Skip to main content

tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  August 31, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

12:00 pm
let me bring in maeve reston. there is a list of items on the agenda, which, you know, these reporters could ask her about, namely, of course, the fact that the president will be traveling back to texas this weekend. what will you be listening for? >> reporter: i think a lot of people really felt that his visit, the president's visit earlier this week was a missed opportunity in the sense that you did not see him doing the kinds of things that we saw the vice president doing today during his visit down there. you know, so many times, president trump has kind of failed the commander in chief test in the sense of, you know, people wanting to see him out there consoling people or, you know, calling for healing, that kind of thing. and i think that, you know, it will be interesting to see what kind of a visit they're planning when the first lady and the president return. mike pence is so natural in that role, you know, as the footage that you just saw showed, and you remember earlier this year, he was -- or maybe even last
12:01 pm
year, earlier this year, he was in missouri when there was that jewish cemetery that was desecrated, kind of out there trying to be a healing voice, and i think a lot of people want to see trump step up more to that test. i mean, this is a very important moment for him. obviously, we all know, you know, that president bush's presidency was in many ways defined by that moment in hurricane katrina and you're just seeing these haraeartbreak images so it will be a really -- >> let's go to the white house. >> more importantly, the american people have many questions related to hurricane harvey. and as you all know, the president was in corpus christi and austin earlier this week, and today, at the president's direction, the vice president, mrs. pence, and five cabinet secretaries are back in texas meeting with local officials and storm survivors and thanking many of the first responders and other volunteers. the president's team here has been working around the clock to support state and local authorities, following the storm, and now i'm going to
12:02 pm
bring up the president's homeland security security adviser to provide an update on the administration-wide effort to support the recovery and relief efforts in the wake of hurricane harvey. he'll make a few opening remarks and then stay to take questions specific to the storm and what the administration is doing to help the state and local authorities and the people of texas and louisiana, and as always, after tom speaks and takes your questions, i'll be back up here to take questions on other topics. thanks, guys. >> thanks, sarah. let me see if i can start by addressing some different audiences. we've got international audience, national audience, state and local audience, let me see if i can speak to them. from the international perspective, we've had heads of state from a lot of different countries, in particular i would stress today, yesterday, the heads of state of mexico and canada called to express their condolences, their prayers and thoughts but also assistance if
12:03 pm
they could lend anything to the effort. we very much appreciate that. and the president was deeply touched by those phone calls. i joined him for the call from justin trudeau just moments ago and we appreciate the neighborly gesture. quite seriously and it's an international expression of what we're seeing here at a very local level. we've got neighbors helping neighbors in texas and louisiana, but also neighbors that aren't in close proximity, internationally, expressing help, so our international neighbors of canada and mexico are also offering their condolences and we very much appreciate it. we're seeing deployed assets now from a lot of states. i know we've got 28, for instance, search and rescue teams and task forces from, i think, 16 different states, all sending down their support to texas. that's a pretty large activation. in fact, i believe that's the first time we've activated all the task forces since 9/11, so this is an all hands on deck operation, and it's not just a federal one. there are state and local
12:04 pm
officials from all walks, even from pennsylvania, where i'm from, there are people now addressing this problem by getting their hands dirty and going right down to texas to help. so we want to stop and say thank you to them for that. and then, if i can move to the nation, many of you are watching this and you want to hear from us what we're doing. i want to make sure you understand that you should continue to have confidence in what we're doing as a government. there are significant commodity numbers and numbers of personnel and material moving into this affected region and it's an increasing number every day as we move forward. but i would be remiss if i didn't stop and say that none of that matters if you're an affected individual. so, 10,000 liters of water doesn't matter if i don't have the one liter i need to drink right now. if i could, i'd like to stop and give a message or two directly to the people who need the assistance, and if i can, this might sound a little bit mundane from a white house podium but if you're in need of assistance and you have access to a functioning computer, if you can get to a shelter or some place where you can do this, it's very important
12:05 pm
that you go to www.disasterassistance.gov. you can find what you need there to register for the assistance that you might need. 1-800-462-7585. again, 1-800-462-7585. there's another number that fema's given us after 621-3362. i think 621 -- 1-800-621-3362. i'd like to give them the advice that it's never too early to call your insurance adjuster. if you have property loss on damage, it's going to take time, there's going to be a high volume of calls and we want to make sure that your needs are attended to as soon as possible. so that's where we stand right now. i'd like to go through a few additional messages, life saving
12:06 pm
life sustaining operations are still under way. we have seen hospitals suffer damage in beaumont. the d.o.d. and the hss officials responsible for coordinating the federal response here are actively figuring out and deploying resources to help move those patients to better definitive care locations. so we will see probably upwards of 7,000 estimated patients moved into better and safer definitive care hospitals elsewhere in texas. and we'll see that happen expeditiously. i'm quite comfortable of whether russell wilson those operations stand. secondly, a little word of caution. a lot of lost lives end up in this time -- in this time zone right after a response. we lose, unfortunately, some lives and an immediate disaster, but then in the immediate response and recovery phase, people will use chain saws, people will remove debris, people will be stressed. the elderly, when they're stressed, you heard the doctor say, tend to get sick. that sickness can lead to death, unfortunately. and so unfortunately, we will
12:07 pm
see additional losses of life if history is any precedent here or if precedent -- if that history is any prologue. we will see an additional loss of life. so please try to avoid that. try to avoid strain and stress. try to get to where there's food, water, and shelter, and take care of yourself so that you can then take care of others. with that, i'd like to suggest that from the fema perspective, they're continuing that operation, but from the white house, it's important that we look at the cost of these events and look on the horizon of what's next. as we look into it, these are estimates at this point, but it looks like round about 100,000 affected homes. that's a big number. we're going to have 100,000 affected homes, all with different degrees of insurance, some with flood insurance, some under insured, some uninsured. we'll have to address those on a case by case basis as we move forward but i want to put a scope of magnitude on this. we're going to have damage to publicly owned infrastructure so what whether he do as an administration is put together a responsible supplemental request
12:08 pm
for congress, appropriations request. i will make that request shortly. we'll make that request based on the information that we have now, and what we'll do then is come back later for a second supplemental question when we have additional information that would make a more informed total for congress to consider. i would like to stop on that point and take a few questions. >> obviously, after hurricane sandy, some money flowed fairly quickly but the big bill didn't get signed until months after. how important is it, do you believe, with texas for congress to get that money through faster? the president promised it would happen quickly. >> so, three things here. first you have to look at the health of the disaster relief fund, which is funding most of this operation. that was a relatively healthy fund. it had about $3.6 billion in it heading into this storm. that allowed us to get through the initial response operations. that drawdown rate, though, is something we keep a close eye on. we're going to need to go up and
12:09 pm
ask for a disaster supplemental shortly. we are also secondly heading up into the end of a fiscal year, and so any available money from a regularly appropriated perspective at a department or agency is running out. the end of the fiscal year is upon us. and so congress had already planned to provide us some replenishment into that fund through the regular course of operations. and then thirdly, if there are, and there will be, needs for additional funding in the future, as those drawdown construction numbers become more clear on the recovery phase, we'll be able to look at them and ask for a third, you know, kind of bite at the apple on this. that's where we stand and i'm not worried at all that we don't have the money right now for the operations under way and the operations that we foresee in the next month. >> thank you. you mentioned the office of assistance from the leaders of canada and mexico. will the president be accepting any of those offers of assistance? >> the answer here is that the president didn't get into the specifics and neither did the heads of state calling so i think their primary purpose was
12:10 pm
to express and extend their prayers and thoughts and their condolences to those that lost their lives. what we'll do is turn over to fema, the department of state, to accept that request for additional actual concrete, you know, or tangible assistance. fema, then, as an office of international affairs, they'll figure out how to integrate that with the operators. if we have unmet needs that they can offer some valuable supply for, we'll take that but there's no reason to not take that assistance. >> can you get back to us and let us know exactly what you guys said yes to. >> i would say yes but i would highly encourage you to ask fema how that's unfolding because you have to look at that from a very specific perspective. i've done that before and the operators had to integrate something very carefully into a logistics chain that is very complex. >> you talk about what's next for the recovery that's obviously going to be not just months but years in the making. the administration has proposed significant cuts to fema. are you given, are you encouraging the president to
12:11 pm
rethink those budget cuts? you've been in emergency management a while. do you think he should reconsider that. >> there's a number of misnomers on that. the core operating function at fema is going to be well funded. the disaster relief fund, which really provides the money for these events that you don't plan for but that you prepare for, those things will be all well funded through that disaster relief fund. but what you will see are responsible proposals in the president's budget for reduction in some homeland security grants. those grants, i was around for their creation, those grants were never meant to be permanent and what we need to do is reduce state and local dependency on some of that money but we need to do that in a responsible way. you'll see not just a request for a cut in money but some additional details that allow the states to responsibly develop a glide path to get off of those grants and their dependence on them. so i would say understanding that's important for the american people to know that the president wasn't irresponsibly cutting any money.
12:12 pm
in fact, he was doing something that would further empower state and locals and then i would come back to reiterate that the disaster relief fund is strong. it's got plenty of money in it now and we're going to have for some very responsible surplus supplementals. >> could you talk to me about the issue of those who are displaced. temporary housing is a big issue. what can you tell us about what's happening over at hud, what's happening with this administration as it relates to this. it was a big issue during katrina, and it was a major problem. are you looking at issues of finding and designating vacant locations for some of these people to -- some of these victims or survivors to go into. >> so, i met with the chiefs of staff of all the cabinet today, and we talked about housing quite a bit, what's happening now is hud in cooperation with fema and state and local officials are starting to get together the available housing stock, both available rental stock, manufactured housing, which often fits a need in this type of disaster, but also available housing stock for
12:13 pm
those who receive assistance under hud programs, section 8 in particular. so, we're trying to put all those housing stock solutions and all those government programs together, think through what's available and how people might utilize that. fema's doing that in a planning section but their operators are focused on saving lives. one additional point there. this will be a housing challenge. but i don't want to concede any kind of housing lack of kword neigh. what we have to do is allow a lot of this to unfold so when i say 100,000, some portion of those homes were affected with two foot of water or less. some were affected with eight foot of water or more and you'll have to look at a case by case basis, the people and their -- whether they're under water financially, under water actually and we'll have to work with mortgage lenders and others as we address those problems. >> during katrina, there was a big issue of when the people received housing -- separate housing, rent prices went up dramatically. is there any kind of safety net that that will not happen, that the survivors will not be gouged
12:14 pm
when they go into these temporary housing situations. >> yeah, you just used an important word and i'll make a really clear point right now. gouging will not be tolerated. jeff sessions and the president of the united states will not tolerate gouging. anybody that's going to go out and try to take advantage of a disaster victim ought to expect law enforcement to come down on them with a hammer. it's not acceptable on a regular day and it's certainly not acceptable when people are suffering. what we'll do is use the latitude that we have under the law and provide a fair market value rental rate that's a little bit higher than 100% to accommodate the natural demand and supply tensions. >> the follow-up on april's question about gouging and housing, what about gas prices? is the administration looking at that in terms of national pricing against gouging for profit. >> gouging is a problem. if it exists and if it happens at all levels and every vertical market and every horizontal but i think the idea here on fuel is a good question. we had at one point in the peak
12:15 pm
somewhere around 4% of our oil shut in, in the gulf, due to the rigs having to pull themselves in. that number's going to come back online. to bring all the business operations in the houston petrochemical triangle, we need to make sure employees have housing. while there might be some affect to fuel prices, right now we're hope it's not a large or sustainable fuel price at the pump problem. what we'll also do is look for the health of the pipelines so remember there's still rain falling. state's exhib texas is not experiencing any rain today, not any major storm. now louisiana and the rest of the tennessee valley and the middle of the country are starting to see rainstorms. colonial and the plantation pipelines, we'll keep an eye on that. we talked about that today in our meeting and if we have any update on that, we'll give it to you the rest of the week. >> on this crosby chemical plant, the local sheriff says the plume is not dangerous to the community.
12:16 pm
the fema director says by all means, it's dangerous. which is it? >> so, if you were there, it would be dangerous, but the good news is that the people around the facility have been evacuated already because of the storm and because of the notice that we had on the pending explosion. some really responsible reporting, private, public partnership took place on that facility, and what we saw was that the electric power that went to the pumps and to the maintenance systems shut out. we couldn't responsibly get that power back. so the temperature rose in a concealed tank or confined tank a we ended up having explosion. they don't know of anyone yet that's in that area of plume that would be affected. if they were there, it would be dangerous, but for right now, the people don't seem to be there. so a free falling in the woods, if you will. >> i have one more question. there are 575,000 undocumented immigrants in houston, one of the largest populations in this country. does this white house believe they should be eligible for long-term federal recovery
12:17 pm
assistance. >> i think illegal immigrants and that issue's come up a number of times, if you've committed a crime, that's the priority for the department of homeland security. i think you've heard john kelly say that pretty clearly. what i would say, though, is in terms of immediate life-saving, no individual human being should worry about their immigration status unless they've commit add crime on top of coming here illegally. when it comes to getting food, water, and shelter. so the authorities won't be conducting any routine swipes or searches inside those shelters. those are shelters for food, water, and providing kind of insulation against exposure. so that will happen and we won't go start rounding people up there. we don't want to discourage that. subsequently, our priority will be illegal immigrants that have committed crimes, they're going to be rounded up as they always are and taken out of this country if we find them. i think that's pretty clear. >> 15 oil refineries went
12:18 pm
offline as a result of the hurricane. is it your understanding that they've gone back online? is this a concern for you? are there any thoughts of tapping into the spr because this represents 25% of the u.s. oil refining capacity. >> i don't have an answer for you on that right now. certainly the president will make that decision if necessary. you don't want to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve if you don't have the refinery capability to handle that. so i haven't checked today on the status of the refineries but i know people have. and i can get that answer back to you. we worry about that, but for right now, i'm not aware of any major damage to the refineries and so that's why i suggest that -- to the earlier question, we might have an effect to fuel prices but it shouldn't be a huge one. don't hold me to it. we'll come back tomorrow and give you a better answer. >> two questions. first up, super storm sandy, the federal recovery package was around $60 billion. governor abbott has suggested this might exceed $100 billion.
12:19 pm
does governor abbott's estimate sound reasonable that this will exceed $100 billion, and the second question is, we've received a lot of sanguine reports about coordinations between federal, state, and local agencies. can you give me a sense of one or two challenge areas where that coordination may require some improvement. >> okay, so on the first question, there's nobody that's wrong on estimates right now. i don't have any information to challenge anyone's estimate, and i don't think that they have any reason to think their estimates are wrong so we're in the estimate game right now and as a result, what we'd like to do is not get into second guessing anybody, in particular the governor, who's got the firsthand knowledge of what's happening. but what we'd like to do as a strategy is figure out the predictable burn rate for the response operations and puts up a responsible supplemental request to congress. we'll give them a sound supplemental request number. we'll add to it -- i think we've
12:20 pm
got some internal numbers but i don't want to get out in front of director mull mulvaney. we'll have a supplemental request later when we have better understanding and when we get a better handle on the damage, we can come back with a responsible last, so to speak, supplemental request supplemental requeand get the congress to give us an informed amount of money. >> the second part of the question, tom. were there any areas where coordination has been wanting, where you've seen a need for improvement. >> no, you know, i think at this point, the menl is that coordination's happening better than any storm we've seen before so stressing on anything that's not working well really is, especially from this podium, going to be ill informed. i'm seeing nothing but positive. i'm seeing nothing but appropriate coordination. if there's a problem somewhere, brock is going to get his handle around it and dpiks fix it. not to be political on that answer but i don't have a negative word on coordination
12:21 pm
right now. >> let me ask you about the strategic petroleum reserve, 500,000 barrels were pushed out today. the energy department says that during katrina, on a loan basis, it was nearly 10 million barrels, so we're talking so far just a fraction of what was put out during katrina. what is the administration's thinking going forward as to how the spr will be used and is what we saw today just a start of what might happen going forward. >> yeah, as i said, i'll come back to you on where we stand after talking to secretary perry. i don't have the numbers right now and what we're going to do and why. again, though, i'd caution comparisons between storms. every disaster is different. every emergency manager is different. where the storm hits, what it hits and who it affects constitute massive changes in how we respond to those storms. so in terms of your structural question, though, i think if any need for that strategic petroleum reserve manifests, i think we'd be very comfortable in tapping into that providing that alleviated resource.
12:22 pm
>> there's some talk about attaching supplemental to the debt ceiling increase, some talk about rolling a supplemental debt ceiling increase into overall continuing resolution. from an emergency management standpoint, how important is it to your thinking to get a clean supplemental? >> well, i think everyone wants a clean supplemental, and so as we tie the -- hopefully we get a responsible budget, right and that the congress comes together and finds a way to take the president's requests and meet it. that would be an ideal answer. your presupposing that we're going to have a continuing resolution. that's not the best way to run a railroad but based on your question, we might have a cr. if that happens, it's fine. -- not fine but less ideal but nevertheless fine. to my needs as a emergency manager here looking for a drf supplemental. the drf supplemental should focus on replenishing the disaster relief fund and any other ancillary and obvious needs that might come for other departments and agencies for repairing roads or highways of that nature. but i think that will be
12:23 pm
separate and distinct from the debt ceiling. i think we have every reason to believe that's going to happen in a responsible way as well and i'll allow sarah to amplify that if you have additional questions but from my perspective now and from the planning session we had this morning, i don't think there's going to be any particular problem in our approach to the congress in this fall. that's at least my sense. >> can i ask you about -- i'm just a little confused about your answer to see seon undocum immigrants. is that a yes or no? does the administration support funding. on the undocumented immigrants, eligible for long-term relief, help. >> what happens once they leave -- will undocumented immigrants will able to get -- >> eligibility standards range across a number of different programs and if you are an immigrant that has commit add crime, you're going to be removed. i guess the question is if you're looking for assistance that's eligible for citizens, you're not eligible in that case but that doesn't mean we're going to let somebody starve or die of thirst or exposure. i don't think there's too much
12:24 pm
of a problem there. i'm not sure where they were living before they got into the shelter. i'd be making some pretty gross suppositions at this point. but i understand the hypothetical you're driving towards, just not looking to deal with it. >> coming to the u.s. legally as a crime and that they -- >> it is. >> and deported them and said you're saying that the priority is still to deport people who have committed a crime on top of that. >> that's correct. >> and so if you are an undocumented immigrant and you did have a home and the home was destroyed in flood and you are in a shelter, what happens. >> there's a lot of if's there and i'll figure that out as i deal with them by bu the priorities couldn't be any clearer. i don't think that i even know how to going answer that question but i will say that there's no real wavering here. it's pretty clear our position on immigration. hopefully that answers your question. i don't think there's going to be a lot of benefits going out to illegal immigrants in terms of the american taxpayer but he's also made the point that those who have come to the country and then commit crimes
12:25 pm
constitute the priority we need to focus on and that's not a victimless crime. and so i think that the focus on gangs and other things have everybody pretty well busy right now and the focus on saving lives and providing food, water, and shelter have everybody pretty well busy right now and i think what you'll find is the good men and women of i.c.e. are providing assistance not only to the men and women of texas and louisiana that are american citizens but also in the interim to people of any immigration status that need food, water, and shelter. so, if i could, i'd like to leave it at that because that's the clear message i'd like to leave behind to somebody that might otherwise, no disrespect intended, be discouraged from going in and finding something that would save their life. that's the message for today. >> flood insurance programs. before this year, it was $25 billion. now this. the question is, should homeowners who are in flood zones have to pay even more than they already have been paying in premiums to fund the program or should this be a problem that taxpayers help solve.
12:26 pm
at this point, this disaster proves that even if you're not in a floodplain, you still run the risk of having your house flood. >> couple of questions here and i'll give you a couple of answers. first, just for clarity, because there are people suffering looking for immediate answers. for clarity's sake, if you have flood insurance policy and you've been paying your premiums, call and get your claim in. there is no problem, there is no shortfall. we have enough money to meet those claims and you're going to get what you've got coming to you under your policy. so that's the first, i think, answer here for the national flood insurance program. the second one for people watching this, you have to understand that that flood insurance program is coming up to be reauthorized. it's about to expire. it's going to have to ri authorized and i have every confidence that congress will reauthorize that program. and the third part of your question is, how much money is left under that borrowing authority and the answer is, enough, i think, $8.6 billion to get through this round of claims and then some. it will push us into the late fall, wintertime frame when we have to get into projections ar.
12:27 pm
future policy discussion, i think this administration's been pretty clear we'd like to see responsible reform to the national flood insurance program. i don't think now's the time to debate those things as we need to help people that have pending claims but we'll debate that late fall here as we come up with good policy ideas to help move that back into a risk based private sector hopefully supported solution. but fema's been pretty clear about how to do that and to do it responsibly so as to not throw anybody off that's on that current program. you can't buy a flood insurance program in this country that's not underwritten by the united states of america. the agent that sold it to you might be a private agent and that's a public private partnership that's been working since the reagan administration but at the end of the day, that standard flood insurance policy that you have, sfip that you have, is underwritten by the federal government. can guy back in the back. >> question about undocumented. the president is reported to be poised to make a decision about the daca program. right now, the d.r.e.a.m.ers who
12:28 pm
were in that program believe that they are documented, that they are documented to work, have work permits, etc. there are those in the pipeline who have applied for extensions or new applicants. in the time going forward, what is your advice to them about their risks of being deported in any of those three categories under the daca program. >> so the question's on deferred action against childhood arrivals. and i think what you'll see is that the -- my position today is that the administration still reviewing is policy on the second parts of your question, what happens to people that are in an illegal status that require assistance, i'd refer you back to how i answered the first question. anybody needing food, water, shelter is going to get it anybody here illegally that subsequently committed a crime is going to get caught and thrown out and anybody in between has to wait for a decision or at least a policy announcement from the administration on how we're going to handle deferred action moving forward. >> do you believe that is likely to be revealed in the days that
12:29 pm
are coming up now in which you're trying to manage an emergency. >> i don't know the timing of that. but as soon as the president's ready to announce the result of our policy process, he'll do so. >> have you been consulted on the decision. >> i have. >> just want to ask, will the threat of lawsuits from the state of texas -- is that affect the decision or influence the decision at all. >> say that one more time. >> the threat of a lawsuit from the state attorney general that sent the letter to the doj, will that affect the decision. >> it won't affect the policy decision but it will affect the timing of it. we have to watch the lawsuits and how they me trick late through the courts and when the deadlines will be imposed. it won't affect the policy decision. if i could now, i think it's been -- i've been -- i've been told to turn to -- i think we have skype questioners. not that you folks in
12:30 pm
washington, d.c., don't matter to me. we've got skype questioners. where do i go? so, i think first is it somebody from texas that's going to ask a question from skype and how do i get that, sarah? here we go. sir, you're on. go ahead. >> greg grugen, fox 26 in houston. >> greg, we got you loud and clear. >> we have, in the houston area, army corps of engineer reservoirs that are frankly failing -- flooding, examining that situation, is the administration considering adding additional sources to the -- >> i think -- did everybody hear that question? i think just to repeat it in case we're not wired up right here, i think the question, good one, was that people in houston are worried about the two systems, the two reservoir systems that the army corps of engineers maintains. they've been pictured on
12:31 pm
television over topping, they've been in a controlled release environment, allowing a lot of water through the affected populated areas of houston and you want to know if they're safe and if there's any additional funding needed. was that the question? okay. i'm going to answer that question. i think that's a yes. >> exactly. >> so, the answer is, and it's just so happens that earlier this morning, almost just before i came out here, i was in contact with the general in charge of the army corps of engineers and three answers here. first, he's got engineers monitoring those systems right now for structural integrity so what you don't want to have happen is water come over the top and then eat away at the other side of the wall and have the structural integrity undermined in that fashion we've seen in previous events. as of an hour ago, there was no structural integrity determined by any of the engineers that are standing there watching the facility and so that means that nobody's in immediate damage or i'm sorry, in immediate harm's way of damage and additional property loss.
12:32 pm
but then, lastly, the question is, do we need any additional noun shore those facilities up so i would turn and answer that a little bit differently. we're not going to get into a position of saying they're safe or not safe, or asking for more money or not right now, what we'll do is continue the controlled release. the reason a controlled release is good is it's the alternative to an uncontrolled release. if you don't do that, you'll end up with the structural integrity failure i referenced a moment ago so as soon as the water goes down, we're going to have flooding for some time, but the big, large, heavy masses of water that are going down and out right now are flowing in a way that will allow us to get in and do an engineering assessment over the coming days and weeks and if there was structural integrity problems cause bid d e coming days and weeks, we'll assess that and put together responsible number, estimate for repair, and then we'll put it forth to congress and very last on that, we'll do it in a way
12:33 pm
that thinks through a mitigation perspective. you just don't want to rebuild it to the way it was before and have it undermined again so when you put federal dollars into a project like that, you want to make sure you do it smartly. so that's the way that process will go. it will take a little time for the engineers, but the good news right now for the people in houston is that boast of those reservoir systems are holding up and there's engineers sitting there watching them on a 24/7 basis. thank you for that question and thank you for doing what you're doing down there. hope your home hasn't been affected. all right. do i have another question? >> lot of friends. >> is there one more? all right. sarah, you're on. >> hi, this is justin with kprk, abc out of the houston. how are you. >> i'm doing well. >> what will you guys do differently -- i mean, we've had disasters all over before. how do you reassure the people
12:34 pm
of texas that real help is coming and it's coming quickly? >> how do you reassure people that help is coming and help is coming quickly. there's a short answer. we send help and we send it quickly. i don't mean that glibly. when we get requests from the governors and mayors, we send in as much as they ask for or more to make sure they're there to meet those needs. the reassurance parts comes in the pudding, the proof is in the pudding so if we're not getting to where he need to get, we need to hear that and i'm not immune to criticism and neither is brock long and neither are the local officials there. the mayor has stood up and tang a great deal of smart criticism but he's also taken a great deal of smart action and from my perspective, what you have to do is hold us accountable and what i think this president's doing, president trump is holding me and probrock long and elaine du and he's getting down to the governor and finding out if we're doing it right from his perspective. so that's the answer.
12:35 pm
i think it's pretty straightforward. is there anything that's unmet from a needs perspective right now that you want to inform us of? if you do have something, i'm 20 yards from the president. we'll take it to him. >> i mean, not as of yet, but there's a lot of communities that have been devastated here, and there's going to be a lot of needs really quickly. >> yeah. let me pick up on that and use that because that's a great point to wrap up my remarks here today. we are still in response mode, and that means life saving, life sustaining. there are still people up to their waists in water. there are still the elderly and the infirm that require our immediate attention. there are still hospitals in need of evacuation and relocation. we've activated all those forces from d.o.d. and from hhs to move those patients, but we're soon going to move into a long,
12:36 pm
frustrating recovery process. the important message is that we're not going anywhere and all this talk about supplemental funding, it's about having the money in the reservoir of cash, sorry to use that pun, of having the money to use to help you get back into your homes and schools and jobs. we're going to have houston and texas bickgger and better and stronger. i couldn't be any more proud to be in this job and i thank you for your time and attention. that's going to be the last question. i appreciate your time. thank you, tom. finally, before i open it up for further questions, i wanted to be sure and highlight a major step forward in the fight against isis. earlier today, the iraqi prime minister declared that after a nearly two-week-long military
12:37 pm
operation, the city of talafir, fully delivered from isis militants. this represents the loss of a very important isis stronghold, the hometown of a number of top isis command erers. we congratulate the iraqis and will continue to support them in their fight to take their country back from radical islamic terror rim. wi -- terrorism. >> one follow-up on tom's remarks. he said that the white house would be putting together supplemental. do you have a sense of when you will submit that to congress and then secondly, can you confirm reports that the president has leaning towards or deciding to end daca and what are the ramifications of that for the d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> i'll take the first question in terms of supplemental funding, as tom said, we're working with congress, we're not going to get ahead of director mulvaney. he is working with him around the clock to make sure that process moves forward quickly and effectively. in terms of daca, echoing,
12:38 pm
again, on what tom said earlier, final decision on that front has not been made, and when it is, we will certainly inform everybody in this room. >> in january, the president said that d.r.e.a.m.ers shouldn't be worried. so can you stand here today and say d.r.e.a.m.ers should not be worried. >> once again, when we have a final decision, this is under review, there are a lot of components that need to be looked at and once a decision is made, we will certainly let you guys know. >> sarah, there's a specific report out by fox that talks about -- that says, essentially, a decision is made to roll back the program by the end of this week and that there will be provisions allowing d.r.e.a.m.ers who are in the country right now to stay until their work authorization expires. are you specifically denying that report? >> no offense to your colleague from fox news, but i think i'm a little bit better informed than they are in terms of when the white house has made a decision and as i just said a moment ago, it has not been finalized and
12:39 pm
when it is, we will certainly let you know. >> two questions on glen. can you talk about the time line here? you've got these states that have said september 5th is when they will continue this court action, obviously the tuesday after labor day. so does that mean that some decision will be coming down tomorrow before the holiday weekend. can you talk about the time line for this, for those folks who are wondering what their status is going to be here it ha. >> i'm not going to get ahead of something. we don't know when the final review is going to be completed so it would be disingenuous for me to create a false time line that isn't workable. >> so you guys aren't even -- >> there are a lot of conversations around the time line and when that has to be made and again that hasn't been fully reviewed and vet and had decided. >> there's obviously been a huge outpouring of support for people around the country, harvey, you see people lining up to volunteer, people donating tens of millions of dollars. can you speak to what the president and his family have done regarding donation for harvey relief, personally. >> yes, i can. i had a chance to speak directly
12:40 pm
with the president earlier and i'm happy to tell you that he is -- would like to join in the efforts that a lot of the people that we've seen across this country do and he's pledging $1 million of personal money to the fund and he's actually asked that i check with the folks in this room since you are very good at research and have been doing a lot of reporting into the groups and organizations that are best and most effective in helping and providing aid and he'd love some suggestions from the folks here and i'd be happy to take those if any of you have them. but he'll pledge, proudly, $1 million of his own personal money to help the people of texas and louisiana. >> previously, the president had said that he may return to texas and may also go to louisiana over the weekend. do you have an update on the president's travel schedule? we know that vice president mike pence is there today. and if the president is going, where might he go, and will he meet with the evacuees while
12:41 pm
he's there. >> the president and the first lady will be traveling both to texas and louisiana on saturday. the specific cities and locations are being finalized. hopefully we'll have that information for you later today. i believe as of right now, tentatively, he plans to be in the houston area of texas and possibly lake charles, louisiana, but again, you know, varying on conditions that may change a little bit. that's a tentative plan at this point. >> now surveyed the president went to missouri to push for tax reform. he has said the administration has said they'd like to see a bill before the house of representatives in september but there's differences between where the administration is and where house gop leaders are. do you still expect that to happen in september? >> as we've said before, this is going to be a big priority for the administration. certainly moving through the fall, the biggest part is that we make sure that we get it right and that we provide tax
12:42 pm
relief to middle class america and that we help americans across the board. that's the goal, and if we can do that by september, that would be great. >> sarah, picking up on that, with the president hitting the road yesterday, he made it seem as if this should be a simple bipartisan fix. however, democrats are saying that there should not be tax relief for those who are the wealthiest 1% of earners. does the president believe that the wealthiest 1% deserve tax relief? >> the president laid out clearly what his big priorities were yesterday. i'll be glad to repeat those. permanently reducing tax rates, encouraging entrepreneurs to invest, simplifying the process, incentivizing american companies to bring back jobs and profits. the president is focused on helping all americans across the board. the biggest priority he has is on helping middle class americans and making sure more of those people keep more of their money. >> the white house think working with democrats on this is reasonable or likely? i mean, they're already laying
12:43 pm
down the marker for where they stand. you just said for all americans, presumably that includes the top 1%. >> i would love for democrats to want to help all americans. i don't know why they would ever want to be against that. certainly helping more americans have more money that they worked hard to earn in their pocket, i don't know anybody that would want to be against that. so, hopefully they will be reasonable and want to come to the table. >> i have a tax reform question but first, just quickly about that charitable donation, will that be coming from trump personally as opposed to the trump foundation or the trump organization? >> i know that the president, he said he was personally going to give. i don't know the legal part of exactly that, but he said his personal money. so i would assume that comes directly from him. >> on tax reform if i may, secretary mnuchin said earlier the administration is going to release a blueprint on tax reform that will go to congress. when can we expect that? how much detail will that go into and is that a change from letting congress take the lead on actually drafting legislation. >> again, as both members of the
12:44 pm
administration and the president have said, our job is to lay out the core principles, the primary pillars that we want to see in tax reform. it's congress's job to legislate so we want to work through that process and allow them to actually do their jobs. we're going to do our jobs and lead the conversation, set the table, set the priorities, and let them do their job and legislate, get it pass sod ted president can sign it. >> will we see that blueprint. >> i think we've been laying out a lot of those principles. that's the foundation and we'll continue to add to that. >> is this push for tax reform the priority for the president and the administration right now? have you put the repeal and replace effort to the side for the moment to focus exclusively on your tax reform proposals? >> as the white house, i don't think you ever get to exclusively focus on only one issue. it's certainly one of the top priorities for the administration. moving into the fall. but as we've said many times before, we can walk and chew gum
12:45 pm
at the same time. and we plan to push through a lot of different things throughout the fall. >> just one thing, sarah, if i may. on repeal and replace, as you know, you received no democratic support in either the house or the senate. as far as tax reform is concerned, are you expecting a different result? do you think you can get democrats to support some sort of legislation that comes forward from both houses of congress? >> as i said a minute ago, i would certainly hope so. i don't know why any democrat would be against wanting to provide tax relief for hardworking americans, particularly those in the middle class. i think it would be a very sad and a big mistake. >> thank you, sarah. just one question. >> just one. >> just one. politics. the president gave a very strong endorsement through twitter of senator luther strange in his bid for nomination in the
12:46 pm
special election. the runoff is coming up in september 26th. there have been published reports that the president is backing away from that endorsement and not taking sides, which would make him the first republican president in 47 years not to back an incumbent senator for another term. is he as committed to senator strange or has his position changed since the original p primary? >> due to the legal restrictions that i have, i cannot answer anything political from the podium. so, i'd have to leave that to outside folks and the president himself to answer that. >> mentioned today in interviews that -- was asked about plan to put harriet tubman on the $20
12:47 pm
bill. he was vague in answer. during the campaign, the president called this pure political correctness. is the administration reversing those plans to change the $20 bill? >> i'm not aware of any policy change. i'd certainly have to check into that. >> sarah, on daca -- >> sorry, i promised i'd come back to you. >> on daca, in february, the president said he would treat d.r.e.a.m.ers with heart. does the president stand by his statement to treat d.r.e.a.m.ers with heart. >> absolutely. the president stands by his statement. right now, this is currently under review, both from a legal standpoint, primarily, and until that review is complete, again, as i answered before, we don't have anything to add further on that front. >> would defending daca be treating d.r.e.a.m.ers with heart. >> i'm not going to get into a back and forth. let me come to him. >> i'll go right after chip. >> to russia for a moment. the decision -- >> he's jumped in there for you. team work. >> the announcement today by the state department on closing three facilities in this long
12:48 pm
tit for tat that has been going on with russia, a lot of analysts now say the relations between the u.s. and russia are at the lowest point since the cold war. do you agree with that and if so, whose fault is it. >> right now, we're requiring the russian government to close its consulate general in san francisco, a trade annex in washington, d.c., and a trade annex in new york city. these closures have to be completed by the september 2nd. we've taken a firm and measured action in response to russia's unfortunate decision earlier this year, and we want to halt the downward spiral and we want to move forward towards better relations. we'll look for opportunities to do that, but we also want to have equity in the decisions and anything beyond that, i would refer you to the state department. >> are relations worse than they've been since the cold war or at least in decades. >> i don't think so. >> the president came in determined to improve relations with russia. >> and as i just said, we're going to look for opportunities to do that, but we're also going to make sure that we make decisions that are best for our
12:49 pm
country. >> sarah, thanks. senato senators grassley and graham revealed today that they have evidence suggesting that former fbi director comey made a decision to not charge hillary clinton several months before the investigation actually wrapped up and before they interviewed hillary clinton. does the president know about this and does he believe that that adds weight to his decision to fire comey. >> i'm not sure if he is aware to that revelation, but if it is as accurate as they say it is, i think that would certainly give cause and reason that jim comey was not the right person to lead the fbi and hopefully all of your colleagues will follow suit in covering that story. >> tax reform real quick. based on the president tweeted out about the core principles, one of those presumably the effects on the budget. has the white house taken a position on whether the tax plan needs to be revenue neutral or
12:50 pm
is the white house willing to accept a tax plan that would -- that would essentially raise the deficit. the president's talked a lot about the deficit over the course of his campaign and the white house. is >> not at this time, no further announcement on that front. fred. >> thank you, sarah. couple questions on obamacare, some governors today came out in favor of stainability approach, some of folks in the senate. would the administration outright any type of obamacare bailout for insurance companies? >> i can't imagine that it would be something we would want to be involved in. i would have to refer you to hhs specifically on that question. >> and secondly, the president's tweet tweeted -- talk about taking away members of congress and staff, is there anything
12:51 pm
stopping him from taking that action now? something that could be done executive executively. >> i think that is something he is certainly still considering. alex. >> once said about last week, saudi-led coalition in yemen for 42 civilians. is the president concerned about humanitarian situation in yemen? >> something that we're certainly keeping an eye on and i would refer you back to them for anything further at this point. >> thanks sarah. they are saying today that he would be here next week, i want to confirm that. then on the russia diplomatic move, did the president initiate this? >> this was a decision made by the president, yes, and on the other, i'm not ready to make an announcement on that, i'll have to check on the specifics of that. sarah. >> the president believes all options are on the table when it comes to north korea as he indicated military option is
12:52 pm
certainly among them, but is negotiating still on the table. >> all includes all. i think that would certainly include diplomatic, economic, and military options. >> quick follow-up since we are getting closer to friday, can you tell us whether the president has confidence in gary kohn. >> yes, working hand in hand and the rest of his team. as i said several times earlier today, that's a big priority for the administration. and gary is an integral member of the team leading that effort. april. >> trying to make sure that he replaces and repeals obamacare, what's happening with the website? is there still active enrollment on that website. >> i'm not aware of any reason that it's not, but i'd have to certainly check into that. i'm not checking into the obamacare website daily, i'd have to look into that.
12:53 pm
>> you're not actively encouraging people, you're more so saying repeal and replace? >> i think that everybody in the country knows that obamacare is collapsing. and that something still needs to be done and the administration is still very much committed to putting a health care system in place that actually works because we know obamacare doesn't, it's not sustainable. so yes, we're continuing to move forward and look for ways to help all americans receive better care. >> hbc conference, is it possible -- i asked last time, can you give us the list because we're still hearing more and more from other colleges and universities in the hbc community saying they're absolutely not coming and you say it's at capacity and you have a waiting list. is there any way that you can share some of those names? >> i think the department of education is housing that, but again, i will try to look into that. i meant to do that last week. thanks so much, guys. hope you have a great day. >> nearly an hour and all things harvey and the situation there.
12:54 pm
hearing him say 100,000 homes have been affected, mexico and canada offering up their own condolences and help as well. and he said this is the first time they've activated all the task forces since 9/11. talking about price gauging and how that won't be tolerated and a lot of questions around undocumented immigrants. make a mistake you will get food, water, and shelter, questions around that, and then of course hearing from sarah huckabee sanders heading back to both, it sounds like texas and louisiana over the weekend and the fact that the president will be donating a million dollars of his own money to the relief efforts. those are my headlines. i have a panel. nate, let me bring you in first here on money. a lot of conversation with tom bossert, questions around the requests he says that the white house will be putting together a reasonable request for emergency
12:55 pm
funding, followed by supplemental requests, not worried about running out of money. how, how smoothly do you think that'll go with congress? >> i mean, many times this does not go that smoothly with congress because obviously we have a lot of fiscal hawks out there who will be looking very closely at the supplemental looking for, you know, any extras that are tagged on, remember during superstorm sandy there was a huge debate over that bill which some people criticize as being a christmas tree of spending. governor chris christie debunked that saying there was misunderstanding about what was in the bill. i do think this will be a political football in congress especially as you get further out from the storm often the need doesn't seem as immediate. certainly right now the says they are committed to getting the aid that's needed. you heard an estimate being
12:56 pm
thrown around there by the texas governor of over $100 billion. so that would be really amazing figure and we'll see where that ends up in congress. >> so that's the potential political football in congress. david, what did you make, just the questions about undocumented immigrants and will they or will they not have help or be sent home? >> let me say that tom gave one of the most professional briefings that we've been given. he made is clear that the government is mobilized and it's doing working on a wide array of fronts, i think he showed light of the victims. you have to give credit where credit is due. i think the area that was vaguest and potential for a lot of heart ache is what immigrants are facing here.
12:57 pm
let's say you're an immigrant with a minor infraction of the law, maybe a car accident or something you've been charged or there's something else in your background, not a big, serious crime, but a minor crime. do you go and get food? do you get and get shelter and in effect come in out of the cold? and then the not being sent on a bus. that's not clear from this decision, and the dreamer decision just around the corner. i think there is real fear in the -- i would assume, the dreamer can be and many latino families about just how this is going to work out. >> and that's the issue. we're even hearing from our reporters on the ground in texas that some of these undocumented folks don't want to call in for help because that is their real fear. and a number of questions about
12:58 pm
daca. it wasn't just a couple months ago when the president said, talked about dreamers, he would approach the dreamer issue with heart and now you have the september 5th deadline that they're up against, and it sounded to me, and they didn't say a lot beyond the fact that the white house is still reviewing the policy. that's all we got. >> they didn't provide clarity on the state soft-called dreamers. the young undocumented people brought to the country as children. and you know, decision is imminent according to to the white house, now fox news was reporting that president trump is poised to phase out the program. sarah huckabee sanders would neither confirm or deny that reporting which i think just adds to the concerns within the immigrant community. you'll remember this affects as many as 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who, thanks to president obama's deferred action for childhood arrivals policy, daca are able to study and work in the u.s. without fear of deportation. and when you compound that with the number of undocumented
12:59 pm
immigrants who are currently affected by hurricane harvey, i think that they really don't have a sense that this administration is willing to commit to providing critical services for them in the long-term as well as lifting at least for now the threat of deportation. >> and brooke, just, you know, talking to some of my sources, there seems to be so much conflicting information coming out of the white house. i was talked to one source that's worked closely with the white house and says that that person has not been made yet, and that the white house is under tremendous pressure, you know, the mayor's from all around the country calling in, so it's very unclear where trump is on this decision and what the political upside would be for him of ending the program. >> david, i have 30 seconds left. tell me what the president really needs to do this weekend in texas and louisiana.
1:00 pm
>> strong protest if he came out against the dreamers on friday. >> i'm out of time. thank you all so very much. david, all of you, thanks. brianna keeler sitting in for jake tapper, the lead starts right now. waters recede, rescuers worry about what they will find. the lead starts right now. plucked to safety, dramatic and risky rescue missions picking up across the texas coast as one county near the texas/louisiana line warns people, get out or die. show of force. nuclear capable american jets drop bombs near the border as the u.s. answers the latest north korean missile tests. plus if they can get along, two governors, two parties, two potential 2020