whitaker for the position and he has come under scrutiny for comments criticizing the special council's russia investigation among other things. today the president defended him and distanced himself from him. >> i didn't know matt whitaker. he worked for attorney general sessions. he was very, very highly thought of. still is highly thought of. this only comes up because anybody that works for me, they do a number on them. matt whitaker is a very smart and respected man in the law enforcement community. actually the choice was greeted and still is in some circles. >> pamela, now we are hearing from sessions for the first time as well. since he was ousted as the attorney general, what is he
saying? >> in the wake of his resignation, he did an exclusive investigation. he also said he believes it has been going on for too long, calling the length of the probe unhealthy. he said he believes that the country is committed to its course. he did defend it, saying he believes it has been done appropriately and with justification during this interview with the "wall street journal." he was also asked whether he ever feels like he shouldn't have recused himself from the mueller probe. he said he doesn't have any regrets, that no one is above being supervised. he said even though that is what drew the ire of the president over many months and eventually was ousted by the president a couple of days ago. wolf? >> he said he doesn't know whitaker, but in an interview, he said he does know him. in any case, how can he be a pointed if the president really as he said several times today,
i don't know the guy? >> that's the sentiment that current and former officials i have been speaking to have said. what's interesting here is that you see the president trying to distance himself from matt whitaker when he criticized the probe in the past. he told fox news not long ago that he did not matt whitaker. it's a familiar pattern from the president. whenever there is common embroiled in controversy. the past comments have been under scrutiny. he suggested it was a fishing expedition and should recuse himself as a result. i can tell you from my reporting as well as my colleagues that donald trump and matt whitaker forged a relationship over the past several months as the relationship between the president and jeff sessions deteriorated, it was matt whitaker who would step in at the meetings in the white house to brief the president.
sources say that they were in several meetings together at the white house, group meetings, for the most part and spoke on the phone on several occasions according to coarses. one former white house official said he was sighted in the west wing frequently, wolf. he was someone who was here on a regular basis. the idea that he doesn't know matt whitaker doesn't hold true, based on our reporting. >> he said several times before leaving the white house, i don't know the guy. i barely know the guy. in any case, he does know him. we will get the tape of what he told fox news recently about matt whitaker and how he does know him. thank you very much for that. the acting attorney general said the appointment of a special counsel on the russia quote smells a little fishy. he called the mueller investigation political. those are not the only views raising concerns right now. he once vowed to use a religious
test for federal judges. what did he say about religious beliefs. >> i want to remind people and a lot of people don't remember this. he ran from the senate from iowa. the city that the republican won so a lot of his comments came as a candidate in 2014. whitaker on judges as it relates to religion. in a forum in april 2014, he was asked about his standard for judges. he said they need a biblical view of justice. if judges have a secular world view, i am concerned about how they judge. you cannot impose religious tests on officials like this. maybe it was a religion that was popular, but that's going to come back to haunt you. another important thing to know is it's a very expansive definition of executive power. he called it the inferior branch
of government. we have a checks and balances system. when the executive branch calls the judicious inferior, that's concerning. this as it relates to mar bury in 1803. it seems like the founding document of the court's ability to review legislative and executive action. if you don't believe in in this, you don't believe in the ability to be that review. again, we focus a lot on what he said recently about the mueller investigation. for a good reason. it is important to suggest that some of things he said as recently as when he was a candidate in 2014 are things that should be concerning for someone who is the acting attorney general who i will remind you still not being confirmed or voted on by the senate. >> listen to this. earlier in the day when he was getting ready to leave the white house, he answered reporters's questions and said i don't know
whitaker. i don't know whitaker. he kept saying it over and over again. listen to what he told fox news in the past few weeks. >> i can tell you matt whitaker is a great guy. i know matt whitaker. >> what do you think? >> this is to what pam was talking about. there is a zero percent chance he doesn't know matt whitaker. george papadopoulos was a coffee boy. michael cohen was did a small amount of things for donald trump. paul manafort was his campaign chairman for a very short period of time. when controversy surrounds people who he is close to, he says i barely know that person. this is not new, should we be surprised. what he said is the truth. they know each other. you don't pick someone you never met and don't know to be the acting attorney general. no one would do that, including donald trump. >> all those interviews he did
before he became the chief of staff was very critical of the mueller probe. the russia probe. no collusion, no collusion. sounded like the president of the united states. meanwhile, a top democrat calling the appointment of whitaker sicrisa crisis moment. democrats are taking steps to protect the investigation right now. let's talk to the member of both the judiciary and the intelligence committees. what's your reaction to what we just heard? >> whitaker was hired to be a hit man to take out the mueller probe. he fired the guy who refused himself for someone who rejudged the investigation. if this happened on monday, we would be helpless as democrats. the american people spoke on tuesday am they want a check on abuses of power. that's one of the issues that was on the ballot. we have a number of options. we are going to fund the
government by vote coming up here. we will insist we protect the mueller probe. >> how are you going to do that? >> the republicans have been unable to fund the government with their votes. they have the white house, senate, and the house of representatives. they are not going to get democratic vote fist th. it's that important. the power of the oversight responsibility of congress. fast forward to january when a new congress comes into place. the days of looking the other way and doing nothing and giving the president this ollie ollie oxen free environment are over. >> the judiciary and the intelligence and a liberal democrat from new york and adam schiff, fellow californian will be the shareman. >> we will do what we should do. we will stand up for democracy
in the rule of law. if whitaker won't recuse himself. we will call him and ask what promises has he made to the president. what is he going to do and does he still hold true the beliefs he had about the investigation. >> listen to what whitaker said before he joined the justice department to the attorney general. listen to what he said about russian election interference. >> the left is trying to sow this theory that essentially russians interfered with the u.s. election which has been proven false. they did not have any impact in the election. that has been clear from the obama administration. they are trying to suggest that the trump campaign had deep ties into russia which is not true. i guess what they are trying to slate is that somehow russia and the trump campaign sort of conspired to influence the
election. it's crazy. >> so he has already prejudged the russia probe even though robert mueller and his team are supposedly wrapping it up. they have information previously. the deputy attorney general was overseeing it because sessions recused himself. rosenstein is not the chief enforcer. it's matt whitaker. >> they have been confirm and announced what their views are from the investigation from the secretary of state to gina haskell to dan coates to christopher wray. they acknowledged that russia interfered and they continue to do so. you have the acting attorney general who doesn't believe that. that's why he was picked for the job. that's what is so concerning. >> before you become the majority in january in the new congress, are you worried about what the president might do between now and then?
>> yes. we expect he will continue to obstruct justice and the opportunity is for republicans to step up finally and hear what the voters wanted on tuesday and just protect the mueller probe. we can do that without having a budget fight. >> do you expect mueller -- there is a lot of reporting that he is writing a final report. wrapping things up. do you think he is? >> he should be able to follow the evidence. he is frustrated it takes as long as it does. when you tamper with witnesses and given the questions they want to ask and you won't sit down in the chair, it's going to take long. >> let me get your thoughts. the president was asked about what the former first lady, michelle obama said in her new book, she will never forgive donald trump for the birther controversy. he was asked about that as he was leaving the white house this morning. this is what he said. >> i'll never forgive for what
he what he did to our united states military by not funding it properly. it was depleted and everything was old and tire and i came in and had to fix it and i'm in the process of spending tremendous amounts of money. >> he deflected. he didn't want to go after michelle obama, but went after the former president saying i will never forgive him for depleting the military. >> toddlers are going to throw tantrums, but the reality is president obama reduced our role in two major conflicts and killed osama bin laden under his watch. i think this obama family has been through enough harassment about their roots and qualificati qualifications. >> we were talking about the possibility after the election and i know you are going to warks aiowa and thinking of running for the
democratic nomination. >> looking at the mid-term results, 25 and counting new members of congress that is the country is embracing new ideas and new leadership. projecting that on, our best bet is looking forward as far as who we nominate. i will spend the holidays talking to my family and make a decision soon. >> you have a totddler and a brand-new baby. >> two week old. >> that's a big decision if you are gearing up for the primaries. >> i need their votes first. family votes first. my wife sacrifice ed greatly. we went to the 40 week appointments during the repeal votes for the affordable care acts. he said you are not going to miss that vote to be here for the birth of your son. he said i will make sure you don't miss the birth of your baby. my wife was willing for me to
miss the birth because she knows how important the vote is and she sacrifice and that's a big decision. >> for sounds like you are serious about running for president. >> we helped them pick up two congressional seats and have been invited back to be in debuke. we want someone who knows the american people. i have seen great in my parents and people know where we should. you going to vote for nancy pelosi for speaker? >> i am. she was skillfully the architect of the affordable care act. candidates ran on that and we need to restore that immediately. >> congratulations on the new baby. we will have you back for sure. let us know how things go in iowa. eric swal well, thank you. >> the democratic candidate suing as the president and other republicans claim fraud. new details behind the mass
shooting in california. what we know about the victims as investigators search for a motive. we will have more from michelle obama. she gets candid on her marriage and struggles to get pregnant and a lot more. she has a brand-new book coming out in the next couple of days. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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♪ for arizona, georgia, and florida, they turn out to be an election month. a sense of deja vu circa 2000. both the governor and senate races seem headed for a recount. they will make a stop in the courtroom. two losses are active. democratic incumbent bill nelson's campaign is suing over the ballot counting while the
opponent, rick scott heads to court in less than two hours, suing the supervisor of broward county. >> every floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in palm beach and broward counties. i will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this race from the state of floater. >> rick scott with 51.1% of the vote ahead of incumbent bill nelson. that is close enough that automatically triggers a recountfrecoun recount. we will see a recount on november 10th. bill nelson could close the divide and perhaps that's why
you see all the lawsuits being filed. rick scott claiming that the election supervisors in the counties are trying to influence the election. >> broward county is where fort lauderdale is. heavily democratic. rick scott is ahead by about 15,000 votes. 99% is in, but there are still ballots that have to be counted. >> that's right and we don't know how many. the supervisors are not saying. that's one of the reasons rick scott is filing a lawsuit. >> the president was asked about this earlier as he was leaving the white house. listen to what he said. >> if you look at what they have done, you look at the dishonesty. look, there is bad things that have gone on in broward county. really bad things. he easily won, but every hour seems to be going down. i think that people have to look at it very, very cautiously. >> that's what the president
said in florida. gubernatorial contest. >> very, very tight and the president has a lot riding on this. he came out after the election and said look, i grew the senate margin and one place was instrumental was in florida. one area in particular, ron desantis who he embraced and got him to win the primary for the governorship. as you can see from the numbers, the votes are being recounted. a lot yet to play out. he wants a victory for both of these republicans. >> for he is ahead by less than .5%, there is an automatic recount. >> we could very well see that. >> more breaking news we are following. president trump played a major
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marriage to president obama as well as slamming president trump for the rumors he spread questioning the legitimacy of her husband's birth certificate. among other things, she writes this and i'm reading a quote from the book. what if someone with inn an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to washington. what if that person went looking for our girls? donald trump with his loud and reckless innuendos was putting my family's safety at risk and for this, i'd never forgive him. the president was asked for his response earlier today as he was leaving the white house. >> i guess she wrote a book and got paid a lot of money to write a book. they insist that you come up with controversial -- >> to discuss all of this and more, i am joined by our cnn anchor and washington correspondent bryanna keilar.
these are pretty surprising words we heard. let me start with bryanna. she is pretty blunt. the president when he was asked deflect and i am not going to forgive president obama for deflating the u.s. military. >> i would be surprised if michelle obama did not address this in the book. how could she not address that the now current president or not president propagated this very clearly racist targeted messaging against her husband in a way that had her worrying about the safety of her children. it's not just michelle obama. other people feel they have been targeted by his rhetoric and also have safety concerns. it's something that is valid and how she feels. i don't think it's because she is trying to just make money off of the books. i think it's a really candid look into what she believes. >> speaking from her heart.
she was understandably upset when the private citizen donald trump repeatedly questioned where the sitting president of the united states was actually born. >> and as first lady, she can only go so far in terms of expressing her feelings and talking about fears for her children's safety and talking about the ways in which donald trump affected her while she was in the white house. now she is not in the white house anymore. she has this book where she talks indepth about how those things made her feel. things that were clearly racist and the notion that somehow rtht barack obama was not born in mother and he hooe is another. when her husband was running in 2008 and in the white house and to hear this, a lot of women find a lot from her story and
her candor. the book comes out on tuesday and i'm excited to read it. >> when she was first lady, she was protective of the privacy and opening up in this new book in a whole new way. >> extremely protective of the privacy. when you are no longer in the white house, you have some liberties to do that. we read so many books from politicians or figures who have this future in front of them and they can be downright boring. it's interesting when someone, it seems like one of the motivating factors is to talk to people that is accessible to others. talking about marriage counseling makes her real. she is saying hey, you can do it, too. she is trying to have a positive impact. >> that's a gaggle with reporters earlier. he was taking questions and leaving for this trip to paris and leaving the white house. near the end, he turned nasty
once again when our white house correspondent abby philipp asked a very, very direct, serious, fair question of the president. let me play this clip. >> i watch her get up and you talk about somebody that is a loser. she doesn't know what the hell she's doing. she gets publicity and a pay race and a contract with i think cnn. she is very nasty. she shouldn't be. >> do you want him to reign in robert mueller? >> what a stupid question that is. what a stupid question. i watch you a lot. you ask a lot of stupid questions. >> that's what he said to abby philipp earlier. april ryan, one of our contributors who has been a correspondent for more than 20 years. he went after her as well. >> i guess the day after or two
days after he went after another reporter. jim acosta. also a reporter from pbs and said a question she was asking he thought was a racist question. i thought this was disturbing. you can see his anger and rage. it was disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. we are all colleagues. we have known abby and april for years. they worked with her. the personal attacks that he is lobbying. these three examples of black women. he is uncomfortable with the questions they are asking about. his decisions and his word choice and his appointment in this instance of whitaker. they are clearly getting under his skin. >> exactly. the anger. that's the difference here. some defenders of president trump's and even those close to him say he insults everybody. i challenge you to watch what he
said to april ryan. there is a difference in tone. sometimes when he insults perceived enemies of his, he actually seems to enjoy it. he is casting people as this role of a drama playing out and he likes it. sometimes he is irked, but it's mild criticism. he said i'm not a fan of yours yesterday. there is contempt in how -- in these examples that we are pointing out. it'sy is rerveed for women who assert themselves in a professional way and particularly to people of color. he speaks in a way so often that is coded that it's hard to dismiss it as coincidence. that's why it stands out. >> he said to the three african-american excellent journalists. all of us know them. it's unacceptable. if he did the right thing, he
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stormy daniels and playmate karen mcdougal and that raises the question of whether or not campaign tyenanfinance laws wer violated. you have been working on this article for a long time. what can you tell us about how significant this is? >> thanks for having me on. this is a pretty significant story. we are reporting from the president being involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements to pay stormy danie daniels, stephanie clifford and karen mcdougal. he was in meetings and reporting that federal prosecutors were aware of his efforts and outlines them in a draft indictment that ultimately was not filed. >> you are reporting on looking at the article that the cheer executive of american media, the
parent company of the "national enquirer" that the president himself asked mr. pecker to pay the $150,000 to karen mcdougal to keep her quiet? >> in 2016 then candidate trump met with him and asked him to help with the campaign. he used his tabloid and he wanted to help quash the story. when karen mcdougal started to come forward, donald trump asked mr. pecker to step in. >> had immunity and testified with federal prosecutors in manhatt manhattan. >> he got immunity.
you and your team have done an excellent job in this report. thank you very much. >> let's get analysis. joining us is a cnn legal analyst and former prosecutor. what's your reaction? >> it's not a shocker that mr. trump would be involved. it's unlikely that michael cohen would dip into his own pocket and not expect to be reimbursed and the relationship with mr. pecker seemed to be established over years that he was acting in mr. trump's behalf to catch and kill these articles. >> and the argument is where the illegality potentially is. it could be an illegal campaign contribution. that was not disclosed to the federal authorities. >> absolutely and would have been something of interest to the american people in the election. >> you have got it on a different line. a very important article you
have written in the "new york times" suggesting that the appointment of this new acting attorney general could have a big impact on robert mueller's probe. >> this former football player, mr. whitaker seems under qualified to say the least. >> the former attorney in iowa. >> look at the comments he made over the years. certainly he has been an outspoken critic of the mueller investigation and a critic of the federal judiciary which he deems an inferior branch of government. unbelievable at this day and age. it appears for all intents and purposes that he is there to block or tackle mr. mueller and trying to squelch the report worked on by a grand jury investigation that has gone on for 18 months. >> he will oversee mueller and
his team. what can mueller do about that? >> one thing he can do is an end run around whitaker. the grand jury has rights of its own and the federal judiciary that oversees the grand jury may take a role should mr. mueller wish to pursue that route along with the grand jury and try to transmit his report to the house of representatives directly. this is what we did in watergate. the chief judge of the federal district court transmitted a report known as a road map together with grand jury tapes and transcripts to the house judiciary committee which then was sitting as an impeachment committee. >> we know what happens after that. >> the rest, as we say, is history. let's see if that become necessary here. the point is a grand jury that
toiled for quite time in developing evidence, should there be evidence of criminality, that's a big if, but if it's there, it should not be squelched. >> thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> up next, a fornorth korean official said the mid-terms will likely change their prooapproac negotiations with the united states. florida prepares for three recounts, they are holding an emergency hearing to hear rick scott's lawsuit against the county supervisor of elections.
right now we're following some enough tensions that are developing with north korea. north korea is lashing out at the united states in an editorial in the front page of the government newspaper saying that sanctions by, quote, an imperialist will never work. also saying sanctions are conniving international tactics. what do i think, robin? these are strong words. i thought everybody was moving in the right direction. >> not at all. the meeting between secretary of state between mike pompeo was supposed to happen this week but was cancelled. nikki haley said that the north koreans weren't ready, but in
fact, there were never any terms outlined at the singapore summit in june. the process has really been flawed because there wasn't either expectations laid out, what steps were next. the north koreans haven't given a list what they actually have so we know what they might end up giving up. there have been no inspections. that process is still unfolding, even though the north koreans say we can do it in a year and nothing's happened. >> did the north koreans give any reason for cancelling the meeting with mike pompeo? >> no, there was no reason. the u.s. put out a statement saying it will not happen until early next year. president trump said at his contentious news conference he second the kim-trump summit to happen next year. we still have to go through the very tricky process of the two countries' representatives figuring out what they give up and how much the process
unfolds. we're talking about a country that may have 30 to 60 nuclear bombs. >> and the president keeps saying the sanctions will stay in place and the north koreans are saying you have to start easing sanctions before we take some steps. >> and they stopped fighting in 1953. that would remove some. pretext for international sanctions. russia and china who border north korea are complicating process. they believe north korea should be rewarded for having agreed to give up its program, even though it hasn't yet. >> they haven't done in a long time now an actual nuclear test. they isn't launched any intercontinental ballistic missile flying over japan towards the united states. that's always been seen as a very positive, significant development. >> that's really the status quo. the agreement was about giving everything up, biological,
chemical weapons and all those deadly missiles. >> we'll see what happens. thanks very much for coming. other news, in california, people gathered at a vigil for the victims at thousand oaks. the victims are dan manrique, a 23-year-old veteran, 21-year-old noel sparks, 18-year-old alaina housley, whose school, pepperdine university, said they're all devastated there. 20-year-old mark meza, sean adler worked security at the club and as a coach at a local high school. justin meek, only 23 years old. cody coffman, 22 years old. a friend of his was at the bar and said coffman's actions saved her life. also blake dingman, 21 years old, jacob dunnman, kristina
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[ neighing ] [ neighing ] [ sigh ] it's bring your own phone, not pony. so i could've taken the bus? yeah. bring your phone. switch your carrier. save hundreds a year with xfinity mobile. call, click or visit a store today. one final note, i've been anchoring this hour here on cnn for the past five years. it's been a real pleasure. starting monday, my good friend and colleague brianna keilar will be anchoring her show in
this hour. you can find me in "the situation room" 5 to 7 p.m. until then, thank you for watching. "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. all right, here we go. you're watching cnn on this friday afternoon, i'm brooke baldwin. we have the breaking news now on president trump's alleged participation in hush money payments, that is plural, to both porn star stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. "the wall street journal" has just put this piece out. they're reporting federal prosecutors have evidence showing that trump allegedly played a central role in those payments, which means trump might have violated federal campaign finance laws, if