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WSJ: Purdue Opioid Deal Gets Pushback from Several States; Floridians Prepare as Dorian Expected to Hit Florida as Category 4 Hurricane; FEMA: "We're Prepared for a Big Response" for "A Big Storm"; Trump Heading to Camp David to Monitor Storm; Biden's "Gaffes" Vs Trump's Lies Raise Questions about Standards for Candidates; Colorado Woman Sues After Giving Birth in Denver Jail Cell. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired August 30, 2019 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Meantime, so the judge in this case asked the plaintiffs for some sort of update on where things stand and what kind of explanation will come?

JARED HOPKINS, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, we're waiting to see what that is. Today is supposed to be the deadline on an update on this. We'll see. There's a lot of moving parts here as to what might come next.

WHITFIELD: It's a very complicated case. A lot at stake. A lot of money. A lot of people's lives.

HOPKINS: So the lawsuits have been consolidated into federal court. The judge there, Judge Polster, he has been pushing for a settlement. He's been pushing for a resolution.


All right, Jared Hopkins, good to see you, of the "Wall Street Journal."

HOPKINS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

Florida now bracing for Hurricane Dorian as FEMA warns the clock is ticking to get ready. We're on the ground across that state.

And live pictures right now of Daytona Beach. People seeming to be very much enjoying the surf. But what's on the horizon?

We'll be right back as Hurricane Dorian churns.


[11:35:30] WHITFIELD: Warnings are growing increasingly dire for Florida as Hurricane Dorian strengthens and barrels toward the state. The National Hurricane Center issued a new advisory just minutes ago saying the slow-moving storm could slam the state late Monday as a category four hurricane. Right now, long lines are forming at stores and gas stations with

supplies already running low. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has told residents to stock up on enough food, water and medicine to last a week. All of Florida is under a state of emergency.

CNN's Nick Valencia is in Daytona Beach.

Nick, what kind of preparations are being made?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on who you ask. It depends on the extent of their preparations here. We're focusing a little more on tourism.

You can see now the visible impact, the economic impact, Fredricka. There's no one in these beach chairs. Down the beach a little bit, you can see some pockets of crowds, but nothing that you would expect on a holiday weekend.

I've talked to some tourists who say that they're planning on leaving this weekend. Others have canceled their plans altogether all together.

And then there are people like the two that you're about to listen two. They're soldiers on leave from Fort Campbell and they say they're not going anywhere.


CHRIS SARSON, U.S. SOLDIER: I'm not really bothered by it. I'm trying to have a good time, a little vacation.

VALENCIA: Have you ever been through a hurricane before?

NICK DECONSE (ph), U.S. SOLDIER: No, we've been through some tropical storms. This is our first hurricane.

VALENCIA: Are you going to wing it?

DECONSE (ph): Yes, pretty much, just kind of enjoy our time out here.


VALENCIA: And you can see behind me the waves are flowing here into the beach but there's not a lot of people in the water. You do see some families walking up and down the beach. But for the most part, it really is striking, Fred, to see how few people there are.

We are hearing reports of hotel cancellations, especially up and down the eastern part of Florida. We've checked in on airlines, as well as airports. No word on cancellations or closures. We do know there are some airlines that are already offering to waive the change-of-ticket fees for those that who are planning to change their travel plans -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: A little sliver of good news on that.

Thank you so much, Nick Valencia. Appreciate it.

VALENCIA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: FEMA is gearing up to tackle Hurricane Dorian. A FEMA official told CNN, "It's going to be a big storm, we're prepared for a big response." I'm quoting him. And since Dorian had minimal impact on Puerto Rico, FEMA is shifting staff from the island to Florida.

Let's bring in CNN aviation and government regulation correspondent, Rene Marsh.

Rene, what are FEMA's plans to prepare for Hurricane Dorian?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, you know all eyes are going to be on this acting FEMA director and how he leads the agency through all of this, Peter Gaynor. He took over, as you know, after Brock Long resigned in February.

But federal officials, they say that they are bracing for this big storm and it will warrant a big response. And it will have a multi- billion price tag.

Now on the cost of the storm, FEMA is saying if this truly does hit Florida as a category four, it's going to be into the billions of dollars.

As far as damage goes, they say they expect damage both along the coast, as well as inland. And FEMA is saying that the storm will wreak havoc on infrastructure, power lines, as well as roadways.

And of course, the additional concern for Florida is that they have this large senior population that isn't always mobile and they could be vulnerable to heat if the state is without electricity for quite some time.

So what FEMA is doing is telling -- good advice -- telling people to download the app while they still have phone service and power and that app will help people understand what their local risk is so that they can react accordingly -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: And President Trump making this rare trip to Camp David this weekend ahead of the storm, canceling his overseas trip. What is on his agenda?

MARSH: We do know that the president will be going to Camp David to monitor this hurricane, Hurricane Dorian, and he will be holding meetings.

We've brought up this point again that the head of FEMA, which is this critical agency during massive storms like this, the head is -- this individual, Peter Gaynor, is in an acting role.

So we've seen this at multiple agencies throughout the government here under the Trump administration where you have multiple individuals in an acting role. So the question is, will they truly be prepared and how will they

react and will they get the resources where they need to be so that the people of Florida will get the help that they need as soon as possible. Of course, we're all going to know the answer just days from now -- Fred?

[11:40:10] WHITFIELD: Rene Marsh, thanks so much.

Straight ahead, a defiant Joe Biden dismissing reports that he told a moving, but false, war story. But in a world of constant misstatements and falsehoods from the White House, what does it all mean? Is there a new standard for presidential candidates when it comes to the truth? That's next.


WHITFIELD: Well, you hear about animals that need to be rescued from abuse and neglect and, most often, you think dogs and cats, right? Well another animal is too frequently abandoned and abused. Donkeys. They played a critical role in American history helping build railroads and other infrastructure.

And now they have a champion in this week's "CNN Hero." Mark Meyers has saved more than 13,000 donkeys finding them forever homes.


MARK MEYERS, CNN HERO: They speak to my soul.

Yes, that will come right lose, won't it?

Donkeys are like dogs. They're amazing animals that nobody gets. I understand what they're thinking. And there's so many donkeys in so many places that need so much help.

There's nothing cuter than a baby donkey.

We're saving them. We're improving their lives.

I want to see every donkey find its happiness, its happy place, its peaceful place.


[11:44:28] WHITFIELD: Aw. To read more about Mark's work, go to right now.


WHITFIELD: The "Washington Post's" ongoing count of false and misleading statements from President Trump currently stands at over 12,000. So what happens when political opponents in the race for the White House make false or misleading statements?

Well, this morning, the spotlight is on a story Joe Biden is telling on the campaign trail. Most recently, at an event last week in New Hampshire.



One of his buddies got shot, fell down a ravine about 60 feet.

This guy climbed down a ravine, carried this guy on his back under fire. And the general wanted me to pin the Silver Star on him.

I got up there and stand, and this is god's truth, my word as a Biden, he stood at attention and I went to pin him, and he said, sir, I don't want the damn thing. Do not pin it on me, sir. Please, sir, do not do that. He died, he died.


WHITFIELD: So "The Post" reports that, I'm quoting now, "In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch, and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.

Joining me is one of the reporters that broke this story, Matt Viser.

Matt, good to see you.

So your colleague at the "Washington Post," Jonathan Capehart, asked Biden about your reporting and I want to get your reaction to Biden's response. Listen.


BIDEN (voice-over): I was making the point how courageous these people are, how incredible they are. This generation of warriors. These fallen angels we've lost. And so I don't know what the problem is. I mean, what is it that I said wrong?


WHITFIELD: All right. So what are your thoughts? I mean, you already -- you already spelled out in the newspaper that he got a lot of details wrong about it. But his response is, you know, was paying homage to these fallen heroes. And what's the matter with that?

MATT VISER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: So there's a true story that former Vice President Biden does have and it's Sergeant Chad Workman. And he is the one who did have an encounter with Joe Biden that he says during that emotional climax at the tail end of his story from Friday night.

That's not the story that the vice president has been highlighting, though. The story that he was telling the other night involved a different province in Afghanistan at a different time period. It's a different medal and a different branch of the military. So he seems to be talking about a different event in that instance,

not the one of Chad Workman, which we should say is true. We've tracked down that Army sergeant and spoken with him and he does confirm that that did happen. But he --


WHITFIELD: Is he troubled at all? Is he troubled at all that Biden may have a few things misconstrued or confused?

VISER: He didn't. We mostly wanted to confirm that that story did occur and he says, yes, it did, and that he had a connection and he thought that the vice president understood his emotional moment of not wanting a medal when a fellow servicemember had died.

[11:50:01] WHITFIELD: So voters are going to have to decide whether, you know, misremembering is something very egregious or if it's is it trying to win or steal attention with the intention of not getting the facts straight.

VISER: Yes. And do these details matter to people? Does it matter -- I mean the vice president is talking about a ravine when it's a Humvee. He's talking about a Silver Star when it's a Bronze Medal. You know, do those details matter to people or not? And I don't know.

As you point out in the lead-in, President Trump has had 12,000 lies and misstatements as our fact-checker has tallied. So do those have the gravity that they have in the past, given the current dynamics? I don't know the answer to that.

WHITFIELD: And immediately what came to mind when I heard this story was this has happened before. It's not the first time a presidential candidate has gotten a war story, war-related story kind of wrong.

Remember, Hillary Clinton gave a speech during the 2008 campaign where she said, as first lady, she landed in Bosnia under sniper fire. The "Washington Post" debunked that story, as did other outlets in 2008.

But when you have now a president, President Trump, who regularly lies, distorts, as the "Washington Post" is pointing out, 12,000 false or misleading statements, is this now latest war story example, you know, from Biden, his response to it today, will it be measured differently because we're now in the age of Donald Trump?

VISER: And that's a possibility. I mean, I think that the challenge -- and the Biden campaign would point that out. They compared to President Trump, his misstatements don't compare.

The challenge for Biden and his campaign is he's facing other Democratic primary challengers --


VISER: -- who have not had as many sort of these misstatements and these verbal gaffes and sort of telling stories that don't quite add up. So I think the challenge for him is, do Democratic primary voters hold

this against him or not. We don't -- we don't sort of know the answers to that. Voters tend to be forgiving about the vice president at the moment.

WHITFIELD: And quickly, a challenge for Biden, can he criticize the sitting president for mistruths if he's being challenged himself about not quite getting all the details right.

VISER: Yes. And President Trump seems to have no shame about criticizing somebody else, even though he's lied about something. So I think Vice President Biden tends to sort of have a little shame in that process.

WHITFIELD: All right. Matt Viser, thanks so much. Good to see you.

VISER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, next a very frightening story. A woman says she was left to give birth in a Denver jail cell alone. She says no one responded to her desperate cries for help. Now she's taking the city and the jail to court, and there's video of the whole thing.


[11:57:48] WHITFIELD: A woman who gave birth while she was held in a Denver jail is suing city law enforcement and health officials because she says she didn't receive any medical supervision or treatment.

Diana Sanchez says she told the staff hours before she had her baby that she was in labor. Surveillance video shows Sanchez giving birth alone in her cell after she was given at least a sheet there by personnel. Jail personnel, well, eventually, they would enter after she has had the baby.

The Denver County Sheriff's Department says an internal investigation determined deputies took appropriate actions and followed policies and procedures.

Joining me with more now, CNN correspondent, Scott McClain.

So, Scott, walk us through all that happened there.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka. Diana Sanchez, by this stage, is about 10 days out from her due date. If you look at that surveillance video, she first gets her breakfast at 5:00 a.m. That's when she first alerted guards she was having contractions.

By 9:43 in the morning, you can see her knocking on the door of her cell trying to get someone's attention because, according to her lawyer in this lawsuit, that is when her water broke. Relief, though, comes in the form of that towel, that pad that slid under the door that she lays on afterwards.

About 30 minutes after that, you can see her writhing around on her bed. At 10:44, she actually gives birth to this baby. And that is when you see the nurse actually walk in only after the baby was born.

The Denver sheriff's department sent us a statement that read, in part, "To make sure nothing like this happens again, the Denver Sheriff's Department has changed its policy to ensure that pregnant inmates who are in any stage of labor are now transported immediately to the hospital."

Here's how Sanchez' lawyer responded to that.


MARI NEWMAN, LAWYER FOR DIANA SANCHEZ: I mean, that should always have been the policy, that every inmate who's experiencing an obvious serious medical need needs to be taken to the hospital.

I mean, this should not be some sort of revelation that a woman who's experiencing labor needs to be in a safe and sanitary environment with access to doctors and to medical equipment.


MCLEAN: Denver Health would not comment to us about this because of the pending litigation.

The baby and the baby's mother are doing fine says the lawyer -- Fredricka?

[12:00:05] WHITFIELD: Wow. That's something else.

All right, Scott McLean, appreciate it.

All right, thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.