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7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Southern California; Patients Wheeled Outside after Quake; Essence Fest Draws Seven Democratic Candidates; DOJ Exploring Options to Add Citizenship Question. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 6, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:05] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
It is 11:00 a.m. on the East Coast; 8:00 a.m. on the West Coast where people in southern California in particular are waking up and surveying the damage after a second powerful earthquake hit the state, this one hitting near Ridgecrest last night with a 7.1 magnitude. That's 11 times stronger than the quake that hit the day before.
We expect to hear from emergency officials later on this hour who have been working throughout the night assessing what happened, taking stock of the damage, and caring for residents.
The strong quake terrifying residents for the second time in as many days and forcing those caught in the shaking to scramble for cover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get under the table, get under the table. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, the front door came open.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's ok. It's ok. Just hold on. Hold on. Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a big one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is bad, Brian. Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: This major quake knocked out power and sparked several fires as well. It also rattled items off the shelves and cracked roads in some places adding jitters to an already nervous region dealing with more than 2,000 aftershocks since the first quake hit on Thursday. So more than 700 in just the last several hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evacuate the store.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody ok?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to go out, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get hurt?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just scared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is everybody ok?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The air is really thick, dusty. This is a bad one. It's shaking. Shaking again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So far there have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries. The epicenter of the quake missed the major cities nearby, you see right there. Ridgecrest kind of sandwiched in between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
CNN's Sara Sidner is in Ridgecrest for us. So Sara -- what are you seeing? What are you hearing? And what are people feeling right now?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are folks out here looking for animals. I just met a neighbor looking for her cat. She said he ran away.
We also talked to a couple of neighbors in this area in Ridgecrest who talked about the fact that they decided because there was so much shaking and it was so scary to them, they brought their mattress outside.
Someone went to get her neighbor, and they both slept outside in their driveway last night because they simply did not feel safe enough in their homes with stuff coming down. They were so concerned that more of it was going to come down on them. They decided that it would be safer to sleep outside.
We also heard that from the mayor, that there were people that decided they would sleep outside because the shaking was so tremendous and so scary.
You heard a woman there, they were asked, look, are you hurt? She goes no, just scared. When you lose all ability and sense of sort of your own control of your surroundings, it is scary. When the earth is literally moving underneath you and things are falling off the walls and you don't know how much longer it's going to go on, it feels like eternity as one of these earthquakes rolled through. And that's, you know, just a moderate earthquake. We're talking about a major event here. We're talking about a major earthquake at a 7.1.
I do want to give you some idea of what's been happening here and probably the most significant danger right now is fire. We were able to talk to a battalion chief who was out fighting a fire just about a half an hour ago at another home.
There have been four structure fires in the past 12 to 14 hours, an unusual thing to happen here in this town of about 27,000 or so. And all of those fires happened after the earthquakes. There was one that happened immediately after the 6.4 and several after the 7.1.
There is worry that it has to do with gas lines, but they are checking to see and investigating what exactly caused those fires. At least three people have had their homes burned down today -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Sara -- you know, people report feeling the effects of this earthquake as far as Mexico and Nevada. How about for you, where were you usually within southern California? Did you feel any, you know, effects from this?
SIDNER: Absolutely. I was at work for the first one on the third floor. And the entire building, which was 15 floors high shook. We felt it then start swaying, and it went on for at least ten seconds.
[11:05:04] We could see light poles outside in Hollywood sort of swaying back and forth. So there was definitely an event. And we knew at the time that it had to be a fairly big one most likely unless it was epicentered near us. If it was far away we knew it was going to be fairly big. That was the 6.4.
Then last night I was trying to have a little fun. I went to a Dodgers' game and all of a sudden the stadium started swaying a bit. And everyone looked at each other and confirmed there was an earthquake. And that went on for several seconds.
It did not, however, end the game. They kept on playing. Angelinos have been through earthquakes, of course, before, but this one here in Ridgecrest was significant. In L.A. more than 150 miles away a lot less powerful. People actually cheered when it was over, and then they watched the rest of the game.
Here a very different scenario -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sara Sidner -- thank you so much. We'll check back with you.
All right. Joining me right now on the phone is Brent Clark Palmer. After the first quake Thursday measuring 6.4 magnitude, he led cleanup and recovery efforts but now they're back to square one.
Brent -- glad you could be with me. So how are you doing today?
BRENT CLARK PALMER, RIDGECREST RESIDENT (via telephone): Hey, first of all, I have lots of local friends here in this very small town, so I would not say that I led the cleanup efforts. I just helped --
WHITFIELD: You were part of it, how about that?
PALMER: -- coordinate what emerged. Yes. It was all the people that wanted to help that put together -- put it together. And then I just -- I got to watch them help.
WHITFIELD: Oh, so you've got a sense of humor about it all. You know, this is very frightening. It's also a lot of work trying to pick up the pieces, reassess, et cetera. But then how do you compare these two earthquakes that you experienced?
PALMER: I'm not -- I haven't thought about a comparison of the two. They were -- I think if this earthquake had a personality or these earthquakes had a personality, it would actually be -- the story is about the aftershocks, not about the main earthquakes.
For example, when I went to get a cup of coffee this morning, because you can't be on CNN without a cup of coffee, the coffee maker was on the floor again. And after the 7.1 I'd put it back, but then during the night only because of the aftershock, the coffee maker was on the floor.
So then that makes me wonder has anyone looked at whether the aftershocks combined and being so constant, I mean, they're going all the time, is that more -- has that caused more damage than the two big ones?
So then describe the anxiety that this makes you feel?
PALMER: Well, I'm -- I've been through -- I've been through the ropes, so it's not -- it's not a big deal to me that this is happening really because I put my focus on -- I put my focus all the time on how people can help each other.
I run a charity, it's for the library here. It's called the Friends of the Ridgecrest Branch Library, and I try to paint my life about putting the focus on helping and on charity.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, that's wonderful.
PALMER: So I'm the not -- I'm never, you know -- I'm not that affected by negativity or by earthquakes I guess.
WHITFIELD: So then you are describing, you are trying to comfort, you know, assist others. and what are you seeing in your friends and neighbors? What are they expressing to you?
PALMER: Well, I have to tell you, this should be a story too about Ridgecrest. It is a very helpful town. Everyone all the time is checking in on their neighbors and has each other's back, and people who are against each other or opposite political stripes or this person's music is not as good as that person's music -- in Ridgecrest you always know that that person that frustrates you is going to have your back.
So that -- that just continues in the spirit of these earthquakes as we know how to handle -- we're 100 miles from anywhere else really. There's nothing between us and Death Valley, you know. So we're never looking at our differences here. We're always looking as our mayor likes to say, our community, our unity.
WHITFIELD: Speaking of which I'm actually going to talk to your mayor.
PALMER: What's that? Sorry.
WHITFIELD: I said speaking of which, I'm going to be talking to your mayor. Brent Clark Palmer -- I know your friends and neighbors are so grateful that you are so willing to help and assist in any way that you can. Thank you so much.
PALMER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: So as the state indeed braces, you know, for these aftershocks, the mayor of Ridgecrest says some people don't even trust the strength of their own four walls. Those residents are instead sleeping in the sidewalks and the driveways.
[11:10:04] And the mayor spoke at a news conference after the quake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PEGGY BREEDEN, RIDGECREST, CALIFORNIA: Thank you all for coming.
I would like to say a few words to our own citizens. Many of them have experienced something that is very traumatic, somewhat unknown to most of them. And many of them are sleeping outside tonight.
I know that it is a difficult situation, but they're fearful to be in their homes. And we are offering any services as noted earlier. We have places for people to shelter here, but many are choosing to just be with their neighbors both in their sidewalks, in their driveways and some of them are in the streets.
We're asking everyone to drive safely, be careful, watch for these people and understand that we are doing the very best we can. It is not an impossible task to take care of all this, but it is going to be a longer task than we thought the other day.
So I thank you all for coming. I appreciate the consideration that you're going to give to the citizens of our community. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: We are expecting to hear more from the mayor, also an update on the earthquake and any damages or injuries at any moment from officials in Kern County. So as soon as that happens, we'll of course bring that to you live.
All right. Still ahead, chaotic scenes at a hospital near the epicenter of the earthquake. Doctors and nurses scramble to get wheelchair bound patients to safety. A live report next.
[11:11:43] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We're making sure that nothing is going to come down in the studio here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And it is going for quite a bit, everybody. It continues to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very strong earthquake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rattle is pretty strong here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 8:21 here on the air. We're experiencing very strong shaking. I think we need to get under the desk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
All right. We're going to go to break. We'll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll be right back. We'll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. That was the moment when last night's powerful earthquake hit southern California. Those two television anchors more than 100 miles away. They were in Los Angeles, but they still had to take cover.
The 7.1 quake is the second to rock the Ridgecrest area in just two days. And last night this chaotic scene at the Ridgecrest regional hospital, patients being wheeled out to the parking lot. Some still hooked up to IVs, nurses having to tend to patients in complete darkness.
The hospital closed after Thursday's quake and we're learning that it could remain closed for at least another week. But outside they set up a triage center for emergencies.
And that's where we find CNN correspondent Stephanie Elam. So Stephanie -- frightening moments, really terrifying for so many people.
So how is that hospital operating? How are they able to assist, et cetera?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica -- if you think about that video we're just showing of the anchors. You see the anchor dropping down because you're supposed to drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake.
Well, if you're in the hospital you may not be able to do that. So what they wanted to do is get these patients that were in the hospital out of here. Keep in mind that power went out too. So they weren't going to be able to best service these patients either.
So they went ahead and moved those patients out of this hospital and took them to other hospitals that would be better able to serve them further away from the epicenter, which basically Ridgecrest is.
So they moved them out, and they're basically shut down at this point, but they're saying if someone were to come in with an emergency they could help them quickly. So a woman going into labor, they would be able to help them here as well. But for all intent and purposes, they're saying that this hospital is shut down.
And just a note about that, with the hospitals being such an integral part, we are out here in the Mojave Desert. You are going to be hard pressed to get to another area quickly. So that's the other reason why they wanted to move people away.
It's also worth noting that a lot of people, it's been a long time since we've had an earthquake of this magnitude shake in California. So you've got bona fide adults who don't know exactly what they're supposed to do.
And so that's the other reason why they're taking every precaution with this right now because people may get injured but luckily at this point -- Victor and Jessica, no one has died because of this earthquake. That's great news.
WHITFIELD: Yes. It is great news. All right. Stephanie Elam -- we'll check back with you. Thank you so much.
All right. The U.S. Geological Survey says there is a chance another even more powerful quake could come within the next few days.
CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joining me now from the Weather Center. So Ivan -- this 7.1 earthquake, you know, was felt for hundreds of miles -- folks in Nevada, people in Mexico.
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Fred -- good to see you.
No question here. My goodness, what you just said there hopefully won't come to pass. There's a 4 percent chance that it will, that is, getting something stronger than a 7.1 within the next week. After that I think we're in good shape as far as the intensity here.
But as far as your question, over 36 million people basically have felt some kind of shaking. Not everybody felt the severe shaking that was felt right close to the epicenter, that was of course in Ridgecrest. 30,000 people there.
But you get up to L.A. and 20 million -- talking of people almost 21 million felt light shaking. So everybody certainly felt this quake. It was quite powerful.
And we only get about 15 quakes worldwide of this intensity. That is 7.0 or higher, which is classified as a major earthquake.
And then there is this. So is a 6.4, and that's a 7.1, and then all the little dots you see here, those are additional earthquakes. Those are aftershocks because the earth is not done moving. You get that one violent move, and then in rapid succession at times.
We've had upwards of I think at this point an aftershock every other minute or every minute. So quite something. And you're not going to feel all those, but some will be significant.
As far as the difference, by the way, it doesn't seem that much but it is five times bigger as far as the amplitude which isn't that important. This is -- 11 times stronger, right? So that energy that comes from that displacement below the earth, that is what causes, of course, the shaking and the damage and sometimes of course the death toll, which we have zero at this point. That is excellent news.
So there it is, major earthquake 7.0 was at 7.1 in California. And just to give you a gander of what has been going on in California, we have to go back 20 years, the Hector mine earthquake -- Fredricka. That was also a 7.1. So a bit of an earthquake drought. And boy we have broken it big time here in the last 48 hours.
[11:19:58] WHITFIELD: Ok. Ivan Cabrera -- keep us posted. Again, thankfully no reports of any serious injuries or deaths.
All right, we are expecting an update, however, on the earthquake and any damages at any moment now from officials in Kern County, California. As soon as that happens, of course we'll bring that to you live.
All right. Still to come, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against putting a citizenship question on the census, but now President Trump says he's still trying to find a way to add it in. We'll find out what his last ditch effort might be.
WHITFIELD: All right. This breaking news, people on the West Coast are waking up to the aftermath of yet another earthquake. A 7.1 magnitude quake hit southern California late last night.
We're expecting an update on the earthquake and any damages or injuries at any moment from officials in Kern County, California. About 150 miles or so outside of Los Angeles. And as soon as that happens we'll bring that to you live. All right. It's an event that bills itself as a party with a purpose. The Essence Festival is marking 25 years of celebrating black culture and this weekend it is drawing seven Democratic candidates for president. Organizers say it's an opportunity to talk to one of the most powerful constituencies in American politics.
CNN's senior national correspondent Kyung Lah is at the Essence Fest in New Orleans. So Kyung what can we expect today?
[11:25:03] KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are expecting shortly for the speakers to begin taking the stage. This is an opportunity for the 2020 Democratic hopefuls to make their pitch to black women. The Essence Fest is being pitched as the largest gathering of black women in the entire country.
And Fredricka, you're talking about that sense of party and happiness. It's something you can absolutely feel. It's a jovial experience to be here, and that is the mood that these 2020 hopefuls are stepping into.
Michael Bennet expected to be the first speaker. He'll be followed by Bill de Blasio. But the first top tier speaker is Kamala Harris -- Senator Kamala Harris. We are anticipating that she'll be arriving here shortly.
There's already a crowd of her supporters gathering here. They're holding signs, they're cheering. She is expected to talk about some of her plans that are specifically focused and looking at black women, looking at the gender pay gap, looking at abortion rights and her plans on moving that forward, trying to work at a middle class tax cut, and repealing the Trump tax cuts.
So these are some of the plans that we're anticipating from her. We are anticipating that she will make a sharper focus in trying to get black women behind her, a critical voting block.
Also expected today -- Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and tomorrow Pete Buttigieg. One thing to watch Fredricka -- Elizabeth Warren has been extremely strong with black women. At the "She the People" event, this is a few months ago, the room was very receptive as she specifically talked about racism and how to directly pitch and fix some of these problems that black women disproportionately feel in American culture -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So Kyung -- let's talk a little bit about, you know, what Essence Fest has really become because, you know, it really started out largely one, to appeal particularly to black women, but it was about, you know, uplift, camaraderie, music, you know, style.
And you know, since 2007 when then Senator Barack Obama made an appearance, politics became something that became a little bit more front and center. So what are audiences telling you about their expectations about the messages they hope to hear from these candidates and how much they look forward to hearing from the candidates? LAH: I was actually just having this conversation in the exhibit hall
speaking to one of the women who's attending here just because she wants to hear what the politicians have to say.
She said that the black female experience cannot be separated from politics any longer, given the era that we are living in. How politicized so much of our rhetoric has become, the impact that especially black women feel and feel that they have a strong impact and ability to make change.
This is absolutely -- it's a party. It is something that is fun, but at the same time it's also very serious. That's why you have such a large exhibit hall. The word "power" are being ejected -- being projected behind these women.
You know, the idea of politics and identity being separated for this audience is not something that is feasible anymore.
WHITFIELD: All right. Kyung Lah -- thanks so much, in New Orleans. And we'll check back with you and others there at the fest.
And we'll be right back.
[11:28:24] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: 2020 Democratic candidates are battling for votes in the bayou. Seven of them are appearing at the Essence Festival this weekend.
Joining me right now CNN political analyst and national correspondent for "Time Magazine" Molly Ball, and CNN political commentator and assistant editor for the "Washington Post" David Swerdlick.
Good to see you both.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey -- Fred.
MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. So David -- you first. You know, since 2007, you know, when presidential candidate Barack Obama gave Essence some love there, made it a campaign, you know, stop candidates are now appreciating black women are a force at the ballot box.
So this weekend seven candidates are there. If you are not, is this a miscalculation?
SWERDLICK: Well, we'll see if it's a miscalculation, but it's certainly at least a missed opportunity.
The Essence Fest is a big event for African-American women. Has been for years. And it's a chance to say to African-American women, number one, I recognize that this is an event where a lot of different black women from different cross sections of life are gathered. Let me address you in this forum.
And it's also a chance to speak to voters who you're going to need in the primaries about issues that are near and dear to them.
So the candidates that are there, I think are going to get credit for that. The candidates that aren't there will just have to make that up with a key voting block at some other time. But they can't wait too long because we're really in the thick of this campaign now.
WHITFIELD: So Molly -- the most recent CNN poll shows 36 percent of black voters support Joe Biden, 24 percent support Kamala Harris with 12 percent supporting Elizabeth Warren, 9 percent for Bernie Sanders.
So two of those candidates, Biden and Sanders are not in attendance at the Essence Fest. National Urban League president Mark Morial (ph), you know, says and I'm quoting him now, "I don't know what's on their mind," he says, quote, "you know, if they skip the festival."
So what do you think about the absence of a Biden or Sanders?
BALL: Well, I think it's being noticed, right? We're noticing it right now and the constituencies that are tuned into these kind of events are certainly noticing it. For every campaign, you know, a candidate can only be in one place at a time. And they have to calculate and figure out what is important for them to go to.
You can't do every single one of these sort of cattle calls, but it is important as a politician to show up, to show up in communities that you're trying to serve, to show up in communities you're trying to appeal to, to say to voters to their faces I care about you and I want your vote. I'm not taking you for granted.
And you know, you look at that poll, yes, Biden has a big lead with that constituency, but he's still only got 36 percent.
This field is so fractured. There's so many candidates, and there's so much uncertainty right now that you can be at the top of the polls and only still have about a third of the vote.
So I think there's a lot of votes up for grabs in this extremely important Democratic constituency.
WHITFIELD: And then switching gears just a tad, you know, in an exclusive interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Joe Biden explains his strategies about Democratic loyalties. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:34:57] JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look who won the races. Look who won last time out. We had -- and by the way, I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman but she didn't win a primary.
In the general election fights who won? Mainstream Democrats who were very progressive on social issues and very strong on education, health care.
Look, my North Star is the middle class. When the middle class does well, everybody does well. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: David -- how will voters digest that?
SWERDLICK: So I think there Vice President Biden is making a mistake that actually President Obama used to make a lot, even though he was a great retail politician. And that is playing armchair pundit on his own prospects.
Vice President Biden in my view, if I were advising him, would be better served if he focused on the issues, focused on touting the things from the Obama-Biden record that he wants to tout and not handicapping who's a moderate, who's a progressive, whether the party should go in the Biden-Obama direction or the Ocasio-Cortez/Bernie Sanders direction and just focus on the positive pitch he's making to voters.
He should get off that. He should definitely and so should Senator Harris, get off of busing. It's just not good politics regardless of where you stand on the issues.
WHITFIELD: Molly, do you see that as all kind of divisive potentially?
BALL: Well, look, I mean, he was factually correct, and I think it is true that the perception is a little bit out of sync with the reality when you talk about how the Democratic Party is composed. It is true that a far larger share of the new House Democratic majority is these moderate candidates who won suburban districts by sending a message that wasn't radical or far left.
And even though the far left extreme of the party gets a lot more attention in part because of sort of media savvy or star quality of someone like an AOC, and in part because there's a natural tendency I think to focus on those kind of divisions, it is still true that both the heart of the Democratic Party and the winning candidates that created, you know, a majority for the Democratic Party in 2018 are in that moderate wing.
So I think what Biden is saying is if we want to win elections that's the way we have to go. He's also saying what I represent in the party is the mainstream of the party. And that is what every nomination fight is about. That's what every presidential candidate is about is which candidate's ideology -- a lot of it's about personality, of course, but it's about which candidate's ideology speaks for the mainstream part of the party.
WHITFIELD: All right. Molly Ball, David Swerdlick -- we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.
SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Next, President Trump says he may issue an executive order to add a citizenship question to the census. We'll break down the potential legal hurdles.
[11:37:47] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: The U.S. Justice Department lawyers have told a federal judge in Maryland that they're still looking for a way to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The judge allowed an immigrant rights group to move forward with their lawsuit against the Trump administration.
An administration official says right now the census will be printed without the controversial question, but the President says he's not out of options for adding it in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we'll see what happens. We could also add an addition on so we can start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision. So we're working on a lot of things including an executive order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin is with me now. The U.S. Supreme Court -- good to see you -- you know, called the administration's, you know, effort to include this question contrived.
And now this Maryland district court, you know, has instructed the administration to submit information justifying this citizenship question. So they have until August 19th to do so. If the U.S. Supreme Court has already, you know, weighed in in that manner, why is it now being considered in the lower court?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the court determined that if there was another explanation for why they need the citizenship question, then the parties would have the right to present that again. And they can go back to the Supreme Court within 25 days of the original decision for reconsideration of that decision.
So they're struggling mightily to come up with a new explanation. Remember, this litigation has been going on since April 2018, so for 15 months the Trump administration has been saying singularly we need this question to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.
That is what the Supreme Court said was a contrived explanation. And so they're working hard to come up with a new one that the Supreme Court will not consider contrived.
WHITFIELD: So the President says -- and I'm just quoting him -- he says there are many reasons, you know, why a citizenship question needs to be in there. He says, for one, Congress needs that information for districting. Is that going to be a good enough sound legal argument?
ZELDIN: Well, that's what the constitution provides, that you shall have a census every ten years to distribute representation within the different states to determine district power in the electoral college, number of representatives each state gets. and that's why people argue they wanted this citizenship question on to suppress the amount of votes in a particular state or people in a particular state so as to get them more power.
So the argument that he's making now really plays in some sense to the plaintiffs hand, which says yes, this is what they want, they want it for bad purpose to suppress vote count.
WHITFIELD: So the Justice Department also, you know, wanted a pause in the proceedings while it finds a new rationale, you know, for adding the question, you know, Judges, you know, have said no. Wo does the Supreme Court weighing in the way it did in any way influence the lower courts?
[11:45:00] ZELDIN: So what happened here was that the government said we really need this on a very expedited basis. We need to start printing these forms by July 1. That's our drop dead date. And that's why the Supreme Court took it on such a fast track, and then it made its ruling.
Now all of a sudden the administration is saying well, maybe we have more time. Maybe we can come up with an addendum. Maybe we can re- change, re-direct the nature of this to another format, all of which undermines what they said to the Supreme Court, which is why they needed this expedited review.
So it seems to me that they're speaking in some sense in circles or both sides of their mouths, and I don't think any court is going to find this very compelling. I think this census question on citizenship is likely not to find its way onto the 2020 census.
WHITFIELD: Michael Zeldin in Washington -- thank you so much. Happy 4th weekend.
ZELDIN: Thank you. You too.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, a powerful earthquake rocking California overnight. This one ten times stronger than the one that hit Thursday. And as the sun comes up, we're getting a better look at the damage it left behind. More from California next.
But first, here's this week's "Wander Musts".
ANN POWERS, NPR MUSIC CRITIC: Nashville is known as Music City, U.S.A. for a reason. There are more musicians and song writers who live here that be maybe any other city in the world.
If you want to party Nashville style, you go to lower Broadway and find a honkytonk like Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Or try some free line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon.
If you want to look like a classic country star, visit tailor to the stars, Manuel.
MANUEL CUEVAS, STYLIST TO THE STARS: Every piece has a piece of my heart.
What we put into our pieces is unique. There's no time limit. There's no money limit. There's no price limit. When you say country style. It's like who represents America in the picture of the world? A cowboy. A cowgirl. It has a uniqueness of dressing.
KAHLIL (PH) ARNOLD, CO-OWNER ARNOLD'S COUNTRY KITCHEN: For a taste of Nashville, come on down to Arnold's Country Kitchen, grab you a tray and get your meat in three. A meat in three is something you traditionally find in the South.
You have your poultry, you have your meat or your fish. And then you've got your southern sides like okra, green beans, turnip greens, mac and cheese, succotash. Anything you would have found at grandma's table.
Come on down to Nashville for some delicious food and wonderful music.
[11:47:30] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
We're hearing from some of the residents that experienced this earthquake. Valerie Taylor lived through Hurricane Katrina. She tells CNN affiliate KBAK what it was like to live through her first earthquake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIE TAYLOR, EVACUEE: I have a past experience. I'm from New Orleans, from Louisiana. And I experienced Hurricane Katrina. So this is my first experience with an earthquake in California.
And the way it's tore our house up and tore up all the pictures in the walls and everything turned over on us. We live on the top floor in an apartment complex. So we was all trying to come out the home and we were shaking down the stairs with our kids.
And we just thank God that we have a relief center here in Ridgecrest, California that's able to allow and to take care of us and watch over us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So dramatic for so many.
Thousands of homes and businesses are without power because of last night's earthquake. But one business managed to stay open despite the damage.
Here's CNN's Paul Vercammen walking us through a liquor store damaged in that quake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm here inside this convenience and liquor store here in Ridgecrest to get a sense of what happened inside some of these buildings. Just stuff knocked down everywhere, bottles off the shelves, broken here.
The owner, Anton, says in the two days that they've been rocked by this quake inside this store, he believes that they've had more than $100,000 worth of damage.
You can clearly see -- strong, knocking things off the shelves, doors down, as he said, shattered glass and bottles everywhere. It's going to be a long time cleaning up.
But to the credit of people in the store, they stayed open. We've seen a steady stream of people coming in here to grab whatever they need, including vital things such as water.
Reporting from Ridgecrest -- I'm Paul Vercammen.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead -- inhumane and unsanitary. Not true according to the President. Why Trump says the migrant detention facilities are running beautifully, contrary to these images.
[11:53:15] WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
Another death at the border is bringing further scrutiny of migrant detention facilities. A 52-year-old man from Nicaragua is the 12th person from Central America to die in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody since September.
The Trump administration has been under fire from Democrats and activist groups over these pictures showing overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at detention facilities. Some of the children there even drawing themselves in pictures in cages, but despite these pictures, President Trump says the facilities are being run beautifully.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've seen some of those places and they are run beautifully. They're clean, they're good, they do a great job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Congress plans to pick this up next Wednesday at a hearing called "Kids in Cages: inhumane treatment at the border".
CNN's Natasha Chen is in El Paso, Texas with the very latest -- Natasha.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Fredricka -- we are hearing from this final report from an internal government watch dog, the Office of the Inspector General at DHS.
Over the last few months, those inspectors went into all these facilities and they released their report this week, calling the situation dangerous overcrowding. They talked about conditions where these migrants sometimes are not able to get basic food, hygiene or laundry facilities. And said in these documents that this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
But of course, you heard the President's comments just the other day about how he feels these are being run beautifully.
I have to say Our CNN crews have been allowed inside a couple of these border facilities in the last week or two but never with cameras, only allowed to go in with pen and paper. And during those visits our colleagues have seen very sanitized conditions, migrants having the resources to get washed up and to get food. But our colleagues also said these are not the type of places that anyone would want to stay.
And so it is important to understand that this is not an ideal situation by anyone's calculation. They're holding a lot more migrants than these places are designed for and being held for longer periods of time than legally allowed in many cases.
CBP would not give us a count today of how many migrants are being held at each facilities because they say the numbers do fluctuate a lot -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then Natasha -- you know, Facebook says it has removed content from secret Facebook groups that contain vulgar and sexually explicit pictures and video. So what is Customs and Border Patrol saying? And how are they responding to these images that are being associated with people who have worked there?
CHEN: Yes. The images we've seen are pretty egregious -- things that have been shared with our colleague Nick Valencia. We know of at least two secret groups like this -- the recent one called The Real CBP was about a thousand members.