This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 25, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "Fox News Alert." Hurricane Harvey has now been upgraded to a Category 4 storm. It's now bearing down, as we see right there on the screen, on the Gulf Coast of Texas. President Trump has now already signed a disaster proclamation vowing the federal government's full and complete support. We're going to have live coverage all evening from the ground.
And we'll also have breaking news from the White House tonight. The president has, in fact, pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. We'll get the first interview and reaction in the course of the program tonight.
Also, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who's on this program often -- he has resigned from the White House. We'll talk about that. But first, Steve Harrigan is on the ground. He's in Corpus Christi, as you can see, with the very latest on Hurricane Harvey.
Steve, I see -- wow. I hope you're being safe out there, my friend.
STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We are. I'm here with Chris (INAUDIBLE) Heather Lacey (ph). We're under a parking garage to try and get a safe spots. That's because the streets are pretty much wind tunnels. There have been gusts of wind along the coast of Texas reported at more than 115 miles an hour, and the worst is still yet to come in the next few hours.
Already, this is a Category 4 storm. That mean's there's going to be widespread destruction. Large trees are going to be uprooted or snapped and there's going to be physical damage to buildings, especially roofs. Here where I'm standing, part of the roof of this building has already come off, and you can hear loud sounds behind me of metal roofs coming off, some streetlight going down, as well. (INAUDIBLE) physical destruction.
It is a ghost town. All the buildings are boarded up. There's no one out here. And that includes first responders. The winds so heavy right now, first responders, according to Corpus Christi police, are shutting down for the next several hours.
There are widespread areas that have been under voluntary evacuation, others mandatory evacuation. For the past couple of days, we've seen people here doing everything they can to prepare, some leaving, some deciding to stay, families out at Home Depot buying plywood, people in line for bread and water, flashlights, camping gear, really trying to get through this any way they can.
The real danger is going to be over the next four to five days. We could see 30 inches of rain in parts of this flat, low-lying area. That's about a year's worth of rain in just a couple of days. It could mean a 12-foot storm surge. And while the wind speed and the destruction could get a lot of the headlines, the real drama could be in the dirty (ph) flood in the days ahead. Sean, back to you.
HANNITY: Hey, Steve, first of all, be careful. You're actually inside -- you're protected by two sides right now. But behind you, you see these massive gusts of wind, and my great fear is that something (ph) will be flying and debris will be flying. But when you go out there, from your perspective, feeling the intensity of that wind, I mean, doesn't it feel like, for people that are at home, that this could lift you up and pick you up?
HARRIGAN: At about 90 miles an hour, it's enough to slightly jar you off your feet. But you know, 30 miles away from me, they could be having and they are having a terrible night, small towns like Rockport. We won't really be able to see the results until tomorrow morning. A lot of these places, there's only one road in or out. That road is flooded, and they could lose power and nighttime. So some really difficult hours ahead for a lot of people here along the Texas coast, Sean.
HANNITY: To what extent, Steve, can you tell the audience -- because I've done a lot of research and I've talked to Joe Bastardi numerous times all throughout the day. But this is literally going to go inland up to about 75 miles. Then it's going to stop, pivot, turn back, and literally, we're talking about -- oh, hang in there. It's really tough to watch somebody bracing themselves like that.
It's going to pivot and it's going to keep raining literally for four days. Did the people that needed to evacuate listen, Steve?
HARRIGAN: I think a lot of people--
HARRIGAN: -- did evacuate. But you know, this storm really has caught a lot of people by surprise. Just a few days ago, it was a nothing. And then it increased in strength quickly and so dramatically, going from category 1, 2, 3 to 4, that it caught people by surprise. It's also been a dozen years since a major hurricane has had landfall in the U.S., so there was some complacency, as well. We've heard the governor over the past couple of days really warning and encouraging people to get out.
And the words, the terms they're using are no joke about it, life-threatening, catastrophic, not just from this dramatic wind that you're seeing but from the storm surge to follow. So they have tried to warn people.
But you know, this is not an exact science. They've been wrong in the past. And they may have underestimated this one. But certainly, a tough job for the forecasters and a tough job along the coast. This could affect four million people. We could see tens of thousands of people with no electric power for three to seven days starting tomorrow morning. I'm worried what the morning after is going to look like.
This isn't the worst of it. I mean, I'm getting knocked down, but 30 miles to my north, there's buildings under water and there's buildings knocked down. And still the next four or five hours, it's going to get even worse, Sean.
HANNITY: Steve, I'm watching. Are you in a place where you're protected, that nothing that's flying in your direction can hit you, number one? And how soon do you feel -- we're watching those gusts of wind. They're chilling. How soon before you think you have to get out of there for your own safety and security? Wow!
HARRIGAN: You know, one of the dangers of this, especially in this area, is that there's often one way in and one way out. So we've actually backed up twice already to seek safer ground. That's because some of the roads can flood (INAUDIBLE) a close eye on your location. I feel pretty comfortable with this position right now. I think the team and the vehicle are in a parking garage blocked off. We just jumped out on the road to try and give you a sense of what it feels like.
You know, this is what 90 miles an hour looks like and feels like. It can knock you down and it can knock pieces of the building down. And 30 miles to my north in Rockport, it's leveling entire buildings. That's what a Category 4 storm does. You're seeing just a fraction of it where I'm standing now, Sean.
HANNITY: All right, Steve, look, honestly, we're all sitting here, we're watching what you're going through. We're all getting nervous for your sake. We're just asking you maybe it's time to move out a little bit, get to safer ground. And when you can, check in with us. If you can't, we all understand.
Those gusts are chilling. And I know and the audience appreciate you putting yourself out there like that. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Stay safe, OK? All right.
Joining us now is the governor of the great state of Texas. Greg Abbott is with us. Governor, I've been watching you all day. You've been warning people. Now we're beginning to see the beginnings of it. And you -- I don't know if you can see on feedback where you are, but those gusts of wind (INAUDIBLE) literally lifting him off the ground. And some people stayed. Do you know or have any idea how many people actually didn't take the warnings?
GOV. GREG ABBOTT, R-TEXAS: Sean, we're not sure. What we do know, in fact, is that so many were able to evacuate. In fact, I just returned from San Antonio, Texas, where busloads of evacuees were going into, and I got to shake their hand and give them a hug and learn from them what it was like that they had left just hours earlier today in Corpus Christi, where you were seeing that damage take place, and they were so thankful that they were able to get out and just happy to be alive.
And that's what this is all about, Sean. Texas has been prepared for this for a week now. And we have people in place and we've taken all the precautions that are necessary. But our top goal all along has been to protect as many lives as we can and to try to get through this storm without the loss of any life.
HANNITY: Please. And we see the danger in all of this. And I was on the radio today. I'm just -- you know, don't risk your life. You may lose a house or property and it's very painful, but don't lose your life.
Governor, you have been in touch with the White House. We heard about the declaration, proclamation from the president earlier tonight. How much coordination is there? Because from my understanding and all the meteorologists I've been talking to all day, this is going to go 75 miles inland. It's going to stop, pivot, turn around. And it's sort of, like, stuck. And it's going to be there tonight, tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, maybe longer as it then makes its way to Galveston and up the eastern coast of Texas.
So that is a big, big -- that's a big problem that's not going away anytime soon, sir.
ABBOTT: Well, as the reporter noted, despite what you were able to see because of all that wind, the worst problem probably will be the flooding, flooding resulting from feet of rain that come down and just stack up. We've dealt with this on several occasions across the Gulf Coast, and it can have a dramatically horrific effect.
But you also asked about the coordination that we've had with the White House. I got to tell you, it's been very impressive. I got a phone call from the president himself a couple of days ago, his staff, ranging from the Health and Human Services secretary, from the Homeland Security secretary to the head of FEMA both nationally but also in our region.
And as you recognized earlier, the president has already granted a request for a disaster declaration, meaning that Texas is already going to be getting relief from FEMA to help our individuals, our citizens and our cities and communities begin the rebuilding process.
HANNITY: Governor, I was on the air. We covered the issue of Katrina. Obviously, the issue of the levees was another issue. But clearly, mistakes were made. You feel, as governor -- you feel, having been in touch with the White House, as this goes on now for days and days, that you're confident that the help, the assistance, whatever needs people have will be met and be met expeditiously.
ABBOTT: The White House is fully engaged, very helpful, very concerned about the people of Texas. Texas has received everything that we've asked for from the White House, and we're very grateful for it. And we're just working hard day and night to make sure we take care of our fellow Texans.
HANNITY: All right, Governor, for all the people in Texas, our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Americans tonight and tomorrow and as this hurricane makes its way through. We pray nobody gets hurt, nobody, obviously, dies, and that we can get help and assistance to you. The American people are always ready to help, sir. Thank you for being with us.
ABBOTT: Thank you.
HANNITY: Also on the ground, Corpus Christi, Texas, Rob Schmitt is with us. Rob, what's going on where you are?
ROB SCHMITT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sean. Yes, and good to hear from the governor there. We're getting punished right now. This is about as bad as we've seen it here in Corpus Christi. We're right on the water here in downtown Corpus. This is not a mandatory evacuation, still a voluntary evacuation. And you go out onto the water, onto the island and across the bay that divides the island from the mainland, they're in a mandatory evacuation, as well they should be because this is a punishing rain. It's a lot of rain. It's a lot of wind.
And the other big thing is going to be what could be a 12-foot storm surge that could put a lot of those areas, those coastal -- extreme coastal areas completely under water. And that's the real danger in this whole thing tonight.
We've watched this storm kind of advance over the last 24, 36 hours. As Harrigan was saying about 10 minutes ago, he said, you know, this was not that big of a deal. The storm was really going to be a story because it had nothing to -- there was no system to push or pull it out of the way. So it was just going to sit on top of the Houston area and just dump maybe two, three feet of rain, and that was going to be the big story.
And then all of a sudden, we had a Category 3 hurricane and a Category 4 hurricane later on tonight. So this thing became a major severe windy storm almost out of nowhere. We were expecting tropical storm-force winds, and now we've got, you know, winds about as strong as they can come. So right now, we're feeling about 130-mile-an-hour wind gusts in the eye of this storm. Where I'm standing right here is about 30 miles to the west of that. We didn't catch the eye quite, but we're seeing about 100-mile-an-hour gusts right here. We just checked that from our weather service. So we're getting about 100-mile-an-hour gusts, probably 60, 70-mile-an-hour sustained winds right now.
This is certainly the toughest that it's been since I've been out here. I've done maybe four or five of these hits (ph), and every time I come out here, it gets a little bit worse.
Now the big question is, what does this storm do? And that's what everybody's trying to guess right now. And if you've seen the projected path, it looks so funny because it goes onto the mainland, and then it just parks and then it starts to back up. It goes back out in the ocean. It might regain some speed, might get a little stronger, get a little more moisture in it and then kind of reenter in the Houston-Galveston area, and then it could even slide up into Louisiana.
And all the while, it's just dumping inundating rain this entire time, just dumping rain, dumping rain, dumping rain. And they're talking about raining for four or five days. If they're going to get rain like this for four or five days, that's how you get feet of rain. And feet of rain is just -- it's an unimaginable amount of water, when you really think about how much that could be and what that can do.
Fortunately, we're in south Texas, which is used to rain. They had some terrible floods here last year. So these people know how to handle this kind of a storm because this area in the summertime -- it's just -- it's -- it's hot, it's sticky. And it rains almost every day. And they get big-time storms down here. This is where some of the more violent storms happen, areas like this (INAUDIBLE) south Florida.
So as we just continue to get hit with this sideways rain. I can feel how much worse it gets by how much harder I get hit by the raindrops, and they just sting. It's like getting hit with sand. (INAUDIBLE) those big gusts hit. So you're just be standing (INAUDIBLE) throws you off is you're standing there and you get kind of comfortable for a second, and then a gust comes by at 100 miles an hour and almost knocks you off your feet. So you just -- you're not ready for it. So you almost have to (INAUDIBLE) the whole time -- Sean.
HANNITY: Robert, let me ask you, because maybe you can describe for our audience -- we've been to you. We've been to Steve. You can see the winds nearly pull you off the ground. If you can describe that sensation, it -- you know, we see locking down your legs and literally bracing yourself. And to what extent? You've said this is not the first time you've been in this environment. But our great fear for you is that there's going to be flying debris. To what extent do you see that happening now?
SCHMITT: Yes, I mean, well, that's -- that's what we got to watch out for. That's what we're trying to be extra careful for. So I'm looking at all these palm trees that are near me and the fronds are coming off and -- I'm not too worried about that, and I didn't see any coconuts on them, which is what you'd have to worry about something like that hitting you in the head. That wouldn't be any fun.
But yes, I mean, there's stuff -- there's just debris coming off. We saw what looked like a DirecTV satellite dish fly off the top of a building--
SCHMITT: -- a few hours ago, and it just landed on a median here on the highway. And I saw some guy run out, go after it. I mean, I assume it came off because of the wind. I can only assume so.
But this was back when we were only seeing 50, 60-mile-an-hour winds. So yes, there's stuff on the buildings that can fly off. I mean, if it was behind me, Corpus Christi is not a terribly big city, but it does have a few high-rises. And we've seen some things fly off of these buildings, I don't know, loose debris that might be on the roofs or whatever, and then just a lot of palm tree just junk just flying off, flying everywhere.
We just lost our light, and I don't know why, but I'm now in the dark. So we'll send it on back to you and (INAUDIBLE)
HANNITY: We'll take it back. We'll be checking in but with both you and Steve Harrigan. And you have not lost your sense of humor. You're certainly -- the light's back on. You certainly haven't lost your sense of humor. You're earning your pay tonight. And on behalf of everybody, please stay safe out there. And when you need to go, we fully understand. Thank you.
All right, let's go now to Matt Finn. He is on the ground also tonight in Blessing, Texas. Matt, what's going on there? Looks a little calmer where you are.
MATT FINN, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Sean, we're about 150 miles northeast of where Rob and Steve are in Corpus Christi, much more calm here, although it's changing by the minute. Blinding wind and rain, and then it kind of calms down. So it seems like on the ground, we're starting to experience the outer bands of the hurricane.
We're in an area where there are a lot of small coastal towns. Blessing is one of them. As you can see behind me, it looks like a ghost town. Everybody has either evacuated or they're sitting inside of their home.
We spoke to some people earlier who said they just decided to hunker down, but there was a mandatory evacuation issued here in this county last night at midnight, and the last bus left this county at 1:30 this afternoon. So tonight, the message from the law (ph) officials is if you're still here, you're unfortunately on your own. This area is considered ground zero. The forecasters say some of the strongest portions of the hurricane will hit this area.
Tonight, the National Weather Service is saying 10, 15, 30, 50 inches of rain could drop here. The mayor of a neighboring town said unprecedented amount of rain. They're calling this uncharted waters. There are some curfews in effect, and the mayor of the neighboring town here says that there's already power outages, so that if you did stay, you could be without power for days on end. And that could potentially be the worst part for anybody who decided to stick this thing out.
You know, we -- our cell phones have been going off all night, too, with tornado warnings. And you know, some of them were forecasted. So overall, a dangerous situation here. And we're keeping our eye on the storm that is not nearly as bad as where Steve is right now, but the winds are picking up here, Sean.
HANNITY: All right, Matt, you be safe, as well. And it's going to get hit hard, as well, and we'll be following it throughout the night. We'll get back to you.
Joining us now he's from Weatherbell.com. He's their chief forecaster and he's been telling me all day -- now -- I guess as we speak, it is now hitting the coast. We had a Cat 3, a Cat 4. And how bad will it get, Joe Bastardi?
JOE BASTARDI, WEATHERBELL.COM: Well, it's a Cat 4. It's interesting listening to the reporters, one of the things I lament today is the reliance on computer models, and they're exactly right. Earlier in the week, a lot of the models weren't picking up on how bad this was going to be. What we were using were examples from the past.
Hurricane Celia, for those of you who live in the Corpus Christi area, Ocela (ph), 1970, went from a Category 1 to a Category 4 in 24 hours coming into the coast. Camille, of course, which is an infamous hurricane, went from a tropical depression to a Cat 5 in 36 hours. So we were well aware. What we were warning our clients (ph) this week was, get ready. This is going to be a real bad situation.
It's coming ashore right now right while Sean's on the air. And this town of Rockport, I'm going to be very curious to see how bad the damage is going to be there. And I don't mean that in a -- you know, a nasty way. I'm just saying that it looks to me like Rockport is going to be ground zero for the worst this storm can deliver as far as wind goes.
I wouldn't be surprised -- I'm watching some of the anemometers in there -- if we see some 150-mile-an-hour gusts in there. Rance's (ph) Pass, by the way, has had a gust to 118. During Celia Ochela (ph), they had a gust to 161.
This storm is hitting in an area where I'm sure if the governor were here, he could tell you about some of the Texas hurricane lore. Carla hit up the coast maybe 40 miles. Indianola, which was a famous port on the Gulf Coast, was destroyed back in the 1800s by two major hurricanes back-to-back. And that's why Galveston and Houston became the big port on the Gulf Coast.
So where this is hitting is almost legendary as far as storms go. We just haven't seen them over the past 20, 30 years in this particular area. Fortunately, Sean, and this is about the only bright spot in the whole thing, it's hitting in an area that's less populated as far as a direct hit goes because we got Corpus Christi to the southwest. We got Houston and Galveston off to the northeast. And of course, you get inland toward Austin and those areas--
HANNITY: Hey, Joe, I don't want--
BASTARDI: Go ahead. I'm sorry.
HANNITY: I don't want to interrupt you, but this is important information and only because you've been on my radio program for an hour-and-a-half the last three days, and you've been writing me about this storm for over a week. You saw it coming for a while. But this is important.
You told me earlier today this storm is going to push about 75 miles inland. And it's going to kind of stop, but it'll extend out, obviously, beyond that. Then it's going to make a turn. And then it's just going to keep pounding rain. And it's going to happen tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, Sunday, Sunday night, Monday, Monday night, into Tuesday.
How far does it go? And what does it mean for the people that are directly hit? And let's go up the eastern coast of Texas and tell everybody that is in harm's way here. What's going to happen?
BASTARDI: Well, here's what I think it's going to be about 25 or 30 miles southwest of Victoria tomorrow night at about this time. Then it's going to turn southward and be very close to Corpus Christi late in the day Sunday, just to the northwest. Then Monday, I think it's back out over the water to the northeast of Corpus Christi.
When it gets out there, we have to start dealing with the situation again as far as where it will move. If it turns northeast right back into Texas, it's still a major problem as a tropical storm with tremendous rains.
The big fear I've had, and I still have, is that it'll try to move east-northeastward out over the water, become a very strong hurricane again, and then be close to the Galveston area sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday.
So we have two parts of this storm. When the storm makes landfall, it's going to be doing a loop and weakening, and all this heavy rain is going to be going off. Bands are still going to develop and spread out toward the Houston area from the storm.
BASTARDI: But the storm weakens over the next three days.
BASTARDI: Then it's back out in the Gulf of Mexico.
HANNITY: And that's the show we had earlier with Steve Harrigan there. So just to be very clear here because -- if we can put up the map one more time -- we're talking about Corpus Christi to Galveston, Houston. And it's going to be there from tonight all the way through Tuesday. It goes back into the gulf, gathers more strength and comes back on shore. So that's -- you're dealing with basically a really, really long period of time, not--
HANNITY: Yes. Go ahead.
BASTARDI: It's a siege, but it will be weakening over the next 72 hours. So the wind won't be as big a problem. The one problem you do have -- and this is what I'm worried about. I'm not trying to panic anybody up in Houston or Galveston or anything.
What I'm worried about is when this -- if this thing comes all the way back at you, even if it's a 40, 50, 60-mile-an-hour tropical storm, after one to two feet of rain and the trees -- you know, the trees take all that water and the ground gets wet, you start knocking trees down left and right on people's houses.
And you have -- you have half the wind of what you would have had in a big hurricane doing the same amount of damage as far as that goes, with power outages. But there's no question about the amount of rain that could come from this. And it's not because this is some freak hurricane with a lot of moisture, it's just very slow moving and trapped. And that is the problem.
HANNITY: Joe, let me -- let me -- I'm going to go to my colleague, Steve Harrigan, in just a minute. And we saw the gusts, and you said we've already (INAUDIBLE) seeing 118-mile-per-hour gusts. And I'm watching him. He's literally knocked down, braced (ph) down. These gusts are nearly knocking him over. How dangerous is it for him as I go to him and -- and should he be moving inland now, in your opinion, because his safety is our priority.
BASTARDI: Oh, I think Corpus -- the worst is by Corpus because the storm is up the coast northeast of Corpus now. But I mean, you could get these downbursts, especially between buildings, where you're funneling wind in there, what may be a 60, 70-mile-an-hour wind between two buildings could be 100 to 105 miles an hour. And of course, if you're not prepared for that, that's going to knock you over.
HANNITY: And then flying debris, Joe?
BASTARDI: The real problem -- yes, it's -- it's the entire ball of wax here. Everything could come at you, and of course, it's dark. You don't know where it's coming from.
The real problem -- I mean, the town that I think is a really going to get hit very, very badly--
HANNITY: All right--
BASTARDI: -- is Rockport. And if we have people at Rockport, it's going to be interesting to see what they're reporting.
HANNITY: All right, Joe, stay there. We'll be going back to you -- Joe Bastardi, Weatherbell.com.
And we go back to my friend, my colleague, Steve Harrigan. And earlier in the program, the gusts of wind were massive, nearly lifting him off his feet. You're still in the same location. And what we're hearing from Joe Bastardi and others, it's literally getting worse every five-minute interval. Do you feel it even stronger than it was when we went to you at the top of the show 24 minutes ago?
HARRIGAN: There are some sharp gusts here and some bits of buildings coming off as we speak, some stoplights down, as well. No heavy structural damage here yet, but there have been gusts--
HANNITY: Are you all right?
HARRIGAN: -- at parts along the coast -- yes -- of 118 miles an hour. And there are also extreme wind warnings in parts along the coast, as well. So basically, you have to shelter in those areas as if you had a tornado. So even though you're inland, you could be facing tornado-like winds. (INAUDIBLE) parts along the coast to shelter in the interior of their home.
No, I heard you mention Rockport. That's a town that was under mandatory evacuation, like so many towns in low-lying areas along the coast. And actually, the mayor of Rockport told people who were disobeying that order to evacuate to take a Sharpie and write their names and their Social Security numbers on their arm.
That's a level of seriousness, and that's the level -- that's what we're hearing out of officials now throughout this storm, that this is life-threatening and potentially catastrophic.
It's going to take a while to actually see how bad it is about 30 miles to my north. That's the dirty side of the hurricane, and that's places like Rockport, which, according to people we've spoken to here who have relatives there, they say it's under water. So it's going to be unbelievable to see what we see over the next 24 hours, Sean.
HANNITY: If you don't mind, I want to go back to a question I was asking you earlier, Steve, because we're watching these gusts of wind. We see you bracing. And even with your legs braced like that, you get that gust of wind, it almost looks like it's about to lift you off your feet. What is that sensation like? And when do you feel the need to get out of there?
HARRIGAN: I actually feel like it's not that bad right now. I remember Katrina when it was 110--
HANNITY: You're making me laugh! Oh, it's not that bad, I'm nearly flying away. You haven't lost your sense of humor.
HARRIGAN: No, it's -- well, no--
HANNITY: Oh, my goodness!
HARRIGAN: In Katrina, you could actually try and lean forward and you couldn't. You couldn't fall down. Here, I think this is about 80 or 90. I'm not seeing -- I'm not seeing trees snap, and I'm not seeing large pieces of buildings fall off, just a few shingles. So I don't think this (INAUDIBLE) If you see this, though, imagine, if you think this is bad, where are not the lights, where are not the TV cameras? Thirty miles to my north? That's where buildings are crumbling. That's where people are under water (INAUDIBLE) stay there.
That's the real -- you know, those are the people I'm worried about right now. I can walk five feet under a parking garage and be fine. I'm, you know, just out here for a few minutes. But there are four million people affected by this storm and in small towns along the coast. Elderly, people with health challenges, people who for some reason didn't believe this storm was going to be that serious, people who didn't get out, they are in real danger. And we're going to have to get to them fast over the next 48 hours, Sean.
HANNITY: You know, you're really talking about the seriousness of this. And I've been urging people on my radio show all day and yesterday to get out. They are going to be some that are going to be needing help. The president's involved. We just had the governor on.
I just want you to know because we're all friends here -- and when you just said to us, Oh, this is nothing, and then you nearly got blown over, we're all saying, That's nothing? Because it looks from our end like--
HARRIGAN: You know, it--
HARRIGAN: I don't want to minimize it. It certainly is something and certainly things could happen. But I don't feel like it's at the level of Katrina where I'm standing. It might be different when we get to Rockport, if we can get there tomorrow, and see the devastation. But this is dramatic, but you know, we've been in worse.
HANNITY: All right, Steve. And I know I speak for everybody -- you know, the fact that you can talk about, Well, it's not as strong as Katrina, it's not as strong as this hurricane that I've been -- it speaks volumes. It speaks volumes about who you are.
You said that you can literally run five feet and you'll be underground and you'll be in safety. Here's my next question. And you talked about, about 30 miles north of you, that there are buildings that are crumbling. And you were talking about real debris that's flying.
Is that the cut-off point for you that -- all right, we got to cut and run here because something -- a shingle from a hard rooftop could obviously be flying against you, or a tree limb or -- you know, it gets serious at some point.
HARRIGAN: You know, these things are always physical challenges to stand there, to stay calm and to talk. And there are technical challenges, too (INAUDIBLE) our camera operator to get a shot (INAUDIBLE) in this wind and to keep the signal up is a challenge, as well. I mean, you have to be -- you know, you take a level of risk in this job. And there's some excitement that goes along with it. I mean, we -- there's a lot of people at Fox who go to war zones, as well. It's an attempt to show people what's going on. (INAUDIBLE) you know, get knocked over or get moved around, it gives you I think a real feeling of what 80 or 90 miles an hour feel like. If I'm used to it and I'm experienced and I've been in Katrina and I'm not that scared by it, what if you are 75-years-old on a walker, in bed or on oxygen and you're alone tonight and your power is out? That's the person who is afraid.
HANNITY: Steve Harrigan, we're going to give you a little break. We'll come back to you as long as you feel it is safe on your part. It is informative. It does help the audience. And I think it's very educational. Get back inside where it is safe a little bit. We will go back to you later in the program. Thank you so much for your hard work. He's giving us a thumbs-up and telling jokes.
HARRIGAN: Thanks a lot, Sean.
HANNITY: You are giving us a thumbs-up and telling jokes. Amazing.
When we come back, we'll have more of our coverage of hurricane Harvey now hitting the coast of Texas. Also Sheriff Arpaio was pardoned just a couple hours ago by President Trump. He will respond next on this program.
HANNITY: This is a Fox News alert. And Hurricane Harvey is now category four storm now bearing down as we speak on the Texas coast. The eye of the storm expected to make landfall any second.
Also major breaking news tonight. President Trump has in fact pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. Remember, he was convicted last month of only criminal contempt. We are going to keep showing Steve Harrigan who is on the ground in Texas tonight, Corpus Christi, in just a second. This was moments ago, the video you'll be seeing.
But on the phone joining us, I believe his first interview, former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. First of all, Sheriff, I am very relieved for you. You are 85 years old. You have dedicated your entire life to public service. You came under fire for obeying what are the laws of the land. I applaud the president for what he did tonight. It was the right thing to do. And he telegraphed he was going to do it the other night, but hearing it tonight, how did it feel?
JOE ARPAIO, FORMER MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: It's great. I love that president. He supports law enforcement. I am very humble. If you recall two years ago, I supported him and I said publicly recently, pardon or no pardon, I will be with him till the end. And I'm going to do a news conference early next week and get to the bottom of this, show the abuse of the judicial system and politics. I'm not going down without trying to defend myself to all those people that don't like what I've done.
HANNITY: Sheriff, it's got to be daunting, after all those years of public service, that here you are facing a potential year in jail. You know, I've known you for many, many years, sir. And I remember when you stood up and you said, wait a minute, these are the laws of the land. I'm a law enforcement officer. I'm sworn to uphold the laws of the land. Others that were also swore to uphold the laws of the land are not doing it, but I'm going to do it anyway. Isn't that really the root of the troubles for you?
ARPAIO: Yes, after all these years, 55 years law enforcement around the world, and here I am on a defense table because they want to do everything to get rid of me, certain people. And I will discuss that more next week. It's my wife's birthday. I just had spaghetti and meatballs for you. So 60 years of marriage and our birthday, and this is a good present for her, too, believe me.
HANNITY: I believe it. Well, listen, it's certainly better than what you could have been facing. If you ended up in one of your own jails you would have pink underwear and a bologna sandwich that cost five cents.
ARPAIO: Yes. It's federal. Sean, it's federal.
HANNITY: Oh, OK, it would be club Fed?
ARPAIO: Yes, three meals a day. It would have been all right.
HANNITY: Three and a cot, right?
On a serious note, give us a headline of the abuse of the judiciary before we get back to Steve Harrigan on the ground in Corpus Christi tonight.
ARPAIO: First of all, your great journalist that broke the story, he's a lawyer, too. But I'm going to discuss all that with my lawyer. I think people will be shocked. They probably won't believe that certain news media are trying to destroy me all these years. But we'll see. We'll try to get the message out Monday or Tuesday.
HANNITY: Sheriff, our best to you and your wife. Thank you for all the years of service. I'm relieved for you, for your wife, for your family, and I'm glad that the president, he did the right thing. There's no question about it. And I'm sure he will take heat, but he is a man of conviction as we've all learned and he is not going to be compliant to what people him to be. And I think that's why people admire him so much. Sheriff, all my prayers, all the best, sir, and we will talk soon.
ARPAIO: Thank you, Sean, thank you.
HANNITY: Now, we're going to get back to Steve Harrigan. He's actually getting back up in his position. That was him moments ago nearly getting blown over there. I want to get a quick reaction to this breaking news with Michelle Malkin. She is the host of her own show, "Malkin Investigates," CRTV. Michelle, good to see you. Before we get back to Texas, this is breaking news. He did uphold the law of the land. And he did it, as did the governor at the time, Jan Brewer, they did it in face of tremendous pressure and opposition not to enforce the laws. Now, if you want to change the laws, you can change them. But not enforcing them, it shouldn't be an option for anybody, correct?
MICHELLE MALKIN, HOST, "MICHELLE MALKIN INVESTIGATES": That's exactly right. This was an overzealous open borders persecution and prosecution. I think people need to remember the context here because you had Obama administration officials who had open borders as their motto, as their agenda, as their end goal. You had people like John Morton at ICE and Thomas Perez, the open borders Maryland activists who did everything for advocate for driver's licenses for illegal aliens to providing guides for evading our law immigration enforcement officers and border patrol agents, too, illegal aliens through a nonprofit that was funded by the government, Casa de Maryland. These were the ideologues that were populating the Department of Homeland Security. Of course they went after Joe Arpaio because he was doing the job that the Obama administration officials in the federal government refused to do.
HANNITY: Michelle, the most amazing thing -- I don't really watch all these other fake cable news networks because they are so bad. It's now open season on conservatives. It's open season on the president. It's open season -- Republicans are weak, they kind of deserve 80 percent of the criticism.
But in fairness here, the things they are saying, the lies they are reporting, the conspiracy theories that they spin, I've never seen anything like it in my life. They are actually attacking Joe Arpaio for enforcing the laws of the land when really we should have been critical of a Justice Department and a president at the time, then Obama, that literally didn't enforce the laws of the land.
I went and I sat in. I've been through the border 12 times as you know. From San Diego to the Rio Grande, I've seen drug warehouses, helicopter, horseback, all-terrain vehicles, boats, I've been on all of them. And we'll get to the Steve Harrigan who is getting up now in a second. And I've got to say I've seen tunnels dug from Mexico. And the amazing thing is 640,000 crimes in a seven-year period were committed in Texas when I sat there security briefing with Rick Perry. How do we allow that to happen and nobody gets outraged?
MALKIN: Yes, exactly. And what all of these open borders collaborators, whether they're on the left or the right, remember it's not just the identity politics ideologues on the left. It's also the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many of the big business types who are in collusion to make sure that our borders are as loose and open as possible. And I think it's understanding that toxic alliance that is the key to defeating it. And President Trump more than any other Republican in this -- at that level is willing to call them both out.
HANNITY: All right, Michelle, we appreciate you being with us. Our thoughts and prayers, again, got out the people at Texas. You see Steve Harrigan on your screen right now. When we come back, he is right there in the middle of it all. We'll get back to Steve in just a second. We are going to give him a five minute break. Look at that. He's literally being lifted off his feet. He says, oh, this is nothing. Nothing? A lot of our reporters are incredibly brave and we appreciate it. We will get back to Steve when we come back.
HANNITY: This is a FOX News alert. Massive category four hurricane slamming Texas as we speak.
By the way, one other note on news tonight, Dr. Sebastian Gorka is out at the White House. He will be on this program on Monday night and we will find out what went on there. He told me earlier tonight in a conversation that he feels he can better serve the president in what he is planning to do going forward. I won't reveal it. I will let him do that himself right here on this show.
We continue. We go back to Corpus Christi, Texas. He's on the ground. Steve Harrigan is with us. Steve, listen, we're all praying for you tonight and all the people in Texas that are getting hit with this storm. But when you said to us earlier tonight when a big gust of wind nearly lifting you off your feet, oh, I'd say this is 90 miles an hour. And really, this nothing. I've been through worse than this. Is it getting worse as you speak? And what you mean by worse, because it looks pretty devastating to us watching you?
HARRIGAN: As far as devastation goes, right now we are seeing small bits of roof come off, some tile come off, street signs coming down, some stop signs and stop lights coming down. The rain has picked up as well. The rain is pretty much moving sideways and there's been about eight inches of it so far. The real story of this storm, if they get 30 inches of rain, that could create a storm surge of about 12 feet, and that could cause a lot of destruction. There are right now extreme wind warnings along parts of the coast as the eye of the storm moves ashore. These gusts of 130 miles an hour in parts along the coast, many of those small towns under mandatory evacuation. You just have to hope, places like Rockport will heed that evacuation and people did actually leave town. The problem with some of this low lying area is it's only --
HANNITY: Steve, go back inside. That's all right. Go back inside.
HARRIGAN: It's only -- Sean, I got it. There's only one road in or one road out in a lot of these places so when they get flooded out, that's the real danger. Also first responders, when the wind gets severe, first responders won't come out. And it's obvious why.
HANNITY: Wow. Are you OK?
HARRIGAN: I think we are getting the worst of it right now from this side of the storm. This is the weaker side of the hurricane. You can imagine north of the eye in places like Rockport, what they are feeling. What we could see with a category four physical destruction of well-made houses and all three down this map. This along with the flooding and along with the loss of power, you can imagine what we could be looking at over the next 24 hours.
And we are seeing small objects. I think I might have tempted fate before when I said this is nothing because obviously, it has picked up considerably in the last half-hour here. In Corpus Christi, this is about the largest population center in the area that's getting hit, about 300,000 people here. They are used to storms and they are tough about storms. But this storm was deceptive.
You know, when you go to a hurricane you really get the sense of the inaccuracy of hurricane forecasting, without pointing any fingers. So it you get all jacked up for what could be a huge hurricane, people leave their homes, and then they are frustrated when it doesn't happen. This time it might have been the reverse. This was a very minor storm out in the water and then it got strong so quickly. And now, man, this is a big storm, and I hope people don't lose interest after the drama and the high winds are gone and we see how these people are doing. Back to you.
HANNITY: Steve, I want to remind people that the president has offered all federal assistance. It's on its way. As a matter of fact, he declared and approved a declaration proclamation.
Steve, when we came on the air 49 minutes ago, these gusts that are now constant were only occasional. Now it's picked up dramatically in just a short period of time. And you are even acknowledging the big difference here. I've asked you this before, when you pick up and now move on so that you don't get hit with debris? And just so people know, Steve has the ability to walk five feet into an underground garage to safety, and he knows he can do that at any time. We feel a little bit of comfort, but we always worry about -- whatever's flying in the air, Steve, you have to worry about that as this thing is now picking up as much as it has.
HARRIGAN: Yes. It's sort of a feel thing right now. I think we are in a pretty good spot. It's dramatic wind but the streetlights are still standing, the buildings are still standing. The large trees are still standing. But I don't think it's a panic mode at this point here. But a category four storm, you've got to wonder, about 30 miles to the north of me what this thing here is magnified a great deal on that north side of the storm about 30 miles away. Sean, back to you.
HANNITY: Steve, what to do with the rest of the night now? I know we will have continuing coverage. Will you move to a little bit of a safer area from this point? Are you going to stay there for a little while? I think I just saw something fly behind you.
HARRIGAN: Yes, It's mainly tiles from the building behind me. We were actually over there a little while ago and moved to get away from those tiles.
HANNITY: Are the asphalt tiles or are they hard tiles, asphalt or hard?
HARRIGAN: They are not hard.
HANNITY: Wow. Why don't you move back inside, Steve. We really appreciate your coverage. This is an abject lesson for people that don't get out of the way when they are told to evacuate. This is how bad it gets and it's not even the worst yet. Steve, you can get back to safety. Thank you for your courage, my friend, we really appreciate it. Unbelievable and very scary, and our thoughts and prayers obviously with the people of Texas tonight.
Here with more reaction, the chief forecaster for Weatherbell.com Joe Bastardi. Joe, you're watching that. I know you because we've been friends for so many years and you are a crazy weather guy. And so was your father, and so is your son who I love dearly. And I love your family. But you chase storms. And I'm looking at the smile on your face. You know the feeling of what Steve is living through. And I know that exhilarates you, but for the average person, that's pretty chilling if they don't evacuate right now.
BASTARDI: Well, it doesn't exhilarate me at 62 with two kids and a wife. I don't go through that stuff anymore.
HANNITY: You let your son do it.
BASTARDI: I have a problem sometimes with him about that, that he goes out and he's supposed to be using that car for other things and he's chasing storms. But forward the emails. When I start sending you emails about storms, forward them to Steve so he knows that there are some people that are watching for these things.
HANNITY: You were telling me all week it was going to be bad.
BASTARDI: Yes. And I'm saying that because, folks, in this day and age we tend to rely too much on computer modeling. They are great tools but they're not the answers. They're ways to get answers. But in this case, this storm is onshore. I'm watching Rockport and I can't tell if the instrumentation has been blown away because the wind has dropped off to eight miles an hour which would mean that they are in the eye. Aransas Pass, Texas, had a wind gust to 130 in the past hour which is maybe 50 miles northeast of where Steve is on the other side of Corpus Christi Bay. So that tells you what's going on on that side. I'm sorry, go on.
HANNITY: We have got to roll. Thank you, Joe Bastardi. You've been great on radio and on TV all week. We're going to be watching, I'm sure, all weekend. Thank you. Steve Harrigan has been a total and complete rock star, amazing tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas. Stay with the Fox News Channel, more coverage of hurricane Harvey, straight ahead.
HANNITY: All right, category four hurricane Harvey now slamming the state of Texas. The eye of the storm will make landfall any second now. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people. We hope you please stay safe, please listen to the experts.
By the way, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, he will be here on this program on Monday night. Please stay with the Fox News Channel tonight, all weekend long, continuing breaking news of the hurricane. Our prayers for everybody out there. We will see you back on Monday night.
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