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Dueling Lawsuits as Florida Senate Race Gets Ugly; Trump Calls Black Female Reporters "Stupid, Nasty, Racist"; Trump Slams Michelle Obama After Saying Trump Put Her Family in Danger Peddling Birther Conspiracy; All Victims Identified in Thousand Oaks Bar Shooting. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 9, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:00] RICK SCOTT, (R), FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE: The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency and the supervisors are failing to give it to us. Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

We've all seen the incompetence and irregularities in both Browder and Palm Beach for years, but here we go again. I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go straight to Ryan Nobles, who has been all of this. He's in Tallahassee for us.

Ryan, you now have some news just in.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. We have a very significant development as we talk about this vote count and eventual recount process here in Florida. You heard Governor Scott last night. I was there for that press conference. There were jaws dropping when he accused the election officials in Broward and Palm Beach Counties of rampant fraud. During that press conference, he said he was going to request that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement look into the situation in both of those counties to see if anything went wrong. We can now report that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has in fact looked into this situation and at this point they found no allegation of criminal activity.

To take this even a step further, Brook, the FDLE, the acronym for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, actually reached out to the Department of State here in Florida to determine whether there were any allegations of criminal activity. That secretary of state, at the Department of State, is someone who is a Rick Scott appointee. Neither the Department of State or the Department of Law Enforcement, at this point, has found any allegation of criminal activity.

So this is a serious accusation that Governor Scott has made about the vote counting process. And at this point, there's absolutely no evidence to back up that claim. Now, that being said, that doesn't mean there isn't a whole host of problems in Broward and Palm Beach County. They are the only two counties that have yet to finish the counting on everything but their provisional ballots. There are a lot of people, both Republicans and Democrats, frustrated that we don't even know how many votes may exist in either of those two counties.

Brooke, basically, to wrap this all up, the situation here in Florida remains very fluid. These are two very important seats, the Senate seat and the governor's mansion, which hang in the balance here. It could be a week or more before we know who the winners of these two races are.

BALDWIN: It would be stunning to have this happen just with one race, but with both of them, Ryan, and the news you're just reporting.

Ryan Nobles, thank you so much, in Tallahassee.

I want to analyze what Ryan was just reporting.

With me now, Daniel Tokaji, he is an election law expert at Ohio State University.

Daniel, you heard Ryan report, Governor Scott stood there last night in front of the governor's mansion, cried rampant fraud, and now we're learning there is no -- according to the state of Florida, no allegation of criminal activity reported. How do you square those two?

DANIEL TOKAJI, ELECTION LAW EXPERT & PROFESSOR OF LAW, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes. Well, when people start screaming fraud after an election, most of the time, it means you should check your wallet because it means that something is afoot, not necessarily that there actually have fraud, but that someone is making these allegations because they lack confidence that they are, in fact, the winner. That's very much what Governor Scott is sounding like at the moment. There's a process of determining who actually won in Florida, and I presume that that process will be followed. And it probably will involve both an automatic and manual recount in the U.S. Senate race.

BALDWIN: We'll get to the manual recount in a second. But we know, next hour, there's this emergency hearing. Rick Scott has landed this emergency hearing in Broward County. What does that signal to you?

TOKAJI: Well, he's filed a couple of lawsuits, actually, in two heavily Democratic counties, Broward and Palm Beach, alleging a lack of transparency in the process. We just heard a few minutes ago he said in his news conference there's been fraud. Let's keep in mind, the process for conducting the unofficial count, let alone the official count, is still ongoing. There's a deadline of tomorrow for that first unofficial count. By Florida law, the next step in the process will be an automatic recount, machine count, in the event that the margin is less than half a percent, which it almost certainly will be, in the U.S. Senate race between Nelson and Governor Scott.

BALDWIN: But there's also reporting that this thing may come down to a hand count.


BALDWIN: It sounds laborious, problematic. Is it, Daniel, more accurate?

[14:35:05] TOKAJI: You know, there's some debate over whether manual counts are actually more reliable than automatic counts. But be that as it may, if after the automatic machine count is completed, which should be done next week, the margin is still within .25 percent, that's one quarter of 1 percent, then at that time there will be a manual count. And there's not a lot of time allowed under Florida law for that manual count to take place. Those of us who are old enough to remember the 2000 election, remember that it took quite a few days, and that recount wasn't even completed. Well, the time between the point at which the second official count comes in and that manual count has to be completed is very short under Florida law, just three days. So we'll see whether there's time to do that if, as I expect to be the case, the two candidates are still within that narrow range, one quarter of 1 percent, after the second unofficial count on November 15th.

BALDWIN: Daniel Tokaji, thank you. I have a feeling we're going to be talking again.

TOKAJI: Maybe for weeks.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, former first lady, Michelle Obama, gives a revealing interview as part of her book release, sharing details about her initial struggle to have children, and admitting there's one thing she will never be able to forgive President Trump for. We'll talk about that with a close family friend of the Obamas.


[14:40:53] BALDWIN: "Stupid, loser, sit down. Very nasty, racist." Those are the words that President Trump used speaking to three of my colleagues this week, three journalists, three black women. They are Yamiche Alcindor, April Ryan and Abby Phillip. These are three consummate professionals. They can take these insults. They don't need me sticking up for them, But, still, there's something so wrong with this. It is beyond disturbing. It is ugly. And I'm angry.

And if you missed it, here you go.


YAMICHE ALCINDOR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS: On the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists. Now people are also saying --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know why you'd say that. That's such a racist question.

ALCINDOR: There are some people --

TRUMP: Sit down, please. Sit down. I didn't call you. I didn't call you. I didn't call you.

I'll give you voter suppression --


TRUMP: Excuse me, I'm not responding to you. I'm talking to this gentleman. Will you please sit down?

The same thing with April Ryan. I watch her get up. I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser. She doesn't know what the hell she's doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise or she gets a contract with, I think, CNN. But she's very nasty.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Do you want Matt Whitaker to get involved in the Russia probe? Do you want him --

TRUMP: It's up to him.

PHILLIP: Do you want him to rein in Robert Mueller?

TRUMP: What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot.


TRUMP: You ask a lot of stupid questions.



BALDWIN: Trump loves to punch, but this is something else. This feels personal.

Among the multiple reporters this president has insulted this week, three are African-American women. And these are not only fair questions they are asking of him, these are the most important questions about this White House. And it pushes his buttons. And this is where he goes?

Oh, and the president today talks about respect.


TRUMP: When you're in the White House, this is a very sacred place to be. This is a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.


BALDWIN: These women have conducted themselves with the utmost respect. The person who apparently has none, the president.

Meantime, he is firing back at former first lady, Michelle Obama. She gets deeply personal in a new memoir, including opening up about Donald Trump, saying that she will, quote, "Never forgive him for endangering her family." She writes, quote, "The whole Birther thing was crazy and mean spirited. Of course, it's underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wing nuts and kooks. What is someone with an unstable man loaded a gun and drove to Washington," she writes. "What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump with his loud and reckless innuendos was putting my family's safety at risk. And for this, I'd never forgive him."

Here is the president's reaction to her book.


TRUMP: I guess she wrote a book. She got paid a lot of money to write a book. And they always insist that you come up with controversial. I'll give you controversy back. I'll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military. By not funding it properly, it was depleted. Everything was old and tired. And I came in and I had to fix it.


BALDWIN: Let me bring in Joshua DuBois, former White House adviser to President Obama on faith and race.

Joshua, always a pleasure. Good to see you.


BALDWIN: On the Birther issue, Mrs. Obama being very candid about what that time was like for her family. You were with them at this time for this White House. What was going on behind the scenes?

[14:44:57] DUBOIS: It was a wild time, the fact that you had to defend the legitimacy of this person that you knew to be legitimate. You had to push back on these wild, false charges.

There are a couple of things that are important about this Michelle Obama book. First, it's a really interesting opportunity that we have. This is a woman who has balanced her public life with her private life really well. She's done some things in public, her policy issues, and people know she's compassionate. But she hasn't brought us into these kind of personal spaces before. And we're now able to have this intimate connection with her. That's really important.

And then, with this piece about Donald Trump, I think it's a very serious message she's conveying here. It's not in a preachy way, she's not hitting us over the head with this, but what she's saying is that your words matter and the way you treat people matters. You can't just make up these crazy conspiracy theories. You can't run racist ads about the Latino community. Or, as you just noted, you can't just say that legitimate reporters are stupid. When you do these things, you don't only divide us further but you're making the country more dangerous. That's what I think she's saying in our own unique Michelle Obama way. BALDWIN: You mentioned some of the personal. I want to play this clip. This is Michelle Obama very open about when they wanted to start a family. Here she was.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I felt lost and alone and I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them. We had to do IVF. I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don't work.


BALDWIN: So thank you for Michelle Obama for putting that out in the open for so many women and men.


BALDWIN: Can you just talk a little bit about that? She was in your life and she was in your family's life. And the imprint she had.

DUBOIS: She is. She checks in on me and my wife and our kids. She's a lovely person.

What's interesting about that is she did not have to share that story. A lot of folks, for good reason, keep those types of things closely held for themselves. She didn't do it for her. My sense is she did it for all the other women and families that will empower so they can come out of the shadows and know that they are not alone. That's always been the type of person she has been, with me, with our family. I've seen her draw close to staffers in time of need. Just a really compassionate person, a really smart person, sharp and tough as nails, but compassionate as well. I'm excited to read this book to learn even more.

BALDWIN: It's called "Becoming."

Joshua DuBois, thank you.

DUBOIS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Still ahead here on CNN, more than 150,000 evacuated from their homes as wildfires rage in California. Just stunning video as people race to get through the flames. We will take you there, live.


[14:52:15] BALDWIN: In Thousand Oaks, California, we have now learned the identity of all those victims in Wednesday night's mass shooting. They are Dan Manrique, 33, a Marine Corps veteran. And 21- year-old Noel Sparks. And 18-year-old, Alaina Housley, whose school, Pepperdine University, said they're all devastated. And 20-year-old Mark Meza. His friends and family called him "Marky." He worked at the Borderline Bar. Sean Adler, 48, who worked security at the club, and worked as a coach at a local high school. Justin Meek, 23. Cody Coffman, 22 years old. A friend of his who was at the bar said Coffman's actions saved her life.

There was also sheriff's deputy, Sergeant Ronald Helus, who, without backup, went into the club to confront the gunman and ultimately gave his life.

Telemachus Orfanos, age 27, he served two and a half years in the U.S. Navy. His anguished mother saying he survived the Las Vegas shooting just 13 months ago.


SUSAN ORFANOS, LOST HER SON IN CALIFORNIA BAR SHOOTING: My name is Susan Orfanos. My son was Telemachus Orfanos. We lost him last night at the Borderline shooting. My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn't come home last night. And I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts. I want gun control. I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns! Thank you.


BALDWIN: Also killed inside the bar, Blake Dingman, 21 years old. Jacob Dunnham, also 21. And Kristina Morisette, 20.

The heartbroken community of Thousand Oaks, California, holding a vigil last night to mourn all of these lives lost.


[14:54:12] (SINGING)


BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Breaking this hour, in Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott is taking his Senate race to court. Still too close to call. Possibly headed for a recount. Scott will attend an emergency hearing in Broward County after he filed a lawsuit suing Florida election supervisors. He is alleging voter irregularities.


SCOTT: We've all seen the incompetence and irregularities in both Browder and Palm Beach for years, but here we go again. I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida.


[14:59:59] BALDWIN: But -- it's a pretty big but -- but Florida law enforcement officials just reported that, so far, they have received no allegations of criminal activity.

Ryan Nobles broke that news just a bit ago here.