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Dorian Could hit Florida as a Category Four Hurricane; DNC Rejects Iowa's Caucus Plan; Biden Flanked by Sanders and Warren in Debate; Conflict Between Israel and Iran Escalates; Coco Gauff Advances in U.S. Open. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 30, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:27] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: OK, new this morning, Hurricane Dorian is rapidly intensifying as it takes aim at Florida. It's forecast to become a huge, very powerful hurricane before making landfall with winds of 130 miles per hour or stronger.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is back with us.

Chad, I want you to tell us where at this point we think this storm is headed. I know we're dealing with 500 miles here, but the models have come into greater agreement.


We are somewhere now plus or minus a hundred miles from where the center of the line would be to the outside of the cone here to the outside of the cone here. So now because this storm is getting closer, this -- the models get better and the cone gets smaller and smaller. By the time that gets there, our cone would even be smaller. Of course that's just how it works.

This is going to come on shore as 140 miles per hour storm. Now don't get -- don't get technical. About 134 to 144, or whatever it might be, this is just where we think the middle will be.

As it comes on shore it will lose a little steam, but that's because it's on shore at 130. So really landfall will be somewhere in that category four hurricane. Consequences will be significant. Destruction will be catastrophic. It will be time to get out of that area as soon as we know what that area is. And then it begins to slow down. And in 24 hours, it doesn't even make it to Orlando.

So -- now this thing still could. This thing still could, John, because of the cone and the way it works. We could still be all the way off shore and miss or go all the way across the state and, again, be on the other side into the Gulf of Mexico. You can see where the cone still is. It's because at Orlando that number one over that area, that is still five days away. Five days to watch this thing lumber across a very warm atmosphere.

I don't see an eye this morning. And that's good. If you don't see the eye, that means the storm isn't getting bigger. It isn't getting deeper. It isn't getting stronger. But as you mentioned, talking about the models, they are all in agreement now, southern half of Florida for landfall and then turning to the right.

Now, will the turn be slightly earlier or later? You know, that's still to be seen. That's still 70 hours away. But the models came into agreement overnight, finally, because they have been dichotomous.

We've been West Palm, West Palm for European and American models. Just the timing's about six hours different on landfall. That's pretty much irrelevant at this point.

But why did that happen? Because there was a Gulf Stream G4 in the atmosphere yesterday before the models ran. That Gulf Stream flew out of Tampa, came down through, sampled the entire atmosphere around the storm and then went back home.

[06:35:10] Now, it wasn't through the middle. It did not go through the core. What it did in its path was drop these little parachutes onto the surface of the ocean from 40,000 or 50,000 feet up.

So this is like a weather balloon that goes up but it just goes down. So now we have weather balloon data, essentially, all the way through the atmosphere here. And they put that into the models and the models said, thank you very much, here is your answer. And that's where we are right now.

BERMAN: And just to be clear, and I know, Chad, that the entire peninsula needs to be on alert and all the way up to Georgia --

MYERS: Oh, absolutely.

BERMAN: But when we talk about the southern shift of the forecast, that's a big deal --

MYERS: It is significant.

BERMAN: Because as it drifts further south, you're dealing with the major population centers of the state, correct?

MYERS: No question. Absolutely no question.

You know, Miami-Dade, Broward, all of a sudden you have now increased the population from let's say Juno Beach to now millions and tens of millions of people in the way. And it's a lot like when Andrew was heading towards Miami but then ended up hitting Homestead. Homestead was destroyed. But could you imagine what would have happened to downtown Miami if that was a little bit farther to the north.

This is what we're talking about. And as the models start to shift farther and farther south, do they continue that? Do they continue that southern shift or do they finally just say, no, this is our answer, this is where it's going to go? It doesn't matter. There's going to be 10 to 20 inches of rainfall. There's going to be trees down. There's going to be destruction all over Florida. You need to pay attention because this is a big deal. JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a big deal. Plenty of uncertainty,

but those preparations need making nonetheless.

Chad, we'll be back with you later. Thank you for that.

MYERS: You bet.

CHATTERLEY: All right, coming up, a big development in Iowa overnight that could put this state's first in the nation status into question. All the details, next.


[06:40:54 BERMAN: All right, a potentially major shakeup in the Democrat nominating calendar here. Stick with me because it's a little bit complicated. "The Des Moines "Register reports that the Democratic National Committee will reject Iowa's plan to allow registered Democrats to participate over the phone due to security concerns. Now, Iowa had implemented a plan to accommodate a new DNC rule requiring caucus states to allow some form of absentee voting. Iowa is the first in the nation to caucus, but New Hampshire is the first primary. By law, New Hampshire is the first primary. New Hampshire law. So Iowa must now figure out a way to allow Democrats to vote without being present and they have to make sure it differentiates substantially from how the primary system works so New Hampshire can still call itself the first primary.

I know it sounds complicate here, but the bottom line is, it's not impossible, as we wake up this morning, that Iowa doesn't go first.

Joining us now, Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH" and a CNN political commentator.

That was a very complicated run-up, Michael, but it's sort of like the guns of August, unintended consequences here. I doubt it will happen. I think they'll figure it out. But it would be giant if Iowa managed not to be first.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Iowa will not go quietly into that night. Every four years it seems that there's some discussion, independent of the issue that you're addressing, as to whether other states will leapfrog Iowa and New Hampshire. And, John, each time that's raised, they make it very clear they will move their dates as far forward as necessary because they don't want to relinquish that control.

I'm looking at this in terms of, which of the candidates benefit if, in fact, they limit the ability to participate by phone. And here's my headline. Passion wins because it requires commitment to show up at the caucus. And that's one of the complaints, that it takes too long and that if you're unavailable that night, then you're shut out of the process.

There's a different level of passion of support for these candidates. I say this benefits someone like Bernie Sanders, someone like Elizabeth Warren, and probably to the detriment of a Joe Biden. Biden may have more breadth of support, but not the level of passion that you're going to find among the Bernie folks.

CHATTERLEY: I mean, just to be clear, some of the polling around this suggested that these virtual caucuses could add 30 percent more participation here if they manage to -- if they manage to achieve this.

SMERCONISH: I don't have the data at my fingertips, but I remember covering from four years ago both Iowa and New Hampshire in 2016. And being surprised at the relative few people who participate, you would think with all of that attention heaped upon you, if you live in Iowa or you live in New Hampshire and you have not had a personal interaction with one of the 20 or so presidential candidates, that's on you because they are at a local coffee klatch, they are in your neighborhood. And when all is said and done, you would think that they would have, you know, 80 percent participation, but they don't.

BERMAN: There's the old Mo Udall story. Someone asked a New Hampshire voter, what do you think of Mo Udall, and his answer was, I don't know, I've only met him twice. I'm probably mangling the story there a little bit, but that -- that's the gist of it.

Michael, we have the debate stage layout for the next Democratic debate. It will just be ten candidates. And that's a big change. Or not two nights of debates, just one night of debate with ten candidates who qualified there. But look at the center. The matchup that people have been waiting for. The former vice president, Joe Biden, standing right next to Senator Elizabeth Warren.

What do you see?

SMERCONISH: Well, to her advantage, finally that she gets in the same camera shot as the former vice president. If you're not on that stage, there's just no oxygen left in the tent for you. You've got to be on the debate stage in order to be a viable candidate. So the ten who were cut short I think are out.

It still remains to Joe Biden's advantage to have eight others besides he and Elizabeth Warren on that stage because the longer it's a crowded field, the more that his role as the frontrunner, I think, continues on.

[06:45:07] And remember this, unlike what we saw in 2016 with the Republicans when they had a similar issue of so many on stage, in the end it's winner take all for the Republicans. In this process, it's proportionate. Meaning, as long as the ten remain on that stage, this could go on for quite some time. Indeed, all the way to the convention.

CHATTERLEY: How does Elizabeth Warren handle this? Is it too early for her to go hostile and try and narrow the lead that Joe Biden has in the polls now? Because what we saw last time around was Kamala Harris taking on Joe Biden. It didn't work out so well after all.

SMERCONISH: Timing is everything. You don't want to peak too soon. I think that the trajectory of where she stands at this moment suits her very well. Now, I will also say that I don't think that she's yet been under the

media microscope apart from the Native American heritage issue. And, you know, that time will also come and it remains to be seen how she withstands that level of scrutiny. But I think if you're Elizabeth Warren, you're very satisfied and slow and steady wins this race.

BERMAN: Michael, I want to ask you to weigh in on what we talked about a few minutes ago about Joe Biden. "The Washington Post" story about a tale that Biden has been telling about pinning a medal on a veteran. And the details weren't correct. We're not going to re-litigate that right now. But a point that I think was made last time, but I want to you -- have you weigh in on it as well, there have been a number of things in this campaign that people wondering, oh, would it hurt Joe Biden. The debate performance was one of them. The issues with proximity to women, that was another one. Everything that comes up. But nothing seems to make a dent in his lead in the Democratic race. Voters don't seem to care.

So is there any reason to believe that they would care about this?

SMERCONISH: You know, memory is a tricky thing. And from my days as a trial lawyer, memory, I'm reminded, is just not always as secure as we'd think, hence your Mo Udall story.

I think the damage to Joe Biden is in the long term. In the short term, is that really going to disrupt the dynamics of this race? No, it won't. But in the long term, will it be a factor that people take into consideration when evaluating his age and fitness? I suspect it's -- you know, it's going to get filed away somewhere in our consciousness.

CHATTERLEY: Does he get challenged on it as well in the debate? We'll see.

BERMAN: All right, Michael, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

CHATTERLEY: All right, coming up, tensions between Iran and Israel escalating and the threat of full-blown war hanging over the region. We'll tell you about the stark warning Israel just had for Lebanon, next.


[06:51:37] CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to the show.

The conflict between Israel and Iran is escalating. Israel now threatening Lebanon, warning that even civilians there will be at risk if Lebanese government does not move to prevent Iranian backed Hezbollah from developing guided missiles.

CNN's Sam Kiley has the story from Jerusalem.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Israeli forces on Lebanon's border already on high alert. Then this.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I told our enemies this week, be careful of what you do and today I tell them, (INAUDIBLE), Arabic for watch out.

KILEY: A week ago the IDF said that they had stopped this Iranian controlled Hezbollah team launching a drone attack from Syria into Israel. Two days later, the Israelis said that they flattened this compound in Syria to prevent more drone operations, and was accused of attacking Hezbollah sites with their own drones in Beirut.

Now a warning of possible attack from Israel from Lebanon where Hezbollah is based.

JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESMAN: That Iran and Hezbollah are endangering the Lebanese state by trying to manufacture precision guided missiles in Lebanon.

KILEY: Increased tensions play well with Mr. Netanyahu. He's campaigning for elections due next month.

But Iran has recently been showing off new weapons systems, missiles, smart bombs and drones.

YACOV AMIDROR, FORMER ISRAELI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: With this (INAUDIBLE) weapons systems, they can neutralize the infrastructure of Israel. And this is why it is so important not to let them have it. It is very, very important not to let the Iranians to build these capabilities in Lebanon.

KILEY: Israel has warned that it will strike to stop just that, but doing so could risk a much wider war.


KILEY: Concurrent with this, there's been a propaganda campaign on social media, even at one point suggesting that Hezbollah had ways type applications that could deliver bombs into Israeli homes at the touch of an iPhone, John.

BERMAN: All right, Sam Kiley, thanks so much for being there for us. Such a deadly combination of factors there. I don't think I've seen anything like that in that region for years.

All right, American Coco Goff wins again at the U.S. Open, but, oh, boy, does she have her work cut out for her now. A showdown with the world number one, Naomi Osaka. The "Bleacher Report," next.


[06:58:24] BERMAN: A matchup for the ages on deck at the U.S. Open. Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff will take on defending champion Naomi Osaka.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

The future before our very eyes, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Now, the future of tennis, it's here. Now, this is the matchup everyone was hoping would happen when the draw came out. Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff versus 21-year-old defending champion Naomi Osaka. They've never faced each other. And you combining their ages, they are still one year younger than Serena Williams.

Now, Coco needing a three set thriller to beat Timea Babos last night. She's now the youngest American to reach the round of 32 at the U.S. Open since 1991. And there is little doubt who the fan favorite is at Flushing Meadows.


COCO GAUFF, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I mean it gets me super pumped and I'm like, wow, like I'm really so grateful I'm playing in front of all you guys and you actually believe in me. And, like, this is just the beginning, I promise. And I promise to always fight for you guys.


SCHOLES: Now, Osaka, meanwhile taking care of business, beating Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4. The world number one player. She had some star power in her box. Kobe Bryant and Colin Kaepernick were there watching Osaka win. And when it comes to tomorrow's mega matchup, the odds heavily stacked against Coco, John. No one in her position, playing in her first -- or making her debut in a grand slam has ever beaten the defeating champion that's seeded number one. They're 0-67 in those matches. But, hey, Coco, no stranger to making history.

BERMAN: So she's due. Zero and 67 tells me it's all due. And does she know how to work a crowd or what at age 15? Andy Scholes, thanks so much for being with us.

SCHOLES: All right.

[07:00:05] BERMAN: All right, we have a big change in the track and intensity of Hurricane Dorian. NEW DAY continues right now.