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Hurricane Dorian Weakens to Category One; Hurricane Dorian Traveling Along Coast of Carolinas; Hurricane Dorian Devastates Bahamas; Washington Post: Trump Marked Up Hurricane Map With Sharpie. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2019 - 08:00   ET

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


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: -- despite the president's remarks, or even a FOX News meteorologist who called the sharpie enhanced map in the Oval Office inaccurate, misleading, and fake. But Sharpie-gate is not about the sharpie. It's about the president's refusal to recognize reality.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AVLON: Look, guys, this is really about the absurd length President Trump will go to avoid anything resembling an apology for a simple mistake. It's about the way he'll lash out at anybody who gets in the way of his war with the truth. And that's your reality check.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He was asked directly about the sharpie. He was asked directly. What was the answer?

AVLON: "I don't remember," with a very cold eye.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It was subdued.

AVLON: Subdued. It was, maybe we wouldn't notice.

BERMAN: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, thank you very much for our reality today. And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN Newsroom is next. For our U.S. viewers an important update on hurricane Dorian's track. We do know where it's going. NEW DAY continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your new day. It is Friday, September 6th. It is 8:00 in the east. And this storm, hurricane Dorian, it is still causing so many problems for the United States. At this moment the eye wall of the storm, the most dangerous part, you can see it there hugging the North Carolina coast over the outer banks. There is still the possibility it could make landfall. But even if it doesn't, there could be significant life-threatening storm surge and flash flooding.

And overnight the storm did weaken to a category one. Still, at this moment, more than 387,000 people are without power. Meanwhile the official death toll in the Bahamas, it has grown to 30. But officials say to expect that number to increase. And the word they used is to increase drastically in the coming days. Hundreds of people, maybe thousands by some counts are still missing. And the basic needs for everything, food, water, medical supplies, all being hampered by very limited access to the only international airport on Grand Bahama which is so badly damaged.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, President Trump as of last night was still fixated on his claim that Alabama was threatened by hurricane Dorian. This morning "The Washington Post" is reporting it was President Trump himself who altered that weather map with a sharpie to include Alabama. And CNN has learned that President Trump called FOX's White House correspondent John Roberts into the Oval Office after one of his live reports. Mr. Trump was trying again to argue that he was not wrong when he said that Alabama was threatened long, long after it certainly was not, many days after it was not. The president claimed that it was unfair to say it was otherwise.

So let's start with the new advisory, the real advisory, which has just been released. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is joining us now with the details. What are they saying, Allison?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So right now the main focus is over Hatteras because the eye of the storm, that center of circulation, is just now crossing over Hatteras in North Carolina. Still moving northeast at 14 miles per hour, still a category one storm with sustained winds of 90 miles-per-hour. But a lot of these areas are still getting gusts of around 110, 115 miles per hour. So those winds are incredibly strong. Again, Hatteras right now the current wind gust being reported is 81 miles per hour. Again, that is still a category one storm. But even some of these other locations surrounding it, you've got wind gusts around 50, 60, even 70 miles per hour.

In addition to the very strong winds you also have very heavy rain bands pushing into these areas. You do have to be on alert because some of these rain bands have had some tornados embedded within them. Over 20 reported tornados in North Carolina just over the past couple of days because of those outer bands. We also have flash flood warnings and flood watches in effect for several states, again, because of those heavy rain bands coming in. We still have rain on the way, but that's on top of what we've already had. Portions of North and South Carolina already picking up already 10 inches of rain, Wilmington picking up nearly 10 inches, yesterday actually breaking a daily rainfall record there in the city of Wilmington.

We still have about an additional two to four inches of rain to add on top of what we've already had. Yes, the focus really has been around the Carolinas the last 24 hours, but going forward it is going to impact other areas. Virginia, Delaware, Maryland also getting some rain. Even tonight take a look at this, Boston, Portland, Hartford, you all could also get some rain chances out of this as well. So John, it's not just a concern where it is now, but where it will be headed as we go later on into the next several hours. BERMAN: And we've also heard from some Canadians that they're expecting some impact in a few days, so their watching this very close. Allison Chinchar, thank you very much.

Underneath the yellow and red part of the storm we find CNN's Ryan Young. He is live in Beaufort, North Carolina, which is feeling the impact of Dorian. Ryan, give us a sense of the state.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John. You said that this storm was hugging the coast. This is the long embrace nobody wants.

[08:05:00]

This wind has been going since about 2:00 this morning. And right now, the rain has actually let up on us just a little bit, but the wend has still been kicking. In fact, look at the cloud cover above my head. You've got the weird swirl sort of going above us. We've seen this constant pounding and swirling for the last few hours. And even the pressure inside the building has picked up because of the storm moving through here.

In the distance you can even see it, there's a boat that actually turned on its side because of all the power of the wind. You've also been tracking on the streets here because this area was damaged really significantly by Florence just last year. We haven't even gotten to the year point right now, and they were worried about flooding. That massive flooding hasn't happened so far. That's been the good news. But you can see out there how the waters have picked up in terms of the strength of it moving toward the area. Also besides that they've worrying about power outages, more than 215,000 people in North Carolina right now without power.

The good news, we haven't heard about any structural issues, anything coming down as far as buildings, especially yesterday when they had that tornado that swept through this area. They had a lot of people who were worried about evacuating, a lot of people seemed to have heeded that warning. We were told by a public safety official that if it got too bad their force would not be able to come out and rescue people. The good news, Alisyn, right now it seems like the rain is finally starting to slow down. The wind still howling but not as strong as it was before, because remember I think we had some gusts about 60 miles per hour.

CAMEROTA: That is good news, Ryan, but hang onto your hat because we can see the wind gusts that actually come up and surprise you. Thank you very much for reporting for us from the ground there.

So let's get right to the director of the National Hurricane Center Ken Graham for more on this brand new advisory. So, Ken, who's in the danger zone now?

KEN GRAHAM, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: Still in the danger zone. We talked about all this rain still compounding on some of these issues getting that flash flooding. But the other part of it is, if you really look at the center over the Coast Guard station the winds going calm getting into that eye. So still going to get those hurricane force winds on some of the barrier islands. And the center of it just still off the coast, but the eye wall itself, picking up the winds, getting those hurricane force winds. We looked at gusts of 88 miles an hour in Buxton, North Carolina, so still a dangerous situation.

CAMEROTA: Ken, is this unusual, because this storm seems particularly stubborn? And so the idea that we have been reporting on it now every day for more than a week, and that it is creeping along, is this an unusual storm from your vantage point?

GRAHAM: Yes, definitely a long-term storm here. We're going to look at the record books and see where it stands. That's going to be one of our aspects that we're going to look at after this thing is out of here and the danger subsides. But yes, we've been dealing with this for 10 to 12 days, and the briefings and the reports. And think about the impacts from the storm surge to the rain and the devastation in the Bahamas, of course. So soon, we are so close. And even into the weekend, it's interesting, even into the weekend you start seeing some impacts of possible tropical storm force winds in Cape Cod, and we're actually coordinated with the Canadian Met Service as well as this continues to travel back out in the Atlantic.

CAMEROTA: That is one of the striking things. I don't remember seeing a hurricane warning and watch simultaneously for North Carolina and Nova Scotia.

GRAHAM: That's the aspects of this. And part of it is just look how far the winds stretch out from the center. You get some friction over land so they don't stretch out over the land quite as far, but look how far the tropical storm force winds stretch out. Once we get back over the open ocean with no friction, that will start expanding again, something like that. If you draw that circle, tropical storm force winds will continue out in the Atlantic, and that's why we have to watch out for portions of Massachusetts before this is all said and done.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ken Graham, thanks so much for keeping an eye on it as you have for the past week. Thank you very much. John?

BERMAN: And of course in the Bahamas, everywhere you look there is absolute devastation from hurricane Dorian. As of now the official death toll is at 30, but officials tell us that will soar, and the word they use is "drastically." CNN's Paula Newton and her team, they got exclusive access to one of the hardest hit islands. Paula joins us now live. And Paula, it was so important to have your cameras there to see what happened, but also to hear the stories of the people who lived through it.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the stories about Dorian, John, just as Alisyn was saying, what is so striking about the storm they told me is that it broke all the rules. Remember, John, this is a place that has seen all those hurricanes. They can name them all, they've lived through many of them. And yet they said it broke all the rules, did not behave the way it should, and lasted far too long. And that was part of the devastation we saw in the Man-O-War and the Abaco Islands. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: It is so much worse than they had feared, the Abaco Islands forever scarred now by mass destruction, home after home, entire rooftops blown away, debris scattered in unrecognizable heaps, boats tossed like confetti. The images belie the obvious question, how could anyone survive this?

[08:10:10]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're OK? You're OK. You're going to be OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.

NEWTON: We arrive by helicopter in Abaco and Man-O-War with Billy (ph) Aubrey (ph) embracing his wife Shauna (ph) after days of not knowing if she was dead or alive. Shauna (ph) hunkered down with friends at their seaside home until their roof blew off, and they all scrambled to find anything still standing.

So Nancy (ph), this is what kept you alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This little room. We came in and hunkered down, and Shauna (ph) was on the ground crying and we were just trying --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was hysterical.

NEWTON: What did it sound like in here at the time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lot of crashing. And remember, all the crashing and banging and whirling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And stuff we thought was coming through this wall.

NEWTON: So many in the Abaco Islands lived through hours that resembled a horror movie, exposed to winds that topped 250 miles an hour like tornados touching down every minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Words can't describe it. I don't wish it on nobody. No words can describe. They could never categorize this, never. It was like an atomic bomb went off.

NEWTON: Residents here tell me their little island paradise is unrecognizable even to them. They're resourceful and self-reliant, they say, but they could never have imagined a storm as powerful as Dorian.

There's no better way to describe to you the force of hurricane Dorian to be right here where people rode out the storm in their living rooms, in their dining rooms. Look at this. The roof blew off the house here. The entire kitchen came down. Their refrigerator ended up here on the ground. Their living room and dining room furniture is strewn all over. People described these things being tossed around the island like projectiles. They all cowered, hovered in their bathrooms and closets, anything they could find to take shelter. There are now the beginnings of recovery, but only the basics --

medical attention, private helicopters to take out those who are sick, the elderly, young families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure it'll never be the same again, but the people are strong and we're going to try to do our best to rebuild the best way we can. But we know it'll never be the same.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: That is the reality of it right now. They are trying to deal with what they have to do to be able to stay there, and yet so many realizing it just may not be possible. People at Man-O-War resourceful, as I said, resilient. And yet, and yet, John, when they look at what everything Dorian had, threw at them, and they don't know if they can actually continue to live on these islands. The infrastructure has absolutely been wiped out A to Z. They need it all. If you can think of it, they need it. And we're here in Nassau at the staging area for a lot of the aid. And it will be a monumental task ahead trying to get these communities back on their feet.

BERMAN: Paula, it's such an important view there, and to hear from the people directly about what it was like. But also, in the video we see things like the tarps which seem so grossly insufficient to deal with the magnitude of what's there. You talk about weeks, months ahead, but how are people surviving on the island right now? Where are they living?

NEWTON: It's so interesting. So they've done everything that they can to the homes that they have left. A few homes have fared better, they're all moving in there. But John, Jerry Simonson and I, our cameraman, were on the island. Can you imagine, John, that we got stuck there? We didn't mean to get stuck there. It was an issue with the helicopter. They wouldn't let us just stay out in the open. They literally put us up in the house that had sustained the least damage. Lovely family, Marsha (ph) and Angel (ph) Cruz (ph), mattresses that they had propped up against windows they had blown out came off the windows. They cleaned them up for us, and that's what we were sleeping on.

But they were inviting everyone in from the neighborhood. They have food supplies for about a week to 10 days now. They have been able to get some aid in after we arrived thankfully, and they were able, crucially, John, to get the elderly, the vulnerable out. And now many of the families are starting to leave as well. And remember, John, they're leaving without knowing when or if they will return.

BERMAN: If, if. It's the spirit and generosity that will get them through in the end, but they also need the supplies. They need the assistance. They need the aid. Paula Newton, thank you so much to you and your team for showing us what it's like on that island right now.

CAMEROTA: You know, John, this is not an isolated incident. Hurricanes, as we've heard from our experts, are getting stronger, their frequency more. [08:15:01]

Soon, it's possible that people won't be able to even if they could rebuild, that people won't be able to live on those islands.

We had a whole climate crisis --

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- town hall here this week, because maybe they won't be able to ever rebuild there.

Meanwhile, it's been quite a week of presidential misinformation. Sometimes falsehoods from President Trump are trivial, but not this week. What does it say about President Trump that he insisted on being so wrong for so long? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: The real life emergency from Hurricane Dorian continues along the U.S. coast and President Trump continues his false claim about its path.

This morning, "The Washington Post" reports it was President Trump himself who marked up that weather map with a sharpie trying to get people to believe his false claim. By the way, creating a false hurricane projection is illegal.

[08:20:03]

Joining us now is Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent.

So, Dana, what a week. What a week it's been. I mean, this has been, you know, I said it to Maggie Haberman earlier, I put this in a different category. We often are tasked with dissecting the president's, you know, contradictory statements, his falsehoods.

This was so different because he created the cartoon that went with it. He created the graphic --

BERMAN: It's the illustrated version.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very good point.

CAMEROTA: It was the cartoon version, the illustrated version of it for everybody to see with their own eyes, which just felt surreal.

BASH: No, it's absolutely true. In many ways -- in most ways, this whole incident with the sharpie is so emblematic of all of the dynamics, of all the sort of chaotic situations that we've seen over the past 2-1/2 years.

But this is absolutely on steroids. I mean, you said it so well that this is the cartoon version because he actually physically, according to "The Washington Post", drew it. If it wasn't him, somebody did. And you do have the photo that everybody is showing over and over again.

But the fact is, if you kind of look deeper into it, it is such a pattern, starting out with him wanting to please his base, Alabama, saying something that is not necessarily right, and instead of like most people, never mind politicians when they realize that they're wrong, saying oops I got it wrong and moving on, doubling down, tripling down and then forcing his aides to have really important work to do to go out and talk about how and why the president is right.

I mean, I'm thinking about day one of the presidency when he sent Sean Spicer out to talk about how big the crowd size was. And that was obviously insignificant. That is something that was in the president's brain. This is incredibly significant.

He is the president of the United States and even as we speak now, never mind when this started, there was and is a hurricane barreling down on the country that he runs. So, it is -- it is typical, but I agree with you this is the way to end August, an August that showed the president and illustrated a president spiraling and acting out even more than before. And that says a lot for this president.

BERMAN: We've been getting a lot of viewer mail over the course of the show. And some of the mail we've been getting is asking us to play the moment again from the oval office when he was confronted with the reality that he drew on the weather map with the sharpie. Can we just play that one more time?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: And that map you showed us today looked like it had almost a sharpie.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

CAMEROTA: I feel like, Dana, I feel like that's a tell. That is more subdued answer than the president often gives. So, the I don't know has reminded some people of when they asked who wrote that check to Stormy Daniels, I don't know, I don't know. It's just noteworthy that's the same answer.

BASH: Well, that's absolutely right. Look, we could spend hours and hours and hours dissecting everything that the president says and what it could mean.

You know, one thing I felt that first of all you had in the last hour, you had Susan Glasser on talking about this incredible piece she did dissecting the number of the tweets he sent in august and why it is more significant and higher numbers and more aggressive and controversial than he had before. I can tell you just from my reporting that one of the reasons, certainly it's probably not the only reason but one of the reasons is because of the economy, guys. He's heading into re-election and he saw the same numbers we all saw.

Now, I guess it was last week. Now public polling, I tell you they saw it in private as well that people are less confident in the economy. The so-called right track, wrong track number on how the economy is going is now under water. More people disapprove than approve on the economy is in general and how he's handling it, and that is he understands very, very bad.

And I've been told that is one of the reasons to quote a source, has been on a warpath for the past month.

BERMAN: It's interesting, the jobs report, I should note, comes out in just a few minutes. Christine Romans will be here.

CAMEROTA: Yes, thank goodness.

BERMAN: I will say, it could be a good report, but if it's not, if it's not, he can't fix it with a sharpie. He can't cross out the jobs and say no, no, no. It's more than that. And that's going to be one of the problems the president faces.

BASH: And the other problem and this is the frustration I hear from Trump sources tearing their hair out as they tell me this is that every time there's a sharpie situation, every time there's a situation where they have to explain the fact that the vice president stayed at a Trump property and people do -- I am told by somebody in Trump world -- do pay attention to that in a big way and it looks like the president is enriching himself by being in office, but all of those things that are front and center bury what the president -- what they hoped the president would be talking about on a loop which is the economy.

[08:25:17]

And now the discussion about the economy potentially going south is louder. And what you're hearing more from the president is story after story about things and tweet after tweet about things that aren't as relevant to people.

BERMAN: It's interesting. You did bring up quickly that Mike Pence staying at the Trump property, and I think that's very interesting. It's also interesting in your reporting, that there is genuine concern in the White House. There's a difference between what is perceived to be corruption and then inanity, and sharpiegate in a way overshadows what could be a much worse story which is perceived corruption.

BASH: Exactly. And, look, and then what does the president do to answer all of that, he attacks us, because he sees us as an easy target. He sees us as a foil. He needs a foil.

And unfortunately just based on the way things have gone, that works for him with his base. Now, again, and his people say it's noise for independents. We don't know if that's true. Is it noise? Is the notion of taxpayer-funded trips abroad or anywhere else that go into the bank account of the Trump Organization. CAMEROTA: Yes, I just think this time it doesn't work. I think this

time whatever names he calls us, doesn't work, because people don't need the middle man right now to see with their own eyes what he was doing with the black sharpie in the Oval Office. They don't need us to explain it to them. That one is just right there on the face of it.

BERMAN: And, Dana, he did take time out from defacing official government maps with a sharpie to have a half-hour meeting apparently with West Virginia Senator Manchin last night where they talk about guns. I don't think there's been a great deal of optimism from Democrats, even the Manchin team about hammering out any kind of meaningful deal, but you would know what come of that.

Any reason to expect when Congress comes back next week that there'll be something?

BASH: I wish I could say that Congress is going to do their job and the president will do his job in finding a solution. You know, it is possible. I would say it's not probable.

Joe Manchin himself apparently came out of a meeting with the president not all that optimistic. And remember, Joe Manchin has historically been a card-carrying member of the NRA, very pro-gun who went for a solution after the massacre in Newtown and has not been successful obviously.

You know, we'll see if things change. Unfortunately, the kind of gross reality of Washington is that unless it is in their face, they don't -- they don't do anything. And frankly even when it is in their face, they don't do anything. And, you know, they're coming back with the new cycle being about hurricanes and other things.

You know, maybe the public pressure this time will be different because this summer was so, so bloody.

CAMEROTA: Dana Bash, thank you very much for the bottom line on yet another strange week.

BERMAN: Thanks, Dana.

BASH: Thanks.

BERMAN: So a veteran NFL player has revealed he is bisexual, and if he gets back on the field, he will make history. We're going to speak with Ryan Russell, next.

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[08:30:00]