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St. John's Devastation from Irma; Trump Working with Democrats; Storm Could Hit East Coast. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 15, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:31:55] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, millions of people still without power after Hurricane Irma. Later this hour, Florida Governor Rick Scott, he will meet with officials in the Florida Keys to discuss recovery efforts there. Officials say the roads are looking much better. I can tell you, the roads were looking much better as we left there yesterday.

Gas stations, though, hospitals, still not back to normal.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So in the middle and the lower keys you've got utilities and communications either spotty or just non-existent, as John can tell you from personal experience. You've got rescue teams, law enforcement, military personnel continuing to go door and door, assess the damage and see what they can do to help.

And Hurricane Irma's destruction is just beginning to really come into clear focus across the Caribbean. The small island of St. John and the U.S. Virgin Islands is still without power, running low on food, water and supplies.

BERMAN: Yes, CNN's Sara Sidner reports from St. John.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is or was a famous historic lookout point. It's Cheteau Bordeaux restaurant, where tourists and residents alike spent time taking a look at the beautiful views here in St. John.

Well, those views are gone.

LEAH RANDALL, ST. JOHN RESIDENT: We're supposed to be America's paradise, and look what it looks like.

SIDNER (voice-over): Leah Randall rode out Hurricane Irma in a hurricane bunker with her fiance. When she emerged from safety, she was awestruck at the view of their beloved island of St. John.

RANDALL: I don't think that people really understand the level of devastation that we have here. We feel like we are living in a war zone and a nuclear bomb went off.

SIDNER: Now the shock of it all is subsiding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry about this. I really am.

RANDALL: I know. I know.

SIDNER: And the tears are beginning to flow as neighbor greets neighbor to commiserate.

For Leah and her fiance, the storm snatched away their charter business and their dream home, a wooden boat named Buxam II (ph).

RANDALL: We looked at pictures of Buxam (ph). It's just -- it's unreal to think that -- anyway. Sorry. I mean that's -- they're -- all the stuff we had on there is gone. We only had like three suitcases.

SIDNER: From the ground it's clear things are bad here. But once you get higher on the island, the true scope of the devastation comes into focus. There is damage just about everywhere. And it's not just homes that are damaged, but take a look at the infrastructure. Nearly every light pole is pushed over in some way. Not a single one standing up straight.

Kind residents offered to drive us from Coral Bay to Cruz by on the other side of the island. For a time, the scene just kept getting worse and worse at every turn.

Johnny B. has lived on St. John for 20 years. Life, he says, was easy here and laid back.

JOHNNY B. ST. JOHN RESIDENT: I got to make a choice, you know. I mean this is a hard -- it's going to be a hard way of life compared to what it was for 20 years.

SIDNER: Then, the storm hit. The next day, chaos ensued.

SIDNER (on camera): What happened in the first day or days after the storm that surprised you or disturbed you?

JOHNNY B.: Looting. A lot of people I didn't expect to do it were doing it. And it wasn't time for desperation yet. It was just the day after. You know, there was no reason for it. I think it was grossly -- it was just gross.

[09:35:12] SIDNER (voice-over): Police have now moved in to quell the security issue. But the need supplies are still just trickling in, a week after Hurricane Irma.

In Coral Bay, most of the supplies are shipped in by private individuals from St. Croix. Just about everyone needs something here, including the famous wild donkeys of St. John. They, too, are survivors of the storm, left to forge what little vegetation is left.

JOHNNY B.: It's just disbelief, you know? It's hard to believe. We all lost something in this storm, you know? But a lot of people lost everything. SIDNER (on camera): Life used to be easy on this island. Very laid

back. And now people realize just how hard their lives have gotten. People who are asking, what is it that we can do to help St. John and some of these other islands dealing with the devastation? Well, they need things like generators because power is completely gone here. It's dark. They also need a communication tower so they can actually try and get supplies in and out and the things that they need. But those things are hard to come by on this little tiny island.

Sara Sidner, CNN, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.


BERMAN: And our thanks to Sara.

What they also need is to get their story out. I think people in the U.S. Virgin Islands were frustrated for a few days that perhaps people did not know the scope of the devastation there. So it's wonderful that Sara is there.

All right, other news, how far can he go? If the president works with Democrats, does he risk losing his strongest supporters? Well, we will ask one, next.


[09:41:35] HARLOW: President Trump's possible deal with Democrats on DACA leaving some Republicans on Capitol Hill confused, some Republican aides even calling it a -- the process a hot mess.

BERMAN: So where does that leave the president's traditional allies? Let me show you the headline in Breitbart this morning, Trump supporters burning make America great again hats in protest against amnesty for no wall deal with Dems. Subtle.

Joining us now, Republican member of Congress from New York, Claudia Tenney.

Representative, thank you so much for being with us right now.


BERMAN: I want to start big picture and narrow down. This was a question Poppy asked earlier when we were talking. I think it's dead on right. Do you think the president is truly committed to the conservative agenda?

TENNEY: I think the president has -- actually, we've delivered on his agenda pretty much about -- on the House side except for tax reform, which is very complicated. It's important that we continue to debate and discuss these issues. I know everyone does a lot of hand-wringing and they like to have these deals done and the president talks about deals. But I come from a world from the former New York state assembly and what it is today and our government, and that's where deals are made by three men in a room behind closed doors. We're making deals out in front where the people -- it's transparent and people can see. We're arguing. We're debating. And I think that's the way our system was set up. So there's nothing wrong with that.

So when I say delivered on his agenda, we passed the American Health Care Act. Whether you like it or not, it was nothing more than a negotiating piece for the Senate to go in and come up with their negotiating piece, bring us back into reconciliation. We passed, you know, huge reforms to the V.A.

We just passed a 12-part appropriations bill. The first time we've done that on regular order since 2009. So we -- and that included funding for the wall. The only thing really we had that -- of all his agenda items is really, you know, dealing with tax reform. So, yes.

HARLOW: Congresswoman, one of the reasons I like sitting next to John so much, and I'm glad he's back from the hurricane zone, is because he asks very direct questions.


HARLOW: And what he asked is, do you think the president is committed to the conservative agenda. I hear what you on the House side have done, but, yes -- yes or no, I mean is he really committed to the conservative agenda?

TENNEY: Right. Well, OK, I'm sorry -- I think he's committed to the agenda that he ran on, which is more of a populist agenda. It's conservative in many ways but it's also populism. He's pro-economic issues, trade --

HARLOW: Yes, but he promised no amnesty. He promised a wall. And now we're hearing very different things?

TENNEY: Well, he hasn't said anything -- he hasn't signed a deal with the Democrats as far as I know. The DACA issue is still out there. There's -- Republicans are still trying to figure out how we're going to deal with the issue. But in a way he actually rescued DACA from possibly being challenged constitutionally, so --

BERMAN: OK. On that specifically, and again --

TENNEY: So, yes, so is he committed to the agenda? I think we'll see what happens in the end.

HARLOW: All right.

TENNEY: I think he's a negotiator. I think he's out there tweeking everybody a little bit to try to come up with, where do you really stand? He's making people come out and say, here's where I am on these issues.

BERMAN: Well, I think there are also people trying to figure out where he really stands as well, and that may be more elusive than the other question right now.


BERMAN: So, representative, I think the question on DACA specifically is, and we don't know exactly what the deal is or will -- or will be.

TENNEY: Neither do i.

BERMAN: You don't.

TENNEY: Not yet.

BERMAN: Right. And you're a Republican member of Congress.

TENNEY: Yes. Right.

BERMAN: You would think if there were details, they would be known by you. But would you be willing to grant legal status in return for border security? Not the wall, but border security?

TENNEY: Well, yes. Well, yes, my concern with the president's dealing is, what did we get? Did he -- what did he negotiate for it? We don't know yet.

BERMAN: What do you insist on? What do you need?

TENNEY: I would like to see us -- remember, you -- we talk about DACA. There's -- and I would be interested in helping legalize some of these people who have come here through no fault of their own. But the question of citizenship is the real question. And so when you make them citizens, what about all their family members and their -- people that are now eligible that are coming in.

[09:45:11] Remember something really important. We have over 4 million people waiting to be legal citizens of this country, so do we put these people to the front of the line, or not, or do we --

BERMAN: My understanding -- my understanding on the -- I think on the dreamer legislation that they're building this on --

TENNEY: Yes, right.

BERMAN: They were never at the front of the line. I think that dreamers who -- legal status were also at the end of the line for citizenship.

TENNEY: Right, and I -- well, their -- true. And there is an act that I'm considering being a co-sponsor of from Congressman Carlos Curbelo. It's called the RAC Act, Recognizing America's Children. And what it does is give us a humane way of looking and saying, OK, these children were brought here through no fault of their own. Let's go in and consider making sure they can prove that they're going to be legal citizens. They have moral character. All those things. And then they can get legal status.

HARLOW: You -- you also --

TENNEY: So I -- I think that's a -- I think that's a step. And I think the president and a lot of members of Congress have signed on to this. And I think it's something I'm going to consider. I think it's a way to look at it. HARLOW: You also have a fellow Republican member of Congress, Congressman Raul Labrador, saying no way, do not do DACA only legislation. You give away all your leverage.

Now, there's nothing indicating that the president will do DACA only, but he's also not insisting on wall funding, which was like promise number one on the campaign trail.


HARLOW: Do you agree with Representative Labrador, that indeed it does give up all your leverage?

TENNEY: I think it's -- it would be unfortunate if Republicans just addressed DACA. I think you have to look at the entire immigration system. The immigrations that we have, as I said, 4 million people, or over 4 million waiting legally to come in. We have a refugee program. We bring people in from war-torn countries. I live in a city where we have one of the largest refugee populations. I helped work with bringing Bosnian refugees in during the war because of my experience in the former Yugoslavia. I worked at the consulate of Yugoslavia many years ago when I lived in New York.

So, yes, all these things need to be considered. There's many pieces of the puzzle. And I think just isolating DACA is just one part of the process. I think looking at how we solve the immigration problem, I think the president put a -- he really said, we want you to do this in six months. If you don't, I'm going to readdress it. And I think that was a tactic for renegotiating.

BERMAN: Right.

TENNEY: We need to wake up and we need to deal with this problem. As soon as we get done with tax reform, which I think is a primary issue, we've been given a little bit of a breather, so we have six months. We go back to the drawing board. Let's finally resolve this issue with immigration. Wouldn't it be great if this president, of all presidents, and our House and our Senate actually solved this problem? I think it would be a really great thing.

BERMAN: Give you six months or maybe another Chinese dinner or two.

HARLOW: With chocolate pie.

BERMAN: With chocolate pie.

HARLOW: Don't forget the dessert.

BERMAN: It might not take six months. It might just take (INAUDIBLE).

TENNEY: I don't think the president's going to give up on the wall, by the way. He said yesterday over and over he was going to continue -- he was going to have the wall.

BERMAN: You would think, but do you know?

TENNEY: Who knows?

BERMAN: That's right. Well, that's the answer to all these questions right now. Representative --

TENNEY: That's what makes it exciting.

BERMAN: Claudia Tenney, great to have you with us.

TENNEY: Thank you.

BERMAN: I think that explains quite a bit. Really appreciate you being here.

TENNEY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you for being here. Have a nice weekend.

So, the monster storms, we're not talking about Irma, we're talking about Jose. Look at her. She is inching closer and closer west towards the U.S. mainland. How close is she going to get?

BERMAN: I think Jose's a dude, by the way.

HARLOW: But they name hurricanes women for some women?

BERMAN: They alternate.

HARLOW: They do?


HARLOW: All right. Fact check from John. We'll be right back.


[09:52:42] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROCK LONG, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Anybody from coastal North Carolina to New England needs to be watching this storm very closely over the next five days and hopefully it tracks out to sea. But the reality is, is that the error (ph) cone is too close to the United States for my comfort. So, you know, citizens need to be, you know, monitoring that very closely.


BERMAN: Watch this storm closely. Where have we heard that before? This advice from FEMA's chief for those living along the East Coast.

HARLOW: The latest forecast suggesting there is a chance at this point that Tropical Storm Jose could potentially make landfall anywhere from North Carolina's outer banks all the way north to Massachusetts.

Meteorologist Chad Myers with us both.

And as I was rightly corrected, I said that all hurricanes are women. Totally wrong. Not a fact.


HARLOW: Don't know why I thought that. Did that used to be the case?


HARLOW: OK, thank you.

MYERS: Before they came up with the boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl name, it was OK to call it a "she." Now it is an "it." It is no gender at all. So Jose is not a boy. Irma was not a girl. They are just it's out there.

HARLOW: All right. All right.

MYERS: There you go.

HARLOW: Thank you.

MYERS: Seventy miles per hour. Not a major hurricane. This is not developing the way that Irma did. Irma was down here in very warm water. This is slightly cooler water, with a little bit more sheer. So now we're still Tropical Storm Jose.

But this thing has been in the water since Irma was in the water. And it's still spinning around in the Atlantic. It hasn't made any landfall truly yet. Did a little bit more wind damage to Barbuda, like they need that, but it did miss the -- at least the eye of the storm did miss when it was a bigger storm.

Now, the forecast is still for all the models to take it up the East Coast to the east of North Carolina. But we know how these models can go left and right. And over the past couple of days, the European model has been here and then here and then here and now something like that. So getting closer, not making landfall yet as anything significant, but it's not impossible. And that is still in the cone. See that little loop. It tries to make a loop.

Now, because of the size of the blue dot here got smaller, the pressure went up, too. So it's not as strong of a storm. Never in its forecast from the Hurricane Center will it be a major hurricane. Still a 90-mile-per-hour storm.

[09:55:06] The biggest threat to people right now would be in the water here trying to surf or whatever, swim, huge swells off the East Coast, making huge rip currents. Those rip currents will just take you right out into the ocean hundreds of yards. That's how big those waves will be. These will be West Coast waves along the East Coast. That also could cause more beach erosion.

But there we go, not going out more than five days. This is still Wednesday of next week. Still we'll see if it goes to the right, does it go to the straight, which is still possible, or does it make that loop that the European model wants it to. I don't want to do anything except turn right and not ruin our entire

northeast week for next week because it would be a storm that we would never have an idea whether it's Atlantic City, New York City, or Boston. That's the true case of it right now. No way to know. Too many days away.

BERMAN: Which is why we're watching it so closely right now.

MYERS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Chad Myers, thanks so much. Appreciate it.


HARLOW: All right, we're following a lot of break news this morning. The first out of North Korea and then a terror attack this morning in central London. An improvised device exploding on a train during rush hour.

We'll be right back.


BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) after a homemade bomb exploded on a subway train. This happened in the middle of rush hour. We have some new video taken moments after the blast showing what is left of what looks to be, you can see it right there, some kind of bucket bomb.

HARLOW: Witnesses tell us they heard the explosion. What followed was total panic. Passengers scrambled to escape the train. This morning, 23 people are in the hospital in central London. Hundreds of police officers are out looking for the suspect.

BERMAN: All right, also today, North Korea launched another missile over Japan, just days after getting hit by new U.N. sanctions. The U.N. Security Council is now set to hold what they are calling urgent consultations later today. How will they respond?

HARLOW: We're going to have more on that, of course, out of North Korea in just a moment.

But first, though, we are getting new details on the terror attack in London. We have our senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, who is live on the scene.

But, Nima, stand by just a moment because the president did come out to address something completely different this morning, John., And in just a few seconds, you're going to hear what the president said. A short response, but responding after that tweet this morning on London.

BERMAN: Here it is.

HARLOW: Let's listen to the president.

[10:00:04] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Mr. President, any reaction to London, the terror attack?