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More Hawaiian Residents Told to Evacuate as Two New Fissures Open; Trump Pledges to Save Major Chinese Company from U.S. Sanctions; Supreme Court Lets States Legalize Sports Gambling; Trump and Hannity Like Phone Calls at Bedtime?. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 14, 2018 - 10:30   ET



[10:33:35] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, on Hawaii's big island, lava and fumes shooting high into the air, as two more fissures open up over the weekend. Officials tell residents nearby to evacuate their homes, while also warning that an eruption at the top of the volcano is possible, that could shoot ash and plumes 12 miles wide.

Our Scott McLean is in Pahoa, Hawaii, with more.

These are stunning pictures and stunning warnings from officials there. What are you hearing?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy. Well, the good news here is that this looks like a dangerous situation and it certainly is. But for this particular fissure that has opened up, there is little if any risk right now to any homes or buildings as we know. It is on a private piece of farm land. This is the 18th fissure that has opened up. And you can see just how high that lava is flowing into the air.

We're more than a mile away and we can see it really easy. So you can imagine just how big this fissure is. Some of these fissures are several hundred yards long. Now there have been 37 buildings and homes destroyed by them since Kilauea started erupting more than a week ago. There have now been 2,000 people who have been displaced, they evacuated from their homes.

We actually went to one of the shelters today in Pahoa and caught up with some of these evacuees and they were in remarkably good spirits. Listen.


ROBBIE MCGRATH, HAWAII RESIDENT FOR 23 YEARS: I'm surprisingly calm, even though it's really close to my house. I'm feeling just a lot of love and hope that my house will be OK.

[10:35:10] NINA BERSAMINA, HAWAII RESIDENT: We didn't know if the lava was going to hop over and take our house. We had no idea. But we were calm. You know. And just when you move to this volcano or move to this island, you move into her house. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLEAN: Now the her that she's talking about there is Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, that many people here believe is in control of Kilauea. People have been told in this area especially, to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. But police say that not everyone is heeding those warnings. Some people have been told to evacuate and they say they're going to stay put and ride this out and simply hope for the best, despite the images that we've seen of entire homes, entire cars being swallowed up by this lava flow.

One of other thing to mention, Poppy, that is the other concern with the top of this volcano, the worry is that if boulders start falling into that main crater, it could create pressure underground. If that becomes too much, you could see an explosion that could send boulders the size of refrigerators, the size of cars flying some half a mile, smaller rocks could go even further, and there is really no telling when or if that might happen.

HARLOW: Wow. Unbelievable to think this is happening right now, these pictures are remarkable.

Scott McLean, thank you.

Ahead for us, the America first president now says he will make a move to save, wait for it, wait for it, Chinese jobs. What's behind this? Brilliant negotiating or not? Next.


[10:40:42] HARLOW: President Trump says jobs are on the line, so he's telling his Commerce Department to step in and try to save a struggling company. But here's the twist. The company he's trying to save is a huge Chinese technology company called ZTE. The jobs the president wants to help save are Chinese jobs. You probably saw this tweet on it yesterday.

We should also note that a 2012 congressional report said that ZTE and another company, quote, "cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence." And for that reason, they pose a, quote, "security threat to the United States and our systems."

We'd like to understand this so joining us to help us try to do that is CNN senior economics analyst Stephen Moore, a former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign, so who better to ask than you about this.

This comes in the context of big important Chinese trade delegation, comes to Washington tomorrow. The president wants a deal. However, this is a huge Chinese tech company that risks U.S. national security. So says Congress. You got Republicans like Marco Rubio lashing out saying don't back down to China on this one. Why is the president doing this?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, Poppy, you're right on all counts there. You're exactly right. That's a good summary of the situation. There is a lot of unease among some of the Republicans in Congress about this. ZTE has had issues with respect to spying on the United States and using its devices to spy. It was Trump who put these -- some sanctions on in the first place a number of months ago.

HARLOW: Right.

MOORE: And so I like the way you guys put it on your Web site, on the CNN Web site, this is a curveball in these negotiations. And, you know, I think we have to withhold judgment here because this is a guy, Donald Trump, who knows the art of the deal, it sounds to me as though what he's doing is offering a fig leaf to the Chinese as they come to Washington this week, because we are in the start of some negotiations that could be --

HARLOW: Well, hold on, Steve --

MOORE: Yes. We'll see what Trump gets. We'll see what --


HARLOW: I think you mean an olive branch, an olive branch is one thing. I think you mean an olive branch.


HARLOW: However, here is what the sitting director of the FBI, Christophe Wray, said about the risk from ZTE. Listen to this.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information and it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.


HARLOW: It can spy on the U.S. It does spy on the U.S. using its facilities, that's what he's saying. This is also a company that the reason that it was essentially put out of business because of these deals being not allowed to happen anymore with American companies is because it violated an agreement that prohibited it from doing business with Iran and North Korea. Why is that worth saving?

MOORE: Well, look, I'm not a national security expert, so I'm not the best person to ask, but I will say this, that, look, Trump wants three things from China in these negotiations. He wants China to stop stealing our technology. And they're doing that to the tune of about $300 billion a year, that's a big security issue right there, Poppy, is the stealing of our technology.

Number two, he wants China to bring down the trade deficit with the United States. Number three, he wants -- he wants China to buy more American products. So what I'm saying is let's see what we get here in return for this because this is a big -- no question about it. HARLOW: So what's worth it? So I hear your point that let's see what

we get in return. But what sort of economic relief and narrowing, you know, the trade gap, what amount is worth helping a company that can spy on the U.S. and has broken its agreement not to do business with Iran and North Korea?

MOORE: Well, they have to be major concessions. They'll have to make major deal to pay us for the technology, whether it's our pharmaceutical products, our computer software, our patents, our copyrights, which are routinely stolen by China.

Trump, I've talked to Donald Trump about this many times, he is obsessed about reducing that trade deficit, which is in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year.


MOORE: So, you know, we'll see how this turns out. If he can get major concessions from China, that will mean millions of additional jobs for Americans. So that may be the way to open the door to a new trade regime with China, where we have free trade, but fair trade.

[10:45:08] HARLOW: And the question becomes at what cost, right?

MOORE: Yes. That's true.

HARLOW: I think you're going to hear a lot more from Congress on this, both Republicans and Democrats.

Steve Moore, we'll be watching, appreciate it, thank you.

MOORE: OK. Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: We do have breaking news out of the Supreme Court. The high court has ruled this morning that states can legalize sports betting. We'll take you there for a live report next.


HARLOW: Breaking news, the Supreme Court this morning striking down the federal ban on sports betting, now it leaves it up to the states.

Our Jessica Schneider joins us live outside of the high court.

[10:50:01] And Jess, this is an interesting 6-3 decision, right? And not down to sort of your typical partisan lines.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You got it. This was a scattering of conservative and liberal justices. This was written by Justice Samuel Alito. So really here, Poppy, a big win for the state of New Jersey who brought this lawsuit that could have some very big implications for states nationwide.

So the Supreme Court this morning, in a 6-3 ruling, saying that states can in fact legalize and regulate sports betting. So as you can imagine, there has been a flurry of reaction from many factions including the American Gaming Association, that called this a victory for millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner, also draft kings announcing that it will also enter the legal betting atmosphere throughout states that choose to legalize it. So we're still waiting to hear reaction from the former governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, he was the one who initiated this lawsuit. The lawsuit has in turn been named for the new governor of New Jersey, so still waiting to hear from them.

But really this has been a lawsuit in the works for several years. New Jersey in particular has been trying to legalize sports betting ever since 2011. But what's gotten in the way is the federal statute here that actually prohibited states from legalizing or authorizing or regulating sports betting.

The Supreme Court today saying that basically this statute is unconstitutional. It violates the 10th Amendment that essentially commandeers state legislatures. So what's interesting here is that this ruling has cleared the way for states for legalized sports betting, however, there is a caveat here.

Justice Samuel Alito has said that states can go forward unless Congress decides to act. So really this puts it into the federal government's purview and if Congress decides to act to regulate sports betting, that could put the brakes on these states. But as of now, Poppy, a lot of excitement from gaming associations, as well as associations like draft kings, who are excited about the possibility that states may go forward here and legalize sports betting, a major win for New Jersey and many states in particular -- Poppy.

HARLOW: And the revenue, the revenue that it could bring into these states as a result of that.


HARLOW: Jessica, thank you. Reporting for us outside of the Supreme Court. Appreciate it.

So when Sean Hannity gets off the air, apparently he gets on the phone. Guess who he's calling? Some new fascinating reporting ahead.


[10:56:54] HARLOW: So did you catch this headline this morning? Here it is. "Donald Trump and Sean Hannity like to talk before bedtime." Makes you want to read the article, right? Well, it's a new piece by Olivia Nuzzi in the "New York" magazine and it outlines FOX News -- the FOX News host's pretty incredible relationship with the president, friendship we know, how much of an adviser is he to the president? Daily calls that are sometimes a major headache, she reports, in the West Wing.

Brian Stelter, our senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" is here for more. The headline makes you want to read it and then when you read it, there are some really stunning parts. One thing that struck me there in the beginning of the piece is when Olivia writes about Sean Hannity filling a void left by Steve Bannon. BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is a really

interesting way to think about Hannity's role as an informal White House adviser, someone who's channeling Trump's base or specific part of Trump's base that the president may need to be reminded about. Bannon always viewed himself as the voice of Trump's base. In some ways Hannity sees himself the same way.

I think this piece is really a view into the way Trump world works with these frequent phone calls between Trump and Hannity, usually it is Hannity calling Trump after the show, sometimes the other way around. It really supports the idea that Hannity is an adviser to Trump. And Trump is a producer of Hannity's show. It's a two-way street.

HARLOW: Talk about why, Brian, this matters. I mean, presidents have friends and they're allowed to call the White House and they're allowed to call the White House four nights a week if they want.

STELTER: Definitely.

HARLOW: The difference here is that Hannity hosts a show watched by millions of Americans on FOX News.

STELTER: And doesn't usually talk about his conversations with Trump.


STELTER: He sometimes refers to his anonymous sources which I guess we're supposed to expect that's the president now. Hannity usually keeps his relationship with Trump kind of a mystery but this story does reveal new details about it. And it matters because we want the president, no matter who is the president, to get the best possible information. And I think a lot of folks, even some inside FOX would say, Hannity show is not the best possible source of news about the world.

Here is actually one of the comments in the story that I think is worth sharing. It's quoting a former White House official and there's some expletives here, saying, "The trouble caused by Hannity and FOX more broadly is an F'd up feedback loop that puts Trump in a weird head space. What ends up happening is, he watches Judge Janine and Hannity, they fill him up with a bunch of crazy you know what and then everyone on staff has to go and knock down all the fires they started."

In other words, when Hannity or other FOX hosts rail against Robert Mueller's investigation, say it is all a witch-hunt, et cetera, et cetera, it fills the president up with these ideas that may not be entirely accurate and that means the president is not getting the best possible information.

HARLOW: Do you think that Sean Hannity would call himself an informal adviser to the president?

STELTER: I don't know --

HARLOW: If he would have been very honest?

STELTER: I don't know if he would publicly but he definitely does in private acknowledge his influence with the president. I think he enjoys the influence he has with the president. I think he likes knowing the president is watching. And Olivia says Hannity has even thought about maybe a run for office himself in the future. I don't know.

HARLOW: What do you think? What do you think, Brian Stelter?

STELTER: I think Hannity --

HARLOW: And does he have the appetite to run?

STELTER: They're both great entertainers and Trump was using that to great effect in the campaign.

HARLOW: It's a fascinating piece.

Brian Stelter, thank you very much. Nice to have you here.

And thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan begins right now.