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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Trump Says Would Help Nancy Pelosi Get Votes; Trump: I Don't Think a Govt Shutdown Would be Necessary; Trump Departs for Fire- Ravaged California; Trump: I'll be Briefed by CIA on Khashoggi Murder Today; Trump: Will Submit Questions to Mueller Next Week; Trump Heads to California as 1000+ Remain Missing; CIA Concludes Saudi Prince Ordered Khashoggi's Killing; Trump Criticized for Deploying 5900 Troops to Border; Pelosi's Future as House Speaker Uncertain; House Republicans to Subpoena James Comey, Loretta Lynch; Multi-Million Dollar Norwegian Ship Collides with Oil Tanker. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 17, 2018 - 08:00   ET

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


[00:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: I am very close to making a decision on U.N. Ambassador or an Attorney General? No, we haven't, but I will tell you, until that decision is made, we have a great, great gentleman in Matt Whitaker. And everybody tells me, he's doing a fantastic job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you considered Pam Bondi for--

TRUMP: I'd consider Pam Bondi for anything but right now I know it very well, in the meantime she's got a very good job and she's doing a very good job, she's always done a very good job. But at some form - in some form I'd love to have her in the administration but we have great people you know, we have - we have tremendous people, our cabinet. I'm very happy.

Will I make adjustments? Yes, but we have a great cabinet. You take a look at what we're doing with the military. Very happy with Secretary of Defense, by the way. Jim Mattis is doing a great job, Pompeo is doing a great job. We have a truly, great cabinet. I could go through every one of them.

But then you might be able to figure out the one or two that I'm a little bit less happy with, that wouldn't be good, okay, thank you, I'll see you in California. We're going to be looking at everything. Thank you. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, HOST, NEWDAY, CNN: That was President Trump just a few moments ago as he got on board Marine 1 heading to California ultimately to talk to, you heard him there, talk about the governor, he's going to be talking to the governor and the governor elect, he's going to be talking to some of the first responders as well.

We heard Sarah Sanders earlier say this trip is partly the President going to California to be a consoler-in-chief, to let these people know that we are there for you.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, HOST, NEWDAY, CNN: All right, Sarah Westwood is with us and we're seeing here live pictures from joint base Andrews Air Force One takes off, headed to California, these previously scheduled landing time out 12: 45 ET at Beale Air Force base there in California, that likely will be delayed because we expected this would have been some time ago.

Sarah Westwood, let me come to you at the White House now. The President making some news on several points over the 11 minutes he spoke with reporters. Let's start with Mohammad bin Salman and the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi saying that he has not been briefed by CIA director Gina Haspel.

We know that he was briefed few Thursdays ago, sometime in October but no update, the President says at least.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right and the President did say that he would be speaking to the CIA, speaking to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Air Force One on enroute to California where he expects to get an update on what the CIA has learned about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

This is coming on the heels of a Washington Post report that suggests the CIA has concluded that the Crown Prince who is a close ally of this White House and Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law in particular, that the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman did have a direct role in ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Now the President didn't acknowledge that reporting but he is certainly going to learn if the CIA does in fact believe that the crown prince played a direct role. He also made news on the Russian probe front saying that next week he'll be submitting those answers to written questions to the Special Counsel's office.

We know that he's been huddling with his lawyers all week preparing those written answers to submit to the Special Counsel's office and he even suggested that potentially he could shut down the government over the next few weeks if he doesn't get that $5 billion, his administration has requested in funding for the Wall.

It'll be one of his last chance is potentially to get that funding as the House prepares to shift to Democratic control.

So the President juggling a lot of things today as he heads to California and continues criticizing land management in the wake of these fires. Victor.

BLACKWELL: He also talked about the speakership fight in the House. Nancy Pelosi hoping to take that role up a second time now in which he said that he will help Nancy Pelosi if she needs votes, there are more than a dozen Democrats on the record saying that they will not vote for her for Speaker and he named a specific Congressman who told our Manu Raju this week that he would vote for Nancy Pelosi.

But there was a caveat there that he wanted something exchange. The President really didn't discuss there being an exchange for that vote.

WESTWOOD: That's right. Any Republican support for a Nancy Pelosi speakership, those moderates want that conditioned on rule changes to make the House to run more smoothly. The President not talking about how he might facilitate those kinds of changes but we know that Republicans have long seen Pelosi as an effective foil.

She featured in many of the ads that Republicans used to try to save their incumbents in this cycle. The President likely sees her as someone who might be easier to spar with than another alternative for the Democratic speakership.

[00:05:00] He clearly is very invested in having her take over the House and he would be battling with her for the next two years as he heads into his re-election campaigns which is interesting that he is following the Democratic speakership races so closely. Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Yes, President Trump saying that he could probably get New York Representative Tom Reed to vote for Nancy Pelosi but Tom Reed as you said wanted those rules changed, also making some news about his cabinet saying, he's very happy with the cabinet but there could be some changes and then on the migrants saying that he sees a video of people who are, he says, in such fear but they're waving flags of the country.

What is that all about suggesting that one cannot be in fear but still love their country and leave the grudgingly for their own safety and self-interest but we will of course dig more into what that the President talked about as he headed to California, thank you Sarah.

PAUL: So for a second day, the number of those unaccounted for in the Camp fire burning in northern California has skyrocketed.

Take a look at some of the pictures we have coming in now. As of last night, more than 1000 people are missing. And thousands of fire- fighters are still performing this gruelling work to try to stop the rapidly growing wildfire. In the meantime, three wildfire deaths in southern California brings the total number of people who have died to 74.

The Campfire is the deadliest most destructive wildfire in California history.

BLACKWELL: Paul Vercammen is joining us now from Chico, California and Paul, let's start with and I think it's such a striking image of all of the tents that are surrounding this is, I believe it's a Walmart, in that parking lot there behind you.

It really is just a just a glimpse of the desperation of the people there in that part of California.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, you're right. It is the desperation because after all, you may have heard there were 52, 000 people evacuated at one point. The entire city of Paradise basically obliterate and we have to get back to that number of the missing or unaccounted for.

Well, the Sheriff came out, the Sheriff-Coroner and he said, look, this is raw data that needs to be refined, he talked to journalists about putting this in to context. He flatly is not saying that they're missing and presumed dead and he talked about all the ways that people could get on this list and he said frankly that there are many people who are on this list and don't even know that they're on that list.

So in a sense he walked everyone away from sheer terror in thinking that there's a 1000 people who are out there dead. Nevertheless, they're going through that gruesome task out there right now or later on today, they will, in Paradise where they will look for more human remains as you said, 71 people, 71 bodies have been recovered also asking for relatives.

This has to be heart-breaking to go and get themselves swabbed if they suspect that their loved one is dead and that way they can match DNA. Whoo! It is really tough to listen to that and there may be people here as we were talking about in these tents who might have loved ones missing and they might be going yet but hundreds of people now ringing this Walmart.

These makeshift camp sites are turning up but it's getting chilly, it's about 39 degrees, that's normal for Chico which is up here in northern California. Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: So much that these people will need. The President is heading to California and we'll see what happened throughout the day as the President will be there. Paul Vercammen for us in Chico, thanks so much.

Now, for ways that you could help go to CNN.com/impact. Plenty of ways you can help the people there dealing with these ongoing fires and the aftermath.

PAUL: And thank you so much for doing so for checking that out because those people need it certainly.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, new developments in the murder case journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. You heard the President just talked about it while this now reporting says that the CIA has evidence that points directly to Mohammed bin Salman and the President says, he expects to be briefed on that information from that the CAA as soon as today.

PAUL: Also President time says, he's finished answering Robert Muller questions on the Russia probe and says, he answered them very easily. Also saying today that he will submit them next week.

And it's another White House tradition, President Trump skipped so far. Visiting troops fighting overseas. Does the President have a surprise planned for this Thanksgiving?

[00:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: 13 minutes past the hour. We just heard from President Trump, this morning saying, he "has to take a lot of things into consideration. "This is regarding the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

His remarks came as the CIA has concluded now, we're learning this morning, that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the murder of Khashoggi, last month.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, Michelle Kosinski is following this story. Michelle, good morning to you. President Trump says that he has not yet been briefed on this CIA assessment but he had been briefed a couple weeks ago by Gina Haspel. He says he's got a lot more to think about.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Right, it looks like there were several pieces of evidence here, several sources to look at so only now are we hearing that the CIA has reached the conclusion that yes, the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the murder of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, that he in fact ordered it.

That's something that intelligence sources have suspected for a long time just because of Mohammed bin Salman's involvement in matters in his country on such a close level that it seemed impossible that he would not know about this and have been involved in it.

[00:15:00] But what the President said today pretty closely echoes what we've heard from him before.

I mean, after he spoke to Mohammed bin Salman, he said, you know, he denies that he was involved, this could have been a rogue element so listen to the President just a few minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Look at it. You know, 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. 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, I have to take a lot of things into consideration.

So we will talk with the CIA later and lots of other. I'll be doing that while up on the plane. I'll be speaking also with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI: So let's see what we hear from the President after he is fully briefed on what evidence exactly the CIA has been looking at to reach this assessment which the Washington Post is reporting they've reached with high confidence. It's a little different though than what we what we heard from the Vice President who is saying now that the killing was an atrocity, that this is an affront to a free press and that the U. S. is determined to hold everybody accountable, who was involved.

But here you heard President Trump emphasizing what a great ally Saudi Arabia is and that seemed to be the focus of his reaction to this latest news and it reflects not only what you know, the U. S. 's stance has been towards Saudi Arabia even through this shocking killing of a journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

But what U. S. allies feel too that there has been resistance to do too much too soon in response to Saudi Arabia, there's been real concern about hurting that relationship because western allies see that relationship as being so valuable to have that kind of ally in the Middle East.

Now comes the difficult decision of- since the CIA has reached this conclusion, what do you do next and then how does that affect the balance of things in the region?

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes. Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much. President Trump says that he's now finished writing answers on the Russia investigation. And he'll be sending them to Robert Mueller next week.

PAUL: And it's been a bit of a PR disaster for President Trump and troops. Well, now the President's talking about what he should have done on Veterans Day.

[00:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Thursday is Thanksgiving. It's a holiday that Presidents have sometimes used as an opportunity to visit with and thank American troops, fighting overseas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see if we got anybody more senior here who can read the President's Thanksgiving speech. Is there anybody back there who is more senior than us?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: That was President George W. Bush making a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq in 2003. President Bill Clinton, he travelled to Kosovo for a pre-Thanksgiving Day dinner in 1999.

President George H. W. Bush, he went to have Thanksgiving dinner with troops in Saudi Arabia, that was in 1990. Now again, these visits are often a surprise so it's not out of the ordinary that the White House is not publicly announced whether President Donald Trump will make one of the unexpected visits to thank U. S. troops in a war zone.

However some veterans and former defense officials are frankly disappointed that President Trump has not yet visited American service members in a combat zone not just on a holiday but at all. Consider this, he's been in office 666 days now. Let's go back to President Obama's administration. President Obama first visited Camp Victory in Baghdad, 77 days into his administration, Afghanistan on day 432 and President George W. Bush.

He visited Iraq, 252 days after the start of the war, he didn't go to Afghanistan until 2006. Now security is understandably a consideration when planning trips like these but Vice President Mike Pence, he made a surprise visit to troops in Afghanistan just before Christmas last year.

Jared Kushner, he went to Iraq in 2017. Now when President Trump was asked by the Associated Press just a few weeks ago, why he had not visited troops in a combat zone, the President reportedly said this, "Well, I will do that at some point but I don't think it's overly necessary. I've been very busy with everything that's taking place here. "

Now the President has visited troops at Camp Humphreys at South Korea and elsewhere last year but over the last nearly two years, President Trump did not visit U. S. combat troops even when he was nearby.

Let's look at his first official trip. It was to Saudi Arabia. There were more than 5, 000 active duty U. S. troops in Iraq, 10, 000 in Afghanistan, thousands more in Qatar at the largest U. S. military base in the Middle East. President Trump didn't visit any of them.

The President then went on to Israel. There were 1700 or so U. S. troops next door in Jordan, many of them fighting in Syria, he didn't visit them either. Listen, every President is busy, there's always work to do with the White House, but former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says these visits are necessary.

[00:25:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK HAGEL: I think it's bigger than just a misstep. I think it's a failure of an obligation, of a basic obligation of a commander-in- chief, he's commander-in-chief of our forces and not to go to a warzone where we have men and women dying, that's just wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Maybe the President will surprise troops overseas this week by thanking them in person but if this Thanksgiving is like the last one, he'll thank the troops but he'll do it from Mar-a-Lago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're being talked about again as an armed forces. We're really winning. We know how to win. But we have to let you win, they weren't letting you win before. They were letting you play even, we're letting you win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: There's also this rare concession from the President this weekend in which he says that in retrospect, he should have visited Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, we'll talk about that. Joining me now are Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown and Rebecca Grant, National Security and Military Analyst and President of IRIS Independent Research.

Rebecca used to work in the office of the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff of the Air Force as well. And congressman, you also are a veteran, thank you for your service. Let's start here. I want to start with the same question for each of you. The President says that these visits to combat troops are not overly necessary.

Are they? Rebecca, you first.

REBECCA GRANT, NATIONAL SECURITY AND MILITARY ANALYST AND PRESIDENT OF IRIS INDEPENDENT RESEARCH: Well, let me make two points, one is it is very difficult to get the President into an overseas military base because of all the airlift and security that's required so thinking that's always a factor. There's no question that President Trump is a big supporter of our troops but Victor, I'd say what the troops really want from President Trump is more readiness, the tools and spare parts and the funding to do their jobs for America.

BLACKWELL: All right, congressman, overly necessary?

ANTHONY BROWN, U. S. REPRESENTATIVE (D), MARYLAND: Yes, look, while I agree with Rebecca that troops want to make sure that we're investing in their readiness and that troops don't wake up every day wondering whether the President's come to visit. His failure to do so sends a terrible message to the troops and their families about his commitment as earlier reported in this segment, not once has he visited soldiers or sailors, airmen and marines in a combat zone.

He was in Europe just last week and failed to visit a very symbolically important site, the American cemetery in France, didn't go to Arlington National Cemetery. No matter how busy a President is, part of being busy is honoring these time tested traditions of showing our support to military members, their families and veterans and this President's failed to do so.

BLACKWELL: So Rebecca, let me come to you with this concession from the President in this Fox news interview that will air tomorrow, the President admits that he should have in retrospect visited Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. This is a President who doesn't often admit being wrong or regret. Why do you think this is different for the President?

GRANT: Oh, Victor, no question, that was a big mistake, I'm sure he's regretting it. Hard to say why it happened, scheduling but it's a big mistake. You know, the boss sometimes makes a mistake and he did and I think he'll be looking to make that up but again, I stress, I think he's doing a lot in terms of the robust defense budget and putting an eye on our competition with China and Russia. Long term, that's much more important.

BLACKWELL: Well, context here, the President's public schedule there that day was with blanks so when you talk about scheduling, there didn't appear to be anything else that he was doing. We saw several tweets come from the President that day but let me bring this point to you, the one that Rebecca makes Congressmen.

Vice President Mike Pence, he wrote an Op-ed that was published on Fox news this week in which he declared that veterans have no better friend than President Trump. He writes, "Our actions are having a real impact on the men and women who have sacrificed for our country; health care wait times are down. VA accountability is up and under our administration unemployment among veterans has reached its lowest level in nearly two decades. "

He sites, the Veterans Appeals Improvement in modernization Act, the Veterans Accountability and Whistle-blower Protection Act, the Veterans Choice for Health care. I mean, I expect the administration will agree with Rebecca here saying that the visits are as he says not overly important, what is overly important is what he's doing for the truth and you say to that what?

BROWN: Look, the Congress has worked with the administration in making some improvements in veterans' health care or long term health care, hiring veterans but just recently, look what we're seeing when it comes to the fiasco, when it comes to administering the post 911 GI educational benefits, you have a large backlog, one of the largest that we've seen during the administration of this program where there are reports that veterans relying on these benefits are facing homelessness because their housing allowance is not coming through.

[00:30:00] So again you've got a President who talks a lot about supporting veterans and military members but when it comes to executing, he's failing. The CIO, the Chief Information Officer position at the VA is vacant. They're still operating on a legacy IT program, there's been missteps with hiring leadership and there are still 45, 000 vacancies that Congress has provided appropriations to fill.

45, 000 vacancies at VA and veterans are suffering because of that.

BLACKWELL: Rebecca, let's talk about this deployment to the border, the southern border, thousands of U. S. troops there now, we saw Defense Secretary James Mattis go there and he says, long term what their mission is somewhat to be determined but this is what a senior administration official told our Jake Tapper.

"It's a paper tiger. It's a total joke of limited operational utility and a waste of our troops' time. Mattis knows it, Nielsen knows it, Kelly knows it. But that battle was lost with the President. He was hell bent on troops. "Is this deployment I mean, a waste of time. The President had called it an invasion and was adamant about these people, the migrants coming into the country up until the election.

Hasn't said as much about it since, is it a waste of time?

GRANT: No, I think it's perfectly appropriate for our troops under northern command and O' Shaughnessy (ph) to be deployed to our border to support the border patrol activities. I don't have a problem with our troops deployed on our border. Now, I think they made a very reasonable deployment and let's remember that both President Bush and President Obama deployed troops to that border and we've had troops there since this spring under another operation.

I think they're doing a good work. I'm sure it's tedious, I'm sure they'd rather be home with their families but I'm fine with having troops on our southern border backing up border patrol.

BLACKWELL: Congressman, you've called it demoralizing, why? BROWN: Yes, it's demoralizing. Look, I had concerns with the

deployment of the National Guard to the border, that's one issue but deploying active duty soldiers to the border, 7000 active duty National Guard, that's more than the number of service members in Iraq and Syria combined.

It's half the number in Afghanistan, those are real threats. Secretary Mattis this week, I think he must have been embarrassed when he asked about their mission, they're laying concertina wire in taxes when the migration looks like it's moving towards San Diego in California. So look, servicemen and women I deploy during the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, I missed many family - special family occasions and we don't mind doing that when the mission is real.

This mission is dubious at best, quite frankly I know that the President is going to California, he ought to bring some of those troops to California, they'd be more useful supporting the rescue, the search and the fire suppression efforts in California than shovelling manure on the southwest border in support of the custom and border patrol.

BLACKWELL: All right, Rebecca Grant, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Congressman, I want to keep you for another question or two in light of what we heard from the President this morning saying that he likes Nancy Pelosi and that he thinks, he could get some votes for her, for speaker if she didn't get enough from the Democrats.

Where do you stand? Will you, let me just ask a question straight out, will you vote for Nancy Pelosi to get the gavel?

BROWN: Yes, I'm supporting Nancy Pelosi, we need to put our field generals on the field if we are going to pass meaningful legislation on behalf of American people and that means bipartisan legislation. We don't need - we're an article one institution where the Congress, we don't need the President's help while I will say we would welcome Republican support of Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.

We're going to be able to elect Nancy Pelosi speaker with Democratic votes alone if that's what it takes. I think Nancy is going to be the next speaker. Steny Hoyer would be the next minority, I'm sorry, majority leader and my good friend Jim Clyburn is going to be the majority whip, that'll be our triumph grid (ph) at the top.

We've got an exciting new Congress, it's the most diverse Congress that we've seen in the history of this country so I'm looking forward to the 116th Congress so we can get some good bipartisan legislation done on health care, the economy and reforming government.

You sound confident in Pelosi's ability to get the votes, do you think she has the votes now? There are more than a dozen Democrats who say that they won't vote for her.

BROWN: Look, I think she has the votes, there's a majority, an overwhelming majority of Democrats in our caucus that will vote for her. When the vote comes to the floor, you have to understand, you're either boating for the Democratic nominee or the Republican nominee.

[00:35:00] And quite frankly I'd like to see the Democrat in our caucus who's going to vote, to hand the gavel, to lead that chamber to the Republican minority, who for two years has been unable to pass meaningful legislation.

BLACKWELL: I know you're optimistic about Nancy Pelosi's ability to get the votes necessary from Democrats alone but considering your support for her, would you be comfortable with Republicans crossing over at the President's urging to support Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker.

BROWN: Again, I don't think it will take Republican support to elect Nancy Pelosi speaker. However if Republicans are willing to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker, that would be a strong bipartisan statement of support and that's the kind of bipartisanship that we do need in the 116th Congress.

BLACKWELL: Well, the question is what you would have to negotiate to get those votes, Congressman Reed out of New York says that he wants a rule change, we'll see if that's even necessary. Congressman Anthony Brown of Maryland, thanks so much for being with me.

BROWN: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi.

PAUL: Well, President Trump says he'll be submitting his answers on the Russian probe to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, next week. We'll talk about that and just more than 24 hours to go. Thousands of votes to count by hand, who's going to be Florida's next Senator? We're taking you live to Florida. Stay close.

[00:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, President Trump says he's finished answering questions regarding Russian election meddling and he's going to be submitting those to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in fact next week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We haven't been briefed yet. The CIA is going to be speaking to me today. We have not been briefed yet. As of this moment, we were told that he did not play a role, we're going to have to find out what they have to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The President huddled with his legal team for at least three days and sources say he and his team were not happy with some of the questions, especially those covering the transition period and after the 2016 election. They believe it could be off limits as they pertain to the presidency.

PAUL: Meanwhile House Republicans are planning to subpoena former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch in connection with the Clinton email probe and Russian investigation and Comey tweeted that he wants, "the American people to watch so let's have a public hearing. Truth is best served by transparency. "He says and then he goes on to say, let me know when it's convenient.

Page Pate, CNN Legal Analyst and constitutional attorney with us now as well as Amie Parnes, Senior Political Correspondent for The Hill and co-author of 'Shattered. 'Thank you both for being here.

Amie, I wanted to ask you regarding that tweet from James Comey, how likely that anything would be - there would be any sort of public hearing?

AMIE PARNES, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE HILL: Probably unlikely, I think that this is the last Hurrah for Republicans before the transition happens before January, they're trying to make a point, I think, with the Clinton emails, they want to hear more from Loretta Lynch as we just discussed.

So I think this is something that they're going to hold their ground to, they don't want to see the ground because they know what's coming in January.

PAUL: Page, the President asserts that he wrote the answers to the Russian quest - questions on Russia collusion to Special Counsel Mueller that the attorneys did not do so. How much involvement do you believe the attorneys had because we know that he was behind closed doors with them for the last three days.

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right and I'm sure they weren't talking about the weather or some other issue, they were obviously focused on providing answers to the questions that had been provided to them by the Special Counsel's office. Now, at the end of the day you want the answers to come from the President. I mean that's the whole point, right?

You want his thoughts, his impressions, his recollection but the reason you have lawyers involved in this process is to make sure number one, you're answering the question that's asked. This present has a tendency to kind of go off on tangents, have narratives that don't have - aren't necessarily are relevant to what's at issue so the lawyers are going to try to keep them focused and obviously they're going to review those answers to make sure number one, they're responsive and two, they're complete.

And finally if the lawyers think there's a reason to object to a particular question, calls for executive privilege material, calls for attorney client privilege material then they can raise that legal objection and perhaps guide the President not to answer the question.

PAUL: So Amie, you mentioned Attorney General - former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, we know James Comey as we said, House Republicans are going to be subpoenaing them. Do you - is there an expectation that they are going to give anything to House Republicans that the President has wanted them to give, regarding the current email scandal? PARNES: I don't think so and I think that's why James Comey is now

saying he wants it public, he's essentially saying okay, let's make this very transparent, let's see exactly what the political strategy in the games are here, the parlor games that are being played and I think that's why he said it, he's kind of calling them out on it.

So I don't think that that's going to happen and you know and then it's anybody's game in January when Democrats take power so I think the Republicans are trying one last you know, they're trying a little bit of a ploy here.

PAUL: So Page, give me a timeline here, when do you anticipate based on what we know, the Mueller report will come out?

PATE: Well, Christi, at this point its complete speculation. I mean obviously the Special Counsel's office wants to get these questions answered by the President, they want to review them, see how they fit into the investigation and those answers may encourage additional work in the investigation.

[00:45:00] I mean we have no idea number one, what the questions are much less what those answers are so the Special Counsel's office will review them.

Now if the President's team is said, we're not answering question 5 or 7 or 8, they may have to work that out. Yes, you are, we need you to supplement these answers, that process can take months.

PAUL: Can they make hi - can they force him to answer a question?

PATE: Ultimately no. If the President says, I'm not going to participate in this process, I've given you what I think is reasonable and that's it then he does not have to provide any additional answers. Then the ball goes back to the Special Counsel's office. Do we want to try to proceed with a subpoena? And then if they issue the subpoena does the President challenge it and we - I don't think either side wants to go down that road because of the constitutional implications.

PAUL: The President did say, Amie, that there were some questions he didn't like and I think some questions that he did not answer. Can this investigation be legitimate without everything answered from the President?

PARNES: Probably not, Christi, and I think that's the point of that but I think you know, he thinks and his lawyers think that they are trying to set him up that this is a perjury trap. I mean, they're being - they're watching for those - for those questions and I think that's why he's huddled with his lawyers for much of the week to kind of figure out how do you - how these questions are going, how they're playing out.

I mean, if they are trying to trap him and so I - you know, his lawyers have been hesitant from day one to put him out there. This is why he's putting - submitting these questions in writing. So I think anything from him - anything else, they're a little freaked out that he could go a little unhinged if he is to speak with them, if he is to kind of answer the way he would want to answer.

PAUL: Page, I only have a couple seconds but is - could there be a perjury trap there?

PATE: Not in this case. I mean, you heard the President talked the other day about well, they may ask me if it was raining or a nice day, that's not perjury, perjury is giving intentionally false information on a material fact.

So if the President wants to commit perjury, he can do it but it's not going to be a trap simply by answering these questions about the investigation.

PAUL: All right, Amie Parnes, Page Pate, always appreciate you both, thank you.

PATE: Thank you.

PARNES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, the machines couldn't get it done. Now thousands of votes in Florida are being counted by hand. We'll go there live next.

[00:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: In a little more than 24 hours, Florida will have to make a final decision for who it wants to send to the Senate.

BLACKWELL: Well, the state is doing a manual recount of votes from last week's midterm election between Senate Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott.

PAUL: The first recount done by machines shows Scott leading by more than 12, 000 votes. Now so far it looks like that may not change. CNN correspondent Arlette Saenz joins us from West Palm Beach so we've already heard from some of the big counties. Any ideas as to whether there are any surprises left? Anything specifically being watched very closely?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Christi and Victor, if any surprises are going to play out, they have about 27 hours as that noon deadline tomorrow for the manual recount to be completed is quickly approaching here in the Senate race. About half - a little over half of the counties in Florida, 35 at least 35 of the 67 counties as of last night had said that they had completed the hand recounts in the Senate race including here in Palm Beach county.

But here in Palm Beach, they also still have to move on to other races down ballot, like the agriculture commissioner as well as a local congressional race that's playing out here. We were inside just a short while ago. They were supposed to get started at 8: 00 but they're a little delayed going forward this morning and we were told that we will be getting those senate recount numbers from Palm Beach tomorrow, around the time of the that deadline.

Now, this is all playing out as the Nelson campaign has faced a little bit of a setback when it comes to some of the legal filings. There was a lawsuit that was filed by a group called VoteVet Actions Fund as well as some other Democratic organizations that was trying to challenge a law here in Florida that requires all domestic mail-in ballots to be received by election day.

They were saying that ballots that were postmarked before election day but arrived a little bit later, they said that those should be considered as well but a judge yesterday went ahead and said, no, that the current for Florida law stands.

A lot of Florida voters are waiting to see how this race is going to turn out and come tomorrow around noon, when these recounts, the manual recounts results are due, people might be getting a better idea. Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, everyone will look forward to that. Arlette Saenz, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you Arlette. Here, the number of people missing in California. It's just staggering, more than 1000 people are on the missing list and 71 are dead. This is just in northern California's Campfire alone, we're going to take you there when we return to CNN Newsroom about an hour from now.

[00:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, a Norwegian navy warship meant to withstand battle sadly met its match in an oil tanker. The ship was doing navigation training in Norwegian waters, it crashed into the tanker on its way out. Now the tanker was fine but the navy crew had to drive up on the rocks to stop from sinking and officials tried to use cables to keep that 5500 ton ship upright but the cable snapped.

We do know 8 people on board were hurt and officials are investigating what caused the crash.

BLACKWELL: Wow, well, all right well Sunday is the season 5 Finale of This is Life with Lisa Ling and Lisa explores this really unique community. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stabilize me here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moment Lindsay puts on that suit, the shaking stops and Laelia comes alive.

LINDSAY: When I first imagined this character, I imagined here just like me so kind of shy and withdrawn but it was very quickly that I realized the costume had a life of its own. The shyness was just gone.

JOSH: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twice a month Josh and Lindsay hop in the car and head to one of our charity events.

JOSH: All good.

LINDSAY: I just get super excited every time I put it on. I'm going to go out there and perform and make people happy.

JOSH: What's going on. It's a giant dog driving around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Watch This is Life with Lisa Ling, Sunday at 10: 00ET right here on CNN. Okay, we're back at 10: 00ET for CNN Newsroom.

PAUL: Smerconish is next with you though.