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Dorian Survivors Desperate to Evacuate; Patriots Beat Steelers; No-Deal Brexit Blocked; Felicity Huffman Asks for No Jail Time. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 9, 2019 - 06:30   ET



PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been traveling now for about two hours by boat. It's the only way to get here. This is our destination. The eastern most end of Grand Bahama Island. We know that it got hit really hard, but not much else. The road is still closed here and we have not heard how the people here are doing. We really don't know what we're going to find here.

OPPMANN (voice over): We head from Freeport to McLeans Town, the last settlement on the eastern tip of Grand Bahama. Dorian filled in the channel and scattered cars throughout the small harbor. We have to navigate around the submerged vehicles.

OPPMANN (on camera): Yes, we're going over a car right now. There's a car under water there.

McLeans looks like a war zone. And there are fatalities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything is gone.

OPPMANN (voice over): People like Eva Thomas' (ph) relatives, who remained and lost their lives.

OPPMANN (on camera): When you think about the people who stayed behind, what must they have gone through?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And I think about it because I had a nephew and three of his kids die in storm. And I -- my heart is broken. I say I can't imagine the terror that they were faced with before they passed.

OPPMANN (voice over): McLeans has been wiped off the map.

OPPMANN (on camera): It's difficult to conceive the force that could cause this kind of damage. It's just other worldly to think the winds and the water could bury so much of this town under broken trees, broken houses, and we really don't know what is underneath all of this rubble. It will probably take weeks or longer to dig out and find out what is buried here.

All around us is an eerie quite. It is the sound of a town that has died. Alex Kerry (ph) is haunted by the sight of his cousin's dead body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was swollen. Like, you know, when a -- when a dead dog get hit -- swell up ready to bust -- ready to burst. That's how she was, swollen.

OPPMANN (voice over): The Bohemian government says the death toll is officially 45, but add up the missing and dead from small towns like McLeans and the true loss of life seems higher, much higher. What little help arrives here comes by boat from other Bahamians. These people brought water from Abaco, also ravaged by the storm.

The rubble tells the story of lives cruelly interrupted. A shoe, a broken teapot, and award from a church.

Mervin Thomas (ph) tries to recover what's left of his town. A town he no longer recognizes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I tell you the truth, I -- I kind of feel lost. Lost. It's the place, everything, you know, just look, you know, totally different. You can't even describe it. You know -- expect nothing like this, man, honestly.

OPPMANN: For so many here, all they have left are the things they carry.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And Patrick Oppmann joins us again.

And, Patrick, you're right, we don't know what's underneath the rubble. We just don't know what's there. We don't know what's happened to dozens, maybe hundreds of people. Not yet. That will become apparent.

What we do know is that people are trying to get off those islands and get to the United States. And, in some cases, they're being restricted in their travels. They're being told to fly.

How is that supposed to work?

OPPMANN: Well, it doesn't, because there haven't been flights from Freeport to the United States. The only way it could work is if you could get on one of the very few flights -- you know, we showed you the airport. You know how it looks -- to Nassau, and then from Nassau go to the U.S. And a couple of days ago they were letting people take boats and ferries is what we've been told and then all of a sudden they've stopped.

So, it is a catch 22 that people are caught in right now, John, and people who have already suffered so much.

BERMAN: IT's the last thing they need right now is to suffer more.

Patrick Oppmann, as always, thank you so much for your reporting from Grand Bahama. Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Just remarkable images, as always, from Patrick.

All right, now to something happier.

Nineteen majors and counting for Spain's Rafael Nadal after a thrilling five-set and five-hour-long match to win the U.S. Open. Can he catch Roger Federer's all-time grand slam record?


CAMEROTA: Don't answer that, John.

BERMAN: Oh, sorry. Stand by.

CAMEROTA: Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report," next.



BERMAN: The first Sunday of the NFL season is on the books and all is right with the world because the Patriots won.


BERMAN: Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's going to be another miserable season for us -- for us, Alisyn. I mean, you know, the Patriots --

CAMEROTA: It's going to be a long one.

SCHOLES: The reign -- the reign of the NFL doesn't look like it's going to come to an end any time soon. They're already one of the favorites again this season. Then, over the weekend, the team signing star wide receiver Antonio Brown to a one-year deal after his drama with the Raiders ended with them cutting him on Saturday. Now, Brown was not on the slides with the Patriots last night. He can't play until next week.

New England, meanwhile, unveiling their sixth Super Bowl banner last night. Gronk (ph) on hand to spike the banner down.

And as for the game, Tom Brady and the Patriots just dominating the Steelers in this one. Brady throwing for three touchdowns. New England wins 33-3. So obviously Bill Belichick was in a great mood and ready to answer questions about Antonio Brown.


QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the reports in --


QUESTION: Of Antonio Brown?


SCHOLES: He didn't even let him say Antonio Brown before he said no. That was great.

All right, some tennis. Rafael Nadal outlasting Daniil Medvedev in a five set thriller in the men's final at the U.S. Open. It was the third longest final ever at the tournament, lasting nearly five hours.

Nadal took the first two sets. It looked like it was going to be over quick. But Medvedev battled back to tie it.


The crowd was just going nuts throughout. And then exhausted, Nadal would end up coming back to win that fifth set, calling it one of the most emotional nights of his career.

This is Grand Slam title number 19 for Nadal. And, guys, that puts him just one behind Roger Federer for the most all time. And Nadal, five years younger.


SCHOLES: Chances are he will end up catching him.

CAMEROTA: Back to the Patriots for a second.

Laura, I feel like you're only encouraging John Berman here.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm a Patriots fan, so you have to -- I mean I know it's a problem, but I'm a Patriots fan. And let me tell you something, this entire NFL season is now brought to you by Andy Cohen of Bravo because if Antonio Brown's weekend is any indication of what happened, this is pure scripted reality TV. It's delicious.

Of course, I mean, everyone's going to hate it if you're not a Patriots fan. But I don't know why you wouldn't be a Patriots fan.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

BERMAN: He's really, really good at catching the football.


BERMAN: I meaning really good.

CAMEROTA: So, ethics aside --

COATES: That's an understatement.

CAMEROTA: Put aside ethics --


CAMEROTA: Put aside the law, he's good at catching the football.

BERMAN: There is -- there -- there are problems there, though, Andy, with how he --


BERMAN: I will -- the other thing is, I remember when A-Rod signed with the Yankees. Peter Gamman (ph) says, it's like Elvis joining The Beatles. That's what's happening here. It's like Elvis is joining The Beatles. You can't get better.

SCHOLES: To be -- yes, to be a fly on the wall for that first meeting between Belichick and Antonio Brown where Belichick's like, no social media, you have to be on time, you have to come to all -- I just -- I just want to see how it's going to work out because everything that Antonio Brown has showed us so far is, he's not in for the Patriot way. We'll see if he adapts.

COATES: You know what, though, that's going to make some really good TV. And so I mean it really will. But I -- I do think, this is kind of his last chance, right? I mean not -- I mean he's really, really great. He's a great football player. But at the same time, he has to play for a team to be a great football player. I mean you -- you can't just keep doing the wrong thing and end up -- and the Belichick way, if that's any indication when he said "no" and then didn't even answer to -- no.


COATES: That's like a -- that's a meme for a congressional hearing, no.


COATES: I love it.


SCHOLES: Low risk genius (ph).

CAMEROTA: Thoughts? Serena?

COATES: Well, Serena. I was -- I was pulling for Serena. I really was. Mostly because otherwise I'd feel really old that a 19-year-old beat her. And she's like contemporary (ph) in my mind. But I'm telling you, it's a -- it's really one of those things where Serena Williams is still such a contender. She really still is a champion. She's still -- she's still so poised. But to pass a torch that she did in a classy way, I mean, how can you not be a fan of her all around?


BERMAN: She's getting to the finals a lot, Andy, but she really is having a hard time winning. SCHOLES: Yes. And at this point, you know, Serena's going to be 38

years old in a couple weeks. It almost might be time to start saying, you know, instead of when is she going to win number 24 is if she's going to win number 24 because no one's ever won grand slam titles at Serena's age. She already holds the record for that, which she did a couple of years ago at the Australian Open. And with players like Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka and then 15-year-olds like Coco Gauff getting better and better and better, it's just going to make it harder for Serena to win a grand slam title.

CAMEROTA: You're not making Laura feel any better.

COATES: No, not -- thank you. I mean when was the I'm old thing coming in?

But Tom Brady, he's old and he's still making it.

SCHOLES: Yes, he's 42 and he's still kicking it, right?

CAMEROTA: He's old.

COATES: I know. There you go. There's hope.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys, very much.

BERMAN: Andy said Tom Brady.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

All right, so a bill blocking a no-deal Brexit is expected to be approved today. What does that mean for Prime Minister Boris Johnson? We have a live report on this critical day in Britain, next.



CAMEROTA: So the bill that stops a no-deal Brexit will become law today. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make another push for a snap election though opposition parties are united against him.

So what will happen? Well, CNN's Max Foster is live outside parliament in London with his take on that.

What is today going to look like, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don't ask me. We've been taking it hour-to-hour, Alisyn. It's horribly complicated and everyone's shifting position all the time.

But an interesting moment today, we saw Boris Johnson up against his Irish counterpart. Both of them committing to leaving the European Union. The U.K. leaving the European Union at the end of October.

The problem is, they both say they want a deal, but the Irish side, really representing Europe in this situation, saying that Britain hasn't presented them any sort of new proposal. So what are they supposed to work towards? And saying Britain leaving the European Union is this huge task, which is going to be very difficult to crack ahead with.

Meanwhile, here, in London, as you say, there's this vote today on whether or not there should be an election. And Boris Johnson wants an election, but it's going to be blocked today in parliament. It just doesn't have the numbers.

At the same time, we've got this law that's come into effect, which would force him to ask for a delay in Brexit ultimately if this whole process breaks down. He just says he won't do that.

An interesting idea that's popped up here coming from his side, I have to say, is that perhaps he could write a letter to the European Union asking for delay and then adding a letter to that saying he doesn't want a delay and therefore the European Union would have to decline it. It's all become very murky, very political. We're trying to keep up with it. And we hope to have some progress as the day progresses. But it really is, John and Alisyn, hour-to-hour.

BERMAN: All right, Max, we're counting on you to figure this all out --

CAMEROTA: Fix this.

BERMAN: By the end of the show. Thank you very much for being with us. This is a mess.

All right, actress Felicity Huffman will be sentenced this week for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter's SAT score. Her new explanation for why she thinks she does not deserve jail time. That's next.



BERMAN: Actress Felicity Huffman will be sentenced this week for paying a consultant thousands of dollars to inflate her daughter's SAT score. This morning we're hearing her side of the story for the first time. Huffman says she is deeply ashamed of what she did and she's begging a judge not to give her any jail time.

Back with us, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates. Also joining us, Frank Bruni, a "New York Times" opinion columnist and a CNN contributor, who has written a book about college admissions that is titled, just so we have it --

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: "Where You Ho is Not Who You'll Be."

BERMAN: Fantastic. Hold off on that for a second. I want to talk to the legal analyst here.

Councilors, Felicity Huffman writes, in my desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot. I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair.

I was just trying to be a good mom, not a felony. Is that enough for no jail time?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, it's not even persuasive. Think about all the people who made decisions on a daily basis to try to do the right things in their lives may have a whole lot of excuses. I was just trying to sell those drugs because I had to pay for something at home. I just had to commit this crime for whatever reason. At the end of the day, you've committed a crime and you knew better.

Mind you, there's been -- there's so -- there's so many parents out there who are listening to hers and saying, I wonder (INAUDIBLE) my daughter.


Well, the right thing may have been, and was, to say, you've got to fly on your own with your own wings. If you do not fly, then you do not fly. And them's the brakes, kids. The idea of having to paying and having the access to (INAUDIBLE) and saying, you know what, I'm going to pay thousands because I don't, one, believe in your opportunities and, number two, because I want to give you a fair shake by not being fair to every other child and parent is absurd. At the end of the day, though, we're talking about zero to six months of possible jail time with somebody who has no criminal record, somebody who is a celebrity and you do have a little bit of celebrity dust (ph) that could go either way for her. But asking for one month as the prosecutors, which could include time that's just over her head, never actually in jail.

CAMEROTA: Frank, Felicity Huffman's husband, William H. Macy, himself a celebrity, an actor, I think really sort of captures the irony of how, you know, these privileged parents think that they're giving their child a leg up somehow and it ends up, of course, hurting the child. So he captures it. Here's what he says to the judge.

Our oldest daughter has certainly paid the dearest price. She had been accepted to a few schools but her heart was set on one in particular, which, ironically, doesn't require SAT scores. She started as one of several thousand applicants and after making it through many auditions, she flew to the school two days after her mom's arrests for the final selections. When she landed, the school e-mailed her, withdrawing their invitation to audition.

BRUNI: That caught my eye too. And if you'd actually continued, he then said that she called home hysterical and said, please, do something.

So to Laura's point about not teaching your kids to fly on their own, this happens to her, after all that's gone down, and she calls home and says, mommy and daddy, fix this somehow. And I think that's a view into what had been going on probably for many years in the Huffman/Macy household in terms of their kids believing mom and dad would always come to the rescue and figure out a way. So even after mom and dad's overzealous coming to the rescue and mom's bribing someone or essentially paying for the fraud of an SAT score, the daughter is still saying, fix this for me.

COATES: But to be fair, Huffman says her daughter did not know that she was being -- the bribe was there. And I hear your point. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do say the notion of the fix it notion of it, I think many -- many kids do think their parents can do so, to be fair.

However, this is a very different scenario where you have to teach people -- we don't have laws in this country because everyone is great. We have them because we plan for people to be bad. And we cannot have parents out there who are simply saying, I think I'll just buy my child's way through success an opportunity. It's so unfair, don't you think?

BRUNI: Yes, no, no. But I -- what I'm saying is, yes, they said their daughter didn't know that someone was literally taking her SATs and making the math answers right.

COATES: Right.

BRUNI: There's no way in all the years up to that moment they didn't get the sense that mom and dad were willing to move mountains to make sure they got a fair shake.

COATES: Fair enough. Fair enough.

BERMAN: And to your point, what I've learned from reading your book, everything I know about college admissions I learned from your book, this scandal here isn't necessarily what's illegal.


BERMAN: The scandal here is what is perfectly legal and the system that's in place. And have you seen -- because you talk about this and look at this every day, Frank, any sign that these colleges have changed a damn thing?

BRUNI: No, and that's a great question because a lot of us saw this happen. And this was so emblematic of the uneven playing field. And we thought several colleges are going to use this moment to step forward. There's going to be a sort of reckoning. And especially the elite colleges, which these kids were trying to get into, one or two of them will use this as a pivot point to make a statement that they're doing something new admissions wise to make sure the playing field isn't so uneven. Nothing has happened. And that really, really shocks me.

CAMEROTA: So what's going to happen to Felicity Huffman this week at sentencing?

COATES: Well, they have about 27 or more letters, I think, in her -- in support of her file to say, hey, please, support me --

CAMEROTA: From other actresses like Eva Longoria --

COATES: Eva Longoria.

CAMEROTA: And, again, her husband, that we just read.

COATES: I mean, at the end of his letter he said something like, and to be clear, everything great in my life is because of Felicity Huffman. It's a very sweet moment. Eva Longoria, in her overture about how she supported her woman to woman in terms of having equal salaries and equal pay. At the end of the day I think you're looking at less than a month in time. And the reason is because she took an early plea, which courts look at favorably. You have not made the government expend resources, not waste but expend resources trying to get a conviction. You have taken responsibility very early on. You have not tried to play the game as say maybe a Lori Loughlin has played, which she's -- she's entitled to do so, to wait and plea her case and actually have them prove she's guilty. But courts look at the people who say, I was wrong, I should have done better, and I will very favorably. At the end of the day, though, this is going to be a very lasting thing for not only her family but other parents looking up and saying, mind you, this is not an anomaly. And Frank knows this best. This scandal could have been in any year, in any area of this country. And that's the real tragedy.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean I guess any year, although we particularly are living in a time of helicopter parents who manage every single thing for their kids.


CAMEROTA: Thank you both very much.

OK, so we're learning stunning new details about the collapse of these peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban.

NEW DAY continues right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very odd to invite a terrorist organization like that to Camp David. That's not in keeping with the way that the United States negotiates.