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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  December 18, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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where we can find common ground... big enough to dance on. for a better us, donate to your local y today. the president is expecting to be exonerated in writing. this is new reporting from manu raju. sarah joins me. sarah, why is the president suddenly feeling so optimistic? >> he's certainly feeling less agitated. he's telling his friends that he expects to get a letter of chon racing from mueller's team, from the special counsel. part of this is because his
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lawyers painted very optimistic timeline of the investigation. they're saying they expect it to wrap up in the new year. they expect the white house to be cleared. people who are close to this investigation, other lawyers who are involved, are much more skeptical saying there's little indication that mueller is wrapping up his work. at a key tipping point in all of this could come later this week when mueller and his team are supposed to sit down with the president's lawyers. and the president's lawyers want to get a better sense of where this investigation is going. is there anything else you need so we can close this? the concern is that if this meeting doesn't go the way the president wants, there could be problems. >> that's the rub there. what if the president doesn't get what he wants here? is there concern he might be frustrated with the outcome? >> not only that he would be frustrated, but more frustrated than he was initially because he hoped to be exonerated and this deadline shifted a number of times. one person particular with these
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conversations predicted the president could have a meltdown, that he could do something rash, he might try to fire mueller or others overseeing this investigation. it was not too long ago just yesterday, the president insisted that was not a consideration. he was not planning on firing mueller, but we've already seen his political advisers out there taking a sharper tone, insisting it's not fair. that could be a signal of what's to come. >> it's his legal team, ty cobb, who's been dropping words and long he thinks this investigation is wrapping up. >> that's right. there are other lawyers, of course, on the president's legal team. they seem to have convinced the president that things are wrapping up, that he doesn't really have anything to worry about. it's worth noting he hasn't known ty cobb that long, but the president and cobb have struck up this kind of rapport and the president seems to trust him and his assessment of the situation. that's part of the reason you
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see him out there there talking about to friends and allies about being cleared in the investigation, even potentially cleared in right gwriting, whic be extremely unusual. >> robert mueller may have other completely different ideas. let's get more from david axelrod, and cnn political analyst david gergen, adviser to four presidents. the fact trump thinks melania mueller's going to write some kind of letter exxon rating him, a piece of paper he'll be able to hold up as some sort of trophy, is that how these things work? >> not ordinarily, but we're talking about a president here. if, in fact, mueller does exonerate him, i think the president would be entitle today ask for a letter, something that would clear his name. it's premature to go too far down this path.
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we may hear a very different story after the white house lawyers get to see mr. mueller later this week. >> maybe legally premature and is it politically problematic? does it make sense to you that people around the president, his legal team, might be setting these expectations that he'll be cleared of all wrong doing, especially given that when he gets disappointed, we know how he acts? >> yeah, i mean, one of the questions is are they managing the president or are they imparting facts to him? right after indictment of flynn, and this was true after the manafort indictment as well, he loses control in those periods is and becomes very, very angry, we know that.
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and he lashes out. and so my sense is that the lawyers are trying as much to manage the presents search and seizure events. but at some point the rubber hits the road. if they come back from the counsel's office with bad news, who knows how the president will react? the other issue here is, if they are about the business of raising expectations that there's going to be some letter of exoneration and it isn't forthcoming, does it add to this drum beat we now see on the right just hammering mueller and the investigation as politically motivated? >> david gergen, managing the president rather than informing him in some case, whose job should it be within the white house? his lawyers to steer him back to reality? >> i think it's a combination of his lawyers and the chief of staff, john kelly. traditionally the chief of staff is the single most important adviser for a president, has to deliver the bad news and the good news. should team up with the lawyers
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if that's what they're looking at. there's one thing that's very inconsistent. if they have any confidence that the president is going to be exonerated, i would think they would call off the attacks by fox and by some of the allies of the white house, which seem clearly aimed at discrediting mueller. if they think they're going to get away from all of this with a letter of the exoneration, they should call the dogs off. >> it gets to the issue of the president is the most important person in how he deals with this message that he's delivering. if he believes he did nothing wrong, who's to tell him otherwise? >> no, i think that's a real problem. one thing that's very clear is there's an impetus, and it comes from the president to try and shut all of this down. we know he's talked to members of congress about it. and you see this growing momentum on the republican side, at least in the house, to try and shut this investigation
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down. so he wants to get this behind him. i suspect the republicans would love to get it behind them as well because this is thought an issue they want hanging over the 2018 election. >> david, i want to ask you about the president's national security speech today. >> sure. >> he not only tried to define what the administration will do in the future, but he did a lot of backwards looking where he seemed to directly criticize the foreign policy of past administrations. >> no question. he went after the obama administration and the george w. bush administration in a harsh way. i must say on one hand, i keep the president is entitled to crow about the economy. he inherited a good economy, it was a growing economy, but every president, trump made that a feature of his speech today. but i thought the rest of the speech about foreign policy itself echos of the inaugural
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address. seeing china in particular but also he named russia as these rivals that we're competing against much we have to build up our defenses and do this and do that because they're coming at us, they have the discipline, we have to pull ourselves together. that's a far cry from the positive, how do we partner with the world and work with others to make a difference on climate. no mention of climate in any of this. it was consistent with what trump has been thinking and saying. but i think it's going to -- i don't think it's going to be well greeted in foreign capitals. >> there was one line that jumped out at a lot of people. the president says a nation that's not proud of its history cannot be confident in its future. some people are looking at this as a reference to what republican critics have called president obama's apology tour. or maybe he's talking about
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confederate statues. how did you see that one line? >> i think the first is probably what he was referencing. a strong, confident nation also acknowledges past mistakes. president obama and obviously i worked with him, felt strongly about america's leadership role in the world and america was a guerrin tore of stability and guarantee tore of the stability of global institutions. >> david gergen and david axelrod, thanks, gentlemen. >> good to see you, john. breaking news about the timeline of the mueller investigation as sara murray reported. the president expected to wrap it up soon, but new reporting from "the washington post" says not even close. the latest on the deadly train derailment. a horrifying sight. what we know, next. t. now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day.
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a wealth of opportunities. that's the clarity you get from fidelity wealth management. straightforward advice, tailored recommendations, tax-efficient investing strategies, and a dedicated advisor to help you grow and protect your wealth. fidelity wealth management. robert mueller and his team have tens of thousands of trump transition e-mails as part of the russia investigation. the president says he thinks it's, quote, pretty sad the special counsel got the e-mails. lawyers from the transition say they were unlawfully obtained. a mueller spokesman says that's not true. murray telling people that he expects to be exonerated and soon in the russia investigation. and that the special counsel is going to write him a letter saying he's been cleared. again, he expects this to happen soon. mueller and his team haven't given any indication the investigation is in its final
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stages, and tonight there's new reporting from "the washington post," people with knowledge of the investigation said it could last at least another year. members of mueller's team say they expect to work much through 2018 at the minimum. joining me is jason miller, former obama white house communications director jen sacky. jason miller, to you, this gets to one of the problems sara murray was reporting on from sources close to the president. he thinks this investigation is going to be over soon. he thinks he's getting a letter soon that he's cleared in the russia investigation. yet "the washington post" reports it's going to go on for another year. how much of a problem is that? >> it's not fundamentally a problem because i don't think president trump did anything wrong. whether thegz a couple weeks or for another year, that's not going to be an issue. >> but the issue is will he get upset if it doesn't end soon as
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apparently his lawyers told him it will. ?" is that going to set him off? >> no. i think probably the american public is going to be upset because we have this booming economy and all these great things to talk about, but after a year there's still absolutely nothing that says the trump campaign did anything to collude with a foreign government in this election. let's go to these e-mails that we're talking about, these transition team e-mails. i thought the whole purpose of this was to talk about the campaign colluding with a foreign entity, but here we're talking about transition team e-mails. this is well after the campaign. so i think at a certain point here -- look, even though i don't think this fundamentally changes anything, with some of the news we've seen lately with some of the agents being dismissed or folks at the doj, whether it be the gentleman who went to hillary clinton's election night party or things like that, i think most folks want to see all the politicizing
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out. if there's absolutely nothing after a year that says that the campaign campaign or president trump did anything wrong, let's get moving. >> michael flynn was convicted of lying to the fbi during the transition. you brought up the transition e-mails. you were the communications director for the transition team. did you have any expectation of privacy in your e-mails? because according to the deputy counsel, and you your colleagues signed an agreement acknowledging that materials kept on the government servers were subject to monitor and go there was no expectation of privacy. >> i assume in the modern era anything that goes through e-mail will become public whether you're working in official government or anything else. i'll let the lawyers argue on that one. going back to my initial point, if this is about the campaign and colluding with a foreign entity, at an experience point
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the american public is realizing that's not what this is about. >> we don't know because the investigation is still going on. we have yet to hear from robert mueller what they found out. you also worked on a transition team. jason said he had no expectation of privacy. i assume you didn't have any expectation of privacy in the transition you worked on. so why, then, make this argument if you're part of the transition team if it's not a real legal argument? >> of course it's politics. i remember distinctly our lawyers saying your e-mails will go to a server that's neither private or privileged. it's pretty clear on the motivation here. this is part of an orc strayed attack, orchestrated campaign to lay the ground work on for firing mueller. yes, president trump said he wasn't going to do that now, but one thing we've learned is is not to believe what he says.
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what everybody should be worry about is if he takes a step to fire mueller when congress is out of session because members of congress won't be here, the judiciary committee won't be here and we'll be in real trouble at that point. >> democrats are saying right now that the president is going to fire robert mueller, jackie speier in the house and other people saying they see signs. the president says he's not going to. is it possible that -- what if it's just to discredit the special counsel so that what he comes out with is clouded? >> it may be. it's a fair point. i don't think we're out of the woods in him never firing mueller. so i think we need to be wary of that. but it's certainly possible that he knows in a year from now, six months from now, whenever they're done with the investigation, you mentioned
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"the washington post" reporting that he's going to be in a place where democrats may control the house, edge be at risk of impeachment and he needs to give his partners an argument to be made on his behalf. this is the campaign that's been going on for months. it's not new to discredit mueller. >> general hurtling, he used an interesting phrase. he said he thinks it's sad somehow that the special counsel has possession of these e-mails. you were in the military for a long time. you were a government employee for a very, very long time. do you think it's sad that these government e-mails are now in the hands of the special counsel? >> i don't. it's sad he and the team didn't understand the rules they were under using these accounts. jason is absolutely right. no matter what kiefd account you're on, expect to get your e-mails out. but if you're on a got gov and got mil, some i.t. guy says
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here's what you can expect, and you have to ensure that these e-mails are clean and they're work related and don't do personal stuff. i was afraid to e-mail my wife on machine at times. it's interesting because if you're used to that kind of stuff, you understand the ethical and the moral requirements for using business e-mail for business events. when you're in government, like i was in the military, you know you have ton transparent and professional when you're dealing with engagements on the network or engagements in person. so the use of the term s"sad" a favorite word of the president, doesn't apply here. his team knew this. this goes into this huge bureaucratic organization, the national archive and regulation administration. they keep them for months at a time to make sure history is reported, and then they can go
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back specifically for these kinds of things. >> from your lips, general, to the ears of anyone who might have e-mail address, what would your message be? >> do business, be professional, and make sure you know that anybody is going to see those because they really are the business of government, and it should be transparent. >> great to have you with us. thank you all very much. the latest on the deadly train derailment from washington state. what we know from the scene, next. coaching means making tough choices.
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breaking news tonight. three confirmed fatalities in the horrific amtrak train derailment in washington state. 100 others were taken to the hospital, with some still in critical condition. the good news tonight, we know that first responders believe they've been able to search every train car and there's no one left on board. kyung lah has the latest from washington. what are you learning about the crash? >> we just did speak with the state patrol and they said that they have been searching through all those cars. there was a lot of question about those two remaining cars that they weren't able to get to, but that is certainly some good news. it has been a difficult day for firefighters here in washington. they've had to go through each of these cars using jaws of life, using saws, and, at times, using cranes just to peek in
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these train cars. passengers say the crash itself was chaotic. they were traveling at 70 to 80 miles per hour and then suddenly the cars were flying. they were flying. and as far as what it felt like for the conductors, you can hear the panic in their voices as they made the first emergency call. >> amtrak o 501, emergency, emergency, emergency. we are on the ground. we were coming around the corner take the bridge over i-5, and we went on the ground. >> okay. are you -- is everybody okay. >> i'm still figuring that out. we have cars everywhere and down onto the highway. >> reporter: what you're looking here is t"the the led messages. this is a new train line. this was a $181 million retro
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fit to let these amtrak trains move more quickly. these signs warning passengers that this just changed as of today, 14 new lines. they're warning the drivers to be careful, but then this train crash happened somehow, john? >> you've been in touch with the hospital. what can you tell us about their condition tonight? >> reporter: the hot that we've been speaking with, four to five miles away from the train crash itself. here's what's remarkable about this particular hospital. it's the army medical center. and this particular hospital has a mix of civilian and combat physicians, so the emergency room basically went into a triage. 19 patients arrive. a lot of these doctors were prepared and were working on these patients. 12 of them were admitted. the great majority of them are in serious condition. the rest of them, john, just a few are in fair condition.
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they say as far as the injuries, generally fractures and broken bones. >> kyung lah for us in washington. thank you so much. this afternoon president trump started a scheduled speech on national security with a few comments about the accident. >> let me begin by expressing our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers for the victims of the train derailment in washington state. we are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local authorities. it is all the more reason why we must start immediately fixing the infrastructure of the united states. >> keeping them honest this year president trump's budget recommended cutting infrastructure investment by $55 billion overall according to some estimates that included spending for amtrak, arguing it was wasteful spending. we had a report on this in 2013.
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what can you tell us? >> our focus of that reporting was this was being sold as high-speed rail, but it was just getting slow trains to move a little faster, and that's exactly what this train did. this brand-new line was basically rerouted around a congestion area in tacoma, which got it off the tracks and put it on a more straight route between seattle and portland. speed does appear to be the factor here, but this is a brand-new stretch of track. it's refurbished or reengineered track that would take about ten minutes off the total time between seattle and portland. and it just started today. >> these additional costs and improvements was a ten-minute difference? >> this was a bigger project. $800 million to just shave ten minutes off this trip.
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this was the last portion of it. she said it was a $180 million portion of it. in fact, the locomotive engine on i-5 was part of the new purchase. that's a brand-new diesel electric locomotive that's now trashed on the highway. it was nevada about high-speed trains. this was not a high-speed track that we think about with high-speed trains. it wasn't a brand-new track, the type they have in europe or japan. this was basically just what the u.s. has been doing with its trains, just trying to get these old trains to move a little quicker. and it appears this train may have been moving too fast in the turn. it was supposedly only allowed to go 30 miles per hour there. this train appeared to be going a lot faster based on the witnesses we had at the scene. >> the investigation is just
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beginning. but this was the inaugural journey of the train on this train line after all these improvements. you would think there would be test after test after test before sending passengers down this rail for the first time. >> and apparently there was test after test after test, but what kind of tests did take place? and also, what kind of training did take place? was this a question of whether or not the engineer who was running the train was familiar with all the warning signs? where to slow down? where to speed up? where you could push this train to-0 miles an hour, which was its maximum speed, or where towed slow down to 30. it's going to be a big investigation. we don't know if there was something else involved. >> drew griffin, thank you for your reporting. coming up, we have breaking news about how long the mueller investigation could last, and it's not exactly what the president is expecting.
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. new reporting from "the washington post" tonight says robert mueller's russia investigation could go on at least through 2018. now, that is not what the president is expecting as sara murray reported, he's actually under the impression that this will all end soon and that he's going to get some kind of exoneration letter. there's no indication that's the case. of course, there has been a lot of conversation about the credibility of the special counsel's team and of special
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counsel robert mueller himself, many of those claims fall apart when you look into his background, politics, and track record. cnn's senior legal analyst, preet bharara joins me to discuss. preet, the fact of the matter is that robert mueller is a life long republican, so for republicans to now paint him as some liberal renegade, that doesn't hold any water, does it? >> no, it would seem not to. snonl he a lifelong republican, he's had bipartisan support for the duration of his career. back when his ten-year term was expiring in a country of 330 million people, both democrats and republicans together decided that the person they wanted to be in that job for another two years was robert mueller. rather than president obama with republican support pointiappoin someone else, they changed the law for another two-year term.
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a lot of these things don't make sense. >> i want to ready you something you wrote. you said mueller's attackers are all political operatives. they have always been the swamp. he's always been the oasis, but it would caution liberal ideologies too. respect his findings, whatever they are. the bottom line here is you were essentially arguing that robert mueller is morales apolitical? >> there's nothing in his past or in his background, notwithstanding what critics are mining in a lengthy career to cast dispersians on him to suggest he's in any way partisan. he was the fbi director, hailed by both sides by being above the fray. he served his country in the military. he earned honors for risking his own personal safety. he got shot through leg ones. this was not to say that any person, whether it's an attorney general, fbi director, should be put on a pedestal or lionized or
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some kind of god, is just to say if you think about his history and why he had the reputation he had and bipartisan support, it's because he's always conducted himself, as far as i know, throughout his career in an above-board, outstanding and upstanding way. >> over the weekend congressman jim jordan said top fbi officials should be subpoenaed over the claims of bias against president trump. there are a lot of republicans who think this investigation has been tainted or at least say they think it has been tainted. even if there was no bias in terms of the way these people approached their jobs, how does the perception matter in an investigation like this? >> perceptions matter when there's a lot of attention being paid to an investigation. there's a common phrase when people talk about the law, not only must just be done, it must be seen to be done. one thing we should be happy
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about is as soon as robert mueller and his team found out about these texts, even though people are permitted to have private personal opinions about officials, that this fbi agent was removed from the investigation. in fact, the evidence shows that bob mueller is paying attention to perception, and is staying below the radar, not making comments on his own about the case. but he saw something that would be perceived badly, or a harbinger of weiss, that person was removed. >> as for robert mueller himself, at this point do you think the president would go as far as to fire him? he said he was not going to do it, does that mean the case is closed here? >> i think the president has a different thought about lots of different things, depending on what day of the week it is. there are many people who on one day he expressed confidence in,
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and at some point later said he wanted them gone. i don't think anyone's job is safe. you go by common sense and you go by an assessment of the personality of the leader. and you go by track record. and the track record shows the president, if he gets upset or angry, will think about ways to get rid of somebody and he did that with james comey. reports are that he thought about doing that with jeff sessions, and i think he can do that at any time and people should be worried about that. >> preet bharara, thanks for joining us. up next, why sarah palin called police on her own son. the federal judiciary nominee writes a letter to president trump. what the nominee is deciding to do now, and the reaction from the republican senator who grilled the nominee when we continue. gs) you're drew brees?! i'm sorry to bother you, but my car broke down and i'd really appreciate a ride to the stadium. yes! ...but, no, i have to stay here and wait for a package.
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former vice presidential nominee sarah palin called police over the weekend, and her 28-year-old son ended up in jail. according to investigators, a family feud led to serious charges for track palin. randi kaye joins me with more. randy, what's the latest? >> here's what we know based on the police documents we've obtained. track palin, the oldest son of sarah palin and her husband, todd, has been charged with first-degree burglary and assault and criminal you mischief. this all stems tra domestic situation in their ohm in alaska on saturday. according to the officers' day of the, it was sarah palin herself who told police their son track was, i'm quoting, freaking out, and was on some type of medication. so when police arrived, the safr said todd palin has injured to his head. track palin started yelling at them from the porch calling the officers pe assistanasants and
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that they lay their gunning on the ground. police documents show track palin crawled through a window onto the roof of the garage. >> how was it that eventually officers were able to arrest him? >> after ten or 15 minutes, the officers convinced him to come outside and talk with them. they handcuffed him and detained him without incident. we understand police say track told them he had a few beers earlier. >> do we know what caused the fight with his father? >> it's a bit complicated. he and his dad has a disagreement about a vehicle. when he went to the window at the danuel house and saw his dad pointing a gun at him. inside, once he got inside the house, track somehow got the gun away from his dad. he told police had he put his dad on the ground and started hitting him in the head. todd palin has his own version. he told police his son wanted to get a truck and todd told him
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not to come because his son had been drinking and was on medication. he said he was going to come anyway and, quote, beat his ass. >> this is not the first time that track palin has been in trouble. in fact, the whole palin family have had issues before. >> yeah. we've seen this before, absolutely. back in 2016, track palin was arrested on domestic violence charges. he did take a plea deal in that case, but also, john, back in 2014, the whole palin family was involved in a crazy drunken brawl. this happened on todd's 50th birthday party. police responded to a verbal and physical altercation. track was heavily intoxicated. and bristol got into a fistfight and was on the ground when police arrived. no charges were filed. >> serious issues at play here.
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we hope they get whatever help they need. randi kaye, thank you so much. matthew peterson, a nominee for federal judgeship has withdrawn from consideration after struggling to answer basic legal questions at a senate hearing. in a letter to president trump, he said he doesn't want to be a continued distraction and said, quote, i had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service would carry more weight than my worst two minutes on television. he was up for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench much here is some of his jaw-dropping exchange he had last week with john kennedy. this exchange went viral. >> have you ever tried a jury trial? >> i have not. >> civil? >> no. >> criminal? >> no. >> bench? >> no. >> state or federal court? >> i have not. >> have you ever taken a deposition? >> i was involved in taking depositions when i was associate at wily ryan when i first came out of look like. but that was --
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>> how many depositions? >> i would be struggling to remember. >> less than ten? >> yes. >> less than five? >> probably somewhere in that training have you ever tried to take a deposition by yourself? >> i believe, no. >> okay. have you ever argued a motion in state court? >> i have not. >> have you ever argued a motion in federal court? >> no, >> so here's how senator kennedy summed it up this morning. >> he's never been in a courtroom before. no disrespect, but just because you've seen my cousin vinny, you're not quaffed to -- qualif to be a federal judge. up next, serious stuff as cnn investigation profrpz puerto rican officials to review the
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death toll from hurricane maria. we'll show you thousand recovery is going with the three-month anniversary just days away. rign unlimited family plan, netflix is included. wow t-mobile covers your netflix subscription, so you can catch the hottest new movies and shows all year long on us. amazing and it's your last chance to buy any of these hot new samsung galaxy phones and get a 2nd one free. that's one samsung for you and one to gift. just in time to finish off your list. twogether. ♪ ♪ give a little bit ♪ ♪ give a little bit... -hello. ♪ give a little bit... ♪ ... of your love to me oh, haha. ♪ there's so much that we need to share ♪ ♪ so send a smile and show that you care ♪
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♪ i'll give a little bit of my love to you ♪
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looking for a hotel that fits... whoooo. ...your budget? tripadvisor now searches over... ...200 sites to find you the... ...hotel you want at the lowest price. grazi, gino! find a price that fits. tripadvisor. more breaking news. tonight, house republicans plan to introduce an $81 billion
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disaster aid package for hurricanes and wildfires this year, almost double the amount asked for by the trump administration and boosted by republican members in texas and florida, two states hard hit by hurricanes this summer. it also includes money for the u.s. virgin islands and puerto rico, who were also slammed with hurricanes. speaking of puerto rico, the governor there has ordered a review of deaths related to hurricane maria. currently, the death toll stands at 64, but last month we told you about a cnn investigation that revealed the number could be much, much higher. lack of resources, including health care access and healthy drinking water, devastated the island. cnn's bill weir spent weeks on the ground there and just went back to get an update on the recovery. >> reporter: when we first met diane and miguel, they had just made it through the worst storm of their lives, but the fight for survival was just beginning. the vietnam vet had just a few doses of insulin spoiling in a
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powerless fridge. when i went back a month later, the transmission tower that nearly crushed them inside their home was back up. wow, that's a good sign. look at that. they got it back up. how are you? oh! folks at the va had seen our story and sent help. miguel was resting and deanna's spirits were high. "i'm going to keep fighting," she said, and then pointed up on. they put a flag on top of the tower, but just before thanksgiving, her hope turned to grief, and she wept over the flag atop miguel's coffin. the aftermath was just too much for him, but will he be counted as a victim of hurricane maria? after reporting by cnn and others sparked an official review, the fatality number could jump from 63 to over 1,000, but that is just one horrible puzzle to solve here. how the hell did you get this contract? whitefish, the tiny company
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given $300 million to help fix the grid was fired weeks into the job. the head of the island's power authority quit amid the scandal, and now as the army corps of engineers struggles through jungle terrain, a third of the island remains in the dark. about 20,000 blue roof tarps have been installed but another 50,000 are waiting. but puerto rico is just one of dozens of disaster zones, from the caribbean to california. nearly 5 million americans have filed for federal aid in just the last few months, and among those begging for help is the guy in charge of helping. >> i haven't even been here six months yet, and what i hope to do is inform americans about how complex this mission is. it might be a time to sit back and say, are we in charge of too much? >> reporter: after a career as an emergency manager in georgia and alabama, brock long was tapped by president trump right before one of the most destructive summers in american history, but he's been there long enough to say that fema is
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broke and the system is broken. many of his 19,000 personnel have worked such long hours, they've hit a pay gap and will have to give back overtime. what does that do for morale? are there people who are essentially working for free? >> we've got to fix that problem, and i've been very vocal, you know, within congress. i mean, you know, yeah, it impacts morale. we cannot do this alone. any time fema is the first, you know, the first responder and the primary responder, like we were in puerto rico, it's never an ideal situation, but i do believe, for example, in puerto rico, that we kept that island complete until it collapsed. >> you think so? >> i do. >> reporter: but things are so dire there now, 10% of the island has evacuated to florida. stephanie and victoria are among the 250,000 puerto ricans who fled so far. they're grateful to miami's st. thomas university for taking them in, but they're worried about an entire future in flux. do you feel like americans?
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on that island? do you feel like second-class americans? >> it's like we felt -- we feel we aren't a priority, you know. >> reporter: right. >> we aren't being taken the care we deserve to be taken on the island. >> and we need the help. we are really needing the help. >> reporter: so when president trump goes to puerto rico, for example, and throws paper towels to storm survivors, what sort of message does that send and how are you graded based on that? >> you know what, president trump has been incredibly supportive of emergency management. at one point, we were having day-to-day conversations with the white house, and he is highly involved. he calls me directly. he's very engaged. his message to me is help people. and expedite the processes to do so. people are excited and asking, hey, what about me back here? and he picks it up, he throws it, and the media captured it and can spin that story any way
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they want, but i was in the room. he genuinely cares about the people in puerto rico, about the people in california, about the americans in texas, in florida as well. >> reporter: so, bill, where do things stand in puerto rico in terms of restoring power to the island? >> it's still a tough slog. they've actually made some progress. the governor predicted 95% would be back up by this date. they missed that deadline. now it's about two-thirds of the island has power now, but it's one of those reminders that this infrastructure before the storm was so creaky and antiquated and obsolete that the double punch of irma and then maria just laid waste to this whole thing, and the terrain there is so rough. it's those mountains, the jungles there. and so now the army corps of engineers has picked up the slack that was created when whi whitefish was fired. they've doubled some of the contracts with the other more established firms trying to get it up. but you know, if you spent a day or two without power in the
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house, you know the discomfort in it is. imagine three months. >> so much work to do. bill weir, thank you so much. thank you so much for watching "360." i'm john berman. time now to hand it over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. a deadly amtrak derailment in washington state sending train cars full of terrified passengers crashing off an overpass and onto an interstate below. officials say at least three people are dead and 100 injured, but they fear the toll is going to go higher. 77 passengers and 7 crew members were on board the train which was making its first regular trip along a new route. >> we were coming around the corner to take the bridge over i-5 there, right north in nisqually and went on the ground. >> is everybody okay?