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Dangerous Hurricane Maria Tears Through Caribbean; Trump to Deliver Harsh Warning to North Korea and Iran in U.N. Speech; Interview with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 19, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:34:04] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hurricane Maria regaining strength. It's now a category 5, and it's tearing across the Caribbean.

This is what it looked like overnight on the island of Guadeloupe. Oh, my gosh, look at those winds. You can see the winds are bending trees. They're threatening power lines.

The storm is expected to make a direct hit on Puerto Rico tomorrow.

Meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking the path of the storm for us.

What now, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Boy, what pictures there.

The storm has just the eyewall just passed over Guadeloupe proper. But overnight, Dominica took the brunt of it, 73,000 people feel category 5 hurricane right over the top.

This weather is brought to you by Purina, your pet, our passion.

The next stop for this is St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, 160 miles per hour. At 5:00, it was a cat 4, at 155. At 5:10 a.m., they upgraded it back to cat 5.

So, if you're looking and saying, wait, cat 4. No, it is truly now another cat 5 hurricane.

[06:35:03] Moving very closed to Puerto Rico. This is the problem here. Does it move on this side of the cone, up to the U.S. Virgin Islands and BVI or to the south, toward Ponce? We don't know.

But Puerto Rico, you're right in the middle. That would be Conquistador. That would be Palmas del Mar. This is the area that we're most concerned about, then eventually, this storm does take a turn to the right and it into the Atlantic Ocean. All models think so as well.

Guys, this is going to be one to watch here for Puerto Rico, 3.5 million people. Last time they've been hit this hard 1932, about 1.5 million people then.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, millions of Americans in the path of this storm in Puerto Rico. We'll have to watch very, very closely. Chad Myers, thanks so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: In just a few hours, President Trump will take center stage at the United Nations and address the general assembly for the first time. He is expected to deliver harsh warnings to North Korea and Iran and express the importance of U.S. self interests.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny live at the United Nations with the preview -- Jeff.


You're right. President Trump will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time, where leaders of 170 different countries will hear how he interprets his America First agenda. Now, this is the biggest foreign policy speech yet of his presidency. White House official tells me he will focus head on on what he is calling the menace of North Korea.


ZELENY (voice-over): With the eyes of the world watching, President Trump will bring his America first vision to the U.N. today, delivering what the White House calls a deeply philosophical speech that will encourage nations to take responsibility for their own security.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Americans, Poles and nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty.

ZELENY: Like his speeches in Poland and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, aides say the president will frame his foreign policy as a pragmatic approach, that shows the benefits of countries acting in their shared self interest. President Trump also expected to issue harsh warnings to Iran and North Korea.

A senior White House official telling CNN the president will speak in extremely tough terms about the North Korea menace, after remaining silent about Kim Jong-un during the first day at the U.N.

TRUMP: The main message is making the United Nations great. Not again. Make the United Nations great.

ZELENY: The president striking a familiar campaign-like tone during day one of the summit, but his words were far more measured than on the campaign trail when he blasted the U.N. as a bloated bureaucracy.

TRUMP: The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It's not a friend to freedom. It's not a friend even to the United States of America. ZELENY: He's even ridiculed the iconic emerald backdrop, where he

will stand today, once saying on Twitter, the cheap 12-inch marble tiles behind speaker at U.N. always bothered me. I will replace with beautiful large marble slabs if they ask me.

But far more pressing challenges are on the president's desk this week, including the Iran nuclear deal, an issue he discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, in addition to the prospect of brokering Middle East peace.

TRUMP: I think there's a good chance it could happen.

ZELENY: During a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr. Trump held strong on his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, calling it simply unfair to the U.S.

But in a lighter moment, President Trump said he was inspired to hold a Fourth of July military parade in Washington, after witnessing Bastille Day in Paris earlier this year.

TRUMP: We're going to have to try and top it.


ZELENY: Now, a key question here, Alisyn, is whether President Trump outlines more military options during his speech today or says how diplomacy could work with North Korea. He, of course, has ridiculed the United Nations. But now, he needs the U.N. in terms of toughening sanctions for the regime.

He'll spend the rest of his day here at the U.N. meeting with the secretary general as well as other world leaders. Alisyn, this is his big debut on the world stage here. The world, indeed, is watching him in his hometown of New York City -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, Jeff. Thanks so much for previewing it for us.

So, President Trump says he will make a decision very soon about whether or not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. Christiane Amanpour has an exclusive interview with the Iranian president on how Iran would respond. She joins us, next.


[06:42:50] CAMEROTA: OK. In just a few hours, President Trump is set to deliver a major foreign policy speech at the United Nations. The president is expected to issue harsh warnings to North Korea and Iran.

Let's bring in CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour who has an exclusive interview with Iran's president.

Christiane, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: Big picture, we heard from President Trump's staff this would be a philosophical speech. What are we expecting?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, yesterday, his debut was actually really nice. He didn't smash them in the face like he has done rhetorically and verbally on the campaign trail. He didn't pooh-pooh the U.N. He just said, you know, let's make it great. He didn't say again. He just said, let's make it great.

So, I think people were quite pleased with that introduction yesterday. Of course, remember, the United States, for decades, has been pushing for reform, has been reducing its budget to the U.N. So, all the kind of stuff that is being said by the president has actually been U.S. policy for decades under Democratic and Republican administrations.

Now, though, we wait to see this speech. What does it mean mostly on three very critical areas? Will the president remain or be somebody who believes in multilateralism and getting together with the rest of the world, allies and others to advance America's agenda, or will he continue the pulling back of America to an America first? What will that look like?

Secondly, what will he say about the Iran deal? What would he say about North Korea?

I spoke to the Iranian president. You're absolutely right, yesterday. And he said that in Iran, they're sitting there in Tehran, wondering what's going to happen. They've been discussing this for months. They have their plans set if the U.S. pulls out.

And this is what he said to me about that.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Exiting such an agreement would have -- would carry a high cost for the United States of America. And I do not believe that Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them. It will yield no results for the United States. But at the same time, it will generally decrease and cut away and chip away at international trust placed in the United States of America.


[06:45:03] CAMEROTA: What does he mean by high cost?

AMANPOUR: Well, he means going back to what Iran was doing before this agreement. In other words, rapidly producing and enriching uranium. That's what he means. And that would be very, very unwise for the United States and for the rest of the international community right now to have yet another nuclear problem when you have a real live and much worse nuclear problem coming from North Korea, which actually does have nuclear weapons.

Iran doesn't. And Iran now with the world has a sort of nuclear security policy going on. BERMAN: So, the president speaks and then later, we hear from the

French president, Emmanuel Macron, sort of like point, counterpoint, right, nationalism versus multinationalism.

AMANPOUR: That's exactly right. And I have, very fortunately, an exclusive interview with Emmanuel Macron that we'll roll out late today. And in a couple of hours, I'm going over there.

But he has already met with President Trump. You saw that meeting yesterday and they had a very nice meeting. President Trump was very thrilled with the military parade that included for the first time American soldiers down the Champs Elysee on Bastille Day this year. So, they have that point in common.

But President Macron will be very, very eager to try to persuade him not to ditch the climate deal first and foremost and to ditch the Iran deal as well. President Macron's people had told me that, you know, we need to show that when we sign on as an international community to make a deal, we stick by our words. Otherwise, what country who we're trying to affect their behavior is actually going to sit down and make deals with us if we think a next president or next week or next month or next year they're just going to rescind it?

CAMEROTA: Well, that will be interesting to see what powers of persuasion Macron has with Donald Trump. Optically, they seem quite chummy. They stand close to each other. They do that 5-minute long handshake that turns into a man-hug and everything. But how do you characterize their real relationship?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, the five-minute long man hug, you know, came after the initial, you know, freezing, icy grip and grin that Macron gave Trump, and many people believe that was Macron basically laying out his personal relationship in the context with Donald Trump and actually kind of winning a round back then, back then when they met at the G7 at NATO.

You know, they tell me they have areas of deep disagreement and areas of agreement. So, that's what's going on. But people want to see a multilateral United States, not one that pulls out of all the kind of multilateral deals, because as they say, nothing can be solved nationally these days. The world is completely globalized. So, throwing all of that out means you can't solve global problem.

BERMAN: And, look, parades and handshakes can't necessary massage differences, particularly on things like the Iran deal. That's more than, you know, a long handshake.

CAMEROTA: I like the metaphor.

BERMAN: You like that?


BERMAN: All right. Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Thanks. BERMAN: All right. A new powerful hurricane is barreling across the Caribbean. Puerto Rico bracing for a direct hit from Maria. We'll speak to the island's governor about storm preparations. That's next.


[06:51:41] BERMAN: Hurricane Maria is now a category 5 storm, but it's being called potentially catastrophic. And it is expected to hit Puerto Rico tomorrow. This would be the first time in 85 years that Puerto Rico will suffer a direct hit from a hurricane that is category 4 or stronger.

Joining us now is Governor Richard Rossello. He is the governor of Puerto Rico.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us. Are you ready for this storm?

GOV. RICARDO ROSELLO, PUERTO RICO: Well, we are as ready as can be. Of course, a category 4 or 5 hurricane that's very slow brings a lot of water, is a dangerous predicament. But we've been preparing for events like this for a while. It's been a challenge but we've been in the recovery process after Irma.

But we have 500 shelters. We have people moving to those shelters and right now, John, the priority is to make sure that people are safe in Puerto Rico.

BERMAN: What are your biggest concerns? Is it the rain on top of the rain you already got from Irma? Is it the fact that you're housing evacuees from other Caribbean islands from Irma? What worries you the most right now?

ROSSELLO: Complacency worries me the most. You know, people -- some people might not understand the magnitude of this hurricane or might think it won't hit us as hard. All indications are that this is going to be devastating and catastrophic.

So, my biggest concern right now is to make sure we save lives, that we move people from inadequate housing, you know, wood housing and so forth, that we get them out of flooding areas, that we make sure that they understand that there's going to be some surges coming on the coastal lines, that we make sure that they know that although the brunt of the hurricane will pass on Wednesday, we're going to start receiving a lot of rain and a lot of flurries from Tuesday up until even Saturday.

So, this is going to be a very dangerous time. We want to make sure right now, is recognize that infrastructure is going to be broken but we need to focus on saving lives.

BERMAN: Governor, we keep looking at the storm track and it does look like Puerto Rico will suffer a direct hit. What does that mean? What does the impact of the category 5 or God forbid a category -- or a category 4, or God forbid a category 5 storm on Puerto Rico? ROSSELLO: Well, infrastructure is going to be severely crippled. Our

energy infrastructure is already week. So, we are going to suffer a major blow on that.

Obviously, some of the housing over here is inadequate. So, anything that's not concrete you can expect that it's going to break or fall apart. Housing that's on the coastal lines is expected to have surges. Housing in flooding areas and with the saturated grounds right now, it's even a bigger concern due to the passing of Irma.

So, there's a lot of concerns. You know, we really need to focus on one thing right now. And to all the viewers that are seeing this, that have family members in Puerto Rico, let them know that it's critical for them to find safe shelter, whether it'd be the government's more than 500 shelters, or some other family members.

But right now, the critical component is to be safe, to find safe shelter and then afterwards, we'll start concerning ourselves with how we start rebuilding Puerto Rico.

[06:55:03] BERMAN: We'll help you get the message out. Please seek shelter in Puerto Rico over the next 24 hours. Do not be complacent. This is a serious storm.

Governor Ricardo Rossello, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it, sir.

ROSSELLO: Thank you. Thank you, John. Thanks.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: All right. Coming up, we have a CNN exclusive to tell you about. Sources say that U.S. investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under a secret court order, or two, before and after the election.

We have all of the details of this breaking news at the top of the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The constant, unrelenting pounding of the wind and the very heavy rainfall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is actually unsafe to step out of the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't look good for Puerto Rico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sources tell us that the FBI got permission to monitor Paul Manafort before and after the election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an extraordinary step for the FBI to do surveillance of a high-ranking campaign official.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things closing in. That makes pressure on the president and all those around him even greater.

CAMEROTA: In just hours, President Trump will address the U.N. General Assembly for the first time.