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AT THIS HOUR

Texas Coast Braces for Life-Threatening Winds, Floods; Oil Rigs, Refineries Evacuate Ahead of Hurricane; Op-Ed: World Leaders Conclude Trump a Liability; Inside the Private Life of Princess Diana. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired August 25, 2017 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] IAN SEARS, NOAA FLIGHT METEOROLOGIST: And as you mentioned, the real big threat with this one is the flooding from merely three feet of rain that's forecast in some areas. Also, the storm surge. Those are probably the two biggest hazards people in the path of Hurricane Harvey are facing. Yes, there's some wind to go with it as well. That's going to be in a narrow slot. Folks who are in the path should have their preparations complete and be listening to the evacuation orders right now.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN ANCHOR: Are you planning any more trips into the eye of the storm as Hurricane Harvey nears us? Do I need to be worried about you? Is it dangerous what you do?

SEARS: You don't have to be worried about me or any of the team I fly with. I am currently done flying in Hurricane Harvey. Some of my co- workers are out there right now tackling this storm. You don't have to be worried about us. We have a great group of maintainers who take care of the airplane. It's a real team effort between the pilots, meteorologists onboard, the navigators and all the people in the back making sure that the data we're collecting is getting off the airplane and to the Hurricane Center and to the modeling folks in real time. They are seeing what we are doing as we are doing it. That's the best, clearest, most present picture we can give them.

WARD: Wow. What an extraordinary job you have.

Ian Sears, thank you for being with us and telling us about it.

SEARS: Thank you for having us.

WARD: A number of oil rigs and refineries in the path of the storm are stopping offshore operations and evacuating personnel as Hurricane Harvey approaches.

For more on that, let's go to CNN's Alison Kosik.

Alison, give us a sense of what impact the storm could potentially have on all these refineries.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clarissa, Hurricane Harvey is headed to a region of the country that is immensely important for U.S. gas and oil production. Just to give you an idea, almost 30 percent of the refining done in the U.S. is done right in the path of where Harvey is headed.

So, what's happening right now, out of the Gulf of Mexico you have oil rigs and oil platforms shutting down. You have refineries, where the oil that comes out of the ground in the Gulf of Mexico, that's where it is refined, these refineries, into gasoline. The refineries are being taken offline. Because this is happening, it's disrupting the flow of gasoline, the gas supply. So you are seeing are gas prices are expected to go up as early as this weekend, anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent. Analysts are telling me that hike in gas prices could run throughout the week. We even saw that spike happen in anticipation last night in the spot gas market. In turn, what you are seeing, again, the distributors, retailers are hiking their gas prices.

The good news this all this, Clarissa, is gas prices right now, the average price for a gallon of gas is $2.35. Gas prices are at historic lows. The thinking is, if you go fill up your tank of gas this weekend and throughout the week, you may not get too much sticker shock -- Clarissa?

WARD: All right, Alison Kosik, thank you so much.

Of course, we will keep you updated on Hurricane Harvey.

Up next, why some world leaders think President Trump is turning into more of a liability than of leader. Our international diplomatic editor explains after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:37:30] WARD: We are tracking Hurricane Harvey as it barrels toward the Texas coast. Let's get the view from the path of the storm.

CNN's Nick Valencia is standing right in it in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Nick, what are you seeing and learning?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clarissa, things are starting to get interesting here. The last 30 minutes or so, the weather picked up. We are starting to feel the severe weather conditions. The wind has been sustained at a higher velocity. The rain is slowly starting to come down more steadily. You can see in the distance, the white caps, as recently as an hour ago, did not see them banging against the seawall. That gives you a sense of how things are deteriorating, progressing here. Check out the water. We have been out here all morning long, watching the water as it rises. The National Hurricane Center said three to six feet expected to swell in the bay here. The water is slowly starting to creep up.

We just heard from a congressman locally that his district is under severe weather warning. He says residents have about an hour to evacuate or they are going to be stuck here like the rest of us. Local officials stressed over the last 48 hours to get out.

Still, it goes without saying, no matter where you are in the country, there are going to be people who decide not to listen to those officials and stick it out. All morning long, we have been talking to the people who decided to wait the storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELSE ROCHENBACHER, CORPUS CHRISTI RESIDENT: I have gone through a lot of hurricanes. I have lived here most of my life. I would rather take care of my home and my animals and be safe here. I'm on high ground with my house.

VALENCIA: What kind of precautions are you taking? Boarded up your home, bought stuff?

ROCHENBACHER: We shopped, water in the bathtub. We have the house boarded up. All the stuff picked up in the yard and stuffed in the garage. So, we have done work. As long as you are on high ground in Corpus, I think you are OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Back here live in Corpus Christi, you can see that. That wind is starting to pick up. Those palm trees blowing in the wind. We are staying at that hotel behind the trees. It has been boarded up. A lot of businesses here have been boarded up. Schools are closed. That goes without saying. Local airport stopped flights into and out of Corpus Christi. A big concern here for coastal Texas -- Clarissa?

[11:39:55] WARD: Nick Valencia, amazing to see how resilient those residents are.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Happening now, at the White House, President Trump is meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson behind closed doors as the president continues to grapple with the fallout from his comments on the violence in Charlottesville. World leaders and international onlookers have a lot to digest as well.

CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, joins me now.

Nic, you've wrote an editorial piece on CNN.com. An interesting read. The closing line, "Many world leaders are starting to see President Trump as a global liability, not a global leader."

Strong words. What did you mean by that?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is, now, it seems, a president who is being judged by leaders, opposition figures in countries around the world. Take for example, Germany. Angela Merkel is about to go into an election in less than a month. Her main challenger is criticizing her for being too close to President Trump. President Trump's grandfather came from Germany. He's being viewed as a pariah in that country, which is a major economic powerhouse in Europe, a major economic partner, if you will, with the United States globally. You know, that's just the example of Germany. President Trump's lack of consistency, if you will, worries leaders

around the world. The head of NATO said what we need from NATO and from the United States is that consistency. When we don't have that, as NATO, as key countries around the world facing up against, say, Russia or China or North Korea, then we are weaker and we're not in a strong position. That seems to be a judgment coming that's being made based on what politicians see happening domestically in the United States. These back-to-back, one day, President Trump very careful and controlled and a careful narrative delivered over a teleprompter, the next day at a more of a rally where the message is off script, and they are seeing two things as sort of, you know, opposite of each other. It's not consistent. This brings that level of concern. You see President Trump's major policy speech on Afghanistan. And, quickly, China criticizes his criticism, President Trump's criticism, of Pakistan. That's unusual.

So I think part of it is where countries have been waiting to see what sort of president President Trump was going to be, they have made up their minds now. It's one who is inconsistent and who doesn't have the kind of focus they all have for their own national interests.

WARD: I think a lot of Americans don't realize, Nic, the rest of the world is following every single move that this president makes extremely closely.

ROBERTSON: Sure. When he criticizes Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell or Senator John McCain, you know, world leaders, like Theresa May, who rushed, frankly, to the United States a couple days after President Trump's inauguration to shake his hand and hold his hand at the White House and to affirm that special relationship between Britain and the United States, you find them looking at how President Trump plays domestic issues. If he doesn't get what he wants, he criticizes the people who should be his allies. That's politically toxic internationally for the United States' friends.

You know, while we can view this in the crucible of the United States and how potentially corrosive and difficult this makes, you know, the White House, the administration's efforts to get through the legislation, it's legislative changes, overseas, this makes leaders particularly cautious. If they get too close to President Trump and they don't do what he wants, are they going to be criticized? Will it damage them politically at home? To Angela Merkel, Germany, the answer is, right now, she has to be incredibly cautious.

[11:44:00]WARD: Very interesting perspective, Nic Robertson. Thank you so much.

Coming up, how much speed is Hurricane Harvey picking up as it gets closer to Texas? We'll get the latest from the National Hurricane Center in about 20 minutes.

Up next, it may be two decades after her death, but we are learning details about the private life of Princess Diana. I'll talk to her private secretary after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARD: It has been 20 years since Princess Diana died in that tragic car crash, but there are still questions about her life as a royal and her death.

In a new CNN documentary, I take a look at what her life was like behind the scenes, and the controversies that followed after she died. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WARD (voice-over): The most famous and photographed woman in the world. A princess with style and substance.

A loving mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diana was absolutely born to about mother.

WARD: A passionate advocate.

DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: I'm trying to highlight a problem that's going on all around the world.

WARD: Through it all, her every move scrutinized and scandalized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's followed everywhere. I think she found that time very difficult.

WARD: Behind the flashbulbs, a life marred by loneliness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She wanted her freedom. She wanted a life.

WARD: The tragedy that took her life --

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Princess Diana, age of 36 has died.

WARD: -- left the world devastated and in disbelief.

(CRYING)

[11:50:10] WARD: 20 years later, what do we know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She went to her lawyer and said, they're going to kill me, and here's how.

PATRICK JEPHSON, FORMER PRIVATE SECRETARY TO DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: She knew something was wrong.

WARD: Friends, family, those who were there speak out about Diana, a woman who transcended celebrity and transformed a monarchy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WARD: Well, let me bring in now Patrick Jephson, who you saw in that clip. His was Princess Diana's private secretary for almost a decade.

Patrick, you worked with Diana for many years. Publicly, of course, glamorous, poised, charismatic. I wonder, how was the private Diana different from the public Diana?

JEPHSON: Well, one of the great things about her, Clarissa, the Diana in public was very much like the Diana in private. Remember, of course, that she was not a celebrity. She wasn't a charity worker. She was a member of the royal family, indeed, having married into the royal family in order to be the next queen. So she was very professional in what she did, very conscious of the fact people had expectations of her both as a princess and as a person. The remarkable thing she achieved was to be authentic, to be somebody you could believe in. That applied as much behind the scenes as in front of the camera.

WARD: Patrick, when you look at her sons now and the monarchy, what affect do you think Diana had on the monarchy?

JEPHSON: As a general rule, people exaggerate the effect she had on the monarchy. The monarchy is a thousand-year-old dynasty. It exists to exist. It exists as a symbol of continuity. It doesn't change easily or quickly. That's one of its strengths. Also, one of its weaknesses, of course, too. Diana's greatest legacy for the British royal family is her sons. Every day, I think we see reassuring evidence that they've just acknowledge and appreciate the importance of the duty they have as, in William's case future king, in Prince Harry's case, a future prince. Probably, a great supporter to his brother as king. But they also demonstrate the fact that they inherited Diana's recognition of the people. Particularly today. Like their -- their monarchy to be a little bit accessible and able to relate on an emotion level in a way perhaps a generation or two ago was not appropriate.

WARD: Certainly, they've been very open about some topics and issues that are very close to Diana's heart.

But I wanted to ask as well, what do you say to the conspiracy theorists who still believe that Diana, that there was a conspiracy that she was murdered, that potentially the royal family was behind her killing? What do you say to those conspiracy theorists?

JEPHSON: Well, I attended much of the inquest of her death. In fact, I testified at it. While, definitely, the whole circumstances of that evening do leave quite a number of questions unanswered, in my own mind, it's pretty straightforward. There was incompetence on behalf of those to whose hands Diana had committed her own safety. And the result of driving at high speed into a concrete column when not wearing a seat belt, doesn't take a conspiracy to understand the consequences of that.

But the bigger question to my mind is the whole sequence of events that took her from the steps of some poles in 1981, an idealistic 20- year old young princess, to that Mercedes in Paris in 1997. That sequence of events is one into which we've had been no inquest, and that is the one I think will interest historians the most.

[11:54:12]WARD: Indeed.

Patrick Jephson, thank you so much for taking the time. Please, don't forget to watch my CNN special report, "Diana: Chasing a

Fairy Tale," on Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And this just in. President Trump has just tweeted about Hurricane Harvey. He said, "I have spoken with Governor Abbott, of Texas, and Louisiana Governor Edwards. Closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey developments and here to assist as needed."

We'll bring you the latest in our continuing coverage, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WARD: One teacher in suburban New York has developed a unique way to help his students get inspired by "CNN Heroes."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: "CNN Heroes" is absolutely helping me to mold my little buddies in fifth grade into the type of teenagers and adults we all want them to be.

As you're watching, think about what makes your heart feel good. Here we go.

In our classroom, it starts with the "CNN Hero" segment. We watch it, then we have a great discussion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: To see more, go to CNNheroes.com.

That's it for us. Thank you for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

We have much more coverage of Hurricane Harvey with Jake Tapper right now.

[12:00:10] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Jake Tapper. John King is on a well-deserved vacation.