tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 7, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
phone with the fuel suppliers. i've been very clear to all these groups, i have to know exactly what they need so we can work together to get it to families as fast as possible. i've asked them tell me exactly what any bottlenecks are and we'll do everything we can, locally at the state and federal level to solve the bottlenecks. there are issues as of now include fuel availability from our ports, federal rules and regulations and getting fuel through traffic to gas stations. to address these concerns we're doing the following. i talked to fema, the department of energy, epa, the department of transportation, and the white house about waving federal rules and regulations to get as much fuel as possible into our states and to our ports. i directed state law enforcement to provide escort services to gas trucks, to get them through traffic so they can get to the stations faster. these escorts are happening right now. for gas stations and evacuation zones, we need you to stay open as long as possible.
please stay open as long as possible so people can get out. we'll arrange police escorts for your employees so they can get out safely. we need your gas stations to stay open as long as possible. we know fuel is very important. we're absolutely devoting every state resource to addressing this. while we are making progress, you will see lines or outages. i know this has to be very frustrating. and will not stop working on this. if you're concerned that you do not have a way to evacuate because of a fuel issue, call your local emergency management hot line or the florida emergency hot line at 1-800-342-3557. 1-800-342-3557, which is a dedicated emergency hot line. we will get you out. but you have to call now if you're in an evacuation zone. we cannot save you when the storm starts. if you're in an evacuation zone and you need help, you need to tell us now.
if you know you're going to a shelter in your county, please only take the amount of fuel you need. you don't need to fill your tank to your brim to stay in your county. i said this many times, please take only what you need, we got to be considerate of others so everybody can get out. the gas buddy app is a great resource to find open stations with fuel. yesterday i asked the governors of alabama, south carolina, georgia and north carolina to rescind weight and driver regulations so out of state resources can move into florida. all of these states worked quickly to respond to our request. the epa, just approved an emergency fuel waver request from the department -- florida department of environmental protection which will allow more fuel to quickly enter the state. all ports still remain open and operating to bring fuel and supplies in. we're laser focused on how we get as much fuel as possible to our ports while they're open. i have offered school buses for transportation needs in monroe, miami-dade and broward counties.
at this time, miami-dade is using these services to help evacuate those with special needs and broward's buses on stand by. monroe said they do not need the buses now because they're using city buses but my offer still stands. there is mandatory evacuation orders in effect for the florida keys. this means all residents, all residents and all visitors in the florida keys. there is a mandatory evacuation. we estimate 31,000 people have already evacuated from the keys as of 6:00 p.m. last night. if you're in the keys, and you do not have a way out, please call 1-305-517-2480. this number is for monroe county residents. 305-517-2480. all other floridians can call the florida emergency hot line at 1-800-342-3557, a dedicated emergency management hot line for the entire state.
if you're in the keys, and still home, leave, get out. we can't save you once the storm starts. the entire lower keys hospital has been evacuated. all other hospitals in the keys will be evacuated today. i've been very clear with monroe county, the state will provide whatever resources are necessary to get the hospitals back open quickly following the storms. we also have a task force and dedicated entirely to helping prepare and respond to the keys. for the remainder of the state waiting on evacuation orders, listen to your local officials. they will tell you if and when your area needs to be evacuated. if you're told to evacuate, do not wait. get out quickly. the roads will fill up quickly, so you need to go immediately. we can expect additional evacuations as the storm continues to get near to our state. miami-dade has already ordered mandatory evacuation zones a and b. if you live in these zones and still home, you should leave
right now. there are voluntary evacuations do not ignore evacuation orders. remember, you can rebuild your home, we cannot rebuild your life or your family. regardless of what coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate. floridians on the west coast cannot be complacent. this storm can still move west. traffic, i know many of you are stuck in traffic. i know it is frustrating but please be patient. evacuations are not meant to be convenient, they're meant to keep you safe. we have increased the number of troopers on florida highways to help move traffic and keep people going down the road safely. real time traffic information and evacuation routes are available at fl 511.com. we have traffic cameras on every major roadway in florida and are clearing traffic issues in real
time so we can keep people moving. >> i'm andrea mitchell on capitol hill. this hour, a lot of breaks news there this hour. first that was governor rick scott in florida with an update on hurricane irma, barreling past the northern edge of the dominican republic toward turks and caicos on a collision course with south florida. our team is in place with the latest. morgan radford by phone from puerto rico. rehema ellis in the bahamas. mariana ortenzio. we heard the governor say evacuate, don't stay, don't wait, the traffic is terrible. as you're experiencing right there. there say crowd at the airport to get the last flights out. >> andrea the governor saying get out quickly, but just from the looks of the lines in this airport, nobody here is going to be getting out quickly. i've been on the ground in miami for the past 24 hours, and just
when you drive around the city, one gas station after the other with signs that read no gas. so it has become increasingly hard to leave by car. we heard the governor address that issue of gas shortages. that's why many people flocked to the airport to try to leave by air. miami international airport remains open. but we have seen airlines start to cancel flights left and right. that line behind me is the line for canceled flights. it has grown increasingly longer just as the hours have gone by. this scene has become more and more chaotic. we have been talking to families who spent the night here, who feel stranded. also remember this is an airport that gets a lot of tourists, international visitors, who have nowhere to go. and never dealt with a storm, much less a category 5 storm. they have -- most of them told me i will go anywhere far away from this potentially life threatening storm. andrea? >> thanks so much.
a busy airport on a good day, this is not a good day. now to morgan radford in puerto rico, by phone. morgan, the devastation there has been profound. >> the devastation, yeah, it has been very severe and that's part of the reason why we can't be live on video right now. we're driving through some of that damaged area, cell phone signal has been spotty throughout the island. that's been not just overnight, but also this morning. and we woke up among the thousands of people, you know, in shelters, hunkering down, they had cell phone signals going down, faulty electricity and, remember, category 5 hurricane irma, it slammed us last night. that was also throughout the caribbean. it nearly demolished barbuda, left it almost 95% of it just completely inhabitable and half of the residents are now homeless according to their prime minister. in puerto rico, more than a million people still as we speak are waking up without power
today. they're trying to get through their afternoons, not sure exactly what awaits them at home. all school and government work has been canceled for the rest of the week. our fema sources tell us they still don't know which areas were the hardest hit and that's why we're driving through some of the outer portions, lower lying coastal areas in puerto rico and they're warning that irma is still a powerful category 5. we're seeing some damage. we have seen about 6,200 people who spent the night in those shelters. emergency responders conducted 30 rescues of people. this eye of the hurricane was just 55 miles away from us. that explains why they're saying this morning, flood iing is jusa major concern and he's warning people to be extremely cautious here. we're maneuvering on the roads and can see debris in front of us as the national guard choppers fly above us. >> thanks so much, morgan. you've been speaking -- we have
been looking at some pictures showing the devastation and so many rural areas there as well. it is an extended issue, of course, for the governor of puerto rico. now to rehema ellis in nassau, the bahamas, preparing, bracing for the storm to hit there. you have the sunshine, this is really the calm before the storm. >> it is indeed. people preparing in this one truck alone, 15 jugs of water b morning. this is karen. on a scale of one to ten, how anxious are you about the storm coming? >> about 9.5, really anxious about the storm. this is like the first time we have experienced a storm like this, of this magnitude in nassau. >> you're not buying all the water for yourself. you're being a good neighbor. >> yes, my neighbors are out of water. i decided to take their jugs and bring them along when i came for mine. >> thank you so much, karen.
about 100,000 barrels worth of water have been -- 100,000 gallons of water sold here yesterday. they expect to exceed that today. they say they think this island will be very hard hit. back to you. >> thanks so much. rehema ellis, stay safe there. all the people you're talking to. let's turn to steve saucena with the latest information on the power and the path, which is changing as we speak. >> scary stuff here. the latest from the hurricane center as of 11:00 a.m., we have hurricane watches now for south florida. areas from jupiter, inland, bonita beach. east coast to the west coast, and they say they will expand these with the 5:00 p.m. advisory. expect that coming up here later on this afternoon. irma still looking healthy. that's not good news. this eye is still very much in tact. it is moving to the turks and caicos with winds of 175 miles
per hour. a strong 5. it is expected to stay at least at a 4 or 5 all the way up through the bahamas. so expect battering storm surge, directive winds, images tomorrow will be frightening. then all about the turn. where does that turn happen? and it is just a matter 25 to 30 miles that makes a difference. a billion dollar disaster and a glancing blow. this turn is something we will be watching today, tonight, all the way through saturday, maybe an hour by hour situation. >> thanks, steve, so much for that update. while florida is bracing for hurricane irma to hit, the citizens on the virgin islands have felt the brunt of the monster storm. sta stacy plaskett is on capitol hill. what are you hearing from back home, congresswoman, because there say lot -- not enough reporting on what the impact
there was. >> well, first, andrea, thank you so much and msnbc for really paying attention to what is happening in the u.s. virgin islands. while st. croix did not receive as much, lines are down, debris, some damage. the islands of st. thomas and st. john have really taken a major hit and have quite a bit of devastation. as you are aware, and from the meteorologists on st. thomas, on our north side, irma came within 20 miles of the island. the island experienced plus 150 mile winds, even though it wasn't the eye, it was close enough, with the velocity of that hurricane to really have huge impact. our hospital lost its roof. we have done a tremendous job with evacuating patient that are there, going to the other island of st. croix, san juan. our governor is on the ground and doing an aerial right now of the island. st. john, looking what happened
and how we can assess. thankfully he issued a request an expedited state of emergency from president trump, president trump has been actually very good in how he handled this. that was signed this morning. i have assurances from house leadership, from the senate as well, that the virgin islands will be looked at and paying close attention to us. fema is on the ground. they positioned themselves there quite some time ago. and now it is a matter of really clearing out. removing debris, sheltering people, providing food, support to those that need it, in terms of medical and moving on from there. >> thank you so much. i wanted to give you an update, you're on the hill and you're probably hearing this, but to all of our viewers as well, that after the senate lunches today, the traditional lunches, it is expected according to our reporting from capitol hill that the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling extension, and the hurricane harvey money is all
going to be approved. the deal that was cut yesterday with democrats and then reluctantly agreed to by republicans, they do think that they have the votes to push back against rand paul who is demanding a -- an offset cutting from foreign aid to make up for the money t does look like that first tranche of hurricane relief money, that's for harvey, not for irma yet -- >> actually, no -- just to give you an update and some clarification on that, the money is designated for fema. it is not specific to harvey. so we -- that fema is going to put that where it is needed. fema, i was at their headquarters yesterday, they're about to move individuals out of harvey and bring them down to the virgin islands and to san juan to work on that. and speaker ryan was passing through the halls just a few moments ago and informed me that the senate has added on an additional $7.5 billion to that package when it comes back to
the house. we now have over 15 billion that is going to be in that initial tranche of money that is designated for fema's discretion to put where they think it best is needed. >> that's great news. thank you for the update. a better reporter than any of us. >> one thung i waing i want you, we're grateful the opportunity you've given. not a lot of news outlets have been reporting what is happening on the ground with the virgin islands. there is no cell communications. people outside of the virgin i'lls are lo islands are looking to their tvs to look for family. our office is open for phone calls. thank you so much. >> we will transmit that as well on our social media and facebook page and on twitter. thank you so very much, congresswoman. coming up, let's make a deal. speaking of deals, inside the
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we walked out and everybody was happy. not too happy, because you can never be too happy. but they were happy enough. >> they were happy enough. well, we'll find out. president trump abandoning his own republican leaders, cutting a deal with democrats, to fund hurricane relief money and a short-term extension of the debt ceiling and the budget, keeping the government open, having avoided a government shutdown, you see a live picture there, the president is in the doorway to the west executive, about to welcome the amir of kuwait, one of his allies in the continuing showdown against another u.s. ally qatar. that is one of the issues to be addressed today in this meeting with the amir of kuwait. joining me now, nbc's kristen welker at the white house and casey hunt on capitol hill. kristen, first to you, as we watch the president about to welcome, we'll see pictures of the amir arriving behind you as we speak, there was quite a dramatic day, there was -- what should have been a routine meeting for the joint
leadership, photo opportunity and all of a sudden, the president interrupting his own treasury secretary and according to your reporting and casey hunt's and hallie jackson, interrupting the extended republican plan for a longer term 18-month or at the very least six-month extension of the debt ceiling and going with the democrats and their three-month plan. how did that go down? >> right, what happened here yesterday left republican leaders shell shocked. there is no other way to put it. let me take you inside the oval office, what happened. all sides walked into the party, republicans were pushing for a long-term deal. they wanted a deal that would include an 18-month extension of the debt limit to get the very thorny issue off of the table for the midterm elections. democrats weren't having it. they dug in. they demanded a much shorter deal at first. there was talk of a six-month deal and then they brought up the three-month deal. ultimately president trump sided with them and the big question
is why? well, based on my conversations with multiple sources, a couple of reasons. one, he wanted to clear the decks, get on to other issues like tax reform, like immigration reform, for example, now, of course, he's tasked congress with dealing with daca. he also in the wake of the defeat of health care realized that he needs democrats to get things done. and as a part of that, andrea, and this is a significant part of that, he felt very letdown by the leadership of house speaker paul ryan and mitch mcconnell. so what we saw yesterday was really exposing, i think, the rift between this president and republican leadership. the meeting was dramatic. and then, of course, aboard air force one, you heard him refer to chuck and nancy, the two democratic leaders, that was just stunning because, of course, in so many tweets and comments, he sharply criticized in particular chuck schumer. this was a real turn of -- i spoke with kellyanne conway yesterday who said, look this is a president who ran as a
dealmaker. republicans are fuming. they feel as though this was a bad deal, they feel as though he gave away a lot of his leverage to try to secure some of those other legislative victories down the line. >> it was so apparent. i'm glad you mentioned that air force one, an audio briefing where he didn't mention the republicans, not only was it nancy and chuck, didn't even talk about the republicans. i'm sure that did not go down well. i wanted to bring in the fact that he talked to all four leaders today, both parties, but nancy pelosi then, you were up there for this, in talking to pelosi, she asked him to tweet out reassurance to the dreamers that they're not about to be locked up or deported. and he then did tweet that out. this is what pelosi had to say. i'll talk to you on the other side. >> i was reporting to my colleagues, this is what i asked the president to do, and boom, boom, boom, the tweet appeared. we know who is whispering in the
president's ear. this can only make matters worse at the senate lunches today and paul ryan having dinner with the president tonight. >> andrea, suffice to say everybody up here was blind sided by this. the house speaker was out on stage literally right before he went to the white house saying democrats are playing politics with the debt ceiling, this is ridiculous, he got visibly worked up about it. paul ryan is usually very calm in the face of the most emotional of issues and in this case he was visibly angry and then he walked into the meeting and the president basically sold out his own party and my question is going to be, is this a trend that is going to continue? is donald trump -- to a certain extent, this is what donald trump campaigned on, right? up ending the way things are done here in washington. those of us who covered this for a long time are shocked he's operating this way. but that really is now what he promised to do on the campaign trail, being executed here in
d.c. now, democrats are learning how the tweets from the president come to be and they think it is positive that he said this about the dreamers, whether or not he follows through is going to be the longer term question here, andrea. >> now we're hearing from your colleague that there may be the votes, the preliminary votes, to try to knock down rand paul's amendment to try to have budget cuts offset the money going to fema for the hurricane relief, even before their lunches. they're moving a pace indeed. thanks for all the great reporting and as though that were not enough on the hill today, donald trump jr. is still at this hour being interviewed on capitol hill by senate committee investigators on the judiciary committee. more on that coming up next right here on "andrea mitchell reports." stay with us. (woman) when you have type 2 diabetes, there's a moment of truth. and now with victoza®, a better moment of proof. victoza® lowers my a1c and blood sugar
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june 2016 meeting with russians who promise dirt on hillary clinton. this is getting new evidence of russian's election meddling after facebook admits it sold $100,000 worth of divisive political ads to fake accounts linked to the kremlin. joining me is part of a big deem th team that broke this story and kristen welker at the white house. these aren't just ads, they're fake ads to amplify issues to undermine hillary clinton and done according to your reporting from a specific firm which is a trolling firm that u.s. intelligence identified as connected to the kremlin. >> yes. as you know, there was a lot of discussion, andrea, after the election about fake news and whether or not facebook had been used unwittingly as a platform to spread this information to vulnerable or receptive voters. people who might want to read
something about hillary clinton's declining health alleged, or who might want to read about how hillary clinton was going to take away america's guns. these kinds of things. what facebook did was initially say that they really weren't being used, they had no evidence of any fakery on their site. in the last several months, facebook conducted a much more extensive investigation and concluded that they found more than 400 -- actually 470 fake accounts and pages that all tied back to a very murky russia firm based in st. petersburg and this firm is associated with pushing essentially pro kremlin propaganda. the ad they found on facebook, the ads were essentially on divisive wedge issues we all can recognize. gun rights, civil rights, racial
discrimination, immigration reform, and these essentially were used as ways, we're told, to test who was a susceptible or receptive voter. there were thousands of ads purchased. the amount that was purchased wasn't very high, but the volume of the ads and the amount of impression they had on facebook users, we're told, may have been a test of where could political votes -- i'm sorry, political ads be targeted. >> and, carol, while all this is happening and don jr. is testifying and acknowledging he was looking when he went into that meeting in june in 2016 for areas where according to a statement that the new york times got from him, that he -- or his lawyers, that he was looking for ways in which perhaps hillary clinton could be proved unfit for office, we also now have a copy of what happened, the new hillary clinton book, kristen welker covering the whole race with us,
one of the excerpts about james comey, which is, you know, really quite telling from the book that we haven't seen before, she writes i was angry and frustrated that comey had used his public position to criticize me, my staff and the state department with no opportunity for us to counter or disprove the charge. i felt a little like ray donovan, president reagan's secretary of labor who after being acquitted of fraud charges asked, which office do i go to get my reputation back? my first instinct was that my campaign should hit back hard and explain to the public that comey had badly overstepped his bounds, my team raised concerns with that kind of confrontational approach in the end we decided it would be better to let it go and try to move on. looking back, that was a mistake. that's one excerpt we have chosen. this was, of course, referring to what happened when comey came out on july 5th, she testified that weekend, under oath, to the grand jury and he decided to clear her and not indict hersh
but then went on and, remember the shock, that was the day she was going to have her first joint appearance with president obama, and they were looking forward to a big campaign day and the shock of what he did in that extended news conference, which was to basically sounded like he was indicting her. and now acknowledging she should have hit back. >> i was on the plane with her when that news broke. i can tell you that it was unbelievable the significant shift that i sort of witnessed in her campaign, they were not only about to have that big event with president obama, but they had just announced she was going to start campaigning in arizona. and then all of a sudden it was as if all of the oxygen got sucked out of the campaign, when they realized that fbi director, former fbi director james comey had effectively reintroduced the issue of the investigation into her e-mails. i think what is striking is that at the moment they felt and i
think this was probably accurate there wasn't enough time to come back and what you're hearing is secretary clinton say, look, comey let me off the hook legally, but didn't let me off the hook politically. that was something she country shake even until the final days of her campaign. >> we'll have a lot more excerpts coming up. thank you so much, kristen welker. the new york times reports that in his opening statement to senate judiciary committee donald trump jr., what he said about that june meeting with the russians is, quote, to the extent that they had information concerning the fitness, character, qualifications of a presidential candidate, i believe that i should at least hear them out depending what if any information they had i could consult with counsel to make an inform informed decision on whether to hear them out. one wonders why he took the meeting and did not take lawyers with him if he was that sensitive to the legality of accepting help from a foreign
government to undermine the democratic nominee for president. and what other issues do you have in. >> why would you invite in the campaign chair, why would you invite in your brother-in-law, a senior campaign aide and not bring in counsel. these are questions we'll have a chance to ask as well. we're taking a different approach from the judiciary committee from the intel standpoint we believe we want to get the testimony of all of the other people that we can get that were in that room first before we bring donald trump jr. in to see us. but we're going have a whole series of questions i want to ask him. >> what about the fact he's not sworn. i know interviews are done without taking an oath. is there a reason why they would not swear him? is that the condition by which they -- >> i'm not going to question the judiciary committee's process. i do know this, that whether you're sworn or not, if you lie to congress, that's a crime. >> whether or not he's under
oath does not -- >> i think honestly, we had a lot of debate about this within the intel committee. and the lawyers i've talked to and the lawyers on our committee said it is more times the to reinforce the point, but the truth of the matter is, whether you're sworn or not, if you lie to congress, that is a crime. >> we now have new information, i should have thanked carol who was just on with us, such a busy day, her reporting confirming that facebook did sell this advertising to this russian trolling company, which according to the intelligence report back when indicated this company not hardly a company, an arm of the kremlin intelligence. does this begin to connect more dots on the meddling piece of it and what do we know about whether or not the russians would be this smart about targeting specific areas, specific voters with these messages without some american help? >> well, andrea, i think what we
see yesterday, it was a staff brief from facebook, we're going to want to bring them back. maybe just be the tip of the iceberg. i've been stating this for some time. i've got a lot of questions about not just facebook, twitter, and others, this is an evolving field, acknowledge facebook denied any involvement with the russians immediately after the election. but by the time the french election came around, france has different laws, they took down 50,000 accounts because the russians were trying to intervene in the french elections as well. so i think the focus of some of the very good reporting from the washington post has been about the ads and that's important and that's just from one troll factory in st. petersburg. but what is more important is how many other fake accounts or page views or groups that these internet trolls could create that would then in effect reinforce the ads which would push up this news or this hateful information higher on a facebook news feed. we had public testimony earlier
in the year, from a nato expert, actually, that let's take another social media firm, twitter, that said that close to 8% of all of the twitter accounts are fake. how many of those originate out of russia? and how many of those were used in the process? we don't know. we'll have to bring twitter in as well. i'd like to get facebook back. i'd like to get twitter back. we have a whole not only looking back question, but a looking forward question. we have gray murky area in the law now. if you put up content on television, even if i can't find who funded the content, we know whether that content, if it is affecting an election, if it is foreign-based, and you can look at the content. under the internet, we're not even able as the american public to look at the type of ads that these russians were posting on some of these pages and some of these sites. i think we need to revisit that from a legal standpoint as well. americans, we had a first amendment, we need to protect
it. they ought to be able to know if content is being sponsored by foreign governments and also we ought to look at that content no matter who is sponsoring, if it is in a political context. >> senator mark warner, thank you so much. coming up, an update on hirk irma with the scientists tracking the storm. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. a heart attack doesn't care what you eat or how healthy you look. no matter who you are, a heart attack can happen without warning. a bayer aspirin regimen can help prevent another heart attack.
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news coverage, hurricane irma joining me now is mark demaria at the national hurricane center. thank you for being with us. is there any change in the track? what do you know? >> right now, it is irma is still continuing on its west/northwest track and we're anticipating that turn to the north toward south florida. basically no major changes since the last advisory. >> and at this stage, is it too soon to say where it will hit next? are we looking at south carolina, georgia? what is the next vulnerable area of the u.s. mainland? >> well, our thinking here is that our best thinking is that is going to approach the southeast coast of the u.s., the weekend time frame and we expect it to continue up the coast. since this is four, five days out, there is a lot more uncertainty up here. we don't expect this to veer off into the atlantic. possible impacts in georgia to south carolina area early next week. >> and what about the velocity of this hurricane as it is moving? >> right now we expect it to
maintain a major hurricane status, category 4, 5, all the way up to the southeast coast of florida. possibly a little weakening along the atlantic coast here, but we still expect a major hurricane to make landfall somewhere along the southeast coast, early next week. >> and, mark, is it way too early to anticipate how it may be affected once it hits the land? >> well, we think there will be -- close enough now, there will be some significant impacts in south florida. with the wind field, this is the size of the tropical storm force winds, which is wider than florida. we do expect some impacts of tropical storm and hurricane in south florida area. still too early to tell for south carolina and georgia at this point. >> okay. thank you so much, mark dimaria. the president has spoken on all of this. let's listen. >> you know florida very well. how concerned are you about hurricane irma? >> we are very concerned. we're working very hard. we have tremendous groups of
talented people there. the people of florida are like the people of texas, louisiana, you have seen how the people of our country have reacted under this tremendous pressure and these horrible things that we call hurricanes. this is something that is probably bigger, not as much water, but much more power than harvey. the governor has so far done a terrific job. i mean, they're prepared. we don't know exactly where it is going to be landing, where landfall will be, but we think we're as well prepared as you can possibly be. many of the folks have left texas obviously on an emergency basis and come down to florida. puerto rico escaped, could have been far worse. they escaped the brunt. but it is heading right now, right directly into florida. so hopefully it will take a turn, go east and do it quickly, right now it is not doing that. we are with the people of florida and as you know the virgin islands got hit very
hard, very, very hard. and we're finding out the kind of damage. it is actually communication is actually difficult. we have people right now on the virgin islands and we'll see how that is, but it has been hit very, very hard. i can say this, florida is as well prepared as you can be for something like this. now it is just a question of what happens. it is the largest hurricane they have ever seen coming out of the atlantic and the winds are the strongest, most importantly. this is the real problem, the winds are the strongest that they have ever seen in a hurricane coming from that region. so we're with everybody in florida. we're working very hard. we have tremendous talent and really tremendously brave people to be there. and hopefully will work out all right. we'll see over the next few hours. >> mr. president, have your tweets -- >> -- fema may be spread too thin right now? >> fema is doing an incredible job. as you all know. you've been reporting.
you've seen how incredible they are. there is a great bravery to what they're doing. but certainly we're being hit with a lot of hurricanes. we never had a thing like this where you get hit with harvey, which was about as bad as it gets certainly from the standpoint of a water dump and then get hit with irma. and one right behind irma. i guess you probably know, a smaller one, but nevertheless right behind. i don't think anybody has done anything like they have done at fema and done a really good job. you see what happened in texas. you see already in terms of what is going on in florida. i have to also give a special shoutout to the coast guard. the united states coast guard saved 14,000 lives in texas. 14,000 lives. and now i think the number is even higher than that. these people -- they go right into the eye of the storm, you know what has been happening. most of you have been reporting, the number is astronomical.
what could have been a total catastrophe in terms of life has been obviously much less. so i just want to say that the coast guard of our country has really performed incredibly. i've never never seen anything it. i've got on the meet them, meet a lot of the folks when i was in texas and these are tremendous people. they are now shifting a lot of their effort to florida right in the middle of it. the difference again being these winds are tremendous. they have never seen winds like this coming off the ocean, so hopefully it's going to not hit florida very directly, but it looks like it's going to be imminent. thank you very much, everybody. appreciate it. thank you. >> as the president talks about this hurricane, his son don junior has been testifying behind closed doors to senate judiciary committee, a prelude for a public hearing to answer questions about his contacts with russia during the campaign. he was not under oath today. joining me now, chris coons, a member of the judiciary committee who was in part of that meeting with don junior.
tell me what you can about whether he answered all these questions, the questions while you were there. >> well, andrea, first, i very much look forward to a public hearing in front of the full judiciary committee where the questions that many members have could get answered. i heard donald trump jr.'s prepared statement but did not get to stay for the hours of questioning from staff that followed. today on the appropriations committee, we move forward. some critical bipartisan efforts to provide support for a lot of different crises miracles facing whether it's opioid and heroin abuse or the response to hurricane harvey. there is, in fact, a vote right now on the senate floor to support moving forward with a $15 billion appropriation to support emergency response. it's going to take much more than that to deal with the fires all across the west and hurricane irma that's already ravaged the u.s. virgin islands and is about to hit florida as well.
there's a lot-bipartisan work do. my hope is on a bipartisan basis the judiciary committee will have a public hearing later this month where donald trump jr. will answer all the questions that may not have been addressed in today's staff interview. >> in his opening statement, according to "the new york times," he said that he wanted to find out what it is that they might have to indicate that hillary clinton was not fit for office and then if he was going to take it further he would consult counsel. but one wonders why he brought the campaign manager and jared kushner and others into the meeting with him without bringing his lawyer if he thought there were any legal issues. >> that is one question that his prepared statement ratzed. one of the questions i have that i hope to ask him in an open session that i didn't hear addressed while i was present was the e-mail transcript that suggests that his response to being told that putin and putin's rejoom were trying to help his father win the election wasn't surprise, wasn't i need
to report this, but was instead great, let's go ahead with the meeting. >> one of the things hillary clinton writes about in her book is that she was so concerned about the late hit as she viewed it from director comey, from the fbi director, when he reopened the investigation on october 28th, flying to iowa, we saw her reactions, and she wrote, "was this a bd joke? it had to be. the fbi wasn't the federal bureau of ifs or innuendos. its job was to find out the facts. what the hell was comey doing?" obviously that was a real momentum killer in terms of all the polling and all of our own political analysis. >> andrea, what was striking to me about the choice that former fbi director comey made was that he felt compelled to make a public statement just before the election about one investigation. as we now know at that time there were two investigations
going on, one into possible collusion between the trump campaign and the russians, and the other into possible misuse of e-mails by hillary clinton and a failure to fully disclose pip think the fbi director should have commented on both or neither but for him to choose at that time to comment on only one of those two so close to the election was a choice i strongly disagree with. >> a lot of people have said that hillary clinton has not been introspeck tich enough about the campaign, about the election, about her own mistakes, but she does write in this book, "i never quite shook the false perception that i was the defender of the status quo. in my more intropeck tif moments i do recognize that my campaign in 2016 lacked the sense of urgency and passion that i remember from the 1992 campaign." so she's beginning to deal with that painful process, clearly, in writing this book. >> that's right, andrea. i haven't taken the time to read it yet. i look forward to having a chance to review it. but right here, right now, in
the senate, we're working on a bipartisan basis to deliver relief for the folks in the gulf coast who's suffered from hurricane harvey. we're praying for those who are bracing for the impact of hurricane irma in florida and those who have already been hit in the u.s. virgin islands and puerto rico. >> and i know you have to go vote. there is an amendment that rand paul has put up to offset the relief money with cuts in foreign aid. and i know you as a member of both committees on that you'll have a clear vote on that, i assume you are against it. >> i'm against it because we're at a record of humanitarian need across the world. there are four different place where is there's famine conditions. we have more refugees than at any point since if second world w war, and i support working in a bipartisan way to make our foreign assistance more effective, more transparent, but i don't think this is the time for us to cut it by billions and billions of dollars. president's budget proposed eliminating the food for peace
program, which uses u.s. come comedies to feed millions of hungry people around the world. i've recently led a bipartisan trip to a refugee camp in northeastern nigeria and i of soon what a great difference the world food program and the united states support for humanitarian efforts makes around the world. i'll be voting against rand paul's amendment. >> thank you very much. i know you have to run. thank you, senator. next hour, president trump will be having a joint press conference with the emir of kuwait coming up here on msnbc. margarita making robots, dunk tanks filled with flames. these are the innovations out of two bit circus. the company now makes entertainment for clients ranging from microsoft to pepsi. so that's the idea.
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thanks for being with us. joining me "mitchell reports," craig melvin is up next. >> good afternoon to you. msnbc headquarters in new york. we have a lot going on this hour. first, bracing for irma. worried and anxious folks in parts of south florida are getting out as the most powerful atlantic hurricane ever continues churning toward them. it's leaving a trail of death and destruction in parts of the caribbean. the deal maker, president trump says he's committed to continue reaching across the aisle after cutting a deal with democrats on the debt ceiling and funding the government. we will hear from the president just a few moments from now. and grilling trump jr. the president's son meets in private with senate judiciary committee staffers to talk about that meeting he arranged with a russian lawyer who promised dirt on hillary