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Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) is Interviewed about Climate; Charleston Under Flash Flood Warning; Hurricane Hunters Track Storm; Trump Shows Altered Storm Map. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 5, 2019 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: From climate related impacts happening to communities of color, happening to low- income people. And then overseas, happening to some of the countries that can least afford another drought or another flood. That has moral weight. And I do think that believers need to ask whether what's going on right now in Washington is compatible with what their moral calling tells them we need to do when it comes to the climate.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, great to talk to you. Thanks so much for being here on NEW DAY.

BUTTIGIEG: Take care.

CAMEROTA: Great to see you.

All right, of course we are watching to see where Hurricane Dorian heads next. There is a new advisory out. So coming up we speak with an Air Force hurricane hunter who flew directly into the eye of the storm. What he saw there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm John Berman in Charleston, South Carolina.

Hurricane Dorian is about 70 miles off the coast of here. It is a major hurricane, a category three storm. It regained strength overnight and now has top speeds around 115 miles per hour. Even if it doesn't make landfall in South Carolina, the impact absolutely being felt, not just the wind, which you can see here, but an enormous amount of rain.

[08:35:02]

Fifteen to 20 inches forecasted in some places. And there's also concern about the storm surge, not to mention the high tides. The winds picking up right here as we're on.

The real concern in Charleston, where I am, is the flooding. There is an emergency flash flood warning in effect for this entire city as we speak. I want to go to Athena Jones, who's in a different part of town from

where I am, where she can see the flooding.

Athena.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John.

That's exactly right. You see the flooding on the street behind me. That water has been steadily rising. We've had to back up, or pull forward, I should say, to get -- make sure we're in a dry area.

And this is what we're seeing all around this area. We're only a few blocks from the battery, from where Charleston Harbor is. This is, of course, a peninsula. We're surrounded on three sides by water, by the Ashley (ph) River and the Coca (ph) River and there the (ph) harbor, a harbor that has historically seen very high water levels with storms like this.

Forecasters saying, you know, you said 15 to 20 inches with rain. Forecasters saying with that amount of rain and the high tide coming later in the afternoon, we could see water levels reaching almost as high as Hurricane Hugo in 1989. That is the high water mark, so to speak, and so we could get very close to there, hence that flash flood warning that is in effect.

And all of the warnings we're hearing from officials saying, look, stay where you are. If you don't need to go anywhere, don't go anywhere. If you do need to go places, make sure you don't drive through standing water. You don't know how deep it is. Putting out warnings like, you know, it only takes a foot of water to wash away a small car. So officials really want people to stay put.

I think you've also mentioned the power outages. We saw the lights -- the power going out just in the blocks around earlier this morning. So this is how it's going to be the for the next several hours we predict and we'll be watching as the water levels rise and we get more reports of flooding in surrounding streets. The Charleston Police Department is sending out alert after alert every minute or so practically about one more intersection that's been closed in this city of Charleston.

John.

BERMAN: Yes, Athena, we were speaking to Mayor John Tecklenburg of Charleston, South Carolina, who said he wants this city to be a ghost town. He doesn't want anyone out. The streets will keep closing because the flooding will probably get worse throughout the day.

And just one update on the power outages. Last I checked a few minutes ago, more than 200,000 homes without power in Georgia and South Carolina. And I think that number will go up as well.

Athena, thank you very much.

All right, joining me now is Air Force hurricane hunter Garrett Black, who has flown in and out of this storm several times, the last time on Tuesday. But, Garrett, I know you've been in contact with people who have been

in the storm more recently.

What's the latest view from inside of Hurricane Dorian?

CAPT. GARRETT BLACK, ARWO, U.S. AIR FORCE: Yes, sir.

From what I hear, the eye is continuing to -- the storm is strengthening a bit over the last 12 to 24 hours, now back to major hurricane strength. And the National Hurricane Center has done a fantastic job with this very challenging forecast. It looks like the -- all the Carolinas, and even the -- up to Virginia needs to be very wary of this storm as it continues to skirt right along the coast.

BERMAN: It seems like we've been talking about Hurricane Dorian forever. I mean have you ever tracked a storm for this long that has had such an impact in so many places?

BLACK: It's been a long time here, yes. We (INAUDIBLE) well over a week now. We started flying missions back in Curacao (ph), from Curacao, it was way out in the Atlantic. So it's been well over a week and a half now. And really we -- we're scheduled to fly it, you know, over the next few days as well. So it's been very challenging and a lot of work, not only for us aircrew, but there's a lot of different pieces going on behind the scenes. (INAUDIBLE) being a lot of people putting in a lot of work to continue to provide (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: And I do want to point out how important that work is because it helps save lives.

Just explain, so everyone fully understands, how the work you do, those flights, which seems so dangerous, crazy to fly into a hurricane, how that can help inform people on the ground.

BLACK: Absolutely. Well, we're able to actually go into the storm and find the specific center to be able to help forecasters determine where the exact center is where they can then ingest that into the models to get better outcomes. As everyone knows, weather a very challenging. So to have a good, initial condition is very important as you're beginning to go out in time to make sure that that is as accurate as possible.

We're also able to sample the wind fields and see how far out the winds stretch from the center to see where the greatest impacts are going to be affected. So we're able to get just a really good picture three dimensionally of what's going on in this storm environment. It's (INAUDIBLE).

[08:40:03]

BERMAN: And it is so important I know for the forecasters on the ground so they can tell the people where I am exactly what they need to know to stay safe.

Thank you very much for the work you do. And good luck, safe travels as you head back up into Hurricane Dorian the next several days. BLACK: Thank you. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right, Alisyn, as we go back to you in New York, the key time here in Charleston is around 1:00 p.m. That's when the tide comes back in. And the number they're looking for is anything over seven, seven and a half feet can lead to major flooding. Their concern, it could reach 10 feet. So you can see how much of a problem that would be.

CAMEROTA: I mean they have been telling us since last night that it is the life-threatening storm surge that everyone needs to be most concerned with and that they're putting out the warning of.

John, I kind of feel like it's time for you to come home now. I mean this has all been great and I know that you like these larks that you go on, but I feel like maybe now it's time for you to come home.

BERMAN: Yes, the wet boondoggles we go on here. Yes, no, it's a -- it is interesting, though. And we've been chasing this storm forever and it's not done yet because after Charleston, tomorrow morning it'll be hitting Wilmington, North Carolina, which, of course, dealt with the impact of Hurricane Florence last year.

CAMEROTA: Well, John, we really appreciate you being there and obviously sounding the alarm for everyone in Charleston and beyond in this time. Time -- well past time to get out and get to safe ground.

Obviously we'll check back with you.

There's other news that we do need to cover because President Trump got the hurricane forecast wrong, repeatedly, over the past week, including this bizarre scene in the Oval Office yesterday. So the president is not relenting on Alabama and whether Hurricane Dorian was ever headed to Alabama. There's the, well, graphic, I guess, that someone drew on the official map. We discuss that, next.

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[08:46:23]

CAMEROTA: President Trump is still this morning insisting that people in Alabama were in harm's way for Dorian. In the Oval Office yesterday he showed this doctored map you're about to see. It is the official storm projection with what looks like black magic marker drawn on it to try to prove the president's false case.

By the way, altering an official map and putting out erroneous storm projections are illegal.

Joining us with "The Bottom Line" is CNN political analyst David Gregory.

David, I mean, I barely know where to begin. You and I have spoken so many times over the past couple of years about the president sort of living in his own reality, not using facts, et cetera. But this time with our own eyes we could see the black magic marker drawn on the map, the official map, in order to prove his false claim.

What are we -- what do -- who does the White House think they're kidding, David?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's so absurd and so dangerous at the same time because what it reveals, and we're almost numb to it, right, which is pathetic in and of itself, that we have that reaction is that the president, first of all, why is he even in the Oval Office showing pictures of the hurricane projection? Why is he anywhere near that kind of discussion? He has FEMA.

There's the National Hurricane Center. He's not an expert. Why would you, as president of the United States, even get into that business of tracking the storm from the Oval Office. You should be worried about all of the government's resources being there for preparedness and ultimately for the aftermath and helping, you know, important countries like the Bahamas, who -- with whom we have interests as the United States is now doing. So that part of it is absurd.

It's also lying about something that doesn't matter. What -- you know, if at one point it was going in the direction of the south to Alabama and Georgia, it obviously changed. Everyone knows that. We've been talking about that every day how the models have changed. Leave that to the forecasters. It doesn't matter whether you were wrong about that. You shouldn't have been asserting it in the first place.

So whether it's the crowds at the inauguration, his insecurity and his own questions about his own legitimacy, that's what -- that's what takes center stage over the fact that people are dying because of this storm. And that's what's so awful.

CAMEROTA: There are hilarious memes going around about all of the things that you could -- that President Trump could fix with a black magic marker if he so chose. But we just had Mayor Pete Buttigieg on, who, of course, wants President Trump's job, and he just had a decidedly different take on what we saw yesterday in the Oval Office. So let me play that for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm really worried about -- I feel sorry for the president. And that is not the way we should feel about the most powerful figure in this country. Somebody on whose wisdom and judgment our lives literally depend. I don't know if he felt it necessary to pull out Sharpie and change the map, I don't know if it was one of his aides believed they had to do that in order to protect his ego. No matter how you cut it, this is an unbelievably sad state of affairs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: What's your reaction to that?

GREGORY: Well, it marks, for me, a turn in how Democrats who are running for president wanted to respond to the president. Rather than being outraged or angry about it, this is a new tact for Mayor Pete, who is struggling to stay relevant at this juncture in the polls to say, you know, I'm worried about him losing it in effect.

[08:50:02]

But I think the -- the larger point is that we have a president who is determined to be the center of everything in his administration. And it's really a point of his own isolation because he wants to run foreign policy. He wants to predict the storm's path. Everything has to come through him. I think that becomes dangerous, particularly for any administration, particularly when you're so insecure and so impulsive, as he is, and he uses social media the way he does. It diminishes the impact of what a president says when a president deliberately lies or misleads or speaks so much, tries to overwhelm the circuits, as it were, to be the center of every story. It means that the president's word doesn't matter as much.

And that has implications for some of these bigger issues about -- and, of course, you know, emergency preparation is one. Aftermath in a storm, issues like climate change on the world stage, trade disputes with China or national security disputes with China in various theaters around the country, all of these things matter. The importance is not to focus on the issue in and of itself, it's to understand the broader implications.

CAMEROTA: All right, David, thank you very much for all of the analysis.

GREGORY: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Great to see you.

So, coastal communities in the Carolinas are already getting slammed by Hurricane Dorian. Could we see a landfall in the U.S. today? What time? We heard back to John Berman live in Charleston right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:55:35]

BERMAN: All right, welcome back.

So, Alisyn, clearly here the concern in Charleston, South Carolina, is the water. From every direction the rain, they're concerned about as much as 15 to 20 inches of rain here on the ground in the next 12 hours. A storm surge coupled with the high tide that could reach 10 feet. That's about 1:00 this afternoon. And then, of course, just the strength of Hurricane Dorian as it passes by.

We're getting new information from the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Dorian just off the coast here. CNN's special live coverage continues right after this.

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