Transcript for Storm recovery underway in Carolinas
Everybody welcome to the briefing here about Devin Dwyer Washington happy Friday to you hurricane Dorian finally moving out to sea at this hour as we come on the air. After a week of relentlessly pounding the East Coast making landfall earlier today. On Cape Hatteras in North Carolina as a category one hurricane one resident out in the outer banks there told us that hatteras island is literally drowned to eat. From insane flooding in their nearly a foot of rain has fallen on the eastern Carolina coast sustained winds topping ninety miles an hour on the coast they are destroying. Homes opt in down the Carolina seaboard are Stephanie Ramos has been in the thick of the storm from the start that there in North Carolina. She sent us this report. Definitely feeling and I or in here it's heartening for the plane that lots of rain. The clean me fifteen miles per hour at home at. They're getting. And right now. Pushing into that line. I laughed yeah. Admit being blunt. I ways that single aisle at outback parent lying on the wind speeds here have increased dramatically. Gardening all behind me content lightning and rain the last several hours now left high. North Carolina. Thankfully. No serious injuries but that's big threat has not outlining what. And that's. Carter thanks to Stephanie Roberts for that report a short time ago winds still quite high there on the Carolina coast that's were our next guest joins us on the phone brigadier general Tom hunt with that North Carolina National Guard joins us Tom. I think you are so much for calling in sir what sort of damage have you been seen down there as the storm moves out and how as the guard responded. Yes sir this is apprehension on top. You know National Guard so let me just you mile background wrote quit we have approximately 500. Soldiers and airmen from the National Guard. Supporting the state now a local partners and state partners. Throughout the eastern region the united state. Specifically the North Carolina. In Wilmington right now small round missions have been. We're escorting him Martin's C service vehicles delivering commodities. In helping with civilian. Evacuations. Have also been participating and swift water rescue team support. Throughout the region due to my honor and medium flooding. Our soldiers and ten airmen that are down there we have almost a 180 vehicles in the area. And our main focus is again supporting the state local responders protecting the las and the citizens and property. State of North Carolina. General how many get a stimulus a sense of how many people had to be evacuated with the help from the guard as it. Talkative a few dozen people or much larger number. It's right now we're seeing small numbers are a lot smaller than we did during hurricane Florence. It's good news that's good news for sure and as we look at pictures while your to talking to us or. The damage in North Carolina what what what do you see as being the biggest challenge. And the coming days as they recover. I the biggest the issue that we're gonna help support his communications and you know Clarence. Downed power lines are a road of we have to know that best of FEMA and the state responsibility that we do have the capabilities would smoke are forcing teams to do that as well. The deforestation. Trees that are on power laden writers have clear that up. And we know the North Carolina National Guard is very active we've been seeing some pictures of that as well and we appreciate you taking time to join us brigadier general Tod hunt. With the North Carolina National Guard thank you so much served. A moving on now to some breaking news out of the CDC at this hour with an urgent warning. For all Americans who use. Use beeping devices today federal health officials. Warned that they are investigating a surge in Vicky related severe lung illnesses now topping 450. Cases. Across 33 different states moments ago we have now received word of the fourth to death in this country tied. Two electronic cigarettes in a statement the CDC. Warning Americans today that they are committed to finding. And finding out what's me making people sick they say all available information is being carefully analyzed. These initial findings are helping us narrow the focus of our investigation Indians closer. Today answers they need to save lives they are searching for answers they don't have them yet. And they are giving this warning in the meantime I want to bring in now Lauren Kelly from our medical unit in New York we spend. Digging into. There are details have been put out today weren't thanks for coming in what. What are they actually telling people who use. DeVon the CDC is recommending that no one views he cigarettes with any kind. Previously had been saying that. It's not safe for use young adults pregnant women. And people that aren't smoking cigarettes they've now gone gone as far as to say that no one should be smoking cigarettes of any kind. And fat as he really the only way to primarily prevent these serious lung illnesses that we're seeing. And they they also is seven more and that you know a lot of people will we know turned. Been turning to. They really put it they really years said that pits and not a good way to think about that to. Right exactly DeVon they are saying across the board that. And so they're recommending that everybody. Not UC center. And kicking you give us any more sense form before that you go on what's the severe illnesses. Are like are we talking cancer here what war what what sort of symptoms are people saying. So this since the people are seeing are it seems like it's a pro drowned. Fatigue shortness of breath cough. People are coming in and actually. Some of the information at CDC is given us today is that 72% of the case since we've seen. Have been presenting to their outpatient providers first before they going to the hospital very ill so we have an opportunity there to catch people. Asking them about their habits are you using. UV thing and just the flip side of that for patients is that we should always be sharing with our doctors. What it is we're doing including easing. An urgent warning today from the government going farther than they have before an. Lord for that overseas now. To a look at the nation's longest war of course in Afghanistan eighteen years continuing to cost more American lives. Even as negotiations are underway right now for peace deal with the Taliban the Pentagon says a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul on Thursday took the life. I've yet another US service member of the Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack and Ken. Even as they're negotiating with the US so far this year nineteen Americans have died in Afghanistan and here are their names. You see the names of so many young people. Killed this year the deadliest years since 2014. Even as we still have four months to go. In the rest of the year for the latest on a possible peace deal what's in it what's at stake for the United States or want to bring in. Now. As we look at the faces. Of those Americans who lost their lives this year are our State Department reporter Connor Finnegan. Our White House reporter Ben get Olson. Our guys you both have been tracking this very closely. At the beginning of the week Conner we've heard that the US had reached a deal in principle with the Taliban. To end the war. Where he here right now. Devin the US and the Taliban are back in the room together today and we could have an agreement announced as cynicism within the next week herself. The chief negotiators on May close. Meeting with the Taliban again today after reaching that agreement in principle as he said last week. And then briefing the Afghan government earlier this week about that deal we've learned some over what he said to the Afghan government. He told them that within. Just a couple of a couple of weeks really the US would begin the with Toro of some 5000. Troops from Afghanistan as part of this TO. The US is also hoping that it would include a nationwide cease fire. With the talent on. As well as the beginning of a Afghan national dialogue that would begin up at peace process including the Afghan government. And the Taliban and and and other leaders the sticking point at this point still seems to be. This idea that that the US wants the Taubman to commit to not allowing Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terror groups. You remember that's why the US first invaded Afghanistan nearly eighteen years ago to rid the country of al-Qaeda operatives that were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. It's unclear what that kind of commitment would still look like and whether or not it would require US troops to be on the ground. But at this point. That the chief negotiator is in the room again with the album. Nearing a final agreement closing really the final loopholes officials tell us of course any small or big thing could still upset that. But they hope to hasn't been concluded within. Within a week and before the Afghan national elections later this month. Hearts are coming toward a deal and still incredibly the Taliban and Al launching these attacks in the capital that bombing as we said. So striking Dan you're over at the White House. The deal that Connor was alluding to that seems to be coming together. Is very secret nobody knows the details of what's being negotiated. With the Taliban the president has started to set some expectations Connor said. At least in one proposal but 5000 American troops could come out he's talking about keeping at least some American troops in Afghanistan for a very long time. Evidence of balance for president trumped or call. On the campaign trail he promised to stop endless wars like the war in Afghanistan and bring. American troops home at the beginning of his administration actually sent more troops there now as we approached 120 and as negotiations with the Taliban continue. It's. A bit of a balancing act for hand he has said that he wants to pull troops out. But he also doesn't want Afghanistan to be what he calls a laboratory of terror he's actually referred to it as the Harvard university of terrorism. And he has singled out because of that he wants to leave some sort of counter terrorism force or something of the like behind last week he said that. The US would be leaving 8600 troops behind. But he's also lamented the fact that he sees the US has the police force there which she doesn't like. So he is trying to negotiate the difference between. Pairing strongly national security and also keeping it campaign pledge. On but he's been vague about how he feels about the specifics of this deal. As ultimately up for it to him to decide on. Yet of course whatever these negotiators come up with we'll have to land on his desk and nobody really knows exactly what he'll do when that deals presented Connor back to you. You're squeezing some details are your sources about what's in these drafting goes she nations but. Truth of the matter is congress hasn't been briefed on this even the Afghan government doesn't know. What the US the trump administration really and the Taliban have been negotiating. Both of those groups won a seat at the table. Yeah that's right congress has been left really in the dark about this entire process and we heard from the top Democrat on the house foreign affairs committee just yesterday. Demanding that the chief US negotiators on the Khalilzad. Testified before congress he's issued through letters before this and in his letter yesterday even alluded to the fact that he could use the subpoena. To compel calling those odds testimony. As he mentioned the Afghan government has also been expressing some concerns this week about what's in the agreement. They were briefed by Khalilzad earlier this week on the agreement in principle that he and the Taliban. Have reached but they expressed concerns about whether or not the Taliban would commit. To both meeting with them. And agreeing to a nationwide cease fire. That one of the chief spokesman for the president Ashraf Ghani said that the deal that the US and the Taliban have so far needs quote serious debate. And revision. DeVon. So we have are closing in on video of the deaths continued to climb in Afghanistan Connor Finnegan. Tracking those negotiations that the State Department thank goodness and at the White House thank you both very much. And we know that George Stephanopoulos will be asking some of these questions of secretary of state Mike Pompeo on this week on Sunday. You can catch that under ABC station Sunday morning. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Attorney now to an ABC news monthlong investigation into the US air Marshal service this is the program that was created eighteen years ago after the 9/11 attacks. To help keep all of our flights safer. The air Marshal service. Is a program in crisis according to our reporting team with a recent rash of suicides psychotic episodes a bomb plot in mental illness. Rampant there Chris Francis Scotty I did the report this incredible reporting he joins me from New York broke the story also from Florida. How we're joined by sun yacht high tower she is with the air Marshal union the air Marshal. National council she's their president thank you both for joining Chris than we start we view. I give us a sense of the scope of your reporting and and what you found. Sure DeVon good afternoon. I first thing I just wanna say is that the air marshals. Or the air marshals were created after 9/11 they were radically and rapidly expanded after 9/11. From about several dozen to several thousand. Their job is to blend in with the with their traveling public. And scan the scan the airplane for threats what we've. Learn from our reporting is that there has been as you said a rash of firearm suicides near source sides a bomb plot. A murder suicide and pretty debilitating health problems. For the most part it boils down to a quarter to. Nearly two dozen air marshals are spoken to as well as union representatives. Federal officials that senator. But a pretty much boils down to is the lack every federally mandated. Work regulations that would both. Regulate the hours. In which the air marshals work as well as the time may need to stay on the ground between flights. Receive tickets are pretty grueling. Lifestyle firm Marshall someone that doesn't get a lot of attention because they work undercover Sonja or bring you into the conversation. Because taken a step back here to give viewers a sense of what it's like to be in air Marshal what's a typical day. What do they do. Well dead birds they hear it ABC Chris for help and us expose what's going on behind the scenes are dedicated air marshals. They are hurting getting Keating group and they came over. To protect this country after nine elevenths. I've their schedules are grueling an average date for an air Marshal is Hubert Europe or severe or very early. These surveil the airport for any threats are potential threats you check in my regular passenger you. Get on the airplane like a regular regular passenger. Eating your clients your land in another location you get out here playing. You turn around and come back on a different flights you go to a different air or 834 different airports and today it's mom. Regular flights that means checking in and checking out like a regular passenger. You also means a lot international missions and at times air marshals can be working anywhere from eighteen to 24 hours straight. I'm not long ago we had a nation. That was an international mission that they are sleeper 36 hours straight but no break. So this is a grueling schedule eighteen years later. And the Wear and tear is really showing on their dedicated professionals and we need. Change. I can it serves imagine that is also. Chris reports in this story that there's this sense of despair among many air marshals 'cause. This successes that they achieve it during the course of these missions. It doesn't often reach the public guy helped give us a sense of what they've been able to accomplish besides being sort of standing watch. Over all of us as we fly have either been plots foiled on their behalf so much as work is classified right. Absolutely is classified and they've done some wonderful things in 2008 just here in Orlando. They were able to us is that they potential bomb suspect that interfere or you're went to the American Airlines counter. As C uses individual inner ear where he was picked up fire marshal's peaked at its. Since that he was going to do something he was just cannot opt and his behavior was very erratic. Baseball and beer or located called Orlando police department. And that individual was arrested. Our core had a bomb making materials in his jacket and if you see case just recently answer today it was a report that broke. Doubt in my anywhere in the joint terrorism task force which has air marshals assigned to it. They were able to follow a plot where eight airlines American Airlines mechanic. And sad times piece of equipment on an aircraft. So your marshals are buried. Skilled in their jobs what they cheated it's just unfortunate that TSA and the agency. Which rounds. On air marshals seeking action in the east at the situations. The first thing I thought about today when I heard a report that the air marshals were involved in Miami at American Airlines which the mechanic. The first thing out let's avoid the agencies are gonna suspend them are trying to terminate him because they. They did something that the agency to not want him to do and that his law enforcement duties. It's incredible nets that story very relevant to a lot of flyers. Very dangerous situation down there in Miami its own right Chris. What's been the response to this reporting did you broke yesterday and it giving a sense of what congress might be considering to remedy some of these problems. Well congress has taken a look at this problem at at these these problems these allegations of whistle blowing. Retaliation and punishing people with. With sort of typical schedules they've been looking at these problems and filing reports for many years. This has been well documented and government reports gone back at least ten years. They characterize. Pretty acute tension between the air marshals and their supervisors of the air marshals feel. Feel that there their physical health is not in not being taken into consideration. In their schedule and and after years on the job. A lot of them have reached the point where. They're just terribly burnt out and as one such me trying to get to retirement in one piece. And Sonja finally you know it is you on behalf of the union are in negotiations with leadership of of the service. On it I nationals were talking to members of congress do you get the sense that there is any receptive this is some of the changes you wanna see vote and scheduling staffing resources and the like what we're coming expect in the coming weeks. Well we have we have been working really closely congress homeland security and governmental affairs. Odd the oversight committee they have been very receptive I know that they can't. Actually investigated TSA for many years now they Texans skating reports that the misconduct. From senior executives services and TSA. And one thing that is very we're very upset at the union. Is the director of the air Marshals Service David Cole we have requested to have been beaten Mexican in march of this year prior to the most recent suicide. And he declined our invitation. To come it is opposite need about problems and now we have the problems that we have the solutions. For the agency if we just get someone in the agency. His stop and take a look in quit trying to make metrics. Into law enforcement which does not work you cannot. Just put people off lights and expect him to fly. When no intelligence the air marshals have no access. TU TE. Flight itinerary they had no idea he's on the plane went down they're flying these missions but cut the agency wants to pump up numbers for congress in order to keep their budget and plated. Well we certainly salute the work that you do Sonja and all the marshals do here at ABC news and we hope that your concerns are herder thinks you. Chris Francis Scotty for this terrific reporting much more from Chris and abcnews.com we thank you both today for coming on ABC news life thank you Deborah. Finally today after a month marred by mass shootings from Dayton Ohio to El Paso, Texas. It's Wal-Mart this week that set had all of us talking about what can be done to improve gun safety in this country we set our producer Bobby Galen. Out two of Wal-Mart store in Virginia to talk to shoppers about how they feel about corporate America taking the lead to less. So I agree with Wal-Mart not wanting to. And sell ammunition or allow customers to carry guns in the store. People should not be bringing their guns. In Italy in the first is if this chilly in the shopping center I upland wool mart for knowing that. I've never owned a gun. But I'm all for gun rights. Wal mart's. Are hypocrites. Live days still handguns and then they tell you please don't carry them and restore what around against a pop music. Big question now of course is what the White House and Republicans are gonna do about all this we're joined now by true stroke covers Capitol Hill Jon Cohen is our ABC news contributor former DHS official you guys are tracking. All of this congress is back next week Trish. And that's where watch never try to do I start with you because. It does seem like the ball is in the White House's court here more than anything else Democrats have passed legislation. Republicans are rating on the president you've been in touch with officials at the highest highest levels of DHS. Some agreement the administration what are you hearing how serious. You think they are about actually getting a package passed. Well from what I'm hearing from homeland security and law enforcement officials are professional level state and local level. There's been a real concern about the threat posed by mass shootings. Four months not years. The problem is pat DHS has very important equities in dealing with the threat there are very important resource is that you just brings the table. But they're not really being allowed to get in and it. Did the White House's in theory clearly. Pointing DH has to focus on border security and immigration enforcement as it's as its core mission and they're as a result. Other resources of the Secret Service the resources of other components of DHS the grant programs just aren't being modified to address this seniors saying you're here. And from top officials that Dee chest sees these mass shootings as part of a Homeland Security problem a crisis. And they are being told as the leading agency or government security to simply. Focus elsewhere for a. Yet typically when you have a major threats such as this the White House would be convening interagency meetings even identifying organization in this case would probably be DH has to take the lead in organizing the rest of the federal government to work with state and local law enforcement to work with local communities. And address the threat using all the resources of the federal government in order to deal with the fact just has not happened today and there's real concern. Com from the people I'm talking through and real frustration quite frankly that even though they can develop a good strategy to address it though it's late. I'm still can be a good strategy they're not going to be allowed to implement that strategy some of their. They're turning a blind eye to some of the advice of their own. Homeland security agency Trish reached sort of see this from a number of Republicans as well ABC news has some new reporting the White House. Has done some internal polling on this which says the base doesn't want them to do anything. Com is there any indication that there's going to be new pressure from the hill to do so. I think all of this means and it's very much in the political arena no infection looking at this from a substantive point of view that I can seeing. I was messaging a couple of people Mac and now mentions office in two means office some of the negotiators and the bipartisan group and not. Almost. They keep saying well we're hopeful for something but there's really nothing that's materializing. We kept hearing maybe there is language. But when something like this polling emerges and you have somebody in the majority leader's office like Mitch McConnell who isn't going to do anything and must trump is full throated behind us. It really tells me that it has very little if any chance a path then John even if in this case out of Midland Odessa Texas the shooter there seem would seem to be. A perfect case study in why we need expanded back front checks or somebody that was denied it a gun at a store didn't pass the background check. And then went and got into private sale and that's exactly where they're trying to close the loophole. Is that he game changer do you think it just doesn't really Chamberlain still. Straits is that there are gaps in our background check system that the current background check system is not. Broad enough to really protect the public. Obviously there are a number of things that can be done to. To address this threat some of it legislative summit it depending on congress I'm somewhat skeptical based on the political environment the congress is gonna step up and do much. But there are a lot of things that can be done the operational level it doesn't require congress just requires the will the White House. And the authority being given to DH just oh and let's put up broke quickly your sixty seconds left. Put up for our viewers what's on the table as we head into next week these are some of the ideas that the White House is said to be considering Trisha gets. A thirty seconds left here. Any these can actually give you get some support on the hill. And wouldn't be surprising to hear it may be something about the red flag laws and that's flagging anyone with mental health concerns. That all it takes than a federal level as I'm just incentives for the states that's a pretty easy thing to do but it would say I think I just read that. Possibly to the lieutenant governor in Texas may be looking at stepping out he's a big time term supporter he may be putting forward legislative I'm suggestions about. About what we're talking about stranger to stranger. Sales of guns. And up something great now but no one is doing on the hell he had areas already blasting him for doing that. I'm so they act quickly there are very big lobby on the hell it means it's very little chance of happening but with things like and with Wal-Mart coming out. Against you know these serious times and Amy this time as a little different world. Continue this conversation next week when congress is factors turned Jon Cohen thank you so much for coming in and up to see you back here on Monday in a briefing room have a great weekend.
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