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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Hurricane Irma Now Category 5 with 185 MPH Winds; Trump Ends Protections for DREAMers. Aired 8-8:30p ET

Aired September 5, 2017 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Take a look at this. Hurricane Irma now one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic, ever. Not just a category 5 storm, a strong category 5 storm. And it's heading this way.

The president tonight declaring emergencies for Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is we're starting off tonight with CNN's Tom Sater with new information in the weather center.

So, let's talk about the forecast. What's the latest showing for Irma?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Actually, I mean, this is amazing. We're just stunned by this massive intensification, Anderson. I mean, this system, there's only been one ever in the recorded history of the Atlantic basin that's been stronger, and that was Hurricane Allen in 1980.

You know what this reminds me of? And you were there. This reminds me of super typhoon Haiyan. I remember, I was on the air, CNN International, when it became the strongest tropical system to ever make landfall on any land mass in the world. And you covered the aftermath. I mean, 6,300 people lost their lives.

This is only like 15 miles per hour difference, 15 to 20. So, this is going to make landfall. And the conditions are already going downhill quickly. The northern islands of the Lesser Antilles.

When you take a look at the warnings, they do contain the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which is under a state of emergency. But this system is massive. I mean, we're looking at not only heavy rain but damaging winds. It's going to knock out power to these islands, communication, possible water sources.

The storm surge alone is expected to possibly get to 11 feet. When it heads up toward the Turks and Caicos, we could have a storm surge, Anderson, near 20, 25 feet.

COOPER: Wow.

SATER: So, the winds are going to be devastating. The center should stay over land, except it may run right over the island of Barbuda and then Anguilla. Look what's behind it. This is Jose. Jose is going to become a

hurricane soon. Looks like it's following the same path but we believe that's going to slide north, and get into the open waters. No concern.

But the National Hurricane Center track is of great concern, because it keeps up as a catastrophic hurricane, category-four or five, for the entire duration. And we can break this down into days for you as well.

Now, there will be some fluctuation in the strength. There may be some deviation in the track to the north or south. But if this system stays over water, the waters are even warmer when you get closer to Cuba and the U.S. So, that's like jet fuel.

Now, sometime on Saturday, the spaghetti plots which are in fantastic agreement, that's what you want, you want to see consistency. It gives you confidence. But on Saturday now, instead of Friday, we expect this system to be pulled north ward. It takes a turn to the right.

But we won't know exactly where landfall will be until this turn begins. There is a small window, Anderson, and it's closing quickly, that possibly -- sooner is better than later for that turn to the north that will slide up toward the Carolinas and away from the outer banks.

But again, that window is shutting quickly. So, again, it could go into the Gulf of Mexico.

Two quick models I want to show you here. This is the European model. This has had a great handle on the environment, even with Harvey. So, why not stick with it? Let's push into it.

This brings it over the high terrain of Cuba. It could devastate parts of Cuba, especially central, spine of the mountains to the eastern part of the country. But it could also degrade the system. When they interact with land, it could drop to a category 2.

But remember, the waters are extremely warm. When the system moves northward, then we're looking at a possibility of the European model sliding to southwest coast of Florida and hugging that coast or slightly off the coast to maybe make an impact in the panhandle of Florida or coastal Alabama and Mississippi.

Here is the U.S. model. This one, again incredible agreement with the European model. You expect over time, and again, this is next weekend, that there is some deviation, that there is some spread. I mean, it's like trying to forecast rain in your own backyard next Monday, what are the chances?

But because it's so close, watch what happens. This one stays over water. Does not affect Cuba, and then slides up the eastern coast.

Now again, this is much like Hurricane Matthew last year when it moved through the Bahamas. Again, sliding up the coastline, staying off the coast, which is different than light damage compared to catastrophic damage. Then it slides it up into the Carolinas.

So, again, great concern over this. When you look at the track of rainfall, it really gives you an idea that the center looks like, it's staying over water.

Again, when you look at a system like this, they can only sustain their strength for so long. It's like taking a top and spinning a top on your kitchen table. After awhile, that centrifugal force is going to start to wobble. And we'll see the I do that, but it goes through a reorganization progress and process and starts to regenerate and gets stronger again.

So, it's feasible that we're going to have a formidable storm next weekend with a possible landfall on September 11th. But we're watching this as you can see, Anderson, day by day. It's going to take awhile, but we've got a good handle on this.

COOPER: I was just talking with some friends in Haiti who are obviously hoping it goes a little bit north, it doesn't hit the island directly, stays over water. But as you said, if it stays over water and misses all those islands, it's likely just to increase in strength, then?

[20:05:04] SATER: Yes, I think we're going to see what's called an eye wall replacement cycle. It takes 10 to 12 hours for this process to take place. But I think we could probably see two or three of these occur.

But most likely, it's going to be a major category 3, 4, 5 for the southeastern U.S. But we're going to watch the interaction with the land, of course, in Cuba.

COOPER: And, Tom, there are reports that the storm is so strong, it's actually showing up on seismometers? Can you explain why this is happening? What the significance of that is?

SATER: You know, this is really interesting. Let me show you a radar that's out of Martinique and Guadalupe right now. The eye of the storm is about 23 miles in diameter. It looks like it's going to swallow Barbuda and probably go right over the island, and Anguilla.

What we're getting as seismic activity in Guadalupe. Now, it's not something you'd feel, of course, on the ground. But there are slow tremors that are being picked up by the seismographs. It's basically, because of the winds, because of the sound, believe it or not, the winds that are coming in already hitting the trees and that energy is going down to the ground right now.

So, it's going to increase a little bit. But it's happened before. We even had reports of it in Texas with Harvey.

COOPER: Wow. Tom Sater, appreciate it.

I want to go next to Leyla Santiago, who's covering the storm from Puerto Rico. What kind of conditions are expected in the hours ahead? LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are starting to feel the

winds really picking up here on the northern part of the island, Anderson.

And, you know, I could sort of feel the fear among people as I was out and about today just at the stores as people were trying to get their hands on waters. Stores selling out of power generators, batteries. And, you know, a conversation that sort stuck with me when I talked to one woman in a store and I talked to her about the hurricane that was coming. And she corrected me and said, this is not a hurricane, this is a beast.

Those are the words that are being used to describe what is coming this way -- beast, historic, catastrophic, devastation is what they expect. And this is on a Caribbean island, an island that is somewhat used to, as much as one can be, to tropical storms and hurricanes. This is something that they know how to deal with.

But I tell you, there is a level of fear because as the governor said today, this is something, a storm, a hurricane, of a magnitude they have never experienced before, Anderson.

COOPER: I mean, looking at some of the images, that eye wall is just perfectly formed.

Leyla, storm surge is also going to be a factor there. Several areas I know prone to flooding which are causing concern.

SANTIAGO: I actually just got off the phone with the governor's office, and they tell me that one of the big priorities is to make sure that they get -- they use these hours that they have left to try to get people out of the areas that are really prone to flooding. There are shelters, 460 of them, some of which have already opened, trying to get people to safe area before it's too late.

And, you know, at a press conference today the governor, you could sort of -- you could just see the relief on his face when he found out that President Trump would be signing or declaring this a state of emergency, which means they get more resources. Remember, this is U.S. territory. These are U.S. citizens.

And quite frankly, they're dealing with another crisis. That is the economic crisis. I mean, if ever a place that can't afford to rebuild from devastation, it would be this little island that is more than $70 billion in debt right now.

COOPER: Yes. Leyla Santiago, be careful there. We wish you and everybody there the best. We'll continue to check in with you.

We're going to have a lot more on Hurricane Irma throughout the next two hours tonight. In fact, I'm going to talk to somebody as they make their third flight through the hurricane to give us the best images so far of it. And a sense of whether this storm is in fact right now increasing.

But it's a political storm we turn to next. President Trump's decision announced today to end DACA, President Obama's temporary protection for young undocumented immigrants, 800,000 or more people brought here as children. Many have spent their whole lives in America. This is the only country they have known.

Here's what the president had to say about them late today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great heart for 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He loves them, he said. Well, today, the president showed his love by putting the fate of all these people in the hands of Congress. People who not only could not pass the DREAM Act which could have covered them years ago, but as CNN's Jake Tapper put it today, could not agree on what to have for lunch.

The president passed the buck to Congress while offer no ideas of his own for what lawmakers should do, which is not surprising given the president's track record so far. But it does run counter to the way he portrayed himself during the campaign. Back then, he was short on details but seemed to claim to have a plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to deal with DACA with heart.

[20:10:02] The DACA situation is a very, very -- it's a very difficult thing for me. Because, you know -- I love these kids. I love kids.

REPORTER: Should DREAMers be worried?

TRUMP: We love the DREAMers. We love everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, we should point out today, the president didn't announce the repeal of DACA himself. He gave that job to his long- suffering attorney general.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: 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's nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, the attorney general announced the program's going to end in March. Effective today, no new applications accepted. And only those people whose status expires between now and March will be eligible to renew. The bottom line: unless Congress acts, hundreds of thousands of young people who are Americans in just about all respects but a piece of paper would be subject to deportation.

For all the president's talk of love, CNN has obtained a background document sent by the White House to offices on Capitol Hill. And it states and I quote: The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States.

Of course, Congress might suddenly come up with a solution for these DREAMers, but the president himself seems to be trying to have it both ways, saying he wants to be compassionate, but not leading from the front on an issue his base is not sympathetic to. Remember, this president ran on his ability to make deals, to bring competing sides together and hammer out plans.

It's something he talked about time and time again on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm going to make the great deals.

I am going to make great deals for our country.

I built an extraordinary business on relationships and deals that benefit all parties involved. Always.

I make deals. I negotiate.

Everybody wants me to negotiate. That's what I'm known as, as a negotiator.

I'm so anxious to negotiate.

Nobody can out-negotiate these deals.

I will make a great deal and lots of great deals for the American people.

We don't make great deals anymore. But we will once I become president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Making great deals, something the president considered a strength long before taking office.

Here's a tweet from a few years ago. Quote: Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully or write poetry, I like making deals. Preferably big deals. That's how I get my kicks.

Well, today, the only kick was to the security and certainty of hundreds of those of people living here and a punt to Congress. During the campaign, the president did pledge to end DACA and he pledged to treat DREAMers with heart.

He also said he faced a deadline today for doing something, or faced a lawsuit from 10 states' attorneys general. Some used terms like boxed-in, to describe the situation, and no good choices.

Keeping them honest, though, whatever you think of DACA or Congress' proper role, whether you're sympathetic to the president's dilemma or not, it's hard to argue this was his only option. It might be accurate to say this was the only option available that's also consistent with the way this president has operated so far, which is to grab credit when he can and deflect responsibility for failing to live up to promises he's made.

Remember the moment when the White House passed a version of an Obamacare replacement. He threw a victory celebration in the Rose Garden. And when the Senate failed to pass their version of it, this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I just want them to get repeal and replace done. All I hear is repeal and replace. Then I get there and I said, where's the bill? I want to sign it. First day. They don't have it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, again, just like DACA, whatever you think of the Affordable Care Act, the president's playbook is pretty similar and so is the pitch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Real change begins immediately with the repealing and replacing of the disaster known as Obamacare.

Repeal it and replace it.

Repeal and replace.

Repeal and replace.

Obama, we're going to repeal it, we're going to replace it. we're going to get something great. Repeal it, replace it, get something great!

We're going to kill it. Let it die. Let it die. And we're going to come up with something much, much better.

You're going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost. And it's going to be so easy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Health care, DACA, promises to end it, to replace it with something better, then reassurances to anyone who might be hurt, then leave to it lawmakers to work it out. So much for the art of the deal. Just ahead tonight, reaction from Univision's Jorge Ramos, as well as

two legal views on what the president did today, what he could do, and what he should do. One from an attorney general who's battled the president already on immigration ban, another from a conservative standpoint.

And later, what happens if Kim Jong-un tests another long-range missile? Especially after his biggest nuclear test explosion yet. Details on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:18:24] COOPER: Reaction now on the president's decision to make Congress responsible for the fate of hundreds of thousands of so- called DREAMers. Before leaving office, President Obama made it clear he'd have something to say if his successor ended the DACA program.

Today, he spoke volumes posting a long critique on Facebook. Here's a piece of it.

He wrote: Let's be clear, the action taken today isn't required legally. It's a political decision and a moral question. 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, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.

Former President Obama today.

Now, in a moment, two legal views on what happened today, what happens in the next six months. First, though, a critical view from Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.

Jorge, first of all, what's your reaction to the president's decision to end the DACA program?

JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: You know, I was not surprised. I thought that Trump was going to do exactly that. But then he had said that he had a bigger heart than mine. Once he told me that. And then on an ABC interview, he said that DREAMers shouldn't be very worried.

At some point, I really thought that he was going to change his mind. But no. At the end, Trump did what Trump used to do. I thought he was a cruel decision, cold-hearted, and benefits absolutely no one.

I mean, I cannot think of a single American who's going to benefit from this decision. So, I'm really disappointed on one hand. On the other, I'm seeing the DREAMers reacting as I thought they were going to react.

I just saw what happened in front of Trump Tower in New York City. They're going to keep on fighting with or without Trump.

COOPER: You know, the president did defend the action today. He said: I have a great heart for them, and he talked about that he had a great love for them. [20:20:04] And that this was going to work out long-term for the best.

RAMOS: Yes, it didn't show. Absolutely, it didn't show because this gives -- they came to the United States, I'm sure you met many of them. I've talked in the last, I don't know, five, 10 years, I've talked to hundreds if not thousands of them. They came to this country when they were very young, through no fault of their own because their parents brought them here. And, of course, they're here illegally, we all understand that.

But if we follow the history of the United States, time after time, we do the right thing as a country. In other words, at some point we say, as president Reagan said in 1986, you know, we have millions and millions of undocumented immigrants, let's just legalize them. That's what Reagan did. And now, we have the exactly same situation.

It's not only the 800,000 who applied to DACA. We're talking about like 2 million DREAMers who live in this country. At the end, I think this country's going to do the right thing. If I have to bet on whose America will prevail, Trump's America or the DREAMers' America, I think the DREAMers at the end will prevail.

COOPER: You know, those who support what the president did, the critics of DACA say it was overreach by President Obama to move forward with DACA in the first place, that it's Congress' job to create laws and that what the president is trying to do this time is basically come up with a permanent solution, get Congress to come up with a permanent solution.

RAMOS: Yes, but he could have done it in a completely different way. I do understand, I still remember when President Obama said he was not an emperor, that he was not a king, and he just couldn't do that. To the DREAMers' credit, they were able to change Obama's mind. That's great.

But it would have been completely different if Trump would have said, you know, I'm going to protect you, DACA will stay in place, I know it's being challenged legally, I understand that, but let's just keep it in place until Congress finally decides to do something about it. Instead of doing that, he is basically saying, you're on your own.

COOPER: Do you think Congress is actually going to do something or be able to do something within the next six months?

RAMOS: I -- I want to tell you, Anderson -- I wish I could say yes. I don't think so. I don't think there's the political will for any immigration reform at this point. I don't see Democrats and Republicans working together.

And so, if the last DREAMers will keep their permit until the beginning of 2020, then I think this is going to be one of the most important issues for the next presidential campaign. So, unfortunately -- I wish I could tell you, yes, Congress is going to come out and do the right thing.

I've been following this for since the year 2001. Nothing has happened. I don't -- I can expect it to happen in 2017 and 2018. No, I don't, I'm sorry.

COOPER: Yes, I think there's few people in this country who would want their future to be determined by whether or not Congress can act, you know, can act aggressively, can act quickly on something.

RAMOS: Exactly. But President Trump decided not to do it. And then now, Congress is going to have to do it. I don't see the political will to do that.

So, again, I think this is going to be an important presidential issue for 2020. There's no other way. And DREAMers will keep on fighting. I know them.

Their parents thought that by being invisible, they could survive. That was their strategy and it worked because they're here.

But now, the DREAMers have a completely different strategy. They have -- you saw what happened in front of Trump Tower. They detained the traffic on Fifth Avenue, and they are going to do anything that they can in order to change things. They're not just going to wait. I'm sure they're not just going to wait.

COOPER: President Obama actually issued a statement today saying it was wrong, self-defeating, cruel and said it's not required legally, said this was a political decision and a moral decision. I'm wondering how much weight you think his words may carry, especially with a sharply divided Congress?

RAMOS: Well, to tell you the truth, President Obama I think did the right thing. He tried to protect the DREAMers. And he did, for just a few years. And he did.

At the same time, I've been critical of President Obama. We wouldn't be talking about this if in 2009, as he had promised during the campaign, when he controlled, of course, the White House and both chambers of Congress, if he would have proposed immigration reform, which he didn't on one hand. On the other hand, he deported 2.7 million immigrants when he was president.

So, I do appreciate what he did for the DREAMers. But what he didn't do, it was on -- from my point of view, a big failure.

COOPER: Jorge Ramos, I appreciate your time, thank you.

RAMOS: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: More on this national talk with one state attorney general who sides with the people protesting the president's decision, and a former attorney general who does not.

[20:25:05] That and more of Hurricane Irma. My conversation with someone who just flew directly into the storm three times to measure its power. We'll hear from him in the air, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: More reaction now to the president's decision to push the decision on DACA to lawmakers who have never managed to agree on this before. Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin launched a bipartisan effort to revive the DREAM Act. Democrats and a more than a few Republican lawmakers and state governors offered criticism. Some of the state attorneys general who are threatening to sue praised the president's decision. Others vowed to fight it.

Joining us now is former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson.

So, Attorney General Ferguson, you plan to challenge the DACA decision for the president in court. Do you think you actually have a case? Because the courts did rule on DAPA, the Deferred Action for Parents for Americans, where the Fifth Circuit's decision to shut it down was upheld.

BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, thanks for having me on, Anderson. I really appreciate it.

And, yes, I'll be working with other states and filing with other states soon. And we do believe we have good legal arguments.

We were successful in stopping the first travel ban. We'll bring many of the similar claims we brought in that litigation in a slightly different context here. But yes, we think we have good arguments and look forward to presenting those before a federal judge soon.

COOPER: Ken? I mean, DACA wasn't technically an executive order. It was an executive action by President Obama that clarified immigration enforcement and priorities. So, wasn't DACA just a decision how to allocate resources and not President Obama making new law?

KENNETH CUCCINELLI, FORMER VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, no, no. This was fiat law. I mean, President Obama himself said this over 20 times before he finally did it.

And I listened to Carlos of Univision there mention the particular comment where President Obama said, I'm not a king, I can't do this. That was, of course, before he actually did it. He was more correct when he said he's not a king, he can't do this. And the precedent from DACA, standing is essentially the same. The substantive decision is likely to be the same.

Look, for those who like DACA, had President Trump not done this two- plus year phase-out and instead confronted those attorneys general, this program would be over in two months by preliminary injunction in the court in which the current case resides.

I mean, this is, for those who would like to see a soft landing for DACA, about as good as could be done under the alternative. And it speaks to the commitment of the nine Republican attorneys general who challenged a Republican President, because they believe the legal principle on which President Obama -- as President Obama once did was wrong and violated separation of powers. They should get a lot of credit, Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, Ken Paxton in Texas and so on.

These folks stood up for principles against their own team. Not a single -- that's not true, except for Cole -- not a single Democrat during Obama's entire administration was willing to challenge these sorts of actions by the federal government.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So --

CUCCINELLI: They were partisan and this Republican A.G.s frankly, have done this on a very principled basis.

COOPER: You know, I think you're referring to Jorge Ramos before. Attorney General Ferguson --

CUCCINELLI: Thank you. Yes, thank you.

COOPER: First I mean, what do you make of what Attorney General Cuccinelli is saying?

BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, this is not by any stretch of imagination a soft landing when it comes to DREAMers, the100,000 around the country and there's 17,000 in my state. I think key question is going to occur in the following ways. Is the President -- what the President of the United States is that legal, is that lawful?

And look, Anderson, I filed 14 lawsuits against this administration so far, (INAUDIBLE). We haven't lost one yet. We haven't had any federal judge disagree with any claim, but by Washington joined by other states as well.

So we're very careful about the lawsuits we bring. We're thoughtful about them. We think we have good arguments here. We think this buying equal protection class, due process, technical to the public maybe, statutes like the Administrative Procedure Act. But these are important and we think when we file our complaint, the strength of our case will become clear.

COOPER: Attorney General Ferguson, what about Kenneth's argument that this would have been overturned sooner in the courts, within two months?

FERGUSON: Look, had the Republican A.G.s filed their lawsuit, if the President had done nothing. I can assure you that myself, and other democratic A.G.s would have stepped in to defend DACA. I do not think those Republican A.G.s would have been successful if they had filed against DACA. We think the President's action -- more importantly is what actually happen today, it's not lawful and that's frankly to test, is it lawful?

And he's lost -- the President has case after case after case in the courts filed by Democratic A.G.s around the country. And again, we think we have good arguments here, as well.

COOPER: All right. We got to take a quick break. Attorney General Cuccinelli, thank you and Attorney General Ferguson as well. Coming up next, breaking news in the Russia investigation including new word of subpoenas, we're going to tell you who issued them and who got them. Also the latest in the growing threat between the U.S. and North Korea, plus, why the rogue nation, could be moving another missiles. Right now -- right after there, nuclear weapons test this weekend. And of course, more on the path of the monster storm Hurricane Irma, were tracking it closely making its way towards the United States with crashing records setting porosity.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:37:28] COOPER: Breaking news on the Russia investigation, new reporting on subpoenas from the House Intelligence Committee involving the FBI, these were called "Trump dossier" and allegedly "political hardball."

More on all this now from CNN's Evan Perez who joins us. So these subpoenas -- first of all, what are you learning about what the Intel Committee want from the Department of Justice and the FBI.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the House Intelligence Committee, Anderson, is sending these subpoenas to the Justice Department and to the FBI. Now, what they say they want is to find out what the FBI knows about the Trump dossier. This is a dossier that was put together by a former British spy.

And what they're trying to get is for the FBI and the Justice Department to turnover documents that not only relate to the dossier itself, but also what relationship the FBI might have had with Christopher Steele, the spy that put together the dossier. If you remember last year at some point, the FBI even paid some of his expenses. They considered essentially hiring him to help verify some of his findings. And so that's what they're after in this subpoena.

And the Justice Department and the FBI have kind of been dragging their feet, in part because they say it might interfere with the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And that kind of jibes with a lot of the other fights that we've heard about, Anderson, in the last few weeks. One just a few weeks ago, Paul Manafort came in for an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Mueller wanted to get a hold of that interview. The transcript of that interview was done in private, if you remember.

Manafort's lawyer, however, blocked it, because they had not yet agreed to allow Mueller to get those transcripts. So you have a lot of fights going on, on the hill and in the Mueller team, because you have so many investigations looking at this very thing.

COOPER: So Congressman Adam Schiff is obviously ranking Democrats on the House Intel Committee, he was quoted of saying, "He believes there's a political motivation behind this." So can you explain why he's claiming that?

PEREZ: Well, I think what he is getting at, is fact that Republicans on the Committee sent the subpoena over his objections, and partly because he believes that what the Republicans are after is to discredit the dossier and to discredit all of this reporting on Russia. And let's be fair I mean, there's a lot of this that we have not been able to verify. But there's a lot of it that the FBI was able to, through its own means, be able to verify that they believe happened.

So the President and I think the White House and the Republicans have all sort of stuck to this tune that the dossier is discredited. It is not discredited. It is something that the FBI has used in its investigation. And so that's what Adam Schiff is getting at, because he's concerned what the Republicans are trying to do is discredit this very -- the basis for this investigation.

[20:40:02] COOPER: All right. Evan, I appreciate. Evan Perez.

Tensions continue to escalate tonight between the U.S. and North Koreas leader's trade public threats. Today, North Korean state media report said that this weekend's nuclear weapons test reflects the north will to "Blow up the U.S. mainland."

This morning, South Korean Intelligence also reportedly spotted North Korean forces moving another intercontinental ballistic missile. Senator John McCain said this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will it take to settle the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea?

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It's going to have to have some kind of pressures on the North Koreans to make them abandon this very dangerous path they're on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this just sabre-rattling, sir? From the North Koreans, is it sabre-rattling or do you think it's more than that?

MCCAIN: When somebody develops a nuclear weapon and why they deliver it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that's into the negotiating table?

MCCAIN: It's sabre-rattling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right. CNN's Barbara Starr joins me now. So North Korea continues certainly to ratchet up the rhetoric. What's the latest?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the threats do continue as you just said to destroy the United States, scary sounding stuff, but the North Koreans probably making some more relevant statements even than that saying today that they would never put their nuclear weapons on the negotiating table. And that's an important marker.

What it means is what the U.S. -- what the Trump administration wants, which is for them to give up their nuclear weapons, is the one thing they're not going to give up. They're not giving up that weapons program, because this thinking is that Kim Jong-un is looking for attention. He's looking for what he believes is international respect. And he wants to be at that international table as a nuclear power.

COOPER: So what more does the United States and also, you know, it was like South Korea know about whether the north is preparing for another ICBM test.

STARR: Well, the Intelligence may not be solid but it will be at some point, you know, because they will launch more missiles, there's simply no question about it. It's really a question of when, not if. That is the U.S. view, and they are continuing to use satellites and other intelligence gathering means to watch around the clock to see what missile launches may be in the world's to see what other weapons activities North Korea may be up to, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Barbara Starr, appreciate it.

Joining me now is CNN National Security Analyst and former National Intelligence Director, James Clapper. General Clapper, I mean, how seriously should the administration take these threats?

LIEUTENANT GENERAL JAMES CLAPPER (RETIRED), FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, you can ignore them, but I do think they should be put in some historical context, because this is the typical hyperbolic language that comes out of North Korea, and they have made all kind -- they made threats like this before, so not to ignore it, but also not to overreact to it either.

COOPER: I know you said earlier today, there's still room for dialogue. Are you talking about direct talks? I mean, does that in your opinion the only viable option at this point? Because that's something obviously the U.S. has always avoided.

CLAPPER: Yes, I do think that is -- I won't say the only channel, but I think it's the most promising would be a direct dialogue with the North Koreans. We say they really want, they -- and as Barbara indicated in thinking around the Pentagon, is what they're most concerned with is face and leverage and recognition of their status as a nuclear power. They want to be seen as part of that club. And, you know, I think we kind of have to accept that. Maybe a longer term goal would be denuclearization, but as a going in proposition, then this somewhat based on my own experienced, I think that's a non- starter. They are not at this point going to just willingly give up their nuclear weapons as a price -- as the price for negotiation.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, from their perspective, which I always think it's good to look at things from different perspectives, it would make sense that they would want to be a nuclear power. It puts them at the table with, you know, the other major countries. Whereas without it, there wouldn't be even the possibility of direct talks, right?

CLAPPER: Well, exactly. And for them, this is survival. They realized the tremendous conventional imbalance between them and say the Republic of Korea armed forces buttressed by the United States. And so when you're sitting in Pyongyang looking south, in the absence of a peace treaty, they find the force that's facing them quite vulnerable and threatening. And they believe the Republic of Korea is on a hair trigger ready to invade North Korea, and of course, to affect regime change.

So for them, the only way to rectify this tremendous conventional imbalance is with a --

COOPER: Just lost contact. That happens on live T.V. We'll try to get the general back.

When we come back more on Hurricane Irma threatening to slam into the Caribbean and possibly the United States. We'll hear from meteorologist, who just flow through the storm three times, I'll tell you what he saw.

[20:44:53] Also ahead, Hurricane Harvey's path of destruction in Houston, we'll take you back there to see how people are dealing with returning home and the challenges of losing virtually everything they own.

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COOPER: Breaking news, the President just tweeted on DACA, saying something that seems to be new. He is now says Congress now has six months to legalize DACA, something the Obama administration wasn't able to do. If they can't, I will revisit this issue. A lot more on that coming up in just a bit for the top of the hour, but now Hurricane Irma, now Category 5 storm, one of the strongest ever recorder in the Atlantic.

The U.S. military ordered the evacuation of over a 5,000 personnel from a naval air station in Florida in preparation.

Jack Parrish is a Flight Director of Meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is flying through Irma to collect data. I spoke with him just before airtime.

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COOPER: Jack you've flown into this storm three times now. What is it like, is it gaining strength? Is it just kind of maintaining or is it getting weaker?

JACK PARRISH, NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER FLIGHT DIRECTOR (on telephone): Anderson, we've been through it twice, we're on our way from north through it for the third time. It has strengthened while we were out here. We started out at 9/20 millibar. Our last report was 9/17, so some strengthening of this Category 5 hurricane.

COOPER: How does it compare to other storms that you've flown missions into?

PARRISH: Anderson, our first pass through was daylight, after that it was dark for the first pass was spectacular and terrible at the same time. It was perfect, stadium effect eye, blue sky above, incredible clouds all over around the airplane.

COOPER: And you flew into the eye of the hurricane. And you said it was perfectly formed, the eye wall?

PARRISH: Yes, sir. It was just perfect. We call it a concentric eye. It actually was an eye within an eye. So, we had two within maxima but the -- what we were in the visible center, it was just perfectly visible. One of the best eyes, the clearest eyes the folks here have seen.

COOPER: And what is it you can learn from flying into this?

PARRISH: Well, what we're doing is we're using a tail box (ph) or radar system on this NOAA aircraft, taking CAT scans, the weather scans of the weather all around the airplane. This radar structure is the evolution of the structure of the hurricane is going into the computer models. And between that and what are gulf stream aircraft is doing on the outside with lock signs, not as much information you can get on the storm in improving what the road ahead is for the storm.

COOPER: And in terms of the road ahead, how -- I mean, how many more flights do you or others from now have plan to make?

PARRISH: Anderson, we're reaching the end of the (INAUDIBLE). We're going to be heading back to our home, NOAA aircraft Foundation (ph) Lakeland in Florida, taking one before we down there and then we will flight continuously (INAUDIBLE) threat.

[20:50:02] COOPER: Jack Parrish, I wish you luck. Thank you so much.

PARRISH: Very good. Thanks.

(OFF-MIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Those images are just incredible.

I want to go to another late read on the storm. CNN's Tom Sater joins us again from the Weather Center. So, just give us the sense of the track of this and the strength of it, Tom.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. This storm, really Anderson, continues to amaze us. We notice it be back on Thursday when it came as a little wave off the coast of Africa, within 24 hours, it jumped from a tropical storm to a category three, four, then five, and it's still getting stronger. There's only one storm that's ever been stronger in a recorded history in Atlantic and that was Allen in 1980 and only five miles an hour away from this.

This is catastrophic right now. I hope everyone in the northern across islands of the Lesser Antilles are getting into a safe location. The conditions will start to deteriorate, of course and parts of the U.S. British Virgin Islands then Puerto Rico. I want to talk about the models, Anderson, because a lot of times we talked about these models. Just give you a little breakdown here. When we talked about the storm system, and when you hear us talk us spaghetti plots, European mode, these storms we rely heavily on the models. In fact, it's taking years to develop these models and right now they're precious. Sure, they can get a little better but we're a long way from where we used to be.

First of all, the spaghetti plots. Each one is different. Some are global models, some are statistical or what's based on historical tracks. So these are telling us, yes, it's going to be pulled northward. Many times will pull out too; the European in blue, which by the way last Thursday put it in the same location. So, it's been consistent with the environment. And red is the U.S. model or the GFS. Each one of these models, believe it or not, Anderson, underneath that umbrella there are several, there are 50 models for the European. For the U.S., there's another 21. And they are all tweaked a little bit before they run. It could be warmer temperatures in the ocean. It could be winds are low. So, you look for the spread and try to find commonality between them and that's exactly what we have from this weekend.

COOPER: Yes. We'll watch it, Tom. Thanks very much. As we follow Irma, people in Texas who are still dealing with Hurricane Harvey's aftermath and will be for a long time. People in Houston are finally been able to return home after devastating flooding and now having a deal with losing everything they own.

Martin Savidge joins us now with the latest. So, this was the first they'd back to work for many Houstonians, how did it go?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was kind of a mixed day. I mean, first day back to work, there's a lot of traffic in this town and a lot of it was disrupted.

Let me tell you a bit where we are. This is Talton Street, it's an area called Lakewood. It's to the northwest of the City of Houston. We didn't pick the street because it was extraordinary. We picked it because it's actually pretty typical. And this is that really heartbreaking time, although all of this is heartbreaking, but this is the moment when people come home and they take everything they've got and they put it out on the curb for everyone to see. And you just see people's lives spread out street after street, block after block. And you see everything from the most mundane like the bar stools and the furniture to the most personal and intimate things that you would never expected people would throw out and yet here it is, it's all on the curb waiting for the big truck to come along and carry it off to a landfill.

But it's actually a good sign, really, as horrible as this looks, because it means that these people planning to come back. It means that (INAUDIBLE) plans to come back. They're pulling out of the drywall and the ripping out and gutting of the home is the first step that people have to rebuilding their lives.

So, if you see this, as bad as it looks, it's a good thing. If you go through neighborhoods, you don't see any of this, it's a good indication that a lot of the folks had given up. But this was a tough day but a good day getting back to normal life, traffic was a mess and the first question everybody asked over and over is, how's your house?

COOPER: Yes. Martin, I mean that image is just incredible with all those possessions, people have moved at least in that area pretty quickly to get the drywall out.

SAVIDGE: They have. I mean, because first of all it's horrific. You go inside any of these homes and once the drywall gets wet, it just soaked. It soaked again, and it's rotting. And it is something cathartic about, you know, OK, we're coming in, we're starting over and they rip it all out.

Most of the people on the street have done just that and a lot of them are doing it on their own or they got family or they got friends and neighbors that have come by. There hasn't been any sort of orchestrated effort that we've seen maybe another disaster. In this case, it seemed to be that people are literally helping each other out here. And they've made really, really good progress. The fans are going, the electricity is on. So they're drying things out on the inside too.

COOPER: Is there -- what's the level of flooding in some areas?

SAVIDGE: This area here was about chest high, you know, or up halfway at the windows in most of the homes, six or single story homes and that was a week and a half ago. The most folks got back into this neighborhood about two, three days ago. So, you know, the shock phase is over and the sort of dedication phase. Although, I will tell you, I was walking farther down the street here and went by a house, you could hear somebody sobbing on the inside. So, there's still a lot of pain here.

COOPER: Yes. Our people following Irma, you talk to?

[20:54:56] SAVIDGE: Oh, yes, they are. I mean, part of this that they're kind of hurricane shy, I mean naturally, even though there's no real forecast that suggest it would come this way, you're just, you know, you still have talk about everything that happen. So, people are watching and they're watching it for another reason, and that is because they know that somewhere soon, there's going to be other people that are going to be going through exactly what they're what they are going through now, the heart break and the heartache and the suffering and all that. So, they sympathize greatly with whoever is in that path of Irma now.

COOPER: Martin Savidge, I appreciate you being there.

Coming up for the fate of 800,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children hanging in the balance, the Trump administration announces it's rescinding the DACA program with the White House is saying more with the President has just tweeted and a lot of reaction from our panel next.

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