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Powerful Hurricane Irma Poses Threat to Florida; Congress Returns to Ambitious Agenda and Tight Deadlines; Trump Expected to End Program Protecting "Dreamers"; Interview with Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 5, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:19] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hurricane Irma gaining strength, now a category 4 storm, packing winds of 150 miles per hour. Hurricane warnings are up for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Irma is posing a threat to millions of residents in Florida. They are already stocking up on water and supplies, as you can see. Let's see what's about to happen.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our latest forecast -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is going to be a mess. Already, a category 4 at 150, category 5 starts at 156, close enough.

This weather brought to you by Purina, your pet our passion.

There is the storm a symmetrical circle. We hate to see them when they look like a saw blade, because that's when they are the most dangerous. One hundred and fifty miles per hour, headed right toward the BBI, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and then eventually, somewhere between Cuba and the Bahamas.

If it's over more land, over Haiti, or even close, over Cuba, even close, it will tear itself up and not be that 140, 130-mile-per-hour storm but right now, that is the forecast, probably Saturday morning will be the closest approach to south Florida. We'll keep watching the timing on that. We know it's going to be a strong storm. The temperatures in the Caribbean are 86 degrees.

There's just nothing you can do to slow down a hurricane when you have that type of heat and here are the models right through. Now, there are some models and they have shifting to the left, to the left, to the left, all weekend long, very close or over Cuba. That would certainly be a detriment to Cuba, dangerous and probably terrible damage there, but it would tear the storm up before making landfall in the U.S.

CAMEROTA: Chad, just any fear of people in the Houston area for this one?

MYERS: Sure. I mean, it's not out of the question at all. I mean, the models do from when they get to Florida, they start to turn to the right again. Now, that could be a Charlie type scenario. That was Punta Gorda there, I was there with Anderson Cooper, but also maybe toward Tampa.

If it keeps going left, this models could turn and certainly into parts of Florida, and, you know, we don't want to think about if it keeps going farther. So, sure, hurricane is not out of the question for Houston, but I would say the chance of that right now is like 2 percent. The chance of somewhere around Florida is better than 50/50.

CAMEROTA: OK. Keep an eye on it for us, Chad. Thank you.

MYERS: Will do.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We do have breaking news.

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening to expel up to 155 more U.S. diplomats. The Russian leader told reporters in China today that Russia won't take action right away, but will see how the situation develops. The move seen as clear retaliation after the U.S. ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco last week.

CAMEROTA: So, Congress returns to work today with lawmakers facing a daunting agenda, and tight deadlines. What will they be able to get done?

[06:35:00] We discuss next.


CAMEROTA: Congress gets back to work today after their August recess, and they have a very ambitious agenda that keeps growing -- funding the government, avoiding a shutdown, Hurricane Harvey relief, tax reform and deciding the fate of DREAMers.

What can they get done?

Let's bring back our panel. David Drucker, Abby Phillip, and John Avlon.

David Drucker, you are our resident congressional correspondent on this panel. What's going to happen today when they get back to work?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, no big deal, Alisyn, right? I mean, it's just a couple of things on the to-do list. So, you get back to work on Wednesday, you're done by Friday, right?


DRUCKER: Look, it's clearly, this is a tall order for Republicans. They're trying to reform the tax code for the first time in 30 years. They've got a debt ceiling to raise and for the past half a dozen years, every time they've tried to do that, it's almost been like a total fiscal catastrophe.

And on top of that, they've got Harvey relief to deal with and a government funding deadline, and let's not forget, and we might have just because the hurricane was such an overpowering news story, but Republicans spent all summer at war with each other. President Trump was fighting with Republicans on the Hill, the trust -- the breakdown in trust between the two sides was worse than anything I've ever seen.

[06:40:07] And that -- that could make it very hard for Republicans to agree with each other on how to get these things done.

And make no mistake here, whether or not Republicans can accomplish things, is going to be about whether or not they can first agree with each other, and then where Democrats are relevant in government funding and the debt ceiling and things like that are where Democrats are very relevant.

Are they going to be able to work with Democrats? And oh, I left out the part about the president wanting money for his border wall, Democrats not wanting to give an inch there, and so, it's going to be a very interesting September. The stakes are high, and the Republicans since the president took office and even before have not shown that they are able to do a lot of these things on a high wire act, even if we're just talking one of them, let alone the list I just ticked off.

BERMAN: The very first words out of David Drucker's mouth were no big deal. This is the art of the deal president who as far as I can tell really hasn't made very many deals at all. And now, he's got this menu, this list of things that needs to get done, Abby.

Has he shown any ability to work Washington the way it needs to be worked to make progress?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean, really not at all. One of the interesting things is just the resistance to understanding how Washington works, and how deals get made here and you know, David really pointed out something that I think is probably going to be the dominant force as we go into this week and the following week, the relationship or lack thereof between Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell is a really, really big deal. Between of two of them Mitch McConnell is the person who knows how to make legislation happen in Washington, and trust -- Trump does not trust him, at least not yet.

So, if they're going to get anything done they have to repair that first and foremost. They have to get on the same page about what they want to get done. They have to decide what the framework is going to look like for tax reform, what are we going to bundle together, are we going to bundle the border wall, and the DREAMers. Are we going to bundle the hurricane funding to funding of the government?

These are really important decisions about strategy and tactics that need to be made between the leaders of both chambers in Congress and the president. And Trump is the one who has to come to the table here. The breakdown in that relationship is in part because of his frustration with Mitch McConnell maybe not getting health care done. But at some point, they have to put that stuff aside if they want to make progress on things that absolutely have to get done before the end of this year.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, they're in a marriage of convenience. But there's no trust. There's bad blood. And the president keeps adding to it. Look --

CAMEROTA: But hold on, we're going to see it at 4:00 p.m. today. They're going to have --

AVLON: Yes, they're going to have their --

CAMEROTA: So, the president is meeting with Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell, among others. So, it's going to be full display today, whatever their --


AVLON: And, look, their game faces will be on presumably. The Democrats and Republicans coming in, and it's a glimmer of what might have been if the president really had pursued the art of the deal and for example led with infrastructure, had tried to forge bipartisan coalitions but he hasn't. He's instead played to his base and attacked his own party in Congress and the to do-list is serious.

And necessarily, the most urgent things are going to dominate, Harvey funding, trying to avoid a government shutdown with unified Republican control of Washington, something that's surreal, and something that the markets are depending upon which is tax reform. That seems highly theoretical as well as extremely difficult in face of the non-optional things they need to face first.

BERMAN: They have no ambassador to South Korea, which is important right now given what's happening over there, and one word we didn't mention looking at the list what have Congress is doing this fall is Russia. You know, a lot of folks in Congress are concentrating on Russia right now in these investigations and these committees, the intelligence committees in both chambers have a lot of work to do this fall.

DRUCKER: Yes, they do and the Senate is going to have nominations to process. So, there is just a lot on congress's plate here, and they're dealing with a party leader in the president that as Abby mentioned number one has not figured out how to work a deal in Washington. It's not like working a deal in business. Everything is interconnected. It's not totally rational.

And on top of that, he keeps treating the Republicans his party as though he's not really of them. And if he's not really invested with them, it makes it hard for them, they're always looking over their shoulders at the next election rightly or wrongly. They're on the ballot in 2018, he isn't, and it makes it hard to take a lot of these tough votes if he doesn't feel like he's invested with them, and I think that's part of the problem and if the president wants better results, he is going to need to change how he relates to his allies on the Hill.

BERMAN: Off to the races today.

CAMEROTA: He'll have the opportunity in a few hours. Panel, thank you very much. BERMAN: All right. President Trump is expected to announce he's

ending protection for DREAMers, but one Republican lawmaker says he has a plan to keep young undocumented immigrants from being deported. He joins us next to explain.


[06:49:11] CAMEROTA: The Trump administration is expected to announce today that it will end the Obama era program that protects DREAMers from being deported. But the president is punting to Congress for a legislative fix.

Joining us now is Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida. He introduced legislation in March to protect DREAMers.

Congressman, thanks so much for being here.

So, you're trying to stop the end of DACA or the DREAMer protection program. Why do you feel so strongly about this issue?

REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FLORIDA: Alisyn, these young people are America's children, which is why the legislation that I have introduced is called Recognizing America's Children. These are young people who went to school with our own children, they are working in this country, they're contributing to this country, they speak English.

This is the only country that many of them remember. So, we should afford them as long as they're willing to be productive members of society, which most of them are, we should afford them the opportunity to be fully recognized as Americans, and to gain legal status in this country.

[06:50:12] That is why Republicans and Democrats in the House and in the Senate are coming together in favor of a permanent solution for these young people, which we know as DREAMers.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about whether or not -- I mean, I like your optimism, let's talk about how realistic it is that Republicans and Democrats are coming together, because obviously, you're now tasked with finding a solution in six months. I mean, you have a ticking clock to find a solution otherwise the 800,000 young people's fates are in limbo.

Here is your legislation, here are some of the highlights of it, just so that we can put it up for our viewers. You say that you would -- Recognizing America's Children Act you along with 17 other GOP colleagues sponsors say it would be a path to legal status through higher education, service in the armed forces, and work authorization.

So, meaning they would be able to achieve citizenship if they did those things?

CURBELO: Eventually. At first, they would be granted conditional legal permanent resident status for five years. We would make sure that they are working towards these goals, whether it's employment, higher education, or service in the military, and after that point, they would receive permanent legal status, a green card. And, of course, once you have a green card in this country, you could on your own go and pursue a citizenship.

The key is, Alisyn, that these are America's children. We had a few weeks ago the president standing with Senators Cotton and Perdue calling for culturally competent immigrants who speak English. We already have them. They're called DREAMers. There are about 800,000 to a million of them in this country and now, it's Congress' turn to solve this problem.

Whatever the president announces today, it's pretty clear that after today, the spotlight, the attention will turn toward Congress, and we should rise to the occasion. And that's why I'm calling on Republican leadership in both chambers, not just to support keeping DACA in place, which seems unlikely, but to help advance a legislative solution like the RAC Act, Recognizing America's Children or others. Some are talking about a compromise. I'm one of the members of Congress that thinks compromise is a good word, not a bad word, that our framers taught us when they established our Constitution.


CURBELO: If there's a compromise to be had, I will be at the table trying to get to yes.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's talk about what the compromise might look like because what if in order to appease some of your more conservative members, you had to -- have a compromise that look like no deportation for the 800,000 but no chance of citizenship.

CURBELO: Well, we are going to fight hard for permanent legal status that will lead to citizenship. Why? Because as I said before, these are America's children. These are American kids.

CAMEROTA: Right, but that's not a compromise you'd be willing to do, in other words?

CURBELO: Well, I'm not coming on the show and say exactly what I would or wouldn't do, because then I would make it harder for this legislation to move forward.

The priority for me is to make sure we take care of these young Americans, and the nature of compromises means that some of us will have to support some things that perhaps we're not as comfortable with. I'm not discarding anything. I'm also not guaranteeing that I'm going to support any specific compromise.

CAMEROTA: Understood.

CURBELO: But what more members of Congress need to do is be willing to sit at the table and seek that compromise.

CAMEROTA: And very, very quickly, for your legislation, for your suggestion, how many people, how many members do you think you can get on board? What do you think the chances are for yours?

CURBELO: Well, we already have 18 Republicans, many more have called in recent days asking questions, interested in perhaps joining our cause, helping to advance this issue, looking for that potential compromise.

So, I'm very confident that we can get a very strong vote out of the House. I think a majority of Republicans would definitely be in support of keeping these young people in our country. What the final solution exactly what it looks like I think we'll have to work on. But right now, I'm feeling very confident.

CAMEROTA: OK. Great to hear that.

Congressman Curbelo, thank you for being on. Take care of yourself. We know that Irma is headed in your direction. It looks sunny now, but we know Miami could be in the eye of the storm.

CURBELO: We're watching closely, Alisyn. Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: OK, talk to you again.


BERMAN: All right. North Korea appears to be making preparations for another intercontinental ballistic missile launch. The regime issuing new threats against the United States this morning, as world leaders weigh in on the escalating tensions. We have it all covered for you next.



[06:59:01] NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: His abusive use of missiles show that he is begging for war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to cut off North Korea economically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any threat to the United States or our allies will be met with a massive military response.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: To end the DACA program is one of the most cruel and ugly decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually need for the sake of America to deal with this.

BERMAN: Florida's governor declaring a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Irma. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at the a storm just as strong as

Harvey was when it made landfall.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.


CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off. John Berman joins me.

Great to have you here.

BERMAN: Good to be here.

CAMEROTA: OK. We start with breaking news.

North Korea may be moving an intercontinental ballistic missile in preparation for yet another launch. This is according to a South Korean lawmaker briefed by their intelligence service. And this morning, new warnings from North Korea, threatening to, quote, blow up the U.S. mainland --