Skip to main content

tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  December 5, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

1:00 pm
those redacted mueller documents still allow you to read between the lines. "the lead" starts right now. the informant. a memo landing with an echoing thud on president trump's resolute desk. not only did the president's former national security adviser speak to robert mueller for hours and hours and hours, it's clear that there is much more to come. that was awkward. donald trump taking his place in the president's club at bush 41 41st funeral and that unease feeling in the pew serving as a metaphor for his entire week. plus, scary images out of north korea. long-range missile bases expanding, even as a second summit with president kim is in
1:01 pm
the works. so what's that about, kim jong-un no longer being a nuclear threat? welcome to "the lead," i'm jake tapper. we begin with the politics lead and the phrase likely hanging over a few people in washington right now, substantial assistance to the government. that's how special counsel robert mueller described the information that lieutenant general michael flynn, president trump's former national security adviser, has provided to his team over 19 separate interviews over the course of the last year. 19. think about how few people in your world you have met with 19 times in the last 12 months. much of the information provided is so sensitive, the six-page document contained 65 lines of text that are partially or fully redacted. but attempting to read between the redacted lines, it is clear there is still a lot more mueller knows that we do not. the document revealing that flynn has helped the special
1:02 pm
counsel with an unknown criminal investigation, the details of which are completely redacted. but mueller says these are investigations that are ongoing. meaning this is not over. and for this week in particular, this is just the beginning. mueller is expected to file two more documents before the weekend. memos on former trump fixer, michael cohen, and on former trump campaign chair, paul manafort. don't get numb to it. think about it. the special counsel has secured guilty pleas or jury convictions against the president's former top lawyer, the president's former campaign chair and the president's first national security adviser. cnn's sara murray joins me now. and flynn provided firsthand insight and his cooperation paved the way for others to do so. and this comes at a time that president trump has openly discouraged his associates from cooperating with the law. >> absolutely. but it's clear that flynn did cooperate voluminously. this document answers some of
1:03 pm
our questions, but leaves many things unanswered, very heavily redacted. president trump's former national security adviser, michael flynn, provided substantial assistance to the special counsel and should not receive jail time. special counsel robert mueller's team saying in flynn's sentencing memo that he sat for 19 interviews with the special counsel and other justice department offices. and provided valuable information for at least three active investigations. including a criminal probe, the details of which are redacted. investigators said flynn was particularly valuable because he offered long-term and first-hand insight, including potential coordination between russians and senior members of the trump transition and campaign. >> lock her up! that's right. yes, that's right. lock her up! >> flynn was a fixture on the
1:04 pm
trump campaign trail, even famously leading that anti hillary clinton chant at the gop convention. >> if i did a tenth -- a tenth of what she did, i would be in jail today. >> but his stint as white house national security adviser lasted less than a month after he was caught lying to senior members of the trump administration. >> i talked to general flynn yesterday. and the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new u.s. sanctions against russia or the expulsion of diplomats. >> he didn't tell the vice president of the united states the facts. and then he didn't remember. and that just wasn't acceptable to me. >> ultimately, flynn lied to federal investigators, too, about his conversations with then russian ambassador sergey kislyak regarding russian sanctions. he struck a plea deal and has spent more than a year cooperating with investigators. that early cooperation likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to
1:05 pm
be forthcoming with the special counsel's office and cooperate, according to the special counsel's filing. flynn's revelations to mueller could involve the president's son-in-law and adviser, jared kushner, who directed flynn to contact the russians about a key security counsel vote on israeli settlements when obama was still president, before trump had taken office. as mueller commended flynn's service record, he's a retired lieutenant army general, the special counsel issued what might be seen as a warning shot to others in the trump administration. senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards. now, jake, maybe the special counsel recommended no jail time for flynn because his case is so specific, he provided so much cooperation, he has this record of service to our country. but maybe, just maybe, he is trying to send a signal at the same time that president trump is waiving these potential pardons that it also pays to cooperate with the government. >> sara murray, thank you so much. let's dissect this with our
1:06 pm
legal experts and political experts. let's start with the legal ones. laura coates, a lot of folks zeroing in on this phrase. quote, the defendant's substantial assistance to the government. as a former federal prosecutor, how significant is that language? >> extremely. it tells you that this person was not only giving information that was useful, but perhaps it was not known by any other means. of course, the government does not give plea offers if they're able to independently get the information. there is no incentive to do so. so for him to be able to be in a unique enough position to have them have a receptive ear over 19 meetings, jake, over the course of a year. we forget, he pled last december, 19 meetings, and only started as national security adviser for, what, 23 days. this is telling you that this in the cooperation and in his efforts he was critical and not one but three separate investigations. and, of course, he only pled guilty to one count. so the idea that he for almost a year now has been cooperative when he likely would have had a sentence probably less than that is striking. >> and kim, let me ask you, because laura brings it up.
1:07 pm
19 meetings. how significant is that? i'm a layman. i don't know. it sounds like a lot to me. >> well, you mentioned this at the point that how many people do you talk to 19 different times? and i think the other point you made is don't get numb to it. and i think the american public is getting a bit numb to it. this is astonishing when you think about it, it's a national security adviser. and he was close to trump. he knows a lot of information. and it's very clear from this document that he is continuing to cooperate on multiple fronts, and we're just going to see, i think, more and more of this kind of information come out of the mueller probe and the question is going to be how is this going to shake out as a matter of our system of accountability under the constitution. >> laura, in mueller's sentencing recommendation in which he says that he doesn't recommend any jail time for flynn, he notes, quote, the defendant's record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part of our investigation. however, senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards. is he only talking about flynn there, do you think? >> no. i think he's talking about a
1:08 pm
double-edged sword. who do we know who perhaps has not served his country in the same way that, say, general michael flynn has? he's talking about people who have perhaps been very close to the oval office or actually occupy it, perhaps. it's probably a message there. the other idea is that he is giving a very specific reason why this person is not getting the jail time recommendation. compare and contrast this, if you will, to paul manafort. where the mueller special counsel team just last week went to the court to say, we want him sentenced immediately for having lied to us, not cooperating and not holding up his end of the bargain. i highly doubt his service to perhaps other countries or to officials in the united states of america, would insulate him from the wrath of mueller as it has for flynn. the question is, usefulness. >> kim, just a quick question for you and then i'm going to bring in my political panel. i still don't see here, just on the facts on the ground, evidence of conspiracy to change the election between the russian government and anybody in the trump orbit. maybe it's under the black marks
1:09 pm
there, the redactions. i don't know. but i still don't see that final piece of the puzzle. >> i'm sure there are pages and pages and pages, beyond even the black marks. we're only seeing a little sliver of things. but what we do know, there is information that was material to the voting public with respect to that election that was withheld by senior members of this administration or the transition team or the campaign. we know that, and we also know from the cohen documents last week that mr. trump had had communications with people who had had communications with the russians. so the notion there was no communication with the russians and the campaign, that's not true, either. what we don't know is why these people lied. was there a reason? were they getting something from -- some goodies from the russians in exchange? if that's the case, that's extremely serious, both as a matter of legal liability and democracy and accountability. >> all right, kim and laura, thank you so much. let's bring in the political panel. and that's really the first question i have. why lie? you know, incoming national
1:10 pm
security adviser, you're allowed to talk to ambassador from russia. i mean, you're -- and it wouldn't even surprise me. they have a different position on sanctions. why lie about it? >> i always thought there was much more mystery around general flynn, because he is such a skilled person, has such vast experience serving his country. but there are some words from earlier this year that sort of haunt me. as we look at this investigation. and that's when his lawyers went to the press and said general flynn has a story to tell. well, he sure must have. because that memo that came out last night, it didn't spell out collusion, but it spelled out that he's cooperating with not one, not two, but three cases. one of which is a criminal investigation that we don't know what it is. that's my big question. what is that criminal element, and is that what flynn -- is that what flynn brought to the special counsel? >> let's show this to the viewers at home. we know flynn was helping with these other investigations on page 2 of this document, the provided has provided substantial assistance in a
1:11 pm
criminal investigation and there are 22 lines of redacted text. so frustrating! and the defendant has also provided useful information concerning and then another 25 lines of redactions. paul. >> yeah, it's probably not john podesta's recipe for creamy risotto. what we do know is that mike flynn is a liar and he's a felon. and those defendants will point that out when he testifies against them. they will be right to do so. the president and his team have a good case in that sense in the court of public opinion. the -- my expectation is that mueller would not give a liar and a felon such a light pass, unless the substantial cooperation was documented. you can't just rely on mike flynn's words. we know he's a liar. so there must have been actual evidence that flynn steered them to or gave them to help make these cases. because the defendants will, i think, quite rightly say, he's a liar. >> right. >> you can't believe him. and we know that he is. he betrayed -- i have to say, when you're appointed to a high
1:12 pm
job like that, you get a commission signed by the president, signed by the secretary of state, and the first sentence of it is, no ye that were posing special integrity and confidence. so he violated that and showed a complete lack of integrity. and i don't think that should be lost. i'm not on the trump side but the trump people will make a good case in court if and when this comes to trial if they don't have more than just mike flynn's word. >> and david, so michael cohen talked to mueller's team for more than 70 hours. don mcgahn, the white house counsel for 30 hours. michael flynn had 19 separate interviews. they're talking about something. >> exactly. so let's put a pin in this and go back and look. number one, there is zero evidence here that points anything to the president. >> at trump himself. >> yeah, this does not implicate the president. specifically, this talks about discussions held during the transition. doesn't say during the election. if you look at the document -- >> which -- >> it doesn't talk about during the election itself.
1:13 pm
and to go back and look at what general flynn lied about, that is somewhat puzzling. he lied about two specific instances. one where he talked to the russians about taking it easy and not overreacting to president obama throwing out some diplomats and closing two missions. that was the first thing he asked them to do. the second was to vote no -- to vote yes and be supportive on a u.n. resolution supporting israel. so it's curious, why would you lie to the fbi about those two specific things. >> he also lied about his work in turkey. >> that's a third thing. >> to the american public by not -- >> so your original question is really puzzling. that seems like something you would say pretty easily you could talk about. >> just want your reaction to the document. >> look, i think that this investigation is what every court filing that we have seen especially in the past week. this investigation is deeper, it's bigger, it's a lot more complex than we ever thought it was. and, you know, we have to remember that flynn was known as the whisperer to donald trump. he was traveling with donald trump for a year during the campaign. and so i think also there's a
1:14 pm
message, too, that mueller is sending to corsi, to roger stone, to don jr., which is instead of obstructing, why dn't you cooperate? >> well, on that note, there would be a big difference in sentencing. >> right, exactly. you cooperated and you don't go to jail at all. >> exactly. >> stick around. we have more to talk about. the presidents' club, one of the most exclusive in the world. president trump has mostly avoided it. today he came face-to-face with his four living predecessors. then new satellite images obtained by cnn that may prove kim jong-un is trying to deceive president trump as they prepare to meet again. stay with us. ♪ ignition sequence starts. 10... 9... guidance is internal. 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... ♪
1:15 pm
you might or joints.hing for your heart... but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials
1:16 pm
to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. you get the price match guarantee. so if you find your room at a lower rate, hilton is like... we're gonna match that rate and give you an extra 25% off. what would travel sites do if you found a different price? that's not my problem, it's your problem. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. in america, the zip code you're born in can determine your future. but no matter what neighborhood you grow up in, the y creates opportunities for all. for a better us, donate to your local y today. for a better us, i can't say it's the highlight dadof fatherhood.... but i'd rather be here with my little man than not be here because of migraine. i have three words for migraine...
1:17 pm
"i am here." aimovig, a preventive treatment for migraine in adults, reduces the number of monthly migraine days. for some, that number can be cut in half or more. the most common side effects are pain, redness or swelling at the injection site and constipation. talk to your doctor about aimovig. and be there more. if you want to get the most details about your family history. my pie chart showed that i'm from all over europe, but then it got super specific. i learned my people came from a small region in poland and even a little bit of the history about why they might have migrated during that time. those migration patterns are more than just lines on a map, they're really your family's story. this holiday, give the gift that's connected millions to a deeper family story. order your kit at ancestry.com.
1:18 pm
for the first time since his inauguration, president trump was in the company of all the former living presidents today, and their interactions to many observers looked quite a bit awkward. this comes as mr. trump is battling a tough week here at home and abroad. the stock market tanking over fears that his talks with china's president xi will not avert a trade war. with each passing day, special
1:19 pm
counsel robert mueller reveals absolutely stunning new details about the breadth of the russia investigation and how much we still don't know. and staunch allies in the republican party breaking with the president very publicly in his defense of saudi arabia's crown prince about the murder of that u.s.-based journalist, jamal khashoggi. cnn's kaitlan colorado ims lins white house. all eyes on are the obamas and clintons and carters, and to a lot of people it seemed awkward. >> reporter: yeah, it was this rare meeting of the presidents' club but made more note worthy by the fact that the current president has criticized the other people sitting in that re with him. before president trump and the first lady arrived, you saw the clintons, obamas, carters, smiling, laughing, talking amongst themselves. but when president trump and melania showed up, it seemed the small talk had come to an end. >> an imperfect man, he left us
1:20 pm
a more perfect union. >> reporter: as the nation said goodbye to the 41st president today, the 45th was seated in the front row. coming face-to-face with his predecessor for the first time in nearly two years. shaking barack obama's hand as he sat down in the same row at the national cathedral but skipping greeting his 2016 rival, hillary clinton. as those who knew george h.w. bush best, paid tribute to him, those in the room couldn't help but think of the man who occupies the office now. >> when george bush was president of the united states of america, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman, a genuine leader, one who was distinguished, resolute and brave. >> reporter: but as the bush family prepared to leave for texas, trump returned to the white house to confront the realities of washington. as officials are forced to read between the lines of the special
1:21 pm
counsel's redacted memo on michael flynn. recommending no jail time for the former national security adviser because of his, quote, substantial assistance, including 19 meetings with robert mueller's team. and the opening bell of the stock market quiet today in honor of the former president. after stocks took a dive yesterday due to lingering concerns of a trade war between the u.s. and china. the president trying to shore up confidence today, he struck a successful deal with the chinese leader, tweeting, not to sound naive or anything, but i believe president xi meant every word he said. the trade drama coming as senators from the president's own party are firmly at odds with his administration, saying that a briefing with the cia director only solidified their view that the saudi crown prince ordered the killing of the journalist, jamal khashoggi. >> there's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw. >> reporter: that take-away from one of the president's top
1:22 pm
allies seen as a rebuke of how he described things last month. >> maybe he did or maybe he didn't. >> reporter: now, jake, we know president trump had not spoken to president obama since his inauguration almost two years ago, but he had spoken to the late president bush two summers ago when he called him for his birthday, and george w. bush when he called him when he selected brett kavanaugh for the supreme court. but other than that, it does not seem that the newest member of the presidents' club is very close with the rest of it. jake? >> not one of them voted for him, including the republicans in that club. kaitlan collins, thank you so much. let's talk about this. but first, i want to run this clip again of president trump and melania trump walking in and sitting next to the obamas. you see melania trump shakes hands with the obamas, with bill clinton, hillary clinton looks over and nods at melania. a handshake between obama and trump, michelle. but not warm.
1:23 pm
is that fair to say? >> yeah. there's not a lot of warmth there. but everyone was on their best behavior, as they should be. and to be on your best behavior when president trump is around pretty much means you can't engage with him too much. and that's just the fact. >> when george w. bush walked in -- now, he has a different role, obviously. he's the patriarch of the family now and the son of the man who just passed away. but when he walked in, he walked around and shook hands with all of them. >> right. >> i'm not saying that president trump should have done that. but the body language just didn't scream like, i'm one of you. i welcome you here. >> well, that's the type of campaign donald trump ran, as well. which is i'm going to take down the infrastructure or what is the presidency in his way, right? and this is a man who attacked president carter and said he was the worst president ever. >> i think he called him the second worst, behind obama. >> behind obama. and that would make sense. >> they were both there. >> racial slurs against
1:24 pm
president obama. >> the birther -- >> the birtherism in 2011 that he led and was the spokesperson for. and then president clinton he berated for two years on the campaign. so, yeah, it's going to be uncomfortable. it's not going to be pleasant for him. and let's not forget about a week ago, he tweeted a picture -- he retweeted a picture of his political opponents behind bars. >> yeah. >> and, you know, this is not too long -- >> maybe three of them in that row. >> exactly, three in that row. and let's not forget what happened about a month ago, pipe bombs were being sent around the country -- >> to all of them. >> to all of them. so this is a president that did he debases the office he sits in. >> and he was elected to be a disrupter and one of the things he is disrupting is that order. >> listen, so i think exactly -- core inputs it all -- that's a campaign poster, not shaking the guy's hand. there was a headline in politico the other day that says the president acted abnormally normal in this case.
1:25 pm
very genteel, went over to blair house, sent air force one, was really acting extremely presidential. which makes everybody in this town go crazy. because he's not acting as a disrupter. so the guy can't win either way. i think, you know, kudos for the bush family. this was about 41. this isn't about donald trump. this isn't about crazy tweets. this is about 41 and a great giant of our country. and i think it should be. >> paul, i'll come back to you. we're going to take a quick break. and when we come back, allegations that votes weren't counted and possibly even destroyed, fears a sotolen election rising in one key race. stay with us. i just got my cashback match, is this for real? yep. we match all the cash back new cardmembers earn at the end of their first year, automatically. whoo! i got my money!
1:26 pm
hard to contain yourself, isn't it? uh huh! let it go! whoo! get a dollar-for-dollar match at the end of your first year. only from discover.
1:27 pm
1:28 pm
1:29 pm
unstopand it's strengthenedting place, the by xfi pods,gateway. which plug in to extend the wifi even farther, past anything that stands in its way. ...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods.
1:30 pm
simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. welcome back. and we're still chatting with our panel about that moment at the bush 41 funeral when the trumps walked in and the air turned ice cold as he hit the pew. and paul, one thing i've seen with a lot of criticism of president trump and social media and elsewhere, i have seen some conservatives criticizing hillary clinton who nodded at melania trump but did not acknowledge the president of the united states. >> he didn't reach all the way across two or three other people to shake her hand. >> so it's his fault. >> of course. it always is. but so what? you know, our president met the minimal standards of decency. and that's news. okay? i'm more impressed with the bush family. having worked against george h.w. bush, helped defeat him.
1:31 pm
what largess of spirit that they included our president. they did. because urban served in the army, he went to west point and he knows, you salute the uniform, not the man or the woman. and the bush family honored the office of the presidency today by including our president, even though he has said some rather unkind things to george w. bush, jeb bush and george h.w. bush, and i think that shows a largess of spirit on the part of the bush family that far overshadows a snub. >> i want to show, willie geist tweeted this information. jon meacham, the former journalist who gave a eulogy at the funeral today, a lovely eulogy. it turned out, according to willie, meacham read that to george h.w. bush before he passed away, and h.w. bush's response was, that's a lot of me. jon. that's a lot of me. which is classic h.w. bush, whatever you thought of him, whatever you thought of his policies, he was a man who was uncomfortable talking about himself. he didn't go to the ticker tape parade after the first gulf war.
1:32 pm
he didn't go to berlin after the wall fell. and that's one of the things people like about him. >> yeah. and this funeral was classic george h.w. bush. it was about tradition, it was about family. and it was about country. and i think that's what he gave us today, and he was very involved in planning this day. and so, you know, kudos. kudos to the bush family and kudos to the president. >> i think there has been a lot of debate about this and discussion about this, that, regardless of what kind of president you think president bush was, 41 was, you have to admire him as a man. you have to admire the individual. he was a good man, a decent man, a guy that everyone should aspire to be, a person everyone should aspire to be. when service and country and family -- this guy should be kind of chiseled up there on mt. rushmore as a fixture. i know there is a lot of debate about the gulf war and other things. but he really is a decent human being. >> one of the things that's so interesting in terms of the differences between trump and
1:33 pm
bush, without getting to the personality right now is policy. george h.w. bush, somebody who really was into international relations, alliances, international organizations. he is the one who negotiated nafta, which bill clinton signed. and president trump having a difficult time right now with china in these negotiations on tariffs. he called himself tariff man. the stock market not doing so hot. and he tweeted this morning, quote, very strong signals being sent by china, once they returned home from their long trip, including stops from argentina, not to sound naive or anything, but i believe president xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting. all subjects. it is unclear what exactly is going on right now when it comes to this so-called pause in the trade war. >> when it comes to trump's tariff policy, i don't think it's any more complex than trump views it as a way to punish people he doesn't like. it's a way -- listen, taxes or tariffs. this is about winners and losers, and trump exerting his power and influence abroad. i don't think there's any principles behind it.
1:34 pm
>> sure there is. >> and that's why it's so jarring and you're seeing the effects in the stock market day-to-day. >> this is about basic fairness. the president has handed this out over and over. if there are no tariffs anywhere in the world, he would not be for tariffs. he's simply for leveling a playing field. >> and there is an argument on china. but it's so willy-nilly. >> you're going to steal i.p. from us, tax our products, we're going to do the same. and we're going to level the playing field for american workers. >> sure, but you don't announce it by tweet. >> after the president called himself tariff man on twitter, democratic senator tim kaine of the commonwealth of virginia responded, quote, on twitter, tariff man? reminds me more of the beatles' nowhere man. he's as blind as he can be, just sees what he wants to see. >> all right tim kaine. >> you like that. >> not the hippest pop culture reference. >> here the problem. the problem is that -- donald trump has no strategy. and it is impacting workers,
1:35 pm
just ask the workers at gm. it is problematic. >> gm workers had nothing to do with the tariffs. >> no, but he said last week that he trusts his guts more than the brains of his economic advisers. and that's scary. i mean -- >> no. >> this is somebody who bankrupt his businesses. >> nothing to do with the tariffs. >> i want to let paul in, politicly, it is interesting. tariffs are taxes. and they do fall disproportionately on our country. soybeans. china has somewhat diminished its importation of american soybeans. 95% reduction. eight of the top ten producing states of soybeans voted for president trump. so he's punishing his own voters. and maybe over time he'll get us out of it. but he certainly got us into it and hurting his own voters. >> so i wanted to shift gears on our national lead. there is now a criminal investigation into the apparent election fraud in north
1:36 pm
carolina's ninth congressional district. and apparently it's even worse than many thought. cnn has learned potentially more than 1,000 absentee ballots may have been purposely destroyed and some republican operatives may have taken partially completed absentee ballots from voters and filled out the rest. this is where republican candidate mark harris edged out mccreaty. there was a challenge today issued saying it's time to hold a new election in north carolina's tainted ninth district. cnn's drew griffin is in new york for us. drew, how strong of a case are investigators building here? >> reporter: well, we don't know exactly, jake. but what we do know is this investigation has been going on for nearly a year. and it's not just involving the vote fraud allegations, but also campaign finance operations behind it. all of this, as you say, bringing into question the outcome and the validity of north carolina's ninth district congressional race.
1:37 pm
the voting irregularities in north carolina's ninth district congressional race are part of a criminal investigation that began in january and include possible vote fraud that could have affected the outcomes in three elections. among the allegations, more than 1,000 absentee ballots from likely democratic voters were gathered and destroyed. >> you're looking at several thousand or -- approximately 2,000 absentee ballot requests from this most recent election. about 40% of those, it appears at this point, may not have been returned. >> reporter: lauren freeman, the district attorney for wake county, north carolina, was sent this letter back in january by the district attorney of bladen county, asking for help to investigate voter fraud allegations and possible false statements to affect election outcomes allegedly perpetrated by mccray dallas. dallas is this man, a political
1:38 pm
operative hired by republican and congressional candidate, mark harris. harris won the ninth district race in a squeaker, just 905 votes. but that vote count is now in doubt, because the operation run by mccrae dallas could have affected more than 1,000 of the votes. freeman says her office and a north carolina state bureau investigation are also looking at these hundreds of absentee ballots which were cast, but with suspicious witness signatures on them. a second part of the alleged scheme, where absentee ballots were only partially filled out by voters, then gathered up unsealed, allowing political operatives working for the republican to fill in the rest. >> does it appear that there was a scheme for one or a couple or a group of people to stamp a bunch of ballots the way they wanted to stamp them and send them in? >> i think this, again, is a matter that is very much under investigation. those are the types of allegations that we are
1:39 pm
reviewing currently. >> reporter: voters like aubrey atkinson say mccrae dallas showed up at his door to help him fill in his absentee ballot. >> i had to get them to spell it out to me because i can't read and write. >> reporter: he can't remember who he voted for. laci allison had help, too. he remembers voting for sheriff, but not for congress. what about the congressional race, a guy named harris and a guy named mccreaty? >> i don't remember which one, but i remember there were two names. >> reporter: jake, mark harris, the republican candidate who won this race, denies any knowledge of illegal behavior done on his behalf. but it turns out he may have at least indirectly paid for some of that behavior. mark harris' campaign paid a that group hired this fella named mccrae dallas. as for dallas, he continues to ignore our calls for comment. jake? >> all right, drew griffin,
1:40 pm
thank you so much. coming up, a billionaire new yorker looking to shake things up in washington. no, not that one. a different one, who is making huge 2020 waves today. stay with us. we're drowning in information. where in all of this is the stuff that matters? the stakes are so high, your finances, your future. how do you solve this? you partner with a firm that combines trusted, personal advice with the cutting edge tools and insights to help you not only see your potential, but live it too. morgan stanley. hi. maria ramirez!
1:41 pm
mom! maria! maria ramirez... mcdonald's is committing 150 million dollars in tuition assistance, education, and career advising programs... prof: maria ramirez mom and dad: maria ramirez!!! to help more employees achieve their dreams.
1:42 pm
1:43 pm
1:44 pm
♪ in the politics lead, we saw earlier today images of the most exclusive organization in the world, the u.s. presidents' club. a long line of democrats are currently trying to join that club as they prepare for possible 2020 campaigns with vice president biden calling himself this week the most qualified candidate. senator kamala harris saying she will make a decision over the
1:45 pm
holidays. and what's this? in iowa? another billionaire businessman from new york, former new york city mayor michael bloomberg. we caught up with bloomberg in the hawkeye state, which is, of course, the first to hold a contest, the iowa caucus. and cristina, why was bloomberg there? why is he in iowa? >> reporter: an excellent question. i pressed him a few times as to why he was touring the state, and to him, his visit was more about learning from voters. >> i think at this point, i'm not here to solicit votes. i want to understand what i was all about. i want to learn. and one of my chief associates says, ask a question, make a friend. and so i want to know, what makes iowa tick. >> so i was with bloomberg as he traveled across iowa visiting a community vecollege, promoting movie about climate change. bloomberg says he'll make a decision about running by
1:46 pm
february. but just a reminder, jake, this is not the only state he has visited. bloomberg has been crisscrossing the country for months now. he recently went to new hampshire and south carolina, was there for both of those trips. and last month he appeared in his first tv commercial. and based on my reporting, he likely wants to see where that exposure ends up and how that helps his name recognition outside of new york. jake? >> all right, cristina alesci, thank you so much. so i have to ask, first of all, paul bigala, is there a constituency for bloomberg? he was a successful three-term mayor of new york city but he's, you know, pro wall street when it comes to financial issues. very progressive when it comes to social issues. very hawkish, i think, on the military. where does that fit in the -- >> tough to see. i will say, 2020 is not just the year, it's the number of candidates we will have. >> yeah. >> so who the hell knows? >> you love it. >> who could break through?
1:47 pm
but what i think, it's the first time in my life i've not had a preference in my adult life. so i'm actually like every other democrat, trying to figure this out. i do think as an analyst, i want to try to liberate myself from simply the right/left continuum. this is going to be a full spectrum analysis. what i keep hearing from democrats, what they want even more than left or right is inspiration. they want charisma. they want -- they understand the president has his own brand of charisma and the people who love him really love him. and what they're looking for is that lightning in a bottle that barack obama had, for example. >> look at what bruce springsteen said, who -- >> i was going to bring it up. he did an interview with the "sunday times," talked about the huge field of candidates and he said i don't see anyone out there at the moment, the man who can beat trump. you need someone who can speak the same language as trump and the democrats don't have an obvious effective presidential candidate. this is a guy, obviously, who speaks -- who speaks for the working clients. >> yeah. i love it. great. come on over, bruce.
1:48 pm
>> i think you're asking for a little too much. >> well, we've got a big tent. >> to capture the imagination, you don't go on a listening tour. voters need to hear from candidates with something to say. and i see all these democrats acting so cautious. think about how barack obama got on the national stage. that brave controversial speech calling the iraq war a dumb war. his dnc speech. so these people need to get out there with something to say, rather than just saying, oh, i want to hear what voters want. no, you have to have a message. >> we got rid of michael avenatti. so it's slimming down a little bit. >> i want to ask a question -- it's true, avenatti has said he's not going to run. deval patrick says he's not going to run. two sources tell cnn, andrew gillum who ran for florida governor and lost met with obama. beto o'rourke met with obama last month. is there a market for candidates who ran statewide and lost? can they still then go on and run for president? >> so here's the thing.
1:49 pm
they are -- when you look at beto o'rourke and you look at andrew gillum and even stacy abrams, they are what you call the rising stars of the party. and even though they lost, they actually helped, because they ran so strong in their states respectively, they helped change the tide in some of these house races. so they were exciting, they were energizing. and so, yeah, i think there is space for them. and i think that we should see folks like that out there. and i agree with paul. voters right -- not voters, but the country -- people out there want to see someone inspiring. the and there's a lot of room, even when you look at polling. even though you see biden leading, that's name i.d. people are waiting, they're looking, they're open to someone who is going to excite them and inspire them. >> and we're going to hear, apparently, some time after christmas break on whether or not a lot of these candidates are going to run. vice president biden said give him six to eight weeks to decide. that's not really very much. kamala harris after the holidays. the last time people waited
1:50 pm
until 2015, the spring. so this is going to come earlier, too early, you think? >> they do think it's a prize worth having, the democratic nomination, right? when george h.w. bush was president, he was 91%. all the high-quality democrats didn't want to run. this time, you're going to have lots and lots of people, because they think it's a prize worth having. i think springsteen makes a good point, though. democrats, they better -- as jeb bush likes to say, put on their big boy pants if they're going to take this guy on. and it's why -- the arguments -- or the distinctions would be i think more over things like talent and personality than these ideological things. i looked it up. sherrod brown from ohio, rumored to be considering a race. he votes with bernie sanders 83% of the time. and most people don't think of senator brown as from the left wing of the party. so there's -- >> oh, yeah. >> but there's real cohesion, actually. and consensus on democrats on issues. so it's going to be on things like talent. >> so are you saying that sherrod brown is like a
1:51 pm
charismatic bernie sanders? >> he's very charismatic. >> okay. >> when barack obama -- >> a lot of fans. >> in the barack/hillary race, there was the iraq war vote. an important issue. >> which is why they need issues -- whether it's -- constitution. but there needs to be a driving issue. >> you have three billionaires, steyer, schultz, bloomberg, who are all looking to get in. >> oprah. >> yeah, billionaires. billionaires don't necessarily take direction very well. i think they're staying in rega regardless. >>. new satellite pictures from north korea showing kim jong-un is doing the exact opposite of what he promised president trump, and we have breaking news. stay with us. e... for the good. and not so good. for the mundane. the awe-inspiring. the heart racing. the heart breaking. that's what life is all about...
1:52 pm
showing up. unless migraine steals your chance to say "i am here." that's why, we created aimovig.. a preventive treatment for migraine in adults. one dose, once a month. aimovig is proven to reduce the number of monthly migraine days. for some, that number can be cut in half or more. the most common side effects are pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site and constipation. these are your days what will each one bring? doesn't matter, as long as you can say... "i am here." talk to your doctor about preventing migraine with aimovig. and be there more.
1:53 pm
ignition sequence starts. 10... 9... guidance is internal. 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... ♪ if you have moderate to thsevere rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions,
1:54 pm
and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. help stop the clock on further irreversible joint damage. talk to your rheumatologist. right here. right now. humira. - ( phone ringing )es offers - big button,lized phones... and volume-enhanced phones. get details on this state program. visit right now or call during business hours.
1:55 pm
and accessoriesphones for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program visit right now or call during business hours. you've i like working.areer. what if my retirement plan is i don't want to retire? then let's not create a retirement plan. let's create a plan for what's next. i like that. get a plan that's right for you. td ameritrade. ♪
1:56 pm
this just in. two u.s. military aircraft have crashed off the coast of japan, according to a u.s. defense official. it's believed there are five people on board, service members. the c-130 and two service members on the f-18 that went down. this is just initial reports. the u.s. marine corps says search and rescue operations are under way and the crashes happened during a regularly scheduled training. we're going to continue to monitor the situation and cnn will bring more news on this as it develops. also in our world lead today, has president trump been duped by a dictator? new satellite images obtained exclusively by cnn show that north korea is expanding a key missile base despite the president's claims. north korea has not held any nuclear tests or missile tests since his summit with kim jong-un, but the regime is not living up to the agreements it made in singapore in june and
1:57 pm
alex marquardt joins me live with this information. the trump administration says the president wants to meet for a second summit with kim jong-un, because he has not lived up to promises he has made to denuclearize. >> you don't reward someone who hasn't delivered on his promises. meanwhile, we do have these new images that were obtained by our colleague, zach cohen, and they clearly show that while the u.s. is demanding that north korea eliminate its ballistic missile program, the north is continuing to grow it. it's nestled deep in north korea's mountainous interior, right up against the border of china, seen in these satellite images obtained by cnn. a new or expanded base just seven miles from the well-known missile base. this new previously unreported construction evidence of the north's continuous expansion and
1:58 pm
upgrading. long-range missile facilities that could be nuclear-ready. even as president trump has long claimed that the denuclearizing of north korea is on track. >> we're very happy with how it's going with north korea. we think it's going fine. we're in no rush. >> the imagery shows a new headquarters, tunneling and bunkers, as well as a massive underground facility. all of it rebukes to the president who was told by kim jong-un that the singapore summit this past june he pledged to work toward complete denuclearizization of the korean peninsula. now the president who often touts his close relationship with the young dictator is calling for a second summit in the new year. >> kim jong-un is successfully playing president trump since they met earlier this year. kim jong-un has realized that president trump is deeply invested in the appearance of success in diplomacy with north korea. >> the president's national security adviser, john bolton, argues that a second summit is needed to set kim straight.
1:59 pm
>> they have not lived up to the commitment so far. that's why i think the president thinks another summit is likely to be productive. >> meanwhile, with talks at a standstill, u.s. sanctions in the north remain in place. neither side willing to give ground before concessions from the other. >> i think the biggest concern here is that north korea continues to do this dance where they keep the united states involved, maybe have another meeting with president trump, but not commit to any real constraint of military modernization. so they continue to build, they continue to develop, they continue to test. >> we should note that what we see in those satellite images is not a violation of any agreement between the united states and north korea. the ballistic missile program was not part of that singapore agreement in june, but it certainly doesn't build good faith and trust that north korea is willing to denuclearize. >> alex marquardt, thank you so much. you can follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper and tweet the show at the lead cnn. our coverage on cnn continues right now.
2:00 pm
happening now. breaking news. hail to the chief. emotional tributes to president george h.w. bush whose casket is being flown back to texas right now after a very moving state funeral in washington. we're standing by for the arrival ceremony. subdued and snubbed. the funeral brings an unusually restrained president trump together for the first time with all of his living predecessors amid very awkward protocol. did he snub bill and hillary clinton? between the lines. surpris surprises and clues in a new court filing by robert mueller now recommending no jail time for former national securiy adviser, michael flynn, in return for his extensive cooperation. what does the mueller memory veal about a mystery criminal investigation? and missile