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Second Chance for DREAMers?; Hurricane Irma Bears Down; North Korea Crisis: Putin Meets with South Korea's Moon Jae-in. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired September 6, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:12] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Just hours after his administration ended the program to protect DREAMers, President Trump now says he may revisit the issue. What is next for Congress?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: And Hurricane Irma churning through the Caribbean. U.S. territory set to get hammered by one of the strongest storms ever. What the threat to the mainland U.S. this weekend? We'll let you know.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alison Kosik, sits in for Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is Wednesday, September 6th. It's 4:00 a.m. in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they are worried about this storm. We'll get to that momentarily.

But less than ten hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the termination of the program that protects young documented immigrants from deportation, some 800,000 by estimates, President Trump announced he was leaving the door open to reconsidering this decision.

Take a look at this tweet, the president just before 9:00 Eastern Time last night. He says: Congress now has six months to legalize DACA. Something the Obama administration was unable to do. If they can't, I will revisit the issue.

KOSIK: The administration claims it's dismantling the Obama era program that protect some 800,000 DREAMers because it was created by executive order and is vulnerable to legal challenges.

Listen to what president had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a great heart for the folks we're talking -- 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.


KOSIK: OK. And despite that comment, White House talking points on Tuesday urged DREAMers to prepare for, quote, departure from the United States. Those talking points obtained by CNN were sent by the White House to offices on Capitol Hill.

BRIGGS: Virtually, all Democrats in Congress and several Republicans as well ling up against this decision. House Speaker Paul Ryan says: It is my hope that the House and Senate with the president's leadership label to find consensus on a permanent legislative solution that includes ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong can still contribute as a valued part of this great country.

KOSIK: And then there's this from Arizona Senator John McCain, saying: I strongly believe that children who were illegally brought into this country through no fault of their own should not be forced to return to a country they do not know.

The president's decision to end protections for DREAMers triggering lots of protests all across the country, in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York and Denver. That's just to name a few.

BRIGGS: Also forcing his displeasure, President Obama for the first time saying publicly part: Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn't threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own. Kicking them out won't lower the unemployment rate or lighten anyone's taxes or raise anybody's wages. Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kicked hopeful young strivers out of America or whether we threat them the way we'd want our own kids to be treated.

KOSIK: And some of the biggest names in business are calling on the president and Congress to keep DACA protections in place. More than 400 CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs have signed a letter written by an immigration advocacy organization cofounded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He's joined by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google CEO, General Motors' CEO Mary Barra, and Apple chief Tim Cook. And the letter basically says that DREAMers are part of American communities and are key to keeping America globally competitive.

In his own statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook put it very bluntly. I am deeply dismayed that 800,000 Americans, including more than 250 of our Apple coworkers may soon find themselves cast out of the only country they've ever called home.

The president and the business community have disagreed over big issues as well, including Trump's travel bans and the decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. The president's two business councils also fell apart after executives began resigning over his recent comments on Charlottesville.

KOSIK: And Hurricane Irma is coming with a fury seldom seen before, the second most powerful hurricane ever in the Atlantic. It's now churning through the Caribbean with its eye on the U.S.

Right now, Irma, a category 5 hurricane, packing 185-mile-an-hour winds. It is still too early to tell if the monster storm will make landfall in the U.S., on the mainland, but Florida could be in harm's way this weekend.

[04:05:01] President Trump already declaring emergencies for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with storm preparations. We will have the full hurricane forecast in just a moment.

BRIGGS: And the most immediate concern is for people in the northeastern Caribbean. Hurricane Irma hitting the island of Barbuda overnight. A 36-hour curfew has been issued for the entire territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The potentially catastrophic storm threatening those islands and others, including Puerto Rico and that's where George Howell is this morning.

George, good morning to you. What are you seeing there?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, the Caribbean here, these Caribbean islands will be the first to feel the effects of Irma. You mentioned the situation in Barbuda, that island feeling the eye of this storm as it passes by. And as you also mentioned, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 36 hour curfew.

We also heard that the prime minister of the Bahamas issuing the largest evacuation to ever take place in that nation, all taking place by plane set to happen throughout the course of the day. So, a lot of preparations happening throughout this region.

Also here in San Juan, in Puerto Rico, we understand the governor has declared a state of emergency, has activated the National Guard, has also ordered a voluntary evacuation to the east of the island. Voluntary I say, but officials urging people to get to higher ground, to get to safer shelter.

So, the winds are starting to pick up here. It is ominous. You're not going to see my hair whipping around with that, so the best I can show you is the palm trees back there.

You can get a sense of what's happening and you see the surf line in the distance. It's dark but the winds are picking up. The water getting much more choppy.

Again, this storm moving ever so closer to Puerto Rico, so many people here understand this island has seen big storms before. They've never seen anything like this. So, it depends upon the course of this storm if it continues to track just to the north of this island. But again, these things can wobble and shift, so it is right now a matter of wait and see.

BRIGGS: Tenuous times there in Puerto Rico.

George Howell reporting for us, thank you, sir.

KOSIK: And several south Florida counties are operating in emergency mode, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst when and if Hurricane Irma hits. The mayor of Miami-Dade County signing an emergency declaration. They're going to begin evacuating special needs residents today. All county offices along with schools, they're going to be closed on Thursday and Friday. Officials are also expected to issue evacuation orders for Miami Beach later today or early Thursday.

BRIGGS: Neighboring Broward County planning to set up dozens of shelters that will be able to accommodate as many as 33,000 people. Broward schools will also be closed Thursday and Friday.

And Monroe County, home to Key West, a mandatory evacuation of visitors, tourists and nonresidents takes effect in just a few hours at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The evacuation of residents begins at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

KOSIK: Florida Governor Rick Scott ordering the deployment of 7,000 National Guard members, a thousand high water vehicles, and more than 700 generators. All of that on standby. The governor suspending tolls across the state. That's going to allow people to move more safely to evacuate. More than 5,000 based at naval air station Key West, they've received mandatory evacuation orders.

BRIGGS: Meantime, Florida residents stocking up storm supplies. Aisles at some storms have been left bare by this mad rush. Lines of people wrapped around the Costco and Pembroke Pines, stocking up on fuel, water and materials to protect their homes.

Also, the NFL's opening weekend also impacted. The Miami Dolphins won't open the season at home Sunday as scheduled. The league exploring other options for their game against Tampa Bay, including moving it to a neutral site or playing it at a later date, perhaps week 11, during both team's byes. That will be hard for both teams to pull up.

KOSIK: All right. So, the big question everybody is asking, we is Hurricane Irma going to get the hardest?

Meteorologist Pedram is tracking the storm.

Pedram, what are you seeing right now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, one of the most menacing storms I've seen here on satellite imagery, hard to take your eyes off the storm, as it moved ashore, Barbuda in the last couple of hours. Coming ashore now among the strongest tropical systems that we've ever observed anywhere on earth, approaching Anguilla areas around St. Martin, St. Barts. This particular region, home to about 100,000 people.

And when you think about this region, we're talking about an area that has essentially made up of Sandy beaches, very flat terrain, almost entirely for that island. So, significant devastation going to be expected across this region. And I want to show you the eye of storm, as it moves over Barbuda. We have wind gust of 155 mile per hour, within six minutes, the wind went to calm, the observation point, the gauge stopped operating as a result and, of course, that is just part of the communication we're losing with some of these islands as this storm moves ashore.

[04:10:04] But seven to 11 foot storm surge across this region. Up to 20 feet for some of the storm surge on the Turks and Caicos. Again, keep in mind, as flat as the pancake, this would cause significant devastation across these regions.

And when you get to a category 5 type storm, we know any land mass that interacts with such a storm, most of this area historically speaking is uninhabitable for a period of weeks or months. Communication is typically lost for that same time period. So, important things to note, that this storm system moves ashore over portions of the Leeward Islands.

But the track, I want to follow for you taking it through the next couple of days. Look what happens as it approaches Cuba, because pretty good forecast guidance at this point on where this will end up I say Friday night into Saturday. Beyond that is where it really begins to get tricky and I want to really emphasize that a lot of people fall in love with the center portion of the track. But this storm certainly could take a southern track on this cone, that's why there's a cone here, and also or a northern track of this as well.

So, continue to break this down with the models here, laying it down again. Notice the confidence is high here as it approaches Cuba by early this weekend. Beyond that when the right turn occurs, pretty significant shift. Some of them wanting to take it out to the west. Notice, no model remaining now that wants to bring it into the Gulf of Mexico.

But just about every other one wants to bring it in towards the eastern coast of Florida. This is in the last few minutes. I want to overlay the European model and the also the American model, which historically done a great job with this, at least in recent days with Harvey and tracking that storm. And notice, the blue being the European model, the red indicating the American model, almost directly on top of one another as it approaches Cuba, so confidence high that that would occur sometime early this weekend.

But notice once again, just slight timing variations. The storm at this point appears to skirt the eastern side of Florida, so potentially a landfall near eastern areas of Florida, if this forecast verifies or taking it up to the east of Florida and into the Carolinas. So, we've seen changes, of course, in the last 24 hours of going from the western side of Florida and this is gong to be expected as we approach the next couple of days, guys.

KOSIK: You know what? It can be either the east coast, the west coast of Florida and that can make all the difference for those who live in Miami or who live in Fort Myers.

JAVAHERI: Absolutely.

KOSIK: So, everybody in south Florida watching that.

All right. Pedram Javaheri, thanks very much.

BRIGGS: Thanks, man.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

KOSIK: The White House is set to vote today on the first round of disaster funding for Hurricane Harvey. Now, the White House is now trying to ease concerns about pairing it with a debt ceiling increase.


[04:16:33] KOSIK: A vote on the first round of disaster funding for Harvey expected to hit the House floor today, still being debated, whether the emergency funding will be linked to a debt ceiling increase. "Politico" is reporting the Trump administration will spend the day trying to turn growing GOP opposition pairing the two. The report says Mr. Trump will give the plan a full-throated endorsement and that the plan will include no spending cuts.

That move will likely anger some conservatives who wanted spending cuts as part of a package to raise the debt ceiling.

BRIGGS: The president's decision to end protections for DREAMers is sure to come up this morning when President Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. It comes hours before the president heads to North Dakota for a speech on tax reform and North Dakota Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp will join him on this flight. She's one of several red state Democrats the White House wants on the president's side in tax reform efforts.

KOSIK: A New England sports team caught cheating and it's not the Patriots. The Boston Red Sox admitting they used electronic devices to steal signs from the New York Yankees and other teams. This happening over the past few weeks. According to "The New York Times", Major League Baseball opened an investigation after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman submitted video evidence of this.

BRIGGS: Now it reportedly showed a member of the Red Sox training staff looking at his Apple Watch in the dugout and relaying a message to players. Now, the Red Sox have filed a claim alleging the Yankees used a camera from their Yes Network to also steal signs. Yankee manager Joe Girardi denies it, but the baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has not decided on possible disciplinary action.

Look, this is age old part of baseball, stealing signs.

KOSIK: Cheating?

BRIGGS: Yes. You ain't cheat, you ain't trying, they say.

KOSIK: Oh, I don't like that mantra.

BRIGGS: It is perfect, but it's in Boston. It's using the old Apple Watch, when I didn't know had a practical use. KOSIK: Dave, that's not very sportsman like. Come on.

BRIGGS: I know. It is an ongoing issue but they'll certainly get some punishment.

KOSIK: OK. The presidents of South Korea and Russia agree the North Korea threat is an urgent matter. But how do they plan to keep it from getting out of control? We are live at their meeting in Russia next.


[04:23:22] BRIGGS: In just a few hours, President Trump is expected to speak by phone with China's President Xi. It will be the first known contact between these two leaders since North Korea's missile launch last week and its nuclear test over the weekend.

After that test, the president referred to North Korea as an embarrassment to China and threatened to shut down trade between the two nations.

Overnight, the president of South Korea met with Vladimir Putin at an economic forum in Russia, both offering a sobering assessment of the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Let's go live to Russia and bring in CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. He is at that economic forum where President Putin and Moon are meeting.

Good morning to you, Fred. What is Russia's role in all of this?


And, you know, this meeting here in Vladivostok, on the eastern coast of Russia, is really not very far from the North Korean border at all. I think what's been very important here is that the North Koreans really want Russia on board when they deal -- the South Koreans, I should say, want Russia on board when they deal with this North Korea crisis. They say they believe it's very important for them to see eye to eye with Russia, but there are some clear key points where there are clearly difficulties between these two countries.

On the one hand, the North Koreans say they believe that stronger actions need to be taken against North Korea. They believe that stronger sanctions are in order. They've also, of course, as you know, have been talking about getting additional weapons, for instance, from the United States. The Russians for their part are saying, look, we condemn North Korea and their nuclear tests that they recently conducted, but at the same time, they believe that only talks and diplomacy can move all of this forward and try to find a way out of this impasse.

In fact, Vladimir Putin here at this very conference said he doesn't believe this conflict can be solved at all without any sort of dialogue.

[04:25:04] That's, of course, a key point where the U.S. and Russia don't see eye to eye at all. We heard Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, only yesterday say, look, the mere thought of a sort of negotiation with the North Koreans is certainly something that she considers an insult. The Russians are saying, however, these sides need to get talking. Otherwise, they fear that all of this could become what Putin called a global catastrophe -- Dave.

BRIGGS: And fascinating remarks from Putin on Trump. Quote, he's not my bride.

Interesting remarks yesterday as well.

Frederik Pleitgen, live for us in Russia, thanks.

KOSIK: Also developing overnight, an ominous warning from Japan directed at North Korea. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe telling the Kim regime it has, quote, no bright future if it continues on its current path. And now, there are growing cries within South Korea to develop a nuclear deterrent to the North Korean threat.

CNN's Lee is live for us in Seoul with the latest.

Good morning.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alison.

Yes, there is talk here about what South Korea can do to counter this North Korean threat internally here at home. And the one thing that they've talked about, the opposition party, the main opposition party, the LK Party, is that they would ask the United States to deploy nuclear weapons on the South Korean territory.

Now, the defense minister says that he's willing to look at that idea, although the president has said he still committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but have the United States nuclear weapons in South Korea would have some hurdles. First off, it's expensive. You would have to have specialized troops here to monitor those nuclear weapons and also to protect them from any sorts of espionage.

The other thing that we're also hearing, a growing chorus of voices, is to develop South Korea's own nuclear weapon. This is something that's been talked about for years. But a Gallup show that still, over 50 percent of Koreans are interested in this option, although South Korea is a -- has signed the nonproliferation treaty, they are talking that if North Korea does have a nuclear option, maybe it's time for South Korea to do that as well. You know, that option would need the United States' approval as well and support, something that it likely wouldn't get.

KOSIK: Not so farfetched to have American nuclear weapons in South Korea. This was the case until then George H.W. Bush had the almost 100 American nuclear weapons removed back in 1991. So, I'm sure this will be an ongoing discussion point.

CNN's Ian Lee, thanks so much. BRIGGS: Straight ahead, the president wants to end protections for

DREAMers or does he? The late night tweet that could undercut his administration's announcement just hours earlier.

KOSIK: And we are tracking Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. It's already wreaking havoc on U.S. territories. How much of a threat does it pose to Florida this weekend?