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Trump: No Mixed Signals on "Dreamer" Decision; Trump Bucks GOP, Sides with Democrats on Raising Debt Ceiling; Cat-5 Hurricane Irma Barrels Towards Florida; Nunes Threatens Jail for Sessions, Wray over Russia Dossier; Susan Rice Met with House Intel Committee. Aired 2:30- 3p ET
Aired September 6, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: What good is being on the board if, as you put it -- what good is being on the board if some of your parishioners are deported?
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PASTOR & CEO, BILLY GRAHAM EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION & SAMARITAN'S PURSE: If you're not at the table, you can't argue the point. Now, if he chooses not to listen, he chooses not to listen. But you know, you don't resign from a board -- at least I don't -- every time somebody does something you don't agree with. The president has done several things that I didn't agree with, but I can't influence that world if I'm not in it. And I didn't ask other pastors who served on President Obama's board to resign. I wanted them there when he did things that I didn't appreciate or like on several issues. I didn't want them to resign. I wanted them to stay there. I wanted my friend, T.D. Jakes, to be at the table, giving counsel, praying for that president.
KEILAR: Well, Pastor Franklin Graham, we are going to be checking in with you here in the coming months to see how things are going. We certainly appreciate you making the time for us.
GRAHAM: Thank you so much.
KEILAR: Next, into the eye of the storm. Hurricane Irma is barreling toward the U.S., packing winds around 185 miles per hour right now. Sustained. We're not talking gusts. Those are sustained winds. Ands and I'm going to speak live with a storm chaser who's about to fly right into the center of this hurricane.
[14:35:42] SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We have had many discussions about how to go forward. We have this emergency created by Harvey and Irma, which must be addressed this week. We have the debt ceiling expiring because there's more borrowing the secretary of the Treasury needs to do than the current debt ceiling allows him. If this isn't the definition of an emergency, I don't know what is. We, in the meeting down at the White House, as I indicated, the president agreed with Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Pelosi to do a three-month C.R. and a debt ceiling into December, and that's what I will be offering, based on the president's decision to the bill. And then we'll try to get 60 votes and move forward.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do Republicans get out of this?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were you surprised that the president sided with Democrats and against the longer-term measure that Republicans are seeking?
MCCONNELL: The president can speak for himself but his feeling was that we needed to come together, to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis, and that was the rationale, I'm confident, for his decision to agree to what I'm going to be offering.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator McConnell --
KEILAR: And joining me now is CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins.
Kaitlan, give us the detail of this deal that the president struck on the debt ceiling.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it's pretty remarkable here, Brianna. We're seeing the president essentially rebuke his own party and side with the Democrats here. We see him today. He said he's agreed to this Democratic proposal to tie the funding for the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Texas and Louisiana to this three-month increase for the debt limit, and essentially, the president is going what they had suggested. He said he "agreed with Chuck and Nancy," referring to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. And we're hearing from Republican officials who are familiar with what happened in that meeting today. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, were in the room and apparently they were pretty stunned by what had happened with the president. A Republican official told our Jeff Zeleny that the president was in deal-cutting mode today and that he was sick of the fight. But what's safe to say here is that the debt limit is just going to become another problem later on this year, and we're essentially seeing the president give Democrats what they wanted.
KEILAR: And let's listen to what the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said, reacting to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: OK. I'm proud here to be with my colleagues in our leadership team, Senator Durbin, Senator Murray, Senator Stabenow. Earlier today, we had a very productive meeting. In that meeting, we agreed to pass aid for Harvey, a continuing resolution, and an increase in the debt ceiling, both of those until December 15th. This is a really positive step forward. It will work to quickly provide aid to those hurt by Harvey. It will avoid default, and it will fund the government, avoiding a shutdown. And we all agreed we'd work together in December as well to avoid a default. So, it was a really good moment of some bipartisanship --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:39:23] KEILAR: A very good moment of bipartisanship there, Kaitlan, what Chuck Schumer is saying. I think the face of Mitch McConnell said it all. He felt blindsided by this. But he said the president speaks for himself.
Kaitlan Collins, in North Dakota, thank you so much.
Now, Hurricane Irma right now is barreling toward the U.S. It's packing winds around 185 miles per hour, sustained winds. This storm is prompting evacuations in the Florida Keys. There's emergency planning going on right now across Florida. Take a look at the latest satellite imagery of what is one of the strongest hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, period, in history. This is a storm, Irma, that is massive. It is a very strong category 5 hurricane.
And then just take a look at the devastation that this inflicted on this harbor on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Irma also wreaked havoc on Barbuda as well as Anguilla.
And this is the current projected path, I should say, over the next five days here. Right now, it's got its sights set on Florida's east coast.
And we have AccuWeather storm chaser, Reed Timmer, joining us live from Savannah, Georgia, to talk about this.
Reed, I understand you're going to follow Irma along the east coast. What are your concerns about tracking what is a very strong storm of potentially historically strong storm as it hits the U.S.?
REED TIMMER, ACCUWEATHER STORM CHASER: Well, certainly, is the most intimidating storms on the planet, the category 5 hurricane. This one's a 5, with 185-mile-per-hour sustained winds. I do have my vehicle loaded up with gas. I've got 25 gallons of gas in there, enough food to survive for weeks if I have to. I also have a tornado probe in the back, too, that we normally deploy in the path of tornados and allow the tornado to move over it, records wind speed and the pressure ball inside, but we have outfitted it for hurricanes, deployed it in Hurricane Harvey down in Rockport, Texas. And now I'm planning on deploying this in the path of Hurricane Irma. But the key with a storm like this is you want to be prepared. As a storm chaser, I want to find a concrete structure, maybe a parking garage, and stay above that storm surge level. I'll be monitoring the track continuously so see how that shifts but I am trying to head toward Miami and I will be arriving there by this afternoon or evening and I'll go from there.
KEILAR: So, Reed, you have Florida Senator bill nelson comparing Irma to Hurricane Andrew, just a devastating hurricane. And he's doing that in part because of its similar path. You had the south of Florida that was just taken over by Andrew in 1992. There's a lot of improvements to construction standards that have happened since then but do you think that Florida's going to be ready for Andrew-like storm this time?
TIMMER: I think it's dangerous to compare any storm because the storms and their impacts are very different. This one's very different from Andrew as well. It is expected to make a northward turn near the north shore of Cuba later on and that timing is very critical. The models have been shifting a little bit east of the northward turn recently, now taking it up the very eastern shore of Florida, which would be a worst-case scenario because you'd have a very strong major hurricane moving north parallel to the shore, a deadly storm surge, especially if you're below those lower -- closer to sea level. They have to be very careful when you're chasing this and it could be the worst-case scenario if it does turn north and head up right along the coast. Then you've had a much more widespread impact than previous storms in Florida.
KEILAR: Yes, all the way up the coast, potentially. We'll keep an eye on it with you.
Reed Timmer, good luck on this journey as you document this. We appreciate your time.
Breaking today, Donald Trump Jr is scheduled to be questioned on his role in the infamous meeting at Trump Tower. I'll be speaking with a member of the House Intelligence Committee, next.
[14:47:18] KEILAR: There's a clash developing over the different Russia investigations under way by two government groups. In this case, it's the House versus the FBI, as both look into any possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. California Congressman Devin Nunes is threatening to put Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray behind bars for not complying with his order. Remember, Nunes had supposedly stepped aside, but now he has threatened to hold Sessions and Wray in contempt for not handing over documents about that much-talked-about Russia dossier. This is a dossier that you may recall was an explosive report by a former British spy, Christopher Steele. It contained unverified claims that Russian operatives had compromising personal information on then- candidate Trump.
Joining me now is a Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mike Quigley.
Congressman, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today.
And I just want to know, right off the top, what's your reaction to this letter?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY, (D-IL), MEMBER, HOUSE PREMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: Yes, it's extraordinarily unfortunate. This is the most important investigation in our lifetime, certainly of the White House. Perhaps more important than Watergate. It is our standard practice to try to act on a bipartisan basis. It's never been more important than an investigation like this, and to see a confrontational act like this is disappointing, to say the least.
KEILAR: So disappointing to say the least. We heard from Congressman Gowdy, who of course is a Republican member of the committee that you're on. He talked to the "Washington Examiner" about this and why he wants these documents. He said, "I want to know the extent to which it was relied upon if at all by any of our intelligence agencies or federal law enforcement agencies. And to the extent it was relied upon, how did they vet or either corroborate or contradict the information in it."
Is that your perception of what Congressman Nunes is seeking here? Is that the reason that you understand he's looking for this information?
QUIGLEY: That's the reason I hear from them. What I actually perceive when I hear that is their attempt to discredit Christopher Steele. Rather than doing our due diligence to see if, in fact, the dossier is accurate or not. And if you want information, there's a standard practice here. You first seek voluntary compliance and you do so on a bipartisan basis. If that doesn't work, then with advising consent from the minority, you go forward with the subpoena. But we have committed to working with the Justice Department to coordinate with them on these three investigations. That coordination is especially important now. When you go to a confrontational mode first, it makes it far more difficult for further cooperation to exist.
[14:50:13] KEILAR: Is it fair, though, for Congress or in this case Republicans, obviously, since they don't have Democratic support in this, to look into Christopher Steele and this dossier. Some of the things in it are, as far as we can tell, unfounded. Many of them are controversial. Is it fair to look into that and to see if the FBI relied heavily on this or looked into this? What would the problem be with looking into these allegations?
QUIGLEY: I think it's valuable for us to do our due diligence to see if the dossier is accurate. I've never been made aware of anything about it that is inaccurate. But I think you let the investigation take its course. To jump in now, again, on a confrontational tact makes absolutely no sense. I think our commitment was to work with the Mueller investigation and to provide assistance when we can, not accuse them of things as my Republican colleagues are at this point.
KEILAR: Do you generally feel like Republicans are cooperating with special counsel?
QUIGLEY: Look, I think we had a good situation set up with Mr. Schiff and Mr. Conaway working on our side with the Justice Department, with Mr. Mueller. I thought we had an understanding that we were going to coordinate and I applaud their work. This is a tact in the opposite direction. It's not going to help any of the investigations.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about what appears to be a conflict that has come up. Paul Manafort, former chief of Donald Trump's campaign, one of them, the second to last, he has spoken, of course, to Senate investigators. There's a transcript of that discussion. But it appears his lawyers -- or we know that his lawyers are saying, no, that the FBI cannot access this, that Special Counsel Robert Mueller can't have access to this. What do you think about that?
QUIGLEY: It's another element in the same problem. The Senate investigation, the House investigation, and the Justice Department investigation have to be coordinated. If there is a big problem with these efforts from the very beginning, is that there was no understanding that the Senate and the House were going to work together. Frankly, I think there should just be one congressional investigation. You start to see the fissures that exist when you don't have that agreement, that cooperation, that coordination. You have conflicts like this. We have to understand that the single purpose of this is far more important than the egos or the conflicts that might exist between branches of government and the House and the Senate.
# The former national security adviser, Susan Rice, testified before your committee today. I know some of it -- you certainly can't tell us what she said. But coming out of that, what were your, I guess, impressions about what she said? Were new questions raised? Were your questions answered?
QUIGLEY: Yes, I can't talk about what she talked about. I can say that she's an important witness, and I thought she did an excellent job. She's only one of a long series of witnesses that we have to question.
KEILAR: Did you learn anything new, though? Was there anything that surprised you or anything that shed light on something you weren't previously aware of?
QUIGLEY: I think it's important to put it in this context. I think the majority is attempting to use the issues of masking and unmasking as an attempt to deflect from the core purpose of this investigation. So, it's my sense that that's why the majority wanted her there, but I can't talk about much in specifics as to what she testified to.
KEILAR: Yes, we do understand that.
All right, Congressman Mike Quigley, of the Intel Committee on the House side, thank you, sir.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
[14:54:03] KEILAR: Floridians are keeping a very close eye on Irma. It's, of course, the state that could feel the effects as early as this weekend. We'll have a fresh update on the storms track in minutes.
Plus, we have more breaking news. President Trump making a stunning move, siding with Democrats over the debt ceiling debate, and completely bucking his very own party, much to their surprise. We'll have details ahead.
KEILAR: Top of the hour. I'm Brianna Keilar.
And we are beginning with Hurricane Irma, which is one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history, roaring through the Caribbean as we speak. The current forecast puts it on a collision course with Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That's what Irma looked like and sounded like as it tore like a freight train through St. Martin.
And while it's still too early to tell how exactly this will impact the U.S., both Florida and Puerto Rico are declared states of emergency right now.
Here's Florida Governor Rick Scott. He's issuing an ominous warning just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SCOTT, (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Storm surge and extreme winds are the biggest concern right now. The storm is bigger, faster, and stronger than Hurricane Andrew. We are being very aggressive in our preparation for this storm. And every Floridian should take this seriously and be aggressive to protect their family. If you're told to evacuate, get out quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:59:54] KEILAR: These are the images of the massive storm from space. Right now, it's bringing staggering wind gusts of up to 185 miles per hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There's a new and seems to be record-breaking hurricane heading right towards Florida and Puerto Rico and other places. And we'll see what happens. We'll know --