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Watchdog Says Trump's Family Separations Traumatic for Children; Trump Appears to Show Altered Dorian Trajectory Map; Rescues Underway after Dorian Devastates the Bahamas; 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Release Their Climate Plans Ahead of CNN Town Halls; Michigan Becomes First State to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 04, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: -- due to deteriorating mental health and instances of self harm. CNN's Jessica Schneider has more on a policy that has officially ended but could leave lasting psychological scars on thousands of children. So, Jessica, the report comes from HHS, a department under the governance of course under the Trump administration. Tell me more about the findings?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, and it really stems from these firsthand vivid and disturbing accounts of these caregivers at these facilities, and they detailed these heightened feelings of anxiety and loss these children felt after they were separated. Really most troubling the report here concludes really how ill-equipped these facilities were to handle the mental health needs of these children.

The report goes into stark detail and it tells stories like this, with caregivers telling the Inspector General, some separated children expressed acute grief that caused them to cry inconsolably. Children who did not understand why they were separated from their parents suffered elevated levels of mental distress.

For, example, program directors and mental health clinicians reported that children who believed their parents had abandoned them were angry and confused. It went on to say other children expressed feeling feelings of guilt or fear. And became concerned for their parent's welfare.

And then there was this, another example concerning a child who was separated as part of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy. And it said this, a 7 or 8-year-old boy was separated from his father without any explanation as to why the separation occurred. The child was under the delusion that his father had been killed and believed that he would also be killed. This child ultimately required emergency psychiatric care to address his mental health distress. That is a chilling and stark example there.

And really this report also points out that these children had, Brooke, had already been through so much trauma. Between the violence that they might have encountered in their home countries which they were fleeing, and then what they went through on that trek through Central America and Mexico to get to the United States.

So that was all detailed in this report. And as a result, the Inspector General has put forward several recommendations on how to make the mental health treatment better at these facilities. And the program for housing these children says that they will implement these conclusions, that the conclusions were that they need more mental health professionals available to these children. They need to have them better trained, better equipped.

But really, it's yet another reminder of the trauma that these children went through after this zero-tolerance policy was put into effect. As a lot of mental health experts have stated in Congressional testimony and otherwise, it's trauma that could stay with them for quite some time -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Yes. Listening to you it's just like so much of the damage has been done. Jessica Schneider, thank you for reporting on these findings, appreciate it.

We are getting stunning images of people who survived Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Now being rescued by U.S. officials. They are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. We'll take you live to the Bahamas next.



ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back. I'm Erica Hill in live Charleston, South Carolina. There's a major focus on Carolinas as Hurricane Dorian continues to gain speed and make its way closer to the coast of the United States.

One place this storm is not headed is Alabama. We have known that from the very beginning. The President however you may recall saying that in fact Alabama was in the storm's sites. There was significant push back to the point that at one point the National Weather Service office in Alabama actually tweeted out noting that Alabama was never in the path of that storm. That apparently is a message that has not made its way to the President. Or if so, he seems to be ignoring it once again.

Pamela Brown is live at the White House now with new developments. So the President brought out a map that appears to show a line on it. Was it drawn with a sharpie? There's some question over what this map is that the President was actually showing, this image?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. President Donald Trump appeared to show this altered map of Hurricane Dorian's original trajectory, and you'll see in the picture there's a black line that goes beyond Florida around Alabama. And so it appears that that was added to this map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Now what's interesting here is that the same -- a similar map from the same place was shown last Thursday by the White house, it did not include that black line looping around Alabama. And of course, as you pointed out, the President has said repeatedly that Alabama was in harm's way of Dorian, that it was going to be hit hard. And that was met with a rebuke from the National Weather Service in Birmingham saying that Alabama is not going to be impacted by Dorian.

The President as we saw was unhappy with the coverage of that. He tweeted about the media coverage of him saying that Alabama was going to be hit. He has doubled down on that saying, yes, that it was going to be originally hit. But this of course raises questions whether this was added by someone in the White House with a black sharpie pen to include Alabama, to justify the President saying of course that Alabama was originally supposed to be hit, even though weather forecasters have said that's not the case.


And not long ago here at the White House, the President doubled down again. Saying he didn't know whether it was added by a permanent market, that black line on the map. But that Alabama was supposed to be hit hard initially. So this raises all kinds of questions. I have reached out to the White House, I have asked them whether someone added that to the map, why it was added, when it was added? And we have not heard any response from the White house on this. Other than what the President said that he did know about that.

HILL: It is remarkable, it is remarkable the fact that we are even having this discussion, Pam. Appreciate it as always. Thank you very much.

And as we wait and we watch to see what this storm is going to bring. Not just the rain that has already fallen, obviously, in Florida. But as we wait here in the Carolinas and on up the coast, we know the destruction that was left behind in the Bahamas where this storm sat for days. A massive category 5. CNN's Victor Blackwell has made his way to Nassau, he joins us now live from Nassau in the Bahamas. And Victor, what are you finding on the ground?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, this is where the people who are pulled from Abaco by the U.S. Coast Guard, by the Royal British Navy are brought first. Now you can you see over my shoulder there's an ambulance there. There have been people who have been packed into ambulances and buses and taken to a local hospital here in Nassau to be triaged. We also know that a truck just pulled up with chainsaws and tents for supplies to take over to Abaco.

But as grateful as some people who are here waiting for news of their relatives and friends are for that support. Instead of taking resources to the island. They want their family members off the island and brought here. Now we've seen a steady flow, not a flood, but a flow of people brought here to Nassau to this airport and taking off. But we know that some people say that this is not happening fast enough, there are not enough choppers. There are hundreds of people reportedly in a clinic there waiting for rescue. And this is what we heard from one woman who says that she has contact with family members. Although the government says they cannot reach them.


MARTYSTA TURNQUEST, HURRICANE DORIAN SURVIVOR: It's really challenging to know just that we weren't prepared. I mean before the storm even really touched our area. So where we live where our family members live that we're talking about Northern Abaco is 15 miles away, so the last messages we got from them are 2:00 p.m. Sunday. After that there was no cell phone service. So cell phone service was the first thing to go.

We were able to communicate with them with a family friend who has a satellite phone and pretty much what that required was him to walk. Satellite phones as you know need clear skies. So he's getting 15 second phone calls in hurricane conditions to his sister in St. Thomas who then has to reach out to me and then I have to disseminate information. We sat by and watched when the minister for our portion of the island said they have no communication with Northern Abaco.

Northern Abaco consists of 5 or 6 settlements. They are people who are still reaching out to us, who we still can't account for. And we are related to those people. So it's challenging for us, when the only information that's being shared is about one particular settlement. And yes, the world, it's great that everyone wants to help, but the need -- there's still so much more that people haven't seen. There is so much we haven't seen.

Someone from our family, our cousin, who was able to fly over, they were able to send in a video of just what they can see, everything is brown, there's nothing there. As they narrate the 20 second video to tell us what we're looking at. It's unidentifiable. And that's one settlement.


BLACKWELL: Thirteen thousand homes destroyed according to the Salvation Army, that number expected to increase, 60,000 people will need food support according to the World Food Program. This is a massive, massive response needed here. And you hear from some people who are here waiting for a peek at the people coming off those helicopters that this is not enough. And it's not happening quickly enough -- Erica.

HILL: A massive humanitarian need and A massive undertaking as well. Victor, thank you, so glad you're on the ground for us. We will have the latest update for you on the track of the storm just ahead.

Also, what Democratic candidates are saying about the storm but about the climate crisis in general. They weigh-in ahead of tonight's special CNN Town Hall. Stay with us.




BALDWIN: We are just about an hour away from a first of its kind event in the Democratic race for President. CNN's Climate Crisis Town Halls, ten candidates, each focused for 40 minutes on how to handle what many Democrats consider the nation's most urgent dilemma. And in the last 48 hours several candidates just released their proposals on combatting the climate threat.

Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker are proposing to spend anywhere from 1.5 trillion to as much as $10 trillion, and you can see they all plan to transition the U.S. economy to net zero emissions and clean energy in 30 years or so.

So let's concentrate on one of those candidates now, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Addisu Demissie is the Senator's Presidential campaign manager. So a pleasure to see you again.


BALDWIN: Ahead of the big night here on CNN. And so, of all the details in the plan, he said it would cost $3 trillion to create a carbon neutral economy by 2045. So what does that look like and how does he pull that off?

DEMISSIE: Look, I think, first of all, we have to do it. It's not an option. Climate change is an existential threat to this country and we have no other option than to invest and invest big. Ultimately, there are two ways we pay for it. One is by increasing taxes on polluters. They deserve to pay. If they pollute, they should pay. And second is by rolling back the subsidies on polluters who have been -- who deserve not to be funded by the government as it were.

But ultimately, I think the most important part of Cory's plan is actually the environmental justice fund which is $50 billion to invest in the communities that have been most affected by climate change in the first place. There can be no climate position without climate justice.

BALDWIN: You mentioned a second ago taxing the polluters. Because obviously, my next question is well, how do you pay for all this, right. And I know people care about clean water so part of the plan would quote, replace all residential school and daycare lead drinking water service water lines and remediate all housing units in schools that contain peeling or chipped lead based paint and high levels of lead contaminated dust which is obviously a huge, huge issue in some of the cities in this country so how does he pay for it?

DEMISSIE: Yes, look, like I said, you have to make polluters pay. They deserve to pay. They're the ones who are creating --


DEMISSIE: Increase taxes on them. And that's what you should do. But also, we're providing subsidies, a lot of subsidies to these folks who just do not deserve the government helping them pollute. And so if we do those things, we can pay for this. But again, we can't afford not to invest. This is something we should invest in. It's a crisis that if we do not solve it by 2045 as our plan does, we're going to be in a position where cities are under water, and where we literally are not going to be able to exist. So it's an existential question and existential issue that deserves big and bold solutions like what Cory has put forward.

BALDWIN: One of the candidates who is pretty prescient on the issue was the Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, no longer in, but we know in the news that Senator Elizabeth Warren has adopted a number of his policies, parts of his plan. I am just curious is there anything about his plan that the Senator wants to --

DEMISSIE: Yes. A lot. Actually, the Governor and the Senator have spoken a few times since the Governor has been out of the race and even in the race you saw back on the debate stage in July that they had a back and forth about this issue. It's definitely something that's been near and dear to Cory's heart since he was Mayor and the Governor was actually in Congress and they've known each other for a long time, so yes, there's a lot of what in his plan that is in ours.

But again the environmental justice fund is I think the most important part of the plan, the one that I want to make sure folks who go to, take a look at because we have to center those communities that have been affected most by the climate crisis. There is no climate plan without climate justice in our opinion and any plan that doesn't do that is, frankly, missing the mark.

BALDWIN: Climate justice. So one of obviously -- someone who's been quite skeptical of all this is the President of the United States and you laugh but, I mean, he is and denying a lot of the science, as are a number of Republicans. So in the future, if there is a President Cory Booker scenario, he will have to work with a number of these Republicans who do not see eye to eye with him. So how does he convince those Republicans to see his vision?

DEMISSIE: Well, look, I think first, this plan is bold and ambitious but it is also realistic. It's $3 trillion over the next two decades. It's something we can invest and should invest in. But Cory has proven his entire career, he started being Mayor of Newark and certainly in the Senate that he is somebody who can reach across the aisle and get things done. We saw with the Criminal Justice Reform Bill that passed last year through the Senate, he worked across the aisle, got it done in a Republican controlled Senate with a Republican President.

And so as President he certainly has the ability to lead on this and will lead on this, and prioritize climate change as an issue that's frankly at the top of his list, and should be at the top of any Democratic Presidential list in terms of the issues that he needs to address.


BALDWIN: And so his date tonight on TV with Don Lemon is at 11:20 --

DEMISSIE: 11:20 p.m. But 8:20 on the west coast for those folks --

BALDWIN: There you go. So tune for Senator Cory Booker. Addisu, a pleasure nice to see you.

DEMISSIE: Thanks for having me again, Brooke, appreciate it.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, Michigan becomes the first state in the country to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Plus, we are back live in the Bahamas as rescues are under way for survivors of Hurricane Dorian. Stand by.


BALDWIN: New today, the nation's very first ban on flavored e- cigarettes. Michigan has just outlawed the sale of flavored vaping products. The Governor releasing a statement accusing vaping companies of using, quote, candy flavors to hook kids on nicotine. The ban gives sellers 30 days to comply and will last six months, though the Governor can decide to renew it. It forbids e-cigarette companies from using terms like clean, safe and healthy in their marketing materials. Michigan there.

I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much for being with me here today. We're going to continue our live special coverage of this Hurricane and so much more. "The Lead" starts right now.