tv CNN Newsroom With Brianna Keilar CNN November 29, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST
>> "newsroom" with brianna keilar starts right now. hi there and welcome to "cnn newsroom." thank you so much for joining me. i'm brianna keilar. we are 52 days before donald trump is sworn in as president and taking a major step towards keeping one of his major campaign promises to repeal obama care. in the first of at least two cabinet nominations expected to come down today, trump chose this man, go congressman and chairman. house budget committee tom price to head the department of health and human services. price is an orthopedic surgeon, was 20 years before going into politics and an obama care critic from day one. this afternoon we expect to hear donald trump announce elaine chao as his pick for transportation secretary. served as labor secretary under george bush 33 and labor
secretary for bush 41 and the wife of senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. the president-elect also pick add new head of medicare and medicaid today. sima verma, ran the program in ind under governor and now vice president-elect mike pence. cnn's phil mattingly is standing watch at trump tower where another day of trump interviews is on tap. things moving today, phil. >> reporter: absolutely. it's important to note two of the biggest priorities for the president-elect throughout the campaign, you now have the point people in place. another point, particularly on the health care side of things, brianna. sema verma and tom price. talking to republican officials on capitol hill. he talked to trump trn iansitio people as well. this is the health care dream team. hyperbolic, to a degree. this is that on some level, in tom price. somebody with a ton of experience as an orthopedic surgeon and on complexities of
policy on capitol hill. leading opponent of obama care on capitol hill and leader of drafting alternatives to the affordable care act. somebody with real policy and world experience they feel like could really help spearhead these things. also, on another really crucial component of the president-elect's agenda, infrastructure. elaine chao names in about an hour, i'm told, brianna, transportation secretary. you listed credentials coming to how the federal government works and how d.c. operates. few with more experience and elaine chao a two-for-one deal, if you will in terms she is the wife of mitch mcconnell. senate majority leader. donald trump wants a large, encompassing infrastructure package moving early on in his term. the transportation secretary will play a huge role in that. her able to maneuver in d.c. and in her own home is not going to
hurt. >> they won't. tell us what's going on with the secretary of state pick. this is the big one. we know donald trump has a special dinner this evening. >> reporter: exactly right. a one-on-one private dinner with mitt romney. 2012 nominee. focusing on lower-level picks, not quite the prestige of secretary of state, everybody else's focus on that, secretary of state. with good reason. the trump operation's own people continue to bring it up. obviously, kellyanne conway, close advisers to the president-elect made clear her position against mitt romney and that she's hearing a lot from a lot of people who supported trump they don't want mitt romney anywhere near the administration. still, donald trump meets with mitt romney tonight and a prospective candidate as well,
president-elect tweeted very impressed l impressed. mitt romney second to have a lengthy interview. will he get the job? they're playing coy. despite the opposition inside president-elect the open team, romney is very much in the running, very much in play and anything can happen. it's all up to the president-elect. >> is he telling them he gets the job or just a respectful breakup? thank you for that. talking more about the likely future secretary of health and human services with a man who knows him very well. jack kingston represented the first congressional district of georgia for 22 years, and he's now the head of the georgia gop foundation, and an adviser to the president-elect. thank you so much for being here, and talking about what's such an important pick in your friend tom price, soon to be, we would expect, former congressman
and future secretary of hhs. there's so much to dig into on policy here. donald trumply signaled much to the surprise of many people after elected he would be open to keeping key parts of obama care. people who are 26 and younger on their parents' health insurance plan and then the big one which is pre-existing conditions. and that not -- that health insurance companies have to cover them. i wonder how that is possible without a mandate, because it was that mandate everyone get health insurance that allowed health insurance companies able to afford all the pre-existing conditions. >> i think that's why the selection of tom price is important. not only does he have what phil was talking about, that we'll record medical experience nond a policy wonk on health care reform but is chairman of the budget committee and active member of the ways and means committee. he knows where money is in the
budget and knows where taxes come from and you can't do health care reform without really addressing the budget and the tax issues. so tom price is an absolute perfect fit for it and what we're going to find is revenues out there for middle-class tax credits to make health care affordable. there's ways to make it more accessible through his knowledge of the medical business, and i just think he's going to be able to combine these things together. not going to be an easy task. he will have democrats onboard on some things. >> but he differes with what donald trump wanted to do. not exactly on the same page? >> but close enough and i think this is a little bit like horseshoes that, you don't have to have perfect, but close enough really will count. and he's going to be able to -- >> explain that to me. how do you reconcile the not covering pre-existing conditions with saying that that is, as donald trump said when asked if he's going to keep it, yes, and he said it's one of the strongest assets? >> tom price over the last ten
years was reforming obama care before there was obama care. >> e he's had many, many plans. >> yes. one of his options probably had a different wording than donald trump's, but now he works for donald trump and will do what the trump model is but is the guy to get inside the engine of health care and tinker with it, make it run bet perp he's also going to lookality medicaid expansion. probably look at malpractice reform. >> sure. the medicaid expansion you mentioned. his plan, actually has been about repealing the medicaid expansion? the money the federal government gives to states to afford that expansion of covering poor people? >> one of his ideas block grant. letting the states take the lead. in georgia, we may want to do it differently than they do it in new york and might want to do it differently in california. so recognizing that states need to tailor make it. >> his most recent plan inkplcls a repeal of the medicaid expansion? >> still working for donald trump and i think most people understand that medicaid
expansion probably led by the states could be a way to pick up some of the under, and uninsured people out there. i think that's an option for consideration. i don't think right now anybody's saying, this is the plan. but this is a guy who knows what kind of plans are out there, and he know what's he can get through the house. 218 votes, and tom price can get there. >> sure. how is that, keeping key parts of obama care is not exactly repealing obama care? >> i think having it more affordable through medical savings accounts, empower consumers, getting bureaucracy out of there. >> what's being repealed? changed? i hear you talking about adding things. there might be competition over state lines but i don't really understand where the reform is? >> the big change, i think, would be that health care becomes between the patient and the doctor, not dictated by washington bureaucrats or by -- insurance companies. >> what is the change? the actual change that ensures that flanl you'principle you're about?
>> i think getting the government to set back, letting the private sector lead more. an option of plans. probably having some mandated benefits, but not washington top-down, one size fits all policy makes it more competitive, allowing health care sales across state lines so people, in georgia, i can buy my health care in south carolina or alabama, the way i can just about any other product in the world, by the way, will put more competition in it. getting rid of unnecessary regulations and making it so doctors can practice medicine without the constant fear of frivolous lawsuits nap will bring down costs and inject competition in the system. >> a big part of his plan. all right. former congressman jack kingston, appreciate you being on. thank you so much. >> thank you. and the president-elect is finding himself amid another controversy. this time over a tweet he put out involving flag burning. the tweet, nobody should be allowed to burn the american flag. if they do, there must be
consequences. perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail. getting first reactions on this issue from leaders in president-elect trump's own party. this includes senator john mccain, who just told this to cnn's manu raju. >> i am not going to comment on mr. trump. i will continue not to comment on mr. trump. >> reporter: he said the people who burn the flag should be prosecuted. what do you think about that? >> very close decision on the -- by the united states supreme court. i do not approve of burning the flag. i think it, there should be some punishment, but right now, the supreme court decision is that people are free express themselves. that way. but i do not approve of it and i think there's other ways for people to express their views rather than burn a flag that so many americans fought and died for. >> reporter: even lose citizenship over it? even said people should lose citizenship over it? >> i'm not commenting on mr. trump's comments.
i have not and will not. >> reporter: why not? he's the president-elect and you're a very senior member up here? >> because that's my choice. because it's my choice, and i am just re-elected by the people of arizona, and during that campaign i did not comment on mr. trump. i will continue to not, because i have to defend this nation. i'm the chairman of the armed services committee. we have all kinds of challenges. my time is devoted to trying to make sure this nation is secured, not to comment on every comment of mr. trump's. that may be your priority, and yours and yours. that may be your priority to comment every day on any comment mr. trump has. my priority is to try to defend the nation and the men and women who are serving it, and it does not, i did not carry out that mission by responding to every comment of president -elect trump's. >> manu raju joining me now. you the maverick is holding his tongue there, manu?
>> reporter: right. showing, brianna, that donald trump's comments, his tweets, are a big distraction from members of congress up here. trying to focus on other issues. john mccain had a difficult relationship with donald trump through the course of his own re-election campaign. of course, donald trump criticizing p.o.w.s like john mccain himself during that campaign, and mccain ultimately revoking his endorsement of trump after that "access hollywood" video came out. so it really shows, brianna, not all republicans are falling in line behind their president-elect, and the things that he says on twitter can mean unwelcome distraction. i also had a chance to talk to be president-elect trump's rival ted cruz. he formally criticized flag burning but would not say whether he agrees folks should be prosecuted on possibly lose citizenship. >> interesting, because when you recall back eight years ago, john mccain would criticize then
president george w. bush. you really didn't have a problem holding back then. and clearly he's commenting on what donald trump is talking about. but holding his fire on the actual president-elect. do you think that's going to last? >> it will be difficult to last, because he is the president-elect. he's going to -- when he becomes the president, everything he says, his party has to respond to. that's what we saw throughout the campaign. members trying to avoid and do a delicate dance over their nominee at the time. now the president. they're going to have to respond, because the things that he says will set the policy for this country, will set the direction for the republican party. so eventually folks are going to have to weigh in a little bit more aggressively, but it does show that donald trump may have 52 republican senators. that doesn't mean they're all in one mind and people like john mccain it will be difficult for him to fall in line in every issue. it could be difficult to get things done, brianna, despite
the fact they have republican control in both houses. >> who would have thought? thank you. president-elect's choice for health and human services secretary. a major critic of obama care. perhaps "the" critic of obama care. how hard would it to be get rid of the program and replace it? chief cnn medical correspondent sanjay gupta joining me live.
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dealdash.com for great deals. and start bidding today! a lawmaker spent years planning an obama care overhaul or reappeal is about to get his chance. we've reported president-elect donald trump picked georgia congressman tom price to head the department of health and human services. cnn chief medical correspondentm atlanta. give us a sense of the kinds of changes we might see. i was just talking to someone very close to tom price here. we had jack kingston on, former congressman, and a lot of what he was talking about seemed to be tinkering with obama care, maybe with the exception of changes to medicaid. it's just so murky? >> i think it is murky and we're going to wait and see a little obviously. can you hear me? sorry.
okay. >> all right. we're going to -- sanjay, i cannot hear you. get sanjay's audio fixed and go to our panel and then going to bring -- sanjay, can you hear me? >> hear me? >> okay. i can hear you. >> sorry about that. >> fix that mike. >> i have my mike on. no know what happened. >> okay. just that. i didn't hear you are at all. >> so you heard my question. what might we see? it's so murky? >> some we have to wait and see, because some of the details are forthcoming. tom price is somebody talking about this a long time, you pointed out, ever since the affordable care act was passed. there are significant details in what he wants to do that, the sort of top line is he essentialessential ly wants to remove some of the government control in our health care system. 's to the line, control back into consumer, back in the hands people buying insurance as
opposed to the federal government. talk about a mandate, subsidies, can't afford that insurance. he doesn't want to have that mandate and offer tax credits for people who buy insurance to incentivize them. an example of sort of putting it more in the hands of the market and consumers as opposed to the federal government. the concern i think a lot of people have is, look, in addition he wants to rein in medicaid expansion, which probably has some 15 million people insured. what happens to the people on the medicaid expansion if he does that? if he changes the exchanges, the ay fo y affordable care act exchanges, what happens to those on the exchanges now? i can tell you, probably just filled out benefits recently. i did as well. >> i did. >> nothing is probably going to happen the next year because of that. that's sort of inplace. going forward, you may see his fingerprints how the aca
changes. >> we heard donald trump say pre-existing conditions is one of the strongest assets of the program. he wants to keep this. how do you keep that if you're not going to keep the requirement that people have insurance? because insurance companies -- the whole point. the mandate then allowed them to be able to afford it, and for them to be onboard with the program? >> yeah. well, let me answer this as completely as i can, because it's a really important point. one is that, first of all, there would not be the protection that we've heard about in terms of people not being discriminated against base and pre-existing conditions. that protection, at least according to what we've seen from tom price, would not be there anymore. he suggested and others suggested as well was that states would be given some grant money to essentially create high-risk pools to help take care of people who have pre-existing conditions. he has said, and this is to your point, that if you maintain coverage, if you have continuous coverage and never let that coverage lapse, then you would
not -- you would be given the same premiums of someone else your age, as opposed to someone with a medical condition. but if you ever had to let your coverage lapse for any reason, switching jobs, losing a job, you could be in real trouble. at that point, the protection against preexisting conditions is completely gone. it really can leave a lot of people in the lurch who have a preexisting condition, forced to stay with a particular insurer because of that. one. big concerns here. >> certainly is a big concern. all right. thank you so much for explaining that to us. sanjay gupta, appreciate it. i want to talk more about health care, obama care, with my panel. heidi, a senior politics reporter for "usa today," jackie kucinich and dana bash, cnn political correspondent. you mentioned this in the commercial break. we didn't hear a lot about this during the campaign season from donald trump, and here i think
this is an issue that is becoming very real, very fast. >> we heard a lot about undoing obama care for sure. what we're talking about now and everyone at this table knows this because we all cover congress, is that the republican establishment that is now being put into these positions of power in the cabinet and elsewhere have long wanted to take a much bigger whack at the entire safety net system, including social security, including medicare, including medicaid. so the question is, to what extent is donald trump going to go back to his populist roots and put his foot down on some of this stuff? while he campaigned on obama care, i think it will come as a surprise to many of his base that the republican establishment is now wielding power to go ahead and make some of these cuts and will have to make them if they pass this tax cut plan. >> he was pretty clear, in addition to the obama care repeal to your point, he doesn't want to touch the safety net. he doesn't want to do away with some -- or engage in the
changes, the fundamental changes -- >> changing medicare, voucherizing medicare -- >> what paul ryan talked about, which he says is crucial for keeping social security and medicare solvent. donald trump said i don't want to do that. i remember in one of the debates, he was very clear. means testing no way and from there on down. not something he was interested in. now that he has more traditional establishment republicans to deal with, not just in congress now in his cabinet, the question is how he's going to approach that. >> you wonder that, because we've seen this in other areas with donald trump. he talked to general mattis, and said, oh, actually torture isn't something that works. so you might -- you could see him being able to pivot on this or trying to pivot on it after talking to experts. like these establishment republicans that have been advocating for entitlement reform for a very, very, very long time. >> even when proposing change, paul ryan wants to do to
medicare or talking about a medicaid expansion that could be voided. you're talking about millions of poor people then without insurance. and when you're talking about older people on medicare, even when you're talking about changes, they are delayed changes. but you say -- it strikes me voters will say they're in favor of an obama care repeal, but if it's touching anything of what they have, it's a different story. they don't -- they don't think it should be that way and that could also shape his opinion how this should go. >> many republicans elected donald trump to do one thing and democrats too, moderate democrats to create jobs. not to whack away at the safety net, and as someone who's covered the budget, for instance, there is great political peril in this if his voters start to view this as a broader assault on the safety net, because the red states are actually what we call recipient states. many of the blue states are the states that provide the federal tax dollars and -- recipients --
>> where donald trump won, people are benefiting a lot from these programs. >> correct. >> absolutely. and that -- that's where he's going to hear it from and that's who -- inevitably is going to change his mind on this. because he does listen, and to his base, and to the people that voted for him. that's been something he has pledged to do throughout his incoming presidency. >> something that kind of -- understood part of this conversation, but maybe we should say explicitly is that the reason we're having this conversation is it's not entirely clear. >> sure. >> what donald trump wants to do. he wasn't that specific during the campaign. he was specific in wanting to appeal obama care but not with what he wants to do. again, i remember during debates, he wants to do the traditional republican proposal of doing away with state lines, allowing more competition across state lines. and negotiating better deals. what does that mean? we don't know. >> we don't. so many unanswered questions.
the front page of the paper "together we remain unified in the face of adversity. together we are all buckeyes." the 11 hurt in the attack are recovering from their injuries, investigators are searching for an answer. the man responsible, abdul razak ali artan. he recently transferred in to the school and we don't know why. can we get the latest? >> reporter: hi, brianna. police you mentioned, are trying to figure out the motive here. i want to take you through some of the evidence they're going through. first of all, they're looking at surveillance video from this university of the moments leading um lead ing up to the attack and interviewing family members and witnesses. i talked to one witness who describes the ordeal as being surreal, saying that it took them a few seconds to just realize exactly what was happening. other people called 911. take a listen.
>> the driver drove through a crowd of students. he -- he did it purposely. right outside of watt hall and guy crashed his car into a bunch of people, and way ocame out wi knife. >> reporter: authorities are also looking at the attacker's social media footprint. they're looking for clues and specifically are looking at a facebook post that they say he posted around the time of the attack. here is a quote from that post -- "my brothers and sisters i am sick and tired of seeing my fellow muslim brothers and sisters being killed and tortured everywhere, killed in burma led to a boiling point. i can't take it anymore." now, authorities are also looking in the archives of this university. consider this, he actually granted an interview to the newspaper here, and i want to newspaper, again, these are the
things that authorities are looking through to establish a motive here. it says -- "i wanted to pray in the open but i was scared with everything going on in the media. i'm a muslim. it's not what the media portrays me to be. if people look at me, a muslim praying, i don't know what they're going to think. what's going to happen." now, brianna, he's talking about his muslim brothers and sisters there, from talking to community leader here, his brothers and sisters here from that community, they're afraid now, because of the attack that he conducted. >> certainly they are. all right. rosa, thank you so much. bringing in tom fuentes, our senior law enforcement analyst a former fbi assistant director. strikes me about the fear of what people think of him as a muslim is, when you talk to non-violent law-abiding muslim-americans, they express a similar concern. there's a, some leap that he took to be violent or to be
radicalized. what are you thinking happened here? >> i'm not sure what happened, brianna and you're exactly right. a degree of derangement on his part to say, i don't like the fact that people think of muslims as possibly terrorists. so i'm going to become a terrorist, or become, you know, violent to try to murder people. so i think in a way it makes no sense. we don't know, and in a way the authorities may never completely be sure of what exactly triggered him to do this yesterday. to all of a sudden decide, i'm going to drive my car and run people over. i'm going to try to stab them with a knife. even though there have been story after story of that type of thing happening all over the world. including september 20th. the mall attack in saint cloud, minnesota, where a somali, you know, person, attacked people, tried to stab them in the mall and an off-duty police officer shot and killed him. almost playing out a similar scenario, only this time using the car and people on the street. >> using the car, though, is
something that might not have just come out of the ether? right? >> the attack in nice. mowing down hundreds of people in a truck. using a truck to kill all of those people. so -- and, again, you've had all of these postings and reports of the postings in the media about isis saying, use a truck, use a car, use a knife, use a hammer, use a hatchet, whatever you have. you don't need a firearm on explosive. use whatever you can use to attack people. so we don't know what might have led him to think of that yesterday, at that time, to make this attack. >> we don't know. we're going to hopefully piece more of that together. >> we hope but may never know. >> all right. tom fuentes, thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up, president-elect trump's transition developments, and the dinner meeting that everyone is going to be talking about. donald trump is sitting down with mitt romney again. this one is from channel islands national park. coronado. saguaro. you'll see there's one that's an eagle. my number one goal is getting more funds out to parks
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donald trump transition itinerary is pretty jam-packed today. the president-elect has another full day of meetings but eyes will be glued to the last sitdown of the day with mitt romney. the two are meeting actually over dinner. all amid speculation donald trump could pick him for secretary of state. an idea that trump's former campaign manager has openly criticized in recent days. meantime, another name considered for the same position is general david petraeus, who met with trump yesterday, and trump said he was very impressed with him and while petraeus is well respected in republican circles, his mishandling of classified information is raising red flags for some. and discuss with about dr. ben carson and barry bennett, cnn democratic strategist maria cardona and former senior
adviser for mitt romney's 2012 campaign kevin sheridan. all right. what's your read, kevin, on what's going on right now with mitt romney. seemed he was such a real possibility, and perhaps that possibility has dimmed? >> well, two people we have not heard from anything about this on and that is donald trump and mitt romney. that's a good sign to say they are seriously talking, but we have no idea where that conversation currently is. they're going to meet tonight. only the second time they've met. they've talked before. we know that. but they're not saying anything. not putting anyone out there to say anything. at least mitt romney's not, and i know nothing more than what i read in the paper and think, look, donald trump has his, you know, his pick of three or four really good choices for this spot, and if it's not's mitt romney, he's got another great pick. we'll see what happens. >> this whole process mauust ha
been somewhat embarrassing for mitt romney. all the drama about it. >> awkward? >> right. it's just so awkward. when i see this dinner happening i wonder if it isn't a gesture to let mitt romney down, perhaps? what do you think the possibility is that this is sort of a, a dinner where mitt romney walks away with the idea that maybe this isn't going to be my gig? >> you know, lord knows. right? but it seems to me if it was going to be a very positive conversation, that you'd do that in person or on the phone, perhaps. seems it's going to be a more detailed conversation. >> what does that mean? "a detailed conversation"? >> remember, there are lots of other jobs, too. right? i mean, there are a lot of ambassadorships and other things on the table as well. >> it's hard to imagine, though, there would maybe even be another job. i don't know. >> i think tonight's dinner is the culmination in top king of reality tv show manner. right? the episode where, will donald
trump give mitt romney the rose? or won't he? right? and you know, who knows? really none of us know, except for donald trump, and maybe he doesn't even really know yet whether he's going to say yes or no, but i do think that this having the dinner. it's the second or third conversation that they've had. the episode which i thought was purely bizarre of kellyanne conway going out there and trashing mitt romney. >> the episode? like it's a reality show. >> it is. do we really think it's anything less than that? i think that was really sfratra. what i love about it all, mitt romney's sort of continued dig any in all this. particularly brilliant the picture he tweeted on thanksgiving of him and his grandchildren. told everybody, talk about whatever you want, kellyanne conway can say whatever she wants. i don't care. >> one of other possibilities is general david petraeus. i want you guys to take a look
at some of the headlines of columns he has written over the last year. veterans deserve -- sorry. this was one of the once he says, brecxit would weaken the west war on terror. putin hasn't given up his designs on terror. another one talking about anti-muslim sentiment, it's not on there and a how that actually hurts soldiers, because it gets turned around on them actually and inspires people to be violent against them. he's been so critical, kevin, of donald trump in his own way and very public ways, op easy in -e "wall street journal," in the "washington post"? >> donald trump is listening to an impressive list of people and going through methodically a list of some of the brightest minds in the country and david petraeus is one of those. if he decides on david petraeus, corker or mountain ritt romney,a
good pick and none will agree 100%. donald trump ran his own campaign gets to pick whoever he wants and they need to figure out if they can get on enough of the same page to be the voice in the face of his foreign policy. >> how big of an issue is handling of classified information when it comes to david petraeus? republican rales against hillary clinton about her e-mails? >> tables are turned. now the democrats will be against him because of the e-mails which didn't matter in the hillary case. sweetness of being in washington. i think the important part is that he's willing to sit down and listen to david petraeus and all of these people. that, to me, shows exactly what i want in a leader. now, whether general petraeus, who i believe is a brilliant man, is the right chase for secretary of state, i don't know, but i'm glad here at the table. >> there's bipartisan agreement on that i do think the classified information will be an issue.
it wasn't just the e-mails. the fact he pleaded guilty to actually sharing classified information with somebody that he shouldn't have. and he got probation because of it, and a fine. so he actually -- he not only -- not only did it and admitted it but was given a punishment for it. something that will come up if he goes with the sthact will ec state that will be part of the confirmation and i think it will be difficult. >> can we talk about dr. ben carson? >> sure. >> what happened? he said there was a forthcoming announcement and -- where is it? >> yeah. i don't know. i think ben has gotten over the tips of his skis a couple of times during this whole process. and i'm glad they're not saying anything right now. >> okay. >> because, you know, i think it would be very amazing, at least to me to have a hud secretary who actually grew up in housing projects.
someone who actually understands what's gawk oing on. >> that's right. thank you all so much. up next, high-rise hotels, sprawling mountainside resorts. are hundreds or more businesses in flames as thousands flee wildfires raging through the hills around gatlinburg, tennessee. i'm talk to the man who shot this video that you're watching, this video that you're watching, next. especiaaround the holidays. but thanks to fingerhut.com, we can shop over 700,000 items from brands like samsung, kitchenaid and lego. all with low monthly payments. ♪
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it's been a terrifying 24 hours for people at well-known resort community in eastern tennessee. >> [ bleep ] go, go, go, go, go! >> a race to safety there in gatlinberg, tennessee where wildfires from the surrounding smoky mountains impacted half the city according to its player. the town has only about 4,000 permanent residents, but many more flocked to gatlinburg and surrounding area as a vacation getaway and this is some brand new video that we are showing you just in to cnn showing some of the damage that has been done there. gatlinburg's fire chief says the worst is over. we showed you that footage shot
from the car, though, just very dramatic video and it made its way, the car made its way through flames on either side of the highway. another man in the gatlinburg area went through something very similar. >> this is crazy. >> chris owenby recorded that video and is on the phone with us flonow. chris, where were you going when you shot this footage? >> going up to see my father and stepmom and brothers up in gatlinburg. >> and the road was open? >> it was at the time. i don't believe anybody really knew of that fire or maybe that it escalated so bad that quick. and towards gatlinburg, we took pictures, and i saw on the other side, you know, on the other side of the road and we went back across to, you know, pretty
much shoot the video to send to my dad and them that probably it wasn't -- i don't believe at the time was aware of that fire on that part of the mountain. >> sure. and you know, i imagine, chris, that some wildland firefighters would look at this video that you shot and would be very fearful for you, because to be surrounded bike that -- like th a situation you could very much be in peril. were you aware of that as you went through the area? what were you thinking? >> really, i wasn't thinking much. just thinking how crazy it was. you know, i'd nerver seen anything like that. you hear about wildfires in this areaened parts of the south a little bit, but all of the people, you know, the animals and all that stuff, it's just crazy. and just really didn't -- you know, didn't use too much common
sense there, obviously and just kind of wanted my dad to see how bad it really was, where he couldn't see it. >> and you made your way to your family. right? how's your family doing? >> actually, i haven't. they got evac waited and a-- evacuated staying on the outskirts of the city and i've not been able to talk to them too much this morning, but they're kind of wondering about their homes, you know, and a lot of the stuff. their possessions and stuff like that at their house. >> sure. and these things move so quickly. they don't have much time to adjust for that. they've been evacuated. you haven't talked to them much, but they're okay. right? they're just sharing, certainly, the concerns of so many people in the area? >> yes. exactly. that's what, you know -- that's what's going on. this, you know, horrific -- you know, a lot of many people staying eve be in tn in the cab
bcabinsish -- cabins, a lot of people i see on the local news, people coming here just for the weekend or the week. as far as the local people, a lot of them's losing everything. not just their houses even maybe their jobs. >> yeah. i know. it's a -- it's a huge concern, and we're thinking of them. chris owenby, thank you for being on with us. that's it for me. "wolf" starts after a quick break. ♪ ♪ is it a force of nature? or a sales event? the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event. (bing)
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hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 bm here in washington. 9:00 p.m. in moscow. 3:00 a.m. wednesday in seoul, south korea. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you for being with us. donald trump's choice for transport secretary, elaine chao. she's married to senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. the president-elect decided on key positions that could affect americans' health care. republican congressman tom price from georgia is his pick for health and human services secretary. price is the chairman of the house budget committee and was an early trump supporter. he's an orthodi