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Trump Arrives in California's Wildfire Disaster Zone; Victims Create Makeshift Evacuation Camp in Parking Lot; Wildfire Smoke Causing Air Quality Emergency in California; CIA Concludes Saudi Crowned Prince Ordered Khashoggi Killing but State Department Says No Conclusion Yet; Trump: I Wrote Answers to Mueller's Questions; Trump & Jerry Brown Address on California Fire Disaster; Less Than 24 Hours Before Florida Must Submit Manual Recount Results in High-Stakes Races; Trump Continues to Push Voter Fraud Conspiracy in Florida. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired November 17, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and this is "FIT NATION."
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.
Our breaking news right now, President Trump putting Washington politics aside. He is on the west coast focusing on the unbelievable destruction and the climbing number of people killed and left homeless by the wildfires in California. The president now in what is left of the town of Paradise, California. That is where nearly everything manmade burned to the ground a few days ago. And where resident are now they're returning to meet each other to collect whatever they can salvage.
Here is the president speaking just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I want to thank the mayor, the governor and governor-elect. We know the FEMA folks that we have relied on a lot in the last few years.
And, Brock, I want to thank you for the job. It has been incredible.
Law enforcement has been beyond anything that anyone could have believed.
To see what happened here, no one would have ever thought this could happen. The federal government is behind you. We're all behind each other. I think you've been through (INAUDIBLE). Jerry and I have been speaking and Gavin and I have gotten to know each other and we're all going to work together and we'll do a real job. This is very sad to see.
As far as the lives are concerned, nobody knows quite yet. We're up to a certain number, but we have a lot of people not accounted for. This is the kind of destruction -- in fact, they're telling me this is even not as bad as some areas. Some areas are even beyond this. They're just charged.
So one thing we have is, we have the greatest people in the world looking and helping. The first responders, FEMA, everyone has been incredible. Law enforcement always. They never let us down. They never let us down.
So we are here. K
Kevin, thank you very much for the job you have done and the support they have given in Washington. And, Kevin, anything that we can do you know we are here, just bring it over to the office, right? You know that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, what needs to be done immediately from the federal government?
JERRY BROWN, (D), CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: What needs to be done is already being done. Put FEMA on the job, make sure our first responders are supported, getting the power that we need to get the job done. And then we have the cleanup. We've got the search for those who lost their lives. It is just a big massive clean up after a terrible tragedy. So it's basically people right here, local people, state people, doing the work. The federal government provides some help and a lot of money, and some expertise, and somehow we'll all pull through it together.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is there any way to prevent this from happening again, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Well, we have been talking about that on the ride over. I think we're all on the same path. We have to do management, maintenance, and we will be working also with environmental groups. I think everyone has seen the light. And I don't think we will have this again to this extent. We'll have to work quickly. But a lot of people are very much -- there has been a lot of study going on over the last little while. And I will say I think you're going to have -- hopefully, this will be the last of these, because this was a really, really bad one. And I know Gavin is committed, we're all committed, I'm committed to make sure they we get all of this cleaned out and protected. Take care of the floors. The floors of the forest is very important.
If you look at other countries, where they do it differently, and it is a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland, and he said, we have it much different, we're a forest nation - he called it a forest nation -- and they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem. And when it is, it is very small. So I know everybody is looking at that, to that end. And it will work out. It will work out well. Right now, we want to take care of the people that are so badly hurt.
The families where they have lost -- a lot of people have been lost, I guess, we don't know what the final number is?
TRUMP: Yes. We won't know that for a while. There's areas we can't even get to them yet. But we have incredible people doing the job. So we will get that done better than anybody else could do it.
And we want to thank you all for coming and being here and showing because I think people have to see this to really understand it.
[15:05:07] And back in Washington, Mr. Congressman, you know that, and Kevin, and everybody. We have two of our great members of Congress. And they're -- you're with us 100 percent. Whatever is necessary, we're going to do, all right?
I want to thank you very much.
Brock, thank you very much.
BROCK LONG, FEMA DIRECTOR: Thank you, sir.
CABRERA: We're here. We'll get it taken care of. Thank you. Thank you.
TRUMP: Do you anything to say, Gavin?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Follow me right here.
CABRERA: The president and the governor of California addressing the devastation and the death toll.
We're also hearing firsthand from residents who have lost everything in northern California. The Camp Fire has decimated Butte County, leaving thousand homeless. Many of the official shelters are capacity, leaving residents really with nowhere to go. In Chico, some of the victims had to set up this makeshift evacuation camp in a Walmart parking lot.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung is joining us from makeshift camp.
Kaylee, what are you seeing, what are you hearing there?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, this Walmart is about 10 miles down the hill that Paradise sits atop of. This is where the people of Paradise shop, a lace they're familiar with and comfortable and a place that people felt safe. In the chaos of evacuations last Thursday, many people ended up here, stranded with nowhere else to go. It was always supposed to be nothing more than a temporary solution and people now recognizing it is time to figure out what is next.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HARTUNG (voice-over): The smoke from the Camp Fire lingers and survivors on the ground face a bleak picture. This makeshift campground in a Walmart parking lot is near the remnants of the town of Paradise. Many have lost everything. These survivors are just trying to catch their breath in the smoky air, looking for the answer to the question, what's next.
ANNA GOODNIGHT, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: Did it burn down or didn't it burn down? We don't know. And it is hard to know. It's hard to figure out your game plan when you don't know your game plan.
HARTUNG: Anna Goodnight and her husband, William, rushed out of their home , only able to grab medication and some important documents.
GOODNIGHT: We saw everything burning as we were leaving off of the hill. That was scary enough.
HARTUNG: They have no idea if their home is still standing. They are just glad they made it out alive.
GOODNIGHT: I hope there's closure for the family that's have lost family because we have been hearing so many horror stories. I'm sure will be worse before it gets better.
CRYSTAL STIRUP, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: We are living. A lot of people didn't make it.
HARTUNG: Crystal Stirup survived Hurricane Andrew and Irma in Florida. She and her four young children were planning to make Paradise their new home.
(on camera): This was the start of the next chapter of your life, putting a down payment on an apartment in Paradise?
STIRUP: Yes, we were happy and excited. They called us and told us to come next week. That is when we were supposed to come in, but everything is gone, I don't know, what is the next step. I'm just winging it.
HARTUNG: Despite facing her own long road to recovery, Crystal has been visiting the people at the camp, offering to help however she can.
STIRUP: I can't do anything but one day at a time. It's out of my hands. Stay praying, stay asking the Lord to cover us or cover them. Make sure they have a safe place to land in all of the situations.
HARTUNG: People tell me they were outraged, offended, and hurt by President Trump's initial comments in the aftermath of the fires. He threatened to withhold federal funds from the state of California. But, Ana, they tell me that if his trip here today could put a spotlight on the problem, if his trip here can give him a greater understanding of the need people have here, they welcome them.
CABRERA: Thank you so much, Kaylee Hartung. We appreciate it.
I want to bring in CNN's Kyung Lah, in Thousand Oaks, California.
Kyung, the devastation is heartbreaking. The death toll is still rising, the number of people missing is still rising. What is the latest?
[15:09:18] KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It not just where the president is in northern California but also here in southern California. The Camp Fire up there and the Woolsey Fire down here, all told, about 1,000 people are unaccounted for. Let that number sink in, 1,000 people unaccounted for. A total death toll as of now at 74 between these two fires. It has ravaged communities not just in northern California but here in southern California, through the Thousand Oaks area, through the Malibu area. Communities that had not burned in many, many years suddenly saw homes that were flattened. These are middle class homes. These are expensive homes down to beach homes.
What the president is doing here is trying to play that uncomfortable role he's filled at times, consoler-in-chief. We heard the press secretary say today would be one of the most difficult days in this two-year administration as of yet. And that he was going to try to reach out and try to bridge the gap between Washington and California and let them know -- you heard it in his comments there -- that he would be there, the federal government would be there to help California, even though in those two years in office, California has often played the opposition role.
And something that we should mention as well, Ana, is that these two fires are still burning. Here in southern California, it is, in large part, 82 percent contained. But firefighters here have been on the job here since the Borderline shooting. We just met the Ventura firefighters. The engine company went 10 days ago to help in the Borderline shooting, and then they went to the fire, trying to protect homes that's were seeing these wildfires lap up. This is a home they could not save in Oak Park. But as they drive around, people whose homes they did save, Ana, are coming out to say thank you for doing their very best to protect their homes -- Ana?
CABRERA: That is the silver lining in a horrible situation.
Kyung Lah, thank you for keeping us updated.
The president continues to blame these deadly wildfires in California on poor management. Here is what he told FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was watching the firemen the other day and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there and they're raking trees, little trees like this -- not trees, little bushes that you could see, totally dry, weeds, and they're raking them, they're on fire. That should have been all raked out --
(CROSSTALK) CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: What about the argument --
TRUMP: You would not have the fires --
WALLACE: What about the argument that it's climate change, that it's drier and hotter, and that is contributing to it.
TRUMP: Maybe it contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The smoke from the wildfires is now causing an air quality emergency. These images show how far the smoke from the fires is traveling blanketing the western U.S. with toxic smog. This is what it looks like on the ground in San Francisco, more than 150 miles away from the Camp Fire, thick, hazardous smog. Dozens of schools and transit systems forced to close due to low visibility and the toxic air quality.
CNN's Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is joining us now.
Allison, how bad is the air quality?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEROLOGIST: The thing is when you have low- level winds, that helps to spread the fire or trigger new fires. The upper-level winds, that is where a lot of that smoke gets carried. So, yes, not only is it taking a lot of that smoke and spreading it around California, but it is taking it three, four, and five states away. You have areas of Colorado, areas of the central plains that are getting smoke from California as well. Not quite to the extent as in California, but it's still spreading nonetheless. The problem is that in California it is very heavily concentrated and that is making air quality very poor. Put this in perspective. We think of places with poor air quality, usually, we think of India and China. There are areas of California that have worst air quality than areas in China and India. That is because of the smoke from the wildfires. Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, even Fresno, all dealing with air quality in the unhealthy category. Chico, looking at very unhealthy. Several of these have gone up in just the last hour.
One thing this area desperately needs is rain. The good news is that the long-term forecast will call for that. The first is coming Monday and Tuesday. That will allow humidity levels to come up but not necessarily bring rain. Once we get to Wednesday and Thursday, now you're starting to see some of these areas pick up some measurable rainfall. The heaviest amounts will be in northern California. Widespread, maybe about an inch. Some areas could pick up more. But does this mean? When we talk about those numbers, is it enough, is it not enough. You have to understand what the amounts mean in terms of the fire. Take a look again. When you're talking half of an inch, that is enough to help the firefighters get a better hold on containment and help the fire from spreading even more. But to put the fire out, you need closer to about two inches. Some areas will get two inches, it will not necessarily be in the areas where they are need it the most.
CABRERA: Allison, it is good to hear there's rain in the forecast, but for those dealing with air difficult to breathe, what should say do to protect themselves.
CHINCHAR: Masks are your best option. And limit your exposure outside. Unfortunately, for many of those that are living in the tents, as you saw, they don't really have that option. If you have the option, stay indoors as much as possible to avoid breathing in those toxic fumes.
[15:15:10] CABRERA: Allison Chinchar, in the Weather Center, thank you.
While the president was en route to California, we learned he got briefed on Jamal Khashoggi's killing. This on the heels of new reporting that CNN and "Washington Post" learning that CIA believes the Saudi crown prince had a direct role in ordering the assassination. That's not what Trump wanted to hear. What will he do now?
Plus, the president saying he will be submitting the answers to Robert Mueller's questions in the Russia probe next week and he says he wrote all of the answers easily.
CABRERA: New developments today in the murder investigation of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The State Department said just this afternoon the U.S. government has not made a final determination of who is responsible. This statement follows reports that the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi's death last month. President Trump was briefed today by his secretary of state and his CIA director.
And here is what he said before that briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:20:18] TRUMP: We also have a great ally in Saudi Arabia. They give us a lot of jobs, they give us a lot of business, a lot of economic development and they are -- they have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development. And I also take that -- you know, I'm president and I have to take a lot of things into consideration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Josh Dawsey joins us now. He's a CNN political analyst and the White House reporter for the "Washington Post." He broke this latest reporting about the CIA's assessment.
Josh, the State Department spokeswoman said in recent report indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion on Khashoggi's death are inaccurate. What's your reaction? JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLTIICAL ANALYST: We have standby reporting. The
CIA has definitively concluded that the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, of Saudi Arabia, was involved in this ordering of this. It's coming after weeks and weeks of evidence and looking at all available data, phone calls, records from the Saudi embassy, all sorts of different data points. And we stand firm in our reporting that that has been the conclusion of the CIA, the leading intelligence agency, and that the president has been briefed on the large amount of evidence that points to that conclusion.
CABRERA: CNN also confirmed that same reporting, in fact, saying that the source that we're hearing this from say that the crown prince personally ordered the killing. Do you see this as the State Department contradicting the CIA with their statement?
DAWSEY: Here's what's happening. The president has been very reticent to take too much decisive action here. He sees Saudi Arabia as a valuable economically. I spoke to the president about this last months, and he said on the phone to me, they are really powerful in curbing Iran, he's concerned about oil prices. There's a lot of strategic import he sees in this relationship. And Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, has been very confident in his relationship with the crown prince. He's cultivated that for two years, much to the chagrin of some others in the government. For the president this was a big bad. If you remember correctly, he went in May to Saudi Arabia in his first foreign trip. And this is a relationship that he's very concerned about damaging. So what you have seen is the president come out and say he could have been involved in the cover up or other scenarios and where he wasn't involved. However, the CIA determined he was, frankly.
CABRERA: You report they reached their assessment with high confidence. How did the CIA come to their conclusion?
DAWSEY: They have lots of methods I don't know they we know all of them here. We know the CIA doesn't come to conclusions with high confidence easily. That's something that takes a lot for them to say that. And for Gina Haspel, the CIA director, and others, too, to take that information to the White House, it means they're pretty sure that is what happened.
CABRERA: In your report, you cite they have the evidence of the audio recording that was inside the consulate. There was apparently a phone call made, according to your sources, from the consulate after the killing to the crown prince.
I want to ask you about we're hearing from the crown prince's brother who is denying your reporting, refuting the claims that he had a phone call with Khashoggi telling him to go to Istanbul to the consulate to get those marriage documents.
DAWSEY: We remain confident in the reporting. And the CIA is aware of the phone call and the order there, as we reported it. Still a lot of denials, because it's a pretty sensitive situation all around. But the CIA's conclusion is pretty firm. And the president and others are all aware of that conclusion. CABRERA: When the president said this morning he has a lot into
consideration when it comes to this case, he also said at that time he had not been briefed by the CIA. You say he did know what the CIA had in terms of the evidence that you learned about regarding the crown prince's involvement?
DAWSEY: Yes, the president has been extensively told of the evidence. Gina Haspel met with him in the Oval Office. He spoke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They and the Intelligence Community have given the president updates on this case. What the president said repeatedly is that he is looking, he hopes for a reason to believe that MbS, the crown prince, was not responsible, but the evidence that he has been shown has been provided to him by the intelligence agency saying they believe he is very confidently.
CABRERA: Josh Dawsey, thank you for sharing your reporting with us. We appreciate it.
DAWSEY: Thank you for having me.
CABRERA: President Trump's legal team pushing back on specific questions from the special counsel. We'll tell you what they are as the president reveals he personally responded to Robert Mueller. Good idea or not so much?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:25:01] TRUMP: I write the answers. My lawyers don't write answers. I write answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: President Trump revealing today his written responses to the special council's questions are all done and will be submitted next week. CNN previously reported that Trump's legal team had taken issue with some of the questions, specifically the ones dealing with the transition period after the 2016 election, arguing that time should be off limits thanks to executive privilege. The president also telling reporters his lawyers did not write the answers to Mueller's questions, he did it himself, he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I write the answers. My lawyers don't write answers. I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I've answered them very easily, very easily. I'm sure they're tricked up because, you know, they like to catch people. Gee, was the weather sunny or was it rainy? He said it may have been a good day, it was rainy, therefore, he told a lie, he perjured himself, OK? So you have to always be careful when you answer questions from people that probably have bad intentions. But, no, the questions were very routinely answered by me. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now is CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan.
Paul, as a lawyer, you hear what the president said. He answered all the questions himself. They were very easily answered. What's your reaction?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I am skeptical because the president since last January has been promising, first, he would appear before the grand jury, if necessary, and testify under oath. That has never happened. Then he's been constantly saying, the lawyers have been saying, yes, we're dealing with the questions that we're going to submit. This is another example of them making promises. I want to see what they deliver on. I'm very skeptical.
CABRERA: When he says he answered them very easily, in that same sentence, he later he says he thinks some of them may have been a perjury trap or they were tricked up. According to his lawyer, as they've been going through these questions, Rudy Giuliani telling the "Washington Post" that some of the questions create more legally -- more issues for us legally than others. He also said some were unnecessary, some were plausible, possible traps. We might consider some as irrelevant. Is that what these questions are meant to be, traps?
CALLAN: Prosecutors, when they're dealing with normal human beings, would never submit written questions that the suspect answers with his lawyer sitting by his side. They issue a subpoena and they force you to testify on the witness stand or assert the Fifth Amendment. Here, regardless of what the president says, he answered the questions himself, those answers go back to the lawyers who go through every phrase to make sure there's nothing incriminating and then that would be submitted back to Mueller.
CABRERA: Why would they be worried about a perjury trap?
CALLAN: I don't think that a perjury trap is possible when the lawyers are reviewing the questions. It happens when somebody is called to testify under oath, not for information, but merely to trap them into saying something that is untrue. That doesn't happen with written questions because the lawyers can go over and avoid a perjury trap. So the president is not only wrong about that, but the example he gave of a perjury trap was not a perjury trap, the thing about the weather. You know? If he --
CABRERA: If he had the weather wrong on the day
CALLAN: Except he said if I answered and said it was a nice day, it was raining, well, the question was, was it raining. His answer, it was a nice day, and it was raining, would have been a perfectly proper answer and not perjury, Mr. President.
CABRERA: When you talked about the Fifth Amendment, or saying I want to plead the Fifth, if he doesn't answer any of the questions, some of the questions, is that like pleading the Fifth?
CALLAN: No, it's not the same because this is voluntary, submission of written questions and through the lawyers back to Mueller. So it is not really a situation where the Fifth Amendment is likely to come up. I will tell you what is, though, the concept of executive privilege. If they want to limit Mueller to the questioning of things before the election, which is the position they articulated, they may assert it is executive privilege and the president doesn't have to assert the Fifth. He can get the protection of executive privilege. That is at least the argument they will make.
CABRERA: Do you think it is still possible that the president will have to sit for an in-person interview?
CALLAN: I think Mueller would be happy to give him an in-person interview. I do not think his lawyers would ever go along with such a thing. It would be dangerous for the president. He goes on and on and frequently, even when he is trying to tell the truth, he makes misstatements. He is especially dangerous to represent as an attorney. These lawyers would be pulling their hair out and on the verge of a heart attack if he actually went one-on-one with Mueller.
CABRERA: Thank you so much, Paul Callen. Good to see you.
CALLAN: Thank you.
CABRERA: Happy Thanksgiving --
CALLAN: Thank you.
CABRERA: -- in advance. Thanks.
[15:34:23] President Trump lashing out at the media, threatening to walk away from all press questions he doesn't like. He says it's is about decorum and respect.
CABRERA: Welcome back. Let's go back to California where the president is again speaking at an incident commander center this time as he tours the wildfire disasters, this time in Chico.
JERRY BROWN, (D), CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: OK, just a few words. We know how tragic this has been. And I have had a hard time finding the right way to put it. People are working very hard people are suffering, and so many people from different places and backgrounds and services have pulled together.
I'd like to say thank you to firefighters and the first responders and thanks to the federal government.
We appreciate the president himself being here and putting a focused spotlight on the worst tragedy that that California has ever faced.
[15:39:58] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Jerry.
i want to thank FEMA, law enforcement. You have been incredible. First responders, the firefighters. They're out there now. They want to be -- they have a lot of territory to cover. Still going very heavily. There's a big area of very intense flame right now that is next to a very explosive area, wouldn't you say? It is a great big problem out there and they are fighting and they're fighting like hell. We've never seen anything like this in California. We've never seen anything like this. It's like total devastation.
But again, I want to thank everybody.
Brock is going to give a little presentation as to where we're going, what we're doing, and how we're doing it. Again, the men and women fighting this fire are incredible.
We know that more than 70 people have been lost. We're looking for hundreds of people right now, and hopefully that will be a good conclusion and not a bad conclusion. Maybe they're out there. Maybe they're with their loved ones somewhere else and we just don't know about it. But they're looking for hundreds of people and we'll know the answer to that over the next 48 hours I think for the most part.
Brock, perhaps you'll give us a little bit of a presentation as to how we're going to stop the rest of this monster.
BROCK LONG, FEMA DIRECTOR: Yes, sir. Mr. President, we discussed this is probably the worst disaster that I have seen in my career. It will take partnership at all levels of government, not only helping the governor achieve his recovery goals, but also this is the time for neighbor helping neighbor. That's what's most important.
FEMA is on the ground. I've been here since Tuesday making sure we have situational awareness on how to help the state achieve what needs to be done when it comes to firefighting but also taking care of people part and we've set up disaster recovery centers. We ask people to go to 1-800-621-FEMA or go to disasterassistance.gov to register.
To this point, as I've pointed out, we've had a request for over 12000 people registered in our system and we've handed out close to $3 million to those that have qualified for assistance.
The firefighters' main priority is taking care of people and making sure that we can get people transiting out of shelters and going home, and we also working with the state of California, who has done a tremendous job, making sure we also understand how to do debris removal, and get the infrastructure back up so we can start to help communities like Paradise, Stratford, and more.
With that, I think it's time for us to turn it over to (INADUBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, this is a progression map of the fire. The blue is the very first day that we experienced the most significant damage. It was almost 8,000 structures within the first 12 hours. Almost 8,000 structures were burnet in that time. There's still significant challenges to the river drainage, the weather, the wind and the red flag warnings still coming this weekend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Absolutely. This whole area, especially the river drainage, and there's still some communities outside of the burn area that we're concerned about.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you for that.
Thank you, Brock. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, do you see any role of climate change in these fires in California?
TRUMP: Say it again.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you see any role of climate change in these fires in California?
TRUMP: I think you have a lot of factors. We have the management factor that Jerry has really been up on very well. And we're going to be looking at it together. Right now that seems to be a big problem and you're going to get that problem solved. In the farm bill, we're going to put about $500 million in the farm bill for management and maintenance of the forests, beyond this area, and really managing $500 million. That will be in the farm bill. We just put it in. The farm bill is moving along pretty rapidly for our great farmers. But we have a new category, and that is management and maintenance of the forest. It is very important.
I want to thank you folks over there, law enforcement, great, great job.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does the devastation change your opinion on climate change, Mr. President?
TRUMP: No, no. I have a strong opinion on hat and we're going to have forest that's are very safe. We can't just go through this every year. We will have safe forests that is happening as we speak.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You say changes in fire management. Should the state and local officials work --
[15:45:08] TRUMP: No, working with the federal government. No, state local and federal government. The federal government will work with state and local. And we will help them with funding. It will take a lot of funding, I'll tell you that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Should they have done things differently before this point?
TRUMP: A lot of things have been learned. A lot of things have been learned. And they've been working very hard. I think you'll see something very spectacular over the next couple of years.
BROWN: If you look at the facts, a very open point of view, a lot of elements to be considered, and the presidency, you saw and looking forward in the next months and beyond, to understand the threat of fires, the whole matter of drought and all of the rest of it. It is not one thing, it is a lot of things. And I think if we open our minds and look at things, we'll get more.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.
CABRERA: Again, that is the president and the governor of California moments ago in Chico, California, addressing the fire disaster, the emergency that is still on going in that state. We heard the governor say this was perhaps the worst tragedy they have faced. FEMA Administrator Brock Long saying perhaps the worst disaster in his entire career is happening there. The president taking some questions about climate change, pressed twice at the end on this issue, where he said we're looking at a lot of factors. He turned the conversation to forest management and deforestation, something he's been talking about a lot in recent days. I thought it was interesting he addressed having money in the farm bill to address those concerns when it comes to management and maintenance of forests. But when pressed on climate change and whether or not his opinion on climate change had changed after this, he said no, but again, not ruling the cause and preventive measures out at all. Wanting to work with the governor and local officials to perhaps prevent a future situation.
A quick break and we'll be right back.
[15:51:40] CABRERA: Less than 24 hours to go now before Florida has to submit the results of a manual recount in the high-stakes U.S. Senate race there. The Democrat incumbent, Bill Nelson, his hopes of holding onto his seat may be dwindling fast. Republican challenger, Rick Scott, has an unofficial lead of more than 12,000 votes.
Let's bring in CNN's Dan Merica in Florida's capitol, Tallahassee.
Dan, what is the chance that Democrats will be able to close the gap that trail?
DAN MERICA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Ana. Since the Florida state game kicked off down the street, I'll use a football metaphor and say it's a Hail Mary for Democrats in the state. Seems like Democrats here and nationally are coming to terms with that fact. Now going into this recount, they needed a lot to go their way both in the courtroom and in these 67 counties where votes are actually being counted. Neither one of those things happened. In the courtroom, they suffered a number of losses before Judge Mark Walker, the federal court in Tallahassee. And in the count, the machine count, which finished yesterday, didn't really do anything near what Democrats had needed or expected a few days ago when they were previewing this machine count.
Now what's going forward is Republicans have gone about the business, those Republicans leading in the races, Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, in the Senate race, he went to Washington like he was a Senator, and Ron DeSantis, former Congressman, who is now leading in the governor's race against Andrew Gillum, he has gone on with his transition. There's also a historical content, there have been since 200, 2016, there have been 27 recounts and only three of those have flipped the numbers - Ana?
CABRERA: Dan, amid the recount, President Trump has continued to push a voter fraud conspiracy even though his candidates are leading. He's telling "The Daily Caller," "Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It's really a disgrace. That's what's going on."
Dan, fact-check this for us. Is there any evidence to support that claim?
MERICA: The short answer is no. And a very serious claim leveled by the president. There has been issues with this recount and election but that hasn't stopped Republicans from charging out-right fraud, including Rick Scott, who stood on the governor's mansion steps and not only accused the people of fraud, but called out two election officials in south Florida. Now there have been issues, and that has been very clear throughout all of this. But issues are different than out-right fraud. And we have seen there hasn't been that fraud that the president is alleging.
CABRERA: OK, Dan Merica, in Tallahassee for us, thanks for the update.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, homicide is the number- one cause of death for black men ages 15 to 34. A grim statistic. But for Robert Gore, an emergency doctor in Brooklyn, New York, it was a reality that pushed him to take action. In and out of the hospital, meet one of our top-10 "CNN Heroes "for 2018.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GORE, EMERGENCY ROOM DOCTOR: I don't like pronouncing people dead. It's probably the worst thing that I've ever had to do. I want to preserve life. When I see patients coming in with violent injuries, when somebody looks like you from your neighborhood, a lot of this stuff hits home. You realize I don't want this to happen anymore. What do we do about it?
What's going on? You all right?
It's important that we start training young people and helping them learn how to become change agents working with them on a middle school level.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [15:55:21] CABRERA: You can vote for him for "CNN Hero of the Year" and you can also vote for other top-10 "CNN Heroes" right now at CNN heros.com.
We'll be right back.
[16:00:02] CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thanks for being with us on this Saturday.
We are following breaking news right now.