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EARLY START

Hurricane Dorian Threatens U.S. After Devastating Bahamas; Interview With Florida State Representative Shevrin Jones (D); Parliament Okays Bill To Stop No-Deal Brexit. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 5, 2019 - 05:30   ET

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


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[05:30:39]

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Streets are flooded, power out for 125,000 customers in South Carolina. Hurricane Dorian regaining strength and battering the coast, while rescue and cleanup efforts are underway in the Bahamas.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A doctored, phony map in the Oval Office. The president pushing a fake narrative that Dorian was a threat to Alabama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHANEL MILLER, RAPED BY BROCK TURNER: In newspapers, my name was "unconscious, intoxicated woman."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: She was raped by a college athlete, then devastated at his light sentence. Five years later, she wants you to hear her story and know her name.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

Breaking overnight, a sudden resurgence for Dorian. The hurricane regaining strength and now, once again, a major category three storm.

Officials say landfall is possible anywhere in the Carolinas. Right now, Dorian is approaching the coast of South Carolina. The National Hurricane Center warning of life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds.

BRIGGS: Dorian is forecast to run parallel to the coast of North and South Carolina into Friday, but any swerve to the west could bring the eye of the hurricane onshore. This morning, more than one million people in the Carolinas are under mandatory evacuation orders.

Coastal South Carolina getting hit hard right now. One hundred twenty-five thousand customers already losing power. Parts of downtown Charleston underwater.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is there for us this morning. Derek, good morning to you. What are you seeing?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning, Dave. I can't believe that we still have power where we are set up at the moment.

But people in Charleston, South Carolina waking up to a triple threat. We know freshwater flash flooding a possibility today on top of storm surge, as well as hurricane-force winds.

That is what they are waking up to this morning because Dorian intensified overnight. So as you see your T.V. screens this morning you may understand that there's a whole different scenario taking shape here.

We have seen power flashes behind us lighting up -- illuminating the skies with greens, purples, and blues as transformers continue to blow across this area.

And just on my phone, about 45 minutes ago, we had the alert -- National Weather Service issuing a flash flood warning for Charleston. We have seen reports on Twitter, we have seen some of the social media of the roads being cordoned off in downtown Charleston because of the ongoing flooding.

And believe me, it is only going to get worse before it gets better because we're starting to see the approach of the center of the storm. Not quite the eyewall, but the heavier rainbands that's going to set up over eastern portions of South Carolina. And that's where we fear the potential for 3-inch-an-hour rainfall rates, maybe totaling up to over a foot.

I cannot overstate the flood threat here enough. You've got to -- you've got to factor in all the combinations here from the storm surge as the hurricane approaches and the water trying to rush out of all the rivers and tributaries from the heavy rainfall that's falling inland and over the Charleston, South Carolina area as we speak.

So, people waking up to just a multitude of threats this morning. A very fluid situation, literally and figuratively, this morning -- Dave.

BERMAN: All right. Derek Van Dam, live for us in Charleston. Stay safe, my friend.

ROMANS: All right. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar has the very latest on the hurricane from the CNN Weather Center -- Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right.

So as we take a look at the current statistics at the top of the hour, one of the big things we noticed that changed was that forward movement, now moving due north. The concern there is if it doesn't start to shift to the east soon we may end up having landfall over South Carolina today rather than North Carolina tomorrow. So this is something we will keep a very close eye on.

But one thing to notice is it is still bringing very heavy wind, very heavy rain, and a lot of storm surge into these areas, regardless of whether or not it technically makes landfall today.

Here's a look at that track. So even if it does just brush along the South Carolina coast today, we do still expect a landfall, likely between Hatteras and Wilmington at some point tomorrow.

Here's a look at the radar. You can see a lot of those heavy bands of rain and a lot of lightning starting to push into the northern portion of South Carolina, as well as into North Carolina.

[05:35:00]

Look at this -- four active tornado warnings at this point in time. That is going to be one of the main concerns we have in the short-term with this particular area.

Because of that, a brand-new -- just a few moments ago -- tornado watch issued for this area of southern North Carolina and northeastern portions of South Carolina, including cities like Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. That is valid until 4:00 Eastern time this afternoon.

This area is -- does have the potential for tornadoes, as well as water spouts as we go off and on throughout the day and more of those outer bands move in.

Flooding is still going to be the biggest concern in the form of storm surges. You can see here, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, about five to eight-foot; Hatteras, around four to six-foot; Savannah, about four to seven feet of storm surge.

But also, very heavy rainfall, guys -- widespread amounts of about four to six inches. But where you see the red and even this pink color down here towards Charleston, now you're talking perhaps in excess of 10 inches of rain.

ROMANS: Wow, all right. Everyone sit tight because this is really still a slow-moving situation.

Thank you so much for that, Allison.

BRIGGS: Rescue and relief efforts just getting underway in the Bahamas this morning. The CNN team on the ground says the level of devastation is, quote, "breathtaking." The official death toll is 20 at this hour but that is expected to climb.

People everywhere are stepping forward to help. In Freeport, a volunteer looks for the owner of a dog he rescued from rising waters. And others rescue a stranded family from the deluge.

ROMANS: In Jacksonville, Florida, a Good Samaritan walked into a Costco and left with 100 generators, all of them bound for the Bahamas, at a cost of $45,000.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Child reuniting with family in Bahamas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And then there was this emotional moment captured by CNN. A 10-year-old boy reunited with his relatives after being separated during the hurricane.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is there. He's on the ground for us on Grand Bahama Island.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA-BASED CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, for the first time, U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and airplanes have begun conducting flights over the island of Grand Bahama. This is incredibly encouraging because up until now there has been no sign of any assistance from outside -- from the outside world to this isolated island.

There is so much need here right now. People are running short on water, on food. We need more generators brought in because there's still no power on the entire island.

So we drove out to the airport today. It was -- we were able to get there. We tried the day before and it was impossible, but many of the roads have begun getting cleared up.

What we found at the airport was a scene of total devastation. One of the terminals was completely ripped open. There was part of an airplane wing inside that terminal with the wheels still attached. We saw other planes thrown around like toys outside the airport.

It was hard to imagine what could have caused this incredible destruction.

The storm surge from Dorian did cover the airport -- did submerge the airport in water for two days. And the other terminals, while still standing, were also badly damaged by this flooding. One of the terminals, we were told, was too dangerous to enter because no one had come yet to do a damage assessment.

The runway was littered with metal and concrete. There's so many debris that it's impossible to imagine a plane landing or taking off. And that is really a challenge for this island because on an isolated island like this one, the airport is a vital link to the rest of the world. That is how aid can come in.

That is how people -- and there are many people we have seen who have injuries that need to be medevaced now -- that is how they could leave. That is how they would normally leave.

And right now, although we are told the cleanup crews will begin work at the airport very soon and that it is a priority to open up the airport, it doesn't seem like that could happen very soon. It certainly won't be soon enough for the many residents in desperate situations here on the island of Grand Bahama.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Freeport, in the Bahamas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Some great reporting there from Patrick.

All right. One Florida State rep has roots in the Bahamas and has family who endured the storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we need assistance fast. It's going on right now -- oh, oh. Pray for -- pray for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Florida State Rep. Shevrin Jones joining us now. He's calling on the administration to waive visa requirements for evacuees. Thanks for joining us, sir.

STATE REP. SHEVRIN JONES (D-FL): Thank you for having me.

BRIGGS: Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott also writing to the White House, asking them to waive these certain visa requirements.

That video there, sent to you by family, though -- we saw no roof and we heard a plea for assistance. What are they telling you, sir, about the devastation they're seeing -- about what they need now and will need in the days ahead?

[05:40:02]

JONES: Absolutely. First of all, thank you, Dave, for bringing light to the Bahamas.

Right now, my family -- all of them are safe. But many can't say that about their families right now because many of them are in surge. Right now, with -- on the island, it's bad.

Even after I speak to my cousin -- all of my cousins -- they -- the only thing they can continue to say is how bad it is right now and how much help they currently need over in the Bahamas.

ROMANS: We're watching pictures right now, sir, of the water coming up at the house there over the -- you know, over the windows. You can see just how high that storm surge came.

And now, people need lights, there's no power, there's no way to get in or out of the airport. There are some helicopters coming in and out but the airport is not -- is not functioning.

Talk to us a little bit about how close the ties are for your family and people in Florida to the Bahamas and why you think it's so important to waive some of these visa requirements.

JONES: Absolutely.

South Florida -- Miami, specifically -- has very deep roots with the Bahamian community. As a matter of fact, when Bahamians came and they descended here to South Florida, they built Miami, they built Fort Lauderdale, and portions of Broward -- other portions of Broward County. And so they have the deep roots here within South Florida.

And I believe that looking at the direction in which we're asking for visas to be waived for individuals who may have families here, it's the right thing to do. One, because there is no safety area within the island. But those individuals do have family members here who can take them in where they could be safe until some type of normalcy can be put back on track in the Bahamas.

After speaking with Sen. Rubio and Sen. Scott, they have sent the letter to the White House asking the president to move forward on suspending certain requirements for those individuals who do have family here within the States.

BRIGGS: And that's the key distinction there. This request is for those people that have family here where they could stay.

If you want to just take a moment -- and what is your message to the administration, to the president why this is such an urgent need right now.

JONES: Yes. My message to President Trump would be I know this has -- there has been a lot of politics played over the last few months within the administration, but I want him to take a look at what Sen. Rubio and Sen. Scott has done when it come (sic) to helping the individuals here within South Florida -- the Bahamian community.

There's no politics in this. There's no need to have politics in this. This is a -- this is a human issue. These are human beings that's (sic) over there.

And I believe that it is the right thing to do to bring these families here where their families are so they can get some type of normalcy. So they can know that we, here in the States -- we do care about them over in the Bahamas. And even show our appreciation for the -- for the things that the Bahamian community has done here within South Florida.

I believe the families here would be appreciative of it, and I also believe the Bahamian government will be appreciative of the state to do what's right and put politics aside and just do what's right for human beings and for people, period.

ROMANS: All right, nice to see you this morning. Thank you so much for sharing those videos with us. Shevrin Jones, nice to see you --

JONES: Thank you for having me.

ROMANS: -- from Miami, Florida this morning.

BRIGGS: Very much appreciate it. JONES: Thank you.

BRIGGS: OK, pay no attention to the man in the White House if, in fact, you're looking for an accurate hurricane forecast. President Trump, in the Oval Office, showing an early prediction of Dorian's trajectory. A closer look reveals someone extended the target area to include Alabama, a false narrative that the president has been peddling for days now.

A White House official tells CNN there was a discussion in the Oval about how the storm could have been worse than early projections, so someone extended the cone with a black marker. A source would not deny President Trump personally drew the extension.

ROMANS: An archived version of NOAA map from last Thursday showed Dorian veering left toward Florida, but it did not show Alabama would be affected.

CNN meteorologists confirm one forecast on Friday showed one-tenth of one country in extreme southeast Alabama was included in one model, but that map bears little resemblance to the one President Trump used on Wednesday.

BRIGGS: Almost reminiscent of Tim Apple -- calling Tim Cook Tim Apple -- a mistake. People make mistakes. Just own up to it and move on.

He brought this one back up and then no one around him, including Kevin McAleenan, the acting Homeland Security secretary, hands him a doctored map. No one's there to tell him this is not good.

ROMANS: We have seen this before where the president -- if the president thinks something is true, the people around him work hard to make it seem like it's true --

BRIGGS: Yes. If you're wondering what fake news is --

ROMANS: -- and then it's on.

BRIGGS: -- this is it.

Ahead, Parliament says a no-deal Brexit is not an option, but they refuse to agree on a plan to leave the E.U. What's Boris Johnson's next move.

[05:45:00]

CNN live at Parliament, next.

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ROMANS: All right.

One of the world's oldest democracies disintegrating in real time. Here's a recap of just the last few days in Britain. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, ejecting 21 lawmakers from his own party. Rebel conservatives seizing control of Parliament's agenda. The House of Commons approving a bill to stop a no-deal Brexit. And now, Parliament has rejected the prime minister's call for a snap election.

CNN's Max Foster standing by for us outside the House of Parliament. Max, what are Boris Johnson's options at this point?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM WITH MAX FOSTER": Well, it's interesting. Two clear defeats yesterday.

First of all, the opposition party saying you have to take no-deal -- a no-deal Brexit off the table. They won that. Then they also blocked Boris Johnson's bid for another snap election.

[05:50:01]

It was interesting -- a whole night of debates. The government pushing back on this all the way through until about 1:30 in the morning when there was a sudden climb down and the government agreed to go ahead and to push ahead with this bill and take no-deal off the table.

Why did they do that? Well, it could have been rather than surrender a tactical retreat because later on, Boris Johnson will come out and say, "Look, the opposition party -- Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, you got what you wanted. I've taken no-deal off the table. Now, you have to agree to an election."

So now, there's going to be a big debate about the timing of that. It does actually have to be an election relatively soon because we've got a government that doesn't have a working majority. It can't effectively govern.

But it's going to be an almighty round now about the timing of that election. Should it be before the Brexit deadline of October 31st or after? It's going to be very interesting. But I think Downing Street basically regards today as the beginning of their election campaign.

ROMANS: Wow. All right, Max Foster for us in London. Thank you so much for that.

BRIGGS: To our politics and former Vice President Joe Biden downplaying his gaffes on the campaign trail. In an interview with "LATE SHOW" host Stephen Colbert, Biden claims her verbal missteps and factual errors are not substantive nor relevant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any gaffe that I have made -- and I've made gaffes, like every politician I know has -- have been not about a substantive issue -- been about other -- I'm trying to talk about what other people have done.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Biden also joked about nominating Barack Obama to the Supreme Court and picking Michelle Obama as his running mate, as well as joking that he was on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

We'll be right back.

[05:56:17]

ROMANS: A mental defective -- that's the designation that is why Saturday's shooter in Texas failed a background check in 2014. He was committed to an institution in 2006, deemed a danger to himself and others.

Federal investigators searched a home in Lubbock as part of the investigation into how the shooter got the weapon. We've already learned it was a private purchase where no background check is required.

BRIGGS: Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw being criticized for this tweet, meanwhile, saying universal background checks would stop him from letting friends borrow his gun, weeks after vowing to take action.

CNN has learned President Trump still has not settled on a response to gun violence, leaving lawmakers from both parties in limbo.

ROMANS: There's been a surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City, up 63 percent compared with 2018. Most of the incidents have been acts of vandalism, including graffiti or swastikas on synagogues.

According to the NYPD, more than half of the hate crimes in the city this year have targeted the Jewish community.

BRIGGS: After five years, the survivor of Brock Turner's sexual assault is letting the world know her name and her story -- Chanel Miller. And she is telling her story in a new book aptly titled, "Know My Name." Miller was attacked after a fraternity party at Stanford.

In an upcoming interview with "60 MINUTES," she reads part of her powerful impact statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER: In newspapers, my name was "unconscious, intoxicated woman" -- 10 syllables and nothing more than that. I had to force myself to relearn my real name -- my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Turner, who could have been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, got six months in county jail and served just three.

ROMANS: Imagine if your phone could help you be better with your money -- sort of, like it tells you to get up and move and counts your steps. Well, the computer company that changed how we listen to music and how we use the phone wants to replace what's in your wallet with a new Apple Card.

Apple's fintech guru, Jennifer Bailey, says Apple designed a sleek product meant to help people better understand their money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER BAILEY, VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNET SERVICES, APPLE PAY: One of the other great financial help features is the ability to simply see how much you're spending, both on a weekly, on a merchant basis, on a monthly basis. So we thought that was a very simple and foundational thing that we needed to do to help people get a better handle on their finances.

ROMANS: But they can't download that into like another budgeting app?

BAILEY: Not yet, but we're working on it.

ROMANS: You're working on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Budgeting -- working on it.

Apple announced the card back in March, promising the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years. Sign-ups started last month. The card is only available to iPhone users and it's built into the Apple wallet app.

BRIGGS: Undoubtedly, a very expensive case coming their way, right?

ROMANS: An expensive one.

BRIGGS: An expensive case for the credit card --

ROMANS: Oh, no. All you have to do -- yes.

BRIGGS: -- that they're going to sell for $30.00.

ROMANS: There was some concern about that it would -- that it would get scratched too easily. But you don't even need the card, actually. You just need the phone.

BRIGGS: Just have the phone.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now with John Berman in Charleston.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The forecast now putting the Carolinas on high alert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're boarding up windows and sealing off doors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Images from the Bahamas show Dorian's wrath.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is extremely frightening. There is nothing here.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are fighting for the survival of the planet Earth, our only planet.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not a question of debating the science, it's a question of taking on powerful interests.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the hardest thing we will have done, certainly in my lifetime, as a country. This is on par with winning World War II, perhaps even more challenging.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is CNN's special live coverage of Hurricane Dorian.

I'm John Berman live in Charleston, South Carolina this morning. Alisyn Camerota.

END