Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Justice Department Asks Appeals Court To Revive Its Criminal Probe Into Classified Mar-A-Lago Documents; Puerto Rico Battered By Hurricane Fiona; Crown, Orb, Sceptre Removed From Atop Queen's Coffin; Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) Discusses About Her Take On Gov. DeSantis Sending Migrant To Other States. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 15:00   ET


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And it's possible that the appeals court could potentially step in pretty quickly to this.

The special master is ready to begin his work. In fact, there's a scheduled hearing based on scheduling issues for tomorrow in Brooklyn, that's where Judge Dearie sits as a senior judge. And what's interesting here is Judge Cannon said that he should make reviewing those 100 classified records a priority, so prosecutors can then resume using them in the investigation as soon as it's determined if any of them contained any privileged information.

But DOJ, of course, doesn't want the special master reviewing those documents at all. So we'll really see here if the appeals court steps in and decides this before the special master can really do anything substantial, so it's all in a matter of days that's likely to happen, Victor and Alisyn.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: It's the top of the hour on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

More than 1 million Puerto Ricans are still without power after Hurricane Fiona hit the island on Sunday afternoon. And the storm washed away - look at this - washed away this bridge as it made landfall just days before the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Well, Fiona is now a tropical storm but it has still battered the island with heavy rains and then, of course, causing those catastrophic flash floods.

CAMEROTA: Emergency teams are still actively rescuing trapped people saving at least 1,000 already. Hundreds of FEMA workers are on the ground following President Biden's emergency declaration. The President is assuring Puerto Rico: "We stand with you and we will get through this together."

CNN's Leyla Santiago is live in San Juan where the rising water, we understand, is the major concern. Leyla, what are you seeing around you? LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in San Juan - we're in the

northeastern part of the island - so it's a bit of a different situation from what they're seeing continuing to see rather on the southwestern part of the island. And let's not forget the interior part of the island, which really usually sees a lot of damage when it comes to natural disasters related to weather anyway.

And so I know, Victor, we showed that video of the bridge that was washed away. I actually talked to a young man who was there last night when that happened. He told me that he was just looking outside his window and that had happened in a matter of minutes.

This morning, I was in the southern part of the island managed to get into Salinas. Salinas, again, right there on the south kind of central eastern part of the island. And I got to tell you, there is a lot of concern and frustration among the people I talked to. I want you to listen to an exchange I had with a gentleman there. He's a resident and a business owner from Salinas. Listen.


JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ, BUSINESS OWNER: A lot of people more than Maria lost their houses now, lost everything on their houses because of the floating. That Maria was tough winds, but this one with all the rain, it just destroy everything on the houses. It's unbelievable.

It's our town. It's a small town that basically - who's going to take to take care of this town, nobody. You know what I'm saying? If we don't take care of it, there's nobody going to take care of it.


SANTIAGO: And that's the sentiment that I heard echoed by several different people, especially when I went to the shelter. I talked to the mayor there. She said they have more than 2,500 families that are impacted by this flooding right now that just doesn't stop, because the remnants of now Tropical Storm Fiona are continuing to pound this island.

And so it's not just the flooding, it's not just the mudslides that we saw on the main highway that we watched as crews were trying to get control of that, it's also water 60 percent of customers here, give or take, don't have water. Water, part of that not available, because they depend on power to get that water and so power, the majority of the island is without power right now.

Now, they have been able to restore a small bit of that, but the power is what causes a lot of anxiety that adds to the anxiety from the floods and the images that you're starting to see, because let's not forget the timing here. Tomorrow will be five years since Hurricane Maria came and destroyed this island and left many here without power for months, Victor and Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: Left them without power and with a lot of anxiety after the storm approached. Leyla Santiago reporting from San Juan, thank you so much. CAMEROTA: So in addition to the hundreds of FEMA workers on the

ground, Puerto Rico's governor says California, New York and New Jersey are also sending in people to help.

BLACKWELL: When it comes to the islands infrastructure and power grid, officials say they are much better prepared to respond to this crisis compared to the one brought by hurricane Maria five years ago.

Craig Fugate is a former FEMA Administrator. Craig, good to see you again. I want to ask you about what we heard from the man that Leila just spoke about. He said for his this small town, this is worse than Maria as we look across the island and all of the other variables. Is this worse than Maria?


CRAIG FUGATE, FORMER FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, the flooding is going to be worse. If you remember, Maria was primarily winds. So where we have these communities that all this flooding is taking place, you're seeing it blow out the road, you're seeing it, destroyed buildings. Road infrastructure is going to be heavily impacted again.

So where the flooding is taking place, it's probably as bad if not worse than Maria. But I don't think we're going to see that level of devastation over the entire island, similar to the wind damage we saw from Maria.

CAMEROTA: That said, Craig, I mean, we all remember five years ago how long we had to report on the power outages because of Maria. I mean, it went on for months and months in some places, they didn't restore it for 11 months. So now it's been five years and have they shored up their power grids since 1.3 million customers today are without power? I mean, what's the status of the power grid in - on Puerto Rico?

FUGATE: Well, we're about to find out. They had done a lot of rebuilding, some of that was done really quickly after the storm to get power on and they were going to go back and do more permanent work. So this is an example that, as we saw from Hurricane Katrina, as we're seeing now from Hurricane Maria, rebuilding takes years, if not decades.

And so how much has been done, what worked, what I'm really concerned about on this grid is we have a lot of new energy sources put in the system, we're seeing damage to solar arrays. Also a big limiting factor after Maria was the condition of the roads so that the repair crews can even get in to the make and replace power lines. You're seeing bridges washed out, roads washed out.

So unfortunately, we're going to see a lot of those similar things. What we still need to wait and see is how much of the grid has been directly impacted by winds where that was the widespread in Maria or is this more isolated and they can make those repairs and get power turned back on to large areas.

BLACKWELL: They can't go through this every couple of years. I know you're an advocate for and we have discussed building a more resilient infrastructure. We've talked about in the context of the contiguous 48. But for Puerto Rico, what needs to happen so that the next time a cat one, even with this amount of rain, that it's not as disastrous as we're seeing it is now?

FUGATE: Well, we've seen some things that were repaired after Maria that were temporary, that hadn't been permanently repaired and get washed away. It's important that when we rebuild after these disasters, we're building for the future, not what's happened in the past.

And we're going to have to understand that what happened to Maria was a lot of wind over large areas. Some of these communities that are flooding hadn't had that in Marina. So we're still uncovering that where we have people living in those communities when we go back and rebuild, we got to build back against all the threats of the storms. It isn't just wind as we're seeing with this storm, it is water.

And in Puerto Rico we have seen a lot of deaths, people being rescued and the issue you're raising is the insanity of going back and putting it back the way it was isn't working. We've got to really focus on making the investments of where we're going to rebuild, how we're going to rebuild, because the climate has changed. How we've been building and developing hasn't caught up yet.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Craig Fugate, thank you for helping us understand what we're seeing there today.

All right. This is just in to our newsroom, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit off the southwestern coast of Mexico, a tsunami alert warning has been issued. The region is bracing for potentially hazardous waves there. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck in the waters near the City of Aquila.

BLACKWELL: Now, the city's mayor said there are no known casualties or major damage. Just five years ago, a deadly earthquake in Mexico City killed more than 200 people. Of course, we'll continue to watch the developments there.

A short time ago, the Royal Family, we've expected them to have begun a private burial for Queen Elizabeth II. It is the final goodbye event after 11 days of national mourning, which culminated in the Queen's state funeral today. A note from her son and successor was placed on her coffin reading: "In loving and devoted memory, Charles R," or Charles Regent. More than 2,000 dignitaries and royal members and public figures, including President Biden paid their last respects.

CAMEROTA: Tens of thousands of people lined the street for the procession. The world also saw the crown, the orb and the sceptre removed from the top of the Queen's coffin to mark the end of the Second Elizabethan age. The Crown Jewels will be given to King Charles for his coronation.


CNN's Anna Stewart is in Windsor, England for us, so Anna there were no cameras allowed at this family service. So do we know much about what happened?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, thankfully. We have very little detail there and I think it's so wonderful really when you consider how publicly the Royal Family had to grieve this passing that they have a few moments for themselves to have that private service.

But what we do know is that her majesty's coffin which we saw being lowered into the royal bolt will be moved to the King George VI Memorial Chapel, that's an annex of St. George's Chapel. And that is where her father, her mother, her sister are all buried and tonight, she will be reunited with Prince Philip whose coffin will also be moved there. So she'll be reunited with the man she caught her strength and stay for all of those years.

It has been an utterly extraordinary 12 days of mourning for this nation that ends tomorrow. Today, the scenes were absolutely extraordinary. I was on The Long Walk outside Windsor with 170,000 people. Now, this is a three mile walk and as the procession began down it, it felt completely silent, Alisyn. You could hear a pin drop.

And then as (inaudible) hearse passed, you just heard this ripple of applause go all the way down the three miles. It was so beautiful. There was so many tears. There's also so much laughter. It's been in a complete roller coaster, really, of emotions.

And when you consider 170,000 people there, the hundreds of thousands that lines the streets of London, the people who queued for 12 hours plus for the lying in state and all the flowers outside all the royal residences. The Queen once said that grief is the price we pay for love and I think we've really seen over the last 12 days, just how loved the Queen has been here in the U.K. and all around the world.

BLACKWELL: Certainly have, hundreds of thousands of people there, millions watching around the world. Anna Stewart, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Sharon Carpenter, host of BBC America and Sir Nigel Sheinwald who served as British ambassador to the United States. Thanks to both of you for being here. Mr. Ambassador, I want to start with you. The list of heads of state and dignitaries that were at this service today was jaw-dropping. I mean, unprecedented in the number of presidents and countries.

And we heard from the chiefs of police, that this was going to be the most complicated security setup ever really. I mean, even more so than the 2012 London Olympics. Did you have any fear or concerns about what might happen today?

SIR NIGEL SHEINWALD, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: I didn't and I'm glad that my prediction was borne out because it did go smoothly. They made some changes. They bused a lot of the dignitaries to the abbey rather than allowing a lot of individual motorcades. But you're right. It was like having 150 state visits all at once. But that's what the years of preparation and the great care that goes into these ceremonies was able to bring it forward.

It was a day of pageantry and tradition which was brilliantly executed by the armed forces policing a whole load of others.

BLACKWELL: Sharon, what's been remarkable to watch over the last 12 days has been the public face of the Royal Family having to mourn in public in front of not just other Brits, but in front of the world. But we did see a bit of emotion today from King Charles. And we're going to play a bit of that, I think we had the video.

I wonder what you thought when we saw some emotion. At different points, this is just one of them from the new king.

Sharon, I don't know, can you still hear me?

SHARON CARPENTER, HOST, BBC AMERICA: I can still hear you. I'm sorry. Yes, sorry. And I apologize for my cat meowing in the background as well, but it's not something you'll see from King Charles or probably Prince Charles, of course, or any of the Royals really show of emotion. But it has been an extremely emotional 10, 11 days for King Charles has had to step up and step into the shoes of his mother immediately upon her death.

And I think that's why he is getting such widespread support from the people of the United Kingdom. King Charles hasn't always been the most popular member of the Royal Family. There's a YouGov poll that sort of has in quite low on the list with the Queen at the top of the list followed by Kate Middleton and then Prince William.

But he certainly seems to be winning over the public right now. I think it just all got to him at a certain point, I know, after the national anthem was sung at St. George's Chapel. I certainly saw some emotion from King Charles of that.


Because that was a stark reminder, I think, for all of us that this really is the end of an era and the brand new beginning of a new one and a new king, a new monarch.

CAMEROTA: Ambassador, it was nice for all of us world watchers to see so much of the Royal Family all together in one place. So many generations, even the youngest royals that we don't get to see that often were part of the ceremony. What stood out to you from the funeral today?

SHEINWALD: Well, what stood out to me was what the Queen's reign represented, which is this merging of tradition with renewal. I mean, she understood the winds of change, but she was able to show a history, she was able to be a bridge to the past, but also a connection with the future and I think you saw that today. You saw today's Britain and the future of the monarchy and the future of the Royal Family, as well as the celebration of the of the Queen's life.

And you saw the mixture, as I think your commentator was saying, the mixture of the highly personal grief but also gratitude to the Queen with these huge ceremonial remembrances of her. And this was after all, a mixture today of the family saying farewell, the people of the U.K. and many people around the world saying farewell, but above all the state saying farewell, the institutions of the state, the armed services and everything else.

So everything came together today and also the finality of it, that sense of the sceptre, the orb passing to the new king, the trappings of monarchical passing to the new king in a final way today after these extraordinary 10 days transition where the people have shown their grief.

BLACKWELL: Sharon, if I understood your cat correctly, I think what they were saying was don't forget to ask about the corgis.

CAMEROTA: That's what I heard. That's what I heard.

BLACKWELL: So, yes, that's what you heard?


BLACKWELL: Okay. So that I will do just that.

CARPENTER: (Inaudible) they want to know about (inaudible) ...


CARPENTER: ... and they want to know about the corgis.


CARPENTER: So we do - the Queen had two remaining corgis. Did you really - you want to know the answer to that one?

BLACKWELL: Sure. We have them on screen now, tell us.

CARPENTER: Okay. So the two remaining corgis, they were actually at Windsor Castle today awaiting the Queen's coffin through this procession taking place through the streets of Windsor. But both of those corgis, they were actually given to the Queen after Prince Philip died in 2021. And they were given by Prince Andrew and his ex- wife, Fergie. The two of them still live together by the way, despite the fact that they divorced a long time ago.

So the two of them are going to be taking over the corgis and looking after the corgis. They are in good hands you'll be glad to hear.

CAMEROTA: I am glad to hear that because we haven't heard what the next chapter for the corgis was, so that is really, really good to know. There they are looking cute.

CARPENTER: And then the pony who made an appearance today, who was the Queen's beloved pony who I believe maybe going to Princess Anne.


CAMEROTA: Ah, cute.


CAMEROTA: Yes. BLACKWELL: And there's Emma waiting outside of Windsor Castle as


CAMEROTA: Ah, good to know. Sharon Carpenter, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, thank you both very much for sharing in these remembrances.

BLACKWELL: Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, gets a standing ovation from GOP voters for his political stunt of sending migrants unannounced to Martha's Vineyard.

CAMEROTA: And after 22 years behind bars, the subject of the serial podcast, Adnan Syed, could have his conviction vacated. A court hearing is underway right now and we will bring you the very latest.



BLACKWELL: Nine buses carrying a single day record high number of migrants arrived in New York City on Sunday. At least 1,000 migrants have shown up in the city in the last three days. This weekend in Kansas, Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, received a standing ovation from Republican voters when he talked about the southern border.

Now, this of course follows his political stunt last week chartering a plane to send a group of migrants, unannounced, to Martha's Vineyard from San Antonio.

Joining us now is Republican Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne Texas. Congresswoman, it is good to have you back. Thank you for coming on.

Let me start here. I want your reaction to the latest call for a DOJ investigation into Governor DeSantis' flight. This is from State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha's Vineyard. He says there are legal implications around fraud, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty and human trafficking, your thoughts?

REP. BETH VAN DUYNE (R-TX): I wish he was as sincere about his thoughts on sex trafficking, human trafficking as we've seen on the border. I wish he would get down there and actually before claiming it and being very proud of sanctuary cities he'll be willing to come on the border and see what I have seen. This travesty of little girls who are given condoms by their families before trekking on a journey into Mexico where they know that they're going to be raped repeatedly, where they've seen little girls and little boys who are basically owned by sex traffickers and sold into slavery once they get here or the travesty of knowing what it's like to be able to lose a son with a thousands of pounds of fentanyl that's coming over our borders. People like the (inaudible) in Dallas who lost their 23-year-old son Martin, that's a travesty.

BLACKWELL: Okay, let me say this, you were talking exclusively about crime here.

[15:25:01] These are people who are seeking asylum in the U.S. There is no

evidence that anyone on any of these buses or anyone flown on these planes is someone who has committed any of the crimes you're discussing now. So these are asylum seekers. There's a difference.

VAN DUYNE: I wasn't comparing. I wasn't comparing anybody on the buses. What I'm saying is what's happening on their way here.

BLACKWELL: Well, then please answer the question I asked.

VAN DUYNE: You asked me how I felt about him comparing the governor's who are sending people on air conditioned flights into Martha's Vineyard at the end of their summer season to drug traffickers to sex traffickers who are actually encouraging them to come into our border where they actually are having atrocities. I would say the travesty is not what these governors are doing, I'd say the travesties with this - the Biden administration is doing by encouraging that kind of a trek through Mexico and other South American cities where people are meeting those horrific ends.

BLACKWELL: The Vice President literally said do not come. So when you say that they are suggesting people to come, they have said explicitly the opposite. But let me ask you about why these governors are doing this.

VAN DUYNE: Well, there's a difference between what they're saying and what they're doing.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about why the governor are doing this. Abbott, Ducey, DeSantis are being criticized for performing these stunts in shows with people's lives, vulnerable lives and if these governors are serious about burden, sharing and sharing the responsibility, maybe they would do this in a different fashion. I want you to listen here to New York City Mayor Eric Adams.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D) NEW YORK: We reached out and stated that let's coordinate and work together, so we could deal with this crisis together. They refused to do so. I don't think it was politically expedient for them to coordinate, it was more to do this basically political showmanship.


BLACKWELL: And, Congresswoman, I think people understand that Texas can't carry the burden of all of this, maybe you share it across the country. But why not notify these cities and states? Why not coordinate this transfer?

VAN DUYNE: I would say that what we're seeing in the State of Texas that you've got the mayor of New York City, a city of over 8 million people complaining about a thousand people coming in and he wasn't notified. You got the City of McAllen that had 11,000 people. The city is less than 200,000 people, large. You had a city that size have to absorb 11,000 people in one week

alone, where's their notification? It's not just about notifying these people. The other issue is you finally have Democrats who have been saying that there is no border crisis, open borders, sanctuary cities are great. You finally have those Democrat mayors, finally, saying we do have a crisis. This is an emergency. This is a humanitarian crisis and we need to address it.

BLACKWELL: Again ...

VAN DUYNE: That, I think, was really the best result.

BLACKWELL: ... no one is calling for an open border on the southern border. But should these governors notify the cities and states that they are sending these people and coordinate it, specifically on that question, if I could get a direct answer?

VAN DUYNE: Again, notifying them does what?

BLACKWELL: Well, I'm glad you asked.

VAN DUYNE: The State of Texas doesn't get notifications ...

BLACKWELL: I'm glad you asked.

VAN DUYNE: ... does not get notifications. You notify - when we get notified within the State of Texas, for example, I used to be the Mayor of Irving, we would get notified.


VAN DUYNE: We didn't have the resources. We didn't have the housing. We didn't have the schools. We didn't have the health care. So getting a phone call that you have thousands of people headed your way does no good. What we really need to do is not give a phone call. What we really need to do is work on the policies under the last administration that we're working, Title 42 remain in Mexico, having customs and immigration. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement be able to deport criminal illegal aliens. Those are all tools that we're working under the last administration that systematically this administration has just torn through.

BLACKWELL: Title 42 was specifically for COVID, but you asked notifying does what, notifying does no good. I know, Congresswoman that you support notification because you are an original co-sponsor of House 6592, The Immigration Transparency and Transit Notification Act that would require the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary of Health and Human Services to notify the relevant federal, state and local officials of a jurisdiction at least seven days before transporting a covered alien to such jurisdiction by airplane, motor vehicle or other means.

If you think it should be law that the federal government notifies the states ...

VAN DUYNE: The State of Texas does not give me that. I do. BLACKWELL: ... why shouldn't the states be required to notify cities

that they're sending migrants? Is it politically just convenient to be against the Democratic administration ...

VAN DUYNE: I would say, the point to be made ...

BLACKWELL: ... and not require that Republican governors?

VAN DUYNE: No. I am for secure borders. I am for orderly immigration. I think what you're seeing in the State of Texas, again, is millions of people having crossed our border. We haven't gotten any notification and we didn't get a phone call when we say it's a problem.


The borders are closed - or are open, we have no - the borders aren't open, no, we have systematic immigration.

BLACKWELL: All right.