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Alabama Police Department Admits The Man They Killed Was Not The Gunman; Incoming Mexican Government Is Denying Report That Is It Reached A Deal With President Trump To Keep Asylum Seekers Out Of The United States And In Mexico; California's Deadliest And Most Destructive Wildfire In History Is Now 100 Percent Contained; President Trump Heads To Mississippi Tomorrow To Headline Two Rallies For The Republican Candidate In The State's Racially Changed Senate Contest; Britain Is On The Verge Of Divorcing The European Union; Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 25, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:15] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We start with an emotional plea for answers after an Alabama police department admits the man they killed during a mall shooting on thanksgiving night likely, I'm quoting, likely was not the gunman.
His family broke down as they described their son and brother, E.J. Bradford, Jr. as a loving man who cared for his sick father and thought of others before himself. We are left with more questions as this investigation unfolds with police releasing few details from the incident thus far. And his family sharing a heartbreaking account saying police never called to let them know of E.J.'s death. They say they learned everything through social media. And now they are demanding an apology, accountability and release of all videos from the incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They literally assassinated my nephew on thanksgiving night. As far as I'm concerned he was assassinated. And for the mayor to come on TV and say my officers swiftly killed the gunman and slandered his name, I call for him to go on TV and publicly apologize and retract that statement. That's not right. Somebody got to have accountability for this. I will never stop fighting until the day I die. I will get justice. Release the video!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Lots of question.
CNN's Natasha Chen continues to follow this. So what else can we learn now from the family's reaction to what police are or are not saying?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, you can see there in the video is very frustrated. You know, they talked about how they found out that he had died. It was very emotional. Some of them had a hard time just making it through this press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). They made their decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: They hadn't been contacted by police. They haven't rather since this happened. And there also hasn't been any response from police to our questions either. The last piece of information we got from any law enforcement was late Friday early Saturday when hoover police admitted one of their officers working as mall security on thanksgiving, did not stop the gunman responsible for the shooting that night. Instead they shot and killed Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr or E.J. who is also at the scene. Here's E.J.'s brother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were not even contacted. I had to get on Facebook for a video of him shot and bleeding. No police officers covered him up at all. I will never see him come through the house anymore, you know. Tell him, hey, be careful out on the streets and give him a word of advice or anything that you guys just took him. And the hoover police department, you guys dropped the ball in a major way, seriously. And for you not to even call and give your condolences shows a type of character that the mayor and hoover PD has by our family, this family will never be the same at all. It hurts me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And they said that E.J.'s father has a law enforcement background. That E.J. knew some of the officers in the Hoover police department. Now, the family is calling for transparency asking police to release any and all video of the incident. Yesterday, state agency in-charge of the investigations said they would have more information this afternoon. But Fred, last we heard from that agency, they said they couldn't promise that anything new would be released today.
WHITFIELD: And is the issue mall video is there, you know, city police video? I mean, what is it that needs to be released and why is it taking so long?
CHEN: That's a great question. We have been sending questions via email, calling these various agencies and they are all referring questions to this one state agency, the Alabama law enforcement Hoover police saying they can't investigate this because it involves one of their own.
WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha, thank you so much. Keep us post as you learn more information.
All right. Joining me right now, CNN contributors and national reporter for "the Washington Post," Wesley Lowery.
Good to see you, Wes. So many unanswered questions. And it is now, you know, at least 24 hours, nearly 48 hours since this happened. Few details coming from police. There was this wait and see approach and family members are incredibly frustrated. What are you seeing here?
[14:05:02] WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course. Well, one of the things we are seeing is the kind of raw emotion of a family who has had a loved one fall victim to a police shooting. And it is encountering the called bureaucracy of the way policing very often works and functions of America.
Here, you have a police department that comes out with its initial account of what happened and what we now know, not that far after, is that that account was wrong. They named the wrong person as the gunman and the person that killed was very likely not the gunman themselves. And that now there is just kind of a void of other information or other details.
At the same time you have a department that is saying, well, we handed it over to the state agency. They are going to investigate it. So we can't release anything else. You have the state agency that saying, well, we are going to investigate this for however long that takes and we will give you more information then. And that's what happens with a lot of these police shootings.
You know, there are, according to the database we keep in the "Washington Post," there are three people shot and killed by the police every single day in America. Most of these cases look like this. Not necessarily these details, but a rush of the information at the very beginning, some of which ends up not being accurate and then a long wait period and these families. In the meantime, are just sitting here not knowing what exactly happened to their loved one.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And if anything, I mean, at this point two days later, you know, and hours and counting, at least some kind of framework of what happened. It's still such a broad brush altercation and then the next thing you know, one person is dead and police would say that this person is not likely the gunman.
LOWERY: Of course. And that it leads very often to communities as a level of coyness, right. The sense that it's very again kind of bureaucratic and it comes across as cold, right. We are investigating there, you know, the kind of specific policing words being used and altercation was likely not the gunman.
One of the lessons that we learned over the last few years from Ferguson, Baltimore and many other places is that you have to provide the community with information, right. You have a young man who has been shot and killed in a mall. And the community does not believe that young man was in anyway a threat to the public --.
WHITFIELD: And before even the community, you are hearing from the family members who are saying they were not even given the dignity of an information to learn about it, you know.
LOWERY: A phone call. WHITFIELD: Through social media. And the father has background in
law enforcement. People know. It is a small town. People know each other. That the family wouldn't even be given a phone call that your loved one is deceased. And here are the circumstances. This is what we know thus far. None of that.
LOWERY: Of course. The family is not receiving. And then beyond that, the public is not receiving it as well. We talk about trust and distrust between communities and law enforcement, individuals and law enforcement. Any person who knew E.J. now has legitimate questions about what happened in this incident. And that is going to color their interactions with law enforcement possibly the rest of their lives, much less anyone else who lives in this community or the space.
And so, again, I do think that, well it is obviously still very early, relatively compare in terms of this incident happening, it is important that the public and this family receive additional information about what exactly happened. And if mistakes were made that those are acknowledged, you know.
Again, one lesson we have learned here is that transparency is important if you want to maintain these relationships. Because police shootings do happen. They happened pretty frequently. And what we know is that when the police are not forth coming about what happened and when it comes out later, it erodes the trust and leads to additional incidents.
WHITFIELD: Wes Lowery, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
LOWERY: Any time.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, deal or no deal. Mexico now pushing back on a report that it would allow asylum seekers to stay there while their cases are heard in the U.S. The reporter who broke the story is joining me next.
Plus, a winter storm snarling holiday travel. Four million Americans from the central plains to the great lakes under blizzard warnings right now. A live weather report coming up.
[14:12:59] WHITFIELD: The incoming Mexican government is denying report that is it reached a deal with President Trump to keep asylum seekers out of the United States and in Mexico. The push back coming hours after "the Washington Post" reported that Mexico had agreed to keep asylum seekers while their applications are being processed in the U.S.
President Trump tweeting today, saying it would be smart if Mexico would stop the caravans long before they get to our southern border or if originating countries would not let them form. It is the way to get certain people out of their country and dump in the U.S. No longer. Dems created this problem. No crossings!
Joining me right now is Joshua Partlow, Mexico City bureau chief for "Washington Post" and one of the reporters who broke the story.
So Joshua, good to see you. So which is it? Is there a deal or not? How surprised are you that Mexico is now saying that your reporting is wrong? That there isn't a deal that both the U.S. and Mexico have agreed to.
JOSHUA PARTLOW, MEXICO CITY BUREAU CHIEF, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think there is a little bit of parsing and spinning that is going on here. What the top incoming Mexican domestic policy official told us, the interior minister told us two days ago is that Mexico had agreed to the policy of a remain in Mexico which asylum seekers would stayed in Mexico until their claims were approved in the United States.
You know, at the time Mexican officials in the transition team as well as the U.S. official said there was a lot of details outstanding. This is not a formal agreement. This is not a written agreement. But Mexico supported the concept.
What they pushed back on today was something called the safe third country agreement which is completely different than remain in Mexico which is essentially meet the asylum seekers would have to seek asylum in Mexico before going to the U.S.
So, you know, they still haven't expressed that they are opposed the remain in Mexico plan. So, if we add the math will be a change in what we have been told.
[14:15:04] WHITFIELD: So in your "Washington Post" report, you had a quote from August Sanchez Cordero and that's the, you know, incoming interior secretary that you were talking about saying for now we have agreed to this policy of remain in Mexico and then calling it a short- term solution. But then today's statement is different, you know, saying that there are no plans of a, you know, third safe country for migrants.
So what do you suppose is going on here? Is this the result of perhaps feedback coming from within Mexico and now there is modification of the statement?
PARTLOW: Yes. I think that's very, very likely. I also think one of the main things going on is this incoming government is not yet the government. So they are not -- I don't think they want to be in the position of making big policy announcements seven days or six days before the new President is sworn in.
So I think there was, you know, perhaps, it is official that we talked to that got a little ahead of the rest of the government. But you know, what is interesting is that to me is that Mexico still seems to support this is idea which is a major change in how asylum seekers are dealt with at the U.S.-Mexico border.
WHITFIELD: But you are standing by your story, your reporting, the quotes that you have, the attribution that you made.
PARTLOW: Yes. This is not anonymous sources type of thing. This is On the Record, you know, taped interviews, so. WHITFIELD: And then what about Mexicans in general? There you are in
Mexico City. What are people in general, what they have said? Did they, you know, just regular passersby react to your reporting and this notion of remain in Mexico?
PARTLOW: You know, it is an interesting question. I think it's a controversial issue. I think a lot of people in Mexico don't want to be, you know, don't want to feel that their government is doing the bidding of the Trump administration. But also, you know, and when the caravan of migrants has pass through Mexico over the last month or multiple caravans, you know, you saw a lot of support for the migrants. People giving them food, giving them donations, being very generous to them but you also saw recently in Tijuana some opposition. You saw from protests against the caravan. So you know, there is definitely mixed opinions here about immigration internally and Mexico as well as how Mexico should, you know, deal with the United States on this issue.
WHITFIELD: Joshua Partlow, thanks so much of the "Washington Post." Thanks for joining us from Mexico City. Appreciate it.
PARTLOW: Thanks very much.
WHITFIELD: All right joining me right now is Representative Ryan Costello. He is a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who decided to not run for reelection.
Congressman, good to see you.
REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Good afternoon.
WHITFIELD: So what are your thoughts about this possible plan to keep asylum seekers in Mexico and now, you know, the conflicting, you know, reporting about whether it is or isn't happening?
COSTELLO: Well, I think the reporting has been great. And it leads right to the word you just used, conflicting reports. So it is really hard. I always cautioned myself against rendering an opinion when we have competing narratives on what is actually accurate. It would be really nice if we just laid out with clarify what the policy is going to be so we can evaluate whether it is the right thing to do or not. But it's very difficult for me to opine on that right now, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Well, this is what your colleague, Congressman Elijah Cummings had to say about this idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS DAILY: If the President cuts a deal with Mexico, are you supporting this?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: No.
CUMMINGS: Because that's not the law. They should be allowed to come in and seek asylum. That's the law. And you know --.
TODD: Would you support change in the law?
CUMMINGS: No. No. I think that we have a system that has worked for a long time. This President has come in and wants to change it. That's up to him. But now the Congress has got to stand up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So you said you won't opine, but you know, Congressman Cummings has. Do you believe that help sets the stage of what could be happening once a new Congress, you know, convenes? Whether it will entertain this possible proposal?
COSTELLO: For certain, I think that the new Congress which will - I'm a Republican. And a Republican-led Congress - House passed session was a Democratic-led congress. You are going to see any number of issues come in the forefront with the House Democratic majority challenging the President which is why I think the next two years is going to be very interesting. Is it going to be resist? Is it going to be investigate or is it going to be more anchored in finding ways to legislate on issues where they can find common ground with the President?
WHITFIELD: What does your gut tell you it will be?
COSTELLO: My gut tells me that is going to much more investigate and resist with a narrow opportunity to get an infrastructure bill done, maybe prescription drug pricing would be the second area where there might be common ground. But those are the two areas where I think that you are most likely to see the potential. But beyond that, there is any number of subpoenas that are probably already ready to get sent out if they haven't already been requested by the Democrats to send out.
I think a lot of the energy behind Democrats getting elected was in the resist-impeach crowd. And I think it is going to be a real challenge for Democratic leadership to have the base of the party and their most progressive members focus on finding common ground with the President rather than just drawing a really sharp contrast going into 2020.
And let's not forget, Fredricka, we are about 12 months away from the Democratic presidential primary debates which any time you get the presidential primary debates on CNN, all of a sudden, the political narrative starts changing and the political party start talking to themselves rather than the American people and the other political party.
[14:21:00] WHITFIELD: All right. Well, way before that, the President right now is already talking about a potential government shut down. If he doesn't get funding for that border wall, that could potentially, you know, land on your lap before you leave. What are your thoughts on that? Will it come to that?
COSTELLO: Well, first - yes. I mean, I recall when the President was campaigning, Mexico was supposed to pay for the wall. I don't know when that stopped being the policy or the position that he was proffering, but I don't think we should have a government shutdown, period. I never support government shutdowns. They don't lead to anything good. It costs more money to shut the government down than it does to keep the government open. I don't think we are going to see that, but if the President wants to --.
WHITFIELD: But he wants -- this President wants his campaign promise fulfilled. And I heard Senator Klobuchar earlier today say, you know, the wall means a lot of things. It is border security, you know. It is reinforcements, you know, for customs, et cetera. But it's not always literally just building the wall. Is that what you are hearing, the interpretation is?
COSTELLO: I would agree with the senator on that. I have always viewed the wall as him speaking figuratively about border security, about some technology, border patrol, interior enforcement. If we are talking about writ-large border security measures, that's one thing. But the President is now suggesting that if he doesn't get $25 billion for the wall, literal the wall, that he is willing to shut down the government.
He has threatened that before and it hasn't proven to be the case. He has faded off of that. So I'm not prepared to shut down the government over - I mean, I'm willing to step up and say that if the money is not there, I'm not going to shut down the government over it.
WHITFIELD: OK. Also in the short-term - I got you. Also in the short-term, your fellow Republicans have handed out a last minute subpoena for former FBI director James Comey and former U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch, asking them about, you know, the Hillary Clinton emails and the Russia investigation. Comey says he won't testify in private. He says but he would in public. But today representative Trey Gowdy, he said that's not like what happened. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Leaks are counterproductive whether Jim Comey is doing it, whether the FBI is doing it or whether Congress is doing it. The remedy for leaks is not to have a public hearing where you are supposed to ask about 17 months' worth of work in five minutes.
I think the remedy is to videotape the deposition. Videotape the transcribe interview. That way the public can see whether the question was fair. They can judge the entirety of the answer. But there was no founder on the planet who tries to discover the truth in five-minute increments and I can't think of one that dodge it on national television.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So what's your interpretation there? Is he saying that this public hearings are not trustworthy, none of them, whether it's 18 hours of Hillary Clinton or whether it is James Comey already being, you know, publicly questioned? We shouldn't believe any of that when it is in public? Only in private?
COSTELLO: I think what Trey Gowdy is trying to say and I agree with him, is that the five-minute increment questioning by members broadcast on television just typically does not lead to truth. It leads to some member show boating. It leads - it doesn't -- it's not productive in terms of getting to the truth. And so, if the subpoenas are intended to have Comey and Lynch testify to get to the bottom of something, then the best way to do that is off-camera videotapes, but not on live television. I agree with Trey on that.
WHITFIELD: So do you worry about that message to the American people that, you know, in public, transparency is less worthy than in private?
COSTELLO: I think Trey is talking more about the format, the five- minute format, more than anything else. I would anticipate that any videotape testimony would subsequently be made available. We will all be able to see the thing on the internet in a couple of days. So I don't worry about that because I don't think we are losing transparency there. I think what we are doing is allowing a closed door testimony to ensue so that it doesn't become a circus and we don't have anybody performing for cameras subsequent to the hearing. The videotape would be made publicly available at minimum to rebut any sort of leaks that would suggest that something was testified to that wasn't.
[14:25:37] WHITFIELD: All right. Congressman Ryan Costello, we will leave it there. Thanks so much.
COSTELLO: Good to be with you. Thank you.
All right. Still ahead, a blizzard conditions hammering the central plains. Take a look at these right here pictures from Kansas. Nearly 30 million people across the country are under a winter weather watch or warning. What you need to know, next.
[14:30:29] WHITFIELD: At least four million people under blizzard warnings today. The Kansas governor issuing an emergency declaration and the Kansas highway patrol releasing a video describing the dangerous highway conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm putting up the barriers. You are not going to go west. It's too slick. (INAUDIBLE) and visibility is minimal to nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Heavy snow and wind gust of up to 65 miles an hour are making a mess for so many travelers heading home on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is in the CNN whether center with the latest.
It is pretty nasty out there and really potentially dangerous.
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It absolutely is going to be dangerous. And we thought we have gone away with a pretty quiet thanksgiving travel. We did last week and now all of a sudden last minute here we have a blizzard, not just a snowstorm.
Look at cancellations already for today, 475, mainly impacting Chicago and Kansas City. And we have upwards of 150-plus delays. And the cancellations are starting to add up for tomorrow. So if you are flying across this part of the U.S., check with your carriers. It is going to be a mess.
But these blizzard warnings, that where you see the orange from Kansas basically stretching all the way up into Illinois. Chicago I think will be included. And now, when we talk about a blizzard, it's not just the heavy snow coming down, it is the visibility. The snow range are sometimes two, three inches an hour. And the storm wind, we are talking 45 to 55 mile hour wind. As you hear the sheriff, they could barely hearing with the wind. That is going to just continue to ramp up.
So Kansas City, you have now switched over. This is a classic Midwest storm, right. You started with a little bit of rainfall. And then on the backside of it, the cold air gets pulled in, snow Kansas City. That would be the case through Chicago.
Raining in Chicago right now, but I'm thinking around 9:00, 10:00 p.m. it is going to switch over quickly. And once that happens, the snow is really going to start piling up even in Chicago. We are talking to potential for eight to 12 inches of snowfall. And that is not going to come down likely. That is going to come down sideways where you are not going to be able to see.
So even if you don't get delayed by a miracle, once you get on the ground and if you are g to be travelling by car, that is going to be treacherous stuff. So you just keep in mind. This area across the U.S. over the next 24 hours is going to be a mess.
And then eventually, this is not going to impact, I don't think, as far as the snow or big rain to north east. But it is going to be the wind. And then the (INAUDIBLE) right across the Midwest are going to, of course, have the domino effect across New England. So here we go. First blizzard of the season, thank you, on the Sunday night after thanksgiving. Back to you!
WHITFIELD: All right. Here we go.
All right, Ivan Cabrera, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
Meantime, California's deadliest and most destructive wildfire in history is now 100 percent contained. But thousands of evacuees from Paradise, California are seeking housing. FEMA has 80 trailer sitting empty at former McLellan air base, about a 90-minute drive from Paradise, California. CNN's Ryan Young is there. So who will end up in those trailers?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, people are going to have to register for them, but let's thank the firefighters and all the crews that are out there working steadily to try to get this fire in containment.
But then you think about a trailer like this one. And so many families will be registering for it. So many families without insurance will be the first ones in line for something like this. And if you look around, they really thought about everything. They want to make sure that families can move in and get to work, by the way, in terms of getting back to normal.
Look. They had all the kind of things that you need in a kitchen going up. They are even going to provide something as simple as a table and chairs and a couch because you are talking about people who lost everything and fed over the last few day. We have to people who are obviously feel that emotional pain that strain of not knowing where to go next. The government says they are thinking about it and they are already in the process of looking to where to put some of these trailers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONEY RAINES, FEMA HOUSING TASK FORCE: We are looking at multiple sites. Can we put it in a group somewhere? We build park, a subdivision. Can we put it on existing commercial lots where (INAUDIBLE) home, you know, already existed, but it was pulled out and I want to pull another one in. Or on in individual site. Their home were burnt. They have infrastructure to support it. And people kind of go back. Those are all the things we are looking at and priority from headquarters of FEMA is we are going to serve those people who are in shelters first and those individuals who have access and functional needs, who have more of a challenge of working in true to life situations especially when we start responding to disaster activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Fred, when you think about this, you look at some of these trailers there. This is was leftover from another disaster. So they are already shipping in another 125. They will build some of these small cities. They will put them together with everything they need from electricity to how they are situated. Make sure the people are safe. But you understand there is also people who are in retirement age. And they are going to need some disability services as well. So the government is thinking about that and trying to get that all set up.
But this is going to be a long process. You think about that fire was just knocked down to 100 percent last night. People are already talking about what to do the next day. These trailers will help eventually.
[14:35:33] WHITFIELD: My goodness. I mean, the sight of a trailer, that is going to be a welcome one for any family who gets to move in. And hopefully soon.
Ryan Young, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
All right. Straight ahead, more controversy for Republican senate candidate in Mississippi after she supported a measure celebrating a confederate soldier. President Trump is headed to Mississippi to rally on her behalf. Can he tip the scales in her favor for Tuesday's runoff?
[14:40:42] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
President Trump heads to Mississippi tomorrow to headline two rallies for the Republican candidate in the state's racially changed Senate contest. Cindy Hyde-Smith is facing Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff Tuesday. The last Senate race yet to be decided. Hyde-Smith has made a serious of controversial remarks that have evoked Mississippi's history of racism and oppression including this joke about attending a public hanging posted by a supporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: She later apologized for the comments during a contentious debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CINDY HYDE-SMITH (R), MISSISSIPPI: I certainly apologized. If there was no ill will, no intent whatsoever. I also recognize that this comment was twisted and ti was turned into a weapon to be used against me. A political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain that my opponent, that's the type of politics Mississippians are sick and tired of.
MIKE ESPY (D), MISSISSIPPI U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I don't know what is in your heart, but we all know what came out in your mouth. It caused the state harm. That has given the state another black eye that they don't need. We don't need anymore. It is just would you have an ill stereotypes. You know, we don't need anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood joining us now from West Palm Beach near Mar-a-Lago where President Trump is spending the holiday weekend.
So Sarah, what message will the President be sending when he goes to Mississippi?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Fred, President Trump and his political team have sought to take credit for the GOP's relatively strong showing in Senate races during the midterms and they are looking to add one more victory to that list by having the President throw his weight behind the Republican candidate running in this year's final Senate race.
But Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is a particularly controversial candidate. She said and done things both recently and in the past that is starting to draw national attention to this runoff that should be an easy win for Republicans, given how deeply red the Mississippi is.
Like you mentioned, earlier this month, she said that if one of her supporters invited her to a public hanging, she would be on the front row. She has made what her campaign has described as a joke but she made comment saying that the votes of some university students should be suppressed in the state and recently CNN's k-file (ph) has reported that in 2007 when she was in the state legislature, she backed a measure that celebrated a confederate soldier and someone say glorified the confederacy.
Now the President described her as an outstanding person this morning in a tweet, touting the fact that it will holding those two rallies in Tupelo, Mississippi and the (INAUDIBLE), Mississippi tomorrow. The President will be trying to prevent this race from going in the same direction as the Alabama special election last year, not Senate contest he backed, a similarly controversial Republican candidate who lost to a Democrat representing the U.S. Senate in Alabama.
It will also be the first two rallies that the President has held since the midterms. So it will be interesting, Fred, to see if the President has calibrated his political message given that we now know that he confronted Republican defeats in those midterms.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.
Let's talk further about this. Joining me right now is Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of "Inside Elections," a nonpartisan newsletter proving election campaign analysis. Good to see you.
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: All right. So let's begin with the President heading to Mississippi, making two stops there. Will he distance himself or by virtue of being here associate himself with the Republican candidates, particularly, you know, offensive comments?
GONZALES: He is not going all the way down there to distance himself from Senator Hyde-Smith. I think it's key that he and his team feel like that she needs a boost. They are going to send him down there. I think she is still most likely to win this race. And if she does, then I think the President will take credit for it.
You know, I think we can't forget that I think that there might be, the backlash against some of the comments and some of the things that have been uncovered about her past, might resonate more outside of Mississippi than be a handicap inside Mississippi and in this race. But being a Tuesday after thanksgiving, kind of an abnormal time to have an election. Turn out is still the key. And I think that's where the President can make a difference and making sure Republicans know they need to vote. Because if they don't vote, then that's when things can turn the other way.
[14:45:14] WHITFIELD: So in this very red region, you know, you probably agree that, you know, it's quite extraordinary that Democrat Mike Espy, a black man and former agriculture secretary is part of this very tight runoff. But then, you know, to you point about who could, you know, turn things, who could make the biggest impact, but you know, like in the cases of Georgia or even Florida gubernatorial races, you had, you know, leading black candidates, but ultimately, it was by ruled mostly white men vote that made a big difference. Do you see that happening here?
GONZALES: Well, if you look, you know, this is a special election. And so, on November 6th, all of the candidates ran together without partisan affiliation actually. And Mike Espy got 41 percent. And that's usually what a Democrat in Alabama gets under normal conditions. Cindy Hyde-Smith only got 42 percent because there was another Republican state senator, Chris McDaniel.
And so, the question is how much can Espy improve on that 41 percent that he got on November 6th? And if all the Democrats come out to vote and all things being equal, I think Cindy Hyde-Smith wins. But if Republicans don't turn out, maybe they know that the majority is not at stake. They don't really think it's a big deal. Then that is when Espy has a chance. But just getting Democrats out to vote for Mike Espy is not enough. He either has to get Republicans to vote for him or he has to get Republicans to stay home.
WHITFIELD: And Cindy Hyde-Smith, you know, she is facing new criticism now, the CNN k-files report, Sarah made reference to, you know, as a state senator in 2007. She promoted a measure that praised a confederate soldier's effort to quote "defend his homeland and pushed a revisionist view of the civil war and instead of calling it the war between the states."
Sop k-files unearth the measure, you know, during the review of Hyde- Smith's legislative history, will that play a factor?
GONZALES: Well, I think Cindy Hyde-Smith was a Democrat when she was in the legislature and she switched to the Republican Party in order to run state-wide when she ran for state agriculture commissioner. I'm just not sure this was going to be enough to pull this out for Mike Espy. I know that it might not be the right thing to say and I know it makes big waves nationally, but I'm not sure that's the one thing that is going to turn against her.
If we compare this to Alabama, you know, Republicans nominated someone who is allegedly, you know, there was sexual misconduct allegedly, you know, dating teenagers. This is -- I'm not sure that this the same thing going into Tuesday.
WHITFIELD: Yes, you are talking about Roy Moore for those who need a little assistance on that Alabama race. All right. Nathan Gonzales, thanks so much. Always good to see you.
GONZALES: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Next, on the break of Brexit, Britain is on the verge of divorcing the European Union. What it could mean for the U.S. economy?
[14:52:26] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
The road is paved for one of the biggest and most contentious divorces in history. Brexit which is shorthand for Britain exiting the European Union. Today, European leaders signed off on the split and now British Prime Minister Theresa May has to sell the deal at home. But it is already facing heavy criticism.
A U.K. parliament vote is expected in the second week of December. And if prime minister May cannot get the votes at home, Britain could still leave the EU March 29th without any formal plan. Either way, the deal could cost the U.K. some $50 billion in Brexit divorce payments.
President Trump is not a fan of the deal, saying it kills the chance of a separate trade deal between the U.S. and the U.K.
CNN's Bianca Nobilo joins me now from London.
Good to see you, Bianca. So what happens if the British parliament votes it down?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, then it's completely uncharted territory. In fact, there is not one MP minister or analyst that I have spoken to over the last few months that can me with any certainty what's likely to happen if the deal is voted down.
A number of things could happen, though. Parliament could instruct the prime minister to go back to Brussels and renegotiate the deal. But today, we heard from EU leaders. They said this is the best that you are going to get. So that's unlikely.
There is also the chance of a no deal scenario even though parliament objects to that. But if there can be no deal agreed, then Britain is still scheduled to leave on the 29th of March, 2019.
So what are the other options? Well, if Theresa May's deal fails that could be a vote of no confidence in the prime minister which could precipitate a general election here in the U.K. And even possibly a second referendum. And the momentum for that is really building. In fact, at the moment because the math just doesn't add up for the prime minister to be able to get this deal through the British parliament, the likelihood is that one of the extreme scenarios over no deal or potentially a second referendum are becoming even more likely.
WHITFIELD: Oh, God. OK. So then what does this mean for the U.S.? And we heard from the President who, you know, talked about wanting to make direct, you know, deals and trade with the UK. But what could all of this potential potentially mean for the U.S. economy?
NOBILO: Well, some of that still to be determine and this is where the argument about Brexit is centered. It is because the critics of Theresa May's deal who wanted to see a hard Brexit, these were the people that championed the movement to begin with. They wanted a clean break from the EU. And that so, in their argument, the U.K. would have the autonomy to go and strike free trade deals with big markets like the U.S. in particular and also in the developing world.
Then the prime minister never wanted to leave the EU in the first place has opted for a softer Brexit to mitigate any kind of economic damage. So the safer option, if you like. Now that means that Britain remains far more closely aligned to the EU. So doesn't have the flexibility to go and strike those free trade deals with other countries.
So we are still trying to flush out a part of the future relationship between the EU and the U.K. And see what that is going to look like and that will determine what opportunities will be presented for the U.S. and U.K.'s future trading relationship.
[14:55:44] WHITFIELD: All right. Potentially a lot on the line.
Bianca Nobilo, thank you very much for London. Appreciate it.
We have much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all starts right after this.