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25 Dead, Hundred More Others Missing as Wildfires Burn Out of Control Across California; Trump Wildfire Tweet Triggers Backlash; California Governor Calls Wildfires the New Abnormal; Rick Scott Accuses Nelson of Trying to Commit Fraud. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 11, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Our breaking news right now, more people confirmed dead in the most horrific fire emergency California has endured in nearly 30 years. And what's making this disaster even more awful is that it's not even close to over.

The most destruction thus far is in northern California, north of Sacramento. A wildfire there has consumed more than 100,000 acres and literally everything built on it and anything in its path. Look at these cars.

Firefighters say, in a matter of days, about 6,500 family homes have burned down. The human toll from the wildfires across the state, 25 people so far found dead, more than a hundred others still missing.

Officials and family members are frantically trying to account for everybody who is not there, not known where they are right now.

In southern California, around Los Angeles, Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, separate wildfires there are spreading fast pushed by strong winds and almost completely out of control. The fires are just too big, too fast for firefighters to contain them at least for now.

And CNN cameras and correspondents are all over the fire zones right now. Dan Simon is in the completely devastated town of Paradise. And Scott McLean is near the beach in Malibu.

Dan, I'll start with you because you've been talking to people who got out of there with little more than the clothes on their backs. How did they do it?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it was very difficult. You know, the main road that leads in and out of town is called Skyway. In fact, they call it Skyway to Paradise. And on Thursday morning, it was filled with cars. Really, bumper to bumper with people frantically trying to leave town.

Well, two of the people on the road were Susan Miller and her daughter, Amber. And I want to show you some of the video they got as they were desperately trying to leave.


SUSAN MILLER, PARADISE, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I've never been more scared in my life.


MILLER: Oh, god.

TONEY: Oh, my gosh.


TONEY: It's OK, Momma. It's OK. Please, please drive. Just please drive.

MILLER: I am. I'm trying. Oh, please, god, please.

TONEY: Oh, please, lord. Just let us out.

MILLER: Please, god, let us get out safe.

TONEY: I thought the windows were going to shatter because it was just so hot. And I mean, everybody's trying to get out as best they can but try not to get in accidents.

MILLER: We had the air conditioner on high, and it was still hot.

TONEY: Circulating.

MILLER: And you were praying the car in front of you wouldn't stop. It was -- I'll have nightmares for the rest of my life. This was a bucket list I never wanted.


SIMON: Well, like thousands of others, they are staying at a hotel, trying to figure out what's next.

And with them is Susan's father. He's an 82-year-old Korean War vet. He's really terrified. He says he's homeless for the first time in his life. And quite frankly, all of them, they don't know if they'll ever come back to Paradise.

And, Ana, I want to show you one thing. This sort of tells the story of what happened here in Paradise that morning as people were trying to leave.

You see all these cars just seemingly abandoned here on the side of the road. What happened is there was so much traffic when people were trying to leave, nobody could get out. And so what they decided to do, what many people decided to do, was just leave their cars and get out on foot.

And I'm told that's what hundreds, if not thousands of people, did -- Ana.

CABRERA: Unbelievable. Those images, so eerie. Dan Simon there in Paradise, California. Thank you.

That is northern California. Let me head south now to Los Angeles area and CNN's Scott McLean. He is in Malibu.

Scott, two more people were found there today, victims of these wildfires. How much of the work there is search and rescue right now and how much is trying to control the fires?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's more than 3,000 firefighters who are working to control these flames. And that seems to be the number one task right now, Ana, just stopping the fire at its existing footprint.

And we know that they are -- they've been actively doing that today, especially in the West Hills area of Los Angeles where there's a densely populated neighborhood there. They're trying to keep the fire in the hills nearby so that it doesn't get down to where all the people live.

Here in Malibu, it seems like the most urgent times have come and gone. The most frightening times have come and gone, but look what this fire left behind. You know, this was a -- likely a pretty impressive home, and there's really nothing left of it right now.

The problem, though, is that stronger winds are expected through Tuesday, and you see an area there smoldering. The worry is that some of those smoldering areas or small fires can turn into bigger ones once they're fanned by the flames.

In this case, obviously, there's really not much left to burn. But if you look through to the other side of the canyon, well, the fire ended up getting down to the bottom of it and then racing back up.

[19:04:58] Somehow, miraculously, it managed to avoid burning those condos there. But I know from talking to people that there is definitely some concern about the fire getting across to the other side and burning through some fuel that hasn't already burned.

Again, we're within the fire's footprint. So that doesn't mean that every single house has burned, but there's a lot that haven't which could potentially, again, if some of these smaller fires were to start back up again.

You see down here, there's a downed tree, burned at the bottom. Likely fell over on its own weight, obviously. One of the many hazards in this area along with downed power lines and things like that.

Also, the air quality is certainly not good. If there's any upside to the wind, it's that it's cleared some of that stronger smoke.

If we look over this property, check out the view. Just absolutely stunning, right out to the Pacific Ocean. And this house is just gone. It's hard to recognize, really, anything other than some pots and things like that.

Obviously, Ana, this area is under mandatory evacuation orders. That is unlikely to change anytime soon.

But, again, just with the scale of the destruction, you know you'll have two or three houses in a row that are totally gone and then the next three or four, you know, are completely intact.

Regardless, it will take a long time before Malibu really starts to feel and look like itself again.

CABRERA: Yes, no doubt about it. We see a little bit of sunshine, it looks like, shining on your face, Scott. What is the weather forecast looking like? Any reprieve in sight?

MCLEAN: Probably not until Tuesday night. Again, there could be gusts of some 40 to 50 miles per hour, sustained winds of 20. Again, it seems to come and go.

We haven't felt really strong winds today but, again, that doesn't mean that the gusts couldn't come in this area or in other areas. And that's certainly the concern, is that when those winds kick up -- I mean, even if you just look over here, Ana, you can see another smoldering area on this property.

And again, the concern is that when the wind kicks up, will some of these fires start to reignite? And so they are red-flag conditions, meaning it is ideal conditions for wildfires to start or to grow until Tuesday night.

And even then, though, firefighters are going to have a difficult time getting a real, good handle on this because, again, at last word, just 10 percent contained.

CABRERA: And we're just looking at live pictures, in fact, from the Woolsey fire. That is near Malibu where Scott McLean is reporting for us tonight. Tonight dropping fire retardant as they continue to battle the flames there.

Scott McLean, thank you very much. Our thanks to Dan Simon, as well.

President Trump, when he was in France, had something to say about the wildfires devastating California this weekend.

He wrote, there is no reason for these massive, deadly, and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. He accuses officials of mismanaging the forests and adds, quote, remedy now or no more Fed payments.

I want to get Tom Sater in here from the CNN's severe weather center.

And, Tom, some West Coast firefighters had an answer for the President. I want to read part of it to you.

The head of the Pasadena Fire Association writing, Mr. President, with all due respect you are wrong. The fires in SoCal are urban interface fires and have nothing to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts and help the victims.

Tom, a strong statement there from the California firefighters.


CABRERA: Fact check President Trump's tweet for us.

SATER: OK. You know, Ana, I enjoy being in the weather department because it's neutral, you know, with the exception of climate change issues. But, you know, staying out of the political arena, this is wrong on so many levels.

They're right, this has nothing to do with forest management. I mean, look, we're not looking at dense forest here, especially down in Malibu.

But forest management has nothing to do with mountain winds coming down the passes at 75 miles per hour or humidity levels, in one hour, dropping Thursday from 35 percent down in the single digits, drier than most deserts.

But, again, if you think about it, to say remedy now or we'll take your funds, he's already taken some of their funds.

But I read a tweet that followed that one that makes good sense. It said it's like taking funds from the National Hurricane Center until you stop all these hurricanes. I mean, it's the same notion.

But more importantly, people died in their homes. They found bodies outside the homes, in their vehicles trying to flee, outside their vehicles just trying to run away.

We've got a problem here because even though the winds may lighten tomorrow for the northern area in the Camp fire, they're going to remain strong to the south.

And I think, by Tuesday, we may see the winds pick up. Just like we did on Thursday where the fires to the north in the Camp fire were burning eight football fields every minute.

High-pressure Santa Ana winds keeping the rain out of the area. We should have five to six inches of rain since the beginning of October. We haven't had a drop.

So, again, there are fingerprints of climate change there, but as those winds come down these mountains, they dry up. They come across this very dry land. They also heat up because the air is compressing. The worst elements you want.

Look at the western U.S. Here's snow up in the areas of the Rockies. There's not a cloud around. That is the plume on Thursday from the Camp fire. And we get it closer, you see how it's coming right down through Paradise right offshore.

Saturday, the wind shifted and brought all that smoke inland -- Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Jose over to Fresno. And the southern fires, they even have smoke down in Baja, California. So all of California. [19:10:06] Let's break this down. Amazing containment at 25 percent.

I know you might think, oh, 25 percent is nothing. They've been working their tails off with tanker after tanker, hundred -- over 109,000 acres continuing to burn.

Here is Paradise in the middle. Chico, where everybody went for refuge. But these are the hotspots.

If you look at the flight patterns right now the tankers are taking, they're pretty much all over the northern flank. They've got hotspots here, but they're also working down to the south where Oroville is. Remember the Orville Dam and the problems they had a couple of years ago.

Hotspots are picking up in Butte Valley even as we speak. When you look at this though, the most destructive, here are the top 10 most destructive fires.

Most of these are thousands of homes or businesses destroyed. And now, we're up to 6,700. But more importantly, if you look at the years, there's only one year, 1991. That isn't from the year of 2003 but most are 2015, 2017, and now, 2018. Red flag warnings, most of California into the desert southwest.

If you look at the southern fire, 10 percent containment. This, Ana, is where we've got tens of thousands of homes that are still at risk. When these winds kick up in the Santa Ana's -- and they're under a critical -- not just critical but even higher than that threat, they're trying to save Malibu right now.

But, again, how about for the folks in Thousand Oaks? They just went through some miserable period with the shooting, and many of them are evacuating 24 hours later or at least packing up.

You get over to areas such as Hidden Hills. Look at this. They're battling that southern flank before it gets into this region. There are so many facets to what these firefighters have to deal with, but I'm worried about these mountain passes again when they come down through these valleys.

Again, the plume to the south, offshore. Yesterday, the plume moved back in. So smoke even in Burbank. When the wind shifted yesterday, a lot of people had to stay indoors.

To the north, critical will go away tomorrow. That's great news. But the extreme down in southern California from these fires down here -- by the way, the hill fire is 75 percent contained, which is fabulous, but that's going to remain intact for tomorrow.

By Tuesday, I think we revert back to possibly the entire region looking at strong winds like we had on Thursday when this first started. But forest management, not with this.

CABRERA: It does not sound good. Tom Sater, thank you for laying it all out there for us. And right now, in California, the governor, Jerry Brown, is just

starting to brief reporters about the devastating wildfires. Let's listen in.



First of all, let me just say that we continue to be absolutely heartbroken for everyone who's been impacted by just these tremendous fires that we've been seeing. We're really only four days into it, but we continue to be very much engaged in the response.

Currently, we have over still 149,000 people evacuated throughout the state. Many of those evacuated -- this is for all the fires, the two in southern California and the fire in northern California.

Many have lost everything that they have. Currently, we have 25 people who have lost their lives so far. That's 23 at the Camp fire and two at the Woolsey fire.

And there are still a number of people who are unaccounted for. We're working closely with local authorities to be able to identify and work with them for accounting all those that are still unaccounted for.

Look, this is not an easy situation. We know that. It's exhausting. And it will take time. You need to know that we're doing everything that we can to battle the fires and to take care of those that have been evacuated.

We've seen communities come together time and time again, fire after fire, and other disasters in California, and we'll get through this one as well.

As you see, the magnitude of destruction, especially in the town of Paradise, is staggering. Yesterday, we saw this firsthand that public safety leaders went up into the area.

We met with local officials to begin the discussions on the recovery process. As they're still battling the fires, we're looking at what is going to take to address the needs of the community.

As a result, we clearly saw that the event in itself warranted Governor Brown asking FEMA for a presidential major disaster declaration. And that was done this morning.

We've already received direct federal assistance from the -- from FEMA and we're appreciative of that. And that is helping to bring federal resources here into the state to help the communities that have been impacted.

This continues to be a unified effort by all local, state, federal and public sector, private sector organizations, and it's been exceptional. [19:14:54] We have representatives from many state and federal

agencies, both here in the state operations center and in the field, working around the clock, managing resources, helping with shelters, school closures, hospital and medical supplies, and restoring damaged infrastructure.

We've dispatched more than 1,035 mutual aid fire engines, and we have roughly 3,667 firefighters from local, state, and federal government agencies on the line.

We're also very grateful for assistance that we've received from departments across the western states. In fact, seven states are providing firefighters for California as we speak.

Oregon has sent 75 fire engines; Washington, 45; Utah, 26; New Mexico, seven; Idaho, six; Montana, 20; and Texas, 55. And either they are here or they are en route to assist us in our firefighting effort.

There's also hundreds of law enforcement officers and members of the California National Guard that have been deployed, protecting communities, providing law enforcement and security in areas that have been evacuated.

We're committed to battling these fires with everything that we can muster here at the state and ensuring our communities and people can address their public safety needs.

In the coming days, we're going to continue to work with local government to set up local assistance centers. These centers will be a place where individuals who have been impacted by these fires can come and start to discuss receiving appropriate assistance.

We still remain at risk from more wildfires with red flag conditions throughout the state. And this should be the case through Tuesday. So it's very, very important that, in the meantime, you take care of yourself and your family, you be vigilant for potential notices for additional evacuations and listen to local authorities as they share information with you.

Keep in mind, recovery is a long journey but we will continue to get through it, OK? So lots happening. And what I'm going to do now is I'm going to turn it over to the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire, Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott, to talk about firefighting operations.


And actually, we, the public safety leadership here, personally visited the incident command post for the Woolsey fire and the Hill fire in Ventura County this morning, received a direct briefing from the incident command staff, and met with some local officials.

As you've heard, we are really just in the middle of this protracted weather event and this fire siege. We are looking at dry conditions through at least the end of next week into next weekend. Even when the wind -- forecasted wind subsides as forecasted towards

the middle of this week, we are still looking at very low humidities, very dry conditions, vegetation that is critically dry from all summer.

So the fire conditions will continue to exist until we get some sort of appreciable rainfall or precipitation to change that. So we are in this throughout California until further notice.

And so with that, we continue to move resources. As of this afternoon, we are basically battling three major fires -- the Camp fire in Butte County which is 111,000 acres and 25 percent contained; the Hill fire and the Woolsey fire, both starting in Ventura County at approximately at the same time and burned into Los Angeles County.

The Hill fire, great progress to report today, 70 percent contained, 4,531 acres. The Woolsey fire continues to be a major fire, has burned into Malibu, is at the Pacific Coast Highway, and continues to be a threat to Topanga Canyon and many other communities in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

So we continue to move resources around the state to engage these existing fires, but we are looking ahead to what the potential is for the next set of fires that could occur.

As this wind event moves throughout southern California, we are now looking towards the Inland Empire, Riverside, San Bernardino County, and San Diego because that's where this wind will intensify and surface for the next several days.

So, again, we continue to monitor. We're providing resources. Every available aircraft, aviation or aerial firefighting aircraft in the country is available to California, and we are utilizing those resources.

Aircraft are flying. In some cases, they're able to fly at night. In the southern California fires, they're all being utilized to the fullest extent that is possible. Understanding conditions change at times, they may not be able to fly due to high winds or zero visibility over the fire.

[19:20:04] But we're in this for the long haul. We have, again, firefighters deployed throughout the state working with many, many partners. And we'll continue to do that until these conditions subside.

So with that, I'd like to introduce Governor Brown.

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: I want to thank all the firefighters and first responders, the highway patrol, the National Guard, everyone who's worked under very, very trying conditions.

And our thoughts and prayers are with those who've lost loved ones, members of their family, neighbors, and friends. This is truly a tragedy that all Californians can understand and respond to and be very sympathetic. We're going to do everything we can. We're requesting a presidential

declaration funding coming from the federal government. Of course, there will be efforts from the state government as well. It's the time to pull together and work through this tragedy.

The way I would describe it -- and I'm going to say something I said before. This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal. And this new abnormal will continue certainly in the next 10 to 15 to 20 years.

And unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they're going to intensify. Predictions by some scientists are that we've already gone up one degree. I think we can expect a half a degree, which is catastrophic, over the next 10 to 12 years.

So we have a real challenge here threatening our whole way of life, so we've got to pull together. If people have ideas, whether it's forest management or how to do our fire prevention, great, let's hear about them.

And we're going to have to invest more and more in adaptation. When we talk about things like the climate and the warming climate and we talk about words like adaptation, that's what we're talking about.

And it's not millions. It's billions and tens and probably hundreds of billions even in the span of a few years. So we've got lots of work to do.

It is a time of sadness but also one to reflect on where we are and this resolve to pull together and do everything we can to help those in need and to take the steps to minimize and mitigate the damage that's so obvious.

Thank you.

GHILARDUCCI: Any questions for Governor Brown?


CABRERA: OK, we've been listening in to a press conference and update on the deadly wildfires in California that have already claimed the lives of 25 people -- at least 25 people, with more than a hundred people still missing.

You just heard there at the end from the governor of California, Jerry Brown. And I quote him saying, this is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal.

Really painting a bleak picture for what the future holds for the state of California that has now seen seven of the most destructive wildfires in just the past years or so. Since October of 2017, seven of the top 20 most destructive wildfires.

And he talked about inviting ideas for mitigating fire risk, including forest management, also talking about the need for adaptation and the need for investing money into solutions and -- in order to protect the people in that state.

We'll, of course, continue to stay on top of the wildfires and that emergency happening on the west coast. Meantime, on the east coast, the southeast part of the U.S., the recount of votes in the midterms is on. And so are the lawsuits.

Details on that plus accusations of fraud in Florida in the Senate race. That's just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Welcome back. We have this just in to the CNN NEWSROOM. As the race for Georgia governor remains undecided, the Democratic Party of Georgia and gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, today, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the rejection of absentee ballots.

Now, the complaint seeks relief for voters casting both absentee and provisional ballots in certain circumstances. The Abrams campaign says it believes the Secretary of State's Office is grossly underestimating the number of provisional ballots that are out there. No response yet from the Republican candidate, Brian Kemp.

Turning now to the dramatic recount efforts in Florida right now in both the Senate and governor's race. Again, it's happening already.

And one key official says she doesn't have enough time to recount all of the votes before the Thursday deadline. The Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections says it is impossible to meet that recount deadline.

Another big development, Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott filing three lawsuits in state court in these coming hours after Scott upped the ante, accusing his Democratic opponent, Bill Nelson, of fraud.


GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Senator Nelson is clearly trying to commit fraud to try to win this election. That's all this is.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: But I -- wait a second, I want to pick on that. You're accusing Bill Nelson of trying to commit fraud?

SCOTT: His lawyer said that a noncitizen should vote. That's one. Number two, he's gone to trial and said that fraudulent ballots should be counted.

Ballots have very been thrown out because they were not done properly. He said those should be counted.

WALLACE: And you think that is -- the Senator himself is committing fraud?

SCOTT: Well, it's his team.


CABRERA: Let's get right to CNN's Ryan Nobles with the latest from Tallahassee.

Ryan, starting with the vote count itself, if counties can't finish the recount, tell us what that means.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big answer to that question, Ana, is if a county cannot get their recount done in time, it reverts back to the initial tally that they submitted to the Secretary of State on Saturday at noon.

[19:30:03] And that's important because in Palm Beach County the supervisor of elections there, Susan Butcher has told our Greg Craig (ph) that she knows that her county is not going to be able to get that vote complete in time.

Palm Beach County, a little bit different than the other counties. Each one of these counties does their vote count separately and individually. They are going to look at all three of these major statewide races here in Florida and they are going to recount them separately. That's one of the reasons that they can't get it done on time.

Now, if they get one of those races done on time, they will certify that. And send it to the secretary of state. If they can't get the other ones done on time, those ones they will revert back to the original count on Saturday.

That's not good news for Democrats, Ana, because Palm Beach was one of their major strongholds, all three of their statewide candidates performed very well in Palm Beach and that would be a state where you would think the possibility of gaining some votes in this overall margin may occur.

So the one caveat we stated this, Ana, is there's certainly the possibility that this could open the door to a lawsuit on the Democrats' part to try and offer the opportunity for a court to say that that deadline could be extended. But as it stands right now, if that count is not done by Thursday at 3:00, we go back to the number that we had on Saturday - Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Ryan Nobles in Tallahassee for us. Thank you for that latest.

I want to talk more about all of this. Joining us now, Angela Rye, former executive director for the congressional black caucus and Jeff Ballabon, adviser to the Trump campaign.

Here's what Rick Scott's Democratic opponent Bill Nelson has to say today.

If Rick Scott wanted to make sure every legal ballot is counted, he would not be suing to try and stop voters from having their legal ballot counted as intended.

Angela, let me come you to first with this. For those who cast their ballots on times and legally, even if they weren't tabulated on time, shouldn't everyone want those votes to count? ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Every single votes should

count, Ana. And what your seeing are folks who have had a strangle hold on democracy for some time. This is not unique to Florida. We are seeing this also play out in Georgia. It should not be a surprise to anyone that we are talking about the Democratic process in counting votes when we have also the opportunity to make history in Florida and Georgia with two potentially black governors on the ballot.

It's no surprise at all. So it is interesting to me to hear someone like Rick Scott talking about fraud when we know that fraud is hardly ever there was a case. The only fraud in these elections are the fact that folks still want to suppress votes this many years after the 1965 voting rights act. It should be of no surprise to us at all that after Shelby versus Holder was heard at the Supreme Court that folks are still trying to figure out a way with - to play with people's lives by suppressing people's votes and that is exactly what is in play here. And they should do better. They should be better. But of course that's not what we are seeing today.

CABRERA: Jeff, should every vote count?

JEFF BALLABON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Sure, every vote should count. I mean, legal votes should count. But we know, you have that illegal votes were put in the mix. And, of course, they shouldn't count.

CABRERA: Wait. You just said we know illegal votes. But where are your facts coming from, though? There's the evidence.

BALLABON: Well, no one is disputing that illegal votes were mixed in with illegal votes. That's what we have agreed to.

RYE: I'm disputing it.

CABRERA: CABRERA: I don't think anybody's agreed to that.

BALLABON: Commissioner Snipes agreed to that. She just said we should put them all together because there are just a few of those and the rest of them are legal. So under her watch, illegal votes are put in and she is arguing we should count illegal votes.

CABRERA: Hold on though. Hold on though because facts are important here. And I can tell you with fact, the secretary of state's office has told us they received no complaints of illegal criminal activity regarding this election and the vote tally.

BALLABON: This is fascinating.

CABRERA: They knew that there is a lawsuit currently with Rick Scott who just filed a lawsuit alleging that there were votes counted after that deadline that were included ultimately in the total, but that hasn't been sorted out yet.

BALLABON: Ana, what is sorted out, which is beyond dispute, is that Brenda Snipes has already acknowledged and argued that illegal votes that she submitted together with legal votes, should be - because it is unclear how many that works. Should none of us be counted unless we not count the legal votes. That's not the way this works.

RYE: That's not a real thing. Excuse me, can I just climb in here?

CABRERA: We are going to go back to Ryan. We are going to make sure we get all the facts. The last - latest information we have us that there is no evidence of any criminal activity.

RYE: The FDLE said there was no evidence of fraud. That FDLE said there is no evidence of fraud. FDLE - OK. So here's the thing. You can talk over me, but that doesn't make you right. That's not accurate.

BALLABON: No. But you are talking about something different. That doesn't make what you're -- that you are saying doesn't disprove what I am saying.

RYE: So you don't want to hear what I got to say and this is exactly the problem, right. The reason why you are all screaming voter fraud, the reason why Ron Desantis has all these folks camped outside of Broward County screaming is because you are all afraid of what the truth may be. The truth maybe they did not win these elections.

BALLABON: NO. The truth is they won this election.

RYE: The truth is that Rick Scott -.

BALLABON: And the truth is it's always -- the Democrats said in advance --.

RYE: I'm going to let you go ahead and once you get to the period, I'm chime in. Go ahead.

[19:35:04] BALLABON: OK, fine. The Democrats in the last election already said that if the Republicans lose or when the Republicans lose, they are going to claim voter fraud and it was rigged. Democrats are simple telling what their playbook is. The fact is --.

RYE: But you are the one saying fraud.

BALLABON: In this case, it is so interesting that all the allegations are and that the recount when Republicans win. If someone never works the other way. Turns out that there's massive fraud going back a long time in Florida in these counties. And in this case, Brenda Snipes has admitted, this is not really a question of dispute, that illegal ballots were mixed in with legal ballots --.

RYE: OK. You are not saying - so this actually the fifth time that you have tried to lie. So let me just now chime in and fix this.

What I'm saying to you is Governor Scott, he went ahead and fix FDLE on this election and FDLE has come back and said there's no evidence of voter fraud. The other point that I think is important is you all continue to work diligently to suppress votes all over this country because you know what happens when real democracy shows up.

When real democracy shows up, you all don't win. And that is the fact of the matter. Broward County, Palm Beach County don't have the resources they need to count all of the votes. That is what is taking this process so long.

Initially-like you, I was upset at Brenda Snipes until I realized that her county has been under resourced. They are trying to ensure that every vote is counted. I have story after story in my twitter feed of folks saying they turned in their ballot a week early and they just found out that their vote wasn't counted because it didn't arrive until November 9th. The only fraud there is why are those votes hiding somewhere?

BALLABON: Possible. And yet - I'm sorry. And yet, it seems that the Democrats are not only arguing that illegal votes should be counted, by the way, Democrats won this --

RYE: I'm not arguing that.

BALLABON: The Democrats argue they should be counted. Is that something you couldn't hear?

CABRERA: I have not heard anybody argue illegal votes should be counted.

RYE: Nobody said that.

CABRERA: And I have to end the conversation here.

BALLABON: Excuse me. Noncitizen votes are illegal votes. And they have argued they should be counted.

CABRERA: And I'm sorry. But you are not speaking about facts right now, about noncitizens.

BALLABON: Our CNN website.

CABRERA: That is not on CNN's Web site. There is no evidence of large-scale voter fraud happening. And it is true that the Florida department of law enforcement doesn't have an investigation because there was no complaint made about illegal fraud. And there were election monitors throughout this election process.

RYE: Absolutely.

CABRERA: There is still ongoing litigation now after the filing today with Rick Scott. And so, again, we will see. We will hold judgment. We will get the answers, but let's not jump to conclusions without the evidence itself.

Thank you both for joining us. I really appreciate it, Angela Rye and Jeff Ballabon.

And in fact, let me read you the quote that we got from the Florida secretary of state.

It says quote "no evidence of criminal activity in the election tabulation process." All right. President Trump landing back in Washington at any moment

after his trip to France. Was it a successful weekend or is there still too much unfinished business?

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:42:22] CABRERA: Welcome back.

President Trump is expected to arrive back in Washington very soon following a weekend trip to Paris. That was mard (ph) by missteps. He went to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice, the end of fighting in World War I. But he made headlines when he cancel add visit to an American military cemetery in Paris that is just outside of Paris because of rainy weather, sending chief of staff John Kelly instead. It was about 50 miles away. He was supposed to take Marine One but the group that did go drove. And when the President appeared later with other world leaders at a ceremony today, he was rebuked by French President Emmanuel Macron for his proud nationalism and America-first policies.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying our interests first, who cares about the others? We erase what a nation holds dearest what gives it life, what makes it great, and what is essential. It is moral values.


CABRERA: That brings us to the weekend presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday night highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the President will need when he wakes up tomorrow.

And joining us now former national Security Council advisor and CNN national security Analyst Sam Vinograd. She spent two years in the Obama administration helping to prep for the President's daily brief.

And Sam, you traveled to nearly 20 countries working with President Obama. Again, you have been part of a number of Presidents daily briefings. Do you think they will be talking about reactions to the Paris trip?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, after all these trips we went on with President Obama, we did after-action assessments to talk about what we accomplished. And I think this time around the after-action assessment is really going to be focused on what the President didn't say.

Despite President Macron's so vociferously denouncing nationalism, the President stayed silent and in doing that he really picked a team. He has called himself a nationalist before. And his silence in France really adds momentum to nationalist movements in the United States and in countries throughout Europe.

Silence speaks volumes. And he not only stayed silent on nationalism, he also stayed silent on another key destabilizing force in Europe and around the world, and that's Russia. Not fully surprising, he has never criticized Putin very much in the past, but when he was on the world stage and had an opportunity to really lay out security risks, he, again, gave Putin a pass. And words matter, especially those that are unsaid.

CABRERA: As he gives attention for what he didn't do, what he didn't accomplish in France this week, what did he accomplish?

VINOGRAD: Well, Ana, I can tell you that we worked a lot when I was physically in the White House. And we actually worked even more when we were on the road because there were so many opportunities for engagement, especially at summits. They are actually like speed dating for meetings because there were so many counterparts around. So the President's decision to really do the bare minimum in France and to skip three summits in Asia which just kicked off this week, he really signaled to the world and to his counterparts that he is disinterested in actual engagement and disinterested in actual multilateralism.

He had several hours free yesterday afternoon and chose to spend those by himself. And that leaves a lot of unfinished business on the table, despite his twitter feed, forest mismanagement and election recounts in Florida aren't key U.S. security risks.

He has said that other issues like Iran is a priority. North Korea is a priority. He wants to work on trade. But when the opportunity to directly engage as key players was literally right there in front of him, he chose not to work on the issues, and that's going to impact I think his counterparts' decision on how much to invest in the relationship going forward. It's illogical to assume that these issues are priorities for him if he chooses not to actually work on them.

[19:46:17] CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, always good to have you with us.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you for being here.

Now, one of the world's most notorious accused drug lords goes on trial this week. And jurors will be serving under a veil of secrecy to ensure their safety. We will discuss next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:50:52] CABRERA: El Chapo, the mere mention of the notorious Mexican drug lord can strike fear. El Chapo, also known as Joaquin Guzman ran a drug empire worth billions in northern Mexico and some say he could still be in charge even from behind bars.

But this week, he will in a New York courtroom as El Chapo goes on trial for international drug trafficking, conspiring to murder rivals, gun charges, money laundering. This is a trial so fraught with potential danger the jurors are anonymous and will have armed U.S. marshals transporting them to and from court.

Joining us now to discuss, Joseph Lopez, also known as "the shark.' He is a criminal defense attorney. And his clients include members of the drug cartel. And also joining us is jury consultant Richard Gabriel. Good to have both of you with me. Both with great expertise to lend to the conversation.

Richard, let mow start with you. This is El Chapo. How do you keep this jury safe?

RICHARD GABRIEL, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, it's a big challenge because the anonymity thing really does depend on how much information those jurors shared about themselves during the jury selection process. I think one of the jurors actually said during the process that one of her neighbors had identified her as a juror when she realized that she hadn't been at work that day.

So it's -- it depends on how much information there is out there. I think as we have seen in a lot of these high-profile trials, it's sometimes not that difficult to get information, even from small pieces of information about the jurors and to discover who they are. So it's really how that impacts their feeling of safety and how much it impacts how they listen to the evidence in the case.

CABRERA: Joseph, what's your perspective knowing what El Chapo is capable of? How big of an issue is security for those jurors?

JOSEPH LOPEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't really think there's going to be a real issue with security. I mean, we are here in the United States. El Chapo is down there. I don't think the jurors are going to be in danger. I mean, the government is always screaming in cases like this. There's dangers, there's dangers, it is dangerous. But I don't see any dangers. I think they use anonymous jury is certainly sufficient enough to guard against any type of dangers. I think the case will just proceed like any other case.

CABRERA: But would El Chapo exact revenge on the jurors if they convict him? Would he order his people to do something?

LOPEZ: I don't think -- I don't see it as a reality. El Chapo knows he is in the United States. He knows that's not something you can do here. He is already promised he is not going to harm the jurors. I don't see that. I just think it is overreaction. I don't think anything is going to happen. I think the case are going to go smoothly. It is just going to happen just like any other trial is going to happen.

CABRERA: I hope you are right.

Richard, a number of jurors indicated during jury selection they really didn't know much about El Chapo. One young woman even indicating she didn't know what the term drug cartel meant. As a jury consultant, is this exactly what you are looking for in a juror? GABRIEL: Well, as much as possible, you do want blank slate jurors.

Jurors who are neutral who haven't necessarily heard very much about the case. That being said, I'm not sure at this point, they haven't heard much about him because they could easily go home and use the Google and look up this type of thing. Whether they have never heard the term drug cartel before, I don't know about that either.

You worry a little about two jurors who have so little information that they are not sophisticated about it because you do make the assumption that for the most part jurors are of the world. They have heard about things. And it's an extra layer in these high-profile trials that you are always looking for, how much do they know about the case? What kind of preexisting opinions and beliefs? What are their own experiences that they bring to the table because that becomes the filter through which they are going to listen to the evidence?

I do think that this is not a trial that's going to be like any other trial. You have got all kinds of layers. You do have the potential danger, even though may not be real. Jurors may perceive that it's real. And so that adds an extra layer of tension. They know they are being watched. They know that media is watching this case. They know that they are being protected. And so that adds an extra layer and an extra layer of import.

Now whether that helps the defense in the case, whether it helps the prosecution, we don't know. It can actually harm both of them, but it makes it more difficult, more challenging than an ordinary trial.

CABRERA: Joseph, if El Chapo is convicted, what message will that send to other drug lords?

[19:55:06] LOPEZ: Well, it's going to send the same message it always sends, that if you come to the United States and you sell drugs, you are going to get convicted. I mean, it's not going to deter anybody. We have been locking up drug dealers for the last 25, 30 years and it continues. So I don't think it made deter at all in Mexico.

And I think the trial is like any other case like the Gotti case, the family secrets case. We have all these high-profile cases where all of these kingpins and all these wise guys and no one has ever been harmed at all by any defendant who has ever been convicted of anything that I know of since I have been practicing law for 30 years. So I don't really see it as a security issue. And I know the jurors will feel a lot better because their names aren't going to be published in the newspaper and maybe their neighbors won't know who they and I understand that. And I think that it can actually help both sides in a case like this so the jurors can be able to just think about what they are doing without any outside influences and without being scared. So I think it's kind of a good thing in a situation like this.

CABRERA: Joseph "the shark" Lopez and Richard Gabriel, good to have both of you with us. Thanks very much for your insight.

LOPEZ: Thank you. GABRIEL: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Back to our top story, breaking news. The California wildfires, some residents only had five minutes warning to get out. We will go live to the fire zone just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.