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Hurricane Dorian Regains Strength To Category Three Storm; President Trump Shows Off His Altered Hurricane Forecast Map; Top Google Executive Faces Renewed Scrutiny After Former Employee Details Alleged Affair. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 5, 2019 - 07:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. I'm John Berman in Charleston, South Carolina. This is CNN's special live coverage of Hurricane Dorian.

And joining me now is storm chaser Aaron Jayjack. Aaron, first of all, I'm making you stand out here with me because this is your job, so --


BERMAN: -- you might as well get blown around here with me.

You've been out here all night in Charleston. What have you seen on the streets?

JAYJACK: So, it's starting to get the flooding, as expected, in the historic district. I was driving around out there and the police have areas blocked off as that water's starting to rise and it's actually coming up to some of the houses in the area there. And it's only going to get worse through the afternoon as the storm approaches and we get another high tide cycle this afternoon.

BERMAN: And, of course, they always talk about the triple threat, right? There's the tide and we're in the King tide. There's the storm surge, four to seven feet. And then, there's this. They're now expecting maybe, you know, 10 to 20 inches of rain here.

JAYJACK: Right, we've been getting rain all night. Rainbands have been coming over Charleston all night, up to three inches of rain per hour, potentially, in some parts. And it's just been pummeling this area with rain.

And yes, I mean, there's nowhere for that rain to go around this little peninsula here and it has to flow out. But if the water's coming up, it's just going to stay here and pile up on land here.

BERMAN: And, of course, we're gazing out into the sea. The news overnight was the storm regained major hurricane-status -- category three, 115-mile-an-hour winds inching up the coast, passing off the coast of Charleston.

It may make landfall on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. You're headed up there. What are the risks and dangers of that?

JAYJACK: I know. Up there -- the biggest danger up there is the surge. Again, it's just wide open. You've got those barrier islands out there and water just pummels that area, surge pummels that area.

And high winds. Those winds can really come ripping off the ocean there as the storm approaches and that's probably actually what they're getting there right now. They're probably getting strong winds on that northern side of that hurricane right now.

BERMAN: Now, again, you do this as a storm chaser all the time. Have you been watching what happened in the Bahamas? You know, our Patrick Oppmann, a correspondent -- his team rode out the storm, you know, a day and a half as a category-five status there.

What were you thinking when you were looking at the Bahamas?

JAYJACK: I mean, it's just absolutely devastating.

I've been in category five hurricanes. I was in Michael last year in Florida. And usually, these hurricanes -- they come through and it's pretty quick. They move through an area pretty fast.

And just knowing being a chaser and knowing what it's like to be inside of one of those storms -- and I've even been inside of one as strong as Dorian -- a cat five as strong as Dorian. But just to see it just over the Bahamas for 24 hours or maybe even longer just hitting the same area -- I mean, it was heartbreaking because I knew exactly what was happening.

BERMAN: I told Patrick that I was relieved every time I talked to him on T.V. because I knew he and his team were doing OK. I was just so concerned about the duration of it.

OK, so talk to me about the mainland U.S. Now, this storm has been unique. It just crawled up the coast.

You know, you and I were both in Southern Florida four days ago following this. What's been unique about chasing Dorian?

JAYJACK: I mean, it's definitely that you've been -- the most unique thing has been one, it's strength. It's been one of the -- it's definitely the strongest storm I've ever tracked in my chasing career. But number two, it's such a strong storm, but how slow it's moving.

And like you said, we were both in Southern Florida the last couple of days, and I even spent some time in Orlando yesterday trying to decide -- you know, watching the storm. Is it going to strengthen? How close is it going to get to the Carolinas?


I took -- even took a little -- quick little nap on the couch and just relaxed a little bit yesterday as the storm slowly crept its way up to South Carolina here.

So that's defiantly the most unique thing -- it's just such a slow- moving storm.

BERMAN: Yes, we've been talking. It's now moving at about eight miles an hour and for a second, it feels like that's fast because it was stopped and moving one mile an hour. But, eight miles per hour is still actually fairly slow for a hurricane.

JAYJACK: Oh, yes, definitely, it's fairly slow. Usually, they come ashore -- you know, they're coming, approaching from anywhere from like eight to 20 miles per hour. And as they come ashore they usually do slow down as they get friction with land.

So, yes, this is still a slow mover. And it -- the big -- the problem -- the problem has just been the steering winds aloft in the atmosphere are just not been -- they've been battling each other. And so, this hurricane has just kind of been sitting there between all these steering mechanisms and now, it's finally starting to lift off. It just takes some time to grab the storm.

And I suspect once it starts moving towards North Carolina we should see a rapid increase in the speed of this thing. It should just shoot off back out into the Atlantic.

BERMAN: The other thing we've seen over the last couple of hours here -- sort of the unwelcomed fireworks of hurricanes -- the transformers going off all over the place. The bright lights in the sky, which means there are going to be a lot of people without power here in South Carolina and North Carolina.

JAYJACK: Yes, I've -- I mean, I've already seen power out in some areas and that's why the police, they're blocking areas. The stoplights have gone out.

And yes, I mean, that's the number one probably concern here besides the surging is the flooding -- is that power. And, you know, this place is built really well, though, so they take a lot -- they can take a pretty good beating here. And with the hurricane staying offshore, I suspect the majority of people here on the coast will keep their power.

BERMAN: The one interesting thing we did notice as we were driving up from Florida is the huge convoys of linemen. The utility crews that were staging down in Southern Florida -- some of them from Canada, by the way -- we saw a ton of New Brunswick license plates -- all moving north to be here at the ready for when there's need.

JAYJACK: Yes, that's right. I was staying in Orlando and all the electrical guys there -- they were actually doing a little hurricane party once it was pretty obvious that Florida wasn't going to have any kind of damage or power outages.

And sure enough, as I was making my way north last night, those guys I was talking to -- they were from Pennsylvania. I saw crews from Pennsylvania and Tennessee all working their way up I-94 just following the storm, just like me.

So, it was pretty neat to see that and see people not giving up on the storm because we can't let up know because now is actually the most impact it's had on the main part of the United States -- you know, just now and today and tomorrow, going -- you know, into tomorrow.

So now is no time to let up. Stay indoors, stay safe. You know, don't go driving around out there as the flooding is the number-one killer, usually, in these storms.

BERMAN: Aaron Jayjack, listen, I appreciate you being with us. I appreciate you standing out here. I think the rain missed you completely and just came into me.


BERMAN: I think I was a sponge for all the wet here. You're used to this.

Thank you very much for being with us.

JAYJACK: Well, thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right, Alisyn, let's go back to you in New York.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Great interview despite the conditions, John. Thank you very much.

Now to this story that's getting so much attention. President Trump showed off a hurricane projection map that looked like something a kindergartner would draw to win an argument. The problem, that kindergartner might go to jail. That's next.



CAMEROTA: So, President Trump revealed the weather projection map in the Oval Office yesterday, trying to prove he was right when he made the false claim that the hurricane might hit Alabama. But pretty quickly, eagle-eyed observers realized something had been altered with a very sophisticated technology known as a black magic marker.

Take a look at the difference between the official National Weather Center map and President Trump's cartoon, which you can see on the left.

All right. With me now is CNN senior political analyst John Avlon. John, do you think the president was just trying to show off his awesome art project?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's cool to be into crafts and I think there's no better place for it than the Oval Office when dealing with a deadly hurricane.

What's stunning is the extent to which the president will go to almost any length to defend his reality distortion field.

This wasn't tough. Somebody doctored this map, folks, and the White House is not denying it's the president. The additional problem, it's technically illegal.

CAMEROTA: Well, it is illegal.


CAMEROTA: I mean, changing an official weather projection for something that is so deadly serious is illegal and punishable by --

AVLON: Up to 90 days in prison and a fine.

Yes, I have a sneaking suspicion the White House -- the law and order administration might not be enforcing this one as they -- as they really figure out who the culprit is because as we all know, the president likes doctoring things involving black magic marker.

CAMEROTA: But do you think that there is some irony that after the Mueller report, Stormy Daniels, the violations of Emoluments Clause, that the jail time could be connected to the SharpieGate?

AVLON: I think SharpieGate -- I wouldn't put all your chips on SharpieGate. But again, this is the most absurd example. This is just the emperor's wearing no clothes.

"The Washington Post" had a great article with the headline, "Trump's War on Reality Hits Bizarre New Terrain."

And that's why we do these reality checks because the president's war on reality continues every day. This is just a particularly buffoonish example of trying to get away with something -- anything to preserve his pride and not to apologize.

CAMEROTA: OK. So here is the president explaining why he tried to alarm Alabama that the hurricane was headed there, so listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That was the original chart and you see it was going to hit not only Florida but Georgia. It could have -- it was going toward the Gulf. That was what we -- what was originally projected and it took a right turn. And ultimately -- hopefully, we're going to be lucky.


CAMEROTA: Does he think we can't see the black magic marker on there?

AVLON: I -- one -- this is sort of one of those things where we're not really sure what the president's seeing through his own eyes.


What's very clear is that it wasn't part of the real map, be it the National Weather Service was saying it never -- Alabama has never been a target.

Alabama's emergency service immediately put out a tweet clarifying the president's comments.

At some early point in the stage, around a week ago, it was one distant possibility. It apparently stuck in the president's mind and then he doubles and triples down because he can't admit he's wrong because if he does that, then the whole house of cards starts to fall.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, this one seems to be a particularly glaring and sort of brazen example --


CAMEROTA: -- of the distortion field. We can see that black Sharpie --


CAMEROTA: -- with our -- we're -- we can see that somebody drew it --


CAMEROTA: -- in a crude fashion. And he's claiming that that's the actual projection map.

AVLON: And that's why the emperor wears no clothes is an appropriate metaphor. This is kindergarten cop stuff.

CAMEROTA: OK. John, thank you very much for all of that.

OK, meanwhile, the person who is actually dealing with the consequences of the hurricane, standing in the middle of the rainstorm, is one John Berman. What's happening at this hour, John?

BERMAN: That was the least-soothing discussion ever for someone feeling the effects. Actually, feeling the effects of Hurricane Dorian right now.

The storm is moving up the coast. Charleston -- I'm in an emergency flash flood warning zone right now. This entire city has been told to be on the lookout for the next few hours. Very concerned about the rising floodwaters.

And in just a few minutes, we're going to get the 8:00 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center about where this storm is headed. Here's a hint, not freaking Alabama.



CAMEROTA: Google was thrust back into the "Me Too" spotlight last week when a former Google employee, Jennifer Blakely, posted an essay on the Web site "Medium" about her romantic relationship with David Drummond who, at the time, was Google's chief legal counsel. This relationship first came up in "The New York Times" last year when they published an investigation into how Google allegedly protected three executives accused of sexual misconduct over the past decade. The bombshell story led to walkouts by Google employees and a lawsuit from shareholders claiming that Google tried to cover up their misconduct.

I spoke with Jennifer Blakely earlier this week.


CAMEROTA: OK, so for people who haven't yet read your very personal essay, let's just recap it, and we'll start at the beginning.

You went to work in 2001 for Google in their legal department and you worked for a man named David Drummond.


CAMEROTA: You began an affair with him in 2004. He was married but he told you that his -- he was estranged, basically, from his wife. Your affair lasted for years. You had a child with him in 2007.

All of this despite the fact that he was supposed to disclose the relationship to management. Google has a policy against direct-line reports having romantic relationships with each other. But he did not disclose it to management until you had a child.

Take us from there.

BLAKELY: I was the one that received a phone call after our son was born from the H.R. -- the director of H.R., and she was a friend. I thought she was just calling to congratulate me but her tone was different and, you know, I'm in a state of euphoria and all of the sudden I was sort of scared.

And she just said, "You know, one of you is going to have to leave the legal department." But, I mean, it was clear that it was going to be -- it would be me that would leave.

CAMEROTA: Because he was senior. You were, for a while, his employee.

BLAKELY: Right, exactly.

CAMEROTA: Right, so he's a senior. So you knew that you would have to leave. And what -- you were transferred to the sales department.

BLAKELY: Well, you know, David also ran -- he was the vice president of -- senior vice president of corporate development and business development, so I couldn't transfer to any of those departments.

CAMEROTA: You had no sales experience and, therefore, you were sort of set up to fail.

BLAKELY: I floundered. It was awful. CAMEROTA: And so then you quit?

BLAKELY: Yes, I did.

He had moved in. We had this child together. You know, I just -- I felt confident that he loved -- that he loved me and that he loved our son and so it seemed like the right next step.

I would rather have gone back to legal but we weren't allowed to both work in the same department.

And then one night we all went to a dinner together and I got a phone call from our nanny saying that our son was sick, so I left. He said that he would be right behind me and then he wasn't.

And I got a call from the associate general counsel who said, "Did you know David just left to San Francisco with, you know, two of these other women that worked in the legal department?" I was like, "What? What?"

So I called several times and he wouldn't answer his phone. And, you know, ultimately, I just sent a text saying, "Are you in San Francisco? When can we expect you back?" And he just responded, "Don't expect me back. I'm never coming back." And he didn't.

CAMEROTA: What did you do at that point?

BLAKELY: I panicked. I mean, life became hell. I mean, it really did.

CAMEROTA: I mean, this is a really painful episode, obviously -- painful and personal. And so why did you want to share it now?

BLAKELY: You know, you realize why am I the one bearing the consequences? I've lost my career. He just kept getting promoted, right?

There is -- there's a sense of privilege that I -- maybe it's in all industries. I know it's prevalent in Silicon Valley.

CAMEROTA: And at Google, specifically, you write this.

"Women that I worked with at Google who have spoken to me since the New York Times article have told me how offended they were by the blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top.

For me, the abuse of power did not stop with being pushed out. Afterwards, I was pushed down, lest I got in the way of the behavior that had become even more oppressive and entitled."

And so, you are saying here that there was a culture at Google that engendered this?


BLAKELY: Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying, and I think it started at the top. I think it started with the CEO.

CAMEROTA: Eric Schmidt.

BLAKELY: Eric Schmidt, right. And I think that his behavior set a precedence.

You know, the fact that I was pushed out while David was essentially promoted just proves that the privilege is reserved for the highest ranks, which promotes the mail dominance, right?

CAMEROTA: We asked Google for a statement in response to the personal story that you've shared now on "Medium." Here's their statement to us. "We don't have a statement on this to share."

That's, perhaps, not the most satisfying thing. What did you expect Google to say in response to your story?

BLAKELY: I wasn't expecting anything. I think it's another -- I think that one of the privileges of power is also to ignore, right? You just ignore -- you can ignore these issues. You don't owe anybody anything.

CAMEROTA: David Drummond released this statement.

He says, "It's not a secret that Jennifer and I had a difficult break- up 10 years ago. I am far from perfect and I regret my part in that. As you would expect, there are two sides to all of the conversations and details Jennifer recounts, and I take a very different view about what happened."

Your response to that?

BLAKELY: Well, I think it's interesting. I mean, I stand by everything I say. I mean, I think that truth is a very powerful shield, so I know I didn't lie about any of it.

CAMEROTA: So what do you want? What do you want to have happen now from Google or from David or from just having released this personal story?

BLAKELY: You know, I would love to bring more awareness to the problem. You know, I think a lot of men feel like the "Me Too" movement has gone too far. I understand that.

And I don't think it's about replacing men with women, necessarily. It's about really protecting all genders because it hurts everybody. It hurts everybody of all genders, right?

So I think --

CAMEROTA: You mean the power differential. The abuse of power, you're saying, hurts everyone.

BLAKELY: The -- yes, it hurts everyone.

CAMEROTA: Jennifer Blakely, thanks so much for coming on NEW DAY -- BLAKELY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- and sharing your story. It's great to talk to you.

BLAKELY: Thanks so much for having me. Thanks, Alisyn.


CAMEROTA: So this story has continued to develop since we sat down with Jennifer on Tuesday morning. A few hours after our interview, it was announced that David Drummond got married over the weekend to, according to Jennifer, one of those women that he left that work dinner with back in 2008.

Now, Mr. Drummond said in his original statement, quote, "Other than Jennifer, I never started a relationship with anyone else who was working at Google or Alphabet. Any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue."

In light of the news of his marriage and that contradiction, we reached out again to Google and Mr. Drummond, but they declined to comment.

CNN reached out to Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO and executive chairman, when allegations against him were reported by multiple publications last year but he also declined to comment.

All right, we want to thank our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM WITH MAX FOSTER" is next.

For our U.S. viewers, a brand-new update on Hurricane Dorian's path. NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. This is CNN's special live coverage of Hurricane Dorian. I'm John Berman in Charleston, South Carolina. Alisyn Camerota up in New York.

We just got the 8:00 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center and Hurricane Dorian is still a major hurricane -- a category three storm. In fact, it gained strength overnight, going from category two to category three. It is now 70 miles from where I'm standing, south- southeast of Charleston.

And the impact here is the greatest we have seen so far on the mainland United States, which is to say we are getting winds -- I would say gusts of 70 miles an hour on land here.

An enormous amount of rain, in some cases up to three inches an hour. They could get 15 to 20 inches of rain in Charleston over the next 12 hours and there is concern about flooding. High tide comes about 1:00. If that tide reaches 10 feet as is forecast, that would mean several feet of water in some parts of this city.

There are emergency flash flood warnings in effect and we are watching the storm very closely as it moves up past Charleston and it could make landfall in South Carolina or North Carolina tomorrow. That's the path of the storm now and in the future.

We are getting more information from the Bahamas where the storm has been. "Generational devastation" is the phrase being used by Bahamian officials about the damage there.

Our Patrick Oppmann made it out to the airport to see damage there that he says he's never witnessed anything like it before.

We'll have much more from the Bahamas in just a moment. But first, let's get much more on that 8:00 a.m. update. Allison Chinchar at the Weather Center -- Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so it is still a category three storm. The big thing that we noticed that changed is the forward.