tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN November 13, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST
a very good tuesday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm poppy harlow in new york. we're so glad you're with us. this morning, another high level potential resignation could be imnbt. multiple sources tell us that kirstjen nielsen is expected to be shown the door, largely over border issues and immigration, which the president has made the centerpiece of his midterm push. >> democrats are celebrating another big within, this time in arizona. kyrsten sinema is the winner of the u.s. senate seat being vacated by the republican, jeff flake. that flip means that dems will hold at least 47 senate seats in the next congress. the number of other high profile, high stakes races still undecided. still being counted. looking at georgia and florida. perry bacon joins us, senior political writer at 538. let's pick through some of these
outstanding races first here. florida, you got dueling lawsuits here from both sides. in your shoe, are there enough potential votes that could come through in a recount or haven't been counted yet to change this from red to blue? >> i'm not sure the exact number, but i do think at this point, looking at the number of votes outstanding and the leads rick scott and ron desantis, republicans have, i think they're the favorites, probably pretty heavily, to come out ahead of these recounts in florida. republicans will hold on in florida. >> okay, arizona, a pickup for the democrats there. didn't look so good on election night. it looked like it was going to go red. had been in the past. often a very red state in the senate. how important a win from the democrats' perspective there? >> it's big for two reasons. the first is in terms of the senate math. if the democrats lose two seats, they'll be down from 49 now to
47. but 47, there's all these matters. think about how close that kavanaugh vote was. if trump nominates someone like kris kobach, every vote in the senate is important. that's significant. second thing is i have been covering politics for a long time. you always thought of sort of ohio is a big swing state, but you look at the map. i think democrats are better in the campaign in arizona than ohio. if they could put arizona on the board for 2020 for the presidential race, it look like ohio is off the board. florida maybe is becoming more republican too. so the south is an area where democrats can make up for getting weaker in florida and weaker in ohio. they can do arizona, nevada, maybe texas. it's a region where the democrats can get stronger, and both beto and sinema did well in 2018. >> final comment on the
governor's race in georgia. kemp, unlikely to be overturned, but a judge stepped in and told the state to look at provisional ballots. how significant? >> it is significant. we're talking about 27,000 provisional ballots. the margin here is 20,000. the numbers are close, but i don't think that -- you know, depends on how the count goes and things like that. kemp is probably still favored to win and abrams could get kemp below to trigger a runoff, but i think kemp will end up coming out ahead in the next few days and he'll end up winning this race. on some level, abrams is not contesting the race, who wins. she contested the idea that all these things kemp did that she did not like in the campaign itself. this exact match program, an idea he was stopping voting from other ways. it's a broader issue. i don't think she'll end up winning the race.
>> perry bacon, thanks very much. all right, another potential big shakeup for the president's cabinet. a big question this morning. multiple officials predicting the president could ask homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen to resign within days. they cite the president's frustration with her over her handling of immigration and border security. of course, his signature issue. let's go to the white house. sarah westwood joins us. she was brought in by john kelly. he was such a staunch defender of her, but we have heard reporter of the president's blow-up at kirstjen nielsen and now she might be out the door. >> her relationship with john kelly may not be enough to keep her around for the long term. president trump could ask his homeland security secretary to step down any day now. now, colleague kaitlan collins is reporting nielsen herself expects she could be fired at any moment. and trump has vented his frustrations with the way she's handled two of his top issues.
that's immigration and border security as you mentioned. and that's really put nielsen in a difficult position. because on the one hand, she's been vilified by critics of the administration who see her as the face of trump's most unpopular immigration policies like family separation, while simultaneously disappointing the boss who has perceived her as insufficiently tough when it comes to immigration. more cabinet shakeups after the midterm elections are not that unusual historically speaking. we do know that the president has been itching to get rid of his homeland security for weeks now. although we should say that the president is prone to changing his mind when it comes to issues of personnel, so nothing is set in stone when it comes to administration departures. we also don't know who may be under consideration to replace nielsen should she leave the administration. >> and you had four. you will have had four different homeland security secretaries in two years. and "the washington post" is quoting some named about who it will be. before you go, the president in a series of tweets this morning
attacking french president emmanuel macron after he was side by side with him on that trip to paris. everything from macron's approval rating to questioning the defense of our european allies. why? >> that's right. the president is clearly fixated on the fallout from the tense trip to france. already this morning, he tweeted five times about french president emmanuel macron and france. he's demanding trade concessions. he's going after macron on domestic vulnerabilities that he has. and after three days of negative coverage of the president's decision to skip a visit to an american burial ground in france, the president is coming out once again defending that choice by claiming the secret service told him he was not allowed to drive the couple of hours outside of paris to get to that cemetery. clearly, a trip that started with a misunderstanding over defense spending and ended with macron delivering remarks that many interpreted as a rebuke of trump's embrace of nationalism. that's something that the president is clearly still
focusing on, poppy. >> okay, thanks for all the reporting from the white house this morning. >> with us, robby mook and alice stewart. alice, if i could begin with you. there has been talk in the trump administration of moderating voices around him. particularly on national security. and you would often hear nikki haley, jim mattis at the pentagon, kirstjen nielsen at dhs, haley on the way out. the relationship with mattis perceived to be souring. if nielsen leaves, who would remain as moderating voices on those issues? >> well, that question remains to be seen. i think if anything, jim, what we have seen in this election, the president feels emboldened. he looks at the results as a tremendous victory for him with regard to how some things played out. i think he's going to use the go it alone policy and he's clearly, as we all know, he was going to move some people out of certain spots. jeff sessions, i don't think the dust settled before he was gone.
kirstjen nielsen, i'm sure, is just a matter of time. i would like to think he relies on the good counsel and guidance of general mattis. i think he is a sound voice, and the chief of staff john kelly is someone i trust there for guidance and recommendations on these issues, but the president feels emboldened by these results and i expect him to do more listening to his own conscious as opposed to advice. >> in your view, tremendous victory as democratic gains in the house edge up towards 40, the high 30s at this point. and with the senate races, jon tester's race, sinema's race going bli, expectations of them going red that night. do you think that's a credible claim for the president to call the midterms a tremendous victory for him? >> not when we lose the house. that's not a victory. a loss is a loss. the fact that we are maintaining control of the senate, i think, is critical, but when you lose
the house, you lose it. there's no two ways about it. looking at the numbers, i like to think we're going to hold steady, but we knew this was going to happen. we had a lot of factors. certainly history going against the party in power is one. as well as a lot of retirements on the republican side. democrats did do a strong job of fund-raising, but at the end of the day, i would like to think this is a wake-up call for republicans to really work together and work across the aisle to get things done. and really see some accomplishments out of the next two years as we head into 2020. >> amen to working together all around. regardless of party. robby, do you think what we saw last night in arizona, a very graceful concession by martha mcsally, the fact is the republican party in arizona resisted any temptation they may have had from the president on down to go on the attack, to call out fraud that didn't exist, for example, in the arizona election. is that a lesson in civility for all of us and how to handle close elections and how to
maintain americans' confidence in the system? >> yeah, and i also don't think it's a coincidence that martha mcsally had such a distinguished record of service to this country, that she takes the vote very seriously, that she takes an accurate vote seriously, and she did resist the kind of lies, outright lies that we're seeing in florida and other places. you know, the republican party has gotten in a terrible habit. we saw it start in florida in 2000. and it's getting worse now. that you can just create fantasies and lies to spin your way to winning. and to stop counting votes. what's so alarming to me in both georgia and florida is the republicans are fighting to stop counting votes. and that's not how this works. and more and more americans are voting early. more and more americans are voting by mail. i think that's part of why the actual results in this election have felt slow to come. because a lot of states don't count those ballots right away. and we're disenfranchising
people because of how they choose to vote, and that's wrong. >> including military members serving overseas. >> such a good point jim made yesterday. they have ten days, right? they're calling something on election night. you're not counting them. >> i guess, and maybe we don't have a lot of time, but for both of you, it strikes me, and we were talking about this earlier. you can say that both parties learned something of a lesson in these midterms. perhaps the president's rhetoric on a lot of issues, immigration, et cetera, drove voters away in some districts that have gone his way in 2016, and on the democratic side, some of the more progressive candidates disappointed. gillum in florida, where someone like a sinema who had a progressive past but ran intentionally toward the central came out ahead. do you think that's a fair balance of the lessons to be learned, alice? >> i think every state, and certainly every congressional district is different. we look at the more progressive candidates in georgia, stacey abrams looking like she's not going to win there, as well as
beto o'rourke in texas not winning, and certainly gillum. as you mentioned, in florida. so every state is different. every voter is different. and at the end of the day, i would like to think overall we can have a more civil tone. but voters in my view, they're going to vote for the candidates that represent their views and values, and let's hope as we get out of this, a more civil tone. >> really, before you go, robby, i was struck by jennifer rubin's column in "the washington post," conservative columnist. she wrote at the end, talked about the assent of the president. she's been critical of them. then she said these defenses are part of a bigger picture of a failing president and a party incapable of breaking with him. trump is cracking as is the republican party. now, democrats obviously will be eager to jump on that. but is there a lesson for democrats in terms of where they jump, where they pounce, how they use subpoena power, et cetera? >> it's a great question. i think democrats need to be very careful moving forward.
i have actually been really impressed with what i have seen from the house leadership. their focus on the voters and their lives. voters don't want to be ripped off. they want a government that is honest and straightforward. the focus has been on getting the truth out there and exposing where the trump administration has been wasting money or where officials including donald trump, are enriching themselves by using their offices. i think that's where we need to focus. i think talk of impeachment and so on is premature. let's let mueller do his job and focus on being a voice for the voters and a defender for them and their tax dollars and the integrity of their government. we're going to do just fine. >> robby mook and alice stewart, thanks. still to come, one state set to argue in federal court the appointment of acting attorney general matthew whitaker violated federal law, but the justice department is expected to come out today with a legal opinion to defend that appointment. plus, white supremacists are celebrating republican midterm victories, claiming those wins
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only at t-mobile. happening today, cnn has learned the justice department is expected to issue a legal opinion that will defend president trump's appointment of matthew whitaker as acting attorney general. this as some congressional democrats continue call for bhit kr to recuse himself from robert mueller's russia probe due to his past critical comments about
the russia probe. denny heck joined me. he sits on the house intelligence committee. nice to have you. let me begin with whether you join some of urfellow democrats in congress who say whitaker must recuse himself from the mueller probe. do you believe he can adequately oversee it? >> i think matthew whitaker's appointment was unconstitutional, illegal, and just plain wrong. it's unconstitutional because he's not been subjected to the confirmation process. illegal because he violated the a.g. succession statute and plain wrong because we're learning things about his background that should have been exposed in the vetting process. he's frankly not qualified to be the attorney general. >> on the law, on the constitutionality of it, two points i would make. the federal vacancies reform act of 1998 lays out that the president can appoint someone to a position like this if they served in that department for at least 90 days, which he has. then when you look at precedent
here, you have a supreme court case dating back to 1898. that's u.s. v. eaten where the court decided it was constitutional. do you see a violation of the law here? >> let's look at precedent, poppy. matthew whitaker is the first person to head a federal agencies, i believe, in our nation's history, who had not been subjected to the vetting process and confirmed to the senate for another position. there's an underlying statute i think that works also with respect to the succession for the a.g.'s office. here's the message. the president can't have it both ways. when director mueller was appointed special counsel, he mentioned the appointment clause in the constitution saying anybody with that kind of authority had to be confirmed by the senate. he can't have it both ways. >> which is not factual, and he may be being hypocritical, but that aside, the question comes down to what the law is. i wonder if you are willing to risk a government shutdown to
fight whitaker's appointment. you say it's unconstitutional. that's pretty serious. >> i didn't know we were at an either/or. >> let me ask it this way. we heard senator chuck schumer say over the weekend there is enough support to add that to must-have legislation, which would be, for example, funding the government. do you think democrats should do that? is it -- are you supportive of going that far if necessary to shut down the government if you don't have legislation to protect mueller? >> you're presuming that if the legislation is attached to it, the president won't sign it. i believe there's a majority support in the house and senate to support bob mueller concluding his investigation. >> so you're -- you're saying it's not an either/or, but should democrats be willing to go that far if it comes to that? willing to not fund the government? >> so, again, that's not a question that's before us at all. the question that's before us is
whether or not matthew whitaker should be in that position or recuse himself. and whether bob mueller should be allowed to complete his work. i think our efforts in the short term ought to be on doing what we can to assure him he can go ahead and complete his work. >> let me ask you about the potential for articles of impeachment against the president come january when democrats take control of the house. this struck me, what the likely incoming chair of the house judiciary committee, jerry nadler of new york, what he said about that. listen. >> you don't want the country torn apart in a sense that half the country says for the next 30 years we won the election, you stole it. so one question before you do an impeachment is do you think that the evidence of such terrible deeds is so strong that a large portion of the opposition vote base of the president's vote base, will be convinced by the end of the process. >> is that an important warning for democrats? do you agree with him? >> i think jerry's sentiment reflects that of a significant
number of house democrats. what he didn't say there, i'm sure he's said on other occasions is we all eagerly await the conclusion of director mueller's work at the special counsel's office. that will be an important and significant predicate for any deliberation or direction we take, while we're simultaneously going down the path of upholding our article i constitutional responsibility to give a check and balance to the president. >> given your position on the house intelligence committee, you said it will be used sparingly and carefully. is there a risk for members of your party to overreach here in a way that alienates america? >> if we proceed as each of the chairs of the relevant committees of jurisdiction have indicated, which is to say we use subpoena power sparingly and carefully, then i think there is no risk whatsoever. i think that chairman nadler, chairman schiff, and chairman
cummings have all said essentially the same thing. we can walk and chew gum at the same time. we have a lot of things to get done on behalf of the american people at the end of the day, we need lower prescription drug prices, we need to protect people with pre-existing conditions. we need to create good jobs and infrastructure to set a long-term platform for economic growth. we ned to do those things. we also need to hold the administration accountable where appropriate. we can do both those things. >> finally, leadership for the party. nancy pelosi, you have spoken glowingly of her. you said she takes her work exceedingly seriously. you have been a supporter of hers. do you support nancy pelosi's bid for leadership? >> i do. furthermore, i'm not sure why it's even a question. it's a moot point. there's nobody running against her. she has a significant majority of the members of the house democratic caucus, period. >> you think she has the votes. there is no question in your mind. >> she has a significant majority of the members of the house democratic caucus.
of that, there is no question whatsoever. >> congressman denny heck, we'll see how this all unfolds and if she does has those running against her. we appreciate you being here. thank you. so the camp fire, this is the deadly fire in northern california, is now the deadliest and the most destructive in the state's history. we'll have a live report from one of the hardest hit areas next. your insurance rates skyrocket after a scratch so small you could fix it with a pen. how about using that pen to sign up for new insurance instead? for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today.
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all right. this morning, a grim search in northern california. soon cadaver dogs will arrive in the city of paradise. this as the camp fire has become the deadliest wildfire in the state's history. at least 42 people have died in that blaze. >> many of those deaths in the town of paradise. this home reduced to ashes. a mailbox now all that stands remaining. dan simon is in paradise with more. we have heard people say, you know, why would god take away a town named paradise? but there really is shock and sadness there. >> really is. and let me first explain where i am. this one of the first burned out structures i saw when i first came to paradise. this is a safeway grocery store. i wanted to come back here today and show you because it's just so massive, how big this is. you can see just the destruction inside. and it's representative of the
bigger problem that you have in the town of paradise. we're talking about a small town, and quite frankly, a lot of people relied on this grocery store. so going forward, it's going to be really challenging because you have to rebuild businesses just like this. in the meantime, we got that horrible news yesterday that the death toll has risen. we're now looking at 42. that's a record for the amount of fatalities for a wildfire in california. and all along, officials fear that the death toll would continue to go up because the fire spread so quickly, and combined with the fact you have a lot of elderly retirees who live in the town of paradise. we know that's going to be the focus today. more search and recovery crews are on their way to paradise to look for more bodies. and you also have the grim task of trying to identify the victims. so many of them were badly burned, beyond recognition, quite frankly. so officials are asking folks in
the community, they're asking loved ones to provide dna samples so ultimately those remains can be identified. in terms of the overall fire itself. right now, it's 30% contained. there hasn't been much growth in the past few days. so that's good, but obviously, looking for the bodies today is going to be key, and just one other thing. perhaps you can see just how smoky the conditions are outside. that's another thing that folks here are battling. we'll send it back to you. >> wow. don't sit there for a long time. going to take a long time to recover. >> about 500 miles south of paradise, near malibu, the woolsey fire, as it's called, that intensified over night. the fire has scorched more than 96,000 acres. crews could soon be facing up to 60 miles per hour winds today. fanning the flames, at least two people killed while they were likely fleeing this fire over the weekend. state-wide, more than 8,000 firefighters are now battling those flames. a lot of you have asked about this, for ways you can help those affected, hurt by the
california wildfires. please go to cnn.com/impact. all right. israel may be pulling back from the brink of war after an incredibly volatile 24 hours. hundreds of rockets and mortars have been raining down on both sides of the israeli/gaza border. you see some of the shots in the middle of the night there. >> there are sadly casualties on the ground. oren liebermann is in israel, and he joins us now. still lighting up the sky as you have been seeing? >> it has been now a few minutes of quiet, perhaps over the last hour or so, we have not seen any red alerts indicating rocket fire or mortar fire from gaza and we have not heard any israeli air strikes or gotten reports from our cnn teams inside gaza. in the course of the last few minutes, we have gotten statements from hamas that a cease-fire has been reached. egypt and the united nations have worked frantically over the course of the last 24 hours to get to this point, to get to the
point of a cease-fire. israel generally does not comment or does not confirm any acknowledgment of any cease-fire and they haven't commented in this case. what they have said in the past is quiet will be met with quiet. if the cease-fire holds, it brings to the end the worst 24 hours in terms of hostilities between israel and gaza since the end of the 2014 war. the israeli military says more than 400 rockets and mortars have been fired from gaza into israel. many have been intercepted by israel's iron dome aerial defense system. a number have hit residential areas including a residential building in a city near where we're standing right now in israel. one person was killed in the rocket attack, making that the first person killed in a rocket strike in israel since the 2014 war. in that wave of israeli air strikes carried out against gaza, the palestinian ministry of health says seven palestinians have been killed. a number of other have been injured. poppy and jim, the critical question nowsome the cease-fire
in place and is it holding as we head into the dark hours here? >> yeah, a very important question. thank you for being there and reporting for us. ahead for us, a grieving family says a security guard was doing his job when he was shot dead by police. now they're demanding to know why. as one of the nation's largest investors in infrastructure, we don't just help power the american dream, we're part of it. this is our era. this is america's energy era. nextera energy.
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rights lawsuit against the officer who shot him while he was trying to protect others. >> here's what we know. they say that 26-year-old jamel robertson, who is african-american, had stopped a suspected gunman and was holding him down outside of the bar where he worked. this happened on sunday. that is when the officer opened fire on robertson. even though people yelled at police that he was the security guard for the bar. and he was holding down that person. let's get more now from our ryan young who joins us in chicago. what else can you tell us? >> yeah, this is a tough story. the mother moving very quickly to file that lawsuit. in fact, in the lawsuit, it says the shooting death was unprovoked and it says the shooting of jamal robson was unjustified. you can understand the feelings of pain that this family is feeling. so many people in the community were also upset because the midlothian police department hadn't made any statements up until this morning, and in fact, the police chief there has now asked for an independent investigation into this case.
and wants the state agency to come in and make sure the integrity is solid in terms of what they're going to find. but you have to think about the people who were there. so many people were upset about what happened. all this talk about shootings at bars. some men had been thrown out of a bar. one came back with a gun and started shooting into a crowd. jamal robe ason, who is 26, who wanted to be a police officer, responded, was able to get one of the people down and stopped the shooting. there was a visual last night. you should listen to his brother and how passionate he was about what he thought his brother was doing right in the situation. >> told you a million times, he's security. the suspect is being apprehended right here. everything is under control. after everybody told you that, including the 70 people out here, you intentionally fired one time. after you fired that one time, you shot my brother four more times. >> yeah, this is tough, obviously, for the people there.
we heard a lot of witnesses talking just about the fact that they thought he did the right thing. this young man wanted to be a police officer. he was very active in his choir. so many people from the community have also responded to the fact that they thought he was one of the good guys. he was wearing a security shirt, and he did the right thing. the question now, obviously, is what did that officer perceive when he arrived on scene. we're told he's been an officer for about four years. not sure if there's a body camera involved in the case. we'll have to look to see what the state finds as they get involved in the investigation. a lot of questions about this one. we'll have to see how this plays out. >> is chicago pd saying anything? >> it's not the chicago police department. it's the midlothian police department. a smaller agency to the south. they, of course, are now calling for the state agency. not as large as the chicago police department. >> talking about a hero this morning, and instead, just a horrible loss. thanks very much. white supremacists, some of them apparently feeling
welcome back. really important story for you now. one week to the day after the midterm elections, some white supremacists are celebrating republican victories. >> they see the gop hold on the senate as a win for president trump, a way to push forward their agenda of hate. sara sidner has been covering this. she joins us now. people can see whatever they want to in the elections, but what specifically do they see as moving their agenda forward? >> they see their language being repeated. they hear the messages at they have been trying to send
repeated by the president at times, his retweeting of white nationalists. his retweeting of a far right group in britain. they see it as a yes, i'm with you. even though the president has clearly said i am not a racist, i do not support this. but they see it as a tacit approval of their agenda, and what is their agenda? their agenda is to create a white ethnostate. there, listening to the president, and they're hearing his words and saying he's with us. it was a meme for the midterms on a website visited more than 2.5 million times a month. us if we lose, it read. depicting white men ready for war. followed by them if we win. showing jews being led to their death. >> they're begging their followers to go out and find ways to get republicans in office because they believe it will be easier for these politicians to sail through.
>> a big thing yesterday. >> when president trump celebrated the senate victory, so did white supremacists. this changed history, neonazi said on his site, the daily stormer, which is the most widely read neonazi website in america. this is a race war, period. they also reveled in the re-election of congressman steve king who has a history of making racist remarks. like in this 2017 anti-immigration tweet saying we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies. or his unsubstantiated claim about immigrants crossing the u.s./mexico border. >> they weigh 130 pounds and they have 175 pounds of marijuana across the desert. >> if last night was a referendum on steve king's white nationalism, then white nationalism won, he wrote on his site. both king and president trump vehemently deny they are racists or enable white supremacists. trump pushed back at a recent
press conference when asked if the republican party was seen as supporting white nationalists because of his rhetoric. what do you make of that? >> i don't believe it. >> purposefully or not, the president speaks a language racists and neonazis embrace, like his habit of linking immigrants to crime. >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crimes. they're rapists. >> right-wing extremmests are responsible for the vast majority of deadly terrorist attacks since 9/11. >> i was involved in the movement at the dawn of the internet. >> tony is a former skinhead. he said white supremacists look for any sign of approval from politicians in power. >> the whole goal of people like me back in the day was to mainstream. mainstream the idea. >> it doesn't take an overt slur for these individuals to become emboldened. >> take the president's threat to tell the military to consider rocks thrown by migrants as guns.
>> when they throw rocks, i say consider it a rifle. >> those comments cheered online by racist trolls. hopefully, they throw stones, they write. the daily stormer's web master, andrew, is clear about their purpose. >> we are trying to make a race -- >> white nationalists swooned at how the president described himself. >> i am a nationalist. >> translation, he's one of us. >> it doesn't mean necessarily that he's saying that. it's just that he hasn't said anything to convince them that he disagrees with them. >> critics believe his reluctance to rein in the radical side of his base has only empowered them. their hateful agenda gaining speed. now, when the president says things that are confusing, when he says both sides, that sort of language, well, some people might say he's clearly making a differentiation between those he thinks are good and though he
thinks are not, but white nationalists see it as he can't say what he really thinks so he's giving us a dog whistle, a sign he's with us, but he can't really say it. that's one of the things you see over and over and over again. and when people say, you know, white nationalists don't support him. they actually dislike trump. what they dislike is he's not extreme enough. >> haven't built the wall yet, for instance. >> that's right. >> such important reporting in the field on this. thank you for bringing it to us. >> we do have a response from the white house to the lawsuit that cnn has filed against the president and members of his administration. the white house responding, we'll bringia that response right after this. om at a lower , hilton is like... we're gonna match that rate and give you an extra 25% off. what would travel sites do if you found a different price? that's not my problem, it's your problem. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. the annual enrollment period is here. the time to choose your medicare coverage...
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all right. this just in to cnn. the white house has just responded to the lawsuit cnn filed this morning on first amendment and fifth amendment grounds after the white house banned our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. >> we'll read the statement. we have just been advised cnn has filed a complaint challenging jim acosta's pass. we'll vigorously defend gerps his lawsuit. it goes on to say that cnn who has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders and mr. acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the first amendment. after mr. acosta asked the president two questions, each of which the president answered, said the white house, he refused to surrender a white house microphone to an intern so other reporters might ask their questions. this is not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters. >> the white house goes on to say, quote, the white house cannot run an orderly and fair
press conference when reporters act this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional. the first amendment is not served when a single reporter or more than 150 present attempt to monopolize the floor. if there's no check on this behavior, it impedes the ability of the president, the white house staff, and members of the media to conduct their business. chief media correspondent brian stelter is here with reaction. help us fact check this. >> none of what the white house is saying is addressing the substance of the lawsuit. what the white house is complaining about is acosta's style. and i get it. a lot of people don't like acosta's style. they think he's too aggressive, too blunt, too opinionated. but this is not about acosta's style. this is about the rules and the policies and the standards that have been established for decades with regards to gaining access to the white house. what cnn is saying in the lawsuit is that the white house violated those processes, the guidelines in place since the 1970s for people to carry a hard pass. that's what litigated in the
district court. not whether acosta is too aggressive. and by the way, i think it's great that white house reporters have different styles. i think it's great cnn has multiple reporters in the white house that can all do it in their own way. that's how a free press should work. >> if there's any question as to whether they were going to challenge it, it's right there in the tape, we'll vigorously defend against this lawsuit. it appears this is going to court. >> yes, and we could have updates as soon as later today or tomorrow. cnn is seeking an immediate hearing to receive temporary response from a judge to get acosta's press pass back right away, and seeking a permanent solution to this, permanent relief in legal terms, so this doesn't happen again. don't take it from me. take it from the white house correspondents association. they came out with a statement a little while ago that said the president of the united states should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him. in essence, that's what the white house is trying to do, saying you can't show up anymore, acosta. everyone else from cnn, come on in. the president is trying to pick who covers him. and that's not appropriate.
>> brian stelter, thanks very much. >> thank you all for being with us today. a busy one again. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. hello, everybody. i'm kate bolduan. it is the election night that just won't quit. midterm races still in limbo. legal challenges under way. one week after election day, several races are still too close to call. in florida, the senate race, the governor's race, even the race for state agriculture commissioner are facing recounts. these are recounts required by state law. focusing on the senate race, though, now we have republican rick scott, the governor, and other republicans, including president trump, claiming voter fraud. an important note, though, they're not offering proof of voter fraud. the florida secretary of state still says that they haven't seen any voter fraud. right now, they are all racing to