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GOP Lawmaker Open to Voting for Pelosi as Speaker; Trump Changes Tune over Losses: "I Wasn't on the Ballot"; Trump Launches Insults after Lecture on "Decorum"; Trump Ramps Up War of Words with General Behind bin Laden Raid; White House Correspondent's Dinner Scraps Comedienne Michelle Wolf; Trump's Pattern of Insulting Military Leaders, Skipping Events. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 19, 2018 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Which rural reforms?

REP. TOM REED, (R), NEW YORK: Essentially, the heart of what we are doing that you get certain consensus points, if you get X number of co-sponsorships on legislations or amendments, that we will bring it to the floor and guarantee to have an up or down vote on that legislation. For too long, it's been driven by the speaker's office and by the leader's office. What they essentially say is here it is last-second backroom deals have been cut, vote yes or no depends on if you are a "D" or an "R." It has to end. That's why we are holding out our support and I'm willing to support Nancy Pelosi to say, if you embrace these rural reforms for the American people, I will vote for her, as well as any other candidate that does the same.

KEILAR: You saw the president mentioned you in a tweet. I can't imagine the incoming that you take on Twitter when he does something like this. This is what he said: "I can get Nancy Pelosi as many votes as she wants in order for her to be speaker of the House. She deserves this victory. She has earned it. But there are those in her party want to take it away. She will win, @tomreedcongress."

How is this anything other than a trolling operation? You could easily argue, and I think it's the case with President Trump, that Nancy Pelosi is this villain for him that he uses as a foil. How is that not what you and some Republicans might be doing here?

REED: We have been working on this for six months and we put these proposals in black and white to reform the rules of the House. I will tell you, there are members on both sides of the aisle and now on the Republican side in the minority position that are so committed to reforming the rules and get the institution working again for the American people, that this is not a ploy, a tactic, a trolling operation. This is seizing the opportunity historically of a new speaker candidate who can embrace the reforms to get the institution working for the American people again. That's what it's about.

KEILAR: Democrats flipped more than three dozen seats so far, and while campaigning in some places, the president said this election was about him. He said this is about me on the ballot. Now he said it wasn't. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get out and vote. I want to you vote. Pretend I'm on the ballot.

I didn't run. I wasn't running. My name was not on the ballot.


KEILAR: He said pretend that it was. When you look at the results of this election, losing the House, do you think this was a rebuke of President Trump?

REED: I don't know if it's necessarily that, but it's obviously, you have energy on the other side. What we are facing going forward is a twin problem. We have the establishment that doesn't want to give up its power and you have the institution that is structured not to be reformed. From my perspective, we can seize this opportunity. It's not about President Trump, it's about the American people. I think the president is committed to the American people. Just as he's brought that disruptive change in the White House, we can bring it to the House going forward.

KEILAR: Congressman Tom Reed, thank you so much. I hope you have a wonderful holiday week.

REED: You, too. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Brianna.

KEILAR: So the president, on a pair of new insults, from war heroes to lawmakers, days after lecturing reporters about decorum. And the man who knows the president well, Anthony Scaramucci, will join us next.

And it's already the deadliest fire in California's history with nearly 1,000 people unaccounted for, and officials say it's not even halfway done burning. Details are ahead.


[13:37:57] KEILAR: Just days after President Trump harped on the importance of decorum in the White House, he unleashes a new nickname for top Democrat, Adam Schiff. He calls him in a tweet -- I don't want to say this -- "Little Adam" -- and I will say it rhymes with Schmidt. In the past, the president deleted tweets with typos and reposted them. This is still on his feed, fueling criticism it was not only intentional, but hypocritical after a week of decorum talk.

Joining me now, the former White House communications director and author of "Trump, The Blue-Collar President," Anthony Scaramucci with us.

Is this decorum, "Little Adam" -- rhymes with Schmidt.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR & AUTHOR: If he doesn't delete the tweet, it's not decorum. He's upset with the representative because of the attack that is the representative is making and allegations that he thinks are false. But no, it's not decorum. Hopefully, he will delete it, but the fact that he hasn't is a sign that he is probably not going to delete it, Brianna.


SCARAMUCCI: Anyway, congratulations on your show.

KEILAR: Thank you so much and to you on your book.

SCARAMUCCI: Thank you.

KEILAR: I want to talk about one of, is you say "liberal elites" -- and that's a quote from you -- they need to dial back the rhetoric and stop calling Trump supporters names. Clearly, there's a disconnect between Democrats and understanding those who support Donald Trump. What can Democrats do though besides try to understand Trump supporters? It's hard to see them flipping and supporting Democrats.

[13:39:39] SCARAMUCCI: It's not even that. You were talking about decorum. It's a good segue. These are people -- I went on 26 campaign stops. These are people who are economically anxious. They have a level of economic desperation. 35 short years ago, most of those people were in the working class, but in the aspirational working class. They are not ethnocentrics and Deplorables and white nationalists and not all the nonsense that gets spewed at them. The point I'm making in the book is the reason why the president was successful in moving so many blue-collar people over to the Republican Party is that there has been a vacuum of advocacy and leadership on the part of Democrats. For me, I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood and I want both parties to focus on these people and come up with solutions and ideas that move the ball forward. That make the educational system more even, make the infrastructure more even and all those things. When the Democrats are saying this sort of stuff, I say, whoa, hold on a second, these were people that Franklin Roosevelt was talking to 100 years, their grandparents or great grandparents, or 80 years ago, and they were part of your base. You may want to think about returning to them rather than calling them names --

KEILAR: I want to --


SCARAMUCCI: -- if you don't like the president calling you names. Two wrongs don't make a right.

KEILAR: I want to get your perspective as someone who was the former communications director about President Trump and what he's done recently with the military. Just yesterday, he attacked retired Navy SEAL, retired Admiral McRaven, who oversaw the killing of Osama bin Laden, and you had the president being criticized. He was in France and didn't go to the cemetery where thousands of Americans war dead lie in rest. He came back to Washington and didn't go to Arlington Cemetery, which is customary. Let's listen.


TRUMP: I should have done that. I was extremely busy on calls for the country. We did a lot of calling as you know.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: But this is Veterans Day.

TRUMP: I probably -- in retrospect, I should have. I did last year and I will virtually every year. But we had come in very late at night and I had just left literally the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine. I was extremely busy because of affairs of state, doing other things.


KEILAR: I'm struck by it seems like such an honest answer and it's rare that you hear the president admitting he did it wrong. He said, I had a lot of calls, which does not help the messaging here.

SCARAMUCCI: But in some ways it helps the messaging because that's part of the honesty in the message. I think he is working super hard. And he probably did 26 campaign stops in 14 days in the midterms. The fact that he admitted it was a mistake and he will be there next year is great. I don't think there's daylight between the president and the American military. They know where he stands. He got that bill passed which is going to lead to a major refurbishment. They know that there's no daylight between them and him. I'm glad he came out with it. We have to do more of that. Look directly into the camera and speak honestly about things.

On the Veterans Day issue, I hope, given the goodwill the president should have with the media, I'm sorry, the military, they give him a pass.


SCARAMUCCI: That was a Freudian slip. I said media.

KEILAR: You said there was no daylight, but he attacks military leaders, Admiral McRaven, most recently. This is in a long line of attacks, whether it be leaders or a Gold Star father or a war hero who is a political adversary to him. That doesn't square that there's no daylight.


KEILAR: No daylight between him and generals or military leader who is agree with him.

SCARAMUCCI: Brianna, it actually does square. I am talking about the servicemen and women of the country. As it relates to political adversaries who have military experience, it doesn't square because he is sore at them and they are sore at him. They are going after each other. I have an enormous amount of respect for John McCain. Last summer, I recommended that the flag get lowered. Whatever the differences are, I would love to see the president rise above those differences, recognize there's over two million Americans in the service, countless number of veterans. I think it's super important.

As it relates to Admiral McRaven, I read his book and seen his speech, and I have a huge amount of respect for him. I invited the admiral to our SALT (ph) conference in May and he accepted my invitation. I would want them to rise above the political differences. If you remember, it had to do with Director Brennan's security clearance and the revocation of it. We can debate that again. That was litigated on TV several months ago. But the admiral was upset about it. When Chris Wallace is asking the president about it, he's going to fire back, which he is -- that's predictable from the president. If you are saying stuff about him that he doesn't like, he's going to fire back. I think we have seen that over and over again.

[13:45:17] KEILAR: Anthony, real quick --

SCARAMUCCI: Doesn't make it right. I'm just trying to explain it.

KEILAR: You can't defend it, is the point.

SCARAMUCCI: I'm not defending it. I would prefer that he not do that. But I'm also explaining why he is doing that. He has a difference of opinion with me. We are still friends. I think friendship requires honest. And I think the most loyal people are very honest and direct. It's the sycophants that are more into selfishness and self-survival. It's important to tell our friends honestly what we think because we want to see them do better.

KEILAR: Anthony, we really appreciate you being with us. Former communications director at the White House.

Anthony Scaramucci, great to see you.

SCARAMUCCI: Thanks. Great to be here. Thank you. Good luck.

KEILAR: Just ahead -- thank you -- one of the most notorious drug cartel leaders in the world sitting in a New York courtroom. Hear what a former cartel member just said about el Chapo on the stand.

Plus, moments ago, the man who killed his pregnant wife and two daughters learned his fate. Hear the emotional words from her family ahead.


[13:50:47] KEILAR: All right. Anthony Scaramucci back with us real quick.

Because, Anthony, I want you to share with our viewers something you were telling me in the commercial break about the White House Correspondent's Dinner, scrapping the comedian that normally performs after, last year, Michelle Wolf took sharp aim at the president and the White House. What do you think of this?

SCARAMUCCI: You think, Brianna, you and I finally found something that Michelle Wolf and I agree on. I think it's ridiculous. In fact, what I was saying to you on the break and what I really mean this is they should be can you believing down and tripling down on comedians. They should probably have seven comedians this coming year. It's almost cowardly to do that. It's not going to win favor with the president or the administration. Just go and have a raucous time. That's what the whole thing is designed to do. And the humor throughout our political history has let the steam out of a lot of awkward situations. Just think of Nancy Reagan, 35 years ago, traipsing around at the Gridiron Dinner with her homeless outfit on.

For me, I think we have to learn to make fun of ourselves. Listen, my 11-day PhD in Washington, I have certainly learned how to make fun of myself about it.


SCARAMUCCI: So it's OK with me. I think Michelle Wolf should be back on that stage, but just be a little less dark next time.

KEILAR: All right.

SCARAMUCCI: There's no reason to go after people that personally.

KEILAR: Anthony, thank you for sharing that with us and sticking around.

Just ahead, in California, as the flames are burning, a mother is forced to make a life-or-death decision just hours after giving birth.


[13:57:57] KEILAR: President Trump says no other president is more with the military than he is, but he's made it an unusual habit for a commander-in-chief of picking fights with and being insensitive to members of the military and their families. He attacked John McCain, a POW who spent more than five years in captivity during the Vietnam War.


TRUMP: I like people that weren't captured, OK?


KEILAR: He attacked Kaiser Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke at the Democratic convention.


TRUMP: Who wrote that? Did Hillary's script writers write it?


KEILAR: And now he's attacking retired Admiral Bill McRaven, a former Navy SEAL, who oversaw the mission that took out Osama bin Laden.


WALLACE: Bill McRaven, 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 led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and killed Osama bin Laden, says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.

TRUMP: And, OK, he's a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer. And frankly --

WALLACE: He was a Navy SEAL.

TRUMP: -- wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner?


KEILAR: Not a Clinton or Obama backer, but those are his words, which are hugely important when you have the ultimate say in what the U.S. military does.

But let's also look at his actions. On a trip to France during the 100th anniversary of World War I, President Trump skipped a visit to a cemetery where thousands of American war dead are at rest, because it was raining.


TRUMP: They had zero visibility.


KEILAR: Other world leaders attended ceremonies. They just drove instead of flying.

And once back in Washington on Veterans Day, the president decided not to go the short distance to Arlington National Cemetery.


TRUMP: I should have done that. I was extremely busy on calls for the country. We did a lot of calling, as you know.


KEILAR: Because of calls.

President Trump has not visited troops in a war zone. He suggested ballots cast by active-duty members of the military should not be counted in Florida because some arrived, perfectly legally, I should add, after Election Day. These are servicemembers voting from war zones, some of them. And right now, thousands of American servicemen and women are on the border, where, by law, they cannot actually help detain undocumented immigrants, missing Thanksgiving with their families, for a caravan invasion that was really just a political talking point.

And this is coming from a president who had five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, avoiding the service that so many other young men were compelled to provide. One of those deferments for bone spurs that Candidate Trump couldn't remember which foot they afflicted. Both feet, his campaign later said. And he recounts this story attributing his avoidance of service to luck, when he had already secured a medical disqualification, making his draft lottery number irrelevant.


TRUMP (voice-over): I was entered into the draft and I got a very, very high draft number.


KEILAR: The president claims that he's given more money to the military than any previous president. Also not true. And the Defense Department is expecting budget cuts.