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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Alleges Forged Ballots In Florida, Calls For Halting Recounts Without Providing Proof; Source: Democrats To Investigate Hush Payments From Trump; Michelle Obama Says Melania Trump Never Reached Out To Her For Advice On Being First Lady; Trump Blames Stock Market Slide On Democrats; At Least 31 Dead As Wildfires Ravage California; Arizona GOP Senate Candidate McSally Concedes to Democrat Sinema; Stan Lee Dies at 95. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 12, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:06] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump cries foul in Florida, but where is the evidence of forgery and fraud?

Plus Trump blaming Democrats for the stock market plunge today. Does that add up?

And Melania Trump responding to Michelle Obama. The current First Lady not calling her predecessor for advice, why? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, stolen. That is the opening line of an e-mail that was just sent from, quote, unquote, Trump headquarters. And they're talking about Florida. President Trump is now using the word "forged" to talk about the results. And it comes as the governor and Senate races in that state are too close to call. The recount under way as I speak.

Now, the fund-raising e-mail without providing any evidence, we'll show it to you here, warns that, quote, corrupt Democrats are trying to, quote, steal election victories in Florida. Now, it's a baseless claim because this is an automatic recount. It's a baseless claim that President Trump has been pushing for days.

In fact this morning he hit twitter saying, quote, "The Florida 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", whatever that is. Must go with election night.

OK, so let's be clear. This recount was triggered automatically under Florida law because of what happened on election night. The results showed Rick Scott leading Bill Nelson by about 12,500 votes in that Senate race. OK, so that margin is 0.15%.

Again, anything under half a percent triggers an automatic recount in Florida. This is the law. This is an automatic thing. It isn't put forward by any corrupt person, it's the law. We all know Florida has election problems and it's unacceptable that some of the same counties at the center of the hanging chad debacle of the Bush-Gore election are once again leading the problem. That's pathetic. But there's no evidence to suggest fraud.

In fact, the Florida state elections division which is run by current Republican Governor Rick Scott, right, in that race for Senate, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have said they have found no evidence of voter fraud. And yet, this has not stopped Scott from talking about rampant fraud without providing any evidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in this great state.

Senator Nelson is clearly to trying to commit fraud to try to win this election. He's just a clear sore loser trying to steal an election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Again, automatic recount. OK, no one is calling. Now, steal an election committing fraud are big claims to make without having evidence. So why make such sweeping and dramatic claims about American democracy when history indicates Scott is almost certainly going to win, recount or not?

Why do I say that? Well because here are the facts, between 2000 and 2016 there were 4600 statewide general elections in Florida. Then you had a recount in, as you see, less than 30 of them. Only three had recounts where the end result changed, OK? And the average swing in those elections after the recount was a swing of 311 votes.

Scott's margin right now is 12,500. So, math is on his side. So why is there these calls of fraud? Why is President Trump using the word "forged"? Well, it's one of his favorite made-up lines of attack. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Isn't it amazing the way they say there's no voter fraud. Folks, it's a rigged system.

The process is rigged. This whole election is being rigged. And I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest. Because I think my side was rigged.

The only way we can lose in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on. And I'm telling you November 8th, we better be careful because that election is going to be rigged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. So candidate Trump was pretty clear, right, the election was going to be rigged. And then when he won, well, I mean, he had to find a way for it to be rigged so he still claimed voter fraud because he could not stomach losing the popular vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: If you look at voter registration, you look at the dead people that are registered to vote, who vote, you look at people that are registered in two states. You look at all of these different things that are happening with registration, you take a look at those registration, you're going to find and we're going to do an investigation on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And he did. But at one point, 44 states refused to give some information to Trump's commission, and the commission itself was then eventually disbanded. They didn't find anything. One former member summed it up this way.

They didn't find any evidence of widespread voter fraud. That was the bottom line. But as we've seen, the facts don't matter. It hasn't stopped the President from pushing baseless claims about America's election system.

Jessica Dean begins our coverage OUTFRONT live in Lauderhill, Florida. And Jessica, the legal battle in Florida as we, you know, we're going through these facts is getting uglier and uglier.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening to you, Erin. And that's exactly right. There's just lawsuit after lawsuit that we're seeing here in Florida. They continue to come in really by the hour.

[19:05:07] We have a new lawsuit against Rick Scott that's demanding him to recuse himself from his participation in this whole recount process. We've got another lawsuit that came in recently that's from the founder of Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch that is accusing the supervisor of elections here bring us tonight of corruption and fraud. But as you just methodically went through, so far no one has found any evidence of fraud here in the state of Florida as they go through this recount process.

And interestingly, earlier today in a Broward County courtroom, the Scott attorneys and the Nelson attorneys all in there today as the Scott lawyers tried to get them to impound some voting equipment and ballots. They ultimately decided to put three additional deputies here to monitor and help with this process.

But the judge talking to both sets of attorneys in that courtroom today, telling them, asking them to ramp down the rhetoric. That everything that's going on here in Florida is being beamed across the country, being beamed across the world, and that words really matter here.

The facts are, as you said, Erin, the facts are that this recount is by law. It was within that half percent margin, and so right now all counties across Florida are doing their best to get this done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here in Broward County, we heard from Dr. Snipes today. She said they anticipate being able to meet that Thursday deadline when all of the recount votes are expected into the Secretary of State's office. Palm Beach now saying they may not make it because they have older equipment. But they think they can get the Senate race done, so of course we're going to continue to keep an eye on that. Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you so much.

And now let's get here to our panel. Scott Jennings, former Advisor to Senator Mitch McConnell and the former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, and John Avlon, our Senior Political Analyst. All right, John, let me start with you. Look --

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

BURNETT: -- as I said, it is pretty pathetic here that Florida, you know, has so many issues, but we put that aside for a moment because this is an automatic trigger here, right? This is law, this isn't corruption by anybody, this is an automatic trigger. There's been no evidence of fraud. There's been no evidence put forth of fraud, there's been no evidence found by Rick Scott's own team of fraud. What's going on?

AVLON: The President is using fact-free fear mongering and Rick Scott is following suit. They still comes from the top. But the fact that the President is leading this way and Rick Scott's own administration cannot back up the governor's claims is really troubling because it's an intentional attempt to disrupt our Democratic norms. This is an automatic recount. Scott is actually in pretty good position at the end of the day.

BURNETT: I mean, 12,500 show it's clean from a historical perspective.

AVLON: Yes. So, on the one hand, you've got Florida men engaged in Lawsuit-Palooza in a typical kind of chaos in Florida elections that we've got muscle memory about and some scar tissues in the country. On the other hand, what the President did this morning is something very different. By saying that that no recount was possible, by saying that you had to use only Election Day numbers which, by the way, would effectively disenfranchise many members of the military on Veterans Day. He is really running down our Democratic processes. And that's disgusting.

BURNETT: I mean, it does create fear about that. And Scott, when you think about it, right, the e-mail that I mention, right, with the subject line, it says President Trump refuses to let the corrupt Democrats of Broward County steal our election victories in Florida. What do you make of his use of the word -- this is the fund-raising e- mail. Corruption, refuses, steal, corrupt. That comes from the campaign. His own words, right, also include forged and infected.

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRES. G.W. BUSH: Yes. It's a fund-raising e-mail. And I think both parties are guilty of writing things in fund-raising e-mails that none of the rest of us would find acceptable in the normal course of discourse. I've certainly seen some out of the Democratic Party too that they shouldn't be proud of either.

I'm not proud of this e-mail because as has been stated, on Thursday at 3:00, Nelson is going to be losing and Scott is going to win and Nelson is going to have to decide at that point whether he wants to continue to put Florida through this. So, if this thing just plays out for a couple more days, I think the Republicans are actually going to get what they want unless Nelson and his lawyers decide to drag Florida, you know, through a huge mess. But it strikes me that they're in a strong position and there's really no need for this ramped-up rhetoric right now given that Republicans are highly likely to win.

BURNETT: But they went straight DEFCON.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Straight DEFCON and it really is dangerous and destabilizing to a democracy because as John alluded to, military ballots and overseas Americans who still vote here, they have until the 16th to get their ballots here as long as they were postmarked by November 6th. And so, yes, his demand effectively disenfranchises military folks on Veterans Day. Really nice touch. He also didn't go to Arlington today, but that's another story.

And also this is the law. This is an established law. The 16th is a real deadline. So it's just, again, sowing this fear.

[19:10:03] And I'll say one nice thing about Republicans. Scott is going to like this.

JENNINGS: Yes.

WALSH: The Republican establishment in Arizona has presided over a recount that has been calm, collected, orderly, and that has handed the seat to a Democrat. Same in Orange County. These are Republican folks administering these, counting, counting, counting votes.

BURNETT: Well that's what you would like to think and you want people to believe about this country, though, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: But what the President is sowing very clearly, I mean, he's not mincing any words about it, is that if you're not on my team, you're corrupt and you're out to cheat. And that's what he's saying.

WALSH: Right,

BURNETT: I'm not paraphrasing, that's what he's saying.

JENNINGS: Sure. And I think there are some Republicans who are concerned about the incompetence. And so even if it's unwitting, I think there are Republican concerns that incompetence may lead to a tainted count. But in this particular case, the margin is so wide, I'm not sure that it's ultimately going to matter. And so what I would like to see the Republicans do here is follow what I Understand Rick Scott's legal strategy to be, which is let's just follow Florida law to its natural conclusion and everything will be OK.

BURNETT: Which he's doing. John, why is he not recusing himself? Because, I mean -- again, what is there to lose, right? The system should work. You know, he is --

WALSH: There should be competent people.

BURNETT: Why not just say, OK, fine. I mean, for any --

AVLON: Well, I think for the same reason the Brian Kemp didn't recuse himself. I mean, I think you've got folks who are in positions of power and they don't want to give up that power until the deal is done. And I think that does undercut confidence. Look, you know, again, the Democrats in Broward County don't have the most sterling reputation around this stuff but that should not be --

WALSH: The woman who's in charge of Broward County, she was appointed by Jeb Bush.

AVLON: No. That's where I was going. And retained by Governor Scott.

JENNINGS: And that may have been a good idea 15 years ago but that doesn't excuse current incompetence which is clearly happening in the --

WALSH: But Rick Scott kept her on. So, I mean, these are decisions they made and they're now blaming her. You know, she wasn't transparent about the number of ballots.

JENNINGS: Well she should be blamed, because the courts are blaming her. So she should be blamed.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: -- but also in terms of when you're talking about coming into 2020 and Florida being at the center of this, right? The pathetic nature of what we are looking at must be put within that broader context.

AVLON: And, of course, we're all -- you know, we're having flashbacks to 2000.

BURNETT: Yes.

AVLON: And look, one of the reasons the system is overwhelmed is they bet on roughly 5 million turnout and then had turnout closer to 8 million.

BURNETT: Right.

AVLON: In 2020, those numbers are going to be much higher. So, you know, the reason that ballots come in from, you know, more populous counties later is because there are more people who voted. So the one thing is there's no excuse not to have updated machinery. There's no excuse not to fund this appropriately. This is the longest lasting democracy in the world, folks. We should start acting like it.

BURNETT: And yet, why -- let me just ask Scott before we go, why does he always go there to say the system is rigged and fraudulent?

JENNINGS: I don't know. I mean maybe he feels that way. But, you know, we don't have a national elections administrator. Certainly not the President. And I think most Republicans --

BURNETT: But does he have an obligation as the President to not go there, to not always try to demean and diminish the system that we have?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean --

AVLON: Yes.

JENNINGS: -- of course.

BURNETT: OK.

JENNINGS: When we known him not to engage in ramped-up hyperbole about every single topic. And most Republicans resist the idea that we need a national elections administrator, certainly not the President. This is supposed to be handled at the state and local level.

BURNETT: Right.

JENNINGS: It is currently being handled that way. And it strikes me that if Scott's strategy is followed, it will work out to Republicans' benefit. So, I don't know why, but I will say to John's point, in the big picture here, 2020 with way more people voting than we had this year --

BURNETT: Yes.

JENNINGS: -- this is the issue. If we can't handle a midterm with slightly higher turnout, what are we going to do with the next Presidential?

BURNETT: Yes. All right.

WALSH: Yes, get ready.

BURNETT: Thank you all.

And next, the list growing. Democrats vowing to investigate the President on everything, his taxes, allegedly paying hush money to a porn star and a playmate. Well, and they've got the house now, so are we talking impeach? A key member of the Oversight Committee is with me next.

Plus, former First Lady Michelle Obama opening up about that inauguration moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: I made my own optic adjustment. I stopped even trying to smile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And look at these pictures. I mean, it's terrifying when you think about what is happening in California. People forced to drive through the flames of the deadliest wildfire in California history. The toll rising, and we're live on the ground tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:18:05] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump facing a slew of investigations. Democrats of course are taking control over the House. That means they have the power to investigate, to subpoena. And a Democratic aide tells CNN the House Oversight Committee is going to investigate hush money payments specifically made to silence women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, right, porn star, playmate, others. These are payments the Wall Street Journal has now reported that President Trump was directly involved with and that is far from the only issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Our very first witness after January 3rd, we will subpoena Mr. -- or we will summon, if necessary subpoena, Mr. Whitaker.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: We definitely want to look at the emolument clause, possible violation. We want to look at things like the FBI building fiasco where the President injected himself into that debate.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I think having a hearing on whether the President of the United States who calls the free press and in so doing the first amendment the enemy of the people is also trying to use the instruments of state power to punish the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, Congressman Schiff you saw there, the last person speaking, referring to President Trump's opposition to AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, which of course is now the parent of CNN. And his attacks on Amazon, which owns The Washington Post.

So let's go OUTFRONT now to the Democratic Congressman from Virginia, Gerry Connolly, who's on the House Oversight Committee. Congressman, nice to see you. So the man expected --

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA: Good to be with you, Erin. And, by the way, welcome back.

BURNETT: Thank you, thank you. It's great to be here. So, the man expected to lead your committee, Elijah Cummings, we saw him there, he's been focusing in part on those hush money payments, right, and he's been doing so for months. Is that going to be the first issue your committee tackles?

CONNOLLY: Well, he'll be the incoming chairman. And if that's what he wants to tackle, that will be the first issue we tackle. But I do think that we have to step back a little bit. Democrats will use subpoenas as a tool for investigation, but it will be a last resort tool.

[19:20:07] We're not going to go subpoena crazy the way let's say Dan Burton did in the Bill Clinton years. He issued a thousand subpoenas, that deluded that value of the subpoena and debased the committee. We're not going to do that. We're going to restore the committee's credibility and use this as a tool as it was designed to be.

BURNETT: So, you know, to that effect, the former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, said don't get ahead of yourselves, guys. You're referring to 1,000 subpoenas, right? When Bill Clinton was President, he said that it back fired. He had a warning specifically for the Democrats like yourself. And here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: If all you do is end up in investigations, which unfortunately we did in '98, it actually hurts you because the country wants to see things work. The country doesn't want to have the House Democrats spend all day every day in investigations and in open warfare against the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, you know, Gingrich had that massive win, right, in 1994. That Clinton focus back fired, right, they actually lost seats in the House in 1998. Is he right?

CONNOLLY: Well, he's right if what he means by that is don't do what Dan Burton did. But if what he means is continue the Republican practice of the last two years of essentially looking at zero ethical issues, zero controversial policy issues, zero of the things that concern all of us about this presidency --

BURNETT: Yes.

CONNOLLY: -- we will not take that advice.

BURNETT: You say a thousand is too many, but -- I mean, that sounds like a lot, right? Was it in your mind 300, 500, 30? I mean, we're trying to about subpoena.

CONNOLLY: Well, Erin, I'm not going to speculate how many. I will tell you this. In the last two years, Elijah Cummings and I between us have 64 outstanding subpoena requests to Trey Gowdy, the Republican Chairman of our committee. He's issued in that time period exactly one. That's way too few.

BURNETT: OK.

CONNOLLY: And -- But again, it's a matter of necessity not making a political point. Unfortunately for all of us, this is a target-rich administration.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about a political point, right, because, you know, Jerry Nadler is expected to lead the House Judiciary Committee for Democrats, right. He would be the chairman there. He said if Trump's involved with these hush payments, you know, with porn stars, play mates, right, obviously you've got possible campaign finance law violations and in his view it could, quote, very well be an impeachable offense.

But I have to ask you, right, if you have a Republican Senate, is going for impeachment under any situation pure politics? I mean, you're not going to actually -- the guy is not going to leave. You don't have the Senate.

CONNOLLY: Yes, I just think impeachment -- talking about impeachment right now is very premature. You've got to remember impeachment is the end of a process, not the beginning of a process. I think we've got plenty to keep us busy before we get, if ever, to that. That doesn't mean there aren't things that are deeply offensive about this President and some of which may rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors under the constitution. But I think it's way too early to make that judgment.

BURNETT: Congressman, quickly before we go. Some say Nancy Pelosi past her moment, that she should not serve. Some of those include incoming freshmen congressmen. What's your view, Nancy Pelosi, should she be speaker?

CONNOLLY: Well, I think Nancy Pelosi has certainly earned everybody's enormous respect. She is among the most talented leaders we've ever had. She just helped almost single handedly restore the Democratic majority at a time we desperately needed in this country.

BURNETT: That's a yes.

CONNOLLY: So she deserves respect and consideration. However, we also have to look at what comes next and we've got to see if there is a viable, credible alternative to the current leadership and give them some consideration as well because we've got to worry about the future.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

CONNOLLY: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And next, First Lady Melania Trump responding after Michelle Obama said this about their relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has she reached out to you?

OBAMA: No. No, she hasn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And the blame game. President Trump says it's Democrats' fault that the stock market plunged today. But his argument, well, we looked at the math and it doesn't add up. You'll see.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:27:49] BURNETT: New tonight, Melania Trump firing back, responding to Michelle Obama who says she offered Melania Trump an open phone line, an offer Melania has refused. It's all coming out as Michelle Obama speaks out about her husband, their relationship, being first lady, and President Trump. Kate Bennett is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (voice-over): Former First Lady Michelle Obama in a new cover story for Elle magazine, taking another swipe at President Donald Trump while promoting her book, "Becoming." This time without mentioning him by name, telling interviewer Oprah Winfrey, "Progress isn't made through fear. We're experiencing that right now. Fear is the coward's way of leadership".

Trying to remain positive while the country grapples with a new President, a President that Obama can't believe is not Hillary Clinton. Writing in her book she still wonders how people voted for Trump whom she calls a misogynist.

OBAMA: People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the poles if they want their politics to reflect their values.

BENNETT (voice-over): And how on inauguration day she witnessed a different celebration than her husband's.

The vibrant diversity of the two previous inaugurations was gone. Someone from Barrack's administration might have said that the optics there were bad. That what the public saw didn't reflect the President's reality or ideals. But in this case, maybe it did. Realizing it, I made my own optic adjustment. I stopped even trying to smile.

BENNETT (voice-over): One Trump that Obama isn't openly criticizing is Melania Trump.

ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC ANCHOR: Is the current First Lady -- how do you think she is doing in defining who she is?

OBAMA: You know, one of the things you learn as a former, it's like I don't judge what a current is doing, you know. So I'd prefer not to, you know, speak on what she's doing versus what I did.

BENNETT (voice-over): And although Obama hosted Trump for a brief welcome tea at the White House after the election, telling her that she was available for advice any time should Trump need her, Obama's phone has remained silent.

ROBERTS: I know that Laura Bush reached out to you and said if you need any help, I'm a phone call away.

OBAMA: Yes.

ROBERTS: You talked about how you extended that same courtesy to Melania Trump. Has she reached out to you and asked for any help?

OBAMA: No. No, she hasn't.

BENNETT: Asked to comment on Obama's interview and the first lady opting out of advice, Trump's spokeswoman tells CNN, quote, Mrs. Trump is a strong and independent woman who has been navigating her role as first lady in her own way. When she needs advice on any issue, she seeks it from her professional team within the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BENNETT: Now, I will say this. Laura Bush was invited to the White House. She did tell CNN recently that she was there. She had tea with Melania Trump and she has been back.

So Laura Bush has spoken to Melania Trump.

Back to you, Erin.

BURNETT: Interesting. Makes it feel so much more personal. Thank you, Kate.

And OUTFRONT now, Desiree Rogers, the former White House social secretary who has known the Obamas for decades.

And, Desiree, I appreciate your time tonight.

I mean, you know, we hear Melania Trump's response. Is she making a mistake in not taking Michelle Obama up on this offer to reach out and talk?

DESIREE ROGERS, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY: Well, here's one of the things I would say, Erin, and thanks for having me on tonight. I mean, Michelle has been so generous in offering herself and being available. Why not take her up on it? Why not have a discussion with someone who just recently served for the past eight years?

So, I'm hopeful that perhaps the phone will ring and that there will be still time for a dialogue. It's early. The bottom line is she put a hand out, she reached out and she's available. And she's still available.

So that's her generous spirit. She's a lady and, you know what, who knows. They may in fact speak.

BURNETT: That would be -- it would certainly be fascinating to all watching to imagine what that moment would be like.

ROGERS: But may be we won't know, but it might be better. It might be better we don't know. BURNETT: Probably I have to admit as much as we would all love to

know, you're right about that.

Michelle also opened up, though, about being the first black first lady. Here's what she said about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So, there were people who didn't know what a black woman was and sounded like. So I knew that was going to be a challenge, that I'd have to earn my grace. People called me Barack's baby's mama, you know? Accused me of not loving my country. You know, told me I was angry.

That was the first time I really experienced someone taking my voice and balling it up and distorting it. Like this isn't me. Wait, people, this isn't who I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: How much of a struggle was all of this for her?

ROGERS: You know, I was there early on, an certainly there was the euphoria of winning the election and coming in as the first group to come in and serve the president and first lady. At the same time, I think particularly in Washington and moving in, there was a lot of, you know, what is this going to be like? Is this going to be different because we've got the first African-American family entering into the White House?

I can tell you some of the incredible things that happened is, you know, just as we were preparing them to move in, to see the staff, most of which is African-American, to see how they reacted to this new family coming in and to see the amount of emotion, you know, on the face of Michelle, on the face of the president. It was just heart warming.

BURNETT: Now, one of the things that people are very interested in, in what Michelle Obama is now speaking about and writing about, is her marriage. You know that she's very honest about the fact that it had ups and downs and has. She talks, for example, about meeting Barack Obama for the first time, which is an interesting story. She was supposed to be his mentor and so they came to her with this idea. And this is the first time we heard about this part of her impression.

Let me play it for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INTERVIEWER: You weren't overly impressed in the beginning?

OBAMA: I wasn't. I had my suspicions when a bunch of white folks fawn over a black man because I sort of think, OK, he can talk straight so they think he's wonderful. So that was my theory. And then his name was Barack Obama, he was from Hawaii. I thought what? So I didn't really know what to expect. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What's your reaction to that, Desiree?

ROGERS: I think it's so honest, it's so pure Michelle. I mean, she's not easily just swept away or influenced by what others might say. And I think what you have coming out of this book is just genuine -- her genuine feelings, her genuine reactions.

It's not sugar-coated. This is how she honestly felt. And I think what's so great about that is many people could identify with meeting, you know, their future husbands for the first time. And so, it is a very open and honest story coming from her.

[19:35:03] And, of course, we now know the ending. But at that point in time, we -- you know, we're following the story so we get to hear it in her own words, how she really felt.

BURNETT: You know, I read in one of the reviews that's out there, Desiree, that someone said, oh, nobody who is going to run for public office would do a book jacket the way Michelle Obama did. You know, they would have had a more buttoned up look than the look that she wore. I'd like to think that that's not true, that people could absolutely wear that and run for office.

But I'm curious as to your view knowing her. Do you think that she will ever run?

ROGERS: I don't think she'll run. I really don't. She said it often. I believe her. I mean, she's, you know, that's not what her -- she feels her calling is.

I really think that she's opened so many doors for women and young girls. Your book cover can look like you feel. And I think that that's what she's given us. She's given us this ability to be who we are.

And as you read through the book, she was just a regular girl that had enormous support from her parents, always wanted to do well, and look what she's accomplished. And I think that's really what we have here is just kind of an ordinary circumstances -- coming from ordinary circumstances, but really having this extraordinary life and really pulling others along and saying you too can to this. You too can become whoever you're meant to be.

BURNETT: All right, Desiree, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

ROGERS: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, so, the market fell sharply again today, and the president blamed it on Democrats. OK, if that's the case, then why did the Dow jump after Dems won the House? Wait until you see these numbers.

Plus, new wildfires breaking out in California, at least 31 dead as of this hour. The situation getting more dangerous in the coming hours. People are literally forced to drive through flames. We are live on the ground there in California.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:40:35] BURNETT: Tonight, the Dow plunging more than 600 points. Now, the big reason was Apple, which is the biggest company in the entire United States. Shares fell 5 percent, so the whole market went down.

But that reality did not stop President Trump from claiming that the losses on Wall Street were caused by Democrats. OK. He tweets: The prospect of presidential harassment by the Dems is causing the stock market big headaches. I guess he's referring to those subpoenas that we were just talking about with Congressman Connelly.

Well, Democrats are a good boogieman for President Trump, but if this particular claim were true, then how, President Trump, would you explain this? We looked at the numbers. So here are the three biggest losses this year in 2018 and they are pretty monstrous, right? Even bigger than today's 600-plus point. February, February and October, all before Democrats had control of the house.

So I guess the Republicans were to blame. Well, I don't know. Sometimes logic doesn't apply, does it?

OUTFRONT now, former senior economic advisor to the Trump campaign and now, informal White House adviser Stephen Moore, also author of the book "Trumpomics." So, hopefully, you're going to be out to explain this one to us.

And, a former U.S. labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich.

OK. So, thanks to both. So, explain this, Steve Moore. It's Democrats' fault because they're going to subpoena him or harass him that it went down 600 points today. But those 1,000 plus point drops -- I mean, I guess weren't Republicans' fault at the time?

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER, 2016 TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Erin, it's great to see you back so congratulations on being back on the job. We need all hands on deck with this booming economy, right?

BURNETT: OK, answer my question.

MOORE: Are Democrats to blame for the one-day drop in the stock market? No, I will say this, that, you know, but if you look at what Nancy Pelosi has been saying in terms of the agenda for the Democrats, it's not all that inspiring if you're an investor or someone who's interested in jobs. The first thing she said was she wanted the Democrats to investigate Trump's tax return and all of these other investigations with regard to the Russia probe.

BURNETT: Yes.

MOORE: That may be a lot of Democrats are talking about impeachment. I mean, my question to both of you is how is any of that going to

really help with job creation and getting the economy moving?

BURNETT: OK.

MOORE: I think that's the issue here. A lot of people are concerned Democrats aren't really serious about creating jobs.

BURNETT: OK. So, but let me, you raise this point, impeachment or whatever. I get it. I would agree with you. I would think that impeachment would be bad except for them I looked it up.

Guess what, Bill Clinton was investigated, what, a thousand times. He was impeached by the House. And yet stocks went up before. They went up during. They went after his impeachment.

So impeachment would be a good thing.

MOORE: Well, that's why I'm actually still very bullish. You're exactly right about that. Bill Clinton was a genuine new Democrat. He believed in balanced budgets and lower taxes and all these things, Robert Reich, right?

BURNETT: Robert?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, again, Erin, good to see you. Steve Moore, not so good to see -- well, no, I don't want to say that.

But let me say one thing. I don't think that the stock market follows any particular predictable rule. The only predictable thing is that Donald Trump predictably when the market goes up, he claims all the credit. When the market goes down, he blames somebody else.

BURNETT: That's true.

REICH: I mean, October was a terrible month. That was before the midterms obviously. And what did Donald Trump do? He blamed October, that terrible performance, on the Fed, on the Federal Reserve, on Jerome Powell. He said maybe he made a mistake in appointing Jerome Powell. I mean, this is a man who will blame anybody for anything that goes wrong.

If you really have to look at the market today and say is there any correlation between market performance, bad performance today and what's been going on? I would say the only thing you can point to really is the trade wars, the fear that Donald Trump, and he's going to -- he's been talking about this, is going to raise tariffs on Chinese goods beyond $250 billion, maybe another $200 billion, that is going to have a huge negative effect.

And at some point, the market really is going to respond to this. Maybe it started today.

BURNETT: And, Steve, you know, look, this whole point about politics, right, we all know that on any given day, it doesn't add up to blame it on one party versus another, right? And, historically, by the way, markets have done better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones.

However, the Dow went up 445 points the day after the midterms, which is about the same as it went down today.

[19:45:03] And Democrats won and now it's going down because of Democrats -- I mean, I guess my question to you, Steve, do people believe him when he tweets stuff like this that's so blatantly false?

MOORE: I think he was just sending a signal that he wants Democrats to concentrate on the economy. I think that's the right thing for the Democrats to do. But look, I mean, to Robert's point, you know, the stock market is up almost 40 percent since Trump was elected, so it's been a pretty good, ferocious bull market.

On the point about trade, I mean, Robert is right, trade wars can be negatives for stocks and the economy. But I will say this, if Trump can pull this off with China, Bob, and he can get some concessions on China on opening up their markets to American companies, which they should do. If he can get them to pay for intellectual property that they steal from us every year, that's going to be very positive for the stock market in my opinion.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Would he be vindicated, Robert Reich? I mean, look, mainstream Republicans have criticized him for this but what is he's right?

REICH: This is such risky behavior. This brinksmanship with China, you know, there is some possibility that maybe you win, but you could lose very, very big. And the idea that either China wins or America wins, this kind of zero sum mentality, that itself is destabilizing for the market.

And on top of that, you know, Donald Trump tells the Fed -- he criticizes the Fed, yells at the Fed, he complaints about the Fed. Presidents should not be doing this. That could also destabilize the market.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you --

MOORE: I disagree on that one. Look, I think the Fed is way too tight. I think they have depressed the market. We got a big economic boom going on and, Robert Reich, show me where the inflation is in the economy?

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: Traders don't think --

MOORE: Just when we're getting going. We have higher wages, Robert Reich, that's what you love, higher wages.

BURNETT: Thank you. REICH: I'm in favor of higher wages and we haven't seen really higher wages.

MOORE: We're seeing them now.

REICH: Donald Trump predicted $4,000 per person and nothing has happened --

BURNETT: I don't want to go late on my first night back and offend on line producer.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Thank you both very much. Okay.

Next, families trapped inside these deadly infernos that we are seeing here in California. We've got dozens dead, many missing right now, number in the hundreds. Firefighters bracing, these winds are coming back. These pictures are stunning what we are seeing here, first really here in modern history.

And remembering the visionary behind the Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and the Hulk, Stan Lee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:51:27] BURNETT: Breaking news, I want to show you the newest images we have here. This is the fire up on the highway. I mean, look at this, there's people on the highway. It's pretty incredible.

Right now, the numbers that we have, 31 people have already died, 100 right now are unaccounted. The wildfires are devastating California. The winds are now picking up. So, the expectation is this is going to get much worse.

Nick Valencia is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's okay. Please drive. Please drive.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the most destructive fire in California raging on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God.

VALENCIA: Most people in Paradise already in trouble before they realized what was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baby, it'll be all right

VALENCIA: This father finding the resolve to calmly sing to his daughter while the walls after flames close in.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: We're going to get fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to catch on fire, okay. We're going to stay away from it.

VALENCIA: At its peak, the Camp Fire burned a football field every three seconds. Even with emergency alerts sent to registered residents, cell phone and land lines, Paradise only had a short time to evacuate.

JODY JONES, MAYOR OF PARADISE, CALIFORNIA: We did have an evacuation plan in place. We did implement it. It worked the way it was supposed to work. We just never anticipated having to evacuate all zones all at the same time.

VALENCIA: It's likely many could not get out in time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently, there's 228 individuals who have been determined to be unaccounted for.

VALENCIA: About 500 miles to the south, firefighters work to contain a blaze on the bluffs of multimillion dollar communities. The flames destroying homes belonging to celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, and Gerard Butler.

GERARD BUTLER, ACTOR: Welcome to my home in Malibu, now gone.

VALENCIA: The Woolsey Fire has already destroyed nearly 200 homes. The flames threatening to destroy another 50,000.

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal.

VALENCIA: California's Governor Jerry Brown blaming climate change.

BROWN: The chickens are coming home to roost. This is real here.

VALENCIA: Together, the fires have claimed the lives of more than 30 people.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VALENCIA: Here in northern California, in the last 48 hours, more than 10,000 acres have burned and that continues to spread containment, just 25 percent. As for those more than 200 people still unaccounted for, the sheriff says it could take weeks to go through the debris and identify anyone who may not have been able to make it out alive -- Erin.

BURNETT: Nick, thank you.

And breaking news. Right now, we have a major development to report in the Arizona Senate race. Martha McSally conceding -- right now conceding to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, 92 percent of the vote counted. Sinema's lead growing and it now is standing more than 38,000 votes.

But obviously, a huge development here.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT on this breaking news. And, Kyung, this is the way the system is supposed to work. You get the count. It comes in. You need to concede. This is huge development.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is certainly something that had been trending this way for some time as the votes had been coming in for Kyrsten Sinema now ahead more than 38,000 votes.

The significant movement on this is that Martha McSally tweeted her congratulations. She tweeted a video, saying congratulations to a hard fought race.

[19:55:02] I'm grateful to all those who supported me on this journey. Congratulations to Kyrsten Sinema.

I'm inspired by Arizona's separate and our state's best days are ahead of us. This was at times a very ugly race between these two women. Kyrsten Sinema is expected, according to her campaign, to go and make her first public comments in just about 20 minutes or so where she is expected to greet her supporters and say that she is grateful for making this historic step forward, Erin.

She's a very first woman to be elected as a U.S. senator in Arizona.

BURNETT: You know, it's pretty incredible and this is the kind of classy, gracious finale here that you would want to see and, of course, we aren't seeing in other places in this country right now in this country.

Kyung, you covered this race extensively and talked to a lot of voters. What's the takeaway here?

LAH: The extraordinary thing about Arizona is this is a state that Donald Trump won by three and a half points. What Sinema did in this race is to focus on her message, her message of health care. It was on the McSally side, the Republican side that the emphasis was on talking about some of the negative aspects, trying to dig up some soft Sinema's past comments when she was a state legislature, when she was a member of the green party.

But that essentially if you look at the numbers here and the point spread especially in the suburban area of Phoenix, it appears that that fell on deaf ears. It was those cross over voters, the ones who may have voted for Trump who crossed the aisle and now voted for Sinema.

BURNETT: And, you know, what's so interesting about that, we talk about places where Republicans won Senate seats. The president's approval rating over 50 percent. He had gone to campaign there, right? It looks very good for Trump.

But in this case, this is a pick up seat for Democrats, right? This was just Jeff Flake's seat. Critic of the president but a Republican. This was a pick up. So, it would appear you did have people change their minds. LAH: Yes, I spoke to a lot of Republican women who said they were no

longer Republicans or not going to be supporting the Republican in this case. They were going to punish Martha McSally because she was voting with the president 98 percent of the time. Her strategy and the GOP strategy in Arizona was to embrace Trump, perhaps not very tightly in the end but still McSally ran towards Trump.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you very much. And obviously, a very big development there. Concession in Arizona. A Democratic pick up there in that Senate seat.

Now, I want to end our show on a sad note but someone who brought a lot of happiness. The world mourning the loss of comic legend Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman, Thor, the Hulk, and many others to his list.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a world of comic super heroes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you?

MOOS: Other people drew the characters. He invented their stories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your responsible for the greats. Let's do the list -- Spiderman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Incredible Hulk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Afraid so.

MOOS: There was a collective cry of grief from cartoonists. Stan Lee's face projected as a web in the sky.

How did he come up with Spiderman any way?

STAN LEE, COMIC LEGEND: I saw a fly crawling on the wall and I said, wow, suppose a person had the power to stick to wall like an insect.

MOOS: Jimmy Kimmel posted what he called a weird portrait of Stan that Jimmy drew when he was 7. Three decades later, he got to give it to the great one in person.

The marvel of Marvel Comics explained his objective this way.

LEE: We want to be a little cinder in the eye of the establishment. I just thought of that. I think it's great.

MOOS: He was modest when hi got a star in Hollywood's walk of fame. LEE: In a million years I never thought that I'd get something like

this.

MOOS: He and his wife Joan were married for 69 years until her death. He appeared in movie cameo.

LEE: That is hilarious.

MOOS: After movie cameo.

LEE: Nice suit.

DEADSPOOL: Zip it, Stan Lee.

MOOS: At the age of 77, he told Larry King.

LEE: Life is so exciting. I'd love to have another 100 years.

MOOS: He had to settle for a mere 95 years total. Creating super heroes with human hang ups and he never hung up his signature line.

LEE: Excelsior.

Excelsior.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

LEE: Excelsior.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: A long life to give a lot to so many. Thanks so much to all of you. I'll see you back here tomorrow night. Great to be back with you.

And thanks for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.