tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN November 9, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
resolve out standing issues with ballots. that was handled today in court. resolved. everybody is happy and moving forward. there will be more counting. >> great to see you. appreciate it. thank you all so much for joining us. ac 360 starts now. good evening. thanks for joining us on a friday night. a lot to get to. new reporting from the wall street journal that reveals despite denial from the presidents. the president was involved every step of the way in paying off stormy daniels. and karen mcdue. and the tight races in florida that have the president tweeting up a storm and could be heading for recounts. with the president's pick for acting attorney general. the president named mat whisker for the position. to have after two days of stories about whittakers past involvement in a shady company
and slow down or end the mueller investigation. now the president saying he doesn't even know mat whittaker. which is surprise egg. previously he said he did know him. and said it on television. it was actually a lie. people heard it. we'll play it for you in a moment. because it's recorded. first just setting aside the logic of why the president would appoint someone he doesn't know to a position that could have close to over sight on the mueller investigation. it's also just false. whittaker has been to the white house dozens of types. met with the president and spoken on the phone several times. and again keeping him honest the president a month ago admitted he knew mat whittaker. he said it on fox news when asked about speculation he would replace sessions. >> i never talk about that. he's a great guy. i know whisker. >> okay. so clear. he was appointed there's been
whid spread criticism of his past comments against the mueller investigation and recusing himself. >> whisker i don't know him. he worked for jeff sessions. he was always extremely highly thought of. he still is. i didn't know whittaker. he worked for attorney general sessions. he was very highly thought of. and still is. but this only comes up because anybody that works for me, they do a number of them. mat whittaker is a smart man. >> just to review. the president claims not to know his own choice for acting tone general and didn't just say it once either. >> i don't know mat whittaker. i didn't know him. i didn't speak to whittaker about it. i don't know mat whittaker. in all fairness to mat whittaker who i didn't know.
>> okay. of course the president knows him. it stands to reason the he knows he has spoken out against the mueller investigation. he watches tv. he didn't know his entire history. that would require a white house staff that researched him. a little bit. that's what senior investigative correspondent has been doing. he reported on his ties to a company the federal trade commission shut down because it was running a sdam. tonight more about his past and time in iowa. >> when fired attorney general walked out of the department of justice and shook hands with the man who would take over at least temporarily. this iowa state senator was agast. >> initially i thought i can't think of a more ill qualified person to assume that role. based upon my experience with him. >> mat mccoy has a history with president trumps new acting attorney general. and it is not a good one.
in 2007, mccoy was a young, gay rising star. in iowa's democratic party. whittaker was the young conservative republican u.s. attorney. for the southern district of iowa. >> at the time you were in indicted, you were openly gay. the only openly gay legislator in the state of iowa. a democrat. you were a considered a rising star. do you think that's why you were targeted? >> absolutely. i believe that's why i was targeted. >> the federal indictment was brief. the u.s. attorney was accusing mccoy of attempted extortion by a public official. mccoy says it was a $2,000 business dispute with a private client who wouldn't pay a bill. those facts didn't matter to whittaker. who brought the full weight of the federal government against him. >> i believe it was a political prosecution. there's no doubt in my mind. 100% certain it was. >> here's all you need to know about the case.
the attorney office under his direction spent two years going after mccoy. using the fbi. a paid informant. secret recordings. a special prosecutor. and after two years, it took a jury minutes to reach a verdict. not guilty. >> that's correct. tifs acquitted within 20 minutes. >> whittaker was criticized heavily. reports asking why was mccoy prosecuted. asked sf the u.s. attorney case was misplaced or partisan politicking. >> this for most u.s. attorneys decision in court would have been embarrassing. >> yes. >> did he apologize to you. >> no. he never reached out to me. >> i have applied to be on the supreme court. >> his career sputtered after he left the u.s. attorney office in 2009. he tried and failed to become a iowa supreme court justice.
tried and failed in a run for senate. limited success in private practice. then in 2014, using the legal system as a political weapon. he found an entirely new career. backed by conservative republican donors. whittaker became director of the foundation for accountability and civic trust. fact. the non-profit claims it is dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics and transparency in government by demandsing the truth. it became a tool to attack democrats through the legal system. fact went after dozens of democrats. democrat organizations. and especially hillary clinton. filing ethics complaints. federal election commission complaints. anything it could do to legally hamstring democrats. >> i think when you're looking at an organization that is focussed almost exclusively on investigating individuals of one part and one political
persuasion, that the head of the organization is now going to be installed as attorney general of the entire united states. that sets off a number of alarm bells. >> mccoy doesn't need an alarm bell. he is frightened by the prospect of whittaker in a position of power. >> it's frightening. i know how pliable he is. >> you need an attorney general that will do whatever the boss wants. >> absolutely. without question. >> the department of justice did get back to us concerning the questions about the case and said in the case of u.s. versus mccoy. u.s. attorney whittaker had a responsibility to pursue the case because of credible allegations of illegal activity. the department of justice says the entire case was signed off by superiors and the jury verdict doesn't negate the obligation. to pursue and open cases when it's believed laws have been
broe broken. >> now in case of mccoy. he was found not guilty in 20 minutes. how much damage did that do to his career? and how much money he must have spent defending himself. >> yeah. the financially he said he is still suffering. he took a beating. he's paying off his legal bills. politically it didn't seem to hurt him that much. had stayed in the iowa state senate and just this week with a vote he got 80%. he was elected to the poke county commission. >> have you gotten a response from the department of justice or whittaker? >> surprisingly they did respond. i read that in the report. they told us that it was his responsibility to pursue the allegations. because they were credible allegations. and despite the fact the jury didn't believe any of it, it doesn't negate the obligation to open cases when laws may have
been broken. >> all right. i appreciate the reporting. with me cnn legal analyst. you hear the reporting. it's ironic whittaker cast doubt on the validity of the mueller probe when he himself led at least a politically motivated case and a special prosecutor and the fbi and two year investigation. >> the report duck tails into the issue. as to whether or not whittaker at the lead of the justice department would use the department in the president's interest for political purposes. with know over the president's term he expressed a desire and interest in the justice department use as an arm of political retribution. attorney general jeff sessions and rod rosenstein have been keeping the barbarians at the gate. now with a political operative
somebody who has expressed a desire and interest that the special counsel could be fired. he said that publicly. i think the president has somebody in place who will use the department in a political way. >> he talked in the past about a bible cal, the right phrase. a biblical view of justice. what does that actually mean to you? what does that exactly entail? >> it means -- he misconstrues and doesn't adhere to the first amendment. the government shouldn't endorse in religion. and we have a secular purpose for judicial branch and government. to take the viewpoint shows that frankly there's no way to describe this as being asinine
and idiot statement to make. to have a biblical view eliminates a lot of people who religious viewpoints or the existence of absence of viewpoints wouldn't be fit to serve on the bench. which is not how society is run. not the reason why we have a separation of church and state. he's grasping for straws and there's nothing there to support it. >> for those of you who forget high school civics. what does it mean for the top law enforcement official to disagree. which is a pretty big deal. >> it's a constitutional foundation case. and it says the supreme court is the final ash tor in determining what the law is. this is a foundational case. and all of the issues his views on whether or not there is a biblical requirement for judges. his views on madison. his use of potentially his office when he was the u.s.
attorney in bringing a politically motivated case. those are the types of issues that would be an explorer in a confirmation hearing if he would have gone through a hearing. for a senior position in the justice department. and that's why in part you're seeing so many lawyers across the political spectrum over the last 24 hours raise concerns about the fact he has been elevated to attorney general. having not gone through the process. for service in this administration. >> it's interesting to hear. you heard the president on fox. a month or so ago saying he knows whittaker. and praising him. now today saying he doesn't know him. remind me of when carter page was announced by the president on conference call during campaign being a an adviser. praised by the president and later on they never met. the president didn't know anything about him. same thing with the president
claiming relationship with vladimir putin. and turns out they never met until he had become president. so, it's just odd the president whether the reporting is he had met whittaker. either way he's lying. >> convenient amnesia is the president. he could have inclupded george papadopoulos. or michael cohen. who he had a famed absence of recollection of who he was and why he was important in his life. michael did you say in some way. this trying to establish a ten foot pole between himself and people who are controversial. now the irony is that the reason whittaker is now controversial is by the president's own actions. the fact that matthew whittaker has leapfrogged. out of respect for people who were more senior than him. but also the rank and file and out of the chain of command out of the line of succession is the
president's own doing. think about this. this was the equal if the president himself were incapacitated. instead of the vice president taking the reigns of the ship. he said i'll have steven miller do it. i'll have general kelly be the person in charge of the country instead. there was an order. he went around it. and he's saying i don't know why anyone is blaming me. i hardly know the person. that's the point. that's the argument people are making and the people and the senate do not know who the person is. and shouldn't be in the role. until they do. >> appreciate it. up next more lies from the president. new reporting from the wall street journal about how involved the president was in the hush money payments to st m stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. and the lathes on wild fires roaring through california. thousands are fleeing. prays as they drive away through the flames.
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new reporting tonight said despite years of denial. the president was involved nearly every step of the way in payments to karen mcdougal and stormy daniels to keep them quiet about alleged sexual encounters with trump. evidence the president violated campaign laws. and we'll hear from a reporter about what they found. first. keeping him honest about the denial. the president himself spoken on camera once about the $130,000 hush money payment to stormy daniels. on air force one in april.
>> did you know about the payment to stormy daniels? >> no. no. >> you have to ask michael cohen. he's my attorney. and you'll have to ask michael. >> do you know where he got the money? >> by the way. he has down played michael cohen's relationship be him and the fact he was his attorney. saying he didn't know about the payment. after sarah sanders said the president didn't know. >> there was no knowledge of any payment from the president. and he's denied these allegations. >> and for the next couple months sanders kept up the same line about the payment. up until rude giuliani admitted. >> did the president approve of the payment that was made in
october of 2016 by the long time lawyer and adviser michael cohen? >> the president addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of the allegations are true. >> i have addressed this as far as i can go. >> did he know about the payment? >> not that i'm aware of. >> the subsequent question about what the president was aware of the $130,000 payment made. under agreement. in which he is named to keep stormy daniels silent. are you aware now? >> the president denied the allegation. we have spoken about this issue. and i don't have anything else to add. beyond that i would refer you to the outside counsel. >> you said march 7, there was no knowledge of payment from the president. he denied all allegations. were you lying to us at the time or in the dark? >> the president continues to
deny the under lying claim. and again given the best information i had at the time sfwl the best information she at the time. wasn't very good information. keeping him honest in august. cohen admitted he made payments at the direction of a candidate to influence the election. the president was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the hush money agreements. wall street journal has one of the by lines on the reporting. he joins us now. extraordinary reporting. according to it this goes back to august of 2015. a meeting between trump tower and david pecker. the company that owners national enquirer and others. >> when cohen pleaded guilty in august the prosecutors had mentioned there was an agreement in august 2015. what we report the agreement happened when pecker went to trumps office and trump said to him the campaign was two months
old what can you do to help. if stories come out about women from the past, allegations of affairs. i can help you kill them. as i have done for others in the past. by buying their story. i'll alert cohen and take care of it. >> based on all the reporting. that's exactly what the national enquirer did. >> that's right. the following june, karen mcdougal the play mate of the year 1998 was looking to sell her story. and her lawyer contacted dillen howard. of american media and howard called cohen. trump called pecker and said can you help me with this. there were negotiations. they didn't immediately buy it. after she started talking to the news. investigative reporters. ami went back and paid $150,000 in coordination with cohen. and with trump. to buy her story and silence her. >> you learned about where the money came from to pay stormy
daniels. >> that's right. the we know the money came from michael cohens home equity line. there was a discussion among cohen and trump. and allen weiss el berg. about how to route the money to daniels without having trumps fingerprints on it. and discussed routing it through a trump owned property. but they couldn't figure it out. that's why as we previously reported cohen missed deadlines to pay her. she nearly backed out and he was just like all right i have to pay it myself. >> cohen made money off the deal? is that right? ? >> he did. he was reimbursed by the trump organization. by through the trump organization cfo. from trump. but he did get a $60,000 bonus. for doing this. and the money was grossed to take care of the income taxes because they characterize it as
legal fees. >> the past essentially two years of denial from the president. knowledge of paying murn to the women. and the surrogates and sanders. is a lie? >> pretty much. they initially when we reported the mcdougal deal. hope hicks the campaign spokesman went to trump and asked him about it. and she came back after speaking to him based on what she was told and said we have no knowledge of any of this. just in the last couple of months we have the secret tape of cohen talking to president trump about buying the rights to karen mcdougal story in september 2016. like just before we reported that. there's evidence beyond reporting today. which is based on three dozen people. that trump actually knew about it. even though he denied it. >> also, in the tape trump and cohen were talking about buying the file from david pecker about
all of trumps alleged discretions and the stories that had been killed because trump was concerned david pecker got hit by a truck. you don't know what will happen to the file. >> there was discussion about that. they thought there was source files about because pecker had been covering up for trump in terms of killing stories bad stories about him for many years. >> remarkable reporting. thank you very much. with me now former u.s. attorney. and cnn chief analyst jeff toobin. >> what's the significance? >> two things. one the president has been lying about this to the public. over and over again. about his knowledge and involvement. >> and probably lying to sanders and hope hicks and anybody who is around him. >> correct. that he is just been lying about this from as soon as the questions arose. the more complicated question is
whether the president is implicated in a crime. that rests on the question of does -- were the payments to the women campaign contributions? which of course were not reported and not handled in the appropriate way. he could be accused of campaign finance violation. if he used these payments coordinated with conspires with the american media. ami. in violation of the campaign finance laws. thatst harder legal question. i don't know the answer to that. the lying is quite clear. >> is that the significance? campaign finance violation traditionally monetary fine. correct? is that a big deal. >> it can be. and a criminal violation. and with the respect to the reason why the lies are important they go to what the president was. if he notified of the things, and as the reporting that is thorough suggests, that he was in on it.
at every faze of the process. what was in his mind? the lying that went on with the respect to the public is not a crime. it's not like lying to law enforcement. or grand jury. or in court. it's often able to be used as evidence later to suggest what was the reason for the lying? what was the thing you were trying to hide. there's an argument he could make and the john edwards made in a similar case. that the reason the lying was taking place was not to avoid the campaign finance law. but to avoid embarrassment within his family. that argument seemed to prevail in the case. these are not identical. they're not the same case. but there's an element of that issue that we don't know the answer to. reporting doesn't go that far. >> just what makes i think the trump case stronger against trump is that the money and the john edwards case came from an elderly supporter who wanted to
help edwards. this is a business. why would they spend this money other than to help donald trump get elected president? why are they so worried about donald trumps marriage. this is -- they have an interest in preserving relationship with the guys about to get elected president of the united states. >> for personal friendly reasons or because they want to have an advantage. something to hold over the president of the united states for future business dealing? >> correct. it's a stronger case than the edwards case. but i don't want to give the impression it's a slam dunk. >> people focussed on the president compromised by russia and vladimir putin. if american media has a file with all the stories that they have owned the rights to, they never published. as a favor to trump. who is now the president of the united states. that is a lot of stuff to have hanging over the president of the united states. in a private corporation.
that could turn on the president. >> that's why it's believable. even before the article came out. common sense tells you the president cared about his reputation. and how he looked in connection with with the campaign. even though he didn't think he was going to win. he wanted to win. and that naturally he would take an interest. in how the payments were made, what the process was. we don't have corroboration for all the statements in the article. where they say that cohen according to sources spoke to the president about xyz. we have a couple recordings. the interesting thing will be the next shoe to drop, what is the corroboration for the testimony it appears cohen is giving to the government. by former prosecutors as to how you corroborate what he says the president knew was involved in. >> that's why this wall street journal is shocking. it's not surprising. >> of course. >> it's like why of course donald trump would know the
financial transactions were going on. they were from his bank sfwl you talk about russian compromise. this is compromising stuff. that gives the head of the company the head of the national enquirer great leverage over the president if he's the person who wants to use it. >> american compromise. exactly. >> thank you very much. jeff will stay with us. a florida election. two races tightening. legal moves on all sides. questions will we see recounts. at t-mobile, forty bucks gets you an unlimited plan and a new samsung galaxy s9 included for every line. this is what you get with your $40 plan at verizon. recap! with t-mobile, you get this: four lines four phones for forty bucks. with verizon, you get this... the choice just got a whole lot more obvious. get more because you deserve it. only at t-mobile.
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sporting event. all the results are not official. take arizona for instance. the democrat now has a slight lead over the republican. about 20,000 votes ahead. with 84% reporting. in georgia the republican kemp leads democrat. it's getting closer. democrats are hoping kemp's total falls below 50% and trigger a run off. two races in florida. between rick scott and democratic incumbent bill nelson is tightening. scott is ahead by less than 15,000 votes. same for the governor race. desantis leads gillum. but it may trigger an automatic recount. charges have been flying all day listening. before he left for paris trump weighed in as well.
the l trump tweeting. he posted this. quote. rick sko was up by 50,000 votes plus votes on election day. now they found many votes and he's only up by 15,000 votes. the broward effect. how come they never find republican votes? joining me how to discuss. david gergen. and jeffrey toobin. who wrote the book too close to call. what is up with florida? >> it's important to point out this is not a recount yet. they are counting the votes. and that's those are very different things. florida has had a terrible history in figuring out how to count its votes. they have terrible technology. it's not chad. it's not the punch card anymore. it's still a very inferior system. arizona and california which are still counting. are actually in a different situation. and actually are much more confident because they allow people to mail in ballots on
election day. so the fact they haven't gotten all the votes in it's a flexion of them allowing people to vote. it's not a flaw in the system. you can't argue anything is wrong in arizona or california. florida is a mess. but it's there's no evidence as far as i can see there's actual fraud. >> we have seen this before. the president claiming election fraud. this is for races where he's not on the ballot. what kind of effect is this on the public faith and the integrity of elections and the which is obviously a vital part of the democracy. >> i think it's terribly damaging. it's damaged the reputation of florida. we have seen this now three times in florida. and the last 18 years. starting with the case of the year 2000. i agree with everything jeffrey said. i would add, it does seem to me it's not just a question of technology. and i have to call scammers
today that are using that are better than counting chads from 2000. but the fact is we leave the supervision of the elections in state after state and especially raw in florida. with leave the supervision in the hands of partisans. and what that means is that one side thinks it has the advantage having the partisan there. the other side suspects fraud right from the get go. and when it gets close like this both sides feel like they're being used many one way or another. that is what damages public respect for the integrity of the out come. >> which makes -- georgia is the classic example. the republican candidate in that very close election is the secretary of state. >> he stepped down. >> but he's the one responsible for running the election. he's the candidate. it's absurd. >> if there is -- how likely for a recount in florida? >> it's very likely. however, it's important to point
out that if the recount starts with scott ahead by 15,000 votes and desantis ahead by 30,000. there almost no way a recount will turn that around. it's too many votes. are dounts don't shift that many. the bush gore recount. the margin was 535 votes. that's very different from 15,000. what's unclear is whether they will set when they count the votes for the first time. and the margin shrinks. if it goes down to 1,000 votes then it might matter. at this point i'm unaware of any recount that shifted 15,000 votes. >> it's interesting to hear the president why are they find r more democrat votes and never goes in the way of republican. which is not the case. it's also the same president who said that there were millions of illegal immigrants voting for or undocumented workers voting for
clinton. in california. which is why she won the popular vote. and vaunted commission which ended up disbanded found nothing. >> when with e get the president in the middle of this, the question of people having suspicions about how it's being tipped. in this program alone we started with a story about whitaker and the president lying about whether he knows him or not. the justice department and move to a story about what he knew about stormy daniels. he was lying about that. why should we think he has anything other than partisan interest. and how it comes out in broward. the irony which i find really interesting, when you leave elections in the hands of partisans who are not very competent. it can bite you. in broward, one of the problems i'd love to hear jeffrey on this. the problem is the ballot itself was designed in such a way and broward county that it was hard
for voters to find the spot where the two senators were competing. to make the choice. it was down at the bottom of the page after a long list of boring instructions. and then the rest of the ballot looked like you would expect. you find the things easily. as a result of that the nelson the democrat may well have lost his election based on under count in broward. that was based in turn on a bad design. which really is the responsibility of the woman and the person who over sees it. >> just like al gore. certainly lost the 2000 election because in palm beach county the so called butterfly ballot was so poorly designed. people who wanted to vote for him voted for buchanan. >> thanks very much. the one thing michelle obama
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was born in africa. she writes quote. what is someone when an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to washington. looking for our girls. trump with his loud and reckless was putting many family safeties at risk. and i'll never forgive him. >> she got paid a lot of money to write a book. and always insist you come up with controversial. i'll give you controversy back. i'll never forgive him for what he did to the united states military. by not funding it properly. it was depleted. everything was old and tired. i had to fix it. >> quickly look at the facts here are numbers. president trump is spending more on the military than obama. for a few years during obama presidency military spending dropped and went back up. and dropped again when republicans were pushing obama to bring the deficit under control. which was a bipartisan
agreement. both parties responsible. trump had more to say at the press conference. take a look. >> i think jim acosta is an unprofessional man. he gets paid to do that. burst in and he's a very unprofessional guy. i don't think he's a smart person. he's got a loud voice. the same thing with april ryan. i watch her get up. somebody that's a loser. she doesn't know what the hell she's doing. she's nasty. and shouldn't be. she shouldn't be. >> what a stupid question that is. what a stupid question. watch you a lot. you ask stupid questions. >> that was abby phillips of cnn. joins me now. kir sten powers and michael caputo. i'm watching the president there. april ryan african american.
and abby phil lips as well. and spoke to an african american reporter the saying the question was racist. some says there's a racial component to this. the president willing rns to call african americans stupid. do you see that? >> yeah, i do. he plays on racial troeps that go all the way back totd beginning of this country. and the idea that black people aren't as smart as white people. in our past have literacy tests for black people in order to vote. it's not a coincidence he talks about whether it's don lemon having a low iq or maxine waters. or lebron james. and now we're supposed to believe abby phillip is asking a stupid question. there's a constant theme here. it's frankly out of the white supremacist play book. it's classic. >> michael?
do you believe that. >> of course not. i don't. the president is a equal opportunity abuser. when it comes to the media. i don't believe the president is antiblack. anymore that i believe that jim acosta is antiwoman because he was mean to sanders or treated a woman with disrespect in the press conference. president treats all media the same way. especially those who attack him. the president was grew up and came of age in the new york city media market. that's brutal place. he's always been punching back at reporters for decades. and i think this is the idea it's white supremacy or he's a racist. it's just another troupe. >> who's he punching back at? she asked a question. the idea that that's a out of bounds for a reporter to ask a question. the response the president had to her was so out of line.
and so kind of out of nowhere. that's why there's a racial component to it. the contempt he spoke with. he's a reporter just a straight shooter. anybody who watches her she's thoughtful. and careful. she's fair. this it just is so disproportionate to the question asked. it really there's i don't know how you can't see this. >> i don't disagree. i didn't like the president answer. there was an answer. it wasn't the wa he answered it. it was really out of line. i don't think it had anything to do with race. president is angry with media. the media disrespects him. i don't think the reporter during the reagan era or bush era. who spent time in the white house press room would recognize that place anymore. it's a place there's so much disrespect in the air. >> i do recall -- i was in high
school college during the time. i recall there was a lot of criticism for donald son for yelling questions. >> i was going to bring that up. i was actually about to bring that up. sam was criticized a lot. i worked in the gallery. shortly after his stint in the white house. i remember a lot of reporters net work anchors and net work on air folks and producers who didn't like the way sam operated. it's seems like everybody in the press room, a lot of people now are sam donaldson. things changed. doint like the the way it became. >> i don't see that. people are asking questions. and they're not getting answers and they're pressing. in the situations we're talking about. with abby phillip or yamiche alcindor. they are qualified professional
asking normal questions and being treated with -- you want to talk about lack of respect. they are being treated with lack of respect. and this president has a history of doing this to black people. if we want to -- we don't have enough time to go through the list. he has a long history of treating black people this way. >> let's check in with chris. >> we have a new segment tonight. that i think people will like. called don't be a sucker. and it will be at end of show and poipt out things that should be obvious to everybody. we'll spend time getting deep into florida. and what's going on. we'll test the loyola cases of both sides and talk about the eventuality. >> devastation is widespread. a live update ahead. you've had quite the career.
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breaking news from california. six people dead in a destructive wild fire in california. one of three fires. a woman describing what it's like driving through the deadly fire near paradise. praying they get through it. >> heavenly father, please help us. help us to be safe. >> that woman and her family are all thankfully safe. cnn with more. you're in paradise, california. it's done a tremendous amount of damage. what's the latest? >> this is a community of 27,000
residents. and it is gone. this is just gives you a tiny fraction of what we're seeing in paradise. the business district. you can see the buildings levelled and the fire smoldering in places. when you drive around and 31 square miles. you see utter devastation. police officers and firefighters everybody has the same reaction. no one can believe what we're seeing. homes and businesses, businesses like restaurants. and motels. churches, schools. all of it is gone. it's nothing like i have ever seen. >> what about containment so far? >> the fire at this point is 5% contained. but when you talk to the mayor there's nothing left to burn in the town. the fire has swept through. right now crews are interested in the town of southwest of here. they're doing their best to protect that community. so far. the fire hasn't gotten up to the town.
they're thankful for that. at this .5% containment. >> there are three fires that have been are going on. what about torching southern california? >> same conditions there. the fire here in paradise was driven by wind. and southern california, you're talking about extremely windy conditions. right now the fire is in malibu. we have seen mass evacuations there. and that community malibu under a mandatory evacuation order. dozens of very large hillside homes go up in smoke. and of course talking about malibu. numerous celebrities evacuated. lady lady gaga to sher. leaving their homes. crews trying to contain the flames. when you're talking about windy conditions like southern california. there's only so much they can do. >> the pictures are incredible. to see that devastation, it's
all ash at this point. i appreciate you being there. thoughts are with the firefighters trying to battle the flames. and that's it for us. the news continues. we hand it over to chris for cuomo "prime time." >> i am chris cuomo. welcome to "prime time." florida ballot counting is taking a turn for the worst. again. this time it's two major races in the balance. governor separated from the senior senator by a raiser that i know margin. alleging there's cheating and fraud. we'll go deep and test both sides. not trumping up charges about the florida election the president picked a fight with the former fist lady. why michelle obama says she can never forgive trump. we have a new segment called doentd be a sucker. the president is telling you to believe something and he should not be believed. what they are and what the