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Epic Flooding Expected in Louisiana from Tropical Storm Barry; Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) is Interviewed about Pending Storm; Trump Abandons Adding Citizenship Question to 2020 Census; Paul Ryan and Trump in War of Words over Quotes in New Book; Immigration Raids Targeting Thousands to Begin Sunday; Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) is Interviewed about ICE Raids. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 12, 2019 - 07:00   ET


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Under a huge amount of pressure. The irony here, guys, really, is the fact that she's under pressure to make more public appearances, but when she does go out --


[07:00:08] FOSTER: -- she's criticized for it.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Max Foster. You know it's gone too far when the National Health Service has to comment on how to service has to comment on how to correctly hold a baby.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm not sure Britain deserves our American Meghan Markle. Let me just leave it there. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heed every single warning.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA: Storm surge, high rivers, and rain. We're going to have all three.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you a citizen of the United States of America? "Sir, you can't ask that question. Because the court said you can't."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president is dropping his controversial plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Trump essentially lying, saying that this was the real fight and then declaring a victory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea of collecting data on who is a citizen or who isn't is going to keep people away from a census.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will be busy making arrests this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This means picking up parents and children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just hopeful that we don't create a greater problem by separating families. Families belong together.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers around the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Bianna Golodryga here with me all morning long.

GOLODRYGA: Great to be here with you.

BERMAN: Great to have you here.

We are following this developing news in the Gulf at this hour. Millions of people on the coast there, preparing for a hurricane that is expected to trigger life-threatening floods, perhaps worse than we've seen in seven decades.

Hurricane warnings are in effect all along the Louisiana coast. The tropical storm watch has stretched all to east to the Mississippi- Alabama border. More than 10 million people are in the danger zone.

GOLODRYGA: Tropical Storm Barry is intensifying right now in the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River is already about twice as high as it usually is this time of year.

Now, Barry is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane and make landfall tomorrow, creating a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet. That means a strong possibility of epic flooding.

We will speak with the governor of Louisiana in just a moment.

But let's get started with meteorologist Chad Myers, who is tracking the system. Chad, the fact that this is a slow-moving storm is very dangerous, correct?

CHAD MYERS, CNN AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is. Plus, the water that now it is over is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So that's also the problem. We are now in the hot water, in the fuel to the fire.

The wind speeds went up overnight to 50. And the pressure this morning, with the hurricane hunter aircraft in it right now, is going down. Those two things are bad.

Here's the rainfall. It's offshore. That's the good news for now. But guess what? This entire bowling ball is going to move to the north.

I know we've talked a lot about New Orleans, but I'm very concerned about Baton Rouge, as well, all the way up to Natchez. This is going to be a widespread rain event, with 10 to 20 inches of rain on rivers that are already out of their banks in many places. But it's the flooding possibility of the Mississippi that we're most concerned about.

Now, most of this rain right here will not go into the Mississippi River because of the levees. That water goes other places. But it's the rainfall just north of there. And the rain that fell three months ago in Nebraska that has filled the Mississippi River. And then the surge making it 3 or 4 more feet high, that would be a 19-foot surge on the river. And everywhere here in New Orleans, it's above 20. Except for these little red dots, John. Not quite to 20 feet there. And with waves on top of that, there could be water, certainly, over the top of some of these levees.

BERMAN: Again, so much reason for concern. Chad Myers, thank you for being with us. We'll let you get back to the data. We'll speak to you again with the new forecast at 8.

Joining us now is the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards.

Governor, thank you so much for being with us. I've heard you say there are three major reasons for concern, always, of flooding in Louisiana. That's the rain; that's the rivers, and the storm surge. And you're going to get all three with this.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS, (D-LA): We are. And you know, the point was well made. We're in our 259th consecutive day of flood fighting on the Mississippi River.

Tomorrow morning, we expect Tropical Storm Barry to come ashore in central Louisiana along the central coast. That will be the first time -- and it will come on as a hurricane. That will be the first time we've actually had a hurricane hit Louisiana while the Mississippi River was at flood stage. And so that's a new dynamic.

I will tell you that, based upon the information we currently have from the National Weather Service, with the storm surge in the river, that we can expect -- and talking to the Corps of Engineers, we are confident that there will not be overtopping of the levees in New Orleans. In fact, that has never been forecasted.

The only forecast for overtopping was down in Lower Plaquemines Parish. And yesterday, that forecast actually changed. And now we don't expect the Mississippi River levees to be overtopped anywhere.

But this is going to be a very, very significant rain event across most of Louisiana; and the rain bands that are going to come in off of the Gulf of Mexico are going to be wide.

[07:05:11] And so this is going to impact just a huge swath of our state. And we're taking it extremely seriously.

And I will remind everyone in 2016, 56 of our 64 parishes were declared a major federal disaster because of flooding. And we didn't have a named storm at all.

So -- so I will tell you, this storm has our attention. We're doing everything that we can. We're gratified that the president yet last night granted our request for a pre-landfall federal disaster declaration, emergency declaration and has authorized direct federal assistance, so that working with our federal partners at FEMA and otherwise, we're going to be able to move resources and personnel much more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.

BERMAN: Obviously, so many people remember Hurricane Katrina. I don't have to tell that to you.


BERMAN: There were so many changes made after the devastation there to the state. So many services put in. And mechanics like pumps. Are all the pumps working?

EDWARDS: Yes. Well, the briefing I got late yesterday from the mayor was 118 out of 120 pumps. That's the most that we've had in a very, very long time.

And the two pumps that are not working currently, they -- there's much redundancy at those locations. And they're not the most essential. And the power generation is very good.

I will tell you, with the investment made very generously, I might add, by the country in the hurricane risk reduction system in New Orleans in that area, we feel very, very good about the situation of New Orleans. And we believe it's going to be able to withstand this storm.

We got a good test day before yesterday when a very heavy rainfall happened in a very short period of time. And so we had to exercise all of those pumps and the power generation. It performed well, but at the same time, you never know exactly what Mother Nature is going to throw at you. And we -- our capacity is to pump only so much rain over a period of time.

So -- so it's obviously something we're concerned about. But I'm confident that New Orleans is going to weather this storm in pretty good fashion.

BERMAN: All right. That's good. We'll be cautious, but that's good.

Governor, any evacuations -- and here's your chance. What message do you want to send to the people of Louisiana this morning about how to get ready?

EDWARDS: Well, we do have some mandatory evacuations in Lower Plaquemines Parish and in low-lying areas of Jefferson Parish.

I need the people of Louisiana to pay attention to the National Weather Service, to -- to the information they get from CNN and elsewhere.

But also pay attention to local elected officials and heed the warnings. Most fatalities in flood events in Louisiana in recent years have come from motorists who drive through standing water when it's unsafe to do so. It's deeper than they believe it to be, and also, there's current that sometimes is imperceptible. We need individuals to not drive through standing water.

And I want the folks in Louisiana to know we're taking this very seriously. We've got 3,000 National Guardsmen activated with all of their equipment. We've got more than 300 buses standing by to move individuals to shelters. And we have opened a mega shelter in central Louisiana in order to take those individuals to safety.

So we're taking this very seriously, and I do believe in the power of prayer, as well.

BERMAN: Governor John Bel Edwards, asking for any help you can get this morning. We'll let you get back to work. You're going to have a busy few days.

Thank you, Governor.

GOLODRYGA: Always so important --

EDWARDS: We will. Thank you, John.

GOLODRYGA: -- that residents -- always so important that residents heed the warnings. Right? That their local officials are giving out dire warnings in many cases.

BERMAN: And that's why they come on. I mean, that is why they work with CNN; and we're trying to get the message out to the people in Louisiana. Pay very close attention to this, because these floods could be very serious.

Also this morning, new fallout after President Trump abandoned his attempt to add a citizen question to the 2020 census. But he says -- he claims he's not backing down. Instead, he's taking executive action to get the data he wants from all the federal agencies in Washington, though that was already happening.

Joining us now, Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN political analyst.

Maggie, this was interesting to see yesterday. We -- yesterday morning we were all speculating what would happen. We didn't know for sure. But what did happen is he backed off the legal challenge here. A complete retreat. The same retreat, by the way, that his administration had announced a week and a half ago before he un- retreated.


BERMAN: But he reversed that.

GOLODRYGA: By tweet.


HABERMAN: Look, I mean, this is -- this is a fight that conservatives -- a lot of conservatives are actually very concerned about. And so it has left people who are supportive of the president and supportive of this question feeling deflated.

Their argument is -- in favor of it is, this is a fight where public opinion is generally on the side of the president. If you ask the question of voters, "Should this question be on the census," a majority of voters say yes.

[07:10:10] They don't understand why the president came out swinging last week, only to now say, "Oh, it turns out my lawyers were right. We really can't do anything, and instead we're going to try this other way."

The president's been very frustrated with the commerce secretary. And you heard yesterday Bill Barr, the A.G., basically without naming the commerce secretary, lay this at the feet of Commerce. He described this as not a legal problem but sort of a logistical problem. And that was because the feeling is that Commerce did not handle this correctly in coming up with a rationale.

I think that we will see whether it really is true as, you know, we hear this repeatedly from the president's closest associates, who are conservatives and his staunchest allies. "Oh, this is going to be a blow. This is going to cost him a certain percentage of the vote."

It may or may not. But it certainly has deflated morale. And it has frustrated people at the white House who felt this was all chaos internally.

GOLODRYGA: Well, what do you make of the argument that a lot of damage was already done? That many would-be voters are so confused by the census that they, in fact, will not be participating and thus playing into the narrative that the president wants to lay out?

HABERMAN: I think that that's a very real concern for people who are opposed to this taking place. That there is -- and we've talked about this before -- that there is a potential chilling effect of just raising the question in general. Raising the question by the president of the United States sends a clear message about how many people will actually want to be counted, want to participate.

So in effect, the president has accomplished his goal in part. He actually probably could have said that yesterday. He did not. And I was a little surprised by that. But I do think that that's a legitimate case.

HABERMAN: You did get congratulatory statements, not once but twice from Bill Barr. What did you make of that?

BERMAN: Let's listen to that. Let's listen to that. Because I think this fascinating.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you, Mr. President. And congratulations on today's executive order. I applaud the president for recognizing the executive order that included on the census is not the only way to obtain this vital information. Congratulations again, Mr. President, on taking this effective action.


BERMAN: What's going on there? Is the attorney general patting the president on the head, trying to trick him into thinking that he got what he wanted?

HABERMAN: I think that -- I don't know about trick him, but I certainly think that it's like -- it's also like watching those cabinet meetings where, you know, the president make everybody go around the room and praise him.

Look, we talk a lot about how Bill Barr doesn't need this job. And we hear that a lot from his supporters. He clearly wants this job; wants to remain in this job. And the best way to do that is to try to redirect any frustration the president might have, you know, praise him publicly, make him feel better about what he's doing. I do think that that was -- I don't know about tricking him, but I certainly do think it was meant to mollify the president, who has been very frustrated about those several times.

BERMAN: One more question on the census and also immigration.


BERMAN: The idea that so much of this -- I'm sure the president would like to win all these fights, but it's the fight itself that matters here, particularly for the base. And particularly, maybe five days before Robert Mueller testifies before Congress.

Is he trying to give something to the people who support him?

HABERMAN: Well, that is what he was doing with this executive action. That is, "Well, we're going to collect this action by other means," which as you point out, they were doing already. This was already a change that Commerce had made to try to collect this information from other agencies.

But this idea had been presented to him by some aides, which was you need to look like you're continuing to fight. This is why he did this reversal last week.

But the problem is there's only so finely you can split this. And to say, "I'm continuing to fight, but I'm really not" is basically what they did yesterday. I don't know that this is going to make his voters feel better than they would have if he had said, "We are going to maintain this legal challenge in court."

GOLODRYGA: It's also forcing many of these Democratic candidates to address these issues, as opposed to one of the issues and the platforms that they want to be talking about going into the next debate, as well.

I want to switch gears and ask you about this war of words now that's coming out through this new book, "American Carnage" by Tim Alberta. This specifically between former House Speaker Paul Ryan and now the president, responding the way he always does, via tweet.

Paul Ryan talked about a number of issues: specifically, the president's own commentary and the president's governing skills. He said, "I told myself I got to have a relationship with this guy to help him to get his mind right. Because I'm telling you, he didn't know anything about government. I wanted to scold him all the time."

HABERMAN: And yet he didn't. Go figure. I mean, I guess I just think that this is -- you can add Paul Ryan to the long list of people who have left Donald Trump's either service or working partnership in some fashion and who then go on to talk about how they were really trying behind the scenes to change everything, and that's why they didn't say anything publicly.

Paul Ryan was clearly not that supportive of the president. There were any number of times where he was not -- during the campaign he was not with him. He was -- he was critical at points. And I think that he did less than others have, in terms of trying to be warm during one setting and then, after they've parted ways, being critical.

[07:15:04] But I don't -- it's -- this is not a surprise if you were watching what was happening on the Hill over the last two and a half years, especially after the initial failed vote on repealing the health care legislation that President Obama put in place.

But I don't know how many points everyone thinks they're going to get for saying this stuff after they've stepped offstage.

BERMAN: He's gone a little bit further than I think I would have thought he would.

HABERMAN: Little bit.

BERMAN: It's not just that the president didn't know government. He's also suggesting the president may not be a great guy. I mean, there's this quote: "We've gotten so numbed by it all. Not in government but where we live our lives. We have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don't call a woman a 'horse face.' Don't cheat on your wife. Don't cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example."

HABERMAN: So is it more powerful saying that once you've stopped being the House speaker, or is it more powerful saying it when you are the House speaker and you actually are in position to influence more people? That's all I'm saying.

Yes, he's gone further than he has before. There is no question. And that is notable, but again, there is a real pattern of everyone doing this once they're no longer in power.

GOLODRYGA: Except for Justin Amash --

HABERMAN: Except for Justin.

GOLODRYGA: -- who's the one person.

HABERMAN: Justin Amash, who's -- who's likely to also no longer be in power much longer.

BERMAN: But Ryan made the case in the book, the Tim Alberta book, and I haven't read all of it yet. I haven't. I'm excited to read it.

HABERMAN: Right. Neither have I.

BERMAN: But from the excerpts we've seen, it seems that Ryan is making the case, "You have no idea how much I did to stop the president from doing more."

GOLODRYGA: We've heard that before.

HABERMAN: We've heard that from everyone. Again, I'm not saying -- I'm not saying that's not true. I think that there is a -- we hear this repeatedly, and certainly, for those of us who have covered the president for a while, in the campaign and in government, there's no question that there are constant stories from aides in real time about, "We stopped him from doing 'X.' We stopped him from doing 'Y.'" And it isn't just self-congratulatory. It's not just puffery. It is true that those are things that happened.

I just think that everyone says, "You have no idea what I'm doing," and then they say it once they're no longer in a position to actually effect any change. And I don't know. Saying -- saying, "We have to set an example, and that's why I stopped being House speaker. Because I couldn't really get anything done and didn't want to work with him anymore." I don't know how impactful it is after the fact. That's all I'm saying.

GOLODRYGA: Perhaps a bit of revisionist history.

HABERMAN: Or it might be honest history, but it's quite delayed. Right? I mean, I think it's -- I think that's actually pretty accurate what he's saying. It's just that would it have had more impact while he was there versus now?

BERMAN: And also the president, we should note, lashing out on Twitter overnight with a response calling --

HABERMAN: It's the most surprising thing ever.

GOLODRYGA: It's the least surprising, exactly.

BERMAN: Not surprising. He called Paul Ryan's record of achievement atrocious and a lame duck failure.

And I do wonder. There's a discussion about this, but isn't this battle basically over? Didn't Donald Trump win? Isn't this the -- HABERMAN: Donald Trump controls the Republican Party. Period. We were hearing a long time ago, and you and I remember covering the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket back in 2012, that Paul Ryan was the future of the party. He was the ideas conservative.

GOLODRYGA: The wonky guy.

HABERMAN: The wonky guy. He was going to be the ideas engine.

This is Trump's party 100 percent. And to the extent that that is the fight that Donald Trump wanted to win, he did win.

GOLODRYGA: And crickets in terms of anyone coming to Paul Ryan's defense thus far. We shall see.

HABERMAN: Which kind of goes to my point. Right?

GOLODRYGA: Maggie Haberman, thanks. Great to see you.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: We should also note, I believe Tim Alberta will be on NEW DAY next week.

BERMAN: We are. We're looking forward to having him on.

GOLODRYGA: More on the book.

Well, in other news, immigrant communities are on high alert as Immigration and Customs Enforcement prepares raids targeted starting Sunday in nine U.S. cities. What's the expectation for these roundups?

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in El Paso with the latest. So Ed, what are you learning about what we can expect?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand from immigration officials that this raid could target some 2,000 people across the country who are scheduled to be deported, whose immigration and asylum requests have gone through the system and these people have been determined to be eligible for deportation.

This is happening in ten major cities across the country. And as you might imagine, it's sending a ripple current of fear and uncertainty and anxiety across immigrant communities across the country. And a lot of backlash, as well.

I spoke with the police chief of Houston yesterday, who tells me that "We are in the business of arresting crooks, not cooks" and that his officers would not be involved in aiding the ICE agents who are carrying out those raids. Houston is one of the cities on the list expected to be targeted.

But all of this kind of happening as we are airing a special -- CNN special report tonight. "The Hidden Workforce" in America, exploring the lives of undocumented immigrants in America. So the timeliness of all of this is really fascinating, as we hope you tune in. Here's a little bit -- a clip of that show that will be airing tonight on CNN.


LAVANDERA: As being the only citizen in your family, you've seen your family, basically, slowly disappear from Iowa.


LAVANDERA: What's that been like?

VELASCO: Sad. My stepdad and my younger brother, they both got deported.

The hardest one, I think, was when my mom got detained. And then on my birthday, she sent me a birthday card. And yes. I guess I've never talked about that.


[07:20:07] LAVANDERA: And John, you know, this is an incredibly complicated and toxic issue to talk about. And we hope this hour, I think, will kind of really take people to places where they don't expect to see undocumented immigrants. We hope it will be enlightening for a lot of folks -- John.

BERMAN: And you've worked really hard on this, and it's such an important look. Ed Lavandera, thank you very much.

Everyone, be sure to watch Ed's deep dive into the realities of undocumented workers in the United States. It's a CNN special report, "The Hidden Workforce: Undocumented in America." It airs tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

GOLODRYGA: These workers are a huge part of our economy.


GOLODRYGA: I think people will be learning a lot from that report tonight.

Well, Miami is one of the cities targeted by the immigration raid. So what does the city's mayor know about these raids? He's going to tell us, coming up next.


GOLODRYGA: Immigration and Customs Enforcement is scheduled to start an operation targeting migrant families with court-ordered removals in at least nine major cities across the country on Sunday.

With me now is the mayor of one of those cities, Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami.

[07:25:02] Mayor Suarez, thank you so much for joining us this morning. Has the federal government notified you about any of their plan of action come Sunday? FRANCIS SUAREZ, (R) MAYOR OF MIAMI: Not at all. We have not been

notified about the scale of the operation. We haven't been notified about the time. We have not been notified about who's being targeted.

So frankly it's difficult as mayor to figure out exactly what's going to be happening in our city. It certainly creates a heightened sense of apprehension for people who are living in the city of Miami. And we are left in the dark without knowing exactly what's going to happen here. We don't know for how long it may happen. So it's certainly concerning.

GOLODRYGA: So you have no details, and yet, you are the commander in chief of this city. How do you prepare for something that you have no details about?

SUAREZ: Extremely difficult. Obviously, we are in a heightened sense of preparation for all kinds of different threats on a daily basis, whether they be terrorist threats. We're obviously an urban city. So we obviously have to be prepared for any sort of violent crime that can happen on any given moment. And certainly, we'll be prepared if there's some sort of an emergency that requires a police intervention.

But our police department is not being consulted. They have not reached out to our police chief. So we are not involved in any sort of raids or collaborating with the federal government in any -- in any sense.

GOLODRYGA: Assuming that your police chief and you are notified ahead of these raids, whether it's tomorrow or early Sunday morning, will they be cooperating at that point?

SUAREZ: We don't typically get involved in any sort of enforcement action, immigration enforcement action. It would be very, very difficult to coordinate anything on such short notice.

Obviously, with these things, potentially, happening on Sunday or Monday -- by the way, the last time they were supposed to happen, they were canceled at the very last minute, as well.

So we just -- it would be very hard to believe that we would get a call at the 11th hour, trying to get us to coordinate something.

And frankly, we don't even know what the scale of it is. You know, there's been talk about 2,000 people and families nationwide. We don't know if, for example, Miami will get 1/10 of that. Is it a couple of hundred? And so it's very, very difficult for us to be prepared for anything like that.

GOLODRYGA: So what is your message to the constituents who may be impacted here? We've heard from other figures and other Democratic leaders, suggesting people not open their doors. What is your advice?

SUAREZ: Yes. Look, it's very difficult. You know, obviously, anyone who does not have legal status in this country right now is certainly living in fear and apprehension. And that's -- and that's understandable. And everyone has a right to legal counsel to determine what is the

best course of action that they can take if they get that knock on the door.

Obviously, you know, as mayor, when there's any sort of law enforcement action, it's -- it's a very difficult situation to -- to try to advise someone not to be cooperative, because you don't want to see it escalate. And certainly, we don't want to see any sort of escalating of violent confrontations. And so -- but it is heartbreaking to see the kind of anxiety that this is creating across the nation.

GOLODRYGA: So you don't have the list that ICE agents have, but I wanted to ask you about this report from "The New York Times" specifically talking about collateral deportations, in which those who are not necessarily on the list, if in fact, they are in the vicinity --


GOLODRYGA: -- can be apprehended, as well. What is your reaction to that, and how concerned are you if, in fact, that does take place?

SUAREZ: I'm very concerned. You know, I think many people agree that if someone is here illegally and commits a serious crime, that's certainly what the federal government should be focusing on, should be targeting. I don't think there's much disagreement on that.

But we all, I think, agree in this country and particularly in a city like Miami -- that's a very international city, a city of immigrants in a country of immigrants -- that we have to solve this problem. You know, we have to stop making it a partisan issue. This is an American issue. We are Americans.

We should embrace the fact that people often risk their lives to come to this country seeking liberty and freedom. And if you want to be a productive member of our society, a tax-paying member of our society, you should -- you should be welcome in our country.

And so I think that is something that we need to focus on, as opposed to this divisive partisan rhetoric on this issue.

GOLODRYGA: You could potentially see a situation where a child of one of these immigrants, undocumented immigrants that was born in the United States and thus a U.S. citizen is separated from their parents. Talk about the nightmare scenario that that would create, especially given that a lot of these detention facilities are already ill- equipped to take on even more people.

SUAREZ: Well, look, I'm a father of two children. I can't even imagine. I have a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old. I cannot even fathom being separated from my -- from my two children forcibly. So you know, I think -- I think from a human perspective, it's something unfathomable.

In terms of what the capacity of this country is to house people humanely, in a dignified way --