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Central Gulf Coast Bracing for Barry; Trump's Citizenship Order; New Sex Trafficking Charges Against R. Kelly; Cutting Calories; Serena Williams Advances to Wimbledon Final. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 12, 2019 - 05:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday, July 12th. Happy Friday. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

Let's begin, though, in the Gulf Coast. Bracing for Barry, now a tropical storm. But there are hurricane warnings along the Louisiana coast.

[05:00:03] The Weather Service says Barry presents a problem we've never seen before. This combination of heavy rain from the storm, on top of extremely high water levels already from record flooding this year along the Mississippi River.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA: Look, there are three ways Louisiana floods -- storm surge, high rivers, and rain, and we're going to have all three.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: The Mississippi is already so high around New Orleans that heavy rain, plus a storm surge, could overwhelm its pumping system. The result would be a repeat of Wednesday's flash flood emergency.

One resident who lived through Katrina says he is concerned.


TONY BAKER, LIVED THROUGH HURRICANE KATRINA: This brings some unique elements. We've never had the river this high. You know, a storm come in, the levies are saturated.

I think after the Katrina situation, we had Gustav and they did a much better job of getting people up, getting people out, securing the city. I think that was a lesson learned. I'm concerned, however, that they've gotten complacent.


SANCHEZ: Officials are trying to be proactive. Already, states of emergency have been declared in New Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes. President Trump yesterday approved an emergency declaration for Louisiana to try to speed up federal help.

CNN's Ryan Young is on the ground in Louisiana with more on the relative calm before the storm.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christine, here in New Orleans, it's a watch and wait to see exactly what's going to happen next. You can see the water here in the Mississippi a lot higher than it normally is. And we know there's been a lot of flooding along the Mississippi this year. Right now, they're believing about 10 to 15 inches of water could be on the way in the next 48 hours.

And already, the mayor and city officials have put plans into place. Look, officers are on 12-hour shifts. We know 118 pumps are on standby, ready to pump water out of this area should it start to flood. But we've already seen bits of flooding throughout the week. So, people are telling us, they are coming out to this area to look. They've seen the water rise here at least five inches in the last few days.

It's that 48 hours of sustained rain that so many people are concerned about.

LATOYA CANTRELL, MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: We are not issuing a voluntary or mandatory evacuation. Sheltering in place is our strategy.

YOUNG: As they wait to see what happens next, a lot of people are hoping the power of this storm will not sit over the city of New Orleans and create massive flooding -- Boris and Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you for that, Ryan.

Now, Tropical Storm Barry is now moving very slowly and that's one reason the Weather Service has issued a rare high risk outlook for excessive rainfall along the Louisiana coast. That warning has been issued two other times since 2007 for Hurricanes Florence and Harvey.

And we've got a brand-new update just in from the National Weather Service.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is taking a look at that.

What are they telling us?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: OK, while there hasn't been any changes to the strength of the storm, but we're still in this unchartered here, Christine, because we do have a tropical system moving towards the mouth of the Mississippi River, when the Mississippi River is at or near flood stage. So, this is going to be quite a battle here. This is the latest from the National Hurricane Weather Center 5:00 a.m. update. Fifty-mile-per-hour sustained winds. This is not your traditional tropical storm or approaching hurricane status storm. Look at this, it takes some time before it gets the classic curvature and the classic shape of a hurricane. That is why we still believe that the storm has the potential to at least reach a powerful tropical storm status maybe if not a weak low end category one Atlantic Hurricane equivalent.

Now, this is the latest warnings. Anywhere you see that shading of red, that's a hurricane warning. We do have tropical storm warnings including Lake Pontchartrain and the greater New Orleans region. That's where we're expecting the path of the storm to move, just to the west-southwest, so that puts New Orleans in a very precarious position. Several days of an east to southeast of the wind that will also push up the ocean and also allow for storm surge to impact the region.

Look at the rainfall totals. This is not a typo. We have the potential for upwards of 15 inches for some inland community. So, it's not only a coastal threat. We're worried about the potential for heavy rainfall and flooding inland across Louisiana as well.

Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Plenty to be concerned about. Derek Van Dam in the Weather Center, thank you so much.

Now to a story that was breaking overnight. R. Kelly arrested in Chicago and charged with sex trafficking in New York. The entertainer also facing charges for child pornography and attempting to influence the case in Atlanta. The NYPD, Homeland Security and other agencies helping out in the arrest.

The R&B star has been fighting sexual abuse charges for two decades. In February, he was charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of them minors. He pleaded not guilty. He was released after posting bail.

ROMANS: A 3,000-acre brush fire forcing residents from their homes on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Kahului Airport operating on emergency generators and diverting flights at one point, but operations are now back to normal.

[05:05:02] The late day sky glowing with fire and smoke. More than 600 people are in shelters. The Maui Humane Society is also evacuating the animals to Maui high school. Oprah Winfrey has a home on Maui. The private road on her property has now been opened to help fight the fire.

SANCHEZ: President Trump apparently trying to pump up his base with some unprecedented action on two fronts -- one involving the census; the other immigration.

First, the census. The president deciding he will not defy a Supreme Court order to keep a citizenship question off the 2020 census. Instead, he is taking executive action to get the information a

different way. It's the idea census officials recommended to him a year ago. And if it had been adopted, it could have saved millions of dollars and an awful lot of time, not to mention gray hair at the Justice Department.

Jessica Schneider has more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Boris, the president pulling back on his plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. After a week of insisting his administration would continue to fight in court to get it on the questionnaire, President Trump has now simply signed an executive order.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in our country.

SCHNEIDER: But the president, in backing down here, he's also hinting though at another possible political fight. He said that politicians may also soon use this citizenship data to try to draw voting districts in states by counting only voters as opposed to all residents. And, of course, that is a whole other issue that would draw a whole other set of court battles, so this might not actually be the end -- guys.


ROMANS: Yes, it doesn't sound like it.

All right. Jessica, thank you.

Turning to immigration and the roundup of undocumented migrants set to start on Sunday. It's the first time this sort of operation has been announced in advance. CNN has learned the raids are expected in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. New Orleans was also on this list, but city officials say enforcement will be suspended as that region deals with Tropical Storm Barry.

Many officials in affected cities are speaking out against the raids.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Just fearmongering and making immigrants scapegoats and really disrupting families who are just here trying to live their life. That's not who we are or should be.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI, FLORIDA: They haven't told us what the parameters are. They haven't asked us to support what they're doing or given us any information on who they're targeting and how they're targeting them. So, frankly, we're in the dark. ART ACEVEDO, POLICE CHIEF, HOUSTON, TEXAS: There's great fear amongst our immigrant community as to what's going to happen. I've had children come up to me at the forums saying what -- I'm afraid to go to school, I'm afraid to leave the house, I'm afraid to come home and find that my parents are gone.


SANCHEZ: The raids are expected to target about 2,000 undocumented immigrants and the fear is real. CNN spoke to an undocumented man in Minnesota. He says he and his family are going to stayed locking their home all weekend, even though Minnesota isn't even one of the states involved.

The rest of the migrants do have legal options, so it's considered unlikely that all those targeted would be immediately deported.

ROMANS: All right. The Trump administration is inching closer to a so-called safe third country agreement with Guatemala. Sources familiar with the deal say it will require migrants who pass through Guatemala to apply for asylum there rather than continue on to the U.S. The U.S. is still working through to make sure there are protections in place for the people who would claim asylum in Guatemala. Some argue the key to stemming the migration crisis is to improve conditions in Central America, the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

SANCHEZ: And details are coming together for former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony. He will appear before the House Judiciary Committee at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. The House Intel Committee at noon.

It's going to be must-see TV. Lawmakers say the format is still being negotiated, so things could evolve. One possible hitch, the agreement for Mueller to testify against 22 members of each committee time to question Mueller, but the Judiciary Committee has 41 members. That means that junior lawmaker could get shut out.

ROMANS: At least 35 passengers were injured Thursday on a really rough Air Canada flight to Australia. The airline says the crew encountered severed turbulence, about two hours past Hawaii. Flight 33 carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew members forced to turn around and land in Honolulu.


SHARON THORNTON, PASSENGER: We were all sort of dozy and the cabin was pretty dark and it just seemed that the plane just sank and then flew up. The lady in front of us, I don't think had her seat belt on. She hit the ceiling.


ROMANS: Medical personnel were on stand by to examine the passengers in Hawaii.

SANCHEZ: An American scientist asphyxiated and found in a Nazi war bunker in Greece. So, who killed Suzanne Eaton?

CNN is live in Crete.


[05:14:27] SANCHEZ: Surprising new details in the case of an American scientist who went missing on the Greek island of Crete. Police now say Suzanne Eaton's body was found in a Nazi war bunker.

CNN's Arwa Damon joins us now live from Crete with the latest.

And, Arwa, her body was discovered simply by coincidence, right?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was pure luck in an area that is very far from where the search was actually taking place. You can see evidence here that the forensics team had been through.

[05:15:00] We're not that far from the main road, but if you're not a local, you're not necessarily going to know that this exists.

Where her body was found was inside a complex, carved out, fortified Nazi era tunnel system. This up here is one of the entrances into that. We went inside yesterday and found an area that matched the description the police chief had told us about which is where they believe Suzanne's body had been dumped, not dragged through in entrance like this, but rather dumped in from one of the openings at the top.

And at the academy where she had been attending this conference, people were telling us that this is about six to seven miles away from there. They had been looking for her thinking she suffered from heat exhaustion or something like that. So, the search wasn't concentrated here. By pure chance, two locals happened to be trying to explore this bunker system.

The police chief told us that Suzanne's body had small tab wounds on it, not lethal cause of death. He said was asphyxiation.

There is now a massive homicide investigation underway. And this entire island is reeling from this news, because this sort of thing doesn't happen here. This island is safe. It's a holiday destination.

So, everyone is shocked by the events that took place.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the story is taking a bizarre turn. Arwa Damon reporting live from Crete, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Trade talks between the U.S. and China has resumed. And the president took to Twitter to complain that China has not lived up to its promise to buy American agricultural products despite her earlier claims that, yes, they would do that after that G20 meeting.

Now, according to people familiar with the talks, the Chinese side has said, no, they made no firm commitments. At the G20, Trump agreed to hold off new tariffs on Chinese products and he agreed to ease some restrictions on Huawei. But without new ag purchases, it's not clear what the U.S. is getting in return.

Here's the president's economic advisor Larry Kudlow.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOSUE ECONOMIC ADVISER: I know that our side expects China very soon to start purchasing American agriculture commodities, crops, goods and services.


ROMANS: Yes, China stopped buying soy beans last year in retaliation for Trump's tariffs by the end of 2018. Soy beans just sitting in storage hit record levels. Earlier this week, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Steven Mnuchin spoke with the Chinese vice premiere. It is believed they will travel to Beijing in the next several weeks.

SANCHEZ: Knicks fans were hoping to snag a superstar, isn't every team? Russell Westbrook is leaving Oklahoma City. But where is he heading?

Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report" right after a quick break.


[05:22:38] ROMANS: Cutting just 300 calories from your daily diet could significantly help your heart. That's a modest 12 percent drop in average calories, according to the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology Journal. Study participants on a calorie restriction diets saw a decrease in blood pressure and bad cholesterol. You, too, could receive these results either with intermittent fasting or by skipping that slice of cheesecake for dessert.

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year. That's one in every four deaths.

SANCHEZ: Serena Williams on the verge of history yet again. Just one win away from a record 24th grand slam title.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.

SANCHEZ: Good morning.


Yes, Serena -- she has been searching for that record tying 24th grand slam title for sometime now. She hasn't won a major since the 2017 Australian Open. Serena advancing to tomorrow's Wimbledon final with a straight set win over Barbora Strycova. The match took less than an hour, and Serena is now going to face off against Simona Halep in the finals.


SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: It's really not about 24, or 23, or 25, it's really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what. And no matter what I do, I will always have a great career.


SCHOLES: It's going to be Serena's fourth straight Wimbledon Final. That match is going to start at 9:00 Eastern tomorrow morning. Now, later this morning, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in the men's semifinal. This is our first match at the Wimbledon since their epic five-set final back in 2008 that Nadal won. That match lasted nearly 5 hours.

Federer and Nadal, 38 grand slam titles between them. Never know when it's going to be the last time we see these two legends face each other on the grand stage. Their match starts at about 10:30 Eastern later this morning.

All right. We had a massive trade in the NBA last night. The Oklahoma City Thunder trading Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, two first round picks and the right to swap two more first rounders. The move reunites Westbrook and Harden who played together for three seasons in Oklahoma City. The Rockets backcourt now has won two of the past three league MVPs.

The Thunder meanwhile, they're now in complete rebuild mode. In very good shape, though, after all of their trades this off-season, they have now 15 first round picks over the next seven years.

[05:25:02] All right. Finally, U.S. soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan say they're not going to the White House, but they did make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel live last night. The talk show host gave them a taste of what they'd be missing.


JIMMY KIMMEL, TV HOST: I also don't want to cheat you out of the experience of visiting the White House so we prepared something special for you.

If you would go ahead and throw open those curtains. Ladies, this is for you. This is yours. This is 5,000 chicken nuggets and a couple of actors pretending to be Secret Service guys.


SCHOLES: President Trump had them going with the fast food to celebrate when teams go to the White House.

Don't know it. Not confirmed how many of those chicken nuggets Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan ate. ROMANS: I love it when the president does that, because you think of

these athletes, they are the most finely tuned nutritional vessels, right?


SANCHEZ: I'm going to need to hire some of those Secret Service guys walking around with the sauce. I think it's very useful on days like today.

Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

ROMANS: Have a great weekend.

SCHOLES: You, too, guys.

SANCHEZ: All right. Tropical Storm Barry bearing down on the Gulf. It's a problem never encountered before because the water is already so high along the Mississippi River.