Return to Transcripts main page


Four Boys Rescued On 15th Day Trapped In A Thai Cave; Heavy Monsoon Rains Could Seal Off Thai Cave; High Profile Week Ahead of Trump; Trump To Announce Supreme Court Nominee; State Of Emergency In Puerto Rico As Beryl Closes In; The 2000s Premiers. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 8, 2018 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:00] JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: And we are starting this hour with breaking news on that dangerous rescue mission in Thailand to save a youth soccer team and their coach trapped in a cave. Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Joe Johns in for Fredricka Whitfield.

Rescue teams have successfully evacuated four boys, the rest of the team spending another night right now in the depths of that dark cave where they've been trapped for more than two weeks. Rescue crews are plotting their next move as oxygen levels drop and monsoon rains move in, threatening to seal off the cave.

CNN has reporters on the scene, Jonathan Miller, near the cave entrance and CNN's Matt Rivers outside the hospital where the four boys are now being treated. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is tracking the monsoon rains that could hamper the rescue mission. And CNN's Tom Foreman will take us inside the cave to see exactly what rescuers are dealing with.

Let's go first to Jonathan Miller. This was just an extraordinary rescue. Still eight boys and their coach left in the cave. What can we expect for this next round of rescues? Any idea how soon it'll start?

JONATHAN MILLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the governor of Chiang Rai Province, who's done a remarkable job frankly over the past two weeks, chaffering this whole operation, overseeing it and getting the consent of the families to order the extraction of the boys today. He said tonight that there would be a little bit of a hiatus, a little break of about between 10 and 20 hours he said before the second phase of the extraction could start.

He said that this was because they needed to replace oxygen tanks down below. They'd all been used up, he said, which is extraordinary given the fact they've spent days prepositioning these tanks down there. It's obviously an oxygen-heavy operation. We knew oxygen levels in the cave system had been depleted.

Now, the euphoria surrounding the extraction of the four boys today is tempered by palpable tensions over the remaining eight boys and their coach. The extraction will probably take place by about late afternoon tomorrow. They will come out the way the others came out, which is involving a dive along several sections of the cave. As you might be able to tell from looking behind me, it's been raining here heavily.

And it's a foretaste probably the heavier monsoon rains to come. So the pressure is on. The governor has described this as a war against water and a race against time.

JOHNS: So, Jonathan, they brought four out today. If they use the same number of people, do we presume that when they go back, they're going to bring four more out and then have another hiatus or they're going to try to bring out all eight at once?

MILLER: No. Well, you know, things change. The situation is fluid. I think the plans may change because of this extremely heavy rain. I mean, it's been raining for hours here now. And, you know, it's a huge catchment area. And as the water pours into that, I mean, it's funneled down into that cavern system.

So, goodness knows how quickly that water table can rise. And the pumps find it hard to take that water out quickly enough. It will be the same sort of extraction process, though. What we know the initial plan involved was that unlike the first four, the next groups will be three at a time. So three, three, three. And that'll get them all out, including the coach.

And I think, you know, that the way they're doing it is to have a diver in front and a diver behind each boy, the front diver carrying the compressed air cylinder for the boy behind, who's tethered to him, leading him out along a dive line wire that is connecting them out and leading them toward the exit. So the operation will be similar, just whether it follows the initial plan isn't clear just now.

JOHNS: You look at that map and you almost can't imagine how those kids and that coach got in there in the first place. Thanks so much for that, Jonathan Miller.

After that intense rescue mission, the boys were rushed to a hospital about an hour's drive from the cave. Doctors and nurses have been there preparing for days in anticipation of treating the first boys. Let's check in with CNN's International Correspondent Matt Rivers right outside the hospital. Matt, what are you learning about the condition of these kids?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Joe, authorities keeping the status of the conditions pretty close to the vest at this point. We don't really know anything about how these boys are doing other than the fact of what we can glean given that they managed to get out of that cave.

[15:05:00] I mean, what you heard Jonathan just report there will tell you is that, it's very difficult. It was a physically strenuous process. How much that took out of them, we don't really know but they were able to do that. And so, that of course is an encouraging sign.

But still, as you would imagine, these boys taken here to the hospital. They're going to be given the utmost care. Like you mentioned, medical personnel had been planning for this for a long time now, making sure they were prepared for any possible symptoms, any illnesses that these boys could come in with.

We saw each balance drive by, one after one, each boy had his own ambulance. We've seen some recent footage coming out from the Thai navy which actually shows some of the boys being loaded into the ambulances without actually showing the boys. They're really keeping the boys' privacy here their highest priority.

We haven't seen any images of the boys since they came out of that cave. Clearly that is a priority for Thai authorities as they work to not only treat them medically but also get them reunited with their families.

Pretty quiet here now, Joe, we're not expecting any more rescues tonight, as Jonathan mentioned. But hopefully this will be a much more active scene here throughout the day today as more rescue people inside that cave, the kids and their coach, hopefully can make it here to the hospital just like their teammates have.

JOHNS: I know this has been mostly focused on the kids in the hospital, but I have to ask, has there been any response, if you will, at all from the parents of the kids who actually got out?

RIVERS: Yes, we haven't. We've reached out to some of those parents, and we haven't really been able to get in touch with them. Part of the reason why it's a little bit difficult is because there's a lot of conflicting information as to the identities of the kids who actually made it out.

There's a lot of different reports going around here in terms of who exactly these kids are. We have seen some names, but we're not ready to report those publicly just yet because we can't independently confirm that. But we are trying to reach out to some families. We have, though, Joe, talked to families over the last couple of days.

And I will tell you that the strength and the fortitude that some of these families have shown in the wake of just a tragic situation has really been remarkable. The grace under this situation in which they've constantly thanked volunteers and the Thai navy for their support, thanked even the media for being here, covering this, has really been remarkable.

And so, you can only imagine what those families must be going through, especially those who still have children inside. They're probably very happy for the families that now have those kids out, the four teammates' family, they are now out, but they also have their own kids to worry about still stuck in that cave.

JOHNS: They sure have been real troopers, haven't they? The ability to stay positive through all of this is pretty incredible because I know as a parent, I'd be pretty freaked out right about now. Thanks so much for that, Matt Rivers.

This rescue mission remains incredibly risky, even with intricate planning. Here to talk about some of the challenges facing rescue teams, the Chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, Peter Dennis.

And, Peter Dennis, we are still hours away, we're told, from divers going back into the cave for additional rescues. Can you just give us some sense, if you will, the 30,000-foot view of what makes this so difficult.

PETER DENNIS, CHAIRMAN, BRITISH CAVE RESCUE COUNCIL: Well, yes, it's a very tricky operation because there are so many different sections to the cave with varying characters. So starting off with completely socked or water filled quite narrow passages, with tricky maneuvers to get through rock projections and the like.

Later on, there are deep water river sections with air space. And even once they get beyond the diver assisted part of the cave, there are some tricky sections that have to be rigged. I think not least by some of the US contingent present on site. So, you know, these lads can be guided up over the rock with rope security to get them out of the cave entrance.

JOHNS: Right. So we've got the lines. The other question I think that comes up here is about communications and how important it would be at all. There's been some reporting from that HeyPhones, H-E-Y-P-H-O-N-E-S, which are old-style technology, about two decades, have been flown in from london, as a matter of fact, and used there because they're such low frequency you can communicate through stone.

Do you know anything about HeyPhones, and do you know if some of the British divers where they are might be familiar with that technology?

[15:09:57] DENNIS: Yes, it's solid state technology. We do have a replacement, digital version, but those who were shipped off at short notice, they're pretty effective. They give voice communication, as you say, through the deep rock of caves.

So it could be set out on a mud bank or a rocky sort of sub straight within the cave. And an equivalent set has to be positioned, ideally, vertically above in order to get a good signal.

And its key feature is running out very long wire antenna beside of the set. And with the low frequency carrier wave, you can gain voice contact. And that's immensely important when you're trying to coordinate such a rescue.

JOHNS: Right. And according to the reporting on this, three of those units were essentially shipped across the city of London under, you know, lights and siren apparently with the police, put on a plane to Thailand. My question to you is, is it possible one of those units could have been left with the kids who are stranded and the coach?

DENNIS: I think that would be a plan, is to have one set there. But it needs to be relayed through. I think from that position, the signal would need to go horizontally to one setup in a drier section further out of the cave, so that it could relay through to this surface set because that's so deep on the ground and so tricky.

But yes, in theory, I'm not absolutely clear but that was the plan, if one actually reached the chamber where they're sitting.

JOHNS: Absolutely. And that sort of leads to the body of evidence as we try to determine whether the people who are left behind and waiting to be rescued have been told that the four who first set out actually made it to safety. But million-dollar question about that device and where it might be placed.

This is an international effort with more than 90 rescuers representing several countries. What experience do you think, especially the British divers, bring to this area of the world? Tell me a little bit about the kind of experience they have that might be useful in this setting in Thailand?

DENNIS: well, in the case of Rick Stanton, he's CV is pretty impressive in terms of rescues, has been called into assist with these records speaks for itself. But there's a history of British diving. We have these fairly small-channeled caves with gritty brown-colored water. And it sounds perverse.

But there is actually a sport that has pursued exploration in those conditions for many decades. So that's really the key to the useful and relevant skills that some of these cave divers take over to Thailand because of the turbulent water, lots of sediment, poor visibility. And it's the techniques to safely negotiate those kinds of channels that they're really able to bring to the party and help in terms of assisting the Thai authorities with this cave rescue.

JOHNS: absolutely. Having done just a bit of cave diving myself, I can tell you it's a little scary sometimes. Thanks so much for that, Peter Dennis.

More on our breaking news, we'll show you what it's like inside the cave and the hurdles rescue teams are encountering. And it's now or never, rescuers facing another challenge, including from an incoming storm. What this means for the rescue of the rest of the kids and their coach, coming up.


[15:17:40] JOHNS: Now we continue to follow the breaking news out of Thailand. We're awaiting the next phase of the rescue mission to evacuate the youth soccer team and their coach trapped in the depths of a cave for more than two weeks now.

Four boys have already been safely rescued and are at the hospital. The other eight boys and their coach are still trapped in that cave. Now, let's go to CNN's Tom Foreman with a virtual look inside the cave to get a better understanding of the rescue mission. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Joe. Officials say the initial part of this went a little faster than they expected, two boys coming out of the cave about ten minutes apart. Two hours later, two more coming out, about ten minutes apart. And the only way that happened is because they pumped so much water out of this cave over a period of days that they made parts of it walkable.

Now, some parts are still completely under water. What that meant is that the divers had to put those full face masks on to these boys. Then when they came out, they swam in this configuration.

One diver was up front carrying the air supply for the boy in the middle. They're tethered together. They're following a line all the way out. Then another diver would come behind, sort of backstopping the entire effort. How far did they have to go this way, and how many times through little tight areas?

We don't entirely know because the maps are pretty inadequate at this point. We know parts of the cave, substantial parts, are still flooded, maybe by some accounts up to a quarter of it. That's a kilometer. If that's true, that would mean that in various ways, these kids had to go under 11 football fields completely submerged, unable to see, just being towed along. That's a big, big task.

And yet, they managed to get four of them from over there, over here. And then they had to stop because they'd used up all their oxygen. They have to replenish all of that before they can try to get the rest. But this really is absolutely a race against time.

All that pumping was dealing with all the rain that fell from the time they disappeared to the past few days. But there's been a lull. And now look what's coming. Big monsoon weather is settling back in right now. And that is giving a sense of urgency to this beyond anything we've even seen so far. Joe?

JOHNS: Tom Foreman, thank you for that.

[15:19:59] Still to come, unpredictable weather could hamper efforts to rescue the remaining eight boys and their coach and potentially seal off the cave. A live update coming up next.

(Commercial Break)

JOHNS: OK. It's in the middle of the night in Northern Thailand where four boys have been rescued from a cave after being trapped for more than two weeks. Those already rescued appear in good health, but eight more boys are waiting their turn, along with their coach.

The rescue operation is on hold while oxygen tanks are being refilled. It is a race against time. Monsoon rains hit the cave after the first rescues.

[15:25:01] Monsoon season is nothing new for Thailand, but the effects it could have on the rescue could be detrimental. So how long is it going to last?

Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is joining me now. So, let's just talk about that, Ivan, is this going to go on and on, and on or are there going to be breaks?

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is going to go on and on and on. There will be a few breaks but the monsoon season itself, right, that we talk about here across this part of the world lasts for months. We're talking October by the time this thing dries out.

So the plan originally was maybe to have them down there until October, feeding them and watering. That wasn't going to work because we have so much rain coming in. There are multiple pumps, multiple pumps working 24 hours trying to get that water out, but Mother Nature is going to win that battle because there's a lot more water coming in.

So remember, the monsoon is not one thing. It's not a tropical storm. It's not a hurricane. It's a pattern that we get warm, humid air coming in across the area. We're surrounded by the gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, both of which will be impacting the region.

Now, Joe, we do have breaks, right. It doesn't rain every single day heavily. But there are weeks that go by, and we don't see sunshine here. So we'll continue to see I think more torrential downpours as we head through the day.

A bit of a break now, but again, this is not something that comes from a source region here. We're talking about storms that just billow up like Florida or the monsoon in the Southwestern of US. They come out of nowhere. Well, they do, with the moisture coming from the gulf and also from the South China Sea.

And by the way, all the rainfall that we're talking about doesn't even necessarily have fall right over the cave system. Because of the mountains up to the north, that water drains. It has to go somewhere. It does eventually go out to sea, but a lot of it gets fed into the cave system. And that's why I think the urgency now has more than quadrupled, I would say, in the next couple days.

JOHNS: All right. Thanks so much for that, Ivan Cabrera. It is quite a situation on the ground right there.

The rescue is also filled with grueling physical and psychological challenges. Joining me now is Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, a doctor. The remaining boys have been trapped in this cave for 15 days, what are some of your immediate concerns?

DR. DARRIA LONG GILLESPIE, CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: So hi, Joe. Good to see you. Yes, one of the things we're worried about with these boys right now is oxygen levels. They've talked about the oxygen level in that cave being 15 percent or lower. That's one of the very biggest concerns we have right now, but also dehydration and mall nourishment. And even things like hypothermia or infections.

JOHNS: All right. So is it possible some of these boys may have real difficulty, not be strong enough to make this journey back out of the cave?

GILLESPIE: Joe, that is always a concern with anyone, but I've seen from my own patients, I am always impressed by how strong people may be. But they're going to have to do things to really prepare them. But again, time is not on our side. So what the rescuers are doing, I'm sure, is they're going as quickly as they can without rushing so much so that they endanger the operation prematurely.

JOHNS: OK. So now, let's talk just a little bit about mind/body science here. I don't know if you're a fan, but there is reporting now from multiple outlets that the coach with the kids inside was a Buddhist monk for something like a decade and that he actively practiced meditation. Do you imagine that having that gift or that skill to work with these young boys on meditation might be one of the things that has kept them mentally centered, if you will?

JOHNS: Joe, I think that's an excellent point, and I absolutely think there is a connection between our mind and our body and how it manifests itself. For two reasons for these boys, one, even -- wherever you're trapped, when there's uncertainty, being able to control your emotions is going to be very important.

For these boys who may be in a situation of low oxygen, which itself can cause sort of an emotional disturbance and panic and fatigue, and having to control their breathing through scuba diving to be rescued, being able to retain that calmness and set aside anxiety for these boys is going to be especially important.

JOHNS: Absolutely. Anxiety is everything. And there's also that issue of panic as you make the transit certainly through the water, even with a diver in front and a diver in back.

Another question I think is about one of the boys actually having to be air lifted. This morning, Eastern Time, a lot of us watched it on TV, very, very early. The hospital obviously was awaiting that young man. We do not know his condition, but does that give you pause about what kind of shape these kids are in as they're starting to come out of there?

GILLESPIE: Yes. And where it's impossible to predict what their shape will be. Air lifting is especially could be dangerous if somebody has just come from scuba because they're now having very different pressures.

[15:30:00] But so somebody does have to be air lifted, it really does make you wonder what resources did they need, but they really have to make sure they stabilize that airway, and that breathing, and that circulation before they transport that child.

JOHNS: Absolutely, because there's that issue of getting nitrogen essentially in your joints and muscles. I believe they still call it the bends.


JOHNS: Am I right?

GILLESPIE: Exactly, exactly. When you cut from that partial pressure change from the oxygen and nitrogen and everything we're breathing into our bodies.

JOHNS: So what are the doctors looking for when these boys finally get out of there and arrive at the hospital? I guess you call it triage.

GILLESPIE: Yes. So just like we do in the US, we have very extensive protocols for in complex cases like this because you don't want to miss anything. So you go through the A, B, C, D. So the airway, they'll check that first.

Breathing, breathing will be an issue. We talked about oxygen, if they've had any inhalation or respiratory injuries during this time. And then circulation, dehydration are their blood acid levels higher because of carbon dioxide and some sort of starving and ketoacidosis. They'll be checking all of those things who'll be very crucial in the first half hour to an hour and then stabilizing them over time.

JOHNS: And there's obviously the psychological aspect of this. We talked in the last hour to a doctor who dealt with the miners in Chile in 2010 who says some of them are still feeling the psychological aspects of having been underground for so long. So there's the short- term and the long-term. What are you looking for short-term about the mental state?

GILLESPIE: Joe, that's something we're going to be absolutely concerned about with these boys. And the psychological consequences of it don't always emerge immediately, and they will be different for every child and teenager. So they're going to be looking for how they're feeling, how they're dealing with this.

A lot of them may initially be in shock and not really displaying really any emotion because they'll be much watching those children for weeks, if not months and longer. And I do think we have to mention, you know, as a mother myself, I don't think we can underestimate the impact on their parents as well. So they'll be needing to monitor them as well.

JOHNS: Absolutely. That's got to be quite a challenge, sitting around for that long waiting if your son's going to come back.

GILLESPIE: I can't imagine.

JOHNS: Thank you for that Dr. Darria Long Gillespie.

GILLESPIE: Thank you, Joe. Take care.

JOHNS: You bet.

Next, we're just a day away from President Trump picking his latest Supreme Court nominee, and the field is now narrower, we're hearing, details on the top standouts and potential fight coming up.


[15:37:09] JOHNS: President Trump wrapping up a quiet weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, and returning to the White House soon. Now, he's got a busy week ahead. Tomorrow he's expected to announce his Supreme Court nominee.

Tuesday is the immigration deadline for the administration to reunite children under the age of 5 with their parents. Later that very same day, the president heads off to Brussels for the NATO summit. Thursday night he heads to Britain, where he has dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May. And Friday he's going to meet the queen.

After that, Mr. Trump heads to Scotland for the weekend before his big sit-down summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland on the 16th.

CNN's Boris Sanchez is in New Jersey near the President's Bedminster resort. Boris, busy week, right, I teethed it up for you there. What do you think we're going to -- we should expect?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Joe. Yes, a busy week indeed. Jam packed full of activities for the President.

The first thing on the agenda in the early part of the week he's been teasing this weekend. The prime time announcement of his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Sources indicate that President Trump took calls on his nominee decision while here in Bedminster this weekend.

That source wouldn't specify exactly who the president had spoken to. Another source told us that everything is essentially ready to go, that all the paperwork and interviews are done. All that's left is for President Trump to make a final decision and then announce it to the American people.

You noted he has that upcoming trip to Europe to meet with NATO allies to tour the UK, but that trip is and all the other items on the agenda are falling against the backdrop of a brewing legal battle between the president's attorneys and the special counsel.

This weekend Rudy Giuliani made very specific demands of Robert Mueller in order to grant him an interview with the president. Chiefly, Giuliani is asking the special counsel to provide some sort of evidence that would lead to a suspicion of wrongdoing on behalf of President Trump.

Giuliani was CNN this morning speaking to Dana Bash on "STATE OF THE UNION." Listen to this from the former mayor of New York.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I have no idea what he's going to do. I think if he does, we could have the subpoena quashed. To subpoena the President, never been done successfully in the history of this country.

There is very, very strong law that the President cannot be subjected to criminal process. There's very good argument the OLC opinion governing Mueller says that, but certainly constitutional law may say it. The reality is that we have a very strong argument that they haven't made a case for an interview.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Now, effectively what you're hearing there is Rudy Giuliani challenging the special counsel to try to issue a subpoena to compel the President to testify.

[15:40:06] Giuliani has previously said that he would challenge that in court. So what that means is that the White House would have this on going legal fight with the special counsel than just have the President simply testify, which he has said that he wants to do.

You noted the President is set to meet with Vladimir Putin next week, a summit that all eyes will be on, especially when you consider the backdrop of the Russia investigation still hanging over this administration as it has for quite some time, Joe.

JOHNS: Right. So it's going to be very interesting to see how the President handles just the optics of that. I guess we'll know when we get to that point. Thank you so much for that, Boris Sanchez.

Topping the President's to-do list this week is going to be his big announcement on a Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The President says he'll announce that choice tomorrow night. Joining me now to discuss this, CNN Supreme Court Reporter, Ariane de Vogue.

Ariane, what do we know about these finalists? And you said last hour there were four that we're looking at who are most likely.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. This is the frantic last day, right, before this big announcement.

JOHNS: Yes, you got a long 24 hours ahead of you, I think.


Top contender has always been Brett Kavanaugh. He is 53 years old. He's a judge here in Washington, D.C. He has about 300 conservative opinions. Conservatives like them on issues like executive power and religion. But he's from within the beltway, and the President, remember, he ran on that promise to drain the swamp. So some of his critics say he shouldn't be the pick.

Another one, Ray Kethledge, another young judge, 51 years old. He has been on the bench for 10 years. He's got lots of conservative opinions, but people say he's never ruled on abortion or affirmative action. But a lot of his supporters call him Gorsuch 2.0 because he shares the same judicial philosophy of Neil Gorsuch, of Antonin Scalia. And conservatives believe that he will give them the kind of rulings that they want.

Then there's Tom Hardiman. He's out of Pennsylvania. He's interesting because he was the runner-up the last time around for Justice Antonin Scalia's seat. And President Trump really likes his life story. First one ever to, in his family, to graduate college, drove a cab for a while. He also has a Second Amendment opinion that conservatives really like. And finally, there's Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Now, she is a Trump nominee just recently. So she hasn't got that many opinions, right? But she was at Notre Dame Law School for years, and she wrote a lot about religion.

And during her recent confirmation hearings, the Democrats, Diane Feinstein, particularly kind of went after her on her religion and said something like, "The dogma lives loudly in you." And afterwards, conservatives were furious. They said, "Look, Feinstein is looking for a litmus test here on religion," but they also think that she might be a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

So that's sort of the top list. That's where we are.

JOHNS: Right. You know, in politics, a lot of people outside the beltway think that if you have a clean slate and people haven't seen that many votes that you've taken, then that's good if you want to ascend to higher office. For example, Barack Obama, a lot of people didn't know a lot about him because he hadn't been in the Senate for a long time.

DE VOGUE: Right.

JOHNS: But, is this really true also for people who are trying to ascend to the court? Is it good to only have so much that you've actually gotten pinned down and had to write about?

DE VOGUE: Well, remember this, remember that the Republicans are still furious because they feel like George H.W. Bush put Justice Souter on the bench. And remember at the time, Souter was a relative unknown. He had no paper trail. And he ended up being a very consistent vote for the liberals. They haven't forgotten that.

And this President, during his campaign, working with the federalist society said, "I want a list. I want to be ready to go, and I want to know something about the background." So you're exactly right. The idea of putting someone without some kind of a paper trail is almost unheard of.

But look, you know, you're looking at Judge Barrett, she has the paper trail when it comes to her academic record, not so much her opinions. So that could be take into consideration.

JOHNS: Right. But she'll be attacked for not having enough experience, right? And somebody will say, "You need to stick around 10 or 15 years, and then we'll try again?

DE VOGUE: Well, that's exactly what some conservatives who really like her are saying. Now, according to my sources they said, "Look, she's going to be good, but should we wait a little while? Should we put her on for a different seat?"

JOHNS: All right. This is all fun. A lot of dynamics there and looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. Thanks so much for that.

DE VOGUE: You're welcome.

JOHNS: Next, a still recovering Puerto Rico is bracing for another storm. And people say, "This time around no one is taking any chances."

[15:45:00] A live report from San Juan straight ahead.


JOHNS: OK. Now, talking about what was the first official hurricane of the season and it is headed straight for Puerto Rico. Beryl, OK, is now a tropical storm, but it has winds of 45 miles an hour. It should hit Puerto Rico tomorrow. That region still very vulnerable from Hurricane Maria and people are not taking any chances. The governor has declared a state of emergency, people are already lining up for extra food and water.

[15:50:00] CNN's, Leyla Santiago, joins us now from San Juan.

And there's still could be trouble even though we're talking about 45 miles an hour versus 75 mile and hour of winds.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Look, there's a bit of relief because this storm has weakened when you talk to folks, but there's still sort of a mixed bag of emotions because there's a lot of anxiety over the unpredictability of Mother Nature here.

And as you mentioned, this is a very vulnerable island. You take a look right behind me. You see this right here, that is an area called Cantera. When you fly in to Puerto Rico, this is what you will see coming in. And you see still to this day all the blue tarps on top of those roofs in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the capital.

Now, the governor said that there are still about 60,000 blue tarps that are protecting the homes of the people on this island more than 10 months after Hurricane Maria. So that really does speak to the vulnerability, the fact that a few inches of rain really could cause quite a bit of impact and flooding for the people of Puerto Rico who were very anxious. Still, many would tell you they're recovering after Hurricane Maria.

So you got the flooding, that is one big concern that the governor has mentioned and the mayors that I have talked to. And then there is the power, Joe. I mean, more than 1,500 people, still today, don't have power after it was wiped out after Hurricane Maria. And some just to have -- had it restored in the last month.

The governor is now speaking at a press conference and he said something that was very interesting. I thought he said, "The power grid is more vulnerable today than it was before Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria." So that speaks to the challenges. They're really keeping an eye on the southern coast of Puerto Rico and that was also where Maria came in. That is where this tropical storm is expected to have and impact and in those mountainous areas, also areas in the interior, they're really impacted months ago by Hurricane Maria. So again, there seems to be somewhat of a relief, but there really is that anxiety. Already they're being told, "If you are in a home, just like this, that has a blue tarp or has a tin roof, either go to someone else's home or seek shelter. Go to those shelters."

The mayor of this island had already asked for 24 of them to be opened. They have several others that are ready to be open, should that become a necessity. But, preps are under way and people are just waiting to see what will come with tropical storm Beryl and crossing their fingers that it doesn't continue to really have an impact on the lives of the people here.

JOHNS: Leyla, here we are at the start of another hurricane season. Those blue tarps, the picture that really says more than a thousand words about the state of play in San Juan.

Thank you so much for that Leyla Santiago. We'll be right back.


[15:57:01] JOHNS: I think you can arguably say this was one of the quintessential questions at the turn of the new millennium. Are you Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, or Samantha? So, yes, talking about the Smash TV hit show "Sex and the City" which is going to be featured on tonight's premier episode of CNN's "THE 2000S: THE PLATINUM AGE OF TELEVISION."

Now, that show is so iconic. Its locations are tourist attractions years, years after the series ended. CNN'S Kate Bennett is about to join a "Sex and the City" bus tour in New York.

So, Kate, what does the Central Park horse and the carriage mean for people who are fans of the show?

KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they all know, Joe, that this is where Carrie and Mr. Big take one last very New York iconic moment before Mr. Big leaves New York and moves to Napa and it's sort of the end of an era, at least a pause in their love story. But one of the things Carrie arranges for Mr. Big and herself is a carriage ride through Central Park which we're doing here. Now, of course, it's a lovely, lovely day.

You know, fun fact too, Joe, there is one other carriage scene in Central Park that comes many seasons later, and it's a sled and Carrie is with the Russian, Alexander Petrovski and they take a snow carriage ride through Central Park, but that's different. But mainly we're celebrating here today Carrie and Mr. Big. And, Joe, I will say I'm a Carrie. I - of --


BENNETT: I like that you asked that question because a lot of women of this era who will be watching "THE 2000" tonight will identify themselves as one of the four women.

JOHNS: Right. You know, I'm the one who set up the question but I got to tell you, I think I'm Mr. Big or I'd like to be. Anyway, look, OK, the other --

BENNETT: Yes. I can see that.

JOHNS: Now, the other question is Sarah Jessica Parker who I guess everybody knows she was the producer, she was the star and she always called New York City the fifth lady. So, really there were five players in this and one of them was the location. Can you sort of flesh that out for me a little bit?

BENNETT: Yes. I mean, it's true. And very smart to say, I mean certainly the show would not have been what it would have been, it wouldn't have been this iconic production that we're still talking about all these years later. If New York City hadn't really been part of the story line, whether it is a carriage ride in Central Park or shopping downtown in Soho or at some new, you know, restaurant on the Upper East Side, New York was always part of this backdrop to the show.

And I think without it, perhaps we wouldn't be talking about, we wouldn't be featuring the show in our special. I mean, these moments really are brought to you by New York City which is why this carriage ride and Mr. Big and Carrie had that moment, that's why, it was so, so important.

[16:00:01] And we'll be going around the city for the rest of the afternoon on the "Sex and the City" bus tour checking out a few more of these places leading up to the night stay as they premiere.