tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 13, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
we're following breaking news. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. hurricane florence is making its initial assault on the carolinas and gradually intensify. a new forecast shows the storm has slowed down after doubling its size. it's difficult to overstate how much catastrophic damage this form is fully capable of unleashing tonight and into the weekend as it churns and churns toward the coast. the hurricane force winds covering an area larger than massachusetts, connecticut and rhode island combined. also breaking, multiple suspected gas explosions have set several structures on fire and forced major evacuations in lawrence and north andover, massachusetts. we have team coverage of all of
this especially the hurricane emergency. our correspondents are across the storm zone. we have forecasters standing by at the national weather service and in our cnn severe weather center. right now let's go to cnn martin savidge. this storm is about 100 miles from where you are. update our viewers. >> reporter: no question that we have tropical storm force winds that are starting to impact the outer barrier islands as well as the beach communities that lie along the atlantic. the concern is for the storm surge in this area. there could be six to nine elsewhere. there's no question the storm that people have waited so long for, well, florence is here. the days of waiting are over. >> today the threat becomes a reality. >> reporter: hurricane florence is already making its way presence known along the carolina coast. the window for people to evacuate is closing fast.
>> this is a very dangerous storm. we're asking citizens to heed a warning. your time is running out. >> reporter: thousands of people are already many shelters across north and south carolina. >> my first thought was lord don't let it flood because i can't swim. i can't do anything. the flood, i would really panic. >> reporter: for those staying home the governor has the message. >> once these winds start blowing at that tropical storm rate, it will be virtually impossible for the rescuers to get in to rescue you. they will be believing just like the others because it will be highly dangerous to be there. >> reporter: if you're thinking the storms category means it's weakened, officials say think again. >> just because the wind speed came down to a cat 2, please do not let your guard down. the storm surge forecast associated with this storm has not changed. it's remained the same. >> reporter: north carolina also comes with some very serious specific concerns.
the brunswick nuclear power plant in north carolina, only four miles from the ocean, shutting down production and erecting flood barriers today. it's one of six neurolee puclea paths that could be within the path. they're made to withstand major hurricanes. >> i'm not worried about the flooding here. there's plenty of pumps to get rid of the water that comes in. >> reporter: adding to that concern, thousands of dams in the region that could be en inundated. >> let me set the expectations. this is a dangerous storm. we call them disasters because they break thing. the infrastructure will break. the power will go out. >> reporter: the power is going out, wolf. in north carolina alone, it's reported 68,000 people without electricity. this is going to be a long slog
on the part of this hurricane. p we ta we talk of storm surge. that could trigger a graert flooding event. wolf. >> so, so worrisome. thank you.wolf. >> so, so worrisome. thank you.flooding event. wolf. >> so, so worrisome. thank you. et ed, thanks for joining us. what are your biggest concerns about this hurricane ? >> the biggest concern is water. cedar island which is located here to the north of the center which is now about 90 miles offshore of wilmington, they reported a wind gust of 85 miles an hour. that's well into the hurricane range. another observation to give you from cedar island, this is a graph showing the water level. we have been worried about storm
surge. this is the graph of what's going on at cedar island. you can see the rapid rise in the last couple of hours. more than four feet above normal. that occurred as one of these bands came through, pushed the water way up, four feet aboveground level. >> how great is the risk from flash flooding and storm surges right now. you been ta you've been talking about the surges. we have the issue with the rainfall. we have large area we've been talking about for several days. big concern entire state of north carolina is going to be receiving close to five to ten inches or more. we see the higher contours here. 15 to 20 locally. also much of south carolina will say the same rain. if you had one isolated area with a bit of that water, you could all drain off. unfortunately, we have two to
three state area that's going to receive five to ten inches or more. that's why we fear it's catastroph catastrophic. >> thanks for much for all the important work you guys are doing. we really appreciate it. florence lashes the coast, we have seen the waves and winds pick up in north carolina as well. the storm chaser ben mcmillan of weather nation is on the scene for us. what are the conditions like where you are? >> reporter: the winds are picking up but the storm surge has been the issue. as ed was talking about the power of that water coming up into area homes here. you can see the garage of this house was pushed out and smashed forward into the front yard. all that stand yand you see was a few hours ago. >> people have board up their homes and gotten out? >> reporter: there's a few that have left. most have. they said they are going door to
door and taking names of anyone who stayed so they can track them down later if the worse case scenario occurs. >> what are the people saying, what are they telling you? >> reporter: most people just are very attached to their property. they want to be there to kind of defend their home against p these storms. we don't recommend that. these hurricanes are very strong. all that surge, wind, water, will leave sights like this. damage like that will continue throughout the island. >> your a storm chaser, what are the biggest dangers from your perspective right now? >> reporter: right now the center of the storm is still about 75 miles out to sea. as the winds increase, the waves will increase with it. you can see surge over ten feet. that's the ocean right behind me. you can imagine another ten feet of water over the beach, any person standing where i am now could be washed away. >> that's an awful situation.
what sort of resources are you seeing in the area? are the first responders, for example, ready to help? >> reporter: yeah. they have pulled all the fire trucks and police vehicles out of island. they have a staging area. an emergency operation center. they are standing by. there's a point in the storm where they may not be able to respond to 91 1 calls. that's the reason they have been asking people to respond by the evacuatio evacuations. >> i assume you're expecting major power outages out. >> reporter: yeah. they can leave areas without power for an extended period of time. that's why they're recommending to get out. >> how extensive do you think these power outageos will be? >> reporter: it takes weeks to
send personnel out. the costs koulcould go into the millions. it would take quite a while for areas to recover. >> as the hurricane comes closer to making landfall, what else are you expecting? >> reporter: right now the tide is a low tide. that's going to come up as we go towards midnight. that's on top of that tide. as you see the tide levels go up into your friday morning, early morning hours, we'll see that surge on top of the tide. that's a lot of water coming in. we want people to get out of the way of it. sdp >> what are you going to do? where do you plan on riding this out? >> we're watching the center of that storm very closely. when those winds start to switch, right now they are blowing the ocean offshore. when that eye, the center of the storm moves fast, we'll see it push back toward the shore. we'll probably move back inland for our safety.
>> be safe. good luck. appreciate it very much. cnn has a team of weather experts so they are tracking this moment by moment. let's go do jennifer gray. you've been studying the data coming in. what's your take on florence now? how is it likely to play out? >> it's alarming because the latest advisory came out about ten minutes ago. it shows that florence is sdren strengthening. we're up to 105 miles an hour. it shows this is sitting out in warm water. it's sitting over the gulf stream and this still has the ability to strengthen like it's doing now which is awful news considering it's basically stalled out moving at about 5 miles an hour. the last couple of frames look like it's getting better organized and it's slowing to a screeching halt. with it under these conditions, these circumstance, it's going to bring incredible amounts of rain. the storm surge will come in
just as we have been talking about and it's going to inundate these communities. it's going to sit here for 24 to 36 hours with that track making landfall possibly not until tomorrow afternoon. could be later if this sits offshore longer and it's going to shred that coastline all across the north carolina coast, south carolina coast and then bring lots of rain. i was reading one report that was showing an area between wilmington and myrtle beach could receive 40 min inches of within 48 hours. that's not even the storm surge. that's the rain alone. we're seeing the outer bands come on shore. you can see this motion going to the west. that's the part of the storm that's pushing the water in. all of this area to the south, the water is going out. up here it's going in. it's pushing into the river systems. that's when we'll see record levels for some of those rivers. the storm is less than 90 mail
mooi -- miles from the shore. it's not going be making landfall any time soon. it's rare to see a storm of this size just sit right off the coast like this. we've already gotten hurricane force gusts reported around the outer banks. the eye is well away from it. it just shows how strong the storm is. very close to the center. 20 to 30, even 40 inches of rain across the area shaded in white. you can see how well inland those rain totals go. the problem is with the storm pushing in, pushing west for so, so long, these rivers up here well inland can't drain out. you're just continuing to push the water in for hours and hours on end and it just gets clogged and that's what's going to cause these areas to flood significantly and when you see that storm surge, six to nine feet, 7 to 11 feet right here in this shaded area, that's going
to be on several high tide cycles. to storm surge is added to the high tide cycle. it can't be a low tide because it's continuing to push in. the water is not going to go down any before it continues to build the next high tide. it's going to be devastating not only for the coast but those areas inland as well. >> i feel so badly for those hundreds of thousands of people along the coast over there. thank you very much. we'll get back to you. nick, what are you seeing and experiencing there? >> reporter: we are on the so-called grand strand. this 60 mile stretch of beautiful carolina beach front. tourist destination. also home to nearly half a million people. we were expecting to have winds and rain by now, but as you've been reporting the storm has stalled.
if you look behind me, those are the outer banks of florence right now swirling above our heads. that storm that's twice the size of massachusetts. those heavy winds nearly 400 miles across. about 85% of the people who live here in north myrtle have evacuated. the beach was busy today. swimmers, surfers, tourists. i spoke to a few people who have decided not to evacuate. one guy said he have planning to move out of town this morning and when the storm was downgraded do category 2, he decided to stay. as we keep on telling people, category 2 just means the wind. it does not mean the rain and most people who die in hurricanes die from the water. if you look here we're expecting a storm surge. this is normal high tide which is about here. we had a high tide this afternoon. next is about 2:00 in the morning. if do you look over here there's no real dune to speak of.
that's the house we're staying in. that's built up on stilts so the water can pass through. another woman i spoke to today who is also not evacuating said maybe we're safer here on the coast than we would be inland. i'm not saying i agree with her but her rational is last time tlfrs there was a hurricane the river lumber rose to 40 feet inland. other people say they evacuated in the past and it's taken them so long to get back home, maybe two weeks, they just don't want to go. they will wait out this storm. there could be rain for days and days. wolf. >> be careful yourself. thank you very much. just ahead, more of our breaking news coverage of hurricane florence. the flooding already beginning in some locations. we'll go there live. we're also following a very dangerous situation unfolding right now in massachusetts.
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we're following breaking news on the slow moving monster hovering off the coast. hurricane florence is beginning to slam the carolinas before it strikes land with full force. we just learned the storm has strengthened purr our national correspondent is in carolina beach in carolina. what's happening there? >> reporter: we're already
seeing some flooding on the north part of carolina beach. they are just getting ready for what needs to come. i want to show you what the conditions are like here at the ocean. winds are picking sustained win. the waves are getting more and consistent. coming in much faster throughout the afternoon. they are look at 10, 20, perhaps 30 inches of rain. the storm surge as the tides comes in around midnight tonight and the, you have the surge come ng at the same time. the concern is that wide swath of this is much as a third could be under water.at the same time. the concern is that wide swath of this is much as a third could be under water. there's a cut through town that floods even on a regular rain day. they expect for the next five to seven days that people who are
here will be on their own. >> awful situation indeed. thank you. miguel on the scene. thanks so much for joining us. what sort of resources do you have to respond to this hurricane? >> we have over 300 central personnel who are stations here. we also have our regional partners who are assisting here. county, state, federal fema is here. national guard called up. we have resources. we're just waiting for the storm to get through here and we'll start damage assessment. >> tell us about the type of operations you've expect to be dealing with over the next 24 to 48 hours.
>> we hope to not do any rescues. we asked people to leave the area. our responses will be very limited in the height of this storm. we're expecting this not to just blow through like a normal hurricane. this will linger through proe t probably beginning of sunday with 30, 40, maybe more inches of rain. winds at 80, 90 miles an hour sustained for a good two days. our work will really start when these winds get down to 40, 45 miles an hour when we can start looking at damage and assessments. >> what do you expect the biggest challenges facing your officers now? >> it's tough being confined to air mattresses and kotcots throughout the facility. we have done a total recall. we have some family members with
them because we felt this is just such a dangerous situation that we really haven't had handle at this magnitude before. this is an epic rainfall. flooding will be something we've never seen with this 10 or 13 foot surge on top of 30, 40, 50 inches of rain. it's just unprecedented. >> wilmington is a major city. have people who chose not to evacuate put themselves and potentially first responders in danger? >> yes, they do. they have to understand our responses are limded in the height of these storms. they're on their own. i sure hope no one pays the ultimate price for not heeding our warning and leaving the area. >> are you getting enough support from state and federal authorities?
>> yes. we've got our national guards kauld up. they're on standby waiting to deploy. we've got the assets. we just need to get through the storm which will come on. it should hit the shoreline around midnight, 1:00 this morning and then linger. >> how do you think this will compare to other hurricanes your community has lived through? >> this could be historic. this could be one of the worst ones we've had in this century. depending on that rainfall number. rainfall and surge could have ka catastrophic damage. beach mustncommunities will be y affected. you have 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
miles up kifr. >> what advice do you have for those people who decided not to evacuate who are about to experience this hurricane as it makes landfall and what always worries me a lot are the elderly who haven't been able to get out. >> call us right now. we'll get you to a shelter. we've got shelters. we got room. just call us. we'll come get you if we have to. don't wait any longer. >> what do you say to those people who are afraid of leaving their home, their possession. they're worried abdomen abandoning their possessions. >> possessions can be replaced. your life cannot. put things in perspective. get out if you can especially if you're in a flood zone, an area that flash flooded in the past. it will definitely flood like you haven't seen before. >> what about those people who say they are not leaving because they don't want to abandon their
animal, the dogs and cats? >> we have shelters that are accepting animals al. we'll take them. >> that's good to here. thank you so much for doing this. rereally appreciate it. we'll have a lot more on the hurricane story comiing up. there's another breaking story. very significant story that's unfolding in massachusetts where multiple gas explosions have caused major fires and evacuations. i want to go to our national correspondent jason carol. tell us more about this. >> reporter: you saw just some of the pictures there. plumes of smoke and fire coming from several buildings there. we wantsd to get those pictures up so our viewers can see them. this is from the result of a natural gas line explosion. the explosion possibly related to a spike in gas pressure. massachusetts state police
telling us that at least 20 to 25 fires have been reported in the area, across the area affecting dozens of blocks. the evacuations are under way in andover and north andover. this is an area north of boston. lawrence affected in the area as well. the town of andover sent out a bulletin not too long ago on facebook asking if residents knew how to safely turn off their gas. if they knew how to safely do that, to do it immediately and then evacwauate the area. a number of folks being evacuated. we're told there's some 35,000 residents in the town and right now state officials are asking all, all residents in the area to evacuate. massachusetts state police say columbia gas is depressing the gas line to try to get a handing on the situation. also just got word from lawrence
general hospital saying they have received five patients there. their condition unknown. >> joining us on the phone is the town manager of andoverer. thanks so mump for joining us. tell us more about this decision to evacuate 33,000 people from andover. >> upon receiving reports, we asked our residents to evacuate if they have gas service and if they know how to shut the gas service off to please do so providing you know how to do it. >> the whole area of andover has been evacuateevacuated? is that what i'm hearing? >> any resident or business with gas service, we've asked to evacwaeva evacua evacuate. >> has there been any
casualties? >> no reports of that. >> do you know what's causing the basic motiexplosions? >> it's our understanding it has to do with the gas pressure. we fully activated our emergency operation center. we're mobilizing our assets. >> do you know the cause? >> we have no idea. >> do you expect neighboring towns like north andover, lourns -- lawrence to evacuate as well? >> they are both implementing evacuation plans as well. >> there could be tens of thousands of additional people forced to evacuate right now.
>> you're doing this out of an abundance or caution. how much explosions have occurred already? our residents with gas service to evacuate their home. >> when do you think people will be able to return to their homes? >> at this time, we don't have a set time for them to return. we ask them to follow service. our media channels and we'llupd. >> have you seen anything like this in. >> this is historic.
>> you've never seen anything like this? >> we have not. >> you expect more of these explosions in the next few hours? >> as people return home from work, we expect to receive additional calls for service. at this time wequantify that. we're working to get the resources available to have an adequate response. >> good luck to you. good luck to all the folks there in massachusetts. a very, very worrisome development in deed. thank you very much for joining us. i want to get back to the other story. the hurricane is approaching the carolina coast now. what are you seeing now? >> reporter: we had to murrove
location from where we had been all day. if we look back here, that's the park where i was doing lye shots throughout day. some of you may have seen it if you were watching cnn. the water slowly rose from around my ankles to where we had to leave. florence hasn't actually arrived yet here. part of this is because we're on the noose river but they have the atlantic ocean that feeds into this area here. they are used to flooding. they are used to hurricanes. a guy just walked by here and said this is a little extreme because we haven't had the storm yet. it's sort of a perfect situation for them. we watched these barriers throughout the day float on by. we are asking people as we see them because they are all coming out and taking pictures. people are riding their bicir e
bicircumstanbicycles through this. the city has had a scurfew sinc monday. we hoad a hard time getting a hotel here. they are leaving their homes. some of them started coming back when they heard this was just a category 2 storm or it's turning south thinking they would dodge a bullet of sorts. obviously, we're seeing they will be dealing with a serious flooding situation. over here to my right, you can see we have stores and businesses. most of them have sand bags going on right now. they will likely experience some flooding inside because we have not received those big bands of rain just yet. we've only had a couple moments of intense rain so far. that's on the way. it's starting to pi inin ining .
>> be careful over there. thank you very much. we'll have much more on hurricane florence. we're getting major breaking news on paul manafort, the convicted trump campaign chairman. we'll be right back. so, i have . i'm 85 years old in a job where i have to wear a giant hot dog suit. what? where's that coming from? i don't know. i started my 401k early, i diversified... i'm not a big spender. sounds like you're doing a lot. but i still feel like i'm not gonna have enough for retirement. like there's something else i should be doing. with the right conversation, you might find you're doing okay. so, no hot dog suit? not unless you want to. no. schedule a complimentary goal planning session today with td ameritrade®.
we have some major breaking news coming into the cnn right now in the russia investigation. let's bring in our justice correspondent. evan, what are you and your team learning right now? >> we're told by a source familiar that paul manafort and his legal team are very close to an agreement with the special counsel's office that would resolve some of the charges he's facing. jury selection is set to begin on monday. he's going on trial here in washington, d.c. on seven charges that he's facing. we expect there is going to be a plea agreement and this plea agreement would resolve not only the charges here in washington but also the charges that remain o outstanding in virginia. he was convicted on 8 of 18 charges. there's ten remaining and he
could be retried there in virginia. we expect that this agreement would resolve both cases in washington and in virginia. there he obviously spares the expense of going through another that come with that. we know the jury selection is beginning on monday. you would want to reach an agreement before a jury is seated in a trial. all indications today was that the teams were working to try to reach some kind of agreement. we saw our teams posted outside the special counsel's office. they spent several hours. we saw some of the prosecutors involved in the virginia case showed up at the special counsel's office. showed up today. they were there for several
hours. they send someone outd to g to lunch. there were all kinds of signs there was something afoot there. they were spending several hours at the special counsel's office here in washington. we also saw the judge move hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow. it was a status hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow. she's now delayed it a couple ov ho -- of hours. we expect there's going to be a completed agreement if an agreement is to be reached. they have cautioned us these two sides have been talking. it may well be a final agreement is not reached. we can say an agreement appears very close. this would prevent or this would resolve these charges that paul manafort is facing and avoid having the expense of getting a second trial here in washington beginning next week.
>> the key question would be as part of such a plea deal and presumably a guilty plea deal would result in a reduced prison sentence, would he be forced to cooperate with the special counsel robert mueller and the overall russia investigation? >> that's the big question we cannot answer. no plea has been entered. there's been no filing from the federal prosecutors here. the mueller team has not filed anything in court to indicate what the terms of this agreement or the outlines of this agreement would be. that's been a sticki ining poii this negotiation that's been going on for some time. up with of the things that paul manafort was trying to do was not cooperate with the mueller team to plead guilty and have the charges be resolved. also, not do anything that could harm or implicate the president. that's one of the things they were trying the avoid. the mueller team wants -- would
want some kind of cooperation gremd as pard of any deal. we doend know where the two sides have come down on this. again, what we're told is this is a very close to a deal and final agreement has not yet been done but that's one of the things we're all looking for to see what kind of terms are reached and whether or not he's going to cooperate with the special counsel's investigation. perhaps against the president or other people who may be implicated in that investigation. >> that's a critically important element. standby. i want to get some more on this breaking story unfolding. joining us on the phone is jeffrey toobin. we don't know whether paul manafort will cooperate with federal investigators. usually that's the case, isn't it? >> cooperation usually is the case. frankly, given manafort's lack of leverage at this point, i
think prosecutors would almost insist on it. he has been convicted once. he is looking at likely being convicted again. both in the retrial in virginia and in the other trial in the district of columbia. he is looking at a disasterous scenario plus the legal fees and stress involved in going to trial again. the prosecutors are there. they are ready to try this case. they'll try it. it's not going to cost them anything extra. to give him any sort of deal, they're going to have to get something in return. the only thing he could really offer at this point is cooperation. whether he's had a proffer session with them meaning telling them what he would say if he did cooperate. that's something we don't know but it's very important
question. it would be some -- cooperation deal at this point would serve both sides. it would not serve donald trump and it would hurt paul manafort's chances of getting a pardon if he cooperates. we don't know if he's online for a pardon. >> paul manafort was the campaign chairman for the trump campaign. he's 69 years old. he was a long time washington political operative and lobbyist and he's now in jail right now because of witness tampering going into the first trial in northern virginia. he is still in jail as we speak right now. he would gain enormously if he were to fully cooperate with the special counsel and his team, right? >> the federal court system rewards cooperators enormously. there's federal sentencing guidelines that will very strict that where a defendant has to serve 85% of whatever he is
sentenced to. mfr manafort is looking at ten years given the magnitude of the crime convicted of. you're talking about eight, eight and a half years for man who will be 70 years old by time he goes to prison. this is an enormous risk. if he cooperates, that means he gets a letter from the prosecuto prosecutors, assuming it's truthful, that gets him out of guidelines. that could reduce his sentence dramatically. that's something that defendants in the federal system are very, very aware of. it's why so many cases end in plea bargains. >> which raises the question, i don't understand why he hasn't cooperate frd td from the very beginning. knowing the charges, the charges he was convicted of already 8 out of 18. another ten could be retried but failing to register as a foreign agent in the upcoming trial. why didn't he cooperate from the
beginning? >> that's a question i've been asking from the beginning. that trial in virginia was a slam dunk. it was a tax evasion case where he didn't pay his taxes. it was a bank fraud case where he lied on his bank application. there was essentially no defense. he did manage to get a hung juror because of a hold oud jur -- out juror. he may was hoping for a pardon. it may be he's afraid of what his russian friends would think of him if he plead guilty. he may be unconstitutionally incapable of admitting guilt. it will not get him the benefit cooperating now that it would have if he cooperated from beginning. that train has left the station.
he's got to make the best of a bad situation. >> i want to bring evan back in a second. if there's a plea agreement announced as early as tomorrow, does that mean he might be out of jail awaiting the sentencing? jeffrey. >> you're asking me. >> does he get out of jail right away as he ae wawaits formal sentencing? >> that would be part of the negotiation. it would not happen automatically. one point of negotiation would be prosecutor perhaps recommending that he could get bail pending sentencing. ultimately that would be up to the judge. judges tend to defer to prosecutors on that. that's one of many forms of negotiation. one that you point out would be of great interest to many manafort whether he gets out or not. >> he would have a huge
incentuinse incentive to do that. what else are you learning? >> one of the things that happened before the prosecutor even brought charges. we know that paul manafort's legal team went to the special counsel's office and tried to present information and tried to see if there could be a deal that would be had. they were essentially the special counsel was not interested in offering any kind of deal. they wanted to charge paul manafort. i think jeffrey was saying the puzzling thing, the number of charges he was facing and the fact that he was really facing an uphill climb from the beginning in this case. why didn't he come to some kind of deal early on? and the answer is his first legal team did try and there was no deal to be had. it was clear that the special counsel was intending to charge him. and so that happens in some of these cases where the evidence,
the prosecutors believe is so overwhelming that they would rather charge the person and then use that kind of leverage against that person. so in this case that's what ended up happening. in this case also we know that some of the talks began even during the virginia trial and they seemed to not go anywhere partly because paul manafort was trying to resist doing any kind of cooperation. you know, that happens once in a while, but in this case clearly as jeffrey points out, the leverage that the prosecutors have is so great that it's hard to see that they don't get something from paul manafort in return for any agreement that they might be able to reach. again, we're going to know a lot more about this in the coming hours if we see a court filing from the prosecutors, if we see any kind of paperwork that is filed before tomorrow's hearing or certainly before monday's jury selection begins in the trial here in district of columbia. >> i want to go back to jeffrey for a moment.
jeffrey, as you know, the president and his allies, they've complained that the charges brought against manafort in the earlier trial in virginia were totally unrelated to russia. the upcoming trial does relate to man in for the's foreign lobbying in relation to pro russian ukrainian clients. do you think that could have been on manafort's mind? >> i think there are a lot of things at play here. you know, it is -- it is not true that the first case had nothing to do with russia. it was about his being paid and then not being paid by pro russian ukrainian politicians. so manafort's connections to that part of the world were at the heart of the virginia case. just one other possibility to consider here is that, you know, paul manafort can simply just plead guilty and avoid a trial. the other prosecutors can do if he simply pleads guilty to the remaining charges that virginia
and the charges in d.c. he could do that and not cooperate. i'm not sure what benefit he would get. he would get some reduction in the sentencing guidelines by accepting responsibility. it's certainly not as much benefit as he would get if he cooperated, but it's just another possibility to keep in mind. >> all right. we're going to stay on top of this forstory indeed. we're watching hurricane florence as it moves closer and closer to the carolinas. we'll update you on that right after this. that everything stics to stefon diggs's hands? no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. cool, huh? yeah. he plays football, huh? yeah. believe it. geico could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. and i don't add up the years.
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we're following multiple breaking stories right now. the outer bands of hurricane florence are lashing the coast. the storm has strengthened. let's check in with cnn's brian todd. brian, life threatening storm surges. there is a huge kerp where you are. >> reporter: absolutely it is, wolf. we're entering a dangerous area. i'm standing on old landing road but at this moment they're becoming one and the same. the intercoastal water way is coming on to old landing road with the storm surge pushing it and it will only get worse. this is low tide. in a few hours it will get much worse as another band of rain starts to relentlessly pour on this area. you can see some white caps whipping up and the currents starting to get pretty strong on
the intercoastal. this is a dangerous period and i'll take you to the marshy areas. they count on these marshlands. they're good at absorbing the storms. homes and businesses are on the other side of these trees. water is going to have nowhere to go in a few hours. when the tide comes in, that will be when the heaviest rain comes in. these areas are starting to be inundated. it will only get worse. we've talked to a lot of local residents who have elected to stay and be a lot of them have the rationale i don't want to leave because i'm afraid it's going to be too hard to get back to my house, tend to my house if there's damage. from the governor on down to all of these local officials we've talked to, they say, you cannot think like that. you have got to get out. the people who have elected to stay right now, it's obviously too late. this is the storm surge they're starting to be faced with. as i said, wolf, this is starting to get dangerous as the storm starts to whip into this
area in ernest. >> brian, i want you, our team, all of our correspondent, producers, camera crews to be safe right now. this is an extremely dangerous situation. i'm wolf blitzer. our breaking news coverage continues right now with earn burnett "out front." this is cnn breaking news. good evening, everyone. i'm kate bolduan in for erin burnett. "out front" we are following breaking news. strengthening. hurricane florence strengthening and growing in size and intensity. winds up to 105 miles per hour. we're going to show you looking at live pictures right there out of the outer banks in north carolina where the first impact of this dangerous hurricane is being felt. the hurricane bringing with it potentially catastrophic storm surge. forecast to dump record amounts of rain. we could also be talking about 10 trillion gallons of water.