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Trump's Interview with Woodward; Hurricane Sally Hits the Gulf Coast; Taylor's Mother Speaks after Settlement. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 16, 2020 - 06:30   ET





BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: Was there a moment in all of this the last two months where you said to yourself, you know, you're waking up or you're, you know, whatever you're doing and you say, this is the leadership test of a lifetime?



TRUMP: No. I think it might be, but I don't think that. I -- I -- all I want to do is get it solved. There are many people that said that to me. They said, you're now a wartime president.

WOODWARD: Who said that first to you?

TRUMP: Oh, many people have said that to me. I don't want to even think about it. I just want to get --

WOODWARD: Well, help me. Make it -- I'd -- I'd like to make it concrete.

TRUMP: No, I don't -- I don't like to sit back and think about that kind of thing.


TRUMP: Because I don't have that much time to think about it, Bob, I'm busy as hell.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Busy as hell watching the entire Fox News lineup on Tivo repeatedly.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You know what, John, you're exaggerating. There is also golfing in there.

BERMAN: Right. Right. OK. OK. Joining us now, Toluse Olorunnipa again is with us and Matt Lewis is with us as well, CNN political commentator and a senior commentator at "The Daily Beast."

That was more of the exchange between Bob Woodward over his 18 interviews with Donald Trump we played for the first time last night. We also got some insight, Matt, into what Woodward made of all -- because you heard in that answer of leadership, that wasn't linear thought. I mean I don't know what the president thinks about the issue of leadership and coronavirus. And this is what Woodward took away from all of it.



BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: I don't know, to be honest, whether he's got it straight in his head what is real and what is unreal. That is why, at the end of the book, I say, in totality, my judgment is, this is the wrong man for the job.


BERMAN: So, Matt, take that in conjunction with what else we saw over the last 24 hours, the president dissembling, in some cases, on the pandemic in this ABC News town hall. And what's your big takeaway?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think this was his test. I think that Donald Trump has gotten very lucky in life by following his gut and by faking it until he makes it, essentially. And then coronavirus came along and it came along during his re-election year and he tried to do what has always worked for him before, which is to fake it until you make it and to BS people and it didn't work.

I think, you know, all -- those of us who have been saying all along that character matters and that character is destiny turned out to be right. He is looking like he's facing a very difficult re-election.


And you know what? Donald Trump could have messed around for three years and done a lot of the crazy stuff that he did, but if he had responded well to this test, to Covid-19, he probably would have won re-election, but he wasn't ready for it, he didn't take it seriously, and I think the chickens are coming home to roost.

CAMEROTA: And, of course, Toluse, that's connected to his health care plan, which is non-existent, though he has promised it repeatedly. And last night there were people in the audience, regular voters, undecided, who were desperate for an answer.

Let me just play one woman who tried to explain to him that there is going to be a gap between the time that they -- that his administration is able to kill Obamacare in the courts and when her pre-existing condition is going to be covered, if at all.

So here's that moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should pre-existing conditions, which Obamacare brought into -- brought to fruition, be removed?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without -- please stop and let me finish my question, sir. Should that be removed? Within a 36 to 72-hour period without my medication, I will be dead. And I want to know what it is that you're going to do to assure that people like me who work hard, we do everything we're supposed to do, can stay insured. It's not my fault that I was born with this disease. It's not my fault that I'm a black woman and in the medical community I'm minimized and not taken seriously. I want to know what you are going to do about that.

TRUMP: So, first of all, I hope you are taken seriously. I hope you are.


CAMEROTA: Yes, so, Toluse, the president went on to say, we're not going to hurt pre-existing conditions. But that just flies in the face of what they're doing in the courts.

And let me just play one more bit of sound which is where he tries to explain it. George Stephanopoulos presses him on this.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: You fought to repeal Obamacare. You are arguing in the --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I essentially did because we -- we're (INAUDIBLE) individual (INAUDIBLE) --

STEPHANOPOULOS: You -- you are -- you're arguing in the Supreme Court right now to strike it down. That would do away with pre-existing conditions.

TRUMP: No, so that we can do new health care.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've promised -- but you've been promising a new health care plan. We interviewed -- I interviewed you in June of last year. You said the health care plan would come in two weeks. You told Chris Wallace this summer it would come in three weeks. You promised an executive order on pre-existing --

TRUMP: I have it all ready. I have it all ready.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it's -- you've been trying to strike down pre- existing conditions.

TRUMP: It doesn't matter. I have it all ready.


CAMEROTA: Toluse, he has the health care plan all ready but he's keeping it a secret?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, this is really offensive to a lot of voters, especially the tens of millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions, for the president to say, I have this secret plan, you're going to be able to see it at some point. He said it, two weeks, you know, it will be ready in two weeks. Last year, this summer, he said it will be ready in two weeks. He said there's an executive order right around the corner. It's sort of this shell game where he keeps promising this plan, even though everyone knows he does not have a plan.

He's had three and a half years in office to come up with some kind of health care plan and the only thing that he has done is try to chip away at Obamacare and, you know, fight it in the courts. And like this woman who -- who challenged him directly, there are millions of Americans who, if Obamacare is thrown out, they will have a gap. They will have a situation where their pre-existing conditions are not covered without an act of Congress and there's no sign that President Trump can lead Congress to come up with some sort of broad health care plan. They can't even come up with a plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and have a relief bill in the middle of a great crises.

So, health care, which has been a challenge for lawmakers for decades, is not something that people have a lot of confidence that this president and this Congress will be able to come up with a quick deal on.

So there are millions of Americans that are hanging -- hanging in the balance. This is a huge inadvertently for the president as he faces re-election. And you can tell that he knows that because he keeps sort of trying to promise this secret grand strategy that everyone knows just doesn't exist. And it's a big revelation that the president does not have a plan and he was challenged by voters on that, you know, this far into his term, he does not have any kind of a health care strategy. And I think a lot of Americans know that at this point.

BERMAN: Matt, we've got to run, but how do you assess his interaction with voters overall over the course of that town hall?

LEWIS: Well, look, I think that it's smart that he's going out there doing this, right? It's a little bit risky anytime that you do a town hall. We all remember that debate where George H.W. Bush, you know, looked at his watch and was asked how the debt or the deficit personally impacts him and kind of botched that. So it's dangerous.

Donald Trump, you know, he's Donald Trump, right? He's going to say some crazy stuff. He's going to make up things. He's going to talk about his, you know, hot girlfriend who lives in Canada, which is like this health care plan that probably doesn't actually exist. But at the end of the day, I think that he probably helps himself at the margins. People like him or they hate him. There's a sliver of people who are still deciding. And so I think that when he puts himself out there, it's better than not doing so. [06:40:09]

CAMEROTA: Matt, Toluse, thank you both very much.

All right, we need to get to our top story. Hurricane Sally just made landfall moments ago in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Much of the Gulf Coast is being slammed by torrential rain. Wait until you hear how much they're expecting. We have a live report for you, next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: OK, Hurricane Sally just made landfall moments ago near Gulf Shores, Alabama. Sally is battering the Gulf Coast with torrential rain. This video that you're looking at right there is from Pensacola Beach, Florida.

So let's get right to our reporters on the Gulf Coast.

First, CNN's Gary Tuchman. He is live in Pensacola Beach.

What's the situation right now, Gary?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it sounds like a war is being fought. The sounds are loud and jarring and frightening. You hear transformers exploding. You hear metal being scraped along the ground from roofs that have collapsed.


The rain, the wind, it sound like aircraft and trains combined. Right now we're experiencing sustained tropical storm force winds, but hurricane force gusts, up to 85 miles per hour. The thing I keep thinking about is people who are trying to sleep tonight, particularly children, elderly people, people who are sick, and the terror they must be going through with all these sounds I'm talking about.

The fact is, the winds are heavy, but it has been raining for so many hours, there's going to be catastrophic flooding on this island. This island is currently closed off. You can't get over the bridges to go to the mainland. You have to wait till this is all over. About 100,000 customers are without power in the panhandle of Florida. But as far as that flooding damage, we expect to be catastrophic. We won't find out for sure until daylight.


CAMEROTA: Wow, Gary, just incredible. I mean the scene around you is crazy. Eighty-five-mile-per-hour wind gusts are obviously very dangerous. I know that things fly off at that point. But there's 121 wind gusts in Alabama that was just clocked. So, please, be careful. Stay safe. We'll be back with you in a moment.

BERMAN: All right, let's go to Alabama right now. CNN's Ed Lavandera in Mobile. Ed, give us a sense of what you're seeing.


Well, just before you started tossing to me here, we saw the big flashes of light blue light up the dark sky here. Transformers blowing. So nearly 350,000 people already without power in the initial hours of this storm making landfall.

And the eye of Hurricane Sally is going to come ashore between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. So that -- that landmass there is where you're going to see some of the most intense parts of this storm.

And we are going to get the effects of that and are -- have been getting the effects of that for the last hour and a half as where we are situated it's just going to be on that outer edge of the eye wall of the hurricane, and that is the part that brings the most intense winds and most severe -- the dangerous parts of this storm. So -- and that is why forecasters here are urging people to be patient through this entire storm because this is an event that's going to last most of the day here as this storm continues to slowly move.

But the intensity of these winds is really quite something. Our weather team just passed along to us that a wind gust in Ft. Morgan, south of where I am here in Mobile, picked up a wind gust of 121 miles per hour. That is devastating wind gusts. And we have seen some damage already here in Mobile. It's impossible to get around here in the overnight dark hours. So we haven't gotten a full assessment of what kind of damage there is out there.

But because this storm is moving so slowly, it is really exposing this region to these sustained winds over a long period of time. And that makes it much more likely that the damage is going to be extensive throughout the region.

John and Alisyn.

BERMAN: All right, Ed, please stay safe there. We'll come back to you in a little bit as this storm moves over you.

We do have some other news we're going to check in on.

The city of Louisville, Kentucky, paying the family of Breonna Taylor millions as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. What does this mean for the possibility of criminal charges? We have an interview with Breonna Taylor's mother, next.



BERMAN: Overnight, the city of Louisville reaching an historic $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, the EMT killed in her home by police after entering with a no-knock warrant. The settlement included a series of police reforms. Now, CNN's Jason Carroll spoke with Taylor's mother after the

settlement was announced. He joins us now live from Louisville this morning.

Jason, what did she have to say?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, she says, this is a first step toward a long path in terms of trying to get justice for her daughter.

In terms of that settlement, though, John, her attorneys have been working for weeks to get to this settlement. In fact, they say they've been working all the way up until late Monday night before they made the announcement on Tuesday.

The sticking point, they say, wasn't really about the money, it was about getting in police reforms. Breonna Taylor's mother said that was essential in terms of reaching a settlement.

So, in addition to the $12 million, some of the police reforms that were part of this element going forward are going to be, first of all, the Louisville Metro Police commanders must approve search warrants before it goes to a judge. That's one of the reforms. Second, the city has agreed to establish a housing credit for officers. This is to try to encourage officers to actually live in the communities that they serve. And, third, police are going to be using social workers going out on some of these sensitive calls going forward.

But also, going forward, what the family, what Breonna Taylor's mother ultimately wants to see her, she wants to see these officers charged and charged soon.


TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: I just don't understand what's taking so long. Had you or I committed a crime, we'd be picked up the very next day not even having all the facts. And these facts are -- have been laid out for so long for so many of us to see, it just -- it makes no sense that we're -- here we are, six months later, still waiting.

LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY: We just passed the six-month mark of Breonna's death. Daniel -- Attorney General Daniel Cameron has had this investigation long enough. Again, the evidence that we've seen that -- that has been made public is sufficient to warrant a grand jury indictment. And so it's time for him to move and get the indictment.



CARROLL: Again, six months since Breonna Taylor's death, you heard there, the state attorney general has given no indication as to when there will be any word as to whether or not any of the officers will be charged.

John. Alisyn.

BERMAN: I know for so many people in Louisville, this is a step, a first step, but by no means does this give any sense of closure.

Jason Carroll, thanks so much for being there.

Hurricane Sally has made landfall along the Gulf Coast just a short time ago.


Millions facing life-threatening floods. Our reporters are right in the middle of it, next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And we do begin with breaking news.

Hurricane Sally has just made landfall. It is battering the Gulf Coast as we speak with torrential rain. A wind gust of 121 miles per hour was just reported in Alabama. But more than 400,000 customers are without power in the southeast at this hour.

It is the rain that is the story here. Historic levels of rain. Possibly up to three feet worth. Officials are issuing dire warnings now about flooding. We have reporters on the ground to show you how hard it is raining. That will be in just a moment.

BERMAN: All right, we're also following important developments with the coronavirus pandemic.


More than 1,400 new deaths reported in the U.S. overnight. That's the single highest death toll in over a month. There may be some reporting issues there, but it does show.