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Oakland Fire: Officials Fear Up to 40 May Be Dead in Fire; Trump's Final Four: Who Will Be His Top Diplomat?; Stein Escalates Recount Efforts in Pennsylvania; Austria, Italy Vote for Change; Stein Escalates Recount Efforts in Pennsylvania; Cuba Mourns as Castro is Laid to Rest; Penn State Wins Big Ten Championship. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 4, 2016 - 07:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're wishing you a good morning on this Sunday morning. I don't know if we've told you lately how grateful we are that you are with us in the morning but we are. I'm Christi Paul.

[07:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell. It is wonderful to be with all of you.

So, let's go to some big political news developing overnight. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, she says that she is escalating her recount efforts in Pennsylvania. She dropped her lawsuit after a court demanded $1 million to keep the recount going. Now, Stein's attorney says they will file for emergency relief in federal court. That will happen on Monday, demanding that a statewide recount be done on constitutional grounds.

PAUL: In the meantime, this weekend, as top Democrats gather and look for the future chair of the DNC, there's one challenger who says, "I'm out". Howard Dean dropping his bid for a second stint as DNC chair. And now, there's controversy for leading contender, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, with renewed focus this week on his past ties to the Nation of Islam and his defense of its leader. We're going to talk about that straight ahead.

SAVIDGE: And then, President-elect Donald Trump narrowing in on his choice for top U.S. diplomat. Could this be the week that we will learn who will be Trump's secretary of state? We'll take a look at the final four candidates.

PAUL: We are going to get into the political arena here shortly. But we want to talk about the nine people who died and still this morning more than two dozen who are missing after this wildfire started during a party in an Oakland warehouse. It's just massive. Officials feared dozens more people may have been killed here and firefighters say they just can't search that entire building yet because it's not safe to enter.

A Facebook page originally started for the event turns into a desperate search forum now for family members and friends.

CNN's Dan Simon with us.


Dan, what can you tell us about the latest here?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

Well, crews have been working around the clock to recover the bodies. It is going to be a very difficult day here at the fire scene. Authorities have brought in very large equipment, including excavators and cranes to get to some of the tricky spots in the building. All of this as anxious family members await any word about their loved ones.


SIMON (voice-over): Authorities worked through the night vowing to search as long as it takes to recover all the victims of Friday night's massive warehouse fire in Oakland.

SGT. RAY KELLY, ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We have recovered nine victims at this point. We are rushing their fingerprints to identify them and then notify family members as we get those identifications.

SIMON: Bob Mule was inside an artist studio in the warehouse when the fire broke out. He warned others to run, but before he could leave, he heard a friend, man he calls Pete, crying out for help.

BOB MULE, FIRE SURVIVOR: He's like, "I broke my ankle. I need you to pull me out. I need you to pull me out."

SIMON: The flames burned Mule as he tried to rescue his friend. Soon the fire forced him to flee.

MULE: The fire was just getting too hot and the smoke was just getting too bad and I had to -- I had to -- I had to leave him there and I wasn't able to get him out. I really -- I really don't think Pete made it.

SIMON: Even when the fire was out, the building was too unsafe for emergency responders to enter. The roof collapsed and debris littered the area in what was called a live/work art space. This morning, the community of Oakland is remembering the victims.

The Golden State Warriors held a moment of silence for the victims before the start of their NBA game, while several dozen people who are feared to be victims of the fire were found safe by authorities, more than two dozen more are still missing and police expect the death toll to rise.

KELLY: We know there are bodies that are in there that we can't get to that have been seen but not recovered.

MULE: I'm just happy to be alive.


SIMON: Well, authorities say it could take 24 to 48 hours to recover all of the bodies. They are asking folks here to have patience. Obviously, it's going to take some time to sort through all of this. It's going to take a while, of course, to figure out the cause and also to gain a understanding as to why so many people could not get out.

As you can imagine, there is a huge outpouring of support here in the community. People are being very generous. The Oakland professional sports teams, including the Raiders, the A's and the Golden State Warriors are being very generous. They have collectively pledged to give more than $100,000 to the families of the victims.

Back to you, guys.

SAVIDGE: Hey, Dan, real quick before you go, you mentioned cause. Do we have any idea how this fire started?

SIMON: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear your audio there. Can you try it one more time?

SAVIDGE: Have we any idea how this fire started?

SIMON: At this point, we don't know how this fire started, Marty. We asked the crews about that. We were wondering, for instance, if there was a pyrotechnics show that may have caused something to ignite.

[07:05:01] But at this point, they're offering no theories. We don't know, you know, for $ instance, if there was a cigarette or anything of that nature. They say it's just going to take a long time to sort through.

SAVIDGE: Right. All right. Dan Simon, thanks very much for the update.

PAUL: Let's talk about this and some of the problems that they're having here, trying to get into that building, the investigation that is to come, with Joel Baker, fire chief for the city of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.

Chief Baker, thank you so much for being with us.


PAUL: I want to just give you a little bit of background on what we know for this building. Mayor Libby Schaaf, the first thing she said yesterday was this morning a terrible tragedy took place in a space in a building that is permitted as a warehouse.

This is what we know. There was a single wooden staircase in there. There were only two exits located in the building according to the deputy chief there. There were no evidence of sprinklers.

No permits for this building to be utilized as a living space. No permits for the party. No permits for construction of the property. This was designated as a warehouse.

So, when you get there and you assess that much, what is your biggest obstacle trying to get to people who are inside?

BAKER: Well, first of all, I just offer my condolences to all of the families in this tragedy.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BAKER: But some of the obstacles, my understanding, there's a lot of furniture, debris, and trash throughout the building that's made it very difficult for the firefighters in Oakland to maneuver inside to provide the life safety techniques they need to do to get those fire victims out.

So, with so much furniture and other debris and trash in the way, it made it hard for the firefighters to get inside, as well as for the people to get outside of the building.

PAUL: If it's a warehouse, would it be normal for there to only be two exits in a warehouse?

BAKER: Well, also, depending on the size of the warehouse.


BAKER: So, the warehouse must be permitted, determine how many exits and entrance it needs to have. So, depending on the size of the warehouse, you need to have two exits, you need 20 exits. So, I'm sure once the investigation is done, Oakland will make the termination of how many exit doors they should have had.

PAUL: OK. The fire chief was talking about the fact that the party was on the second floor. The ceiling collapsed. The roof collapsed, and then the second floor, part of that collapsed onto the first floor.

And they knew that there were -- and still this morning, sadly, know that there are bodies I there that they can't get to. They also saw walls moving and that's why they had to step back and wait for that to be secured. At this point, now 24 hours later, would you suspect they had been able to secure that building in full yet?

BAKER: Secure as far as safety --

PAUL: For their safety to go in and get the rest of the people.

BAKER: It's hard to determine without being on the scene itself. It's possibly not likely they can go inside fully right at this time until they get some construction engineers out there to determine how safe it is for the firefighters to go inside. The community needs to understand, too, the firefighters in Oakland, and the officials in Oakland want to get inside as quickly a possible to determine how many fire victims are left inside, but they want to make sure the firefighters are safe inside, too.

You mentioned the collapse of the roof and collapse of the floor. There's possibility there could be more collapses.

PAUL: Sure. It could happen as they were there.

Sergeant Ray Kelly there, real quickly, he made a point of saying, "This is a very difficult situation, not only for the community but for our first responders." What resources are available for first responders? Because they see things and we always give them credit because they see things I don't think that the average could really bear.

BAKER: Well, fortunately, here we have a very good emergency -- I mean employee assistance program. So, my firefighters -- even in Oakland I'm sure they have an employees assistance program.

So, when first responders got to some type of tragedy like this, even during this thing and after this thing. Some of the same members who have experienced this type of tragedy, they're able to comfort it and call those younger firefighters and talk themselves to encourage through the day. But we get counseling for our members who go through something like this.

PAUL: It's good to hear that because you can tell the weight of the -- the emotional weight this is taking on those who are in charge there.

Chief Baker, thank you so much --

BAKER: Thank you very much for having me.

PAUL: -- for being here, sharing your thoughts. We appreciate it.

BAKER: Sure.

PAUL: Uh-huh.


SAVIDGE: She is Donald Trump's super woman. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway dressing the part last night. The story behind the photo, that's next.


[07:12:43] PAUL: Well, just in case you missed it last night, Donald Trump attended a costume party at the home of one of his wealthiest donors. There he is. It was a heroes and villains party theme. Interesting theme.

SAVIDGE: It is a very interesting theme.

PAUL: And Trump says, you know what, he went as himself.

Notice that the woman -- there dressed in that red cape following him inside. Hmm. Who could that be?

SAVIDGE: Who could that be? Yes.

Well, I'll tell you. I'll end the suspense. It was campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, she dressed as Superwoman. And, of course, it's an appropriate costume. She took over the campaign in August and she led to an upset win almost one month ago.

All right. Well, it's not just that subject but a number of others. Let's bring in our CNN politics reporter Tom LoBianco and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.

Good morning to you both.

Let's talk about the cabinet now that still has to be finished off, as it were, and the prime position of secretary of state, we're down to, I guess, the final four.

And, Ron, let me start off. Who do you think it's going to be?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know. It has become kind of the symbolic flashpoint of this cabinet selection process by Donald Trump, which has mixed appointments that no one else would have made, particularly in the White House with General Mike Flynn as national security advisor and Steve Bannon as a senior advisor. Hard to imagine any other Republican making those choices with a number of other choices, like Tom Price at HHS, Elaine Chao, Betsy DeVos, that you can imagine easily, in other -- Nikki Haley, in other Republican cabinets.

And I think here, you have that kind of tension really being brought on the one hand, Rudy Giuliani, who was as loyal and as active of a supporter as Donald Trump have anywhere, but would face a lot of questioning and hesitation among more mainstream Republican foreign policy thinkers, and then a series of other choices. Mitt Romney, General Petraeus, Bob Corker perhaps in the Senate with the broadest support of all who would help build a bridge between Donald Trump and the Republican foreign policy establishment that was so critical of him during the campaign.

It is a hugely consequential choice. I can't pretend that on Sunday here, we really know which way the president-elect is going to go.

SAVIDGE: Yes, no, I agree with you on that.

Tom, Donald Trump wants General James Mattis as his secretary of defense. He's announced that. He's widely praised, the general, I'm talking about.

[07:15:02] But at least one Democrat says that she will not vote to aid this rule into law. I think that says no military person can serve unless they've been out of office for seven years.

Are the Democrats really going to stand in the way based on that simple reasoning?

TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Sure. That's Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York who got Hillary Clinton's old seat I believe years ago who's talking about that. She wants to stand in the way or attempt to stand in the way. And, you know, look, the Democrats are a minority in the Senate but a

substantial minority, right? Forty-eight seats as it stands depending upon the outcome of that Louisiana race we have yet to see. So, you know --

SAVIDGE: But does that automatically then make the Democrats look like, oh, here we go, the obstructionists, this is how it's all going to go?

LOBIANCO: Well, sure.

Right. I mean, you know, are they the new party of no? It's possible, right? If you look at it, right, so for six years, the Republicans were, quote/unquote, "the party of no". Maybe that's what the Democrats do. You know, who knows?

Now, of course, the flip side of that is that the Republicans controlled one chamber and eventually two chambers of Congress during Obama's administration so you have to have some leverage there. It's not enough just to know, be the minority with some limited filibuster power inside the Senate. That's kind of the key question. You know, do you go along?

You know what's so funny with this cabinet pick, intrigue that's going along now. We hear some Trump folks to start to float names like they had this meeting with Heidi Heitkamp, out of North Dakota, vulnerable Senate Democrat of a red state who's up again in two years. You hear them floating Joe Manchin possibly for energy secretary.

It's kind of funny, because they're trolling Democrats who they would need to bring over to their side anyway. You know, these are people who are, you know, have targets painted on their back by the Republicans that are incredibly vulnerable coming up in the next cycle.

SAVIDGE: Let's talk about the leadership of the Democratic Party now, Ron. This weekend, Howard Dean dropped out of the race for the next DNC chair. Now, there's controversy for the leading contender, that's Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. There's renewed focus this weekend on his past ties to the Nation of Islam and his defense of its leader.

Should the Democrats be concerned about who's going to lead the party? I imagine they are.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, historically, the choice of the party chair doesn't have a long-term impact on the way the public views a party. But particularly after you lose the White House, it becomes a big, symbolic task of which direction the party is going to go. And Democrats feel I think that they face kind of big fork in the rood, is the way back to power to double down on appealing to the -- really the Obama coalition centered on minorities, millennials, college-educated social and liberal whites, all of them concentrated on urban areas.

Or is the way back to try to improve their performance among the white working class voters who abandoned them in such large numbers particularly across the Midwest? And, of course, in politics, the answer is always yes, both, right? Both and.

But when you get to a position like this, it kind of assumes an outsized importance about a signal about which way they're going to go. So, while Representative Ellison has a lot of support, has generated a lot of support, those Democrats who worry that he will be seen as too insular, too much as speaking only to those who are already part of the choir are real. I think it will generate more turbulence for him and in this process before it' finally resolved.

SAVIDGE: And, Tom, one last question. Where's this recount thing going? Jill Stein is holding a conference about the future of it. That's some (INAUDIBLE) coming up. But itIt seems like it started off really strong. Now I'm not sure where it is.

LOBIANCO: Well, you know, it was never really clear that it would change any results. You know, there's just two -- the margins are far too wide in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania to, you know, expect that it would flip anything, but it's a fight that's continuing. She's firing up the liberal base.

You know, in Pennsylvania's going back and forth. It seems like now she's going to ask the federal court to intervene to force the state recount. You know, In Wisconsin, you have --

SAVIDGE: I'm wondering if she's giving people false hope here, they think there is going to be a change and as you just said, there's little chance of that. Why keep fighting that?

LOBIANCO: Well, politically, it's an easy call. Practically, you know, why not fight at this point? I mean, the election's over. You don't lose anything by fighting. You have everything to gain if you're her.

You know, if you're the Democrats, you look Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign counsel, the way he's going to frame this. He says, you know, we'll help out in any effort but we're not going to be really active. We don't expect anything to change.

I think that's kind of the right frame to think of this. You know, it's really not going to change the outcome.

SAVIDGE: You know, politics and practicality. Never do seem to go hand in hand. Ron Brownstein and Tom LoBianco, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

PAUL: That's wise words from the voice over here. So true.

All right. First, Brexit, then Donald Trump's election.

[07:20:01] Today, Italy and Austria are voting for change there. They're going to ride the anti-establishment wave as well? We'll talk about it and the impact it could have on the U.S.


[07:23:36] SAVIDGE: I don't know if you know, but in Europe, they vote often on weekends. At this hour, Italy and Austria are voting for change. Europeans are watching these outcomes very, very closely to see if they become the latest casualties of what appears to be an anti-establishment wave.

Italy is voting on proposed changes to its Constitution. That would streamline the government. Austria is holding its presidential elections again after the results of last summer's vote were overturned due to irregularities in the count.

PAUL: It's a face-off between the leader of the far right freedom party, that's him on the right there, and a former Green Party head.

CNN's international diplomatic reporter Nic Robertson is joining us now.

So, Nic, help us understand how these elections that we're watching today could impact the U.S. on an economic or a political basis?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC REPORTER: They could impact politically because you'll get more turmoil in Europe and then that has a knock on effect economically. If you get the election of this right wing candidate in Austria, that would be the first right wing leader in Europe since the Second World War. If you see Matteo Renzi lose in Italy, you could get a run on the banks. And you're more likely in both cases to have a much stronger message inside Europe that the European Union needs to break up a bit.

[07:25:00] PAUL: You know, a lot of people are looking at this and they're starting to count it on their hand now. You've got Brexit. You have the U.S. elections which surprised a lot of people. Now, the possibility of a far right leader in Austria.

How expansive, is there a gauge, Nic, of how expansive and anti- establishment trend may be?

ROBERTSON: Sure. Look at Holland, for example. The right wing populist there, Geert Wilders, is doing better in elections than he was five years ago. If you look in France, the French nationalist there, Marie Le Pen, she is doing better in elections than she was a few years ago.

There's a sense that on the issues of globalization, migration, the economy, the current politicians are tone deaf and for a number of different parties, a number of populist parties, that's working for them.

PAUL: Austria's far right party, you were just talking about, that leader is also campaigning on an anti-abortion platform. How -- is there a sense of how expansive the anti-immigration feelings are and what that might do to an issue that still at the end of the day needs to be handled?

ROBERTSON: Sure. Austria feels that it's been on part of the front line on the migration issue. It's part of what the nationalists do well on traditional issues. Abortion is one of those. But in Austria, there are about 8 million people. They had more than

a million migrants pass through the country last year coming out of Syria, the Middle East, North Africa. That's a huge number. Compare that to the United States, that ought to be like 30 million, 40 million people, migrants passing through the country.

So, for nationalists, it's a very easy message to say, we're being overrun. They can push other agenda issues as well. Particularly in Austria against Muslims.

PAUL: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you so much for breaking it down for us. Always good to see you.

SAVIDGE: We continue this morning to follow the horrific events of this fire that took place in an Oakland warehouse during a dance party, killing at least nine people. Ahead, why officials fear there could be dozens more dead.


[07:30:35] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It is Sunday, 7:30. Hope the morning has been good to you so far. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge, sitting in for Victor Blackwell.

At least nine people have died and more than two dozen are missing. Imagine the anguishing wait for their families after a massive fire started during a party at an Oakland warehouse.

PAUL: Now, we know at least 100 people were inside as this fire consumed the second story of that building. Those people are scrambling to get out before a makeshift stairwell collapsed, along with the roof of the building.


BOB MULE, FIRE SURVIVOR: I busted through my door and saw this black smoke. I couldn't breathe. I was with my phone and like the lights went out. Dropped my phone and like -- I had to like scream and get to the front.

MAYOR LIBBY SCHAAF, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: This is a devastating scene. This is complicated and it is going to take us time to do the methodical, thorough, and professional investigation that these families deserve.


PAUL: Now, officials fear dozens more people may have been killed here. Firefighters cannot -- say that they cannot search that entire building until they make certain that it's safe.

SAVIDGE: There was a Facebook page that was actually originally being used to promote the party. Now, it has turned into a desperate search forum for family members and friends and more than $100,000 has been donated to the victims.

PAUL: All right. To politics we go together here.

This morning, Green Party candidate Jill Stein says she's now taking her recount efforts in Pennsylvania to federal court. She dropped a lawsuit yesterday after a court demanded a million dollars to keep that recount going.

SAVIDGE: Now, Stein's attorneys say that they will file for emergency relief in federal court on Monday, demanding a statewide recount on constitutional grounds.

PAUL: All right. So, let's talk about this with A. Scott Bolden, former chairman of the Washington Democratic Party, and Ben Ferguson, host of "The Ben Ferguson Radio Show".

Gentlemen, good to see you on this Sunday morning. Thanks for being here.



PAUL: Good morning to you.

All right. I want to ask you a quick question about Jill Stein, Scott. So, everybody's hearing that the judge is saying you need $1 million to continue this. She's saying that they don't have the money. The first thought in a lot of people's heads are, what about the $7 million you raised? Is there some reason that that cannot be used for this purpose?

BOLDEN: That's an excellent question and maybe we'll hear what she has to say on Monday. When you got a TRO or you're asking for emergency relief in any court, federal or state, you usually have to put up a bond.

Here, in all three of these states, bonds are probably necessary because you can get recount, but as everyone knows and the law requires, that recount, somebody's got to pay for it. And here, the judge in Pennsylvania is just following the law. In federal court, they'll argue that it's unconstitutional based on affordability, but she's got to explain what happened to that $7 million or why she won't spend $1 million of that $7 million in Pennsylvania.

PAUL: There's been no credible evidence thus far of any election tampering, Ben, even Clinton's campaign has said their investigations have shown nothing. So, how -- how much credence do you give this idea that the federal government is going to give money for this?

FERGUSON: I don't think the federal government should give her the money for this at all. I also think this is basically a fraud based on the idea that somehow somebody, at bare minimum lawyers around Jill Stein, are going to get very rich off of this. I liken this to someone opening a Go Fund Me page asking for medical

care expenses in desperation after stubbing their toe and buying a single band-aid. She is asking millions of dollars, for people to send in millions. She has $7 million, at least that's what we know, and she's not even willing to spend the $1 million.

The other thing is this, if you're going to raise money for recount, you would know how that works. You would know that in many states, you have to put up a bond for this. You would be prepared for this if your true intention was to get the vote recounted. I don't think Jill Stein's true intention here or anyone around here is to actually recount the votes. I think this is about raising their profile and unfortunately taking money for people that truly believe in what she believes in and somebody's getting rich.

But they really need to look into this because these people that are sending in money, they're being taken advantage of.

PAUL: Well, we don't know that for one.

FERGUSON: My opinion.

PAUL: I understand what you're saying, your opinion. But we also know that she may have put some money into Wisconsin already.

[07:35:04] Maybe that's where some of that money went. We don't know either. But you're right --

FERGUSON: But $7 million --

BOLDEN: The recount is underway in Wisconsin.

FERGUSON: Right, right, no doubt about it.


FERGUSON: There's a lot of money to go unspoken for right now.

PAUL: A lot of people are asking --

BOLDEN: The law allows her to do a recount, Christi.

PAUL: It does.

BOLDEN: It allows her to do this.

And so, when you talk about the result isn't going to change, when you talk about looking into the money, I got that part and Monday, we'll find out more from her and we're going to find out when the court decides, because a TRO, there's a very high legal bar.

So, I agree with Ben that there's some explaining to do here.


BOLDEN: She's got a right to and the integrity of the election process is at issue here. I take her at her word in regard to wanting to confirm the integrity of our election process. But let's just see what happens here.

PAUL: You're right, she does have a right to do exactly what she's doing.

BOLDEN: Absolutely.

PAUL: Let me pivot her, because I want to play some sound from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook this week, he and Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway met with our Jake Tapper and talked about the fake news and its impact on the election.

Let's listen together here.


ROBBY MOOK, CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Steve Bannon ran Breitbart News which was notorious for peddling stories like this. And I'm not attacking him personally, but they peddled a lot of stories on that website that are just false, they're just not true and that reinforced sexist, racist, anti-Semitic notions in people, you know, headlines that make -- that, you know, are shocking and insulting.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think the biggest piece of fake news in this election was that Donald Trump couldn't win. So, there's that. And that was peddled probably for weeks and months before the campaign, definitely in the closing days.


PAUL: Scott, your reaction?

BOLDEN: Yes. Well, it could be both, you know? We know Breitbart stands on its own.

Now, Kellyanne really didn't answer that question and it really wasn't fake news because this was based on facts and polling and the facts in the polling, we just got it wrong, quite frankly, the pundits did.

But Breitbart is a whole another story because this alt-right is an alt story. And remember, the Trump people believe, they don't believe in facts. What they believe in is, facts are what you make the people believe, yet they drive that narrative. That's a dangerous narrative to live by.

PAUL: Ben?

FERGUSON: Look, I think there's two things here. One, I think you're listening to someone that obviously is having a hard time getting over the fact that they lost when they thought they were entitled to this election, they thought they won this election, they thought Donald Trump and everyone that voted for him was deplorable. You also are still hearing him use all the adjectives that describe

deplorable that Hillary Clinton used. They're xenophobic, homophobic, gay, anti-gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, they're bigots, they're racist. The election is over -


BOLDEN: That's Breitbart, though. That's Breitbart.

FERGUSON: No. No, the Trump camp -- you just heard the Clinton campaign talking about those individuals and the fact is Hillary Clinton and her campaign treated 50 percent of the country like they were deplorables and it bit them in the rear end and they lost the election.

PAUL: OK, Ben Ferguson, A. Scott Bolden, we've run out of time. I think there are some catch phrases from this election that are never going to die. Don't you think?

Gentlemen, always good to have you with us. Thank you so much.

BOLDEN: Thank you.

PAUL: And catch much more from Jake Tapper's conversation with Kellyanne Conway and Robby Mook. The full interview airing on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, Cubans are laying to rest their former leader, Fidel Castro today. Thousands gathered to bid him farewell at a funeral mass in Santiago de Cuba. Details ahead.


[07:42:05] PAUL: At this hour, Cuba is laying to rest their leader, Fidel Castro in the city of Santiago de Cuba. Thousands of Cubans gathered to pay their last respects at a memorial. That happened publicly last night.

SAVIDGE: If you were wondering, the White House did not send an official delegation but national security advisor Ben Rhodes, he did play a leading role in the relations with Cuba, is there.

So is CNN's Patrick Oppmann.

Patrick, thanks for joining us this morning. Good to see you. What's the mood of people there?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very somber. We just saw the final leg of Fidel Castro's final journey. The military motorcade that has taken across this island, retracing his tour after the Cuban Revolution brought him to power.

And just behind us, a few minutes ago that same military motorcade took Fidel Castro to the cemetery. We expect -- it is closed to the press. We expect that funeral services are underway now. His family is there. We are told they do not, as is their custom, want to be seen on Cuban

television. They have kept private all these years. Virtually, a state secret, most Cubans don't even know what they look like. So, for a very public man, at the end a very private sendoff.

SAVIDGE: And, Patrick, we know there is no official U.S. delegation attending this funeral. So, I'm wondering, does the Cuban government have a reaction to that?

OPPMANN: Yes. So, the U.S. ambassador in Havana, the charges de affairs, Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, he had attended the memorial service and deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes who has been the lead negotiator with the Cuban government for now years also was there. But, of course, it was a very small delegation. That's not a surprise because, of course, even with restored diplomatic relations, Fidel Castro is a controversial figure in the United States. You saw that with the protests and celebrations in Miami over his death.

Perhaps most surprising was there wasn't a high level Russian delegation and you can read any number of things into that. But other world leaders, particularly from Latin America, did come here and did celebrate this man's life and there was a good turnout from the people you would expect, other socialist countries and, of course, they say they'll continue on with his revolutionary ideals.

SAVIDGE: Patrick Oppmann, thanks very much for your reporting. Much appreciated.

PAUL: Well, this is a picture of Donald Trump's top aide in a way we've never seen before. There she is, donning a super girl outfit. What is this all about? And Donald Trump tweeting this morning. More on the other side of the break.


[07:48:30] PAUL: President-elect Trump's top aide during his campaign, let's say, came to his rescue so to speak at least last night.

SAVIDGE: Now, I get the analogy.

Kellyanne tweeting this photo --

PAUL: I don't know if you like it.

SAVIDGE: Get this -- she tweeted this photo at a heroes and villains themed costume party. The caption, "Honoring the ultimate hero at the Mercer heroes and villains party on Long Island. Crowd is thrilled with the surprise."

PAUL: Let's bring in our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.

All right. So, what have you learned about what happened at this party?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, this is an annual costume party held by the Mercer family. The Mercers is one of the biggest donors, very influential with Donald Trump, Robert Mercer, the 70-year-old hedge fund billionaire and his daughter Rebecca who has donated many millions of dollars to conservative causes and to Trump's campaign and to allies of Trump's campaign. So, Trump visiting with his friends last night out on Long Island bringing Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, his chief strategist along with him.

Bannon apparently did not dress up, neither did Trump. Trump told the press he was going as himself, not as a hero or as a villain but himself. We saw Kellyanne Conway saying Trump was the ultimate hero last night.

SAVIDGE: The beauty is you can interpret, depending on whether you voted for Trump or not, if he actually went dressed up as a hero or villain.

STELTER: Hey, there you go. That's right, that's right.

SAVIDGE: There you go.

But here's what I want to ask you. Donald Trump is attacking "SNL" again after the cast ripped him last night, mocking his calls to other countries.

[07:50:06] This feud just keeps going and rolling and Donald Trump must know that every time he pushes back, that just gets "SNL" even more determined to hit him again, right?

STELTER: Yes, you've got to wonder if he was in on the joke or not here, that the opening sketch of "SNL" last night was all about Donald Trump impulsively tweeting, not able to resist commenting and tweeting and retweeting strange characters. Well, while the show was still on the air, Trump weighed in and he said he tried to watch "SNL" but found it unwatchable. He described the show as completely unfunny, biased he said. Obviously, comedy is biased.

He said the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse and with his trademark explain explanation, "sad".

Now, Baldwin responded. Now, of course, Baldwin has been playing Trump this fall, Baldwin, a famous liberal comedian, responded to Trump and said, "Well, I will stop, I will go ahead and give it up if you release your tax returns."

Interesting to see Baldwin there responding. So, here's what actually went down on "SNL". You can check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, please, let's get to work, OK? This is an extremely dangerous world. Pakistan is increasingly unstable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea is still doing nuclear tests.

BALDWIN: Should I text them?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Iran is incredibly volatile?

BALDWIN: Should I have Ivanka send them some shoes?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, OK, I hate to rude, but this is insane, all right? Your inauguration is just even weeks away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, I just hadn't heard that put in weeks before.


STELTER: So, one-sided? Definitely one-sided. Unfunny? You can decide that.

It's interesting that Trump does keep tuning in to "SNL" week after week. He's weighed in on the show several times in the past month or so. So, even though he says it's unwatchable and hates seeing it, he does pay attention for better or for worse.

PAUL: Well, Mitt Romney and Steve Bannon I understand also making an appearance so to speak in their own way. Let's take a look.

STELTER: Yes, let's look at Bannon. This is interesting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, we need to get moving because you have that dinner with Mitt Romney tonight.

BALDWIN: Do I have to?


BALDWIN: Can we at least have a picture together where he looks like a little bitch? OK. I'm ready to start this briefing.

Wait, where is my chief strategist, Steve Bannon? I can't start without Steve Bannon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's walking in right now.




STELTER: I thought it was a little too on the nose, guys.

Bannon is made out to be this Darth Vader or skeleton character. He's actually embraced it. He said to a reporter, darkness is good, Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan, it's good because it means you have power. It's interesting observation from a guy who avoids the press and allows "SNL" to make fun of him.

PAUL: Good point.

SAVIDGE: Could be interpreted as Mr. Death.

All right. Brian Stelter, thank you very much for joining us this morning. Remember, you can catch Brian Stelter and "RELIABLE SOURCES". That's today at 11:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: And college football championships, Andy Scholes has the highlights. Stay close.

Also, I want to remind you, voting is underway for the 2016 CNN hero of the year. This is one of this year's top ten heroes.


JEISON ARISTIZABAL, CNN HERO (translated): My name is Jeison Aristizabal. I live in the Agusbranca district. It is one of poorest areas of Cali. My work is changing the lives of children with disabilities. Our work at the foundation has been finding people wheelchairs. At least they can take the child to the doctor, to play in the park, to se the light of day.

This place we have built, we have therapy services, the children study at the foundation and many children have learned to walk, it has become a second home to 480 children with disabilities. The only thing we are telling people is look for their talent, look for their abilities.



[07:58:17] PAUL: After months of angling and arguing, we are just hours away from knowing who will be in the college football playoffs.

SAVIDGE: And Andy Scholes knows -- don't you?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well -- you know, we all think we know after what happened yesterday, you know, all the teams that we needed to win basically won and they'll handle their business yesterday. We were hoping for chaos, didn't really get it.

The only team that really has some beef if they get left out of the playoffs, it's going to be Penn State. They were taking on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. The Nittany Lions, they rallied from 28-7 first half deficit, and this one to come back to beat the Badgers 38-31 to win that Big Ten Championship.

It's really a remarkable turnaround for Penn State five years after they were decimated after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The Nittany Lions, arguably, the hottest team in college football right now. They won their last night games. If they don't head to the playoffs, they're probably heading to the Rose Bowl.

Clemson Tigers meanwhile are ACC champions for the second straight year. Deshaun Watson impressive performance, he threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Watson definitely going to be in that Heisman trophy conversation this week.

Now, Virginia Tech made a game of this one late. They were driving in the final minutes to tie it up but Jerod Evans gets picked off. Clemson holds on to win 42-35.

Alabama finishing the season, the only undefeated power five team. The Crimson Tide rolling over Florida in the SEC championship game. First quarter, I was there, it was ennobling. Alabama at 60 points, but negative seven yards of offense, and interception for a touch down, it went hunt for a touchdown, ended up winning this game easily, 54-16, for third straight SEC title.

Guys, this is what the playoff picture looked like coming into this weekend. All of those teams would win other than Ohio State that didn't even play. I would imagine it's going to stay the same today when they make the official announcement.

PAUL: Look at you, got it all. Thank you so much. Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

PAUL: And, hey, we hope you make some great memories this weekend.

SAVIDGE: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King right now.