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Dorian Devastates Bahamas, Moves Along U.S. Coast; Boris Johnson Calls for Snap Election; Dorian Devastates Bahamas, Moves Along U.S. Coast; Pence Stay at Trump Resort Raises Constitutional Questions; U.K. House Passes First Step in Blocking No-Deal Brexit. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 4, 2019 - 00:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, thanks for joining us, I'm Robyn Curnow.

At this hour we are following two big stories. In the U.K. a major blow to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, after a rebel alliance of lawmakers seized control of the Parliament. We will have that story in a moment.

But we do begin with the very latest on the destructive path of Hurricane Dorian.

You know the Bahamas are known as paradise but after Hurricane Dorian, they look like a war zone. Dorian has left absolute carnage in its wake and many areas are underwater. Some communities have been devastated and homes have been torn to shreds.

You can see from these aerial images flooding is still threatening rescue efforts and the rescuer themselves. Everyday people using boats and jetskis and putting their own lives at risk to save others.

As of now, at least seven people have been killed. The islands are no stranger to hurricanes but Dorian is something else. It's the year's most powerful storm and the strongest ever to slam the Bahamas.

The country's prime minister is asking for international help. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: The national airport at Abaco is underwater. The runway is completely flooded and in fact the area around the airport now looks like a lake.

March (ph) Harbor has suffered, I would estimate, in excess of 60 percent damage to the homes. The mud, as we know, has been completely destroyed or decimated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: As the Bahamas struggled, Dorian isn't over yet The hurricane has gotten weaker over the past 24 hours but crucially it's not weak. It is now a category 2, picking up speed and size as it lashes the U.S.

Florida at this hour is seeing fierce winds and rain and along with storm surge and flooding, On the coast of Georgia it's also bracing. Dorian's fall is not expected to make landfall there but it could threaten the Carolinas later on this week.

So CNN is covering it from all angles. Derek Van Dam is in Jensen Beach, Florida, along the state's east coast.

(WEATHER REPORT)

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CURNOW: CNN's Patrick Oppmann and his crew have been riding out the storm in one of the hardest hit areas, Freeport, Bahamas. Entire neighborhoods are inundated with water. Homes and buildings and cars were destroyed.

Many areas are not even inaccessible yet so it is amazing that Patrick's team is on the ground and getting us these pictures and these reports. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One jetski ride, one boat trip at a time, these Bahamians are saving the lives of their family, neighbors and complete strangers. They launch from a bridge that is now underwater.

Theirs is a dangerous mission. Hurricane force winds are ranging.

Howard Armstrong was rescued after his house flooded to the ceiling. His house was one of hundreds lost as storm surge from Dorian swallowed whole neighborhoods.

Armstrong's wife Lynn didn't make it.

HOWARD ARMSTRONG, HURRICANE DORIAN SURVIVOR: It came over the roof. I would imagine 21 feet at least. We were doing all right until the water kept coming up and all the appliances were going around the house like a washing machine. I probably got hit with something in bed and my poor little wife got hypothermia and she was standing on top of the kitchen cabinets until they disintegrated and I kept with her and she just drowned on me.

OPPMANN (on camera): I'm so sorry.

ARMSTRONG: I know. I know. And so --

OPPMANN: How did you get out?

ARMSTRONG: I got out. I had a big boat anchored in there. I'm a crab fisherman and I have a 40-footer on a mooring which stayed there, so I didn't even think it was there. So I had got out of the house after my wife drowned and because you couldn't be in there anymore and I had no tools to chomp a hole in the roof, in the ceiling.

So I saw my boat was still there and I swam. I took a chance and swam out to it.

OPPMANN (voice-over): There is no power on Grand Bahama Island, no running water, sporadic cell service at best. Submerged cars blocked many roads. Maybe the last thing working is this all-volunteer crew of boaters risking their lives to save lives. Dorian fights them every trip they make.

People coming with what they have, the jets skis they have. They are dealing with horrible weather conditions. It's not safe to be on a boat or out here at all. They know there are people out there.

While we were there, winds flip a jetski and the rescuers have to hold their efforts.

Rescuer Rochenel Daniel says there isn't much time left.

ROCHENEL DANIEL, HURRICANE DORIAN SURVIVOR: Exhausted. Some we had to carry. Some couldn't make it. Some he put on the jetski, turned the whole jetski over because they couldn't hold they weight up.

First one we found was my brother clinging to a tree and he made out safe but we were unable to locate his wife at the moment. We hope she's OK, but the rescue goes on and on. We have a lot of people supporting us. Everybody working as a team here, you know. It's very hard but we shall overcome.

OPPMANN (on camera): How are you doing? You made it.

(voice-over): Dozens have been rescued but many more remain in desperation as they spend the third night waiting for salvation -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Bahamas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Joining us now from the Bahamas is Latrae Rahming. He served as the press secretary to former Bahamas prime minister, Perry Christie.

Thanks so much for joining us. Our condolences, our thoughts with the people of the Bahamas, these early pictures are devastating.

Do you have a sense of how widespread the devastation is?

LATRAE RAHMING, FORMER PERRY CHRISTIE PRESS SECRETARY: Thanks so much for having me. I think we are just trying to get a full appreciation as to the extent of what it is. We've seen aerial shots of Abaco. We have not seen Grand Bahama yes.

The prime minister along with the leader of the opposition and other government officials did a overview with the U.S. Coast Guard. It's pretty extensive. We're talking about the -- two of the major islands in the Bahamas. We have lost the local economy. We've lost our key tourism and products on the island.

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CURNOW: And I suppose most importantly, the concern about loss of human life.

How many people were living on those islands and how concerned are you about their welfare and what kind of sense do we have of the death toll?

RAHMING: Well, this -- the Bahamas in the past, when dealing with disasters, I've never been placed in a situation where we had to deal with a rising death toll. So I think that was a very scary proposition for us.

We both felt this storm was in the past and probably more than 71,000 individuals when you combine Grand Bahama and Abaco. We are very concerned with the loss of life. There have been unconfirmed deaths because of social media and you're seeing people who've been aiding their relatives who succumbed to their injuries during the storm.

Do we know how research and how recovery efforts are going?

Is there any sense that a lot of people can be saved now?

RAHMING: The old plan would have been given for Grand Bahama when it comes to (INAUDIBLE) Apparently right now there have been a research and rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Royal Navy should be arriving in Abaco tonight at about noon.

They will be able to provide about 600 meals. So the research - also the search and effort being done by private citizens (INAUDIBLE) national emergency (INAUDIBLE) agency.

CURNOW: We have seen those images of community members trying to help what is very telling about a lot of the images are that it is men, healthy young men. There is no doubt concern about the vulnerable, about elderly, about the elderly population, women, children, babies. That must be a huge concern to you now.

RAHMING: Definitely because when you get put in a appreciation inside the Bahamas, it's (INAUDIBLE) and because most of the medical facilities (INAUDIBLE) compromised during the storm. So the research and - the search - the research and rescue has to be done through Coast Guard. People being airlift from (INAUDIBLE) islands to the capital.

It's a very intense exercise (ph).

CURNOW: And we can see also just how high the water levels are. As we're looking, just finally before you go, how high are water levels?

And how, from a percentage point of view, how much of these islands is actually submerged?

RAHMING: Well, to put it in perspective, people living in two-story homes had their lowest story filled with water. You're talking about water heights that were about 22 feet high.

And most of the islands were subjected to this height of water. But the important message is that there is a desperate need for international assistance. This is a horrid thing that the Bahamas has never dealt with, this is a natural disaster that -- where we were not prepared to the extent of the tragedy.

Like I said before, we have, in the past, had to deal with the rising death tolls. I think that the government officials, in my view, will be afraid to announce that number.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Sobering conversation there. That was Latrae Rahming, speaking to me from the Bahamas, thanks to him for that.

We're going to change tack for just a moment and talk about the U.K. It wasn't a very good day for the prime minister, Boris Johnson. An alliance of British lawmakers voted to take control of the parliamentary agenda to push through a bill blocking a no deal Brexit.

The prime minister then sacked 21 members of his own party who backed the measure. And he made a good on his threat to seek a general election. But as Nic Robertson reports, it won't be that easy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Now 328 votes to 301 votes, a loss by the prime minister on his first vote in Parliament by 27 votes, perhaps worse than he anticipated.

He rose immediately to his feet, defended his position and said very clearly that if the legislation is going to be passed that blocks a no deal Brexit on the 31st of October, legislation that would force him to ask for a three-month extension to the Brexit negotiation talks, he said his recourse is going to be to call a snap general election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: It's the people of this country will have to choose, Mr. Speaker. The leader of the opposition has been begging for an election for two years.

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JOHNSON: He has thousands of supporters outside calling for an election.

I don't want an election, but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop the negotiations and to compel another pointless delay to Brexit, potentially for years, then that will be the only way to resolve this. And I can confirm that we are tonight tabling a motion under the Fixed Term Parliament.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Of course to call a snap election, the prime minister needs the support of the opposition, the leader of the opposition made it clear, first pass this legislation, demand an extension to Brexit negotiations, then consider having a general election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: If the prime minister has the confidence in his Brexit policy, when he has one he can put forward, he should put it before the people in a public vote.

And so he wants to table a motion for a general election, fine, get the bill through first in order to prevent, in order, in order to take no deal off the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: And that was a position amplified and backed up by the SNP, the Scottish National Party, 34 MPs right now, powerful force in Parliament. The Liberal Democrats a growing force in Parliament, again, making that legislation, extending the Brexit talks, making that the priority before going for an election.

And it is not clear at this stage when the prime minister will get to table that motion to call for a general election because, right now, Parliament's priority is the legislation forcing the extension. Unusual and uncertain times -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: And the next few hours are certainly going to be crucial.

You're watching CNN, after the break, back to the hurricane. Parts of the Bahamas are obliterated, as you can see from these devastating aerial images, the storm now has set its sights on the U.S. Coast. We have the latest from Florida, that's just ahead.

Also, the U.S. president's golf game during storm preparations was noted. Now Donald Trump is firing back.

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CURNOW: These are live pictures you are looking at. Hurricane Dorian is lashing the southeastern U.S., after lingering over the Bahamas for days. We're starting to get a look at the catastrophic damage there. You can see from these images, and the Abaco Islands, entire communities are underwater.

Roads washed away, homes flattened, knocked to the ground, at least for now. Seven people have been killed.

And Dorian's path of destruction isn't done yet. The storm may have decreased in strength but it has increased in size and speed. It's expected to pass by Florida and Georgia in the coming hours. Let's head straight to Jensen Beach, Florida, and Derek Van Dam is standing by.

Good to see you. I do want you to tell us what you are seeing and the conditions you are experiencing right now.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good day, Robyn. We have seen it all today. We've had driving rain, tropical storm force winds, we have seen treacherous waves. I'm located right now on the Intercoastal Waterway. This is between the Florida Peninsula, the mainland of the U.S., and the barrier islands, that's about half a mile behind me. The ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and all of Hurricane Dorian's fury is sitting offshore. Kind of an unsettling thought as well, as you can imagine.

We did a reconnaissance before we chose this live shot location. We came here earlier today, the waves here were tumultuous. We saw a lot of curious onlookers, people who did not heed the evacuation warnings that were in place. They decided to come and see what the water was up to, take pictures.

And I also got an opportunity to speak with some of them. And there was this collective sigh of relief, because if you recall, three to four days, ago there was a category 4 to 5 hurricane aimed right at this location that I am at.

Now we know that Hurricane Dorian is scraping by, still a lot of impact for the coastal communities. But the good news is that the evacuation orders are lifting, they've already been lifted in the county just to myself, we have the evacuation orders in Port St. Lucie County tomorrow at 6:00 am so people can start returning home.

But we know we have a long night ahead of us with some of these tropical storm force winds, as they come pummeling through. As you so aptly said, as the storm decreases -- you can see people here trying to take advantage of a dry moment in between these rain bands.

But as you said, this storm is decreasing in strength but growing in size. So the threats of a hurricane still exist, as it continues to move along the shoreline of Florida.

CURNOW: Thanks for that, we will check in with you the next hour.

Johnny Miller is the mayor of Fernandina Beach, Florida; he joins us on the phone.

Thanks for joining us, Mayor. Give us some sense of what the conditions are now where you are and what you expect.

MAYOR JOHNNY MILLER, FERNANDINA BEACH FLORIDA: We are starting to see some wind here, it's a little gusty. So the tides are getting high. We've created a berm on our impact sites. And unfortunately, this is not our first rodeo. You know we've -- this is my second term and this was my fourth major storm. So we're getting pretty good at this.

CURNOW: I want to bring up for our viewers Google Maps so they can see the topography of where you are and you are right there on the Florida-Georgia line.

[00:25:00]

CURNOW: St. Marys River is close by, a lot of inlets, a lot of low- lying areas and that's the concern, isn't it?

MILLER: Yes, that's correct. We're very own (ph). We're not connected to the mainland, we're connected by two bridges to the rest of the state of Florida. So not only do we contend with the ocean, we also have a river right around the corner, the mouth of the St. Marys River.

So our marinas are on the river and our beachfront is on the ocean side and, yes, we are about as far west as you can get on the eastern coastline, which creates problems because we are sort of a toe.

The other problem with that is, when these things come in, they come in a direct - veer off because the Gulf - everybody that lives here assumes it's just going to do the turn and they're safe if they're heading to evacuate.

But once we take that direct hit, it's going to be bad. And the big one will come eventually.

CURNOW: You are retired U.S. Navy.

Any suggestions to folks on how to manage this?

Are they heeding your warnings, particularly when it comes to experience of the way the ocean works here?

MILLER: Yes, we are seeing good response this time. With Matthew, it was really hard to get people off, because a lot of people that lived here for a long time said, I'm born and raised here, my grandparents lived here, we were fine, we always hunker down.

And we hate that word hunker down. When the wind gets to 40 miles an hour and (INAUDIBLE) are sustained, we have to close the bridge by state law. So if you're here, you're here for the duration of the storm after that.

The main goal is to get people off the bridge -- or off the island before the bridge closes. Unless you've been alive for 200 years, you haven't seen the storms we are seeing now.

This is my second term and we're seeing these things come in over and over and over again. My advice would be, based on my experience and the way that sea temperatures are rising and the way things are changing is that, we listen to the experts that are telling us the storm tracks and the whole true (ph) and we pay attention to what they are saying.

Unfortunately, I don't we're paying attention enough to the people are talking about the long-term future and the reason these storms are happening. And we need to start listening to them and making changes to prevent these storm from coming in.

CURNOW: Yes, you're talking about climate change and we're living right through it right now, these images on our screens an example of Mother Nature reacting to -

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: -- now, you know, and I knew when I saw that category 5 coming in, it was the same way I saw when David was heading towards Mexico Beach. You look at it before and after -- and I zoomed in on the Abacos and I looked at that area that we are looking at right now in the Bahamas.

And I knew it was going to happen. We can expect it to sit there for so long.

But I lived in Puerto Rico for five years. We were stationed there. We were there for Hugo and I know what happens when these storms hit these countries like this. And it always seems to be that the people that have the least get hurt the most. And I think we are seeing that right now in the Bahamas.

CURNOW: Yes, we certainly are and prayers going out to them I think from around the world. To you and all of the people under your watch, good luck, I hope that you can see this one through. Johnny Miller, thank you so much for talking to us.

MILLER: No, thank you and, yes, I appreciate the time.

CURNOW: So if you'd like to help the victims of Hurricane Dorian, please do head to our website, you will find a list of vetted charities and ways to contribute. That's at cnn.com/impact.

Coming up, a shot at Donald Trump's golf game gets a fierce response.

And also, at the latest chapter in the U.S. president's feud with London's mayor.

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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. Great to have you. I'm Robyn Curnow.

[00:33:02]

Now, parts of the Bahamas are facing absolute devastation from Hurricane Dorian. This monster storm moves slowly over the islands, basically sitting over them, hitting some areas over and over again.

You can see -- look here. You can see the destruction here. Entire communities looks like they've been obliterated. Homes are gone, along with roads and hospitals. At least seven people were killed, and the storm isn't over yet.

Even buildings left standing face a barrage of winds and flooding. Desperate people are braving chest-deep waters to reach high ground. And as you can see, are also saving loved ones and pets. It's been devastating.

So after seeing what Dorian has done in the Bahamas. The U.S. is preparing for the storm. The Category 2 hurricane is picking up speed and size as it moves north. Georgia and Florida are seeing wind and rain from the outer edges of Dorian right now.

Dorian is not expected to make landfall there, but it certainly could threaten the Carolinas later on this week. Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the latest on Dorian's track.

So it's after midnight here on the East Coast. Just give us some sense of where this is going, what people can expect when they wake up in the morning?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, there's a slow progression but of course, we've seen some changes here in the past 24 or so hours. It is moving to the northwest at about seven miles per hour or so, essentially twice the speed of walking pace.

Of courses, in the last couple of days, it wasn't moving at all beyond that. A few days back, of course, moving at about walking pace. So it is the fastest progression of this storm in about a four-, five-day period.

So at least that aspect of the storm is some better news. But we have to -- the storm lined up about 100 miles away from the coastal region of the East Coast of Florida. So we're going to see not only the heavy rainfall bands begin to move right towards the coast but also tropical-storm-force winds and hurricane-force winds just offshore.

So any sort of movement to the west or to the left, we'll have significant impacts directly on the coastal communities. And we already know storm search potential is going to be extreme. The rainfall amounts are going to be significant. And the storm really doesn't have much in the way of weakening, at least inside the next two or so days.

[00:35:08]

So you notice this. The hurricane-force winds indicated in red remain just offshore. But if you're tuned in from St. Simons, from Savannah, from Charleston or points even more to the south around, say Jacksonville. Tropical-storm-force winds are almost certainly going to be felt across these regions.

And as the storm begins turning to the north and northeast by tomorrow night into Thursday morning. That's when the best bet presents itself here for a landfall potential somewhere around the Carolinas border, from North into South Carolina, across that region. That's where you're expecting a potential there for hurricane-force winds.

Of course, that puts Charleston, Myrtle Beach and areas around, say, Wilmington in the threat zone here for landfall. And then the storm quickly skirts off towards the north and east and impacts, potentially, Cape Hatteras, as well.

So notice this. It's a sustained Category 2 as we go in towards tomorrow night into Thursday morning. Winds expected to remain right around 110 miles per hour, which is a strong Category 2.

And then beyond that, as we go towards Thursday evening, even then, just barely any weakening, 105-mile-per-hour winds before it quickly shirts off towards the northeast. So the National Hurricane Center and also local authorities across this region taking this very seriously.

Hurricane watches, hurricane warnings widespread across this region. And of course, the area with the highest potential there for landfall, which would be around the Carolinas. That's where the storm surge threat is the highest, as well, sitting right around 70 feet at its maximum.

And in fact, look at this observation forecast going in towards Thursday. This is for Charleston harbor, the potential of up to ten plus feet. That would be the second highest we've ever seen. We'd have to go back to Hurricane Hugo, which was a Category 4 in 1989 to have the highest crest there at 12 feet.

So it really shows you the wind speeds or the category doesn't really play significant role at this stage. This storm is a broad storm. It is going to skirt nearly the entire southeastern coastline for an exit to the right. And everyone is going to be impacted by it before it does so.

CURNOW: Certainly. No one's out of the woods yet. Pedram, thanks so much for that update.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CURNOW: So when the U.S. president was criticized for his hurricane response by the London mayor, he fired back twice as hard. Donald Trump canceled a weekend trip to Poland to monitor the storm. And then he played a round of golf on Monday.

As the hurricane pummeled the Bahamas and Florida prepared for the worst. In a tweet, the president began by calling Sadiq Khan incompetent. They defended his very inexpensive game and took a shot a Barack Obama playing in Hawaii and finally told Khan to focus on his city's, quote, "knife crime."

Well, Mr. Trump and Mayor Khan, as you might know, have a history of disputes over the president's Muslim ban and London's crime rate. And then the U.S. vice president is also coming under fire for his accommodations in Ireland.

Mike Pence met with Irish leaders in Dublin on Tuesday, but he stayed far, far away from the city in a hotel owned by President Trump at the president's urging. The Democrat National Committee slammed the decision, saying it meant U.S. tax dollars were making the Trump family richer.

Pence has ties in the area and defended the choice of hotel. The Trump International Golf Club is in debate on the west coast of Ireland and it's nearly 300 kilometers away from Dublin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand political attacks by Democrats. But if you have a chance to get to Doonbeg, you'll find it's a fairly small place, and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel made it logical.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Ron Brownstein is NN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic." He joins me now from Los Angeles.

Ron, great to speak to you, good to see you.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: So Mr. Pence staying at -- Vice President Pence staying at a Trump hotel, is this about ethics, optics, or both?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, let's see. Can we list all of the previous U.S. leaders who journeyed to Ireland and concluded there was no place that could sustain them and their staff in Dublin and have to go 300 kilometers away in order to find suitable lodging? It's a pretty short list. It's a list of zero.

And, you know, it kind of underscores, I think, the -- the kind of scandal fatigue in some ways that the U.S. faces. I mean, so many things happen in this Trump presidency that are simply unimaginable than any previous presidency that there is a kind of a numbing effect on some off these. You know, this comes right after the president suggested that the G-7 be held at one of his properties.

So I think there are legitimate issues, obviously. I mean, it's kind of absurd for the vice president to argue with something approaching a straight face that he could not find any place suitable any closer that did not belong to his boss.

CURNOW: OK. So let's see what happens with that.

I want to also talk about the hurricane that's been such a focus. However, the intensity of this hurricane seems to have baffled the U.S. president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [00:40:10]

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not sure that I've ever heard of a Category 5. I knew it existed. And I've seen some Category 4s. You don't even see them much, but a Category 5 is something that I don't know that I've ever even heard the term, other than I know it's there. That's the ultimate, and that's what we have, unfortunately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: So the president has repeatedly forgotten how big a storm can get. And then, in this case, also where it was going, mistakenly saying Alabama was in the path. How confident should American people be that the president is on top of this, even if it's from the links?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look. The biggest problem here -- if you take him at his word and he says he didn't know a Category 5 existed, and now we're dealing with one.

What does that point you to? It points you to asking why there are now so many of our hurricanes are becoming more intense. And the science is pretty clear. It is not that climate change causes more hurricanes. It's that the hurricanes exist, as your previous guest the mayor noted. The hurricane that -- more of the hurricanes that exist reach Category 4 and 5, because they are drawing fuel from warmer air and warmer water that produces more rain and more intense storms.

And yet, the president, you know, fundamentally has called climate change a hoax, has worked very digitally to systematically dismantle every attempt that the previous administration undertook to try to address climate change, pulling out of the Paris treaty, undoing the power plant regulations to reduce carbon electricity generation, repealing the auto -- automotive fuel efficiency regulations.

And, you know, all of those waves trying to promote the fossil fuel industry. And I do think that this is going to be an issue in 2020. Because the -- the effects of climate change measured by these hurricanes in the east and wildfires in the west and drought and heat waves in between are really becoming more unavoidable for more and more Americans.

Well, up to two-thirds, Robyn, of Americans saying in polling they believe climate change is happening, that it is driven by human activity. And the president is still calling it a hoax.

CURNOW: So what you're saying, I mean, the facts, you know, facing all of these hurricanes or other major weather events, as you list, I mean, all directly connected to climate change.

Is this going to become a single-issue concern for many voters, particularly young voters? And is it something that's going to flip -- you know, change -- change people's minds?

BROWNSTEIN: Reinforce, right? CURNOW: OK.

BROWNSTEIN: I believe that there are a whole series of issues, environmental issues, social issues and abortion, gun rights, gay rights, immigration. They all cleave the country along similar lines.

And what you see are younger voters and suburban white-collar college- educated white voters who are kind of at the opposite end of the spectrum on -- from Trump on all of those questions. And they all kind of reinforce each other.

And you see the kind of alignment that we now have in American politics, where the president is most dependent on blue-collar, older, rural and very religious white voters. At the price of driving away younger voters, minority voters and many white-collar, college- educated voters who voted Republican in the past but are recoiling from him precisely on these sort of non-economic issues.

And I do think that, for well-educated voters whose numbers on climate change are even higher than the two-thirds that I mentioned and the fact that the president not only refuses to deal with it but refuses to acknowledge that it is occurring at all, even as the evidence literally slams us in the face in the form of these kinds of hurricanes. I do think that is a contributing factor to their alienation from -- from Trump and the Republican Party that we saw in 2018 and that all polls point to for 2020.

CURNOW: Interesting stuff. Ron Brownstein, always great to have you on the show. Thanks so much --

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

CURNOW: -- for all of your expertise. Thank you.

And talking about climate change, be sure to tune in later today for a special CNN town hall as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates take on the climate crisis that starts 5 p.m. in New York, 10 p.m. in London. Only here on CNN. I'll be back in a moment.

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[00:48:25]

CURNOW: After devastating the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian is now moving up the Florida coast, and images like this one show just what is in store.

The outer bands of the storm are now bringing heavy rain to many parts of Florida, and flooding remains a major, major concern.

Now, the latest forecast shows Dorian staying offshore for now but possibly making landfall in South Carolina later on this week.

And it's only day two of work for British MPs after the summer holidays, but the Parliament has already seen an epic showdown as Britain's deadline to leave the E.U. draws nearer.

A rebel alliance of lawmakers rose up against U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a move to put a stop to a no-deal Brexit. The prime minister then sacked 21 members of his own party who had backed the measure, and he made good on his threat to seek a general election, even though he says that's not his first choice.

Well, CNN's Anna Stewart went to Clacton-on-Sea in the south of England. Residents there overwhelmingly voted to leave the E.U. in the 2016 referendum. Anna was there to find out what they're saying about Brexit and the debate right now. Take a listen.

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ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Areas like this one didn't just vote to leave the E.U. in 2016, and overwhelmingly so. More recently, this year, in the E.U. parliamentary elections, there was a very strong vote from this area for the Brexit Party. That's the newly-formed party led by Nigel Farage. Sentiment has not shifted.

And speaking to people in town today, there is a huge sense of frustration. They feel that the government and Parliament more broadly have failed to deliver the Brexit they voted for well over two years ago. Take a listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a horrible mess. I just think we need to get on with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get out.

STEWART: How's Boris Johnson doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seems to be doing a good job. If only he can get us out on the 31st.

STEWART: Would you rather have no-deal or a delay?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A no-deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd rather leave without a deal. I think the U.K. can stand on its own. We might have a few hiccups. But yes, I think we can.

STEWART: There seems to be no appetite, here at least, for any further delays to Brexit.

I've also been asking people what they would do in a future general election; how would they vote. The general consensus I've had is they simply don't know.

Plenty of people in this are traditional conservative voters. Many of them are actually think Boris Johnson is doing a good job as the new prime minister. They think he's a strong negotiator with Brussels on Brexit. However, they feel let down by the Conservative government over the

past few years, because it's failed to deliver the Brexit that they voted for.

Equally, lots of these people, because they were traditional Conservative voters, would not vote for Labour and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. That means, potentially, smaller parties will get lots of the vote. That could be the Brexit Party for those that support Brexit, or on the remain side of things, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats.

We could, essentially, see a much more fragmented Parliament.

That's it from Clacton-on-Sea. The next up on CNN's road trip, we'll be heading to Norridge, a remain area. So don't forget to tune in.

But for me, Anna Stewart, reporting in Clacton-on-Sea, in the southeast of England.

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CURNOW: Thanks, Anna, for that.

Now, parts of the Bahamas are wiped out, and Hurricane Dorian is now threatening the U.S. A update on our top story after the break.

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CURNOW: Well, Dorian has left a path of destruction in its wake and islands once known as paradise are now in ruins. The storm has battered the Bahamas for days. These aerial images give us a sense of that. Drowning entire neighborhoods, smashing apart houses.

There's still reports of people trapped on their roofs, but rescuers are really having trouble getting to them. So far, at least seven people have been killed, though that number is expected to rise.

And as Hurricane Dorian moved away from the Bahamas, it has weakened somewhat, as you can see from these images. But it's still a powerful, powerful storm as it starts to move up the eastern coast of Florida.

Forecasters predict Dorian could make landfall in South Carolina later on this week.

So you're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of Hurricane Dorian. We'll continue to monitor all the twists and turns. I'm Robyn Curnow. Much more news right after this.

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