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Outside Advisers Say Embedded Enemies Working Against Trump; Trump Uses Paris Protests to Lament E.U.'s Treatment of U.S. on Trade, Military; Cindy McCain on Why She Can't Forgive President Trump; Winter-like Blizzard Slams Central Plains; Volunteers Help Rescue Sea Turtles from Freezing Waters. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 25, 2018 - 18:00   ET


[18:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hundreds of migrants overwhelmed Mexican police and rushed toward the American side.




CABRERA: Right now, all roads and pedestrian bridges in both directions are closed at the San Ysidro port of entry. It's just one of five land border crossings clustered along California's border with Mexico. And as far as we know, San Ysidro is the only closure this hour.

All of this happening as the incoming Mexican government denies reports today that it has reached a deal with the Trump administration to keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their applications for asylum in the U.S. are pending.

I want to bring in, from Mexico with iTV news correspondent Emma Murphy who is joining us from Tijuana.

Emma, describe for me what you have been witnessing, what you are hearing, talking to the migrants there.

EMMA MURPHY. ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, completely incredible scenes over the last few hours. We have been told that there would be a peaceful march from the camp where the migrants have been housed for the last week to one of the border crossing points at San Ysidro.

Now, when they started to march, they discovered that riot police had actually blocked one of the main bridges, and at that point, a number of the migrants started shouting, yes, we can, and decided to try to push their way through the police lines.

Others then scattered left and right and the officers were completely overwhelmed. Then we saw hundreds and hundreds of people get up on to the walls of the storm drains, go down the sides, and start to try to storm the border that way. At that point, tear gas was fired from the U.S. side. And then as people were trying to get through there, another group

went around the other side and started trying to make their way up the railway sidings in the hope of getting to the border that is in the more mountainous area. The U.S. side then fired tear gas and we understand that rubber bullets were also fired at that point.

Now, the Mexican authorities did try to keep order, but there was no doubt that they were really struggling with the numbers. And of course, they now have this very serious issue of what to do, how to keep control of the situation. When the border was closed, obviously, there were thousands of people in line in their vehicles waiting to cross legally. They then had to all be turned around and sent away and the pedestrian crossing was also closed.

So that is a very, very significant situation for the people who try and make their living between the U.S. and Mexico. How long that border is going to stay closed is unclear. But it's only going to add to the sense of frustration amongst many local people here in Tijuana that this city is being seriously changed as a result of the presence of 5,000 or so Central Americans.

CABRERA: We are looking at some of the video earlier, where people were just running toward the border. Why? Why did they rush toward the border? And who, exactly, was in this group?

MURPHY: Well, this group is from the migrant caravan that has traveled across Central America. People who say that they want to try to get into the U.S. because of the poverty that they live in in Honduras and El Salvador and Guatemala. Many say that they are too afraid to go home, and that's why they stay here.

It's hard to say exactly who makes up this group. What is very noticeable, though, is that there are a large number of women and children in amongst those migrants. Significantly, there are more men, as you might expect, but when people were going over the border or attempting to go over the border, you know, we were watching families picking up tiny babies and running. People picking up push chairs that their children were being -- traveling in. And just doing everything they possibly could to get out of Mexico and into U.S. territory.

CABRERA: All right. Emma Murphy, thank you very much for providing all of that context and perspective. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now "the Washington Post" journalist who broke the story on a possible Mexico asylum deal. Nick Miroff is joining us, as well.

Nick, we will get to your reporting in just a second. But first, given how much time you have spent in Mexico working on reporting about immigration issues, have you seen anything like this in terms of what we are seeing at the border today?

NICK MIROFF, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: No, I can't remember ever seeing anything of this sort. And I mean, this was really the kind of nightmare scenario that the homeland security department and U.S. customs and border protection had envisioned when they saw the caravan kind of break through the Guatemala/Mexico border, if you will remember last month. But it really underscores how volatile this situation is in Tijuana.

[18:05:06] CABRERA: This must reinforce officials' decisions to send U.S. troops to this particular area along the border?

MIROFF: Yes, I think so. I mean, I know CBP is very much concerned about a crowd control situation of this sort. And they want to have, you know, kind of overwhelming man and woman power in order to respond, if needed. I don't think -- from what I can tell, we didn't see any troops out there today, but, you know, I think they are trying to prepare for any sort of contingency and obviously very worried about another, you know, attempt like this.

CABRERA: Nick, I want to ask you about your reporting regarding that potential remain in Mexico asylum deal. Your reporting cited a top domestic policy official, the incoming interior minister. And she told you and I quote from your article "for now, we have agreed to this policy of remain in Mexico." But then a few hours after your piece came out, Cordero, she issued a firm denial. What do you make of that reversal?

MIROFF: Well, we have got to keep in mind that they are not in power yet. So the incoming government starts on December 1st. And so, they are not in a position to sign any sort of formal agreement at this point and they haven't done that, as our story makes clear.

What they do have is a deal and an agreement on a framework of this sort, which would require asylum seekers to wait on the Mexican side. They are working out some of the legal and operational details of how it will go, but this deal has been made.

CABRERA: And so what happens next? When can we expect a possible implementation, if that is the case?

MIROFF: Well, I think that, you know, the situation that we saw today at the border maybe injects some new urgency into this. You know, Mexico, this is all happening in a very delicate time, because the outgoing administration is -- you know, has been talking to the U.S., and now there's a new government coming in. And so, you know, I think that for them to do anything in a formal way, it would have to happen after December 1st, after they take power.

CABRERA: All right. Nick Miroff, thanks very much for joining us. Good to see you.

We just got this statement now from the department of homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on San Ysidro port of entry, that closure. And I am just quoting for you here.

"This morning, CBP rather was forced to close the San Ysidro port of entry to ensure public safety in response to large number of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. After being prevented from entering the port of entry, some of these migrants attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them," and I'm still reading, "as I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry. We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property and endangers our front line operators and endangers our sovereignty. CBP, along with other DHS law enforcement, federal law enforcement and the U.S. military in state and local law enforcement will continue to have a robust presence along the southwest border and at our ports of entry to prevent illegal entry or violence. We continue to stay in close contact with Mexican authorities and we remain committed to resolving this situation safely in concert with our Mexican partners."

I want to talk more about all of this with David Swerdlick, he is the assistant editor of "the Washington Post" and Elaina Plott, staff writer for "the Atlantic."

David, there are troops on the border anticipating the arrival of this caravan. Does what we are seeing today validate the President's decision?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it validates the President's decision, certainly not to put troops on the border. My understanding from the reporting from the last couple of hours is that this is a law enforcement action taken by law enforcement on the Mexico side of the border and by U.S. customs, ICE and border patrol on the U.S. side of the border, as it should be.

Border control has traditionally been a law enforcement issue. So, wherever people in either both parties or both parts of the public stand on this issue, this is the kind of thing that has been and should be handled by law enforcement to have military personnel there, potentially escalates the situation. And also, it's not really the constitutional role of the United States military.

That said, what we see today in the footage, Ana, suggests to me that this issue is sort of reaching ahead and in the new Congress, it is really -- there is going to be pressure on both sides of the aisle to try to come up with a more comprehensive approach to immigration going forward, because the President is pressing forward with this heavily, having, as my "Washington Post" colleague, Nick Miroff reported, some sort of side agreement with the incoming Mexican administration. And, you know, it's something that Congress hasn't weighed in on. It's something that is going to reach a head very soon.

[18:10:08] CABRERA: And about that agreement, here is Elijah Cummings, a Democrat on "Meet the Press" this morning.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS DAILY: If the President cuts a deal with Mexico, are you supportive of that?


TODD: Why?

CUMMINGS: Because that's not the law. They should be allowed to come in, seek asylum. That's the law. And we don't --

TODD: Would you support changing the law?

CUMMINGS: No. No. I think that we have a system that has worked for a long time. This President has come in, wants to change it. That's up to him. But now the Congress has got to stand up.


CABRERA: Elaina, is that the consensus among Democrats?

ELAINA PLOTT, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Absolutely. But one interesting thing, Ana. A top Democratic official in the house told me earlier today that especially ahead of Tuesday, Democrats are going to be wary about speaking too publicly about this border crisis, whatever you want to call it.

If anything, Democrats are afraid that, you know, the timing of all of this really boosts the political chances of Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is, of course, running for re-election in Mississippi on Tuesday. Trump is betting right now that, you know, continuing to stoke fear about the caravan and what not could really, really help her chances on Tuesday.

So you have Democrats on the one hand who are eager to stand up to the President, you know, speak out about especially his tweets today, but also don't want to give the issue anymore airtime than it's already getting.

CABRERA: David, your take? Is this what Democrats want to be talking about right now?

SWERDLICK: So, Ana, I don't think this is what Democrats want to be talking about. And I think that Elaina's reporting sounds about right to me. And yet it's weird that Democrats would think that.

Look, this is a closer-than-expected race in Mississippi, but most forecasters think that Hyde-Smith will pull this out, even though Espy is running strong for a Democrat in a red state. Most people think he's going to come up short. So the idea that Democrats would be scared of this issue a couple of days out from the election, even though I don't doubt at all that that's what they are telling Elaina, seems to me to be, you know, sort of shooting themselves in the foot. They need to figure out where they stand on the issue. This is not one of those nail biter races by most people's calculations.

CABRERA: There is a deadline on December 7th for government funding in immigration, Elaina, as you know, has been an issue at President sees as a winning issue for him so much so he is continuing to threaten a government shutdown if his border wall isn't funded. Do you think the Republican lawmakers will go along with the President on that?

PLOTT: I think they absolutely will. But here's the thing, Donald Trump now is going to have to start considering what it's like to deal with a Congress that's not uniformly his party. I'm told by those same Democratic sources that if Trump continues to tweet like he tweeted today about the caravan, about Tijuana, that Nancy Pelosi is really going to be unwilling to play ball when it comes to the $5 billion they want in wall funding.

And I'll add, too, Ana, that one of the reasons that, you know, Trump is in trouble talking about this is because -- or I guess, I should say, he is not in trouble necessarily, because the Mueller investigation, with Elijah Cummings coming in as oversight chairman, if Trump can get people talking about anything other than the Mueller investigation, talk about impeachment proceedings, that's very, very good for him.

CABRERA: David, we know the potential speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has spoken to President Trump at length about immigration reform. Could their relationship make a difference?

SWERDLICK: Potentially. I think we are getting ahead of ourselves to think too far to the future. This is a deal that has vexed Congress for years, right. Congress tried under President Bush in 2007. They tried the gang about eight bill in 2013. They tried in various fits and starts over the last couple of years.

This is going to be a tough slog. But you know, just to talk about the bigger issue around Nancy Pelosi about whether her caucus is going to back her, you know, Democrats should think about the fact that if they weaken their own speaker going into any kind of negotiation with President Trump on immigration or any other issue, that will affect how Trump plays the issue publicly, whether it's on social media or how he speaks about it.

He is feeling pretty good on immigration. He likes that issue. Both for the reasons that Elaina said and because he feels like he knows that issue better than some issues. And he is going to continue on that path.

CABRERA: David Swerdlick, Elaina Plott, good to have you both with us. Thank you.

SWERDLICK: Thanks, Ana.

PLOTT: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: An emotional plea after Alabama police say a man they killed was likely not the gunman who shot two people at a mall. What went wrong and is there a gunman still on the loose? A live report, next.

Plus, embedded enemies. Two of the President's closest advisers have new details on the people they say are working against Trump from within.

And blizzard warning. Holiday travel hits a snag, as millions of Americans are facing major winter weather. Look at how cold, how miserable and how treacherous it is out there.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:19:08] CABRERA: Investigators say at least one gunman is still at large in connection to the shooting at a busy Alabama mall on thanksgiving. So far, police have released very few details about the incident, but they now admit that the man they killed at the scene was likely not the shooter.

The family of 21-year-old E.J. Bradford Jr. is now demanding an apology, accountability, and the release of all videos from that incident. They describe Bradford as a loving man who cared for his sick father.

CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now from Atlanta.

Natasha, what was the family's message to police?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Ana, the family wants no more words from the police department until surveillance video is released. They held a press conference with their attorney, Benjamin Crump today, saying that police have not contacted them at all since this happened. And later, Crump and Bradford's father came on our air for an interview.


[18:20:00] BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: We think they are trying to justify killing his son, and they know the video is going to tell us a different story, as we have been saying, you don't need to say anymore. Just show the video. That's all this family wants.


CHEN: After that interview, Mr. Crump told me by phone that the family was given video by an individual, showing exactly what happened and how E.J. Bradford Jr. was shot. Crump says the family may consider releasing that video.

In the midst of today's press conference, as well as their interview with us on CNN, Bradford's father says he served as a Birmingham police officer and considers law enforcement to be family. He says there needs to be accountability for the hoover police officer working off-duty as mall security that night.


EMANTIC BRADFORD, FATHER OF E.J. BRADFORD JR.: You got one person that just assumed in his training falls back on the hoover police chief and the hoover mayor. You need to get your house in order, boss.


CHEN: An 18-year-old and a 12-year-old were injured in this shooting at the mall, but police have not found the person responsible. They did issue a statement when they realized at least one gunman is still at large. They said they now believe E.J. Bradford Jr. maybe have been involved, but was like not responsible for firing the rounds that injured the other two. And none of the law enforcement agencies we have reached out to have answered specific questions on this case, Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Natasha Chen, thank you.

And now this week's "BEFORE THE BELL," here is CNN's Alison Kosik.

Hi, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK. CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Trade is a major focus as investors return from thanksgiving weekend. The G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires kicks off at the end of the week. And President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet on the sidelines. Investors are hoping for progress on a trade agreement, but President Trump says that the Chinese want more concessions.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China wants to make a deal. They sent a list of things that they are willing to do, which was a large list. And it's just not acceptable to me yet. But at some point, I think that we are doing extremely well with respect to China. I have a great respect for President Xi. I have a great respect for China. But China has taken advantage of the United States for many, many years.


KOSIK: Tensions between the U.S. and China have rattled global markets. And investors are worried the dispute could escalate further. President Trump has threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on $267 billion worth of Chinese goods, and some tariffs already in place are set to increase from 10 percent to 25 percent on January 1st.

In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.


[18:27:26] CABRERA: Welcome back.

The President has said there are some inside his administration he cannot trust. Today, two of the President's closest outside advisers are making the case that his fears are justified.


COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look. We have seen individuals who, my guess is, not only do they not support him when he was running, but probably didn't vote for him on Election Day. That's two years ago.

DAVID BOSSIE, OUTSIDE TRUMP ADVISOR: There are people inside the White House who understand and are for this President's agenda and there are those who are there for their own agenda. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.


CABRERA: CNN White House reporter, Sarah Westwood is live near Mar-a- Lago.

Sarah, do Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie suggest John Kelly, the President's chief of staff, is among the President's so-called embedded enemies?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Lewandowski and Bossie, Ana, they are both critical of the restrictions that Kelly has placed around the President. For example, in this book they apparently cite an instance in August when they were forced to walk around the west wing with a formal escort. Both of them saying that they didn't believe an escort was necessary. Kelly, obviously, streamlined some of the open door access that aides and advisers seem to have to the President before General Kelly came to the White House.

But Lewandowski and Bossie also name some other former White House officials who they believe are not loyal to the President. One of them is Gary Cohn, a former top economic adviser to the President. Lewandowski suggest during that interview with FOX News that Cohn may not have even voted for the President on Election Day. They also cite former press secretary Sean Spicer as a member of what they describe as the November 9th club. That's a group of people who only came to support the President after Election Day.

But, of course, all of this focus on whether General Kelly is loyal to the President comes amid speculation, renewed speculation that Kelly may be heading for the exits. The President is said to be eyeing potential replacements for his chief of staff, among them Nick Erbs, the current chief of staff to vice President Mike Pence.

And this also comes amid a larger staff they got maybe on the horizon after the midterms, it's typical of many administrations that senior administration officials may start to leave the White House. That's something that could certainly happen in the Trump administration.

But these allegations from Bossie and Lewandowski, they are significant, Ana, because we know that this President highly values loyalty and the people who work for him.

CABRERA: Sarah Westwood, thank you for that reporting.

I want to bring in Michael DeAntonio. He is a Donald Trump biographer and joins us now.

Michael, the President has already said publicly, he distrust several aides and advisors inside his white House. Do you this vote (ph) will simply add to thos fears?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Well, I think it is practically Donald Trump's tweets all come to life in the pages of a book. From what I've read, these fellas really promote a lot of the paranoid

ideas that the President has harbored his whole life about loyalty, about how people who disagree are somehow rats. I think they use that term to describe Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. So they're feeding the President, I think, very much what he wants to hear.

But you also have to consider the source. And Lewandowski and Bossie are not exactly heavyweights, either in politics or policy. They're a couple of guys who got very lucky to be associated with a long-shot candidate who gained the Oval Office despite using losing the popular vote, and I think they're trying to make themselves relevant.

CABRERA: How do you think the President will react to this book?

D'ANTONIO: Well, you know, he gave them an interview and much of that interview is reproduced in the book, so he clearly supports the effort that these two authors are making. And they are people who have identified themselves as almost loyal captains.

You know, in the mafia structure, they would be capos. And the way that they talk is sort of in a mafia style, talking about loyalty being the most important thing and when you signed on indicates how valuable you are.

But, you know, I have to say the idea of these men going after John Kelly, for example, who's a retired Marine general, was head of Homeland Security, and has done the President well as Chief of Staff seems really farfetched.

You know, if the President likes people getting agitated -- and he clearly does like to see everyone insecure and anxious -- he'll like what they're doing for him. But I don't think, in the long run, they're communicating anything valuable or anything that will be actionable, as far as the President is concerned.

CABRERA: You brought up John Kelly. And Corey Lewandowski was on Fox News this morning. He was asked specifically about his relationship with the President's Chief of Staff. Listen.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you get into a physical altercation with John Kelly this last winter that had to be broken up by the Secret Service, yes or no?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, the Secret Service didn't break anything up. John and I had a very candid discussion, as he probably has many times with the President. The difference is --

WALLACE: Did he grab you?

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I don't want to get into what John may or may not have done, but what I do think is he understands that my position is to support the President and the President's agenda all the time.


CABRERA: Michael, does Lewandowski say that without the President's authority, or is this just part of his own campaign to undermine Kelly's standing inside the White House since Kelly's inside and Lewandowski's outside?

D'ANTONIO: Well, it sort of sound like freelancing to me. I really doubt, despite the President's penchant for playing games, that he would have signaled, well, I want you to tear down General Kelly. I need a pretext for somehow getting rid of him.

The President knows how to go about these things. He knows how to change members of his administration when he cares to. So, to me, this is just sort of silly, tough-guy talk.

Lewandowski is poised to participate in the Trump/Pence re-election campaign. I'm sure Bossie will participate as well. But neither one of them won a spot inside the administration for themselves, and that should give you a sense of how the President considers their opinions.

They might be guys that he's happy to send out into the countryside to gin up the base and get people worked up and committed to the President's campaign, but I don't think he turns to them for carefully considered, serious advice.

CABRERA: This morning on "Fox & Friends," Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican but one who hasn't shied away from criticizing the President, said this about the book.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: I hope you'll get them to define their terms. So republics aren't healthy when people use words like treason about policy debates. That's a pretty messed up worldview.

I never met Corey Lewandowski. I've met David Bossie before. He seems like a nice guy. But language about enemies and treason about policy and politics is pretty warped, and I think most Americans think it's weird.

When you look at the small subset of people who put politics at the center of their lives, they tend to be really, really lonely.


CABRERA: So two questions for you, Michael. One, does the President care? And two, do you think that critique could prompt a response?

[18:35:02] D'ANTONIO: Well, I think it could prompt a response. Although, I think many, many people, even those who are most loyal to Donald Trump, feel the same way, that using terms like treason and enemies is going too far.

But these are two men who have really made their names by going too far. Lewandowski, everyone remembers from the campaign and that terrible incident where he appeared to -- CABRERA: I think we just lost Michael. Thank you, Michael D'Antonio. Always good to have your insight.

Now, to the city of Paris, cleaning up after police turned tear gas and water cannons on violent protesters there. Now, President Trump is also weighing in. We'll tell you what he had to say and how he is now tying it to trade. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:40:28] CABRERA: Things are calm again in Paris following a new wave of protests that shut down parts of the city. It was the second week of violent rallies against rising gas taxes and high costs of living.

And back in the U.S., President Trump used the Paris demonstrations this weekend as a chance to take a seemingly unrelated shot at French President Emmanuel Macron, tweeting this -- the large and violent French protests don't take into account how badly the United States has been treated on trade by the European Union or on fair and reasonable payments for our great military protection. Both of these topics must be remedied soon.

What does the E.U. trade have to do with the Paris protests? As senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann explains, not much.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Ana, that tweet from President Trump left a lot of people, at least the ones I talked to, scratching their heads because they could not connect the dotty logic that President Trump seemed to exhibit in the tweet.

Basically, there were large and very violent demonstrations along the Champs-Elysees here last night, but they did not protest -- the protesters were not out there protesting about how badly the United States had been treated over trade and military protections.

Simply because this was not a protest about either one of those items. This was a protest about higher fuel prices and higher costs of living and stagnant wages, so no connection. And there was no reaction at all from the Presidential Palace or the Foreign Ministry or the Prime Minister's office.

However, some newspapers and news organizations here felt the need to interpret what President Trump had to say, and their conclusion seems to be that this was an attempt by President Trump to kick President Macron in a sore spot.

It was just two weeks ago and a few hundred yards up the avenue here that President Macron made a speech that many say humiliated President Trump, basically centering on the benefits of multilateralism, something that President Trump clearly doesn't believe in -- Ana.

CABRERA: Jim Bittermann in Paris. Thank you.

Senator John McCain's widow is speaking out for the first time since her husband's death. Cindy McCain's frank words for President Trump, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Senator John McCain's widow giving her first interview since her husband died in August from brain cancer.

Cindy McCain did not hold back her opinions about President Trump, attacking her husband's war record, suggesting John McCain wasn't a hero because he was captured. Watch.


CINDY MCCAIN, WIDOW OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I thought it was inappropriate and wrong. I really did. It hurt the family, too.

He -- you know, everyone -- and he hurt the other men that served with John, that were in prison, as well. It wasn't just about John. It was all the other people.

So I think that was a wrong thing to say and I -- you know, I -- I don't know if I'll ever get over it, I'll be honest. But I'm the wife. I could -- that's my prerogative. I don't have to.


CABRERA: Cindy McCain also spoke with CBS News at one point, joking that her husband probably would have thought his funeral lasted way too long.

Also, McCain, the mother, weighing in on daughter Meghan's fiery funeral speech rebuking Trump. Watch.


JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS HOST: Did the President or the first lady reach out to you after the funeral?

MCCAIN: No. No, they didn't. But that's OK. That was not what I needed at the time. I needed my family and I had them.

DICKERSON: What is your feeling about the President?

MCCAIN: Oh, gosh. I think he is questioning himself right now as to where he goes, what he's doing. I think maybe the things that have occurred, especially with this election, maybe take him back to basics.

I'm hoping it does. I'm hoping that -- you know, it's very humbling to lose. And if he -- I hope he learns from it and realizes that our country needs a strong leader. Not a negative Nancy, if I can put it in such a basic term.

DICKERSON: After the Senator's death, a lot of people thought, well, Cindy McCain, she should take the seat. Did you ever talk about that with the Senator?


DICKERSON: Did anybody ever approach you and did you ever think about it seriously?

MCCAIN: Oh, I've been approached from a bunch of different directions, yes, I have. My job right now is to make sure my family is OK and make sure that we are -- you know, we're moving on in the right direction.

DICKERSON: So if you're not going to run for office, there's Meghan, there's Jackie. You --

MCCAIN: I've got a house full.

DICKERSON: You've got a long list.


DICKERSON: And do any of them have political aspirations?

MCCAIN: I think so. I think we'll see one, possibly two, do it. There are two I know that won't, but I -- there's two that are -- that I think will.


CABRERA: On Thursday, Meghan McCain posted an emotional Thanksgiving message to her dad on Instagram.

I quote, today is your favorite holiday. Happy Thanksgiving, Dad, wherever you are. I miss you terribly. And to everyone else who this holiday is hard for, you are not alone. I am thinking of all of you.

[18:49:56] Millions of people under blizzard warnings right now and this storm is just getting started. We'll get the latest from the CNN weather center when we come back. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Right now, nearly 14 million people across the Midwest are under blizzard warnings and that storm is headed east. And that means major travel trouble for Americans trying to get home after Thanksgiving.

I have pictures to show you of what it's like in Hays, Kansas. The student who took these pictures says most of the streets were dark. A lot of people have no power right now.

Parts of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, also impacted. As one highway was being shut down, an officer with the Kansas Highway Patrol tweeted a video, advising people to simply stay put.


TROOPER BEN GARDNER, PUBLIC RESOURCE OFFICER, KANSAS HIGHWAY PATROL: The roadways are blocked. Traffic jams, jackknifed semis, things like that. I'm telling you now, today is the day of staying home and being safe.

[18:55:00] Keith and others (ph) are doing as best they could and they're rocking it here, but it's hard for people what's taking place across tangents (ph).


CABRERA: CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera -- no relation -- joins me now. Ivan, what is the latest?

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, the latest is, since we last spoke an hour ago, Ana, we're now -- another hundred flights have been canceled here. And the problem is, even if your flight doesn't get canceled, once you get to the airport, whoever's picking you up may not be able to get there because the roads are going to be a mess.

So we're up to now north of a thousand cancelations. This is just for Sunday, upwards of 500 delays. And this number continues to tick up as well. It's not only going to be 181. We're talking into the hundreds for tomorrow.

Why? Because the peak of the storm in Chicago isn't happening until tonight and into tomorrow. That's when the conditions will be the worst.

So, as Ana was mentioning there -- look at this -- upwards of 14 to 15 million people under this blizzard warning. This is serious stuff. We've already had upwards of a foot of snowfall in places like Iowa.

This is just going to continue to fall and fall sideways. Whiteout conditions here because you combine snowfall rates around one, two inches an hour with winds 40 to 45 miles an hour. That's going to be a problem here as we continue to see the radar here.

Now, notice its center of circulation. This is the center of our blizzard. Right on the eastern flank of it, you've got a warm southerly wind so that's why we're still raining in parts of Illinois here.

But once the low tracks north and east, it's going to pull the cold air. We've already switched over, of course, to snow in Kansas City. Quincy is about to do that and Chicago will do that in just the next couple of hours.

And we'll continue to see the winds beginning to pick up as well through the overnight hours. By the time all is said and done, I'm thinking eight to 12 inches of snow would fall. And that would be for Chicago as well.

So this is going to be one of the classic Chicago snowstorms here, along with the visibility, the snowfall rates. And also, of course, the delays that are going to be plaguing the airports as well, Ana, from Chicago all the way into the northeast.

CABRERA: And as that storm heads east, when should travelers here start to worry about that? I. CABRERA: So, now, right? And into tomorrow.


I. CABRERA: But this is a good point, though, because the northeast, you're not going to get the snowstorm. People have been asking, are we going to? No, no snow for the northeast as far as the big cities right along 95. Interior New England, a few snow showers here, but I don't think it's going to be a huge deal.

But the problem is -- and why we have yellow and orange airplanes in the northeast for tomorrow is because, I think, the wind and the rain itself. That's what's going to be causing a delay.

Oh, and, yes, of course, Chicago is going to wreak havoc across the entire network here. So planes that are delayed, canceled, that's going to affect the entire U.S. heading into one of the busiest travel days of the year.

We got away with it the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.


I. CABRERA: But not heading back home, unfortunately.

CABRERA: Ah, Mother Nature has other plans.


CABRERA: 'Tis the season!


CABRERA: Ivan Cabrera, thank you so much.

This cold weather has proven dangerous for some animals on Cape Cod. More than 170 sea turtles have died from the freezing temperatures. Rescue groups have been frantically searching the beaches, hoping to save more turtles in trouble. And with the help of volunteers, many are now on their way to warmer temperatures down south.

Doug Meehan of our affiliate WCVB has more.


STEVE BERNSTEIN, VOLUNTEER PILOT: So these are Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.


BERNSTEIN: So you can see them in here. There's two per box.

DOUG MEEHAN, WCVB-TV REPORTER: Jake and Owen Bernstein are pretty excited about meeting their fellow passengers for their trip to Florida. Their dad, Steve, is donating his time and his plane to deliver 20 rescued Kemp's Ridley sea turtles to the warmer weather down south.

BERNSTEIN: It's awesome. Yes, it's great.

MEEHAN (voice-over): Steve and his boys are taking part in Turtles Fly Too, a total volunteer effort by private pilots who assist turtle rescue efforts.

BERNSTEIN: Well, we just enjoy volunteering and helping out, and we admire the work everybody does at NOAA and all the sea turtle rescue centers and just wanted to be a part of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The turtles are pretty cute. I can't wait to hear the sounds they make when they strap in and enjoy the ride.

MEEHAN (voice-over): Because of a recent trend of warmer sea temperatures during the summer, the turtles actually get trapped in Cape Cod Bay when they should start the migration south.


MEEHAN (voice-over): Tony LaCasse of the New England Aquarium says they've had to rescue more than 200 turtles over the last few years, and they've reached capacity. Flights like these are imperative to getting these turtles south, so they can continue their rehabilitation and eventually be released.

LACASSE: Sea turtles can survive in water temperatures that are still like in the mid to high 40s. When we get below that, not many survive.

MEEHAN (voice-over): Today's flight will be an all-day event for a total of 1,300 miles. The final destination, Stuart, Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For them to be able to come in here and use a local airport and to be able to get down to Florida in under a day is just the way to go.


CABRERA: It's just about 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 in the afternoon out west. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.

[18:59:55] And tonight, we have breaking news on the U.S./Mexico border and a stern warning from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

This comes just hours after a sudden closure of a major border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. The closure, U.S. authorities say, was --