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Florida Counties Must Submit Votes to Secretary of State by Noon; WSJ: Trump Had Central Role in Hush Money Payments to Porn Star and Playboy Model; California Wildfires: 9 Dead, 35 Missing As Fire Spread; Trump Tries to Downplay Whitaker Ties amid Backlash; Iowa Senator Says Whitaker Targeted Him; ; Trump, Macron Gloss Over Differences After Rough Start; Doctors Take on NRA Over Gun Violence; Motion Approved Recount in Broward County Races; Chris Stout: Championing Military Veterans in Need. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired November 10, 2018 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:20] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Hello again everyone. Thanks so much for being with me again this Saturday, I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All eyes are on Florida where vote tallies are due in two of the state's hotly-contested races. Just minutes ago, the deadline passed for all returns to be submitted to the state's secretary of state and now we're waiting to see if there will be a recount in two of the highest-profile races.

Republican Rick Scott has taken the Senate race to court as his lead over Democratic Senator Bill Nelson narrowed during the vote counting in the days since the election. And for Governor, Republican Ron DeSantis is leading Democrat Andrew Gillum by a razor-thin margin, as you see right here.

We're getting to all of that right now, CNN's Ryan Nobles is in Tallahassee with the latest on the deadline, Ryan?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON: Yes. That's right Fred. We have reached the deadline for all the votes in the race for both Governor and U.S. Senate here in Florida to be counted and into the secretary of state's office here in Tallahassee; the big question is are they all in place and what will they tell us.

The big thing that we are expecting is that the margin of victory for both the governor's race, the senate race and for the Agriculture Commissioner race, which is a state-wide official post here in Florida will be within the margin that requires an automatic recount of all the ballots by machine here in Florida and that means those races will be within one half of 1 percent, an incredibly tight race here in Florida.

So what doesn't mean? The machine-count recount could begin as soon as this afternoon in some counties. It will be done on a county-by- county basis and they need to have it wrapped up by next Thursday. After those results come in, they will assess to see if any of these races fall within a quarter of a percent; if that happens and there will be a hand recount of the under votes and over votes in each of these races before a winner is ultimately decided.

And Fred, as you already mentioned, this is already playing out in the courts, both sides back and forth filing lawsuits to make sure that every single vote is cast and that every single vote is cast appropriately.

The end message that we want to send to our viewers is that much like 2000 it will likely be sometimes before the voters here in Florida know definitively who their next governor is and who their next U.S. senator is. Fred?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.

All right let's go to Broward County, Florida - oh, actually we're not going to check in there but there are a lot of folks who have turned out in front of offices there who are expressing their concern about how all of this is going now that this deadline has been reached.

All right, joining me right now to talk about all of this, Marc Caputo, Senior Political Reporter for Politico in Florida and Larry Noble, former General Counsel for the Federal Election Commission. All right, good to see you both.

So Larry you know, let's begin with you because you know, a lot of folks are feeling like this is reminiscent of what happened in 2000. I don't know how long I spent you know, in Florida on the whole presidential you know, debacle-race of 2000 but so there are similarities in that, now you're seeing protesters who are overtly expressing their real concern here but very much unlike that, this is an issue of counting all the ballots in the first place, Larry.

So now that this deadline has been met, is it likely that all of those counties will have been able to deliver their results?

LARRY NOBLE, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: Well I hope so but you know, we -- there are a number of things that are going on where it's not clear exactly what's happening.

In Broward County they're saying they had -- they had so many ballots to count that it's just taking them time but at the same time they were sued over not stating how many ballots they had and not -- and not having full disclosure so it's hard to tell.

You know, we know that there had been problems in Florida before; there were problems in a lot of states, election administration is at state level and there is the old election administrator's prayer, "Let it not be a close election," because they know when it's a close election, problems pop up but I think this is a very serious matter.

I think we need one full disclosure but two, we need to make sure every ballot is counted and we need to make sure that every ballot is accepted and so there are problems on both sides right now. What you have is the Republicans trying to stop the counting of certain ballots because they say signatures are mismatched, the mail-in ballots and there is a lawsuit over that. And you know, there's also the lawsuit from the Republicans over releasing the information about how many ballots they actually have.

Hopefully this will be resolved relatively soon. It is somewhat reminiscent of 2000. Also its reminiscent of 2000 partially because some of the same lawyers are flying down from Washington on both sides to get into a legal battle but at the end of the day what this comes down to is people voting and people having their votes counted properly.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes. OK. Let me bring in [12:05:10] Jessica Dean because she was last hour outside of you know, the Broward County Election's Office and now I understand you're actually inside Jessica so kind of paint a picture for us about you know, how tense these moments are, what are they doing there?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK well right now we're in a recess but there is still a ton of energy and activity happening in here. On the other side of kind of this barrier that they have erected, let me let you see what the scene looks like.

You're going to - what you're looking at in this crowd, is a mix of attorneys for both sides. I just heard them talking about the high- powered attorneys that have been brought in for the Democrats and the Republicans. We were just talking with both of them, they were both making their cases. They've been in here monitoring the votes as the Canvassing Board goes over them. You are also looking at citizens that are in here. We have people representing both sides here in here as well.

Now right now it is 12:05 here on the East Coast. There was a 12 o'clock deadline for each county within Florida to get there unofficial vote count into the secretary of state's office so they can begin to go through that and figure out if any of these races fall within the half percent that's going to trigger that automatic recount so that's what they were doing in here today, was trying to finalize that final unofficial number that supposed to be in at noon.

So they took a recess, probably in the last 15 minutes or so. There are now waiting to - they said - "until they have more work to do," is what they said so they took a recess but people obviously still in here.

And Fredricka we're just waiting now for the secretary of state's office to let us know if any of these races, which the governor's race and the senate race, both expected to fall within that margin for that automatic recount. We're going to let you know, as soon as we know.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: So Jessica you mentioned, there are a lot of attorneys who were there, presumably they're the ones that are you know, in the front but then all of the people that are just...

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: ... to your right who are sitting down, these are just concerned citizens...

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: ... or do many of these people play a role in having been at polling stations you know, during the midterm elections. I mean who is there?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question. A lot of these people that we're seeing here are people who just want to make sure that they are here to witness what's going on.

There have been some protests outside which we showed you in the last hour some of - what they were doing is, a lot of people wanted to get in here but you can see it's not a huge space, there's only so much seating that's allowed so they did essentially a lottery, allowing people in at random based on that lottery number that you could come in and observe what's going on.

So people again on both sides that just wants to monitor what's going on, they're listening to the attorneys talk, they're watching this process play out as well. A lot of them recording it on their phones and posting it to their social media pages so it's just fair to say there's just so many eyes on this and so much passion and so many very strong emotions that are being played out right in front of us today.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Still...

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: ... so much at stake, we're talking about the governor's race, we're talking about a U.S....

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: ... senate seat and folks want it to be done properly.

So Marc as you look at these images here, today's image of this kind of you know, attention being played on Florida once again, very - two very important races here you know, back in 2000 who could forget the images of you know, folks looking at these pregnant chads you know, and you know, wondering whether the ballot cards had been punched properly; that's not the issue here however is it an issue of some kind of incompetence with the way in which these ballots were taken? I mean what is the issue that it has taken so long to count absentee, day of, you know, mail-in ballots and that we are at this juncture? MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER FOR POLITICO IN FLORIDA: Well that's still kind of a mystery. Palm Beach County is the third largest county and Broward County is the second largest county in Florida, for some reason they were unable to count ballots as quickly as Miami-Dade County which is the largest county in Florida. And right now, both the election supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach are understandably under the microscope.

In Broward County which is kind of the site of the most controversy, the supervisor of election there was unable to even say after election day, how many ballots were remaining to be counted and that's a problem because elections administration is a numbers game, you're supposed to know everyone who came in, everyone who came out, and how many ballots have been cast and if someone asks you that question, especially if it's the governor or just a candidate, any candidate, your office should be able to answer that.

And Brenda Snipes the Broward County election supervisor, either wouldn't answer that or couldn't answer that; either way it resulted in her getting sued successfully by the governor so we're not really sure.

Now one thing that needs to be made clear is that while the president has alleged fraud and Governor Rick Scott has alleged fraud, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was actually asked to look into this and FDLE which is a state's version of the FBI has come [12:10:10] back and said, "No. We found no allegations of fraud," and now the Department of State, which is under Governor Scott, and which controls the election's machinery in the state by and large has told us, "We have no credible allegations of fraud either."

So it doesn't look to be fraudulent but it looks...

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Right.

MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER FOR POLITICO IN FLORIDA: ... like there might be some rash and a large amount of incompetence that's going on and we're going to find out.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Right. But you know, that word "fraud" is out there you know, Larry, the president has used it you know, Rick Scott has used it, even though there hasn't been any you know, evidence revealed and you know, the Broward County you know, Supervisor of Elections, you know, Brenda Snipes, has been singled out but the issue is really, at least three counties though, right, I mean where the completion of the count you know, didn't take place within a certain deadline.

You know, we're talking about Broward, Dade, and even Palm Beach, Larry, so customarily is there a deadline in which all of the ballots you know, should be counted and in this case here they just didn't meet those deadlines?

LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: Well here there was - there are deadlines and they did not - and they're not meeting the -- well they didn't meet the deadline and there is a deadline at noon today and we have - we'll have to see this afternoon but we'll have to see what happens here.

But what's really dangerous here is a -- is a accusations of fraud we've had.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Correct (ph).

LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: As we said, there's been no evidence of any fraud going on here.

One of the problems with elections administration at the local levels is its often underfunded, it's often not taken seriously until you get to the election and then what you find is that there are a lot of problems. It's an infrastructure question and you know, and what we have is basically, in a lot of parts of this country the infrastructure for our democracy is falling apart or not being handled competently; it doesn't mean there is fraud.

And the problem with the fraud allegation also is that it fits into this narrative that the president and many Republicans have been using throughout the election and have been using for a very long time to try to deprive people of voting rights, that, "Oh, there's rampant fraud in elections."

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: And why is that?

LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: And it will (ph)...

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: I mean why do you want people to feel uneasy about the election system, especially when you're already an elected official in office benefiting from this great democracy and now, you're telling everybody, "Don't trust your own vote; don't trust the system"? What do you gain?

LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: ... Well look...

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: I don't get it.

LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: ... Well you only use the fraud until you win; for argument until you win so if you look what happened with Trump prior to the presidential election, he started to say or he refused to say that he would accept the outcome of the election if he lost and he was talking about rampant fraud until he won.

Then he changed, the rampant fraud was why he did not win in the actual popular vote-count.

They use I think the fraud argument to one, undermine people's confidence in the election but more importantly to pass laws that restrict people's rights - right to vote.

On a theory that there is fraud - and it's never been proven that there's any serious fraud going on in our elections, they disenfranchise often hundreds of thousands of people and that's I think at the end of the day their game. The game is to call to question the election they lose but more importantly to try to justify laws that make it harder to vote.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: So Marc is this eroding you know, confidence you know, accusations of you know, fraud, no evidence, that we're seeing a deadline being met, people are outside you know, protesting whether they are in support of what's happening, the completion of the count or potentially even a recount or should this make people feel more confident about the voting system that there is some sort of you know, safety net in place? MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER FOR POLITICO IN FLORIDA: Well I don't think it's a good idea for the president, the governor, and anyone else to alleged fraud when they have zero evidence for it, except for the fact that and election's margin is decreasing.

However, the -- I think the analogy I've used before is that "nature abhors a vacuum" and kind of "politics abhors a lack of information." Florida has very good Public Records' laws and the supervisor of elections in Broward County should have and is required to under law, gives basic information and should have done it quickly and she did not. And in that vacuum of information, in that period of time that the election had ended on Tuesday night or election day, thousands and thousands and thousands of more votes showed up.

She not only failed to tally or at least give the tallies of the votes that were remaining but she also failed to upload the votes in the statutorily required timeframe, that is every 45 minutes after the end of the election when the polls close. And so in this vacuum poured these crazy conspiracy theories.

Now I do want to correct one thing real quick, Miami-Dade did finish its counting kind of on-time all though every one kind of is, it did not have any of the problems that Palm Beach and Broward did.

The votes statewide have been met, the timelines and deadlines have been met. The reason that noon today is a deadline is so that you could trigger recounts whether it be manual recounts or automatic recounts.

November 16th is the final day or November 15th is the final day to have the final numbers in for the election to be certified [12:15:05] so votes are still going to be kind of coming in and being tallied especially overseas absentee ballots that have been cast by people overseas and by members of the military.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Marc Caputo, Larry Noble, thanks to both of you. I...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible).

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: ... appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. Still ahead, out-of-control deadly California wildfires growing on both ends of the state, one fire has already become the most destructive in the state's history.

And later a new "Wall Street Journal" report saying, "President Trump directed deals to pay a porn star and a playmate to keep them quiet," what legal trouble could the president face, as more details come to light [12:15:47]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:15:53] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Right now, three wildfires are burning on both ends of California, claiming lives, homes, forcing more than 200,000 people to immediately evacuate. The campfire in northern California is already one of the deadliest and most destructive in the state's history, at least nine people have died, 35 [12: 20:08] others are missing, and nearly 6,500 buildings and homes have been destroyed. Officials say about 90 percent of the homes in the town of Paradise were destroyed.

CNN's Dan Simon is near that deadly fire so Dan, tell us more about what's around you there?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well hi Fred, I'm going to start with some good news, the winds have completely died down and the containment number is 20 percent. The bad news though is the winds are supposed to come back tonight so the fire threat throughout northern California is going to persist but I'm going to show you little bit of where we are here in Paradise, California, this is just a small sample of the kinds of things that you're seeing.

You can see this burned-out home behind and one thing that really strikes me as you walk through the neighborhoods is all of the burned vehicles, there are just so many of them and you also see cars just up against one another and it shows you that when people were rushing out of the fire, the smoke was so thick that simply they couldn't see the car in front of them and they - and they literally crashed into them.

But I want to show you what things look like from above as well because that gives you a better vantage point of what this particular neighborhood looks like.

And Fred you know, we've seen devastating wildfires of course many times before in California but one thing that is so particularly striking about this one is that pass wildfires a lot of times the damages contained or confined to a particular area but in this particular case it is so widespread, we're talking about a hundred thousand acres and all throughout that acreage we're seeing burned out homes, we're seeing burned out businesses, schools, grocery stores, retirement centers, you name it, nobody is going to be able to live here for quite some time and of course the infrastructure is also destroyed. Fred?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: So terribly, sad. All right, Dan Simon. Thanks so much.

Up next the president's pick for acting attorney general facing sharp criticism, coming up, how Matt Whitaker's past decisions could cause trouble in his new job [12:22:15].

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[12:26:40] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right the backlash over the president's choice for acting attorney general continues to grow. President Trump picked Matt Whitaker for the position after he fired Jeff Sessions. The president is now trying to distance himself from Whitaker, claiming that he doesn't even know him. That contradicts an interview President Trump gave just last month where he said he knew Whitaker well.

Whitaker has come under fire for his comments criticizing the special counsel's Russia investigation but now Whitaker's time as a U.S. Attorney in Iowa is also under scrutiny.

Here now is CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin

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(APPLAUSE)

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: When fired Attorney General, Jeff Sessions walked out of the Department of Justice and shook hands with the man who would take over, at least temporarily, this Iowa state senator was aghast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: Well I initially thought I can't think of a more ill-qualified person to assume that role based upon my experience with him.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Matt McCoy has a history with President Trump's new acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker and it is not a good one. In 2007 McCoy was a young, gay, rising star, in Iowa's Democratic Party. Matt Whitaker was the young conservative, Republican U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: At the time you were indicted, you were openly-gay, the only openly-gay...

MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: Yes.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: ... legislator in the state of Iowa. You were a Democrat. You were considered a rising star do you think that's why you were targeted?

MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: Absolutely, believe that's why I was targeted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The federal indictment was brief. The U.S. attorney was accusing McCoy of attempted extortion by a public official. McCoy says it was a two thousand-dollar business dispute with a private consulting client wouldn't pay a bill. Those facts didn't matter to Whitaker, he says, "who brought the full weight of the federal government," against him.

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MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: I believe it was a political prosecution; there's no doubt in my mind, a hundred percent certain that it was.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Here is all you need to know about the case. The U.S. attorney's office under Whitaker's direction spent more than two years going after McCoy, using the FBI, a paid informant, secret recordings, a special prosecutor, and after two years, it took a jury mere minutes to reach its verdict, "Not guilty."

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MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: That's correct. I was acquitted within really 20 minutes.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Whitaker was criticized heavily in Iowa's press, reporters asking, "Why was McCoy prosecuted?" Legendary "Des Moines Register" Editor, Gil Cranberg asked if the U.S. attorney's case was "misplaced zeal or partisan politicking"?

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This for most U.S. attorneys' decision in court would have been embarrassing?

MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: Yes.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Did it appear embarrassing, did he apologize to you in any way shape or form?

MATT MCCOY, (D) IOWA STATE SENATOR: No. He never reached out to me.

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MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: My name is Matt Whitaker. I've applied to be on the Supreme Court.

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DREW GRIFFIN, CNN'S SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Whitaker's career sputtered after he left the U.S. attorney's office in 2009. He tried and failed to become an Iowa Supreme Court justice, tried and failed in a run for senate, he seemed to have limited success in private practice.

Then in 2014, using the legal system as a political weapon, he found an entirely new career. [12:30:00]

Backed by conservative Republican donors, Whitaker became director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, FACT. The nonprofit claims it is dedicated to promoting ethics and transparency in government by demanding the truth. Under Whitaker's leadership, critics say it became a tool to attack Democrats through the legal system. FACT went after dozens of Democrats, Democrat organizations, and especially Hillary Clinton. Filing ethics complaints, federal election commission complaints, anything to legally hamstring Democrats.

SARAH TURBERVILLE, PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT: I think when you're looking at an organization that is focused almost exclusively on investigating individuals of one party and one political persuasion, and that the head of that organization is now going to be installed as the attorney general of the entire United States, that sets off a number of a alarm bells.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Matt McCoy doesn't need an alarm bell. He is frightened by the prospect of Matt Whitaker in a position of power.

SEN. MATT MCCOY (D), IOWA: It's very frightening because I know how pliable he is.

GRIFFIN (on camera): You need an attorney general who will do whatever the boss wants.

MCCOY: Absolutely, without question.

GRIFFIN (on camera): The Department of Justice did finally get back to us concerning our questions about this case, and said in the case of U.S. versus McCoy, U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker had a responsibility to pursue the case because of credible allegations of illegal activity. The Department of Justice says the entire case was signed off by superiors and the jury's verdict does not negate the obligation to pursue open cases when it's believed laws have been broken.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.

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FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And a separate controversy also continuous to follow President Trump, a report in the Wall Street Journal says he was closely involved in the payment of hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 campaign. The Journal says, details of Trump's involvement are included in an 80-page draft indictment against Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer. It says, then candidate Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the plan to pay off the women.

CNN's Kara Scannell is with me right now. So Kara, does this create any potential legal issues for the president?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Fred, it's possible and you'll see that legal experts really disagree over this issue. And you don't have to look further than the case of former Senator John Edwards where he was charged in a very similar FACT pattern and a jury had acquitted him of one of the charges and they basically couldn't reach a verdict on the rest.

And a lot of this turns on some of the issues with the campaign finance laws. So the question here is though, the U.S. attorney's office in the southern district of New York which brought the case against Michael Cohen knows these facts and has this information. It's DOJ's policy not to indict a sitting president so while it may not be an issue for the president at this moment, a larger question remains of does this pose any problems for the Trump Organization? It reimbursed Michael Cohen who had -- advanced the money to pay Stormy Daniels, one of the women alleged an affair with the president a decade earlier.

Another question is, will a Democrat-controlled House try to use these FACT patterns in a potential impeachment proceeding against the president. And those questions still remain very open, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Kara Scannell, thanks so much.

All right, coming up, President Trump in Paris right now meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. What the two are discussing amid tensions between the European Union and the U.S.?

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[12:38:07] WHITFIELD: Welcome back, I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

President Trump is in Paris right now. A short time ago, he and first lady Melania Trump left Elysee Palace after having lunch with their French counterparts. President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron held talks earlier today after Trump blasted Macron over NATO payments on Twitter and comments Macron made about Europe's military.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Paris for us. Nic, the meeting got off to a bumpy start. And then the spokesperson for Macron is now saying there was a misunderstanding?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: A misunderstanding, perhaps some people might interpret it as a potentially little bit of a willful misunderstanding there. What President Macron had said earlier this week in an interview there with a radio station here in France is pretty much what he's been saying for a number of months now. That Europe needs to sort of reorganize its defense forces. It needs to be better able to stand on its own two feet.

And indeed that goes to President Trump's point that Europe needs to be better about paying up its NATO dues. European leaders, some of them, Macron included, believe that Europe can be better at organizing its military, have one manufacturer of fighter aircraft, have one manufacturer of tanks for example. And President Trump had really interpreted because President Macron has said we need to have this European force that would be ready to fight Russia or China or even the United States.

But what came out of this meeting was, that what President Macron really meant was that Europe feels threatened mostly by Russia and if it better organized its military, then it can make that obligation to NATO much better. And this is what President Trump understood and he said that President Macron understood this issue of burden sharing that Europe needs to be much better on paying its military dues if you will for NATO.

[12:40:02] That everyone understands that. So of course a lot of time apparently spent on that not on other issues.

The commemoration coming off of course early tomorrow for the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nic Robertson in Paris, thanks so much.

And this just in to CNN, all votes from all of Florida counties have been now submitted to that state's secretary of state's office. The county's had until noon today to submit their returns. Florida of course the center of attention right now as the races for governor and U.S. Senate are still too close to call. And we're still awaiting unofficial certification from the secretary of state of Florida.

Florida law requires a recount if candidates are within a half percentage point of each other. And that's currently the case in both of those pivotal races.

All right, coming up, the National Rifle Association telling doctors to -- I'm quoting now, stay in their lane about gun violence. But what do the doctors who have to treat gun violence victims have to say? We'll hear from them next.

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[12:45:35] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back.

The National Rifle Association is facing fierce backlash from doctors after it dismissed an article on gun violence in a leading medical journal.

Here is CNN's Brian Todd.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the aftermath of two deadly mass shootings, a heated political show you between two unlikely rivals. The National Rifle Association and the doctors who treat victims of gun violence.

The fight stems from a recent article published by the American College of Physicians, calling firearm violence, quote, a public health crisis that requires the nation's immediate attention. Doctors shared new recommendations on how physicians can help reduce gun violence, such as counseling patients on the risks of having firearms in the home. But the doctors also weighed in on the issues of background checks and illegal gun sales. That prompted this tweet from the NRA, quote, someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. The medical community seems to have consulted no one but themselves. But that broad side came just hours before the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California where 12 people were gunned down.

Some doctors are outraged.

DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, TRAUMA SURGEON, JOHN HOPKINS HOSPITAL: For a group to simply dismiss the medical community that is on the frontline of taking care of these patients is absolutely unacceptable.

TODD (voice-over): Joseph Sakran is a trauma surgeon at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. He not only treats many gunshot wound victims, he was one.

SAKRAN: The bullet ruptured my windpipe right here and then these scars are where I had the emergency surgery.

TODD (voice-over): In 1994, when he was just 17, Sakran was at a high school football game when a fight broke out and someone started shooting. He ended up with a paralyzed vocal cord. After the NRA tweet, Sakran responded, quote, I cannot believe the audacity of the NRA.

SAKRAN: Where is the NRA when I'm having to tell those loved ones that their family member has died and is not coming back?

TODD (voice-over): Sakran's tweet was followed by an avalanche of others from fellow doctors slamming the NRA. One accompanied by an x- ray says, quote, I helped save a gun violence victim in med school. Those are my hands holding pressure on his femoral artery. The bullet is right by my fingertips. This is me in my lane, NRA.

Recent accounts from weapons experts on the guns used in high profile shootings have intensified the political debate. CBS' 60 Minutes recently profiled the effects of bullets fired from an AR-15 semi- automatic rifle, one of the guns used in the synagogue shooting. Compared to a standard handgun bullet fired on a gelatin target simulating human soft tissue. The AR-15 bullet is much more devastating. That's one of the many complaints from doctors that it's harder and harder to save the lives of people hit with high power ammunition.

The NRA refused to do an on camera interview with us but the NRA is pushing back hard, telling CNN those doctors attacking the group are pushing a gun control agenda that wouldn't prevent those shootings.

When the NRA says you guys weighing in on policies just like background checks really isn't in your lane, don't they have a point?

SAKRAN: We have both the possibility and the responsibility to weigh in on this issue that we're having to deal with on a daily basis. TODD (on camera): But the NRA's push back also includes several tweets from doctors who support the NRA's position. One physician saying that the anti-gun doctors who write some of those articles are not practicing medicine in the trenches. One retired physician saying that he's appalled by the leftist direction that organized medicine has taken.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And this breaking news into CNN right now. The Broward County Canvassing Board has approved a motion to begin a machine recount in the Florida U.S. Senate and governors races that are thus far too close to call. No word yet on when that recount would officially begin. Officials are holding a press conference now at the Broward County Election Office. We want to take you there right now live in Lauderhill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's every expectation. They're prepared to start and put the resources necessary to comply as we did with the preliminary, to comply with the recount.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have that number, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who will make that decision is the secretary of state --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's who calls the recount, no question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) not his office or not the other offices.

[12:50:02] He is the one who calls a manual recount that we're hearing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people did you have working on the general election count and how many -- are we adding more staff to meet the deadline?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I don't have the exact number but one of the things that she has indicated, whatever resource she need to make sure she complies with the recount, she's going to have those resources there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you speak about the ongoing (INAUDIBLE) investigation that (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot, sir. Earlier, I told you I don't know what box you're speaking of therefore, I don't know the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) has an open investigation --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're telling me more information if you know, I don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of ballots that are reported on the website today is 2,019 more than were reported yesterday and given to the (INAUDIBLE) campaign. Can you explain why there are more today than yesterday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The -- I don't know what website. The website that you -- we have for Dr. Snipe's, for the office, includes votes cast. Votes -- people that actually came into a polling place or participated through another means to vote. Those are the votes that are cast.

If those votes are 2,000 less than some other number, we're only interested in the votes that were actually cast in this election. And that's the number that's reflected on the Department of Elections website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But why are there more today than yesterday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are not more today than yesterday on that particular site. What they're looking at -- they're looking at another site from another app that they brought to us and they're looking at a -- that's not -- they're mixing apples and oranges.

We met with them. We talked to them about that. And I've given them my number to further explain that process. They're mixing tabulations. Those are -- whatever that site is that they're utilizing is not the official site of the Broward County Election supervisor's office.

That's the site that we rely on and those are the people that cast votes in this particular election.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) unofficial election results on Broward County --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And again, we just within the hour had some decisions made in the canvassing board. I can tell you, those are already on the site but you were in there and you heard whatever decisions they made on those few votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the Canvassing Board (INAUDIBLE) is done or is it done (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there are disputes that arise, they're available -- always available until the process is completed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will this room be available for the media later today if there's a recount?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't control the room --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We cannot promise that.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) that the media should (INAUDIBLE) how do you not have any answer to that when you said last night at the media --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any other questions?

WHITFIELD: You hear a lot of folks who are asking questions to the representatives there of that Broward County Election Office. Trying to figure out now once the Broward County Canvassing Board has agreed that a recount should take place. Now, people are trying to figure out what's the timetable? Where will that recount at one point will it happen? And are there discrepancies in the numbers?

And you heard one of the officials there talking about there is no discrepancy from his standpoint on the votes that were cast.

We're going to continue to follow all of this as all of the counties in Florida have now, we understand, met a noon deadline to get all of their counted ballots in. And because these races are so close and the secretary of agriculture for the state, the U.S. Senate and governors races now what will be determined if there will -- indeed be recount of all of the ballots that has come in to those counties across the state.

We'll continue to follow this, this developments. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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After starting the work with veterans, I realized there's a huge gap in services. If you've ever served, you know that if one of your fellow platoon guys, you need help, you help them. It's what we do here with (INAUDIBLE) an opportunity to kind of get stable, get some safe and secure place. And then fix what got them there in the first place.

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(END VIDEO CLIP)

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

WHITFIELD: And welcome back.

This breaking news into CNN. The Broward County Canvassing Board has approved a motion to begin a machine recount in the Florida Senate and governors races, pending the announcement of the secretary of state.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is live for us out of Tallahassee. So, what do you know, Ryan?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it sure looks like we're headed to a recount here in Florida in these big races between the governor, the Senate, and the agriculture commissioner here, all state-wide races in Florida.