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John, just a few tornadoes but more like wind damage, I think, and that's going to be Pennsylvania, New Jersey and even down state into New York. Twenty-four tornadoes yesterday.

But look at the wind reports. Two hundred and four reports of wind damage yesterday. And many of those were across Pennsylvania. We'll see more like that today.

This weather is brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, packed with goodness.

So let's get to it. What did May truly look like? Here's your calendar. Only three days so far in the month of May that we didn't have a tornado touch down. Five hundred and thirteen tornadoes total.

If you go back to April 30th, right there, not on the calendar, it was 75 tornadoes that day. You can do the math. That's almost 600 tornados in 30 days.

So the weather really today is the northeast. There may be some weather in the way high plains of Texas. But we're worried about Pennsylvania. Bucks and Berks County as this weather rolls in from the west, across Pennsylvania, through Scranton again and all the way into New York City, this is where the weather will be this afternoon. We'll keep watching it for you.


CAMEROTA: Chad, thank you very much.

[06:34:50] So, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking it slow when it comes to impeachment. What's her new timeline after yesterday? We discuss.


BERMAN: So by Nancy Pelosi's latest whip count, 38 Democratic lawmakers in the House are now calling for impeachment proceedings after Robert Mueller's first comments in two years. Nancy Pelosi, she's not there yet.

I do want to note, there have been a few more House Democrats that we know of who have come out for impeachment since that number came out of Nancy Pelosi's --

CAMEROTA: And we may hear more this morning even on our program of other people --

BERMAN: Including one Democratic candidate who will announce a shift. We're not going to say who, but it's coming up in the next hour.

CAMEROTA: All right, don't tell me.

BERMAN: One Democratic candidate shifted on impeachment.

Let's discuss all of this with CNN political director David Chalian.

Mr. Chalian, always a pleasure to have you here.


BERMAN: We hear Joe Lockhart before and we often hear observers of politics note, don't bet against Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi knows what she's doing. Democrats say, well, if she wants to slow roll the impeachment process, she might -- must know something.

[06:40:13] CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, listen, she lived through an experience, and I think that that is informing her, from '98. I think -- I agree with the notion that Nancy Pelosi has proven to be a pretty savvy strategist of how to deal with the Democratic caucus in the House. That's her base of power.

Here -- here, though, is the one thing I -- I wonder. Are we overlearning lessons in some way? Is it not possible that this is a dynamic process and that public opinion may change here as the process moves forward?

So what you see Nancy Pelosi doing, I think, that is really wise is, she's working both sides, right? She makes sure to say, nothing's off the table. She's not being dismissive of the liberal, most progressive wing that is calling for impeachment right now. But she is also saying, let's go through this in some sort of methodical process because the vast majority of the caucus right now is not pro- impeachment, as you just showed in those numbers. Her calculus will change when the 40 Democrats who won Republican seats --

CAMEROTA: The moderate Democrats.

CHALIAN: To deliver the majority, if they start calling for impeachment, her calculus will change.

CAMEROTA: So, let's talk about her process. Is she polling them, taking their pulse every day? Is that what's happening here, those 40 moderates?

CHALIAN: I mean she has her finger on the pulse. I don't think she's actually polling them and checking in with every one every day.

CAMEROTA: But they are her -- they are the position (ph) --

CHALIAN: But few people know where the caucus members are better than Nancy Pelosi.

BERMAN: Again, we're going to have a -- and I'm going to tease it a little bit more, a more moderate Democratic president candidate who will announce a shift on his or her position on impeachment.

CAMEROTA: You're really getting my interest.


CAMEROTA: I'm going to stick around for this.

BERMAN: Does Nancy Pelosi care about the presidential candidates?

CHALIAN: You know, here -- no I think is the real answer. But here's why she has to care somewhat. It -- they have the biggest microphones right now. They have the biggest megaphones. When the -- when the 2020 presidential candidates are out there and captivating media attention and they start banging the drum for impeachment, it creates a new political environment for Nancy Pelosi to operate in. But she sees it as noise. Again, that is not going to inform her political calculus of what is going to be best for her caucus moving forward and to protect her majority in terms of the raw political calculus.

Here's the problem, I think. Nancy Pelosi has made no bones about the fact that she's not rushing to impeachment for political purposes. That's a tougher position to defend necessarily than the Justin Amash position or others that are trying to say, damn the politics, let's focus on what we are doing on principle here.

CAMEROTA: And so, because of that, is there a way to kind of cheat the system and play a semantics game where you don't call it impeachment but you can start the investigations and the oversight and maybe get around to impeachment later?

CHALIAN: Right. This is when we started hearing from people. An impeachment inquiry that somehow they were trying to define differently than a full blown -- could you start hearings and not actually be on the House floor with a vote on impeachment that sends a trial to the Senate that everybody knows is going nowhere? Potentially -- potentially there's a middle ground there.

But Nancy Pelosi just yesterday was indicating she sees the Senate result as part of her calculation. She suggested that if she can't move the perception of the Republican senators who would be the jury in an impeachment matter, that it's not worth doing. I don't know if pressure mounts significantly enough that that's going to be a good excuse for her.

BERMAN: I will tell you, if I'm a member of that 38 or on the left side of the Democratic caucus and I hear Nancy Pelosi say that, I'm thinking maybe she's not taking our pleas seriously here.

CHALIAN: Perhaps.

BERMAN: Because the votes aren't ever going to be there in the Senate.

CHALIAN: Precisely.

BERMAN: David Chalian, I think we have a lot more to hear from you today, as well as a mysterious Democratic candidate who will make a shift on impeachment.

CAMEROTA: I can't wait to see that one. Thanks, David.

BERMAN: All right, what is it like to make it to the top of the world's tallest peak and feel like you are not going to survive? Arwa Damon speaks to one climber who had that experience on Mount Everest, next.


[06:47:36] BERMAN: A stunning development out of Israel. New elections after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to build a coalition government.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem with the very latest.

Oren, they just had elections.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're going back to elections for the first time in Israel's history.

John, this has never happened before. In the 71-year history of the country, it has never been the case that there has not been a government after elections. And it's even more stunning because the person who failed to put together that government was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in this position before, he has won elections, he has put together governments, he's brokered tough negotiations between parties, but not this time. After six weeks to put together a government between a number of smaller parties, he wasn't able to do it. He wasn't able to break a deadlock.

There was an alternative here, of course. He could have gone back to the country's president and said, look, I don't have a government and then the president could have decided to give the job to somebody else. Israel could have had a different prime minister. Well, Netanyahu prevented the possibility of that happening. Instead of risking somebody else being given the chance of being prime minister, Netanyahu called these fresh elections for September 17th. That means he remains in charge of his own political party, he remains in charge of the Knesset and he remains the country's prime minister.

This goes well beyond simple internal Israeli politics. This, of course, affects the U.S./Israel relationship, especially because President Donald Trump basically openly campaigned for Netanyahu during the April elections.

Alisyn, we may very well see much more of that as we're three and a half months away from Israel's next election.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, it never ends.

Oren Liebermann, thank you very much for that update. Now to Nepal.

It has been a particularly deadly climbing season on Mount Everest. Eleven people have already died already compared to five or six on average years.

CNN's Arwa Damon spoke with one climber who described why he is lucky to be alive today.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the moment Ian Stewart says he trained ten years for, making the treacherous trek to the top of Mount Everest. Stewart planned an eight-hour journey to the summit. Instead, it took him 12.

DAMON (on camera): At what point were you at when you realized and said to yourself, I think I'm going to die?

IAN STEWART, AMERICAN CLIMBER: So the first point the panic really hit was, was at the summit. So I was up there with -- with our guide. And he looked at me and was like, hey, we're both really low on oxygen. We've got to go. I was very lucky that one of our Sherpas in our group decided to make the decision to bring an extra bottle of oxygen up from the balcony.

[06:50:11] DAMON (voice over): He says he never expected this climb could have been his last. He had promised his wife Katie that he'd prioritize coming home over reaching the summit.

STEWART: And that's what caused me to break down a bit on the descent was I feel like I looked my wife right in the eyes and told her that. And then I almost didn't follow through.

DAMON: Stewart scaled Everest the day this photo was taken, showing an hour's long backup in its death zone, where breathing becomes most difficult. Veteran mountaineers are suggesting the slow down and inexperienced climbers could all be factors in the 11 deaths on this world's tallest peak this season.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bit of an interesting climb (INAUDIBLE).

DAMON: Among them, British climber Robin Fischer (ph), who was part of Stewart's initial group, summiting two days after him. Fischer had posted his concerns about the congestion on Instagram, writing, delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal.

Nepal is now facing pressure after one of the deadliest seasons on record and is considering new requirements for a Mount Everest permit. Right now, despite a price tag of around $11,000, there's no proof of climbing experience required.


DAMON: All of the climbers that we have been speaking to over the last few days say that anyone who has that burning desire to try to summit should be able to do so. But it's about doing it wisely and safely. And as one expert climber put it perhaps best, you can get to the mountain, think you're prepared, think you're invincible, but then nature can have other plans.

BERMAN: Oh, my God, imagine having to make these choices and with no air or oxygen at the same time. So harrowing.

Arwa, thank you very much.

All right, some really scary moments at a Cubs/Astros game. A line drive by the Cub's Albert Almora Junior hit a young girl in the stands last night. Witnesses say the park went quiet as Almora, you can see, dropped to one knee. Houston Astros say the young fan was taken to the hospital. She was in tears as she left the ballpark. Her condition has not been released.

Almora was clearly shaken by the incident and was consoled by one of the security guards before walking away in tears. He spoke about it with reporters after the game.


ALBERT ALMORA JUNIOR, CHICAGO CUBS PLAYER: With God willing, I'll be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life. But just prayers right now. And that's all I really can control.


BERMAN: Just such compassion there. Almora is the father of two boys. And despite being visibly shaken by all of this, he stayed in the game.

Baseball is so concerned about this. I mean they've actually taken measures in the last few years to net more of the field. But this is horrible.

CAMEROTA: Oh, it's horrible. I mean we're praying for the girl also. I hope that while NEW DAY is on, we can get some sort of update from the hospital.

All right, here is good news. This is the best answer "Jeopardy!" fans can hope for. We have an update on Alex Trebek's battle against cancer and what he calls his mind-boggling progress. That's next. . (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:57:17] CAMEROTA: It is the answer that "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek finds, quote, mind-boggling. Less than three months after revealing his dire cancer diagnosis, he had a stunning announcement.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (VOICE OVER): In

March, Alex Trebek revealed he's battling stage four pancreas cancer. Now, in a new "People" magazine cover story, the legendary "Jeopardy!" host says his doctors tell him he's in near remission and that some of his tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.

Oncologist Dr. Otis Braley (ph), who is not treating Trebek, says near remission doesn't mean cured, but it is positive for cancer patients like Trebek. Generally Braley says the significant shrinkage of tumors has been shown to extends survival and decrease pain and other side effects like weight loss and loss of appetite.

ANNOUNCER: And now here is the host of "Jeopardy!," Alex Trebek.

COHEN: Seventy-eight-year-old Trebek has had a hard fight, painful chemotherapy treatments.

TREBEK: I've got to tell you, that stuff really kicks the slats out of you.

COHEN: And depression from the chemo. He told ABC's "Good Morning, America."

TREBEK: I'm used to dealing with pain. But what I'm not used to dealing with is these surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness.

COHEN: Last year, pancreatic cancer was the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. It's claimed the lives of Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze, Joan Crawford, Margaret Mead and Luciano Pavarotti.

According to the American Cancer Society, only 3 percent of patients with Trebek's kind of cancer are still alive five years after their diagnosis. So while that's a very sobering statistic, there's no way to predict what's going to happen in any one person's situation.

Trebek says he has several more rounds of chemo still to go, hopefully leading to a full remission. Trebek says the positive response he's had to his treatment so far is mind-boggling and it's led him to tears of joy that he may beat the odds.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


BERMAN: I've got to say, we are happy and we are hopeful for Alex Trebek.

CAMEROTA: Because, as we know, pancreas cancer is the deadliest and so any prognosis that looks positive is really remarkable.

BERMAN: Thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our American viewers, Robert Mueller has spoken. So how will Congress react? Is impeachment more likely this morning? We have some signs. NEW DAY continues right now.


ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL: If we had had confidence that the president really did not commit a crime, we would have said so.

[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats want to continue down this road. And it doesn't hurt Donald Trump because he's free and clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly the White House and the attorney general have.