Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Hurricane Dorian Could Hit U.S. As A Category Three; Citizenship No Longer Automatic For Children Of Some U.S. Military Members Living Overseas; Parliament Suspension Sparks Fierce Backlash. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 29, 2019 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:30:32] AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: There is a new track for Hurricane Dorian. Why the entire state of Florida should be on alert for a major hurricane. We're going to speak to the mayor of Miami.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Another move to keep immigrants out. This time, the White House targeting kids of service members overseas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.K. ANTI-BREXIT SUPPORTERS: Stop the coup! Stop the coup! Stop the coup!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Anger boiling over as the Queen gets dragged into the Brexit mess. What it means with the clock ticking to a no-deal Brexit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR (SCENE FROM "DAZED AND CONFUSED"): Alright, alright, alright. How you doin'?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: The actor is now the professor. Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey is going back to school and we'll tell you where. Alright, alright.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

WALKER: I'm Amara Walker in for Christine Romans. Thirty-one minutes past the hour and we begin with breaking news.

Hurricane Dorian intensifying rapidly as it heads straight for Florida. Wind speeds doubling over the last 24 hours. Dorian is now forecast to hit the U.S. mainland as a major category three hurricane on Labor Day.

The storm's latest track shows Dorian shifting west. Why does it matter? Well, it's heading for Central Florida, not just sideswiping the coast.

Governor Ron DeSantis is now declaring a state of emergency.

BRIGGS: Overnight, Dorian pounded the U.S. Virgin Islands with heavy rain. The first images from St. Thomas show a good deal of debris, downed trees, and damaged roofs, with winds reaching 111 miles an hour.

For Puerto Rico, a much-needed near-miss. FEMA was prepared with over 3,000 people in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, territories still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

WALKER: Right now, in Florida, they are bracing for a direct hit. Residents stocking up on water and other emergency supplies. Long lines are forming at gas states.

And, Georgia Emergency Management also increasing the alert level as Dorian approaches.

Let's get right to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri in the CNN Weather Center with more. Are we getting any more of a clear picture on where the storm is headed?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, still a long ways left before we see landfall with this storm, Amara. But, you know, one thing that's very clear with this storm system, this is a very persistent storm.

And you've got to think about the -- what it has overcome over the last several days. Tremendous amount of shear, tremendous amount of dry air, and, of course, a lot of violence that it has to skirt around.

And, of course, it still sits there as a category one and poised to become a category two, potentially, inside the next six to eight hours. And then beyond that, by tomorrow afternoon, a major hurricane.

So again, it has really dodged quite a bit of obstacles, quite a bit of hurdles with the storm system that could have weakened it significantly at this point in time.

But as you take a look at it, all eyes here really directed towards portions of the southeastern United States. And, of course, the forecast cone takes it anywhere as far north as southern Georgia to as far south as the Florida Keys -- a significant spread here.

And people often kind of focus on the center that track. That should not be the case. The only thing that we know with high likelihood here is that the environmental conditions ahead of Dorian are very favorable for rapidly intensifying the storm system. And, of course, the track here is going to be the area we'll kind of fine-tune over the weekend.

And you kind of see some of the models that we have to work with. The American model taking it well to the north, potentially bringing it into southern Georgia. While the European models, where a lot of models are green with this particular one, favoring it more towards a South Florida area of landfall potential and even as late as potentially, Monday. So it really shows you the nature of the speed and the variability within that forecast.

And, of course, if it takes this southerly track and doesn't go straight into portions of Georgia and eventually into the southeast, this could eventually become a Gulf Coast state going into next week -- a Gulf Coast storm going into next week and impact those states by this time next week.

So, really, going to be a storm system that's going to have a lot of people on edge here --

BRIGGS: Yes.

JAVAHERI: -- on a very busy holiday weekend, of course.

BRIGGS: It sure will.

Pedram, thanks so much.

Joining us now, live by the phone, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Mayor, thank you for being here, 5:34 Eastern time.

You've been through this drill before. All your residents have heard this before.

What have you learned from recent storms -- say, Irma -- that tells you how to better prepare for this time?

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI, FLORIDA (via telephone): Well, every storm is different. Obviously, Hurricane Andrew, from 1992, was an incredibly intense wind event with wind speeds in excess of 200 miles an hour sustained.

[05:35:03] Irma was a completely different storm. It was very wet. It was -- it created a six to eight-foot storm surge and parts of our city were underwater.

So one of the things that we've done since Irma -- I've been extremely aggressive as mayor in making sure that we can absorb the kind of water that we have seen during an event like Irma.

What is being described is the variability of the hurricanes as they approach Florida, and Irma made a variety of different changes in terms of its intensity, in terms of its speed, in terms of where it actually hit in the last few days.

So, as I said, we are extremely concerned. We are urging our residents to be prepared.

And we, as a city, are already going through our pre-storm checklist of preparations to make sure all our pump stations are working. We installed two pumps post-Irma -- I'm sorry -- yes, post-Irma, that pump 50,000 gallons of water a minute in areas of vulnerability in Brickell -- Miami Brickell, which were underwater during Irma.

So once the storm passes, we urge our residents to call our 311 system so that we can go into recovery mode immediately.

WALKER: And regarding that storm checklist you're talking about, Mayor Suarez, I remember during Irma that mass exodus that we saw from South Florida ahead of the storm and, I mean, it was pure chaos there on the highways -- on I-95, interstate 74, and on the turnpike.

What kind of plans are being drawn up, if an evacuation is needed, to avoid the kind of chaos that we saw so that people who don't need to be on the road are not on the road?

SUAREZ: Yes. With Irma, we had the largest evacuation in the history of South Florida. Never had so many people been ordered to evacuate. It was hundreds of thousands of people that were actually evacuated. That's never happened before.

And one of the things about Irma that was unique is that it affected about 50 of the 64 counties of Miami-Dade, which made the recovery much, much more difficult.

The county is the one that orders the evacuations and I'm sure that the county mayor has learned a lot from that, probably making the evacuation call sooner rather than later. It's just so difficult because you don't want to have hundreds of thousands of people evacuating if the storm ultimately hit some other part of the state or outside of the state.

So it's not really a science as much as it is an art to make these decisions but certainly, I think the more time that people have, the better. And I think a lot of people do make plans to leave Miami, whether it's by car or by plane, whenever there's a storm of this -- of this magnitude.

BRIGGS: Irma in the news in recent days as you well know, Mayor, and that's because four arrests were made as a result of the 12 patients that died from one Florida nursing home due to the heat in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

How can you assure we do not see anything like that again?

SUAREZ: Yes, that was incredibly tragic. Thankfully, none of that happened in the city of Miami or in Miami-Dade County.

We took some significant actions before the storm and ordered ice and water, which we distributed very liberally to our residents.

The county runs many of those affordable housing facilities where there are extreme risks, especially when there's electricity lost.

And we are working with them to make sure that the most vulnerable in our community have the resources that they need because what happens is when you're elderly, once your refrigerator goes out, you do not have -- you do not have food. So we also order meals from delivery services that can provide meals to some of these elderly citizens. So it's all hands on deck. Different governments collaborate together and we all work together to make sure that our citizens are safe.

WALKER: So just lastly, I mean -- because again -- I mean, Pedram, our meteorologist, was saying that look, there's a lot of things we don't know. We know it's going to be a very strong storm although we don't know exactly the track and where exactly it's going to make landfall. We are watching this closely.

But, Mr. Mayor, to you, as preps are being made, what is your message to your citizens?

SUAREZ: Our message is clearly, every time, you have to prepare because as you just said, these hurricanes shift very fast. We've already seen this model shift two or three times since it began. We know that it's on an intensification track because there's no landfall between Puerto Rico and Miami in terms of its track and there are models that show it directly hitting Miami.

So we cannot take this for granted, unfortunately, and everyone should prepare for the worst.

BRIGGS: OK, Mr. Mayor. Thanks so much for joining us.

You do wonder -- seven category three or greater storms have hit Florida since 2004 -- how receptive is that message? We hope people listen to the mayor, Francis Suarez. Thanks for joining us.

[05:40:01] OK, children of some U.S. service members living abroad will no longer automatically become American citizens. A new Trump administration policy appears to affect children of naturalized U.S. citizens serving in the armed forces but who have not lived in the U.S. for a required period of time. About 100 children a year will be affected.

Many U.S. government employees and service members are temporarily assigned to posts overseas for extended periods. Their children were previously considered to be living in and outside of the U.S. for the purpose of eventually gaining citizenship.

WALKER: A potential economic downturn has President Trump rattled and looking for wins he can spin to voters. According to sources, the president and his economic team are often at odds in searching for ways to prevent market anxiety from spilling into the 2020 election.

A new Quinnipiac poll, yesterday, shows for the first time, more voters under President Trump say the national economy is getting worse than getting better.

BRIGGS: And that could explain why the president is pushing harder than ever to get a border wall built, tweeting, "The wall is going up very fast despite total obstruction by Democrats in Congress and elsewhere."

That claim is patently false. There has not been a single new mile of wall built since the president took office. Customs and Border Protection has replaced existing barriers that were deteriorating.

WALKER: Lackluster fundraising, coupled with a poor showing in the polls, leading Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to drop out of the Democratic presidential race. Gillibrand ran as a champion for women but her message failed to catch on.

She says she is proud of her team and what they accomplished, adding, "Let's go beat Donald Trump and take the Senate back."

Gillibrand's decision coming after she failed to qualify for the third Democratic primary debate. She had spent millions on advertising, hoping to find a way in.

Twenty Democrats are still in the race and a Quinnipiac poll shows the top five Democrats in the race all beating the president easily head- to-head.

BRIGGS: All right.

Ahead here, murder suspects on the loose. Police are looking for a couple who overpowered security officers and escaped.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:46:27] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.K. ANTI-BREXIT SUPPORTERS: Stop the coup! Stop the coup! Stop the coup!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Chants of "Stop the coup" after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth to suspend Parliament. It appears to silence Brexit critics. The Queen agreed, which puts her in the unusual position of being in the middle of a political fray.

CNN's Max Foster live in London with more. Quite a bold move for the new prime minister.

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST, "CNN NEWSROOM WITH MAX FOSTER": It really was. He dispatched some Privy Counselors up the Queen's holiday home yesterday. She agreed to suspend Parliament and only after that, was announced a point where the opposition parties basically couldn't object to it, so it's happening.

And what it effectively means, Amara, is that Parliament will have fewer days in which to debate a possible alternative path to, heading towards the end of October, Britain leaving the European Union without a deal, which is the default position currently.

Boris Johnson insists he does want a deal, which is why he's doing this. He wants to be able to go to the European capitals and say I'm now in control of this process so you have to give me a good deal.

But, you know, this hasn't been taken well by those -- many in Parliament and these protesters you see on-screen because they're saying this is fundamentally undemocratic.

So, already today, we've had legal proceedings launched against the government. That will take this case to court, hopefully causing an injunction from their point of view to this whole process. But also, an emergency debate in Parliament next week to try to find a way out of this as well.

Boris Johnson certainly has everyone on the back foot of the moment. He thinks he can win this. We'll wait to see whether or not he does.

WALKER: Yes, quite a risk that he was taking.

Max Foster, appreciate you, live for us there in London.

BRIGGS: Stop flying drones near airports.

We've now learned a passenger jet was forced to take evasive action at Gatwick Airport in London because of a drone. The pilot's report he was forced to bank hard to the right to avoid the drone. The incident took place in April.

Drone sightings at Gatwick grounded flights over Christmas, disrupting travel for thousands.

Five forty-eight and a check on "CNN Business."

Taking a look at global markets first. Asian markets saw a slight decline. European markets have opened up a bit.

U.S. futures pointing to a positive open. Stocks finished higher Wednesday even as bond yields continue to slide. The Dow ending up 257 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both reversed Tuesday's losses.

The U.S.-China trade war still worrying investors and businesses are sending President Trump a warning. More than 200 footwear companies, including Adidas, Nike, and Crocs, sent a letter to President Trump asking him to cancel new tariffs on China.

The letter said, quote, "There is no doubt that tariffs act as a hidden tax paid by American individuals and families."

Those new tariffs are set to go into effect on Sunday.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:53:50] WALKER: Breaking overnight, a North Carolina college student arrested after guns were discovered in his room. He is charged with threatening a school shooting. Court documents reveal 19-year-old freshman Paul Steber confessed to having a time line to kill people.

The district attorney says Steber had been watching videos of mass shootings. Prosecutors say Steber's plot hinged on whether he was accepted into a fraternity. Around 30 mass shootings have been disrupted since El Paso and Dayton.

BRIGGS: The manhunt is expanding for a couple police say escaped custody by overpowering two security officers in Utah. Blaine and Susan Barksdale are accused of killing a 72-year-old man in Tucson, Arizona back in April. They were being extradited from New York to Arizona when they escaped Monday night.

Investigators say the couple may be traveling through Arizona and should be considered armed and dangerous.

WALKER: The racing world is mourning the death of the fastest woman on four wheels, Jessi Combs. The race car driver lost her life Tuesday when she crashed in the Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon while trying to break a land speed record.

[05:55:02] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear, clear, clear. Start making a right. Good job.

JESSI COMBS, PROFESSIONAL RACER, TELEVISION PERSONALITY, METAL FABRICATOR: The car is really bouncing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy. Rock on right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Combs earned the title "Fastest Woman on Four Wheels" after setting a world record in a jet-powered car in 2013, hitting 398 miles per hour.

Jessi Combs was 36.

BRIGGS: Emotions running high at a town hall in St. Louis where residents spoke out about the epidemic of gun violence there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We losing too many people, family, and especially these children. So, money and the witness protection program so these families can get some kind of closure, so people can come forward and talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: At least 12 children have been killed since April in St. Louis.

Missouri Congressman William Lacy Clay urged that in attendance to support his legislation that would allow cities to pass gun laws without state approval.

WALKER: A toddler killed at a Chicago area mall when part of a story display fell on her. Two-year-old Alexa Martinez was with her grandmother, aunt, and four

other children at an Akira store. Witnesses say she was climbing on a temporary wall when the steel structure came down on top of her. A doctor and a nurse nearby performed CPR but the child died at the hospital.

A co-owner of the store says the company is devastated.

BRIGGS: His wife died five years ago; now he is facing charges. Jason Harris, of Michigan, accused of spiking his wife's cereal with a fatal dose of heroin.

Her death was originally ruled an accidental overdose but prosecutors now say Harris had talked to a coworker about getting rid of his wife so he wouldn't have to deal with a divorce, child support or a custody battle.

He could get life in prison.

WALKER: A Colorado couple squared off with a mama bear and her two cubs, and guess what? They won.

A security camera shows the mother bear opening a screen door and then entering Jon Johnson's home with her cubs. He came face-to-face with the big bear in his kitchen. She clawed him on his face, arms, and stomach.

His girlfriend, George Ann Field, was able to get a bat and hit the mama bear hard at least three times before she fled with her cubs -- wow.

BRIGGS: A lot of patience and good luck pays off as a Canadian man won $60 million in the lottery after playing the same numbers for almost 20 years.

Edmonton resident Bon Truong won the jackpot in October and waited nearly 10 months to claim his prize. He says he felt overwhelmed and wanted to make sure his family was ready for the changes it would bring.

Truong says he plans on buying his family a new home and saving for the future.

WALKER: And a heartwarming gesture from a football team whose coach is battling cancer. During a team meeting, the Lyon College football players learned their offensive coordinator, Kris Sweet, had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Sweet began getting chemotherapy this month and started losing his hair. So, Monday, the players showed up in the weight room and shaved their heads.

Now, Sweet says he doesn't like attention but he called this the most touching and emotional moment that he's been through.

BRIGGS: University of Texas at Austin has a new professor. You might know the name.

Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, who graduated from U.T. in 1993, will be a professor of practice at the Moody College of Communication. McConaughey has been a visiting professor since 2015, co-teaching a script-to-screen production class. Now, his name's alone on the syllabus.

What's your favorite McConaughey film?

WALKER: You're going to make me say this on the air?

BRIGGS: I am.

WALKER: "How to Lose A Guy In" -- how many days was it?

BRIGGS: Ten days. That's a great movie. It's one of my favorites.

WALKER: How do you -- how do you -- how do you know, because you liked the movie? I love that you can admit it.

BRIGGS: When he had Kate Hudson sing --

WALKER: Yes.

BRIGGS: "You're So Vain" -- classic.

WALKER: I want to know how many times you've watched this movie.

BRIGGS: "Dazed and Confused" first, but that's --

WALKER: OK, got it.

BRIGGS: -- number two.

WALKER: Very nice.

Well, thanks for being with us this morning. I'm Amara Walker.

BRIGGS: And I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, August 29th, 6:00 here in New York.

And we begin with big, breaking weather news.

Hurricane Dorian rapidly gaining strength overnight and now taking aim at Florida. It is expected to hit as a major category three -- maybe even category four hurricane over the Labor Day weekend. All of Florida should be on high alert for this hurricane this morning, which is expected to hit, then stall over land.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, all of Florida needs to be watching this. Twenty-six counties there are now under a state of emergency as the storm's path could take it anywhere from the Keys all the way up to Jacksonville.

Now, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, they were spared the brunt of the storm. You can see some of the images from when it was hitting overnight. The Virgin Islands did get strong winds and rain, but as far as we can tell.

END