Skip to main content

tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 28, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

9:00 pm
tensions in maricopa county that were unnecessary. >> you said people should serve their time. what about arpaio not serving his? >> he should serve his time. if people like us have to restart our lives because we committed a crime, he should have to do the same thing, as well. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, sir. that's it for us tonight. thank you for watching. i'm don lemon. i'll see you right back here tomorrow. the killer storm maimed harvey, regaining strength. ready to deal the houston area another blow, and the louisiana gulf coast, and now, perhaps, new orleans. good evening, everybody. john berman in for anderson. the water still rising in and around houston. these are live pictures you're looking at right now of rescues going on. this is where our local affilia affiliate, ktrk. this is a northeast houston neighborhood. completely inundated. we have been watching this for a few minutes. you can see people right there
9:01 pm
with a stroller carried out of the water there. we've also seen people carrying elderly. we've seen airboats, jet skis, motor boats. 18-wheelers covered past the windows. this is really a remarkable sight in this area. we understand -- we understand what this is, is people leaving, walking off a nearby interstate. i think we have a wide shot where you can see the scope of what this is. there's a wider shot of what's going on right now. again, the airboat driving past there. we have a motor boat, jet skis there. and right in the middle, an 18-wheeler just covered. and then there's the people trying to walk through this, trying to get to safety, trying to help each other out. you can only imagine this scene is being played out across the houston area right now. the rain is still falling,
9:02 pm
according to the national hurricane center, it could dump up to 50 inches total. two reservoirs there are in danger. we're seeing an elderly couple being guided out of this situation. so many people there, you know, we don't know if those are government officials there helping or just good samaritans, neighbors trying to help neighbors get through this, which is happening all over the area. there is so much need. sometimes people can't wait for the official help, and they need to get the help wherever they can. look at that right there. as we speak, the storm is gathering strength over the gulf of mexico. it is threatening still more destruction. president trump travels to the region tomorrow, also perhaps on saturday. he spoke about the crisis tonight. we're going to cover it all as we watch rescues happen before our very eyes on this city, this
9:03 pm
mini city covered in water. just look at the scope of that, as far as the eye can see. people trying to get out of the water in every imaginable craft available. this is houston, the fourth largest city in america tonight, with more rain in the forecast. let's get to gary tuchman right now, who is in houston to give us a sense of what he's seeing. gary? >> reporter: john, it is relentless. much of houston, texas, the metropolitan, the fifth largest in the country, is under water. driving around is a crap shoot, especially when it's dark out. the top priority is finding people who are still trapped inside their homes. we spent part of the day today with the urban search and rescue team, team efforts from nebraska and ohio, two actually went to a nursing home looking for people there. we'll have that story for you
9:04 pm
shortly. >> gary tuchman for us right now in houston. i have a little more information about this picture you're looking at right now. this is near an overpass at the beltway in tidwell in northeast houston. you can see just dozens of rescues before our eyes taking place. there are people in need and people carrying trash bags right there, filled with whatever they could get from their homes and their cars, that they could have been escaping, as well. so many people trapped in their cars. one thing you'll hear again and again from officials is do not try to drive in this situation, in this mess. there was an 18 wheeler submerged past their wheels. that couldn't get through. so believe me, your sedan isn't going to make it through that either. so much to look at right here. so much need across that state. if we can, i want to go to cnn's brian todd, who has been out all
9:05 pm
day. give us a sense of what you saw today and what difficulties are facing the rescue teams. >> reporter: right, john. we just a short time ago returned from some of those scenes from that neighborhood you're looking at in northeast houston. we were in lakewood, a very poor neighborhood, a lot of one-story homes that were up past the windows in water. we went with some rescuers and a private rescue team manning their own boat, who ventured out this morning and they got to some people without much time to spare. marilyn rice and her daughter lisa said overnight, the waters in their house rose and rose. >> everything started floating. and we picked up where we could to try to save it, but the water just took over everything. >> reporter: they were up all night and huddled on the hood of their car, until they were rescued. what do you say to these gentlemen here? >> i thank god for these gentlemen.
9:06 pm
>> reporter: beverly johnson was waiting on her car since last night, when it was too dark for rescue teams to see. seth roberts said he came to this neighborhood last night and tried to find people and get people out of their homes. he said it got pitch black. he couldn't find anyone to rescue because he couldn't see anything. these people have been waiting on their cars since last night and they finally got to them. i just corresponded with the leader of that rescue team, seth, who told me that he estimates he's pulled hundreds of people from their homes. here's another thing that rescuers are telling people who need rescuing, and there could be tens of thousands who still need rescuing. they're saying put a large towel, hang it from your window. if you call in to be rescued. make sure you identify your house that way, hang a towel so rescuers know that's a house to go to, because addresses are almost impossible to read. >> hang a towel so rescuers know you are in need.
9:07 pm
brian todd in houston. again, what you are looking at is an area in northeast houston, near the beltway in tidwell. this roadway, which is covered by water right now, has turned into the scene where dozens of rescues are happening before our eyes. you can see the people in the fluorescent jackets treating someone in that boat in a blue jacket. and now our affiliate is pulling out. moments ago, we saw an older woman with two canes trying to walk through. we've seen so many boats. they're wiping the lens down. it's still raining with more rain to come in there. there at the bottom of your screen, you see people walking out of the water, carrying what they can, in cases, paper and plastic bags. and then in the back, after the cameraman puts a lens on, you can see an 18-wheeler just
9:08 pm
covered by the water there. we'll go back to that picture when our affiliate gets it back up. i want to go to meteorologist tom seder who joins us from atlanta. tom, this storm is not done yet. what is in store for tonight? >> last night we reached the halfway point. i know we would like to hear it move faster, but since you could have outwalked this system, we're watching more rainfall, maybe 10, 15 more inches for houston. let's not forget about rockport. they'll be without electricity for weeks. that was the landfall. computer models hinting that it would stall and it dropped two to three feet. they also hinted that it would come back offshore and that's what has happened now. it's like taking a can of engine starter and shooting it right in the carburetor, so it's going to gain some strength. we've already seen 40 inches. can you imagine another 10 to 15? but the center is over land now. it's going to start siphoning
9:09 pm
more water, creating more rain in houston and southward. now the threat extends to the east, where we have seen some rainfall in the new orleans area. they could see another four to six overnight. but at least we're starting to see gaps in the time period. that means maybe after a secondary landfall wednesday morning, it picks up in speed, but the damage is going to be done. we're looking at tremendous amounts of rain in eastern texas and all of louisiana. we may have ten inches in arkansas and the mississippi valley and southeast missouri. the threat for tornadoes is still with louisiana. those are the feeder bands that dropped heavy rain saturday into houston. the records in houston go back to 1930. the two rainiest days in the record books, saturday and sunday. the threat for aid is going to be needed. and they're going to have to span their research efforts to the north of houston. and toward the east. so a lot more rainfall with over two feet of rain, plus in these
9:10 pm
areas coming. >> i don't want to diminish the threat to new orleans. but you said 10 to 15 more inches of rain in and around houston. this is live pictures right now of rescues going on in houston. rescues right now befor another 10 to 15 inches of rain. what is that going to mean for these inundated areas, these streets we're looking at right now? >> the water levels that may have started to recede somewhat, are going to come back. there's no doubt. and i hate to tell you this story. but in jefferson county on the border of louisiana, there's an alligator adventure park. it's called gator country. the owner is fearing that the waters are rising so high, it only has to go another eight inches and that's the overnight rainfall, that 350 alligators will be able to climb over and swim free. he was able to capture the venomous snakes, but that's in jefferson county. they're under an emergency right now.
9:11 pm
>> tom sater for us at the weather center. this is live pictures from this neighborhood in northeast houston, the intersection of beltway and caldwell where we've been watching one rescue after another. again, people being guided, trying to walk through, wade through this water, which is knee-deep there, but up to people's waist, and we've seen so many people guided out, first carted out in boats, and if they could walk, they've walked hand in hand through this. lord only knows where they're going next, because so many areas in the city covered in water. there are shelters, thousands of people are now housed in those shelters. again, we're going to keep our eye on this scene as the minutes continue here to make sure that these people are taken care of. the houston mayor has been at the center of the storm, first in leading the local relief effort. second, in taking criticism for not ordering houston to leave.
9:12 pm
i spoke with him about this just before air. mayor, do you have any idea how many people are still stranded in their homes right now, how many need to be rescued? >> we don't know the exact amount, but today, we are focusing solely on rescuing individuals who still may be in their homes or apartments. so that is our total canvassing effort for today, is to get them from their roofs and homes. i do know at this point, we are sheltering close to 8,000 individuals. and i suspect that number will grow. >> 8,000 individuals and growing. do you think you're dealing with dozens of people still that need to be rescued or hundreds? >> i'm hoping at maximum, i'm hoping we're dealing with a few hundred. if not less. that's my hope. but quite frankly, it doesn't matter, if it's just one person, we'll be looking for that one person.
9:13 pm
the first responders have been doing an excellent job at reaching out, and we are canvassing the entire city, looking for people who are still in need of assistance. >> you also know that there have been those around the country and in the city asking about the decision not to issue any evacuation order in houston. had you known as much rain was going to fall and these floods were going to be as bad as they are right now, do you feel like evacuations would have been warranted? >> no. and let me tell you why, there are 2.3 million in the city of houston, about 4 million people in the county. you're talking a population of 6.5 million people. you can't evacuate 6.5 million people and put them on the road in two or three days prior to a storm. you can't do it. we were not in the direct path of the hurricane.
9:14 pm
we're dealing with the rain. it was always going to be a rainmaker for houston and harris county. we talked about it several years ago, when the city did evacuate, more than 100 people lost their lives on the street. you had people who were stranded, people who were in their cars eight to ten hours just going to austin. it would have been chaotic and more dangerous to put people on the road. then if people were trying to come back in the city now when the roads were impassable, it would have been a far worse situation. there is no doubt in my mind that we made the right decision to prepare for it, for people to shelter in place, and now we are going to take care of houstonians. we are doing that now. we're at the convention center. it's one of our shelters, where we host conventions and conferences. now we are hosting houstonians. we are going to take care of every single houstonian who is
9:15 pm
in need and i have no regrets at all for the decision we made in having people to shelter in place. >> what is your message to houstonians tonight as they face another tough night of rain ahead? what do you want people in their homes right now sheltering in place to know? >> well, the point is, if they're sheltering in place and they're in need, we will be there for them. we are not going to stop until we reach every single person who is in their home and needs to come out. i can't say enough for the first responders who are doing an exemplary job of reaching out. this is a city we work together, we band together as one. that's being demonstrated now and will be in the years to come. so i'm very, very proud of the people in this city, citizens, good samaritans, neighbors, the business community, very proud of how we have come together. no one is asking whether you're
9:16 pm
democrat or republican, no one is asking whether you're here legally or not. if you are in need, in this city, we ban together, to give you the assistance we need to get you back on your feet. the volunteers are incredible. as the mayor of houston, i could not be more proud. >> you and your people are an example right now. we wish you the best. >> thank you. come and visit us. >> that's mayor turner of houston, the mayor telling me some 8,000 people are in shelters, also saying he thinks the need for rescues is somewhere in the hundreds. i have to say, that number seemed low looking at the pictures we're seeing right now. these are live pictures from the northeastern part of the city, beltway and tidwell for those familiar with the area.
9:17 pm
i don't know how to describe it. it's like this inland sea right now in houston, with boats and people wading through and vehicles stopped. it appears we have seen dozens of rescues before our eyes. that's when you hear the mayor say hundreds still in need, that seems low. we'll keep our eye on this. tough, tough night in houston as you can see. we'll continue to update you on the efforts throughout the area. later, the president's thoughts on the storm and his defense of his controversial pardon of sheriff joe arpaio, which happened just azhar i have hit. for the biggest sale of the year with the new sleep number 360 smart bed. it senses and automatically adjusts on both sides. the new 360 smart bed is part of our biggest sale of the year where all beds are on sale. and right now save 50% on the labor day limited edition bed. when you switch to progressive. as easy as saving $600
9:18 pm
winds stirring. too treacherous for a selfie. [ camera shutter clicks ] sure, i've taken discounts to new heights with safe driver and paperless billing. but the prize at the top is worth every last breath. here we go. [ grunts ] got 'em. ahh. wait a minute. whole wheat waffles? [ crying ] why! ♪ i'm... i'm so in love with you. ♪ ♪ whatever you want to do... ♪ ...is alright with me. ♪ ooo baby let's... ♪ ...let's stay together... i was playing golf love golf.... i used to love golf.
9:19 pm
wait, what, what happened? i was having a good round, and then my friend, sheila, right as i was stepping into the tee box mentioned a tip a pro gave her. no. yep. did it help? it completely ruined my game. well, the truth is, that advice was never meant for you. i like you. you want to show me your swing? it's too soon. get advice that's right for you. investment management services from td ameritrade. i want to take you back to northeast houston. it's hard to find words what we've been watching here. dozens, if not hundreds of people being helped to safety, in a street covered in fast-moving water. we have to say, it is getting dark right now. remember, it's very hard for these boats, which have saved so many people to be out after dark. there is so much need still.
9:20 pm
i want to get back to gary tuchman. give us a sense of what you're seeing. >> reporter: john, friday, saturday, sunday, and now monday. a fourth terrifying night for so many texans still trapped in their homes surrounded by water. today, we spent the day with some fema workers from nebraska and ohio, rescuers who went to get people out of a nursing home surrounded by water. flood watered encircled this nursing home in katy, texas. inside, more than 70 seniors in their 70s, 80s, 90s. some frightened, some confused, all thankful that help has arrived. the rescue workers getting them out one by one, gently bringing them on board military trucks to get them out of the flood zone. >> you could tell some of them are very upset. that makes us upset. but i think all we can do is do
9:21 pm
the best thing for the patient, try to comfort them, let them know it's going to be okay. >> reporter: many of the residents are bedridden and not in good medical condition. doctors perform checkups before they take them out to the trucks. this rescue is being done with love. but also a sense of expediency. the current is getting stronger, the water getting higher. they need to be out as soon as possible. the nursing home residents board the truck, sitting side by side, getting ready for their exodus. >> they'll be sent to facilities best suited for their needs. >> we're going to take you to a good place with lots of friends and family. you know what caused all this? >> you? >> no, not me. hurricane harvey. i just wish you a good trip, okay?
9:22 pm
you'll be okay. that's my promise. >> that's sweet of you. >> reporter: and that's the rescuer's promise, too. many of these residents haven't left the neighborhood surround thing nursing home for many years. but now they have all left, safety rescued, and trucked out by men and women grateful for the opportunity to help. >> gary tuchman back with us now. do you have any sense of how these nursing home residents are doing at this time? >> reporter: john, the good news is all 82 of the seniors inside that nursing home are safe tonight. eight strucks were brought to take them out. they went to a truck stop in a dry part of houston where they were met with family members. others have been taken to other nursing homes in dry parts of the houston metropolitan area. john?
9:23 pm
>> gary tuchman for us in katy, texas. all 82 of those residents safe. on the left hand side, this is northeast houston, where rescues continue to go under way on this road, just covered by water there. it is getting dark. so pretty soon those boats won't be able to do what they're doing right now. let's go to cnn's ed lavandera, in dickinson, texas. ed, you spent the day with the national guard. what did you see? >> reporter: this is a unit of soldiers deployed from the dallas area. notice wolfpack. they were spending the day making their way through neighborhoods just like this, pulling people out of their homes, teaming up with other volunteers who had launched their boats, getting people out and moving them to shelters.
9:24 pm
this is a process that has been going on for the last 36 hours, they desperately needed it in many neighborhoods. the one silver lining is in many of these types of neighborhoods here in the dickinson area, and friendswood, a lot of the people who were trying to get out of these neighborhoods have been moved out. they've been going out quadrant by quadrant and taking out neighborhoods making sure everyone was evacuated. that is the sliver of good news, things moving quickly for people who felt trapped in their own homes. >> ed, this is not ever yesterday. we have a forecast for more rain. we have 10 to 15 more inches of rain. is that town prepared for what could come next? >> reporter: everyone is expecting -- they keep receiving these dreadful forecasts. as we stand here an hour or so from darkness, you see the rain continuing to fall. we have had little relief of
9:25 pm
rainfall throughout the day. of course, in the hours ahead, you start seeing the effects of that. they expect a lot of these tributaries and bayous that cut through this part of the area south of houston that perhaps to rise again. that's why there was that sense of urgency in a lot of these neighborhoods to get a lot of people out before darkness. >> ed lavandera for us in texas. we have been watching northeast of houston, as rescues are continuing in that area. someone who knows how to fight this battle, general russ honore joins us when "360" continues. the average family's hectic home: its witnessed 2 diy duos, 31 crashes, 4 food fights, and the flood of '09. it's your paradise perfected with behr premium plus paint. the best you can buy starting under $25. only at the home depot. if you could book a flight,
9:26 pm
then add a hotel, or car, or activity in one place and save, where would you go? ♪ expedia gives you the world in your hand, so you can see more of it. ♪ expedia. no splashing! wait so you got rid of verizon, just like that? uh-huh. i switched to t-mobile, kept my phone-everything on it- -oh, they even paid it off! wow! yeah. it's nice that every bad decision doesn't have to be permenant! ditch verizon. keep your phone. we'll even pay it off when you switch to america's best unlimited network.
9:27 pm
9:28 pm
live pictures of the impact of feet of rain, not inches, but feet, with more to come. 10 to 15 inches more perhaps in the houston area. these are live pictures of the northeastern part of that city. we've been seeing these rescues play out before our eyes with boats, with people walking out, being carried out to safety, with no end in sight frankly. joining us now, retired army lieutenant general russel honore, who led the recovery effort for katrina, a cnn contributor, a louisiana native and he was born during a hurricane. he joins us from baton rouge. also with us is greg carman in the national weather service. general, i know you can't see
9:29 pm
the picture we're looking at right now, but let me describe it to you broadly. this looked like a main thoroughfare at one point, a wide road, and we're seeing these live pictures right now, all kinds of boats, a rescue armada, rubber boats, motor boats, airboats, kayaks, people being led out by their hands right now to safety. and it's getting dark. soon these boats won't be able to be on the streets. what do they need to keep in mind as night falls there? >> well, they have to have hope and faith that the government is going to help them get out, those that are still there. and the ones being rescued are fortunate at this time that the good samaritans have come in to reinforce the organized first responders. that's a blessing. the other one is that we haven't
9:30 pm
had more people lost their lives. that's a blessing. based on the number of people we have got exposed in water, and i hope -- i heard the mayor. i like this mayor. i think he's a very proactive leader. but i hope this is not a new doctrine in america that when we get a weather warning, that we find rational not to evacuate people. because the disabled and elderly should have been evacuated. and volunteers should have been encouraged to leave. we do not intentionally leave people inside of known threats. we have spent a lot of money in this country in training and preparing our first responders in our cities. and i hope this does not become another new doctrine that we're
9:31 pm
going to wait until the flood comes and then try to get people out. >> just to be clear, general, the mayor told me he felt like trying to move 2 million people before this storm would have created more dangers, and he cited hurricane rita when 100 people died on the roads when they were being led out of the city. but you think it was a mistake not to evacuate? >> yeah, it was not the right decision. let me tell you what happens here. we had a great flood right here last year in baton rouge, and most of it was about waist deep, as is the case in houston. all those people who got out got out with their cars. now they listened to the government and their cars are gone, their houses are gone and they're stuck in a shelter. they're going to have a harder time to recover. people should be given the option to do that. but to give them comfort that they didn't have to evacuate wasn't a good decision. but this is not the time to solve that. but this is the beginning of
9:32 pm
hurricane season. 12 years ago today, katrina was about to make landfall in the gulf. and we don't want to, at the beginning of hurricane season, for another hurricane to come back to houston and this mayor and this leadership say, we're not going to evacuate. they exposed too many people to be sitting in flood water. and that is what we need to talk about. that's not our doctrine, to wait until the flood and then try to evacuate. >> greg carman with us, as well. chief of forecast operations for the national weather service. greg, i know you've been directly involved in the response along with fema. you've been giving them information twice day. tell us about that. what kind of coordination are you looking at behind the scenes?
9:33 pm
>> sure. thanks, john. the event is truly stunning watching these images this evening. i want to say it's also quite sad. my hearts go out to the folks in texas and louisiana, dealing with this catastrophic event. we have leaned forward. the federal government is leaning forward in this event. we have been providing forecasts remarkably accurate forecasts as far as the intensity of this system for about a week. there's always unl certainty in those forecasts, but we have been briefing all emergency managers at the national and local levels for days in advance of this event. really what is going on now is a response and recovery operation, and we're trying to get the best information into the hands of the people who need it and can make decisions to move those folks where they need to go. >> and they're being moved right before our very eyes. again, we were warned that feet of rain would be coming, and indeed, feet of rain has fallen with more to come. general russel honore, greg carman, thanks for being with us.
9:34 pm
pictures from moments ago from northeast houston. rescues just by the dozens you can see right there, that baby being led to safety. the president expressed confidence today that congress will quickly approve federal disaster relief funds. that and his defense of pardoning joe arpaio next. sarah is a fifth-grade teacher. when it comes to molding young minds, nobody does it better. she also builds her own fighting robots. destroy. but when it comes to mortgages, she's less confident. fortunately for sarah, there's rocket mortgage by quicken loans. it's simple, so she can understand the details and be sure she's getting the right mortgage. apply simply. understand fully. mortgage confidently. we believe in food that's anaturally beautiful,, fresh and nutritious. so there are no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives in any of the food we sell.
9:35 pm
we believe in real food. whole foods market.
9:36 pm
harvey strengthening. houston still getting hit hard. today, president trump praised how people are handling the devastation. he predicted that congress would act quickly to approve disaster relief funding and commented on the historic nature of the storm. >> the biggest ever. they're saying it's the biggest. it's historic. it's like texas, if you think about it. it is a historic amount of water.
9:37 pm
there's never been anything like it. so the people are handling it amazingly well. and the people of texas have really persevered. when you watch the spirit and enthusiasm, helping each other, it's being something to see. it's been incredible what they've been able to do. >> joining me now with more, live from the white house. what else did the president have to say about the ongoing situation in texas? >> reporter: we know the president and the first lady are traveling to texas tomorrow. we heard from the governor of texas greg abbott. he said he doesn't expect them to go to the areas hardest hit, but he thinks they'll stay in san antonio or corpus christy to tour those and they may go back later to possibly louisiana, depending on what's happening there. during that press conference
9:38 pm
today, the president did say he and congress will be able to come to an agreement on help for these flood ravaged areas. but when he asked if this makes him reconsider not threatening to shut down the government, he said not at all. he said this is a separate issue from the wall, and hopefully it won't be necessary to shut down the government over this border wall. >> the president was also asked about his pardon of sheriff joe arpaio, particularly the timing which came right as the hurricane harvey was founding the texas coast. >> reporter: right. not only did it come during that friday night, it was the same time he directed the pentagon to begin implementing his ban on transgender service members. and at the same time as the ouster of one of his most
9:39 pm
controversial aides in the white house, sebastien gorka. but the president said he was actually trying to highlight the news of him pardoning the sheriff. listen to what he said. >> in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a friday evening, i assumed the ratings would be far higher. and i put it out that i had pardoned, as we say sheriff joe. sheriff joe is a patriot. sheriff joe loves our country. sheriff joe protected our boarders. and sheriff joe was very unfairly treated by the obama administration, especially right before an election. an election that he would have won. and he was elected many times. so i stand by my partner sheriff joe, and i think the people of arizona who know him best would agree with me. >> reporter: we know in fact there are a lot of people in arizona who do not agree with
9:40 pm
this pardon. one of those people being senator john mccain. others being members of the president's own party. house speaker paul ryan, also criticized the move. but what's clear from today, john, the president does not regret pardoning the sheriff. >> not at all. joining me now, my panel. jeffrey, it was notable in the president's defense of the pardon what he did not talk about at all. which was the law, that sheriff joe arpaio was convicted of breaking, contempt of court. the court ordered him not to violate the civil rights of latino residents of arizona. >> right. this was a long, continuing drama in phoenix. there had been many challenges to arpaio's rule. and the one that really stuck was that he was accused and found to have conducted immigration round-ups. that included lots of people who were not illegally in the country. a judge told him to stop. not only did he continue, he
9:41 pm
brazenly defied the court and said, i'm going to continue any way. that's what led to the contempt of court finding. and that's what he was about to be sentenced for. and that's what ended as a result of the pardon. that legal process. >> again, not discussed at all by the president. as far as i could tell until this point. michael, what the president did talk about, though, was how many other bad pardons presidents have made in the past. it was almost as if he was saying look, there's a hall of shame out there for presidential pardons, and this one is in a long line of controversial presidential pardons. is that a good defense? >> it's not a good defense, but it's a fact. if you're pardoning something, they're in a criminal jam-up or they've been in jail. we saw president obama free a terrorist who was responsible for defendants and hundreds of bombings. >> you're doing it, too. >> absolutely. listen, pardons are, by their very nature, controversial. i think that president trump, while a lot of people disagree, especially on cnn, about this pardon, you know, he was looking
9:42 pm
at an 85-year-old man who had never been in trouble in his life who he felt and a lot of people in our camp feel was railroaded by a weaponized department of justice. and at 85 years old, convicted of a misdemeanor and what we thought was an unfair trial. he should have been in front of a jury to begin with. they were trying to put him behind bars. and i think the president in a lot of ways had compassion for joe arpaio, the kind of compassion a lot of people agree with. >> if it was just about the age, he could have commuted the sentence, which is different than a pardon. saying that wiping the slate clean completely, which is what he decided to do. he made that choice. ana, one other thing the president made clear is why he chose the timing, friday night. you were here with us friday night when the president released this news that he was
9:43 pm
pardoning sheriff joe arpaio, while a category 4 storm was making landfall. he basically said today he was using the ratings boost from hurricane coverage to draw focus to the pardon. i'm not sure the people of the texas coast would be thrilled that their tragedy was being used in such a way. >> it was one of those off the cuff, stupid, flippant, you know, inappropriate comments that donald trump tends to make when he's not on script. one of the things i found interesting about this press conference, he came with prepared remarks. he obviously had all of those what about examples of presidential pardons by other presidents prepared and ready to answer that question. i think you're seeing the influence of john kelly trying to bring some discipline to these press conferences when we saw that kind of a remark. yes, he showed compassion to his political crony joe arpaio.
9:44 pm
it would have been nice if he could have shown compassion to so many latinos, to so many citizens, latino citizens, citizens of arizona, a lot of them african-americans, who were racially profiled, who had to go through civil rights violations at the hands of joe arpaio. those people deserve respect and compassion, and that is something that the president of the united states is incapable of doing. all he knows how to do is throw a bone to his base and damn everybody else. >> jeffrey toobin, one of the theorys kicked around, it's throwing a bone to a supporter in some kind of legal trouble, which has led people to wonder whether or not this was a sign to people who are tied up or connected to this russia investigation saying hey, when push comes to shove, if you are charged or convicted here, i have your back. >> it certainly is a message that was heard in that way.
9:45 pm
i can't speak to what was going through donald trump's mind. but it is so unusual at this early same of a presidency to conduct -- to issue a controversial pardon like this to a political ally. bill clinton's pardon of mark rich was appalling, a disgrace. rich was a fugitive. it was on the last day of his presidency. his pardon of his brother, roger clinton, was on the last day of his presidency. george herbert walker bush pardoned a lot of the iran contra people at the very end of his presidency. to do it at this early stage is a sign that he's being to take some political heat to pardon his friends. i expect that michael flynn heard that message loud and clear, and he may benefit from it ultimately. >> any cost to paul ryan, john mccain, jeb bush, jeff flake,
9:46 pm
and a list of other republicans that you probably consider establishment republicans saying this was a bad idea? >> my response would be yada, yada, yada. they're against every single thing the president does that's the least bit controversial. i don't think paul ryan, john mccain, or anyone else in that crowd would have thought to pardon sheriff arpaio or anyone else for that matter who was headed for personal bankruptcy, who was being prosecuted by a very political justice department. they wouldn't have done that. because they don't have the kind of guts to do those things. they're against anything donald trump does. >> let me raise this business about this was a crusade from the obama justice department. this contempt was initiated by the judge in the case. that's who brought this case. the idea that this was some kind of vendetta from the justice department, i mean, that's just not true. >> michael? >> if you think that the judge and the judge weren't communicating, you're naive. this is a justice department
9:47 pm
that met on the tarmac with bill clinton. this justice department had gone off the rails in many ways. >> do you have any evidence, michael -- hang on, you're suggesting that a federal judge colluded with the prosecution here. do you have any evidence of that or are you just -- >> no, i don't. i'm just saying that the justice department was very deeply involved of -- >> you just accused without any evidence a federal judge of collusion. >> no, what i'm saying here is that the judge was an obama appointee. the justice department that brought this down on arpaio was very -- listen, this is all about immigration and specifically illegal immigration. it is a partisan, very visceral debate with people entrenched on both sides. and sheriff arpaio became a kind of vision of all of that. this 85-year-old man who was going to be driven into bankruptcy by these proceedings,
9:48 pm
the president saw that as something -- >> hang on, hang on. >> i've heard from trump supporters all day about the 85-year-old man. he had been doing racial profiling in arizona for decades now. the last time he got booted out of office, latinos and the people of arizona got organized and booted this shameful official out of office. >> and he also ran -- >> and he finally had to pay the piper and donald trump saved him. >> he's 85 years old and also considering running for office again. >> he ran for re-election and lost at 84. so a -- >> thankfully sheriffs like joe arpaio who want to enforce immigration laws won't be afraid to do so in the future. >> one note here, the judge was appointed by bill clinton, not president obama. but a democratic appointee at least from a democratic president. up next, more on the rescue
9:49 pm
effort in houston. we'll tell you what happened to these women in assisted living facility. and we'll speak to a volunteer group known as the cajun navy. you're more than just a bathroom disease. you're a life of unpredictable symptoms. crohn's, you've tried to own us. but now it's our turn to take control with stelara® stelara® works differently for adults with moderately to severely active crohn's disease. studies showed relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before or during treatment, always tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have flu-like symptoms or sores, have had cancer, or develop any new skin growths, or if anyone in your house needs or recently had a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems, including headaches, seizures, confusion, and vision problems. these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. some serious allergic reactions can occur. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
9:50 pm
we're fed up with your unpredictability. remission can start with stelara®. talk to your doctor today. janssen wants to help you explore cost support options for stelara®. a trip back to the dthe doctor's office, mean just for a shot. but why go back there, when you can stay home... ...with neulasta onpro? strong chemo can put you at risk of serious infection. neulasta helps reduce infection risk by boosting your white blood cell count, which strengthens your immune system. in a key study, neulasta reduced the risk of infection from 17% to 1%... ...a 94% decrease. applied the day of chemo, neulasta onpro is designed to deliver neulasta the next day. neulasta is for certain cancer patients receiving strong chemotherapy. do not take neulasta if you're allergic to neulasta or neupogen (filgrastim).
9:51 pm
ruptured spleen, sometimes fatal as well as serious lung problems, allergic reactions, kidney injuries, and capillary leak syndrome have occurred. report abdominal or shoulder tip pain, trouble breathing or allergic reactions to your doctor right away. in patients with sickle cell disorders, serious, sometimes fatal crises can occur. the most common side effect is bone and muscle ache. so why go back there? if you'd rather be home, ask your doctor about neulasta onpro. with the new sleep number 360 smart bed. it senses and automatically adjusts on both sides. the new 360 smart bed is part of our biggest sale of the year where all beds are on sale. and right now save 50% on the labor day limited edition bed.
9:52 pm
albreakthrough withyou back. non-drowsy allegra® for fast 5-in-1 multi-symptom relief. breakthrough allergies with allegra®. we get to see new information about the rescue operation we've been showing you throughout the hour in northeast houston. ktrk reporter ted oberg tells us the people that you're seeing here, many of them has walked as far as three miles over flood streets. he says that more than 100 people are down there waiting. there aren't enough boats to get them to safety, and it is getting dark. so people right now are wading, hoping to get to the spot to be rescued. coast guard pulled their boats out of this area because the water is too shallow.
9:53 pm
so the coast guard is not there. many of the rescues today have been at the hands of private citizens, not official first responders. among those people helping a group known as the cajun navy, they are volunteers with boats who have been running rescue missions since the aftermath of hurricane katrina. just before air i spoke to one of the cajun navy volunteers joshua lincoln. joshua, i want to talk about one specific rescue you were involved with today and i want to put up a picture. i know you can't see it. the picture of wilma ellis. she's 73 years old. you guys rescued her today. walk us through what happened. i understand when you came upon her, she was face-down in the water. >> correct. we were in the water, probably the first boat in the water in the area. we turned right into a street that had a large amount of current flowing through it, and our boat could barely make progress so we advanced maybe 100 yards.
9:54 pm
and as we advanced, we saw some debris and stuff floating in the water, and we were watching the current, which way it was going. i think i heard "it's a body" and it sounded jokingly, to me, and i said, no, that's a trash bag. seriously thought it was a trash bag. as we got closer and the current pulled it closer to our boat, we realized it was a body and instantly donnie jumped from the vessel, brought her up out of the water. ricky was manning the boat. he jumped in immediately, also. i was at the front of the boat leaving us in a serious current with nobody manning the motor in the back. they quickly grabbed her, started to resuscitate her and
9:55 pm
were able to get her to breathing slowly. and then we were able to control the boat. so we got her back to safety and that's that. >> she wasn't breathing when you found her. you guys had to resuscitate her. any idea how she's doing now? wilma ellis, 73 years old. >> wilma is doing fine. we found three family members. the family members thought she was safe at high ground, a school, so they were misinformed. but a gentleman through the cajun navy in baton rouge was able to locate the relatives and have them get back over to her. they thought she was safe and sound but that was done all through social media and cajun navy.
9:56 pm
>> if you guys hadn't found her, what do you think would have happened to her? >> if we hadn't -- if we would have been 30 seconds late, i think she would not have come back. >> it seems like you came a long way to do this. why is it so important to you? >> i think it's important because in my life i've been through a lot of storms including katrina. so seeing how people in texas responded and helped us in a disaster kind of tugged at my heart. i lost -- my house was flooded and lost all kinds of things during katrina. that tugged at my heart and i was like, you know what, i'm not going to go to work tomorrow. i'm just going to head that way and meet up with somebody and do what i can do. that's what every man in the cajun navy has done. man and woman. >> it's a different kind of work
9:57 pm
you're doing right now, paying it forward. i have to say, saving at least one life here. and i know your work is not done. joshua lincoln, thank you so much for what you do, really an unbelievable example for all of us. >> my pleasure. all right. there was another rescue that received national attention because the picture is just so heartbreaking. i want to show you an assisted living facility in dickinson, just a horrific scene. this photo went viral after it was posted on social media. we are happy to report everyone in this picture was rescued. they are safely at another facility. we'll be right back. it. you're trying everything to get pregnant. new one-a-day couples pack gives you both nutritional support you may need. for her to prepare for a healthy baby and for him to support healthy sperm. be in it together. what bad back?gels work so fast you'll ask what pulled hammy? advil liqui - gels make pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger
9:58 pm
or longer what pain? advil.
9:59 pm
10:00 pm
thanks so much for watching "360." i'm john berman. cnn's coverage continues with chris cuomo. "cuomo prime time" starts now. i'm chris cuomo. welcome to prime time. horrible circumstances and heroic acts. that's the story of tropical storm harvey so far. let's be clear, the danger is far from over. houston has seen 25 inches of rain in just two days. could see another 25 inches of rain by saturday. that would equal the average rainfall that houston gets in a year. levels are not expected to crest for days. we're seeing the damage spread to other states.