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Harvey's Unfathomable Destruction to Texas; Storm to Hit Back Louisiana and Texas Again; Rescuer's Heroic Actions in the Midst of a Raging Storm and Flood. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 29, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CUOMO: It makes you want to cry but in a good way because at the end, it is the truth. We are all in it together. Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: A lot to cover in the next couple of hours here on CNN. This is our breaking news, tropical storm Harvey threatens a second landfall in a matter of hours in a region already inundated with life-threatening floods. A curfew beginning in Houston in just two hours. We had it all covered for you.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Ten thousand people in shelters tonight in Houston, but the devastation of the storm far from over. I want you to look at this. This is incredible scene. This is interstate 10. And this was today. Harvey, by the way could, could dump an additional 15 inches of rain on Louisiana and Texas, bringing more catastrophic flooding before making landfall again in the next few hours somewhere along the Texas, Louisiana border.
Volunteers with boats have jumped in to help authorities in the search and rescue efforts. An unknown number of residents still trapped as we learned today that a veteran Houston police officer drowned as he drove through the storm on his way to work. Devastating.
Our reporters are out in the middle of the storm tonight. CNN's Tom Sater is in the weather center, he has it all covered. We've got everything covered for you. And there's still stories, harrowing stories of rescue and survival to tell you about.
Let's get right to the young mom that we first talked to last night. You met her on this program. Her name is Ices Bragg, she was trapped with her 1-year-old daughter as the floodwaters rose. She was finally rescued today and joins us now with her incredible story.
Ices, good evening to you. Thank you so much for joining us. How are you doing?
ICES BRAGG, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I'm fine. How are you?
LEMON: I'm fine. I'm sure we're doing a lot better than you guys. But we're happy to see that you're all doing well. With you and your cousin you were trapped in your apartment with your 1-year-old baby, Naomi.
LEMON: When we talked to you last, the water was rising, the lights were flickering. So tell us how everybody is doing now and your cousin and so on.
BRAGG: Yes, everybody is still trying to, you know -- everybody's really anxious. I can't stop crying.
LEMON: Don't be nervous. Don't be nervous. Listen, everybody's with you guys. So don't be nervous.
BRAGG: As a family right now because we all need each other. We're all going through the exact same thing. Water everywhere. All of our furniture is ruined. Our kids' clothes, shoes, everything. Everything is gone.
And I believe the most scariest part for me, you know, was watching the water come in and not being able to do anything about it, not being able to stop it, not knowing who to call, where to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
BRAGG: My family members are not down here. So I don't have anywhere to go. I don't know who to turn to. I was stuck in my apartment with three kids. And so the rescue team came and got us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It took the rescue team...
LEMON: I think we lost their audio. Can you guys get closer to the phone?
There we go.
BRAGG: Our house was flooded up to our knees. And rescue went past us because they couldn't hear us. We didn't have flashlights. A volunteer had to bring us here. And now they're telling us they moved us from the Red Cross shelter at 600 west (Inaudible) at Memorial Baptist to Lee College.
And now they don't even know if FEMA is going to come down here to see us in Lee College because we left from the Red Cross. But they told us they needed 25 people to leave. And since we made a bond as family, we decided to stick together and come down here.
[22:05:01] We have no access to get in touch with our family. A lot of us are on food stamp calls with no minutes, no data. We have no way to contact nobody. And if they put us down here, we have nowhere to go. I just did 10 years in prison. I just came here. I just lost everything I worked for almost a year. And I'm literally have nowhere to go.
LEMON: OK. Slow down. Slow down, guys. Let me get to get everybody's story on. So tell us where you guys are now. And how you got rescued? Where are you now exactly?
BRAGG: We're at Lee College in the gymnasium part. Me and my grandmother got rescued because a volunteer, I guess from Baytown, we asked him could he bring us somewhere. And he finally brings us. Nine- one-one...
LEMON: Audio appears to have gone out again. There we go.
BRAGG: All our food is bad. Everything is full of black water and ruined. We don't have nothing.
LEMON: How many people are with you? How many people are there with you?
How many people are there with you? You have to let me jump in.
BRAGG: We are 13.
LEMON: When you talk, I can't hear.
BRAGG: We are 13 in total.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BRAGG: They came in a group with us. But it's five of us right in the rescue team.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rest is kids.
BRAGG: Six kids.
BRAGG: Yes, we were all at Memorial Baptist Church at first.
BRAGG: How I got rescued with my three kids, I don't know who told the rescue team to come but I'm so glad they did. When they did, did they came in the big trucks with the rails. But they didn't have any cover over it. So it was raining. Me and my kids were already soaked and wet from being in the water.
Plus, with the rain coming down on us, we didn't have jackets. My kids didn't have any shoes on. I mean, I was just so scared and shocked at what's going on. I didn't have time to pack. I didn't think about packing anything. The guy came. The firefighter came and he said, if anybody want to leave this area, now is the time to do it.
BRAGG: I took that as a sign. I got my kids. And we left.
LEMON: OK. So listen, pardon, listen, I don't know you guys in person. I haven't met you. So, who is speaking now? Who is this speaking now in the white sweatshirt?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Quinita (Ph).
LEMON: OK. So, Quinita (Ph). You had your kids. You said the water was up to your knees in your apartment. And Ices, how high did the water get up in your apartment last night after we spoke with you?
BRAGG: Well, the water -- the water was rising from the back and from the window. The water was coming from three different ways. We have a video, but as our neighbors, we were contacted with some of our neighbors and our neighbors said that the water has rise -- has risen even more.
LEMON: Yes. Ices, how is Naomi doing?
BRAGG: She is doing great. We have a video.
LEMON: OK. You guys -- why don't you guys e-mail it to the producers and we'll get it on the air for you. We'll put that on the air.
LEMON: Because we can't see it because it's so small. And if you e- mail my producers right after we finish this. OK. So who said is that behind who said that she lost everything just now?
BRAGG: That's my cousin, Taquia (Ph).
LEMON: Taquia (Ph)?
TAQUIA EAGELETON, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: I'm Taquia Eagleton (Ph).
LEMON: So, Taquia (Ph), how high did the water get where you are?
EAGELETON: I was with Ices. I'm her cousin.
LEMON: Are you with, OK.
EAGELETON: I got us rescued this morning. I flagged down a truck with a boat this morning. I flagged him down. He was coming from midland. I grabbed one neighbor. She was on her way to Baytown. And that's how we ended up stuck out here. He thought that we were all going the same place but we weren't. It was just a miscommunication and we ended up stuck out here. Me and Ices and Nao which is really trying to get back to Houston, trying to get closer to the family.
LEMON: And how many, who else is there, who else was trapped?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir?
LEMON: Is there somebody else there who was trapped?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LEMON: Who is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Denise (Inaudible).
LEMON: Denise (Ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My grandmother her name is Linda Record. The way we got rescued was a volunteer just around the neighborhood seen us screaming at hollering because the rescue truck drove past us. The water was up to my kneecaps and it was pitch black, no electricity. But the time I could run out to the street and flag my arms and scream and yell, they were past me and the engine was so loud that they couldn't hear us.
LEMON: So, Denise (Ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, we got stuck in my house for two days until a volunteer came and got us.
LEMON: OK. Let me ask you guys. Let me ask you something? Can I ask you something?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LEMON: OK. So I want to ask you -- how many people were around you that were still stuck when you guys were rescued? Were there a lot of people?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was people on the front street. It was the whole neighborhood was outside. Everybody was standing on their porch because the disaster hit in the middle of the night.
[22:10:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was asleep. My grandmother -- my grandmother Linda Record (Ph) woke me up screaming saying it's water all the way to the bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought she meant just like a light mist like rain it came under the door. When I lean, I put up the couch to stepped onto the floor, it was literally up to my kneecaps. Now we both started panicking. We weren't prepared. We had no clothes packed. My house got ruined. We don't have nothing. All the food in the refrigerator, it's gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All our clothes are full of sewage water. We don't have nothing. The house stinks. We don't have nothing.
LEMON: Listen, I want you guys --- I want you guys to stay in touch. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three days.
LEMON: I want you guys to stay in touch with the producers. E-mail me the video. Stay in touch with us and let us know how you're doing. If we can help out and let us know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the e-mail?
LEMON: Someone will contact you, the person who got you on the show will contact you. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
LEMON: So, Quinita (Ph), thank you. Ices, Taquia (Ph), Denise, and anyone else in the room, thank you and we're thinking about you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
LEMON: We appreciate you joining us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
LEMON: We know you're dealing with a lot. Thank you so much. You guys take care. And those are the stories that you're hearing. And that's just -- that was -- that's real. That's what's happening. All of them gathered around on their cell phone and face timing us here on CNN and telling their stories.
Can you imagine the water coming in around you, there's nothing you can do, you have your kids and on and on and on. Many stories like that. We're glad that they're OK, and we hope that they get even better.
Now I want to bring in CNN's Drew Griffin. Drew is in Beaumont, Texas. Drew, thank you so much. You heard that one story. I'm sure you've been hearing a lot. You're in an area that was hit hard by the storm. And it is coming back. What's going on?
DREW GRIFFIN, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, CNN: You know, (Inaudible) 10 to 15 inches tonight. They just issue an extreme weather emergency trying to keep people off the roads. There's no reason to be out. Basically, shelter in place.
Local authorities here say they are only going to respond if it is a life-threatening emergency. So, any of those volunteer rescues, those are done for the night because it's just too dangerous. Most of the roads in Jefferson County are covered somewhere in this county making it very hard to distinguish between a road and a drainage ditch and a river.
And that's where people have been getting into a lot and a lot of trouble. Tropical storm warning now heading this way. We're expecting it to just get worse overnight. The misery factor is just continuing. I'm afraid stories like the people you just talked to, that is going to be magnified because the food is running out, the water is running out. People who are food for two or three days, that two or three days is now coming to an end, Don.
LEMON: Drew, I understand, did you see someone gets -- fall into a ditch and almost get swept away?
GRIFFIN: Don, there's a story of a woman I think you're going to have later on in the show. A woman who died very near us. And what happened to her was exactly what I saw. It was a man, he thought he was crossing a street. It's actually a drainage ditch with a rapid current going through the middle. He walked down almost to his waist and then by the time I yelled at him, he got all clustered and was able to swim back to the side. But it happens that quick.
People step into water where they do not know that the volume of water or where they are traveling. It could be a culvert. It could be a depression, it could be a drainage ditch and you are gone. And if that man had got in there, there was no way that I or anybody else could have reached him in time before he would have gone under.
LEMON: And you are right. We have plenty of stories. But the one that you're talking about is horrific. And we'll share as much of that as we can. But, Drew, we can hear the rain drops. And again they're expecting to get a lot more. We'll get back to our Drew Griffin throughout the evening here in CNN.
I want to go to Brian Todd now, he is at George Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas. And Brian he's been covering this from the very beginning. Brian, I understand you have some news about an emergency situation at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. Tell us about that.
BRIAN TODD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right, Don. This facility in Crosby is east of Houston. Several miles east of Houston, still in Harris County but it's on Liberty County line. Harris County of course is the county where Houston is located. This is well east of Houston, Crosby is where this plant is operated by a company called Arkema Incorporated.
Now the company says it has had to evacuate employees from this peroxide plant that is there. The problem there, it's got about 40 inches of water from flooding inside the plant. And it's the backup generators have all failed. They've got no power in the plant. And so the cooling systems for whatever, you know, operates the machinery that produces the peroxide are down. And they have to be able to cool these things and if they don't do that, there could be a short circuit that could lead to fire or an explosion.
They are very concerned about that tonight. They had an 11-person so- called ride out team inside that plant that's been there since Friday in anticipation of hurricane Harvey.
[22:15:02] Well, those people are being evacuated tonight. And we're told by the Harris County officials out in that the section that people living within 1.5 miles of that plant have to evacuate, as well. They are concerned about a fire and possible explosion because there's no power. Backup generators have failed, Don, and they've got about 40 inches of water in that peroxide plant. LEMON: So, listen, Brian, what, it's been three days, three days
later. And the devastation still unimaginable there. The rescues are still happening.
LEMON: And as I understand, you rode along with the Customs and Border Protection helicopter today. What did you see?
TODD: Incredible scenes, Don, from the air you can really see the scope of the devastation. We went over an area called Woodlands -- excuse me, Kingwood, the Kingwood was the name of the neighborhood in northeast Houston. And the water there was as high as we have seen since we've been here, up to the roofs of many houses. The water is flowing.
I heard Drew Griffin talk about the currents where he is a short time ago. The currents are very dangerous there. You can't even get there by boat in some cases. These guys in this Customs and Border Protection called the air marine and operations unit were braving horrible conditions in the air to get there.
They were lowering baskets down by hoists to pull people out. We saw that happening today. We had to land in a little sliver of a parking lot that was barely not flooded to get people out of this Kingwood neighborhood. And onto the choppers we made three runs in there and rescued 28 people in about an hour and a half in three different runs.
It is a very difference situation in that neighborhood in Kingwood. And these guys, these pilots, Don, incredible bravery here because they're flying through driving rain, low cloud cover, and they have almost no visibility. They can only see about a quarter mile in each direction.
And I'm listening to the co-pilot and pilot talking to each other. You know, I've got a tower over here, I've got a wire over here. They're dodging all this stuff under low cloud cover to get to these neighborhoods, Don. It was really something to see.
LEMON: Brian Todd, thank you, Brian. You're doing great work out there continue and be safe. I want to go to CNN's Alexander Marquardt now live for us in Katy, Texas. Alexander, good evening to you. You spent the day on a boat with a rescue crew and came across people who are still choosing to ride out the storm. What's going on?
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right, Don. Well, actually the storm right here in Houston tonight has abated a little bit. And let's hope that it stays that way. There's certainly a lot of people back there in this west Houston neighborhood who are hoping that it will.
I spoke with a police officer earlier today who said that the number of rescues in this area has actually gone down. And that's for two main reasons. First of all in the early hours of the storm, a lot of people made their way to safety to dry land heading into those shelters. And secondly, a lot of people don't want to leave. They don't know
what's going to happen to the level of this floodwater whether it's going to go up or down. There are a lot of homes back there in this neighborhood that actually have some elevations. So the floodwaters haven't made their way into the homes. So they're very reluctant to actually leave their houses.
Now, remember, there are these two big reservoirs nearby where the water levels are getting very high. The army corps of engineers is starting to allow water out of those reservoirs, specifically one near here called Addicks that is severely impacting this area. So the water level could easily go up here, meaning there could be a lot more rescues needed in this area in the coming days.
We did spent a couple of hours this afternoon out there with some of the volunteer rescuers. Specifically, two cousins who would come up from Rockport, Texas, which as you know, Don, has one of the heaviest hit areas in the wake of hurricane Harvey. I asked one of them how he could come up so soon after Rockport was hit. He said listen, I couldn't sit by and watch all this happen.
The worst had passed in Rockport. Their homes their families were safe. And they had boats, specifically boats that are known as air boats or swamp boats that have this big fans on the back that frankly navigate these waters much better than most of the boats that we've seen.
So that really speaks to the testament of the character of these volunteers who we have seen coming out it rescue their friends, their neighbors and frankly, a lot of strangers. Don?
LEMON: Thank you, Alexander. We'll get back to you, as well. Stay safe. I want to get now to CNN's Tom Sater in the weather center. So, Tom, this is unbelievable. Officials are bracing for more devastation. Tell us about it.
TOM SATER, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes, Don. We, I guess the last 24 hours or so, the really concern was east of Houston into eastern Texas and parts of Louisiana. The color of purple into white here, that's the size of the state of Kentucky. When most of this area has picked up a year's worth of rain in a couple of days, the past in and out getting ready for its second landfall, I think we're about five to six hours away.
We thought maybe it would be closer to the border of Texas and Louisiana. But you can start to see the bands just down to the south here. I think we're about five or six hours away from a landfall in Louisiana.
The problem is Beaumont. They have been hammered. Beaumont home to over 100,000 people down toward Port Arthur it looks a lot like Houston did Saturday night. And we all know what happened come Sunday. Fifteen and a half inches today, on top of the 16 plus they've already had. Another six to eight tonight.
[22:10:00] We've got to get the resources for the rescues in this part of Texas and Louisiana. Now, Lake Charles, I don't know how you did it, you missed out. The band stayed to your north and south. Baton Rouge, New Orleans, you're in the clear. You got missed out, too.
I know you were sandbagging in Plaquemines Parish. No need for that anymore. Some heavy rainfall in coast of Mississippi, Alabama, coastal Florida, but really the big concern is the spin and our landfall as it continues to rain, Don, on the same location.
Now they had sunshine in Houston today. Quite nice. Not much in the way of more rainfall although areas of eastern Harris County now over 51 inches of rain. So we're going to watch the system continue to accumulate the rainfall in that deadly area of eastern Texas.
LEMON: All right, Tom, thank you so much. I appreciate that. We'll get back to you again. Just devastating.
I want to bring in now a young mom who not only made it out of the floodwaters from the storm, she also escaped Katrina. Her name is Iashia Nelson and she joins me. Iashia, I'm so happy that you're doing OK. We're sorry that you're going through this. How are you tonight? Tell us about it.
IASHIA NELSON, HURRICANE SURVIVOR: Today is like not knowing where I'm going from here. We don't know where we're going or what's going to happen. And that's the whole thing.
LEMON: So it must be all, I mean, all over again because you earlier today you told my producer that your mom and sister are still trapped. And I imagine, you know, having to go through this with what happened in New Orleans is just unbelievable to you. Is that still the case? Have they gotten any help? Are they still trapped?
NELSON: No, they haven't gotten no help. I've been calling like every 30 minutes to an hour, me and my sisters. And they've been saying they've been OK. They had no water. It was low where they were at but the water is all around them. So they're trapped. So there's no way for nobody to get to them unless they rescue them. And I've been calling the rescue people to rescue them. I put them on a list. And they say the rescue people called them but they never showed up.
LEMON: So, speaking of New Orleans, you had to evacuate New Orleans 12 years ago during hurricane Katrina and now you're having to do it all over again. What's going through your mind?
NELSON: God is trying to do something. I don't know what he's trying to do with my life but I think he's trying to do something great because a person that could go through something twice and still stand up here and talk to people, God is trying to do something.
It's nothing but God because when we was out there on that roof, Sunday and Monday, that water was coming in so fast and then we got rescued on that bridge and they tell us that that bring has collapsed since. So I know it's nothing but God.
LEMON: So you literally left New Orleans for Houston during Katrina to rebuild your life. Do you think that you're going to be able to go home? Have you heard anything, have you heard anything about what happens next?
NELSON: No, my -- actually, my home was flooded out on that Saturday, that Saturday night, my house flooded out. So I had to go to my sister's house and I stayed with my sister. And that's how we got stuck with the storm that came on Sunday and Monday.
LEMON: So listen, I know that...
NELSON: All my stuff.
LEMON: Go on.
NELSON: Go ahead, I'm sorry.
LEMON: All your stuff.
NELSON: I was saying I lost everything. I lost all my stuff on Saturday. So, I went and stayed with my sister on Sunday and I lost my car. We lost all our cars. Me and my other sister lost both our houses on Saturday. We stay around the corner from each other she lost her house, too.
So we both Wednesday, we're all were staying with my sister in the house. There was a bunch of us in the house together. And then the storm came and then we had to evacuate and go to the people's house across the street. So we all lost everything within two days. It's like going through Katrina all over again.
LEMON: So, I have to tell you, this morning, I got a call from a text from Tyler Perry. He saw you on CNN and asked for your information. And he said he was trying to help you. Did you get in touch with him? Is he trying to help you now? What can you say about that?
NELSON: Yes, he did call me up. And he did say he would help me. I told him I am truly blessed and grateful for all the help that he's given me. I was totally shocked that he called me.
LEMON: Yes. And I know Tyler wants other people to give and he didn't want anyone to know, he didn't want to talk about that. I'm saying that because I think it's amazing what Tyler what you're doing and I think more people should do it and all should. And I think Iashia's story is amazing.
I want to go a little bit longer with these producers because I really want to play this video. This is what you posted before you got rescued. And we'll play this and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: My baby is dehydrated. My baby is sleeping. All my baby doing is sleeping. We all just sitting in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need help. We need help. [22:24:58] NELSON: This is the building across the street. It's just
falling apart. The water is just coming. It's just gushing from the back of the building and down the stream. It go all the way down. Then they have a sinkhole way down there. I can't get way down there. I just missed -- I'm so depressed. I don't know what to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: As everybody is watching. What do you want people to know?
NELSON: People need help. If you all can help these people, this is serious. And it's scary. There's water everywhere. They got people still trapped. If you all got people that got helicopters, we beg you all come to Houston to help us. We're going to need help. All of this going to need help especially Texas and some parts of Louisiana. We need help.
LEMON: Iashia, thank you so much. I appreciate it. And again, I think what Tyler is doing is great. I think other people should give. I think that's the example we should all set. We appreciate you. Keep in touch and let us know if you need anything. Thank you so much.
NELSON: Thank you all. Thank you all for being able to share my story to help other people. I didn't do it for fame or anything. I did it because I wanted to bring awareness to people and tell them what's going on in the world and what other people are going through. Because this is real life.
LEMON: You get some rest. Thank you so much. When we come back, the man who lost everything in Katrina, only to be hit again by Harvey. He'll join me with his harrowing story. That's next.
LEMON: Ok. We're back now with our breaking news. Nine people - nine people confirmed dead in floods in Texas. A toll that tragically is sure to rise. An unknown number of people are missing. Still in Beaumont, Texas, a mother and child were swept away by floodwaters. The mother drowned, her child was rescued.
Joining me now on the phone is Officer Haley Morrow of the Beaumont police. Thank you for taking the time out to talk, especially during such a tragic time. It's such a tragedy. A mother dies but her daughter lives. What can you tell us about that?
HALEY MORROW, POLICE OFFICER, BEAUMONT POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, well, this afternoon at about 3.30, our officers responded out to an area on i-10 on the service road in reference to a high water rescue. A Beaumont woman and her young child were traveling southbound on the service road and got into the high water. And she pulled her vehicle into a parking lot and it got stuck.
So, she got out of the vehicle with her child and at some point was swept into a canal that was close to that area. She ended up floating about a half mile from her vehicle. [22:30:03] Two of our officers and fire rescue divers were on a zodiac
boat and spotted the mother floating with the child. It's just a true testament to a mother's will to save her child in any circumstance.
The first responders were able to get to the mother and child just before they went under a trestle that was almost completely underwater. And had it been a few more minutes, they would have been swept underneath the bridge and our boat wouldn't have been able to get to them.
And the mother was unresponsive, but the child was hanging on her back and was suffering from hypothermia. They attempted to perform CPR to save her life but were unsuccessful. They were able to actually have a citizen help load her up into a truck and get her to a nearby ambulance.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And Haley, how is the baby doing?
MORROW: The baby is good. She's in stable condition. And we've finally been able to notify some family members and get them to the hospital and it's just a terrible situation, but the baby is doing OK, and should make a full recovery.
LEMON: It sounds like you're breaking up there. It's really heartbreaking.
MORROW: It is. It's been weighing heavily on those first responders hearts. Of course, life safety is our number one priority and so it's really difficult to have to deal with a fatality in these circumstances. So we're thankful that the child was able to be rescued.
LEMON: We are, too. We're sorry about the mom. But we're thankful, as you said, about the child. Officer Haley Morrow, public information officer, Beaumont Police Department. Thank you, Haley.
MORROW: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you for your service and please thank all the members who are down there helping out.
MORROW: Thank you. We'll do that.
LEMON: Absolutely. Tonight officials in Texas say that between 9,000 and 10,000 people have been rescued in Houston and the surrounding region. The life-threatening flooding is all too familiar to some of the residents. They were also victims when hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 12 years ago.
On the phone with me now is Brian Weiss, he is a former New Orleans police commander. Thank you, Brian. How you doing?
BRIAN WEISS, FORMER NEW ORLEANS POLICE COMMANDER: I'm doing all right, sir. LEMON: You just heard from Officer Morrow she talked about the mother
who died after being swept into floodwaters with a young daughter. The child clinging to her mother when she was rescued and is now in stable condition fortunately. But sadly, the mother obviously didn't make it. What's your reaction to that story? What do you think when you hear that story?
WEISS: Well, everything's surreal to me. You know, going through Katrina and seeing all the people suffering and then -- I could tell you about situations where we were sitting there waiting for -- listening to 911 calls, hundreds of coming in and we were just stranded ourselves and we didn't have police cars, we didn't have boats, we didn't have any way to get to them.
And one of the worse things is the police officer, the reason why you take the job is to help people and being helpless is a terrible feeling. I know that Sergeant Steve Perez from Houston today at his time to go to assist and he ended up dying today in the floodwater, too.
WEISS: And my heart goes out to all the citizens of Houston as well as the police officers and all the emergency responders.
LEMON: Absolutely. You were a commander for the New Orleans Police Department. You helped save lives during Katrina. This time around, you had to worry about your wife and three daughters. What happened?
WEISS: Well, we tried to be prepared. My wife and I. We made plans. When we moved to Texas, we made sure we were in a house that did not flood. And Meyerland, which is prone to have flooding, the house we actually live in has never been flooded. So we prepared the night before. I expected to have heavy rain. I even expected water to maybe come up on the lawn.
When my wife woke up early in the morning, 4.30 in the morning, she and I was up already, we talked, discussed it. And she said, Brian, I think we have to get the girls out. I have three daughters. They had packed bags the night before just in case of emergency because we understand how bad it can get.
So we decided to leave about 10 minutes later. I looked out the door and the water was already up to the door. It started coming in the house and all the, you know, the toilets and the bathtub started backing up. So we were worried about health and everything else so we already made arrangements to go down to a neighbor's house only about a half a block away.
And we started to go half a block away and my littlest girl where she had one bad to bring tried to cross the street herself. She's swimming across. The waters came across and swept her under and she caught a little current.
LEMON: My gosh. WEISS: I got one of our dogs and I grabbed her and I dropped the suitcase and we were able to save her. Basically, we're lucky that she didn't get swept off in the current and end up in a canal or something.
[22:35:07] LEMON: So that story of the mom just before really hits home with you. Just by the grace of God, you know, sadly, it could be any one of the families down there with small kids.
WEISS: Well, I mean, it's everybody. I mean, you know, I'll have to say that you know, everybody -- everybody you know is prone to anything happening. And you know, we're lucky my daughter's still here today.
LEMON: Yes. This is -- we have video of your older daughter wading through the water trying to cross the street. By the way, I should tell everyone, by the way, you lost everything during Katrina, right?
WEISS: Yes, I lost everything I owned and also you know, besides property which I learned a lot during Katrina. Property you can always get more stuff. But my grandmother died also, my dad ended up having a quadruple bypass. Katrina was really a terrible thing to me.
LEMON: What's going on in this video? This is your older daughter wading through the water?
WEISS: Yes, what happened is we were trying to get to another house to go inside just for safety and it had water in it but, you know, it didn't have electricity. And the water started to rise pretty high. And a neighbor (Inaudible) had put the rope and we had it there just in case the rescue boat would come because I was trying to get a rescue boat to get us out of there.
And we starred crossing and the rope was there to help guide us. But the water started coming up high. And as you can probably see that it was, you know, up to almost my neck and we -- she had to climb on my back. So she's -- the water would have been over her head. I got her across. I had to take all my kids like that.
One of them I put on my shoulder, my littlest one. And then my wife, the time we have guinea pigs and we have some dogs. We were able to get the guinea pigs and dogs across. Actually my wife had to hold her breath. I had to pull her under. That was the only way to get her across.
LEMON: Goodness. Brian, thank you, sir. God bless you.
WEISS: Thank you. And the only thing I got to say as a positive note that, I know everybody's going to come together. We'll get the non- profits, religious groups and everybody in Houston and in Louisiana whoever is suffering. You know, all the volunteers would bring the city back, just like in Katrina. So if everybody has faith and there will be some good things happen.
LEMON: And that's why they call you Mr. Positive. Thank you, Brian. Good luck to you and your family. WEISS: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. For ways that you can help those affected by hurricane Harvey, go to CNN.com/impact. CNN.com/impact. When we come back, the storm expected to make a second landfall in just a few hours on the Texas/Louisiana border. I'm going to talk to two mayors from the region.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tropical storm Harvey threatens a second landfall in a matter of hours in a region already inundated with life-threatening floods.
Joining me now on the phone two mayors in the area, Mayor Nic Hunter of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Mayor Derrick Freeman of Port Arthur, Texas. Mayors, good evening to both of you. I really appreciate you joining us here on CNN.
I'm going to start with Mayor Freeman first, you know, Harvey is set to make landfall in your community just hours from now. Are you ready?
DERRICK FREEMAN, MAYOR OF PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS: We're ready. You know, Port Arthur has taken a few hurricane, major hurricanes to defeat, hurricane Ike and hurricane Rita. We're ready. You can't of course, fight mother nature. She's giving us one right now. But citizens are resilient. We're ready for it.
LEMON: And Mayor Hunter, National Weather Service is predicting a 24- foot surge, storm surge for parts of Louisiana. Parts of the coast. How are you preparing? Are you ready?
NICHOLAS HUNTER, MAYOR OF LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA: Well, we are as ready as we can be. We did have some scary moments last night where we had to evacuate about had 300 to 500 citizens. And we have a very resilient population and we are as ready as we can be.
LEMON: So, Mayor Freeman, what's your biggest concern at this hour as you watch all these horrific pictures and you're out and about I'm sure in the neighborhoods talking to people. What's your biggest concern?
FREEMAN: That we've done everything we can. You know, right now we have numerous emergency personnel around the city. From my last phone call we're making hundreds right now of rescues and the emergency calls. So people are out there hurting. So we just want to make sure that we've done everything within our power to make sure we accommodate their needs.
LEMON: Similar question to you, Mayor Hunter. What about you, do you have all the resources you need?
HUNTER: We feel like we do. And when a situation like this comes up, the number one concern is people's safety and the safety of our citizens. So again, locally, between municipalities, local governments, our sheriff's department, state agencies we feel like we have the resources we need right now to handle the immediate issues. What's really going to be needed is once this thing passes and people
go home to flooded homes and some people are going to be without shelter, is really we are going to need the federal assistance.
LEMON: So what about your first responders, Mayor Freeman? Do they have what they need for the next phase of this storm?
FREEMAN: Well, you know, we would like to think we are. You know, we're also like the mayor of Lake Charles. You know, we're looking to make sure we respond to all the needs now, but you know, there's going to be a clean-up and a recovery after this.
We're going to need some help bouncing back too from the federal government, state level. They've been -- there's been a presence but this storm has, of course, been lingering for several days, devastating thousands if not millions of lives. So we don't want to seem like we're selfish. But again, we want to make sure Port Arthur it's known that we need help also. You know, we're going to rebuild but we'll need a little help to do so.
LEMON: I'm not sure how much of the broadcast that you've heard. We had some incredible stories. We had, you know, a group of young women with their entire families displaced there in the Houston, Texas area. And then we had a police officer on and telling a story about a mother who lost her life trying to save her child.
I'm wondering to both of you, first, Mayor Hunter, what is your message to the people of your community tonight to reassure them?
HUNTER: Well, to the people of Lake Charles, first we want to tell them to be safe. And we are seeing the waters rise, we expect them to rise this evening. And if you feel like you're in a situation where the water is getting too close for comfort, make that call. We'll be there to help you. But we're going to get through this.
That's my main message to the city of Lake Charles and to the nation that we are very resilient. We're going to get through this. We may need some help. And as the mayor said before me, help from the federal government is going to be essential for us. But we're going to survive. We're survivors and we're going to take care of ourselves. And if we can get a little help from the federal government, we're going to make it.
LEMON: Yes. Mayor Freeman.
FREEMAN: Well, you know, of course that situation is very sad. A tragic story. All week we've been encouraging our citizens to stay home if you could.
[22:45:01] We've also stood up a shelter for our citizens at our civic center here in the area. A nice lily pad. So you can come and stay dry. We had the department with the American Red Cross. We had the Catholic charities, several other non-profits helping us out there.
So, you know, again, please stay home if you can. And if you feel unsafe, dial 911 and emergency response will get there whether we have to do it by boat, high profile vehicle, we'll get to you.
LEMON: All right. Mayor Derrick Freeman of Port Arthur, Texas, and Mayor Nic Hunter of Lake Charles, Louisiana, thank you both. We will check back with both of you tomorrow. Best of luck to you.
When we come back, the president and the first lady...
HUNTER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Absolutely. The president and the first lady touring the damage in Texas today. The question is, will he deliver the aid the flood zones desperately need?
LEMON: Our breaking news, tropical storm Harvey expected to make a second landfall in a matter of hours in a region already inundated by floodwaters.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump toured the flood zone today. I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, and CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley.
Gentlemen, good evening to you. Thanks for coming in. What an awful, awful story. David, I want to start with you. President Trump travelled to Texas today where he survey the damage and met with Texas Governor Greg Abbott. What's the purpose behind a visit like this? Is there any, is there a reason beyond the obvious political optics of it is?
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: I don't think it's just political optics. I think it is a matter of the President of the United States showing support and empathy for the people in the devastation that they face, the courage that they've shown in dealing with it.
You remember how large a price President George W. Bush paid when he did not go to New Orleans after Katrina. He sort of flew over it. And so I do think you can quibble with aspects of what the president did today. But I think overall, I think we ought to give him a break. I think he did the right thing. He went.
He stayed out of the way. He didn't interfere with the operations and he moved on. He really showed a flag of support.
Now, quibbles. He's as you calling attention to himself. He could have shown far more empathy for the people. He have to talk about that. He's got budget cuts that are affecting his various agencies doing the work and there's no talk about climate change which does contribute to this.
[22:49:59] LEMON: This is what, and speaking of when you say stayed out of the way. I want to read something. Douglas, this is for you and this is from Politico. They describe Trump's day today. This is how they described.
They said "It was a presidential trip to a deluge state where the president didn't meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street, but the day long visit where President Donald Trump spent far more time in the air than on the ground, gave the optics obsessed president some of his visuals he wanted as he checked in on the government apparatus working on relief efforts and was buoyed by a roaring crowd of locales."
Are the optics all that matter for Trump about this visit do you think, to Trump about this visit?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, CNN: I would hope not. I would hope he has some empathy. He has trouble talking about things besides himself and those are the quibbles that David Gergen rightfully just pointed out. But I think overall, President Trump did a good job, he got to Corpus Christi. You know, he's famously a germophobe. And I do not picture him waiving in and hugging people in dirty water but he did his job.
But he came up short on something. I think what we're looking right now, Don, at Beaumont and the fact of what's happening in Houston, I mean, we need the U.S. military down in the greater Houston area.
The 82nd airborne did an amazing job in 1992 with hurricane Andrew in Florida, the 82nd out of Fort Brag. I was there in New Orleans Katrina hit. They came, they got the airport open in New Orleans. They got roads and materials and things flowing. So the president might want to, as a first step of how can the federal government help immediately, get some help for FEMA, bring in the 82nd airborne. A lot of these first responders are exhausted right now and we need reinforcements.
LEMON: Let's talk a little bit more about that, Douglas. Because his visit is just the first step in him actually delivering the financial support that Houston and the surrounding regions so desperately need. Can Trump deliver, can Congress deliver on this, can they come together and get these folks the resources they need?
BRINKLEY: I sure hope so. You know, hurricane Sandy, the price tag was 50 billion. You could be looking at $100 billion for dealing with this catastrophic flooding in Louisiana and Texas. That -- where's that money coming from? You know, certainly you're not going to be able to get a wall with Mexico built and pushed. It was never going to happen at any rate.
I think the focus now has to be the Trump administration and Congress dealing with the infrastructure and the place to start is Houston. I mean, this is where we went to the moon and NASA, what they can do is some of America.
We need a martial plan type of program to the gulf south. We needed more done after Katrina. We need it now. The infrastructure is in equated down there. We've got to come to the aid of this all important part of the Gulf of Mexico region in our country.
GERGEN: I think, Don, on the politics of it, the sheer politics of it, they can have now a bill to pay for a lot of the damage and help Houston get back on its feet that they attach to the debt ceiling and that will make it almost imperative that people vote for it and they can get the debt ceiling. You know, maybe, I think it will make him the debt ceiling questions.
LEMON: Because we all remember what happened in 2012 when they wanted funds for Sandy.
LEMON: And the republicans voted against it and now this republican state and they had to do with that.
GERGEN: Yes. There's hypocrisy, of course there is. But the other part of it, when are we actually going to get serious about prevention and about being able to look it forward? If you're going to cut the budget for the weather service so you can have predictive things, what are we doing, why are we building, continuing to build, let so many people live so close to the coast?
LEMON: That's a very good question and one we should ask lawmakers and we should demand that they listen to that.
LEMON: Thank you, thank you very much. When we come back, much more on the devastating floods in Texas. We'll bring you the latest information.
Plus, new developments on the Russia investigation and Don Jr. is involved.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump travelled to Texas today to visit the flood zone. But back in Washington there are new developments in the Russian investigation.
CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez has that. Evan, hello to you. We're learning more about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. It looks like Mueller is turning up the heat on the president's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. What's the latest?
EVAN PEREZ, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It really does look like that, Don. The subpoenas that went out went to Melissa Laurenza and Jason Maloney. Now Laurenza is a lawyer with Akin Gump law firm from here in Washington. And until recently she was an attorney representing Manafort.
And Maloney is currently the spokesman for Manafort. Now this is something of an aggressive tactic that suggest that there's an effort to add pressure to the former Trump campaign chairman, Don.
LEMON: So what Mueller after, Evan?
PEREZ: Well, Don, the subpoenas that were sent are seeking documents and testimony but the subpoena that went to Laurenza raises potential attorney-client privileges and you can bet that Akin Gump, which is a big law firm will be pretty aggressive in protecting that information.
Now for prosecutors tend to try to avoid these kinds of fights as they are pursuing their cases. So it's not clear what the strategy here is. The subpoena that went to Maloney, the P.R. guy, you know, he's going to end up with getting a lot of communications from journalists which normally prosecutors have to go through a lot of trouble to get.
LEMON: It was just last month that Mueller authorized the pre-dawn raid on Manafort's home and these are pretty aggressive tactics, aren't they?
PEREZ: They really are. It's definitely notes. A lot of lawyers that we talk to former prosecutors think that this is the hallmark of Andrew Wiseman. He's a senior lawyer on the Mueller team. They also think that this is a sign perhaps that Mueller is trying to push Manafort to flip to provide information against the president.
It's not clear that Manafort has anything to provide. What's also unusual about this move today, don, is that the Mueller investigators didn't issue a subpoena to Wilmer Hale, that's the law firm where Robert Mueller worked until a few months ago before he became a special counsel.
LEMON: Evan, there's also a news tonight on the Russia investigation involving the president's son Don Jr. What do you know?
PEREZ: Well, that's right. We finally now know that they're going to do closed door testimonies to be transcribed and this is going to be held with the Senate judiciary committee. Now we knew that Don Jr. was going to come in and explain, or at least try to provide some more information to the Senate investigators about that meeting last year in June where this Russian lawyer came and was allegedly going to provide dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
We now know that they have set a date. We don't know exactly what date it is. We do know however from the senators that sometime in September is when they expect that to happen, Don.
LEMON: And Don Jr. agreed to give a transcribed interview and will he be under oath? And what happens if he lies?
PEREZ: Well, it doesn't matter if he is under oath or if he isn't. If he lies, he can still get in trouble.
[23:00:00] And so, the question here is, are we going to be able to see the transcription when that is done? We know that some senators have previously talked about releasing these transcripts, but obviously there's a lot of questions that we all have about that meeting that have not yet been answered.
LEMON: All right. Evan Perez.