tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 7, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
governor as the state braces for a record hurricane. the killer storm irma is closing in as it churns across the caribbean. where will it strike next? under water, irma's storm surge threatening to leave some areas uninhabitable for months. hundreds of thousands of people ordered to flee. millions more being told to be ready to evacuate. long lines. the looming disaster is leaving florida short of critical supplies with food and water. officials say the most urgent need right now is fuel. can florida get enough gas to get everyone to safety? and no recall. donald trump jr. answers questions from senate investigators about russia but says he doesn't remember details of white house involvement in a misleading statement about his meeting with the russian lawyer. now cnn is learning special council wants to know more. we want to welcome our
viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news this hour, troubling forecast for irma. the record hurricane ravaging the caribbean and taking direct aim at florida. new forecast shows the killer storm increasingly likely to strike the metro miami area. widespread evacuation is underway and the governor says residents should be prepared to flee no matter which coast they live on. the effort to get out is creating a fuel shortage that left officials scrambling to get more gas into the state before more evacuations are ordered. people in parts of georgia and south carolina have been told to leave ahead of the storm. irma is blamed for at least six deaths in the caribbean and right now it is battering the
turks and caicos island with the bahamas next in line. hardest hit the island of barbuda which the prime minister describes as barely inhabitable. we are covering that and much more with our guest including top fema official katie fox and our correspondents and specialists are also standing by. let's get straight to our meteorologist. at this point it's not a question of whether irma will hit florida but where it will hit hardest. >> there is no doubt this is going to impact the u.s. and impact it hard. this high powered engine is still running high on all cylinders and that fuel is the warm water that is only getting warmer. if you look at the infrared satellite imagery. the engine behind this eye. these hurricane force winds extend outward 100 miles.
if you look at just the cloud mass it is over 300,000 square miles. it would cover more than the state of texas. you can fit two hurricane andrews inside this cloud cover. as we look at problems ahead of course with warnings starting to get hit hard now we have warnings into the bahamas and storm surge map showing 15 to 20 in the turks and caicos. five to ten for southern florida. i think this is preliminary. they are going to up this as we watch the storm. the warnings for the bahamas brand new today and this is a big deal. when you issue a hurricane watch from the national hurricane center for any land mass in the u.s. this doesn't -- they do this haphazardly. there is significant analysis and consideration and conversation because it costs millions and millions of dollars to place a hurricane watch somewhere in the u.s. you have to get federal, state
and local authorities to get aid. you have evacuations taking place and shelters that are opening. you have humanity moving northward. you have business closing. this is a big deal. step number one. it will become a warning in time and we will see other watches posted up not just the east coast or the carolina coast. we will have them on the west coast, too. this is such a massive sized storm that the tropical storm force winds alone would go coast to coast. 23 miles in diameter. anywhere that these plots are putting this is where most significant winds are. when you look at the storm and you see the numbers, 175 miles per hour, not everyone will experience 175 miles per hour thank goodness. we are talking like an ef 3 tornado on the ground in a massive area for hours. so the destruction and devastation could be almost unheard of. we have seen this damage before. take a look at the trajectory. unlike andrew 25 years ago that
came in from the west and sliced across the southern part of florida we are now looking at a storm system coming from the south and most likely making its way across the entire state into the southeast and next week in kentucky. it's not just about impact. it is how many states will be impacted with flooding. yesterday we had a shift about 60 to 70 miles towards the east. today at 5:00 p.m. a new track deviates it back to the west a little bit. we will continue to see that. there is no doubt. that is why we have the cone of uncertainty. it can still stay offshore. when we look at the magnitude of this shift westward it puts miami in the worst possible position because it's that front right quadrant as the storm circulates counter clockwise the significant storm surge and significant wave heights and stronger damaging winds along with the center. that is what we will watch up
the entire peninsula of florida. we go in depth with these models all the time. this is the european model. it is hard to believe that one week ago the european model had it placed in almost the exact position as it was 1,200 miles away. they are in pretty good agreement. the shift is critical. key largo. if you are in key west and you think i am on the good side of this hurricane, i will be all right, i will not have the 10, 15 foot storm surge you will be wrong because as the system approaches you will get winds and waves. as it approaches the peninsula you will have winds coming in around from the north. you will have a storm surge there, as well. it may not be ten feet but you are not far off sea level. as it continues miami, fort lauderdale. this can knock out power to millions of people and maybe by sunday afternoon it is over orlando. here is the u.s. model. it has trended somewhat westward. yesterday was offshore quite a bit. now it is trending westward
still possible we are looking at key largo. it is unbelievable the commonality between the two. it doesn't mean this is a sure thing. we have 2 1/2 more days to go. we can see tweaks. as we watch the movement of the gfs model this is not so much offshore. it is now on shore, as well. the devastation from both models is significant. there are 21 models just inside the american model. again, you look at a range. we can kind of disregard some of the outliars but you want to see some kind of consensus. again, when it makes its way further north in tennessee and ohio valley it will be a rain maker. cannot stress enough not just about storm surge. we are looking at rainfall that could be 10, 15 inches of rain in the southern peninsula. you have to be out now. move northward and do not wait longer. cannot believe how consistent the models are. >> looks like there could be a
direct hit in the miami area. stand by. i know you are getting more information. we will get right back to you with an enormous evacuation underway. florida's fuel supplies are running dangerously low. officials are scrambling to get more gas. let's go to our national correspondent in miami for us. the governor of florida rick scott says more evacuation orders are now certain. >> reporter: yeah. more evacuations and more need for gas than ever. this is just one line here in south miami. an enormous line. two police officers helping out getting people in as fast as possible. takes about an hour in this particular line. one person rocking their truck back and forth in the hopes just to get a little more fuel in. people now in miami making the hard decision, do they hunker down or get out? tonight florida bracing. irma ripped through several
caribbean islands overnight. the storm sustaining winds over 185 miles per hour for days. >> the roof is about to come. >> reporter: gusting up to 220 miles per hour. leaving widespread damage throughout the region. in puerto rico more than 1 million people are without power. the eye of the hurricane nearly knocked out all buildings in barbuda. roughly 90% of buildings damaged. >> i have never seen any such destruction. >>. >> reporter: late today irma's core moved over the dominican republic and haiti leaving behind flash flooding and mudslid mudslides. across florida tonight residents bracing for a direct hit. the storm on track to make landfall early sunday morning as a category 4 hurricane. the florida keys already under
mandatory evacuation notice could begin to feel the effects of the storm as early as friday night. >> this is a catastrophic storm that our state has never seen. >> reporter: over 30,000 people have left the keys and mandatory evacuationvise been ordered across southern and eastern florida counties including miami dade and broward. two nuclear power plants will be shut down until the storm passes. >> the size of the storm, it is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life threatening impacts from coast to coast. >> reporter: some in florida stocking up on food and water while others packing up and heading out. gas lines stretching for blocks. as more and more stations are running low on fuel tonight traffic on i-95 is backed up for miles. >> do not believe you can ride this storm out. you can rebuild your home and get possessions again.
you cannot rebuild your life or your family. >> reporter: the governor of florida taking the extraordinary measure to have police escorts for tankers to get gas to stations like this and even police escorts to get employees out of stations like this so they can stay working as long as possible and get every drop of gasoline into gas tanks here so that people can head north. >> what a situation unfolding. right now irma is impacting haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. haiti is extremely vulnerable to this kind of disaster. >> reporter: probably more so than any other country or island. they are only getting the back end of the storm and not a direct hit. officials say we are not prepared for the storm. or the after math.
the problem with the flash flooding is it could be dangerous with the mudslides. 100,000 people still at risk in the low lying areas. they were unable to convince most of them to leave. they are still there vulnerable to six or seven foot storm surge and that is yet to come here. haiti praying for luck here. we have several hours to go and we won't know the impact for several hours, perhaps even days yet. >> good luck to all people in haiti. thank you very much. let's get more on all of this. katie fox is joining us. thanks so much for joining us. i know how busy you are. based on the latest forecast where in florida do you expect this hurricane to hit the hardest? >> you know, you were hearing from your meteorologist earlier.
there is convergence on models. this is really an incredibly dangerous storm. we are urging people to follow the advice of the local officials. the governor has been very clear about evacuation orders and following those orders. we just urge people to do exactly what the local officials are saying. >> what are the biggest threats to life as this hurricane bears down on florida? >> this is an incredibly dangerous storm with potentially catastrophic effects. we are concerned about life safety, getting people out of harm's way. we want people to have emergency supplies at the ready, ideally three days of food and water, any medications that they take and download the fema app so you can keep up to date on the most current information. >> no storm on record as you know has maintained winds above 185 miles per hour for as long
as irma. how do you prepare when a hurricane is this intense? >> as you said, this is a really intense storm. we are concerned about wind. we are concerned about surge. and then the rainfall that will follow from it. and so what fema is doing is we have people on the ground in florida with the emergency managers there and really along the eastern seaboard. and we have staged a massive amount of commodities near florida and then again along the eastern seaboard. we are being prepared for anything that may happen. >> hurricane harvey's devastation in texas and louisiana was the level of the rain and the flooding that developed. how is hurricane irma going to be different? >> each storm is different. harvey was remarkable in the amount of rainfall that it dumped over consecutive days. set records there certainly. irma is setting records in terms of its intensity. different effects and different
concerns for each storm. the good news is that people can take similar protective measures following the guidelines of the local officials. if you are told to evacuate do not delay. that is incredibly important. don't put yourself and family in harm's way. the rescuers and state search and rescue teams can't get to you until after the storm passes. >> some resources as you know and first responders who are deployed for hurricane harvey in texas are now heading to florida. does fema have the resources it needs to respond to these two historic storms back-to-back? >> we do. we are pulling out all the stops. we have a full team in the operation in texas. and we are fully ready to go for florida and anything else that may follow. we have an incredible team here. we thank those search and rescue personnel and all volunteers who jumped in and helped during harvey and are at the ready
again for any effects of irma. those folks are incredible. >> earlier today an official at the federal government's office of management and budget told cnn that fema only has enough funds to get through saturday. is that still the case? >> you know, fema, the administration is working with folks on capitol hill to make sure that we have the resources we need. we are concerned about life safety and people taking preparedness measures. >> how speaker paul ryan says that fema funding is running out sooner because a lot of people are applying for relief and getting approved quickly over their smart phones. based on what you know and you are the acting deputy administrator of fema, is that true? >> that is absolutely true. we are seeing a huge surge in registrations for our mobile app. that is disaster assistance.gov if you found yourself effected by the storm that is the place
to go. we are approving and getting assistance out as quickly as we can. >> what is your bottom line advice to people in the path of hurricane irma? >> follow the advice of your local officials. you may not have to go far to get out of harm's way. follow that advice to make sure you know the safest place to go. >> good advice. thanks very much for joining us. good luck to men and women who are working with you and i know you are working with many other agencies including coast guard, navy among others to deal with this crisis. thanks very much for joining us. thanks for what you are doing. >> thank you. >> more on breaking news coverage coming up. millions of people are in the path of the killer storm. will miami take the brunt? plus an update on the islands being battered by this monster category five hurricane. so tell us your big idea for getting the whole country booking on choice hotels.com. four words, badda book. badda boom...
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experience a shift in the natural order. experience amazing. following breaking news hurricane irma now forecast to batter south florida with the metro miami area possibly taking the brunt of this record-setting storm. republican congressman of florida is joining us on the phone. his district stretches from the keys up to miami dade county. what is the status of the evacuations in your district? >> wolf, good evening from miami. we have had a beautiful late summer afternoon here. no hint of the massive weather system moving our way yet everyone is very nervous and
anxious as they continue seeing the models on your air and on every other channel. the mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for all of the florida keys. if you live in the florida keys you should leave the florida keys. law enforcement is being evacuated out of the florida keys. if something happens to you there it is likely no one will be able to help you. large portions of miami dade county, those near the coast are also under mandatory evacuation orders and we strongly encourage everyone to follow these orders being issued by local governments. it is not against the law to violate a mandatory evacuation order, but it can put your life at risk. so, wolf, this is very scary. i was 12 years old during hurricane andrew. i lived in a part of town that didn't get hit hard. a large part of my district bore
the brunt of that storm and the devastation was historic in nature. this could be worse. >> that is what everybody is suggesting. when will the window be closed for evacuations? when is it too late? >> we expect to have tropical storm forced winds here by noon on saturday. really tomorrow is the last day, perhaps saturday morning early if people want toleave at 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m. after 8:00 a.m. i would say you are taking a very serious risk getting out on the road if your car breaks down or something happens you are going to be in a very precarious situation. so we certainly advise everyone to try to leave the area if they plan on doing so by tomorrow night. >> we are showing live pictures from the fort lauderdale international airport. planes are stacking up there, as well.
people are trying to get out of south florida as quickly as possible. >> i will say, wolf, i have never had so many friends, family members, people who i know leave town. usually people hunker down and put up shutters and feel comfortable in their homes. we have never stared down at least not in very many years a storm of this nature. we just celebrated the 25th anniversary of hurricane andrew a couple weeks ago. a lot of people who live here in south florida were not around at the time. we are an immigrant rich community. we have people from all over the world here. i hope those who have never had this experience are taking it as seriously as a lot of my friends and family members who decided to leave town. if you are staying here make sure you take all precautions necessary because i think everyone's life is at risk if we take a direct hit from irma.
>> thanks for joining us. good luck to you and your family. all of your friends and everybody in florida. we'll stay on top of the breaking news. thanks for joining us. we have much more coming into the situation room. the latest forecast for hurricane irma puts millions of people at risk. we will show you where this catastrophic storm is headed. mandatory evacuations are underway. many aren't waiting to be ordered out as fuel shortages slow the exodus.
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hurricane irma on track to strike florida this weekend prompting a dire warning that everyone should be prepared to evacuate regardless of where they live. our meteorologist is tracking the storm. we are getting a better sense of the threat to south florida right now. >> that's right. the trajectory continues. we have lost five miles per hour in strength. you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. we are getting close to 60 hours straight at a category five. only one other lasted longer in the atlantic. pretty good clip, 16 miles per hour. that will keep the rain totals down. we have seen that back in puerto rico although almost a million people lost power. it is a different electrical
infrastructure there. now to turks and caicos. warnings are in effect and include all bahama islands, a little bit of cuba. this is brand new today. this is a hurricane watch. this is a very big deal. it is the next stage. it says more than just watch out. this is going to become a warning as the days progress. we are 2 1/2 days out. the warnings most likely will extend northward on each coast line and in towards the carolina coast because that is still possibility of landfall. we did see another shift, not to the east like yesterday by 60 or 70 miles but to the west back another 15 or 20. we are going to see this. you have to understand how well the models have handled this. all of these models meet up in savannah. i want to take you back to andrew. this came in from a different trajectory. we are coming up from the south.
a small part of real estate of southern florida was hit by this although it was devastating. no doubt over $26 billion in economic losses. when you have a system coming up due south across entire florida peninsula and into the southeast millions more will be effected. unfortunately, miami is in the worst possible location with this kind of track. hopefully we see some movement and no one wins if it goes east or west. >> the miami area has almost 6 million people if you add the whole area. 20 million people in all of florida. there is great potential for disaster. i know you are getting more information. stand by. i want to get the latest on the ground in florida. out in palm beach near president trump's resort. no evacuation order there. residents are on notice to be prepared to evacuate. >> reporter: that's right. those evacuation orders will be
mandatory within hours. at 10:00 a.m. eastern time tomorrow mandatory evacuations for palm beach. this area could get five to ten feet of storm surge meaning this barrier island could be inundated. this comes as residents are getting a preview of what they can be facing from the images they are seeing from the caribbean. this is the kind of devastation that has hit the caribbean and could be headed directly into florida. flooded roads and buildings in an tig tigu antigua. the destruction seen from the air extending for miles across st martin. >> my mom cried and my brother wake me up. i was frightened. >> reporter: 95% of buildings are estimated damaged or destroyed. >> totally lost like me. i am homeless. >> reporter: the roof is about
to come. >> reporter: hurricane irma has maintained 185 miles per hour winds for longer than any hurricane in reported history. almost 16 million people are in the potential path of the storm. puerto rico suffered high winds and flooding leaving a million without power and 56,000 without water. the storm churning with the bahamas and cuba up next. tonight florida officials urging citizens to get ready. >> this storm has potential to devastate our state. you have to take this seriously. >> reporter: some interstates seeing heavy traffic as mandatory evacuation orders covering the keys. >> i cannot stress this enough. don't wait to evacuate. >> reporter: gas has become scarce. around 40% of gas stations are out of gas according to gas buddy. some fuel trucks getting police escorts and to get sand bags the line was two hours long at a
location near orlando. flights and cruises are being cancelled and at least one hospital has started evacuating patients. even the winter white house, drt's estate in palm beach whose stucco walls have weathered counterless storms could be in the path of the storm. >> this is a catastrophic storm that our state has never seen. it has already killed many people in the caribbean. >> reporter: and between the mandatory evacuation orders for palm beach behind me and the voluntary evacuation recommendation for west palm beach that will cover about 260,000 people. i just got off the phone with officials. they are especially concerned with elderly people. there is a high conscentration f them here. they want to make sure people are either hunkered down properly or get to shelters or get out of the area. if they get to shelters they have to bring their caregivers
with them because there isn't the personnel to give them special needs care many need in the shelters. >> i am really worried about all of those elderly people. a lot of retirees are in florida where you are. thanks very much. let's get more on hurricane irma. joining us once again national weather service director and cnn contributor, former director of florida division of emergency management. no storm on record at least in reported history has maintained winds of 185 miles per hour for as long as irma. so give us some perspective. you have been in this business for a long time. how dangerous is the storm? >> this is incredibly dangerous storm. wind speed maximum being sustained over this period of time means this storm is carrying a lot of energy and water. it can help that surge along. and it looks like it is sustaining its strength and the
models are not only working their magic with respect to the track forecast but it is also indicating that intensity could be sustained even as it is making landfall. we absolutely need to pay attention. it is the most sdrdestructive sm that will hit florida since andrew and people have to be prepared. >> andrew 25 years ago. a lot of floridians haven't experienced a hurricane of this strength. a lot of people have moved to florida over these past 25 years. how do you address that concern? >> well, i look at the numbers we have so far on evacuees. to be honest i am very pleased. the numbers are up. people are heeding the governor's warning and the national hurricane center are doing an outstanding job of painting this picture for people. i think that is all it takes. people take a look at the size of the storm, the intensity of the storm and trying to move out
of the way. as you said it has been 25 years since hurricane andrew. it has been 12 years since hurricane wilma. sometimes there is hurricane amnesia about when should i leave and how serious to take the storm? in this particular case i think floridians are moving when they should move. >> we are showing pictures of andrew from 25 years ago and irma right now. i don't know if you can see it. look at the size of andrew and look at the size of irma. we are talking about a much, much bigger, much more powerful storm. >> well, when i went down to hurricane andrew as a responder and met with dave polison we talked about andrew almost being an oversized tornado versus a hurricane because it is so compact it tightened up quickly and moved inland. as you can see the size of this
storm now, irma, is unbelievable. can't even be compared to andrew. this is a catastrophic storm on its own. >> irma is the size of texas right now. the outer winds and especially the center. this is something that we have never seen before. >> this is why we are emphasizing to people just don't focus on the track of the storm and where the center might be. the size of the storm and the effects of the winds extend 100 miles on either side of the eye as it is approaching florida. this has the potential of providing destruction over a large area even as it moves up along the east coast of florida. >> guys, we will get back to you. thank you very much. just ahead we will have much more on our breaking news. latest forecast is now in. we are tracking the path of hurricane irma. millions of people right now at
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irma is the strongest hurricane on record to move over the turks and caicos. what are the conditions like where you are now? >> we are experiencing hurricane force winds. we are a multi island destination. winds have really picked up very strong at the moment. >> is it just the beginning? are you expecting a whole lot worse over the next few hours? >> yes. the winds will likely intensify in the next few hours and will last into tonight and early tomorrow morning. >> what preparations have you made on your island? >> we had an evacuation order to evacuate and we activated our national emergency operation center and island operation centers were also activated.
shelters have been opened from yesterday in anticipation that we might get flooding and maybe we should evacuate early. >> what do you see as the biggest dangers facing the islanders where you are, the turks and caicos as the hurricane is getting ready to hit? >> given the predictive level of storm surge we can expect some inunidation because we are coastal. the beaches we are expecting some storm surge. >> when you see the devastation that occurred in babuda are you worried that it could be the same situation in the turks and caicos? >> i am hoping it will be far less than we were seeing in barbuda. >> that entire island almost completely destroyed.
good luck to you, good luck to all the people in the turks and caicos. thank you for joining us. >> no problem. more breaking news including troubling new forecast for florida as hurricane irma races towards that state. donald trump jr. talks to senate investigators about his meeting with a group of russians and now we are learning the special council robert mueller wants to know more about what the white house knew. smash it into a tr. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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our breaking news coverage of hurricane irma continues. but there is also breaking news in the russia investigation. our justice correspondent jessica snyder is working the story for us. donald trump jr. was interviewed by staff of the senate judiciary committee for more than five hours. >> and it was a highly anticipated appearance on capitol hill, wolf. the questioning centered around that june 2016 meeting at trump tower. donald trump jr. maintained his innocence that his insistence that nothing came out of the of the meeting but also added a few more details that senators say left more questions than answers. tonight donald trump jr. more than five hour long face to face with the senate judiciary committee left some senators unsatisfied. >> his appearance today raised as many questions as it
answered. >> sources tell cnn trump jr. insisted to the committee that he did not tell his father about the june 2016 meeting at trump tower. the gathering also included jared kushner, paul manafort as well as a russian lawyer and a few others. trump jr. said he took the meeting because he was intrigued by the offer of damaging information on hillary clinton. his opening statement said to the extent they had information concerning the character, fitness of a candidate, i believed i should hear them out. he also told the committee that he didn't recall the white house's involvement in his written response after the meeting became public this summer. that statement omitted it was about opposition research on hillary clinton and the white house has since admitted the president weighed in and suffered suggests. trump jr. admitted he knew there could be legal questions about accepting such information saying 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. but when the president's oldest son first disclosed the meeting in july, he gave no indication he was concerned about any fall-out. >> this is pre-russia fever. i don't think my sirens went up for the antennas went up. >> president trump similarly said the meeting was nothing out of the ordinary. >> i think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. it's called opposition research or even research into your opponent. >> don jr.'s appearance on capitol hill coincides with facebook's disclosure that it sold $100,000 worth of advertising to fake accounts likely operating out of russia during the election. most of the ads didn't mention either candidate and focussed ondy vooif is issues and while facebook did not describe the adds, cnn told the russian accounts controlling the advertising urged users to like
certain political groups which prompted political messages to flood facebook news feeds. >> i think it raises a number of questions and we have to talk to twitter as well. >> donald trump jr. issued a statement. in it he said he answered every question and he trusts that this interview fully satisfied their inqui inquiry. but senators have already signalled it doesn't. they want donald trump jr. back in a public session and dine feinstein has already said she's prepared to issue a subpoena if he doesn't come back voluntarily. wolf? >> pretty extraordinary developments. jessica snyder reporting tonight. cnn also learned that robert mueller's team wants to interview white house staffers about the misleading statement issued regarding donald trump jr.'s statement with russians last year during the campaign. our justice correspondent is working this part of the story for us. what are you hearing from your sources. >> we have learned, wolf, that
robert mueller special counsel has reached out to the white house seeking interviews with white house staffers aboard air force one with the president when that initial misleading statement was crafted earlier in the summer about the purpose of that meeting at trump tower. as you will recall, that initial statement said that the meeting was about adoptions and then it later came out that it really, the purpose of it initially, was to receive incriminating information about hillary clinton. and, so, robert mueller wants to interview some of the aids that were aboard air force one who may have played a role in the crafting of that statement. our sources tell us the president did weigh in. but right now the foe scus is o those aids and we're hold a small number of aids that were asked to be interviewed. what he wants to find out is who knew what when. the circumstances surrounding the response to the trump tower meeting as part of the obstruction of justice probe is
part of the broader probe and whether anyone willingly withheld information, concealed information because as we know that initial statement was not fully forthcoming. it is also interesting to note, here, wolf that some of the white house staffers have had to hire lawyers as a result of being swept up in the russia probe. >> that's not cheep to hire a washington lawyer. i remember during the clinton administration, some staffers had to hire lawyers and they spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars out of their own pockets. >> it could be six digits. of course the white house can't pay for it in a situation like this. so the white house is working with the government of ethics trying to figure out a way to help fund, bring in perhaps outside sources to fund these legal bill for the staffers caught up in the probe. >> this is all part of the bigger investigation that mueller and his team are undertaking to see if there was obstruction of justice. >> that's right. so we know that mueller's
investigators are dif vooied up into different groups. and as well as the drafting of the statement on air force one. again, it's not illegal to mislead the public, but it could go to intent, whether information was purposely left out of the statement in order to conceal information during the obstruction of justice probe. >> is this going to go on for months and months and months. do you have any idea at all? i know your team have been working hard investigating all of this, how much longer this investigation that mueller is engaged in will continue? >> it's interesting. the white house counsel thinks it will wrap up soon. what i'm told is it could wrap up in increments. as i have mentioned they are different groups looking at different parts of the investigation, so they could wrap up the obstruction of justice bit. but there are other investigations going on, looking at michael flynn, paul manafort. so there is really no idea of
when mueller will finish everything. and that could probably take a while. we keep hearing a year, perhaps two years this could be going on for. >> they could go on and on and on. good reporting. thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. cnn special breaking news coverage of hurricane irma continues right now with erin burnett outfront. outfront next, breaking news, a new forecast for hurricane irma putting miami in line for a direct hit. we're tracking the latest on this deadly monster storm. let's go outfront. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> and good evening. tonight the breaking news, a direct strike on florida. at this hour hurricane irma heading for a direct hit on the united states. could make land fall on the three most populus areas of florida. homeo