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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
30+ Million People Under Tropical Storm Watch, Warning; Marine Discharged After Warning Of Child Sex Abuse; David Sneddon Went Missing In China In 2004. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired September 2, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really was a meltdown of monumental proportions.
[16:30:03] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Jack O'Donnell (ph) ran Trump Plaza for three years. He was there when the Taj opened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald's answer to the problem was to immediately go in and shame, belittle and berate, and demand firings in the midst of the chaos, and that's the last thing that a good leader does in that situation.
BORGER: O'Donnell was tapped to restore the calm. Weeks later, O'Donnell says he resigned. Trump says he was fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald is so wrapped up in hyperbole that it's almost constant lies. Something could go bad, like the opening of the Taj, and he would say it's because we had so much business here that this happened. Not that the systems broke down, not that we don't know what we were doing. We had so much business it broke down.
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: What about the slot machine thing where they were down for a while?
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: The slots were so hot, nobody has seen people play that hard and that fast.
KING: So, what, it blew out the slots literally?
TRUMP: They were virtually in play. It was a fuse, or like a fire.
BORGER: No one felt the heat more than Trump himself. With his life playing out in the papers, from his businesses, to the break up to his 12-year marriage to Ivana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And Gloria Borger joins me now live.
What surprised you the most about Donald Trump While reporting on this documentary?
BORGER: In talking to people from all parts of his life, his childhood onward, what surprised is that they're not surprised by anything Donald Trump has done, and that's it's the same person that they knew from childhood, in elementary school, to the person who is the Republican nominee for president and I asked them, did anything about the campaign surprised you? And they said, no, this is Donald Trump, who always comes into a situation, upends it, and takes control of it.
And this is exactly what we saw happen in the presidential primary season and not one of them was surprised and they all said, this is the Donald Trump we knew in business, and this is the Donald Trump we grew up with.
Gloria Borger, thanks so much.
Make sure you tune in for "Unfinished Business: The Essential Hillary Clinton," which is a deep dive on her life. That's Monday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, and that's followed by Gloria Borger's "All Business: The Essential Donald Trump" at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. An in-depth look at both candidates.
As it moves toward the East Coast, Hermine is predicted to be so dangerous. Some cities are now closing their beaches.
Brian Todd is live in Charleston, South Carolina, where the wind and rain have already started -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, wind and rain presenting all sorts of challenges for the people here in Charleston. One of them is a danger of driving over a high bridge, like the Ravenel Bridge right there. We're going to show you what some of the dangers here just ahead.
[16:37:09] TAPPER: We're back with the national lead.
The deadly tropical storm Hermine roaring up the East Coast. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio now ordering beaches closed this weekend, saying riptides could be the worse seen in a decade. More than 30 million people under watches and warnings as the system moves north. We could see the effects of the storm last for nearly a week.
Hermine is to blame for least one death. Fifty-six-year-old John Mays (ph), a homeless man in Central Florida who was killed when a tree fell upon his tent.
The system tore through towns as it made landfall in Florida's panhandle overnight, destroying homes and businesses, toppling trees, that knocked out power. The strength of waves and wind even ripped up a road in a town called Alligator Point.
And now, Georgia, and points north are bracing for impact and CNN has team coverage.
First, let's begin with CNN correspondent Brian Todd out in Charleston, South Carolina.
Brian, it appears conditions are deteriorating by the hour where you are.
TODD: They really are, Jake. And what we've had here is round after round of heavy rain and high wind. It will hit us very intensely, and then it will recede a little bit and then you'll get another round.
Storm surge has been a big story here. You see the white caps behind me in the harbor. Looking toward the ocean there in Charleston, it has been very heavy surf. We're told levels in the surf are about a foot and a half at least higher than they normally are.
This is a low lying city. They are concerned about flooding. They get flooding in these events consistently. So far, they dodged a bit of a bullet with that right now, but they are still very worry of more rain bands coming through here, and more flooding. A lot of the roadways in this peninsula in Charleston used to be tidal creeks, which were filled with water.
Now, they filled in some of those, but, you know, that is still very low lying and still flooding is a threat here. Also, what we're also told that city officials are telling us, look, this is an area of high bridges. Not only here in Charleston, but throughout the Carolinas, high bridges like the Ravenel Bridge right behind me.
Take a look at that, the deck of that bridge where the roadway is about 200 feet above the surf. What they're doing now, Jake, is warning people just be careful if you have to drive over the bridge, don't drive over bridges like this if you don't have to. That's a concern right now with the high winds.
So, they're certainly not out of the woods yet here in Charleston. Lots of specific dangers and threats from flooding, tide -- you know, tidal washouts along the shoreline here, and high winds along bridges like that.
So, they have told people to hunker down for about 24 hours and ride this thing out. We saw some people along the coastline who are not doing that. So, hopefully, they're getting inside right about now.
TAPPER: Brian, any word of evacuations ordered?
TODD: No evacuations order yet, Jake. But again, officials tell us that they're monitoring the situation very closely.
[16:40:03] We're expecting more bands of rain here and high winds. So, they may order evacuations. So far, again, they dodged a bullet with major flooding, not major flooding yet, but again, they're expecting possibly more and an area just north of here through the outer banks of North Carolina. Those areas are under tornado watches. So, that's another potentially hazardous situation.
TAPPER: Tough. Brian Todd, thanks so much. That's tough stuff out there. Hermine, no longer a hurricane, but the worst may not be over yet. Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.
Karen, what's next for Hermine?
KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hermine is going to move across the outer banks, as we just heard Brian mentioned, but that's not going to be the end of it. As we look at our enhanced tropical system, moving right across the Carolinas right now is reporting winds of 50 miles an hour, with some higher gusts.
But once it moves off shore, when it runs into that ribbon of current known as the gulf stream, that's a very warm water system that just kind of runs parallel to the coast. This is going to add to the intensity again for Hermine, and will increase it to hurricane intensity then if is not officially a hurricane with tropical characteristics. It is going to have colder core.
So, it's going to be post-tropical, but it's going to sit out here across the mid-Atlantic for quite some time. As it does, it re- intensifies to winds at 75 miles per hour or perhaps greater, and then it lingers. It's not going to be moving very much.
So, we took a look at some of the forecast over the next three to five days, Atlantic City was one of the cities that we looked at. Every day, it mentioned the potential for tropical storm conditions there.
That's not the only city. In and around the Chesapeake Bay area, the Delaware Bay area, right around Long Island, some of the beautiful sounds there, also up towards Boston, it's expected to become squally there as well.
Let's go to the floor and show you what we mean by this. Well, it definitely looks very impressive on the imagery right now. As a matter of fact, there is some warmer air feeding into this system that makes it look fairly ragged. But it will continue that trek more towards the Northeast. So, just about everybody in South Carolina now is being impacted.
But look at what happened as we go through tide. Some of the wind gusts around 60 miles an hour. Still, we're expecting the winds to be on the increase as go into Monday, even stronger by Tuesday, and by Wednesday, it could be about 100 miles offshore, off the Mid-Atlantic coast, but battered with waves and very heavy rainfall. That's going to produce lots of beach erosion and the potential for rip current. It could see the potential for severe flooding across that region as well -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Karen Maginnis, thank you so much.
A missing American man has reportedly reemerged in North Carolina and he is teaching English to guy you might know. He has a very distinguishable haircut.
And then, a marine trying to blow a whistle on an Afghan police chief who was allegedly sexually abusing children. Instead of helping the marine, the military is trying to kick him out. Why? That story, next.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. The Buried Lead now, that's what we call stories we don't think are getting enough attention. A shocking tale now about a U.S. Marine who tried to stop the sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan by a high ranking Afghan police chief, but today it is he that the U.S. military is pursuing.
Major Jason Brezler (ph) tried to warn fellow Marines in the 2012 e- mail about an Afghan police chief suspected of using a teenage boy as a sex slave, but then the major realized he had sent highly sensitive information on his personal Yahoo account.
Brezler reported himself to authorities and was relieved of duty. Now Brezler's status as a marine reservist is on hold as the military decides whether he should be discharged.
The Department of Defense did respond to our request for comment on the story but only to say they could not comment on this pending case.
Brezler's attorney, Michael Bowe joins me now. My first question, Mr. Bowe, did Major Brezler's superior officers ever do anything about the alleged child rapist Afghan police chief?
MICHAEL BOWE, ATTORNEY FOR MAJOR JASON BREZLER: No, they didn't and in fact -- or they didn't do anything about the people who knew about him in the American chain of command that didn't do anything to prevent what then happened was that person, one of the boys, the sex slaves they bring on the base, murdered three Marines within two weeks of Major Brezler's e-mail.
The people who allowed that to happen were never investigated, sanctioned, or reprimanded. And the Marine Corp has spent over three years attempting to put Major Brezler out of Marine Corp, and the police chief who was engaged in this reprehensible practice, is, as I understand it, a police chief again in Afghanistan.
TAPPER: It's just awful. Brezler, of course, turned himself in after sending that e-mail on his personal Yahoo! account. He is now a New York City firefighter. As this case is being litigated in court, did he ever think this is how this would all turn out?
BOWE: No, no one who is familiar with these types of cases thought this is how it would turn out and everyone who is familiar with is shocked at how it turned because no similar case has ever been dealt with the same way. In fact, he was punished, he was relieved from command.
He also turned over, after the investigation started, he found another file that was on his computer, which was basically a file to give to his successor that he had not deleted, he turned that in.
He was relieved of command. He got an adverse fit rep and then he moved on with his career. And it was only until eight months later, when the senior Marines, the (inaudible) and other senior Marine generals learned from a press report that he was talking to his congressman, Peter King, about the incident.
[16:50:06]Did they, within the course of three days, decide to throw him out of the Marine Corp, direct into a border inquiry to throw him out of the Marine Corp which is illegal.
Every service member has a statutory right, to talk to their congressman. He spoke to his congressman. He can't be sanctioned or retaliated against for that and that is why he is being forced out of the Marine Corp. It is illegal.
TAPPER: And then then a Navy legal review recommended that the Marines uphold its original punishment of Major Brezler because they feared holding new hearing on the case, quote, "because they figured it may increase public attention to this case especially in the aftermath of significant media attention to the allegations regarding the practice of keeping personal sex slaves in Afghanistan."
There is obviously another story that we covered a few months ago, a similar case, why would the U.S. military not want attention devoted to the problem of some Afghan authorities rapping children.
BOWE: Because this was a dirty little secret for a while until our case and some related cases as well as some great reporting from (inaudible) at the "Times" and then were moved to the "Washington Post" and coverage from CNN opened it up.
But the fact is that our soldiers, sailors, and Marines are being told that they couldn't do anything about this practice where these Afghan leaders were keeping these boys as sex slaves because it would insult them.
They're being told that by the senior commanders that just didn't do anything about it and therefore, it is just a secret that they don't want anyone to know because obviously no American believes that is what our service members are doing. And in fact it is illegal.
There is a statute that prohibits our service members them from engaging in a human rights offense, which that clearly is. And senior military commanders did not take the right action when they were there to set down clear guidelines.
Our service members were put in impossible positions where some of them had to look the other way. Some of them like Major Brezler and the Special Forces, people like Sergeant Martland (ph), who did something about it, were then retaliated against.
They had to keep everything silent. In the final period at the end of the sentence, when Major Brezler's case gets up to the secretary of the Navy, who is the president's designee instead of looking at the merits, their decision is based on well, we don't want this whole issue in the press anymore, so let's just approve it.
It's pretty egregious when your first segment was about Secretary Clinton, who the commander-in-chief said despite anything she did, she was fit to serve.
BOWE: Well, then certainly Major Brezler is fit to serve under the commander-in-chief's same standard.
TAPPER: Michael Bowe, stay in touch. Keep us appraise of the case. We appreciate it. Thanks so much.
He has been missing for 12 years, but now this American student who disappeared in China has reportedly reemerged in one of the most secretive places on earth.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. A new jobs report out today paints a bleak picture or maybe it shows we've come a long way or maybe it's both. It depends on who you ask. That's today's segment "America's Debt and the Economy."
The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in August. That is nearly 125,000 fewer jobs that were added the previous month, July. Here's the breakdown.
Job numbers were up in food service and business, but the country lost 14,000 manufacturing jobs. All in all a mixed report in a traditionally slow summer month.
In our World Lead today, a bizarre story even by North Korean standards. According to a Japanese media reports, a young American man who went missing while traveling in China more than a decade ago, may have turned up thousands of miles away in North Korea.
Let's bring in CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott. Elise, what do we know about his whereabouts?
ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you know, North Korea has a habit of abducting foreign nationals to train their intelligence operatives and cadets. When David Sneddon went missing in China, and they never found his body, his parents did feel that he might have been abducted by the regime.
Today we spoke to Roy and Kathleen Sneddon and they tell us that they think that this bolsters what they've been saying all along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN SNEDDON, MOTHER OF MISSING AMERICAN: It doesn't come as a shock. We have done our research and spent time involved and we do think that David is in North Korea.
ROY SNEDDON, FATHER OF MISSING AMERICAN: We realize that an American abducted by North Koreans, into North Korea, working in a situation which trains their intelligence officers, is off script for both the State Department as well as for those high up in the U.S. government. So it would be politically inopportune for such things to make the news, and we're frankly glad that this has happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: Now the State Department doesn't really find this report credible. They've looked into these claims over the years and haven't found any evidence, Jake, that's substantiate these claims. We'll have much more with our interview with the Sneddon's next hour on "THE SITUATION ROOM."
TAPPER: All right, Elise Labott, thanks so much. Before I go, a little note, ten years ago tomorrow, this little angel said "I do," making me a very, very lucky man. Happy anniversary, honey.
Tune in to CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday at 9 a.m. Eastern. My guest former New York City mayor and Trump supporter, Rudy Giuliani.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, FBI investigations, the bureau releases its report on the Clinton e-mail investigation --