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Category 4 Hurricane Dorian Set To Intensify Today; FEMA Preparing For "Multi-State Impact" From Hurricane Dorian; At Least 10 Teens Injured In Shooting After Football Game; Trump's Personal Assistant Loses Job For Talking Too Much; Fires Rage In Hong Kong Streets As Protesters Face Off With Police; Sen. Sanders Outlines Plan To End Medical Debt; Gun Conviction Overturned For Immigrant In Kate Steinle's Death. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 31, 2019 - 07:00   ET




[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane Dorian, the National Hurricane Center says it is now an extremely dangerous category-four hurricane capable of causing catastrophic damage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rapid intensification cycle which this particular storm in the last 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We anticipate a lot of rain, losing power is a big probability. It's really, really significant and you need to take precautions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to need water. So, get in this line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're overdue. So, we might (INAUDIBLE) something worse than the last one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in the state of Florida needs to be prepared particularly in the eastern half.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just stressful. I've been through this a couple of times in the last 15 years, and this is the worst so far.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Right now, Hurricane Dorian which is already a strong category four is actively intensifying, that's according to the latest read from our CNN weather center a few minutes ago. It's churning in the Atlantic with sustained wind speeds of more than 140 miles per hour.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, parts of the Bahamas are bracing for a direct hit. We know that. But look at this thing, extreme flooding, life-threatening storm surge is what they're really concerned about. BLACKWELL: Now, the latest forecast shows it's climbing up the East

Coast: parts of Georgia, South Carolina now could potentially feel the effects of this hurricane. Dorian's track is shifting, and this morning, the National Hurricane Center said Florida may not take a direct hit.

PAUL: Doesn't mean that they're out of its path by any means. So much of that state is in the cone of uncertainty still, which means landfall is still possible anywhere along the East Coast of the state. The governor is telling everyone in the state to take Hurricane Dorian seriously. A lot of people -- I mean, you see them there, they're boarding up. As officials tell residents be prepared with at least seven days of supplies.

BLACKWELL: So, we're covering this hurricane from every angle. We have crews spread out across Florida. Let's start with CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center. Allison, two important things off the top. The track now shifting a potentially not toward a Florida landfall, and this intensification that's happening right now.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's the latter one that I really want you to focus on because that's going to be key right now. Yes, there are hurricane-hunter missions out there now that are getting new measurement but also, look at the eye of this particular storm. You watch the eye closely because that really gives you a very good indication of whether or not the storm is undergoing rapid intensification and it has been in the last 24 hours.

But the eye is getting larger. It's getting more concentric around some of the rest of the storms here. Winds right now officially are at 140 miles per hour. I emphasize that word "officially" because new data just coming in from the hurricane hunters actually shows each higher measurement.

Now, up to 145 miles per hour. That may have an update. We will expect a new update from the hurricane center in just less than an hour and they are likely going to take this into consideration for that next update.

What it shows us is the storm is continuing to strengthen. The concern from now becomes how much more can it intensify before it heads towards the Bahamas, before it heads toward Florida and the rest of the United States. We still anticipate it to be a category-four storm.

However, I would like to say if it keeps increasing, if it keeps strengthening, it's not out of the question to have a low-end category five. The hope is it does it quickly and then it weakens before it ends up making it towards the Bahamas and Florida.

It is still expected to trek off toward the west over the next couple of days. The ultimate question is when does it make that sharp turn to the north? That's really where the unpredictability lies in the short term. The weird thing is, how oddly similar this is tracking to where Matthew did in 2006. The yellow line is Matthew. The red line is Dorian. Especially, safe from about West Palm Beach up -- they're almost identical at this point based off the forecast track.

The concern here, Matthew didn't technically make landfall until it hit South Carolina but just skirted the coast. It still ended up being one of the most expensive hurricanes to impact the East Coast of Florida, but that storm was significantly weaker than Dorian is. So, we'll still have to keep a close eye on any impacts that Dorian may have as it approaches Florida.

Rainfall is still going to be a factor. It just may have the highest amounts right there along the coastline or perhaps even closer into the Carolinas rather than, say, Florida. But one thing to note, Victor and Christi, too, because these storms, regardless of the model, still wants it to get ever so close to the Florida coastline, hypothetically, let's say it's a medium cat-four as it approaches that area. You're still going to have high-end category one, low-end category two winds that hit from Miami all the way up to Jacksonville. So, even if there's not a true landfall, it doesn't mean that these areas won't be impacted.

[07:05:31] PAUL: That is important information to pass along to all of those folks there. Allison Chinchar, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd in West Palm Beach. Brian, again, that landfall is not going to bring or keep the rain from flooding that area. It's not going to keep what really causes most of the injuries which is the water that comes with these storms. So, I understand the people there still preparing, how?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Victor, they are preparing, and they're still making a run on gas. Even at this station that has no gas right now, we were just told that there is a tanker truck on the way with about 9,000 gallons of fuel in it. Going to stop here very soon.

People have already started to pull up to the pumps over here in anticipation of that. This place ran out of gas at about 12:30 to 1:00 in the morning overnight -- here at Wawa in Palm Springs. But again, it was crazy here yesterday; lines, you know, out the driveway, down the block. The typical ran on gas when they anticipate evacuations.

Now, the question is, you know, Floridians are still kind of uneasy in this part of the state because of the history here and because the uncertainty of the storm is so great. Will they get sideswiped here, are they going to have to evacuate and head north on the turnpike, that's still a question. And they still anticipate a run on gas. The manager of this place, I just heard him brief some of the staffers; some of them are over here just waiting for the crush once that tanker truck gets here.

He told just these folks to get ready because when the tanker truck comes, it's going to be -- he gave the analogy, it's going to be like the zappers for bugs in your back yard. It's going to be like a beacon for people, they're just going to, you know, stream in here. So, they do anticipate a lot of activity here. But again, the changing dynamic of the storm may change the

calculations of officials here in Palm Beach County and elsewhere. Are they going order to the mandatory evacuations tomorrow here like they had anticipated, possibly not? But again, there's so much uncertainty here, Victor, that they may tell some people in some areas of county that they do need to get out.

PAUL: Yes, I think that's what's got everybody's nerves -- is they just don't know where this thing is headed. Brian Todd, you and the crew take good care there. Thank you.

And we should note, Florida's space coast is paying very close attention to this as well and they're taking action already.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The Kennedy Space Center spokesman said: NASA, their mobile launch platform is being moved inside. It's their only platform available for the space launch system. And of course, they do not want the hurricane to damage it. Let's go now to CNN's Nick Valencia, he's on Florida space coast, he's specifically there at Cocoa Beach. Nick, what are they doing there to prepare?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, you know, the storm is still deciding where it wants to make landfall. There's a lot of uncertainty, but that is not stopping local officials here for moving forward with preparations. It was overnight that things got a little bit more serious in Brevard County with authorities announcing mandatory evacuation orders for parts of the barrier islands. That stretches from the Kennedy Space Center as you mentioned to the south beaches of Merritt Island.

Residents being told that they need to start evacuating by 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. Driving around this community, though, yesterday, we just saw a few businesses and homes starting to board up, taking those precautions seriously. Brevard County Sheriff's Office announcing that they had distributed in and around 52,000 sandbags.

We also know that lineman and power crews have pre-positions across the state of Florida anticipating that although this storm may potentially spare making landfall here directly in Florida, it is going to grind up the Florida coast, that eastern coast of the state. So, it is going to make a big impact here. Though, we should mention, not quite the level of panic here among residents. They certainly, though, are guarded. Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Nick Valencia for us there in Cocoa Beach. Nick, thank you.

Breaking overnight, at least ten teens were hurt in a shooting after a high school football game. This happened in Alabama. Now, teenagers were at a Friday night game when the shots rang out.

The police chief there says that it's not clear if there was a fight before the shooting started. The CNN-affiliate WKRG reports that five of the teens are in critical but not life-threatening conditions -- one victim had a seizure. Another was injured -- his hand was hurt while he was trying to get out of the way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVI WRIGHT, ATTENDING THE GAME: I tried to protect as many as I possibly could. I told them to get down. When I heard the gunshots, it was just like -- it's like I was in a movie or something. It was just unbelievable.


BLACKWELL: Two people are in custody and being questioned by police.

PAUL: Well, President Trump's personal assistant is out of a job for talking too much. Daniel Lippman from Politico has some details for us this morning on how Madeleine Westerhout was pushed out for sharing private details about the first family.

[07:10:12] BLACKWELL: We're getting the latest on this story coming out of Washington next.

Plus, the brother of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is in a Georgia jail accused of killing three men. What we're learning about the murder investigation?


BLACKWELL: Well, there is another open position in the West Wing. President Trump's personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, was pushed out this week after reports surfaced that she talked about the president's family with reporters. Now, Westerhout apparently shared personal details about the Trumps at a dinner with some reporters, and that was a deal breaker for the president.


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. But she's a very, you know, good person.


BLACKWLEL: All right. Daniel Lippman, White House Reporter for Politico is with us. Daniel, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So, first let's start here -- off-the-record dinners of this sort are not rare. But how rare, without going into the details of what she said and the specifics, how rare is this type of disclosure from someone so close to the president?

LIPPMAN: It's pretty unprecedented that you have the personal secretary for President Trump basically having, you know, being too forthcoming about what he thinks about certain family members and you know, the fact that she was bragging that she had a better relationship with the president than some of his own kids. And so, that kind of crosses a line that was intolerable for Trump. And there were four reporters at this dinner, and you know, over two weeks ago and this kind of word gets around, and it eventually got back to the White House.

[07:15:18] BLACKWELL: Twenty-eight years old. Had an office right outside of the oval office. A significant amount of clout. What do we know about her?

LIPPMAN: Well, she worked at the RNC before. And you know, she was kind of the conduit for a lot of outside advisers and White House staff members who wanted to get to Trump. But she violated the principal rule when you are a staff member, and you can't get crosswise with your boss even though they developed a pretty good relationship.

And she seemed to be -- but she seemed to want to weigh in on tweets and was kind of acting like a chief of staff when there is a real chief of staff, and that made Mulvaney unhappy, as well, I think.

BLACKWELL: Did that make her a target?

LIPPMAN: She had a bunch of enemies in the White House including the first lady's office, and you know, there's -- it's very hard for someone to survive in that job when you know, she's making all of these remarks to different reporters. Even if it was an off-the- record dinner, you can't trust that those reporters are not going to tell someone that will tell, you know, the White House. And so, it was very untenable, and you know, she had -- she already had the knives out for her.

BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you this -- if you say that some in the White House and the West Wing had as you call it the knives out for her, what we heard from the president there, he wasn't as passionate about that as he is about other criticisms about himself, about his companies, about his administration.

Again, it's hard to read his -- you can't read his mind. But was this something that came directly from the president, or was this something that was facilitated by the acting chief of staff?

You'll remember the recording that Omarosa released in which the president said he had no idea that Omarosa was being fired by then- Chief of Staff John Kelly. Was this the president's order that she be forced to resign, or was this Mulvaney or someone else?

LIPPMAN: Over Thursday, they had to convince the president. I think this was Mulvaney's doing to convince him, that she had to go. If it was up to him, I'm sure she was trying to apologize to the president for these types of comments.

But this -- I don't think he wants to piss this person off and, you know, have her write a tell-all book because she knows a ton of stuff since she was on many of the calls, she was right outside the oval office. And so, he doesn't want to make an enemy of her who would want to cash out and say even more revealing stuff in a best-selling book.

BLACKWELL: There is also the option that is genuinely compassion. That it was someone who has been with him a while. And as he said, she had a couple of drinks and went too far, and she has to go but he can still feel for her in her plight. Last thing, any insight on who's up next for the job?

LIPPMAN: So, there's another executive assistant, Molly Michael, who I'm sure her phone is getting blizzarded with text about trying to get, you know, drinks with her. And she'll be the conduit for Trump world. But the White House is pretty short staffed these days, and so it's unclear exactly who would take that slot that Westerhout had.

BLACKWELL: All right. Someone the president called the key now out of the west wing. Daniel Lippman, thank you so much.

LIPPMAN: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: The Justice Department says they're opening a criminal investigation into a series of suspicious deaths at a V.A. hospital in West Virginia. The Lewis A. Johnson V.A. Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, there, has been under scrutiny over the deaths of 11 patients. Now, a source familiar with the investigation says federal investigators including the FBI have been probing the deaths for more than a year. And they've met with families of potential victims. West Virginia's Senator Joe Manchin, says a person of interest has been identified in the case but that person is no longer at the facility.

Stay with us, CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar, talks to us about what a lot of people had been asking about, the connection between hurricanes and climate change. Allison?

[07:19:36] CHINCHAR: That's right. Well, Hurricane Dorian itself has already undergone two rapid intensification cycles alone. The question, is this becoming more normal? We'll talk about that coming up.


PAUL: Listen, this storm is as it has been called a monster. It's powering toward the U.S. right now with -- I'm quoting, as an extremely dangerous category-four storm. Its track has shifted, though, and it's not expected to make landfall in Florida necessarily but rather in the Carolinas.

BLACKWELL: OK. But Florida is still in the cone of uncertainty. And that means landfall is possible. The state has declared of emergency. Several counties have issued mandatory evacuation orders. Florida officials are telling everybody three important things: get the water, get the gas, get the cash, because ATMs may go down. Stores might be open, but they may not have power to open cash registers. They may need someone to come by and help you move some things, pick some things up, and cash is king in these types of situations.

PAUL: No doubt. BLACKWELL: Dorian is expected to pass through the Northern Bahamas tomorrow into early Monday.

Now, President Trump, he's at Camp David this weekend monitoring Hurricane Dorian instead of traveling to Poland as planned. He will attend a briefing at FEMA headquarters in Washington, that's tomorrow afternoon.

PAUL: Now, as he prepares to deal with the monster storm here as we've been saying, he's surrounded by largely acting officials -- several acting officials. We're talking about acting FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor for one. CNN White House Reporter, Jeremy Diamond joining us live. And Jeremy, I understand that has some people concerned about the experience that may be brought to the table to navigate a situation like hurricane -- like this hurricane.

[07:25:08] JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It does, indeed. Look, the president headed to Camp David yesterday evening where he's expected to remain for most of this weekend. And he said that he's going to be monitoring the storm from there. He's described as it a control center where he'll be surrounded by FEMA officials and disaster relief experts. But what he won't be surrounded by as far as top officials are concerned are state senate-confirmed officials.

The FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, will -- the head of that agency is no longer senate confirmed. Brock Long, who was previously the senate confirmed official, resigned in February. And at the Department of Homeland Security, you also have Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. And why is this important? Look, hurricanes, natural disaster are often a key for a presidential leadership.

Now, the president has, however, appointed somebody to leads the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but that official has not yet been confirmed by the Senate. The president insisting, though, that he has no problem with that. He likes having acting officials. Now, as the president does monitor this storm here, he did talk a few days ago about it hitting dead nature. Dead center where you might ask. Well, it seems we might have gotten an answer to that when the president was asked about his property at Mar-a-Lago just yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerned are you about Mar-a-Lago being in the hurricane's path?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I haven't even thought about it until the question was just broached a little while ago. Yes, it looked like Mar-a-Lago is dead center. But look, Mar-a-Lago can handle itself. That's a very powerful place. The thing I'm worried about is the state of Florida.


DIAMOND: Now, Mar-a-Lago is just one of several Trump properties along Florida's East Coast that could potentially be in the storm's path. And as the president continues to monitor to see whether or not his properties and which parts of Florida may or may not be impacted, he will be leaving Camp David tomorrow on return to Washington. He'll be getting a briefing from FEMA officials at FEMA headquarters here in Washington. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Jeremy Diamond, so appreciate it. Thank you. And I know the conversation has come up a lot in the last couple of days. The question about the connection between hurricanes like this and climate change. So, we have Allison Chinchar with us to help us understand how closely they're connected; how much does one prompt the other.

CHINCHAR: Yes. Because there are different facets. Some are more definitively linked. Others, it's a little bit more unsure in terms of how we link them. So, we've broken it down for you. We've got a graphic explaining the four topics that we're talking about and they are in order of how much we can closely link them to climate change.

The first one, being sea level rise is making storm surge more destructive. This makes sense, though, because naturally, if the water level is higher, when more water gets pushed in, it's going to be more destructive because of that. It's already at a higher-level because the sea level rises higher. That makes storm surge not only at higher levels but it can come further inland than it would have prior to that.

Another one, it increases rainfall rates. And just the overall amount of rain that the storm itself can produce. Think of examples like Harvey or Florence, of how much rain those storms were able to produce overall for the areas that they hit.

The third point, storms becoming stronger due to warmer oceans. We know this. We always talk about this. That's why we focus so much when we say the track, oh, it's going to head over very warm temperatures. We know for a fact that the warmer the ocean is, the more likely that storm is able intensify. So, again, in turn, if the warm oceans become even warmer, it will allow those storms to then intensify even more.

The last point, storms are able to rapidly intensify more frequently. Now, I want you to understand those words "rapidly intensify," that is a technical term. I'm not meaning that in the general sense. Rapid intensification is a very specific term. It means a storm has increased 35 miles per hour in 24 hours or less.

We're seeing that happen. Dorian, for example, has already undergone two of them in its life span. So, again, that's kind of one of the patterns that we're starting to see -- is these storms that were stronger are now undergoing those rapid intensification more frequently and they're getting stronger because of it.

PAUL: So, do you -- do you mean this could become a cat-five?

CHINCHAR: It's now under the realm of possibilities. We're getting awfully close to category five strength right now. So, it really just needs a little bit more uptick. If it goes through another eyeball replacement cycle, which is where the eye closes up and comes back, that undergoes rapid intensification. It's very likely if it can do that. The question is, how quickly can it do it before it makes landfall.

BLACKWELL: 30 minutes from another update from the National Hurricane Center. Allison Chinchar will bring that to us as soon as it comes in. Thank you so much.

[07:29:55] PAUL: Listen, we've got to show what's happening in Hong Kong right now. In Wan Chai District, look at the fires in the streets as anti-government protesters there are having a standoff with police. We saw earlier this morning, police using water cannons to disperse some of those protesters. But you can hear the sounds, you can hear the yelling, the screaming, the lights, and now the fires. We do not know exactly what is on fire.


PAUL: We just know that it looks as though it's almost a barrier that is across some sort of roadway.

BLACKWELL: Now, those green lasers that you see, and those are being used by protesters to try to disorient police that are there, as well. This is the 13th consecutive weekend that there have been protests.

Some that have been organized and permitted. This one as we learned from our Will Ripley there, is not permitted. And this is the hour at which if things really go haywire, that it happened 7:30 p.m. there in Hong Kong.

These protests started as a protest of an extradition bill there that was pulled calling for the -- and you see another -- an explosion there. We know if that was a teargas bomb or not. But also, these protesters wanting the resignation of Carrie Lam, the chief executive there.

We have another angle of this fire, so you can see just how close it is to these crowds and the billowing smoke. Overall, what they want is more independence, more autonomy from Beijing. But, our Will Ripley also reported that there are forces there inside of -- inside Hong Kong. Now, they're inside a building there. Inside are not fighting alongside or with the Hong Kong authorities. But, we know that Beijing is watching this very, very closely.

Again, fires now burning in the streets of the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong as the protests continue now for a 13th weekend.

PAUL: Yes, Will Ripley is actually on the scene there. We saw him earlier, he had his gas mask on because we have seen a lot of these reporters at different times -- of some of these demonstrations, and they were overcome by the tear gas that is being dispersed by police there. And you can just see how it was -- what it was an hour ago that we talked to Will.


PAUL: And the streets weren't even full. So, it seems as though, darkness fell, and everything just amped up.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this has deteriorated significantly in just the last hour. And he was telling us, you know, we -- it's hard to get scale and scope in these situations, right? How big are these crowds?

At that point, he told us about a thousand or so protesters, looks like it's maybe more than that now. But in some weekends we've seen --


PAUL: There's certainly more -- they're more -- they are more space -- there more confined.


PAUL: There -- and more of a context, they are in a smaller space that compact there.

BLACKWELL: Will Ripley, there, right near the flames. Will, tell us how this happened and what you're seeing around you?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, I'm a couple of blocks away from where I checked in with you last time. Police moved in and be able to disperse that situation pretty quickly. We started walking thinking that things were over, and then, we saw this.

Approaching it, you think you're walking up to a concert or burning man, there are laser beams, you can hear it sounds like thousands of people screaming and cheering behind this barricade of flames that has been set up here in Wan Chai, in the heart of Hong Kong.

What protesters have done, they took the barricades that we saw them setting up earlier. Doused them with some kind of propellant. And, in fact, we heard a pretty loud boom, a short time ago, which is why we're staying a safer distance away from the fire now.

And they have now not only blocked down the street through their numbers, which as you mentioned, you know, maybe a few thousand people, not the hundreds of thousands of largely peaceful protesters, these are the radicals out here now.

But now, they don't even -- they're not even blocking the streets with people, they're doing something that has to require them to call in. We've -- I saw, at least, three fire engines roll in here just within the last 10 minutes, and they're still trying to put this thing out.

So, what we've seen, let's get out of the way here, please, guys. What we've seen, yet again, is a new and creative way for these Hong Kong protesters, despite the fact that they're small in number to keep on creating situations that change the game.

That escalate the situation here in Hong Kong. And keep in mind, all of this is happening just about three blocks from the China's People's Liberation Army Garrison, where thousands of more soldiers are believed to have arrived just this morning. They're staying behind the walls for now, but scenes like this are going to be broadcast in mainland China to try to make the case that all of the protesters, not just the ones who are out peaceful, the hundreds of thousands the larger groups who are probably sitting at home tonight, watching these images on T.V.

But China is making the case that all the protesters are the radical ones who are out here, doing things like this. But then, you talk to the people out at the demonstrations and they say, this is to prove a point. This is a fight for the future of Hong Kong, it -- its Hongkongers fighting for the right to choose their leaders, a right that they don't have.

And mainland China has made clear, they will never have. They say they have to have it and they're going to do anything to get it. And that's what we're seeing play out here right now.

[07:35:05] PAUL: Will Ripley, thank you so much. Listen, we're going to take a quick break. Monitor that situation, we'll go back to Will in just a little bit.

As you can see how the situation there in Hong Kong has just deteriorated over the last 45 minutes. We'll be right back.


BLACKWELL: "BREAKING NEWS" in the 2020 race.

PAUL: Senator Bernie Sanders just unveiled an outline of his plan to take on medical debt.

BLACKWELL: The Senator argues your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick. CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us from Washington with the details of this plan. See even if he slipped into a speech yesterday and now getting some details. What do you learning?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Victor. This is a good example of why town halls are such a good thing on the campaign trail because the Sanders campaign wasn't necessarily ready to unveil the details of this plan, but the candidate was asked about problems related to medical debt last night in South Carolina. So, he teased this out. Saying that he has a plan to completely eliminate all medical debt for every American.

The Sanders campaign unveiling, at least, part of the details behind that plan this morning. They say, 530,000 Americans were forced into bankruptcy because of medical debt.

So, as a result, Bernie Sanders as president would do the following. He would cancel $81 million in past-due medical debt. He would also take on the 2005 bankruptcy bill that he believes is really forcing a lot of people into bankruptcy, and unfairly hurts people who had medical debt.

He also wants to protect a credit score of people that are impacted by medical debt. Now, what we still don't know though is how Bernie Sanders plans to pay for this program. $81 million, when you also take that into account that he's also calling for free health care across the board with his Medicare for all plan. He also wants to cancel all of the student loan debt -- trillions of dollars that have been piled up by Americans across the board.

And he also wants to do a lot of other things like free college tuition that are going to cost taxpayers quite a bit. We don't know the specifics, yet, behind how he plans to pay for this.

But Victor and Christi, this is another example of Bernie Sanders taking on the establishment and what he would argue would be bailing out the average American. This would go a long way to helping people that have found themselves in difficult positions because of a medical problem.

They're hoping that this along with implementing Medicare for All will make the situation much easier for Americans across the board. Victor and Christi?

[07:41:26] BLACKWELL: Hey, Ryan, before we let you go, I know he has not answer the question about how or the campaign has and how they're going to pay for it. But $81 million seems to be a pretty low number when you consider how much medical debt there is. Any explanation of who or what is included in that $81 million?

NOBLES: Now, this initial plan in -- as we said before, they weren't necessarily prepared to unveil this entire plan as of right now. So, we don't have the specifics of where that $81 million figure is coming from.

But you're right, considering how many people they're talking somewhere in the range of 530,000 people that have been bankrupt because of medical debt, you wonder exactly where that 81 million comes from.

But you're right, Victor. This is still something that we need to see the specifics behind where this all coming from and then how they plan to pay for it.

BLACKWELL: Ryan Nobles for us in Washington. Thank you, Ryan.

NOBLES: Thank you.

PAUL: You probably know her name, Kate Steinle. Because her death sparked a national debate about immigration reform. Well, a California court now has thrown out the only conviction against the undocumented immigrant who's accused of killing her.

Coming up, what led to yesterday's ruling and what happens now?


[07:46:49] PAUL: Top in this morning's legal brief for you. A California appeals court has thrown out the only conviction against an undocumented immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle. I know you remember that name. In 2017, Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in Steinle's death. One charge stuck being a felon in possession of a gun. But last night, an appeals court ruled, he did not get a fair trial when he was convicted.

Criminal defense attorney and CNN Legal Analyst, Joey Jackson with us now. So, Joey, what does this mean now?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, good morning to you, Christi. So, essentially, what happens is, is it -- it's an appeal, right? And based upon the appeal, it was all about the jury instruction, when you go to trial the jurors are instructed after that trial in terms of how they should evaluate the facts and match them with the law that the judge instructs.

And so, in this particular case, they did not get that is the defense, a jury instruction they wanted. What was that? The jury instruction they wanted is something called momentary possession. What does that mean in English? Remember the argument in the case, defense was alleging that -- listen, he never really possessed the firearm, he picked up a rag, and apparently, the gun was wrapped within the rag and when it went off, he threw it over the bridge into the water.

And so, the defense was arguing, Judge, give us an instruction on momentary possession. This is not a person who knew he was in possession of a firearm, he only knew when it went off.

And to the extent that the law says that if you're in momentary possession of something that's illegal with the intent to dispose of it, right? Or otherwise, destroy it, it's all good. The judge did not instruct and as a result of failing to give that instruction, it was determined that he was not given a fair trial, and as a result of that, the conviction is thrown out.

What's next is the prosecution has to decide whether they again, look, and they appeal that. Right? And if they do, it will go to the highest court for determination. If they don't, it will stand, the conviction will thereby be reversed, and the matter will be disposed of with the exception of the pending federal charge.

PAUL: All right. Joey, thank you so much for walking us through that. We appreciate it.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, these are the pictures now from the streets of Hong Kong. This is the Wan Chai District, you can see the smoke in the air. This, it looks like it would be the tear gas. But we saw thick black smoke there as protesters were burning barricades.

Our Will Ripley is there on the ground there. It looks like this area has dispersed a bit, but you can see those lasers still being used by protesters, hoping to disorient police there. We will, of course, continue to watch what is happening there. You can hear the announcements, trying to get the crowd to disperse more when we come back.


[07:53:29] PAUL: All right, take a look at what's happening right now. Live pictures for you out of Hong Kong, and we have seen fires. We have seen the lasers that are meant to disorient the police officers there, as we have protesters is squaring off against police.

We know that Will Ripley is there on the scene live and well, we know that this is over the now shelled extradition bill. These people, it's grown, it's about democracy -- it's about government accountability. They're talking that they want to have some accountability for alleged police abuse.

But how did things escalate to what we're seeing now?

RIPLEY: It is. Yes, the demands have evolved, Christi. It started with the extradition bill for trying to be able to take suspects from Hong Kong and put them on trial there. Even people who might speak out against the mainland.

That's what started these protests. But then, police brutality, as you mentioned, the chief executive of the city, the Carrie Lam who runs the place, they want her to resign. And the crowds are substantial. We're now on the other side of the fire that we showed you a short time ago, they have now put the fire out. And you can see riot police are here to disperse the crowd.

It's amazing how quickly these crowds clear out because when we came on this side of the barricade, there were easily several thousand people here. They filled the streets as far back as the eye can see.

And I'll pan the camera around for you in a minute, but I just want to keep it, our eyes on the action here, because we're not exactly sure what's about to unfold. The riot police may be preparing to move in, and charge the street. In fact, that looks like that's what is about to happen.

We'll see if they put up a flag, they usually put up a flag to warn us before that happens. But while we're waiting for that, I just want to pan the camera around, Brad, show how empty the street is.

So, see where that laser beam is pointing from in the back? That's where the line of protesters has moved to. I don't know how many people are back there at this stage. I know there were several thousand here, maybe 10 minutes ago. And they've now cleared out.

We saw protesters with very large containers of accelerant, tipping over trash cans, getting ready to set those trash cans on fire before these riot police moved in. And you can see they have non-lethal ammunition, they have their shields at the ready, but they don't have any protesters to disperse because the crowds already moved possibly to the next location.

So, what we've seen now, the message is the same. They want democracy in Hong Kong, they want investigation into what they call police brutality, they want universal suffrage, the right to choose their leaders.

But what they're getting instead is an increasingly violent confrontation with increasingly well-armed and well-equipped police who are using tactics that we also see in mainland China, and the United States, in Turkey, and Egypt, in the countries all over the world that deal with protests.

But these kinds of scenes are truly unprecedented for Hong Kong until this summer. 13 weeks. This has been happening every single weekend. And just when you think that things are starting to slow down, they escalate yet again. We'll see what happens out here.

[07:56:24] PAUL: Will Ripley, thank you so much. We so appreciate it. I will keep you posted on what's happening there. More breaking news coming at the top of the hour as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the National Hurricane Center has just updated the situation on Hurricane Dorian. We now know that the storm has intensified. Allison Chinchar is at the CNN Weather Center for a full update. We're back in a moment.