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Literally Thousands Of Homes And Businesses That Are Gone Today Caught In The Path Of A Wind-Swept Wildfire, Many Of Which Are Burning Out Of Control In The Los Angeles Area, And Also In Northern Parts Of California; Democrats Ceasing Control Of The House In This Week's Midterm Elections; Protesters Had Descended On A Broward County Elections Office; People Of Turkish Authorities Say Was Responsible For Killing Jamal Khashoggi. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 10, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: And also, a quick programming note. Make sure to tune in tomorrow night for the final episode of Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN," where he takes a personal journey to a formerly (INAUDIBLE) in New York City neighborhood right here in CNN at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

It is now 4:00 eastern. 1:00 in the afternoon out west. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you so much for being with us.

Our breaking news right now. Complete fire destruction and a rising death toll in several parts of California.


CABRERA: This is just one of literally thousands of homes and businesses that are gone today caught in the path of a wind-swept wildfire, many of which are burning out of control in the Los Angeles area, and also in northern parts of California.

This is just terrifying. People north of Sacramento trying to get to safety, driving fast through an inferno. People who made this video were lucky. They made it. At least nine other people have died in these fires. Many of them trapped in their cars.

Bad news from weather forecasters. The next few days will be dry and windy, the last thing firefighters want to hear. Some of the fires right now are zero percent contained. And this is what daylight revealed this morning.

In Paradise, California, officials say nearly every building in town is gone. The only thing left burning, leaking gas lines in the remains of family homes there that have already burned. That town, paradise, is where CNN's Dan Simon is right now and CNN's Scott McLean is also with us. He is in Malibu. That is near Los Angeles.

Dan, show us where you are. What is left standing there?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Ana, first of all, I want to start off with a piece of good news. The winds have died down. And the containment number is now 20 percent. But the bad news is the winds are coming back tonight so that could spell more trouble with this area and the rest of northern California.

So we are in I guess what you would say a typical subdivision in the town of Paradise. And it is completely gone. You can see some of the structures behind me, some of these homes, and this is what it looks like all throughout town.

You know, typically when you come to a wildfire such as this, you might see pockets of homes that may be standing and some that have been destroyed. In this case you don't have that random effect. Pretty much everything is destroyed. Businesses, homes, schools, churches, restaurants. Basically you name it. And so, that is what makes this fire such a phenomenon that even when you talk to police officers and firefighters pretty much everyone is saying the same thing. They have never seen anything like this.

You can see that you have these firefighters here. They came down from Portland, Oregon, assisting with the effort. What a lot of these crews are doing today is just putting out some of the hot spots because we are anticipating these winds tonight, and so you don't want to create a situation where even you could see more destruction in the town of paradise.

But really, when you talk to city officials, they are not too concerned about that because the fire swept through. There's not a whole lot left to burn. What they are concerned about now is the nearby community of Chico. That's southwest of here. They built some containment lines so they feel pretty good about protecting that community. But once again, when those winds kick up, the danger persists. So hopefully, we are not going to see a repeat of what we saw 48 hours ago - Ana.

Well, hope.

Scott McLean, you are with as well. Tell us how people bare, are processing this sudden and enormous destruction.


Well, this area is under mandatory evacuation orders. In fact, there is a wide, wide swath of suburban Los Angeles that is currently out of their homes because of the Woolsey fire. And you can see some of the damage that came through.

We are in Malibu, California. About a mile from the ocean at point doom, for people who know the area. And you can see this likely was a pretty beautiful home that is absolutely destroyed. You can see at still smoldering over there, those thick wooden planks of wood that sort of go beside the sidewalk and still smoldering there. And then the house then absolutely leveled the cars, absolutely everything.

You can see the power lines are also partially melted, partially down as well. There's really not much left at all. You can imagine just how quickly and how hot this fire was when it came through late yesterday and into the early hours this morning. They are now 75,000 plus acres that have been burned through by this fire, and, of course, it's growing.

And what seems odd is, (INAUDIBLE), if you can just look over to the left here, you know, some of these homes are completely destroyed, and then others are still standing. There are no residents in this area because, obviously, they are still evacuated, but we were in Oak Park yesterday, and we spoke to one woman who lost her house. She was the only one or one of the only ones on her block to lose her house and we spoke to her yesterday. Listen.


[16:05:12] ANGELIKA LICATA, HOMEOWNER IN OAK PARK, CALIFORNIA: I'm glad that my family is safe. It is difficult trying to, you know, get all the clothes and little things. I mean, that's just stuff, and it's all replaceable.


MCLEAN: So just an amazing attitude that you hear from that. Just really taking everything in stride. It was quite surprising to hear that.

One other thing that I wanted to mention, Ana, you see that flame right there. That's actually from a gas that is still on. Part of the problem here as I just spoke to some of the gas workers that are trying to shut off the gas. Well, it's not that easy just to shut it off for the entire neighborhood. They actually have to go house to house. And in some cases the shut-off valve is right where it's burning. So you obviously don't want to go in there. And it's obviously a danger. So they are having to actually dig up under the ground. The gas line to cap it that way. And so, a lot of challenges here for not only firefighters, but also power companies and, of course, the gas companies as well, Ana.

CABRERA: Right. Thank you so much, Scott McLean and Dan Simon. Please stay safe, my friends. We appreciate the reports on the ground.

By the way, the President has approved California's emergency declaration. He also tweeted since he is overseas right now about the fire, writing this today, there's no reason for this massive and doubly costly forest fire 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.

Meanwhile, the President is continuing to distance himself from Matthew Whitaker, the man he just appointed to temporarily replace attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Shortly after landing in Paris, Trump tweeted this, claiming he had quote "no social contact with Whitaker."

Earlier in the day the President reiterated he really, really did not know Matt Whitaker.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know Matt Whitaker. I didn't know Matt Whitaker. I didn't speak to Matt Whitaker about it. I don't know Matt Whitaker. In all fairness to Matt Whitaker, who, again, I didn't know.


CABRERA: We are learning this weekend both those claims are demonstrably false.

CNN's Kara Scannell is here with us now.

What do we know about Trump's and Whitaker's relationship?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Ana, I mean, I think we only have to go back and listen to what the President had told FOX News just a couple of weeks ago where he said that he did know Whitaker, and he was, you know, pretty straight forward about having had conversations with this man.

CABRERA: I want to bring in our legal analyst who are also joining us right now. We have Elie Honig and Pall Callan here with us. And stay with me as well, Kara.

Because one of the most surprising things that we have learned, Paul, by the way, is that Whitaker was actually interviewed by Trump's legal team as they considered bringing him on to be an attack dog against Mueller. And one of our other legal analysts had suggested that Whitaker could have learned some strategy perhaps, confidential information during that interview. Paul, do you think that's possible?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, I think it's possible. And I know when you look at the history of this, the President met with Whitaker in his office on at least 12 occasions, the reports are. He was an intermediary between Sessions and the justice department when Sessions wasn't getting along with the President. So for the President to say he doesn't even know who he is really disingenuous.

I suspect Whitaker's tenure will be about as long as the Mooch's tenure was when he had served as communications director, was it? I'm trying to remember that.

CABRERA: Yes. It was less than a dozen days.


CABRERA: Why do you think that he will -- his tenure will be short?

CALLAN: Because the President already looks like he is throwing him overboard. He is not endorsing him warmly. There's this constitutional issue that whether or not he even can be acting as attorney general without under the constitution of the United States without being approved by the Senate.

So I think are a lot of reason that would suggest that he is trouble for the Trump administration.

CABRERA: Elie, it does seem that Whitaker's appointment was a surprise. Although, Jeff Sessions' resignation, firing, essentially, was not a surprise given everything that the President had said about how angry he was. That Sessions had recused himself from the Mueller probe specifically. I mean, one could argue it makes some sense that he would bring Whitaker on because of his vocal criticism of Mueller prior to this appointment. Do you think Mueller has taken steps to protect his investigation?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes, I think he should have. I think he was already anticipating this. It was clear as day that Jeff segments was going to get fired. I don't know that we expected it to be less than 24 hours after polls closed during midterms.

And the Whitaker pick was really out of the blue, as you said. There is an org chart at DOJ, there is an order of succession. And nowhere on that org chart or order of succession is the chief of staff to the attorney general. He skipped over the deputy attorney general, the associate attorney general, the solicitor general, and why the only thing that stands out about Whitaker is that he has been so vocal against the Mueller probe.

And so, I would bet good money that Mueller is thinking ahead. And there are various escape hatches and safety nets out there that he hopefully has taken advantage of. Farming off pieces to the U.S. attorney's offices, farming off pieces of the case perhaps the state attorney general which are beyond the reach of the federal government using the grand jury, perhaps pursuing seal indictment. So, Mueller is smart and savvy and I think he would be wise to look ahead. \

[16:10:31] CABRERA: Kara, has Whitaker officially taken over the Russia probe?

SCANNELL: Yes. I mean, he officially is the one in charge of it. You know, there's a lot of uncertainly even within DOJ about how they feel about him. So you know, there's a hope I think among some of the rank-and-file that Rod Rosenstein will still manage it on a day to day basis, but ultimately, Whitaker is the one in charge.

It's not clear if he has had -- sought any briefings yet about, you know, really drilling down with Mueller into the scope of the investigation, his timeline. I think that has, our understanding, that has not occurred yet, but he is officially in-charge. And you know, as we have been saying, you know, the writing was a bit on the wall because when Rod Rosenstein was potentially going to be ousted after the times had reported that he suggested wearing a wire against the President, Whitaker was the one that went over there secretly even unbeknownst to Jeff Sessions, the attorney general. And so, you know, this relationship is a lot more than what the President made it to makes it out to seem today.

CABRERA: Paul, can you see any reason why Whitaker should be the attorney general, acting attorney general? Is he qualified in any capacity? CALLAN: Well, he is technically qualified because he is a lawyer. He

did serve as U.S. attorney for a district in Iowa for a period of time. So you could argue that he has at least on the book technical qualifications, but minimal qualifications for the job. But he has made public statements that are utterly and completely disqualifying in my view. One of those statements being that any judge appointed to a federal judge within the United States should have a biblical grounding and sort of the suggestion was that he would have to share Whitaker's views on the bible. And you know, that is so against the American concept of independence between government and religion, a wall between the two that I doubt that any senate would approve him as attorney general.

CABRERA: Elie, the President was asked yesterday by our Abby Phillips if he appointed Whitaker to reign in Mueller, and he didn't answer the question. Instead he attacked the questioner. Can you think of any other reason he would have appointed Whitaker other than to do just that?

HONIG: No, I can't. And I think his reaction to Abby, which was so outrageous, is telling. Because not only did he attack her, he dodged, right. He dodged because he doesn't want to say what the answer but it is so obvious as Paul said.

Whitaker has maybe the bare minimum credentials you will need to be attorney general. He wasn't next up in the line of succession. He is out there making these statements. The way I think about it is this. Imagine if Whitaker has said the opposite of what he has been saying publicly? What if he said Mueller needs to go far? What if he said that Trump tower meeting, that is criminal? Because he said ti wasn't. What if he was saying the opposite? He would be an outrageous pick to oversee this investigation. People would be going nuts, and rightly so. So I think it's quite transparent why the President chose him and I think it's going to be a real problem.

CABRERA: Paul, is it time for Congress to pass legislation to protect Mueller?

CALLAN: Well, you know, it's interesting. I don't know even as if it would be constitutional for such legislation to be passed. I don't know if it would survive the course. I think the politics of the situation will save Mueller. I think that smart Republicans have always been telling the President don't touch the Mueller investigation. Let it go. And it's not going to find anything, you know, of a criminal nature that you did.

And I suspect the President will in the end follow that advice. And I think he is going to discover that the selection of Whitaker is a huge error given Whitaker's background and his public statements not only attacking Mueller but saying bizarre things about federal judges. He is just - he is not attorney general material.

CABRERA: Thank you all for weighing in. I really appreciate. Good to have you with us.

Now, with control of the house democratic committees are setting their sights on investigating the Trump administration. Congressman Eric Swalwell who sits on both the judiciary and the intel committees is here.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. He is next.


[16:18:36] CABRERA: Democrats ceasing control of the House in this week's midterm elections. Come January, they will have the power to investigate the President, his administration. Here comes subpoenas. Here comes investigations.

In January Democrats on the House intelligence committee will be able to compel testimony and perhaps to force the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, and one of those Dems is joining us now. California congressman Eric Swalwell.

Thank you for being with us, congressman.


CABRERA: You are on both the judiciary and the intel committee of the house. What investigations take top priority now that you are in the majority party?

SWALWELL: Well, you know, Ana, I will also say, we see opportunities to collaborate where we can, but investigate where the Republicans were unwilling to. So that would be the Russia investigation, filling in the gaps there. As you know, a number of times we tried to pursue subpoenas on bank records, phone records, communication in hotel logs and were stopped.

Also, when it comes to the President's taxes, the American people will see his taxes because we should know if he is a tax cheat or not. And the "New York Times" laid out in an exhaustive report that he is, and we are finding that a lot of his foreign policy decisions are made around his financial entanglements.

And finally, the days of cashing in on access to the oval office and getting a free pass on it, those are over. We saw a $500 million loan by the Chinese to a Trump property in Indonesia the same week that the President eased sanction on a Chinese company. You are going to start to see a lot more light where there was darkness in the past.

[16:20:09] CABRERA: You talked about the House intel Russia investigation which was closed initially by Republicans. Are you suggesting that will be one of the investigations that could be reopened, and you mentioned subpoenas which specific individuals might you want to subpoena if they don't interview voluntarily?

SWALWELL: Yes. It may have been closed by the Russian - by the Republicans. It was never closed on the Democratic side. We continued to work, interview witnesses, pursue documents, and we want to know, for example, where the President's financing came from? Was, you know, Deutsche Bank has been his lender. They have a long history of being in trouble before for laundering Russian money. We want to, you know, check out that line of inquiry.

Roger Stone, three times now has md amended his testimony to the House intelligence committee. We were never able to pursue any of his communications that he was having with WikiLeaks or others. Donald Trump Jr. who welcomed this June 9th Trump tower meeting with the Russians offered dirt on Hillary Clinton. The question is still out there as to whether he told his father, and we were never allowed to pursue any communication logs there.

So there's a lot to still learn, but we don't want to do anything redundant. We just want to best protect the country as we are going to another presidential election knowing that Donald Trump will be in the ballot, and the Russians will still want to do all they can to keep him in office.

CABRERA: With Matthew Whitaker's new appointment, what do you see happening to the Mueller investigation?

SWALWELL: He is not stopping it. He was hired to be an assassin to take it out. But that's not happening. We were powerless on Monday. That this appointment happened on Wednesday. And the American people spoke at the polls when they elected a majority in Congress that will be a check on abuses of power and bring a balance of power to Washington. So I'm confident that we will do all we can to preserve the integrity of the Mueller investigation.

CABRERA: And what does that look like? Because as you mentioned that he is in a position where he now has oversight of the Mueller investigation. We have heard him previously mention that he could perhaps, you know, theoretically, this is prior to his appointment, make the budget so low for Mueller that it comes to a grinding halt. He could say, no, you can't indict those people. No, you can't subpoena those people. What can Congress do?

SWALWELL: Yes. Well, we can insist that he recuses himself or that the department of justice would have an ethics opinion on whether he showed. Now, I don't expect him to do that. But we do have a budget battle coming forward. And Democrats will be insisting that if the Republicans want Democratic votes which they have need over the last two years, we will only do that if Mueller is protected and if there's legislation put in place that he could only be fired for are to be cause.

CABRERA: Do you have any evidence so far that Whitaker has taken action to try to reign in Mueller?

SWALWELL: Well, we have evidence from a box story that this was premeditated, that Donald Trump and Whitaker have been plot this takeover for a while. When you take the prior statements to Whitaker, I think it is clear why Sessions was fired and why Whitaker was hired.

But again, Ana, we were a lot more helpless on Monday that we are right now. And this is not going to happen. They can try, but the reality of this new Congress will set in for the President very quickly. CABRERA: In terms of action that you could take, as part of the intel

committee, as part of the Judiciary Committee, will those committees either of them ask Whitaker to come testify?

SWALWELL: We certainly can, Ana, and, you know, bringing him under oath and asking him if there was an agreement with the President or, you know, despite the President saying he doesn't know Mr. Whitaker and all of the evidence to the contrary that we have seen in press reporting, we can find out just, you know, how close they are. And then, again, in our oversight role and in the power of the purse we cannot fund the President's priorities if he is going to continue to have someone in place who was trying to take out this investigation.

CABRERA: I want to ask you about 2020 because as you know there has been a lot of talk about your intentions and whether you are going to run for President. But "Politico" reporting this week that, oh, yes, he is definitely going to run. I remember you also talking to our Poppy Harlow back in August suggesting you were looking into a Presidential run in 2020. But I'm curious if you are in a different head space right now. Does this week officially begin your 2020 campaign?

SWALWELL: No news yet. I am in Iowa right now. I was invited to address the Asian-Latino coalition here in Des Moines. And I'm listening to Iowans right now. It's a state where I was born. But when I look, Ana, at what just happened in this midterm election, Democrats elected 25 new members of Congress who are in their 40s or under, and I see that as an embrace by the American people of new energy, new ideas, and new leadership.

CABRERA: What does going to be that makes your decision for whether you decide to run for President or not?

SWALWELL: One hundred percent family. You know, honestly, we just had a baby girl two weeks ago, and you know, she has a lot of insomnia and a lot of dirty diapers, and my wife only has two hands.

[16:25:09] CABRERA: I bet you have a lot of insomnia, you and your wife.

SWALWELL: That's right. And that's priority one.

But you know, Ana, when we had our first child at the 40-week appointment, the doctor knew that I may have to be back in Washington to vote to protect the affordable care act. And my wife insisted that if it came down to missing the birth of our son or voting to protect the affordable care act, she wanted me in Washington. So she has sacrificed all the way through because we know what's on the line. But family always has to come first.

CABRERA: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thanks for being with us. And congratulations on your new child.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thank you.

CABRERA: All right. You guessed it, Florida again, a recount for three state-wide races now official. My colleague Ryan Nobles there - Ryan.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Ana. Forgive the people of Florida if they are having flashbacks. Eighteen years after the 2000 Presidential recount, we have another big recount in the sunshine state. We will break it all down for you coming up next.



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Election recounts in two key races, a withdrawn concession and protests. That is a snapshot of what is happening in Florida right now. Protesters have descended on a Broward County elections office, a county notoriously slow in counting its votes. Both Democrats and Republicans making their voices heard after razor-thin margins triggered an automatic recount in both the governor's race and the Senate race.

A short time ago, Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, officially withdrew the concession he made on election night.


ANDREW GILLUM, (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Let me say clearly I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote.


CABRERA: Let's go live to Florida. CNN Ryan Nobles joining us from Tallahassee, the state capital, no stranger to a recount.

Ryan, walk us through what happens next.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, it could happen any minute where the counties in Florida begin the process where they have a machine recount, and that means they're going to run every single vote that was count in Florida, more than 8.5 million votes, through their machines to recount and determine what the outcome of this race was and if it's any different from what they discovered on election night.

There are three state-wide races which the margins are very tight. The race for governor is only .4 percent, the margin of difference between the two candidates. The race for U.S. Senate, even closer, .14 percent separates Bill Nelson, the incumbent. He is trailing the incumbent governor, Rick Scott, who is running for Senate. There's also a state agriculture commissioner race that is incredibly, incredibly tight.

To be clear, Andrew Gillam did withdraw his concession, but his aides tell me privately that they don't believe that the margin is close enough where they'll ultimately flip the vote. They feel much different about the Senate race. It's only about a 12,000-vote margin between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott. Democrats are feeling bullish that perhaps if this takes to the second stage of recount, where they get to a hand recount of the under votes and the over votes, that perhaps there will be enough votes there to flip this into the Democrats column.

Ana, it will take time for this all to finish up. Next Thursday is when the fist recount takes place. The hand recount will begin another couple of days after that. The 18th of November is when they need to have these tallies all in and complete. Then the big question is, does this race enter into a court of law. Both sides say they are prepared to take it to that level if they believe this count is not handled the way that it is supposed to -- Ana?

CABRERA: Ryan Nobles, there in Tallahassee, staying on top of Florida. Thank you.

President Trump, meantime, is in the city of love. But his time in Paris hasn't been so warm and fuzzy after he started the trip by slamming France's president on Twitter. Ahead, the meeting and icy handshake that followed.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[16:38:07] CABRERA: President Trump is in Paris attending Armistice Day as world leaders mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The president began his two-day visit with an opening salvo on Twitter. Just minutes after landing, slamming French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal for a more robust European military cooperation as, quote, "very insulting." Trump and Macron later appeared to gloss over their differences, but an icy handshake between the two men belied a lingering tension.

CNN Nic Robertson is joining us now from Paris.

Nic, our Jim Acosta says he is hearing the president appears to be in a sour mood when dealing with other world leaders. Even testy at times when it comes to burden-sharing and defense spending. What is Trump trying to accomplish on this trip?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He clearly came in with an agenda to a wrong foot for President Macron. It would have been very easy for one of President Trump's advisors to explain to him what Macron was saying for many months. And a mood in Europe to sort of rationalize European defense forces to make better use of all that money that their country gives towards NATO, to have sort of one European fighter aircraft rather than several, one European type of tank rather than several, much in the same way the United States has a very rationalized military production system.

President Trump coming in and, you know, wrong footing the French leader, and President Macron can probably attest privately to President Trump's sour and possibly testy mood. He was tapping him on the knee, explaining to him that he didn't mean that Europe is preparing an army ready to go to war with the United States, but merely that concerned much more about the threat coming from Russia, and that Europe needs to do better on exactly what President Trump wants, which is contribute more to the spending of NATO and be better ready for their own defense. I think President Macron has reached out to kind of paper over the cracks there. Perhaps unnecessarily so. President Macron, this is not a new position. It's very well known. Not controversial here in Europe, at the least -- Ana?

[16:40:19] CABRERA: Nic, you have been following very closely the developments in the investigation involving Journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in the Turkish consulate -- in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. And Turkey's president today saying that his country has now handed over the recordings that were related to his killing. Did Macron and Trump discuss this case today, do we know?

ROBERTSON: Sure, they did. What was fascinating about that, Ana, is we've had a read-out from French official who were giving us, you know, what President Macron took away from this meeting. We had actually reported several weeks ago that the French and Germans and British and very likely the United States had been told the content, briefed fully on the content of the recordings. Today, getting that from President Erdogan was really the Turkish authorities for the first time getting out ahead on this and not drip, drip, drip feeding information and actually saying it officially. That's clear.

Now, what President Macron learned from President Trump today is how concerned President Trump is about destabilizing the situation in the Middle East by upsetting the Saudis, "walking on eggshells" was the quote there.

Interesting as well, President Trump wants, according to the French, wants to know their precise chain of command of those 15 people who went from Saudi, went in the Saudi consulate when Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. The people the Turkish authorities say are responsible for killing him, they're in jail in Saudi right now. They want to know that precise chain of command. Why? Because people want to know if it goes all the way to the top, to Crowned Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Clearly, that's an important issue for the United States that hasn't yet been determined and figured out. That came out of that meeting.

Another interesting and intriguing detail we've learned in the past 24 hours from the Pentagon and from the Saudis, that they had requested that the United States stopped helping them with air-to-air refuelings for their coalition forces, bombing in Yemen, to push that -- essentially helping prosecute that war in Yemen. What we learned today from the meeting, from the French understanding of what the United States is doing, it was the United States who decided to stop doing that air-to-air refueling for Saudi forces to pressure the Saudi forces to get into peace talks over Yemen.

So some very interesting details emerging here that we've learned from the French because this has not been forthcoming from the White House so far.

CABRERA: Nic Robertson, in Paris for us, thank you for that reporting.

A quick programming note, tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviews French President Emmanuel Macron. A special live "GPS" from Paris, only on CNN.

Now, it was a week of celebration for Nancy Pelosi. Even though her party now controls the House, is her future as speaker set in stone? Her daughter, Christine Pelosi, will join us live here in the NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.


[16:47:37] CABRERA: Welcome back. American voters this week put at least 102 women into the U.S. House. One-hundred and two women. That is more than ever before in this country, ever. Add to that number at least 23 women in the Senate. Call it what you want. Some call it a pink wave. We're just calling it history.

Christine Pelosi is joining me now from San Francisco. And Christine chairs the California Democratic Party's women's caucus.

If her name sounds familiar, it is because she is the daughter of congresswoman and former House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. She also wrote this book, "Campaign Boot Camp 2.0."

Christine, good to have you with us. Thanks for making time.


CABRERA: So most of this record number of women elected or reelected on Tuesday are Democrats. But putting party aside for just a moment, we'll have the first Muslim women in Congress, two of them, the first Native American women in Congress, two of them, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, possibly the first Korean-American immigrant woman elected to Congress. That race hasn't yet been called.

But tell me what made all of these women candidates so appealing this midterm election?

PELOSI: Well, I think it is so exciting to see women come into power. Of course, for years, I have watched as my mom, Nancy Pelosi, has urged women to know their power. When she got to Congress, there were less than 25 women in Congress. She made a deliberate decision to want to increase those numbers. To now think a critical mass of almost 22 percent of the Congress being women means that women's lib's experiences with the economy and the military, with health care, first and foremost, are going to be at the center of the arguments. And these women of color from marginalized communities who are coming in and centering those marginalized communities in the discussion means that the policy will be more authentic and effective for everyone. I couldn't be more excited.

CABRERA: I want you to listen to this. It's your mother talking to CNN's Chris Cuomo. They're talking about her possibly returning as speaker of the House.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR & HOST: What is your level of confidence that you'll be the speaker of the House?


CUOMO: 100 percent?

NANCY PELOSI: One-hundred percent, yes. I feel very confident about where I am. And I feel very encouraged at the overwhelming support in my caucus that will go to the floor.


CABRERA: One-hundred percent. A lot of people, including plenty of Democrats, say they do not want your mother to return as speaker of the House. Why do you think they are wrong?

[16:50:05] PELOSI: Well, because majority of the Democrats do. And the fact of the matter is, I spent the last couple of years in partnership with so many of our friends, from patient groups and care giver groups and veterans' groups, going around the country to these events, and seeing Nancy Pelosi at the helm of this organizing effort to drumbeat the message of protecting our health care. That is the animating issue of this Congress. It's the animating issue in the cause of her life. And I think that Democrats see in her the leadership ability not only to crisscross the country, raising historic amounts of money, raising historic amounts of volunteer support for candidates, but also keeping people on track to deliver amazing progress for the American people. And I think it's that vision of progress, that discipline, and that personal connection that is not only going to make Nancy Pelosi speaker, but it's also going to make this Congress and these 100 women and counting very effective voices for their constituents and communities.

CABRERA: She may put on a strong front, but I want to know what it's really like for her to be the Republican's boogie man, to the point that her members, members of her own party, think they have to disavow their support for her or even criticize her to get elected. How does she handle that in private?

PELOSI: Ana, she's been saying for years, and it was the banner across our red-to-blue San Francisco headquarters, don't agonize, organize. For years, when people said, well, this person --


CABRERA: What does she say in the confines of your home? When you are with her as mother-daughter, you see a different side that people in the political arena may not see. That's what I'm getting at. Tell me where her heart is when she hears the criticism and the way she's been demonized by people on the right, in particular.

PELOSI: My mom has been very resilient. Keep in mind, she raised five kids. She and my dad had five children within six years and one week. So she was pregnant for most of the '60s, did car pools for most of the '70s, and started getting involved in politics then. She's always told the five of us the same thing she tells the other candidates, focus on your own self, work on what's best for you, don't worry about people or other people are saying about you, be strong. My daughter, Bella, who is 9 years old, she's an artist. She's at a play rehearsal right now. She can be a little sensitive to criticism. My mom will tell her, Bella, don't listen, don't care, don't let people tease you, don't be embarrassed. Her true nature is to be, look, if the five of us couldn't shake her criticism from -- the public doesn't. She's very clear about her why. She's very clear about her call to service, the one in five children who call to poverty and trying to make a difference for them. And she tells us all, you don't have the excuse of, well, people were mean to me, so I couldn't succeed. Know your own power and your own confidence. The advice she gives my daughter is, shake it off, just be yourself, and don't let anybody else's criticism be an excuse for you not doing your best. I think she'll take that spirit into the speakership come January.

CABRERA: President Trump tweeted this the day after Election Day, quote, "In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen speaker of the House by the Democrats. If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor."

How do you read that? Is the president sincere, or is he trolling?

PELOSI: Well, I like the quote. I wish everybody would say it, and then we wouldn't have to worry about needing Republican votes for the speakership race. Nancy Pelosi works hard. Nobody works harder than she does. She has often told us -- and this is another point to her resiliency, Ana. She'll tell us, put it on a shelf, you can't talk about politics all the time. This is a person who still is best friends with a handful of women she went to college with. This is a woman who takes good care to listen to people and remember the details about what's going on in their lives. She has often told us, you can try to have it all but you need to be a good partner and a good friend, and you can't be so wrapped up in politics that you don't take the time out to be a human being. Again, I think it's nice what the president said. I think she'll win on Democratic votes. And let's just say, on that topic, we agree.

CABRERA: All right. Christine Pelosi, good to have you with us. Thank you so much for shedding some light for us.

PELOSI: Thank you, Ana.

[16:54:35] To California where three huge wildfires are burning out of control. Just an example of how dire the situation is, look at the long line of fire trucks and emergency vehicles. This is just outside of Chico where the wind-driven Camp Fire is swallowing up land and homes.

For ways you can help those affected by the California wildfires, go to


CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks for being with us. We're following breaking news right now. The out-of-control wildfires in California, not just one fire, but several. They are growing in size. Moving faster than firefighters can stay on top of them. Sadly, now responsible for the death of at least nine people so far.

Imagine driving through this. Watch and listen.




[16:59:59] CABRERA: This is Paradise, California, about 100 miles north of Sacramento. Officials say nearly every building, every home in Paradise is gone, burned down.