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EARLY START

Hurricane Irma Hits The Caribbean; Second Chance For Dreamers?; North Korea Nuclear Crisis. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 6, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:32:45] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Hurricane Irma churning through the Caribbean. U.S. territories set to get hammered by one of the strongest storms ever. Now a new update from the National Hurricane Center shows Irma could hit Florida head-on.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Just hours after his administration ended the program to protect Dreamers, President Trump now says he may revisit the issue and legalize DACA. What's the next move for Congress? That will be a baffling one.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik sitting in for Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

And Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in a decade, hitting the Caribbean with an eye on the U.S. Right now, Irma is a category five hurricane packing 185 mile an hour winds. And the latest update shows Irma could hit Florida head-on this weekend.

BRIGGS: President Trump declaring emergencies for Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with the storm preparations. We'll have the latest hurricane update for you in just a moment.

KOSIK: The most immediate concern is for people in the northeastern Caribbean. Overnight, a 36-hour curfew issued for the entire territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

BRIGGS: And the largest evacuation in the history of the Bahamas has been ordered. Residents of six southern islands told to evacuate. And the State Department has issued a travel warning for the Dominican Republic, warning of life-threatening flooding, mudslides, and storm surge.

The National Hurricane Center calling Irma a potentially catastrophic storm.

KOSIK: So, once again, Florida could take a direct hit and several South Florida counties are in emergency mode. 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 Thursday and Friday.

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

In Monroe County, home to Key West, a mandatory evacuation of visitors, tourists, and non-residents takes effect in just a couple of hours at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The evacuation of residents beginning at 7:00 p.m.

[05:35:07] KOSIK: And that is tonight, yes.

Meantime, Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordering the deployment of 7,000 National Guard members.

The governor suspending tolls all across the state. That's going to allow for easier evacuations.

BRIGGS: Meantime, Florida residents are stocking up on storm supplies. Aisles at some stores have been left bare by the mad rush. You see Costco there.

The NFL's opening week also impacted. The Miami Dolphins' home opener for Sunday will not be played in Miami. They may choose a neutral site or perhaps delay the game to the teams' bye week in week 11 -- we'll see.

KOSIK: OK. Let's get the latest on the track of Hurricane Irma and bring in meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. So, what's the latest on the track of Irma?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, the latest track here coming in from the National Hurricane Center, guys, has shifted this a little farther toward the east. We'll touch on that momentarily.

The storm system approaching Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barts, where about 100,000 people, right around sunrise, will experience one of the strongest winds ever observed across the Atlantic Ocean.

And just to point out here, as it moves over Barbuda in the last couple of hours, the weather observation site there -- the wind- measuring device -- the anemometer stopped functioning. So kind of talks about the significance of the storm essentially putting out -- not only power in a lot of these areas but also the weather equipment ceasing to function in some of these areas as well.

So this storm going to have catastrophic impacts in some of these low- lying islands as it approaches them inside the next couple of hours. Wind gusts exceeding 220 miles per hour.

We'll follow this track as we go into the next several days and line it up for you right around early Saturday morning to Sunday morning where now, the track wants to turn the storm a hard right but potentially shift it a little farther toward the east.

And from that perspective it looks like it is a central -- south central part of the Florida landfall. That may not be the case. When you look at this and break down model-by-model, the European

model brings it in Saturday morning right around central Cuba. Look what happens on that hard right. Look at the center of this. Want to take it in potentially just east of Miami, remaining offshore.

Of course, hurricane-force winds will be felt well inland with this but the hardest -- the heaviest part of the storm would remain offshore.

The American model, both in great agreement on the track of the storm, bringing it in, again, northern central portions of Cuba by early Saturday morning. Hard right turn potentially bringing it a little farther away from the coast of Miami. But then, this would keep it very much like a Hurricane Matthew-type track.

And lay down these spaghetti models here. We'll give you the model- by-model breakdown and notice the high concentration which is essentially four days out, what you look for to get confidence in a track. High concentration pushes this onto the eastern portion of Florida.

At this point, the National Hurricane Center wants to keep the entire state in line there, but you can see with model-by-model guidance it is gradually shifting it to the east.

Outliers say yes, maybe this could make its way back out into the Atlantic Ocean. A very, very narrow window of that still could occur but at this point it looks like a more likely scenario to be skirting the east coast of Florida, heading out towards the Carolinas.

KOSIK: A storm so strong it knocked out the weather equipment over the islands. That's interesting right there.

JAVAHERI: Yes.

KOSIK: Thanks a lot, Pedram Javaheri.

JAVAHERI: Yes.

BRIGGS: Hope for a hard right. All right.

A vote on the first round of disaster funding for Harvey expected to hit the House floor today. It's still being debated whether the emergency funding will be linked to a debt ceiling increase.

Politico reporting the Trump administration will spend the day trying to turn growing GOP opposition pairing those two.

The report says Mr. Trump will give the plan a full-throated endorsement and that the plan will include no spending cuts. That will likely anger some House conservatives who wanted spending cuts as part of a package to raise that debt ceiling.

Ahead, President Trump says ending those protections for Dreamers is necessary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Really, we have no choice. We have to be able to do something. And I think it's going to work out very well and long-term, it's going to be the right solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Then, just hours later, the president suggesting he may revisit the issue next year and legalize DACA.

We're back.

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[05:43:25] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SESSIONS: The program, known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded. We are people of compassion and we are people of law, but there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: In less than 10 hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the program that protects young, undocumented immigrants from deportation, President Trump announced he was leaving the door open to reconsidering the decision.

I want you to look at this tweet from the president just before 9:00 Eastern last night. And in it 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 this issue."

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

Here's what the president had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have a great heart for the folks we're talking about and 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Despite that comment, White House talking points on Tuesday urged Dreamers to prepare for a quote "departure from the United States."

President Obama sounding off on this decision in his first comments directly addressing a decision by a successor. He calls it wrong, cruel, and self-defeating. [05:45:03] KOSIK: All right, let's bring back Tal Kopan. She is the CNN Digital Politics reporter du jour of the morning with some great analysis of this DACA decision.

So, let's go back and talk about the surprise tweet that happened after 9:00 last night. The president saying this. That, "Congress now has six months to legalize DACA, something the Obama administration was unable to do. If they can't, I will revisit this issue."

This, after the president formally announces, through Jeff Sessions, of course, that he's going to end protections for these Dreamers.

I'm getting whiplash here. Can you read between the lines of that tweet and kind of give me the translation of what's going on here?

TAL KOPAN, CNN DIGITAL POLITICS REPORTER: You may be seeing in real time, Alison, that the president really doesn't know what to do on this issue and really struggles with it and may have sort of gone back and forth. But certainly, there are some folks in Washington who find this tweet unhelpful and some of those folks may actually support DACA.

But the thing is you've given Congress this issue. You've said I am allowing six months where no one will lose their DACA status and then the expirations of permits will actually begin, so you have this window to act to make it permanent.

Maybe -- you see how that last little bit really changes the -- changes the game and that's not exactly what Congress needs when you give them a mandate, when you give them a crisis to motivate them. Equivocating is not going to help them actually get it done.

BRIGGS: Yes. Those 10 or 12 hours really represent, though, how the president has struggled with this issue and been all over the map on it.

The morality, of course, is central here but the politics, Tal, are baffling.

Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, saying quote "It's important the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign. We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or the president won't sign."

Then you add to it "The Wall Street Journal" -- the conservative, Murdoch-owned "Wall Street Journal" really encapsulating the politics well here.

In an editorial they write, "As American's problems go, these young adults shouldn't even be on the list. It shows the Republican Party at its worst that the state AGs and Attorney General Jeff Sessions want to make this an urgent priority rather than let Congress take it up when it has a less crowded schedule. They are pandering to the restrictionist right that is a minority even within the GOP."

Tal, what are the politics here? What is a Republican-led House and Senate supposed to do now?

KOPAN: Yes, you're right, you know. Putting aside the fate of real people to talk about the politics of, you know, protecting those people, there is a clear split within the GOP on this.

And, "The Wall Street Journal" is not wrong. There is a minority of the GOP or at least, you know, maybe half of the GOP that does, in fact, believe that at its core DACA should not be allowed on the books and, you know, there's no undocumented immigrants that are worth allowing into the country.

But, there are a lot of folks who don't think that. Marco Rubio is one of them. A lot -- and Paul Ryan seems to be another who want to come up with some sort of solution here. The problem is the Republican base can be tricky for some of those folks.

And so, you know, really, once this ball is sort of punted to Congress, Republican leadership is in a very tight spot here because they have to figure out -- there are some members that are up for reelection in 2018 for whom not voting for DACA would be an extremely perilous thing. And then there are some members of the --

BRIGGS: Yes.

KOPAN: -- Republican Party for whom voting for DACA would be a perilous thing.

And so, figuring out which part of the base they're going to listen to is an incredible challenge for Republican leadership here.

KOSIK: Tal, what do you make of --

BRIGGS: Let alone in six months -- sorry.

KOSIK: No, no, that's quite alright.

What do you make -- what do you make of how this decision was announced? You know, we saw Attorney General Jeff Sessions step before the mic. We didn't see the president do that.

You alluded to this in your article, saying it was showing Trump's aversion to announcing the decision himself. So does this kind of get behind sort of the mindset of what he was really thinking in the first place? Was he forced into this?

KOPAN: The decision to have Jeff Sessions speak, Alison, speaks volumes about where the administration fell on this, you know.

A little bit of history. Jeff Sessions, when he was a senator for decades, was one of the strongest sort of anti-illegal immigration voices in the Senate. He has long been an opponent of DACA. His record is very clearly out there in his public statement.

This is a speech he was prepared to give probably from the outset and the White House -- and, you know, our reporting and statements have made clear that his determination that he does not think DACA was legally defensible in the courts was a huge factor in the White House's decision to try to sunset it, and that's the justification they're giving.

[05:50:00] On top of that, you can see that the president really doesn't feel great about this decision, as we were just talking about with his tweet. And so having Jeff Sessions go out there and be the face of this, even though the Justice Department doesn't have anything to do with DACA except defending it in court, speaks very loudly about the inner turmoil that the administration dealt with on this.

KOSIK: So this turns out to be Sessions' baby maybe more than Trump's baby.

BRIGGS: It certainly appears that way.

No wavering. We do have great love for you, Tal Kopan. Check out her piece on this issue on cnn.com.

KOSIK: Yes, it's great. Thank, Tal.

BRIGGS: Appreciate it.

KOPAN: Thank you.

KOSIK: The stock market coming off a big drop and investors are worrying a lot about what's going on in Washington. We're going to get a check on "CNN Money Stream," next.

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[05:55:10] 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 the 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.

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, live for us. Fred, what are we hearing?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dave.

You know, the far eastern town of Vladivostok, where I am right now, really is the center of diplomacy on this day in this big crisis around North Korea.

As you mentioned, Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with the president of South Korea and both sides saying look, of course we understand that both of these countries are very, very important in this process. Both Vladimir Putin and the South Korean president saying they agree

that it's completely unacceptable to have a nuclear-armed North Korea. That's pretty much where the agreement then ends.

The Russians are saying they believe the only way forward is dialogue. The South Koreans are saying look, we believe the only way to achieve dialogue to get North Korea back to the negotiating table is to put more pressure on them.

That's what the Russians say -- they don't think that's going to work. In fact, Vladimir Putin said yesterday he believes the North Koreans would rather eat grass than bow down to pressure.

Both sides are saying look, there has to be some way to move all of this forward because they believe this could end in a global catastrophe. And the South Korean president saying he believes all of this could become, as he said, uncontrollable.

Of course, the U.S. watching these negotiations very closely as well. America, of course, trying to make sure especially allies like South Korea, really stay in line with the path that the Trump administration has been forging as far a North Korea is concerned, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. Fred Pleitgen live for us in Russia. Thank you.

KOSIK: OK. Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.

Stock futures are basically sitting flat right now following a big loss on Tuesday. It was caused, in part, by concerns about North Korea. Markets in Europe and Asia, they are mostly lower.

It looks like investors returned from the long holiday weekend with a lot on their mind and the market sank. We saw the Dow drop 234 points yesterday, the Nasdaq lost almost one percent, and the S&P 500 also fell.

So what is it? What are investors worried about these days?

Well, the focus for the past few months has been on tax reform and corporate profits, but now there's geopolitical concerns mixed in along with worries in Washington. All that's creeping into the market and that includes the North Korea nuclear threat.

President Trump's tough talk on China -- with China on trade, that is a concern. A looming debt ceiling drama and possible -- a possible government shutdown if no federal budget is passed. Potential disruption by Hurricane Irma on top of damage done by Hurricane Harvey. So you see, there's a whole buffet of worries on Wall Street.

And then, there's this. Since 1950, September is historically the worst month for the stock market. It's the only month with a significant negative average. Investors traditionally refocus after summer and that can cause some anxiety.

The president continues to push for tax reform, something investors have been cheering since the election. This meeting of the minds taking place at the White House yesterday.

President Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

So Trump is slated to meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers today and then the president's going to head to North Dakota today to continue his push for tax reform which the administration, Dave, says they want to see a bipartisan effort. Although at this point, it's just Republicans talking about tax reform.

BRIGGS: Heidi Heitkamp, Democratic senator, will fly with him, though --

KOSIK: She's going to be on Air Force -- on Air Force One.

BRIGGS: -- to North Dakota.

KOSIK: Yes. All right, thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

Hurricane Irma battering the Caribbean and new projections show a possible direct hit on Florida. Emergency preparations are underway.

"NEW DAY" has the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, right ahead.

We'll see you tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, September sixth, 6:00 here in New York.

We've got a big morning for you.

Hurricane Irma is a monster category five storm slamming parts of the Caribbean, packing 185 mile an hour winds. This is the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It just went over the island of Barbuda hours ago.

Irma's impact expected to be catastrophic. You have the storm surge, the winds, and flash flooding.

At this point, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, all in the direct line of fire as you see on your screen. The big question mark, Florida.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So, Florida is under a state of emergency, even now as Irma approaches. People are emptying out store shelves. They're dealing, as you can, with long lines at gas stations.