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CNN NEWSROOM

Mexico Beach Resident Lost Everything but a Briefcase; Van Jones Talks to Dave Chapelle on Trump & Elections; Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams Calls on Brian Kemp to Resign; Eric Holder says Critics of Comment Have Fake Outrage; Crews Scrambled to Evacuate Patients from Panama City's Damaged Hospital; Trump's Legal Team Prepares to Answer Written Answers to Mueller. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 12, 2018 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And of course I asked, what about the missing? I've talked to people who say, well, we saw my neighbor and I don't know where my neighbor is. That number is really still up in the air.

When we were hear yesterday, I talked to Scott Boutwell, who was wandering around carrying this dirty, wet brief case, which was the only thing he could salvage from his mess out here. He totally lost his home. The bridges closed, and he ended up riding out this category 4 hurricane.

Here's part of our conversation as he was walking back near what was his home.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCOTT BOUTWELL, MEXICO BEACH RESIDENT: It's gone. Everything's gone. My friends, everything that lives here, their Houses are gone. If you look from here to the beach, everything's gone. The houses behind me piled up here by my back door.

BALDWIN: How does it make you feel to look around at everything just leveled?

BOUTWELL: Well, the thing is, you know, this is a small little town. This is our little town. Every restaurant's gone, every store's gone and all of my names, everybody's home is gone. When you think about it, all of their lives are gone here. So how do you -- what do you do, you know? Where do you start? Where do you start? Because I came here and I walked inside and I'm like there's somebody else's couch in my house that's not even mine. So the stuff that I thought I had, the stuff I thought was of value is even gone here. Anyway, it's hard to talk about it.

BALDWIN: I can't even begin to understand that this is -- this was your home. It's OK.

BOUTWELL: Anyway --

BALDWIN: Let me just say, you have you. BOUTWELL: We woke up this morning and that was the first thing we

said we're OK. That's the biggest thing. All this other stuff is gone. It's sinking in a little bit, it's all gone.

BALDWIN: What was it like being in the middle of this category 4 storm?

BOUTWELL: You have no idea. It was so, so strong. You have no idea. It came in and it stayed. The water stayed and all you could see was people's houses floating by you and cars and stuff. It was just like the wind didn't stop. All you could hear was things crashing into the House and the building. All you could see was all just debris. There's a refrigerator and stuff. At first we started seeing people's garbage cans flying up in the air, started seeing debris going. And metal from roofs started flying everywhere like a tornado hit or something. When we saw the water come in, the surge come in, it didn't stop. It came in and that's what destroyed everything was the water surge.

BALDWIN: How did you survive?

BOUTWELL: Like I showed. I don't know. I don't know. I just thank God I am OK.

BALDWIN: What do you do next?

BOUTWELL: I don't know. Like I say, I just -- I need to just call my family, get out of here and stuff and then come back and try to piece things back together, you know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: After we were talking with him yesterday, we handed him our satellite phone so he could communicate with his little brother and leave a voicemail for his sister to let them know he is OK, that he survived this hurricane.

I will say, we ran into him today. He was wandering around Mexico Beach. I obviously threw my arms around him and said, how are you? He said, no, how are you? How am I? I said, no, no, no, Scott, how are you? Just one of some many people with the graciousness of spirit is pretty extraordinary.

We did just learn the president of the United States just tweeted that he will be here in Florida and Georgia, Brianna, at the beginning, some point at the beginning of next week.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: He'll get a look at it as you are getting a look at it firsthand.

Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much.

Coming up, we're going to discuss the wild week in politics when Kanye West walked into the Oval Office and Taylor Swift walked into the midterms. Van Jones is with me next. [14:34:30] And the Democratic candidate in Georgia's gubernatorial

race is now accusing her opponent, Georgia's secretary of state, of voter suppression.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: If this week in politics doesn't say #2018, nothing will. A rapper endorses and praises President Trump while a country-crossover- pop star tells her red state to vote blue. With just three and a half weeks left to the midterms, we are in the final push and there's a lot of stake.

Van Jones sat down with Comedian Dave Chapelle to talk Trump. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CNN HOST, "VAN JONES SHOW": You said on SNL you wanted to give Trump and chance and wanted him to give disenfranchised a chance. Do you feel that he gave disenfranchised people a chance?

DAVE CHAPELLE, COMEDIAN: It's hard to tell where Trump end and his constituency begins. I think the rhetoric of his politics is repugnant. I don't like the way he talks. We're living in a time where there's got to be a little more cultural sensitivity. Even a guy like me writing jokes, I have to listen more than I've had to listen. I'm not dismissive of people's gripes. Might sound like it when I get on stage but I listen. And as president of a country as eclectic of hours, it's like a patchwork of people, I think he's speaking to a very small choir. Just the way he engages is abysmal. I don't like talking bad about the president. I say we should give him the chance because he's the president of the United States. What choice do I have?

[14:40:26] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you also apologized for that joke, didn't you?

CHAPELLE: I don't ever apologize for a joke.

(CROSSTALK)

CHAPELLE: What I said is --

(LAUGHTER)

CHAPELLE: -- I said I shouldn't have said that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: CNN political commentator and the host of the "VAN JONES SHOW" joins us now.

Van, thanks for being with us. This was such an interesting interview. You have Taylor Swift and

Kanye West 25 days away from the midterms weighing in on all of this. What does it say about where we are as a country that things seem a little topsy-turvy.

JONES: You have Taylor Swift supporting the male Democrat and you've got Kanye supporting Trump. And Chapelle has never endorsed any candidate. He didn't even endorse Obama. Because Ben Jealous is his god-brother and he's known for a long time, he's jumped in. I think it reflects the society. I think everybody now has a political opinion. Five years ago, 10 years ago, you can take a pass. You could talk about sports or the weather. I think in the era of Trump everything is political. Football is political, everything is political. So the artists are reflecting that in their stances.

KEILAR: It's such an interesting point.

I also want to get your perspective on the Georgia governor race that we're seeing neck and neck. You've got your Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. They are saying Brian Kemp should resign in an uproar of voter registration. A new report shows Georgia has put a hold on more than 53,000 voter registration applications and nearly seven out of 10 of those belong to African-Americans. That's in a state where about three out of 10 people are African-American, just to keep how disproportionate that is in mind. Is it because they failed to clear what's called the exact match standard. Abrams said the law is being used to suppress the minority vote. As you look at this, what do you think?

JONES: Well, it's a real outrage. Can you imagine running or being in a competition and your opponent is also the referee. I mean, that's the situation that Stacey Abrams finds herself in. The secretary of state has responsibility over the election and he's running it. It doesn't make any sense. Clear conflict of interest there. There's been a huge uptick in African-American voter registration, which they say we're supposed to do. If you want to be a part of the process, black, white, whoever you are, first you got to register and that shows you can be a part of the system. You had a bunch of people who went and registered. And the guy who they're going to vote against says never mind, we're going to throw out your entire registration, you don't get a chance to vote. That's dangerous for democracy. Suppose this guy actually winds up winning. People will feel like he cheated and it was an illegitimate election. When you have this air of illegitimacy hanging over so many parts of our government now -- people don't believe that Donald Trump won fair and square, like the gerrymandering and voter suppression like Congress isn't being constituted properly, there's now a cloud being held over the Supreme Court. How much damage can we do to our institutions? If I was in his shoes, I would go out of my way to make sure if I became governor, everyone would know I won fair and square. He's doing the opposite.

KEILAR: Let me ask you about Eric Holder. He's getting incoming from conservatives for something he said. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is time for us, as Democrats, to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are. Michelle says, "When they go low, we go high."

(CROSSTALK)

HOLDER: No, no. When they go low, we kick them.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:44:52] KEILAR: So you have critics who say Eric Holder is endorsing violence against conservatives or against opponents. He's saying, look, this is fake outrage. He tweeted, "I'm obviously not advocating violence. In fact, when I was A.G., violent crime was historically low. I'm saying Republicans are undermining our democracy. And Democrats need to be tough, proud and stand up for the values that we believe in. The end."

This isn't the first time he's had to go back and talk about and explain was he said. He's certainly feeling some heat on this. The GOP has come around to embracing President Trump and his rhetoric. Now they're taking on Eric Holder as being uncivil.

JONES: Yes. Look, I don't want to hear anything from the Republican Party on the question of civility, on the question of choosing your words properly. They have a whole stack of comments they've got to work through first before they get to anything Eric Holder said. Eric Holder obviously was making -- he was using hyperbole, using a metaphor. Here's what's interesting is there seems to be an acceptance on the part of Republicans that they are going low. He says if they go low, then you kick them. Looks like they're accepting that they are going low. Here's what I think. I fundamentally agree with Michelle Obama's basic position. We can be can can't out-hate hateful people. I do think we should go high but we should work hard. There's not going to be a blue wave without blue work. People being upset all the time and up in the outrage cycle, people need to be registering people to vote, volunteering, donating. Eric Holder is speaking for a lot of people that are frustrated that the Republican Party used these hardball tactics. They stole Merrick Garland's seat. They gave it to Kavanaugh over objections. And we're not fighting back hard enough. We should fight back hard in a way that doesn't feed what we're fighting. We don't want to become what we're fighting. We can fight back with love and dignity, the way that the Obamas always have. I think that's where most people in the Democratic Party still are.

KEILAR: Van Jones, thank you so much for being with us this afternoon.

Don't miss Van's interview with Dave Chapelle tomorrow here on CNN on 7:00 p.m.

Coming up, is the Russia probe entering its final phase? After months of negotiating, President Trump's legal team is now drafting responses to Robert Mueller's written questions. We'll have more on what CNN is learning about that.

Plus, back to the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Florida. The biggest hospital in Panama City is finally able to evacuate patients who were not able to get out before the storm. We'll take you there live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:52:05] BALDWIN: Live pictures from our CNN drone as it is hovering above me as we are coming to you from Miami Beach -- from Mexico Beach, Florida. This has been described as ground zero for the hurricane, Hurricane Michael, that blew through two days ago and left utter devastation in its wake here.

For some, evacuation was not an option as Hurricane Michael washed ashore. That included patients at the Bay Medical Sacred Heart Hospital in Panama City. The hospital suffered extensive damage and did lose power, leading to the evacuation of the patients in the hospital.

CNN's Diane Gallagher is in Panama City for us.

Dianne, tell me what you are seeing there.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Brooke, they couldn't evacuate, but judging by what the rest of Panama City looks like, it may have been good, though terrifying they were inside there when Hurricane Michael came through.

Some of the damage that came through is horrifying. Especially when you think about the fact that 1500 people, and we are talking doctors and nurses and staff and as well as their families and pets. You have the patients and their families. They rode the storm out. Windows bursts, water came pouring in. They had to move people on ventilators to another side of the hospital because the generators started to get overloaded. They brought them to a different generator. They had patients in critical condition.

All the while, the doctors tell me that they were afraid that this might go south really quickly but they had to keep their game face on for their patients. Right now, they are setting up with a government- run hospital who will assist here. And they're working -- because Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart, Brooke, that is the only trauma center between Pensacola and Tallahassee, which means those people in Mexico Beach, where you are, this is where they would be sent if they needed trauma and care that way. That's not an option here.

BALDWIN: Just thinking about the doctors and the nurses and the staff there, some of whom are probably reeling from their own lives and own loved ones and putting patients first. I know the patients and their families are grateful for that.

Diane Gallagher, thank you very much, in Panama City, Florida.

[14:54:36] Stay with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Special coverage continues in just one moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: We could be looking at a major development in the Russia probe. CNN learned after a year of negotiations, President Trump is about to answer Special Counsel Robert Mueller's questions.

We have CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. Part of the CNN team that broke this story. She is with us.

What do we know about the questions Mueller's team has given to the White House?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: According to our sources, there are questions about collusion and about events that occurred pre-inauguration. They have been talking about doing this for months and months and months. Finally, Bob Mueller handed them a bunch of questions, because you can't claim executive privilege pre- inauguration. The lawyers are busy writing these responses. It's like a take-home test that they are doing for the president using documents they've already submitted to Bob Mueller.

The big question is, what are they going to do about obstruction and the question of obstruction that comes after he became president.

[15:00:10]