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Trump Floats More Conspiracies for GOP's Midterm Losses; Navy SEALs and Marines Charged in Death of Green Beret; Judge Delay CNN White House Ruling Until Tomorrow; 70 Democrats Vow to Vote No for Nancy Pelosi As Speaker. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 15, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And I spoke with another source today who said what the President is upset about is how long this process is taking and being dragged out and the fact that the special counsel is spending so much time on what you were just talking about, Roger Stone, whom he thinks will not touch him and he thinks it's a side show.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We waited and as you say, it is a black box over there in the special counsel's office. In the meantime, we've been looking at live pictures out of Florida as the deadline is now passed for the recount to be finished. We know 66 of the 67 counties reporting. We know Trump has been saying fraud, fraud, fraud, you know, and all these conspiracy theories. Right? That the latest we've heard from the President over Twitter is he thinks so many Floridians were wearing disguises so they could cast multiple ballots. And then he said if you have a box of cereal, you have a voter I.D. All right, so that's coming from the President. Let me play and then we'll talk. The was Democratic leader Chuck Schumer saying this on the Senate floor.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The President, he keeps getting more and more absurd. He makes up things. So, he most recently claimed in an interview with "the daily caller" that, quote, illegal voters go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt and vote again. Mr. President, name one. Name a few. Where did it happen and when? Or did you just read this on some right-wing, nasty, dishonest blog and just repeat it? Donald Trump, you're the President of the United States.


BALDWIN: But, Gloria, I mean, the reason the President and other Republicans are repeating it is because it works. Right?

BORGER: Look, it does work. This isn't the first time we've heard the President allege voter fraud. We heard him allege voter fraud during the general election when he lost the popular vote by 3 million. And we established a commission, which was then disbanded without proving anything. And I would argue that no voter fraud has been alleged or proven in Florida or anywhere else during this election. It's been alleged by the President, but nobody who is dealing with all of this has been alleging it. What the President is doing is stirring the pot and trying to kind of disqualify should the tables turn and should a Democrat win, for example. I think he's sort of sowing the seeds of all of these questions so that his supporters will say it was rigged.

BALDWIN: As we've been talking, we've actually just now learned that the President will be going to California this weekend, as the state deals with the deadliest wildfires in their state history. It was a couple days ago when he went off on Twitter over a forest management in the state. So how is this going to go?

BORGER: Well, look, he has spoken with the Governor Jerry Brown. Jerry Brown obviously disagrees with him completely. And I think it is the right thing for the President to do, to go to California and to send money to California. You know, the charges have been that he's only paying attention to the states who voted for him, not the states who didn't vote for him. Well, California is not a big Trump territory. So, I think it is the right thing to do. And I think that Jerry Brown and he will continue to disagree over this, but this is about a President going in to -- like do you with a hurricane, any major disaster area -- letting people know that help is on the way. And so, I think it's important for the president to do that and I think that it's important for he and Jerry Brown to for this one moment care about how the people are taken care of.

BALDWIN: Tell me about it.

Borger: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Gloria Borger, thank you very much.


BALDWIN: The Judge making a new move in CNN's lawsuit against the White House. Here what happened today. Also, ahead, two Navy Seals and two U.S. Marines are now facing charges including murder for their roles in the 2017 death of a green beret who was killed overseas. We have the latest from the Pentagon.


BALDWIN: An update now on CNN's lawsuit against the White House for pulling the President credentials of CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. We were expecting a ruling this hour. We own are now learning that it will be delayed. Our chief media correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources", Brian Stelter is with me here. So, it was delayed. Why?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's the great mystery. We don't know why the judge has rescheduled this hearing, but it is now on the books for Friday at 10 a.m. This is Judge Timothy Kelly in the U.S. district court. He was assigned to the case on Tuesday. He had oral arguments on Wednesday. The arguments went longer than expected, it lasted about two hours. So, he does have a lot to review, a lot to think about. We were expecting a ruling, as you said, this hour. Now instead Friday morning. And what's at stake here -- this is really just round one. What's at

stake is a temporary restraining order. CNN wants that temporary restraining order that would in effect give Acosta his press pass back right away while this this deeper legal dispute is settled. Because frankly, this is going to go on for weeks or months if there's no settlement. But CNN was seeking an immediate response from the court to get the press pass back. That may now come tomorrow morning.

BALDWIN: How are other media organizations responding to this?

STELTER: Yes, the big development today is the White House Correspondents Association, which of course represents all the White House reporters from all the big outlets and a lot of the smaller outlets, about 400 members total. They've come out today filing a friend of the court brief supporting CNN's lawsuit. We can put part of it on screen. Basically, the correspondent's association is saying that the Trump administration's argument that it can pull a correspondent at any time is dangerous. The Association says, simply stated, if the President were to have the absolute discretion to strip a correspondent of a hard pass the chilling effects would be severe.

[15:40:00] And this doesn't just involve CNN, it involves lots of outlets. So, you see here the press corps, again, representing like a hundred different outlets, all of whom disagree and compete every day, they are in agreement on this point but right now Acosta is the one involved. But it could be other reporters in the future. So, the Correspondents Association are trying to get through to the Judge and say take this seriously, this is a threat to the free press.

BALDWIN: OK, so tomorrow morning that is when we should know --

STELTER: 10 a.m.

BALDWIN: -- restraining order. OK. Brian Stelter, thank you very much for that.

Ahead here, the fight for leadership in the Democratic Party growing more and more intense over who should become the next speaker of the House of Representatives. More than a dozen Democrats say they will vote against Nancy Pelosi.


BALDWIN: Green Beret, just the name speaks of tough, disciplined soldiers. Only the toughest of the tough get to wear the Green Beret and now a first, a woman has made it through the army's grueling special forces assessment, putting her on the path to become the first female Green Beret. CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr joins me. And Barbara, who is she?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's the big question. The army hopes we don't actually find out. What they are saying is they will not disclose her name and they're asking people who may know who she is to protect her identity. Because if she does make it all the way and does became a Green Beret, of course, these special operation forces go on some of the most dangerous, classified missions the military undertakes around the world. Their identities are very protected.

What she has accomplished is absolutely remarkable. But in this day, this age, women are in combat. Everybody needs to get on board. She has completed a 24-day grueling course, testing both physical and mental stamina. This puts her on track to go to the next step, another course. And if she passes that, she will become this country's first female Green Beret. So significant.

You know, combat jobs have been open to women since 2016, and, as I say, it's 2018. If anybody out there doubts or questions or doesn't know about the service of women to this country since the wars began 17 years ago, more than 100 women assigned to military operations on the front line have perished.

BALDWIN: I like how you said that, everyone needs to get on board, Barbara.

Here's one more for you. We know the military has formally charged two Navy Seals and to special operations Marines with the strangulation death of Green Beret Army Sergeant Logan Melgar. What happens now?

STARR: We are now turning to something that is really appalling to contemplate. Two Marines, two Navy SEALs serving in the African nation of Mali in West Africa, charged with murder in the death of Green Beret Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar. What the Navy investigators have found according to the charges that are being brought against them is that these four service members engaged in what the investigators say is murder.

They broke into his room, put duct tape on him and strangled him. He died of asphyxiation. There was some potentially not legal activity going on in this unit. All of this now a matter for a military court. The charges have been announced. A preliminary military legal hearing will be held on December 10th. The U.S. Special Operations Command issuing statements saying, you know, to paraphrase, they are appalled by this. They cherish the memory of the staff sergeant and they are determined to see this case through -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Barbara, thank you for that.

STARR: Sure.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Coming up next, remembering a hero. Funeral services are under way for the sheriff sergeant killed while trying to stop a mass shooting last week in Thousand Oaks, California. The touching tribute next.


BALDWIN: As Democrats celebrate a now growing majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi's bid to become speaker of the house again is hitting some speed bumps. 17 Democrats have signed the letter saying they won't vote for her on the House floor. That's according to four sources with knowledge of this whole thing. Today Pelosi was quick to mention that when you look at the letter, it's mostly men who signed it.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are at least 17 members who have signed a letter saying they will not support you on the floor.

NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Have you seen the letter?

RAJU: I've not seen the letter.

PELOSI: You haven't seen it. You haven't seen it. You have to ask those people what their motivation is. I think of the 17, it's mostly like 14 men who are on that letter, and --


PELOSI: You know I've never gone to that place. I enjoy a tremendous amount of support from the women in our caucus. If in fact there is any misogyny involved in it, it's their problem, not mine.


BALDWIN: That was our own Manu Raju asking that question. Kathleen Rice, she's one of the Democrats voicing her opposition. This is what she says.

This is not about Nancy Pelosi being a woman. This is about the fact that she's been in this leadership position for 16 years, and it's time for change.

With me now CNN Congressional correspondent Sunlen Serfaty. And Sunlen, just in terms of how this works. So, it's November 28th that is when the vote for leadership happens. And among the detractors, if they don't want Nancy Pelosi, who do they want, or is this letter really just about pressure?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there certainly is a lot about pressure at this moment and that vote, Brooke, that you mentioned, coming up on the 28th. That's really essentially a test vote where we will see what standing essentially Nancy Pelosi has. The real vote, indeed, comes on the floor of the house on January 3. With that aside there is certainly some real pressure being exerted on her and you can essentially see that in her response. Somewhat of a testy exchange she had not only with Manu but other reporters today at her press conference. She wanted to go into that press conference exerting confidence in her ability to retain the speakership.

[15:55:00] But she's just had to bat down question after question about this rebellion that's rising around her. And really that she has been able to squash. There was a meeting earlier today that just broke up about half an hour ago with House Democratic caucus, and while there was no specific mention of the speakership and all this -- and the dynamics around it. Many lawmakers left that meeting, you know, talking about what they would like to see do, and certainly top on the agenda is will anyone challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker. And that's really the key question here for all this talk. A lot of talk today about Marcia Fudge, whether she will or will not launch her speakership. A lot of people telling me they hope that she does -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Sunlen, thank you. Again, the vote November 28th so they have some time. Thank you very much.

Meantime, I just want to leave you with this. This is what's happening right now. The funeral for the hero sheriff deputy from Southern California who was killed last week in that mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. Let me say his name, Sergeant Ron Helus with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. He was shot and killed after he went straight to the scene when everyone was running away, and he confronted that gunman. And today at the service singer Billy Ray Cyrus paid tribute to Sergeant Helus with "Amazing Grace."


BILLY RAY CYRUS, SINGER: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me But I once was lost, but now am found T'was blind but now I see

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear And Grace, my fears relieved How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed

When we've been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's sweet praise Than when we first begun.

Can I ask everybody to stand up and sing this last course with us one time?

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me But I once was lost, but now am found T'was blind but now I see


BALDWIN: 11 others lost their lives in that violent unprovoked attack. We just wanted to take a moment to remember them. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.