tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN November 12, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PST
krchc apocalyptic as families try to escape the flames. >> i've never been this scared in my life. >> it's okay mama. >> oh, god. >> also today, we are following the recount in florida, racing to meet the deadline, recounting under way in the senate and the governor's races in florida. this is a live look at how they recount all of those votes. these are elections officials in broward county. tension is also mounting this morning as republicans from the president on down are claiming fraud without providing any evidence. the campaign for rick scott and the president is calling for election night results to stand as democratic party claims, quote, rick scott is doing his best to impersonate latin
american dictators who have overthrown democracies in venezuela and cuba. let's go to dan simon, who joins us first on the ground there. you're in paradise, california, dan. what can you tell us this morni morning, before the sun even comes up there? >> reporter: hi, poppy. this fire happening at a level and scale of destruction that, quite frankly, we've never seen in the state of california. and we're still hearing some of these harrowing tales of people who evacuated. the road that leads to paradise called skyway. it was just filled bumper to bumper cars, people frantically trying to leave town. in that traffic you had a mother and daughter and you can hear just how terrified they were as the fire was ravaging everything around them. take a look. >> it's okay, mama. it's okay. please, please drive. just please drive.
>> i am. i'm trying. oh, please, god, please. let us get out safe. >> i thought the windows were going to shatter, because it was just so hot. and you were praying the car in front of you wouldn't stop. >> it was -- i'll have nightmares for the rest of my life. >> now this was the neighborhood that those two women live in. you can see that it is completely leveled. the good news is that the winds have died down today but the bad news is things remain dry and the threat persists. at this point at least 29 people have died in this fire in paradise and officials say at least 200 people are missing. so, unfortunately, the death toll, in all likelihood, is going to go up. poppy? >> unbelievable. >> heartbreaking. >> dan, thank you for being there very much. continue to report for us on the ground again over 200 people
missing. the deputy chief scott mclean with the department of forestry and fire protection. thank you for being here and for doing what you and all your teams are doing on the ground. they say at least 100 people are still unaccounted for after the camp fire. do you have any updates on had an? >> no, that would be under the county sheriff's department offices there. they opened up some lines yesterday. we see an influx of information on that. you can only imagine, folks have gone to relatives, hotels, anywhere possible. we're look at a quarter million individuals evacuated on all these fires. >> the images -- we're showing some of them as we speak to you. we know, some people died in their cars trying to escape on crowded roads, some people died in their homes. we also know this was a fast-moving fire. >> right.
>> are you concerned about how quickly warnings got out to people, evacuation orders got out to residents there? >> this is a retirement community. it's an old town, lot of wood-frame construction and it's in a wooded area. so i listened to the initial reports of the fire. first reports were 10 acres and started increasing in size exponenti exponentially. they started requesting evacuations right away. so the process was moving very quickly. unfortunately, this fire was moving very, very, very quickly, due to the winds pushing it, due to the dry vegetation. we're talking a mountainous area. this fire hit the town of paradise in a wide front.
causing a multitude of spot fires everywhere they landed. it wasn't just one narrow patch. it took out the whole side of town and continued throughout the rest of the community. >> what about the missing? our dan simon is on the ground. he just reported where he is in paradise, more than 200 people still missing. what is your outlook for them? are you guys hopeful that they will be found? do you have any updates on that front? >> that again would be the sheriff's department. i'm very hopeful. i don't want to see -- no one wants to see any more individuals found, in those situations, by any means. i don't want to see any more records broken, as you discussed. 29 fatalities. unfortunately back in 1933. we're looking at the most destructive fire in california recorded yesterday.
>> chief, i can hear the exhaustion in your voice. the last few days have just had to have been debilitating for you. i'm sure you're aware of the president's tweets, pointing blame for the fires, severity, at forest management, in effect. i'm going to quote briefly from it. there's no reason for these massive and costly deadly fires except the forest management is so poor. he goes on to talk about the money given each year. i don't want to get you into politics here, but i do want to ask you about the president assigning blame to the way forestry departments and so on handle the forest there as reason for the severity of this tragedy. what's your response to that? >> i'm not going to respond to it, as i have not in the past, due to the lack of information. if you investigate, all i can
talk for is cal fire. we have programs in place. we just received monies the last couple of years to bolster those programs, to get everybody involved in the state, as we have done in the past. we've had a lot of work to do ahead of us. these firefighters, men and women, are putting their life on the line. that's what we need to concentrate on. and, you know, it's an ongoing fight right now. look at the weather. what has been pushing these fires the last couple of years? the winds, erratic wind behavior, high temperatures that have dried out all this vegetation that is so receptive to these fires. >> chief mclean, you've got a lot on your plate now. we want to wish you the best of luck. you and the folks who work with you are risking their lives as well in the midst of this. we hope you stay safe and do your best. thank you for taking the time with us. >> thank you. >> let's get now to cnn's scott
mclean in malibu, california. one up in the north, we were speaking about one in the south, and more populated areas. what are you seeing now? some of these images almost look like they're straight out of the movies. >> reporter: yeah. and it's a scene that you would expect in a less populated area but right here in suburban los angeles, jim, so it's really striking to see. the good news is that yesterday was undoubtedly a good day for firefighters here on the ground. the footprint of the fire hasn't changed much. 15% of that is contained. the concern, though, today is with the winds. as there is that wind advisory in place until tomorrow evening, the concern is that some of those areas that are just smoldering or lying dormant could reignite and cause problems. right now part of the malibu canyon is on fire. firefighters are working to keep those flames at bay. we are in a different part of
malibu where flames -- well, i'll just step out of the way and show you. they ripped through this area right down to the pacific ocean, which is about a mile way from where we are. this would have been an absolutely beautiful home. you can actually see, you know, there's a pool in the background. there's what would have been a really nice house. over to the left you can see a van here completely burned out. there are some evacuations being lifted today but because there are mandatory evacuations still in place for this area there's hardly a person in sight. we did find one person who came back over the weekend. he had actually tried fighting the fire with a garden hose, shovel, whatever he could find. it was coming up the canyon. fire moves a lot quicker uphill than it does downhill. he eventually gave up and had to get out because there were just flames everywhere. when he came back, he was visibly emotional. he dug through what was left of his house, which wasn't much.
he said the only thing he could find was a teapot that he had made in high school and he said he was sick to his stomach, literally nauseous. and you can certainly understand why. jim, poppy? >> yeah. >> lives and homes going up in smoke there, scott mclean, thank you so much. we want to go to chad myers from the cnn weather center. i don't know if you heard the interview we had with someone from the department of forestry in california. look at the weather and the winds, he said, as a cause between -- behind why these fires are so severe and move so quickly. explain that for us. and is there -- this is a question you often ask of these situations. is there a climate change dimension to that? >> certainly there is a drying of the timber and of the understory in california because of lack of rain. by this time, we should have at least a couple of showers, one or two passing showers to try to damper the fire season. we haven't seen anything like that. so, let me get to it. i don't know how much time i'm going to have to get to all of
your questions here. high pressure sets up there. somewhere over nevada. the wind from that begins to blow offshore. tas comes down the hill, this is the sierra mountain range right there. as it comes down the hill, through the canyons, it picks up speed, dries out and warms up as it gets down toward the ocean. all three of those things are bad for fire. you don't want dry air, you don't want wind speeds higher and you certainly don't want temperatures going up either. there are red flag warnings going on even still right now. the focus has been on the woolsey fire and the camp fire. and i get that. they're still out of control. only containment in the 15 to 25 range. you cannot take your focus off what we're going to see where winds again will pick up, mainly to the south of l.a., into san diego, where winds could be 50
or 60 miles per hour through those canyons. i know there are two main fires, three with the hill fire. there may be more. if you smell smoke or see something that you don't like, it's time to get out there have. that's how fast this was moving. there was no chance to get out. >> and we heard our guest say, chad, this community, one of the communities, a retirement community, many of the homes are wood homes. >> yes. >> and it was obviously more difficult for the people to move out quickly. thank you for being on top of all of it for us, chad. if you want to help the people in california who need it so much right now, we have a big list of ways you can help. go to cnn.com/impact. cnn.com/impact. wrul syou'll see it right there. >> recounts under way in a tight senate and gubernatorial race. we'll take you live. >> state-mandated recounts by law. act the attorney matt whita
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welcome back. six days after the midterms there is still no closure in a number of high stakes races. notably here in the state of florida, not one but three statewide recounts under way, those lawsuits required by law -- recounts required by law, lawsuits, though, now piling up. broward county is facing a thursday deadline to report updated counts for governor, senate and agriculture. >> rick scott has seen his lead shrink. in the governor's race, ron
desantis running 3,000 votes ahead of the democrat. that, too, is within the half percentage point margin that within the state of florida triggers by law an automatic recount. tampa bay times, probably not sleeping a lot these days, errol lewis is political anchor. steve, what we've heard from republican officials is this claim that a judge has ruled that there has been a violation of florida's constitution. listen to what the chairman of the national republican senatorial committee cory gardner said yesterday to jake tapper about this. >> is there any specific evidence at all of anyone committing fraud or trying to steal the election, trying to change the outcome? >> here is the specific evidence we have. we have a court in florida that has said there was a violation
of the florida constitution. >> does that in any way equal voter fraud? fact check that for everyone. >> no, it doesn't. the analysis here is kind of sloppy all the way around, frankly. everybody knows brenda snipes has not draped herself in glory here, and there's been allegations of incompetence and trying to count votes after the deadline on saturday and so on and so forth. the most specific thing i keep hearing is that she failed to meet a statutory standard to report totals 30 minutes after the polls closed and the law says every 45 minutes thereafter until all the votes are count. >> right. >> that was the norm in basically every other county except broward and palm beach but i don't see any other penalty provision in the statute for that, none. this is about -- >> just for our viewers at home
who have trouble following, the republican contention here, the violation to the constitution was not meeting those 45-minute reporting requirements. >> right. >> not that she or others are creating votes out of the ether, which is what the president is, in effect, claiming, as is rick scott and other republicans. >> that's right. you know, i'm having a deja vu feeling myself. i covered the 2000 recount here extensively. i think brenda snipes owes the public and her constituents a full accounting of why it has taken so long to count the ballots in broward county. more people voted in miami-dade county and they managed to complete the cast. >> brenda snipes is a name people are hearing about now and will continue to. can you walk us through what the sticking points are with her in terms of how she has previously handled elections and to steve's point now, why her county wide
counting is taking so long there. >> people have a hard time gr s grasping, there are 67 counties in flchlt each essentially runs its own election, right? they have a starting amount of discretion as to how they're going to implement these laws, timetables. brenda snipes, her name came up in the 2000 recount as well. when it comes to whether or not you've got these judgment calls, was somebody online when the polls closed? did this batch that came in, should they really have been counted? should these mail-in ballots really be rechecked? should we go back to the people who sent them and double-check their signatures? she has discretion in all of these things and in all these cases it has been slow. it has not been as efficient as it should be. because it's a heavily democratic county, every time you sort of work through it and put more votes in, which broadly everybody wants to see happen, make sure every vote is counted, it starts to affect the democratic totals and that's where rick scott decided to go.
>> but big picture, steve -- i just want you to fact check the essential claim here from the president and other republicans. that is that democrats are trying to steal the election in a midst of a legally mandated recount. if it is fraud, why does the florida secretary of state, department of state, run by a republican, appointed by rick scott, why does it say the following? our staff has not seen any evidence of criminal activity in broward county at this time? our top priority is a fair and accurate election. if they're saying that, what backs up the president and other republicans' claims that there is an attempt to steal this election? >> right. nothing. late last night the attorney general in the state, pam bondi, a republican, who is leaving office, called on the florida department of law enforcement, said it has a duty to investigate this election. the commissioner rick sweringen
decided there was no investigation needed for two reasons. rick scott never put a request in writing and they have no credible accusation of voter fraud on file. i check it periodically. allegations of voter fraud are very common in florida. they' they're, by and large, totally unsubstantiated. >> here is one of the issues, errol, you bring up. the fact that brenda snipes has such discretion over how she handles the counting in her county, brings up what we just saw happen in arizona. in arizona, there was a lawsuit filed that was just settled and says that every county has to count their votes, look at things in the exact same way. that seems to have pleased both republicans and democrats in arizona. that is not the process of florida. >> that's right. in fact, there are issues with the ballot design. again, we have security throughout the country. there's basically 5,000 local elections.
one reason you can't just steal an election when it's time for the presidential election is that you can't figure out how to do it, right? everybody has their own standard. there are different people running for different offices. the ballot design in this case, appears to be the heart of the issue. underneath that, where it was harder to see, you have candidates for senate. they think that's why there's such a big gap of who voted for governor and who voted for senate. >> forgive me for suggesting that politics have a role to play in this. the president and other republicans were challenging results in arizona, accusing fraud, contradicted by the republican governor of arizona, other republican officials in that state. when that lead widened to the point where the republican doesn't look like she has a chance of winning there, they went silent. whereas it's closer, though still no evidence it could be flipped in a recount here.
closer here. is that perhaps evidence of politics? >> sure, sure. look, be understaunderstanding stake and who is squawking the loudest gives you a clue of what's going on. for rick scott to go crazy, let's send in law enforcement, the president starts making these accusations. innocently or not, every new vote that comes out of broward county is more likely to be democratic. with such a thin margin, despite fact that there has to be a recount it will look worse and worse for governor scott. >> we're sitting up here in new york. we're not running a newspaper down there. what are floridians saying? >> i think they're getting increasingly impatient. they want a result. it looks like we're going to have -- the odds favor rick scott going to the u.s. senate and ron desantis being the next
governor and freed pulling off an upset and winning the agriculture seat. people want this to end, for sure. errol's point about local officials having discretion is right on. you haven't seen anything yet when they start looking at these over votes, which are subject to individual interpretation of what the voter had in mind. >> bottom line, no evidence of fraud. >> look how differently desantis is handling this, just his appearance on fox news this morning. >> errol louis, steve bousquet, thank you. their plan to take on matthew whitaker. behr presents: ordinary versus overachiever. ♪ behr premium plus, 'behr' through it all with a top rated paint at a great price. get incredible savings on behr 2-gallon ceiling paint. exclusively at the home depot.
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this morning, top democrats in congress are warning president trump's pick for acting attorney general matt whitake er recuse himself from e russia probe. >> we will subpoena mr. -- or summon, if necessary, subpoena mr. whitaker. >> if he doesn't recuse himself and has any involvement whatsoever in this russian probe, we are going to find out whether he made commitments to the president about the probe. mr. whitaker needs to understand he will be called to answer, and any role he plays will be exposed to the public. >> whitaker has criticized the special counsel multiple times in the past in public, which has key democrats signaling they may tie legislation to protect
mueller to a future spending bill, a move that could potentially trigger a government shutdown. joining us now, cnn legal analyst shan wu. myself, as a layman, do public comment business a preofficial like this, do they create a legal justification for recusal? he made comments criticizing the mueller investigation. is that legally relevant? >> that's a great question. i think that's a little bit of a gray area. this is different from the reason that sessions had to recuse himself. his statements certainly make him look biased but the cfr regulation that governs recusal goes to whether the employee has a personal or political relationship with a person under investigation. that's arguably implicated here.
normally, he would recuse. they are usually done very quietly, outside of the spotlight. mostly because the department and the higher ups want to preserve the integrity and public appearance of the department. they don't want a lot of attention called to what conflict there might be. it's done quietly. people err on the side of recusal. sessions, two things, one, he was the surrogate for the campaign and, two, he arguably made a false statement during his confirmation hearings, very different. no question he looks very biased here and no question if i was advising him, i would tell him it would be a good idea to recuse. >> i not hold your breath on that one. senator chuck schumer said yesterday to jake tapper, look, it's a constitutional crisis if whitaker doesn't recuse himself.
1989, the supreme court ruled in u.s. v. eaton that a principle office like this is constitutional if the person has served in that office for 90 days, which whitaker has. so, is it a constitutional crisis? >> i don't think so. there's very well respected legal experts who have weighed in, saying that they think this is an unconstitutional appointment. i don't agree. when i was in the department, there were numerous instances where we had temporary acting people, sometimes staff people if the attorney general was traveling or the deputy was unavailable. i think so long as the duration is properly limited, that should be okay. i think it raises some interesting questions, but i don't think it's an unconstitutional appointment. if it became an attempt to declare by the president's proclamation that he is the ag, that would be problematic. >> before i let you go, how long can he serve, whitaker, before
he would require senate approval? >> i believe the time is around 200 days. i'm not 100% clear on the exact time. the duration needs to be limited and one problem is that they've not been talking about it being a limited duration. they need to say this is an acting situation and we will get a nominee in place. >> a lot could happen in the mueller investigation. >> in those 200 days. >> during the time that whitaker is overseeing it, could limit substantially what mueller can do. thank you for being with us. key ally, president of france, rebuking president trump on the world stage. new theraflu powerpods.
post world war i. >> as president trump looked on, listen to what macron said. >> translator: patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism, by saying our interests first. who cares about the others? we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it grace and what is essential, its moral values. >> dafbd sanger, security analyst, national security correspondent for "the new york times." david, for the french president to use those words yards from the u.s. president, to criticize nationalism days after the president called himself a nationalist, is there any way that the president could not take those words as directed at him? >> no, they were directed at him. if the president took it that
way, he took it accurately. and it's why, you know, he always shows up at summits like this as if -- looking as if he's going to a high school reunion with classmates he didn't really like. right? so you saw this throughout the weekend. macron critique was two-fold. one, the use of the word nationalism and basically he made the argument that the bigger form of patriotism was to understand your nation's interest as interlinked with the interest of other nations as well. and in many ways that's what the entire weekend was about, right? if you're going to do a 100th anniversary of the end of the great war, as it was called, you want to spend your time thinking about the mistakes made that led the world to that tragedy. and the mistakes made all had to do with just an over zealousness
of nationalism followed after world war i by over zealous isolationism by the united states. and i think that was part of the message, too. >> do you think, david, that the 44 hours that president trump spent there in paris with world leaders did more to bolster the transatlantic partnership or more to just further expose its cracks? regardless of talking points from either side when you really look at it, what did we get? >> poppy, you got a graphic on television illustration of what we've all heard from talking to european leaders and even americans who deal with europeans, that a president who perhaps, for perfectly legitimate reasons of weather didn't show up at the first cemetery commemoration. his staff managed to find a way to do that, even if they had to drive. you had a moment where all the leaders were supposed to be
coming down together. only two showed up late, donald trump and vladimir putin. so that also sent a message. these are highly coordinated events and all it seemed to do was illustrate the splits. >> let me ask you, i'm sure you hear -- you speak to european diplomats, national security officials. i'll say how did that public tension affect the private relationship? intelligence sharing behind the scenes, defense cooperation, et cetera. they will tend to say, listen, relationship is strong as ever at this level. is that true from what you hear and is it possible for that to last when the commander in chief and the president of france are clearly on such different pages? how do those relationships stay so strong? >> it's a difficult thing to nurture. jim, you know from your time
here in washington covering the same area, the professionals say they've built up their own relationships and they're there to work with each other, no matter who the president is. and much of the intelligence community, and much of the diplomatic community, they're made of career people who know that they will be here after donald trump is no longer president, and after macron is no longer president and they sort of build up their business. on the other hand, what is happening at the top has got a corrosive effect. the president's announcement with no notification to the europeans or no consultation, i should say, that he was going to withdrawal from the inf treating, intermediate nuclear forces treaty, they felt, put the europeans in the russian target set here and that is deeply corrosive and the
president is likely to take that up with president putin when they meet. >> david sanger, thank you very much. >> david, great piece in the times. we didn't have time to get to it but everyone should read your most recent reporting on north korea and their ramping up on the missiles program. warning saudi arabia's crown prince the u.s. will make sure that journalist jamal khashoggi's killers accountable. how will they do that? simple s? great tasting, heart-healthy california walnuts. so simple, so good. get the recipes at walnuts.org. acidic foods can your enamel is very precious. wear away your enamel. your tooth is going to look yellower, more dull. i recommend pronamel because it helps protect and strengthen your enamel. it's pro enamel. it's the positive thing. ♪ your insurance rates skyrocket you could fix it with a pen.
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accountable. riyadh insists the crown prince knew nothing about the operation to target and kill the journalist. u.s. officials have said such a mission could not have occurred without the prince's knowledge and authorization. we're joined now live from istanbul. this is a remarkable development that friends of khashoggi along with the arab turkish media association want to buy the saudi counsul general's residence where this murder is believed to have happened. tell us how this is happening. >> well, jim, we attended a memorial yesterday marking 14 days since the killing of jamal khashoggi. we heard from his friends there, and there's a sense they're really starting to lose hope that this body is going to be found. especially with the theory that turkish authorities are looking into that acid was used to dissolve his body. so one friend was saying they have started this idea, this initiative where they're collecting money to buy the
residence of the consul general. they have been deprived of the ability to stand at cuchokhasho grave so they want to turn the building into a memorial of sorts. they are collecting money, donations to try and do that. now, of course, jim, we still don't know -- we have heard from turkish authorities here saying they are continuing their search for the body, for the remains of jamal khashoggi, a determination, at least publicly from turkey to continue on this path. we have heard the statements from president erdogan this weekend saying they have shared the evidence, recordings of the killing of khashoggi with the united states, with several european countries. pretty much putting the ball in the court of those countries right now to really now put the pressure on saudi arabia to try to get answers and to try and really, you know, get to the bottom of this and to hold those
responsible for the killing accountable. something turkey has been really pushing for and so far they say they're extremely frustrated with the lack of cooperation from the saudis. >> thank you. we're also learning that the family is going to attempt to hold a funeral this week, even though they have not been able to find a body. >> all right, so this morning, canadian prime minister justin trudeau says he has not but canadian agents have indeed heard the recordings that are related to khashoggi's murder. i asked what will canada do to hold saudi arabia accountable. listen. >> canada has a $15 billion deal to sell light armored vehicles to saudi arabia. you said last month canadians expect there to be consequences for jamal khashoggi's premeditated murder. will canada cancel its arms sales? >> we have been working with the international community to try to get answers on the terrible murder of khashoggi.
this is something that the entire world is outraged about. we're demanding answers on it. i will point out that canada has been in conflict with saudi arabia in a diplomatic level for a few months now because we put out a statement condemning the arrest of a number of pro-democracy, pro-woman activists in saudi arabia. we'll continue to stand up firmly for human rights while at the same time looking for ways to be more transparent and more accountable in the economic choices. >> well, he wouldn't answer the question. >> i asked him more, you can see that online on that issue, but just like the united states, i mean, where is the line? and what action will be taken? >> frankly, silence from the u.s., largely. at least on the issue of the larger relationship and arms sales. more to come on that. >> meanwhile here at home, former first lady michelle obama on the day trump was sworn into
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[ neighing ] [ sigh ] it's bring your own phone, not pony. so i could've taken the bus? yeah. bring your phone. switch your carrier. save hundreds a year with xfinity mobile. call, click or visit a store today. do you wander what michelle obama was thinking on president trump's inauguration day? she tells all in her new book. she says she couldn't even try to be happy that day. >> on january 20th, 2017, the nation watched the peaceful transition of power from president obama to president trump. mrs. obama in her own words describes coming to terms with the new reality before her. >> the vibrant diversity of the
two previous inaugurations was gone. someone from barack's administration might have said that the optics there were bad. that what the public saw didn't reflect the president's reality or ideals. but in this case, maybe it did. realizing it, i made my own optic adjustment. i stopped even trying to smile. >> the former first lady not holding back at all in this memoir, "becoming." the clip you saw is from the abc special on her memoir. a very good monday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm poppy harlow in new york. we're glad you're with us. devastating breaking news out of california. at least 31 people have been killed as wildfires have ravaged the state. in northern california, the