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Harvey Is Now A Deadly Storm; President Pardoned Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Aired 4:00-5:00p ET
Aired August 26, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:01:16] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: CNN NEWSROOM in New York. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
Top of the hour. And Harvey is now a deadly storm. One fatality confirmed last hour by officials in the coastal town of Rockport, Texas where there is said to be widespread devastation. Harvey has since been downgraded after it hit as a hurricane, now a tropical storm. But it is still a serious threat to life and property as it slowly makes its way inland dumping tremendous amounts of rain.
Moments ago President Trump tweeted the following, thank you to all of the great volunteers helping out with hurricane Harvey relief in Texas.
Now state and local officials are still assessing the full damage from the initial landfall. It made a direct hit on Rockport, Texas late last night.
Our Nick Valencia is there now.
And Nick, we understand one confirmed fatality there was not from the wind or the water of hurricane Harvey. What can you tell us about it?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are told earlier from that press conference by local officials that it was a person who was trapped in a fire in their home and perished as a result of hurricane Harvey.
And it's this storm system that continues to bother this community stalling over Texas, continuing to pour down rain and wind. And we are here in one of the residential streets that we have seen in our surveys of the damage here and you could tell just how powerful this storm was here.
If you want to walk with me a little bit here Steve, if you can move. You know you are tethered a little bit here. But just take a look at this big tree here, Ana. The roots of the tree exposed. You can tell just by the shear velocity how strong these winds were, that category four storm, estimated winds of about 120, 130 miles per hour.
Then just want to panel over to the left there sort, you can see the palm trees, they are not supposed to be like that. That is not natural. They just look like they are bent in half looking like straw (ph). This of course is someone's home. And this home here believe it or not looks good compared to a lot of the ones that we have seen coming up and down these streets.
This community, it is really feeling the damage here. We know that an estimated half of the community, brass up to 60 percent up of Rockport, decided to stay and wait the storm out. You may wonder at home, why would you do that? You knew there were mandatory evacuations. You knew this storm was going to be a significant one.
And what we are told by the local residents is that this is a very tight knit community, a generational community, where families have lived here for so long that they want to desperately to help out their neighbors. They knew that this was going to be trouble.
In fact I talked to a youth pastor earlier, and let's show a little bit more of damage here as we walk and talk. I talked to a youth pastor earlier and he was saying I knew it was going to be bad. We stuck it out in a home that had 12-foot cement on each side. We knew that home was going to help us out. But we also knows that our neighbors were going to need our help.
And you can see just like some of these cars blown in to the ditches here, Ana. The ferocious winds that continue to pound here in Rockport, coastal Texas just especially hard hit, Rockport. I don't think there is any place that was hit harder than this community -- Ana.
CABRERA: We saw that big tree down behind you earlier, Nick. Obviously a lot of debris in the roadway. Can first responders get to the people who need help?
VALENCIA: And I'm sorry, this is -- the wind is starting to pick up. If you could repeat your question here. You cut out at the very end of that.
CABRERA: Obviously. Yes, just curious about whether first responders were able to get where they need to on go in order to help people given that there is still debris in the roadway.
VALENCIA: Absolutely. And we know those first responders are working hard in canvassing each going each home by home. That is what they are doing right now starting the search and rescue missions. And we know that they are being helped out by a lot of local communities. We see some of these cars still on the road. People coming in. They are local residents probably checking out their own properties. But we have seen in the roads as well people from different neighboring counties that have come into help out.
The border patrol is even here. The game wardens from Texas are here. They Texas strike force, the highway state patrol here. We know so many people have been asked to come in and all hands on deck and all call here made by the local mayor earlier this morning. And we got a here at about 7:30 this morning just as the sun had come up. We stopped at the volunteer station and those volunteer firefighters, I can't even begin to describe to you the look in their eyes. They looked like they had just been through hell and it survived. A near death experience. I was talking to some of them. And I just have to emphasize this. These are volunteer firefighters
of college age. And they have never been through anything like this before. They were stuck receiving phone calls. In fact one of the sheriffs here, local sheriff Bill Mills, was telling me they were getting call after call as the worst of the storm was coming last night. And they just couldn't do anything about it. They said they were getting calls of walls falling on people. Roofs being ripped off homes.
And you could tell when I was talking to them earlier that they were especially bothered that they just couldn't do anything about it to help because they themselves were trapped in the storm.
It was during that hour and a half window of the eye of the storm that they said they were able to have a brief window where they were able to evacuate at least 20 people, but it was just not enough. We know at least 200 people are still here in a makeshift shelter according to local officials. A lot of people need help. We heard from that press conference earlier that the mayor of Fulton which is just a neighboring town that back right up against of Rockport saying that the community here really needs your prayers -- Ana.
[16:06:32] CABRERA: I can only imagine the fear and the stress for those folks.
Thanks so much, Nick Valencia in Rockport, Texas.
Let's turn to our weather expert about what is next. Joining me now is CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Chad, we know the storm could stay in roughly the same area for quite a while, right?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It could be 72 hours without moving. So if it's raining now where you are, it may rain for three more days. And even some models say five more days. I will just use a conservative hopeful three more days.
It's raining now in San Antonio, in Austin, in Relock and all the way up even up into parts of (INAUDIBLE) county. We are seeing Austin. We are seeing some heavy rain fall. That's what we don't want to see. We don't want this rain into the hill country because it will run downhill very, very quickly.
We are seeing the rain kind of elude Houston for a while, but that is going to fill in tonight. Houston, you can wake up tomorrow morning very be careful. If you are driving before sunrise, there may be flash flooding in the overnight hours for you. It's fairly dry now. That will fill in. That little gap in the rain will fill in overnight. There may be six inches of rain in the overnight hours alone.
And then there is a potential for tornados. Tornado watch in effect. Every storm that comes on shore may spin enough to put down a small tornado. And you can look at pictures online and see what happened to Katie, Texas last night with a small tornado. Small tornadoes make big damage. If it's in the middle of the night, you don't know it is coming. You need to get out of the way of that. Keep your NOAA weather radio on or even an app on your phone.
Over a port of rain in some spots already and it is just starting 72 more hours. I mean, this thing didn't even make landfall until 10:00 last night, we already have 14 inches of rain since 10:00. That is a pretty impressive number considering it is going to continue to rain.
And this is the model for 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Houston. It is going to be a wake-up call for you. Heavy rain, one storm after another, called a Train. A Train is one car after another. This will be one storm after another along the same train tracks as we see that heavy rainfall come in for tomorrow.
It's tropical moisture. If you have been in the tropics and it just down poured on you and you say how can there be so much water up there, that's what every single rain event, every single shower is like that right now.
The white spot almost the size of South Carolina. Everywhere you see it there, Ana, 20 inches of rain expected or more. We cover up the entire state of South Carolina with 20 inches of rain and see what happens. That is what is going to happen in Texas.
CABRERA: I mean, you talk about the risk of tornados, you talked about all this rain that is expected. What is best case versus worst case scenario here?
MYERS: Best case scenario is that the storm moves far enough inland, I'm sorry about this San Antonio, but we start to grab desert air from New Mexico and we take that in to the storm rather than the gulf of Mexico moisture. The more of the storm that is over the ocean, the more we are actually see the potential for Texas rivers flooding. And there are so many rivers and bayous all the way to the 12 -- almost 12,000 named rivers and streams, 80,000 miles of something here across parts of Texas that could flood. 263,000 square miles will get some type of rainfall and it all has to runoff somewhere.
CABRERA: Chad Myers, you have put in some long hours and you are keeping us up-to-date. We appreciate that.
At least one estimate puts the potential damage from this storm at $20 billion in metro Houston alone. Joining me now on the phone is Michael Walter from the city of Houston office of emergency management.
Michael, thanks to joining us. What is the biggest concern in Houston right now?
[16:10:13] MICHAEL WALTER, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OF HOUSTON (on the phone): Well, as Chad was saying, you know, the biggest concern for us is that rainfall potential. In many places it has, you know, more staggered geography that the water runs and it's very dangerous. Here in Texas, it just kind (INAUDIBLE) that will lingers. And so, what we have - historically have as it relates to rainfall flooding within Houston is it extends to be one storm, one day, in an isolated part of the area that floods an area and then it's over with.
What we are dealing with here in Houston is that we are expecting a multiday event with that rain just continually, continually falling. And that is what is going to cause the bayous and creeks which normally can drain fairly quickly here, in coastal Prairie to begin filling up and begin impacting homes and roadways.
CABRERA: So how have you guys prepared for this?
WALTER: So we have been working since early this week to make sure that we have all of our assets in place. We have been encouraging our residents to be making sure that they have everything that they need, that they have plans to communicate with their family, especially those who might have either be have a disability or be elderly. We want to make sure that those people are taken care of. That people are checking with their neighbors.
And so we have been working, you know, diligently for a week do that. We have had our police and fire and public works have been staging assets all throughout Houston and scattered throughout the city so we could quickly respond needs of our residents if we did end up with flashflood situation.
We did have a couple of flash flood warnings this morning. We did have some tornadoes warning. And unfortunately down in some of the communities of southwest of us. They did have some pretty significant damage. We did not in the city of Houston. However, we know that this is just day two really of what is going to be a prolonged event.
CABRERA: Right. And the rain is still supposed to get worse.
Michael Walter, thank you for your time and good luck and stay safe. Thanks so much.
I want to take you now to the town of Victoria, Texas where we are just starting to see some of the early signs of flooding there. Authorities say most Victoria residents refused to evacuate before hurricane Harvey hit earlier today. And the dramatic video from that area show this is monster storm at its peak in Victoria. Watch this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
CABRERA: Let's get right to CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval in Victoria.
Polo, you spoke to a man there who refused to evacuate because he wanted to care for his 94-year-old mother. How is she doing? How are people coping?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are doing quite well right now. We will get to their story in just a few seconds.
But first, I want to bring you out here to Victoria, Texas right now, Ana, so you can see for yourself what it's like. Just when you think the wind is beginning to slow down, to subside, we get hit by this wall of wind and it's difficult to stand in place here. It speaks to how slow the storm is moving. The eye then hurricane Harvey made its way through here hours ago and yet we are still seeing those winds with those winds gust of a 40 to 50 miles per hour.
So until those winds die down, officials won't be able to actually get out there, those crews as utility crews won't be able to begin the repairs on the power system to get people back of running.
People like the gentleman that we spoke to, the gentleman that you have mentioned, he decided like much of the town of Victoria to simply ride out the storm in his case though, his elderly grandmother just couldn't be moved from her home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE SANTIAGO, CARING FOR HIS 94 YEAR-OLD HOME AT HOME IN VICTORIA: We have a rental car just in case we need to move her, but she's 94. It's not that easy just to move, pick up and move her. So we were going to move her. We were talking about moving her before the storm, but then we thought she might not make the trip. But she is doing fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: All right. So let's talk a little bit of the damage assessment here. Very preliminary assessment from what we have seen, obviously there is debris around, parts of trees, some fairly superficial damage to structures. But it certainly does not compare to what took place about an hour and a half drive from here for the folks in Rockport where the storm proved its deadly potential.
But again, here in Victoria, most folks getting their first look at the damage. City officials have been driving the streets and so have some residents. And so far it seems that the damage is fairly limited. But again, we still have to check out the rest of the city in the coming hours when some of the wind finally dies down. But that is not happening anytime soon, Ana.
CABRERA: And we do know as far as hurricanes go, eight percent of deaths during hurricanes are typically from the wind, 90 percent come from water. So that is why we continue to warn people about the rain and the flooding that could still happen.
Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval.
Now tropical storm Harvey again still a huge threat. Heavy rain and flooding is expected over the next several days. We continue to show you the images from all across the state of Texas.
Stay with us for complete coverage in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:19:23] CABRERA: Residents in parts of the gulf coast are already coping with Harvey's wrath. And they are bracing for more after the storm made landfall overnight as the largest or the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, a cat 4. Last time that happened was in 2004.
The storm has already caused flooding in some towns and cities including Houston where these images are from. And in Houston, there is now an element of unpredictability due to some of the varying levels of the water.
Our Rosa Flores is there joining us now.
I understand you are seeing some large fluctuations in the water levels, Rosa. Tell us about it.
[16:20:00] ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have seen those fluctuations.
Now, Ana, you remember in the last hour, I showed you the debris so you could see the water level where it was at some point. And then also how I couldn't walk -- if I kept walking on the sidewalk, because I was going to walk into flooding.
Well, take a look now. This is just in the past hour, the water has receded significantly. But the concern is still there. I just got off the phone with the assistant fire chief who tells me, Rosa, this is the problem a lot of the times that people see water receding and they think, OK, things are going to improve, things are getting better. The problem is that we are expecting more bands of water.
The ground here is very saturated already. So as more rain comes through with saturated ground, then that is when you see flash flooding, that is when you see waters rise very quickly.
Take a look at this bayou right here, Buffalo bayou. Normally it's a normal flowing bayou that flows out into the Gulf of Mexico. Right now it looks more like a raging river. You can also see debris on this bayou right now. And I mean, we have seen tree logs on this. And the tree logs raging through this water.
Now, we just saw that an alert went out to all of the residents on the west side of Houston for people not to be alarmed because they are going to see a lot of emergency vehicles, military vehicles headed that way.
According to the office of emergency management, they say that they are staging that area for possible rescues later on. So just an alert for people if they do see that in the west side of Houston, not to be alarmed, it's only a staging hear.
Now, again, the situation here, the concern in Houston is flooding, flash flooding, how waters can rise very, very quickly, Ana. So what leaders are recommending is for people to be very vigilant, be aware of the conditions around their home because again, there is no evacuation order here in Houston. People are asked to shelter in place. But officials here asking people be very vigilant, if you see that water rising very quickly, call for help.
All right, Ana. CABRERA: Rosa Flores in Houston. Stay safe. We see your camera is
starting to fog up a little bit. Mother Nature and the many things and the effects from her. Thank you.
Tropical storm Harvey has carved a wide path of destruction through parts of the state. We will have a broader look at the damage and talk about how recovery efforts are going just ahead.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:27:04] CABRERA: Harvey may be a tropical storm now, but it may made landfall as the largest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. It left one person dead in the town of Rockport. It also destroyed businesses and homes including that of Chantal Cleveland who evacuated inland. Her family going back to Rockport today for a heartbreaking look at their home.
And Chantal is joining me by the phone.
Chantal, thanks for being with us. I'm so sorry to hear about the damage to your house. Talk to me about what you saw as you returned home.
CHANTAL CLEVELAND, ROCKPORT RESIDENT (on the phone): Absolutely. You know, we are still digesting it. Our family, you know, definitely just experiencing something like this was devastating, but it also was a wake-up call that we have to work as a community and as a state to get our town and our county areas back to what they used to be.
You know, I remember going to college at Texas State and just telling people where I'm from, Rockport, Texas, you know, a little gem by the sea. And so just driving in and seeing all of these buildings that were literally just fine not too long ago, just purely destroyed, it was kind of eerie. And just tears, lot of tears, crying just feeling for all of the families that are either there trapped or are going to have to return to just total destroyed homes.
So as we were pulling in, we could tell -- because we live kind of on the outskirts of Rockport. Pulling into the town, you know, it was just a scary, just the quietest feeling. Our phone services were going out. (INAUDIBLE). And I remember the first thing that I could see was the roof being gone from the hope and I just -- my uncle drove us out there because he has a truck. And I just said can you stop the truck, just stop. And I remember just sprinting in two foot of water just trying to get to our house. And just screaming. I was just crying. I don't think I have ever cried like that.
And I remember just running into the door. The door was completely almost gone. There was just two feet full of rubble and just climbing over it, sitting in my room, seeing all of my things just kind of gathered (INAUDIBLE). I could just not keep my composure.
You know, you talk about years and years of memories growing up in such a beautiful community. And Rockport continues to be such a great community and Corpus Christi, port land, all of our surrounding areas.
And you know, this is something that is catastrophic and very unreal. And you know, I was born and raised in those houses. So growing up, we were just always there. And just seeing them just completely destroyed was the most heartbreaking thing for me.
[16:30:10] CABRERA: So Chantal, what do you plan do next? Where are you staying?
CLEVELAND: Luckily, we have family members in Corpus Christi. Like I said, our community is really strong. Surrounding areas, too. Everyone has - I mean, we have pour our support. And we are there for the rest of Rockport, the rest of Portland, the rest of surrounding areas that have suffered from the hurricane.
And so I think right now, you know, we are staying with family right now. But our main focus is not just what we can do for our homes, but what can we do for the rest of the community, how can we come together. And we are helpful that our elected officials and our community agencies would come and help us and give us the aid we need so that we can rebuild and get us back on our feet.
You know, we hear about the catastrophes happening all of the time. And you know, we feel so bad. But I feel (INAUDIBLE) totally different and it just really hurts. And so, I'm hopeful that those who can provide aid and can help us, (INAUDIBLE). So, you know, that we will have a home to go to.
CABRERA: Well, we wish you the best. Chantal Cleveland, thank you very much for joining us and thank you for sharing your story.
CLEVELAND: Yes. Absolutely. Thank you guys.
CABRERA: Good luck.
As we move forward and get through the next few days and the next threat from the hurricane, which is now tropical storm Harvey, and it's getting ready to dump even more rain across that region.
Much more of our coverage when we come back.
[16:35:52] CABRERA: We are continuing to follow our breaking news. We have teams on the ground throughout the day and overnight as hurricane Harvey made landfall. Now we are surveying the damage talking to residents affected by hurricane Harvey which has been downgraded to a tropical storm. It made landfall near Rockport, Texas. One fatality has been confirmed there.
CNN's Nick Valencia is there and has been speaking to residents. Watch this.
VALENCIA: I know it must be really hard to look at that building. What is it like to show up and look at your shop just destroyed?
RUBEN SAZON, LOST HOME AND BUSINESS DURING HURRICANE HARVEY: I was just absolutely devastated, heartbroken, sad, you know. But I knew it was going to happen someday. I thought years ago with a different hurricane. But with Harvey out there and as it was coming along the coast, it is strengthening. You know, we thought a tropical storm, no problem. OK, we can deal with that. We get, you know, (INAUDIBLE) on our window at the porch. But I knew this one was going to be a lot stronger. And I thought, well, OK, this could be the last time I ever make my jewelry here.
VALENCIA: Were you able to get anything out? Were you able to get any precious metals in there?
SAZON: Some things. Not everything. I didn't get to save all my equipment. So I lost some of that. But I was able to get my paintings. I got beautiful painting with the cranes, you know. Art inspired by the famous Luther Crane (ph). And --
VALENCIA: Do you have insurance at all? I mean, is this insured?
SAZON: I just don't always have the insurance, you know. I didn't have it on this one. So I did try to save what I could, you know. I was working hard to try to cast jewelry Friday night and I was able to do that. But then trying to pack up boxes and try to head out of town before Harvey hit where you have that window of opportunity to escape. And that's what I was trying to do. I was trying to right after the storm, ended up riding out the storm and could fall apartments out here and the hurricane went through the apartment. I lost my apartment.
VALENCIA: You lost your apartment. You lost your business.
SAZON: I don't have an apartment now. And so I have to find a place now. My studio is gone. I have to find a place to show my work. So I'm looking for maybe a gallery interested in showing my beautiful crane paintings.
VALENCIA: How are you still able to smile right now? How are you able to be optimistic? You know, I have been talking to you for a long time off camera.
SAZON: Yes. Well, it is one of -- the cranes are connected to the phoenix. And you heard the story of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Well, I'm going to rise from the rubble, the timbers, the concrete. I'm going to rise again. I just don't know where exactly. But I have got to keep making beautiful things in my gold and silver jewelry. I have to make these beautiful paintings with the cranes. I have to find a new home.
VALENCIA: You have to rebuild.
SAZON: I have to rebuild. You know, starting all over again like that phoenix. I don't know what it is (INAUDIBLE), a theme in my life, I don't know if it's because of the crane connection or what.
VALENCIA: Well, we know a lot of people are going to be rooting for you. And we really appreciate you taking the time.
SAZON: Thank you. I appreciate it.
VALENCIA: God bless you, man. I hope you are able to recover.
CABRERA: What an attitude.
The worst of the strong winds have passed as that guy was gripping his hat. But now the Texas gulf coast is bracing for days of potentially deadly flooding. President Trump says he is closely monitoring the storm from Camp David.
So I want to get straight to Washington in the federal response effort, CNN's White House correspondent Athena Jones is joining us from outside the White House.
Athena, what is the President doing today to help with the response effort?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana.
Well, as you mentioned, he has been tweeting starting several hours ago, that morning tweet, saying he was closely monitoring the storm. And we know from the White House, from a readout of a call the President had during the late morning with -- led by the White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert and other cabinet officials on that call giving the President an update. We know we was kept up-to- date multiple times last night as the storm was making landfall by chief of staff John Kelly. This 11:00 a.m. call led by Tom Bossert lasted about an hour. We know that vice president Mike Pence was also part of that teleconference from the White House situation room.
And we know that the official said that the President want to make sure that all departments and agencies are fully engaged and positioned to support his number one priority, saving lives. Now we know, just in a last hour, death has been confirmed. We haven't heard meeting new from the President. But we know that he is closely monitoring this. He sent out a tweet about an hour ago retweeting a food bank in San Antonio there in the path of the storm saying who thank you to all of those who are coming out offering relief, offering supplies and donations - Ana.
[16:40:51] CABRERA: Athena, on Sunday, the White House said President Trump was going to visit Texas early next week. Have officials released any more information about that upcoming trip?
JONES: No, no more details about that trip. I think you are referring to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying during Friday's briefing that the President would quote "try to make plans to go to Texas early next week."
Well, a senior administration official told CNN, the President does want to get to Texas ASAP, as soon as possible, to show the state that he has the support of the federal government, but he is not going until the conditions are right on the ground. He doesn't want to take away any resources that may be needed for safety reasons or for rescue operations and that sort of thing. And so he didn't want his visit to affect recovery efforts. So we don't yet know precisely what day he's going to be able to make it there. But we know that he wants to go.
CABRERA: All right. Athena Jones, thank you very much.
While the hurricane was it willing Texas, President Trump was also issuing a controversial pardon. We will discuss that next here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:46:21] CABRERA: As the gulf coast got ready to face hurricane Harvey head-on, the White House seemed to go under the radar by carrying out a string of controversial moves last night. The President pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio convicted for defying a court order to stop racially profiling drivers. White House advisor Sebastien Gorka leaves the administration. And a President signs a directive banning transgender military recruits and stopping treatment regimens for current service members.
Let me turn now to Ed Martin, the president of the Eagle form fun. He used to be chairman of the state Republican Party in Missouri. And also here with me, ABC News political contributor Tara Setmayer.
Thanks to both of you for being here.
So senate minority leader Chuck Schumer tweeted 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 this right now is to use the cover of hurricane Harvey to avoid scrutiny and then you ran to Camp David. So sad. So weak.
Tara, what do you make of the timing?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that typically Friday at 8:00 would be a time where you dump things with so no one pays attention. You are going in to the weekend, it's the summer. But I don't know if that is necessarily the case with Trump. He seems to know when to get the most attention. And given the fact that the country was transfixed on what is happening with hurricane Harvey, it might have actually been on purpose that he did this. It wasn't to hide anything. I think that Donald Trump likes to be in your face when he makes decisions. He wants people to know this is what I did, this is when I did it and too bad.
CABRERA: So are you saying he was trying to take attention off of hurricane coverage, off of the warnings and the preparations?
SETMAYER: Not necessarily he was off it. I think that he was capitalizing on to the effect that people would be paying to the news and that here he comes in. As President of the United States, he knows that he has the ability to affect the news cycle. So I think he was riding that wave, no pun intended, of that attention to put that out there that I'm doing this. I'm sending a clear message to my base. I'm doing this. I'm doing this against what normal procedure is which is his prerogative, the constitution gives him that right.
And now the Gorka news I think is a little bit different. But the Joe Arpaio pardon for sure, Donald Trump was saying I'm doing this. He is my guy. He is an ally of mine. I happen to agree with what he did. And to hell with what the law says, I have the power to do it. I'm pardoning this guy.
CABRERA: The backlash to the pardoning of Joe Arpaio has been swift and really forget about the timing here, Ed. Anita Gupta who led the justice department civil rights division under President Obama went as far as to warning that a pardoning of Arpaio quote "will not be a dog whistle to the so-called alt-right and white supremacists but a bull horn," she said. The country obviously still hurting from Charlottesville. Is this the right message to be sending right now?
ED MARTIN, FORMER STATE CHAIRMAN, MISSOURI REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, you know, I got to tell you, Donald Trump can't win for trying. I mean, what he did was he was told by the Democrat mayor of Phoenix I think it was please don't pardon Arpaio when you come even though I know you want to pardon him and you have talked about it. So don't do that because there will be violence. And Trump didn't do that. He actually act as to the demand of the Democrat mayor and he didn't do it. But everybody knew he want to. Everybody knew that you guys reported that the --.
CABRERA: And he went as far as to say, I think he is going to be just fine. He foreshadowed it at that thing rally.
MARTIN: But Ana, you guys were reporting that department of justice was vetting this pardon. And everybody knows that a pardon just like when Trump - excuse me, Obama pardoned the guy who was a terrorist from Puerto Rico or Obama pardoned Manning or Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, you are going to get scrutiny of pardon. So you are not going to hide from it.
But look. Donald Trump came down an escalator when he ran for office and he announced the number one thing in his race was protecting America from illegal immigration. There is no one who has done more of that than Arpaio. And a pardon means if you made mistakes in trying to do what you did, which is what the court is saying by the contempt ruling which is, you know, you can worry about, argue where about it, but they said Trump is saying we appreciate what you did. You are doing the right thing for the country. You are putting America first. And I can tell you across the country, they are looking up and going fair enough.
[16:50:52] CABRERA: The message is that you did the right thing for the country. But a judge found that he was breaking the law. This sheriff was breaking the law. He was racial profiling and he was - excuse me, let me finish my thought please. He was racial profiling pulling over drivers just based on what he presumed in his sheriff's department was doing this based on what they presumed could be they were illegal immigrants because of the color of their skin where there apparently were a lot that weren't or the illegal immigrant.
MARTIN: Sheriff Arpaio has been aggressively fighting illegal immigration and he has had court orders and lawsuits and he lost his election. So there is all sorts of things. The constitution which Obama used to pardon a terrorist, Obama used to pardon Bradley Manning, Clinton used to pardon Marc Rich says you can -- the President has the power to say --
CABRERA: The President has the power but --
MARTIN: That's what he did.
CABRERA: Tara, does this potentially send the message that if you are loyal to me, I will pardon you. Don't worry, I will take care of you? It doesn't matter what you do.
SETMAYER: Yes. It sends a couple of messages. Not only does it send that, I mean, that also could have greater implications when it comes to the special prosecutor in the Robert Mueller case. And you know, perhaps the people who are loyal to the President and decided they don't want to follow subpoenas let's say, a federal subpoena by the special prosecutor, don't worry about it, you got to nod and wink. The President will pardon you because he obviously is obsessed with the Russian investigation and he is concern about it and he should be.
But it also says some also. Let's not act as though, you know, the examples that people are giving that other Presidents are pardoned people that are controversial pardons. And I happen to agree with those examples. So then you are acknowledging that the Arpaio pardon was controversial. And it is for a few reasons.
I mean, Joe Arpaio, God bless him, he is trying to say that, you know, I'm protecting people from illegal immigrants. OK. But he took too far. And he took too far where he was violating people's civil rights. He was violating the rule of law. The courts found that.
MARTIN: That's not what the court said.
SETMAYER: And he had a lot of controversy. He cost taxpayers of (INAUDIBLE) tens of millions of dollars.
CABRERA: Hey, I hear you trying to get in. Let me read what the judge - let me read the quote from the judge in this case. Hold on, Ed. You want to get the facts out, so do I. "Not only did Arpaio advocate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise." This is the U.S. district Judge Susan Bolton who wrote the order on July 31st.
So Ed, go ahead with what you wanted to say. I just want to get what the judge says which is you were Tara who it wronged.
MARTIN: What I want to say is that Tara shouldn't say things that are not true. Arpaio was not convicted of a crime. He was not -- what she said was that it was proven that he violated civil rights.
SETMAYER: Criminal contempt for violating civil rights.
MARTIN: That's not what you said. And here is the facts of life. We have elections. Elections have consequences. And Donald Trump said we are going to put America first and his authority under the constitution is that he can pardon a guy that many Americans, including me, think is a hero for standing up for the rule of law. That is the law of the constitution. And it doesn't mean you have to like the policy, but to say that it somehow outside of the norm and to say that somehow really dramatic is incorrect. Donald Trump is not hiding --
SETMAYER: We are not arguing something I didn't say. We are not arguing that the pardon. I prefaced my comments by saying that the President has power to the constitution pardon whomever he wants whenever he wants.
I have worked when illegal immigration and immigration policy for seven years on Capitol Hill and I also was instrumental in helping to border patrol agents who were unjustly imprisoned for shooting an illegal drug smuggler. And that sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison for doing it. I was instrumental in helping get them a Presidential commutation for their sentences. They we unjustly (INAUDIBLE). So I understand this process very, very well. We are not arguing that.
Joe Arpaio took it too far. He was not from law enforcing family. I work with law enforcement officers for many years and a lot of them would look at what he is doing and think that the ones that are doing it right, he took it too far. And people have died in his jails. It cost taxpayers tens of millions and he lost an election because people felt he took it too far. And that Donald Trump wants to be a law and order president but he shouldn't be rewarding people who aren't following the law and that's what Joe Arpaio did and he gave the prize for it.
[16:50:20] CABRERA: I'll give you the last word, Ed. Go ahead.
MARTIN: It's very simple. Donald Trump ran with putting America first. So did Joe Arpaio. And here is the real truth which you should be proud that the President pardoned him now not like Bill Clinton in the dark of night as he was leaving office and Obama when the political costs or didn't matter. Donald Trump said here is who I am. I'm going to do what I said. This is an honorable man. And around America, they are looking up saying not that he's perfect. We are not having a contest on saint hood, Tara. We are having a contest on who can hold up the law and order and Sheriff Arpaio did that. And we are proud of it and we press a great day for putting America first.
CABRERA: But that said Ed, otherwise, Ed Martin and Tara Setmayer, thank you both for joining us and for that passionate conversation.
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