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Dems, Trump Reach Deal on DREAMers; Trump to Visit Hurricane- Damaged Areas in Florida. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired September 14, 2017 - 07:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... against Donald Trump.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic leaders and President Trump potentially reaching a deal on DREAMers that does not include funding a border wall.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, we want to come together to push. We're certainly happy to have that conversation.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we can do things in a bipartisan manner, that will be great. Now, it might not work out.


CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, September 14, 7 a.m. here in New York. Chris is in Florida where President Trump will survey the aftermath of Irma just hours from now.

But we begin with breaking news. President Trump is denying that he hatched a deal with Democratic leaders to protect the so-called DREAMers. In a series of tweets this morning, the president is reinforcing his feelings about DREAMers and insists that his border wall will continue to be built. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were touting a deal last night with Mr. Trump to protect the DREAMers from being deported in exchange for some border security enhancements but not the wall, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And the president saying in a tweet this morning by wall he means fixing what's there, adding to what's there. When you used to report that, Alisyn, the president called it fake news. Now he's owning it as a reality himself.

The big move for the president today is to come here to Florida. He's going to Ft. Myers. He's coming to where we are in Naples, and he is here to look at what Irma brought in Florida.

More than three million customers still without power in this state. The death toll, we knew it was going to rise, and it is. Seventy- seven lives taken by this storm now in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

But another development is that police were investigating the deaths of eight senior citizens found in sweltering conditions at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. The question is, was that because of the storm or how they were treating people there all along? It's a big investigation.

We have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns, live at the White House with this breaking news -- Joe.


The president, with what appeared to be at first is an agreement to agree on DACA. And then this morning just a flurry of tweets both clarifying and also a bit of stream of consciousness on the president's thinking on the issue.

Among them, he writes this morning, "There was no deal made last night on DACA. Massive security would have to be agreed to." He also seeks to allay concerns he is giving up on his wall. The wall is already under construction will continue to be built.

And then he talks about the DREAMers: "Does anyone really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?" He goes on, "They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own, brought in by their parents at a young age."


JOHNS (voice-over): Democratic leaders are hailing another agreement with President Trump to protect hundreds of thousands of DREAMers from being deported in exchange for beefed-up border security. Key details about the agreement are unknown, but we do know it does not include the president's controversial border wall.

House and Senate Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say, "We agree to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that's acceptable to both sides."

But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders disputes their characterization, tweeting, "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."

A senior administration official tells CNN the wall discussions were the same as the White House publicly suggested this week. The president will keep pushing for a wall, but it doesn't have to be part of this agreement.

The framework hashed out at a White House dinner over Chinese food with Pelosi and Schumer. They were joined by eight others to discuss tax reform, DACA and health care. Notably absent, the top Republicans in Congress: the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not also invite Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan?

SANDERS: Look, you've got the leader of the Republican Party sitting at the table. JOHNS: This potential deal on DREAMers comes after the president

infuriated his own party last week when he brokered a three-month deal to raise the debt ceiling and speed up relief funding for hurricane victims. But the president insists there's no reason to be skeptical.

TRUMP: More and more, we're trying to work things out together. It's a positive thing, and it's good for the Republicans and good for the Democrats.

JOHNS: The new approach a far cry from his usually harsh rhetoric.

TRUMP: I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.


JOHNS: In spite of the administration's representations to the contrary, conservatives reacted angrily to the news last night. Breitbart News blasted the words "Amnesty Don" on their website, which went viral throughout the evening. And conservative Congressman Steve King tweeted that if an Associated Press report on this issue was correct, he said, quote, "The Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible" -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, Joe. Thank you very much. You're giving us a lot to chew on.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst David Gregory and CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

I just want to read the tweets one more time, because this has just happened in the past hour, and I find them fascinating. There's so much to dissect in each one.

I mean, because President Trump, as usual, is giving us a real window into what he's thinking this morning. Here's what he says: "No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote."

Here's a very interesting one, the next one: "The wall, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built." I'm not sure that's what Steve King, Congressman, had in mind.

No. 3: "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really?" Last, "They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own, brought in by parents at a young age."

Plus, big border security, Dana. What do you hear in all of these tweets?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I hear confirmation of like we've been reporting. That they worked out the framework of a deal, basically that they would agree to find agreement, which in and of itself is a huge sort of accomplishment if you're looking for a bipartisan agreement, which you need.

The only way to get something like this done, and when I say "this," it's something that, as you read earlier and Joe had in his piece, that conservatives, many conservatives consider amnesty and anathema to everything that they believe in. Only way to get it done is to do it with Democrats. And Republicans on Capitol Hill have said privately time and time again, it's in -- the ball is in the president's court. He's going to be the one to have to do it. And so we saw the beginnings of that last night.

CAMEROTA: But David, why would he want to get something done that conservatives consider anathema?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, because he wants to be able to say that he could do something that nobody else has been able to do, which is to really beef up border security in a real way that conservatives may not totally be on board with, but -- and it may not be a wall, like Donald Trump campaigned on. But that it could be real.

And in exchange, he can solve an issue that not even Barack Obama cooperate even solve, on the DREAMers. And that he could get something comprehensive, and he could say, "Look, I am the leading voice on immigration in the country, in the Republican Party."

And you heard his press secretary say he's the leader of the Republican Party, so he wants to -- he wants to play that role. So that's what I think is significant, is that, you know, look, the president has been willing to tell his base that he'll campaign against him. He'll be with him or he'll be against him. But he wants to be able to -- I think he sees an opportunity for something big here, for something that looks more comprehensive. And the DREAMers are the key to that. That's really the way in to getting something bigger on border security.

CAMEROTA: And again, Dana, to your point, I mean, he does seem to be sharing his motivation and his feelings about the DREAMers. He's speaking in the tweets, you know, glowingly about them.

But back to the wall for a second. The way he says the wall, which is -- by the way, is already under construction, in the form of new renovation of these old and existing fences and walls. Is that what Congressman Steve King and Sean Hannity and other outspoken conservatives had in mind?

BASH: No. They want an actual physical wall. Not a metaphor of a wall.

CAMEROTA: Actual physical wall?

BASH: OK, but they want, like -- they want the wall with the big beautiful gold door and everything that we heard over and over again in the campaign. That is what they want.

However, that is a very, very vocal but, frankly, not the majority, I think, of Republicans who have been elected in the United States Congress. Many of them -- again (UNINTELLIGIBLE), that's ridiculous. Why are we going to waste money on something like that, which isn't needed across the entire border?

Now, the president is saying in his tweets, "I'm not giving up on the wall." He's not saying, "I'm demanding that the wall is part of this deal with DREAMers." That's an important difference, an important difference.

CAMEROTA: But Dana -- go ahead.

GREGORY: I think there's something significant here, which is I think -- my reading is the way Democrats handled this in the press last night made the president look bad, made it look like he caved. And that's why he didn't like the coverage this morning.

And I think if they were being a little more tactically smart, they're going to let him claim some victory here on border security. Because that's how they're going to get a bigger deal.

CAMEROTA: But David, just explain this for a second. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House. Why is it that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who in some quarters are the boogeymen of the Democratic Party, certainly by conservatives, why is it that they are the ones hammering out the deals with President Trump?

GREGORY: You're using the old math. You're using the pre-Trump administration math on how Washington works.

[07:10:05] Look, this is a president who is a Republican who is willing to openly campaign against Republicans, to dismiss Republicans. He knows, as Dana said, he's going to have to use Democrats to actually get this done. I don't always understand that thinking.

But in this case, I think he sees an opportunity to get something bigger, and he's going to have to use the clout that he's got as a voice, a hardline voice on immigration, to try to bring Republicans along.

If we go back to 2000, in that span of time, there's been a lot of vacillation on the right about their views on immigration. This is someone who's going to try to push this across the line where he hasn't been able to bring conservatives before, where conservatives have not been before.

BASH: You know, can I just add, I think that I understand David's point about the notion that the Democrats maybe misplayed this in some way. I actually think that Chuck Schumer -- in particular Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are quite strategic, in that they put this out there knowing, just like you said, David, that the president does need a win on this. And so they talked about the border security measures; the notion of border security is out there.

But then ultimately, let the president say, "OK, you want to do this deal? We're going to" -- you know, we don't know the specifics. He can take credit for the x, y and z of the specifics, so it looks like he got a win.

CAMEROTA: Didn't they get out ahead of their skis, as the saying goes, in them coming out sort of in a celebratory way, announcing it, where Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, was like, "Whoa, whoa, no, no, we didn't." And forcing the White House to say -- like, not let them get that headline. It should have been somehow delivered to the president's accomplishments.

BASH: Maybe. Maybe. I mean, we'll see how they continue to play this. But that is -- there's no question that's possible. I think maybe there was an interpretation that they have an actual deal, as opposed to they agree to work on a deal, which is a very important difference.

GREGORY: I'm going to tell you what's going to happen at the end of this whole process of this comprehensive deal, that Schumer and Pelosi are going to actually buy the president a little model wall, and say, "Look, you got your wall." Give it to him.

BASH: Are they going to have Chinese food and chocolate pie when that happens?

GREGORY: Oh, my goodness.

CAMEROTA: That's what they had last night.


BASH: And have you ever had chocolate pie after Chinese food?

CAMEROTA: I haven't.

GREGORY: I think there are rules against it.

CAMEROTA: I want to know what the fortune cookie said after that. After that meal.

But I mean, David, isn't it peculiar that he's having dinners with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and not inviting Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan?

GREGORY: Yes, look, I think that's -- I think it's quite significant, and I think it has -- you know, it has implications on -- on you know, the long-term relationship.

But I think right now, the president is in a zone where he is -- he is an opportunist at this moment. I don't think he likes how the past couple of months have gone in terms of how he's being perceived. And I have always said that the promise of Trump, in his -- in his unpredictability is that he could do this kind of work, because he doesn't have an ideological center, that he can do this kind of work with Democrats and confuse both his opponents, whether they're Republicans or Democrats.

CAMEROTA: Well, look, again, I'm almost out of time. But I just very quickly want to show how Republicans -- sorry, conservatives were responding at 11 p.m. last night, because I think that that will help us see what's going to happen today.

Steve King via Twitter said, "If the Associated Press is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible." I'm guessing he didn't like it.

Laura Ingraham: "Let's hope that Pelosi and Schumer misrepresented the DACA deal."

Sean Hannity: "Weak Republicans have betrayed voters. POTUS needs to stay the course and keep his promises or it's over!" exclamation point. "Pelosi and Schumer can never be trusted."

Last word.

BASH: Yes. I mean, look, there's little question that the president is taking this on, and he is going to take on water with his base. The base that he relied on as he liked to say, he could go on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody. This is the ultimate test of that. And I've talked to conservatives who love him who say that he's going to lose them.

CAMEROTA: OK, things have already been happening in this program, and they will be surely happening over the next two hours, as well. Dave and Dana, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, of course, Chris is monitoring all the aftermath of Irma in Florida. Chris, tell us what's happening down there.

CUOMO: You know, politics is all about perspective. You know, from D.C., the Democrats need a win. The Republicans need a win. In Florida, it's we need a win. The people here are in need.

And President Trump is going to head down to where we are today to get a firsthand look at what Irma has destroyed. The president just tweeted moments ago, "I'm leaving now for Florida to see our great first responders and to thank the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA, et cetera. A real disaster, much work to do." He has never written a tweet that was more accurate than that one.

In the Florida Keys, people are starting to make their way back to assess the damage, at least. They are at ground zero there. Irma just devastated the place. Homes, businesses, power, water, gas.

Bill Weir live in Key West this morning bringing us reality -- Bill.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Chris. Yes, it turns out that really location is destiny. Where you live in the Keys determines how much you're going to be hurt and how much of a mess you've got to clean up.

The good news is, we came down here with such grim expectations about loss of life given the Category 4 winds. No fatalities confirmed by anybody we've met down here. That's the first thing.

Then I talked to the harbor pilot: how soon can you get supplies into these shipping lanes, given all of the fresh shipwrecks we have out there? He says they're clear. That's good.

The big tie line, the power lines that connect all of the Keys with the mainland, our supply guys who drove down some food and water for us say that those held, like the Seven-Mile Bridge in places. U.S. 1 chopped up. But Florida Department of Transportation on it yesterday, tarring that roof -- tarring that road as fast as they can.

The main need here is fuel. They want to get the generators going, open up some restaurants, open up some places. Food is going bad. They were giving it away to the locals who stayed last night.

But right now, I'll show you some photographs. I'll show you some of the attitude of things down here. Here's a picture of the breakers by the city harbor of Key West. And you can see just the wreckage of the boats who are bashed up against that. Dozens more out by the hook, as it's known.

But then right by one of the freshest shipwrecks up by the beach, an impromptu swimming party. People coming down in the 95-degree heat to cool off, open a beer. The only humanitarian aid anyone on Key West asked me for was a woman wondered if we had a wine opener.

I don't want to trivialize it. But it's a huge sigh of relief, given what was happening. And the estimates that 90 percent of the homes in the Keys destroyed, probably inflated. By those eyewitnesses we count on here at CNN, more like 30, 40 percent. But they're going to not open those roads, not let the wave of folks back down here until they know they can police everything and control human behavior in a place like this, Chris.

CUOMO: Bill Weir, always corkscrew at the ready. Relief comes in many different forms. People are going to take whatever they can right now.

Irma's toll is hitting home. It's from the serious and the most severe we can see. Eight seniors died. Sweltering heat inside a nursing home in Florida is said to be the cause. But there is a major investigation about how this place and others like it treat the elderly.

We have a friend of one of the victims joining us next.


[07:21:44] CUOMO: We now know that eight seniors died inside a Florida nursing home, and there's a major investigation underway, because we're not sure why it happened.

The word is, there was no air conditioning. But was this about power or was this about how that place and others like it take care of our elderly?

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is live in Hollywood with more. Elizabeth, what do we know?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, so many questions today. One of the major questions is -- questions is why would people who were suffering at that nursing home right there, why weren't they immediately taken to the hospital down the street?


COHEN (voice-over): Police launching a criminal investigation after the deaths of eight senior citizens at this Florida nursing home, where the air-conditioning system lost power. The call for help coming in the middle of the night. One elderly respect having a heart attack. First responders arriving to find three other dead. Four more later died in hospitals.

RAELIN STOREY, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA: Once we determined that we had multiple deaths at the facilities and that the facilities are extremely hot, we made the decision to evacuate all of the patients.

COHEN: The mass evacuation unfolding Wednesday, with fire and rescue teams mobilizing nine rescue units. This blue tent directed to triage the 158 evacuees, some critically in need of care before being transported to local hospitals.

STOREY: As we arrived on the scene with our fire rescue crews, we saw that there were a number of people in respiratory distress and other distress.

COHEN: Residents enduring humidity and sweltering temperatures for about three days.

DR. RANDY KATZ, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY SERVICES, MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL: Most of the patients have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration, and heat-related issues.

COHEN: The administrator for the nursing home saying in a statement that the facility "did not lose power during the hurricane but lost a transformer that powers the air-conditioning" and that the facility "immediately contacted Florida Power & Light and emergency officials."

The facility maintaining that "staff set up mobile cooling units and fans to cool the facility and continually checked on our residents' well-being to ensure they were hydrated."

The health department says it kept in contact with the nursing home for three days, advising them to call 911 if they suspected anyone's health was at risk.

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: People are just absolutely shocked that someone in a staff would not know enough that a frail elderly person is dying of heat exhaustion and would at least know to dial 911. This is what is inexcusable.

COHEN: Florida's governor placing an immediate moratorium on new admissions, saying in a statement, "If they find that this facility was not meeting the state's high standards of care, they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a sad event. As a precautionary measure,

we've assigned police officers to go check all the other 42 assisted living facilities and nursing homes throughout the city to make sure that they're in sufficient care of the elderly.


CUOMO: So did it take a hurricane to do a needed review of these types of facilities? Let's get some insight on who was lost and what it was like inside this nursing home.

We have Jean Johnson with us. She visited her friend, Betty Hibbard, at the nursing home just this past Tuesday night. She was with Betty the next day in the hospital, where she wound up passing away.

[07:25:09] Jean, thank you so much for joining us. We're really sorry that you lost your friend.

JEAN JOHNSON, LOST FRIEND IN NURSING HOME: Good morning. Yes, we went by to see here the day before she passed away. We was there between 4 and -- 4:30 and 6 p.m. We thought we'd run by and see her, see how she fared through the hurricane before we went to dinner.

Anyway, we walked in the room, walked down the hall. It was terribly hot. And there was a gentlemen with their legs off and they'd lost their legs and different things. And it was so (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So I says, "Is the elevator working?" The elevator was working. I've been there sometimes when it didn't. Anyway, the elevator's working, so we went upstairs. And I went in Betty's room. She wasn't in there. And it was so hot. "Where is she?"

And anyway, went down the hall. They did have her sitting in front of a fan, a blower, like, as they did downstairs. Many other people sitting on the blowers. But she was sitting in front of a blower. And she almost cried. She says, "Jean, I can't breathe. I can't breathe."

I said, "Honey, please don't talk." I said, "OK." And I said to the lady, "Can you get me some ice?"

And she says, "We don't have any ice."

So then Betty says, "I've got to go to the bathroom." So this lady came by, one of the nurse's aides came by and took Betty.

And I said, "Don't you need to take her oxygen with her?" And the lady just ignored me and took her to the bathroom without. Betty walked to the bathroom herself.

And so I went in, and then the lady came back out without Betty. So I went in to see was Betty OK. And Betty is sitting on -- just outside the bathroom door. She says, "Jean, I can't breathe," she says. And I started to go get her wheelchair. She says, "Don't leave."

I said, "I have to get your wheelchair." I got her wheelchair, took her back, got her in the wheelchair and got her back to the bed. And I says -- because sometimes I carry a little goodies. So I took her a Coke. And I asked the nurse, could she have it, and she said yes. It was a cold Coke from my refrigerator. Betty was so delighted to have the Coke.

And Betty and I have been friends many years, and of course, we all just went through the hurricane. My hair looked horrible. And I had a little hat on. She told me, she said, "Betty, you look horrible." And I thought, "Well, I'll really show her." So I took my hat off.

And she says, "You put the hat back on. You look horrible."

And so anyway, we laughed. And she couldn't hardly talk. So I said, "Look, honey, we're going to leave, because I don't want you talking, because you've got to save your oxygen."

But yes, sir, it was hot in there. There's no two ways about it. All up and down the hall, there were blowers, you know, but it wasn't no air-conditioning. And this was -- anyway, this was the day before yesterday.

And then at 4 a.m. yesterday morning, I get a call that Betty's in the hospital. Thank God I know -- I have to say, the hospital was doing their best. They had a tube down there; they was trying to get her resuscitated. But she has a no resuscitation. So they were doing their best, the hospital was. But she was -- she was gone when I got there, actually. Not really, but she didn't -- wasn't talking or anything. Of course, she passed away yesterday afternoon at 3 p.m.

So -- but I knew lots of the people that live there. We used to go there and have dinner with them, and so I knew many, many of the people that lived there, and it's so sad. What a price to pay. What a terrible price to pay.

CUOMO: Jean, the tender mercies that you're describing, spending the time, giving her a Coke. You know, that will seem small to people, but it's not when you're in a situation like that. And what a blessing to have you in her life, visiting and being there with her, especially in the days that wound up being so close to the end.

Before we get into the place, let's talk about the person just for a second. Who do we lose in Betty Hibbert?

JOHNSON: A caring person. A loving person. A trusting person. We -- she -- we worked together for 40 years. And I had an office, a real estate office. And when I could go away on vacation, I knew I left it in good hands. I've never seen a person more dedicated than Betty Hibbert was to her work. Because that was -- she lost most of her family at that time. She's lost it all now, but at that time, she didn't have much family. So her work was her life.

She helped me with health fairs in the city of Hollywood. Betty was always there if I needed something. And of course, Betty was a little on the heavy side, but she -- she kept reminding me that I --