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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Harvey Head For Second Landfall By Tomorrow Morning; Trump Pledges Fast Harvey Aid, But Fight In Congress Looms; North Korea Issues New Threat To U.S. After Missile Launch Over Japan. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 29, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: "Cuomo Prime Time" starts now.
[21:00:07] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I'm Chris Cuomo and this is "Prime Time".
Tropical Storm Harvey is heading back toward the coast. Overnight tonight or tomorrow morning, the Texas/Louisiana coast is going to get hit again. I wish it weren't true, but it is. And over a foot of rain is expected in places that just can't take it anymore.
So, most on the ground don't have the luxury of preparing for what's about to come. They're already in a fight for survival of what is there. They're either surviving themselves, or they're trying to save the stranded. The exhaustion is palpable.
Take a look at this picture. Texas national guard troops catching a few winks at a furniture store. In all, first responders say they've rescued more than 3,500 people from the flood zone in Texas. There are countless others still awaiting rescue. They are working round the clock because the stakes are life and death.
Now, those who have been rescued, that's the good news, right? But they still need somewhere to two. Emergency shelters are bursting at the seams. The Red Cross says more than 17,000 evacuees are currently in shelters across Texas. Officials in Houston had about twice as many people as cots, but those who didn't get a cot were at least given pillows and blankets. It is all about making due right now. The city is setting up a second location to handle the overflow from the convention center, which is over, way over capacity.
So, you have this catastrophic flooding from Harvey, and it's been unfolding in slow motion as the storm hovered over Texas.
Take a look at this, we found some time-lapse video for you that shows the progression. You watching this, how it went from just a regular street with cars, they're going to be completely submerged. This is just an hour in this Greenspoint neighborhood of Houston.
Now, we hope we have seen the worst, but it is impossible to know, and even if the immediate threat passes, and it will, God willing, people will be scrambling for months just to get back to work and to school and to know the life that you and I are blessed with every day. So we have to keep the situation very, very square in our minds right now because it is still an urgent one.
CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins me now. He's in Richmond, Texas, on the banks of the Brazos River. And literally the Brazos River, it's going to have its arms around this city bringing water as we get more rain and that's the concern. What do you see, my friend?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Chris, good evening, first and foremost. There was a glimmer of hope, a brief glimmer of hope today, as the sun came out. This rain finally stopped. I don't have a raincoat on. These residents were happy to see that. But unfortunately, it's deceiving because water seeking its own level. The rainwater is still going to flow and crest this river within the next 24 to 48 hours. The Brazos River, this is Richmond on the west side of Houston and the worst of the flooding is still yet to come.
This river behind me has actually risen 40 feet since the beginning of Saturday morning when this storm system started, and there are still several feet to go. It's a time and trying position for these communities to be in, without a doubt.
I've got to show you some video, though, because we've been talking a lot about the barkers and Addicks Reservoirs just to the west of Houston. They've been overtopping. There are literally 300,000 houses under water right now with 100 developments and neighborhoods that have had mandatory evacuations. My cousin was one of them that was evacuated, brought his family to safety then decided once they were safe to join the swift water rescue teams today.
There were 40 boats patrolling up and down the neighborhoods across this area, knocking on doors. Making sure people were OK, rescuing the ones that needed it, and getting them to dry ground as quickly as possible.
The weather forecast going forward, Chris, it's almost a worst-case scenario because the storm is still out over open water, it is still drawing in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and that means more rainfall for places east of Houston. Galveston, Baton Rouge, to New Orleans. That's where we're expecting the heaviest of rain as this storm makes yet another landfall overnight and into Wednesday morning.
CUOMO: Imagine those people in New Orleans marking 12 years since Katrina with Harvey coming back into the coast. It is good to hear that your family is safe and that your brother-in-law, was it, decided to join the CCC down there, the Concerned Citizens Corps that is just spreading out and literally rescuing so many. Thank you. Let us know if we need to know anything else over the hour. Appreciate it.
[21:05:02] All right, so imagine this part of a reality. You're trapped in your home by floodwaters, you're dealing with some serious medical issues, it is getting harder and harder to breathe. Finally, help arrives, but there's a catch. Only you can go. You will have to leave your husband behind. This is not some kind of joke. This is a dire situation that Deborah Small was facing. What did she do? What happened next? We just spoke with her on the phone. Soon after she was reunited with her husband. I don't believe in hiding happy endings in a situation like this. You need to know that there is good news, but boy, what a trip it was to get to this happy ending.
Your story is an impressive one. We want people to know that there are happy endings, even though, you know, you're fighting right now trying to get back to health. Your situation was a lot worse. You got rescued out of your home but the first responders couldn't take your husband and he stayed behind and you lost contact with him. Is that right?
DEBRA SMALL, RESCUED FROM FLOODING (via telephone): Yes. I did.
CUOMO: For how long did you not know where he was?
SMALL: For almost two days.
CUOMO: Oh, boy. I know that had to be horrible for you because there were just no ways to get any communication, right? The power was out in the house and there was no more cell phone to reach him on?
SMALL: Yes, because he dropped his in the water -- fell and it stopped working and the house phone didn't work. But I had some nieces to go by there and just fight their way through the water, go by there, and they couldn't get -- they couldn't get to the house because I was -- because my house is at the end of the street. It's like at a dead end and it's really low down there. But I had a nurse in the hospital named Paige and Lbj and she thought -- you know, one of her fellow family members, and my niece, praise my niece and my great-niece because they really, you know, they really just risked their lives, you know, to make me happy. Just try to see if my husband was alive. And he was.
CUOMO: Family is sticking together right now, and we're all family right now. You see that all around the communities down there.
CUOMO: Amen, indeed. I know you were so torn about leaving him, but you needed medical attention, and what was that like for you, to have to listen to the first responders and get some medical help and leave your husband behind? How hard was that?
SMALL: It was very, very hard, and it was a decision that I, you know, chose to stay and after being spoke by the rescue and the firemen, I decided to go and it happened just like I thought it would, you know? I would lose contact.
CUOMO: Well, look, you had pneumonia, you got a temperature, you needed medical attention, and anybody who's married knows that your husband wanted you to go and get to safety and we know that that's true because you found him. And --
SMALL: Yes, I did.
CUOMO: -- that is the beautiful part of this story. How is your husband? Where'd you find him? SMALL: He's doing fine. He's doing fine. He went to get me something to eat and so he's with my niece right now. He went to get me something to eat. He's doing fine. And thank God, you know, that we have fellow family members and really everybody, like you said, is family. So --
CUOMO: Right now.
SMALL: -- I'm grateful.
CUOMO: Right now we're all realizing how connected we all are when trouble strikes and even though you're struggling right now, and it's going to take you some time to get better, in the situation down there, you've got more than most, you've got your loved ones, you know where they are, and you know they're safe and there are a lot of people who don't have that yet. So you take your blessings where you find them in a terrible situation.
Deborah, I'm going to let you get back to resting. Thank you for telling us that you're OK. Thank you for telling us your husband is OK, and for sharing your story. It gives people hope.
SMALL: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. God bless. We'll talk to you soon.
SMALL: God bless you, too.
CUOMO: Be well. Heal fast.
SMALL: Thank you.
CUOMO: Just imagine that, you're struggling with pneumonia. You know you have to get to the hospital but they can't take you and your spouse. What would you do? There are so many people having to make so many difficult situations. Luckily, for Debra Small and her husband, they were reunited. So let's take a quick break here.
When we come back, what's going to happen when it is time to pay for the help that areas devastated by Harvey, when they need that help, what's going to happen in Congress?
[21:10:07] Our next guest voted no to a relief package after Superstorm Sandy. We're going to talk about why and see how he feels now that it's his home state that's involved, next.
CUOMO: All right, two quick things. First, please keep hitting me on Twitter and on Instagram and on Facebook. Give us the information of people who you know who need help down in these affected areas and if you are someone who's waiting for rescue, that's how we're meeting the people that you're meeting on this show at night. So please, put it on our social media. It's being monitored by first responders and this Concerned Citizen Corps that is expanding all the time down there so we can get you, at least help you, get the help that you need, all right?
Now, another thing is that we're staying away from numbers on this show. Why? Why aren't we giving more details about the specifics of who has been affected by Harvey and how? Because there are two main reasons. One, first responders and what we're calling this Concerned Citizen Corps, they haven't been able to get even close to everywhere, nor really coordinate information from their different grids, grids or areas of individual search responsibility. So it's hard to know, it's hard to know if the numbers are real.
Then there's the bigger reason. This is not over. Harvey is re- energizing. You heard the meteorologist. That's what happens when these storm systems go over the gulf. They draw on that warm air and moisture and they get stronger. It's coming back late tonight or into the morning hours. Hopefully, hopefully east of where it's already saturated in Houston and outer communities because they simply can't take much more.
[21:15:21] So, we're going to see what happens then we'll give numbers when we know that they are real and that the worst is over. So what do we know about today? President Trump promised Texans that they're going to have the money they need to rebuild.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to be working with Congress on helping out the state of Texas. It's going to be a costly proposition. Probably there's never been anything so expensive in our country's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: We'll have to wait and see on that, right? Katrina was far more expensive than the estimates now. But again, we don't know what end tally is going to be here. And it is an important message to hear from the president of the United States that the help will be there.
And again, the president does ask for relief money but it's Congress that will authorize it. And hopefully we're going to see proof of a lesson learned after Harvey.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Congress spent over three months debating a $50.5 billion package for federal aid. Conservative lawmakers, both Texas senators and every Texas Republican but one, ultimately voted against the bill. Why? Well, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said there was too much pork in the bill. Money unrelated to Sandy. Paul Ryan and others insisted the emergency spending be offset by budget cuts elsewhere.
Now, Ryan's office has been shy about asking for offsets this time around, but Cruz doubled down on his claim this week saying two-thirds of the money in that bill was unrelated to Sandy. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The problem with that particular bill is that it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of the bill had nothing to do with Sandy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The problem. That's not true. The "Washington Post" gave Cruz three pinocchios. You want a second source? Go to the report by the Congressional Research Service, OK? You will see it all laid out there, virtually all of the money was earmarked for Sandy-related damage, up and down the coast. Some of the controversial things were repairs to the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Space Center that then-Budget Committee Chairman Ryan, now Speaker of the House, insisted were non-Sandy expenses, but the runways at the Kennedy Center were damaged and the roof of the museum was also damaged, both by Sandy. You have to remember the storm ravaged the east coast. There were major disaster declarations in a dozen states.
Now, the bill did wrap in funding for other 2012 disasters including those declared at a number of fisheries across the country as well as $16 billion that could be used for other disasters over three years, as well as a small amount of money for prevention. But regardless, if you take all of this funding, one, it was related to disaster relief, and even if you want to say, yes, but it wasn't related to Sandy, it's still nowhere close to two-thirds of the money that was in that bill. And you know who knows that's true? Ted Cruz. Because despite what he said and all the support he's getting from the right, he changed his statement. His office said it wasn't two-thirds of pork he was talking about. Two-thirds of the money would be spent to slowly qualify as emergency relief. That's the new position. It's a better position, but you know what? It's not good enough. Why? Because according to the Congressional Budget Office, the timing of how the money would be spent, they based that on the projection of how it has been spent in the past.
There's a government reason for this and a practical one. Government does work slowly when you compare it to the private sector in certain regards. It's true. But it also takes many years to rebuild especially infrastructure. So that's what the CBO said about it.
What do we see as political proof? New York Republican Peter King insists that he, "Won't abandon Texas in the aftermath of Harvey the way he felt was done to his state of New York." So the facts are clear. The question is, will the politics be different this time?
Let's bring in one of the Texas congressman who voted against the Sandy bill, Republican Roger Williams. Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas that includes Austin where President Trump visited today.
Let's deal with the present, sir, thank you for being on the show. How are people doing, not just in your district, but beyond? What have you learned about the needs for Harvey right now?
REP. ROGER WILLIAMS (R), TEXAS: Well, I tell you, Chris, we've seen unbelievable things. You've touched on them a little in your show today, friends helping friends, family members, strangers helping everybody. This is a horrible situation we have down here, but, you know, we're getting it done. I mean, the president was in Austin today along with Corpus Christi along with Governor Abbott. I think they both are showing great leadership right now and the fact of beginning to talk about government resources to help.
[21:20:18] But, look, we like to think this is the Texas spirit. It's the American spirit of everybody joining together in a time of need to make something happen and make it better.
So, you know, the storm is still out there. We're still seeing bad weather, but at the same time, so many volunteers, so many people have stepped up and helped many, many people, tremendous amount of rescues and so forth. So, it's a time to be thankful for the energy that we got among friends, among strangers, that have reached out to help everybody.
CUOMO: Well, there are no strangers in this type of struggle. Everybody gets real familiar --
WILLIAMS: That's right.
CUOMO: -- real fast. And we said it last night, we'll say it again, we're seeing the worst of Mother Nature but the best of human nature and that is great for dealing with the present.
Let me ask you, though, what are you hearing in terms of concerns about this next wave of energy from this storm? How concerned are people that even though it's going to be east of Houston, those communities are going to get clipped again and we're going to see a real increase in need?
WILLIAMS: Well, look, this storm is like no other storm. I know you guys have been following it where it comes to land and goes back and comes back again. So, you know, whoever is in line for this, we're going to be -- all of us are going to be stepping up to do what we can to help. You know, but the rain is -- a tremendous amount of rain. You've seen over 50 inches in Houston. Just practically unbelievable.
So, look, if this storm -- we're going to fight it every which way we can and then when it gets out of here, then a whole new level of volunteering and concern develops in rebuilding these communities that can take actually probably several years.
CUOMO: Absolutely. On the inside, we've seen it with Katrina, you know that. That city of New Orleans has recovered and just about every measurable way, but the population is about 50,000 less than it was. A much, much smaller metropolitan area obviously than we're dealing with Houston. We're dealing with about 455,000 before Katrina, about 400,000 after. Here we have 6-plus million in the entire surrounding area not to mention the bedroom communities.
So the need is going to be great, the money and effort has to be great as well. Let's look at the political picture here because it's easy for people to make promises right now. It will be delivering on them in months from now that will matter. You voted against the Sandy relief bill. Why?
WILLIAMS: Well, I voted against it for much of the reasons that you talked about. It was not totally a Sandy bill. There was funding that was going elsewhere and I voted against it because of that. At the time, we frankly didn't necessarily have the money to do it, but it wasn't a full Sandy bill. I'm hoping that when we begin to get back to Washington and talk about getting involved with Texas. That we talk about a clean bill that doesn't have things attached to it, like doesn't have a debt ceiling attached to it. We need to vote --
CUOMO: I hear you.
WILLIAMS: -- a clean bill, get politics out of it.
CUOMO: I hear you.
WILLIAMS: -- begin to help these folks that need to be rebuilt.
CUOMO: I hear you. But, asking for a clean bill is a little bit like asking for all the water from Harvey to disappear tomorrow. It doesn't happen. Not even in energy situations. You know that. I knew you were a freshman during this first vote but you're not anymore and you know that a clean bill is unlikely. The reason I'm pushing you on this is if you don't change, you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. The money in that bill, you can't go through it and say, well, I'm going to vote no because most of this is unrelated to Sandy. It's just not the case. I mean, if you look at the Congressional Research Service report, it's clear it was overwhelmingly Sandy- related money. There was some that was other disaster related, fine, you could have excised that, you could have cut it out. But to say the bill was wasteful and all about pork and not about Sandy, it's just not true Congressman.
WILLIAMS: Well, I didn't say it was wasteful. I said it had some things in there that did not pertain --
CUOMO: Some things but you voted no for the whole thing.
WILLIAMS: Right. I did. And that's why I hope when we begin to talk about this next bill, with Texas, that it is a clean bill. You say you don't think we'll have a clean bill. I don't necessarily agree with you. I think that we can and we can get the politics out of it and begin to get the money flowing and to get these people back to where they can get in their homes, they can get their jobs, they can bring their lives back together. That's my goal and that's where I am.
CUOMO: I hear you, but that's what happened in Sandy as well. You had the first bill which was about $9 billion or so, right, which was the first wave of the emergency relief. It was voted on up and down. They got the money. But then, comes the real money where infrastructure comes into play and how you make repairs and how you prevent for the future. And that money winds up being just as important and certainly feels like an emergency to those who need it. And you have people like Peter King in your party, in New York State, saying you guys did him wrong. He won't do the same to you. What does that mean? Do you believe that you need better out of Peter King than we got out of Williams the last time around? [21:25:02] WILLIAMS: Well, look it, I don't think you can compare the two. In fact, Peter King is one of my best friends in Congress and I think a lot of him. The bottom line is this. We can talk about the past. Right now in Texas, we're looking at a serious tragedy. We want to get these people back their lives in order. I'm just saying that I think we need to focus on a clean bill. Who knows what this number is going to be. I mean, we don't have any idea. It could be double Katrina. Nobody has a true.
CUOMO: It's true.
WILLIAMS: We need to decide what we're going to do. Let's see what it begins to look like. I think we need to immediately get up there and have -- begin to put a down payment down so we can start seeing some clearing up of this mess.
WILLIAMS: And then begin to see what we're going to do and there does need to be a clean bill, in my mind, and that's where I stand.
CUOMO: Well, even, you know, clean bill is going to become defined. One more quick point on this, and I'm pushing because it matters because I covered what happened with Sandy and saw what happened when they get that money and the politics were ugly and they created division. Nobody wants to see that again.
Offsets, it sounds reasonable to somebody who's not feeling the pain of the emergency situation the way it was with Ryan and Mulvaney last time around when they said, we need offsetting cuts elsewhere to justify this money we're paying. Sometimes you need to pay and figure it out later. Are you going to fight against offsets in this bill the way they were in the Sandy bill?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think when we spend any more with the $20 trillion debt. We do need to have offsets. But I will say this, right now we need to out -- you heard me say, we need a down payment. Let's go ahead and come up with a figure and get this system going and I think this is a tragedy like we've never seen before. I do believe in offsets but there's a time for that now and a time for it later. I want to put a down payment on Harvey and I want to begin to begin the rebuild.
CUOMO: I hear you, congressman. And I'm just bringing it up because if you don't correct the mistakes of the past, as you know the saying, we're doomed to repeat them and this Harvey is going be the real deal for many years to come. Sir, thank you for joining us. I hope that you and yours are safe --
WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: -- with the next wave of the storm. You're always here to talk about what matters.
WILLIAMS: God bless your listeners. Thanks for having us.
CUOMO: Thank you, sir.
All right, so, look, that's the hard reality of the politics here. Go back and look what happened during Superstorm Sandy and the funding of that. That's one part of the story.
Just as important of the story are these incredible rescues that we're seeing because they're so nee need. It's a struggle l for survival. We have one woman who stood on the back of a pickup truck and waved down a helicopter to get to safety. She did it while carrying her three-year-old son. How's she doing? How is he? Find out next.
[21:31:37] CUOMO: We keep getting lists of what people need in Texas right now, and you know, the truth is there's nothing they don't need. Please, go to the website, go to cnn.com/impact and figure out what you can give and how. And not just now, the need is going to continue for weeks, months, and even more. Everything from diapers to hygiene kits to toys. I mean, people have lost everything. Literally the Red Cross says 17,000 people are in shelters across Texas. And, again, this isn't over. They escaped the floodwaters but now they're entering a new challenge thanks to Tropical Storm Harvey.
Now, with all the despair, there are people who are salvaging what matters most, their loved ones. And we have Dawn Coles. She's in the shelter at the convention center in Houston. It's crowded there but it's better than where she was. Dawn, thank God you're OK. Your son's OK.
DAWN COLES, FLOODING EVACUEE AT HOUSTON CONVENTION CENTER SHELTER: Thank you to you.
CUOMO: But what a story.
CUOMO: Don't thank me. Thank yourself. Tell the audience --
COLES: By the grace of God, yes.
CUOMO: There but for it, who knows what would have happened, but you had it on your side and you found your way to the top of a pickup truck with a 3-year-old in your hands, and why were you there?
COLES: Yes, that's right. OK, because the water was rising so high and I had been calling 911 for days but they were so busy, and I seen the military helicopters were flying over, but unfortunately, I didn't realize that you had to swim to them. And I think a lot of the neighbors didn't realize that you had to actually swim a mile or so to be rescued by the helicopter or the boats. So, unfortunately, I had to grab my baby and diapers, what I could, and try to swim and hopefully, hope that we could be picked up.
CUOMO: So, Dawn --
COLES: And we were by the grace of God. Yes, sir. CUOMO: I know that there's nothing like mommy strength. I'm well aware. I witness it in my own home every day.
COLES: Right. Yes.
CUOMO: You swim with a three-year-old in moving floodwaters --
CUOMO: -- with diapers and supplies --
CUOMO: -- how far to get to the helicopter?
COLES: Yes. It was probably a mile.
CUOMO: Holy cow.
COLES: There was a lot of wind and rain. There was a lot of wind and rain, you know, and I was on a mission for us to get up in the air. You know what I mean? Because, you know, I was just wanting to save my baby.
CUOMO: That's what you were telling yourself all the way to the helicopter.
COLES: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
CUOMO: So, it was you --
COLES: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: -- your three-year-old and your husband. Are both --
COLES: Yes, yes.
CUOMO: Is he OK? Is your son OK?
COLES: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I mean, you know, like, my -- my baby is doing good, you know, because I know that a lot of people were scared of the bumpy ride in the military helicopter with the bad storms and the weather, but I just -- just made it like we were making a trip to Disney World. You know, this is a fun ride and, you know, we're going to be OK, to try to calm him down. But I was so glad they were there and to rescue us. They were like angels with wings, you know, because I was just so afraid nobody was going to know that we were trapped in the home. You know, that it was going to flood and we were not going to be able to get out.
[21:35:01] CUOMO: How high was the water in the house?
COLES: I'm still -- it was about three to four feet but it was rising and rapidly, you know? I mean, it was rising beyond. So I knew if we did not get out then, that, you know, there would be no -- and I want to say that one of my great, great friends, one of my neighbors, I've been trying and to contact her and she has not called me. Her name is Connie Parker. And she told me the day before that her son was going to try to --
CUOMO: All right.
COLES: -- and drive through the flood to get her.
CUOMO: So let's say it again. Her name is Connie Parker. We have her picture on the screen.
COLES: Connie Parker.
CUOMO: Right now. Where was she when you last saw her?
COLES: Yes. She was at her home, and I had talked to her the day before and I asked her, are you going to be able to get out? She said, well, I hope so, my son is supposed to try to drive and to rescue me, but I don't know if he can make it in the weather. And I've been trying --
CUOMO: And what's the address?
COLES: -- to call her cell phone. It's 12447 -- it's in the Northeast side by lake Houston parkway.
CUOMO: The Northeast side --
COLES: Her first name --
CUOMO: -- by Houston parkway. And it's 12447 is the house?
COLES: Yes. Yes.
CUOMO: All right.
COLES: Yes, sir. And -- yes. And her son's name is Jeff Parker. So, Connie or Jeff, wherever you are, can you please let me know that you're OK? And if anybody knows where she is, can you please just let us know? Because I've been trying to reach her and she's not answered. So, you know, we're really concerned over friends missing because I don't think that they realized that, you know, that you had to swim a ways, you know, and to, you know, try to get rescued.
CUOMO: I understand.
COLES: Unfortunately. But we're so -- yes.
CUOMO: And, look, you know, take it one step at a time. You got your husband and son and yourself to safety.
CUOMO: You want to find your friends. You also had to leave behind something else that's very close to you. You had to leave your rescue dog behind at the house.
COLES: Yes. Unfortunately, I was not able and to carry my dog and my child and, you know, it was just -- there was no way.
CUOMO: It's too much, Dawn. It's too much.
COLES: I tried to --
CUOMO: It's too much. Everybody understands that.
COLES: I could build -- yes. Yes, you know, so hopefully -- I have people that are going to go by the house, you know, and try to, you know, check on the --
COLES: -- and the dog. Until the water -- you know, but I don't even know if the water is going to recede. I mean, it doesn't look good.
CUOMO: There are a lot of people out there --
COLES: The water is so high.
CUOMO: -- trying to rescue pets.
COLES: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: There are a lot of people trying to do the right thing, trying to find people, trying to find pets.
CUOMO: Do you have a picture of the dog? What's the dog's name? What kind of dog is it?
COLES: Ancoco. Yes. Her name is ancoco, and she's a little medium sized chi and she's black and white.
CUOMO: All right. So what we'll do is --
COLES: Yes, sir. I wish we could enclose pictures.
CUOMO: Well, we're using our social media feeds. I'll put the name of the dog.
CUOMO: I'll put your friend's name. We'll put the picture out.
COLES: OK, thank you.
CUOMO: People are monitoring them because, you know, they're watching CNN.
COLES: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: And we'll try and get the information out there.
COLES: OK. CUOMO: But let's end where we started.
CUOMO: I know you've been through this before.
CUOMO: I know your house has been flooded.
COLES: Oh, yes. Yes.
CUOMO: But you're a survivor.
COLES: This is not the first time. Right. So, I mean, but I just didn't realize that the flood was -- this was going to be like a massive flood. I mean, I didn't know the water was going to rise so fast. The last time that we were flooded was the Allison flood in 2001, and we -- we lost, you know, everything then, too. We had to start all over. So --
CUOMO: Well, listen --
COLES: But --
CUOMO: You're starting over again but you have everything that matters most. Again, as you say, by the grace of God --
COLES: My family.
CUOMO: -- you found incredible strength to get to that helicopter.
CUOMO: -- and take care of much --
COLES: Because I was -- right. Yes. Yes. Yes. By the grace of God, and I'm just so, so thankful that they were there, you know, that they rescued us. They were like angels with wings, you know what I mean? So I'm just -- we're so blessed. That's all that matters.
CUOMO: And at the convention center, you're getting what you need. I know it's not perfect. But it's better than where you were.
COLES: Yes. Everybody -- well, well, I think everybody has been wonderful here.
COLES: The Red Cross, everybody's been giving me clothes, shoes, baby diapers, you know. Basically don't have everything. You know, everybody has been great to us.
CUOMO: That's great to hear.
COLES: And I'm thankful. OK. I just hope that my doggy is found and that, you know, I can find Connie. You know, I hope that she gives us a call and just let her friends and family know that she's OK.
[21:40:06] CUOMO: We will get the information out. I promise you. I'm going to take a break.
COLES: OK. Thank you.
CUOMO: The producer is going to comeback on --
COLES: OK thank you, Chris --
CUOMO: -- and get all the information, we'll put the photo out. And we'll stay in touch, OK?
COLES: All right, OK. Thank you. God bless.
CUOMO: You be well. God bless you.
CUOMO: All right. That's an amazing story. Can you imagine, once you wave down help, which by the way, isn't easy in those kind of waters to get on top of the pickup truck. It didn't take a three- year-old and supplies and make that kind of swim. Who knows how far it was. But it was far enough to be memorable. But now, she's made it to safety. We'll put out the information about her friends and her dog on my Twitter feed. Hopefully people are out there watching, and somebody can get by.
All right, we know a lot of you want to help and there are lots of ways so go to cnn.com/impact and you can make all different kinds of donations there.
[21:45:00] CUOMO: All right, another big story to deal with, North Korea. The media there is reporting that Kim Jong-un was, "very satisfied with the performance of the latest missile launch," for the first time over Japan Tuesday morning, OK? So that's what happened, this was the latest.
Didn't go toward Guam, why not? Well, would that have been seen as a more definite threat to the U.S. because it's a territory? But officials summarizing the media report told CNN that the launch was a prelude to more military options, maybe they will be aimed at Guam, with more launches planned for the future. This launch prompted President Trump to warn North Korea today that, "all options are on the table."
This was the siren that rang out in Hokkaido, Japan, you hear it? The regime, North Korea regularly fires missiles into the sea between its own territory and Japan, but that's a scary moment for residents there. They also received text alerts urging them by text to seek shelter in a strong structure or basement.
So while on the campaign trail, Trump was adamant that China bore the responsibility of stopping North Korea's nuclear threats. Do you remember this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Let China solves that problem. They can do it quickly and surgically. That's what we should do with North Korea.
China has control, absolute control of North Korea. They don't say it, but they do, and they should make that problem disappear.
We have the leverage. We have the power over China, economic power and people don't understand it. And with that economic power, we can reign in and we can get them to do what they have to do with North Korea, which is totally out of control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose. And the reality is harder than it is out on the hustling. Trump changed his tune in office, tweeting in June that he appreciated China's efforts, then in July that he was disappointed in China, then earlier this month as he realized China was not going to solve the problem, he issued this extraordinary threat from the United States of America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: But less than two weeks ago while still a major player in the Trump administration, Steve Bannon acknowledged in an interview that Trump's threat of military action was essentially a bluff. He said, "There's no military solution until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about. There is no military solution here. They got us." Is that true?
How did we get here? What are the options now that we're being told that all of them are on the table? We have a man who can answer those questions.
James Clapper, the Former Director of National Intelligence and CNN National Security Analyst. Good evening, sir.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good evening, Chris. First, Chris, let me just say, this is a hard act to follow after your last interview. And I thought your compassion was on display there.
CUOMO: Boy, how can you not feel? Can you imagine? We all know about mom muscle, but to take your three-year-old and everything you need and swim that kind of distance to get to a helicopter, that is the kind of reservoir that only love can tap. But thank you for that and thank you for recognizing her bravery. So, let's deal with the matter at hand. Bannon's quote, there is no military solution, it's all a bluff to say that we could go in that direction. What is your reckoning?
CLAPPER: Well, first, Chris, let me just say that if the North Koreans intended the trajectory of that missile to go over Japan, that is a big rubicund they've crossed. They have done this before but with satellites and the first time they've done it with a military missile, now the thing I'm curious about whether they actually meant to do it. They weren't too far away from a major U.S. Air Force Base in Misawa, Japan, which is in Northern Honcho not too far away from Hokkaido. The earlier track I saw, it looked like they maybe were trying to aim it in the water -- over the water between those two islands.
Second, the options on the table, to quote the president's phrase, are actually no different than they were before. And this may be the first time I've ever agreed with Mr. Bannon, but our options are, in fact, limited.
I think, though, there needs to be a distinction between a preemptory military option, which was being kicked around, bandied around at one point. And then as contrasted with a reaction, particularly if the North Koreans do something kinetic, that is -- if that missile had broken up over Japan and parts of it falling on Japan or particularly on our base, we'd be in a much different place. And I think then, you know, you get into the options for reaction.
[21:50:12] And there are potential options. I would guess our implicit red line, and I don't know, but I'm just guessing is that if there were kinetic damage done by a North Korean missile, I think that would be at least implicitly our red line. And, of course, the problem as Mr. Bannon observed is we don't know what their red line is, whether they would just react in kind or pause or an all-out cataclysmic attack against the South. And that's what makes this such a difficult problem.
I sense that President Trump is beginning to realize this after, you know, the campaign rhetoric. It's not unlike what he said about Afghanistan.
CLAPPER: And I think, by the way, we came out in the right place there. So I think the right path now, despite, you know, this Rubicon being crossed is to continue the carrot of negotiations. I think as advocated by Secretary Tillerson and the stick of sanctions. And, of course, the China is crucial here. And China can't possibly like what happened with this missile shot over Japan.
CLAPPER: And, of course, that's underpinned by our military. One other comment I'd make is that I was heartened by the toned down rhetoric today from the president where he just said a reminder that all options are on the table. What this helps to do is to try -- where we avoid this vicious circle that we've gotten ourselves in where the North Koreans do something provocative and we step up the rhetoric which causes them to be even more paranoid and they generate another provocative act. And so, one way to help -- tamp that down is to tamp our own rhetoric down.
Now, in fact, I was really impressed with Secretary Mattis, several missile tests ago, when he simply said we know the North Koreans fired a missile and we have no further comment. I think there's real merit in that. One last comment, if I may, Chris.
CUOMO: Absolutely, that's why you're on.
CLAPPER: That just to compare the situation in North Korea with the situation in Iran. And what this illustrates is it is much better and easier to negotiate a way a nuclear weapons capability with a nation that doesn't yet have it than it is with a nation that aspires to and has nuclear weapons.
So my thought here is that if we're going to abrogate or decertify the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the nuclear deal we had with Iran, I certainly hope we have a plan B because once that option is foreclosed, it's gone.
CUOMO: Well, there is no irony in the fact that during the campaign, then candidate Trump was saying that the Iran deal is the worst deal he's ever seen. You don't hear him saying that anymore because now that he's looking at the realities in North Korea, having any kind of deal on paper that allows any kind of inspections and any kind of access to slowing down progress of that type of existential nature is a pretty good deal, no?
CLAPPER: Exactly, I agree with you. And for me it was a pretty simple choice. Which would you rather have a state sponsor terrorism with a nuclear capability or state sponsor terrorism without a nuclear weapon capability?
And I think I'm going to probably go for the latter option.
CUOMO: Now --
CLAPPER: -- and that's kind of what we got there. And by the way, that negotiation was only focused on their nuclear weapons capability, nothing else. We weren't trying to convert Iran to the shining city on the hill by any stretch.
CUOMO: Right and look, it's imperfect. Negotiations often are, you get what you negotiate, not what you deserve. We all know that Donald Trump knows it better than most.
But you still are left with this feeling of what do you do in North Korea. And the perspective of the president was to be muscular. And I'm going to talk tough with these guys and I'm going to let them know because what had happened before which was perceived, frankly, as weakness or soft power as weakness wasn't effective. So now, if the tough talk isn't effective and the nice talk isn't effective, then what is effective?
CLAPPER: Well, as everyone as others have said before me, there are no good options with North Korea. After my visit there in November 14, which was an epiphany experience for me, I came away with a conclusion the only viable path ahead is negotiations with them. We may have to hold our nose and we may have to consider some concessions that are important to them.
CUOMO: All right.
CLAPPER: For example, I don't find unreasonable their desire for at least to negotiate a peace treaty because all we have there --
CUOMO: is an armistice.
CLAPPER: -- is an armistice.
[21:54:59] CLAPPER: And when you're sitting in Pyongyang looking South, what they see is a very, very fact overwhelmingly -- overwhelming force, conventional force with the Republic of Korea buttressed by the United States has which is on a hair trigger to invade them and overturn the regime. That's the way they look at it.
So, their demand for a peace treaty or desire for one I don't find it unreasonable. I would also -- I've said this before, I think we should open or offered open an intersection in Pyongyang much like we had in Havana, Cuba, for decades for a diplomatic presence and engage with a country we didn't recognize. I'm speaking of Cuba here.
CUOMO: Intriguing options and if all options are on the table, maybe they'll get some discussion. James Clapper, thank you very much for your perspective, appreciated as always.
CLAPPER: Thanks Chris. Thanks for having me.
CUOMO: All right, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I know it seems like it's been a terrible month. But, you know what, there's some hope in it. And we're going to talk about it next.
CUOMO: All right. Let's end the hour with August in America. The month started with white supremacists and neo-Nazi clashing with counter protesters in Charlottesville. We asked some tough questions about who we really are as Americans in 2017.
Well, this week in Texas, we got some answers. The Texas devastation revealed something else that's equally true about us. We are interconnected. We are interdependent. We are all in it together.
And you saw that given voice through compassion and love from complete strangers. Whether it was the citizen Cajun Navy that came up understanding what it was like to be in those floodwaters after Katrina or just this motivated concerned citizen corps, the first responders.
It was as though the water washed away at least some of the anger and bitterness that we had seen earlier in the month. Two women CNN caught up with this morning described their rescue and inspired us all. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of division, you know, all colors, the black here, the Hispanic here but right now it doesn't matter. Everybody's helping one another. It's amazing to see that honestly. You know, it kind of makes you want to cry in a way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It makes you want to cry but in a good way because at the end, it is the truth. We are all in it together. Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight starts right now.