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Lawyers For Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Are No Longer Sharing Information With The President Lawyers Regarding The Russia Probe; Deadliest Terror Attack Ever On Egyptian Soils; Controversy Over CFPB; NBA Basketball Hall Of Famer Charles Barkley Endorsed Doug Jones; IRS Is Installing A Special Safe To Hold The Information. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 25, 2017 - 16:00 ET
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[16:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: put the word out through different groups and that way we know where the meals are going.
You guys need any meals.
To know that you are a little part of picking the spirit u up --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have no idea what (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cannot help but to bring a smile to your face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is amazing. Yesterday, you guys put out 43,350 meals. Thanks you for everybody who is here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is people helping people, the best way we know how.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Vote for Stan or any of your favorite, top ten heroes now at CNNheroes.co CNNheroes.com.
4:00 eastern. 1:00 in the afternoon out west. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Ana Cabrera in New York. So glad you are with us.
Could Michael Flynn, the man President Trump try to stop the FBI from investigation now be working with the special counsel? That's the question haunting defense attorneys involved in the Russian probe. A source tell CNN that Flynn's lawyer has suddenly stop sharing information with other attorneys including those representing the President. And that could be a sign that Flynn is now ready to cooperate, maybe even plead guilty.
"New York Times" first reported this change. And the President's team is urging people not to read too much into it. They caution that there could be a number of other reasons why Flynn decides to cut-off communications.
I am going to get right to what this could mean for the investigation at the White House. Joining us is senior news editor for "the Daily Beast" Ben Collins, retired chief of Russia operation for the CIA Steve Hall and CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson.
So Joey, you are a criminal defense attorney, what other reasons besides trying to cooperate or negotiate with the special counsel could there be?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Let me see -- no. Technically speaking, I mean you would think - no, there could be. I mean, you would think though that it would be some indications, Ana, as we are cutting off ties. I mean they could be hardballing, that's the lawyers' for a pardon, right. And so, to the extent that they are cutting off communications, they are signaling the hey, if we don't get a preemptive pardon or some indication that you are going to pardon, then this is what we are going to do. We are going to go ahead and cooperate.
CABRERA: Would they have to let those lawyers know from President Trump's team why they were cutting off communications.
JACKSON: Not at all. I mean, not at all. But you generally speaking when defense attorneys are having clients that are similar situated as we say, meaning facing exposure in a Russia investigation or any investigations, you have these agreements where you freely share information. So I'm not that thinks that Flynn, and remember, it is not only his exposure he is worried about. What the government is very fond of doing is thanking family members in front of you. And remember, his son serving as a chief of staff, he may have some legal exposure as well. And so the feds will come to you and they will say hey, look, in the event that you are not going to cooperate, remember we have your son, but I think that certainly Flynn would be pretty comfortable and believing he will get a pardon particularly because of the loyalty dynamic between him and the President. And he would certainly that is Flynn think that that pardon would extent to his son as well.
But certainly there could be non- nefarious reasons. It could be, you know, the special counsels said hey, look, you know, we want to do this in a certain way so we would appreciate you not speaking with the other lawyers and just keeping this amongst yourself. And it could be something as simple as that as to why they just head cut-off communication.
Ben, what information could Flynn have that would lead to Mueller wanting to make a deal?
BEN COLLINS, SENIOR NEWS EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: I think - Joey raised of a very good point about Mike Flynn Jr. Now Mike Flynn Junior is extremely tied into all these WikiLeaks style things. He tweeted the Russian troll accounts that we know about. Those really overt ones from the toll farm in St. Petersburg.
He tweeted those dozens of time more than anybody associated with the campaign. So if he is dangling Mike Flynn Jr., right, because Mike Flynn Jr. is in trouble here, that is might be totally separate of General Flynn. And General Flynn is, again, very connected to Kremlin talking points, things like that. He has been, you know, in Russia they expression call useful idiots or fellow travelers, people who believe in, you know, Russian talking points just because they do. That might where General Flynn is at. But he may actually be tied into this stuff. And that's I think that really, what the Mueller investigation is looking into.
Steve, I want to ask you about Paul Manafort, the (INAUDIBLE) news have analyzed quite records. They found that Manafort visited Moscow at least 18 times. And these before the Trump campaign. They also say he was in quote "frequent contact with Putin allies for nearly a decade" as a former intelligence officer. Why do you make of this?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think Manafort and Flynn are two of the most interesting, you know, guys in this whole casts of characters. But from intelligence perspective, it doesn't surprise me at all that Paul Manafort was in Moscow in a number of times.
I mean, first of all, just because he was serving as a primary adviser to the former Ukrainian President (INAUDIBLE) who was very close to Moscow himself, (INAUDIBLE) would at very least had checked with Moscow and said what do you know about this gut.
But we know of course that Manafort's connection to Moscow go much deeper than that. He is very well known to have conducted business with a pretty well-known oligarch by the name of (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) is, you know, in Moscow, there is a lot of money flowing between these guys. I don't think we gotten into the bottom of exactly what that was all about yet. I trusted Mr. Mueller's investigation is getting into that. But that makes a lot of sense for Manafort to have been in Moscow.
The real question is, a part from dealing business with the guy like (INAUDIBLE), what else could Manafort have been doing with the Russian government more directly and that we still don't know? We will see.
[16:05:41] CABRERA: And again, those slides, communications based on (INAUDIBLE) happened before he became the Trump campaign manager. But that's the background as so he brought into the campaign, Joey, Manafort is already been charged on related crimes as far as his involvement of the Trump campaign.
CABRERA: But because he is in-charge, could he still make some kind of a deal?
JACKSON: You know, he could. There is a couple of things to be mindful of. Remember when Manafort was indicted in October, there is wide speculation widespread that it maybe Flynn as oppose to Manafort or maybe both of them were indicted as well.
The other thing we should point out is that although the investigation centers on Russia, remember as to Flynn, they are looking of what he was doing with Turkey, right. He was lobbying. What if anything in terms of income, was he reporting that reporting? The problem with these investigations are that whenever a special
council or any counselor looks into item a, they can always find items b, c, and d and no certainly on limits. And remember, Manafort also, you know, will the President at some point pardon him during the investigation or when it is over. So that remains to be an open question.
But you can always to your specific point, Ana, always look into a deal anywhere down the road in the event that the government offers something sweet enough to give you the incentive to take it. What will that sweet thing be? You know what? Tell us a little bit more of information about Trump if you know any and the inner circle, and a few of these charges might go away.
CABRERA: And remember, Trump is used to maintain his innocence. He has called this investigation a witch hunt. He says Russia did not even want him to be elected. U.S. intelligence says that's not true. And there this new report in the "New Yorker" which seems to backup U.S. intelligence and a Russian journalist says he got explicit instruction from the Kremlin to cover Trump in a positive way and Hillary Clinton in a negative way.
Ben, I know you have been covering a lot regarding Russia's media operation. Does this sound similar to what you have seen?
COLLINS: Dead right, yes. (INAUDIBLE) did a great job of the reporting. I think it, you know, outlines that Russia did want to, you know, disturb our democracy and sort of messed it up on both sides and they get it look like here Hillary Clinton's supporters, you know, messing things up on that side. But really, their end goal was to get their dream candidate in there, Donald Trump. He is the chaos candidate.
And that's what Russia wanted. They wanted to destabilize the west. That was the point of this all whole thing. And nobody could have done it better than Donald Trump so they pushed this Kremlin troll farm to push pro-Trump, pro-Kremlin talking points. And that's -- I don't know if that's how we got this President but that's what they are augment into. And a big part of this, too, is that, you know, a lot of this stuff that we know about is not the overt stuff, right? This was a - Ryan (ph) was talking about in overt Russian TV network. But we know that there are these covert things on Twitter and Facebook. They are still out there. They are still being shut down yesterday because of the BuzzFeed report 45 troll accounts from the Kremlin were shutdown. So these are still happening. Will we have tools in place yet? Yes, that's what is happening.
CABRERA: Steve, does this raise any red flags for you going back to the report about these journalists inside Russia saying, you know, he was directed from the Kremlin to make media reports in favor of Trump, to talk negatively, to show negative - shed negative light on Hillary Clinton. Would the Kremlin wanted anything from Trump in exchange?
HALL: You know, yes. I mean, absolutely, they certainly would of. And you are absolutely right that these are definitely standard modus operand that the Russian intelligence services have when they are undertaking an act of measures to (INAUDIBLE) as a covert action campaign. They would definitely do these things.
Now, would they want anything in return? You know, it all depends on the nature of the relationship with the major players here. I personally think that although the Russians are hopeful when they heard candidate Trump say things like well, you know, sanctions against Russia perhaps is not a good idea. The whole Crimea and Ukraine thing, that's such a big deal. NATO was absolute.
I think they had a lot of high hopes for having that kind of precedence in office. But of course, you know, in any large operations like this, a lot of thing happen that you cannot predict. And it sort of ironic and must be a little mildly frustrating to the Russians that although they have indeed accomplished their goal of destabilizing and dividing the west, they don't have candidate that they want of those positions because of the political situation in this country now, the domestic politics do not let Donald Trump really pursue those as aggressively as the Russians might have like. You never know how it turns out as the Russians know very well.
[16:10:17] CABRERA: Also and a really interesting thing that was written by the "New York Times" I read today saying Putin credit - hate how much Putin is actually getting here in the U.S. writing this.
What most disturbs Mr. Putin's critics about what they see as America's Russia fever is that it reinforces a narrative put forth tirelessly by the state-controlled Russian news media. On television and newspapers and on website, Mr. Putin is portrayed as an ever- victorious master strategist who has lead Russian from triumph to triumph on the world stage.
Steve, does Putin deserve the attention he is getting?
HALL: Well, you know, it is sort of one of these damn if you do and damn if you don't situation. So the facts mattered, right? I mean, we know for a fact from our intelligence services and for the multiple, you know, bodies that are now investigating this, the Russia indeed attack not just our democracy, but, you know, a number of western European democracy as well.
So you cannot simply say, well, just because he did that and he had some success in that. We don't have more success like gaining (INAUDIBLE) so we are not going to talk about it.
Now you have to push back, you have to protect your democracies, you have to try to undermine of autocratic regimes like Putin's. So yes, he is getting credits for some of the things that they successfully pulled off. But we cannot just sit back and take it as an alternative. You have to defend yourself and you have to call at - you have to call (INAUDIBLE) and prefer back to the facts which and we know what those are.
CABRERA: Joey, as the defensive attorney speaking of defending yourself, I want to get your take on this information. We have compiled some numbers. Just look, 51 communications. That's how many communications that there is sort to have been documented between Trump associates and Russian. We should point out by winning U.S. presidential campaigns are approach by government all over the world for obvious reasons. But then there is this. There is a nine blanket denials of those contacts.
So Joey, as a defensive attorney, how do you explain that?
JACKSON: All right. So as to the quantity of contact, right, it is not about the quantity of the contacts, it is about the contents of those contacts. It is not, from the defense perspective, unusual for government that contact for even from a campaign perspective to perhaps share views or different points of view or policies with each other. The issue is what if anything were you doing to interfere with an election. And so that's we had to keep our eyes on the pride. So we cannot just look at the quantity of the context. The odd is something nefarious there as the denials. That's a bit more nefarious, right, because the event of what you are doing from a prosecutor's perspective, Ana, you are going to say that's consciousness of guilt.
CABRERA: Critical is nothing to hide, why deny?
JACKSON: Why are you not doing this? But I think also you have to look at I think Trump and his people, you know, this is a very sensitive subject to them because it questions his presidency, it questions the legitimacy of that. And so I think they are running away from that, right? Because they are concerned as to him being legitimate and because Russia interfering. That could be explained exactly, this the perception, so that denial could have been based on perception as opposed to actual influence or actual things that they may have done in a harmful way.
CABRERA: Gentlemen, got to leave it there. Ben Collins, Joey Jackson, Steve Hall, thank you all.
JACKSON: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Turning now to what appears to be the deadliest terror attack ever on Egyptian soils where more than 300 people were killed including dozens of children. More than two dozen militants stormed a mosque yesterday in Sinai Peninsula. And we have learned at least one of those attackers carried an ISIS flag as they enter the house of warship. So far, no claim of responsibility.
Egypt's President promised brute force will be used in the hunt of those restaurant.
CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedemen is in Cairo with the very latest on the victims of this horrific attack -- Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the funerals are already under way for that attack on the Rawdah mosque in northern Sinai Friday afternoon. And Egypt is already responding with airstrikes claiming that they have hit some of the vehicles that were used in the attack.
Now the Egyptian public prosecutor put out a statement today that was read on TV saying -- provided in a few more details about this attack. According to the statement, five SUVs drove up outside this mosque. And out of them got 25 to 30 armed men, some of them wearing combat fatigues. They deployed around the mosque including at the entrance and each of the twelve windows of the mosque. They send off an explosive and opened fire.
Now the Middle East news agency, the official news agency of Egypt puts the death toll at this point at least 305 including 27 children in addition to 128 people wounded. Now, this is just a latest in the series of attacks in Egypt that are connected, it is believed to the militant group affiliated with ISIS. Last December, they attacked a church in Cairo. On Palm Sunday, there were twin attacks, one in the church in the dealt city of Tunta, another in Alexandria. And of course, it was also this group that we lay at Sinai that claim responsibility for the October 2015 downing of that Russian metro jet liner as well.
Now, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian President, said on Friday evening just hours after the attack that Egypt would respond with brute force. And appears these airstrikes I mentioned earlier were just the beginning -- Ana.
[16:15:58] CABRERA: Ben Wedeman, thank you.
More on that breaking story now we have been following. The U.S. Navy has identified the three sailors who have been missing since their plane crashed off Japan on Wednesday. They are lieutenant Steven Combs of Florida, Airman Matthew Chialastri of Louisiana and Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso, also from Florida. The navy notified the sailors' families that search and rescue mission for their loved ones has ended. The U.S. and Japan conducted a joint two-day search at about a thousand square nautical miles for these missing sailors.
The men were on board like the plane like this one when it crashed in the Pacific Ocean, southeast in the ocean of Okinawa. Eight people other people were rescued. They are said to be in good condition.
President Trump says thanks but no thanks after tweeting he passed on an offer to be on the running for "Time" magazine's person of the year. The publication tell the different story. We will explain.
[16:20:58] CABRERA: Who is the boss over at the consumer protection agency? That's an awkward question because two dueling temporary leaders have been appointed. So how that that happened?
The man who has been running the agency Richard Cordray tapped his own successor Friday before he stepped down. He chose Leandra English who was the agency's chief of staff. Well, hours later, President Trump name White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to the same job.
Let's bring CNN's Boris Sanchez in Washington.
So Boris, Senator Elizabeth Warren who helped create the consumer protection agency is responding. What are you hearing? BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. This move by
the White House is sparking all kinds of controversies, not only because of this dispute about who has the authority to make this appointment but also because of who the President picked.
Here is what Senator Elizabeth Warren was tweeting as you pointed out, Ana, was of one of the architects of the Dodd-Frank act that created the CFPB.
She writes quote "by ignoring Dodd-Frank and naming his own CFPB director, the President is causing chaos in market uncertainty. So I agree with Rich Cordray, this needs to be decided in the courts. If the President believes he is acting legally by ignoring Dodd-Frank, he should go to court and seek a judgment right away to settle this CFPB dispute."
The White House is standing by the idea that this is ultimately the President's decision which has caused a lot of confusion, Ana, and it may whine up in court.
CABRERA: Boris, I want to ask you just a short time ago --.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): It is opening a door to a potential showdown between the White House and the country's top consumer watchdog agency. On Friday, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray resigned and named his chief of staff Leandra English as deputy director and his defacto replacement.
Just a few hours later President Trump stepped in naming his budget chief Mulvaney as interim director. The move setting the stage for a political and possibly legal battle and confusion over who would lead the CFPB come Monday morning.
The President's pick is also controversial because of Mulvaney's previous comments on the agency which was created after the economic meltdown in 2008 designed to protect consumers from predatory financial institutions.
MICK MULVANEY, BUDGET DIRECTOR: It is a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody. It turns up being a joke and that's what the CFPB has been in a sick, sad kind of way.
SANCHEZ: One of the architects of the agency, Senator Elizabeth Warren argued that the President was over stepping his bounds and not following the law. In a tweet, she sided Dodd-Frank legislation which states that the deputy director of the CFPB would serve as acting director in the absence or the unavailability of the director.
On Saturday, the White House cited a different law. The federal vacancies reform act of 1998, to defend the appointment as a routine move.
A senior White House official told reporters on a call quote "we think that this move is clearly supported by a plain reading of the vacancies act. The vacancy act is long established used by presidents of both parties as a routine function. And we believe this act is consistent with the long established practice."
And according to another administration official, the justice department's office of Legal Counsel have already signed off on Mulvaney's appointment. While the senior White House official said that the administration hopes the dispute is not end up in court, they are ready to fight for the appointment.
SANCHEZ: And very quickly, Ana, I want to read you a statement that CNN got from Mick Mulvaney. He writes quote "I believe Americans deserve a CFPB that seeks to protect them while ensuring free and fair markets for all consumers. Financial services are the engine of American democratic capitalism and we need to let it work. I look forward to working with the expert personnel with the agency to identify how the bureau can transition to be for effective in its mission while becoming more accountable to the taxpayers.
Source close to Mick Mulvaney actually told CNN that they do not believe that he would be the permanent pick to lead the agency. According to them, Mick Mulvaney is very happy at his current job as the director of the office of management and budget and did not really envision himself leading the CFPB, Ana.
[16:25:29] CABRERA: It sure sounds like he is planning to leave come Monday.
Boris, a short time ago, President Trump returned to his Mar-a-Lago resort after a golf outing and apparently a red van trying to cut into the President's motorcade?
SANCHEZ: Yes. We are just learning about this bizarre situation on the way back to Mar-a-Lago from the Trump international golf course. Apparently, a man in a red van tried to cut into the motorcade. The full report is that the man was immediately pulled over. He was prevented from cutting in as he was being apprehended. He made several obscene gestures and scream several explicit (ph). Some very tense moment there but all appears to be fine. And again, the man was apprehended by law enforcement, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez in Washington, thank you.
Coming up, lawyers for former national security advisor Michael Flynn is now revealing they are no longer able to share information with Trump's legal team. Could this be Flynn making a move to work with special counsel Robert Mueller? I will ask two congressmen, one Republican, one Democrat, for their take.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:31:02] CABRERA: Lawyers for former national security advisor Michael Flynn are no longer sharing information with the President lawyers regarding the Russia probe. Sources close to the Russia investigation says it is an indication that Flynn maybe cooperating with the special counsel or negotiating a deal.
I spoke with Republican congressman Charlie Dent who says the possibility of a Flynn plea deal should make some people were worry.
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: It is pretty clear to me that director Mueller is not really tipping his handing too much to this. We are all simply speculating.
I think as a member of Congress where I have been most concerned about with this whole Russia situation is this. That President Trump is been far too conciliatory towards Vladimir Putin who has been a very bad actor, whose behavior is bad. He is trying to break up NATO unraveled the European Union, meddling in our election and elections of other nations. And we are trying to understand why. Nobody seems to understand this.
CABRERA: Why do you think he is doing that?
DENT: Well, I think that's a big part of what the Mueller investigation is all about. It just seems that this administration and the President has an untraditional or less conventional view toward Russia even though many people in his administration do have a more conventional views, Secretary Mattis or Tillerson. And I think this is, again, their speculations. And this is what I suspect director Mueller is investigating, you know, whether or not there was actually any collusion between the campaigns and the Russians.
CABRERA: OK. So Flynn, obviously, was a member of the current administration, no more. But do you worry of the fallout if he pleads guilty to some kind of crime?
DENT: I will tell you what. I would be concerned if I were perhaps in the White House, yes. I would be concern. And it is clear that when members of your family and the President has, you know, one of his own family members I know who has been subject to much of this discussion and his son, Flynn's son had some exposure as I understand it. So when families are involve, you know, people are going to do what they have to do to protect themselves and their families. And so I don't know that anybody should feel particularly comfortable right now. I would not be very relax. Any time there is an FBI investigation or serious investigation of an individual, you better be nervous or very worried or better be very careful.
CABRERA: So that's the Republican take. And I also spoke with this about - about this with Democratic representative Mike Quigley. He is a member of the House intelligence committee which is conducting its own Russia investigation and I asked him whether there is enough evidence to prompt a guilty plea from Flynn.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I was like ten year criminal defense attorney. I can tell you, it is not uncommon for defense attorney teams to share information. Obviously, if one of those teams decide to cooperate and to enter into plea negotiations, that's going to end because of the obvious conflict of interests.
There is absolutely no way to know for sure that's what's happening in this case. It is an indication that it might be and I will leave it to Mr. Mueller's team to take it forward.
CABRERA: Given you on the house Intel committee, do you think there is enough evidence against Flynn that he could be pleading guilty?
QUIGLEY: Well, he certainly has a lot of exposure for failing to disclose, failing to register, making false statements. So obviously he is concerned for all these reasons. A harken back to what, a year and a half ago, at the convention in Cleveland. I think it was General Flynn who led the cheers lock her up, lock her up, referring to Mrs. Clinton. And at the same time, he and President Trump said anybody who seeks immunity must be guilty. Well, I don't believe that but we are aware of his efforts to seek immunity.
CABRERA: You know your Republican colleagues have may note that this information continues to get leaked. Is that a concern of yours?
[16:35:05] QUIGLEY: I don't think anyone wants an investigation of by leaks. It is obviously, there are leaks coming from the White House, from the House and Senate investigations to a lesser extent, probably to the Mueller investigation. They need to stop. But the fact that leaks are happening, sometimes get a sense from my Republican colleagues that they think that the leaks are more important than the fact that the Russian government successfully hacked into our Democratic process that's so discord. So they are both very, very important. We lead into leaks. We need to know exactly what the Russians did, who helped them, if anyone, and how to prevent it in the future.
CABRERA: So more information about the House intelligence committee and their investigation. They are scheduled to question Blackwater founder Eric Prince next week. Now, he is significant because he is suspected to have played a role trying to set up a secret back channel between the Trump campaign and the Russian as Representative Quigley told me he couldn't talk about what his committee may ask Prince speak for not compromise their own investigation.
Up next, we have heard a lot about Roy Moore, but what about his opponent? An in-depth look at Democrat Doug Jones in that Alabama senate race.
Plus, Charles Barkley is sounding off the race in his home state.
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Everybody is going crazy over this sexual allegation, Roy Moore to me when he brought in Steve Bannon, should have been disqualified.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This conversation between the five cofounders started around sleep. And when we looked at the way people buying mattresses it is still a very (INAUDIBLE) experience where you go to the store and every corner. You walk in your street clothes, you are expected to lay on the mattress under fluorescent lights and then know what and how you will sleep, it just seems very perverse to us. And so we say how can we do it better and differently. And that's where we came up with the idea try it at home and actually sleeping on the product before they were committed to it. We made the delivery experience seem less and right of your schedule. And we built business directly to our consumers so we can tell them what they need to know about buying new mattress.
People thought we are crazy. How could you make a mattress variant cool? How can you create a single mattress that creates universal comfort and (INAUDIBLE)? So there are a lot of points that we got aggressively ridicule about. And we were told no when we are raising money for the idea of like dozens and dozens and dozens of folks. We never thought so many people would see what we are doing and then followed us, but they have.
[16:42:18] CABRERA: Listen to this. A woman shot and killed while walking her dog. The apparent target of a hunter. Officials are calling this a tragic accident. It happened in western New York in a rural town of Sherman, about 60 miles southwest of Buffalo. Sheriff's investigator say Rosemarie Beltless (ph) was taking an evening walk with her two labs when she was hit by a bullet from a single shot pistol fired by a neighbor. That neighbor says he mistook her from a deer and called 911 once he realized his great mistake. He has not been charged but it is illegal in New York to hunt deer after sunset.
Time is ticking down in Alabama where voters have until Monday to register for an election that could see a Democrat flip a seat in the deep red state. In a contentious race where U.S. Doug Jones is challenging Republican Roy Moore who is facing sexual harassment and even sexual abuse allegations.
Despite that, Jones had an uphill battle. According to the "Washington Post" Jones must carry more than 90 percent of African- American voter and boost their turn out by up to 30 percent. One endorsement for Jones that could go a long way came from NBA basketball hall of famer Charles Barkley today. He was in Alabama for a ceremony honoring his time playing in the University of Auburn. Listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHARLES BARKLEY, RETIRED NBA PLAYER AND ALABAMA NATIVE: Roy Moore is running with Steve Bannon in his right hand man, I am not going to get into the women stuff. But a guy -- how could you be white separatist and represent all the constituents in your state.
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CABRERA: In the meantime, Roy Moore is doing everything he can to keep his base energized including releases this new campaign ad.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida, here is a powerful service. Roy Moore have been intensely scrutinized and not a hint be of scandal. But four weeks before the election, false allegations.
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CABRERA: So we are just a couple of weeks now before voters go to the polls. That is December 12th, an election that will be crucial to the balance of power in Washington.
CNN Kaylee Hartung looks at what Doug Jones must overcome to fill the seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The name dominating national headlines for more than two weeks, we know Roy Moore is running for the U.S. Senate and his campaign is in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were girls when Roy Moore immorally pursued them. Now, they are women. Witnesses of these disturbing contents.
HARTUNG: But what about the other guy, the challenger to the man accused of being a sexual predator?
RICHARD DIXON, BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: What we are getting nationally is - Alabamians will vote for a pedophile over a liberal Democrat. And --.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DIXON: OK. Well, like you are just saying it flat out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like my records speak for itself.
HARTUNG: In the red state of Alabama where Republicans have held every white state office in the last 25 years. The blue level of Democrat is drowning out Doug Jones name to some even while his opponent is drowning in scandal.
[16:45:14] DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: We are staying in our lane as best as we can. Obviously, to some extent it is a distraction. HARTUNG: Born and raised in Alabama, the 63-year-old first time
candidate is a long time attorney, a federal prosecutor who is best known for successfully putting domestic terrorist Eric Rudolf and k Ku Klux Clan members who bombed the Birmingham church in 1963 behind bars.
JONES: I will work across all party lines to create jobs and get wages up.
HARTUNG: In the state that elected President Trump by 28 points, victory for Jones requires him swaying some Republicans on the issues. So he is trying to appeal to more conservative voters and focusing on what he calls kitchen table issues, jobs, the economy, healthcare. He says he will vote to raise the federal minimum wage and he supports the affordable care act.
But for many in Alabama, it comes down to one issue. Jones is pro- choice believing it is in intensely personal choice and supporting the state's current abortion laws.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not vote for the baby killer. For hell in hot water. I don't believe in murdering children.
HARTUNG: Strong rhetoric like that can be heard on the conservative talk air ways but in prints, a different statement. The editorial board of state's top newspaper writing stand for decency, reject Roy Moore. This front page about the poll's editorial denouncing Moore and endorsing Jones.
Alabama voters are skeptical of outside influence of this race. But their choice on December 12th is crucial to the power of Washington.
Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.
JACKSON: Out thanks to Kaylee.
There is a top secret document in Washington in such demand, there is bounty on it. And that's why there is a special safe built for President Trump's tax returns.
Details next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:51:31] CABRERA: A top secret document is getting beefed up security in Washington and talking about the President's tax returns. The IRS is installing a special safe to hold the information. Now where is that safe, in a lost cabinet in a locked room. The outgoing IRS commissioner tells CNN why even he cannot legally looked at Trump's tax returns.
Here Cristina Alesci.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a heart of Washington D.C., a government agency is closely guarding a document in such high demand that bounties have been placed on the file.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that very big tax return. The biggest I guarantee. There is the biggest ever in the history of what we are doing.
ALESCI: More than a year after then candidate Donald Trump says his tax returns would be relieved, gaining just as glimpse of them has become mission impossible. And now the internal revenue service is increasing security.
JOHN KOSKINEN, OUTGOING IRS COMMISSIONER: We have heard to all of the presidents' return being in a safe. It turns out it was safe like in a sense that there was a locked cabinet in a locked room. So one of the things we are going to do, we decided we should actually turn it into a safe in a locked room. And so we will do that.
ALESCI: And who has access to that room?
KOSKINEN: You know, I don't know. I don't have access.
ALESCI: John Koskinen retired as commissioner of the IRS this month. He says the agencies locked down Trump's digital returns in 2016 and is now focusing on the physical documents.
KOSKINEN: There is almost no other taxpayers that I can remember where there has been this kind of focus on. Is there some way we can get a hold of those return.
ALESCI: One hacking magazine has offered $10,000 to anyone who can get a copy of the President's paper work. Last year, even WikiLeaks tweeted a request.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: What I have here is a copy of Donald Trump's return.
ALESCI: In March, MSNBC got a few pages from a journalist who said he found them in his mailbox.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did not know who sent it to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't ask anybody for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
ALESCI: Still, there is so much more to uncover when it comes to these Presidential records.
Is there more information on file or the IRS that the President actually make available historically?
KOSKINEN: Yes, oftentimes there are much more of a (INAUDIBLE) as exhibits that usually don't get shared with the public. And so that entire package is what kept secure.
ALESCI: And security at the IRS is no easy task. Most are not successful but it is not for lack of trying. One private investigators is facing federal charges after allegedly guessing a Social Security number and attempting to use it to access the President's information.
In 2015, a so called cyber mafia used stolen information to posts taxpayers and accessed millions of documents on the IRS Web site affecting some 720,000 people. As for rouge employees inside the IRS, Koskinen says he is not worried.
KOSKINEN: We basically have a handful of people who have the keys to the kingdom as it where in our IT department, but we have great confidence in those people and they take that responsibility seriously.
ALESCI: So who could finally make the President's tax return public? Well, there is one guy.
Cristina Alesci, CNN, Washington.
CABRERA: Now, to your taxes and the five over the faith of reform. Don't miss with "CNN Debate" Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern here on CNN.
[16:59:20] CABRERA: It is been three months, about 100 days, since you watched images like this right here on this very show on a Saturday feeding from Houston. It was the weekend Harvey struck. Again, three months ago and still this week 47,000 people celebrated thanksgiving in their hotel rooms.
According to the Houston Chronicle, not a single flood victim have moved into a trailer or an apartment or any had type of repair work began to the state's housing program. Instead, FEMA has spent nearly $190 million putting families up in hotels around the country.
Still, I said it best and I will say it now. Texas does not give up. Do remember mattress max? He lets hundreds of families moved into his furniture store during the storm. Well, he has stepped up again. On thanksgiving, he served dinner to around 5,000 flood victims.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is welcome. That's that whole things. It is like we opened our door --.
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