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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Woodward's Explosive Book "Fear" Comes Out Tomorrow; Millions in the Path of Category 4 Hurricane; Mandatory Evacuations Along Carolina, Virginia Coasts; Serena Williams' 'Meltdown.' Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 10, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
The Woodward book drops tomorrow. Trump calls Bob Woodward a liar. Woodward says, America better wake up to Trump's attack on truth. Who will readers believe? We have the latest on which way that might go.
Now, inside the White House, they are chasing down the anonymous op-ed writer. And outside, they're doing their best to tamp down the impact of the op-ed, the book and the Mueller probe. One man trying to do all three for the president has some skin in the game himself, Roger Stone. A ninth associate of his just questioned by the Mueller team. Does he think Mueller really is out to get him?
And all these political storms are nothing compared to what's headed straight for the East Coast, Hurricane Florence, now a category four and growing. But you've got to look at its size and think about what will come early and what will be there after the eye.
There's a warning for you, all authorities say the same thing. If you are in the path, heed the warnings of your local leaders and get out if you must. We have the latest path, the power potential and preparations.
So, shana tova to my Jewish brothers and sisters, all together, let's get after it.
CUOMO: Veteran journalist Bob Woodward warning Americans saying, people, quote, better wake up to the reality of President Trump's reality. The bombshell new book "Fear" goes on sale tomorrow. Now, the publisher says it's racing to print enough copies to meet demand, demand being fueled in part by the president's fury.
This morning on Twitter, he called the book a joke and an assault against him. What's the impact going to be? This as the hunt continues for the senior Trump administration official responsible for the anonymous "New York Times" op-ed that echoes the themes of the book.
Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo says he knows who wrote it. Let's check in with our next guest to see if he does as well, former Trump campaign advisor, Roger Stone.
Sir, welcome back to PRIME TIME.
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me, I think.
CUOMO: Does Caputo know something you don't. Do you think you know who wrote this op-ed?
STONE: Well, this is the most popular parlor game in Washington, in New York right now. I have a theory that no one wrote it. Meaning that it's a fabrication, MacGuffin. What I do think is that the president's ordering Jeff Sessions to investigate it is a waste of time. In fact, the entire issue is a distraction.
The president should stay focused on continuing to deliver the good economic news -- wage growth at record levels, job creation at record levels, GDP growth at levels.
STONE: African and Hispanic unemployment at the lowest point ever.
I think those are better themes to run on for the 2018 election. I frankly think that's the president's strong suit.
CUOMO: Why don't you think he spends any time -- instead of who wrote it, about thinking about the message, it's consistent with the book, it's consistent with so many things we heard leaked out of the White House? Why not have a little bit of self-reflection and figure out why this message keeps getting out there?
STONE: Well, actually, if you read the actual op-ed, it would argue that the adults are in charge. Well, in all honesty, Chris, the adults were in charge for the last 30 years. What did it get us? Foreign war which cost us billions and many lives without our inherent national interest being clear, a stagnant economy, the erosion of our civil liberties, a broken immigration system, trade deals that were one-sided and benefited our trade partners but not our country, sucked the jobs out of America.
Frankly, I don't think we were better off when the adults, meaning the establishment, was in charge.
CUOMO: But these are his guys.
STONE: And therefore, I don't think the president should --
CUOMO: They're his guys, though, Roger, and women.
STONE: Absolutely right.
CUOMO: And they keep saying the same thing. He doesn't do the homework. He ignores the homework. He takes messages from Fox and from other sources instead of from us. We worry about his competence and his judgment. It's an unusual level of rancor and criticism from your own.
STONE: Well, you're absolutely right. He has hired a number of the wrong people. I don't understand as an outsider, as a non- interventionist president, somebody who is outside the two-party duopoly that's run the country into the ground for the last 30 years, why he had made some of the personnel choices that he has made.
I disagree with many of those picks. And now, I think unfortunately, some of those chickens are coming home to roost.
But what I would point out is the people you refer to, they don't say these things on the record, unless, of course, like Gary Cohn, they have been fired. So, you have a certain level of cowardice here. If you disagree with the president, then you should resign. Don't take the high government position and then hide behind the anonymous quote.
CUOMO: Well, but they say they need to be there. I have heard that from sources of my own. Obviously, we would always rather have people on the record, of course, that ignore as a reality of journalism that often sources are anonymous because they're trying to protect themselves, their station or other things.
But when you look at the Woodward book, it's not just blind quotes. It's context of meetings and events with dates where he puts you in the room. It doesn't sound like a list of he said/he said. It's what happened and why.
STONE: Well, with all due respect, bob Woodward has a longtime credibility problem. My own book, which I've co-written with Tyler Nixon, Woodward and Bernstein, the godfathers of fake news, will be available on Amazon tomorrow.
Mr. Woodward has been misleading about his role as a military intelligence briefer in the Nixon White House. He claims he interviewed former CIA Director Bill Casey in his hospital room after Casey had been hit with a stroke and had lost the capacity for speech.
There's a number of disparities and untruths throughout this man's career.
CUOMO: Well, he has to answer for himself.
STONE: Wait until my book hits.
CUOMO: He's got to answer for himself. But let's be honest, when Woodward wrote the Obama book, you guys liked him just fine. When Bernstein wrote the Hillary Clinton book, you guys liked him just fine. They are not men where you got a lot of space to go after their integrity as journalists. It's not like this is the Omarosa or this is done by some hack.
STONE: I have to respectfully disagree with that. I think there has been a complete pattern of fabrication in both of their work.
I like Carl Bernstein. I think he's a great guy to have a beer with. A story he put on here because his source misled him turns out to be incorrect. He should now say, look, my source misled me. I was incorrect. I think it would be far more honest than taking a view --
CUOMO: There were multiple sources and that's what they're selling at the time, Roger. The story was accurate as reported.
STONE: I would concede that, but there is a disparity in this case between Mr. Cohen's sworn testimony to the intelligence community --
CUOMO: That's on him and his people. That's not Carl's problem, Roger, right?
STONE: That's why Carl should throw him over the side. Just say the story was incorrect. It was based on incorrect sources.
CUOMO: I know a lot about the reporting in that story, Roger. I don't know what Carl's specific sourcing is. And as you know, you don't out a source. You don't go bad on a source just because of what follows and what the reaction is to your reporting.
But let's put that to the side. Let's talk about you specifically. Nine of your people now have gone before Mueller. That's a lot of smoke. What do you think the chance is that he indicts you?
STONE: You know, look, I have no idea. This I do know. He has no evidence of Russian collusion. He has no evidence of WikiLeaks collaboration. He has no evidence that I knew about the acquisition and publication of John Podesta's e-mails.
Today, there's a story on the CNN site that again takes my tweet but omits the word "the", the Podesta's time in the barrel, referring to both John and Tony.
CUOMO: Right, but the coincidence, Roger -- I'm not saying that it's proof. I'm not saying he has you. I don't know what he has. I don't know what your people have been telling him. I don't know the truth of what you know.
But the timing, you know, July 22nd, WikiLeaks publishes the hacked e- mails from the DNC. August 4, you dined with Julian Assange, you've explained that on this show and others saying that was puffery, you were kidding about that. Fine, I'll give you that.
August 21st, the tweet you are talking about, trust me, it will soon be the president -- be the Podesta's time in the barrel. You say, apostrophe S is a typo, you meant both of them. I'll give you that.
STONE: Actually, plural possessive. Actually, it may be correct now that I look at it. But here's the point, on August 14th, Peter Schweizer writes in Breitbart about Tony Podesta's involvement --
STONE: -- in the Ukraine working for the same political party as Paul Manafort. In April of 2016, in the Panama papers, the Podesta brothers' involvement in Russian business --
STONE: -- including banking, aluminum, all of this is public.
STONE: So, there's no state secret here. Yes, it is a coincidence, there is no evidence to the contrary.
CUOMO: Their activities and having proof of e-mails being taken by them and the timing being so close, Roger, is some coincidence.
STONE: It is -- but it's a coincidence. And there's no evidence that I knew in advance that anybody had acquired their e-mail. I read them when they were published just like everyone else.
CUOMO: Did the tell the president that you knew bad e-mails were coming for anybody?
STONE: No. Actually, no. Actually, I never discussed this matter with the president. I told Chuck Todd that on "Meet the Press", he seemed incredulous. But that is the fact.
But every week, I have to be hit with this. Oh, there's an e-mail between you and Steve Bannon predicting what's in the email. No, there is not. No, you told the president on a phone call that he put on the speakerphone what was coming. No, that didn't happen either.
There's a lot of fake news out there, you've got to be very careful about what you report.
CUOMO: A hundred percent, I only report what I know.
STONE: -- those things are true.
CUOMO: I only report what I know and I ask questions about what I don't. But you do have -- that's a subjective situation. People are going to have to piece it together. We'll see what there is and not in terms of anything provable.
You had a situation you are trying to clean up. But I think people should hear your answer on this show. You met with a man who went by the name Greenberg. He shows up, supposedly had a hat on.
CUOMO: A MAGA hat. He had a MAGA shirt. And the first time you talked to investigators, you neglected to mention that meeting. You subsequently sent a letter to them mentioning the meeting.
How did you forget a meeting with a Russian like that?
STONE: Pretty simple. First of all, I didn't know that he was a Russian. Secondarily, a more serious question is, he was an FBI informant. This is a man convicted of murder in Russia who is in the country with nine separate visas that are approved by the Miami office of the FBI.
So, the real question is, why was an FBI informant approaching me in May of 2016 when the FBI says the investigation into potential Russian collusion and Donald Trump didn't open until June? So, yes, I concede that I forgot --
CUOMO: Well, but that assumes he was there for the government. And even if he were -- let's say he was a total spy for the United States. You still forgot to say anything about it. Even though it looked like a big red flag.
STONE: I did. Well, not really, because nothing untoward or illegal happened at this 10-minute meeting. Nothing happened as a result of the 10 (ph) meeting.
So, what would be my motive to not remember this? I did nothing wrong. In fact, as "The Washington Post" reported, I rejected his offer to sell me information on Hillary Clinton flatly.
And then he told me what the real game was. I don't want your money, he said. By the way, it was $2 million. I don't want your money, he said. I want Donald Trump's money.
Yes, smells like a setup to me.
CUOMO: Mr. Stone, I appreciate you coming on to speak on this show as always.
STONE: Chris, this was great. Many thanks. Good luck with your new show.
CUOMO: Appreciate it.
All right. Big story for you. Mandatory evacuations -- forget about the political storms. Let's get to the real one.
Hurricane Florence is no joke. She just keeps growing and growing. Now, you see the number on your screen, potentially, catastrophic category 4. We have information about how many will be affected by this time tomorrow.
You cannot wait for landfall. The hurt comes sooner than that. Please listen up. I have the latest for you next.
CUOMO: All right. This cannot be exaggerated. A monster storm is barreling toward the East Coast. Look at your screen. It's still so far away, but it doesn't mean the impact isn't going to be here sooner than many expect. Right now, it's a category four. It's still packing up winds, sucking
off that warm air as it moves towards the coastline. Top winds, 150 miles an hour, can change a community in moments. And again, it could get stronger.
States of emergency, mandatory evacuations, already in effect for millions. Bracing for impact from the Carolinas to Maryland. Much of that coast as it trails up east and north is vulnerable.
CNN Meteorologist, Tom Sater tracking the storm.
Good evening, Tom. I know what I'm saying, I've been hearing you say. Your big concern at this moment?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All indications, Chris, this storm has not reached its peak. I mean, it was a tropical storm a little while ago, now it's a category five. By tomorrow morning -- or category four. By tomorrow morning, a category five. And I suspect that by tomorrow morning, we'll have a hurricane watches in the Carolina coast and maybe a storm surge watch.
Once the National Hurricane Center puts out a watch, then we'll start getting updates every three hours. But if you go back in history to the satellite era and find the exact latitude and longitude where this system was yesterday, not one storm in history has ever made it to the East Coast. They typically go north, toward Bermuda, open waters.
But this is bath water right now. The water for the first part, the first half of our season was much colder, colder than it was last year. Everything has changed now. And it's moving into temperatures that are mid 80s and upper 80s.
So, most likely, this will intensify to a category five. It most likely will wobble a little bit. We're going to continue to watch the winds. If you look at the scale from Saturday at 5:00 p.m., once it made it to a category one, rapid intensification now to category five.
So, again, all the elements are there for this to continue just to strengthen. And most likely, make landfall at category four strength. That is devastating, no doubt about it.
CUOMO: I've been looking at the spaghetti string models and they're just -- they are just getting smaller and smaller, fewer and fewer. That means that the path is becoming more and more agreed upon and it is what you are showing people right now.
Now, what hits and where it hits are equal coefficients in any kind of potential disaster. This is a uniquely vulnerable coastline in different aspects. When is the last time this area saw anything like this?
SATER: Well, you've got to go back, September 22nd, 1989, 29 years ago when Hurricane Hugo moved into this area, just north of Charleston Isle of Palms. Moved in as a category four with winds at 140. This could be a couple miles per hour stronger, came in a different angle. There's the color, the line in purple. But it killed 27 people. It didn't just devastate the area, Chris.
It changed the entire environment. It changed the coastline, the topography. It created over 100,000 homeless Americans.
I mean, the total cost was $9.5 billion at the time. It was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. It now ranks 17th because so many more people are living on the coastline.
Now, it moved through quick. I mean, we are seeing something different here. I mean, when Hugo moved up, it moved fast. So, with this one stalling, that's a big, big problem because remember, Harvey last year in Texas, it put on the brakes and stayed around for a couple of weeks.
CUOMO: Yes, I mean, it was dropping literally feet of water. And also, people have to remember, they're telling you to get out now because tomorrow morning, it's not all about the eye. The eye is actually the least part of the suck.
CUOMO: Those first waves will come, soften everything up, make it difficult to travel. The storm comes and then you have all the back side to deal with.
SATER: That's right.
CUOMO: We will stay on it hour by hour. Tom, I will be relying on you heavily over the next few days. Thank you.
SATER: I will be here, sure.
CUOMO: All right.
So, it is already such a foreseeable emergency that federal resources are being mobilized, all right? So, you've got your localities, your states, your states of emergency, they're already asking for help. The team that took me and my guys on Irma have already been called up. They are going to be making their way to the Carolinas. We're going to check in with them and see if a reunion is coming for us and them.
Also, Trump approval plummeting. New book, the op-ed, both painting a picture of White House incompetence. Now, is this just a moment or something more? The making of a great debate, next.
CUOMO: Well, here is what we know. The president has a tendency to attack what he fears. Now, if that holds true, he is really worried about the Woodward book. Trump just keeps tweeting, Sarah Sanders was talking slights at the press conference today. But she refused to back any of them up with actual proof of errors.
Woodward said this morning, all of this is part of President Trump's war on truth. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "FEAR: TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": I have never seen an instance when the president is so detached from the reality of what's going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Trump fired back calling Woodward a liar, repeating his false suggestion that Woodward is acting like a Democratic Party operative. But with that anonymous op-ed seeming to reaffirm some of what's in the book, whom you can trust?
Let's debate it. Jennifer Granholm and Rick Santorum.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
CUOMO: -- Trump didn't talk like that about Woodward when he was on the phone with him.
GRANHOLM: Yes, it's interesting.
CUOMO: Says, you are always fair. When he wrote the Obama book, he liked that book.
GRANHOLM: He did. He tweeted about it in 2013 or whatever it was and said, wow, how can the Obama team be so angry about Bob Woodward? Obviously, he's got such great credibility.
Bob Woodward has written 18 books. He is, many would argue, the greatest journalist of his generation, of our time. And then you compare him with the president who is flailing about.
But he is the man of the lie. And "The Washington Post" fact checker last week had him telling 4,713 lies in his presidency, averaging out about 15 lies per day. This is why in your CNN poll, 65 percent of Americans do not believe the president is truthful or honest.
Who are you going to believe? I think Woodward gets the nod.
CUOMO: Rick, is this where you say, yes, but people knew that about him and taxes are lower and the economy is up?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Now, this is the point I'd say the president has to do what he did during the last election, which is, you know, when things got down to the end, what you saw was Trump sort of becoming more of a typical presidential candidate. I'm not saying he was. But I'm saying, he quieted things down, he focused more, he was on message more during the debates and some other things.
And I think he's got to go into that mode right now. He can no longer continue to do what he has been doing for the past year and a half. It is coming home to roost. It's time for him to get his game face on, stay focused and do what is necessary to bring those votes home. CUOMO: Rick Santorum says what got you here won't get you there.
What's the chance?
SANTORUM: What got him there was that the end, during the last campaign, when people -- he was losing this race until the last few weeks of the campaign. And they saw a side of Donald Trump that made them feel more comfortable with him. He has to show that side again.
GRANHOLM: Can I just say, though --
GRANHOLM: Chris, I mean, Donald Trump is not allegedly on the ballot in November. But the House and the Senate are. And in Bob Woodward's book, he has a really interesting story, I haven't read it, obviously. It releases tomorrow.
But one of the details that was released today was a story about how Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell called up members of the business community after they had resigned from the president's business council in the wake of the Charleston stuff -- the Charlottesville stuff, that -- and saying to them, oh, good, I'm glad you did this. So, all of this stuff behind the scenes that these members of the House and Senate know and frankly a lot in the media who have heard these people complain about it, this all behind the scenes stuff goes right to the point of the election, which is that people do not want a bunch of spineless yes men. They want a check on this president.
So, Trump would (ph) be on the ballot. But what will really be on the ballot is can we get somebody in there who can check this man? Because he more of these stories that come out, the more people are sick and tired of this poop show in Washington.
CUOMO: The time --
SANTORUM: So, what you're saying is impeachment? That's your check?
GRANHOLM: No, what -- I'm saying that you need people to stop him.
SANTORUM: So, a complete obstruction. Don't cooperate with everything. Shut down everything.
That's what people want because that's what Democrats will do.
GRANHOLM: Rick, you even -- even you have to be sick and tired of the lies that come out of this man's mouth every single day. I know you are here to support him. But at some point, you have to throw your hands up and say, oh, my god, we need better leadership in this country.
SANTORUM: I'm not here to support anybody. I'm here to answer the questions and tell the truth as I see it. And what I would say is, that there are a lot of people in this administration and in Congress who are effectively checking Donald Trump's excesses.
GRANHOLM: No, they are not. SANTORUM: You see it in the books. Actually, we do. We see it in
the books. We see it in all these reports.
GRANHOLM: So, if you're going to --
SANTORUM: So, the Democrats are not effectively checking. What they are doing is just drawing --
GRANHOLM: Well, because they do not have the votes. They do not have the votes. Hello?
SANTORUM: They are saying, hell no to anything that this president wants to do --
GRANHOLM: That's not true. That's not true.
CUOMO: You are saying they are taking the McConnell playbook and making it their own?
SANTORUM: Well, you can call it whatever you want to call it.
CUOMO: No, I want to call it that, because that's who did that.
SANTORUM: I don't. I mean, look, I think, you know, the president has -- President Obama is as much to blame for the shutdown of Washington bipartisan --
CUOMO: Did he make McConnell say we are here to obstruct? That's what we are here to do?
SANTORUM: That was a stupid thing for Mitch McConnell to say, but I don't think it actually played out in reality. The reality is the president never ever negotiated in good faith to get to compromise. It was always going to be his way or the highway.
CUOMO: And you see Trump doing that? You see him negotiating in good faith? Donald Trump?
SANTORUM: Actually, that's the amazing thing about Donald Trump. This is a man who is not ideological. This is a man who would actually put together a pretty good deal on immigration the Democrats walked away from.
CUOMO: Yet, he's had plenty of chance -- that's not what they say. That's not what Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say. Go ahead, Jennifer.
GRANHOLM: Right. He walked away from it.
But I want to say is the bigger issue this week, all of this talk about the op-ed and this book has obscured the fact that there's another rubber stamp that's coming down the pike, which is justice potentially Kavanaugh. I mean, here is a man who was put on the list of Trump's favored potential Supreme Court justices because he has an expansive view of presidential power. He doesn't believe in special counsels. He doesn't believe presidents should be subpoenaed.
I deeply worry that not only do you have a rubber stamp in the legislature and people who will not stand up to what they know is going on behind the scenes, but if you pass this man on, then you will have a rubber stamp on the Supreme Court. Very dangerous.
SANTORUM: Number one, that's what he said during his hearings. If you watched the hearings, which I thought -- I did --
GRANHOLM: He didn't say anything during the hearings. Go look at his writings.
SANTORUM: I will look at his writings and look at what he said during the hearing, the context he said that. That is he doesn't have an overly expansive view of presidential powers, number one. And number two --
GRANHOLM: Rick --
SANTORUM: -- this man under any other standard, any other time, this would not even be a debate. This man has more qualifications --
GRANHOLM: I'm not saying he is not qualified. What I'm saying is he's going to be dangerous.
CUOMO: Hold on a second, hold on a second. Let's just all agree on one thing, OK? The process is a sham. The party in power pushes through its person because they have the votes. The other side asks questions that are sometimes good, sometimes gratuitous but never answered. And both sides allow that to continue so they can get their people in.
There's nothing in jurisprudence or common sense that demands that a judge tell you absolutely nothing that he or she believes about what will come before them. But we allow it. So, the process is a sham.
SANTORUM: Well, no. The process is what I -- look, I think advise and consent does not mean that you get to pick the judges. That means you -- that the president who wins the election can nominate people who share his judicial philosophy.
SANTORUM: And as long as that person is within the mainstream of judicial philosophy, which clearly Judge Kavanaugh is and has the temperament and has the experience --
GRANHOLM: Well, let's see.
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: But you are forgetting something about Kavanaugh that makes him difference. You are forgetting something about him that makes him different than I think any nominee I have seen in my lifetime. He has been a political operative at several different levels. He'd done --
SANTORUM: He has been a judge for 12 years.
CUOMO: He's done that job, OK? He did the job for Starr. He put together some of the ugliest questions ever seen for a public servant.
SANTORUM: So, he should be born to judge? I mean, we all have backgrounds. It's what he's done as a judge.
CUOMO: He wrote things.
SANTORUM: Look at his record as a judge.
CUOMO: I have looked at his record as a judge. I guarantee I looked at it closer than you. But that's my job to do it. And he has voted about 87, 88 percent at the time with the rest of the bench. He is about even with Democrats and Republicans.
But on the cases that matter, you don't know if where he is today is where he said he wanted to be, that Roe v. Wade is not settled law necessarily when you get to the Supreme Court level, which now he won't talk about.
SANTORUM: Actually, he said things during the hearing that worried me as someone who would like to see Roe versus Wade overturned. I mean, he reiterated on multiple occasions about how it's been reaffirmed and reaffirmed --
CUOMO: He never said that he agrees that it was decided. He has written that settled law doesn't mean settled at the Supreme Court level but he won't say it now.
SANTORUM: If stare decisis was the overwhelming thing, Roe versus Wade would never have been decided, because it overturned precedent.
CUOMO: All right.
GRANHOLM: You can't say --
SANTORUM: So, did everything else, so did Griswold, so did --
GRANHOLM: Rick, Rick --
CUOMO: You are making my point. Go ahead, Jennifer. (CROSSTALK)
GRANHOLM: What you are describing is not mainstream.
SANTORUM: Let's go back to the 1850s and let the precedent. Look --
CUOMO: At least be honest about it. At least be honest. If you want to be hot around the collar, fine, be honest and say I may overturn precedent when I get on the court. That's the truth. He never said it.
Jennifer, last word to you.
SANTORUM: He said he respects that precedent. He didn't say he would never --
CUOMO: It means nothing. Go ahead.
GRANHOLM: My whole point in raising this is that he was put on the list for the purpose of his expansive view of executive power. And that is what's terribly frightening because you have Mueller coming down the pike potentially with some -- certainly a report, maybe subpoenas. And he would -- and he didn't say he would recuse himself as a Supreme Court justice if he makes it.
He is going to be the fifth vote to be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump, both obviously on the Mueller investigation but also on choice and on protecting people who have pre-existing conditions. And those are the things that Democrats are caring about.
CUOMO: And I stand by the fact that we should have never let the process get to where it has gotten. I don't know how it changes now.
Jennifer Granholm, thank you. Rick Santorum, as always, appreciate you on the show.
SANTORUM: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. We're doing politics, but we are keeping our eye on what's happening out in the Atlantic. Three different hurricanes are churning in that area of water right now.
We are keeping the closest eye on Florence. Why? Well, the obvious. It's the closest. It could be the biggest certainly to hit the Carolinas in decades.
It's now a category four. You heard earlier our meteorologist believes it could be a four tomorrow morning. Will it slow down? What will have to be done at that coastline?
First responders that we teamed up with for Hurricane Irma, they have already been called to head into the target zone from Florida. What they know about what's coming, what can be prepared for and what cannot, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: You know, one of the worst parts of hurricane coverage is that very often there are windows of opportunity with all the guess work that goes on that aren't taken. Right now, millions of people are bracing for what could be the strongest storm to strike the East Coast in decades. Do we know for sure? Of course not. Does it matter? No, because if it's anywhere close, it could be completely devastating.
Right now, there are 3,000 National Guard troops standing at the ready as rescuers from other states are already being called in to help. Now, one of those about to leave is Miami's fire chief and men under his control, Joe Zahralban.
He has been told he has to get out one wave of people to South Carolina. There may be more requests from FEMA. I know the chief very well. He took care of me and my team at CNN when we covered hurricane Irma.
Chief, it is good to see you well.
JOE ZAHRALBAN, CHIEF, MIAMI FIRE DEPARTMENT: Chris, good to see you and congratulations on the show.
CUOMO: Appreciate it. Thanks for being part of it.
It looks like I'm going to be seeing you and your men and women again soon. How concerned should people be about what's headed towards the east coast of the Carolinas?
ZAHRALBAN: Well, obviously, if you look at the coverage, you can see that this is something to take very seriously. And it's something that needs to be watched closely as all of the professionals are watching it minute to minute. When evacuation orders are issued or orders to shelter in place, obviously, they need to be adhered to and we need to stay closely tuned to our local public officials, because they give us minute to minute updates and give us clear direction on what we need to be doing.
CUOMO: Now, you have so many different capabilities. People can't really tell, but you are standing at the warehouse there. You've got trucks, you've got boats, you have different ways to move devices, all kinds of power equipment to create your own village, essentially, so you can keep your men and women up and running and rescue people.
Swift water rescue, you believe needs to be the first wave. What are you anticipating will happen in the first impact?
ZAHRALBAN: Well, through our cooperative relationship DHS FEMA, we have a federal task force that is on the ready 24 hours a day. And as you said, one of the components of that task force is our mission ready package for swift water rescue. These men and women will get a complement of gear together. They will respond. They'll actually be leaving out of here in the next hour or so.
And they will be ready to respond to any type of floodwater or swift moving water event, whether it means pulling people out of their homes or just getting people to dry land so that they can be evacuated to an area where they can shelter until the water begins to recede, if it, in fact, becomes a water event.
CUOMO: You know, from the time of Hurricane Hugo, that was the last biggie up there that did tremendous damage, one of our experts was saying at the time, it was the most expensive catastrophe of its kind. Now, you have considerably more population density in the same areas that were hit.
What does that mean for you?
ZAHRALBAN: Well, it means that obviously it becomes a much larger undertaking when you welcome at evacuations as we have seen numerous times in the state of Florida. But it also means that we have to be aware when we go out and when we perform these search and rescue activities, we recognize that there are times that people don't necessarily heed the evacuation and the more people you are talking about that you begin with, the more people ultimately there are to rescue in the end.
So, we have to be cognizant of that. And as long as we as a society continue to build so close to the water, we're always going to have these issues. But we need to prepare for them ahead of time. We need to heed those warnings.
CUOMO: Well, it is significant. Here we are on Monday. And already, FEMA is reaching out. You are getting special federal first responders as deep as from Florida up there and into the position of harm's way.
We respect so much what you do, Chief. Thank you for talking to us. We'll check in with you guys every day. And I may be seeing you soon.
ZAHRALBAN: Thank you, sir. Look forward to seeing you.
CUOMO: All right. Send my best to the men and women under your control. Appreciate it.
All right. Another big story that we've been dealing with from the weekend. This weekend, did you watch the U.S. Open women's final? I mean, heck of a match. It ended with the winner upset, the loser upset, the fans upset, all over what happened between champion Serena Williams, she didn't win this match, and the umpire.
It was a real power play. And it left many asking questions about things that have nothing to do with tennis. We're going to talk about the impact of this event, next.
CUOMO: Naomi Osaka is the new grand slam champ. She earned every moment of the victory at the U.S. Open. But that's not what people are talking about.
They are talking about the woman she beat, Serena Williams, and her on-court fight, Williams' fight, with the ump. He penalized Williams for getting signals from her coach, for breaking her racket and for calling him a thief who stole a point from her.
Williams says the umpire is sexist. After all, male players are no strangers to outbursts, McEnroe, Connors, Andre Agassi even, but Serena did certainly contribute to this cataclysm. But was it fair?
Let's bring in D. Lemon.
What do you think about this?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes, go ahead. What do I think about this? Oh, I'm really torn, Chris, and I have been asking other people's opinions just because I want to hear what they have to say.
Here is the thing. I see it from -- I hate this whole thing, both sides. I see her --
CUOMO: God forbid a journalist would see it from both sides. Go ahead.
LEMON: I see her point in that she was upset about it, because you have seen McEnroe. I mean, all you have to do is go on the Internet and you can see. I mean, sometimes he was penalized for it. Other times, he was not penalized for it.
But I listened to professionals and even some women who play the sport and say the rules are rules and they're inviolate, and that she broke the rules. And so, there you go.
On the personal side, as it relates to me, as a person of color, she's a person of color, as a woman, she's a minority, I know that there is a double standard. And as my mom would say, people are looking for you to show your ass, don't show it to them.
So, I think it was incumbent upon her -- it's a high pressure job -- not to show her butt in that sense. Not to get mad. Not to give people what they wanted.
Think about it, go back into the room. It's easy to say that. I'm Monday morning quarterbacking. Go back into the locker room, gather her thoughts and then come out afterwards and say what she had to say about that ref. She can handle it whatever way she wants, but I know there's a double standard for her, and I know that it's frustrating for her.
But you have to gather yourself and say, OK. I know that it's bad, but let me handle this in a way that reflects better upon me and upon other women in tennis and upon other people of color in tennis. That's it.
CUOMO: All right. That's deep. On the different layers to that, I like that. That's a good thing to work off of.
CUOMO: Don, thank you very much. We're going to see you in 10 minutes -- not even, nine minutes and 38 seconds. LEMON: We'll talk about that, yes.
CUOMO: All right. That's interesting. All right. So, let's use that. We're going to make a closing argument on the back side of this break.
Now, I have daughters, right? Thank God, God blessed me with daughters and a son and a wife. And my team is mostly women. I am so dependent on them.
But watching this final really does create gender issues, if not a gender problem. So, I want to tell you what I heard from the people in my life and what I think we need to get right with what happened on that court, next.
CUOMO: All right. There are questions that are bigger than tennis involved in this Serena Williams situation from the U.S. Open. First, let's deal with the facts.
Serena's coach was coaching. Now, if you don't watch tennis, this happens a lot. They're not supposed to communicate with their coaches, but they do.
Now, the chair could have ignored the coaching, which is most common, or he could have given (AUDIO GAP) question as to whether (AUDIO GAP) saw it. Therefore, it wouldn't have counted toward any further penalty.
But Ramos, the name of the umpire and the chair, went strict. Violation, that was his choice. Serena protested. That was her choice.
She then broke her racket a little while later on a match where she was being outplayed significantly by a 20-year-old named Naomi Osaka, who deserved the win. The racket smash triggered a second point deduction because of the second violation. Those are the rules. No discretion.
That takes us to what matters most here, OK? The third violation and the penalty of a whole game being taken from Serena Williams. That's when she went at it with the chair umpire. That's what caused that third violation.
And this is what has jumped the net from the tennis court to the court of public opinion. Would Ramos treat a man the same way? What do we know? He has not done the same thing to a man in hotly contested major finals like this one.
But was it sexism on display? Serena called him a thief who stole a point from her. No profanity.
So was it what she said, or was it who it was coming from? Instead of seeing the most dominant player perhaps in the history of the game, did he just see a mouthy woman? Now, that's been suggested by a lot. No less than Billie Jean King suggested, and she knows something about
gender bias in tennis, right? She said, women can be depicted as unstable or emotional when man are called assertive and aggressive for the same behavior.
Now, men who say out there, ah, save all that. This is simple. Serena asked for it by running her mouth. The rules are the rules. I suggest you look at how men behave in similar circumstances and what is tolerated with them that was not tolerated here.
Now, on the other side, Serena did escalate this situation. And most players, male and female, don't usually press it after one violation, let alone two. Important context perhaps.
Did Ramos have to take the game? No. And while he is known for being tough, he is not known for taking games, and it was a huge decision in a huge moment. I wonder if he would do it again.
That's an intriguing question, but that's not the big question for me. That's just about tennis. I have daughters, a wife, sisters, I'm surrounded and dependent on women in all aspects of my life.
Would Serena do it again? Our best clue is what she said afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMP: The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves, and they want to be a strong woman. And they're going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn't work out for me, but it's going to work out for the next person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, she got a lot of applause for that among the press by the way in that room. I bring up the women in my life because I've heard this from a lot of them. And the question becomes, will other women look at this and see a point of empowerment or a cautionary tale?
When I was thinking about this, I was torn. It's not like Ramos just came after Williams for no reason. But then I remembered something had happened earlier in the tournament. Do you remember the woman who did something that men do all the time?
Her name is Alize Cornet, and she changed her shirt on the court. The heat was redonkulous in this tournament, right, as was the humidity. She was given a violation and men aren't. Why her?
And the idea that men get a break for heat when women don't. Why not? They're all elite athletes. Why the double standard?
It's that combination of ingredients that put a bad taste in my mouth. So, here's what I said to my oldest daughter who is 15 and mighty and not happy about what happened with Serena. You fight for yourself and what you think is right always. That is your right and your responsibility.
But be right as well as righteous and know the risks. Free speech ain't always free. There may be consequences. You may go too far. You may be wrong, and then you pay. You may pay anyway, even if you're right.
But the standard is right and wrong, not male or female. And to the extent that I get why people think Serena got a raw deal as a woman, we know we have a lot further to go when it comes to equality. Let's not hide behind some illusion that everything is equal and fair.
But let's also not forget this -- let's not forget where this happened, in the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. We've gotten some things right. We've gotten some things right the right way in the name of progress, but we do have a long way to go.
Thank you for watching.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.