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Hurricane Dorian Intensifies, Stretches 230 Miles Wide; FEMA Bracing For "Major Impact" In FL, Possibly GA, NC, SC; Miami Beach Already Experiencing Flooding Ahead Of Hurricane; Trump On Departure Of Personal Assistant And Her "Hurtful" Remarks About His Kids: "You Don't Say Things Like She Said"; Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) is Interviewed About Trump Tweeting Out Classified Image; Bail Industry Can Destabilize Families Years After Arrest. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 30, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're going to watch all of these very, very closely. Guys, thanks very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, extremely dangerous. That's the warning tonight about Hurricane Dorian as it grows stronger and marches towards Florida. Also breaking, President speaking for the first time about the sudden departure of his longtime personal assistant, this as we're learning about what she reportedly said about the President's daughter. And new questions tonight about an image the President tweeted, was it a classified satellite image? Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in for Erin Burnett tonight. And OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, the warning this is a life threatening storm. Hurricane Dorian getting strong, more powerful now a major category three hurricane as it churns towards Florida.

This is the view from the International Space Station. It is a model, some 230 miles wide and this is Dorian from the inside. Hurricane Hunters flying into the eye of the storm today. Packing winds up to 115 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center warning that Dorian could bring a life threatening storm surge and devastating winds to Florida's east coast.

According to the White House, the President has also been briefed on the storm, its path and preparations. He spoke to reporters just a short time ago before heading to Camp David.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hurricane is roaring in, it could be a big one. We're hoping that it may be makes the right and goes up north, but that's about a 5 percent chance. It's not looking good and it's one of the biggest hurricanes we've seen in a long time, a long time, so it could be very devastating.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: The threat of Hurricane Dorian is forcing airlines to start

canceling flights, store shelves becoming empty across the State of Florida. Residents also facing major fuel shortages that they try to stock up on gas ahead of Dorian's arrival. And with winds predicted to be as strong as 130 miles per hour when it makes landfall, Dorian would be the strongest hurricane to hit Florida's east coast since Hurricane Andrew which costs State more than $25 billion in damage and left 44 people dead.

Allison Chinchar is out front live at the Weather Center tonight. Allison, what's the latest path? I know there have been lots of updates, but it shows a fairly consistent one right towards the heart of Florida.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So the latest update is really when you look at what the storm looks like and we're talking about the eye of the storm, because it has really become symmetrical and large over just the last hour or so. That is concerning because when we see something like that, this usually means it's beginning the process of undergoing rapid intensification, that means it's trying to strengthen even more.

Right now the winds are sustained at 115 miles per hour, movement is west northwest at just about nine miles per hour. But again there are Hurricane Hunters that are on their way out to the storm right now. They will take a look at not only the eye, but some of the surrounding bands, take new measurements, see has this storm really undergone rapid intensification and if so what are the current measurements that are there.

We will likely get some new data in the next hour when the next update takes place. But as of now, we are still thinking pretty similar along the lines of the track. We still anticipate it to get up to a category four, so further intensification is still likely. It's likely to be a category four as it crosses over the Bahamas and then remain four as it approaches Florida.

We do have discrepancies a little bit in some of the models here. The blue dot is the European, the red dot is the American model. The red dot, the American model still hasn't making an actual landfall over portions of the east coast of Florida. The European model now, however, basically just has it sliding along the East Coast, bringing still heavy rain and gusty winds, but not technically making a landfall as it skirts off the East Coast in the coming days.

The concern here is that now we're going to be starting to impact other states other than just Florida. Places like Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Here's why, you've got this high pressure system here in this upper low, steering it towards Florida.

But as this high begins to break down and other factors atmospherically become into play, this system is going to start to make that turn to the north, but it could also slow down. The concern there is not just the winds, but also storm surge, rainfall, all of these things become factors here. The forecast wind gust even if it does just make landfall along the

edge, Jim, you have to keep an eye even places like Lakeland or Orlando which are still pretty far inland will still likely end up getting hurricane force wind gusts in those areas even though they are not along the coast.

SCIUTTO: We'll keep you up to date as we get new information about that path. Thanks very much, Allison Chinchar.

[19:05:00] Let's go now to Vero Beach, Florida. That is right in the current path of Dorian. It's also where our Martin Savidge is tonight. Martin, how seriously are folks there taking this and how do they're preparing for it?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can measure that, Jim, just by looking at the lumber here. This is plywood. It's amazing in today's modern world, the personal front line of defense for most folks in a hurricane is still plywood, it is preferred and it has been going out of the doors of this place. It's a Home Depot here and it's going out like crazy.

They've gone through several truckloads. They're done to a few pallets left now and once that's gone, they hope there are more trucks coming. Then on top of that, they're already out of generators and the other thing that's really going out of here, sandbags. I'm talking about the play sand that comes already bagged, because they can't find sandbags. So they're using that because that is going to be their common defense here.

Plywood is used to battle the winds and the sandbags are being used to battle the water and that's the big fear for many people, even as they are far away perhaps inland, they worry about the waterways that in this area are already over saturated. In many cases, the water is right up to the tops of the bank, so you consider the tremendous amount of rainfall that's being predicted with a cat four storm, flooding is a huge concern for many, many people here.

Time has been a good thing. There is at least a lot of lead time and people have been making the most of it. In fact maybe making too much of it. We already know that there have been fuel shortages in a number of key places around the state, Miami is one of them. They've had fuel off and on.

The Governor has said he's even sending police escorts now with some of the fuel trucks to make sure it gets delivered. And then there is the issue of food. Many people rushed out right away when they heard cat four and began buying it all up, so the shelves in many places have been empty. They are trying to replenish, but they're trying to do it at a timeframe that beats the storm coming in.

And now people have to leave and the that's going to be another headache, Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question when those evacuation orders if they do come, that'll be a big change. Martin Savidge, thanks very much. Let's go now to Todd Wodraska. He's the Mayor of Jupiter, Florida also in the possible path of the storms.

So we're looking at the latest storm track. You're still in the path of the storm. Tell us what your biggest concerns now. We've heard of so many. It's a triple threat, because you got the surge, you got the rain and you got the wind.

TODD WODRASKA, MAYOR, JUPITER, FLORIDA: Yes. We're watching this very closely. When you live in this part of Florida, hurricanes are part of the deal. But we're watching it very closely, because we're trying to figure out who to evacuate, when to evacuate and where might they go.

It's also tough that we're probably expecting what's called a king tide this weekend and we're a coastal community. So we're probably expecting higher tides than normal, so that when you couple that with a storm surge it's kind of a nerve wracking time, because we haven't been told exactly where the storm is going to be going.

Now, it's slowed down a little bit, so it gives us a little bit of time to figure out what's going on, but it is an anxious time.

SCIUTTO: I've covered these storms, the surge come so quickly at times. You can barely keep track. The Governor as you know not yet ordering people to begin evacuating, but at what point will you begin urging people to start packing up and heading out because you want to allow them time, of course, to get to safety?

WODRASKA: Yes. Well, so what's so tricky is where would you go, we're watching the storm track and we have some lessons learned from Hurricane Irma a couple of years ago, some people evacuated and they wind up evacuating to where the hurricane wind up hitting, and so that was really tough. And that's pretty fresh in some people's minds and you look at this track and this track basically has it going somewhere near the coast of Florida where we are and then shooting up north which is where most people obviously would go.

And so that's the toughest part right here is we can watch it on the news with you all, but then we're not quite sure where to go, because once you get on the road, there's risk associated. Because if you leave and you wind up going somewhere, how long is a tank of gas going to get you and then when you get to that point, are you going to be able to fill up. And so that a that's a tricky proposition for folks when they're dealing with their families.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And these storms sometimes make unpredictable changes. There are already been some changes to the storm track. You've lived in Jupiter most your life and I know as you said this is part of the life of living in the State of Florida, but this is a particularly serious storm. I'm curious what could a storm like this do to a city like yours.

WODRASKA: Yes. Well, we're watching it just like everybody else and when we see that churning circle, when that circle forums and that churning red dot comes. We witness what happened to the keys through Irma a few years ago. [19:10:04] We just pray that the elderly folks that need the help,

that they're in a crisis situation that we're able to kind of get to them or get them where they need to be to be safe, because there are still devastation out there that could really put us in a fix for a couple of weeks.

SCIUTTO: No question. Well, Todd, we know you got a lot coming your way. We wish you and the residents of Jupiter the best in these coming days and we hope you stay safe.

WODRASKA: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, more on the breaking news and what could be the dangerous part of Dorian, the storm surge and rainfall as we were saying, just how bad could it get. Plus, did the President just tweet what was a classified image of Iran's failed rocket launch? Hear his response. And more breaking news, the President just defending his trade war while at the same time blasting small businesses that are hurting because of his tariffs.


[19:14:42] Breaking tonight, Florida bracing for major flooding. Hurricane Dorian set to unleash torrential rain and life-threatening storm surge. The hurricane now a major category three storm, expected to intensify to a category four storm by this time when it hits Florida.

Out front now AccuWeather Meteorologist Reed Timmer from Cocoa Beack, Florida.

[19:15:03] Reed, the forecast models show it's slowing as it approaches Florida, hovering for three days of hurricane strength. Explain what a difference that makes particularly with the threat of flooding and storm surge.

REED TIMMER, ACCUWEATHER NETWORK EXTREME METEOROLOGIST: Well, this storm hitting the brakes is an absolute worst-case scenario in terms of tropical cyclones, because those deadly impacts are felt for a much longer time and if it does stall out, especially if it stalls out right over the coast or a little bit inland, it's going to be absolutely devastating with rainfall totals, measuring in feet, probably one to two feet from this storm.

The winds along the coastline will be absolutely incredible. If the eye wall does come ashore here as a category four, you'll have winds gusting well over 150 miles an hour, possibly been approaching 200 miles an hour. But a real concern with that slow motion is the storm surge as well, because a hurricane that is inching along like that, the winds onshore on the north side of the circulation will be piling that storm surge ashore.

And the longer those winds are doing that possibly even over multiple tidal cycles, that will lead to an absolutely devastating storm surge and here along eastern Florida we've had a phenomenon known as king tides which are just astronomically high tides when the earth and the moon act in concert along with the sun, they can create well above normal tides and that's made worse by the sea level rise as well.

In fact, about a month ago, the city of Miami actually had some of the highest tides that have ever been recorded and that's going to make this storm even worse as it looks like coinciding with the new moon around August 30th, that's when that king tide is going to arrive. So the storm surge in concert with the king tide is only going to make the situation worse, especially if that storm drifts very close here to the east coast of Florida.

SCIUTTO: That's just an alarming combination. The rising sea levels, the storm surge and then sitting off the coast there. Do you have a sense of where along the coast might get it worst as a result of that storm surge?

TIMMER: Well, it is difficult to tell where the exact track is going to set up. There is some new forecast model uncertainty that's being introduced in this track and with the hurricane slowing down, hitting the brakes as we say, the steering patterns aloft. That's how we predict that the path of these storms and the steering flow is going to be very weak as it slows down and so there is some uncertainty as it approaches Florida.

The rate at which it turns off to the north, there is a high pressure ridge here. Bermuda high off to the north and as that weakens, it could cause the storm to craze the east coast of Florida very similar to a Hurricane Matthew as we saw a few years ago. But if it does indeed come ashore here and stalls out over the Florida peninsula as a category four hurricane, that would absolutely be a horrible scenario here for the Florida peninsula and that's why people are taking this storm so seriously that's why preparations have begun a few days ago and they continue here and they'll definitely ramp up tomorrow across the Space Coast.

SCIUTTO: Well, Reed, it's good to have you on there watching it for us. Just stay safe as this storm comes your way.

TIMMER: Certainly. Thank you for having me.

SCIUTTO: Out front now, we have the Mayor of Miami Beach, Dan Gelber. Your city already experiencing, Mayor, flooding from the high tides, the king tides we were talking about just there with Reed Timmer. Hurricane Dorian hasn't even gotten there yet. Tell us how that combination could affect your city.

DAN GELBER, MAYOR, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Well, we're a city that sits at sea level. So our residents know about king tides because we have had a history of sunny day flooding. We've done quite a bit to stop it. We have a whole new pump system or storm water system that will pump it out, but it is a very dangerous confluence when you think about a slow storm surge of tide coming in on top of the tide that's already there because of the lunar cycle.

So it's a real thing for us and our residents are preparing. That's the challenge of this particular storm.

SCIUTTO: Tell us how you're preparing then, how the residents are individually but also how the city is helping them out.

GELBER: Jim, what we do is so we have a whole storm water system. We have moved out generators to pump water out when it comes. We've already queued up generators and pumps themselves. We have 85 pumps in the system or 85 storm water systems, so we're prepared to do that.

Right now we're cleaning the streets and we're cleaning all of the entire water system to make sure that when more debris comes, it's not sitting upon the debris that was already there. We're getting the system ready to pump water as fast as possible so that we can get it out. We're going to get more water than we'd like, obviously, but how fast we get it out of our city is what counts and we're going to be prepared to do that.

Our residents are preparing as well with sandbags and other things. The challenge of this storm is really this, we can prepare for this but because everybody sees it going everywhere in the State of Florida, because the cone is so wide, people may decide that it's not coming to them, they're going to play sort of Russian roulette and that's a big mistake.

[19:20:00] SCIUTTO: Yes. We often share those warnings and say to people they should listen to folks like you when they say, "Get out," because it's necessary. People make a lot of comparisons now to Hurricane Andrew in 1992. You were in Miami Beach at the time, of course, devastating, 44 people killed, billions of dollars in damage. Do you think that's a fair comparison and what's your message now to the people in the area as they're awaiting this hurricane's arrival?

GELBER: I wasn't just in Miami Beach. I was in City Hall, my dad was the mayor of the city and the mayor during Hurricane Andrew and it was coming right at us. I remember it like it was yesterday. And then at the last minute, it jogged south and went 30 or 40 miles to the south of us.

While the mayor of Dade County was urging us to go to his command center which was down south, which tells you anybody who is assuming it's not going to come to them because it could go anywhere is making a huge mistake. You have to assume the worst. Hope for the best, but assume the worst.

SCIUTTO: It's good advice. Thanks so much. We wish you the best. We wish your community the best in these coming days, Mayor.

GELBER: Thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT this hour, new details about what Trump's personal assistant said about the President's daughters that got her fired. The reporter who broke the story will be my guest. Plus, the President's former Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaking out for the first time since leaving the administration and he made some interesting comments about the President.


[19:25:50] SCIUTTO: Breaking news, President Trump breaking his silence on the sudden and stunning departure of his longtime personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout. Sources tell CNN she was forced to resign after sharing intimate details about Trump's family with reporters at an off-the-record meeting. Here's what the President just said before leaving for Camp David.


TRUMP: She said she was drinking a little bit and she was with reporters and everything she said was off the record, but that still doesn't really cover for her. Mentioned a couple of things about my children, but she's a very good person. But still you don't say things like she said which were just a little bit hurtful to some people.


SCIUTTO: Kaitlan Collins is out front tonight. Kaitlan, what else did President Trump have to say about her departure?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Jim, he said that conversation had just happened before he came out to speak to reporters, of course, acknowledging her drinking, acknowledging that she said things about his children. And while at times, he said, the media was to blame in part because it was supposed to be an off-the- record dinner where those comments were not supposed to be revealed. He did go back and focus on things that she said, saying that those were not things he felt that were appropriate for her to be sharing with reporters regardless of whether or not it was off the record or on the record and he talked about that.

So when I said, "Was she fired?" Because beforehand the language had not been clear whether or not she had just resigned or was forced to resign from her job. Jim, the President said he didn't want to say fired or not fired, but he said for him that decision was automatic after learning about the things that she said about his children.

Now, of course, part of those reports were that she had made derogatory comments about Tiffany Trump, his youngest daughter. When he was asked if the things that she repeated saying that the President had said those things were true, the President denied it and said they were not. And he talked about his daughter, Tiffany Trump, and said he was going to call her after he finished speaking with reporters there on the South Lawn. Though it didn't sound like he had spoken with her yet about it, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Out front now, White House Reporter for Politico, Daniel Lippman, and White House Reporter for The Wall Street Journal Michael Bender.

Daniel, you broke the story of exactly what it was that Madeleine Westerhout said about Trump's children tell us the details.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, I called around lots of sources in Washington because everyone in D.C. was wondering what exactly she said to get fired. And what I found out is that she bragged to the reporters that she had a better relationship with the President than Tiffany and Ivanka Trump, Trump's daughters, and also that Trump did not like being in pictures with Tiffany because he thought that she was overweight and that he couldn't pick her out of a lineup.

So it was kind of disparaging comments from the President that Madeleine relay to those reporters.

SCIUTTO: Goodness, alarming things to say. Michael, Madeleine Westerhout, she was a fixture for Donald Trump since he won the election. She was essentially the greeter for mission meetings back at Trump Tower. You could see a host of these with Rick Perry, David Petraeus, Anthony Scaramucci, Andrew Cuomo, Elon Musk just to show a few and here's President Trump in his own words speaking about her.


TRUMP: If you would call Madeleine in my office. Did you speak to Madeleine?


TRUMP: Madeleine is the key. She's the secret.


SCIUTTO: So she had a particularly powerful position there. Does it surprise you that she would speak this way to reporters, but also that the content of those conversations would lead to her being fired?

MICHAEL BENDER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, Jim, I can't speak to the conversations. As you know they're off the record and as a White House reporter, I abide by those stipulations. But you're right, Madeleine was one of the lesser known figures in the White House but one that wielded quite a bit of power.

She sat right outside the Oval Office. She's been a fixture with Trump through the campaign, through the transition in the first few years at the White House, which when you think about it is really quite something when you think about the turnover we've seen at the White House, historic turnover at the White House.

[19:30:05] Madeleine has been a mainstay with this president.

Daniel, President Trump willing to let her go over the remarks. And it appears it was a very swift and decisive decision here. Does that surprise you?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, once it gets out that you're going after Trump's family even in an off-the-record fashion, then it's not a huge surprise that Trump had to fire her. I think when you're speaking to four reporters and you're the president's executive assistant and saying stuff you shouldn't be saying, having too many drinks and then word gets back to Trump that you said that, then, you know, she shouldn't be surprised that she would have to polish up the resume. But it's going to be hard for her to find a new job given all of the stories in the last 24 hours about her.

SCIUTTO: Michael, you say her closeness to President Trump certainly had a lot of power. But you also say it meant she made a lot of enemies.

BENDER: Well, there are a lot of rivalries in this White House. And just by the inherent of her position, she, by the definition of her position, she wielded a lot of power and caused resentment within the White House. And that has -- that has caused -- fomented some rivalries for her, you know, in the West Wing and around the president.

SCIUTTO: Daniel, one thing the president has been consistent on over the years is that he demands loyalty not necessarily to a two-way street but certainly loyalty in his direction. Listen to what he had to say about it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm like this great loyalty freak. I am loyal to a point of the absurd.

I learned that there was some great loyal people. And I learned there were some people that could have been more loyal. And those people I discarded totally and do whatever I can.

Maybe I'm loyal to a fault. I'm so loyal when somebody is slightly disloyalty to me, I look upon it as a great act of horror.


SCIUTTO: I mean, the fact is Trump has not shown evidence of being loyal to the people working for him but certainly he expects loyalty does he not of the people -- the people who work for him?

LIPPMAN: Yes, he expects that they are completely onboard. This is the White House that is unprecedented in trying to find anti-Trump things that the staffers have tweeted or said on television. And that got a lot of people, you know, rejected from positions in this administration, and made it much harder to actually recruit to fill the entire government, given that a lot of Republicans had said negative things on the president during the campaign.

But as you mentioned, he doesn't seem to show a lot of loyalty. And a lot of people who work for him, they end up embarrassed and their departure becomes a huge story that, you know, it does not turn out well for them when you work for President Trump.

SCIUTTO: And the public attacks often follow.

Daniel Lippman, Michael Bender, thanks very much to both of you.

OUTFRONT next this hour, President Trump defends tweeting what appears to be a classified satellite image.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We had a photo. And I released it, which I have the absolute right to do.


SCIUTTO: Well, the question, of course, is at what cost.

Plus, President Trump insisting some business owners are very happy with his trade war, after slamming business leaders who criticized the trade spat with China. But is that really how small business owners feel about this? We're going to speak to one.


[19:37:25] SCIUTTO: Breaking news tonight, President Trump forced to respond to concerns that he tweeted to the world a classified satellite image. The image, a high resolution picture of a failed rocket launch in Iran taken by what appears to have been an intelligence community satellite.

The president was asked about the image and where it was obtained late today. Here was his response.


TRUMP: I just wish Iran well, they had a big problem. And we had a photo. And I released it, which I have the absolute right to do. And we'll see what happens.

You'll have to figure that one out ourselves. But we'll see what happens. They had a big mishap. It's unfortunate. So, Iran, as you probably know, they were going to send off a big missile and it didn't work out too well, had nothing to do with us.


SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congresswoman Ruben Gallego. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee. He's a veteran himself.

Congressman, thanks for taking the time tonight.

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: So, let's begin with this. The president tweets out a picture, appears to be taken from a U.S. surveillance satellite. Those images are by their nature classified. The president claims an absolute right to declassify anything which is, of course, true.

That said at what cost? What capabilities will the president have revealed to Iran and the world here by tweeting this photo out?

GALLEGO: Well, look, I don't know. And what we should be asking is, what is the end goal of this? And what is Iran's reaction going to be to our actions? And how does that actually further the interests of the United States? It doesn't. This president is doing foreign policy by tweets. He has his mean

girl policy when it comes to dealing with our enemies and with our allies. And it's just not, you know, becoming of the president of the United States.

SCIUTTO: What do you think his -- and I know this is difficult to do. But what could be the possible benefit of denying something that the U.S. was not accused of -- it wasn't acquiesced of being involved in this failed missile launch. What is the president -- is he trying to send a message to them?

GALLEGO: Look, you are trying to find logic in what I believe is illogical actions of the president. I'm not trying to go down that worm hole. It's impossible.

I think we have to recognize this president does not quite understand where he is in terms of the world order, when it comes to the great power competition. We have in previous presidents that haven't understood what we had to do. And the one thing when it comes to power struggles in this world and trying to exert power is he needs to understand power whispers and weakness screams.

And right now, I think he is screaming.

[19:40:02] It really shows we are isolated from our allies and not in a good negotiating position when it comes to Iran.

SCIUTTO: "The New York Times", I'm going to read from here, quote in the power circles of Tehran, the idea has taken hold that Iran must eventually negotiate with President Trump. Several people with knowledge of that shift telling "The Times" this is based on their perception that Trump could win re-election and they can't survive six more years of sanctions.

Is it possible the president's sanctions strategy is putting due pressure on them and that that pressure is working?

GALLEGO: Well, I think in many regards the sanctions regime that you see with Iran has been a continuation of the policies under President Bush, President Obama and now President Trump, something that's been bipartisan in many ways. The one area I think we are lacking is the fact that we have usually had universal acceptance among our allies that the sanctions regime is the best way to force Iran to the table.

What happened when he we left the JCPOA is we have created a situation where Iran has found new allies in our old allies and trying to find a way around this. So, hopefully, we can bring back that alliance. Hopefully, we can go back for the negotiating table.

I actually do not wish the president ill. Hopefully Iran does want to negotiate with us because that's in the best interests of the world. About what you I fear, however, and what many of us fear is that we may push ourselves in a situation where we find ourselves in a hot war because we're so intent on pushing buttons such as sending out these random tweets that it creates a miscalculation by Iran and we have a preemptive war that gets started. SCIUTTO: And one thing that's clear from the G7 is the U.S. has not moved its allies on leaving the Iran nuclear deal as President Trump did.

I do want to ask about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. You, a fellow former Marine. He's speaking out for the first time since leaving the Trump administration.

Mattis telling CBS News, I'm quoting here: I will not speak ill of a sitting president. I'm not going to do it. He is an unusual president, our president is. And I think that especially with just the rabid nature of politics today, we've got to be careful. We could tear this country apart.

As you know, Mattis resigned in 2018 over Trump, tweeting the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. I wonder, he is taking subtle criticism here of the president. But he is not going so far as to say the president has made clear mistakes. The president is unfit.

And I wonder if you think that's a mistake. If he has something to say, should he say it?

GALLEGO: Well, he can make his own decisions. I think, unfortunately, he wants to have it both ways where he gets to say what he likes to say about the president. But not take criticism for speaking out against the president.

But the one thing that disturbs me about Secretary Mattis and see, you know, we can tear the country apart. This president is tearing this country apart and it's incumbent upon elected official, Democrat, Republican, independent, that we do everything to make sure this president doesn't tear this country apart.

So, you know, Secretary Mattis has a right to his privacy, has a right to keep his counsel with the president. But let's not -- let's be clear. What's happening right now is abnormal and the president is tearing this country apart.

And I'm sorry that Secretary Mattis somehow does not see that already.

SCIUTTO: Congressman Gallego, thanks so much for coming on. I hope you get a real weekend.

GALLEGO: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next this hour, President Trump attacking business owners that are hurting because of his trade war.


TRUMP: A lot of badly run companies are trying to blame tariffs. It's not the tariffs. It's called bad management.


SCIUTTO: We'll speak to a business owner who responds. Plus, it's a billion-dollar industry leaving some less fortunate

Americans drowning in debt. How they are fighting back.


[19:47:29] SCIUTTO: Breaking news tonight, President Trump doubling down, slamming American businesses hurt by his tariffs. Here is what he told reporters just a few moments ago.


TRUMP: A lot of badly run companies are trying to blame tariffs. In other words, if they are running badly and they are having a bad quarter, or just unlucky in some way, they are liking to blame the tariffs. It's not the tariffs. It's called bad management.


SCIUTTO: This echoes a tweet he sent this morning in which he accused those CEOs of using excuses.

OUTFRONT now, he's a CEO, Arnold Kamler. He's the chairman and CEO of Kent International. It imports and manufactures bicycles. His company is one of the many companies that is feeling the impact of trade war.

Thanks so much for taking the time tonight.


SCIUTTO: So, the president says it's not the tariffs. You're a bad businessman. Your reaction?

KAMLER: No, I think it's an unfair comment. I think it's a good businessman. It's a family started by my grandfather a million years ago, actually, over 100 years ago.

When I joined the company in 1972, we had like five employees, including my parents. Now, we have 215 employees. And we sell more than 3 million bicycles on a worldwide basis.

SCIUTTO: I'd say that's doing all right.


SCIUTTO: So, the president has claimed -- he's lied about this, frankly. He said that China pays the tariffs, American businesses and consumers don't pay the tariffs. Just as a businessman, explain to viewers who pay the tariffs and how.

KAMLER: Well, we really pay the tariff. When a shipment comes in, let's just say an average shipment and we have several shipments every week so about a million dollars coming in. A year ago, we would have paid $110,000 of import duty on that shipment or about 11 percent. We're now as of next week going to be paying as much as 40 percent import duty. And we don't write a check. We have an account with U.S. Customs and

they automatically deduct it from our checking account. So --

SCIUTTO: That's real money.

KAMLER: That's real money and it goes out of our checking account. And maybe the worst part of that or one of the really bad part is cash flow. Because we normally when we buy all the components for the U.S. factory or when we buy complete bicycles, we get credit terms. Every business needs credit. But U.S. customs only gives us about two weeks. And so, you've got a lot of money going out of the checking account.

SCIUTTO: And that's a significant bump, because a consumer if you have to pass the tariff on -- I imagine, the consumers, they're going to notice the change in price.

KAMLER: Oh, yes, right now from the beginning of the tariffs over a year ago to now, the retail prices on our bicycles are up in excess of 20 percent.

[19:50:00] SCIUTTO: That's money when a family is going in there to buy bikes.

KAMLER: Jim, you know, for rich people, $20, $30, it doesn't mean anything. But there's family living -- many families in this country, as you know, are living paycheck to paycheck, and the $20 can be the difference between purchasing the bicycle now, or just not getting it that bicycle.

SCIUTTO: So, the president wants companies like yours just to simply turn the manufacturing around from China, bring it back to the U.S. I should note you already manufacture about 15 percent of your bicycles in South Carolina, 85 percent in China.

But is that easier said and done, to suddenly just lift all those contracts out and bring them back here?

KAMLER: Well, there is no infrastructure of bicycle parts. There was a U.S. bicycle industry in the 1960s, '70s, '80s. And to the president's credit, China is the one that destroyed the U.S. bike industry. So, fighting China is the right strategy.

But these very high tariffs are hurting us very badly. Now, with our factory in the United States, we still depend a tremendous amount on component parts that we're importing. And so, when we're importing some of these parts now, we're paying 30 to 40 percent import duty. Now, people can buy the parts and set up an assembly plant like in Vietnam, which is part of the strategy, and not pay any import duty. So, now, my American factory with American workers is at a strategic disadvantage compared to --

SCIUTTO: That's interesting, because even the part here is suffering from those part of the business here is suffering from those tariffs.

Arnold Kamler, we know you're working hard at this. We wish you the best of luck.

KAMLER: Well, thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: Thanks for coming on.

OUTFRONT next tonight, a CNN investigation, how families at risk of losing everything are now taking on what critics call attacks on the poor.


[19:55:34] SCIUTTO: Last night, we told you about the $2 billion bail bond industry and how it profits out of poor, low risk defendants. Tonight, a look at how this impacts families for years after an arrest and how those families are now fighting back.

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Baltimore's poorer neighborhoods, it can take just one arrest to send a family spiraling into debt.

ALICE HUGHES, BALTIMORE RESIDENT: It started with a phone call.

GRIFFIN: Alice Hughes got the phone call from her nephew from jail. He was under arrest. The charges: marijuana, violating a protective order, bail was set at $75,000.

HUGHES: All I was thinking about was getting him out.

GRIFFIN: The bail bondsman wanted 10 percent to get her nephew out of jail. Hughes gave all the cash she had, $700 and co-signed a loan payment plan for the rest.

Defendants who use their own money for bail, get the money back from the court if they show up to court, but bail companies don't give anything to the court. They take that 10 percent as a service fee, a fee people like Alice Hughes must pay no matter the outcome of her nephew's case.

(on camera): Guilty or not?

HUGHES: Guilty or not.


HUGHES: Whether I committed the crime or not.

GRIFFIN: Whether your nephew committed the crime or not.

HUGHES: Uh-huh.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Veryl Pow is Alice Hughes' attorney who says people who can't afford to pay bond get a raw deal.

POW: They are forced between three impossible choices. One, they could remain in jail during the pending of the criminal case that can take months or years. Two, they can plead guilty, or three, go to a bail bonds man but this third option is not as simple as it sounds.

GRIFFIN: Is this ruining people's lives?

POW: Absolutely. The scale of this bail industry is massive.

GRIFFIN: The bail bond industry takes in roughly $2 billion every year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, almost exclusively on the backs of the poor. But if the purpose of money bail is to make defendants return to court for trial, study after study shows it's hardly the most effective. The result, the cash bail system in the United States is little more than a tax on the poor for being arrested.

CHERISE FANNO BURDEEN, CEO, PRETRIAL JUSTICE INSTITUTE: The vast majority of people who are being detained pending trial have been legally released by the courts. They just have money bonds set and have been unable to make them.

GRIFFIN: Sixty-five percent of people sitting in jails right now are not convicted, they are just awaiting trial. Many trapped by the unaffordable price of their release.

Cherise Fanno Burdeen with the Pretrial Justice Institute says those sitting in jail who have jobs will also almost assuredly lose them.

BURDEEN: And what research shows is that someone who loses their job, loses their source of income, then loses their housing and destabilizes their family is more likely in the future to get in trouble.

GRIFFIN: Across the U.S., state after state is beginning to recognize the inequality and the damage being done by cash bail systems. And while a CNN review has found many states have been successful, in nine states covering more than a third of the population, the powerful bail industry has derailed, stalled or killed reforms.

Maryland made reforms in 2017, releasing more defendants without having to pay for bail. But the change came too late for Alice Hughes and her nephew. He was arrested in 2014. Those charges against him eventually went away but her debt to pay the bail has never gone away. In fact, it has grown.

After her nephew failed to keep up with payments, the bonds company sued her for the debt plus interest and fees that now total nearly $8,700. Her wages at work are being garnished.

HUGHES: They are taking $131 and some odd cents per pay, and from what I understand, it will go on until they collect.

GRIFFIN: Because of accruing interest, Alice Hughes may never be able to pay it off, all over the arrest of a man in Baltimore who couldn't pay his bail.


GRIFFIN: Jim, a bail industry spokesperson insists bail bondsmen are not the bad guys. They are just providing a service to people who find themselves under arrest.

As for Alice Hughes, she is suing her bail bond company, part of a class-action lawsuit -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Great reporting there by Drew Griffin.

And thanks to you so much for joining us. We hope you have a great holiday weekend.

I'm Jim Sciutto.

"AC360" starts right now.