tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 12, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
back it up, the president claims that democrats are costing you big by trying to investigate him. what's he so afraid of as democrats prepare to take the house. plus -- >> heavenly father, please help us. >> cars literally melting as people desperately try to escape the wildfire hell in california. the flames destroying thousands of homes, killing dozens of people. the worst is yet to come. welcome to "the lead," i'm jim sciutto in today for jake. we begin with the politics lead. florida recount 2.0. this time it is three elections, including the all-important senate and governors races, as well as the agriculture commissioner there. right now in every county in florida, an effort is under way to recount millions of ballots, as is required by law. since the margin between the candidates, all those candidates, is just a half a
percentage point or less. volunteers have until this thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern time to finish the job. already one county official is warning that they might not be done in time. president trump is suggesting they shouldn't even try. the president tweeting today, quote, the florida election should be called in favor of rick scott and ron desantis, and that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. an honest vote count is no longer possible. ballots massively infected. must go with election night. president trump and republicans, including senator rick scott, governor, rather, rick scott, have alleged without evidence that democrats are conspiring to overturn the initial results and attempt to commit fraud. but to be clear, the florida department of state run by a republican, i might mention, affirmed to me again today that they stand by their statement over the weekend, stating in no uncertain terms, quote, our staff has not seen any evidence of criminal activity in broward
county at this time. couldn't be clearer than that. cnn's ryan nobles is in tallahassee, florida, inside the room where they are recounting the ballots for leon county. it's happening as we speak. ryan, are officials there confident in their ability to finish the recount before that thursday deadline? >> reporter: yeah, jim. in fact, here in leon county, which is the home county to tallahassee, the state capital, they believe their count will be done as soon as tomorrow. but leon county was never the problem. there were other counties across florida, where there was a bit of concern that they may not be able to hit that thursday deadline. today, though, election officials say that everything is going smooth and everyone hopes that the new count will be ready by 3:00 p.m. on thursday. the recount is under way. a huge undertaking. 8.5 million ballots spread over 67 counties. individually run through thousands of machines with a goal of checking the results first relieveased on saturday
afternoon. as the machines churn, the politicians are playing a public relations game. attempting to convince their supporters they will be victorious. >> what bill nelson needs to do now is what he would be asking me to do if i had lost the election, is say, look, you know, the election happened. let's go forward. but he's not. >> reporter: governor rick scott, who is leading by just about 12,000 votes, believes he has won. a senior campaign official says he will travel to washington this week and play the role of senator-elect, attending a photo op on capitol hill and participating in leadership elections. he's filed several lawsuits and as governor has called on law enforcement and attorney general pam bondi to keep watch on the recount. bondi, sending a letter to the secretary of state saying she was, quote, deeply troubled the two agencies don't see evidence to warrant a criminal investigation. scott's opponent, bill nelson, believes scott, the governor, should not be involved in election where scott, the candidate, is running.
>> given his efforts to undermine the votes of floridans, this is the only way that we can ensure the people's votes are protected. >> reporter: meanwhile, the recount moves along. in massive miami-dade county, election workers must work 24 hours a day to get done on time. in palm beach county, a spot of concern. the supervisor of elections once thought they might not be done on time. today she changed her tune, confident at least the senate race would be done. >> we're fairly confident that we're going to meet the -- at least the machine recount by thursday. >> reporter: the senate race has the best chance of flipping in a recount. but if it happened, it would be unprecedented. the governor's race, while in a recount, is very unlikely to change, with a 33,000-vote margin. and as a result, the candidates are acting much different. andrew gillum, the democratic nominee, not promising a new result, but vowing to make sure every vote is counted and perhaps auditioning for his next act.
>> i'm simply here to say that for the votes that have been cast, they ought to be counted. every last single one of them. >> reporter: and the republican candidate, ron desantis, casting himself as governor-elect, staying above the fray, making only one taped public statement and not appearing in public since election night. and about all these new ballots that republicans claim were found in broward county between election night and that final vote count on saturday. rick scott, the governor, who is, of course, the candidate, posting on his facebook page, alluding to the fact those votes were coming out of nowhere. that is because broward county couldn't give a definitive number of votes that existed on election night. as the counting process went along, they did give a final number to the election board and the secretary of state by the appointed deadline of noon on saturday. and jim, there is no question there was a degree of a lack of transparency with both of the broward and palm beach county
boards of elections and their supervisors there. but we must reiterate the point. there is simply no evidence of fraud and no evidence of criminal activity in this vote count and tabulation as we move forward to eventually figuring out who the next senator and governor in the state of florida will end up being. >> it's a wide gap between the charges there, including those repeated by the president and the actual facts. ryan nobles, keeping track of the facts on the ground there, thank you very much. joining us is debbie wasserman schultz, newly re-elected, no recount in her race. thanks for taking the time today. >> my pleasure. thanks, jim. >> i know you're familiar with it, but i want to reference the president's tweet this morning again, particularly the final line. many ballots are missing or forged. an honest vote count is no longer possible. ballots massively infected. not clear what he means by that. must go with election night. what is your response to what the president is alleging there? >> well, let's remember that the president said after his own election that there were 3
million votes in california that were illegally cast without any evidence whatsoever. and so here we go again. it's grossly irresponsible. and completely inaccurate. absolutely untrue. and the only thing that happened is actual votes that were cast were counted. and the process under florida law was followed. every supervisor of elections in the state, jim, has until noon on saturday after the election to get their vote counts in from their canvassing process. and that's exactly what happened. and so, you know, it is not only unhelpful, but also is really undermining our democracy to suggest that anything other than making sure that every legal vote cast is -- should be counted. it's what every one of our elected officials should advocate for. >> let me ask you this as a practical element here. no one would dispute that votes should be counted and all votes
cast should be counted. let's look at the senate race, still divided by more than 12,000 votes. the nonpartisan group air vote showed that in statewide elections like this, really, you're not likely to overturn a margin of any more than 282 votes, right? so the math appears to be against not only the senate candidate there, but even wider for governor. from a practical standpoint, what do the democrats have to gain here? >> well, what americans have to gain, what floridans have to gain is making sure that florida law is followed. you know, we've already been through a chaotic nightmarish recount process 18 years ago. and we didn't have a uniform process then. now after that experience, we changed the law, and so that we have all 67 counties that when there is a half percent or less margin between candidates, we have a machine recount and that's the process we're in now. and then we have a manual
recount if it gets to below a quarter percent. and that is so that we can make sure that the most important thing occurs. that voters who cast ballots lawfully have the confidence that their vote was counted. we have signature issues, we have undervote issues, and so even if the vote doesn't result in a different outcome from the initial reporting, we have to make sure that our process is followed. >> listen, and that's fair. god knows, it's a state that -- >> millions of votes. 8 million votes cast. >> and a state that's often crucial to the makeup, to the presidency, to the balance of power and the senate, et cetera. so i get you on that. you talk about changes made after 2000. i covered it, many of my colleagues covered that recount there. and the thought in the wake of that was, okay, let's see florida get their system together. but the fact is, here we are in 2018, and you have instances -- and i don't mean to focus too much attention on the broward county election supervisor, brenda snipes, who has become
sort of a favorite target of folks on the right. but the fact is, she has had missteps in recent elections, and yet still has that position here. and appears to have missed some deadlines, et cetera. why hasn't the process been corrected to remove people like that and get people into those key positions who can do the job, do the job as required? >> well, number one, she's followed the process as florida law prescribes. and there has been nothing amiss that has been found by rick scott's only department of state election monitors who have been in her office since the spring and through florida department of law enforcement, which has also said there has been nothing alleged and no evidence of anything that has gone wrong. the process is simply working. the deadlines have been met. and you have to ask rick scott about, you know -- who is the one that made a decision whether
or not to suspend her or not. but she's a duly elected office-holder. she actually is one of the top two vote-getters countywide in broward county. you don't just indiscriminately dismiss someone simply because you, you know, don't like the outcome of an election. we -- or like the outcome of an election. at the end of the day, jim, even if my candidates that i favored don't win at the end of this process, that's not the goal here. the goal of all of us that are responsible should be that everybody who cast a vote lawfully should have it counted. period. that's what we all should be for. >> including those overseas, deployed military, whose ballots might not have been tabulated yet. only fair to them. >> and mail-in ballots that were stuck in a post office because of the bomber that we had here. and i'm sure that's going to be litigated as well. because those votes were sent in time, likely. and we're going to have to determine whether they should be
counted. >> fair point. congresswoman wasserman-schultz, thank you very much for taking the time. >> thank you. my pleasure. when it comes to president trump, democrats do agree on one thing. then one mother tells cnn a rare polio-like illness killed her child. so why is the cdc saying there are no deaths associated with the illness this year? (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even a huge drag. nothing worth losing sleep over, because we covered it. talk to farmers.
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welcome back. president trump today making yet another baseless claim. the democrats tanked wall street today, he claims, tweeting, the prospect of presidential harassment by the dems is causing the stock market big headaches, exclamation point. we've got no evidence that is making investors nervous, causing stocks to fall. but democrats are taking control of the house. the likely new heads of three major house committees, judiciary, intelligence and oversight, all revealing this weekend their plans to investigate the trump administration and, if necessary, use subpoenas to do
so. cnn's pam brown is live at the white house. do we know how president trump has responded to this new era, these new threats from congress? >> jim, he is responding by resorting to a familiar tactic. as you pointed out, tweeting and putting blame elsewhere. i can tell you, in talking to white house officials, there is certainly a sense of anxiousness in the west wing about what is to come now that house democrats are starting to make their intentions known. as the country spent the day honoring veterans, president trump stayed in the white house with nothing on his public schedule but with his phone in hand. president tweeting about a number of topics, including what his future could hold under a democrat-controlled house. the prospect of presidential harassment by the dems is causing the stock market big headaches. giving no proof the markets are being affected by democrats by using the same term senate majority leader mitch mcconnell used just last week. >> the democrats in the house will have to decide just how much presidential harassment they think is good strategy.
i'm not so sure it will work for them. >> some democratic leaders have hinted at beginning investigations, or issuing subpoenas for the president's tax returns while others, like minority leader and front runner for house speaker, nancy pelosi, have said democrats must be judicious with their new powers. but one thing all democrats agree on, that matthew whitaker, president trump's pick to serve as acting attorney general, should recuse himself from the mueller investigation. based on his previous statements, denouncing the probe. >> there's bipartisan editorializing about this that he should never have been appointed and that it does violence to the constitution. >> our very first witness after january 3, we will subpoena mr. -- or we will summon if necessary subpoena mr. whitaker. >> and what will you ask mr. whitaker? >> well, the questions we will ask him will be about his expressed hostility to the investigation, how he can
possibly supervise it. >> president trump, meanwhile, while on an international trip to paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i, kept his attention on important events, taking to twitter to spread false or unsubstantiated claims. trump made wild accusations of election fraud of theft, saying the state of florida should abandon its legally mandated recount and just go with the wr incomplete results of election night and trump claiming the catastrophic california wildfires are caused by poor forest management, angering some firefighter groups that called the tweet reckless and insulting. now, as for why president trump isn't participating in the events on this federal holiday, veterans day, unusual for a sitting president, the white house is pointing to the president's participation honoring veterans in paris yesterday and the fact that veterans' events happened at arlington cemetery yesterday, as well. as you know, this is a president
who talks often about veterans, of course, he could have done something today to honor the vets and he made a decision not to. jim? >> and he missed a couple this weekend in europe, as well. pamela brown at the white house, thanks very much. joined now by our panel. i want to start, if i can, with you, doug. democratic congressman, adam schiff, soon to be chairman, just released an op-ed published in the "washington post." and aimed specifically at the new acting attorney general, matthew whitaker. i want to quote and get your response. he says, should whitaker fail to recuse himself, all indications are he plans not to. and seems to obstruct the investigation, serve as a back channel to the president or his legal team or interfere in the investigations in any way, he will be called to answer his actions will be exposed. quite a direct message. how do you take that threat? i don't know if threat is the right word. but that promise, perhaps. >> well, it's certainly a promise that could be the beginning of threats.
democrats have been very clear that they're going to investigate this president as much and as deeply as they can and not just the president himself, but the entire administration. every committee in the house is an oversight agency or is an oversight committee. they're going to go full board in here. where i would caution democrats is to not do what republicans did in the late '90s where it's easy to become overenthused with your own investigations. what republicans did to bill clinton in the late '90s actually helped bill clinton electorally. and if democrats go too far, and it's hard to resist your urges when you're being urged from activists who want to see you fight more, and we hear a lot of democrats use that word, "fight," it's hard to resist that. and lord knows, they could make donald trump a sympathetic figure to some people. >> corina, i want your view on that to see if that's fair advice. but in that vein, i want to quote from nancy pelosi, expects to be the house speaker, although there are some challenges to her leadership. because it sounds like she might
be taking doug's advice, or at least advice along that line. here's what she had to say. we have great opportunity and therefore great responsibility to get results for the american people. in the next few weeks, we need to be unified, find common ground with republicans, but stand our ground when we must. of course, she's not shying away there, it seems, corrine, from a battle, if necessary. but she also seems to be calling her members to task and saying we also have to deliver something for voters. >> and i think that's right. i think they have to both deliver, but also be an oversight, which is their constitutional duty as members in congress to this president. it is an equal branch of government. and that's one of the reasons they got elected. i'm sorry, some of them got re-elected and elected into congress, is to be a check on this administration. so we have to be really clear on that. and they have to be. and they understand and are clear on that, as well. and what we're seeing is one of the most, if not the most corrupt administration in our history. certainly in my lifetime. where you have a president
that's making money off the presidency. you have a cabinet officials awash in conflict of interest. so we're living in different times. and let's not forget the policies. we have separation of families, a policy that needs to be investigated. we have 3,000 people, americans, who died in puerto rico because of the lackluster response by this government, by the administration. so we have to look into all of that. but yes, they also need to be proactive in legislation. the first bill that i'm reading about that, the house is thinking about doing is on voter registration, is on automatic voter registration. and also reinvigorating voting rights act, which is actually a very important thing to do with all of the voter suppression we have seen across the country in this election. >> that's an issue. i don't imagine you'll get a lot of republican votes. but when nancy pelosi talks about finding common ground with republicans, are there realistically areas of potential
agreement? we heard this in 2016. oh, what about an infrastructure bill. >> yeah, i was just going to say. >> daca for the wall. so let's run that through the reality check wringer here. what comes out on the other end? >> listen, you're always going to have a constituency for spending money. and it would essentially be like a stimulus. he'll always have democratic votes if he wants to go build some bridges and things like that. but he's out there tweeting about the stock market today. he should be most concerned about his own finances. there's lots of worthy investigations to look into. but what adam schiff laid out last month in october, where he intended to go as an intelligence chairman, i think is fraught with the most peril. he came out and said there are credible allegations that the russians have financial leverage over donald trump, and he was willing to look into possible money laundering as a national security issue. in terms of how the democrats wrap-up all of the sort of tangled threads that might be
worthy to the public, i think he's getting into the sweet spot. and so he's going to take that over. congressman nadler can take over department of justice and whitaker. and i think you're going to see elijah cummings for things like family detention. and nancy pelosi can go build some bridges if she wants. theoretically. >> we'll see. it will all be -- you know. i'll be impressed. abby phillip, who always asks smart questions, by the way -- abby phillip, where do democrats stand on the impeachment question? i thought it was interesting, nadler this weekend, he had some comments saying, listen, you know, this is a divisive path to take. you've got to make sure you have more of the country than just democrats on board for that. but is it your read from covering the politics in washington that democrats are shying away from going that path? >> absolutely. at least the democrats in washington. they understand that that is so fraught for them that even while impeachment is sort of like
something hanging over the heads of their base, enticing them, that it could be -- pretty poisonous for democrats in the long term. just look at a couple of months ago, just before the kavanaugh hearings. the argument we were hearing from republicans, from president trump, is if democrats take office, they're going to try to impeach me. republicans think impeachment is a great argument for them. they thought it was a good argument for them going into the mid terms. and chances are president trump will use it as a good argument for him as he goes into his re-election. so i think democrats are could go acognizant of that. they understand how when president clinton faced impeachment, his ratings rose. there is a risk of lionizing president trump. so i think you're going to see democrats tiptoeing around this. the question is how much is the base going to allow them to do that. i'm not sure that they have a
good handle on where the base is on that issue and where some of these newer members who are maybe more progressive are going to be on that issue, as well. >> and listen, it will be quite a question when the mueller report comes out. if there is something surprising in there, listen, we don't know. that will be the real test, how democrats proceed with that. listen, thanks to all of you. as always, president trump is claiming that his talks with kim jong-un are working. but terrifying new satellite images from north korea, they tell a very different story. what is all of this?
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new satellite images now cast grave doubt on president trump's claims that his negotiations with north korea are working. these satellite photos show that kim jong-un's regime is making improvements to at least a dozen hidden ballistic missile bases. cnn's barbara starr is live at the pentagon. the trump administration has been adamant that progress is being made towards denuclearization, but these photos seem to show the opposite. >> let's be very clear. kim jong-un hasn't declared anything other than a vague intention, and that satellite imagery that we're looking at shows one of these undeclared sites by all account the u.s. intelligence community knows about it. but the imagery shows us that kim jong-un is still working on his program. no quick intention to give it up, it appears. the satellite imagery showing
underground tunnel entrances, barracks areas. all the kinds of things where you would expect north korean military forces to be. and this is just a small part of it. a map that we can show you, as well, shows a number of sites across north korea where kim jong-un is continuing to work on his weapons program. the big concern are the mobile missiles, of course. they can be on launchers in these underground bunkers. the north koreans can wheel that launcher out, fire the missile very quickly, pull the launcher back in, and it's all over and done with before u.s. satellites may get an idea of what is going on. that's when the crown jewel capabilities for kim jong-un to retain the surprise attack capability. and as long as he has that, that is a significant concern to the u.s. jim? >> so no irreversible changes. that, of course, the standard set by the trump administration itself. the president, will, though,
criteria t cite the suspension of north korean nuclear bomb tests as well as missile tests. in return, the u.s. has suspended major military drills, large-scale military exercises with south korea. only the smallest ones have begun. is that right? >> well, that is right. and there is some small-scale training going on right now. the north koreans already very loudly objecting to that. but the u.s. did suspend with south korea the large-scale exercises in the so-called interest of diplomacy. but it was a concession, clearly. the north koreans did not like the exercises. they never liked them. they thought they were provocative, and they got the u.s. to back off and suspect two major large-scale exercises in recent months. so now it is really coming down to it. what, if anything, is kim jong-un ever going to give up. jim? >> those exercises matter to the conflicts in south korea. barbara starr, thank you very much. want to bring back our
panel. the president's trip to france. we heard president trump declare himself a nationalist a few weeks ago. over the weekend, he heard -- i suppose you could say the retort to that from the french president, emmanuel macron, as the president sat there, just yards away. have a listen. >> 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 great and what is essential. it's moral values. >> so the french president, amanda carper, taking a double whammy shot at the president, both arguing against nationalism, but also this kind of america first thing. i imagine the president could not have taken that speech any other way as directed at him. >> yeah.
to me, broadly speaking, let's talk about this and north korea together for just a second. is that world leaders have tried the carrot approach with president trump. and now we're getting the stick. right? france, they all celebrated. brotherly love. they went on that tour, warm embraces all over the place. trump, you know, made overtures to north korea, members of the administration were pretty much demanding our thankfulness for this great, historic achievement and reducing nuclear capabilities when they never had an agreement to denuclearize to begin with. it was all fake. it was not real. so the goodwill he had is exhausted. and this is a time especially when it comes to north korea, the president needs good people all hands on deck. nikki haley as u.n. ambassador was a great public servant. she had a hard line to north korea and could communicate it clearly. she could go to the u.n. and say there will never be
a nuclear north korea. i'm worried about who he can find to fill her footsteps. and pompeo can't do this on his own. >> doug kyed, the other source of criticism, is the number of world war i ceremonies that he missed. famously not going to the french cemetery, where americans, by the way, who died in the war are buried, because of rain. he also missed this moment. and this is one of the most powerful one -- emmanuel macron and other leaders walking quietly with their umbrellas there, together as the bells marked the exact moment that the fighting in world war i ended. the president, he drove. i don't like to play the game of imagine if obama did this how would republicans react. but -- you're a republican. how do you feel watching this and watching your president absent? >> yeah. i was very saddened. in fact, on friday, i tweeted imagine if republicans had said this. because i know republicans would have said terrible things about barack obama if he had skipped these ceremonies.
and it's troubling to me for two reasons. one, these are the easy things to get right if you're the president. it's very easy to come to these ceremonies. and the military by and large supports donald trump so he would be demonstrating strength to his own community. two, it's another sign, especially when you look at what emmanuel macron said about trump and nationalism. we talk so long about the trump/macron bromance, and the reality is they're frenemies. he may be taking a step to be the leader of the free world with the united states taking a step back, as well. and that should be troubling. >> so abby, who does the president look to for international support? >> well, that's exactly i think why macron said what he said. because it seemed that president trump seems to be veering toward some of the very people who europe counts as adversaries. vladimir putin, other strong men around the world. and that is contributing to his isolation in this context. what makes this visit so much more damaging to president trump was that he went there.
he went on to their turf only to be repudiated there. and i think that's what is so humiliating about this moment for him at this time in his presidency. especially coming after last tuesday, those midterm election losses. >> careen, you get the final thought. >> donald trump left a disaster here in -- domestic disaster and created a foreign disaster. and all on his own. and for no reason at all. i mean, donald trump talks about veterans, he talks about the military. and from this trip, it just seems as if he only truly cares about himself. and i agree with amanda and doug. this was easy for him. and he chose to just embarrass us, to really make america alone. >> and he's missing two major summits in asia, as well, sending ones that other vice-presidents are attending. thanks to all of you. trapped inside a deadly inferno. several killed, dozens, perhaps a hundred still missing and search teams about to receive more bad news.
in our national lead today, 31 people are dead as multiple fires rage in california. in the north, the so-called camp fire is the most destructive now in the state's history. and to the south, very near los angeles, intense winds are fueling two other wildfires. you can see them there. that is where we find cnn's nick watt. nick, we have seen absolute destruction, devastation in so many communities. and unfortunately, we're hearing conditions could get worse. >> reporter: absolutely, jim. listen, where we are, the woolsey fire just outside los angeles.
this is a pretty densely populated area. just a couple hours ago, authorities told us they estimate as many as 57,000 structures might still be in danger. ferocious flames burning in the north and south of the golden state, scorching an area larger than all five boroughs of new york city since thursday. forcing 300,000 people from their homes. >> oh, my [ bleep ] god. >> reporter: some -- >> oh, my god. >> reporter: through the flames. >> god, it's so hot. >> reporter: in the north, the camp fire now the most destructive in california's history. around 6,500 homes destroyed. scores of firefighters working to contain the inferno as many learn they've lost their own homes. this blaze now tied as the deadliest ever in the state, with more than two dozen dead. the town of paradise, home to 26,000, is now no more.
>> our whole town was wiped off the face of the earth in a matter of eight hours. >> reporter: the dead found in their homes or in their cars, trying to escape, but too late. coroners, search and rescue teams trying to identify charred remains. roughly 100 people still missing. >> we're just going door to door, house to house, looking for families, loved ones, that are missing. >> reporter: here in southern california, the woolsey fire tearing through malibu. two lives lost and around 370 structures destroyed. >> everything was coming over the fence on to our property. >> reporter: malibu screen writer, ignored evacuation orders and was able to save his own home with a hose, a pump and the water from his pool. >> what other choice. do we stay and save our house or leave? so we stayed. >> reporter: in malibu park, craig and stacy clooney-ross own two properties. now little more than ash. >> it was a 100-foot wall of
flames. it was roaring. it was -- >> a tornado. >> a tornado. not defendable. not without putting my life in serious jeopardy. >> what sparked these flames still under investigation, but more than half of california's most destructive wildfires in the past century have burned since just 2015. many pointing to climate change as fanning these claims. >> this is not the new normal. this is the new abnormal. >> reporter: now, up there in northern california, the winds have dropped a little bit today. but you know what, it might be the end of the month before that fire is completely extinguished. and down here in southern california, we'll get gusty winds through at least tomorrow night. and jim, no rain in the forecast. >> have to ask, where will the next one be. nick watt, thanks very much. turning to our health lead. 26 states have now confirmed cases of a rare polio-like illness, which paralyzes mostly children. that, according to information
collected from state health departments by cnn. the disease called acute flaccid myelitis. now parents are accusing the centers for disease control of hiding the deaths of children afflicted with afn, as it's known. elizabeth cohen met with one family who lost their son to the illness. >> reporter: carter roberts, 3 1/2 years old. >> just the epitome of what any happy little kid should be. just very charming little boy. >> reporter: but then -- >> good job! >> reporter: doctors from three different medical centers diagnosed carter with acute flaccid myelitis, or afm. he was paralyzed below his neck by the polio-like illness. >> his sister, macy, chose to put the cherub on top. those are his ashes. >> reporter: carter passed away in september at the age of 5. and he's not the only child to
succumb to afm this year. at least one other 6-year-old alex lost his battle with afm in may. but the cdc says no afm deaths in 2018. >> that's not true. >> reporter: if you could be in a room with the director of the cdc, what would you say to him? >> just wake up and do your job. tell us what you're hiding. >> reporter: we asked dr. ann schuchat, director of the cdc, why the agency is reporting zero deaths in 2018. these parents want to know why haven't these deaths been recognized by the cdc? >> the reporting of the disease is -- has a lot of steps. so there may be a lag. we are working 24/7 to increase recognition, to get the reporting into the system. every one of these episodes is difficult and the deaths are really tragic. >> reporter: the parents think the cdc is hiding something. >> okay. i'm so sorry to hear that. i'm just very committed on behalf of the agency to share
what we know when we know it. >> reporter: the cdc's own medical advisers on afm, who spoke to cnn, say the lag in reporting the deaths is too long, that the turn-around should be faster. parents have also criticized how the agency has handled the outbreak. if you could give the cdc a grade for how they have handled afm, what grade would you give them? >> f. >> f. >> carter's family worries, how will the cdc learn from these deaths if they don't recognize them? >> i would hate to think that there would be another parent crying their eyes out. because their child is in an urn. >> reporter: now they're left to remember their son who had just started kindergarten when he died. >> he was super smart. and i think his backpack is probably the hardest thing to see. >> reporter: they hope that his death will be recognized and make a difference. parents and doctors say they're frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of transparency and responsiveness from the cdc. but they do say that it's gotten better in the past week or so, and they're hoping it will get
even better in the future. jim? >> goodness. that poor family. elizabeth cohen, thanks very much. superheroes in mourning today, remembering the man who gave the world "spiderman," "the incredible hulk" and "black panther," just to name a few. you might take something for your heart... or joints. but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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welcome back to "the lead." as we observe veterans day, we want to thank those who have bravely served our country. we will never forget. for veterans day this year, "the lead" traveled to montana, stunning setting, to provide a peaceful antidote to the trauma and the chaos of war. jake takes a look at one
organization determined to make a difference. >> big sky country. a world away from war zones. >> holy smokes. i love it. >> these veterans, former bomb techs, medics and infantrymen are still, though, here on a mission. >> got it! >> oh! >> you're out here to catch fish. it gives you a release. to be thinking about something other than maybe your past experiences in a deployment. >> but catching fish is not really the only point of this escape. >> this is awesome. >> warriors and quiet waters, a combat veteran's program in bozeman, montana, combines the sport with the state serenity to provide camaraderie for those healing from physical and
emotional battle wounds. >> it's hard for people who have been in combat to really understand the full depth of the experiences you have. >> reporter: dan mcginnis was an explosive disposal technician in the navy. he moved to montana a few years ago, in part to get away from crowds. but he's hardly alone. >> draws people to montana for solitude. >> reporter: 13% serve their country, the second highest percentage in the country. veterans programs are crucial here, because the state also has one of the highest veteran suicide rates in america. more than 15% higher than the national average. >> in the rocky mountain region, we have a perfect storm when it comes to suicide. >> reporter: carl rosston says the isolation that initially attracts people to the region can also make it hard for them to find help.
>> for them to get to the nearest v.a. clinic is the same as driving from toledo, ohio, to washington, d.c. >> reporter: but distance is not the only problem. >> we have major issues with stigma. so that cowboy up mentality sends them into penance. in the east coast, it's cool to have a therapist. not in montana. >> it can get tough for guys out here. or in areas that are pretty remote. >> reporter: chris bogner is a retired marine and native montanan. he participated in the warriors and quiet waters program five years ago and values it so much, he now works for the organization. >> people don't even know, like, that this is therapy until they do it. and then, you know, they go home, they think about it, and they're like, wow, that was awesome. and i was thinking about fishing, i was thinking about the surroundings around me. wasn't thinking about any of the other stuff that gets you in a bad spot. >> reporter: participants have
come here from 49 states. spending their days in natural beauty with a brotherhood of staff, volunteers, and new friends. though the week-long program is not specifically aimed at suicide prevention, executive director faye nelson says it has saved lives. >> there has been a warrior that's told us the day he got home from his wars in quiet waters fishing experience, he sold the gun he had been looking at every day and contemplating using it to take his own life. and there was another warrior who participated that said they went home and tore up their suicide note they had already written. it's really nice for them just to be able to have a place to go, to get it all out. and be surrounded by a group of people that understands. >> one small program trying to make a difference. and, boy, there are so many veterans in need. we will continue to watch that story and efforts around the country to help veterans in need
on this day after veterans day. i'm jim sciutto in for jake today. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now, breaking news. ballot brawl. votes are being recounted right now in florida where the races for senator and governor are still undecided, almost a week after election day. and as president trump alleges fraud without any evidence, a judge is now warning all sides to tamp down the rhetoric. spoiling to subpoena. democrats poised to take power in the house of representatives and ready to go after president trump. i'll talk to a key democrat on the intelligence committee this hour. congressman eric swalwell. devastating infernos. wildfires ravaging california, including what's now the most destructive on record. thousands of homes already destroyed. dozens dead and missing. we're live on the fir