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Hurricane Dorian A Category 4, Headed To Bahamas At This Time; Florida's Space Coast Prepares For Possible Dorian Hit; Mayor Of West Palm Beach, FL Discusses Hurricane Preparations; Hong Kong Police React To Protestors; Westerhout Firing Discussed. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired August 31, 2019 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We continue to follow breaking news at this hour, brand new details about the path of Hurricane Dorian.
The strong category 4 storm shifting east, putting millions more Americans in its dangerous path as the strike zone widens to snow include Georgia and the Carolinas. Dorian is rapidly intensifying with winds right now of 150 miles an hour. Considered extremely dangerous, the hurricane is now projected to pound Florida for several days as it then skirts northward along the shore and threatening the southeastern coast.
Let's begin our team coverage now in the CNN Weather Center where Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is tracking this storm's path with its growing intensity. What do you have?
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey Fred, good to see you. You mentioned the 150 miles an hour winds. That's significant stuff there. One hundred fifty-seven would make it a category five so that's what we're talking about here but I want to show you something most humans will never be in. This is the eye of the storm from the hurricane hunters.
We'll widen out the shot and be able to see completely clear skies up above and what they're looking at below is just a washing machine of the Atlantic Ocean. Just an incredible picture there from the hurricane hunters.
Let's get to it here. Hurricane Dorian, 150 mile-an-hour winds, quite an impressive storm. No question about it. Where is it headed? That's been the big question that would last us several days and boy I can feel your frustration. It has been with us as well. These are the Bahamas here. Not looking good for the Bahamas as this thing will continue to move off to the west.
We're not expecting any significant decrease in strength. The hurricane warnings are posted. We actually have a hurricane watch for offshore waters off Florida. That doesn't mean it's coming to you but it's going to get close enough where we could be looking at some dangerous conditions there. Watch the track here; 150 mile hour winds. If this forecast is correct and we're thinking is because look at the cone how skinny it is, the turn will happen, just not here. So the Abaco Islands, Grand Bahama Island will be just pummeled because the storm will slow down and it will still have 140 - 150 mile an hour winds.
And yes, this is the turn that has been playing with us the last several days. Since mid last week, the models have been trending at first in the gulf then up Florida, then along the East coast and now they continue the shift further and further east and that's what we look for in the models is a trend.
This forecast here - is that going to happen? I mean 400 mile error to 500 mile error. Maybe it goes into Charleston next Wednesday - Thursday. It just file that in back of your head and start thinking about that but there is a chance that this cyclone - that this hurricane goes out to sea and doesn't hit anybody.
Now that doesn't mean we're completely safe because it is a powerful storm. It may get close enough to Florida. We're talking about significant coastal flooding, however, look at this coastline it's like a catcher's mit so all that water will continue to be pushed.
The good thing is about this hurricane, those catastrophic winds, in fact the hurricane force winds, that would be 74 or above only extend 35 miles, so about 30 to 35 miles. So if this is 30 to 35 miles east of Florida, we're in had the clear as far as the catastrophic winds that would impact the entire shoreline, right, but we could be buffeted by tropical storm force winds, power outages throughout the next several days but this is looking better and better for Florida, which usually means, Fred, that it's looking less good for the Carolinas.
We'll watch this closely but again, look at that cone and how huge it is and absolutely this thing could go out to sea and never make landfall. That is an incredible thing to say, I know, especially with the forecast we've been talking about the last several days but that's the best we can do with the modeling.
WHITFIELD: I think everybody would like that.
CABRERA: Yes, no question about it. If the biggest lines at Home Depot are returning generators, we're in much better shape.
WHITFIELD: Yes, it would be nice if it made that kind of U-turn. All right, Ivan Cabrera, we'll check back with you. Thank you so much.
So right now Hurricane Dorian is headed for the Bahamas. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is there. So Patrick, what are residents doing there? It looks pretty.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're making their final prep - yes, it's gorgeous. It's a day you could go to the beach and yet the beach behind me, there's nobody there because it is at an uneasy calm that we always experience. You know you get a little sick to your stomach because you know its coming and yet you look out on the horizon and there's nothing out there.
But we do know and people here do know because they have so much experience with hurricanes over the years that they need to get ready now. Because in the hours ahead, the wind is going to pick up, the rain is going to begin and it's just going to be too dangerous to be outside. We've seen people going and getting gas, buying whatever food there is left, going and getting power cables and whatever final items. Some people even buying generators they can get their hands on.
At the end of the day the airport here is closed, we're on an island that is now too dangerous to go out in your boat so people are stuck here.
And they know they're going to have to ride this out and they're going to have to get away from the coastal areas that are going to flood. There have been people evacuated from other low-lying islands and brought here to Grand Bahamas.
The highest point of land here on this island is only 30 feet high so even though it's higher than other areas, it's not that high. The storm surge is going to be a major concern and yet people know that there's really no chance to get out of path of this storm. It's coming here and they're going to have to be prepared as best as one can be.
WHITFIELD: Yes, that's all you can do, be prepared. Patrick Oppmann, thank you so much.
All right, Florida's space coast has been preparing for this storm for several days now. CNN's Nick Valencia is there at Cocoa Beach where it's not as deserted as what we saw behind Patrick Oppmann, the skies look good so folks are kind of taking their chances and hoping for the best, aren't they?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are and that sort of worries the Brevard County sheriff's office. I just got off the phone with their press information officer who compared this storm - the track of this storm to Hurricane Matthew saying that storm didn't make direct landfall on Florida but it caused millions of dollars in damage because it grinded up the eastern part of the state.
I mentioned this is a holiday weekend here. You see more people out than you saw this morning. People took their chance to come to the beach. I want to introduce you to some of those tourists, here walk with me a little bit Fredricka. Jenna Huber, what's going on? How have you been impacted by the storm here? Your family came here on vacation. How have you been affected?
JENNA HUBER, TOURIST: We actually had to change or flights and then we originally wanted to come to the beach on a later day but we ended up coming today to wait.
VALENCIA: Was the airline pretty reasonable in helping you guys out? We heard some airlines were waving change of flight fees. HUBER: They sent out an e-mail to everybody saying that even if you
bought it from a separate company they were able to change it. So we called the company and they were good about switching it for us.
VALENCIA: Well you look pretty smart right now because it's beautiful out, right? But like a few days ago, we were thinking that this might make landfall around this area Sunday night into Monday morning. What made you get on the plane to come down?
HUBER: I didn't want to be in classes.
VALENCIA: College student. I get it.
HUBER: I'm just taking classes and we're just kind of banking on it not hitting, like, earlier.
VALENCIA: Driving around the area, driving around Cocoa Beach, have you seen preparation going on? Have you heard any conversations about people being nervous? Are you nervous? ?
HUBER: I'm not nervous myself necessarily but I saw one of the Denny's down on the main road here. It was completely boarded up and other places are boarded up and it has writing on it saying whether they're open or not, so.
VALENCIA: Have you ever been through a hurricane before or tropical storm, anything like that?
HUBER: No, not that I can remember, no.
VALENCIA: We hope it stays that way for you. Jenna, thank you so much for taking the time with CNN. So you see Fred, people are enjoying this moment. You know it is beautiful. The sun is shining out but I mentioned the tropical storm force winds, the potential for that to happen later this week really makes a lot of people nervous. That's why there's mandatory evacuations going on.
Tomorrow - starting tomorrow, parts of Brevard County, the sheriff's office announced that. They want residents to start evacuating around 8 a.m. I asked the sheriff's office if those have extended anywhere for right now. It's just the Kennedy Space Center as far south as Merritt Island where mandatory evacuations are in effect. People still keeping their guard up here and that's very clear. Fred.
WHITFIELD: Even though some people are rather chill right now, things can change tomorrow. Nick Valencia, thank you so much in Cocoa Beach, appreciate it. All right, Florida officials are urging residents to stockpile a week's worth of supplies ahead of Hurricane Dorian and drivers are being told to gas up their cars in the event of evacuation orders.
Joining me right now on the phone, Keith James, Mayor of West Palm Beach. Mr. Mayor, we spoke a couple of days ago and you said people are, you know, they kind of know the drill and how to prepare but what are you seeing now that this storm path is a little less certain? KEITH JAMES, MAYOR OF WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA: Well listen, I'm
certain -- first of all, thank you for having me again. I'm certainly cautiously optimistic because the path is taking it away. However, I want to warn all of our residents that we shall not get complacent. This is not an all clear.
It just means that we may not have such extreme conditions but we will have intense conditions. We're going to have probably some period where we have tropical storm force winds if not hurricane winds. We're going to have a lot of rain which could lead to flooding. So this is still going to be a significant weather event and we need to remain vigilant.
WHITFIELD: Yes, so what does it mean when, you know, people are asked to stay vigilant but at the same time there may be some relief that comes with the change of this pattern that perhaps West Palm Beach is not going to get a direct hit, maybe even no one on the Florida coast will get a direct hit. But then the message is be vigilant. So what do you want people to do?
JAMES: Here is why I say that, and having been through a few of these, the storm itself, yes, that could be difficult, a lot of rain, flooding, wind. It's really like after the storm that we need to prepare for. There may be significant power outages, roads may be covered with debris.
The traffic lights may be out, there may be downed power lines. You probably won't get the "all clear" notice immediately after the storm passes, which means people may have to shelter down, so they're going to need to have food, water, medicine for whatever period of time that is to clean up after the storm. We can't anticipate the damage at this point but that's what I'm really trying to get people to prepare for is life after the storm.
There's going to be a period of time where you're going to have to shelter down and stay safe and remain in shelter until we get the all clear, roads are clear, traffic lights are working and we have power.
WHITFIELD: I asked the mayor of Palm Bay earlier where he was going to be as the storm, you know, nears and he said he was going to be at home. How about for you? What is your plan? Would you be at an emergency preparedness location, a city hall or even your own home?
JAMES: No, no, no. I'm at home now. We're finishing up our own preparations, getting shutters up and stuff but then I'm headed to the emergency operations center for a 1:00 briefing. Then I will come home and finish making things comfortable for my family and tomorrow afternoon I will be going back over there and I will be in the emergency operations center until the duration of not only the storm but post-storm clean-up activity.
WHITFIELD: All right, Mayor Keith James of West Palm Beach, thank you so much. We're wishing you ever well and of course to all the residents along the Florida, Georgia and now Carolina coasts as well.
JAMES: Thank you again for having me. WHITFIELD: Thank you. All right, coming up, blue dye cannons, tear
gas and firebombs, all part of dramatic protests heating up in Hong Kong. We'll take you there live. Plus President Trump says he forgives his now ex-assistant for spilling intimate details about his family. So why is he bringing up her confidentiality agreement? Stay with us.
WHITFIELD: Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong turned violent as police and demonstrators clash in the streets.
Police used tear gas and deployed water cannons near the Legislative Council building after protesters threw petrol bombs into police barricades. CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Hong Kong for us. So Paula, in some cases police sprayed protesters with this water dyed blue and then also would arrest them. It looks a little quieter since the last time that we spoke with you. What's going on?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely. We're going into the early hours of Sunday morning now Fredricka and the protesters have gone home. The police have gone home. We understand there may be a few police left in the station behind us but what protesters were saying as they were going home is see you tomorrow. So ready for the next protest. But we have certainly seen a fair few clashes this evening, and this Saturday afternoon.
As you say, we have seen protesters throwing bricks, throwing petrol bombs at the police. The police have used tear gas, they've used water cannons and we have seen ourselves a number of arrests being made. I know that the police said in the past few days that more than 900 have been arrested.
We don't have an updated figure on that at this point but we know just yesterday there were a number of high-profile, anti-government, pro- democracy activists who were arrested as well, many now out on bail. But this is really becoming quite a regular occurrence on a weekend in Hong Kong.
This is the 13th consecutive weekend that we are seeing the protesters come out. None of the protests that happened today were legal because the one that was planned, the police denied that saying that they were worried about civil unrest. People came out onto the streets anyway wanting to make their voices heard and then as many peaceful protesters left, there were some more hard core elements who started throwing things at the police. So unfortunately Fredericka, this is becoming quite a regular occurrence on the streets of Hong Kong.
WHITFIELD: Thirteen weekends now. So how is this going to come to an end, if at all?
HANCOCKS: Well, the protesters themselves say that they need some of those five demands to be met. They have demands to the chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam. For example, they want the full withdrawal of that controversial extradition bill. The reason that this started in the first place, all these protests started.
They also want an independent inquiry into police activity. They believe, many of the protesters, that police have used excessive force in these protests; the police deny that. The government denies that. They say that what we heard on Friday, if the protests are peaceful, we'll act the same. If there is violence we will use proportionate action.
So really there's no agreement when it comes to what the police have done but this did used to be one of the safest cities in the world and now we are seeing this happening every weekend sometimes during the week as well. And it really is from the protesters' point of view, time for the government to give something in return. But from the government's point of view, they are just calling for protesters to go home.
WHITFIELD: Paula Hancocks, thank you so much in Hong Kong.
All right, coming up, President Trump said he is accepting an apology from his ex-assistant after she spilled family details to reporters on an off-the-record dinner. So why is the president bringing up her confidentiality agreement this morning?
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. President Trump tweeting out today about his long-time gatekeeper who was fired from the White House this week for comments she made about Trump and his family. The comments were made at an off-the-record dinner with reporters.
The president is saying while Madeleine Westerhout, who was his assistant, has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don't think there would ever be reason to use it. She called me yesterday to apologize and had a bad night. I fully understand and forgave her. I love Tiffany, doing great.
An article in "Politico" said Trump didn't like having his photo taken with his daughter, Tiffany, because of her weight. The president is denying the validity of that article. So with me now from Washington is Sabrina Siddiqui. She's the White House correspondent for "the Guardian U.S." and A.B. Stoddard is the associate editor and columnist for "RealClearPolitics."
All right, good to see you both. Happy Labor Day weekend.
So Sabrina, you first. You know Westerhaut, you know was not only kind of the gatekeeper. I mean she was his assistant. You know but she'd been there really from the beginning. So this seems like this is an issue of crossing the line with the president. You're not going to talk about my family and certainly not publically. Is that really the crux of the problem here?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR "THE GUARDIAN U.S.": It does appear to be what transpired. The president is very protective of his children, and so I think that this was an example of crossing the line. But what's striking about his focus on these nondisclosure agreements is that federal employees are not bound to any confidentiality agreement that they may have reached with the White House.
This is a concept that the president has really brought with him from his business in New York to the U.S. government, but ultimately these are people who are considered to be public servants. So barring the release of classified information, there's nothing that would prohibit them from speaking out on their experience at the White House. It really just speaks to the way in which the president feels like his staff is beholding to him and not to the public.
WHITFIELD: So one - then one has to wonder if she had this disclosure - this confidentiality agreement, nondisclosure agreement signed before she went to the White House and if that were the case, is that a circumstance in which it would hold even though she is now a public servant - a public employee working at the White House, Sabrina?
SIDDIQUI: Well, it's hard to say and it really depends on if this actually did end up in court. The president has sought to take action against some of his former aids who wrote tell-all books. Omarosa is probably one of the most prominent examples of that.
But at the same time, to your point earlier, Madeleine is someone who is considered to be much more of a loyalist although she came from the establishment from the RNC and did not initially appear to be too fond of then candidate Trump. She was known to be close to the president and there's no reason at this point in time to believe that she's going to go out there and leak information that's going to prompt the president to take any kind of action or try to take any kind of action against her.
WHITFIELD: So A.B. if anything, it also reveals more about how thin the skin of the president is, right, because he is openly criticizing a whole lot of people, saying some very uncomplimentary things, revealing a lot but it seems as though someone working so closely to him now at this off-the-record dinner would make any comments about Ivanka and reportedly Tiffany, he has zero tolerance on that.
A.B. STODDARD, AUTHOR AND EDITOR AT "REALCLEARPOLITICS": Well, I don't think he should put up with this. He has a very skewed version of loyalty, everyone has to be very loyal to him, sometimes at great personal and professional sacrifice and of course he doesn't return it. But in this case I don't think that you can be in a job with the kind of capacity that the access and trust that was required for her position, really like a right-hand person, this is a role that Hope Hicks kind of had, this sort of similar role.
Both of these women really endeared themselves to President Trump. What I was surprised by in his remarks today on twitter is how not vindictive he is and how unangry he seems.
WHITFIELD: Really? The comment about the drinking? And it's almost like saying you know there's a confidentiality agreement and I wouldn't want it use it. I mean he said that. I mean let's show that tweet. A.B. STODDARD: I think she should have been fired for what she did because you can't talk about the president's family and continue to hold their trust and I was actually surprised that he was trying to find a way to make it seem like they're at peace and she did a good job and complimenting her and stuff. The reminder about the NDA is because he grabbed "The New York Times"...
WHITFIELD: That was a threat A.B. A.B., that was a threat.
STODDARD: He read in the -- "The New York Times" that she might have been - she's being sought after by publishing houses for a tell-all book. And Sabrina's right, that it's not likely that Madeleine writes one. Yes, he's trying to make sure that she's intimidated. I still, like I said, was surprised to see how much -- he actually hesitated about firing her. And I think like I said, what she did is not something that can be tolerated.
WHITFIELD: But Sabrina, it seems like the firing is the easy part. Now it's the follow-up of a tweet that says and it then there's this confidential agreement, you don't want me to have to use it, do you?
SIDDIQUI: Well, I think that the implication of the tweet is pretty clear. It's partially because he has had former aides who have gone out there and spoken to the press, revealed details about the inner workings of the White House that have been far from flattering. It really is, I think, an element that reinforces just how important the role is that she played in the White House as the assistant to the president. This is someone who was known as his gatekeeper.
He once himself said that she was the secret and so she knows who he met with, when he met with those people, who he got on the phone with, what was the nature of the timing of those conversations and why. She really would have seen a lot from her vantage point and so I think there is some concern that any president would have, not just this president about the amount of information that that person possesses and can provide to the public. But again, we just haven't seen any indication that she intends to do so.
WHITFIELD: OK. Let's shift gears now and let's talk about this U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
[12:30:00] You know, "The Washington Post" reporting the National Security Advisor John Bolton, was not even invited to a key meeting on the future of Afghanistan. So Sabrina, that is very unusual. I mean you're talking about this foreign policy, whether troops stay or go, you know, a commitment that the U.S., an agreement has with Afghanistan and the national security adviser would not be at the table at that meeting? What does that say?
SIDDIQUI: Well, it certainly remarkable for a national security adviser to not be part of that meeting. But based on the reporting that we have, John Bolton appears to have fallen out of favor with the president, in part because he has opposed some of the administration's efforts to reach a diplomatic resolution in Afghanistan and to negotiate with both the Taliban and the Afghan government. He's also been more so on the periphery when it comes to negotiations with North Korea, as well as whether or not to engage with Iran at a time of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.
I think it goes back to this idea that with this president, in particular, you can really fall in and out of favor depending on the extent to which he trusts you. He sees you as loyal and whether or not he's on the same page. This is a president who really campaigned on scaling back U.S. involvement overseas. Bolton is, you know, a notable hawk, he's all been that way. He's always all argued for more military intervention. So I think that's really the disagreement between the two.
WHITFIELD: Right. So A.B., is this an indicator of anything in your view?
STODDARD: I mean, I'm stunned that the national security adviser has been left out was not in this meeting but I was stunned when he was not on the trip to North Korea when the president crossed into the demilitarized zone. And the Bolton was off in Mongolia and it was sort of a joke that he'd been banished.
He's been out of the circle for a long time. I'm surprised he hasn't resigned on principle. It seems that he disagrees on policy in many areas that the secretary of state Mike Pompeo also does but that Pompeo has found a way in his discussions with the president to not disagree strenuously and to not take it outside the room.
And that's why Bolton is getting sidelined. It is -- it's interesting that I know an adviser who speaks with President Trump frequently about this and says he likes to keep Bolton around because it's -- you know, Bolton is bellicose and the Chinese and our other, you know, adversaries and enemies think he might start a war at any day and that would -- that, you know, that's his position at any time and it sort of keeps everyone unnerved.
But it's clear that he's been completely isolated. And if he's no longer useful and he's not fulfilling an actual necessary role as a national security adviser, it's kind of stunning that he hasn't been forced to resign or that he hasn't walked away himself.
WHITFIELD: At the very least it's got to be frustrating for Bolton.
All right, A.B. Stoddard, Sabrina Siddiqui, Thanks so much.
SIDDIQUI: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, all on edge as Hurricane Dorian inches closer to the coast. The latest on the storm tracking and how to prepare, next.
[12:36:42] WHITFIELD: All right, some breaking news right now. We've learned today the track of powerful Hurricane Dorian is shifting east. That means the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas are now in the possible strikes zone. But Floridians are being warned the storm could still have catastrophic effects including damaging winds and storm surge. Many gas stations across Florida are dealing with long lines and shortages as drivers prepare for Dorian.
And let's get to CNN's Brian Todd in West Palm Beach. So, Brian, you're at a rest stop there. What have you been seeing?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, this is a rest stop along the main evacuation route. This is the Florida turnpike northbound, a main evacuation route for the entire state for most of south Florida as they get out during situations like this.
Now, the evacuation dynamic this afternoon is very much in flux. I just got off the phone with the mayor of Palm Beach County, Mack Bernard, and he said as of now they still planned some mandatory evacuations for Palm Beach County tomorrow but they've still got to monitor the situation.
Again, this -- part of the state here could take a significant strike from the hurricane. That's what the governor said a short time ago. So officials here being a little bit cautious. They don't want everybody out on the road at the same time.
And here is the mayor from our discussion yesterday talking about why they don't want hundreds of thousands if not millions of people streaming north all at the same time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MACK BERNARD (D), PALM BEACH, FLORIDA: We don't want everyone to leave, specifically with this hurricane, because it's going to come from -- it's going to hit us and then it's going to head north. So we want some of the residents to stay in place but prepare in terms of getting your windows shuttered so now everything is ready. Have your food ready so in that way we don't want someone to drive north and then all of a sudden they get stuck with the hurricane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And that's still a possibility with some of the states possibly in the track of the storm, at least to get maybe a sideswipe, significant wind and rain activity, possibly some flooding along this area and points north towards Jacksonville as the storm moves north and east. So again, you know, they -- Florida officials all morning long and even with the latest forecast are stressing you can't let your guard down here. Some people still, Fredricka, will be asked to evacuate.
WHITFIELD: All right. Brian Todd, keep us posted. Thank you so much.
So as Florida prepares for Hurricane Dorian, water is one of the most essential items for residents to have, clean drinking water, water you can cook with. Governor Ron DeSantis recommends people have at least a week's worth of water. And one brewery is preparing for the worst- case scenario.
Grove Roots Brewing in Winter Haven, Florida announced on Facebook that they are filling their sterilized fermenters with drinking water, 1,500 gallons of it.
And joining me right now, the owner of Grove Roots Brewing, Joe Dunham. Joe, you're being so generous to your fellow Floridians. Why? What drove this idea?
JOE DUNHAM, OWNER, GROVE ROOTS BREWING COMPANY: Well, first and foremost, we're a community-centered brewery so we always wanted to always help out our community. And we couldn't brew this week due to, you know, afraid of power outages, and we had open fermenters and what's the best thing to fill a fermenter for an incoming storm is water. And we figured (INAUDIBLE) and now we have the (INAUDIBLE).
[12:40:03] WHITFIELD: And so, explain how you're doing it. What's the process?
DUNHAM: So right behind me, if you can see, we have these large fermenters. One behind me is 20 barrels and that holds 620 gallons of water. And right below it, if I can point correctly, there's a little hose that's coming off a bit and we hooked up hoses to all our tanks that are full right now which are about four which are rough equals about 1,500 gallons. And in an even that there is a big water crisis in our area, we will push the hoses out when it becomes safer to come out and fill up (INAUDIBLE) water.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And so people if like you said, if it comes to that, people would come with bottles or, you know, their containers, right, and then from your hose, you would help them fill up their containers?
DUNHAM: Yes. We'll fill up any container from bottled water to a brewer that we sell here to buckets. Whatever you have that you would like filled, we can fill it for you.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And so what have people said to you ahead of this? I mean, let's hope that nobody is going to need this but just simply by virtue of the generosity, you know, the -- of your offering to people, what's been the response?
DUNHAM: It's been an outcry from the community of complete support. What's really cool is I'm not the only person doing this. There's -- right now, there's 50 other brewers in Florida doing this. It's -- the brewing community is really strong, really community-focused. And even during Irma, we did the same thing and there's about 50 or 60 brewers that have done too. So it's really a great community of brewers out there.
WHITFIELD: What you're doing is really fantastic. Joe Dunham of Grove Roots Brewing, thank you so much, appreciate it, in Winter Haven, Florida. And we're wishing you the best and hopefully, nobody is going to need any kind of like an emergency response as a result. Let's hope this storm just makes a U-turn and just goes right back out to sea. Wouldn't that be nice?
DUNHAM: It would.
WHITFIELD: All right, Joe, thanks so much. All right, coming up, Senator Bernie Sanders says he has a plan to eliminate all past-due medical debt. But how is he going to pay for that? Details straight ahead.
[12:46:08] WHITFIELD: Senator Bernie Sanders is unveiling a new plan to eliminate billions of dollars in medical debt.
CNN's Ryan Nobles has more on the 2020 presidential candidate's big new proposal.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, this did come as a bit of a surprise, Friday night in South Carolina. Bernie Sanders holding a town hall where he was asked about the problems with medical debt and how he plans to take it on. And this is how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In another piece of legislation that we're going to be offering, we will eliminate medical debt in this country. I mean, just stop and think for a second, why should people be placed in financial duress? For what crime did you commit?
You had a serious illness? All right. That is not what this country should be about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So that was a surprise, not something that Sanders had talked about before. And his campaign says that in the coming weeks they'll release a more fulsome plan as to how Senator Sanders plans to take on medical debt. But they did tease out a few of the key highlights. They say that Sanders will release a plan that will cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt. They also want to repeal parts of a 2005 bankruptcy bill that they say led to a cycle of debt for people dealing with serious illness.
They're also going to protect the credit score of people impacted by medical debt. But what they haven't revealed yet is how they plan to pay for this plan. And that's something that we expect in the coming weeks.
But, of course, you do have to add this on to the many other promises that Bernie Sanders is making, including implementing Medicare for All which would be free healthcare across the board for all Americans. He also wants to allow for free college tuition at public universities and community colleges. And he also wants to cancel all student loan debt as well.
This price tag continues to increase. Sanders believes that's not a problem, he believes this is not only what Democratic primary voters want but what the American people want. He said this is going to be his opportunity and his administration's plan to bail out the American people. This is his, basically, the crux of his campaign for president.
WHITFIELD: Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
All right, coming up, she was drowning in her car, on the phone with 911, begging for help and the dispatcher on the other end is now taking serious heat for how she responded. The stunning audio from that call straight ahead.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to die. I don't know why you're freaking out. It's OK, I know the water level is high.
DEBRA STEVENS: I'm scared!
(END AUDIO CLIP)
[12:52:19] WHITFIELD: New today, at least 10 teens were injured in a shooting after a high school football game in Mobile, Alabama. The teens were at a Friday night game between LeFlore and Williamson high schools when shots rang out. The police chief there says it's not clear if there was a fight before the shooting started.
CNN affiliate WKRG reports five of teens are in critical but not life- threatening condition. One individual had a seizure, another individual injured his hand while trying to get out of the way. Two people are in custody and being questioned by police.
A desperate 22-minute call for help.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to die. I don't know why you're freaking out. It's OK, I know the water level is high.
STEVENS: I'm scared!
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And that's how long an Arkansas newspaper delivery woman pleaded with a 911 dispatcher before she drowned in the floodwaters. And now newly released audio reveals that the 911 dispatcher is anything but comforting. Police describing the operator as callous and uncaring.
CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now from New York with more on this. So, this happened also at a time after the 911 dispatcher according to police had actually turned in her two-week' notice, and this call came in on her -- what would be her last shift.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. So even before the call came in she was already scheduled to leave her post. And just in those few seconds that you just played a few moments ago, it is certainly upsetting to hear because you can certainly pick up on the desperation, on the panic in the voice of Debra Stevens.
The 47-year-old's final words that were recorded a week ago during that 911 call that she made to police in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Rising floodwaters had started to overtake her SUV as she was out in about early in the morning delivering newspapers. Audio of the call revealing a tone of a dispatcher that even their own police department has been calling both callous and uncaring at time.
So I want to play you a larger portion of this but please keep in mind that the audio is extremely upsetting, to say the least.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STEVENS: Please help me, I don't want to die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to die. Hold on for a minute.
STEVENS: Well, I need -- I'm scared, I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand that you are scared but there's nothing I can do sitting in this chair. So you are going to have to hold on, and I'm going to send you somebody. OK.
You're not going to die. I don't know why you're freaking out. It's OK, I know the water level is high.
STEVENS: I'm scared!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand that, but you're freaking out, doing nothing but losing your oxygen up in there. So calm down.
STEVENS: When are they going to be here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as they get here.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: I don't know why you're freaking the dispatcher's own words here. And the interaction does get even more disturbing as the call goes on. You hear Debra Smith say, "I'm scared, I've never had anything like this happen to me before." The dispatcher replaying, "This will teach you next time don't drive in the water."
[12:55:05] Debra Stevens then says "I'm going to die." The dispatcher then responds, "Ms. Debbie, you're breathing just fine because you are screaming at me. So calm down. I know you're scared. Hold on for me."
Stevens is not heard again. Rescuers who'd reach the SUV 58 minutes after the end of the call. They could not revive her. The interim police chief of the department reacting to that audio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANNY BAKER, FORT SMITH INTERIM POLICE CHIEF: I can completely understand the disgust and concern that we all have. I understand that listening to a person going through the panic that Ms. Stevens was in those final moments of her life. And we would all hope that we would get a little bit better response than perhaps what she was given.
I don't want us interacting with anybody in that way, whether it's a life-and-death situation or not. I don't think the dispatcher realized or understood the severity of the situation. She did nothing criminally wrong. I'm not even going to go so far as to say she violated policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Now the Forth Smith mayor says that he is promising to look into this situation and see if anything else could have been done to try to help Ms. Stevens. In the meantime, the reaction that we're hearing from, Fred, in the people in that community, her death leaving a massive void.
And the executive pastor at one of the local churches telling my colleague, Madeleine Thompson that her death leaves that massive void. It is devastating because she actually served as a -- at a preschool at that school, helping hundreds of children. So as the way that the pastor describes it, this is an extreme loss for the community and to his church.
WHITFIELD: It is heartbreaking. All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
SANDOVAL: You bet.
WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.