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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
U.S. Braces for Hurricane Irma; Parts of Florida to Evacuate As Hurricane Intensifies To CAT 5; Trump Doubles Down, Says He Has "Great Heart" For Dreamers; Protests Growing After Trump Ends "Dreamers" Program. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 5, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OutFront next, the breaking news, Hurricane Irma a category 5 storm headed straight for the United States. Florida about to begin evacuations.
Plus, President Barack Obama, a rare and angry public statement shaming Donald Trump for his immigration announcement today.
And Vladimir Putin warns of a global catastrophe. What is he talking about?
Let's go OutFront.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, breaking news, Hurricane Irma, a category 5 monster on a collision course with Florida. The White House just issuing emergency declarations for the state along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Here is how Irma looks from the space station. It's massive. It looks that way and it is. It is the second most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
The satellite image is just as ominous. The National Hurricane Center calls it, quote, a potentially catastrophic storm. Winds right now are up to 185 miles an hour.
Just think about that for a moment, a 185 miles an hour. Only one storm, nearly 40 years ago, was stronger clocking in at 190, and this storm is not yet near land, it could go faster.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is activating 7,000 members of the National Guard. Some store shelves already bare, mandatory evacuations have already began in the Florida Keys. Schools are also about to close and at this hour, Antigua, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are in Irma's sites right now under state of emergency this evening. They could get hit tomorrow.
I want to begin our coverage with Tom Sater in the CNN Weather Center. And Tom, you say you've never seen a storm like this. TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Erin, only one comes to mind, 2013 in the Western Pacific, that was Super Typhoon Haiyan. It was the largest tropical system to ever make landfall on any land mass on earth and it took over 6,000 lives in the Philippines in Tacloban.
This storm system here, Erin, is only 10 miles per hour weaker. So, again, to make landfall with something so massive -- I mean, it's hard to just fathom and get your mind around what this system is going to do.
Moving toward the northern islands of Lesser Antilles, it's got the British Virgin Islands in its eye sight, Puerto Rico as well. But this system that's moving in, it's going to easily out, you know, storm surges, possibly seven, 11 feet. It's going to drop heavy rainfall. But the winds are really going to devastate the area, knocking out power and communications and water supplies.
You can see where the storm surge is going to be a problem. But really, if you take a look even at the radar -- I have a radar here out of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the eye of Irma is 23 miles in diameter. That is going to swallow, most likely, in the eye, Barbuda and Anguilla.
So a thousands that live there -- I mean, you can't just evacuate. So that system moves in as conditions deteriorate tonight. And as we go forward, we're going to be able to watch this system remain over waters that are only get warmer. That is jet fuel for this as it approaches Cuba and towards the southeastern U.S., and mainly, the coast of Florida.
The National Hurricane Center track, again, this is hard to fathom here. When you continue to have category 5, and still category 4 is considered catastrophic, making its way through the warm waters, we could have storm surges in the Turks and Caicos in southeast Bahamas 20 to 25 feet. That's because it's circulating counterclockwise.
So this system, again, all the computer models are in agreement, but some time Saturday they turn to the north. Until that turn to the north occurs, we're not going to have a great idea of exactly where this system is going to make landfall, so we're going to have to wait.
It could go to the west and we're hoping -- I mean the east, we would like to have that but that window is shutting. Still a possibility and it could head into the Gulf, Erin.
BURNETT: Obviously, you know, hard to imagine here, Tom. You also of course are talking about the context, right? This storm hitting the United States about two weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and parts of Texas. How unusual is it to have two major hurricanes strike the United States at such strength so close to each other?
SATER: Well, we're getting toward the peak, and that's the 10th of September. So the conditions in the atmosphere are right. Keep in mind, the U.S. went 12 years in a draught without a major hurricane making landfall. This is 2005. Now take a look at this. I mean, we had just from the -- we had July, Dennis then we had Katrina. And then we had Rita in September, in October we had Hurricane William. You can go back to the previous year and look at how many times in 2004 that Florida was hit just for August and September.
So it's been a draught and it can happen. The environment is just perfect right now. Erin.
BURNETT: And it is not just those two, right? There's also another tropical storm in the Atlantic. And what do you see with that?
SATER: Yes, OK. As we watch Irma slide across the Caribbean here on the right of your screen, this is Jose. Jose most likely will become a hurricane. Looks like it is following the same trail of course as Irma but we expect this one, Erin to move north, become a fish storm which would be great and there's still a slight window that possibly, just possibly, Irma could stay away from the Carolina Coast and head out in the Atlantic, but that window is shutting quickly.
[19:05:09] BURNETT: All right, thank you very much Tom. Of course we all hope for that but as he said, that window shutting quickly.
The National Hurricane Center calls this a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane. I want to go to Leyla Santiago because she's OutFront right now in Puerto Rico. And Leyla, obviously, right now, it appears the storm is coming for you. You already are starting to see some of the weather start to come in as it could strike tomorrow.
What is the biggest fear there?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the governor used some of the same words you just used, catastrophic, historic, even devastating sort of destruction that could be seen here in Puerto Rico. He was actually live on T.V. when he announced that President Trump declared this a state of emergency before it even made landfall. And you can sort of see the sense of relief he had because that means they can activate more resources that could help the people of Puerto Rico.
And you know, Erin, a conversation that sort of stuck with me today while I was at the store. I was talking to a cashier asking her about what, you know, what were the products that are most in demand for this hurricane and she just looked at me in shock and she said, hurricane, this thing is a beast.
So you can really tell that they are taking this seriously. The store shelves are any indication that they are preparing for it. It was hard to find water. One cashier told me they can only keep it on the store shelves for about half an hour. They have hundreds of shelters ready to take people in from flood prone areas. So they're getting ready but, yes, Erin, fear is very much what I'm seeing here when I talk to people.
BURNETT: All right, Leyla, thank you very much. Leyla of course is going to be there as that storm as we anticipate comes to Puerto Rico tomorrow.
I want to go now on the phone to Jim Mooney who's the mayor of Islamorada which is part of the Florida Keys. Obviously, I know you've got, Mayor an evacuation, mandatory that's going to start tomorrow morning. Some people already coming out, already starting to leave with your mandatory evacuation.
Do you think everybody is going to get out?
MAYOR JIM MOONEY, ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS (via telephone): Right now, traffic has been bumper to bumper northbound out of the Keys all day long. Moving nice and slow, but it's moving. And, you know, tourists first, all our visitors have to go first.
Locals downtown, there's no question a lot of locals are leaving. You know, I grew up in this island so I was here in '60 through Hurricane Donna which is the last monster storm to hit our area and Hurricane Betsy. So, there is a real awareness of how dangerous the storm can be and people are heeding that danger very well.
BURNETT: When you hear these forecasts and you hear how strong this is right now, 185 miles an hour and obviously starting to hit warmer water, do you -- you know, you said you lived there a long time. Have you really ever seen anything like this?
MOONEY (via telephone): Our closest storm to this would be Hurricane Donna back in 1960. And this one is sort of on the same track as Donna, too. That was the strongest storm I was (INAUDIBLE) which is about seven miles south and west (INAUDIBLE). So, yes, I was young, I was 10 years old, but I remember that and it's there and, you know, the awareness is there and of course, you know, 87 years ago we had (INAUDIBLE) hit here on Labor Day weekend. So the islands are aware of how bad it can be.
We're very fortunate our building codes since '65 have been strong since Hurricane Andrew, they have gotten stronger. And our local codes, we (INAUDIBLE) and we really, really pushed the -- we don't let anything below flood get built here. So, we're fortunate in that aspect.
But, we're fortunate that not everybody that lives here is here because it's off season so that helps a lot. But we have people who are on medical aid and stuff that need to be prepared to leave and be safe on the mainland. Because the amenities (INAUDIBLE) after Sunday of this hurricane continue towards (INAUDIBLE) like it is with no electricity, potentially water loss (INAUDIBLE), that's going to be catastrophic and people are going to have to deal with a lot of adversity in a very short time.
BURNETT: All right, well, Mayor, I appreciate your time and it certainly sounds like you're getting everybody out there. We hope that you do indeed succeed at doing that. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us tonight. Those mandatory evacuations already in progress there in the Florida Keys.
I want to go to Bill Read now who's the former director of the National Hurricane Center. Bill, you know, look, when you look at the comparisons here, this could end up being the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It's only five miles shy of that right now, 185 miles an hour. Just to become a category 5, it's 157 miles an hour.
So, we are well, well passed that. There's no such thing as a category 6. How big and strong is this?
[19:10:06] BILL READ, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: Well, given the size of the wind field on it and where it's going to go, it's really going to be a tragic night in places like Antigua and Barbuda, St. Maarten and Anguilla because they're going to have winds in that eye wall that effectively are like an EF3 or 4 tornado.
BURNETT: And what happens in those scenarios? I mean, you know, we were just -- I don't know if you heard Tom Sater but he was talking about the Haiyan in Tacloban, 6,000 people lost their lives there in the Philippines when that hurricane struck or cyclone as it was in that case.
Is the situation so different here in terms of the preparation and all of these places?
READ: Well, they have good plans down there. I visited many of those islands when I was director and they do have some substantial buildings they built with concrete and steel down there so they can be survivable. But this is really a difficult -- very difficult event for them to deal with.
BURNETT: What's your anticipation, Bill, about what happens here? You know, the storm formed very, very early. You know, it coalesced into an actual storm and it got very strong very quickly and now here it is coming in as a category 5. Going to hit islands and then strike the mainland United States, maybe.
What's your -- when you look at the storm track, where do you think it goes? Do you think it strikes Florida or do you think it is truly uncertain at this time?
READ: Well, the next 48 hours I would say are as high confidence in the track taking it through the northeast islands of the Caribbean and then Puerto Rico and (INAUDIBLE) gets into the southern and southeastern Bahamas. The difficult part of the forecast is that turn to the north.
The models have been somewhat changing on it and it is a big broad gap between two high pressure areas, and I don't think we'll know for certain how that turn is going to evolve for another couple of days.
BURNETT: All right, Bill, thank you very much. And these going to be crucial days. As Tom Sater said, that window for that northward track, it would miss the U.S. is closing rapidly. But still there as we watch for those next 48 hours.
Next, live pictures from Chicago. These are protests, growing protests to the president's decision to end the Dreamers program as President Obama makes a rare public statement. We're going to share that with you.
Plus, South Korean intelligence showing North Korea may be preparing another intercontinental ballistic missile test.
And Jeanne Moos on why Michelle Obama is looking a lot like Beyonce.
[19:16:17] BURNETT: Breaking news, protests right now. You are looking at pictures from Chicago, protest growing across the country after President Trump announced an end to DACA which is President Obama's program that let undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, too young to make a decision themselves, he allowed them to stay without being deported.
Now, Obama has remained largely silent on President Trump's policy decisions but he slammed to the announcement today saying, quote, let's be clear, the action taken today isn't required legally. It's a political decision and a moral question. Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people that kick hopeful young strivers out of America or whether we treat them the way we'd want our own kids to be treated.
Sara Murray is OutFront at the White House for our coverage tonight. And, Sara, President Trump speaking a short time ago. He is not backing down, very clear. He believes this is the right move to make.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Even though this is someone who has sort of wrestled over whether to rescind this program entirely while also saying he would protect the Dreamers. The president seems to believe he towed that line today, insisting his move still treats the Dreamers with heart. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a great heart with the folks we're talking about, a great love for them. And people think in terms of children but they're really young adults. I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly. And long-term it is going to be the right solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Now, Trump has basically punted this decision to Congress if they want to do anything to stop it. And obviously people are skeptical about whether Congress can get its act together to actually pass any kind of immigration reform, whether it's a dream act or it's something broader.
In the meantime, administration officials are insisting the Dreamers as they (INAUDIBLE) are not the group that they are targeting for deportation, but the reality, Erin, is we heard from the acting ICE director in the White House briefing room earlier this summer who made it very clear that it is a crime to come to the U.S. illegally and if any of their agents encounter someone who did so, they are going to put those people in front of a judge, whether they committed another crime or not.
BURNETT: All right, Sara Murray, thank you very much. And let's go now to the former deputy communications director for the Trump campaign and former communications director for President Trump's transition team, Bryan Lanza, and the California Senate leader, Kevin de Leon.
There are more than 220,000 Dreamers in California. So, Kevin, I know that's about more than 25% of about the 800,000 in the United States.
Bryan, let me start with you. Former President Obama came out with this letter, took the time to write it, went into detail. He says this move by President Trump was both cruel and wrong. Why is he wrong?
BRYAN LANZA, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: You know, I just wish President Obama would put the same amount of energy into this letter that he put into these types of Dreamers in his first two years of office where he had complete control of the U.S. Senate and the majority of the veto proof majority. I mean, he proved back then during those two years that we weren't a priority to him then and at the end of the day he ended up giving this, you know, this DACA frame work that wouldn't work those outside the constitution, that we would have to deal with eventually.
So my disappointment and my disgust is with Obama for not acting sooner and punting it and creating these Dreamers who are, you know, the best and -- one of the best and brightest we have into a political football. President Obama should be actually ashamed of himself for that.
SEN. KEVIN DE LEON (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, the past is the past and now is now. And today's actions by the president and Jeff Sessions is nothing short than cruel and as well as compassionless.
The reality is this, the president knows exactly what he's doing and he's punting this to the Congress. He knows the Congress' inept ability to actually get things done on the Hill. And he knows it's never going to come to fruition. It's never going to happen in the next six months.
[19:20:01] So the reality is this, that President Trump is kicking to the curb more than 800,000 young Dreamers, young adults, young women and men who came to this country as young children. They know no other country, they know this country, and they pledged their allegiance to the red, right and blue. What he's doing today is completely un-American.
We got to leave the past in the past and today is the present. And the focus is this, this is not a legal question or a legal decision, this is a political decision that the president made along with Steve Miller as well as Kris Kobach and Jeff Sessions, three individuals who've been very clear with the anonymous they harbor for immigrants but in particular these Dreamer students.
So this is a very sad day, a very sad chapter in American history.
BURNETT: So, Bryan, how -- though, does the president get around? And look, I think Kevin is conceding your point. There was a lot of frustration with Barack Obama in the first two years of his presidency in terms of how he handled this issue.
But, what about the point that Kevin just made? A lot of these young adults, kids, they don't even know they're not American, frankly, some of them don't know. Their family doesn't tell them so they don't find out until they go get a driver's license or something like that. They try to find a job and all of a sudden they find out they're not American.
I mean, where are you even going to send these kids to? They don't know another country.
LANZA: Listen, by every measurement they are Americans. The key is finding the workable solutions that includes them as part of our system, as opposed to a process that President Obama created which actually excluded them. There is a legislative fix for this. I actually agree with Senator Feinstein when she said DACA is on shaky legal ground and we need to have a legislative fix.
So I think you're looking at people on the left on the Democratic Party side who are willing to put partisanship aside and put sort of the daggers that comes with partisanship and you have on the right, President Trump who's actually spoken positively about Dreamers and said we actually need a legitimate legislative fix. There's nothing wrong with having a legislative fix.
BURNETT: But, Bryan, why do you have to get rid of it now? Why not say, we're going to work towards a legislative fix? Why do you have to basically make them all illegal?
LANZA: Well, it's not now, it's a six-month phase out process. And what you have going on now are lawsuits from 13 states attorney generals that have forced the president's hands by the lawsuits that they're having to come up with solution. So rather than do the cruel thing as Kevin would like to say of just, you know, kicking them out, he's actually giving Congress a six-month window to get their act together in conjunction with some of his positive statements that he said about Dreamers to have that be some of the principals of how we can actually come up with a legislative fix.
BURNETT: So, Kevin, does the president have a point at all that DACA wasn't the law of the land? This was executive order, you know, you had the two years, you know, renewal. I mean, Kevin --
LANZA: Erin, it wasn't even executive order, it was an executive memorandum. He didn't even have the courtesy to give us an executive order. He gave us the lowest possible thing probable for this, Obama.
BURNETT: Kevin, is there -- does the president -- President Trump have a point that President Obama put him in this position and now Congress has to do its job?
DE LEON: This is not an indictment on the President Barack Obama just to say. Let's focus on President Trump because it is his actions through Attorney General Jeff Sessions that are scaring and sending, you know, terrors of fear into these students, these young men and women throughout the country.
Over 100 legal scholars have already opined that, 100 legal scholars already opined that in fact, DACA is constitutional. If the Attorney General Jeff Sessions wanted to in fact test the constitutionality of DACA, he could have let this DACA elevate itself to the Supreme Court and allow the U.S. Supreme Court justices to decide if in fact it's constitutional or not.
In regardless of the 10 or 13 attorney generals throughout the state of California headed by the state of Texas, Ken Paxton, you know, he doesn't have to follow their lead. He is the president of the United States. He can extend real compassion through an executive order by extending it if he wishes to do so.
He has not. He has punted the ball to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. And we know, to date, what we have witnessed as a nation, these are two individuals who are not capable of moving any complex legislation in Washington, D.C.
BURNETT: Bryan, I want to just -- you heard Sara Murray play the president today saying he loves the Dreamers, which of course in light of what he decided to do today seemed to be some pretty choice words. He has struggled though with this decision. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm one of the world's very conservative people, but I have to tell you on a human basis, how do you throw somebody out that's lived in this country for 20 years.
We're going to keep the families together. We have to keep the families together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're going to keep them together out.
TRUMP: But they have to go.
You have some absolutely incredible kids. I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way. It's a very, very tough subject. We are going to deal with DACA with heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Bryan, does he really understand the repercussions of his decision today?
LANZA: Absolutely he understands it. I mean, this is a conversation that we had during the campaign. You know, the president has articulated his view. I want to do a little bit of a correction. Kevin talks about a hundred scholars, well, there are about five courts, five federal courts have actually decided that DACA is unconstitutional. So, I mean the scholars are saying one thing and you've got jurors that --
[19:25:01] DE LEON: Well, Bryan, that would be an insult to the U.S. Supreme Court.
LANZA: Absolutely, and that is the process when you are trying to sort of fix these executive memorandums. Now, I do know the president's heart, we've actually -- during the campaign and even during the early part of transition had this conversation. He believes these Dreamers for all intents and purposes they are heroes to some extent because of the communities they have come up and, you know, have work very hard and they believe they are American dream and they believe they're American and they pledged their allegiance. And that's why it's critical to have a legislative fix for them and that's why we need to stop, you know, treating them as a political football which what President Obama did.
I get it, it's inconvenient to talk about how President Obama turned base back on the Hispanic community and turned his back on Dreamers, but those are the set of facts we have to deal with and he's created a football that now make it difficult -- now when you have President Trump (INAUDIBLE) say, we can actually fix this legislatively. He's made his position and I actually call on Speaker Ryan and McConnell to follow the president's lead and look at their heart --
BURNETT: Well, let's see if they do and certainly there has been no indication that that's going to come out of this time at all. A quick final word, Kevin, to you since Bryan started.
DE LEON: Well, Erin, you know, the hypocrisy coming out of Bryan is unreal but it is reality because it's the accurate reflection of the White House.
The reality is this, he's speaking out of both sides of his mouth. The president easily could have extended this, didn't have to touch DACA. Let it, you know, go through the court proceedings. You know, the attorney generals, if they want to sue, they can sue and appeal a court case after court case, although it's a U.S. Supreme Court.
This is compassionless, this is gutless, this is a lack of courage. This is cruel and quite frankly, it's un-American.
BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much. I appreciate it. Much more to come on that.
And next, North Korea possibly moving an intercontinental ballistic missile threatening to, quote, annihilate Americans. Is another test eminent and is the U.S. underestimating Kim Jong-un?
And breaking news, the Russia investigation kicking into higher gear tonight? Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee comparing this investigation to Watergate.
[19:30:20] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, North Korea threatening the United States with, quote, more gift packages. It appears the country is preparing for another major missile test. The South Korean lawmaker says there are signs North Korea is moving an intercontinental ballistic missile on a mobile launcher. That's obviously crucial and makes it harder for intelligence to track.
It comes just days after that massive nuclear test and just days after even more missile tests. Today, North Korean state media reports the great success of the nuclear test reflects the will of North Korea to, quote, blow up the U.S. mainland and annihilate, their word, Americans.
Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.
And, Jim, obviously, very significant development on a mobile launcher for the ICBM. But you have breaking news that the blast on this nuclear test was even bigger than anybody thought.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Possibly the biggest that North Korea has ever exploded before. They basically measure these things like earthquakes. And earlier on, U.S. Geological Service was saying it was about 5.2 on the Richter scale. Now, they're saying up to 5.9, perhaps six, the way that scale works, that's many times larger and it looks like this explosion may be more than 100 times the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, more than six times of North Korea's previous, its fifth nuclear test.
And discussion, they don't know for sure that it could be as North Korea claims some sort of hydrogen device, which would represent a significant advance in their nuclear technology. This happening, as you mentioned, Erin, with evidence from South Korea that North Korea could be preparing another ICBM launch on one of these mobile missile launchers. Those are key because they're really just 18-wheeler trucks. They could launch them from anywhere. It makes it difficult for the U.S. and others to know when and where that's going to happen.
That's a bigger threat. If that happens, as the worry is, that they're going to be able to wed the device the nuclear technology, the missile, with the missile.
So, in the span of just 24 hours or so, two very potentially alarming developments with North Korea.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto. Very alarming.
And let's go straight now to someone in the center of the U.S. response, to Democratic Senator Chris Coons. He's on the Foreign Relations Committee.
And I appreciate your time, Senator.
You heard Jim Sciutto there talking about not -- only talking about a mobile launcher, essentially an 18-wheel truck. They could move it around and impossible for us to know exactly where it could launch from. But also that the size of this nuclear test was escalated, elevated. They now say it could have been 100 times as powerful as the bomb the United States dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
How are you concerned tonight about further tests?
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Erin, I'm very concerned about what seemed to be the steady and escalating advances that North Korea is making in its pursuit of its goal, to have an ICBM and a very powerful nuclear weapon that it could deliver against the United States.
The idea that this was an effective test, their sixth nuclear test of a thermonuclear device that was 100 times greater than Hiroshima is gravely concerning, and I think their next ICBM test will likely be elevating our level of concern. Tomorrow, the United States Senate will get a briefing from the secretary of defense and I'm hopeful that we will hear specific and concrete proposals from the Trump administration about how we can work together to confront this national threat.
BURNETT: So you said before this recent spate of tests and before President Trump's war of words with Kim Jong-un, you said North Korea could have an ICBM capable of hitting the United States by 2019, OK? Here we are, coming out to the end of 2017, the North Korea has conducted three missile tests since you gave that estimate. Three missile tests. One of them, of course, the one that could be 100 times stronger than Hiroshima.
Has your calculation changed? Are we still looking at 2019, or are we looking at much sooner than that?
COONS: Erin, I think we have to presume that North Korea is making greater progress than we've previously estimated. The one remaining element to delivering an effective weapon against the United States that we don't know whether they've mastered is reentry. When you shoot a missile far up into space and it travels thousands of miles, and then reenters Earth's atmosphere, that subjects the warhead to tremendous heat and pressure.
We don't believe that the North Koreans have mastered that yet. I haven't gotten any briefings on it.
COONS: But from what we have heard here in public, from what we've heard here in the Senate, that's the one remaining thing that may make them a year away. But in any event, we should be assuming that they have made more progress than we know because, so far, test after test, they have surprised us with how quickly they're progressing.
BURNETT: Right. So, you are saying you were thinking 2019 but you are now saying it could be a year away, which would obviously put you, well, you know, ahead of that. You'd be looking at the middle or fall of 2018. [19:30:02] COONS: A year or less. I frankly think this needs to be
an urgent focus for the Congress, for the administration. We need an all hands push to make sure that China feels the pain of this and is engaged in putting more economic pressure on North Korea and frankly to escalate the preparations for our vital allies in the region, to make sure that South Korea and Japan have the anti-missile defenses that they are seeking.
I approve, I support the president's efforts today to authorize additional weapon sales to South Korea and Japan. But I don't think it is a great idea for the president to be at this time picking fights with South Korea over trade issues or showing any daylight between the United States and our vital regional allies Japan and South Korea.
BURNETT: He has not ruled out war with North Korea. He was specifically asked about this. Let me just play that for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He said, we'll see. Is he right to say that? Is he right to keep the door open to that?
COONS: Well, Erin, he's right to leave the door open to the idea that if North Korea continues to threaten to attack the United States and continues its reckless missile launches and nuclear tests in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, we should continue to say that all options are on the table.
I do think it's important that we continue to emphasize that the United States doesn't seek regime change in North Korea, that the United States won't use any preemptive attack here, as long as North Korea doesn't continue its provocative actions. I think it's important that we consult closely with our allies. If this situation deteriorates further, it'd be the South Korean people that would most likely bear the tragic human costs of any actual military conflicts.
So, that's why I say, Erin, it's more important than ever that we consult closely with our allies and it's my hope, it's my expectation that we will use every possible diplomatic avenue for trying to find a peaceful resolution to this. But we need to make it clear, all options will stay on the table as long as North Korea threatens the American homeland.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator Coons. I appreciate your time.
COONS: Thank you.
BURNETT: Of course, one of the great difficulties there is the United States can say that they don't want regime change, but Kim Jong-un, of course, knows that the United States wants just that.
OUTFRONT next, news just breaking in on the Russia probe. Investigators sending subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department. They want records on that infamous Russian dossier on President Trump.
And Hurricane Harvey victims feeling insult upon injury tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be another emotional wreck for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:41:24] BURNETT: Breaking news: tonight, we're learning the House Intelligence Committee wants more information on the infamous Trump- Russia dossier. The committee sends subpoenas to both the FBI and the Justice Department for information.
Evan Perez is breaking this news. OUTFRONT in Washington.
And, Evan, what are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you know, you have three congressional investigations and a criminal probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. So, it's predictable there'd be some types of complications. Tonight, we learned that the House Intelligence Committee sent subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department to get records on that Trump-Russia dossier.
Now, the Justice Department and FBI have been delaying in their compliance, because they are worried it could affect the Mueller investigation. And another tussle like that happened recently when lawyers working with the Mueller investigators asked the Senate Intelligence Committee for a transcript of the committee's interview with Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, the former campaign chairman.
Manafort's lawyers essentially blocked that request. Mueller's office had claimed that they were given consent prompting, a brief fight of what they were authorized to have. Now, as you know, Erin, Manafort is a top focus of Mueller's investigators who are looking into possible financial and tax charges. Manafort denies wrongdoing and congressional sources tell us that one of the problems here is they keep allowing people to have these behind closed door interviews that it is difficult for the FBI and the Mueller team to get access to.
BURNETT: Now, Evan, I know that, you know, you've got the committees coming out and speaking and saying they want to get this done, but where are we, right? I mean, I know we've got some big deadlines and interviews coming up in the Russia investigation.
PEREZ: Right, exactly. We heard conflicting words today from the two top officials on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Some say it can go into next year. The Republicans would prefer this to be done this year. But we expect, Erin, in the next couple of months, we'll see Trump attorney Michael Cohen and the Russian-American businessman Felix Sater both are going to be called to meet with the House Intelligence Committee and probably the Senate panel as well.
In e-mails that were provided to Congress, both men discussed efforts to move forward in a Trump Tower project in Moscow, undercutting the president's claiming that he had no business ties to Russia. And in the coming weeks, we also expect to see Donald Trump Jr. is going to be providing a private interview, another one of those private interviews to the Senate Intelligence Committee -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan.
And let's go now to John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel, and David Gergen, former presidential advisor to four presidents, also of course a part of that.
So, let me start with you, John. Your reaction? House investigators have subpoenaed FBI and Justice Department records over the Russia- Trump dossier. This is, of course, that infamous dossier that alleges salacious things.
What is the significance of the subpoena request to you?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, we all know that there is an elicit copy floating around that was published on the Internet. So, they know of the contents. They just want to see what else is there, and I think they're exercising their muscle to show that the Hill is serious about going into these inquiries.
This is traditional, however, Erin. It happens with all these high profile investigations where the Congress competes with the executive branch with different interests.
BURNETT: David, there is also the question, of course, of what they want out of it. You know, when you listen to House Oversight chairman, Chairman Gowdy, was saying, well, look, we want to know every bit of this. We want to know whether the FBI used any of the allegations and the dossier to get any warrants, right?
So, the other side of this could be, was the dossier use inappropriate? Go ahead.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. The big picture, I think John Dean is right.
[19:45:00] The tradition has been that when you have four different investigations going on simultaneously, three on the Hill and one with the Mueller investigation, they are inevitably going to be complications about who gets what document so they all share.
Each one of these groups got -- has have received over 20,000 pages of documents apparently from the Trump side and there will be conflicts. I do think this. They have different purposes. The Hill investigations are really about determining not just what happened but what policies, what law should be embraced. And the Mueller investigation is about what happened then and are
there possible criminal charges that should be brought. Very different. The Hill does serve a valuable purpose. It's worth remembering that in Watergate, it was the Hill investigators who found, John will remember, had Alex Butterfield testified to the existence of the taping system. That came through the Hill investigation and really opened that whole thing up a lot.
On the other hand, traditionally, primacy has to gone to the special counsel because they are investigating, you know, for criminal possibilities. And if the Hill goes too far, they can compromise the capacity of the Mueller group to -- not only to investigate, but where they go with charges.
BURNETT: So, John, let me ask you, because David brings up Watergate, and it came up today from the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Richard Burr, right, the Republican. He told CNN he is not sure they have done anything like this since Watergate.
What does that say to you, John, coming as it does from the Republican chair?
DEAN: Well, I -- certainly, the Republicans haven't. But there have been investigations that were certainly close to the dimensions of Watergate with Iran Contra, the Clinton-Lewinsky investigation got very, very far along and resulted in impeachment, which I would say was certainly in the same league as Watergate.
So, that's an interesting statement he's made. He's acknowledging the importance of it and the fact that he's giving it the weight of Watergate is kind of surprising from a Republican, frankly.
BURNETT: And what do you make of that, David, that that is coming from a Republican? Does it say anything to you about where this is going?
GERGEN: Absolutely. Richard Burr is not just a Republican. He's a strong conservative, and he has acted, I must say, I think the Burr- Warner, Mark Warner is the Democratic co-leader of this effort on that committee, I think they have worked very well together. But for Burr to say that, I was kind taken aback by that because it really, it -- I think a lot of people think that, but for the Republicans to say it, you know, confirms what a lot of people suspected.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both very much. That's a significant development tonight.
And next, heartbreak times two. DACA DREAMers left with nothing after Hurricane Harvey now wonder if they will have to leave the United States, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my home. This is all I know. I don't know anything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And on a lighter night, Jeanne Moos on Michelle Obama's new look as Beyonce.
[19:51:22] BURNETT: Tonight, some victims of Hurricane Harvey suffering all over again. For some trying to recover from the catastrophic storm, President Trump's immigration announcement is adding insult to injury.
Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.
DIANA PLATAS, DREAMER: When I saw the water lines on our wall, it brought tears to my eyes.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For days, Diana Platas and her family have stacked most of their belongings in a pile of trash. Nearly five feet of flood waters destroyed their Houston home.
PLATAS: When we opened the cabinets, they were full of water.
LAVANDERA: Then she says a second tragedy struck when the Trump administration announced it would start ending the DACA program. Platas, a 19-year-old DREAMer, couldn't believe it.
PLATAS: DACA is one of my only salvations in these moments, because my parents are going to need my support. They're going to need my help in times like this. And losing it is going to be very devastated. It's going to be another emotional wreck for us.
LAVANDERA: Platas is the daughter of undocumented immigrants from Mexico brought to the U.S. at age 2. She's a college junior studying political science, in hopes of becoming a lawyer. But as she cleans up, the idea of being deported now haunts her.
PLATAS: This is my home. This is all I know. I don't know anything else.
LAVANDERA: There are tens of thousands of DREAMers in the Houston area, making their mark in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Some saving lives like Jesus Delgado, a paramedic who worked six days straight rescuing flood victims. Alonzo Gian, a DREAMer volunteer, drowned trying to rescue others after the storm.
And groups of DREAMers, like Skarleth Velasquez, who came from Honduras at age 5, have spent days cleaning her neighbor's flooded homes and starting to rebuild.
White House officials say President Trump, who promised to treat DREAMers with compassion, wrestled with the decision. But Velasquez doesn't see the passion when the fear of deportation to a country she scarcely remembers looms over her. SKARLETH VELASQUEZ, DREAMER: I'm grateful for everyone that has been
supportive and has just been -- you know, I guess they have our backs. So, at the end of the day, it's OK. My only thing is that it's not over. Yes, he might have ended DACA, but we're not going to stop fighting for it.
ARTEMIO MUNIZ, TEXAS FEDERATION OF HISPANIC REPUBLICANS: It's more than a punch in the gut.
LAVANDERA: Artemio Muniz, with the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans, says the actions of DREAMers across Houston should motivate lawmakers to protect these young immigrants.
MUNIZ: These guys are working, they're contributing. They're not committing crimes. And what else do you want in an American?
LAVANDERA: In her flooded out home, Diana Platas did salvage a piece of cherished artwork that now carries even greater significance.
PLATAS: It's a little poem saying when we grow up, and we're not going to be there any more, but these are my hands and I'm going to leave my fingerprints everywhere in this house. So --
LAVANDERA (on camera): That's even more poignant now.
PLATAS: Yes, it is.
LAVANDERA: And, Erin, one of the things many of the DREAMers that we have spoken with over the course of the last day that really concerns them is that in many cases in these families, where there are undocumented members and members that are U.S. citizens or have this DREAMer status, that they are the ones that are able to work and bring home money for like Diana's case, money to rebuild, working outside of the home if she goes to school, not being able to do that as they pay for the recovery here in Houston is something that weighs on them even more heavily than being deported -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Ed, thank you very much. Poignant stories there.
And Michelle Obama channels Beyonce. Yes, that is, which is Michelle Obama? Jeanne Moos has the story.
[19:58:45] BURNETT: Michelle Obama sporting a new look. All for Beyonce's birthday, which brings us to tonight's number. That's 36, Beyonce's birthday.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not easy to imitate Beyonce's signature look, from her "Formation" video. But in honor of her 36th birthday, relatives and friends recreated the post. Among them, tennis star Serena Williams and Beyonce's daughter, Blue Ivy.
But who's that lady?
(on camera): Who is this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rihanna.
MOOS (voice-over): That lady is former first lady Michelle Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
MOOS: Michelle and Beyonce are friends. Beyonce sang at the first inaugural dance.
She performed the national anthem.
But when we showed people the proof, Michelle's photo, even a hint didn't help.
(on camera): She's married to a former president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton?
MOOS (voice-over): Michelle once answered the question, which famous person would you want to be stuck with on a desert island?
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Beyonce.
MOOS: Now they're stuck looking like twins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Obama's wife?
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girlfriend got it going on.
MOOS: -- New York.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Obama's wife?
MOOS (on camera): Yes, it is.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.
Anderson starts now.