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Trump Blasts Venerated Navy SEAL Commander Who Criticized His Attacks on the Media; White House Writing Up Rules and Regulations for Reporters; Trump: Probably Won't Sit for Mueller Interview. Aired 7- 8p ET
Aired November 18, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:12] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with me.
New tonight, President Trump doubling down on calling members of the media the enemy of the people. And in the process, slamming a venerated Navy SEAL commander who had raised concerns about his rhetoric.
Here's the extraordinary exchange with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: No president has liked his press coverage. John Kennedy in your Oval Office canceled the subscription to the "New York Herald Tribune." Nobody called it the enemy of the American people.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chris, I'm calling the fake news is the enemy. It's fake, it's phony. They'll take something to --
WALLACE: But a lot of times, sir, it's just news you don't like.
TRUMP: No, it's not. No, no. I don't mind getting bad news if I'm wrong, if I do something wrong.
Like for instance, the cemetery. I was not allowed to go because of the Secret Service, because they expected to take a helicopter.
TRUMP: They had zero visibility. They said, sir, we are totally unequipped for you to go. In addition to that, the cemetery was far, too far away from Air Force One, which is sort of like a control center where you had to be near.
Not one paper that I saw wrote it that way. They said I stayed out of it because of the rain. And yet the following day, I made a speech at the American cemetery.
WALLACE: I understand.
TRUMP: It was pouring. It wasn't even really raining the first day, but the fog was tremendous, OK.
WALLACE: But, sir, leaders and authoritarian countries like Russia, China, Venezuela now repress the media using your words.
TRUMP: I can't talk for other people. I can only talk for me. I will tell you, your news --
WALLACE: But you're seen around the world as a beacon for repression --
TRUMP: Chris -- Chris --
WALLACE: -- not for --
TRUMP: Chris, I'm not talking about you. Bad news sometimes, maybe, but I'm not talking about you.
The news about me is largely phony. It's false. Even sometimes they'll say, sources say, there is no source in many cases. In many cases, there is. But the --
WALLACE: But I understand you don't like your coverage (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: No, no. It's not a question --
WALLACE: Can I just bring the bigger issue?
TRUMP: Ninety-four percent, yes.
WALLACE: Can I bring the bigger issue up?
WALLACE: Bill McRaven, retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years, former head of U.S. Special Operations --
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: -- Special Operations Command --
TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: -- who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.
TRUMP: OK, he's a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer. And frankly --
WALLACE: He was a Navy SEAL for 37 years.
TRUMP: -- wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn't it have been nicer?
You know, living -- think of this. Living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion -- I don't know, I've seen nicer, but living in Pakistan right next to the military academy.
Everybody in Pakistan knew he was there, and we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year. And they don't tell him? They don't tell him for years?
WALLACE: You're not even going to give them credit for taking down bin Laden?
TRUMP: They took him down, but, look, look, there's news right there. He lived in Pakistan. We're supporting Pakistan. We gave them $1.3 billion a year -- which we don't give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don't do anything for us. They don't do a damn thing for us.
I'm totally in favor of the media. I'm totally in favor of free press but they've got to be fair press. When it's fake --
WALLACE: But does the President get to decide what's fair and what's not?
TRUMP: I can tell what's fair or not. And so can my people and so can a lot of people.
WALLACE: I understand that but --
TRUMP: When you do something very good and they write it badly -- and this is consistently. When you -- as an example, rarely do they talk about --
WALLACE: Barack Obama whined about fakes -- Fox News all the time, but he never said we were the enemy of the people.
TRUMP: Well, no, he didn't talk about the news. He didn't talk about anything. I'm only saying it very differently than anyone's ever said it before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: After that interview aired, Admiral McRaven issued this statement in response.
I do not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else. I'm a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for. I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.
I stand by my comment that the President's attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. When you undermine the people's right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the constitution and all for which it stands.
Joining me now, CNN military analyst and former Army Commanding General for Europe and the Seventh Army, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling; and CNN's senior political analyst and former adviser to four presidents, David Gergen.
General Hertling, let me start with you. Hit me with your reaction to the President suggesting that McRaven should have caught Osama bin Laden sooner.
[19:05:03] LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), FORMER COMMANDING GENERAL, UNITED STATES ARMY EUROPE AND SEVENTH ARMY: Ana, this -- what I would say in terms of my reaction is we can never become immune to this kind of narrative, to this kind of jackassery.
I don't need to defend Bill McRaven. He is a good friend of mine. He's a true patriot, a hero. We both have served about the -- during the same period of time and under multiple presidents from both parties.
We serve, in the military, the constitution of the United States. We don't serve an individual. That's what makes our military different from all the other militaries in the world.
HERTLING: So this comment by the President was disrespectful.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
HERTLING: It was demoralizing.
HERTLING: It was shallow and it was unprofessional.
CABRERA: The President, obviously, has faced criticism in the past for saying John McCain wasn't a war hero, for insulting a Gold Star family. David, does this rise to the same level?
GERGEN: Yes, I think so, especially because Bill McRaven, a celebrated four-star, was a man who did command the operations against Osama bin Laden and took him down. And there's been universal acclaim for that operation.
And there's been no -- and to suggest, well, they should have done it a lot earlier just, you know, shows a certain amount of ignorance on what preceded and how hard it was to catch bin Laden.
So that was a wonderful moment in American history and to go after the man who was right there and central to that moment seems to be particularly unseemly, especially from a president who, in France, didn't go to that cemetery because he said, you know, the Secret Service wouldn't let him. Well, every other head of state who was invited went.
Only it is -- basically in the American cemetery, he didn't show up. Our president didn't show up. And on Veterans Day, of all things. I can't even remember this, but he basically said I was too busy on Veterans Day to go over to Arlington. I wasn't done making phone calls. And by the way, this is the same president who sent a bunch of troops
who will now spend Thanksgiving on the border of -- with Mexico for no apparent reason other than to try to help his political campaign.
CABRERA: General Hertling, I understand that you believe the President was out of line. But, as you know, Admiral McRaven has been very critical of President Trump, writing in "The Washington Post" back in August that Trump has, quote, embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage, and worse of all, divided us as a nation.
That's beyond military norms, isn't it? Was he out of line?
HERTLING: I don't believe he was. And truthfully, I'll say that I agree with everything bill McRaven said in every counter.
Again, I go back to the fact that the military pledges their allegiance to the constitution of the United States. When the President calls the press the fake news, when he disparages our allies, when he does things that counter our security, someone needs to speak up.
And Bill McRaven certainly has the platform to do that. He's very well-respected, as David just said, and he's done more than just the bin Laden raid. McRaven and I spent two years together in Iraq, and his operations there that were not as publicized as the bin Laden raid were an everyday occurrence.
This is a guy that served his country for his entire life of 37 years in the military, and I think he has the platform to speak out. And he should because people are listening and someone needs to speak against the President when he disparages folks like this.
CABRERA: David, the President has been lashing out at the media. He says the White House is now working on rules of decorum for reporters. But let's just take a quick trip down memory lane about how he's spoken to the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I know you're not thinking. You never do.
You are a rude, terrible person.
Talk about somebody that's a loser. She doesn't know what the hell she's doing.
Excuse me, don't do that.
You ask a lot of stupid questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Decorum. Should the President have to follow his own rules?
(LAUGHTER) GERGEN: Well, it would be, I think, welcome -- it would be welcome if the President there were to call off the attacks after he gets his rules and regulations put out, especially -- I think it's been especially unseemly, once again, to go after women and especially, especially to go after Black women. He has got a history of doing this, and we all know the pattern.
And as to the fake news itself, listen, he does have a good story to tell about the economy because this economy is doing well and -- but the midterms were the perfect place to tell his story.
And instead, he spent the entire midterm run-up to the elections trying to scare the hell out of us about these migrants coming up through from Central America up to our borders as if they're going to -- there's going to be an invasion of our borders.
[19:09:57] He wasted that time. Republicans were urging him, go tell your story yourself. And, you know, the press would have covered that, and he would not have had this kind of basis for saying, well, you never write anything good about me.
You've got something good going on, that's your responsibility as President to tell us about it.
CABRERA: I want to circle back, General Hertling, to something David had mentioned earlier, the President saying the media unfairly covered his decision not to go to Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day.
He says the Secret Service wouldn't let him go to that cemetery, the American cemetery in France, but then, ultimately, he chose not to go to Arlington. And he actually said he regretted that decision, but how do you see it?
HERTLING: Well, first of all, to defend the Secret Service, they will never say what really happened. But I know the Secret Service a little bit. If the President says I want to go somewhere, they find a way to make it happen.
And that cemetery in France, I've been there before, the Martin Cemetery outside of Belleau Wood where the Marines gained their fame, is certainly a place where he could have gone to had he wanted to. And the Secret Service would have made it happen.
OK, he can claim now that it was two hours away and they told him not to do it and it was too far away from Air Force One. Personally, Ana, I don't buy that.
But secondly, Arlington Cemetery is not that far away from the White House. Walter Reed Hospital is not that far away from the White House. The Invictus Games when they were in D.C. is not that far away from the White House.
So this is a president that tends to use troops when he wants to use them for his political purposes but doesn't understand the true meaning of service and why people give up their lives to protect and defend the constitution and to serve their fellow citizens. So truthfully, Ana, I'm not buying it.
CABRERA: What message does it send, then, him choosing not to go to Arlington --
HERTLING: Well, I think --
CABRERA: -- not to go to Walter Reed --
CABRERA: -- not to go to places of combat, at least thus far?
HERTLING: Right. Well, I think it sends a signal to the military. Certainly, as a commander, there are times you don't want to go places. But also as a leader, you have to realize there are places you need to be.
Your troops, if you will, need to hear from you. They need to hear that it's about them at times and not always about you. That's a requirement of a leader, to understand that one of the key points is to build trust.
And you don't build trust by insulting people. You don't build trust by using organizations for your political purposes. You don't build trust by continuing to violate rules of integrity.
Those are things that, I think, the military is seeing, is beginning to see, and all indicators are that the trend lines among the military that believe in President Trump are changing right now.
CABRERA: David, we know the President doesn't like this criticism. He is a counterpuncher. He also hasn't liked the way the media, he believes, has portrayed him in some of his controversies. And he says here's what he's going to do the next time there's a question he doesn't like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I think somebody is acting out of sorts, I will leave. I'll say thank you very much, everybody, I appreciate you coming, and I'll leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: What do you think, David? Is that going to work?
GERGEN: No, I don't think so, and I don't think he'll do it either. Although, he could easily prove me wrong. But I don't -- it seems to me that's sort of a sandbox approach to try and to bring more decorum.
I think it's not unfair for a president -- other presidents have said this and done, taken steps to introduce, you know, a more orderly process so that it does not become a screaming match. There was a time when president -- when a president would give a press
conference and be -- and the reporters would be standing up and they'd be basically jumping up and down to get attention, and it was an unruly process. It's a much better process now.
What I think these rules have to permit, Ana, is that when a reporter asks a question and gets a nonanswer or an evasive answer, to be able to have one follow-up. I think that's only fair as to -- in order to have, you know, something which is more transparent.
Let's remember one thing that's very basic about presidential accountability. We do not have a parliament, a parliamentary form of government.
In a parliament, a prime minister or a president must go -- especially a prime minister -- must go daily, as in London, in front of the other members of the other party and his own party to answer questions. There's a question time, and that's their way of accountability.
We don't have a parliament, and our substitute for that is the press corps. It's the White House press corps asking questions that a parliament would ask for, that citizens might want to ask, and helping people understand what is going on at the White House, the single most powerful office in the world, and how it's being conducted and what the President's thoughts are.
And so these presidential press conferences are really essential to good governance.
[19:15:03] CABRERA: Thank you so much, David Gergen, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
GERGEN: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Thank you both for being here.
And, General Hertling, thank you so much for your service.
HERTLING: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: The White House is getting ready to submit the President's answers to the Special Counsel in the Russia probe. But while the President says they were no big deal to answer, he has his reasons for not sitting down for an interview. Hear why, next.
CABRERA: President Trump today signaling thumbs down on a possible face-to-face interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Here's what the President told Fox News host Chris Wallace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: No interview?
TRUMP: I think we've wasted enough time on this witch-hunt, and the answer is probably the -- we're finished. We're given very --
WALLACE: What are the odds? One in 100? What --
TRUMP: I don't do odds.
TRUMP: We would -- I gave very detailed --
WALLACE: You ran casinos, sir.
TRUMP: You're right. And very successfully, actually.
[19:20:00] TRUMP: We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions that I shouldn't have even been asked, and I think that should solve the problem. I hope it solves the problem.
If it doesn't, you know, I'll be told, and we'll make a decision at that time. But probably, this is the end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The President is expected to submit those written answers to Mueller's questions this week. And the President says he very easily answered those questions.
I want to bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez outside the White House tonight.
Boris, what more did the President have to say about his new Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, and Mueller's investigation?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Yes, President Trump opened up about his new Acting Attorney General during his interview, most notably answering questions about previous comments made by Whitaker, statements made by his Acting Attorney General that were critical of the Russia investigation.
Specifically, Whitaker wrote an editorial that's now famous suggesting that the Mueller probe should end. He's also been on cable news repeatedly talking about potentially how to end it by squeezing away funding from the investigation.
In this interview, President Trump claimed that he had never heard Whitaker take these positions before, that he didn't know that the Acting Attorney General felt so strongly about the Russia investigation before he hired him.
He also went as far as to say that he would not intervene if Whitaker interfered in the investigation. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: If Whitaker decides, in any way, to limit or curtail the Mueller investigation, are you OK with that?
TRUMP: Look, he -- it's going to be up to him. I think he's very well aware politically. I think he's astute politically. He's a very smart person, a very respected person. He's going to do what's right. I really believe he's going to do what's right.
WALLACE: But you want to overrule him if he decides to curtail?
TRUMP: I would not get involved. And all these people that say I'm going to end the investigation, you know, they've been saying that now for -- how long has this witch-hunt gone on? It's gone on for what?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Two quick notes here, Ana. The President was asked specifically when he found out that Whitaker held these views, he did not answer the question directly, except to say, quote, I don't think it had any effect.
Secondly, I wanted to point out that our colleague here at the White House, Abby Phillip, asked President Trump questions very similar to these just a few days ago. President Trump, at the time, did not take a liking to those questions, referring to them as stupid, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thanks.
I want to now bring in CNN legal commentator Jim Schultz. He has worked as an attorney in the Trump White House, so, hopefully, he can offer some specific insight for us.
Jim, the President says he, not his lawyers, wrote the answers to Mueller's questions. Do you imagine that to be the case?
JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he definitely had to handle and review the questions and answer the questions himself, and I'm sure they're being reviewed by lawyers. That doesn't mean the lawyers answered the questions first or what directive he gave his lawyers.
So it's -- you know, it's not uncommon that he would sit down and prepare a draft of those answers and that lawyers would review them before they go out to opposing counsel.
CABRERA: Trump says the questions weren't a big deal, but his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, says some were possible traps. How much information could the President and his legal team glean from these questions when it comes to what Mueller may know?
SCHULTZ: Look, I think anytime they're asking a question, they have information on the other side that -- they have other information on the other side that answers those questions.
So -- and then how that -- how those questions' answers were characterized by another witness in the case also can color how the Justice Department and the Mueller team may view the answers that the President gives. So all of that has to be looked through that lens when the lawyers are
preparing the President.
CABRERA: So with this format, written answers only, that Trump and his attorneys can really think through -- they can finesse, they can go back, they can make changes -- who's in the driver's seat here, Mueller or Trump's team?
SCHULTZ: Look, this is probably negotiated between the two of them. And make no mistake, if Robert Mueller wanted to bring the President in for an interview, he would have asked for him to do so. And if he wanted to subpoena him, the subpoena would have been issued already.
So they're -- certainly, the Mueller team has looked at this and said this is enough. At least for now, as far as we know.
CABRERA: I don't know if that is accurate to say, though, because couldn't this perhaps come before they asked for an in-person interview?
Couldn't this just be an inroad in order to do just that? Would you be surprised if Mueller doesn't subpoena him or ask for an in-person interview and just accepts written answers?
SCHULTZ: That's what I meant by that's so far. And who knows whether they decide they want more information or they want more written questions or they want to do follow-up questions, whether they're going to be in-person or not.
But then there's going to be a question as to whether or not the President's lawyers will recommend that he sits before Mueller's team or not, and the President is going to have to make that decision.
[19:25:01] He has indicated today that he is not inclined to do so. And if I were his lawyer, I wouldn't be inclined to recommend that he do so either.
CABRERA: Don't forget, he hasn't even touched -- according to our knowledge of these questions based on sources who are familiar with them, that it doesn't have anything to do with obstruction, that it is only about the potential collusion piece of the investigation. What does that tell you about where the investigation may stand right now?
SCHULTZ: That tells me that they're looking at the collusion piece and all the information that was held prior to him becoming president of the United States, what went on during that campaign, what did he know, and when did he know it.
So it tells me they're looking closely at that issue. And if they're getting to the President at this point in time, they're likely closing out that piece of it.
CABRERA: The President also said he wouldn't stop his new Acting Attorney General if he tried to curtail the Mueller probe. Doesn't that, in a way, confirm critics' fears about Whitaker that Trump appointed him to limit or stop Mueller? SCHULTZ: No, I think the President was very clear today. He isn't
going to interfere, one way or the other. He said today that there were some issues where people said, oh, he's going to shut it down. He hasn't shut it down. He hasn't made any efforts to shut it down.
Likewise, on the other side of it, Whitaker is the Attorney -- the Acting Attorney General of the United States, and he can make legal judgments as it relates to this investigation or any other. And it's not the place for the President to interfere with that and he said he wouldn't.
CABRERA: All right, Jim Schultz. Thanks as always. Good to see you.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
CABRERA: Happening now, a church vigil being held this hour in California as the death toll rises to 79 in the wildfires in that state. Another 1,300 people are unaccounted for. We're live in the disaster zone when we come back.
[19:31:11] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: In California this weekend, firefighters just can't catch a break. It is bone dry, the winds are whipping. It is the worst possible conditions for fighting wildfires that have roared over nearly a quarter million acres. Nearly 10,000 family homes are gone. In just one of the fires, the one raging north of Sacramento, it is also the fire that has claimed a shocking number of human lives, 79 people killed across the state.
Let's go live to CNN's Paul Vercammen. He is in Chico, California.
Paul, what is the latest?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you look behind me, they created a makeshift village here in this parking lot. Off in the distance, you can see the tents where people have been sleeping and they have been cooking for people. You might remember earlier today, we talked to a man who lost his job, just had a baby. He was cooking up hamburgers. We are really seeing the community rally around each right here.
Also, I should note, we have been talking about this unaccounted for number. Don't forget the sheriff telling us to put in context that's raw data and a lot of those numbers could be inflated because of a number of things, including names that were wrong, names that were duplicated. So he is not saying unaccounted for and presumed dead.
Now among those who survived this unbelievable fire that burned an entire city almost to the ground, some students, 22 of them, and they were their teachers and a bus driver, they went through a harrowing trek from their school, which would burn partially, to safety. Let's take a listen to their odyssey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEVIN MCKAY, SURVIVOR: You know, we started with just kind of doing this and then it was like, let's get a bunch of them. We have a finite amount of water. So - and then, we were able to get the kids each a cover. And you know, that seemed to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: What the bus driver was alluding to, he had just been two months on the job. He literally tore the shirt off his back, ripped it up, and made makeshift damp respirators for all these children. Many of them started falling asleep. Imagine their tiny little lungs filling with smoke. But that brave bus driver, Kevin McKay, on this five-hour trek going through walls of flame, taking the center of the road because flame was in trees and in buildings behind him. He got them out to safety and watched their happy reunion with parents. We are going to have a lot more of this story. That is in the next hour, Ana.
CABRERA: Chilling details. Thank you, Paul.
I'm wondering, though, as I look at these images, the people who are now living in tents, what is their plan? Do you know what people are planning in terms of the longer-term future?
VERCAMMEN: In a highly unscientific poll, I talked to a lot of people who were living there. And they are just crossing their fingers and hoping they can get to a shelter, that's because rain is on the way and they are now in a floodplain.
Now, in that area which is just beyond the Walmart parking lot, you can see it in our higher wide shot. They are being allowed to stay there on the grass. And many of them are told me frankly, I have nowhere to go. So I'm staying in my tent for now.
But with rain on the way later in the week, that's a huge concern. So the idea is to get as many of them to indoor shelters by the Red Cross, et cetera. There's one in Gridley. So there is an active bit of movement going on here. You can even get a sense for that as people are going to other places, Ana.
CABRERA: OK. One day at a time. Paul Vercammen, thank you.
More than a week after the midterm elections and a manual vote recount, we have a winner in the Florida Senate race. Details ahead.
[19:39:18] CABRERA: Florida's recount has ended and so has Bill Nelson's fight to keep his seat in the Senate. Republican Governor Rick Scott will now take Nelson's place in Washington after winning the race by a little more than 10,000 votes.
CNN's Ryan Nobles is in Tallahassee for us.
And Ryan, Senator Nelson took a final swipe at President Trump in his concession speech. What all did he say? RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. He
talked a lot about the kind of divisive nature of American politics right now and how this is not the way public service was intended to be and that these races that are so hotly contested should not get personal. This comes during Nelson's concession statement which he gave earlier today.
Take a listen to what Senator Nelson had to say in what could be his last really important political statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:40:08] SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: We have to move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat, but to destroy. Where truth is treated as disposable, where falsehoods abound, and that the free press is assaulted as the enemy of the people. There's been a gathering darkness in our politics in recent years. My hope today can be found in the words of John F. Kennedy who said civility can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And you know, that statement from Bill Nelson tracks a lot more closely to what his long career in public service has been here in Florida, than really what this campaign has and what these last two weeks have been which has been very bitter and contentious, a lot of insults that were back and forth between Nelson and Rick Scoot.
Rick Scott meanwhile also taking the high road in a statement that he put out shortly after Bill Nelson's concession. We know that the two did speak on the phone. And Scott said quote "we must do what Americans have always done, come together for the good of our state and our country. I know that change is never popular in Washington, and that I'm just one person, but we have to start somewhere."
And there are probably a lot of people in Florida hoping that the more civil words between both of these two candidates will translate into action because, Ana, as you know, this has been rough and tumble several weeks in this state. And I think there are many people in Florida that are ready for this election to be over.
CABRERA: And you have been there. You witnessed it all. You have felt the frustration on the ground there where so many questions, Ryan, about the integrity of the election and the process in Florida from both parties. How confident should Floridians feel about these results?
You know, Ana, I think those accusations were ripe for the picking in upstate like Florida because the wounds from the 2000 Presidential election are still very raw here. But you know, this state is much different than it was 18 years ago, and this process was exhaustive. The rules that were created in the wake of the 2000 election make this situation very different than it was then. And you know, Republicans threw out accusations of fraud where they
just didn't exist, and Democrats threw out accusations about the chance that there were lawful votes not being counted, and there was really no evidence that.
At the end of the day, Ana, I think from my perspective that the voters of Florida can be confident that the people that won these elections were the people that, frankly, just got the most votes.
CABRERA: All right. Ryan Nobles in Florida. Happy thanksgiving. And thank you for your continued coverage there. Good to see you.
President Trump reacting to a CIA report blaming the Saudi crowned prince for the murder of a "Washington Post" contributor calling it premature, but possible. So what actions could he take when the final report is issued on Tuesday? Your weekend Presidential brief is next.
[19:47:30] CABRERA: President Trump says he has decided not to listen to a tape capturing the murder of "Washington Post" contributor Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last month.
Here's what he told FOX's Chris Wallace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the tape. I don't want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Why don't you want to hear it, sir?
TRUMP: Because it's a suffering tape. It's a terrible tape. I have been fully briefed on it. There's no reason for me to hear it. And if I said to the people, should I? They said you really shouldn't. There is no reason. I know exactly - I know everything that went on on the tape without having to --.
WALLACE: And what happened?
TRUMP: It was very violent, very vicious, and terrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The President also said he doesn't know if the Saudi crowned prince was lying when he denied having any involvement in the murder of Khashoggi. A statement that conflicts with the CIA's assessment that Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing.
That brings us to the weekend Presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday night here, highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the President will need when he wakes up tomorrow.
And joining us now is CNN national security analyst and former national security council adviser, Sam Vinograd who helped prepare the daily brief for President Obama.
So Sam, the President says he will be getting a final intel report soon on the Khashoggi murder. How important is that final report?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, if the President is still claiming to be in the dark about what's happened, it's only because he is keeping his eyes closed. I have been in the White House during crises like Benghazi. And there is a process that is automatically the intelligence community, almost immediately starts preparing assessments for their number one customer. That's the President.
And so, the final report is important, but it's not coming out of thin air. And it's important to remember it is just one piece of a larger puzzle. Intelligence doesn't make policy. It informs policy makers so they can make a decision. And what the President should do is convene a national security council meeting so everyone can hear the report, weigh the different response options, and decide what to do.
If the President doesn't convene that meeting, it's probably so that he can claim ignorance about what's happened, and avoid making a decision. But ignorance is not bliss in this case. By failing to take action against Mohammed bin Salman, the President is really giving him a license to kill again because he won't fear the repercussions of doing so.
CABRERA: So you talk about the President avoiding a decision on Saudi Arabia. You could also argue he is avoiding admitting that the negotiations with North Korea have gone off track to some degree. What do you think his national security team thinks is really going on with Kim Jong-un?
[19:50:08] VINOGRAD: Well, it's interesting because as you know, Kim actually engaged in assassination himself and murdered his brother-in- law several months ago. But when I used to prep President Obama for summit, we typically start off by just looking at the general state of play. And as we look ahead to a second summit with Kim Jong-un, the dynamics are overwhelmingly in Kim's favor.
We had recent reporting that he has at least 13 undeclared missile sites so his stockpile of weapons is growing. It hasn't been frozen. On Friday, he reportedly conduct another weapon, high-tech weapons test, so his conventional capabilities are increasing. And while he gets stronger, we are getting weaker. We are literally cooling our jets. We decided not to go ahead with the significant military exercise. And while all this is happening, it's like team North Korea has a new team captain.
Our ally South Korea is defending Kim Jong-un, asking for sanctions relief, and even inviting foreign leaders and the Pope to visit North Korea. So as we look ahead to a second summit, it is very clear that North Korea has the advantage going in.
CABRERA: Thanks for the information. Good to have you here with us, Sam. Thank you.
Coming up, Jeanne Moos donning a disguise and she is not the only one after President Trump's latest conspiracy theory.
[19:55:48] CABRERA: It's a furry phenomenon. And it is not what you might expect. Lisa Ling learns what furry nation is really about on tonight's season finally of "THIS IS LIFE." Here's a preview.
LISA LING, CNN HOST, THIS IS LIFE: So what's the red stripe?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi just been diagnosed with lupus and one of the telltale signs is the lupus butterfly rash. So I decided I would give her that mark to show her that even though she has that, it's not everything that she is.
LING: How different is this (INAUDIBLE) from Alison?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, she is that other part of me that I used to be back when I was healthy? It used to be up and running and going and doing all sorts of stuff. I was always exploring, you know, always hunting for different things to do. And I miss that, you know. I miss what I used to be like.
LING: For Alison, (INAUDIBLE) is a way to transport herself back in time.
The mouth moves Facebook.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes.
LING: For me face to face with another furry it still feels pretty surreal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
LING: But for Alison it's completely normal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Putting that head on, it's like I become Ashadea (ph).
LING: Do you talk at ashadea?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sometimes. I just pretend on what it is that I'm doing, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In that moment I'm not the sick person in a wheelchair. It's a very releasing feeling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can pat her.
LING: I love it.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: Catch "THIS IS LIFE" with Lisa Ling tonight at 10:00 right here at CNN.
Put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. That's the President's latest claim of voter fraud.
Jeanne Moos investigates.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Halloween is over, so why are disguises making a comeback? Thank President Trump for his voter fraud theory of about how some people vote more than one.
And the President's exact words, sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again.
Samantha Bee likewise donned a disguise on my way to vote again.
The actor who played Luke Skywalker treated his costumes for casting multiple ballots, they were dogs in disguise, cats in disguise.
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: I voted last woke as myself and I'm going to vote this week as Bette Midler.
MOOS: The President's fraud theory reminded some when then Mets manager Bobby Valentine got ejected from a game and then snuck back into the dugout in disguise changing his hat and shirt and applying the kind of stickers.
BOBBY VALENTINE, FORMER MLB MANAGER: And you put it underneath your eye on a sunny day, right, and I pulled one off and put it over here and pulled another one off and put it over here and I looked in the mirror, I looked at said they will never know!
MOOS: Valentine was famously nabbed on camera.
Whoopi Goldberg confessed to casting multiple ballots.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: Last week this was me at the midterms. And then I voted a second time and then, yes, I voted a third time, too, go ahead.
MOOS: It's enough to make you paranoid. Is this the real Donald Trump or someone pretending to Donald Trump so he can vote twice, but if you do wear a disguise, make sure it doesn't interfere with your ability to read your fraudulent ballot. What's the last line?
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us as part of the weekend tonight.
The President igniting another war of words with a member of the U.S. military, this time retired Admiral William McCraven, the commander who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. President Trump not only dismisses McCraven as quote "a Hillary Clinton backer," but says it would have been nice if bin Laden had been taken out sooner.
Here's the President talking to FOX News anchor Chris Wallace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years, former head of U.S. special operations.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Special operations.
TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Who lead the operation, command the operations --.
(END VIDEO CLIP)