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Dorian Monster Category 4 Storm: Florida, Carolinas, Georgia In Strike Zone; Dorian Closes In On Bahamas En Route To Florida, Georgia, Carolinas; Florida's East Coast Residents Prepare For Dorian; Indian River County PIO, Eric Flowers Discusses Their Preparedness Measures Ahead Of Dorian; Tear Gas & Firebombs On Hong Kong's 13th Weekend Of Unrest; Trump: Fired Aide Has "Fully Enforceable Confidentiality Agreement". Aired 1-2p ET

Aired August 31, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:33] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, again, everyone. Welcome back. Thanks very much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We continue to follow breaking news on the path and strength of Hurricane Dorian. The powerful category 4 storm shifting east, putting millions more Americans in its dangerous path as the strike zone widens to include Georgia and the Carolinas.

Just moments ago, we got amazing new satellite pictures of this monster storm and it's well-defined eye. Dorian is rapidly intensifying with winds of 150 miles an hour.

We have a team of correspondents and meteorologists covering this hurricane from multiple locations in the path of this storm.

Let's begin our coverage in the CNN Weather Center where Meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera is tracking this storm's path.

What's it doing?

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Incredible pictures coming out. I'll show you those specifically a little closer, too, as we check in on Dorian.

Here's the latest. Just breaking it down for you, things in the last few hours. Things change per hour with each model run. This is still a dangerous category 4 hurricane. It boarded a cat 5, 150 mile and hour winds. This is a strong cat 4.

Hurricane warnings are still posted for the northwest Bahamas. It will slow its approach as it nears Florida and then turn to the north. That will be the critical phase.

When does it turn to the north? It's such a powerful storm, it's kind of like a cruise ship. If you decide to turn it around, it's still going to keep going for a while. So let's talk about that in a second. But look at this from 22,000 miles up in space. That's where we have our satellite. There's the eye of the storm. And then I'll take you where, again, most of us will never be, inside the eye. You're looking at clear skies when it opened up this morning. And then that giant 30-to-40-foot wave down across the ocean surface.

All right, so here it is, 185 gusts but it's 150. Those are the maximum sustained winds, an impressive hurricane, no question about it. You can see its movement to the west.

Once they become this powerful, they kind of wobble a bit. But it is going to continue on the westward path. And guess what's in front of it? The Bahamas here. So that's what we're looking at as far as the hurricane warning. Hurricane watches posted a little further south. Andros there, impacted.

Notice here for shipping concerns. Hurricane watch posted not for the state of Florida. That's going to be 20 nautical miles and out. But that is the latest as far as the watches and warnings.

And we'll put this in motion and you'll be able to see where this thing is headed over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Notice the span here. This is Sunday 8 a.m. We're talking about 24- hour difference and then a 24-hour difference here. Look how much closer these symbols are. That's indicating it's slowing down. So the Bahamas will be raked with 140- to 150-mile-an-hour winds for a good 24 hours.

And then there's that big turn. That cone of uncertainty still on the west side of it, it's still impacting with Florida. A lot of it going offshore.

But, again, it such a powerful storm, we could be looking at significant effects even along the Florida shoreline. And then eventually -- this is way too early at this point, right -- the Carolinas by the time we get into the middle of next week -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Ivan Cabrera, thank you so much.

CABRERA: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: So, right now, Hurricane Dorian is closest to the Bahamas.

Let's check in now with Patrick Oppmann. He's there.

What's happening?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the sun is out. It is an otherwise beautiful day. But there's that eerie calm. People know what is on the way.

The Bahamian prime minister was just on television a few moments ago saying this is his final warning, that time is running out, that if people are going to make preparations and move from where they are. Because there are so many islands around where I am that are low

lying. People have been evacuating this island. And the highest point of land is only 30 feet high on the island of Grand Bahamas. So even though this is a low-lying island, it is much higher than other places.

People are being encouraged to go to hospitals and other shelters if they need to. The elderly are being encouraged to go to hospitals if they need any kind of care because the lights are going to go out for days, if not longer. And emergency rescue personnel are not going to be able to reach people to get them out of harm's way once this very powerful storm begins.

So even though the people in Florida might be getting something of a reprieve from the storm, in the Bahamas, it is going to slam into this chain of islands, the northwest Bahamas where I am right now. It's going to dramatically change the landscape here.

And for many of the people who live in low-lying areas, talking about a storm surge a few minutes ago of 15 feet. That is much of the island where I am standing. So it is going to be destructive and very dangerous.

[13:05:11] WHITFIELD: OK. Keep us posted. Stay safe.

Patrick Oppmann, thanks so much, in the Bahamas.

Now let's go to Florida's East Coast where residents have been preparing for this storm for days, especially as the system seems to wobble. But they could still be feeling the effects even if Dorian doesn't make a direct hit to Florida.

Let's check in with Martin Savidge, who is life for us at the emergency operations center in Vero Beach.

What are they bracing for? How are they preparing?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey, Fredricka. This is the emergency operating center for Indian River County, which includes Vero Beach, as you point out. Talking to people earlier today, they are feeling better. But the problem is they're not sure because, as we know, that cone of uncertainty, as we call it, still places this area, this part of Florida very much in that critical position.

Let me bring in Eric Flowers, the public information officer for this county.

What do you do with the planning when you see a forecast shift begin to shift? What are you thinking?

ERIC FLOWERS, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, COUNTY: We're certainly cautiously optimistic. Yesterday, we had great concern it was come being directly for us. But at this point, we still feel as though we could definitely feel tropical-storm-force winds, potentially hurricane-force winds. And there' still potential for evacuations for the barrier island, for low-lying areas and folks in substandard- housing areas prone to flooding, areas like that.

SAVIDGE: So what do you tell the public? Because they are sort of caught here. They're not sure which way to go and what to think. They were preparing for the worst, a cat 4. Now what?

FLOWERS: We're telling folks to continue to prepare. Don't take your shutters down. Don't go into party mode. It still a potential that we're going to receive some pretty heavy winds and rain.

Florida has had quite a bit of rain already. We're certainly concerned about flooding.

People need to stay in emergency mode until we give the all clear. This path is just not clear enough at this time for us to give that all clear yet. But we'll be waiting for the 5:00, 5:30 update this afternoon and, hopefully, we'll be able to give folks a little bit more information.

SAVIDGE: Are you feeling better today than, say, yesterday?

FLOWERS: I say cautiously optimistic. I feel better than yesterday. But that still doesn't mean we're ready to put our guard down. We're still in level-two operation here at the emergency operation center. And we're going to stay that way until we need to go otherwise.

Obviously, we're not at level one, which is the top operational level. It still a state of emergency in Indian River County and for most of the state of Florida as well.

SAVIDGE: OK. We're going to wish the best for you are and everyone else.

FLOWERS: Thank you. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Thanks very much.

So, Fredricka, 5:00, that's going to be critical for this community as they go forward in their planning not only for the city and the county but for the people that live here -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: We'll stay on top of that as well.

Martin Savidge, thank you.

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:11:46] WHITFIELD: Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong turned violent as police and demonstrators clashed in the streets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(EXPLOSION)

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Police used tear gas and deployed water cannons near the legislative council building after protesters threw petrol bombs onto police barricades.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Hong Kong for us.

So, Paula, you have your hardhat back on. What's taking place?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, it was believed that most of the protests and the police had gone home but then, as often happens in these protests, another pocket suddenly emerges. It's all done on social media. Protesters deciding where and when to meet.

This is some of the more hardcore element here. This is outside a police station.

Across the road, we can't go there because it simply too loud with these cars honking their appreciation for the protesters and their support. There's probably several hundred protesters on the other side shouting at the police.

And if you can look just at the entrance of the police station here, you can see there are some police with their riot shields trying to protect themselves. That red on the wall that you can see, that was a paint ball that was thrown at them not so long ago.

They have made announcements telling people to leave, saying this is an illegal gathering. You can see that one particular man in front has no tension of leaving. He's been there shouting abuse at the police for some time now.

But it just shows that this is a very fluid movement. There are not leaders in this protest movement. It's all very much done on social media. Protesters decide where to go.

But the fact is all of the protests that happened were illegal. The police didn't give any approval for the protests, even by one of the largest groups, which is a peaceful group. But they said they were worried about civil unrest.

As we're seeing tonight, there's certainly been some clashes -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Paula Hancocks, we'll continue to check back with you. Thanks so much.

All right, still ahead, President Trump says he forgives his long-time personal aide for her conversations with journalists that got her fired.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She said she was drinking a little bit and she was with reporters and everything she said was off the record. That still doesn't really cover for it. Mentioned a couple of things about my children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[13:14:20] WHITFIELD: All right, new this morning, the president's tweets suggest not all may be forgiven and forgotten.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. After firing his long-time personal assistant this week, President Trump today let her and everyone else know that he expects her to keep the White House secrets secret.

The president saying, "While Madeleine Westerhout 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, had a bad night. I fully understood and forgave her. I love Tiffany. Doing great."

And article in "Politico" said Westerhout commented at an off-the- record dinner with reporters that Trump didn't like having his picture taken with his daughter, Tiffany, because of her weight. The president is denying the validity of that article.

With me now is Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, and Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic strategist and member of the Democratic National Committee.

Good to see you both.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: OK. So, Alice --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Hi.

You first.

Is this public tweet about Westerhout's confidentiality agreement, does that cross the line? She works for the government and there's a confidentiality agreement the president just revealed. Is that a problem?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's the situation here. The folks that were in the campaign, on the transition, did sign a confidentiality agreement. Trying to get that to hold up when you're in public office will be a higher bar and more of a challenge.

But I can say this. The president is, first of all, absolutely 100 percent correct to let her go without a doubt. She violated a trust and confidence in a position that should have the highest trust and confidence. So she should have been let go.

[13:20:01] But even further than that, she should have never been involved in a sit-down dinner with reporters to begin with, and certainly should not have been left alone.

All four of these reporters at this dinner are of the highest integrity and journalist standards.

That being said, never, ever, ever say anything off the record that you are don't want on the cover of the "Washington Post."

This is a classic example of rule number one in communications is no not let that happen.

The president was right to let her go.

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: Hopefully, she doesn't do anything with this information moving forward but she certainly has the president keeping a close eye on it.

WHITFIELD: Robert?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, while Alice's points are correct, the bigger issue simply is this. Unless the president's family members' weight is national security or classified information, there's absolutely nothing enforceability about a nondisclosure agreement for personal matters in the White House when it's not classified or national security.

And the reality is, we, the taxpayers, are going to be paying for Donald Trump's harassing lawsuits against his staff who have signed these NDAs.

It's worth pointing out as well, that, Alice, realistically, when you have a president of the United States tweeting threats against his secretary or his personal assistant while he's golfing at a resort at the same time our country, the southeastern part of our country is facing a national weather crisis with a hurricane coming at it, and you've got, of course, the Taliban launching a major attack against a city in Afghanistan while we're supposed to be negotiating with them, and the Amazon now, the rainforest is up in flames.

The fact that the president is using his time to personally threaten his secretary says a great deal about the dysfunction and the pathetic nature of the president.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Alice, there's a lot going on here. It is -- OK, so the president is upset that she would talk about family members and it would end up being reported about.

And while he -- while people can empathize with him wanting to let her go, it's kind of like she's already out the door and then there's this additional tweet thing. It sounds like a threat, doesn't it? Is that appropriate?

STEWART: I don't see it -- some people call it a thinly veiled threat. I see it as a bold and obvious reminder that she did have an NDA at a certain time during her tenure with this president and he was simply reminding it.

But I will point out with respect --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: She is a free citizen.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: If she wanted to talk, she really could because she was a government employee.

STEWART: She absolutely could. Nothing stopped Omarosa from speaking and writing a book. Nothing will prevent that in this situation.

Certainly, the president was taking his Twitter feed and this megaphone to try and stress that she did have an NDA at some point. And this is his way of reminding her that it's probably not in her political best interest to speak out. But I'm sure her phone is ringing off the hook from -

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: Look at what he tweeted today.

First of all, I'll push back on Robert. He's at Camp David. If you look at what he's tweeted today, he has put out a lot of valuable, important information about --

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: -- about FEMA. He put out a lot of valuable tweets and information about people in the eye of the storm, FEMA information, Red Cross information.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: So you do have potential emergencies. And there certainly is preparedness for an emergency. But then, along with that, is this tweet about Madeleine Westerhout, "fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she's a very good person, I don't think there would ever be a reason to use it."

Meantime, people are scrambling, filling up their gas tanks, some locations running out of gas, trying to figure out what is my next step. It's kind of this interesting mix of priorities.

(CROSSTALK)

ZIMMERMAN: It's also worth pointing --

STEWART: Fred, I think --

ZIMMERMAN: It's also worth pointing out that the president was busy playing a round of golf this afternoon. You know, you ever don't see the governors of Georgia or South Carolina or Florida out golfing this afternoon. They're working with their state on preparedness.

Here we are, we have a situation where we have an acting FEMA director, we have an acting Homeland Security director. We haven't even nominated -- the president hasn't even nominated someone for Homeland Security director.

And so the reality is we need to have a president fully engaged and not just standing up for our -- working with the states in their disaster preparedness and disaster relief. We want a president focusing on the issues that define our future as a country, not using his megaphone to threaten his secretary or personal assistant.

And certainly, he shouldn't be out playing a round of golf today. He should be focusing on the best interest of our country and our national security and our safety.

WHITFIELD: Alice, last word?

STEWART: Look, clearly, the president is in touch with the governors of these days. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, is doing a great job of keeping his eye on where supplies need to go, how to get gas to the people, how to get the necessary assets and resources to them.

[13:25:03] The president has made it quite clear that he is in communication and he will be back in Washington at the White House tomorrow when the height of the storm is hitting the coast.

And he can certainly be away from the White House and FEMA and stay on top of what's going on.

As for Robert's mention of a lot of acting administrators, yes, ideally, we would have permanent full-time people in these positions.

But a lot of what FEMA does -- these are lifetime career people making sure the safety and lives of the people in the eye of the storm are of the utmost importance. They know what to do. They know how to get it done. And they are on board right where they need to be to make sure that those in the eye of the storm know --

(CROSSTALK)

ZIMMERMAN: And on that we both agree.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We have a variation of displays of leadership on this day as the storm churns in the Atlantic.

ZIMMERMAN: Right.

WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much, Alice Stewart, Robert Zimmerman. Appreciate it.

STEWART: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, the entire Southeast Coastline now bracing for Hurricane Dorian after this monster storm suddenly shifts east with a potential direct hit now on Georgia or perhaps the Carolinas. The critical role law enforcement has to play with storm preparations, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:29:56] WHITFIELD: All right, this breaking news. The governor of South Carolina is declaring a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Dorian now barreling down on the southeastern coast.

New details today show the track of the storm shifting east, which means the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas are now in the possible strike zone.

But Floridians are still being warned the storm could still have catastrophic effect, including damaging winds, storm surge and widespread power outages.

Many gas stations across Florida are dealing with long lines and shortages as drivers prepare for Dorian.

During a crisis like a hurricane, law enforcement plays a key role in everything from search and rescue to evacuations and door-to-door checks.

Joining me to discuss, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Jonathan Wackrow. He is also managing director of Teneo Risk.

Good to see you, Jonathan.

So --

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's nice to see you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Usually, the traditional duties of police can be very different during a hurricane. Kind of describe what the roles might be.

WACKROW: Well, law enforcement plays a significant role in planning for this type of crisis. They actually integrate into all three major phases of crisis management, which is in preparation, in response and in repair.

Law enforcement does co-join their activities were other emergency management agencies, such as fire, EMS, office of emergency management. So they bring forth a force multiplier effect into the community.

Specifically to law enforcement, they have a dual role during a natural disaster, other crisis situation, which is they have to maintain civil order and the security of the community while being the first responders.

Often times, patrol officers are the very first ones to react and arrive on scene of an incident, whether it's an accident, a fire, or something like that. So they play two very important roles during a natural disaster.

As an example, from a first responder standpoint, they could be helping to evacuate a community center or evacuate certain areas. At the same time, that officer, moments later, could be responding to issues of looting and theft.

So it put a lot of strain on departments during these time periods. But it's a responsibility they wholly accept.

WHITFIELD: Is that what is meant by that whole community approach?

WACKROW: Well, yes. So, listen, law enforcement operates within the community. You and I have discussed that in the past. Community policing is a vital aspect for law enforcement management.

At no other time is that more important than moments of a crisis. So no one knows the community better than the local officer, the elderly that may need assistance, the shop owners. These law enforcement officers know the community best. So they know how to respond to a crisis situation in their own community.

WHITFIELD: So your company, Teneo, advises clients on preparing and responding to crises.

WACKROW: Yes. Exactly.

WHITFIELD: And in what capacity does a third-party assist law enforcement, emergency preparedness, like you are offering?

WACKROW: What we do is we go into organizations very much the same way that law enforcement and emergency management structures operate, which is we develop emergency response plans.

And then we train on those emergency response plans, again, in all three phases. Making sure that, in advance of a natural disaster or another type of crisis, that organizations are well prepared, both financially, reputationally, the communication, internal/external communication to their employees is done.

In response, how do they build resiliency after a crisis situation has hit, how do they maintain the continuity of operations for their business. Again, we take an approach very comprehensively.

WHITFIELD: Jonathan Wackrow, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

WACKROW: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. WHITFIELD: Still ahead, from falsehoods to outright lies, it can be

difficult separating fact from fiction when it comes to the White House. But we tried. CNN now has new reporting around the number of lies coming from the Trump administration. And you won't believe what we found.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:38:11] WHITFIELD: Those closes to President Trump has insisted he doesn't lie. But a CNN fact-check found that's not true. Over six weeks in July and August, CNN has tracked all of the president's false clams, from the biggest whoppers to the smallest exaggerations, and it seems he was dishonest 328 times.

CNN Reporter and Fact-Checker, Daniel Dale, joining me right now.

So, Daniel, over six weeks from July 8 to August 18, you found the president averaged 7.8 false claims a day. Which topic did he seem to tell the most lies about?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Well, number one was the economy. And 26 percent of the 328 false claims touched at least in part on the economy. That might seem like a boring conclusion. Presidents talk a lot about the economy.

I found it noteworthy because what I found was that, in the first two years of Trump presidency, so early 2019, his number-one subject of dishonesty was immigration. And on this list, in the last six weeks, immigration is merely number five on the list. So you see the shift in focus to the trade war and to economic topics.

WHITFIELD: So while it's the economy he seems to most embellish or something, is there a particular lie that he seems to repeat?

DALE: Yes. Number one on the list, at 19 times in six weeks, was his claim that Americans are not paying for any of his tariff costs, that it's only China paying these costs.

As I've come on various CNN shows to talk about, we have study after study done by prominent economists that have concluded it is Americans paying this cost. And we know that it's Americans are the ones who literally make the tariff payments to the U.S. government.

WHITFIELD: So any particular day or event where Trump made the most false claims during those six weeks.

[13:40:02] DALE: Yes. So, August 15th, he made 37 false claims in that single day. Most of those were at his campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. He also did two interviews with New Hampshire media. He also did one of his exchanges with reporters before his departure. So 37 in one day was the high point, or low point.

WHITFIELD: That's a whopper all right.

So how about any trends? Did you pick up on any? DALE: The only trend I found what that, whenever he's talking, he's

lying or at least being dishonest. And so the numbers went up and down over the course of these six weeks. But any day where he said a lot of words, he made a lot of false claims.

WHITFIELD: And then, according to your research, correct me if I'm wrong here, one of Trump's most dishonest events this summer was in front of children.

DALE: Yes. He gave a speech to Turning Point USA, which is a conservative activist group, and he made 23 false claims to that group. Now, these are not like preschoolers. They're politically active conservative teen-agers. But I thought it was notable, that one of the president's strongest events was to people under the age of 18.

WHITFIELD: Wow.

All right, Daniel Dale, all good work that you did --

DALE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: -- you and your team. Thank you so much.

Straight ahead, an Arkansas woman drowning in her car, calls 911, desperate for help. The newly released audio shows that the 911 operator was anything but helpful.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: You're not going to die. I don't know why you're freaking out. I know the water level is high.

DEBBIE STEVENS, DROWNED WHILE PLEADING FOR HELP: I'm scared!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Is there legal culpability for the department?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:45:27] WHITFIELD: Twenty-two minutes. That's how long an Arkansas woman pleaded for help with a 911 dispatcher before she drowned. While the victim, Debbie Stevens, begged for help, nearly released audio reveals the 9/11 dispatcher was anything but comforting. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

STEVENS: Please help me. I don't want to die.

911 OPERATOR: You're not going to die. Hold on for a minute.

STEVENS: Well, I mean, I'm scared. I'm sorry.

(CROSSTALK) 911 OPERATOR: There's nothing I can do sitting in a chair. You're

not going to die. I don't know why you're freaking out.

STEVENS: I'm scared.

911 OPERATOR: I understand that you're scared but there is nothing I can do sitting in this chair. So you're going to have to hold on and I'm going to send you somebody, OK?

STEVENS: I'm scared.

911 OPERATOR: OK. I know the water level is high.

STEVENS: I'm scared.

911 OPERATOR: I understand that but you freaking out, doing nothing but losing your oxygen up in there so calm down.

STEVENS: When are they going to be here?

911 OPERATOR: As soon as they get there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Police say the operator was callous and uncaring.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DANNY BAKER, INTERIM CHIEF, FORT SMITH POLITIC DEPARTMENT: I completely understand the disgust and the 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 all hope 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 to go so far as that she violated policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining us now, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor from Cleveland, and Richard Herman, a criminal defense attorney and law professor from Las Vegas.

Good to see you both.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Fredricka.

RICHARD HERMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Fred. WHITFIELD: So an incredibly sad story and so many sad circumstances here.

So, Avery, we heard from the interim police there who said there was no violation of policy, certainly didn't think it was criminal either.

But if you're the family member of Debbie here, what are you thinking about culpability? Who -- does the blame lay on anybody in terms of the lack of urgency?

FRIEDMAN: It's a face-slapping reality that has everything to do with the kind of training or failure to train. I don't know what the police chief was talking about, Fredricka. The fact is there's a federal civil rights law passed in 1871 that requires fairness on the part of government. That's the law that should be used by this family in fighting back.

Because the kind of response demonstrated two things. Number one, it didn't appear that she cared very much. And number two, and more importantly, the training that's required for police dispatchers is critical and, in this case, a matter of life or death.

So at the end of the day, if the family decides to challenge this, what I perceive to be a wrongful death, it will be that 1871 federal civil rights law that will help them get to justice.

WHITFIELD: Richard, if the family were to pursue, could they even use not just the audiotape to demonstrate the demeanor of the dispatcher, but even the interim police chief there by saying, you know, that he expected -- he knows that everybody would expect a better response and, at the same time, saying he doesn't believe anything criminal happened and didn't violate policy either.

HERMAN: Unfortunately, Fred, in the reality here, after the visceral response that we have in listening to this gut-wrenching recording, is that there's no litigation here. There's no causation. The dispatcher was horrible. She was disgusting. I cannot believe it's not some violation of policy. If it's not, they better redo their policies like yesterday.

But the mere fact that --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: So you wouldn't say in terms of a case --

HERMAN: -- this woman --

WHITFIELD: -- that that added to her suffering?

FRIEDMAN: No.

HERMAN: No. Because what did she do? Eventually, the EMS got there. Eventually, they got there.

WHITFIELD: Right. HERMAN: I don't know how long it took them to get there. That wasn't their fault.

FRIEDMAN: One hour, 55 minutes after the death.

HERMAN: But is wasn't -- but that's not the dispatcher's fault. The dispatcher was rude and nasty and not considerate.

WHITFIELD: It was -- it was 58 minutes.

HERMAN: But that didn't cause the death.

WHITFIELD: Right. So there was a 58-minute gap between her call and when, you know, response teams are able to get there. But we don't know about those circumstances and if even that's where the complaint will go. It really sounds like --

FRIEDMAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: -- the complaint is primarily on what preceded her death and -- and --

HERMAN: That's going nowhere.

WHITFIELD: Really? And just the lack of compassion and that she was suffering and --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: You can't sue for lack of compassion.

WHITFIELD: You can't sue for --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: Lack of compassion is not a cause of action. It's not going to happen, Fred. There's no case for that. I'm sorry. There isn't.

(CROSSTALK)

[13:50:07] WHITFIELD: So there isn't a policy --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- it took them so long.

WHITFIELD: And there wouldn't be a policy when you're in a position such as dispatch or emergency response to extend, you know, some humanity to somebody when they're suffering?

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: Oh, it absolutely should be.

FRIEDMAN: Wonderful question. But it goes deeper than that, Fredricka. It goes to the question of

whether or not these police dispatchers are trained. When you have an emergency circumstance, you just can't see, when the victim is saying, look, when are they going to be her, and her response is, well, they get there when they get there. That's unacceptable. It's poor training.

Beyond the fact that it's reptilian. The idea of a policy is to ensure the public is protected and that front row seat, if you will, is the police dispatcher. And there are cases after cases where the failure to train results in injury and, in this case, resulted in death.

HERMAN: That didn't result in --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: See, that's the problem. That's the problem, Fred.

WHITFIELD: But doesn't it seem, Richard, in a job like that, in a role like that, there's even like an oath of service, you know --

FRIEDMAN: Yes. Yes

WHITFIELD: -- when people call who need help that that comes with the territory, some extension of comfort, even if you are not able or in a position to fix it right away.

But, I mean, she was, you know

FRIEDMAN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: -- in a state of panic, which I think everyone could identify with, and wasn't even able to get an ounce of compassion. Even if the woman, the dispatcher --

HERMAN: It's horrible.

WHITFIELD: -- couldn't fix it.

HERMAN: And the dispatcher is obviously burned out. She put in her notice August 9th to end the job. So she's burned out, she's had enough. There were getting inundated with calls people stranded in floods and this poor victim was unable communicate immediately --

WHITFIELD: That kind of stress --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- her location.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: It's horrible. There's no --

WHITFIELD: It is that. HERMAN: There's no defense to this. But there's also no causation for the damages for the death --

FRIEDMAN: No.

HERMAN: -- by this dispatcher. That's why there's no case, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, I gotcha. Richard, no case.

Avery, you do believe there's a case.

FRIEDMAN: I think there is a case.

HERMAN: The 1800 case, bring that.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there.

All right, our hearts go out to her and her family.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: It's just so sad.

HERMAN: It's horrible.

FRIEDMAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: Avery and Richard, appreciate it.

Still ahead, the woman best known for her role as Rhoda on the iconic '70s television series, "Mary Tyler Moore," has died. We look at the life of Valerie Harper, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:56:13] WHITFIELD: All right, Valerie Harper was an icon of 1970s television scene as Rhoda, Mary Tyler Moore's best friend on the iconic show. She and her costar broke barriers for women on television. Harper went on to star in a popular spinoff of the show that won her four Emmys. She died of cancer on Friday at the age of 80.

Here is CNN's Stephanie Elam.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was the girl upstairs, the best friend.

MARY TYLER MOORE, FORMER ACTRESS: Oh, Rhoda.

ELAM: As Rhoda Morgenstern, the unforgettable sidekick in the 1970s hit series, "Mary Tyler Moore."

Born in New York in 1939, Valerie Harper grew up studying ballet and started out as a dancer on Broadway. But it was in Los Angeles where she was discovered by a casting agent.

Harper was asked to audition for the role of the single girl from New York who landed in Minneapolis on the "Mary Tyler Moore" show.

VALERIE HARPER, FORMER ACTRESS: I'm going crazy with hunger.

MOORE: Well, eat something.

HARPER: I can't. I've got to lose 10 pounds by 8:30.

(APPLAUSE)

ELAM: She played the funny imperfect pal to America's sweetheart, Mary Richards. It was a part that would quickly launch her career as an actress. She won three Emmys for her role on "Mary Tyler Moore" before leaving the show in 1974 to star in its spinoff, "Rhoda."

HARPER: My name is Rhoda Morgenstern. I was born in the Bronx, New York, in December 1941.

ELAM: Her portrayal of Rhoda earned Harper another Emmy and a Golden Globe before the series ended in 1978.

That year also brought an end to her first marriage to actor, Richard Schaal. She married her second husband, Tony Cacciotti, nine years later.

During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Harper said one of the biggest milestones in her life was meeting Cacciotti.

HARPER: After Tony Cacciotti in my life, at my side, at my back, helping me in every way possible, and enjoying life with me and traveling, and all the things we have done.

ELAM: Together, the couple adopted their only child, Cristina. She was public about the adoption, speaking to CNN's Larry King about the biological mother in 2000.

HARPER: We read a note to her from her birth mom. We sat together and I blessed the woman.

ELAM: Professionally, she stayed active on stage and in movies. In 1986, Harper headlined in the family sitcom, "Valerie," as Valerie Hogan. She was fired from the series in a salary dispute with NBC at the end of its second season.

She won more than a million dollars from the network and production company in the wrongful firing suit which followed. The show, which eventually became "The Hogan Family," continued for years without her.

HARPER: Mary! Mary!

ELAM: She reunited with Moore in 2000 for "Mary and Rhoda," a TV movie that brought their iconic characters back together again.

Behind the scenes, Harper got involved in the women's liberation movement and fought for the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Screen Actors Guild member unsuccessfully ran for president of the Guild in 2010 losing to fellow actress, Melissa Gilbert.

In her memoir, "I Rhoda," the nonsmoker opening up about getting over lung cancer in 2009. But her battle with cancer was long from over. In March 2013, the TV icon revealed to "People" magazine that while rehearsing for a stage show she learned she had a rare terminal brain cancer. She received chemotherapy and kept a positive attitude.

HARPER: Don't go to the funeral, mine or yours, or your loved ones until the day of the funeral. Because then you miss the life that you have left.

ELAM: Harper leaves behind her husband and a daughter.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: We have got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now.

[13:59:59] All right, hello, again, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We're following breaking news on Hurricane Dorian. Just moments ago, we got an update on the path and growing strength of the storm.