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Trump, Romney & Priebus Dining at NYC Restaurant; Sources: Trump Suggests Loss Of Citizenship Or Jail For Burning Flags; Gingrich: Trump's Tweet About Voter Fraud A Mistake; Trump's Cozy Relationship with Conspiracy Theorist; Interview with Rep. Raul Labrador; Authorities Believe Ohio State Attacker Inspired by ISIS; Deadly Wildfire Spreading, More Than 14,000 Evacuated. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 29, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:02] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Donald Trump and Mitt Romney about to sit down for a highly anticipated dinner. Will Romney be America's next top diplomat?

Plus, Trump's latest Twitter tirade claiming wide spread voter fraud. Is the president-elect getting his news from a conspiracy theory website? And the Tennessee's deadly wild fires, at least three people killed, thousands evacuated. We're live at the scene. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight's breaking news, Donald Trump and Mitt Romney about to arrive at a New York City restaurant for a highly anticipated dinner, but Trump's team is deeply split over whether Romney should be the Secretary of State.

The division that's spilling out into public view and to ultimately guess the nod remains an open question. But tonight's dinner, their second meeting in the last two weeks should go a long way to answering that question, we think.

Also breaking, one official telling CNN, Trump is tapping his campaign finance chairman, former Goldman Sachs partner, Steve Mnuchin to be his Treasury Secretary. Earlier today, Trump named Georgia Congressman Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon and staunched critic of Obamacare for Health and Human Services Secretary.

And Trump turned to former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao today to be his Secretary of Transportation. Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and work in the transportation department under President George H.W. Bush.

Sunlen Serfaty is out front tonight with much more on this. Sunlen, some big and consequential cabinet announcements today.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Kate. A slew (ph) of announcement coming today from the Trump transition team, including those big three key nominations for Donald Trump's cabinet. But it is still the most high profile cabinet post, that of Secretary of State, which tonight is still very much on open question.


SERFATY: Tonight, Donald Trump is taking major steps to fill out his cabinet.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, FORMER GOLDEN SACHS PARTNER: We want to be in a position where in the first hundred days we can execute the economic plan.

SERFATY: The president-elect having former Goldman Sachs Partner, Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary and announcing Elaine Chao, a former Labor Secretary and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead the Transportation Department. Also naming GOP Congressman Tom Price as his pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

REP. TOM PRICE, (R) GEORGIA: As a position, I believe that the president's healthcare law violates every single principle we hold dear in healthcare.

SERFATY: Price, a position is a staunched conservative who's been leading the charge in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which transition officials say will become his priority in a Trump administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Tom Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee, also member of ways and means, every cycle for the last several cycles introduced very solid replacement healthcare option bills and that's one of the things he's going to lead the charge on.

SERFATY: Price also favors over hauling Medicaid and Medicare. Under House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan, Medicare enrollees would receive subsidies from the federal government to cover or offset their medical cost. Democrats are already sounding the alarm (ph).

SEN. CHUCL SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: We say to our Republicans who want to privatize Medicare, go try it, make our day.

SERFATY: Trump also selecting Seema Verma to serve as the administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Verma has close ties to V.P.-elect Mike Pence, having designed Indiana's Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

In the meantime, the palace intrigue over who will be chosen as Secretary of State continues to take center stage as Trump hosts more contenders in New York today. Trump welcoming Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker to Trump Tower.

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: He needs to choose someone that he's very comfortable with that he knows there is going to be no daylight between him and them.

SERFATY: And having a dinner tonight with Mitt Romney, with the two being joined by their wives. Sources say the sit down is so Trump and Romney can get to know each other more.


SERFATY: And we do expect Donald Trump and Melania Trump to depart any moment at Trump Tower to arrive at that dinner with the Romneys tonight and certainly the second meeting more personal on nature, the fact that the wives are coming and the fact that they're sitting down to dine together tonight, Kate. But this does, of course, comment there, still very deep divisions within his own team, Donald Trump's own team about potentially tapping Mitt Romney. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Sunlen, thank you so much.

"OutFront" tonight, Republican Strategist, Kevin Madden, he worked for Mitt Romney, Ben Ferguson, host to the "Ben Ferguson Radio Show," Democratic Strategist Keith Boykin, he worked for President Bill Clinton, and Mark Preston, our Executive Editor for Politics here at CNN.

So, Mark, my dear friend, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump going to dinner.

[19:05:02] The last time that we know of that Donald Trump dined with a potential candidate of any time, that person became his vice president. Does that mean -- how serious is this?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Breaking bread. Well, couple of things, one is after they had that dinner, remember, there was that time where Donald Trump seemed to be going back on his decision with Mike Pence. He was seriously considering Chris Christie, but I think we're in a different world right now.

And I do think for all the criticism that I will heap upon Donald Trump for the things he said, the things he has done, couple of things. One is, he is reaching out to somebody who's been a very harsh critic of him base upon his qualifications and his knowledge of a business in world affairs.

So I think you're going to give him credit for that and he also has three women of color right now in his cabinet and I don't think enough has been made about that, but that's been his fault because he's decided to sidetrack the conversation with all of these other things whether it's illegal voting or burning the flag.

BOLDUAN: But as they get ready to sit down for dinner, Kevin, I find it fascinating that Donald Trump is bringing Melania and Mitt Romney is bringing Ann to the dinner. And I'm not trying to be cute by this, it does make me wonder if that increases the significance of this dinner that they would -- you wouldn't want to waste your wife's time if you didn't think it was important.

KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO MITT ROMNEY: Especially Ann Romney's time. And don't underestimate the power of Ann Romney's charm.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. MADDEN: Look, I mean, I think it is a sign that maybe they had very strong, you know, a very good meeting in the fist meeting where they talked about maybe some of the issues and some of the -- and looked upon Governor Romney for some of the insights on some of the world issues and world affairs and if this is one where they're trying to establish a little bit more of a personal rapport.

And given that there was very strong disagreement during the campaign, potentially vary to hatchet. Again, I also think we can't read too much into it. It could be just a, you know, meeting where -- because he hasn't spent as much time with Governor Romney as he just spent with some of the others that he just wanted to give it equal access.

So, I still think that because president-elect has -- really can't miss with any of the candidates that he has met with that we shouldn't really read too much into any one meeting.

BOLDUAN: This is cable T.V., we read too much into every meeting. You've been around this rodeo line up, Kevin.

Ben, let's continue to read too far into this. Join me if you will. Let's say they bury the hatchet. Let's say that Mitt Romney becomes Secretary of State. I really do wonder, what does Mitt Romney do? He needs to go to Donald Trump, he -- on an issue that they absolutely disagree on, let's say.

And is Mitt Romney really going to be able to just follow what Donald Trump says is going -- is policy of the administration maybe on an issue where they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, like Russia? Can he do it?

BEN FERGUSON, RADIO HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Look, I think that's one of the reasons that Mitt Romney in this dinner tonight is so important as to say, "Hey, can we have a conversation and disagree to each other, but can I still work for you?"

And Donald Trump is asking the same question. "Hey, your biggest speech you made was a nasty ugly speech about why I'm a terrible person and should never be elected president, would not become president." We don't even know if Mitt Romney even voted for Donald Trump for that matter.

And so I think they're trying to feel each other out here and say, "Hey, if I take this job or if I do offer you this job, are you going to be able to do the job well for me?" And ultimately, I think if Mitt Romney takes the job, he has to decide that he serves at the pleasure of the president. If he did chooses to go against him, he won't have that job for very long and I think he now understands that as well.

So, ultimately, if he gets this opportunity, he's going to have to do what the president says. Now, can he have an open dialogue with the president? I think that's something he's going to ask the question probably tonight is, "Hey, if I disagree with you, can we have a real battle? I'll do what you say at the end, but I want to make sure that my voice is going to be heard in that room." And that will be important for him or anybody else who gets this job for that matter.

BOLDUAN: Keith, you are not in the business of offering advice to Donald Trump or Mitt Romney. But if you were there, what is the one question that Mitt Romney needs to have answered in this dinner tonight or maybe Donald Trump?

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: I think Mitt Romney needs to know that if he is the Secretary of State, he will be able to have the president's back or the president will have his back I should say. They need to have a working relationship where they can trust each other.

And Mitt Romney has been in a difficult position not only with the issue of Russia, but also with Mexico, which is something that Romney has different take on, on policy than President-elect Trump.

Thus, the issue of religious tolerance and whatever crazy ridiculous thing that Donald Trump says for the next four years, Mitt Romney has to be the face of United States across the world explaining to diplomats and foreign leaders why this is acceptable. That's a really difficult position and I don't know how they square that circle to make that relationship work?

BOLDUAN: That is what you can figure out over dinner tonight. Guys' standby, we're waiting for that dinner to begin. "OutFront" next the breaking news we are as I said, standing by for Donald Trump and Mitt Romney to arrive at the New York City restaurant or maybe the biggest dinner of their lives.

[19:10:08] Plus, Trump threatening to evoke your citizenship for burning the American flag, why even Republicans aren't going for that? Plus, is Trump getting his news from a website that pushes false conspiracy theories? And investigators now say the Ohio state attacker was likely inspired by ISIS. We have new detail on that, ahead.


BOLDUAN: Tonight with major decision before him like feeling out his cabinet and organizing his administration, Donald Trump is taking on a new issue, flag burning, tweeting that people who burn the American flag should lose their citizenship or go to jail. Here is the thing, this has been a settled issue by the Supreme Court, almost 30 years now. Flag burning is protected by the First Amendment. Manu Raju is "OutFront."


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President-elect Donald Trump once again putting Republicans in an awkward spot, this time over the issue of burning the American flag.

In an early morning tweet, Trump said that people who burn the flag should face serious consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill disagree.

Do you have any concerns with what he said?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: The Supreme Court has held that that activity is a protected First Amendment right.

RAJU: Trump's comments reopening old wounds in the capitol.

[19:15:02] In 2006, McConnell casting a decisive vote against the constitutional amendment to ban flag burning, which failed by just one vote.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) TEXAS: The American flag is a monument. Why in the world would we refuse to protect it against desecration?

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I didn't raise my hand to defend the flag. I raised my hand and took on oath to defend the constitution and our country.

RAJU: In 1989 and 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that the burning of the American flag is protected under the First Amendment. The late conservative justice, Antonin Scalia, siding with the majority.

ANTONIN SCALIA, FORMER U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Burning the flag is a form of expression.

RAJU: Trump's latest statement a sharp contrast from 2013 when he quoted George Washington, saying in a tweet "If the freedom of speech is taken away, dumb and silent we may be lead like sheep to the slaughter."

The debate hit home last weekend at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where roughly 400 military veterans protested the decision by the college to remove its main flag. This after a student lowered the flag to half staff to protest the toxic presidential campaign. The flag was later burned.

On Capitol Hill, Trump's GOP colleagues criticizing flag burning, but declining to say if they agree with Trump.

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: Flag burning is repugnant. It is disrespectful to the brave men and women who risk their lives protecting this country.

RAJU: Should they to be prosecute, though?

And Senator John McCain says there should be some punishment for people who burn the flag, but refusing to talk about the President- elect.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Refuse to comment on Mr. Trump's comments. I have not and will not.


RAJU: Now, Kate, John McCain also said to me the reason why he doesn't want to comment on Donald Trump. He said, "My time here is going to be devoted to making sure the nation is secure not to comment every time that Donald Trump makes some remarks."

He really shows that when Donald Trump does not stick to those bread and butter Republican issues, like Obamacare, and taxes, and regulation, and if he goes off script it puts his party in an awkward spot and actually provides quite a distraction to folks here on Capital Hill, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yup. Knowing John McCain, you're probably going to be hearing that line a lot from John McCain over the next four years. Great to see you, thank you Manu.

OUTFRONT with me now, Republican Congressman, Raul Labrador from Idaho. Congressman, it's always great to see you. Thank you for coming in.

REP. RAUL LABRADOR, (R) IDAHO: It's great to be on the show, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. The President-elect today as Manu lay out, he said the people who burned the American flag, he tweeted it, said that they should have their citizenship revoke or face a year in jail. Do you agree with them?

LABRADOR: I do not. I disagree with them. I'm going to agree with them on some things. I'm going to disagree with them on some things. I do find that a little funny that you guys are spending all day talking about this when you seem to find the First Amendment, so sacrosanct but don't seem to find the Second Amendment as equally sacrosanct.


BOLDUAN: I'm sorry, Congressman, where do I'm going to find the Second Amendment sacrosanct?

LABRADOR: Whenever a Democrat goes out there and talks about taken away our Second Amendment rights, you guys don't spend all day long talking about it. I just think we need to ignore what he's saying on issue.

I think the Supreme Court has pretty much settled the issue. I don't think that there's many members of Congress that are going to be agreeing with him on this and I think you need to move on. He's going to right on some issues. He's going to wrong on some issues.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, two point on that. Number one, you know me pretty well.


BOLDUAN: I don't think you would say that -- you can't put me in the box being a Democrat or Republican and you can't put me in the box of the not caring about the Second Amendment.

LABRADOR: I'm just saying, in general the media has spent all day talking about this. They spend talking about the real issues that we're facing in America. We need to -- we make America ... BOLDUAN: Well -- and Congressman I have for that today from many people that -- why are people focusing on musing on Twitter of what the President-elect said when he's not happy about the cast of Hamilton or whatever, you know, or other things that he's opined about on Twitter.

Here is the thing. It does seem a big deal, or a deal of some sort when the President-elect, the man who is going to be the leader of this country threatens or poses on Twitter that people should have their citizenship revoked for something that's been settled law for almost thirty years.

LABRADOR: So let's just wait for him to submit a proposal to Congress and then we can debate the proposal. Let's not debate a tweet. I think that you -- the media made that mistake during the entire campaign, just debating all these tweets, debating all these things.

He's expressing an opinion that I disagree with vehemently. I think he's completely wrong about this. I think, you know, just like Justice Antonin Scalia that this is one of the basics protections of the constitution.

[19:20:04] We can have that debate, but let's just not go over board every time he tweets something out. He likes to communicate through Twitter. He does a pretty effective job of communicating with Twitter. Through Twitter, sometimes I agree with him. Sometimes I disagree with him, but I'm not going spend all my day musing about all the different tweets that he puts out.

BOLDUAN: And we are going to move on, but let me just say, it is one thing when a candidate opines on Twitter something. I think it is something different when it is the President-elect taking an opinion on Twitter about what should be constitutional, not and what the Supreme Court should be doing not and you should have the citizenship revoke.

But let -- I do want to move on. I do want to move on.

LABRADOR: I hope that next time that a Democrat talks about taking away our Second Amendment rights and shrinking our Second Amendment right, that you guys spent all day long talking about this.

BOLDUAN: When the Democrat is the president of the United States or the President-elect that's the difference.

LABRADOR: Obama did it many times. Hillary Clinton did it many times and you did -- it wasn't the whole media just exploding like you're doing about this issue.

BOLDUAN: I would not put this as exploding. I can show you exploding, Congressman.

LABRADOR: OK, sounds good.

BOLDUAN: But went won't do that. Let's talk about the cabinet, though. Donald Trump, Melania Trump, there is dinner tonight with Mitt Romney and Ann Romney. What do you think of Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, Congressman?

LABRADOR: You know, I think Mitt Romney would be a great choice. The question that President-elect Trump has to answer, and I don't know that I have answer, too, because I don't have the relationship is whether he can trust Mitt Romney right now.

Mitt Romney says some pretty negative things about the candidate. He worked very hard to make sure that President-elect Trump did not become the president of the United States. And the question -- I'm all for a team of rivals. I actually think that shows a lot of growth and a lot of great things about Donald Trump. And it also shows a lot of things about Mitt Romney that he's meeting with him about this job.

But for such an important job as the Secretary of State, can they trust each other? And I haven't seen anything that tells me that they can. And I think we need that relationship to be a pretty solid relationship.

BOLDUAN: You know, Congressman, there have been some folks who said that Mitt Romney in order to show that trust say that he needs to offer some sort of public apology to Trump before taking the post. What do you think of that?

LABRADOR: I disagree with that. That's actually the ugly part of politics. I don't think that is a -- it shouldn't be about diminishing or demeaning one person or making one person feel less than the others.

I just think that in their conversations -- obviously, they had conversations last week and they're having conversation this week. I hope that they can come to a resolution of trust, to a moment where they can realize that they can work together. That President-elect Trump knows that Mitt Romney is going to have his back. If he doesn't know that, I don't think he should be selecting him or nominating him to that position.

BOLDUAN: And no better way to figure out if he trusting somebody than breaking bread together. So we will see.

LABRADOR: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Congressman thanks so much. I'll talk to you soon.

LABRADOR: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: We're following breaking news, some breaking news coming in right now. Two sources are telling CNN that Wilbur Ross is Donald Trump's pick for Commerce Secretary.

The nomination is expected to be announced tomorrow along with other nominations for Trump's economic team. Ross is an investor, team for rehabilitating field businesses. A lot of announcements coming out as Trump fill out his cabinet.

"OutFront" next, your moments away from Donald Trump and Mitt Romney's dinner together. Plus, is Donald Trump getting his news from a man who claims 9/11 with the government conspiracy and claims that the Sandy Hook's shooting was a fake?

This is also ahead, ISIS claiming the Ohio state attacker soldier of the Islamic State. What are investigators learning from his laptop and cellphone tonight?


[19:27:30] BOLDUAN: Just learning from the (inaudible) traveling with Donald Trump that Donald Trump has arrived at the restaurant where Donald Trump and Mitt Romney and Ann Romney and Melania Trump will be sitting down to dinner this evening. This is a restaurant in New York City. Really just steps from where we are here the Time Warner Center.

According to the poll note (ph), they have arrived at the restaurant for this dinner along with Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC, the incoming Chief of Staff for Donald Trump. He is also arrived at the restaurant. It was at Jean-Georges Restaurant here in New York City. That-- so the dinner is about to get under way. We're following this and looking for -- bring you any new information as it comes.

Also new tonight, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich taking on the man he's advising, Donald Trump, telling "USA Today," it was a big mistake, that's according to Gingrich to tweet that wild claim that he would have won the popular vote if it weren't for the million of people that voted illegally. Listen.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: The president of United States can't randomly tweet without having somebody check it out. I mean, it just -- it makes you wonder about whatever else he's doing. It undermines much more than just a single tweet.


BOLDUAN: There are no evidence of widespread voter fraud, of course, but there is one website that's reported this claim, this baseless claim and it's one that maybe, I don't know, does Trump rely on this for his news? Phil Mattingly is "OutFront."


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a cozy relationship from the beginning.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I will not let you down. You will be very, very impressed I hope and I think we'll be speaking a lot.

MATTINGLY: Donald Trump and Alex Jones, the conservative conspiracy theorist and operator of website INFORWARS, which seems to be a place where Trump gets a lot of his information.

Jones can take credit for spear heading some of the most outrageous theories on the internet, from claims that 9/11 was a government conspiracy to the Sandy Hook shooting being faked. Jones theories reach tens of millions each month and now often echoed by the next president of the United States. Take President Obama's birth.

TRUMP: Trump comes along and said birth certificate. He gave a birth certificate, whether or not that was a real certificate because a lot of people question it, I certainly question it.

MATTINGLY: Obama is the leader of ISIS.

TRUMP: ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS.

MATTINGLY: Questioning the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

[19:30:03] TRUMP: They say they found a pillow on his face which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow.

MATTINGLY: And Ted Cruz's father's role in the death of John F. Kennedy.

TRUMP: His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot

MATTINGLY: When Jones posted this video entitled "An Emergency Message to Donald Trump" during the campaign --

ALEX JONES, INFOWARS HOST: I am going to ask you to seriously think about making the issue of Hillary's election fraud in the primaries one of the central issues to defeating her in November.

MATTINGLY: Trump had this to say a day later.

TRUMP: I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest. Because I think my side was rigged.

MATTINGLY: And in the wake of the election, Jones pushing a theory that despite the vote totals, Trump actually won the popular vote.

JONES: Millions of illegals voting. At least five states stolen for Hillary. We're talking five, six, seven eight million people more voting for Trump if you look at the evidence in the popular vote than did.

MATTINGLY: And Trump tweeting just four days later, quote, "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

JONES: I'll tell you, it is surreal to talk about issues here on air and then word for word Trump say it two days later. It is amazing.


MATTINGLY: And, Kate, this isn't exactly an issue Trump advisors are thrilled to be talking about, but it is one that is particularly vexing to both Republicans and Democrats, where exactly does the president-elect get his information? Most importantly, perhaps, where does he get his intelligence information?

Now, it's worth noting, the Vice President-elect Mike Pence is being called a voracious consumer of intelligence. Regular briefings, trying to get his around the new capabilities that he and the president-elect are going to responsible for. The president-elect, not so much. He has not been a regular attendee or recipient of those briefings.

Now, his advisors make clear, he has lots of avenues to get information and he pursues all of them. But when it comes to the advisors himself, the same advisors say, keep an eye open, those should increase in the days ahead. That included this morning, the president-elect and the vice president-elect sitting down for the presidential daily brief, the official intelligence briefing with top intelligence officials for the third time since the president-elect was elected. Expect to see that more and more in the days ahead before he's sworn in -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely fascinating. Great to see you, Phil. Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT for me now, Paris Dennard, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist.

Great to see you both.


BOLDUAN: Hi there.

Paris, does it matter to you that the president-elect, if the president-elect when we're talking about this issue of widespread voter fraud that he's not dealing in fact or fact or evidence that anyone has been provided. That he's spreading inaccurate information.

PARIS DENNARD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I think what's important is he is highlighting the facts that there is an issue that a lot of Americans see. And he's bringing attention to it. Whether or not we know what has gone on or whether we have gotten all of the information is irrelevant. We don't know what Mr. Trump, the president elect, or his team knows or what secretaries of state have told him or anything of that nature.

So, I think it is false to say that we don't have any direct evidence of these claims. We don't have all the information that he has and that is --


BOLDUAN: Well, it's not necessarily false. When reporters asked directly to his top aides, where is the evidence of voter fraud? They cited studies.

And one of the studies, I actually spoke with the primary author of today, and he said that there was no findings of any kind of voter fraud, especially widespread voter fraud. That they were interpreting his study.

DENNARD: Well, I think that anybody who knows anything about elections to say that there is no evidence of any voter fraud in the United States of America --

BOLDUAN: It is widespread voter fraud. Widespread serious voter fraud.

DENNARD: Well, you just said --

BOLDUAN: Millions of people voting illegally.

DENNARD: Right. But you said that no voter fraud or widespread. I think that is not true.

I think when you have millions of people voting and we do have illegal immigrants that here that can vote, look, I remember when I was mailed two ballots. I could have voted multiple times. Things happen. Irregularities happen.

But at the end of the day, the president-elect is the president-elect, he won fair and square, and there are bigger issues out there that we should be focusing on. Like the diverse cabinet picks that he's selecting, and all the women, qualified women he's selecting.

Those are news stories and those are things I think a lot of Americans are looking to hear more about, because they are important.

BOLDUAN: Paris, and I'm sure you're watching the show, we have talked about that tonight actually. So, I'm glad that you saw that talked about tonight, the diverse cabinet that Donald Trump is building. So thank you for highlighting what we talked about in the show.

Maria, you heard Newt Gingrich say it was a big mistake to tweet about voter fraud.

[19:35:04] He said it undermines much more than just a tweet.

Is Newt Gingrich now your new best friend?

CARDONA: Yes. I mean, I think he underscore what is a lot of Americans are so concerned with, with this president-elect. First of all, we saw during the campaign that this is a candidate who has lied more in presidential candidate history than any other candidate we have ever seen. And so, for him to continue to spread fake news, to spread outright lies, to spread talks of studies that are not true undermines not just his own credibility, which frankly to anybody other than his supporters is completely shot.

But it undermines American democracy and American government, which is a dangerous place to be if you want to be president of the United States for everybody, like he contends he wants to do, but so far hasn't proven that whatsoever.

And, Paris, it is absolutely untrue that you have undocumented people lining up at the polls to try to commit election fraud. That is just an outright lie.

BOLDUAN: Guys, hold on just one second. We're getting a picture in fro the control room, a picture of inside the restaurant where Donald Trump and Mitt Romney are sitting down for their highly anticipated dinner tonight. You see at the table Donald Trump, Mitt Romney. Told that's Reince Priebus who has his back to the camera sitting down at Jean-Georges Restaurant here in New York City -- here in New York City tonight.

Paris, your thoughts on this meeting. To be a fly on the wall, what would you like to be as a Donald Trump supporter, what do you Donald Trump and Mitt Romney have to hash out at this dinner?

DENNARD: Well, if I'm a restaurant owner, I hope they wouldn't have flies on the wall at the restaurant.

BOLDUAN: You have not to.

DENNARD: I would love to be there, because this is an important dinner. I'm not so sure that Governor Romney would be my pick for secretary of state just because of the way he handled himself and things said about Mr. Trump. I think it would be difficult for him to say all that he said now, I'm hundred percent behind you, I'm a hundred percent behind your agenda for the world.

But is Governor Romney qualified? Absolutely. Would he do an excellent job? He certainly would.

The question tonight is, what comes after this meeting? Will we come out with a result of saying that I have now come to the conclusion that Governor Romney can serve and can serve me and I can trust him a 100 percent? That is -- these are questions he has to get clarity on tonight because there's a lot of people waiting as we know in the wings to have this spot of secretary of state, like Mayor Giuliani and Senator Bob Corker, who are excellent picks.

BOLDUAN: And David Petraeus if you wanted to list them all out.

DENNARD: The list goes on and on and on.

BOLDUAN: And Paris Dennard.

No, guys, great to see you.

DENNARD: No, no, no. I do not want to serve.

BOLDUAN: I'm kidding. Come on.

Thank you guys very, very much for --

DENNARD: You can be press secretary.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Just seeing new video actually, not only the picture of a new video of them going into the restaurant sitting down for this dinner. We're waiting for reports if they come out. We'll bring them straight away to you tonight.

Also, OUTFRONT next, new details about the Ohio state attacker. Why law enforcement officials now believe he was inspired by ISIS.

And the breaking news, three people are dead and still more are missing in the Tennessee wildfires. Horrible video coming out of this. We're going to take you live to the scene.


[19:42:21] BOLDUAN: Breaking news: investigators believe the young man who rammed his car into a crowd of people at Ohio State University was inspired by ISIS. This coming as one official tells CNN the attackers also purchased the knives he used in the attack just hours before the rampage.

Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT in Columbus, Ohio.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Ohio State University student who drove into a group of people and attacked them with a knife was inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, according to law enforcement officials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a guy just ran a car through a crowd of people.

GINGRAS: Law enforcement sources say Abdul Razak Ali Artan's attack and Facebook postings referencing Yemini-American cleric Anwar al- Awlaki are in line with ISIS and al Qaeda propaganda. Officials are combing through his computer and cell phone, but at this point, they say there was no evidence he communicated with terrorist groups.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's plenty of available evidence to indicate that this individual may have been motivated by extremism and may have been motivated by a desire to carry out an act of terrorism.

GINGRAS: Facebook messages posted shortly before the attacks stated his anger towards the treatment of Muslims, anger that those who interacted with Artan daily said they never saw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He smiles all the time. Very friendly. Very friendly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friendly. Always nice talk.

GINGRAS: Artan was born in Somalia, but moved to the U.S. in Pakistan in 2014. He obtained legal residency along with his mother and six siblings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Abdul Razak Artan, cum laude.

GINGRAS: Earlier this year, Artan graduated cum laude from Columbus State Community College. He continued his studies at OSU where over the summer, he spoke to the school newspaper about his religion and his concerns, saying, quote, "If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don't know what they are going to think. What's going to happen?"

Monday morning, authorities say he drove his car into a busy section of the campus, jumping a curb and then attacking people with a butcher knife. Students and faculty ran for their lives.

OPERATOR: 911, what's your emergency?

CALLER: Hi, I'm at Ohio State, and there was a guy crashed his car into a bunch of people and ran out with a knife chasing down people.

GINGRAS: The impact from the car threw engineer professor William Clark into the air.

PROF. WILLIAM CLARK, HIT BY CAR DURING RAMPAGE: The car hit and hit me. I didn't really know what that think. I thought maybe this is a traffic accident but then people started shouting. So, obviously, at that point, I figured out it was more than just a car accident.

GINGRAS: Within minutes, university police officer Alan Horujko responded and shot and killed Artan.


GINGRAS: And a vigil just wrapped up here in OSU's basketball arena. The school community really just coming together to support one another and also mentioning thanks to that officer once again.

[19:45:04] A little more about Artan, though. His mother spoke to a Somali community leader and she said to be distraught and hasn't stopped crying. The community leader also telling CNN that she learned her son was behind these attacks when law enforcement knocked her home's door yesterday morning -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Brynn, thanks so much for bringing that to us. Appreciate it.

OUTFRONT with me now. Bob Baer, former CIA operative.

So, Bob, investigators, as Brynn laid out, they believe now that the suspect was inspired by ISIS. But what seems a common theme. Those who knew him say they didn't notice anything. And also, he went through the most rigorous screening before coming to the United States.

It has a lot of folks wondering again, is there any way to detect someone who's inspired?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Kate, actually no. These decisions are made on the spur of the moment. People like this could get ahold of a car, get ahold of a knife. There's no outward signs of the radicalization necessarily.

He's described as the nice guy. It is possible the mother doesn't know. I've seen that over and over again where the family doesn't know. They come to this decision. They won't to belong to something, a cause, a divine cause for them, and they launch an attack.

And unless they are in communication with the Islamic State, and right now, that is virtually impossible, the FBI can't find these people, nor the national security agency. Very, very difficult, people inspired by ISIS.

BOLDUAN: Do you think investigators should be looking at whether he's part of a bigger cell? Or do you think it is clear that this guy is a lone wolf?

BAER: I think he was a lone wolf. I mean, you know, by now, they would have gotten the metadata, seen his telephones. I think he probably was.

Did he go to an Internet cafe, communicate with the Islamic State? I doubt it at this point. I just don't see it at this point.

He was clearly an amateur. There were no fatalities caused by this attack. If the Islamic State had truly been behind it, I think it would have been much more deadly.

BOLDUAN: Bob, it's great to see you. Thanks so much.

BAER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Continue to follow developments out of Columbus.

And also this, OUTFRONT next, we're following the breaking news on the Tennessee wildfire. At least three people are dead, 14,000 others evacuated. We're live in the fire zone.

And on a much lighter note, Jeanne Moos on Donald Trump making baseball caps great again.


[19:51:00] BOLDUAN: Breaking news on the deadly wildfires raging across Tennessee. Three people are dead now. More than 14,000 evacuated so far. One official now says the cause of the fire was manmade.

Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As a wall of fire and smoke engulfs the community of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, residents are fleeing for safety.

MARK BENZSCHAWEL, WILDFIRE EVACUEE: When they banged on our door and walked us out, and I looked out the window to see who was banging on our door. There were flames everywhere. It was a fire storm.

VALENCIA: Denise Bearden and her partner Mark Benzschawel were fast asleep when police came to their home late last night. Fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their back, they quickly alerted their neighbor, who managed to escape with her dog. The chaos is leaving her still too shaken to talk.

(on camera): Therese, how are you doing?

(voice-over): The couple left with nothing. What's worse? They're unsure if they will have anything when they do return.

DENISE BEARDEN, WILDFIRE EVACUEE: That is the hard part. We may go back to absolutely nothing like so many -- a lot of other people.

BENZSCHAWEL: Like our friends.

BEARDEN: Her house went up in flames too. So, she just barely got out herself.

VALENCIA: Others not so lucky. At least three people have died in a wildfire that's destroyed 250 homes and building, 14,000 residents and visitors have been evacuated from Gatlinburg, a popular tourist destination.

CHIEF GREG MILLER, GATLINBURG FIRE DEPARTMENT: Those high winds were knocking down trees. Those trees hitting power lines and they were falling on this very dry extreme drought-like condition, and everything was catching on fire.

VALENCIA: Drought and hurricane-force winds fuel the flames overnight, spreading the embers for at least a mile.

Thousands like Bearden and Benzschawel are unsure when the flames will die down. And while they say they still haven't fully processed what they have gone through, they know one thing.

BEARDEN: We each other, and that's all it matters. We made it out where our lives.

VALENCIA (on camera): That's really sweet, to know that you have someone like that standing right next to you.

BEARDEN: Yes. He's my everything.



VALENCIA: Outside one of the evacuation shelters here in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the situation is desperate. With more than 700 people inside, they are running short on supplies. It's not just residents but also vacationers that were evacuated. This, of course, is a popular tourist destination.

For those who do live here, we're told it could take up to five days before they're allowed to go back home. That is, if anything is left -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: They need a break there. Great to see you. Thank you, Nick. Thanks so much.

OUTFRONT for us next, Jeanne Moos on Donald Trump's new hat, with the original hung out to dry as the Christmas tree ornament.


[19:57:40] BOLDUAN: Ever the entrepreneur, Donald Trump's iconic make America great, "make America Great Again" hats now come as Christmas ornaments, with 24 karat gold trim, of course.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Donald has donned a new hat -- the hat used to say "make America great again". But lately, the president elect has elected to showcase this, "USA" on the front and on the side, 45, as in Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

It's not for a sale yet on Trump's website, though fans are clamoring for it for Christmas. "Must have that hat."

(on camera): But there is no need to feel sorry for the old "Make America Great Again" hat. It is still getting the royal treatment.

(voice-over): On election night, in addition to the sea of hat in the audience, there were two make America great again hats enshrined in glass cases. Displayed on stage like holy relic, provoking one critic to tweet, "In case of America not being great, break glass."

But the sun is not yet set on the hat that even has its own acronym, MAGA, "Make America Great Again".

(on camera): If you are looking to hang your hat somewhere? How about the tree?

(voice-over): The $149 red cap tree ornament is made out of brass and finish in gold. Over on Amazon, it attracts mocking reviews from Trump's opponent. "All I said was that it wasn't as bright as the other ornaments, and the darn thing exploded. Sad."

Wrote another, "Every time I hang it on a branch, it yells 'wrong!'"


TRUMP: -- wrong.

CLINTON: -- the national debt.

MOOS: No matter which branch I try, it's wrong.

KATE MCKINNON AS HILLARY CLINTON: He's either not that rich.

ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Wrong. MOOS: One joker gave the ornament one star saying it called Mary a nasty woman, told Joseph to go back where he came from, built a wall around the manger and when you press it, it sings, "I'm dreaming of a totally white Christmas."

But whether Trump decides to sport the MAGA hat or the USA hat, even a president-elect can't veto hot air.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.