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Trump's Approval Drops; Trump Contradicts Border Chief; Tropical Disturbances in Atlantic; Estranged Husband of Missing Connecticut Mother Speaks Out; Bill Bush Returns to TV. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 10, 2019 - 06:30   ET



MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Volatility around this president always, which makes it harder to predict. But those are dangerous numbers.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's -- the words you just used there, danger zone, I think, is exactly what was in my head there because when you start getting down to 38 or lower than that --


BERMAN: It's hard to win re-elections with that number.

HABERMAN: It is. It just depends on where the other person's approval and disapproval numbers are. And that's why you are going to see, I think, one of the ugliest re-election fights that we've seen in recent memory.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Do you see some of these latest scandals, whether it be NOAA and Wilbur Ross, whether it be government officials staying at Trump hotels overseas, do you see these scandals having traction with voters in a way that perhaps the Russian scandal did not longer term?

HABERMAN: I think -- so I think that voters have actually largely tuned out a lot of what happens between the president and his businesses for whatever reason. I think that has just become kind of noise in the background.

I think the issue with the NOAA statement, that impacts people's own lives because we were talking about people potentially having to evacuate a state, right? This wasn't just, you know, the president talking about his crowd size and trying to get the Parks Department to issue statements supporting him or find pictures supporting him. This is something that the more it starts to impact voters directly, the more they will pay attention to it. And so if we see more of that kind of thing going forward, and we've not seen that the president is able to stop himself from doing these kinds of things, that could impact him.

BERMAN: Talks with the Taliban. The president announced they were dead yesterday, which is actually something you more or less predicted with us yesterday. You did not think there was much of a future in this right now given the political hits the president's taken over the last 24 hours.


BERMAN: We've also seen on interesting back and forth between the vice president's office and the West Wing about the role Mike Pence might have played in dissuading the president from holding the Camp David meeting.

HABERMAN: Or trying to play in dissuading him, which he clearly was not able to initially until there was this bombing last week, and that's when the president called the meeting off. I mean our understanding is the same as you guys first reported that the VP disagreed -- presented issues with the timing of this. And the VP and his staff have been very concerned whenever information gets out about what he's telling the president privately. So I think I was not surprised to see an all caps tweet, you know, fake news media. It looked like it had been written by Trump himself and may have even been dictated by Trump himself.

The VP is facing this situation over the last year where there's been the constant question of, is the president looking at making a change in the ticket. Other presidents have done the same thing during a re- election fight, including President Obama's advisers at one point thought about possibly making a change from Joe Biden. It rarely, if ever, happens, and I think it's extremely unlikely here, but I do think it has created this sense of discomfort for the VP.

BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, great to have you in with us in this perfectly lukewarm studio this morning.

HABERMAN: It's -- it's --

GOLODRYGA: She came in here complaining that it was freezing.

HABERMAN: And it -- and it was.


HABERMAN: So -- but thank you -- thank you for my truth in weather prediction.

GOLODRYGA: But I'm glad you're comfortable, John.

BERMAN: Thank you. Thank you.

HABERMAN: Appreciate that.

BERMAN: NOAA's coming out with a statement later.

Appreciate it.

President Trump making some unsubstantiated claims about people who endured Hurricane Dorian's fury. Why he said some are not welcome in the United States. That's next.



BERMAN: This morning, President Trump seems to be sending a different message than his acting border chief over what would happen to Bahamian refugees fleeing to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody needs totally proper documentation because the -- look, the -- the Bahamas has some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren't supposed to be there. I don't want to allow people that weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.


BERMAN: The White House has not provided CNN with evidence to back up the president's claim.

Though earlier acting border chief, Mark Morgan, said Bahamians would be allowed into the United States whether they have travel documents or not. He said the decision would be made on a case by case basis based on humanitarian considerations.

Hurricane Dorian has left 70,000 people homeless and at least 50 people dead in the Bahamas.

GOLODRYGA: Meantime, the ferry boat operator that ordered dozens of evacuees off a boat on Sunday is now apologizing. Border officials say the ferry operator did not properly coordinate with the U.S. and Bahamian governments.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is live in Freeport with more on this confusion.

Good morning.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys. And the prime minister of the Bahamas, again, spoke to the nation last night, or at least the people who were able to watch him, and said that this is a dark and joyless time. He's talking quite literally because we still do not have power here. We don't have any idea when power or water will return.

And that is leading -- leading so many Bahamians to leave this island because even if you have a house, even if your house survived, the conditions are very tough. You spend your whole day in hour-long lines looking for gasoline, looking for food. You know, there's a black market now for bread. It just is very tough to be in a country where there is not power and there's an oppressive heat. You talk about 70,000 people left homeless. You know, that's out of a

total population of 400,000 in the Bahamian Islands. So it's an incredibly significant part of this population. And the government quite clearly cannot deal with all the people who are in dire, dire need now. So when you talk about the people leaving, we are seeing women and children. We are people -- seeing people who are carrying everything they own on their back. I have not met any dangerous criminals by and large. The island of Abaco, the island where I am, are very peaceful places, very quiet places and these are our neighbors and they are in need right now.

BERMAN: Important context there Patrick Oppmann for you on the island, someone who's been there for some time now. Thanks so much for being with us.

Forecasters this morning watching several tropical disturbances developing in the Atlantic.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with the forecast.

How concerned should we be, Chad?


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not yet. I mean we will see some rain over the Bahamas. They don't need that. They really need just perfect weather conditions. That rain will get over Florida by Friday into Saturday and into the Gulf by Saturday night. But I don't see any real development.

We have Gabrielle up here in the north Atlantic moving to the northeast. You say where did Erin and Fernand go? Well, that happened during Dorian. Just couldn't focus on those two storms. They really didn't do very much.

But we'll still see this area of tropical development moving over Florida by Friday. All it really means is that we will see some thundershowers in this area.

This weather is brought to you by Xyzal, all night, all day allergy relief.

So where does it go?

Well, straight over Patrick Oppmann. Straight over the Abacos and also right over Grand Bahama, missing a little bit there of Nassau, but, still, it's the area that needs to recover that's going to get the rainfall. Eventually by Friday, over Miami and then into New Orleans. You don't see any spin. You don't see any eye. This is not going to be a major event, just rain for these people there. Some people would like it, but the Bahamians probably would not.


GOLODRYGA: Yes, they could use that reprieve.


GOLODRYGA: Thank you so much, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

GOLODRYGA: Well, the estranged husband of missing Connecticut mother Jennifer Dulos is speaking out in a new interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe Jennifer is alive?



GOLODRYGA: More from that interview is coming up next.



GOLODRYGA: The estranged husband of missing Connecticut mother is speaking out in a new interview. Fotis Dulos says he was not involved in Jennifer's disappearance. The interview was taped before he was arrested for a second time last week. And according to the latest warrant, investigators believe he ambushed his wife at her home the morning she went missing.

CNN's Jean Casarez joins us with the latest.

Good morning, Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianna, the whereabouts of Jennifer Dulos are still unknown, and she went missing in May. In this new interview, her estranged husband says he is innocent and he believes she is going to be coming back home. But investigators, they disagree.


FOTIS DULOS, JENNIFER DULOS' ESTRANGED HUSBAND: I wish she were here to -- to sort this mess out. And I'm still hoping that she's going to show up.

CASAREZ (voice over): Fotis Dulos speaking out in an interview with NBC's "Dateline." He says he believes his missing wife and mother to his five children, Jennifer Dulos, will reappear soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe Jennifer is alive?

DULOS: I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Against all circumstantial evidence or common understanding of the --

DULOS: I'd like not to discuss this per my --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But in your mind --

DULOS: Per my -- per my --


DULOS: Per attorney's advice. So I can't --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand. But in your mind she's alive?


CASAREZ: Investigators don't agree.

Jennifer vanished more than three months ago. Dulos' conversation recorded before he was arrested for the second time last week, and after Connecticut State Police released this damning arrest warrant alleging a blood-like substance containing Jennifer's DNA was found in the passenger seat of a truck Dulos had access to and handwritten alibi scripts were found in his office.

DULOS: It's an exhausting fight. I love my children. That's about it.

CASAREZ: Police charging the 52-year-old Wednesday with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, adding to a similar earlier charge plus one of hindering prosecution. He later posted a $500,000 bond and was released from police custody.

Dulos described his divorce from Jennifer, saying there was no abuse during their relationship.

DULOS: Nothing went catastrophically wrong. It's just people sometimes grow apart. And I'm not putting the blame in -- in her or me. It just happens. And it happens all the time.

And that it was going to be an amicable divorce. And then one day she just took the children and disappeared. She hired body guards and she ran to New York.

CASAREZ: The estranged husband once again maintaining his innocence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fotis, did you have anything to do with Jennifer's disappearance?

DULOS: I did not, but I'd like to leave it at that.

CASAREZ: Police are also monitoring his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, in connection to Jennifer's disappearance. Last week she turned herself in after state police also charged her with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. Troconis was released on bond and pleaded not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember that Michelle is presumed innocent, and she should be.


CASAREZ: And the next court appearance for Dulos on those tampering with evidence charges are this Thursday.

Now, the police chief, Leon Krolikowski, tells me that there are at least two dozen state and local investigators that continue to work every day, day in and day out, on this case. That they go to sleep at night thinking about it. They wake up focused on it. They're going to find Jennifer Dulos he tells me.

GOLODRYGA: Thinking about those five children who still don't have their mother.

CASAREZ: That's right.

GOLODRYGA: Jean, thank you so much. Such a disturbing story.

Well, let's bring in CNN legal analyst Laura Coates.

So, Laura, given everything that we've now seen, why haven't we seen charges yet?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, how shocking is it that he gave an interview like that?


COATES: I mean where is his counsel to tell him this is not a situation you're going to charm someone the potential jury pool here? It's probably better for him to invoke that right of silence at this point in time.

But the reason you probably don't have any homicide charges, Bianna, is because, sadly and morbidly, there's no body. There is nothing that you can actually show, other than circumstantially, that there's actually somebody who has been killed in this instance. And because you don't have that, prosecutors are often worried about the notion of double jeopardy. They get one bite at the apple. If they mess it up somehow, if they don't have information they need and somehow they don't have a conviction based on the non-body or non-homicide charges without the body, then what are they going to do later on if they actually do find the evidence to do so?

It's very, very frustrating for the public. This is a diabolical story it seems at this point. But as a prosecutor trying to be prudent, you've got to wait until every duck is in a row.

BERMAN: I'm so glad you brought up the fact of the interview because I was watching that and my jaw was just dropped the whole time. I can't believe that he's sitting there answering questions. And just that one exchange, you know, Fotis, did you have anything to do with Jennifer's disappearance, he says, I did not but I'd like to leave it at that. I'd like to leave it at that?

COATES: Why are you here?

BERMAN: So what is the impact of an interview on this -- like this on an investigation broadly speaking?

COATES: Well, essentially, an investigator wants to give you enough rope for you to hang yourself. If you have an opportunity to speak, but you won't do it in terms of a police interview, if you have a lawyer you're not going to say, I'll sit with you, prosecutors, or police officers, for a long time. This may be their time to get information from him, even in this vicarious way. But as a jury, he wants to try to taint them and say, look, I'm a nice person. I haven't found her. It was going to be amicable. I'm innocent. Even if there's a (INAUDIBLE).

GOLODRYGA: And a bit brazen that as we said he would be willing to give an interview and yet defer to his lawyer for questions he didn't feel like answering.

COATES: It's not a smart move.

BERMAN: All right, Laura, stick around, we have much more to discuss with you, because a big development with the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. You, of course, remember that. Well, the only person ever to really pay any kind of price for it was that man, Billy Bush. He makes his return to television. What does he now have to say about that video? Next.



BERMAN: So this morning, for the first time, we are hearing from Billy Bush as he makes his return to television. Remember, it was Bush on tape in that interview with Donald Trump for "Access Hollywood" where Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. And you saw Bush on the tape raising no objection at the time. And there were people who remarked it was Bush and only Bush who paid the price for that interview.


BERMAN: Donald Trump went on to win the presidency. Billy Bush lost his job at NBC. Well, he made his return to TV last night, three years after the tape controversy, as the new host of "Extra." And he discussed his return in a new interview.


GAYLE KING, CBS HOST: In 2005, did you feel you had to go along to get along? Why didn't you feel you could challenge him and say, you know, that's not cool? Why didn't you feel that at that time?

BILLY BUSH: Well, Trump's the kind of guy who would say, you know, forget Billy Bush. And -- and then I might have gotten, hey, why did you lose Trump? He's the biggest guest we have. I mean there was -- there was always a little bit of -- you're a little anxious around him because you just want it to end well and get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: He's back on TV as the host of "Extra," as we said.

Laura Coates joins us again.

Laura, his explanation there for why he didn't raise an objection, well, how could I, it was Donald Trump. I might have lost my job.

COATES: People already knew that he pandered to sexism. That was the whole point of why people were actually upset with him because they knew the big personality that Trump was. The issue was that you didn't stand up for your co-host. You kind of chuckled along. It wasn't like a moment where he just laughed, remember, after he got out of the bus and said, why don't you give him a hug and then put her in a position where she didn't even know she was being exploited. We already knew that aspect of it.

The irony here, however, is, remember, the accountability only fell in one person's lap, and that was Billy Bush. And, frankly, it came at the time when the Me Too movement was starting to galvanize and get the most momentum.

I really question if right now, given there seems to be a different take on the Me Too movement that has evolved over time, whether he would still be held to that same standard of accountability today. And that's really a question for society to answer, but one in which I think they answered by putting him back on air. They've said, OK, you know what, you have paid for the ultimate sin you've committed. Now we can all move on.

I wonder if that was the best move, but, obviously, they made the decision.

GOLODRYGA: Right, three years later.

What struck me from that interview that I didn't know was when he talked about how he thought the tape was weaponized in the sense that he knew that the tape existed, that NBC had this tape.

BERMAN: He said we all knew.

GOLODRYGA: Right. And --

COATES: The network, he said.

GOLODRYGA: And we obviously outside the network did not know. We thought that was the first time that he was hearing this as well.

What did you make of him saying that he believed that it was weaponized?

COATES: Well, I looked at that as a little -- as him thinking that he had been the victim in this. He used the word weaponizing. I thought he wanted to imply, and in no shortage of words, that he himself was a victim and that the tape somehow was used maybe as a reason to fire him for some other reason. It was just, here's a nice excuse for why you should be let go from the network. Remember, though, what followed from the network he left, NBC. I mean

on -- there's a long train now of people since Billy Bush's firing before he was rehired that have fallen to this weaponization of their own conduct. And so you wonder at what point others may return to the limelight based on the fact that he's saying, look, that was all -- it wasn't just me. Why should I pay the ultimate price. Others have been weaponized against them. It's a hard thing.

BERMAN: Again, remember, Bush was never accused himself of assaulting or being involved in harassing women. Others who have left or have been pushed out were.

Let me just play one more soundbite of Billy Bush in the interview talking about starting over here.


KING: Do you feel you're starting over?

BUSH: Not starting over in the sense I have -- I think I picked up some missing elements in the last few years, like a deeper empathy, patience. I think people that I'm working with now would say, boy, he's good to work with because when things go -- I don't freak out if something's not right. I say, don't worry about it. It will get better.


BERMAN: Got about 15 seconds left Laura here. What will his reception, broadly speaking, tell us about the current environment?

COATES: I think it will tell us that people, whether they true are empathetic as he has now gained that particular quality himself, whether they view the Me Too movement in the context of moving on or of holding a grudge and whether we as a society allow people to exploit and not be checked.

GOLODRYGA: It's worth noting that we've all moved on as a society, but it's also worth noting that the president, one of the few times he's apologized to the American public, came after that tape.


BERMAN: Of course he regretted the apology after that.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, later, and questioned the validity.



BERMAN: Laura, great to have you with us. Thank you very much.

COATES: Thank you.

BERMAN: it is Election Day in North Carolina, a day with. END