tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 14, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
in the hearing just moments ago. from defiant to silent. an associate of trump ally roger stone suggests he may cut a plea deal with the special counsel just days after predicting that robtd mueller would indict him. tonight jerome corsi is climbing up as stone may be climbing under the bus. and serial fraud claim. the president suggested grocery shoppers need ids to buy their breakfast as he goes to wild, new extremes in his unproven claims of illegal voting. does he really believe people are putting on disguises so they can vote more than once? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." ♪ this is "cnn breaking news." we're following breaking news on new instability inside the trump white house where
high-powered heads could roll at any moment. in a new interview tonight president trump says he will decide the fate of his embattled homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen shortly. others may be on the chopping block. sources tell cnn mr. trump is isolated and furious at just about everyone as democrats get ready to take over the house and robert mueller gets ready to issue his report on the russia probe. this hour, i'll talk with how judiciary committee member ted you could fix it with a pen. lieu, and our correspondents and how about using that pen to sign up for new insurance instead? analysts are standing by. first let's go to our senior for drivers with accident forgiveness, white house correspondent jeff zeleny. jeff, we are hearing about a liberty mutual won't raise their rates long of anger and anxiety in the because of their first accident. west wing tonight. switch and you could save $782 >> reporter: wolf, good evening. we are indeed. the anger is on behalf of the on home and auto insurance. president and the anxiety is on call for a free quote today. behalf of the staff members here at most levels of this white house and, indeed, around the liberty mutual insurance. government, wondering what their fate is going forward. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ the president has said repeatedly he does plan to shake things up for the rest of his first term in office, and that is usually what happens in the
white house. wolf, what we have seen over the last 24 hours or so is nothing like what we have seen in other presidencies, the first lady getting involved. the person she was talking about only a day ago is still on the job here tonight. her future, of course, uncertain, wolf. all of this has led to people wondering are they next and what happens next. after projecting optimism a week ago after the midterm elections -- >> it was a big day yesterday, an incredible day. >> reporter: -- tonight president trump's mood is anything but. he's isolated and growing more furious by the day, white house officials tell cnn, with one bluntly saying, yes, he is -- at nearly everyone and tonight he is searching for a scapegoat. in an interview with "the daily caller, the president revived conspiracy about voter fraud. when people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles, sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again.
nobody takes anything. it is really a de what is going on. after announcing his support for a bipartisan prison reform bill tonight, he did not answer questions about the fraud allegations. >> thank, everybody. thank you. >> reporter: there is no evidence to back up the claim aimed at the florida recount, but it offers a window into the president's state of mind as the white house heads into uncharted territory. with democrats assuming control of the house and special counsel robert mueller inching closer to issuing a report on the russia investigation. a day after first lady melania trump launched a public grenade across the white house, saying deputy national security adviser mira ricardel no longer deserves the honor of working in this white house, she reported to work today, a rare personal rebuke by mrs. trump. cnn has learned she has been calling for her firing for tonight, the worst wild fire disaster ever to hit california weeks. all of that as a far bigger is taking a staggering toll. shakeup is learning. even as the president says he at least 50 people have been killed and officials fear that
will soon decide the fate of number will keep rising as fires keep burning and as crews search through charred neighborhoods homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen, she was and acres and acres of scorched receiving a briefing from earth. cnn's nick valencia is in the military commanders. >> we are seeing it evolving ravaged town of paradise. quickly. >> reporter: the president made nick, you're following the search and recovery operations. what are you seeing, what are little secret of his d you hearing? >> reporter: i'm in front of the dissatisfaction with nielsen. it could touch off a domino of staging area for that search and departures including white house chief of staff john kelly. recovery area. with every day that passes, the hope of finding them alive is the president is already talking dwindling fast. to a handful of potential tonight, the search for the replacements for kelly, missing intensifies in northern california. including elevating nick ayers the campfire, which ignited to the post. even before he is named, cnn has nearly a week ago, already the learned there's been aggressive deadliest in california history. pushback against him with senior the death toll almost certainly will rise. aides threatening to resign if rescuers scouring burntout homes he is tapped for the job. we will see what happens with the white house chief of staff searching for signs of life but position, if there is even an fearing the worst. opening. of course, the president said >> even after we've searched an earlier this year he wants john area, once people get back in there, it's possible that human kelly to stay through the rest of his time in office, through remains could be found. the rest of his first term in >> reporter: the death toll office. but, of course, wolf, things can climbing from the northern
change here in a hurry. california campfire. officials say they have a but there is a sense, talking to partial list of names of 103 so many of the president's friends and advisers, that he's missing people. authorities have requested making the adjustment from going from all of those rallies, all national guard troops, cadaver dogs, and mobile morgues. of that applause that he heard during the midterm election to help with the recovery. campaign, now to a more routine inspection teams are mapping out the destruction in paradise, one setting here, and he is feeling of the hardest hit towns. some -- a sense of isolation, the population there, 27,000 wolf. the question is what is the staff shakeup going to look like people, 8,000 structures destroyed. these images show how a nurse coming forward. we believe by the end of this used his truck to help rescue year, beginning of next year the staff could look a lot people stuck in the fire. the lights on his truck melted, different. wolf. >> that's widely expect. the sides burned and blackened. thank you, jeff, very much. >> i think the word is there's more breaking news right now, this time on cnn's terrified. lawsuit against the trump i stayed calm but i was administration. it is aimed at restoring our jim terrified. >> reporter: in southern california, firefighters still acosta's suspended white house battling the woolsey fire, which press pass. a hearing just wrapped up in a has burned nearly 100,000 acres federal courtroom here in washington just a little while and left at least 2 people dead ago. in malibu. the federal judge says he will issue a formal ruling tomorrow a third body was found in a burnt home. afternoon. our justice correspondent a new fire east of los angeles jessica schneider was inside the whipped by those same santa ana courtroom for us. jessica, tell us more about what winds was knocked down. happened during this hearing. 13 million people remain under red flag warnings. hundreds of thousands forced to >> reporter: well, wolf, a flee from their homes.
two-hour hearing with quite a vocal and inquisitive judge. >> oh my god. >> reporter: one woman describes this judge will decide by how she narrowly escaped death tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. by driving straight through the whether or not he will issue an fire. >> i just thought maybe i was order that would reinstate our going to die. i just -- i was like, i just cnn chief white house correspondent jim acosta's hard have to keep going. pass that would allow him full i can't turn around. i can't stop. access to the white house i have to just keep going. grounds. of course, cnn filed this motion >> reporter: there's no official for a temporary restraining order to get jim acosta's hard cause for the fire but that hasn't kept 22 residents who pass reinstated or in the alternative to get some sort of hearing for jim acosta so he can lost their homes from suing make his case that his hard pass pg&e, the electric company, which had an incident 15 minutes should not have been revoked. in the alternative, the before the fire started. government in this courtroom today made quite a broad pg&e says they're aware of the litigation but right now their argument here. they said essentially that no focus is on the community, not the lawsuit. one is entitled to their first >> let's hope for the best. amendment rights within the our hearts go out to all those white house grounds, that essentially it is within the folks. nick valencia on the scene for us, thank you very much, and to white house's discretion whether our viewers, thanks very much or not to admit certain for watching. reporters, whether or not to i'm wolf blitzer in "the grant access or interviews to certain reporters. that is fully within the white situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts house right. right now. well, the judge definitely asked some very tough questions. in fact, he was quite vocal as "outfront" next, breaking news, president trump's deputy soon as cnn's attorney stepped to the lectern.
he immediately began asking national security adviser fired, but she's still in the administration after the first lady called for her to go. questions. in particular, he pointed out this is cnn learning the and asked questions about cnn's president is, quote, pissed at arguments that there has been a damn near everyone. pattern of discrimination from plus a republican senator the president, that cnn has had warning tonight that after jeff sessions, bob mueller may be it out for cnn, that cnn's next. so why did mitch mcconnell just lawyers pointed to those tweets, block a bipartisan bill to protect him? the repeated tweets from the and breaking news, michael president where he has called cnn fake news, and the judge said, "look, i watched this avenatti arrested for boadomest tape, can't we -- can't we look at that tape separately from the president's previous attacks." violence. he seemed to say that we should good evening. bitter, furious, and unwell. that's how people close to the look at this and maybe take some president are creedence credence in what the white house has said in that they have banned jim acosta because of his disorderly or disrespectful conduct, that was the judge's temperament. on the other side, the judge also asked tough questions of the government, saying why was there this shifting response from the government. initially, of course, sarah sanders tweeted the night jim acosta's hard pass was revoked, she tweeted it was in large part because jim acosta had placed an
arm on the intern that was trying to take that microphone away from him. so the judge delved into that, asked why where these shifting explanations from the white house and who exactly made the decision to revoke the hard pass, because it did seem to come perhaps directly from the president. so quite a lively two-hour hearing. no decision just yet, but cnn's attorneys did talk just after the hearing. here is what he had to say. >> we're waiting for that sound. unfortunately, we don't have it, jessica. but let me get the -- what did the white house attorneys, the federal attorneys, the justice department attorneys say when the judge asked them who made the decision to suspend jim acosta's pass? >> reporter: they said that there was nothing particularly in the record, but they said that all signs pointed directly to the president. they said that in sarah sanders' tweets and in that subsequent discussion, that press
availability with president trump the day after jim acosta's hard pass was revoked, the president seemed to indicate that it was his decision, that he weighed in on that decision to revoke the hard pass. but, essentially, the government says that it is within the white house discretion. you know, it was quite this broad argument from the government, saying that really the first amendment doesn't apply to who can access the white house grounds, to who can answer questions. they equated this press conference to really a one-on-one interview, saying that the president can decide who he gets those questions from and which questions he answers. so a pretty broad argument from the government. it is now in the judge's hands. he said that he will have a decision by tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. wolf. >> all right. we will see what the judge decides. jessica, thank you very much. joining us now, congressman ted lieu, a democrat. he serves on both the judiciary and foreign affairs committees. congressman, thanks so much for joining us. let me get your quick reaction to what we just heard, the judge will make a decision tomorrow afternoon. what do you think? >> thank you, wolf, for your
question. let me just first say i want to commend the first responders in california fighting the wildfires. they've done an extraordinary job, and my heart goes out to the victims of these wildfires, especially to those who lost their lives and their property. in terms of your question, the first amendment protects the government and it protects citizens. however, if it means anything, it means the government cannot choose which reporters to ask it questions. the government can't just pick friendly reporters to ask it questions. so i think cnn has a great legal case. i am also please that fox has joined cnn in this legal case. >> yes, all of the major news organizations in the united states have joined cnn in supporting. there you can see, only some of them, there are so many more, but the major news organizations are all on the side of cnn. this represents a potentially very, very significant setback for freedom of the press in the united states, depending on how this goes. we are going to watch it very
closely. let's talk about some other issues while i have you, congressman. the president says he will decide on the department of homeland security secretary nielsen's fate shortly, the word shortly. he hinted also he might fire other senior officials after that. what, in fact, do you think these changes will have on the trump administration? >> the president has not treated his staff well, and right now to hang secretary nielsen out there like this is unfortunate, even though i do disagree with her. this is not the way he should treat any cabinet official. if there's any message that happened on tuesday's elections, it is that the president should be blamed. he ran a divisive campaign. he pitted americans against each other. he tried to sabotage health care. what americans want is for this country to heal. we want to protect our preexisting conditions, work on infrastructure. that's what the president should be doing. he needs to change course. >> as you know, the justice department has just put out a lengthy memo defending the
constitutionality of matt whitaker's appointment as the acting attorney general of the united states. you're on the judiciary committee, you are a lawyer. how strong is that argument in your view? >> the justice department is wrong. here is why. if we allow a president to simply take any cabinet official, force them to resign, and then install an employee that's not been confirmed by the senate, then there's no telling what future presidents could do. we can't have a situation where the senate confirmed nominee is then removed and someone who is not senate confirmed is put in that person's place. the vacancy act was put in by congress to exactly prevent this situation. whitaker should not be acting attorney general right now. >> do you think you could gain enough republican support in the house and the senate to pass a bill to protect robert mueller and his russia probe? >> if republicans want to put country over party, i do think
we could do that. again, tuesday's election night results were showing that america wanted course change, and we want to make sure that we can protect these investigations, but also work to heal america and work on issues that affect everyday americans, health care, infrastructure. i hope that's what the president does. >> as you know, democrats have now picked up a net gain of 31 seats in the house, another nine seats are still in play right now, too close to call. the president is blaming republican losses on what he calls illegal votes, and he says people vote multiple times by simply changing their attire. they wear a different hat, then they go back. obviously there's absolutely no truth to those claims. but what is your reaction when you hear the president of the united states make an argument like that? >> the president has no evidence for those claims. he's just making stuff up. but in particular, this is a very damaging and dangerous claim because it threatens the very bedrock of our democracy, which is the integrity of the
ballot, of the vote. there is no evidence that we have all of these illegal votes. what we have instead are votes that are being counted. so in california, for example, you can submit an absentee ballot on election day, mail it in, and three days later it can still be accepted. that's a valid ballot. it just takes time to count those ballots, and when all of those ballots are counted we're going to increase from three in california to six, at least six flips in california. >> yeah, the president also says he wants national id for people to vote. he says you need id to go out buy cereal, which clearly you don't need id to buy cereal, but that's what the president's argument is. let's talk about nancy pelosi, the democratic leader in the house. do you think she can get enough votes to become the next house speaker? >> i do. nancy pelosi has been a terrific minority leader. she was an amazing speaker. she will be an amazing future speaker. she will win the caucus vote for the nominee we send to the floor, and i believe that come
this january she will get the votes on the floor. >> in the past hour or so the president says he supports a bipartisan criminal juts advertise reform bill, and he says it is an example of what can be accomplished by working together, republicans and democrats. first of all, do you give the president credit for supporting this legislation? >> sure. i'm glad the president supports this legislation. i voted for it on the house floor, and this is a step towards criminal justice reform. there's a lot more that needs to be done, but i'm glad the president is at least supporting this initial first step. >> can democrats work with the president on other issues? >> absolutely. if the president wants to protect preexisting conditions, work on infrastructure -- last year i introduced an infrastructure bill. if he wants to work on those issues and on helping veterans, we will work with him. if he wants to take us backwards and attack immigrants and pass laws that are divisive and harmful, we will stop him. >> you opened the interview by mentioning the deadly wildfires
that are still raging in your state of california, and our hearts go out to all of those people and we applaud all of the firefighters, the first responders. governor jerry brown of california says this is now the new normal. first of all, how is your district out in california doing? >> not well. the northern part of the district got severely affected. my city in malibu has lost hundreds of homes. i visited shelters, and it is these windy conditions, the santa ana winds that really drove these wildfires. some of the firefighters i met with said this is one of the worst fires they've ever seen, but it is now 47% contained. that's a remarkable achievement for these firefighters, and we just want to make sure that people can now go back to their homes, the ones that were destroyed we will help them with their fema claims and other assistance. >> there's a lot of work that you guys need to do, and the federal government will be involved. of course, our hearts go out to all of those folks. this has been a horrendous
situation. congressman ted lieu, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. just ahead, is president trump getting ready to clean house over at the white house and beyond? we are getting more information about the potential targets of a major shakeup. new hints emerging about robert mueller's next move in the russia probe. is he preparing an indictment? is he preparing a plea deal or both? drum ally roger stone could be at the center of it all. your insurance rates skyrocket after a scratch so small
♪ getting breaking news on the shakeup inside the white house. i want to go back to our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. jeff, tell our viewers what you are learning. >> reporter: wolf, you will remember the incident at the white house yesterday when first lady melania trump essentially was calling for firing of the deputy national security adviser. we are getting word a few moments ago that the president has agreed to do just that. he has agreed to remove mira ricardel from her position. she did report to work here today at the white house, which was raising some uncertainty and questions inside and outside if she was still on staff or not, but i am told by one official she was simply given time to essentially collect her things and move on. but we do have this new statement just released a few moments ago from the white house press secretary, sarah sanders. let's take a look at that, wolf. it says this. it says, mira ricardel will continue to support the president as she departs the white house and transitions to a new role within the administration. the president is grateful for her continued service to the american people and her
steadfast pursuit of her national security priorities. so not being fired per se, but certainly being removed from here at the west wing, and she was the second highest ranking person to the national security adviser john bolton. she certainly was a key member of his team when he came on here to the white house. now, there was some questions here if she was going to be able to stay on, but it was simply, you know, seen as too impossible a position after the first lady weighed in. the president was certainly not going to go against that. but, wolf, still so many questions. a, why the white house took 24 hours to actually confirm this, because we did hear last evening that the president had made his decision, but they waited a full day on that. also why this had to spill out into public in the first place, why the first lady simply couldn't have had a conversation with her husband about this. so, wolf, it is the latest sign, perhaps the biggest sign of dysfunction here and anxiety and uncertainty as staff shakeups continue to go on.
wolf. >> clearly the president has decided, even though she may get another job elsewhere in the administration someplace, clearly she has been fired as the deputy national security adviser to the president, the number two on the national security council right behind the national security adviser, john bolton. >> reporter: no question. the word "fired" is not in this statement, wolf, but that, of course, is what this is. you know, she is being removed from her position. we have seen this time and time again, the president, you know, does not like to fire people as much as he once used to fire people on "the apprentice." that was his famous line again and again, but he really has fired few people. jeff sessions, of course, the attorney general is the one, the most recent big exception, and a few others along the way, but this is one example the president -- you know, he actually does not like a face-to-face conflict, but he did decide to remove her because, again, an untenable situation with the first lady weighing in because of all of these concerns and conflicts. it was interesting this
afternoon, bob dole, the former republican majority leader, senator from kansas and the former republican presidential nominee, he issued a statement in support of mira ricardel. she used to work on capitol hill and he said that he hopes all of this can be worked out. so, wolf, that was a sign that she was still trying to get allies to come to her aid, but clearly i'm told this decision had been made. the white house simply hadn't announced it until they did a few moments ago, wolf. >> we're still trying to figure out, find out why the first lady of the united states clearly hates her, mira ricardel, issuing that extraordinary public statement yet, saying she is not worthy of working inside the white house. once we get -- there's obviously something going on. we don't have all of those details yet, but we will figure that out. our thanks very much, jeff zeleny, reporting for us. also tonight, a new plea deal may be in the works in robert mueller's russia investigation. an associate of trump ally roger stone is suggesting that he's entering into talks with the special counsel just days after
declaring that he expected robert mueller to indict him. our political correspondent sara murray is joining us right now. sara, what is going on with this stone associate? >> reporter: well, wolf, that's what we're waiting to find out. you know, we know that the attorney for jerome corsi has been in regular contact with the special counsel's office, but the big question is what happens next. one thing we do know is that jerome corsi was out there talking about this very publicly. it is not the case today. >> and i expect there's can go to be historic -- >> reporter: jerome corsi is back in no comment mode as he prepares to be indicted in special counsel robert mueller's russia probe. the author, conspiracy theorist and associate of roger stone announcing on his web cast that he is bracing for charges. >> now i fully anticipate in the new fee days i will be indicted by mueller for some form or other of giving false information to the special counselor to o counsel or to one of the other,
grand jury or however they want to do the indictment. but i'm going to be criminally charged. >> reporter: he told reuters he expects his next discussion with the special counsel to be about pleas and possibly striking a plea deal. >> well, as i said -- >> reporter: investigators have been trying to determine whether stone, a long-time adviser to president trump, had advanced knowledge of any wikileaks document dumps. they're dealing into whether corsi played a role in that and had a heads up that wikileaks had the stolen e-mails of john podesta. corsi told "the daily caller wrrn that he told associates in summer of 2016 that he believed wikileaks had obtained the e-mail. he says it was just a theory and insists he was not in direct contact with julian assange. >> i want everybody to know to the best of my recollection i never met julian assange. >> reporter: but he told "the daily caller" he shared his theory with stone. he says they never discussed
podesta's e-mails. he claims corsi met with trump and trump's former attorney, michael cohen, during the campaign. >> it appears to me he has been heavily pressured to bear false witness against me and perhaps others. i do know that he met with candidate trump and with michael cohen during the campaign. i don't know what that was about. i do know that this relates to me. >> reporter: mueller's interest in corsi adds another interesting personality to the cast of characters involved in the stone investigation. the former d.c. bureau chief for the right wing website info wars, corsi is well-known for trafficking in conspiracy theories. he was so convinced of the false claim that president obama was not born in the u.s. that he wrote a book about it. his media tour this week in which he vowed to keep broadcasting his web cast came to an end today. he took to twitter saying he is going dark due to lawyer's advice and soliciting contributions to his legal
defense fund. >> i'm hoping that mueller does not have the necessity to come and handcuff me and take me out of my home in front of my family. we did try to cooperate. >> reporter: so we're still waiting to see what happens with jerome corsi. as for roger stone, he still insists he was not in touch with jerome assange, he didn't believe corsi was in touch with assange. he is still waiting to see if the mueller team contacts him directly. >> there is drama unfolding. we will get word on all of this i'm sure fairly soon. sara, thank you very much. coming up, sara, stick around. we have more breaking news on mueller's moves on corsi. i want you to be part of our panel. there's also a senate showdown underway over a bipartisan bill to protect the special counsel, robert mueller. lame duck republican jeff flake is taking a direct stand, but will it really make any difference?
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he says will vote against all of president trump's judicial nominees unless mitch mcconnell allows a vote on a bipartisan bill to protect robert mueller and his probe. is it going to make much of a difference? >> look, i think it is sort of a verbal marker that seas will be rough for the president going forward, both in the lame duck and in the new congress, but this measure is largely toothless, right. republicans have enough votes to break a tie in the senate if they want to. there's no obligation for majority leader mitch mcconnell to go to committee. he can go straight to the floor. let's face it, jeff flake already tried a maneuver with the kavanaugh nomination and that didn't get anywhere other than buying the opposition a week of time, but in the end mcconnell, the president, got their agenda through. i don't think it changes anything. >> mark, take a look at what mitch mcconnell said about all of this earlier in the day. listen to this. >> we know how the president feels about the mueller investigation, but he has never said he wants to shut it down. i have never heard anybody down there say they want to shut it down.
i think it is in no danger and so i don't think legislation is necessary. >> is it going anywhere? >> no, it is not going anywhere. i think it is important that we don't talk about this very important fact, if mitch mcconnell allows it to go forward mitch mcconnell is acknowledging he has no faith in president trump to ensure that there is a fair investigation into what we've seen with russia right now. if he goes forward, he is going to not only incite the ire of president trump, but he also is going to incite the ire of all of the folks who are backing president trump and helped, you know, certainly candidates he needed in some of the key senate races. >> you know, you covered the justice department, and the justice department issued a lengthy statement about the constitutionality of matt whitaker's appointment to oversee the russia probe. there's been a huge debate unfolding. what is the latest? >> they offered a pretty substantive, thorough, full-throated defense of why the
appointment is valid, and it is highly technical, in the weeds. it is a legal argument about why it is constitutional. it has nothing to do with whether he needs to recuse because of what he said about mueller, and their basic argument is, look, there's a vacancies act that provides for this. if you have been at the justice department at a high enough level for 90 days, you can stay there for 210 days. even though it is a principle officer, it is a serious position that requires senate confirmation, he is only there on a temporary basis, so they can do this. it is interesting. there's like a flip between conservatives and liberals on this. usually liberals are the one who want to look to the purpose on the statute. on this one, because people are so worried mueller will be ousted by whitaker, liberals at this point are saying, no, no, he can't do it under the vacancies act and conservatives are the ones saying his appointment is valid. >> it doesn't look like the president is in a rush to get a new attorney general confirmed by the u.s. senate. >> no, all of my reporting from my colleague and myself shows he is digging in on whitaker. he had a rocky couple of days
there, a series of bad stories, we resurfaced everything bad he said about mueller, but all of the sources we talked to said he is going to support this, he's in no rush to pick someone, and he has him there 210 days if he want it him. >> sara, it looks like mueller and his team are moving quickly now that the midterm elections are over. what are you hearing about his next steps? >> the big thing we are waiting for is whether there will be additional indictments surrounding the roger stone case. this is the big piece of activity we know is going on. you know, it feels like everyone roger stone knows has been hauled in for an interview or to provide testimony before the grand jury except for roger stone himself. so we're waiting to see if jerome corsi is right, if he will be indicted and face charges, and we are waiting to see if roger stone himself will face charges. he said he expects to, but as of right now we just don't know if they will be able to make the case, they will be able to bring charges. i can tell you there continues to be plenty of activity, they continue to talk to the special counsel's office and we're waiting to see if it comes
together. >> it looks like the president and his lawyers have been going through the written answers to the written questions that mueller provided about these allegations of collusion during the campaign. >> right, wolf. i think it is fair to say the president's lawyers, right, if you are his legal team you don't want the president anywhere near those answers. you know, this is something that they want it written just so, that the president is a step removed and they can provide the answers they think will help best down the road when the special counsel -- >> it does suggest, at least given the fact that they're going to get these responses from the president in writing and it is unlikely the president's lawyers will allow him to do any, you know, face-to-face q & a with mueller and his team, that mueller may be getting ready to wrap things up farply soon. >> i think a lot of people would hope that mueller is getting ready to wrap things up soon on both sides because it has been long and arduous. look, the thing you can say about the mueller investigation, we have all spent a lot of time in this town, this is an investigation where i have never seen no leaks come out of it. it has really been a very straightforward investigation.
it is pretty amazing. >> today, the special counsel said today rick gates is still cooperating. not only that, but we are still going to be doing this until january of 2019. >> you are always a debbie downer. >> happy holidays. this is going until at least january. >> that's two months, not very long given the nature of these things. everybody stand by. there's a lot more we're watching. we're going to talk about more -- talk a little more about the axe that fell on the president's deputy national security adviser. she is now out, just as the first lady of the united states wanted. who might be fired next? we'll also dissect the president's newest conspiracy theory about illegal voting in the united states. he says people are simply changing their clothes, they're putting on a hat so they can cast more than one ballot. what do you look for when you trade? i want free access to research. yep, td ameritrade's got that. free access to every platform. yeah, that too. i don't want any trade minimums. yeah, i totally agree, they don't have any of those. i want to know what i'm paying upfront. yes, absolutely. do you just say yes to everything?
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♪ we're back with our analysts. we're breaking down all of the news. president trump fires his deputy national security adviser after the first lady, melania trump, made it clear she wanted mira ricardel to go. kate bennet is with us. you have been on the front lines reporting all of this. give us the latest information, what exactly are you hearing? >> so sarah sanders released a statement saying that mira ricardel was removed from her position and that she will be working for the administration elsewhere. we don't know where that will be yet, but clearly the act, i guess we could call it, the statement, the desire of the
first lady that this person no longer has the honor of serving in the white house, she felt she didn't, has come through. i always say there are no melania trump coincidences. everything she does typically has purpose, and there's something behind it. in this case we don't know the specific event that was the impetus for the statement yesterday, but we do know there was a very contentious, very sort of back-and-forth relationship between mrs. trump's staff and ms. ricardel. those moments escalated, there were charges, accusations of leaking stories, there were accusations of investigating some of her staff, her behavior in africa, there was investigation of keeping her off the africa trip all together, and all of these things in some degree elevated to the point that the first lady felt she had to make this unprecedented statement, and, again, it seems to have gone the way she wanted. >> as you know, first ladies often talk to their husband in private and say i hate this
person, get rid of this person, that happens all the time. what was extraordinary yesterday was this public statement that the east wing, the first lady's office issued, saying that mira ricardel, quote, no longer deserves the honor of serving in the white house. we're trying to figure out precisely -- and you can do this for us -- why the first lady hates this woman. >> it is -- again, the exact thing is something we don't know. i know that as early as mid-september, mid to late september, the first lady's office, the first lady sort of flagged this person to the president, and also perhaps to chief of staff john kelly and said, "you have a bad actor here." as the allegations, as the feud grew, it carried into october. mrs. trump did have kelg conversations with the president. it wasn't something out of the blue she thought she would put out this statement, although it felt very abrupt. i'm told there were conversations, proper channels were followed so to speak, but there was a protection there with john bolton. this is a woman who does not
work for the first lady. she works for john bolton, and that he would intervene and, of course, like she remained on the job and now here we are. >> mark, john bolton is the national security adviser to the president, she is number two -- at least she was until a few minutes ago. she is now moving off someplace else. clearly she was fired as the deputy national security adviser. what is awkward is that she and bolton work very, very closely together. he is over in asia someplace right now, and the statement was released by the press secretary, not him. >> yeah, again, i mean he has been out of -- out of the loop so to speak, you know, during this, but i would say this. there is something to be said about how she wasn't outrightly fired and how bolton and how much power he has within that white house. he has only been in that position for, you know, not a very long time, and the fact that she is not being pushed out entirely really does say something. >> but she has been fired as the deputy national security adviser to the president. she may get another job in the administration, but she has been fired as the deputy national
security adviser,. just like sessions, he was fired as attorney general even though in his letter he said at the request of the president i'm submitting my resignation, which underscores -- let me let david get into this. the president, despite his program "the apprentice" where he said "you're fired," he personally doesn't like to fire people. >> that's been the trend, farm it out to aides to fire others, which suggests two things. one, the persona on "the apprentice" was just that, a persona, not the tough-talking ceo he portrayed himself on tv. also, wolf, this idea that when he campaigned and said he would bring in the best people, he did not always have a handle, the track record now shows, on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the people he was bringing in. >> how is this being viewed at the justice department, the craziness that's going on and the tumult? >> i think people are still reeling from the firing of jeff sessions, not because we didn't know that the president despised him, not because we didn't think
that it would happen eventually, but just because of how it has all played out and because his chief of staff took his job. i mean it is just sort of a bizarre circumstance, so i think people are still reeling from that, even though it was only he was only fired last wednesday. it caused such a ripple effect that it's still a lasting impression over there. >> kate, you've been doing a lot of reporting on this. did the president of the united states know that his wife was going to authorize the release of this statement yesterday? >> i'm going to say no. from what i -- all my sources are telling me, he did not know. >> the west wing must be upset because it makes him look weak. >> certainly, and i think this sort of keeping her on somehow, not fully firing her from the administration, you're right, she's no longer going to be in that role, it appears, sort of keeps him from being the bossed around husband, sort of saves face with his staff, with bolton, doesn't fully say, hey, my wife told me to do this.
he waited a day, kept us all on pins and needles and provided this convenient exit letter on her desk yesterday. from what i hear, he was not happy about it. this was something that took, as i said, a lot of people by surprise. there was a senior official in the white house west wing who said the east wing will do what the east wing will do and that's them, it's very independent. it's sort of unprecedented to not have some form of communication between the two sides of the building especially when something like this affects the administration. >> it's truly extraordinary that a public statement like this was released by the first lady, press secretary to the first lady. that in and of itself is extraordinary. what's even more extraordinary, perhaps, is it wasn't cleared by the west wing of the white house, and certainly doesn't seem to have been cleared by the president of the united states. >> but none of melania trump's statements ever are. this is something we reported on quite some time ago when she was tweeting and saying things that felt very disconnected from the west wing side. i asked and it was answered.
she does not need to clear her tweets or her statements. or her agenda with the president. this is sort of something. >> that in itself is out of the norms of how a normal white house operates or how a normal family operates, really. >> it's a very different, i keep using the word, independent, good or bad. >> she's an independent woman. i give her a lot of credit. she does what she wants to do and that's that. everybody stand by. there's more news we're following, including the urgent search for more than 100 people missing in the california wildfires. the death toll and the devastation growing worse every day. your insurance rates skyrocket after a scratch so small