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New Day

British PM Threatens Early Election; Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) on Climate Change; Hong Kong Withdraws Extradition Bill; Family Fears Five are Dead in Boat Fire. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 04, 2019 - 08:30   ET



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Likely be passed into law later today. It's very likely to be passed because we saw that vote last night where Boris Johnson lost by 27 votes, 328-301. Twenty-one members of his own party voted against him. His party has already now effectively fired those MPs from the conservative party. The whip has been withdrawn from them.

Boris Johnson's response is going to be to call for a general election on the 15th of October. However, he can't do that without the support of the opposition party. And the opposition party say they won't give him that support until this new law blocking the no-deal is passed. And that's not a done deal yet. Even if the law passes, the prime minister has to then make sure it gets royal assent from the queen. There's a huge lack of distrust and the narrative now is all about fighting talk (ph) for these upcoming, expected elections.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: New leader, same old mess.

Nic, thank you very much for explaining all of this to us. We'll be watching today.

Back here, many scientists believe that hurricanes are getting more frequent and more destructive because of climate change. So, tonight, CNN is hosting an unprecedented town hall event with ten Democratic presidential hopefuls and they will offer their plans to fight this climate crisis.

Let's bring in the man who has been sounding the climate alarm for a long time. He is Washington state Governor Jay Inslee. He recently dropped out of the presidential race, but his focus on the climate continues.

Governor, great to see you this morning.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): Yes, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Of course I know you've been watching Dorian climb up the East Coast, as we all have. You know, for a long time climate scientists were, I think, reluctant to definitively link hurricanes and climate change. But your steeped in this and you're steeped in the science of this.

Do you think that hurricanes are getting more frequent and stronger and that we will see more category five hurricanes, like this one was, because of climate change?

INSLEE: Well, I think it's more important what the scientific community thinks than what I think. And what they, I think, have reached a firm conclusion that these storms have become more intense and more destructive, and that should not be shocking to us because the energy source, the fuel for a hurricane is essentially warm waters, and the waters are becoming dramatically warmer around the globe in many places, so it shouldn't be shocking that hurricanes are becoming more intense. That is a scientific consensus at this point.

And, unfortunately, it's just one of those things that is becoming more clear to us that forest fires are becoming more frequent, that our waters are becoming more acidic, that torrential rains that are not hurricanes but are still flooding our cities, like what happened in the Midwest this last year are becoming more frequent.

So we have reached a tipping point from a natural standpoint and now, in part because of your debate you're having tonight, I hope we're reaching a tipping point politically where our nation will actually move. And I can't be more thrilled of the direction that our party's going right now to offer ideas on how to defeat climate change.

CAMEROTA: I mean, look, this is exactly -- what -- what you're going to see tonight on CNN is exactly the kind of laser focus on this pressing issue that you have been calling for.

So what are you listening for tonight?

INSLEE: Well, what I'm looking for is for candidates to heed the call for action. And the good news is that they are stepping up to the plate. We've seen numerous plans that the candidates have now proposed just in the last several days. I had a great meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren a few days ago. She's now put out a plane that has adopted major approaches that I have on a sectoral approach to actually wean ourself off of fossil fuels in the utility sector and in transportation. It's thrilling to see her put out a plan with such strength. We saw Senator Harris put out a plan involving environmental justice yesterday and Secretary Castro has a really intriguing idea to help coal communities through this transition.

So we have seen, I think, an arms race now, in a good way, of candidates competing to have the most effective plans. And I think that's a good thing.

So, tonight, I'm going to listen to the degree of strength and prioritization that candidates have given to this issue, not only to talk about the elements of their plans, but also how they see it in the larger context of other issues because we know we have to make this a high priority to get this job done.


INSLEE: But I'm thrilled that we're now seeing the Democratic Party standing up.

CAMEROTA: Did Senator Elizabeth Warren, in your meeting with her, ask your permission to adopt your plan basically wholesale?


INSLEE: No, she didn't need it. I mean we offered my plan as sort of an open source document and all the candidates are welcome to use it. In my discussions with her, what I was pleased about is she adopted what you call -- what we might call the Washington way or a sectoral approach where we look at the sectors of our economy and we adopt a plan to help them transition to a cleaner sector while we have job creation at the same time. Others have adopted other parts of my plan as well. I've spoken to the majority of candidates who have shown an intense interest in this.

So I think we're now in a place that is really healthy where the Democratic Party is, I believe, going to produce a candidate to really make climate change a focus. And I couldn't be more thrilled about this because why -- when you see the devastation of this hurricane today, this has to be matched with a, you know, force five effort to defeat climate change. We're going to see that tonight. I feel good about it.

CAMEROTA: But, governor, what do you say to people who just feel so overwhelmed by all of this and so helpless? And, you know, maybe they can make the changes around the margins and recycle more. But I think that Americans feel pretty beaten down by the idea that the climate is changing so fast and that they can't do anything individually or that that's their impression?

INSLEE: Well, I think that you've reached -- it's a very important point because this is awe-inspiring to see how the world is changing under our feet because of carbon pollution. And we have to consciously resist this attitude of passivity and defeatism. Look, we've got to get on the balls of our feet and we do have to realize this, this is not like there's some asteroid heading to earth and we can't do anything about it. This is in our hands. Our destiny is in our hands.

Carbon dioxide is something that we are in control of. It is not in control of us. And so we have the ability to make rational decisions based on science that will grow jobs by the millions across the United States if we simply put our minds to do it. Now, we have to remove the climate denier from the White House. And, by the way, this is the way to defeat Donald Trump because this is his very weakest points. You know, about 70 percent of the people don't trust him at all on environmental issues, and so we need to attack his weakest point with our strongest candidate. And I feel that's what we're going to do and tonight's discussion will help us along that way.

CAMEROTA: Well, Governor Jay Inslee, you started this conversation basically in this particular race, and tonight is just the next logical offshoot of that.

So, thank you very much for coming on NEW DAY and talking about this.

INSLEE: Thank you very much. Look for it.

CAMEROTA: Yes, thanks so much.

INSLEE: Thanks for doing this debate.

CAMEROTA: Everyone can watch tonight's Democratic presidential town hall event on the climate crisis. It begins at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

All right, so dozens of people are believed dead in that dive boat tragedy off the southern California coast. So coming up we're going to speak to a brother and sister who are still waiting for word of their five family members who were on that fateful trip. What questions do they have about what went wrong in (ph) the investigation now?



BERMAN: All right, welcome back. John Berman in Daytona Beach, Florida, where it has been raining, it's been gusty, but by and large it has been manageable for the people here who have been looking at Hurricane Dorian on the map and wondering how much would it impact the Florida coast.

There have been some power outages, but by and large Florida is doing OK. The storm about 90 miles off the coast here, moving up the peninsula, finally moving up. So good news for Florida, though, some concerning news for the people in the Carolinas. A bit of a westward turn has meant that Charleston, South Carolina, maybe north of there as well, much more in the direct line of this storm. It could make landfall there. And even if it doesn't, there will be a dangerous impact.

So we're watching that very, very closely, even as we get our first look at some of the damage in the Bahamas and places that have yet to be reached, Alisyn, there is great concern there, but sunlight, so some of the rescue crews might be able to get in this morning.


CAMEROTA: John, looking at the video from the Bahamas, it's inconceivable. I mean it's very, very hard to get your mind around what has happened there and what that island now looks like.

John, stand by for us, if you would. We have other news to get to, so we'll be back to you shortly.

Breaking news now from Hong Kong.

A big victory for the protestors who have been taking to the streets there for months. Hong Kong's chief executive is now giving in to a key demand from the protestors.

So let's get right to CNN's Paula Hancocks. She's live in Hong Kong.

So this is about the extradition bill. This is what they were first calling for, but then it got so much bigger, Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Alisyn, and that seems to be the problem. We're hearing from pro- democracy activists saying it's too little too late. We spoke to one pro-democracy lawmaker who said, yes, it's a step in the right direction, but it definitely needed to happen before. Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, needed to come out three months ago according to one lawmaker and say that that bill was completely fully withdrawn.

So we've moved beyond that now, according to these protestors. They want to look into how the police have been acting.


This is the second one of their five demands. They want an independent investigation into what they believe is police brutality. The police say it is not the protestors that have been violent and that is supported by many of the authorities as well.

But it does appear to be a small step in the right direction, we're hearing, but definitely not enough. And, fortunately, both sides at this point do not believe that this will make a big impact on the protests. They do still believe that protestors will be coming out -- most nights they've been coming out now. And just remember, Alisyn, last weekend we did see some increasingly violent behavior from the protestors themselves and then responding by the police.


CAMEROTA: Paula, thank you very much for the major update from Hong Kong for us.

Back here in the U.S., 34 people are presumed dead after that massive fire engulfed a dive boat off Santa Cruz Island in California on Labor Day morning. Among the passengers on the "Conception," five members of the same family all on a holiday diving trip.

Joining us now are Dominic Selga and Nisa Shinagawa. Their mother, stepfather and three step sisters are believed be among those lost.

Guys, we're so sorry for this traumatic experience that you all have been living for these past few days.

Dominic, we're so sorry for what appears to be this massive loss in your family.

I know that these days have been haunting for you because you haven't gotten many answers. Have the authorities confirmed anything for you all?

DOMINIC SELGA, FIVE FAMILY MEMBERS ABOARD CONCEPTION: Truthfully, no. I mean they told me a manifest was going to come out and I haven't -- I've looked for one but I didn't see one yet. And -- and no one's really contacted us before -- besides one detective. So there's nothing -- nothing that -- that we have like hard proof that, yes, this is for sure.

But to answer your question, no, we haven't gotten anything or any word.

CAMEROTA: And does that make all this somehow harder for you?

SELGA: Well, just coming together as a family, and -- and, you know, we know they're on that -- on that ship. I mean we know they're on that boat. And we know, which is -- we want them to confirm it. That would be helpful.

CAMEROTA: Nisa, tell us about this family trip. Tell us why these five of your family members were on this. What were they celebrating?

NISA SHINAGAWA, FIVE FAMILY MEMBERS ABOARD CONCEPTION: Today is actually Michael's birthday, our stepdad. We, as a family, would do this trip annually, either around his birthday or my mom's birthday, which is in October, or around New Year's. So depending on which siblings could make it, we'd each try to go on this trip with our parents. Our aunt would come when she was alive and different family members because we all got diving certified once our parents got together.

CAMEROTA: Have you been on this exact boat before?


CAMEROTA: And can you tell us about --

SHINAGAWA: A number of times.

CAMEROTA: Tell us about what -- since you've been on this very boat before scuba diving, can you just tell us about the configuration of it and how you imagine a tragedy like this could have unfolded?

SHINAGAWA: Well, there's three different layers to the boat. The middle section, where most of the day to day stuff goes on, you eat there, you have your oxygen tanks and all of your scuba gear there in the back. The kitchen's there. And then the upper is where the crew usually work and the captain. And then below is where the showers and the bunks and everything are at.

CAMEROTA: I mean I --

SHINAGAWA: The bottom is pretty cramped.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, I guess, my question is, is that do you -- do you understand this morning how a tragedy like this could have unfolded, or do you both still have questions?

SELGA: We definitely have questions. I mean we don't know why or how that fire could have started. And, you know, it seems like obvious -- it seems pretty, you know, the entrances or the exits or whatnot were -- had to have been blocked. I mean nobody got out except for the people who were already on the deck where they could just jump off the side. [08:50:04]

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean all we've heard is that, of course, that they must have had some sort of firefighting gear on the boat, and, of course, they must have had an escape hatch, but somehow they weren't able to access those. Is it -- is it possible, Nisa, in your mind that the fire just came up so fast that the crew couldn't do anything?

SELGA: I just imagine them sleeping and -- and the fire -- waking up -- them having to wake up to the fire. You know, I can't imagine them not trying to save all those people down there or, you know, attempting to do so. I would imagine that the fire had to have been engulfing the boat be -- like, as they're waking up, the crew anyway, and maybe it was just -- it was too late for them to even grab firefighting equipment, you know, at that point. I'm not for certain, but that's the only thing I can really imagine on why they would have to jump over and not be able to try to save anybody down there.

CAMEROTA: Well, as you're speaking, we're looking at this -- these beautiful pictures of your blended family. You know, your step siblings there, your mom, your stepdad, whose birthday, as you say, was today. that's why they were going on this big family trip. Everyone, obviously, looks happy. And it is really heartbreaking to think of all that was lost on that ship.

Dominic and Nisa, thank you very much for sharing your personal tragedy with us. Obviously, we too will be waiting for answers for how this could happen. Thank you both very much.

And NEW DAY will be right back.

SELGA: Thank you.



BERMAN: All right, John Berman in Daytona Beach, Florida.

More bands from Hurricane Dorian passing through as the storm moves up the coast slowly towards Charleston, South Carolina, where a little bit of a westward turn might mean that Charleston will get a direct impact with landfall. We're watching it very closely.

On behalf of Alisyn and me, thanks for being with NEW DAY. CNN's special live coverage of Hurricane Dorian continues right after this.