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President Donald Trump Is Blasting These New Developments Tweeting All Of This Russia Talk; President Donald Trump Was Fired Up On Twitter Earlier Today, Launching A Series Of Attacks On Hillary Clinton And Democrats; Puerto Rico's Governor Now Calling For The Cancellation Of A $300 Million Power Contract Awarded To A Small Company. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 29, 2017 - 16:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:00:38] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again. And thanks so much for joining us on this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour in Washington where grand jury indictments are overshadowing the week ahead for President Trump. Someone could be in custody as early as tomorrow following first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

This morning the President is blasting these new developments tweeting all of this Russia talk, right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic tax cuts and reform. Is that coincidental? Not.

This morning on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara warned what to watch for as this all unfolds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: One, whether or not Donald Trump has some reaction and talks in the way that could be used against him in the future. Is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts suggesting that people should not be talking and keep their mouths shut?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. This comes as the clock is ticking for Republicans to meet Wednesday's self-imposed deadline to unveil a bill on tax reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We have got a short window of time to deliver on tax reform, something that I want to see happen on behalf of the American people and to pass those bills, that's where the focus needs to stay.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. Let's begin with the first charges filed in Mueller's investigation. And sources saying someone could be in custody as soon as tomorrow.

Is that too quick? It's important to note that Mueller inherited intelligence from previous investigations. The FBI and the IRS had been investigating Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has been following the story for us.

So Shimon, what is being said about the timing of this action?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: So really there are folks who perhaps may be saying this happened too soon. It doesn't really tell us much, the timing of this doesn't really tell us much, you know. As you said, the FBI and the department of justice prior to the special counsel getting involved in the investigation had been looking into the Trump campaign, had been looking into collusion and also some of the folks that are close to the campaign like former chairman of the campaign, Paul Manafort. All was ongoing for some time before the special counsel was appointed in May.

So for months already the FBI had been doing a lot of work on this case, had been gathering evidence. So it could be that all of that work had already been done and it was just a matter of presenting some of this to the grand jury and that seems to have what have happened. We really don't know who is going to be charged come tomorrow or in the coming week.

But what we do know is that an indictment or indictments are expected to be unsealed tomorrow. Some of the activity that we may see as early as tomorrow morning is that either people surrendering or people being taken into custody by the FBI, that is all still information that we have not been able to verify but we do expect something to happen tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thanks so much in Washington.

Well, this morning on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara explained what he thinks could have happened behind the scenes with these potential indictments. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BHARARA: In any case, where there might be criminal activity on the part of more than one person, prosecutors like those in my former office and those that work in Bob Mueller's office now, try to see who they can bring charges against first and see if they have information about someone else. And typically you want to be pressuring people with information of an incriminating nature above you in the food chain.

It's also possible that they are charging a number of people at once and want to see who is the first one through the door. It's also, you know, a possibility that they made an attempt to try to get cooperation from the person they charged on Friday. And that attempt failed as sometimes happens in my experience from before and sometimes what it takes to have someone focus on their own future and the possibility of having -- getting (INAUDIBLE) for themselves is to actually see that prosecutors are not bluffing but are prepared to go to court and seek a charge, which is it seems like what happened in this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. I want to bring in CNN national security analyst Steve Hall. He is a retired CIA chief who was in-charge of Russia operations and Michael Zeldin is a former federal prosecutor and former special assistant to Robert Mueller. All right, good to see you both.

All right, to Steve. Do you agree with Mr. Bharara's logic there?

[16:05:11 STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I would certainly defer to guys like Michael and other legal experts as to what the strategy would be. But one thing I would strongly agree with when he says, you know, we need to watch and see what the reactions are going to be.

One thing I can assure you of is that the Russians will actually be watching very carefully. Because as we saw in the 2016 elections and even previous to that, the Russians are looking for these hot button political divisive issues that they can use against us in future operations. So you know, they had us in 2016, that's bad on them. If we let them do it to us again and don't learn anything from this in 2018, then that's bad on us. It will be interesting to see.

WHITFIELD: And then Michael, take a look at the series of tweets from the President today in one of them. He says all of this Russia talk right when the Republicans are making a big push for historic tax cuts and reform is this coincidental? Not. So the President's attorney Ty Cobb actually told CNN the President's comments are unrelated to Mueller's investigation.

So Michael, in your view why is it important for the attorney to make that kind of distinction.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Because Ty Cobb has said repeatedly and everyone should take him at his words, he is an honest guy, that the President is cooperating with Mueller's investigation. And that has to be true and has to be the storyline that they stick to with respect to Mueller.

The other stuff is politics and that may be sending a message to the investigative committees or getting up his base or Republicans in Congress to try to distract the very people from what Mueller is doing.

With respect to Mueller, the President and all of those in the President's eco system have no choice but to cooperate with Mueller and be truthful with Mueller or face the possibility of promote charges being brought against them.

WHITFIELD: So listen to this warning from New Jersey governor Chris Christie this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think anybody who has been advised by special counsel's office that they are a target in the investigation which I'm sure he has done to those people who are should be concerned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So you know, Steve, one has to wonder, whoever is indicted tomorrow or arrested or shows up, you know, in court if it is indeed tomorrow, is it your feeling that person or persons could certainly be an avenue to more information to widen the scope of the various investigations?

HALL: You know, from my background is more from a counterintelligence one. And so, I would say that, you know, what you are going to want to do is yes, you are going to want to start the questioning with people that you bring in and then of course see where that leads you. That's fairly obvious.

Again from a counterintelligence perspective, I think all of the common names that we have now become very familiar with over the past couple of months, like Manafort and Flynn and rest of that group. Those are all people who I think, again, if I were the Russian intelligence services I would have been taking a look as to have somebody who is inside the system here in the United States help me accomplishing the goals I wanted to in 2016. So I would imagine that from a legal perspective, that the investigators in Mueller's time and also in the oversight committees would be looking at again all of those people that would become familiar with. It would be interesting to see who comes in first though.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

So Michael, whoever shows up, you know, does this narrow the scope of the investigation or does this widen it potentially?

ZELDIN: Actually it could do either or both. We will have to look at tomorrow is who has been charged and what have they been charged with. If they are people who are outside of the direct line of the collusion inquiry, then it might indicate that Mueller is at least for this point focused on tax and money laundering and failure to register as a foreign agent and other more collateral matters. If it something that goes to the heart of the communications between anyone in the Trump eco system and representatives of Russia, then that is a more direct sort of like body blow to that group of people that indicates to them that they all should be with capable counsel and trying to figure out what's in their best legal interest and how best to proceed.

So we will see. But anyway it goes, the fact there is an indictment, whether it's a collateral or non-collateral indictment, whether it's for matters that arose sort of before Mueller that he took over or in the core of what he is investigating, it's a significant matter. And governor Christie is right that people in this eco system, as I

call it, all of the players whether they are secondary or primary, really need to take account of where do they stand what's in their best interest and do I think what is in their best interest rather than the perceived best interest of somebody else and be honest -- be honest.

[16:10:18] WHITFIELD: And be honest.

ZELDIN: Because lying in the grand jury or lying in a sworn deposition, even if you have done nothing wrong to begin with, if you lie in that setting, you just make life miserable for yourself as a legal matter.

WHITFIELD: All right, we will leave it there.

Michael Zeldin, Steve Hall, thanks so much.

All right. CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House with more on what we have heard via tweet from the President after his no comment from the White House yesterday.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, the President was fired up on Twitter earlier today, launching a series of attacks on Hillary Clinton and Democrats.

Here is a couple of those tweets now. He makes reference to a lack of investigations against Clinton. He cites the now infamous dossier that was put together by fusion GPS, that company that was hired at one point by the Clinton campaign to dig up opposition research on then candidate Trump.

He also brings up the uranium deal, the accusation that Hillary Clinton took bribes in exchange for a favorable uranium mining deal for Russians. And then he mentions her emails and what he calls the Comey fix, this idea that former director James Comey declined to press charges on Hillary Clinton during the course of the investigation into the use of a private email server as a way to curry favor with Hillary Clinton.

The most telling part of these tweets is this portion, when President kind of reveals how he feels. He writes, instead of looking into these things, they quote "look at Trump/Russia collusion which doesn't exist."

We asked White House attorney Ty Cobb about these tweets and whether they are related to the latest news coming from the special counsel and the probe into whether or not there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He wrote this statement.

He writes quote "contrary to what many have suggested, the President's comments today are unrelated to the activities of the special council with whom he continues to cooperate."

He declined to comment any further on the tweets. But despite that denial, Fred, it's pretty obvious that the President is unhappy that there are several investigations look into the allegation that his campaign colluded with Russia.

It is also coming - these attacks are coming at a time where we are 12 months from move from the election. He defeated Hillary Clinton but yet he maintains that Democrats have invented this Russia hoax to hurt him. At least one Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio believes that is a distraction. Looking away from a much bigger issue. Listen to what he told "Meet the Press" this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: I mean, look, he won. And I think you would agree. He won the election fair and square. He is dully elected. And you know, we have instead focus on the outrage that the Russians meddled in our election, not just this last election. They did long before Donald Trump. They are going to do it long after Donald Trump if we don't do something about it. So we need to get to the bottom of it. We need to go where the facts lead us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And one last note, Fred, at the end of those tweets there's a call of action from the President. He tells Republicans to do something about misdeeds by the Clinton camp and Democrats.

Despite that, earlier this week, House Republicans announced two separate investigations related to Hillary Clinton. One looking into the circumstances of that uranium deal. Another looking at how the department of justice handled the investigation into her use of a private email server. So it's really unclear what more the President wants Republicans to do, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you from the White House.

All right. Straight ahead, Puerto Rico's governor now calling for the cancellation of a $300 million power contract awarded to a small company based in the hometown of interior secretary Ryan Zinke. We are live in San Juan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:18:18] WHITFIELD: The governor of hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico is calling for the immediate cancellation of the controversial contract to repair the island's power grid. Whitefish Energy, a small firm with just two full-time employees received a no bid $300 million to get the electricity back on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: In light of the information that has come about with regards to the contracting of Whitefish Energy and in the interest of protecting our public interest, I have asked the board of the power authority to invoke the cancellation clause in the contract immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: The governor's announcement comes two days after FEMA expressed quote "significant concerns about how Whitefish was awarded the contract." Still, it has been nearly six weeks since hurricane Maria plowed into Puerto Rico and 70 percent of the island still has no electricity.

CNN's Martin Savidge is in San Juan.

So Martin, how does this controversy impact the ability to actually get the lights back on?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, unfortunately Fredericka, I would say that this is probably only going to slow the process. We should point out that PREPA now has apparently officially weighed in. They are holding a press conference at this moment. That is the Puerto Rico Power Authority. And they have said that they are going to forward and cancel the deal with Whitefish. You can only wonder if it is that easy to do.

The way it works is the governor had said that he wanted the deal canceled. That was after some review at a whole lot of controversy. And then you had Ricardo Ramos who is the head of PREPA, who they call out it here. He is a man that actually negotiated the deal with Whitefish. Now he is the one saying that that deal is done.

But the problem is Whitefish had already begun the work. They had brought in the personnel. They started to brought in a lot of equipment. They were already running the electricity lines. Now presumably, all of that stops. Somebody else has to be brought in to do the job. And that means that those people who were on the job and where you find these new people, it appears they may be coming from power authorities and states like New York and Florida but it's going to take time to get them on the island and most of us to get them the equipment they need.

Meanwhile, Andy Techmanski, he is the CEO of Whitefish, people have always wondered, how did a company nobody had heard of land such a big deal? He explained it but I doubt if it brought any comfort. Here's what he was saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:20:53] ANDY TECHMANSKI, CEO, WHITEFISH ENERGY: I found them on LinkedIn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used LinkedIn to get a $300 million contract?

TECHMANSKI: LinkedIn is going to love this but yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Not exactly the high profile professional way that you would expect a company to get a major contract which is the most important of all, restoring electricity to almost the entire island of Puerto Rico. So it plays on. We will see how it plays out. But the problem is,

even while most of this is political, no one is really said that Whitefish wasn't doing the job. They have only said they didn't really like the contract that Whitefish had -- Fredericka.

WHITFIELD: Interesting.

All right. No bid, $300 million contract.

All right, Martin Savidge, thank you so much in Puerto Rico.

All right, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has visited Puerto Rico twice since hurricane Maria struck. His state is spending millions of dollars and deploying hundreds of personnel to aid in the crisis. I asked him earlier what he thinks about the uproar surrounding the Whitefish Energy contract in Puerto Rico.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: I think the governor made a very smart move today. There was controversy by the Whitefish company and Whitefish contract. And he announced that he was going to have an investigation and then audit. But that is all a frankly sideshow to the main problem, which is as you said, 70 percent of the people don't have power. And it's a matter of life and death.

I also think the mutual aid quote/unquote "system" will serve Puerto Rico better. What we have in this country is a mutual aid compact among states. We are celebrating the fifth anniversary of hurricane Sandy today in New York. We had about 25 states send utility trucks to New York to help us through hurricane Sandy. So rather than going to one private company, the governor saying he wants to exercise mutual aid where he asks other states to send down trucks crews and poll diggers and poll setters and linemen and a then reimbursed through the federal government under this mutual aid. But I know just from the state of New York, I can send down hundred hundreds of utility crews. So I think in the long run that's the faster way to get this done anywhere. So I think he is doing a smart think thing.

WHITFIELD: So the governor has said that he has requested that kind of assistance from New York as well as from Florida. To what detail and capacity are you able to send reinforcements? You just mentioned you can send, you know, hundreds of crews but won't it take even more than that?

CUOMO: You know, we will need an estimate from the Puerto Rican power authority as to how many crews they want. It could take 1,000 or 2,000 crews just from what I have seen when I was in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Sandy for New York long island, we had 6,000 crews and we had them literally in a matter of days. Now, you have a complication with Puerto Rico that you are going to have to put the bucket trucks on a barge and transport them. That's going to be the longest period of time and then you will have a logistical operation on the island where do you house 6,000 workers. But those are logistical issues that can be worked out. I think for sure, this whole Whitefish situation first of all, the job

was not getting done quickly. Second of all, now with this investigation et cetera, it was going to be a distraction and the main point is that we're for getting, this is like day 36 and they have no power. And these are American citizens.

[16:25:25] WHITFIELD: Is it your feeling there should only be mutual aid and no use private contractors or working together in concert?

CUOMO: What also happens in mutual aid is you also use private contractors. So for example, in the state of New York, I have public utilities in the state of New York and we have private contractor contractors that we use. Both would be sent from this state and through this state's apparatus. And they then get billed back through the federal government.

But look, day 36 with no power, no clean water for many people, it's a matter of life and death. We just have to remember that these are Americans. And just imagine if this was any other state in this country, if these were Texans or New Yorkers or Californians, the outrage, the media coverage that you would be seeing. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Let's treat them that way.

WHITFIELD: So the improvements have not been fast enough clearly for people living there. You visited twice. Did you see any marked improvement between your two visits?

CUOMO: Very little.

WHITFIELD: At all encouraging to you?

CUOMO: Very little. It all starts with power. If you don't have power, pumps don't operate and people can't operate equipment to clean their home. So it's very hard to get the society up and running until you have the power restored. And there's been very little progress on the power, you know. I have heard the reports that Whitefish has people working. But you are talking about thousands of crews you are going to need there. And they are nowhere near that capacity. And it's been a month. And the federal government knows how to do this.

I mean, we do this literally on a monthly basis in this country. When Texas had a problem, when Florida had a problem, New York State sends utility crews and they get assistance and then they come back, you know. There was no reason for this to take 36 days. It's just frankly because they didn't get the attention and I think we treat Puerto Ricans like second class Americans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: New York governor Andrew Cuomo, thanks so much.

All right. Coming up, do something. The President issuing the new rallying cry to fellow Republicans this day. It comes in the wake of reports that Clinton campaign helped fund research that led to that infamous dossier and appears some Republicans are listening.

[04:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: As the Russia investigation heats up, President Trump is reigniting his attacks on Hillary Clinton accusing her and the Democrats of colluding with the Kremlin. Just this morning he tweeted this, there is so much guilt by Democrats, Clinton and now the facts are pouring out. Do something.

And it's not just Trump, his fellow Republicans aren't letting up either. GOP senator Susan Collins who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee called for top DNC officials and members of the Clinton campaign to re-testify on the infamous dossier. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R),MAINE: They absolutely need to be recalled. It's difficult to imagine that a campaign chairman, that the head of the DNC would not know of an expenditure of this magnitude and significance but perhaps there's something more going on here. But certainly it's worth additional questioning of those two witnesses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now to discuss, the vice chair of the DNC, Michael Blake. Michael, good to see you. So President Trump, you know, is alleging that your party is the one colluding, even though a conservative group first initiated research on the dossier to potentially undermine Trump, but what is your response particularly to Susan Collins?

MICHAEL BLAKE, VICE CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It's pretty ridiculous, Fred, what Trump and the administration is conveying. There's only one entity that's actually under investigation and that's the Trump administration and Trump campaign itself. Let's be incredibly clear, all campaigns do opposition research and what happened before was trying to understand information about the campaign, which is all campaigns do.

However as we all know, tomorrow, Bob Mueller and their team will be unsealing documents of who is going to be indicted because it is the Trump team and those associated with Donald Trump that are under investigation for collusion itself. And so let's focus there, let's make sure we are not being distracted by the noise and tweets of what Donald Trump is communicating. Trump has repeatedly said Fred that he and his

[04:35:00] associates were never under investigation and no one was pursuing them but we're seeing consistently is they will try to distract everyone from things they have been attempting to do. They were not honest when it came to the purpose of the meeting they had before. They were not honest about the information they've been receiving, nothing that they've been demonstrating is transparent.

And so, we need to focus on the Trump team and make sure the reason why this is critical for everyone. Russia is still trying to interact with our elections and we have to be diligent and that's why this investigation has continued. WHITFIELD: Has it been incumbent on the Clinton campaign to be honest

about the research that it did, call it opposition research you know or otherwise, was it incumbent upon the campaign to be forthright about its involvement and the interest enough?

BLAKE: Most campaigns on all sides never release everything they may or may not learn when doing opposition research, Fred. We realize that in all campaigns and all aspects and that is the reason why there's been no indication conveyed whatsoever from Mueller and others that they are investigating Hillary Clinton and her team. So the focus has been and needs to remain on what's happening with Trump and the administration and those associated with them.

And so the information that they may have received and let's be clear about this, we were not in leadership at the time so we're learning about some of this information now, is being focused upon what exactly did Donald Trump and their team do with the information and more concretely, what were they willing to do in order to influence and impact the elections. They knowingly took a meeting to try to impact what was happening in our elections and that's where the focus has to remain.

WHITFIELD: All right, meantime, there's been a lot of dissension within the Republican Party and as the GOP, you know, fights among themselves, are the Dems kind of laying low and just hoping that that infighting will potentially cost Republicans votes?

BLAKE: Well, no. We're not laying low at all. We're being very active. I'm in Syracuse right now, Fred. We're campaigning for Juanita Perez Williams, who could potentially become the first Latina mayor here in Syracuse. I was just in New Jersey yesterday campaigning for Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver to be the next governor and lieutenant governor in Virginia.

When you have Ralph Northam and Justin Fairfax, Mark Herring to become the governor LG and be retained as AG or Vi Lyles in Charlotte or Manka Dhingra in the state of Washington. Things are happening where we're actively engaged. We're not sitting on the sidelines at all. We have the opportunity to make history this year, many different races.

You know, when you look at what's happening in Virginia for example, 43 women running as Democratic candidates for delegates, that's exciting, including Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala who potentially will be the first two Latinas on to the state delegates in that aspect.

So we're not letting low at all. We've been engaged, $10,000 a month going out to state parties to demonstrate how we're mobilizing the base. We will all be crisscrossing the country over the next nine days. They can have their infighting, we're going to be focused on helping people. Our job is to continue to remind people of a better deal, a better deal for jobs, a better deal for wages, a better deal for education.

And we're going to continue the success that we've had this year whether it be in Oklahoma, whether it be in New Hampshire, whether be in Iowa, whether be in New York. We're going to be giving people a fight, fighting for opportunity for all and so we'll be excited about Election Day.

there have been internal divisions within the democratic party as well. and there's been a lot of tension reported on within the dnc and recent stash shake-up. what is the source of the rift. how much potentially of an impairment is it on the races?

WHITFIELD: OK, there have been some internal divisions within the Democratic Party as well and there's been a lot of tension reported on within the DNC and then a recent staff shakeup. What is the source of the rift? How distracting or how much potentially of an impairment is it on this race is that you want to focus on?

BLAKE: It's not at all. Any family will always have differing views, differing conversations, that's welcome. And we always welcome that and but we still come back together for the bigger priority. Look, I have a lot of family and friends that can disguise (ph) what they're going to do as it relates to the Northwestern and Michigan State game yesterday.

Now, Northwestern won so that's all that really matters but the reality, we come back together to be engaged as a people and that's what's happening in our elections. You know, you look at the reality that the races that we've been winning across the country have been happening because people understand what's at stake and not sitting on the sidelines.

You look at West Chester County in New York where George Latimer is going to unseat AStorino there. That happens because people came back home and we're engaged on the ground. You see what's going on in New Jersey. It's not just winning at the top of the ticket but also down ballot as well. And so what we want to make sure we're focusing on is how do we get people to realize that we are fighting as a Democratic Party for all, opportunity for all, a better deal for all while all we're hearing on the other side is infighting and distractions from the Republican Party.

And come tomorrow, the Republican Party and their leadership will have some serious questions they will have to answer. No longer will they be able to say, Fred, and anyone else that they are not under investigation, no longer will they be able to say that they have not been engaged and trying to Russia impact our elections. What we are focused is winning elections for Democratic Party and the people of this country.

WHITFIELD: All right, Michael Blake, we'll leave it right there from Syracuse, thanks so much.

BLAKE: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Still so much more ahead in the "Newsroom" but first, a meet this week's CNN Hero, Max Levitt.

[04:40:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAX LEVITT, CNN HERO: A lot of kids learn the importance of work ethic on the sports field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Set, go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go. Good job. Bolton (ph), do it again.

LEVITT: Sports were the most important part of my childhood. I thought it was a given for kids to play sports but so many kids can't afford to play sports. There's millions of dollars of sports equipment that is not being put to use, that is either being thrown away or wasting away in garages. I thought, why don't we just create a food bank for sports equipment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Great to see how Max's equipment is really making a difference. Go to cnnheroes.com. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A powerful storm threatening the northeast tonight is churning its way up the coast where 45 million people across New York and New England are under a flash flood watch and the storm comes on the

[04:45:00] fifth anniversary of super storm Sandy. We're tracking this storm with CNN's Polo Sandoval in Long Beach, New York and CNN meteorologist Tom Sater in the weather center. So Polo, let's go to you, what kind of conditions are you experiencing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, rain mainly, Fred. A little bit of wind earlier, but let me fill you in on what officials are telling people here in Long Beach to expect particularly into tonight. Some f these heavy rains that could possibly lead to some isolated flooding but more than anything else, the main potential threat here, these heavy winds here that are expected with any kind of tropical storm. That is expected to be felt later tonight as Philippe makes its way up the eastern seaboard here.

So what people here are being recommended is simply keep a close eye on the weather. But I can tell you as far as what we're seeing from folks, it is relatively business as usual thought obviously we're not seeing a lot of people on the streets because it is a nasty rainy day. But when it comes to the main recommendations from officials right now, are for people to simply just keep a close eye on the storm.

Heavy winds could mean damage to utility poles, if that happens and people could end up in dark, but aside from that we haven't heard a whole lot. As far as preparations, we're not seeing a whole lot if any right now here in this part of New York.

People are really just watching, waiting and taking great comfort in knowing that this by no means comes anywhere close to the situation they lived through five years ago with super storm Sandy, guys?

WHITFIELD: All right, Polo, thanks so much. Let's go to Tom in the weather center. So, let's talk about its potential. TOM SATER, METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's not going to be a super storm

Sandy that's for sure, but it is going to be a Sandy-light, meaning thousands can lose power. We've got of leaves on the trees. The winds haven't kicked up yet because the system is just starting to get cranking. This is more than just flooding and coastal erosions.

This is going to create chaos when it comes to flights. It's already is, right now through the evening into tomorrow morning's rush. Take a look at some of the delays we've got right now, over two hours, LaGuardia and JFK in fact, at LaGuardia four hours delays -- excuse me, that's JFK. LaGuardia is about an hour and a half. Newark is about three hours right now. They're just going to get worse. And that's Boston over an hour and a half right now, even Philadelphia.

So the problem is we got a jet stream, a big drop. This was caused by a typhoon that hit Japan last Sunday believe it or not, when it crossed the coast of Alaska over here giving us the cold air. But it's that jet stream that's coming up from the south. What is it pulling up? It's pulling up remnants from, well, it still is a tropical storm, Philippe, who made it all the way to the letter P (ph).

Now, this did bring heavy rains to Central America and southern Florida and even though the track keeps it away from the mid-Atlantic coastline, already the moisture is getting pulled to the north. So the radar in the satellite really -- we're looking at the heavy rain moving up -- we've lost a radar the last couple of images, but we'll get it back, trust me, it is there.

The cold front now is getting new energy. As this moves up the coast, it's going to really start to churn those winds, and we're taking gust 50, 60, 70, maybe 75 miles per hour and some higher elevations. So again, not just travel problems but the warnings are out for the winds and this is really going to be everywhere from Long Island up to the Cape all the way into parts of New England where again, those leaves are still on the trees.

So thousands could lose power, in addition, flash flooding, Fredricka, four to six inches. And the heaviest wind right now is off the coast but come in tonight and overnight it is really going to start to blow so don't be surprised, the lights start to flicker. If you lose power, most likely they'll be out by morning and for many locations but I think travel problems are going to be widespread on the rails and of course in the air.

WHITFIELD: Oh, boy. It sounds like the potential mess. All right, Tom Sater, Polo Sandoval, thanks so much. We'll be right back.

[04:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: As millions battled Hurricane Harvey, one of Houston's finest was fighting a battle of his own. Here is Stephanie Elam.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Hurricane Harvey dropped a deluge of water on Houston -- NORBERT RAMON, OFFICER, HOUSTON POLICE: -- and the rain just kept coming down, I mean coming down --

ELAM (voice-over): Police officer Norbert Ramon headed to the only station he could get to, Lake Patrol right on Lake Houston.

RAMON: It just seemed like apocalypse. I mean, it was just -- it was unreal.

ELAM (voice-over): With flood waters engulfing neighborhoods, Lake Patrol took to its boats skirting trees, bridges and sunken cars to whisk people to safety.

RAMON: They wanted to bring everything with them, you know, you could only tell them to bring so much.

ELAM (voice-over): Working 12-hour shifts, Officer Ramon was in and out of water helping to rescue people.

RAMON: And you know, what sticks in my head is those children, I mean, you would see different emotions.

ELAM: How many people do you think you helped rescue?

RAMON: I don't know, 200, 300 easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never showed no signs of having anything wrong with him.

ELAM (voice-over: What's wrong with Officer Ramon is stage IV colon cancer, which has spread to his liver and lungs. Diagnosed in March 2016, Ramon gets chemotherapy every two weeks, a constant reminder of his battle.

RAMON: I'm out there in the street and then I go to leave half a day to, you know, go out there and do that and just -- as long as I'm with these guys, they keep me up, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My respect level for him is beyond explanation.

ELAM (voice-over): Teamed up for boat rescues, Alvin Steelman had no clue about Ramon's health crisis until after the water receded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not looking for sympathy. He just wants to be part of the team and he was, he did everything everyone else did.

EPI GARZA, OFFICER, HOUSTON POLICE: For three days of his life he was in a world where he didn't have to think about it. He was really happy helping people.

ELAM (voice-over): In fact, Ramon was in no pain.

CINDY RAMON, NORBERT RAMON'S WIFE: He's a police officer first and then it's cancer.

[04:55:00] ELAM (voice-over): His wife of 13 years however was concerned. He sent her this picture while on the murky water to let her know he was all right.

C. RAMON: I was worried about him because energy-wise I didn't know how it would affect him but at the same token I knew there was nothing I could say or do that was going to hold him back.

N. RAMON: I just want to go out there and do it. I can only (INAUDIBLE)

ELAM (voice-over): A man rescuing others from the brink while in a battle for his own life. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Houston.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricak Whitfield. Thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. We have so much more straight ahead in the "Newsroom" with Ana Cabrera right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're on the "CNN Newsroom." So glad you could join us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. A thick cloud of suspension is hanging over Washington right now.