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9 Dead, 35 Missing as Fires Spread on Both Ends of California; Trump Criticizes California Government over Wildfires Amid Meeting with Marcon in Paris; Trump Downplays Ties to New A.G. Who Criticized Mueller Probe; White House Counsel Interviewed Whitaker Last Year on Possibly Joining Trump Legal Team; Motion Approved in Broward County to Begin Recount in Florida Races; Trump, Macron Share Rough Handshake Again in Paris; Trump Insults 3 African-American Female Reporters; Midterm Elections Show Continued Political Divides in U.S.. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 10, 2018 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:39] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Saturday afternoon. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.

As we are following breaking news, the out-of-control wildfires in California, not just one fire but several. And they are growing in size, moving faster than firefighters can stay on top of them. And sadly, responsible for the deaths of at least nine people so far. Imagine driving through this. Watch and listen.




CABRERA: This is Paradise, California, about 100 miles north of Sacramento. Officials say nearly every building and home in Paradise is gone. Burned down. Across northern California, about 7,000 structures, homes, businesses, schools, churches, and everything in between, now destroyed. Also burning, thousands of acres near Los Angeles, Malibu, Ventura County. Across the state, a quarter million people have left their homes for safety.

CNN's Dan Simon is in Paradise, California, what is left of it, at least. And Scott McLean is standing by in Malibu.

Dan, I just mentioned at least nine people have been killed in these fires. T that is not far from where you are standing right now. What do we know about how those people died?

DAN SIMON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, died apparently trying to flee the flames. Their bodies were found in a vehicle. It is just so tragic. And we know that a few others were found in some burned-out homes. And in all likelihood, according to official, the death toll will probably go up. It is just so tragic. Meantime, I just want to explain where I am, Ana. We're on the side

of the road. You can see these burned-out vehicles behind me. This is just one of the things that you see all over the town of Paradise. And what's particularly striking is just how widespread the destruction is. Normally, when you have these kinds of wildfires, the destruction can be in certain pockets, and here, this town is 31 square miles, and every inch of the town has been impacted by this.

I want to introduce you to somebody over here. This is John Luther. And he's part of a 40-year-old family business. They lost their -- you lost your building, but the truck stayed. He owns a towing service -- your family does.

JOHN LUTHER, FIRE VICTIM: Yes, Skyway Towing and Service.

SIMON: John, explain to me what you felt, or when you first came in here, what did you think when you saw all of the damage?

LUTHER: Utter shock. What you see, you see just devastation everywhere. It's hard to really grasp your mind around what you see. You know, places you've seen your entire life that are just not there anymore. With all of our employees losing their homes, my parents losing their homes, and we have all of our equipment, our business is still running, and we are up here at the moment's notice for highway patrol doing our jobs and we're here.

SIMON: Now, I know you live here, but you grew up here. But all of your employees and so forth, they're all -- they have roots in the community and most of them have lost their homes but everybody is still working today. You're trying to clear out the roads. Tell me why everybody came back to work?

LUTHER: Because it is what we do. We've been doing this for 42 years. Being in the towing industry is a whole different ball game. You know, we drop everything we do at a moment's notice. We go for highway patrol. And we handle the roads and closures, and openings. And all of our guys, we regroup down at our Chico location and we have our trailers set up, so they have showers and clothes, and we all have our equipment, and we're back to work. This is what we do.

SIMON: So I don't know if you can answer this, but there are literally thousands of vehicles all over the place. Where do you take them all?

LUTHER: Right now, we're going to be staging them in our Paradise location, and our Chico location, and when the highway patrol asks us to move them to a different location, or opens up another area, we will be contracting with them, and moving them to where they need them to be put.

SIMON: All right, well, John, thank you very much. Best of luck to you. Thank you for talking to us.

Ana, that's just one person's story. Obviously, so many people have been impacted by this. You have 50,000 people have actually been evacuated. We know that a lot of people have gone to shelters. Other people are staying with friends.

And really, in terms of where you go from here, it is just so overwhelming. Just that basic question of what do you do with a vehicle that's just sitting on the side of a road that is burned? Or might be blocking the road? Where do you take it? At this point, those, you know, practical questions regarding logistics, they really haven't gotten that far yet. They are really just at the first stage -- Ana?

[15:05:20] WHITFIELD: Dealing with such an emergency that is now becoming the most destructive fire in California state history. Which says a lot, given how many fires they've had in recent years.

Dan Simon, stand by.

I want to bring in Scott McLean, in southern California outside Los Angeles.

What is the fire situation there, Scott?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, we're in Malibu, California, which obviously a lot of people know, if they know the L.A. area, about a mile from Point Dune and the ocean to the south of it. It is pretty destructive what the fire did. It came through hot and, quite quickly. These are two property. The houses burned out. The house next door is burned out. And this house has been reduced to really just the foundation. You can also see a flame there. The gas companies are actually having to go door to door to shut off the gas. And so you're seeing these gas fires that a lot of the homes in this area have. And there were some absolutely beautiful ones, we're talking multi-million-dollar houses in this area that are absolutely reduced to rubble. And you can also tell the random nature of this. You know, as these embers are flying in the air, it seems to hit one house or two houses, and then the house next door is completely untouched. And it just makes you wonder why.

Let me take you across the street here. And we will show you what we're looking at over here. You can see the fire crews, they are just cleaning up their hoses right now. We will try not to get in their way as we cross over here but I want to show you the house on the other side of the street. And it's a similar picture. It is just absolutely destroyed. There are two houses. They look like they were quite large properties. And in the back, you actually see there are firefighters continuing to work on what looks like a guest house back there. This is actually the second time that we've seen them come out there to try to put out the flames. Even once you douse the area with water, and somehow, the flames seem to come back. And so this is really what the firefighters are up against. It is one heck of an effort.

We know that there have been two people likely to have been killed by the Woolsey Fire in particular. They are still waiting on confirmation that it is, in fact, fire-related. And 100-plus structures that have been destroyed and 75,000 acres.

Here is the problem, Ana. Firefighters have a small window, maybe until late tonight, maybe the next eight or 10 hours to really get a grip on this because the whipping winds we've seen for the last couple of day, they've gone away and so it is really calm here. They have a chance to really get a handle on this. But after tonight, from then up until Tuesday, the winds will come back and it will make fighting this fire that much more difficult.

WHITFIELD: A situation there.

Scott, Dan, thank you both. Of course, we know you will keep us apprised of what is happening,

And to find out ways you can help those affected by these fires, head to

Now President Trump is in Paris right now, weighing in on the California fires, playing the blame game. His tweet overnight made no specific mention of the nine victims, or the thousands of homes and livelihoods devoured by the flames, or the quarter million people forced to evacuate. Instead, the president pointed fingers at the state of California. Here is his tweet: "There's no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California, except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more fed payments."

The president and first lady, Melania Trump, left Elysees palace after having lunch with their French counterparts. President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron held earlier today. President Trump was also scheduled to honor military sacrifice in World War I but canceled a trip to a wreath-laying ceremony at a U.S. military cemetery 50 miles outside Paris. He was supposed to fly on Marine One to that cemetery but couldn't fly because of bad weather. Other heads of state made the short journey via car, as did chief of staff, John Kelly. Let's discuss where does that leave us.

CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, joins us from Paris.

Jim, how is the president is being received over there?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, so far, I think the president is being received well. I think some people are making the point, we're seeing this across social media all day long, the president may be falling short when it comes to that traditional role of consoler-in-chief, of empathizer-in-chief, that the president traditionally serves, whether it is in the United States or around the world. That tweet about the California wildfires, according to California officials, missed the mark in terms of his claim that forest management has something to do with these wildfires out there. A lot of fire officials and experts are saying that's not the case.

[15:09:59] And when it comes to what he is supposed to be doing out here, as you mentioned, he was supposed to visit a very important cemetery outside of Paris as part of the ceremonies here in Paris, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The president did not make that trip to the cemetery. The chief of staff, John Kelly, went instead. The White House said it was because of the weather. And I can tell you, Ana, as we have been walking around the streets of Paris all day, yes, it is raining at times but nothing too difficult in terms of what the president would have to go through. The White House has suggested that perhaps it was impossible for him to fly on Marine One to get out to the cemetery and it would have been a 90-minute drive instead and perhaps the logistics would have been too difficult.

But again, keep in mind, Ana, the reason the president is here and made the trip out here is because he wanted that military parade in Washington, and the Pentagon came back and said that was going to be too expensive. And so he said he wanted to come out here and mark these ceremonies, be a part of these ceremonies for Armistice Day.

We should point out he is having a dinner this evening here in Paris. He will be with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, as well as other world leaders. He may actually rub elbows at some point with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And tomorrow, there's a larger ceremony, the main ceremony to mark Armistice Day. That's at the Arch de Triumph, just down the Champs Elysees, where we are right now.

But all eyes are on the president's body language. Earlier today, Ana, we should point out, you may remember, earlier this year, when the president and Emmanuel Macron had that very chummy encounter in Washington when they had their arms around each other, kissing and holding hands and all sorts of things. The body language has been must frostier here. And the president also had that spat almost as soon as he arrived with the French president, when he tweeted that he was insulted by the French president, saying that he wanted to sort of beef-up security in Europe, as a reaction to the -- not only what the president is doing, but the threats and security concerns around the world.

And so it is interesting to watch the president on the ground here. He will be marking those ceremonies tomorrow and then heading back to Washington after a pretty short 48-hour trip here. And we assume that the weather might not hold up all that well tomorrow. So we are watching the weather and watching the president as he handles all of this tomorrow -- Ana?

WHITFIELD: You'll continue to report. You mentioned the frosty relationship, we have a picture of their handshake coming up later this hour.

Jim Acosta, in Paris for us, thank you.

French President Emmanuel Macron joins Fareed Zakaria tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

The president taking more heat at home about his choice for acting attorney general. President Trump is now trying to distance himself from his own pick, suggesting he didn't know him. This, as some legal experts are wondering if his appointment was even legal.

Plus, new reporting from the "Wall Street Journal" claims to uncover just how involved the president was in the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Did he break the law? Our legal expert joins us next.


[15:17:04] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. President Trump is suddenly distancing himself from Matthew Whitaker, the guy he just appointed to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Before leaving the U.S. yesterday, the president claimed he didn't know Whitaker. The president continuing with that strategy, in a tweet saying, "Matthew G. Whitaker is a highly respected former U.S. attorney from Iowa. He was chosen by Jeff Sessions to be his chief of staff. I did not know Mr. Whitaker. Likewise, as chief, I did not know Mr. Whitaker, except primarily as he travelled with A.G. Sessions. No social contact."

Neither the president's comment or tweet appear to be accurate, however, considering he just last month said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never talk about that, but I can tell you Matt Whitaker is a great guy. I mean I know Matt Whitaker.


WHITFIELD: "I know Matt Whitaker," he says. That was just last month.

In addition to the president's own words, we know that Trump has met with Whitaker dozens of times at the White House as well as talk to him on the phone. In fact, according to "New York Times," White House chief of staff, John Kelly, has long considered Whitaker as the eyes and ears at the Justice Department.

"The Times" also reports that the White House counsel interviewed Whitaker last year about possibly joining Trump's legal team as an attack dog against Robert Mueller. That's right. The same Robert Mueller that Whittaker has now been appointed to oversee.

CNN legal analyst, Carrie Cordero, is here with me, a former counsel to the assistant attorney general.

Carrie, there are clear ethical concerns here but you believe Whitaker's appointment is actually unconstitutional. Explain.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There's a strong argument that his appointment is unconstitutional, because he is not somebody -- he was the chief of staff to the attorney general, which is a staff position, not Senate confirmed. And the Department of Justice succession regulations usually provide that the person appointed as acting attorney general be a Senate-confirmed individual. So, look, if the president's going to back away from this, he should just go all the way and he should withdraw Mr. Whitaker from the acting attorney general position. And he should appoint somebody as deputy attorney general or one of the other assistant attorney generals who has already been Senate confirmed. But there are both statutory and constitutional arguments violating -- that it would be a violation of the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.

WHITFIELD: There are a lot of legal minds who agree with you. But however, I did read Law Professor Stephen Vladeck's assessment. He's arguing in a "New York Times" op-ed that Whitaker's appointment is constitutional as long as it is temporary. And he cites the 1898 decision, the United States verses Eaton. Fair point?

CORDERO: Look, Steve has a great point of view. And he -- there's a huge disagreement going on amongst legal scholars over the past 24 hours on this particular point. The old case, the historical case that Steve Vladeck cites is a little different circumstance. In that case, the person, it was a very temporary appointment. And there's no indication that this would be a specific short-term, very short-term, in exceptional circumstances. The difference is that there will other senior Senate-confirmed individuals available to assume this position. Most logically, the deputy attorney general.

[15:20:14] WHITFIELD: So regardless, he is, right now, acting attorney general. And the fact that the president skipped people, like the current deputy A.G. and others that you just listed, and appointed Whitaker, someone who has been a vocal critic of Mueller and the special counsel investigation, can you think of any other reason the president would do that, other than to reign in Mueller?

CORDERO: I can't, Ana. There really is no other reason. It is so unusual in the department to appoint somebody other than the deputy or, again, one of the other Senate-confirmed assistant attorney generals to skip over all of those individuals, to get to somebody who just happens to have expressed publicly the view that he thinks the Mueller investigation should be cabbed and the special counsel should be fired. There's no other logical explanation. And if the president backs away from it now, he should just do it. This was a bad appointment. And any decisions that Acting Attorney General Whitaker makes could potentially be challenged. So it opens up a whole other realm of uncertainty for the Justice Department, which is a very bad place for it to be.

WHITFIELD: Carrie Cordero, always good to have you with us. Thanks you so much. I appreciate your expertise

A quick programming note, Senator Chuck Schumer, who is calling for Whitaker's recusal, joins Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.

The spotlight in on Florida today, as the legal battle heats up as the key races for Senate and governor are heading for a recount. We will tell you how both sides are reacting, and what is going to happen, what you can expect, next, in a live report.


[15:26:09] WHITFIELD: Breaking news in Florida, the counting is over. That means the recounting begins. It is official. The races for Florida governor and the Senate seat are going to a statewide recount. The margin of each race was less than a half a percent, which triggers this machine recount. Now, in the Florida's governor's race, Republican Ron DeSantis is still ahead of Democrat Andrew Gillum by 0.4 percent. The Senate race is even closer. Republican Governor Rick Scott leads incumbent Democrat, Bill Nelson, by just 0.15, that's barely anything, of a percent.

Now, President Trump is weighing in on this recount. He is not mincing any words. He just tweeted an unsubstantiated accusation: "Trying to steal two big elections in Florida. We are watching closely," he writes.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is in Tallahassee, a town no stranger to any recount.

Ryan, when did this ball get started?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, honestly, Ana, it could happen at any minute. The way that recounts work in Florida is they are administered individually by each county. So depending on how the supervisors of elections want to handle their recount, as long as they can get it done by next Thursday, they can start whenever they would like. S there's the possibility that the recount could start in some places as early as today. But we think most of them will start first thing tomorrow morning.

We're already starting to hear the candidates react to the news, that the races are so close, that they are going to require a recount. Many harkening back to the dramatic 2000 presidential election where Florida was at the center of all of the attention because of a dramatic recount.

We heard a few minutes ago -- I just left a press conference with Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, and also was the Democratic nominee for governor. You will remember, on election night, he actually conceded the race for governor while he's talking a little bit differently about that concession today. Listen to what Gillum had to say.


ANDREW GILLUM, (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote. We count every vote. And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change. What I do know is that every single Floridian who took time to go out, to cast their vote, to participate in this process, deserve the comfort that knowing in a Democratic society, and in this process, every vote will be counted.


NOBLES: And so you heard Gillum there saying he is replacing his concession, essentially withdrawing it. But he also makes it clear that he doesn't necessarily think that the outcome of this race is going to change. And privately, many of his aides feel the same way. They do believe that that margin of victory is perhaps too much for them to overcome, even in a recount. That's not the same tune they're singing in the Senate race, Ana. The

margins are much closer there. That's where Democrats are focused. They do believe that there are enough votes for Bill Nelson to overtake Rick Scott, who is, of course, the current governor. But, Ana, we've got a long way to go before we know how this thing turns out.

WHITFIELD: And at last check, at least, the numbers were still over 12,000 difference in terms of how many voters had voted for Scott versus Nelson in that very close Senate race.

We know you have been watching every single move and following this for us. Thank you, Ryan Nobles, in Florida.

[15:29:35] President Trump, meantime, attacks the media, and that, of course, is nothing new, nor are they any less reprehensible. But this week's attacks against three different journalists crossed a line. It became personal and, frankly, insulting. So why does a man who demands respect above all continue to stoop to this level? We will discuss next.


[15:34:35] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Cameras are following President Trump's every move during his 48-hour trip in Paris, France. And when you're the president, with cameras all around you, those cameras capture everything. Case in point, here is the moment President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron met earlier today. Their meeting happening just hours after Trump fired off a tweet criticizing Macron for suggesting a European army. Still seemed cordial enough but take a closer look at that handshake. In this case, you can probably describe it as a death grip. That is French President Macron on the right, and President Trump there on the left.

[15:35:10] This isn't the first time we've seen such a stern greeting. Remember this? How the two men shook hands at the G-7 a few months ago? That is Macron's thumb print still on Trump's hand long after they let go.

Let's discuss with the CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, and Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio.

Michael, I want to start with you because I want to get your take on the Trump/Macron evolution. I remember, correct me if I'm wrong, you revealed at one point that the French had actually called you after Trump was elected to ask you specifically about his handshake?

MICHAEL A'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they did, actually. They called to ask about the kind of person he is. And then we got into a discussion about atmospherics and how he interacts with people and tries to gain dominance. So in my conversation with the French officials, I said, well, treat him like you're on the playground. You know, this is a guy who is very childish when it comes to these encounters. He measures the person he is meeting, especially if it is a man, by how firm his handshake is. So I recommended that he grab Trump's hand and never let go. And it turns out that this is something that's stuck with Emmanuel Macron, and he's very assertive about it.

CABRERA: Apparently, he took your advice to heart.

Brian, these meetings where the leaders shake hands, meant to be little photo op. Of course, the real discussions go on behind the scenes. Do you think it is more than meets the eye?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE RESOURCES": I think it matters on both levels. The substance matters. The opportunity to see each other. But the photos matter as well. The style matters. The images matter. And I hope for the last time they meet as leaders, their hands don't get hurt. They will be more and more aggressive every time they get together and I hope their hands are OK at the end of it.

CABRERA: Trump is surrounded by the press in Paris and they will continue to take pictures of handshake, greetings, whatever.

And I want to talk a little bit about how the president tweeted the press shortly before he left. This is how the president has responded to three African-American female reporters, in just the last three days. Listen.


YAMICHE ALCINDOR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS: On the campaign trail, you called yourself a nationalist. No some people are saying --


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

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

I will 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 watched her get up. I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser. She doesn't know what the hell she is doing. She gets publicity and then he 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?

TRUMP: That'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: And you ask a lot of stupid questions.



CABRERA: First of all, I have to defend my colleagues there. They're not stupid. Their questions are not stupid. They're fair. They're all strong journalists. And they ask challenging questions. And they're not the only reporters the president attacked this week.

But, Michael, why do you think the president would go after these three reporters, in particular, in the way that he did? Why is he ramping things up?

D'ANTONIO: Well, this is another demonstration of what he thinks is strength. So he has always been a verbally abusive person. His language is violent. He shakes his fist at people or shakes his finger at them. He does things that no one else would do. And part of the method here is to act in this crazy way so that other people will somehow be provoked, and then respond in kind. The thing that the CNN folks, and the woman from PBS did brilliantly is they didn't take the bait. And we're seeing now, in the House, Nancy Pelosi is not going to take the bait. She is talking about working with the president when she can. So the challenge for everybody is to be an adult, while he is acting this way. He thinks it works for him. He thinks it makes him look like a big tough guy. You know, the same thing happened in California with the fires. He, instead of expressing empathy for people, he attacked the state fire officials. So this is just his personality at work.

CABRERA: Brian, this issue with the president's relationship with the press, as you know, Trump supporters believe that certain reporters have been disrespectful toward the president. Is there a line that reporters shouldn't cross? Is there any justification for taking away press credentials?

[15:40:10] STELTER: I think we could imagine some sort of hypothetical scenario where some reporter was abusive to the president, demanding an answer a dozen times, but I don't think we've ever seen that from anybody at the White House. For example, we've seen a couple of follow-up questions asked. Always with "sir" and "thank you." These reporter goes out of their way to be respectful to the president in the press conferences and in the Q&As. However, the president is clearly on the defensive, clearly acting like he's backed into a corner, and so that is what I think we've seen this week. While we've seen Jim Acosta's credential being revoked at the White House, an unprecedented step, but it is not about Jim Acosta. Acosta seems to be the first person that the White House has targeted. And now that Trump is threatening to revoke credentials from other reporters, I think it shows his real purpose. He is trying to lash out because he feels he is on the defensive. And I think that is a real concern for the press corps and the White House Correspondents Association. If this keeps up, if credentials keep getting revoked, that will create a serious challenge for the future of the White House press corps.

CABRERA: Brian and Michael D'Antonio, thank you both as always.

Don't forget Brian's show is tomorrow. It's "RELIABLE SOURCES," at 11:00 a.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Good to have you both joining us.

As Florida begins a recount, you are looking live at, where else, Broward County. Protesters have gathered. Another sign of a midterm that has continued to reveal the great divides in this country. Where are the lines being drawn? That's next, live, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:46:22] CABRERA: I want to talk to you about the American identity and what the midterms taught us. By the end of Election Day, we knew one thing for sure, America's political parties are as far apart as ever. The exit polling data shows a giant divide. A huge gender divide by party. Huge generational divide. Huge racial divide.

Here is a quick example. This is just for the House races. Women voters, regardless of their age or race, overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, 59 percent to 40 percent. Younger voters between the ages of 18 and 44, no matter their race or gender, they supported Democrats by an even larger margin, 61 percent to 36 percent. So what group overwhelmingly voted Republican? Several. But white men in particular. And 35 percent of all voters, they went Republican 60 percent of the time.

Let's bring in political commentators, Tara Setmayer, Keith Boykin and Scott Jennings. Tara used to run communications for Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Keith was a White House aide during the Clinton years. And Scott was a special assistant to President George W. Bush.

I want to start with you, Tara.

A lot of data I just threw out there but the numbers represent real people. And if I'm watching at home and I'm in some of those categories, do the parties just expect me to vote a certain way?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that for minorities, the Democrats have felt that they are reliable voting bloc, and the numbers have proven true. Black women have voted overwhelmingly 95 percent for Democrats, reliable voting bloc. Republicans, though, they have a greater problem looking forward. If you look at the data for this election cycle, you saw almost a presidential election-year type turnout, 49 percent overall. That's considerable. And a lot of that increase was due to Millennials, and women. So Millennials represented 55 percent of the increase this voter turnout this time around and Republicans basically wrote that demographic off. And that's at their own peril, because they are the next generation of voters, and they are voting more and more Democratic because it is clear that what the Republican Party stands for now under Trump, they've rejected. And so have suburban women, who used to vote for Republicans, and the swing this time around, it was considerable, with suburban white educated women voting 20 percent more for Democrats. So this is a problem for the Republican Party moving forward. Particularly if they become Trumpier.

CABRERA: Keith, do you think Tuesday's election results showed a growing divide? Where do you see that divide going?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think there was a divide. If you look at the voters who were under 45, who were white, they overwhelmingly voted for the Democratic candidates. It is white voters over 45 who voted for Republican candidates. No other group in the population is voting for Republican candidates.

CABRERA: But why aren't Democrats getting those voters?

BOYKIN: Well, of the white voters? Well, I think there's a lot of reasons and we can go back to the study of America's racial history that goes into that. But the bigger question is, why aren't Republicans getting anything besides white voters over 45. You can't run a political party only tailoring to one group of people.

Consider this, white men, 29 percent of the population. That's the group that Republicans do best at in terms of representing. But our country is increasingly growing increasingly diverse. And this election we had just a few days ago, look what happened. African- Americans, we elected two black lieutenant governors, three black lieutenant governors, and four black attorneys general. We elected the first two Muslim women to Congress, two native American women to Congress, the first openly guy governor. This is a reflection of where America is, an increasingly diverse society. And the Republican Party has to play catch-up, because the country that they want to represent, the country that Donald Trump is representing, is not where the country is going demographically. That's not a future recipe for success.

[15:50:10] CABRERA: Scott, you hear what Keith is saying, what Tara is saying. If I'm a young African-American woman, for example, do Republicans even think about me?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, of course, we do. Republicans think about everybody. Republicans think about giving the American dream to every single voter in this country, regardless of race or gender or geography. You know, Ana, the divide I think a lot about, living as I do in the country, is the urban world divide. The Democratic Party no longer has much of a foothold in rural America. The Republican Party doesn't have much going on in urban America. The battleground in 2016 was in the suburbs. And a lot of right-leaning suburban voters did break for Donald Trump. Of course, in this election, the suburban voters tended to go Democratic. If I'm thinking about Republican prospects for winning in 2020, I'm thinking about, how does Donald Trump get back in the good graces of the center-right voters in the suburbs and how does he not lose ground in the upper Midwest where he did very well in 2016. To me, the clear issue is embracing what he says is boring, but what's not very boring for people who are living in it, and that's the good economy that's been caused by the Republican policies.

CABRERA: Tara, as somebody who used to a Republican, who has been very critical of this president -- I saw a tweet you put out in which you said, look, I'm voting for the Democrats for the first time. I can't believe I'm doing that. Does anything you just heard from Scott resonate with you?

SETMAYER: No. The reason I was -- I was more of a protest vote. I'm still a conservative. My choice to vote for Democrat this time around was a hard one for me just because of my natural instinct and that my world view is not in line with progressives. But I needed to send a message because I could not -- I could no longer stand by and watch the Republican Party continue to enable someone in this president, who scoffs at the rule of law, who is dishonest, who is a bigot, who is a racist, who is a misogynist, and who just making a mockery of the democratic norms and institutions and ideals of our --


CABRERA: You are talking about the very top of the party, which --

Yes, right.

CABRERA: -- it's all about top-down but --

SETMAYER: It's cascaded down and the Republican Party --


CABRERA: When you feel distanced -- I'm talking a bigger picture, though, when you are talking about Republican Party versus Democrats.


CABRERA: Is it all about the president or is there a bigger issue here?

SETMAYER: The president is the face of the party right now. And as long as party leaders are continuing in the vein of how Trump behaves is and not holding him accountable, it's a reflection. I know a lot of people who said, I don't necessarily agree with Democrats, but we cannot allow Republicans to keep doing this. So I'm not. We're going to send a message to repudiate them in order to course correct.

So to Scott's point, yes, I hope that the Republican Party course corrects and learns from the shellacking they got in suburban districts. But that's not going to change as long as Donald Trump is the head of the party and people don't push back on him. That's the problem.

CABRERA: And as we been talking about, this election saw a record number of women, minorities, young people voting the Democrats. Democrats targeted them, and it seemed to work for the House, specifically. But we saw a record number of men, white conservatives, rural voters, to Scott's point, Republicans targeted them, it paid off in the Senate.

Keith, is either side going to change moving forward based on what we saw happen in the midterms?

BOYKIN: Well, I think that there will be some change. The Republican Party had an autopsy a few years ago where they tried to figure out what to do about Hispanic voters. They disregarded all that advice with Donald Trump. The Democratic Party is still trying to expand the pot. They did that in a number of places. Look at South Carolina with Cunningham where the Democrats took a sea there. Look at Georgia 2006. Look at Mia Love in Utah. Look at the number of seats where Democrats are making inroads in suburban districts, as Scott was pointing out.

But most importantly, look at these three states, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In Wisconsin, the Democrats lost that race by 22,000 votes in the last election. They won this time. And in Michigan, they lost by 10,000 votes in the last election. They won this time. Pennsylvania, they lost by 44,000 votes in the last election. They won this time. They won the governor's races and the Senate races. Those are the three key races that Donald Trump needed to win the election.

CABRERA: Yes, yes, yes.

BOYKIN: Without those three states, he can't win the presidency.

CABRERA: I'm out of time.

But, Scott, I want to give you a very quick final thought.

JENNINGS: Yes, he only needs to win one of those three to retain the presidency. I still think he's got a better than 50 percent chance of being reelected. But, but, he is going to have to embrace this idea that the economy is working for people in the suburbs. I think the tactical decision to go after the caravan instead of talk about the economy was a mistake. It cost him in suburban America. So to win in 2020, embrace the boring and embrace the good economy.


SETMAYER: Good luck with that.

[15:54:47] CABRERA: Scott Jennings, Tara Setmayer, Keith Boykin, good to have you all with us. Thank you.

We'll be right back.



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