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Dire Warning Coming From The Centers For Disease Control Saying Romaine Lettuce Across The Country May Be Contaminated With E-Coli; Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Finally Releases His Financial Disclosures; British Doctoral Student Doing Research In The United Arab Emirates Has Been Arrested And Now Sentenced To Life In Prison After A Hearing That Lasted All Of Five Minutes; Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 21, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At this very moment, large, well-organized caravans of migrants are marching toward our southern border. Some people call it an invasion. It's like an invasion.

That's an invasion. I don't care what they say. That's an invasion of our country.

Last week I called up the United States military. We are not playing games, folks. Because you look at what's marching up, that's an invasion. That's not -- that's an invasion.

When you looked at that bridge loaded up with people, that's called an invasion of our country.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: There is no invasion. There is no emergency. In the week after the midterms, the President was silent about the caravan. Not a single tweet until recently when he was criticized for it. In fact, a senior administration official telling CNN the President sending nearly 6,000 troops is a quote "paper tiger, a total joke, a waste of our troops' time." Which gets me to another of his pre-midterm promises.


TRUMP: Birthright citizenship, you know all about it. We will keep the criminals, the drug dealers, we will keep them all out of our country. We will get rid of all of this. We will end finally birthright citizenship.


BALDWIN: Again, silence since the midterms. What about that middle class tax cut?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We are putting in a resolution sometime in the next week, week-and-a-half, two weeks, we are going to put in - we are giving a middle-income tax reduction of about 10 percent.


It wasn't possible and forced Republicans to come up with some statement about how they would be working on one. But since the midterms, crickets and this.


TRUMP: Republicans will always protect, as Lee (ph) has said, Americans with preexisting conditions, 100 percent.


BALDWIN: Again, silence. Healthcare not exactly on the forefront of the President's mind in recent days. And there's more. What about all those dire warnings?


TRUMP: The stock market is up to getting close to 50 percent. They are waiting for the results of the midterms. And if the midterms for some reason don't do so well for Republicans, I think you are all going to lose a lot of money.


BALDWIN: Well, we have all been looking at the big boards. Stocks are down. Not because of the blue wave but this week is in large part because of declines, Apple, Facebook, Amazon.

And speaking of Democrats, I give you pre-midterm Trump.


TRUMP: There's no worse nightmare for West Virginia this November than Chuck Schumer running the Senate and Nancy Pelosi with Maxine Waters running the House.


BALDWIN: And now post-midterm Trump.


TRUMP: I would help Nancy Pelosi if she needs some votes. She may need some votes. I will perform a wonderful service for her. I like her. Can you believe it? I like Nancy Pelosi. I mean, she is tough and she is smart but she deserves to be speaker.


BALDWIN: While, it is Pelosi 180 could be very well be a troll operation. It's not what he told voters. And that is the point in all of this. The scare tactics were on full display before Americans voted. So the next time he does this, and there will be a next time, just remember the fear play book should be even more obvious to all of us.

Coming up next, what is behind the sudden outbreak of chickenpox at one school? More than 30 cases this week alone. Is a rise in vaccine exemptions partly to blame?

Plus, former President Obama keep showing up. See what happened when he crashed this thanksgiving event.


[14:38:03] BALDWIN: Do not eat Romaine lettuce, any of it, at all. That is the dire warning coming from the Centers for Disease Control saying Romaine lettuce across the country may be contaminated with e- Coli. Thirty-two people in 11 states have gotten sick. And health officials say they don't know the source of the outbreak. But the CDC and FDA say if you have any Romaine lettuce at home, whatsoever, chuck it now.

With me now Dr. Roshini Raj, associate professor of medicine at New York University and a contributing medical editor for health magazine.

Doctor Raj, it's good to see you.


BALDWIN: It's been a while since we have the CDC say all of it.

RAJ: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Throw it away.

RAJ: It such a widespread kind of warning to people and not specifically one grocery store or even one brand of Romaine.

BALDWIN: And they don't know the source.

RAJ: They don't know the source. And that is why they are saying no matter what, where are you getting it, whether it is in the salad bar or restaurant or grocery store, if you already have it at home, get rid of it. And if you do have it at home, clean out whatever container it was in, if it was in the refrigerator drawer, you have to really disinfect that with a bleach disinfectant because this is a highly contagious virus.

BALDWIN: How long does it lasts? Do you have any idea?

RAJ: So this type of warning? You are saying they don't know yet.


RAJ: And that is the other thing. It is sort of the indefinite, until further notice, do not Romaine lettuce.


RAJ: Yes.

BALDWIN: You got that? How about chickenpox in North Carolina? There are all these kids at this one school that have come down with chickenpox. And they are pointing out that a lot of kids there didn't get the chicken pox vaccination because of exemptions, medical, religious, and otherwise.

RAJ: Right.

BALDWIN: Do you think that that could be the reason?

RAJ: It certainly could be a contributing factor. So, you know, North Carolina like many states, it has made it illegal to not get this vaccination unless you have an exemption for medical or religious reason. This particular school had one of the highest rate of exemptions due to religion. And now we are seeing so many cases, nursery schools through elementary school getting sick.

And you know, a lot of us our age did have chickenpox because we didn't have the vaccine. So most of us go through it fine, but it can have severe complications especially for very young children or for the elderly, sometimes even leading to death. So this is not a virus that, you know, there used to be these chickenpox parties I heard about a couple of years ago, not a good idea. You do not want your child and even an adult to get chickenpox. They can be very serious. And the vaccine is safe. So let's be clear about that.

[14:40:17] BALDWIN: OK. Thank you for having that. Dr. Raj, thanks for coming by.

RAJ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Important there.

Now to this, volunteers at a Chicago food bank will busy preparing thanksgiving meals when surprise --.


BALDWIN: Former President and Chicagoan Barack Obama paying a visit to the greater Chicago food depository. He and staff members from the Obama foundation arrived with bags and bags of donated food. And then President Obama got to work helping to bag potatoes and thanking all the volunteers.

Meantime, millions of travelers, myself included, heading out for the holiday weekend for thanksgiving, highways, railways, runways, all packed.

Rene Marsh, CNN aviation and government regulation correspondent is in the ticketing for us there at Reagan where I don't see throngs of people or anything too crazy right now, knock on wood. How's it going?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know what, Brooke, I will say we are certainly in a lull. Not crazy at all. But I want to tell you record travel across the United States.

Roads are packed. Airports are packed. Take a look at these images coming out of Los Angeles here. Los Angeles is, as you know, notorious for their traffic woes. Well, things are even worse for them as if now that the holiday is here. So that is what's happening on the roads.

As far as the air ways go, they are expecting to break records as well. I mean, take a look at this board here. The airline, I was talking to them earlier today. They say this is like the super bowl for them.

But look at this. This is not something you see very often. You see all the red on the board there, Brooke? Those are not delays, those are actually flights that are all leaving early, before their scheduled times. So, yes, you are right.

BALDWIN: Oh, wow!

MARSH: Exactly. When do you see that? So things are really going good. No significant delays or cancellations happening throughout the country. We know that the airlines are well prepared. And that they have added flights. They are using larger aircraft to accommodate the larger volume. TSA has also upped the ante as far as staffing as well and they are using those canine dogs so that people can get through that checkpoint a lot faster -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, as I have you and I was just sitting here talking to Dr. Raj about the issue with the Romaine lettuce. You know, a lot of airlines carrying salads, lettuce. And so, that's a whole other headache I imagine for them this holiday in addition to getting people to their families' house for thanksgiving.

MARSH: Oh, yes. So, you know, in talking to the airlines today, on top of dealing with the high-volume traffic, they were also scrambling to get rid of all Romaine lettuce that they had in their sky lounges. They have onboard the aircraft. They have been in touch with their catering services because of the warning from the CDC.

So American Airlines, United, Delta, they all tell me this afternoon that they have pulled all Romaine lettuce from their menus. They are simply just not available on their aircraft or in their lounges again, all this due to that CDC warning, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Maybe that's the excuse to eat more starches and mashed potatoes and everything tomorrow because the CDC says that.

MARSH: I like the way you think.

BALDWIN: You like that?

MARSH: I like the way you think.

BALDWIN: I'm going to do with that.

Rene Marsh, thank you very much in Reagan national in Washington.

Coming up next here on CNN, amid growing calls for transparency, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker finally releases his financial disclosures. What the documents reveal about the nearly $1 million salary from the so-called dark money group.


[14:48:41] BALDWIN: Amid growing pressure from government watch dog groups, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker has released new financial documents revealing that he was paid nearly $1 million from a so-called dark money group. In the months before being tapped as chief of staff for the now fired attorney general Jeff Sessions, the man who he has replaced, Whitaker was paid $900,000 in salary from a conservative oversight group that he founded back in 2014. Also revealed here that Whitaker revised his financial disclosure forms five times after being appointed to this top justice department role.

CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett has been covering this for us.

And Laura, you have looked through all these financial disclosure forms. What do you know about where this money came from?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Brooke, still more questions than answers, even at this hour as we follow the money trail.

Here is what we do know. According to the financial disclosure forms which we saw for the first time yesterday, you can see a line item in there for the fact that he received roughly a million dollars. And it is related to his work for the foundation for accountability and civic trust, otherwise known as fact.

Now it is called - so-called a dark money group because we literally do not know where all the contributions are coming from. We have managed to our investigative team I should say has tracked down some of them related to the Koch brothers, the billionaire conservative group. We can tell that according to IRS filings, but other than that, Brooke, we really do not know where this money is all coming from. But we know that it advocated for investigating Hillary Clinton and it was very aggressive against Democrats. And so obviously highly engaged in politics.

The other issue here is related to campaign contributions, Brooke. And this is separate from what's disclosed on his financial disclosure form that came out yesterday. But according to the FEC, we see nearly $9,000 in campaign contributions that he received while at the justice department. And so, that's raising government accountability groups, watch dog groups and even some people on Capitol Hill to raise questions about whether there's a potential hack act (ph) violation here, I should say, Brooke, because that prevents executive branch officials from taking any contributions to campaigns while in office. [14:51:01] BALDWIN: Laura Jarrett, thank you very.

Coming up next, a British doctoral student doing research in the United Arab Emirates has been arrested and now sentenced to life in prison after a hearing that lasted all of five minutes. This case now threatening diplomatic relations between the two countries. We have a live report on that next.

Also, a CNN exclusive, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the defensive. What he is saying what the future of the company and its leadership, Laurie Segall with that coming up.


[14:55:57] BALDWIN: A British student has been sentenced to life in prison for spying in the United Arab Emirates. The family of Matthew Hedges said the sentence was handed down after a five-minute court hearing where he had no legal representation. They the doctoral student was not spying. Would merely doing research over in the UAE and now the case is threatening to derail relations between the U.K. and UAE.

Our senior international correspondent Sam Kiley is in Abu Dhabi.

And Sam, what do you know from officials where you are about this hearing that lasted, you know, five minutes? And how does that compare to what you have heard from the family?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the official statement here coming from the attorney general here in Abu Dhabi, Brooke, is that Mr. Hedges pleaded guilty in this hearing and that he has faced -- is facing the penalty of life in imprisonment.

Now, the family have argued that he did not plead at all. That he was silent in this very short court hearing that was witnessed by among others, his wife. And that earlier on during his detention in which the family claims that he spent five months, much of it since May this year in solitary confinement, he at some stage after a prolonged period of interrogation signed a document that they believed might have been a confession but it was in Arabic, and he doesn't speak Arabic, which rather undermined idea that he was an MI-6 agent sent to spy on the United Arab Emirates. And since that is after all the national language here. And so be it more Johnny English than James Bond I think could be were a spy.

The Durham University for whom he is writing his Ph.D thesis on how the UAE coped with the democratic pressures that struck much of the Middle Eastern during the Arab Spring 2011 to 2012, they insist as thus the British foreign office that he is not a spy, that he is an innocent academic.

And the British foreign secretary is very unusually, Brooke, come out with a lot of series of very hard statements indeed. He had believed this would be a formality and he would be released today, and that is Mr. Hedges. But Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary has said that there would be very bitter and dire consequences for the bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and Abu Dhabi, which is you know, Brooke, is actually a very longstanding military economic and above all intelligence relationship, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So it's a key relationship with the U.K. And they will continue to fight, I'm just thinking about the Hedges family.

Sam Kiley, thank you very much. We will stay on that.

And we continue on here.

Near the top of the hour, you are watching CNN on this Wednesday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

Let's start with the politics of revenge and reports that the President wanted to use the justice department against two of his bitter political rivals. A source tells CNN the President wanted his then White House council Don McGahn to ask the justice department to prosecute Hillary Clinton on a number of occasions. But McGahn said no. He rejected that request.

The "New York Times" today also reports that the President wanted to order the prosecution of James Comey, the FBI director who Trump fired, but was strongly advised not to do so again by McGahn.

Certainly it's not secret the President wanted prosecutors to move in on Clinton and Comey. He expressed that in various tweets. And remember this before the Presidential election?


TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it. And we are going to have a special prosecutor.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's just so awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in-charge of the law in our country.

TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.


[15:00:03] BALDWIN: And for that, the "Times" is also reporting that McGahn went so far AS to have White House lawyers write up this memo warning the President about the consequences of ordering up these investigations.