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Harvey Is Now A Deadly Storm; President Pardoned Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio; North Korea Launched Three Short Range Ballistic Missiles Saturday North Korea Time; Gas Prices Are Expected To Jump In The South. Aired 7:00-8:00p ET

Aired August 26, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for being with us.

We began this hour with dire warnings of potentially historic flooding in Texas. Harvey is now a tropical storm churning and now stalling on shore within range of the flood from the city of Houston. Harvey could jump up to three feet of rain in some areas before this is over. The monster storm ripped entire roofs off buildings as it destroyed numerous homes and businesses and at least one person has died.

I want to show you some dramatic new video from the Texas coast of town of (INAUDIBLE). A pair of Texans named Duggy Penny Williams (ph) and shot this footage from their home where they have been hunkering down. Authorities closed all the roads leading into (INAUDIBLE), near the Williams' property.

And they have a generator running they tell us. Other families sadly lost everything. Entire homes filled with possessions. Hundreds of thousands of people have no power right now. The storm you can see snapped utility poles like toothpicks.

And we have new reaction from President Trump today tweeting thank you to all the great volunteers helping out with hurricane relief in Texas.

We have every angle covered of this fast-moving storm. CNN has teams across Texas and in the CNN weather center.

I want to take you first to the town of Victoria, Texas. Authorities say most of Victoria residents refused to evacuate before hurricane Harvey hit, ignoring the warnings from local officials and now flood waters are saturating that town about 20 miles from the Texas coast.

Let get out to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam in Victoria.

Derek, you say this storm keeps surprising you.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Every couple of minutes, Ana, we get the strong gust of wind, easily tropical storm force. And it is pelting with the rain fall. So you can just imagine what Martin Savidge been through as the (INAUDIBLE) just skirted a couple of miles to his east overnight. We are in Victoria, about ten miles away from the coast. And what we

are seeing here as we drove in was singles being blown off of roofs. We saw trees snapped. We saw utility poles broken like toothpicks.

As you mentioned, there is one of the stronger wind gusts by the way. And we also had the flood. In fact, we had to redirect our route just to get over here because the flooding in some of the roadways was so severe that it took us a little bit longer to actually get to our location than we had anticipated. In fact, what you can't see in the shot is we have actually situated ours away from the pelting rain with our cameraman. We are actually in a flooded underground parking area.

I'm standing outside in the elements. But the most shocking thing about this is the national weather service has put an indefinite amount of time for a flood warning and a tropical storm warning. That just shows you that this storm has stalled. It is going nowhere.

Usually tropical storm warnings have an end time. Usually flood warnings have an end time. Not in Victoria, Texas. It is until further notice. And all the people here have really heeded the warnings. They have bunkered down. There is not a lot of people actually. In fact, very little pedestrian traffic. And very few people on the roadways because they are still keeping indoors and away from windows because the strong gusty winds are the concern now. But the flooding threat going forward as we all know is the next major factor in this major hurricane.

CABRERA: All right. Derek Van Dam, reporting for us in Victoria, Texas. Thank you.

As we follow the storm's impact, we are also following its path. Let's check in with CNN meteorologist Chad Myers for the latest on the forecast.

Chad, the big concern at this point as we just heard from Derek isn't the wind but rain and flooding. What will it be like on the ground do you suppose by this time tomorrow?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it sure depends on where you are. And wish the storm had a path. Right now it is stationary, not moving at all. I am just watching the center spin around and around. The arms of this thing like a ho-ho, just spinning around and the next ho-ho is going to hit Houston.

This is a big deal for you, Houston overnight. This is an outer band that is going to park itself and train weather, train the rain right on top of you. It's like a train track. One car or next car or next car and next car and next car. It will be one storm, one storm, next storm. And so this is going to be an eight to twelve inch rain fall event by morning for Houston proper.

On top of places that have already seen three to five. Now, the heaviest rain has been north of I-10. There are spaces there, places there between 10 and 14 inches of rain. That's what's already happened. Here is the forecast of what's going to happen tonight. Houston, that

band that you can see is still to your west. But by midnight, it rolls in. Maybe even 10:00. It rolls in and keeps rolling in. One pin wheel after another after another. And as you get to the morning hours, you will begin to see eight inches of rain fall in the rain buckets across Houston. That's all going to try to run into these rivers. And eventually the rivers are going to overflow because they just do.

You get that purple. That's just north of sugar land (INAUDIBLE). And that purple is ten inches of rain or more by the time you go to church tomorrow, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 tomorrow. There will be that much rain fall in addition to what's already fallen. That is the key. That is why there are flashflood watchers and flashflood warnings. And I suspect that weather service is saying there will be 50, 50 tributaries or rivers, they are all the same today. And just where the gauges are, that will be in major flood stage or more by Monday afternoon. Major flood in 50 different places.

[19:05:3] CABRERA: So Chad, are you saying is Monday like the critical day where we are going to see the peak of the damage perhaps from the flood event that we are going to experience.

MYERS: Yes. It just really depends. We have so many rivers. We have so many miles of rivers, 80,000 miles of rivers. It depends on where you are and how that water is going to come down.

This is a plain through here. There is not much water to move quickly. It just rolls slowly down these rivers. So once it comes out of the hill country and get some of these rivers, it sometimes can take three weeks for the water to get back down below flood stage, even though it should be a flash flood in West Virginia that's over in three hours. In Texas because it is so flat, it takes three weeks.

CABRERA: All right. Chad Myers, thank you so much.

Now, Governor Abbott, he is out of food shelter right now. These are live pictures in fact, we understand, in Austin, Texas where he is meeting with some of the folks who are taking shelter there. And you can see him helping to handout food as he meets and greets with some of the residents there in Texas.

He held a press conference earlier today with an update about the same time that hurricane Harvey became tropical storm Harvey. And at that time he talked about 1,000 emergency search and rescue personnel being out and about throughout the state, working to make sure people were staying safe, rescuing those who might need to be rescued in some of the flood waters that are out there. And he also talked about some of the resources on the ground. Some 1,800 military members ready to respond as need.

Now, we have learned of one fatality that's been blamed on Harvey so far. That happened last night in the town of Rockport, Texas where the hurricane came ashore. The victim died in a house fire. That first responder simply couldn't get to because of the storm.

Martin Savidge joins us now from Rockport with the latest.

Martin, last hour we were talking about how Rockport's public safety scanner was impacted by the storm. You continue to have these incredible images that are showing so much devastation in that town. What else stands out to you there?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a clear example of what happens when you get a category four, not only major but monster hurricane come ashore.

This was ground zero. And the impact you know is not just sort of roofs being torn off and the damage you might expect to trailers or light structures. This is the type of devastation that impacts the brick and mortar kind of buildings.

The building behind us is wood. It is totally gone. But there are others that are made out of cement block. They, too, are devastated. In fact, it would appear that much of the downtown business area, the commercial hub is devastated.

One death here. If it stays at one death, that would actually be quite remarkable. Though, of course a tragedy for that family.

Right now we are going to show you just a little bit more of some of what you find in this community. It is quite shocking.


SAVIDGE: This is fairly typical when you have a major hurricane, just a debris field that is spread all over and it is all over this town.

But I want to show you something else over here. And you got to watch your footing because there is nails. But take a look at this. This is not so typical. The entire front of this building sheared off completely. Now, the interior has been knocked around a lot but much of it is still intact.

Another example of just the power of the winds last night and the destruction that's been brought. This obviously looks like a small business. In fact, a lot of the buildings here that are heavily damage appeared to be the heart of this small town, this business community. It's about 10,000 people that live here.

But when you lose the heart of the business center, it makes recovery all the more difficult.


SAVIDGE: Wind continues to pour here. It is not severe. And it is not going to do more damage. What it will do, though, is pick up the debris potentially on the ground that's dangerous for any of the first responders. They are beginning to organize here but only just beginning to organize. And of course darkness is going to set up in and here in this town that has no electricity, no cell service, limited emergency radio service. It is going to be a very dark, long night. Virtually nowhere near -- CABRERA: OK, Martin Savidge reporting again in Rockport, Texas.

Thank you for that.

Texas governor, Greg Abbott, has since declared a disaster now in 50 counties. On the ground, we are hearing horror stories from the path of Harvey.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is like this morning and I just heard a loud noise. And I had my grandson. Whatever he learned in school, he was prepared. He kind of ran into the closet and he held his hands above his head like this and he was in a fetal position. I'm so proud of him. Then we ran out and we went under the steps. (INAUDIBLE).

[19:10:23] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was crazy. It was like I was scared when I heard it outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She was telling me like who is driving out in this weather. I'm like, baby isn't nobody driving out there. And then, you know, she is saying, like, maybe it's a train or something, but really it is the wind. A lot of wind. The tornado was coming through, passing through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen the side of your mother-in-law's house. Big holes all over the place. Parts of the roof are gone. When you came up here, were you surprised that this had happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like I couldn't believe it. I thought it was just -- there was going to be some rain and maybe the hurricane, but not expecting no tornado to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, a lot of people have asked the same sort of question. Can this happen again? I mean, we are on day one of maybe four or five days of rain and wind. And that is -- are you worried that you go to sleep tonight and you won't even know that something like this is going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not over yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was scary. It is the second time something like that happened. And you know, we didn't see a touchdown last anytime. But I get in the closet or get in the bathtub. They say get in the center part of your house. Get away from the windows, just all that. And it's a scary, eerie feeling. And you know, I heard that whistling in that train, that freight train noise the first time. And it really -- I can't explain it. It's scary. I'm grateful and blessed my house didn't get touched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This came from over there, from the roof of the house, from all the way, damaged the side of the wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about something like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Devastated. First experience, devastated.


CABRERA: So much courage already.

Ahead this hour, Presidential response, how the White House is now working to lead the response to hurricane Harvey. And when President Trump is expected in Texas.

Plus, stranded by Harvey, the monster storm leaving a mother to be stuck in a hotel room and her scheduled C-section in limbo. Her emotional limbo coming up.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:16:30] CABRERA: OK, come take a look at this drone footage out of Rockport, Texas. The city is about 10,000 people among the hardest hit on the gulf. You can see the storm surge was so strong. Their boats were actually washed ashore. And some vehicles having a hard time making it through all that water. Officials say at least one person has died.

President Trump is closely monitoring tropical storm Harvey from Camp David this week. And earlier today we know he held a teleconference with vice president Mike Pence and other officials from homeland security and FEMA.

CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones joins us from outside the White House.

Athena, what is the White House doing as far as response efforts?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, as you mentioned, there was that 11:00 a.m. conference call the President had with the vice President, other cabinet members and members of the administration to talk about federal response efforts. You can see the President conducted it from Camp David. The rest of the folks were there in the White House situation room. That call led by the President's advisor on homeland security, Tom Bossert.

The President has also been tweeting this morning as well as just a few minutes ago, just before the top of the hour he put out this tweet saying wonderful coordination between federal, local and state officials in the great state of Texas. Team work. Record setting rainfall. So the President certainly engaged online.

We know from the official White House read-out of that hour-long conference call the President had that he - well, the focus was very much on making sure that they could prevent loss of life. He said -- the White House said the President emphasized his expectations of all departments and agencies could work together to achieve his number one priority, which is saving lives.

We also know from administration official on that call that the President asked a lot of questions about just what was going on on the ground in the storm in the path of that storm, including the flooding and mass power outages -- Ana.

CABRERA: Just a quick note about the tweet. We know that the record setting rain fall hasn't happened just yet. Seventy-five percent of the rain expected to fall from this storm is yet to come. So we are all keeping a close eye on that.

But I also want to ask you about whether there has been an update on the President's plan to visit the hard hit areas in Texas because we heard on Friday that he was planning to go at least some point early in this next week. What more can you tell us?

JONES: Hi, that's right. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, said during Friday's briefing, the President would try to make plans to go to Texas early next week. And that's the big question here, Ana, is exactly which day would he make that trip, especially since we are seeing forecasts of this storm which is lingering over the area, could linger there over the next several days into early next week. We know from a senior administration official to that the President wants to get down there quote "ASAP." But he also doesn't want to do anything that would hamper response and recovery efforts. He is well aware that that a visit by himself and staff would take valuable he sources. So he doesn't want to do that until conditions on the ground are safe - Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Athena Jones, at the White House tonight. Thank you.

The storm has left scores of people in limbo, many in desperate situations. In fact, expected mother Danielle, we exist among those people wondering what's next. She was forced to evacuate from her Port Aransas' home and is scheduled to have a C-section on Tuesday, but she is currently trapped in a hotel room in Corpus Christi. I spoke with her last hour.


[19:20:06] CABRERA: What have the past 24 hours or so been like for you?

DANIELLE WEEKS, EXPECTED MOTHER (on the phone): Pretty stressful. Just nerve racking wondering if the hospital is going to be able to do the C-section on Tuesday, where we are going to go after we go out of the hospital, stuff like that.

CABRERA: Do you have a back-up plan right now?

WEEKS: Well, after the C-section, we can always go back to where our families in Buskin Lake (ph) are until we can figure out the damages and how we are going to get everything fixed and sort everything out. But as of right now we will be in this hotel until we can have the baby.

CABRERA: Do you know how your home is doing, how if it survived without damage?

WEEKS: No, we do not know. We have seen pictures of like around the area and a lot of the RVs and stuff, which is what we live in, are on their sides or tore apart. So we are just waiting until they give the OK to go back and assess the damages.



[19:25:49] CABRERA: Moments ago, Governor Abbott visited a shelter in Austin, Texas and he was handing out food. Let's listen in.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: This shows the typical Texas response. People come together in a bipartisan way to support our fellow Texans in need. Just because a hurricane hits the state of Texas doesn't mean that we won't all come out and respond.

I'm proud of the mayor. I'm proud of the city of Austin for opening up this tremendous facility to provide a place where people can come to to evacuate from. We have to realize that what these people left behind was sheer tragedy. Some of them had their homes mowed down. Some of them will not have a place to return to. They need this time and this place and this food right here. It is our job to make sure they are going to be taken care of.

We will take care of our fellow Texans. But we do it as a team. This is a fabulous team that we have here where we all come together and we ensure that our fellow Texans will be provided for.

Senator, if I could just say, a few years ago when we had the tragedy west, I had a county commissioner --

CABRERA: OK, again, that was the governor Greg Abbott, addressing the media, addressing the residents there in Austin at that food shelter where he was helping hand out some food for those who are taking cover from the storm there. We know from many of the state of Texas the worst is yet to come. And we have more video to show you, this time in an apparent tornado that just happened near Houston. Take a look.


CABRERA: It was a massive funnel cloud that rolled through a neighborhood just northwest of the city of Houston. We don't know just yet what sort of damage this storm may have caused, but local news outlets are saying it appears to have done at least some damage to homes in that area.

Our teams on the ground are still digging for new information. I mean, that is one thing that we have heard Chad Myers warning about, that those tornadoes are a part of what happens with these hurricanes and that threat still remains as well.

Now, eight percent of hurricane deaths are caused by wind, 90 percent are caused by water. And that takes up to Houston already coping with some serious flooding. And more heavy rains on the way there. Officials setting up the stages area for the emergency vehicles and crews (INAUDIBLE) in west Houston where we find CNN's Rosa Flores.

So Rosa, you have been there onsite for a while now. What are the preparations that they are doing that you are witnessing?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this parking lot is being turned into a command center of sorts or emergency response. Take a look behind me. You can see there are some ambulances that have lined up. First responders here tell us we will also see about 125 busses lining up just in case evacuations are needed as we pan our camera over to this side of the parking lot. This is a Texas sized parking lot here. They are expecting military vehicles to caravan into this parking lot and station in this area. You can already see fuel trucks back there staging.

But the worry here, Ana, is the flooding. That's why we are probably going to see high water vehicles here and other vehicles that will be ready to respond, calls for help will come here and from here first responders tell us they are going be deploying these resources.

Houston expecting 15 to 25 inches of rain, 35 inches in some isolated areas. And what first responders tell us is their worry is the ground is already saturated. We were at a reservoir which is about two miles to my left here. That reservoir gets all of the water from the creek, the streams in this part of west Houston and it is already gushing into buffalo bayou.

And Ana, we did live shots earlier today with you from that bayou closer to downtown Houston. And you saw how that water it was gushing. Well, that water is coming from this area. So it is all flowing. It is just the geography of this part of Texas. All this water flowing towards the Gulf of Mexico. If you have 15, 25, 35 inches more, that's the concern from first responders here because these creeks, these bayous weave through neighborhoods. And so first responders, city leaders asking people to be vigilant, to be aware of their surroundings. If they see water rising quickly, people should call for help -- Ana.

[19:30:32] CABRERA: All right. Rosa Flores there in Houston, thank you.

Let's check in with CNN meteorologist Chad Myers on where the storm is headed next and the latest on the forecast.

And Chad, the President tweeting a short time ago. Wonderful coordination between federal, state and local governments in the great state of Texas. Team work and in any rights record setting rain fall. You have been talking about what could be record setting rain fall. When is it all going to happen?

MYERS: I think for Houston it starts in about two hours. I know there have been showers, but the real stuff, the real danger stuff to me happens in about two hours and it lasts all night long.

Here is what happened when the storm moved on shore. (INAUDIBLE) at a wind gusts of 132 miles per hour. We showed you all the damage in Rockport. I think communications without about 108 because I know the winds will way higher than that. I watched the storm chaser (INAUDIBLE) in twitter last night. He just streamed all night. And that wind was blowing 130 easy. And now the storm is down to 65. So there is not that wind anymore.

But there is the rain threat. The rain threat from this van moving into Houston, also a significant threat of tornadoes tonight. There is a box right there. That's port bend western Karas and also Waller (ph) country with a tornado warning right now. And that's what's going to happen over metro Houston tonight. Any of these big storms, these rotator storms could actually put down a tornado or two.

We do know that that tornado that we showed you did have some damage. I could see the power flashes in the picture, in the video that all of a sudden the tornado turned blue and that blue was when it took out a transformer and it blew up into that color. So we do know that that was on the ground.

There's been rain, most of it about 10 or 15 miles north of I-10. But there is also heavy rain fall down from Corpus Christi all the way to Katie. So this is the rub. Here is where we are worried about. This is what we were worried tonight, really. This band of weather that's going to move into Houston, not only with the tornadoes but because it isn't going to move. This feeder band that we still call it, because it is still a tropical storm, the feeder band is going to drag moisture off the Gulf of Mexico and it is going to dump it in Houston and Pasadena and Katie and sugar land. All of these towns and areas so prone to flooding in the past.

And if you take a look at this map, this is the next 18 hours of rain fall. I will draw on it so you can see it. That's purple right there. So is this, not that far from Lake Charles. That is 10 to 20 inches of rain fall overnight, ending by noon tomorrow. When you push the button for the coffee maker in Houston tomorrow. Look outside and see where the water is. Make sure it is not in your yard -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Chad Myers, thank you so much.

Coming up, we are continuing to keep a very close eye on tropical storm, Harvey, and the ongoing threat of these dangerous flood waters.

Up next though, we are going to take a quick break from that and turn to politics and some of the major headlines from the White House. President Trump's pardon of controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and the departure of Sebastian Gorka, outspoken and combative, defender of the President. CNN now has new comments from both men. Stay with us.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:37:57] CABRERA: Some sections of the country nowhere near the path of Harvey will still the impact of this giant storm. Gas prices are expected to jump in the south. In fact, we talked with somebody earlier who said, Dorsby Bus, who is one of the officials in the state. He is a Texas land commissioner talked about gas prices already going up in that area. The southeast and the Atlantic could feel it as well.

CNN business correspondent Allison Kosik shows us how much more people could be paying soon.


ALLISON KOSIK, CN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hurricane Harvey has hit a region of the country that's immensely important to the production of oil and gas in the U.S. Almost 30 percent of all the refining that is done in the U.S. is done right in the path of Harvey. And so as we have seen this storm make its way through, we have also seen oil platforms and oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico shut down. That's where the oil is pulled up out of the ground.

We have seen refineries out of the coast and taken off land. We have seen those refineries taken offline. It is at those refineries that had oil is made into gasoline. And because those refineries are taken offline, there is now a supply disruption in gas. So that means we are seeing prices move a little higher. At least that's what analysts are telling me to expect. Except to see gas prices go up anywhere from five to 25 cents a gallon beginning this weekend and into next week. But analysts expect those prices to come back down after next week.

However, there is one caveat. If there is permanent or more destructive damage done to the refineries or to the rigs, we could see those higher gas prices last a little longer.


CABRERA: Allison Kosik reporting there. Thanks.

President Trump is formally pardoning former sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt after he knowingly and intentionally violated a judge's order to stop detaining people simply because he thought they were undocumented immigrants.

Now, if this were the first time you were hearing about this pardon it might be because the White House announced it last night while this deadly hurricane, category four, was barreling towards the gulf coast.

Let's discuss. I want to bring in CNN political commentator Jason Miller. He is a former senior communications advisor for the Trump campaign. And also joining us CNN contributor and Trump's biographer Michael D'Antonio. He is the author of "the truth about Trumps."

Jason, I will start with you. A number of Republicans are slamming the President's decision for this part. And a spokesman for speaker Paul Ryan telling "the Wall Street Journal" today quote "the speaker does not agree with the decision. Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon."

Also, Senator John McCain who we know represents Arizona where Arpaio was a sheriff says this in part. The President's pardon of Joe Arpaio who legally profile Latinos undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law.

Jason, the President pardoned a law enforcement official who knowingly disobeyed a court order. How do you explain it?

[19:41:04] JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Ana, you seem to be leaving out all of the folks that came out in support of the pardon that President Trump announced last night, including Arizona governor Doug Ducy (ph), who which I think the governor there in Arizona would have a pretty good sense of where things are and number of Congress and other people in Arizona who have been following this case very closely.

But I think the message just being sent here from President Trump is that if your job involves enforcing our immigration laws, then you need to be able to do your job. That is a clear message being sent.

CABRERA: He wasn't enforcing the law, though. He wasn't enforcing the law, though, according to the federal court system.

MILLER: I think there are a lot of devious political circumstances surrounding this. And I think also the message being sent here is that to essentially try to railroad an 85-year-old veteran like this to go and try to send him to jail I think is ridiculous.

I also think it is pretty ironic that those in the liberal left are in such arms on this when they seem to be so quiet when President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning just a few months ago. That was for initially accused of treason, his activity. I know it was knocked down to a lesser charge.

CABRERA: Wait a minute. You can't compare the two because we are talking about a pardon of Joe Arpaio. Chelsea Manning sentenced was commuted. She served time. She was convicted. She was sentenced and she served time. That's not the same.

MILLER: Well, hold on. But knocking off 30 years off of a sentence? I mean, knocking 30 years off of a sentence for leaking classified information? I mean, this is not even on the same level. I mean, where was all the outrage from folks on the left when President Obama took this action?

CABRERA: You know, there was plenty of outrage during the Chelsea Manning communing of this sentence. I don't want to go there because that is not what this one is all about. You made your point as far as that goes, but I am not just seeing liberal people on the left who are reacting negatively to the sheriffs pardoning. I mean, John McCain, Paul Ryan, Jeff Blake, they are members of your party.

MILLER: And I just pointed out that the governor of Arizona was strongly supportive of the move that President Trump took last night. And there are other officials as well. And so I think it is also important you paint the full picture here and making it clear there are a lot of people that are very close to the situation who agree with President Trump and think that was the right move.

CABRERA: Michael, what message do you think President Trump is sending with this pardon?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think what he is indicating is a number of things. First he is obviously playing to his base. This is a promise that I think he made in a valid way on Tuesday, and he's following through on that.

He is also signaling to law enforcement people that if you violate someone's rights or if you run afoul of the courts, I may intervene ahead of time and pardon you before you have even been sentenced, and I think that's a dangerous thing to do.

And I think one of the things that you are trying to point out is there are people in the President's own party who are objecting to what he has done and there are officials who are high ranking officials in Arizona. That's remarkable.

It is not remarkable that an official who's in the President's party supports him. That's the norm. I think what is important to note is when there are exceptions. That's when the difference between man bites dog and the dog biting the man. You are pointing out something noteworthy.

So the President here is really on, I think, new territory. We have not had a President who has been so willing to preemptively, before someone's been sentenced, issue a pardon. And I think the other thing to consider is what signal does this send to people affected by the Mueller investigation? I think what the President is saying is that I have got your back. So don't roll over. Don't make a deal.

[19:45:06] MILLER: Mike, Mike, you're like getting into conspiracy territory here.

D'ANTONIO: I didn't interrupt you, Jason. I would appreciate it if you not interrupt me. This is very clearly a signal regarding that investigation. And it is also telling the American people that there is a President who is willing to not engage the justice department in the normal process. He is willing to bypass all of that. This pardon wasn't even requested. So you have someone who is jumping the gun to make a point and send signals. I think everybody is hearing them loud and clear.

CABRERA: Jason, why do you think the President decided to go around the typical process?

MILLER: I don't think he was going around any process. I mean, this is his right as President of the United States.

CABRERA: It's his right, but he did go around the typical process, which is to confer with justice department officials and lawyers.

MILLER: But he doesn't have to. I mean, the right was his to go and do that.

CABRERA: Right. I'm not saying he does have. You are absolutely right. That's the fact, he doesn't have to. But why do you think he chose to go the direction that he did instead of going the typical direction that most Presidents do? We talked to a number of legal experts who say it was extremely unusual that he did it when he did it in terms of the fact that it didn't go through the justice department. MILLER: So I think this is where we get to a difference of opinion

here where I think a lot of Americans expect the bold and declarative action that President Trump is taking here. He obviously thought that the charges that were coming at Sheriff Joe were trumped up and were pretty ridiculous here. So he went and took action and pardoned him. So, good.

CABRERA: Why do you think -- do you think that the charges that the sheriff -- the conviction the sheriffs faced was ridiculous?

MILLER: Well, I think again, I think not knowing every single detail of the case, I think it is pretty clear that the President took a look at this and said that he thought that sheriff Joe was doing his job. And so that's why he went and pardoned him. I think it's pretty clear.

MILLER: Jason, do you think you would feel differently if you were Hispanic or Latino?

MILLER: I'm sorry. What was that, Ana?

CABRERA: Would you feel differently if you were Hispanic or Latino?

MILLER: No. I think it is good President Trump is recognizing people are doing their job. And so if he is going to step up and essentially say if you're doing your job I'm going to have your back, I think that's a good thing. I think a lot of people out there want to see our rules, want to see our laws actually be enforced. And for too long, our laws are being trampled over. They are being completely ignored. You look at what is going on with our sanctuary cities. This is another crisis. It is affecting so many cities all around the country. And good for President Trump for doing something here.

CABRERA: All right. I have got to leave it there guys.

Michael, Jason, thank you both for coming on.

D'ANTONIO: Thank you.

CABRERA: North Korea, meantime, has launched three short range ballistic missiles in the past 24 hours or so. U.S. officials say this move poses no threat to the U.S., no threat to Guam, thank goodness. But will it reignite the tensions that flared up earlier this month between President Trump and Kim Jong-un? We will discuss live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:52:45] CABRERA: North Korea launched three short range ballistic missiles Saturday North Korea time. Friday night here in the U.S. U. S. official say there was never any threat to the U.S. mainland or Guam. And according to the U.S. military, the first and third missiles through 150 miles before falling into the sea. It says the second one apparently exploded right after it took off. The latest launches come during joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea which regularly draw the ire of North Korea. They also come less than a week after secretary of state Rex Tillerson praised North Korea for showing restraint in its weapons program. And less than a month after threats between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim-Jung-un.

CNN's Will Ripley is the only western TV correspondent inside North Korea since these tensions ramped up.

And Will, hat is the mood among officials there in Pyongyang?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was described to me, Ana, last night when we met with North Korean official as very calm on the surface, but just beneath the surface, some of the highest tension they have ever experienced. They really do feel that this is a touch and go situation that could escalate, that could erupt at any moment because of, as you mentioned, those ongoing joint military drills that are happening between the U.S. and South Korea. This is something that always infuriates Pyongyang.

But what has made things feel different at least for officials here are those remarks by President Trump, the threats of fire and fury, and then of course the response from North Korea of launching missiles towards Guam. So far none of those things have come to pass. But what we have seen as you pointed out in the last 24 hours or so some actual military action in terms of those missile launches and a special operations special operations training exercise that Kim Jong- un supervised.

CABRERA: Now the latest on this missile launch, any sense about what the next step is in North Korea, and are they trying to tempt President Trump?

RIPLEY: Well, you know, what we are seeing them doing is reverting back to their pattern. We have seen dozens of North Korean missile launches ordered by Kim-Jong-un more than his father and grandfather combined. But what they didn't do, they didn't fire these missiles toward Guam, putting them down within 20 miles of that island as they threaten to do so.

These were short-range ballistic missiles. They did fly more than 150 miles which could potentially hit all of Seoul and millions of people there, also key U.S. military bases in South Korea. But instead they followed the traditional trajectory coming down in the Sea of Japan. And it seems as if North Korea realizes that they can conduct these kind of tests, they can send a strong message to the United States by launching these missiles on this flight path but it doesn't push that red line that President Trump talked about that could push the U.S. into some sort of response.

[19:55:39] CABRERA: All right, Will Ripley for us inside North Korea. Thank you.

Tomorrow morning on CNN, "STATE OF THE UNION" in the wake of hurricane Harvey. Jake Tapper talks to both Texas governor Greg Abbott and FEMA director Brock Long, 9:00 a.m. eastern only here on CNN.

We are back in a moment.