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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  September 8, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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because the things you love can stink. a farmer's market.ve what's in this kiester. a fire truck. even a marching band. and if i can get comfortable talking about this kiester, then you can get comfortable using preparation h. for any sort of discomfort in yours. preparation h. get comfortable with it. that does it for this hour of coverage tonight. but msnbc's coverage of hurricane irma is going to be live from here on out. every hour live. we will be here with you for the duration of this thing. our coverage continues right now with ali velshi. good evening. >> good evening, rachel. thank you for that. hurricane irma shifts west and could actually pick up speed. >> we are running out of time. this storm is almost here. >> florida braces for impact with hurricane irma. >> this thing just looks like a monster. >> i don't know anybody in florida that's ever experienced
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what's about to hit south florida. >> look at andrew. this is bigger than andrew, about a third bigger in size and circumference. >> this is as bad as they get kind of hurricane. >> if you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. >> this could be the largest mass evacuation in the history of the united states. >> the beach right now, it's like post-apocalyptic. >> an estimated half million people heading to more than 40 shelters today. >> we have never been in a shelter before. we were very -- really very afraid. >> i visualize myself going back to my condominium and be destroyed. >> if you have not evacuated in an evacuation zone, you could die. >> we're not trying to scare people. we just want to give them the facts. >> the storm has already been deadly in the u.s. virgin islands. >> do not put yourself or your family's life at risk. >> we'll be lucky to survive. good evening. i'm ali velshi, continuing our
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breaking news coverage of hurricane irma. the massive and historic category 4 storm is set to make landfall in florida early sunday morning, and according to the latest guidance, irma could build up enough steam to turn back into a category 5 hurricane before it makes landfall in florida. florida is also at risk for dramatic storm surges. look at those numbers. they could reach as high as 12 feet in some areas. due to the storm surges, the acting director of the national hurricane center warned earlier today that it is not clear the storm is survivable for anyone who remains in the florida keys. we're going to get to that in just a moment. florida issued its largest evacuation order in 12 years, causing tens of thousands of residents to leave behind their homes in search of a safe place to ride out the storm. and to those in south florida who haven't left, governor rick scott has one message -- get out.
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>> we care about your safety. you've got to get prepared. if you're in an evacuation zone, you need to get out now and get either to a friend, family, a hotel, a shelter. but get where you need to go and do not wait. >> as the storm barreled its way through the caribbean, hurricane irma has already left at least 20 people dead according to the associated press. right now winds are at 155 miles per hour. the storm's path seems to be shifting slightly to the west, which could be very, very bad news for the west coast of florida. joining us now with the latest on hurricane irma is bill karins, nbc news meteorologist. bill? >> ali, a lot of important things we're closely monitoring. the tiniest little shift at this point means the difference between billions of dollars of damage and people that can't return to their homes in some areas of florida, and other areas that will be just fine. let's get into the latest. you get a storm this huge, it
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can't escape out of the sea. someone's going to get the worst of it. right now that's cuba. it's been drifting towards the south even now. this is the cuban keys here, and this is central cuba. you can see now portions of the island are now getting into the eye there. we're about to have land of irma in cuba. that was one of the questions, will we get that landfall in cuba. that means they're getting the brunt of the storm right now. fortunately for florida, potentially we could be dealing with a weaker storm if it's over cuba long enough. right now we're at 155-mile-per-hour winds. it's still a beast of a storm. it's 345 miles southeast of miami, florida, and it's still moving to the west. we haven't started that northern component to it as of yet. remember, the new forecast from the hurricane center, that's at 11:00 this evening. we're less than an hour from an all important update. this was the 5:00 update where they had it at 155 miles per hour. they did have it offshore cuba.
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they did have it going up to a category 5 up over the top of marathon, florida. i think they're going to have to tweak this ever so slightly. they don't like to make big adjustments. they don't like to alarm people. they like little, small adjustments just in case the models happen to go back the other way. they'll probably tweak it a little closer to key west is my thinking, and they may take this a little bit weaker because of that interaction with cue whcub. >> i'm going to be speaking to the city manager of marathon right after this. it looks like hundreds of thousands of people have left south florida. it's the biggest evacuation in florida history. a number of people have stayed. for those people who are watching this and they're deciding what to do, at what point does it become too late to try to leave south florida? >> we'll watch the initial bands and the winds really picking up i'd say about, in the keys, you're running out of time. get out immediately if you're listening to this. you shouldn't be there. no one should be there with this
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coming the way it is. if you're in south florida, especially that ft. myers area, naples, marco island, i would get out if i could, especially with the wind forecast. either you're prepared to be in your house without power for maybe two to three weeks, or you try to get out. those are kind of your options in those areas. i do want to show you the storm surge. we do think we'll get a new one of these too. that storm surge is the worst. southwest florida, ali. that's the area. finally our one map that shows the computer models, in is what's shifted in the last two hours, now taking it more over the top of dee west akey west. still off the coast 5:00 p.m. sunday. the angle of approach makes this a nightmare of a forecast. that's why a lot of people got out of the way. who wants to take a chance? the forecast is now a little bit better for the east coast of florida, but don't come back. just stay out and wait and see what this thing does. >> we're going to be together a lot over the next 72 hours.
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thank you, bill karins. joining us now is chuck lindsey, the city manager of mare thon, florida, which is located in the florida keys. chuck, good to see you. you heard the potentially good news, and it's too early to tell, but potentially good news that the eye of this thing might go west of you guys. there are still some people in the florida keys, though. >> yeah, absolutely, ali. you know, just in marathon alone, remember, it's a long chain of islands. but just in marathon alone, i've got over 30 firefighters. i've got numerous emergency management personnel, and that doesn't count the residents that didn't heed the evacuation orders that we've been giving out for the last three or four days that may still be in their homes. >> there's one road out of the keys onto the mainland. marathon, my guess, is three to five feet above sea level for most of it. is the highway maybe a couple feet above that at best? so you're talking about under ten feet if you're driving around marathon. >> yes, ali.
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absolutely. the highway is somewhere between six and nine feet. i do want to say the highway right now is wide open. so if folks are in town, they need to get out now. and they need to get north. >> tell me what happens. when these winds whip up even before, you'll see the sea levels rise. at some point your message to the people who are remaining there is that in the heart of this storm, you're not going to be able to get out there and help people who think they've made the wrong decision. >> no, that's absolutely right. you know, everyone keeps focusing on the wind. you know, the most important thing right now to focus on is that storm surge. i mean our emergency manager for the county keeps saying it over and over again. you might be able to find shelter and hide from the wind, but you can't get away from that storm surge and it's the water that kills people during a hurricane. down here in the keys with as low as we are, people need to be cautious. they need to get on the highway and get out of the keys. >> if people watching you now are listening to this thing and saying, i better get out of
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there, is there gas? >> the last report that i got was that on highway 27, there was gas. there's still a few gas stations throughout the keys. we're still getting reports in. we've been working with governor scott. the state has been absolutely wonderful getting to the stations at night and doing the best that they can. again, i can't overemphasize it enough. if you're still here in the florida keys, you need to get out. >> for the folks driving north caught in the traffic jams, not in the keys, but if you're further inland and kryou're driving up and wondering why the roads haven't been closed south bound, it's because the florida authorities are trying to get fuel to everybody who is there. the one thing that's been consistent is from the governor to mayors to city managers to fire captains to police chiefs, the message in florida is substantially more consistent than it was in harvey. it's get out now and look back and lament that you left and it wasn't as bad if it turns out not to be as bhad as ad as we h.
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>> for florida keys residents that are watching this broadcast and listening to me, two things. this storm is no doubt going to change lives. it is so strong and so powerful, something that we've never seen, that we are deliberating right now, the county, the state, and we're making preparations to evacuate our own come first thing in the morning if the current track dictates that. so we're looking at getting our own people out at this point. if you're foolish to still be here, then shame on you. but we've got to get our people to safety. >> you're talking about city officials, keys officials, firefighters, emergency response people, police? >> yes, sir. yes, sir. we're working right now and we're considering that. we're going to look at the forecast tonight and the forecast first thing in the morning, and we're going to make that decision. the important thing for residents, though, is that we'll be evacuating our personnel and going right to a shelter just
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north of the keys, and we will just barely get out. if folks are listening to me, they've got to go right now to get out of here safely. >> i think it's good advice. chuck, our prayers, our thoughts are with you and the folks all through florida and in the keys. we will stay with this story until we see you back to your homes. thank you for being with us, and good luck to you, chuck. >> thank you, very much, ali. >> the city manager of marathon, florida, which right now is in the path of the eye of hurricane irma. joining me now by phone is the mayor of the city of miami, florida. mayor, how are things in miami, and how are things in those areas in which you have asked people to evacuate from? >> well, ali, everyone here was almost sure that we were going to have the brunt of the storm, that we were going to be hit in a direct way. so the city has been preparing,
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but the people are really freaking out. this is the only way to describe it. there are people that have left, but i tell you something. i understand the dilemma. we have 100,000 residents in the waterfront areas of the city of miami. we have the most exposed assets in the south florida area in the downtown corridor, and yet people do not want to leave. there are 23,000 people countywide, and in the city of miami, a city of more than half a million people, about 200,000 are understand that order. so what the city is doing, we're just trying to be ready. the police, fire, we have picked up throughout the city of miami about 600 tons of debris every
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single day in the last three days. we have everything ready, but i can tell you that we have not seen a storm of this magnitude. we now know that it may turn west. but still we will be probably most likely on the dirty side of the storm. >> yep. >> so we will still get hurricane-force winds. >> regardless of what happens in south florida, miami is going to be the center of the response. mayor, you said something that a lot of people have put aside for a few days. the epa administrator told another network that now is not the time to talk about global warming, but you said earlier this is the time to talk about climate change. this is the time that the president and the epa and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change. if this isn't climate change, i don't know what is. it may be a good time to get
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people's attention. you in miami have water coming up through the drains some days because of rising water levels. >> actually, we do have already water coming through the drains. actually we have a bond issue in the agenda for november, and we call this bond issue miami forever. it's about $300 million for sea level resiliency, climate change because we have experienced that. and i think that this is the poster child to talk about climate change because, you know, you have this kind of hurricane which you have never seen. then following we have jose. then we have an event -- we had an event here in downtown miami where all of a sudden we got five inches of rain in one hour. the system was overwhelmed, and
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we have flooding in downtown miami. so this is the time now to talk about climate change. and i do hope that nothing happens, but if there is a tragedy either in the keys or here in miami-dade county or the city of miami, the most populated city in the state of florida, that people in washington realize that they need to get serious about this. >> well, you're going to be busy for the next several days, but you and i will talk on the other side of this when we have a little more time to go through some of the things you are doing in miami and in that region that the country can learn from when it comes to climate change. but at the moment we're going to be thinking about you and praying with you, sir. the entire nation's thoughts are with you. the miami mayor, thank you for joining me, sir. much more ahead. coming up, why some people can't or will not evacuate, and the flooding risk inland from the coast. and chris hayes in miami. he's joining us in miami after this.
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at the top of the hour, 11:00 p.m. eastern, we're going to get a brand-new forecast from the national hurricane center as bill karins was telling us. each passing minute and hour as irma tracks west, it's going to have a dramatic impact on where the most devastation will hit florida. but at this point, there is no question that the entire state will be dealing with hurricane-force winds. this storm is bigger than the entire peninsula. in palm beach county, there are
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over a dozen emergency shelters. joining us now is melissa mckinley. she's the vice mayor of palm beach county. melissa, thank you very much for being with us. tell me what things are like in palm beach county right now in terms of evacuations, in terms of gas, in terms of people who are staying. >> sure. you know, we have all the same coastal surge concerns that our partners down in broward and miami and over on the west coast of florida have. we have evacuated our barrier islands and our mobile home p k parks in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding much like our other counties along the coastlines have. but we have some special concerns. about 50 miles inland from the coastal areas, we've got communities that surround like okeechobee. we call it our glades region. you know, we've got some concerns that we'll have water overflowing from the top of the herbert hoover dike around the like. for that reason, we've worked with our partners there and with the governor's office to issue
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mandatory evacuation of all of the communities surrounding like okeechobee. that includes the city of bell glade and some of the smaller communities there. we're currently moving them out on some of our public buses, and we've got about -- we're closing in on about 12,000 people in our shelters tonight. >> we of course saw some of this in houston with those two reservoirs that were overtopped, and people who didn't expect increased flooding got it. so a lot of this is going to depend on what that storm surge looks like in palm beach county and how flooded things are and how quickly they can drain. but there may end up being people farther inland, as you're saying, who may get more flooding than they expect if something goes wrong with the hoover dike. >> right. and, you know, i mean we've got assurances from the army corps of engineers at this time that we should not have any breach in the dike, which is what happened in katrina, which is what happened in harvey.
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like you said, we are concerned with that storm surge. as you start to have a bathtub effect, you know, where the water gets pushed back and comes back south, there are a couple of weak spots. we did a worst case scenario planning with the army corps of engineers. we don't expect that to happen, but god forbid in the event it happened, we wanted to make sure we got those people out safely. >> in katrina and harvey we had situations where the worst case was worse than a lot of planning. you have a lot of retirees in palm beach county. some of them, it's not as easy for them to make the choice to get in a car and go somewhere. how are you dealing with that? are the preparations in place for a lot of the places where they live? >> absolutely. you know, everybody is full steam ahead here. we've had our emergency operations center up and running all week. we do have two shelters. one is a special needs shelter. if anybody has medical needs
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that require electricity, generator power, that's up and running at our fairgrounds. in addition to that, we have another shelter at one of our area high schools that is just for those that have special needs. some of our disabled, some of our seniors that may not feel comfortable in their homes, we're making sure that we can assist them with transportation. we've got a 24-hour hotline running right now. we've had thousands of calls to that hotline. anything that people need, they're calling in, and we're trying to make sure that they get it. >> all right. vice mayor of palm beach county melissa mckinley, thank you for your time. our thoughts are going to be with you over the coming hours and days. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> joining me now from miami is msnbc's chris hayes, host of "all in," who has been out there and covering this and talking to folks. chris, i just want to get back to a topic that we touched on with the mayor of miami just a moment ago, who says this is the time to have the conversation about climate change.
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the epa administrator said this isn't the time to have that conversation. what are you hearing from people around there who have witnessed in miami this idea of rising sea levels, water coming up through the drains, a normal rainfall flooding the streets over the past year? >> reporter: i talked to two politicians today, one a democrat, one a republican. democrat mayor phillip levine, retiring congresswoman ileana ros-lehtinen. they both said if you live here, you cannot deny what's happening. climate change is real. it has risen the -- the sea level has risen. it's about a foot largely attributed to that, and it has actual tangible effects. the thing to keep in mind with florida as a state is that it is a modern engineering marvel that only exists because of a ceaseless battle by engineers over decades to get rid of the water. the water is the enemy of the people of florida. michael grum wald has a great piece in politico on this.
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when you add more water, when you add sea level rise, a very precarious e will lib rum has been achieved. it's our own version of the pyramids. it's been thrown out of balance, and that has to be factored in. when people are watching this storm and they're looking at what happens on, like you said, you know, bright days when you have flooding during high tide, the water that this storm is moving over right now is some of the warmest water on planet earth. it's only going to get warmer as the planet continues to warm. that heat creates the energy that feeds the storm. so it's just impossible to sort of detach the two. and one thing that really stuck with me today, phillip stoddard, the mayor of south miami, he's a scientist himself. he was on a presidential commission to study sea level rise. he said we're looking at the national hurricane center, and it's such an incredible resource we have as a people, right, as a government that we have these incredible scientists. he said it's all the same people. it's not like there's the good scientists who did the
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hurricane, and there's the bad scientist who's are make make ce projections. >> when you're on miami beach and you see those buildings that are up above sea level that have been built that way, when people talk about hurricane andrew and the numerical value, the money damage that it did, it would be so much bigger today because of all of this building, this human marvel that you are talking about. but the obama administration had instituted a rule that said when building public projects, you have to take the rise of sea level into account, and that is something the trump administration has said that they don't need to do. now, this is dangerous because we are building for 50 and 100 years hence. why wouldn't you want to take into account the rising sea level even if everybody's wrong about it? you're safe. if you do it the other way around and you're wrong about it, everybody is in danger. >> that's right. i had governor chris christie on my show just a week ago, and i
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said was it a mistake? he sort of hemmed and hawed. yeah, it was a mistake. that was revoked eight days before harvey hit. there's going to be a lot of talk about adaptation and resilience. that's going to increasingly grow. what you're going to hear more and more is, well, we don't have to argue about the cause, but the climate's changing. we should adapt to it. of course one of the other things we know is degrees matter. even talking to folks here, little granular shifts in where this storm hits are going to mean massive implications for the level of destruction, for property, and danger for human lives. now, you amplify that out, and we talk about the climate, we talk one degree, two degrees. it seems so small. but when you realize how fin final -- you can see how these little butterfly effects can have huge ramifications. >> please stay safe while you're down there. i'll be back with you on sunday night when things are getting
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pretty serious. chris hayes in miami for us. we're going to have much more on hurricane irma coming up including what you're trying to escape but you can't get gas. this is a real dire problem for some people in florida right now. first big news today in the russia investigation. special counsel robert mueller reportedly plans to interview several current and former members of the trump white house. (butch growls at man) he's looking at me right now, isn't he? yup. (butch barks at man) butch is like an old soul that just hates my guts. (laughs) (vo) you can never have too many faithful companions. introducing the all-new crosstrek. love is out there. find it in a subaru crosstrek. it'samerica's #1 is a status earned in every wash. and one we re-earn, everyday. #1 trusted. #1 awarded. it's got to be tide.
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now to breaking news on the russia investigation. we'll get back to irma in a minute. but "the washington post" is reporting tonight that special counsel robert mueller has notified the white house that his investigators intend to speak with six current and former white house staffers in connection with the russia
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probe. the post says that mueller wants to speak with former chief of staff reince priebus, former press secretary sean spicer, and his team is also looking to interview top adviser hope hicks, who is the white house communications director, white house counsel don mcgahn, one of mcgahn's deputies, and a white house spokesman who works closely with jashred kushner. according to the post, people familiar with the probe said the documents mueller has requested strongly suggest the topics that he and his investigators would broach with the aides. one of those topics is the president's involvement in crafting the initial misleading statement that his son put out about his june 9th, 2016 trump tower meeting with russian nationals. "the daily beast" is reporting that robert mueller increasingly views that event as a, quote, critical moment in his investigation. joining us now are one of the reporters who wrote that piece, betsy woodruff, politics reporter for "the daily beast," and jill wine-banks, former assistant watergate special prosecutor and an msnbc contributor.
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thanks to both of you for being here. betsy, let me just start off with the reporting from "the daily beast," which says, in reflection of how serious the administration is taking the matter, sources tell "the daily beast" there are currently efforts under way to organize a legal defense fund for white house staffers. such a fund would help cover the legal bills associated with mueller's probe, which are expected to the large. a washington white collar attorney told "the daily beast" that everyone questioned by mueller is going to likely need to retain counsel. those lawyers will be between $500 and $1,000 per hour. betsy, at some point do any of these people fall under the umbrella, the legal umbrella, of the white house? i mean don mcgahn, the white house counsel, is one of these people who may have to get questioned. their lawyers are not going to be working on behalf of the white house. >> correct. these folks are going to need attorneys who don't currently work for the white house. a source told me earlier today about outside counsel don mcgahn has retained. my understanding is that he didn't retain that lawyer
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specifically because of mueller's queries into this probe, but he does have an attorney who doesn't work for the government, who works specifically for him. my understanding is that many of the other folks who currently could be facing imminent questioning from the mueller probe don't yet have outside counsel and will need to retain new people. that's because, look, they're being questioned not in their capacity as government employees, but in their capacity as potential witnesses. >> right. >> and even for folks who mueller is interested in talking with who are not suspected of any wrongdoing, the legal questions he's going to ask them, the requests he's going to make to them for documents are going to be complicated. and if they don't respond to those questions fully, it's something that could generate more headaches for them. of course an important piece of this is that these attorneys are very pricey to retain. >> sure. >> i reported earlier that paul manafort and michael flynn are both facing financial straits because of the sky-high legal bills that they've racked up due to the mueller probe.
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it's a big piece of how this story is unfolding. >> so, jill, there are a bunch of things this could be about, including the firing of jim comey and the decisions that led to that, including how the white house reacted to the information about michael flynn possibly being compromised by the russians. but as you and i have discussed before, this june 9th meeting and the now five different responses that donald trump jr. has given to why he would have attended that meeting, this is a bit of a gold mine for a prosecutor. it's not clear where it ends, where it goes. but there are so many inconsistencies there that this was an obvious place for mueller to start. >> it is a very obvious place, and calling all of these witnesses is also the very logical next step. i mean i've been reading that he's being very aggressive. i don't consider this aggressive. this is the normal way that you should investigate. you have some very obvious things that make people look
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guilty. and you've just mentioned if you have five different choices and you can't tell which one is correct and not all of them can be true because they're inconsistent, you clearly have something that looks like a false statement. you clearly have something that looks like you're deliberately trying to mislead the prosecutor. so it needs to be investigated, and everybody should have lawyers. donald trump promised america that he was going to create jobs. i don't think he meant for the legal community to represent his own people, but that's what's happened. >> "the washington post" is reporting that the white house counsel don mcgahn speaks to mueller, that there's no attorney-client privilege. betsy, there's the issue of attorney-client privilege, and then there's the issue of executive privilege that the white house sometimes has suggested it might use. do either of these -- can they apply here? >> those are complex legal questions, and i'm not an attorney. so i wouldn't necessarily be able to parse that.
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what i can tell you is that if mueller is asking individuals in the white house to speak with him, it's because he's confident he has the right and he has a good reason to be speaking with those folks. i've done a lot of in-depth coverage of the folks who are working on mueller's team, and they include some of the most sophisticated legal minds working in government today, including michael dreeben, who is on detail from the solicitor general's office in the justice department and is arguably the most bright expert living on the planet today when it comes to u.s. criminal law. so if mueller is reaching out to these folks -- >> mueller is not winging it. >> right. it's because he's confident they'll be able to talk to him and be able to give him usable information. >> it's interesting, jill. the white house has not used executive privilege yet in this particular instance. tell me about executive privilege and the attorney-client privilege with don mcgahn being the white house counsel. >> well, those are actually fairly simple questions. the attorney-client privilege
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does not apply because don mcgahn represents the presidency, not the president. and he has to represent the people of america who pay his salary as much as the president. so it isn't considered an attorney-client privilege for him. and in terms of executive privilege, as we found out in watergate where executive privilege was invoked, it does not apply if the conversation is of a crime. and if you're in the process of committing a crime, it does not apply. so there are a number of exceptions to executive privilege that outweigh the executive privilege, which is a very important thing for a president to have. you need to be able to get honest, forthright advice that will not be impeded by the fact that you might have to disclose it. so i think it's an important thing. but that doesn't cover if you're committing a crime, and so that is why it wouldn't apply here. >> jill wine-banks, thanks as always for your analysis. betsy woodruff, thanks as always
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for your great reporting. coming up, hurricane irma and the discussion its wrought. hospitals, schools, airports, houses. some of them completely destroyed in the caribbean. we'll bring you that after this.
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a category 4 hurricane, marking the first time ever that two category 4 or higher storms will hit the united states in the same season. irma has already cut a path of destruction through the caribbean and another category 4 storm, jose, is just behind it. hurricane experts say that today had the most hurricane activity ever recorded in the atlantic region according to a measurement called accumulated cyclone energy that measures the combined strength of storms. nbc's cal perry has been following irma's path through the caribbean and skbroijoins u >> when you look at where this hurricane has been, where it's headed, we can see the damage it caused. if you look at its track through the caribbean, one of the big concerns on these islands are people going to get out after the damage of that first hurricane before jose makes its way. let's go from east to west. starting in barbuda, that took massive damage. the prime minister there saying 95% of the island destroyed. he called it, quote, barely
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habitable for people who are on twitter. for about nine to 11 hours, this island was cut off. there was no word from this island. there was no phones. there was no communication whatsoever. they finally got some satellite phones up there. you see the helicopter shots. they were final able to get a look at that island. totally devastated. now to st. martin. this is an island shared by the french and the dutch, and there has been looting. roofs were shredded. boats were torn to pieces. you can see some of the damage there. the dutch have put troops onto the streets of st. martin now because they're saying two-thirds of the houses on that island are, quote, uninhabitable. no electricity, no gas, no water. the french ministry saying, quote, scenes of pillaging. i'll take you to the u.s. and british virgin islands. the thing we're hearing is help or jose. can they get the help in before jose come as cross these islands
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and basically moves the rubble now from one spot to another. to give you app example of how powerful this storm was for the u.s. virgin islands. the roof of the medical center in st. thomas was ripped clear off during the storm. they had to evacuate that hospital. puerto rico did not take a direct hit. that's the good news. the bad news is right there. the power. there are hundreds of thousands of people without power, and it's going to be months before that power comes back on. ali, as you know, this is a bankrupt island. this was an island on its knees before the storm hit. that's going to be a real problem. the fact that it's declared bankruptcy is going to limit the amount of funding that this island gets from fema. it's going to limit the amount of recovery that this island is sort of going to be able to have. that is a big concern. the economy there is going to be absolutely devastated. look, big picture, at least 20 people killed across the caribbean. 1.2 million people affected, and a $10 billion initial estimate of the damage.
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>> again, when something like this happens, immediately we're thinking about response, the hospitals, rebuilding. but this other hurricane is right behind it. places like the u.s. virgin islands and others are going to get another swipe of this thing. >> that's right. so if you decided you were going to ride it out, you were going to stick it out and you did, and you're on one of these islands. number one, you don't have power, you don't have internet. you don't have communications. you don't know what the track of jose is, and the authorities there are trying to get to you to tell you, look, it's time to get off this island because we're just not going to be able to communicate with you what's going on when this next storm comes rolling through. >> we spoke to the delegate, the congresswoman from the u.s. virgin islands today, who said that in some places, cell phone towers are damaged to the extent that you're just not getting the full story. the numbers are not as complete as they could be once we actually get full communication with some of these places. thanks for staying on top of it with me.
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for more on the historic hurricane season, joining us is paul douglas, the founder and president of media logic group. let's take a look at some pictures we have of this hurricane, showing the size of hurricane irma compared to hurricane andrew back in 1992. this thing is massive. it's going to -- the head of fema said somewhere in the southeastern united states is going to see remarkable devastation as a result of it. >> there's no question. and as you just showed your viewers, ali, you have to look at the history. this thing has a history of producing almost tornado-like damage where it hits, where the core of the storm hits in the caribbean. this thing is much bigger than andrew. andrew was puny compared to irma. and it really is the perfect storm. it is the mother of all storms. i've seen a lot of different hurricanes. they're all different. every hurricane is unique. but this thing is off the scale,
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and we have some satellite imagery to show you just how persistent this storm has been. the thing we look at is the intensity, the size, and the persistence. and by all measures, this thing is in a whole different category. it's similar to some of the super typhoons that we track that bear down on manila or tokyo. we don't usually get hurricanes this big, this intense, for this long in the atlantic. the fact, ali, that it's moving from south to north across the state of florida, that has happened three times since 1851. the last time was cleo back in '64, long before florida became developed. so it's almost like irma is trying to maximize the damage, the runway, the footprint of damage all the way from south florida up into the panhandle. and that's what's has us concern. south florida is going to take the brunt of this storm. i think we may avoid -- i hope we can avoid a worst case
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scenario for miami with this westward shift in the storm track. but it does not bode well. the latest storm surge map pretty ominous for places like naples and bonita and ft. myers and even sarasota tampa. there's going to be power outages into orlando. the whole state is impacted. where do you send people? >> that's an issue. look, the thing about andrew is it made a lot of people in florida understand how powerful and important these storms are. what's your sense of it? are they more powerful now? are we just better able to see them coming because obviously the big storm in galveston in 1900 which killed thousands of people, we just weren't good aforecasting back in those days. >> the forecasts have gotten better. they're not perfect. they never will be perfect. but the computer models do a pretty good job at the track. the one thing we do don't as good a job at is intensity.
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will it come ashore as a category 5 or a category 3? right now the water off the coast of florida, the gulfstream water, 86 dreams. it is bath water. that is jet fuel, high octane fuel for hurricanes. the warmer the water, the higher the speed limit, the faster the winds can blow. so it's quite conceivable this will come ashore as a category 5. the damage is going to be extensive, and this could be a much more expensive storm than even harvey. they're saying, what, $180 billion in the houston area and across texas. again, these numbers are staggering. >> shathey're absolutely staggering. paul, thank you very much. coming up, what if you're trying to evacuate, and you can't fill up with gas? that's next. fibromyalgia may be invisible to others, but my pain is real. fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves.
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just gotten some breaking news out of miami. this tweet from miami international airport -- >> the last night from ft. lauderdale international departed earlier tonight. what if you're trying to drive out? joining us from miami is mia rodriguez. you've been trying to get a handle on the gas station in miami. the important thing to note, there's no real pipeline for gas going into florida. there's sort of a spur of the colonial pipeline that takes the gas up to the northeast. so there are problems getting
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gas, even if the gas stations have power. >> reporter: basically, that's true. it needs to be off loaded from ships and trucked into gas stations like this one. the word of the day has been gasoline. who has it, where is it? everyone has been looking for it. my producer and i drove all over miami-dade. we found this gas station a couple of hours ago here in southwest miami-dade that had gasoline and people are coming here to fill up. surprisingly, we have not seen an extremely long line of people. but again, that's because this is a hit or miss area. we are not on one of the main highway systems here in the county that people would use to evacuate. this is a residential area. but the folks we spoke to said we're locals, out doing errands. they were trying to co-all kinds of stuff and needed to fill up again. here's what some had to say about what they encountered today. >> we stopped at a few places, and this is the only one open. >> reporter: were you surprised that you found some in
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>> yeah. we've been on a little excursion. >> reporter: what worries you the most at this point? >> that the houses won't be standing. >> reporter: so about a third of the gas stations in the state of florida right now do not have gas according to the gas buddy app, which miami-dade county is asking residents to download to find gas now and after the storm. that's another issue, ali, whether there will be power for these gas stations to operate. some of them have generators, some do not. that was an issue after wilma. >> mya, thank you. coming up, the survivors of irma speak. that's next. and we covered it, july first, twenty-fifteen. talk to farmers.
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if anyone watching tonight is on the fence about evacuating, if a friend or family member is thinking about riding out the storm, listen to the people who have been there. the survivors of hurricane irma on what this monster storm is like up close. >> just kept hearing a bang, and then eventually the ones that lost, then it got better. but then the loud noises stopped and then it was just the wind of the hurricane. but once the house was gone, it was less scary downstairs.
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>> we just did a flyover, and i have to tell you, my heart sunk. this has been one of the worst days of my life. the entire country has been decimated. i have never seen anything like this before. >> stay with msnbc tonight and all weekend long for all the news of hurricane irma. i'll be back at 10:00 a.m. eastern tomorrow morning. brian williams continues our live coverage right now. well, good evening once again from our msnbc news headquarters here in new york. a storm that was born on the west coast of africa as a rainstorm last month. a storm that has grown to the size of texas, is getting ready to roll over the entire florida peninsula before the weekend is out. it's been a couple of hours perhaps since you last checked in since we all last got the last guidance from the hurricane center. there's been something of a

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