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World Leaders Call Trump's Vulgar Comments Racist, Shameful; Russians Who Hacked DNC Have a New U.S. Target; Trump's Racist Remarks Roil White House, GOP; New Documents Released On Vegas Shooting; Eighteen People Dead In California Mudslides: Seven Still Missing. Aired 11a-12n ET
Aired January 13, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: 11:00 on the east coast. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield.
NEWSROOM starts now.
The anger and the backlash against President Trump continue to mount, both here at home and across the globe. World leaders and organizations are slamming his comments as racist, shameful, and outrageous.
Many African nations are demanding an apology after the President reportedly made vulgar and derogatory comments about immigrants. Many world leaders are also calling in U.S. diplomats to explain the remarks by the President, who has issued only a vague denial.
So far, no apology from Trump, but he did send out a tweet this morning saying, quote, "America first." That coming from his Florida resort, where he is spending the weekend.
Meanwhile, his vulgar remarks may also be impacting that already fragile immigration talks and negotiations to avert a government shutdown.
Let's begin now in Washington with CNN White House correspondent Abby Philip. She joins us with more on the fallout from the President's remarks and what he's tweeting about now. Hello -- Abby.
ABBY PHILIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Martin.
Well, the firestorm from the President's remarks on Thursday afternoon have really not died down very much. And it also calls into question, as you mentioned, the future of these DACA talks. Remember, this is all about whether or not Democrats and Republicans are going to be able to come together and find an agreement to deal with the fate of nearly 700,000 immigrants, who were brought here as children.
The President tweeting this morning his own doubts that a DACA deal might be in the future. Here's what he wrote. He said, "I don't believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time but by day and night they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad."
Now, the President seems to be a little bit irritated that some of the comments that he made in that meeting that included at least one Democrat and several Republicans seemed to leak out to the press. The President has been tweeting doubts about his belief that Democrats actually want a deal. And they are also disputing -- disputing recollections from the members of Congress who were in that meeting about what actually happened.
Some of the Democrats are kind of offering the President a little bit of help here, saying they don't recall the Republicans Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who are both immigration hard liners in that meeting, say they don't recall the President making any comments about immigrants from Africa or Haiti.
But Dick Durbin, the Democrat, say that he recalls specifically that the President made comments that he described as racist. And Lindsey Graham put out a statement alluding to the President's comments saying that he pushed back on them in that meeting, reminding the President that America's diversity is its strength.
So, Martin -- this controversy continues to dog the president. It's Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, and while he's not in Washington, that weekend is all about the history of this country's racial struggle and the President is going into it with a lot of questions about whether he is fanning the flames of racism in this country -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: Yes, it's interesting. Even people's memories seem to be divided along political lines. Abby Philip -- thanks very much.
Ok. That gives us a lot to talk about so let's bring in the panel. Salena Zito is a CNN contributor and national political reporter for the "Washington Examiner". Tara Setmayer is a CNN political commentator, and Ron Brownstein is a CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic".
Good morning. Good to see you all. Thanks for joining me.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
SAVIDGE: All right. Well, Ron -- let me start with you. The President has made lots of controversial comments during the campaign and even in his presidency. Is this just another bump or is it really possibly a turning point?
BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think it's the cumulative weight that's very real, you know. If you look at polling that has been done, I was just looking at this last night from Quinnipiac University and others, personal assessments of President Trump have radically-declined during his time in office.
I mean the percentage that says he is a strong leader, that says he is intelligent, that says he shares my values, have all significantly declined just since he took office. And Republicans looking at 2018 have to consider that, in the poll for example, or at least last week that nearly three-fourths of millennials and nearly three-fourths of people 35 to 49 said he did not share my values.
Two-thirds of college-educated whites, who are critical in these suburban districts who are Republicans who are looking at multiplying vulnerabilities, said he did not, does not share my values.
And the broad personal verdict that he is facing, independent of conditions in the country, is hardening and severe and a clear and present danger to the Republican majorities in the House and Senate and yet as those doubts have grown, they have generally moved in the opposite direction and more reflexively defend it. For example, as you cited David Perdue and Tom Cotton not confirming these remarks.
By the way, Lindsey Graham did confirm them to Tim Scott. According to Tim Scott --
[11:04:58] BROWNSTEIN: -- the sole African-American senator, Republican senator said that Lindsey Graham told him that what the President was reported to have said was essentially correct.
SAVIDGE: Ok. Let me bring in some others here.
On Friday President Trump held an event at the White House honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Shortly after that event MLK's nephew had this response when he was asked if he thought the President was racist. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAAC NEWTON FARRIS JR., NEPHEW OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: I don't think that President Trump is a racist in the traditional sense as we know in this country. I think President Trump is racially ignorant or racially uninformed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That's a very interesting way to look at it, Tara. What do you make of that explanation?
SETMAYER: Well, you know, as we've watched these things unfold over the last couple of years since Donald Trump entered the political fray, I've struggled with is he a racist versus is he a bigot.
I think 100 percent that he's a bigot and he, obviously, traffics in racial stereotypes and rather dated ones at that. And so I think that there's a different connotation when you say racist, per se, because then it's like actively engaging in a supremacy kind of a situation, where you are -- you just think people are inferior and do things to keep them down.
If he were a racist in the traditional sense, I don't think you would see any African-Americans around. You wouldn't see him put on the show for some people. He may feel uncomfortable, he may be racially insensitive.
So I think it's a nuance and it's a tough one, because I know some colleagues here on our network think that Donald Trump is a flat-out racist. And I get it. I just think that there is some nuance involved there.
But at this point does that really matter? The fact that we're even having this conversation, deciding well, is he a bigot or is he a racist, that's not good no matter what the final verdict ends up being.
So, it's pretty clear, it is pretty obvious, that he is racially insensitive and I call him the Archie Bunker in chief based on a lot of the things that he says and does. And I just think that it's disgraceful for someone in the office of the presidency to speak this way about minorities, to speak this way about other countries, to speak this way about immigrants.
And the fact that he allegedly was bragging about those comments on Thursday, thinking that this was going to be played great with his base tells you that he in his mind, he's the President of his base, not of the United States.
And someone -- he hasn't gotten the memo that he represents everyone, not only in the United States, but on the world stage. And people look to this country for leadership. And he is desperately failing in that regard.
SAVIDGE: I agree with the point that too often we tend to interchange the two words, bigotry and racist, they are not the same thing.
SETMAYER: That's right. They aren't.
SAVIDGE: Thank you for clarifying that.
Ron -- let me ask you this. There is concern, of course, you know, what is this going to have on the impact of trying to reach a deal on DACA --
SAVIDGE: -- and trying to bring about some sort of long-term solution for children of the illegal immigrants? Where do we stand on that?
BROWNSTEIN: I think it's very difficult because he is empowering the parts of the House Republican Caucus that are the most resistant to not only undocumented immigration, like DACA, but legal immigration.
And that's where the paradox here really comes to a point because there's no question that President Trump's coalition includes the elements of American society that are most uneasy about immigration and changing demography. He won 26 of the 30 states, for example, with the smallest share of people who were born abroad. The paradox here, Martin, is that in elevating their cultural anxieties he is directly threatening their economic interests. What do I mean by that? We are adding 40 million more seniors over the next 30 years. The core of the Trump coalition is older white America -- they provided a majority of his votes, whites over 45.
If you limit immigration to the extent that Cotton, Perdue, and President Trump have proposed, the Pew Research Center says there will be no net growth in the workforce over that period, which means that we'll be supporting -- each worker will have to support 80 percent more seniors than they do today.
That means either benefit cuts or unsustainable tax increases in social security and Medicare. In fact, his efforts to radically reduce legal immigration is a direct danger to the long-term economic security of his older white base.
And that, I think, is a paradox that has just not been part of this conversation. But by empowering the parts of the Republican caucus in the House, almost all of whom are from areas with very few immigrants, which is an important point, he is making it tougher for a deal to come together.
And ultimately they will have to determine whether they are willing to report DACA recipients at a time when something like 80 percent or 90 percent of Americans oppose that option.
SAVIDGE: Salena -- going to bring you in, you disappeared from our screen for a moment. It's nice to have you back.
ZITO: Right. Blame that on the snow.
SAVIDGE: The "New York Times" editorial board pulled no punches with its op-ed. The headline says, "Trump flushes away America's reputation", and a quote from that editorial says this quote, "Where to begin? How about with a simple observation: the President of the United States is a racist."
[11:09:57] You know, with these harsh assessments, why isn't the President responding perhaps more forcefully to these accusations that are being made against him?
ZITO: Well, it's a really curious, you know, situation. I often wonder what they are thinking in their communication shop. Because you always sort of want to get ahead of the story, right. And you want to control the story or control the message as much as possible.
I don't know if they are thinking, you know, no matter what I say they are going to beat me up, so I'm not saying anything at all. Or that he's saying I don't want to talk about it, you know. I don't understand sort of why they don't push back.
But I do know this, and this is something that I observe because of where my coverage is.
So, you know, two days ago Michigan -- Chrysler announces that they are investing a billion dollars into their Fiat-Chrysler plant in Michigan. They are going to bring back 2,500 jobs. Everyone's getting -- 60,000 workers, U.S. workers, are getting $2,000 bonuses --
SAVIDGE: So you're saying that there's good news that's being overlooked, is that right?
ZITO: Yes, exactly. Like if I was the White House shop, I'd be like, that would be all over the place. I'd have him in Michigan. I would have him talking to workers. I would lead off the entire day talking about that. But he and them, by not doing anything, sort of get in their own way.
Now, to Ron's point, you know, I don't -- I mean there's always been an expectation that a president is going to lose seats in the midterms. This is a different kind of president with a different kind of rhetoric. I don't know what's going to happen. I see a scenario where they could lose 40 seats. I see a scenario where it's kind of status quo and there's a shifting here and there.
But he can help himself and his Republican down-ballot lawmakers by being more on message, but, you know, we've been saying this for a year. I feel like it's not going to change.
SETMAYER: It's not happening.
ZITO: Yes -- right?
SAVIDGE: Part of this -- part of this is we're going to see whether this deal resonates, you know, when we get down to the actual voting. There could be a lot more they could talk about at that time.
SAVIDGE: Tara -- one last thing. You know, the Democrats are calling for Trump to be censored over these remarks. How will that public reprimand play out with a president who hates criticism?
SETMAYER: It will play right into his hands, because he's -- he plays the perpetual victim very well and that fires up his base, because they look at it, oh, Donald Trump can't do his job. The Democrats are obstructionists. They won't let him do -- you know, they just won't leave him alone and let him do his job.
And so if they -- the Democrats need to get their own message, because if they try to do what Hillary Clinton did and just go after the fact that Donald Trump is a terrible person and an unscrupulous guy, the American people decided they didn't care and they voted for him anyway --
SAVIDGE: Good point.
SETMAYER: Much to my chagrin. So the Democrats, if they are going to think that they have a chance of getting the House back they have to have a message that resonates with the voters that they used to have that went over to Donald Trump. Or else they are going to find themselves in the same situation in 2019.
SAVIDGE: All right. Well, we're going to leave it there.
BROWNSTEIN: Martin --
SAVIDGE: Salena -- I know you're staying. Tara, you're staying. Ron -- we have to say farewell to you but it's always a pleasure.
BROWNSTEIN: All right.
SAVIDGE: Thank you. >
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, a cyber security firm tracking Russian hackers, the same ones who stole DNC Party e-mails says the group now has a new U.S. target in their sights. We'll tell you who it is, next.
[11:13:31] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SAVIDGE: A cyber security firm tracking Russian hackers says the same group that attacked the Democratic National Committee is now targeting the U.S. Senate, honing in on the senate's internal e-mail system. The firm says that they are trying to gain access by sending highly- sophisticated so-called phishing e-mails.
Let's bring in Steve Hall. He is CNN's national security analyst and a former CIA chief of Russia operations. Steve -- good to see you.
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to be here, Martin.
So, how are the hackers targeting the Senate's e-mail system, and maybe the more important question is, how vulnerable is that system?
HALL: Well, it's interesting. If you look back on the Russian intelligence services history of doing this, they've really had about ten years since they really started in 2007 in the small country of Estonia sort of honing their cyber attacks. And over the years they've learned that it's very, very effective to get into lawmakers -- whether it's in the United States or Europe or elsewhere -- into their e-mail systems and into their servers.
And, you know, there's a whole set of, you know, cyber tools that can be used to do this, but they've been effective.
Most recently in Europe there has been some effective countermeasures. The German parliament, for example, figured out ways to limit the Russians' ability to do this. But the root -- the root of the problem, technically, is that the Internet and e-mails and servers and all of that stuff in today's connected society is designed to share information. And whenever you've got a situation like that, it's extremely difficult to have software fixes that can actually protect against this. It's really hard and the Russians are really good.
SAVIDGE: How do we know that the Russians are doing this? I mean how do we know this is under way?
HALL: Well, again, there's a lot of deep technical work that is done forensically to determine, ok you know, there's a phishing attack, for example. Somebody sends an e-mail. It looks like it's innocuous. It asks you to click on a link. And only after the fact is it possible then to go back and say, ok, where did that e-mail come from, what servers was it attached to and then finally try to trace it back to Russia.
A lot of people who put a lot of work both in the private sector and in the U.S. government and other western governments worldwide, you know, tracing this back to Russia. You know, Fancy Bear and a lot of these -- a lot of these hackers have been proven to be effective in the past, as we saw in the presidential election here in the United States in 2016.
[11:20:01] SAVIDGE: We did, indeed. And you know, we also believe that the hackers are working to influence 2018 and 2020 elections, so is Congress and the intelligence community really doing enough to try to prevent it?
HALL: Well, you know, I think it's safe to say that you could always do more and that they are probably not doing enough right now. But there is a question as to, ok, how much can you actually do? Again, when you have an open system like the Internet and this interconnectivity, it's extremely difficult to defend against these things.
But there is a political side to this, as well. Vladimir Putin is doing this, first and foremost, if viewers are asking why would they be interested in doing this because the United States and other democracies are a direct threat to Putin's, you know, autocratic regime.
I think he probably sees a little bit of a soft spot in the United States when the President of the United States, you know, says things like, well, this whole, you know, hacking by Russia and everything really shouldn't be taken that seriously. It's kind of a hoax.
That offers opportunities. So we definitely need to do more as a government to try to figure out ways to defend against this. And one of those ways is to do basically a version of mutual assured (ph) destruction. Make it so painful for the Russian government to do this if we catch them doing it that they would be deterred from doing that.
And I think that's probably one of the best ways to go with that -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: All right. Steven Hall -- thank you very much for joining us this morning. Good to see you. HALL: My pleasure. >
SAVIDGE: In other news, support from the President's base -- it's been unwavering really, but will his disparaging remarks this week create some cracks?
We're going to go to Alabama next, the Trump stronghold, to find out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should have been more professional about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He operates from the hip.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:21:44] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SAVIDGE: Make no mistake there is still widespread support among President Trump's base, even after his derogatory remarks this week about Haiti and African nations. But some Trump supporters are questioning the President's comments.
And CNN's Gary Tuchman met with a few of them in Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you ready?
BOB HOLLINGSWORTH, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Ready. Ready to get brave.
TUCHMAN: The Rack and Roll billiards bar in Aniston, Alabama is in the heart of Trump country. And Bob Hollingsworth (ph) is a loyal Republican who voted for Donald Trump.
Bob -- I want to ask you. Overall, what do you think of the job Donald Trump is doing so far?
HOLLINGSWORTH: I would give him overall a seven -- seven out of ten.
TUCHMAN: He doesn't get a higher grade, says Hollingsworth, because of some of his personal behavior, including what he just said.
HOLLINGSWORTH: He used shithole countries.
TUCHMAN: So what do you think of the President using that term?
HOLLINGSWORTH: We could have done better there, but I think he talked more so in terms of voicing that against the leadership of the country more so than the people of the country.
TUCHMAN: Right. But the fact that he used that word at all to describe a country in any way, shape, or form --
HOLLINGSWORTH: Not presidential -- no. Not presidential -- shouldn't have done it. TUCHMAN: We found that to be a common sentiment in downtown Aniston
among people who generally admire the President.
Rodney Perser (ph) works in a restaurant.
With the President using that word, how do you feel about that?
RODNEY PERSER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He should have been more professional about it. He shouldn't have used that word.
TUCHMAN: And as far as the restaurant customers go --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that that was unprofessional, and I would think that that shows a little bit of lack of morals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably unpresidential.
TUCHMAN: Gene Robinson feels a bit differently, though. The store owner is a former mayor of Aniston and isn't even a registered Republican, but strongly defends the President.
GENE ROBINSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think that he would have intentionally insulted any country and that just came out of his mouth and that's the way he operates. He operates from the hip.
TUCHMAN: So you think it was a mistake he said that?
ROBINSON: Yes, I do.
TUCHMAN: You don't think he's being derogatory towards any country?
ROBINSON: I don't think he's being derogatory towards anyone.
TUCHMAN: Back at the billiards hall, Bob Hollingsworth rejects accusations the President is racist.
Do you think that he ever would have said that about a country that is mostly white? The countries he said that about are mostly black.
HOLLINGSWORTH: Well, that's a good point.
TUCHMAN: Could it affect you when you vote in 2020? Could it make you say maybe I'm not going to vote for Donald Trump this time?
HOLLINGSWORTH: Crude, but I can live with it.
TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN -- Aniston, Alabama.
SAVIDGE: Joining me now, national political reporter for the "Washington Examiner" and CNN contributor Salena Zito, and CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali.
Tim -- good to see you. Salena, to you see you again. Salena -- to you first. You do a lot of reporting from Trump country. I do a lot of reporting from there, too. And I'm wondering, are you hearing similar views from Trump voters that they find these racist comments unbecoming and unpresidential?
ZITO: Well, it's interesting. It's almost as if I'm at a time where these are some of the comments that he made ahead of the presidential campaign, people gave pause to and didn't like, yet they still voted for him.
So, you know, I think they were able to forgive -- I don't know if forgive is the right term -- but able to sort of overlook that because of things that they felt were more important and that they thought that he would deliver on.
[11:29:52] And it's also interesting. I was out driving around talking to people yesterday. And they said to me, do you know how many times where I live that our area has been called that name?
And so, I don't know if that impacts how they sort of perceive what he said. They didn't go into depth about that.
But they did say, look, you know, my neighborhood or my community or my county, which has been sort of disintegrating for the past 30 years has been called that a lot on social media or, you know, with better words on newscasts.
So, you know, I think that might play into their mindset about hearing him say that, but I will say there are still people who cannot stand the way that he tweets or cannot stand the way that he talks, but will still vote for him. And that hasn't changed since November 8th, 2016 and a lot of ways I think we're really stuck there.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I haven't noted a great deal of change in those voters that I've spoken to either. You know, this goes along, they like the fact he was not p.c., as they say, politically correct, unfiltered, and this, they say, is another example of that.
Tim, Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson has said this about the president's vile remarks, quote, "He owes the people of Haiti and all of mankind an apology. That is not the kind of statement the leader of the free world ought to make, and he ought to be ashamed of himself." Is it politically safe for Republicans to blast the de facto leader of the Republican Party in an election year?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, two issues there. The first issue is the issue of the head of state, our head of state, characterizing a large part of the world in a very vulgar way.
The other issue is characterizing the people that live there, who might want to come to our country and benefit from its wealth and culture, being described in a vulgar way. Republican leaders who care about our foreign policy have an obligation to put pressure on the president, to have him in some way alter those comments. You'll not -- we've seen that this president doesn't apologize. I wouldn't expect an apology, but the Republicans that care about our ability to interact with the world, which is on all kinds of issues, from trade through fighting terrorism, they understand that if our president becomes toxic, we are a less secure people. There's that policy side of it, which is extraordinarily important.
SAVIDGE: But what about criticizing a Republican leader in an election year?
NAFTALI: That's very hard. But Republicans are now having to think about what their party stands for and that's -- there's an internal discussion in the Republican Party about where this party goes and to what extent is it the party of Trump. It's going to be very difficult, I agree, but this is an unusual situation, to put it mildly.
SAVIDGE: It is putting it mildly. Salena, I want you to listen to what a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush and the campaign had to say about the president's comment. This is Tim Miller.
I'm going to use the word, so if you have children in the room, I'll give you a moment just to either cover their ears or get them out of the room. The word is "Shithole countries is a classic in frustrating Trump gaffe genre, saying something despicable that makes elites clutch their pearls but gets the majority of people nodding their heads." Do you see truth in that, Salena?
SAVIDGE: I do, too.
ZITO: Well, I mean, look, I'm sure Tim will agree with me on this, he's an incredible historian on presidents. Presidents throughout history have probably made very awful remarks in the privacy of conversations in working with lawmakers and working with their administrations.
A lot of them would probably make us cringe as much as this has, but we live in an age where now you just walk out and say, hey, the president said this. I'm not saying that's right, I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm saying that's where we are right now.
And, you know, I think -- I've been saying this a lot. I really think we need to get at why people feel this way, to Tim Miller's comment, about -- why we're OK with this. Like, why this makes us -- not us, but why it makes some voters more apt to be supportive in light of saying, you know, being caught or saying something like that.
You know, we have a real problem in this country, and it's not just Republicans. It's Democrats, too. But there is a major distrust in larger political institutions.
[11:35:10] And it just makes people more, you know, passionate about being for something they normally wouldn't, because they are just so sort of frustrated with how they've been treated by these institutions.
SAVIDGE: Right. It's the political tribalism is what we're talking about here.
SAVIDGE: Salena Zito and I also want to say thanks to Tim Naftali, thank you both for joining me this morning.
From Haiti to El Salvador, to Botswana, the president's vulgar comments have sparked a global backlash, putting many diplomats, U.S. and ambassadors, in a pretty tough spot. That's next.
SAVIDGE: We're going to continue to talk about the president's language earlier this week. If you have young children in the room or find the word offensive, now's a good time to turn the volume down.
[11:40:05] The latest world leader criticizing President Trump and his slur that he made is Ghana's leader, who is not mincing words when he tweeted out this morning, quote, "The language of Donald Trump that the African continent, Haiti, and El Salvador are shithole countries are extremely unfortunate.
We are certainly not a shithole country. We will not accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful." Government officials in El Salvador say that they sent a letter of protest demanding respect for its people.
In Haiti, a country specifically mentioned by Trump, the government has formally summoned a top U.S. official, all African nations have expressed outrage, while Botswana summons the U.S. ambassador.
So, I want to bring in CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott. Elise, nice to see you. We saw the ambassador of Panama say that he's leaving his post because he can no longer work with the Trump administration. What is the reaction from inside the U.S. diplomatic corps?
ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well,just to be clear, Marty, on the ambassador to Panama, he had given his resignation in December, but clearly because of his problems with the Trump administration. He had said that, you know, if he was duty bound to resign if he couldn't follow the president no matter what party as he had done for many years.
But on these comments by the president, look, it's very difficult for U.S. diplomats right now. They are being called in by the host governments. Not only Botswana and Haiti, but also Senegal and others, the African Union putting out a very tough statement.
I mean, I think what U.S. diplomats are trying to tell their host governments is we affirm the U.S. commitment to your country. We respect all nations, and, you know, the relationship, the cooperation the U.S. has with any of these countries transcends what the president does or doesn't say.
So pretty much, just ignore it. Focus on the relationship that we have that transcends any president and any comments of this president.
SAVIDGE: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tweeted out this statement here, quote, "I hope our next president will rehire all the diplomats who have resigned over Trump's racist words and harmful actions. We will need all the help we can get to repair the damage he is doing to our country's international reputation and interest."
So, the question is how might this affect the current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the job he has because after all we rely on these nations in many ways, including in the war on terror.
LABOTT: Marty, it's not just the nations that the president might have insulted in his comments, it's other European nations, other Middle Eastern nations. When, you know, make these kinds of comments they say -- when the U.S. asks them to trust the United States, you know, what kind of trust is there that he's not saying it in private about their country?
I think, you know, what the State Department has been telling his diplomats and Secretary Tillerson would agree is just focus on the relationship at hand. I think there are a lot of people in the foreign service that have problems with some of the remarks of the president.
But these foreign service officers have been sworn to, you know -- honor bound to follow any president, regardless of party, regardless of policy, and if they can't do that, then they resign.
So, I think, you know, talking to foreign service officers, they say there's a recognition that his comments are inappropriate. A lot of the times, but he's the president. This is a democracy. This happens in democracy.
The pendulum swings from one side to the other side, and, hopefully, it will swing back to the other side. The question is, can the relationships, can the institutions, and can the people surrounding the president and the secretary of state, Secretary Mattis, other advisers, mitigate the fallout?
They think that they can, but I think, Marty, everybody's just kind of tired of the drama of all of it. They just want to put their heads down, get back to work on the actual policies and relationships with these governments.
And, you know, yesterday was a very hard day for them, but they say tomorrow will be another day. Tomorrow will be something else. Hopefully, it won't be another derogatory comment.
SAVIDGE: We'll see. Elise Labott, thank you very much. Good to see you.
After the break, CNN's poring through hundreds of pages of documents, documents shedding new light on the Las Vegas shooting. It left 58 people dead and hundreds injured. We'll have the new details next.
SAVIDGE: I was out in Las Vegas last year covering that horrific mass shooting and one of the questions that has lingered was what was the motive and did the gunman have any assistance. We're learning brand new information on that shooting tragedy.
CNN has obtained hundreds of pages of documents on the shooting that took 58 lives in just a matter of minutes. The judge has unsealed the court records in response to a lawsuit that was filed by CNN and other media organizations.
CNN's Sara Sidner explains what they reveal.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are a few small details that we have not seen before and obviously a lot of us have done reporting on this. One is that you'll remember that the shooter had two houses where quite a bit of ammunition and some 18 guns were found.
We are now learning that in one of those homes in Mesquite, Mary Lou Danley, which is the girlfriend of the shooting said that -- told investigators in these warrants that her prints would likely be on bullets.
[11:50:12] Because she sometimes helped load mags or magazines, but she again adamantly denied that she was in any way involved in the shooting. That is one of the details coming out.
There's a note in these warrants that says on July 6th, 2017 -- and you'll remember this shooting was October 1st -- there are e-mails between two accounts. One that the federal government says definitely belongs, they believe, to the shooter.
Another one that they're not sure whether it's his second account and he's e-mailing himself back and forth or whether it belongs to someone else and they are very clear in saying if it belongs to someone else, we need to find out who this is.
Let me read you what they say are in those e-mails. The e-mail sent to the shooter says, try an AR before you buy. We have a huge selection located in the Las Vegas area. Then sends back to him later on that day, says we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try, and talks about trying out a bump stock.
That is the device that makes a gun very close to an automatic weapon. It works very similar to an automatic weapon. So those are revelations and it does seem odd that he would be e-mailing that to himself, so investigators clearly looking to figure out who that other person may be.
SAVIDGE: Our thanks so Sara Sidner for that update.
There is much more ahead in the NEWSROOM. But first, to say in 2018 that the Olympic Slalom champion, Mikaela Shiffrin, is really -- 2018 is really treating her well is what I'm trying to say, is an understatement.
Earlier this week, Shiffrin set a record-winning by her winning of the fifth straight World Cup race, man, I'm having a hard time. She doesn't just want to be known for her prowess of skiing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKAELA SHIFFRIN, OLYMPIC SLALOM CHAMPION: Skiing is not who I am and skiing, I'm going to have ups and downs but at the end of the day I'm still me and as long as that stays true, then I can't be lost. Winning always sounds really good and it's the thing that I dream about, but once that happens I'm like, I just want to go to bed.
My biggest fear is disappointing people and that's where the external pressure comes into play when I think if I don't win I'm going to disappoint the media or my fans or my family or my coaches and the people on my team who work so hard day in and day out to help me achieve my goals.
That's where I get in the starting gate and I'm like, here we go, I don't want to disappoint anyone. That's when I feel the pressure. But I'm starting to be able to separate the two, and that's really important for me to actually be able to enjoy the sport.
I'm going into these games with a similar mindset that I had in Sochi, which was I have the capability of winning a medal, if not multiple medals, and my best shot at doing that is to act like I'm chasing. That's when I ski my best is when I sort of act like I'm chasing the world instead of the one who's being chased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Mudslides are still wreaking havoc in Santa Barbara County, California. At least 18 people are now confirmed dead, seven are still missing. The mudslides have turned roads into rivers and have left certain areas impassable.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is live in Montecito, California this morning. Paul, what are you seeing there?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, they are just trying, inch by inch, pulling out mud to get this community back together. You were talking about these impassable roads. Here's one road that was loosened up just a little bit.
Look at this devastation that the slide left in its wake. You can clearly see the scorched hillside in the background, and boulders came roaring down here. It's an unbelievably difficult task for these work crews. They're going to be at it for quite some time. I was talking to the deputy director of Santa Barbara County and he said we had 8,000 firefighters and that maybe wasn't enough on the Thomas fire. There's 20 of us trying to work on this cleanup. You can see house after house on Randall Road in Montecito devastated.
Some 460 homes damaged, another 65 completely destroyed. In this particular hard-hit area, the destruction is everywhere. It's not as if there was a pocket that was spared. They lost a lot of houses.
I also want to give you a sense of what it was like for let's say a vehicle. Look at this crumpled and collapsed car, completely smashed. This is going to be an unimaginable, lengthy cleanup, Martin. They don't have power. They're told to boil water. This has all been evacuated, of course.
And they're really not sure when they're going to be able to restore power and electricity to this area. They've got work crews all over trying to get it back up on its feet, but they say it might be a long, long time before Montecito ever fully comes back. Back to you, Martin.
SAVIDGE: Paul Vercammen, thank you very much for that powerful look at the damage that has been do you know done and the problems that still exist. We'll have much more ahead on the NEWSROOM. It all starts right now.
Hello. Thanks for joining me. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield. Growing anger and backlash --