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Hurricane Irma "Potentially Catastrophic" Storm; Trump Leaves Door Open for DREAMers; MLB: Red Sox Used Electronics to Steal Signs. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2017 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: The president continues to push for tax reform, something investors have been cheering since the election. This meeting of the minds taking place at the White House yesterday. President Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, economic advisor Gary Cohn, one as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Now, Trump is slated to meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers today and then President Trump is going to fly off to North Dakota today to continue his push for tax reform. And the administration is saying they want a bipartisan tax reform proposal, but so far, talks have only been in Republican circles. So --

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: They've got a lot on their plate.

All right. A major update on Hurricane Irma when EARLY START continues right now.


BRIGGS: Hurricane Irma is churning through the Caribbean. U.S. territory set to get hammered by one of the strongest storms ever. Now, a new update from the National Hurricane Center shows Irma could hit Florida head on.

KOSIK: Just hours after his administration ended the program to protect DREAMers, President Trump says he now may revisit the issue. What's the next move for Congress?

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik, sitting in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It's Wednesday, September 6th. It's 5:00 a.m. in Miami and Puerto Rico where there are concerns about this monster storm on the way.

That's where we begin, with Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in a decade, hitting the Caribbean with an eye on the United States. Right now, Irma, a category 5 hurricane, packing 185-mile-an- hour winds and the latest update shows Irma could hit Florida head on this weekend.

KOSIK: President Trump declaring emergencies for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with storm preparations. We're going to have the full hurricane forecast in a moment.

BRIGGS: Now, the most immediate concern is for people in the north eastern Caribbean. Overnight, a 36-hour curfew was issued for the entire territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

KOSIK: And the biggest evacuation in history, in the history of the Bahamas has been ordered. Residents of six southern islands have been told to evacuate. The potentially catastrophic storm bearing down overnight on the northern Leeward Islands. Those islands are under hurricane warnings as are other areas including Puerto Rico.

BRIGGS: Several South Florida counties are operating in emergency mode hoping for the best, but indeed preparing for the worst when and if Hurricane Irma hits. The mayor of Miami-Dade County signing an emergency declaration. They'll start evacuating special needs residents today. All county offices along with schools will be closed Thursday and Friday. Officials also expected to issue evacuation orders for Miami Beach later today or early Thursday.

KOSIK: Neighboring Broward County is planning to set up dozens of shelters that will be able to accommodate as many as 33,000 people. Broward schools will also be closed on Thursday and Friday. And in Monroe county, that's home to Key West, there's been a mandatory evacuation of visitors, tourists and nonresidents, that taking effect in just a few hours at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The evacuation of residents, that begins tonight at 7:00.

BRIGGS: Florida Governor Rick Scott ordering the deployment of 7,000 National Guard members, 1,000 high water vehicles, more than 700 generators on stand by. The governor suspending tolls across the state, allowing people to more easily and safely evacuate. More than 5,000 people based at Naval Air Station Key West have received mandatory evacuation orders.

KOSIK: Meantime, Florida residents are stocking up on storm supplies. You look at aisles there at some stores. They've been left bare by the mad rush. Lines of people wrapped around the Costco and Pembroke Pines. They stocked on fuel, water and materials to protect their homes.

And NFL's opening week has been impacted. The Miami Dolphins home opener for Sunday has been postponed.

BRIGGS: They might find a neutral field for that.

Let's get the latest track on the storm, with meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

Pedram, what's the update from the National Hurricane Center?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, the update just coming in here, changing the track a little bit here and you want to break this down because you look at this, and a lot of people tend to really focus on the center of that track, really important to not do that and to keep in mind that even the western periphery could be a possible point of this storm, or the eastern periphery could be a possible point of this storm.

But you can break down model by model and see exactly which one it is favoring and we go through that and you notice, here we go, the concentration very strong belief around Cuba sometime Friday night into early Saturday morning. But beyond that, look what happens, we have a high concentration shifting more toward eastern Florida. In fact, when you break this down based on these models, I would even venture to say this could skirt the coast of Florida, potentially making the hardest point a second impact on portion of the Bahamas and then go somewhere north in towards parts of Georgia, into the Carolinas early next week.

[05:05:11] So, significant variations between all of that. Here is where we stand with one of the strongest hurricanes on record and into the Atlantic Ocean, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barts, 100,000 people in the direct path of this storm that has gusts well over 200 miles per hour. And with the storm surge, of course, in islands that are at essentially as flat as they come, just sandy beaches and very little elevation change. You know, most of these areas, that would be directly impacted by such a storm would be uninhabitable for a period of weeks, if not months.

So, breaking down this further, looking at the American model and also the European model, the European in blue and American in red. Notice the incredible confidence in where this would be going into Friday and Saturday. Directly on top of one another so we think parts of Cuba could be in line for this storm system.

But at the turn, still a lot of confidence in here. So this has changed in the last 24 hours. This time yesterday, one model was taking it back toward western Florida. Another one wanted to go to the east. Continue this going from Sunday into Monday. Just little difference on timing on where it would be.

But again, same general location potentially favoring the eastern side. And I leave you with this hear, looking at the specific models under the umbrella of those models and again, high concentration shifting it to the east. So, this could potentially put parts of eastern Florida on the outer bands of this and take it up toward the Carolinas. So, we'll continue to monitor this.

KOSIK: All right. That track just continues to change. We'll keep an eye on it with you. Thanks very much, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, President Trump says ending protections for DREAMers is necessary.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Really we have no choice. We have to be able to do something and I think it's going to work out very well and long-term, it's going to be the right solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: So, why then is the president now suggesting he may revisit the issue next year and legalize DACA?



[05:11:04] JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded.

We are people of compassion, and we are people of law, but there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.


BRIGGS: Less than ten hours after Attorney Jeff Sessions announced the termination of the program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, President Trump announced he was leaving the door open to reconsidering this decision.

Check out this shocking tweet from the president just before 9:00 Eastern Time. Congress now has six months to legalize DACA, something the Obama administration was unable to do. If they can't, I will revisit this issue.

BRIGGS: The administration claims it's dismantling the Obama era program that protects 800,000 DREAMers because it was created by executive order and is vulnerable to legal challenges.

Listen to what the president had to say.


TRUMP: I have a great heart for the folks we're talking -- a great love for them. And people think in terms of children but they're really young adults. I have a love for these people and hopefully, now, Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.


KOSIK: OK. Despite making that comment about his love for these people, White House talking points on Tuesday urged DREAMers to prepare for a, quote, departure from the United States.

President Obama sounding off on the decision. In his first comments directly addressing a decision by his successor, he calls it wrong, cruel, and self-defeating.

We haven't heard from President Obama really at all since he left office.

BRIGGS: No, this was the remark everyone was waiting for. This is the one issue that would make him speak out.

Let's bring in Tal Kopan. No one covers immigration better for us at CNN. CNN Digital politics reporter and we have great love for Tal Kopan as well.

KOSIK: Good morning, Tal.


BRIGGS: Tal, OK, they're on solid legal footing, by all legal scholars and it seemed like it was a legal argument. That's why you roll out Jeff Sessions. And then comes this late night tweet from the president that he would revisit this issue if they can't legalize DACA.

How does that undermine their entire position and where does this leave the 800,000 DREAMers here and Congress?

KOPAN: Well, Dave, undermine is the right word. You know, there are folks out there who are very supportive of DACA, but who also recognize that Congress really needs a good crisis in order to motivate it. And so, there are folks that didn't want to see DACA rescinded, but also understood that if you did sort of put Congress' feet to the fire and force the issue into their laps, there was a chance that they could legislate this and make it somewhat permanent and thus remove a little bit of this drama.

Now, this wiggle room just plants a seed of doubt in a lot of minds in members of Congress. They were quite content to let the administration take any flak on this from the parts of the Republican base that do have some issues with DACA, and so, now you have this equivocating, this -- it's very unclear what he actually means by revisit the issue, and once again, you know, keep in mind, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of real people who are very much in limbo, unsure what their future in the U.S. holds.

KOSIK: You know, Tal, I was reading your article on, very good article there. But, you know, you talked about why it was Jeff Sessions, why it was the attorney general who stepped before the mikes to talk about this decision and it wasn't Donald Trump and you said it was because of the president's aversion to announcing the decision himself.

So, are you saying that the president really wasn't all for this decision anyway and that his surprise tweet was really what he feels anyway, that he's going to come to the rescue in the end if Congress doesn't fix this?

KOPAN: Our reporting certainly indicates the president had a very hard time with this decision.

[05:15:00] And, in fact, you know, his press secretary said it herself, he wrestled with this. And certainly, you know, the proof is in the pudding to a certain extent. During the campaign trail, he certainly about ripping up DACA, but he came into office and started talking about how he understands and is sympathetic towards these young people and he kept it on the books. Really, the only reason that he felt he had to make this move is his hands were sort of forced by the states that issued an ultimatum that said if you don't go ahead and sunset this program, they will challenge it in court. That is why there's this argument that this was a legal decision

because the Department of Justice is the one that says whether or not they believe the program is defensible in court and certainly there are folks on the left who believe this program may be constitutional, but the court situation it found itself in was very unfriendly and that made it a lot shakier than perhaps it could have been in some other courts.

BRIGGS: Right. President Obama had said himself, this was a temporary stop gap, not a permanent solution, but now, Congress has left bewilders like the rest of the country.

Marco Rubio had this statement. It's important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign. We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won't sign.

Sarah Sanders said yesterday or at least hinted that he would not sign a clean DACA legalization.

What is Congress to work on right now?

KOPAN: That's the million dollar question. And you're seeing a couple things as evidenced in that Marco Rubio statement. One, Congress doesn't want this hot potato. They don't want to be blamed if DACA does end and they don't act and these young people who in many cases have not known another country, who are contributing to their communities, the business community has rallied around them, Congress doesn't want the blame if that falls apart. So, part of this is trying to put the onus back on Trump.

But it's also indicative of a larger issue. You know, most presidents understand the soft power that the White House can exert over members of Congress and sort of say, you know, this is the plan I want to see enacted, let's make it happen. And that everyone sort of knows they're on the same page and we've already seen this year with the health care debate now with tax reform, the White House doesn't really know how to play that game in Washington and how to encourage a particular viewpoint, and members of Congress are getting frustrated and you're seeing it in these statements saying, no, we need you to lead, we need you to tell us what you're willing to do on this issue.

BRIGGS: Right.

KOSIK: So, Congress doesn't want this hot potato, but they do have it now. It's been punted their way. They're going to have to make a decision one way or the other.

The question to you though is, can they do it? They've got six months. They haven't really done much else but can they do this? Can they fix DACA in time?

KOPAN: You know, I have a hard time answering that question because I've covered Congress long enough to know that both that sometimes at the last minute they complete that Hail Mary pass and you're sort of amazed that they were able to do it. Other times, they don't. And you know, like I said earlier, Congress works best when there's a

good crisis hanging over them. You know, another immigration reporter that works in Washington keeps calling it an immigration cliff. They love these cliffs.

But you know, we don't know at this point. It's certainly possible that a deal could come together and to the last point of calling on the president to issue some sort of statement about what he would sign, that would also give Republicans a lot of cover with their base if Trump came out and actually endorsed some sort of immigration compromise and said, you know, this actually does execute some of my vision and I stand behind this. That would really take the pressure off some Republicans who feel that this is a particularly tough vote for them, and allows them to stand with the president.

So, those factors are all at play and there's always some sort of must pass bill that Congress can attach things to. But -- I mean, right now, I can't give it better than 50/50 odds.


KOSIK: All right.

BRIGGS: Politics of this, a hot mess.

Tal Kopan, thanks so much. We'll talk to you in about 30 minutes.

KOSIK: You'll see you in a bit.

KOPAN: Thank you.

KOSIK: And the decision to end DACA also has some serious economic consequences. Experts say repealing it would worsen the shortage of workers in the United States.

A survey of DREAMers by the left-leaning National Immigration Law Center finds that 75 percent are employed and their average wage is $17 an hour. Their median age is 22 years old so that means most are primed for careers, for jobs and incomes for their foreseeable future. So they contribute to the U.S. economy.

Unemployment rate is super low at 4.4 percent and what that shows is that people are finding work especially at lower incomes. Aside from stagnant wages the biggest problem in the labor market is a lack of skilled workers.

[05:20:02] And right now, there are a record 6.2 million job openings in the U.S., experts say that number will likely increase if dreamers are taken out of the labor market. The problem is that employers can't find workers with the right skills and it spans multiple industries -- everything from technology to trucking, farming to tourism.

BRIGGS: All right. The Boston Red Sox admitting they cheated against the New York Yankees. How did they steal signs?

Coy Wire has all the answers this morning on your "Bleacher Report" on his wrist.


BRIGGS: Once again, storms and sports intersecting.

[05:25:02] As Hurricane Irma gets close to the U.S., south Florida sports teams changing plans to deal with this monster storm.

KOSIK: And Coy Wire has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report". Good morning.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison and Dave.

Yesterday, we learned that the Dolphins will not host the Jaguars in Miami on Sunday as originally planned. The game will now either be played at a neutral site on Sunday or postponed until later in the season.

Now, the Miami Marlins, they have a long road trip which starts Thursday. So, they'll be away from the storm. But what about their families?

Team owner Jeffery Loria doesn't want his team to worry so he's paying for the families of players and coaches to travel here to Atlanta with the team.


DUSTIN MCGOWAN, MIAMI MARLINS PITCHER: Your family is first and foremost, their safety. So, for the team to kind of step up and take the initiative and get our families out of here with us is a big help and a lot less stuff for us to worry about.


WIRE: And quick note on that game for you there, the Dolphins are playing the Buccaneers.

Let's talk some tennis here. Venus Williams is rolling, 37 years old, advancing to the semifinals at the U.S. Open, now just one win away from reaching her third grand slam final of the season. That's something that Venus hasn't done in 15 years. She's chasing her third U.S. Open Title.

Venus is now going to play fellow American Sloan Stevens who missed nearly a year with a foot injury. Her mom was an all American swimmer. Dad was an NFL running back. Now, Sloane is back on her game. This is going to be the first time that two Americans have faced each other in a semifinal match at the U.S. Open since 2002.

An NFL arbitrator upheld Cowboys' running back Ezekiel Elliott's six- game suspension yesterday. This due to this alleged role in a domestic violence case. But the NFL is allowing Elliott to play on Sunday because of the late ruling of his appeal. Elliott is still seeking a temporary restraining order against the NFL in federal court that would allow him to stay on the field all season and the judge could rule on that as early as Friday.

The Boston Red Sox asks, how do you like them apples? Apple watch is that is.

The MLB has determined that the Red Sox developed a scheme to steal signs from the New York Yankees and other clubs using an Apple Watch. Staff would watch a catcher's hand signals using a camera feed, send the info to a player in the dugout who had an Apple Watch, who would then get the info to players on the field and eventually reveal to the batter what type of pitch would be thrown.

League commissioner Rob Manfred says that there is no ruling against sign stealing, but using electronic equipment to do so is a violation. He also said there has never been a penalty for such an infraction so likely this is a slap in the old wrist.


KOSIK: What a plan they had going.

BRIGGS: Slap on the wrist. Really good, man.

KOSIK: I'm amazed of the plan working out there. And they used the Apple Watch, something that Dave keeps on his wrist but never uses.

WIRE: Yes.

BRIGGS: But you know what? You outdid the tabloids with how about them apples? That's better than dirty socks. That's better than Boston tea party, Coy Wire.


BRIGGS: Well done.

WIRE: Oh, good stuff. I appreciate it. Getting my morning started off right. Hope you have a good one, too.

BRIGGS: Thank you, my friend.

KOSIK: Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: All right.

KOSIK: The president wants to end protections for DREAMers or does he? The late night tweet that could undercut his administration's announcement just hours earlier.

BRIGGS: And we're tracking hurricane Irma. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded. It's already wreaking havoc on U.S. territories. How much of a threat does it pose to Florida this weekend?