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Potential Trump Challengers Barnstorm Key States; Beto O'Rourke Trails Ted Cruz in Texas; Meadows: Don't Blame Trump if GOP Loses in Midterms; Biden Hopes Democrats Don't Impeach Trump Right Away; Study: High Rate of Crashes in States Marijuana Legal; Frantic Search for Missing Wisconsin Girl; Multiple Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania Subpoenaed by DOJ. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 18, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Off of that, what you see is you see Republicans who may have drifted away from him at times or Independents who lean Republican, they're coming back home, they're getting more enthused. It's election time. The president has had some victories. That's why we've seen an uptick in his numbers. I wouldn't mistake that for a dampening of enthusiasm for the Democrats. They're pretty fired up.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: I want to play a clip from the Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz debate earlier this week.


BETO O'ROURKE, (D), TEXAS SENATE CANDIDDATE: Senator Cruz is not going to be honest with you. He's dishonest. That's why the president called hi him lying ted.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: If he wants to insult me and call me a liar, that's fine. John Adams famously said, "Facts are stubborn things."


CABRERA: Beto O'Rourke's brand has been to be a nice guy. Now we're hearing him go on the attack, even using "Lyin' Ted," which was the president's moniker in 2016.

CHALIAN: When you're running behind in the race, you have to do something to mix it up. O'Rourke is trying to change it up a bit. This has been about his promise of a different kind of politics. He really didn't want to get into the mix of the Trump tweet of the day or to take on Cruz personally and directly. That seems to be out the window, not just in that debate that you just played where it was on clear display. He actually employed, took a page right out of the playbook of Donald Trump. And straight to camera, going right at Ted Cruz on immigration and education and health care, sort of the gloves are off now. There are only 19 days left. Like I said, he's running from behind and trying to catch up so he's trying a different approach.

CABRERA: Quickly, David, why isn't Ted Cruz showing up tonight? He has declined our invitation. Did they say why?

CHALIAN: They didn't say why. They were afforded the opportunity to do this and his campaign obviously made the choice that this didn't fit into their strategic needs, I guess, in the final two and a half week weeks. It's a shame for the folks who are going to be here in the venue tonight behind me who, no doubt, want to hear from both their candidates as this election is just 19 days away, as I've been saying. But he had the opportunity, he declined. Beto O'Rourke accepted our invitation and he'll be on the stage tonight in one of the most high-profile Senate races in the country this cycle.

CABRERA: David Chalian, in McAllen, Texas, for us.

And it will be Dana Bash moderating the Texas Senate town hall live tonight on CNN.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows says President Trump should not get blamed if the party loses big in the midterms.

CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, joins us now.

Manu, walk us through what he's saying.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: House Freedom Caucus member, Mark Meadows, one of the president's closest allies, just talked to some reporters on Capitol Hill siding with the president's take that he should not get blamed in case the House were to flip on November 6th, saying that, "I think it's a referendum on each congressional district, what did they do in terms of representing their districts. And I can tell you that when we see that, to put all the blame on the president for what's happening in congressional races is just not accurate."

I can tell you a lot of Republicans don't share that view. They see this as clearly a referendum on the president. Midterms typically are the first midterm election after the president is sworn in is a referendum of sorts of that new president. It hurts the party in power, at least it has historically. While it may have been an uptick as of late, he's down compared to other predecessors. He's expected to lose seats. It's also a sign if the House were to flip, expect the finger pointing to begin in earnest over whose fault it was. Mitch McConnell said to us yesterday, Ana, he didn't want to start the finger pointing yet. Inevitably, if they lose the House, expect the blame game to begin.

CABRERA: We know the president was also asked if he believed he would hold some of that responsibility should they lose the House. And that was by the A.P., who asked him the question. He wrote, no, I think I'm helping people.

So, Manu Raju, you'll continue to follow that thread. Thank you.

Back to the campaign trail now. Arlette Saenz is with us.

You're in Delaware where former Vice President Joe Biden is receiving an award today. He has had quite the busy schedule today, Arlette. [14:35:12] ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: He really has,

Ana. Today, he stayed away from politics. He was receiving an award from the third circuit court, an award named in his honor. He stayed away from talking about anything political. Instead, he talked about the importance of the judicial system and the important work that these judges do. He says that judges are the anchor of our democracy. The vice president yesterday was in Memphis receiving an award for the national civil rights museum and the day before that giving a speech in Michigan. We know he'll be heading out to Nevada on Saturday to campaign with the Democratic candidate for Senate out there, Jackie Rosen. But he's keeping a very, very busy schedule campaigning because he's considering a 2020 bid himself.

CABRERA: Arlette Saenz, thank you.

Coming up, a new report reveals a spike in traffic crashes in states where recreational pot is legal. Red flag or too soon to make the link? Details ahead.

The FBI now involved in the search for a 113-year-old girl missing after her parents were found dead in their home. Investigators are focusing on a cryptic 911 call and what they heard in the background. We'll have a live report.

You in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.


[14:40:39] CABRERA: Welcome back. Just as Canada legalizes marijuana comes a red flag from two new studies that show a spike in highway crashes in states where recreational pot is legal. So far, it's legal to use recreationally in nine states, plus the District of Columbia, and other states allow for medicinal use. Michigan has recreational pot on the ballot next month. But these insurance and safety groups behind these two new studies are asking states to consider their crash findings.

CNN national correspondent, Scott McLean, joins us from Denver.

Scott, I used to live in denver, I covered this issue when recreational marijuana was legal in Colorado and people started using it for that purpose in 2014. Tell us what we're now learning from these new studies even they have a few years of findings now. What did they find?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. The study is preparing insurance collision claims with neighboring states that haven't legalized, while trying to control for factors like weather and demographics. What the study actually found was that in the states that had legal marijuana, they found a 6 percent increase in collision claims in those states compared to the non-legal marijuana states.

The IHS, the group behind this study, says that this seems to be part of a trend, a trend that could eventually lead to higher insurance rates for everybody who lives in those states, regardless of whether they use marijuana or not.

I also spoke with Mason, an advocate who helped legalize in this state, and he dismissed it because he said that, look, this did not factor in these collisions whether marijuana was actually being used. He said it's not fair to compare Colorado to smaller, more rural states like Montana or Idaho. I reached out to the governor's office. They promised to review this data.

The other study released was one that surveyed more than 2,000 drivers in Washington State and tested them for alcohol and marijuana. Of the drivers with a child in the car, almost none of them tested positive for alcohol. But of the ones who tested positive for marijuana, 14 percent with children. Those drivers also seemed to have much more lax attitudes about driving and marijuana consumption. And the IHS thinks studies like these need to be part of the conversation in states considering legalization.

CABRERA: Obviously, the longer time goes on, the more data there's to compare. I know there have been several other studies over the years. Are these studies starting to show a trend or are they different?

MCLEAN: Well, this study is certainly in line with a previous study down by the IHS last year.

One of the other interesting things is fatal collisions in Colorado. I interviewed Governor Hickenlooper because they have doubled between 2013 and 2016. Here's part of that exchange.


JOHN HICKENLOOPER, (D), COLORADO GOVERNOR: We were concerned that we would see a spike in accidents, automobile accidents that were clearly connected to marijuana. We haven't seen that.

MCLEAN: While we're on the topic of fatal crashes, the number of fatal crashes involving marijuana comparing 2013 to 2016 has more than doubled. I wonder if that sets off alarm bells in this building.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, that's not real data. We never used to measure for it in 2013. Usually, when you had a traffic fatality where it appeared there was driver error, we'd always test for alcohol but rarely for marijuana.


MCLEAN: Even now, Ana, testing for marijuana is rather inconsistent. If they can convict you for driving with alcohol, they might not test for other drugs. The governor's message has been to other states considering legalization, get as much data as you can now so you have a baseline to compare with later on and figure out what the impact of legal marijuana actually is.

[14:45:04] CABRERA: Scott McLean, in Denver for us. Thank you, sir.

Moments ago, the former "Apprentice" contestant suing the president for defamation just appeared in court along with the Trump legal team. Hear what happened.

Plus, a frantic search under way for a 13-year-old girl. What the cryptic 911 calls are revealing, next.


[14:49:49] CABRERA: A frantic search is now under way for a 13-year- old missing Wisconsin girl. Investigators say Jamie disappeared after police responded to her home early Monday morning and found both of her parents shot to death. Family members say she was last seen at a birthday party on Sunday. Police say they received suspicious 911 calls from a cell phone. Police believe she was home when the shootings happened and that she is now in danger.

CNN's Victor Blackwell is following this story for us.

Victor, police are working two cases here now, a double murder and the missing child. Few details are coming out, but do we know what was on that 911 call? Does it give any clue if this was a perhaps random or targeted attack?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very bizarre cases here. Police say they have the cell phone that was used to make the 911 call before the authorities found Jamie's parents. They had been shot and killed, James and Denise's bodies were found at the House. First on the call, police say no one spoke directly with the dispatcher but the dispatcher found some disturbance in the background. The call came at about 1:00 a.m. Neighbors heard two shots at about 12:30. Two other potentially crucial details about the call and the phone. First they now know whose phone that is, though they are not releasing that detail as part of the investigation and they say the call came from inside the House. That could be helpful here as well. According to the sheriff, when deputies arrived, there was no vehicle there, there were no weapons there and the 13-year-old, Jamie Closs was not there either. The FBI now as part of this investigation calling her missing and endangered. We know just coming in that the sheriff's county in Barron County, Wisconsin is asking for up to 100 volunteers to search the rugged terrain around this community looking for any evidence, any articles of clothing that could lead them to this 13-year-old who has been missing. Let me give you the description of this girl. Jamie Closs, 13 years old, five-foot tall, green eyes, strawberry blond hair. And 1-855-744-3879 is the number to call if you've seen her. Law enforcement looking for key tails in both the double homicide and the disappearance of this teen-ager. More than 400 tips have come in from across the country but so far no credible tips as to where she could be right now. Of course this investigation intensifying.

CABRERA: Victor, thank you.


CABRERA: Just in, a major development involving the investigation of priest abuse in Pennsylvania. Hear what the feds just announced.

And Televangelist Pat Robertson raising eyebrows, saying one man's murder shouldn't jeopardize $100 billion from the Saudis. Van Jones and S.E. Cupp join me live to discuss.


[14:57:41] CABRERA: This just in. Fresh fallout from the ongoing investigation into priest abuse in Pennsylvania. The Department of Justice has subpoenaed multiple Catholic dioceses in that state.

CNN correspondent, Rose Flores, is joining us.

Rosa, give us the details, fill us in

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can't underscore enough the importance of this development. Three dioceses have received federal subpoenas from the U.S.DOJ All of this coming on the heels of the grand jury Pennsylvania report issued a few months ago. Now that revealed that there were a thousand clergy sex abuse survivors and more than 300 predator priests that were moved within that state and across state lines. And from talking to clergy sex abuse survivors, they tell me that this is a huge development because this is something that they have been asking for. They've been asking for the federal government to get involved for years. They are also wondering if this will be expanded beyond Pennsylvania and if indeed all eight dioceses within Pennsylvania will be receiving these subpoenas.

Again, the breaking news into the CNN NEWSROOM is that at least three of the eight diocese or archdiocese in Pennsylvania have received subpoenas from the federal government. Ana, this is a huge development. As you know, we have learned from A.G.s across the nation they had started their own investigations, but this is the first time that we learned that the U.S. DOJ is getting involved.

CABRERA: Rosa Flores, thank you for that update.

Just about top of the hour. Thank you for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin. We appreciate your being here.

We begin with the intensifying fallout from the apparent murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. As the president pushes to give the Saudis more time to investigate, his treasury secretary is now pulling out of the Saudis' big event next week. Steven Mnuchin is part of the growing list of dignitaries and business leaders, including FOX Business news, who will not go to the Future Investment Initiative in Riyad. All of in protests of the disappearance of Khashoggi. His last "Washington Post" editorial was just published today, and he spoke of his yearning for a free press --