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Why U.S. National Security is at Center of Trump Case; Perryton, Texas Mayor Says Tornado has Caused Deaths; Obama Reacts on Tim Scott's Remarks; Texas Now Under State of Emergency Brought by a Major Tornado. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 15, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Have you heard anything about that?
DAN RAPAPORT, BARSTOOL SPORTS: I've heard rumblings that he's doing okay. I don't think it's a life threatening situation, but it's hard to speculate about someone's health. But what I will say is that when he took this job as the PGA Tour commissioner, this was not what he had in mind.
These last couple of years have been tumultuous, chaotic, whatever word you want to use. I think he kind of thought he was stepping into a role where you grow the game and you grow purses and you play nice with sponsors. I don't think he was anticipating getting in DOJ investigations and having to deal with the United States Senate. So, there's a lot of stress on -- he's dealing with a lot of stress.
COLLINS: Dan, thanks so much for your time tonight on that.
COLLINS: Time now for CNN Primetime with Abby Phillip.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip, and this is a special edition of CNN Tonight. No need to worry. The bathroom door is locked. That is actually one of the defenses Donald Trump's allies are using to assure all of us that national security was not at risk at his resort home.
But tonight, we are going to show you why the indictment of the former president may be more of a national security case than a documents or even an obstruction one.
Trump's lawyers asking the Department of Justice for security clearances as the judge sets a new deadline for them to do so. And why is that? Because the material that led to the very first federal indictment of a former president is about as sensitive as it gets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Was that a good look for the former president to have boxes in a bathroom? REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't know. Is it a good picture to have boxes in a garage that opens up all the time? A bathroom door locks.
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): There are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago. So, don't act like it's just in some random bathroom that the guests can go into. That's not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Well, to be fair, it's unclear how easy it is to breach the bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago, but what is true and proven is how vulnerable that resort really is. Back in February of 2017, Trump openly discussed a North Korean missile launch with the Japanese prime minister in the dining room, looking at a laptop that could be seen by diners and wait staff.
And later that year, in April, Trump hosted the Chinese president in a living area of the great hall near resort members and guests. And in that same month, Trump launched an impromptu situation room to watch U.S. missile strikes on Syria.
And experts at the time questioned the setup and those who surrounded him. And in 2018, a college student screened by Secret Service entered the resort through a tunnel connected to the beach after being arrested. He'd later tell a judge, quote, I just wanted to see how far I could get.
And in 2019, a Chinese national was detained in the lobby after being cleared by Secret Service. She had four cell phones and a thumb drive with malware on it. In 2021, a fake heiress from Ukraine somehow got access to the resort, posing for pictures by the pool. The alleged scammer also took pictures with Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham at the golf club.
So, keep in mind that all of these incidents happened at the very place where the federal government found dozens of classified and top secret folders inside a bridal suite, above the grand ballroom, and below the public center of the resort.
Prosecutors say that the rooms could be accessed from multiple outside entrances, including the pool patio. And they also say that between January of 2021 and August of last year, the resort hosted more than 150 social events, weddings, movie premieres, fundraisers that, quote, drew tens of thousands of guests. One Mar-a-Lago member telling CNN, once you're on the property, you can really go anywhere. I do.
I want to begin tonight with a unique perspective. Joining me is former federal prosecutor and Florida-based attorney Defense Attorney Tim Jansen. He's represented Matt Gaetz's ex-girlfriend and defended corruption cases in the past. Tim, great to have you here tonight.
I wonder what you think. Do you think that reading this indictment that DOJ prosecutors focused on the national security elements perhaps because some of the arguments that we're already hearing from the Trump camp are around the process or around who owns the documents? Is that stronger ground for them to be on? TIM JANSEN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, they had to do that because the Presidential Records Act doesn't have a criminal component to it. So, they focus those records onto an espionage. It does still require a willful intent.
If you look at that statute, I see how the government coordinated it and charged it very deep tailed. The defense is obviously going to claim that he has a right to the records. I don't think we've had a criminal case in the history of this country under the Presidential Records Act. So, the government detailed, and I believe they did that trying to get it away from the Presidential Records and trying to build up support with the public in the public opinion and showing the recklessness of the president by how the records are being kept.
PHILLIP: And do you think, I mean, given that they have now also moved the venue down to Southern Florida, will it be a challenge for the government to get any 12-person jury unanimously offering a guilty verdict against Trump in a case like this?
JANSEN: Well, I think you're correct. The venue had a problem because many of the charges were that he failed to return the documents. So, failing to return them means a crime has occurred when he failed to return them, which the venue would have been Florida.
The jury is going to be very difficult for the government. It's going to be similar to what happened in O.J. Simpson case. They moved it to L.A., a more favorable venue for O.J. This is certainly a more favorable venue for President Trump. The country is so polarized. If you look at the polls today, half the people think he should be long in prison, the other half think this is all politicized, he should have never been charged.
So, the jury selection is going to be so important. The judge in this case will control a lot of the jury selection, especially in federal courts. You get ten peremptory challenges, but the key is going to be getting the challenges for cause. And that's showing the person is biased because you only get ten peremptory.
And in my practice, this is so different than any other trial you're going to see, because in most cases, people don't want to sit on a jury. So I always try to pick who don't want to be on it because they don't have an agenda. In this case, everyone wants to be on this jury.
PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, that's a good point. I mean, this will be the case of a lifetime for a lot of people, and it will be hard to find people who don't have an opinion.
But, Tim, last night, The Washington Post reported that Trump's attorney, Chris Kise, who's a very well-known figure in the state of Florida, was trying to get Trump to make a deal with the DOJ to avoid all of this. And you know him personally, you know Chris Kise personally. Do you think that he really had a chance to get Trump to take a deal if he had listened? And at that point in the investigation, was it even a realistic option that he could have forestalled a criminal charge here?
JANSEN: Well, sometimes the boat gets away from the dock and there's no going back. I think that Jack Smith was given a duty and a job. And you look at this indictment, it was very detailed. I do know Chris. I know Chris very well. I've worked cases with him. I don't think there's going to be a deal. Your client is the ultimate person. President Trump is -- for all his goods and bads, he's a fighter. He's going to fight this. And I think the odds of him getting convicted are very slim with the way the country is and the jury panel. I don't think President Trump would have ever taken a deal.
PHILLIP: Yes. And we spoke to someone who knows President Trump very well who said basically the same thing that he likes to see a fight.
Look, one of the factors in all of this is when is this trial even going to happen. And it's not also the only trial that former President Trump is facing. The dates are now set in the heart of the primary season next January and in March for the E Jean Carroll defamation case and the hush money charges. So, in addition to this case, how long do you think all of this is going to play out for?
JANSEN: Well, I can tell you, when you have a classified case, it's hard to get an attorney who can pass and get classified records. And then you have a co-defendant that needs to get attorney that can get past a classified records challenge. You have many pretrial motions. You have a lot of pretrial motions on the attorney-client, the crime exception. So, I doubt this case would even be ready for trial in a year. I doubt it would be tried before the November election of 2024.
PHILLIP: Do you think that the judge would decide if it got too close to just simply push it past the election?
JANSEN: Well, the Department of Justice has a policy and that they don't like to interfere with elections, and they usually go back like 90 days before an election that they don't want to bring charges or indict someone or certainly not try a case. This is completely different in so many ways, Abby.
Another example, I want to tell you. Normally, when you go into trial, the government is seeking conservative jurors and the defendant wants liberal jurors. This is a case where the government is going to want liberal jurors and the defense is going to want the most conservative people. It's completely backwards.
PHILLIP: Turning everything up on its head. Tim Jansen, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate that perspective.
JANSEN: Thank you.
PHILLIP: And there is some breaking news tonight in the state of Texas, the tornado tearing through the northern town of Perryton near Amarillo. You can see there the images of the extensive damage. The mayor of Perryton is saying that there are deaths but could not immediately say how many. We also don't know how many people have been injured, but help is rushing there as fast as they can. Just a devastating scene, as you can see there. Look at that tornado spinning.
We're going to keep monitoring this and the very latest developments, and we'll bring you the latest as soon as we have it.
But coming up next for us, a Republican pollster joins us on whether or not these charges against Trump are changing the minds of voters or instead just boosting his already strong support among Republicans.
Plus, Barack Obama speaking out about the issue of race and about 2024 candidates and why he says that liberals may be risking their standing in this debate over woke.
PHILLIP: Just about one week into learning about the federal indictment of former President Trump, and the news is already shaking up the political landscape. So, how will voters across the spectrum respond to these historic charges? And what could it mean for the 2024 election?
I want to bring in Whit Ayers. He's the president of North Star Opinion Research, as well as Republican Political Strategist Shermichael Singleton and former DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee.
So, Whit, I want to start with you. You have been obviously a pollster for quite a long time, so you know this landscape really well. When you're looking at the Republican primary voters and how they are responding so far to all that we have learned, what are you seeing?
WHIT AYERS, PRESIDENT, NORTH STAR OPINION RESEARCH: Abby it depends upon which Republican primary voters you're talking about. The GOP is split into three factions. There's a never Trump faction that's appalled that Donald Trump took over the GOP, and they will react to the indictment as though it tells them everything they always knew about Donald Trump. That's only about 10 percent.
There's an always Trump faction, which is about 35 percent. Those people will walk through a wall of flame for Donald Trump. They will brook no criticism of him. Criticizing Donald Trump to always Trump voters is like criticizing Jesus in a rural evangelical church. It's not going to have any effect on Jesus' reputation, but it will sure trash the reputation of anybody who takes a shot at him.
A majority of the party, about 55 percent, voted for Trump twice, would vote for him again over Joe Biden in a heartbeat but they're concerned that he might be carrying so much baggage that he'll have a hard time winning. There may be Trump voters. And the real question is what effect these indictments will have on them. Initially, it's caused them to rally around him. But there's a lot of evidence out there. PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, but do you think it helps Trump to double down on the fact that he's been indicted twice and maybe might be indicted a third time or even fourth time?
AYERS: Abby that's his modus operandi. He always doubles down, and he will triple down if he's charged in Fulton County. So, he's always going to do that. That's the most predictable thing in American politics.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, one of the interesting things to bring you guys in, Donald Trump this past week made some comments that got my attention. I want to just go ahead and play them for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president of the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden and the entire Biden crime family.
I will totally obliterate the deep state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: So, I mean, if you're a political person, maybe that doesn't sound particularly special to you, but what struck me was that it was very explicit that he wants a prosecutor to go after Biden. And now, The New York. Times has reporting that basically says that wasn't just a flippant political comment, that's actually a strategy that's being promoted by some conservative think tanks.
I wonder how not just Republican voters but just like the rest of the voting population, swing voters, will take that.
SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, I think for Republican voters, they do agree. I mean, I was just in Georgia recently, a part of a focus group and some of the Republicans who were voting for or supporting Ron DeSantis have flipped to now support Donald Trump. And one of the respondents stated that they did not like the fact that the DOJ under the current president was investigating the guy who will likely be his frontrunner.
Now, when you explain the nuances of what this all meant, they didn't necessarily care. They just said it doesn't look right. I don't like the political optics of it, therefore, I'm standing behind Donald Trump.
Now, what or not this will have an impact with swing voters come the general election, I'm not necessarily sure. But I do believe it cements Donald Trump's standing within the Republican Party, which is why you see him at 63 percent and his closest competitor, Ron DeSantis, at barely 20.
MO ELLEITHEE, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Of course, those same voters had no problem when Candidate Trump was threatening to investigate his leading political opponent back in 2016, right? So, it all just depends on the perspective.
But beyond Republican base order, I think we have now seen three straight national elections in 2018, in 2020 and in 2022, where what's best to win over the Republican base is the worst strategy to win an agenda election, to win over independent voters.
Conventional wisdom in 2022 was that no Republican candidate could run in those midterms without fully embracing the idea that the 2020 election was stolen. So, many of them did, and most of them got punished by general election voters.
PHILLIP: That does strike me as a big risk, what Mo is just describing, which is that sometimes going all in on the message that works with the Republican base is a double-edged sword in a general election context.
AYERS: Well, it's a huge risk. I mean, Republicans, as Mo said, lost in 20 18, 2020, 2021 in Georgia for the Senate seats and 2022. There's a question of whether you even can make that case for Republicans that it is really risky to go down this same road again after four losses in a row. But we'll see if a candidate can make that case.
PHILLIP: To your point, there's the recent CBS/YouGov poll that found among Republican primary voters, likely Republican primary voters, 61 percent said the indictment wouldn't change their view of Trump. 7 percent had said it would worsen it. 14 percent it would improve their view of Trump. That's extraordinary. I mean, if you add no change and improve, I mean, you're looking at some pretty high numbers there, 75 percent of the Republican Party?
AYERS: There are a whole lot of people who believe that this is a politically motivated indictment and they're just going to reject it because of that belief.
PHILLIP: President Biden, Mo, his campaign defended their decision not to fundraise off of this indictment. Meanwhile, Trump has raised $7 million just in that first 24-hours period. Were they right to do that?
ELLEITHEE: Yes. If they had been sending out fundraising emails under the banner of the Biden/Harris campaign, they'd be making Donald Trump's point that this is overly political by saying, you know what, we're going to let that process play out. We're going to go out there and actually talk about things that voters care about in their daily lives, but we are not going to politicize this process. That is the smart thing to do.
Also, they don't necessarily need to fundraise. There's going to be plenty of money out there flowing to the Biden/Harris campaign.
PHILLIP: Trump is definitely a huge motivator for Democrats, as he is in some ways for Republicans.
But, everyone, stand by for us. We have more on our breaking news tonight. Authorities in Texas are now preparing for mass casualty events after a tornado ripped through Perryton. Stunning video is now coming in right there. You can see it an extremely dangerous situation. We'll give you more on that as it comes in.
Plus, former President Obama is now long gone from politics, but he is still weighing in on Republicans and on his own party. We will tell you what he said, next.
PHILLIP: As Donald Trump faces possible prison after a federal indictment, his allies in Congress are focusing on President Biden. They say that there's a fire and they're pointing to evidence that amounts to smoke. But they also now say that the evidence may or may not actually exist.
So, here is the backstory. Senator Chuck Grassley questioning whether then-Vice President Biden took foreign bribes to enrich his family. Republicans have issued subpoenas on that but they've found no direct tie to Biden. Instead, they are citing an FBI document that summarizes unverified claims by an informant, and that informant alleging that a Ukrainian executive offered bribes of $5 million.
Now, CNN's Sara Murray reports that investigators haven't been corroborate those claims. Here's Grassley, earlier this week on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): That the foreign national who allegedly bribed Joe and Hunter Biden allegedly has audio recordings of his conversation with them, 17 such recordings.
These recordings were allegedly kept as a sort of insurance policy for the foreign national in case that he got into a tight spot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: But just days after raising the possible existence of those tapes, Grassley is now saying something different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRASSLEY: I just know they exist because of what the report says. Now, maybe they don't exist but how will I know until the FBI tells us? Are they showing us our work?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Some Republican colleagues in the Congress who've mostly been aggressive in going after the Bidens, they won't go there on the tapes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think they exist? And if yes, how to obtain them? SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We don't know, and Senator Grassley has never said they exist.
I'm not aware that we have verified that those recordings exist.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): But we don't know for sure if these tapes exist.
REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): We don't know if they're legit or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: And even Trump's former attorney general, Bill Barr, said that the claims in that report were unverified and he had forwarded them to investigators during his tenure.
So, what's noteworthy about all of this? Republicans were upset over unverified claims in the infamous and now largely discredited Steele dossier, Republicans like Chuck Grassley. He wrote a letter to the FBI demanding information about Christopher Steele, citing, quote, unverified, memoranda Steele authored about Candidate Trump and, quote, the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign.
But with all of these claims involving Biden, it appears that Grassley is playing to an audience of one, and that is the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRASSLEY: Well, I hope he thinks that I'm doing good work. I'd like to have him think that of my oversight work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: And, meantime, former President Barack Obama is speaking out now and taking a shot at Republicans who he says are not doing enough to acknowledge racial inequality. He says the GOP needs to have an honest accounting of our past and present. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: if somebody is not proposing, both acknowledging and proposing elements that say, no, we can't just ignore all that and pretend as if everything's equal and fair, we actually have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. If they're not doing that, then I think people are rightly skeptical.
There may come a time where there's somebody in the Republican Party that is more serious about actually addressing some of the deep inequality that still exists in our society that tracks race and is a consequence of our racial history. And if that happens, I think that would be fantastic. I haven't yet seen it.
PHILLIP: Back here now with Whit, Shermichael and Mo. So Shermichael, Obama says that he doesn't really see, you know --
let's look at the 2024 field -- anyone really taking a broad view of race? What do you say to that?
SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I mean, look, I think Senator Tim Scott is trying to walk a very delicate balance in that regard. He's trying to be optimistic and forward thinking in terms of race by making comments like the country is better and that he shouldn't be the exception or he shouldn't be the rule necessarily. There should be tons of rules and not the exception.
But I also think about President Obama's remarks in 2013 at my alma mater, Morehouse College, when he essentially stated that no one cares when you're on an international stage against people from China and Brazil about some of the racial barriers you may have had because you're competing with people who are trying to be number one in their sector.
And so, I think in that regard, we can acknowledge the progress that we have obviously made from the past, but I think the former president is correct that we still have a long journey to make there, a lot of strides that we have to continue to make as a country to move forward.
PHILIP: I wanna play actually what Tim Scott had said that Obama was actually reacting to these comments were made on "The View" just a couple days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The issue of discrimination that I have faced, I assume you face as well, is an issue of the heart. It's not Republicans or Democrats. Frankly, both sides of the aisle can do a better job on the issue of race. And frankly, my side of the aisle, I think, is doing a fabulous job of making progress. The question is, how do we measure that progress?
UNKNOWN: How is --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIP: With my read or my listen of Obama's comments, wasn't so much to be necessarily critical of Tim Scott, but to say that perhaps there's more that needs to be said. And Tim Scott really is kind of out there alone in having this conversation, even with Republicans, even to the extent that he is about race.
WHIT AYERS, PRESIDENT, NORTH STAR OPINION RESEARCH: Tim Scott's perspective is really important in this debate, I think, because he does have a unique perspective. No one should ever downplay the searing effects of racism in this country.
But the question is, how you measure progress? Progress is not the absence of problems. There are always problems. You measure progress by determining whether you'd rather have the problems of today or the problems of yesterday. And yesterday, it wasn't that long ago when a black person could not marry a white person, and if they did, they'd go to jail, where we had enforced segregation in this country.
But now, we have had a black President, we have a black Vice President, and I think almost anyone would say we would like to have the racial problems we have today rather than the racial problems of yesterday.
PHILIP: Do you, Mo -- I mean, do you think that even what Obama's talking about there is possible to have in today's Republican Party, that conversation?
MO ELLEITHEE, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, it's interesting. Since we're talking about Tim Scott, back in 2016, Tim Scott gave a speech on the floor of the Senate that really, I think, everybody paid attention to --
ELEEITHEE: -- which he talked about his own history, right? Having been stopped seven times in one year. He said, I have felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted. There's absolutely nothing more frustrating, more damaging to your soul than when you know you're following the rules and being treated like you are not.
Back then, Tim Scott seemed to acknowledge that there are some systemic challenges that are -- that are leading to some of these problems.
Today's Republican Party doesn't seem to want to acknowledge that, and you see that being played out in state after state, in school board after school board, by those people who are going after even the conversations about race in public schools.
There seems to be a pushback by those who are fighting against wokeism, a pushback against the notion that it is okay to acknowledge that we continue -- despite all of our progress, that we continue to have systemic racism in society and that they don't want government to deal with it at all.
PHILIP: What do you say to that? When you see what's happening in places like Florida and Texas, it's definitely painting a very different picture of how much the Republican Party really wants to talk about race in a way that deals with the past adequately and also the progress.
SINGLETON: I think it's the biggest hurdle that the Republican Party has had, Abby, for the past four or five decades now as it pertains to black Americans and their views and perspectives about the Republican Party and the party not being forward thinking on the issues of race as it once a quarter of a century ago.
I think it's really difficult to not acknowledge that there are systemic issues that exist, look at the disparities in terms of housing, look at the disparities in terms of healthcare, look at the disparities economically, look at the disparities educationally. All of those things can be statistically tracked in regards to the differences between black Americans and white Americans. We have to address those things.
PHILIP: I want to play one more thing from former President Obama's interview with David Axelrod.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, what is true is I think that we have tended at times on the progressive side to tip into kind of a scolding social etiquette police and virtue signaling whereby somebody does say something exactly the right way, even if, you know, we all know they kind of didn't mean it in an offensive way. And suddenly, you've got, partly because of social media, everybody jumping on them and saying somehow, oh, you must be racist or sexist.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PHILIP: He's talking to his own congregation there.
ELLEITHEE: Yeah, and he's not wrong, right? There are plenty of people out there who do not allow the grace of people making mistakes or understanding that some people travel along this path a little bit slower than others, and maybe the rest of us can help them get there a little bit quicker as opposed to immediately saying, if you are not 100 percent with me right now, you are a racist or a sexist. And we've seen that backlash even in some of the most progressive jurisdictions in the country.
So I don't think the president is wrong. That does not mean we give any grace to those people who really are trying to hold back process or even worse try to roll it back. But we need to find ways to connect with people heart to heart on these issues in order to bring them along. We have shown we can do that before. We can continue to do that.
AYERS: And Tim Scott can speak to those issues in a way that other Republicans will be willing to listen. And that's one of the huge advantages he has here. He does have a glass is half full rather than half empty perspective, but he can talk about these issues in a way that center-right voters will listen to him and not just reject him out of hand.
PHILIP: Well, this is why debates will be so interesting in this race, because once there's a lot of pressure to go hard against woke, so to speak, it'll be interesting to see how Tim Scott navigates that. But thank you all for joining us.
We have more now on our breaking news on the devastation in Perrytown, Texas, after a direct hit from a tornado. More pictures that you see there below. One official warning that it could be a mass casualty event. We will have an update for you after this break.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PHILIP: We are now back to the situation in Texas there in Perryton near Amarillo where a massive tornado tore through that area. The mayor says that some, unfortunately, did not make it. And as you can see there, there is significant destruction. We just got in some chilling video of that tornado. I want you to take a moment and listen to what it sounded like on the ground.
Just the size and the power of that storm, you can really see it and hear it. Let's bring in Chad Myers in the CNN Weather Center. So Chad, how bad is this?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I think it's probably gonna look at an EF3, so into the major category for sure.
Now a lot of the damage that I've seen today, aluminum siding, shingles, but there were mobile homes that were completely destroyed. And I know 100 mile per hour wind gusts can do that, but there were also big structures that were brick built, stick built, that also really received quite a bit of damage. We'll see. Weather service has to go out.
What's really interesting, I think today too, not only the Perryton tornado, there was damage in Michigan. There was a tornado on the ground not that far from Sandusky, Ohio. Just about 30 minutes ago there was a tornado on the ground near Pensacola, south of Pensacola, Florida, near the shore. And all of the tornadoes that were a thousand miles or more to the west. So what a violent, violent day we had today.
Now, the tornado threat is beginning to diminish, but the hail threat and the wind threat is not over yet for tonight. We are still going to have that threat at least until probably 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.
After dark, storms are harder to see. Tornadoes are harder to report. So the damage really is what you look for even power flashes in the sky. There are still storms out there. Oklahoma City, especially to your north and even toward, I would say, Norman and points east towards Shawnee, you have a couple storms, and the only real rotating storm I have is now just to the east of Sherman Denison in Texas, but this was a day that we would really like to forget.
An awful lot of rain and big hail and wind, some of the wind gusts I'm sure will top 70 to 75 miles per hour, even in the overnight hours, Abby. So this isn't really over yet.
PHILIP: Yeah, that's exactly what I was wondering and I also wonder as we were just looking at those pictures of the burnt-out, what looked like mobile homes, did those folks have much warning that something like this was coming their way? MYERS: You know, I listened to the storm chasers and he said, boy,
this went from an EF0 to a three in no time. So yes, there was a warning out there, but I don't believe it was the warning that people really thought that they needed to hear. And this is the key, if you hear that word warning or if your phone goes off, you cannot treat it like a small issue, a small tornado because you don't know if it's going to be your neighborhood or not.
Now, the entire town of Perryton did not get hit, but the center part of town, the tornado went right, smacked through the center part of town, north side, south side a little bit better, didn't fare as well in the middle.
And this is what we're seeing right here. This is really the middle part of the town as the storm, the tornado itself cut right from west to east, right across the city, the town itself. And that was what happened there. This was -- this was Brian's video. I was watching it live as he shot this.
MYERS: He did a really fantastic job today, and I hope he saved some lives why storm chasers go out there to get the word out that yes, I see a tornado on the ground and we need to have a warning on it. That's what they're there for.
PHILIP: Yeah, I mean, he was incredibly close to that storm, at least --
MYERS: Yes, he was.
PHILIP: -- it seems so by the video. And we certainly hope that everyone is safe tonight. We will keep updating that story as we go along. Chad, thank you very much.
And up next for us, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have been waging a very public war against the press, and now there is a surprising public apology from a magazine editor who played a role in some of that coverage.
PHILIP: A rare apology tonight, one that's coming from someone in the magazine world and it's directed toward a frequent target of the press. That's Prince Harry.
The former editor of New Zealand's "Women's Weekly", a magazine that heavily covers the Royal Family, is now sharing her regrets in a newly published letter.
Alice O'Connell writes in part, I published some stories that were unfair and incredibly one-sided. I can now see they were from sources who weren't telling the truth. My biggest mistake though, was I stopped seeing Harry as a human being.
Alice O'Connell joins us now. Alice, thank you for joining us. You have said that you owed a genuine apology to Prince Harry for quite some time. Why are you coming forward now?
ALICE O'CONNELL, FORMER EDITOR, NEW ZEALAND WOMEN'S WEEKLY: It just, it felt like the right time. It's been about three years since I was the magazine editor. And I think having that time has given me some perspective and I've not reflect on the role that I played in all of this.
But I think in the meantime, I've just been increasingly frustrated by watching the media coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and just how, in my opinion, how unfair, how distorted, how often just quite mean and spiteful that coverage can be.
And I've hoped that maybe a reporter or a news organization might take a step back and look at the way that they have covered the Royal Family, particularly Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and look at how they have in the past, how they are now, whether it's justified or whether they might need to course correct. And I thought, why keep waiting? Why not just do it myself?
PHILIP: So I want to show folks at home some of the magazine covers that you approved during your time as an editor. And you say that you stopped seeing Harry as a human being in that time. That is really quite the confession. I wonder, I mean, how did that happen? Why did that happen?
O'CONNELL: Yeah, I mean, the Royal Family have a real hold on us in New Zealand, that we are part of the Commonwealth. And so, they have sort of been a big part of our society for more than a century in terms of the media.
And I think it's -- it's kind of like how we do with celebrities, that we can put them in a bubble, that they live in a whole other world, that they're not like us regular folk. And I think I got caught up in that and the churn of that -- that news cycle and start realizing that this was a real person, who never asked for this life, who was born into it, who we've scrutinized since he was just an embryo and has really not deserved the way that he has been treated by the media.
And yeah, I think, I feel like I need to stand up for him and look at what I've done in the past to be unfair to him also.
PHILIP: I wonder what you would say to them if they were watching tonight. What would you say about everything that's transpired?
O'CONNELL: Sure, I would say to keep going with what you're doing. And I'm sorry, as I've written in my article on "Capsule" that for what I have done and what I did when I was a magazine editor, and I'm genuinely sorry for that time and -- but I think what they are doing of not staying silent about this continuing to let people know what it's like out there, that they should continue to do so.
[22:55:12] PHILIP: And Prince Harry is currently in the midst of a major court battle with a publisher over this very issue. So we really appreciate your perspective on this. Alice O'Connell, thank you very much for joining us.
O'CONNELL: Thanks for your time.
PHILIP: And coming up next for us, more on our breaking news about that massive tornado damage in parts of Texas. And Alisyn Camerota will pick up our coverage in a moment.