tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN November 10, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST
rick scott has taken the senate race to court. as his lead over nelson narrowed in the vote counting. and for governor, republican ron desantis is leading democrat andrew gillum by a razor thin margin. as you see right there. we're getting to all of that. cnn's ryan nobles is in tallahassee with the latest on the deadline. ryan. >> yes, that's right. we've reached the deadline for all the votes to be counted. and into the secretary of state's office here in tallahassee. the big question is, are they all in place and what will they tell us. the big thing that we are expecting is the margin of victory for both the governor's race, the senate race and for the agricultural commissioner race, which is a statewide official race here in florida would be within the margin that requires an automatic recount of all the ballots by machine here in florida. that means those races will be
within one half of one percent. an incredibly tight race in florida. what does that mean? the machine count recount could begin as soon as this afternoon in some counties. it will be done on a county by county basis. and they need to have it wrapped up by next thursday. they will assess to see if any of these races fall within a quarter of a percent. if that happens, there will be a hand recount of the undervotes and overvotes in each of these races before a winner is ultimately decided. fred, as you already mentioned, this is already playing out in the courts. both sides back and forth filing lawsuits to make sure that every single vote is cast and every single vote is cast appropriately. the message to send to viewers is it will likely be some time before voters here in florida know definitively who their next governor is. fred. >> all right, ryan nobles, thank you so much. let's go to broward county,
florida. oh, actually, we're not going to check in there, but there are a lot of folks who have turned out in front of offices there who are expressing their concern about how all of this is going, now that the deadline has been reached. joining me right now to talk about all of this, the senior political reporter for politico in florida and larry noble, former general counsel for the federal election commission. all right. good to see you both. larry, you know, let's begin with you because, you know, a lot of folks are feeling like this is reminiscent of what happened in 2000. in florida on the whole presidential debacle race of 2000. there are similarities. now protesters. people who are overtly expressing their real concern here. but very much unlike that, this is an issue of counting all the ballots in the first place. now that this deadline has been met, is it likely that all of those count yips will have been able to deliver their results? >> well, i hope so.
there are a number of things going on where it's not clear exactly what's happening. in broward county, they're saying they had so many ballots. at the same time, they were sued over not stating how many ballots they had. so it's hard to tell. we know there have been problems in florida. there are problems in a lot of states. the election administration is not the state level. there's the only election administration prayer, let it not be a close election. i think it's a very serious matter. we need to make sure every ballot is counted. we need to make sure either ballot is accepted. what you have is the republicans trying to stop the counting of certain ballots because they say signatures are mismatched on mail-in ballots. there's the lawsuit from
republicans over releasing the information about how many ballots they actually have. hopefully, this will be resolved relatively soon. it is reminiscent of 2000. also, it's reminiscent of 2000 partially because some of the same lawyers are flying down from washington on both sides to get into a legal battle. but at the end of the day, what this comes down to is people voting and having their votes counted. >> let me bring in jessica dean because she was last hour out d outside the elections office and now i understand you're inside. what are they doing there? >> right now, we're in a recess. but there is still a ton of energy and activity happening in here on the other side of this barrier they've erected. let me let you see what the scene looks like. what you're look at in this crowd is a mix of attorneys for both sides. i just heard them talking about the high-powered attorneys that have been brought in for the democrats and the republicans.
we were just talking with both of them. they were both making their cases. they've been in here monitoring votes as the canvassing board goes over them. you're looking at citizens in here. we have people representing both sides in here as well. right now, it is 12:05. there was a 12:00 deadline for each county within florida to get their unofficial vote count in to the secretary of state's office so they can begin to go through that and figure out if any of these races fall within the half percent that's going to trigger that automatic recount. that's what they were doing in there today. the final unofficial number that's supposed to be in at noon. they took a recess. probably in the last 15 minutes or so. they're now waiting they said until they have more work to do. so they took a recess. but people obviously still in here.
we're waiting if any of these races, both expected to fall within that margin of that automatic recount. >> jessica, you mentioned there are a lot of attorneys, presumably the ones that are, you know, in the front. then all the people that are just to your right who are sitting down. are these just concerned citizens? do many play a role in having been at the polling stations during midterm elections, i mean, who's there? >> that's a great question. a lot of these people are people who just want to make sure they're here to witness what's going on. there have been some protests we showed you. some of what they were doing is a lot of people wanted to get in here but it's not a huge space. they did essentially a lottery, allowing people in at random, based on that lottery number, that can come in and observe. so people on both sides that want to monitor what's going on,
they're listening to the attorneys talk. they're watching this process play out as well. a lot of them recording it on their phones. so it's just fair to say there's so many eyes on this. and so much passion and so many very strong emotions that are being played out right in front of us today. >> still so much at stake. talking about the governor's race. talking about the u.s. senate seat. and folks want it to be done properly. so mark, as you look at these images here, today's image of this kind of, you know, attention being played on florida once again, two very important races here, you know, back in 2000, who could forget the images of, you know, folks looking at these pregnant chads, you know, and wondering whether the ballot cards had been punched properly. that's not the issue here. however, is it an issue of some kind of incompetence with the way in which these ballots were taken? i mean what is the issue that it
has taken so long to count absentee, day of, you know, mail-in ballots and that we're at this juncture? >> well, that's still kind of a mystery. palm beach county is the third largest county in broward county is the second largest county in florida. for some reason, they were unable to count ballots as quickly as miami-dade county. right now both the election supervisors in broward and palm beach is understandably under the microscope. in broward county, which is the site of the most controversy, the supervisor of election there was unable to even say after election day how many ballots remained to be counted. that's a problem because elections administrations is a numbers game. you're supposed to know everyone who came in, and how many balloballot s had been cast. if somebody asked you that question, your office should be able to answer that. and the elections supervisor
either wouldn't answer that or couldn't answer that. either way, it resulted in her getting sued successfully by the governor. so we're not really sure. one thing that needs to be clear is while the president has alleged fraud and governor rick scott has alleged fraud, the florida department of law enforcement was actually looked into this and fdle, which is the state's version of the fbi, has come back and said we found no allegations of fraud. now the department of state which is under governor scott and which controls the election in the state by and large have told us we have no federal allegations of fraud either. it looks like there might be some rash and a large amount of incompetence going on. >> that word fraud is out there, you know, larry. the president has used it. rick scott has used it. even though there hasn't been any evidence revealed and, you know, the broward county, you know, supervisor of elections, you know, brenda snipes has been
singled out. but the issue is really at least three counties. where the completion of the count didn't take place within a certain deadline, you know, we're talking about broward, dade and palm beach. so customarily, is there a deadline in which all of the ballots should be counted and in this case here, they just didn't meet those deadlines. >> there are deadlines. they're not meeting -- or they didn't meet the deadline. and there's a deadline at noon today. and we'll have to see this afternoon what happens here. what's really dangerous here is the accusations of fraud. as i said, there's been no evidence of any fraud going on here. one of the problems with election administration at the local level is it's often underfunded. it's often not taken seriously until you get to the election. and then what you find is that there are a lot of problems. it's an infrastructure question. you know, what we have is basically a lot of parts of this
country, infrastructure for our democracy's falling apart or not handled competently. it doesn't mean fraud. with fraud, it fits into the narrative that the president and many republicans have been using for a very long time to try to deprive people of voting rights, oh, all this rampant fraud in elections. >> why do you want people to feel uneasy about the election system, especially when you're already an elected official in office, benefiting from this great democracy, and now you're telling everybody don't trust your own vote, don't trust the system? what do you gain? i don't get it. >> well, you only use the fraud until you win. so if you look at what happened with trump, he started to say -- he refused to say he would accept the outcome if he lost and he was talking about rampant fraud until he won. then he changed it, the rampant fraud is the reason why he did not win in the popular vote
count. they use the fraud argument to undermine people's confidence in the election but to pass laws that restrict people's right to vote. open the theory that it's fraud -- and it's never been proven there's any serious fraud. they disenfranchise often hundreds of thousands of people. the game is to call to question the election. but try to justify laws that make it harder to vote. >> is this eroding? you know, confidence, you know, accusations of, you know, fraud, no evidence that we're seeing a deadline being met, people are outside, you know, protesting, whether they're in support of what's happening, the completion of the count or potentially even a recount, or should this make people feel more confident, that there is some sort of, you know, safety net in place? >> i don't think it's a good idea for the president, the governor or anyone else to
allege fraud unless they have evidence for it. except for the election's margin is decreasing. however, i think the analogy i've used before is nature ab r abhors a vacuum. politics abhors a lack of information. florida's very good public election laws. and is required to under law give basic information and should have done it quickly and she did not. in that vacuum of information, in that period of time that the election had ended on tuesday night or election day, thousands and thousands and thousands of more votes showed up. she not only failed to tally or at least give the tallies of the votes that were remaining, but she also failed to upload the votes in the statutorily required time frame, every 45 minutes after the end of the election. in this vacuum poured these crazy conspiracy theories. miami-dade did finish its counting kind of on time.
although everyone kind of is. it did not have any problems that palm beach and broward did. the vote statewide has been met. the time lines and deadlines have been met. the reason that noon today is a deadline is that you can trigger recounts. november 15th is the final day to have the finals in to be certified. the votes are still being tallied. especially overseas absentee ballots cast by people overseas and by members of the military. >> all right, we'll leave it there for now. still ahead, out of control. deadly california wildfires growing on both ends of the state. one fire has already become the most destructive in the state's history. and later, a new wall street journal report saying president trump directed deals to pay a porn star and a playmate to keep them quiet. what legal trouble could the
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right now, three wildfires are burning in california, forcing morgue than 200,000 people to immediately evacuate. the camp fire in northern california's already one of the deadliest and most destructive in the state's history. nine people have died. 35 are missing. nearly 6,500 buildings and homes have been destroyed. officials say about ott% of the homes in the town of paradise were destroyed. cnn's dan simon is near the deadly fire. so, dan, tell us more about ways around you there. >> hi, fred. i'm going to start with some good news. the winds have completely died down. the containment number is 20%. the bad news is the winds are supposed to come back tonight. the fire threat throughout northern california is going to persist. but i'm going to show you a little bit of where we are here
in paradise, california. a small sample of the kinds of things you're seeing. the burned out home behind me. one thing that strikes me is all of the burned vehicles. there are just so many of them. and you also see cars just up against one another. it shows you that when people were rushing, out of the fire, the smoke was so thick, that people couldn't see the car in front of them and crashed into them. this gives you a better vantage point of what this particular neighborhood looks like. we've seen devastating wildfires of course many times before in california. but one thing that is so particularly striking about this one. past wildfires, a lot of times the damage is contained or confined to a particular area. in this particular case, it is so wide spread, we're talking about 100,000 acres, and all
throughout that acreage, we're seeing burned out homes. burned out businesses. schools. grocery stores. retirement centers. you name it. nobody's going to be able to live here for quite some time. of course the infrastructure is also destroyed. >> so terribly sad. thanks so much. up next, the president's pick for acting attorney general, facing sharp criticism. coming up, how matt whitaker's past decisions could cause trouble in his new job. it's true. so all... evening long. ooh, so close. yes, but also all... night through its entirety. come on, all... the time from sunset to sunrise. right. but you can trade... from, from... from darkness to light. ♪ you're not gonna say it are you?
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the president's choice over acting attorney continues to grow. picking whitaker after he fired sessions. trying to distance himself from whitaker, claiming he doesn't even know him. that contradicts an interview president trump gave just last month where he said he knew whitaker well. whitaker has come under fire for his comment criticizing the special counsel's russia investigation. but now whitaker's time as a u.s. attorney in iowa is also under scrutiny. here now is cnn senior investigative correspondent drew griffin. >> i initially thought i can't think of a more ill-qualified person. >> reporter: matt mccoy has a history with president trump's new acting attorney general matt whitaker.
in 2007, mccoy was a young gay rising star in iowa's democratic party. whitaker was the young conservative republican u.s. attorney for the southern district of iowa. at the time you were indicted, you were the only openly gay -- >> yes. >> reporter: you were a democrat, considered a rising star. you think that's why you were targeted? >> absolutely believe that's why i was targeted. >> reporter: the federal indictment was brief. the u.s. attorney general was accusing mccoy of attempted extortion by a public official. mccoy says it was a $2,000 business dispute with a private consulting client who wouldn't pay a bill. those facts didn't matter to whitaker he says who brought the full weight of the federal government against him. >> i believe it was a political prosecution. there's no doubt in my mind, 100% certain it was.
>> reporter: here is all you need to know about the case. the u.s. attorney's office under whitaker's direction spent more than two years going after mccoy, using the fbi, a paid informant, secret recordings, a special prosecutor and after two years, it took a jury mere minutes to reach its verdict. not guilty. >> that's right, i was acquitted within really 20 minutes. >> reporter: whitaker was criticized heavily in iowa's press. reporters asking why was mccoy prosecuted. legendary des moines register editor asked if the u.s. attorney's case was misplaced zeal or partisan politicking. this for most u.s. attorneys decision in court would have been embarrassing. >> yes. >> did it appear embarrassing? >> no. he never reached out to me ju. e >> my name is matt whitaker. >> reporter: whitaker's career
sputtered. he tried and filed to become an iowa supreme court justice. tried and failed in a run for senate. he seemed to have limited success in private practice. then in 2014, using the legal system as a political weapon, he found an entirely new career. backed by conservative republican donors, whitaker became director of the foundation for accountability and civic trust, fact. the nonprofit claims it is dedicated to promoting ethics and transparency in government by demanding the truth. critics say it became a tool to attack democrats through the legal system. fact, went after dozens of democrats, especially hillary clinton, filing ethics complaints, federal election commission complaints, anyone to legally hamstring democrats. >> i think what you're looking at an organization focused almost exclusively on
investigating individuals of one party and one political persuasion, and that the head of that organization is now going to be installed as the attorney general of the entire united states, that sets off a number of a harm bells. >> reporter: matt mccoy doesn't need an alarm bell. he is frightened by the prospect of matt whitaker in a position of power. >> very frightening. because i know how pliable he is. >> reporter: you need an attorney general who will do whatever the boss wants. >> absolutely, without question. >> reporter: the department of justice did finally get back to us. and said in the case of u.s. versus mccoy, u.s. attorney matt whitaker had a responsibility to pursue the case because of credible allegations of illegal activity. the department of justice says the attorney case was signed off by superiors and the jury's verdict does not negotiate the obligation to pursue open cases
when it's believed laws have been broken. drew give riffin, cnn, des moin iowa. >> a separate controversy. a report in the wall street journal says he was closely involved in the 2016 campaign. the journal says details of trump's involvement are included in an 80-page draft indictment. it says trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the plan to pay off the women. does this create any potential legal issues for the president? >> legal experts really disagree over this issue. you don't have to look further than the case of edwards where he was charged in a very similar fact pattern. a jury acquitted him of one of
the charges. they basically couldn't reach a verdict on the rest. a lot of this turns on some of the issues with the campaign finance laws. the question is the u.s. attorney's office knows these facts and has this information. while it may not be an issue for the president at this moment, a larger question remains of does this pose any problems for the trump organization? it reimbursed michael cohen, who had advanced the money to pay stormy daniels, one of the women alleged to have a fair with the president a decade earlier. another question is a democrat controlled house will try to use these fact patterns in a potential impeachment proceeding against the president and those questions remain open. >> coming up, president trump in paris right now meeting with french president emmanuel macron. what the two are discussing amid tensions.
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how do you solve this? you partner with a firm that combines trusted, personal advice with the cutting edge tools and insights to help you not only see your potential, but live it too. morgan stanley. welcome back, i'm fredricka whitfield. president trump is in paris. president trump and french president emmanuel macron held talks earlier today after trump broadcasted macron over nato payments on twitter and comments macron made about europe's military. cnn's nic robertson is in paris for us. the meeting got off to a bumpy start. and then the spokesperson for macron is now saying there was a misunderstanding. >> a misunderstanding, perhaps
some people might interpret it as a little bit of a willful misunderstanding. what president macron said earlier in this week in the interview with the radio station here in france is pretty much what he's been saying for a number of months now. that europe needs to sort of reorganize its defense forces. it needs to be better able to stand on its own two feet. goes to president trump's point that europe needs to be better about paying up its nato dues. european leaders, some of them, macron included, believe europe can be better at organizing ice military, have one manufacturer of fighter aircraft. one manufacturer of tanks for example. president macron has said we need to have this europe force, ready to fight russia or china or even the united states. but what came out of this meeting was what president macron really meant was europe feels threatened mostly by
russia and if it better organized its military it can make that obligation to nato much better. this is what president trump understood. he said president macron understood this issue of burden sharing, that europe needs to be much better on. so of course a lot of time apparently spent on that. and not on other issues. the commemoration coming up early tomorrow for the armistice that ended world war i. >> and this just in to cnn, all votes from all of florida counties have been now submitted to that state's secretary of state's office. the county's had until noon today to submit their returns. florida, the center of attention, as the races are still too close to call. we're still awaiting unofficial certification from the secretary of state. florida law requires a recount
if candidates are within a half percentage point of each other. that's currently the case in both of those pivotal races. all right, cominge ing up, the national rifle association telling doctors to stay in their lane about gun violence but what do the doctors who have to treat gun violence victims have to say? we'll hear from them next. it can't be done! we are doing it. it's a done deal. for $40, t-mobile is offering unlimited, and the awesome iphone xr for every line. wah! so, they get the new iphone xr and the plan for $40 bucks. ah! the new iphone xr! that's bananas! what's with the monkey head, fred? where's your memoji? my kid's been playing with my iphone, little monkey. each of us is different. and each cancer is different. how it reacts, how it evades and adapts.
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>> reporter: in the aftermath of two deadly mass shootings, a heated political show you between two unlikely rivals. it is published by the physicians, saying it is a public health crisis. doctors shared new information. such as counseling patients on the risks of having firearms in the home. the doctors also weighed in on the issues of back ground checks and illegal gun sales. that prompted this tweet from the nra, quote, someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. the medical community seems to have consulted no one from themselves. just hours before the mass shooting in thousand oaks, where 12 people were gunned down. some doctors are outraged. >> for a group to simply dismiss
the medical community that is on the front line of taking care of these patients is absolutely unacceptable. >> reporter: he is a trauma surgeon in baltimore. he not only treats many gunshot wound victims, he was one. >> the bullet ruptured my windpipe right here and then these scars are where i had the emergency surgery. >> reporter: in 1994, when he was just 17, he was at a high school football game when a fight broke out and someone started shooting. he ended up with a paralyzed vocal cord. after the nra tweet, he responded, i cannot believe the audacity of the nra. >> where is the nra when i'm having to tell those loved ones that the family member has died and not coming back? >> reporter: tweet followed by an avalanche of others from fellow interesdoctor. one accompanied by an x-ray says i helped save a gun violence
victim in med school. those are my hands holding pressure. the bullet is right by my fingertips. this is me in my lay,ne, nra. it has intensified the political debate. 60 minutes recently profiled the effects of bullets fired from one of the guns used in the synagogue shooting. compared to a standard handgun bullet fired on a gelatin target simulating human soft tissue. the ar-15 bullet is more devastating. that's one of the many complaints from doctors, it's harder to save the lives of people hit with high power ammunition. the nra refused to do an on camera interview with us but the nra is pushing back hard, telling cnn those doctors attack the group are pushing a gun control agenda that wouldn't prevent those shootings. when the nra says you guys weighing in on policies just like back ground checks really isn't in your lane, don't they
have a point? >> we have both the responsibility to weigh in on this issue we're having to deal with on a daily basis. >> reporter: one physician saying the anti-gun doctors who write some of those articles are not practicing medicine in the trenches. one retired physician saying he's appalled by the leftist direction that organized medicine has taken. brian todd, cnn, washington. >> it's breaking news. the broward county canvassing board has approved a motion to begin a machine recount that are thus far too close to call. no word yet on when that recount would officially begin. officials are holding a press conference now, the broward county office. we want to take you there live. >> it's every expectation. they're prepared to start and put the resources necessary to
complain as we did with the preliminary, to comply with the recount. i don't have that number, sir. >> -- a secretary of state -- >> that's would calls the recount. question? >> he's the one who -- how many people did you have working on general election count and how many -- adding any more staff to -- >> i don't have the exact -- one of the things she has indicated, whatever resource she needs, she's going to have those resources there. >> can you speak about the someone going investigation into that -- >> i cannot, sir. earlier, i showed you i don't know what box you're speaking of. >> open investigation -- >> i don't know. >> the number of ballots reported on the website today is
2,019 more than were reported yesterday and given to complain. can you explain? >> i don't know what website. the website we have for dr. snipe's, for the office, including votes cast. votes -- people that actually came in to a polling place or participated through another means to vote. those are the votes that are cast. if those votes are 2,000 less than some other number, we're only interested in the votes that were actually cast. that's a number reflected on the department of election s websit. >> why are there more today? >> there are not more today on that particular site. what they're look at -- they're look at another site from another app that they brought to us. they're mixing apples and oranges. we met with them.
we talked to them about that. i've given them my number to further explain that process. they're mixing tab u lations. those are -- whatever that site is that they're utilizing is not the official site of the broward county election supervisor's office. that's the site we rely on. >> -- unofficial election results -- >> yes. and again, we just within the hour had some decisions made in the canvassing board. i can tell you, those are already on the site purpose in there and you heard whatever decisions they made. >> does the canvassing board mean a -- >> if there are disputes that arise, they're available until the process is completed. >> this room is eligible -- >> we cannot promise that. >> okay.
>> how do you not have an answer to that -- >> any other questions -- >> you hear a lot of folks asking questions to the representatives there of that broward county election office. trying to figure out now once the broward county canvassing board has agreed a recount should take place now, people are trying to figure out the timetable and are there discrepancies in the numbers. you heard one official there talking about there is no discrepancy from his standpoint on the votes that were cast. we're going to continue to follow all of this as all of the counties in florida have now, we understand, met a noon deadline to get all of their counted ballots in and because these races are so close and the secretary of agricultural for the state, now what will be determined if there will be
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>> what branch are you? >> i realized we have a huge gap in services. if you've ever served, you know if one of your fellow platoon guys, you need help, you help them. an opportunity to get stable, a safe and security place. and then fix what got them there in the first place. when i see a win for them, it's a celebration for me. it means everything. >> more than 650 cities are interested in replicating chris's program which will expand to nashville next year. go to cnnheroes.com right now to vote for him. or for cnn hero of the year or any other favorite top ten heroes. cnnheroes.com. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome back. this breaking news in to cnn. the broward county canvassing board has approved a motion to
begin a machine recount in the florida senate and governor's races, pending an announcement of the secretary of state. cnn's ryan nobles is live in tallahassee. what do you know, ryan? >> well, it sure looks like we're headed to a recount in florida and these big races between the statewide races. it's important to point out even though the county said they're ready to move ahead, with that automatic recount, we're still waiting on the secretary of state here to put out the official word that based on these final votes. based on all the votes we see, which is posted on the secretary of state's website, all of the county's have now reported all the votes that must be in by the noon deadline. on this day. there is a batch of votes, military and overseas ballots that have a ten-day deadline which haven't been counted yet but this important group of votes, the vast majority of the