Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Holds Arizona Rally; Barcelona Police Still Conducting Manhunt; Eclipse of the Century; Eclipse Chaser in Wyoming. Aired 9:30-10:00a

Aired August 21, 2017 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:41] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, reports that White House and Arizona officials are on edge over the president's campaign-style rally planned for Arizona tomorrow night. There's the backlash over the president's claim that very fine people marched alongside neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. And then there are the president's ongoing feuds with the state's Republican senators. By feuds I mean the president all but endorsed the primary opponent of one of those senators.

Joining us now live from Gilbert, Arizona, CNN's senior national correspondent Alexander Marquardt.

It's going to be a big 24 hours there in Arizona, Alexander.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, John, that's right, tension running high here in Arizona ahead of the president's campaign rally tomorrow. Violence is feared, particularly in the wake of Charlottesville.

The chief of police in Phoenix has said that there will be maximum staffing around that rally to try to prevent any sort of violence. The big question is whether the president will announce some sort of pardon at that rally for the controversial sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to stop racially profiling Latinos.

Now, the -- we -- the mayor has put out a statement ahead of this rally, calling on the president to postpone it. He is a Democrat named Greg Stanton. He wrote, I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville. If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to inflame emotions and further divide our nation.

Now, Arizona is home to two of the senators who have been the biggest thorns in the side of President Trump, Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake, who's due to hold a business roundtable in just under an hour here. Senator Flake has been particularly antagonistic from the early days of the campaign through into the presidency. And in the wake of Charlottesville, after President Trump put out those controversial statements, Senator Flake wrote in a tweet, we can't claim to be the party of Lincoln if we equivocate in condemning white supremacy.

President Trump responding just two days later, as you said, endorsing a primary challenger to Flake. Flake is up for re-election next year. The president wrote, great to see that Dr. Kelly Ward is running against flake Jeff Flake, who is weak on borders, crime and a nonfactor in Senate. He's toxic.

So a showdown on several fronts tomorrow as President Trump visits Phoenix.


BERMAN: All right, Alexander Marquardt for us in Arizona. Don't look into the sun later today, Alex. Appreciate you being with us.

I want to bring in Dan Nowicki. He's a national political reporter for "The Arizona Republic." Dan, thanks so much for being with us.

It seems to be at least three giant issues hanging like a shadow over the president's presence in Arizona. Number one, his controversial response to Charlottesville. Number two, what's he going to do with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Will he pardon him, maybe even during this speech? And then, number three, this very public feud with Arizona's Republican senators. What do you think the most important aspect is?


But I think you're right, I think a lot of people are on edge in Arizona, bracing for the worst, hoping that maybe we don't see the kind of violence that we've seen in other parts of the country. But, obviously, here locally, the pardon of Sheriff Arpaio is on a lot of people's minds. There's a poll out just this morning that showed that Arizonans were overwhelmingly opposed to President Trump pardoning Joe Arpaio.

So, you know, people remember, Arpaio was very popular for many years but kind of wore out his welcome there at the end. He wound up losing a re-election bid last year. So in addition to his conviction in federal court for contempt, kind of the voters also threw him out. So it's kind of a -- in Arizona a lot of people saw the Arpaio era as over and aren't really, you know, eager to see President Trump kind of weighed back in that direction.

BERMAN: And, of course, also Sheriff Joe Arpaio, someone who was a birther, you know, spreading the claim that President Obama wasn't born in the United States, fervently and vehemently, for a long time. And I'm not even sure he's back off it even now.

Do Republicans --

NOWICKI: Right. Yes, he's --

BERMAN: Go ahead.

NOWICKI: Oh, I was going to say, yes, he had an investigation that went on and on into President Obama's birth certificate.

BERMAN: So the Republican senators in Arizona right now, how much has President Trump roiled the Republican political scene in your state?

[09:35:08] NOWICKI: Well, right. You know, Senator Flake last year was one of the, you know, high profile Republicans who never endorsed Trump. He was critical of Trump all the way through the presidential campaign, never voted for him at the end. And, in the end, maybe that politically backfired a little bit on him as Trump wound up winning and then Flake has to enter into a re-election cycle immediately. So there was kind of speculation as to whether or not, you know, Flake would try to avoid a direct confrontation with the president this year as he is gearing up for re-election. And he kind of, you know, destroyed any chance of that by publishing his book "The Conscience of a Conservatives" that really takes apart the Republican Party for embracing what you might call Trumpism, the populism, the protectionism that's associated with Trump and his supporters.

BERMAN: You know it does -- you do get the sense it is up for election itself, Trumpism, in the state of Arizona over the next year. We will see how it plays out.

Dan Nowicki, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate your expertise.

CNN will have live coverage of the president's prime time address starts at 9:00 Eastern tonight and right after that the subject of Republican politics, Jake Tapper sits down with House Speaker Paul Ryan for a live town hall from Ryan's home district in Washington (ph). That begins at 9:30 p.m. Eastern only on CNN. And this, of course, follows our own interview with Bonnie Tyler, which happens just after 10:50 a.m. this morning. So a big day here at CNN.

All right, this morning, new information on the suspect in the deadly van attack in Barcelona. And as that manhunt continues, police say he could be armed and dangerous.


[09:41:04] BERMAN: CNN is now learning that more than 10 U.S. diplomats and family members were attacked by a mystery sonic weapon in Havana, Cuba. At least two have suffered long-term injuries, including hearing loss, cause by a high-tech weapon which produces inaudible sonic noises. Officials believe the devices were placed in and around residences of U.S. and Canadian diplomats. The Cuban government is assisting the U.S. with its investigation.

New developments from Barcelona where officials now say 15 people have been confirmed dead as they reveal the name of the man behind the wheel in the van attack. He is 22Officials say the year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub. And officials say the Moroccan national also stabbed a Spanish man to death. That man was found in the van that Abouyaaqoub fled in, in the wake of the attack. Abouyaaqoub still at large.

The news comes as more raids are conducted in a town where many of the suspects are believed to have lived. CNN international correspondent Melissa Bell joins us with the very latest from Barcelona.

Melissa, what are you learning?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, there are really two different towns at the heart of this investigation. One is Alcanar (ph), the site of that explosion on Wednesday night. We now believe that both butane gas and (INAUDIBLE) was being prepared there. And really, I suppose, the conclusion of investigators is that what happened in Spain over the course of the last few days could have been so much worse than it was had this accident and explosion not taken place.

At that site, the remains of one of the suspects in particular of great interest to authorizes and that is -- those are the remains of an imam. An imam from Ripoll (ph), which is a town about a two-hour drive north of Barcelona. It turns out, John, that eight of the alleged attackers come from this very small town in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. And we've spoken to a number of their family members while we were up there yesterday and several of them have told us that they believe that the imam was the one who was behind brainwashing so many of these young men. That has not been confirmed for the time being, but a great deal of interest about the role that this imam might have played.

Also, of course, as you mentioned, on the whereabouts of Younes Abouyaaqoub, the man also from Ripoll (ph) who was driving the van that night that (INAUDIBLE) down here on Las Rambals with such tragic results.

BERMAN: All right, Melissa Bell for us in Barcelona with the latest on that investigation.

Melissa, thank you very, very much.

If you only hold me tight, we'll be holding on forever. The total eclipse now just hours away. And Americans preparing to see it from coast to coast. One giant party.

Plus, Bonnie Tyler joins us here. She's on a boat.


[09:48:02] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONNIE TYLER, MUSICIAN (singing): A time I was falling in love, and now I'm only falling apart. There's nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart.


BERMAN: Once upon a time there was light in our lives. Now there's only love in the dark. It is almost time to turn around, everyone. The total solar eclipse is coming, which means Bonnie Tyler joins us next hour. Millions of Americans are preparing right now. CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us live from Oregon.

Miguel, a man I like to call bright-eyed. You are surrounded by people who camped out overnight to get the perfect spot.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're cutting you off from metaphors from now on, John. That's it. You're done. You're done for the year. No more metaphors.

All right, we're in front of the Oregon state capital with the hardest of hard core eclipsers, ecliptians (ph), eclipsicals (ph), whatever you want to call them. They've been lined up, camping out in their cars all day here. A beautiful morning here. A beautiful sunny morning here in Oregon. So they are going to have a good day for eclipse viewing, it looks like.

The people here are actually lining up for eclipse glasses. Why? Very important, obviously, because they are not like your regular sunglasses. These are regular sunglasses. If you look through them, you can see me on the other side. These are solar glasses. They kind of look like mirrored sunglasses, but you try to look through these, you literally can't see a thing unless you are staring at the sun.

The reason this eclipse is just so crazy and everyone is so excited about it, it's coast to coast. First time we've had this particular path since 1918. This eclipse is also interesting because it only hits the U.S. The first time's that happened since 1257, about 200 years before Christopher Columbus was even born. So people are just pouring into this path of totality as they call it. That 70-mile shadow of the sun more or less -- the shadow of the moon more or less that will just race across the country.

[09:50:07] It will be moving about 2,400 miles an hour here over Oregon. It will slow a little bit as it gets over the rest of the country. We'll have about two and a half minutes of totality here in Oregon. It will lengthen a little bit in other parts of the country. But a fascinating time.

Interestingly enough, you have to stare at the sun with these things on until totality, and then you can take them off, you can stare at it for just a couple of minutes there until it's done, and then back on with the glasses.

John, you never want to stare at the sun. Back to you.

BERMAN: Miguel Marquez, forever is going to start tonight. Thank you so much. Great to see you, Miguel. Have fun with your friends out there.

They love Bonnie Tyler. I guarantee you everyone there loves Bonnie Tyler.

All right, you've heard about storm chases, but how about eclipse chasers. David Makepeace has seen a total of 23 solar eclipses, 16 of them have been total. And for him, location is key, which is why he's standing in that field in Wyoming right now. David Makepeace joins us.

Why that field, David? Explain.

DAVID MAKEPEACE, ECLIPSE CHASER: Well, when you're an eclipse chaser, you're looking for clear skies, and that is something that Wyoming can certainly offer us here today.

BERMAN: So you've seep eclipses in Antarctica, in China, in the Andes Mountains in South America. You think that every human on earth should see at least one eclipse before they die. Why? What makes them so special to you?

MAKEPEACE: Well, the total eclipse of the sun is the most spectacular natural event that you can witness from earth. And that sense of being a part of something that's greater than yourself is something that I think every human should experience at least once. Being able to peer at the corona, when you're standing in the shadow of the moon, it's an unearthly type of experience. And, for me, it's filled me with a sense of life and a sense of place and a sense of belonging. And that's a type of experience that you can only get during a total solar eclipse. And I would love it if everybody had that sense that they're carrying around with them. There's nothing else like it. It's a giant you are here arrow pointing at you down from the cosmos. It's quite something.

BERMAN: So what makes a total eclipse a good total solar eclipse? Do you have a favorite one that you've seen?

MAKEPEACE: Well, it's very hard to rate total solar eclipses because they all seem to meet this level of experience. So no matter whether you're in the desert in Libya, or whether you're in South America, they're all as incredible as all the other ones. My favorite one probably recently was in Indonesia, where I was standing on a volcano cone last year in March of 2016. We had tremendous conditions, beautiful skies, and the shape of the corona was very unexpected. And I'm looking to spend a lot of time looking at the shape of the corona today.

BERMAN: Looking at it, but looking at it safely, of course, which gets me to my next question is, you know, what's your advice to first-time eclipse viewers?

MAKEPEACE: Well, I would say that you have to have those certified eclipse shades if you want to watch the partial phases. If you're in the path of totality, the first hour and 20 minutes or so will be a partial eclipse. And to see the moon slowly slide across the sun, you're going to need approved solar filters. And then, of course, during totality itself, all of the filters come off your cameras. You can remove those eclipse shades and you can look at totality with the naked eye. But before that it's extremely important to protect your eyes, protect your eyesight and use approved solar filters on your eyes.

BERMAN: And it's also important for people to know that only a certain swath of the country will get complete totality, correct? MAKEPEACE: That's certainly true. The path of totality, although it's

very long, spanning coast to coast across America, it's only about 70 miles wide. That's right.

BERMAN: And, you know, we called you an eclipse chaser. You know, how does chases eclipses compare to say chasing hurricanes? We often see hurricane hunters or we see tornado chasers. Those tend to be unpredictable. Eclipse is fairly predictable, correct?

MAKEPEACE: Oh, they're tremendously predictable. We've got Newtonian and Einsteinian physics working on our side this time. And you can predict the cycle years into the future and years into the past if you want to research them. So unlike storm chasers or lightning chasers who show up in a certain area where the potential might be there, when you're an eclipse chaser, you know exactly the right place at the right time, when the shadow of the moon will cross the earth. The real trick is putting yourself under clear skies that you can see the corona.

BERMAN: And we have Bonnie Tyler on next hour, David. Any question you would like to ask, you know, the official voice of total eclipses?

MAKEPEACE: Well, I'd love to know how she's felt, after all these years of her song being so closely related to this natural phenomenon. I think every time I begin speaking about my life as an eclipse chaser, somebody will sing a portion of that song. I'd love to know how she feels about that.

BERMAN: I'm sure she would be honored, right, David Makepeace. Thank you very much for being with us.

And remember, everyone, you can experience the eclipse live in virtual reality on or you can look at the window.

[09:565:08] All right, 10 American sailors missing at sea after a U.S. destroyer crashes into an oil tanker. How did this happen again?


BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone. John Berman here.

Ten U.S. sailors missing at sea after a shocking collision in open waters and now serious questions. We should tell you, the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is due to speak on this accident any moment from now. Right there you could see moments ago the damage to the USS John McCain, named after the Arizona Senator's father and grandfather. It collided with a much larger oil tanker off of Singapore. There you see the damage right there. And despite the hole in the hull there, the destroyer was able to reach port under its own power.

[10:00:04] The search zone now for those 10 missing sailors -- and that's the key. That's where the focus is this morning -- it covers 100 nautical square miles in one of the busiest shipping