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Governors Outraged After Florida Is Dropped From Drilling Plan; 17 Dead, 17 Missing In Southern California Mudslides; Arpaio: Obama's Birth Certificate Is A "Phony Document." Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 11, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That's one of the things that's holding up your process on DACA so I'm trying to nail that down, and I appreciate your help on that and every category that we discussed this morning. You're always welcome on the show.


CUOMO: Thank you, sir. Happy New Year to you.

COLLINS: Yes, you, too.

CUOMO: All right, a programming note. Tonight on "CUOMO PRIME TIME" we're going to talk with Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Why? Well, what are the Democrats doing to make this deal happen? If they care about the Dreamers, if they care about the lives, are they ready to compromise?

Tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK. Florida is now exempted from the Trump administration's new offshore drilling plan. Why do they get special treatment?

North Carolina's governor makes his case, next.


CAMEROTA: Governors from both parties are calling out the Trump administration for its decision to exempt Florida, and only Florida, from expanded offshore oil and gas drilling.

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke says Florida is unique because its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism, but what about the rest of America's coastline?

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina wants his state exempted from drilling, too, and he joins us now. Good morning, Governor.

[07:35:00] GOV. ROY COOPER (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Good morning, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Why does Florida get special treatment? COOPER: Well, it's interesting that six months ago I said that we don't want offshore drilling off the North Carolina coast because of coastal tourism and the economy. Thirty -- over 30 North Carolina cities and towns passed resolutions saying that they didn't want offshore drilling because of coastal tourism and their economy.

And now, the Secretary of the Interior has said that Florida is not going to have offshore drilling because of coastal tourism and the economy.

We can speculate all we want as to the reason why Florida was exempted --

CAMEROTA: What do you think?

COOPER: -- but what they said --


COOPER: -- is critically important because you've got a lot of states across this country, including North Carolina, that rely on it.

We have a $3 billion coastal tourism economy.


COOPER: We've got 22 barrier islands, we've got 300 miles of coastline. So --

CAMEROTA: You have Cape Hatteras.

COOPER: -- same treatment for North Carolina, yes.

CAMEROTA: Well look, here's the map, OK? So, here's the map as of -- I mean, until this week when Florida was exempted.

So, this is the map that shows the coast and you can imagine that all of these states have some objection -- could have some objection one way or another. And, in fact, there's a whole --

COOPER: Oh, absolutely.

CAMEROTA: -- a whole bunch of Republican governors from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and South Carolina who object to this.

So now, you're asking for a meeting with Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke. Has he agreed?

COOPER: Not yet. We -- as soon as I heard about the Florida decision I asked for a meeting or at least a telephone call with Sec. Zinke. I've talked with him about other issues before and I had read his statement regarding Florida.

They announced this plan that they're going to start offshore drilling off the United States coast and then just a few days later, without public comment, without any regulatory or scientific investigation, they exempt Florida because of coastal tourism and the economy, and they want to listen to local voices.

Here's North Carolina. We're raising our hand. This is critical for us. Our state juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and when you talk about offshore drilling there's no 100 percent safe method to do that.

And when you look at the deregulatory emphasis of this administration, boy, I don't trust them to put the safeguards in place that offshore drilling would need.

The B.P. disaster in the Gulf Coast cost $60 billion.


COOPER: Now, that's over twice North Carolina's annual state budget.


COOPER: This is an economic issue. And obviously, we want to protect our environment and I'm strong to say -- I went to the coast as a child. I'm North Carolinian born and bred.

But this is ridiculous to comment and say we're going to start drilling off the coast and then picking off a state like Florida.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So, listen --

COOPER: We want to go next.

CAMEROTA: I hear you.

COOPER: North Carolina's standing in line and I look forward to my meeting.

CAMEROTA: I hear you.

So, do you think -- I mean, Gov. Scott -- Rick Scott of Florida -- is a Republican, you're a Democrat. Do you think that Sec. Zinke will be as receptive to your complaints as he was to Rick Scott's?

COOPER: I certainly hope so because the issues are the same. Coastal tourism -- we are reliant on coastal tourism in North Carolina and our economy. And if they don't, then you're going to see some action from the state of North Carolina.

We're already --

CAMEROTA: Like what?

COOPER: We're already mulling our legal options here --

CAMEROTA: What are they?

COOPER: -- particularly based on -- well, we'll have to see what they are because we have to look at what has happened and the disregard for the regulatory process in exempting Florida and what they said about it. Clearly, they've said that this is an economic issue.

They announced they're going to do offshore drilling because of economic issues, but when you look at the fact that we're becoming more and more reliant on renewable energy -- North Carolina is number two in solar in the country. There's an abundance of natural gas.


COOPER: We don't need offshore drilling and we don't need the risks that go along with it.


COOPER: And you're seeing a great frustration from Republican and Democratic governors across the country, particularly these coastal states.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Oh, for sure.

COOPER: You've heard from of Congress, you've heard from local communities. Our commercial fishing industry in North Carolina brings in hundreds of millions of dollars.

CAMEROTA: And I bet they're worried.

COOPER: We don't want this risk.

CAMEROTA: And so, Governor, I want to ask you while we have you about something else that's going on with your state, and that's gerrymandering. The question of gerrymandering is --

COOPER: Oh boy, is it ever.

CAMEROTA: Look at this map, OK?


CAMEROTA: Let me just put up for the viewers. This the map as it stands of the congressional districts in your state of North Carolina. I mean, you can see -- look -- what the federal judge panel decided is that this is unconstitutional the way it was drawn because it so heavily favors Republicans. You see a sea of red there.

[07:40:11] I mean, how on earth did you win as a Democrat if you believe this map?

COOPER: Well, unfortunately -- fortunately for me, they can't redistrict the whole state of North Carolina, so I was elected all -- by all of the people of North Carolina to be governor, but that's a good point in fact. North Carolina is truly a purple state; we're 50- 50.

Why do we have a super majority of Republicans in our state legislature and why do we have 10 members of Congress who are Republican and three who are Democratic? It's because of technologically diabolical gerrymandering -- the redistricting that this Republican legislature has put into place.

They've already had state legislative districts struck down. They've already had these congressional districts struck down on race. The court -- the federal court said that this Republican state legislature discriminated against African-Americans with surgical precision.

So, when they get caught doing that, then they augment their extreme gerrymandering by party and now they have made it super Republican.

And there's evidence in the public one of the leaders in the state legislature -- one of the Republican leaders --


COOPER: -- when asked how in a 50-50 state can you have 10 Republican congressmen and three Democratic, and he said because we couldn't figure out a way to make it 11. That shows you right there --

CAMEROTA: So they --

COOPER: -- what we're talking about.

CAMEROTA: That is telling.

COOPER: And the court has called them on it.


COOPER: We need the United States Supreme Court to come in and confirm that.


COOPER: But we don't need -- we don't need politicians picking their constituents. The constituents need to pick the politicians --

CAMEROTA: Governor --

COOPER: -- and that's what we need to fix here.

CAMEROTA: Understood.

Governor Roy Cooper, thank you very much for giving us the status report on your state. Great to have you.

COOPER: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right.

You paying attention to what's happening out west? They are having deadly and devastating mudslides. Southern California is just up to its eyeballs in trouble. The incredible lengths people are going to save lives, next.


[07:45:15] CUOMO: You may live in the east but you have to care about what's happening out west. The death toll from Southern California mudslides is now 17.

Some 500 first responders are scouring thick mud. They say this is the hardest kind of rescuing to do -- the debris, the mud, the weight, the lack of oxygen, but they are making rescues.

You're looking at a 14-year-old girl. They heard her scream. They dug through wreckage for six hours to find her.

CNN's Paul Vercammen with more on the harrowing rescues.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): The wall of mud came in the middle of the night.

MIKE ELIASON, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT, SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA: It just obliterated this little neighborhood to turn the houses into matchsticks. It blew them off their foundation and threw them up against trees.

VERCAMMEN: Survivors became heroes.

BERKELEY JOHNSON, MUDSLIDE SURVIVOR: We heard a little baby crying and we got down and found a little baby. We got it out, got the mud out of its mouth. I hope it's OK. They took it right to the hospital.

But it was just a baby, four feet down in the mud in the middle of nowhere under the rocks. I'm glad we got it but who knows what else is out there.

VERCAMMEN: There were many more in need out there, like the family in this house surrounded by mud water. The youngest survivor, a newborn baby. All five in the family rescued; others still searching for their loved ones.

HAYDEN GOWER, SEARCHING FOR HIS MOTHER: We just, you know, go down the creek and see what we can find.

VERCAMMEN: This man's mother was swept away while clinging to the back door of her home.

GOWER: I thought she'd be all right. She was in the -- in the voluntary evacuation.

VERCAMMEN (on camera): What made this mudslide so horrendous, the steepness of the terrain.

Look up there. The Thomas fire burns on above Montecito. It goes from 3,000 feet to sea level in just several miles, so the water came off those ashy hillsides and just poured right through here. It had a high-velocity, as they call it. And you can look right over here and you'll see where the waters just a little bit more than a mile from the ocean took a house right off its foundation.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Other houses swallowed by mud or destroyed by fire.

Highway 101, the main freeway connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, in a moment, was turned into a river of mud and boulders.

In all, hundreds of homes destroyed or damaged in a natural disaster covering 19,000 acres. Many families grieve while others simply hope that their loved ones will find their way home.

Paul Vercammen, CNN, Montecito, California.


CUOMO: You've got to be scared to death about the unknown, you know. I've been in all those different situations. That's the scariest.

It comes in like water -- with the speed of water -- Paul was telling you about the velocity - but has the mass of earth. It smothers -- when the water leaves and the fire leaves, you've got bare earth. Here, you now have this new layer of completely smothering, destructive, deadly mud.

It is really scary. They are overwhelmed.

CAMEROTA: I can't believe that his video captures people actually being pulled out and rescued and safe --


CAMEROTA: -- from that kind of level of mud --

CUOMO: It just makes you wonder who else --

CAMEROTA: -- that seems like lava, you know?

CUOMO: Can they get everywhere? No, you can't travel in that stuff. It's really just the worst of the worst.

CAMEROTA: All right. We have to move on to this because it is time for "CNN Money Now." Big businesses pressuring Congress to protect the Dreamers, and chief business correspondent Christine Romans has more. Hi, Christine.


The leaders of 100 companies want lawmakers to pass a permanent bipartisan fix for DACA. We're talking big names here. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, Coke.

These CEOs say businesses will lose valuable talent. They don't want to disrupt their workforce. They say it could cost the workforce to the tune of $215 billion in lost growth.

Their deadline, January 19th, 45 days before DACA officially ends. That's the amount of time experts say is needed to implement a new program for these folks.

This is pressure from companies worth billions of dollars. They employ hundreds of thousands of people.

Corporate America has been increasingly vocal about social issues, speaking out in recent years in favor of gay marriage, the Paris Climate Accord -- immigration, again, here.

In fact, Microsoft -- guys, Microsoft promised to pay the legal fees of any employee facing deportation in this DACA crisis -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Christine, appreciate it. Thanks for keeping us up to speed.

Former sheriff Joe Arpaio, very controversial, jumping into the Arizona Senate race. He is doubling down on an old and ugly untruth.

One of his primary opponents joins us live, next.


[07:53:08] CAMEROTA: Former sheriff Joe Arpaio making waves just one day after announcing his Senate run in Arizona. The Republican candidate revealing that he still believes President Obama's birth certificate is fake.


JOE ARPAIO (R), ARIZONA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: No, I started this because a fake document -- a government document. I didn't care where the president came from. I didn't care at all.

And we have the evidence. Nobody will talk about it.

CUOMO: You believe that --

ARPAIO: A phony birth certificate.

CUOMO: -- President Obama's birth certificate is a phony?

ARPAIO: No doubt about it.


CAMEROTA: All right. Let's bring in one of Joe Arpaio's Republican challengers in Arizona, Kelli Ward. Good morning, Dr. Ward.


CAMEROTA: Are you surprised that Joe Arpaio is still talking about Barack Obama's birth certificate? WARD: You know, it is a controversy that doesn't need to be discussed, you know. I'm not really going to go down a rabbit hole with you, but I believe --

CAMEROTA: But do you believe that Barack Obama's birth certificate is real? Let's just dispense with it right there.

WARD: Yes. I mean, I believe that Barack Obama was born here, that he was our legitimate president. But I also think he -- and I know he legitimately rammed the failed Obamacare health care policy down our throats and now, Republicans have to fix it.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, what do you -- just one more thing on Joe Arpaio because he's such a colorful character and has been around for so long, even in the national dialogue.

What do you think his chances are of winning?

WARD: You know, I'd say welcome to the fray, Joe. There's plenty of room in this race for Joe Arpaio.

You know, the polling -- recent polling shows that 60 percent of the Arizona electorate wants a conservative. There's a ceiling for other less conservative candidates and it's around the same that the ceiling was for Jeff Flake, about 31, 32, 33 percent.

CAMEROTA: So he stands a chance. Joe Arpaio stands a chance.

[07:55:00] WARD: You know, Joe's a patriot. He is -- has been a leader on fighting illegal immigration here in our state. We're a border state.

Of course, for me, I've been focusing on a lot of other issues. I've been focusing on immigration, of course, and building a wall, and fixing the tax code, repealing Obamacare. Building our economy so that American citizens have more money in their pockets.


WARD: Those are the things that America cares about --

CAMEROTA: And I do want to get --

WARD: -- and those are the things I'm focusing on.

CAMEROTA: I know, and I do want to get to your agenda.

But when you say that Joe Arpaio has been a leader on immigration -- I mean, he's been convicted of racially profiling Latinos. How is that being a leader on immigration?

WARD: You know, he has fought for the rule of law here in Arizona and that's what people are looking at.

CAMEROTA: And broken it.

WARD: That's why this DACA -- that's why the DACA conversation that they're having at the White House is so important.

But remember, we have to build the wall first. We have to enforce our borders so that we can keep our citizens and our country safe.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I do want to talk to you about the wall.

But, Joe Arpaio was convicted. You say that he's fought for the rule of law. He broke the law.

WARD: You know, he was pardoned by the president and he has been a leader.

CAMEROTA: But do you -- were you comfortable with his racial profiling?

WARD: You know, people here in Arizona want the border secure and that's why Sheriff Joe was so popular when he was in office. But it is not the be-all, end-all issue that America is facing. Of course, I think it is the number one issue but there are so many things that are still on the table.

We are in the process of growing our economy. Look at the Dow. It's at record highs.

And I think that the next couple of paychecks that people get, they're going to start to realize what the tax cuts mean to them personally because more of their own money is going to remain in their pockets.

CAMEROTA: Yesterday, you tweeted "The wall must be built." But it sounds like President Trump is -- I don't know if he's having second thoughts but he's certainly redefining what that wall is.

Do you understand what the wall would look like?

WARD: Well, I know what I mean whenever I talk about the wall.

CAMEROTA: What is that?

WARD: We definitely need a physical -- a physical barrier that not only sends a message that there's a right and wrong way to come into this country, but it also slows down the progress of things that are coming into the country illegally. Things like human trafficking, gun running, drug trafficking, contributing to the opioid crisis here in our country. Those things will be slowed down by a physical barrier.

CAMEROTA: OK, so you want a physical barrier --

WARD: And that's not the end of the story.

CAMEROTA: So, a fence or a concrete wall?

WARD: Yes. We -- yes, I'm getting ready to explain that, Alisyn.

Definitely, we need to have a wall in some places. I can't wait to see the prototypes that are out. There will be fences in other areas. And, of course, we're going to utilize technology to the fullest. We're going to empower the border patrol so that they have the money and manpower to do what they were hired to do, which is keep people from coming into the country illegally in the first place.

And the fourth piece of the puzzle is to make sure that we have accountability measures in place. E-verify across the board, across the country, so that employers don't hire people illegally. And we have to have consequences for the people who have chosen to come to our country the wrong way, either to sneak across our border or to overstay their visas.


WARD: Those things have to have consequences rather than rewards.

CAMEROTA: Understood. I want to ask you about what you're calling for, which is the physical wall.

Analysts say that building that wall -- the money that it would take. President Trump is asking for $18 billion -- I'm sorry, $18 -- give me a minute -- billion.

That would cut into all the other things you're talking about. The surveillance, the radar technology, the patrol boats, and the border patrol agents. All of those, money would be siphoned off from to build the physical wall.

WARD: Actually, that's incorrect. The cost of illegal immigration is much more than $18 billion, so I think that we need to get --

CAMEROTA: No, I'm talking about the cost -- sorry, the cost of building the wall. Just building the physical wall.

WARD: Yes.

CAMEROTA: He's asked for $18 billion --

WARD: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- and that money would come out of --

WARD: Right, but the --

CAMEROTA: -- the pool of $33 billion that pays for all of those other things.

WARD: The money that's saved -- that will not be spent on illegal immigration will more than compensate for the cost of the physical wall.

We have to honor the campaign promises that we've made -- that I've made, that President Trump's made, that most Republicans that care about border security have made.

You know, people like Jeff Flake have always put amnesty, DACA, and open borders ahead of American citizens. We can't -- we can't continue down that path.

I'll tell you that Ed Rollins, my campaign chair who worked with Ronald Reagan --


WARD: -- said that his biggest regret was counting on Congress to enforce our immigration laws whenever he was in office.

We can't repeat the mistakes of the past --


WARD: We can't fall for the bait and switch that we're often offered, which is we'll build the wall later as long as we get our liberal policies in place.


WARD: That's got to stop and I hope it stops with Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: Last question. Do you expect an endorsement from President Trump?

WARD: You know, I've gotten so many amazing endorsements. I'm so proud to have Sen. Rand Paul on my team. I've also had endorsements from people like Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham --

CAMEROTA: And, Steve Bannon.

WARD: -- conservative stalwarts.

And, you know, Steve Bannon -- you know, I don't know that I actually really got a full endorsement from Steve, but --