tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN June 4, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PDT
hello, everyone, thanks so much for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield in atlanta. in wisconsin a deadly shooting left a former judge dead and sources tell cnn the gunman was planning to target several other high-ranking government officials. former juneau county circuit court judge john roemer was gunned down in his home friday. police say the shooter then shot himself. sources say the gunman was also planning attacks on wisconsin governor tony evers and senate
minority leader mitch mcconnell. we have details now. what more are investigators sharing. >> reporter: sources tell cnn the suspect had a list of targets, a long list of targets. officials say this was somehow related to the justice system. was it one case, several cases? that is simply not clear. what i can tell you this began friday morning when someone ran out of judge roemer's home, called 911 and told police someone had broken inside and shot two rounds inside that home. when police tried to negotiate with the suspect, it just didn't go anywhere. those negotiations eventually just totally dissolved and that's when tactical teams in wisconsin made entry into the home where they found 68-year-old former state circuit court judge john roemer dead and also found that suspect, a 56-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the head. he was taken to the hospital. we don't yet know what that suspect's name or what the condition of that suspect is
today. but we do know that officials are very sure that this was a targeted attack. here's what they said. >> this as a mentioned before does appear to be a targeted act and the individual who is the suspect appears to have had other targets as well. it appears to be related to the judicial system. >> reporter: fredricka, federal officials have been warning for months about anti-government sentiment, the possibility of violence related to anti-government ideology. they are warning that we remain and have remained for more than a year now in this heightened threat environment and what this is an example of is a highly visible but also soft target. that is something that really alarms law enforcement because what they are afraid of are these, again, these lone actors that fly under the radar, that are not always visible to law enforcement until it's too late. that is why this case is so significant and it's certainly going to attract a lot of law
enforcement attention outside wisconsin throughout the country as local police nationwide assess the threats in their own area. >> yeah, i mean heightened alert but there is precedence to this target, you know, a targeted judge at home in the most recent case that i'm thinking of, the judge, the judge's son ended up being killed at home. >> reporter: yeah, another devastating case. >> certainly, whitney wild, thank you so much. a stunning new report in "the new york times" says that a top aide to former vice president mike pence warned the secret service that president trump could turn on the vice president and the aide feared for pence's safety on the eve of the capitol riot. "the new york times" report claims pence's chief of staff mark short warned the secret service of his safety concerns one day before the insurrection. >> it's an extraordinary moment to think there is a chief of staff to the vice president so concerned about the potential threat that is being created by
a pressure campaign led and encouraged by the president who picked this vice president. it is jarring and it just takes a minute to absorb. mark short had a conversation according to sources with the lead secret service agent saying what you said, the president was going to turn on pence and they might have a security risk. short as i understand it did not have a sense of what that could look like. i don't believe based on my reporting he envisioned what we saw on january 6th the way we saw it. but what he did realize is that the former president had supporters who were very reactive to him who basically acted, you know, responded to things he would say and he could see, you know, one person, two people, three people, you know, several people doing something that could be problematic safetywise for the vice president, just based on this pressure that the former president was observing. >> a secret service official disputed the exchange and told cnn that concerns about violence
directed at pence or any risk posed by the former president's actions was never communicated to them. we're also covering new developments in the capitol riot investigation. two former trump administration officials will not face charges for contempt of congress in the january 6th investigation. the justice department says it will not indict former white house chief of staff mark meadows and former deputy chief of staff dan scavino. the select committee begins its first public primetime hearings this thursday. the panel is expected to reveal new evidence and witness testimony. cnn national security reporter zach cohen joining us right now so, zach, what is the house committee saying about this decision that these two former high-level trump officials would not be indicted? >> reporter: fredricka, the committee says they're puzzled by this decision and don't understand how the department of justice did not indict both dan scavino and mark meadows for what they feel is their defiance of a congressional subpoena.
now, they've made clear over the last several months both are considered to be key witnesses in their investigation and they reiterated that again last night reacting to the news they would not be indicted saying both individuals undoubtedly have knowledge about donald trump's role and efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the events of january 6th. now, that is why the committee believes that meadows and scavino despite being high-level officials during the trump administration should have been obligated to comply with the subpoena they were sent previously. it is a little more complicated than some of the other cases because of their status in the white house, but also because both individuals either did cooperate at least to some extent or engaged in negotiations and discussed the parameters of a willingness to cooperate with the committee. now, look, we know mark meadows has handed over thousands of text messages and those are going to be featured prominently during the committee's hearings but the committee wants the department of justice to explain
why it's not bringing criminal charges against both men, especially because of their importance to the investigation. >> all right, zach cohen, thanks so much. joining me now to discuss these developments is michael selden, former federal prosecutor and host of his own podcast. >> good to see you. >> the justice department informing the house select committee investigating the january 6th insurrection that it will not initiate prosecutions for criminal contempt against the former trump white house officials, mark meadows and dan scavino so how big of a blow to the house panel is this to -- for them to want to enforce subpoenas? >> well, it is important that people honor subpoenas, period, especially government and high government level people. so meadows and scavino and navarro and bannon really all have a moral, ethical obligation to comply. that said, of course, those who
are indicted, bannon and navarro, completely stonewalled the committee whereas scavino and meadows endeavored to cooperate partially at least and that i think is what distinguishes them not being indicted from the others who were indicted but, of course, it's bad for the committee, it's bad for the country, more importantly, that these people keep their testimony, their important testimony to themselves at about -- with no real reason at about the beginnings. the hearings on january 6th. >> so now because of that inconsistency on being able to indict a few but then not for others, now that select committee is also asking the justice department for an explanation. will the justice department give an explanation? >> typically they don't. normally when they decline to prosecute, they say, we decline to prosecute and they don't explain it. we saw that sort of play out in
comey and hillary clinton and why that created such a stir was that comey was talking about things that normally the justice department doesn't talk about, so i think they would be well advised to not talk about this, to say this was our prosecutorial decision, people can speculate like i just did as to why navarro gets an indictment and scavino doesn't but i think it's better for the justice department just keep its cards to itself as it historically does. >> all right, so all this on the eve of this upcoming week's january 6th committee primetime hearings. audiences have seen the video. but what will be key in how the committee informs or sways the american public about the events, you know, leading up to, during and after the insurrection? how do they need to lay out their case? >> it's the movie "wag the dog" in a sense. they really need a narrator who can tell a coherent story from beginning to end. how did this come about?
what was the funding of it? what role did key players play in the lead-up to it? what specifically did trump play in the lead-up to it and on the events of january 6th and they need peter falk from "the princess bride" or somebody telling a story that people are compelled to listen to. remember, what we're going to hear on thursday is sort of almost like the preview, because they're going to then have six hearings after that and so if you will, this was a television show we'd want to say, oh, let's tune in for the next episode and the next episode and next episode so they really need to attach some narrative that's compelling to the american people to watch it. otherwise, they're not going to watch. >> so you think it will be compelling that as you've learned that they -- this hearing will be broken down into chapters. you only see pluses here and no minuses in that? >> well, if they on day one in the preview, if they can capture the audience's interest in what
is going to come next week, then i think it'll be a terrific success as they capture the audience and it keeps growing with the momentum that each episode presents. if on day one it's the same old, same old, we've seen the videotapes previously. doesn't seem like there's anything new here, i think people will turn the channel so i think it's really important that they set up the television show, if you will, in a way that people want to watch it. >> why it's primetime so more people, a larger american audience can actually watch this as opposed to being at work or school or whatever they're doing during the day side so they can actually watch it at home or from wherever they are in the evening. all right, michael zeldin, thank you very much. roads are turned into rivers
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happening right now potential tropical cyclone one making a mess of south florida but a flash flood warning for miami and ft. lauderdale just ended. more than 11 inches of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours, flooding the streets and leaving cars and drivers stranded in the storm. in all more than 7 million people are under tropical storm warnings now across florida and the bahamas. cnn's carlos suarez is in ft. lauderdale and meteorologist jean norman. also tracking the latest. carlos, you first. well, it still looks like you have high water and drivers in it. what is going on? >> reporter: yes, so, remember
when we were talking about getting a bit of a break from that rain, well, a quick look at the radar shows that will be pretty short-lived because we have a line of thunderstorms making their way from the south up into broward county. it's really probably the last punch from the storm and it will no doubt push the water levels, the total rainfall for parts of south florida to well over a foot of rain over the past 24 hours. here in ft. lauderdale we're seeing numbers at about probably close to 8, 8 1/2 inches over the last 24 hours that led to pretty serious flooding along parts of a1a which run alongside the beach out here. as you can see cars are doing the one thing that law enforcement is asking them not to do which is to try to make it past some of this flooding. there is a lone park ranger out here that occasionally will get on the loudspeaker and tell drivers if they try to do that they run the risk of getting their cars stuck. something we saw play out across miami over night as car after
car ended up getting stuck in the flooding there and miami fire rescue have a team of firefighters going around the city trying to get some of these cars out of the road after having rescued some of their owners overnight. again, the story here on ft. lauderdale beach is parts of it is still trying to dry out after nearly eight inches fell over a 24-hour period. it seems we'll get one more line of storms making their way across south florida. when everything is said and done parts of miami-dade county, specifically in the city of miami and south, they will most likely have seen nearly a foot of rain over a single day period. fredricka. >> what a mess. thank you so much. jean, to you now in the weather center. so as we saw right there the storm has caused quite the mess and it's ongoing really so how much longer can people expect to be in this deluge. >> i'd say another six hours they're going to see more of this rain and here's the radar that carlos was talking about.
you see the bright red colors, a couple of flashes of lightning moving between ft. lauderdale and miami and miami getting pounded under a flash floodwater warning because the rain is coming down so fast at a rate of maybe 1 to 2 inches an hour and already seen 11 inches and get another 2 or 3 out of this before the system finally moves on out. this part of the state, the southeast part is the one that's getting the most rain right now. you see everybody else is kind of clearing out over here by lake okeechobee and back by fort myers not looking so bad. even key west is beginning to dry out a little bit so the system has been taking its sweet time moving across florida since yesterday and that's one reason why we have these heavy rainfall amounts. when you hear the word tropical storm, that's what you should be thinking of as opposed to a hurricane which is more of a wind threat and this certainly has been a system that's dumped a lot of rain. there are still some flash flood warnings in effect in the green but notice right around miami, that's where the flash flood warning is in effect.
simply because of more rain expected. but miami picking up 11 so far. hollywood, 9 and as carlos said close to 8 in ft. lauderdale so these rainfall amounts will continue to tick up as long as the system is moving through. so here's the good news. >> oh, bring it. >> watching the rain moving on out, that's the good news. it should be out of here by midnight and then on the back side, we do see just a few, you know, regular florida thunderstorms for sunday afternoon as opposed to the tropical nature. and we still also have a risk of perhaps a few isolated tornadoes although that risk is really diminishing. as my producer heather said to me in my ear, this storm is a hot mess and she's right because all the showers and thunderstorms are to the east as opposed to right around the center or circulating and it's one of the reasons why it hasn't been upgraded yet but that could still happen. >> i know they're looking for it. the dryout whenever that will come. that's a lot of water that needs
to recede. the drainage system isn't like you see in a lot of other cities in south florida so ouch. gene norman, carlos suarez, thank you so much. now in honor of national gun violence awareness day, the white house was illuminated in orange friday night. several other government buildings including california's capitol dome and city hall in new york city will also be lit up in orange this weekend. this eighth annual national gun violence awareness day comes as people in the u.s. are reeling from a spate of mass shootings just in the last month. we're back in a moment. it's still the eat fresh® refresh, and now subway® is refreshing their classics, like the sweet onion teriyaki sauce, topped on tender shaved steak. it's a real slam dunk. right, der? wrong sport, chuck. just hold the sub, man!
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well, the bad news just keeps coming for president biden and the nation tweeven rising inflation, spiking gas prices, baby formula shortages, a war in ukraine, ongoing pandemic, a series of mass shootings in the u.s. and republican opposition to new gun laws. the president has a difficult summer ahead as midterms heat up and threaten to stall his agenda. here with me now to discuss cnn senior political analyst and senior editor at "the atlantic" ron brownstein and professor of history and public affairs at princeton university, julian se seltzer, good to see you both. many of these are outside of his control, he would say, even though that is generally correct, is that the right message to be sending to americans when so many are struggling with rising food costs, high prices at the pump, finding baby formula, i mean,
they want answers. >> absolutely. look, when you are the president, especially when your party is in unified control of congress voters fairly or not plame you or credit you for what's going on in the country and right now we are seeing voters extremely dissatisfied with the direction of the country. i have written that for president biden, normalcy is sort of like the horizon. it recedes every time you get close to it. the country can't get back to anything that feels like normal life that existed before the pandemic and in many ways, fred, i thought that was the core underlying promise of his presidency, of his campaign that he would kind of steer the country back to normalcy after all the storms of trump but instead we have seen inflation as you mentioned, other problems, these mass shootings, you know, continue to unsettle americans and he has been undercut i think to an unappreciated degree by the refusal of two senators, joe manchin and kyrsten sinema to
move forward so you have voters in the middle unhappy with conditions and voters in the base that feel they have not delivered on their promises and that's a pretty toxic combination. >> julian, you have a new opinion piece that just published on cnn.com and you write biden could face the same fate as one-term president jimmy carter if he doesn't turn things around and at this point, do you feel like the president can turn things around. >> the president can turn things around. there have been presidents at the end of this period going into midterms who are struggling, including ronald reagan in 1982, barack obama in 2010 and have gone on to re-election. that's not inevitable and i think talking about other factors don't work for presidents. what the electorate is looking for is to see president biden doing what he can with executive
power, with incremental steps to get on top of the crises, rather than to look like he's throwing his hands up in the air. >> at the same time doesn't he run the risk of overusing executive power? >> always, and presidents have to be cautious and that is a critique but on issues like inflation, when he will not make progress at this point on capitol hill because of republican obstruction and as ron said the manchin/sinema problem, that's the one tool he has at his disposal and easing economic concerns right now is probably more important for his presidency than any risk of, you know, overusing executive orders at this point. >> and on the issue about inflation this was the president yesterday. >> there's no denying that high prices particularly around gasoline and food are real problems for people. but there's every reason for the american people to feel confident that we'll meet these
challenges. >> so, ron, is that fair for biden to say when a recent cbs poll found that 65% of americans believe that he is slow to react? >> yeah, look, we have not had inflation of this magnitude in 40 years and as julian was referencing back to the carter era, the carter years, the early reagan years, the late nixon years, when inflation is high it dominates politics and it's something people feel every day, far more than they feel even, you know, the stock market or the job market, inflation is with you all of the time. again, i think part of the problem that biden faces goes back to the manchin/sinema issue and a lot of democrats were heartened when biden during the state of the union repackaged and reframed key elements of the build back better agenda as a way to help americans with their daily costs. i mean, there are components of the bill that would help with child care costs, health care costs, drug costs and utility
costs. larry summers the other day was being interviewed by "the washington post" and probably did more to predict the current inflationary problems than any other single individual. you know, he said build back better would have helped stabilize the macro economic situation, the exact opposite of what manchin has been arguing that it would exacerbate inflation, he said said that was wrong. but on all of these fronts biden can deliver what a tangible response to people's concern as julian said, he has only limited, you know, impact on the overall problem of inflation but they could deliver a series of targeted programs that help people with their daily costs and, again, that is what he has been prevented from doing by the resistance of manchin largely and sinema to some extent and so they are left with the worst of both worlds in which they seem to be paralyze the at a moment when people have real concerns. >> and why midterms will be so incredibly important still, i mean even more so so, julian, biden told cnn he didn't know
until april that baby formula shortages would be so serious. that was months after formula producer abbott, you know, shuttered its plant. do you think the president just -- that was an oversight, he's been poorly served by his own aides in the white house? i mean, should more blame or this kind of blame be placed on the white house for a manufacturing problem? >> well, i don't know the source of the mistake and i don't know whose problem or mistake it was in the white house, but it certainly doesn't play well. those are the kinds of issues when dealing with inflation or supply side shortages that really resonate for voters. you know, not being able to obtain enough formula is something every family, every parent understands the concern and so regardless of how that happened, those are the exact kind of mistakes that the administration can't be making at this point. >> all right, julian zelizer and
ron brownstein, good to see you both. 50 years ago this month a bungled break-in at the watergate in washington, d.c. tipped off the biggest political scandal of the 20th century. and the new cnn original series "watergate: blueprint for a scandal" shares the untold and complete picture of how it unfolded. >> a year before the watergate break-in there was a discussion with nixon, haldeman and kissinger and they are talking about fire-bombing and breaking into the brookings institution to get some papers that are in brookings that would make lyndon johnson look bad in his conduct of the war in vietnam and nixon look good. >> jack caufield came into my office and said if colson wants me to firebomb the brookings institute, i said, come again?
>> the president wanted classified documents and he told them, do it. chuck colson says what you'll do is start a little fire, fire alarm will go off and the plumbers were going to rent a fire truck and answer the fire while liddy and others would go up, go to the safe, break it and pull out all the classified material. >> i said, this is insane. this is declaring war on a think tank because they have papers the president thinks he wants. >> oh, a scandal like none other. be sure to tune in tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific only on cnn. thanks, dad. that's's right, robert. and it's nevever too early to learn you cocould save with americas number one motorcycle insurer.. that's right, jamie. but it's not just about savings. it's about the friendsds we mae along the way. you said it, flo. and don't forget to floss before you brush. your gums will thank you.
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♪ ♪ a man who stabbed three hospital employees in los angeles county is now in custody. yesterday afternoon the man attacked two nurses and a physician in the emergency room of the encino hospital medical center and then barricaded himself inside the building. two of the victims are in stable condition while the third is in critical condition and had to undergo surgery last night. authorities say the motive for the attack is not clear but that the man was seeking some type of treatment. the suspect has had multiple contacts with police including two arrests for assaulting officers. and a manhunt is under way for a suspect who shot at least three people this morning after opening fire from a u-haul truck outside a houston nightclub.
three victims, a woman and two men ranging in age from 32 to 50 were transported from the scene after 4:00 a.m. the female was in critical condition and the two males in stable condition according to police. a search for the suspect is under way and police are asking the public for information. the u-haul truck the suspect was driving has not been located. and ten days after a gunman killed 19 children and 2 teachers in uvalde, texas, there's growing frustration over continued gaps in information provided by authorities. at a meeting of the uvalde school board last night, the superintendent announced st students will not be returning to robb elementary school. families expressed frustration the school board didn't have answers about security once students do return to the classrooms. camila bernal is in uvalde.
we heard from a texas legislator that the incident commander at the school wasn't in radio communication. what are you learning? >> reporter: well, fred, let me just say that again, an incident commander without a radio. that's according to texas state senator roland gutierrez. i mean, it is almost incredible to think about this. he may have had a cell phone but, of course, the big question is whether or not he knew that there were still children in that classroom calling 911. "the new york times" got a transcript of one of those 911 calls where a girl is saying that she's afraid, that she does not want to die, says, there are bodies, describes her teacher being shot and so, of course, that is the frustrating part we still do not know and there are many gaps in this investigation. we're still asking, but it keeps on changing. officials sending corrections and still a lot of unknowns.
that's the problem here in uvalde and, of course, the parents are frustrated. many of them who went to that school board meeting yesterday was the first one after the massacre and the parents saying that they simply want answers, that they want to know how the school district is going to keep their children safe. they're saying that their children don't want to return to school. two things to note from that meeting, the first being as you mentioned that the superintendent said there will not be any more classes at robb elementary. teachers and students will not return. the other notable thing is that peter arredondo, the police chief, there was no action taken against him so do not know what the school district will decide to do despite the fact that we still don't know why he called the shots when it comes to not going inside of that classroom. it's been more than two weeks and we still don't know why and how that shooter was in that classroom for more than an hour
before he was shot by authorities, so that's the problem that there are still so many questions and in addition to all the questions we have in terms of the investigation, there's the trauma, there's a community that is grieving. we have so many people here at this makeshift memorial paying their respects trying to honor and remember the victims and i want to highlight one of those victims. ellie garcia would have been 10 years old today. her favorite color was purple so there are many members of this community who are wearing purple today. we went to the local starbucks and they're all wearing purple and said her dad was a regular and that they just wanted to show him support so think about this family who would have been celebrating a birthday today instead they're grieving. fred. >> tragic, all right, thank you so much. camila. and daniella, to you, lots of discussions have come from this latest mass shooting about gun reform. where do things stand between
republicans and democrats who are engaged in that conversation? >> reporter: fred, there is still such a divide between how republicans and democrats want to approach this issue of gun safety reform. you know, they were in recess this past week but there were virtual meetings that took place between republicans and democrat, these bipartisan talks but they're not able to meet in the middle just yet. as an example, mitch mcconnell said the issue is, quote, mental illness and school safety, meanwhile, democrats want to raise the age of purchasing semiautomatic weapons from 18 to 21 which has not gained any traction in these talks. republicans don't believe there should be any changes to gun reform -- any gun reform this this country. democrats want to see gun safety reform but, look, these talks are including topics such as upgrading school security, bolstering the country's mental health system, expanding background checks and pushing states to implement tougher red flag laws, also some gun trafficking laws are being
discussed between these bipartisan -- this bipartisan group as well, this smaup group of republicans and democrats, fred, remember that the senate in order for any bill to break that filibuster, it needs 60 votes to break that filibuster to advance legislation see even if every democrat supports any kind of gun safety legislation they need at least ten republicans on board and right now there are not ten on board on any measure. meanwhile, in the house they're moving forward with several bills, in fact, this week they'll vote on a bill that would actually expand a lot of background checks has a lot of wide-ranging measures, but it's not likely to pass in the senate. it will likely get stuck. take a listen to what one congressman from texas joaquin castro said about the efforts in the house and how they're likely going to get stuck in the senate. >> we also realize that we're trying to work on something that has a chance of getting through a senate where republicans have stood in the way of any kind of reform.
you know, so we are working on our end but it takes the other party also being willing to compromise. i hope that that happens. i think uvalde shocked the conscience in a way that we haven't seen since sandy hook, at least. >> reporter: he really sums it up well, fred. democrats are hoping that the momentum after this horrific shooting in uvalde will allow republicans to start negotiating and maybe meet democrats in the middle on gun safety reform. something that's not happened yet after so many horrific shootings but, of course, a lot of things are still waiting, there's still a lot of negotiations taking place and senators back and they will take place in person and they're really hoping to get some republicans on board, fred. >> all right, daniella diaz and camila bernal, thank you. we appreciate it. the girl scouts have awarded their highest honor to one of the uvalde school shooting victims. 10-year-old amerie jo garza was a proud girl scout and just one
week before the massacre she had completed her girl scout bridging sear moaning. the girl scouts posthumously awarded amerie jo with the bronze cross. it's the highest honor granted to scouts who put their lives at risk to save or attempt to save another's life. amerie jo's stepfather told cnn she was trying to call 911 before she was killed. amerie jo was laid to rest on tuesday. we'll be right back. ♪
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all right. the epson derby has just wrapped up near listen don. the race kicks off day three of the four day celebration of queen elizabeth's platinum jubilee, she was not at the race. later this evening there will be a huge party at the palace in the queen's honor. max foster has details. >> reporter: we just had an update on the queen's health from epson, where the queen was due today for the races but had to cancel because of mobility issues. her granddaughter is there, she said she's spoken to her recently, and she said her grandmother is well obviously she was in london on thursday, referring to the fact the queen probably overexerted herself a bit on the first day of celebrations. this is the best bit.
the queen will be in front of the sofa watching the tv, in her comfy clothes. so i think she is well and engaging in the jubilee celebrations by watching them on tv if she can't be there in person. we think it's unlikely tonight she'll appear at the concert. everyone is appearing from diana ross to alicia keys. we can expect a powerful and poignant speech from prince charles, i believe. prince williams and the duchess of cwales has been in cambridge. everyone excited about the concert tonight, good weather expected because it's outdoors. hoping the rain holds off tomorrow for the street parties and the jubilee pageant, the final day of the four-day celebration. fred. >> thank you so much. let's hope for no rain tomorrow. we're back in a moment.
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a all died at the end of may. to date 466 members have had their lives cut short by world trade center illnesses. hello, everyone, everyone. thank you for joining me i'm fredricka whitfield. happening right now, pummelling rains in florida, flash flood warnings are over for miami and fort lauderdale but the storm is still making a mess. at this hour, more than 7 million people are under tropical storm warnings across florida and the bahamas, drenching rainfall dropping more than 11 inches in miami in just a 24-hour period. flooding streets and leaving cars and drivers stranded. cnn's carla suarez is in fort lauderdale. what's happening
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