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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Update on Hurricane Dorian Recovery Efforts in Bahamas; Bahamian Refugees Brought to Florida; House Democrats Could Vote on Impeachment Hearings Next Week; Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Presidential Candidate, Interviewed; Democratic 2020 Hopefuls in New Hampshire; Actress Felicity Huffman Receives Letters of Support in College Admissions Case; Controversy over Use of Trump Scotland Property for Military Personnel. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 7, 2019 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO)

EDDY JOSEPH, STORM VICTIM: In my 35 years in Abaco, Bahamas, it's the first time I ever see something like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lost a lot of lives. Some bodies are still recovering bodies right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Close us down. My dog dead. Some clothes I lost. Mostly everything I lost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government got to send ships, big ships and get the people out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An impeachment inquiry into the Trump Administration is about to ramp up in a major way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House Judiciary Committee is going to expect to take on Wednesday its first formal step to essentially make it clear the procedures for moving forward with an impeachment probe. They're drafting a resolution detailing exactly how that investigation will look like.

(END VIDEO)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Well, good morning to you on this Saturday. We're grateful for your company. I'm Christi Paul.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: And I'm Alex Marquardt. So great to be with you this morning. Thanks for having me.

PAUL: It is so good to have you here. Thank you, Alex.

So listen, we have some top stories for you here that we're following, particularly the absolute destruction in the Bahamas, some new pictures to show you here this morning with more than 1,500 hurricane evacuees -- actually about 1,100 expected to arrive in Florida at any moment now. Survivors are just trying to find a place to go after his devastating hurricane. We know at least 43 people have died. That's the official toll right now in what was the strongest hurricane ever to slam the islands. Officials say that number expected to drastically increase. Hundreds if not thousands of people are still missing and there are survivors looking for they are loved ones; they're frantic. We're live throughout the day from the worst-hit areas there.

MARQUARDT: Plus a major story out of Washington, could democrats be taking a big step towards impeaching the president? We're learning now details about a big vote coming up next week which could pave the way to impeaching President Trump.

PAUL: And a possible conflict of interest, perhaps, how a golf resort, a small airport and the president's company are at the center of an investigation over military spending.

We begin this morning with you, with this major development in the standoff between House democrats and President Trump. CNN has learned that the House judiciary committee is ready to vote next week on how to begin an impeachment investigation.

MARQUARDT: Yes. That's right, this will lay out the ground rules for conducting impeachment hearings into the president which are different than typical Congressional hearings. To break all this down for us is CNN's Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju who joins us by phone. Manu, what can we expect next week? We understand the vote is on Wednesday.

MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this resolution essentially will lay out exactly how these hearings can be conducted in the coming weeks. And it will be in essence similar to the precedent that was set during the 1974 Nixon impeachment proceedings. I'm told by multiple sources who are familiar with that, if this resolution which will be voted by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, will for the first time spell out that the chairman of the committee, Jerry Nadler can call hearings both of full committee and subcommittee level in relation to impeachment deliberations about whether or not to actually recommend articles of impeachment against the President of the United States.

Now, in addition to that, he'll lay out something that can be done differently such as allowing committee staff attorneys to question witnesses in the days ahead. Also lay out procedures for how grand jury and secret information can be dealt in closed door settings. It will also spell out how the White House attorneys can respond to questions from the committee in writing. Now, is this a significant step because it will essentially formalize how these procedures are taking place. Making it very clear what the committee is doing is essentially moving toward deciding whether or not to vote and the actual article of impeachment against the president.

Now Alex and Christi, this comes at a key time. Congress is coming back after a summer recess and democrats in the House realize that the window is closing soon before the 2020 campaign season really starts to dominate everything. And really, there's very little time so what they're also doing is widening their impeachment probe, to not just look into the allegations of obstruction of justice that were in the Mueller report but also matters as well including reports of the president dangling pardons with officials to potentially break laws to carry out an immigration policy also there's questions about whether or not the president has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution that tries to limit or to influence or limit a president from enriching himself.

[08:05:00]

Democrats are planning to have hearings and look into those matters in relation to their overall impeachment investigation but this first step on Wednesday, expected to formalize exactly what they're doing here and to say what the hearings that are taking place are related to their efforts to ultimately decide whether or not to recommend article of impeachment against the president and the question is do they ultimately go that step and vote to impeach the president. There's a big and growing push within the House democratic caucus to do it...

MARQUARDT: Right.

RAJU: ... but the Speaker of the House, guys, still not there yet, has not gotten behind that effort. When she does, that will, of course, change things as well.

PAUL: Very good point. Manu Raju, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Congressional reporter for "The Washington Post" and CNN political analyst, Karoun Demirjian with us now. Karoun, so he talked right there about what I wanted to first ask you. Speaker Pelosi, there's been a real reluctance to on her part to get involved with this. Do we know where she stands in the state of play?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: She's not publically changed her mind at all on the state of play and seems to still be in this mode where she's waiting for the outcomes of lawsuits, waiting to see whether Congress is able to force the hand of certain witnesses that they think are very, very key to building their public case towards impeachment before they actually take that ultimate step of going and actually being in that process.

So she's been very, very firm for months on it at this point that you need to be able to check off those boxes before you actually dive into the impeachment proceedings. And she's made no indication that she's changing her mind. At this point, more than half the democrats are in favor of her changing her mind and going there but it's not an absolute overwhelming portion of the party or the public at this point and so she's holding back on endorsing that effort.

MARQUARDT: Karoun, as the number of democrats in support of this grows, what is their argument knowing that even if it clears the House that it will get through the Senate?

DEMIRJIAN: Right. I think that their argument is two-fold. For some people, it's just that look, there's this body of evidence, we can't not accent it because we're afraid of politics. It's our constitutional policy to do something what we feel are these egregious violations of the office and the obligations of his office.

But then there's also those democrats that are saying, look, even if the Senate does not back us up on this, even if the Senate acquits him or just won't push this process through to its end, we can use it as a tool on the campaign trail to try to flip the Senate because the Senate is right now 51 republicans, 49 democrats and some democrats feel like that is within striking distance. And to having that impeachment queued up from the House and ready to go to the Senate and having the Senate kill it will be an incentive that they can use on the campaign trail to convince voters that they should be putting more democrats into the Senate as well. That all relies, though, on the assumption that the public will be in lockstep and behind the House if it goes there.

And right now, the speaker is not convinced of that and the numbers of the polls don't show that they're there yet. So if they can make that case over the next few months by getting star witnesses like Don McGahn, by winning some of these court cases for things like the president's tax returns and other financial documents, maybe their case is stronger but they're not quite there yet.

MARQUARDT: Yes, that's a good point. There are a number of competitive Senate rates in 2020 which I know the republicans currently control the Senate 53 to 47. So democrats will certainly be trying to flip that. Karoun Demirjian of "The Washington Post." Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right. While Hurricane Dorian is on its way to Canada right now, after leaving behind a path of death and destruction much further south in the Bahamas, this morning, more than 1500 evacuees will be arrived in Florida. The United Nations is now saying that at least 70,000 people are homeless on Abaco and Grand Bahama; thousands more remain missing and many are feared dead.

PAUL: Now the official death toll right now is 43. That's expected to rise significantly and officials are bringing in more body bags. Last hour in fact, several choppers took off from Nassau en route to Abaco to help rescue survivors, to bring them to safety. There will be numerous rescue missions throughout the day in fact.

MARQUARDT: Our Victor Blackwell is in Nassau and has been spending time in Marsh Harbor, that's in Abaco. This is part of what he saw.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST AND CORRESPONDENT: The strongest storm to ever hit the Bahamas, the strongest storm on the planet this year. This is what those superlatives look like up close. This business apparently in those 180 mile-per-hour winds just collapsed on to itself. You can see a counter here, but what this was really isn't decipherable by what's left here. Let me take you to this side because the only thing that's left here are stairs and the beginnings of a porch. I can't even tell what was here those winds were so strong.

[08:10:00] For nine hours, from one point where the eye of Dorian approached Abaco, came on land, to the time the other side of the eye exited, it was nine hours those winds were here with gusts up to 225 miles per hour. As far as you can see from Marsh Harbor, there is damage. This area is decimated and it will take a very long time to rebuild.

PAUL: Victor, thank you so much and I know that you watch this and think you want to do something but you don't know what. Well, we want to help you find a way. Help out relief efforts in the Bahamas and here in the U.S. are so prevalent. Go to our website CNN.com/impact to find a way that you can do so and thank you for checking.

MARQUARDT: It is so important. Federal prosecutors are re- recommending jail time and a fine for actress Felicity Huffman. Coming up, why her attorneys say she shouldn't spend a single day behind bars.

PAUL: And Colorado Senator Michael Bennet bringing his message directly to New Hampshire voters today before he does so, he's going to talk with us. We're going to ask the presidential hopeful how he plans to stand out in this crowded democratic field.

MARQUARDT: And coming up, a story of survival, how an 8-year-old fought off a mountain lion armed with just a stick.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I went through the trees, it was laying on top of him with his head in its mouth.

(END VIDEO)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:00]

MARQUARDT: Nearly all of the 2020 democratic candidates will be taking the stage in Manchester, New Hampshire. They're going to be getting around ten minutes each to pitch voters at the New Hampshire Democratic State Convention.

PAUL: Yes, and today's event provides a perfect opportunity for candidates who want to stand out from the crowd. One of those hoping to do that, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.

MARQUARDT: Senator, thank you for joining us today. We understand you have a big endorsement coming your way. Former Senator Gary Hart. What impact do you expect that to have on your campaign?

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, every little bit helps. It's great for Gary Hart to come here. It's a great symbol for my campaign because he was at about 1 percent in the polls as I am at this time in the election when he ran. He ended up coming in second with 16 percent in the Iowa caucuses and then went on to win the New Hampshire primary. He stunned the world by doing it, but it's a reminder of what's possible and how early this process is. So, I deeply appreciate his willingness to endorse me.

PAUL: So you just mentioned you're 1 percent there, Senator Bennet and we understand you didn't make the September 12th debate. There were several contenders who did not make the cut and - and since have dropped out. What's keeping you in the race?

BENNET: I just - first of all I think the DNC rules are ridiculous. The last national poll that we had, I was tied with at least three people that are going to be on the debate stage and there was one person who is on the debate stage who is behind me. I don't blame anybody for that except the DNC but it doesn't make any sense to me. And second, I know that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire haven't yet started to make up their minds. So, I'm going to continue to talk to those voters and we'll see what happens over time. I hope the DNC will think about changing the rules.

What we do know today is that the field is completely unconsolidated. Joe Biden has 30 percent of the vote but that means that 70 percent of democrats are thinking about somebody else. Most of these people are polling between zero and 3 percent. So if history is any guide, it's going to be somebody who today is at 1 or 2 percent who ends up winning in Iowa and ends up winning in New Hampshire. That's the way it works and the front-runners tend to be the people that will drop back between now and then.

MARQUARDT: Senator, I want to get your thoughts on something that's going to happen in the House of Representatives next week. There's a vote in the Judiciary Committee on impeaching the president. What are your feelings about what the House should do in terms of impeaching President Donald Trump?

BENNET: Well, I think I'm the last person to tell the House what to do but I think they should go ahead with the process and see where it leads. We got to make sure we don't get out in front of the American people on this. In Watergate, there was a big effort to bring the American people along. We need to make sure we're bringing them along, too, so we don't inadvertently create a situation where Donald Trump is running for reelection based on an acquittal that Mitch McConnell has given him in the Senate and the way to avoid that is to make sure people understand the facts and know what's going on.

The second thing I'd say is it's critically important for democrats to vote for a presidential nominee and for candidates for the Senate to be able to win purple states. Even some red states in the selection if we're going to take a majority in the Senate and if Donald Trump is going to be a one-term president. And that means, we are also, as this is going on, need to express an agenda to the American people that unifies people across the country and gives us a chance not just to consolidate and galvanize the democratic base but to win back some of the nine million people who voted twice for Barack Obama and once for Donald Trump. We can't forget that piece of the work, even as the impeachment stuff moves forward.

PAUL: Colorado Senator and presidential candidate Michael Bennet. Senator Bennet, thank you for taking time for us. Go luck today.

BENNET: Thank you for having me. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Absolutely.

Well, actress Felicity Huffman could spend some time in jail for her part in the massive college admissions cheating scandal. Coming up, we're going to read some of the letters of support that are coming in for her that may help her avoid jail time.

MARQUARDT: Plus an American Airlines mechanic is being accused of trying to sabotage a plane right before it took off. Wait until you hear why he said he did it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:20:00]

PAUL: So federal prosecutors want Felicity Huffman to spend a month in jail for her part in the college admissions scandal.

MARQUARDT: And she's actually pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to have a test proctor help her daughter with the S.A.T. For more we're joined now by CNN's Polo Sandoval. Polo, we understand that Felicity Huffman's legal team is asking for a far more lenient sentence?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alex and Christi, we're hearing from the legal team but also from federal prosecutors who are recommending about a month in prison for Huffman, as well as a year probation and also $20,000 fine. They're saying her actions and decision to cheat was, quote, "Deliberate and knowing." However, as you just mentioned, Huffman's attorney is also submitting a request here for the judge that he consider no prision time at all, a year of probation and about 250 hours of community service so obviously a very different recommendation that's coming from her defense team. They are saying that she is both remorseful and also ashamed about her participation in this cheating scandal that she admitted to back in May.

This submission into the court also comes with letters of support coming from her husband that you see there, William H. Macy, who speaking up for his wife about what he describes as a very traumatic last few months since this all started. I'll read you a portion of the support letter. Macy writing, "Felicity has borne the brunt of this. The paparazzi was camped outside of our home for the first month or so and they still have the uncanny knack for finding her. Felicity rarely leaves the house. If I may, I'd like to tell you one more thing. Every good thing in my life is because of Felicity Huffman."

Eva Longoria, the actress, also speaking up for her former fellow "Desperate Housewives" co-star in a support letter of her own.

[08:25:00]

Longoria wrote, "I worked with Felicity for nearly a decade of my life on a television show seeing her every day of every week for nearly 15 hours a day. When I began the TV show I was very new to the business and industry as a whole. Felicity was the first one to take me under her wing. From the first table read of the script, she noticed me sitting alone, scared and unsure of where to go and what to do. Her gentle character and kind heart immediately opened up to me." So you're hearing basically their perspective here, as they approach a judge, as they speak to a judge in attempt to plea for a more lenient sentence.

Ultimately, though, it's going to be that judge who will have to decide on Friday exactly what Huffman will be sentenced to. We should mention that the sentencing range, at least the recommendations here are everywhere from zero to six months but again ultimately, he's going to have to decide on Friday. Christi, Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right, Paolo Sandoval in New York. Thank you very much.

Still to come, we will be going back to the Bahamas where the devastation is becoming more clear this morning. CNN's Victor Blackwell is there.

BLACKWELL: Alex, new numbers from the government of those killed by Hurricane Dorian, also the number of people left homeless by this monster storm. And live pictures for you right now from the port of Palm Beach, a cruise ship pulling into port with more than 1,000 Bahamian evacuees. We'll take you to the hardest hit areas. And we've got the latest, in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:30:00]

PAUL: I want to give you a live look of this cruise ship from the Bahamas that's now pulling into the port of Palm Beach, Florida. There are now 1,500 hurricane evacuees on board there. Hundreds of people have been trying to evacuate the devastated island. This could be the first ship that's coming in with that many people and hopefully, finally, they're getting some food, some water, a clean bed to just recover a little bit.

MARQUARDT: A lot of very relieved people on there. As you mentioned over 1,500 people on that ship coming from the Bahamas. The ship is being called "The Grand Celebration Humanitarian Cruise Ship." And on September 5th, so just two days ago, it actually went to the Bahamas with aid for those who have been hit so hard by Hurricane Dorian. It has now come back. It is now arriving in Florida. It has replaced that aid with more than 1,500 evacuees who will be met at that port by customs and border protection for processing. But certainly, a lot of relieved souls there who have managed to escape this incredible destruction that we've been seeing and reporting on all morning there in the Bahamas. Rescue crews have been continuing to search for survivors in the Bahamas. The death toll, as it stands right now, as we've been reporting, 43. Officials say they expect it to go far higher. They are fearing that it will be in the words of one official, "a staggering number of deaths."

PAUL: Well not only that, but the United Nations reporting this morning that 70,000 people -- they're homeless now on Abaco and Grand Bahama after Dorian wiped out entire neighborhoods. I mean you've seen some of the pictures. There are hundreds of people evacuating and trying to evacuate due to shortage and food there on the islands. Our colleague is Victor Blackwell is in Nassau, Bahamas. I'm wondering, Victor, is there a gauge of what the most immediate and urgent needs are of the people there, their concerns?

BLACKWELL: Safety, comfort for those who are on those islands that have been decimated and information for those people who are waiting for word on the loved ones, the friends, the relatives. Listen, I went to one community where I saw two people walking together and they were familial and familiar and I said, are you brothers, are you related? They said, everybody is a brother or cousin in this community; they're so tightly knit. The information, where are some of the people they have not heard from since Sunday when Hurricane Dorian came ashore on Abaco. You mentioned the 70,000 people according to the United Nations who are homeless who live on Abaco and Grand Bahama which took the brunt of the damage in the Bahamas. I spoke to Eddy Joseph. His family, they are included in that number. I want you to listen to the experience that he went through when that storm came ashore. He closed his entire family into one room. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

JOSEPH: In my 35 years in Abaco, Bahamas, it's the first time I ever see something like this. Where I can see the whole town and Marsh Harbor, it's like a tsunami-like pushing all the house. The only part that didn't break in my house is the bathroom. You know the small room, that's the only place we are safe. When I open the bathroom door, nothing was left around me. Like God protect me. We found friends. We didn't want the house to collapse on us and we made it alive and I was happy about that.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: You're going to hear the choppers behind me all day as they take off to continue evacuations. Our Paula Newton was on a chopper earlier this morning. She just landed in Abaco in the Marsh Harbor community. Her update that she sent us had phone service in some of the communities are back. That's why she was able to send it from her phone, so some resemblance of getting back to service to you can't even call it a normal there. But this will be a year's long process. It's just beginning here on day six, after the storm. Back to you in Atlanta.

MARQUARDT: All right, Victor, thanks so much for bringing us that terrific reporting so we can better understand the devastation, this incredible devastation that you and so many others are witnessing there on the ground. We have our CNN correspondent Rosa Flores who is joining us now from that port in Florida. Rosa, this is a ship that we just noted went to the Bahamas with aid a few days and is now coming back with a lot of people, more than 1,500, fleeing the horror that they've been experiencing over the past few days. What can we expect and what they expect when they arrive at that port?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Alex, I've been talking to local and federal officials here on the ground about that process, about what these evacuees can expect.

[08:35:00]

They tell me, that one of the first people that they're going to be talking to are CBP officers, Customs and Border Protection officers. These officers actually volunteered to be here today to welcome them. Most of them are trained to deal with individuals who have faced traumatic experiences. That is great to hear. Some of the other individuals they're going to be talking to are members of the American Red Cross. The port director here onsite also says that they have been thinking about all of these evacuees for that very reason.

If we pan over, I'm going to ask my photographer, Gilda Rosa (ph) to do so because I think we can see some people -- as we were coming in, we could see them waving. Of course, that a great sight to see as we know - as we all know these individuals have gone through such traumatic experiences in the Bahamas. That what's waiting for them here in Palm Beach County are open arms. We've met individuals here in the parking lot who are waiting for some of them, according to West Palm Beach to Palm Beach County officials, rather.

They say that most of the individuals that will be arriving will be expected to stay with family; others at hotels. But the county does have a shelter ready to go that has a capacity of about 250. But they are talking to the other neighboring counties as well just in case that number grows or increases and if there are more individuals who do need housing. But they do say that they're ready to welcome these individuals to this community. They know that, of course, they come under very dire circumstances. According to CBP, there was one individual who was airlifted from the ship that you're looking at and taken to a hospital in Miami while that ship was in en route to this port. It's unclear what the condition of that individual was. But the good news is that individual was able to make it to a hospital here in Miami.

Now, some of the other resources that these individuals can expect, of course, is support from this community, Floridians know hurricanes, know the devastation of hurricanes. Everybody I talked to today here mentions Hurricane Andrew and what happened in its aftermath. So people here in Florida are very sympathetic to all of the evacuees who are coming here. So, Alex, as we leave you with these pictures, our hearts are heavy for all of these individuals who are about to disembark on this ship. And for the first time, possibly see civilization as they knew it before Hurricane Dorian hit their home. Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes, that's absolutely right. Some 1,500 presumably, sad, horrified and very tired people coming from Bahamas.

PAUL: And curious, because now obviously, they have to make a determination what they want to do, do they want to go back and try to rebuild. Do they need to start over somewhere else? There are a lot of things that they're going to be weighing about their own lives but certainly grateful that they are safe now and in a place where they can start to maybe clear their head and make some of those decisions. Rosa Flores, thank you so much. We appreciate it. We'll keep watching this for you today, as well. Just so you know.

MARQUARDT: We're also going to dealing and talking about other stories, including one about the military. Could it be lining the pockets of President Trump? A new investigation is looking into whether the president's golf course in Scotland is directly benefitting from military spending. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:40:00]

MARQUARDT: Is President Trump's golf resort in Scotland directly benefitting from military spending? That's a big question we're asking this morning and it is a focus of a new investigation by the House Oversight Committee. The committee is focusing on an airport that is close to Trump's Turnberry Golf Course and Resort in Scotland. Did you see that front entrance right there?

PAUL: Yes I do. They say the struggling airport has seen an uptick in military spending, since the election, including $11 million worth of fuel spending since October of 2017. The committee says the airport has given American military crews discounted rooms, free rounds of golf at the president's resort.

MARQUARDT: And joining us now is Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, former Army commanding general of Europe and the 7th Army as well as being a CNN Military Analyst, as well as Emily Cochrane, a "New York Times" Congressional reporter. Good morning to both of you. Thanks so much for being with us.

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: General, I want to go to you first, on the outside for civilians, this looks a little fishy. Would this -- does this look normal to you, the fact that you have air crews that would be spending a lot of money and spending time at such a luxury resort and getting things like cheaper hotel rooms and free golf rounds?

HERTLING: Yes, it looks fishy to the outside, Alex. What I would say it looks like an ethic - a major ethical violation and a violation of professional standards on the inside of the military. There are at least four airports that I know of that are used by flights coming from -- military airports -- that are used by flights of T-17s transferring supplies from the United States, anywhere in the United States, to the central command region. The biggest one is Ramstein. It's a huge airport. That's consider the C-17s refuel before they go into theater and its typically the way it's approached. So landing in a private airport, anywhere, to get refueled and to put up the crews in posh hotels, smells fishy, is fishy.

[08:45:00]

I'm sure there's much more to the story. This is an interesting story by Natasha Bertrand who broke it last night. But I've got to tell you, someone is going to have a lot of answers to provide on this one.

PAUL: Right. And Emily, is there any indication that anybody is going to have answers coming up? Is Congress doing anything to look at this?

EMILY COCHRANE, "NEW YORK TIMES" CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, I think it's clear that they're looking at it now. It's just adding to the investigations that the democratic House majority are pursuing into the Trump Administration. It also comes at a time when the Pentagon is under scrutiny from moving money from planned military construction projects to the wall. So, it just adds to the amount of Congressional attention on the Pentagon.

MARQUARDT: Yes, I want to ask you both more about that. General, we've just gotten the breakdown of that $3.6 billion that's going to be diverted from various military construction projects...

HERTLING: Yes.

MARQUARDT: ... to the wall. What kind of reaction would there be inside the military, obviously, they're not going to come out against the Commander in Chief but I imagine, this is ruffling a lot of feathers because these are projects that are crucial.

HERTLING: This is extremely disappointing as well, Alex. As the Commander of U.S. Army Forces in Europe, I had to submit these kinds of requests during the time I was in command -- not only submit them, but fight for them, with not only Congress but Congressional staffers that overlook appropriation. My immediate attention was drawn to the European cuts and it's an interesting dynamic because there were several elementary schools on those cuts. And truthfully, the kids in Europe don't have a whole lot of choice. They either go on base or they go to a German or Italian or another language school off base. So those are critical.

The heart wrenching story about the middle school that was cut in Kentucky is -- "the New York Times" did a great job on that, because it indicates just how bad things are in some of these Department of Defense schools that need to be replaced and these budgets are for that. But there's other factors involved, too. The European Deterrence Initiative took about $770 million of cuts in Europe. Those are the logistics locations where we work with our allies. We deter Russian aggression and many other critically important things. If I were a commander and got that list back, I'd be throwing my helmet down, let's put it that way.

PAUL: Right. Because, I mean, you just touched on I think what I was really wondering about not just the logistics for the military but then how it affects the families of the military as well. It is all across the board and Emily with that said, doesn't Congress have to refund this somehow?

COCHRANE: That's going to be one of the big debates we see when they come back this coming week. Republicans seem to be more open to the idea of replacing the money. House democrats shave said that they will not do that. They had set this spending and they would like to see it follow through the way they intended. They knew this list was coming. They've been asking for this since the president declared this national emergency and they just got it right before they have to agree on the year's national defense policy and the 12 appropriations bills that will fund the government and the Pentagon. So, certainly, we'll see a lot of fighting over whether or not to pay that money back.

PAUL: All right, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and Emily Cochrane, we appreciate you both being here. Your voices are important to us. Thank you so much.

COCHRANE: Thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: We also have an incredible story of survival for you coming up. S

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just see this mountain lion jump on it. Then it kind of pounces on to me. I pick up a stick, trying to jab it in the eye.

(END VIDEO)

PAUL: That 8-year-old boy talks to us about how he was able to free himself from the jaws of a mountain lion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:00]

MARQUARDT: About ten minutes from now, presidential hopefuls in the Democratic Party will be taking to the stage at the New Hampshire democratic state convention. There's the stage right there and voters in the audience will be taking their first to the nation responsibilities very seriously and giving the candidates a good listening to. Of course, the big draws today are going to be the top three candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But it's also an opportunity for those lower-polling candidates to stand out.

PAUL: CNN political reporter -- sorry -- Arlette Saenz, joining us now from New Hampshire. Is this make or break for some candidates, Arlette?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Alex, this is certainly a very critical weekend here in the first in the nation primary state. You're going to see 19 of the 2020 democrats take the stage taking their pitch directly to New Hampshire voters. This convention is coming just after the Labor Day weekend after folks are starting to tune in a little bit more to the democratic primary race. So for lesser-known candidates, it gives them a chance to kind of showcase their message to these voters who've maybe not heard of them and then you have more established candidates like the neighboring candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren bringing their pitch here to New Hampshire.

Bernie Sanders, you'll remember, won the 2016 primary here in the state against Hillary Clinton. He's hoping he can try to capitalize on some of that support that he's had for a long time here in the state. Then there's also Joe Biden who is currently running at the top of most polls across the country, as well in states like Iowa and New Hampshire. And earlier this week, his campaign said that Iowa is not necessarily a must-win state for him and said that that's the same in New Hampshire, but saying both of those states bringing a dog fight; these candidates taking the stage here soon to take their pitch to voters. Alex and Christi.

MARQUARDT: All right, Arlette Saenz in New Hampshire. Big day up there; thanks very much.

Well an American Airlines mechanic accused of trying to sabotage a plane says that he did it, get this, to get overtime pay. Investigators say that he tried to disable the system that reports the speeds and other critical data. I can't imagine why. He reportedly was upset over a contract dispute between union workers and the airlines and tampered with the plane using superglue, so he could work more hours. Thankfully, pilots in Miami noticed a problem before takeoff. This happened back in July.

PAUL: Now, the man claims he didn't want to hurt anybody just to be clear there.

In the meantime, there's an 8-year-old boy from Colorado recovering after he was attacked by a mountain lion. Look at this.

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(BEGIN VIDEO)

PIKE CARLSON, ATTACKED BY A MOUNTAIN LION: I just see this mountain lion jump on it and then it kind of kind of pounces on to me and he kind of rolled on the hill to a tree. And it tries to push me under the tree. I pick up a stick, trying to jab it in the eye. But then the stick breaks.

(END VIDEO)

PAUL: And his dad says when he found his son, the mountain lion was lying on top of him and his son's head was in that animal's mouth. Pike Carlson has undergone two surgeries. He has more than 60 staples in his head and he had to have his eyeball reattached. That mountain lion, by the way, has been euthanized.

MARQUARDT: Unbelievable.

Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. We will be back at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time for "CNN Newsroom." "Smerconish" is up after a quick break.

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