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Texas City Still Without Drinking Water After Harvey; Will Hurricane Irma Hit The U.S.?; South Korea: North Korea Preparing For Another Missile Launch; Congress Returns Tomorrow To Packed Agenda; Trump Wants To Tie Harvey Recovery Aid To Debt Ceiling. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 4, 2017 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The city of Beaumont, Texas, still without safe drinking water days after Harvey. More than 100,000 people are forced to line up for bottled water there.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung is live in Beaumont with all of the latest. Any progress, Kaylee?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the water of the Natchez River still too high for the city to even assess the damage to their two intake facilities. Those facilities flooded with more than 10 feet of water.

But the good news is a temporary fix has water returning to faucets here. It was a collaboration between a private company and the city. It's a very welcome sight to see that water flowing. You can't drink it. The boil notice is still in effect for the water that you do now see coming out of the tap.

So, with that in mind people do need that safe drinking water. So, the city has set up a couple points of distribution that have been running incredibly efficiently. You que up with your car, roll down the window or pop the trunk, and they'll toss in a couple cases or a couple of gallons.

They are also thinking about those who can't line up in that manner. Meals on wheels and city buses are teaming up to deliver water to some elderly folks who can't leave their homes.

So, while this site is still submerged as many other places are in Beaumont, Houston is now saying that 95 percent of that city is dry and it is more up and operational. These effects still being felt in so many places in Southeast Texas.

But also across the country, at gas pumps across the country, we're seeing a speak of about 94 cents per gallon. The effects of Harvey can be felt by all -- Dave.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: No doubt people across the country feeling that. All right, Kaylee Hartung live for us in Beaumont. Thanks so much.

If that's not enough, Hurricane Irma gaining strength, tracking towards the United States. Will the monster make landfall along the east coast? CNN meteorologist, Allison Chinchar has the latest at the CNN Weather Center. Good morning, Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you. Let's get right to it. Hurricane Irma is a powerful category three storm. Winds right now about 115 miles per hour. The movement is west- Southwest at about 14 miles per hour.

That means in the coming days, places like the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas will be prime targets for this particular storm. The concern in the short term is we do expect it to intensify even more, up to a category four storm likely in about 24 hours from now.

Then the question becomes where does it go from there? You have to take a look at what's going to be steering this storm in the long- term. Right now, it's this high pressure you see right here. That's what's steering the storm as we speak.

But once it gets closer to Florida, you're going to have to start taking into consideration the jet that's building in the U.S. That is likely what's going to keep it safe from Florida or up the east coast.

Now exactly where that landfall may be, Alyson, is still up in the air. If it makes landfall in the U.S., it wouldn't be until at least a week from today, but certainly something to keep a close eye on.

CAMEROTA: OK, Allison, thank you very much for that. I know you will be keeping a close eye on it for us. What does North Korea's test tell us about their future plans. General Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA, joins us live next.



CAMEROTA: South Korea says they're seeing signs that North Korea is preparing for yet another missile test. They've already done six such tests. President trump and his cabinet are going over their options.

Joining us now is CNN national security analyst and former head of the CIA and NSA, Michael Hayden. General Hayden, thanks so much for being here.

You said yesterday, Mr. President, this is not a manhood issue. This is a national security issue. Don't let your pride get ahead of wise policy here. Is that what you see happening?

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, so far, and I was very impressed with a very tough, but a very careful statement by Secretary Mattis as he left a meeting with the president yesterday afternoon. Secretary Mattis had very strong language, but it was about a North Korea threat, not a North Korean capability. [06:40:02] In other words, Alisyn, I think he was trying to make a distinction between, we're willing to preempt an imminent threat from North Korea, but it's not our policy to conduct a preventive war to prevent the North Koreas from acquiring that kind of capability. It's a fine distinction, but I think it's a big deal and a very useful statement on his part.

CAMEROTA: But what about that language, General? What about Mattis saying, you know, we're talking about the total annihilation of a country, not that that's what we're saying. But we're capable of that. Does upping this rhetorical hyperbole, is that helping, since then Kim Jong-un just fires back an even more sort of overheated hyperbolic statement.

HAYDEN: He does. But again, a very tough, very precise statement, which is a little different than some of the things the president has been allowing himself to say, Alisyn, which have been very tough, but very imprecise and that could lead to great danger.

Look, what I think Secretary Mattis was doing was simply trying to convince the North that we have this option, and they cannot be certain we would never use it under certain circumstances.

So, I think he was trying to cabin North Korean thinking from that direction with the goal of hurting them in this direction which is diplomatic and negotiations.

CAMEROTA: So, let's talk about that. What are the real-world options here for the U.S., for Japan, for South Korea? Really what can we do today?

HAYDEN: Well, you know, despite the president criticizing the South Korean government for appeasement -- and I heard Gordon and others talk about that earlier in the show -- the off-ramp here, Alisyn, is we're going to talk to the North Koreans, it's just the conditions under which the talks will begin.

Frankly, I think it's a sad reality that the talks will be about limiting, controlling, perhaps making more transparent a North Korean nuclear program, not dismantling that program.

CAMEROTA: When you say we're going to talk to the North Koreans, what are those talks going to look like? Who is going to go over and talk?

HAYDEN: That's really interesting because we've tried two-party formats, four-party formats, six-party formats. I actually think -- and here is a strange coincidence, Alisyn. I think both the North Koreas and we the Americans are trying to pressure the Chinese to create the format we would prefer for the talks.

The North Koreans want the Chinese to lean on us, to frankly accept an awful lot of the North Korea program going in. We would want to lean on the Chinese to create a format in which the North Koreans at least promise to stop testing before we agree to talk. Both playing the same game against the same player. CAMEROTA: OK. So, if it all comes down to the Chinese negotiating this, is now the time for the Security Council at the U.N. or anybody to inflict more sort of economic sanctions in terms of trade with China?

HAYDEN: First of all, the U.N. won't sanction China. They'll sanction Korea. Frankly, there's a meeting today, and I think it's a wise thing for us to try to amp up the pressure there as much as possible.

Now as far as the Chinese actually doing some of the things we want, Alisyn, a couple of factors come to mind. Number one, Xi Jinping is going to be obsessed with internal matters to about October. I do think this is a bit of a longer fuse than we may have anticipated going in.

The second, the high leverage we have. These would be national sanctions. Secondary sanctions against Chinese firms who continue to do business with North Korea. If that begins to touch the Chinese banking industry, we'll be poking on an exposed nerve there.

CAMEROTA: General Hayden, always great to get your insight and expertise into all of this. Thanks for being with us.

HAYDEN: Thanks, Alisyn.


BRIGGS: All right, Congress has an awful lot to tackle when they return to Washington tomorrow, from Harvey relief to a new spending bill, tax reform, health care. What can they get done, if anything, this year? We discuss next.



BRIGGS: All right. Congress back in session tomorrow facing a daunting agenda, tight deadlines. They have Harvey relief bill, the debt ceiling, a new federal spending bill, tax reform, health care. What can they get done?

Let's discuss with our panel, Chris Cilizza, Karoun Demirjian, and Error Louis. Errol, let's start with you. Harvey funding probably the most harmless and easy thing to get done.

Still Steve Mnuchin gummed in the works by saying you have to tie that funding to raising the debt ceiling. Will that be simple given what's going on in Congress today?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it seems like a reasonable way to get through a difficult legislative session, by trying to bootstrap one of the more important ones, like the debt ceiling, onto the aid that nobody is going to disagree with.

So, it's a standard ploy, actually, might be an easy way to get Congress to sort of step back from the brink on one of these important issues. The debt ceiling could be a black eye, not just for Congress, but certainly for the White House. An enormous headache for the treasury secretary in particular but the White House in general.

BRIGGS: Just to be clear, Mark Meadows said that's a terrible idea, the House Freedom Caucus chair to tie the two -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Karoun, you stalk the halls of Congress every day. What do you think they'll tackle first?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that the very first thing they said they're going to talk about is the annual defense spending bill and they'll give that some time to clear that off the books before they move on to all the other issues that are the pressing ones they have to finish at the end of the month about the continuing resolution, about Harvey funding.

[06:50:07] And then, of course, there is the coming -- looming debt ceiling approaching. That will give them a little bit of time to try to work out exactly how this is going to look legislatively, but we're going to have all that going on.

And those fights will have to come to some sort of conclusion to get bills out the door, to keep the government from shutting down, but they won't be over because we're talking about there being then a few months later other deadlines coming up that will require us to look at what the next funding will be, like for the Hurricane Harvey relief and more serious policy fights will be down the line.

Of course, you know, in my specific feed, I'll be looking at the Russia investigations reheating up because you have some of Trump's inner circle making their way down to capitol hill in the next month, and that will be a new chapter in that ongoing investigation. It's difficult. Are you looking at it, all the political stuff that happens around it?

CAMEROTA: Saga, investigation, drama, fill in the blank. I know --

DEMIRJIAN: It's difficult, though, now you are looking specifically a progress, all the political stuff that happens around.

BRIGGS: It looks like a full-on obstruction of justice investigation. Let's move on to the greater context of all this, Chris. How does it impact what they have to get done in 12 legislative days that the president leading up to this is taking on John McCain and John Flake, numerous other Republican senators?

John McCain firing back in "The Washington Post" saying he's poorly informed, impulsive with his actions and words. How does all that change what they are trying to get done?

CHRIS CILIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, as an expert, I can conclude that's not good. The fact is, I did a quick count last week. Donald trump had insulted or publicly attacked 11 Republican senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell since coming into office or during the campaign, 11. There's only 52 of them. So, it's about 20 percent of them. He continues to struggle with the idea, and I don't know whether he doesn't get it or he doesn't choose to get it, that these members of Congress, even though the Republicans, don't work for him.

This isn't -- the Republican Party or the nation isn't one big corporation where, if you're at the top, which he is as president, you're at the top of one of the branches, that doesn't mean the legislative branch works for you.

I think that's the thing he continues to struggle with, why don't they just do what I say? It's going to be very tough I think to, on the specific debt ceiling, Hurricane Harvey stuff, that's two pills that conservatives do not necessarily want to swallow.

Huge amounts of federal funding for Harvey. Understandably, you see the images. I think you'll see many coming out of Houston, you'll see many of them say this is a unique situation, once in a -- fill-in-the- blank year's flood.

This disaster relief has been a bug bear for conservatives who have been very resistant to dumping federal money. The debt ceiling is a thing they hate just as much as that. Why are we raising it? We have this unlimited credit card. Why are we doing that.

So, the problem we have is these are hard issues even for a president with significant political capital who has demonstrated significant knowledge of how to work with Congress. This president has demonstrated the opposite in terms of how to, would with Congress. That's why I'm skeptical he's going to be able to persuade.

DEMIRJIAN: This doesn't depend entirely on the president. There is at least -- in a way, Hurricane Harvey, as tragic and awful as it is, is an incentive for the government not to shut down.

Also, if you are hearing signs from Republican leaders in Congress say, look, the debt ceiling is about making good on the bills we've already run up. It's not about -- it's not necessarily about new spending. It's about covering our debt.

At least you're hearing those sorts of tones right now coming from the upper echelons of the party. Whether those leaders can keep their rank and file in line and whether the president's base starts to get very active on some of the fiscal issues --

CAMEROTA: Errol, very quickly. There is no chance the government shuts down, right?

LOUIS: Not with people at deadly risk in Texas, absolutely not. Hydrogen bombs being fired over and missiles flying over our ally, Tokyo, it's unimaginably bad. I understand Steve Mnuchin not wanting to do all he'll have to do to avoid a shutdown, but that might be a bridge too far.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you all very much. BRIGGS: All right. The very latest on the threat from North Korea, the North showing signs of preparing for yet another missile test this week as the South simulates an attack on the North. The global resources of CNN have it all covered for you next.



CAMEROTA: Good morning everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off. Dave Briggs joins me.

We have breaking news. South Korea says there are signs that the North is preparing to launch another intercontinental ballistic missile this week. Yesterday the North detonated a sixth test described as the most powerful one yet. So, in just hours, the U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting. They're considering even stronger sanctions against North Korea.

BRIGGS: The U.S. warning North Korea of a massive military response, while President Trump is blasting South Korea for, quote, "appeasement." All of this as CNN learns the president is expected to end the program protecting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from being deported. President Trump again at odds with many in his own party.

We have the global resources of CNN covering it all for you. Let's begin with CNN's Will Ripley, who was just in North Korea where he's been more than a dozen times. He joins us live from Tokyo with the latest. Good morning, Will.