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The Florida Recount Is Underway; Rhetoric Rises Between Democrats and The GOP -- Judge Tells Them to Sit Down; Palm Beach County Says Fairly Confident in Making the Recount Deadline but Only in The Senate Race; Death Toll Rises and Hundreds Are Missing as The Wildfires Rage in California; Firefighter to Go Straight from The Bar Shooting to Wildfires; Marvel Comics Creator Stan Lee Dies. Aired 2- 2:30p ET

Aired November 12, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Brianna Keilar, thanks so much, my friend. I appreciate it. Congratulations on the new show today. Hi, everyone. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN on this Monday afternoon.

We begin in Florida where the campaigns are over but the mudslinging is just getting dirtier with Trump talking about quote unquote, infected ballots. That is because of what you are saying. These are live pictures right now in Florida. The recount in not just one but three races. U.S. Senate, governor, and the state's agriculture commission are the tightest of the three recounts triggered by law due to the margin of votes between the winner and loser being less than 0.5 percent. Election workers have until Thursday at 3:00 p.m. to finish the second count.

In the meantime, the lawsuit and insults are flying. Florida Democrats say Republican Rick Scott in the lead for Senate is acting like a, quote, Latin American dictator for trying and failing to seize ballots and impound voting machines. Rick Scott, meantime, is calling his opponent Bill Nelson a, quote, sore loser, after trying to steal the election after thousands of votes narrowed Scott's lead.

Then in the midst of all this you have the president of the United States tweeting this, "before election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible. Ballots massively infected. Must go with election night!"

Let's start in Florida. CNN's Jessica Dean is in Lauderhill in Broward County. It's crunch time. Deadline, Thursday afternoon. And it is my understanding that Palm Beach County originally saying, whoa, they're not going to make it in time, and now they're saying they're going to make it in some of the races.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, there's a little bit going on. Let's get you caught up. You mentioned Palm Beach. Let's start there. You're exactly right. We heard today from the supervisor there, they have these old machines. They were concerned they weren't going to be able to complete the recount by Thursday. If that happens, they have go with the unofficial results they turned in on Saturday.

They were concerned they were not going to be able do that. She now says, OK, I think we can make it through the Senate race. So, they are hopeful that in Palm Beach County they will be able to complete the recount on the Senate race. Here in Broward County, they're making their way through the process right now. There have been a lot of lawsuits, a flurry of lawsuits surrounding this. In just the last hour or so, lawyers for both sides were in a courtroom in Broward County.

Republicans were asking for additional oversight here in Broward County. Brenda Snipes the supervisor here saying there was no fraud, there was no evidence of fraud.

The judge saying there is indeed no evidence of fraud coming out of Broward County. The two sides compromised by bringing in three extra guards to monitor what's going on here as they make their way through the recount process here in Broward County, all of this sparking a lot of attention, creating a lot of attention, and drawing out a lot of protesters. It's much quieter on this Monday, but we were here over the weekend.

We saw a number of protesters very animated from both sides, but a larger contingent from the Republican side, people who were yelling at Brenda Snipes, yelling chants of "lock her up," "she needs to go," but a little quieter today. But this also, as you know, has gotten the President's attention, tweeting about it all weekend. He wants to go with election day results, but as you noted, this is being done by law in Florida. If you're in a 0.5 percent margin, it automatically triggers a recount. Right now, Florida is following the law. We'll see what happens on Thursday.

BALDWIN: Jessica, thank you. It's so caustic that the judge ordered the lawyers to, quote/unquote, ramp down the rhetoric. He was hearing one of the motions in one of the three lawsuits Governor Scott's campaign has filed and you can see for yourself how tense things became when a lawyer for election official accused the Scott campaign of filing a factually incorrect statement.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Memorandum of law. For counsel to suggest that I read that wrong and I did not put what I read in that paper is outrageous. At bottom of that page they say exactly what I said. And for him to suggest he didn't say it, judge --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, during that same period, Dr. Sykes released thousands of initially unaccounted for votes frequently in the dead of night with no explanation.

[14:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's exactly what I said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not what he said.

JUDGE: Have a seat, have a seat, have a seat, have -- have a seat. That's enough.


BALDWIN: That's enough. CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles who has been following each and every twist and turn of Florida recount, he is live for us in Tallahassee.

CNN political analyst Seung Min Kim who is a White House reporter for "Washington Post" is with us. So great to see both of you.

Ryan, you have been there in the trenches. Trump is saying, let's go back to the election night count, but that is the count that has triggered where they are precisely now.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, Jessica laid it out pretty well. The President can say all he wants on his Twitter feed, but it doesn't have anything to do with what's happening in Florida. I don't think we've focused enough how much Florida had changed their election laws after what happened two years ago with the recount. They've improved their machines, they've improved the process by which they couldn't the ballots, and there are specific changes. They're automatically triggered. No one can order it. There's a simple magic formula. It has to be within half a percent. It takes place whether you want it to or not. The only way you can stop it is if the losing candidate says they don't want it to go forward. The President doesn't know what he's talking about. There's no Democrat or Republican who thinks it I should not go forward. They're counting these votes because that's what they're mandated to do by Florida law.

BALDWIN: You hear all these claims of fraud by Trump and the Republicans, and Rick Scott is popping up on Fox News mighty often, but, again, there is no evidence.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, REPORTER FOR 'WASHINGTON POST": There is no evidence. And the judge who ruled Rick Scott's motion ruled that as well. You may be wondering why they're going after it so aggressively. First of all, he's done this before. He did it at the beginning of his presidency that there were millions of fraudulent votes in the 2016 election and that's why he lost the popular vote. But they about the fact that they were able to make gains at least on election night. Were Trump and others big successes on an otherwise disappointing night? He kind of seemed to push aside the shellacking he got in the house but looked at the successes and gains made in the Senate. If you look back to these results and as the accounts and the tally of votes go on, in the Senate, the votes -- the Republican majority, it could have been as high as 55 seats on election night. That could go pretty much as low as 52 at the end of the day which is not a big success for president Trump and the Republican Party. So that is another way of looking at why the President is fighting this so much. You mentioned Rick Scott going on Fox News so much.

BALDWIN: Stirring the pot.

KIM: It's just fascinating because he kind of distanced himself from President Trump during the campaign, but it's really near the end and after the elections happened he's embracing his tactics with the President a little but more.

BALDWIN: Let's focus on Palm Beach County. I know, Ryan, Jessica hit on this, but they said they may not make the Thursday 3:00 p.m. deadline, but now they do, but only for the Senate race. So, then what?

NOBLES: I think the open question there, Brooke, is, first of all, to explain what's happening in palm beach county it's different than what's happening here. They actually have to do this recount three different times for all three races. The agricultural race, the governor's race, and the Senate race. The other point I would make about that, they're expressing a lot more optimism that they can get it done in time, at least the Senate race. This leaves open the door that perhaps we could see some sort of lawsuit filed by the Democrats and by their lead lawyer to perhaps ask a federal judge to extend the deadline because if Palm Beach isn't able to do it, perhaps there another county somewhere that runs into some sort of a problem where they can't get it done on time.

[14:10:00] Florida law, we should point out, is very specific about it. You've got to get it done by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, but what the Democrats may try and intervene with here is say that the constitution guarantees the rights for these votes to be recounted.

My sources at this point are saying that Democrats are holding off on the lawsuit. They're going to allow Palm Beach county to breathe a little bit here without getting the pressure and the lawsuit looming, but it's something to keep a very close eye on. You know the Democrats will want to see every single vote recounted, especially in a county like palm beach where there's a heavy Democratic turnout.

BALDWIN: Ryan, thanks so much. Seung Min, thank you.

We have to talk about the most destructive fire in California's history. My next guest is the mayor of Paradise, California. She said 80 percent to 90 percent of the homes are destroyed, including her own.

And backlash over President Trump over his decision over the weekend to skip a World War I Memorial honoring fallen American troops because of the rain.

This as the French president, Emmanuel Macron, criticizes Trump to his face about his America First agenda.

And a shameful salute. What we're learning about this photo of high school students with what appears to be Nazi salutes. One holocaust museum is taking note. You're watching CNN newsroom. I'll be right back.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The wildfires in California, the death toll is up to 31 with more than 200 people unaccounted for. The fires are destroying everything in their path, showing no sign of slowing down. And most of the town of Paradise in Northern California is gone. The fast-moving flames gave people who live there little warning. I want you to listen to this father and child as they try to escape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're OK, we're OK. We've just got to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We'll be OK. Please, help us, lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything's going to be gone.


BALDWIN: Joining me on the phone is the mayor of Paradise, Mayor Jodie Jones. Mayor Jones, we're all thinking of you all. Our deep condolences to you and all of Paradise. I know you lost your home. I'm going ask you about that in a second. In terms o a search for folks in the area, can you just give me an update on that?

JODIE JONES, MAYOR OF PARADISE, CALIFORNIA: That's being handled by the sheriff's office. He has various teams out there doing a very systematic search. I'm sure you can get more details from him. That's not being handled by the town of paradise.

BALDWIN: 80 percent of the homes are gone including your own. Can you describe how you got out?

JONES: Well, I was on the north end of town running an errand and it was very scary. It took a long time to get out, and there was fire on both sides of the car. You could feel the heat coming through. You could see hotels and structures and frames 30 feet in the air on fire. It was scary.

BALDWIN: You could hear the father singing to his daughter as he was trying to get out. Could you feel the heat in your car?

JONES: In certain places I could.

BALDWIN: I'm sure you don't know where you're going to be in four hours let alone in four days let alone in four weeks. But have you even started to think about you, not just as mayor but as Jodie Jones?

JONES: Oh. Yes. We're currently living in our motor home parked in a vacant lot. That's fine for now. We have a bed and a roof. We're good, but that's not good for a long term. Yes, we've started looking for a more permanent place to live.

BALDWIN: And last question, your biggest concern this very moment for your community.

JONES: Our community does not appear to currently still be in danger of the fire. My biggest concern is to get the debris cleaned up and the safety hazards out of the way so we can get our people in so they can view their property as soon as possible.

BALDWIN: You have a roof and you're very grateful. Thank you for jumping on the phone. I know you have a lot to do. We appreciate your time.

[14:20:00] With me now Frank Lima, he is a Los Angeles firefighter captain. He was fighting fires this morning. Captain, I appreciate your time as well. Grateful for all the work you and your fellow firefighters are doing, risking your life. How are you holding up and what is it like on the front lines?

FRANK LIMA. LOS ANGELES FIREFIGHTER CAPTAIN: Yes, Brooke. Thank you for your time. The front lines both in the north in paradise and in the south in Los Angeles and Ventura counties are incredible. The volume of fire and the intensity of fire due to the climate is unprecedented.

We have heavy fuels, very low single-digit humidity, very high winds, and the topography that drives these fires. The things that our members have gone through and some of them, which I was at the borderline shooting, have went right from that shooting and worked directly into the fires that started here, and they've been 48 to 72 hours on shift, doing what we do. We go there, we risk our lives. Our firefighters are out there. Meanwhile many of them have lost their own homes and have been displaced, but they're still serving the community. So, they have this anvil of worry on their back. Like I said, while their own fam wills are suffering and they have been displaced because their own homes have been destroyed, we have counseling that we try to help them get through these things, because it's a long-term cumulative trauma.

They're responding to fires when their own lives are at risk. Hydrants are going dry. Their lives are being jeopardized yet. They're worried about their loved ones left behind, we have things we provide through our International Association Of Firefighters that provides immediate financial support and helps with many displaced firefighters. So, while we're a job that's unique when a hurricane happens, earthquake, lava, flooding, they stay there to the end even though their wives and kids, the only things they own on their backs are their clothes.

BALDWIN: It's amazing. It's amazing. It's extraordinary what you all do. I want to repeat what you just said. You respond to the thousand oaks massive shooting and the very next day you are sent off to fight these massive wildfires. I want to ask you about your own family. I was talking with an Arizona hotshot firefighter. He was trying to read to his family while fighting the fire. Do you call up your family every night when you're out in the thick of it?

LIMA: Right now, I'm doing the union stuff but after 27 years of going through hurricanes and things, wildfires in California are pretty much the norm. Yes, we try to, but as of the last couple of days while you're in Malibu deep, there's zero cellphone reception, so even if the fire blows through and you have a little bit of break of time and you want to text your wife or loved one --

BALDWIN: You can't.

LIMA -- there's not that avenue to do that. It gets tough. It adds to the stress, to the cumulative mental trauma that we go through and that our members try to cope with from all the things that they're seeing, massive high tolls -- the death tolls are increasing. It gets really tough for our firefighters on the lines worrying about their families.

BALDWIN: California needs you, needs you guys and gals, and we just -- I just admire, deeply admire everything you do. Thank you so much for the time. I really appreciate it. Thank your families as well. Thank you. Thank you, Frank.

LIMA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next here on CNN, blame the weather? President Trump facing backlash after skipping an event to honor fallen American soldiers because of the rain in France. Is the criticism justified?

Also, just in, remembering a legend co-creator Stan Lee has died. More on his life and legacy next.


BALDWIN: Breaking news in the world of Hollywood, an American icon in comic books has passed away. Marvel Comics cocreator Stan Lee, the brains behind "Spider-Man," "Black Panther," "The Fantastic Four" has died. He was 95 and CNN Stephanie Elam takes a look back at his legendary writing career.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Spider-man, Iron Man, they would not exist without Stan Lee, the visionary behind Marvel Comics lived a life almost as incredible as the characters he created.

STAN LEE, COMIC BOOK CREATOR: I'm pretty proud of the fact that some of the stories I wrote so many years ago are still being read and hopefully enjoyed by the public and people are making motion pictures based on them and television series.

ELAM: "Spider-Man" debuted in 1962 and became Lee's most successful comic book creation.

LEE: "Spider-Man" is my favorite because he's the most popular.

ELAM: Lee's spidey senses were tingly. Later a movie was released and was a blockbuster hit.

LEE: As a child, I really didn't know anybody who shot webs or crawled on buildings or wore suits of armor and flew or anything like that. I just imagined them, and there they were.