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tv   Amanpour  CNN  September 2, 2017 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

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early estimates are that hurricane harvey caused a staggering $100 billion in damage and some 100,000 homes are either damaged or destroyed. following the massive destruction following hurricane katrina some victims faced legal battles that took years to resolve including attempts by fema to protect overpayments. joining me a civil rights attorney and law professor and from los angeles vegas, good to see you both. so richard, you first, what will likely be the biggest legal headache for these storm survivors? >> oh, fred, the legal issues are mounting daily.
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in fact, this -- [ technical difficulties ] >> okay. we're going to have to re-accomplish -- we're having a lot of audio problems today. but this is what happens sometimes. so, avery, let me pick it up with you. what might be some of the biggest legal problems that a lot of folks are facing? >> well, you nailed the point on the amount of damages. we're dealing with billions of dollars. and hundreds of thousands of homeowners, renters, for example, because of the flood you can't make that mortgage payment, you're going to go into default, you can't pay the rent, you're going to wind up in eviction court. the fact is that there are immediate problems right now. and then in order to deal with the emergency with the disaster you've got to get those applications filed with fema. you've got up to 60 days to do that. and the wonderful thing that's going on, fredricka, is that the state bar of texas has developed an army of lawyers.
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and so it could be some lawyer but if you have a problem in beaumont or a problem in houston or orange county, the lawyers are volunteering in addition to some of the wonderful legal services groups like loan star and rio grande, people that don't recognize that there are legal issues attached to all this. in this day of cell phones, you've got to take the photographs. you've got to get the video because ultimately you've got to turn that over to an insurance company. and they're the ones that are going to be making the payoff if you can get that documentation in. >> okay. and so, avery, i think we've got richard on the phone with us now. so, richard, how do you see the potential problems, the legal problems for a lot of these victims? >> oh, fred, the legal problems mount daily in texas. 20 trillion gallons of rain fell, that's enough to provide water to new york city for the
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next 50 years. the damage is extensive. people can't get to their homes. >> right. >> so they can't get to their homes, they're facing either foreclosures or facing evictions, they have personal property there that will allow them to enroll their kids in school, get medical coverage. personal bankruptcies are going to start to be filed here. landlords who own buildings will not be able to pay their mortgages. 80% of the people there don't even have flood insurance. >> right. >> so fema's going to have to step in and claims are going to have to be filed. and they have to be filed within 60 days, fred. there may be extensions, but 60 days is a hard number to file claims for damages. and lawyers are stepping in. you know, lawyers get such a bad rap all the time, but you have now legal aid societies stepping up, you have pro bono attorneys stepping up -- >> trying. >> and they're assisting people for free legal work to help protect them and file their claims. >> which is great.
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>> they have to preserve the damage that's there to their homes. they have to hold on, they have to take photos, they have to prepare to file these claims. it's just an absolute mess there. and i guess everybody's just trying to cope and do the best they can. but it's a very bad situation. disaster recovery takes years, fred. doesn't happen overnight. >> it sure does. it's so great that there is that kind of legal help that is free and accessible. so then, avery, you file your claim and perhaps you make it within that 60 days, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get a check right away. so for people who do have mortgages, you know, have rent but they don't have their source of income right now, they can't pay. is there anything preemptively they can do so that it doesn't become a legal challenge down the road that they lose their home potentially, that it goes into foreclosure, that they lose whatever possessions they may have had in an apartment? >> well, that's why you need the lawyers. there is a forebearance process.
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you need a lawyer. technical you can do it yourself, but you usually go to the doctor, the same with foreclosures and evictions. you've got to get to the lawyers, they can arrange for forebearance. they can provide for coverage by explaining to the mortgage holder and to the landlord about the processing of these emergency funds. and that's where the lawyers are critical. and i got to tell you, down in southeast texas, all the way to orange county on the louisiana border, these people are in trouble. they need to contact the state bar association of texas. they have a 1-800 number, they can get help and they can get help now, fredricka. >> all right. all great advice from our legal best, avery freeman, richard herman, thanks to both of you. appreciate it, gentlemen. thanks for hanging in there, richard. sorry about the audio problems but you pulled it through. you still pulled it through. thank you so much.
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all right. still ahead, congress returns to work next week. and one of the first orders of business the trump administration's request for the massive cash infusion for fema. will washington be able to put politics aside and be able to deliver on the president's promise of quick action to help hurricane harvey victims? august 2017, catastrophic flooding from hurricane harvey hit houston and the coast of texas and louisiana. destruction is massive. families have lost everything. the final impact not yet known. but you can help. go to for information and to find links to charitable organizations and resources. your donations can make a difference. stay with cnn for continuing coverage of hurricane harvey's aftermath and impact your world. all right. live pictures right now. this is called the first church in houston. you're hearing the cheers and seeing all the phones go up because this is now the second
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stop for the president of the united states and first lady. they have arrived there. this is their second distribution center that they have there now visiting there in the houston area. people there receiving food. this is where they've been able to get comfort now eight days after hurricane harvey just wreaked havoc there in south texas. you see the photographer's just adjusting for the light there. it's not joyour television. now he's able to open up again and you can see more clearly there all the people there who are very excited. you see those bottles of water among the things that are being distributed to people there. and of course you can just kind of look in the direction that everyone has positioned. that is the area that the president and the first lady have been arriving. but we don't have a great shot of the president and the first lady thus far. but they're somewhere to the right of the screen. and of course as soon as we do get a clear shot of the
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president and get an idea of any kind of interaction between the victims there and the president and first lady, we'll take you back there. so for now we're going to take a short break. we'll be right back. this lovely lady has a typical airline credit card. so she only earns double miles on purchases she makes from that airline. what'd you earn double miles on, please? ugh. that's unfortunate. there's a better option. the capital one venture card. with venture, you earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, everywhere, every day. not just airline purchases. seems like a no-brainer. what's in your wallet?
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all right. live pictures in right now. here's the entry of the president of the united states at first church, this is in houston. taking to the stage there. microphone now in his hand. let's listen in. >> i want to congratulate everybody that's worked so hard. it's been an incredible five days, six days. this was seems like it's much longer than that, but actually it's going so well that it's going fast in a certain sense. but i want to tell so many of you our faith based and i want to tell you tomorrow we have national prayer day. and that was an official proclamation. so we have a very special day. they haven't done that, ted, i don't think they've done that for a while in our country. but now we've done it. so tomorrow's a very big day. so go to your church and pray
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and enjoy the day and congratulations. we congratulations on that. i want to thank ted cruz, senator ted cruz for working so hard with us. and ted doesn't know, but his work is just starting now, right? we have to push that stuff through. but we will. we've signed some very big authorizations last night and we'll get it through. and, brock, come here, brock, what a job you've done. thank you very much. thank you. and the water is disappearing. we have a long way to go, but the water's disappearing. you look at the neighborhoods and you see we just rode through this and two days ago, even yesterday they had water and today it's all swept up and cleaned up. you got a lot of hard working people, i'll tell you that. a lot of hard working people. so i want to thank everybody for being here. you know ben carson. come here, ben, the great ben carson.
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and elaine duke. and who likes schools? because we have the finest person in the world for schools, come here. she just had a full page story today in "the wall street journal" which was actually a very good story. did you like it? and, david, thank you from the v.a. and most importantly the real boss of the family, right? come on up here. this is the real boss. thank you. i just have to say and i was just telling ted, you have a great governor and a great first lady of texas. special people. they have worked so hard, and the coordination between the federal and the state and the local has been terrific. and we're going to keep it going that way. if anything we'll even get it -- i don't know if it gets better, but we're going to try and make it better. but i just have to say this, the cameras are blazing, i have to say it.
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you have a great, great governor. he's done a fantastic job. so on behalf of melania and myself i want to thank you, governor, for everything you've done, and first lady, thank you very much. so nice, so good. >> thank you for being here. >> well, thank you very much. i appreciate it. and it's really, david, seeing something like has happened here. you know, david's taken the veterans administration, the v.a., and he's done so many things for the veterans. we've only been here eight months, if you think about it, and they now have choice which is such a big thing. you know, you used to read and for those of you that aren't vets, frankly we have a lot of vets in the room right now, but you used to wait in line for nine days, 14 days, ted knows very well. now, ted, as you know, he has a program of choice where they don't have to do that. they go to a doctor. and we take care of it. but it's faster. it's actually probably in the end less expensive if you think
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about it. and people that can be fixed up perfectly in a matter of minutes, i mean, in some cases bad, bad things happen to them because they couldn't get to see a doctor. now they see their doctor, they see a doctor of their choice, but they go out and they get great medical care quickly, governor. it's the way you would do it. i know that. really for years as a civilian, i don't know if i ever said this, i used to sit back and say i don't know why they don't do this, it's not like it's so complicated, i read these stories about veterans standing in a line just weeks to see a doctor and they have some great doctors in the v.a. some really talented doctors. somebody said thank you. are you a doctor in the v.a.? but you see what we're doing. thank you, hon, i appreciate that. so we're doing it. and we're really proud of it. and, ben, you are doing a spectacular job. a really spectacular job.
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brought a lot of spirit. ben has brought a lot of spirit to hud, i can tell you that. betsy, again, thank you very much. thank you, everybody. and, governor, congratulations on doing a real job and now i'll give you another congratulations in about one week because that will be that other. and then it's a long term. i mean, we're talking about they say two years, three years, i think that, you know, because this is texas you'll probably do it in six months, i have a feeling. [ cheers and applause ] i think for a lot of places maybe it never gets done. i think in your case it will get done very quickly. thank you everybody. again, national prayer day tomorrow. and a real honor to be with you all. thank you, thank you. thank you, ted. thank you, brock. [ applause ] >> all right. the president of the united
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states there at first church in houston. lots of congratulations. lots of patting on the back to the governor, the first lady, even education secretary and also praising the doctors at the veterans administration. and he's promising as it pertains to texans and this devastation of hurricane harvey he says it will get done, meaning there will be brighter days straight ahead. he says who knows, it could take six months or maybe it's a couple of years. lots of optimism being expressed by the president there at the church. his second stop now at a hurricane relief center. all right. so our athena jones, white house correspondent traveling with the president as well as boris sanchez at the white house. so, athena, let's go to you first because we've seen the president who has tried to kofrt people at one location at the nrg center, lots of hugs, handing out food.
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here mostly words of encouragement. >> reporter: hi, fred. that's right. i did not hear the very beginning of his remarks, so i don't know how much he got into specifics about what the houston area and the rest of texas has been so hard hit by hurricane harvey. i didn't get to hear him get into the specifics of what will be needed and the various things that the government was going to help provide. but we did hear him talk optimistically as he's been doing all along, his belief that this is going -- that the federal and state and local officials are going to continue to work well together. we heard him praise senator cruz and talk a little bit about this huge first installment of aid that he hopes congress will approve quickly. we heard him hail some of the members of his cabinet who are with him, like hud secretary ben carson, v.a. secretary shulken and the like. we also heard him talk a little bit about his own administration's accomplishments, particularly at the v.a., but totally separate from what's going on here in
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houston. but as you mentioned he's at a church now that is functioning as a distribution center for aid. just a little while ago he was at a shelter housing several hundred people here in the houston area. and after this he's expected to go, we understand, back to ellington airfield and possibly meet with more storm survivors as well as members of the texas delegation. and just a quick note from the pool who reports that as they traveled from that shelter to this church where they are now, the motorcade, the president's motorcade passed debris in the streets outside of homes, couches, wood panels, rugs, so this is more devastation the president's now been able to see firsthand. in addition to being able to see some of the flooded zones as air force one was landing at ellington field several hours ago, we know earlier in the week the president largely avoided these hard hit areas so as not to divert resources away from search and rescue to his visit. now he's able to come and see firsthand the damage, engage
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with people on the ground. and he still has another stop in louisiana, of course, fred. >> all right. and, boris sanchez at the white house, what's it going to take? the president speaking very optimistically that this nearly $8 billion relief aid package is now going to be at the desks of congress when they come back tuesday. and hope is this is a down payment that will be easily approved. >> reporter: that's right, fred. you actually heard the president say to senator ted cruz of texas that there's still hard work ahead in reference to passing this package. though there is some momentum behind it. we've not only heard the president but also the vice president and key members of congress pledge to the people of this ravaged area that this would get done very quickly. the white house finalizing this request last night. in total it's a $7.85 billion relief aid package. the bulk of that money going to fema to their disaster relief
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fund. another $400 million headed to the small business administration to help small businesses and homeowners in that area. the word right now is that the house will get to a vote on this measure before the end of next week. and there could be additional money on the horizon, fred. as you know, congress is set to debate on a budget for the next fiscal year before the end of september. the expectation here is that they'll pass a stopgap bill, a cr, continued resolution, that will fund the government through the end of the year. the white house has asked that if that is the case, they approve another $6.7 billion for harvey relief. at least through the end of 2017. there are also a lot of questions about whether or not of this aid package might be tied to a debt ceiling hike. as you know, congress set to deba debate debt ceiling hike before the end of the month as well. so a very busy period for
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congress. they have a lot to get done in a very short amount of time. and harvey relief is right at the top of that, fred. >> boris sanchez, athena jones, thank you so much. appreciate it. we'll be right back. it's resourceful. elusive. shrewd. cancer. is. smart. it pushes us. we push back. we even push each other. to challenge conventional thinking. find smarter solutions. that's what makes us one of the leaders in precision cancer treatment. forging ahead with technology that wasn't available to cancer patients just a short time ago. like advanced genomic testing. a diagnostic tool that lets us see cancer at the molecular level. then helps us find different one plr time back to houston there and the president exiting the first church there. perhaps he's going to interact with a lot of the volunteers
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likely who are handing out the ones -- handing out water and supplies there. i see some handshakes. he gave a lot of thanks inside to the governor and first lady. let's see if we can listen in. >> hey, can you handle this? have a good time. thank you, man. thank you, man. i'll put this back here for you. >> all right. >> you got it. >> all right. putting the president to work there as he loads this truck. >> you got it? okay, fellas. you're all set.
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beautiful. good exercise. >> all right. good exercise says the president really pitching in. athena jones back with us now. so he is now volunteering and then finding out what it is to volunteer there to hand out some of the supplies at least for that one truck that pulled up. oh, here's another vehicle. so, athena, what more do we know about this schedule? and how long he might be doing this? >> reporter: not sure how long he'll be doing this. forgive me for looking down so frequently. i'm trying to keep abreast of the pool notes we're getting. these are the small group of reporters traveling with him. since i'm not able to watch everything he's doing. but they say we're going to see the president receive supply boxes, i believe that's what we just had on the screen. i'm not sure how long he's going to be there, but he is set to then go back -- he's set to go back to ellington airfield in order to meet with possibly still more storm survivors, at least that was on the original schedule. and then also to meet with members of the texas delegation as they prepare to help congress
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push through this first trench of aid we've been talking about some $8 billion in aid to help the victims of this storm recover. and then he'll take off for lake charles for more meetings with volunteers and those affected. but these are the kinds of pictures, seeing the president actually get involved in doing some of that volunteer work and earlier at the nrg center seeing him -- he and melania put on gloves and hand out some of the food to the people there. this is the sort of thing that a lot of folks want to see from a president in a tragedy like this. they want to see the president engaging firsthand with people who are affected. and that's what we're seeing today that we didn't see from the president earlier in the week. >> so, athena, i'm going to take a pause because audio's been pretty good. we've been able to hear him. so let's listen now to what he has to say to this guy. >> loading you up. thank you. thank you. thank you, man. >> make america great. >> thank you. i appreciate it.
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>> all right. so far we're seeing some consistency with the items that are being distributed there. buckets, buckets being used to try to get a lot of water out of the house. we've seen some nice cases of water. and it also looked like at least in the other vehicle perhaps it was food, a few styrofoam containers of food. lots of handshakes to the volunteers, first lady also involved handing out and distributing these items. lots of smiles, lots of handshakes. this is really uplifting for a lot of people. we've seen it at both locations now. let's listen to the president.
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>> that's the president at first church in houston. this has been a second stop, a distribution center, a relief center, a little bit of everything taking place here. the president and first lady pitching in handing out water, food as well as buckets. athena jones traveling with the president also there in houston. we saw his message inside it was mostly congratulatory patting various officials on the back including the governor and first lady there. look, another selfie moment. got to have that.
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the most casual and cavalier that we have seen the president with his interactions with people. you know, in the heart of a place hit devastatingly hard but still very uplifting, athena. >> reporter: absolutely. this is this sort -- i mean, people who are going through this, we've talked about how long it's going to take to recover. we talked about the public health questions. we've talked about the mental health questions and just the rebuilding, the sheer economic impact from the damage of this massive storm. and this is still unfolding disaster. there's still high water in some areas. and so these are people who are under a lot of stress. and it's an encouraging thing to see the president and first lady take an interest in the individual impacts of this storm. talking directly to people who have suffered from hurricane harvey. and right now encouraging the volunteers who have been helping all along to help these communities begin to recover with whether it's with water or food or other supplies.
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i'm hearing from the pool that at one point he told the volunteers what a job you have done. so he is there offering an encouraging word from the various times we've heard him make remarks at the nrg shelter in here near downtown houston and then also at this church. he's offered positive outlook. he's said we're going to continue to work well together with state and local officials. he's praised texas governor greg abbott. and he's talked about how texans going to come together. he even at one point said it's a good thing for the country to see, for the world to see, referring to the unity that we've seen with these communities coming together to help each other. so this is exactly the kinds of interactions that a lot of folks wanted to see from the president and didn't get to see on tuesday because he avoided the hard hit areas in order to try to make sure he didn't divert resources. at least that was the white house explanation. so the second trip a lot more human interaction. >> all right. athena jones in houston. thanks so much. folks are seeing it right now. it's happening right now live.
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thanks so much for being with me as we all witness this together. i'm fredricka whitfield. much more straight ahead. ana cabrera picks it up from here. ana. >> thank you so much, fred. we'll continue to monitor these live pictures with the president as he meets with victims of superstorm, hurricane then tropical storm harvey of course. and he is there you can see helping with some of the first aid and first responders. we saw him earlier meeting with people in shelters, giving kisses and hugs to some of those who have been affected, who've had to evacuate, who've lost everything. let's listen in just a little bit and see if we can hear. >> you


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