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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  September 7, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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tells you the special counsel is spending a lot of time and a lot of resources on the question of obstruction of justice, potential obstruction of justice by the president of the united states. yes, there are a lot of 2016 candidate trump pre-president trump questions about, you know, who had meetings with whom, what were those meetings about, the don junior trump tower meeting but this is about conduct by the president of the united states and connect a few dots here. the "wall street journal" reporting the white house counsel have met with the president and his team. "the new york times," i believe, confirm bid cnn, getting ahold of the draft letter the president dictated his initial reasons for firing the fbi director, james comey, never sent. instead they had the deputy attorney general deal with that. but again, the president's mindset, why did he want to fire james comey. now this, on air force one, flying back from europe, the president of the unite helping his son work on a statement about this meeting and what you're going to say about it and involving presidential aides who
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now have to get attorneys. it tells you the special counsel is spending some serious time on a giant question, was the president of the unite involved in an effort to somehow mislead not only the american people but to -- he knows it's an active investigation, to mislead investigation, to mislead investigators. -- captions by vitac -- >> this is a major development. we're going to continue to follow it. our special coverage of hurricane irma, this monster storm heading towards the united states continues right now with brianna keilar. hi there, i'm brianna, and we're beginning with the breaking news on deadly hurricane irma. right now, floridians are facing the reality of the catastrophic storm bearing down on them with the warning, do not wait to get out. >> that's the roof. the roof is about to come. yep, there it is.
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the roof just went, jeff. >> no storm on record anywhere on the globe has maintained winds at 185 miles per hour for as long as irma. the bahamas just ordered the evacuation of six southern islands. this category 5 hurricane is now passing the dominican republic and haiti and tropical storm force winds are spanning some 300 miles at this point. six people are confirmed dead in the caribbean. in florida, the message from the governor is dire. residents are facing deadly storm surge and life-threatening winds. >> look at the size of this storm. it is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life threatening impacts from coast to coast. regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate. floridians on the west coast cannot be complacent. >> i want to begin now with michael brennan, the chief hurricane specialist for the national hurricane center. michael, i know you're very busy
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in miami. thanks for joining us. give us the lay of the land here, what's happening with irma. >> well, right now, irma's still a catastrophic category 5 hurricane, maximum sustained winds are still 175 miles per hour. it's now been at this intensity for a remarkable amount of time. right now, our biggest concern in the very immediate future is the core of irma is about to impinge on the turks and caicos islands. they could see storm surge of 15 to 20 feet in addition to those 175-mile-per-hour winds in the core so it's going to be a very dangerous, potentially devastating few hours for those islands. then we expect irma to move generally through the southeastern bahamas and pass between the remainder of the bahamas and the north coast of cuba on friday into saturday and turn northward in the inventory of florida peninsula and move northward as we get into sunday and monday and eventually reach up into the southeastern united states. the bad news is we expect irma to be a category 4 or 5 hurricane throughout this time, and we could be seeing the
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landfall at the core of a major hurricane on the florida peninsula during the day on sunday. >> what does that look like? what are you expecting the damage to be? >> well, category 4 and 5 wind damage is catastrophic. you can see total building failures. you can see trees -- total tree failure. major damage to infrastructure. power lines, things like that. in addition to the wind hazard, we're also expecting -- not expecting but we could see life threatening storm urge everywhere in this pink area from jupiter inlet southward, as the governor of florida just mentioned, everybody on both coasts has to be prepared to evacuate if they're asked to do so by their local officials. we could see 5 to 10 feet of flooding aboveground level from storm surge in these areas covered in pink not just at the coast but potentially well inland on the southwest coast of florida and especially south of miami and dade county. >> the water is really the danger here. all right, michael brennan,
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thank you so much. we do appreciate it. i want to bring in our meteorologist who is tracking this storm. so jackie, we see this. there's continuous updates ant the path of the storm. it gives us the best case scenario, the worst case scenario. they're all pretty bad. what are you seeing. >> we just got a new update with the european model that shifted it even further and so this is why that cone continues to stay so wide and covers the entire state of florida. it's because we still have some uncertainty, and it's such a narrow peninsula, isn't it. it's about 120 miles across, and if we look at the hurricane force winds in this storm, they go out 60 miles from the center of the storm so if that skinny little line went right up the center of florida, you would get hurricane force winds coast to coast, assuming it staysty intensity that it's at and this is so powerful, it's just incredible. we're getting reports from the turks and caicos of wind gusts around 66 miles per hour. it's a about 70 miles away from
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them right now. so they are just going to get pounded. here's the latest computer model guidance. notice that big clustering. when all these lines are together like this, brianna, we have high confidence in where it's going. but the question mark still remains, when and exactly where is it going to take that northerly turn and we're starting to see little bit more of a spread. this morning, most of the modelled were over here towards the east coast of florida and now the euro has gone to the southwest of the coast. so really, nobody here is out of the woods just yet. so those hurricane watches have been issued from benita springs over towards west palm beach and southward in addition to the storm surge watches which have been put into effect for 5 to 10 feet of water above what's normally high ground in these areas. timing is critical. you might be asking yourself, why are we trying to evacuate and get people out of there already if the storm might not hit until sunday. well, it's so huge, you
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mentioned 3030-plus miles acros, that means those are going to be arriving possibly overnight on friday into the early morning hours on saturday so timing is really, really critical. we've taken the gfs and the euro models here and put them together on a map. the gfs is the red one. the euro is the blue one. these were clustered together in the last hour. now we're seeing more of a spread. let's put this forward into time for you. this is sunday overnight and this continues to show more of this westerly track with the euro but the gfs wants to bring this thing into the carolinas so nobody is off the hook, the carolina coast, the georgia coast, florida, everybody here needs to be making the same type of preparations to get ready for this hurricane. so have a plan, have your kit and know what you're going to do. if you're told to evacuate, get out right away. >> so on one hand, you're looking at this churning right up the east coast there or you're looking at maybe the other possibility is the tampa
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could bear the brunt of this but tampa's not particularly experienced with major storms, is that right? that's what one science writer was telling us yesterday. >> either way, it's going to be taking that turn. it just depends on how far west it gets before that happens. so, tampa is potentially a player here. but it's definitely not necessarily going to happen there. i think the impacts, they'll see hurricane force wind but at this time, we don't see a landfall at tampa. we would see that down here in the south parts of florida. >> they may see the -- more of the aftereffects of that. all right, jackie, thank you so much for that update. in florida, we are seeing fuel shortages. there is panic buying. there are runs on basic supplies like food and water ahead of this monster storm. take a look at some of the lines south of orlando. people there were waiting up to three hours to get sandbags to protect their homes. i want to go to bryn on
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florida's merritt island east of florida. there are inmates who have been dispatched to help line the island with sandbags? >> reporter: yeah, and three hours is an understatement, brianna. we actually just got another shipment of sand at this distribution center, but that's not the issue. there's no lack of sand. it's actually the efficiency of the whole entire process that's really slowing down people here who are just trying to get ten sandbags per household. because like you can see, these inmates are taking a rest but there's only two things to use to fill these sandbags. they fill the sandbag, tie it up, and then put it in the back of these cars. and you've got to check out the lines for these cars. we're at an athletic field, recreation area here in this county, and the line just snakes all the way around this whole entire park area, and even down the street. we've been talking to people who have been waiting here for upwards of eight hours just to get those ten sandbags and they've actually opened four distribution centers in this county. i actually want to talk to this
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woman here. thanks, ma'am, for talking to us. you've been waiting quite a while, you said. >> since 8:15 this morning. >> reporter: and i'm imagining you're trying to conserve gas. >> yeah but that's not happening. >> reporter: really not. tell me, this is mandatory evacuation by 3:00 tomorrow for the barrier islands of this county. are you on one of those islands? >> generally, we would be, but we don't ever leave. my husband never leaves, so here i stay. >> reporter: here you stay. you're going to ride out the storm, despite the warnings. >> yes. we have every year. >> reporter: and are you taking any sort of extra precautions besides these sandbags. >> outside of supplying the home with batteries and gassing up for our generator, that type of thing, that's about all that we have. >> reporter: now you say your husband's never left so you clearly have gone through storms. you've heard the warnings about this storm. any fear going on in your head and in your husband's?
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>> no. >> reporter: you're not worried? >> well, we trust in the lord to take care of us. >> reporter: okay. >> and our prayer is that he will just keep us all out of harm's way, and trust in him that he will send the storm out into the ocean where it belongs and not here on land. >> reporter: any back-up plan if emergency services can't actually get to you because they're trapped? >> not really. we don't have a boat or anything like that. but you know, we'll just -- >> reporter: you're really going to ride it out. >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: well, you're almost at the end of this line. it's 8:30 this morning, waiting for these sandbags, that's what we're hearing from a lot of these cars and at some point, they're going to have to cut this line and basically stop sandbagging for the rest of the night and start again tomorrow but if you heard me say 3:00, mandatory evacuations for this county on the barrier islands for mobile homes and low-lying areas. but just like that woman said, many of these people, they're not leaving. they're going to stay. they're going to ride it out and
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board up their homes despite all the warnings for this monster storm. brianna? >> obviously with that comes tremendous risk. merritt island, florida. thank you. let's listen in to florida's governor rick scott. >> i have directed state law enforcement to provide escort services to gas trukcks to get them through traffic so they can get to the stations faster. these state law enforcement escorts are happening right now. for gas stations and evacuation zones, we need you to stay open as long as possible so people can get out. we will arrange police escorts for your employees so they can get out safely. we need your gas stations to stay open as long as you can. my staff is reaching out to gas stations in the keys to help provide contact to help coordinate law enforcement, escorts for staff and tankers. we know fuel is important. and we're absolutely devoting every state resource to addressing this. three tanker ships are
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delivering fuel to port tampa today for resupply efforts, each delivering 1.2 million gallons of fuel. state law enforcement continues to escort fuel supply trucks from port of tampa and port everglades. while we are making progress, you will see lines or outages, unfortunately. i know this has to be very frustrating and we will not stop working on this. if you are concerned that you do not have a way to evacuate because of fuel issue, please call your local emergency hotline or the florida emergency informs hotline at 1800-342-3557 which is a dedicated emergency management hotline. we will get you out. but you have to call now if you're in an evacuation zone. we cannot save you when the storm hits. we cannot save -- just remember this. once there's an evacuation order, get out. we can't take care of you in the middle of a storm. if you know you're going to a
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shelter in your county, please take only how much fuel you need. you don't need to fill your tank to the brim if you're going to stay in your county. i've said this many times. please only take what you need. be considerate of others. the go buddy app is a great resource to find open stations with fuel. the go buddy app. yesterday, i asked the governors of alabama, south carolina, georgia, north carolina to rescind weight and driver regulations so out of state resources could move expeditiously into florida. all of these states worked quickly to respond to our request. the epa has approved an emergency fuel waiver request from the florida department of environment protection which will allow more fuel to quickly enter the state. all parts still remain open and are operating to bring fuel and supplies in. we are laser-focused on how we get as much fuel as possible to ports while they are open. the florida keys. i've offered school buses for transportation needs in monroe,
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miami-dade, and broward counties. miami-dade is using these services to evacuate those with special needs and broward has buses on standby. monor monroe says they are using city buses. there are mandatory evacuation orders in place for florida keys, this means all residents and visitors, leave the keys. we estimate that about 31,000 people had already evacuated from the keys as of 6:00 p.m. last nights. if you're in the keys and still home, leave and get out. we can't save you once the storm hits. the entire lower keys hospital has already been evacuated. all other hospitals in the keys will be evacuated today. i've been very clear with monroe county that the state will provide whatever resources are necessary to get the hospitals back open quickly following the storm. we also have a task force devoted entirely to helping prepare and respond to the keys. their issues are somewhat different because they have all those bridges down there.
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for the remainder of the state waiting on evacuation orders, listen to your local officials. they will tell you if and when your area needs to be evalkted. if you are told to evac, get out quickly. the roads will up quickly as you need to go. we can expect additional evacuations as the storm continues north through our state. in brourd county, there are volunteer evacuations ordered for mobile homes and mandatory evacuations ordered for east of federal highway. in miami-dade county, there are mandatory evacuations ordered for barrier islands, bay harbor, islands, golden beach, indian creek village, miami beach, north bay village, sunny isles beach and surf side. in monroe county there are mandatory evacuations for all residents and visitors. if you're in any of these evacuation zones and still home. leave. in collier county, there are evacuations ordered from marco
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island. low-lying areas. nonslab built homes, mobile homes and rvs. i cannot stress this enough. do not ignore evacuation orders. remember, you can rebuild your home. you can buy your possessions again. we can't rebuild your life and recreate your family. regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate. the storm can move and change at a moment's notice. floridians on the west coast cannot be complacent. and those in coastal areas should be prepared to leave. traffic. many of you, i know, are already stuck in traffic. i know it has to be frustrating. but please be patient. evacuations are not meant to be convenient. they are meant to keep you safe. we're trying to do these evacuations as safely as possible. we have increased the number of troopers on florida highways to help move traffic and keep people going down the road. realtime traffic information and evacuation routes are available at we have traffic cameras on every
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major highway in florida, and we're clearing traffic issues in realtime so we can keep people moving. fdot and law enforcement are working diligently. we are already seeing bottle necks at major highway junctions which brings up an important point. you do not need to evacuate out of the state or hundreds of miles away to be safe. find shelters in your county. we are coordinated with google's emergency response team to prepare to close roads in google maps in realtime in the event that hurricane irma forces a closure of any roads in the aftermath of the storm. my direction, all tolls have been waived across florida roadways. again, if you are concerned you do not have a way to evacuate due to traffic, call the florida emergency hotline, 1-800-342-3557. it's a dedicated hotline. national guard. today i'm activating another 3,000 national guard members to help with shelter operations and
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evacuations. today we'll have more than 4,000 florida national guard members activated to immediately begin assisting with ongoing hurricane irma preparation. tomorrow, every available member of the o national guard, 7,000 will be deployed around the state. 13 hometowns and more than 1,000 technical high water vehicles are on standby. we have 30,000 troops, 4,000 trucks, 100 hometowns aelicopte. i've talked to president trump multiple times and he has assured me that florida will get all the help from the federal government that we need. so far, we have requested disaster tarps, water, baby food supplies, supply trucks, search and rescue personnel, and equipment and incident management teams. military water craft and aircraft with the capability to move fuel from the mainland to keys at marathon. and a military vessel like a marine or navy ship to sustain
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shell operations and complete ship to shore missions. this vessel will allow us to move crew, supply and fuel to the mainland. i've also mentioned the concerns to fema and potential destruction of bridges. if we lose a bridge, people are stranded. fema's looking at all options to solicit the sta assist the state with this. florida fish and wildlife commission. they have more than 200 officer standing by for the first wave of response based on potential storm impacts. 30 teams with supporting resources, atv and shallow draft boats are preparing. search and rescue missions or any additional needs. fwc is also coordinating with partners of states such as texas, georgia, south carolina, missouri, tennessee, louisiana, arkansas in case additional officers or resources are needed. the florida highway patrol is monitoring road and traffic conditions to assure roadways are clear. fgle has established 18
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emergency response teams for deployment to impacted areas in seven logistics and planning teams. utility providers. they are actively prepositioning resources throughout the state and in neighboring states. we know from previous storms how incredibly important ifs for the power to be restored quickly. florida power and light have activated emergency response teams. there are also working with many -- our utilities are also working with many of our out of state utilities and electrical contracting companies to secure additional resources. shelters. if you're evacuating from the keys, go to florida international university. there's absolutely to reason for anyone not to evacuate. if you're ordered to do so. shelters will be available should you have -- you need to follow the directions of local officials and go to the shelter that fits your needs. if you need a hotel, visit expedia's working on hotel occupancy in realtime.
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the florida restaurant lodging association has encouraged all hotels to waive pet policies, offer shelter and be compassionate with cancellations. families can go to florida comcast will be opening wi-fi hot spots throughout the state for individuals in need, including non-comcast customers. you can go to the state supplies such as meals, shelter support, trailer recognize and water resources at the state logistics resource center in central florida for deployment is needed. we will be prepositionings these goods to help everyone in the storm's path. volunteers. we need volunteers. we've had more than 8,000 volunteers sign up in the last, i think, 36 hours. this includes more than 1,300 state workers. this is great but we still need more.
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we need a total of 17,000 volunteers statewide. if you want to volunteer, go to to sign up or call 1 h800-flhlb 1. you make a big difference in people's lives. you can help with shelters, food distribution and response efforts. every florida family must prepare to evacuate. regardless of the coast you live on. we are a hundred percent focused on making sure everyone floridian and all of our visitors have timely information on this storm. and we will continue to closely monitor hurricane irma and issue updates throughout the next few days. i can not stress this enough. get prepared now. know your evacuation zone now. listen to your local officials. this storm has the potential to catastrophically devastate our state and you have to take this seriously. even though the national hurricane center map has it in
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this cone and has it going up the east coast, it could move further west. we could be -- it could also go east. but we all have to be ready. this is a catastrophic storm that our state hasn't seen. it's already killed a will tlot people in the caribbean. don't think you can ride out this storm. protecting life is our absolute top priority. no resource or expense will be spared to protect families. that means you need to plan now and where you will go, don't wait, figure it out. [ speaking foreign language ] >> thank you, governor. >> all right, that is florida's governor rick scott. i also want to bring in right now mike theiss, a hurricane
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chaser in keily largo. what we heard is that there are mandatory evacuations there in the keys. but the hospitals either have been evacuated or are going to be evacuated ahead of this storm. with that in mind, you know, what does this mean for that area that you are going to be riding this storm out in? >> well, listening to the governor, that was quite chilling. this is a reality. this is happening, guys. this is the worst case scenario that looked like it's about to take place here in the keys. it is extremely sad, but back to the question. the plan is to get into a good building and ride it out in somewhere i feel we'll stay safe, solid concrete building that i can go up a few floors if i need to with a concrete roof. there's not many of those locations in the florida keys, but there is a few. so we feel we are safe where we're staying to a point. of course it's not recommended. i would recommend all my friends and family, anybody in the florida keys, please get out of
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here. just leave here. it's going to be hell afterwards. if we take a direct hit, this is not going to be the place you want to be. the governor said, get out. >> but mike, if you get hurt, there are really no resources for you. there are going to be no hospitals that are operational. >> right. i've teamed up with reed timmer and some other storm chasers and between us, we have lots of medical supplies, we have, you know, the basic stuff to help injured people as well as food and supplies and everything else, gasoline, so we feel we're fully prepared for any kind of scenario down here and we plan on staying in a building safe and not getting hurt. i mean, we do feel the buildings that we have picked out as places of possibly staying will withstand the hurricane. it will still be extremely scary and it will still be dangerous, but we feel we can ride it out in these locations and document the hurricane. >> okay. so, one of the things about the keys, for anyone who has been there or seen pictures of the keys, is they are connected by
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these above-water bridges, these sort of highways. it's, you know, it's almost a beautiful stretch of highway that connects the keys. what are the concerns with that? >> oh, man, it's one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and it's a sad to see this happening, but yes, it's like 42 or 43 bridges that connect all the florida keys all the way down to key west. it's over 113 miles stretch of roadways and i think the big problem is not only the bridges but sometimes just before the bridge, the road gets washed away so o the bridge might actually be there the road is washed away and i've seen in th in several hurricanes i've documented here over the years, much less strong than this one and the water comes over the island, the bridges get closed down and you're basically stuck here. so we are planning on that. we're not going to be surprised if we're stuck here for a week. we're fully prepared for that. and like i said, this is my home. i was born and raised here and
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this is -- it's heartbreaking. >> no, it really is. all right, mike, you stay safe. we know you have supplies there, but you know, and we know you're going to be cautious. we'll be thinking of you as you're riding out this storm. as the governor warned there, he said, we can't recreate your family. he wants people gone for mandatory evacuation areas like the keys. coming up, i'm going to talk with an american tourist who is stranded on a caribbean island that is about to get slammed by hurricane irma. we're going to talk to her about how she is planning to ride out this storm. also, the president's son, don junior, facing questions on capitol hill, what he is telling investigators about his infamous meeting at trump tower with a russian lawyer affiliated with the kremlin. this is cnn special live coverage.
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we're going to get back to our breaking hurricane coverage in just a moment, including a new track on its path to florida. first, though, a remarkable day in washington, as the president held a joint news conference with the world leader, his eldest son underwent questioning by staffers from the -- from a senate committee and this is a session that lasted for five hours. the focus was his june 2016 meeting with russian operatives at trump tower and we now have donald junior's statement to the panel. i'm going to quote the part explaining why he decided to attend this meeting, which promised damaging information about hillary clinton. "to the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of a presidential candidate, i believed that i should at least hear them out. depending on what if any information they had, i could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration." i have with me now cnn political director david chalian and cnn
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legal analyst michael zeldon, he used to be special assistant to robert mueller, who is now leading the russia investigation. okay, david, so, when you're looking at what has come out of this meeting between don junior and congressional staff, this was something, right, that committee members were privy to but it was the staff that was conducting the interview. what well stands out to you. >> first and foremost what stands out is donald trump jr. has just made clear that this whole notion that the meeting was about adoptions, which is what we initially heard from the trump team when this was first reported, that there was this meeting in june 2016 at trump tower, that is so out the window. tha that was just completely not true. this clearly, as don junior made clear today, before the staff, this was about trying to get dirt on hillary clinton. the other thing, brianna, is that you recall at the time when this meeting became known and public, a couple months ago, everybody on the trump team, including the president himself, said, this is a meeting anyone would have taken in politics. you always take meetings to get
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oppo research on your opponent. republicans and democrats alike, as you know from campaigns you've covered, they said, that's not true. >> you vet them. >> right. and donald trump jr. apparently had an initial concern, conflict, suspicion, lining up to talk to counsel afterwards as you just read in that quote to vet this material so clearly there were questions in his mind about this meeting. >> and why not maybe talk to counsel ahead of time, too? i think some people would ask that question. michael, any legal concerns arising from what we're hearing coming out of this briefing that donald junior gave staff members of this committee? >> yes. as i read the statement, and then i see the cnn reporting on what was alleged to have taken place during the meeting, a couple things strike me. first is, the statement has a lot of, i don't recalls in it, which is very lawyerly to protect your client should he
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have a different story at a future date. he could say, oh, yes, now i remember. so there's some covering his legal behind in this statement. i also think that it's problematic to me that what he doesn't recall in this is whether his father participated in the writing of the initial statement, which turned out to be untruthful, whether or not there were documents that were left for him at the meeting, which are significant, and what, if anything, he told his father after the meeting. he said he didn't do it. it's hard to really reconcile that with the way trump runs his business and his political affairs. so, i think there's a lot of -- a lot in here that will make mueller worried about whether or not he has a truthful witness in front of him who is cooperating or whether he's got somebody who has to be looked at for false statements. >> and david, the more believable the i do not recalls
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would be if he's actually recalling things from the meeting. that was a year ago. but when it comes to this issue of what was the white house involvement in the response, i mean, that was not long ago at all. does that create problems here? >> and it's probably like the largest approxima largest pr crisis donald trump jr. himself has ever faced so you think you might recall that. but i think what this really goes to the heart of, as we know, bob mueller is looking into a potential obstruction of justice case and i think the key about building what is the truthful account of how the response was crafted when this meeting was becoming public, that is why mule r's team wants to know that. i know he was before the senate today, but the key being mueller's ninvestigation. they want to be able to see if there's a credible obstruction of justice case to be built and this is an important piece of evidence, potentially, towards that. >> michael, is there another way for investigators to figure out the involvement of the white house, or is don junior really the only one who can help answer that question?
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>> well, there is a grand jury that can subpoena people to testify before it. we understand from the communications from the plane flying back from germany, the air force one flight, that hope hicks and the president and jared kushner and ivanka kushner and don junior by phone were all involved in the crafting of the response to the meeting, and so all these people are subject to examination in a grand jury, and they could set up contradictory testimony points among them. as well, i think the important thing here in terms of the possible obfuscation by don junior is he says, i love it. it was just a colloquial way of saying thank you, but "i love it" is followed by, especially later in the summer. so that's not a colloquial way of saying thank you. that's especially important
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because it relates to the distribution of information and you have to remember that don junior has this meeting, then thereafter his father says, you should expect dirt on hillary clinton, which is the hacked e-mails, so these things are important to line up next to each other and right now, for me, they don't line up in a coherent and truthful manner. >> all right, michael, david, thank you to both of you. i want to go back to our breaking coverage of hurricane irma. distressing images from damage in the virgin islands. it's becoming a cautionary tale for those who are in irma's immediate path. the eye of this extremely dangerous hurricane is now moving closer to turks and caicos, that island's main airport has only one terminal which makes it nearly impossible for tourists to find last-minute flights and evacuate. joining me now on the phone is one of those american tourists who is stranded on the main island. nikki paris is from atlanta. tell us where you are right now, what the storm is like so far.
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>> okay. we are -- i'm with my friend donna smith and we are at a hotel called seven stars. we're looking outside and it is wild out there. it's been raining. the trees are blowing. the hotel, i think, has done a really good job. we're actually staying in a villa but when this happened, we tried to get out of turks and caicos and we could not get out. we were at the airport yesterday for eight hours trying to get a flight anywhere. but could not get a flight. delta did not send any other flights in, and that was who our carrier was, so we couldn't get out, so we got a room at a place called the seven stars. they're doing a great job and making us feel as safe as they can. they've got mattresses in the hallway and water. they're feeding us, you know, we're in a room right now, but they've said that when it hits, we have to get out of the room,
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then it's best for us to go into the hallways and just stay there. so, you know, they're doing a great job, but it's scary. >> it just so happens i've stayed at that hotel in turks and caicos and you are rather lucky because it is multiple stories and it's sturdy so you have that advantage. but you said you were in a villa, right? there's a lot of lower-lying areas and that's probably the concern that you, even from that hotel, there -- you will be able to see a lot of folks, a lot of buildings that are lower that are damaged, right? >> right. i agree. and we were told we could stay in the villa. we chose not to and i'm glad we didn't because once we finished at the airport, trying to get out and couldn't, we've been back to the villa to get some things and they had moved -- they had taken all the mattresses off the beds, it was up against the windows, the furniture was turned over. they had put the furniture from the outside into the pool, which is what i understand now that they do just to try to keep it and they basically, i mean, everybody was gone.
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so i am so glad that we decided to not stay there. because as scary as this is, i feel like this hotel is really taking really good care of us. >> all right, well, we are thinking of you, niki paris there in turks and caicos as you're taking cover from hurricane irma. we'll be checking back in with you as you go through this to see how things are going. thanks for talking to us. really in the middle of this. next, we're going to be back live in florida, millions there are preparing for a potential direct hit from hurricane irma. >> every florida family must prepare to evacuate. regardless of the coast you live on. we do not know exactly where this storm is going. plus i'll be speaking live with the head of a zoo in miami. we have pictures that show what happened to the animals as they rode out hurricane andrew in 1992. he's going to explain to us how they're preparing now.
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all right, we're back now to our coverage of hurricane irma. in south florida, miami-dade county is under a hurricane watch right now. rosa flores joining me from miami beach where irma has prompted a mandatory evacuation. so, rosa, set the scene for us there. are people heeding this evacuation order? >> reporter: you know, we are seeing the signs that people are heeding the evacuation order, brianna. we are, for example, noticing that there are long lines at gas stations. according to florida highway patrol, they're seeing people heading towards north florida. it's the only way to get out of
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the southern area of florida, but as you mentioned, this area has more evacuations that have been issued. now there's 650,000 people just in miami-dade under an evacuation order. that includes zones a, b, and portions of c. i'm standing on a barrier island. this is one of the islands that's under evacuation. the island to my right is also under evacuation. and it includes a lot of the coastal areas. so while we're seeing the signs that people are evacuating, officials here still trying to get the word out, letting people know that they must evacuate if they are under an evacuation order because irma is big, irma is a beast, and irma is not going to have mercy on anyone. >> but it's really fascinating, rosa, because there are, not in a good way, in a bad way, that there are some people who are just on those islands, the
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barrier islands like the one that you're on, and they're not going. they say that they've been riding out storms for years. they're going to ride out this one. but according to officials, this is a different story than before, right? >> reporter: they are. they are letting people know that irma is wider than the state of florida. that just gives you an idea of the scope, the intensity, just how big this storm is. now, as you mentioned, i've talked to people who have been running along this path, walking, even playing on the beach, and some of them say, look, we're going to take a last dip and then we're going to evacuate. but others are not. i've talked to multiple people who say, i'm going to stay home. i'm going to ride the storm. i feel prepared. i'm going to be fine. and some say, well, i hope i'm going to be fine, because i don't plan to leave. that, not the smart thing to do according to city officials here. they are saying, you got to get out. and you got to get out now.
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>> it looks beautiful behind you now, rosa, but we know it is not going to be. we appreciate the report. rosa flores. the last time that a category 5 hurricane hit zoo miami there were storks by the toilets and trailers next upside down life at the zoo became after the hurricane andrew in 1992. with irma, stronger and bigger moving toward miami, what is the zoo doing today? the man to answer is joining me live now. ron mcgill is the communication's director for zoo miami. so ron, tell us how are you preparing for this? how are you planning to protect the animals from irma? >> well, brianna, snot a whole lot has changed. since '92 we went through wilma and katrina which gave us damage. andrew came through the center of the zoo. it devastated the facility. this isn't our first rodeo.
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we've gotten anything that could be a projectile. the cans, signs have been taken out. slowly but surely we moved some animals. most of the animals are being kept in their normal night quarters. the dangerous animals, lions, tigers, the great apes. they will sleep in the normal night houses. they have proven that they have sustained the power of hurricanes previously and that's where they're going to stay again. there are smaller animals, mammals, birds that are being captured up in their normal exhibits and placed in smaller enclosures within certified buildings here in the zoo. no animals are being evacuated from the zoo. flooding is not a concern here at the zoo. and the wind is something that we hope to protect them with from the structures we have here. the hurricanes can change direction quickly and you might be evacuating into the path of the storm. and also the stress of moving an animal from a familiar area, sometimes is much more dangerous than the than the hurricane. >> how are you staffing this? i'm assuming you have some
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staffers who are going to stay there at the zoo, around the clock, how have those decisions been made? >> well, i'll tell you what, people that work in the zoo for the money, that's a fact. they love the animals, they work with. they love the message trying to get across to people. they are going to be staff staying here throughout the storm. they're going to be hunkered down here in the administration building. the veterinarian will be here. animal science staff will be here as well as security rangers will be here throughout the night. we have radio communication with everybody. staff throughout their homes. everybody has been working all day today, all day tomorrow, and we will be in here also on saturday to do the last animal moves because we want to move an animal at late as possible because we want them to be an unfamiliar areas short of time as possible. the last major moves will be moving the flamingos on saturday. >> we're looking at pictures that you provided from 1992 during hurricane andrew just to give us an idea what have you're going to be doing to ride out the storm at zoo miami. ron mcgill, thank you so much.
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big airlines are now capping prices to help people get out of irma's path. the move is coming after reports of possible gauging got a lot of attention on social media. one twitter user posted a screen grab of a delta fare from miami, the price had jumped from $547 to more than $3,000. and she later tweeted that she called delta and they had helped her out tremendously. the major airlines are now slashing prices, delta says it won't charge more than $399 from flights out of florida or the caribbean, and that includes first class tickets. american airlines has main cabin seats for $99 one way. jet blue offering fares between 99 and $159. and we have seth capland with us, managing partner at airline weekly. this was getting a lot of attention that you saw some of the tickets that were $159 on monday to over $1,000 on tuesday. the question was, there may be price gauging, maybe it's not,
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but now we see airlines responding. >> and it's a tough question, brianna, when you're talking about airlines. where this is that line between supply and demand economics and gauging. with a gas station, all the sudden they're charging $8 for gas, that's what's called gauging. airlines always price airline tickets differently depending on demand and obviously in this situation, there's a whole lot of it. certainly distasteful. that's very clear that people reacted badly to seeing even if it was just that one last seat, even if all the seats were gone, you know, had they been as cheap as airlines now made them. it's like people would have preferred to see a sold out flight and say i missed it. >> you mentioned to me in the commercial break that airlines reduced the numbers of seats because this is post labor day. so you would have seen fewer flights than you would have even seen last week, but they're doing some things to remedy that? >> yeah, almost, you know, metaphor call perfect storm in that regards to go along with the real one. airlines always do this.
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labor day weekend last weekend, they had more seats scheduled, yeah, going into that weekend than they did late this week. normally everybody's back in school, it's foot in holiday weekend. not as many people want to travel. now they're scrambling to bring in bigger planes. there are far more people that want to travel than seats. people are not going to get out, at least not by air. >> what is air travel going to look like in terms of cancellations? >> oh, it's going to be a mess. just last i checked here before we went on the air, you know, so far, 750 cancellations friday in the u.s., that according to flight aware. so far just 500 and something on saturday. but that is almost certainly going to skyrocket here. if you look back to harvey, that ended up being 11,000 cancellations, just directly related to the storm and thousands of others then who were sort of second order effect. it's going to be a mess to one degree or another.
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you have to hope it's not a direct hit. and that it's only an economic hit. it's going to cost the airlines a lot of money. all kinds of businesses a lot of money. but hopefully not many lives. >> we know you're from miami, we know your family is dealing with this trying to get out of the area. so we are thinking of you and of them as you go through this. >> thank you so much, brianna. >> not just a work story for you, it's very personal. seth, thank you so much. we appreciate it it. knox all eyes are on florida. what other parts of the united states could be in irma's path? we'll have the latest tracking models straight ahead. ♪
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destructive power and it's staying power may be unprecedented and are leaving meteorologists stunned. hurricane irma tearing to shreds islands along it's path in the caribbean. places such as barbados uninhabitable, decimated, 90% of houses and cars destroyed there as irma make it's way closer to the united states. miami and the florida keys appear to be right in her path. irma's exact destination, of course, remains unknown. right now the national hurricane center says irma remains, remains a according to five hurricane with 175 mile per hour sustained winds at it's core. hurricane watches have been issued for south florida and the keys as the hurricane passes