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Key Witness against Joe Arpaio Reacts to Pardon; Houston Braces for Potentially Catastrophic Flooding; North Korea Threat. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired August 26, 2017 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

[22:00:04] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN here, special coverage tonight.

Texas is about to find out if it is seeing the worst of Tropical Storm Harvey. That state right now bracing for catastrophic flooding after being battered by what was a category 4 hurricane at the time when it barreled ashore just last night.

We are on the ground. Our CNN crews covering the storm from every angle for you. We've got that.

Also breaking developments tonight on the pardoning of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Tonight a new report from the "Washington Post" that indicates the president of the United States wanted the case closed and reportedly asked the attorney general about it before it went to trial.

Good evening once again. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN special live coverage here. Welcoming our viewers in the United States and all around the world. We begin tonight with this controversial pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a pardon that just got a lot more controversial because "The Washington Post" is reporting that President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions if it could be possible to drop this criminal case into Arpaio before he went to trial.

When the AG would not do that, the president decided simply to wait it out and pardon his friend if he ended up being convicted which is precisely what happened.

CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones is live for us tonight with the breaking detail. Also standing by CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Page Pate.

So, Athena, first to you. Tell us what the president allegedly asked of Sessions.

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. Well, according to the "Washington Post," before Sheriff Arpaio -- former Sheriff Arpaio went to trial in the spring, late June before that case opened, the president had a conversation with his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to talk about whether it would be possible for the government to drop the case against Arpaio.

Now Trump was told that that would be inappropriate and so he decided to let the case carry on because he could always exercise his duty -- his right as president, not his duty but his right as president to give a pardon afterwards. That is what happened.

But this is unusual for several reasons, Brooke. One is that presidents generally speaking try very hard to avoid looking like they're trying to put their finger on the scale of justice. They don't want to comment or interfere in specific cases because they don't want to make it look as though they're politicizing what should be an impartial judicial process. So that's one thing that's interesting here.

And the other of course is that it seems like this is part of a pattern. You'll remember that former FBI Director James Comey said that the president spoke to him about potentially seeing a way to let the federal investigation -- the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn who had been his National Security adviser go.

So this is another indication that the president may not have full understanding or appreciation of past precedent when it comes to the separation of powers. But it also shows that this was a like-minded friend of the president's. Sheriff Joe was a supporter of the president, an early endorser of the president. He shared the president's philosophy when it came to birtherism. He was one of the proponents of this conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S. And so when he received this news, he not surprisingly responded favorably. Listen to what he had to say.


JOE ARPAIO, PARDONED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP: He's a big supporter of law enforcement. I know it came from his heart. Two years ago, I supported him first rally. And I always said, regardless of pardon or no pardon, I'll be with him to the end. And I say that. So I'm really happy with all the support I've received across the nation. Arizona, for this pardon. And I'll have more to speak out and let the true story come out about the abuse of the judicial system and politics.


JONES: So there you heard a very pleased Sheriff Joe Arpaio but not everyone is pleased. You've seen some blowback from Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan. The two Republican senators from Arizona who are raising questions about the president's decision.

Now we're waiting to hear from the White House about this specific "Washington Post" report. But Sara Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, told the "Post" this. She said, "It's only natural the president would have a discussion with administration lawyers about legal matters. This case would be no different."

So Trump supporters, allies, staffers, say that this is all fine. There's nothing to see here. But Trump critics already upset about the pardoning of this sheriff who ignored a court order in this racial profiling case.

[22:05:02] They're already upset about that. And now they're going to most likely not respond well to this additional news -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Apparently Arpaio giving some sort of news conference or addressing the public early this week. We'll wait for that.

Athena, thank you, at the White House.

Page Pate, here's my first question. I mean, Athena nailed it just in setting the whole thing up and let's -- you know, whether it was this initial intervention pretrial or even now this pardon. Totally legal.


BALDWIN: Totally in the president's constitutional right. That said, how unusual is this?

PATE: I think it's incredibly unusual, Brooke. We've never seen anything at least that I can recall like this where a president intervenes while a case is pending right before a trial to try to convince apparently the attorney general to have the U.S. attorney back off the case. I've never heard of that have happening.

There's tradition, there are protocols, there are policies in place to prevent that type of political interference when we're talking about an indictment and a possible federal criminal trial. So it's highly unusual for a president but not necessarily unusual for this president. In fact, I think it shows a pattern of conduct from the White House as far as intervening in otherwise independent law enforcement and prosecutorial decisions.

And so to that extent, I do think the special counsel may look at exactly what involvement the president had in Arpaio's case to see if it patterns or is similar to the conduct that's been alleged in connection with Jim Comey.

BALDWIN: Talking about the special counsel and Bob Mueller. You know, I was talking to two Republicans last hour. They said this could indeed signaling, you know, to other folks who may commit pardonable offenses that the president could have their backs.

The other question, though, is just about -- Republicans are also saying look, why is this any different from when in President Obama's waning days he commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning? Is there a huge difference or no?

PATE: I don't know that there is. The Constitution gives very broad pardon powers to the president. So he's completely within his legal and constitutional rights to pardon anyone he wants to. Perhaps with the exception of himself. And that's been an argument legal scholars have had and we've gone back and forth on whether he can pardon himself. But as far as anyone else, he can issue a pardon before sentencing as he's done in this case, after sentencing, at the beginning of his term or at the end of his term. So we can certainly question whether this particular person should

have been pardoned given the fact that his offense involves completely ignoring and violating a judicial order versus someone who is convicted and may have accepted responsibility, been very remorseful. I think the opposite is the case here. But you can question it politically but legally, constitutionally, I think he's on solid ground.

BALDWIN: Page Pate, thank you so much for coming out on a Saturday night and talking about this breaking news with me. I appreciate it.

And make sure to stay tuned to CNN because in just a couple of minutes, we'll talk to one of the key witnesses involved in that trial, in that lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio. Well, we'll talk to him about what he thinks about the president's pardon of the former Maricopa County sheriff.

But let's go to Texas now, to this catastrophic flooding that is expected in these overnight hours. Harvey right now is just sitting there stalling over Texas, 20 inches of rain has already fallen. Another 20 more on the way. And when you look at these pictures here, just utter devastation in Rockport.

Look at this. Where Harvey hit as a category 4 hurricane. At least one person was killed there. Power lines snapping over waterlogged streets. Roughly 300,000 people right now are sitting in the dark. And it is that lack of power that is a massive concern overnight as the threat of tornadoes ramp up. This apparent tornado spotted just a couple of hours ago.

We have live team coverage for you tonight on the ground in Texas. We also have meteorologist Chad Myers standing by in the weather center to talk about all that flooding. But first, let's talk to Derek Van Dam who is live in Victoria for us.

The wind is whipping. Nothing much you can do about it. Just forget the hood. You're wet already. How bad is it where you are?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: OK. Well, I've been better. Lost my hat but doesn't really matter, does it, Brooke? You know, we are in Victoria, 30 miles outside of the coast. And what I found particularly astonishing about this particular location in southeast Texas is that they are currently under a flood warning and a tropical storm warning indefinitely.

There is literally no end time to their tropical storm force winds and flooding concerns here. And that is concerning for any residents or tourists potentially within this area. When you don't have an end time to that type of condition, you can imagine how concerning that is.

[22:10:02] That just shows you Harvey has stalled out over southeast Texas. And that is the concern going forward. We've got already a very saturated ground. I did a walk around the city a couple of hours ago. And the damage here is what you would expect for an equivalent to a category 1 hurricane, for instance. We had trees uprooted. We've had power lines snapped, we've had

awnings taken off of roofs. We've had shingles torn off of some of the buildings. Lots of windows blown out, as well. So setting the scene here. It is a bit eerie to walk down the city because there was a mandatory evacuation there also simply no one here with the exception of the odd car driving past every once in a while. Some of those diehard people who decided to stay.

But since Harvey is sticking around for the foreseeable future, the flood threat is the big concern. And that's what we're going to monitor here for the days ahead -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: That is a good thing that it's quiet. We want people to not stick around or hopefully stay indoors as it just continues to rain.

Thank you so much, Derek, to your crew and yourself for standing out in it telling us about the conditions. We appreciate that.

Let's go from Derek to Martin Savidge who is live in Rockport.

And you were talking to us last hour, Martin. So you really are in a more business district. but whether it's, you know, businesses, homes nearby, just total devastation where you are.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. I mean, this shows you that while many people are still bracing for, say, the floodwaters of Harvey, here 24 hours ago, they were going through what many described as just horror. And that was this category 4 storm coming right ashore here.

This was ground zero. And the impact of those winds was so severe, it looked like a tornado ripped through the town. Usually a tornado cuts a relatively narrow path. This was a very big powerful storm and it leveled much of the downtown area. And we're talking about, you know, very strongly built buildings, not just wooden structures. Those made out of brick and mortar, they're also down at the ground.

On top of that, there's no water. You can't have any sewage here. There's no electricity, there's no cell phone. They've essentially been knocked back 200 years. And that's been a problem for the first responders. There are teams going right now door to door in the darkness trying to find those that may still be trapped in the ruins of their homes or those who may still have died.

There's been one reported fatality in this town but quite frankly the sheriff says hey, we really -- we really don't know. They were not able to even organize a search effort or bring in real outside help until late this afternoon. That's because of so much debris and so much water that is surrounding this town and in this town. It makes it extremely difficult to get around. So there were still people here.

About 50 percent of the population supposedly sheltered in place. Many of them say that was a terrible mistake and they had a nightmare of a night. But they managed to make it through. And now there are buses waiting to take them to San Antonio. So this town needs a lot of help and a lot of prayer -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thinking of them, praying for them. All we can do really right now.

Martin Savidge, thank you so much for your coverage there. Appreciate it.

Let's talk to Chad Myers again on Harvey's strength and path and so the story, and we see it churning over Texas, how much longer does it sit there and stall and rain on everyone?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I was just tweeting with a guy online because I said last hour that this could be around until next Friday. And he said no way. And I took a picture of the GFS, the model that we use in America, and I cut and pasted it to him and I said here it is. The low is still near San Antonio six days from now. So this may never leave. It may just completely fizzle out and get pushed away.

What I'm worried about tonight is that big purple area right there. Houston. Houston, you are really getting rain now. You are in an outside feeder band of what would be a hurricane. It's on land now. So it's not. It's a tropical storm. But you still have feeder bands. What does that mean? That means that there's moisture in the Gulf of Mexico. Clearly it's hot. 86 degrees.

That moisture is being pulled up into Houston and it is raining at 2.5 inches per hour. If it rains at your house for four hours, that's 10 inches. Where is that going to go? That's going to go into the rivers and the bayous and it's going to flood. We already have flash flood warnings going on very, very close to Houston, especially just to the west.

Water over the roadways. People saying that cars are already stalled out. Don't drive in this. This is a dangerous night. This is a night where the rain will continue possibly all night long at one or two inches per hour. And you already have eight inches on the ground for Sugarland and Katy, a little bit less in downtown Houston and Hobby, about five inches there.

But the ground is already wet. The water's already running off. If we get what is forecast here, this is now a model, I'm going to show you what the radar may look like over the next 18 hours. This is now. It looks pretty close.

Now for the next few hours, the rain moves through Houston, maybe over toward Pasadena. And at that point in time, Bay City, you're really going to get pounded.

[22:15:06] But then later on tonight, it redevelops, it goes right back over Houston. And the model I'm about to show you should scare you if you are going to bed in Houston tonight because you should have a NOAA weather radio on, you should have your alarm clock on. Somewhere around 2:00 in the morning, get up and look outside because, Brooke, this purple area right there, Houston and even Beaumont right over there, that is 10 inches of rain by 10:00 tomorrow. And not a place in America can get 10 inches of rain in 10 hours and

not flood. There may be flash flooding in a major metropolitan area by morning. At least that's the forecast and that's what I'm warning people right now.

BALDWIN: So there is the fair warning as you mentioned, you know, as you're pushing the button on the coffee machine in the morning, take a good long look outside.

MYERS: You bet.

BALDWIN: That is the situation in Houston, Texas.

Chad, thank you. We'll come back to you.

We've got special coverage for you on this Saturday night here. Coming up, a pregnant woman trapped in a Texas hotel. She's supposed to have a C-section in a couple of days. We'll check in on her.

We'll talk to a woman who had to leave her home with her family and she's supposed to have that baby on Tuesday.

Plus, fallout continues from President Trump's pardoning of former sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. We will talk to one man who was a key witness in the federal civil rights suit against the former sheriff.


[22:20:02] BALDWIN: Breaking news tonight here talking about the widespread disaster in Texas with more flooding expected in the overnight hours and for the next couple of days, depending on where you are.

It's rough enough if you're hunkered down in your home but imagine being pregnant and trapped in a Texas hotel room with a C-section on the books for Tuesday. That is Diane Weeks' situation. She left her home in Port Aransas under mandatory evacuation before Danielle -- forgive me -- before the storm rolled in and now Danielle is trapped in a hotel room in Corpus Christi with her husband and their two daughters and her mother.

Danielle, you're live here at CNN. How you doing?


BALDWIN: I can't imagine -- so you're supposed to have this baby on Tuesday. And what are you doing? Just watching the forecast around the clock?

WEEKS: Yes, pretty much. We've got it on the news channels. We're trying to just stay calm and keep it together for our kids and hope for the best.

BALDWIN: How are your kids -- how are your kids doing?

WEEKS: They're doing OK. They take it more as we're just hanging out in a hotel like on vacation.


WEEKS: They don't really understand. Our 5-year-old kind of gets it. She got a little upset today. We tried to go see our trailer but we couldn't get onto the island because they're still doing search and rescue. And she some of the flooding and some of the buildings torn apart. So she got a little bit upset. But --

BALDWIN: Understandable.

WEEKS: For the most part, they're doing good.

BALDWIN: So you don't know -- so you tried going to your home. You don't know the status of your home as you're sitting there in Corpus Christi in this hotel room?

WEEKS: Right.


WEEKS: We tried to get there, but they're still doing search and rescue for people that had stayed on the island. And so they're not allowing any people on right now.

BALDWIN: So, Danielle, you're about to have this baby on Tuesday if all goes according to plan. How -- what are doctors telling you? How is the weather where you are?

WEEKS: The weather right now isn't too bad. It's been kind of windy and off and on rainy, but I'm supposed to call my doctor on Monday to find out if they're going to be allowed to do the C-section on Tuesday or not.

BALDWIN: And if they can't?

WEEKS: I'm not sure.

BALDWIN: OK. Well, we're going to think happy thoughts for you.

WEEKS: Push it back a few days?

BALDWIN: Yes. Yes. We're going to think happy thoughts for you and that baby. Any idea on names?

WEEKS: Her name will be Laura Lynn.

BALDWIN: Laura Lynn.

Well, Danielle, good luck to you and Laura Lynn, and the whole family. And I hope you are able to get to that doctor on Tuesday and everything goes beautifully. Thank you so much for calling in.

WEEKS: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: You got it. My goodness. Coming up here on CNN, we're going to keep covering the storm but also

a key witness in the federal lawsuit against former sheriff Joe Arpaio who was just pardoned by the president will talk to me here on CNN. What does he have to say about the news of the pardon. We'll ask. And the latest on Harvey as the worst of the storm is still lingering over Texas. Severe flooding expected to take place over the last couple of days.

And Chad has been talking a lot about tornadoes. We just got National Weather Service in Houston confirmed 12 tornadoes have hit their area since Friday afternoon. Stay here.


[22:27:17] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Let's get through to this breaking news of this pardoning of the former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The "Washington Post" this evening is reporting that earlier this year President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to drop the criminal case against his friend, this former sheriff. This is before this went to trial. When that didn't happen, the president apparently decided that if Arpaio would go on and get convicted he would pardon him.

And you know the story. The former sheriff was convicted of violating a judge's order to stop racially profiling Latino drivers. He was found in contempt. And one of the key witnesses to testify against Arpaio has reacted to the pardon. And this new opinion piece in the "Washington Post," Dan Magos describes being pulled over along with his late wife by one of Arpaio's Maricopa County deputies.

And so this is what Magos writes. "What happened to me and Eva that night eight years ago was all too typical. We were driving a pickup truck with landscaping tools and we were Hispanic so we got pulled over by an overzealous deputy working for Sheriff who never made any attempt to hide his contempt for immigrants. Standing there on the street, he patted me down, my underarms, my torso, my legs, even my groin. My wife was watching the whole time. That was the most humiliating part. I couldn't defend myself or her.

"When the search was finished, I asked the deputy for the third time why he pulled us over. He said it was because he hadn't been able to see the license plate on my truck and then finally he let us go with this warning. 'Don't think for a minute that this has anything to do with racial profiling.'"

Dan Magos is live with us tonight from Phoenix. And so, Dan, those were powerful words in the paper but just hearing from you this evening and knowing that the president has pardoned Arpaio what are some of the emotions you're feeling?

DAN MAGOS, KEY WITNESS AGAINST SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO: My first reaction was that of anger. I was furious when I heard the announcement that Arpaio had been pardoned. And I was also sad. Disappointed. Disappointed that the presidency was getting involved in a case in Maricopa County. And it was quite disappointing especially since had I been fighting this case going to court to every session -- court session for the last seven and a half years. My wife also went for about six years and he was found guilty of racial profiling. He was found guilty of civil contempt. And he was found guilty of the criminal contempt.

And after all this effort of years, now the President Trump comes and just with a stroke of a pen erases everything and walks all over my efforts and that of the Hispanic community in Maricopa County. And all those people that stand behind the constitution and defend the constitution, some even with their lives; and apparently, the constitution does not mean anything to either Arpaio or Trump.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Dan -- let me just interject and say, I hear how you're feeling. But it is actually in the President's right -- constitutional right to pardon Arpaio no matter how you feel about him. What he did is perfectly legal.

And in a tweet sent out last night, the President I'm paraphrasing, called the former sheriff a good guy.

MAGOS: Well, as far as the pardon, I think it's still premature since the case has not come to a conclusion. We were waiting for the criminal -- I mean for the sentencing come October 5th.

BALDWIN: That's correct.

MAGOS: And then our President comes in and blocks the case -- stops the case all together. It's my understanding that there will not be a sentencing. So I could be mistaken but --

BALDWIN: No, that's correct. He had been convicted of contempt, hadn't been sentenced. He's been pardoned. So that's done. We're supposed to hear from him early next week.

But for people in this country and around the world, Dan, who are watching who will never understand what it feels like to be racially- profiled, take me back to when you were pulled over by that sheriff's deputy. What was the most humiliating piece?

MAGOS: The most humiliating piece was when he had me up against the truck with my -- he kicked my legs apart, kicked them back and then began to search me. Taking all contents out of my shirt pocket, my pants pockets, then putting it back in, frisking me from top to bottom in the presence of my wife.

That was the most humiliating, to be in front of my wife being abused, you know, by the tactics that the deputy was taking. All the time but he was at this traffic stop.

He was yelling at me, yelling at my wife, being disrespectful and intimidating us by his tone of voice and also his right hand on his gun at all times.

BALDWIN: We should point out --

MAGOS: What was the most --

BALDWIN: No, no, I should point out your wife, she was, your late wife was born in Arizona. You've been a naturalized citizen for over 50 years in this country. This is what happened to you -- Dan.

Final question -- just a piece of the politics here. This may backfire for President Trump. He won the state of Arizona just by about 3.5 percentage points. And you know Democrats are already jumping on this. This could really rally Latinos, you know, in terms of that Jeff Flake Senate seat.

I mean, is that -- I don't know where you stand politically. I don't know if that's your hope. What do you hope comes of this politically?

MAGOS: Yes. My hope is political consequences for Trump mainly. He's got Senator McCain and Jeff already talking against him on this pardon.

BALDWIN: Correct.

MAGOS: But yes, both are saying that it is premature. You know, and you know. And you know, I see it as obstruction of justice. And that may be you know, one of the stumbling blocks for Trump.

Some people will -- even Republicans will see what he has done. But it's an injustice to the people of Arizona, to the Hispanic community and all those of us who stand for the U.S. constitution.

[22:35:05] BALDWIN: Dan Magos -- thank you so much for the time tonight and for your voice. Appreciate it.

MAGOS: You are welcome.

BALDWIN: Still ahead here, we're going to take you back to Texas. Harvey still at a stand still, pouring rain on a lot of these cities including Houston, growing concerns of life-threatening flooding. We'll have an update for you coming up there.

Also ahead, North Korea launches a trio of ballistic missiles; tensions ramping up amid U.S.-South Korea military drills. Will Ripley is live in Pyongyang. We will take you there.


BALDWIN: Our breaking news tonight: disaster in Texas -- dire warnings of potentially catastrophic flooding in Houston. Tropical storm Harvey is now spinning in place on shore and dumping torrential rain all the while.

The National Weather Service, by the way, in Houston is confirming that 12 tornados have impacted the area since Friday. Dozens of warnings have been issued. And now a lot more rain is expected to fall overnight in the nation's fourth largest city.

CNN's Rosa Flores is on the ground in Houston. Rosa -- what are you seeing? I know it's dark but -- ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The biggest concern in the city of

Houston is flooding. City officials here have told people for days that they need to have food and water for four to five days because waters here can rise very quickly.

[22:40:07] This is called the Bayou City. There are bayous, waterways that meander through downtown, that meander through neighborhoods. And the ground is already saturated with water because it's been raining for the past few days.

And take a look around me you can see there's more rain, lightning, thunder -- that is what has city officials and first responders very worried because it doesn't take much rain for these bayous and creeks to swell even more because the ground is so saturated.

Right now, city officials say that they are expecting between 15 and 30 inches of rain in the Harris County-Houston area. And in isolated areas, up to 35 inches of rain. That could be catastrophic because these waters can rise very, very quickly. So they are advising residents to stay put.

There is no evacuation order in the city of Houston. But they are asking residents to be very vigilant. If the waters rise too quickly they are asking people to call for help.

BALDWIN: Rosa Flores -- thank you so much in Houston.

Parts of Texas bracing for days of rain, two to three feet still expected to fall in some areas. She was just talking about Houston getting a lot of it -- lightning, heavy rain.

With me now to talk about the flood concerns is Keese Smith (ph). He is a public information officer with Houston Emergency Management. Keese -- thank you so much for calling in.


BALDWIN: So talk to me about the rain. I know we -- tornadoes is an issue as well. But what are you all anticipating and how are you preparing for it?

SMITH: Well, your reporter was exactly right. For us, this is going to be less a wind event than a rain event.

BALDWIN: Got it.

SMITH: And we're anticipating possibly as much as eight to twelve inches of rain in parts of Houston just tonight. So in preparation for that, Mayor Sylvester Turner has opened three shelters with the assistance of the Red Cross. And that's just for people if they feel like they're not going to be safe in their homes or not comfortable in their homes, they can go there now.

We'd rather have them move now than in the middle of the night when we'd have to have emergency responders with high water vehicles go in. Also to that end, we've staged high water rescue vehicles throughout the city and also rescue boats. Police department and fire department have rescue boats that we've staged throughout the city should those kinds of situations arise.

BALDWIN: Just got -- my producer just got in my ear, Keese, as we've been talking, a flash flood warning emergency has been issued for Houston. What is your concern, number one, as we head into the overnight hours?

SMITH: Well, the concern is how much rain are we going to get overnight and where is it going to fall. The bayous are our main drainage system. But as we've seen in past tropical storms which have flooded the city, if one of those rain bands parks over the same area and just continually drops downpour on that same location, then you will see street flooding.

So we're hoping that doesn't happen. But we've been advised by the National Weather Service that it might. So we're taking the precautions necessary.

BALDWIN: What should, you know, people who are watching heading to bed, what should they keep in mind as they, you know, first thing in the morning peek out the window and see how bad it is?

SMITH: Well, the first thing to do is we don't want anybody to try driving tonight if they can at all stay off the roads. That's just you never know when you come up to a pile of water on the road and how deep it is. And that's where you see most of your loss of life is people trying to drive through high water. So if you can stay off the road we're telling people to do so especially at night.

When you wake up in the morning, assess your situation. You know, if you can't get out of your house, one of the safest places you can be is inside your house. Just stay there as opposed to trying to wade through the high water which can be swift moving. You don't know what's in it.

The pressure has a way of forcing manhole covers up. And you can be walking down the road and then you can be sucked into one of those drainage pipes. So we would rather you just stay out of the water for a variety of reasons until things settle (ph).

BALDWIN: All right. Keese Smith -- good luck. Thank you for calling in.

We're going to keep talking about Houston. I want to bring in Chad Myers here. Talk to me about the flash flood emergency -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It means that flash flooding is occurring and it is life-threatening over the city of Houston, Harris County and also just slightly to the west of Harris County, too.

[22:45:03] So let me get to what has happened over the past three or four hours. This big purple eruption of cloud cover has gone right over the city of Houston and southward too, all the way down to just about Galveston. But it's a train of storms -- one storm after the other that is going along the same path.

That's the same problem and the same threat that the PIO was just talking about, talking about if a storm travels over the same path that the previous storm already put down rain that is the most dangerous threat of all time. It's called training thunderstorms.

We already know that there's been three to four inches of rain in the past hour, in the past hour in some spots. That's how hard this rain is coming down.

Here's the forecast for right now. This is what the radar does look like. I'm going to put the forecast model in motion. We run through the nighttime. It's storm after storm all the way through Houston, Galveston, Beaumont, even over toward Lake Charles.

But look at this. This is like a fire stream, a fire hose just pushing water on shore and raining it down in the same spot. The Gulf of Mexico is very warm -- that's the fuel to this fire. The water and the air combining over the Gulf of Mexico and they're moving up -- those particles of moisture moving up into Houston and raining down where we certainly don't need it.

What we're seeing here on this map, this is very telling, and I've been showing it all night long that this area right here is a ten-inch bull's eye of what's going to happen in the next 15 hours -- ten more inches in 15 hours.

There's not a city in America that can do with that -- can deal with 15 inches anywhere across the country -- 15, 10, whatever in 15 hours. There's going to be a major flash flood event and people have to make the right decisions.

BALDWIN: Yes, be smart about it. Just heard the emergency management person saying, just don't drive through it. We see the video every year. Don't do it.

Chad -- thank you. You've been excellent. Chad Myers in the weather center.

Still ahead here on CNN, we are reporting exclusively from inside North Korea tonight amid new provocations by the regime. We'll take you live to Pyongyang.

And live pictures out of Houston where tropical storm Harvey is expected to continue pounding the city with torrential rainfall. We are minutes away from a new advisory.

We will keep you updated here on CNN. You're watching special live coverage on this Saturday night.


BALDWIN: North Korea has yet again defied the world's demands with three ballistic missile launches. The U.S. military says two of the missiles flew about 155 miles before falling into the sea. The other exploded after blast off. This launch comes less than a week after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised North Korea for showing, his word, "restraint" in its weapons program. And it is likely not a coincidence that this comes at a time when U.S. troops are holding joint drills with the South Korean military.

CNN has not been allowed inside of North Korea during the joint drills until now. Will Ripley is the only western journalist inside of North Korea and he joins us live there from Pyongyang.

Will Ripley -- you have met with these North Korean official. What's the story? What are they telling you?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say that even though things appear calm on the surface, despite the missile launches that we saw within the last 24 hours or so, they say it is an extraordinarily tense time, a very dangerous time on the peninsula, in part because of those joint drills that you talked about. But also because of those remarks several weeks ago, that back and forth, that fiery rhetoric between President Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un where President Trump threatened to rain down fire and fury like the world has never seen.

Something that officials on the ground here tell me they took literally as a literal threat of nuclear war and also a threat that they are taking very seriously. So for the last several weeks ever since then, really ever since North Korea launched that ICBM back in July, we hadn't seen a lot of actual military provocations from the North.

But now in the span of this weekend, we have seen them launch three short-range ballistic missiles traveling 150-plus miles, theoretically putting within range Seoul and U.S. military bases in South Korea, even though these missiles were on a test run and went down in the waters off Japan.

But also you saw this new video emerging of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un overseeing a Special Forces operation where they were going through dry runs or invading islands and attacking islands in South Korea.

So Brooke -- the sense that I'm getting from officials here they feel is very touch and go, they think that any misstep on either side could once again fire up all of the actual confrontations on the peninsula beyond the rhetoric that we saw, the very strong rhetoric in recent weeks.

BALDWIN: To be clear, these launches are different from ones we have seen recently in a sense that these likely -- and provocative, yes, but likely don't cross President Trump's red line?

RIPLEY: Absolutely because what President Trump was essentially threatening North Korea not to do was to launch those missiles simultaneously, fly them over Japan and bring them down within 20 miles of Guam which is home to more than 160,000 U.S. citizens and Andersen Air Force base and Marine base Guam. This missile test that we just saw indicative of the dozens of launches we've seen for North Korea where they just went harmlessly into the waters. However U.S. is still very concerned about this, because each launch helps North Korea advance its missile program. And remember, they still believe2 that they are just months away from having a nuclear-tipped ICBM capable of striking the mainland U.S.

BALDWIN: Will Ripley, live in Pyongyang. Thank you, my friend, very much.

Still ahead here on CNN, back here at home talking Texas -- the latest on this tropical storm Harvey, the worst of it is still lingering over Texas, severe flooding expected to happen over the next couple of days still.

We've got another update for you straight ahead here on CNN.


BALDWIN: Let's go back to Chad Myers there in the weather center on the latest update you just got on Texas. What does it say?

MYERS: 50-mile-per-hour storm now, Brooke -- losing some intensity. That's good news, but the bad news is moving east-northeast at one -- one mile per hour.

You can walk faster than that.

There is the rain. It is going to be heavy for Houston tonight. This is the flash flood emergency for Houston proper. There will be flooding. There will be life-threatening flooding in the city of Houston, in Baytown, maybe towards Sugarland -- all, I just can't name all of the suburbs of Houston. But you are involved if you are anywhere within 30 miles of downtown.

There's lightning involved as well, very heavy rainfall. Something -- some spots seeing three inches of rain in 30 minutes -- three inches of rain in 30 minutes. That's enough to cause flash flooding anywhere and it is not done yet.

It is going to rain all night long, all night long -- Brooke. People are in danger tonight. You need to make sure you know where to go if the water comes up.

BALDWIN: Chad Myers -- thank you so much for all of your updates all night long.

Let me just tell all of you tomorrow morning on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" in the wake of, of course, this hurricane, now tropical storm, Jake Tapper is going to talk to both the Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the FEMA director Brock Long. That is at 9:00 a.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

I'm Brooke Baldwin thank you so much for being with me for this special CNN coverage on a Saturday night. I'll see you Monday afternoon. [22:59:59] In the meantime, coming up next "CNN FILMS PRESENTS: ELIAN".