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Trump Visits Florida Reassuring About FEMA Help; Elizabeth Warren Gets DNA Test That Shows She Is Part Native American; Trump Speaks in Leslie Stahl Interview About Fondness for Dictators. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 15, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You are watching CNN on this Monday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Good to be back. Thanks for being with me. We do want to take you to the devastated Florida Panhandle, where President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are getting their first look today at the deadly destruction left behind by Category 4 Hurricane Michael. The Trumps arrived just a couple of hours ago and are flying over the areas that have been just totally flooded out. There is such a desperate need to get food and water to survivors, many of whom have been trapped inside homes and unable to escape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just making sure everyone is safe, that they're fed. You know, many of these people, they have no home. Some of them have no trace of a home. You wouldn't even know -- it just got blown right off the footing. So, our big thing is feeding, water, and safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Search and rescue teams are continuing to look for the missing and for likely victims trapped underneath rubble and debris. At least 18 people have died from this storm. And in Florida's hard- hit Mexico beach, before 30 to 35 people are still missing. CNN's Martin Savidge is on the scene there in Mexico beach. And martin, when I was there last week, I kept talking to folks who had either ridden out the storm or knew people who had and they just hadn't seen their neighbors, so when I saw this number, 30 to 35 people still missing, not surprised.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it's not. Especially when you look at the devastation here. There were roughly 300 people who said to the city that they were going to ride this storm out. Now you look at a city that's almost completely gone. At least 70 percent of it has been damaged or destroyed. So, you really do have to worry about that figure, especially when that number lingers and it's been days. Now that some communication is back, people would be in touch. We're just watching, actually, I'm looking off to the side here, there's at least one, maybe two search and recovery teams that are working right in this specific area. They have brought in a dog, as well. They've been going over the ruins. There are reports that there was a couple staying in a beachfront house, just behind our position here. And that they were there during the storm and of course, since the storm, they have not been heard from, apparently. So, this is the way some of these reports are coming in. It's either friends, family, or those who thought they saw somebody. And now can't find them or can't even find the residence where they were staying at. The number yesterday was actually at about 60. And so, you could see that they have now reduced it by maybe 25 to 30, which, of course, is great. One of the things you find is there's been a lot of disruption. Communication as well as just the disruption of life. So, some people have pushed on or gone elsewhere. And authorities don't know about it. So, they may be looking for people who just simply haven't reported in, or may not even know they're being looked at as unaccounted for. The way they're finding others is by going to the food distribution points and the water distribution points and basically checking people's names versus the list of the 300 they know who said they were staying behind. That's how this list is being whittled down. It doesn't mean there are 30 to 35 potential fatalities here, but it does mean there are probably more and there's a morgue that's been brought in in case of that possibility.
BALDWIN: Martin Savidge, thank you very much.
I want to turn now to new indications about which Democrat Trump could face in 20. Senator Elizabeth Warren is releasing the result of this DNA test showing that she does, indeed, have Native American ancestors in her bloodline. Senator warren has been accused of lying about her heritage to get ahead in her career and the President has, of course, taunted her about it, calling her Pocahontas. Today Elizabeth Warren released a very campaign-like video confronting this issue. Here's just a sliver.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROFESSOR CARLOS D. BUSTAMANTE, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: We did find five segments of Native American ancestry with very high confidence where we believe the error rate is less than 1 in a thousand.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Now, the President likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?
BUSTAMANTE: The facts suggest that you absolutely do have a Native American ancestor in your pedigree.
Native communities have faced discrimination, neglect, and violence for generations. And Trump can say whatever he wants about me, but mocking Native Americans or any group in order to try to get at me, that's not what America stands for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: CNN's senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, is up with us to talk more about this. And Manu, first, just the DNA test results. Let's start there. What more do you know? MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is an
issue, Brooke, as you know, that has really loomed over Elizabeth Warren since her rise in politics back in 2012, when she first ran for the senate. She really struggled to answer questions about this.
[14:05:00] So now she's trying to put some of those questions to rest, releasing this DNA test from a Stanford professor named Carlos Bustamante, who says according to his analysis, there's evidence to show this dates back, some Native American ancestry to six to ten generations. She said, while the majority ancestry is European, there's Native American ancestry in the pedigree in the range of six to ten generations ago.
Republicans are not necessarily buying this as satisfying. The concerns they've been raising and the criticism they've been leveling at her for years, saying it's only a tiny fraction of her bloodline that could be Native American. Up to 1/1024th of a fraction, perhaps that little, if it were dating back ten generations. But nevertheless, warren trying to make the case very clearly that she did, in fact, have Native American ancestry and there should be no questions about that going forward, as she released that very slickly produced video, 5 1/2 minutes in length, showcasing her family roots, Brooke.
BALDWIN: So once upon a time, when one of the times the President was poking fun at her, you know, he had offered to give her a million bucks to her favorite charity if she were to take some sort of DNA test. Let's remind everyone what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Let's say I'm debating Pocahontas, right? I promise you I'll do this. I will take -- you know those little kits they sell on television for $2? And we will say, I will give you $1 million to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Do we know how much his words, you know, forced her, forced her hand? Or does this whole slickly produced video have, you know, 2020 aspirations all over it?
RAJU: Well, it certainly has a lot of implications for 2020. She clearly wants to put these questions to rest the best she can and silence the President in the process. But the President, when he was asked specifically about this test today, dismissed it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No, I have no -- who -- who cares?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you said you would pay $1 million to a charity --
TRUMP: I didn't say that. I didn't -- you better read it again. (END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So clearly the President is not going to take up -- follow through on what he said back in Montana in July. Warren for her part, tweeting that he should provide this money to the national indigenous women's resource center. But expect this not to settle any of those questions or the criticism from the President. He probably is going to just continue to go after her on the campaign trail. But she knows -- she's considering a run for President. She said she's going tyke a hard look at it and this is something that continued to cloud her as she moved forward. We'll see if it answers questions from some of her other critics in the months and weeks ahead, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Manu, thank you so much. My next guest is hoping to become the nation's first Native American governor. She is running as a Democrat and if she wins, she'll also be Idaho's first female governor. She is Paulette Jordan. Good to see you again. Welcome back.
PAULETTE JORDAN (D), IDAHO CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: Thanks for having me, Brooke. I'm always happy to be back.
BALDWIN: So, what do you make of this news that Senator Elizabeth Warren took these steps, took this DNA test to prove Trump wrong, that she, indeed, has some sliver of a fraction of Native American in her blood?
JORDAN: I think it's fascinating that our President has promised to donate $1 million if she took this test. I hope he gives it to all the Native American candidates across this country. That would really help their campaigns.
BALDWIN: Why do you think she did this, though? And why do you think she did this now?
JORDAN: I think it's important for people to realize that there are a lot of people around the country who are identifying with their heritage more and more. In fact, the Kellogg Foundation recently released a study to show that 36 percent of Americans are identifying with their Native ancestry. And like everybody else, they're looking for a way. Like Senator Warren, she's searching for her own heritage and we should be respectful of that.
BALDWIN: You are so proud of your ancestors. I stood there with you over the summer and we had this whole conversation as part of my American woman series, so I know how near and dear this is to your heart, Paulette.
BALDWIN: So, I'm wondering, do you have any problem with her, you know, getting this DNA test in the first place? Just based upon the President's taunting her?
[14:10:00] JORDAN: I think it's unfortunate that we have a President who is really disparaging an entire body of our people. The First Nation's people here should have more respect. We're already dealing with de-humanizing mascots, the culture that we see, even in the media, that are showing the fact that we can rape our women. We have a mass amount of women who have higher ratios on missing and murdered indigenous women. So, this is really nothing to scoff at, but to support one woman, in particular, who is in a high office, searching for her own heritage, we should all be mindful and respectful of that. I, myself, as an indigenous woman, running for governor in my state, in this country, I think that's important toss up as well and support everyone else searching for their own culture. Culture is important. And like I said before, my heritage defines who I am. And for other people who are looking deeply for their roots in connection with this land, I value that and support it wholeheartedly.
BALDWIN: OK. So, I hear you supporting Senator warren, and obviously, not at all what President Trump said to her. So, CNN connected a poll in the race for the 20 Democratic nomination. And it is a crowded field. Do you fear President Trump's re-election is more likely -- I know it's early, but still, there doesn't seem to be one clear front-runner.
JORDAN: There's not one clear front-runner, but it's going to be interesting. So, come 20, we'll see what happens. We have a lot going on right now and the 2018 midterm election, a lot of great candidates across the country. I, myself, here, am working hard on the ground, day in and day out. So, as we're pushing forward, we have a lot more to look forward to come November 6th.
BALDWIN: But Paulette, on the 20, on these potential Presidential contenders, is there any one name -- guys, throw the list back up. Throw the poll back up. Is there any one name that sticks out to you on this list? I'm just going to put you on the spot.
JORDAN: We'll see come 2018. There's going to be a major mix-up. There's going to be a lot of great candidates that are coming out of that election cycle.
BALDWIN: OK. Won't answer it yet. I'm going to wish you the best of luck. I know 22 days until your big election there in Idaho. Good luck, Paulette. Paulette Jordan running for governor in the state of Idaho.
Moments ago, forensic experts walking into the Saudi consulate where the missing journalist is feared to have been murdered. This is happening as President Trump offers an alternate theory on wanted to him.
Plus, is the defense secretary on thin ice? After months and months of praise, the President with some odd remarks on General James Mattis, including that the President knows more than Mattis.
And commissioner in Idaho under fire after these pictures surface of him hunting and killing a family of baboons. We'll tell you that story ahead. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:14:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: 13 days after "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkish investigators have finally been allowed into that building. This is happening as President Trump is offering, shall we call it, an alternative theory as to what happened to this will missing journalist. Speculation that came after the President spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The king denied to Trump what reportedly turkey has told U.S. government officials, that the Saudis tortured and killed Khashoggi. The father of four is an outspoken critic of the king's government, run by his son, Prince Mohammad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The king firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn't really know, maybe -- I don't want to get into his mind, but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows? We're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon. But his was a flat denial. It was one very fast phone call. Probably lasted 20 minutes. His denial to me could not have been stronger. That he had no knowledge, and it sounded like he and also the crowned prince had no knowledge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go straight to our CNN senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, who's there outside that Saudi consulate in Istanbul. And so, Arwa, what kind of access are these Turkish investigators, this forensic team getting to go as they're in the building?
ARWA DAMON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, where's the problem, Brooke. As you were saying earlier, it's already been 13 days. And we know that the Turks wanted to have access to every single room within the consulate. They wanted to have uninhibited access. Are they actually going to get that at this stage? We don't know. But a few hours ago, the forensics teams arrived. They also had the arrival of the lead prosecutor. The media was pushed back. There was police tape that was set up and there has been quite a buzz of activity on the outside, but also presumably on the inside, as well. But it all goes back to this whole issue of, again, exactly what are they going to be able to uncover nearly two weeks after Jamal Khashoggi himself went missing.
[14:20:00] And if you'll remember, early on, turkey had been pressing for access to the consulate. The Saudis had originally said yes. Then they said, no, let's postpone. And that wasn't just access to the consulate, that was access to the consul general's home as well. And after a flurry of activity and various different statements that came out over the weekend, some that seemed to be more severe than others and seemed to be aggravating the situation, today we heard that, yes, these Turkish investigators, the forensics team was going to be allowed inside. It's going to end up being one of those situations where we're going to have to wait and see exactly what it is that they emerge with.
And then you have President Trump's comments that you were also referencing, earlier offering the President's speculation on this alternative narrative of some sort of elements gone rogue that carried out this killing. And one hates to say this, but perhaps this does end up being a case where there needs to be a narrative that emerges from all offering the President's speculation on this alternative narrative of some sort of elements gone rogue that carried out this killing. And one hates to say this, but perhaps this does end up being a case where there needs to be a narrative that emerges from all of this, that may not necessarily entirely be the truth, but one that is, perhaps, acceptable by all the various different nations and parties that are involved, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Yes, don't know where the President got that from and to your point, 13 days is a long time. We'll see what that forensics team get and wait, Arwa. Thank you for being there for us in Istanbul. Meantime, the Saudi king is not the only autocrat getting the soft treatment by this President. I want to play for you Trump's responses when asked about North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLIE STAHL, TV CORRESPONDENT: This is a guy you love.
TRUMP: I know these things. I'm not a baby. I know all these things.
STAHL: Yes, but why do you love that guy?
TRUMP: Look. Look --
TRUMP: I get along with him, OK?
STAHL: But you said love him.
TRUMP: That's a figure of speech.
STAHL: No, it's like an embrace.
TRUMP: Let it be an embrace.
STAHL: But he's a bad guy.
TRUMP: Look, let it be whatever it is. I get along with him very well. I have a good energy with him. I have a good chemistry with him. Look at the horrible threats that were made. No more threats. No more threats.
STAHL: Do you agree that Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations, in poisonings?
TRUMP: Probably, he is, Yes.
TRUMP: Probably. But I rely on him. It's not in our country
STAHL: But why not "they shouldn't do it, this is a terrible thing"?
TRUMP: Of course, they shouldn't do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to CNN editor at large, Chris Cillizza. So that was Putin and Kim and now we're talking about the Saudi king. Is there a trend you are noticing?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes, so there's a blueprint here a little bit, Brooke. Which is, you played earlier Donald Trump talking about his conversation with King Salman in which he said, he denies it, he denies it very strongly. And then suggesting it could have been some rogue killers. OK, you'll remember back, Donald Trump talking about Vladimir Putin and the conversation they had about, here he is, talking about Russian meddling in the election, Russian interference in the election. He denies it, he denies it very strongly. And remember in October 2016, Donald Trump talking in a debate with Hillary Clinton, he said it could have been, wait for it, Russia, China, or a 400-pound guy sitting on his couch in New Jersey.
So, this is not new. And then I want to just expand it outward just a little bit more. Because I think these matter the most and are very, very similar. But you'll remember, Brett Kavanaugh, right? Supreme court justice now, about the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, Trump was very quickly to say, he denies it, he denies it strongly. Roy Moore, running for the senate in Alabama, a number of women saying he pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers. He denies it. He denies it very strongly. And Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic abuse by both of his ex-wives, he denies it, he says he's innocent, he does it very strongly. All of these are people that Donald Trump likes, in one way, shape, or form. He talked in that clip you played about Putin, you could put Kim Jong-un on here, King Salman, and these three are people he either endorsed, worked for him, or he supported.
The problem for Donald Trump is he doesn't bring that same standard about believing people who deny things. Remember, this is a guy who has said Ted Cruz's father might have been involved in the JFK assassination. A guy who said, Barack Obama wiretapped him in Trump Tower, despite all U.S. intelligence saying that's not true. So, he believes deniers when they support him or things he previously believes. He's unwilling to do so when it relates to the opposite. It's a double standard. He has a double standard on lots of things. I think this is a big one and us with highlighted today.
[14:25:00] BALDWIN: So, as you highlighted and as we all watched the "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl, let's talk about the painting in the President's private residence. We've spot shadowed it and we'll talk to the painter the next hour. But within the painting, there are starbursts and a Direct TV remote.
CILLIZZA: This is like my dream setup, by the way. This number of starbursts. I would eat a lot of those.
BALDWIN: Are you a cherry or an orange?
CILLIZZA: I like pink lemonade. OK, so here's what I think is important. Number one, look, let's not overlook the fact that it's kind of weird to have a picture of yourself around with all the other Presidents. Like, I don't have a picture of myself in my office. Particularly not a painting. But, yes, look, we know this is a fact. This is the most important thing in the room. I have it, he has it. A Direct TV clicker, because he watches a ton of television. It is the lens by which he sees the world. There are any number of examples of that, whether it's his Twitter feed, whether it's things he has said where he learns about military strategy, when he's a candidate from watching the shows, he is the biggest consumer of cable news we have ever had in the White House, he is someone who cares deeply about what the lower third there below me says. He cares more than any past President about all of these things. And I think this is illustrative, he cares about where he fits in the broader, sort of sphere of Presidents. He talks about how he's gotten more done than anyone. He talks about he might be even more popular than honest Abe, talking about Abe Lincoln. He's very aware of his surroundings in a way that he tries to play off and says that he is not, but we know he is. Honestly, you should just spot shadow this. I know this gets a lot of attention, this is the key.
BALDWIN: TV remote.
CILLIZZA: This is the key to Donald Trump.
BALDWIN: Totally. Totally. A lot of screen time.
CILLIZZA: He's like my kids.
BALDWIN: No, and what's also interesting, I mean, yes, the starbursts are interesting, but I think the painting, there is a particular figure in that painting that we're going hone in on with this artist next hour. She's spot shadowed in the bag. You see this table of men, the significance of this table. It's just absolutely fascinating. So, we'll have that conversation. Meantime, it's an American icon. One that has changed business in this country, but today, sears, sears is filing for bankruptcy. Is this the amazon effect? Or a bigger evolution? And we are just getting word of a major cyber attack involving water utilities inside the United States. The FBI and the department of homeland security are investigating. Stand by for those details. We'll be right back.