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Hurricane Irma Could Affect Up To 37 Million People; Miami Mayor, This Is A Nuclear Hurricane; Hurricane Irma Packing Sustained Winds Of 185 MPH; Florida Braces As Monster hurricane Batters Caribbean; Trump Bucks GOP, Sides With Democrats On Funding Deal. Aired 11-Midnight ET
Aired September 6, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] This is CNN Breaking News.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: The breaking news tonight hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic after passing north of Puerto Rico tonight after smashing through the Caribbean and killing at least three. The storm now taking aim at Florida. CNN Tom Sater is in the weather center for us. Tom hello, category five hurricane Irma could affect up to 37 million people and being described as once in a generation hurricane if it comes ashore. Where is it now and where is it heading?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLIGIST: The newest advisory has been issued by the national hurricane center and I am really speechless here, because well are now at hour 39 this has been containing the strength of a category five. We have been taught for years hurricanes cannot sustain this kind of magnitude and strength after hour after hour after and yet here it is, we're going to into hour 40. The eye continues to be well defined. It's been undergoing restructuring and it looks like we got good news without a major land fall just yet until we see storm surge in the Turks and Caicos. The radar pulling away now from San Juan. Really sparing the northern coast. Four or five foot storm surge because it was undergoing wall replacement and maybe it would drop just a little bit in the wind category but it has not. The track has not changed much although last night it moved 60 miles eastward and maybe another 20 to 30 more have been added on. We still have a cone of uncertainty that does head to the west coast of Florida. But anyone from the keys up towards Wilmington need to be aware of this. If you planning your evacuation this is when tropical storm winds move into your area. So you don't want to wait till Sunday or even Saturday, think two days ahead, Don.
LEMON: What about the winds in the storm surge. What's expected?
SATER: If you take a look at the path and when we talk about these models we're going to be looking at dangerous winds pretty much around the eye and extending outward. So they're going to fan into the Bahamas and felt in the parts of Dominican Republic and Haiti. But this reminds me of Matthew last year. This system just stayed off the coast by about 30 miles and that is the difference between light/moderate damage and catastrophic damage. Although we saw significant damage along the east coast of Florida. That was a big problem. We lost scores of people. Over 20 I believe in the Carolinas. We're looking at least 15 to 20 foot storm surge, Turks and Caicos and southern parts of the Bahamas Island that is significant. That is much higher than they had in parts of Puerto Rico. That will be moving in towards the southeastern U.S. in the next couple of days.
LEMON: Tom Sater at the watch. Tom thank you very much, we appreciate that. We'll check back in with Tom if need be. I want to get to CNN Leyla Santiago. She is live for us in San Juan right now, Leyla hello to you. Hurricane Irma is battering the Caribbean. You're in San Juan for us. What are you experiencing since we spoke last hour?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Things just continue to calm down on the northern coast of Puerto Rico and a lot of people feeling lucky. I actually spoke to a gentleman from FEMA who is saying we sort of dodge it on this one. And it's still some problems that will come as a result, a lot of fallen trees that will need to be taken care of, power outages that will be out and that will be a big one, Don because it's not just for a few days, we're talking possibly weeks or months and that is according to authorities for some people to get that power back and then of course there could be the flooding that comes as a result of this already on the eastern part of the island. They are talking about the damage this has caused and rescue crews have that had to go in to get dozens of people to save them really from flooding in homes as well as cars and then there's something else worth mentioning. The federal government, the U.S. Federal government has declared not only a state of emergency but a health care emergency. So they'll be getting more resources to help out on that end as well, Don.
LEMON: All right, thank you Leyla Santiago, we appreciate it. I want to get to Miguel Marquez right now. Miguel is live for us in Miami, so Miguel as we watch this that barrels towards Florida there, Miami Dade County issued mandatory evacuation for its coastal cities. So talk to me about what's going on, the gas shortages, the water. What's up?
[23:05:05] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: You can measure the concern people have by those shortages. Water in particular and gas also. Water -- whether we went to a wall greens or target or a public supermarket, there was no water be had. They're getting more in the next day or two. Walmart in particular is drawing as far away as Nevada to get water to this place. This is a gas station that has been very, very busy all day long. I can see another gas tanker getting ready to come in. The lines for this gas station have pretty much stayed consistent throughout the day. One hour right now. The other thing I can show you. We are on U.S. 1. The traffic on the far side, that is coming from the south going north as this storm gets closer, clearly more and more people will start to evacuate.
LEMON: All right Miguel, thank you very much. I want to bring now the Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach. Thank you for coming on again, we spoke last night Miami Beach under mandatory evacuation starting tomorrow at noon. How are you making sure everyone gets out and particularly seniors?
MAYOR PHILIP LEVINE, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: For the last couple of days since yesterday I've been telling the people of Miami Beach especially the residents and visitors time to leave. Get out before the mandatory evacuation order comes. And a lot have been listening and increase the flow as much as possible. Starting tomorrow we're going to be that much more aggressive. People who are listening on this broadcast that are in Miami Beach, whether you're a resident or a visitor, you need to get out, you need to be safe. You need get out of Miami Beach. This is a nuclear hurricane, it looks like the path is very, very scary and serious. So we're getting the message out as aggressively as possible.
LEMON: What about tours and other people who may not have cars, how do they get out? What's your advice to them?
LEVINE: First of all we issued a letter that said please leave now. What we're going to be doing will be actually having buses. They'll be picking people up, bringing them to drop off areas and the shelters. We'll also have our trolley system doing the same thing. Shelters for people that have pets, people that have special needs for seniors. So we're working with a county very aggressively to coordinate this evacuation effort.
LEMON: I want to be clear here, there are no hurricane shelters in Miami Beach? People need move elsewhere?
LEVINE: There are no shelters on Miami Beach. So we need them to leave Miami Beach and they'll be going to shelters in Dade County which has multiple shelters depending on what the specific needs of that person may be.
LEMON: We're seeing long lines for gas, water. We also saw a storm chaser somewhere in Miami. Gas station closed.
LEVINE: No. It's happening all across the state. I understand the governor is working with the fuel companies to bring more fuel. But when it comes to water, we've been saying over and over again the good old-fashioned faucet is good. You can fill up bottles, jugs and you can get all the water you want right now.
LEMON: Are you concerned about the roads being congested?
LEVINE: We know there will be traffic. We know there will be congestion and that is ok, because we want the people to vacate Miami Beach. We'll be working with our police department, fire department to make sure it's as orderly a transition as possible to get the people off Miami Beach. So public transportation to reduce the amount of cars. We've opened up our garages in the city for free residents to put their cars, to protect them during the storm because we could expect a storm surge of some serious flooding.
LEMON: Let me ask you this, because -- judging from the scope and the size of this thing and the power, the intensity, is this going to be another hurricane Andrew? That was a deadly category 5 that hit Florida back in 1992? LEVINE: I certainly hope not and we are as prepared as possible as a
county and as a city. But you never know. You can only prepare a certain much. And we're hoping for the best but of course we're planning for the worst.
LEMON: All right Mayor Levine. Thank you very much. Appreciate that. When we come back with the storm barreling down -- bearing down on Florida, hospitals and nursing homes are putting their emergency plans into effect. We're going to speak to officials from some of these hospitals to see how they're prepared.
[23:13:25] LEMON: Tonight millions of people in Florida bracing for the impact of a monster storm, hurricane Irma. CNN Kyung Lah is live for us in Miami. Hello to you tonight. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Miami Dade County. Tell us what you have seen today.
KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We've travelled just slightly south of Miami to homestead, Florida. You can see I'm in front of a mobile home park. This particular park nearly every single part of it was completely levelled in hurricane Andrew. So when we came down here we met Edward Collins. He has packed everything he owns. He completely emptied out his mobile home, stuffed it in his car and he says he is quote beyond scared. He is driving north. He is going to get out of the state of Florida. He is heading to family in Virginia. But at the same time we did drive across the street 10 minutes away and met a mom who has two children, a 15 month old and a 4 month old. She says she has water, fuel, food. She wants to ride it out. She thinks she'll be fine. We're hearing many different stories as Irma barrels closer.
LEMON: Okay let's say she rides it out but what about the days after when people are trying to get supplies. Maybe there's no electricity and no water?
LAH: You know there's a Floridian spirit and I've seen it heard and talked about as we've seen people sand bagging and boarding up. They have a certain resiliency and to some, like Collins who packed up and left.
[23:15:00] He says they're being tone deaf to what we're trying to tell you on the news. So that is a definite question. What happens to her and her two kids when there are flood waters, you can't drive anywhere anywhere? When you can't escape until it's too late? This is as devastating to homestead, Florida as the models are showing.
LEMON: Well Good luck and be safe Kyung thank you very much, we'll see you soon. One of the biggest worries in Florida tonight of courses taking care of people who need special help. I want to bring in now Wayne Brackin, the chief operating officer of Baptist Health South Florida. Wayne I appreciate you coming on, you over see eight hospitals in Florida, how are you handling the needs and the plans for your critical care patients?
WAYNE BRACKIN, COO, BAPTIST HEALTH SOUTH FLORIDA: Thank you, Don. We do have eight hospitals from Miami down through the keys and 50 outpatient centers and doctor's offices. So we're currently on normal operations. Obviously things are going to change very rapidly but that is how things stand as of now.
LEMON: So mercy Miami hospital evacuating its 200 patients tonight. Will you take some of those patients in?
BRACKIN: Mercy hospital is relatively near our facilities in Miami. So we've started to receive patients from there at our Baptist hospitals and south Miami and probably take some into doctor's hospitals and choral gables as well.
LEMON: Tell us more about your plans. When do things start to ramp up for you?
BRACKIN: Things have been in the keys particular the last couple of days have been very tense and difficult. We have two hospitals in the Florida Keys. The furthest south is in marathon fisherman's hospital. Which is currently open. We moved the last patient out this morning. We intend to have it open throughout the night. We're going to close it first thing in the morning about 7:00 a.m. The staff will evacuate at that point. We'll move some of them up to mariner's hospital in Key Largo. Key Largo hospital will be open until about 7:00 p.m. We will -- we moved the last two patients out this evening to Miami. And the staff will maintain the E.D. there until about 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night and they'll be evacuated out.
LEMON: You know these things happen in phases, right? So what do hospitals in south Florida -- what do they learn? It happens in phases. What happens after the storm? Are you prepared for that?
BRACKIN: You're absolutely right. One of the things we have experience with are these big storms. I was the CEO of homestead hospital in hurricane Andrew. A lot of our staff were veterans of that storm. So dealing with the aftermath is absolutely something that most people are not prepared for. The economy takes a hit, housing stock takes a hit. It does become difficult to operate but I think we're in as good a shape as you could be in facing down a monster storm over a big geography like this.
LEMON: Wayne Brackin, thank you. Best of luck. We'll check back. Ok.
BRACKIN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: All right of course Florida's home to many senior citizens and I want to bring in now Linda Chamberlain owner of easy living. You, as I understand you own a home care, assisted living company for the elderly. How are you preparing tonight?
LINDA CHAMBERLAIN, OWNER EASY LIVING: We've been working the last two days contacting each of our clients as well as their family members to make sure more than a plan in place, evacuation, if at all possible. We have had some families fly in and take their families back up north with them for those clients that are unable -- not so much unable to evacuate but prefer not to, we're making sure they're registered with special needs shelters and helping them pack their bags, get their medication and when we say pack your bags, you have to remember there is no bedding included in the special needs shelter. You need to bring your snacks, medications. And if you do have any particular things like oxygen needs, you need to bring all of the apparatuses that go along with that, even though oxygen will be provided at the special needs shelter.
LEMON: Are you surprised for people who don't want to go, I'm surprised. Does that surprise you?
[23:20:00] CHAMBERLAIN: No. It's the same battle that families go through all the time when perhaps they feel like mom or dad aren't safe at home and assisted living would be the right choice and they say I think I'll stay at home for now. We still hear that even with the threat of the storm. The other thing many of our clients are living in nursing homes and we have reached out to all of our families to make sure that they understand where their loved one may be evacuated to in case the facility is in a non-evacuation zone. One of the side effects of Katrina was not being able to find their loved ones.
LEMON: We were talking before we came out of the commercial break. You said this one feels different.
CHAMBERLAIN: It feels different because it's so big and even if we do not get that direct hit on the west coast of Florida where we're located, we will feel side effects from it. We're going to be effected by wind. It does not take much rain for us to have flooding, which means whatever street you're on you may or may not be able to get out. The best thing is if you are going to stay at home and you're fragile or have issues, you need to make sure you have registered with the special needs shelter, because the firefighters will come to your home and will check in on you and again encourage you to relocate to safety.
LEMON: Linda Chamberlain down in Tampa. Thank you. Good luck.
CHAMBERLAIN: Oh, thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, hurricane Irma slamming in to Puerto Rico devastating some neighborhoods and we're going to speak to people on the ground sheltering through the storm there.
[23:26:28] LEMON: Breaking News Hurricane Irma taking aim after Florida slamming through the Caribbean. 37 million people could be affected. I want to bring in Tom Sater in the weather center. Tom, welcome back. We got a forecast a little while ago. As I said up to 37 million people could be effected by this. A once in a generation event. Do we know when it's going to come ashore and where it's heading and when it's going to come?
SATER: I think we need maybe one or two more days to really definitively nail this but I'm pretty much amazed as how the models have been handling this. I mean from last Friday we had an idea of where the system is going, the models had been extraordinary agreement. You have to recall too that the U.S. went through 12 years of a drought without a major hurricane making land fall and a major hurricane is three, four, and five. Then we had had Harvey. That was enough for a generation alone. This system seems to be a lot faster. Remember Harvey's problem was you could outwalk it. At least this is moving at 16. It's not about a big rain maker, it's about winds with this system and storm surge as it approached parts of the southeastern U.S. and Florida.
Great news for Puerto Rico. Got a little storm surge but most of the activity and the energy stayed off shore by about 50 miles. And the difference in the last 24 hours, a shift of about 60 miles and maybe 20 more. Its trending eastward which is good news for those wondering could this get into the Gulf of Mexico? And it could but that window is shutting a little bit. The problem is now from around Miami towards Wilmington, this is the zone of big time problems ahead. But let's not forget about evacuations. This map here pretty much shows everybody in a color coded area where the tropical storm force winds will be by that day. You do not want to wait to evacuate from Miami on Sunday, because you'll be traveling through Sunday with tropical storm force winds. Think two days in advance.
Again we don't have much time. If you're going to be evacuating, you should do it on Friday so you can beat those winds. The massive wind field alone would swallow all of Florida with tropical storm force winds with border to border, coast to coast. Trending to the east but we need another day or two to definitively say is this going to make land fall in Miami or hug just along the coast like Matthew did last year and plow in to the Carolinas?
LEMON: Tom Sater, thank you, sir. I appreciate it. The government of Puerto Rico reporting significant damage from Hurricane Irma. And joining me now on the phone is Deborah Adam is a Houston resident vacationing in Puerto Rico. My goodness, what timing. What was the storm like and where are you? Deborah, you there?
DEBORAH ADAM, HOUSTON RESIDENT: Yes, I'm here. I'm actually at the Marriott hotel. We were moved down from the ninth floor to the fourth floor earlier today and we were told to come down to the lobby around 6:00 so that they could have everybody that is in the hotel to be in one place. So it was about 60 guests at the hotel during the time of the storm.
LEMON: And what's it like right now? What are you seeing?
ADAM: I have been outside. The streets are clear. It's no flooding and the Walgreens have reopened.
LEMON: Were you worried about - did you have to evacuate, have you tried to do that?
ADAM: Well, in the beginning of the storm I have an ocean view from my room and the current was really rough and the palm trees were bending and the visibility was very, very low. So yes, I was very concerned and worried. I kind of sit there and watched it until it was time to evacuate the room. LEMON: So as I understand you're from Houston and you weren't
effected personally by Harvey but a family member staying at your house, are they -- are you in touch with them? Are they concerned about you?
ADAM: Oh, yes, they're very concerned because of the amount of damages that was received in the Houston area behind hurricane Harvey. I have actually five displaced families that are living in my home right now because Harvey took theirs.
LEMON: And I also understand another one of your friends lost everything in Katrina. She is with you in Puerto Rico. How is she dealing with this?
ADAM: She is not doing good as we are because we really go through a Katrina. But she was very fearful of being here through Katrina, through Harvey. Now Irma. But when we got the text that we will be leaving on Friday on time, she is happy now.
LEMON: Thank you very much and be safe, Deborah Adams. A Houston resident vacationing in Puerto Rico. I want to bring you a Randy Towe a Florida Keys resident and business owner and he joins me by the phone. Randy hello to you. How are you doing?
RANDY TOWE, FLORIDA KEYS RESIDENT: Doing pretty good down here. We're all prepared and kind of waiting to see if it's going to keep shifting to the east or if it's going to come right up U.S. 1 and the big decision is if you stay or you don't.
LEMON: Are you going to ride it out? What is your decision? Do you know?
TOWE: We're ready to go and our plan is to leave if we have to Friday morning real early but it's -- what you have to be concerned with, you don't want to leave an area like this and get caught up with it halfway up the state and sometimes the keys are the best places to be because it will veer to the east and it ends up where we have heavy winds or maybe a category one at the worst. But a 4 or 5 a lot of my friends are leaving but there's probably as many that plan on staying.
LEMON: Ok. So the deciding factor? It just depends on the track it's going to take? You're going to wake up and say I better get out of here? You are not worried that it's going to be too late?
TOWE: All the preparation's done. Everything is ready to go and like I said the track today veered more to the east. If tomorrow it goes to the east a little more and that eye is coming off the coast of Florida, you know, for us we're better off just to stay put and a lot of people are just keeping an eye on that. You hate to evacuate, get up to a safe haven you think you're going to be ok and something goes wrong and it goes inland say Jacksonville or somewhere up there and you got bigger problem.
LEMON: You were there for Andrew and say you learned a lot from that.
TOWE: We learned just how devastating a category 5 storm can be and what wind damage truly looks like when you see it firsthand. The TVs and the pictures really don't do justice until you've actually seen it in front of you and it makes you think and after you talk to enough people who say they would never go through it again, you got to take their experience and use it to your benefit in a situation like this. This is a bad storm, very powerful and it can really do a lot of damage if we were to get a direct hit.
LEMON: I'd feel better if you left Randy. I got to be honest with you.
TOWE: Well, we're ready to go and if it's going to be -- I have the whole family together.
LEMON: How many people?
TOWE: I got three daughters and two grandchildren and my wife. So we're all geared up and loaded up if that is what we're going to do, we're ready to go.
LEMON: It will be a nice vacation at the end. Take them somewhere and get out of there. Good luck to you. When we come back this monster storm taking aim at Florida after slamming the Caribbean. I'm going to talk to some of the people helping to pick up the pieces on those devastated islands.
[23:39:16] LEMON: Hurricane Irma causing catastrophic damage across the Caribbean. Prime Minister of the tiny island calling the destruction unprecedented and saying as many as 95 percent of structures were damaged. Joining me on the phone is Ronald Jackson, he is an executive Director of the Caribbean disaster and emergency management agency. Ronald thank you so much for joining us. You're following the destruction in the Caribbean from hurricane Irma. What's going on?
RONALD JACKSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CARIBBEAN DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Good evening Dom, essentially we started with reports. The storm simply because it was on the southern side with bar Buddha as you just reported that has damage the 95 percent of the building and one casualty. It moved from there and it also impacted - we have one fatality as well and damage to a level of critical facilities, police station, emergency shelters, -- and in the British virgin island we also have significant report of damage to private businesses, supermarkets, critical facilities, operational facilities that are coordinating this emergency, utilities but quite significant and sense in damage in several of the Caribbean territories and the English Caribbean side, and the Dutch and French Caribbean side significant flooding, significant infrastructure damage. In the eyes of Irma were badly impacted. Were felt pretty well.
LEMON: I just want to play -- if we can cue up the storm hitting St. Martin. In the interim I'm going to ask you, you said 95 percent of the structures damaged. And you're looking at this video. Listen to this by the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean it sounds literally like a freight train hitting and that what s cause the damage. Where do you start when you look at this video?
JACKSON: I think one of the first things you want to do is look that potential for moving individuals off that smaller island to the main island, which is Montego and especially out of the fact that you see Jose, hurricane Jose pretty much along a similar path of Irma. The first thing is let's move the individuals we can move off the island. Damage as well as the severe impact. While they may be able to be occupied with the -- what is coming that would impact on the facilities, infrastructure, utilities. That is where we would start. How long it will take -- people safety will be first in line.
LEMON: I spoke to someone else who is in Barbuda toured some of the damage said people were tying themselves to their homes to stay safe. Did you hear stories like that?
JACKSON: No. We didn't get that particular feedback from out of the islands. We would be monitoring more around the damage itself. The impact on whether there were people displaced and in shelters, rescue efforts, etc. But we didn't get any reports of people trying to tie themselves to the home. I know from some reports that they were good conditions in some of the islands that seem to be forcing into homes and people trying to keep the water out. And so forth. But nothing of the nature that you described.
LEMON: Unbelievable. We wish you the best. Ronald Jackson Executive Director of the Caribbean and disaster and emergency management agency. Thank you so much, sir.
JACKSON: You are welcome.
LEMON: I want to turn to national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem former Homeland Security official. These stories are horrific, Julia.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes and as the previous speaker just said there's two other hurricanes behind it, at least one they're worried about is Jose. I do want to put good news on it. We're not getting the full numbers of fatalities. But at least the emergency manager said there's only been one. We judge success by casualty rates. So these are numbers that effect some of the planning that went on. When I look at what happened to Florida, it is the number I will be looking at as we did in Houston to judge success or failures is how many lives can you protect?
[23:45:14] It's the most important thing and the most important thing that should animate people in Florida right now. I need to take this opportunity to remind people that Florida -- the local Florida emergency management agencies are the ones who are going to know what's important and not for you to do. So there's lots of screening on twitter and Facebook about everyone needing to evacuate and Rush Limbaugh saying everyone is over reacting. Just listen to your local emergency management agencies. They know what to anticipate and when to anticipate. Telling everyone to evacuate is not helpful in that regard. You don't want them to evacuate where the hurricane is about to hit.
LEMON: The hurricane could slam into keys in Miami, the coast travelled north until it hits Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina. How much damage could Irma cause and is there any way to really be ready for a storm like this?
KAYYEM: There is no way to be perfectly ready for a storm like this, we talk about in homeland security, minimizing the destruction. That is how you judge success. Would this have been worse but for the planning that is in place? So we have to anticipate major damage to infrastructure, houses and other places like that. What you're trying to minimize is the loss of life. That is why there are the directed or targeted evacuations. We're going to focus on those who are unable to move, those with disabilities. But we don't know exactly the extent of the harm. But once again let's get through the next 48 to 72 hours. Then the recovery should focus of course on infrastructure and other issues like that.
There's been the question of capacity to deal with. Look, FEMA's divided into regions. Fortunately to put it that way Irma is hitting a different FEMA region than the Houston. So region four and region six was Houston. So that is good news from the availability of resources. People will be more rested because we worry about emergency managers and first responders being over rot by the hurricanes. So that is some silver lining and they've been prepared, moving assets over the last 72 hours. Coast guard is ready. So that is what we're doing. The government's prepositioning for what it doesn't know can happen but I come on your show often trying to minimize calm and get people to be calm about various threats out there. This one is different. Maybe it's the worst or second worst or I'll let meteorologists define that. But this one, given how big it is and where it's likely to hit and the capacity for harm during the hurricane and then of course flooding and surges after wards. People need to take this very seriously. This is not just hype right now.
LEMON: Julia Kayyem, well spoken, well said. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back Republican saying to president blindsided Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan by making a deal with Democrats today. Also not impressing them. Ivanka Trump, stop by during their intense meeting.
[23:52:31] LEMON: Telling congress today it so political ads during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to a so-called Russian troll farm that was looking to target American voters. Let's discuss now, CNN Political Contributor Michael Nutter is here and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart joins us as well, Good evening to both of you. So glad to have you on, Michael what do you make of this, is it more evidence of Russian meddling in the election?
MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER PHILADELPHIA MAYOR: That it is, every week it seems there is more drip, drip, drip of the investigation, e-mails going back and forth. Meetings that we didn't know about. Attempts to contact high ranking Russian officials, including apparently even the President, Putin, and so this is going to be a long-term investigation. There are a lot of components to it. And at the end I think it's not going to be a good outcome for the President and a number of people around him.
LEMON: Still yet to be -- it's not finished. The investigation is still far from over. So Alice, listen, Donald Trump Jr. is set to take part in a staff level interview tomorrow. The Russian investigation still hanging over in this administration, what are you expecting?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, hopefully we get some answers here so we can begin the process of putting this behind us. Look, it's important from the administration's standpoint if they say there is no there, there, then let's get it all out there and put it behind us. I think with regard to the Facebook ads I think the important thing to know is that Russia has meddled in the election that is pretty clear. We also know that Adam Schiff said today they used social media to also get their message out. And I think it's good that Facebook came forward with information that they have. The question is knowing that they did use geo targeting to specific key battleground states, did they have any help through the campaign? Who possibly helped them to get this geo targeting information in order to get the message out? And that is the crux of this investigation. I think with regard to what Facebook has to do. Because did they get help from one of the campaigns? And if so was it the Donald Trump campaign? We don't know that. That is part of the investigation, but if that is the case then there is serious problems. But it is under investigation, and let's see where things lead.
[23:55:00] LEMON: I want to put up this picture, let's look at this picture in the oval office today. This is the President with some of the -- what do you call them -- like crying Chuck or something like that. And you can show -- every name in the book that he has called Chuck. But apparently they were buddy, buddy today. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, apparently got the deal of the century, and blindsided Republicans. What did you make of this deal?
NUTTER: Well, great deal, from the two leaders on the Democratic side -- funding --
LEMON: Well, raising the debt ceiling.
NUTTER: I mean three ultimately very serious pieces of legislative business. Getting money moving forward for the victims of Harvey. Continuing spending legislation as well as raising the debt ceiling. So all very serious, all very important. The issue on -- that is policy, politics, the issue of course was timing. The Republicans clearly wanting to push all of that activity past the elections. Democrats were not hearing it. And these are the kind of matters that really do need 60 votes.
LEMON: All right, Alice, real quick and I am overtime, what do you think of this for Republican, for your party?
STEWART: Clearly, the President needs a significant legislative accomplishment and today he really doesn't have that and he blames it all on speaker Ryan, and Mitch McConnell, and he is saying if they can't help me out, let's see where this goes.
LEMON: We got to run, I am surprise the next show is not coming like run my neck, because I went over to their show. Thank you very much, I'll see I right back here tomorrow. Good night.