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Texas Now Bracing Hurricane Harvey; Sebastian Gorka Out of Trump's White House; Joe Arpaio Receives the President's First Pardon. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 25, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: There is breaking news and a lot of it so just fasten your seatbelts. This is the first one of. Millions of people in the path of a monster storm, bearing down on the Texas coast.
And the White House, dumps major breaking news tonight right in the middle of all of this.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us and thanks for staying with us. In the four hours we are going to be on live for you at least this evening into well into Saturday morning.
First, the storm. The eye wall of hurricane Harvey. One of the most powerful hurricanes in years, beginning to move onshore. The storm surge, and heavy rains are already pounding the coast and could continue for days.
The National Weather Service in Houston warning that parts of south Texas, could be uninhabitable for weeks or months. The president says he signed a disaster proclamation for the state, hurricane warning in effect for about 1.5 million people. With another 16 million under a tropical storm warning.
Many have evacuated. But in the city of Rockport, officials are advising residents if you refuse to leave, to write your names and social security numbers on your forearms. And any victims of the storm, can be identified that way.
And as the hurricane bears down on Texas a political storm in Washington to tell you about. President Trump pardons controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And White House adviser Sebastian Gorka is out tonight.
We're going to have the latest on this very busy night of breaking news right here on CNN. Again, thanks for staying with us. Thanks for joining us. Our reporters are in the middle of the storm tonight along the Texas coast.
CNN's Chad Myers is in our hurricane headquarters. So, we get to Chad in a moment. CNN's Martin Savidge is in Corpus Christi, Texas. And we're going to go to Martin right now. Martin, I understand you are in full frontal assault right now. What's happening where you are?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, you are right. It seems that every hour I keep telling people that it couldn't get worse. And yet, every hour it does seem to get worse. And now, it's about the worse we've seen so far. The weather is just, it's not howling, it's not blowing, it is blasting.
It is like standing in, in behind a 747 and trying to remain on your feet as a struggle. The rain that comes at you is coming at you horizontally. It stings on every part of your exposed skin. Visibility has been reduced. Obviously by darkness. Outside of the immediate lights here. All along the water front it's, it's pretty much lights out.
It's hard to find areas where's there's still a lot of light. It's not the same that there are a major power outages but at least we're on the waterfront here.
But you know, the wind gusts we've been warned to expect up to maybe, 100 plus, 145 miles an hour. Now, naturally if that happened, while I was standing here. I wouldn't be able to stay on my feet.
We have a building that is actually helping to shelter us. And shelter is the key word. Because, no one, no one, should be out -- trying to escape the storm now. That's the warning coming from city officials. There are saying, there is no chance of escaping, stay where you are. That also goes for people and their pets. They put that warning out as well.
Because it is life or death if you try to travel on the streets. Stay where you are. Stay hunkered down and wait for it to go by. But the problem, Don, when will it go by. The winds may subside by tomorrow, somewhat. But then -- then we have the rain. And the rain is considered to be even a greater danger than what we are facing right now with this category 4 storm. Don.
LEMON: Martin, you cover a lot of these thing, as well as I, and being down from the south, from Louisiana, I'm sure you're having trouble hearing me. But I want to ask you about--
SAVIDGE: Sorry, I lost you.
LEMON: Can you hear me at all. You got your earpiece in, Martin? Can you hear me now, sir?
SAVIDGE: I got it. I'm sorry, Don, there is so much feedback in my ear.
LEMON: No. We totally understand. So let me just be simple now. Tell me about this voluntary evacuation in Corpus Christi. How many decided to ride this thing out?
SAVIDGE: The number of people that have left. I mean, we haven't heard. We saw yesterday as we drove in, it was an incredible line of traffic northbound on 37, south pound we had, the highway practically to ourselves. But northbound, there was a steady stream.
So, one thing is clear, is that even though the storm blew up quickly. People here took the warnings very seriously. And a lot of people did get out of the storm's way. But there is also a lot of people that stayed behind. The authorities know that. They also told them that hey, if you get an emergency tonight there is no way they can respond because they would risk their own lives. If it's life or death, they'll make it, on a call by call basis.
[22:04:58] But, it's hard to imagine any first responders trying to got out because they are going to be needed as soon as this dies down. That's for certain.
LEMON: The only folks who should be out in this emergency workers and people, like Martin who are covering it, and when if ever the conditions get too bad, Martin will have to go in. Hey, Martin, can you still hear me?
SAVIDGE: Sorry, Don, there's just so much feedback on this line right now. I can't.
LEMON: You can't.
SAVIDGE: I can hear your voice. It's reassuring. But, I can't hear what you're asking.
LEMON: Martin, we'll move along. Stay safe. Martin Savidge for us in Corpus Christi, Texas. We'll let him go. And get out of the elements just for a moment. But Martin is down there covering it and as I said, unless you have to be out in this, you should not be out.
And what is interesting to me, is Chad Myers, is that, in one city there, they're telling people if you decide to stay and ride this thing out you, you need to write your name and your social security number on your forearm. How serious they are about this storm.
CHAD MYERS, SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT, CNN: That town right there, Don.
MYERS: See that yellow dot I put right there, that is serious as a heart attack. I've been watching periscopes, streaming video here in the past couple of hours. Unbelievable. Now, the eye wall is on shore. Not the eye. This has not made landfall yet. You need the center of the eye to come on shore before we call landfall.
But there has been hours now of pounding, Rockport, all the way down to Port Aransas, we've even had a couple of wind gusts over 125. And the reason why Marty is getting more and more heavy rainfall when this storm should have been up here by now, it actually has turned slightly to the left. And now it's getting closer and closer to Marty. Now that you can't even see it.
There is Marty right there. There is the storm coming in right through here. So it is getting closer. It is in fact getting to be a point where Marty is going to see more and more heavy wind from the north all night long.
And I think this storm is really slowing down, Don, I think we're down to about five miles per hour right now. The storm still very intense. Hurricane hunter in there. Soon as it gets on land, hurricane hunters don't fly through them anymore. So we'll be done with that.
But right now it's still category 4, 130 miles per hour. That's the sustained winds in the eye wall. Only in that one little area. The rest of it is going to be storm surge. And a storm that refuse to move. We talk about spaghetti plots all the time, Don. This does truly look like spaghetti.
All of these models should all be going in the same direction. The models have no idea where this storm is going for now. What that means? It's going to sit there and it's going to rain for five days.
LEMON: Wow. Slowing down is not a good thing. That's a -- and the storm surge that's only worse, Chad Myers. Chad, we're going to let you go. And get all your information. Again, we're going to be on the air covering this thing live for you, this category 4 hurricane along with Chad Myers and the rest of the CNN staff. Chad, thank you. Our thanks to Martin Savidge as well. As well as our other folks who are out there.
I need to turn now to some other breaking news. Lots to tell you about. The White House aide, Sebastian Gorka, out. President Trump pardons controversial sheriff Joe Arpaiom, as well. Tweeting tonight, "I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full pardon to 85-year-old American patriot, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he kept Arizona safe."
Alexander Marquardt of CNN has more for us now. Alexander, there are big breaking news announcements out of this White House tonight as the storm has been barreling towards Texas. Let's go through them.
First, the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And just tweeting, he just tweeted, the president, "Thank you @realDonaldTrump, for seeing my conviction for what it is. A political witch-hunt by holdovers in the Obama Justice Department." What do you know, Alex?
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Don, it's really no coincidence that all of this is coming out not just on a Friday night but on a night when so much of the country and the world's attention is on that massive storm, barreling towards the southern part of the country.
We knew that the president was considering pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio that it could come soon. But we had no indication that this would happen tonight. Arpaio is a deeply controversial sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona, who was a staunch supporter of President Trump's on the campaign trail.
He was convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to stop racially profiling Latinos. We're told by a spokesman for the Justice Department that the president exercised his lawful authority and we respect his decision. In other words, Don, the Justice Department had no role in Arpaio's
pardon. A source telling CNN this is the president's pardon. There was some speculation that the president would announce a pardon for Arpaio, earlier in the week when he held a rally in Phoenix. He didn't that night. But he, he did tease the crowd saying that Arpaio would be fine, an indication that this was almost certainly coming.
LEMON: So, I want you to listen, Alex, and I want the audience as well and then I'll get you to respond to it. But this is what President Trump said at the rally in Phoenix earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:09:59] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job? That's what -- he should have had a jury, but you know what? I'll make a prediction. I think he is going to be just fine, OK. But I won't do it tonight because I don't want to cause any controversy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A million-dollar question is, or questions the White House must know how controversial this would be. Why do this as his first pardon, and why now, Alex?
MARQUARDT: Yes. And I was at the rally in Phoenix. And you could really tell that he'd really wanted to announce it. He all did but announce it as you heard there. But remember he had just given that big speech on the new strategy in Afghanistan. The White House clearly didn't want to step on that message by turning around and doing something so controversial that quickly.
So the president showed restraint and didn't make announcement on Tuesday night. A lot of this comes back to the timing. White Houses since long before Trump have dumped bad news on Friday night when fewer people are paying attention.
Tonight there is the added distraction of that huge hurricane barreling towards Texas. As the president's approval rating has slipped he repeatedly played more and more to his base. This pardon plays directly to his supporters. So that's probably a big part of the calculation.
But how it goes over on a more macro level remains to be seen. The mayor of Phoenix put out a statement tonight saying that, Arpaio received a fair trial and a justifiable conviction and there is nothing the president can do to change the awful legacy and the stain he left on our community.
LEMON: And Alex, another extremely controversial White House adviser has gone. Yet, another Friday with a big resignation or firing. This time, it's Sebastian Gorka. He is out.
MARQUARDT: He is out. Yes, there are conflicting accounts about his departure. Did he get fired? Did he resign? A White House official saying tonight that Sebastian Gorka did not resign. They're confirming that he is no longer with the White House. So that sound pretty close to a firing to me.
A source telling my colleague, Sara Murray that this was a call by new Chief of Staff John Kelly who really tried to get the House in order, since he took that post. Anthony Scaramucci was his first scalp, then helping push out Steve Bannon, and now Gorka whose very much from that Bannon camp. So when Bannon left it was seen that Gorka's days were numbered.
Now one of the things that Kelly was doing was trying to figure out what people actually did in the White House. What their portfolios are. And even though Gorka was technically a counterterror official it's not clear what his job was. So when Kelly looked at Gorka and came up with nothing there was his answer and it was presumably time for him to go.
LEMON: And finally, finally, as of now, who knows in a couple of moments. It could be something else. But it's a very serious topic. One that has been so controversial. This transgender ban. That was first announced on Twitter. The White House made that much more concrete tonight. What can you tell us about, and, about this and what happens now?
MARQUARDT: Right. So, after that big announcement by Trump on Twitter which took even his military advisers by surprise. This announcement was made quietly with very little fanfare, no signing ceremony, in fact, the president wasn't even at the White House.
He had just left hours prior to Camp David with his family. It was an unnamed senior administration official on a conference call with reporters who made this announcement. Essentially what the Trump administration is doing is rolling back overturning what the Obama administration did at the end of his term.
Under this new directive transgender people will not be allowed to join the military pending a longer study on military effectiveness, lethality, unit cohesion, and cost.
Now, in the meantime, a lot of leeway is being given to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security over how to implement this order.
And specifically what happens to transgender troops who are currently in active service. We don't know the answer to that. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis has six months to come up with a plan. In that time, there will be a lot of questions that tonight have not yet been answered. Don?
MARQUARDT: Alexander Marquardt, thank you very much for that. I appreciate it. More breaking news tonight. Reaction to President Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio.
Senator Chuck Schumer tweeting this. "As millions of people in Texas and Louisiana are prepping for the hurricane the president is using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court's order to stop discriminating against Latinos and ban courageous transgender men and women from serving our nation's armed forces. The only reason to do these right now it's to use the cover of hurricane Harvey to avoid scrutiny. Then ran to Camp David. So sad. So weak."
Lots to cover as I said at the beginning of the show. When we come right back, more breaking news on two kind of storms tonight. The latest, as Hurricane Harvey takes aim at the Texas coast. Plus, more on the storm over President Trump's pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
[22:14:59] And the White House aide who downplayed the threat from white supremacists, Sebastian Gorka. He is out.
LEMON: And we're back now live with a breaking news. Look at that. That is Corpus Christi, very windy. Corpus Christi, Texas. As this category 4 hurricane is about to make a landfall sometime in the coming hours. The storm bears down on the Texas coast tonight. A different kind of storm hitting the political world though.
President Trump's adviser Sebastian Gorka is out. The president pardoning controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio of conviction for criminal contempt.
Time to bring in now my panel. CNN's legal Analyst, Laura Coates is here, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, a former homeland official, senior ecnomics analyst Stephen Moore who is the senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and CNN political commentator Ana Navarro.
It's so good to have all of you on. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. A very busy news tonight. What happened to slow Friday news nights. I tweeted out earlier, there are -- it's a time gone by.
Laura, I have to start with you because we've got a handful of big stories that I want to talk about. We need to start with President Trump's pardoning of Joe Arpaio. Very controversial sheriff. The sheriff has responded. And I want to put what he said via Twitter. And he says "Thank you, Donald Trump for seeing my conviction for what it is, a political with-hunt by holdovers in the Obama Justice Department."
[22:20:01] What are your thoughts on this pardon, holdovers?
LAURA COATES, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: No, I don't think this was a political prosecution. And it is a political pardon. But to suggest that in a prosecution that began with a 10-year review of his conduct of racial profiling of Latinos in his home state, and flouting the fourth amendment, ignoring it in over a series of different years deciding not to follow the instructions of a court that said that he had to adhere to this little thing called, the fourth amendment, should surprise a lot of people, that that would be called a political witch-hunt or political prosecution.
I have heard other commentators on different shows today discuss that as a witch-hunt of sort, so now you have Arpaio himself saying that it is, but in fact it is not. And what it is a confirmation that this particular president does not seem to understand either the constitutional premises that are, that that force us to look at how police conduct should be viewed in this country, or the separation of powers.
And that you must respect the rule of law. And in particular, an order by a judge that says that you have broken a law. One, that would be a very, very easy thing to do when you, in fact, have been a sheriff who had served for 24 years in that particular state. Now in your final bid, your seventh bid, did you lose office when this prosecution happened to commence after a 10-year review of your conduct.
LEMON: Interesting assessment. Interesting assessment. We'll get to all that. But Ana, I have been wanting to talk to you. Because I want to know the message of pardoning Joe Arpaio, what that seem to the Latino community and to the country as a whole.
ANA NAVARRO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I would tell you that for the vast majority of Latinos it is a slap in the face. It is painful. It is hurtful. It is an act that makes us indignant. Mad as hell. And it just tells a lot of Latinos that Donald Trump does not have your back, does not care what you think or what you feel.
And in fact, Don, if you allow me. I was just reading the statement put out tonight by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
NAVARRO: Which includes several republicans, prominent republicans on the board. It represents over 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials. And what they say is, "A pardon of Arpaio is an endorsement of racism from the highest office in the land. Signaling to Americans that discriminatory behavior and a blatant disregard for the judicial process is acceptable. That kind of act is an extra ordinary intervention in our justice system."
They go on to say, "By pardoning Arpaio, President Trump is turning his back on the values we hold dear as a nation and continuing a pattern of behavior that demonstrates a profound disrespect for the significant contributions of Latinos and immigrants that made to this country every day."
I think that is a lot of Latinos feeling that way tonight including myself.
LEMON: Stephen Moor, I want to get your response now. Because a lot of people including some republicans are saying that even though the president's pardon power is to, is his to exercise, this pardon goes against the rule of law. What's your reaction to that?
STEPHEN MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST, CNN: Well, you know, look, I don't really know the facts of this case, Don, very well so I can't really comment on it. I am, you know the other big story that you were talking about is, Sebastian Gorka leaving. And that's something that concerns me a little bit.
Because you know, if you think about Steve Bannon leaving and Gorka leaving, these are people that a work with on the campaign. And they were people who were kind of with Trump at the beginning. And it's interesting how the White House now is being kind of, hollowed out and the people who are with Trump, you know, from the start. When you have -- so many of these people leaving and there is a new crowd coming in. So, that's the concern of mine tonight.
LEMON: Why is that concerning? Why is that concerning?
MOORE: Because I think, you know, there is a lot of people who want Trump to be Trump. And want Trump to be true to the kind of voters who elected him and the promises that he made. And so far I think by the way he has a good score, on that, in that regard. I mean, he has--
LEMON: So how does Sebastian Gorka, how does he play into this? What piece of the puzzle is that by getting rid of Sebastian Gorka Trump can't be Trump.
MOORE: Well, you know, I'm not a foreign, Don, I'm not a foreign policy guy, and Sebastian is. But you know, what he, what he did, I think very effectively was, he was a very strong voice in the war against terror. And that's one of the reasons he is very well respected by conservatives.
LEMON: But he had no real foreign policy experience. That was the criticism of him. He was sort of seen as a mouthpiece and someone who was very controversial and, you know, wore something that resembled a sort of Nazi thing on his pendant on his coat on occasion.
[22:24:54] MOORE: Well, look, I got to know him very well. Again, I'm not a foreign policy expert, but boy, I think he really knew his stuff. I think he was, very aware of what was going on in the Middle East. I think he was an expert on the war on terror. And I think he will be missed.
And I don't know the circumstances, Don, of why he was replaced. I know some of the people who have been, you know, removed from the White House. There are people who were leakers. I don't know if he falls in that category. But all I can say is that he is somebody I really came to respect having worked with him on the campaign.
LEMON: Usually and I know you said--
NAVARRO: May I ask Stephen something?
LEMON: Yes, go for it, Ana. Go ahead.
NAVARRO: Steve, you and I are friends. You and I have worked for years.
(CROSSTALK) MOORE: We sure have, yes.
NAVARRO: Decades on immigration issues on trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform. You got asked to respond to a Joe Arpaio pardoning.
LEMON: That's what I was going, Ana.
NAVARRO: You say you didn't know the fact. You deflected to Gorka.
NAVARRO: Now I know your heart, Steve Moore. You know what Joe Arpaio means to Latinos in this country. You know what he means to immigrants. You know that he has racially profiled. I know you are against that. So I am asking you today, not to leave me alone here as a republican, being the only one condemning it.
MOORE: Well, look.
NAVARRO: Because I know you for years and you know, come on, Steve.
MOORE: Sure. Well, you know, I'm very pro-immigrant. I'm very pro- Hispanic. I think that Latino immigrants who come to this country, the vast majority of them are great contributors to our country. The reason I can't comment on this frankly, Don, I just don't know the facts of the case. So, it's hard for me to, you know, to pass judgment on, you know, what he was--
LEMON: All these years that you've been around. Hold on, Ana, because that's this where I was going and I'll let you jump back in. But my question is going to be, all these years that you've been around. You are a very learned man. You know about Sheriff Joe Arpaio. You know about the pink underwear. You know about, you know, what's happened with immigrants. You've worked with Ana as she said. And as the only other conservative on the panel, I just wanted to get your response.
And the question was, because presidents usually pardon people on their way out. Not at the start of their presidency.
MOORE: You know, I'm just hesitant to talk about it. I will simply say this. That I think Ana raises a good point about, you know, Trump has to -- there is a lot I admire about Donald Trump. But one of the things he has to do as president is learn how to expand this base and to talk more sensitively to blacks and Hispanics.
And you know, if Ana is right about this, you know, that he is toxic to the Hispanic community then it may have been a big political mistake. But again, I just, I have to say, I don't know the facts of what he was charged with. And in fact, we were talking about this in the green room before, and I didn't know the--
LEMON: What about the timing at the Charlotte and so on, and you know, building the wall, and the Muslim ban and all of that?
MOORE: Well, I'm for the -- I'm for the wall. And the reason I'm for the wall is because I think that's become a precondition. Ana may have a different opinion on this. I think building the wall is become a precondition to getting immigration reform, Don so we can get more legal immigrants to this country.
And I think that conservatives come around to the opinion that until we have a secure border we can't do the kind of immigration were we can allow in more, you know, workers who will be so beneficial to our country.
But until that wall is built and Americans feel like the border is secure. I just don't think there is the political will to expand our legal immigration system which is--
LEMON: I've got a theory and proposition about that wall that I will share later. But, Ana.
COATES: Don, I have to say this. I'm sorry.
LEMON: OK, go ahead.
COATES: I actually do know the facts of this case, I know them quite well. And the facts of the case that are important for everyone to understand is that it's not about whether or not there was actually legal or illegal immigrants who were at the mercy Sheriff Arpaio.
There was a sheriff who took it upon himself to decide that he alone could decide what was valid under the Fourth Amendment for a search, stop, or a prolonged patrol action. And he decided to ask people, whether or not they fit his description of what a legal immigrant looks like, sounded like, walked like, talked like, and looked like.
And on that basis alone, he was engaging in racial profiling. And when the courts repeatedly told him to remind him that there is a Fourth Amendment, and you cannot racially profile under any circumstances, he said, I will do what I want and I will not allow the federal government to interfere with my objective.
That being to constitutionally undermine anybody's rights in his home territory. Now the people of Arizona already decided that he was not worthy of re-election but it was not based on a politicization of whether or not you should build a wall to oust legal or illegal immigrants.
It was about, a very, very specific and nuanced fact which is the Fourth Amendment. Either you appreciate and will follow it, or you will not and should not be the mayor, sheriff, president, senator or anything else.
LEMON: Juliette Kayyem, What do you make of all this tonight?
[22:29:55] JULIETTE KAYYEM, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN: I'm watching a hurricane 4, cat, you know, category 4 coming towards Texas and we're talking about Donald Trump. It's just -- it's remarkable to me as someone who has spent a career in homeland security and public safety that as we are looking at a time when we need government to work, we need our president to focus.
We need the homeland security and emergency management efforts on the local state and national level to work together and coordinate and to be led by someone, a president, we are talking not insignificantly.
These are huge stories. But we are talking about -- you know, the pardoning of a racist. There is no better word for the sheriff. I mean, it's not a legal term. I'm just, you know, I just read the newspaper.
You know, Gorka who while he didn't have a clear docket for those in counterterrorism. He was exceptionally, how do I say divisive when it came Muslim and Arab issues. So I do think he did have some impact in that regard.
And so, just taking a step back. It's just remarkable to me that we are -- we, you know, that we are facing a crisis that Trump ought to be leading. And that, you know, I sort of just want to say, where is John Kelly. Like, where is he? Where is the leadership and the organization and the focus that we need right now from a White House at a time when this nation is about to or is facing, we've seen the pictures tremendous threat to those who are in the, you know, in the eye of the storm literally.
LEMON: All right. Stand by, everyone. Lots more to talk about, so stick with me. When we come back, much more on all the breaking news tonight. The Texas coast bracing for hurricane Harvey. Plus, President Trump pardon controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which we've been talking about. And Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, out.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Back now with my panel. So, Laura, let's continue to talk a bit about the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Because and how unprecedented this is. Because Joe Arpaio most people presidents pardon have either been sentenced or has served time if they commute a sentence. But what about the rule of law here? He hasn't even been sentenced.
COATES: That's true. Most people focus on a presidential pardon by the timing that president himself or maybe in his future here has in office. But instead, here you're focusing on the fact that this person was not set to be sentenced for the conviction until October of this year. And the maximum penalty that he faces on a contempt charge was about six months.
Now compare that to a commutation, for example, where the president is simply trying to reduce a sentence of time that is already been served. This happened most recently, for example, with Barack Obama and Chelsea Manning when he did not pardon, meaning to erase the actual crime and erase the conviction itself and instead said this person has served time. And we are going to reduce it to the seven years because that's already much longer than anyone had ever served for having leaked information in that particular way.
And so you have that sort of novelty factor here that the President of the United States has intervened before a sentence has even been handed down. And a real possibility, frankly, for an 84-year-old man who has been in the public service for as long as he had. Never a prior conviction, probably would not have been even serving jail time.
So now you have a president to pardon prior to a sentence and prior to a person ever having even probably had the hint of serving a six month stint.
LEMON: What happens to Trump support, Ana, among the Latino community in your estimation because of this?
NAVARRO: Look, there is certainly some Latinos, particularly in places like here where I am in Miami who are very supportive of Trump. Cuban-American, certainly. And they are very happy with the policy change that he announced a couple months ago on Cuba policy.
But the vast majority of Latinos do not like Donald Trump, do not feel well represented by Donald Trump, they feel antagonized by Donald Trump. And you know, I think it's more than Latinos -- it's a huge issue for Latinos because Joe Arpaio has racially profiled for Latinos for years, and that community particularly in Arizona has felt attacked by him.
He is a lightning bolt for the Latino community. I would tell you he probably has close to 100 percent name I.D. in the Latino community and the vast majority of us see him as a very, bad, bad character. But I think it's more than Latinos.
When we take a look at the last 10 days, the last two weeks of this president he had stood with neo-Nazis, he had made an equivalence between protesters who protesting for the right things with those who are protesting for the wrong things.
He has banned transgenders. He has now pardoned a racial profiler. Shame on him! Shame on him! And shame on republicans who think differently and don't have the spine to condemn him strongly. He is not only ruining the party, he is ruining the country, dividing us and pitting American versus American.
So all those republicans that have fought for years to make the tent bigger you are standing by idly and silently while he kicks so many out of the tent.
MOORE: Well, look, I mean, so to say that.
KAYYEM: Can I pick up on what Ana said?
MOORE: Steve, go ahead.
MOORE: Well, let me just say one thing. To say that he stood with neo-Nazi is preposterous, I mean, that's just a crazy statement. He doesn't stand--
NAVARRO: Come on, Steve. You know better than this.
MOORE: He doesn't stand with neo-Nazi. No.
NAVARRO: You have a huge heart and such a huge brain.
MOORE: No, I mean, look, these charges have been made over and over and over again. And it's just nonsensical. I spent a lot of time with Donald Trump.
NAVARRO: You think -- you think equating--
MOORE: I went to his rallies. He is not a Nazi. He is not a racist. He did not apologize for their behavior.
NAVARRO: Can I say something. I don't know what they're putting in your water, Steve. I love you but I don't know what they're putting in your water.
MOORE: He did not -- how did he -- he did not -- he did not, in any way apologize for their behavior. He has condemned in every speech that he has given and every public comment he has given since Charlottesville. He has denounced the racists and the KKK and this white supremacist, so.
[22:39:58] NAVARRO: He said there were good. He said there were good people in that protest.
MOORE: You know what? And look, I actually went after--
NAVARRO: Do you think there were good people in that protest? Do you think that good people would have been in the protest that looks like a Ku Klux Klan protest without the hood. Come on, Steve!
MOORE: What he said was that there were bad people on both side of that clash in Charlottesville. And it was absolutely true. There were bad people on both. I'm not equating the two.
NAVARRO: And do you think you should equate, they are equivalent?
MOORE: I think there are some really bad people on the left. I got to tell you I just wrote my column this week on this. You know that, you know, I was on CNN about a week ago, Don. And I said something like, that you know, that I didn't think they should take the Confederate statues down. I have been the hate mail that I have gotten from people on the left.
I've gotten death threats. I mean, there are some really bad actors on both sides of this. I think we have to de-escalate.
LEMON: Do you think it's easier for people to minimize--
NAVARRO: Steve, let me tell you something. I'm going to go into -- I'm going to go into GoFund, I'm going to go into crowdsourcing and I'm going to ask people to please donate so that I can hire some private hostage rescuers to come and rescue you and so many other republicans who are doing the same thing.
MOORE: Well, look.
LEMON: Do you think it's easier? Listen, here is my question. Do you think it's easier for people to minimize the effects of hatred and these white supremacists when they're not affected by it, whey they're not on the receiving end of it, when they may be don't understand it.
Do you think it's easier because you know, I know a lot of people who -- I know some people who are not discriminated against but they have big hearts and they certainly understand and they know equivocating, you know, someone who is fighting against fascism, whether their tactics are good or bad. They could have the wrong tactics.
But people are coming from different places. It's not two equals, evil equals of evil on both sides. It's just not the same.
MOORE: Well, there is -- there are some really bad people on both sides. I mean, look, these neo fascists--
LEMON: You can't say they are really bad people, Steve. That's not -- it's not the same thing. It's not the same thing.
MOORE: No, no, no, but me make my point.
LEMON: It's not the same thing as someone who wants to exterminate and extinguish you as a race or as a religion.
MOORE: Yes. OK.
LEMON: Then wanting to stamp out something that's evil. The people wanting to stamp out the ideology of that or that thinking.
MOORE: They are horrible people. And they probably represent .001 percent of the conservative movement. They're fringe group of people that are not part of the conservative movement in any possible way. I've been in the conservative movement for 35 years, I've never--
LEMON: They identify themselves as conservatives. They say, they called themselves the alt-right.
MOORE: I don't even know -- pardon me?
LEMON: They call themselves the alt-right.
MOORE: OK. So they are, they are a fringe right-wing group. But what about his, look, I have not heard on CNN, in the last two or three weeks anybody denouncing these groups the anti -- what do they call themselves, antifa, and groups like that that are basically now encouraging violence in the street against--
LEMON: There are people who come on and denounced it. And there have been plenty of stories about exactly who they are.
LEMON: We're not going to equate the two.
MOORE: But nobody is denouncing in that effect.
LEMON: There are people who come on and denounced.
MOORE: A lot of liberals are actually encouraging their action. I predict on the show that you are going to see in the course of the next two or three months--
LEMON: I haven't seen any liberal come on, Steve.
MOORE: -- the acts of violence by the left and it is going to be justified.
LEMON: Steve, I'm sure there's -- I'm sure there's going to be acts of violence but I don't think it's fair to say that people aren't condemning. because hear -- I hear democrats and liberals come on all the time and say their tactics are not right. They don't agree with the violence.
MOORE: Yes, but they're allowed to say that they are right.
LEMON: To say that what they're fighting for is the same as the alt- right, that's not -- I mean, the same as the white supremacists, it's not the same thing. It's not the same thing.
MOORE: But, look. Show me anyone, I mean, look.
KAYYEM: Don, can I just interrupt in here? MOORE: OK, go ahead.
LEMON: Go ahead.
KAYYEM: Don, if I could just say something? I just want to look at this from the perspective of leadership of a president in a statement of what happened with this pardon. So, what is -- and I believe -- I agree with Ana that this does not just have to do with Hispanics. What it says to every law enforcement official, a sheriff, a cop, police department, police chief. Is that the president has set the conditions for appropriate behavior. And that is essentially that he will forgive behavior like the sheriff.
Now I've spent a life in law enforcement or public safety. So, I know most of them. Look at this with the same amount of horror that I do. That this is not the message that you want to give for the safety and security of our entire nation. Because it doesn't just have to do with Hispanics in Arizona. It will have to do with woman in California, or Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan or African-Americans in New York City.
And so what you want from a president is not to equal the playing field. You actually want a president to elevate the appropriate standard by which law enforcement and public safety will act.
So, while on the ground in the political debates you might say there is violence on the left. That's actually, that's just, you know, that's just a straw man. I mean, the truth is they were talking about the standard that the president sets.
MOORE: Why? Why is that a straw man?
KAYYEM: Because you're talking about--
MOORE: But why? I don't--
KAYYEM: I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm not going to be interrupted. I'm not going to fight with you. I'm making my point.
MOORE: I don't understand why you say it's a straw man. Why is that a straw man, and to say that there is a lot of violent acts by people on the other side?
[22:45:03] KAYYEM: Because I was just saying, if you would hear actually the totality of what I was saying.
MOORE: I'm listening.
KAYYEM: It was actually that the president is not all of us, right? The president is the President of the United States who sets the standard, who ought to set the standard of leadership for who we want to serve in public safety and security to protect us.
So if he defends or if he pardons the sheriff it sets a standard. So, we are mere civilians we can debate whether there is violence on the left or the right, whatever. I just believe -- and will continue to believe whoever holds that office, you know, people say we don't, you know the office isn't respected. It is respected.
And your hope is that the president would use the pardon power to respect the goodwill and good nature of most of law enforcement which is they would never behave this way.
LEMON: I've got to go guys.
KAYYEM: And that's the point.
LEMON: I've got to go. Thank you all. It's a fascinating conversation. And listen, violence of any sort is should not happen.
LEMON: But one side fighting against fascism, and racism, and bigotry and the other promoting it, it's not equal. Thank you all.
Coming up, the monster hurricane bearing down on the coast. President Trump signing a disaster declaration tonight. But is Texas prepared for hurricane Harvey?
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LEMON: Breaking news. Live pictures. Well, you can see, man, the wind is really howling there in Corpus Christi, Texas tonight. Hurricane Harvey barreling down, pounding the Texas coast.
Is the state prepared? That's the big question. We hope they are. Joining me now is James Lee Witt who is a FEMA director under President Bill Clinton. Mr. Witt, thank you so much. It's a critical time for the folks in Texas. As a former FEMA director, what's your biggest concern right now?
JAMES LEE WITT, FORMER DIRECTOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Well, you know, the thing of it is, Texas has a great system in place and has had tor years. And I can, Don, I can say this that President Clinton appointed a very good director or administrator of FEMA, Brock Long. He's the former state director of emergency management. He is very smart, has a lot of experience.
And I think that his leadership with FEMA and I think between FEMA and the state and providing the resources to Texas and those local communities, they will do a good job in responding to this.
My concern is, what is the long-term effect in rebuilding and the housing, and how many weeks and months it may take to get people back in their homes.
LEMON: Yes. And that's to come. We have to see, you know, what damage it does. It's going to do some damage, a lot of damage. We just don't know how much and exactly where.
So, listen, I've got to ask you, because it's never a good idea, I'm sure that's the advice that you give people to ride these storms out. It's better just to get out of the storm's way. But we've been hearing about a lot of people who refuse to leave their homes. How much does that complicate the response?
WITT: It really, really does complicate it a lot. Because you know, the FEMA has pretty deployed search and rescue teams down into San Antonio. And you know, you look back to Katrina and 1,500 people did not evacuate, and it really cause some serious problems.
You know, you can always replace things and material things but you can't replace those live that could be lost. And I think it's absolutely essential that people heed the mandatory evacuation warnings and get out of harm's way. Because this is a deadly storm and, you know, lives will be lost in this storm. And it's very serious. And people need to heed those warnings from the local officials.
LEMON: OK. So here's thing. If you decided to ride it out, I think it's probably too late now. If you ignore those evacuation orders, now what? What should you be doing?
WITT: You should be in the highest place that you can get and as secure place as you get. And you know, everybody, you know, all the years I've been in this business, you always plan for at least 72 hours of water and supplies to be able to sustain you until people can get into you to rescue you or help you.
And you know, and I know that the state and local governments have plans and place for special needs population and I'm sure they've evacuated those people. But it's always a problem when people decide to stay in place and try to ride out a storm.
This is a category four hurricane. I mean, this is serious. You know, it's been 12 years since we've had something like this. And people need to heed those warnings. You know, it's a life and death situation.
LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about the resources. Do you think there are sufficient enough emergency resources to help those who stayed behind and may need some rescuing?
WITT: If they had not planned for the resources that they need for at least 72 hours, then it could be problematic for them. Because this storm is, everything I've looked at and seen could last with the flood and the wind, it could last up to five days in that area, so--
LEMON: And this is going to sit there for -- they think it's going to sit. Because it's moving slowly now and it may even reverse course and go back out and then make landfall again. Go on.
WITT: That's true. And you know, they better have the supplies, and they better be in a safe place that's going to protect them from 145 mile an hour winds but also a 12-foot storm surge. I mean, this is a serious hurricane. And if they haven't prepared for it, they could be in trouble.
LEMON: Let's talk about a little bit longer term effects here. Because the National Weather Service is saying, Mr. Witt, that part of Texas may be uninhabitable for weeks or even months following this hurricane. Can you plan for that, how do you plan for that for the aftermath?
WITT: Well, the good thing about it is that the state and FEMA and the local governments, you know, they have plans in place, particularly over recovery plans that could help them to mitigate some of the losses, but it's going to take time.
[22:55:04] And I've always found, Don, that expectations of people in the federal government in replacing everything that they lost is not there. You know, FEMA is there to help and to get with the state, to help them to get through the initial recovery. And the longer term recovery is going to take months.
You look at Katrina. It's been almost 12 years, and they're still recovering. And you know, Northridge earthquake went on like, 13 years in California. And so, this is a long-term event. And people is going to have to understand that. And people will have to understand that the federal government cannot and will not be replacing everything they lost.
And if people in those low-lying areas did not have flood insurance, you know, it's going to be difficult. FEMA can offer temporary housing and family grants and so forth, but it's not going to be enough to replace everything that they lost.
LEMON: James Lee Witt the former FEMA director under Bill Clinton, thank you so much for your time, sir.
WITT: All right. Thank you, Don.
LEMON: We are tracking the life threatening monster hurricane bearing down on Texas tonight.
Plus, there is a political storm one that's engulfing the White House. President Trump's controversial pardon of Joe Arpaio and the departure of Sebastian Gorka.
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