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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump Rails Against Mueller in Twitter Barrage; FL Recount; Democrats Lead in the House Continues to Grow; Couple, Homeless Man Accused of Setting Up GoFundMe Scam. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 15, 2018 - 21:00   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much. I'm Chris Cuomo, welcome to PRIME TIME.

Somebody told the President something that got him really upset about the Mueller probe today. What does he fear coming his way? So much that it made him go on a Twitter tear?

Is he signaling that his new acting A.G. may just quash the investigation all together? We're going to bring "Cuomo's Court" in session for that.

Big election news, big win for the Democrats in the House. We have the very latest in the state of play, there are seven races still not called. Bad news from the Democrats in Florida. One county was two minutes late in reporting results, the Republicans are refusing to count any of them. Governor Scott's main man on the recount is here to make the case.

And the GoFundMe story that made us feel all the feels turned out to be a big fat lie. Can donors get their money back? Are the scammers going to go to jail? Damn. Let's get after it.

The Mueller investigation back on the President's mind in a big way. So much so he fired off four angry tweets. Fact poor, but fury rich, hinting he has knowledge of the investigation's inner workings. Raises questions. What's the new acting A.G. going to be. What's he telling him about Mueller, he has access to all of Mueller's movements.

We know Trump's been working on answering some of Mueller's written questions with his lawyers, is that proving to be something he didn't anticipate? Rudy Giuliani gives us a window of understanding into that. He told the Washington Post, some of those questions, "create more issues for us legally than others."

Meanwhile, Mueller's legitimacy was just backed up in court by a Trump appointed judge, so there are lots to dig through with our legal experts. Jim Shultz and Berit Berger. Whoop, Great Googly Moogly, look at the outfit that Jim Shultz has on. Get that banner out of the way. That is a fetching tuxedo. Is that just for me, or you have something else?

JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I'm coming from federal society tonight, Chris. CUOMO: Wow.

SCHULTZ: And at that dinner, I saw a standing ovation fully union station for newly confirmed associate justice Brett Kavanaugh.

CUOMO: I'm sure that you guys are pumped. The President took the list you made of judges, didn't make a change, didn't ask a question, he's doing exactly what you asked.

SCHULTZ: That's what he's doing.

CUOMO: All right. So Berit, it's OK that you're not in formal dress. Not everybody has to be. So Berit, where does it take you that you look at the President's tweets, something happened. We know he's been spending hours answering the questions, do you think he was surprised by the questions or all of this talk about how loco Mueller's people are going? What's your read?

BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, I don't know how easy it is to ever read too much into these tweets. Again, who knows what it is that actually set it off? I mean, prosecutors did file a letter saying that Gates was not ready to be sentenced, saying that he still had more that he needed to contribute to the investigation. So maybe it was something as simple as that, which would indicate that there's more still that the special council's team is doing.

It could be the questions that the President and his legal team are looking to answer. As we heard from the President's attorney today, you know, there was a whole section of those questions that they found gave them some pause and were legally troubling for them. So it is like could be the questions that really got under her skin.

CUOMO: What's your insight, Jim?

SCHULTZ: Or it could be the President gearing up for a political fight. I mean, I think the President sees this as a political battle, there's going to be report that goes over to Congress. Congress is going to have to do something with that report. The Democrats are certainly going to take shots at the President no matter what the report says. I think he sees a political battle coming on, and I think that's why he's saying what he's saying.

And you know what? It's a good question. What happened with the servers at the DNC? That's a good question to ask, I don't have any problem with that.

CUOMO: Why? We all know the answer.

SCHULTZ: What do you mean we all know the answer? What was on the servers? Do you know what was on the servers, Chris? I don't think you did.

CUOMO: I'll tell you what wasn't on the server. Anything the FBI thought that they needed to look at further. And when they heard the third party --

SCHULTZ: How do you know?

CUOMO: Because it was reported and the third party reckoning of what was on the server and what Malware might be there was all surveyed by the FBI, which as you will know is common protocol. The government doesn't yank servers from corporation on, it kind of regular basis when they're worried about hacking. They ask for a review, if those guys want to do an internal review or there's a third party, they accept them all the time, and you know it, my fancy dressed friend.

SCHULTZ: It seemed like the DNC was worried about something. That's all I know.

CUOMO: Sounds like speculation to me, tuxedo boy.

Let me ask you this, Berit. When it comes to the DNC, that's a distraction from this, right? The President going after Mueller, a distraction, I don't know why people let him mistake the record about Mueller. Rock-ribbed conservative, you know, put there by President Bush, served for President Obama for four years, Trump said today eight years, I don't know why they let him say things that are low fruit for people who want to fact check. But clearly it's more than curiosity about a political fight.

[21:05:08] BERGER: Right, I mean I guess the most surprising part to me is, you know, the President saying he now has this insight into sort of the inner workings of the special council's investigation. I mean, I think that is literally the one thing that none of us have is insight into the inner workings of this special council's office.

I mean, they have been the most leak proof organization we have ever seen. So it's just disingenuous for anyone to say they have any insight into the inner workings here. I mean, I don't know that I see this as a political fight. You know, the special council's office is fighting a legal battle here. And they're doing it the same way that prosecutor across this country to fight legal battles. They're doing it methodically, they're taking investigative steps. They're being careful, they're trying to follow the law. They're following the evidence. And when cases come up that are not solely within their mandate, they're referring him to other U.S. attorneys' offices. So I think the special counsel's office is fighting a purely legal battle right now.

SCHULTZ: Right. But the end result of that is a political fight, because the only place they have to battle is in Congress. So it turns out to be a political fight at the end of the day, and the President is gearing up for that.

CUOMO: Except for those seven guys that wound up getting guilty charges, right? Those seven guys, Jim, that was taken care of in court, mostly with guilty pleas. And then you have all the forms.

SCHULTZ: Having nothing to do with the campaign whatsoever. So let's put that aside first second.

CUOMO: Well, that's not true.

SCHULTZ: OK. So the Manafort issues have --

CUOMO: The Manafort issues have nothing to do with this.

SCHULTZ: Nothing to do with this.

CUOMO: True.

SCHULTZ: So -- and the others had to do with perjury and other things.

CUOMO: Yes. Related to the campaign.

SCHULTZ: OK. So the perjury relates to what they were saying when they were interviewed, we don't know --

CUOMO: During the campaign and about the campaign.

SCHULTZ: OK. So the perjury had --

CUOMO: When you said it had nothing to do with the campaign?

SCHULTZ: I don't believe it had anything to do with any facts --

CUOMO: But you know it did.

SCHULTZ: -- associated with the campaign. There were no charges against anyone associated with any conduct that went on during that campaign. That's a fact.

CUOMO: Not yet.

SCHULTZ: And it hasn't happened.

CUOMO: You overstated what they mean, though. And I'm just saying, it's not like it's only a political fight. When it comes down to the President, when it comes down to collusion and who did what and why, and the campaign, vis-a-vis Russia, it may wind up being all political at the end of the day. But Jim, my question to you is, if it's so simple, if there's so little to sweat, why is the President the way he is about that?

SCHULTZ: What will do you mean? The President gets dogged every day on this issue.

CUOMO: He did this. He started this.

SCHULTZ: Day in and day out.

CUOMO: He started this today.

SCHULTZ: He gets hits by the Democrats --

CUOMO: We didn't report anything about it.

SCHULTZ: Day in and day out of that and that's just going to ramp up now that the Democrats have taken the House. So for him lashing out now, he's getting out there and defending himself and taking it to the American people.

CUOMO: He's lashing out and defending himself when there were no attacks, isn't that weird?

SCHULTZ: What do you mean there are no attacks? He gets attacked every day often this issue.

CUOMO: Where?

SCHULTZ: All you have to do is watch any of the networks. He is getting attacked everyday on this.

CUOMO: I don't know about you, Berit, but to me the whole news cycle began this morning because of what the President was tweeting. We haven't had any action in the Mueller probe for a long time. We're still waiting for the invasion of the caravan. You know what I mean, where are we? I was ready to saddle up, Jim. I'm ready to go down there, worry about the second coming of poncho villa that I just heard from General Mattis. Where was the invasion? Surprise you in a tuxedo. You got some six shooter there's in the vest pockets? You remember that? Remember that last week?

SCHULTZ: I did, I remember last week.

CUOMO: Yes, yes, yes. But what does that tell us.

SCHULTZ: We're talking about Mueller there.

CUOMO: Yes, yes, yes. I'm sure you want to get off of that tribe. What I'm saying, Berit, is that the President likes to distract he likes to influence, and he likes to color. The question is, what did he learn? What has him so worried that he took all this time to do it today? I think it has to be something. And yes I'm not just guessing, for the sake of this conversation, all this time with his lawyers, seeing what the questions are about his conduct before he was President. And what it may expose. I don't think he likes it.

BERGER: No, I think that's clear. Lock, I feel like I've heard reporting, people have speculated, he must have heard that the special council is getting ready to indict his son or his son in law or people close to him. You know, I don't think I buy that. It's not something the prosecutors usually do to inform people before they are about to indict them. You know, we're not usually in the business of saying, we're about to come arrest you, I just wanted to give you a head's up, look, maybe it's different when it comes to the President and they're operating in a different way, but that's not the typical way the prosecutors tend to act, so I would be surprised if there was some true groundbreaking tidbit that the President had heard from his lawyers that would cause him to start tweeting about this.

CUOMO: He heard something, I'm out of time. But Jim, I want to ask you something. You were there at the Federalist Society. Does that room have respect for Robert Mueller?

SCHULTZ: Of course that room has respect for Robert Mueller. Robert Mueller has a stellar reputation. There's no question about that. I've never been on here criticizing Robert Mueller or any decisions he has made. He has a job to do, he's doing this job. My point is, this becomes a political process down the road, once the Mueller report is issued, its gloves come off.

[21:10:03] CUOMO: Right. But that doesn't make him unhinged, that doesn't mean him going crazy, that doesn't make him conflicted. I just want to set it up for when the President has to own his words I just want to make sure we're all on the same page about what's fair and what's unfair. Thank you for taking time out of the evening for us. I appreciate that, Jim. Berit, thank you as always great to you have on.

All right, so this has to be adding to Trump's fury. Democrats are still flipping seats more than a week after Election Day, and he loves to say it's proof of fraud. It isn't, it's proof of change. We're going to show you where the balance of power stands right now, what's still to come and wait until you hear about the update in Florida. Two minutes might make all the difference in the outcome.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Great Googly Moogly, that's right. I said it and today in Maine, Jared Golden came from behind to defeat two term incumbent Bruce Poliquin. What does that mean? That means the Democrats have 33 net pickups in the House of Representatives. And it's not over, seven House races remain. All of them in Republican held districts and they're all undecided.

Democrats are leading in five of those Senate races. The final tally of the balance of power could be days, could be weeks away but for any doubters of the blue wave, just take a look New England, 21 seats are now all Democratic, Republicans literally zero. And of the 12 U.S. senators from New England only one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine.

[21:15:17] Now, a big reason why the wave was washed out for some on election it was because bold face names lost. Names that carried hope for radical change in places normally out of Democrat reach, Beto O'Rourke bitter in Texas. Abrams seems out of it in Georgia, in the governor's race, and then there is Florida.

Today was a big day. And there was even more drama in the governor and Senate races there. Under Florida law, when races, like the two main ones here are within 0.5%. You're going to get a recount by machine, any races after that within a point 0.5% margin they have to undergo a manual recounting including overvotes and undervotes. Those are ballots, I know I told you this before but it gets confusing where too many choices were made, or too few. Over or under.

The governor's race did not get close enough after the machine recount that ended today for any further recount. And therefore, Congressman DeSantis claimed victory. Mayor Gillum has refused to concede. On the Senate side, the recount yielded a few dozen more votes for Governor Scott giving him a roughly 12,000 vote lead. That race is headed for a manual recount. There's a lot of drama, there are a lot of lawsuits but man we had drama today that nobody expected. All of the counties did not meet the deadline that was imposed by law today. Including Hillsboro County, Palm Beach and Broward County, where much of the focus has been.

Now, you might remember, I spoke to the controversial Broward County supervisor of elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes on Tuesday. She said this about what will happen today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Will you be ready on Thursday?

BRENDA SNIPES, BROWARD COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS: Absolutely. We're working very hard, very diligently to make sure that happens.

CUOMO: So you're saying, 100%. You'll have the count done to everybody's satisfaction?

SNIPES: I'm saying 100%.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Why did I ask twice? Because I knew it was going to matter, and it was going to be close, and they came up short, but they came up short by two minutes literary and now the secretary of state, a Republican and Scott appointee is saying he won't accept those votes. Now, that's controversial, that's going to play out in court.

Meanwhile in Palm Beach, they flat out failed to meet that deadline. Both cases, last week's unofficial count will likely stand and that means for now, Senator Nelson, he's in bad shape there.

Even in Lee County, a local news station is reporting the supervisor of elections there says, a "glitch in the system has caused machines to miscount under votes, blunders, errors, faulty machines" and now these lawsuits I'm telling you about, we're going to have to see. And what may or may not short circuit this recount. But at least one suit brought by Senator Nelson may have ruled -- it was certainly ruled in his favor, may make a difference. A judge today ruled that voters whose signatures didn't match according to officials and therefore had their provisional ballots disqualified. And mail-in ballots unnullified. They may get more time to correct. 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

So what does that mean? Well, that means he may get some votes, but it's almost sure to get more ugly.

Here's the next deadline you have to look out for, November 20th, next Tuesday. That's when Florida's races are set to be certified by election officials a minutes over. The governor usually is part of that process, but Governor Scott did recuse himself because of the obvious conflict. What a day. Two minutes could make all the difference unless something else happens in court.

So it's been years since Democrats held the leverage of power in the House that they have right now. Now, what are they going to do with it? What will it mean for the President? Those are very provocative questions and it will certainly fire up a great debate next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:23:05] CUOMO: So really, who gained the upper hand after the midterms? Was there a blue wave that was December positive, the Democrats, it's their day, they certainly picked up the most seats in the House for them, since the election after Watergate, but the President's party typically does lose seats in midterm elections.

Now, you could argue that Trump has a kind of economic success right now, or at least a narrative of one that he could have been one of the few to get more seats. So what happened here? That is where we're going to start our great debate.

Angela Rye and Scott Jennings, good to have you both.

Angela Rye?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.

CUOMO: The blue wave, do you believe that with what we see in the elections, that what happened here was, that people came out and voted against the President or for Democrats? What do you think happened?

RYE: I think it was both. I think that people voted for candidates who would be historic first, and I also think that people voted against an agenda that is filled with hate, bigotry, xenophobia as we've seen him run since the 2016 election. And I think people are tired of that, and wanted some checks and balances for Donald Trump.

I'm actually really surprised that Democrats gained the House back. I thought that we were more likely to gain the Senate. So I was very surprised by that outcome. There were several other instances where, yes, that's what I thought. I thought because of how these districts had been gerrymandered, that it was going to be extremely tough for Democrats to regain --

CUOMO: No, I hear you on that. I hear you on that. I actually set the over under at 33 seats. And I took the under on it with all these people that I like to make friendly beats with about what's going to happen to make the races --

RYE: Well, I hope you gained some money from that.

CUOMO: No, I'm getting killed the way it looks right now with this seven races outstanding.

RYE: Yes, that's true.

CUOMO: But on the Senate side, I always thought it was a tough pass, Scott. I thought that it made more sense given how many vulnerable Democrats you had in states. Manchin, I thought for sure was a seat that he -- you know, as popular as he is there, I thought it was going to have trouble. I thought, you guys underperformed but your party says otherwise. They say, this was a great a success.

[21:25:10] Put up the tweet for the GOP about how they explain what they see as huge success. The reason for it, undeniable. President Trump proved to be our closer, a game changer, making a quantifiable difference in key races across the country. Make the case.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first much all, I think that Joe Manchin since you mentioned him saved himself by voting for Brett Kavanaugh. I think if he had gone against Kavanaugh, he would have suffered the same fate as the other red state Democrats who wins against Kavanaugh. So I think that explains West Virginia.

CUOMO: Test the one.

JENNINGS: I wasn't really surprised Democrats took back the House, when you consider the number of districts that Republicans represented, that Hillary Clinton had carried in 2016, combine that with the number of Republican retirements, and combine that with history, and combine that with all the money the Democrats had, they should have picked up the House, and they did it, I thought they would do 35 to 40, that's about what we're headed for. The national surveys were right.

I think what's note worthy about this election is that Barack Obama got cleaned out in 2010 and he came back to win reelection in 2012. Bill Clinton got cleaned out in '94, he came back to win reelection. So I don't think you can read too much into this as far as the presidential campaign, if you're Donald Trump, you have to start talking to the people in the suburbs. He made a tactical mistake by going to the caravan instead of the economy. I know he thinks it's boring. He's got to embrace the boring if he wants to win in 2020.

CUOMO: At least he could have stuck with the truth. The caravan was a complete ruse. It was a joke, it was about fear and loathing. We all said it. Everybody who knew what they were talking about and the President proved us right by never mentioning it again after the election. What a shameful thing that was, and I think it hurts your party.

But to Scott's point, Angela, if you look at what happened there, Obama, Clinton, they took beatings in their first midterm, however, they didn't have the economy that Trump had, so in your analysis, your position on this, do you think that Trump should have done worse than he did? Or given his economy, if he weren't saying so much ugliness to America he would have done even better.

RYE: Well, we know that Donald Trump is his own worst enemy, right? Whether we're talking about the number of lies that he tells in a day on Twitter or at press conferences, they were talking about the ways in which he disparages human beings, whether they're White House Correspondents or just an every day person. We know that he struggled to stay on message. So it's no surprise that Donald Trump couldn't taught wins. Wins arguably that Republicans were touting all over the country.

I think the other real challenge is, there are now candidates who are running for office who are trying to be baby Trump, we saw one run against Andrew Gillum, we're seeing one now who is running against in a runoff in Mike Espy in Mississippi, Cindy Hyde-Smith who talked about wanting to be in the front row at a public hanging ceremony. So you see some of this rhetoric, people think it's successful, and

they're also not talking about Donald Trump's record of supposed success if that's what you want to call it if you think leaving out the little guys exit. So I think that, you know, there is a message discipline issue, there's also a real challenge to sell people on a dream that's not real. You are struggling in this economy. You are struggling to make ends meet. It's not a real success story for anyone except the rich.

CUOMO: Scott, what is the reality for your party, in terms of reigning in the President's rhetoric? Does anyone have the gumption to do it, even though you know you lost a lot of seats because of it in this election? People may like the tax cut, conservative in the suburbs like it, they like the cuts in regulations, they hate how he speaks. They hate what he means for their party and their presumed values, do you have any shot of making him clean up his talk?

JENNINGS: Well, I think the best chance we have of doing that is Donald Trump realizing that getting it right doesn't just matter for his party in the next election. It matters for him personally. I mean, this is a guy who has a great economic record and he wants to get re-elected. And there's a path for him to get reelected. It's going to be hard to do if he doesn't make people connect what they perceive to be a good economy and good personal financial situation, directly to his policies. It's hard for people to make that connection when you're focused on other things.

CUOMO: How do you think it meets the years of suburban --

JENNINGS: And so I think when you're directly on the ballot --

CUOMO: -- women, people like you, white collar guys, educated guys, savvy guys, to hear him saying about one of your heroes, all right, Bob Mueller isn't just a decorated veteran, he served with honor in this government. When his name was offered up in the selection process, after Rosenstein picked him, Republicans of all stripes in elected office said, that's a quality guy. That's a quality guy. And for the President to run him down into the gutter the way he did today. And it ain't the first time, you think you can get him to stop doing that? Or is he always going to put the me before the we?

JENNINGS: Well, I think as it relates to the Russian investigation. I think the President's position on this is not going to change. He believed it was a hoax from the beginning. He doesn't like the people involved. He's made that perfectly clear, he's obviously angry about it, and I suspect he's going to continue to be angry about it until something that comes out that says, this is now over and it's no longer hanging over your head.

[21:30:13] I mean, he spent the first two years with a really dark cloud hanging over his head. And he wants it to end. So I think if you're the President, what you have to hope for is, this ends, you are not implicated in any wrongdoing. The economy keeps rolling, you get the trade situation worked out with China and other countries. That puts off and stays off a recession. And you get to run re-election without a dark cloud and within economy that's working for a lot of people in the suburbs and a lot of people in the upper Midwest.

CUOMO: Yes.

JENNINGS: Why does that matter? Because the suburbs and the upper Midwest went blue in the midterms.

CUOMO: Long way to go. We're out of time here today. We'll talk about it much more. But it is interesting, Angela, two of the three things Scott just mentioned are only in bad shape right now because of this President. So we'll see where it goes. Thanks to both of you, have a great night. Thanks for sharing some of the time with me.

Florida just ordered a manual recount in the Senate race. Why? After the machine recount the margin between the two is 0.25% or less. However, the governor has again claimed victory. He says this process has played out enough. Who can make the case? One of his top aids can, next.

Plus, remember that story of a homeless veteran who gave his last bit of money to help a stranded driver? More than $400,000 was raised through a GoFundMe campaign for him. Here's the problem, it was a lie. And they almost got away with it. I have the whole story for you ahead. It's a heartbreaking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:35:34] CUOMO: The Florida law says you need to have a manual recount in the Senate race, why? Because it's within the .25% margin. However, the current Governor Rick Scott who was also running in that Senate election is demanding a concession from the current Senator Nelson, the Democrat.

Today Florida's governor gained votes through the machine recount. Not enough to put it out of hand counting territory. This as a slew of lawsuits are flying back and forth across the sunshine state.

Let's get to Brad Todd, Senior Adviser to the Scott Campaign. Good to have you back on the show.

BRAD TODD, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE RICK SCOTT CAMPAIGN: Good to be back, Chris, thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Help me understand the two minute thing because the optics of it play badly for you. Just two minutes, come on. Two minutes, you know, in the interest of fairness equity of (inaudible). We all learn that in law school. Count them, but the part I don't get this. You say, no, no, no, we follow the law. You gained 77 votes in the machine recount in Broward County. So couldn't you have it both ways and say, fine, we'll wave the two minutes and get more votes?

TODD: Wait a minute. We gained 779 votes in the machine recount in Broward County. And let's rewind the clock here, Broward County could begin its machine recount on Saturday afternoon, as of Monday night, they had not even started, their neighbor to the south Miami-Dade which had more votes to count was well under way. Miami-Dade and all the other counties in Florida finish without really any problem. Only one of the county had an issue besides Palm Beach and Broward now (inaudible) a power failure. Every other county did fine. But Broward more than expected it to --

CUOMO: Brenda Snipes was on with us, and she says we had better than expected turnout --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: That's what she says.

TODD: Even better reason to have started on Saturday, right? I mean, why wait until Monday night, then she finished today 15 minutes before the deadline, they come out and announce the results of the canvassing board, they brag on themselves. Brenda Snipes says we can't believe we made it, so great. We're so proud of ourselves, the work we did. We made it and then three hours later, after she figures out that Broward County had the largest gain for Rick Scott in the machine recount any county on the states, she comes back out and says, oh, we failed to get it in two minutes ahead of time.

CUOMO: Oh, you think that she didn't make the deadline because it would have helped Scott?

TODD: Well, all I'm going to say, Chris, on that is that the person who filed the reports on Saturday had no trouble uploading it to the secretary of state's website. And by the way, that's his job, his job is to work with the secretary of state, and then we get to tonight, and suddenly, we have a problem uploading to the state's website, they're trying to give us the dog ate my homework excuse. It's possible the real answer is Rick Scott did better on the machine recount in Broward County, than anywhere else. You decide.

CUOMO: Well, that's not the way we do it. The way you do it is we follow the facts. And it's interesting that she'd be bragging about the same results that you then say, she failed to upload on time because of what people would think when they saw the results. She was already bragging and telling everybody. So I don't understand the theory, but it's neither here nor there because we don't know the truth on it. But what seems to be the perception here is that the governor is saying enough, I want it over. But if you're going to adhere to the law as closely as you say you want to from a perspective of purity then he must know that this race is not over. The law demands --

TODD: The race is over.

CUOMO: How?

TODD: The race is over.

CUOMO: You are in the margin that -- you're in the statutory margins.

TODD: We counted them twice.

CUOMO: Right, but the statutory margin says you have to have a manual recount. TODD: No one is suggesting that there's any mechanism to stop the

manual recount other than grace. And Bill Nelson has to look himself in the mirror and decide, does he want to be remembered for all the things he's proud of or this one thing. Dragging the state through the courts, and through a manual recount? Something he's not going to be proud of when it's over.

CUOMO: But I don't understand how it's consistent with counting every vote. Look, your state doesn't do a great job with the election counter --

TODD: Counting every legal and timely cast vote.

CUOMO: Yes, I get it, I get it. But I have two issues for you on this one, Brad. One's on point, one's off point.

TODD: OK.

CUOMO: But it goes to your perspective on it. On point is, Scott's been the governor for eight years. The election process there still stinks, OK? That's why we're in this situation. Any time it gets close --

TODD: No, it doesn't.

CUOMO: This has been an ugly process.

TODD: It stinks in Broward and Palm Beach County, Chris.

CUOMO: Hillsboro also had a mystery machine problem, mystery machine problem.

[21:40:01] TODD: Yes, but you look at all across the counties across Florida, this has gone relatively smoothly everywhere, even in place where the category 4 hurricane.

CUOMO: I know but that's the point. It's relatively smooth for a lousy process.

TODD: Yes, Broward and Palm Beach have -- I think that's -- I don't think that's fair. That's an insult of the people of Florida. They've cleaned their election process --

CUOMO: No, just to the process --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I think the people are doing what they can with a lousy process. I do. I think they're working hard, I think they care. I do.

TODD: The standards are clear, the law is clear, the election administrators merely have to follow it.

CUOMO: Right. But you're now saying two things. You're saying just follow the law, except for the law that says you have to have a manual recount if you're within 0.5% that you don't want to do, you just talk about grace?

TODD: No, listen, hang on. The manual recount is well under way. Dade County has already started. Broward and Palm Beach has gone home tonight. Dade County has already started its manual recount, it's underway. They're running in a professional manner. The manual recount is prescribed by law. Don't take my words out of context. It is prescribed by law.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: I'm not saying Bill Nelson is legally obligated to quit. I'm saying it's the graceful thing to do.

CUOMO: Why is it graceful when there are a lot of ballots out there that could make a significant difference in this race?

TODD: Ask his lawyer, there are not a lot of ballots. That's a miss number they're not a lot of ballots out there --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: What about the provisional ballots? What about the absentee ballot that can get there on time?

TODD: I'm glad --

CUOMO: What about the mismatched ballots.

TODD: Hold on, I'm -- let's take this one at a time.

CUOMO: Please.

TODD: I'm glad you brought that up. First off, the mismatched signature on the absentee ballots that was the case that was in court today in the 11th circuit in Atlanta.

CUOMO: Right.

TODD: The federal rolled yesterday that some folks who had mismatched ballots would have the opportunity to be returned and --

CUOMO: Right, Saturday at 5:00 p.m.

TODD: -- some people used that word. That's right. However, he said, those who were belatedly notified. At the 11th circuit today on our appeal, the 11th circuit in Atlanta narrows that significantly and defined what belatedly notified means. It only means people who are notified that their signature was mismatched November 1st and later.

CUOMO: Why?

TODD: Or those who voted on Election Day who has had a signature mismatched. Because Florida has a very clear law, the clear law in Florida says, if your signature is a mismatch, you're notified, you come in and you have to fix it on 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. The law is clear on the convenience of using the vote by mail early that's the procedure you have to follow.

CUOMO: I get it. It just seems like you're punishing people for a bad process, just like the law there that says they have to be received at a certain point. But a lot of people could send it, especially military and people abroad could send it in time, but it doesn't get received in time.

TODD: No, separate that. The military ballots are counted separately.

CUOMO: Yes.

TODD: Military ballots merely have to be postmarked by Election Day. No one's questioning that. No one is questioning that. That law is also very clear. Neither side is -- that's not in debate.

CUOMO: Well, but there was a request at one point in this process, where those might have been compromised, that hasn't been allowed by the courts, so you're right, that's a separate issue. But you do have people --

TODD: No, no, no, there's no -- no one's trying to stop the military ballots being counted as they are always are.

CUOMO: Not currently. You're right.

TODD: No, not in this recount.

CUOMO: I'm saying that when people look at this process. I think that the guidance that the governor is giving to the senator, he should also take for himself. That if he wins, right? Or if there's a concession or however it goes, we're going to know by next Tuesday, right, presumptively. He's going to go to the Senate. He doesn't want to cloud over his win as well. So the more open he seems to the process.

TODD: Don't interject that at all. He got more votes, we counted them again, he got more votes. The person that gets more votes goes to the Senate with no cloud. Governor Scott will become Senator Scott with no cloud --

CUOMO: As long as all the votes that should be counted were counted. And you're not there yet.

TODD: That's correct. We actually are. Every votes --

CUOMO: They're still identifying and contacting those people with mismatched signatures. That's still ongoing.

TODD: That's not true. That's not true. The -- you're talking about a couple thousand votes.

CUOMO: So it is true. You're saying, it's not enough, but it is true.

TODD: 2,000 votes. CUOMO: But it is true.

TODD: It still winds its way through the courts. Let's say it's 2,000 votes. It's clear that Governor Scott is going to be Senator Scott. That's not a doubt. And it's also clear that the Democrats in this case, they know they can't win, they know Bill Nelson is not going to be the senator. They pursue all these cases through court. They're trying to throw out the Florida election code, because they want in 2020 Florida to be the Wild West. They don't want fraud protection laws in Florida.

CUOMO: Nobody should want that.

TODD: That was the laws they've attacked.

CUOMO: Nobody should wan that. And let's be clear, the only people, we're out of time, and I appreciate you being here. And I want you here again when we get to the 20th because there will be another round of consideration, so thank you for taking the time.

TODD: Right.

CUOMO: But the only calls of fraud have been on the right. The President did it without cause, the campaign, the Scott campaign was doing it without cause. So let's see how it plays out, and nobody should call foul or fraud without cause. And we'll be on it every step of the way. And Brad Todd, thank you for being with us.

TODD: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, I'll talk to you again.

All right, so listen to this one. It was a feel good story, no question about that, it was too good to be true as it turned out. Three people who tugged at our hearts and some of our wallets, now they could be going to jail.

[21:45:11] The GoFundMe sham next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: I hate this story. But it matters. All right, this heartwarming story about a New Jersey couple. They raised 400 grand for a homeless man who helped them. Now all three are facing charges, and here's why. This was the story. The couple said, we ran out of gas, and there was this homeless veteran, and he gave us his last $20 and we got back on the road. So we're going to set up a GoFundMe page for him. You know, we have to support our veterans homeless. This should never happen and happens too often for this man with a heart of gold.

The story went viral. Money poured in. But according to prosecutors, it was all a lie. The couple actually met the man a month before. And they were all in on the scam. And they almost got away with it. The veteran said the couple never gave him his full cut. He sued them over it. And soon prosecutors were on to them. GoFundMe says they will offer a full refund to the campaign's 14,000

donors. D. Lemon is here. Oh, this one hurts. This one hurts because I love when people reach into their heart and even into their pocket if they can, and help somebody in need. And these people put shame on all of that.

[21:50:02] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, they did. And it's like monopoly. I mean, you get the card, go to jail, director to jail, do not pass go.

CUOMO: Yes, I actually think it should be paid more so.

LEMON: Yes, of course. GoFundMe is going to pay them.

CUOMO: Right. They should paid -- but they should be punished more so. I always feel like, you know, when you find out about like price gouging during a hurricane or storm or people taking advantage of charity benefit or trying to take advantage of people who are sick or in need, I think those crimes should be punished more even in the same category of whatever larceny or fraud it is.

LEMON: Yes. Because they're taking advantage of people's weakness and they're such good-hearted people out there. And to play on that because there are people who are actually -- most of the people on GoFundMe need the money. They're on there for a reason. Many people need -- people raise money for medical issues on there. People raise money for charity, all kinds of things.

And by the way, as you said, but just to point out again, it's a very small amount of fraud at least on GoFundMe, tiny. I think it's like less than 1/10 of 1% or something. There are people who do these fraudulent things in other ways. They raise money on social media and other things, but not for GoFundMe. So yes, I agree with you. But I think that they definitely should go to jail. In the process, though, they need to figure out from either their possessions or what have you how they can pay GoFundMe back so --

CUOMO: You've got to let people know they cannot do this. I remember that happening after 9/11. And I'll tell you, it really rubs you raw. But it's good that they caught these guys because that sends the right message too, you do something wrong you're going to get hit and you're going to get hit hard.

LEMON: Yes. Have you seen the weather outside?

CUOMO: We all got caught off guard. They weren't even plowing. I mean, I heard about Maria, your E.P.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: I mean, what a nightmare.

LEMON: Couldn't get in. One of the guys, how long did it take you to get in, Hassan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took me six hours. LEMON: It took one of the guys in the studio six hours to get here.

Maria, who is my E.P., can't get here. It's crazy. She texted me and said I don't think you should get in the car, I think you should get in the subway. And I said I'm way ahead of you, I've been here for 30 minutes. But the car was 30 minutes late. Right? Because I thought I need a car to get in. 30 minutes late. And then I said I'm not getting in the car. Got on the subway, I was here in 10 minutes.

CUOMO: Smart. I walked. Like a man.

LEMON: 6 1/2 hours?

CUOMO: No, I'm kidding. I got in the car the ride was fine.

LEMON: Maria 6 1/2 hours. She's been in traffic for 6 1/2 hours.

CUOMO: I feel bad for Maria. She's good people. I don't know why she's coming in for you.

LEMON: I got to tell you. We're going to talk about -- you know, there are group of civil rights lawyer suing for the "Apprentice" tapes that were alleged --

CUOMO: Yes. You got them?

LEMON: -- the president made sensitive -- well, we're going to talk about that issue. And also about Nancy Pelosi. She's got a lot of resistance. Is she going to be speaker? I don't know.

CUOMO: Provocative, D. Lemon, provocative.

LEMON: Good to see you. Be safe out there. Take the train if you can.

CUOMO: See you in a minute.

LEMON: Yes, I'll see you in a bit.

CUOMO: Like he's some kind of transportation supervisor.

All right, so the President honored veterans today after he got pummeled for skipping out on them, on not going to Arlington, not going to the commemorative event in France. But there was something else. He bragged about something today that needs to be exposed because he actually was hiding something that's a huge problem, and I'm going to expose it. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[21:56:12] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Military families are the backbone of our nation, so in addition to everything else as you see, I did the promotion of military spouse hiring across the federal government. The fact is I've done a lot. Good-bye, everybody. Good-bye, everybody. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Insult to injury. That's what you just saw. Trump telling all those marines in the world he's done so much for our troops, giving himself a nice pat on the back and his administration. At the same time that he was saying that V.A. officials were fumbling and stumbling to explain the G.I. Bill benefits crisis that is ongoing right now on Trump's watch.

The "Washington Post" reports the number of veterans that could be affected is reaching 450,000. Our fighting men and women who have been denied G.I. Bill payments for weeks or months, we made a promise. That promise has not been kept. They're not getting money for school. And for many it's even worse. They're not getting money for housing. And there's nowhere to turn for them when collections come.

And the V.A., it's been a series of busy signals and dead ends. And today those people got called to the carpet. And you saw outrage from the left and right in the veteran's Affairs Committee in the House. United in condemnation but don't be so impressed. You know why? Those folks, those lawmakers left and right, they were told months ago that this was happening, and they did nothing.

And then again, the President in the midst of all of it, don't forget why he was there. He was supposed to make up for passing on a trip to Arlington Cemetery after passing on a major commemorative armistice event for World War I veterans in France, all about Veteran's Day. Then he says this and he ignores such a painful reality.

He has done so much. Why did G.I. bill mess? Why the V.A. mess? Why no real help for suicide and mental health treatment as was promised? Why these mystery pals of his from Mar-a-Lago reportedly calling shots at the V.A. with no oversight. Nobody chose them. Why won't Trump even OK the change of the V.A. motto? Did you hear about this? It's an Abraham Lincoln quote and it's a beautiful one. The motto is "to care for him who shall have borne the battle for his widow and his orphan." It made sense then but not now. Women are warriors. Not only widows. And there's a real pressure for parity. And they've been asking for this motto change for a long time, and the word is that it's reached the secretary level and the President isn't moving on it. Why?

So Trump has not done so much. If he wants to retire, fine. But he's going to be doing it in recognition of the fact he hasn't gotten it done, not because he's done enough. These problems are not all new, but they are all happening right now on his watch and he promised to do better than anyone else ever has and he's falling short. That's the truth. And the reason that they may sound to you as new is because people like me haven't covered them enough. And as I told you on Veterans Day, we will do better, and this is just one piece. There are more to follow. Let's get after it.

Thanks for us tonight. CNN with Don Lemon starts right now.

LEMON: Just my theory. OK? Just my theory. Ever since Michael Cohen showed up in D.C. on Monday, remember that video of him going through the airport, that's when a lot of this started. And I think he realizes he must be here for a reason and if he's for the reason people are saying or thinking he's here for, Michael Cohen knows an awful lot about this President. I think that had a lot to do with it.

CUOMO: Maybe.

LEMON: At least something to do with it.

CUOMO: Maybe. And you look, it can't a very comforting thing to see somebody who spent a decade by your side, hearing you talk about everything under the sun, helping you through some really sticky wickets, right?